Starfinder Adventure Path #1: Incident at Absalom Station (Dead Suns 1 of 6)

3.80/5 (based on 23 ratings)
Starfinder Adventure Path #1: Incident at Absalom Station (Dead Suns 1 of 6)
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A Ship Without a Crew

When a brutal gang war breaks out on a docking bay in Absalom Station, the player characters are recruited by the Starfinder Society to investigate the unexpected bloodshed. Delving into the station’s seedy Spike neighborhoods, the heroes confront the gangs and discover that both were paid to start the riot and that the true conflict is between two rival mining companies battling over a new arrival in orbit around the station: a mysteriously deserted ship and the strange asteroid it recovered from the Drift. To head off further violence, the heroes are asked to investigate the ship and discover what happened to its crew, as well as the nature of the asteroid it tows. But what the players find there will set in motion events that could threaten the entirety of the Pact Worlds and change the face of the galaxy forever...

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

  • "Incident at Absalom Station," a Starfinder adventure for 1st-level characters, by Robert G. McCreary.
  • A gazetteer of Absalom Station, by James L. Sutter.
  • Magical relics inspired by the lost planet Golarion, by Owen K.C. Stephens.
  • An archive of new alien creatures, by Jason Keeley and Robert G. McCreary.
  • Statistics and deck plans for a new starship designed just for the player characters, plus details on a new planet in the Codex of Worlds, by Robert G. McCreary.

ISBN-13: 978-1-60125-961-5

Starfinder Society Roleplaying Guild Sanctioned Content

Incident at Absalom Station 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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Fine but hope it gets better

3/5

Nice adventure, if you set aside the fact that level 1 PCs are recruted for this crucial task.

The end is the weak part. It's a space dungeon. Fine with that. But it's horribly designed, as if casting aside decades of dungeon design. The rooms are barren, minuscule (go fit a sniper in a 25' room!), and often bypassable. Also, it's just fight after fight with no interesting way to affect them - eventhough some are ripe for social, mystical or technical interaction; would have been a good way to mitigate their difficulty.

Also, as usual, zero effort put to mitigate repeated rests. There's basically nothing that prevents the heroes from sleeping it out after each encounter.

Loot is also very weird. There's salvageable stuff in unexpected places (e.g. a bar), and none in others (a filled cargo hold).


A Big Step Down from Pathfinder APs

3/5

Incident at Absalom Station can best be summed up as serviceable but dry. All the necessary bits and pieces are in place and the adventure does a good job of providing a variety of both combat and skill challenges. But the adventure as written lacks the vibrant characters, varied combat scenarios and absorbing plots that I've come to appreciate and expect from Paizo's Pathfinder AP line.

Some Negatives (includes spoilers):
  • Poor motivation in-character: PCs are often doing things for purely mercenary reasons rather than in response to a dramatic event that motivates them both in and out of character. PCs have no attachment to Duravor (he dies before they know him), subsequent events are all just 'jobs' the party agrees to do. Relies heavily on PCs wanting to join the Starfinder Society in part 1, but the Society is hardly involved in parts 2 and 3. It also does a poor job of showing in-setting why it would be worth joining the Society.
  • No Player Guide means poor context: Without a Player's Guide, Player Characters are not well integrated into the setting. Players don't have background knowledge/context necessary to interact richly with the melting pot that is Absalom Station. This is a new setting and one without traditional fantasy elements to fall back on to do the heavy lifting. It REALLY needs to provide background info to the players so that they know what is and isn't normal (and what options might be out there).
  • Lack of depth to Non-player characters: Most Pathfinder APs have some NPCs that are richly fleshed out in the book, are given enough of a background that the GM can breathe life into them with ease. In Dead Suns, none of the NPCs are given that kind of write-up. The GM has no context for why the Ambassador is doing what he's doing, or why Eskolar is where she is, or what kind of person Chiskisk is. The shorter length to the book is certainly partly to blame, but it also suffers from having to carry a lot of Absalom Station background instead of adventure-specific background.
  • The adventure doesn't stand on its own: The players tackle disparate tasks that lead them to discovering that the drift rock has mysterious alien technology inside. The discovery plays no role in the resolution of the adventure, its effectively just there for flavor. As a result, there isn't much of an arc to the story here and there's no big villain. The players are left with a few mysteries, but very little to engage with until Book 2.
  • The combats are dry: There are many encounters in this book, but almost all of them are straight-forward brawls: PCs and one to two enemies in an empty room or hallway, trading blows until one of them falls. The enemies fought are all simple (and most are unintelligent), with a single attack and very basic tactics. The environments are not conducive to interesting movement or positioning either.

