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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Excellent Beginning

4/5

This is a great first instalment in the Starfinder AP line. There's no doubt that there are far fewer Science Fantasy adventures around than pure fantasy so, for me at least, I have very little to compare it to and find myself with only nebulous, ill-formed expectations. I expect this will become my 'first level Starfinder adventure' measuring stick for a good few years.

I generally prefer to run adventures before reviewing them and will not be running this until I've read all six instalments. In this case, I wanted to make some comments about the backmatter, so have broken that rule. As such, the impression of the first section (the adventure part) is based purely on a read through, not on how it survived contact with the players.

The adventure is shorter than a Pathfinder AP instalment which suits me down to the ground. It provides a good showcase of the new rules - some combats, some skill based investigation, starship combat, and so forth. It's also a nice introduction to the universe of Starfinder - introducing some parts of Absalom Station, the Starfinder Society and one feels is setting the scene for further explorations of the Pact Worlds and some of the factions vying for influence.

The second section is a gazetteer of Absalom Station and is a good introduction to some of the neighbourhoods and sites of interest. It's no doubt a difficult problem. but I find myself struggling to really picture the place without a map and none is provided here - rather we get a picture of the station overall and a handful of illustrations of differing places within. It's clearly a problem to come up with a meaningful map, but I think it's a problem that needs to be solved. I'm very much hoping the upcoming Pact Worlds book provides a lot in the way of maps.

The third section is my least favorite. A whole bunch of magical items from pre Gap Golarion. It is inevitable that Paizo utilise the fact that this universe is the same as the one Pathfinder is set in (there's some valuable IP there that has clearly caught the fans' attention, so it would be silly to leave it behind). Nonetheless, I find myself pondering why they bothered having the Gap at all, given so much of the Starfinder material coming out seems to me to be tying in to "how things were" anyhow (from several of the factions, to the pantheon, and now a whole bunch of relics from Golarion which could have been new themes, starship enhancements, or an exploration of some new-world mysteries.

I really, really hope Section Three doesn't become "bringing stuff from Pre-Gap Golarion into space" in every AP issue.

The fourth section is aliens and the selection was a nice mix of pretty low level threats - ideal for now, especially given it will be a little while until the Alien Archive is available. Paizo do monsters well so I tend to take their bestiaries for granted - it's hard to remember how well they do it when it's always such high quality. Based on this selection, I expect the Alien Archives to continue with equal quality.

The final section is the first in a Codex of Worlds series - a one page write up of a new planet. This was my favorite - I love lore above mechanics and this page was pretty much pure flavor. I can't wait to begin collecting these and can imagine this developing into a fully fledged, standalone product line (perhaps adding a couple of pages of aliens/technology/etcetera).

Finally, there was the back and front inside covers - this was also my favorite (thanks to Tacticslion for the revelation that one can have multiple favorites). The front cover is a picture, some flavor material and then stats for a tier 3 ship which the players "earn" through the adventure. The back cover is a floorplan. I can't fault the execution of this in any way.

Overall, I'd like to give it four and a half stars - the lack of a decent map of Absalom Station Gazetteer, although understandable, is still a noticable ommission. The "Relics of Golarion" section was the only true disappointment. I've rated it four merely so I have room to improve.


Looks Great!

5/5

Having finally ran Dead Suns 1, I can say it was enjoyable. Absalom Station is a great location and a good start to an adventure path. Any character idea can fit and grow here. The players started to work together better as the challenges became more difficult. I am excited to start dead suns 2.

My before running review:

Having read throught my subscriber pdf i am excited about this AP. There seem to be many interesting things for characters to do. It is exciting enough to spark my creative side and has ideas i want to build on.

I wish the AP had a few new themes, so i might improvise a few but i'll wait to read the rest of the AP first. I think these two ideas will fit in well: Transhumanists, drift mystics (religious reaction to passing to and from the drift).

I have one planned minor change.
[spoiler= in the first room] It will be something stronger than a "stray" laser. Mybe a grenade, trap, or clara with her sniper rifle.

If I have a large group ill add a mechanic npc to rig a cargo cart to explode and aid the gang but not fight. Perhaps have a get away explosion as well that leads to a "man" hunt if he escapes.


Blast Off to Nowhere

5/5

Before the review, an impromptu Player's Guide.

