Starfinder Adventure Path #43: Icebound (Horizons of the Vast 4 of 6)

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Starfinder Adventure Path #43: Icebound (Horizons of the Vast 4 of 6)

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A distress beacon from a desolate section of tundra sends the heroes on a rescue mission in the biting cold. They find a lone vesk survivor in the wreckage of a starship prowled by a menacing insectile stowaway: a component of the dreaded Swarm! The heroes trace the creature's origin to a frozen gas giant in the same system, where a mutated Swarm colony has begun to awaken from a strange hibernation. Will the heroes brave the floating organic lair to stop the Swarm from contacting the greater hive mind?

"Icebound" is a Starfinder Roleplaying Game adventure for four 7th-level characters by Jason Tondro. This adventure continues the Horizons of the Vast Adventure Path, a six-part, bimonthly campaign in which the heroes are at the forefront of exploring and charting a newly discovered world filled with mystery. This volume also includes a dossier on the Veskarium spy agency known as Directive-9, technology repurposed from the Swarm, and a selection of deadly alien threats.

Each bi-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: 978-1-64078-386-7

Icebound 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 (5.1 MB PDF).

Note: This product is part of the Starfinder Adventure Path Subscription.

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A good sendoff for Jason Tondro - some copy-editing errors & writing issues

4/5

This was a very good AP - it keeps its pacing well and makes sure that there is no dead air.

The design for the "Death From Above" Event 5 deserves to be called out as an excellent write-up that simulated a good skydive without getting tedious or requiring too many special tools from the GM . Event 6 was also a great way to end the AP.

The Umbral Eveskipper was also really fun as a creepy ghost ship encounter. Amusingly enough, my group bee-lined straight for the bridge and had taken along a power claw designed for prying open damaged doors so it was somewhat short-lived but for a group that isn't prepared it can be harrowing!

A few comments on why it's not a 5:

Killer Trap -

There's a CR8 "trap" in part 1 that does 5d12 damage with a +20 to everyone in proximity until disabled/destroyed. That meant it had a 70% chance to hit my most well-armored party member. That's CRAZY. And the DC to shut it off if you don't blast the crap out of it is very high, with only a 20% chance to succeed for even an optimized Nanocyte/Mechanic.

Copy-editing - There are map transposition errors on the map on page 30, a mislabelled colony upgrade (Satellite Launch Facility), and a mis-reference to the page the Teractas appear on on page 32.

Buried Details - The psychic shield that protects the Swarm platform at the end of the AP is not very well-explained in what it does and does not do. My party wanted to orbitally bombard the thing and stay out of its line of fire and I had to say "Because" to explain why that wasn't viable. The psychic shield making the skydive/drop pod event mandatory is also similarly buried in the text, and the fact that it prevents extraction/exfiltration is also buried. I didn't realize this until after they jumped onto the platform! I was scratching my head wondering what incentive there was to disarm the psychic batteries other than the +3 AC bonus to the Klendat and whoops, there it was, buried in the text.

The psychic shield probably should've been given a sidebar.

I Get It, You Guys Have a Union! -

Seems like labor disputes are getting injected into every AP the past 12 months. Horizons of the Vast 3 had it, Horizons of the Vast 2 had it, etc. I get it! You guys formed a real-life union! That doesn't mean that handling labor negotiations is everyone's idea of fun!

It was for my group, but for people who just want to shoot things I think it can get a bit tedious.


Paizo Employee Webstore Coordinator

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

Liberty's Edge

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Aliens threatening an Ice Planet, besieged terrified scouts/researchers huddling in the cold from an alien monster.

If there isn't a scene or three channeling John Carpenter's The Thing meeting Ridley Scott's Alien to produce a Swarm lovechild, I am going to be disappointed Jason! [Spoilers: I do not expect I will be disappointed].


I'd like to see a branching adventure path sometime.

Tier 1 - low level adventure to get to know the PCs

Tier 2 - Introduction to powers that be and make a name for themselves (2-3) different versions of this should be enough. The Tier 1 adventure should have "hooks" included for each path along with relevant NPCs.

Tier 3 - Things get serious with engaging on a large scale with true impact to many beings. Identify their true nemesis. There can be 2-3 versions of this adventure Introduction of their Nemesis's boss (leading to level 20)

Tier 4 - Defeat their Nemesis and learn that they answer to a higher power and their Nemesis was just a pawn to them. Tightening of the plot back down to apex with just one path as all of the previous 3 paths were managed by the Nemesis.

Tier 5 - Big Bad and Universe altering event. Full on 20th level

It would be fun to allow the PCs to decide which NPC they like or distrust and then pick the path for them to follow based on these choices.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
BAKE6969 wrote:


Tier 2 - Introduction to powers that be and make a name for themselves (2-3) different versions of this should be enough. The Tier 1 adventure should have "hooks" included for each path along with relevant NPCs.

Tier 3 - Things get serious with engaging on a large scale with true impact to many beings. Identify their true nemesis. There can be 2-3 versions of this adventure Introduction of their Nemesis's boss (leading to level 20)

I'm not drawn to this approach, because it means that for any given playthrough, half or two-thirds of the contents of those volumes would not be used.

I am really liking the range of different elements of the Starfinder setting involved in this AP, it feels like it could really well play up existing as one small part of a large and complex universe.


Delayed but almost a given these days sadly but it is what it is with shipping these days.

Still in mod 1 myself as a player but getting there, session 16 this saturday!!

So the delay is no prob and the 2 other games I've been GMing of this I had to put on hold for holiday work schedule. Stopped both around session 5 and will pick em back up in Jan 2022.

Very excited to see how this module will work out!!

