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

3.50/5 (based on 6 ratings)

Our Price: $5.99

Add to Cart
Facebook Twitter Email

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.

Product Availability

Fulfilled immediately.

Are there errors or omissions in this product information? Got corrections? Let us know at


See Also:

1 to 5 of 6 << first < prev | 1 | 2 | next > last >>

Average product rating:

3.50/5 (based on 6 ratings)

Sign in to create or edit a product review.

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.

An excellent scenario to run multiple times


This review is primarily intended to provide feedback to the Organized Play team (as they have requested) and for GMs. While I’ve tried to keep this review relatively spoiler free, I recommend that players who are interested in playing this scenario move to the next review.
There is a lot to like in Heart of the Foe. As Meloriel posted, this is a complex scenario and should not be attempted by inexperienced GMs or someone who has not had time to prepare. Conversely, this is the type of scenario I would love to run at a convention so that I can better internalize what needs to be managed from session to session. There is a lot going on and the GM needs to have a solid understanding of the entire scenario and how pieces interact to run it well.
I’m giving a 4-star review because the scenario has many excellent qualities to it, but is brought down by omissions of required details and inflicting arbitrary rules on the players.

I applaud the idea of having some sort of negative repercussions to keeping environmental systems sealed. I really wish the CRB had addressed this in some way instead of leaving it to scenario writers. However, this attempt falls flat. It doesn’t make sense that snow buildup would affect someone’s helmet but not affect their face. How difficult should it really be to clear the snow off of a helmet compared to one’s face?
The travel section is interesting and has a lot going on. But this section would go completely differently if a PC brings a vehicle. The vehicle should take damage from the crash landing, but it should be functional (unless very low level or unlucky). While a GM could disallow a PC from bringing a vehicle on the shuttle, this could unfairly penalize a character who has heavily invested in a vehicle (like one of my local players who dropped 32,000 credits on a vehicle and was still wearing Second Skin armor at 8th level - that character did not play this scenario).
I got into a good rhythm working through the storm hazards and investigation along the trip. Rather than give the PCs the clues as they went along, I recorded successes and failures and gave them the results shortly before entering the city. However, I didn’t correctly note that encounter A takes place in the middle of the trip.
For GMs, I recommend some sort of physical token representing the headpiece to put in front of any player that chooses to wear it. That will make it easier for you to remember that they have it. (A crown from Burger King would suffice.)
I thought the map for encounter A was not the best choice. A larger map makes sense to me since that could give advantage to PCs that spot the enemy to strike from a longer distance. I imagined using the old Mountain Pass flip-mat with either the PCs surprising the enemy from the cliffs above (if they sneak up on the enemy), in the valley (if they perceive the enemy but fail to sneak up), or the PCs walking into an ambush (with the enemy on the cliffs). [Unfortunately, that map is out of print and really should be a part of the Classics line since it has been used in many scenarios.]
In terms of layout, the Development section would be better if it is in front of the Creatures section. Doing so would have been very helpful in making sure that I called out the observer during the combat. It would have also been helpful if that section was in its own paragraph (to help draw the GMs attention).
The scenario states that the PCs cannot rest if they have taken any nonlethal cold damage. How does this make sense? It does make sense that environmental seals be up such that the PC is no longer exposed to the cold condition. Requiring 20 minutes for a rest instead of 10 minutes just seems odd since the only restriction in the CRB is uninterrupted rest.
Encounter B has another odd map choice. Since this encounter is in a city, I would have chosen something like City Streets or Slum Quarter. The current map doesn’t really make it feel like the group is in a city. I also think that starting the chase with the PCs in the middle of a city map would feel more natural (though it certainly worked as written).
I wasn’t sure where to run the encounter and put the PCs on the south side. The start of the combat is interesting, but I wasn’t quite sure how to initiate it. I had the enemy crash the vehicle (and exit the vehicle) at the start of the surprise round and then had PCs acting in the surprise round go next. One possibility is for the vehicle to come around the corner just before the start of the surprise round, then the PCs (who can act in the surprise round) would have an opportunity to shoot the vehicle (possibly disabling it) or at the enemy before the vehicle attempts to ram someone.
The action really picks up with the chase scene. I like the idea of using the Vehicle chase rules with some alternative skill choices. It’s also a very nice touch that skill check successes in a previous section matter.
Unfortunately, some details to run the chase are missing for the enemy side. The enemy horde isn’t given a vehicle tech level, so there is no DC for horde actions. (I used the party APL to set the DCs.) The PCs have the opportunity to attack the horde, but no EAC/KAC is given. (The scenario author has recommended values in the SFS GM prep thread.) No rules are given for area of effect spells. One of my players wanted to use Hurl Forcedisk, I allowed him to do so. Should the grapple attack roll be against normal KAC or against KAC+8; I recommend normal KAC to give the horde a reasonable chance of grappling and providing more urgency for the PCs to fight off the horde.
My PCs had no difficulty in damaging the horde enough to free a grappled PC. They had nearly killed horde after only two rounds. They then escaped as I rolled poorly for the horde attempting to keep up and the party escaped.
The final battle ended up being quite exciting. I liked that the fight occurs on a multi-level structure as that makes jump jets and jetpacks useful in the fight. The players were challenged by having the demon at one end and reinforcements coming from the other end. The demon can really be tough with his spell-like abilities. If successful is summoning another one, this fight could turn brutal.
The players selected the aid option of having the Starfinders freed and armed. I gave the players control of the freed Starfinders in the battle; GMs might want to print the statblock out for the players. They were quite aggressive with that and one of the Starfinders died. It would have been nice if the Starfinders at least had one RP so that they could stabilize him; then the PCs would have to consider using resources to get him up and moving again.
This is a complex battle. I forgot about the traps (described in the text, but not marked on the map). I also forgot about Jadnura’s support until fairly late in the combat (though they didn’t end up needing the help).
I look forward to running this scenario again where I expect that I’ll do a better job of presentation.



Perspective: GMed this at high tier for a 4-player party.

I like the flavor of it a lot. It sets a nice tense situation, and rewards the players with finally finding out more about who these jinsuls really are and what's driving them. (Also, no complaints about the loot.)

I'm a little less enchanted with the mechanical execution. It requires quite some GM prep to run smoothly and ought to have had the [vehicle] tag just to signify you should have those rules fresh in mind.

On high tier I felt the combat was a bit on the easy side, but I suspect it'll be exactly on the sweet spot on low tier.

1 to 5 of 6 << first < prev | 1 | 2 | next > last >>
Paizo Employee Starfinder Society Developer

2 people marked this as a favorite.

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?

Community / Forums / Paizo / Product Discussion / Starfinder Society Scenario #1-34: Heart of the Foe All Messageboards

Want to post a reply? Sign in.