Starfinder Adventure Path #46: The Perfect Storm (Drift Crashers 1 of 3)

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Starfinder Adventure Path #46: The Perfect Storm (Drift Crashers 1 of 3)
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The Drift Crisis has begun! When the Drift—the dimension that allows starships to travel faster than light—suddenly crashes, all the starships in it are hurled to random locations in the multiverse. Among these starships is the Marata, whose crew find themselves stranded in Hell, their starship now boasting a strange new artifact with the power to travel anywhere in space and time. Soon they're literally running from the devil, crashing through parallel universes, coming face to face with strange versions of themselves, and finally reaching an apocalyptic future where everyone they know is dead. Will they ever find their way home again?

"The Perfect Storm" is a Starfinder adventure for four 1st-level characters, launching the 3-volume Drift Crashers Adventure Path. Drift Crashers is part of the Drift Crisis, an event taking place across the entire Starfinder game line, in which faster-than-light travel breaks down and the galaxy is thrown into chaos. In addition to the adventure itself, this book includes a player's guide filled with character creation advice and new gear designed just for Drift Crashers players, along with an Adventure Toolbox filled with new rule options and strange alien creatures.

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 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: 978-1-64078-426-0

The Drift Crashers Adventure Path 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 (573.3 kb PDF).



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Do not pass Go. Go directly to Hell!

5/5

Spoiler: You haphazardly go to Hell! What could go wrong? Love the lore coming out of this one! Let's Go! 5-Stars


Nice start to The Drift Crisis

5/5

I have not played this module yet but will be doing shortly in under a week. But I feel it is getting an unfair star rep from that first poster review (and I would'nt even call that a "review" myself!!) so 5 Stars to counter that regardless. Really wish there was a minimal limit one HAS to post in a review, but I digress....

So we launch into The drift crisis with this, first I would recommend starting with the one shot scenario Before the Storm, then this AP. So it warms up the players for what is about to come, but not 100% needed.

Positives +

* The action is fast and furious with no let up thus starting this "Crisis" with a bang and no slow burn here and that as much needed in my humble opinion!!

* Nice to have the players involved with making their own special ship NPC and pick an addition to their ship, really gives the players a feeling of ownership, compared to other Starfinder AP's

* Merging ships is an interesting twist (Double edged sword thing though...)

* Having some of the pirate crew as enemies to kill or befriend is nice to have instead of just lazer blaster fodder, good RP to be had in the spare moment before the action continues

* Reexploring your old/new starship and what popped in there will be quite interesting when the party "cleans house"

* Going to the plane of Hell for the first time in Starfinder, COOL, (but a bit sparse there)

* Meeting your alter ego in another time line might be trite and done to death for some but the reviews need to be done for the average gamer in many regards, not ye old grizzled vet who wants it ONLT their way, no exceptions, LOL I think my crew will have a blast with this in all honesty.

* the Knights of Golarian are a nice touch to get the flavor of them in the Space station

* Then that Dream Station of Desna's should be a hoot for many players, not all but I think a good share

* The Starstone destroyed in this alternate time??!! GULP :)

* Starfinder ship chase!! Need I say more, and not just the average and somewhat boring in my opinion ship to ship slugfest that happens in other AP's

NEEDS WORK -

- Granted Starfinder AP page counts are much smaller that Pf I and II's AP's but it would have been nice to explore the plane of Hell a bit more, be they combat encounters, skill check challenges or "local' NPC interactions...

- The combined ships, NO MAPS, create your own, NOT GOOD

- Partial maps of specific areas, with an AP that focuses on a Starship as their home for the most part Paizo should have really gone full out and perhaps have had a special flip map or flip tile product attached to this!!!

- The lack of downtime and thinking of WFT is going on can be an issue for some players and GM's but I think anyone can make some time as needed, between events

- kinda wish they would have given examples of fun, goofy off the wall NPC companions the players could pick from OR come up with their own, but maybe that's just me??

So in the end I think The perfect storm sets this Drift Crisis up just right, might not be to somes specific tastes but I think many players and GM's will have a great time playing this.