  • Some Positives (Includes spoilers):
  • As an intro to the Starfinder system, its a good package. A simple adventure that manages to hit a broad assortment of the system's mechanics. Zero-G combat, starship combat, skill challenges, ranged and melee combat, diseases, etc. It covers a lot of ground!
  • Laying the groundwork well. It does a good job of setting up the core concerns of the AP, though PCs probably won't realize it for a while. The Eoxian role in things, the corpse fleet, the Stellar Degenerator. All of these are teased or interacted with in this adventure.
  • A good intro to the Setting: It keeps things basic, but provides the GM with enough useful information about Absalom Station to flesh out the world.

  • Great start!

    5/5

    I am absolutely unable to understand why this adventure has such a low rating. Of course, there are a lot of clichés of science fiction and space horror, but, in fact, what did you expect? Personally, I have received only pleasure while recognised in various scenes familiar moments, clearly inspired by favorite classic books and movies (I would say that there is "Blade Runner" or "Total Recall" meets "Aliens"). The plot, as in all parts of the "Alien" movies is fairly predictable, but again it's a such genre. I put a solid 5 and be happy to play on!


    Great and scary intro'!

    5/5

    I like this adventure a lot.
    It starts in media res, and with a bang.
    Goes on to have a very rich investigation and interaction part, where you get to discover Absalom Station, the Startfinder Society and the world of the game.
    Then things get spooky and spookier and harder and harder!
    You get some space combat, so fighting in 0 G etc..
    A bit of everything, but with a nice storyline, that keeps you interested as things get harder and harder!


    Stellar Introduction to Starfinder: Don't Listen to the Naysayers

    5/5

    Wow, I'm really blown away by the negative reviews of this adventure. I've run it twice now as the GM, and everyone -- players and GM alike -- had a great time. And both groups approached the adventure in different ways. I really agree with the other reviewer who said that it's well structured. It's a fun introduction to the new mechanics of the Starfinder game as well as to the flavor and backstory of the game world, starting with the "Grand Central Station" of the Starfinder universe.

    If you're going to be a player, avoid reading:

    Spoiler:
    The adventure was well structured into 5 parts: (2) start off with a bang in a combat with two evil sets of gang members, (2) murder mystery while getting to know the space station, (3) small, introductory spaceship battle, (4) explore the derelict spaceship, then (5) explore the mysterious "asteroid." One negative review said this adventure was a "dungeon crawl" but that ignores 60% of the adventure because, if anything, only parts 4 and 5 could possibly feel like a dungeon crawl.

    I thought it was really smart to start with a chaotic battle, then quickly shift to a murder mystery requiring ROLE PLAYING. To the negative reviewer complaining that no one in the party had ranks in Diplomacy, you get no sympathy here. RPGs are not just about shooting aliens. The GM definitely should read up on the gazetteer in the back of the book about Absalom Station, and let the players explore the space station. After the first fight, the players just kept investigating and exploring Absalom Station. For instance at one point, the "xenoseeker" insisted on going into a nightclub and just chatting up aliens. I pulled out the Alien Archive and described for the PCs skittermanders dancing it up, a shobhad lurking in a corner, the alien guys who have 7 sexes, etc. etc.

    One suggestion for GMs in the first fight: I just said each gang accidentally shot one PC: that way the PCs could feel motivated to attack one or both sides, shrug it off as merely inadvertent and try to take cover, focus on helping the dwarf, focus on helping innocent bystanders, etc. In one of my games, the lashunta used his detect thoughts racial power to figure out which gang was "more evil" and then the PCs focused on killing them.

    One negative reviewer said there is no villain on the asteroid, which I really don't understand. There are two key villains: a big nasty monster (BBEG) lurking in the cave complex, and the assassin against whom they had a space battle prior to landing on the asteroid. If the PCs win the space battle, the assassin crash lands on the asteroid to hunt them down. If the PCs lose the space battle (unlikely) they can still limp to the spaceship and asteroid, and the assassin still can track them down to get them. I liked how the adventure left how you ran the assassin pretty open-ended because, hey, she isn't even straight up evil.

    I listened to the Roll for Combat podcast too. They're playing the whole adventure, and I learned some tips and insights from that too.


