A Starfinder Society Scenario designed for levels 3-6.
The PCs travel to the library world of Athaeum in search of answers to what happened during the Scoured Stars incident. The planet holds secrets thought to be lost to the rest of the galaxy and viciously guarded by its self-exiled extraplanar curators. A contingent of Hellknights from the Order of the Pyre joins the PCs in their travels to the library, but these Hellknights follow their own mysterious agenda. As the PCs receive special dispensation to investigate Athaeum's vast records, they learn the first truths of the Scoured Stars and take their first steps in unraveling what happened during the Society's greatest mishap.
Content in In Pursuit of the Scoured Past also contributes to the ongoing goals of the Second Seekers (Luwazi Elsebo) faction. Content in this scenario also contributes to the ongoing year of the Scoured Stars storyline.
A pale, young halfling male with vibrant green eyes and black hair with a shock of blue meanders into the office. His clothing and armor is marred in several places and recently patched. He looks exhausted and still has a hospital identification band on his left wrist that says, 'Deceased' in big, blocky letters. After a glance around the room and a salute to the Starfinder symbol, he takes the seat nearest to the door and pointedly sits with his back to it, toying with his personal comm unit and playing the latest 'Colony™'expansion 'The Swarm Attacks!'.
He hums to himself an old clan tune and plays the game as he waits for the others to arrive.
A young man with wavy blond hair and what is clearly way too much of a tan is bouncing on his feet slightly in the center of the waiting area, causing the tiny bright yellow mote floating near his head to jump up and down in a dizzying fashion.
"Oh Sun, I'm so excited to learn more about this trinary star system! The three-body problem is fascinating, and doubly so with all dwarf stars! I'm so glad we get to research this!"
He notices the rest of the group.
"Oh hello, my name's Ra, who are all of you?"
The halfling speaks without looking up from the game, "Jindam Lightstream. My friends call me Jin. Nice to meet you, Ra."
"Greetings, Starfinders," Nominated First Seeker Luwazi Elsebo speaks from behind her cluttered office desk. An elderly ysoki eagerly paces behind the First Seeker, adjusting his glasses every few steps. Luwazi continues, "As I am sure you are aware, I recently announced that the Starfinder Society intends to continue its investigation into the Scoured Stars and the incident that occurred there. I have chosen you to pursue our first lead. Thanks to Royo here, we recently learned that the library world of Athaeum could contain valuable information related to the Scoured Stars—information that could prove key to disabling the shield guarding the system. Royo is our resident expert on Athaeum. I will let him explain the details."
Taking his cue, the ysoki steps forward, adjusts his glasses one final time, and continues the briefing, "Athaeum is one of the great wonders of the galaxy. It has no fixed location; rather, it disappears and reappears throughout the universe at seemingly random intervals. It's not random, of course. You see, the planet actually has a powerful magical engine tha—"
"Royo," Luwazi chides the elderly ysoki, shaking him from his tangential explanation.
Royo nods before continuing, "Ah yes, sorry. Where was I? Oh, yes! A group called the Curators controls and maintains Athaeum, along with the world's libraries that contain the rarest of knowledge. In fact, all knowledge on the planet is unique because the Curators actively ensure that every piece of information stored on their world is the last copy in existence. They have even gone so far as to destroy knowledge on other planets to ensure that this is the case."
"For long time we were unable to secure access to Athaeum's libraries," continues Luwazi, "But recently, Iteration-177, a member of the Aspis Consortium sympathetic to the Starfinder Society, indicated that they have a relationship with the Curators. Through Iteration-177, we have secured passage for a small group to the library world. Your mission is to escort Royo to Athaeum and uncover whatever information you can on the Scoured Stars. Additionally, try to establish a good relationship with the Curators, who could prove to be useful allies in the days to come."
|Cesar of the Red Desert|
An ikeshti appears at the back of the briefing room, his small stature making him less than obvious as others entered.
