Starfinder Society Scenario #2-15: The Infernal Gallery

3.80/5 (based on 6 ratings)

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A Starfinder Society Scenario designed for levels 1-4 (subtiers 1-2 & 3-4).

When a salvage barge uncovers a mysterious swamp floating in the Drift, they manage to barely escape with their lives and a mysterious painting. Bartering for the painting from a notorious Absalom Station broker, the Starfinder Society sends the PCs to investigate the painting before travelling to the site where it was found. Where did this floating swamp come from and what lies within the ominous structure at its center?

Written by Jessica Catalan

Scenario tags: Starship

[Scenario Maps spoiler - click to reveal]

The following maps used in this scenario are also available for purchase here on paizo.com:

Other Resources: This product is also available on the following platforms:

Fantasy Grounds Virtual Tabletop

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

Product Availability

Fulfilled immediately.

Are there errors or omissions in this product information? Got corrections? Let us know at store@paizo.com.

PZOSFS0215E


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3.80/5 (based on 6 ratings)

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4/5


Lots of Potential in the Right Hands

4/5

NO SPOILERS

I got to play The Infernal Gallery via play-by-post at subtier 3-4 using the Iconic witchwarper, Zemir. It's one of those scenarios that, in the right GM hands, could really be something memorable (in a spooky vein that we don't see in Starfinder very often). The plot has a basic premise, but it's executed really well and with plenty of flavour to engage with. Little details are handled nicely. I didn't think much of it while playing it, but on reading it for the purposes of this review I can see it has real potential.

SPOILERS!:

One of the virtues of Starfinder's concept of the Drift is the natural story engine of having chunks of the multiverse torn free with each use. In The Infernal Gallery, it's a chunk of Stygia, the fifth layer of Hell! More specifically, it's an art gallery named the Palace of Delusion, owned by the "nightmare collector" Duke Crocell. With his precious building now floating somewhere in the Drift, Duke Crocell has hired a team of mercenaries named the Devil's Talon to secure it. What he doesn't know, however, is that a salvage ship named the Clutter Collector (a ship appearing in some previous scenarios) has already been there, and that its crew looted a painting before starting to succumb to hallucinations and fleeing back to Absalom Station. The painting was sold to the (recurring NPC) pawn broker Julzakama before making its way to the Starfinder Society. And that's where the PCs come into the picture.

After a briefing by the walking snooze-fest Venture-Captain Arvin, the Starfinders make their way to the Downlow district to speak with Julzakama. The scenario does a great job making Julzakama really pop with the perfect mix of bluster and humor. There's a lot of really funny little bits here, like him trying to extort more money from the PCs (when's he's already been paid for his cooperation by Arvin), giving people mildly offensive nicknames, giving PCs he's met before in previous scenarios a discount on energy drinks, or praising that nice Datch lady on the holo-vids. Julzakama explains that the painting (of a Veskarium war hero named Major Sifkali, done by a famous verthani artist named Aelon Vimariss) was found by the Clutter Collector on a piece of floating Drift real estate that the crew dubbed the Drift Bog. The Drift Bog, of course, is where the PCs need to go next. It's a solid set-up to the adventure. (oddly, there really isn't any special significance to the subject matter of the portrait or information on why an infernal duke of all people would want to collect it)

When the PCs arrive at the Drift Bog, they're confronted by the Devil's Talons starship, Malice. There can be some role-playing to start out with, as the ship's captain wants to know if the Starfinders have reinforcements on the way, but a battle is inevitable. I tend to zone out during Starfinder starship combat, and I don't remember anything about it. There are some Drift hazards to complicate things, and interestingly the PCs take a point of Infamy if they destroy Malice rather than just disable it (an unusual feature of starship combats).

The Drift Bog is, as the name indicates, a chunk of floating swamp--with a structure visible in the distance. I really like how the scenario rewards PCs who do the sorts of sensible things space explorers should do, like take Tricorder-style environmental and biological samples (testing the water, insect-life, air, etc.). This wasn't explicitly asked for by Arvin, but doing so provides some small mechanical bonuses and contributes to the secondary success conditions. Starfinder's decision to make environmental protections available to everyone all the time takes away some of the fun of exploring a naturally hazardous environment, unfortunately. While travelling through the swamp, PCs will find the dead bodies of several Devil's Talons mercenaries, fight an encounter against leech-like parasites called "slithermaws", and potentially rescue a trapped soul that has been bound in Hell for eons. It's all done well and flavourfully, though it has my pet peeve of allowing Perception to substitute for Survival which only continues to elevate Perception into the uber-skill.

