In addition to the two types of adventures written for Pathfinder Society, some other adventures Paizo produces have been sanctioned for organized play. Since these adventures are published for a wider audience than the Pathfinder Society campaign, there is typically a downloadable sanctioning document with chronicles and any special considerations for organized play.
- Pathfinder Adventure Paths: Multi-volume campaigns that take dozens of game sessions to complete. Many Adventure Paths are sanctioned for use in the Pathfinder Society campaign.
- Pathfinder Adventures: Stand-alone adventure books that take one or more sessions to complete. Many Adventures are sanctioned for use in the Pathfinder Society campaign.
- Pathfinder Bounties: Short one-hour adventures aimed at introducing new players to the game or representing what characters do between Pathfinder missions. Bounties are sanctioned for use in the Pathfinder Society campaign.
- When run as sanctioned adventures, bounties do not give down time.
Modes of Play
The society rules for play are customized to work with Pathfinder Quests and Scenarios, and are not necessarily applicable to other sanctioned adventures. As such, PFS has 2 different modes of play:
Society Mode is used for PFS Scenarios and Quests, and adheres to all the rules published in this guide. Society mode is governed by the Run as Written provisions in Game Master Basics.
Adventure Mode is used for adventures not specifically designed 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.
If Paizo has released an official conversion of a sanctioned adventure to another game system (such as the Pathfinder Kingmaker Bestiary (5e) or Pathfinder Adventure Path: Abomination Vaults (5e)), GMs and players may play these adventures using those rules and earn credit as if they had played it using Pathfinder rules. Adventures that have not been converted by Paizo in this way must be played using standard Adventure Mode rules.
Most Pathfinder Society Scenarios and Quests require the use of a PFS character or PFS sanctioned pregen. Most Adventure Mode sanctioned products can be played with any character; some include pregens, though, and players are encouraged to play those characters for an optimal experience.
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. When playing an adventure using a PFS character, the chronicle *must* be assigned to that character.
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.
Sanctioning Documents (see below) for a specific adventure may modify the rules for characters that can be used with that adventure.
Table: Ruleset / Characters by product
|Ruleset||PFS Characters Only||Story Pregens Required||Story Pregens Recommended*||Campaign Characters|
|Society Mode||Scenario, Quest||-||-||-|
|Adventure Mode||Bounty||Free RPG Day||Beginner Box, One Shot||Adventure, 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 awarded for completion.
GMs should read the sanctioning document carefully, as it may modify the rules for running the adventure or the Adventure's rewards. Specific information in a particular sanctioning document always takes precedence over the general information presented in this Guide.
Unlike Pathfinder Society adventures, Chronicles for Sanctioned Adventures are assigned at the completion of the adventure.
A group can complete an adventure when the adventure is not sanctioned. If it later becomes sanctioned, the GM is allowed and encouraged to issue chronicles to all interested players. These chronicles are applied as if the group had completed the adventure on the date the chronicle is issued. Such chronicles must have an accurate issue date (that is, they cannot be backdated) and cannot be applied such that they retroactively affect other chronicles.