Incident at Absalom Station (GM reference)


Dead Suns

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Hey guys. Just wanted to throw an idea out there for others to use or if people have suggestions.

So I am thinking of having Zo! (From the SFS) be at the meeting with Ambassador Norr. That way, going to explore the ship and drift rock will be both for investigating for the ambassador and it won't seem like a betrayal when they get back to the station and everyone has seen the video of them exploring.

The premise is that them being recorded is a "pilot episode" for "Live Exploration Extreme". When this goes well, it will get Zo!to invest in the society and make his show.

Thoughts?

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Tales Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber

I've got one player dead set on trying to find the Stiletto and attempt to salvage/commandeer it. I don't see anything after the initial fight and it crash-landing on the Drift Rock. Am I missing some info somewhere?


Starfinder Superscriber

I don't think you're missing anything. There aren't really any 'salvage' rules, so it's like the Devs never thought a player would try to do that and just glossed over what happened to it. Just short cut your player and say that Clara-247 self destructed whatever was left before she abandoned ship. Or you can use that as an excuse later when you give them the automagical build points that ships get at every level.


LoreMaster GM wrote:

Hey guys. Just wanted to throw an idea out there for others to use or if people have suggestions.

So I am thinking of having Zo! (From the SFS) be at the meeting with Ambassador Norr. That way, going to explore the ship and drift rock will be both for investigating for the ambassador and it won't seem like a betrayal when they get back to the station and everyone has seen the video of them exploring.

The premise is that them being recorded is a "pilot episode" for "Live Exploration Extreme". When this goes well, it will get Zo!to invest in the society and make his show.

Thoughts?

This is awesome. I wish I had heard of Zo! before I ran IoAS.


gustavo iglesias wrote:
LoreMaster GM wrote:

Hey guys. Just wanted to throw an idea out there for others to use or if people have suggestions.

So I am thinking of having Zo! (From the SFS) be at the meeting with Ambassador Norr. That way, going to explore the ship and drift rock will be both for investigating for the ambassador and it won't seem like a betrayal when they get back to the station and everyone has seen the video of them exploring.

The premise is that them being recorded is a "pilot episode" for "Live Exploration Extreme". When this goes well, it will get Zo!to invest in the society and make his show.

Thoughts?

This is awesome. I wish I had heard of Zo! before I ran IoAS.

+1 My group have just entered The Fusion Queen so Norr has yet to enter the equation. Love the notion of Zo! being part of proceedings - makes perfect sense why they are then recorded whilst on Drift Rock.

And if they are smart, their new found fame will also stymie any reprisals from AE.. at least while their 15 parsecs of fame lasts :)

Could also come back into play when they visit Eox in Splintered Worlds? Macabre souvenir hunters looking for body parts of our erstwhile vid-stars...

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Tales Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber
pithica42 wrote:
I don't think you're missing anything. There aren't really any 'salvage' rules, so it's like the Devs never thought a player would try to do that and just glossed over what happened to it. Just shortcut your player and say that Clara-247 self-destructed whatever was left before she abandoned ship. Or you can use that as an excuse later when you give them the automagical build points that ships get at every level.

That was my plan if there wasn't anything specific. He keeps mentioning a 'fleet of ships' when speaking about the future. That's just...no thanks. It took them 4 assaults on the Fusion Queen to get things done, and even then I kinda forced their hand on the final attempt. Really don't think a fleet of ships is going to do them any good.


Players get a fixed amount of BP depending on their level. If they have 100 BP and want to use it in 4 different crappy ships, I'm ok with that.

If the idea is that they'll have 4 (or potentially, dozens) of ships and have 100bp in each, they should learn the harsh reality as soon as possible.


Starfinder Superscriber

It will make your Starship combats super difficult to run/manage, I think. Like, I don't know if they'd be better or worse at it, but I think it would take forever to run through one in real life if you had 6 or 7 ships on the board.

The Exchange

Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I had a 9 v 3 battle. It took a little time but with just one or two crew per ship it didnt bog down.

Dark Archive

Can you guys tell me where I can find information on ZO! I have been looking but can't seem to find anything. I am beginning this AP tomorrow and I like LoreMaster Gm's idea. Thanks.


He's mentioned in the Pact Worlds book, page 94, "Halls of the Living", and seems to be a key NPC in Starfinder Society Roleplaying Guild Scenario #1-09: Live Exploration Extreme!.


