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Fine introduction with one major stumbling blockVampByDay —
Scenario is fine, does it’s job well which is ‘introduce the metaplot of the rest of the season while still giving players something fun to do.’ Not the best or most in aging scenario, but far from the worst. Would give it four stars however:
There is one fight that only happens at the upper tier that is just notorious. Multiple high-level monsters with an ability to deal auto damage, auto apply debuff, and it essentially heals them for no resource cost. So you can hit these things and on their turn they will just hurt you, undo all the damage you did, and be able to do that ad nausium. Maybe a group of 6 level 4s could handle them easy, but for several groups it has almost caused a TPK. And their defense is higher than normal, just an unfun fight that feels only one step better than saying ‘rocks fall, everyone dies’
Looses a star for such atrocious encounter design, especially since these are unique monsters that have been specifically designed for this scenario.
A largely unfun slogVampByDay —
I wrote a large, detailed review, but PAIZO ate it, so here is the condensed version.
Almost every room has a single high level monster, which just wrecks you, and you can’t just go sleep it off because the game punishes you for that too.
There is one monster that isn’t the final boss that would have TPKed our party of veteran players who knew what we were doing because it was grossly under leveled (was more powerful than its level indicated).
Almost ever room has a haunt, which stops being scary and just becomes tedious after a while.
Story and plot line are fantastic and the only thing that save it. If only the encounters had been redesigned and the game had give you sufficient loot, I would have rated it 5 stars. As it is, the author seems to have confused ‘hard slog’ for ‘scary.’
A great way to interact with the community, needed slightly more refinement.VampByDay —
So I was at PaizoCon when this scenario was released, and I REALLY liked the premise. Some actual players submitted their characters (after jumping through some hoops) and out of those, they were narrowed down to which were first seeker material. They were narrowed down to these four first seeker candidates.
I really like the different personalities that show up in this scenario, and knowing that these characters are REAL people’s characters and not designed by committee really makes them feel alive. Of course they are crazy and silly Starfinder characters that we love, and I really enjoy that. I also really appreciate the level of feedback between the design team and the players, and it just feels great.
I will say, the downside here is that the missions each of the four candidates gives out . . . don’t make a whole lot of sense. Three out of the four of them involve days-long missions. I mean, the scenario sets it up like ‘Go talk to these people for the day, see if they need help, and then try to figure out which would make the best first seeker.’ However, three of the four candidates send you to either near or far space. Realistically this scenario would take Starfinders a month or more to complete. I feel it would have been better if these missions had been limited to Absolom Station-that would have made the scenario feel more connected and whole.
Great premise, poor secondary success condition.VampByDay —
This should be a scenario that is more fun than it is. It starts off strong, with a return to Salvation’s end and an investigation of another testing chamber. It’s fun infiltrating the area, trying to play along while still trying to figure out what’s going on, and find out what the big issues is. It's a fun to try to slowly piece together what the 'puzzle' is that has led to this particular simulation.
The second half is also fun, but becomes supremely problematic. All the sudden everything comes crashing down around your ears and it’s a mad dash to save people, gather as much data as possible, and get out. This also makes the secondary success condition problematic.
Unfortunately, there is an invisible counter between how much data you need to gather and how many people you need to save. And there is absolutely NO indication of how much of each you need. When we played through this, being generally good-aligned characters, our party saved a bunch of people, and got data when we could. Apparently, that was the wrong choice because we only got half credit for the scenario, as we saved way more people than we needed, but didn’t get enough data. With no indication of how much of each you need, it seems difficult to psychically intuit the right amount of people saved to data collected to get full credit for this scenario.
A fine series of quests, would have been a better scenarioVampByDay —
An interesting little scenario. I really like the premise of a mysterious world that should not exist. And, as far as quests go, it’s actually pretty good. It works as a scenario by itself, but it also works as a series of standalone adventures with very minimal setup.
Starfinder Society Scenario #2-11: Descent into Verdant ShadowPaizo Inc.
Our Price: $5.99Add to Cart
Starts off great, then detours into weirdnessVampByDay —
So this scenario’s a bit confusing. I mean, it starts off alright. You are told to explore the native flora and fauna of an area, report back, play nicey-nice with an NPC guide. The guide is exotic, the local is exotic, and it is a scenario that favors a skill that isn’t computers or engineering, so that’s refreshing! And the first half of the scenario is fine, follows logically very nicely.
