Just how BIG is the Pathfinder Society?


Lost Omens Campaign Setting General Discussion

The Exchange

Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

In raw numbers world wide? If I was to measure it versus say other secret groups out there?

Say them vs the Paltaine Eye. Or the Consortium?

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Canonically it's probably a bit larger or the same size. than the Aspis Consortium, but probably smaller than the Cult of Razmir.

Raw numbers don't exist, you have to make your own conclusions from story.

Keep in mind however that the Society's members are widespread, highly individualistic, and mostly isolated, and don't report to "Central Command" that often.

The Exchange

Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

Lead by the 10. Venture Captains. Maybe a small handful in major cities. And banned from some nations due to issues with the leadership.

Compared to where the Aspis concentrate their power. Or cults and other esoteric groups.

I's just...interesting to think of an influence map.

Grand Lodge

Big enough to hold thousands of adventurers? I dunno...

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Kittyburger wrote:
Big enough to hold thousands of adventurers? I dunno...

The player characters by definition don't exist in canon. It's probably a bit smaller than the Harpers would be in Faerun if you counted all their branches together. but not by much.

Liberty's Edge

The Pathfinders have somewhere in the neighborhood of three dozen full-fledged lodges, all but one of them in the Inner Sea Region, and a number of other, smaller safe houses and the like. Pathfinderwiki has pages for 38 venture captains from published sources, but I suspect there are more, since every lodge is run by a venture captain but not every venture captain runs a lodge.

Each pathfinder reports to a specific venture captain; if we assume that the average venture captain is responsible for, say, 4 or 5 field agents (the "assumed" size of an adventuring party), then a ballpark estimate of the number of active society members might be something like 300, including venture captains, field agents, the decemverate, and "seekers" like Osprey. That's a *very* rough figure, though, based on a lot of assumptions on my part.

The Aspis Consortium might have a similar number of actual members. On the other hand, the Aspis presumably command a huge number of hired goons, employees, and other servitors who don't have a badge of membership.

As for an influence map, the Society is based in Absalom and had a lot of lodges on the Inner Sea coast and up the Sellen river. Their presence in Cheliax is pretty minimal these days following the fall of the Westcrown lodge, its re-establishment as a puppet of the Thrune government, and its second abandonment. Likewise, the Society has all but pulled out of Sargava after they got sick of the armies of Mzali burning down their lodge in Kalabuto. They're outright banned from Galt and Molthune and are, at the very least, unwelcome in Geb, Kyonin, and Nidal, and their lodge in Nantambo is secret and would not otherwise be allowed. Razmiran They do, however, have a lodge in the Tian metropolis of Goka, as well as inexpensive magical methods of traveling there, so Tian Xia is relatively open to them.

The Aspis Consortium, on the other hand, is headquartered in the cities of southern Cheliax, and basically controls the city of Bloodcove on the Mwangi coast. Their influence appears to be strongest in Garund, but they also have trading interests throughout the Inner Sea and in Varisia. They don't have much of a foothold in Sargava because an alliance of local guilds has so far been successful in blocking their attempts to take over the market, but they definitely have an interest in the riches of the lost colony. As far as I know, their presence in Goka is minimal to nonexistent; Tian Xia has it's own trade consortia and crime syndicates more than capable of keeping the Aspis at bay.

Silver Crusade

I suppose there are no canonical numbers for the size of the Pathfinder society. This leaves it open to be as large or as small as a GM wants it to be.

I suppose one thing to keep in mind, is that the Aspis Consortium is a trading cartel which one of its specialities is antiquities. I often equate the Aspis Consortium to Beloc and the nazis or Chelaxians.

The Pathfinder Society from what I understand, is a "league" of explorers, adventurers, scholars and "tomb raiders" . I compare the Pathfinder's to Indianna Jones.

Gnoll Bard's estimate of 300 sounds like a good estimate for the number of "field agents" or adventurers. I would guess there are 2 to 3 times that number of people who are support staff.

