Starfinder Society Scenario #1-07: The Solar Sortie

3.50/5 (based on 12 ratings)

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A Starfinder Society Scenario designed for levels 1-4.

When Historia-7, the leader of the Dataphiles faction, uncovers the first hints of a conspiracy operating against the Starfinder Society, the PCs must assist her in uncovering the truth. Sent to a corporate space station orbiting the Pact Worlds' sun, the PCs must earn favor with the hedonist son of a corporate CEO to gain access to the confidential files Historia-7 needs. However, the PCs are stuck in the middle when this corrupt dilettante's proclivities and shady associations emerge to thwart the Starfinders' covert infiltration.

Content in The Solar Sortie also contributes to the ongoing goals of the Dataphiles faction.

Written by Jenny Jarzabski Cary

Scenario Tags: Faction (Dataphiles), Starship

Note: This product is part of the Starfinder Society Scenario Subscription.

Product Availability

Fulfilled immediately.

Are there errors or omissions in this product information? Got corrections? Let us know at store@paizo.com.

PZOSFS0107E


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Average product rating:

3.50/5 (based on 12 ratings)

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4/5

This scenario is fun and quirky. It requires subterfuge, social skills and computer skills to succeed, but is not without combat. Because of the skills required, its not a scenario for everyone, but it did a great job of making all kinds of characters useful. Envar is a great NPC who’s a blast to play at the table.


3/5

I'm really of two mind in this scenario. The idea behind it is super fun. Getting a wannabe superstars access codes to his mothers corporation? Hell yeah!
Impressing him trough gladiatorial combat? Hell yeah!
Getting into his good graces? Hell yeah!

But there are quite a few rails in this scenario, and they become visible quite easily once you try to creatively do things, or do things out of order. It will take a very good GM, or players who easily go along, to keep them hidden.

I love the idea of this scenario, and the NPCs are quite memorable and fun, but the scenario should have taken into account that the players would really want to solve thing their way.


Enjoyable and challenging

4/5

I enjoyed the scenario for its scaling difficulty and use of mechanics.


Heist/Infiltration bait and switch

2/5

<Played through this one at low-tier in a Play by Post, then reviewed the PDF from the perspective of a GM>

The PCs are hired to infiltrate a big Corporate research station, exploit and manipulate a foolish (and heavily drugged) scion of the company, secure critical data, and get out without getting their cover identities blown. Or at least, that's the idea based on the blurb and the briefing, given in authoritarian fashion by the frosty Historia-7. The fantasy being explored here is almost a futuristic space-heist, but the scenario fails utterly at fulfilling it, delivering a humdrum railroad of forced and contrived encounters. Players are not only given no agency in resolving the heist, but the specified sequence of events doesn't hit on any of the tense scenarios that one would expect out of a heist/infiltration.

A memorable NPC and some cool window dressing at the unique location redeem the scenario a little, providing some interesting things to look at as the players are shunted from encounter to encounter. Nevertheless, I have a hard time recommending this one. Any player interested in skullduggery and infiltration will likely be disappointed by the lack of depth here. While any other player looking for good social encounters will probably find this lacking as well.

The Good (spoilers):
Envar is a well-realized mix of narcissistic rich kid and incredibly deranged drug addict (a little reminiscent of the NPC you escort in PFS#13 Prince of Augustana) and it doesn't take long for him to become intolerable. That's a success in my mind. The scenario made me hate the dude in something like half a dozen lines of dialogue.

The Brilliance's unique location and internal features (Ilia Tamm corporate holograms were awesome to get you in the mode to smash some corp faces :>) were certainly both unusual and interesting. I got some Shadowrun vibes from portions of the scenario.

The Bad (spoilers):
The entire structure of the scenario is tremendously unsatisfying. You're hired to infiltrate a corp base, trick Envar into leaking corporate secrets, then stealing data and getting home without busting your cover. But the scenario doesn't really involve that kind of espionage at all. Instead, you escort around an intolerable man-child as he goes on a drug-fueled trip until he eventually leads you directly to his mom's office and tells you the password to her computer with no prompting what so ever. The players have no agency in the events here. They get to make no choices, not even fake choices where there's only one reasonable option. No, the scenario assumes that they will placidly follow around Envar until the railroad of encounters is exhausted and deus ex machina puts them exactly where they needed to get to.

The illustrate the high degree of railroading: Whether or not the party succeed at impressing Envar in the arena encounter, and whether or not they successfully win in the arena, Envar suggests they join him for a tour. If they fail the other options to impress him, he still takes them with him on the tour. Once on the tour, if they mention NOTHING about Ilia Tamm's office, the adventure tells the GM to have Envar bring it up and offer to take them there out of nowhere! OTOH, If the party wants to go to Ilia's office early (and honestly, what PC wants to hang out with this guy if they don't have to), well, tough luck, the office is only unoccupied for a set amount of time. And until that time the party *must* entertain Envar, no other choices or options are possible.

