"No, you don't understand. We're Pathfinders!"


Pathfinder Society

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Shadow Lodge

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I can't begin to tell you how many games I've run where the players, caught doing something semi-suspicious, instantly identify themselves as Pathfinders as though this will suddenly clear them of suspicion, like Pathfinders are universally good guys and are loved by everyone.

Where does this misguided notion come from? The vast majority of NPCs in scenarios who have heard of the society actively detest Pathfinders. I don't get why people have come to the conclusion that "We're Pathfinders!" is going to help get them out of trouble.


Tell someone "You don't understand! We're aspis agents" doesn't exactly have an inspiring ring to calming people down.

Scarab Sages 5/5

There are quite a few scenarios where identifying yourself as a Pathfinder makes things worse. I've had tables where "IN THE VC BRIEFING" they specifically say to hide your affiliation with the Pathfinder Society, that immediately start using their Society resources at the first sign of trouble. It makes for some interesting scenarios.


That does seem kinda strange. Like Noswald said, a lot of the games I've been in identifying yourself as a Pathfinder really isn't that good of an idea.

Dark Archive

noswald wrote:
There are quite a few scenarios where identifying yourself as a Pathfinder makes things worse. I've had tables where "IN THE VC BRIEFING" they specifically say to hide your affiliation with the Pathfinder Society, that immediately start using their Society resources at the first sign of trouble. It makes for some interesting scenarios.

I did that once, but that character takes his paladinhood fairly seriously.

The Exchange 5/5

The Morphling wrote:

I can't begin to tell you how many games I've run where the players, caught doing something semi-suspicious, instantly identify themselves as Pathfinders as though this will suddenly clear them of suspicion, like Pathfinders are universally good guys and are loved by everyone.

Where does this misguided notion come from? The vast majority of NPCs in scenarios who have heard of the society actively detest Pathfinders. I don't get why people have come to the conclusion that "We're Pathfinders!" is going to help get them out of trouble.

The city of Absalom has a good working relationship with the PFS. The PCs have spent a lot of time in Absalom... so maybe it just comes natureal.

"We're with the FBI" would get you one reaction in Washington DC, and a totally different reaction in Pyongyang...


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Many people see their characters as heros, or at least anti-heros, and thus the organization they belong to as heroic. And so, since they see the Pathfinders as heroic, they expect the NPCs to see the Pathfinders as heroic. It's a problem people have trying to understand motivations outside of their own. They never stop to think that people will have opposite viewpoints of them and what they do, or that their understanding of a situation could be wrong.

Even if they're really not much better than grave robbers most of the time.

For further examples of their phenomonon, enter any "Is ____ Evil?" thread.

Silver Crusade

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"Should you or any of your team be caught or killed, the Society will disavow any knowledge of your actions. This Venture-Captain will self-destruct in five seconds."

Victor Zajic wrote:
noswald wrote:
There are quite a few scenarios where identifying yourself as a Pathfinder makes things worse. I've had tables where "IN THE VC BRIEFING" they specifically say to hide your affiliation with the Pathfinder Society, that immediately start using their Society resources at the first sign of trouble. It makes for some interesting scenarios.
I did that once, but that character takes his paladinhood fairly seriously.

Just because paladins can't lie, it doesn't mean they have to volunteer information.

Scarab Sages 4/5 ⦵⦵

Pathfinder Starfinder Society Subscriber

The system is, after all, called Pathfinder, so we're obviously the good guys. It's not our fault that most people have genre blindness.

Plus the wayfinder looks like a badge.

Scarab Sages

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Fromper wrote:

"Should you or any of your team be caught or killed, the Society will disavow any knowledge of your actions. This Venture-Captain will self-destruct in five seconds."

Idea for a Scenario: A mad alchemist implants bombs in all the VCs.

Silver Crusade

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Imbicatus wrote:
Fromper wrote:

"Should you or any of your team be caught or killed, the Society will disavow any knowledge of your actions. This Venture-Captain will self-destruct in five seconds."

Idea for a Scenario: A mad alchemist implants bombs in all the VCs.

Every time I GM The Disappeared, I want to play the Mission Impossible theme song and use this line.

5/5 ⦵⦵⦵

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To be fair, its still better than the OTHER explanation for why you're naked in a room with a goat.

Silver Crusade

BigNorseWolf wrote:
To be fair, its still better than the OTHER explanation for why you're naked in a room with a goat.

People require explanations for those kinds of things? PRUDES!!!


Wow. There are some fun ideas in this thread. I need to start using this line in my games.

