Splintered Worlds (GM Reference)


Dead Suns

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Starfinder Superscriber

I assumed the thin atmosphere was a side effect of the artificial gravity in part of the interior. It's still not accurate to real physics, but neither is artificial gravity in the first place. Neither, for that matter, is the river running through the Diaspora. Anything that doesn't make sense is just 'magic' as far as I'm concerned.


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Steel_Wind wrote:

I fear I am plunging into a topic here which does not appear to be covered... but I am having a great deal of difficulty with the description of the surface of this asteroid. Just because we are playing a Science Fantasy game does not mean that the most basic of physics wholly vanishes. My trigger limit for verisimilitude is clearly lower than perhaps other posters' here.

We have an asteroid barely a mile in diameter, and it has a thin atmosphere? No. No it doesn't. And in the asteroid belt -- the Diaspora -- the surface of this asteroid is NOT going to feature a liquid pool of anything; it is an iceball. No, skeletons on the surface are not going to rot -- but they *will* freeze dry and dessicate, so that's not just similar -- it's *cooler*. Sometimes, science leads to more interesting things!

Anyway, these issues became such a distraction that I had difficulty reading the main narrative. I was simply too distracted by the impossible premise.

Pocket planes are one thing; but a small asteroid needs to at least attempt to BE a small asteroid.

Entirely fair - just remember this is an asteroid belt created by a magic weapon blowing up a planet with a river that runs between the various asteroids. The magic aspect of the setting does not meet scientific standards. But I have enough scientists in my party I've had to make similar acknowledgments.

It's pretty easy to make those changes. The PCs can wear breath apparatuses, the corpses can be dessicated instead of rotted, and perhaps the acid is actually a series of tiny acidic ice rivulets that still act as a pool for rules purposes. Do what you need to do to make the setting work for you and your players!

Liberty's Edge

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Except that it doesn't have artificial gravity inside?

Quote:
In contrast to the thin atmosphere of the asteroid, inside the base the atmosphere is of normal pressure and composition to support most oxygen-breathing life-forms so the cultists could occupy the base without space suits or other environmental protections; however, the area remains one of low gravity.

- Dead Suns Vol 3, p. 11

If the surface of the asteroid was the only problem with the module. I'd be fine with that. Except it isn't. Everywhere in this base we see things which don't fit.

The base is still pressurized? Why? The Corpse Fleet didn't need an atmosphere. Why did they bother cycling an airlock? Wouldn't it have been safer to depressurize it all to make sure what was left inside was dead? Put yourself in the shoes of the Dead Guys for a moment. See what I mean?

A trap for spores that goes through armor's Environmental protection? Why? We just had a Mold Storm that had the strength of evolutionary design on its side in Castrovel; it was *routinely* avoided through the use of any armor. But this one isn't? Why? Put yourself in the shoes of a player. WHY?? That isn't the way the tech even WORKS. It's designed to not take in ANYTHING from outside. It's made to work in a vacuum, FFS. No, "nanospores" slipping through the armor's molecular surface doesn't get you there; all armor, even noob Type 1 armor - generates a personal FORCE FIELD to maintain life support. That's how environmental protection from armor works in Starfinder. But not here; not this time.

Why was the spore trap not disarmed by the Corpse Fleet? They didn't know what the spores were when confronted by the trap. If they triggered it going in and out, why are there still spores in it? Why was the Laser Wall of Death not disarmed? Why do I care that a key card can help disarm a trap if I can't get to the key card before I get to the trap? What's the point of Saving Throws of DOOM in the Laser hall? Why is the data core deleted by the Devourers -- but not really deleted? Why is the data core deleted -- AGAIN -- this time by the Corpse Fleet -- but not really deleted, except the important part?

Again, put yourself in the shoes of the players: They get there, they look, they explore, they investigate -- they are DEFEATED. They don't know if they missed something. As they leave the Asteroid, they will think at that point that they missed something inside there. That is how AP players think when confronted by a conundrum of "no leads". They blew a roll, missed a clue, or >>something<< and the AP appears to be going off course. My players will go back in two more times and check it all over again, taking 20 in every f@!!ing room. Nope. NADA.

They then leave that rock with no leads and what amounts to a total failure. The Trail is LOST. If they were payting attention, they might not know who they are chasing. Or why. It's all foggy and unclear.

Then, suddenly -- POOF -- Opton 1) the bad guys attack, one survivies and we have a new lead where none existed before.

Or, Option 2: Chiskisk comes on the Comm link and tells them to go to Eox.

Doesn't that all feel a little, teensy weensy Deus Ex Railroadia to you if you are a player? Where is the feeling of success, of competence being rewarded?

And we're barely OFF the Asteroid. I fear plumbing the depths of Eox at this point.

