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Test of the Starstone Module


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I don't normally enjoy high-level 3e play, but I would love to see a module (or perhaps super module) dealing with the Test of the Starstone. Perhaps something along the lines a BBEG planning on using an artifact to cheat the test and ascend to godhood. In order for the PCs to stop the BBEG they must survive the first parts of the test. They stop the BBEG, but a few tests away from the Starstone itself, leaving the option open for the PCs to attempt to ascend into godhood.

Osirion

I'd love that...

I want to know what Cayden went through.

Andoran

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Xaaon of Xen'Drik wrote:

I'd love that...

I want to know what Cayden went through.

So does he! :D

Jeremy Puckett


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
hida_jiremi wrote:
Xaaon of Xen'Drik wrote:

I'd love that...

I want to know what Cayden went through.

So does he! :D

Jeremy Puckett

I'd say at least a tankard of ale during the test. And about 10 before it. :D


Xaaon of Xen'Drik wrote:

I'd love that...

I want to know what Cayden went through.

Bah, anyone can figure out that the Starstone adapts the test according to what kind of deity you're trying to become - so unless you're planning to take Cayden's gig... :p


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It occurs to me that this being the internet, I should probably point out that the above post was not meant to be snarky, but rather aimed for mild irony (with a good deal of self-irony included).


Paizo Superscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Deluxe Comics Subscriber

I think this has been, if not ruled out, at least labelled 'highly unlikely'.

Taldor

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Cards, Companion, Maps, Modules, Pawns, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I'd be interested in reading a story about this, but not having it as an adventure. It's like giving gods HPs - as soon as you do, somebody wants to kill them. As soon as you have a Test of the Starstone adventure, a bunch of people are going to pass it and suddenly newly-minted gods will be a dime a dozen. Again, I'd be interested in learning more about it to gain insight into those who have passed, but not in my wildest dream would I ever want to see a PC take the test.

Besides, as I understand it, the test is different for each person ("What's your favorite color?"), so it'd be hard to create an adventure with one, set test.


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Paizo Superscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Deluxe Comics Subscriber
Mosaic wrote:

I'd be interested in reading a story about this, but not having it as an adventure. It's like giving gods HPs - as soon as you do, somebody wants to kill them. As soon as you have a Test of the Starstone adventure, a bunch of people are going to pass it and suddenly newly-minted gods will be a dime a dozen. Again, I'd be interested in learning more about it to gain insight into those who have passed, but not in my wildest dream would I ever want to see a PC take the test.

Besides, as I understand it, the test is different for each person ("What's your favorite color?"), so it'd be hard to create an adventure with one, set test.

An adventure focussed on the starstone test doesnt have to be structured such that any PCs are going pass it. I'm mulling over a campaign climax adventure for my current players when they reach 16-20 based around the starstone. Essentially a demon lord is trying to usurp Aroden's place - he enters the starstone tower and the PCs have to go in after him to stop him. The sketchy adventure plan is that as the demon has passed through various stages, he's corrupted everything - leaving behind a demon-tainted version of the test which the PCs have to labour through as they chase him. All ending with a desperate bid to stop him at the final moment before his apotheosis.

Paizo could do something like that without leading to the problem you forsee. (And fingers crossed they do, because I'm sure both their concept and execution would be better than mine). However, I seem to remember James Jacobs saying at some point that it was very unlikely they'd ever delve too much into the specifics of the starstone tests.

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 16

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Actually, Steve, the exact opposite has been said. Eric Mona called it the Test of the Starstone just because it sounds like a great module name. James said they aren't ready to do an epic adventure yet, but when they do, the first epic adventure will likely be Test of the Starstone. So it's coming. Not anytime soon, but it's coming.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

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A test of the starstone module is probably the most obvious epic-level adventure we could do for Golarion. If (when) we do this adventure, there's a VERY GOOD chance that it'll involve some sort of additional storyline over and above "So the PCs want to become gods?" but will also ultimately give the GM and the players the chance to do that; to have their PCs become deities after they handle the menace facing the Starstone Cathedral or whatever.

