Splintered Worlds (GM Reference)


Dead Suns

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John Lynch 106 wrote:
I'm a bit confused as to why the PCs are headed to the Diaspora. Where in book 2 does it tell them that they need to go there next?

AP02 page 35

"Having thwarted Tahomen and his Devourer cult, the PCs
can continue exploring the Temple of the Twelve as much
as they like. However, the troubling implication that the
Gate of Twelve Suns might provide access to a weapon of
almost unimaginable power like a Stellar Degenerator—not
to mention the fact that the Cult of the Devourer now knows
about the weapon and is actively looking for it—should
compel the PCs to expedite their return to civilization.

Whether or not the Stellar Degenerator is real, the Cult of
the Devourer could use this information as a rallying cry to
attract more recruits to the cult and inflict greater atrocities
in the name of their uncaring god. At minimum, the news
that the Castrovelian Devourer cult was in communication
with other cult elements elsewhere in the Pact Worlds
should be enough of a threat to encourage the PCs to retrace
their steps back to Turhalu Point, and ultimately Qabarat.
"

It's more of a race to stop the cultists from using the SD either as a weapon or as propaganda, than to actually reach it.

At this point, the SD existence is just positive thinking.

Sitting around while the cult roams free sounds ominous.


Yeah. Like I said that doesn't tell them where the Stellar Degenerator is or that the Cult knows where it is. Knowing my players they're much more likely to spend ages on the Temple itself trying to find the clue.

Thanks though for confirming that this is the (only?) piece of information that tells them they need to get to Diaspora. I'll go ahead with a much more blatant message for them to get them to go to Diaspora so that they can then learn where the cultists are headed next.


AP 03, pages 3 & 4

Spoiler:
"As the adventure begins, the PCs should be aware that
the Cult of the Devourer is actively searching for the Gate
of Twelve Suns and the Stellar Degenerator—an ancient
alien superweapon that would devastate the Pact Worlds
(and countless other star systems) if it fell into the cult’s
hands. Although the PCs likely defeated Tahomen and his
Castrovelian cult cell at the end of “Temple of the Twelve,”
they also learned that the cult leader shared his discovery
with another Devourer cult in the Diaspora. The adventure
assumes that the PCs are dedicated to stopping the Cult of
the Devourer from finding the Stellar Degenerator; indeed,
the PCs might already be planning to head to the Diaspora to
search for the Devourer cult base and determine what these
dangerous cultists are plotting to do with the information
they’ve learned, as well as to find out what else the cultists
know about the Stellar Degenerator, given its dire capabilities.
The PCs can stop off at Absalom Station along the way to
purchase supplies or upgrade their gear, provided they don’t
linger on the station too long.
"

"If the PCs don’t get in touch with their Starfinder associate
Chiskisk (N host shirren) on their own, the shirren contacts
them to learn the results of their expedition to Castrovel. If
the PCs are uninterested in following the lead from Castrovel
to the Diaspora, or if they seem unaware of the urgency
surrounding this mission, Chiskisk attempts to impress the
gravity of the situation upon the PCs. Chiskisk’s signature
refined enthusiasm transforms into anxiety and near panic at
the prospect of the Cult of the Devourer finding a weapon
like the Stellar Degenerator, and with alarm, the shirren
encourages the PCs to find the cult’s base in the Diaspora so the
Starfinder Society can determine just how much information
the cult has and how its members might be planning to act
on it. If nothing else, Chiskisk points out that if the PCs can
find the Gate of Twelve Suns and the Stellar Degenerator first,
such a major discovery would be an achievement of historical
proportions, for both the PCs and the Starfinder Society. In
any case, Chiskisk requests that the PCs keep them regularly
informed of their progress.
"

"Finally, given the situation’s dangerous nature, Chiskisk
offers to reward the PCs for their efforts. If the PCs can track
down the Cult of the Devourer in the Diaspora, the shirren
promises a payment of at least 2,000 credits to each PC—and
possibly more, if the Starfinder Society can find sponsorship
from additional parties concerned about the cult’s threat.
"

If by the end of the second adventure the players don't see the threat the cult poses, the GM should encourage them to read up on the group, available at the CRB, or perhaps send the article from the AP02 to them.

The idea is that the cultists are much worse than the stellar degenerator.


Your missing my point (again).

John Lynch 106 wrote:
Yeah. Like I said that doesn't tell them where the Stellar Degenerator is or that the Cult knows where it is. Knowing my players they're much more likely to spend ages on the Temple itself trying to find the clue.