Seriously; I am not impressed. At all.


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Steel_Wind wrote:
Except that it doesn't have artificial gravity inside?

My apologies, I'm getting the threads/AP's mixed up again. For some reason I was thinking this was the thread for the first AP and I'm thinking of the Drift Rock, which has artificial gravity inside it.

My bad. I agree rocks this size having atmospheres is nonsense. But I also still think rivers in space is nonsense. For stuff like this, I still say the answer is (less emphatically) ?magic?.

Quote:
The base is still pressurized? Why? The Corpse Fleet didn't need an atmosphere. Why did they bother cycling an airlock? Wouldn't it have been safer to depressurize it all to make sure what was left inside was dead? Put yourself in the shoes of the Dead Guys for a moment. See what I mean?

If I were building a space station, I would make it very very difficult to be able to enter or exit without cycling the airlock to prevent explosive decompression (especially if there were even a remote possibility of unwanted visitors at the door). I would be willing to guess that whoever designed the base made it as hard as they could and it could only be done from inside the base. They'd have to leave a man behind to do that, which they didn't want to do.

I'd need to re-read the AP to comment on the other critiques. They sound familiar though, so I may be in total agreement and thought the same thing when I read it.


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I thought the first asteroid base was the Devourer Cult and the Corpse Fleet had merely been the last people there.

Liberty's Edge

captain yesterday wrote:
I thought the first asteroid base was the Devourer Cult and the Corpse Fleet had merely been the last people there.

You are correct.

I am suggesting that when the Corpse Fleet operatives entered the base, they had to open the airlock door with an engineering roll -- or strength -- same as the PCs.

When they got it open - they leave it open just a bit -- open the door behind that they came in -- and they vent the atmosphere in the mine into space. They do this because if you are concerned that there were any cultists left behind, this should make it difficult for them. The guys that don't breathe? They don't care.

There are other methods of opening the door that are more destructive in terms of explosive pressure loss/structure damage. But it all ends up in the same place: with a depressurized structure.

My point: why would the Dead guys leave it pressurized when it's a standard advantage to their race to not do so? They don't pressurize their ships, either.

It's not as if the PCs can't go in if its not pressurized. It's just more difficult for the PCs to deal with LowG Zero Atmosphere and having to remain in their armor.

And I suppose it gets rid of any notion of spore traps -- or sickened condition for TEN MINUTES from smelling spoiled food left on a table for a couple of weeks (eye roll).


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Starfinder Superscriber

Exploding the door (blowing it up) risks damaging the computer that's visible as being just inside the door (at B2). You don't want to risk losing data on that device, so you go in the slow way. You also don't know if there are any survivors that you want to question and you may not have the resources to question their corpses. If your orders were to take the survivors alive, you wouldn't rig the outer door (if that's even possible) on your way in. There may also be detonation or thermite traps set to burn the entire complex down if it's depressurized without entering a password or key or something. I know of hackers that rig their computers with thermite, there's no reason to suspect that isn't a thing with secret malevolent cults, too.

There's also always the risk that the mooks that came in missed something in an initial search, and the corpse fleet planned on sending a full data mining team at a later time, just in case, and gave them explicit orders to only minimally disturb anything in their initial sweep.

There's a chance the reason the corpse fleet didn't just 'blow the doors' and let the gods sort it all out is simply that they were being cautious. This isn't irrational if what they were doing was investigating, especially if the ones doing the investigation were mostly low level grunts that didn't want to get chewed out by their superiors in spec-int for being stupid and destroying something important that the spies later need.

There's certainly a rush to get the information from this place first, but the CF is also monitoring both the PC's and the Cult, so they know if they missed something they should have multiple chances to get it back later. There's probably some risk accounting going on in the background. I don't think this is (necessarily) an example of irrational behavior on their part.

Even if it is, they're undead...those people are crazy.

Liberty's Edge

I like the "want to question the living" explanation; I am persuaded by that.

There remain other issues, but that reason I will buy.


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Steel_Wind wrote:

We have an asteroid barely a mile in diameter, and it has a thin atmosphere? No. No it doesn't. And in the asteroid belt -- the Diaspora -- the surface of this asteroid is NOT going to feature a liquid pool of anything; it is an iceball. No, skeletons on the surface are not going to rot -- but they *will* freeze dry and dessicate, so that's not just similar -- it's *cooler*. Sometimes, science leads to more interesting things!

I was a bit annoyed by the same things, but just chose to ignore them since science fantasy / magic / cultists. Even my players were a wondering about the atmosphere. Since they had not read the book they did not question it too much because of the same reasons :P


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The mold trap really bothered me too. I told the players it was magically specifically designed to counteract armor's protections. They said that was stupid, I agreed. The star shaman didn't complain; because I didn't want the asteroid to be made up of something denser than platinum I also stripped the atmosphere off of it so he was walking around using his class feature when he got hit by the spores.

