Starfinder Society Scenario #2-03: The Withering World

3.30/5 (based on 9 ratings)

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A series of five Starfinder Quests designed for levels 1-4.

The Starfinder Society has dispatched an investigation fleet to a seemingly impossible world: a planet located between a nurturing sun and a voracious black hole. When a chance meeting with the local inhabitants leads the Society to discover another group of visitors who threatens this incredible planet, it's up to a group of heroes to make sure that the world's delicate balance does not break and the planet isn't sent hurtling into a black hole!

Written by Arc Riley, Jennifer Povey, Jessica Catalan, Rigby Bendele, and Shahreena Shahrani

Scenario Tags: Quest, Repeatable, Starship

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

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3.30/5 (based on 9 ratings)

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Fun first contact adventure


First, Ayoka the skittermander has the cutest character art you could ever set eyes on. Second, I like scenarios that have first contact and some extraplanar creatures, and this one has both. The quests are a bit disconnected from each other story-wise, so normally I would rate this one 4 stars, but it really didn't deserve the 1 star review so I'm bumping my score a tiny bit to balance out the average.

Very interesting. . .


Withering world is a fun and enjoyable time. It has a lot of good going for it but also the same Starfinder tropes. You have first contact and no one can talk to each other so you spend time trying to figure out what is going on. It's awkward. Then once you can finally start to communicate you get a bunch of weird fetch quests from the aliens you just met. Mechanically they are fun but in the context of the story they just don't really fit.

The last fight is anti-climatic and a let down. We seriously thought there was another combat encounter after we finished it because it was so easy to overcome. I played this on low tier and even then we just trounced over every combat situation in this module. It's fun, but weird and not really a challenge.

Note: Five different writers; five different fetch quests. . . .Kinda explains why the mods really don't fit to the larger narrative of the story.



Usual BS

Great Premise, Average Execution



I played through The Withering World at low sub-tier using the four-player adjustment. I had a new PC, Speaker for the Dead, whose personality I hadn't quite figure out yet and that may have affected my enjoyment of the adventure. Reading through it for the purposes of this review, I think the overall premise of these linked quests is a great use of a classic science-fiction trope. However, the story doesn't hang together especially well, and many of the individual quests are pretty average. It's definitely a playable adventure, but not as good as it could have been.


The Withering World takes place on a pre-first contact planet in the Vast called Enereth-7. After a survey vessel discovered the planet was somehow stable and habitable despite being precariously poised between a sun and a black hole, the Starfinder Society purchased exploration rights and has put together a task fleet of ships. Unbeknownst to the SFS, however, a cell of the Cult of the Devourer named the Reddened Eye also intercepted the information, and has already arrived on Enereth-7 with a plot to send the planet into the black hole! They plan to accomplish this by corrupting or destroying magical menhirs installed by the goddess Yraesa for the protection of the local quorlu residents. I have to admit it's a pretty cool backstory, and almost too good of one to be used up in a single SFS scenario! One of my regrets when playing was that I had a character of much higher tier who had a special fascination for black holes. I should also mention that players of the Dead Suns AP might enjoy the Cult of the Devourer connection. Anyway, the PCs here are part of the task force, which is directed by Venture-Captain Arvin.

* "Contact": The first quest has the PCs charged with deciphering signals coming from a particular area on Enereth-7. There are several potential skills involved, but really none of it matters because if the PCs fail, V-C Arvin steps in and does it with no real consequences. I hate stuff like that. Anyway, the broadcasts will lead the PCs to land near a settlement named Hulwen's Posit, from which a quorlu named Cantor Alvreein has been broadcasting signals for help. Alvreein greets the PCs when they land and takes the group back to the settlement. However, they're intercepted by one of the leaders of the Reddened Eye, a drow mystic named Raval, and two quorlus she has turned to the side of the Cult of the Devourer. Before or after the ensuring battle, the PCs will learn about what the cult is trying to accomplish: sending Enereth-7 into the black hole! I thought this first quest was decent, though it's a bit confusing that the cult has been on Enereth-7 long enough to already start making local converts fanatical enough to want to destroy their own planet.

* "Marker": In this one, the PCs are sent to investigate a menhir in the jungle that has been corrupted to see if they can understand what's going on. This quest makes excellent use of the Jungle World flip-mat, and sets up a good situation where success can involve a race to decontaminate the menhir (with skill checks) before its corrupted guardians kill the PCs. Tough, but solid.

