Starfinder Adventure Path #37: The White Glove Affair (Fly Free or Die 4 of 6)

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Starfinder Adventure Path #37: The White Glove Affair (Fly Free or Die 4 of 6)
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The crew of the Oliphaunt have been living paycheck to paycheck for too long; now they've got a chance to become richer than they've ever imagined... by stealing one of the Kalistocracy's legendary treasure barges! But this heist turns out to be more than anyone bargained for when the crew ends up stranded on a hidden resort in the Drift where Kalistocrats outbid each other for the plundered wealth of the galaxy. The only way off this rock is to win the auction, steal the keys to the commerce barge, and outrun both the competition and the law!

"The White Glove Affair" is a Starfinder adventure for four 7th-level characters. This adventure continues the Fly Free or Die Adventure Path, a six-part monthly campaign in which players take on the role of a merchant crew with an experimental starship, trying to get rich, escape interplanetary assassins, and outwit their rivals. This volume also includes a series of "Side Jobs"—short mini-adventures the GM can insert into the campaign at any time—and shines a spotlight on the Prophecies of Kalistrade, including the golden commerce barges that carry their treasure off to Fortune's Heart, a secret auction house in the Drift.

Each monthly full-color softcover Starfinder Adventure Path volume contains a new installment of a series of interconnected science-fantasy quests that together create a fully developed plot of sweeping scale and epic challenges. Each 64-page volume of the Starfinder Adventure Path also contains in-depth articles that detail and expand the Starfinder campaign setting and provide new rules, a host of exciting new monsters and alien races, a new planet to explore and starship to pilot, and more!

ISBN-13: 978-1-64078-304-1

The White Glove Affair is sanctioned for use in Starfinder Society Organized Play. The rules for running this Adventure Path and Chronicle sheets are available as a free download (5.3 MB PDF).

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

Fantasy Grounds Virtual Tabletop
Archives of Nethys

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CHOO CHOO. A Railroad with super-easy encounters.

3/5

I have in several previous Starfinder AP's critiqued people who use the word railroad too lightly and liberally when the GM won't let them 'live their truth' or whatever the heck players are mad about this decade.

This AP however, is a railroad.

A railroad in this instance is defined as a situation where no matter whether you turn left, turn right, go straight ahead, or go back, all roads lead to the same event occurring. You cannot escape it. The writers want their scene to happen. This AP is the very definition of a railroad.

The Details:

Part 1 -

Tarika the otter in otter space contacts you and wants to hook you up with a job based on a module you looted from the Oliphaunt ages ago. She's decrypted it and figured...something...out. A barge is being built on the Horse Eye platform and Tarika thinks it's full of treasure.

Spoiler: It isn't.

So, bait and switched onto a ship that's mostly empty, you are now stuck there for six days without access to the Oliphaunt while it transits to whereever-the-hell it's going. On board with you is a 4-person mercenary team. The gimmick here is mostly about staying out of sight via a daily stealth check at DC 25. I ran the numbers on this and even WITH a bonus of +5/+6 (not unreasonable for someone who doesn't have Stealth tagged as a class skill but invested points in it anyways) you would probably have a 10% chance of getting through all these rolls without being detected assuming you used all the methods listed on page 5 to reduce the DC.

In other words, AP as written? You are going to get discovered. Do not pass Go. Do not collect 200$.

And even if you don't, you will have to uncover yourself to deal with the Shantaks who appear near the end of your trip. You could wait for them to kill the crew first, but you have to fight them anyways so why bother waiting?

The book goes into painstaking detail about the ship, with various rooms to loot small tchotchkes from - but why would you try and do that? You're here to not get caught on the way to a bigger score, not to play Thief: The Dark Project in Starfinder.

Anyways -- for saving their asses the mercenary team decides that they'll pretend this never happened when they disembark and go their separate way. You never hear from them again.

In my opinion this section is a mile wide, foot deep. You could spend an entire session for very little payoff playing a game of cat and mouse with the crew, or your group could cram themselves into the farthest off cargo hold, hide there, defecate/urinate in a null-space chamber, and pop out after six days and you could be done in about an hour/hour and a half. It seems like a misuse of resources that they went to so much trouble to painstakingly map out each NPC in detail when you can blink and miss them if you're not careful. And in my opinion, the juice is not worth the squeeze.

As the group disembarks onto the Golden Rule (a Heinlein reference that would've been a better name than Fortune's Heart for this place) they run into Estriar Iastra Jaez, Kallistocrat textile magnate who's down on his luck. You can either murk him in cold blood and shove his corpse out an airlock (I was surprised the AP suggested this, wow that's cold) or bargain with him to assume his identity for the remainder of the AP and pose as him in your later dealings for the treasure barge at the auction....which at this point you don't even know about. Conveniently he's vainglorious so he leaves you a holoskin to impersonate him with!

