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Fabulous and Free!meloriel —
Every year I download Wayfinder and every year my kids and I lovingly give it a read together. Without fail, something from Wayfinder (usually quite a few somethings!) makes it into our home games. Whether it's used by a PC or GM, whether it's a character option, piece of gear, location, monster, or enemy – something makes it in.
Wayfinder 19 is a great addition to the Wayfinder fanzines, and the first focused on Starfinder. The articles inside offer new aliens, themes, equipment, and starships. In addition to player options, there’s plenty for GMs with adventure ideas, plot hooks, characters that can be used as allies or enemies, unique NPCs, and even a short adventure. Both players and GMs can make use of a ton of locations, personalities and gazetteers that are described throughout. To round things out there’s also songs, poetry, and fiction. And let’s not forget the awesome art!
This book is fabulous and absolutely free. There's no reason not to download. It's definitely worth the effort.
Note: My children and I contributed content to this issue of Wayfinder. As such, we are not commenting on any part of the fanzine we had a hand in creating. The above review is about all content excluding our own.
Fantastic and fun!meloriel —
This scenario takes place in Sedeq, a city in Qadira, and builds off of events from #38: No Plunder, No Pay and #10-21: Treason’s Chains. This mission is of particular importance to members of the Liberty’s Edge faction. Venture-Captains are Wulessa Yuul (name-dropped) and Karisa Starsight.
Slaver's End tasks the PCs with tracking down the traitor Phlegos Dulm and bringing him in alive. This is a really fun, challenging, entertaining scenario, with great enemy tactics and placement, map layout, and story. I adore the scripted dialogue in this one, and the social encounters! This scenario allows for multiple ways to approach and overcome the encounters, and gives characters the chance to make decisions that could have further ramifications outside this scenario. I absolutely loved this adventure. Really great job!
Note on the final location:
This scenario's major encounter involves an infiltration or attack on a building. All of the enemies have detailed tactics and a listing on how long it takes them to prepare for and enter combat. Which is awesome! It turns the exploration into wave after wave of enemies once the PCs make enough noise to attract attention. The pacing between waves works well, and the building layout is well-suited to this sort of mobile encounter. There's enough room in some spaces for larger fights, but PCs should be able to use room size and hallways against their attackers in order to gain an advantage.
Pathfinder Society Scenario #10-20: Countdown to Round MountainPaizo Inc.
Our Price: $4.99Add to Cart
Got a few kinks to work outmeloriel —
This scenario takes place in the Darklands beneath Tian Xia and continues the ongoing Hao Jin Tapestry storyline. Although it involves Round Mountain this scenario doesn’t actually take place in Round Mountain, which is important to note for managing player expectations. The Venture Captain is Amara Li.
In a lot of ways, I love this adventure. Its an easy read, has a really cool premise, and has a creative location to explore. I really like that this adventure is on a timer and has a lot at stake, but I don’t think it quite got the timing right. There’s plenty of promising ideas and details in the adventure, but I don’t think many were explored fully, resulting in either a missed opportunity or a lot of GM improvisation, depending on the situation. This scenario is very heavy on skill checks, and would have benefited from some further social aspects. I like the enemies the PCs come across, and I really enjoy the finale.
This scenario doesn’t really conform to any of the typical Darklands adventure themes, tasks, and expectations. Which is fine! There’s nothing wrong with breaking stereotypes, and I do really love the premise and feel of this adventure location. My issue though, is that the mission briefing hints PCs will need to face such dangers –– which they don’t. That’s going to lead to PCs spending coin or prestige points on underground survival gear and magic which will never get used. I doubt players will appreciate it.
I think there’s a lot of interesting cultural and societal details mentioned in this scenario, but they aren’t explored, which means such discoveries will either involve a lot of GM improvisation to make fun, or will end up feeling like a useless skill check. On the topic of skill checks, I found a lot of the DCs in this adventure on the low side, which is an interesting choice considering the tier. Personally, I think it’s too easy.
There’s a few interesting NPCs in this scenario, but I feel like it needed more to make this place feel lived in. I don’t get a sense of the mood or outlook of the populace or their reaction to current events, which is unfortunate. There’s some really great remarks in the beginning regarding communication and teamwork between the PCs and allied NPCs, but the adventure doesn’t utilize either concept particularly well. A bit of a missed opportunity, I think.
Nitpicks aside, I really enjoy the culture and settlement we’re introduced to in this scenario. It’s really great work! But, I don’t think the adventure as written is going to get those same feelings across to a player in game. And I really wish it did!
Let me finish by saying I enjoyed this scenario, but I think it’s got a bit of kinks to work out.
High stakes excitementmeloriel —
This scenario continues the ongoing Scoured Stars storyline, involving both the jinsul and the Kreiholm Freehold. I highly recommend you play #1-29: Honorbound Emissarries before playing this scenario (although there’s a ton of other Scoured Stars scenarios that would also be great to play beforehand). Players who take the time to do so will get more enjoyment out of this adventure. Of course, chances are if you're in tier for this scenario you've already played a lot of the Scoured Stars so that shouldn't be an issue. This scenario is the conclusion of the Year of Scoured Stars for the Starfinder Society, and leads into the events of the interactive special #2-00: Fate of the Scoured God.
This scenario involves a ton of different characters, plot lines, and events all coming together into one absolutely awesome scenario. It’s fast-paced, exciting, and dynamic. It’s definitely long, though, so GMs will need to keep a brisk pace to fit it all into a single timeslot. The encounters cover a variety of types –– combat, skills, social, starship, and so on –– and most challenges allow for multiple methods to overcome them. It’s action-packed and epic, but a bit manic and disjointed. To be fair, that actually fits the adventure really well. All in all, this is a really satisfying scenario with a great pay-off.
Really great job!
Starfinder Society Scenario #1-38: The Many Minds of HistoriaPaizo Inc.