Goes off to play in his Friday night game, where he will be playing a goodhearted life oracle innocent to the ways of the world. Of COURSE everyone will take everything he says in the best possible context...

Dark Archive

Fromper wrote:

"Should you or any of your team be caught or killed, the Society will disavow any knowledge of your actions. This Venture-Captain will self-destruct in five seconds."

Victor Zajic wrote:
noswald wrote:
There are quite a few scenarios where identifying yourself as a Pathfinder makes things worse. I've had tables where "IN THE VC BRIEFING" they specifically say to hide your affiliation with the Pathfinder Society, that immediately start using their Society resources at the first sign of trouble. It makes for some interesting scenarios.
I did that once, but that character takes his paladinhood fairly seriously.

Just because paladins can't lie, it doesn't mean they have to volunteer information.

Some people believe that omission of the truth is a lie. And some paladins feel the reasons behind their code are what are important, not just the strict letter of the law.

At the time, my character thought that starting things off with dishonesty wouldn't really help the goal of unblemishing the society's reputation in the area.

Shadow Lodge 4/5

I feel like for every scenario where you get bad reactions from identifying yourselves as pathfinders, there's an equal number where you get good reactions from identifying yourselves as pathfinders. So depending on what scenarios one has played, they may get the impression that everyone likes the pathfinders.

It's also a way to pass on blame. A fairly common knee jerk reaction. It's not my fault, I'm just following orders, blame the institution that told me to do it not me.

4/5

Pathfinder Maps Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Doesn't a character in Dave Gross's "Prince of Wolves" mention the Varisian word for "Pathfinder" is "outlaw"?

Shadow Lodge

graypark wrote:
Doesn't a character in Dave Gross's "Prince of Wolves" mention the Varisian word for "Pathfinder" is "outlaw"?

Give us your gold, tell us where your bosses are and what they're doing and we won't kill you.

5/5 ⦵⦵⦵

Kerney wrote:
graypark wrote:
Doesn't a character in Dave Gross's "Prince of Wolves" mention the Varisian word for "Pathfinder" is "outlaw"?
Give us your gold, tell us where your bosses are and what they're doing and we won't kill you.

DM: Bluff check.


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My drug addeled pesh addict spent his first few missions in areas where the group pretended to not be pathfinders. So I had him play the confirmation to have him learn he was actually a pathfinder. Now he is just confused and thinks he betrayed the aspis consortium.


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My halfling gunslinger/bard has Aspis badges she... appropriated from folks that don't need them anymore. She's been known to "accidentally" leave them behind when her murderhobo party has caused somewhat more of an international incident than normal.

-j

5/5 ⦵⦵⦵

I wonder what you couldn't justify to your party with "faction mission!"

Grand Lodge 4/5 Venture-Agent, Nevada—Las Vegas aka kinevon

BigNorseWolf wrote:
I wonder what you couldn't justify to your party with "faction mission!"

Destroying their faction mission macguffin, of course.

And, for some people, working for a group called the Decemvirate...

Spoiler:
;)

Paizo Employee 5/5 Developer

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I'm amused by the premise of a scenario that sends the PCs to rescue a bunch of fellow Pathfinders who attempted the "Don't worry; we're Pathfinders!" defense in very inopportune circumstances.

Like Molthune, Cheliax, Bloodcove, select parts of Ustalav, or the like.

Sczarni 5/5 Venture-Lieutenant, Washington—Pullman aka Coraith

John Compton wrote:

I'm amused by the premise of a scenario that sends the PCs to rescue a bunch of fellow Pathfinders who attempted the "Don't worry; we're Pathfinders!" defense in very inopportune circumstances.

Like Molthune, Cheliax, Bloodcove, select parts of Ustalav, or the like.

Absolom... If i was in charge of the city I'd be tired of their antics.


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John Compton wrote:

I'm amused by the premise of a scenario that sends the PCs to rescue a bunch of fellow Pathfinders who attempted the "Don't worry; we're Pathfinders!" defense in very inopportune circumstances.

Like Molthune, Cheliax, Bloodcove, select parts of Ustalav, or the like.

And then every PFS group that plays that scenario tries the same defense.

A year later, a new scenario is released in which you must rescue an army of fellow Pathfinders...

Shadow Lodge 5/5

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John Compton wrote:

I'm amused by the premise of a scenario that sends the PCs to rescue a bunch of fellow Pathfinders who attempted the "Don't worry; we're Pathfinders!" defense in very inopportune circumstances.

Like Molthune, Cheliax, Bloodcove, select parts of Ustalav, or the like.