Without information to the contrary the PC's are going to assume that the Cult knows where the Stellar Degenerator is based on information at the Temple of the Twelve Suns. Wanting to make sure they get that same information, my PC's will spend days studying the ruins to make sure they get that information as well. This is why I've said I will find a way to tell them that the Cult has been able to use information from an additional source not located on Castrovel to tell them where the Stellar Degenerator is, so that way they then need to seek out that information which they will know is at the Cult's HQ.

Telling them "the cult is bad and therefore you should go wipe out their base while a group of them find a superweapon from ancient history" is not going to fly. They're going to want to stop the cultists who are hot on the trail of the superweapon and THEN take out the cult's HQ.

This is a problem with the "chase the bad guys, ensuring you always remain 5 steps behind them by staying on the railroad and never trying to out think your enemy" trope that so many Pathfinder adventure paths relies on. It doesn't go well with my group and they will try to find clever ways to out think the enemy and gain an advantage. By giving them a little bit more information it will motivate them to go directly to the cult's HQ.


John Lynch 106 wrote:
"the cult is bad and therefore you should go wipe out their base while a group of them find a superweapon from ancient history"

Those two are the same group.


Ragi I'm going to suggest we move on and agree to disagree. Either I'm failing to explain myself (which is frustrating for me because I feel like I'm being as clear as I can) or you aren't reading my posts fully in which case there is no point me continuing to post explanations.

Thank you for answering my question. It was genuinely helpful.


John Lynch 106 wrote:
Ragi I'm going to suggest we move on and agree to disagree. Either I'm failing to explain myself (which is frustrating for me because I feel like I'm being as clear as I can) or you aren't reading my posts fully in which case there is no point me continuing to post explanations.

I think you are creating solutions for problems that don't exist.

But if you think that is necessary for your group, it's nice of you to go that extra mile.


You honestly can't imagine a group saying "The Cult spent X period of time at these ruins and can now hunt down a potentially big weapon, so therefore we should look for that same information so we can beat them to the weapon."?

If you can't imagine that then I've got nothing.


It's perfectly reasonable for the group to think that the clue is in the ruins.

After they spend some time researching and come up empty, I'd let them roll a knowledge check or a wisdom check to realize that the Devourer cult must have some additional piece of information that's letting them figure out something that the PCs can't. Hopefully with that clue they'll decide to head into book 3 and learn of the prophecy.


What they did! (In the field of the lost). The YEX the sarcesian sniper issue! How to put this! I was taken aback by the decisions of my players ! As soon the sniper started to do is job... My players retreaded cowardly in the Sunrise Maiden... And start to blast the bloody rock with it... Including the hidden door to the base cult! For an hour they pulverized the entire area... including Yex... The skreelings... and of course the Skreesires! At some point I ask them if they had enough or if they had oblitarated the place to their satisfaction!??! Then... they realized they might have been to far! Wow! I Well at last they proceed to inspect the asteroid... BUT... Everything was buried ! If they wanted to do something... They had to dig!!! Thats going to take....weeks. without proper equipment! Well at some point I thought... Well its game over! The cult and the corpse fleet would really to far ahead !? Well they manage to reach the Hardscrabbled mining corporation, (first installment) to give them a hand to remove the rocks/rubbles... So... My question to you... How do I fixe this? Especially if time is of the essence here!


The adventures explicitly says the Pcs aren't on a clock (it also uses NPCs to give Pcs any clues they mizsed).
I'd let them go for it and run the AP as written. Let the cultists fluff about in the Stellar Degenerator while the Corpse Fleet waits for someone to exit with the patience of the dead.


Well Ok... I was on the impression that they were a bit on the clock! On page 35 ''the urgency of the PC mission (...) cannot be underplayed'' . Maybe I got lost in translation here given de fact that my first language is French! Thanks for the advice by the way... I will put some pressure on them just for the sport of it...


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Mactrigger wrote:
Well Ok... I was on the impression that they were a bit on the clock! On page 35 ''the urgency of the PC mission (...) cannot be underplayed'' . Maybe I got lost in translation here given de fact that my first language is French! Thanks for the advice by the way... I will put some pressure on them just for the sport of it...

