Incident at Absalom Station - After action report


Dead Suns


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No one in my group was able to go to GenCon this year, but when they found out I bought the pdf of the Starfinder core book and the first module on Thursday, they demanded we have our own weekend blitz instead. I hadn't even glanced at the core book yet, but they said they didn't care... we would learn as we went and that it would be like being brand new (silly and stupid) players again. This is not my normal way of running things... I favor planning and preparation to run anything... so mistakes were probably made throughout. I provide this recap in case Paizo wants any sort of feedback on the new system or other DMs and players are interested in my groups thoughts. These notes were hastily taken but cleaned up a bit later. Most of the role-playing and downtime activity was not recorded, and the party didn't do a lot of it as they wanted to get through the module. I was only concerned with the rules and action for posterity. I have not yet gone over the core book more thoroughly to answer any of the questions that came up. I realize there are probably answers, but that will be for this weekend. Anyway, Friday night we gathered to create the party and planned to run Saturday and Sunday.

The characters...

Blackhand, a Vesk Soldier created by the player who was most interested in the Solarian prior to the release of the game.

Spoiler:

Blackhand Spacefarer Soldier 1 N Vesk Vesk Prime
STR 16 (+3) DEX 14 (+2) CON 13 (+1) INT 10 (+0) WIS 10 (+0) CHA 10 (+0)
EAC 16 KAC 18 CMD 26 Fort/Ref/Will +3/+2/+2
Speed 35’ BAB +1 HP 13 SP 8 RP 4 Init +6
Tactical Pike +5 (1d8+3 P/–, reach)
Skills: Acrobatics +1, Athletics +6*, Bluff +0, Diplomacy +0, Disguise +0, Intimidate +0, Perception +1*, Piloting +2, Sense Motive +0, Stealth +2*, Survival +0, Engineering +4*
Feats: Weapon Focus (advanced melee weapons)
Special: Low-Light Vision, Armor Savant (+1 AC, +1 armor check penalty with heavy armor), Fearless (+2 vs fear), Theme Knowledge (physical science class skill), Primary Fighting Style (blitz), Primary Style Technique (rapid response)
Equipment: Hidden Soldier Armor, Tactical Pike, Consumer Backpack, Personal Comm Link, Engineering Kit, Travel Clothing, Hygiene Kit, 17c

Keskkin, Shirren Mystic of self-loathing... I mean healing

Spoiler:

Keskkin Priest Mystic 1 N Shirren Verces
STR 14 (+2) DEX 10 (+0) CON 14 (+2) INT 10 (+0) WIS 16 (+3) CHA 9 (-1)
EAC 11 KAC 12 CMD 20 Fort/Ref/Will +2/+0/+5
Speed 30’ BAB +0 HP 12 SP 8 RP 4 Init +0
Battle Staff +2 (1d4+2 B/knockdown) Telekinetic Projectile +0 (1d6 B/–, 25’)
Skills: Acrobatics +0, Athletics +2, Bluff -1, Diplomacy +1, Disguise -1, Intimidate -1, Perception +7*, Piloting +0, Sense Motive +7*, Stealth +0, Survival +7*, Life Science +4*, Medicine +4*, Mysticism +8*
Feats: Mystic Strike
Special: Languages (common, shirren, vercite), Blindsense 30’, Communalism (roll attack or skill check twice and take highest result if ally within 10’, 1/day), Cultural Fascination (+2 culture, diplomacy), Limited Telepathy 30’ (must share a language), Theme Knowledge (+1 mysticism), Connection (healer), Connection Powers (healing channel [1rp, self – move, ally – move, all in 30’ – full, 2d8hp]), Connection Spells (mystic cure), Healing Touch (1/day, 5hp), Spells Known (0th – 4, 1st – 2), Spells Per Day (0th – DC 13, 1st – DC 14 3)
Equipment: Second Skin, Battle Staff, Consumer Backpack, Personal Comm Unit, Basic Medkit, Medicinal (antitoxin), Flashlight, Trapsmith’s Tool, starstone compass, Travel Radiation Clothing, Hygiene Kit, 5 R2E, 338gp
Spells:
0th - Detect Magic, Ghost Sound, Psychokinetic Hand, Telekinetic Projectile
1st - Mystic Cure, Mind Thrust, Reflecting Armor

Indigo Jack, Android Mechanic and Drone wrangler

Spoiler:

Indigo Jack Themeless Mechanic 1 N Android Absalom Station
STR 10 (+0) DEX 14 (+2) CON 12 (+1) INT 16 (+3) WIS 12 (+1) CHA 9 (-1)
EAC 13 KAC 14 CMD 22 Fort/Ref/Will +3/+4/+1
Speed 30’ BAB +0 HP 10 SP 7 RP 4 Init +2
Azimuth Laser Rifle +2 (1d8 F/burn 1d6, 120’) Tactical Baton +2 (1d4 B/-)
Skills: Acrobatics +2, Athletics +4*, Bluff -1, Diplomacy -1, Disguise -1, Intimidate -1, Perception +5*, Piloting +6*, Sense Motive -1, Stealth +6*, Survival +1, Computers +8*, Engineering +8*, Physical Science +7*
Feats: Weapon Proficiency (longarm)
Special: Languages (common, common sign, akitonian, castrovelian), Low-Light Vision, Darkvision 60’, +2 DC of sense motive checks against, +2 saves vs disease, mind-affecting, poison, and sleep, 1 Armor Upgrade Slot, General Knowledge (stealth class skill), Artificial Intelligence (drone), Bypass (+1 computers, engineering), Custom Rig ()
Equipment: Second Skin, Azimuth Laser Rifle, Tactical Baton, Consumer Backpack, Tier I Computer (hardened, security I), 2 Batteries, Radiation Clothing, 14c

Drone: STR 14 (+2) DEX 12 (+1) CON – INT 6 (-2) WIS 10 (+0) CHA 6 (-2)
Chassis: Combat Drone EAC 11 KAC 16 Size M Speed 30’ Fort/Ref/Will +2/+1/+0
BAB +1 HP 10
Azimuth Artillery Laser +3 (1d10 F/burn 1d6, 120’, penetrating) [not yet owned]
Special: Limited AI (can take a move or standard action), Master Control (can spend a move action to take both a move and standard action with the drone), Skill Unit (stealth +5)
Mods: Reductive Plating (DR 1/–), 2 Weapon Mounts, Weapon Proficiency (heavy weapon), Enhanced Armor
Feats: Weapon Focus (heavy weapon)

Revara, who goes by Rev, Human Operative and pilot

Spoiler:

Revara Ace Pilot Operative 1 N Human Absalom Station
STR 10 (+0) DEX 17 (+3) CON 12 (+1) INT 10 (+0) WIS 12 (+1) CHA 12 (+1)
EAC 14 KAC 15 CMD 23 Fort/Ref/Will +1/+5/+3
Speed 30’ BAB +0 HP 10 SP 7 RP 4 Init +4
Tactical Baton +3 (1d4+0 B/–) Azimuth Laser Pistol +4 (1d4 F/burn 1d4, 80’)
Skills: Acrobatics +11G, Athletics +1, Bluff +6*, Diplomacy +6*, Disguise +1, Intimidate +6*, Perception +6*, Piloting +9*, Sense Motive +6*, Stealth +11G, Survival +1, Computers +5*, Culture +6*, Engineering +5*
Feats: Skill Focus (acrobatics), Skill Focus (stealth), Skill Synergy (diplomacy, culture), Weapon Focus (small arms)
Special: Bonus Feat (weapon focus [small arms]), Skilled (+1 skill point per level), Theme Knowledge (+1 piloting, -5DC culture checks regarding ships, vehicles, parts, and pilots), Operative’s Edge (+1 insight bonus on init and skill checks), Specialization (ghost [acrobatics, stealth]), Trick Attack (+1d4)
Equipment: Second Skin, Tactical Baton, Azimuth Laser Pistol, Consumer Backpack, Battery, Hardened Tier I Computer, Personal Comm Unit, Flashlight, Engineering Kit, Hacking Kit, Trapsmith’s Tools, Travel Radiation Clothing, Hygiene Kit, 61c


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Saturday play begins...

