Year of the Risen Rune
The Pathfinder Society is a globe-spanning organization based out of Absalom, the world’s largest city. The membership consists primarily of Pathfinders, adventurers who travel throughout Golarion—usually inconspicuously—and explore, delve, and otherwise experience the lesser-seen parts of the world. They send journals documenting their travels back to their venture-captain, who also assigns them new missions and suggests new places to explore. The most exciting and illuminating of these journals are compiled in the Pathfinder Chronicles, an ongoing series of books which collect the history and mystery of Golarion for their membership.
The Pathfinder Society was founded in Absalom in 4307 AR by a group of adventurers as a means to share stories and resources. The first meeting place was a bar in Absalom called the Wounded Wisp; the meeting locations changed frequently over the next decade. The incredible stories shared among members at these early meetings became popular forms of entertainment among the public as well.
In 4317 AR, a sage (whose name has been lost to history) offered to publish the best of the Society’s stories in book form. The first edition of the Pathfinder Chronicles became wildly successful and began the Society’s tradition of publishing the best of its members’ exploits. In the nearly four centuries since, members of the Pathfinder Society have aspired to undertake adventures worthy of publication in the Chronicles.
In 4320 AR, the Society’s Grand Lodge was founded in Absalom, using a manor house donated to the Society as a home base.
The day-to-day management of the Pathfinder Society is handled by the venture-captains. These are usually older or accomplished Pathfinders or long-time allies of the organization who have settled down and claimed a Pathfinder lodge for themselves. They direct Pathfinders in the field toward new and interesting locales, and receive the regular reports that will eventually become part of the Chronicles.
They receive their instruction from the Decemvirate, a secret body of ten masked individuals who pass messages along to the captains in subtle and silent ways. Little is known about the Decemvirate, not even their ultimate goals for the collection of the endless data the Society receives.
The Pathfinder Society is willing to accept members of all backgrounds, creeds and morals. Any applicant who does well enough overall on the initial tests is allowed to take the oath and become an initiate. Training is overseen by three deans, the Master of Swords, the Master of Spells, and the Master of Scrolls. The final test, Confirmation, is taken after three years as an initiate (although ambitious or gifted initiates may persuade the deans to allow them to take the test earlier). The test is effectively the initiate’s first mission; those who pass become Pathfinders, and those who fail are discharged from the Society (but often remain on good terms with it afterwards).