Starfinder Adventure Path #7: The Reach of Empire (Against the Aeon Throne 1 of 3)

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Starfinder Adventure Path #7: The Reach of Empire (Against the Aeon Throne 1 of 3)

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Guerrillas in the Mist

Hired to transport supplies to a fog-shrouded world in the Vast, the heroes discover that a small military force from the Azlanti Star Empire has invaded and occupied the Pact Worlds colony there. The heroes must liberate the settlement from its merciless oppressors, but when they do, they learn that the Azlanti have taken both an experimental starship drive discovered on the planet and one of the colonists—an old friend of the heroes—back to the Star Empire!

This volume of Starfinder Adventure Path launches the Against the Aeon Throne Adventure Path and includes:

  • "The Reach of Empire," a Starfinder adventure for 1st-level characters, by Ron Lundeen.
  • A gazetteer and brief history of the Pact Worlds colony on Nakondis and its main settlement of Madelon's Landing, as well as a new colonist theme for player characters, by Ron Lundeen.
  • A collection of advanced starships built and flown within the Azlanti Star Empire, by Lyz Liddell.
  • An archive of fascinating new creatures, from beasts of living magma to massive clouds of devouring ooze, by Patrick Brennan, Ron Lundeen, Joe Pasini, and Owen K.C. Stephens.
  • Statistics and deck plans for an exploratory vessel of the Azlanti Star Empire, plus an overview of the forest planet of Nakondis, by Ron Lundeen.

ISBN-13: 978-1-64078-061-3

Starfinder Society Roleplaying Guild Sanctioned Content

The Reach of Empire is sanctioned for use in Starfinder Society Roleplaying Guild.
Download the Against the Aeon Throne Adventure Path rules and Chronicle sheets — (445 kb zip/PDF)

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A fun Good vs Evil Romp

5/5

I have run this book of the AP four times now as a longer-play option at conventions and via play by post and I have to say I just adore it.

The PCs get to come in and play liberators in an ongoing hostage situation. As soon as the PCs realize they get to be John McClane in this Space Die Hard they all get super into it and play along.

Along the way there are some very memorable set pieces and lots of toys in the toybox that the PCs can use to solve the adventure's key obstacles.

If you want to stretch this out to be a slightly longer experience there are a lot of logical setbacks you can toss the player's way such as the confiscation of their starship or the capture of their friends but if you want to streamline it there are easy options for doing that too.

Excellent work all around, my ONLY complaint is that the book (and AP) main villains arent built up nearly enough but oh well.


Space Baddies

5/5

A very nice opening book!
I played and GMed it.
A great set up, and very nice sandbox feeling yet rather directed storyline, with a rich place to play in, and then a nice rich background for the Azlanti part that will continue.
Fun and tough fights.
Many ways to do things.
Very nice.


Strong opening and closing acts, but struggles greatly in the middle

2/5

The Reach of Empire is an adventure with strong opening and closing acts, but one that struggles greatly in the middle with old-fashioned RPG design problems.

Spoilers ahead, so player don't proceed farther...

Part 1 does a terrific job of establishing the “why” for the PCs mission to Nakondis. Positioning Cedona as an old friend of the PCs but varying the circumstances by Theme provides great role-playing fodder out of the gate and goes a long way towards discouraging “we’ll run and get help” tactics once the colony’s situation is revealed. True to space opera sensibilities, part 1 rightly wastes little time before throwing the PCs into the action as their milk run for AbadarCorp is suddenly transformed by a space battle.

Groundside, three decent encounters await the PCs but none particularly stand out. Unfortunately, this is also where problems in story logic and adventure structure begin to emerge as foreshadowing for Part 2 where they will go full-blown. Specifically, the adventure assumes 3 encounters taking place less than an hour from the colony of Madelon’s Landing. Can’t people hear gunfire in Starfinder? PCs will presumably have fights with 2 Azlanti patrols and, if successful, likely have dead soldiers’ communications gear. Yet Azlanti communications aren’t fully explained until the Command Center entry in Part 2. The ground-based encounters foreshadow Part 2 problems.

