GMing Pathfinder Society

Anyone can run Pathfinder Society games. You can run them at home for your friends, at game shops, conventions or at other public venues.

You don’t have to run them as part of the UAE Lodge – but if you want to, we’re here to help.

If you’ve never GMed before, Pathfinder Society play is a great way to learn how. And if you’re an experienced GM, you’ll also find it fun – once you’ve got the hang of it, preparation for a PFS session is pretty quick.

First, you should ensure you’re registered as a PFS player with Paizo. Registration and membership are free, and will enable you to create and report your sessions with PFS headquarters. You’ll also gain GM credits for the sessions you run, which will unlock special boons for your own characters.

Before you start, you should download and read the Pathfinder Society Roleplaying Guild Guide, which you should already have if you’ve played Pathfinder Society games. In particular you should be familiar with how to fill in chronicle sheets, how to calculate which tier to use in a scenario and other GMing rules.

Next, get Paizo’s free Pathfinder Society: GM101 document – a 9-page guide to GMing in general, and GMing Pathfinder Society in particular. Follow its advice, and you will have a rock-solid foundation for your GMing skills. The free Pathfinder Society: GM201 document explores more advanced techniques and situations.

You’re expected to own certain core books (either in print or PDF form): The Pathfinder Core Rulebook and the Pathfinder Bestiary. The Pathfinder Society Field Guide and the Inner Sea World Guide are also useful, and PFS scenarios assume you have them. Most of these are available in print from local game shops; all are available in PDF from Paizo.

Some modules will feature rules or beasts from supplementary rulebooks. If you don’t own those, you’ll probably find the information you need on the Pathfinder Reference Document.

You’ll also want some Pathfinder Society scenarios, or Pathfinder modules or adventure paths that are sanctioned for PFS play. Modules and adventures have supplementary PDFs explaining how to modify them for PFS play.

The current introductory adventure is The Confirmation, designed for Tier 1-2 (1st or 2nd level characters); it’s fun to play, and fun to run, and is ideal for both beginner GMs and beginner players, and serves as a pretty good introduction to both the in-game Pathfinder Society and the real-world PFS Organised Play. It’s got some combat, some roleplaying opportunities and some puzzle-solving.

A good introductory trilogy is to start players with the free Pathfinder module Master of the Fallen Fortress, which gives player-characters an introduction to the Pathfinder Society, follow that up with First Steps Part 1: In Service to Lore (also available free), which features them as novice Pathfinder Society agents and introduces them to several notable NPCs of the campaign, and then run The Confirmation. By the time they’ve done all that, they’ll be second level characters, fully-fledged Pathfinder Society Field Agents, and have a solid sense of the campaign.

Lodge GMing workshops

If you’d rather not learn the ropes on your own, we run occasional informal GMing workshops for players who want to learn how to be a GM. These are publicised on our Facebook group.

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