As long as we get another "If they actually ARE guilty, let 'em hang."

It'd be interesting to see something like this with a LE cleric NPC who ends up being innocent of the charges as a red herring. Overzealous paladin trap!

Liberty's Edge 4/5 Venture-Agent, Indiana—Hammond

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On a few occasions, I have seen parties in trouble claim that they are the Aspis Consortium.

In general, identifying themselves as Pathfinders in places known for tyrannical governments or superstitious societies seldom does any good. Mind you, I would expect the Pathfinder Society to get some good PR out of season five.

4/5 Venture-Lieutenant, Washington—Seattle aka Gwen Smith

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Most of the time, what the players are actually saying is, "But we're the PCs!"

A bit before my time, a player in our area would knock on doors and announce "Pathfinder Society!" This has become somewhat of a running gag. It's always amusing when they are sent to help someone who is expecting them, and this actually works.

Shadow Lodge 4/5 Venture-Lieutenant, Florida—Jacksonville aka Kyrie Ebonblade,

William Ronald wrote:

On a few occasions, I have seen parties in trouble claim that they are the Aspis Consortium.

In general, identifying themselves as Pathfinders in places known for tyrannical governments or superstitious societies seldom does any good. Mind you, I would expect the Pathfinder Society to get some good PR out of season five.

My TN Cleric has done this several times to counter lower ranked Aspsis agents.

Roasa (Flashes Siver Badge) "You fools are messing up my mission, when I get done fixing your mess, I'll have you skinned!"

Party Paladin: "what did you tell those thuggish men?"

Roasa: "Nothing of importance, let us be on our way." (Tucks away badge as she walks away from potential encounter)

Shadow Lodge

When I'm a player, most of my characters think of the Society as an international journalism organization/detective agency (especially the Detective Bard). Most of them offer to write specific NPCs into their Chronicles, so that people in Absalom will get to read about them, or mention that you can head to a Pathfinder lodge and look up just about anything about anywhere.

When I'm the GM, most of the NPCs think of Pathfinders as a bunch of nosey vagrants, armed to the teeth and expecting to be able to walk charge into one's home, rifle through one's dainties, list everything they find and complain that they didn't find anything magical. On a good day, wherein violence doesn't seem to follow them wherever they go.

Fortunately, that LG Bard guy I mentioned is also good at Bluffing, so if anyone asks him suspiciously if he's a Pathfinder, he can just dodge the question by complaining about how nosey and violent Pathfinders are, and if he ever sees one it'll be too soon.

Silver Crusade 5/5 ⦵⦵⦵ RPG Superstar 2013 Top 8 aka GreySector

graypark wrote:
Doesn't a character in Dave Gross's "Prince of Wolves" mention the Varisian word for "Pathfinder" is "outlaw"?

IIRC Radovan learns that in Ustalov the Varisian word for "Pathfinder" is the same word for "grave robber". Or it could have been commentary from Varian Jaggare. I can't remember which.

Grand Lodge

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Ive had to explain on numerous occasions to one of my younger players that Pathfinder Society =/= police and that he cannot lawfully arrest anyone in any town just cause he is a Pathfinder.

Liberty's Edge

I used the line once in a game, but it was used as a spoof of the Venkman, "Back off man, I'm a scientist", line from Ghostbusters.


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RocMeAsmodeus wrote:
The system is, after all, called Pathfinder, so we're obviously the good guys. It's not our fault that most people have genre blindness.

In other systems, would they go around saying, "I'm a Dungeon" "I'm a Dragon" "I'm a Cthulhu"?

Liberty's Edge

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Dragons go around saying "I'm a Dragon." Somehow they achieve better results than Pathfinders???

Silver Crusade

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Matthew Downie wrote:
RocMeAsmodeus wrote:
The system is, after all, called Pathfinder, so we're obviously the good guys. It's not our fault that most people have genre blindness.
In other systems, would they go around saying, "I'm a Dungeon" "I'm a Dragon" "I'm a Cthulhu"?

My area has a lot of murder hobos, so those of us who do not "slay first, cast speak with dead later" know that most people view the Society as murderers.

Destiny of the Sands Part 2:
Ok here's an example of what happened at one of our games.

GM: the BBEG says "Hey that's our loot"
Player 1 (me): I say "No we were here first"
Player 2 (my brother): I say "Perhaps we can talk about it."
Player 3 - I shoot him
Players 1 and 2 - WTF?!?
GM: Make your attack everyone else roll initiative.

There is an argument that they would attack but they did not. The Pathfinders attacked and killed someone because they said "Hey that's mine."