Eox has some weird things too. Why do we assume the PCs walk six miles through a horrid hellscape to the marrowblight's hut when they live in an era of redily available robo-taxis and cheap ATVs?

None of these things are major flaws but they do lead to a moment or two of head scratching.

Sovereign Court

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For those running the path.

Do you let the guys trade out the Sunrise Maiden for a different frame or just have them stick to upgrading it? I had a player ask under the auspice of "trade it to a museum for a nicer base frame of equivalent value" and then upgrade the new frame.

And when would they do their upgrades? They seem to be going place to place as the books come out without much downtime to take days and upgrade a ship. My concern is whether hand waving the time spent might make them too powerful for any ship combat... but not letting them upgrade the Maiden might make them too weak. I am genuinely not sure for which structure the AP was designed.

Last question. First encounter in this book, the operative is sniping. He has debilitating trick but no weapons with the operative quality. Are people just assuming bad guys break rules and letting him do his trick with the sniper rifle? That is probably what I will do but wanted to make sure I didn't miss something specific that allowed a sniper to do a trick.


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Starship Rules

quothe the SRD wrote:
As the PCs go on adventures and gain experience, they need an increasingly powerful starships to face tougher challenges. When the characters’ Average Party Level increases, so does the tier of their starships (see Table 9–1: Starship Base Statistics). The PCs receive a number of Build Points equal to the Build Points listed for their starships’s new tier – those listed for its previous tier, which they can use to upgrade their starships. For example, a group whose APL increases from 2 to 3 receives 20 BP that the PCs can use to upgrade their starships. This could represent salvage gathered during their exploits, an arrangement with a spacedock, or called-in favors from a wealthy patron. Some GMs might require PCs to visit a safe, inhabited world before they can spend these Build Points, but this shouldn’t be allowed to impact the campaign too much.

Emphasis added...

quothe the SRD wrote:

PCs can’t upgrade the base frame of their starships. They can rebuild their starships with a new base frame if they so desire (within the limits of their budget of Build Points, of course), but that new starships will have a different look (and should probably have a different name). PCs can purchase Huge and larger base frames only at the GM’s discretion, as these usually require large crews and thus are normally reserved for NPC starships.

Buying a whole new starships is a process that can take between 1d4 days and 1d4 months, depending on whether the PCs are purchasing a used starships from a spacedock or having a custom vessel built from scratch.

The BP system doesn't work like loot and normal gear purchases. The group is supposed to just get more BP/higher tier ships automagically when they level. My impression is that you're just supposed to handwave it using whatever excuse works for your group. It mentions under refitting that upgrades usually take 1d4 days, but there's no reason you can't play around with that if it doesn't work for you or your group/campaign.

As long as they're trading the sunrise maiden in for an even tier ship, it shouldn't break anything to give them a one for one swap. It also should only take as much time as you want it to take for them to upgrade it, and they're not going to come out better by trading it out if they get something the same tier (it's the same number of build points, either way).

As for when to let them do their upgrades, I plan on just keeping their ship Tier at the same level as their APL. It looks to me like this is going to make some of the encounters easier than intended, but I don't know yet.

Sovereign Court

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I had my player ask because by trading to a slightly different same tier frame he would save BPs on things like adding on heavy weapon points that the Maiden doesn't have but come stock on the other frame.

Then I had to dig way further into ship upgrading than I, as a GM, wanted. :lol:


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Starfinder Superscriber

Yeah, the transport frame is 'better' than the explorer frame, because you get more mount points and more hitpoints and an extra expansion bay for less BP (after discount) and a minus to maneuverability. There's a thread about it somewhere that had all the math done. I expect that at least one of my players will notice the same thing and ask the same question, when we get to that.

If you want to limit your own work...

Thread full of 'custom' starships for you to steal and use. Just pick a few and say these are the ones available for trade in. There's even a link to a calculator for custom building your own in like the first or second post. If you're really lazy (like me) you can force them to use the layout of one of the ones from the starship flip mat. I'd probably just let them trade it in and be done with it.

Liberty's Edge

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Paris Crenshaw wrote:
Am I the only one who intends to play up Waneda Trux with a voice like Roz from Monsters, Inc.?

no no you are not

Liberty's Edge Contributor

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Hey, Folks!

I put together shipsheets for the ships used in the campaign. I'll add pages to it when parts 5 and 6 come out, as well. The stats and DCs for some of the offensive actions on the enemy ships' sheets are based on fighting the Sunrise Maiden as she is presented in the first book.

Dead Suns Shipsheets.PDF

Enjoy!