Don't worry, your translation is on point and you were right - it is a race against time to get the stellar degenerator before the cultists and eventually the corpse fleet:

Spoiler:
AP02 page 35
"Having thwarted Tahomen and his Devourer cult, the PCs
can continue exploring the Temple of the Twelve as much
as they like. However, the troubling implication that the
Gate of Twelve Suns might provide access to a weapon of
almost unimaginable power like a Stellar Degenerator—not
to mention the fact that the Cult of the Devourer now knows
about the weapon and is actively looking for it—should
compel the PCs to expedite their return to civilization.
"

AP03 page 4
" If the PCs are uninterested in following the lead from Castrovel
to the Diaspora, or if they seem unaware of the urgency
surrounding this mission, Chiskisk attempts to impress the
gravity of the situation upon the PCs. Chiskisk’s signature
refined enthusiasm transforms into anxiety and near panic at
the prospect of the Cult of the Devourer finding a weapon
like the Stellar Degenerator, and with alarm, the shirren
encourages the PCs to find the cult’s base in the Diaspora so the
Starfinder Society can determine just how much information
the cult has and how its members might be planning to act
on it.
"

AP03 page 19
"Chiskisk clears their throat with a metallic rasp and
continues. “I am sure I do not need to remind you, but this
mission is of the utmost priority. You must meet Waneda
Trux and find the location of this Stellar Degenerator. You
must keep it out of the hands of the Corpse Fleet and the
Cult of the Devourer. Everything could be at stake.
"

AP03 page 35
"Once the PCs have defeated Captain Zeera Vesh and her
bone troopers, they can return to Orphys with no further
difficulties. Allow the PCs to finish any outstanding business
they have in the necropolis, but they should remember that
both the Cult of the Devourer and the Corpse Fleet have a
head start on them. If the PCs don’t take the initiative on
their own, Chiskisk contacts them in 1d4 days for an update
on their mission and to encourage the PCs to pursue their
rivals to Nejeor as soon as they are able. Time is of the
essence, the shirren again reminds them, and the fact that the
Corpse Fleet and the Cult of the Devourer are both one step
closer toward finding a worlds-destroying superweapon is not
a comforting thought.
"

After being savagely beaten by the skreesire, my players ran away to the ship and had the same idea: bombard the asteroid until it was dead. I reminded them what was at stake, that the attack would definitely damage and possibly destroy the cultist base (consider the hardness and hit points for stone and for steel - available at the AONSRD - and the x10 damage from a ship, with a couple of blows it could definitely get inside the place. With an hour of blasts, like your players did, it probably could go all the way through the asteroid...), and asked if they were sure. So they rested up, went back there and almost got killed again, but managed to pull through.

In your case, since you let them rampage already, I'd rule that the base is gone - just move the relevant information to the two necrogliders hiding near it. After destroying one ship, the other one surrenders, or they can destroy both and salvage the information from the basic computer from each one on board. Instead of being two drones who were just hanging out, make it so they were actually in the party that went to the asteroid, probably responsible for security of the main ship while it was landed, so they have some knowledge of what happened there.

The players lose the loot and the xp, but you can move the AP along and they learned a valuable lesson - don't use a ship to defeat regular enemies.

And a single hit from their ship, if it is properly upgraded, could have taken out everything on the surface of the asteroid, why nuke it for so long?

Grand Lodge

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Pathfinder Starfinder Maps Subscriber

I had a lot of fun with Splintered Worlds, especially the Eoxian section. One of my players has been playing a Sarcesian, and so I had a ton of fun having him approached by the Wings of Damiar, a sarcesian side group devoted to spying on Eox. And then when he was on Eox, having him followed by the Eoxian Secret Police. The group enjoyed their contact with Waneda Trux, and were happy to learn that by delivering the 'package' in book One, they helped a major Corpse Fleet officer defect. This made Waneda better disposed to them, because it led to the largest influx of Corpse Fleet data she's gotten so far. The other part of what made Waneda well-disposed to them is that they gifted her with the corpse of the 'dragon' from Cultist base. "How many of the undead around here have eaten dragon? This should give you the best bribes around!"

The fight with the Ellicoth was particularly memorable, especially once the group learned about the sad history of Ellicoths on Eox. The fact that the Ellicoth had a 'garden' was especially poignant.

My players are all playing members of a music band named 'We ate Golarian' so I have been having fun with giving them a concert every place they go. (This may prove challenging now that we're leaving the Pact Worlds, but hey... I'm creative, so this will be a fun thing for me to work out.) Zo! has been something of a patron, so of course he met them at the spaceport with a film crew so that they could do a few songs for him on Eox, and jam with the current winners of the deadly 'Battle of the Bands' game from the Halls of the Living. On Eox, a few shopkeepers recognized them as the 'Drift Rock Group that Zo! filmed, and wanted to have pictures of the group next to some of their necrografts.

