Only the bravest, or perhaps the most foolhardy, adventurer seeks fame, glory, and wealth on her own. Most join parties, supporting each other with a diverse array of abilities and tactics, but even these groups often need to call upon the aid of experts. Presented in the pages of this book are 18 groups of such experts—a mix of organizations with access to powerful abilities, magic, and secrets that can bolster the effectiveness of any adventurer. These organizations can be your party’s guide to success!
USING THIS BOOK
The organizations in this book are all drawn from the official Pathfinder campaign setting—the world of Golarion. These groups all hold power in the Inner Sea region, which consists of Avistan and northern Garund (see the map on page 7). The information presented at the start of each section is not intended to be comprehensive, but rather to give basic information regarding the group in question. Further information about Golarion can be found in Pathfinder Campaign Setting: The Inner Sea World Guide and in many other Pathfinder Campaign Setting products. Yet you don’t need to be an expert on Golarion to make use of the new rules found in Pathfinder RPG Adventurer’s Guide. All of the new options presented in this book are collected in easy-to-reference indices at the end of the book (see pages 186–191), along with setting-neutral names you can use to refer to the options if you prefer not to use their names from the world of Golarion. Feel free to adapt this book’s content to the campaign setting of your choice! Note that new rules options introduced in this book are indicated with a dagger symbol (“*”).
In addition, several of the organizations presented in this book were first introduced in the context of Pathfinder Adventure Path campaigns. Care has been taken in the following pages to avoid too many spoilers for these Adventure Paths, but in all cases, the organization is presented with the assumption that the events of the Adventure Path in which it was introduced have already come to pass, and that the PCs of that Adventure Path were victorious.
Access to Options
This book presents a wide range of character options that are tied to specific organizations, but certain options are indicated as being unaffiliated with a group. These options, while still thematically tied to the organization in whose section they appear, are not controlled by that organization and are always considered to function under the full-access approach detailed below. Most, however, are more closely associated with a specific organization in the Inner Sea region. How GMs incorporate these latter options into their own games depends entirely on personal preference.
Full Access: The simplest solution is to allow full access to all of the options in this book, regardless of characters’ affiliations or lack thereof. This has the advantage of allowing all characters a wide range of new options to choose from, but dilutes the flavorful aspect of having these options define specific in-world organizations. Some of the options in this book require sponsorship or similar support from an established member of an organization before a character can select the option—for full access, ignore these requirements.
Limited Access: At the opposite end of the scale from full access is limited access—in this approach, only members of the specific group can ever have access to the options associated with that group, and before a character can select one of that group’s options, the character must be accepted into the group. This preserves the strong themes and identifiable rules elements that are iconic to each group, but it limits player choice. Access to a group should be awarded by the GM only to specific characters as the result of inplay developments. If a party already uses a wide range of player options, limiting the options in this book might be an attractive choice.
Affiliation Access: This is a midway approach between full and limited access, and is the assumption for how this book will be used in play. With affiliation access, a character need only be affiliated with a group to gain access to its options—the character does not need to be a full member. This approach strikes a balance between making a wide range of character options available while preserving the thematic identities of the organizations associated with those options.
Discovery: Many of the options in this book can be discovered organically during play. A PC doesn’t need to be affiliated with the Red Mantis to loot a mask of the mantis from a defeated NPC, nor does she need to be affiliated with the Aldori swordlords to learn the spell Aldori alacrity from a spellbook she discovers in a monster’s lair. Of course, in such situations, the GM is the arbiter of what can and cannot be discovered, and for some options (such as feats or prestige classes), discovery isn’t a logical source.
Affiliations for PCs
Affiliation with a group means that a character has proven to be an ally with the group’s interests at heart and is trusted to be a caretaker for that group’s secrets.
Affiliation Slots: Each PC has a number of affiliation slots equal to the character’s Charisma modifier + 1 (minimum 1 slot). Each time a PC takes the Additional Affiliations feat (see the Additional Affiliations sidebar on page 6), his total number of affiliation slots increases by 2. Finally, a GM can award bonus affiliation slots as rewards for gameplay, but typically these slots must be spent on specific groups. (For example, after the PCs successfully undertake a dangerous mission for the Silver Ravens, the GM may reward the group with a bonus affiliation with the Silver Ravens.)
Starting Affiliation: A player can choose her PC’s first affiliation when she creates the character, so long as she justifies her choice via the character’s background. For example, perhaps a PC’s parents belong to the Pathfinder Society, and her parents’ reputation in that organization could vouch for her own affiliation. A PC born into an Al-Zabriti tribe may retain her birthright and history by belonging to these horse-riding folk despite having since traveled far from Qadira. Or maybe a PC was rescued from slavery at a young age by members of the Bellflower Network, and has modeled his life upon heroes from that group. This starting affiliation must be approved by the GM, who may say that certain affiliations are off-limits or some organizations must be contacted in-play before joining.
