Starfinder Society Intro: Year of the Data Scourge

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A Starfinder Society Scenario designed for levels 1-4.

As they return home from a successful mission, a team of Starfinders are caught in the chaos of an ongoing digital attack on Absalom Station. Can the PCs battle their way through malfunctioning technology, hostile robots, and panicked crowds to help defend headquarters, or will the Society's most important digital assets be corrupted by the Data Scourge?

Written by: Jenny Jarzabski

Scenario tags: Repeatable, Metaplot (Data Scourge)

[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: Spaceport
  • Starfinder Flip-Mat: Space Station
  • Starfinder Flip-Mat: Transport Hub
  • Note: This product is part of the Starfinder Society Scenario Subscription.

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    PZOSFS0401E


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    4.00/5 (based on 3 ratings)

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    4/5


    True Ambivalence

    4/5

    Many highs and many lows on this scenario. True ambivalence in the sense that what I liked I really, really liked. And what I did not I found very frustrating and was quite disappointed.

    The Good
    Good combat encounter design. My (experienced) party had to pull out all the creative stops and still nearly died. We were out of spells, had run through most of our consumables, and were pretty ripped up. We were so proud of ourselves for finishing!

    Then, the final combat began.

    Can't speak to whether it just felt like we nearly died or if the scenario was a true meat grinder. But, by the end I felt bonded with my fellow players like we'd just worked a weeklong event together. Several times I lamented my decision to design a custom mini for my character, who would be dead before I ever got to use it at the table. In short, it was awesome!

    From this point on... Avast! Here by spoilers!

    The Bad
    This scenario was railroady, even given the already confining constraints of the SFS Scenario model. But, what was worse, it actively crushed player agency. (I'd like to take a quick aside to give a huge hand to my GM, Paul, who worked to find the most plausible and least immersion-breaking ways to keep us on the rails). The scenario actively undermines player desire to learn about and immerse themselves in the setting.

    Players can begin taking their first real decisions at a tram station near the

    place:
    Freemarkets
    and the goal to return to
    place:
    the Lorespire Complex
    is incorporated well and is natural. Here's where the problem begins:

    Module commentary:
    Scenario 4-01 p. 6 wrote:
    The sloping Eye of the Station rises in the distance. A metal blast shield stutters as it struggles to close over the glass dome, its erratic movements an obvious sign that it, too, is malfunctioning.

    If the characters can see the Eye, this means they have a long line of sight. That also means that they ought to head to their objective by the fastest means possible--a straight line. In this case, that straight line runs directly through Jatembe Park. As a park, there should be less technological equipment to trip up the party. But, that option is foreclosed by the adventure, which doesn't even mention Jatembe Park aside from an entry on the map. The adventure provides no reason why the party cannot travel directly to the Lorespire Complex by the most direct route. I know there were printing errors with that map, but they increase the likelihood the party would want to travel along a straight line featuring what's presumably the least glitching technology-filled route--the park.

    For reference, this would be like designing a scenario on the Upper West of New York City where the players are trying to get to the Upper East Side (on foot) and denying them the use of Central Park, without explaining how or why they can't use it.

    Maybe I'm harping on a technicality here. But, one of Starfinder's strengths has been its well well-developed setting. The scenario ought to have at least accounted for this fact. (FYI, my GM did, in at least a plausible way and he should be commended for doing so!)

    Back to the Good! (But Even More Spoilers)
    I've seen some complaints thus far that this scenario tees up questions without answering them. I think that's a feature rather than a bug. By the end of the scenario we know:

    Things We Know:

    a) there's been a technological attack on Absalom Station
    b) that attack included targeted attacks on the Lorespire Complex, but without clarity as to whether the Complex was the target of the attack or but one of many
    c) the Society's computer systems and Guidance are uninfected by the virus at least for now

    We have every reason to be concerned. We have no idea who did this, how it was accomplished (Absalom Station's defenses are--at least in part--directed by the Starstone Reactor and this still got past them!), why they did it, what their plan is, or what will happen next.

    Consider me excited about finding all of those things out. Great job in kicking off the season metaplot!


    Fast paced and combat heavy

    4/5

    As an intro to the 4th season, the scenario really doesn't explain much. It ends with more questions really.

    It's also quite combat heavy (played at low tier) although with two level 3 hitters it didn't pose much of a challenge.

    I'd have to replay it at high tier to see if there's much variability there.


    Paizo Employee Organized Play Associate

    1 person marked this as a favorite.

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


    3 people marked this as a favorite.