Part 2 takes up most of the adventure as it is set wholly within Madelon’s Colony. Here the adventure structural and story logic problems manifest in full force. Nakondis is a forest planet perpetually shrouded by fog. Apparently, this is so that dungeon design logic can be applied to encounters in an otherwise open settlement. The fog is used as a pretense for limited vision and isolation, but it only applies for the sake of enforcing cliché fantasy adventure design. Examples of such include:
1. The PCs’ ship is parked only an hour away. Why don’t the Azlanti try to capture it?
2. The free-the-colony efforts fails to utilize rich wilderness setting detailed in the colony’s backmatter writeup in order to force a dungeon-room feel.
3. Cliché RPG-trope-style “why can’t the locals do this?” quests. The PCs would attract more attention. Oh yeah, the fog...
4. The Azlanti won’t realize water rationing isn’t happening once the water elemental is dealt with? Also, who among the Azlanti summoned and bound the creature? Olaraja is a technomancer, so he could possibly have cast the spell but lacks the power to bind it. Note to Paizo – when people complain about NPCs not playing by PCs rules, this kind of stuff is why.

There are good nods to some things (Azlanti language, counting the # of guards, if the PCs attack the garrison “early”) foiled by head-scratching omissions on others (Azlanti leadership/coordination; communications; colonists out-sourcing resistance to strangers).

Lisa Steven’s love of Star Wars is well known. So it should come as little surprise that Paizo’s own science fantasy would have an evil empire to contend with. In The Rise of Empire, however, the Azlanti Star Empire seems to take its inspiration from the worst incompetent-stormtrooper tropes. While the villains are primarily cadets and don't have great numbers, we are repeatedly told about their discipline and training which unfortunately seems to only enable the Azlanti to make stupid tactical decisions rather than operate as a training military unit. The Azlanti Empire as presented here isn’t worth fearing. They fail to apply force effectively. They are always in groups smaller than the typical 4-adventurer party. Who performs an execution with only 2 guards? When their garrison gets breached the Azlanti all stay at their posts rather than coordinating a combined defense? And this is explained by “years of discipline”! Why the hell does the guy left in charge NOT lead from the command center (aside from the need to keep him separate for CR-appropriate shenanigans? Azlanti leadership is non-existent. The Pact Worlds have little to fear from these fools.

Things begin to improve in Part 3 but easily-avoided gaffes remain. The crashed starship’s power was offline until restored by the Azlanti. Yet, the adjutant robot has been online/powered for several centuries. This leads to the robot’s “chronology circuits” being damaged so that the robot thinks it’s only been a few days. This overly complicated and ham-fisted solution could be better explained by the robot being forced into dormancy when the crashed ship’s power failed and the robot only coming back online once power was restored. To the robot, it’s still a matter of days without the overwrought hoop-jumping. It also would allow for precious word-count to be better used elsewhere.

Azlanti who, for various reasons, always fight to the death is fine. However, non-lethal weapons are readily available in Starfinder and my group captured several Azlanti this way. If having the Azlanti always fight to the death was intended to keep the PCs from interrogating the enemy, adventure authors need to be aware of Starfinder nonlethal weapons.

Those issues aside, the wreckage of the Royal Venture makes for an interesting and effective dungeon-crawl. Part 3 concludes with an exciting starship combat finale and does a good job of setting up the next installment.

Backmatter
Excellent articles on Nakondis, Nakondis Colony, Madelon’s Landing, a cool colonist theme, and starships of the Azlanti Empire, as well as new Alien Archive entries.

Conclusion
The Rise of Empire opens and closes on strong story beats but flounders greatly through the middle. The story, setup, and setting are all great conceptually but flawed in execution. Standard fantasy adventure quests and ‘monsters stay in their room’ logic are on full display and most lack a creative spark or differentiator to make them memorable.

This standard fantasy rpg adventure design also prevents effective utilization of both the setting and the Starfinder rules. The colony writeup discusses mining operations and science stations outside of the main colony. Nakondis could have been a more realized setting if some of the resistance missions had leveraged these locations. Also, a fair bit of word count is spent on hovertrikes. Rather than utilize the larger setting and having vehicle combat encounters, their inclusion is relegated to a weak Return of the Jedi hoverbike homage.

