Starfinder Society Scenario #1-38: The Many Minds of Historia

4.70/5 (based on 9 ratings)

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A Starfinder Society Scenario designed for levels 5-8.

Zigvigix, leader of the Exo-Guardians discovers something is wrong with their colleague and fellow faction leader, Historia-7. Traveling with Zigvigix into the Archives' Cortex at the heart of the Starfinder Society's home, the PCs come face to face with the unexpected truth behind what's happened to Historia-7. Enacting a desperate plan to assist Historia-7, the PCs soon find themselves racing to save both Zigvigix and Historia-7 from a threat that aims to topple the entire Starfinder Society.

Content in The Many Minds of Historia also contributes to the ongoing goals of the Dataphiles and Exo-Guardians factions. It also builds on events in Starfinder Society #1-99: The Scoured Stars Invasion, though playing that scenario is not necessary for this product.

Written by Lyz Liddell

Scenario Tags: Faction (Dataphiles), Faction (Exo-Guardians)

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

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4.70/5 (based on 9 ratings)

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Great Story, Bland Encounters

3/5

NO SPOILERS

I played The Many Minds of Historia several months ago with the Iconic Witchwarper. Reading it for the purposes of this review, I understand now what was happening--but at the time, I found it fairly confusing. The scenario requires players to make some leaps in terms of logic and plausibility. On the plus side, it does tell an interesting story and represents some major advancement in long-running subplots concerning some major Starfinder Society NPCs. I guess, overall, I have mixed feelings about it--a good idea that could have used a little more time in the oven to fully cook.

SPOILERS!:

The scenario starts intriguingly with a secret, telepathic-only, conversation with Zigvigix. The faction leader has become concerned that something has happened to Historia-7, as she's been acting strangely and has left some cryptic messages to him in the form of altered Star Sugar Heartlove??? album track lists. Zigvigix has jumped to a startling conclusion: that Historia-6 (Historia-7's predecessor, recently rescued from the Scoured Stars) has taken control of her and is pretending to be her! Ziggy wants to confront Historia-7/Historia-6 in the Lorespire Complex Archives, but doesn't want to go alone--hence, the PCs. I remember enjoying spotting all the discrepancies in the album track handout, though exactly how Ziggy (correctly, it turns out) reaches the conclusion that Historia-6 has taken control of Historia-7 still isn't something I understand.

In the archives' main area, called the Cortex, the Starfinders find Historia-7 plugged into a network. The revelation that she is being controlled by an outside force comes immediately as a protective dome slides over her and automated rifle turrets and security robots target the group. The protective dome is meant to be effectively impenetrable, but the scenario writer didn't count on my Witchwarper being able to effectively dimension door in! It didn't really matter though, because there's nothing the PCs can do to help Historia-7 here.

Instead, further exploration of other rooms in the Cortex reveal that Historia-6 has completely transferred his consciousness into Historia-7's body (abandoning his own, which is now completely burned out). He accomplished this through use of a device called an Abrogation Matrix, which is still in the compound. Zigvigix surmises that Historia-7's consciousness is trying to resist Historia-6's takeover (which is why she left cryptic clues), but that time is running out before his lady-love is destroyed completely! Through his telepathic powers and use of the Abrogation Matrix, Zigivigix is somehow (credulity . . . stretching . . . ) able to transfer the PCs' consciousnesses into a virtual mindscape to help her!

In the scenario, being in a mindscape is (disappointingly) almost exactly the same as normal life. There's no Inception or Matrix-level awesome alteration of one's surroundings here. PCs can spend resolve points to gain some minor benefits, but the costs are too high to make it worthwhile. The settings for the mindscape involve scenes from Historia-7's and Historia-6's memories, and these do provide some interesting backstory. We learn how Historia-7, before becoming a faction leader and then known as Celita, discovered that a senior Starfinder officer has been altering records to hide his theft of important relics. This discovery, and her successful confrontation of the man, is what first drew her to Historia-6's attention. The PCs get to relive the memory and try to resolve the situation again (exactly why this matters, I don't know). Another memory is of a Star Sugar Heartlove!!! concert, and the PCs need to stabilize it from data corruption.

