Quick Start Guide – Pathfinder Society (2nd edition)

Pathfinder Society Guide to Play (Second Edition) > Quick Start Guide
Current Version: 0.02
Current Version Date 8/5/2019 – 18:00

This short guide is for players who are new to Pathfinder Society. It explains the basics of how to join the Pathfinder Society and play in Pathfinder Society Organized Play games.

Register for Organized Play

To ensure you have access to all the tools and benefits available to our players, you need to register a paizo.com account for organized play.   If you have not yet created an account, you can do so by navigating to paizo.com, clicking “Sign In” in the upper righthand corner of the page, and then clicking the “Create New Account” button and following the instructions on the following pages.

Once you’ve created a paizo.com account, log in and hover over the “My Account” tab in the upper-right corner of the screen and select “Organized Play” from the dropdown menu (for mobile phone users, you may need to tap on “My Account” for the dropdown to appear). This will take you to your personalized Paizo Organized Play page. From here, you can download a copy of your Organized Play ID Card, examine or update any of the characters you register, and view a log of the sessions you’ve played.

To register a new character, click “Register a New Pathfinder Society (2nd edition) Character” near the bottom of the page.

If you don’t have a chance to register before your first game, your Game Master (GM) will give you an Organized Play ID number you can input when you do register to get credit for that game.

Learn the Community Standards

All participants in Organized Play must adhere to the community standards—read through them and uphold them at all Organized Play events and sessions.


Next, you need a character to play. You can either use a pre-generated character or create your own character.

Using a Pregenerated Character

If you don’t have time to create a new character or want to try out a new character class, you can use a pregenerated character, also called a pregen. The Pathfinder Society Roleplaying Guild offers free pregenerated characters based on Pathfinder’s iconic characters, available at paizo.com or from your local event coordinator. You can find more information on pregenerated characters here.

Creating a Character

Character creation for the Pathfinder Society Roleplaying Guild follows the guidelines in the Pathfinder Core Rulebook, with a few additional Roleplaying Guild-specific rules and benefits. Character Creation  contains step-by-step instructions to help you create your own Roleplaying Guild character and explains organization’s special rules and benefits. Read instructions rules carefully to ensure your character is suitable for the organized play campaign. All Pathfinder Society characters must start at 1st level.

Character Options: All of the ancestries, backgrounds, and classes from the Core Rulebook are available to you when creating a character. You may need to spend Achievement Points  to access some ancestries and options from other books before you can use them in organized play. More information on approved resources can be found in the upcoming Character Options document.

Before the Adventure Session

At the game table, introduce yourself to the other players and the Game Master. Take this time to determine which character within the adventure’s tier (range of levels) you want to play—this can be a character you created or a pregenerated character. The GM will also pass around a sign-in sheet to record your character’s name, level, faction, and Organized Play ID (if you don’t have an Organized Play ID yet, your GM can assign you one).  During this time, you also need to decide whether you are using Standard Advancement or Slow Advancement.  (Slow advancement lets you play more scenarios with that same character before you reach the maximum level; standard advancement helps you level up and become powerful more quickly).

During the Adventure

In addition to the game rules in the Core Rulebook, Pathfinder Society Organized Play has several additional rules for gameplay. These are the two most important.

One Character per Adventure

You can have as many active characters as you want in Pathfinder Society. However, you can play only one of your characters during a specific adventure. If a fourth character is needed to meet the minimum number of characters per table, the fourth character must be a pregenerated character. The GM can assign a player to play the pregenerated character as well as their own character, or the GM can allow the group as a whole to choose the pregenerated character’s actions.

No Character-versus-Character Combat

The motto of the Pathfinder Society is “Explore, report, cooperate.” In keeping with the “cooperate” theme, do not engage in character-versus-character conflict. Accidental friendly fire can happen (due to missed attack rolls or other factors), but players must obtain the consent of other players before deliberately including fellow PCs in damaging effects. In such cases, the damage dealer should offer to assist with necessary healing costs. This rule does not apply in situations where a character is not acting of their own free well, such as if they’re being mind-controlled by an NPC and forced to attack a fellow Pathfinder.

After the Adventure

Upon completing an adventure, you’ll receive a Chronicle sheet from the GM. This sheet is a reflection of your accomplishments and includes a recap of your adventure; a log of the Experience Points, treasure access, and wealth gained; and a special boon reflecting your experiences in the adventure. If you created your own character, this Chronicle sheet applies to that character, and you may wish to record the Experience Points you gained, the wealth you spent and earned, and items you bought on your character sheet. If you played a pregenerated character, this Chronicle sheet will apply to the first character you create.

As a player, you are expected to keep accurate, up-to-date records of your characters and bring your Chronicle sheets to every Pathfinder Society event or session. If you don’t bring your Chronicle sheets for a character, you will be unable to play that character, though you can play another character or a pregenerated character of an appropriate level instead. We suggest keeping everything in a binder with an individual folder for each character.

See Chronicle Sheets and Recordkeeping  for information on filling out Chronicle sheets and Negative Effects for how to resolve negative effects at the end of an adventure.

If you haven’t registered for organized play at paizo.com, remember to do so now!

Replaying Adventures

Generally you can receive up to two Chronicle sheets for a given adventure, one for playing an adventure and one for running the same adventure as a GM. Some adventures have the “replayable” tag and can be replayed multiple times. For more information on replayable scenarios, see Replaying Adventures.

Playtest Points

If you already have points or boons accrued during a playtest, see Special Rewards for information on redeeming playtest points and using playtest boons.

Back to: Pathfinder Society Guide to Play (Second Edition)

Related Entries