Starfinder Adventure Path #19: Fate of the Fifth (Attack of the Swarm! 1 of 6)

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Starfinder Adventure Path #19: Fate of the Fifth (Attack of the Swarm! 1 of 6)

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Suskillon Needs You!

As the ever-ravenous threat of the insectile Swarm surges across another system in the Vast, the heroes are part of the defense effort. They must fight back against waves of foes and rescue civilians, including a shirren priest of Hylax whose temple seems to be of particular interest to the invaders. By relying on their wits—and each other—the heroes just might survive the Swarm onslaught.

This volume of Starfinder Adventure Path begins the Attack of the Swarm! Adventure Path and includes:

  • "Fate of the Fifth," a Starfinder adventure for 1st-level characters, by Patrick Brennan.
  • A guide for players of this Adventure Path, including two military themes and a selection of helpful gear, by Patrick Brennan.
  • An examination of the nigh-unstoppable force known as the Swarm, by Lacy Pellazar.
  • An archive of alien creatures, including a shapechanging swarm of nanobots and several Swarm creatures, by Patrick Brennan, James Case, and Adrian Ng.
  • Statistics and deck plans for a luxury observation vehicle, plus a glimpse at the bucolic world of Suskillon before it is invaded, by Patrick Brennan.

ISBN: 978-1-64078-151-1

Note: This product is part of the Starfinder Adventure Path Subscription.

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I think I've seen this movie...

4/5

On side note, I think I need to be more flexible on my rule of not reviewing adventures I haven't played or run :P Because I've realized that if I want devs to know when adventures have content I love, I can't really wait several years until i can finally run the adventure. Especially when it turns out nobody has reviewed any of the six parts of Dawn of Flame yet, so I guess I have to do that instead. So I amend my rule to "If I don't know how to feel about book after reading it, or if its pure combat without themes or story elements that interests me especially, I'll wait until I've played or run it before I review it".

...Ah wait, the review yes. So why I'm reviewing this war on bugs adventure that is mostly combat? Because its does fascinating things with PCs being members of military instead of random mercenaries or adventurers and it does some really good moments.

So first thing first: This book is really cliche (and possibly cheesy depending how PCs roleplay it.) scifi bug war movie plot wise. I mean, it uses lots of really common cliches and tropes from these sorts of stories. Major badass who knows you are probably going to lose the war who dies in opening moments of the story(character is introduced on page 7 and dies on page 10), but not before giving a PC their medal and going out singing and shooting at bugs?(I love the Major, but this is definitely cheesy :D I kinda wish they would have given him more time before he dies.) Selfish but not completely heartless thief making profit at refugee zone? Egotistic scientist who thinks they know everything better than everyone else and is trying to convince scared refugees to mutiny? Making extraction mission for character who apparently has vital information on enemy's weakness? Final ground battle being against large group of swarm while getting ship full of evacuates ready for launching(I like touch of the ship being intended for luxury travel and not a military ship, so I guess some evacuates has to go to cargohold because its not that huge ship :D I assume that creates problems at start of next book)

Yeah, this book is that kind of story :D There are also moments like gunship vehicle chase scene, so definitely cool action movie scenes included.

My favourite encounter is surprisingly simple combat encounter against group of escaped convicts. Mostly because I realized how chilling it is that they broke into household, murdered people there and stole their stuff. There is something much more scary about that kind of thing happening in warzone than random cannibal doing same in Pathfinder, probably because it feels like something that could happen in real life. While PCs could just shoot them down in combat, I could see some good roleplaying happening if they take them down non lethally whether take them into custody or not.

Besides that, the book contains first player's guide for Starfinder APs. And while its not as eloborate as Player's Guides tend to be, it does good job of briefing players on SDF, giving them equipment useful agaisnt swarm, and most importantly, how to tie in themes with the adventure. Like, sure, mercenary, battle medic and career trooper are easy to tie in adventure, wilderness warden and icon require bit more thought, but figuring out war journalist or terrain expert being useful in war isn't too hard, but figuring out how Xenoarchaeologist or Dream Prophet themes tie up with adventure? Yeah, I don't think you could do all themes without having to have read the adventure first yourself. So yeah, I think hope Paizo keeps doing these player's guides in future too :D

And then there is the swarm article :D I'll just say that it was good and nice read. Its probably what you'd expect from alien hivemind and not too many surprises, but it was still fascinating to read on swarm biology.