Our Price: $4.99Add to Cart
One of my favourites!meloriel —
This scenario builds on events from Starfinder Society #1-99: The Scoured Stars Invasion, although playing this scenario beforehand is not necessary. It also continues an ongoing personal subplot involving Zigvigix and Historia-7. Although it's not necessary, I highly suggest you play some of the previous scenarios that feature Zigvigix and Historia-7 in order to better enjoy and understand this scenario (particularly #1-01, #1-14 and #1-33). Players who do so will definitely get more out of it emotionally and contextually, than players that do not.
The Many Minds of Historia takes place in Absalom Station's Lorespire Complex, base of operations for the Starfinder Society. There you will assist Zigvigix in confronting Historia-7, his friend and fellow faction leader who he believes is acting strangely. It includes plenty of important characters, and has lasting ramifications for the future of some of the involved characters and factions. Due to the importance of this scenario, (and because it is much more enjoyable to play while completely in the dark), I won't be saying much more about the content of this scenario. I will say that I absolutely loved it! The Many Minds of Historia is creative, exciting, unique, and shocking. It's emotionally impactful, and brings a lot of interconnected storylines, characters, and events together into an intriguing cohesive whole. It's fun for players and GMs both, allows for a lot of creativity, and is an absolutely wonderful scenario. It feels personal, and I expect many players will be on the edge of their seats throughout the course of this adventure. All that said, it's not without a few minor weaknesses. A few of the enemy's starting positions don't work optimally with their tactics (which also means it's a bit easier than some CRs imply), and it will be difficult to convey some of the skill options PCs could use without simply telling them. Miniscule nitpicks. Overall, The Many Minds of Historia is among my very favourite scenarios. Awesome job, Lyz!
An engaging social scenariomeloriel —
This scenario is a sequel to #1-24: Siege of Enlightenment. However, playing the two adventures in order isn’t necessary. In fact, characters who haven’t played Siege of Enlightenment are likely to have a different outlook on the Gideron Authority than those who have, which can make for some fun roleplaying between the party members. I think it’s best to have a mix of PCs who have and haven’t played Siege of Enlightenment when playing this scenario. This scenario also has ties to #1-06: A Night in Nightarch.
Whatever the party composition, your PCs mission is to convince representatives of the Gideron Authority to lend the Starfinder Society their aid — the Wayfinders flagship Master of Stars needs a drift engine only the Gideron Authority can provide, and the Starfinder Society would like exploration rights to some of their archaeological sites.
Overall, this is a really fun social scenario. There’s plenty of interesting NPCs to talk to and sway to your side. The social engagements are well planned out, and interspersed with opportunities for other skill checks and a really cool combat encounter. It think it’s going to be an absolute blast to play! This is a great scenario to crack out your diplomats, envoys, and other charismatic characters. PCs who prefer to pound face all day are better suited to other scenarios, but that doesn’t mean they won’t have a chance to shine. The Gideron Authority is an aggressive, military-based society that values strength and experience, so even PCs with a martial focus will find someone they get along with. And, of course, any Wayfinders will have a lot on the line in this one, as accomplishing this mission can finally get the Master of Stars up and running.
This is one of my favourite influence-based Starfinder Scenarios.
A dynamic dungeon delve!meloriel —
At it’s core, Enter the Ashen Asteroid is a dungeon delve. PCs enter an enclosed location, look around, unearth some secrets, and fight some bad guys. It’s a type of adventure that’s underrepresented in Starfinder, so I think it’s a nice change of pace. Happily this delve is packed full of opportunities to use a wide variety of skill checks, has interesting environmental hazards, and features a few obstacles in it that can be overcome in multiple ways.
Plus PCs might even get to walk on top of lava! That's such a cool thing to happen to a PC they might not even mind afterwards how much it hurts! Haha.
There’s some complex devices and backstory to untangle, which keeps the dungeon interesting, and plenty of important finds to collect. I particularly enjoyed the interconnectivity of the dungeon. Each room has ties to those around it, which is really nice to see.
The battles in this scenario are challenging, particularly one against an old foe from Pathfinder whose new art looks amazing!
At the end of the scenario PCs will have to report to some Ulrikka Clanholdings bigwigs and offer them a recommendation in regards to the fate of the asteroid. There's chances for some group RP and big decisions here, which is a nice addition.
It should be noted that this is a complex adventure to run. There’s some subsystems at work here that new or inexperienced GMs could find confusing — luckily this is mitigated by a super handy player handout. One of the locations also has a complex obstacle some PCs might struggle with. Although I really enjoyed it, I don't recommend this scenario for new or inexperienced GMs or players. It's not one I'd sit down to play with my kids, either.
Pathfinder Adventure Path #139: The Dead Roads (Tyrant's Grasp 1 of 6)Paizo Inc.
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Morbid Masterpiece!meloriel —
Let me start by saying that The Dead Roads is not for everyone. Terrible tragedies will occur, and you won’t always be able to prevent them. These events are bound to have a lasting effect on your characters, so players should be prepared to consider and role-play the marks left by the trials you face. Plenty of the imagery and events in this adventure are dark, morbid, and sorrowful. It’s definitely a horror campaign — though not your typical horror. It’s suspenseful mysterious horror, with a touch of survival horror, and a good deal of body horror in the first book, as well. The Dead Roads contains imagery that is inappropriate for children and some adult gamers will even consider an image or two disturbing. It’s definitely not a campaign I could play with my family.
That said, I loved The Dead Roads. Absolutely, positively, adored it.
For starters, it looks great. From cover to cover it’s a wonderful, high quality book filled with nice maps, and beautiful, dark artwork. There’s a lovely map of The Gravelands (Lastwall and parts of Ustalav) on the inside cover. There’s a ton of artwork throughout the book — of enemies, allies, and characters who could become either. I particularly enjoyed the art for Prince Uspid and Mictena. Colulus was the most disconcerting image in the book. If any image is going to bug a squeamish player it’ll be that one. There’s a few characters that I wish had art but don’t (which is expected). Ayuki, in particular, would have been nice to see, as well as the halfling mortic in the bestiary. The maps are really nice. They look great, of course, but they’re also well thought out, executed, and each has a unique feel to it. I particularly enjoyed ‘Roslar’s Tomb’ and ‘Deathbower.’
