Starfinder Adventure Path #51: Into the Dataverse (Drift Hackers 3 of 3)

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Starfinder Adventure Path #51: Into the Dataverse (Drift Hackers 3 of 3)

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The Drift Crisis comes to an unforgettable pulse-pounding conclusion!

The heroes insert their consciousnesses into a digital realm that represents all the information about the galaxy collected by the goddess Triune—including the code that controls the Drift! Unfortunately, areas have been corrupted and to cleanse the Dataverse of this tarnish, the heroes must fight past digital creatures, aid some of the realm’s peaceful programs, and confront the avatar of the leader of the Architects atop a stormswept mountain. Then, they’ll need to draw out the harmful code like poison from a wound… but the damage has been done. Though the PCs have helped Triune and the Drift return to functionality, neither the heroes nor the galaxy itself will emerge from the Drift Crisis the same!

Into the Dataverse is a Starfinder adventure for four 11th-level characters, wrapping up the 3-volume Drift Hackers Adventure Path. Drift Hackers 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 ways to expand your campaign, an examination of hacking techniques, as well as an Adventure Toolbox filled with a collection of strange alien and technological 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!

Written by: Alexander Augunas

ISBN-13: 978-1-64078-510-6

The Drift Hackers 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 (5.2 MB PDF).

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

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I'm getting massive decking/Tron/battle network vibes from this one

5/5

Okay, you could tell writer had tons of fun writing this one, this adventure infects you with enthusiasm reading it :'D I also see Augunas used chance to make prominent kitsune npc in the adventure xD But yeah as it is obvious I liked book a lot, so time to get nitpicks/oversights out of the way first:

Adventure acknowledges that Kuzori hasn't been member of Architects for long, but initial conversation with him makes it sound like he has been member of them long enough to grow guilty and suspicious, which feels weird since AP doesn't really have downtime so he could have been member of them for less than a week(or even just couple days) and his dialog seems more natural if he has been member for few weeks or months. That and I'm surprised Architects let newbie join them considering they kicked out everyone outside their club from Nexus, even if they put him to unimportant grunt work.

Oversights I noticed was that Zolas and Unwitting Programs don't have alignment listed in their statblock at all. I'm also confused of whether book assumes Zolas dies from the cascading glitch that happens post his surrender or if he survives but the glitch separates from his avatar.

I like what adventure tries to do with starship combat, but I don't know if it works in practice without trying it. Either way I'm worried of the possibility that only one character in party has piloting. Still though, the way minor screw actions work means the party might still be fine as long as more than one of them have good bab and dex.

I like that dataverse works like dreamscape and doesn't spend your real life items nor that you can bring them outside of dataverse, but it means the adventure kinda forgot at end of adventure to say "you are rewarded with three levels worth of money for your heroic deeds" :'D

Some of the math in adventure toolbox's additional uses for computer seem bit weird for me. Like identifying program is 10 + 4 × the level of the program. With max level of 10, that'd be dc 50 which is harder than level 20 challenging dc(before enhance at least). And one more nitpick before gushing: I wish Bright's message was as cool as Casandalee's and Epoch's ;D

So yeah this adventure made me kinda sad that Dataverse has such exclusive access to it because it really filled that part of me that loves megaman battle network, concept of decking and various cyberspaces from different cyberpunk settings :'D Like there is lot of fun stuff here, malware that is basically siren head, lot of programming and internet inside jokes like setting's version of Clippy(I almost wish there was EULA where Triune asks permission to use your private data ;P They seem to be gathering it without permission anyway, that's ground for being sued by Abadar! xD), I actually ended up feeling it would be cool to have more adventures in dataverse.

I also think the book ended up making decent justification for "Why this isn't level 20 adventure"(though tbh, solving drift crisis still sounds like level 13-20 ap to me) with

big spoiler:
possibility of one of characters becoming new herald of Triune. Considering heralds are on average level 15 creatures, that is upgrade from CR 13 and not downgrade ;D But yeah I do find it funny that author made possibility of Kuzori volunteering for position, but also possibility of making Sovereign Trinity atone by taking up the position. I kinda hope that one ends up being canon because even if its not necessarily biggest punishment,his herald form sounds like cool creature to summon x'D

Oh and I also like that Triune might have dropped something vaguely mysterious about Gap. That or they said something normal in manner that is easy to misunderstand but will still inspire theories xD

It is also neat that we got more insights into status quo post drift lanes in continuing the campaign article (and hey acknowledgment that Devourer's cult's fleet in drift was doing just fine during entire crisis with them just chilling out there it seems xD)

Also whoever dropped that new bit of Shivaska lore gets all praise from me x'D


Paizo Employee Sales & eCommerce Assistant

2 people marked this as a favorite.