The encounters are all unrelated to the mission at hand. A gladiatorial fight should not be the only way to get Envar's attention, nor even the best way. Plus it stands out as bizarre that an orbital research station has a deathmatch arena. The elementals make no sense ('whoops clumsy Envar lowered the shield that stops deadly elementals from infiltrating the station!!!'), and the drug dealer is 'defeated' by having fun with them.

On that topic: A drug-dealer shows up to rough up Envar for money and you're tasked with helping Envar get out of a tight spot. So how do you do that? Well, you can fight them of course. But the story assumes that instead of fighting, or tricking, or escaping, or anything normal, you'll want to play a game with them. Indeed, the drug dealer is satisfied regarding the debts if you beat them at a video game. This felt like nonsense.

But perhaps the most unsatisfying element here is the token 'infiltration' aspect. The PCs set up secret identities by rolling Disguise or Computers checks at the beginning, but there's no other scene where they benefit from taking actions to conceal their identities. Barring GM circumstance bonuses, they can RP exactly like their normal character with no impact to the scenario. Furthermore, it seems statistically almost impossible to ensure that every character has a good enough disguise to avoid being pierced by one of the security staff on the station. Even if every PC has a +9 on their disguise or computers check (and they generally will not), every single PC's disguise must beat a DC of 13 on the first security checkpoint and DC 15 at the second. Even with this degree of optimization, the chance that every PC's disguise will be good enough to pass inspection is only 18% in Tier 1-2. And that's a party OPTIMIZED around these checks.

Plus, the impact of the infiltration failing is practically non-existent. You still get access to the office, still get the data, and then only afterward do you have to deal with an easy space combat.


More silly than fun

3/5

Jhaeman's review below does a great job capturing my feelings on this scenario. Based on GMing and playing at my local gaming store, I thought this scenario was okay at best. Envar certainly makes a memorable character, but the scenario, frankly, doesn't feel appropriately epic from a story telling perspective. "The PCs baby sit a silly stoner" just isn't my cup of tea when it comes to a one sentence summary of the scenario plot. The railroad nature of the scenario and minor mechanical flubs (in particular those mentioned regarding the starship combat) make this one of my least favorite SFS scenarios so far, especially in terms of flavor.


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Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Society Subscriber

This is going to be one of these "Can we just shoot this kid?" kind of missions

Dataphiles

Woot! Dataphiles mission!

Paizo Employee Starfinder Society Developer

Closing in on finishing up this scenario, and wanted to let everyone know...

Maps Appearing in Starfinder Society Scenario #1–07: The Solar Sortie::

-Pathfinder Flip-Mat Classics: Arena
-Starfinder Flip-Mat: Basic Starfield
-Starfinder Flip-Mat: Cantina

Silver Crusade

The order says it should be in my downloads, but it isn't. Is this just part of the process of it coming out?


Pathfinder Starfinder Society Subscriber

Same


Pathfinder Maps, Pathfinder Accessories, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Superscriber

Same issue here as well.

Silver Crusade

Any updates on the issue? I know it has only been a day, but...


Starship tag... yet another. Looks like I won't be seeing how this one plays out.

Paizo Employee Starfinder Society Developer

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Grimm Hrafn wrote:
Starship tag... yet another. Looks like I won't be seeing how this one plays out.

Our internal "goal" (not binding in any way) is to have roughly 1 out of every 4 scenarios include starship combat in one form or another. As a new system, it really does help us out for people to try it and get familiar with it—running the encounters faster due to knowledgeable GMs and players makes a HUGE difference. Similarly, some (but not all) of our major storyline scenarios will feature starship combat.

All that being said, I highly recommend you give this particular scenario a shot.

Minor spoilers for the scenario :
Of all the scenarios with starship combat, this one emphasizes it in a very unique and different way, and it's entirely possible to avoid the encounter altogether through skilled game play.


Thurston Hillman wrote:
Grimm Hrafn wrote:
Starship tag... yet another. Looks like I won't be seeing how this one plays out.

Our internal "goal" (not binding in any way) is to have roughly 1 out of every 4 scenarios include starship combat in one form or another. As a new system, it really does help us out for people to try it and get familiar with it—running the encounters faster due to knowledgeable GMs and players makes a HUGE difference. Similarly, some (but not all) of our major storyline scenarios will feature starship combat.

All that being said, I highly recommend you give this particular scenario a shot.

** spoiler omitted **

Does the bit in the spoiler

Spoiler:
involve throwing the smeghead out an airlock? :P
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