Pathfinder Card Game, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Zo! was also introduced in Starfinder Society RPG Scenario #1-05: The First Mandate.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
LoreMaster GM wrote:

Hey guys. Just wanted to throw an idea out there for others to use or if people have suggestions.

So I am thinking of having Zo! (From the SFS) be at the meeting with Ambassador Norr. That way, going to explore the ship and drift rock will be both for investigating for the ambassador and it won't seem like a betrayal when they get back to the station and everyone has seen the video of them exploring.

The premise is that them being recorded is a "pilot episode" for "Live Exploration Extreme". When this goes well, it will get Zo!to invest in the society and make his show.

Thoughts?

Absolutely brilliant!

Dark Archive

Thanks everyone. I'm picking up pact worlds soon and I haven't seen the SFS module yet so that explains why.


Paizo Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Deluxe Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Legends Subscriber; Pathfinder Tales Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

I'm wondering, is there any reason that the crew of the Acreon distributed the akata cocoons all over their ship? Why keep some on the bridge and some in engineering when they have three perfectly good cargo bays on board?


Splitting the loot, I'd guess. Greedy miners!


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Starfinder Superscriber

^That. IIRC, there's one Akata egg per original miner/crew on the ship (or something close to that). They probably each got one as a 'bonus' and had it with them or near their favorite place(s) on the ship when they hatched and all hell broke loose. At least, that's how I'm playing it when I do the rundown in the ship's log of what happened.


Paizo Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Deluxe Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Legends Subscriber; Pathfinder Tales Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Sounds good enough to me.

Shadow Lodge

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Put some scrimshaw on the eggs. "To My dear mo *splatter*"


For my group, they beat the first star ship fight, it was a learning curve for all of us. but after they decided to catch the Stiletto and i let them have land it in the cargo bay of the Hippocampus, looking at the rules it says that a star ship at 0 or less hp drifts at half its speed in a given direction, with the Stiletto being 12 speed as a base line, going to half making it 6 matching the speed of the Hippocampus. the party just boosted its speed to 8 and got in front of it and caught it. then i had clara pop up from the cockpit with her holographic clone already up. they took her down but left her alive. She was taken away by the guards i had in the armada that the party called and it took a half hour for them to show up.

For other dms this could still play out with players catching the Stilletto, just being outside of the ship and a zero g fight.


My party had a hard time with the akata, and from the way they interpreted the logs on the ship, they think the drift rock might have over 100 akatas on it. So they thought of calling backup. now as it was hard to deny them that, i did the best i could in the moment. letting them contact who hired them Eox’s ambassador and had him tell them back up was on its way but will take some time to get there, and to go down to the drift rock and if things get too bad down there to get on the ship and wait for backup to arrive. thus making me skip the part where the ship leaves them stranded.

players have seen enough scifi horror to know not to explore more when they can call for back up.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Starfinder Maps Subscriber
Paris Crenshaw wrote:

Hey, Folks!

I put together shipsheets for the ships used in the campaign. I'll add pages to it when parts 5 and 6 come out, as well. The stats and DCs for some of the offensive actions on the enemy ships' sheets are based on fighting the Sunrise Maiden as she is presented in the first book.

Dead Suns Shipsheets.PDF

Enjoy!

Paris, this is a life saver!


Paizo Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Deluxe Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Legends Subscriber; Pathfinder Tales Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Hmm wrote:
Paris Crenshaw wrote:

Hey, Folks!

I put together shipsheets for the ships used in the campaign. I'll add pages to it when parts 5 and 6 come out, as well. The stats and DCs for some of the offensive actions on the enemy ships' sheets are based on fighting the Sunrise Maiden as she is presented in the first book.

Dead Suns Shipsheets.PDF

Enjoy!

Paris, this is a life saver!

Indeed, thanks a lot for these!

Liberty's Edge Contributor

Zaister wrote:
Hmm wrote:
Paris Crenshaw wrote:

Hey, Folks!

I put together shipsheets for the ships used in the campaign. I'll add pages to it when parts 5 and 6 come out, as well. The stats and DCs for some of the offensive actions on the enemy ships' sheets are based on fighting the Sunrise Maiden as she is presented in the first book.

Dead Suns Shipsheets.PDF

Enjoy!

Paris, this is a life saver!
Indeed, thanks a lot for these!

I'm glad folks are finding them helpful. I am about to update the file to add the ship sheets for books 5 and 6. How would you like me to present the DCs? Should I assume that the PCs' ship tier is the same as the the proposed level for the portion of the AP in which the ship combat takes place? Or should I just leave those blank?