Typically, we lie and tell people we are not pathfinders, or in the case of the confirmation we can honestly say that.

Frostfur Captives:
We played up the murder hobo angle in this adventure by telling the goblins we were taking them to Absalom where the sewers were flowing with rats and fire tinder, and once they became pathfinders they could run around killing people and taking their stuff. We had very loyal goblins after that.


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Seth Gipson wrote:

Ive had to explain on numerous occasions to one of my younger players that Pathfinder Society =/= police and that he cannot lawfully arrest anyone in any town just cause he is a Pathfinder.

This...

I have to remind my players that they have no powers of arrest and not part of any militia. And they aren't playing CSI:Absalom

The Exchange 4/5 Venture-Lieutenant, Washington—Seattle aka jalroy

There seems to be a few scenarios where the PC's are attacked or ambushed for being Pathfinders before you even get to announce yourselves as such. As if the NPC automatically knows your affiliation and goes into attack or flee mode.

5/5 ⦵⦵⦵

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Gark the Goblin wrote:
Dragons go around saying "I'm a Dragon." Somehow they achieve better results than Pathfinders???

I MIGHT try to keep my gold plate from a murderhobo with a crossbow.

I am NOT going to try the same with a dragon.

Scarab Sages 5/5

BigNorseWolf wrote:
Gark the Goblin wrote:
Dragons go around saying "I'm a Dragon." Somehow they achieve better results than Pathfinders???

I MIGHT try to keep my gold plate from a murderhobo with a crossbow.

I am NOT going to try the same with a dragon.

depends on who I am and how big the dragon is...

Grand Lodge 4/5 Venture-Captain, California—Sacramento aka FLite

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Steven Huffstutler wrote:
John Compton wrote:

I'm amused by the premise of a scenario that sends the PCs to rescue a bunch of fellow Pathfinders who attempted the "Don't worry; we're Pathfinders!" defense in very inopportune circumstances.

Like Molthune, Cheliax, Bloodcove, select parts of Ustalav, or the like.

Absolom... If i was in charge of the city I'd be tired of their antics.

Yeah, but Absalom city government knows that if it weren't for the pathfinders, the Blakros museum would blow up on a weekly basis.

Scarab Sages

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We almost lost our second Prestige point yesterday in Scars of the Third Crusade because of this.

Spoiler:
We visit the mayor, and the player of the witch makes a magical display to intimidate the guard into letting her see the mayor and free the falsely accused pathfinders. She was in town stirring the pot while he rest of us were keeping a low profile and investigating. If the Bard hadn't rolled exceptionally well and befriended the mayor, then we would have lost the secondary goals.

I really hate gaming with chaotic players.

Shadow Lodge

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Matthew Downie wrote:
RocMeAsmodeus wrote:
The system is, after all, called Pathfinder, so we're obviously the good guys. It's not our fault that most people have genre blindness.
In other systems, would they go around saying, "I'm a Dungeon" "I'm a Dragon" "I'm a Cthulhu"?

Well, Cthulhu doesn't exactly have to say that he is Cthulhu. That Three-hundred ft Save-or-Die aura is kinda distinctive IMO. Also, its relatively easy to say no to a Pathfinder[you just have to have 5 levels of reincarnated druid, or similar contingencies]. But how can one say no to this little guy?

Grand Lodge

I've never done it unintentionally. But, sometimes that guy mouthing off about just how good his character is, well, I just want him too have the chance to prove it.

Silver Crusade

Imbicatus wrote:

We almost lost our second Prestige point yesterday in Scars of the Third Crusade because of this.

** spoiler omitted **

I really hate gaming with chaotic players.

No wonder you guys were not looking happy over at your table...

Sovereign Court 4/5

Imbicatus wrote:

We almost lost our second Prestige point yesterday in Scars of the Third Crusade because of this.

** spoiler omitted **

I really hate gaming with chaotic players.

I had something similar in The Horn of Aroden.

Spoiler:
we had one player who was hell bent and set to get the kid in some sort of trouble. Stole his dagger in the middle of a fight, with the intent of sticking it in someone's back later to frame him. Making one of the kobolds vanish in front of him so he'd look foolish. Glytha was working hard to show him how 'good nobs' do more than stab things and actually lead. Usually telling stories of one of 'her boys' or something she and one of the five 'Mr Oggs' had done with a good lord leading them.

All the while the player is trying under cut my work and I can't do nothing becaus Glytha ip Ogg doesn't QUITE catch him at it.

Makes you want to slap folks sometimes.

