Decemvirate

From PathfinderWiki
Decemvirate
A masked member of the Decemvirate.
(Organization)

Type
Secret ruling council
Headquarters
Goals
Oversee operations of the Pathfinder Society
Scope
Global
Structure
10 members, most masked

The Decemvirate, also known as The Ten,12 is the ruling body of the well-known Pathfinder Society and is headquartered in the Grand Lodge in Absalom. As per the name, it is composed of 10 experienced Pathfinders whose identities and motives have traditionally been shrouded in secrecy, though recent reforms have led to Eliza Petulengro to reveal her identity as one of its members. Members of the Society are sworn to absolutely obey the will of the Decemvirate or risk expulsion or an even darker fate,34 though the panel generally functions as a disciplinary tribunal and high-level planning committee while delegating ground-level administration to venture-captains and factions.12

History

A member of the Decemvirate.

The Decemvirate has existed since 4321 AR, 14 years after the Society's founding, in a committee led by Toriah al-Myran.5 It was created to help manage the increasing complexity of the growing Pathfinder Society, maintain the numerous far-flung Pathfinder lodges, and facilitate communication between members.6 The first Decemvirate was comprised of 10 volunteer field agents recruited by al-Myran's committee.5

The Decemvirate ordered the construction the Grand Lodge's Center House, which was subsequently sealed off in 4400 AR, though little is known about what inspired this action.7

After an attempted coup in 4411 AR, the council adopted anonymity in order to further reduce outside influences. In 4412 AR, the council members all retired and selected successors without revealing their identities,8 and these new members agreed to wear masks even when meeting with each other in order to prevent any Pathfinder from learning their true identities.9 This tradition remained unbroken until Eliza Petulengro shed her mask in 4719 AR, the first Decemvirate member in more than two centuries to do so.1011

Absalom's government laid siege to the Grand Lodge for 12 days in 4621 AR, in a failed attempt to take control of the Pathfinder Society after the Decemvirate refused to submit to the government's demands.7

In 4683 AR, the Decemvirate secured the designation of the then-named Golden Barb, a merchant ship from Ostenso captained by Pathfinder Tal Xtimbuo, after Cheliax banned the Society from several of its ports.12 The Decemvirate would again intervene with the ship, now renamed the Grinning Pixie, in 4719 AR. The Ten replaced Venture-Captain Calisro Benarry as its captain, after a decade of contentious extensions, with Mordant Spire-connected Eras the Needle.13

In 4707 AR, the Decemvirate approved Jorsal of Lauterbury's request to charter a second Pathfinder lodge in Nerosyan, which was then opened in Starrise Spire after signing a mutual defense treaty with Queen Galfrey.14

In 4710 AR, disgruntled Venture-Captain Adril Hestram attempted to assassinate the Decemvirate; although he was foiled, several Decemvirate members were killed or cursed, and Hestram's allies formed the Shadow Lodge that sowed continued disruption and discord.11

In 4711 AR, the Decemvirate met with Amara Li and opened the Lantern Lodge in Absalom's Petal District, which in turn expanded the influence of the Society faction of the same name outside of her native Goka.15

In 4712 AR, the Decemvirate dispatched much of the Society's active force of Pathfinders to Magnimar on Sheila and Canayven Heidmarch's request in order to prevent the Aspis Consortium and cultists of Lissala from reawakening the Runelord Krune.16

The Decemvirate replaced a statue of Durvin Gest in the Grand Lodge's Founder's Garden after it was animated by the Aspis Consortium and subsequently destroyed by Pathfinder agents in 4715 AR.17

In 4719 AR, Seekers in the Society revealed that the graveknight Vahlo Huovar had infiltrated the Decemvirate in service of Tar-Baphon. This deception's revelation, and the subsequent battle to destroy the graveknight and his Decemvirate Helm, inspired Petulengro's decision to shed her Helm and reveal her own identity.11 The Decemvirate also learned of the Open Road Pact in this year, and authorized an expedition and the formation of the Open Road Lodge.18

In 4720 AR, the Decemvirate approved Fola Barun's request to build the Events Hall on the Grand Lodge's grounds for recruitment and social gatherings not deemed appropriate for the grand hall in Skyreach.17