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Paris Crenshaw wrote:

Hey, Folks!

I put together shipsheets for the ships used in the campaign. I'll add pages to it when parts 5 and 6 come out, as well. The stats and DCs for some of the offensive actions on the enemy ships' sheets are based on fighting the Sunrise Maiden as she is presented in the first book.

Dead Suns Shipsheets.PDF

Enjoy!

This is awesome, thank you for putting these together!


Getting ready to run the last scenario of this book tonight, so probably should have asked earlier. Anyway, here goes:

The PC's decided to take a rental hovercar out to Xerantha's rather than simply walking the 6 miles through rugged terrain. They also asked if they could hire out Gretal (bone trooper they rescued from the ghouls). They offered enough that I figured Gretal couldn't pass it up.

Now I'm stuck with trying to force them into the final fight and I have the two roommates potentially facing off.

1) forcing the landing - the PC's didn't really check for bugs on the car so this is easy. One of the technomancers can force the thing down or I can just say the thing has a remote override switch that the jiang-shi vampire kicks in (can't remember her name). Boom, instant forced landing.

2) I'm torn between having Gretal switch sides or try to stay out of it. She's currently on quite friendly terms with the PC's and her former squad mates were willing to attack her. I'm leaning toward having her hunker down behind the hover car and try to aid the PC's

Thoughts?


Also, does the jiang-shi vampire's clothes turn to dust with her? That could potentially be awkward if the party grabs her stuff but let's the pile of dust sit there for a minute


Paris Crenshaw wrote:

Hey, Folks!

I put together shipsheets for the ships used in the campaign. I'll add pages to it when parts 5 and 6 come out, as well. The stats and DCs for some of the offensive actions on the enemy ships' sheets are based on fighting the Sunrise Maiden as she is presented in the first book.

Dead Suns Shipsheets.PDF

Enjoy!

Great! Thanks so much.


rixu wrote:
Oh, and one more thing: The loot in Star-Eaters Spine in area B6b has a pair of injection gloves that I could not find from the books either by hand or by PDF search. Only similiar thing that came to mind were the Painclaws in AP2. Since those were devourer-specific it seems logical that these are the ones you find, any comments or ideas on this one?

Injection gloves are a base book one-handed advanced melee weapons. pg 172


Since I've read comments here, and my own players have mentioned buying a land vehicle, I'm pretty sure they will also opt to not walk outside in hostile environment to the location, but use a car type.
The book has vehicle chase rules, so this seems like a fun way to introduce those while the PCs are coming back from the hut.


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Once the players leave the dome...
"the PCs will be exposed to Eox’s
thin and toxic atmosphere (Core Rulebook 396)"

So go to 396
Where it says the type of poison, onset time, and DC varies by planet...

ok, so check Eox entry
Just says "atmosphere: toxic"

ok...so is it in the eox write up in the AP?
Not as far as I can tell...

I mean, yeah, the PCs would be dumb to venture out without armor that can protect them, but given all the info on the writeups when they were exploring the jungles in book 2 (which were also negated by armor and/or life bubble for the most part), I just find this sorta...odd...

Or am I totally missing something? which is always a possibility.


Kevin Boyer 646 wrote:


1) forcing the landing - the PC's didn't really check for bugs on the car so this is easy. One of the technomancers can force the thing down or I can just say the thing has a remote override switch that the jiang-shi vampire kicks in (can't remember her name). Boom, instant forced landing.

I'd say this is the perfect use case for the classic man-portable missile launcher. Just shoot the car down, action-movie-villain style !

Quote:
2) I'm torn between having Gretal switch sides or try to stay out of it. She's currently on quite friendly terms with the PC's and her former squad mates were willing to attack her. I'm leaning toward having her hunker down behind the hover car and try to aid the PC's

Hard to tell what would work best with your group. As written, I think this NPC would stay true to its engagement with the players, especially if they took steps to befriend her. Have her focus on mooks and let the PCs take on the bigger threat.


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Starfinder Superscriber

Yeah, if she befriended the PCs, I think she should try to stay on their side, especially since she's described as having no sympathy for the Corpse Fleet's position and has just survived an attack by former squad mates that became Corpse Fleet members.


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Eox just generally needs a party willing to ride the choo-choo. We were amiable about it, but we'd rented a dune buggy to go out to Radiation Sickness Point. Returning, we had to do a lot of sudden spinning/retcon.
"Wait, we came this way?"
"Yep."
"How did we cross this on the way here?"
...pregnant pause...
In character: "See, this is why I told you just jumping the cliff would cause problems!"
"Well we made it fine."
"That's because it was jumping *down*. Now we need to get out the cables. This is going to be hell on our rental deposit..."

