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Starfinder Society Scenario #1-27: King Xeros of Star AzlantPaizo Inc.
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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.
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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: $4.99Add 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.
Starfinder Society Scenario #1-11: In Pursuit of the Scoured PastPaizo Inc.
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Can I give this two and a half stars?VampByDay —
I hate to give this adventure such a low rating, because it really is a great adventure in principle. The PCs are finally given access to a super-exclusive library-planet that may have information on how to rescue people from the scoured stars incident. What follows is their Bizare trip in acquiring that info.
Unfortunately, the execution is where it falls apart. The scenario starts with an EXTREMELY suspect situation where the PCs are asked to share deeply personal stuff about themselves, and if enough PCs don't do this, they loose out on money. And it doesn't connect to anything really!
The first two encounters are rather forced and feel tacked-on. The last encounter has problems too, including some poor options on how to get to the second half of that fight.
But more than that, there are just large holes in the story. See, this library-planet is stocked entirely with the only copy in existence of any particular text within its walls. As such it is implied the curators will find and ASSASSINATE you if you copy any text within the walls, so how were the Starfinders to even use the information they got? I mean, it's all sorted out in a throwaway line at the end, but that is because of a strange set of circumstances that no one could have been counting on.
In the end, it is a scenario with a great bit of lore that leads to some exciting revelations about the scoured stars incident, but it is marred by just a really lackluster execution.
Fun little mystery scenario, brought down by spoilersVampByDay —
So the scenario works well as a whodoneit. Starts off with the society chasing some new top-of-the-line biotech, nothing reality-breaking, but cool enough to be with the the society looking into. The reasons for investigating are solid, the checks make sense for the location, for detectives and bounty-hunter style characters, it’s great.
The big problem with the zombies is that it is ruined by the scenario title and the blurb. Because if the zombies weren’t advertised, then it would be a great jumpscare and make the scenario much more effective, but since we all knew it was coming, it was just kind of ‘When is the half-alive part going to show up?’
If they had just renamed the scenario to something like “The mystery of the perfect hand,” or something, so that it could come as a surprise. I realize that is metagaming, but knowing something is coming means you can’t be shocked by it, no matter how hard you try. As is, still a solid adventure.
Interesting ScenarioVampByDay —
So the scenario starts off promising enough. You basically have to hang out with a completely coked-out drug-addled rich boy long enough to con him into doing something for you because his family might be up to some evil stuff. It starts off funnily enough, and interesting, but then it steadily becomes more and more tedious as you realize that you have to spend the entire scenario on rails going from plot point to plot point, and you aren't the conductor, this guy is who is stoned out of his gourd. Fun for a while if your GM plays it up, but not enough to carry an entire scenario.
That being said, it isn't BAD. Lots of intrigue, and since you are coning what is ostensibly an 'evil corporation,' even the most good-aligned characters shouldn't have too much of a problem with it.
Also, one of the fights was just brutal for us, and would have TPKed us if the GM didn't softball it. Just constant AOE damage all the time . . . no fun.
If you want to GM this one, make sure you play up the stoner angle, it's the only way your PCs will have fun.
Really good setup; lackluster executionVampByDay —
Man, this scenario is . . . complicated. The setup is great. You go to the heart of Drow territory, and have to do things 'the drow way' to get anything done. The Drow guy that is your 'benefactor' gives you 24 hours of diplomatic immunity in a society that would love nothing more than to kill you and they won't suffer any repercussions for it. There's spy stuff, hacking, intrigue . . . it's great. Everyone in our party was engaged and helping out with skill checks to gather intel for our heist-like scenario.
And then the second half of the scenario rolls around it is all downhill. The infiltration is . . . anticlimactic to say the least, and the fights are just . . . ugh. I don't want to spoil anything, but I'll say it's just a slog. Great boon on the sheet though.
I will say that you should be sure to run this with several skilled characters. We had six characters, most with some pretty great skill sets, and we only barely made it. If you were to run this with several soldiers/solarians, it might go very poorly for you.
Starfinder Society Scenario #1-08: Sanctuary of Drowned DelightPaizo Inc.
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Good first contact mixed with whodonit, a few flawsVampByDay —
So this scenario is overall well executed. It's a great first-contact scenario (well, technically, SECOND contact) but it also has a strong whodoneit element. So if you aren't engaged with the first contact stuff, the mystery stuff should keep you engaged.
There is one kind of downside that holds it back. It is possible to find out very early on that there's something not right going on, and to get some good clues that things aren't as they seem, but literally you can't act on this information without turning the entire facility of (mostly) innocent species hostile . . . so you just have to wait for this specific event to trigger. Really boring that the PCs can't forward the plot, but have to wait for a plot point that (in universe) is random chance. But that's the only flaw, otherwise quite good.
Starfinder Society Scenario #1-09: Live Exploration Extreme!Paizo Inc.
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Ready for over the top Role-Playing fun?VampByDay —
Man, I cannot make a more glowing review of this scenario, it is AMAZING. If you get a group of players and GMs to go whole hog with it, it will just make your day. We had a new starfinder join our group for this table, and I'm afraid we've ruined him because nothing seems to be able to top what we just played.
So the scenario (as the blurb says) sets you up on a reality show special where you explore what a never-before explored dungeon. There are some truly massive revelations with huge consequences, which juxtaposes hilariously with the undead camera crew following you around (and occasionally getting in your way!) So you have to be good starfinders while putting on a show for Zo! and it is just great if you have a bunch of players willing to go along for the ride.
