Playing in Adventure Mode

Greetings Pathfinders! I hope everyone is doing well. As our lodges restart live play across the League of Aroden service area, questions about various types of game play are going to be common. Your Venture-Officers are here to answer your questions as always and have that information for you!

There are two modes of game play for both Pathfinder and Starfinder Society. The first is the traditional mode known as Society Mode. Those characters play in Scenarios, Quests, and Bounties. They receive credit for playing those types of adventures like they always have. Pathfinder Society Characters must be built using the rules in the Character Creation Appendix, starting at level 1, and played from there.  (Some boons allow characters to start at higher levels.)  Any adventure that can be played with a PFS character can also be played with a PFS Sanctioned Pregen.

Adventure Mode is the second type of game play for both societies. Adventure Mode is used for adventures not published for society play, and allows the GM more freedom to adapt those adventures, including running the adventure in Pathfinder using GM house rules, and the ability to alter encounters and statistics found in the adventure.

Story Pregens are characters released with an adventure, and often contain ties to the adventures backstory.  

Campaign Characters are characters that are designed according to the GM’s House Rules.

Table:  Ruleset / Characters by product

RulesetPFS Characters OnlyStory Pregens RequiredStory Pregens Recommended*Campaign Characters
Society ModeScenario, Quest   
Adventure ModeBountyFree RPG DayOne ShotAdventure, Adventure Path

 * GMs who chose to use Campaign Characters instead should work with their players to tie the characters into the backstory to provide the same level of experience.

Each Sanctioned Adventure comes with a freely downloadable Sanctioning Document located on the product’s description page on paizo.com. This document contains the rules for running that adventure, as well as chronicles rewarded for completion. GMs should read the sanctioning document carefully, as it may modify the Adventures rewards. Unlike Pathfinder Society adventures, Chronicles for Sanctioned Adventures are assigned at the completion of the adventure.

The rewards a player earns for their characters varies depending on the type of adventure they played. Usually, completing one book of an Adventure Path or an Adventure (module) results in the player receiving a Chronicle Sheet for that particular book or Adventure for a character who gets 12 Experience Points, 30 Treasure Bundles appropriate to a character of their level, and 12 Reputation that can be assigned to any faction. It also grants 24 days of Downtime. In addition to that, players earn 12 Achievement Points which they can use for purchasing Access to various things like Uncommon and Rare Ancestries, Items, Spells, etc.

What makes Adventure Mode so cool is that you are not bound by Society rules. The GM sets the rules for that particular campaign which is why this is also referred to sometimes as Campaign Mode. That means the GM can say all ancestries are available. You might not have enough AcP to purchase access to an Android Ancestry and a Tiefling Versatile Heritage. But if your GM allows it, you can create such a character for the Adventure. This is a great way to test out a character build or see how a particular ancestry plays before you actually use your AcP to purchase access to it for use in Society Mode.

Note that Adventures and Adventure Path play lasts multiple sessions. This is why you normally do not see it at our monthly events. I did run Fall of Plaguestone at PFS Smackdown at Valhalla’s Gate which took five sessions to complete. I have ran it online in a weekly format as well and it took five four-hour sessions to complete it as well.

What I do suggest for playing in this mode is for GMs and players to consider arranging to play them on a weekly or bi-weekly basis either live or online. We want you to be able to play these. They’re great stories in their own right and offer an alternative to Society Mode while awarding some form of Society credit.

Now for the best part of this post. Ever wonder what the Gamemastery Guide was good for? There’s a lot of interesting things in it for GMs, but there are also variant rules for playing Pathfinder in it as well. Take a look at page 192 and the Dual-Class PCs section. My favorite is on page 194 and the Free Archetype section. I’ll be using that for my upcoming Abomination Vaults Adventure Path campaign scheduled to start June 3rd at Game Arena in Hannibal. My online friends who have used it in their Adventure Path campaigns say the players loved it. I’m looking forward to seeing the players at Gryffyn Flight use it.

That’s it for now! I hope to see you soon at one of our gaming events this summer! Have fun and may the Secrets of Magic be with you!

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