How Does the Decemvirate Maintain Loyalty? (Spoilers: Eyes of the Ten)


Pathfinder Society

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WARNING! Minor spoiler for Eyes of the Ten. If this bothers you, please stop reading.

Spoiler:
I've recently played through Eyes of the Ten (thanks, TOZ!!!) The end of the series had a lot of emotional impact for me personally, and it's left me in a state of quiet contemplation about the Pathfinder Society as a whole. I'd always heard people on the forums saying 'if you've played Eyes of the Ten, you know that the Decemvirate are not what you would call good-aligned.' So I was already sort of expecting to find one or two questionable characters in leadership positions.

But there's a difference, I've discovered, between knowing about something and knowing about something. Now that I've had a character live through the experience and had a chance to see the world through his eyes, the statement has more impact. Seriously folks, the Decemvirate are not good people. They're not evil either, but they don't miss the mark by much. And the higher ranking members of the society are likely to know this. So how does the Decemvirate maintain their loyalty?

As I've learned, one of the desired traits in a Venture Captain is loyalty to the Ten above any other faction. (This kind of makes me laugh, because many of the faction leaders are themselves Venture Captains. But this leads to a related but off-topic discussion so we'll let that pass for now.) So you're a highly respected and/or well connected Pathfinder agent, and you're being considered for the position of Venture Captain. The Decemvirate wants someone who would be loyal to them. This makes sense. My question is... how would anyone actually remain loyal once they learned about the attitude and beliefs of the Ten?

As players, we've seen a number of venture captains. A lot of them seem to be motivated by self interest. But one thing I've never really questioned as a player before was that there were a number of Venture Captains who genuinely care about their subordinates. Sure, they can be incompetent when giving out information, but most of them don't give off the vibe that they genuinely don't care whether you live or die.

So how has the Society managed to get themselves a collection of mid-level managers who are for the most part decent people, while executive management is made up of corrupt, uncaring, jerkish individuals?

And yeah, okay... queue every joke there is about modern day corporate management. But there's still a sense of dissonance here, and the question seems worth asking. As things stand, I'm starting to think that the Shadow Lodge had a pretty good point.

Grand Lodge 4/5

Jason Hanlon wrote:

WARNING! Minor spoiler for Eyes of the Ten. If this bothers you, please stop reading.

** spoiler omitted **

I think you're vastly overestimating how much most people would care. "The shadowy group that controls the Society doesn't have my best interest at heart? What a surprise. I'm still getting paid, right?"

Jason Hanlon wrote:


** spoiler omitted **

Incorrect. Only one faction head is a VC, and that's the head of the Grand Lodge faction.

Jason Hanlon wrote:


** spoiler omitted **

You're assuming that all the VCs know about how the Decemvirate work. It was my understanding that Eyes was an extreme anomaly, and that most VCs actually don't know the full extent of how the Decemvirate operate.

Jason Hanlon wrote:


** spoiler omitted **

I'll be honest, I'm not seeing any dissonance here. Organizations with uncaring leaders at the top and caring ones in the middle are not even remotely a new phenomenon. Not to mention the Society is unique in its abilities and goals, so there's not much choice for shopping around. The only real alternative is joining the Aspis, and they are flat out evil, rather than just morally questionable.

Shadow Lodge 4/5

At the end, the Decemvirate are ready to shower you with glory, you get to name your successor, a title, possibly(or definitely if you have the PFS primer) your very own lodge, etc. And what do they get in return? Your continued loyalty. Want to retain all this fame and fortune(you get double wealth in the last part)? Then remain a Pathfinder and stay loyal.

Sure the campaign can't represent it very well, unless you actually decline the rewards yourself, but the Ten have bought you. Ready to train the next generation? We promise they'll get the care and...oversight they deserve.

Grand Lodge

As Jeff stated, I believe the happenings in EotT are an anomoly, and that most Venture Captains likely dont have as much info as is gained by the PCs through the events of the story arc.