I wish that the maps of the various Dead Roads locations were given a bit more space, though. Squishing three multi-floor maps for three different locations onto one page is good for page count, but makes some of the maps difficult to read. Part of the eastern end of the ‘Palace of Teeth’ is nearly lost in the creases of the binding, while the entrance to ‘Salishara’s Scriptorium’ is hidden in the creases. If both of those maps were a few grid squares further to the left that would have been less of a problem. Finally, flipping back and forth between the map page and the various locations depicted in it (which is spread out over 28 pages) is a bit irritating. Have a bookmark or post-it note handy and try not to tear your pages. Much to my surprise there was also two player handouts which represent puzzles the group comes across. I’m really glad they’re depicted instead of just described. They’re necessary and a really nice touch.
The Dead Roads starts with a bang (HA!) and doesn’t let up. The entire opening has the feel of an ominous, suspenseful mystery. Your PCs don’t know where they are, how they got there, or what’s going on. Their locations hide clues to both their situation and the history of wider events, which the PCs may or may not be able to uncover. In time they will discover the answers to some of their questions, just as they realize it’s tied to an even bigger mystery.
There’s a lot of wonderful social encounters and NPCs in this adventure. Among them, three particularly stand out amongst the crowd: interacting with the townsfolk of Roslar’s Coffer is poignant and amazing; speaking with Barzahk the Passage; and — my personal favourite characters — Umble and Thoot! This pair of friendly psychopomps are the best!
Many of the creatures and NPCs you come across don’t look friendly — which doesn’t mean they aren’t friendly. Of course, it doesn’t mean they are friendly, either. Which I love! Appearances often have no bearing on what a creature acts like and I appreciate that this adventure used that so effectively. It’s bound to throw players for a bit of a loop and make them feel… off-kilter. Which is great!
There’s a lot of challenging encounters in this adventure and plenty of unique monsters to face off against. I particularly enjoyed that so many can end in ways other than violence. But, don’t let that last sentence lull you into a false sense of security! There’s a lot of combat encounters in this book that cannot be avoided.
The rest of what I have to say is heavier on the spoilers, so read on with caution.
Through this adventure the PCs will get to interact with psychopomps, a type of outsider native to the Boneyard who work to ensure that the processing of souls is done accurately and efficiently. Typically functioning as guides for the souls of the deceased, the psychopomps are confused over what to do about the mysterious PCs. Some will help them along their way and others with hinder them. Psychopomps aren’t the only enemies and NPCs the players will interact with. The Boneyard is a huge realm, and there’s plenty of creatures living/stranded/invading there. Other major groups of enemies include fey, vermin, sakhil, and nightmarish beings from the Dimension of Dreams. I really enjoyed that they was such an array of different being to tackle, and the reasoning behind them all.
This adventure consists of four main parts: Awake in Roslar's Tomb, where your PCs find themselves entombed in someone else's mausoleum and have to escape and figure out what the heck's going on; Among the Dead, where your PCs realize that their home town was destroyed in an instant and they are the only survivors. They need to head into a phantom version of their hometown and convince the citizens to move on peacefully to the afterlife. This is a great opportunity for GMs and player to get some great, emotional, unique roleplaying in and it's definitely my favourite part of the adventure. From there the PCs need to embark on a journey along The Dead Roads in order to return to the land of the living. Along the way they'll need to get their metaphorical passports stamped at three waystations. Each of these locations is suffering through some turmoil at the moment and is much more dangerous than expected. The Palace of Teeth is a delightfully disturbing castle ruled by warring factions of tooth fairies. It's my favourite section of the Dead Roads. There's also the puzzle-filled Nine-Eaves which has been overtaken by sahkil and the nightmare haunted Salighara's Scriptorium. The Scriptorium is definitely the most 'horror' themed location in this adventure. Finally, the PCs are confronted by the psychopomp Mictena who believes she needs to remedy the PCs death and help them move on to the afterlife. They'll face off against this psychopomp, her gardeners, and her friends. I was happy to see that words can win the day in some of these encounters, potentially even against Mictena (though odds are slim your PCs can make the DC on that).
In addition to The Dead Roads adventure, this volume contains two articles intended for both GMs and players, one article solely for the GM, a campaign outline, and a bestiary containing five new creatures.
Tools of the Boneyard is packed full of new gear and character options aimed at dealing with the dead. There is one alchemical remedy, one alchemical tool, and two alchemical weapons — bone burn is my favourite, so be sure to check it out! There are two new special materials useful for crafting — cryptstone can be used for ammunition and weapons, while spiresteel can be used for ammunition, weapons, and armour. Finally, there are five new magic items. Although I enjoyed a lot of the items, it’s the character options that I found were most exciting. Graveslinger is a gunslinger archetype that specializes in combatting incorporeal undead. Soul Shepherd is a monk archetype that can calm incorporeal undead and haunts with a touch. They also gain some otherworldly resistances and interesting ways to use their ki. Reaper is a new oracle mystery which I really enjoyed. Tightly themed and flavourful it’s capable of both killing the living and destroying undead. There are also six new barbarian rage powers including the psychopomp totem powers.
The second player friendly article is entitled The Half-Dead. This section talks about four races that have a strong connection to death and the undead. In addition to providing details and character options for dhampir, duskwalkers, and shabti, it also talks about the new subtype of creatures, mortics. Dhampir appear alongside two magical items, duswalkers have access to five new feats, and shabti have access to five new feats. I was particularly excited to see shabti included.
The next article, To Exceed Their Grasp, is written by Crystal Frasier and intended for GMs only. This article discusses some of the important concepts, characters, and events of the Tyrant’s Grasp Adventure Path and the role they play in the overarching story. It also contains a timeline. This is incredibly useful for GMs an will likely be referenced throughout the entire Adventure Path.
