Subsystems

Investing In: Pathfinder 2E Subsystems

There’s some great news coming out of PAX Online for Paizo, Pathfinder, and those of us who love the world building of Lost Omens! I’m psyched to learn about Lost Omens Mwangi Expanse and the Strength of Thousands adventure path! I started Investing In with an article about the world building we’re seeing in 2E, especially that focus we saw on the people and the gorgeous art we got for it too!

More from Tomasz Chistowski of this lovely area as you can see below. If you recall I very much enjoyed When It Rains that he had created. I’m thrilled to see a focus on the Magaambya academy in Strength of Thousands and also learn more of the local religions practiced in the area. Valiant premieres today and while it’s set in Arcadia, there may be a connection of Mwangi interest for my boy Ev. Check out a bit of the new gods Luis Loza developed for our adventure too. We all hope you enjoy our adventures into Arcadia’s many-splendored environs!

Magaambya

I’m ready to enroll at Magaambya Academy

Into the Unknown

But gee Rob – you might be thinking – why is this titled Pathfinder 2E Subsytems if you’re speaking particularly to Lost Omens world building and locations previously not as detailed as certain parts of Avistan? Well, two reasons! Again, I’m a huge fan of the Lost Omens and in-world, story development for Golarion and beyond. Krynn and the Dragonlance world was a main love of mine for D&D and I got to enjoy an amazing Wizards of High Sorcery only game with my friends for years.

Now, I’m taking us around the glorious lands of Golarion! I’m developing our own story and campaign to be set in Golarion with Pathfinder 2E, which I’m calling the Expedition Coalition. Thus, the more information I can get to bring the world to life for my players, the better! I want them traveling, treasure hunting, trying to cut off the dark forces of the Whispering Tyrant, the machinations of Razmir or Belimarius, or especially that literally damned Infernal Majestrix herself Queen Abrogail Thrune the Second!.

Thankfully we’re well armed with character options from Core and the new APG, NPC details from Legends, and locations expanded upon in setting material/paths or hinted at in Gazetteers. But I want them exploring beyond Avistan into Aracdia, through the jungles of the Mwangi, to Tian Xia, and maybe even to Sarusan. Not that they’ll necessarily remember that journey…

I’m inspired by the materials already put out and those coming, including the nations increasingly cooperating together or organizations like the Pathfinder Society or the Esoteric Order of the Palatine Eye. I loved Dragon Age: Inquisition and its development of a larger organization, uniting to a purpose while it gathered a better reputation for itself and its agents. That got me to thinking that in order to stop those possibly dangerous individuals and nations (I’m looking at you Cheliax) maybe a coalition of individuals allied with these fairer (not gonna say good just yet) nations and organizations might come together. To help me reflect the standing of our heroes and their works, their exploration beyond, and their increasing development of their collaborative group I thought I need some system help. And thus, I turned to the subsystems presented in the Gamemastery Guide!

Kyra Merisiel

Power Couple

This Guide has everything! Amazing art (like Kyra and Merisiel fighting undead above), Tools to build Hazards or Settlements, and the Subsytems of which I will use to great effect! Logan Bonner, Mark Seifter, and their supporting writing team (including our amazing Vanessa Hoskins) have loaded up this book with goodies to help you build your campaign or expand your adventures if running a path!

Reputation

I thought I’d need some way to reflect the heroes and their groups standing in the world of Golarion, let alone their standing within their personal allied nations or organizations. The Reputation system gives me the rules to help me there. I plan to track their individual reputations related to their allied nation or organization as well as that of their group, the Expedition Coalition. Based on Favors or Disservices the hero (or the group) performs that reflects on the demands or interests of that organization, the reputation will rise or lower. There’s certain thresholds to give you an idea of what is then thought or how the hero is treated. I intend to use this as a relative reference with Diplomacy skill checks when interacting with those people, as well as any ask for favors or actions such a group might take against the PCs. Certainly they will have negative reputations with some nations and organizations that they work counter to so hopefully they won’t need their help!