Cheers

Tom


Short, not really Planar/Hell-related, and not really Crash-related?

4/5

Note: My players and I were divided on this one. I call it a 3/5 due to the bait and switch, but they really enjoyed it and probably would give it a 4.5 so I'm splitting the difference with a 4.

In Starfinder AP #46, Paizo is experimenting with something that rarely works out well - time travel and alternate realities.

Make no mistake -- you go to Hell for just long enough to fill up the gas tank before you're back out in a bunch of crazy stuff -- I have some small criticisms with the copy but the big issue is this: Nothing you do matters. You go to a mirror universe and then the future -- two settings that don't amount to a hill of beans when it comes to leaving lasting impacts on Starfinder.

These are well worn Star Trek tropes - emphasis on the worn. Part of the problem was encapsulated by the constant use of the tropes in Star Trek: Voyager, where brutal things would happen to the crew only for things to be tied up with a little bow at the end in the form of a reset button that turned everything back to status quo. It's a reason that Ronald D. Moore hated working on it and left to work on the now-famous Battlestar Galactica.

Plus time travel raises tons of questions. Can deities see through time? If you kill a soul in the future, but you're from the present, "when" does Pharasma judge it? Now-ish? Or in the future? Vexing metaphysical issues ahead!

Overall, this AP has a very brisk pace to it, and is slightly under-tuned. I was able to knock this out with a party of 4 in about 3 sessions of 5-6 hours each. Don't expect the provided NPC's to be really memorable. Populating your ship with NPC's is almost a must -- especially if you have someone who's missing a critical skill like Computers or Engineering. A Mechanic or Operative is almost mandatory.

On to the nitpicky details:

- Knights of Golarion. The NPC's don't wear heavy armor? They all wear Estex Suits. Kind of odd, especially given the art direction. Some flavor text explaining they live in a crapsack world where you can't easily get heavy armor might have been useful, or maybe designated them as "Squires" or "Pages" -- ineligible to wear heavy armor.

- Player ship starts out statblocked at tier 3 but the AP assumes you've got a tier 1 ship to start (it mentions upgrading your ship to tier 2 after a starship combat on page 19). Maybe I missed something here, but if I don't have a tier 1 ship, what am I supposed to do, make one from scratch? What's the point of the inner cover statblock for the player ship then? I started out the encounter with a CR 3 ship.

- The Dopplegangers are something that requires buy-in or a lot of creativity. I was able to create the statblocks in a hurry but it's definitely something that could be skipped. Alternately it could wind up a TPK....sneaking up on characters and killing them in their sleep without their heavy armor is a dangerous plot move!

- AP is undertuned after the battle at the beginning of the AP. The second part can either be super easy if you're stealthy or difficult if you murderhobo your way through it. You can faceroll through the third part just mindlessly rolling d20's and d6's.

- To get the most out of this AP you definitely need 3-4 NPC's on the crew to perform essential functions if necessary. As I said above, mechanic/tech operative is a necessity. Lots of engineering checks.

- It says that the glitch gremlins cast holographic image on someone in the party and graffiti up their armor as a prank -- the shortened stat block probably should've also mentioned this requires all four glitch gremlins. I glanced at their spell list and was very confused until I read the fine print at the bottom.

- The linkage to the Drift Crisis as a whole only occurs at the end of the AP when you realize what the Hell (no pun intended) happened the same way the Terminator explains what happens to John Connor in Terminator 2. Not the best form of exposition. I prefer explosition.

- Someone REALLY likes the Wizard of Oz. You'll know it when you read it.

In summary - with the right party makeup (I had a Desnan on the crew, so she is fangirling out right now) this is a great AP. I think it should have been labelled the "Desnan" AP since she factors heavily into it. And I like Desna! But anybody expecting this to be a cool planar romp will be disappointed. Paizo, you used up your "One time travel/alternate reality AP" ticket. Don't abuse it.


It's Morbin time!

1/5

Like Morbius, the Drift Crisis is a huge letdown and not worth your time. Spend your money elsewhere.


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Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Aaron Shanks wrote:
Good Morning. We have a Starfinder Drift Crashers Players Guide that is complete and I am working with the team to get a short blog written to release is ASAP. Stay tuned.

