When I was given the assignment to write Assault on the Crucible, the conclusion to the Dawn of Flame AP, I immediately knew it was going to be a challenge. Most of the adventure is a base invasion; some might even call it a “dungeon crawl in space.” But how was I to avoid the pitfalls that a dungeon crawl can bring?
The way I saw it, Assault on the Crucible had to have multiple paths. There had to be several competing factions inside the base, and more than one way for the PCs to gain critical information they could then use to make interesting choices. I set a goal for myself: I wanted an adventure in which every table had a different experience. It’s my hope that, when players get together to share their stories of the Crucible, no two groups will have the same story to tell.
I also wanted to create a sense of urgency and tension. This led to the development of a countdown system that represents General Khaim’s attack on the Burning Archipelago on the surface of the sun. The longer the PCs take in the Crucible, the more damage is done to the Archipelago; every encounter forces the PCs to make a choice: Is this a fight we absolutely have to have? I also added encounters that allow the PCs to undermine Khaim’s forces directly, partially rewinding the Countdown.
This is a high-level adventure, which means accommodating PCs armed with big, splashy, abilities. I spent a lot of time thinking about how PCs could quickly gather information with arcane eye, a mechanic’s scoutbot, an operative with cloaking field, or divination and mind probe. In an adventure filled with outsiders, dismissal and planar binding become important spells. I didn’t want to create a bunch of roadblocks to these powers. Instead, I wanted to make an adventure in which player characters had to use all their big guns if they were to have a chance of success. I wanted to not just permit and reward the use of high-level abilities, I wanted to make them an absolute necessity.
There’s so much more I could say about Assault on the Crucible. Writing it was a tremendous challenge, and I had the incredible help and support of Chris S. Sims, developer on this project and my friend. But my turn for talking is done, and now it’s your turn.
I want to know how you survived the Crucible… if you survived!
Starfinder Developer and Author of Assault on the Crucible
The Dawn of Flame AP Concludes in Assault on the Crucible!
Tuesday, August 27, 2019