But yeah... this is still quite a long way off. I'd love to do something with this eventually, but we've got a lot of other things to do first. Like, say, figure out how epic-level play works.


Paizo Superscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Deluxe Comics Subscriber
Vigil wrote:
Actually, Steve, the exact opposite has been said. Eric Mona called it the Test of the Starstone just because it sounds like a great module name. James said they aren't ready to do an epic adventure yet, but when they do, the first epic adventure will likely be Test of the Starstone. So it's coming. Not anytime soon, but it's coming.

I can't remember ever having been so pleased to be proven wrong so swiftly. :)

Grand Lodge

James Jacobs wrote:

A test of the starstone module is probably the most obvious epic-level adventure we could do for Golarion. If (when) we do this adventure, there's a VERY GOOD chance that it'll involve some sort of additional storyline over and above "So the PCs want to become gods?" but will also ultimately give the GM and the players the chance to do that; to have their PCs become deities after they handle the menace facing the Starstone Cathedral or whatever.

But yeah... this is still quite a long way off. I'd love to do something with this eventually, but we've got a lot of other things to do first. Like, say, figure out how epic-level play works.

well, you have a little over 2 years to do it in. No need in planning past Dec 23, 2012.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

In a related note, are there epic characters on Golarion? I have the feeling that Golarion isn't riddled with numerous level 20+-characters, in the same way as Faerun is.

Maybe the Test of Starstone is appropriate for 20th level characters, and when they pass it, they are gods.

See, no need for epic levels :)


1 person marked this as a favorite.

this is awesome, ever since I first read about Cayden i wanted to see this as a module. I had an artificer awhile back who always wanted to ascend so it would be interesting to see an actual campaign in which i could players through it... then again i fully expect the kill rate make the tomb of horrors look like a bandit road block in comparison.

and i wouldn't have it any other way :D


D'ya know what'd be really awesome? An epic level boxed set. They could totally put the PFRPG Epic Level Handbook that has been hinted at in the distant future; apparently it will be a smaller book because the WoTC version was packed with locations monsters and other things Paizo may/not include. It would also include the Test of the Starstone maps and a booklet of high-level threats on Golarion and references to others such as Cayden's herald angel.

We all know the fabled treasure chest of bygone days was such a big hit--it's only a matter of time for a follow-up.


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Including the Test of the Starstone would be exactly the thing to make me buy an epic level rule set. In fact, it would be the only reason I would buy it, as epic level play is too complex for fun.

Cheliax

GreatKhanArtist wrote:

D'ya know what'd be really awesome? An epic level boxed set. They could totally put the PFRPG Epic Level Handbook that has been hinted at in the distant future; apparently it will be a smaller book because the WoTC version was packed with locations monsters and other things Paizo may/not include. It would also include the Test of the Starstone maps and a booklet of high-level threats on Golarion and references to others such as Cayden's herald angel.

We all know the fabled treasure chest of bygone days was such a big hit--it's only a matter of time for a follow-up.

Perhaps as a gencon deal?

Then allow the book the be separate, just that if you get the starstone module, you also get the epic level handbook?

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32

Dissinger wrote:
GreatKhanArtist wrote:

D'ya know what'd be really awesome? An epic level boxed set. They could totally put the PFRPG Epic Level Handbook that has been hinted at in the distant future; apparently it will be a smaller book because the WoTC version was packed with locations monsters and other things Paizo may/not include. It would also include the Test of the Starstone maps and a booklet of high-level threats on Golarion and references to others such as Cayden's herald angel.

We all know the fabled treasure chest of bygone days was such a big hit--it's only a matter of time for a follow-up.

Perhaps as a gencon deal?

Then allow the book the be separate, just that if you get the starstone module, you also get the epic level handbook?

Or, better yet, make it a Gencon ONLY deal! I.e., the only way to ever get the module would be from Paizo at Paizocon!


Lord Fyre wrote:
Or, better yet, make it a Gencon ONLY deal! I.e., the only way to ever get the module would be from Paizo at Paizocon!

That doesn't sound "better" at all.

