Starfinder Society Scenario #3-09: Frozen Ambitions: Freeing the Herd

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A Starfinder Society Scenario designed for levels 1-4.

A retired Starfinder reaches out to the Society in search of assistance when the local fauna of a moon in Near Space begins to act erratically. The Society dispatches the PCs to investigate and contact the retired Starfinder and their companions. Soon enough it becomes clear that something insidious is at work nearby, and it's up to the PCs to step in and stop it.

Frozen Ambitions is an ongoing series of adventures set in the Year of Exploration's Edge. These lower-level adventures are the perfect starting point for any new Starfinder character, and can be integrated into almost any ongoing campaign with little extra effort. The adventures in the Frozen Ambitions series can be played in any order.

Written by: Diego Valdez

Scenario tags: None

[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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3.00/5 (based on 4 ratings)

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Fine, but Simplistic

3/5

NO SPOILERS

Frozen Ambitions: Freeing the Herd is part of a mini-arc of scenarios in Season Three. I played it via play-by-post with my lashunta witchwarper, Madrigal Zern. R.I.P., Madrigal (she got killed due to provoking an attack of opportunity while at zero RP that ended up as a critical hit!). Anyway, I thought this scenario was fine if a little too simplistic. I imagine it’s a fast one to run, and perhaps a good one to use for new players (or by new GMs). As an aside, this is the first Season Three scenario I’ve played, and I really dig the new design (encounter blocks at the back, pictures all on one page for easy printing, etc.).

SPOILERS!:

I really like how the scenario starts. The PCs are accompanying First Seeker Ehu Hadif on a tour of Near Space planets (which I’m guessing is a theme in Season Three) when a distress call comes in. The signal is from a retired Starfinder named Colrid, who’s an old friend of the First Seeker. Colrid is a dromada (sapient herd creatures who are often hunted for their meat) and says he and the Star Treader herd took refuge on a planet named Zrulik-3 but are now being attacked. The PCs mission: get to Zrulik-3 and find out what’s going on! It’s a nice change of pace from the more sedate, exposition-packed briefings that are usually a predicate to Drift travel that begin most Starfinder Society scenarios. The whole situation screams “trap” to me (and did even moreso for my paranoid PC)—what are the odds that an old friend of the First Seeker would be sending a distress message in exactly the part of the galaxy where his ship is travelling? Oddly though, the scenario doesn’t have the First Seeker contemplate this possibility at all, which makes me think he’s a bit dim-witted.

The PCs take a shuttle to Zrulik-3 and land a couple of kilometers from where the signal is coming from (true to SFS trope, that’s where the nearest clearing large enough to accommodate the shuttle is—how large are these shuttles?). Anyway, the PCs need to make a couple of skill checks to navigate the dense forest, but the checks are significant because they determine whether an impending encounter will take place at night and with the PCs fatigued. The battle is against “zrulicats” (depicted on the cover), which are a pretty bland generic “space jungle cat”.

When the PCs get to where the signal is coming from, they’ll meet Colrid and learn what led to the distress call. Several members of his herd have gone mysteriously missing in recent weeks. The PCs are encouraged to talk to witnesses among the herd, and in another common SFS trope, getting people to talk can’t be handled with simple social skills but must be done through other means: one of the dromadas, for example, likes magic, so the PCs need to make a Mysticism or Sleight of Hand check to convince her to share her story. From a gameplay perspective, I get that the scenario writers want to find a use for different skills, but I find this method a very clunky and transparent way to do it. One of the NPCs gives the group directions to a cave she heard screaming from. Why they won’t share this crucial information without a Survival or Life Science check “to provide planting advice” boggles the mind.

The rest of the scenario takes place in the “cave”, which is actually a secret laboratory run by a nuar (minotaur) scientist named Nraall. Nraall has taken a commission from the ruler of Vesk-8 to experiment with a substance called shimmerstone and discover a use for it. (I assume this background ties into the other “Frozen Ambitions” scenarios.) Nraall has been using shimmerstone to experiment on local fauna, including zrulicats and kidnapped dromada. From the PCs’ perspective, they start at Room B1 and need to traverse in order to Room B6 where the boss is. It’s not a total generic dungeon crawl, however, as some of the potential foes in the lab can be evaded or interacted with. There’s a couple of cute little details, and Nraall herself is depicted with some really neat artwork. Once she’s defeated, the captive dromadas can be rescued and returned to the village. There’s a nice (and surprisingly long) epilogue, and the PCs should feel well-rewarded for their efforts.

There’s nothing particularly wrong with Frozen Ambitions: Freeing the Herd. It just strikes me a bit as “RPG Lite” in its utter ingenuousness and lack of complexity. As a whole, I think Starfinder would do well to add some more three-dimensional (flaws included) characters, along with stories that are a little less black and white.


2/5


4/5

Overall a good scenario, but it doesnt get real exciting. There are some real flavorfull spots.


Feels safe ande by-the-book.

3/5

(I played this.)

Title says everything. It really feels like a scenario summary was handed to the author, who proceeded to deliver exactly that and nothing more. Don't get me wrong, it's not a bad scenario by any means, but it just feels... safe. No especially spicy combats, difficult skill challenges, or memorable story. Not that every scenario needs to be a five-star thrill-ride, but I just want to point out that this feels... formulaic. I found the monster on the cover to be pretty interesting as far as combats go, so that's a plus.

All in all, decent adventure. Nothing especially noteworthy, but also not as bad as other scenarios I've played.


Paizo Employee Webstore Coordinator

Announced for October! Product image and description are not final and may be subject to change.

Grand Lodge

2 people marked this as a favorite.

DROMADA!!!

Dark Archive

Sasha Laranoa Harving wrote:
DROMADA!!!

I mean its placeholder picture, so probably not sadly

Grand Lodge

CorvusMask wrote:
Sasha Laranoa Harving wrote:
DROMADA!!!
I mean its placeholder picture, so probably not sadly

Let me dream!

Paizo Employee Starfinder Society Developer

3 people marked this as a favorite.

Can confirm Dromadas.

Grand Lodge

You have confirmed my love for this scenario. aaaaaaa


Anne Dromada ?

Paizo Employee Organized Play Associate

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Cover and map list updated. No, I don't know what in the heavens is on the cover either.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber

Kitty!

Exo-Guardians

John Mangrum wrote:
Kitty!

You go pet that. I'll be waaaaay over here. Providing fire support as needed.

Scarab Sages

Paizo Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion, PF Special Edition Subscriber; Starfinder Superscriber

Is this really supposed to be 24MB? Most of the other SFS scenarios seem to come in with much smaller file sizes.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber

My PDF, downloaded day of subscription release, is 4.30 MB - so actually on the small side.

Dark Archive

In retrospect, pretty weirded out this is only Frozen Ambitions scenario without Ehu Hadif tag considering its still has ties to Ehu Hadif .-.

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