Starfinder Society Scenario #1–99: The Scoured Stars Invasion

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A Starfinder Society Scenario designed for levels 1-8.

Balancing time against the lives of the myriad trapped Starfinders, nominated First Seeker Luwazi Elsebo authorizes a dangerous mission to return to the fated region of space known as the Scoured Stars. The might of the resurgent Society is finally poised to breach the formerly impenetrable barrier surrounding the trinary system. The galaxy pauses to watch if a new generation of Starfinders can save those once lost. A mission of exploration and a mission of mercy, this return to the Scoured Stars will undoubtedly shape the future of the Starfinder Society.

Content in The Scoured Stars Invasion also contributes to the ongoing goals of the Second Seekers (Luwazi Elsebo) faction. Content in this scenario also contributes to the ongoing year of the Scoured Stars storyline.

Written by Mikko Kallio

Scenario Tags: Exclusive, Faction (Second Seekers [Luwazi Elsebo]), Starship

Note: This product will be available for sale in June 2019.

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4.80/5 (based on 5 ratings)

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Space Multi-Battles

5/5

A great multi-table (played & DMed) that opens up to a lot of different ways of going through the storyline, and moving around a very diverse series of situations.
PLAY IT IF YOU CAN!


Clever, Epic, and Exciting

5/5

NO SPOILERS

The Scoured Stars Invasion is the first multi-table Starfinder Society special event scenario. With multi-table specials, several groups of players run through each part of the scenario simultaneously and, together, influence the overall result. This special is the finale to Part 1 of the Year of the Scoured Stars and the launching point of Part 2. I played the Iconic Raia in a mid-to-high tier (I don't remember exactly which) at PaizoCon Asia-Pacific in 2018. There's a lot to love about this special, and some awesome surprises. As with any special (or even regular scenario), the GM you get will have an enormous influence on the players' experience, but, as written, this one is top-notch.

SPOILERS!:

It's all led up to this! From its debut, the in-universe premise of Starfinder Society organized play was that the bulk of the organisation was lost on an expedition to a mysterious system called the Scoured Stars. Several Year 1 scenarios (including # 1-11, # 1-13, and # 1-17) tell how the remnants of the Society (and its new recruits--the PCs) have pieced together some of the history of the Scoured Stars system and obtained a way to lower the golden "Godshield" that now prevents access to it. The goal is to get in, recon the system, see if there are any survivors, and get out . . . fast! But there are a variety of mysterious threats within the system, and one of the eight civilisations that originally fled the Scoured Stars (the insect-like Jinsul) return just in time to wreak havoc for the Starfinder fleet.

The Scoured Stars Invasion starts with an exciting moment: the entire remaining Starfinder fleet exits the Drift and arrives outside the Godshield. Luwazi broadcasts a message asking everyone to make final preparations and double-check that all systems are on-line and ready. This is a clever way of giving those tables that have already mustered (gathered all their players and ready to go) something to do while waiting for the others. PCs can take on little tasks (like checking the engines, cleaning missile tubes, boosting crew morale, etc.) that involve a minute or two of role-playing and a couple of skill checks. There are some useful one-use boons for the table that can be obtained, but more importantly, it's a good way for players to get acquainted with one another and their characters. Very smart design. Once all the tables have mustered, Luwazi uses the tear-shaped obelisk (from the Izalguun) to lower the golden shield. This mission is a go!

Part 1 is titled "Reconnaisance." Essentially, each table gets to choose one of five missions to go on based on some capsule hints in a handout. When a table completes a mission, it counts as one success, and when 2/3 of the tables have reported success on a mission, no other tables can begin it. When a table completes one mission, it can move on to any of the others, in any order. It's a very flexible way that allows different groups to look at their strengths (and interests) and choose custom challenges. Before going on, I'll mention that page 9 of the scenario has an excellent map of the Scoured Stars system--a trinary system composed of the stars Agillae, Bastiar, and Callion. The available missions, with the location and individual giving the briefing, are as follows:

Recon # 1::) "Planet of the Dinosaurs" (Agillae-2) (Fitch): The fleet has received an emergency transmission coming from the wetlands on Agillae-2. After the PCs land and start traversing the wetlands towards the source of the signal, they have to overcome a variety of rough terrain and obstacles through skill checks. Having a good GM able to describe the challenges in an interesting and engaging way would be a real advantage here; ours just read out a bare description and asked for skill checks ("Flying creatures attack you. Roll Medicine or Survival") and it was pretty boring. After the skill checks, the PCs find the source of the signal: a Starfinder emergency beacon. Unfortunately, a pack of carnivorous dinosaurs have also made their nest near it! After dispatching the dinosaurs, the PCs will learn that the Starfinders who set up the beacon have unfortunately all perished, but there are clues to a larger group having established an outpost on another planet. A sad story when you think about it, but a good little mission with a mix of skills and combat.