It's kind of funny that he made it on the cover of the AP, though granted it does lack a clear villain. But man that cover is made of disappointment.

Part 2 -

Having either committed first degree murder or engaged in a little conspiracy, you move onto the Golden Rule. Estriar leaves the station in his own little ship, never to re-appear ever. How he made the cover for this one little cameo I have no idea.

Estriar's suite has Anacite Ambassadors in it for some reason. This isn't elaborated on at all. And Anacites appear in the end too. Hey, I think the author likes Anacites? I like them too, but Anacites have their own rich and independent culture. They're not lackeys and goons for Kallistocrats. So it's weird to see them treated like bestiary entries rather than sentients.

What follows next is a series of awkward meetings as one of your group is expected to pretend to be Estriar and interact with various Kallistocrat big-wigs in an attempt to get them to drop out of trying to bid for the Treasure Barge (that you just found out about). Your group may have some very good questions for you like "How the hell are we supposed to bid on this, we don't have the funds". To answer that:
You're supposed to commit wire fraud, but the AP doesn't tell you that until Page 31. I actually skipped ahead and found that out because it was what -I- was wondering too.

Marayeen - The GM NPC who is there to handhold the group and exposition-splain the plot since it went missing in the first part of the AP if the crew can't figure things out on their own. You meet with her first and can't screw it up no matter how hard you try. She's also there as a "I'm out of my depth, what do I do?" lifeline for the GM to handhold the group through this encounter.

Kantir Sursa - A Ryphorian who would much rather be dueling. You can challenge him to a friendly bout of Marquess of Kalistrade rules armed combat in the gym boxing ring to get him to back out. He's SO overconfident that he'll challenge you 4-on-1, no problem.

Honestly? You should probably just say "He folds like a cheap suit". There is NO point in playing out this encounter. A single CR 8 Vanguard in a 3x3 (or 4x4 if you want to use the ropes and turnbuckles) arena versus 4 characters goes down faster than a Gamestop stock rally.

Ralvarian Eumaris Harrington III - Kind of a boring encounter. Make a few checks. Pass. He's out. The idea was amusing though - freaking out a Kallistocrat by making him think the auguries aren't right for a bid.

Sevaranna Pilos - -

"Don't bother asking, there is nothing you can do to change my mind about bidding on this Treasure Barge."

(party kills an unrelated CR 9 assassin who stupidly decided to try and kill his target in a small suite with one exit while they're entertaining 4 guests)

"Okay, I guess I won't bid on the barge."

Worst assassin ever. Carries a single-shot rifle to carry out a hit in a suite that's not even 750 square feet with a 2d4+9 sonic suppressor to follow up. Even if you're still level 7, this guy is NOT a threat to anybody except himself.

Sidenote: The ribbon dance side-event I wasn't interested in and neither was my group. They were there to talk to Sev and once it was clear she didn't want to discuss business at the event but would speak to them later, their interest flatlined.

Taelarinis -

Another interesting one. Handling this with mostly roleplay was to me more interesting than running it as written, along with the tea ceremony. Just make a few checks and etc.

Zlanai -

Much like Taelarinis, if the characters pick on her and Taelarinis's feud early on it can be a great roleplay opportunity.

Varav Hakovel and Luxrana Siv - Nice art of Hakovel. Someone's been hit by a smooth criminal. I don't think this tie-in was super necessary -- but if I had to choose, I think it would've been more interesting to have the character crew approached in the intro by Hakovel and Siv. They're intelligence agents. So maybe they found out about them stealing the Oliphaunt and that they had this data archive with codes to a treasure barge headed to the Golden Rule and set them up on this whole expedition at the beginning? I think it would've flowed better that way.

Eline Reisora - Less of a rival and more just a potential risk to run into at a 10% chance. But there's no penalty to doing so and you get found out anyways at the very end no matter what, so why bother introducing her? It just slows down the AP.

One complaint with the formatting/editing here - I think it would've been more appropriate to list the events either just before or just after each of the moguls that are going to be at the event. E.G. - List Event 6, then list Sevaranna. Less flipping back and forth that way. Since you interact with them at the event, that's where you figure out what makes them tick.

Part 3 -

So -- with all of the other rivals out of the way, the group is now ready to go to the auction proper.

First of all - the auction hall itself. Woof. Knife fight in a phone booth. The widest rooms are EIGHT SQUARES in width. I think they should have been multipled by 4. I think it's possible that the grids were supposed to be smaller and there was an editing error? Note to Paizo: If you have black grid squares, I'm going to assume THAT'S a 5 foot square. Not the grey-line grids inset in the black grid square. Maybe they meant to say one square = 10 feet instead of 5?