Another scene is actually from Historia-6's past, and shows how Historia-5 took over his body! In fact, the a startling revelation is in store: there's essentially always been just one android ("Historia-Prime") who has used illegal technology to transcend from android body to android body for decades, always overriding the original consciousness of their chosen host body. (The mere existence of this technology is a pretty big deal for the setting, one would think.) The PCs thus need to "battle" mindscape manifestations of Historia-Prime in various scenes in order to save Historia-7. The idea sounds really exciting in the abstract, but essentially boils down to traditional encounters. Assuming the PCs are successful, Historia-Prime vacates Historia-'s body and transmits himself to an unknown location (perhaps to reappear in a future scenario? he would make a good season-long villain with his inside knowledge of the Society!). Historia-7 is saved, but decides to discard the legacy of Historia-Prime by returning to the name Celita (receiving nice new artwork in the process). It's a pretty cool and satisfying story arc for the character, and Ziggy/Historia-7 shippers will find their hearts swelling.

The Many Minds of Historia is one of those scenarios that tells a satisfying story, even if the actual gameplay comes across as fairly pedestrian. Battling virtual representations of a near-immortal android consciousness in a mindscape should be the basis for some crazy, trippy encounters of the type that we'd never get to see in the "real" world. But instead, we fight robots on a starship flip-mat and an ooze on a jungle flip-mat, and there's nothing to distinguish either from an encounter outside a mindscape. Nonetheless, I'd recommend the scenario for anyone invested in the long-simmering romance between Zigvigix and Historia-7.


Amazing stuff.

5/5

The only problem with this scenario that I've found is that it's pretty heavily tied-in with a bunch of previous plot hooks. So if you're a relatively new player, this probably won't have the same impact as if you'd played through a bunch of earlier season 1.

You get great characterization of Ziggy, some relatively balanced combats, some investigation... it even runs fast!

I've run and then played this and it earns its full five stars IMO.


Perfect Romp through the mind of a Fan Favorite NPC

5/5

This is the stuff you come to Organized Play for. Long term story telling with well-told callbacks that are fun for people who have played em all while still being enjoyable in their own right for people who haven't. Mindscapes are always a fun time and that final boss fight? Properly epic conclusion worthy.

My only regret is that Ziggy and Historia-7 are faction heads because it feels like it signals the idea that non-Dataphile/Exo-G characters shouldn't feel as invested and that's not really what I think the intent of faction is.


Fantastic Scenario

5/5

Great Scenario, play it!


A Fantastic Voyage from Start to Finish

5/5

I ran the high tier of this scenario for a group of six players. My review is in the spoiler tag below.

Review:

The Many Minds of Historia is one of the best-envisioned and best executed scenarios yet, and may very well be the best scenario of Season 1. Serving as a conclusion to the season 1 character arcs of Zigvigix and Historia-7 (such as they are), the scenario delves into the history of the tight-lipped leader of the Dataphiles faction in a unique and interesting way, while also looping in Zigvigix’s participation in a meaningful way.

The second half of the scenario is, perhaps, my favorite, taking place in the surreal realm of the Mindscape. The heroes must traverse Historia’s fragmented minds to locate the sinister intelligence that threatens her. The rules of the Mindscape are lightweight enough as to not bog down the adventure with complexity, and interesting enough as to encourage players to use them. At the same time, the way the players traverse the memories is sufficiently surreal, with the heroes walking through standing doors into separate scenes.

My one complaint, perhaps, is that the scenario was not weird enough. The jungle map in the final scene was a little disappointing, since the flip mats usually don’t have much in the way of set dressings that players can use to their advantage. Likewise, the final boss was somewhat unimpressive. While I imagine he would be more of a threat if allowed to spawn functional minions, the group I ran it for easily dispatched the foe with minimal stress on Zigvigix’s psyche.

The real problem with the scenario is not the scenario itself. Rather, it is with the supporting story leading up to the scenario. Zigvigix and Historia-7’s relationship has developed across several missions, but the details of that relationship are frequently told to the players and not really shown. This scenario, with Zigvigix gaining mental “stress points” in response to disturbing revelations about Historia-7’s well being are a nice mechanical expression of the host shirren’s interest in the android. (Other things stress Ziggy out, obviously, but many of the shirren’s psychological pain points in this scenario are centered around Historia-7.) The scenario’s emotional payoff is therefore blunted by the fact that preceding scenarios (especially Return to Sender, which relegated the evolution of Zigvigix and Historia-7’s relationship to a throwaway line) did not adequately prepare the emotional stakes.