It’s hard to say why an adventure with great concepts and tools has such a flawed execution. With over 100+ adventure path installments, Paizo is the undisputed king of adventure path writing. They are also riffing off one of the cornerstones of modern pop culture that is loved by many of Paizo’s staff. This leads me to conclude that The Reach of Empire suffers due to Starfinder AP’s significantly lower page count than their Pathfinder counterparts receive.

Reach of Empire is a 4-star story that fails to utilize the tools of its genre and rpg system to its fullest (vehicles, scope, tactics, etc.). It falls back on tired tropes of its FRPG predecessors that don’t work in the scope that science fantasy affords. The result, unfortunately, is a 2-star execution.


Showing Promise but Lacking Substance

4/5

On the surface, the first installment of Against the Aeon Throne, "The Reach of Empire," hits a lot of notes that I look for as a GM. A routine mission with an established cast runs afoul of an unexpected development, and cad and crusader alike find themselves thrust into a battle against a ruthless and unknown foe. It is only after you look past the polished exterior to the AP's finer details that the flaws begin to become apparent.

The AP begins with a cast of level 1 characters who are all presumed to know and work with each other traveling to a colony in the Vast on a routine supply mission. Each PC has their own connection to the colony through a plot-critical character, as outlined by the PC's chosen theme. In a way, this serves to provide each character with a personal stake much in the same way Campaign Traits did for Pathfinder APs. Unfortunately, unless the GM shares the first few pages of the AP with the players, they have no way of knowing about this connection ahead of time when building characters, so it almost feels like the players are ambushed with a connection to the story they did not have a hand in crafting. In my experience, this means players will be less likely to act on that roleplaying hook, since it was not a decision they made and therefore they have little emotional investment in it. Nonetheless, the effort to ground the PCs within the story is appreciated, and I hope to see more elements like this in subsequent Starfinder APs (perhaps even AP-specific themes, or a Players' Guide that explains the significance of each theme and its connection to the story).

After the inciting action, an artfully-done encounter that plays up the threat of a mysterious foe, the PCs transition into the main action of the book, and into a sandbox-style adventure for them to investigate and explore. The AP does a good job taking into account the various actions the PCs might take, and also takes care to provide bits and clues about the PCs' enemies that builds a more complete picture over time. The sandbox section culminates in a daring raid on the enemy stronghold, which, while still somewhat a dungeon crawl (albeit a brief one), provides the PCs with various options on how to proceed through it.

The final part of the AP sits on somewhat shakier ground. A proper dungeon crawl this time (again, brief), the dramatic action culminates in an explosive finale that bookends the adventure rather well. Unfortunately, there are a few plot holes in this final part, and particularly astute players might raise questions about the strange decisions their foes make at this point in the story. Despite this however, the overall flow of the narrative is solid, and leaves the players (likely) satisfied and eager to continue on to part 2.

Further Explanation:
The AP offers no explanation as to why the enemy, when faced with dwindling forces and vastly outnumbered by rearmed and angry colonists, would continue to fight to the death. Indeed, there seems to be no consideration that the PCs might lead an army of one-hundred or so angry colonists to confront the final, token occupation force.

So, I have just spent most of my ink praising the AP for its content. Why then does my title allege differently? It all comes down to the details of the AP itself. "The Reach of Empire" does little in the way to introduce the principal villain or their motivations, raises questions about the villain's competency and plan, and only teases a plot-critical character without developing it further. In other words, very little of the actual plot gets developed in this book. The only thing that the players know by the end is something they learned relatively close to the beginning, with the addition of one or two facts that aren't really relevant because they already had a personal stake in the story anyway.

The Villain:
The adventure background tells us that the ultimate villain of the campaign is a minor Azlanti noble who overstepped his authority in pursuit of a secret project in order to improve his political standing within the Empire. While all of this is plausible and makes for really good television, the players have no notion of who is ultimately responsible for the invasion of the colony. There are ways that this can be handled, such as communications from the noble to his minions in the colony, or even just foreshadowing who the villain might be. For example, "Rise of the Runelords" introduced Karzoug in the first book, although the PCs would not learn who he was until at least the fourth book. Without this connection, "The Reach of Empire" feels somewhat isolated from the next two parts of the AP.