I will say that I can see this scenario going poorly if your GM isn't into the spirit of the scenario. Your GM needs to play up the camera crew and the fakeness of this 'reality show,' and (of course) you need players willing to commit and play to the bit. The more bombastic the better. So if you are the kind of player that doesn't like to role-play and just wants to 'barbarian smash' through scenarios, maybe avoid this one. However, if you are an icon (like TWO of us at the table) and love the fake drama of reality shows? Man, this is the scenario for you.
Just, an all around great scenarioVampByDay —
I love this scenario. It might just have been our GM getting into the spirit and acting out all the little details (like making Zo! out to be a cheesy used car salesman) but it was just super fun to have my Icon Envoy schmooze it up with all sorts of hoity-toity dignitaries. There is a dignitary for almost any kind of person to engage with.
A sleezy media moagul for all the people who are interested in fame and fortune.
A couple of the characters at the table didn't want to talk much, but even they found success with the no-nonsense starfinder and were able to do work with her.
There's a minor little hiccup in the scenario where the plot expects the PCs to do the very dangerous and potentially deadly thing because it will make the Starfinders 'look good,' even though it's very stupid, but since it was set up from the begining of the scenario, I let it slide.
I'm not saying I want all scenarios to be like this, but this was a great one that was super fun to do, and a great break from the dungeon crawls and straight up combats of the previous scenarios. Lots of great RP potential.
Great, creepy little scenarioVampByDay —
Well, Starfinder society seems to be running the gamut of sci-fi tropes in a good way (lots of homages). 1-02 has a little 'Firefly' in it, 1-03 is reminiscent of original series Star Trek, and now we have some sort of Dead Space kind of vibe.
The scenario starts off with a space combat that is different than every other space combat so far, in that it's not super high stakes, but is still fun and interesting (that's in addition to the rather unique environmental hazard.) Then you board a derelict ship with some damage and a dark history. If properly GMed you have a super creepy haunted ship with a mystery to solve and some mild puzzle elements. Tough fights, good role-play opportunities, oozing with atmosphere. Plus it plays into the season-long story arc and has a lot of tie-ins to other season 1 scenarios, so there's a great feeling of continuity.
It really only looses a star because the space combat is kinda forced, and while fun, it doesn't fit the tone with the rest of the scenario. Additionally, one of the fights can be real tough if your party goes straight to it, as some of the pregens are completely incapable of dealing with it. Half of our party just stood around and did nothing while it just tore into the rest of our party, which was not fun for either side.
Not as bad as others are sayingVampByDay —
I know a lot of others are coming down hard on this scenario, but I just GMed it and my group had fun. They did have a level 3 soldier/Solarian playing with them, so the combats were a breeze, so I can't speak to that, but the rest was fine.
The first space combat is a bit annoying, but the PCs used smart maneuvering to stay out of the firing arcs of the drones and just shot the main ship a bunch. It didn't take too long. One thing for GMs, just roll one piloting check for the drones and use that for the 'initiative' for all of them. Helps speed things up a lot.
The PCs ended up correctly guessing the big plot twist about halfway through the scenario, but still liked it in general. They were sad that there was no option to convince the Starfinders to provide humanitarian aid, as they were big on helping them rebuild.
Only complaints I really have for this scenario is that it really assumes the PCs will have certain skills-Diplomacy and Engineering in particular. It's easy for a party to miss out on a bunch of stuff or do very poorly if they lack those skills. Luckily our party had them, but it's something that might not happen with every group.
Lastly: a word to future GMs for this:
it is super easy to miss out on a boon in this scenario. Have the venture captain during the mission briefing ask them to investigate any orbital defenses, that should be enough for the PCs to board the drone launcher and do the salvage operation. No other scenario (thus far) has had space salvage, so otherwise PCs might not even think to do it, and miss out on the boon and money.
Starfinder Society Scenario #1-02: Fugitive on the Red PlanetPaizo Inc.
Our Price: $4.99Add to Cart
Some good bits, but flawed.VampByDay —
first off the good bits. Scenario is very flavorful, with the wild west-ish 'Firefly-esque' feel. Also has a lot of opportunity for some RPing, and makes fairly innovative use of what a magical item could do in a technological economy.
But the scenario itself is where it breaks down. Our party only spent 2 1/2 hours on the scenario, and that was with plenty of missing in combat and goofing off. The final fight also has a fair amount of cheese in it, as the boss starts with some ridiculous buffs.
But the thing I didn't like the most is spoiler heavy.
I didn't like how things are supposed to go down. Our GM made it sound like Abdar was gonna kill the guy for basically trying to save a town. Sure, he stole from the Starfinders, but his plan was solid-reinvigorate a mine and town and make a bunch of credits besides. He didn't mean to cheat Abdarcorp. If the PCs were to turn him into the stewards, they get NOTHING, and Abdarcorp kills him for an accidental swindle. Really didn't sit right with either my character or me as a player.
A solid start, with some big difficulty spikesVampByDay —
Game starts off solid enough. The first quest is a bit easy, but has a chance for some challenges. The second quest involves spaceship combat, and that's where the problems begin. It was kind of long and tedious, and we even made most of our rolls.
Third quest was basically a nothing. Took us like, half an our. A simple fight and some skill checks.
Fourth quest was where things really took a huge difficulty spike, as there is s huge monster that was way more powerful than anything we could handle. We only survived because our mystic managed to roll stupid high on some spell damage. Could have easily TPKed us.
Last quest was also difficult because we were put in a ship that was WAY too difficult for us to deal with. Seriously, it was almost impossible to make any of our needed rolls because the ship's tier was way higher than the party level. We won basically by just tanking hits and shooting guns with higher and higher penalties. It was almost impossible to do any fancy flying or repair systems, so we just shot guns and missed most of the time.