I absolutely love Pathfinder, but as any (adult) gamer knows, real life gets in the way of getting your gaming group together. Some of our players work weekends, my husband and I can't play on weeknights because of our work schedules, and another one of our players has a newborn. Sometimes you just have other priorities that happen to be on a day everyone else is free to do some hardcore tabletop adventuring.
What is a gamer to do when they want to play, but everyone else is busy? This is where Pathfinder Society Organized Play comes in. Pathfinder Society allows players to create their characters, and take them to any Pathfinder Society event world wide. These games are being held at local gaming stores, conventions, peoples homes, and even online! Their website explains it best:
You can take your character to any public Pathfinder Society event anywhere in the world, and while the Game Master and your companions might change every time you play, your character advances as normal.
Over time, campaigning in an organized play environment offers a uniquely immersive experience, as your diverse companions add depth and character to the campaign world.
It's also a great way to get in touch with other local gamers, meet new people, and play regularly without all the prep work and scheduling of a traditional campaign.
My husband and I went to our first Pathfinder Society game over the weekend at Gamer's World in Schaumburg. A typical game, or Pathfinder Society Scenario, takes about 4 hours to play through. There's a minimum about of players needed to run a legal game, but there's also a limit of how many players can play per table, to keep the game moving smoothly and quickly. Paizo has a list of world wide events on their website. So you can find an event going on in your area and sign up.
We played a scenario that was designed for Level 1 characters, and we had a full table. The GM (Game Master) we had was new, but one of the other players (who seemed to be a friend of the GM), has run Pathfinder Society games in the past, so he was pretty helpful with guiding us, and answering any questions we had. It was a learning experience for us, and the new GM.
For a new GM he did great! I loved how he acted out the NPCs (Non-Player Characters), and he did an incredible job drawing out all the maps.
I love when we're playing a game, and let's say a character gives us a letter. The GM actually hands us that letter, or that map, and there's just something awesome about that. It's that real life interaction, and physical bits of information (like the faction quest and handouts), that you just don't get from playing video games.
As a group, your characters are trying to accomplish something, but individually, each character will get an assignment from their faction that they have to complete during the gameplay.
So you could all be playing the game together, and there's a chance that everyone will not complete their little secret side missions.
Each player has a registered Pathfinder Society number, and each character you create has a number assigned to them (which can be managed on the website). Those numbers are important for tracking your character's stats when you play at different events.
At the end of each game, you get a chronicle sheet that has a log of how much experience, and gold your character has acquired or spent during that scenario.
You keep those chronicle sheets, and take them to every Pathfinder Society game you play. These sheets are essentially the history of your character. The person running the game officially has to sign off on the sheet (proving that the information is valid, and that you're not cheating). Then the next time you play that character, they will still have the fame, gold, and whatever else you acquired from the last game.
Our characters are still level 1, but we can take them to any other Pathfinder Society game designed for characters of that level. Lucky for us, Pathfinder Society events are going on pretty much once a week in the Chicago area.
I'll admit, I was hesitant to join Pathfinder Society. Being new to the table top gaming world, I never played a campaign outside of our regular gaming group, but I loved it!
The atmosphere is almost like a mini convention. You get to meet new people who share in your hobby, and you get to play a game that would normally require gathering a lot of your friends together and hoping all your schedules match up for one day.
If you love Pathfinder, and can't find a regular gaming group, or you're looking to game in between your normal campaign, Pathfinder Society is an awesome thing to be apart of. We'll probably start packing our character folders on vacation with us from now on (you never know where you might find your next event!).
Find out more about Pathfinder Society at their website!