Punctuated by hissing breaths, he asks a question. "Can you tell us anything else about these Curators?"
Uli Mawborn saunters in a little after the meeting time, stretching his oddly proportioned limbs with a series of pops. He's a ball of compacted muscle, shaped like a somehow more squashed dwarf, but with hairless skin the color of a banana that hasn't quite gone bad yet. He's dressed in a helmet that doesn't do nearly enough to obscure his face and some sort of skin-tight gear designed to cut down wind-resistance, which cycles between a series of colors that don't so much clash as declare all out war.
"Can't say I care much for their M.O.; are we really expecting they're going to play nice if they know our mission statement?"
Jin mumbles to himself, "Why on earth would we make friends with people that actively destroy information?"
Luwazi responds, "The Curators are axiomites, outsiders made from the pure lawful essence of Axis. They often choose to look elven in appearance, but in their true forms, they are clouds of mathematical symbols. These particular axiomites exiled themselves from their home plane so that they could better pursue their mission to preserve unique knowledge. Since then, they’ve maintained the immense archives on Athaeum."
"I'm not a fan of their M.O. as you say either," Royo adds, "but so long as we do not make a physical copy, we should be able to learn what we can without interference."
"And I'm guessing if we just put a sepia filter on, that won't count as changing the image enough to make it unique?" Uli sighed. "So for when they try to erase our memories with a high-powered laser, how rude is it to go armed to their library?"
Royo gives a chuckle, "They won't go after our memories. Our job will be to learn as much as we can while we are there."
"If there are no other questions," begins Luwazi, "I need to get back to work. Iteration-177's ship, the Diligent Forerunner, is set to depart from Absalom Station in just over 12 hours. Make any preparations you need and report to docks then."
Boon slotting time. High Society Influence (Royo) recommended
Boons Slotted: (Faction)-Improved Second Seekers (LE) Champion, (Ally)-High Society Influence (all 5), (Social)-Instructor (24/40 Checked), (Starship)-Defender of the Fleet, (Personal)-Stain of the Perplexity/Existing Halfling (Was told by Thursty I could slot both).
"I'm not sure we can trust that subterfuge is really your profession. What if you're lying?"
Personal: Legacy Heritage
Promotional: Record Keeper
Social: Street Cred - Absalom Station
Starship: Star Monster Slayer
|Cesar of the Red Desert|
The next day you meet Iteration-177 at the docks. The Diligent Forerunner is a sleek, golden-hued luxury vessel, far fancier than the more utilitarian ships employed by the Starfinders. Iteration-177 welcomes you on-board and shows you to your rooms as the ship leaves the station.
Shortly after you have settled into your rooms, you all receive a call from Iteration-177 asking you to please join them in the dining hall.
A long dining table, low to the ground, fills the center of the room. Dozens of colorful pillows surround the table, and two roughly human-sized individuals, each wearing black armor, sit cross-legged at the far end of the table. In the center of the table sits a strange technological device made of silver metal and curved glass.
"Everyone, please have a seat around the table. Our ship will be entering the Drift shortly," Iteration-177 announces in a calm voice. They introduce the two others as Paralictor Kelria and Maralictor Loomarch of the Hellknight Order of the Pyre. Kelria lifts her visor revealing a stern-faced middle-aged vesk with dark-green scales accented by bright orange markings in swirling patterns that resemble fire. She nods to you as you all take your seats. Iteration-177 goes on to explain that it was pure fate that both organizations had business on Athaeum at the same time, and how please they are to be able to assist you both.
"To keep us amused on our trip, I have made arrangements for a very special dinner. As a connoisseur of unusual sensations and experiences, I recently purchased a device from a deep-space trader. It is a pencibiter, which you see on the table before you. This most unique machine can transmute thoughts and psychic energy into food for consumption. I ask that each of you contribute one thought or memory to our feast for this evening, and in this way, we will get to know one another a little better."