Auction Pt 1 -

So the bidding begins on some item appetizers - and I like this mechanic a lot! Allowing characters to 'bid' on items and if they succeed by 5+ the price is slashed by 10% is actually a really good baseline for haggling and I'm going to import that into other things as well. It also allowed for a character who took the AP-specific Free Trader archetype to actually use it for something.

After the appetizer items are out of the way, SURPRISE, Raithera Harrington I shows up and says that her crazy father actually has been ousted from the board and she's there to bid, potentially reversing some of the gains your crew has made by discouraging her father. I thought this was an inappropriate time and messed with the pacing to throw this wrinkle in and so I skipped this event.

Then ANOTHER wrinkle occurs - god, this AP doesn't want to end!!! - as some Driftdead Hobkin Gremlins appear and wreak mayhem. Again, I skipped this event as well. It messed with the pacing of the climax and seemed counterintuitive to the themes that had been emphasized throughout the entire AP so far -- specifically not drawing attention to yourself and arousing suspicion and also that this place is a heavily policed Kallistocrat stronghold that has a crapload of security robots to handle this matter themselves.

Auction Pt 2 - If you've been halfway competent at dealing with these rivals, this should not be hard. The DC is driven down to near-nothing and you have six rounds and require only 3 successes. If it takes you more than 4 I'll be shocked.

So -- you step to 'collect your winnings' and it's here you use one of two suggested methods to screw the Kallistocrats: You can either drop a jammer charge to jam all communications except to your datapad which is getting the access key uploaded, or you can make a side-trip to the bank a few days before the auction, hack the gibson with a single computers check to find a bank account that has more money than Abadar, and make a bogus transfer to "Estriars" account so that their system thinks you have good funds, a banking error that will be corrected within 72 hours but not soon enough to prevent you from downloading the access codes to the barge's hangar and running off with it. Strangely enough the AP does say that there is some possibility that someone might beat you at the auction...but doesn't give any pages to describing an alternate scenario where you have to smash and grab.

Climax -

ANYWAYS...regardless of which route you chose, Eline Reisora stands up, points at you, and screams that you're an imposter and all Hell breaks loose. Apparently she had an illusion refactor cybernetic that allows her to see through holoskins. I wonder what she was expected to do if your impersonator is a Reptoid or Astrazoan?

Six skippable CR 5 robots attack you, the first three get blown out by an EMP grenade from Luxrana if you enlisted her aid. You're expected to fight the next three but why? Just book it.

Next you encounter two CR 5 Shimreen who will be cut down in 1-2 rounds easily. Not exactly a challenge!

Finally Eline Reisora releases the BEEEEES - Anacite Sentries from the beginning of the AP. CR 3 x 6.

Folks, let me flip through my corebook here, where it says on page 242...ah.

"In general, a creature with a CR less than or equal to your character level – 4 is not a significant enemy.

At this point in the AP you should be level 8, maybe even level 9. These are CR 3 enemies. Why waste their time with this?

And then there's a Scavenger Slime, which...ugh. Skip. This breaks the pacing so bad.

Finally at the very end there's a starship combat if you want it, but in my opinion forcing a starship combat without the HIGHLY CUSTOMIZABLE STARSHIP the group has been working their tails off for this entire AP run is BS, so I skipped it as well.

And that's part 4 of Fly Free or Die. A massive railroad.

Key points:

-- The encounters in this AP are laughably easy. You are not going to get challenged by a single fight except the Shantaks and so all they do is slow things down.

-- Some of the rivals were interesting, but others (like Kantir Sursa) really were just mind-boggingly dumb and just slowed things down. If your encounter is not even going to reasonably risk knocking the characters out of stamina points, why bother?

-- The AP's plot is poorly set up due to the bait and switch at the beginning. You think you're hijacking a ship, but then in part 2 you're thrust into a Thomas Crown Affair/Ocean's Eleven scheme where you have to do a lot of legwork to pull things off. It can be jarring because your 'face' will have to pretend to be someone they've only met for like 4 minutes and when you step onto the station you have no idea you're even there to hijack a treasure barge to begin with! And all the events that take place in part 2 are tied to Estriar's calendar, so if you try and go "nuts to this" then the GM is going to have to come up with convenient reasons you wind up at these social functions. All your pre-op planning goes to nothing and the player-characters are left trying to figure out what they're supposed to do with the help of Miss Exposition. It's very forced.

-- The AP assumes you're going to impersonate Estriar, either by agreement or after cold blooded murder. Almost zero text is devoted to outlining an alternate scenario where you have to blast your way through except to say "that's beyond the scope of this AP". If describing the hangar where the treasure barge is located in and the defenses surrounding it is beyond the scope of this AP, then it needs a wider scope because it's too narrow to accomplish its plot, sorry.

