Starfinder Society Scenario #2-21: Illegal Shipment

4.00/5 (based on 4 ratings)

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

As the Swarm invades the distant Suskillon system, a notorious collector of alien life captures several Swarm lifeforms with the intent of selling them to interested buyers. Bringing these creatures to Absalom Station as part of a clandestine trade, events go awry and the trader's preserved wildlife escape into the station. In order to prevent station-wide panic, the Starfinder Society sends its best agents to find out what happened, track down the escaped Swarm lifeforms, and stop a full-scale infestation at the heart of the Pact Worlds!

Written by: Joseph Blomquist

Scenario tags: Faction (Exo-Guardians), Faction (Wayfinders)

[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.

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Average product rating:

4.00/5 (based on 4 ratings)

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The first truly hard scenario of the campaign

5/5

This one was great. The Swarm is set up to be an iconic foe in this setting and yet we haven't glimpsed them at all outside of the adventure path yet and it's frankly just not the same to deal with The Swarm in the context of an AP that is all swarm all the time.

Here the swarm problems just sort of happen to us and we are forced to deal with them or else suffer the terrible consequences. The atmosphere is tight and a good GM can help keep things feeling hectic. This one stays good until the last fly gets swatted. Definitely recommend.


basically perfect

5/5

EASILY 5 stars.

I ran this online.

First off: I did not like the debriefing - that was way too long of a bit of a mess to read it all out. The warehouse is a bit cramped and I'm against using such a large map for one single creature. But!

This scenario is still amazing.

The premise is great and quickly sets the tone. The swarm is loose on Absalom Station! The society's reasons for not bringing in the Stewards is tentative at best, but it's quickly established just how serious (and dangerous) this mission. It does seem odd that a bunch of 1-4's are being asked to handle it, but eh. Low levels deserve a great scenario too!

The inclusion of a fight that the party can talk their way out of and even learn ahead of time through high rolls that it's a valid option is wonderful to see.

But the shining moment, the best part of the scenario that makes it earn its place in my favorites, are the "Setting the Scene" blurbs.

A lot of scenarios feel way too mechanical, just leading a group along through fights, being blasted at with Exposition, with a possible "ooo skill challenge!" forcefully wedged in. But this scenario tries to break out of it, and give GMs something more so that they are just not moving a party from point A to point B.

Those little Setting the Scene bits are a wonderful addition, providing GMs with a starting point to actually describe where the players are. To set up a scene, to play up an environment. You aren't just moving through different spots in Absalom station to perform your required 3 fights - you are IN a sleazy bar, you are IN Fogtown, you are IN a disgustingly moist proto-hive where the walls are throbbing with hunger. Although I will note: slapping such heavy concealment over everything is hilariously frustrating.

Infernal Gallery is another scenario like this where more effort is placed on giving GMs an opportunity and tools to present a memorable adventure.

Additionally, the variety of creatures (and opting for increasing creature count for high tier rather than coming up with multiple stat lines for everything) is refreshing. Yes, it can easily be a bit deadly. But the Swarm is a deadly threat! Are you going to hop up along the catwalks, only for the swarm to continue flying circles? And with the warehouse so dense, two combats being triggered for a memorable encounter involving multiple sides is a very likely possibility! Hunker down and defend yourself, or run over to help those that are stuck while you defend against swarm crawling over the walls and ceiling? I also love seeing the addition of little things to open more possibilities in combat: like having the option to manipulate the dense fog or send a robot on a trampling rampage.

This scenario does exactly what I want, and feel, all scenarios should do. Scenarios should provide a framework that facilities roleplay, prompts exploration, and offers engaging combat. This scenario executes all that perfectly.


A great scenario with poorly designed maps


This scenario was a lot of fun! The encounters (running high tier with 5 players 2 out of tier) were challenging and fun. Almost to lethal, but just right, I think.

This scenario really falls down in 2 places.
The first is the maps: the map designs used feel...wrong for the encounters that take place in them. Players gravitate to the larger final fight first, rather then the expected order laid out in the scenario.

The latter is the presentation of information. A question and answer section like the mission briefing for del thara and Toressa would be far more useful in allowing gms to respond to player inquiries.

All in all, worth playing but not a standout of the season like I'd hoped


Potentially fun, but don't run for 4, and don't run for level 1s

2/5

Have only played this so far.

It's fun and generally well-written, and runs short. Short! That's amazing. We get to see a different side of Ziggy, which is also welcome. Overall, I had a good time.

The one challenge here is that IMO the difficulty knobs are tweaked too high in a couple places.

In an early encounter:
There's some nasty poison whose DC isn't adjusted downward for 1-2 subtier. It's a fairly simple thing to get poisoned twice, and that's got better than even odds of killing most characters.

Now, you can work on overcoming this with having medpatches and the medicine skill available, and it's a good lesson for players to be prepared. Even so, these are expensive for level 1s, who are unlikely to be able to afford enough medpatches to survive. I'm not so sure that's a great experience for new players.

There's also the complication that the four-player adjustment doesn't adjust the DC of the poison either, while running with 4 hurts the action economy in terms of getting medpatches on poisoned PCs. It's rough.

A later encounter:
There's also no 4-player adjustment on the last combat, which is... really problematic, given how much damage some of the challenges do there. Also considering that it's like... CR 6 or 7 or something, depending on how you calculate it? For low subtier? That seems extreme for a full party, let alone an underpowered one!

I'll probably adjust my review upward from 2 stars to 3 stars when we get a 4PA for the last encounter, because I do rather like a lot of individual components of this adventure. And it makes sense that the difficulty is high, because the swarm should be scary! But given that this doesn't run well for 4 and it doesn't run well for subtier 1-2, it's hard to review Illegal Shipment too favorably right now. Be careful with the group you run this for.


4/5

The scenario was good and the story was ok, but the briefing included the most facepalmworthy moment since a very long time. In-world the setup would not be solved by the level 1-4 PCs but by the stewards, especially if in the current plot with datch the society would not be able to risk the possible fallout.

Spoiler:
As a player of the Swarm AP: WHY no dretchers?


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Product page has been updated to include map list.

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