Awesome! Thanks Aaron!


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber; Starfinder Superscriber

I won't be starting this until September due to the staggered bi-monthly release schedule but I'll take the players guide now


Is there an ETA for the player's guide?

Paizo Employee Marketing & Media Manager

3 people marked this as a favorite.
TheThund3RGod wrote:
Is there an ETA for the player's guide?

Our blog schedule is a bit crowded so I am going to ad it to the Paizo LIVE blog on Friday the 17th. I still have to write the blog. If we can get it posted to the Adventures Path landing page earlier than that we will.


Thank you for the quick reply Aaron. I'm looking forward to it.

Paizo Employee Marketing & Media Manager

4 people marked this as a favorite.

Back cover text:

THE DRIFT IS BROKEN
Galactic disaster strikes just as the crew of the Marata come under attack by pirates in the midst of a solar storm, and the survivors find themselves hurtling through time, space, and the planes! Soon, they're being chased by infernal legions, fleeing the first layer of Hell to parallel dimensions and the distant future. All they want is to get home—but first, they'll have to survive!

This Starfinder Adventure Path volume begins the Drift Crashers Adventure Path and includes:
• “The Perfect Storm,” a Starfinder adventure for 1st-level characters, by Jessica Redekop.
• A player's guide for this Adventure Path, with advice on making characters perfect for the Drift Crash and the Drift Crisis that follows, by Joshua Hennington.
• A toolbox featuring planar character options, diabolical fiends, and other creatures, by Joseph Blomquist, Sasha Laranoa Harving, Quinn Murphy, Jessica Redekop, and Isabelle Thorne.
• Statistics and deck plans for the Primorata, a unique vessel created when two starships merged into one, housing an artifact called the Signal Chaos Engine, by Jessica Redekop.

Scarab Sages Contributor

5 people marked this as a favorite.
Aaron Shanks wrote:

Back cover text:

• A player's guide for this Adventure Path, with advice on making characters perfect for the Drift Crash and the Drift Crisis that follows, by Joshua Hennington.

oh wow who could that be is it me oh gosh

I'm really excited to see the final results of the Player's Guide - I'm hoping you all like the neat ideas and guidance I brought to playing through this AP! I hope it helps, because the ideas on the table for this AP were so WACKY and OFF THE WALL that I couldn't possibly encompass them all. This AP was so cool to witness!!!!

Grand Lodge

5 people marked this as a favorite.
Aaron Shanks wrote:
• A toolbox featuring planar character options, diabolical fiends, and other creatures, by Joseph Blomquist, Sasha Laranoa Harving, Quinn Murphy, Jessica Redekop, and Isabelle Thorne.

A toolbox? With my work in it? You love to see it.


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

Happy to see so many new names as contributors. Can't wait to see what you bring me to work with!


Yep, can't wait to see the players guide and then mod 1 at the end of the month!! Hell I have at least 2 of my SF groups almost begging me to alternate weekly from Vast to this so they can get the Drift Event feel.

Not sure if I'll do that just yet, but I'm thinking about it pretty seriously. Alass though I can bet Roll20 will not have it out and I'll have to hand craft it all in as usual. That can be fun as well but can be a pain in the butt and with no hi res maps :(

Tom

Paizo Employee Marketing & Media Manager

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UllarWarlord wrote:
Aaron Shanks wrote:

Back cover text:

• A player's guide for this Adventure Path, with advice on making characters perfect for the Drift Crash and the Drift Crisis that follows, by Joshua Hennington.

oh wow who could that be is it me oh gosh

I'm really excited to see the final results of the Player's Guide - I'm hoping you all like the neat ideas and guidance I brought to playing through this AP! I hope it helps, because the ideas on the table for this AP were so WACKY and OFF THE WALL that I couldn't possibly encompass them all. This AP was so cool to witness!!!!

It looks really good! Congrats!


Dang, not today, hope for a Tuesday release now :)

Tom


Anyone's got the PDF yet? What are the new creatures in the toolbox?

