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Someone in a previous post asked about making Null-9 more interesting as a combatant. At a glance her stat-block is more geared toward reducing the odds that she's hit in the first place, which might work with the game's default tactics of her making a run for it as soon as she has the control board...
However given how the PC's would have to have already restored Osteth her flight from battle and the PC's can follow her, Null-9's flight is pointless.
From a reader's perspective, the stakes of her fleeing are inconsequential; the group will catch up to her sooner or later. Even if she gets back to the Controller 1 facility, she won't have time to operate the gate with Osteth restored before the PC's catch up. No real tension there.
From an in-story perspective this seems an odd tactical choice on Null-9's part. Yes she's a violent nihilist bent on the total destruction of the known universe, but she's still been inferred to be practical about her goals. If the cultists wanted to they could've done worse to the Kish and their "temple" but doing so would've put their ultimate goal of acquiring the Stellar Degenerator at risk so they left a surprising amount of things intact in Istamak (and besides, at the time Null-9 couldn't REALLY know she still was being followed, leaving behind stuff was a minimal risk). Then there's the fact the Desperate Hunger are spread out through the system, giving the cult an early warning sign and defending strategic locations, using Oblivion Shades as scouts in the Controller Moon 2 facility, etc. I think that Null-9 would find it more prudent to kill or incapacitate the small team that's after her before attempting to access the Stellar Degenerator, eliminate all distractions.
So to that end there's actually a real easy tweak to Null-9's stat block; by my reckoning she's a CR 5 soldier and CR 5 Envoy, I'm just shifting that to CR 4 soldier and CR 6 Envoy, giving her the Improved Get 'Em Improvisation. Yeah it's a bit painful to lose Focus Fire, but if she were to use her Envoy abilities she'd almost never have a chance to use it anyways. Now she has Quick Dispiriting taunt as a move action, thus still leveraging her impressive intimidate skill, being able to attack targets with a bonus as a standard action, and even helping out the otherwise extremely non-threatening maintenance drones. Which I believe will make for a climactic 'faux-nale" battle.
That's my take anyways.
I ended up - combat wise - making Null-9 a CR 12 bombard soldier, and handed her an elite cathode cannon with the continuous fusion. I expected my players to handle everything else in the encounter area with ease (they did).
The shock of a 10' wide path of continuously arcing (and high damage) lightning gave my players enough pause that she could then grab what she needed and attempt to flee.
The solarian and the blitz soldier managed to nip that plan in the bud, but she ended up appearing much more threatening than she actually was - partly because my players weren't aware of what was going on behind the screen, and the first attack was quite deadly.
It also gave them a bit more loot that was otherwise lacking in this book.
Yeah I think this one has a bit less opportunity for extended RP, there's not that many NPCs who will stand and talk. So the content length is mostly determined by the combats. 3x5H seems doable if you're focused. I think we did 4x3.5H or so. Since all the books are basically in two (level) halves, an even number of sessions makes sense too.
In Starfinder, NPCs don't use the same creation rules as PC's.
I would say Deldreg not having any feats is intentional. His tactics doesn' reference any feat either so it's ok.
Be aware that there is an error in his statblock: the speed entry indicates 40 ft. but Deldreg is using a Battle Harness powered armor, so his maximum speed should be 30.
Powered armor limits the base speed, and doesn't allow for increases, in this case, the +10 ft from Blitz Soldier.
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The monster/NPC creation rules is the best feature of the Starfinder system for me.
Once you are familiar with it, you can create antagonists fast.
Back on topic, I have realized Deldreg is missing the lvl 5 armored storm soldier ability (Enhanced Tank). This means you can add another armor upgrade to its Battle Harness.
Has anyone toyed with tweaking the ending to provide an 'out' for Osteth's sacrifice? Some way to perhaps save her, even if it means leaving her for now and coming back later after the AP wraps up?
I'm currently running this, and while my players have engaged well enough with Osteth, enough that they'd be affected enough by her sacrifice (in particular, they're hoping that maybe they can find some way to connect her to Nejeor VI and help the kish there restore their lost culture), I expect one or more of them to pitch a fit that they can't do anything to try and save her, because it just feels to much like an uninteractive cutscene. (Which, to be fair, it kind of is.)
So I'm considering making some adjustments to leave open the possibility for an epilogue. Has anyone else done anything like this? I've got a couple of ideas but thought I'd bounce it off folks here while we're on a bit of a gap (small g) between sessions.