Starfinder Society Roleplaying Guild Scenario #1-08: Sanctuary of Drowned Delight PDF

****½ (based on 8 ratings)

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A Starfinder Society Scenario designed for levels 3-6.

In order to retrieve valuable resources necessary to repair the Wayfinders' flagship, the PCs follow-up on another team's investigative mission to a long-abandoned Starfinder Society lodge on a world in the Vast. Finding the lodge submerged and already partially flooded, the PCs quickly realize they are far from alone in the depths of the distant world's ocean.

Content in Sanctuary of Drowned Delight also contributes to the ongoing goals of the Wayfinders faction.

Written by Kate Baker

Starfinder Society Scenario Tags: Faction (Wayfinders)

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****½ (based on 8 ratings)

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Quirky but short

****( )

The overall tone of this scenario is quirky and the scenario was quite short.

A Nice Dark Mix of RP, Combat, and Investigation



I ran this at Subtier 3-4 using the four-player adjustment. There’s a really nice mix of combat, role-playing, and investigation in this one. It’s a darker story that’s told really well and opens up some new possibilities for future SFS storylines. And although it is a more complex one to run as a GM, it’s definitely worth it.


During their initial briefing with Fitch, the Wayfinders Faction leader, the PCs learn that their mission involves the ocean-planet of Arniselle, located in the Vast. Over a century ago, the Starfinder Society set up a lodge on Arniselle as a staging area for further explorations, but eventually decided to withdraw and abandon the base. Now, however, the Starfinder Society is in desperate need of a mineral called clophirium in order to rebuild its flagship, The Master of Stars. Arniselle was known to have extensive clophirium deposits, so, several weeks ago, the Society sent its special aquatic-operations team, the Manta Corps, to Arniselle to reopen the old lodge (it's submerged underwater). However, the Manta Corps haven’t reported back, so the PCs’ job is to find out what happened to them and if the lodge is salvageable.

It’s a classic adventure hook (“we sent in a team; they never returned, so now we’re sending you!”) with the nice twist that the PCs need to prepare themselves for an underwater mission. I do think it’s kind of funny that a random assortment of PCs are sent to discover what happened to an elite aquatic special forces team, but I can suspend disbelief—these things happen all the time in fiction. The Manta Corps appear briefly in # 1-04 (“Cries From the Drift”), so having players who were in that scenario adds a bit to the story here. As an aside, I really liked how Fitch’s briefing kept getting interrupted by her kids (who just won’t go to bed)—it added a nice touch of humor and most working parents will sympathize. The more personality and depth the NPCs have, the better.

The journey to Arniselle through the Drift is interrupted only by the appearance of a Xenowarden ship broadcasting information about endangered flora and fauna. There’s some info about renkrodas that I assume is a hint for an upcoming scenario, much the way the encounters with the Manta Corps back in # 1-04 was for this one. Unfortunately, there’s not really any way for the PCs to interact with the Xenowarden vessel or this information, so it just kind of sits there. I think the writers need to do a better job with Drift travel in order to bring out just how weird the dimension is and to avoid the “5d6 days pass and nothing happens” syndrome. It doesn’t need to even be space combat—perhaps a skill challenge to repair part of the ship, talking down a passenger with cabin fever, etc.

Once the PCs arrive on Arniselle, they have no trouble finding the sunken lodge. The entire rest of the adventure takes place there. This scenario has a structure that is different than most in that it combines room-based exploration with an overlay of events that trigger in sequence. This requires additional preparation by the GM, because the necessary information to run a given encounter may be scattered in different parts of the scenario (I’d suggest preparing a flow-chart of some kind to keep track of when different events trigger). Anyway, the lodge is now occupied by a race of sentient walrus-like creatures call morlamaws. The morlamaws are a religious sect that worship a local deity of endurance named The Weeping Knight. They’re friendly and allow the PCs to come in and look around, saying that the Manta Corps did visit but then left without explanation. One room contains an encounter with some old, malfunctioning Starfinder Society security robots. In a really nice bit of writing, the robots will stand down if any of the PCs can show them the SFS ID hologram they could have implanted during # 1-01 (“The Confirmation.”). Making little things like that useful instead of forgotten about is what allows boons to feel worthwhile.

