Starfinder Society Scenario #5-05: Boom-Block Gambit

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A Starfinder Society Scenario designed for 5th- through 8th-level characters.

With the support of the Starfinders, First Seeker Ehu Hadif announces the closure of the Adamantine Bastille, a private prison beneath the Lorespire Complex that has long been a source of contention and discomfort to Starfinder Society agents. During the final days of the Bastille's closure, the prison's most violent and dangerous inmates are transferred to the custody of the Stewards. But when a prison break throws the Adamantine Bastille into chaos, it's up to a team of Starfinders to catch the escapees and quell the violence. Can the Starfinders foil the prison break? Or will B-Block go boom?

This is the second scenario in the ongoing story of the Year of Redemption's Rise. While it is recommended you begin with Intro: Year of Redemption's Rise, the remaining scenarios in the Year of Redemption's Rise can be played in any order.

Written by: Lysle Kapp

Scenario tags: Metaplot (Redemption's Rise), Faction (Exo-Guardians, Second Seekers [Ehu Hadif])

[Scenario Maps spoiler - click to reveal]

The following maps used in this scenario are also available for purchase here on

  • Starfinder Flip-Tiles: Space Station Starter Set
  • Starfinder Flip-Tiles: Space Station Docking Bay Expansion
  • Starfinder Flip-Tiles: Space Station Emergency Expansion (Optional)
  • Note: This product is part of the Starfinder Society Scenario Subscription.

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    Fun run around


    Without giving anything away, it is a fun module with a good mix of investigation, exploring, and fighting.

    Perfectly fine scenario, but


    Just played this scenario, obviously, my player reviews are worse than my GM reviews as those include me reading the scenario. I will update this review in case I run this one.

    --- This is the review I wrote during the session, some of my earlier assumption are later proven wrong or things get context, just thought it was interesting to preserve it like this for once;

    The start is a bit perplexing and there are a lot of "things are going to go sideways" warnings in the air.

    The prison is already a shameful aspect of Society and while closing it is good I am not sure what characters are supposed to feel here.
    Talking to the prisoners feels a bit weird, the setup feels rather awkward because the player's organization has been illegally imprisoning these people. They are likely guilty as sin, but... it seems incredibly awkward.

    When the action suddenly started, I was honestly surprised by how quickly the adventure sort of lost interest in the premise and got bored, and detonated some explosives.
    This really makes the Starfinder Society look rather... incompetent, but I guess that is all part of the setup here.

    The location is rather large, coms are tricky, and the entire combat feels rather messy, With various light sources, dim light, etc. it's all rather messy to resolve.
    Arresting prisoners that have given up is also a potential time sink, partially, because there is only one cell key.

    At this point of the scenario, I can't stop myself from writing down how very much I dislike this mission. Not necessarily how the author has written it, but the core outline of the adventure idea. Being prison guards for the day as a concept feels a bit tainted - but the whole story of the adamantine bastille already feels a bit like uncovering your ancestor's dirty laundry.
    That is a storyline that was started earlier, so the author is not to blame, but I can't help but still dislike it.
    When I started Starfinder Society with Season 1 it felt like rebuilding a decent organization, and the current story sort of rubs dirt over all those memories.
    Complaining about the metaplot feels very much unfit for this particular review, but I felt like I needed to add it since it very much affects my perception of this scenario's story (so I very much admit to my biases).

    Chase skills are a bit narrow for my taste, but I am not sure about the consequences of failure (and I played a character that did excel at any of them when I played it)

    I appreciated that the escaped prisoners had some dialogue that advanced the story somewhat, but it was not much and during combat other characters tried to find out more... but it was rather clear that this was not something we could learn yet.

    Learning about what happens and that the players got played is fine, but then we stood in front of that door... it gives the perception that the Society is yet again getting hacked, and tricked, and that we are generally less than competent. And being in our own damned prison just makes it worse.

    The last fight was... fine, though it seems we arrived late.

    How bad or incompetent are we, that a high-security area can be breached this easily?
    Datch escaping is the, same issue to be honest, at some point the enemy's intelligence, and not accounting for it no longer makes them look smart, it makes us look dumb.

    Maps, maybe this is because of the narrative of the underground prison, but looking at prison cells and map tiles... does get rather dull over a whole session.

    Learning new information after the fact, absolutely helps with my previous complaints listed above. And softens my complaints somewhat.

    The last encounter page is large, and maybe larger than it needs to be, though I am a bit salty for spending two rounds to get into melee
    The final encounter (low tier) was not a pushover, which I appreciated

    The story ends up with a mystery that will get a follow-up later.

    The investigation after the prison break, is interesting, not sure it is not a bit of a break in the action. I guess it counters some of my comments earlier, though not the perception, which is why I kept the review in this state.


    TLDR: Not my cup of tea, I did not really get the RP encounters I personally like, and some of the concepts involved were not really what I want from SFS.


    An Explosive Adventure that Handles Complexity Well


    I GMed Boom-Block Gambit at GenCon for three groups at high tier, mostly a mix of pregens and player-characters.

    A scenario for level 5-8 PCs set aboard Absalom Station and written by Lysle Kapp, Boom-Block Gambit sees a group of Starfinders overseeing the closure of the infamous Adamantine Bastille and the transfer of its remaining prisoners. But what begins as a routine patrol assignments ends rather explosively and kicks-off a fun and challenging adventure, and serves as the baseboard for a greater conspiracy yet to be revealed.

