Pathfinders explore Golarion in service to lore. This widespread group of treasure hunters, thrillseekers, sages, and voyagers make it their lives’ work to uncover lost artifacts,
map neglected ruins, and learn forgotten knowledge. They do these things for the sake of lore, as well as for fame. The Pathfinder Society publishes the Pathfinder Chronicles, a multi-volume series of chapbooks highlighting some of the most amazing finds by field agents.
Pathfinders are part archaeologist, part historian, and all adventurer. Many established Pathfinders make their own way in the world, following their interests or tracking down leads to greater mysteries. These established few are still subject to orders from their superiors, but the least prestigious tasks are usually reserved for those new to the organization. The Society is governed by the Decemvirate, 10 anonymous leaders who pull strings and guide the organization from Skyreach in the Grand Lodge of Absalom. They hand down orders from their secret posts to venture-captains, who in turn pass the orders to field agents.
The Society has few rules, but all Pathfinders are expected to perform the Three Duties: explore, report, and cooperate. Idle Pathfinders are useless to the organization, and agents must seek out secrets or further their work in exploration of some kind, always growing and gathering knowledge. This exploration would be worthless if not for frequent reports. Pathfinders must send back accounts of their adventures, many of which end up published by the Decemvirate. Finally, Pathfinders are great heroes from dozens of countries and backgrounds with thousands of different motivations and allegiances, and the Decemvirate expects that individual Pathfinders will not interfere with one another, and absolutely never let a conflict between themselves come to blows.
Despite the mandate to cooperate, Pathfinders have myriad motivations and often fall in with similarly minded factions within the organization, or external groups with close ties to the Society. As fresh new recruits, most Pathfinders know only the venture-captains who give them their training, especially Ambrus Valsin, the man in charge of daily operations in the Grand Lodge.
A gruff, no-nonsense man, Ambrus has little tolerance for laziness and often gives young Pathfinders their first taste of what being a field agent entails as a way of keeping them from staying idle too long.
Among the various factions allied with the Pathfinder Society are five powerful nations locked in a shadow war for control of Absalom—Andoran, Cheliax, Osirion, Qadira, and Taldor. While the Pathfinder Society has no direct interest in this political standstill, they nevertheless have much to gain from allying with these powerful nations. Though they aren’t a recognized political body, the Varisian swindlers and smugglers known as the Sczarni provide their own support for the Society, acting as fences, contacts, or mules when the organization
needs to get relics or agents in and out of hostile territory unseen. Within the Society itself, fractured groups such as the Shadow Lodge, Silver Crusade, and the Lantern Lodge each work to ensure the organization’s resources are applied where they feel they’re most needed, be that for the betterment of the active field agent, in distant Tian Xia, or spreading good deeds throughout the Inner Sea.
A new batch of Pathfinder agents has completed their training and now stand fresh and wide-eyed before the towering structure of Skyreach awaiting their first assignment for the Pathfinder Society. Venture-Captain Ambrus Valsin has just the task for them, both to keep them relatively safe in the dangerous world beyond, and to familiarize them with Absalom, their new home, and some of the most influential allies of the Society in the City at the Center of the World.