The Plan:
The villain's plan involves occupying a colony with effectively twenty-four high school students and two Aeon Guard soldiers. While it makes sense that the villain wants to keep the head count low in order to maximize secrecy, one can only imagine the political scandal a headline like "Local Lord Loses Entire Academy Class on School Field Trip" might cause--which is essentially what happens by the end of the first book.

Overall, "The Reach of Empire" is a good start and a good skeleton to work off of, but definitely requires the GM to write additional content to fully flesh it out. Vignettes exploring each PC's relationship with a plot-centric NPC, and asides or scenes that foreshadow the main villain, are both needed in order to really make the story substantial, and connect it to the AP's overarching plot. If this is not done, players are mostly left to assume the dramatic stakes of the story based on a few sentences at the front of the book telling them "you like this person and want to save them."

In the end, I would give "The Reach of Empire" 3.5 stars, but since fractions are impossible I'll round up to 4 because I like the ideas presented within, even if they needed a little more time to develop.


THE PERFECT STARFINDER ADVENTURE!

5/5

GOOD:
The developers & Ron Lundeen seem to have thought about everything the players could do in this perfect little gem. The adventure reads like a great mix between railroad & sandbox. Everything is structured perfectly, every character theme gets a different reason for being on the mission. The bad guys act really believable and as logical as a military unit would. Nakondis is a colony that seems to be real enough to exist somewhere in the Vast of space.
The amount of information about the Azlanti space empire in this book alone would suffice to build a campaign in their empire.

BAD:
The fact that a lot of things can only reasonably achieved if

:
the characters kill Azlanti soldiers and use their armor to impersonate them
should have been advertized in a players guide, as it makes chosing certain races like Ysoki, Vesk or Kasatha less ideal than humans, androids or lashunta.
It is possible to play those, but some things won't work.

UGLY:
Having no dice from Q-works yet and seemingly having to wait until march 2019 for the pawns.

The first "short AP" begins so great, that i am curious if the other parts can keep up. There are no lenghts in this volume, it reads like a 90 minutes nonstop action movie!


101 to 139 of 139 << first < prev | 1 | 2 | 3 | next > last >>

Damn, I cannot really afford to spend $20+ AUD on just a theme. Hope other people enjoy the book though.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Jason Keeley wrote:
Milo v3 wrote:
Is there any player content aside from starships?
There is a colonist theme!

That was a very pleasant surprise when I did my skim read!


A little bit of a complaint I guess?

It references Alien Archives 2 for a very minor part of the set up of the game, which isn't being released until the middle of October...

It'd also be pretty nice to have a picture of Cedona, who all of the players are assumed to of met, somewhere in the first module...


Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber
LinkDead wrote:

A little bit of a complaint I guess?

It references Alien Archives 2 for a very minor part of the set up of the game, which isn't being released until the middle of October...

It'd also be pretty nice to have a picture of Cedona, who all of the players are assumed to of met, somewhere in the first module...

If you're going to be running this before the second book launches I recommend looking at the product page for book 2 as the android on the front cover is her!

Dark Archive

Can somebody answer these questions:

-How much population has "Madelon's Landing"?
-What kinds of Atzlanti starships are in the article?

Thank you!


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Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber
Marco Massoudi wrote:

Can somebody answer these questions:

-How much population has "Madelon's Landing"?
-What kinds of Atzlanti starships are in the article?

Thank you!

Population of Madelon's Landing:

Spoiler:
The colony has little over 100 people (108 to be exact)

Azlanti Ships:

Spoiler:

Klokworx Drone - Tiny racer
Sovereign Harrier - Tiny fighter
Vanguard Comet - Small shuttle
Sovereign Monitor - Medium Transport
Vanguard Sanctum - Large heavy freighter
Sovereign Sumpter - Large heavy freighter
Klokworx Nexus - Gargantuan Carrier
Sovereign Vindicator - Colossal Dreadnought

The starship section also has a few ship options that are mostly exclusive to Azlanti ships and the inside cover has the Vanguard Voidsweeper which is a medium explorer.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Those shorter adventure paths send me one message, which is that the developers have no confidence in the high level play of their new edition. I'd love to see them actually do a full six part adventure path which goes to level 17 or 18, because it is a system I want to try out. But my group and myself have no interest in just going to level 12 or 14, even if it is a full six part AP. Three part adventure paths don't even enter the equation for my guys.


Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Maps, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Or I would be happy if they did a series of 3 or 4 3-part adventures that took the party all the way from 1st to 20th levels. As I recall, Dead Suns and the two combined 3-part adventures that followed it both covered the same level range (as the 2nd 3-part adventure started at the level where the 1st one ended).

The Exchange

Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Amongst other things, I really like the flying gelatious cube creature, the monkey, and mystic ship weaponry. The drones sound cool but I'll need to reread the rule as it's confusing. I'm only half way through deadsuns so this AP is still far off for me.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
David knott 242 wrote:

Or I would be happy if they did a series of 3 or 4 3-part adventures that took the party all the way from 1st to 20th levels. As I recall, Dead Suns and the two combined 3-part adventures that followed it both covered the same level range (as the 2nd 3-part adventure started at the level where the 1st one ended).

As long as there would be an (optional for people who only want to get one trilogy) hook to connect the three-parters as a continuous story, I would be eminently okay with that.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens Subscriber

I love this adventure path so far but my biggest complaint is the maps. The maps for this adventure path are particularly bad for converting to a VTT like Roll20. Not only are they more of a pain than usual to extract they are ridiculously small once you try to separate them all to use on their own.

Why they dont simply offer a map pack.. or place these in a more usable scale at the back of the adventure ill never know. Please consider doing something like this. I would gladly pay extra for the convenience. I subscribe for one reason only and that is to get the free PDF. I get the pdfs because they are the one way I can easily convert this stuff for use with Roll20 but this particular one is hardly friendly to that sort of use.

There is a growing market of us who primarily game through VTTs please keep us in mind when designing these things or at the very least offer us a product to use with that in mind.

Second Seekers (Luwazi Elsbo)

Pathfinder Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

My first ever AP purchase during publishing.

This feels like a wild and bold decision but the concept here and the shorter length have me feeling like taking the plunge here!

Very excited to try this out (even if its going to be a real challenge to convert to VTT)

Can I suggest - if not including a code for a digital copy of the AP in the physical product, then perhaps a code for accessing things like pictures and maps in a clean state? Those would go a long way for me.

EDIT: I realize you do this for subscribers and I may go ahead and subscribe to the next two parts for exactly this reason, but I usually prefer to buy from FLGS when possible and its a bummer that I would need to essentially buy the product twice if I want a digital copy to complement the physical.

Scarab Sages

magnuskn wrote:
Those shorter adventure paths send me one message, which is that the developers have no confidence in the high level play of their new edition. I'd love to see them actually do a full six part adventure path which goes to level 17 or 18, because it is a system I want to try out. But my group and myself have no interest in just going to level 12 or 14, even if it is a full six part AP. Three part adventure paths don't even enter the equation for my guys.

Developers have said more than once the reason why they don't publish more higher level adventures is because people just prefer low to mid level adventures.

As for this product, I will say I very much enjoyed the first book. It is quite clear that they've learned a thing or two about balancing combats from Dead Suns as they feel challenging without being overwhelming. The Starship combats included here don't feel tacked on in the least and have a very important role in the narrative. The story is easy enough to follow for someone like me who doesn't really follow the lore very closely.

On the negative side, I would have liked to have a map for the Starship Combat with Nakondis on the background. The combat against the midbook boss is a bit undewhelming as a solo encounter and some of the fetch quests to "Gain Trust" seem a bit menial.

Overall I highly recomend this


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

Could anyone with this book give some information on the Endiffians? What sort of creatures are they?


Brew Bird wrote:
Could anyone with this book give some information on the Endiffians? What sort of creatures are they?

Most of the information about them can be found on StarfinderWiki.


magnuskn wrote:
Those shorter adventure paths send me one message, which is that the developers have no confidence in the high level play of their new edition. I'd love to see them actually do a full six part adventure path which goes to level 17 or 18, because it is a system I want to try out. But my group and myself have no interest in just going to level 12 or 14, even if it is a full six part AP. Three part adventure paths don't even enter the equation for my guys.