The second half of the scenario jumps right off the rails and takes a right turn into unknown waters. I mean, it just comes out of nowhere and makes no logical sense. Without spoiling anything, you stumble upon something you had no idea was going on and it is just coincidence the Starfinders show up when they do. And it is up to the Starfinders, who just happen to be there by happenstance, to save the day. That kind of extreme ‘oh, we just happened to show up at the at the exact right time even though we had no idea what was going on’ writing is a bit too trite for my taste.
That said, the fights and set pieces were all tactically challenging, interesting, and fun! Just wish the story had been workshopped a bit more.
Great series of unconnected questsVampByDay —
So this is actually pretty good. The problem I usually have with quests is that they are too disconnected to function as a full scenario, but are too connected to be a standalone adventure. This quest series does away with any connective tissue other than the theme ‘these quests all have something to do with Starfinders and the Corporations that they work with.’ Unlike other quests that feel like you can’t really start and stop them at any time (I’m looking at you Withering World) these are just a straightforward series of 1-shots that you really feel like you can drop in-drop out of.
The quests are all varied (and all of them are more than go here, do skill check, get ambushed by a fight) and have a unique flavor to them. I really appreciate that. Plus, it is another 3-6 repeatable, which I enjoy.
Great flavor, skill DCs way out of whack.VampByDay —
The first thing I noticed when I prepped to GM this scenario is that the skill DCs seemed really high, and my players, having played it last night, agreed with me. The only reason the players were able to get full rewards was because we were doing a charity event with $1 rerolls and the players spent over $20 on skill check rerolls alone. This was in addition to them ‘cheating’ and not having to do certain skill checks by creative use of spells and class abilities. I’m obviously not complaining about donating to charity, but not every group will have this option. Everyone commented on how out-of-whack the DCs were. We had a level 10 operative and Technomancer, and an 8 soldier and mystic. The mystic and soldier were unable to contribute to ANY skill checks AT ALL and were basically stuck watching the other players throw dollar bills at me until they rolled a 15 or higher on the die. They eventually took to taking 20 on every check they possibly could. If not for the flavor of this scenario (which they loved) it would have been a very unhappy table.
Super deadly to low levels.VampByDay —
Played this at the 1-2 tier table with five players, and it was a lucky thing there was a level 4 and level 3 soldier there or everyone would have just died, no question. Fights with no weapons, death traps everywhere that deal tons of damage, and high DC saves that the game requires you to subject yourself to to succeed. Like I said, I was a level 3 soldier playing down and my character STILL almost died (was 2 HP from going down, and we were out of healing serums, spells, and no one in the party had medicine.)
Like I said, I don't know how low-level players are supposed to survive this at all.
Two fun bits with a poor transitionVampByDay —
It Rests Beneath is a bit of an odd duck when it comes to scenarios. It is essentially separated into two parts, a fun road-trip part where people get to tool abound on hoverbikes and go nuts, and a kinda alien-horror mystery part. The thing about it is. . . The transition from one to the other is kinda clunky and jarring. Here my ace pilot was going along, loving piloting along this open field and doing stuff, and then boom, cosmic horror. Neither section is bad, just. . . The genre shift was a bit abrupt.
Fun game show feel that take hoursVampByDay —
Like many others have said, super fun and super flavorful if your GM is willing to indulge, but it can run long. Also, it is really heavy on skill checks, so if you don’t have the skills highlighted in the segment, you feel useless.
Starfinder Society Scenario #1-27: King Xeros of Star AzlantPaizo Inc.
Our Price: $5.99Add to Cart
Incredably strong opening, weak finish.VampByDay —
King Xeros starts with a super fun action sequence that is great if your GM plays it up. The King Xeros, an ancient sailing ship has shown up on an outpost and the Azlanti have shown up, killed everyone, and are preparing to take the back to their empire. They can’t be allowed to just waltz in and take whatever they want from the pact worlds, kill our people, and the Xeros should be the pact worlds’ to study.
What follows is a harrowing mission where the PCs, with help, perform a commando-style raid on a facility. It’s great, makes you feel like an action hero, super fun.