There are five new creatures in the bestiary. All of them have ties to death and the Boneyard and two of them are featured in The Dead Roads adventure. Bonewrought Willow is an ominous looking intelligent plant capable of growing in Boneyard. Attracted to light and more benevolent than it appears this is a great CR 3 creature I can’t wait to confront my players with. Kaicherak are nasty little fanged worm beasts with ties to Achaekek and a fondness for messily gorging themselves on blood. At CR 4 they are among the most powerful new creatures in the bestiary. Mortics are living beings with strong connections to negative energy which makes them sort of like living undead. There are two mortic stat blocks included in the bestiary — the ghoulish elf-like angheuvore (CR 2) and the incredibly flexible halfling-like jitterbone (CR 4). As previously mentioned, more information on mortics is also included in The Half-Dead article. The final creature is the tooth fairy monarch, a CR 3 version of the lowly tooth fairy.
The last article is a campaign outline that briefly details the events of the upcoming volumes of the Tyrant’s Grasp Adventure Path. Not the sort of thing you want your players peeking at! The campaign outline is incredibly useful for GMs (obviously).
Overall, I loved this whole book. Cover to cover. Adored it. It's dark, morbid, mysterious, emotional, and really unique. Absolutely top notch.
Creepy, gory, and a great high-level challenge.meloriel —
The scenario is wonderfully creepy, morbid, and ominous, although that sort of content is not for everyone. Players who have issues with body horror will want to give this scenario a pass. It’s definitely not an scenario for kids. Any characters who played the previous Gloomspires adventures are going to get a bit more satisfaction out of this scenario than their compatriots who haven’t, and will find they get a few extra bonuses along the way.
This scenario is packed full of atmospheric environments, memorable characters, and foul villains. The battles are challenging and take place in dynamic locations. I particularly enjoyed the final encounter. Really well done!
Overall I think this is a really great scenario that won’t be for everyone. It’s creepy, gory, and a great high level challenge.
My favourite PFS Quest seriesmeloriel —
What the Helms Hide is a Tier 1-5 repayable scenario that consists of four short one-hour long quests. “Collection,” “Autumn,” “Dust,” and “Witness.” “Collection” should always be played first, “Autumn” and “Dust” may be played in any order, and “Witness” is the thrilling finale. Each quest is penned by a different author and comes with its own player handout. Each has a chance for battle, a social encounter, and to uncover clues regarding their respective mini mysteries. Also, this scenario has a lot of great artwork in it!
The first quest, “Collection,” is written by Lysle Kapp and takes place in Korvosa’s Jeggare Museum. Here PCs will need to inspect relics discovered by the famous Pathfinder Helven Leroung and uncover clues about her history and character. You also get to delve into Helven’s relationship with the famous Montlarion Jeggare, for whom the museum (and much more!) is named. His descendant, Mercival Jeggare is curator of the museum and willing to lend you a hand. There’s a lot of information you can learn here, although groups are unlikely to get all of it, which I rather enjoyed.
“Autumn” is written by Calder Cadavid and takes places in Andoran’s Arthfell Forest. PCs investigate a sliver of the history of the Pathfinder Zaul Blystone. It has amazing art for an NPC, Adelyn Rhinon, which is my favourite art in the scenario. This is a fun quest although I do have one minor complaint. I feel like one of the characters gives up a bit too easily.
“Dust” by Nate Wright takes place in underground Dwarven ruins on the edge of Highhelm. There players get to dig a little deeper into the history of Veldrid Goldborough. I enjoyed the NPCs in this one and adore the art for Helga Silverbrew. She’s got such a great facial expression. I like enemies in this one a lot, and the…
The finale, “Witness,” is written by Kendra Leigh Speedling and was an absolute delight! It takes place in the Grand Lodge of Absalom and involves the PCs...
enacting a sort of ritual to activate a secret cache hidden by the gnome Pathfinder Eylysia. As Master of Scrolls Kreighton Shaine and two members of the Decemvirate watch on, your players get to experience an important event from Eylysia’s past.
It's awesome. I loved the final battle and the revelations it uncovered.
And Eylysia’s final line was SO good.
What the Helms Hide is a really great series of Quests. So great, in fact, that it’s my favourite series of PFS Quests to date. All of it’s component Quests were enjoyable, but its the finale that really ties it all together and makes it exceptional. Really well done from the whole team of writers.
A treasure hunt for a treasure map!meloriel —
Rasheen’s Riches sounds at first like a classic treasure hunt — in space! Which is only partly true. Its more accurately described as a treasure hunt where you’re aiming to find another piece of the treasure map. As long as this is clear to your players by the end of the mission briefing (which it should be) you won’t have a problem with any players feeling let down. However, if players think they’re off to find unimaginable riches they might be a little disappointed. I know my kids would say “That’s it? But where’s the treasure?!” Be sure to adjust those expectations a little. Haha.
I enjoyed this scenario. It’s got some environmental challenges to overcome, an interesting investigation, illuminating player handouts, and a battle against some tragic enemies. It’s got an air of a mystery about it, which I liked. I absolutely adored the descriptions of this moon. The entire atmosphere of it — and the creatures that you encounter there — worked really well together. Definitely a highlight of the scenario for me. The starship combat was straightforward but enjoyable. I like the social encounter it begins with and the artwork of the ship!
It looks like some kind of skeletal Batplane!
Overall I thought this was a really solid scenario that will — hopefully — lead to further adventures on the hunt for Rasheen’s riches!
A challenge to run but definitely worth it.meloriel —
This scenario continues the ongoing Scoured Stars storyline and is the first scenario to prominently feature both First Seekers. As such you’ll want to bring along characters who have an interest in the Scoured Stars Trinary System or storyline, who have interacted with the jinsul, or are working on collecting the ‘Journey to Scoured Stars’ boons.
I also recommend bringing a character who does not have a Personal Boon permanently slotted.
This scenario doesn’t include a vehicle chase (but it could) it does use modified vehicle chase rules, which most players do not have internalized (in my experience). GMs will likely need to brush up on the vehicle chase rules and be prepared to teach it to their players as needed. Be aware that this is a rather dense scenario, so groups that are unfamiliar with chases could cause it to run long.