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32

Arnwyn wrote:
Lord Fyre wrote:
Or, better yet, make it a Gencon ONLY deal! I.e., the only way to ever get the module would be from Paizo at Paizocon!
That doesn't sound "better" at all.

That is only because - unlike me - you are not a jerk.


Kajehase wrote:
Bah, anyone can figure out that the Starstone adapts the test according to what kind of deity you're trying to become - so unless you're planning to take Cayden's gig... :p

So, Cayden just had to outdrink David Hasselhoff, and he got to be a god? That's easy, just watch.

*two hours later*Heeeey... gimm himma sanwich.. gimm *THUD!*


Lord Fyre wrote:
Arnwyn wrote:
Lord Fyre wrote:
Or, better yet, make it a Gencon ONLY deal! I.e., the only way to ever get the module would be from Paizo at Paizocon!
That doesn't sound "better" at all.
That is only because - unlike me - you are not a jerk.

You've got a point. :-)


So are we any closer to seeing this than we were almost 2 years ago?


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Shinmizu wrote:
Kajehase wrote:
Bah, anyone can figure out that the Starstone adapts the test according to what kind of deity you're trying to become - so unless you're planning to take Cayden's gig... :p

So, Cayden just had to outdrink David Hasselhoff, and he got to be a god? That's easy, just watch.

*two hours later*Heeeey... gimm himma sanwich.. gimm *THUD!*

Isch the sannich onnan eshcalator?

Spoiler:
Gotta give people who listen to the Now Show some in-joke bonuses.

Silver Crusade

Put me on the side of thinking that this would be a great adventure idea. But on the other hand, it should be damn near impossible to succeed in becoming a god.

I like the idea of some sort of demon/devil bad guy trying to corrupt the Starstone. I'm thinking beating the bad guy should be the main adventure, and a level 20 group should be able to succeed in that.

But actually passing the Test of the Starstone should involve at least a dozen "roll a natural 20 or die in a way that disintegrates your body and prevents coming back" situations. If becoming an actual god isn't at least 100 times tougher than surviving the original Tomb of Horrors, then it's too easy.

But maybe as a reward for saving the Starstone, Cayden himself could step in and save their lives if they fail the final test of godhood, allowing them to "win" the adventure against the bad guy, even if they don't succeed in becoming gods.

Just throwing random ideas out there, as they come to me.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Modules Subscriber

I don't know that I agree it should be hard or unlikely. As a capstone module after a lengthy PC/party career, such a module would be a great way for a DM and his players to end the story. The idea is that you want success, for metagame purposes. It should be designed so the PCs are in the right place at the right time with the right abilities, yes, but once the DM picks up the module and starts running it the PCs should have the usual chance of success.

Everyone who isn't the party fail because their DM doesn't run the module. They're not given the appropriate opportunity, see?

I personally love the idea of a module where the end is "okay, you're gods now. Let's roll up new 1st level characters." Only maybe a little less abrupt.


All things considered that have been stated above, I must agree that the Test of the Starstone stands on the same playability level as the deities. As soon as it's made, the importance of deities goes out the window. After all, with all of the current PFRPG rulebooks out there, there's already plenty of ways to reach immortality. Plus, I would assume that most 20th level characters are receiving loads of hero worship from the common citizens of Golarion (who still constitute the majority of the worshipers of the REAL gods).

However, if Paizo would hold some sort of tournament-style play at a major convention (Gen-Con perhaps), the final challenge could indeed be the Test of The Starstone. But this would need to be a one-time only thing. So, if the characters fail, big whoop. So has everybody else. If they win: TA-DA! Canon demi-gods. And a great story to put in the timeline of the next edition of the game.


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I want this to happen, just because if I make it to the end and am given the choice of godhood I can turn it down. Why you ask? It'll make a better story.


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And then...

Spoiler:
...you'll become god of atheists! ;)


As I understand it, only one person can attempt the test at a time. So I don't see anything coming out as group based for two reasons.

1) There is always one or two in a party who either cant or won't give their 100%. Do they deserve God Status? No.

2) The whole idea of the test, at least the way I view it is as a personal test. And besides, who wants to have 4-6 new Gods pop up every-time a party passes the test. Not me. LOL

Garrett


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Test of the Starstone revealed:

I shouldn't be telling any of you this but...

