Starfinder Society Scenario #1-34: Heart of the Foe

3.10/5 (based on 8 ratings)

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A Starfinder Society Scenario designed for levels 3-6.

As the malicious jinsuls continue their conquest of the Scoured Stars system after chasing out the Starfinder Society, the Society's leaders have banded together to learn more of their new rivals. Before attacking the Scoured Stars, the jinsuls had adopted a new homeworld out in the Vast. The PCs join an expedition to this largely abandoned and hazardous planet in hopes of uncovering the origins of the jinsul menace.

Content in Heart of the Foe follows-up on the events of Starfinder Society #1-99: The Scoured Stars Invasion, though playing the previous scenario is not required. Content in this scenario also contributes to the ongoing goals of the Second Seekers (Jadnura) faction, Second Seeker (Luwazi Elsebo) faction and to the ongoing year of the Scoured Stars storyline.

Written by Nicholas Wasko

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

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

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I love the bad guys who are the Jinsuls. And their is a lot to love in this with multiple combats that push you to the edge of your seats. But then the mod takes a weird turn and tries to be like the "local helps you trope" from a b-film. It doesn't work as this comes out of left field and I wish their was a better lead up to why you want to trust this guy. final fight is kinda cool with a little extra. But it reads better as a story than as an adventure.

Bunch of stupid mechanics and checks



Irritating Plot Contrivances



I think Heart of the Foe is a useful lesson to scenario writers in why temptation needs to sometimes be resisted. It contains several scenes that, in the abstract, could be pretty cool and memorable--but then it delivers them in a ham-handed, illogical manner. The connecting tissue between encounters, along with things like pacing and delivery, are just as important as the encounters themselves in setting up an adventure that seems tense and exciting rather than ridiculously forced. There are some bits of the scenario I like, but on the whole I can't really recommend it except for players who are deeply invested in the season meta-story.


Heart of the Foe starts with a briefing that's a little different than the norm: both Jadnura and Luwazi Elsebo are there. It's a good nod to their contested leadership of the Starfinder Society, and I like how different portions of the briefing are delivered by them. A good opportunity for some GM role-playing. But that's style. The substance of the briefing is also pretty exciting. By mind-melding (or whatever) with the Tears (artifacts from previous scenarios), Jadnura has learned a set of coordinates in space that seem to be the home planet of the jinsuls! Jadnura and Luwazi plan to jointly lead a mission to this planet (Rax) to search for clues about the jinsuls' culture and technology in order to better prepare for future conflicts which seem inevitable. The PCs will compose one of three different scout teams on the mission. Scenarios that are clearly part of the main overarching storyline are good at making a mission seem special and important.

The several weeks of travel through the Drift it takes to get to Rax are hand-waved. Once in orbit, each of the scout teams is assigned a shuttle and ordered to investigate the same prominent site of interest: the ruins of a city, a warm spot in an otherwise frozen wasteland. But getting there proves difficult! As the PCs' shuttle descends through the atmosphere, it's struck by an unnatural bolt of lightning that completely knocks out power to the ship. There's a classic crash landing scenario, which I think would have been more exciting if the scenario had milked it a bit more (instead of "one skill check and you hit the ground").

The PCs crash several miles from the ruined city and need to trek there on foot. The PCs can see the skyline of the city, so it should be pretty much a straight-line walk, but (for an unexplained reason) some successful Survival checks can get the group there twice as fast through the frozen wasteland. This caused much consternation in my group, as my PC started walking and then the others started walking, but because of the differential Survival checks, they arrived a couple of hours ahead of him--this then led to him missing out on large chunks of the scenario (which I found amusing even if the rest of the group didn't--we don't always get along!) There's also some environmental hazards (cold temperatures and a cumbersome "ashen snow clinging to your helmet" risk) and hourly not-so-random lightning strikes that are directed by a scrying sensor. During the 4 to 8 hour walk, the PCs constantly (depending on skill checks) come across an anthropologist's wet dream of discoveries--twelve different significant finds, each of which reveal something meaningful about jinsul culture. On the one hand, these reveal crucial and interesting backstory to the jinsul and develop them a bit beyond "giant evil bug monster" status. We learn in detail about their god Kadrical, the god's divine herald Dhurus, and how and why the jinsul recently abandoned Rax for a new homeworld. But on the other hand, I found the delivery of all this interesting information incredibly clunky. It slowed the scenario down to a crawl as the GM effectively has to read a page and a half of text. It's a classic example of why info-dumps need to be carefully handled when writing scenarios.