But the second half is not nearly as fun. Basically, after a starship combat, it turns into a below-average dungeon crawl. Because it only takes up half the scenario, it is short and rather unimpressive. I just wish the author would have kept the action up with a second commando style boarding and some more interesting stuff instead of a rather empty dungeon crawl with an artificial time limit that presents no real danger at all for parties that don’t futs around.
Also the ending is just a hallow victory. I understand why it goes the way it does, but it just contributes to the feeling of ennui.
Could have been so much more.VampByDay —
So, like many SFS scenarios that get a poor review from me, the problem in the scenario isn’t the concept-the concept is great. There is a new species that has proven itself a threat! The Starfinders have captured one of their ships, and are going to pull an Independence Day. Pose as a returning ship, load it up with a bomb, and blow one of their installations.
The thing is, this turns out to be just a dungeon craIwl, and not a particularly interesting one. Fight your way to the reactor, then let OTHERS take the bomb there after you’ve cleared the way. As my friend put it ‘doesn’t make you feel like the hero, makes you feel like the guys opening the door for the hero.’ Additionally, this could have been the way to explore the alien geometries of this previously unknown civilization, but in reality the base just has the same boring feel of every other base/dungeon.
There’s no reason the PCs couldn’t have been escorting the bomb, which could have introduced a cool bomb defense mechanic, which would have made the PCs feel more relevant and made the session more memorable.
I should mention that by no means is this a terrible scenario. If you are looking for some straight up fights with a few skill checks, then you will get exactly what you want. Just feels like the scenario could have been so much more than it ended up being. A race to the reactor while shielding a bomb, and then a race out!
Promising premise, lackluster executionVampByDay —
I got to play this scenario with my Kasatha-loving half-orc Solarian, which is possibly the absolute best character to play this game with, and it still wasn’t that great.
The scenario seems like it should be fine. A prominent Starfinder Solarian And Kasatha has gone on a spiritual journey at the worst possible time, (as he is needed to politically stabilize the Starfinders) and the PCs are tasked with bringing him back. The PCs have to navigate the political customs of the Kasatha in order to find out where their quarry went and then go retrieve him.
The thing is, if the PCs don’t play ball (like many at our table didn’t) it just turns into a circus and everyone fails. On a writing standpoint many of the fights feel forced and tacked on, and there is no ‘convincing’ the Starfinder to come back. You just win the final fight and he decides to return. You’d think convincing a spiritual leader to abandon his spirit quest would require a diplomacy check or something.
I’ve been waiting for a scenario involving the Irdari for a while, but this scenario did not deliver a great scenario for it or make use of the setting as much as it could have.
Still, investigating on the Idari allows for some role play opportunities if you are willing to actually follow Kasatha customs, so it isn’t without some merit. Just be aware what you are getting into.
Solid repeatable, could have been a skosh more.VampByDay —
By far one of the best repeatable out there. There is a randomized investigation section in the beginning which can vary from game to game, the crew of the ship you find is randomized, the threats are randomized, all in all, a lot of good elements for a repeatable.
The only nitpick, and it is a minor nitpick, is that the story beats are always the same. Unlike PFS scenarios ‘Tome of Righteous Repose’ and ‘Down the Half-light Path,’ the story is always roughly the same. If only they had included different story elements with the amount of choice in this scenario, then itwould have been five stars for sure. But then that might have been too tough on GM prep maybe? Still, solid, solid repeatable.
Multiple paths to the finish=low railroading.VampByDay —
Interesting scenario and hard to rate. It certainly isn’t your typical scenario, as it is possible to only have one fight during it. Lots of diplomacy and social interactions, and a fun and unique enemy to boot. The only issue is; my character came up with what I thought was a unique solution to the problem, but I’m not sure if the solution worked because of my logic or because that’s the situation that the game expected, or because ANY solution would work. Anyway, decent scenario with multiple ending paths depending on how your party wants to roll.
Good mostly through, but gatekeeping at start marrs it.VampByDay —
This scenario is fun, but there are a few gatekeeping situations that really hurt it. At the start there is a bit that basically requires the physical science skill, and if the party doesn’t have the skill (or the people that do roll super low, like in our group,) the game just stalls. Not really that fun. The middle part of the scenario is great though, with some good intrigue, and a real climax that is mitigated based on how well skill checks were made. And the skill checks are varied enough that most parties will be able to get at least some of them.