...it's math.

Here's some of the description text from the first and final room of the one-page dungeon:

"Your characters come through the doors into a darkened chamber, where a single beam of bright light shines from high above. There is a silhouetted figure there. The great golden doors boom shut behind you.

The hooded figure gestures to a number of small students' desks in the shadows just beyond the beam of light. They're dusty, and have carved-in graffiti from thousands of years. "Cayden Cailean wuz here" reads one of desktops.

The hooded figure throws back his hood, revealing he is none other than Asmodeus himself. He takes a seat at a large desk you didn't notice before. A large chalkboard wheels into view behind him. Upon it is a math question, an EPIC MATH QUESTION.

"You have one hour." Intones Asmodeus "Use a #2 pencil. Also, watch out for the badgers."

Your ankles are then attacked by badgers. Roll initiative.


4 people marked this as a favorite.

I would love a test of the Starstone module, that can be solved with ingenious outside of the box thinking so a lvl 1 character can become a god simply because he had the right items and a positive can do attitude.


H.P. Makelovecraft wrote:
I would love a test of the Starstone module, that can be solved with ingenious outside of the box thinking so a lvl 1 character can become a god simply because he had the right items and a positive can do attitude.

That's the problem. It needs to be so that anyone could THEORETICALLY pass the test..

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 4

Roto wrote:
H.P. Makelovecraft wrote:
I would love a test of the Starstone module, that can be solved with ingenious outside of the box thinking so a lvl 1 character can become a god simply because he had the right items and a positive can do attitude.
That's the problem. It needs to be so that anyone could THEORETICALLY pass the test..

Maybe.

The only evidence we have to look to is Iomedae, Norgorber, and Cayden C.

She was a pretty powerful and accomplished paladin.

We don't know much about Norgorber or his secret origins. If SKR reads this, I'll be interested to see how he tackles the God of Secrets's secrets in his diety write-up (unless he already has and I missed it).

Cayden admittedly was drunk and did it on a bet, and luck played a role. That doesn't mean he was a shoe cobbler. He was a career adventurer, though I concede there's nothing to indicate that he had a celebrated career like Iomedae clearly had. But I'd put him above first level definitely.

I'm not saying the point isn't valid, it has merit.

I'll agree that the Test seems to measuring something other than acquired XP. Yet all the individuals seem to possess strong personalities and personal initiative and presence that I'd associate with someone with at least a handful of class levels.

YMMV.


The test of the Starstone is nothing else than a big lie !

Look at the evidence :

* Aroden : A god because he passed the test of the starstone . The test of the starstone was created by Aroden. Some logic problem there ...

* Norgorber : One day a new god! No one knew him before . He must have passed the test of the starstone!

* Cayden : same as Norgorber only with more beer

* Iomedae : favorite henchman of Aroden , the Aroden who did create the test of the starstone ...

On the other hand, Irori became a god without any Starstone. General reason given : he was perfect and so became a god of perfection . Can not the same reason be given for all the above ?

Andoran

Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I think its more likely a 64 page book to serve as a toolbox for GMs

Taldor

Yeah, and too early too, IMO.

Best kept for later.

Andoran

I'd like the test for the starstone to be based on your class, A Wizard should not only be tested in his ingenuity, but also in his stamina. A barbarian should have not only his strength of arm, but his strength of heart. I have some Ideas for the barbarian test, but some of my ideas on the starstone are admittedly cliche at this point. I do have a good final test, but others leading up to it are not as clever. I thought about since I'd like to see it as what characters do after Rise of the Runelords having 7 temptations within the test that align to the Seven Deadly Sins, but that seems too 1-dimensional.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber
Jim Groves wrote:
Roto wrote:
H.P. Makelovecraft wrote:
I would love a test of the Starstone module, that can be solved with ingenious outside of the box thinking so a lvl 1 character can become a god simply because he had the right items and a positive can do attitude.
That's the problem. It needs to be so that anyone could THEORETICALLY pass the test..

Maybe.