At some point during their walk, the PCs will realise that Rax isn't quite as abandoned as it might have seemed at first. A group of jinsuls, along with their animal bodyguards (jeskraals) will likely encounter the PCs for a battle above a frozen pond. We had a mormalaw in the party, which led to a cool scene of the walrus-like PC breaking through the ice at one end of the pond in order to emerge on the far side for a cinematic surprise attack. Little moments like that are part of why gaming can be so fun.

Further evidence that the jinsul haven't abandoned the place entirely comes when the PCs approach the ruined city and realise it is a) on fire and b) echoing with keening wails. In other words, the jinsul have apparently decided to destroy the city (a sign of their devotion to returning to the Scoured Stars) while conducting "debased blood rituals" throughout the streets. My PC wasn't with the group for what happened next, which is good because it would have really annoyed me. Apparently, the PCs, after realising that this city is full of jinsul, are expected to just walk right in. And then, apparently, they're not supposed to hear a large vehicle ("powered by a dirty petrol engine") literally sneak up behind them for a surprise attack. And then, apparently, when a (literal!) horde of jinsuls emerge, the PCs are expected to make a run for it instead of hiding or surrendering--despite the fact that jinsuls will naturally be faster than all but the fastest PCs. In other words, it's an incredibly contrived and poorly managed excuse to use the chase mechanics from the Core Rulebook. And the worst part of it is, it doesn't actually matter whether the PCs succeed in escaping or not. If they do succeed, they meet a super-cliché "sympathetic rebel jinsul" who gives them shelter; if they don't succeed and get captured, this very same figure automatically rescues them. I hate scenarios that are afraid to set real consequences for the very forces it has put into play.

The PCs will then be contacted by Luwazi Elsebo (the communication jamming has been miraculously penetrated) and told that one of the other Starfinder scout teams has been captured and will be sacrificed at an altar in the ruined city unless the PCs get there in time to rescue them. This leads to an admittedly-interesting big finale, as the PCs take on a towering beast of living smoke called a "kohkleim demon." Its ability to summon clouds of smoke makes it hard to pinpoint and fight, and the resulting battle was tense and exciting. The epilogue is brief but fine. For some reason, the scene where my PC chastises the ship's sensor operator for missing the fact that the city was *full* of life signs isn't included.

There's obviously a lot about Heart of the Foe that irritates me. It sets up some good beats that, in isolation, sound really cool--a starship crash, a desperate escape from a horde--but bungles their execution by poor plotting that almost insults the intelligence of the players. It does provide some interesting backstory on the jinsul and advances the meta-plot, but that's really the only reason I could recommend someone play it.

Poorly balanced for low tier


I played this as a level 3 envoy, with a second envoy, an exocortex mechanic and a mystic. The last fight lasted an hour and 15 minutes, during which time the PCs did approximately 20 damage to the boss. Nobody could hit him, two of us were knocked unconscious by lightning bolt spam, and the others just danced around waiting for the GMs bots to kill the boss. Not a very fun scenario to say the least. Afterwards, the GM told me the scenario put the exact same boss in both tiers. Just poorly designed in my opinion.

Space Fear


I loved this scenario, which is a foray into the Heart of Evil... where you understand all is not as it seems.
It is a nice blend of different elements (spying, tracking, trekking, fighting, rescuing...) and I had a blast.
Very strong story.

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Maps Appearing in this Adventure:

-Pathfinder Flip-Mat: Tech Dungeon
-Pathfinder Map-Pack: Frozen Sites
-Full Page Custom Map

Pathfinder Maps Subscriber

GM Question:

I had a player fall off of the chase vehicle and loose all of their weapons. In the next encounter the remaining players failed the diplomacy rolls with Ekkerah and therefore did not secure the Option to get the Players weapons back.

I ruled at the table that they has lost all of their weapons and cannot get them back but I am getting some push back after the game once the player realized how much it cost to replace their weapons.

Did I rule this right?

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