Heart of the Foe begins when both First Seeker Luwazi Elsebo and First Seeker Jadnura task the PCs with travelling to a planet the jinsul are known to occassionally visit in order to discover actionable intel and information about the jinsul themselves. Your PCs will need to travel to the mysterious planet — alongside both First Seekers and three other Starfinder teams — investigate a few sites that show signs of life, and uncover what they can about the jinsul and their society. Neither the Starfinder Society nor the players know a whole lot about these insectile fellows, so I was thrilled to dig a little deeper into the history of the jinsul themselves. Exciting stuff!
Throughout the course of this scenario PCs will get to learn about jinsul anatomy, culture, history, religious beliefs, and — oh yeah — fight a whole lot of jinsul! It’s an action packed, dynamic, exciting scenario that’s going to be a lot of fun. The battles all serve a purpose, the chase scene is both exciting and complex, and the world itself is very atmospheric. It's got a very 'Borderlands' feel to it that I really enjoyed. The finale is exciting and challenging, with a lot of moving parts. It’s chaotic and really well done. Dare I say… epic? Heck, yeah, I do! There’s only one real social encounter, but the character you get to interact with is really… unique so it strikes a nice balance. I love their demeanour and attitude towards the PCs. So good!
GMs need to be aware that this is a tough scenario to run. This is not the kind of scenario an inexperienced GM should attempt. There’s vehicle chase rules, modifications to the vehicle chase rules, environmental conditions, a whole lot of dice rolling during travel scenes, plenty of hopping around between pages for potential clues and intel, and complex battles with lots of enemies and allies to track. Not easy.
It has a bit of a slow start. Not the immediate start, but the… well let’s call it the travel scene. There’s a lot of dice rolling done every hour, which runs the risk of becoming a boring sort of routine if not handled right (particularly when you take into account the flipping between pages that might have to occur). That said, I do like the information your group could uncover about the jinsul along the way.
I do have a minor complaint regarding environmental protections in this scenario. Chances are your characters have them. They protect us from a lot, but there’s also things it won’t protect you from. Totally fair. But in this scenario it feels like you get penalized for using them. You either use them and suffer X or don’t use them and suffer Y. Which is unfortunate.
The scenario refers to snow clinging to your environmental protections’ helmet — when many armour’s environmental protections use a force field instead of helmets — and even if you are wearing armour that has a helmet, couldn’t you just wipe it off? And if you are wearing armour that has an environmental forcefield for it’s environmental protections, can it seriously not handle a bit of clingy snow? I’m totally cool with some environmental hazards going through your protections, but this snow thing just wasn’t one of them. It felt... arbitrary, I suppose. If they wanted the snow to hamper visibility, I’m totally fine with that. I am no stranger to snow and yeah, it’s hard to see sometimes. But in this instance it felt like players were being unnecessarily punished in an irritating sort of way.
So, I love that baby jinsul on the cover! Except it’s not a baby jinsul at all. It’s a jinsul’s pet. I 100% thought it was a baby jinsul and was thrilled by it’s oddly adorable appearance. Jokes on me, I guess. Haha. Seriously though, I really like the creature, it’s stats, and it’s tactics.
Overall, I thought this was a really great, dynamic, memorable scenario that’s going to be a challenge to run — but well worth it! Such a blast! Definitely a 5 star scenario!
Exceptionally well done!meloriel —
Data Breach continues an ongoing storyline that began in #1-07: The Solar Sortie and continued in #1-14: Star Sugar Heartlove!!! I highly recommend playing those two scenarios before this one, although it’s not necessary. It’s also assumed that #1-99: The Scoured Stars Invasion has taken place, although that has little effect on this scenario for players. The events in this ongoing storyline are sure to continue on in future scenarios, including the upcoming #1-38: The Many Minds of Historia.
It should be noted that Computer and Engineering skills are integral to this scenario, so players will want to select their characters wisely. It’s important to ensure your team has at least one tech-savvy character (preferably more than one!). If you don’t, slot one of the ‘Hireling Access’ boons. You’re gonna need it.
Data Breach tasks players with breaking into a secure facility on Verces and obtaining all the information they can from the site. Although there’s good reason for this heist, I won’t get into the details of it here, as it involves mild spoilers from some previous scenarios. Rest assured: it’s important!
Before heading off on their mission the Starfinders have a chance to question a prisoner being detained by the Stewards, potentially uncovering more information on the facility and its defences -- which was a really nice touch.
Admittedly, computers and hacking aren’t my favourite parts of Starfinder. But, that said, I love a good heist. So I wasn’t sure how much I would enjoy this scenario. Turns out, I loved it! I really like the mission premise and its importance to the overarching events of this season. I like the complex itself, it’s set up, and it’s defences. The battles were complex and layered, particularly the final combat, which is going to be a really nice challenge.
I really enjoyed that many of your actions as players can have consequences in this scenario (including past the end of the scenario), which aren’t always immediately obvious. It was nice subtlety.
All in all, I think Data Breach is a great, guilt-free romp that a lot of players are going to enjoy. It's exceptionally well-executed. I give it four out of five stars. (Although, if you particularly enjoy computers, hacking, and intel-themed missions, consider it a five!).
One of the best Repeatables so far!meloriel —
Acts of Association is, in my opinion, the best repeatable scenario so far. As a repeatable scenario, this adventure has some randomized elements to it, including the locations visited, the dignitary your PCs will be escorting, and their personality traits and preferences. Although there's plenty of opportunity to get into some fights and show off your skills, this scenario is heavily focused on social interactions. Although social skills will be helpful, it's your players actions which matter most, which is really nice to see.
There’s a series of seven different pre-made dignitaries, as well as an eighth dignitary which is created entirely by the GM. In addition, each dignitary has randomized personality traits, values, taboos, and attractions they want to see. These attractions will determine the locations your PCs visit. I really enjoy the pre-made dignitaries and the random personality traits. They’re all unique, memorable, and are going to be great fun to interact with. As a lot of this scenario involves social interactions, playing the scenario through with different dignitaries will make each play through unique. As an added bonus, playing through the scenario with the same dignitary can also have its own surprises, as they may not be the same person or value the same things the second time through.