So all in all, I would guess a round 1,000. This would include everyone from a grounds keeper in the grand lodge to Osprey....

But agian, I think the Pathfinder Society is as large or as small as you want it to be.


ElyasRavenwood wrote:
The Pathfinder Society from what I understand, is a "league" of explorers, adventurers, scholars and "tomb raiders" . I compare the Pathfinder's to Indianna Jones.

I wouldn't compare them to Indiana Jones. He puts things in museums. Pathfinders steal things from museums and/or lock discovered artifacts away in vaults to never see the light of day.

Warehouse 13 is much closer. Or the "government top men" at the end of Raiders of the Lost Ark.


Quote:

The Pathfinder Society from what I understand, is a "league" of explorers, adventurers, scholars and "tomb raiders" . I compare the Pathfinder's to Indianna Jones.

I wouldn't compare them to Indiana Jones. He puts things in museums. Pathfinders steal things from museums and/or lock discovered artifacts away in vaults to never see the light of day.

Warehouse 13 is much closer. Or the "government top men" at the end of Raiders of the Lost Ark.

Actually that sounds way more like the Aspix Consortium to me. Using Raiders as an example...I always had the Pathfinder Society pegged as Indy and the Aspix Consortium pegged as Belloq.


Kayland wrote:
Actually that sounds way more like the Aspix Consortium to me. Using Raiders as an example...I always had the Pathfinder Society pegged as Indy and the Aspix Consortium pegged as Belloq.

I didn't really intend to drag this old chestnut up again, but I probably should have taken better care. Oops. The comparison to Warehouse 13 was intended to illustrate that any individual group of Pathfinders is a small group of highly-trained operatives (who are basically members of a rather-well-organised and very-well-funded private paramilitary organisation) working under Artie Nielsen/Venture-Captains who receive their missions (and Artie/Venture-Captains get theirs from the Regents- I mean Decemvirate) and then go out, find whatever has been deemed dangerous or necessary by the Society, take it by whatever means necessary ("Remember, Pathfinders, it's only stealing if you get caught!"), and then hand them over to the Society. Where it's locked away and hidden.

Indiana Jones they are not. Here is a much longer thread on the topic, if you feel like a bit of light reading, but the phrase "it belongs in a museum" is not something I would expect to hear from a Pathfinder.


Agree to disagree...that's why they're called opinions. I have never once thought of a member of the Pathfinder Society going on and taking an item by any means necessary. I always viewed them as gatherers and purveyors of knowledge and adventure.

Liberty's Edge

The Pathfinder Society is explicitly not good, and the secrets they gather are for members' eyes only. They don't seek to educate those outside the society, and the artifacts that go into their vaults usually never leave them again. When they help out somebody outside the society, it's to pay a debt or in exchange for something they want.

There's a certain arrogance built into the Society's basic philosophy. They don't trust "civilians" with the dangerous knowledge and power they've accrued, making them available only to those who make it through the society's fairly intense training and vetting process.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Gnoll Bard wrote:
The Pathfinder Society is explicitly not good, and the secrets they gather are for members' eyes only. They don't seek to educate those outside the society.

Actually they do.... through the Pathfinder Chronicles. They blew open the elves big hidden secret on the Drow. So fill out those log sheets!

Silver Crusade

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In your home campaign you are free to mold and shape the Pathfinder society as you would like to.

For example, I just finished running a game where my friends played novice pathfinders. We used Tricky Owlbear Publishing's Learning Curve Apprentice level Characters by Marc Raddle

They started pre first level, and the first few gaming sessions covered their three year training period. After several sessions they earned their way to first level, and they went through their confirmation and earned their way finders and were given their first Journals.
I think they had allot of fun. I looted First steps Part 1 for Auntie Baldwin, and the ware house on stilts, and other things as well. Most of their adventures I made up.