-- No matter what, you are expected to get "caught" at the end of this. If you have a Reptoid or an Astrazoan or an Endiffian in your party, you'll have to think on your feet to explain how they got caught. The writers relying on the holoskin gambit seems incredibly presumptous. Again, that's the definition of a railroad.

-- I don't know why they added side jobs in this AP. It says "maybe your characters skipped part of the content". How? You're stranded on a station and your only way off is to win the treasure barge at an auction. If you skip some content in this AP, you skip the whole thing.

-- This whole AP takes place in the Drift. Not Drift Crisis-compatible.

White Glove Affair is an interesting premise hampered by the bait-and-switch in the beginning and the singular focus on getting the characters, without much in the way of preliminary nudging, to follow the rails the writers have set out for you. Part 1 is so disconnected from Parts 2-3 you could skip it entirely and just start at the beginning of part 2 and you would have missed absolutely nothing. "You step off the shuttle and are met by Estriar" - boom, part 1 gone.


Paizo Employee Webstore Coordinator

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

Dark Archive

Katina Davis wrote:
Announced for February! Product image and description are not final and may be subject to change.

The cover image doesn't display, Katina.

Is there a way to offer a better resolution?
The pixelation is so high that i mostly can't make out a lot.
Thank you!


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It's a mockup though.

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Updated cover is shiny :3

Also shantaks huh


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Frustratingly the PDF image issues are persisting, at this point I can only assume it will continue for the entire AP. Conceptually this AP is great but the amount of effort required to extract images for VTT use has moved this from the AP I was most excited about to the one I'm least excited about. Otherwise the stuff in this book is pretty cool!

Dark Archive

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I've never figured out what fancy combination of paid programs people use for the image processing, but I have no problems screenshotting, saving the image and uploading the images with the grids onto Roll20 and going from there. At this point without having figured out the reliable macro rules or how to load a character, I can load an AP volume in 2-3 hours with maps and icons.


Yeah, I just use the snip tool and upload into roll 20. Easy peasy.


Maps are easy enough it's true, but when the NPC and monster images are all surrounded by text and suddenly you have to remove that for every single one because you can no longer extract it as a single image that's quite a bit of extra work.


Anyone care to share what's in the Alien Archive for this one?


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

Alien Archive Spoilers:

Spoiler:

Anacite Sentry: CR 3 construct. Anacite monitor/guards. More-or-less what it says on the tin.

Fuhlgeist: CR 8 outsider (incorporeal). Similar to ghosts, these outsiders form directly from strong emotions rippling through the Ethereal Plane.

Lovelorn: CR 4 undead. Spider-legged hearts that form from mortals who died when love took a terrible turn. They despise love and feed on misery.

Midships Mimic: CR 8 aberration (shapechanger). Apparently descended from the seemingly-"extinct" mimics of Golarion, they can devour and functionally replace/mimic starship systems. That's not good for the crew.

Moyishuu: The example is a CR 7 fey, but the entry includes PC racial abilities. Natives of the planet that this adventure focuses on, they're strongly connected to specific emotions that they can swap out each day.

Robot, Security (Luminance-Class): CR 5 variation on standard security robots favored by Kalistocrats.

Void Slime: CR 5 ooze. This is what's produced when a humanoid infected by an akata fails to successfully incubate a void zombie.

Liberty's Edge

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I subscribe to this product line -- and I am in CANADA. The cost of shipping is vastly prohibitive and costs me more than the cost of the product itself, but I do it to get the PDF.

You continue to slice apart the images in your PDF to prevent them from being extracted form the PDF for use in VTT play. This matter was drawn to your attention in November of 2020. You appear to now be deliberately WRECKING the value-in-use I get out of the PDF subscription. As this has been drawn to your attention since November, I can only conclude you are continuing to do this on purpose to promote sales of Pawns via subscription or purchase of VTT products from Roll 20. There is no other rational explanation.

Innocent ignorance of the issue appears to no longer be a reasonable assumption given the passage of time since this was drawn to Paizo's attention more than three months ago.

I don't like accusing Paizo of deliberately doing s%@#ty things, but right now? There seems no other reasonable explanation for this.

I run my games via VTT. I have for 8 years. Now, we are in a PANDEMIC. To cripple your products for use via VTT during a pandemic is unconscionable. You need to be BETTER than this.

