Starfinder Society Roleplaying Guild Scenario #1-13: On the Trail of History

**½( )( ) (based on 4 ratings)

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A Starfinder Society Scenario designed for levels 3–6.

Now possessing key information about the mysteries of the Scoured Stars, the Starfinder Society sends the PCs to a distant star system in the Vast. The idea that the non-spacefaring natives of this system have any connection with the distant Scoured Stars seems unlikely, but it's up to the PCs to confirm if a connection does exist. Other factions complicate the situation by having their own unique agendas relating to the distant world and its peaceful inhabitants.

Content in On the Trail of History also contributes to the ongoing goals of the Second Seekers (Luwazi Elsebo) faction. Content in this scenario also contributes to the ongoing year of the Scoured Stars storyline.

Written by Christopher Wasko

Scenario Tags: Faction (Second Seekers [Luwazi Elsebo]), Starship

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**½( )( ) (based on 4 ratings)

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Well that was a waste of time.

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Spoilers ahead! I feel the biggest reveal about this scenario is that it is terrible. There is nothing redeeming about it and there isn’t any point to it. Afterwards, you find out that the scenario makes all your big choices for you. Don’t worry that the space battle is too hard; win or lose it doesn’t matter at all! Oh, you get to the planet and would like to learn about the item you’re trying to retrieve? Too bad! After finding out that I couldn’t side with the scientists I just gave myself my third infamy and removed my character from play and was done with the pointless scenario. I honestly feel like Hans Moleman locked in the quickie mart and when Apu comes back he wants his 4 minutes of his life backback. Only problem is this took hours to suffer through.

Call a spade a spade

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This scenario is bad.

Played this tonight. And sad to say, this scenario was my first big disappointment in SFS. Spoilers ahead.

To start, the Starship combat. This was absurdly difficult and felt very overtuned. We had an AP boon for a starship and still almost lost. That aside, it was painfully tedious. There were a fairly boring set of tactics used again and again, which I understood to be “as written,” makes an already boring system even more tiresome. Once the mystery ship was defeated, it self destructed. There’s no opportunity for the players to learn anything about their assailant - not even a little. Which is a major bummer. Also the GM is also kept in the dark. To top it off - there’s nothing to salvage. And if you lose, you are towed to safety anyway after being saved by Deus Ex Machina. So really, the entire hour of starship combat is pointless. Why was this not optional? Why is there no info to learn about the attacker? And most importantly, why was this included?

Realistically, that mystery ship will probably be explored more later as we find out more about the Scoured Stars incident. But with zero context for that encounter, it was just a waste of time.

Moving on to the planet. Oh boy. First impression was very Avatar/Dances with Wolves. Thats fine. Tropes work for a reason. But this is SFS. There’s an infamy option for characters, so scenarios should be designed to allow for that. Our table had 4 players that were morally grey. We immediately sided with the money grubbing corporation.

As written, if you do this - and kill, displace, interrogate, etc the local population, you auto fail the scenario. Why? Because only they know of the relic. What’s the relic? More on that later. Also, when you return to the corporation, you are ambushed by them—because they don’t trust you? What the heck.

First you tell us that they want to hire you to kill the locals, then whether you did it or not they attack you? Sounds like a terrible company. And yes, I know they’re evil. Evil doesn’t mean dumb. They did tell us the locals were strong, having already dispatched three Corp squads. But us? Having defeated the locals supposedly are somehow easier marks? This plot smacks of poor design.

There is only one option. Be the good guy. But that wasn’t my character, or any of the others. We are mercenaries. And we were getting paid to do a job. Give us an infamy, sure, but don’t give us zero rewards.

Oh yeah, the relic? What is it? I don’t know. The Second Seekers leader didn’t know. The locals didn’t know. The GM didn’t know, cause it isn’t in the scenario anywhere. I know we want to keep some meta plot secret, but come on—you can do better than this. Being railroaded into retrieving an unknown macguffin is just terrible writing, and was super disheartening to play through.

This entire scenario is a sequence of rolling dice to get a sheet with variable rewards at the end. It sells you the lie of choice and roleplaying, but the only RP at the table came from the players and the GMs ad lib, with no help from the scenario. You learn nothing about the meta plot from this filler scenario, except for a sign saying “more later.” That’s enough to keep people interested a little longer, but only if the filler material is strong. And this isn’t.

One player summed the night for us. “Well, the best part is that we’ll never have to play that again.” Yes, but what about everyone else?


(GMed at high tier)
This is literally the best SFS scenario i have seen until now. The combats where challenging and interesting. There are not 1 but 2 different stories happening and both contain some twists to keep the players engaged. This is especially impressive considering that this a transitional scenario as far as the metaplot is concerned. I was contacted by players afterwards just to tell me how much they enjoyed it! I also need to praise the artist of the Izalguun, it is great when players meet an alien species for the first time and the first thing i hear is "this looks cool, i want to play that".
On a personal note i also like that it sets hooks for multiple sequels besides the main metaplot.

I have a few minor nitpicks from the GM's side. There are many bonuses to certain skill checks that are determined by stuff happening earlier and it was quite hard to keep track of everything. Some sort of handout where you could mark everything would have helped a lot. Also the sandbox part felt sort of bare, i was forced to add a lot of flavor.

All together this means 4 1/2 stars which in this case i can round to 5 stars.
Great work, i hope this sets the standard for future scenarios.

Fun scenario, but a few flaws and annoying space combat

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So played this with an all Lashunta party, soldier, envoy, Mystic, technomancer. Probably should have been harder to talk amongst ourselves in mixed company except we were all telapathic :p

So, first off: the good bits. This continues the scoured stars metaplot in a believable and fun way, with the PCs trying to track down a clue discovered in an earlier scenario. It involves an alien race that our party totally thought was interesting and fresh, and had some great role-play opportunities. Also introduces the idea of a prime-directive like concept that our area has thought was sorely needed in Starfinder.

Downsides: The space combat was just brutal, and we bit it hard. And you know what? No effect on the rest of the scenario! We don’t even get a clue what it was about! I realize it is setting up for something down the line, but there’s no context for it within the scenario.

Also, there is a plot hole in the scenario. Without going too much into spoiler territory, it is pretty easy for Starfinders to figure out something from a cursory glance that the lead scientist of a research facility doesn’t see. I mean, when my Icon former child actor with minimal first aid experience can figure out something that the lead scientist can’t, I consider that a head-scratcher.

Starfinder Superscriber

I have to say I'm really into the ongoing storyline. Excited to play 1-11 and 1-13.

Any chance map spoilers are available?

Starfinder Society Developer

2 people marked this as a favorite.

Map Spoilers!

Maps Appearing in Starfinder Society Scenario #1–13: On the Trail of History:

-Starfinder Flip-Mat: Basic Starfield
-Pathfinder Flip-Mat: Winter Forest
-Half-Page Custom Map

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Thanks for the heads up! :)

Shadow Lodge

Ugh. Two starship scenarios..

Starfinder Society Developer

1 person marked this as a favorite.
BigNorseWolf wrote:
Ugh. Two starship scenarios..

Due to a lot of differing factors, we had to include two starship scenarios in this month. It was part of our 'growing pains' to transition into two scenarios per month. While I understand starship combat isn't everyone's cup of tea (personally I really enjoy them) you can expect us to avoid having two starship scenarios in a month from now on.

Or at the very least: I'll do my best. :)

Pathfinder Starfinder Society Roleplaying Guild Subscriber

When is this supposed to be available? I'm not seeing a date anywhere.

Pathfinder Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

It is already out. I have my PDF for it.

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