The knowledge the main NPCs have is also likely an anomoly. Id wager most VCs know maybe 20% (if that) of what these NPCs do...if you understand where Im going with that math.

I would imagine most of it is so concealed that the end result of the scenarios, that information about the events of the scenarios (and what that means for the Society) is likely not shared beyond the Decemvirate, the PCs, the NPCs that take part and maybe a few other really important people like Dreng and/or Valsin.


The Decemvirate maintains loyalty with XP, gold, magic item availability, and prestige points. Their underlings are motivated by self-interest, and they know it. Why else do so many player characters take them up on their offer to become a Venture Captain?

-Matt

Grand Lodge

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The table I played at actually stopped play for a ten minute discussion about what we were doing and whether or not we should do it. We actually unanimously decided to create a split point there in the first room of part 4.

Split 1:
We mostly thought Adril was right (if a bit heavy handed) and the Decemvirate were not just corrupt but woefully under qualified. We would join Adril end up taking over the Decemvirate (well at least 7 seats). We are currently considering writing a campaign to 20 for the characters - about the quest for control and the reworking of society. Almost definitely an Evil campaign.

Split 2:
We did our duty as Pathfinders, saved the day, became VC's and started 2 lodges. One in Galt to hide our activities behind the revolution, and intend to resurrect the Shadow Lodge as the Phoenix Lodge (centered in the cave the Red Revolution used and housed the Phoenix). The second lodge is a small university where we can train the next generation of pathfinders (and recruit the best of them to our lodge)

Grand Lodge 5/5 Venture-Captain, Arizona—Phoenix aka TriOmegaZero

Keep in mind that Osprey and Eliza do not know the information you learn in Eyes of the Ten. I may have misspoke in my run and given you a false impression of just how much they knew. My bad for not dispelling it, though I doubt you would have believed me.

The ranking VCs and faction leaders have access to Skyreach, but they only know what they see there, and all they see of the Decemvirate are masks. You also only saw half of the Decemvirate. The alignment ratio was not promising but we can't say for sure who came back, who was replaced, and what the other half is like.

Liberty's Edge 5/5

Indeed. Even Eliza and Osprey know almost nothing throughout this arc. And while Osprey isn't a VC, Eliza is a very trusted and loyal one. Osprey in some ways is more trusted. But he's largely clueless to what the PCs discover.

Edit: Ninja'd

Sovereign Court 4/5

I'd agree that pretty much nobody knows about most of the shady stuff going on. Some people might know about small parts, but come at it with a whole host of motivations.

Maybe some know, but are too excited about getting access to all the magic items and knowledge the Society provides. Aram Zey might fall into this category.

Some people probably see a bit of concerning behavior, but consider the Society to be a net positive force overall. The Society saved Nerosyan from a demonic army, saved the world from the Big Bad of Season 4, and saved Absalom from dozens of threats (only some of which were our fault in the first place), etc. There have been good things outside of scenarios as well, such as alerting the world about the Drow (which had been covered up by a CG government).

Some people might not really care because they've got their own priorities. Tahonikepsu is probably in this group, perhaps along with Gloriana Morilla (especially given the events of Library of the Lion).

Others are actively working to change things for the better. Ollysta Zadrian never gets a ton of backstory (and let's just disregard her weird speech in First Steps), as far as I'm aware, but maybe she found out something that led her to retire from being a regular field agent, and start trying to get the Society to be a more Good institution. If she knew more, maybe she'd be trying to bring change from the top-down, rather than the current more grassroots model. Most of the more compassionate venture captains probably are in this group.

Then there's Torch. You can't swing a partially charred cat around here without hitting a discussion about his motives and morality. It seems like concerns like yours contribute a lot to why he's such a polarizing figure. I started playing in Season 5, so personally I didn't end up with the same investment either way as some of the more seasoned players.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

When you consider the vast amount of organizational distance between field Pathfinders and the Ten, I would be extremely surprised if the Ten showed individual concern for members of the former group. If you think of the Ten as Picard, the Venture Captains are their Rikers, and the Ten rely on them to take care of matters regarding the Pathfinders under their charge as they see fit.

