XP question about Incident at Absalom Station for SFS


Starfinder Society Roleplaying Guild

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I ran Incident at Absalom Station for SFS and am confused about the amount of XP the players should receive.

I know the Starfinder Society Roleplaying Guild Guide says "Typically, you gain 1 XP for completing a Starfinder Society scenario or 3 XP for completing an Adventure Path."

But there is a sidebar in the AP book that says the players should "begin this adventure at 1st level. The PCs should reach 2nd level while exploring [spoiler redacted], and they should be 2nd level before [spoiler redacted]. The PCs should be 3rd level by the end of the adventure."

I followed the instructions in the AP, so my players were level 3 for the final boss fight, but they almost died twice, with a near TPK at the final boss. If they had all been level 1 it seems very unlikely they could have survived the third section of the first book.

Also, if they want to play in the second book of the AP, they have to be level 3 when they start, but if they only get 3 XP for the whole first book (and have to start as a level 1) then they won't be the right level for the second book. I know they could theoretically play some SFS Scenarios between the books, but is that really the way it is supposed to be done?

**

If you're running in SFS mode, they should not have leveled during the AP.

The side bar is for home play or Campaign mode.

And, yes, in SFS they would be expected to level up via other scenarios to qualify for the second book in SFS.

Liberty's Edge * ⦵⦵

Starfinder Superscriber

Is there a way for a GM to address the CR5 final encounter?

I'm running this in SFS mode later this month. 4 level 1-2 PCs are almost certainly facing a TPK here.

For example, while the AP was designed for 4 players can it be run with a normal SFS table size of 6?

Sovereign Court *** ⦵⦵⦵ Venture-Agent aka The Masked Ferret

It can be run with any legal SFS table size, from 3 to 7.

Sovereign Court

Starfinder Superscriber

The CR5 has one pretty nasty attack that you should be pretty judicious in using with only 4 1-2 level PCs. We had 5 PCs doing the AP and it was still touch and go.

*** Venture-Agent, Minnesota—St. Louis Park aka BretI

As stated above, in SFS you do not level during the AP. Pathfinder Society is the same way with modules and APs, which is why it is generally a good idea to not come into those at the minimum level.

For SFS play, I strongly recommend recruiting a table of 6 and trying to get at least a couple of people who are second level. Also allow them to use the credits that the scenario gives out to buy equipment.

Ways a GM can make it more survivable:

Allow them to retreat to the Acreon to rest and recuperate before the final battle. Let them recharge their environmental systems on the armor and recharge any batteries. It is the ability to recharge batteries that is more important here.

On the final battle, make sure you spread the attacks around. The creature tactics even tell you to do that at the start. Have the monster make tactical mistakes -- players do, why shouldn't NPCs? It isn't like this creature is intimately familiar with what the characters can do.

Also avoid full attacking with the creature. The attack bonus is so high you are extremely likely to hit twice if you do.

Shadow Lodge ***** RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 8 aka WalterGM

My players (although playing in campaign mode) were creative and

Spoiler:
used the Sunrise Maiden to blast the creature apart

That said, I highly recommend running the Dead Suns AP in campaign mode. There's a major change between SFS and PFS in that the credit for APs are given for completing the entire book instead of a section. Rather than have your level 1 players struggle through half the book (and likely complain about the final encounter), just run it in campaign mode and have them apply the sheets to their SFS characters. They can even carbon copy their SFS characters if they want to.

Silver Crusade ***** ⦵⦵ RPG Superstar 2013 Top 8 aka GreySector

Walter Sheppard wrote:
That said, I highly recommend running the Dead Suns AP in campaign mode. There's a major change between SFS and PFS in that the credit for APs are given for completing the entire book instead of a section. Rather than have your level 1 players struggle through half the book (and likely complain about the final encounter), just run it in campaign mode and have them apply the sheets to their SFS characters. They can even carbon copy their SFS characters if they want to.

Just be aware that you can't run only Book 1 in campaign mode. You can only run it in campaign mode if you intend to run the entire AP for the same group.

Dead Suns sanctioning document wrote:
Alternatively, if you are participating in the Dead Suns Adventure Path with an ongoing group undertaking the entire, six-chapter campaign, you may receive credit for playing the adventures as if you had played a pregenerated character. In this case, GMs running the Adventure Path are not bound to the rules of the Starfinder Society Roleplaying Guild campaign when running the campaign.

Sovereign Court

Starfinder Superscriber

If you run the whole AP in campaign mode, then you get a chronicle sheet for each book you finish, and then apply it to your SFS character once it gets to the appropriate level?

Sorry I am new to Society and we would like to play though in campaign mode, but I don't know precisely how this will translate to SFS characters.

**

Billiard wrote:

If you run the whole AP in campaign mode, then you get a chronicle sheet for each book you finish, and then apply it to your SFS character once it gets to the appropriate level?

Sorry I am new to Society and we would like to play though in campaign mode, but I don't know precisely how this will translate to SFS characters.

As long as I read it correctly, you're correct.

**

Hijacking thread for this question:

If you're playing SFS mode, how are rewards adjucated if you all just book out of there because everyone is Exhausted from [spoiler] or some other reason?

*** Venture-Agent, Minnesota—St. Louis Park aka BretI

GM Blake wrote:

Hijacking thread for this question:

If you're playing SFS mode, how are rewards adjucated if you all just book out of there because everyone is Exhausted from [spoiler] or some other reason?