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    Liberty's Edge

    Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
    captain yesterday wrote:

    It should be noted people already pay 22.99 for campaign setting books, and the module line is 24.99 and also has 64 pages.

    Just saying.

    And how do these sale compared to AP books ? :-/

    If Paizo looks at sales of the 1st volume to see how well the game will fare, then I think they should avoid any and all hurdles that would get people away from buying it

    Or maybe they decided to go for a different marketing model than that of PFRPG and focus on selling the rules books whatever happens to the AP.


    The Inheritor wrote:
    Troodos wrote:
    Leviathan Rising, anyone?
    Leviathan Wakes!

    Well now I look foolish.


    I'm wondering if advancement may be a little different than in PF, and that less info might be needed to do more. If you have 6 adventures to 20th - that would be 3 and a third level per adventure. That does seem reasonable. If a big space battle takes 2 pages of text to do for the encounter, and be big part of each adventure - then 64 could easily be enough. Perhaps the bi-monthly isn't just caution, maybe there is 2 months worth of weekly playing crammed into those 64 pages.

    It will be interesting to see exactly what happens.


    Will there be some Starfinder posters to order also? I would love to add some to my game room.

    The Exchange

    Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
    captain yesterday wrote:
    It should be noted people already pay 22.99 for campaign setting books, and the module line is 24.99 and also has 64 pages.

    Yeah, but if you (like me) expected the comparison to be made be made with the Pathfinder AP issues, it can easily generate a bit of disappointment.

    This said, I'm certainly willing to give it a try and see if there's enough backmatter to satisfy my curiosity. What I'm missing at the moment is the pdf option, though.


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

    Well, with the shorter AP page count, maybe they are trying something new in more ways than one. Maybe this AP is only meant to get you roughly half way to level 20; and maybe the next AP will be a high level one that takes you the rest of the way to 20th level? Then, later they start with another low-level AP, followed by another high-level one, enabling GMs to mix and match high and low -level APs as they wish to give campaigns more variety and parity with the newer, more mathematically streamlined level progression the designers said they worked on for Starfinder? Maybe the 6 level spellcasting limit was part of that?

    Wishful thinking? Probably. But, I like the idea. :)


    I agree with others...that description has a LOT of stuff for a 64 page volume to include.


    Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber
    WormysQueue wrote:
    captain yesterday wrote:
    It should be noted people already pay 22.99 for campaign setting books, and the module line is 24.99 and also has 64 pages.

    Yeah, but if you (like me) expected the comparison to be made be made with the Pathfinder AP issues, it can easily generate a bit of disappointment.

    This said, I'm certainly willing to give it a try and see if there's enough backmatter to satisfy my curiosity. What I'm missing at the moment is the pdf option, though.

    No doubt, I was a little disappointed at first myself.

    Also agree on the pdf.

    Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

    2 people marked this as a favorite.

    Those of you asking operational questions (subscriptions, PDF availability, etc.) will want to look in on this thread in the CS forum.


    Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

    Where is the information about limiting the new character classes to L6 spell-casting?

    Does this mean that the arcanist, cleric, druid, oracle, psychic, shaman, sorcerer, witch, and wizard classes are completely unavailable for PCs? What about NPCs? Would there be prestige classes which convert a spell-casting character to L9 spell-casting?

    While I can see how this decision would reduce the chances of creating a "god" PC, it would also have consequences with regard to compatability with Pathfinder. Time-travel adventures would create even more headaches (than normal) for the GM.


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

    It's all in the various Starfinder blogs.

    Liberty's Edge

    1 person marked this as a favorite.
    Skeld wrote:

    Bimonthly.

    64 pages.

    This feels very tentative.

    -Skeld

    That was exactly my reaction, too. I must confess, amidst all the excitement, this was the bit that left me profoundly uneasy.

    When it comes to SF RPGS, we have no shortage of rules. I have more SciFi and SciFant RPG rule systems than I can ever use already. I know this, because I almost never use them. Essentially nobody does and nobody ever has.

    It's been a fringe genre since basically forever. The optimist in me says this is mainly because there simply have not been enough high quality adventures to drive any game system forward, mated with a rule system of reward/treasure that presses the same "levelling button" that D&D always has. (Few SF games rules have done levelling outside of Star Wars D20/Saga - and Star Wars D20/Saga never had a pro quality AP. It's just never really been successfully tried before.)

    Rules, schmules. What any system needs to actually be used is high quality adventure material. And a lot of it.