Jindam nods his head at Iteration-177. "It's nice to see you again. I think back on our conversation at Seeker Elsebo's party often. I really enjoyed our discussion about the future of the Starfinder Society." He contributes a thought about the party and the interesting conversations he had there.
When you are ready, Iteration-177 will pass around a fist-sized psychic node from the pencibiter, asking each PC to attach the node to his or her forehead and recall a powerful memory. Once done, a colored disk about a foot in diameter is emitted, which Iteration-177 collects.
Each of you who chooses to contribute a memory will need to describe the memory you contribute and how you think it would taste.
Ra will gladly receive the psychic node and concentrate on the awakening of his Solarian powers, realising he could channel the power of the stars in his hands.
This portion of the food will definitely be hot, in both temperature and spiciness.
Sigh. Uli is a result of some boons that indicate he was rescued from the Scoured Stars, but that messes with the timeline, so I'll go with a different memory for him...
Uli was basically weightless as he tumbled through the air, tucked and tightened so that his leap would carry him exactly through the tiny hole in the wall without losing any time to undignified crawling. He burst out, lunging for the rope that dangled behind the obstacle and began his ascent. Climbing a rope straight up wasn't any kind of challenge of course, but in sections it would lose all friction. When that telltale prickling began beneath his palms, Uli would either need to just hold on, and slip down to an earlier section, or gather his strength and hurl himself farther up the rope. With muscles screaming, he leapt...
Like a portobello mushroom drizzled with lemon juice and heavily salted.
|Cesar of the Red Desert|
Cesar closes his reptilian eyes and considers his encounter with his current mate, Merthinett. Once they fought tooth and claw, but Cesar insisted on sparing the fellow Ikeshti. Merthinett suggested a courtship begin, and Cesar responded positively.
Ummmmm. . . .it tastes like chicken! Perhaps with an earthy mushroom gravy punctuated with citrus notes. Yes, this is the result of an actual encounter and combat with Merthinett from "Dreaming of the Future". The GM even added "Congregant Merthinett's Phone Number" as an item on the chronicle sheet.
oops, forgot to say how it would taste. Jin thinks that his memory would taste like a hearty rustic rabbit stew. Lots of vegetables and heavily salted.
|2 people marked this as a favorite.|
Hopefully we will hear from Kitane shortly.
Meanwhile, would you each agree to the following classifications of your contributed memories?
Jindam - Social
Ra - Enthusiastic
Uli - Active
Cesar - Violent
The two Hellknights also contribute memories, and when everyone is finished Iteration-177 breaks each disk into several pieces and will allow you to sample any you wish.
Being a good halfling, Jin happily samples each of the disks.
Yes, I'd agree to that
Ra begins trying the various foods individually and then combining them together to observe how memories merge, foodwise.
|Cesar of the Red Desert|
Kitani receives the psychic node and concentrate on all the missions and the planets that she visited while enter on the society. she thinks of all the people she has saved and the friends she has missed along the way. The latter should not happen again.
this tastes like a good steak to the point with roasted potatoes and peppers accompanied by a good bottle of red wine.
Cesar - yeah, I thought about some other options, but since it was a memory of that first meeting that is what I went with.
As you taste each disk, you experience the memory which created it, as if you were remembering it as your own memory.
When you sample Kelria's memory, it tastes of smoke and ash. You feel the heat of flames licking up your legs and see Kelria consumed by fire atop a spike of iron within a Hellknight fortress. A feeling of triumph and resignation fills the memory as Kelria emerges from the flames unscathed.
Loomarch's memory tastes both savory and sweet, tinged with the thrill of freedom. You see a kasatha Hellknight performing some sort of ritual, but the ritual goes wrong and the spell fails. The kasatha withers into flame and disappears. At the same time, a demonic fire spirit forms in the air and then flies into the empty Hellknight armor, animating it with life. Perception checks
Royo's memory has a dry and earthy taste. Your receive a vision of sitting in a cozy library, surrounded by the smell of old paper and stacks of enormous books. While the taste is slightly off-putting, the memory's vision and artificial smell are calming.
