Starfinder Society Scenario #4-06: Combatant's Concerto: Prelude to Revolution

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A Starfinder Society Scenario designed for 3rd- through 6th-level characters.

When a violent insurrectionist group threatens an upcoming space gala in the Veskarium, a group of Starfinders find themselves caught in the crossfire. Innocent lives hang in the balance unless the PCs can discover who's behind the dangerous plot and stop them before it's too late.

Written by: Shay Snow

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:

  • Starfinder Flip-Mat: Warship
  • Starfinder Flip-Mat: Starliner
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    Bad From Several Perspectives

    1/5

    NO SPOILERS

    There's a lot I don't like about Combatant's Concerto: Prelude to Revolution. These range from pedantic things like the title, which is far too grand for an SFS scenario and makes one wonder who the (single) combatant is supposed to be, to more substantive things like its plot (full of holes) and its inherent moral philosophy (deeply problematic). I'll get into explanations in the section below, but here I'll just say that, like for my review of Into the Veskarium (SFS # 3-11), Paizo needs to rethink the in-setting morality of having the Starfinder Society cooperating with the Veskarium's subjugation of conquered worlds. Even apart from all that stuff, the adventure itself is pretty forgettable.

    I'm not a total curmudgeon though--I liked the interior artwork!

    SPOILERS!:

    It's the anniversary of the Veskarium's conquest of Pulonis (the homeworld of the feline-humanoid pahtras), and to celebrate it, the Veskarium's official in charge of the planet (High Despot Kavadroz) has organised a gala celebration aboard a theatre vessel, the Grand Mezzanine. In a bid to lessen tensions with the pahtras (and use some propaganda to stave off a long-running rebellion), High Despot Kavadroz has hired a beloved pahtra musician, Miiyu, to perform at the gala. The PCs are sent to the gala so they can enjoy a luxurious event while displaying what the organization stands for. It's a pretty feeble explanation for having the Starfinder Society cooperate with the Veskarium in such a morally-dubious celebration of their conquest of Pulonis. It'd be like the National Geographic Society sending reps to a party in Germany to celebrate the invasion of Poland in 1939. I really don't get it. (the invitation handout is cute, admittedly)

    Miiyu, the performer, has well-known sympathy for the Pulonis independence movement and is secretly an agent of the rebellion. She believes that during her big performance, the rebellion will launch a protest demonstration against the Veskarium. What she doesn't know is that she's being used by a faction of the rebellion, which actually plans to use the event to try to assassinate High Despot Kavadroz, with many civilians as collateral damage.

    The moment they get on the Grand Mezzanine, the PCs are informed by Veskarium officials that there may be a security threat from the Pulonis Liberation Front. Because the Starfinder Society aided the Veskarium in stopping a pahtra rebel operation in Into the Veskarium (bah!), the Veskarium want the PCs to help provide security at the gala. I think it's not only implausible that the high-and-mighty military empire of the Veskarium would need to enlist a random handful of SFS guests to protect an event they knew beforehand would be a target, but I really hate the fact that the PCs have no choice but to cooperate because the scenario doesn't contemplate anything but PCs jumping at the chance to help the Veskarium maintain its despotic hold over Pulonis. Indeed, this is despite one of the Veskarium officials offering to torture any captured rebel agents for information! I'm honestly flummoxed why a company like Paizo, known for its very progressive political ideals, would portray the Starfinder Society (a fictional group of explorers and historians) as wanting to cooperate.

    Before anything dangerous happens, the PCs are supposed to impress several Veskarium NPCs. Mechanically, this uses a tried-and-true gameplay process from previous scenarios, though the purpose of impressing these officials is never explained. During the gala, the PCs receive an urgent call from the official in charge of ship security, asking them to help explore a surprising outbreak of wolves on a lower deck. After defeating these "threshwolves", the Starfinders discover empty poison gas canisters and preparations for explosives. So, apparently, these rebel pahtras smuggled the threshwolves on board, released them for no apparent purpose, and then (in an act of gross negligence) left blatant clues to their scheme in the exact same place? C'mon, we've got to get better writing than that!

    The PCs literally cannot fail to disable the bombs (the scenario makes it clear that there's no time limit and the PCs can try as many times as they want), which is something else that is just plain goofy. They're then supposed to rush to the auditorium to stop the poison gas from being released, but the two rebel pahtra agents are blocking the doors. After they're defeated, the doors can be opened and everyone can be evacuated.

    Perhaps the only interesting part of the scenario is the moral choice of what to with Miyuu. The PCs will know she was part of a rebel plot but that she also wasn't aware that the plot had switched from protest to murder. Should she be set free or turned over to the Veskarium? I remember some good role-playing about the dilemma amongst the group I played with.

    I was a bit annoyed about the scenario when playing it, but I thought perhaps I didn't have the full story. After reading the scenario, I was very annoyed. Now, it's the next day and I've had my coffee, and I'm still very annoyed with it. So my recommendation: skip this scenario and viva la revolution!


    Paizo Employee Organized Play Associate

    1 person marked this as a favorite.

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

    Dark Archive

    Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

    Hmm curious at this will turn out :'D

    Lot of players give crap at Ehu because as the current in universe leader he is currently scapegoat when they want to complain about "Why are we explorers cozying up with imperialist warmongers?" and I don't think having scenario that is explicitly about fighting rebels will help much :'D Having it be one random encounter in one quest pack already annoyed some of those players x'D

    Second Seekers (Luwazi Elsebo)

    That cats been drinking a LOT of milk......


    1 person marked this as a favorite.
    Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

    I suspect there will be a dangerous balance to achieve here, lest SFS end up with the 'Shadow Lodge' Dilemma (wherein a significant portion of the lodge goes HECK YEAH! and another goes HECK NO!).

    I was not present for when it *actually happened* but I got to play through the aftereffects in PFS1 (and maybe 2?).

    This will have to be written very carefully, and I do not envy the writer the task that they have to take on, nor OrgPlay for addressing the giant lizard in Near Space.

    Is it necessary? Probably.

    Could it be incredibly divisive to the campaign? Likely, depending on how GMs approach the scenario (and any subsequent future ones).

    Second Seekers (Jadnura)

    "Ah, good. I will enjoy bringing peace to the Gavaniska system, or at least starting the process."

    Paizo Employee Organized Play Associate

    4 people marked this as a favorite.

    Cover and map list updated.


    Starfinder Charter Superscriber

    We need to talk about the Veskarium.

    I confess I've only played a couple of Season Three scenarios, one or two Season Four scenarios, and none in Season Five, so I may be missing something. But from this one, Into the Veskarium, and the description of their homeworld genocide in Near Space, I'm really flummoxed by the SFS cozying up to the Veskarium.


    Just adding to the pile of reasons I don't play Starfinder.

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