Starfinder Adventure Path #3: Splintered Worlds (Dead Suns 3 of 6)

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Starfinder Adventure Path #3: Splintered Worlds (Dead Suns 3 of 6)
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To Live and Die on Eox

Tracking the Cult of the Devourer, the heroes travel to the asteroid belt called the Diaspora, but they must face space pirates and other treacherous dangers of the asteroid field to find the cult's hidden command post. What the heroes learn in the Field of the Lost takes them to the dead world of Eox, where they must survive both the undead inhabitants of the planet and clandestine agents of the officially disavowed Corpse Fleet. Only then do the heroes learn that the Devourer cult is headed for a distant star system in search of clues to the location of an alien superweapon!

This volume of Starfinder Adventure Path continues the Dead Suns Adventure Path and includes:

  • "Splintered Worlds," a Starfinder adventure for 5th-level characters, by Amanda Hamon Kunz.
  • A gazetteer of Eox, the planet of the dead, including rules for disturbing necromantic augmentations called necrografts, by Owen K.C. Stephens.
  • Details on the exiled Corpse Fleet, the rogue undead navy of Eox, including new necrotech armor and weapons and additional Corpse Fleet starships, by Thurston Hillman.
  • An archive of strange new alien creatures, both living and undead, by Amanda Hamon Kunz and Owen K.C. Stephens.
  • Statistics and deck plans for a new starship, by Amanda Hamon Kunz, plus a rogue planet that hosts a secret Corpse Fleet base in the Codex of Worlds, by Jason Keeley.

ISBN-13: 978-1-60125-995-0

Starfinder Society Roleplaying Guild Sanctioned Content

Splintered Worlds is sanctioned for use in Starfinder Society Roleplaying Guild.
Download the Dead Suns Adventure Path rules and Chronicle sheets — (462 kb zip/PDF)

Note: This product is part of the Starfinder Adventure Path Subscription.

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A Weird and Wonderful World of Undeath

4/5

Splintered Worlds continues the uneven quality of the Dead Suns adventure path set by the last two books, but brings in some truly wonderfully weird, creepy and interesting settings and characters. There's a lot of writing to love here - from the eccentric undead of Eox to the spooky abandoned Cult base, to the blasted, hostile landscapes of bone and acid in the final confrontation. And on top of that, after two books of slow burning aimlessness, the plot kicks into gear and both stakes and enemies start becoming clear.

But at the same time, the mechanical aspects of the adventure are lacking in a few glaring areas. From traps that auto-magically break the rules to frustrate PCs, to stat block errors, to multiple dramatic contradictions between maps and text. And the story - for all its evocative locales and fun characters - makes little sense, contradicting itself and hamfistedly requiring GM railroading or big plot adjustments to get players to follow the AP's content.

Thankfully, those mechanical details are all fixable, and it doesn't take huge changes to the plot to make it logically consistent. But these are all things that the GM needs to realize ahead of time and fix (or not fix and deal with confused players mid-game). It does make the adventure more of an evocative framework to create your game, than an adventure that plays well if you just pick it up.

The Good (spoilers):
  • The descriptions, maps and art for Eox are all absolutely amazing. Knocked out of the park on cool imagery. The cult base is similarly amazing art-wise.
  • Eoxian characters are unexpectedly kooky and weird, with an obvious undercurrent of possibly evil creepiness to them. The encounters in the Splice with "friendly" shopkeepers are a joy. Lots of character background and details to help flesh them out.
  • The Eox article in the back is great!
  • An excellent variety of novel encounters, from snipers, to getting dunked in acid pools, to apartment block brawls, to dodging laser grids, to giant radioactive behemoths, to skeletons crawling out of walls of bone! Much much better variety and more interesting fights in this one than the previous two books.

  • The Bad (spoilers):
  • Ugh. The plot make so little sense. Why does the Corpse Fleet lay such an overly convoluted trail of evidence to draw the PCs out into the countryside? Why are the Devourer Cult computers wiped clear of evidence so thoroughly that the PCs have no lead? Why are all the hazards the Corpse Fleet had to fight through to get into the Cult base still alive/active? Why are the controls to disable a base defense BEFORE the base defense, rendering it impotent? Why are the PCs expected to travel over land everywhere? Theres a 50ft tall ellicoth that's assumed to somehow sneak up on a party. etc etc.
  • So many mechanical issues:
    There's another trap (Mind Spores) that circumvents environmental protections for no reason. This is easily fixed by making it a purely magical, mind-affecting trap, but its something that seems to be a common pain point for other groups running the AP. (There's also some spoiled food on a table, in which sniffing it gives the sickened condition for 10 mins - but everyone's in environmental protection 100% of the time, so it can never do anything). There's a marrowblight later on whose multiattack ability is always worse than just full attacking. And so on.
  • Some maps on Eox are not sufficient for the given encounters. When the PCs are investigating the apartment, for example, the map scales are off and the map doesn't match the text. Or trying to use the little inset map for the Trampleram fight. Or the lack of an interior view to the Marrowblight hut. Or the general lack of elevation info on the Asteroid map.