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

Contributor

10 people marked this as a favorite.

YESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS!

Come along, friends! I have such wondrously fascinating things to show you!

Paizo Employee Contributor-Subscriber-Venture Lieutenant

10 people marked this as a favorite.

DATA! BASE! DATA! BASE! WE LIVING IN THE DATA! BASE! (Oooh Oooh Oooh!)

...I'm really excited for this release!


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Starfinder Superscriber

Some mega-spoilers for those who haven't read up on the root cause of the Drift Crisis in that marketing blurb there.

Marketing & Media Manager

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Leon Aquilla wrote:
Some mega-spoilers for those who haven't read up on the root cause of the Drift Crisis in that marketing blurb there.

For context, the "solicitation text" in our product pages comes from our Chief Creative Officer himself. So any spoiler decisions are made at the highest level. That said, purchase decisions of adventures are made by GM's more than players, so use your own discretion on the pages you visit.

I absolutely used spoiler tags in the more public blog going live tomorrow, which showcases other adventures, so let me know how you like that. :)


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

The Adventure Toolbox in this, the final serialized SF AP book, includes:

* 2 pages of expanded tasks for the Computers skill
* The hacktivist archetype
* 7 new spells for mystics, precogs, technomancers, and witchwarpers: edit code, mass probability prediction, reformat, render, sensor mask, upgrade summon, and greater upgrade summon
* 2+ pages of new gear with a general computer hacking theme

New critters:

Amp-lion (CR 13): Big ol' bugs that love to chew on your wiring. Yes, your wiring, SROs.
Astral devourer (Tier 9): Starship-like clouds of corrupted nanites
Cable serpent (CR 13): Coils of wiring and high tech that have, by happenstance, awakened into sentience
Magazine ooze (CR 10): "Gun jams" is their nickname and "gun jams" is their game.
Program creature (template graft; CR varies): Semi-sapient virtual entities.
Robot dragon (CR varies): A new class of artificial wyrms that function like true dragons, including disintegrator dragons, shock dragons, and sonic dragons.

What might be the final Codex of Worlds is Zelk-363, a space station and hacker collective.


Starfinder Superscriber
Quote:

What might be the final Codex of Worlds is Zelk-363, a space station and hacker collective.

That's rather ominous.


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

I'm making an assumption based on how Dead Suns was repackaged as a hardback. While the hardbacks will be much cheaper than 6 AP volumes, they come at the cost of reduced total page counts. The Dead Suns hardback dropped the Codex of Worlds entries, so that seems like an obvious path to me going forward.

As we transition (eventually) into the hardback era, I also reckon (purely going off my gut) that they'll drop the practice of including a starship statblock and map per "chapter" of the AP as well. Hopefully, this might open up the starships that do get mapped to some more widely varied designs.

Dark Archive

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Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Isn't robot dragons something we already had in alien archive, so this is just expanding category further since restricting it to couple robot dragon types might seem weirdly artificial?


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

These expand on the robot dragon from AA4, yes.


Starfinder Superscriber

Less books per year. Less pagecount, and apparently less content.

Nice to look forward to the future of Starfinder I guess.

Director of Marketing

3 people marked this as a favorite.
Leon Aquilla wrote:

Less books per year. Less pagecount, and apparently less content.

Nice to look forward to the future of Starfinder I guess.

Don't lose heart, we've great plans for years to come.

Consider that the Starfinder Society meta-plot is essentially an inexpensive, PDF-only Adventure Path. You don't have to be in Organized Play, just play the Scenarios and Quests as your own adventures.

Thanks for playing Starfinder.


John Mangrum wrote:


* 7 new spells for mystics, precogs, technomancers, and witchwarpers: edit code, mass probability prediction, reformat, render, sensor mask, upgrade summon, and greater upgrade summon

Care to share anything about the spells?