Grand Lodge 4/5

Honestly, my problem the revelation is that it just makes the Ten seem like a group of massively incompetent individuals that only maintain their positions out of dumb luck.

Liberty's Edge 5/5

I disagree Jeff. They are massively powerful, influential, and skilled. Think Machiavellian.

They are movers and shakers of the world, with their weakness of hubris exposed in Eyes. After Eyes, expect that lesson was learned. The hard way for st least 3 of them

Grand Lodge 4/5

Andrew Christian wrote:

I disagree Jeff. They are massively powerful, influential, and skilled. Think Machiavellian.

They are movers and shakers of the world, with their weakness of hubris exposed in Eyes. After Eyes, expect that lesson was learned. The hard way for st least 3 of them

Spoiler:
They have the ability to see what any agent of the Society is doing at any moment, yet they're constantly caught unawares by betrayals and backstabbings, even after Eyes.
Grand Lodge 5/5 Venture-Captain, Arizona—Phoenix aka TriOmegaZero

Worse, the last one is a diviner with nothing but school spells prepped for the most part and she just stands there waiting.

Grand Lodge 5/5 Global Organized Play Coordinator

Steven Schopmeyer wrote:
Worse, the last one is a diviner with nothing but school spells prepped for the most part and she just stands there waiting.

She saw it coming.

Spoiler:
Shemis is a master diviner and something of a depressive enigma. Having seen the events that are bound to now play out, she silently and somberly stares through the windows of the massive structure into the strange realms beyond, stoically waiting for the inevitable conflict.

And yes, she could have likely prepped and been ready for it. But, I think the author wanted to make the PCs the hero of the conclusion and is why it was written as such. The only other option there, if you want to make it closer to "reality" is have her prepared and let the PCs watch the final battle instead of actually having a hand in it.

Grand Lodge 5/5 Venture-Captain, Arizona—Phoenix aka TriOmegaZero

I'm aware of why it was done. That didn't stop my players from yelling at her to DO something about her imminent demise.

Grand Lodge 4/5

Michael Brock wrote:
Steven Schopmeyer wrote:
Worse, the last one is a diviner with nothing but school spells prepped for the most part and she just stands there waiting.

She saw it coming.

** spoiler omitted **

And yes, she could have likely prepped and been ready for it. But, I think the author wanted to make the PCs the hero of the conclusion and is why it was written as such. The only other option there, if you want to make it closer to "reality" is have her prepared and let the PCs watch the final battle instead of actually having a hand in it.

Well, my original post was more referring to events that happen after Eyes, but for that instance there's definitely a middle ground between "Sits and waits for death" and "Makes the PCs unnecessary." She could've had defensive buffs to buy more time for the PCs. She could've laid a trap, not actually being there in the final room but making everyone think she was, to get [REDACTED] to show himself for the PCs to take down.

Grand Lodge 5/5 Global Organized Play Coordinator

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Steven Schopmeyer wrote:
I'm aware of why it was done. That didn't stop my players from yelling at her to DO something about her imminent demise.

Two groups I've run through it have said the same thing. Maybe she is depressed and just wants to die. /shrug maybe it's her way of going to jump off a cliff or in a lake ;-)

Grand Lodge 5/5 Venture-Captain, Arizona—Phoenix aka TriOmegaZero

I did give concessions to the party by having her withdraw away from full attacks as much as possible. It still took a breath of life or two to save her.

Grand Lodge 5/5 Global Organized Play Coordinator

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Jeff Merola wrote:
Michael Brock wrote:
Steven Schopmeyer wrote:
Worse, the last one is a diviner with nothing but school spells prepped for the most part and she just stands there waiting.

She saw it coming.