  • Eox... but where is Zo!?

    5/5

    Spoilers: All in all a great module, space pirates, a planet full of undead people, I just wish that Zo! could have been included interacting with the party (sure you can do this by yourself)...


    Enjoyed this more than the first two

    3/5

    Finally, some challenge! Still not outstanding in the player agency department, but at least the lore picked up a bit.


    A good adventure with one major flaw

    4/5

    Over all this is a good adventure. It gives us a chance to get a lot of the flavor of both Eox and the Diaspora and it gives us some interesting fights. Its only major flaw is that at one point the primary antagonists act incredibly stupidly for no explained reason (see spoiler for details).

    Spoiler:
    In the second half of the adventure, the PCs have to do an investigation and the in-story reason why the investigation is so easy is that the antagonists want the PCs to succeed so they can be lured into a trap. This then leads the PCs into three really hard fights one after another. … the problem is that there is no reason given for why these fights are separate. The first fights is with an giant soul eating monster (which has no ranged attack, so it can be easily killed if any of the PCs can fly by the way) and the second fight is with a woman who keeps the monster as a pet and is in a building right next to it. She is apparently supposed to not hear the sound of combat 20 feet away and join in. If the GM does decide to have her join in, then the fight goes from hard (assuming no one has flying or a vehicle) to incredibly hard. Then the PCs have to fight the remainder of the antagonists (who didn’t join in the previous fights for no explained reason). So to review, the primary antagonists are intelligent enough to lay a trap for the PCs, but then divide their forces into three waves (for no explained reason) that the PCs can rest between fighting.


    Space Fun

    5/5

    A really nice chapter in the Dead Suns AP!
    Great NPCs, fun storyline... really enjoyed GMing it and the players loved playing it (even if they all died in the last fight!).

    Two little problems:
    • Like posted above, the "mind spores trap" is a bad idea. I should have changed it RP-wise to being delivered by some dart. My crew had Air Bubble on + their armor's rebreather on... and yet it magically bypasses all!
    • the end is quite tough: three encounters in a row, AP 9 then AP 7 then AP 9 , is very hard (my group of 4, with 2 x lvl 6's + 2 x lvl 5's... all died! But it was a fun fight!)


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    Community & Digital Content Director

    1 person marked this as a favorite.

    Announced for December! Image and description are provisional and subject to change prior to release.

    Paizo Employee Developer

    7 people marked this as a favorite.

    SO EXCITED that this is announced!

    We are going to the undead planet, folks (among other places).

    Paizo Employee Pathfinder Society Lead Developer

    1 person marked this as a favorite.

    Exciting!


    I'm just looking forward to seeing more about the Bone Lords of Eox myself. :)


    Dot.

    Liberty's Edge

    2 people marked this as a favorite.
    Pathfinder Companion, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

    Man, even when we TOOK THEIR GOD AWAY AND WON'T TELL ANYONE WHERE HE IS these darn cultists won't sit down and be quiet, noooooo....


    Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Maps, Pathfinder Accessories, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Starfinder Superscriber

    The levelling in Starfinder APs seems it will be a little slower than in PF ones.

    Silver Crusade

    Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

    That, or Starfinder isn't a 20-level game.


    Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Maps, Pathfinder Accessories, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Starfinder Superscriber

    I think I read somewhere that it is. Erik (I think) said that they toyed with the idea of capping it lower, but eventually decided it wasn't worth the effort in changing such a fundamental assumption.

    EDIT: I'm not only paraphrasing but also extrapolating there with respect to the reasons behind the decision. I'm sure I read somewhere that the levels would go from 1-20 though.


    Steve Geddes wrote:
    The levelling in Starfinder APs seems it will be a little slower than in PF ones.

    Well, the books are also shorter. They're just getting started up.


    Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Maps, Pathfinder Accessories, Rulebook Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
    QuidEst wrote:
    Steve Geddes wrote:
    The levelling in Starfinder APs seems it will be a little slower than in PF ones.
    Well, the books are also shorter. They're just getting started up.

    Exactly. I think the progression is just slower because these adventures are shorter than Pathfinder APs.


    1 person marked this as a favorite.
    Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Society Subscriber

    It sounds like part four might be our first trip out of the solar system! Excited to see how a long jaunt in the drift plays!


    Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Maps, Pathfinder Accessories, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Starfinder Superscriber
    QuidEst wrote:
    Steve Geddes wrote:
    The levelling in Starfinder APs seems it will be a little slower than in PF ones.
    Well, the books are also shorter. They're just getting started up.

