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Good scenario. Excellent for a group of experienced players.pithica42 —
Just ran this scenario, having never played it prior, for the first time.
Overall, I think the scenario was good. I really like first contact scenarios, generally, and this one had some interesting twists. The fact that the results of that twist were put entirely into the hands of the players to decide about was a solid design choice. The combats were varied and interesting, and there was a plethora of skill checks to give everyone a chance to shine.
While it wasn't needed for my group, I'm glad the scenario considered a party without a magic user and had a translation option for that.
The starship combat was interesting to run as a GM with some key differences that kept it from feeling like 'more of the same'.
My one critique is that, like many of the early scenarios, the starship combat takes too long. If you have a group that is optimized for Starship combat, and knows what they're doing, I imagine it would be a fast, fun, and exciting one. But with a party that isn't set up for it, it can turn into a slog (like most of them).
In spite of that, critique, I highly recommend this scenario for anyone that likes the 'boldly going' and 'seeking out new life' type stories. I'd put it at 3/5 for new players or players that dislike Starship Combat, but 5/5 for experienced players that do.
Pretty fun but with caveats...pithica42 —
I got the opportunity to run and then play this scenario over the last few weeks. When I ran it, I had a blast. It took about 2.5 hours to go through with a 3 person + NPC pregen group. While there were some typos and other mistakes that I had to correct for, everything went pretty smoothly and I think my group had fun with Obo, Keskodai, Iseph, and Navasi as the NPC. I had the most fun as the GM roleplaying the warden and Livewire in the early parts of the scenario. And singing the Goblin Song was inspired.
I then got to play it with a mixed group of 5. I played Keskodai and we also had Iseph, Quig, Altronus, and Raia. While I enjoyed it, it ran a lot longer. The block text took forever to listen through as a player. The GM didn't notice the typo about the number of Goblin Junkers and the starship combat took forever against 4 opponents. It didn't help that 2 of the players were new and the other 2 of them were playing starship combat roles they don't normally take. I also got the feeling my GM really didn't like starship combat. By the time we got to Salvation's End, we were almost 4 hours into the scenario and all exhausted. It took 6+ hours total to finish. I still had fun, but it was getting frustrating by the end.
I'd recommend running this for a smaller group if you're going to run it. The 4 player adjustment makes the starship combat very fast and smooth. It's also a lot less work. Try to put breaks in the block text and really play up the characters.
The book is fantastic. You should buy it.pithica42 —
I have been skimming the book off and on since Monday (I can't believe I got it 'early' this month, I'm usually one of the last ones). This book goes a long way toward fleshing out the game in a number of ways. Up until this book, the only way characters really felt different was with their choice of race/class (and even then, some were starting to feel same-y). Now, you can do a lot more with gear and class options, and that's going to vastly improve a lot of the differentiation needed to keep the game feeling new and fresh for another year or two.
I think the weapon section is, by far, the most robust and useful part of the book. I was 3 or 4 pages into it when I made the mental decision that it was very much 'worth it' for me. This section alone is like 60 pages of the books material. I no longer feel like my weapon choices are set at level 1-10 for every character, and I feel more free to experiment with different builds/concepts when making characters.
The armor section is, unfortunately, nowhere near as large. There's still plenty of stuff in there to be excited about, but at less than 20 pages, it feels a bit of a let-down when skimming the book from front to back.
That being said, there's plenty of stuff spread throughout the book that are all excellent and very little of it seemed in any way 'broken' or likely to become mundane (there is one weapon fusion that likely will be ubiquitous, in the spoilers).
I was honestly disappointed by some of the material, and there's stuff I think the game could still use that the book had none of. That being said, if you're considering buying the PDF, it's absolutely worth the $10. Even if half the content ends up being society legal, that content is easily worth the $10. As a subscriber paying full price for the book, I'm absolutely satisfied with the purchase and feel like I got my money's worth. $10 is a steal.
Off the top of my head...
-The Soulfire weapon fusion greatly reduces the MAD of the Weapon Solarian class by allowing you to add Charisma to damage with your Solar Weapon. Paired with new level 1 solarian weapon crystals, it potentially doubles the Weapon Solarian's DPR at level 1 while still allowing them to actually have resolve points for only 265cr (total). That's huge.
-The Advanced Melee weapons with the Operative property makes a lot of builds (like melee operatives and mystics) far more viable.
-The weapons with the Profession tags reduce feat taxes.
-The bombarding fusion makes grenade based characters far less expensive, and gives you a reason to have a grenade with a fusion on it.
-New revelations that work only for Armor Solarians are great.
