One thing I’ve noticed recently is that we’ve had a streak of scenarios where the players have failed at getting the secondary success condition. While us old geezers in the campaign know what the in-game society expects out of its agents, this isn’t always clear to new players to the campaign. So if you’re lost as to how to complete your secondary success conditions, here’s some tips as to what the society expects of its agents.
The Society defends its own. Agents are more useful to the Society alive than dead. If you have the opportunity to keep an agent alive over the course of the adventure, keeping them alive helps the Society a great deal. Dead agents aren’t useless to the Society though. Recovering dead bodies and bringing them back to the Society to be raised or at least given a proper burial makes you great within the Society. Even recovering keepsakes of agents for their next of kin means a lot emotionally to other agents – especially if that keepsake is a wayfinder.
Is the Society supposed to be here? As much as the Society is a knowledge-gathering and an adventurous organization, it is also a political organization. As an agent, you aren’t just expected to navigate vast swaths of wilderness or localized dungeons, but also political climates. One thing to ask yourself before every mission is if the Pathfinder Society is allowed go where you’re going. If yes, be on your best behavior and help to improve and maintain the reputation and good name of the Society. If no, then be as sneaky as possible so that they won’t know that you’re there. And if they do find out – try to blame it on the Aspis Consortium. Speaking about the Aspis Consortium…
Try to discover intelligence about the Society’s enemies. You don’t get to be an organization as big as the Society without making a few enemies. There are a number of enemies out there, the most famous of which is the Aspis Consortium. Any information you happen to gain about our enemies as you do your missions for the Society will be helpful to the organization. We’d rather strike before these agents lash out than clean up the mess they leave. Any information you can gain helps us do that.
Preserve and record the environment you’re in. As an agent of the Society, you’re going to explore many exotic and interesting locales. The Society would prefer if you weren’t the only group to explore that locale. Maintaining the environment so that other people can study it and find things you missed would be most advantageous. Of course, we would also prefer that it was safe for our sages and other scholarly types to explore and catalog. You may be well-adjusted to jumping head-first into danger, but not everyone in our Society shares those same traits. It’s not good, for instance, if there are traps lying around that you didn’t find or at least trigger. That said, you may come across locales where it will be impossible for anyone besides yourselves to explore due to magical or extraordinary circumstances. In that case, accurate and detailed notes will be key if the Society is to learn anything from your exploration.
Do the job you’ve been sent to do in a more heroic fashion. One of the wonderful products of our Society is the Pathfinder Chronicles, a collection of journals, notes and essays by various members of our field agents detailing the work they have done in the Society’s name. Getting published in the Chronicles is an easy way of earning fame in our Society, but not every story can qualify to be published. The more heroic your story, the better chances it has of getting published. Sure, you could try to bypass that door by pulling out your adamantine pick and hacking through, but wouldn’t learning the secret behind how that arcane door works and publishing that riddle and the genius of how you bypassed it be a much more entertaining read?
Do the obvious secondary success condition. Sometimes, there’s literally a second objective you can do as you go. Sure, you were sent into the Tomb of the Ferrous Nagaji to recover the Iron Snake Tail, but when you get in there you find that not only does the Tomb contain the Iron Snake Tail but also the Ring of Parseltongue Speaking. You should get that too if you can. No reason to send a second team of Pathfinders out to get what you could’ve easily retrieved while you were out there.
There might be multiple secondary success conditions. There may not be just one thing that helps the Society in any given circumstance. In some cases, there are multiple things you can do. The Society understands that not all agents are equal, and some teams are going to be left with holes in their capabilities. Be on the lookout for multiple things you can do. Many of the recent secondary success conditions involve doing X of a list of items.
Hopefully, this provides more context as to what the Society expects of its agents and what to be on the look out for as you complete your missions. And remember, you shouldn’t expect to get your secondary success every time. They are supposed to be hard, and if you manage to get 6 prestige points a level, you will have earned it!
Did I miss something? Got any (spoiler-free) suggestions related to the above? Feel-free to share it in the comments below!