Slightly spoilery:
The AP opens with the PCs arriving at Absalom Station, most likely to join the Starfinder Society. While any races and classes are fine for this first adventure it does assume your characters are more than willing to work for the Eoxian Embassy midway through, so overtly Good characters, and followers of Iomedae, Pharasma, and Sarenrae will run into conflict with this development, and possibly many many more going off the synopses of later installments of the AP, to the point that these characters can not be enjoyed to the point they become unplayable. So fair warning trying to make a hero or crusader style character.

Ok now to the adventure. I love the beginning hook! That's a great way to moviate people, and the whole concept of a spooky derelict ship with mysterious cargo is a personal favourite of mine. That and even for the first adventure it comes with a rather climatic end! Or should I say beginning? There's still 5 more books...

The writeup on Absalom Station is informative, and I love the elected official in charge, Kumara, and her polices, it's a message needed right now. That and the Station itself is rather interesting... in that we don't really know what all it does...

The relics of Golarion chapter is a blast, with one very peculiar standout in the lineup...

And Alien Archives.

AKATAS!!!!! MOONDOGGOS!!!! WITH AWESOME ART!!!!

The two Drift creatures are VERY interesting. Speaking of the Drift, it's f$+%ed up. There's really no way getting around that, especially with the reveals of the extent of what it does and what occurs within.

And now for my favourite part, the World Codex. HEICORON IV is a lovely tropical planet almost completely covered in water concealing vast and very recent ruins (as ruins go anyway). It once was more, "temperate", but something occurred during The Gap that caused the polar ice caps to melt.


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

Anyway, I don't see the "Strong Absalom Movement" as a political reference. Movements like that have always existed in history.


2 people marked this as a favorite.

I thought it was a clear reference to the Maccabees and the Boxer Rebellion, both of which sure make me mad to this day.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber
RocMeAsmodeus wrote:
Steve Geddes wrote:
Zaister wrote:
Ok then, but enough of that, it doesn't realy belong in this product thread.
Or on these messageboards. Paizo have asked us not to discuss real world politics at all on the site.
It is for this exact reason that I was hoping that Paizo would move away from political references in their products.

Politics are both universal and timeless.


Paizo Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Exactly, and you can‘t really have a meaningful fantasy World without politics. War for the Crown, for example, will be all about politics. So was Hell‘s Rebels.

Community & Digital Content Director

6 people marked this as a favorite.

For clarification: the decision to remove real-world political discussion in our Off Topic subforum does not preclude the inclusion of topics that some may feel are political from our products and creative works. We have never suggested in any way at any time that this would be the case, so it's really not productive to speculate on this front.

This derail, however, does not entirely belong in this product discussion thread, so I would suggest taking it elsewhere.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Can someone add this to the list of available Adventure Paths in the 'Create Events' section of the Pathfinder Society control system, please.

Paizo Employee Customer Service Manager

5 people marked this as a favorite.

Good news! Got this working as a backorder! Thank you for your patience.


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

Does that include it popping up in subscriptions eventually?


Woohoo!

Thankies, Sara Marie!

Paizo Employee Customer Service Manager

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Violet Hargrave wrote:
Does that include it popping up in subscriptions eventually?

Unfortunately, that will still have to be done by hand. However, if you wanted to make the process easier for customer service, you could subscribe to #2 and then backorder #1 and put it in your sidecart.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Sara Marie wrote:
Violet Hargrave wrote:
Does that include it popping up in subscriptions eventually?
Unfortunately, that will still have to be done by hand. However, if you wanted to make the process easier for customer service, you could subscribe to #2 and then backorder #1 and put it in your sidecart.

That... seems to have made things slightly harder for CS in my case, given that I now have 2 copies in here.

Grand Lodge

1 person marked this as a favorite.

For those who have read (or played) the adventure, any thoughts on how kid-friendly the content is? I know that this is just the first volume in the AP, and things can change in future volumes, but any input is appreciated.

Silver Crusade

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Companion, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

I haven't read it in detail yet, but I've flipped through my copy. I'm sure I'll run it with my kids (7 and 11), although I may clean up the 'everything is morally grey' note a little. It seems to require less work to make kid friendly than several Pathfinder Adventure Paths I've played with them.


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

Yup, overall pretty kid friendly, I'm going to be running it for my 13 and 6 year old this weekend. :-)

Scarab Sages

Is this AP meant for 4 PCs like the Pathfinder ones? If so, has anyone tried scaling it for 5 or 6 players?