Again, we're cheerfully riding the train but be aware some players are going to kick against the rails here.


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All of the talk about how to make the trek outside Orphys "work" is interesting to me. Eox went through a cataclysm that changed the very geography of the surface. For Wheel of Time fans, I see this as a Breaking of the World-level event. Villages and geographical features that used to be there are completely different now.

Maybe I just got lucky, but my group accepted the explanation that the Eoxian wilderness is such a mess that a land vehicle cannot navigate it. Flying is out because there is nowhere to land. There's an irregular path that is slow going due to hazards, and this is where I described the walls of bone, acid pit, and rock steppes that comprise the final fight of the book as an example. Everything off the path is stalagmites and steep cliffs that are essentially impassible.

Half of the party especially didn't mind a 6 mile walk - they wanted to get immediate use out of the Black Heart necrograft.

Hopefully this explanation of Eox's surface is useful for your games.


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pithica42 wrote:

Starship Rules

quothe the SRD wrote:
As the PCs go on adventures and gain experience, they need an increasingly powerful starships to face tougher challenges. When the characters’ Average Party Level increases, so does the tier of their starships (see Table 9–1: Starship Base Statistics). The PCs receive a number of Build Points equal to the Build Points listed for their starships’s new tier – those listed for its previous tier, which they can use to upgrade their starships. For example, a group whose APL increases from 2 to 3 receives 20 BP that the PCs can use to upgrade their starships. This could represent salvage gathered during their exploits, an arrangement with a spacedock, or called-in favors from a wealthy patron. Some GMs might require PCs to visit a safe, inhabited world before they can spend these Build Points, but this shouldn’t be allowed to impact the campaign too much.

Emphasis added...

quothe the SRD wrote:

PCs can’t upgrade the base frame of their starships. They can rebuild their starships with a new base frame if they so desire (within the limits of their budget of Build Points, of course), but that new starships will have a different look (and should probably have a different name). PCs can purchase Huge and larger base frames only at the GM’s discretion, as these usually require large crews and thus are normally reserved for NPC starships.

Buying a whole new starships is a process that can take between 1d4 days and 1d4 months, depending on whether the PCs are purchasing a used starships from a spacedock or having a custom vessel built from scratch.

The BP system doesn't work like loot and normal gear purchases. The group is supposed to just get more BP/higher tier ships automagically when they level. My impression is that you're just supposed to handwave it using whatever excuse works for your group. It mentions under refitting that upgrades usually take 1d4 days, but...

Yeah.. the balance was pretty bad in my game.

They finished book two and essentially had 40 BP to upgrade their then tier 3 ship to a tier 5 per their new APL. What my awesome players did was sell all their guns and install only two to replace them. Heavy Antimatter Missiles on the front arc and a Plasma Cannon on the turret. They put minor upgrades onto a few other things as well like their armor, shields, defense, and computer. Then boom off to the races in the Diaspora.

That first encounter was an freaking breeze with the Rusty Rivet. They had a better piloting check so just flew up along the side and slammed it with both weapons. The damage total was something like 83! Blew the thing out of the sky like total bosses immediately. To round it off once they boarded the Rivet their soldier was threatening and the percentile dice rolled under a 20, fate just wanted more fight I guess.

In the end I wasn't really disappointed about the ship combat going short. So far it has fit into the campaign weirdly. We've been having ship combat once every 2 levels and the process of upgrading the ship and remembering the ship combat specifics doesn't make up for the one event per book (or 5 sessions for us) in my opinion. It eats up half of our 4 hour session. This isn't a remark for or against the ship combat in general, just the spacing and weight of it. It kind of ruins the flow and takes us out of the story for a moment with the upgrading time at the table being the biggest pet peeve. Something I'm working on is a homebrew squadron arc that will go two or three levels where each player has their character sheet and a personal squadron ship. That way the can level it alone to their own preferences when we're not all together and the ship combat will mimic standard combat more.

We'll see. In the middle of searching the asteroid right now, next game is in a week.


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Quote:
It kind of ruins the flow and takes us out of the story for a moment with the upgrading time at the table being the biggest pet peeve.

I don't know why players, as a group, cannot seem to handle this sort of work between sessions via email or trelo board or google doc or something. Why everyone has to be involved in doing it in play wasting table time always bugs me. My group always has this problem with downtime stuff and shopping, so I'm sure they'll have it with ship upgrades. This isn't the dark ages of 1980. We have these interweb tubes for a reason...

Sorry, I'll stop ranting. Just know, you're not alone. I feel your pain.


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pithica42 wrote:
Sorry, I'll stop ranting. Just know, you're not alone. I feel your pain.

Naw, a rant for a rant, it's much appreciated. I'm sure some of the gametime juggling is just the newness of it all. Once the Aeon Throne is here we'll be having no problems!.. never thought I'd say that phrase..