As Jin experiences the meal and the memories, he gives a sharp side-eye to both the Hellknights, but doesn't say a word.
|Cesar of the Red Desert|
Cesar thanks his host for the invitation to this pleasant dinner.
Concerned that Kelria will think he's weak due to his smaller Ikeshti stature, he flashes her a cocky, surly hiss, followed by a more friendly wink.
Here's an intimidate AND a diplomacy. Cesar is a complicated Ikeshti, prone to sending mixed messages!
Intimidate: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (11) + 6 = 17
diplomacy: 1d20 + 0 ⇒ (16) + 0 = 16
Iteration-177 questions everyone to learn the backstories of their memories. Kelria only indicates that the flames purified her heretical past, while Loomarch is more than happy to discuss their past. They describe in detail, their time in Hell, the failed summoning which brought them forth, but sent the summoner back in their place, and finally their thrill at being a Hellknight.
Kelria, gives a tight frown to Cesar, while eying them closely.
After the dinner wraps up, Iteration-177 walks with you back towards your rooms. "Thank you for humoring me and providing such wonderful entertainment during dinner. I have a few gifts I would like to give you," they add. They present you with a collection of exotic lotions, oils, and spices. Nestled in amongst the gifts are also two mk 2 serums of healing and a mk 2 ring of resistance.
"We will be arriving at Athaeum tomorrow, and I suspect you will have a long day ahead of you, so good night."
The next day the Diligent Forerunner drops out of the Drift, and through the windows you see nothing but the empty expanse of space. Suddenly a planet appears crackling with arcs of ivory energy. Iteration-177 address you though the ship's speaker system and directs you to make your way to the shuttle bay. Once there Iteration-177 ushers all of you into a spacious shuttle and immediately departs for the planet. Most of the surface of Athaeum is spotted with vine-covered stone domes and towers, creating the impression that the ship is landing in some ancient and long forgotten city. Many of the city’s buildings incorporate massive gears and timekeeping devices, each slowly winding with inscrutable purpose.
As you descend q nearby cracked stone pavilion is visible from outside the shuttle windows, nestled between towering skyscrapers. A stone door slides open in one of the nearby vine-covered towers, and three clouds of glowing, crystalline dust emerge. These clouds float and form into a series of formulae and mathematical symbols in midair before suddenly coalescing into the image of three elven humanoids that patiently wait for the shuttle to land. Pointing them out, Iteration-177 explains that they are Curators of Athaeum.
Once landed you all exit the shuttle. One of the Curators approaches your group and leads you away from the shuttle. Another greets Iteration-177, while the third meets with the Hellknights.
"Greetings, esteemed guests from the Starfinder Society. I am Albryan, and I am tasked with guiding you to the Towers of Recondite Lore, where the information you requested resides. Before I do so, I would like to remind of the rules of research on Athaeum. All the information stored on Athaeum is unique. Visitors are welcome to read from our manuscripts, but copying or recording them in any way is forbidden. Should you choose to reproduce any acquired knowledge after leaving Athaeum, know that you do so at your own risk. We Curators will actively punish such transgressions. Know that there is no corner of the cosmos safe from us."
"Additionally, violence against the Curators or other visitors is strictly prohibited. Finally, visitors to the libraries will be charged a substantial research fee. Fortuitously for you, during our recent shift to this corner of the universe, Athaeum passed through a dangerous energy field that has greatly damaged our systems. We are correcting the problems, but our resources are spread thin. We have flagged two issues in the specific tower you are traveling to. If you can deal with these problems, we are prepared to greatly reduce our usual fee."
Royo turns to Uli, who is standing near him, "That would very useful! This venture is already costing the Society a great deal"
I'm going to assume that's only one ring and 2 serums for all of us. Assuming that, my character would recommend the least experienced of us take the ring and wear it before we leave the ship and that someone else carry the serums, since he only has weak halfling hands.