After doing some exploration of the lodge, the PCs will start to gather some clues that point to a more suspicious explanation of what happened to the Manta Corps. And during triggered events like a dinner and a sermon on The Weeping Knight, the PCs may start to realize what the rank-and-file members of the sect don’t know: the The Weeping Knight is actually Zon-Kuthon, the evil god of pain, suffering, and darkness! An attack by sea serpents gives the PCs their first taste of underwater combat, and one of the things I really liked about this was that what’s at stake isn’t just the usual winning or losing but that one of serpents is thrashing and will destroy a display case containing sacred objects (and a datapad with clues to clophirium deposits) unless the PCs act quickly to stop it.

An event then triggers soon after the battle that involves the sect’s leader, Oshessa, inviting the PCs into her private quarters. Oshessa knows full well that the Weeping Knight is really Zon-Kuthon, and she wants to convert the PCs. But her attempt is interrupted by her senior lackey bursting in through a secret door shouting “The Starfinder is dying!” It turns out that Oshessa poisoned three of the four members of the Manta Corps (feeding their bodies to the sea serpents) and is now torturing the fourth to try to get her to convert! Obviously, a battle breaks out and it’s a pretty good one that could go either way (Oshessa’s poison glove is particularly dangerous). What the players I ran this for didn’t realize was that “The Starfinder is dying!” was a literal statement (not just cinematic fluff), and that if they don’t get to the Manta Corps member within ten rounds, she dies—and that’s just what happened. Again, I’m in favour of anything that adds a sense of urgency to combat.

Assuming Oshessa and her flunky are defeated, the PCs have a chance to convince the other morlamaws (who didn’t know what their leader had done) to assist the Starfinder Society in finding the clophirium. If they do, the morlamaws become a playable race, which is pretty cool. They’re not going to knock anyone’s socks off mechanically, but players who are in to the RP aspects of gaming have earned another interesting option.

All in all, I really liked this scenario. It has a nice feel to it, as the PCs gradually realize what’s really going on in the Lodge. I like darker storylines, and those kalo getting murdered and fed to sea serpents is pretty nasty! There’s a really nice mix of role-playing in this one as well, as several morlamaw NPCs are given distinct personalities. I think my only critique is that the way the events cascade tend to take away PC agency: no matter what clues they do or do not gather, Oshessa’s flunky is still going to burst into the room contrivedly shouting “The Starfinder is dying!” and give up the whole charade. It removes that interesting dilemma for players of when/how/where to confront the cultists with what they think is the truth. Still, this is a great scenario with a satisfying story.

The more you prep and read, the better this becomes


This scenario was easy to follow, but as a GM it really pays to prep by having a solid read and paying attention to the way the whole thing comes together.

It's a bit of a mystery/whodunnit type caper and it plays well to the sort of group who are keen to gather information and get to the bottom of what has taken place.

This offers a 'first contact' adventure with some fun twists, and some interesting combats (that don't feel bolted on).

Thanks to the author for coming up with a fresh bit of content that was tasty and fun!

Under the Sea... Under the Sea...

****( )

Based on my thoughts as a GM in my local gaming store…

Sanctuary of Drowned Delight was definitely a bold scenario. The scenario mixes elements of first (second) contact with an alien species, a bit of a whodunit mystery, and has it all wrapped up in a unique setting that includes the Starfinder Society’s first ever underwater combat. While I didn’t rate this as the very top tier of SFS scenarios so far (for me that’s 1-01, 1-05, and 1-09, having GMed, and in some cases played, every SFS scenario through 1-09 as of writing this), its unique flavor and willingness to try things no other SFS scenario has done so far puts it near the top of the second tier. Details below.

The beginning

So the PCs have to fly off to a planet off in the Vast where the SFS used to have a lodge to find the thing to make the old starship work for the Wayfinders. Easy enough. A few of my PCs were a bit confused by the shift in tone in the scenario upon meeting the morlamaws – “aren’t we supposed to be here to find resources?” they asked, while trying to find a way to get back to exploring outside the lodge. Maybe they weren’t curious enough about the fate of the missing Manta Corps, and fortunately they stuck around long enough to get the feeling something wasn’t right.

The middle

My PCs did the scenario’s events mostly in order so I didn’t have to deal with them trying to spring an accusation after the first or second event, even though they thought things seemed off with Oshessa from the religious service on. The only somewhat unusual situation that I ran into was when Oshessa made her offer to the PCs to join the cult – they literally laughed out loud and wondered how in the world she thought they would be interested in joining after all of the snooping around they were doing (and, in one instance, were caught doing). Combined with Teltham’s entrance into the room immediately after made for a somewhat confusing transition into the final combat.