One fun detail that I did with Zo! is that he gifts them with several sacks of potatoes, along with containers of sour cream, butter, crumbled bacon and chives that 'just happened to be a shipment he found coming through, and he wants nothing but the best for his stars!' This puzzled the group until I described the terrible preserved food found all over Orphys, and they were pleased with Zo's addition to their rations. Then they got to the ministry, where Stan is complaining about how agents of the Corpse Fleet must have hijacked his special shipment of luxury potatoes that he'd had shipped in...

My group was laughing, and kept bringing up the potatoes, over and over again.

Hmm


Starfinder Superscriber

Does anyone have a viable image for the 'Gentlesage' Jonesworth Lengfoll for part 3 of the adventure? I've been searching around all the obvious places and have yet to find anything physreps for this glorious NPC.


pithica42 wrote:
Does anyone have a viable image for the 'Gentlesage' Jonesworth Lengfoll for part 3 of the adventure? I've been searching around all the obvious places and have yet to find anything physreps for this glorious NPC.

Not even close, but I took this guy and gave him a zombie tint and spooky glowing eyes.

He doesn't fit the description, but kinda looks the part.


Starfinder Superscriber

Thanks. At least it's not just me. Really wishing I had any artistic skill because that character is described so awesome and I'd love to have something to show my players.


Hmm wrote:
The fight with the Ellicoth was particularly memorable, especially once the group learned about the sad history of Ellicoths on Eox. The fact that the Ellicoth had a 'garden' was especially poignant.

It's been a few days, but would you mind sharing your party comp and how they approached the ellicoth? By the numbers, it LOOKS like an almost certain TPK. The radiation, high defense, and excessive attack rolls on the creature, in conjunction with soul rend, would seem to make it darn near unstoppable for a party of 4 level 6 characters.

It would hit our heaviest armored, highest defense player on a... 3, I think? Everyone else is just a speedbump.


Zilvar2k11 wrote:
The radiation

Don't forget this:

Radiation
Armor protects you against low levels of radiation (see page 403) and grants a +4 circumstance bonus to saving throws against higher levels of radiation. Armor of 7th level and higher grants immunity to medium radiation levels and provides a +6 circumstance bonus to saving throws against higher levels of radiation. No armor’s bonuses apply to saves against radiation sickness, regardless of the level of radiation exposure that caused you to contract it.

A single meaty target in an open area is not that much of a challenge, if the party knows how to cooperate.

The last battle, with the magic missile barrage can be much more deadly.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Starfinder Maps Subscriber

The last battle was nothing compared to that Ellicoth! I did have a party who knew how to cooperate. The solarian and the soldier flanked, the Envoy used improved Get 'Em, the technomancer used a microbot assault, and the whole party worked together -- but oh, most of the party was hurt. By contrast, the magic missile barrage wasn't that bad because we had fliers by then in the group. It was a fun terrain challenge, but my party mopped it up quickly.


The Ragi wrote:

Don't forget this:

Radiation
Armor protects you against low levels of radiation (see page 403) and grants a +4 circumstance bonus to saving throws against higher levels of radiation. Armor of 7th level and higher grants immunity to medium radiation levels and provides a +6 circumstance bonus to saving throws against higher levels of radiation. No armor’s bonuses apply to saves against radiation sickness, regardless of the level of radiation exposure that caused you to contract it.

A single meaty target in an open area is not that much of a challenge, if the party knows how to cooperate.

The last battle, with the magic missile barrage can be much more deadly.

I learned about the radiation protection (nobody would be immune in my group) by watching a video of the fight from another group. Everything seemed to work against the group in this fight (let's also be real...the little map inset is ridiculous. I must have misread it because that 'hovel' was something like 90' across). The ellicoth was in melee range after its first move, essentially could not miss, and scored a crit on the second round of combat. Our solarian front liner went from 'this will be tough' to 'WTF mate!?' faster than I could even roll. Every single roll, from Trick Attack to Clever Attack, to hitting required above average luck to succeed at and you just can't expect above average luck for the duration of a fight like that.