    I was prepared to assume the AP would be high quality. I had also assumed there would, over time, be a lot of it, too.

    Hmmm.

    Of course, I guess another point to take away would be that because nobody has successfully done it before, that's mainly because it is risky and might well fail. And Paizo doesn't want to lose a bundle on a failed product line. Might be that what we are really seeing here is a toe in the water to see if their customers are as "in" on all of this as they say they are.

    Can't blame Paizo for some prudence and caution. But yes, it can come off as tentative, that's for sure.

    Well, whatever the case -- Debbie Downer or not -- I've pre-ordered all of it. If enough of us want to give Paizo more of our money, and more rapidly, they will find reasons to accept it.

    Liberty's Edge

    1 person marked this as a favorite.
    captain yesterday wrote:
    WormysQueue wrote:
    captain yesterday wrote:
    It should be noted people already pay 22.99 for campaign setting books, and the module line is 24.99 and also has 64 pages.

    Yeah, but if you (like me) expected the comparison to be made be made with the Pathfinder AP issues, it can easily generate a bit of disappointment.

    This said, I'm certainly willing to give it a try and see if there's enough backmatter to satisfy my curiosity. What I'm missing at the moment is the pdf option, though.

    No doubt, I was a little disappointed at first myself.

    Also agree on the pdf.

    Yes to all of that.

    As for the PDF, given that Paizo has created a business model that sweetens the deal for direct subscription purchasers with an electronic product that A) is essentially created anyway for almost every print product and B) the substantial cost of which has been to create a computerized delivery system for all of it (which is already in place...)

    I cannot imagine that in this case they are going to do it differently. I'll take it on faith that in between now and August, all of this will shake out as we have come to expect.

    Liberty's Edge

    2 people marked this as a favorite.
    Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Pawns, Rulebook Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
    Bellona wrote:
    Where is the information about limiting the new character classes to L6 spell-casting?

    It was made explicit in the Q&A Paizo did for their Humble Bundle. You can find it on Twitch by clicking here.

    Bellona wrote:
    Does this mean that the arcanist, cleric, druid, oracle, psychic, shaman, sorcerer, witch, and wizard classes are completely unavailable for PCs? What about NPCs? Would there be prestige classes which convert a spell-casting character to L9 spell-casting?

    9th level spells will exist in the world, and presumably 9th level casters to go with them. They are just starting out with 6th level casters for now.

    That said, it's a different game system. None of the existing classes for Pathfinder will be usable straight across.

    Bellona wrote:
    While I can see how this decision would reduce the chances of creating a "god" PC, it would also have consequences with regard to compatability with Pathfinder. Time-travel adventures would create even more headaches (than normal) for the GM.

    This does not appear to be a design concern.


    It's likely a cost saving issue. They're putting out three APs a year, that's extra cost for writers, illustrations, and printing. Rather than pay less all around they're just reducing page count and frequency of publication. If it does well, they may increase size and frequency.


    Will there be a subscription to this?

    Liberty's Edge

    64 pages seems a bit low. If the first 48 pages are used for the adventure, that leaves 16 pages for a bestiary and an article.

    Liberty's Edge

    Paladinosaur wrote:
    64 pages seems a bit low. If the first 48 pages are used for the adventure, that leaves 16 pages for a bestiary and an article.

    Yes, it seems very low; especially as there has been no setting book announced or on the horizon.

    Now it may be the Core RB will differ and we will find a great deal more setting material in there than we have come to expect.

    But yeah, this seems very light to begin with, no question about it.

    The Exchange

    Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
    Paladinosaur wrote:
    64 pages seems a bit low. If the first 48 pages are used for the adventure, that leaves 16 pages for a bestiary and an article.

    On the other hand, the AP players' guides prove that 16 pages can still mean a lot of stuff, so depending on how they use it, it may still mean that we can get a lot of use out of it. Just to go with the blurb, it could mean for example 6 pages of setting expansion and rules, 6 pages with Monsters, 2 pages new planet and 2 pages new ship. Sounds not too shabby.

    Too much speculation, though, I guess we'll have to wait for future blog articles to get more insight ^^.

    Liberty's Edge

    WormysQueue wrote:
    Paladinosaur wrote:
    64 pages seems a bit low. If the first 48 pages are used for the adventure, that leaves 16 pages for a bestiary and an article.

