Starfinder Society Scenario #2-19: Truth Keepers

4.50/5 (based on 4 ratings)

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A replayable Starfinder Society Scenario designed for levels 3-6 (subtiers 3-4 & 5-6).

A sudden terrorist attack on Absalom Station throws the PCs right into the middle of a vast conspiracy that sends them right into the heart of the militaristic empire known as the Veskarium. Venturing to the Veskarium capital city of Command Prime, the PCs must contend with an organization that seeks to undermine everything the Starfinders stand for. Take part in the Starfinder Society campaign's first foray into the Near Space domain of the vesk.

Written by: Natalie Kertzner & John Curtin

Scenario tags: Repeatable

[Scenario Maps spoiler - click to reveal]

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

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

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Average product rating:

4.50/5 (based on 4 ratings)

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Well this was fun one :D

5/5

This scenario has 1) unusual intro 2) seeker candidate cameos 3) backstory for sharktopus 4) hilarious things 5) education! 6) genuine horrific things about Veskarium

You pretty much want to replay this to learn as much as about veskarium as possible :D


Good Bones but undercooked mechanics

4/5

tl;dr I was impressed by the general situation and plot/story beats but disappointed in its structure and mechanics.

These replayable adventures can be a bit of a mixed bag. Some of them allow for pretty wide GM freedom like 1-12 Ashes of Discovery while others are replayable for basically no reason like 2-03 Withering World. My only regret is I have only been able to run this via VTT because this scenario encourages roleplay at every turn that would have been more natural in person.

This one is replayable by means of interchangeable portions of the middle section of the adventure with some interchangeable mechanics in an end of adventure mini-dungeon crawl.

The situation begins with the party hanging out at a bar after a different adventure and is one of the few adventures to not begin with a venture-captain briefing and this was a very refreshing change of pace that should be employed a little more often. It allowed the players to roleplay and get into character before they begin getting bombarded with plot details and it made a big difference in terms of player engagement.

I won't spoil the plot wholesale but there is an incident and then the players have to respond to it because theyre the team in the field already. They then head to the Veskarium and have to go 3 rounds with the Vesk bureaucracy in what was a surprisingly fun and charming turn of events. Its pretty rare for a Society adventure to do such a good job of portraying an established location this well and I only wish the glimpses had been a little more fleshed out and I suspect if this had been a standard scenario it actually would have been. Still these mini-vignettes pack a ton of character and I was sad they went so fast.

Dungeon Spoilers:
Unfortunately the Dungeon itself is pretty uninspired. And as written can unfairly punish players whose only sin is exploring the dungeon in the wrong order. If they do so that final fight can be pretty brutal. Also in general, it would be nice if materials were described - at the very least for the doors, walls and floors. There are a number of abilities that key off of being able to manipulate different materials and to not describe them at all forced me as GM to make a number of arbitrary calls.

I was delighted that they brought back the Surviving Companion creatures from Return to Sender but it was pretty random and I didn't get a good sense for why they would be here and was disappointed when it turned out to JUST be random fanservice.

Overall, this doesn't quite reach the Mount Rushmore of setting examination and study alongside Protectorate Petition and Yesteryear's Sorrow but it had the potential to get there and still gets pretty darn close.

Overall, it would have been better if it hadn't been given the replayable treatment but it should still be pretty rewarding to revisit and try the other bureuacratic tasks.


Best Repeatable I've Run Yet

4/5

I GM'ed this for both high- and low-tier tables.

When I first read the description for Truth Keepers I was apprehensive. "A terrorist attack on Absalom Station takes a crew of Starfinders to the heart of the Veskarium." I was concerned that this would be yet another ploy by everyone's Public Enemy Number One, a certain white-furred ysoki whose paw prints could, so far, be found over most scenarios in Season 2.

So I was pleasantly surprised to find Truth Keepers was its own self-contained story. Better yet, it was a self-contained story with a tremendous amount of heart!

The scenario's introduction is a paradox--it is both unorthodox, yet classical. You find yourself at a bar, rather than the briefing rooms most scenarios start out in. Players seemed to enjoy being given the opportunity to imagine their characters' normal after-work personas, gravitating toward things they think their characters would do or enjoy after a long day of, well, Starfindering.

That peace (and also a window) is shattered by the call to adventure, which most characters quickly seize upon diving into a combat to support one of three charming NPCs, each with unique abilities and personalities (one of my groups especially loved Toast, who shouted words of encouragement from behind her makeshift barricade).

The scenario doesn't lose any of its personality once the mission gets underway, with Venture-Captain Naiaj trusting the PCs to undertake a quasi-legal operation in the Veskarium under the supervision of an old friend. The investigation is both lightweight and varied, and no two groups I've run the table for have selected the same investigative routes twice. There's a lot of fun to be had with each lead, and players are genuinely charmed by the variety of characters and personalities they encounter during their mission.

The final act of the scenario is, perhaps, the weakest, because it involves the most combat. In most cases, enemies have no tactics, leaving it up to the GM to divine how they prioritize targets or engage threats. Likewise, PCs who do not adequately explore their environments may end up fighting a battle on two-fronts, a scenario that nearly killed one of the PCs at my table (he was left with 0 hit points and 0 resolve at the end of the mission). Even then, players were thrilled by the foes they encountered (particularly one well-timed callback) and generally enjoyed themselves.

The reason why I give this scenario four stars instead of five, however, is that there were several important details that were lost during editing and not put back before the scenario went to print. One encounter gives varying information on how many enemies are present. One encounter omits mechanics for an ally's abilities. One map is oriented incorrectly, confusing the PCs about their exploration choices.

Overall, I would say that Natalie Kertzner & John Curtin put together an impressive repeatable that I will probably not tire of running anytime soon. The scenario's clever writing, fun characters, and lightweight mechanics made it an instant favorite, and I hope to continue to see scenarios of this quality in the future.


5/5

This was fun to play. I was also fortunate to have Mr. Curtin run the scenario for me!


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4 people marked this as a favorite.

Announced for March!

Scarab Sages

Awesome! Can't wait to visit the Veskarium.


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

Y'know, having read this now, and from what's been hinted at for season 3, I have my fingers crossed for...

Callback Spoiler!:
...the Starfinder Society getting caught in a fight between the Keepers of the Lie and Paralictor Kelria's Order of the Pyre Hellknights.

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