PART 1: ABSALOM GANG WAR
Caught In The Crossfire

Spoiler:

Indigo failed Perception check to notice gang members
PC Init : Blackhand 20, Rev 19, Keskkin 11, Indigo 5
NPC Init : 13, 8, 24, 14, 7, 6
Rev asked about IDing the sneakers, allowed Culture check which was passed and gave gang information
Surprise Round
PC Target : Blackhand N, Rev N, Keskkin N, Indigo N*
NPC 3 attacks NPC 4 and misses
Blackhand moves toward NPC 6
Rev moves toward NPC 6
NPC 6 fires at NPC 2 and hits for 3 damage
NPC 4 fires at NPC 3 and misses
NPC 1 fires at NPC 5 and hits for 2 damage
Keskkin casts mind thrust at NPC 4 who fails Will save and takes 15 damage
NPC 2 fires at NPC 6 and hits for 3 damage
NPC 5 fires at NPC 1 and hits for 3 damage
Round 1
PC Target : Blackhand Y, Rev N, Keskkin N, Indigo N*
NPC 3 attacks Blackhand and misses
Blackhand moves to reach melee range of and attacks NPC 6 and hits for 11 damage (max roll!)
Rev makes a trick attack attempt, moving toward cover, makes the Stealth check, and hits for 4 damage
NPC 1 attacks NPC 5 and hits for 3 damage
Keskkin casts telekinetic projectile at NPC 5 and misses
NPC 2 attacks NPC 5 and his for 4 damage
Indigo fires at NPC 3 and hits for 2 damage
* – Not very clear on how many attacks a PC should be the target of, so most NPCs ended up shooting at each other
]
(DM Note: Why do the gang members deal 1d4+1 with their pistols. Where is the +1 coming from?)

The Starfinder Society
Spoiler:

Party goes to the suggested hotel and makes a shopping trip to pick up a heavy weapon for the Drone and Infrared sensors for Rev. Asked if they want to explore a bit, they decline, saying they want to get right to the meat of the adventure, so begin investigating immediately.

Absalom Station Investigations
Spoiler:

Indigo suggests accessing the ‘net to gather what information they can about the two corporations from the hotel first
Both Indigo and Rev make the DC 10 Computers check for the two corporations but do not make attempts for other topics
The players immediately side with the Hardscrabble Collective, assuming the big, bad corporation is trying to take what is not necessarily theirs

Duravor Kreel
Rev rolls a 23 on the Culture check and learns all info available

Astral Extractions
Rev takes 20 on the Culture check and learns all but the 30+ info

The Hardscrabble Collective
Rev takes 20 on the Culture check and learns all info available

The Downside Kings
[
After realizing Culture would not reveal all info, Rev suggests more computer research but fails the Computer check
Indigo passes it but realizes that information about the gangs is not widely available and it will be a more difficult task

(DM Note: I was trying to engage the other two players hoping they would remember and offer to Aid Another, which they finally did)

Both Keskkin and Blackhand make the DC 10 Aid Another check, but Indigo fails

(DM Note: The group used Intimidate for this and montaged it like the info gathering from Blade 3… roughing up several people, making awkward scenes in overly public areas, and finally dangling a guy off a roof… so I allowed the multiple Aids… they wouldn’t have been able to hit 30+ otherwise)

Rev takes 20 + 6 skill modifier + 4 aid another and done

Party becomes decidedly anti-Astral Extractions when they hear Kreel was targeted specifically
]

The Level 21 Crew
Not wanting to repeat the above process, Rev comes up with a different approach, but they do the Computer research anyway
Indigo again passes the check
Rev looks for and finds a 21 Crew member and tells him she was in the dock during the attack and that she might be able help and would like to set a meet. Meet is agreed to eventually and set, Rev takes 20 on the Diplomacy check, but I award all the information anyway because of the idea and the planning the group put into the meet

Party invited to a second meeting at Mama Fats’

A. Mama Fats’

Spoiler:

Rev succeeds at DC 16 Diplomacy check on Jabaxa and meeting concludes with no new information
(DM Note: Listed as CR3 as this can be a combat encountered, but there is no mention of a Story Award if the party concludes the encounter peacefully)

B. Fusion Queen
B1. Front Door

Spoiler:

Rev and Keskkin noisily distract the guards with a combination of Bluff and ghost sound allowing Blackhand to move up from behind and attack from surprise
PC Init : Blackhand 11, Rev 8, Indigo 7, Keskkin 3
NPC Init : 15, 5
Surprise Round
Blackhand attacks NPC 1 and hits for 9 damage
Round 1
NPC 1 takes guarded step, attacks Blackhand, and misses
Blackhand attacks NPC 2 and hits for 7 damage
(DM Note: First rules question of the AP… can an Operative draw a weapon instead of moving as part of a Trick Attack attempt… we rule yes)
Rev draws tactical baton, makes the Stealth check, attacks NPC 2, and hits dealing 7 damage
Indigo draws tactical baton and moves toward NPC 1
Keskkin draws battle staff and moves toward NPC 1
Round 2
NPC 1 attacks Blackhand and misses
Blackhand attacks NPC 1 and misses
Rev attempts Trick Attack, moves toward NPC 1 (now flanking with Blackhand), makes Stealth check, attacks NPC 1, and misses
Indigo attacks NPC 1 and hits dealing 1 damage
Keskkin attacks NPC 1 and hits dealing 3 damage

B2. Bar and Dance Floor
Spoiler:

(DM Note: No mention of existing staff attempting to stop anyone from entering B3. The party came in armed anyway, I guess, and they questioned no one and simply approached the doors armed)

B3. Storeroom
Spoiler:

Doors opened by Blackhand with Drone standing beside him, Rev behind Blackhand, Indigo behind Drone, and Keskkin last
NPC 1 in NW chair, continuing counter-clockwise… no one likes sitting with their back to the door
PC Init : Indigo 20, Blackhand 13, Rev 10, Keskkin 8
NPC Init : 12, 7, 8
Round 1
NPCs have cover from sitting and table
Indigo fires at NPC 1 and hits dealing 4 damage
Indigo orders Drone to fire at NPC 1, Drone attacks and hits dealing 10 damage
Blackhand moves to melee reach range and attacks NPC 3 and hits (only due to flat-footed) dealing 5 damage
Rev attempts Trick Attack, moves into room near north counter, makes Stealth check, attacks NPC 2 and hits dealing 8 damage
NPC 3 stands, draws club
Keskkin moves into room next to Rev, casts telekinetic projectile at NPC 2 and misses
NPC 2 flips over table, draws pistol and kneels behind table (complete cover)
Round 2
Indigo readies an action to shoot NPC 2 when he shows himself
Blackhand attacks NPC 3 and crits for 14 damage! and then moves behind table in reach range of NPC 2
Rev readies an action to shoot NPC 2 when he shows himself
Keskkin readies an action to cast at anyone entering from the bar area
NPC 2 panics and fires at Blackhand…
Blackhand makes attack of opportunity against NPC 2 and hits dealing 8 damage

B4. Back Office
Spoiler:

The party immediately setup at the door, so I ruled no prep by those within, which was obviously a mistake
Blackhand opens the door with the other PCs lined up along the northern wall and the Drone is placed behind Blackhand
PC Init : Blackhand 20, Indigo 20, Rev 16, Keskkin 16 (freaking amazing rolls ☹)
NPC Init : 15 Ferani, 6 Vrokilayo rolls a 1!! ☹
Round 1
Blackhand moves to melee reach range directly south of Vrokilayo, attacks, and hits dealing 6 damage
Indigo moves to just inside and west of door, attacks Vrokilayo, and hits (barely due to flat-footed) dealing 6 damage
Drone attacks Ferani and hits (barely due to flat-footed, even with cover) dealing 3 damage
Rev attempts Trick Attack, moves just inside and east of door, makes the Stealth check, attacks Vrokilayo, and hits dealing 5 damage
Keskkin moves to space 1 east of Rev and casts Mind Thrust on Vrokilayo for 12 damage, save is successful but does not matter
(DM Note: 1 rounded! Sheesh!! I had Ferani surrender at this point as coming out of cover to run straight at the Drone would have been suicide)
(DM Note: And wow, not a single point of damage to any PC in the entire first part!!)

