Starfinder Society Scenario #1-36: Enter the Ashen Asteroid

4.50/5 (based on 6 ratings)

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A Starfinder Society Scenario designed for levels 1-4.

When the dwarven miners of Ulrikka Clanholdings unearth a complex belonging to their erstwhile duergar kin on an asteroid in the Diaspora, they call on the Starfinder Society to investigate. As the duergar have very few remaining outposts or ruins left within the Pact Worlds system, investigating the asteroid complex is a rare opportunity to learn about ancient dwarven history. However, the duergar were masters of trap-forging and the creation of harmful machinery that they regularly employed in the defense of their homes. Can the PCs overcome these traps and foes to uncover the truth of the Ashen Asteroid?

Written by Larry Wilhelm

Scenario Tags: None

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

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4.50/5 (based on 6 ratings)

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Feels like a newly minted classic!


This is one of the best modules I've been in. You have so much going on in this adventure that it is just incredible. So many creative options for people to experience a little bit of everything in the StarFinder universe.

The theme is dark and gritty and the fights are just amazing. You are on the edge of your seat for each and every encounter. And when things go crazy the players have so much freedom to try non-conventional means to win. It is a thrilling and amazing adventure and you have to play this one!

Not Groundbreaking, but Well-Written



I played Enter the Ashen Asteroid with Officer Swizzers, my skittermander Steward. This is primarily an exploration, skills, and combat scenario, though there is some room for role-playing near the end. It has a largely self-contained (but interesting) story, and would make a good scenario for players who have RPG experience but are new to Starfinder. The setting makes good use of some classic SF tropes.


A new Venture-Captain, a dwarf named Thromkendal, delivers the briefing aboard an Ulrikka Clanholdings ship navigating the Diaspora. Thromkendal explains that the company has discovered a mineral-rich asteroid that, upon closer inspection, turned out to contain a secret complex dedicated to Droskar (an evil dwarven deity worshipped by Duergar--so-called "grey dwarves"). Based on an agreement between the company and the Starfinder Society, the latter has three days to conduct an investigation and retrieve any artifacts before the incensed dwarves blow the entire asteroid to pieces! The PCs, of course, are the Starfinders charged with undertaking the exploration. It's a solid adventure hook, though I wish Thromkendal had been given a more memorable personality.

After entering the complex, the Starfinders begin in a massive cavern with catwalks and machinery built high above molten lava below. The custom map for this is very cool (especially the colouring), even if it's a bit complex to take in everything that it contains. In essence, the Duergar who lived in the complex centuries ago built an enormous machine (that the scenario calls the Solarian Stone) to conduct magical-technological experiments involving harnessing the fundamental forces of the universe. The PCs have to figure out how to reactivate the Solarian Stone in order to progress further, because the machine also powers a set of massive doors leading further into the complex. The scenario provides two ways to do this: one involving an engineering/computers approach and one involving a mystical approach. It's a fairly elaborate multi-step process that probably takes up the first third of the scenario. When I played, our group just couldn't figure it out. But, fortunately, the scenario provided an option for dummies like us: explosives! PCs who are stuck can get detonators from Ulrikka Clanholdings to just blow open the doors (losing some rewards in the process, but that's only fair).

The middle part of the scenario consists of some general exploration and (fairly abstract) skill checks to accumulate a certain number of successes in order to find out clues about what happened in the complex. Although the mechanics are a bit . . . meh . . . the backstory is very interesting. When the Gap ended, the Duergar found themselves in the complex and didn't know quite why. They undertook experiments using the Solarian Stone, but also experimented on augmenting their slaves (trox). A dwarf law enforcement officer eventually infiltrated the facility and worked with the trox to start a rebellion and introduce a virus into the complex's computers, but he was discovered and killed. When the Duergar eventually succumbed and everyone in the complex was dead, some of their spirits arose as undead. This backstory is scattered throughout some different places, but it makes for a satisfying tale once pieced together.

The last part of the scenario starts with exploration of a factory level in the complex. Here, the PCs have to fight off an awesome monster first created way, way back in Crown of the Kobold King: a Forge-Spurned. (You really can't beat the artwork for this thing!) But the PCs' job isn't over when they leave the complex. They need to reach a consensus on what should be done with the asteroid (destroy it, preserve it for further study, or some sort of combination) and then persuade Ulrikka Clanholder executives in a presentation. I liked the mechanics here--every PC needs to pitch in, there's a broad but not crazy array of useful skills, and process is elegant while still bringing out some role-playing. The decision reached by the executives affect the fate of the asteroid (and the boons that the PCs get on their Chronicles).

