Leader: Director-General Lin Camulan Headquarters: Bastion, Absalom StationVerces millennia ago, the Stewards were originally a nongovernmental peacekeeping organization dedicated to defending that planet’s unified Ring of Nations and keeping individual countries loyal to the alliance. With the creation of the Absalom Pact binding the worlds of their solar system together, the Stewards found an even higher calling and pledged themselves to this new mission, relocating their headquarters to Absalom Station.
The Stewards operate as elite warrior-diplomats tasked with maintaining the tenuous alliance binding the Pact Worlds together. When new Stewards are sworn in, they renounce all allegiance to their former organizations or home worlds, dedicating their lives instead to protecting the Pact and its citizens. What exactly that protection entails is decided by the Director-General and the Conclave of Legates, but it ranges from policing neutral space lanes and facilitating trade negotiations to ending nascent wars with overwhelming force (and, some whisper, quiet assassinations). While not every group appreciates the Stewards’ meddling, in general their high-minded neutrality is seen as heroic, and even rank-and-file Stewards are admired for their skills and code of conduct. Though their headquarters, the stark citadel called Bastion, is located on Absalom Station, the organization remains totally separate from the government of Absalom Station itself and in fact is technically independent of even the Pact Worlds’ governing council. In practice, the Stewards defer to the council in all but the rarest circumstances, but should the elected officials ever take actions against the letter or spirit of the Pact, the Stewards’ leaders would have the freedom to refuse to serve.
Rank among the Stewards is quasi-military, but individual Stewards often operate independently or in small groups. Along these same lines, the organization maintains a sizable fleet but comparatively small garrisons in their installations on various planets. This is supposedly due to both the skill of individual Stewards and their status as advisors rather than occupiers, and most military actions in the system are carried out by the sovereign governments who hold jurisdiction over the territory in which problems arise. A more concrete reason is the Draws, a network of linked interplanetary wormhole gates in each Steward installation, whose top-secret technology allows ground forces to be transferred instantly to wherever they’re needed most. Violence is always a last resort for the Stewards, however, as to achieve peace through conquest would undermine the very principles they stand for. This refusal to step outside their mandate is both the Stewards’ pride and their weakness, as criminals can easily escape their jurisdiction by jumping out of the solar system or crossing into the territory of a planetary government, forcing the Stewards to work with independent bounty hunters and groups like the Knights of Golarion and the Skyfire Legion. Fortunately, they also aren’t above pushing the edges of the rules or orchestrating elaborate stings to lure the criminals back into Pact Worlds space. As Bastion’s drill sergeants often remind new recruits, while the Stewards must be iron-hard in their dedication to the Pact, there’s nothing that says they have to be stupid about it.