Party goes shopping… they want ammo for the semi-auto pistol that Rev plans to carry as a backup. Indigo takes the rifle as a backup.


This was great to read. In running this with some players in a few weeks so good to see how others thought


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Saturday play continues...

PART 2: GHOST SHIP
Mediation

Spoiler:

Party meets with Gevalarsk Nor, whom they immediately distrust. Even after repeated descriptions of the Pact and the status of Eox, they refuse to trust any undead thing. When Rev asks why he is interested in the ship, Nor brings in the details of his cargo that was supposed to be on the ship. This makes the entire party doubly sure he is up to something… most likely some sort of smuggling. But… they realize they probably need to accept the job to visit the ship, so they do so, but knowing my group, I know they have their own plan.

Interceptor Attack
Spoiler:

(DM Note: No one read the star ship rules prior to creating characters, nor did I read them before this encounter)
(DM Note: First question asked… why are there 5 ship roles in a game for 4 characters?)
(DM Note: Keskkin immediately felt useless, assuming even as a Gunner he would not contribute much)
Stiletto is 19 hexes away from Hippocampus
Rev – Captain, Indigo – Science, Blackhand & Keskkin – Gunners
Round 1
Engineering
No actions
Helm
Rev takes the Fly action and rolls 31, turns toward Stiletto and distance between ships now 13
Clara-247 takes the Fly action and rolls 33, ships now face to face at a distance of 1
(DM Note: Players shocked at the speed of the opponent)
Indigo takes the Target System action and makes the Computers check and chooses Engines
Gunnery
Blackhand takes the Shoot action, fires the coil gun, and just manages to hit dealing 12 damage, forward shield dropped, 9 hull damage
Keskkin takes the Shoot action, fires the light laser cannon, and misses
Clara-247 takes the Snap Shot action, fires the gyrolaser, and hits dealing 6 damage, forward shield dropped, 1 hull damage
Round 2
Indigo moves to Engineering role
Clara-247 moves to Engineering role
Engineering
Indigo takes the Divert action and restores 4 shield points to the forward arc
Clara-247 takes the Divert action and restores all 3 shield points to the forward arc
Helm
Rev takes the Fly action and rolls 21, moves straight, turning in last hex, distance between ships now 5
Clara-247 takes the Glide action, ship moves 6 and makes 3 turns, PC ship just inside forward arc, distance between ships now 9
Gunnery
Blackhand takes the Shoot action, fires the coil gun, and misses
Round 3
(DM Note: Both Indigo and myself have long histories with Star Fleet Battles and Federation Commander)
(Several things click into place for both of us, and he begins giving flight instructions to Rev)
(At the same time he realizes the advantage they have with the turret weapon and tells me “you’re dead… eventually”)
(I belatedly realized… after looking the weapon up… that I probably should have fired the EMP on the first pass ☹)
Indigo moves to Science role
Keskkin moves to Captain role
Clara-247 moves to Gunner role
Engineering
No actions
Helm
Rev takes the Fly action and rolls 13, turns immediately…
(DM Note: Minor rules question arises about turning without moving with a Perfect Maneuverability ship
Spinning in place seems wrong, but who knows, also no detail I can quickly find in the rules about turn to turn tracking of distance for ship turns… ie, does distance moved without turning last combat turn count toward turn requirement on the current combat turn
We rule no consecutive turns, even across combat turns… this would be a High Energy Turn maneuver in SFB)
…moves 1, turns, moves 6 with no turn at the end, leaving the Stiletto in the starboard arc 3 hexes away
(DM Note: And here I realize how horrible the Glide action is as no possible move with the 2 hex turn penalty will bring the Hippocampus within the forward arc. Also, the Glide action sort of reads like you *have* to move half speed… can’t move slower than that?)
Clara-247 takes the Glide action, moves 2, turns and moves 4 putting the distance at 7
Indigo takes the Target System action against the Engines
Gunnery
Keskkin takes the Encourage action and makes the Aid Another DC 10 check
(DM Note: I used the +1 Modifier on the ship for this, and I believe that was correct… but Encourage doesn’t mention use of the ships computer)
Blackhand takes the Shoot action, fires the coil gun, and hits (but not a crit) for 10 damage, dropping the aft shield and dealing 7 hp
(DM Note: It was here that I finally noticed the Critical Threshold rule… this is what I get for running blind)
Total damage to the Stiletto is now 16 with a CT of 6, so I apply two critical damage rules and explain the oversight
Rolls are life support and engines, Clara-247 now decides to flee and still outruns the Hippocampus
(DM Note: Single crew ships seem… really bad… in this system. Keskkin now considering ranks in Pilot to be useful next time and asks if the
class skill bonus applies to Gunnery checks, which looks to be no, but Dex mod is)
(DM Note: With a Dex of 10 and not getting the “battle cleric” vibe he was going for, Keskkin then indicates maybe he’ll rework the entire PC
if the campaign continues and that he should have known Desna (Star Shaman) would still be the best choice. He’s played many Reach Cleric
Summoners of Desna)
(DM Note: I had no idea he was hoping to be a melee character until now)
(DM Note: Indigo suggests with an evil grin that he and I should do some SFB-like battles with larger ships and fleets to get a better feel
for the system)

C. The Acreon
Spoiler:

(DM Note: Reading the lead in for the next section, I suddenly realize this is an Alien movie)
The PCs decide to spacewalk to the Acreon and do not even scan the asteroid. PCs ask about space suits, and we all eventually learn that all armor is effectively a space suit. They enter via the open rear airlock.

C4. Engineering
Spoiler:

PC Init : Blackhand 19, Rev 17, Indigo 11, Keskkin 2
NPC Init : 11, 25
Akatas come from both ends (starboard and port) of the room
Round 1
Akata 2 moves from port end toward Blackhand, attacks, and barely misses
Blackhand attacks Akata 2 and hits dealing 11 points of damage
Rev attempts Trick Attack, does not move, makes Stealth check, fires at Akata 2, and crits! for 7 damage, reduced to 2 and Burning
(This panics everyone… fire resistance!)
(DM Note: Is Trick Attack damage the same type as the weapon? We decide yes, but the rule is not clear)
Akata 1 moves from starboard end toward Keskkin, attacks, but misses with a 1
Indigo draws new weapon, fires at Akata 1 and misses
Drone fires at Akata 2 and misses, but only due to all the soft cover
Keskkin attacks Akata 1 and misses by 1
Round 2
Akata 2 attacks Blackhand and misses
Blackhand attacks Akata 2 and hits for 8 damage
Rev attempts Trick Attack, does not move, makes Stealth check, fires at Akata 1, and misses
Akata 1 attacks Keskkin and hits for 7 stamina damage, Keskkin makes Fort save against Void Death
Indigo fires at Akata 1 and misses again due to soft cover
Drone fires at Akata 1 and misses again due to soft cover
Keskkin attacks Akata 1 and misses
Round 3
Blackhand attacks Akata 1 and hits for 4 damage
Rev attempts Trick Attack, does not move, makes Stealth check, fires at Akata 1, and hits for 2 damage reduced to 0
Akata 1 attacks Keskkin and hits for 3 damage (1 stamina, 2 hp), Keskkin again makes Fort save
Indigo fires at Akata 1 and misses
Drone fires at Akata 1 and hits for 5 damage reduced to 0
Keskkin takes guarded step backward and casts Mind Thrust at Akata 1 dealing 15 damage, Will save fails

Party is rattled by this encounter and are antsy for a break, so I tell them they have levelled up even though they are a tad short. They loot the room and go back to their ship (with an Akata body in tow to study) for levelling and we break for that and lunch. Rev and Indigo immediately switch to the looted non-laser guns.