Recon # 2::) "Starship Graveyard" (Agillae-5) (Historia-7): Scans of the system show that several Starfinder vessels crash-landed on the same spot on a planet, forming a veritable graveyard. The PCs are sent to investigate, but as they breach atmosphere, a computer virus somehow enters their ship's systems and makes everything go haywire. Crew members can use a variety of skills to try to repair and control various systems, but a crash is inevitable. It's a very exciting scene. There's a lot of text for the GM to interpret quickly here, and good preparation would be key. Once planet-side, the PCs enter a linked-conglomeration of ships and discover several Starfinders, only to discover they're mind-controlled by some sort nanite intelligence! I got myself an Infamy here for dispatching the Starfinders in a lethal fashion, which I thought was perfectly fair. The PCs also discover dozens of Starfinders held comatose in stasis chambers.

Recon # 3::) "Lifeless Spaces" (Bastiar-4) (Naiaj): Scans detect a fully operation Starfinder vessel, Aeon Horizon, but it doesn't respond to hails. The PCs board to find no crew members present. When they reach the bridge and start to download the ship's logs, a self-destruct sequence initiates, the airlock doors seal, and several "huskborn" monsters right out of Aliens attack. This one was on rails in a bad way, as the airlock doors coincidentally remain sealed until the huskborn are defeated, there's no clue why the self-destruct started, there's no way to stop it, and yet there isn't actually a timeline to escape or consequences for delay. I found such a heavy-handed and nonsensical approach frustrating when playing. Give me autonomy and consequences over rails and safety any day of the week.

Recon # 4::) "The Third Kind" (Bastiar-7) (Zigvigix): Scans detect several derelict ships drifting amid the ring system of a giant ice planet. When the PCs fly over to investigate, they get a message from a Starfinder vessel called the Empyrean Eye and its captain, a very suspicious woman named Katryn Mathius. Mathius attacks if the PCs don't answer her questions very carefully, but what she doesn't realize (though the PCs should figure out) is that she's dead and the Empyrean Eye is a ghost ship! My table didn't do this one, but I really like the concept. I feel bad for the GM though, as it looks really tricky to draw the necessary scene on the very dark starship hex grid.

Recon # 5::) "City of the Ancients" (Callion-2) (Radaszam): A technologically-advanced megacity is detected in the narrow habitable zone of a tidally-locked planet. When the PCs land to investigate, they can search five locations in any order: a factory, a library (containing historical records on the Izalguun!), a military base, a residential area (with no living inhabitants, just robots cleaning and repairing a city abandoned millenia ago), and a shopping mall. This one also has the possibility of the players avoiding combat through good role-playing, but it's not likely: there's a very touchy artificial intelligence who will probably send killer robots to off the PCs just like it did when the Starfinders visited the city a year ago. It's basic, but good.

Part 2 is "Evacuation." Once enough tables have completed recon missions, the overseer announces the next phase of the scenario. In this one, the fleet starts to evacuate the groups of Starfinders discovered in the previous set of missions. Again, there are five possible missions that each table can choose to play:

Evac # 1::) "The Last Outpost" (Agillae-1) (Fitch): The PCs land at the outpost they learned about from the matching recon mission, to find several groups of Starfinders alive but menaced by carnivorous plant creatures called bluethorns. In what's probably the coolest moment in the scenario, the previous First Seeker (Jadnura) arrives and blows away half of the monsters with one cinematic sweep! The PCs still have to escort the survivors as the remaining monsters continue their attacks. It looks pretty exciting, and I really wish my table had played this one: I didn't learn about the big revelation that Jadnura had been found until after the special was over. As an aside, there's a very cool picture of the character on page 24.

Evac # 2::) "Cracked Mirror" (Agillae-5) (Historia-7): This one has a solid premise. The PCs have to enter a virtual world to set free the minds of the Starfinders who are being held comatose in stasis tubes. The PCs can speak to three different groups of Starfinders and try to convince them that they're "living" in a mere simulation. How the necessary skill checks relate to persuasion is opaque and hard for a GM to convey naturally. Persuading the groups gives the PCs bonuses when they fight the strange keeper of the virtual world (a guy named Jodain), who has the ability to transform round-to-round into different types of monster (a cool idea, but there's no explanation of who the heck Jodain is or why he's trapped the Starfinders in his simulation). The reappearance of Jadnura was a big deal, but an only slightly-less-big-deal is that the PCs find Historia-6 on this mission! My table did play this mission and I have no recollection of Historia-6, which means that either I was very distracted or my GM sucked and didn't even bother to mention it (and there's a pic--somewhat disturbing admittedly--but GMs, show pictures of the NPCs to your players!)