The only evidence we have to look to is Iomedae, Norgorber, and Cayden C.

She was a pretty powerful and accomplished paladin.

We don't know much about Norgorber or his secret origins. If SKR reads this, I'll be interested to see how he tackles the God of Secrets's secrets in his diety write-up (unless he already has and I missed it).

Cayden admittedly was drunk and did it on a bet, and luck played a role. That doesn't mean he was a shoe cobbler. He was a career adventurer, though I concede there's nothing to indicate that he had a celebrated career like Iomedae clearly had. But I'd put him above first level definitely.

I'm not saying the point isn't valid, it has merit.

I'll agree that the Test seems to measuring something other than acquired XP. Yet all the individuals seem to possess strong personalities and personal initiative and presence that I'd associate with someone with at least a handful of class levels.

YMMV.

Also remember that Caydean didn't pass the test because someone rolled well on a set of dice. He passed the test because Plot decreed that he had done it. So I wouldn't try making any systemic conclusions based on past successes or failures.

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 4

LazarX wrote:
Also remember that Caydean didn't pass the test because someone rolled well on a set of dice. He passed the test because Plot decreed that he had done it. So I wouldn't try making any systemic conclusions based on past successes or failures.

I might sound wishy washy here, so forgive me. I'm more of a "both/and" thinker than an "either/or".

So I am about to agree with you. I do agree with you. That's true.

And I'm about to say change it so that it isn't true any more. ;-)

Here's the problem as I see it (and I'm not privy to what Erik Mona intended, so its all speculation on my part):

I "believe" that the three Test of the Starstone Gods did actually pass the test based upon the needs of the story. You say that with all the conviction of one who knows it to be a fact. I qualify my opinion as "probably fact, and I'll accept it as a given."

(And if you dig up a quote from Mona or Jacobs that it is a fact (or they teleport into the thread to weigh in), that will still be cool)

And I'll probably still say it should cease to be true. That will be my opinion I guess. :)

Here's why: the concept has captured the imagination of the community. Its a cool idea and it sounds fun and it makes people excited. If you're selling a product those are the things you want in your consumer base, and that what you want to aim your development towards. It can be very dangerous because you might not meet people's expectations, or it could adversely affect the campaign setting. Don't think for a minute that I don't take those considerations seriously. But I do say that means the Designers and the Developers have to do that much better of a job. We aspire to be awesome. We don't settle to be safe.

So while they might have passed the test for the needs of story, that should be retrofitted so they passed the test based upon some kind of system. It doesn't look like XP can be that system, but that doesn't mean that no system whatsoever can be created to fullfill the needs of both continuity and players wishing to roleplay the test as part of their character's story. I aint sayin' it'll be easy.

I do respect your point however, and while I think it should be changed, I do think you're right.

Osirion

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I agree with Jim on all counts!

The inherent necessity of the birth of a new goddess (imho) is that the universe *Needs* the new goddess. Remember, the workings of the universe are vast and unknowable I think that has to be spoken of first and foremost.

I think this need has to be worked into the basic aspects of the Test of the Starstone, for instance;

Cayden got drunk and can't remember how he did it ... but there was no patron that fulfilled his niche in the universe, so the question then becomes who dared him? Was it maybe a representative from the deities that realized an imbalance existed in the universe and then sought out someone that could fill that role? Maybe the patron even went to other lucky folks and gently nudged them towards the role, but some were too meek to attempt it, others tried but their luck didn't hold, etc.

Any adventure I would see as forcing a deficiency in the universe that the universe as a whole seeks to balance, then, through direct or indirect means, the PC's become embroiled. As they answer the call of the adventure they are drawn inexplicably into the Test, and at the conclusion of the adventure the one destined to fill the emptiness meets the goal. This could be an NPC who the PC's have been helping (a la Amieko from Jade Regent) or it might be the PC's. Wouldn't it be interesting if it were only one of the PC's? Maybe only one could meet the challenge, maybe they were there to challenge the antagonist and through doing so convert him to a protagonist, thereby maturing him into the candidate the universe needed ... so many possibilities!