"Yeah, yeah, yeah. We know the spiel. We'll happily put on our 'problem solvers' hats for you." Jin says, putting 'air quotes' with his fingers around 'problem solvers' as he speaks. He looks at Royo, "Anything you need to tell us before we go take care of this? Do we meet up in the library when we're done?"
"Oh no, I'm not letting you folks out of my sight," says Royo to Jindam.
Albryan addresses Uli, "First, our lore warden constructs in the Tower of the Oma have been infected by malicious data and are malfunctioning. Long ago, a group of doomsday cultist hackers created a prophetic virus, believing that once enough machines were infected, a new age would dawn throughout the universe. We eventually isolated the virus and brought it here for safekeeping. The recent damage to our systems, however, allowed part of the code to transmit to nearby devices, which happened to be a group of passing security machines. The machines are now roaming the halls of the tower, infected with delusions of grandeur. If you destroy these machines and recover a copy of the virus, we can return it to storage safely."
"Second, a special ksarik specimen named Vindurth has escaped from its cage in the tower. We captured an ancestor of Vindurth some years ago on the planet Castrovel because the hide of the beast was covered with indecipherable runes. Since then we have bred several generations from the beast, of which Vindurth is the most recent. Each has produced a new series of runes for us to record. Although relatively tame, Vindurth become dangerous if allowed to wander free. If possible, find a way to bring the ksarik back to its cage."
As he is speaking Albryan leads your group over to a stone shuttle. "This will take you to the Towers of Recondite Lore. Once there, seek out the Tower of Oma; the top floor of this tower holds our information vault on the Scoured Stars."
You notice Iteration-177 and the Hellknight contingent both being led to separate shuttles on the other side of the plaza. Kelria can be seen gesturing angrily and berating her emissary while flanked by a contingent of her soldiers led by Loomarch.
Jindam smirks at Uli and, voice dripping with sarcasm, remarks, "We have friends?"
Before getting on the shuttle, Jin does a quick equipment check, making sure all his weapons are loaded and at hand and that his environmental protections are on. Anticipating the harumph coming from Royo, he says as he boards, "Robots with 'Delusions of Grandeur' and a Ksarik are threats to be prepared for. I promise not to shoot any books."
This is an attempt at a joke... Diplomacy check to make it come across that way.
Diplomacy: 1d20 + 13 + 1d6 + 1 ⇒ (7) + 13 + (4) + 1 = 25
Albryan leaves you at the shuttle, explaining that normally they would accompany you, but with the ongoing crisis they are needed elsewhere.
The shuttle whisks you across the surface of Athaeum for roughly 15 minutes before stopping at the feet of the Towers of Recondite Lore. There are nearly two dozen towers in all, with hundreds of bridges connecting the towers at various heights. The stone towers look clean and new, with only the growth of vines and other flora along their sides hinting at their ages. At the bottom of each tower is a entryway above which is a glowing rune. By studying the rune for a few seconds you are able to learn the name of the tower.
Royo says, "The Tower of the Oma should be near the center," before leading you off in that direction. From time to time he checks a tower name, until at last he locates the one you want.
The Tower of the Oma is roughly 40 stories tall, and is made of black, glassy stone lined with beautifully carved frescoes. Eight bridges lead to the tower, each at different heights, and four looming archways allow visitors to enter the tower. A strange creeping ivy covers much of the first 100 feet of the tower.
Looking up to the top of the tower, Royo sighs, "We've got a long climb ahead of us. Let's get going." and enters the first floor.
The first floor of the tower is a small greenhouse and filled with the dark red ivy see on the outside walls. There are four stairwells leading up.
Jindam takes a look at the ivy before heading toward the stairs.
Life Sciences: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (14) + 7 = 21
"Castrovelian Kudzu? Interesting. I'm wondering what livestock they have in here that needs that?"