Bestiary is mostly 4 new kind of swarms, but it has 3 other creatures too which are nice :D I like the nanobot mimic very much.

So yeah, looking forward to rest of the AP, even if I still think silly this is also level 12 AP.(the big bad five headed swarm just sounds so cool that I kinda hoped it would be level 16+ at least or something :p) But yeah, giving this 4 stars instead of 5 because while the book doesn't have just pure combat and does have nice roleplaying moments, whether you like it or not depends on whether you hate movie cliches. Like either you love through playing a movie like story or you hoped it would be more original. So your mileage may vary. I personally lean on liking it :D Not really because of the cliches, but despite of them


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Dark Archive

Aaaand updated! :D Wasn't expecting blue color scheme


1 person marked this as a favorite.

pretty


Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Society Subscriber

Hylax, the "Sun's out, guns out!" Religion.

Paizo Employee Developer

8 people marked this as a favorite.

The Forever Queen's portfolio includes first contact, peace, friendship, and muscle beaches.


I'm really loving the covers for this adventure path!

Carry on!

--C.

Dark Archive

I did wonder "So isn't this shirren practically nude considering their mating arms are shown to the whole wide word?"


^ Umm... Most depictions of shirren show their mating arms -- even the iconic.
E.g. Have a look at the cover of the second installment of this adventure path, amongst many others.
The only exception is when the shirren is wearing (powered-)armor iirc.

I don't think shirren have any issues with having their mating arms exposed so much as using them for tasks other than their intended purpose, i.e. mating (unless under unusual circumstances?).

--C.


Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Society Subscriber

Am I crazy or does that Shirren have horns?


2 people marked this as a favorite.

I'd say they're more like crests than horns.


2 people marked this as a favorite.

*clicking, chittering* It is not inappropriate for the mating appendages of a shirren to be... exposed. However, it is considered rude to use them for manipulating objects, or otherwise interacting with other sentient beings outside of reproduction.

Is it known if this will be available for purchase at Gencon?


ForeverQueen wrote:
Is it known if this will be available for purchase at Gencon?

The street date is 28 August, so most likely not.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber; Starfinder Superscriber
HTD wrote:
ForeverQueen wrote:
Is it known if this will be available for purchase at Gencon?
The street date is 28 August, so most likely not.

I did get to see a copy of AP Volume 19 at GenCon though and the layout is awesome inside! Really creepy motif that I hope you all enjoy, though it gives me the willies.

Would love to hear what people think once it ships out in a week or so.

Dark Archive

Ya know, I'm still looking forward to this and Threefold Conspiracy, Dawn of Flame was great, but I'm definitely kinda feeling down at this and next one after this being yet another 12 level aps.

On positive side, at least that means I'm not hyped to play them so I can run them just fine :p


For those of you who have the PDF, what's the basic low-CR swarm grunt like?

I'm really surprised we didn't get that in Alien Archive 1, you would think by including a species called "The Swarm" we'd get their equivalent of a Zergling or Hormagaunt in the first monster book.


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

Big insects. If you've played world of warcraft, imagine fighting the Silithid, and all the various insects that could fight you in their hives. It's less fighting "bees" or "mean shirren", but instead fighting "bees, a praying mantis with psychic abiities, beetles, and anything else the insect world can throw at you."

Dark Archive

So how is the player's guide? :D


I'd like to know as well please

Thanks

Tom


Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Am I the only subscriber left on this line?

I can see why the finally caved and included a player’s guide. This AP starts on a non pact world, where the entire party might well be natives to this non-pact planet. Knowing a bit about the planet makes a lot of sense.

I don’t personally care for either of the new themes, but I’ll let others weigh in on their utility. The tech items at the end of this he players guide are cool.

Dark Archive

Hnggh, I really want to see the player's guide for myself, but I also want to see dawn of flame's continue the campaign articles :'D I don't have enough money for all these simultaneous releases!


Paizo Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Uh, there are no player's guides for Starfinder APs.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Fate of the Fith product description wrote:
A guide for players of this Adventure Path, including two military themes and a selection of helpful gear, by Patrick Brennan.


