Starfinder Society Scenario #2-03: The Withering World

3.50/5 (based on 4 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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Average product rating:

3.50/5 (based on 4 ratings)

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It's alright, but the pacing could have been much better. While each quest is connected, they somehow still feel a bit loose.

It has a very interesting concept to it, the planet that should not exist! It just feels like it's missing something. It's not bad, but there's something not there that prevents this from being great. Can't really point it out.

The combats are pretty straightforward, skill challenge sections are alright, the starship combat section is fun (surprising I know!) and there's some good roleplay facilitation thanks to one of the NPCs.

Disjointed and less smooth than Paizo's standards of quality.


I will grant that the constituent parts are all competently done and three out of five of them are even compelling, but they don't fit together very well at all, the quest plot structure did not fit very well for this particular story and would have been much better suited to serve as a standard adventure.

There are two particular areas where this falls short even without the quest structures failure to mesh well with the overall plot arc.

Quest One:
The villains are simply not overtly villainous enough if the first quest written is the first quest run. It creates a situation where the players may reasonably agree with the Cult of the Devourers motives because simple facts of the alignments of the Cult and Yaraesa were simply not very moving.

Quest Three:
This one simply doesn't work. In the context of the overall adventure, the fight in unnecessary and breaks the rhythm, in terms of the quest standing alone it's basically a nonsense quest to be on. On its one as a hour adventure where nobody asks any "why" questions this still worked well, but the fight was little more than a speed bump

Overall, I would prefer if when we turn things into quest packs that they have a plot structure that is 4-5 discreet adventures instead of a normal adventure hacked to pieces like this.

Very fun series of quests held back by differing styles


I have GM'd this quest pack twice, once on roll20 and once IRL. I have yet to play it, but I look forward to doing so.

This review will go over my impressions on each quest as individuals, as well as my impression on the quest arc as a whole, and then the experiences I had while GM'ing, finishing with how I feel about it as a quest pack for new players.

Contact is a fun introduction, but is weighed down by the problem that a lot of quests have had: pacing. There's little time or space to establish the enemies properly without inserting a lot of additional elaboration, and the shift can be somewhat jarring, especially for new players that don't know about the Devourer.

Marker is fun and interesting, but is bogged down by an abundance of poetically descriptive language that seems to exist just to fill wordcount.

Ingredient is enjoyable, and I have no real problems with it.

Messenger is fun and includes some good social interaction, and the starship combat is good for beginners while still having a new gimmick for experienced players.

Ritual is well-written and exciting, and I have no real problems with it.

As a whole, however, Withering World struggles. The wildly different writing styles and tones across each quest, ranging from silly in Messenger to poetic in Marker and a more traditional mix in Ritual hampers its cohesion.

When I GM'd this scenario on roll20, we had six players. We had fun, and enjoyed the strangeness presented in some encounters. When I GM'd this scenario at a game store IRL, we had seven players, three fairly experienced and four who were on their first, second, or fourth Starfinder Society game ever. We had a lot of fun, and because I tend to run fairly quickly, we finished all five quests in three hours of actual play, after starting fifteen minutes late while waiting for a player and with three short bio-breaks interspersed throughout.

As a quest pack for new players, I feel like The Withering World is a success, but in an unexpected way. The newer players had fun and felt it was a nice introduction to how Society works. The more experienced players were fairly convinced that it wasn't designed with new players in mind, and felt it was a good anthology but fumbled in introducing concepts. However, I don't believe that every quest pack needs to introduce every major mechanic of the game. The fact that the new players found it a fun intro and the experienced members of the Starfinder Society felt it was good as a scenario in general means that I feel that this scenario is surprisingly well-written for appeal.

In total, I am rating this scenario 4 stars. I want to rate 5, but the stylistic dissonance between quests was jarring enough to bring it down.

Thank you to all the great people who worked on this quest arc!

All-around Delightful


This scenario was a joy to play. A unique wrinkle in the starship combat encounter made it both more flavorful AND more harrowing. The NPCs stood out as memorable, lovable goofballs. Plus, there was a hilarious bit with some frogs. Play it—you'll see.

3 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Starfinder Society Subscriber

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

3 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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