Starfinder Society Scenario #1-28: It Rests Beneath

4.60/5 (based on 5 ratings)

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A Starfinder Society Scenario designed for levels 1-4.

Dispatched by the Wayfinders' faction leader to a Near Space world, the PCs have orders to assist a local Starfinder research outpost. The outpost's head researcher sends the PCs on a mission to explore a strange calcified region, which soon reveals that there's more happening on this world than first appears.

Written by Jason Tondro

Scenario Tags: Faction (Wayfinders), Vehicle

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

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4.60/5 (based on 5 ratings)

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Pedestrian Encounters, But Good RP Opportunities

3/5

NO SPOILERS

It Rests Beneath uses a classic science-fiction trope to good effect. It’s a scenario that focuses on the exploration side of the Starfinder Society and requires some interesting group decisions. It’s not an action-heavy scenario, nor one that’s hard or difficult for the PCs. Although some of the encounters are a bit bland, on the whole it was fun. I played through it with my (now BANNED!) homage to Stephen Hawking, Professor Reivax Kipe.

SPOILERS!:

The briefing takes place on the Master of Stars, and it looks like the SFS flagship is getting close to being ready for business! Fitch, leader of the Wayfinders faction (and busy grandma) delivers the mission succinctly. The PCs need to travel to a planet in Near Space called Vabaimus and deliver geological survey equipment and scouting vehicles for a research station that has discovered a strange landmass: a plateau hundreds of miles across covered in a slick, gray shell. Vabaimus doesn’t have any intelligent life, though it does have some sloth-like native fauna that someday may develop sentience. It’s a pretty straightforward briefing, and there’s not much for the PCs to do but hop in a spaceship and blast off. One very cool thing is that the PCs can bring their own vehicles with them!

The journey to Vabaimus is uneventful (i.e., there’s no starship combat in this scenario). Upon landing, the PCs meet their main contact at the research station in the form of a scientist named Dr. Mora Montressi (depicted with cuddly xeno-sloth!). Montressi explains that they’ve named the strange, gray calcium-like plateau “Big Mina” and want to use the newly-arrived equipment to do a full interior scan. To accomplish this, three sensor towers have to be set up around the perimeter of the landmass. Because scientists are lazy, the PCs who just travelled 3d6 days in space have to haul the equipment around and set up the towers. Before sending the PCs off, Montressi notes one interesting recent find: an abandoned kasathan starship, obviously centuries old. The PCs are free to investigate it if they wish.

The middle part of the adventure has the PCs travelling to each of the three necessary sites (in any order) to set up the signalling equipment. Montressi says there’s no hurry, but in fact one aspect of the secondary success condition is how quickly the towers get set up (which requires a bunch of largely meaningless piloting and navigation skill checks). Anyway!

One of the sites, Forsaken Canyon, is (as the name would suggest) a very treacherous rocky area. As the PCs try to set up the tower (which requires someone with decent Computers or Engineering), a small flock of native creatures called stonegulls swoop in. The stonegulls aren’t really much of a combat danger, but I like how the scenario explicitly provides a stealth-based option to avoid them.

Another site, The Windy Cliffs (such clever names these scientists gave the planet’s landmarks!), requires some physical skill checks to brace the tower as it’s being assembled. The danger here are some natural phenomena (tying into the big reveal at the end of the scenario) that are stylized as traps. All the traps do is immobilize a PC, so they’re really not dangerous at all since there’s no other combats in this scene. I guess maybe they’re a clue as to what the landmass will turn out to be.

A final site, an unnamed dry riverbed, has a kasathan crest-eater (or two, depending on subtier) for the PCs to defeat before they can assemble the tower. Clever PCs might make a connection between a kasathan predator and a crashed kasathan ship. The fun part of this encounter is that the PCs can ram their vehicles into the crest-eaters (something Professor Kipe embraced wholeheartedly—he’s a maniac behind the wheel!).

Once the three towers are assembled, Dr. Montressi can get a full 3-D scan of the interior of the strange landmass, and she makes a startling discoverly: it’s a living creature! Big Mina is actually a creature from another world who arrived on Vabaimus as a fist-sized organism, slowly expanding over the millennia into its present size. Doc Montressi would like the PCs to investigate Big Mina by venturing into it through wide tunnels that all converge on a central chamber with a crystal giving off tremendous amounts of energy—probably its brain!

As the PCs enter the tunnels, the GM can choose one of two encounters to give them: a weird hazard involving gluey goo nozzles or a battle against “cavern cleaners” (vermin who have a symbiotic relationship with Big Mina). I played through the hazard encounter and didn’t think it worked very well. The cavern cleaners would be more fun, as their special ability is to yank a PC right out of their armor! However, the hazard encounter is the one that leads to the abandoned kasathan ship, which turns out to be the vessel of an explorer from the Idari who met her end on the planet. The writing here is pretty good, and makes effective use of setting lore about kasathas.

