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(Minor spoilers for Starfinder Society module content.)
So, I'm trying to work something out about the Scoured Stars Incident and what it says about how the Starfinder Society works. It's not that I'm trying to run the Society modules or centre my campaign on this per se, it's more that I'm trying to fit this event -- which must be a major event on the Pact Worlds landscape -- into my broader setting and make my version of the Society take it into account.
So, basically I'm seeing the Starfinders as a professional association whose First Seeker has a kind of loose, guiding authority and whose members -- measured by a common training standard -- share information, contacts, jobs and resources with each other. To wit, it's more like the legal bar or the psychiatric association in a country, and not a centralised military-type thing that can order people to go places, as its membership would mostly be too independent-minded for this. (And meta-game wise, its being incompatible with party freedom in the RPG sense.)
So, then. If this is so, how is the Scoured Stars incident possible? I have trouble thinking of an actual military with a centralized command hierarchy that could or would do this; so if I'm thinking of the Starfinder Society correctly, how did it ever persuade eighty percent of its "agents" to go anywhere at the same time, let alone all to the same notably perilous system at the same time? Was Jadnura an ultra-famous figure who made this happen by sheer charisma? Was figuring out the workings of the Tear just that rich a potential prize?
Or was the Society able to just "order" them to go and my conception of it is wrong (this is the possibility with the biggest implications for my game)?
(Note that all of this is in the Starfinder guide, so there aren't any spoilers about it. It all happened before the current season of SFS started. So everyone should know about it.)
A little over a century ago, the Society banned people from going to the Scoured Stars sector of space because it was too dangerous. I think when Jadnura found the Tear and was later elevated to First Seeker,then him saying it was the key to safely explore the region at long last, was what inspired people to go with him. I think it was entirely voluntary. But the Society is full of explorers and he was offering a once in a life time opportunity.
He promised great things and a successful mission. He was wrong. I think your interpretation of the Society is spot on.
Thanks for the responses.
So I guess if I'm interpreting the Society correctly, then, I'm going to struggle with selling that four-fifths figure, since we're supposed to be in a galaxy full of wonders to investigate and especially since the Scoured Stars -- while intriguingly mysterious -- were explicitly unattractive for exploration because "findings from the few successfully explored worlds showed little of research value." (Otherwise the gold-rush parallel would totally work.)
I guess I may just tactfully ignore it; the incident can still have been large and credibility-damaging without literally involving 80% of the organisation, especially since Jadnura couldn't order anyone to go with him just on the strength of his being First Seeker and having found the Tear. I can just say that Jadnura's extraordinary fame and the promise of the artifact allowed him to lure many more Starfinders into his doomed venture than would have otherwise considered it.