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Starfinder Society Roleplaying Guild Scenario #1-06: A Night in Nightarch PDF

***( )( ) (based on 6 ratings)

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A Starfinder Society Scenario designed for levels 3-6.

A routine business deal goes awry when a spiteful drow noble seizes a shipment of weapons destined for the Starfinder Society. The PCs are sent to the gloomy world of Apostae to retrieve the stolen arms. Granted 24-hours of diplomatic immunity for any actions taken against the thief, the PCs strike at the rebellious drow noble and retrieve the shipment. Whether through guile or sheer force, the PCs must prove that the Starfinder Society is not an organization to trifle with.

Written by Mikko Kallio.

Starfinder Society Scenario Tags: None

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Product Reviews (6)
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***( )( ) (based on 6 ratings)

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The Street Finds Its Own Uses for Things, The Scenario Doesn't

***( )( )

Following on the tail of one of the more popular scenarios, "A Night in Nightarch" whisks Starfinders away from the bright lights of the Lorespire Complex to the dark and dystopian world of Apostae. Channeling the spirit of gritty Sci-Fi games like Cyberpunk and Shadowrun, the scenario presents the PCs with an interesting proposal: Given 24 hours of diplomatic immunity, track down a shipment of stolen weapons and return them to the Starfinder Society. It certainly sounds like the makings of a great noire thriller, and it is, until it slams into a wall.

Heist stories are always driven by two important elements: The characters and the score. In this heist, the score is rather droll, so the characters must pick up the slack. Sadly, the characters in this story are rather poor, and room where they could have been further fleshed-out are eaten-up by awkwardly-worded rules of social scenes and investigation scenes, and bizarre rules about how much time it takes to case a building or locate data pertinent to heist-planning.

Likewise, the infiltration itself is equally clumsy. You *CAN* try to sneak in and you *CAN* try to avoid the guards, but the problem is that with 4-7 characters only 2 of whom have ranks in Stealth, chances are that the drek is going to hit the fan rather fast. Which is fine, except that there is no sense of danger or urgency when you get caught. There is no punishment for taking the path of least resistance straight through the front door, guns blazing (I understand there is SOME drawback, but it's not very big all-things-considered).

Even the climactic firefight felt a bit...anticlimactic. Hardly more than a glorified escort mission, what was likely supposed to be a fast-paced run-and-gun section really just drags on as the heroes shoot their way through cannon fodder and slightly-better-armed cannon fodder. Even the villain felt rather lack-luster, showing up because...I guess the villain always shows up surrounded by their goons at this part of the movie. Which wouldn't be so bad if she had any substantial characterization up until this point.

Here's the thing: "A Night in Nightarch," much like any Organized Play scenario from Paizo, has really good ideas. The trouble comes in the execution. It simply lacks the polish and care that goes into some of Paizo's other products. I do not wish to speculate why this is, just to comment that it's hardly a novel trend with Starfinder Scenarios. Hopefully future scenarios will retain the same creativity seen in "Nightarch," but with a better idea of how to actualize that vision within the context of the game system.

TL;DR: "A Night in Nightarch" sets up an interesting scenario and story that is frustrated by clunky rules and weak action sequences.

Anything Can Happen....

****( )

The writer's job is to provide plot and background for a scenario. The judge's job is to deal with anything their players will throw at them.
That being said, I found nothing wrong with the premise of the scenario. Our table came up with the perfect plan, and our judge did a fantastic job of implementing it.
Thank for running, George.

Space Heist


I like this scenario very much.
True there is a little bit of railroading or things that feel really cool but you cannot react much on but:
• there are a lot of things you can react on and you have a lot of choices of how you go about things (will not get into details to not spoil, but, one example: I have not seen a scenario giving so many options as how to fight vs. people in a building etc.)
• the general atmosphere brought by all these elements is really good. It creates a great overall feeling.

Anyhow: the whole feel for the Drow-world is nice, and the whole preparation is really great, and has so many choices (1 or 2 groups - for once you are pushed to split the party!) ; and then a nice "fight".

To "answer" some elements mentioned hereunder:
• I do not feel you should rate the scenario based on how you feel about the game rules ("First, the fact that PCs and NPCs have different rulesets is ridiculous. That concept alone boggles the mind and is a major detraction from the system": maybe, though I do not mind at all. But this is a feeling about the game itself, not this scenario)
• once again I see people noting that something was really bad because they could have / would have TPKed. I would consider this if there had been a TPK noted. My feeling is that SP/HP bounce around a lot in SFS, people loose more life than in PFS, and it is quite a different feeling.
I've DMed 2 dozen SFS games so far (including the APs) and have not had that many people in the coma/dying and only 1 PC dead (and that was mainly from a not too smart move from the player - reviving from coma at 1 HP and moving in on the big bad melee enemy).