Headquarters

The Decemvirate runs the business of the Pathfinder Society from Skyreach Citadel, a tower of incredible height that is but one of the buildings of the Grand Lodge in Absalom's Foreign Quarter.1920212 Floors of the tower are sealed off from all but the Decemvirate and their invited guests, and only rumors suggest what facilities, artifacts, and hazards they might contain.2

One known room is a scrying chamber, from which the Decemvirate monitor threats, events, and foes—and, some Pathfinders fear, their own agents via their wayfinders.2 Some paranoid Pathfinders have even taken to hiding their wayfinders in extradimensional spaces in order to hide them from the Decemvirate's supposedly prying eyes.11

Members of the Decemvirate also have privileged access to other parts of the Grand Lodge, including the courtyard and halls of Arliss Hall,22 the Repository, and the upper floor of Skyreach.23 However, even the Decemvirate lacks complete knowledge of the Vaults beneath the Grand Lodge.24

Identities

Because their identities are unknown, some say even masked to the gods, members seem ageless. A Decemvirate member who dies passes their role to another through a hidden method, although it is not beyond reason that members of the Decemvirate might age very slowly or are truly immortal.32 Their members wear artifacts known as Decemvirate Helms, which help protect them from scrying and mental assaults, while obscuring their true appearance and letting them see through any illusion.252

From time to time, an unconfirmed rumor will go around the Pathfinder Society that one or more venture-captains have joined the Decemvirate. What is certain is that the Ten's secretive nature allows them to keep an eye on the Society as a whole, while staying above the fray of its internal politics.20

Since Eliza Petulengro shed her secret identity, she has become the target of Absalomian politicians who wish to hold the Society accountable for its perceived crimes and lack of transparency. The Decemvirate's secrecy also breeds contempt and resentment among Pathfinders, who demand transparency from their leaders who hide in safety while dispatching them into dangerous situations.11

Powers and responsibilities

Although the full powers of the Decemvirate, like the identities of its members, are shrouded in secrecy, it is known to have the following responsibilities and powers:

Venture-Captains

Individual Pathfinders report to their venture-captains, most of whom receive three-year commissions from the Decemvirate.26 Venture-captains report directly to the Decemvirate;326 those who fail to do so regularly, or act outside of the Society's values, face inquiries that can lead to their ouster or a refusal to renew their commission.26

Pathfinder Chronicles

The Decemvirate is directly responsible for collecting stories of the best exploits of the Pathfinder Society, and publishing them as the Pathfinder Chronicles. These are then passed on to the venture-captains, who distribute them to the membership at large.3

Secret missions

Each member of the Decemvirate is believed to have access to a small group of elite Pathfinders who perform secret missions outside of the Pathfinders' regular command structure. These include the Three Deans: the masters of the Society's three branches, the Scrolls, the Spells, and the Swords.20

Field commissions

On rare occasions, a person will so distinguish him or herself, either through a ground breaking archaeological discovery or through scholarly work, that he or she will be admitted into the Pathfinder Society without having to go through any testing or training. These are called "field commissions", and only the Decemvirate has the power to bestow them on individuals.27

Founding or closing a Lodge

On rare occasions, the Pathfinder Society closes or opens a Pathfinder Lodge. It only does so by direct charter and approval of the Decemvirate.2826

Maze of the Open Road

The Decemvirate controls the Maze of the Open Road, a magical hedge maze that allows them to travel to far-flung parts of Golarion.2930

Absalom politics

The Decemvirate steers the Pathfinder Society quite clear of any involvement with the internal politics of the Foreign Quarter (where the Grand Lodge is located), or the state of Absalom as a whole. Even though venture-captains (and most likely the Decemvirate as well) run missions within Absalom, they try to avoid ruffling any political feathers among the city-state's politicians. In return, the government of Absalom takes a hands-off attitude toward the Pathfinder Society.21 However, considerable tension remains from the Absalomian government's attempted seizure of the Society in 4621 AR, and the unmasking of Eliza Petulengro as a member of the Decemvirate.711

References

For additional as-yet unincorporated sources about this subject, see the Meta page.