It could just be the Diet Mountain Dew talking, but I like Enter the Ashen Asteroid more now than I did while playing it. Back then, it seemed like a pretty average SF dungeon-crawl. After reading the scenario though, I can see how well put together the story is and appreciate a lot of the little touches that went into it. It's not a ground-breaking scenario, but what it does, it does well.

Excellent Scenario with Lots of Lore (be prepared)


I played this Scenario (#1-36) on 05/12/2020, low-subtier, 7 PCs in Total.

Story: The story is exciting with some puzzles and twists that takes place in the Pact Worlds Asteroid belt/cluster.

Beware: There is a lot of lore references in this adventure. Luckily there were some Starfinders in the party that were aware of the background that pertained to the story arc. I believe it's important to play SFS Scenarios in a somewhat chronological order so that you aren't left in the dark when it comes to deep lore dives. I recommend playing the previous Scenarios prior so you can enjoy this one properly.

Difficulty: With so many Starfinders in our party, the difficulty was negligible. However, with a smaller party (e.g. party of 4), I imagine things could get messy.

Overall an enjoyable adventure!

Enjoyable scenario, but OP boss


I enjoyed the scenario itself, it's an interesting dungeon, Larry Wilhelm has shown several times before that he can deliver them. The boss though is really absurdly tough for low tier. I don't think this scenario would be playable if the party includes multiple pregens. (Which, for a scenario with 1-2 tier, is kind of a requirement.)

Prepare Carefully Before Running


This is an interesting scenario with a lot of unusual elements working together. The GM really needs to understand this scenario prior to running it. As a result, I really enjoyed running this scenario with its complexity.

The author quickly introduces us to a very low gravity environment and seems to have thought a lot about how it works. That has made it into the scenario in a number of places and affects the plot. When I ran the scenario, one of the players really got into the mood and started jumping around the battlefield like John Carter of Mars. [In retrospect, I’m thinking that the character, when jumping a long distance, should target the square that they want to jump at. Then roll a ranged attack roll against AC 5 (with a 20’ range increment) to see if the character hits the desired square. If a miss, use grenade miss rules to determine where they land.]

The scenario gives multiple options to resolve each of the scenario challenges. The group I ran had a good spread of skills (operative, technomancer, mechanic, and soldier) and they were able to succeed at most of the skill checks to keep the story moving.

Overall, this scenario was an outstanding presentation and I only have a few nits:
1) Large creatures in area A can be a problem in high tier and there isn’t a lot of room to maneuver; I suspect they won’t be as much of a challenge in high tier. The creatures attacked near the large door and there is only room for two at a time on the bridge.
2) The encounter in area B was too easily bypassed. This could be an exciting battle area if the enemy creatures used abilities that could move the PCs around (allowing some of the referenced low gravity rules to come into play).
3) When aligning the lens in area C1, the text incorrectly references the Development section on page 17; however, the information the GM needs is at the top of page 18.

Combat Difficulty:
In low tier, the combat were very challenging. First-level characters can easily be taken out of the fight by one critical (or two hits). Characters who are stable but are at 0 or 1 hit points are extremely vulnerable to the self-destruct damage and being forced to expend another RP. Our first-level soldier was down to one RP after the first fight (knocked out, stabilize, get back in the fight, and stabilize again after the self-destruct).

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Ancient ruins on an asteroid? Yet another Pathfinder race getting in to Starfinder? You have my attention, proceed.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

This sounds like the perfect opportunity for Jadrin Handcart, dwarven technomancer and dream prophet, to test her mettle! I'll be waiting eagerly.

Paizo Employee Starfinder Society Developer

Maps Appearing in this Adventure:
-Pathfinder Flip-Mat: Elemental Planes (Fire Side)
-Two Half-Page Custom Maps

Okay, it says this product was autopurchased by me yesterday via subscription, but it hasn't been added to my downloads. As well as 1-37.

Downloads came in.

Grand Lodge

DoubleGold wrote:
Downloads came in.

I have a sub for SFS mods Since December, and I havent received any after 1-35, back in March. Just went and tried to "re-purchase" the subscription, and was informed I already have teh sub.....but the mods have not hit my downloads yet. I need to hit lvl 9 before Origins :)

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Massive maps question:
There is one really massive map in this scenario, with three areas separated by a lot of space, but where the party and the monsters could conceivably occupy different rooms simultaneously. How is everyone handling this? It’s bigger than my largest wet erase battlemat.

Question about door

It is written, that asteroid lice from location B can soften door in A3. How? Door has hardness 30, lice decrease it by 10 to 20 - and do nothing even on high tier with 2d4+3=11 damage

I played this at GenCon and loved the unexpected throwback to Crown of the Kobold King. It was a very fun scenario.

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