** spoiler omitted **

And yes, she could have likely prepped and been ready for it. But, I think the author wanted to make the PCs the hero of the conclusion and is why it was written as such. The only other option there, if you want to make it closer to "reality" is have her prepared and let the PCs watch the final battle instead of actually having a hand in it.

Well, my original post was more referring to events that happen after Eyes, but for that instance there's definitely a middle ground between "Sits and waits for death" and "Makes the PCs unnecessary." She could've had defensive buffs to buy more time for the PCs. She could've laid a trap, not actually being there in the final room but making everyone think she was, to get [REDACTED] to show himself for the PCs to take down.

Maybe she divined it in the morning after she had already memorized spells. Who knows? It is what it is and why we are taking steps to do what we can to change not only the perception of the society throughout Golarion, but also from top to bottom in the organization.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Michael Brock wrote:
Steven Schopmeyer wrote:
Worse, the last one is a diviner with nothing but school spells prepped for the most part and she just stands there waiting.

She saw it coming.

** spoiler omitted **

And yes, she could have likely prepped and been ready for it. But, I think the author wanted to make the PCs the hero of the conclusion and is why it was written as such. The only other option there, if you want to make it closer to "reality" is have her prepared and let the PCs watch the final battle instead of actually having a hand in it.

A frequent trope is that the more you know about the future, the less ability you have to change it.

Dr. Manhattan is a perfect example. He knows what's going ahead, but he'll still be surprised when it happens if it's an event that will throw him off balance. And as he explains he can not change these events because when he perceives them he is going through them.


Jeff: When their underlings (the PCs) have such a high success rate and such a small amount of negative consequences for their actions, it can't be dumb luck. They have somehow managed to recruit a veritable legion of the most effective troubleshooters in the world. That's not luck.

-Matt

Grand Lodge 4/5

Mattastrophic wrote:

Jeff: When their underlings (the PCs) have such a high success rate and such a small amount of negative consequences for their actions, it can't be dumb luck. They have somehow managed to recruit a veritable legion of the most effective troubleshooters in the world. That's not luck.

-Matt

They've also managed to be blindsided multiple times by plots from their own agents against them, despite having the ability and desire to prevent those things from happening. And given how many layers separate them from the PCs, it's not that hard for them to have lucked into good people (just look at the real world for numerous instances of this kind of thing). I'm well aware that this isn't the intended interpretation of how things go, and that they're supposed to be competent and master planners and all that, but it's not the impression I've gotten.

I personally blame the "reveal" in Eyes for this, which (to me) seems to have been written without regard for how it could impact future plot lines.


When the underlings have such a miraculous ability to consistently solve the problems, is it really blindsiding? Or are they merely putting on an act, pretending to be less powerful than they are, while arranging for every last problem to be taken care of with a minimum of lasting consequences?

It's one thing to luck into one or two particularly effective agents. It's another to have an army of them. No other power in Golarion has done that.

If the Decemvirate were to show their full strength, there is no way that, say, Cheliax would continue to allow them to operate untouched.

-Matt

4/5

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I find it interesting that Osprey is really the prime mover behind the events in Eyes of the Ten. We (and the bad guy) only know some of these people are members of the Decemvirate because he says they are. He's not a V-C, yet is more informed and carries more authority than anyone with a title. In fact, he seems... Oh, wait, someone's at the door.

Oh, hi Mi....URK"....

5/5 5/55/55/5

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This might explain why you start playing modules which aren't connected to the society at all after you play eyes of 10...you've quit.

5/5

Steven Schopmeyer wrote:
Worse, the last one is a diviner with nothing but school spells prepped for the most part and she just stands there waiting.

Spoiler:
What I found worse was that she, and the rest of her colleagues, were outfoxed by a single classed fighter with barely a knowledge skill to his name and an Int of 10. Really he just isn't a credible mastermind of the plot. I got over it by assuming he was just the thug being used by the real masterminds who haven't properly revealed themselves yet.
Grand Lodge 4/5

Mattastrophic wrote:

When the underlings have such a miraculous ability to consistently solve the problems, is it really blindsiding? Or are they merely putting on an act, pretending to be less powerful than they are, while arranging for every last problem to be taken care of with a minimum of lasting consequences?

