Starfinder Society Roleplaying Guild Scenario #1-12: Ashes of Discovery

***½( ) (based on 5 ratings)

Our Price: $4.99

Add to Cart
Facebook Twitter Email

A Starfinder Society Scenario designed for levels 1-4.

When a major Pact Worlds organization approaches the Starfinder Society about investigating an abandoned outpost in Near Space, the PCs get assigned to the case. Travelling to a distant world, surmounting dangerous threats in the void of space, and meeting new alien cultures—this mission is about everything the Starfinder Society embodies.

Ashes of Discovery is a replayable scenario designed to help introduce players to what it's like to be a member of the Starfinder Society. With randomized mechanical and story elements, when you play this scenario, you'll never play the same scenario twice.

Written by Crystal Malarsky and John Laffan

Scenario Tags: Repeatable, Starship

Product Availability

Fulfilled immediately.

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

PZOSFS0112E


See Also:



1 to 5 of 6 << first < prev | 1 | 2 | next > last >>

Average product rating:

***½( ) (based on 5 ratings)

Sign in to create or edit a product review.

Random GM toys


The boards at my first review so to keep this significantly shorter, good idea, but the difficulty really ruined this one for me.

Better luck next time.


Excellent Repeatable

****( )

NO SPOILERS

Although I've run every Starfinder Society scenario up to this point, Ashes of Discovery is the first time I've been a player in one! This review is based off that experience and reading the scenario after the game. I recognise the criticism some people have online that it's far too easy but, although it may have just been the rum, I had a great time playing it. I don't mind an occasional softball scenario when, like this one, it's designed as an introductory, repeatable scenario with randomized elements. I think it gives players a good taste of everything Starfinder has to offer.

SPOILERS

The premise of Ashes of Discovery is that the Starfinder Society has been contracted by an external organization to explore and secure a staging outpost abandoned centuries ago on a planet in Near Space. After battling what's (essentially) a giant space shark in starship combat, the PCs land on the planet near a village of native inhabitants who can, with good role-playing and the right skill checks, be persuaded to take the PCs to the abandoned outpost. On the way to the outpost, the Starfinders have to survive treacherous weather and rescue a native lost in the storm. The outpost itself has been fortified by an exiled member of the natives and has to be overcome through force.

You probably noticed from the summary above that it's very vague. Which organization contracted the SFS? Which planet is the outpost on? What are the natives like? What kind of storm are they facing? What kind of threats are in the outpost? I had no idea while playing it, but *all* of these elements are randomly determined (or chosen) by the GM prior to the session. The hiring organization, for example, could be AbadarCorp, the Church of Desna, the Hellknights, the Knights of Golarion, the Skyfire Legion, Ulrikka Clanholdings, Veylen Enterprises, or the Xenowardens. The choice has cascade effects on the planet's biome, the outpost's security, the type of storm the PCs must brave, etc. In addition, the GM is given an unusual amount of discretion to customise almost everything about the scenario (including the native inhabitants) to "fit" the randomly determined elements and provide a unique experience for the players. I've played repeatable scenarios with some randomized encounters (like The Commencement and The Confirmation), and I can safely say they have nowhere near the amount of randomly determined elements as this one does. Although the core through-line of the plot is the same, almost everything else is mutable--which is exactly what a repeatable scenario needs!

The scenario starts with a mission briefing by Guidance that concisely explains the goal of exploring the abandoned outpost. It's not particularly memorable, but it does get things moving quickly.

On the way to the planet, the Starfinder's vessel is attacked by a "Besmaran whelp", a living creature the size of a starship that has massive teeth, claws, and a spiked tail. The creature also has some randomly determined special powers. Starship combat has never been a challenge in any of the SFS scenarios I've played (though I've heard that may be changing soon), so after a couple of rounds of combat I had my drug-addicted PC abandon his post for a quick fix and a nap. We still won handily, which is a good indication that the Besmaran whelp was way underpowered. It's a cool *looking* challenge, even though (in practice) it's a cakewalk.