Unless I'm mistaken.. the next 3 part path will be the high level play. Nothing was lost.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Cthulhusquatch wrote:


magnuskn wrote:
Those shorter adventure paths send me one message, which is that the developers have no confidence in the high level play of their new edition. I'd love to see them actually do a full six part adventure path which goes to level 17 or 18, because it is a system I want to try out. But my group and myself have no interest in just going to level 12 or 14, even if it is a full six part AP. Three part adventure paths don't even enter the equation for my guys.
Unless I'm mistaken.. the next 3 part path will be the high level play. Nothing was lost.

If that were the case, I'd like to read the announcement about that somewhere, since I would not be averse to getting all nine parts, then.


Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Maps, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

There are only two successive three-part adventure paths, with the second one (Signal of Screams) starting at 7th level. The next adventure path after that one has six parts and presumably starts at 1st level.

While I said earlier that I would very much like to see more than two three-part adventure paths strung together to make a possible campaign from 1st to 20th level, nobody at Paizo has to date announced such a thing.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
David knott 242 wrote:

There are only two successive three-part adventure paths, with the second one (Signal of Screams) starting at 7th level. The next adventure path after that one has six parts and presumably starts at 1st level.

While I said earlier that I would very much like to see more than two three-part adventure paths strung together to make a possible campaign from 1st to 20th level, nobody at Paizo has to date announced such a thing.

Thanks, that was the info I had as well.

If Paizo ever gets to do a proper high-level Starfinder adventure path, then I'll bite. If they don't... well, that makes me think that they don't trust their high-level gameplay to hold up and why should I go out on a limb then and do their playtesting for them?

Paizo Employee Creative Director, Starfinder

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High-level adventures (and Adventure Paths) tend to sell fewer copies than lower-level ones. As a result, we produce fewer high-level adventures.

One reason we're starting Signal of Screams at a higher level than usual for APs (7th level instead of 1st level) is to experiment with the AP format and see if people are interested in buying APs that start at higher levels. If Signal of Screams does well (i.e., there's a strong market for higher-level campaigns), we may look at more higher-level APs. If not, then we're unlikely to do so.

Lower-level adventures have everything to do with economics, and nothing to do with a lack of confidence in our rules.

Dark Archive

As far as i am concerned, Starfinder seems to flow much better at higher levels than Pathfinder.

As a GM, it becomes very exhausting to prepare encounters of higher levels and you forget to use something every session.

This doesn't seem to be a problem with Starfinder yet (we're at level 6).

Personally i love Dead Suns & Against the Aeon Throne part #1, but Signal of Screams sounds great too.
I am not (yet) excited for "Dawn of Flame", but i would love the 5th Starfinder AP to be a three-parter starting at level 13, so the Dead Suns or Signal of Screams characters can be continued to be played to level 19 or 20. :-)


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Robert G. McCreary wrote:

High-level adventures (and Adventure Paths) tend to sell fewer copies than lower-level ones. As a result, we produce fewer high-level adventures.

One reason we're starting Signal of Screams at a higher level than usual for APs (7th level instead of 1st level) is to experiment with the AP format and see if people are interested in buying APs that start at higher levels. If Signal of Screams does well (i.e., there's a strong market for higher-level campaigns), we may look at more higher-level APs. If not, then we're unlikely to do so.

Lower-level adventures have everything to do with economics, and nothing to do with a lack of confidence in our rules.

Typing this on my phone, so I will try to be brief.

Rob, if I am getting this right the AP will finish at level 13 or 14. That is not high level, but middle levels. If you won't bring out a true high level AP so that people can actually play the high levels, how do you expect us to get confidence that the game works there? IMO, you first need to take the leap and actually publish such an AP before asking us to show interest. If your AP's only ever go to level 14, for my group at least that kills the interest in the first place already.

Dark Archive

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But if no one is willing to buy an AP starting at 7th (or the sales are more like a 4th book of an AP), it is strong evidence that you and your group are in the minority, and the economics for an AP starting at 13+ just won't pencil out. This is a business, not your privately commissioned writing staff, and you may not be in their primary (profitable) audience.

Another consideration is that 7-9 is where the current Society play maxes out, due to a relatively new system, and a need to provide low level material to have something to encourage new players. APs are being sanctioned MUCH more rapidly than has historically been the case for PFS (we have sanctioning documents for the next book as well as the one just coming out),and SFS players looking for new material are more likely to buy at 7th, where they can apply Chronicles immediately, than 13th, where they don’t have a character available.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

<shrug> Then what's the point of including high levels in These rules at all, if the devs are not willing to write for them?

