Having planted the seed, the idea began to develop. I decided I wanted to use the rules in the Faction Guide since none of the Pathfinder games I've been in have used them (and I was unaware of them at all until Munchkin Pathfinder included parody of the faction rules). I also wanted something a little more black-and-grey than the other Pathfinder games I've been in and to set something in Golarion; rather than do my own world-building, both because I was interested in the setting and because I wanted this to be relatively low prep.
The Inner Sea World Guide has a section discussing where specific classes are appropriate, and it has magi in both the Technic League of Numeria, and the Hellknights of Cheliax. Both organizations fit my needs for a more morally ambiguous faction. I proposed both the options to the potential players, and they chose (fairly unanimously) the Technic League.
By happy coincidence, as I was working on this, Paizo released Numeria, Land of Fallen Stars, The Technology Guide, and the Iron Gods adventure path. I quickly bought the pdf versions of these books as well as the Faction Guide and started working on my game.
I discovered that the Technic League does not seem to have any official faction stats. Lords of Rust (Iron Gods part 2) includes an article about the league, but lacks the Faction Guide stats for it. So I wrote my own.
Running Iron Gods would save me a lot of work, and the adventure path itself seemed fun and interesting enough, but my decision to have the PCs be members of the Technic League conflicted with the antagonistic role of the league in Iron Gods.
"Because the Iron Gods Adventure Path takes place in Numeria, some players might want to create characters who are members of the Technic League. In Numeria, the Technic League are sadists and brutal manipulators of the government. In Iron Gods, they act as antagonists starting with the very first adventure. Player characters should not be members of the Technic League, nor should they aspire to join the League’s ranks." -Iron Gods Player's Guide p. 7I decided to try to run Iron Gods despite this; adapting as needed. The league does not appear as direct antagonists until late in the adventure path, and even then it is a faction within the league with ulterior motives unknown to the league at large. Since the league is fractious and chaotic, I should be able to adapt the later stages in the adventure into an internal covert conflict between sub-factions.
The league's canonical practice of having each member be patronized by a specific captain (thereby splitting the league into a ready made sub-faction for each captain) set this up nicely. I assigned each of the PCs a patron among the council of Captians and gave each of these an agenda that either conflicts directly or is totally disruptive of the path's primary antagonist. I'll discuss the PCs and their patrons more in a future post.
As of this post we've finished Fires of Creation and are nearly done with Lords of Rust. So far it's been a pretty successful campaign, and I haven't had any problems with running it "backwards" with the PCs as members of the nominally antagonistic Technic League. I'll try to post a brief summary of the campaign so far, and session recaps for all future sessions.