Reputation

Don’t visit Cheliax if you’ve a good reputation

Influence

I felt that building a reputation and working with NPCs outside of their organization might require more than just that Diplomacy or Intimidate skill check. Thankfully there’s a subsystem to help there too: Influence. There’s two actions presented to help the PCs garner Influence with an individual (instead of an organization like Reputation tracks). Influence to try a skill check to impress an NPC and Discover to try and study that NPC, learning what might be a way to positively influence them. You also get guidelines for developing those NPC Stat Blocks for such a social encounter including the Skills that might influence the NPC, at what threshold of Influence you can get certain benefits, but also what the NPC might be resistant to hearing or what they might be weak to such as a business person not liking please for sympathy but loving a certain song as the example NPC is detailed as having. I’ll use this subsytem for expanded social encounters as well as getting favors or even acquiring agents (like in Dragon Age: Inquisition) to the PCs’ larger organization.

Leadership

But how will I track what that organization is growing to? Why look at that, there’s a subsystem for that too! Leadership is a bit more than the feat we saw in previous editions. As the leadership score of the PCs increased, they’ll gain more followers, who can be of increasingly higher level, as well as some stronger lieutenants. There’s not exactly a cohort anymore but sometimes those lieutenants might join you in a brief story or even become PCs in their own right, should something tragic happen like say Cheliax sends assassins after you. (Though between you and me it doesn’t seem likely they’d be Red Mantis Assassins considering Jakalyn’s response to Abrogail, which you can learn more about in Legends.) Leadership encourages a base of operations even if it’s say a roving caravan or circus. Makes me wonder if the Prestige system for our Extinction Curse game over at Roll for Combat is similar. Leadership events suggestions are presented as well including opportunity for the PCs to make decisions that shape the path forward for the organization, trouble arising that requires their assistance, or even a windfall of resources, reputation, or opportunity.

Leadership

Congrats Lieutenant!

To increase their leadership score, the PCs will have to take actions that specifically help them grow it. Interestingly enough the Leadership subsystem calls out uses of Influence and Reputation to help benefit as the group goes through quests and roleplaying scenes that benefit the group’s story. Certainly using Influence to gain powerful allies or agents can help their Leadership score and Dragon Age: Inquisition did something quite similar for resulting power that you could use to take on missions or unlock areas. Considering Leadership goes up to Level 20 I feel that’s a good tie to relevant risk, power, and reward for them while referring back to the Expedition Coalition’s organizational reputation that tracks toward 50 reputation points.

Now there’s other subsystems like Research rules similar to 1E’s, Chase rules I’m sure to use when fleeing an area, Infiltration when subtlety and intrigue are required (perhaps sneaking into a camp of a group you’ve got a low reputation with), and the overall Hexploration rules that I’m sure will prove valuable when combing a large area. I saw such used in Mummy’s Mask when exploring the desert and I know it’ll prove valuable for those larger, unexplored, yet still possibly inhabited (by monsters) areas! I encourage you to pick up the Gamemastery Guide, dive deeper into its subsystems as you explore Golarion and the Lost Omens age, or even use these rules and story to guide you as you invest in developing other games!

Investing In:

I also want to hear what you’re Investing In! Leave me a comment below about what games, modules, systems, products, people, live streams, etc you enjoy! You can also hit me up on social media as silentinfinity. I want to hear what excites you and what you’re passionate about. There’s so much wonderful content, people, groups (I could go on) in this community of ours that the more we invest in and share, the better it becomes!

About Investing In

I wasn’t quite sure what to name my article series when I first started but the idea of showcasing or discussing things that make me excited, that I find new and interesting, or maybe I’m otherwise passionate about seemed to fit with the idea of Investing In something like the Pathfinder 2E mechanic. To use some magic items you have to give that little bit of yourself, which helps make these things even better. I like the metaphor of the community growing and being strengthened in the same way!

Sources

Banner – Subsystems chapter art, Gamemastery Guide, Paizo

  1. Magaambya by Tomasz Chistowski
  2. Kyra and Merisiel, Gamemastery Guide, Paizo
  3. Reputation, Gamemastery Guide, Paizo
  4. Leadership, Gamemastery Guide, Paizo

Rob Pontious

Rob Pontious works in web commerce by day and is a writer for KnowDirectionPodcast.com's #InvestingIn, a player for Roll for Combat's #ThreeRingAdventure podcast, and also a player for GehennaGaming's #GehennaValley MonsterHearts2 twitch stream. He's a lover of TTRPGs for over three decades, a gamer, and a GAYMER. You can find him on social media as @silentinfinity.