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PostPosted: Thu Feb 20, 2014 3:27 pm 
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Joined: Sat Oct 05, 2013 4:12 am
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Location: Dubai
The UAE has its own Pathfinder Society (PFS) lodge. The lodge is organised separately to the GRC (though lodge orgianisers are also GRC members).

The Pathfinder Society is a worldwide shared campaign, using the Pathfinder RPG rules and set in Golarion, the official Pathfinder gameworld. Player characters are members of the Pathfinder Society, a longstanding 'adventurers guild' devoted to exploring and documenting ruins, places of mystery and current affairs. More details on Golarion are found in the Inner Sea Primer and the hefty Inner Sea World Guide.

You don't have to own any Pathfinder rules to play PFS games (though it helps).

Anyone can play, at any game run anywhere in the world or even online - assuming you and the other players speak the same language. Because characters can be carried from one GM to another, PFS play has some particular rules which differ from regular home Pathfinder games.

Your character will level up, earn gold, find and buy equipment and magic items, and win influence within the Pathfinder Society, creating his or her own story - if he or she survives.

You can have more than one character - in fact, it's common to have more than one character - though you can only play one at a time.

Because you can carry a character to any game, record-keeping is very important. After most games, the GM will give you a signed form listing the experience, prestige and gold you've earned, and any items, special abilities or other perks you've found or unlocked. It's your job to keep this sheet safe. If you lose it, you will not be able to use any of the items or abilities.

Nothing in this guide replaces the Guide to Pathfinder Society Organised Play or the Pathfinder Society FAQ - those take absolute precedence. If there's a conflict between what I've written here and official PFS rulings, the official rulings win.

Playing PFS games

1) Create a Pathfinder Society account - go to the Pathfinder Society homepage and click the link for My Pathfinder Society account (under 'Get Involved').

Note: if you haven't created an account, a GM may have temporary membership cards available so you can sign in later and still get the benefits you earned in a session, but it's better to sign up for an account first.

2) Download the free Guide to Pathfinder Society Organised Play. This contains background on the society, factions, special rules for PFS play, and special rules for creating a PFS character.

3) Create your character using the Guide to Organised Play and Paizo's free, online Pathfinder reference document (those from other sites may not be valid).

So far, that's required no cash investment, but you can only use rules from the Core Rulebook section of the reference document. If you want to use races, classes, feats or equipment from supplementary books, you need copies (see Additional Resources below).

Note: If you don't create a character in advance, forget your character sheet or don't have a character of appropriate level for the adventure, the GM may offer you one of the PFS-approved pregenerated characters to use. The approved pregens are Pathfinder Iconics, such as Valeros the Fighter, Ezren the Wizard and others, who appear on the covers of many Pathfinder products. You can't keep the character as your own, but anything you earn using a pregen character can be applied to an appropriate character you create yourself.

Important notes on PFS characters

PFS characters are created without dice rolls - you choose your attributed based on point cost. You don't roll for hit poits, either - each class begins with a number of HP based on class, and gets a number of HP based on class when they level up. All starting characters begin with 150gp recardless of class, and you can't take a feat or trait which alters this. Characters may not be of evil alignment.

Characters cannot make magical items, or take item creation feats. This may affect the way some classes work in PFS play (see Additional Resources).

If you have previously played an adventure the GM plans to run, you should tell the GM; it's his or her call whether you can play it. If they let you, try not to use your advance knowledge. If your character has played a particular adventure before, they will not gain extra rewards for it - you're just playing for fun. Exception: Tier 1 scenarios or Tier 1-2 modules can always be replayed for credit with a 1st level character.

Finally, if you find a magic item in during an adventure, you can use it for that adventure. If you want to use it in subsequent adventures, you have to buy it - but the act of finding an item unlocks it for all members of the party (so if you find a +1 sword, all members of that party can have it, so long as they have the gold). The organisers admit this is not a terribly realistic rule, but it is fair and playable.

Additional Resources

If you want to create a character from one of Pathfinder's many sourcebooks, or using feats or equipment from those sourcebooks, you MUST bring a copy of the relevent sourcebooks, or printouts of the relevant pages of the official PDFs of those sources. You don't have to prove you own the material. (See this FAQ item and this one.)

You should also have access to the free PFS Additional Resources guide, which details any special rules for using the non-Core material in PFS play.

Note that playing some types of characters (dhampirs, drow, goblins and others) requires that you have a boon earned through play.

The purpose of this rule is to ensure GMs can run their games using only the core material and the adventure they're planning to run.

If it's not core, and you want to use it, it is down to YOU to provide the relevant rules. If you want to play without buying any rulebooks, therefore, you're limited to playing characters from the Core rulebook section of the Pathfinder SRD.

Fame and Prestige

As well as earning XP, completing missions earns you fame and prestige. You get them at the same rate (if you earn 2 fame points, you also earn 2 prestige points). You can spend prestige points to buy faction items and benefits, or to have a slain character brought back to life. You can't spend fame points (so they're like a running total of all the prestige points you've ever earned).

Your fame points control how much gold you can spend on items from your faction, and give you bonuses to diplomacy checks within your faction.


You can earn boons by owning (and using) particular Paizo products at the game table, or by participating in particular PFS events organised by Paizo. They range from the trivial to the ubercool.

For example, using an official Paizo character portfolio for your allows you 1 re-roll per session (you must keep the second roll). Wearing an official Pathfinder T-Shirt also allows one re-roll.