The Palace of Delusions itself constitutes only a few chambers, but they're full of traps, loads of objets d'art (Arvin apparently wants it all!), and a memorably weird encounter against a collection of various creepy animated toys. One of the chambers contains a poor bird from Elysium who has been caged and begs for rescue. In a clever twist, the bird is actually an imp who wants to hitchhike a ride back to the Material Plane--there's a fair chance the PCs won't notice until it's too late and accrue a negative boon because of it. Once the PCs have thoroughly looted the place, they can return to Absalom Station without further incident.

There are a lot of little creepy things suggested by the scenario (delusions, phantom touches, etc.) to help build the right amount of creepy tension, but it's really up to the GM to make it work. All in all, it's a solid scenario.


A great one

5/5

This was an early session for me in SFS, it really opened my eyes to the full potential of the entire setting. Very creepy, one of the best RP experiences I've ever had in 30+ years of gaming. You were always left on the edge (sometimes literally) over what was going to come next.


Classic eerie mood in the Starfinder setting

4/5

Coming into this as a player, I didn't know what to expect for the "infernal" theme.

I found the subtle hints as the scenario progressed effective. After a fun starship battle, the connection becomes apparently early on, but then it becomes an experiential exploration of an interesting location displaced into the drive. The persistence of tortured souls left me feeling like there is a haunt around any corner, and the party will have need of a Pathfinder cleric at any moment. The choices aren't always cut and dry either (what to do about trapped souls discovered), which leads to some interesting discovery about the characters involved. There was some interesting problem solving whereby I got to dangle a front-liner out over the endless drift (SAFELY). I will say I would have liked to learn more about the fate of the trapped souls in the end, but perhaps that would make a good seed for a follow-up.


A trip to Season 5 PFS (in space)

5/5

This scenario is an interesting piece that was really reminiscent of season 5 PFS (Demon).

I found the story to be interesting and engaging, and there was enough 'meat' and atmospherics for a GM to work with and deliver a nice little lite-horror gaming.

There was a good level of compromise in the 'the environment is the enemy' and I found that a refreshing change from how it seems to normally pop up as an arbitrary resource spend to recover from being pointlessly pounded - in fact, I specifically came here to make a post to THANK the writer (THANKS TWICE!) for having thought the players may have brought not only vehicles but enough to fit the party. It was a welcome and refreshing change to assuming players always walked everywhere.

Anyhow, this scenario seemed to have a fair bit of good lore in it and I think it would make part of an interesting ongoing storyline - I'm hoping that this isn't the whole story and we get an arc out of this.

Thanks again for delivering a bit of 'horror' themed Starfinder, please can we have some more?


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Paizo Employee Webstore Coordinator

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Coming this month!

Dark Archive

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Blog wrote:
...notorious Absalom Station broker.

Am I the only one hoping for an android named T-0RCH?


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Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Yay! Go, Jessica! I look forward to seeing this!

Shadow Lodge

2 people marked this as a favorite.

Huzzah for another adventure from Jessica!

Dark Archive

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

This cover art reminds me of the 70s/80s cover art for sci fi and fantasy novels. Like one of the piers Anthony novels. Or maybe the cover of a Stephen King novel.... looks creepy. Muwahaha

Scarab Sages

4 people marked this as a favorite.

Maybe I'm missing something but it seems that map for the star ship encounter in this scenario doesn't have the ship starting locations or hazards mentioned in the text marked.


LaserDanger wrote:
Maybe I'm missing something but it seems that map for the star ship encounter in this scenario doesn't have the ship starting locations or hazards mentioned in the text marked.

Yeah, was just noticing that. Need to prep this for a convention next weekend, but the starship combat map is blank.

Media Specialist, SmiteWorks USA (Fantasy Grounds)

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Hello everyone! This is now available for purchase to play on Fantasy Grounds or on Steam.

Starfinder RPG - Starfinder Society Scenario #2-15: The Infernal Gallery
Publisher: Paizo Inc.
System: Starfinder
Type: Adventure
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