I enjoyed the rather mundane tourism destinations that all seem to go awry — either this poor dignitary has the worst luck or Absalom Station is the worst place to go on vacation! There’s a lot of opportunity for clever use of skill checks and combat, and how you handle each situation can affect what the dignitary thinks of you — although how it affects them depends entirely on your actions and their personality traits. Their outlook matters, and you can’t just leave all the social interactions to your most charismatic PC — which is great!
The downside to all this randomness is how loosely scripted the social interactions are. The reactions of the dignitaries is entirely up to the GM to determine (based on their randomly rolled traits), which puts a lot of work into the GMs hands — particularly when you take into account how much of this scenario is social interactions. It’s definitely going to take some prep work or some great improv. Still, in the hands of a decent GM Acts of Association is going to be a lot of fun and really memorable.
Another minor downside is the number of attraction options. There’s only six locations, and on each playthrough the dignitary will want to visit four of them. That means that on your second playthrough you’ll already have some overlap. That said, it’s more variable than the other repeatable scenarios out there, so I think it’s going to be a popular one. It's certainly my favourite of the Repeatables so far.
Acts of Association has some nice player handouts — dossiers on each of the dignitaries (although you’ll only get one on a playthrough). Unfortunately, one has a typo. After labelling one of the dignitaries preferred pronouns He/him he’s referred to as she/her throughout the rest of the dossier.
Overall, I think it’s a really fun scenario that’s sure to create some memorable moments when run by any GM willing to embrace the roleplaying and social interactions.
This is a fun adventure that features a few interesting social interactions, and plenty of traps, hazards, and enemies. My favourite part was the exploration of Xaharee. It’s a really cool, atmospheric location, that gives clever PCs the chance to learn a LOT about the Scoured Stars trinary system and the Tears. Although some of this information can be gleaned from previous scenarios, a lot of the information is brand new. Very cool! There’s also a surprisingly touching player hand-out, which I always enjoy. My one nit-pick is that final encounter has the potential to be very hard or repetitive.
This was a very different scenario. It features serious content, a lot of social encounters, a few tough decisions, an interesting final few fights, and allows players to make decisions that will have an effect on the characters around them. The things you do matter. Which is really nice. That said, this scenario won't be for everyone.
This scenario touches on serious themes such as mental health, PTSD, and depression, so if you’re uncomfortable with such topics, you might want to give this scenario a pass. If you happen to have any characters who are doctors, psychologists, healers, or particularly caring or empathic I highly recommend you bring them. This is a great scenario to role-play such characters. On the other hand, if you’ve got particularly blood-thirsty, insensitive, or mean PCs, I recommend you let them sit this one out, and bring a different character. Finally, it should be noted that my kids (who are nearly seven and eight years old) would be freaked out by one of the encounters in this scenario. It involves... Oh, lets call it body horror, I suppose. You have been warned! Haha.
The PCs are tasked with finding a missing ex-Starfinder who runs mental health clinic called Respite. Mental health is a touchy subject for some, and I thought this scenario did a wonderful job of shining a light on trauma, depression, post-traumatic stress, and other mental health issues, along with the stigma that can be associated with them, without being insensitive or preachy. You have plenty of opportunities as players to offer support to, gain insight from, and empathize with the various side characters throughout this scenario, all while fulfilling your mission objectives. In fact, the opening series of social encounters at and around Respite turned out to be one of my very favourite parts of the scenario. I also really enjoyed the tense social interactions that could occur in the middle of the scenario. The true villains of this scenario were exceptionally well-utilized, and I can’t wait to see what further events they could later be linked to. The final battle can be quite dynamic.
Overall, I loved this scenario. It had a ton of engaging social interactions, interesting enemies, and a dynamic final encounter. It’s one of those scenarios where your actions clearly matter. But, as mentioned before, the content and tone of this scenario are not for everyone. If you want comedy or a simple hack and slash you'll want to look elsewhere.
The opening premise for this mission is… convoluted.
Convoluted Opening Plot:
Captain Yuluzak, who runs a salvager, discovered a starship wreck, took what was valuable and returned to Absalom Station. Some objects he kept, and others he sold to a pawnbroker named Julzakama. Juzakama recognized one of the objects as an important piece of art and contacted some people he thought would buy it. One of those people, Iteration-177, recognized the object as belonging to a culture that was once a part of the Scoured Stars Trinary System, so he contacted Luwazi Elsebo. Luwazi had the object brought to her, along with a team of Starfinders, Iteration-177, and Captain Yuluzak himself. Luwazi tasks the PCs with travelling aboard Captain Yuluzak’s ship to investigate the original wreck. There they’ll determine the ship’s origins, and travel there to investigate and (hopefully) make some new allies.
This scenario was big with a capital ‘B.’ It involves the Scoured Stars storyline, the jinsul, a new solar system full of inhabited planets, three new races, people to save, important decisions to make, a massive starship battle, and combat on… well we’ll leave that part secret for now. Haha. To say this scenario is bold is an understatement!
The entire hospital section of this scenario was particularly well handled, (although the building layout was strange to say the least) as were the NPC interactions found throughout. And the setting for the final battle? Epic! Your PCs are sure to come away from that fight feeling like badass action heroes. It’s going to be a ton of fun to play.
On the downside... First of all, everything in this scenario is overly convenient in a rather heavy-handed way. Now, I’ve no problem with a ‘railroad,’ particularly in short adventures like Society Scenarios...
...but in Honorbound Emissaries you always arrive in the exact right place at the exact right time in order to avoid something troublesome. Heck, you even travel through a massive space battle and don’t get attacked by either side. At all! In fact, you even manage to approach the planet and land without a single threat or altercation. It’s like you’re invisible.
Which brings me to the second down-side: starship combat. This scenario should have had one. Getting to witness an epic starship war and not engage in it at all is kind of a let down. And how fun would it have been to help out the crew of the Honorbound? Now, I get why it’s not in here. This scenario has more than enough encounters to engage in, and they’re all cool. But, it would have been nice to at least see the ship you’re on come under attack. Or mention the bumpy ride as the pilot has to take evasive maneuvers. Something.