Subsequent Affiliations: Once play begins, a PC must seek out and contact agents of an organization before attempting to join or gain affiliation with it. Upon making contact, she must convince that agent that she would make a good addition to the organization. Players should speak with their GM out of the game when they make the decision to pursue affiliation with a group, since the GM has final say as to which groups (and thus which options) from this book are available. An affiliation should never be something players just decide they have on their own—it should be the result of gameplay and interaction with NPCs associated with the organization. Additional information on how to earn affiliation is presented in each group’s chapter, along with a short example encounter GMs can use as inspiration for setting up the attempt to affiliate with the group.
Affiliations for Adventuring Parties
At the GM’s discretion, an entire adventuring party can have a group affiliation. In such a case, the assumption is that the campaign the GM has chosen to run involves the whole party being agents of a specific group. Once the GM assigns a group affiliation, all members of the party are treated as if they were affiliated with that group. This affiliation does not take up any individual PC’s affiliation slots.
Alternatively, a party can use rules for membership in groups, such as those presented in Pathfinder Campaign Setting: Faction Guide, or joining a group could be a significant part of a campaign, as in the case of the Silver Ravens in the Hell’s Rebels Adventure Path. In such a case, a character automatically gains affiliation with a group once he successfully joins the group in question.
Affiliations for NPCs
An NPC should typically have only one affiliation (if any), and the GM gets to decide what that affiliation is. Yet there is no maximum number of affiliations for NPCs—an NPC can have as many as are needed for the GM to tell the story she wishes to tell. It’s generally unnecessary to list in an NPC’s statistics what affiliations he has, since that should be clear from the NPC’s background.
Note that certain groups presented in this book have rivals listed in their group stat blocks, representing long-standing conflicts with other groups presented in this book. The Aspis Consortium and the Pathfinder Society are perennial enemies, and the Hellknights and the Bellflower Network have long been at odds. There’s no reason that characters of rival affiliations can’t exist in the same adventuring party (although such a group will likely be more prone to party strife than others), but a single character cannot normally have an affiliation with two rival groups.
A character can abandon an affiliation at any time, but she cannot replace the abandoned affiliation with a new affiliation until she has gained at least 1 character level (unless the GM decrees otherwise). Once a character has abandoned her affiliation with a group, only exceptional circumstances can allow her to regain her affiliation with that group. Abandoning an affiliation may have in-game repercussions, as members of the group may not take kindly to learning that a character has deserted them.
When a character abandons an affiliation, she cannot gain new options from that group until her affiliation with the group is restored. However, she does not lose access to options she already has, and can still gain access to affiliation options via alternative means. If a character has a prestige class or archetype associated with a group, she can continue to gain levels in that class or archetype, regardless of her current affiliation status with that group.
As an alternative way to gain more affiliation slots rather than abandoning one, a character could take the Additional Affiliations feat (see the Additional Affiliations sidebar) to expand her set of affiliations without having to sacrifice existing affiliations. And of course, if a character’s Charisma score (and thus her Charisma modifier) permanently increases, she can gain access to new affiliation slots as a result.
PRESTIGE CLASSES AND ARCHETYPES
Full rules for prestige classes can be found on page 374 of the Pathfinder RPG Core Rulebook, while full rules for archetypes can be found on page 72 of the Pathfinder RPG Advanced Player’s Guide. Unless otherwise indicated, a prestige class grants no new weapon or armor proficiencies. While each prestige class detailed in this book presents a wealth of different character options, many of them share the following ability in common.
Spells per Day: At the indicated levels, the character gains new spells per day as if she had also gained a level in a spellcasting class she belonged to before adding the prestige class. She does not, however, gain other benefits a character of that class would have gained, except for additional spells per day, spells known (if she is a spontaneous spellcaster), and an increased effective level of spellcasting. If a character had more than one spellcasting class before gaining this prestige class ability, she must decide to which class she adds the new level for the purposes of determining her spells per day. Some prestige classes limit this ability to specific types of magic (such as arcane, divine, or psychic); if this is the case, it is indicated in the text of the prestige class.
Feat: Additional Affiliations
You have an expansive personality and can forge more affiliations than normal.
Benefit: Increase your affiliation slot total by 2.
Normal: You have a number of affiliation slots equal to your Charisma modifier + 1 (minimum 1).
Special: You can take this feat multiple times; each time you do so, your number of affiliation slots increases by 2.