As promised, I am publishing on my blog the article I originally submitted to the Pathfinder fanzine Wayfinder #12. The short story “Secrets Which Should Remain Buried” will be published in a few days. In both cases the final article reflects editorial feedback that was given on the article and story.
The Pathfinder Society are often portrayed in the Pathfinder RPG as the ultimate heroes of the setting – adventurers who care more for the expansion of knowledge than treasure per se. While the Pathfinder Society forms a useful counterpoint to “murderhobo” type play (characters who care nothing for the norms of society, only about killing enemies and taking their stuff), it is not without problem.
The Pathfinder Society is based on the real-world National Geographic Society, with overtones of the Explorers’ Club of New York City and as such, colonialism and paternalism are part of its historical makeup. In Pathfinder Society Organized Play adventures, gamers sometimes see the end result of this: Hoaxed and hexed museums, mysterious thefts, and the Aspis Consortium, the dark mirror of the Pathfinder Society. In the Compass Stone storyline, serialized in Pathfinder #1-6, we saw a bit more of the dark side of the Pathfinder Society – a lust for knowledge so strong that it would willingly endanger the world to uncover a newly-discovered antiquity.
The characters in this article invert the common assumptions about Pathfinder Society play: A corrupt Pathfinder whose thirst for knowledge and lust for riches make him a dangerous foe, and an implacable temple defender whose goal is both to protect her temple from those who would raid it, and to protect the greater world from the monsters that her religion keeps locked away where they can harm no one.
So without further ado…