Contributor

Aaron Shanks wrote:
A toolbox featuring planar character options, diabolical fiends, and other creatures, by Joseph Blomquist, Sasha Laranoa Harving, Quinn Murphy, Jessica Redekop, and Isabelle Thorne.

I'm super excited to see this one come out! I loved the work I did for Drift Crashers and my stuff isn't even close to the best part. This team did an amazing job backing up Jess' phenomenal adventure. Cannot wait!


5 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber
HTD wrote:
Anyone's got the PDF yet? What are the new creatures in the toolbox?

Player's Guide rules contents:

Spoilers:
New gear: A handful of new weapons, armor upgrades, and weapon fusions.
New creature companion: Rift remora
Theme: Planar traveler

Toolbox contents:

* Several pages of new planar scion options. Ganzis make the jump from PF, and all of the scions in SF (including ganzis) get about three alternate racial/ancestral (whatever term one wishes to use) traits each.

New creatures:

* Cherubic Squire: A suppose one might call it a soul-powered angelic drone

* Devil, Convergent: Devils who arose from the souls of creatures whose quest for personal evolution led them to vile acts. They're crabs. They're all crabs. Maybe you should be a crab too.

* Devil, Erinyes: You know the drill.

* Devil, Lemure: Ditto

* Devil, Sigveir: Aka propaganda devils.

* Liquescence: Predatory oozes -- living pools of murky water, in fact - from the Plane of Water.

* Planar Scion, Ganzi: See above. Planar scions touched by the Maelstrom.

* Varratana: New trimorphic PC species from a world where the wild winds are infused with chaotic energies. As often happens with PC species introduced in adventures, however, we don't get vital statistics (age, height, weight, etc.).


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

* Cherubic Squire: A suppose one might call it a soul-powered angelic drone

Just picturing G.E.R.T.Y. from the movie Moon but with cherub wings instead of a rail he moves around on

Grand Lodge

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John Mangrum wrote:

(...)

* Devil, Convergent: Devils who arose from the souls of creatures whose quest for personal evolution led them to vile acts. They're crabs. They're all crabs. Maybe you should be a crab too.

(...)

* Varratana: New trimorphic PC species from a world where the wild winds are infused with chaotic energies. As often happens with PC species introduced in adventures, however, we don't get vital statistics (age, height, weight, etc.).

I hope y'all enjoy my delightful windkids and horrible crabs.


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GANZI!!!!!!!!!!


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Paizo Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Just read through this. This is an awesome adventure. I love the places where it goes, this will be a lot of fun to play. I can’t wait for part 2!


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber; Starfinder Superscriber
Leon Aquilla wrote:
Quote:

* Cherubic Squire: A suppose one might call it a soul-powered angelic drone

Just picturing G.E.R.T.Y. from the movie Moon but with cherub wings instead of a rail he moves around on

I was pretty close!

To whomever created the Battletune - thank you. THANK YOU. Now I can mazecore a Battletune & Chordpocalypse together and create the ultimate heavy metal Bard.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Seems like the last AP and now this one, have overly dark covers.

Is it just my old eyes, or is the composition just almost all out dark? I think the background should have the purple brought up a bit. Just my two cents.

Dark Archive

Well I'm curious of what this book is like since by now people should have the book :O


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

I will say this: This is a very good AP for chaotic characters or manic no-time-to-stop-and-smell-the-roses games. There are no merchants or settlements you visit. You have to build your own stuff with UPB's.

For some, that's kind of a negative.

The biggest example I can think of is that the AP says you're stranded on the plane of Hell - this is true,

BUT...:
you're only there for the equivalent time period of stopping at a gas station to fill up before you leave. The rest of the AP is spent in time travel and alternate realities.

I think some people saw that and were like "Wait, what?!". If you read the Alien Archive section, it's mostly devils. So you would have expected more. I was certainly hoping for more extraplanar stuff.


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

It's an episodic "road trip" campaign where the PCs will be constantly moving on to new locations, new NPCs, and new situations, never returning to old haunts. But a few recurring foes down the line, possibly. The only recurring friendly NPCs, it seems, will be the ones the PCs choose to bring along with them.