Dark Archive

magnuskn wrote:
<shrug> Then what's the point of including high levels in These rules at all, if the devs are not willing to write for them?

Homebrew.

Also, Pathfinder is only now getting it's very first AP that goes from level 1-20 at the end of it's life cycle.
I imagine it's impossible to get to level 20 when you have only 6 books with 64 pages & one advancement track, so i guess they have to do APs which start at a higher level.

I want to continue playing my Dead Suns character beyond level 13 (we're level 6 now in book #3), but that campaign will be finished at the end of the year if everything stays as it is.
Starfinder is 13 months old, give it some time. ;-)


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I was more talking about levels 17 of 18, which plenty of AP's have done. And reaching level 20 is only a question of getting enough XP, which Starfinder, as a brand-new system, should have been built for in the first place.

Dark Archive

magnuskn wrote:
I was more talking about levels 17 of 18, which plenty of AP's have done. And reaching level 20 is only a question of getting enough XP, which Starfinder, as a brand-new system, should have been built for in the first place.

Where i agree with you is this:

We now have three APs (very probably four, if Dawn of Flame starts at level 1) which cap at a maximum level of 13 in (the first) 1,5 years of Starfinder.

That is too much low level content.
It's good that "SoS" starts at level 7, but it would be better if AP #4 would start at level 11, 12 or 13 and not again at level 1.
Otherwise, as you have said, there is no way to playtest higher levels than 13 with official content.
Starfinder Society will not reach levels that high soon, if ever.
AP #5 HAS to start at a higher level, especially if it is another "short AP".

There are not many people (yet) which have played through the entire "Dead Suns" AP, but i imagine once there are, there will be a significant demand for higher level APs.

Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
magnuskn wrote:
<shrug> Then what's the point of including high levels in These rules at all, if the devs are not willing to write for them?

Because the number of people whose homegrown games reach high levels is apparently higher than the number of people whose games ran off premade adventures reach high levels.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Gorbacz wrote:
magnuskn wrote:
<shrug> Then what's the point of including high levels in These rules at all, if the devs are not willing to write for them?
Because the number of people whose homegrown games reach high levels is apparently higher than the number of people whose games ran off premade adventures reach high levels.

A fair point.

Dark Archive

Milo v3 wrote:
Damn, I cannot really afford to spend $20+ AUD on just a theme. Hope other people enjoy the book though.

Colonist Theme:

:
+1 Con,
Identifying average creatures with life science is as easy for you, as to identify very common ones,
survival = class skill.
at 6th you can provide for more creatures with survival than normal & grant them bonuses.
at 12th you can reroll against poison, disease or weather.
At 18th you can regain resolve by predicting the weather.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Maps, Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Robert G. McCreary wrote:

High-level adventures (and Adventure Paths) tend to sell fewer copies than lower-level ones. As a result, we produce fewer high-level adventures.

One reason we're starting Signal of Screams at a higher level than usual for APs (7th level instead of 1st level) is to experiment with the AP format and see if people are interested in buying APs that start at higher levels. If Signal of Screams does well (i.e., there's a strong market for higher-level campaigns), we may look at more higher-level APs. If not, then we're unlikely to do so.

Lower-level adventures have everything to do with economics, and nothing to do with a lack of confidence in our rules.

I understand this post doesn't directly relate to the thread topic but this is the message I need to reply to so apologies in advance to the moderation team...

Anyway, I'm hoping you might be able to answer this Rob. I'm very interested in high-level (level 15+) content for Starfinder but I'm not so interested in the genre of the next adventure path. How else can I show my interest and support in high-level content without purchasing an adventure path I'm likely not going to use?

Dark Archive

Very good question, Sharrakor.

I guess Paizo HAS to produce an AP which covers higher levels than 12 after "Dawn of Flame", because it is impossible to reach a higher level with a standard 6 book AP of 64 pages and one advancement track if you start at 1st level, without making it either very combat-heavy or changing the format to have fewer pages of articles.

As it is now, all AP volumes conclude their story on page 35 or 37 & have 16 pages of variable content, 8 pages of Alien Archives & 1 page each for the codex of worlds, open game license and advertisement.