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

Edit Code (T2 W2): Spend 1 RP to force a technological creature to roll with disadvantage, to borrow a term from across the aisle.

Probability Prediction, Mass (P5 T5 W5): As probability prediction, but multiple targets.

Reformat (M4 T4 W4): Mess with a technological creature's code, staggering and/or damaging it for several rounds.

Render (T6 W6): Basically a futuristic update to shadow evocation (replicate a 4th- or lower-level spell, but it's only partly real).

Sensor Mask (T3 W3): Fairly long-term illusion that fools technological security systems (but not sapient beings).

Upgrade Summon (M2 T2 W2): Applies one of five buffs to a summoned creature.

Upgrade Summon, Greater (M4 T4 W4): Applies two buffs.


Aaron Shanks wrote:
Leon Aquilla wrote:

Less books per year. Less pagecount, and apparently less content.

Nice to look forward to the future of Starfinder I guess.

Don't lose heart, we've great plans for years to come.

Consider that the Starfinder Society meta-plot is essentially an inexpensive, PDF-only Adventure Path. You don't have to be in Organized Play, just play the Scenarios and Quests as your own adventures.

Thanks for playing Starfinder.

Outside of Season 1, it's kind of impossible to do the metaplots as adventure paths though. The level ranges vary so much that it's basically impossible to play them in order on a single set of characters. And they often don't make sense to play them in level range order.

Season 2, 4 and 5 are particularly bad for that.


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

The sensible solution is for the GM to boost the level tier of that inevitable late-season plot-bearing low-level scenario for their PCs.

What I've done is to make my players run separate teams of PCs at staggered levels, alternating between two parties over the course of a season to paint the full picture. :)

(I agree that it's mildly frustrating that metaplots are clearly planned to not be playable in narrative order by a single group of PCs without GM meddling.)

Dataphiles

John Mangrum wrote:

The sensible solution is for the GM to boost the level tier of that inevitable late-season plot-bearing low-level scenario for their PCs.

What I've done is to make my players run separate teams of PCs at staggered levels, alternating between two parties over the course of a season to paint the full picture. :)

(I agree that it's mildly frustrating that metaplots are clearly planned to not be playable in narrative order by a single group of PCs without GM meddling.)

The separate teams idea is one I personally enjoy. It essentially allows you to build new characters before retiring older ones and can often have fun possibilities. Heck, if you have a large enough group of friends that can't all come together at once, some of them can play one line of adventure and the others can play another. You can even have fun consequences- I mean, surprises for one team depending on the actions of another.

Contributor

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Leon Aquilla wrote:
Nice to look forward to the future of Starfinder I guess.

I think that when you get a chance to read the adventure and how it leaves the state of the galaxy, it'll be pretty clear that the future of Starfinder is bright. Bright and weird, my favorite. ;)


Starfinder Superscriber

Weren't Robot Dragons already in an Alien Archive? Or am I thinking of something else?


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber
John Mangrum wrote:
These expand on the robot dragon from AA4, yes.

Contributor

3 people marked this as a favorite.
Leon Aquilla wrote:
Weren't Robot Dragons already in an Alien Archive? Or am I thinking of something else?

They are, but when I wrote Into the Dataverse I wanted a disintegrator dragon, which doesn't appear in an Alien Archive. So I wrote one. >: )

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Okay, I wasn't expecting picture clearly inspired by sirenhead :D

man I love how starfinder aps by the end of softcovers finally got art budgets similar to 2e aps xD

Dark Archive

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Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Okay, who was the genius who updated demon lord Shivaska in the far future of starfinder to trap victims in digital realm to mine cryptocurrency? x'D

Contributor

2 people marked this as a favorite.
CorvusMask wrote:

Okay, I wasn't expecting picture clearly inspired by sirenhead :D

man I love how starfinder aps by the end of softcovers finally got art budgets similar to 2e aps xD

Jason Keeley and I are both huge fans of creepypasta and weird Internet things like Don’t Hug Me, I’m Scared! I was really excited to use the data constructs in the Dataverse in that way.

Paizo Employee Senior Developer

4 people marked this as a favorite.

My only regret is that I developed this adventure before I really learned about the Backrooms.

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