There is an ending fight that is pretty tough because the environment gives the bad guy a huge advantage, but it is also climactic and fun. There is a bit of an issue in that the scenario expects you to fight, then get the mcguffin, but you can get the mcguffin during the fight.
All in all, solid scenario with some real fun bits, marred by the stupid bit of gatekeeping at the start.
Starfinder Society Scenario #1-22: The Protectorate PetitionPaizo Inc.
Our Price: $5.99Add to Cart
Fun scenario, few minor hiccups.VampByDay —
Just GMed this one:
So this was a fun scenario, but there are a few minor things that can cause problems. It's easy to miss out on certain bits of information that the scenario expects you to know.
The gist of the scenario is that there is a planet that is petitioning for protectorate status, and the Starfinders are hired to look into their archaeological record in order to see if there are any skeletons in their collective closet. Lo and behold, the archaeological record starts contradicting with stuff the government says, and the PCs have to figure out what to do with that information.
The big problem I have with the scenario (the thing that knocks off a star for me) is that there is one location that gives away, like 90% of the story. So if the PCs visit there first or early on, many of the other areas become superfluous.
**********SPOILER-MY GROUP'S RUN THROUGH SPOILER********
There are a few things that the PCs didn't pick up on. They did notice the agent's control rig but did not identify it in game, and none of them were androids/SROs/drone mechanics so they didn't know about the taboo against AIs until they contacted the agent about Less-than-Three. They did know that the Copaxi USED to be dicks to robots, but figured their ideas had changed a while ago, not realizing that AI had been outlawed.
Also, bits of the lore had to be told to them after they had identified the stuff. So they didn't put together that it was odd that the Copaxi developed drift drive some 290 years AFTER Triune's signal, so they never learned about the government lie that the people got the signal, but couldn't interpret it for some time.
All in all, most of the players liked it, but I just wish there were some ways to feed some of the Copaxi government lies to the players earlier on, not tell them in retrospect 'BTW, government lied about that too."
Not bad, but sadly kind of forgettable.VampByDay —
An interesting scenario. It does nothing wrong-per se. The session revolves around a mystery at an archaeological dig that is in the sovereign territory of Eox. Theoretically this could have been a lot of fun by navigating political waters while solving a mystery.
But it just isn’t engaging. There are basically three suspect groups for the mystery, but you either make the knowledge checks and essentially know who it is from the beginning during the mission briefing, or you don’t make the knowledge checks and the reveal comes out of left field. A few more sprinkling of clues as to the real perpetrators, and possibly a few more red herrings, could have really spiced up this scenario.
As it is, the scenario is certainly not . . . Bad. There are no major issues (well, there is, a party of melee beat-sticks will have trouble here) but it is sadly just kind of. . . forgettable. When stacked up against the flavor of other recent scenarios, like Save the Rendrokas, Live Exploration Extreme, or Star Sugar Heart Love, it doesn’t even compare.
About as good as quests get.VampByDay —
So I have a friend who hates quests because they are so disconnected and disjointed from each other, and even he liked this game. Generally solid plot and good story. Some of the quests are a little cliche, and it would have been nice to see some of them fleshed out a bit more, because there are a few contrived coincidences, but what do you expect for one hour time slots per adventure?
Things that could have been better:
Starfinder Society Scenario #1-17: Reclaiming the Time-Lost TearPaizo Inc.
Our Price: $5.99Add to Cart
Good concept-Terrible execution.VampByDay —
This is the first Starfinder Society that no one in our group cared for at all. It starts off promising enough, with some haunted ruins housing some unknown artifact, but it just never really delivers. If you do things ‘the right way,’ (being real Starfinders, being cautious and thorough, and exploring everything), then it is possible to skip all fights except the optional encounter (even the final fight was essentially skipped; which our group did.). There are several ‘gotcha’ tactics (Traps and radiation that do boatloads of damage with little to no chance of countering them) and the final scene, while a cool concept, is a massive anticlimax that left most our party just twiddling our thumbs. Overall just, not fun.
Another great flavor scenario.VampByDay —
Starfinder is really hitting it out of the park with some great flavor scenarios. And this scenario is no exception. I won’t ruin it because it’s super fun, but as there is a giant t-Rex like beast on the cover, I feel it’s safe to say things get all Jurassic Park. I will say that once you peel back the veneer of awesome silly fun, you find that these scenarios are fairly straitght-line adventures, which some of my friends dislike, so keep that in mind. But if you want to live a cheesy action spy thriller movie, this is the scenario for you!