    On the other hand, the AP players' guides prove that 16 pages can still mean a lot of stuff, so depending on how they use it, it may still mean that we can get a lot of use out of it. Just to go with the blurb, it could mean for example 6 pages of setting expansion and rules, 6 pages with Monsters, 2 pages new planet and 2 pages new ship. Sounds not too shabby.

    Too much speculation, though, I guess we'll have to wait for future blog articles to get more insight ^^.

    Well, a 6-page bestiary would mean only 2 new monsters in the PF format. But now I'm wondering if we're getting a Player's guide with this.


    Steel_Wind wrote:
    Paladinosaur wrote:
    64 pages seems a bit low. If the first 48 pages are used for the adventure, that leaves 16 pages for a bestiary and an article.

    Yes, it seems very low; especially as there has been no setting book announced or on the horizon.

    Now it may be the Core RB will differ and we will find a great deal more setting material in there than we have come to expect.

    But yeah, this seems very light to begin with, no question about it.

    @Steel_Wind: the Starfinder CRB is also the setting. So there is no "setting book" outside of the CRB; plus (in time) whatever supplements are released down the line to detail more parts and deeper layers of the campaign setting.


    Wow, I just noticed it was only 64 pages.

    Liberty's Edge

    1 person marked this as a favorite.

    Sounds cool! Very Deep Space Nine!

    The Exchange

    Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
    Paladinosaur wrote:
    Well, a 6-page bestiary would mean only 2 new monsters in the PF format. But now I'm wondering if we're getting a Player's guide with this.

    While I was thinking 3 Monsters (2 pages per critter), they could easily fit monsters on one page if they wanted, so it could also mean 6. As I said, there's too much speculation at the Moment.

    Dark Archive

    A normal Pathfinder adventure ends on page 55 of a 96 page AP.

    Page 1: "The Index & credits page" will likely stay.

    Page 2 & 3: "The Foreword" could now be 1 page or left away.

    Page 4: "Advancement track" could stay as it is or fall away.

    Page 5: "Adventure background" will likely stay.

    Page 6-55: "The adventure" could stay at 50 pages or be a little shorter.

    Page 56-61: "Npc Gallery" will probably be incorporated into the adventure. If not, it will probably be 3 pages, not 6.

    Page 62-67: "Gazetteer" will be about "Absalom Station, the orbital habitat that serves as humanity's home in the Pact Worlds"
    (The planets of the Pact Worlds will be detailed in the Starfinder Core Rulebook).

    Page 68-73: "Ecology": "a new planet to explore and starship to pilot".

    Page 74-79: "Journal/Fiction": Will be left away.

    Page 80-92: "Bestiary/Alien Archive" will probably be smaller and include "a selection of new monsters from a variety of alien worlds" (my guess is 3 creatures not 5).

    Page 93-96: "Advertisements": will probably be 1-2 pages.

    So it is certainly possible to create a great adventure on 64 pages.
    If you compare the size and price to Pathfinder APs, it is 32 pages fewer for a $2 fewer.
    But "Science Fantasy" has never been as popular as "fantasy" roleplay in human history and the lower page count is probably a way to finance a lower print run that needs to show how much it will sell.
    If APs #1-6 sell very well, the print run for APs #7-12 may be higher and eventually include more pages.
    But that´s a financial decision that can not be made now.


    Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
    Shisumo wrote:
    Bellona wrote:
    Where is the information about limiting the new character classes to L6 spell-casting?

    It was made explicit in the Q&A Paizo did for their Humble Bundle. You can find it on Twitch by clicking here.

    Bellona wrote:
    Does this mean that the arcanist, cleric, druid, oracle, psychic, shaman, sorcerer, witch, and wizard classes are completely unavailable for PCs? What about NPCs? Would there be prestige classes which convert a spell-casting character to L9 spell-casting?

    9th level spells will exist in the world, and presumably 9th level casters to go with them. They are just starting out with 6th level casters for now.

    That said, it's a different game system. None of the existing classes for Pathfinder will be usable straight across.

    Bellona wrote:
    While I can see how this decision would reduce the chances of creating a "god" PC, it would also have consequences with regard to compatability with Pathfinder. Time-travel adventures would create even more headaches (than normal) for the GM.

    This does not appear to be a design concern.

    Thanks for the info - while I'm looking forward to the new game/setting, I haven't been keeping up with all the hints and news released through third parties.

    RPG Superstar 2014 Top 32

    3 people marked this as a favorite.

    What exactly does "a series of interconnected science-fantasy quests that together create a fully developed plot of sweeping scale and epic challenges" mean?

