Meet the Authors: Year of the Data Scourge

Thursday, August 18, 2022

Greetings, players! Those of you who are avid readers of the Paizo Blog know that when we release hardcovers, we often release author blogs to give our authors a chance to talk about what they wrote for the book. I decided that hardcover authors shouldn’t get to have all the fun, so we’ve got not one, but two author blogs for Organized Play coming your way!

This week’s blog features authors who wrote for Starfinder Society’s Season 4: Year of the Data Scourge. In a couple weeks, we’ll be hearing from the authors of PFS Year 3: Year of Shattered Sanctuaries. Enjoy!

Alex Speidel
Organized Play Coordinator


Alison Cybe (they/them)
SFS #4-02: Settling Accounts

Hi all! I’m Alison Cybe (they/them), and I’m pleased to say that Paizo has asked me to create a few adventures for them. By now, you’ll have had a chance to play my most recent Paizo project, Starfinder Scenario 5-03: Combatant’s Concerto: Fugue of the Traitor, which is a murder mystery adventure in which you’re trying to root out an enemy agent while also exploring themes of the crimes of imperialism and radical social change conflicting with terrorism. But today I’ve been asked to discuss an earlier work: Starfinder Society Scenario #4-02: Settling Accounts.

On one level, I’m super glad, because I had the chance to introduce a new species into the Starfinder setting for this adventure. I wanted to write rabbitfolk because they’re awesome, but I also wanted to make them feel genuinely different, new, and unique to the setting. So I gave them their own unique culture, nature, and physiology. But that isn’t all I wanted to do with the adventure. I’m not ashamed to say that my adventures are political in nature. All art is political, and the games we play are as much an artform as they are hobby. Settling Accounts is an exploration into cultural contamination. It follows a Pact World celebrity whose first contact with an indigenous species, while not aggressive or of ill-intent, inadvertently causes significant and irreparable harm to the native culture. This type of story isn’t restricted to fiction; it does and has happened countless times across the world. We need look no further than studies into so-called cargo cults or the “invasion via media” in countries such as Bhutan to see it occur. Every year, we hear of more actions taken by nations to subsume and eradicate indigenous cultures such as unmarked graves in Canada’s Indian residential schools or the abuse of Australia’s Stolen Generation. We’re used to thinking of these abuses as things of the past, but they happen today. They happen now. And they do not require the point of a gun. They can happen with simple, thoughtless, arrogant belief in one’s own correctness.


Dennis Muldoon (he/him)
SFS #4-10: The Way In

Hello! I'm Dennis Muldoon (he/him), and in Season 4 of Starfinder Society I was delighted to write both SFS #4-10: The Way In and the new interactive special, SFS #4-99: A Time of Crisis. These presented very different challenges to write, and I enjoyed both quite a bit. For The Way In, I was inspired to create an adventure that felt like an action movie, complete with a villain monologue. My favorite part is the dramatic scene in the conclusion. For A Time of Crisis, I really enjoyed the process of thinking through the challenges PCs would face given the premise of the adventure, and then making sure they were represented in the adventure. My favorite part was coming up with opportunities for PCs to dictate how they solve problems and improve their situation.


Matt Duval
SFS #4-11: A World’s Ambition;
PFS #3-17: Dreams of a Dustbound Isle

Hello! I’m Matt Duval and author for Pathfinder Society Scenario #3-17: Dreams of a Dustbound Isle and Starfinder Society Scenario #4-11: A World's Ambition. I also got to write the return to Salvation’s End for this October, Starfinder Society Scenario #5-10: Shadow of the Vault Lord as well as some other adventures from prior years. Grateful to get asked back!

I went down a lengthy wiki-hole learning about gray goo scenarios for A World’s Ambition and imagining the culture and environment that might arise, but I also did a deep dive on robot dragons. I’d put dragons in everything if they’d let me, and Jenny Jarzabski’s initial email already mentioned them. Yes!! I also included some fun, subtle references that might clue in the observant about the true nature of the adventure’s omnipresent antagonist.

The Dustbound Isle is packed with my other favorite things: surreal extraplanar events, mysteries and puzzles for the players to solve, and so many tie-ins to prior adventures. I pulled ideas for nightmares from Pathfinder RPG Horror Adventures, my most-used PFS1 sourcebook.

And as for Shadow of the Vault Lord… patience. Your doom comes soon enough, feeble heroes!

I’m @sleepyfelix on Twitter, where I mostly post TTRPG stuff and occasionally pics of food I baked or critters I saw.



Ivis K. Flanagan (she/they)
SFS #4-12: A Festive Operation

Heylo! I’m Ivis K. Flanagan, and I wrote Starfinder Society Scenario #4-12: A Festive Operation. This scenario takes the holidays celebrated through the month of Kuthona that Jenny first shared with us and lets the players actually experience them. To me, holidays are about families—the ones you’re given, the ones you’re making, and, most importantly, the ones you choose to love. My goal with this “Starfinder Holiday Special” was to help others feel that love and hopefully bring a smile as well. The reunion at the end has to be my favorite part because it opens a surprise and brings together family who chose to be.

Looking forward, I’m a contributing author to a few announced and unannounced upcoming Paizo projects, including some cool stuff coming in Starfinder Interstellar Species this October. Outside of writing projects, I can be found running Organized Play games, brewing plans for another year of Extra Life fundraising shenanigans, and chilling with my cat. You can find me on twitter @NorseButterfly where I am working to post my current antics!


Scott D. Young (he/him)
SFS #4-15: Feuding Faiths

I'm Scott D. Young (he/him), and I wrote Starfinder Society Scenario #3-10: Live Adventure Extreme! and Starfinder Society Scenario #4-15: Feuding Faiths. Previously, I've written other scenarios for both Starfinder and Pathfinder 1E/2E Organized Play campaigns, and I'm currently the GM for the Young and Adventurous podcast on the Know Direction network.