…But that final battle! Wow! Haha. Truly the highlight of the scenario.
Overall, I really enjoyed this scenario. It’s bold, daring, and casts your players into situations much bigger than themselves. PCs get to do some heroic things, some absurd things, and some absurdly heroic things, all of which is going to be a blast! It’s rounded out by some really solid social interactions with a large cast of quirky characters. This is truly one of those scenarios that players will talk about for a long time afterwards, simply because they want to brag about their character’s exploits. Five years some now I’m sure some players will still look back on it fondly and say “Wow, remember when my Starfinder character did THAT? THAT was cool.”
Which is cool!
Let me start by saying that this is one of the only scenarios to feature vehicle combat, so if your character happens to own a vehicle, this is definitely the scenario to bring them on!
This scenario tasks the PCs with assisting a science team in performing a survey of a strange landmass. Nearly 85,000 square miles in size, with no water or plant-life, this calcified plateau is of great interest. Your asked to travel across the plateau to three specific locations, set up some specialized towers you brought with you, and calibrate surveying equipment atop of each one.
Each tower has its own challenges, hazards, and enemies to contend with. There’s multiple vehicles your PCs can choose from, (or bring your own!) and the towers can be tackled in any order. There’s a simple vehicle handout that will be useful for both players and GMs, which is a nice touch.
I love how flavourful the new creatures and environmental hazards are. A lot of thought has gone into ensuring they fit into their ecosystem — which is particularly important when players are surveying an environment.
Also, I particularly enjoyed the mystery of the old kasathan ship.
I do have one nitpick. Page three is missing half of a sentence at the end of the first section, which I assume should read something along the lines of ‘up to help,’ ‘up to lend a hand,’ or something else similar. It’s not a hindrance to the scenario. You can still get the gist of what it’s supposed to be saying, but it was jarring enough that it caused me to look around in confusion for a half a minute, to make sure I hadn’t missed anything. A minor distraction in an otherwise enjoyable read.
Overall, I loved I this scenario! The premise is different from any that have come before. It was engaging all the way through, with a wonderful array of social interactions, skill-based encounters, hazards, and combat. The enemies and hazards were all well-thought out. The NPCs were properly engaging and ‘real.’ And, best of all, your PCs have to make an important decision regarding the future of this planet. Really top notch! Although it didn’t blow my mind, like some other amazing Starfinder adventures, it was an… understated awesome.
Starfinder Society Scenario #1-27: King Xeros of Star AzlantPaizo Inc.
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Overall, I really enjoyed this scenario. It’s got awesome art of King Xeros, great interconnectedness with its prequel, and the Against the Aeon Throne Adventure Path, but is a solid and fun adventure that’s more than capable of standing on its own. It has a different feel and tone to it than most scenarios. It’s dynamic, engaging, suspenseful, and a little frantic. Players and characters should be on the edge of their seats for this one. Player’s get to make decisions that have an effect on the scenario and its outcome. Time matters, so they're not going to get to explore every nook and cranny and will need to make decisions on what is most important to them. There’s some wonderful new ship mechanics that players will get to see the enemy make use of.
It’s possible, if your group is too slow, or fails in some of their tasks, that one of the other Starfinder ships will be destroyed during the course of this scenario. Although the repurcussions of this aren’t addressed in the scenario itself, I feel like they should be. This should be a harrowing event, and even if you’re too busy to notice it during the mission itself, learning that a ship full of your fellow Starfinder died to protect you — or possibly because of your failure — should be sobering to say the least. This is definitely something GMs should remember to take into account when running this game. Make it matter.
I think this scenario is a great change of pace that will be fun to run at a table.
Let me start by saying this is a hard scenario. It features a lot of social encounters where your actions matter, tricky traps, and difficult battles.
In this scenario PCs need to navigate their way through the Kasathan home-ship and track down First Seeker Jadnura, all while dealing with the vastly different cultural traditions around them, and (hopefully) not offending anyone too badly. This scenario does a wonderful job of immersing you in a unique, serene sort of culture with strong Asian and Middle Eastern influences. It was engaging, fun, and wonderfully handled. Vastly different than the frantic, high-tech, fast pace of most scenarios, your players time on Idari is sure to throw some players for a loop. Characters who have social skills will definitely excel in this part of the adventure, but its not only skill, but clever roleplaying that’s necessary to make progress here, so even the most awkward of characters can be helpful if they try. Personally, I felt the the entire time on Idari was wonderfully handled and a real highlight of the scenario. That said, some groups may find it tedious. Its not the kind of scenario where being boorish will see you through. You need to try to follow the local customs.
In time the PCs will need to fetch Jadnura. The place he's located has a wonderful atmosphere, but other than that I’ll leave this part of the scenario a mystery for the moment.
As for battles, I particularly enjoyed the first one. It has opportunity for roleplaying with your opponents, and your actions can have an obvious effect on the battle. Tactics and morality matters in this one, which is always a nice change of pace. Later battles have more straight-forward enemies — not so much in mechanics, but in roles. They are clearly enemies, and you are heroes for taking them on.
The final battle is incredibly challenging.
Like, REALLY freakin' hard. We're talking a much higher CR fight against an incorporeal opponent who has solid tactics and maneuverability on their side. Many groups will be completely unable to deal with an incorporeal enemy, so GMs running this scenario for such groups will want to drop some hints earlier (either in or out of character) so they can ensure they have appropriate gear.
This scenario also featured some flavourful psychological/magical traps which could be tough for some groups.
Overall, I thought this was a fun adventure. I particularly enjoyed how well it immersed us in Kasathan culture. That said, unprepared groups (which will be most of them) will find the final battle too difficult, while other groups may find the social interactions tedious.
This is a fun scenario that features a lot of great NPC cameos, fun locations, and cool fights.
As this scenario is repeatable, a lot of aspects are determined randomly. Although the core mission is always the same -- research a derelict ship, find it, explore it, and fetch a certain item from it -- the rest is surprisingly varied. Where you need to do your research, who you interact with, the crew of the ship, the ship’s purpose, and how they met their end (and therefore which handouts you receive), are all obvious examples of randomized aspects. In addition, there’s a wide variety of environmental factors and enemy abilities that are also determined randomly. I absolutely loved this, and was surprised how thorough it was. Really well done!