Can I give this six out of five stars?VampByDay —
I thought that no scenario could top Live Exploration Extreme! But I think I'm wrong. This scenario, if it doesn't surpass it, at least gets to the same level. Hilarious, good-natured romp all around, with tons of super fun tongue-in-cheek scenes. It's got challenging combats, really fun role-play elements, a thrilling cyber-mystery plot, and so much more! It's just really . . . the best. Top tier. Words cannot do it justice, it is super fun.
I will say that even more than 1-09 (Live Exploration Extreme), the the players need to be on board and the GM needs to be prepped. Preferably with a playlist of K/J-pop songs because it really adds to the concert atmosphere.
And, also like 1-09, the players really need to be willing to go along whole-hog with the scenario. That doesn't mean you have to be a Strawberry Machine Cake superfan, but you do need to get into the spirit of things. A murderhobo who is just sitting around waiting for the next fight is going to miss out on a lot of the atmosphere and fun of the session.
In short. Gms, prep it. Players, Role-play it. If your character hates going to concerts, play up that angle (we had a player who did, he still had tons of fun!) If your character is a Strawberry Machine Cake fan, ham it up! (My Character bought Strawberry Machine Cake Formal Attire!)
Fun scenario, but a few flaws and annoying space combatVampByDay —
So played this with an all Lashunta party, soldier, envoy, Mystic, technomancer. Probably should have been harder to talk amongst ourselves in mixed company except we were all telapathic :p
So, first off: the good bits. This continues the scoured stars metaplot in a believable and fun way, with the PCs trying to track down a clue discovered in an earlier scenario. It involves an alien race that our party totally thought was interesting and fresh, and had some great role-play opportunities. Also introduces the idea of a prime-directive like concept that our area has thought was sorely needed in Starfinder.
Downsides: The space combat was just brutal, and we bit it hard. And you know what? No effect on the rest of the scenario! We don’t even get a clue what it was about! I realize it is setting up for something down the line, but there’s no context for it within the scenario.
Also, there is a plot hole in the scenario. Without going too much into spoiler territory, it is pretty easy for Starfinders to figure out something from a cursory glance that the lead scientist of a research facility doesn’t see. I mean, when my Icon former child actor with minimal first aid experience can figure out something that the lead scientist can’t, I consider that a head-scratcher.
Good repeatable, few minor hiccups.VampByDay —
First off, I just want to say I love repeatables. I play in a community that is very active, so we quickly burn through scenarios we can play, and then it becomes a rigamaroll to find something that everyone can do. So I really appreciate repeatable because then, at least, we can all play.
And the basis for this scenario is pretty good. A group (there is a table to roll on randomly for the GM, so it is not always the same group) has recently rediscovered an outpost lost 200 years ago, and have hired the Starfinders to go check it out. This makes sense in universe (Starfinders ARE explorers, it makes sense to hire a team of experts). It is also GREAT setup for new players to learn what Starfinder-ing is all about.
Along the way they meet natives (which the GM gets to make up their own alien species, with special abilities from a random chart) and and fight a random magic storm, and whatnot. Even the ultimate fate of the outpost is different from time to time. So one playthrough you might be asked by the knights of Golarian to go to an idylic world and meet kind centaur-like creatures who thank you for destroying a great evil. Another time you might be on a nasty blasted hellscape for the Hellknights, and the aliens could be the Biker Mice from mars!
Really, the only major hiccup is that the storm that the PCs navigate is rather . . . tacked on and not entirely believable. There is a storm that the PCs must navigate in all tiers that just does damage, and it 'can last from hours to weeks' meaning the PCs can't just wait it out . . . And it just so happens to be centered over the outpost? And it's just randomly there, and not the mechanisms of the outpost, and presumably disapates after the PCs complete their mission because they don't have to navigate back OUT of the storm. It just . . . breaks suspension of disbelief. Additionally, that section of the adventure is just a slog to get through, as you just move, make a check, (maybe) take damage, then move again. There's no tactics and you are more or less moving in a straight line.
Other than that, though, fun scenario with a lot of replayability because of all the different types of planets, atmospheres, and aliens you can meet.