Once the PCs reach Big Mina’s brain, a scan reveals that Big Mina will continue to slowly expand until, someday, it covers the entire planet. This will displace all native flora and fauna (including the sloths). However, Big Mina isn’t a malevolent creature—it’s not even sentient. Dr. Montressi asks the PCs for their advice on what should be done, and it's a great moral question for the group to debate. Should they kill Big Mina to save the planet’s native life? Should they let nature take its course, and leave it alone? Or should they take the (very risky) action of trying to "lobotomize" the crystalline brain so that Big Mina stays alive but doesn’t grow any further? Although the idea of a living creature as big as a mountain isn’t an original one in science-fiction, the scenario does a great job of getting the PCs involved in an interesting decision that (hopefully) brings out some good role-playing. I liked it.

Overall, I guess I have to slot It Rests Beneath in the “average” category. The encounters are fairly pedestrian, but the conclusion is really interesting. It’s not a complicated adventure to run or play, and might be a good choice to introduce newcomers to the game and give them a feel that Starfinder Society is more than just tactical combat.


Space Shrimp

5/5

A great scenario.
Fun NPCs, cool things to run around and do, some tough fights (NOTE: there is one very tough encounter if all are pure level 1's!.
And a GREAT Alien to encounter... won't spoiler, but it is huge!


Another Good Wayfinder Scenario

5/5

I have run this scenario twice at tier 1-2.

This felt like a great scenario that presents a number of interesting combats, each very different from one another, and it ends with a wonderful science fiction appropriate sort of question to the party. Each part of the scenario feels very well paced and while there aren't too many NPCs for the party to spend with, it feels like enough to give the party just enough to make this scenario feel like a complete and well rounded experience. It doesn't have major plot tie ins to prior adventures and it feels perfectly fine as a one shot adventure.

I would match the recommendation that this serves as a great sort of introduction into Starfinder and the format of Starfinder Society.

I do wish the vehicle portion of this adventure could be more relevant. As it is there is only one encounter that offers much of any ability to use them and it feels just as reasonable to ignore the vehicles all together. That might be a reasonable choice at this tier to avoid too much complicated vehicle combat, but at higher level adventures I would like to see more vehicle interaction in scenarios with the vehicle tag.


A strong and interesting outing

5/5

This is one that rewards all of your science-interested wayfinder characters. This adventure featured lots of cool Mass Effect style exploration of this strange unknown calcified region and presents a legitimate science ethics question and gives the players a proper chance to consider and apply their character's perspectives on things.

Nothing about this one wasn't cool and/or interesting. Great One Off and good introduction to the game.


5/5

Let me start by saying that this is one of the only scenarios to feature vehicle combat, so if your character happens to own a vehicle, this is definitely the scenario to bring them on!

This scenario tasks the PCs with assisting a science team in performing a survey of a strange landmass. Nearly 85,000 square miles in size, with no water or plant-life, this calcified plateau is of great interest. Your asked to travel across the plateau to three specific locations, set up some specialized towers you brought with you, and calibrate surveying equipment atop of each one.

Each tower has its own challenges, hazards, and enemies to contend with. There’s multiple vehicles your PCs can choose from, (or bring your own!) and the towers can be tackled in any order. There’s a simple vehicle handout that will be useful for both players and GMs, which is a nice touch.

I love how flavourful the new creatures and environmental hazards are. A lot of thought has gone into ensuring they fit into their ecosystem — which is particularly important when players are surveying an environment.

Spoiler:
Also, I particularly enjoyed the mystery of the old kasathan ship.

I do have one nitpick. Page three is missing half of a sentence at the end of the first section, which I assume should read something along the lines of ‘up to help,’ ‘up to lend a hand,’ or something else similar. It’s not a hindrance to the scenario. You can still get the gist of what it’s supposed to be saying, but it was jarring enough that it caused me to look around in confusion for a half a minute, to make sure I hadn’t missed anything. A minor distraction in an otherwise enjoyable read.

Overall, I loved I this scenario! The premise is different from any that have come before. It was engaging all the way through, with a wonderful array of social interactions, skill-based encounters, hazards, and combat. The enemies and hazards were all well-thought out. The NPCs were properly engaging and ‘real.’ And, best of all, your PCs have to make an important decision regarding the future of this planet. Really top notch! Although it didn’t blow my mind, like some other amazing Starfinder adventures, it was an… understated awesome.


Dark Archive

1 person marked this as a favorite.

A calcified region?

Are you ready for the Starfinder Medusa?! ;-)

Sczarni

Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Oh man, glad I looked ahead. I have a Dwarf motorcycle rider that'll be perfect for this ^_^


Hide behind the mound of dead copaxi bards...

Paizo Employee Organized Play Lead Developer

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Maps appearing in this adventure:

This scenario uses the following:

  • Pathfinder Flip-Mat: Hill Country
  • Pathfinder Flip-Mat: Twisted Cavern
  • Starfinder Flip-Mat: Asteroid

  • 1 person marked this as a favorite.
    Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Society Subscriber

    Looks like there is an edit error in the background information just before the summary. At the bottom of the column, it cuts off mid-sentence.

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