The next part of the scenario is a classic first contact encounter. The starting attitude and interests of the native inhabitants depends heavily on their randomly-determined physical and cultural traits. This is essentially a role-playing and skills challenge, as a certain number of successful checks are required to persuade the natives to help point the way to the outpost. Again, which checks are useful depends on their particular cultural traits, and different classes or races might get bonuses when interacting with them. In the session I played in, the natives were led by solarian elders, so my solarian PC was viewed favorably.

Travelling to the outpost requires surviving randomly-determined weather hazard--it could be anything from rock storms to blasts of hellfire and more. Survival isn't hard, but the idea is to slowly wear down the PCs before they rescue a trapped native and then press on to the outpost.

The outpost features the most dangerous thing in the session: a laser security trap. Traps are appropriately lethal in Starfinder, one of the things I really like about the system. The Exile's special abilities (and motivation) are randomly determined, as are the nature of his minions. The minions only have 6 hp each and are dispatched with laughable ease, and the Exile himself is also a walkover (though he did hit me with a nasty crit--the jerk!). Computers in the outpost contain data that explains why the outpost was abandoned, and the more creative the GM, the more interesting the conclusion will be for the players.

Ashes of Discovery isn't going to impress anyone with it's encounter design or difficulty level, but I thought it was a really clever scenario that (unlike most) encourages GM creativity. I would happily run it or play it again, just to see how different rolls on the tables can change the gameplay.


Storm Chasers - SFS Edition

***( )( )

<GM'd in both tiers in Play-by-Post>

Ashes of Discovery is an odd scenario when compared to most SFS offerings. It has PCs sent to a randomly generated planet to learn the fate of an outpost from a randomly chosen organization, while meeting randomly generated aliens and dealing with randomly flavored hazards. Each time you play it, you're going to be in for a new mission of first contact. That's pretty exciting! Unfortunately, printed space limitations mean that all these variations only affect the "window dressing". The mechanical elements of the scenario vary almost not-at-all, leaving this scenario somewhat unimpressive on repeat playthroughs.

Nevertheless, Ashes is a decent scenario that sends PCs on a journey to do some of the most Starfinder-y things they could be doing: Exploring distant worlds, meeting new aliens, undertaking archeological data-gathering, and more. Its a great introduction to SFS and with a GM willing to put the extra effort in, a great RP and exploration experience. On the other hand, it also has an unsatisfying story (with many unexplained holes), some frustrating railroading and lack of player agency, and it suffers from being incredibly easy (particularly at high tier), so your own mileage may vary.

The Good (Spoilers):
The first living spaceship encounter is not very threatening to the PCs, but its certainly flavorful!

Randomly generated aliens are a joy, letting the GM customize and bring unique RP to every randomly generated adventure. I particularly appreciated the encouragement to customize the aliens to match your group!


The Bad (Spoilers):
Some of the random generated elements can be cumbersome for a GM to prepare for. A high gravity planet with an atmosphere that interferes with technology, or a low gravity planet with a thick atmosphere. Each of these customizations requires you to dig out your CRB and work out the exact effects in the environment chapter, then apply those effects where relevant in the adventure.

The rules for applying summon grafts are missing here despite including all the needed information for the grafts themselves. Frustrating.

The adventure is so customizable that it leaves the GM with a LOT of loose ends if they want to deliver a satisfying story. Each possible fate for the outpost is given only a single line of detail. This leaves integrating that reason into the latter half of the adventure entirely in the GMs hands.

The Storm, as mentioned by some other reviews, is somewhat illogical as presented (not enough of a reason for why it endlessly stays in place) and frustrating for PCs to deal with. Making 3 FORT saves and then a whole bunch more FORT saves during the final traversal without any way to influence events is not much fun for the PCs, and is only OK here because the damage amounts are totally non-threatening.


Another Repeatable!

