Starfinder Society Roleplaying Guild Scenario #1-05: The First Mandate PDF

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A Starfinder Society Scenario designed for levels 1-4.

With a new generation of Starfinders already accomplishing great deeds within the Pact Worlds and beyond, First Seeker Luwazi Elsebo is ready to announce the Starfinder Society's next initiative that will define her tenure. The PCs attend a gathering at the Lorespire Complex to socialize with several visiting dignitaries, each instrumental in the Society's survival following the Scoured Stars Incident. Nothing is as it seems, though, and when Radaszam, leader of the Acquisitives faction, uncovers a plot against the First Seeker, the PCs need to step in and ensure the Society's public event doesn't end in disaster!

Content in The First Mandate also contributes to the ongoing goals of the Acquisitives and Second Seekers (Luwazi Elsebo) factions. Content in this scenario also contributes to the ongoing Year of Scoured Stars storyline

Written by Lyz Liddell.

Starfinder Society Scenario Tags: Faction (Acquisitives), Faction (Second Seekers [Luwazi Elsebo])

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PZOSFS0105E


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****( ) (based on 10 ratings)

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Exposition and short

***( )( )

Playing this scenario gave a lot of exposition but our party was able to complete this within 90 minutes.


Short but sweet

***( )( )

We clocked this at two hours, playing Tier 1-2.

It's a fun scenario, but structurally unbalanced. Around half the content is in an extended role-play scene that, if the GM or the players don't feel like giving the proper dedication, can be run through in about 20 minutes with complete success. Since the GM has to juggle six NPCs simultaneously, I wouldn't be able to even blame them for it. This is hard. Even dedicating proper time to the interactions will make the scenario run short.

However, they are interesting NPCs and taking the time to bring them to life is well worth it – especially since one of them is showing up later in what promises to be one of the standout scenarios of the season. The social influence subsystem is fairly involved, but functional. This is not a scenario that can be run cold.

Another noteworthy aspect of the scenario is the finale, which is properly difficult but may also have a few too many moving parts. How the scene works is not entirely intuitive and the villain's skittishness and ease of escape doesn't leave a great deal of margin of error. This latter part, for the record, is not a problem in my book and I enjoy scenarios that allow the PCs to fail without killing them.

In conclusion, I think The First Mandate's major issue is that it's too short. On the other hand, its structure is sleek and functional and I'm not entirely sure where it could have been beefed up with another encounter.


A Gala goes a little off course

***( )( )

<Played through this one at low-tier in a Play by Post, then reviewed the PDF from the perspective of a GM>

The First Mandate revolves around a gala event celebrating the successes of the Starfinder Society in the wake of the Scoured Stars event. The PCs are invited to take part and help impress the visitors, and of course, things at the gala take a turn for the worse. All in all its a tight concept with some fun interlinking parts, such as the way the people you manage to influence in turn have an effect on later parts of the scenario. On the other hand, it relies HEAVILY on having a good GM for not only the large degree of RP, but also to tie together a scenario whose events don't quite gel logically.

The Good (spoilers):
- Cool concept of finding and unraveling a plot to assassinate the First Seeker. There are a couple of moments that really feel like you're uncovering things yourself rather than being on rails (unlocking the computer and making sense of both the scale shine and hair styling products was the part that really stood out as fun).

- Lots of information in the scenario to help bring life to the NPCs. The variety of NPC dignitaries helped to attract different members of the party and give all the PCs a role to play.


The Bad (spoilers):
- One of my pet-peeves in PFS and SFS is what I call "skill-spam" encounters. Basically any part of the scenario that involves attempting skills over and over to satisfy some hidden counter, arbitrary target, or just to fill a set amount of time. There's something so mind-boggling soulless in the experience, no matter what kind of glue ties it together. This scenario has skill-spam in spades, as you have multiple rounds of roleplay and then skill checks by every single player. The roleplay is fun, rolling skills for an arbitrary number of rounds is not.

- There is precious little context to the gala other than "people are here to celebrate the Starfinder Society's return". The players get blurbs that help them guess how to suck up to each of the guests, but there's no larger goal in sight other than the suck up to them. It makes the whole thing feel kind of pointless. This is reinforced later by the First Seeker's announcement being almost nothing of importance.

- Risking the First Seeker's life in order to show off to some dignitaries makes little sense (especially ironic when considering the Scoured Stars), and full boons for the scenario rely on doing the flashy and stupid tactic rather than the safe one. This weirdness took me out of the story immediately.

- The whole disarming the bombs scenario makes little sense and assumes the PCs reach conclusions that they have little reason to reach. PCs have no reason to trust that there are only 5 bombs. They have no reason to believe that Triloteya would stick around. They have no way to know (in character) that distracting Triloteya is necessary unless they've already found her. And most of what counts as a distraction makes little to no sense... why would Triloteya spend any time paying attention to Zo! for example? All of these elements feel super arbitrary! In my run most of them had to be conveyed to us out of character.

- The combats are very plain, with open, unobstructed rooms and few targets. You can have a scenario that minimizes combat but still have fun encounters. These were very basic and pretty dull.


For the RP Enthusiasts

****( )

Note: I originally hand-wrote this review during a really boring meeting! It's probably a bit rough, but the essential theme should be there. I ran this scenario at low tier using the four-player adjustment.

NO SPOILERS

The First Mandate is a great scenario for Starfinder players who are looking for a role-play heavy experience. It's perfect for skill monkeys, with combat taking a backseat. There are some great, well-fleshed out NPCs, though admittedly the plot is pretty basic. I'd recommend it as an opportunity for non-combat oriented characters to shine.