    I have never seen a normal pathfinder AP described in this way. It is always just assumed that the adventure content is one story, but this description seems more like the modules "plunder&peril" and "gallows of madness" where there are separate adventures that can be linked.

    Scarab Sages Developer, Starfinder Team

    2 people marked this as a favorite.
    Steel_Wind wrote:
    (Few SF games rules have done levelling outside of Star Wars D20/Saga - and Star Wars D20/Saga never had a pro quality AP. It's just never really been successfully tried before.)

    As one of the authors of the Dawn of Defiance complete campaign for Star Wars Saga, which was available for free from WotC, I wouldn't agree with that characterization. :)

    Not to mention owning Fading Suns d20, and having written for for Dark Matter in d20 Modern and Gamma World d20.


    1 person marked this as a favorite.

    I am just spit balling here but what if Starfinder First Contact is 16 pages of supplemental material for use with Incident at Absalom Station and Incident at Absalom Station is an entire adventure in itself. Then going forward the other 5 adventure path books are 96 pages each.

    Paizo Employee Publisher, Chief Creative Officer

    25 people marked this as a favorite.

    There will be a subscription for this. Details to come when we're completely ready, a calculation that involves things like computer code and what have you. So please be patient on that front. It is coming. Details on subscription benefits likewise will come when they too are ready.

    Size and frequency of the Starfinder Adventure Path is a realistic pace given the staff resources we have available for this project and the desire to get it right out of the gate. If the audience is there and people want larger volumes and the sales are there, we'll possibly adjust things. We're shaking up orthodoxies a bit with Starfinder in a way that we can't with Pathfinder. That means exploring different product configurations, etc.

    One way that the pre-release interest in Starfinder has already influenced things is a significantly larger Core Rulebook than originally conceived, as well as plans for more accessories like Flip-Mats and for more frequent releases of product in the main rulebook line (albeit smaller books than those in the Pathfinder line, generally speaking). This latter development somewhat offsets the need of the non-adventure part of the Adventure Path to do heavy lifting on setting development and presentation of character options and stuff.

    If you want to call bi-monthly 64-page volumes "tentative," I can't disagree with you. If the audience is there, we'll expand the line accordingly.

    Absalom was not built in a single day. :)


    Thank you, Mr. Mona.

    Liberty's Edge

    Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Maps, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
    Erik Mona wrote:
    Absalom was not built in a single day. :)

    ...but Absalom station might have been. :]


    CBDunkerson wrote:
    Erik Mona wrote:
    Absalom was not built in a single day. :)
    ...but Absalom station might have been. :]

    Built... Conjured... Tomayto, Tomawto.


    Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
    Marc Radle wrote:

    Sounds cool! Very Deep Space Nine!

    And/or very Babylon Five! :)

    Liberty's Edge

    1 person marked this as a favorite.
    Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Pawns, Rulebook Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

    We need more info on the Pact and how the Pact Worlds govern themselves. Is it like a interplanetary UN? Does the Pact actually have any authority over its member worlds? Given that several of the planets described in Distant Worlds have separate nation-states, are there separate representatives for each nation, or is there a unifying governmental force for every world now? How many of the solar system's planets aren't members of the Pact? Does the Pact claim jurisdiction over the entire solar system, or are non-signatory worlds recognized as sovereign? Is the Diaspora a member of the Pact, or a bunch of members, or does someone else claim it (Eox maybe?)?

    Most importantly, if the Trade Federation is blockading my planet, is the Pact where I go to begin my rise to declaring myself Emperor?


    6 people marked this as a favorite.

    The crew at Paizo is not stupid. They have learned from the countless corpses of dead game companies. Starfinder is a risk. If the ongoing demand does not justify the resources they put into it, then they lose money. Going a bit cautious on the first AP makes good sense. When they have a better idea how people react and how big the market is, they will adjust accordingly. If lots of people like it and demand two 96-page AP's a year, they'll figure out how to make that happen. If the demand is less, they'll have to figure out a balance where they make people as happy as they can while staying profitable.


    Pfft. I demand two 96 page Starfinder Products per month. But Paizo doesnt listen to me anymore... :(

    Scarab Sages

    Philo Pharynx wrote:
    The crew at Paizo is not stupid. They have learned from the countless corpses of dead game companies. Starfinder is a risk. If the ongoing demand does not justify the resources they put into it, then they lose money. Going a bit cautious on the first AP makes good sense. When they have a better idea how people react and how big the market is, they will adjust accordingly. If lots of people like it and demand two 96-page AP's a year, they'll figure out how to make that happen. If the demand is less, they'll have to figure out a balance where they make people as happy as they can while staying profitable.