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Regarding vehicles, it recently occurred to me that there is gargantuan solution just sitting there if you still want to try and force the last encounter the way it is written: Trampleram. Swap the encounter orders so that while the PCs are dealing with Xerantha, the elicoth is treating their vehicle like a chew toy.

I wouldn't do that to a vehicle that someone actually bought, but if they simply rented a car, well, I hope they got the insurance.


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Here's a minor thing I'd like to straighten out about Tahomen's transmission to the Cult base in the Diaspora. From the end of AP part 2, the PCs hack the communicator to receive quite a bit from his transmission :

"Tahomen posits that the 12-star
constellation—the Gate of Twelve Suns—opens to a demiplane
that hides an unspeakably powerful superweapon. The
cult leader believes that the Drift Rock is a tiny fragment
of this “Stellar Degenerator,” broken off when a portion of
the demiplane was torn away and added to the Drift as a
result of Drift travel. Tahomen also recommended that theCult of Devourer apply as many resources as possible to
find the Gate of Twelve Suns—and the Stellar Degenerator—
before anyone else does. In addition, the PCs can learn
the approximate coordinates of the location Tahomen
transmitted his messages to: a stretch of several hundred
asteroids in the Diaspora."

And when the PCs hack to terminal inside the Spine-Eater base, in AP part 3, it goes like this :

"These captioned recordings document
the Castrovelian cult leader Tahomen’s boastful
crowing about his cult’s activities at the Temple of
the Twelve, including a premature (and ultimately
untrue) claim of the cult’s humiliating defeat of the
PCs. The last communication log, however, takes on
a triumphantly gleeful tone. In it, Tahomen reports
that information in the temple’s inner sanctum has
revealed the location of the “key” emphasized in Nyara’s
prophecy. In the final line of the recording, Tahomen
jubilantly states, “Our future awaits, far beyond the
confines of the Star-Eater’s Spine! You must fly, my
sisters and brothers! Fly to (garbled static), where the Key
awaits…” The recording then ends."

Why didn't the party hear anything at all from Nyara or Nejeor when they first hacked to transmitter back at the Temple on Castrovel ? Or if not stated in the module, what would be a good reason for the two discoveries to be different ?
I'm thinking along the lines of, they only had his last transmission back on Castrovel, and the whole log now in the Diaspora. But I<m also thinking that his last transmission would have been the one mentioning Nyara and Nejeor. What you all think ?

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Steel_Wind wrote:
Why was the spore trap not disarmed by the Corpse Fleet? They didn't know what the spores were when confronted by the trap. If they triggered it going in and out, why are there still spores in it?

The Corpse Fleet operatives did not even set off the trap.

Splintered Worlds p. 12 wrote:
As entropy of the mind is the cultists’ specialty, they brewed a concoction that drives intelligent creatures mad, then rigged a contraption to spray the mixture through a vent above the door when sensors detect the body heat of living creatures within 10 feet of the door.

The undead have no body heat, so they did not set off the trap.


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So... what's the point of the "high-priority" quotation from Nyara's prophecy?

My assumption is that that's the "obscure reference" that led the cultists to Nejeor, but it's never explained even for the GM (and the next book doesn't even mention Nyara once).

Naturally, my players latched on to the cryptic prophecy instead of the necrograft, and immediately returned to Castrovel to try to do research about it. I ultimately decided to allow them (via a series of high-DC knowledge checks) to draw the same conclusions as the cultists, but that means they essentially ended up skipping 2/3s of the book and jumping straight to The Ruined Clouds a level early.

The whole Nyara thing is a cool concept, but it feels half-finished. Was the "Sacred Lore" file a red herring, or did something get left on the cutting room floor?

Between this and the issues Paris and KunYul pointed out, the whole adventure is starting to feel painfully disjointed.


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worldhopper wrote:

So... what's the point of the "high-priority" quotation from Nyara's prophecy?

My assumption is that that's the "obscure reference" that led the cultists to Nejeor, but it's never explained even for the GM (and the next book doesn't even mention Nyara once).

Naturally, my players latched on to the cryptic prophecy instead of the necrograft, and immediately returned to Castrovel to try to do research about it. I ultimately decided to allow them (via a series of high-DC knowledge checks) to draw the same conclusions as the cultists, but that means they essentially ended up skipping 2/3s of the book and jumping straight to The Ruined Clouds a level early.

The whole Nyara thing is a cool concept, but it feels half-finished. Was the "Sacred Lore" file a red herring, or did something get left on the cutting room floor?

Between this and the issues Paris and KunYul pointed out, the whole adventure is starting to feel painfully disjointed.