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

I find myself preferring AP's where you could plausibly step away from the main plot for a second but this one doesn't seem like it will be so forgiving.

So some people might say "This AP is a railroad" -- but the existence of a plot does not mean you're being railroaded.

Just let your players know what they're getting into up front, this is definitely not Fly Free Or Die.


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CorvusMask wrote:
Well I'm curious of what this book is like since by now people should have the book :O

Terrible. Hand's down the worst adventure I've gotten from Paizo.

Ymmv, but for me, the adventure portion is absolutely worthless. The bestiary portion however is absolutely top notch!

Silver Crusade

Any particular standouts on why it’s “worthless”?


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Rysky wrote:
Any particular standouts on why it’s “worthless”?

It would give too much away. I'm not a fan of the themes used in the adventure so it all depends on how you feel. But for me it's a huge miss.

But I've been subscribed to starfinder from the very beginning and that's not going to change any time soon.

Dark Archive

Can ye say if its because plot content itself(like you don't like what its about), encounters(so something mechanically you don't like) or story structure to yourself(like pacing is off or its extremely fast or feels disconnected, etc)?


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CorvusMask wrote:
Can ye say if its because plot content itself(like you don't like what its about), encounters(so something mechanically you don't like) or story structure to yourself(like pacing is off or its extremely fast or feels disconnected, etc)?

That would be correct, I don't like anything about the plot, I had a big long thing in spoilers but the website didn't post it and I've been working outside building two sets of steps in 96 degree temperatures all day and I don't have the energy to repost it.

Edit: And I do love the adventure toolbox, especially more love given to planar scions, and especially having Ganzi established in Starfinder.

I felt the themes used were all overdone recently by other media and had some adventure cliches that paizo has been relying entirely too much lately (like fighting mirror images of the PCs).


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber; Starfinder Superscriber
CorvusMask wrote:
Can ye say if its because plot content itself(like you don't like what its about), encounters(so something mechanically you don't like) or story structure to yourself(like pacing is off or its extremely fast or feels disconnected, etc)?

If I had to guess, it's because:

In Parts 2 & 3:
Nothing you do matters.

In Part 2 you go to an alternate universe. In Part 3 you go to a "possible" future that the rest of the AP is set up to basically negate.

So other than being famous for Wicked Witch'ing your ship into Hell, there's nothing you do that alters anything in the world of Starfinder.


Yeah can’t say that’s anything that’s that big of a deterrent for me honestly.


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Leon Aquilla wrote:
CorvusMask wrote:
Can ye say if its because plot content itself(like you don't like what its about), encounters(so something mechanically you don't like) or story structure to yourself(like pacing is off or its extremely fast or feels disconnected, etc)?

If I had to guess, it's because:

** spoiler omitted **

That's part of it,

:
but also because I'm sick of alternate or parallel universes and have always hated time travel (except for rare occasions) I've never liked them as storytelling devices, not to mention Marvel and everyone else running the theme into the ground the last few years (or ten years about if you include the newer Star Trek and X-Men movies).

There are also numerous choices the writer of the adventure uses that I don't agree with or are ridiculous because they needed everything to unfold in a certain way.


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Paizo Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
captain yesterday wrote:
CorvusMask wrote:
Well I'm curious of what this book is like since by now people should have the book :O

Terrible. Hand's down the worst adventure I've gotten from Paizo.

Ymmv, but for me, the adventure portion is absolutely worthless. The bestiary portion however is absolutely top notch!

Mileage varies wildly here. I think it's by far the best start into any Starfinder AP ever. I love the Sliders-like setup.


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

I'm only 1/3rd of the way through but so far I'd rate it a 3.5/5 if the system would let me.

It really hinges on having the right characters. My group is a Knight of Golarion, a Hellknight, a Desnan Paladin-esque Lunar Solarian, and a pirate/raider type so it aligns very well with the content.