Liberty's Edge Contributor

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Paris Crenshaw wrote:
Zaister wrote:
Hmm wrote:
Paris Crenshaw wrote:

Hey, Folks!

I put together shipsheets for the ships used in the campaign. I'll add pages to it when parts 5 and 6 come out, as well. The stats and DCs for some of the offensive actions on the enemy ships' sheets are based on fighting the Sunrise Maiden as she is presented in the first book.

Dead Suns Shipsheets.PDF

Enjoy!

Paris, this is a life saver!
Indeed, thanks a lot for these!

I'm glad folks are finding them helpful. I am about to update the file to add the ship sheets for books 5 and 6. How would you like me to present the DCs? Should I assume that the PCs' ship tier is the same as the the proposed level for the portion of the AP in which the ship combat takes place? Or should I just leave those blank?

I went ahead and made a command decision. The sheets below include every ship involved in combat presented throughout the AP. The DCs are calculated based on the premise that the PCs' ship's tier will be equivalent to the APL recommended at that part of the campaign.

Dead Suns Shipsheets (DS 1-6).PDF

There are lots of numbers to juggle, here, so I may have made some errors. Please let me know if you find any mistakes.

Thanks!


pavaan wrote:

My party had a hard time with the akata, and from the way they interpreted the logs on the ship, they think the drift rock might have over 100 akatas on it. So they thought of calling backup. now as it was hard to deny them that, i did the best i could in the moment. letting them contact who hired them Eox’s ambassador and had him tell them back up was on its way but will take some time to get there, and to go down to the drift rock and if things get too bad down there to get on the ship and wait for backup to arrive. thus making me skip the part where the ship leaves them stranded.

players have seen enough scifi horror to know not to explore more when they can call for back up.

It sounds like you handled it well. And even with backup, the Ambassador can ask to PCs to explore the "constructed" sections once others have secured the other portions of the asteroid. If the PCs completely chicken out, others can find the strange language and get the glory, and the Starfinder society can impart to the PCs that it would be good for their reputation to follow-up on Castrovel.


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For those wondering about the Ambassador's package, Empire of Bones gives some additional information.

Spoiler:

The officer is a double agent from the Corpse Fleet. Motivation and true loyalties are not specified, but given the Ambassador's loyalty to the Pact Worlds, it's likely an informant against the Corpse Fleet.


Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I bought all 6 books in Amazon. First time running an adventure path and just realized that if I had a pdf I could print out encounter maps. Any chance of me being able to get the pdfs discounted or free with proof of purchase of the books?


So my Dead Suns game is finally restarting after finishing Strange Aeons.

Rereading this adventure it actually seems to be written in such a way that it removes as much agency from the player's as possible. What I mean is that it doesn't really matter which gang they end up defeating, the outcome is largely the same. It doesn't matter whether they side with the Hardscrabble Collective or if they side with Astral Extractions, they still have the mercenary fight and the mercenary still acts in largely the same way. It doesn't matter whether they win or lose the mercenary fight, they still make it to the Drift Rock and the adventure continues along. It doesn't matter whether they pry open the sarcophagus or leave it shut, that NPC has zero impact on the rest of the campaign and no actual repercussions occur to the PCs regardless of what they do.

It's likely that this is a particularly sore point for me because throughout Strange Aeons we continuously had zero agency as to what occurred or how it occurred (right up to the climax where we had to deliberately ignore all GM hints to avoid killing ourselves). But it's something that's going to stick out like a sore thumb to my group given the campaign we just finished so I need to fix it.

What's happened so far
The PCs attacked only the Downside Kings which resulted in the Level 21 Crew somewhat being befriended by them (it's been a long time now so I don't remember if there was any actual contact with the Level 21 Crew). When they spoke with Nor they agreed to the mission to check out Drift Rock as a neutral party. They were then approached by Astral Extractions and shmoozed with a powerpoint presentation and dinner as to why Astral Extractions was such a good organisation. They then reached out to the Hardscrabble Collective to arrange breakfast with them the next day.

What's going to happen
The Hardscrabble is going to give the PC's a USB stick that when inserted into the drone will result in the broadcast being sent by the drone to become unencrypted, allowing all of the local media outlets to show the broadcast of what the PC's are doing, LIVE.

It is up to the PC's whether or not they actually do this.