The Adventure Background section of the AP book clears this up nicely. The prophecy's meaning is difficult for the cult, but after they receive the information from Tahomen:

Book 3 wrote:
...the Devourer cult now believes that Nyara’s prophecy refers to the Stellar Degenerator and suspects that the Gate of Twelve Suns is the key to finding the demiplane that houses the alien weapon. The cult still does not know the exact location of the Gate of Twelve Suns, but Nyara’s oracular writings provided one more clue: an obscure reference to a distant star system called Nejeor. Convinced that the means to finding the Gate of Twelve Suns lies in the Nejeor system...

As far as the literal meaning behind the wording, I suspect we will need book 5 to really know more.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Society Roleplaying Guild Subscriber

For people who do combat with mini's, what are you doing for the map of the Marrowblight hermitage? Seeing that it is allocated to a little side window yet is 30ft to a square, are a lot of games running this bit more theater of the mind? It helps that strategy with the Ellicoth being gargantuan, but it gets even worse for the interior of the shack as it's a 90ft diameter building with a handful of medium sized creatures gunning around. I really wish this area was fleshed out more visually.


Maestro Tallis Reed wrote:
worldhopper wrote:

So... what's the point of the "high-priority" quotation from Nyara's prophecy?

My assumption is that that's the "obscure reference" that led the cultists to Nejeor, but it's never explained even for the GM (and the next book doesn't even mention Nyara once).

Naturally, my players latched on to the cryptic prophecy instead of the necrograft, and immediately returned to Castrovel to try to do research about it. I ultimately decided to allow them (via a series of high-DC knowledge checks) to draw the same conclusions as the cultists, but that means they essentially ended up skipping 2/3s of the book and jumping straight to The Ruined Clouds a level early.

The whole Nyara thing is a cool concept, but it feels half-finished. Was the "Sacred Lore" file a red herring, or did something get left on the cutting room floor?

Between this and the issues Paris and KunYul pointed out, the whole adventure is starting to feel painfully disjointed.

The Adventure Background section of the AP book clears this up nicely. The prophecy's meaning is difficult for the cult, but after they receive the information from Tahomen:

Book 3 wrote:
...the Devourer cult now believes that Nyara’s prophecy refers to the Stellar Degenerator and suspects that the Gate of Twelve Suns is the key to finding the demiplane that houses the alien weapon. The cult still does not know the exact location of the Gate of Twelve Suns, but Nyara’s oracular writings provided one more clue: an obscure reference to a distant star system called Nejeor. Convinced that the means to finding the Gate of Twelve Suns lies in the Nejeor system...
As far as the literal meaning behind the wording, I suspect we will need book 5 to really know more.

I mean, that's my assumption re: what it is. It's just incredibly frustrating as a GM to not have that explained, given that as the players have all the same information Tahomen provided AFAIK there's no reason they shouldn't, provided adequate checks, be able to reach the same conclusions - and it's not unreasonable at all to expect that they would try.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Society Roleplaying Guild Subscriber

An update to above.

I used Pathfinder Flip-Mat Darklands (I believe side B, the open-spaced one) for the exterior. For the interior of the hermitage I pulled this up off the cuff. It all worked pretty well, for those who rock the mini's.

The Marrowblight Hermitage could easily be done Theater of the Mind as well, much like the stampede at the beginning of the second books expedition. An issue I had was letting Xerantha wait out the combat with the Ellicoth before stepping in. If my cat was an Ellicoth (awesome parallel universe, I know) I wouldn't stand by at all. In addition to the creature being massive and likely very loud when in combat, I chose to introduce Xerantha during round 6 of the combat. That gave her 36 seconds to notice the commotion, get to her gun, and then get in position. In my opinion other things can factor in here, like landing their starship in Xerantha's front yard... but for the most part it's what I would recommend.

A good and hard set of sequential encounters. As I have felt the rest of the book has been easy, these last three are very legitimate player deaths. My group has a healer and the Elicoth/Xerantha battle contained a lot of combat healing. Excited for the climax this weekend!!


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Society Roleplaying Guild Subscriber

The finale went better than I expected for my group. We had 5 so I added a sixth Bone Trooper since they've been fairing pretty well on average. When combat started Vesh drew the Soldier and Solarion up the stairs to the cliff while the Mystic, Mechanic, and Technomancer danced with the six bone troopers below. I had the bone troopers jump the party with Supercharge Weapon pre-casted, so their first round really went off with a BANG and set and exciting tone.

First off, thank goodness for DR! The six bone troopers were able to get the Technomancer and mechanic down pretty good into HP, but ultimately the 3 PCs and drone were able to widdle away at them. A lot of good AOE from the technomancer with spell grenade ala Jolting Surge and consecuitive rounds of Explosive Blast did the trick. The map is just narrow enough to get 2 or 3 in a radius consistently.