I'm a full subscriber to this product line and have been a Paizo subscriber since you only published the magazines. There is literally NOT ONE SINGLE PRODUCT Paizo has ever made that I don't own -- not one. I've even got some really odd one-off Encounter products from back-in-the-day. But despite being a committed fan? If you don't fix this? I'll stop subscribing. It's pretty simple. I subscribe to get a PDF that is useful to me. You are no longer meeting my reasonable expectations as a subscriber, and explanations arising out of mere accidents is starting to vanish as a reasonable explanation for the continuing inaction. I am not paying a premium price at nearly DOUBLE the cost for your products for no good reason at all.

And you wouldn't do it if you were me, either.

If I am out of line or I have misunderstood some aspect of your products, I would LOVE to be wrong about this. Prove me wrong and I will shout it from the rooftops, gladly.


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I don't believe that this is something intentional, mainly because it isn't affecting any other Paizo products that I've seen. My best guess is that because these books are prepared well in advance of release, the issue was simply missed until the first book dropped, and they haven't rectified it yet. I'm assuming that at worst this will continue for the entire AP but I sincerely hope that is not the case.

That being said, it is ABSOLUTELY an issue that must be fixed and ideally rectroactively corrected. I am of a similar opinion that I would rather save £50 and buy the PDF on release than get a product slightly early that is borderline unusable for my purposes.

Liberty's Edge

SeriousSydney wrote:

I don't believe that this is something intentional, mainly because it isn't affecting any other Paizo products that I've seen. My best guess is that because these books are prepared well in advance of release, the issue was simply missed until the first book dropped, and they haven't rectified it yet. I'm assuming that at worst this will continue for the entire AP but I sincerely hope that is not the case.

That being said, it is ABSOLUTELY an issue that must be fixed and ideally rectroactively corrected. I am of a similar opinion that I would rather save £50 and buy the PDF on release than get a product slightly early that is borderline unusable for my purposes.

To be clear, this issue did not begin with the PDFs for Fly Free or Die. It began with Vol 1 of The Devastation Ark.

I also would prefer to think this was the result of oversight and was non-intentional. I have not seen this behavior from a Paizo PDF other than in back issues of Dungeon and Dragon Magazine.

But it's been seven months now. The issue has been drawn to their attention. They know.

Let's hope they fix it.


Steel_Wind wrote:
SeriousSydney wrote:

I don't believe that this is something intentional, mainly because it isn't affecting any other Paizo products that I've seen. My best guess is that because these books are prepared well in advance of release, the issue was simply missed until the first book dropped, and they haven't rectified it yet. I'm assuming that at worst this will continue for the entire AP but I sincerely hope that is not the case.

That being said, it is ABSOLUTELY an issue that must be fixed and ideally rectroactively corrected. I am of a similar opinion that I would rather save £50 and buy the PDF on release than get a product slightly early that is borderline unusable for my purposes.

To be clear, this issue did not begin with the PDFs for Fly Free or Die. It began with Vol 1 of The Devastation Ark.

I also would prefer to think this was the result of oversight and was non-intentional. I have not seen this behavior from a Paizo PDF other than in back issues of Dungeon and Dragon Magazine.

But it's been seven months now. The issue has been drawn to their attention. They know.

Let's hope they fix it.

I'm looking at my PDFs for Devastation Ark now and I'm not seeing the same issues as in the current AP. There are some pages where the image is not selectable but it can still be extracted as a solid image. I didn't even realise that was a problem until you brought it to my attention and it wasn't enough of a problem to prevent me extracting the images the first time around.

The Fly Free or Die issues make almost all of the images impossible to extract without either manually recombining the piecemeal pictures or carving away the surrounding text using an image editor. This is a serious hamper to the usability.

Liberty's Edge

SeriousSydney wrote:
I'm looking at my PDFs for Devastation Ark now and I'm not seeing the same issues as in the current AP. There are some pages where the image is not selectable but it can still be extracted as a solid image. I didn't even realise that was a problem until you brought it to my attention and it wasn't enough of a problem to prevent me extracting the images the first time around.

Perhaps I should have been more careful in my words.

You are correct that the ORIGINAL VERSION of the Devastation Ark Vol 1, which when it was first released, weighed in at 347,946KB contained the image files without being carved up. (Why the PDF was so large? I don't know.) They extract as 387 images when PDF Image Extraction wizard is used -- and yes -- the underlying art images are intact. All true.

When that huge PDF size was reprocessed and changed by Paizo, the images in that same PDF were carved up by a factor of 20 and this old-timey security feature was first introduced, too. (I have no idea why, as more overall files increase over all file size when unzipped, not less.) That SAME PDF, when processed by PDF Image extraction Wizard now extracts 7,840 images. The underlying images are quite destroyed, I assure you.

If you re-download Devastation Ark Vol 1 from your Digital Assets, you'll see the nonsense starts there.