If the PC's choose to insert the USB which decrypts the broadcast while enroute to Drift Rock, then Astral Extractions will call off the mercenary and get her to land on Drift Rock and instead snipe attack the drone from cover before attacking the PC's. Otherwise the mercenary acts as scripted.

If the PC's open the port cargo and see the Eoxian she claims diplomatic immunity in front of the drone, otherwise she tells the PC's she knows nothing and is currently enroute to the embassy on important business unrelated to whatever is occurring on Drift Rock (this is all true).

If the PC's put the cargo onto the ship in full view of the drone when it is being broadcast over an unsecure network, Ambassador Nor remotely directs the ship to return to Absalom Station once the PC's are on Drift Rock. Otherwise he chooses to leave the ship on Drift Rock until it becomes clear that the PC's are likely to die while on Drift Rock.

If the PC's show the cargo over the unsecure network, the Corpse Fleet decide to attack the PC's when they're enroute back to Absalom Station (either because they have the cargo on board or because they want to question the PC's to find out what they knew about the cargo). Otherwise they do not attack the PC's at all.

If the PC's stream the drone broadcast unsecurely and end up providing evidence that proves the Hardscrabble Collective's claim then the collective comes to a settlement with Astral Extractions which include a cash payout for the families and more favourable terms for miner's who do work for Astral Extractions. When the PC's go to do repairs on the Sunrise Maiden they find that the Hardscrabble Collective have called in some favors and they get some free labor for work done on their ship which effectively gives them an extra 1,000 credits per PC that they can spend on buying equipment.

If they simply do their job but without sending the broadcast out unsecurely then the matter continues for months and months in the courts before the Hardscrabble Collective finally come to a settlement for some cash and court costs.

If they withhold evidence or falsify evidence to assist Astral Extractions then they gain access to purchase level 5 equipment.

If the PC's are discrete with the Eoxian spy then Nor will have a positive relationship with them and will assist them in the Eox book, with the double agent able to be smuggled back into operations which will allow her to directly assist the player's when they have to face off against the Corpse Fleet. If the PC's are completely indiscrete then they don't get these benefits.
-----
What do people think? Running things this way can result in the PC's completing book 1/starting book 2 without a single starship battle. But it does result in consequences for the PC's actions and allows their actions to directly impact how small details of the campaign plays out.

The rewards are also different depending on how the PC's conduct themselves.

Something I'm deliberately working on is not having Ambassador Nor and Eox be the bad guys. My group will already be predisposed to seeing them as the bad guys and the AP really does a good job at making them think that. While it's fine to have a red herring, having the red herring be an NPC that they have to deal with in order to engage in the rest of the campaign isn't going to sit well with my group (especially after the last campaign we had). So I am deliberately working to remove the red herring (and will actually change which planet the mercenary's ship is from) to avoid resentment toward Ambassador Nor and all Eoxians.

[EDIT]: I just remembered another thought I had regarding Astral Extractions. Which is that they were deliberately sent to the Drift Rock because they wanted the Garragkhal brought back (ala Alien) so they could turn it into a bioweapon. That would make sense on getting the mercenary to go to the Drift Rock to make sure she finishes off the PC's (get a working ship onto Drift Rock so that Garragkhal can sneak back aboard). This only works if the mercenary really was hired by Astral Extractions.

There should be evidence of this in the recordings that the Acreon Crew made.


LoreMaster GM wrote:

Hey guys. Just wanted to throw an idea out there for others to use or if people have suggestions.

So I am thinking of having Zo! (From the SFS) be at the meeting with Ambassador Norr. That way, going to explore the ship and drift rock will be both for investigating for the ambassador and it won't seem like a betrayal when they get back to the station and everyone has seen the video of them exploring.

The premise is that them being recorded is a "pilot episode" for "Live Exploration Extreme". When this goes well, it will get Zo!to invest in the society and make his show.

Thoughts?

HA! I didn't have this setup. But I can definitely have the news announce a new tv show format by Zo! following the broadcast of the PC's actions called "Live Exploration Extreme". I like it.

Grand Lodge

What about Vor's package? I mean Zo! strikes me as a everything is content sort of guy. I suppose he could be in on it I guess, at least enough to agree to some executive oversight.


Dax Thura wrote:

What about Vor's package? I mean Zo! strikes me as a everything is content sort of guy. I suppose he could be in on it I guess, at least enough to agree to some executive oversight.

