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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Is this thing on?

I'm guessing since this hasn't been announced this isn't supposed to be up.


Pathfinder Starfinder Society Subscriber

Ooooh! Awesome!


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Sounds pretty cool, though I'd still like to see some stuff designed for high-level play since one of the selling points of Starfinder was that they "fixed the math" to support it.

Dark Archive

I had proposed and prepared a three part AP with pc's defending a colony, getting a coalition together and fighting a space battle & boarding action against a hive fleet/motherbioship.
I suppose i'll wait for this full blown AP now.

Paizo Employee Developer

17 people marked this as a favorite.

I gotta tell you, this AP goes to some places you might not expect! Can't wait to tell you more about it!

Dark Archive

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Jason Keeley wrote:
I gotta tell you, this AP goes to some places you might not expect! Can't wait to tell you more about it!

Looking very much forwatd to it!

I hope it goes Warhammer 40K style with pcs fighting aboard bioships in power armor. ;-)


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

Oh, announcing an AP outside of a con, that's new!


Pathfinder Adventure, Card Game, Lost Omens, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Ooh, I'm looking forward to learning more about the Swarm!

I withhold judgment on the AP itself until I hear more about where it's going. :)

Dark Archive

2 people marked this as a favorite.

Woo, bug wars!


I love the Swarm, and I really wanted to have more members of this insectoid hive legion, specially bigger ones. Hope this AP volume have plenty of new members of the swarm in it.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Jason Keeley wrote:
I gotta tell you, this AP goes to some places you might not expect! Can't wait to tell you more about it!

Probably not to high levels, though.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

this looks fun.


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.


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

Grand Lodge

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Starfinder Maps Subscriber

That is awesome, Patrick!


This is EXACTLY what I've been waiting for. That being said, Paizo has stolen my homebrew campaigns right out of my head TWICE now. Dang near word for word with this one. D: Good job guys, you know exactly what I like.

Dark Archive

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?

Paizo Employee Developer

4 people marked this as a favorite.
Aunders wrote:
This is EXACTLY what I've been waiting for. That being said, Paizo has stolen my homebrew campaigns right out of my head TWICE now. Dang near word for word with this one. D: Good job guys, you know exactly what I like.

Shhh... No one tell Aunders about the mind-reading device.

Paizo Employee Developer

19 people marked this as a favorite.
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).


Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Sounds interesting but I expect it stops in the mid levels again which will be yet another source of frustration


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?
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).

Does this mean the conflict won't be tied to the Pact Worlds at all? IE an alien military effort fighting against the Swarm?

Paizo Employee Developer

Sparrowhawk_92 wrote:
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?
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).
Does this mean the conflict won't be tied to the Pact Worlds at all? IE an alien military effort fighting against the Swarm?

The Pact Worlds and the Veskarium have already defended against a Swarm attack and likely now have some contingencies in plan against another one. We wanted to use a place that was less prepared... and there are other reasons the Swarm might be attacking this particular place, which the AP will get in to.


Jason Keeley wrote:
Sparrowhawk_92 wrote:
Does this mean the conflict won't be tied to the Pact Worlds at all? IE an alien military effort fighting against the Swarm?
The Pact Worlds and the Veskarium have already defended against a Swarm attack and likely now have some contingencies in plan against another one. We wanted to use a place that was less prepared... and there are other reasons the Swarm might be attacking this particular place, which the AP will get in to.

Color me intrigued. Looking forward to learning more in August.

The Exchange

Pathfinder Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

This sounds..... awesome!

Exo-Guardians

2 people marked this as a favorite.

Time to re-live every game I ever played against Nids with my guardsmen. Can't wait to hunt some bugs. :)


6 people marked this as a favorite.

THHHHHHHAAAAAAAAAAAAANK YOUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU for the Player's Guide.


This should be really good.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

The only good bug is a dead bug.


2 people marked this as a favorite.

Would you like to know more?

The Exchange

1 person marked this as a favorite.

I'm stoked about the Battle Medic. I love playing those (when I play).


Starfinder Charter Superscriber

If you will allow me to don my magical typo goggles, "a mysteriois ancient insect-goddess" doesn't look quite right.

Dark Archive

2 people marked this as a favorite.

Good to have player's guide :D

Now we need to have 13-20 level AP(or two 3 part aps that go levels 13-17 and 17-20) and then everything is complete!

Dark Archive

1 person marked this as a favorite.
CorvusMask wrote:

Good to have player's guide :D

Now we need to have 13-20 level AP(or two 3 part aps that go levels 13-17 and 17-20) and then everything is complete!

I couldn't agree more about the level 13-20 content.

Starfinder shouldn't make the same mistake as Pathfinder, which only now at the end of it's livecycle offeres an AP going from level 1 to 20 with "Return of the Runelords".

It is also necessary to determine if the rules hold up at higher levels (which it seems to do, only the skills are not balanced properly: auto-success on trained & maxed ones and no chance on the others).

Dark Archive

5 people marked this as a favorite.

I would say in case of Starfinder, having at least one AP that covers 13-20 levels is more necessary than in Pathfinder since in Pathfinder you had strong ideas based on D&D and high fantasy tropes and such what levels 17-20 were like, meanwhile in starfinder we don't really have good picture of what "High level" starfinder looks like. Like, are you supposed to move from fighting evil armies and corporates to fighting super weapons, planet eating monstrosities and such or what? And what DOES level 20 star ship combat look like?


Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Society Subscriber
CorvusMask wrote:
And what DOES level 20 star ship combat look like?

It would look like Gods slugging it out, ripping planets to pieces.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

The Swarm requires more minerals....


4 people marked this as a favorite.
DaemonAngel wrote:
The Swarm requires more minerals....

SPAWN MORE OVERLORDS!


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Jason Keeley wrote:


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

a blog post would suffice, methinks. that way the players can read up on it w/o needing to consult the GM.

in any event, i am extremely excited for this AP. i think my group will go for this after we defeat the foul space Azlanti!

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 8

I have been deeply interested in Starfinder, and just haven't had the time to really dig in yet. I am hoping that will change this year, and I am wondering, is this a good place to jump on with an AP subscription?


Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Maps, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

With the exception of Signal of Screams, every AP so far has started at 1st level -- so this is as good a starting point as any.


2 people marked this as a favorite.

And this one has a Player's Guide!

Shadow Lodge

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Player's Guide - Good! Though with the much smaller page count of the Starfinder AP books, these should really be free pdf's like the Pathfinder counterparts. Not taking up page count in the book itself and much more readily available to the players as that is the target audience.

Oh and can we maybe get a survey asking us if we would like a high level Starfinder campaign? I would think if there's enough demand, that would be something that the company would like to sell us.

Dark Archive

I really hope that Starfinder AP #25 (February 2020) will finally offer a higher level adventure by either having longer adventure sections (which would be a shame for the articles left out) or preferable by starting at a higher level.
It could also have a higher page count (being the first anniversary issue), like Pathfinder AP #100 did.

I also would be interested to know how the two "short AP's" "Against the Aeon Throne" & "Signal of Screams" were received and if we can expect something like that again or if that was all in that direction.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

This looks pretty neat. I've seen a number of posts asking about high-level content- and I may have a suggestion. It seems to me that one possible solution could be to make a post/publish a guide on how DM's and players might be able to convert existing adventure paths to suit higher-level play. Some of them, especially the current one in the Sun, seem like they would fit pretty well thematically for high-level play. Don't get me wrong, though- it'd still be great to have campaigns specifically designed for end-game levels, and I fully support that idea. I just kind of like the idea of being able to take the same character through multiple adventure paths. Also, the DM's could use the guidelines for "leveling up" NPC monsters/adventure situations for their homebrew campaigns as well. What do you guys think?

Paizo Employee Developer

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Asmodeus's Dad wrote:

Player's Guide - Good! Though with the much smaller page count of the Starfinder AP books, these should really be free pdf's like the Pathfinder counterparts. Not taking up page count in the book itself and much more readily available to the players as that is the target audience.

The Player's Guide in this AP is a bit of experiment to see how well it is received within the volume itself. It contains information that would have normally gone at the beginning of the adventure, giving the adventure a bit of room to breath but also a couple of new themes and pieces of equipment, so it should hopefully be worth the price of admission!


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Marco Massoudi wrote:

Looking very much forwatd to it!

I hope it goes Warhammer 40K style with pcs fighting aboard bioships in power armor. ;-)

One of my favorite memories as a GM was running a Warhammer 40,000: Deathwatch module (I forget the name) where the space marines did just that, as they boarded a tyranid ship with the clear objective being to destroy it. It was the second module in a small campaign (the first module was featured in the quickstart booklet for the game). So much fun.


Jason Keeley wrote:
Asmodeus's Dad wrote:

Player's Guide - Good! Though with the much smaller page count of the Starfinder AP books, these should really be free pdf's like the Pathfinder counterparts. Not taking up page count in the book itself and much more readily available to the players as that is the target audience.

The Player's Guide in this AP is a bit of experiment to see how well it is received within the volume itself. It contains information that would have normally gone at the beginning of the adventure, giving the adventure a bit of room to breath but also a couple of new themes and pieces of equipment, so it should hopefully be worth the price of admission!

So is the PG at the back of the book or?

Shadow Lodge

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Jason Keeley wrote:
Asmodeus's Dad wrote:

Player's Guide - Good! Though with the much smaller page count of the Starfinder AP books, these should really be free pdf's like the Pathfinder counterparts. Not taking up page count in the book itself and much more readily available to the players as that is the target audience.

The Player's Guide in this AP is a bit of experiment to see how well it is received within the volume itself. It contains information that would have normally gone at the beginning of the adventure, giving the adventure a bit of room to breath but also a couple of new themes and pieces of equipment, so it should hopefully be worth the price of admission!

Jason, Starfinder players are already paying a premium for their respective Adventure Paths. The Pathfinder equivalents are 96 pages at $24.99 - that's 3.84 pages per dollar. Starfinder AP books are 64 pages at $22.99 - that's only 2.78 pages per dollar. I think having a Player's Guide for these APs is marvelous however I also believe it should be presented as a free pdf just as it is for Pathfinder. The Player's Guide itself would be better received if it were a separate document.


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

Weird, part 2 of the AP is on Amazon, but not on paizo.com.

Dark Archive

1 person marked this as a favorite.

From Paizocon reveal:

Attack of the Swarm AP is announced, starts in August. Rob nails a great Starship Troopers joke. Rob is killing it. Lots of new scary new bugs in the AP.

Threefold Conspiracy Theory - AP for February. 6 volumes.

Thanks to Painlord!

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