For Live Adventure Extreme!, I had the great fortune to work with Thurston Hillman as my developer. Getting to add a chapter to the Society’s relationship with Zo! was a treat, and I really enjoyed the chance to take some of the established NPCs and add to their stories. As part of my research for the project I contacted Starfinder Developer Jenny Jarzabski, who had created the wonderful announcer duo of Lethea and Quill, to make sure I got the tone of her creations down accurately—I hope it worked!

In Feuding Faiths, developer Jessica Catalan and I got to explore how religion works without a monopoly on divine magic as such—very different than in pre-Gap Golarion! We also tried to broaden the view of worshippers of each of the key religions, so that the “bad guys” don’t always wear their guilt on their sleeve. (Or DO they? Hmm...) I hope people enjoy them!

You can find me hopefully running a table at a con sometime soon and as “Scott D. Young, Author” on the holosphere. (The “D.” is important—ordinary Scott Young's are everywhere, and there are even a couple of “Scott Young, Author” usernames out there!)


Michael Bramnik (he/him)
SF Bounty #2: Test Flight

Hello world! I'm Michael Bramnik (he/him), and while more of you might know me as a GM or Venture Captain over the last decade, I’ve been fortunate to have recently seen Starfinder Bounty #2: Test Flight released! Crafting Test Flight was an extremely fun process—it allowed me to tap into my background in science and engineering from when I was working towards a PhD in geophysics and as a researcher for the U.S. Army, while also giving several nods to classic spaceborne science fiction encounters at the same time. I’m most happy that the adventure allows players to have so much agency in deciding how to tackle each challenge, allowing it to be re-playable without feeling repetitive.

I'm also very excited for the upcoming release of Pathfinder Society Scenario #4-05: The Arclord Who Never Was. I don’t want to get ahead of myself and give away any spoilers, but I will say this: make sure you don’t lose your head when you play it!

If you want to get in touch with me beyond the Paizo Forums as CanisDirus, I'm also on Twitter as @CanisDirus0.



Kendra Leigh Speedling (she/her)
SF One-Shot #3: System Takedown

Hello! I’m Kendra Leigh Speedling, a freelancer for both Pathfinder and Starfinder. This past year, I wrote Starfinder One-Shot #3: System Takedown, where a disparate group of rebels must infiltrate a Veskarium military communications facility to broadcast proof of the misdeeds of a corrupt Veskarium consul on Pulonis, the pahtra home world. System Takedown has a unique twist: the rebels are livestreaming the infiltration (with their location scrambled, of course) on the channel of one of the PC pregens! So if you’re running the game on a stream yourself, your players can respond to its chat as if it were the in-game one. I provided scripted chat responses for games without an actual live chat, and I had fun coming up with things viewers of a Starfinder vid channel might say. I also enjoyed the chance to have the PCs strike back at the Veskarium’s colonization, and while the adventure doesn’t free Pulonis, it does—hopefully!—make a part of it a nicer place to live.

Other than System Takedown, my most recent work has appeared in Starfinder Drift Crisis and Pathfinder Dark Archive. I also got to keep up the tyranny-fighting theme with To Defy the Dragon, a standalone Starfinder adventure coming out in October, in which the PCs get to find ancient mechs and fight a dragon in them! If you like, you can follow me on Twitter @KendraLS for more project updates and the occasional cat picture.


More Paizo Blog.
Tags: Authors Community Organized Play Starfinder Society Starfinder Society Scenarios
Paizo Employee 5/55/5 Organized Play Coordinator

9 people marked this as a favorite.

Thanks to all of our awesome Starfinder authors! Check back in on the blog in a couple of weeks for a similar blog for our Pathfinder Society authors.


3 people marked this as a favorite.

Thanks to Alison Cybe for highlighting the plight of indigenous populations in post-colonial Americas/Australia.

Small correction - “Silent Generation” is incorrect - should be “Stolen Generation/s” - the forced removal of indigenous children from their families by the “welfare” arm of the Australian government.

Dataphiles

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Starfinder Society Subscriber
Oceanshieldwolf wrote:

Thanks to Alison Cybe for highlighting the plight of indigenous populations in post-colonial Americas/Australia.

Small correction - “Silent Generation” is incorrect - should be “Stolen Generation/s” - the forced removal of indigenous children from their families by the “welfare” arm of the Australian government.

Good catch! Can we have that edited in?

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Lost Omens, PF Special Edition, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Love this. Great to hear all the voices from different society scenarios.

Paizo Employee 5/55/5 Organized Play Coordinator

3 people marked this as a favorite.
Alison-Cybe wrote:
Oceanshieldwolf wrote:

Thanks to Alison Cybe for highlighting the plight of indigenous populations in post-colonial Americas/Australia.

Small correction - “Silent Generation” is incorrect - should be “Stolen Generation/s” - the forced removal of indigenous children from their families by the “welfare” arm of the Australian government.

Good catch! Can we have that edited in?

Done, thanks to Maryssa!


Dennis Muldoon (in original blog post) wrote:
{. . .} I was inspired to create an adventure that felt like an action movie, complete with a villain monologue. {. . .}

Now I want a villain to reference this in world . . . .

Sovereign Court 5/5 5/5 ** Regional Venture-Coordinator, Great Lakes

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Always fun to get a peak behind the curtain and learn about the people who bring us these adventures.

Wayfinders 4/5 5/55/55/55/5 *** Contributor

3 people marked this as a favorite.

So many fabulous authors! More blogs like this, please!

Hmm

Paizo Employee Customer Service Representative

2 people marked this as a favorite.

Removed a post for baiting

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