Shadow Lodge

Imbicatus wrote:

We almost lost our second Prestige point yesterday in Scars of the Third Crusade because of this.

** spoiler omitted **

I really hate gaming with chaotic players.

Well, in their defense, (and I can totally feel for you), a great deal of Season 5 and that scenario is a prime example, leave a lot of players/play styles/character types out in the cold. I've had two groups in face-to-face games ask me and the other DM to avoid running these as most players find them unfulfilling and boring, and it encourages them to do stupid things (half way through the dialogue "Ok, I don't care, I attack him just for something fun to happen", followed by over half the party, "I move here, me too."). A lot of the issue is, (from what I've seen) is the lack of fulfilling and well rounded scenarios lately and the abundance of ones that require players to be highly invested in a particular story and love RPing, not so much other aspects of gaming.

They tend to do a bit better in PbP games, maybe because it's harder for some players to steal the spotlight as much in dialogue, I don't know.

Shadow Lodge

Glytha ip Ogg wrote:

I had something similar in The Horn of Aroden.

** spoiler omitted **

Makes you want to slap folks sometimes.

Guide to Pathfinder Society Organized Play, pg. 19 wrote:

Do Not Bully Other Players

We’re all friends here, and we’re all playing a game together with the single purpose of having a wonderful time. Do not push other players around just because your character can. Extreme forms of dysfunctional play will not be tolerated. A little fun banter between PCs can be great roleplaying, but when you find yourself doing everything in your power to make another character look like an idiot or to undo everything that character is trying to accomplish, you’ve probably lost sight of the purpose of Pathfinder Society Organized Play and may be asked to leave the table. Playing your character is not an excuse for childish behavior. GMs should work with their event coordinators to resolve any out-of-game conflicts. If you are both the GM and the coordinator, use your own discretion. Extreme or repetitive cases should be resolved by asking the offender to leave the table.

The player in question may not have been trying to work against you, but if he was specifically trying to undercut what you were doing, the Guide explicitly calls out this kind of behavior as not acceptable. I recommend speaking with the event organizer and/or your local VO, so that they can talk to this player to hopefully prevent future occurrences. If nothing is said and this kind of behavior continues, it can drive players away; in my experience, if a player feels they have to start avoiding another player, it won't be long before they reconsider coming at all; sometimes all it takes is letting them know what they're doing is making the game not fun for everyone else.

And sometimes it takes an all expenses paid trip to The Door.

If nothing else, it's good to raise awareness that not only does this kind of behavior create an un-fun atmosphere, but is something that they can and should be stopping.

Sovereign Court 4/5

SCPRedMage wrote:
Glytha ip Ogg wrote:

I had something similar in The Horn of Aroden.

** spoiler omitted **

Makes you want to slap folks sometimes.

Guide to Pathfinder Society Organized Play, pg. 19 wrote:

Do Not Bully Other Players

We’re all friends here, and we’re all playing a game together with the single purpose of having a wonderful time. Do not push other players around just because your character can. Extreme forms of dysfunctional play will not be tolerated. A little fun banter between PCs can be great roleplaying, but when you find yourself doing everything in your power to make another character look like an idiot or to undo everything that character is trying to accomplish, you’ve probably lost sight of the purpose of Pathfinder Society Organized Play and may be asked to leave the table. Playing your character is not an excuse for childish behavior. GMs should work with their event coordinators to resolve any out-of-game conflicts. If you are both the GM and the coordinator, use your own discretion. Extreme or repetitive cases should be resolved by asking the offender to leave the table.

The player in question may not have been trying to work against you, but if he was specifically trying to undercut what you were doing, the Guide explicitly calls out this kind of behavior as not acceptable. I recommend speaking with the event organizer and/or your local VO, so that they can talk to this player to hopefully prevent future occurrences. If nothing is said and this kind of behavior continues, it can drive players away; in my experience, if a player feels they have to start avoiding another player, it won't be long before they reconsider coming at all; sometimes all it takes is letting them know what they're doing is making the game not fun for everyone else.

And sometimes it takes an all expenses paid trip to The Door.

If nothing else, it's good to raise awareness that not only does this kind of behavior create an un-fun atmosphere, but is...

Which is why I got up.. went for a walk and spun down before I said/did something that might have been less than optimal. Granted a lot of folks I talked to dislike that particularly NPC a LOT. .

I can get why someone might be out to 'fix' the NPC's little red wagon but the player KNEW there were folks who needed to get the NPC to safety for their faction goal.

So while others who were patient with him wraggled things to work our goal while I took five to cool down.

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