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Not to mention this from upthread:

Jason Keeley wrote:
Marco Massoudi wrote:
Paranoid Android wrote:
Sparrowhawk_92 wrote:
The entire setup for this screams Starship Troopers in the best way possible. I wonder which military group the party is assumed to a part of when this starts? Skyfire Legion I'm hoping.

Oh Hey, I wrote this Volume.

The in-house nickname for "Attack of the Swarm!" I was told was "Swarmship Troopers"

It's awesome that there is a "Player's Guide" included in this volume.

Can you tell us a little bit about it?
Is it similiar to the Pathfinder PG's?

Patrick also wrote this guide/article, but I am also happy to speak about it.

Since Attack of the Swarm! begins in a new area of the Starfinder setting, this "player's guide" details what the characters would know about it and gives information about how the Swarm invasion of that system has been going so far (spoiler: poorly).

Like in previous APs, we give you ideas by theme about why a character would have joined the war effort. This lists out all the Core Rulebook themes, plus a few from Pact Worlds that make the most sense to use. We also tell you that starship combat will eventually be part of the AP, but your group doesn't start out with their own vessel. Finally, we give you some advice on what kind of gear you might want to purchase at the start (it is well-known to this system's army that the Swarm are immune to acid, for instance), as well as give you some more gear options.

Finally, there are two new "military" themes that would fit right into this AP: the battle medic and the career trooper.

If people like this format, we will consider adding such an article to the first volume of future APs (where appropriate).

This is a pretty complete description. I forgot to mention in my own review, but the section detailing how themes tie into the AP was a nice touch.


4 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber; Starfinder Superscriber

So the Player's Guide in this AP volume is a set up for the Suskillon Defense Force, the main military org. that is taking on the Swarm in this AP.

It is similar to other Player Guides in that it is all info that you can give to your players to inform them on making characters that fit well in the AP. There are also player options and equipment that is geared for taking on the Swarm.

You do not have to use it at all, but I tried to work in some possible backgrounds for how different Character Themes would fit into the picture of this adventure.

Let Paizo know if you like this style of backup material by writing a review, positive or negative, once you read this book!


2 people marked this as a favorite.

... I just realized there’s an exclamation point at the end of Swarm.

That’s gonna bug me.

Paizo Employee Developer

4 people marked this as a favorite.

Hey quick little errata I noticed the other day. The bug snare item on page 44 should be a level 2 item, not a level 10 item. It is priced appropriately for level 2, so you might be able to pick one up during the adventure if you save your credits!

Scarab Sages

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Companion, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Charter Superscriber; Starfinder Superscriber
Rysky the Dark Solarion wrote:

... I just realized there’s an exclamation point at the end of Swarm.

That’s gonna bug me.

I find that it's much less annoying and much more ominous if you parse it as a clicking sound.


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber; Starfinder Superscriber
Jason Keeley wrote:
Hey quick little errata I noticed the other day. The bug snare item on page 44 should be a level 2 item, not a level 10 item. It is priced appropriately for level 2, so you might be able to pick one up during the adventure if you save your credits!

That's a 2 in binary, adding more fuel to the theory that you are, in fact, an Android.

Dark Archive

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Axial wrote:

For those of you who have the PDF, what's the basic low-CR swarm grunt like?

I'm really surprised we didn't get that in Alien Archive 1, you would think by including a species called "The Swarm" we'd get their equivalent of a Zergling or Hormagaunt in the first monster book.

So there is CR 1/2 Swarm, CR 2 Swarm, CR 1/3 Tine Starship Swarm and CR 1 Swarm :p

One of them definitely reminds me of zerglings

(but yeah, one of them is similar to ant and one of them is similar to mantis)

(Yeah, I caved in and bought the book :'D The player's guide isn't as elaborate as for Pathfinder APs, but I do dig it)


Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Jason Keeley wrote:
Hey quick little errata I noticed the other day. The bug snare item on page 44 should be a level 2 item, not a level 10 item. It is priced appropriately for level 2, so you might be able to pick one up during the adventure if you save your credits!

I did wonder about that one, but I’m not familiar enough with SF to have known it was incorrect.