Liberty's Edge

Steel_Wind wrote:

When that huge PDF size was reprocessed and changed by Paizo, the images in that same PDF were carved up by a factor of 20 and this old-timey security feature was first introduced, too. (I have no idea why, as more overall files increase over all file size when unzipped, not less.) That SAME PDF, when processed by PDF Image extraction Wizard now extracts 7,840 images. The underlying images are quite destroyed, I assure you.

If you re-download Devastation Ark Vol 1 from your Digital Assets, you'll see the nonsense starts there.

So the above was an Aha! moment for me.

This forensic tracking of the PDFs and WHEN and WHY they changed on the same PDF shines a great deal of light on the situation. Here's what I think happened:

For reasons not yet known, staff working from home late last spring/early summer created The Devastation Ark PDF files using whatever software and settings they had on their home machines, whether logged in remotely or working on their home gear. And for reasons that aren't entirely clear, ended up creating a PDF with a HUGE file size.

It wasn't because the maps were huge in resolution; they weren't. At all. It was due to some other as yet unknown quirk in their file settings. (Adobe can do that.)

My guess is that whoever was doing this was using software at home that didn't match the settings that had previously been used at the office, or something else was "off". Whatever the case, we ended up with PDF file sizes which were really BIG - so large they could not be easily used by people with some phones and some 5+ year old tablets.

There was then some whining last Fall about map resolution and PDF file size. THAT lead to the older Devastation Ark PDFs being reprocessed and these Interactive Maps being released as well alongside Fly Free or Die. The processing that was used probably used some old timey security settings for PDF creation in some misguided quest to reduce file sizes using "known to be good" settings (known to be good in 2008, that is). Sure the file size was reduced -- but the image carving exploded by creating between 15 to 20 times the original art assets in the process because of the settings used to create the PDF. The new settings they used were in part correct (as they reduced file size), but they also added in this unnecessary security image carving, too.

What they need to do is apply the file settings and PDF layer style to Starfinder AP that they use for Pathfinder AP and just export using those features on the main volume. That should fix everything.


I admit, I had been assuming the two issues were related due to the timing, but the exact mechanics of what happened where were above my understanding.

And I was one that had trouble with the file sizes on my rickety old tablet. Though I did actually replace it last year, so *shrug*.

Hopefully someone is working on the interactive maps playing nice with iOS.

Paizo Employee Director of Brand Strategy

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Steel_Wind wrote:
What they need to do is apply the file settings and PDF layer style to Starfinder AP that they use for Pathfinder AP and just export using those features on the main volume. That should fix everything.

Most of what you've pieced together above is correct. Ultimately, yes, this is related to the previous file size issue. Multiple members of the art team spent a lot of time going through the old files to figure out why they were so large, and finding a means of shrinking them.

The issue wasn't settings-based, but rather related to some design elements that were included in the print version of the book (for which the file size is not an issue because we usually send files to the printer that are orders of magnitude larger than our customer-facing PDFs offered for sale on paizo.com) Without removing those elements entirely, the only way to reduce the file size was to flatten the PDF to a degree we don't normally do. That's what caused the image-splitting issue you're describing.

Now that we are aware of how the specific design elements used in these two APs affects the final size of the PDF, we will be sure not to include those elements in future Starfinder APs. (It's never been an issue for Pathfinder, but we'll also avoid using the same effects in those products as well.)

PDFs as a format were not intended to be an image delivery mechanism, but rather a means of digitally transmitting fully laid-out documents, be they text with styles applied or full-color illustrated game manuals like we produce. The intention of including them as a purchasable product and as a benefit for subscribers is so that readers can access the book in either physical or digital format. If the intention was to provide the images by themselves, independent of the layouts on which they appear in the published book, we would distribute them via another mechanism. The fact that there are software solutions which enable readers to extract the images from a PDF doesn't mean that the PDFs are intended to be used that way. We have never intentionally put any security features on our PDFs that would prevent those programs from working, and will continue to offer them as we previously did for all content with the exception of these 9 Starfinder AP volumes.

All that said, we are aware that both the constant march of technology and the necessities of our current global health crisis have vastly increased the number of players gaming via VTTs. We are exploring ways to get more content to VTT users natively on their platforms of choice, but don't have any formal announcements to make at this time. We do not currently plan to release art assets by themselves as downloads for users to import themselves into VTTs, though we will continue watching market trends and reassess that decision down the road as necessary.

I'm sorry that these 9 issues of Starfinder Adventure Path are difficult to port over to your VTT of choice. We have done everything we can do to make the PDFs function as intended, and will do everything we can do to ensure future AP volumes provide the unintended benefit that you have requested here.


