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.