That's really why I'm curious about party comp. The fight felt excessively challenging for a group of 4 at level 6 (CR +3, with a fight immediately after)


Starfinder Superscriber

It's easily the hardest fight of the campaign up to that point with a group of 4 at level 6. It potentially poisons every round and has solid hits that are all but automatic if anyone is in reach. But if you follow the 'during combat' it switches to bad tactics once it takes a couple hits, and if the party is all (or even mostly ranged) they have the potential to kite it or ping-pong it.


pithica42 wrote:
It's easily the hardest fight of the campaign up to that point with a group of 4 at level 6. It potentially poisons every round and has solid hits that are all but automatic if anyone is in reach. But if you follow the 'during combat' it switches to bad tactics once it takes a couple hits, and if the party is all (or even mostly ranged) they have the potential to kite it or ping-pong it.

Most of my party is only at a less than +9 to hit. It taking a couple of hits was, in fact, one of the hard parts. I feel like there is a level of basic optimization that my group is missing. They didn't even have the option to run away. The stupid thing was fast enough to run down anyone who tried unless they split up and sacrificed someone. :)


Starfinder Superscriber

That's what I meant by Ping-Pong or Kiting. If you have ranged characters spread out they can encourage it to chase down one of the characters (kite) while they run away or ping pong back and forth between characters as they attack. Either one gives the other members of the party time to do damage while it goes after them one at a time. That one person may end up dropping unconscious, but if the others can hit it enough that it stops using it's big attacks and they move enough that it can't ever do a full attack, they can (potentially) whittle it down.

Though, if noone has above a +9 to hit, it's going to be rough no matter what they do.


If <+9 (3/4 BAB +4 DEX) is rough, what should it be? What basic optimization is my group missing?


Zilvar2k11 wrote:
If <+9 (3/4 BAB +4 DEX) is rough, what should it be? What basic optimization is my group missing?

Some should be full BAB, some should have bought a +2 dex mod to get to a +5 Dex, some should have a +1 from Weapon Focus, and it's not unreasonable for one to have done all those things.


Starfinder Superscriber

Depends on the party makeup.

By level 6, your Operative should be able to afford a +4 Ability Crystal in Dex and should have weapon focus-small arms so they should be at +11. With Trick Attack making them flat-footed, that should be an effective +13. Flat-footed has the extra affect of denying the Ellicoth any AOO, which makes kiting/ping-ponging a lot easier.

Ranged Soldiers or Melee Soldiers should be looking at maxing their primary stat with a +2 or +4 ability crystal by then and also stacking on weapon focus and possibly a gear boost, so they should be looking at a base of +11 or +12 by that level.

Melee Solarians might not hit that often, but when they do, the damage will be pretty sizeable at that level. I just checked my roll20 logs from this fight last game and his average damage per hit was well into the 20s even a couple before he dropped is enough to put a dent in Trampleram.

Anyone stuck in Melee should be flanking if possible. But honestly, range is the way to go with this fight, because of the radiation and that super high to hit. (Unless your melee went ahead and upgraded to level 7 or better armor while they were in town before heading out.)

Envoys should be using Get'em every round and possibly Clever Feint or Dispiriting Taunt or Fire Support. Clever Feint (if you don't have the operative) also does Flat-Footed, and even if you have both, Off Target from the Operative would reduce the Ellicoth's chance to hit by 10%.

Technomancers could be using Magic Missile to whittle away at the edges from afar, or Summon Creature to amplify the action economy. There's also Directed Denial of Strength to drop it's AC and attack bonuses and slow it down.

Mystics could be using Mind Thrusts against it and moving away every round. They also have Fear, and potentially magic missile, and potentially bonuses to intimidate that can apply shaken (all depending on connection).

Exo-Mechs should be pretty close to even to hit bonuses with the ranged soldiers and possibly using similar weapons.

Drone Mechs could add to the action economy, and a drone could be using a heavy Explode weapon and only needing to hit an AC of 5 by that level.

There's cover and difficult terrain on the field to take advantage of. There are also grenades and other stuff that can apply things like Blinded or other conditions that possibly put it at a disadvantage.

I mean, I'm not sure here, as I don't know your party and I wasn't playing in your game. They could be doing literally everything 'right' in this fight and still lose. It's a hard fight. Sometimes you just don't roll well and sometimes the gods are against you. I'm only trying to make the case that it's not impossible and there are things you can do to make it easier as a group of PC's. Especially if the DM plays it as the relatively 'dumb animal' it is.

The Exchange

Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

how my party dealt with it:
My party ran into the Home for protection and found it benefical to cast control undead on it's owner to call it off.

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