    Yes, but there's also a signaling problem. I was very excited about being a charter subscriber for Starfinder when I assumed it would be an AP of the same basic length and parameters as Pathfinder. But to find out that it's 64 pages every other month instead of 96 every month? That signals that they do not have faith in this product, because they are only putting enough resources into it to produce a very small fraction of what they do for Pathfinder. It also signals that there's not going to be very much content for the system for at least a couple of years. All of which makes people less likely to subscribe to it, because of doubt that it'll even be around in a year, and because even if it is, it'd be better to purchase it then, when there's actually enough content to take advantage of.


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

    Well, i am still super excited!

    Even if it's just one adventure path (though i highly doubt that).

    Grand Lodge

    4 people marked this as a favorite.
    Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
    Duiker wrote:
    Philo Pharynx wrote:
    The crew at Paizo is not stupid. They have learned from the countless corpses of dead game companies. Starfinder is a risk. If the ongoing demand does not justify the resources they put into it, then they lose money. Going a bit cautious on the first AP makes good sense. When they have a better idea how people react and how big the market is, they will adjust accordingly. If lots of people like it and demand two 96-page AP's a year, they'll figure out how to make that happen. If the demand is less, they'll have to figure out a balance where they make people as happy as they can while staying profitable.
    Yes, but there's also a signaling problem. I was very excited about being a charter subscriber for Starfinder when I assumed it would be an AP of the same basic length and parameters as Pathfinder. But to find out that it's 64 pages every other month instead of 96 every month? That signals that they do not have faith in this product, because they are only putting enough resources into it to produce a very small fraction of what they do for Pathfinder. It also signals that there's not going to be very much content for the system for at least a couple of years. All of which makes people less likely to subscribe to it, because of doubt that it'll even be around in a year, and because even if it is, it'd be better to purchase it then, when there's actually enough content to take advantage of.

    Pathfinder didn't launch with much content either. It started as a monthly thing, but that was to replace the two monthly things Paizo was losing. At first, the Modules were completely separate from the Pathfinder AP. The first of what became the Campaign Setting line didn't start until the first AP was complete. It was over two years before the first Player Companion came out. If Paizo didn't have confidence in Starfinder as a product line, they wouldn't have announced it.

    Lisa et al have talked on multiple occasions over the years about how the proliferation of campaign settings cannibalized their customer base and essentially forced TSR out of business. What were seeing here is a slow and deliberate roll out of a new product line with the express purpose of not repeating TSR's past mistakes.

    -Skeld

    Dark Archive

    I disagree.
    64 pages for $22.99 every 2 months is considerably different from 96 pages for $24.99 ($19.99 is not doable anymore) every month.

    Starfinder is already "cannibalizing" Pathfinder, if only very little (3 months gap in the Pathfinder Campaign Setting, which means loosing roughly $69 per subscriber and an unknown amount from casual buyers).
    Paizo doesn't have enough developers/contributors to continue to publish the Pathfinder products totally uninterrupted.
    That is a fact.
    They gamble (probably rightly) on selling enough Starfinder products to make up for that losses.
    In my case, i would have bought the 3 PF Campaign Settings and i WILL buy the Starfinder Core Rulebook and first AP. So they loose $69 they could have made (if more developers would have been available), but gain $60 plus $138, plus money for flip-mats and Pawns - IN MY CASE.

    There are others who are not interested in sci-fi.

    Initial pre-orders are likely already high enough to make the gamble pay off, because people rightly trust Paizo's product quality and are curious for Starfinder.

    But the sales numbers of later products beyond august will decide the future of Starfinder.

    Dark Archive

    1 person marked this as a favorite.

    On the otherhand, yay I get more time to buy older materials :D


    Philo Pharynx wrote:
    The crew at Paizo is not stupid. They have learned from the countless corpses of dead game companies. Starfinder is a risk. If the ongoing demand does not justify the resources they put into it, then they lose money. Going a bit cautious on the first AP makes good sense. When they have a better idea how people react and how big the market is, they will adjust accordingly.

    I don't know how many people saw the playtest design for Starfinder. I didn't miss the first one. What I saw was potential. The Starfinder RPG should be able to replace Star Wars for "space fantasy" RPGs. It (the Starfinder Core Rules) should sell well, and a number of 3rd Party projects should support it while it runs.

