Starfinder Society Scenario #2-05: Meeting of Queens

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A Starfinder Society Scenario designed for levels 1–4.

The ant-like formians of Castrovel’s colonies are a reclusive species who've only recently made peace with their enemies, the lashuntas. As part of the ongoing peace, the formians have admitted a small number of outsiders to participate in a reenactment of a famous moment in formian history. The PCs are among these privileged few participants, but they soon realize that there are other forces that want the reenactment to fail, tearing apart the peaceful coexistence of formians and lashuntas with it. It's up to the PCs to ensure these shadowy trespassers don't succeed!

Written by Kiel Howell

Scenario Tags: Starship

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

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3.00/5 (based on 3 ratings)

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Middling

3/5

NO SPOILERS

I played through Meeting of Queens with my embri mystic, Speaker for the Dead. I like that the scenario involves the PCs interacting with a rarely-scene species and learning a bit of the backstory for one of the key planets in the Pact Worlds. The plot has a couple of interesting twists. There wasn't anything that jumped out at me to make the scenario feel particularly noteworthy, however, and, reading through it afterwards, I can see some obvious ways it could have been improved. It's a middling scenario overall.

SPOILERS!:

Meeting of Queens is the first Starfinder Society adventure set on the Castrovellian continent known as the Colonies (home to the ant-like formians). The scenario's plot ties into the history of Castrovel, as it involves a ritual reenactment of the "Meeting of Queens", a time when the warring formian queens united together to fight a common foe (the lashuntas on the continent of Asana). For the first time since a peace agreement was reached on Castrovel three decades ago, outsiders have been invited to participate in this reenactment. In his briefing to the PCs, Venture-Captain Arvin says lashuntas, staff from Qabarat University, and Starfinders have been asked to play the role of one of the now-extinct formian tribes by making a trek overland from the edge of the Colonies to the meeting site. Arvin tasks the PCs with essentially making a good impression on their hosts in a high-stakes diplomatic mission.

As an aside, I still discern a complete lack of personality coming from Arvin. I also wonder why the decision was made to have all Starfinder Venture-Captains based on Absalom Station instead of spread out across the Pact Worlds. It seems like a little thing, but it means every scenario starts the same and requires the formality of travelling through the Drift (where nothing ever happens) to reach the point where the adventure really starts.

Once on Castrovel, the Starfinders meet the rest of the delegates for a party the night before the planned departure overland. There are six named NPCs to interact with here and a series of minor events (one of the delegates is drunk, one offers the PCs some revolting food, one is in a bad mood, etc.) to be dealt with. Depending on the outcome of some skill checks, the PCs might gain some friends among the other delegates (which generally results in automatic attempts to Aid Another on particular skills from those delegates, which is something very easy for a GM to forget about). The social "events" are fine, and I always appreciate some role-playing opportunities. However, when a bunch of NPCs are thrown at the group, they really need to have artwork and personality descriptions--otherwise, it's just too hard to tell them apart and to make the role-playing interesting (unless the GM is *really* good).

The next part of the scenario is the overland travel. There are six different encounters (though only one involves combat) here, and the main thing the PCs are trying to achieve is to stay on schedule. If they lose too much travel time (all given in half-day increments) by not dealing properly with the encounters, they could end up late for the Meeting of Queens and that would, of course, make a poor impression on the formians. An interesting complication, at least for the combat encounter, is that the PCs are expected to recreate the original journey by foregoing all use of powered devices--that means only archaic weapons! A good challenge, even if some players will whine about their perfect builds becoming less useful for a session. I also like how the scenario writer made some of the encounters optional and gave the GM explicit instructions to tailor them to how interested the players were in the travel section--some added flexibility is usually a good thing.

The Meeting of Queens itself is a little bit of text-box description of the ritual and then an action scene, as one of the delegates (a phentomite graduate student from the university) has activated a psychic feedback device that makes the assembled formians attack each other! All the fuss about travel delays really boils down to whether the PCs are seated near the front of the event (and thus have an easy time chasing the saboteur) or seated near the back (and thus have to deal with more difficult terrain, the possibility of falling down the rafters, and being attacked by crazed formians). The saboteur himself surrenders the moment a PC reaches him, and confesses he was bribed by an unknown party to set off the device on the promise that a scholarship fund would be set up for impoverished university students.