    This year, on Starfinder Society! From her prison cell, the Notorious Datch writes and publishes the Starfinder Society roleplaying game, and it sweeps the Pact Worlds! Children from every planet start spelunking in monster-infested caves outside their towns to be like their heroes, and the real Starfinder Society must work overtime to rescue them! What is Datch's purpose for inspiring all those prospective Starfinders to risk their lives for a game?

    Paizo Employee Organized Play Associate

    2 people marked this as a favorite.

    Updated title & product description based on today's exciting announcement!

    Paizo Employee Organized Play Associate

    Cover and map list updated!

    Dark Archive

    Well that pattern is unexpected :O


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

    Head's up that some of the location labels on the Absalom Station map are mispositioned to varying degrees. Looks like some layers got accidentally dragged down and to the right.

    (At first glance I thought they'd actually relocated the Lorespire Complex to match its art.)

    Use the Pact Worlds or AP #1 map instead.


    Pathfinder Companion, Maps, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

    Since this is a PDF, is a map update planned?


    1 person marked this as a favorite.
    Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber

    After reading through this, I find myself simultaneously A) deeply confused about how the creative team envisions the geography of the Ring, and B) totally desperate to get hold of the rest of Year 4's scenarios.


    Played this to open Paizocon and had a blast! Looking forward to this season.


    So excited!!!

    Dark Archive

    So I noticed that society's consistent "let's mirror flip the images" gets bit awkward here when there is word "DARCO" written in one of robots x'D

    Also realized when I thought more about it, realized security robots from alien archive have roman numbers 142 in them so uh. Confirmation that Starfinder uses Latin letters instead of fantasy writing or non canon detail? x'D


    Pathfinder Pathfinder Accessories, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

    Those aren't Roman numerals, those are Arabic numerals.

    Dark Archive

    Fumarole wrote:
    Those aren't Roman numerals, those are Arabic numerals.

    Yeah realized that mistake in separate thread (I forgot numerals where from different systems and that roman ones were I, II, III, IV, etc)

    Scarab Sages

    Pathfinder Adventure, Companion, Lost Omens, Maps, Rulebook Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

    So, I finally got around to checking this one out and at first I was really excited when I saw the word "INTRO". Here I thought we were going to have Intro scenarios like we did with PFS, but this is just 04-01 with Intro instead of 01.

    Really Disappointed.

    Why not just call this 04-01, that is what it is after all and how I will be listing it for events? I don't want other fellow old PFS players seeing INTRO and mistaking it for something it is not.

    Dark Archive

    maldar wrote:

    So, I finally got around to checking this one out and at first I was really excited when I saw the word "INTRO". Here I thought we were going to have Intro scenarios like we did with PFS, but this is just 04-01 with Intro instead of 01.

    Really Disappointed.

    Why not just call this 04-01, that is what it is after all and how I will be listing it for events? I don't want other fellow old PFS players seeing INTRO and mistaking it for something it is not.

    I mean, you are misunderstanding how intro scenarios for both pathfinder 2e and starfinder work. Which is understandable because it works differently than for 1e.

    It works like this: Intro 1 is "this is what the society is about" scenario. Intro 2 is "this is what factions are about" scenario. Intro 3 is "this is intro scenario to current year's metaplot". Aka every year will have new intro which is first scenario of the year. Next year will introduce "intro: year of whatever year 5 is"

    So yes, it is both third intro scenario and 4-01


    I loved this scenario, had fun playing it, but . . . ummm . . . Why does the shirren have boobs in that picture in the scenario? O.o I mean, insects aren't mammalian, right?

    Would it be mean to assume that a male-type person drew it? Maybe have a few different genders look at art before being assigned to a scenario?


    Eh, it’s more Centurion Breastplate than boobplate.

    I’d be more concerned with the all the rust and archaic quality of the armor, doesn’t really match any of the descriptions in the scenario, including the one of the only Shirren mentioned.


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

    My educated guess regarding the shirren art is that sometimes, by the time the art comes in, it's too late to send back for revisions; you're stuck with what you get. The choice becomes tossing the art (that you've paid for) or gritting your teeth (occasionally even tweaking the character's text to match the art) and maintaining the production schedule. Considering what we've recently learned of the Organized Play production schedule, "there was no time to fix it" seems very likely to me.

    Looking more closely at the shirren, I choose to think that she has her secondary arms safely folded up under there, with the fists up at the chest.


    Yeah I forgot Shirren have multiple arms, you'd need some extra room to not cut off blood flow.

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