3 people marked this as a favorite.
Rysky the Dark Solarion wrote:

... I just realized there’s an exclamation point at the end of Swarm.

That’s gonna bug me.

Oh, it's going to BUG you.

Something about the insectoid Swarm is going to BUG you.

Alert the media, the Swarm BUGs people. To death, perhaps!


4 people marked this as a favorite.

*narrows eyes*

I didn’t even realize I did that.


Pathfinder Starfinder Society Subscriber

Is there any status on this book, is it also delayed?


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

Got mine yesterday.


2 people marked this as a favorite.

I noticed something odd about one of the Alien Archive entries in this book and would love to get some dev input:

Alien Archive:
The Vorphoma entry doesn't have a stats entry for Abilities, skills or languages. Are there any dev guidelines for the bonuses that should be used instead?


Any reviews of this one up yet? I'm tempted to run it based on the blurb.

Dark Archive

Lavabeing wrote:
Any reviews of this one up yet? I'm tempted to run it based on the blurb.

I'm planning to review it, but I was busy reading 2e and running plaguestone today :'D So tomorrow it is.


CorvusMask wrote:
Lavabeing wrote:
Any reviews of this one up yet? I'm tempted to run it based on the blurb.
I'm planning to review it, but I was busy reading 2e and running plaguestone today :'D So tomorrow it is.

I'm curious what the themes are in the AP. Survival? Horror? 100% action? Are there many or few breaks in the action? Any intrigue among those being attacked? Does the AP give players a sense of empowerment and agency given the plot or a sense of powerlessness and struggle against an ominous turn of events?


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Lavabeing wrote:
CorvusMask wrote:
Lavabeing wrote:
Any reviews of this one up yet? I'm tempted to run it based on the blurb.
I'm planning to review it, but I was busy reading 2e and running plaguestone today :'D So tomorrow it is.
I'm curious what the themes are in the AP. Survival? Horror? 100% action? Are there many or few breaks in the action? Any intrigue among those being attacked? Does the AP give players a sense of empowerment and agency given the plot or a sense of powerlessness and struggle against an ominous turn of events?

Here's my take on the first volume specifically related to the questions you asked.

The Fate of the Fifth:
There's a strong survival element in the first volume of this AP as one section has you hoofing it across a fair distance with the swarm at your heels. The action is pretty well broken up, and there's a little bit of intrigue with some of the survivors of the initial assault. The situation is pretty bleak overall, and it's very much a struggle to get off world before it's consumed completely, staying just a step ahead of the Swarm as it finishes its conquest of the planet

Dark Archive

Lavabeing wrote:
CorvusMask wrote:
Lavabeing wrote:
Any reviews of this one up yet? I'm tempted to run it based on the blurb.
I'm planning to review it, but I was busy reading 2e and running plaguestone today :'D So tomorrow it is.
I'm curious what the themes are in the AP. Survival? Horror? 100% action? Are there many or few breaks in the action? Any intrigue among those being attacked? Does the AP give players a sense of empowerment and agency given the plot or a sense of powerlessness and struggle against an ominous turn of events?

Its pretty much scifi war story against bug aliens. So while some survival and horrific moments, I wouldn't call it horror movie unless stuff like Starship Troopers count, but its definitely act 1 of the story where you are losing badly and have to make fighting retreat "and save as many civilians as you can and evacuate them"

Dark Archive

And reviewed. Guess I now have to review some of Dawn of Flame books too

Exo-Guardians

‘Da only gud bug iz a dead bug!

umm.. 'sept for ya Shirren buddy. Yer're okay.


Hoping for some SFS chronicles for it too! This looks fun.

Paizo Employee Developer

9 people marked this as a favorite.
Sparrowhawk_92 wrote:

I noticed something odd about one of the Alien Archive entries in this book and would love to get some dev input:

** spoiler omitted **

Oops! How did that happen?

Spoiler:
Well, vorphomas should obviously have that part in the stat block, and they were developed with them, so somehow, it got deleted. Anyway, here's the relevant info.
STATISTICS
Str +1; Dex +4; Con +1; Int +0; Wis +0; Cha +2
Skills Acrobatics +5, Athletics +5, Stealth +10
Languages Shirren; telepathy 100 ft.

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