Owning Pathfinder novels gives special one-off benefits. Owning a series of Pathfinder novels grants a permanent benefit you can give to one (and only one) of your characters (you can download sheets listing these benefits from Paizo's websites - if you want 'em, it's your job to bring it, prove you own the product, and ask the GM to sign your sheet).

Participating in certain events (such as Paizocon or Gencon events) might allow you to use an otherwise restricted race, such as goblin or drow, or give other benefits.

For most of these boons, you'll need to prove your entitlement either by presenting the product and its boon sheet for the GM to sign, or by presenting the boon sheet signed by a GM.

GMing Pathfinder Society

If you've never GMed before, Pathfinder Society play is a great way to learn how. The free PFS documents GM101 and GM201 contain very good general advice, and I'd highly recommend them to any GM, whether playing Pathfinder or any other game.

If you're an experienced GM, you will also find it fun.

In order to run a game, you must register as a PFS player (see above).

You're expected to own the certain core books (either in print or PDF form): The Pathfinder Core Rulebook and the Pathfinder Bestiary. The Pathfinder Society Field Guide (a setting book), is also useful, and PFS scenarios assume you have it. You may also want the Inner Sea World Guide, which contains background on the world of Golarion. Most of these are available in print form in Kinokuniya bookshop in Dubai Mall.

You'll also want some Pathfinder Society scenarios, or Pathfinder modules or adventure paths that are sanctioned for PFS play. Modules and adventures have supplementary PDFs explaining how to modify them for PFS play.

Some modules will feature rules or beasts from supplementary rulebooks. If you don't own those, you'll probably find the information you need on the Pathfinder Reference Document.

You cannot create your own adventures for PFS play - it's a shared campaign, after all. You're also expected to run the adventure as written, without changing encounters, objectives and the like.

The PFS scenarios are particularly good. Each is a self contained adventure designed to be completed in 4-5 hours of play - great for one-offs, occasional play or convention gaming. Scenarios are noted as being appropriate for particular Tiers (character levels), though usually the bands are quite wide (Tier 1-5, for example), and the scenarios explain how to adapt them for specific tiers.

The current introductory adventure is The Confirmation, designed for Tier 1-2 (1st or 2nd level characters); it's fun to play (and fun to run) and is ideal for both beginner GMs and beginner players, and serves as a pretty good introduction to both the in-game Pathfinder Society and the real-world PFS Organised Play. It's got some combat, some roleplaying opportunities and some puzzle-solving.

Specific requirements for GMing PFS games are found in the PFS Guide to Organised Play. Most notably, GMs will have to register the event on the PFS website, and will have to fill in chronicle sheets for the players.

If you're running a PFS game in the UAE - or you've got questions about how to do so - contact one of the local volunteer officers (see below).

Rewards for GMing

GMs who run sessions can apply the rewards their players earn to one of their own characters. In most cases you can't apply the reward to a character who's actually played the adventure, and in most cases you can only earn the rewards for one adventure twice (once as GM, once as player), although GM stars can be used to gain extra Chonicle sheets for adventures you specify. If you don't have a character of high enough level for that adventure, hold the chronicle sheet until one of your characters reaches the required level, then apply it.

GMs who run enough PFS sessions earn stars. It takes 10 sessions as GM to earn 1 star, and 100 to earn 4. To earn 5 stars, you have to run 150 sessions, including 10 special events, and have a session judged by a member of the Paizo staff, by a Venture-Captain or Venture-Lieutenant.

UAE Lodge Volunteer Officers

The volunteer officers for the UAE are:

Venture-Captain: Mike Labny (MeadmakerVC on this forum)
Venture-Lieutenant for Abu Dhabi: Tarek Alatrech (Tarek on this forum)
Venture-Lieutenant for Dubai and the Northern Emirates: Andy Staples (Barwickian on this forum)

Pathfinder Society Venture-Captain (UAE)
Active games: Pathfinder - Rise of the Runelords. Pathfinder Society games.

Last edited by Barwickian on Sun Feb 23, 2014 1:59 am, edited 10 times in total.
Expanding and reorganising to make it more user-friendly (I hope)

PostPosted: Sun Feb 23, 2014 12:27 pm 
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Joined: Sat Oct 05, 2013 10:36 am
Posts: 58
I have followed various GRC members’ enthusiasm for Pathfinder. I have had a chance to look through the boxed products, but have yet to read the rules.
So far I agree with the statements that Pathfinder has out-D&Dd, D&D. I would recommend Pathfinder, without hesitation to any new referee. The level of support available to a DM is colossal. The pawn boxsets are amazing. The battlemats are superb and the feel of the game is what we would all have wanted to play when we were starting off aged 12-14. It's what we wanted AD&D 1st/2nd Ed to actually be.
It’s not what I want to run now – all the time. I prefer my own Houserules and how I do things. But I still intend to buy all the books needed to run games, the bestiaries and the pawns sets. Why? Because these are, specialist software like, Campaign Cartographer aside, the only roleplaying material I have seen in over a decade that is worth buying. Paizo have done for roleplaying what GW does for wargaming. They’ve brought private enterprise and the wow factor back into games.
I look forward to reffing Pathfinder and will see you at a table soon.


PostPosted: Mon Feb 24, 2014 4:53 pm 

Joined: Sat Oct 05, 2013 8:30 pm
Posts: 29
Having played a bit of Pathfinder with Ivan, I have to say I love the system. It's fun and very flexible in what you want to do. While the notion of fixed adventures puts me off a bit...that five star goal seems like an interesting one to try and aim for and reach.

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