Furthermore, the problem with Historia-7, while dramatic, comes a bit out of left field. Again, this has nothing to do with the scenario itself, but rather the fact that Data Breach did not do a good job showing the players that something is wrong. Should I have the opportunity to run Data Breach again, I would like to use more of the details revealed in The Many Minds of Historia to better foreshadow the developments in this scenario.

Ultimately, these gripes do nothing to detract from the experience within The Many Minds of Historia. The scenario is well-paced and well-written, and a definite testament to Lyz Liddell’s character writing chops. Hopefully we can continue to see stories of this quality in Season 2.


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Topple the entire Starfinder Society? That sounds bad. :o


Starfinder Charter Superscriber

This sounds like a really good one--the relationship between Zigvigix and Historia-7 is one of my favourite subplots.

Can't believe # 1-38 has already been announced. I keep playing regularly, but somehow keep falling further behind!

Dark Archive

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Nothing bad must happen to precious cinnamon roll that is Zigvigix!

Paizo Employee Starfinder Society Developer

Maps Appearing in this Adventure:
-Starfinder Flip-Mat: Warship
-Starfinder Flip-Mat: Jungle World
-Custom Half-Page Map


wait, that holo set up looks familiar.. are we beating another computer virus with a metal stick?

Paizo Employee Starfinder Society Developer

2 people marked this as a favorite.
BigNorseWolf wrote:
wait, that holo set up looks familiar.. are we beating another computer virus with a metal stick?

I'm just gonna go out and say it: This month has probably the two most important scenarios of the season for you lore fiends out there :)

Paizo Employee Organized Play Lead Developer

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Thurston Hillman wrote:
BigNorseWolf wrote:
wait, that holo set up looks familiar.. are we beating another computer virus with a metal stick?
I'm just gonna go out and say it: This month has probably the two most important scenarios of the season for you lore fiends out there :)

AGREED.

Exo-Guardians

1 person marked this as a favorite.
BigNorseWolf wrote:
wait, that holo set up looks familiar.. are we beating another computer virus with a metal stick?

Best way ta fix a komputa. Smash it!

Grand Lodge

Madcutta wrote:
BigNorseWolf wrote:
wait, that holo set up looks familiar.. are we beating another computer virus with a metal stick?
Best way ta fix a komputa. Smash it!

Percussive Maintenance ftw!


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber

Whoa.


I haven't played this yet but is there a reason Ziggy's going by male pronouns in this one's description? Cause everything I've seen says Ziggy's a host shirren. So is that just a typo in the description saying Historia-7 is "his" colleague or have I just missed something?

Otherwise, I can't wait to see to see what terrifying implications this has for two of my favorite faction leaders!


rastagypsy wrote:

I haven't played this yet but is there a reason Ziggy's going by male pronouns in this one's description? Cause everything I've seen says Ziggy's a host shirren. So is that just a typo in the description saying Historia-7 is "his" colleague or have I just missed something?

Otherwise, I can't wait to see to see what terrifying implications this has for two of my favorite faction leaders!

I think you're getting him and Chiskisk mixed up


TheGoofyGE3K wrote:
rastagypsy wrote:

I haven't played this yet but is there a reason Ziggy's going by male pronouns in this one's description? Cause everything I've seen says Ziggy's a host shirren. So is that just a typo in the description saying Historia-7 is "his" colleague or have I just missed something?

Otherwise, I can't wait to see to see what terrifying implications this has for two of my favorite faction leaders!

I think you're getting him and Chiskisk mixed up

No according to The Commencement introductions Ziggy is definitely a Host Shirren. Chiskisk also happens to be one as as well.

From the Commencement: "The Exo-Guardians do not currently have
a headquarters on Absalom Station, but their
leader, Zigvigix (LG host shirren soldier),
resides in the poor but trendy neighborhood
of Downlow."

So they are definitely a HOST Shirren


Starfinder Charter Superscriber

I'm not one to post but the story of this scenario and it's writing is truly amazing. I'm running it today and I can not wait to drop this on them.

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