Thank you for your response! It's good to know that the issue has been resolved going forward (at least starting with the next AP), and I'm glad Paizo is transparent about the situation. I appreciate that the images from the PDFs were never intended for use as image distribution but the ability to easily make use of those images has, both for me and many GMs I know, become a major selling point of the PDFs so I'm glad to hear there won't be any restrictions on this.

Liberty's Edge

Mark Moreland wrote:
I'm sorry that these 9 issues of Starfinder Adventure Path are difficult to port over to your VTT of choice. We have done everything we can do to make the PDFs function as intended, and will do everything we can do to ensure future AP volumes provide the unintended benefit that you have requested here.

That's a fair and candid reply. While I am unhappy with the result, I now understand the reason. I don't like it; but I can live with it.

Thanks for the reply Mark.


Pathfinder Maps, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Charter Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

It is indeed very sad that these PDFs will not be fixed, especially since the most appealing Starfinder AP ever is affected and thus almost impossible to play comfortably in a VTT. It is good to know that the issue will not be occurring in the future.

I am curious, though, what did you do different in The Devastation Ark at first that caused the huge file size?

By the way, those first Devastation Ark files not only were huge – I didn't really mind the file size – but it was also impossible to select any text from them.

Liberty's Edge

Zaister wrote:

It is indeed very sad that these PDFs will not be fixed, especially since the most appealing Starfinder AP ever is affected and thus almost impossible to play comfortably in a VTT. It is good to know that the issue will not be occurring in the future.

I am curious, though, what did you do different in The Devastation Ark at first that caused the huge file size?

By the way, those first Devastation Ark files not only were huge – I didn't really mind the file size – but it was also impossible to select any text from them.

Odd. I just fired up the first version of Dev Ark 1 (PDF file size 347,911 kb, unzipped) and I can select text in the file with Adobe Acrobat Pro DC. Were you using another reader?

Anyways, probably not the thread to derail the discussion from Fly Free or Die.

Which is - and I would agree with your most positive point - actually IS the most appealing Starfinder AP to yet be released to my eye. So much so that it drew me back into the game and lit a fire under me to run it after a break from it over the past two years. So, despite the crappery going on with the squished and broken files, the AP itself is really pretty damned good.

Which is why I was busy creating the campaign in Foundry VTT so that I could find out about these other technical barriers in the first place! [Talk about burying the lede.]

To be clear though, you CAN get an image out of these PDFs. It's just time consuming to do. But with copy+paste of the image fragments from Acrobat to Photoshop (or GIMP, which is free) you can add and align these piece so they join, merge the layers and get them all to work.

Yes, the layer masks are hard to recreate and I generally don't have the patience for it; however, with selective PDF page ripping of a single page using PDF Image Extraction Wizard (and lots of patience) you could do that, too. You can get by with a magic wand and polygonal lasso tool on most of them. Only a few of the alien images really need a painfully reassembled image mask to look their best.


Pathfinder Maps, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Charter Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

You're right, text selection works fine in the v1 "Waking the Worldseed PDF. What I had in mind was the first release of the "We're No Heroes" PDF, which incidentally had its images broken up even worse than the second version.

I use imagemagick command line wizardry to piece the images together, but even after that, they are overlaid with the stationary decoration, which would not happen with an unflattened file.

In the end I hope Fantasy Grounds will make a working product soon, I think they get the full Indesign package with usable images.


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FFoD hit FG marketplace today (23 February). But, it's kinda sad that going into what looks like another summer of limited in person gaming (Paizocon is only online, for example) plus, as others have said, the most intriguing and interesting AP to be published for Starfinder, that Paizo does not seem likely to fix this. It seems like they are shooting themselves in the alien appendage as people can't play it without significant overhead, but then GMs won't buy it due to this difficulty potentially leading to lower sales and then the answer "well, it didn't sell well, so it's not worth the effort". I still have hope that Paizo management will see the light and err on the side of quality. Long term customers generally value quality above everything else.


Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Society Subscriber

Hey, there's a rather significant map missing from the included maps pack:

Map-based Spoiler!:
The inside back-cover map of the Compent Windfall, where the entire first part takes place, sneaking around the giant ship, is not included in the Interactive Maps file in the digital version.

As with every other book in this AP, trying to get the map into a VTT is incredibly cumbersome due to the formatting. Any way we can get this map added somehow, or provided as a standalone image?

Liberty's Edge

I'm prepping the White Glove Affair, and I have just reached the starship combat noted on p.37.

Apparently, the PCs are going to be fighting with their new ship.

Is the "White Wind" the Compent Windfall on the inside cover and there was just a name change that just got missed in editing?

Also, is there a visual representation of what the Compent Guardian is supposed to look like? Do I have some visual depiction of the ship the PCs need to fight? Any suggestions if there isn't one I missed?