* "Ingredient": This one is pretty cheesy. Arvin's intel teams have located the jungle camp storehouse where the Reddened Eye keeps the ingredients for their ritual goo they use to deface the menhirs. One might suggest blasting the #%&@ out of the camp from low orbit. But instead, the PCs are sent to the jungle to collect a very specific assortment of natural substances to secretly swap with the ritual ingredients, so that the contamination attempts fail. Most of this involves skill challenges to find the various ingredients, though there is a forgettable battle against jungle predators. The cultists are away from the camp, so actually swapping the ingredients is done off-screen. There's a lot about this one that just seems dumb to me.

* "Messenger": This is the mandatory starship combat quest. The Reddened Eye has realised they better get reinforcements, so they plan to send their only starship, the Jagged Maw, to get help. But Venture-Captain Arvin hastily assembles the PCs to intercept them. I still don't really understand interstellar communications in Starfinder--do ships have to physically carry messages with them? In any event, there are a couple of nice touches that make this combat more interesting. First, there's a skittermander engineer named Ayoka aboard the Devourer ship. In addition to having the cutest picture ever, Ayoka can be persuaded to help the PCs. Second, gravitational waves from the black hole affect the ships and may move their positions randomly each round. Once again, however, there are no story consequences if the PCs somehow fail to stop the ship; Venture-Captain Arvin magically has another ship lined up that can do the job.

* "Ritual": This is the final quest. For some reason, now PCs are given the opportunity for knowledge checks for generic background on the cult, which really should have happened as part of the first or second quest. Anyway, the PCs are sent into an underground cavern to stop the Reddened Eye from completing a major ritual. The cultists intend to summon a powerful harbinger of the Devourer called an anacite, but screw it up and instead manage only a CR 2 or CR 4 demon called a concavion. The PCs should just take the unforced error and head home, but likely they'll fight the thing--which is actually really nasty given its CR (it has several immunities and resistances). It's a weird ending, and the summoning idea doesn't seem to really fit with the "destroy the menhirs" plan. On the other hand, I guess one could argue that the Cult of the Devourer isn't exactly a beacon of rationality.

Overall, I really like the basic premise of the adventure. A planet teetering at the edge of a black hole is a science-fiction staple, and the Cult of the Devourer makes a perfect antagonist in the story. The actual quests end up fairly pedestrian, however, mostly lacking the creativity and verve to really make the plot shine. In addition, the individual quests don't neatly fit together and there are some gaps in logic that harm the verisimilitude of the story. I think this is a scenario that, in the right hands, could be great, but ends up only average.

A fine series of quests, would have been a better scenario


An interesting little scenario. I really like the premise of a mysterious world that should not exist. And, as far as quests go, it’s actually pretty good. It works as a scenario by itself, but it also works as a series of standalone adventures with very minimal setup.
Unfortunately, it’s also kind of hindered by the quest-like nature. Instead of investigating and finding clues about what is going on to keep this world aloft, you just kind of plod along, the clues not really connecting until the end. Even then, the clues don’t lead to some earth-shattering revelation. It’s just kind of presented as an ‘oh, by the way, this is how this works.’ I think if this was a standard scenario and the buildup was better, then the reveal of how this mysterious planet exists would have been more impactful. Still, it’s not a bad experience.

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Paizo Employee Organized Play Line Developer

5 people marked this as a favorite.

I am absolutely thrilled to have been a part of this! I can't wait to see it hit tables this summer!


2 people marked this as a favorite.

Any word on the maps? Won the lottery and I'll be running this six times for gencon! :)

Paizo Employee Starfinder Society Developer

4 people marked this as a favorite.


Maps in #2-03:
-Starfinder Flip-Mat: Jungle World
-Starfinder Flip-Mat: Basic Starfield
-Pathfinder Flip-Mat Classics: Darklands

Sovereign Court

Thanks Thursty!

Updated @jon30041 via Discord

Greetings. Can anyone help me understand if PCs are able to earn any reputation from this quest? They cant slot any boons.

Grand Lodge

Most quests have a section that talks about receiving credit.

1 person marked this as a favorite.

The chronicle does provide reputation. On the downside, for a repeatable it's lacking in alternate options to make it different every time.

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