I love that this scenario gives you a chance to explore some locations within the Lorespire Complex and actually research something — which should be an important part of being a Starfinder! I loved that we got to engage in some of the hazards of Drift travel. And finally, I loved the how the purpose and fate of the ship changes in each playthrough, along with the wonderful player handouts that come with each of those options.
One of my only pet peeves:
One of my only pet peeves was that some of the interactions on the ship mention sound when the ship does not currently have artifical atmosphere. It is mentioned that the PCs can repair the power core enough to restore atmosphere (and therefore let sound travel), but many of the things that happen before you’ll have a chance to do so (including enemy tactics) mentions or presupposes sound travelling through the ship. I found it odd. Still, it’s a small quibble that GMs should make note of before running it. Visual cues can easily be used in place of audible ones until atmosphere is restored. In addition, this would have been a great place to have a zero-g battle. It feels like a missed opportunity to me.
This scenario is pretty straight forward. You're tasked with helping some folks in need and exploring some Pre-Gap ruins while you're in the area. There's some cool space politics going on in this one, but it's mostly behind the scenes or background context. A bit unfortunate, since I rather like that sort of thing. Haha. On the plus side you get to interact with both sides of a conflict, and learn a bit about them both. There's some interesting characters introduced in this scenario, but roleplaying with such characters will be quite brief.
Having a few characters trained in Computers and Engineering on your team is very important, and that such characters with have the opportunity to do something special during parts of the adventure. On a similar note, scholarly and studious characters — particularly those interested in archaeology, cartography, chronicling, history, and scribing — will also find opportunity to showcase their interests in this scenario.
During the initial starship battle there’s a new starship ability introduced which I think is awesome! The first physical combat is very interesting and should be a lot of fun at the table, but it’s very complex, so GMs will need to familiarize themselves with it thoroughly before attempting to run the battle. Despite the complexity (and the very dense map), I think it’s a hoot!
In the ruins there’s the addition of a simple new mechanic called Discovery Points, which are meant to track how much your players discover and catalogue about the ruins, without bogging down gameplay too much. Although such tracking will all happen on the GM side of the screen, I think it’s wonderful that your player’s thoroughness will be rewarded. It is supposed to be an archaeological investigation, after all.
This scenario is very combat heavy!
Like, REALLY combat heavy. It contains one starship battle, four other combats, two traps, plus one of those listed combats is likely to also contain at least two hazards and traps (possibly more). That’s a LOT. Too many, in my opinion.
Return to Sender is intended to be a dangerous infiltration mission with a nerve-wracking atmosphere. You’re supposed to worry over alerting the base to your presence, while learning all you can. That said, the path laid before you is noticeably linear, with no real repercussions for being discovered. It runs the risk of feeling like a long, drawn out slug-fest. Room, fight, hack a computer. Room, fight, hack a computer. And so on. This is one of those missions that really requires a talented GM to make it shine. That said, I particularly liked the final battle, and the scenario’s cinematic ending.
In my opinion the best part of this scenario was actually nothing to do with the mission at all. Throughout it the PCs get to hear Radaszam and Historia-7 banter over the comms and learn more about the duo.
Something else I loved:
PCs also have the opportunity to release and befriend and adorable little alien that behaves like a goofy puppy dog and looks like a mix between a shark and an octopus, with big, cutesy eyes and a lolling tongue. This little fellow’s antics can either be played up (for groups who would enjoy some comic relief) or fall to the wayside (for groups who are enjoying a more serious, suspenseful playthrough). I think the fact that the option was given for this creature to serve different roles for different kinds of groups was a really nice addition.
Although this mission will be a great fit for some players, it's just not my cup of tea.
Starfinder Society Scenario #1-22: The Protectorate PetitionPaizo Inc.
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This scenario is a lot of fun, with some locations you get to explore already excavated and safe, and others still dangerous. There’s opportunities to glean interesting information at both types of locations, as well as copaxis researchers you can turn to for context and advice if desired. Although I don’t want to give away anything about your discoveries, I will say that things are more… complex that they seem. It’s wonderfully handled.
There’s some fun battles in this scenario, all of which can provide the PCs with some information.
I particularly enjoyed the new crab-like creature known as the corchaaz which can alter gravity and even use some solarian powers! Very cool.
Solarians will have some interesting options in this scenario, so if you've got one now is a good time to take them for a spin.
For starters, I highly recommend playing through Yesteryear’s Truth before playing Yesteryear’s Sorrow. It will be infinitely more interesting if you have.
During this mission your players will be escorted to their destination by one of two possible local guide. Both of these characters are originally from Yesteryear’s Truth, and which one joins you will depend on who your player’s befriended in that previous scenario. Both guides have different skills, benefits, and tactics, which is really nice to see.
I ADORE the new fey that was introduced in this scenario. The art for this guy is wonderful. There’s an intriguing social encounter right near the beginning which you can choose to get involved in (or not). This encounter teases events that will be occurring during the Against the Aeon Throne Adventure Path, which is a neat tie in. This scenario featured nice ecological information on all of its enemies and hazards, which I always enjoy and gives GMs something interesting to tell their knowledgable players.
The location explored in this scenario is very, very, large, and although lots of areas are thoroughly detailed, others are entire floors summarized by a single sentence. Due to the length of Society Scenarios, striking the right balance between detail and brevity in important and unimportant areas is difficult to say the least. Sometimes it works, and sometimes it doesn’t. I thought that this scenario did a wonderful job of finding that sweet spot. The location felt vast, without feeling rushed or skimmed over. Obtaining your objective is both challenging and fun. There’s a wonderful selection of player handouts which will be of particular interest to those of you who have played through Yesteryear’s Truth. This scenario also did a wonderful job of slowly cultivating a spooky atmosphere, closer to the end.
Although it wasn't amazing or deep like Yesteryear's Truth, I thought this scenario was interesting and fun.