Wayfinders

Yakman wrote:
James Martin wrote:
I always thought the Drift was an underused concept. I want there to be floating chunks of other planes - bits of Heaven and Hell, abyssal dreadnoughts, devil-whales, chaos smurfs, a bit of everything in there. Society travel tends to be very quiet; I want the travel to be the adventure. I hope this moves in that direction.
to your point though, the fact that the drift is pretty quiet permits you to have all kinds of society adventures at the destinations and not bog down the session in the travel

That's the beauty of how Drift Crisis is written, there's no set time or place for it to happen it only bogs things down when the GM needs/wants/feels like them to. The Event's in an AP or scenario as written might be less flexible.


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

Finished it. Players liked it. I sorta liked it.

It's a bit short! No more than 5-6 big scenes.


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

I posted my review if anyone was on the fence. 3.5 rounded up to 4.

Dark Archive

Huh. The alternate timeline in the ap is similar to one of AUs in "A Walts Through Myriad Worlds" though not an identical one.

But yeah, I like this adventure, it seems fun romp in the multiverse shenanigans "genre".


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

Errata note on the erinyes: Its stats include the following:

Weakness: good 5

This is Pathfinder 2nd Edition terminology that Starfinder doesn't use.

I confess I'm not well versed in PF2E, but I believe the equivalent in PF1E and SF would be "DR 5/good" - which is already included in the stat block.


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

Having read through this now, the adventure feels really constrained by hard limits on its budgets for space, both in terms of page count and XP. It's the first time I found myself really pining for the extra room Pathfinder APs enjoy, down to not getting art for all of the named NPCs the PCs will encounter and only getting a map for a literal sliver of a space station the PCs will visit.

The adventure is basically a framework begging to be extensively fleshed out by individual GMs. Personally, I'd strongly recommend using milestone XP or, even better, XP and loot based on the organized play system: PCs get a lump sum of credits when they hit milestones; any loot they've picked up along the way must be "paid for" out of that total or discarded (with the assumption that it's been sold, tossed aside, or handed down to the key NPCs). This will allow GMs the breathing room they need to let the PCs stretch their legs in Hell and actually explore the parallel worlds they visit.


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

It must be opposite day, I'm here defending the writers when I'm usually the one critiquing. Unbelievable!

Quote:
This will allow GMs the breathing room they need to let the PCs stretch their legs in Hell and actually explore the parallel worlds they visit.

Did we read the same AP? Not trying to insult you or anything but I thought it was abundantly clear from the text if you stay one minute later than you should in Avernus

You will be....:
overwhelmed by a horde of Imps and Lemures

Would I have liked for it to focus more on Hell? Yes. But given that they haven't, I think you're asking too much from an AP for that level of improv.

Quote:
The adventure is basically a framework begging to be extensively fleshed out by individual GMs

This is not a stop-and-smell-the-roses-and-hear-peoples-life-story AP, or an AP that rewards a too-clever-by-half player who wants to zig when the story says you should zag. To quote the immortal words I hear in almost every single one -- "that's beyond the scope of this adventure".

Some may call that railroading. I've consistently pushed back against that definition -- the existence of a plot does not mean you're being railroaded -- but this sounds more like a difference in expectations and desires rather than something it needs to be critiqued about.

As for missing art assets -- I had to improv half the places my group went in Quest for the Frozen Flame and Fly Free Or Die. that's what flipmats and r/battlemaps is for.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber
Leon Aquilla wrote:

Did we read the same AP? Not trying to insult you or anything but I thought it was abundantly clear from the text if you stay one minute later than you should in Avernus

** spoiler omitted **

That's only because the adventure doesn't have the page count to offer a short scout around, so it jumps straight to the next chunk of meat (same with the next two stops). There's no inherent reason why [redacted] happens at any particular moment; Hell is big. The big encounter occurs when the GM deems it so; adding some flavor encounters wouldn't damage anything.

(As for XP budget, the adventure handles the entire visit to Hell with a milestone reward anyway.)

Leon Aquilla wrote:

This is not a stop-and-smell-the-roses-and-hear-peoples-life-story AP, or an AP that rewards a too-clever-by-half player who wants to zig when the story says you should zag. To quote the immortal words I hear in almost every single one -- "that's beyond the scope of this adventure".