(Notes from the players so far: No penalty for firing into melee? Melee seems deadlier than anticipated while ranged is underwhelming.
The five starship positions vs a 4 character game is grating on them… to the point they are considering adding a fifth player. Indigo points out that if they do that, his Drone will become less useful and he already doubts the usefulness of the Exocortex.
Indigo likes the Shadowrun rigger/decker vibe he is getting from his character. Keskkin wonders if any class besides the Soldier, Solarian, and Operative actually have mechanics to support melee builds. He laments the lack of a Basic Melee Weapon with reach.
They are surprised how little they got hit considering how low their ACs were. They ask what kind of action it is to crouch and stand from a crouch, but a brief search turns up only the expected prone condition. A game with far more shooting probably should have had crouch mechanics.
They are all weary of battery/ammo tracking… in Pathfinder, usually only one person in the group was dedicated enough to ranged combat to worry about ammo. Keskkin was surprised at how effective Mind Thrust was and that the “cleric” had such offensive options. When I pointed out the lack of level scaling he realized spells seem to be front loaded in SF with no scaling effects. He still feels there is an excessive amount of pressure put on Dexterity as a stat now and that Constitution is almost worthless. He notes that Piloting is almost mandatory for any class without full BAB that wants to fire guns on a ship. Either that, or you have to invest in some of the face skills and serve as Captain. He is not enamored of the ship aspect of the game and feels that EotE did a better job of integrating ship roles into the classes than SF does. Disclaimer: Our brief few EotE games featured six players, so it’s not quite a fair comparison.
Indigo and myself both feel the similarity with SFB and like the ship combat in SF better than EotE, but we agree there is more of a push/pull aspect toward adventuring skills and abilities and ship skills and abilities.
I ask the Solarian player why he created a Soldier when he expressed interest in the other class early on. He said he had read some previews and was taking one level of Soldier and then Solarian. But even now, he is hesitating to do that as he feels the Soldier will be better in melee and what the Solarian gets in trade may not be worth it.
Everyone notes *far* more overlap in skills across the party. Two characters with piloting, two with engineering, two with computers, and everyone took Stealth and Perception. Only one character with face skills though, which Keskkin feels was a mistake in regards to his character, despite not wanting to take them on a Charisma penalty race.
I asked why no one created an Envoy and everyone but Keskkin said that would be the ideal fifth PC. They know it is the bard of SF, but they also point out that no one liked the Icon Theme… at all… as in, they all hated it. Indigo didn’t like any of the Themes though, and hopes there will be more of them in later products. Keskkin said no, the fifth PC should be a Technomancer. Rev and Indigo both express concern that a Technomancer would create *too much* overlap. Conversation devolves into an argument about 5 ship roles vs 4 PCs again as the food arrives)
(Notes from Levelling up: Solar Manifestation… does the black hole form give off darkness? Part of the text seems to imply this, but it is not very clear.)
(Party re-enters the ship from the rear air lock and closes it)

C2. Main Corridor

Spoiler:

PC Init : Blackhand 25, Indigo 19, Rev 16, Keskkin 7
NPC Init : 16
Round 1
Blackhand enters Photon mode, moves starboard from intersection to melee reach range, attacks Akata and just hits for 10 damage
Indigo moves to intersection, fires at Akata and just hits for 2 damage
Rev attempts Trick Attack, moves to intersection, makes Stealth check, attacks Akata and hits for 4 damage
Akata takes a guarded step toward Blackhand, attacks, but misses
Keskkin moves into intersection and then port and readies an action if anyone emerges from the door to C5
Round 2
Blackhand attacks Akata and hits for 7 damage

Rev suggests heading to the Bridge first to get the life support system back up. Party agrees and they head straight there, but suspect it will be occupied.


C9. Bridge
Spoiler:

Round 1
PC Init : Rev 24, Blackhand 15, Indigo 14, Keskkin 7
NPC Init : 12, 25, 11
Akata 2 moves toward the opened door, attacks Blackhand and hits thanks to flat-footed for 7 damage, Blackhand makes Fort save
Rev attempts Trick Attack, does not move, makes Stealth check, attacks Akata 2 and misses
Blackhand enters Photon mode, attacks Akata 2 and hits for 8 damage
Indigo attacks Akata 2 and hits for 1 damage
(Indigo forgot to have Drone attack here)
Akata 1 moves to doorway, attacks Blackhand and misses
Akata 3 moves near doorway but cannot attack
Keskkin casts telekinetic projectile at Akata 2 and hits for 1 damage
Round 2
Akata 2 attacks Blackhand and hits for 5 damage, Blackhand makes Fort save
Rev attempts Trick Attack, does not move, makes Stealth check, attacks Akata 2 and misses
Blackhand attacks Akata 2 and hits for 12 damage!
Indigo attacks Akata 3 and misses
Akata 1 attacks Blackhand and misses
Akata 3 moves to doorway, attacks Blackhand and hits for 6 damage, 2 going to hit points, Blackhand makes Fort save
Keskkin casts telekinetic projectile at Akata 1 and misses due to soft cover
Round 3
Rev attempts Trick Attack, does not move, makes Stealth check, attacks Akata 1 and misses
Blackhand attacks Akata 1 and hits for 9 damage
Indigo attacks Akata 1 and misses
Drone attacks Akata 1 and hits for 5 damage reduced to 0
Akata 1 attacks Blackhand and just misses
Akata 3 attacks Blackhand and misses
Keskkin casts telekinetic projectile at Akata 1 and misses
Round 4
Rev attempts Trick Attack, does not move, and (OMG) fails the Stealth check…
(DM Note: Game paused while we review Trick Attack to see what happens)
…attacks Akata 1 and misses anyway.
Blackhand attacks Akata 1 and hits for 8 damage
Indigo attacks Akata 3 and misses
Drone attacks Akata 3 and misses
Akata 1 attacks Blackhand and misses
Akata 3 attacks Blackhand and just misses
Keskkin cast telekinetic projectile at Akata 1 and misses
Round 5
Rev attempts Trick Attack, does not move, makes Stealth check, attacks Akata 1 and crits for 8 damage
Blackhand attacks Akata 3 and hits for 8 damage
Indigo attacks Akata 3 and misses
Drone attacks Akata 3 and misses
Akata 3 attacks Blackhand and misses
Keskkin casts telekinetic projectile at Akata 3 and just hits for 6!
Round 6
Rev attempts Trick Attack, does not move, makes Stealth check, attacks Akata 3 and hits for 8 damage

Party accesses the ship computer and restores the systems. Rev wants to hack into the computer now to get at the log data, but Indigo argues that there may be access codes or something elsewhere in the ship. Blackhand agrees that clearing the ship of the vermin before attempting any lengthy tech task is probably the better idea. The party takes a 10 minute rest so Blackhand can regain Stamina and then head out of the bridge and toward C6. Indigo gets nervous and suggests slowing down and checking for traps in case the crew left anything behind for the creatures that attacked them. Rev agrees and everyone becomes much more cautious.


C6. Galley
Spoiler:

Party realizes they can make salt water bottles in here if they want. Then they ask about the rules for attacking in that manner, but as I start to look for that, they say nevermind, we’ll stick with the guns.

