A Starfinder Society Scenario designed for levels 1-4.
Eox's Blackmoon region contains countless forgotten Eoxian ruins, leftovers from an apocalyptic assault on the planet. Few are allowed to dig up these sites, yet the Starfinder Society and undead bone sages maintain a joint academic venture known as the Blackmoon Excavation. When Starfinder archaeologists and undead workers begin disappearing from the site the Society sends in a team of agents to uncover why—a secret that resides in the nearby ruins!
Sorry, but I have to give this 2 stars. Was going to give only 1, but I actually liked the plot.
The plot was really interesting to me both when I played and GM'd this, it was interesting to see more of Eox and the relationship between eoxians and sarcesians. However, there are MAJOR problems with how the scenario was planned, especially in the middle sniper encounter.
On its own, it's not a bad encounter. But the fact that this is a tier 1-4 scenario really affects how this encounter... Doesn't fit.
Snipers with more than 600 ft. between them and the party, not a whole lot of places to hide, and the fact that this is a tier 1-4 scenario. When I played this, we had a party of 2nd level characters, and whe barely survived this encounter with our two longarm using characters. Today I ran this scenario to four 1st level characters, and it ended in a TPK. There was no way they'd make it close enough to shoot any of the snipers before all of them were down.
Considering the tier, the encounter was badly scaled and planned. Characters with few resources are totally at the snipers' mercy. It wasn't fun or enjoyable tactical encounter for them, it was a massacre. I firmly think this should've either been a tier 3-6 scenario, or the encounter should've been different, perhaps with a much smaller map.
Based on my experiences GMing and playing at my local gaming store…
This scenario was really hard for me to rate. It’s been several months since I played through 1-18, so I went back and skimmed the scenario again and checked out the other reviews (Jhaeman’s was excellent, as always) to remember my feel for this scenario. Spoilers galore follow.
I really enjoyed the scenario’s integration of the lore of Eox into the mission with the bone sages and sarcesians, enjoyed the extreme long-range combat (not every scenario should involve know what your weapon’s range increment is, but I think it should happen more than once per year and this was a great start), and was immensely pleased by the end of the scenario where the PCs get to make choices involving the Wings of Damiar that affect the scenario’s outcome and the Starfinder Society.
Room for improvement
So then, why not a full 5-star review? The boons from this scenario left a less-than great taste in my mouth and influenced player actions in multiple subsequent scenarios trying to fulfil the conditions for the Borai boon. To start, the two race boons were great. What I disliked is linking them specifically to different outcomes for the scenario, especially for the chance to play a rare undead-ish borai. Inevitably in my local group once one table played and found out only choice B led to a borai, (including one player in the first group begging to change his vote once he found his character made the “wrong” choice), the choice at the end of the scenario wasn’t about which ally was best for the Starfinder Society, it was about a player picking a race boon.
To make matters worse, the borai boon requires character death – something actually pretty difficult to pull of in Season 1 of SFS. This has led to characters deliberately jumping into traps, or, in one table I was running, creating a literal explosive vest to detonate to ensure their demise (they succeeded, which also made the final encounter trivial). The perverse incentive created by the borai boon is to encourage player-based decision making (I want to play a borai) over character-based decision making (I don’t want to blow myself up all of a sudden). Maybe the flavor wouldn’t have been the same, but a boon saying create a level 1 borai character would’ve solved this aspect of the problem. Even though I love choices for PCs, in the future it might be best to stick to choices that aren’t tied to race boon access to avoid this situation going forward.