So theoretically it is possible to make an AP which reaches higher levels than 13 by only using creatures from the two Alien Archives hardcovers and reducing articles.

If you reduce the additional content from 25 to 12 pages & lenghten the adventure 13 pages, characters could advance one additional level per volume, bringing them to level 19 instead of 13 at the end of the campaign.

That would be a possible solution to test higher level play without having to start an AP at higher levels than 1st.

What do you other Starfinder players think: higher level start APs or longer adventure content at the cost of less additional content (like it is the case with "Pathfinder AP: Return of the Runelords")?


Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Maps, Pathfinder Accessories, PF Special Edition Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Superscriber

They could produce a one off module at level thirteen. That could act as a sequel to Dead Suns, Signal of Screams and Dawn of Flame for those who want to continue playing into the higher levels, plus it would test the waters and see if there’s a significant market for high level content.

We’ve just hit fifteenth level in our game (we never made it that far in PF) and it seems to run pretty smoothly. We’re starting to run into the autofailorsucceed skill problem. Combat is working fine though.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

As someone who is interested in running Starfinder if the devs would give out at least one real high-level AP, the latter idea seems the best.

Dark Archive

Steve Geddes wrote:

They could produce a one off module at level thirteen. That could act as a sequel to Dead Suns, Signal of Screams and Dawn of Flame for those who want to continue playing into the higher levels, plus it would test the waters and see if there’s a significant market for high level content.

We’ve just hit fifteenth level in our game (we never made it that far in PF) and it seems to run pretty smoothly. We’re starting to run into the autofailorsucceed skill problem. Combat is working fine though.

While i'd instantly buy a stand-alone module of higher level, i don't think Paizo will do one in the immedeate future and focus the resources on the AP line.

I hope that Signal of Screams will sell well enough to warrant a higher level AP.

Thank you for the info about gameplay up to 15th level, Steve!

The auto-success/fail thing is something that already happens a lot in our 6th level game, but it's very good to know that the combat holds up. :-)

Are you playing a homebrew adventure?
There are not a lot of high CR creatures in the Alien Archive, did you create your own?


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Yeah, more info on high level play, please. :)


So, I submitted my review of Reach of Empire. I like the shorter APs immensely, even if I had structure and story problems with RoE.

This AP installment marked the beginning of my 2nd Starfinder campaign and 1st Starfinder AP. I even created a Star Wars style opening crawl to kick things off!

Starfinder continues to be a huge crowd pleaser for my players, with every excited to try out their particular species/class combo. The game just runs very smoothly and is straight-up fun to play.

I'm glad Starfinder AP installments are now monthly but I really think the page count needs to rise on par with PF AP installments. There were a lot of missed opportunities in this adventure that I believe are probably due to page count restriction more than the adventure writing.

While I think Paizo is doing a really good job of balancing personal/on-the-'ground' and starship adventuring, I really wish vehicles would get some attention. Reach of Empire sends a strong Endor vibe and it just seemed like a huge oversight not having some kind of speeder chase/combat in the game. Also, the presence of starships and vehicles means the reach of the players is much greater than your typical FRPG (esp. at low levels) and adventure design should account for that.

All in all, though. I really like the premise/plot of this AP overall and hope these shorter APs become more prevalent.


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In case anyone's interested, here's the opening crawl that I used at Star Wars Intro Creator.

Somewhere, across time and space...

STARFINDER

AGAINST THE AEON THRONE

PART 1: THE REACH OF EMPIRE

It is a turbulent time in the galaxy.

The loose alliance of the PACT WORLDS drives interstellar expansion for dozens of species throughout the galaxy. New colonies are established across NEAR SPACE and THE VAST by pioneers, pilgrims, research teams, and corporations. Many seek a life of adventure among the stars.

One such starship crew races through THE DRIFT on a mission to transport supplies to a colony on the mist-shrouded forest world of NAKONDIS. There, they also hope to meet up with CEDONA, an old friend.

Unbeknownst to the crew, the evil AZLANTI STAR EMPIRE has arrived in the system and mercilessly occupied the colony. Unless the crew can overthrow the Azlanti occupation force, the invaders’ mysterious mission may spell doom for the galaxy...


Paizo Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Cool!

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