Some may call that railroading. I've consistently pushed back against that definition -- the existence of a plot does not mean you're being railroaded -- but this sounds more like a difference in expectations and desires rather than something it needs to be critiqued about.

The vast scope of what's beyond the scope of this adventure is precisely what I'm getting at. And if you look closely, you'll see the adventure even acknowledges that PCs will want to explore their new reality - "While exploring what remains of... [redacted]." It's just that all of that exploring is left to the GM.

Quote:
As for missing art assets -- I had to improv half the places my group went in Quest for the Frozen Flame and Fly Free Or Die. that's what flipmats and r/battlemaps is for.

Sure. But if the GM says "the elevator opens into a rounded hallway that curves away to the left and to the right. There are doors in both directions. You can go either way you want. Just... uh... don't go more than 20 feet in either direction." -- you're butting against some hard limits.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber; Starfinder Superscriber
Quote:
That's only because the adventure doesn't have the page count to offer a short scout around, so it jumps straight to the next chunk of meat (same with the next two stops). There's no inherent reason why [redacted] happens at any particular moment; Hell is big. The big encounter occurs when the GM deems it so; adding some flavor encounters wouldn't damage anything.

I'm not sure what the critique here is, though other than "it ought to be longer". Which I've already concurred, it's a short AP! I'm unclear on why it feels so short, maybe it's because of the reasons I articulated above, but either way, the structure is what it is. I've already said that that part of the AP feels like you're only there for a New York minute -- while a gazeteer on Avernus might have been nice, "I wish there was more" is kind of an impossibel ask. This feels to me like if someone said "Sure Agents of Edgewatch says it takes place in Absalom City but my players wanted to go to Aroden's Sacred Hot Dog Stand and no description was in there, 1/5"

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And if you look closely, you'll see the adventure even acknowledges that PCs will want to explore their new reality - "While exploring what remains of... [redacted]." It's just that all of that exploring is left to the GM.

Your navigation options are fairly limited at that point. Even if we interpreted that clause liberally, that would only extend to the star system the group finds itself in, and as the text also explains, everything is basically boned. If I had some too-clever-by-half players who wanted to jet around every destination they could think of it would just be nothing but bombed out ruins and charred hellish landscape until they finally got the friggin' point.

It also provides a table of random encounters you can find which I think emphasize the whole "things are very very bad" mood. I maintain that holding out for more than this is an unreasonable ask.


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

"Only the star system the group finds itself in" is a big patch of ground to explore.

I don't really understand what the argument is here, frankly. You and I agree that the AP is short; I'm saying GMs should expand it and offered some extremely basic tips on how to do so. The counterargument seems to be "You can't expand it, it's short!"


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

Any GM can do whatever improv they want with the product they purchased. But you're criticizing it for not having improv tools, which is a bit like asking if this is really sushi grade tuna you got at the supermarket, why doesn't it have any octopus limbs.

Not every speck of sand in the Katapesh desert has to be accounted for, and I similarly don't know why

Act 3:
A post-apocalyptic hellscape Pact Worlds where Absalom Station and Eox have both been blown up and there are zero radio transmissions save one

needs a gazetteer either.


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

I don't think I did criticize it for not having improv tools; in fact, the adventure pauses twice to explain the "state of the current universe" to the GM. I do criticize it for not having the physical space to map out an entire short hallway that PCs are expected to explore.

I do in fact have some criticisms regarding the content of the adventure itself, but I didn't even touch on them. I'm literally saying "This adventure needs room to breathe, here's an idea on how to do it without breaking the expected XP or loot totals."


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Cute Wizard of Oz reference in this one.


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

I quite like that...

Spoiler for the Ending:
...the adventure ends on a starship chase rather than a boss fight. Nice change of pace, and appropriately organic way to introduce the AP's Big Bad early without all the perils that come with putting them within line of sight of the PCs.

Wayfinders Contributor

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C. Richard Davies wrote:
Cute Wizard of Oz reference in this one.

I so agree! It makes me want to rewatch the movie Wizard of Oz / Wicked the musical for more ideas...

Don't make me release the flying monkeys!

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