Rewards are based on the amount of of the adventure they participated in -- not how successful they were. If they participated in the full adventure (didn't miss any sessions) they get full rewards.

Shadow Lodge ***** RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 8 aka WalterGM

Michael Eshleman wrote:
Walter Sheppard wrote:
That said, I highly recommend running the Dead Suns AP in campaign mode. There's a major change between SFS and PFS in that the credit for APs are given for completing the entire book instead of a section. Rather than have your level 1 players struggle through half the book (and likely complain about the final encounter), just run it in campaign mode and have them apply the sheets to their SFS characters. They can even carbon copy their SFS characters if they want to.

Just be aware that you can't run only Book 1 in campaign mode. You can only run it in campaign mode if you intend to run the entire AP for the same group.

Dead Suns sanctioning document wrote:
Alternatively, if you are participating in the Dead Suns Adventure Path with an ongoing group undertaking the entire, six-chapter campaign, you may receive credit for playing the adventures as if you had played a pregenerated character. In this case, GMs running the Adventure Path are not bound to the rules of the Starfinder Society Roleplaying Guild campaign when running the campaign.

I am aware, which is why I recommended running the AP in campaign mode, not just book 1. I suppose my language could have been clearer.

Sovereign Court

Starfinder Superscriber

What does it mean to receive credit for playing as a pregen? And what differences will there be running the entire AP campaign vs running it as a SFS campaign - is it just that players will be allowed to level as appropriate for the AP?

*** Venture-Agent, Minnesota—St. Louis Park aka BretI

Billiard wrote:
What does it mean to receive credit for playing as a pregen?

You would have to hold the chronicle until your character reached the level of the pregen. That plus you wouldn’t have the fun of playing your own character.

Billiard wrote:
And what differences will there be running the entire AP campaign vs running it as a SFS campaign - is it just that players will be allowed to level as appropriate for the AP?

No, it allows for a lot more than that.

SFS 1.0 Guide, pg. 11 wrote:
Campaign Mode: For sanctioned Adventure Paths, GMs are allowed to use their own rules for character creation and running the presented content (the entire book or series). Credit is applied to an appropriate Roleplaying Guild character as if the character created were a pregenerated character.

You can allow them to play any race you want, use any optional rules you want, and modify encounters. Resources expended don’t get deducted from the credited character — just like with a pregen using their items.

No need for race boons to unlock something. No need to limit purchases based on level.

You are basically allowed to use whatever rules you want and still report it for credit.

Liberty's Edge * ⦵⦵

Starfinder Superscriber

I ran this a few weeks ago with two 5-hour sessions, the first session ended after reaching the bridge of the Acreon. Four players played both sessions, 2 playing only the first half, 2 only playing the second half, so the final encounter had 6 players.

Following the AP and suggestions here, I made it survivable by

Spoiler:
having the Garaggakal "taste" each of the non-humans (randomly selected) once with a bite attack treating them as food instead of a legitimate threat. Given how ineffective they were the first two rounds it had every reason to continue doing this.

Two PCs and Clara-247 were seriously hurt but still in the fight in the third round. None of them had an electrical attack, and seeing how little damage they were doing (13 dmg total) three of the PCs started running to the Sunrise Maiden in order to use its weapons and/or escape.

Following its attack in the third round, two PCs rolled critical attacks and over 60 damage was dealt killing it before it could "life leech". Everyone survived including Clara-247.

Using this strategy and with the NPC ally, I think a table of four could have survived this even if dice rolls hadn't worked out this way.


Hoping someone here might know. I noticed we're supposed to apply the credit to a character "once [they reach] the level of the pregenerated character used to play through [the AP]" (p.7 RPGG), but considering that characters playing in Campaign Mode will level up from 1 to 3 during gameplay, does this mean we have to wait until the Society character reaches level 3 in order to apply the chronicle sheet to it? If so, I can only assume that means once a character reaches level 3, they'll immediately jump to level 4.

My other point of confusion comes from the chronicle sheet itself. If the above question is true, then would we not be out of subtier going by the chronicle sheet? The only subtiers listed on the chronicle sheet is 1-2.

**

No, if they played in campaign mode, once awarded (which might be at the end of all books in SFS) it is applied immediately to a level 1 or 2 character.

In Sanctioned mode, it would be the same because you could only use a Level 1 pregen or your own character.

A custom character in campaign mode is not treated like a pregen.


I believe that's true except for your last bit about campaign mode characters not being treated as a pregen. I may just be misinterpreting it, but there's a line from the RPGG that makes me believe otherwise:

p.11 RPGG wrote:
Campaign Mode: For sanctioned Adventure Paths, GMs are allowed to use their own rules for character creation and running the presented content (the entire book or series). Credit is applied to an appropriate Roleplaying Guild character as if the character created were a pregenerated character.

It's very possible I'm just misinterpreting because that section comes from the GM Basics chapter.

**

I can see why that's confusing.

You can apply the chronicle when your SFS character reaches the mnimum level on the chronicle.

The campaign mode character doesn't have a set level like a pregen, and you're not using a pregen in sanctioned content. You're applying credit to a character that didn't participate in the adventure as you do when playing a pregen... but the level is based on the chronicle not the campaign character.


Fair enough. Thanks for the clarification.

**

It was more clearly explained in one of the older PFS season guides (and/or maybe on the Sanctioning instructions for APs).

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