Meanwhile Vesh was easily able to kite the other too up the stairs and around the bone pile with her sniper rifle. Around the time the last Bone Trooper dropped was when she first had to enter melee. This is where it got pretty good. The Solarion and Soldier locked her into a flanked position quickly, but some bad rolls for the PCs in addition to her DR and Fast Healing put her in a pretty healthy place when she started going all out claws. First she grabbed the solarion, who failed his fort save. Next round she grabbed the soldier, who initially made his save. Both had 2-handed weapons and with a DC 30 to break the grapple could not do anything but flail and punch as she continued to go back and forth biting each of them. The solider failed his first Fort save off of a bite and that pretty much cemented their fates as the HP began to burn.

There was a 2 round segment of the other three party members running up the stairs, hearing shouting, but being blind to the reality of the others being grappled and staggered. Cresting onto the cliff, they saw Vesh with one hand jammed into each the solarion's and soldier's abdomens with them both almost helpless.

Alas, with a good crit and a nasty shot from a Supercharged AND Overcharged longarm. Vesh was no more after a round and a half. No one fell unconscious, but it was climatic and ended things well. The first half of this book didn't do it for us but part 3 in the Splice investigating the trail was very cool and memorable. Looking forward to the next step in the journey. See you all on the other thread!

Paizo Employee Developer

Sounds exciting!


Pathfinder Starfinder Society Roleplaying Guild Subscriber

Regarding the Corpse Fleet ambush as the PC's leave the Asteroid, would it affect the difficulty significantly if the Death's Head Necrogliders were replaced with the Death's Curtain Necrofighter (I mean, Corpse Fleet custom ships do sound pretty cool)? I don't have too much experience with ship battles to know how much such battles are changed by the enemy having a numerical advantage but Necrogliders don't seem to even compare to the baseline Sunrise Maiden, much less whatever upgrades the PC's will have purchased by then.


Starfinder Superscriber

I think as long as the effective starship tier/challenge rating is the same, it shouldn't matter. That isn't always the case, because of action economy, but then again, it's harder to run more ships, so it may be a wash.

Basically, I'd go over the rules here very carefully and do the math to double-check and then go with it. But I'd also double-check myself as the combat went on and pull back or push harder if it became too easy or too difficult.


Something about this encounter as written seems really off. My guess is that there was a last minute edit/development change that removed something because i don't really see how two CR 1/2 enemies make a CR 4 encounter.

When i GMed it i changed it to 4 Necrofighters (CR 1 each). My group's ship took no damage in the pirate encounter and so it worked out quite well.


Pathfinder Starfinder Society Roleplaying Guild Subscriber

4 Necrofighters!? Geez... I know the Maiden Outclasses the Necrofighters but that's still four ships' worth of actions per round vs. 1 ship's actions per round. How'd your group manage that one?


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Nintendogeek01 wrote:
4 Necrofighters!? Geez... I know the Maiden Outclasses the Necrofighters but that's still four ships' worth of actions per round vs. 1 ship's actions per round. How'd your group manage that one?

A level 5 party in a tier 5 ship.

They had an AC of 18 (20 with evasion) against a gunnery of 5 from the fighters, so the fighters really had trouble hitting them. They also had a point weapon that took down at least 1 torpedo if i remember correctly.
A much higher piloting skill on the PCs pilot also meant they could win initiative most of the time and outmaneuver them.

Now add the fact they nearly obliterated one of the fighters in the opening salvo and then it turned into a reasonably challenging but never too dangerous encounter (i consider it a success they took some hull damage, which is more than i managed to do in the pirate encounter).

Liberty's Edge Contributor

So, I'm finding that I have a minor quibble with the scale on the map for The Splice on Eox. The map indicates that the scale is 1 square = 10 feet. However, the building interiors seem to be scaled for 1 square = 5 feet. In order for the overall scale to be in accordance with what's printed in the book, the smallest doors and every chair would have to be 10 feet wide.

Rescaling the grotto map to 1 square = 30 feet isn't a problem, because it's totally separate from everything else. But if the intent was to make things more "spread out" in the Splice, I think a better way to have handled it would have been to indicate that the interior map for each building is a separate location and let the distances between them be more nebulous while keeping the 5-foot scale for each interior.

Liberty's Edge Contributor

I finally got around to updating these. The shipsheets below include every ship involved in combat presented throughout the AP. The DCs are calculated based on the premise that the PCs' ship's tier will be equivalent to the APL recommended at that part of the campaign.

Dead Suns Shipsheets (DS 1-6).PDF

There are lots of numbers to juggle, here, so I may have made some errors. Please let me know if you find any mistakes.

Thanks!

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