C7. Crew Quarters
Spoiler:

Party breaks down door and combat begins with the space goblins. (DM Note: The Blackhand player has hated goblins since Rise of the Runelords, and he attacked them immediately when they started shooting)

PC Init : Indigo 21, Blackhand 18, Rev 10, Keskkin 9
NPC Init : 11, 9
Surprise Round
Space Goblin 1 shoots at Blackhand and misses
Space Goblin 2 shoots at Blackhand and misses
Indigo passes turn
Blackhand moves into room, attacks Space Goblin 1 and hits for 7 damage
Rev attempts Trick Attack, moves just into room, makes Stealth check, attacks Goblin 2 and crits for 11 damage


C8. Crew Storage
Spoiler:

Both Rev and Indigo make the Perception check for the trap and both work to disarm it.
The Party heads to C5 next but after finding the crate they move to C3 before deciding what to do with it. Keskkin applies the Fusion Seal to his weapon.

C3. Starboard Cargo Hold
Spoiler:

PC Init : Rev 22, Blackhand 21, Indigo 21, Keskkin 8
NPC Init : 17, 12
Round 1
Rev attempts Trick Attack, moves 2 spaces into room, makes Stealth check, shoots at Akata 2 and hits due to flat-footed for 6 damage
Blackhand enters Photon mode, moves adjacent to Akata 2, attacks and hits thanks to flat-footed for 6 damage
Indigo shoots at Akata 2 and hits for 4 damage
Drone moves into room just behind Rev
Akata 1 moves adjacent to Blackhand...
Blackhand takes attack of opportunity and hits for 5 damage
… attacks Blackhand and misses
Akata 2 attacks Blackhand and hits for 8! Damage
Keskkin cannot enter room and waits
Round 2
Rev attempts Trick Attack, does not move, makes Stealth check, shoots at Akata 2 and hits for 5 damage
Blackhand attacks Akata 2 and hits for 7 damage
Indigo and Drone wait
Akata 1 attacks Blackhand and misses
Keskkin waits
Round 3
Rev attempts Trick Attack, does not move, fails Stealth check, shoots at Akata 1 and misses
Blackhand attacks Akata 1 and hits for 6 damage
Indigo and Drone wait
Akata 1 attacks Blackhand and hits for 6 damage
Keskkin waits
Round 4
Rev attempts Trick Attack, does not move, makes Stealth check, shoots at Akata 1 and hits for 3 damage

Party heads back to C5.


C5. Port Cargo Hold
Spoiler:

They position the drone 3 spaces inside the door along the starboard wall, Keskkin in the niche like space on the aft side, with the Rev and Indigo diagonally adjacent to him after they work together to open the crate. Blackhand is 2 spaces port of the Drone, next to the crate when it opens. They talk to Eskolar and agree to deliver her as promised, I make Rev roll a Bluff check and Eskolar fails the Sense Motive counter, so back in the box she goes. The Party quickly agrees to send the box to station security rather than back to Gevalarsk. For now, they leave the cargo container where it is. The Party likes the Hardscrabble Collective a little less, but they are unsure whether this was just an action of this particular crew or if this sort of smuggling is common work for the Collective.

The Party returns to the Bridge and using the Key Card makes short work of the computer system and access the logs to learn what happened. They take another rest and Blackhand uses another Resolve Point to restore Stamina. While they are resting, they see the Hippocampus power up and head toward Absalom Station. This cements their opinion of everything Eoxian as far as they are concerned. (DM Note: The Party even voices the thought that maybe I sent the ship back on auto-pilot because taking the Eoxian cargo back to station security was jumping off the rails of the adventure. I kept a poker face and let them grouse without my input.

End of Saturday thoughts...

Spoiler:

(DM Notes: This is where we stop for the day, but there is lengthy discussion afterwards…
Both the Indigo and Keskkin feel the other two are carrying the group at this point. I disagree, but can’t offer much in the way of convincing either of them. Indigo doesn’t seem bothered by this because he’s handled or help handle every Computer or Engineering check that’s been made. He is considering re-working the Drone so that it will have Proficiency with Longarms instead of Heavy Weapons so that it can carry two different damage types. He is very worried about how easily he can keep the Drone in the fight and is thankful it hasn’t taken any damage yet to force us to look it up.
Blackhand nods and wonders what possessed Paizo to put Fire resistant enemies in the first adventure when they created a Fire dependent class. He felt disappointed when the fight at the Bridge occurred and it would have been nearly pointless to use supernova. He’s leaning more and more toward just going with a full Soldier and giving up on the Solarian, but he wants to read through the whole class. He is mildly amused that despite having more Skill points, both classes feel either point-starved or lacking in class skills, which is why he took the Spacefarer theme. He had thoughts of getting both Engineering and Mysticism and being able to dabble in weapon and armor creation, but neither of us know yet if that would be worthwhile.
Keskkin seems dead set on re-working his class after this module since his healing hasn’t been needed a single time so far. I point out that some key rolls have helped create that situation. He feels the Mystic lacks the diversity the Cleric has in Pathfinder via Deities. (This is partly due to my own PF house rules though) After their research on the Akatas revealed the Void Death disease and what it does, he assumes there will be undead on the asteroid. He also notes that his channeling ability apparently has no effect on them. When he learns the Star Shaman gets class Proficiency with Piloting he becomes more annoyed. We go over the other abilities and he nods and says “f%%@ing Desna”. He notes the mind-affecting tag in the Empath, Overlord, and Mindbreaker connections and wonders why there isn’t more variety in the effects. Overly dependent or tied to psychic stuff, he says, and continues that there should have been a Strength (as a secondary stat) based path somewhere in the connection list. Ultimately, he’ll be happier sticking to Pathfinder he says.
Rev is the opposite, as she *loves* her character. The only complaint she has is the damage output, and she looks through the book for dexterity-to-damage references and we become aware of the conflicting entries. This is the only big, important question to her. I point out the + damage many of the monster entries have and we all become concerned. Are enemies built differently than PCs now? I glanced ahead in the adventure and the Precise Shot entry for Clara-247 has me both concerned and confused. This seems like an awfully powerful ability to have in the first adventure and I suspect this fight is going to be epic and/or problematic for the group. Both Rev and myself agree that the Ghost is overpowered. It is here we learn that both Skill Focus and Operative’s Edge are insight bonuses. We do more reading as a result and she becomes a little bummed that the abilities are overlapping. We both suspect a typo on one or the other, but who knows. At a minimum we agree that the Ghost should not be getting the +4 on stealth checks during Trick Attack. With a +12 (or +11 now I think) and a +4 on top of that, failing that check is exceedingly rare. We agree to remove it for now. Regardless, she’s eager to keep playing tomorrow and says “I’m good at everything and my damage isn’t neutered on a whim… the thief is back!” She still expects Blackhand to keep outpacing her in damage output, but she feels her character is “cooler”.
Blackhand chimes in here and says every character could be made “cooler” with one level of Blitz Soldier. This makes Keskkin ask if his abilities are affected by heavy armor? Rev disagrees, but she knows she already has an initiative boost and a speed boost in her class. Blackhand then wonders about a Soldier/Operative Sniper multi-class, but everyone seems to think sniper weapons would not be useful enough often enough to build around. Blackhand agrees with Keskkin that the game needs more melee options than the two it currently has, or one of them (the Solarian) needs to be better than it is. Obviously the Operative could be built as a meleer, but neither of them are convinced it would be survivable in light armor. I mention that I might have made things too easy by allowing Level+1 purchases at creation for him, but no one seems too concerned. “At best”, Blackhand says, “I would have bought something rank 1 and then bought what I have after the first encounter.” That’s hard to argue given the Level+1 wording in the book.
End result, one player thinks the game is “great”, two think it is “good” and better than EotE in some ways, the last currently dislikes it a lot but is trying to withhold judgment until the adventure is finished. I offer to stay over with Keskkin and recreate his character now, but he declines and says he’ll live or die with the choice for now.