Liberty's Edge

Steel_Wind wrote:

I'm prepping the White Glove Affair, and I have just reached the starship combat noted on p.37.

Apparently, the PCs are going to be fighting with their new ship.

Is the "White Wind" the Compent Windfall on the inside cover and there was just a name change that just got missed in editing?

Also, is there a visual representation of what the Compent Guardian is supposed to look like? Do I have some visual depiction of the ship the PCs need to fight? Any suggestions if there isn't one I missed?

Jason Tondro was kind enough to answer this question for me on Twitter.

Short strokes: The ship on the inside cover, the Compent Windfall, is a different ship than the White Wind, but being sister ships, they have the same deck plan and starship stat block.

The art for the Compent Guardian is not in Vol. 4 (although the stat block is). The art for it may appear among the FFoD Pawn Set; he wasn't sure.

Thanks for answering Jason!

Marketing & Media Manager

Steel_Wind wrote:
Steel_Wind wrote:

I'm prepping the White Glove Affair, and I have just reached the starship combat noted on p.37.

Apparently, the PCs are going to be fighting with their new ship.

Is the "White Wind" the Compent Windfall on the inside cover and there was just a name change that just got missed in editing?

Also, is there a visual representation of what the Compent Guardian is supposed to look like? Do I have some visual depiction of the ship the PCs need to fight? Any suggestions if there isn't one I missed?

Jason Tondro was kind enough to answer this question for me on Twitter.

Short strokes: The ship on the inside cover, the Compent Windfall, is a different ship than the White Wind, but being sister ships, they have the same deck plan and starship stat block.

The art for the Compent Guardian is not in Vol. 4 (although the stat block is). The art for it may appear among the FFoD Pawn Set; he wasn't sure.

Thanks for answering Jason!

For staff that is on Twitter, I think they are more likely to reply to you there than here. The forums don't notify us when y'all have questions, so we have to actively look. (Thank goodness.) Some of use are open to DMs.


Starfinder Superscriber
SeriousSydney wrote:
Frustratingly the PDF image issues are persisting, at this point I can only assume it will continue for the entire AP. Conceptually this AP is great but the amount of effort required to extract images for VTT use has moved this from the AP I was most excited about to the one I'm least excited about. Otherwise the stuff in this book is pretty cool!

There's a simple solution to this. Download "TokenTool" go to File > Open PDF and it will separate all the images from the PDF individually.

Then (if they are segmented images), you can drag-drop them to paint and line them up like a puzzle, easy-peasy.

You're welcome.
- jrock9430


LeJerque wrote:

Hey, there's a rather significant map missing from the included maps pack:

** spoiler omitted **

As with every other book in this AP, trying to get the map into a VTT is incredibly cumbersome due to the formatting. Any way we can get this map added somehow, or provided as a standalone image?

Did we ever get the Compent Winfall starship map in an updated Interactive Map that I can put into Foundry?

Marketing & Media Manager

GM Derek wrote:
LeJerque wrote:

Hey, there's a rather significant map missing from the included maps pack:

** spoiler omitted **

As with every other book in this AP, trying to get the map into a VTT is incredibly cumbersome due to the formatting. Any way we can get this map added somehow, or provided as a standalone image?

Did we ever get the Compent Winfall starship map in an updated Interactive Map that I can put into Foundry?

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

Marketing & Media Manager

Aaron Shanks wrote:
GM Derek wrote:
LeJerque wrote:

Hey, there's a rather significant map missing from the included maps pack:

** spoiler omitted **

As with every other book in this AP, trying to get the map into a VTT is incredibly cumbersome due to the formatting. Any way we can get this map added somehow, or provided as a standalone image?

Did we ever get the Compent Winfall starship map in an updated Interactive Map that I can put into Foundry?
Are there errors or omissions in this product information? Got corrections? Let us know at store@paizo.com.

I'll work on this issue internally too, but I would appreciate and email from you if you have not done so already. :)


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So far I've been really liking this adventure path - there have been a few plot gaps between books but nothing I couldn't workaround.

I just don't get how this one is supposed to work, though.

Spoiler:

Everything makes sense until they arrive at the station having stowed away on the ship.

But then they're supposed to be trying to win an auction?

But how/why are they supposed to know that? They have no money to win it. Who gives them the idea?

They randomly run into the one person who's identity they can steal? That's a bit convenient/improbable but ok - whatever.

But now they're trying to eliminate rivals from the bidding?

How/why? They have no intention of paying - so why do they care?

I'm expecting my players to hit the station very soon and the more I think about it the more it just makes no sense. The book gives them no goals, and then throws obstacles in the way of achieving something they have no idea they even want to do.

They aren't even in contact with a friendly NPC to give them a nudge...

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