Hit and (Mostly) Miss

**( )( )( )

Based on my experience running at my local gaming store...

The first 3-6 scenario does some things good, but unfortunately it also misses the mark pretty consistently. To be fair this is not a terrible scenario for the most part, and I considered bumping it up to three stars, but the way the scenario is set up from the very beginning to the scenario's success conditions made me bump it down. I think a group can play 1-06 and have a good time, as long as they don't think about it too hard or (frankly) do too well. Details in spoilers below.

The beginning

The Starfinder Society has recently finalized a weapons shipment purchased from a minor drow house X on Apostae that major drow house Z brokered. Before the Starfinders can take possession of the shipment, however, a rogue noble from house Z kills house X’s minions and steals the shipment for herself! Now the Starfinders have to go to Apostae and negotiate with another noble in house Z for the opportunity to try to get the weapons back. Sound confusing? It is! As one player at my table pointed out, why isn’t house Z getting the weapons back for us? Or why isn’t house X showing up demanding the shipment back so they can complete the sale – wouldn’t they lose all of the credits the Starfinders would have paid for the shipment otherwise? Or did the Starfinders pay 100% up front before taking possession of the weapons (a dumb move, to be sure)? Given that this is “the future”, could the Starfinders just cancel the payment (since this is presumably an electronic transfer of credits) and/or demand house Z give them a comparable weapons shipment instead of having to go convince the family of the group that stole the weapons that the people who bought the weapons should be able to track down and acquire (steal back?) the weapons they rightfully own in the first place? If the Starfinders steal back the weapons from house Z, do they have to pay house X at all since house X didn’t actually deliver the weapons? Lots of questions as to why the Starfinders are involved in this one the way they are.

The middle

After finding the warehouse where their stolen weapons are being stored (I did like the mechanics of finding the warehouse, for what it’s worth), the PCs have to infiltrate the warehouse and acquire the weapons. The weapons are stored in a basement accessible by a freight elevator, so the PCs broke in via the door closest to the elevator, hacked the elevator, and proceeded straight to the basement. They completely ignored the first level, which made sense from a tactical point of view, but in doing so (had they not gone back later) they would have forfeited a ton of credits and item access based on how the scenario is written. If the goal is to go find the weapons and get out as quickly as possible, the scenario shouldn’t assume/require the PCs to check out virtually every room in order to get full credits on their chronicle sheets.

The end

Once the PCs get to the forklift, as far as I can tell the house Z noble just knows the PCs are there stealing (back) the weapons even if no alarms have been tripped. The party that I was running for wasn’t flawless, but I feel like if they had been flawless they shouldn’t be tripped up based on plot fiat. Also, by skipping straight down to the end, they hadn’t dealt with the majority of the drow guards on the first floor. The scenario (based on my reading) didn’t clarify one way or the other, but it would make sense for the noble to grab all of her drow bodyguards when she comes down the elevator, potentially creating a situation where the PCs effectively fight three combats back-to-back-to-back or, perhaps even more accurately, fight one combat followed immediately by a double combat! Again, this is silly and actually (potentially) punishes the players for doing well during the infiltration.

Now, there were some good things about the scenario. The combats were pretty fun and it provided a different flavor than previous SFS scenarios. The set up just had some issues, and, more importantly, the way the scenario had the reward/success conditions set up ran counter to how the scenario would’ve ideally been completed.

A truly horrendous scenario

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I'm finding that Starfinder Society scenarios are either feast or famine when it comes to quality. I enjoyed The First Mandate, but not this one.

First, the fact that PCs and NPCs have different rulesets is ridiculous. That concept alone boggles the mind and is a major detraction from the system. The 24-hour time limit was a good piece of this, as was the infiltration aspect. Once the final encounter started, since we weren't given any preparatory time to heal up and reposition, the extra waves of guards and thugs, as well as the final enemy only didn't turn into a TPK because of time. We had to stop, so we called the scenario. If we had tried to finish the combat, we all would have died.

I can't think of anything we did wrong, except perhaps not roll consistently well on our attacks.

Frankly, the fact that you can't actually build any NPC using strict character creation rules is something I find disgusting.

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