(DM Note: Before the next days session I decide to find and read the zero-G rules, as I know they will be needed for the asteroid. This is my first annoyance with the rules. Anchors? That’s it. Armor can protect against all sorts of things, but a magnetic boots sort of effect we can’t have? Maybe this sort of thing was reserved for magic and magic items? This seems oddly bizarre from a technological standpoint. Anchors that extend/retract with each step don’t seem to be that much of a stretch for a technological setting. There isn’t even an armor mod to allow this. But whatever, the ability to magically fly will obviously be just as important here, if not more so, as it is in Pathfinder. Also, why are creatures with climb speeds restricted to moving along the walls? The rules seem to be implying there is still a definable up and down in zero-g, which makes no sense. You should be able to climb along a floor or ceiling just as easily if there are hand holds. Does using handholds require more than a move action? Is the use of handholds allowed during the movement portion of an Operative’s Trick Attack? This entire section and topic just annoys the heck out of me with its incompleteness.)

Will post Sunday tonight after work. Apologies for the lack of any formatting... not sure how to set things up better within the spoiler tags. :|


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I like how you handled the investigation process.

As for entering the Fusion Queen, my players visited the morgue to steal the jackets of the dead King's that died in the opening. They used that as a disguise to get past the guards, then once inside they hacked the club's music and TVs to play something else, which caused a brawl/riot inside the club.

With all the bouncers/guards occupied by the brawl, they snuck into the managers office to get information from the leader. That failed right off the bat with a poor Diplomacy roll, and they had to fight their way out. They barely survived the encounter against the leader and her body guard. I made it so they didn't have to fight any of the guards.


bookrat wrote:

I like how you handled the investigation process.

As for entering the Fusion Queen, my players visited the morgue to steal the jackets of the dead King's that died in the opening. They used that as a disguise to get past the guards, then once inside they hacked the club's music and TVs to play something else, which caused a brawl/riot inside the club.

With all the bouncers/guards occupied by the brawl, they snuck into the managers office to get information from the leader. That failed right off the bat with a poor Diplomacy roll, and they had to fight their way out. They barely survived the encounter against the leader and her body guard. I made it so they didn't have to fight any of the guards.

Both the group and myself are usually better at some of that stuff, but not when we're playing with no prep. Also, the party seemed determined to stay on whatever rails they detected and power through the whole adventure in a weekend. I don't care for this pace or speed to be honest, but they didn't seem to mind it.


Was the pace too fast or too slow for you?

It's taken us two sessions to get to the end of Part 1. Granted, Session 1 was half character creation, half game. And Session 2 got interrupted by a plumber service.


bookrat wrote:

Was the pace too fast or too slow for you?

It's taken us two sessions to get to the end of Part 1. Granted, Session 1 was half character creation, half game. And Session 2 got interrupted by a plumber service.

Too fast... way too fast. On average, I think it takes us 4 or 5 sessions to get through any given single module. There have been a few 3 and a few more that were 6, but never 2. The role-playing and quibbling over details was much reduced. This is why there may be several questions and/or rulings that were wrong or based on lack of reading.

Also, this is the first time I've run something with purely digital products and that the players haven't had access to an online resource for their own searching. They actually told each other not to go browsing forums or whatnot during the game. My on-the-fly .pdf wrangling isn't up to snuff yet. Even in PF, I rely way more on the srd than .pdfs. I'm detail oriented and a planner, so while this wasn't exactly a new experience, it was a resurrection of a hectic sort of play I haven't done since my college years. It was a reminder of how much my gaming has changed since then. :)


This is a great AAR, by the way. Thanks for posting it!


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I concur - great work on this writeup!


How was Indigo's drone able to take Heavy Weapon proficiency? My understanding is they still need to meet all the requirements, which in this case is small arms and long arms proficiency.


Mechalibur wrote:
How was Indigo's drone able to take Heavy Weapon proficiency? My understanding is they still need to meet all the requirements, which in this case is small arms and long arms proficiency.

Excellent point... one of us misread something somewhere. It's possible to start with proficiency, but not weapon focus. All Drones start with small arms, and the combat drone gets a Weapon Proficiency mod for free that it can use on longarms, then it can spend the 1st level feat to pick up heavy weapon. That might have extended one or two of the combats by a round if there was ever a "barely hit" from the Drone. Since he may still re-work the drone to use longarms anyway, it will probably become a non-issue going forward. Good catch though... that's part of the reason I posted this to find all the stuff we did wrong before I'm forced to read the core book in detail this weekend. :)


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Sunday play...

PART 3: Phantoms Of The Drift
D. The Drift Rock
D1. Crashlander

Spoiler:

(DM Note: When I mention the lack of gravity inside the cave, the Party gets concerned and we spend time reading rules regarding that environment. Rev and Indigo switch back to lasers hoping they’ve seen the last of the Akatas. And of course, as soon as they hit the cave entrance, the inevitable happens… Indigo: “Can the drone and I float up to the ceiling and walk along there while everyone else stays down here?”)

Clara-247 rolls 21 on her Stealth check (yep, I roll low)
Party Perception checks : Rev 22, Keskkin 19, Indigo 24, Blackhand 12
(DM Note: Adventure text is unclear, but no surprise round?)
I position Clara-247 on the second row from the top of the room along the western wall where it looks like there is a boulder in the art
PC Init : Blackhand 26, Rev 23, Keskkin 18, Indigo 12
NPC Init : 20
Round 1
Blackhand enters Photon mode and launches himself toward the boulder Clara-247 is hiding behind
Rev makes Acrobatics check to move, attempts Trick Attack, moves two steps to north wall just inside doorway, makes Stealth check,
attacks Clara-247 and hits for 5 damage
Clara-247 attempts Trick attack, makes Stealth check, does not move, shoots at Blackhand and hits for 14 damage!
Keskkin stays near dooway and casts Mind Thrust at Clara-247 for 13 damage and Clara-247 fails the Will save
(DM Note: So much for epic/problematic fight)
Clara-247 surrenders
(DM Note: Indigo asks if/how the Drone moves in zero-g and I have no answer)

(Party stabilizes Clara-247, restrains her, and leaves her unconscious. Blackhand spends a Resolve Point to restore Stamina.)


D2. Missing Crewman
D3. Cavern of the Void
Spoiler:

PC Init : Blackhand 22, Indigo 22, Rev 12, Keskkin 9
NPC Init : 10
Round 1
Blackhand enters Photon mode and launches himself at the zombie, moves 15 feet and collides with Zombie, both make their Athletics checks
and Blackhand re-clamps to the floor (DM Note: again, any action consumed for this?), attacks Zombie and misses
Indigo makes Athletics check, moves along wall and into room on south side, shoots at zombie and hits thanks to flat-footed for 7 damage
Drone (in hallway) passes turn
Rev attempts Trick Attack, makes Acrobatics check, moves along wall on north side, makes Stealth check, attacks zombie and misses
(DM Note: Um… how does the Void Zombie move at all? Does the space suit still provide clamps? I’ll go with that for now… this zero-g stuff is poorly thought out or I'm overthinking it)
Zombie slams Blackhand and hits for 8 damage
Keskkin passes turn with no clear way to enter melee without potentially colliding with Blackhand
Round 2
Blackhand attacks zombie and misses… barely
Indigo shoots zombie and crits… or doesn’t… do undead suffer crits… do they still suffer the extra critical effect? 7 damage,
no effect
Rev attempts Trick Attack, does not move, makes Stealth check, attacks zombie and hits for 4 damage
Zombie attacks Blackhand with feeding tendril and misses
Keskkin passes
Round 3
Blackhand attacks zombie and hits for 7 damage

D4. Lost in the Drift
Spoiler:

(DM Note: Moriko observes the fight in D3 and remains hidden, but just as I plan to attack, I roll a successful Perception check for Keskkin who turns toward “motion out of the corner of his eye” as Moriko emerges from the wall next to him. Surprise round for them only)
(DM Note: I feel like the disruptive fusion should apply here, but the driftdead has neither damage reduction nor resistances. Incorporeality has never been treated as DR in Pathfinder so I do the same here. But why put the disruptive item in this adventure when none of the undead appear to be susceptible to it?)
PC Init : Keskkin 17, Blackhand 12, Rev 11, Indigo 6
NPC Init : 14
Surprise Round
Keskkin makes the Will save for the Confusion aura, attacks Moriko and just hits for 6 (max roll) reduced to 3… and I can see all the hope run out of Keskkin eyes. ☹
Moriko attacks Keskkin with Incorporeal Claw and hits for 8 damage
Will saves : Blackhand Saves, Indigo saves (with a 20), Rev fails
Round 1
Keskkin attacks Moriko and hits for 5 damage, reduced to 2
Blackhand enters Photon mode, steps up and attacks Moriko and hits for no damage, and everyone groans
Rev… rolls 73 on Confusion table… takes 1 damage from self
Moriko moves back into the wall triggering attacks of opportunity…
Keskkin attacks and misses by 1
Blackhand attacks and deals no damage
Indigo readies an action to shoot Moriko when she reappears
Round 2
Keskkin moves another step away from the wall and readies melee for if Moriko comes in range
Blackhand drops his melee weapon, draws his pistol and readies an action to attack Moriko when she appears
Rev rolls on Confusion table again… 38… babbles incoherently
Moriko reappears in the hallway between D3 and D4…
Keskkin cannot attack
Blackhand shoots Moriko and just hits for 4 damage reduced to 2
Indigo shoots Moriko and misses
…and uses drift rip on Blackhand, hitting for 3 damage
Round 3
Keskkin decides not to create soft cover and stays put in the room and readies a melee attack again if Moriko gets close enough
Rev attempts Trick Attack, does not move, makes Stealth check, attacks Moriko and just hits for 4 damage, reduced to 2
Blackhand shoots Moriko and hits for 4 damage, reduced to 2
(DM Note: Brief minor question about the bonus damage from Photon mode and whether it should be added before or after halving damage)
Moriko moves into the south wall of the corridor
Indigo readies an action to shoot Moriko
Round 4
Everyone readies attacks, Moriko does not re-appear
Round 5
Keskkin readies melee attack
Rev readies ranged attack
Blackhand readies ranged attack
Moriko reappears from the ceiling directly above party (Stealth you say… the party indicated they were scanning all surfaces, not just the walls)
Keskkin is unable to attack
Rev attacks Moriko and hits for 4 damage, reduced to 2
Blackhand attacks Moriko and misses
Moriko attacks Rev with drift rip and hits for 3 damage
Indigo attacks Moriko and hits for 8 (max roll!), reduced to 4 (everyone cheers)
Round 6
Keskkin readies melee attack
Rev attempts Trick Attack, does not move, makes Stealth check, attacks Moriko and misses
Blackhand attacks Moriko and hits (with a 20) for 2, reduced to 1
(I know if I keep playing hit and run the party will get annoyed/bored, so I move in hoping they’ll finish her, and hey, AOOs for me)
Moriko floats to within melee range, attacks Rev and hits for 5 damage
Indigo shoots at Moriko (he’s the only one not in melee range) and misses
Round 7
Keskkin attacks Moriko and hits for 3 damage, reduced to 1
Rev attempts Trick Attack, does not move, makes Stealth check (damn, I forgot this made the target flat-footed… no AOO), attacks Moriko and hits (with a 20) for 7 damage, reduced to 3 (everyone cheers… Keskkin says “f@#! Paizo and their incorporeals-in-first-modules s#+!”. I think he’s remembering a swarm incident here, but who knows, I’d have to search every AP and not doing that.) ☹

Party takes a rest before heading to D5 so that Keskkin, Rev, and Blackhand can burn Resolve Points. We take a short break here to try and cheer up Keskkin. Party approaches D5 from both directions, Blackhand and Keskkin from D3 and Indigo and Keskkin from D4.


D5. Final Fate of the Acreon’s Crew
Spoiler:

(DM Note: Hmmm, text here actually says the zombies “launch themselves” at the PCs)
PC Init : Rev 25, Indigo 17, Blackhand 8, Keskkin 8
NPC Init : 6, 11
Round 1
Rev makes Acrobatics check, attempts Trick Attack, moves into room along west wall, makes Stealth check, attacks zombie 1 and hits for 3 damage
Indigo fails Athletics check, stays put, attacks zombie 2 and hits for 2 damage
Drone passes (can’t target into room yet as it is behind Keskkin)
Zombie 2 launches itself at Indigo and collides with him, Indigo makes Athletics check, zombie 1 fails Athletics check by 1… off
kilter… slams Indigo and misses due to the new penalty
(DM Notes: Game paused while I look up off-kilter for first time before attacking)
Blackhand enters Photon mode, makes Atheltics check, moves along wall to beside Rev
Keskkin blocked in hallway, casts telekinetic project at zombie 2 and misses
Zombie 1 launches itself at Rev…
(DM Note: Entire table launches into discussion about whether “moving” in zero-g triggers AoO. We decide yes, but are not certain)
Blackhand attacks zombie 1 and hits for 7 damage
…and collides with her, Rev makes Acrobatics check, Zombie 1 makes Athletics checks, slams Rev and hits for 11!
Round 2
Rev drops gun (it floats, everyone chuckles), draws tactical baton, attacks zombie 1 and just hits for 3 damage
Indigo attacks zombie 2 and hits for 2 damage
(DM Note: Can a monster right itself from off-kilter by grabbing at a PC anchored to the floor? Would probably be treated as an attack, so I decide no, I let him float)
Zombie 2 attacks Indigo and misses
Blackhand attacks zombie 1 and hits for 7 damage
Keskkin casts telekinetic projectile and misses
Round 3
Rev drops baton, grabs gun, shoots at Zombie 2 and misses
Indigo attacks zombie 2 and hits for 4 damage
Zombie 2 attacks Indigo and misses
Blackhand fails Athletics check and stays put
Keskkin casts telekinetic project and hits for 6 damage!
Round 4
Rev attempts trick attack, does not move, makes Stealth check, attacks zombie 2 and hits for 4 damage
Indigo attacks zombie 2 and hits for 8 damage!

Party spots the door and after debating for a while, agrees to head back to the ship for a lengthy rest (and lunch for us) before tackling the next area so that Keskkin gets back to full spell compliment despite only using 1. They discuss the oddity of manufactured surfaces and the door and wonder exactly what it is that the miners found. Rev points out this is an AP, so whatever it is will lead into the next installment. Keskkin and I go over all our zero-g questions, and he agrees there are a lot of gaps. He says it appears Paizo is trying to simplify the rules, but didn’t go as far as EotE with certain things. Suggests I look at the first chapter later to see if there is a broader rule 0 or something that discusses intent.
The whole group cheers when they discover normal gravity beyond the door. Blackhand has just turned the corner to the west when Rev makes a Stealth check to hear the robot, which is at that moment near the middle of the corridor and moving north. Everyone makes a Stealth check to move toward D6 with the lowest being a 10 from the Drone, which the robot detects. Blackhand rolls a 20 on the Perception check and hears the robot spin around and begin to move south. “Screw it,” he says and charges with the others following. Blackhand and Robot meet one step into the room, I decide no surprise and fight starts.


