Security and Secrecy in the Pathfinder Society


Pathfinder Society

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Having played a fair number of scenarios and recently going through EoT, I have begun to wonder, what does an organization like the Pathfinder Society need with the amount of surveillance, secrecy, and extreme security they have?

For an organization that touts their archaeological exploits and hoards things like pottery shards, they have an awful lot of extra security and ways to keep very very close eyes on members. We know they collect some magic items, and have access to a few artifacts (Hao Jin Tapestry etc), but even those things aren't near justification for the level of security and secrecy the Decemvirate keep.

We all know the Decemvirate are a bunch of cagey, secret folks who wear masks and shouldn't even know who each other are. Why is that even a concern for a group who's primary motto amongst it's members is "Explore, Report, Cooperate?"

Spoiler:
Then there's the revelations towards the end of Eyes of the Ten. I'm not going to go into specifics, even in a spoiler tag, so lets just say that even Batman had to back down from some of those types of things because they were unethical.

Is the society really run by some malevolent external force that wishes to remain anonymous? Are members of the Decemvirate possessed by devils, or devils themselves in humanoid form? I certainly wouldn't be surprised if at least on the Venture-Captain level, there is some of this. It would certainly explain Sheila Heidmarch better if she were some kind of disguised devil.

Bottom line, it seems the leadership of the Pathfinder Society (In Game of course) is lying to its members about who they are and what their purpose is...to what end? It certainly makes the Aspis Consortium look good. At least they are honest in saying they just want these artifacts for personal gain.

Any thoughts on the matter?

5/5 Venture-Agent, Massachusetts—Boston

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I honestly have no idea what the Decemvirate wants even having gone through the Eyes of the Ten. I would point out a lot of the time you end up doing good, if only as a side effect. Then again sometimes you can feel like you are a leg breaker for a weirdly exclusive club.

As an aside I never got the hate for Sheila. Honestly all your Venture Captains are going to send you on missions with a risk of death. Sheila at least lets you stay at her guest house, and generally feeds you first. Not to mention if you have the Pathfinder Society Primer she gives you nice things for your mission. Is there a scenario I am missing?

The Exchange

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The Pathfinder Society exists as an organization because that's a better hook for organizing PCs of disparate backgrounds into groups of 3-7 individuals than starting every scenario with everyone hanging out in a tavern waiting for a shady-looking guy to come in hunting for some "adventurers" to take on a needlessly complicated task. I don't try and analyze it any further than that. It answers the question "So what's in it for me?" or "How much are you paying us to do this?". Beyond that the whole thing doesn't make any sense.

Silver Crusade 5/5

David Neilson wrote:


As an aside I never got the hate for Sheila. Honestly all your Venture Captains are going to send you on missions with a risk of death. Sheila at least lets you stay at her guest house, and generally feeds you first. Not to mention if you have the Pathfinder Society Primer she gives you nice things for your mission. Is there a scenario I am missing?

I also like Sheila, but I think a lot of the dislike for her stems from Race for the Runecarved Key, in which she basically tells Pathfinders to act like a bunch of criminals, and disavows any knowledge of the mission. She actually says some nice things to PC's during some of the later season 4 missions.


Tim Hitchcock authored both Race for the Runecarved Key and Eyes of the Ten IV. It appears that the negative feelings towards both the Decemvirate and Sheila Heidmarch as a result of those two scenarios can be explained by this fact.

-Matt

The Exchange 5/5

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Let us step back and think about it.

PFS is always gathering ancient treasures and locking them away somewhere in a vault, so that they can be "studied"....

WOW... maybe one (or more) of the 10 is actually a Dragon! And it has hit on this cool idea! get the pesky human adventurers to gather treasures from around the globe to be added to the horde..errrr.. vault!

And we have been doing this for hundreds of years right?

Liberty's Edge

I always imagined the higher secrecy stemming from the fact that you are part of an organization hunting down, securing, and trafficking powerful artefacts. The fine line between the Aspis and PFS is the fact Aspis sell everything they hunt for for profit, while PFS secures it for research and posterity.

There is actually a lot of security needed in such an organization and I am amazed it does not have more. The lower your level the less informaiton you get a lot of time as well, while the higher your level the more powerful artefacts and relics you hunt.

Aside: I personally find Sheila to be a great Venture Captain. Unlike most other VC's you encounter she is literally on the frontier in Varissia. Sure Magnimar is a metropolis, but outside that, the wilds are FILLED with ancient magic, and creatures, and no one knows what might be encountered, or what morals may be bent out there to ensure survival or success. She also treats ranking pathfinders like ranking pathfinders, she houses and feeds those stationed with her very well. She is simply on the edge of civilization.
If she does not have more information, then that's your job. Most of her missions are investigations. Explore, report, cooperate.

Scarab Sages 5/5

If you don't like Sheila, you really wouldn't like Drendle Drang. He falls under the shady-looking guy in the tavern (my opinion). As for Sheila, I've always thought of her a one of the more friendly VCs. She is a great VC for Varisa and it make for some fun times RPing her with some of the PCs in my area.

I'm looking forward to Eyes as we have a fairly rounded out group here almost ready. As for the Decemvirate, I've always thought of them as slightly shady just because of the fact they hide their identities.

5/5 Venture-Agent, Massachusetts—Boston

Yeah, there is that in Rune Carved key. Which really felt out of character given her other appearances. Made it really interesting for a Paladin.

Silver Crusade 5/5

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To me the decemvirate and many venture Captains come off at least as much as buffoons as evil masterminds. Certainly no competent high level PCs would allow the various things that happen in Eyes to occur. And letting the Spider and Torch succeed the way they apparently have requires major incompetence.

Not to mention the fact that they need a LOT better control on who they allow to be pathfinders :-).

Doug got it right above. The organization doesn't make a lot of sense and you're better off not noticing that.

5/5 Venture-Agent, Massachusetts—Boston

Well sure if you want to take the Doylist perspective on the whole thing. Also I should note that most often Torch ends up giving the Ten what they want, after making a bunch of low level Pathfinders do four tasks for him. It also strikes me that to an extent the Ten think of Pathfinders like arrows it is lovely if they hit their mark, but if they miss you can always get more.

The Exchange 5/5 Venture-Lieutenant, Texas—Dallas & Ft. Worth aka Belafon

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Actually, the Pathfinder Society makes a lot of sense when you realize it is a Neutral organization. The members run the gamut of alignments and all have their own reasons for joining. Those who actually control the Society (Decemvirate) have their own agendas.

It offers the opportunity for adventure, to become rich, to become famous. Experience in the Society can lead to positions of responsibility in your homeland - or in the Society itself. The average member doesn't care nearly as much about secrecy and security as the leadership (which wants to protect itself).

The Society has grown into this Golarion-spanning organization. It's welcomed in more places than any other group or nation with equivalent "soft" power. That gives an incentive for factions to want to control and use that power to fight injustice (Silver Crusade), shore up empires (Taldor, Osirion), undermine enemies (Cheliax, Andor), or expand "business" opportunities (Sczarni, Qadira). And sometimes having power just means you want to keep that power and gather more power (Grand Lodge, Decemvirate).

Sczarni 5/5 ⦵⦵

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Starfinder Charter Superscriber
nosig wrote:
maybe one (or more) of the 10 is actually a Dragon!

Explains why Dragonhide isn't "Always Available".

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