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Pathfinder Society


Pathfinder Adventure Card Game

Starfinder Society Roleplaying Guild Scenario #1-01: The Commencement PDF

****( ) (based on 14 ratings)

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A Starfinder Society Scenario designed for levels 1-2.

All Starfinders complete their training by conferring with Guidance—a network of uploaded personalities embodying paragons from the Starfinder Society's history. Before receiving the blessing of Guidance, the PCs must meet with and assist critical missions on behalf of key leaders of the Society's leading factions. With the events of the Scoured Stars Incident still fresh in everyone's memory, there's plenty that needs doing to set the Society back on track.

The Commencement is a replayable scenario designed to help introduce players to the factions of the Starfinder Society and areas of importance on Absalom Station.

Written by Eleanor Ferron.

Starfinder Society Scenario Tags: Repeatable

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Product Reviews (14)
1 to 5 of 14 << first < prev | 1 | 2 | 3 | next > last >>

Average product rating:

****( ) (based on 14 ratings)

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Setting the Scene for Starfinder Society

****( )

Recently played through this scenario (by PbP on the forums, for what its worth) and then went back with my GM glasses on to take a look at the scenario write up. This scenario is great fun and more than a little bit silly & lighthearted. The stakes are low (for the most part) and there are colorful and ridiculous NPCs wherever you turn. As an introduction to Starfinder Society it falls a bit flat, only providing the vaguest of outlines about each of the factions. It also has some issues for tone, perhaps an over-reliance on skill checks, and a lack of unifying narrative. As a result, I don't think this is the best scenario to introduce a new player to Starfinder Organized Play, though its certainly a very fun scenario on its own merits.

The Good:
There are some great and varied mini-quests here. The junk race is a subsystem done incredibly right. Its well tuned to provide a decent chance of success if the players prep well, while also allowing for plenty of suspense as the dice can spell doom for the PCs efforts. The scenario write-up manages to provide a lot of hooks and advice for the GM in a fairly small space, covering most of the approaches the PCs might attempt: social, skills, trickery, and more.

The Exo-guardians pit players against a very bizarre alien, and while its unlikely to down any players, it can feel pretty threatening at first level! At the same time the PCs get a juxtaposition against buying an album for a diehard fan. This scenario does an amazing job of characterizing Ziggy as an eccentric to match some of the colorful VCs we met back in Pathfinder.

The Bad:
The Wayfinders mission feels like it was crunched for page space. There is almost nothing to subduing the alien. Not enough detail about the creature and environment is provided to allow for RP-ing a solution that makes sense. Instead, skill-checks stand in for narrative development in a terribly awkward way. This is one of my pet peeves in PFS scenarios (when what could be interesting encounters/tasks are reduced to a series of skill checks), so I'm sad to see it here.

The worst is probably the Dataphiles mission though. Some of my issues with it:

  • The mission requires you to steal previously stolen data, and then rather than returning it to its rightful owner, you need to hand it over for the personal enrichment of the Dataphiles faction leader. Lawfully aligned characters will likely have an issue with such an act, and even chaotic characters may balk (as it seems suicidal to go up against a giant corp for such a vague benefit).

  • While the briefing prioritizes recovery of the data, with recruitment of the hacker as a secondary objective, the write-up focuses almost entirely on helping the hacker. There isn't even any information on where the data (the contents of which is never explained) might reside for players that want to prioritize the stated objective! This mission presupposes that the players will follow a very narrow track and provides little to no detail on alternative solutions (literally the only alternative suggested is what happens if the PCs kill Ceren, even though there should be plenty of other options).

  • Furthermore managing to fool a giant corporation and all its resources is thematically out of line with what a 1st level character should be able to accomplish. If the players (seemingly rightly) assume they don't stand a chance of forging Ceren's death and new identity, they are likely to try a different strategy. There is simply not enough structure or information here for the GM to resolve alternative solutions without creating things entirely from scratch. On top of that, a PC group that invents their own method of helping Ceren and/or retrieving the data is explicitly rewarded with 0 bonus rewards (the scenario only grants the bonus if the death certificate / new identity are well prepared).

  • This is another mission where things boil down to out-of-character GM prodding and skill checks (especially if you want to do your players a solid and not let them miss out on rewards). Ugh!
  • Despite a few issues, there is a lot room here for both fun RP and interesting encounters. With the junk race as a highlight, I can absolutely recommend this scenario to existing PFS/SFS players!


    Crunchy yet satisfying

    ***( )( )

    I had a sense of foreboding when I first played this one, which was later justified when I tried running it. What a check-heavy event! You know the one.

    In general, this is a great introduction to the tone and personality of the very first season of the Starfinder Society. My 701 is a die-hard fan of Strawberry Machine Cake and I can't say I'm alone in that. It feels a little unfair to rate this one, but despite the tight mechanics on this one, the later scenarios show how much the writing has improved since.


    A Great Intro to the Starfinder Society

    *****

    The scenario was a good series of mini-quests that served to introduce the PCs to various movers and shakers in the Starfinder Society's different factions. While mostly unrelated fetch quests, the scenario serves as a good introduction to the rules of everything except starship combat (go to Into the Unknown for that). Despite the nature of the assignments, each of the primary NPCs seems unique and memorable for what their faction is interested in. Recommended for a great first scenario!


    A fun series of disconnected fetch quests

    ***( )( )

    I GMed this for 3 players with 1st level characters and the pregen Altronus.

    My players enjoyed some parts of it

    Spoiler:
    The junkrace and the Dataphiles quests were very popular.

    even though they did not like the disconnected character of each of the faction head's quests. Their verdict was 3.5 stars.

    I am rounding it down to 3 because there are a few things I did not like behind the screen: some descriptions just were very lacking in detail and had to be beefed up by the GM to keep things interesting.

    All in all, a solid, if not spectacular scenario.


    Great scenario with minor issues

    *****

    I've played this twice and GM'd it 3 times.

    The bad:
    The Acquisitives task WILL run long if you're not proactive as the GM.
    The Wayfinders task is easy to end up being just a few skill checks and done in 5 minutes (especially if it's done last and the above ran long).

    The not so good:
    Overall, this scenario tends to run long. Partly it's one of the tasks, and partly it's getting players accustomed to new rules. I would not recommend it for a 4 hour slot without an experienced GM.
    The Dataphiles mission leaves the PCs with a lot of agency on "how" to resolve it, without giving the players much info on how they might go about it. It can end up with the GM reading a list of options and the skill checks involved to the players. That's not bad, but it's not ideal.

    The good:
    Ziggy!
    Fitch is not quite as awesome as Ziggy, but is a close second.
    Each of the tasks has a unique mission and feel. It doesn't feel like "generic fetch quests #1-4".


    1 to 5 of 14 << first < prev | 1 | 2 | 3 | next > last >>

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