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Card Game, Companion, Lost Omens, Pathfinder Accessories, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber
Irizata wrote:
Is this AP meant for 4 PCs like the Pathfinder ones? If so, has anyone tried scaling it for 5 or 6 players?

It is for four characters. There are definitely parts that are difficult to scale right now. After the Alien Archive comes out, it will be a little easier to increase the CR of the single-foe combats.

Spoiler:
I think it could work to turn Clara-247 into a duo. Maybe pair her with an Envoy or technomancer.

Scarab Sages

KingOfAnything wrote:
Irizata wrote:
Is this AP meant for 4 PCs like the Pathfinder ones? If so, has anyone tried scaling it for 5 or 6 players?

It is for four characters. There are definitely parts that are difficult to scale right now. After the Alien Archive comes out, it will be a little easier to increase the CR of the single-foe combats.

** spoiler omitted **

Cheers! I usually have 4 or 5 players at my table depending on if one of them needs to work or not. With that, I probably won't need to modify it at all - especially since I usually like to take it easier on them - but I appreciate knowing that it's scaled for 4! My guys usually don't build for an optimal group and they're really just in for a fun time so running it as is with a newer rule set is probably best.

I can't wait to start it after we finish our PF campaign!

Grand Lodge

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Redelia wrote:
I haven't read it in detail yet, but I've flipped through my copy. I'm sure I'll run it with my kids (7 and 11), although I may clean up the 'everything is morally grey' note a little. It seems to require less work to make kid friendly than several Pathfinder Adventure Paths I've played with them.

Thanks for the responses to this!

Liberty's Edge Contributor

Can someone clarify for me who the character on the cover is?

Spoiler:
I assume the character is Ferani Nadaz. But her tattoos look like they could also be red-line versions of an android's distinctive circuitry, which would indicate she is Clara-247.

Given the fact that there is already art inside the book for Clara-247, I'm going to go with my initial assumption. Just hoping for confirmation.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber
Paris Crenshaw wrote:

Can someone clarify for me who the character on the cover is?

** spoiler omitted **

It is the first one.

Paizo Employee Starfinder Creative Lead

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Paris Crenshaw wrote:

Can someone clarify for me who the character on the cover is?

** spoiler omitted **

Captain Yesterday is correct, but for future reference, all of our current Adventure Path volumes (Starfinder and Pathfinder) have an "On the Cover" blurb on the title page that usually identifies the cover character.

Liberty's Edge Contributor

Robert G. McCreary wrote:
Paris Crenshaw wrote:

Can someone clarify for me who the character on the cover is?

** spoiler omitted **

Captain Yesterday is correct, but for future reference, all of our current Adventure Path volumes (Starfinder and Pathfinder) have an "On the Cover" blurb on the title page that usually identifies the cover character.

Ugh. I even went to that page looking for the information because I had a memory of it being there on previous books. Unfortunately, I only looked at the credits...didn't even scroll down the page. I'm a dunce.

Thanks, all. I'll go crawl into a dark cave, now.


3 people marked this as a favorite.

*reads latest review*

Attention all GMs runnings APs (not just this one), read the adventure before you run it.

If something seems wrong or off it might be explained somewhere else, usually in a sidebar. We also have this rather nice reference thread. Hope it helps :3


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Attention the last poster. The GM did read it, but it was her first time GMing and the scenario was so poorly written and structured that it got her into trouble in a way that professional game products should never do.


If it is your first time GMing then it is even more paramount that you read the adventure thoroughly (granted I wouldn't recommend an AP for your first experience as a GM either). One of the very first things this adventure tells you is "The skills and DCs already set are commonly assumed ones but can and should be changed to something appropriate for your group", which is something you yourself requested in your review.

As for the writing and structure of the AP as a whole I'm just going to disagree, it was a well written introductory adventure to Starfinder, nothing too out there or complicated.

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Card Game, Companion, Lost Omens, Pathfinder Accessories, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber

Part 1 of the AP isn't my favorite, especially as an introduction. It does require some work from the GM to tailor it to the group. Either by changing up skills or by fleshing out roleplay encounters in the investigation phase.

I think you'll enjoy parts 2 and 3 a lot more.


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

I have found it to be a fun introduction to Starfinder.


