My best guess is that they do not extend to the floor; it'd be hard to use it if it was entirely enclosed. I don't see why you shouldn't be able to get into the pit.
When I ran the encounter I changed the room slightly. I think that a 750 square foot 3D holofield would be significantly more valuable (and cool) if you get walk around in it, so I turned the ground into a single flat plane and turned the ceiling projectors into floor projectors.
Neither side really interacted with it in combat so I don't think it made much of a difference. The downside to this is that the PCs might not have as much mobility if Serovox's walls of force would have left a gap for the group to crawl under; but their a smart combatant. If they are able to angle the wall of force to not leave a gap through the projectors they will do so.
It's perfectly reasonable for the group to think that the clue is in the ruins.
After they spend some time researching and come up empty, I'd let them roll a knowledge check or a wisdom check to realize that the Devourer cult must have some additional piece of information that's letting them figure out something that the PCs can't. Hopefully with that clue they'll decide to head into book 3 and learn of the prophecy.
So the Gap is inconsistent. It fluctuates from place to place by a few centuries (Core, p. 424). But more importantly, history before the Gap is still fine, it's just subject to the natural entropy of time that makes it hard to determine what happened before. The Kishalee were a preGap society, their records are just fine.
I'd probably try and lower the CR of the encounters by one rather than add a new NPC.
What's the status of Ralkawi from book two? My group helped her live and helped her move away from the cult. If needed to add a new party member to the group, I'd probably use her has an NPC or the hook to introduce a new PC.
Out of curiosity, around what level would you say your group started having bad feelings about balance?
Probably around 8 or 9. By then the two mystics in the group started grumbling as they were having difficult landing their highest level spells due to Starfinder's reduced save DCs and and weren't finding ways to provide numerical buffs to the other members of the group. The mystic healer, however, felt his class features were still very valuable. The Star Shaman did not share the same sense of worth regarding his specialty's stuff.
The soldier started feeling disheartened not too long after from seeing the operative's high burst damage though his full attack totals were probably slightly higher.
Generally, the party has felt that the operative is too good: high damage and are very good at pretty much every skill. They've also been unhappy with monster attack bonuses and the poison/disease/curse rules all the way through, though as the GM I disagree both of those. Frankly, I'm going the use the Pathfinder Unchained poison rules in any PF game I run going forward.
I'm getting to this a little late, but planetary commlinks are flimsy. P.430 states that they can be halted by electromagnetic jamming and specific materials and methods.
To me it seems like commlinks are subject to all the real world signal interference problems you can dream of and as a GM you should feel free to disrupt communications when appropriate. The bad guy's secret base is likely shielded against communications and in your example of Castrovel, there is a big part of the AP where commlinks don't work.
As for Starship comms, they send messages through the Drift. Essentially you send an email that bounces around Drift beacons for a while a random period of time until it finds the right endpoint.
In Dead Suns, the average time of starship combat is wildly different before and after book 2, because there is a transition from prevail ship to player built ship. Starship Combat in the first 2 books could easily be 5-10 rounds. After that, 2-3 rounds, unless the party's gunner is very unlucky, because a player built ship will massively out gun everything published in the same tier.
I had a very similar experience until we got to the combat in Book 5. That combat has a ship with a gun almost as powerful as the PCs and multiple gunners. That was the only time I worried that the PCs might lose a starship fight.
There is nothing wrong with limiting what races are available to play based on what will fit in thematically with the game. When I started my Dead Suns game I limited it to front of the book races only. Yes, at that point of the time the only I excluded were the legacy races, but it felt right to explore Starfinder as its own game first.
If you're looking to cast a wider berth, a considerable amount of time is spent on Eox and Castrovel. So perhaps Formians, Khizar, or Borais would fit.
Upgrading the PCs' ship with BP earned from leveling isn't supposed to be hard. The 1d4 days thing applies to refitting. The book states that upgrading the ship from BP gained through leveling shouldn't impact the campaign much, so I let the PCs have their full allotment of BP.
I had a similar scenario in AP3:
The PCs were fighting Trampleram and one PC ran away into the Marrowblight's hut, triggering the next encounter. One PC spotted a collar on Trampleram and the clever idea of playing with him like a pet. I liked so, a couple of checks to handle animal later, that encounter was quickly solved leaving only one fight ongoing.
With the Corpse Fleet only a few hours away the group might not necessarily have the time to craft anything either, especially if they need to race to do something before the enemy arrives.
I think at this point we're kind of stuck waiting until Book 6 to see what sort of opportunities for crafting or shopping are provided.
Blowing the thing up without looking into it seems like a way to miss a lot of leads. Having said that, the asteroid mostly is a dead end investigative-wise. You learn a lot about the cult, but the adventure could proceed almost as written: after blowing up the rock the corpse fleet attacks, PCs capture a pilot, interrogate the pilot and head to Eox to investigate further.
My problem was a little different. My party wanted to investigate the rock but they were scared of landing the ship on the asteroid; they worried that the cult would return while they were exploring and destroy the unguarded ship.
Regarding vehicles, it recently occurred to me that there is gargantuan solution just sitting there if you still want to try and force the last encounter the way it is written: Trampleram. Swap the encounter orders so that while the PCs are dealing with Xerantha, the elicoth is treating their vehicle like a chew toy.
I wouldn't do that to a vehicle that someone actually bought, but if they simply rented a car, well, I hope they got the insurance.
I'd be hesitant to disable a PC mechanic's drone over it. For one, it's a class feature and shouldn't be disabled lightly. For two, it's an advanced AI: it can and should be allowed to follow its own independent programming.
In my mind, it's there to be more of an impediment to long range communication. I wouldn't do more than than maybe add a little static to line of sight communication methods. The communication disruption serves to help the PCs feel isolated and, frankly, it is there to provide a story reason to make Tahomen the last encounter.