It's one thing to luck into one or two particularly effective agents. It's another to have an army of them. No other power in Golarion has done that.

If the Decemvirate were to show their full strength, there is no way that, say, Cheliax would continue to allow them to operate untouched.

-Matt

I don't know what scenarios you've been playing, but "everything taken care of with a minimum of lasting consequences" is not what I think of when I see these plot lines.

I'd also like to point out that Cheliax already heavily restricts Society operations within its borders, to the point where they're effectively banned from the country.

Grand Lodge 5/5 Venture-Captain, Arizona—Phoenix aka TriOmegaZero

GM Lamplighter wrote:
I find it interesting that Osprey is really the prime mover behind the events in Eyes of the Ten. We (and the bad guy) only know some of these people are members of the Decemvirate because he says they are.

Actually, he never says they are, and he's out by the end of part 2. Eliza is more of a star player, with Osprey being her way of connecting dots.

5/5 5/55/55/5

andreww wrote:
Steven Schopmeyer wrote:
Worse, the last one is a diviner with nothing but school spells prepped for the most part and she just stands there waiting.
** spoiler omitted **

How do you beat a genius?

Come up with a plan so incredibly stupid no one would even think to try it.

Silver Crusade 5/5

Jeff Merola wrote:
Mattastrophic wrote:

Jeff: When their underlings (the PCs) have such a high success rate and such a small amount of negative consequences for their actions, it can't be dumb luck. They have somehow managed to recruit a veritable legion of the most effective troubleshooters in the world. That's not luck.

-Matt

They've also managed to be blindsided multiple times by plots from their own agents against them, despite having the ability and desire to prevent those things from happening. And given how many layers separate them from the PCs, it's not that hard for them to have lucked into good people (just look at the real world for numerous instances of this kind of thing). I'm well aware that this isn't the intended interpretation of how things go, and that they're supposed to be competent and master planners and all that, but it's not the impression I've gotten.

I personally blame the "reveal" in Eyes for this, which (to me) seems to have been written without regard for how it could impact future plot lines.

Meh, I didn't really have that much of a problem with that reveal, I would imagine stuff like the reveal could probably still be overcome by certain methods to avoid observation.

Shadow Lodge 5/5

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andreww wrote:
Steven Schopmeyer wrote:
Worse, the last one is a diviner with nothing but school spells prepped for the most part and she just stands there waiting.
** spoiler omitted **

Does the word 'spider' mean anything to you? :)

5/5

TOZ wrote:
andreww wrote:
Steven Schopmeyer wrote:
Worse, the last one is a diviner with nothing but school spells prepped for the most part and she just stands there waiting.
** spoiler omitted **
Does the word 'spider' mean anything to you? :)

Not yet but I think I shall find out on Sunday.

Grand Lodge

I found the arc very enlightening about the Ten, and in particular...

1. Skyreach gives me the impression that none of the Ten know the true identities of all of the other 9. Its likely due to help prevent situations like what happened in Eyes from happening.

For all we know, if *Eyes BBEG* was just a puppet, then maybe one/some of the Ten are the mastermind.

2. The Ten, from what we have seen, are not particularly combat-effective. Before playing through the arc I would have assumed them all to be high level PC classes who can hold their own in combat. That isnt necessarily what is imparted by Eyes though. They can be bested by warrior the same as any other. They just happen to be more influential than these other people.