Rysky the Dark Solarion wrote:

If it is your first time GMing then it is even more paramount that you read the adventure thoroughly (granted I wouldn't recommend an AP for your first experience as a GM either). One of the very first things this adventure tells you is "The skills and DCs already set are commonly assumed ones but can and should be changed to something appropriate for your group", which is something you yourself requested in your review.

As for the writing and structure of the AP as a whole I'm just going to disagree, it was a well written introductory adventure to Starfinder, nothing too out there or complicated.

I managed to get through it decently with some on the fly modifications, but I'm not giving the book any credit for including a "by the way if this stuff doesn't work you can change it" section. It should just work in the first place.

Sovereign Court

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Card Game, Companion, Lost Omens, Pathfinder Accessories, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber

I don't think it is unfair for a book to expect a reasonably balanced party. It's not like the required skills are trained-only. Everyone can attempt to gather information.


Yeah, and for the suggestions it amounts to hey, we picked these two skills because they're common ones used for gathering information, but feel free to change to accommodate your players (allowing Computers for the Gather Information checks being a common one I'm seeing).

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Rysky the Dark Solarion wrote:
Yeah, and for the suggestions it amounts to hey, we picked these two skills because they're common ones used for gathering information, but feel free to change to accommodate your players (allowing Computers for the Gather Information checks being a common one I'm seeing).

Beats a Dead Horse ... Player's Guide


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Lord Fyre wrote:
Rysky the Dark Solarion wrote:
Yeah, and for the suggestions it amounts to hey, we picked these two skills because they're common ones used for gathering information, but feel free to change to accommodate your players (allowing Computers for the Gather Information checks being a common one I'm seeing).
Beats a Dead Horse ... Player's Guide

*provides flanking*


KingOfAnything wrote:
I don't think it is unfair for a book to expect a reasonably balanced party. It's not like the required skills are trained-only. Everyone can attempt to gather information.

I have zero issue with it being diplomacy checks. I do have issues with the dcs and that the gang checks specifically say you can't use culture to learn about them even though one of the backgrounds is supposed to make you better at knowing about them. Being a semicompetent gm I let them use culture anyways but I still consider it a flaw of the adventure.


Well it makes sense since that later information isn't out in the open, you actually have to deal with people in order to get ahold of it. There's a difference between knowing of someone and knowing something that they specifically did.

And you can use Culture checks to learn about the gangs, it's just the higher DC stuff that you can't.

The Exchange

1 person marked this as a favorite.

It still makes no sense to me that an Adventure Path PDF that is not even 100 pages costs $15.99 while a multi-hundred page pdf for the Core Rulebook only costs $9.99.


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

It's the same price point of the 64 page campaign setting books.

Just like the CRB is the same price point as the pathfinder RPG line.


I'd guess sales on the RPG line, especially the rule book, leads to more sales for the Adventure Path line than the other way around.

Silver Crusade

5 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Jacob Blackmon wrote:
It still makes no sense to me that an Adventure Path PDF that is not even 100 pages costs $15.99 while a multi-hundred page pdf for the Core Rulebook only costs $9.99.

It's called a loss leader.

Like Sony selling a Playstation at a loss because they'll make more money on game sales for the system. Paizo's bread and butter are the adventure paths, the games exist basically to support that business model.


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Subscriber

I have received Incident at Absalmo Station as a gift. Which is great, but I usually buy from paizo subscription so that I have the pdf versions also available, which I rely on for maps and pictures to use for online play. Owning the hard copy, is there any sort of proof of purchase that would make it possible to get the pdf free, or at least cheaper? Or am I out of luck?


Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Maps, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Superscriber

Other than sales (which certainly happen often enough to be worth keeping an eye out) there is no discount on the PDF offered for purchasing the hardcopy.

They reserve that strictly for a subscriber perk.

Liberty's Edge Contributor

Ben Ehrets wrote:
I have received Incident at Absalmo Station as a gift. Which is great, but I usually buy from paizo subscription so that I have the pdf versions also available, which I rely on for maps and pictures to use for online play. Owning the hard copy, is there any sort of proof of purchase that would make it possible to get the pdf free, or at least cheaper? Or am I out of luck?

Hey, Ben. I would suggest posting this question in the customer service section of the boards. The customer service team is really good about answering questions, there.


Are these new Starfinder adventure paths no longer coming with interactive maps? If so that is a real disappointment since all my gaming is on roll20 and I have to load the maps up and the only ones in the pdf have all the areas labeled.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

In the Downloads section, this AP installment is in a separate folder different from AP #2-3.

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