    In short, a lot of potential can be tapped.

    Grand Lodge

    3 people marked this as a favorite.
    Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
    Marco Massoudi wrote:

    I disagree.

    64 pages for $22.99 every 2 months is considerably different from 96 pages for $24.99 ($19.99 is not doable anymore) every month.

    I think you sorta missed my point and I think your analysis is a little off.

    You're right that a Pathfinder AP is 96 pages for $24.99. However, keep in mind that the AP is Paizo's flagship product and the product they've built their brand around. I expect that the AP operates on a slimmer profit margin than their other print products because it's the product that they use to get people into the door for buying other products (which can have higher profit margins because they aren't "necessary"). Notice they've been very reluctant to raise AP prices over the past 10 years because they don't want to hurt sales of the gateway product.
    You're also right that a Starfinder AP is 64 pages for $22.99. Look at the other Pathfinder products that are 64 pages: Modules and Campaign Settings. Modules sell for $24.99, but also include a double-sided poster map that, undoubtedly, increases the cost. Campaign Setting books are straight-up 64 pages for $22.99.
    Modules and Campaign settings aren't flagship products and are a better point of comparison.

    All that is kinda beside the point I was initially making anyway, which was that Pathfinder didn't start out very aggressively; it was a monthly adventure book that replaced a couple of monthly adventure mags. Starfinder is starting out even less aggressively and that makes sense. The Starfinder AP might become a flagship product eventually, but they aren't trying to force it to be one right out of the gate.

    Marco Massoudi wrote:

    Starfinder is already "cannibalizing" Pathfinder, if only very little (3 months gap in the Pathfinder Campaign Setting, which means loosing roughly $69 per subscriber and an unknown amount from casual buyers).

    Paizo doesn't have enough developers/contributors to continue to publish the Pathfinder products totally uninterrupted.
    That is a fact.
    They gamble (probably rightly) on selling enough Starfinder products to make up for that losses.
    In my case, i would have bought the 3 PF Campaign Settings and i WILL buy the Starfinder Core Rulebook and first AP. So they loose $69 they could have made (if more developers would have been available), but gain $60 plus $138, plus money for flip-mats and Pawns - IN MY CASE.

    We might be using slightly different definitions of the term "cannibalize." I'm using it in the sense that a company is creating products that are actively competing for a limited number of customers, effectively competing with themselves. The people running Paizo have commented that this is something TSR did that contributed to its downfall. They are cognizant of it and have taken steps to mitigate it. The fact that they aren't producing some of their normal products at the same time sorta shows that they're trying to limit the amount of customers saying to themselves "do I buy the Pathfinder thing or the Starfinder thing this month" because there might not be a Pathfinder thing. I also think the dearth of PF products leading up to Starfinder's release is a sign that Paizo is aware that a non-trivial segment of their customers have sotra reached their limit on what they're willing to shell out for subs each month. That might be another reason for Starfinder's slower pace; it doesn't hurt the wallet as much to keep up with it.

    Regarding not having enough developers/designers, that's probably true. If I were launching a new product, I'd rather use existing staff do it, especially if i have the money to float a little with the cutback in other product lines. I definitely would not want to hire new people, hit a bump in te road with the new product and have to let people go. that would really, really suck for me and the people that took a new job, only to get a layoff notice a few months later. Good employees are your number one asset and i wouldn't want to completely wear them out producing more sustained outflow than I've done before and I'd want to make sure I had a stable product to work on before I thought about hiring.

    I don't know anything though. These are just some thoughts that make sense to me.

    -Skeld

    Grand Lodge

    1 person marked this as a favorite.
    Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

    Also, a few less Paizo products for a couple months means that I might have enough hobby money left over to buy a upgraded bumper and winch for my Jeep and I am totally down with that.

    -Skeld


    Erik Mona wrote:

    Size and frequency of the Starfinder Adventure Path is a realistic pace given the staff resources we have available for this project and the desire to get it right out of the gate. If the audience is there and people want larger volumes and the sales are there, we'll possibly adjust things. We're shaking up orthodoxies a bit with Starfinder in a way that we can't with Pathfinder. That means exploring different product configurations, etc.

    Any word on what this means for organized play? The description makes me think that this product either will share more with organized scenarios, OR is the first bit of content for organized play.

    Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

    We have not announced an Organized Play component for Starfinder.

    The Exchange

    How many hours it usually took to finish a volume?

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