Are you talking to me? If so, the initial broadcast wouldn't be part of the television show (although it would get rebroadcast with interviews interspersed explaining the PC's thoughts at the time, or at least scripted versions of those thoughts). If the PC's open Vor's package in full view of the drone (and the drone is broadcasting an unencrypted signal) then the contents of that package would most definitely be fodder for speculation on the television show, otherwise the package wouldn't really be explored because it's a boring detail and the rest of the footage would be filled with laser fights and explosions.


John Lynch 106 wrote:
Rereading this adventure it actually seems to be written in such a way that it removes as much agency from the player's as possible. What I mean is that it doesn't really matter which gang they end up defeating, the outcome is largely the same. It doesn't matter whether they side with the Hardscrabble Collective or if they side with Astral Extractions, they still have the mercenary fight and the mercenary still acts in largely the same way. It doesn't matter whether they win or lose the mercenary fight, they still make it to the Drift Rock and the adventure continues along. It doesn't matter whether they pry open the sarcophagus or leave it shut, that NPC has zero impact on the rest of the campaign and no actual repercussions occur to the PCs regardless of what they do.

Unless the GM tells the players after the book is done, how would they know any of this?


I guess it's a different philosophy in DMing. You might not mind Schroidinger's Troll (whether they go left or right they get the troll), I'm not a fan.

Also I just finished a game where none of our choices mattered. It was obvious and not enjoyable. Why would I want to repeat that experience?


I'm just not seeing it.

The main plot points have to occur to move the plot along, the path the players take to get there is their choice. It's pretty much the structure of adventure paths: players schenenigans > plot point is achieved > more players scheneningans > second plot is acquired > last player schenenigans > boss fight.

Unless the GM is improvising an adventure on the fly, and in this case he's wasting money on APs, there's a structure to follow. Or if it's a complete sandbox adventure, and even those usually have an ending planned.

Considering how loose the first part of AP01 is, I haven't seen anyone else complaining about it being a railroad. Second and third part are just a dungeon crawl, and if the GM set it up properly during part one, the players will want to go there.


The Ragi wrote:
Considering how loose the first part of AP01 is, I haven't seen anyone else complaining about it being a railroad. Second and third part are just a dungeon crawl, and if the GM set it up properly during part one, the players will want to go there.

Then you've completely missed my point.

The whole gang war, seems to have little to no impact on the rest of the game. What occurs with the PCs during the gang war is completely immaterial to the rest of the adventure path. It's just filler. The PC's can act in any way they want here and their actions won't be undone, but only because their actions are completely meaningless and have no impact on the rest of the campaign.

The mercenary fight happens irregardless of which group the PC's side with. If they side with neither group, they still only have 1 fight because the mercenary is a Schrodinger's Troll which means that the PC's will have that fight no matter what they do. So they might as well not do anything because the game will force them to the fight no matter what. Why write that into the adventure? Why not say "if the PC's side with Astral Extractions the mercenary isn't hired and they have no fight on their way to the Drift Rock."

The mercenary fight is even more egregious. Because regardless of whether they win or lose the PC's end up getting to Drift Rock. The PC's might as well not bother performing any evasive action or even firing a single shot against the mercenary, because the worst case scenario is their rental ship that they have no ties to is going to be injured and still make it to Drift Rock. What is the motive of the mercenary to attack the ship? Either she's completely inept or she's just wasting bullets. Because there is zero impact on the adventure as to whether or not the PC's actually win that combat.

I get that adventure paths do have a certain amount of rail road involved. But they're nowhere near this bad typically. Carrion Crown Book 1 for example had quite a bit of agency as to what the player's could do. Failure to act in certain ways in a certain timeframe had serious repercussions on the PC's. That isn't the case in this adventure.

It's fine, I can fix it. But it is something that stood out to me.


John Lynch 106 wrote:
What occurs with the PCs during the gang war is completely immaterial to the rest of the adventure path.

It allows the PCs to start making a name for themselves, and gets Gevalarsk Nor to notice them. How they go about it is entirely up to them - I don't see a problem.

Their actions on part 2 also have no influence on the main plot. They could actually skip the Acreon and go straight to the rock, but would be lacking in firepower.


Yes, they could skip Acreon. Although doing so would mean breaking their contract (which means penalty clauses being brought to bare), not finding evidence that the Hardscrabble Collective is in the right with their claim And potentially failing to bring closure to the miner families. But you are right in saying that they could choose to skip Acreon. That's a good thing in my opinion.

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