Starfinder Society Intro #2: For the Factions

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A Starfinder Society Scenario designed for levels 1-2.

A group of new Starfinders are sent to complete missions for the Society's major factions, the clout-obsessed and resourceful Acquisitives, the secretive Dataphiles, the stalwart Exo-Guardians, and the adventurous Wayfinders.

Written by: Kate Baker

Scenario tags: Repeatable, Starship

[Scenario Maps spoiler - click to reveal]

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

  • Starfinder Flip-Mat: Basic Starfield
  • Starfinder Flip-Mat: Ghost Ship
  • Starfinder Flip-Mat: Urban Sprawl
  • Note: This product is part of the Starfinder Society Scenario Subscription.

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    Needs More Time in the Oven

    2/5

    NO SPOILERS

    For the Factions is the second "Intro" scenario for Starfinder Society and follows up from the previous one, The First Test. As the title indicates, this one is designed to introduce players to the Starfinder Society factions and have them choose one for their PC at the end of the scenario. I ran this for the same group of brand-new players as I did the previous one, and although I think the general idea is a smart one, I don't think it really accomplishes its goal. Interactions with the faction leaders are brief, there's little discussion about the goals of each faction, and sometimes the missions don't seem to fit very well into the faction's theme. There's also no general boxed text, handouts, or instructions for the GM to use at the end of the scenario in explaining why PCs choose factions and what the choice means. Although tagged as a repeatable, there are no randomised elements or alternative paths in the scenario, and I wouldn't recommend replaying it. To me, as an experienced GM with brand-new players, For the Factions is a well-intentioned failure.

    I *do* really like the new artwork for the faction leaders--they're very well done, and big improvements over the originals!

    SPOILERS!:

    As The First Test featured the PCs graduating into Starfinder Society agents, For the Factions starts with Guidance explaining that it wants to introduce them to the organisations' faction leaders. Each leader will have a mission for the agents, and that will help them choose which faction they want to give allegiance to. It's important to note that only four factions are included here: the Acquisitives, the Wayfinders, the Exo-Guardians, and the Dataphiles. The Second Seekers and minor factions are not included. In addition, a GM should note that the scenario contains a spoiler for the outcome of the metaplot of Season Two.

    The first faction leader that Guidance recommends the PCs visit is Radaszam of the Acquisitives. Radaszam asks the PCs to appear on the setting's equivalent of a morning talk show: Station Buzz. The premise is fun, as the hosts of the talk show ask the PCs questions about themselves, backgrounds, missions they've been on, and whether they have anything cool they can demonstrate. It's very open-ended, and a good group could have a great time with it. However, it would actually be better as the last of the four missions because by then the players will have warmed up a bit, grown more comfortable with the idea of role-playing, and actually have some experiences to discuss on the show. (There's a subplot with some thieves looking to make off with stolen camera equipment, but it's such a slight encounter it's almost not worth mentioning.) The main thing I realised about the mission is that it really has little to do with the premise of the Acquisitives faction (getting rich while serving the Society), and thus doesn't do much to showcase why PCs might align with it over another. A mission to improve the Society's PR profile is something every faction would be interested in after the events of Season Two.

    The second mission is for Celita of the Dataphiles. She asks the PCs to travel to a deserted research base on an asteroid in the Diaspora, break in, and steal any data the PCs can find. The backstory is that the research base was acquired by a company called Astral Extractions (Dead Suns callback!) and Celita is suspicious of their activities. It really falls flat in gameplay, as PCs explore an entire flip-mat of areas with almost nothing to interact with--just room description after room description. There's one trap to overcome, and then the PCs find the computer and have to get the data. I almost wonder whether some element was left out by mistake. The big revelation from the data is that Astral Extractions has been avoiding performing environmental impact studies to learn whether their activities are harming microbes on the asteroid--man, the Pact Worlds' versions of the Endangered Species Act is strict!

    For the Factions is the first time I learned about Ixthia, who must be Ziggy's replacement as leader of the Exo-Guardians. Ixthia has a cool look, but their personality is surprisingly casual. Ixthia wants the PCs to assist the Stewards in inspecting ships recently seized on suspicion of customs violations. This plays out as exploring a ship flip-mat, with a battle against a pair of akatas in a cargo bay. I was surprised by how much trouble they posed to my players, as the PCs had to flat-out retreat. It might've just been poor rolls or bad luck in mostly having laser weapons versus creatures with resistance to fire.

    The fourth and final mission is with Fitch of the Wayfinders. This is the *sigh* requisite starship combat mission. Fitch sends the PCs to survey four new planets discovered in the Vast. She sends an NPC with them who is provided with fun artwork but no personality description or dialogue. The survey task is skills-based, and at some point the PCs are suddenly attacked by completely generic, nameless space pirates. Whatever! I do like that the PCs get to "officially" name the planets they surveyed--that could be a fun moment.

    Compared to famous introductory scenarios like The Commencement or The Confirmation, For the Factions just comes off as under-baked. It has the makings of a good scenario, but needs to be fleshed out much better.


    Great intro to Starship Combat

    5/5

    As a newbie to Starfinder, I wasn't sure what to expect from this scenario. However, I ended up pleasantly surprised.

    The scenario is a good mix of RP, light combat, and, of course, starship combat.
    Granted, the latter made it run a bit longer than expected, but the GM made the starship combat flow really smooth and as a pilot it was a lot of fun figuring out the best ship maneuver each turn.

    If nothing else, I would replay it just for that part.


    Paizo Employee Organized Play Associate

    4 people marked this as a favorite.

    Announced for May! Cover and product description are not final and are subject to change.

    Liberty's Edge

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

    Great to see Kate Baker cooking up another challenge for us!

    Paizo Employee Organized Play Associate

    1 person marked this as a favorite.

    Cover and map list updated.

    Dark Archive

    :O Is the new copaxi npc the new exo-guardian faction leader?

    That is the same one fighting robbits in the year of the data scourge covers

    Dark Archive

    On sidenote, I guess the scenario doesn't have starship combat(because lack of tag) but it still has something starship related since Starfinder Flip-Mat: Basic Starfield is listed as map for it?

    Paizo Employee Organized Play Associate

    Or perhaps someone put the wrong tags on this one. I've fixed it, thanks for pointing it out!

    Dark Archive

    Ah didn't realize I signed up to run starship scenario at paizocon x'D Well it currently has 0 players signed up, but I do hope this one is one of easier to newbies starship combats :D I've had lot of fun starship combats, but kinda afraid of newbie "nobody has right skills" party

    Wayfinders

    Is the price of the Clearweave 1 Armor a typo or is that a intended discount?


    Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber; Starfinder Superscriber
    Tavros the Wanderer wrote:

    Is the price of the Clearweave 1 Armor a typo or is that a intended discount?

    I just came here to ask the same question. My guess is that it's a typo, since the Starfinder backpack on the same chronicle is explicitly called out as being discounted, but I was hoping for official clarification.

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