Pathfinder Society Season Summary – Season Zero

A Chronicle of the Pathfinder Society’s exploits during the season from the First of Arodus in the year 4708 (by Absalom Reckoning), through the Thirty-First of Erastus, 4709 A.R., prepared by Thaddeus Lamplighter, Chronicler of the Society, faithful servant of Shelyn, etc. etc. 

[This is a player-friendly, spoiler-free summary of the events which occurred during Season Zero, the first season of Pathfinder Society Organized Play Campaign. Blue text like this is out-of-character!]

In the summer of 4708 AR [that’s 2008 on Earth], the Pathfinder Society held its annual Grand Convocation at the Grand Lodge in Absalom, the City at the Center of the World. Hundreds of new agents had recently joined the Society, some graduating from the Grand Lodge’s training program, others earning field commissions through their previous exploits. This influx of new (and untried) agents gave the Society’s leadership, the anonymous Decemvirate, the opportunity to expand the Society’s activities in an unprecedented manner.  The Decemvirate expanded cautiously, not pushing the limits of these new agents too hard. [Season Zero uses the 3.5 rules, which basically means they are designed for PCs who are about one level less powerful than the equivalent Pathfinder characters; they were also designed for four-player parties. In general, Season Zero scenarios are easier for the typical 6-person Pathfinder party – although there are exceptions!]

From the Grand Lodge in Absalom, Pathfinders were sent all over the Inner Sea region. Some teams were sent to explore newly-discovered ruins or investigate strange items; others went in aid of members or allies of the Society. Through its actions, the Society gained several new allies, including Skelg the Ripper, an envoy from the Land of the Linnorm Kings, and Nigel Aldain, curator of the (now infamous) Blakros Museum in Absalom. Agents were sent to many of the nations in the Inner Sea, including Taldor, Andoren, Cheliax, and Qadira. Teams were dispatched to locations as far-flung at the lawless River Kingdoms, revolution-wracked Galt, and the jungles of the Mwangi Expanse.

Throughout the year, various national governments saw the Pathfinder Society as a tool to further their own goals, and quietly began to support individual agents within the Society. These national factions garnered much support, and began to co-opt Society missions for their own ends. Pathfinders who once worked as a team instead carried hidden agendas from one of five national factions: the Eagle Knights of Andoran; the nobility of devil-worshiping Cheliax; the Sapphire Sage of Osirion; the merchants of Qadira; or the nobles of Taldor. While not leading to outright conflict between members, these factions often distracted Pathfinders from the Society’s goals. [During Season Zero, faction missions awarded prestige; there were no prestige awards for actually doing the mission assigned by the Venture-Captain. This put an undue emphasis on faction missions which no longer exists today.]

By the end of the season, the Decemvirate had tested their crop of new agents, weeding out those unable to handle the duties of a Pathfinder. The Society’s masked leaders had also noted the increase in nationalism among the Society’s members. Rather than clamp down on the national influences, the Society embraced them, and Pathfinders began overtly assisting various nations as troubleshooters and investigators, alongside their normal duty of exploration. But there were some in the Society who saw this rise of nationalism as an ill omen, and yet others who saw it as an opportunity to strike.

[The companion to this article, “Season Zero for GMs”, describes ways for GMs to run these scenarios in the present, taking into account all of the history that has occurred between 4708 and the current year of 4714.]


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