Tom

Paizo Employee Marketing & Media Manager

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Back cover text:

A DIFFERENT WORLD

A distress beacon from the desolate tundra sends the PCs on a mission into the biting cold. Once they rescue the survivors of a crash from an off-world menace, the PCs trace the threat to the gas giant Weydana-6, where a Swarm colony slumbers amid the icy clouds. Can they defeat the waking creatures before they contact the larger hive mind?

This Starfinder Adventure Path volume continues the Horizons of the Vast Adventure Path and includes:

-“Icebound,” a Starfinder adventure for 7th-level characters, by Jason Tondro.

-A look at the Veskarium’s military intelligence agency Directive 9, by Christopher Wasko.

-A toolbox featuring equipment to traverse the upper atmosphere, a catalog of Swarm-based biotech, information on how to create new Swarm components, a collection of creatures ready to ambush the unprepared, and a glimpse at the swirling frozen clouds of an icy gas giant, by BJ Hensley, Jenny Jarzabski, Jess Nevins, Jim Seals, and Jason Tondro.

-Statistics and deck plans for a sleek and stylish espionage vessel by Jason Tondro.

Sovereign Court

the nerve-eater of Zur-en-Aarh wrote:
BAKE6969 wrote:


Tier 2 - Introduction to powers that be and make a name for themselves (2-3) different versions of this should be enough. The Tier 1 adventure should have "hooks" included for each path along with relevant NPCs.

Tier 3 - Things get serious with engaging on a large scale with true impact to many beings. Identify their true nemesis. There can be 2-3 versions of this adventure Introduction of their Nemesis's boss (leading to level 20)

I'm not drawn to this approach, because it means that for any given playthrough, half or two-thirds of the contents of those volumes would not be used.

I am really liking the range of different elements of the Starfinder setting involved in this AP, it feels like it could really well play up existing as one small part of a large and complex universe.

Starfinder could do a multi-branching AP that still uses all of its content only because of its multiverse and time manipulation stuff. Like, you get to start different paths, but ultimately there are reasons why you'll still try the other paths.

Would be a nightmare to edit down all the extra information and sidebars to make it all fit, though.


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

I like branching plotlines in video games, where you can always go back and play again to experience the paths not taken.

But in TTRPGs, my gut reaction to seeing branching options (aka, the PCs can go here or here but not both) in published adventures is to sigh and ponder which encounters the players will end up never getting to experience.


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

Actually, I want to clarify that I mean to distinguish between two kinds of "branches."

Version A: The AP leads the PCs to location X. Earlier in the AP, the PCs took one of several actions, and the actions they took back then determines how the denizens of X react to them.

That's good times.

Version B: The PCs need to choose whether to turn left or right. Possibly as a coin flip. If they go left, they have encounter A and gain lore or loot X. If they go right, they have encounter B and gain lore or loot Y. Whichever path the PCs take, they can't backtrack to the other path and will never encounter it.

That's bleh, in a published adventure. For me.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber; Starfinder Superscriber

Players don't miss what they don't experience.


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

But I, the GM choosing what adventures to purchase, do. And not just in the sense of "aw, would've liked to have seen that play out," but also in terms of wasted prep time. Which, when working with a VTT, ain't nothing.


Will we see the final cover soon? Mod 5 has it updated but not 4 as of yet??

Thanks

Tom

Paizo Employee Marketing & Media Manager

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Hey Subscribers, I noticed the Codex of Worlds is Weydana 5 in my PDF. It should be Weydana 6. The print copy is correct. I’ll work internally to get the PDF corrected. :)


Hey Aaron anything yet on an updated cover for this product yet please??

Thanks

Tom

Paizo Employee Marketing & Media Manager

1 person marked this as a favorite.
TRDG wrote:

Hey Aaron anything yet on an updated cover for this product yet please??

Thanks

Tom

That’s not within my power. I’ll check in with those who can, but getting the the Humble Bundle ready has taken their time


Got it, thanks

Tom


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

In the PDF, the starship detailed on this month's inner covers is incorrectly labeled as an "Umbral Eveskiper" but looking closer at the text, and noting next month's starship is the "Umbral Eveskipper," this appears to be a typo; it is actually an Amber Mariner.


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

Oh, also, in the PDF the Codex of Worlds features Weydana-5, not Weydana-4. An identical entry for Weydana-5 appears in its proper place in the next month's installment.


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

Just noticed that the table of contents contains a different but parallel set of errors, listing the inside-covers starship as a Thunderstone and the Cortex of Worlds entry as Weydana-6. Both lifted from AP #45: The Culling Shadow, I suspect.

Paizo Employee Marketing & Media Manager

John Mangrum wrote:
Just noticed that the table of contents contains a different but parallel set of errors, listing the inside-covers starship as a Thunderstone and the Cortex of Worlds entry as Weydana-6. Both lifted from AP #45: The Culling Shadow, I suspect.

KIndly report product errors to customer service via email.

Paizo Employee Marketing & Media Manager

1 person marked this as a favorite.
John Mangrum wrote:
Oh, also, in the PDF the Codex of Worlds features Weydana-5, not Weydana-4. An identical entry for Weydana-5 appears in its proper place in the next month's installment.

I believe it should be Weydana-6. See my comment above. The correction is is process.

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Enjoying seeing more Swarm bioforms creatures! :D


Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber; Starfinder Superscriber
Aaron Shanks wrote:
John Mangrum wrote:
Oh, also, in the PDF the Codex of Worlds features Weydana-5, not Weydana-4. An identical entry for Weydana-5 appears in its proper place in the next month's installment.
I believe it should be Weydana-6. See my comment above. The correction is is process.

Correction is here, added to my digital downloads yesterday.

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