SPOILERS

The centrepiece of The First Mandate is a major gala at Starfinder Society headquarters. First Seeker Luwazi Elsebo has invited several guests with powerful connections to hear a major announcement about the future direction of the organization. The PCs are asked to persuade some of these major players to lend their support (both moral and financial) to the SFS. In game terms, this takes the form of an RP-heavy skills challenge, where the PCs are given a set number of opportunities to influence five different NPCs. Each of the NPCs has an interesting and memorable personality with their own interests and ways of being persuaded. It's not all Diplomacy, as skills as diverse as Acrobatics to Medicine can be used to impress certain NPCs. (I appreciated the full-colour artwork of the NPCs, and recommend GMs use the pictures to help the players remember who they're interacting with each round.) I thought this "social encounter" was a really clever way to get everyone involved in the teamwork necessary for success, and it's always fun to role-play a fancy, formal gala when most PCs are going to be hulking vesks or carrying an armory's worth of weaponry. The coolest thing is that the particular NPCs that are influenced take part in events later in the scenario.

After this RP-intensive encounter, the PCs are approached by Radaszam, head of the Acquisitives faction, with news that a potential assassin has been traced to a warehouse in the Sparks neighborhood of Absalom Station. The PCs, of course, are sent to raid the warehouse. They won't find an assassin, but (after probably setting off a nasty trap) will do battle against a pair of creatures called "electrovores" and then find clues that point to the assassin being a shapechanger who plans to set explosives to kill Luwazi Elsebo! It's not the most creative encounter (the electrovores are kinda run-of-the-mill and are present more because combats are expected in scenarios), but it does advance the plot.

After the PCs rush back to the gala, a really fun and tense encounter begins. The PCs can play it safe by having Radaszam's mercenary outfit take care of finding/defusing the bombs or the PCs can take the riskier (but more impressive to the dignitaries) strategy of handling both the bombs and the assassin at the same time. It's a delicate balance, because one misstep leads to the assassin pressing that detonator button, and it would be quite easy for the PCs to fail magnificently. The group I ran this for succeeded as much through luck as strategy.

Assuming the PCs are successful in stopping the bombs and the assassin, the end of the scenario is a bit of a let-down. There's no explanation as to why Luwazi was targeted, whether the assassin was hired or acting alone, etc. And more, Luwazi's big announcement (that she's going to try to solve the "Scoured Stars" problem and recover the lost Starfinders) isn't exactly a big surprise. It comes off as anti-climactic given all the work put into supporting the effort and saving Luwazi's life.

All in all, though, I thought The First Mandate was a solid scenario. It's a nice change of pace, with a great social encounter and an original encounter combining skills and combat. It's not a scenario that will find great favour with the "combat combat combat" crowd, but for most others it should be a satisfying experience.


Top Notch concept, execution has opportunities for improvement

***( )( )

A fun adventure with excellent NPCs and story. The danger is overtuned for first level characters, who risk dying before initiative is rolled for the first time in the module. The first combat could result in a total team kill at first level.

Action economy on the role-playing encounter could have used some improvement, and small teams can have a very hard time achieving the objective.

Ideally: have six players, all of different classes, at second level, then the adventure will be fun, and you won't have a 25% chance of dying in the first combat encounter.


1 to 5 of 10 << first < prev | 1 | 2 | next > last >>
Scarab Sages

1 person marked this as a favorite.

First Blakros Matrimony/Hellknight's Feast quest in Starfinder?

Sovereign Court

1 person marked this as a favorite.

As you said Roc i'm hoping this will introduce the different major players, Hellknight, Blakros, and maybe the different Planetary Governments of SFS Universe.

Starfinder Society Developer

1 person marked this as a favorite.

There's certainly elements of the Blakros Matrimony & Hellknight's Feast in this scenario. We'll also be introducing several new NPCs, each with significance for our inaugural season and beyond. This scenario also acts as the first major "season metaplot" scenario, where we start digging a bit more into the Scoured Stars mystery.

Grand Lodge

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps Subscriber

Oh! I am looking forward to GMing this one!

Hmm

Liberty's Edge

What maps will be called for in the scenario? (I keep asking because I own no pathfinder maps and three have been called for to date. I need to order in advance.)

Starfinder Society Developer

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Maps Appearing in Starfinder Society Scenario #1–05: The First Mandate:

-Pathfinder Map Pack: Starship Corridors
-Pathfinder Map Pack: Starship Chambers


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Roleplaying Guild Subscriber

Is this out yet? it looks like its available for purchase and is part of the society subscription (which I am a subscriber) but its not in my downloads


Heh we managed to soft lock this one.

A Solarian, a Soldier, an Envoy, and a Mystic all walk into a scenario. Nobody has computers. At s certain point the GM had to improvise because it wasn't possible to progress the story.

Shadow Lodge

HWalsh wrote:

Heh we managed to soft lock this one.

A Solarian, a Soldier, an Envoy, and a Mystic all walk into a scenario. Nobody has computers. At s certain point the GM had to improvise because it wasn't possible to progress the story.

It was possible, just hard to find :) You get directions from an orc.

Spoiler:
A bigger issue is getting the hidden files off of the computer. Without that can you still ID the assassin to split the party and go for both objectives? The conversation with Rhadazam seems to assume that you did and can identify them.. possibly just off of the curly hair in a can?


Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Is it just me, or does it seem there's a few ridiculously high DCs in this? The computers check for one, and the influence checks as well. You need 20 successful influence checks to get the secondary success condition. Seems crazy.

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Companion, Maps Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Spoiler:
Has anyone see a table run where things didn't go BOOM!!!?


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Starfinder Charter Superscriber

response:
My group kept the bombs from detonating--though admittedly it was sheer luck that when the PCs split up to search, one of them happened to be standing right next to the assassin when she realized what was happening and stood up with the detonator. FYI, there's usually good discussions of the scenarios in the Organized Play GM Thread

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