***( )( )

Based on my experiences GMing and playing at my local gaming store and PaizoCon 2018…

First, making SFS 1-12 a repeatable is excellent. As a GM of a group that plays one-to-two tables of SFS weekly, having another easy go-to scenario that can fit in literally anywhere is great. “Starfinders, Organization A wants you to go to B and tell them about the status of C” is probably the bread and butter of the junior members of the organization, and with SFS 1-12 there’s never a shortage of planets with abandoned outposts that need investigating!

Spoiler:
Also, the first living starship combat in SFS scenario history is a cool touch.

However, in my experience the difficulty of the scenario is way, way down from even The Commencement and Into the Unknown. As of now (having ran and/or played every SFS scenario through 1-15), SFS 1-12 is the easiest scenario, and it isn’t close. While that isn’t in-and-of-itself a bad thing, at no point have any of the encounters (starship or otherwise) proven even something approximating a challenge to the PCs in any of the groups I’ve ran or played in (admittedly all of which have been at the low tier, but one was four level ones). This, along with the overall structure of the scenario, has led to games being wrapped up under the 3-hour mark (closer to two hours of actual game play, in one instance), which, while able to fill a slot at a moment’s notice, limits this scenario to being only that – something you run to make a second table when you’re 15 minutes past starting time on game night.

Spoiler:
The storm is also annoying – as Sliska Zafir put in her/his review, it’s there, it’s not leaving, no you can’t do anything about it, roll another fort save. And, as a repeatable, Starfinders will find that suspiciously every outpost any corporation asks them to investigate will have a storm (of a different type) inexplicably sitting over it indefinitely. Things that make you go “hmm”…

Don’t get me wrong, the scenario fills a niche, but I wouldn’t be putting this one up for any awards.


Wide customization but cakewalk fights

***( )( )

The good

Spoiler:
Fighting a living starship was fun. All the random elements are fun to put together, especially if you have extra time to prep, and can harness your own inventory of maps, minis and sound effects. The storm and bridge encounter was the best of the bunch especially with the dramatic rescue of the dying native, and the tense round by round saves. However, why it's there and the source of it is not explained well. Also, I'd like to see a reasoning built in to the story to determine if the PCs have time to rest or not after the storm.

The bad
Spoiler:
All of the combats were not just easy, but way too easy, especially the outpost security creatures and finale. The exile needs to be much more powerful. I'd like to see a few different maps for the outpost, but I know that presents some logistic challenges. It's just that players who've played it before will know where the enemy is. Maybe build in the ability to move the exile around to different rooms.


1 to 5 of 6 << first < prev | 1 | 2 | next > last >>
Dark Archive

Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Oh, wow, another replayable so soon?

AWESOME!

Starfinder Society Developer

Wei Ji the Learner wrote:


Oh, wow, another replayable so soon?

AWESOME!

And this one includes Starship Combat, so PCs can get a taste of that. Trying to make it diverse from #1-01: The Commencement was important, which is also why this scenario takes place in the Vast and is intended to be more in the same style as #1-03: Yesteryear's Truth.


Can not to get my hands on this. More introductory content the better.


Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Thurston, are there any map updates on the newest scenarios? I like to order mine in advance if I can . . .

Starfinder Society Developer

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Map spoilers!

Maps Appearing in Starfinder Society Scenario #1–12: Ashes of Discovery:

-Starfinder Flip-Mat: Basic Starfield
-Pathfinder Flip-Mat: Sunken City
-Full-Page Custom Map


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

interesting. So this scenario is meant moreso as a step off point for new characters, as opposed to a continuation of the main story? My group has played straight through 1 to 9, as well as into the unknown and the 1-00 pregen scenario, so they're going to be out leveled for this one.

Starfinder Society Developer

Adder007USA wrote:
interesting. So this scenario is meant moreso as a step off point for new characters, as opposed to a continuation of the main story? My group has played straight through 1 to 9, as well as into the unknown and the 1-00 pregen scenario, so they're going to be out leveled for this one.