    Boom-Block Gambit is a standout scenario in terms of its pacing and organization. A story with a significant number of moving parts for the GM, the scenario organizes the information well and presents it in manageable chunks. It even provides information on what to do if the party splits-up during the first act, a realistic idea in the circumstances of the adventure but often a poor decision in TTRPGs. This advice keeps the two encounters the PCs face challenging, yet winnable, and one of my groups was able to successfully split the party and emerge victorious.

    While Boom-Block Gambit focuses on the action, it does have roleplaying-investigation segments as well that do a good job providing clues in a logical fashion. I would say that one of the investigations does take too long on providing the PCs information that would pique their interests without some narrative hand-waving or flat-out telling the PCs to dig deeper, but otherwise the clues are well-paced.

    The weakest part of Boom-Block Gambit is probably its roleplaying, as the scenario does little to define the personalities or motivations of its PCs. While this is a minor gripe in the grand scheme of things, I would have found it helpful had I been given a blurb on each prisoner that would serve as a cue for how to roleplay them.

    Specific Critique:

    There are a few areas where Boom-Block Gambit could be improved. The scene with Datch feels weak, and could do with some more definition about what she senses is “coming,” or at least what her hunches might be to guide her questioning. The Horn Gang’s utilization of the explosives does not come with any associated check to notice their activity, so it is difficult to adjudicate how vigilant PCs might detect their scheme ahead of time and what the gang does if caught preparing (I ran it that the gang would trigger the explosives immediately if noticed). The Whitforge combat was surprisingly deadly, even with her dividing her attacks between the PCs. Part of this, I think, is a lack of useful terrain in an otherwise open room, making the map effectively a shooting gallery for a high-level operative.

    Overall, Boom-Block Gambit is an exciting starting point to a larger narrative, and would also work well as an adventure in a home Starfinder campaign (with some modifications, of course, but there is hardly a shortage of dangerous criminals in the galaxy or prisons to hold them). GMs would be advised to prepare a bit in advance as the scenario has a number of moving parts, and may require some gap-filling for more roleplaying-oriented groups to flesh-out some of the NPCs. When executed well, however, Boom-Block Gambit proves to be memorable and entertaining. I would definitely recommend Boom-Block Gambit, especially if your group is looking for an action-packed scenario with a dash of mystery and intrigue.

    Paizo Employee Organized Play Coordinator

    1 person marked this as a favorite.

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

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

    After a period of lengthy confinement, I see the word's finally gotten out!

    I suspect that this prison scenario will take a bit longer to read than others.

    After all, it involves:
    Multiple sentences!

    Second Seekers (Luwazi Elsebo)

    "Wouldn't it have been easier to move stewards into the compound rather than move the prisoners out...? We hang a sign that says "under new management" and call it a "

    Grand Lodge

    1 person marked this as a favorite.

    Ooh, Con Air? Can I be Nic Cage?

    2 people marked this as a favorite.
    Sasha Laranoa Harving wrote:
    Ooh, Con Air? Can I be Nic Cage?

    Put. The Skittermander. Back in the box.


    Pathfinder Starfinder Society Subscriber
    Sasha Laranoa Harving wrote:
    Ooh, Con Air? Can I be Nic Cage?

    Given the news, I'm not sure you'd want to be.

    Grand Lodge

    Alison-Cybe wrote:
    Sasha Laranoa Harving wrote:
    Ooh, Con Air? Can I be Nic Cage?
    Given the news, I'm not sure you'd want to be.

    ...Which bit of Nic Cage news? There's a lot going on with him right now. I was more meaning his role in Con Air, playing the long-haired betanktopped prisoner on his way home to his daughter with a stuffed bunny.

    Silver Crusade

    2 people marked this as a favorite.

    Isn't Datch in there?

    1 person marked this as a favorite.
    Pathfinder Maps, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
    Lysle wrote:

    After a period of lengthy confinement, I see the word's finally gotten out!

    I suspect that this prison scenario will take a bit longer to read than others.
    ** spoiler omitted **

    And to make matters worse, they are served consecutively!

    phaeton_nz wrote:

    Isn't Datch in there?

    I just doublecheck and yes, yes she is.

    Great, now I have the decision of which character to play this scenario with. The ex-gang member Human and Downlow native that helped put Datch behind bars to begin with or the Shirren raised in an illegal penal colony in the Diaspora and who likely knows all too well about prison culture.

    phaeton_nz wrote:

    Isn't Datch in there?

    She's in Hannibal Lecter/Magneto solitary, no less, which I always thought was a bit excessive.

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

    It's... it's... it's a page-long timeline for GMs...

    voice trembling, a single tear slipping down my cheek

    ...My god, it's full of stars...

    Grand Lodge

    Okay. I need to read more detail. But the chronicle sheet sold me. This might be my new must-run SFS scenario.

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

    What an absolute feast of an adventure this is for detail-oriented GMs like myself.

    Second Seekers (Jadnura)

    "I say once it's empty we turn it into more daycare. The one on the master of stars is getting crowded. They already have the baby cages, we just needs some bright wall paintings, a few bags of plastic balls in the cells and POOF! Ball pits "

    This could very easily rival Truth Keepers as the longest scenario to play/GM. Especially if the GM and group both enjoy roleplay.

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

    Hey, head's up to GMs that the author of this scenario has released a supplement, The Adamantine Bastille: The Once Unbreakable Prison of the Starfinder Society, over at Pathfinder Infinite (link goes to its product page there).

    (This is, for the record, exactly the sort of thing I crave from the Infinite program: authors expanding their material from official releases.)

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