  1. 1.0 1.1 Paizo Inc., et al. “Chapter 1: Introduction” in Pathfinder Society Guide, 6. Paizo Inc., 2020
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 Paizo Inc., et al. “Chapter 2: Pathfinder Society Factions” in Pathfinder Society Guide, 54. Paizo Inc., 2020
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 Tim Hitchcock, et al. “Welcome to the Pathfinder Society” in Seekers of Secrets, 3. Paizo Inc., 2009
  4. Tim Hitchcock, et al. “Welcome to the Pathfinder Society” in Seekers of Secrets, 25. Paizo Inc., 2009
  5. 5.0 5.1 Paizo Inc., et al. “Chapter 1: Introduction” in Pathfinder Society Guide, 8. Paizo Inc., 2020
  6. Tim Hitchcock, et al. “Welcome to the Pathfinder Society” in Seekers of Secrets, 26. Paizo Inc., 2009
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 Paizo Inc., et al. “Chapter 3: Pathfinder Society Lodges” in Pathfinder Society Guide, 64. Paizo Inc., 2020
  8. Paizo Inc., et al. “Chapter 1: Introduction” in Pathfinder Society Guide, 10. Paizo Inc., 2020
  9. Paizo Inc., et al. “Chapter 1: Introduction” in Pathfinder Society Guide, 11. Paizo Inc., 2020
  10. Paizo Inc., et al. “Chapter 1: Introduction” in Pathfinder Society Guide, 13. Paizo Inc., 2020
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 11.3 11.4 11.5 Paizo Inc., et al. “Chapter 2: Pathfinder Society Factions” in Pathfinder Society Guide, 55. Paizo Inc., 2020
  12. Paizo Inc., et al. “Chapter 3: Pathfinder Society Lodges” in Pathfinder Society Guide, 78. Paizo Inc., 2020
  13. Paizo Inc., et al. “Chapter 3: Pathfinder Society Lodges” in Pathfinder Society Guide, 80. Paizo Inc., 2020
  14. Paizo Inc., et al. “Chapter 3: Pathfinder Society Lodges” in Pathfinder Society Guide, 104. Paizo Inc., 2020
  15. Paizo Inc., et al. “Chapter 3: Pathfinder Society Lodges” in Pathfinder Society Guide, 90. Paizo Inc., 2020
  16. Paizo Inc., et al. “Chapter 3: Pathfinder Society Lodges” in Pathfinder Society Guide, 84–85. Paizo Inc., 2020
  17. 17.0 17.1 Paizo Inc., et al. “Chapter 3: Pathfinder Society Lodges” in Pathfinder Society Guide, 66. Paizo Inc., 2020
  18. Paizo Inc., et al. “Chapter 3: Pathfinder Society Lodges” in Pathfinder Society Guide, 98–101. Paizo Inc., 2020
  19. John Compton, et al. Pathfinder Society Guide to Play, 14. Paizo Inc., 2019
  20. 20.0 20.1 20.2 John Compton & Mark Moreland. “Welcome to the Pathfinder Society” in Pathfinder Society Primer, 5. Paizo Inc., 2013
  21. 21.0 21.1 Owen K.C. Stephens. “Places” in Guide to Absalom, 31. Paizo Inc., 2008
  22. Paizo Inc., et al. “Chapter 3: Pathfinder Society Lodges” in Pathfinder Society Guide, 65. Paizo Inc., 2020
  23. Paizo Inc., et al. “Chapter 3: Pathfinder Society Lodges” in Pathfinder Society Guide, 67. Paizo Inc., 2020
  24. Paizo Inc., et al. “Chapter 3: Pathfinder Society Lodges” in Pathfinder Society Guide, 68. Paizo Inc., 2020
  25. F. Wesley Schneider. “Lesser Artifacts” in Artifacts & Legends, 58. Paizo Inc., 2012
  26. 26.0 26.1 26.2 26.3 Paizo Inc., et al. “Chapter 3: Pathfinder Society Lodges” in Pathfinder Society Guide, 62. Paizo Inc., 2020
  27. Tim Hitchcock, et al. “Welcome to the Pathfinder Society” in Seekers of Secrets, 7. Paizo Inc., 2009
  28. John Compton & Mark Moreland. “Vanities” in Pathfinder Society Primer, 29. Paizo Inc., 2013
  29. John Compton & Mark Moreland. Pathfinder Society Primer, inside back cover. Paizo Inc., 2013
  30. Paizo Inc., et al. “Chapter 3: Pathfinder Society Lodges” in Pathfinder Society Guide, 106. Paizo Inc., 2020