Evac # 3::) "God's Home" (Bastiar-8) (Naiaj): The PCs are sent after a group of Starfinders presumably holed up in an air-filled cave on an icy moon. It turns out this "cave" is actually a Jinsul temple; maybe that's why they're mad at humanity? From the looks of things, the Jinsul worship a pretty evil deity who is fond of blood sacrifices, and this "Slumbering God" may have created the Godshield to begin with. Anyway, the PCs have to fight a host of summoned demons to rescue the Starfinders trapped within the temple. I notice that for some of these missions, the text makes reference to keyed rooms, but there are no corresponding labels on the maps--this must make things extra stressful for harried GMs.

Evac # 4::) "Lava River Rescue" (Bastiar-2) (Zigvigix): Ziggy is a delight. Just saying. Anyway, emergency signals are coming from Bastiar-2, a planet with major seismic and volcanic disturbances. It's a race against time for the PCs to rescue a small group of Starfinders from one threat while another tries to hinder them. It's a solid set-up.

Evac # 5::) "Sands of Oblivion" (Callion-1) (Radaszam): This mission to rescue Starfinders trapped on a desert planet is very different than the others: it uses the Chase mechanics, as PCs race in vehicles while a massive armored worm tries to eat them. It looks complicated (my group didn't do it), but a change of pace could be good.

Part 3 of the scenario is "Sudden Arrival." In a bout of curious timing, as the Starfinder fleet is evacuating those trapped in the Scoured Stars system, a massive battle-fleet of Jinsul ships arrives! Each table must choose to engage in starship combat with the Jinsuls to help defend the fleet, or continue with the evacuation missions from Part 2. The starship combat is pretty easy, but I like how Jinsul landing parties interrupt the evacuation missions and complicate things on the ground.

Part 4 of the scenario is "Escape from the Scoured Stars", and the name is apt. The Starfinder fleet is outnumbered and outgunned, so it has to make a fighting retreat out of the Scoured Stars. The PCs get a choice of two options. First, they can choose to repel Jinsul boarding parties. This is what my table did, and it was a solid capstone with waves of Jinsul attackers culminating in the appearance of a heavy-hitting commander. The alternative mission is more starship combat: protecting a transport until it can get to a capital ship and then a counter-attack mission to drive away a Jinsul capital ship. The concept sounds cool, but reading through it, the combat has a lot of board-game like elements that I think would slow things down too much.

The scenario concludes with a brief congratulatory message from Luwazi, but also a warning that the Jinsuls are sure to rear their ugly heads again soon. This is a scenario that has no failure state-- how often the tables do or do not succeed on missions doesn't affect the story in any way.

Now, on to some ancillary points. In terms of difficulty, I thought The Scoured Stars Invasion was on the low-end; I don't remember worrying that my pre-gen was going to die at any point. The scenario does a fantastic job making use of the NPCs (faction leaders and Venture-Captains) that have appeared in earlier scenarios. The special, like many other Paizo specials, has an "aid token" mechanism but the instructions on how to use it are overly complicated in the hustle and bustle of a special--I think it needs to be kept simpler even if the goal (one table directly helping another table) is a good one. GMs really need to prep for specials, more than anything else they run. I've now been to one special with a well-prepared GM (a deep knowledge of the scenario, along with minis, face cards, condition table-tents, etc.), and two with under-prepared GMs of the "I'll figure it out as we go" variety, and the difference in my enjoyment of the scenarios was dramatic. Specials are complicated and have so many little details that preparation is the key to success.

Credit has to be given to Mikko Kallio and the organised play development team for the massive undertaking a special like this must be. The scenario is 72 pages long(!), and the sheer number of stat blocks, sub-tier planning, linking parts, etc., is an impressive accomplishment. The story told in the special is suitably epic and important for the future of the Society, and sets a clear "before and after" for some of the stories that can be told. I have a criticism here and there, but overall this a fantastic scenario and one that shouldn't be missed.


All Multitable Specials Should Be Structured This Way

4/5

GM'd this on Tier 1-2. Prepped for all Tiers except 3-4. If I could give this 4.5 stars, I would have.