Things that wouldnt surprise me (though would totally excite me) going forward with PFS considering the events of Eyes:

1. At least one member of the Ten is actually a/the leader of the Aspis Consortium.

2. Any given NPC that we have interacted with in a scenario is a member of the Ten. (Except Torch.)

3. One of the Ten is the mastermind behind the events in Eyes. (Next Seeker arc perhaps?)

4. They all arent PC races.

5. They all arent from Golarion.


They do it the same way all the other indifferent institutional lords of the earth do. By everyone else making a thousand little decisions every day, and telling themselves all the while that it is all okay.

"Zwischen den Bauern und dem Schloß ist kein großer Unterschied." -Kafka

Sovereign Court 5/5

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Card Game, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Seth Gipson wrote:

I found the arc very enlightening about the Ten, and in particular...

1. Skyreach gives me the impression that none of the Ten know the true identities of all of the other 9. Its likely due to help prevent situations like what happened in Eyes from happening.

For all we know, if *Eyes BBEG* was just a puppet, then maybe one/some of the Ten are the mastermind.

2. The Ten, from what we have seen, are not particularly combat-effective. Before playing through the arc I would have assumed them all to be high level PC classes who can hold their own in combat. That isnt necessarily what is imparted by Eyes though. They can be bested by warrior the same as any other. They just happen to be more influential than these other people.

Things that wouldnt surprise me (though would totally excite me) going forward with PFS considering the events of Eyes:

1. At least one member of the Ten is actually a/the leader of the Aspis Consortium.

2. Any given NPC that we have interacted with in a scenario is a member of the Ten. (Except Torch.)

3. One of the Ten is the mastermind behind the events in Eyes. (Next Seeker arc perhaps?)

4. They all arent PC races.

5. They all arent from Golarion.

1. Mostly, with one (former?) exception.

2. I wouldn't assume that they're all not combat effective. The two deaths you look into in Part 2 would definitely take a lot of PCs by surprise. It's one thing to take on the BBEG of part 2 with a team of PCs, it's another to be surprised by it and its army.

Grand Lodge

2. Im not saying none of them are, but before playing through Eyes, I would have assumed they would have been close to being some of the most physically or magically powerful people in the world. Yes, they are likely strong (or some of them), but not to the point where even high(er) leveled characters would have trouble with.

Liberty's Edge 5/5

Starfinder Superscriber

My PC in TOZ's Eyes run was a reasonably self-absorbed sort not overly concerned with morality, but who kinda wants to do the right thing. (One valid form of Neutral alignment, I believe.) And he was pretty horrified by how big of phalluses the Decemvirate members were. He stayed loyal because Adril was an even BIGGER phallus....

At the end, my character decided to use his free Season 6 faction change to switch from Grand Lodge to Exchange. He considered it after Paths You Choose, and now "loyalty to the Ten above all" is just a bitter pill to swallow.

Greatly enjoyed the arc, though. TOZ was a great GM for it, and we had a great bunch of players. Most memorable moment: sudden surprise carrying out of Cheliax faction mission in Part I.


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That faction mission was the best faction mission ever. Erik Mona is so cool.

-Matt

Grand Lodge 5/5 Venture-Captain, Arizona—Phoenix aka TriOmegaZero

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I was bouncing in my chair when my brother began to read the scroll aloud.

5/5 5/55/55/5

I have to say, I'm a little worried about BOTH potential groups for this joining hestram and going full on shadowlodge....

Shadow Lodge 4/5

My jaw dropped during that segment. Too bad about the next scenario going back to the same ol same ol with its faction missions.

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

Jeff Merola wrote:
Mattastrophic wrote:

Jeff: When their underlings (the PCs) have such a high success rate and such a small amount of negative consequences for their actions, it can't be dumb luck. They have somehow managed to recruit a veritable legion of the most effective troubleshooters in the world. That's not luck.

-Matt

They've also managed to be blindsided multiple times by plots from their own agents against them, despite having the ability and desire to prevent those things from happening. And given how many layers separate them from the PCs, it's not that hard for them to have lucked into good people (just look at the real world for numerous instances of this kind of thing). I'm well aware that this isn't the intended interpretation of how things go, and that they're supposed to be competent and master planners and all that, but it's not the impression I've gotten.