I thought that Swords Spells and Scrolls was a little thin for a curriculum so I added Stealth Devout and Survival.

Curriculum Instructors

Master of Swords: Combat

VC Marcos Farabellus H CG Fighter 6/ Rogue 4 ( p 10)
VC Aldern Hestrum H NG Fighter 9 (P52)

Master of Spells: Arcane Magic

VC Aram Zey H N Wizard 11 (P 11),

Master of Scrolls: History

VC Kreighton Shaine Elf CG Diviner 7/ Lore Master 3 (p 12)
VC Eliza Petulengro H N Wiz 9 (p 53)

Master of Stealth (Disarming traps and sneaking)

VC Drendle Dreng H NG Rogue 8 (P 31),

Master of the Devout (Devine Magic and religious studies)

VC Fatum Aedituus Venificus H N Cleric 3/ Wizard (Necromancer 3/ Mystic-Theurge 8)

Master of Survival (wilderness survival and Druidic magic)

VC Osprey H N Druid 11 (P 13)

Chamberlain of the Grand Lodge: VC Ambrus Valsin Rogue 4/ Sorcerer 6 (P56)
(#1 just below Decemverate, Organize everything in grand lodge.

I have a soft spot for the Smithsonian, so I expanded the Grand lodge's "campus" and added museums open to the public for free.

I know none of that is cannon, but with a home game, we are expected to make Golarion, and by extension the Pathfinder society our own. I guess the Pathfinder Society in my home campaigns is more Neutral Good.

I find my players enjoy playing the role of heroes, and i think they like the idea that their charcoal rubbings and drawings may very well be published in a chap book, or some cultural artifacts they recover put on display in a museum in the Grand Lodge.

But each to his own.


Kayland wrote:
Agree to disagree...that's why they're called opinions. I have never once thought of a member of the Pathfinder Society going on and taking an item by any means necessary. I always viewed them as gatherers and purveyors of knowledge and adventure.

Fair enough. I certainly wouldn't want to dictate how you present the Society at your own table.

Although, for reference, they do go and take items by any means necessary, quite "canonically" (so to speak). Several PFS scenarios are based around the players being told to do exactly that, including stealing them from the rightful owners, deceiving various legitimate authorities, making deals with evil-aligned individuals to learn their power and secrets, creating cover-ups when their shadowy and clandestine activities get them into trouble, and so on.

It's why I prefer to illustrate them as a Warehouse 13-esque (albeit much darker) paramilitary organisation rather than a Victorian-era gentleman's adventuring society. They also have many more teams of agents active in the world than the Warehouse seems to.

Gnoll Bard wrote:
They don't trust "civilians" with the dangerous knowledge and power they've accrued, making them available only to those who make it through the society's fairly intense training and vetting process.

Sometimes you wonder about that training process. Or at least the mental acuity of the people handing out the missions.

"Right, we have a secret mission into Rahadoum to smuggle a cleric... get me a paladin, inquisitor, ranger and druid!"

Liberty's Edge

LazarX wrote:
Gnoll Bard wrote:
The Pathfinder Society is explicitly not good, and the secrets they gather are for members' eyes only. They don't seek to educate those outside the society.
Actually they do.... through the Pathfinder Chronicles. They blew open the elves big hidden secret on the Drow. So fill out those log sheets!

Access to the Pathfinder Chronicles is supposed to be restricted to society members. If I recall correctly, according to The Compass Stone they're compiled and printed by a staff of blinded convicts provided by the city of Absalom, and distributed only to Pathfinder lodges. Any Pathfinder has the right to consult the Chronicles at a lodge library, but lodges are, for the most part, strictly off-limits to the general public.

Some volumes of the Chronicles (mostly the earliest ones) have been leaked to the public over the years, and it has been suggested that the Decemverate allowed that to happen in order to inspire people to seek out and join the society. However, sharing copies of the Chronicles with people outside the society is a serious offense.

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