I would love to see Paizo publish something like this, but somehow it would also need to be adaptable to a wide variety of campaigns.

I, for one, will probably be dealing with players with whom I will have worked out their backstories and an overall "meta" arc for their individual character. (Discover their mysterious origin, avenge the destruction of their people, etc., etc.) I would want to be able to adapt anything published by Paizo to these individual stories. A "toolbox" more than a script, as someone suggested up above.


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I have this going theory about the starstone.

In Distand Worlds, it's surmised that the Diaspora was once a world that was destroyed by some unthinkable calamity. I've been wondering if perhaps the Starstone is some relic from the world before it became the Diaspora.

At least in the way I've been running Pathfinder, the Starstone isn't some benevolent god-making rock. The Citadel of the Starstone was constructed to protect Golarion from a criticlly damaged artifact of unknown origin that literally seeps divine energy from it.

Aroden became wise to the notion that the Diaspora was formed by warring ascended mortals who carelessly allowed the "Starstone" to grant them powers far beyond their capability to control. So he locks this dangerous thing away. He can't destroy it himself, or perhaps fears what doing any more damage to it would unleash.

Now that Aroden is gone, the Starstone sits in its Cathedral, warping space around it with divine "radiation." The closer one gets to it the more distorted reality becomes and the more likely the Starstone is to bend reality to the mental state of the people in proximity to it. Sort of like a ring of infinite wishes, that was always on, and could read your thoughts. Maybe it wasn't always that, but now in its broken state, that's what it's been reduced to.

Maybe at the end of a Trial of the Starstone style epic adventure, it wouldn't be about ascending, so much as a choice. We could ascend, sure. Or maybe we could finally get rid of this dangerous thing once and for all before it inevitably dooms our world.

I imagine that would be a hard decision for any party to make.


I don't get the arguments that making this into an adventure would undermine all the deities and such.

First, there are not high level characters running around Golarion. Most are level 1 to 5. And exceedingly few are above 15. Probably about 10 that are actually level 20. Golarion isn't like an MMO - just because hundreds of people play Pathfinder doesn't mean there's a small army of high level adventurers. If my party reaches level 20, it means there are only 3 to 6 more people at that level than there are in the core campaign setting. It's an amazing thing that happens on average once in a century, and in fact can only happen when other great forces rise up to be stomped out.

Second, it's a challenge even for those high-level characters. A level 20 character who faces the TotS has a risk of death.

Combine these two factors and you wouldn't exactly get some horde of adventurers running through an apotheosis mill.


Derek Vande Brake wrote:


First, there are not high level characters running around Golarion. Most are level 1 to 5. And exceedingly few are above 15. Probably about 10 that are actually level 20. Golarion isn't like an MMO - just because hundreds of people play Pathfinder doesn't mean there's a small army of high level adventurers. If my party reaches level 20, it means there are only 3 to 6 more people at that level than there are in the core campaign setting. It's an amazing thing that happens on average once in a century, and in fact can only happen when other great forces rise up to be stomped out.

There actually are a fair amount of high level characters on Golarion. Check out Inner Sea Magic for a sampling.

That said, I think a Campaign Setting: Star Stone Cathedral (or whatever) would be a good approach. Sort of a super detailed, 64 page book about what is in the cathedral. That way, GMs can tailor the star stone tests to their specific players.

Osirion

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Any starstone test must involve Achaekek.

Anything else would be negating his purpose.


I think much of the above might be misplaced. The first and foremost requirement of passing the test of the Starstone is GETTING TO THE CATHEDRAL. Already at that point of the process, many are lost. Their bridges fall with them on, their jumps stop in midair so they drop, and so on. Some do manage to get across, but are lost inside the cathedral and never heard from again. This says quite a lot, actually. There is some kind of requirement for even starting the test. If you want to keep the theme of divinity, then this would probably be having people who worship you already. It could be carrying a divine spark for some reason.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Another mythic adventure path, perhaps? No reason for the results to become canon.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I keep my finger s crossed tor this to someday come out...in the meantime I might look into conversion of tomb of horrors/worlds largest dungeon/rappan autumn or some high level adventure ss s guide to simulate it.

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