This scenario is stand-alone and makes an excellent choice for new characters!


Is it repeatable the same way as in PFS? Play it as many times as you want at first level but only once 2nd level or up?

The Exchange

Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Bigguyinblack wrote:
Is it repeatable the same way as in PFS? Play it as many times as you want at first level but only once 2nd level or up?

All repeatables in SFS are repeatable in their full level range. So in this case 1-4.

Wayfinders

Thurston Hillman wrote:

Map spoilers!

** spoiler omitted **

Hello, I just downloaded this, not sure if I'm going blind, but I can't see the blank version of the custom map. does anyone else have the same issue?

Wayfinders

Thurston Hillman wrote:
Adder007USA wrote:
interesting. So this scenario is meant moreso as a step off point for new characters, as opposed to a continuation of the main story? My group has played straight through 1 to 9, as well as into the unknown and the 1-00 pregen scenario, so they're going to be out leveled for this one.
This scenario is stand-alone and makes an excellent choice for new characters!

Hello, I've just asked a friend that purchased this scenario, and she says that a blank copy of the "Abandoned outpost" was missing from her copy as well.

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Companion, Maps Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
krombopulos-michael wrote:
Thurston Hillman wrote:
Adder007USA wrote:
interesting. So this scenario is meant moreso as a step off point for new characters, as opposed to a continuation of the main story? My group has played straight through 1 to 9, as well as into the unknown and the 1-00 pregen scenario, so they're going to be out leveled for this one.
This scenario is stand-alone and makes an excellent choice for new characters!
Hello, I've just asked a friend that purchased this scenario, and she says that a blank copy of the "Abandoned outpost" was missing from her copy as well.

If you select the map and copy it into another program you will have a blank copy.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Card Game, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Roleplaying Guild, Tales Subscriber
Thurston Hillman wrote:
Wei Ji the Learner wrote:


Oh, wow, another replayable so soon?

AWESOME!

And this one includes Starship Combat, so PCs can get a taste of that. Trying to make it diverse from #1-01: The Commencement was important, which is also why this scenario takes place in the Vast and is intended to be more in the same style as #1-03: Yesteryear's Truth.

I really like the customization a GM can do with this adventure.

I think it says it takes place in Near Space.

Also I have some questions/suggestions.

Spoiler:

Do all living starships NOT have shields? I couldn't find any shield data for the Besmaran Whelp.

Also, the land based combats are not just too easy, but way too easy. I sure hope the combats get an errata boost. Another option would be to have the exile let the storm into the complex (opening rooms up) while the enemies have forcefields against it or somesuch. That would make a tense confrontation.

Wayfinders

maldar wrote:
If you select the map and copy it into another program you will have a blank copy.

Thank you! that worked a treat!

The Exchange

Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Sliska Zafir wrote:


** spoiler omitted **

Spoiler:
While the besmaran whelp does not appear to have shields this does not appear to be a universal starship creature trait as both the endbringer devil in starship form and the novaspawn from Alien Archive have shields.
Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Card Game, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Roleplaying Guild, Tales Subscriber
Shaudius wrote:
Sliska Zafir wrote:


** spoiler omitted **
** spoiler omitted **

Hmm...that's a bummer because with that few hull points the combat is over in 3-4 rounds. Not much of a starship battle, imho.

This scenario needs some beefing up.


I don't think this is much of a spoiler as it is a clarification on what's what, but during the mission briefing with Guidance it lists that one organizations hiring out to look into the planet is the Hellknights Order of Nail, mean while on the table to help determine some specifics it lists Hellknights Order of the Pike? Is it just misinformation or did I stumble onto something much bigger, like a potential Hellknight Coup? Am I sure I don't have a corrupted scenario or is my tin foil hat wearing thin?

Community / Forums / Paizo / Product Discussion / Starfinder Society Roleplaying Guild Scenario #1-12: Ashes of Discovery All Messageboards

Want to post a reply? Sign in.