I personally blame the "reveal" in Eyes for this, which (to me) seems to have been written without regard for how it could impact future plot lines.

Jeff, just to respond to part of this.

How many members are in the Decemvirate? 10, nominally, if they stay by the name. Even assuming a few more, let's look at your question in context:

How many agents does the Pathfinder Society have , spread out over Golarion and other worlds?
Hundreds? Thousands? Tens of thousands?

So, assuming 5,000 agents, conservatively, and 12 masters of the Society, liberally, we are looking at each member having oversight of more than 400 agents. Given 12 hours time to look over their own sets of agents shoulders, that comes to something under 2 minutes apiece.

How much is missed, when you can only oversee someone for, say, an average of 2 minutes per day? Doesn't take much for those two minutes to miss most things of import. After all, that is only about 2/100ths of a percent of the viewee's waking day.

Now, consider if they follow someone performing a specific mission, they see 4-7 members of the society exclusively for a few hours or days, instead of checking on everyone else....

Grand Lodge 5/5 Venture-Captain, Arizona—Phoenix aka TriOmegaZero

That's why you skim everyone, and only focus on those who show signs of it. Small signs can be missed, but small signs pile up into big signs eventually.

Grand Lodge 4/5

They also have immensely powerful magics and artifacts at their command, and they're revealed to be watching scores of people in dozens of places simultaneously.

Silver Crusade 5/5

One of them is.

Shadow Lodge 5/5 Regional Venture-Coordinator, Southwest

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Has anyone stopped to consider that the only way we 'know' that someone was a member of the Ten was through a note left conveniently in a place that the PCs found it?

Since it is written down it can't be wrong, can it? Someone couldn't deliberately spin a narative that the PCs would unflinchingly accept without question becausethey have been habituated by their long service in the Pathfinder Society to believe notes that they conveniently find. Notes that tell them someone is good and someone else is bad.

That would never happen. Could never happend because PCs are never lied to or manipulated to serve someone elses ends.

Hopefully my view on this is clear.

I see the Pathfinder Society as having many levels much like old mystery cults. To me the Eyes of the Ten is the story of Elisa P. being inducted into the next higher level of the mystery.

You only see what the agents of the Society have carefully crafted for you to see. You do not see it all and do not even understand what you do see.

Layers within layers within layers.


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Sometimes I just pretend that there isn't a Pathfinder Society.

Dark Archive 3/5

Mattastrophic wrote:

When the underlings have such a miraculous ability to consistently solve the problems, is it really blindsiding? Or are they merely putting on an act, pretending to be less powerful than they are, while arranging for every last problem to be taken care of with a minimum of lasting consequences?

It's one thing to luck into one or two particularly effective agents. It's another to have an army of them. No other power in Golarion has done that.

If the Decemvirate were to show their full strength, there is no way that, say, Cheliax would continue to allow them to operate untouched.

-Matt

My best guess is that the Decemvirate takes a "If you're doing things right, no one is sure if you've really done anything at all" stance on this. They also know that acting too directly on the intelligence they are able to gather tips their hand. It telegraphs to everyone around them what they are capable of of. It would make them a much bigger target. The movers and shakers of Golarion are not fools; they'd start to realize it when information that standard divination shouldn't even be able to acquire starts leaking all over the place.

For those of you who have seen The Imitation Game, there is an excellent (pseudo/fictionalized) real life example of this: Deciding how much intelligence to act on subtly and how much you have to ignore to avoid losing the ability to gather it in the first place.

So yes, the Decemvirate isn't really good in that they are more than willing to let terrible things happen to preserve their status quo. And when they do want to act on something, they have to do it very subtly. This is likely why we so seldom get any direct orders from the Decemvirate; very few situations leave them able to or demand they readily intervene directly. The rest of the time, all they can do is arrange the pieces on the board (the PCs and major NPCs) and hope things fall in their favor.

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