    Do you have an announcement providing the breakdown of pagecount somewhere you could point me to?

    I had assumed they were going to follow the same format as PF APs now that the fiction has been removed from the latter. I'm not terribly good at finding that kind of information though. :/


    Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Maps, Pathfinder Accessories, Rulebook Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
    Steve Geddes wrote:
    QuidEst wrote:
    Steve Geddes wrote:
    The levelling in Starfinder APs seems it will be a little slower than in PF ones.
    Well, the books are also shorter. They're just getting started up.

    Do you have an announcement providing the breakdown of pagecount somewhere you could point me to?

    I had assumed they were going to follow the same format as PF APs now that the fiction has been removed from the latter. I'm not terribly good at finding that kind of information though. :/

    How about the last sentence of the last paragraph in the product description above on this very page that says, "Each 64-page volume of the Starfinder Adventure Path also contains in-depth articles that detail and expand the Starfinder campaign setting and provide new rules, a host of exciting new monsters and alien races, a new planet to explore and starship to pilot, and more!"

    Personally, I'm half-deaf more often than I am blind, but I understand how it can be sometimes. :)


    Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Maps, Pathfinder Accessories, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Starfinder Superscriber

    Ah, yeah. I told you I wasn't good at finding information!

    Cheers.

    EDIT: Actually, I think I read that and my brain just forgot that the PF APs are 96 pages. I thought QuidEst was suggesting the backmatter/adventure breakdown was different. Appreciate the direction. Thanks. :)


    96 pages for 24.99
    64 pages for 22.99

    ouch


    Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure, Card Game, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

    This chapter sounds like a TON of fun!

    Liberty's Edge

    Strange for there to be no official cover art so close to a release.


    Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

    Surely they will update December releases this week. :-)

    Liberty's Edge

    It's a November release according to the store page.


    Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Maps, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
    Tarpeius wrote:
    It's a November release according to the store page.

    November pre-order just means that the order auths will run near the end of November. The PDF/street date will probably be around the middle of December.

    Community & Digital Content Director

    Updated with final image and description!

    Liberty's Edge

    o_O

    Damn, that was worth the wait. Awesome art!


    Necrotech and necrografts. For those who want to be even more dead-ly. ;)

    Paizo Employee Starfinder Society Developer

    I got a chance to check out the art on my article last week... I think I like some of these ships more than the already beautiful(ly horrific) Eoxian ships! :D

    Dark Archive

    Damn you for putting an "Ellicoth" on the cover!
    I love these (magical) beasts, but at gargantuan size they are too big for a pawn and there are no similiar looking miniatures as stand-ins either! ;-(


    Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

    So, necrografts. Do you think they're just cybernetics/biotech with some flavor, or will they have some unique rules?


    Wasn't expecting a living eoxian, despite knowing they were in the game. Wow. interesting art.

    Dark Archive

    So, who has the pdf and is willing to share info? ;-)

    Dark Archive

    1 person marked this as a favorite.

    Well I have it, so if you have questions sure ask them


    CorvusMask wrote:
    Well I have it, so if you have questions sure ask them

    What're the player options available in the AP? Also, any chance of more specific animate dead rules?

    Dark Archive

    1 person marked this as a favorite.

    This is adventure module not a player book, so not much honestly. What it does have is necrocraft, elebrian stats and equipment/ships used by corpsefleet which could be looted/used/bought by players as well I suppose.


    CorvusMask wrote:
    This is adventure module not a player book, so not much honestly. What it does have is necrocraft, elebrian stats and equipment/ships used by corpsefleet which could be looted/used/bought by players as well I suppose.

    What are living elebrians like? (I really want them to have racials that help them with necromancy or something similar).

    Dark Archive

    1 person marked this as a favorite.

    Well they have +2 con and int -2 wisdom, but otherwise they aren't necromantic species, just really knowledgeable one. They have ability to find weaknesses in creatures(as full action can do attack that adds half their level to damage once per creature) and can attempt knowledge skill checks untrained and take 20 in them with 2 minutes of time. So basically, 2 minutes and elebrians never need to google to find any information they want.

    Dark Archive

    So one thing that really annoys me so far:

    Spoiler:
    I still have no idea what Ambassador Nor's package was about. Book still doesn't explain why he wanted "content" of the package smuggled, while I can understand that PCs don't know that, as GM I still wouldn't know at this point what the heck it is about. At this point I have no idea if the AP will ever explain it and once I have all six parts, it is annoying to have to check later books to confirm something for earlier books.

    Also, little bit annoyed by encounters were someone is mind controlled but no explanation is given what happens if pcs break the mind control or avoid killing the mind controlled guy :P Seriously, its annoying when book as written just assumes players kill someone under control or have no chance of noticing it.