The end

The scenario wrapped up nicely, so I’ll take this section to talk about the morlamaw race boon and how it was presented. In short: I love how it was introduced. Being large monstrous humanoids with the aquatic subtype, morlamaws are a bit more complicated than the core or legacy races and probably shouldn’t be played by somebody who’s playing a pre-gen at 1-08 as their first game of Starfinder. Giving everyone (eventual) access to the race while locking it behind what is effectively a “time played” requirement – much in the same way as the barathu is locked behind 12 unique played scenarios from the alien archive boon – is a great way to introduce weirder races (not that the Shirren or Kasatha, for example, are terrible “normal”) without overwhelming either new GMs with new groups or individual new players. Especially with the Wayfinders being the “first contact” faction, I’m a big fan of the direction paizo took with introducing the morlamaws as a playable race.

All in all, this was a very solid and enjoyable scenario. It also didn’t seem like an obvious call out to a particular sci-fi/fantasy genre like early season 1 SFS scenarios did (1-02, 1-03, 1-04, for instance), and not that there’s anything wrong with that, but this scenario felt very much like what I think a Starfinder scenario should feel like on its own merits. Great job on this one!

(P.S.: While GM prep is a must, that shouldn’t intimidate people away from running the scenario. I’d definitely avoid running it without doing at least one thorough read through first, but it should be easy enough to keep track of after a few read throughs and some notes.)

Good first contact mixed with whodonit, a few flaws

****( )

So this scenario is overall well executed. It's a great first-contact scenario (well, technically, SECOND contact) but it also has a strong whodoneit element. So if you aren't engaged with the first contact stuff, the mystery stuff should keep you engaged.

There is one kind of downside that holds it back. It is possible to find out very early on that there's something not right going on, and to get some good clues that things aren't as they seem, but literally you can't act on this information without turning the entire facility of (mostly) innocent species hostile . . . so you just have to wait for this specific event to trigger. Really boring that the PCs can't forward the plot, but have to wait for a plot point that (in universe) is random chance. But that's the only flaw, otherwise quite good.

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Pathfinder Starfinder Society Roleplaying Guild Subscriber

Why am I getting shades of the 1989 film Leviathan?

Silver Crusade

I was thinking The Abyss (also from 1989).

Dark Archive

Did this get switched from february to january?

Paizo Employee Organized Play Lead Developer

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Marco Massoudi wrote:
Did this get switched from february to january?

It did, as should be explained in an imminent blog.

Starfinder Society Developer

As a heads up...

Maps for #1–08: Sanctuary of Drowned Delight[/spoiler:
-This scenario uses one custom map.

Liberty's Edge

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Space Walruses look neat.

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting Subscriber

I love that cheerful face on page 15

Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Did this release already? My subscription order went through on Tuesday, but it's still showing with a "pending" status.

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Roleplaying Guild Subscriber
Joe De Bari wrote:
Did this release already? My subscription order went through on Tuesday, but it's still showing with a "pending" status.

Apparently there was some issue with all the SFS orders that there trying to fix. Im in the same boat with the order stuck at pending. There was a thread in the customer service forums saying that they were aware and trying to get it sorted today.

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Card Game, Class Deck, Starfinder Society Roleplaying Guild Subscriber

It's out.

Big Spoiler!:
And a new playable race :)

Paizo Employee Customer Service Representative

Please don't forget to add spoiler tags to anything that may spoil the scenario or its rewards for anyone.

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber
Jorsalheim wrote:
It's out. ** spoiler omitted **


Oh! Oh, my. This might be the happiest I've been since being unable to successfully beg a skittermander boon. This might even be better than a skittermander. Maybe. It's definitely bigger than a skittermander. Or even 2-3 skittermanders stuffed into a walrus costume. Well done, O Purveyor Of The PC Space Walrus!!!

I can't wait to run this, so I can post a proper review!

Paizo Employee Organized Play Lead Developer

5 people marked this as a favorite.
Diego Valdez wrote:
Please don't forget to add spoiler tags to anything that may spoil the scenario or its rewards for anyone.

To reiterate what Diego wrote, please place anything that might spoil the scenario or its rewards in spoiler tags.

That includes:

  • References to playing morlamaws
  • Excitement about including playable races on Chronicle sheets
  • Anticipation of playing a Large technomancer with flippers
  • We're glad that folks are enjoying this scenario so far, but please place those references in spoiler tags where someone glancing at the product page won't have the scenario's contents spoiled.

    1 person marked this as a favorite.
    Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber

    If any GMs are looking for appropriately-sized, unpainted minis similar to what is on the cover, this is the best (also only) one I could find.

    (Tried to make a link out of this, but couldn't.)

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