The mold trap really bothered me too. I told the players it was magically specifically designed to counteract armor's protections. They said that was stupid, I agreed. The star shaman didn't complain; because I didn't want the asteroid to be made up of something denser than platinum I also stripped the atmosphere off of it so he was walking around using his class feature when he got hit by the spores.
Eox has some weird things too. Why do we assume the PCs walk six miles through a horrid hellscape to the marrowblight's hut when they live in an era of redily available robo-taxis and cheap ATVs?
None of these things are major flaws but they do lead to a moment or two of head scratching.
I realize that you're past this, but it is patently unreasonable for the PCs to try and circumvent the recording of their activities. Not only is it important to to have a neutral record that both sides can have equal access to in a very public dispute but their employer is being upfront about recording device and its purpose. In any job I've ever worked disabling security cameras or messing with other security software or devices would be grounds for dismissal.
On to the actual topic, my initial strategy would be to have had Chiskisk listen to the recording, and then being the inquisitive bug that they are, ask the PCs a bunch of questions about their time on the rock. The PCs probably said something about the weird alien writing on the drift rock; this would interest Chiskisk. They then would ask the PCs to recreate the writing.
If they're bad at that, hey, they're starfinders/space archeologists! Chiskisk could sit the group down in front of a screen and they could spend a good long time looking over various writing samples to see if there is a match. There is no reason why this particular language can't have a very distinct style. After many painstaking hours of doing actual boring work the PCs find the match on Castrovel and that's an interesting puzzle worth investigating.
The cultists are a bit more challenging. I might cheat with the dice rolls on travel time behind the GM screen; the PCs journey might take them near the full six days to get there. Meanwhile, Chiskisk is curious about the actual text on the rock. Perhaps this team contains a hidden choir cultist or even Tahomen himself. The cultists could then take their own ship to Castrovel, again fudging the travel time roll to get the cultists their first. Or, you could have the cultists message a different cell already on Castrovel to get that plot in motion. Just be sure to have Chiskisk radio the PCs saying that they sent in another team and had the text translated; that will it won't feel like as much of a cheat when the information leaks out.
I don't think that there is anything preventing the group from upgrading the starship with the levels of build points they accumulated on Castrovel. The 1d4 days roll applies only to altering the starship in between levels. Being safely docked on an inhabited world, there should be no further complications.
Thanks Jimbles. I found what I was looking for:
Core Rulebook > Tactical Rules > Saving Throws (pg. 242) wrote:
It's like in Pathfinder, I actually have to target a creature with a spell to know if it succeeded; I'm not inherently aware of saving throws in spells that target areas.
I ruled the other way. Since most armor and environmental protection doesn't have a capacity or charge section written up about it I think it's probably not a battery and thus beyond the backup generator's ability to recharge
On the other hand I don't have a problem with it charging a battery that goes into power armor. That battery is a separate item that is distinguishable from the armor itself.
I envision the backup generator working like a station for rechargeable AA batteries; you can plug something in and charge it but you can't use it while it's charging.
My group of four took it on at level two. They were running low around the time of the drift dead and made the assumption that the whole crew was dead so they rested and tackled the rest of the dungeon with near full resources.
The only human of the group was the one equipped with magic missile so he got a couple of full casts of it off and the bulky vesk was the one with electricity weaponry so things were in their favor. I dropped one party member but the mystic kept him alive through the fight. I didn't need to pull any punches and, frankly, if they were level three it would have been a cakewalk.
Freedom Snake wrote:
I kind of see that but it might make more sense to try and kill the PCs after they've actually smuggled Esoklar onto the station rather than stopping them in route. I'd be tempted to change the timing of this encounter to after the PCs leave Absalom station, perhaps in the drift if that were the case.
My group actually hasn't opened up the crate either and this information probably isn't relevant. Even if they do open up the case after being attacked they don't have a way to compel anyone to talk so I can deflect any questions they might have.
On the subject of Eox, I'm not entirely certain why the Iron Rictus is there attacking the PCs. The AP states that the Corpse Fleet is there to eliminate any witnesses of Eskolar.
Am I to assume she's defecting or in some other way working against the Corpse Fleet? Otherwise I'm hard pressed to believe that the Corpse Fleet thinks it an do a better job of delivering a package to the
In my game I'm ruling that readied actions can't disrupt standard action cast spells based on Owen's note in the comments on a blog post here.
My group tends to play every other week for about 4.5ish hours per session.
A bimonthly release schedule would be fine but, frankly, the book is too short. If we were playing Pathfinder, this would take us ~2.5 sessions. It's a new game so we're going to take a little bit longer to reference rules and we'll spend extra time exploring the setting so we'll take more than 2.5 sessions enjoying this book.
Having said all that, we're not starting until sometime in September and I still fully expect to have caught up through the published content between Books 3 and 4.
I love what we've got, but I'd rather pay the extra $3 that a Pathfinder AP charges for 32 more pages with more adventure and better connective tissue.
If you GM long enough bad things are inevitably going to happen. Whether a PC walks head first into a heightened phantasmal killer trap, stumbles into a Wight at level one, or decides to bind and possess a Bearded Devil through magic jar only to pick a fight with a cleric that prepped banishment, you'll sadly ruin somebody's day every once in a while.
I wouldn't think that anyone will be upset with you donating your unusable GM reroll to a new player who just got crit by a charging halfling in First Steps.
There actually used to be a Memo's in the area but it's California Burrito now; it's about 3 miles south of the hotel straight down 99. Two years ago it was still pretty good; couldn't tell you about it now.
If you're really after Mexican food I'll recommend La Carta de Oaxaca in Ballard but like Senior Moose, also nowhere near the hotel.