The feedback device is in communication with a mysterious ship in orbit, and it falls to the PCs and some climactic starship combat to deal with the problem. Like with most starship combats, I have no particular recollection of this one, and I'm pretty sure my PC did nothing meaningful in it.

The conclusion offers the PCs a moral decision (and reporting condition) on whether to turn the saboteur over to the formians, over to the lashuntas, or over to the Starfinder Society. It's not a particularly interesting decision to my mind, as there's no information given to the players as to what the different choices might entail in terms of consequences--if all three options result in imprisonment, for example, then it doesn't seem to matter. A twist in the tail ending reveals that the previously-undisclosed sponsor of the lashunta delegation is Datch! I don't think the revelation really hits, as it's not clear how/why the Starfinder Society would have gotten in particular trouble for what happened at the meeting.

I guess I've been pretty hard on Meeting of Queens. It's not a bad scenario per se, and involves a good mix of role-playing, skill challenges, and some action scenes. For whatever reason, it just doesn't quite cohere into an especially good scenario either. I'm going to mark it down as average, with the reminder that an excuse to hang out with buddies, eat pretzels, and roll dice is always welcome.


3/5

I GM'd this online.

It's a bit dry, and not just because of the desert! It also went be fairly quick - if you don't have players eager to interact with the npcs at length then it'll go by very fast. There are only two combats (and one ship combat). A majority of the scenario is more or less an 'Oregon trail' sort of deal. Just skill check after skill check trying to overcome some challenges as you make the long trek through a desert.

Both combats are a bit of a joke, with the second one even being 'avoidable' if the party did well in the first part and can move quickly. The starship combat wasn't anything special to mention.

I would have liked to see more emphasis on the Formian+Lashunta political relationship and get to spend more time with Formian Culture. Also would have been nice to end on something besides ship combat. It really slows down the end of the scenario, which ends up just a few words and then a little hint at some nefarious dealings that relate to the current smear campaign.

So not bad, but not great. A little dry.

edit: I forgot to mention, I really like the fact this the scenario includes a very relatable real-world issue in the story.


Good introductory adventure - wish the focus has been on culture and diplomacy

3/5

I love this sort of adventure where a new culture is exposed to us and giving us as a lot of information about one of the core races which I have been desperately hungry for.

This has been something I have badly wanted - it was disappointing that a big chunk of this opportunity was spent traveling and then dealing with a starship combat, but if you want it bad enough and can get your players to pay attention the travel can do that and show a lot about Castrovel to new players which is very cool. Still, it feels like more could have been done to showcase the cultures and diplomatic/political positions of the Asana and the Formians to make the choice at the end more interesting.

I do like the diplomatic angle as well - though I do wish it were a little harder to balance the two party's interests.


RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 32

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Woohoo! Just 8 days!

Paizo Employee Starfinder Society Developer

1 person marked this as a favorite.

MAPS!

Maps Appearing in This Scenario::
-Starfinder Flip-Mat: Basic Terrain (Desert Side)
-Starfinder Flip-Mat: Basic Starfield
-Custom Half-Page Map

RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 32

You sneaky radishes....I love the cover!

Scarab Sages

1 person marked this as a favorite.
theheadkase wrote:
You sneaky radishes....I love the cover!

Wow! I agree. That is really cool.


Starfinder Superscriber

Have people been getting this as a subscription? I'm not sure if my subscription isn't set up right or is isn't expected to have the subscription fire yet.


Berggen wrote:
Have people been getting this as a subscription? I'm not sure if my subscription isn't set up right or is isn't expected to have the subscription fire yet.

I haven't gotten mine yet, but it's listed as "pending" since the 3rd. Along with 2-03/2-04, which I already own.

RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 32

I haven't gotten my contributor copy yet either. I'm assuming customer service and the warehouse are suuuuuuuuper busy and then there was the long weekend this past weekend. I can't wait to see the final!


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

I got this one last week.

Lantern Lodge

1 person marked this as a favorite.

This one sparked a rather heated OOC argument at our local gaming shop. You would think everyone would relate to crippling student dept. Enter devotee of Abadar (otherwise known as Business Major)

RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 32

Corneleus Idaho wrote:
This one sparked a rather heated OOC argument at our local gaming shop. You would think everyone would relate to crippling student dept. Enter devotee of Abadar (otherwise known as Business Major)

I hope it ended friendly!


I would like to join this game if possible!!!

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