    Wait, even after this book we STILL don't know

    Spoiler:
    what Nor's plan with the package is? Not gonna lie, I think that's pretty frustrating, because I feel like that is something that should've been clear since book 1. RPing the guy without knowing his motivations is less than ideal.

    Dark Archive

    Yeah. I can guess that

    Spoiler:
    hes not allied with Corpsefleet(despite being his alignment) since he does help out PCs if he is still on good term with them, but beyond that? Yeah no clue at all. Heck I think its bit contradictory since Corpsefleet apparently did know about the package and it is mentioned in this book as well as point were they took notice of PCs.


    The only thing I can think of is that

    Dead Suns Spoilers:
    The soldier in the package is a deserter of the Corpse Fleet trying to get into Absalom Station to trade information for a new life, or something like that. The Corpse Fleet's aggressive attempts to retrieve her are in stark contrast with her own wishes, which to me confirms that her current actions go against the Fleet.

    Dark Archive

    2 people marked this as a favorite.

    Yeah, thats what it is seeming like to me, but as we just discussed, since its not actually confirmed to GM in any of three books, thats just guessing and even if answer is in one of three final books, its completely plausible for gm to have forgotten it and make wrong guess when they run the session since the answer isn't anywhere in early books. I mean, I wouldn't be surprised if it turns out it was actually for nefarious reasons and players dun goofed if

    Spoiler:
    they didn't smuggle the package.

    (I do get it that from player point of view, they aren't supposed to find out so they don't know whether they did right thing or not, it is decision that has consequences for them later on line either way. But GM still should know what kind of motivation character they are roleplaying has <_<)


    2 people marked this as a favorite.
    Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

    I agree wholeheartedly with Corvus Mask, I would expect my players to try to find out more about this during this part of the AP and knowing the truth would be really helpful for the GM. I have no idea what reason there is for not having revealed this piece of information yet.

    Dark Archive

    More annoying to me, its actually almost addressed

    Spoiler:
    <_< The ghoul contact pcs have in Eox has example question to her about the package and her reply is pretty much "How the heck I would know?" Like at this point it feels almost intentional that they avoid telling GM why


    Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

    Spoiler tags please!

    Dark Archive

    Hmm, I don't think anybody said anything really spoilery out of tags, but ok trying to remember that in future.


    Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

    If you don't want to be bothered with spoiler tags, take it to the GM reference threads.

    Dark Archive

    So product criticism shouldn't be expressed in product thread? Anyway, someone should really sticky those Dead Sun GM reference threads


    Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

    Criticism is fine, but if it involves the adventure or previous adventures it should be done with spoiler tags.

    Paizo Employee Customer Service Manager

    3 people marked this as a favorite.

    Added some spoiler tags. For the product discussion thread, if its spelling out plot points, its probably better to use spoiler tags and be safe. Thanks.


    Who wants to tell poor boy (yours truly) about them critters in the alien archive? And that new planet would be nice to hear about to. As always, you have my gratitude.

    Dark Archive

    Could one of the developers (@Thurston Hillman or @John Compton etc) please answer if the above discussed spoiler from book 1 will be revealed in book 4, 5 or 6 and if yes in which one?

    If not, how would you handle the situation as a GM?

    Thank you! :-)

    @CoruvusMask or others who have the pdf:

    1. Which necrografts are in the book and what do they roughly do?

    2. What are the additional Corpse Fleet starships (name, size & tier)?

    3. What is the new starship on the inside covers?

    4. Some details on the rogue planet that hosts a secret Corpse Fleet base?

    Thank you all.


    Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
    Steven "Troll" O'Neal wrote:
    Who wants to tell poor boy (yours truly) about them critters in the alien archive? And that new planet would be nice to hear about to. As always, you have my gratitude.

    Aside from the playable elebrians, we get a gaggle of undead creatures (some expected, some exotic) that all come with template grafts, so you can convert any humanoid to them. We also get a couple more general monster-creatures that work well in many environments and have some interesting mind-control powers.

    The new planet, Barrow, is a rouge planet (does not orbit a star) out in the Vast with a huge Corpse Fleet base/shipyard. At one point they tried to put planet-sized thrusters on it, but they blew a chunk off by accident.

    Marco Massoudi wrote:
    Which necrografts are in the book and what do they roughly do?

    Necrografts are a new type of augmentation. There are some unique necrografts (I'll get to those in a bit), but the neatest thing about them is that you can get any cybernetic or biotech as a necrograft instead for just 90% of the cost. The catch? You pick up the necrograft subtype, which makes you vulnerable to spells and other effects that target undead.

    All the necrograft-only augmentations come in mk 1 - mk 5, which span item levels 1 - 20. They include things like environmental protection, hidden natural weapons, and the ability to inflict status conditions or diseases on enemies. There's some other neat stuff as well.

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