This was the best multitable special I've ever run. In PFS, the multitables have gotten more bloated and time-crunched every year, so I was afraid the first SFS multitable would be the same. Boy was I wrong! The organic flow of Parts 1-3 allowed each table to go at their own (brisk) pace, without the constant frustration of other tables cutting encounters short for the entire house. There was even a way that if an encounter was resolved while your table was working on it, your table could 'gift' your success to another task. This allowed every table to make meaningful contributions to the overall House successes, despite differing degrees of table optimization. I can only hope PFS takes this structure to heart moving forward. This was the first time in years that I haven't been frustrated with the frantic pace set by other, more optimized tables. Bravo, Paizo! You done good!!

The Good:
The player handout allowed each table to choose the missions the table was best suited to handle, while avoiding missions that the PCs were unlikely to be able to complete.
Incidentally, this meant that the table was able to either seek out starship combat or avoid it completely, according to the table's preference. The paired nature of each mission (Recon in Part 2 and Evac in Part 3) added some nice flow between Parts 2 and 3, allowing the PCs to either continue to work on missions they had begun, or switch to different rescue missions. Completing both of the 'paired' missions also increased player understanding of what was happening, which kept the often-chaotic atmosphere of multitable play to a minimum.

The Meh?:
The table I ran made a clear choice to avoid starship combat, so I can't address those parts of the scenario.
The only other 'meh' moment was during one of the Recon missions- the PCs were exploring several locations in a fully automated megacity. The 'meh' part was that several of the listed locations the {PCs were encouraged to explore contained absolutely *nothing* of value! No information, no clues, no encounters, no loot.
Just... explore this area, make a couple of Perception checks, (correctly) conclude there's nothing of interest here, and move on.
It was very strange, rather dull, and felt like a waste of time- a huge 'no-no' for a multitable, where time is a precious commodity.
But oh well.

The Bad:
As I mentioned above, my table opted out of Starship combat, so I can't address that. The only thing that I can really call a 'Bad' was the chase in one of the missions. I've been running (and playing) PFS chases for years. I GM'ed an SFS scenario earlier in the season that contained a chase on 4 separate occasions. I'm familiar with chases and they don't give me any trouble. Except this one. This might have been the most poorly-worded chase I've ever seen. Even using the (very helpful) handout which can be found in the GM Shared Prep folder for this *specific chase* didn't improve matters. Even with all the players working together to try and make sense of that chase, we got nowhere. GMs, if you possibly can, steer your table away from that one mission! Without that miserable chase, this would have been a 5-star review.


My Favorite Special

5/5

This is a fun, balanced, and cohesive special with an immersive environment and a fulfilling story. I've run and/or played every PFS special, but I honestly believe that this is my favorite.


An Awesomely Good Time!

5/5

This was my first foray into Organized Play, and I had a blast! There were lots of interesting things to do that hearkened back to a dozen different sci-fi tropes. The pacing was brisk, but I didn’t feel like we left too many things undone. There were lots of moments to let your character shine! And the rewards were quite exciting!

I’ve definitely become a SFS convert!


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Paizo Employee Webstore Coordinator

2 people marked this as a favorite.

Available for purchase now! Please note, the price has been updated from $4.99 to $9.99 to reflect the extra time, effort, and resources that go into creating interactive specials.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Paizo Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Katina Davis wrote:
Available for purchase now! Please note, the price has been updated from $4.99 to $9.99 to reflect the extra time, effort, and resources that go into creating interactive specials.

Yes, I saw that, but when I put it in my cart, I saw no Paizo Advantage discount (I assume the free PFS and SFS Advantage hasn't started yet).. Is this product eligible for the discount?

Shadow Lodge

How many tables is the minimum for running this? It'd be nice if that was mentioned in the description.


Starfinder Superscriber
Eric Clingenpeel wrote:
How many tables is the minimum for running this? It'd be nice if that was mentioned in the description.

I found this in the Running the Event section:

"The Scoured Stars Invasion is an interactive special event intended
to accommodate multiple tables of play (from 3 tables up to 150+
tables)."

That is the only statement I spotted relating the a minimum number of tables.


Is this scenario replayable?

Paizo Employee Starfinder Society Developer

therealthom wrote:
Is this scenario replayable?

This interactive is not repeatable (as it lacks the repeatable tag). Though it is possible to obtain some boons and rewards that could allow you to play this again with a new character (such as the Second Seekers [Jadnura] faction boons).

However, the following interactive: Starfinder Society Scenario #2-00: Fate of the Scoured God does have a limited form of replayability.

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