-New soldier style looks fun as heck.
-New operative exploits and style look fun.
-More weapons/armor to pick from greatly helps people 'feel' more unique.
-Technomancers and Mechanics both got a bunch of useful features.
-A bunch of the mundane gear was essential, given that stuff like the datapad seems to be mentioned in every AP/Scenario but never listed a price or what it did.
-Lots of amazing art to
Off the top of my head...
-Power armor upgrade rules were a bit of a let down. It's way more expensive to upgrade power armor than just heavy (even if you're literally buying new armor every level). It doesn't do anything to make Power armor any less niche. That being said, I do still see uses for it, like making Weapon Solarians even less MAD (they can basically all but dump str now).
-The food stuff was a lot less than what I was wanting. It's basically just 5 paragraphs long. I was hoping for 2-3 full pages.
-The new mystic connection is a load of meh.
-I was really hoping for a way to make Armor Solarians more like weapon solarians (like Solarian Armor crystals, or something), to help flesh them out.
-I was really hoping for something that made non-operative small arm users actually viable. It's a trope in Science Fantasy/Space Opera for everyone to walk around with a side-arm. Noone in this game that doesn't have 'operative' in their class entry does that, which is dissapointing.
-There are ZERO feats in this book.
-There are a handful of typos and mistakes in the book that will need to be errata'd/clarified. Not all the item levels in the tables match those in the text (Power Armor, for example), some of that impacts those things usefulness, so watch out for that.
I think the book, overall, could have definitely used another 20-40 pages of material (and I likely would still feel like something was missing). But, I'd definitely recommend the purchase. I can't wait to sit down with my physical copy and just read.
Fun and interesting scenario.pithica42 —
Well, let me try this again. Apparently I don't type fast enough for the form.
I got to play this scenario last night with a group of 6. We were a mix of 1-2 characters with a single level 3 playing out of Tier.
Overall, I had a fantastic time and would highly recommend this to anyone looking for a series of four quick-ish quests. There is a mix of playstyles, and we get to visit some places that haven't gotten a lot of love yet in the scenarios/APs. It does a solid job of worldbuilding and giving us lore.
I look forward to both playing this scenario again and running it myself.
Feedback on Scenarios:
Both Megaplex and Bad Chameleon could have used an increase in difficulty for the 'boss' fights. The scenarios themselves were great, and I loved the story, but the final fights both ended in 1 round combats that felt a bit like a let down. Both bosses just have too few hit points and were too easy to reach in combat to pose much of an actual threat. Part of what made the fights so quick was luck. We had a level 3 playing down, and we got lucky on init and went first, and (for Bad Chameleon) I rolled max damage on a full round Magic Missile (almost killing the boss outright). But even with average rolls, I don't see either fight lasting longer than a round. The fact that the mooks immediately surrender when the boss goes down just exacerbated the issue. I think in both cases the bosses should have been a level higher and the mooks should have fought on for a single round after the boss dropped before surrendering. I didn't even get to take my turn in Megaplex because the boss went down so early.
River Rat had kind of the opposite problem. The starship combat ended up going 11 rounds in our group and took about half of our 4-is hour session. It wasn't so much that the fight was too hard (it was pretty obvious to me that we had won about 4 rounds in), it was that the captain of the enemy ship refused to give up (even though they were spending like half their crew actions on engineering checks every round just patching systems). I think it would have been just as cool and fit the morale to have the crew mutiny at that point, rather than allowing the captain to 'fight on until his ship is crippled'. I still super enjoyed the fight, but I couldn't imagine trying to fit this into an hour session if we were breaking up the quest pack.
Nightmare was dead on perfect, for me, difficulty wise. The skill checks in the lead up to the boss left our entire party either fatigued or exhausted, and the boss was a beast. The boss managed to drop one of our meleers in the first or second round and had us all shaken around the same time. By round 3 he had one of us frightened and running. I think he went down near the top of round 4. This was the most fun I've had in a fight so far and was a perfect capstone for the quest pack.
Overall, though, these critiques are minor. I'd still happily play this again.
Good mix of encounter types and fun to play.pithica42 —
I played this the other day and had a great time. It has a solid mix of encounter types and roleplaying with some investigation and a mix of skills needed. Overall, I recommend it. It's really good as a drop-in outside of the main meta-plot for season one.
Solid Introduction to Society Playpithica42 —
This is a solid game with a bunch of great elements and a great introduction to society play. You learn about each of the primary 4 factions, and get a great breadth of the kinds of gameplay (and tropes) available in Starfinder in general. I highly recommend you play it with at least one society character, and it's a solid replay for all of them.