D6. Mysterious Machinery
Spoiler:

PC Init : Rev 27, Blackhand 21, Keskkin 17, Indigo 4
NPC Init 7 (another crappy roll)
Round 1
(DM Note: Rev asks if Dex grants additional AoO in SF, I look, seems like no. Debates tumbling but realizes 15 feet won’t get her past melee)
Rev attempts trick attack, moves a full 30 feet into the room past the robot…
Robot makes AoO and hits (nearly a crit) for 10 damage
…makes Stealth check, attacks Robot and hits for 4 damage
Blackhand enters Photon mode, attacks robot and barely hits for 8 damage
Keskkin debates for several minutes but ultimately decides to move to melee range since Rev was kind enough to eat the AoO and is able to maneuver to flanking position behind the robot, attacks and hits for 4 damage
(DM Note: Probably supposed to roll for Jolting Arc usability here, but I suspect they’re going to kill the thing quickly and just opt to use it)
Robot uses Jolting Arc for 4 damage, Rev saves and takes no damage thanks to Evasion, Blackhand saves and Keskkin fails
Robot rolls 2 for re-using
Indigo realizes he won’t be able to move completely out of melee into the room and so moves up behind Blackhand with the Drone
following
Round 2
Rev attempts trick attack, does not move, makes Stealth check, attacks robot and hits for 5 damage
Blackhand attacks robot and misses, even with the flank
Keskkin attacks robot and misses, even with the flank
Robot slams Rev and misses
Indigo moves into room and out of melee range…
Robot makes AoO and misses (wow… string of horrible rolls on both sides of the screen)
…attacks robot and barely hits for 1 damage
Indigo elects to leave Drone in hallway and out of fight… rear guard sentry since they don’t know what is down the other hallway yet
Round 3
Rev attempts trick attack, does not move, makes Stealth check, attacks robot and hits for 3 damage
Blackhand attacks robot and hits thanks to flanking for 8 damage, says “wow, this thing has taken a lot of damage compared to the rest”
Keskkin attacks robot and crits! for 4 damage, which increases to 6 from vulnerability

Party takes a rest and Rev uses a Resolve Point. They access D7 and take the computer within but do not access it, which I find odd at the time.


D7. Sealed Bolthole
D8. Ancient Control Room
Spoiler:

Party spots the trap and both Rev and Keskkin work to disable it. The party is mildly amused that, with the proper tool kit, all of them can now Disable Device.

I point out they have levelled and here is where things start to go sideways for me as the GM, with the party going to extremes to try and do things their way. They decide to level before continuing and implement “their plan”. The level track in the adventure says 3rd by adventure end, so I am unsure whether to let them level or not but I decide to anyway and remind them they won’t have access to upgraded equipment. Rev swaps out the tactical semi-auto pistol for the static arc pistol because she’s played way too many APs and suspects the item was planted intentionally. (I honestly can’t explain this… treasure is about the only part of a module I change when we run an AP, even though I haven’t done so here) She also knows EAC is often lower than KAC. Meta-gaming… whatever. Blackhand comes up with another rules question… does the damage from Stellar Rush only occur if you opt to do a bull rush, or does it also happen if you make a melee attack? I lean toward bull rush only, but he picks Plasma Sheath before I can say anything. Keskkin wants to take Heavy Armor Proficiency as his feat choice, but goes with Spell Focus instead since he can’t get new armor yet anyway and the character is a throwaway at this point. He also asks why their isn’t a Feat that works like Weapon Specialization for spell damage and I tell him I will look for something along those lines before he does a rebuild.

For their plan, they take Clara-247 back to the ship. They smash the observer bot, but that’s not enough. They assume that one or more of them have been bugged somehow. They want rules on how to detect that, and of course there isn’t anything spelled out in the adventure. (I may not have mentioned this, but these players are very paranoid, and for that I blame Paizo for some well executed twists over the years) So, Blackhand, Rev, and Keskkin go hang out by the cargo container. Indigo strips naked in one of the crew quarters, leaves his clothes and Drone there, and heads into the Bridge. He uses the ships comm system to contact Chiskisk. He even asks about encrypting the communication, but we skip past that for brevity. The party wants Chiskisk and the Pathfinder Society to find someone in station security to come out and pick up a prisoner. They do not mention the cargo container. But they reiterate that they need to send someone the Pathfinders trust and won’t succumb to outside influence. When I ask why they are trying to set this up, they say they want to make sure the cargo container is put in the hands of station security before Gevalarsk can intervene. They don’t care what information he’s gleaned from the observer, but they want to arrange a hand off free of interference. I see no reason to disallow this, and the brief overview of the next module doesn’t seem to offer any insight beyond “the information gets out”. There is even a separate xp award in this adventure for handing over the “contraband”. I also decide Gevalarsk may have had time to make part of the transmission public, so security may be inclined to assist. They also tell Chiskisk to pass on that the ship is clear, but the drift rock should remain under quarantine and that they will be staying to finish up looking that over. So, this all seems alright on the surface, but I give the players a caveat… if the next module doesn’t align with this, I’ll be forced to revise it, and they agree. But they aren’t done…

They return to the drift rock and spend a great deal of time studying the equipment and once they get access, but before they pull up the data, they want to repeat the stripping and single person access to the new information. Regardless, they have no way to decipher the language yet, so they don’t get far. But I have no idea how to relate the release of info after this rather… creative… way around being watched. Indigo also takes this time to finally access Moriko’s computer. They become worried about the creature mentioned that killed Moriko but are excited to get their own ship. You may be asking why didn’t I attack Indigo with Garaggakal at this point, and that would be it felt overly cruel to attack a solitary naked character at that point. The others were out in the corridor looking over D7 for anything they might have missed. I opt to allow their plan to go forward and handwave the info going public later through some other method. I’m sure Gevalarsk has all sorts of resources… it’s just the timing of it… info released and him planning that ship attack mentioned as the beginning of part two. But never deal with today what can be put off until two months from now, so off they go to claim their ship.


D9. Starship Grotto
Spoiler:

PC Init : Rev 29, Blackhand 20, Keskkin 4, Indigo 3
NPC Init : 16
Round 1
Rev attempts Trick Attack, moves east two spaces (basically edge of map), makes Stealth check, attacks Garaggakal and hits for…
(DM Note: Again we wonder if Trick Attack damage takes on the type of the attack, but do it anyway)
…8 damage which becomes 12.
Blackhand enters Photon mode, moves to melee reach range to the side of Garaggakal, attacks and crits! (damn… going to be a short fight) for
18 damage
Garaggakal uses Leech Life on Blackhand for 19 damage, Fort save is made easily, so 9 damage
Keskkin casts Mind Thrust at Garaggakal for 13 damage and the Will save fails, temp HP gone, 4 actual damage
Indigo attacks Garaggakal and hits (damn group dice are on fire now ☹) for 8 damage
Drone attacks Garaggakal and misses (finally, but I think I’m going to regret not moving him last time)
Round 2
Rev attempts Trick Attack, does not move, makes Stealth check, attacks Garaggakal and nearly crits for 12 damage, increased to 18.
Blackhand uses a move action to activate Plasma Sheath, attacks Garaggakal and nearly crits again for 12 damage
(DM Note: And now I realize where I placed the beastie, the wall is over 15 feet thick… sigh)
(DM Note: Without the levelling, the thing might have 12 or so additional HP left, but here I am at 3 and he’s supposed to flee, but…)
Garaggakal uses Leech Life on Rev for 26! damage and Fort save is failed (he’s going out with a gasp at least)
Keskkin casts Mind Thrust at Garaggakal for 14 damage and the will save misses by 1 (there’s that levelling biting me in the butt again)
Indigo attacks Garaggakal and hits for 5 damage
Drone attacks Garaggakal and misses
Round 3
Rev attempts Trick Attack, does not move, makes Stealth check, attacks Garaggakal and misses
Blackhand attacks Garaggakal and misses
(DM Note: So, if he uses Leech Life again, are the temp HP additive… probably not… just replace right?)
Garaggakal uses Leech Life on Rev for 10 damage (boo!) and the Fort save is made, barely (left temp HP at current 7)
Keskkin moves adjacent to Rev and casts Mystic Cure for 10 healing (and right back to max HP)
Indigo attacks Garaggakal and hits for 9 damage (1 hp left!!)
Drone attacks Garaggakal and misses (everyone groans)
Round 4
(everyone is quiet now)
Rev attempts Trick Attack, does not move, fails Stealth check!, attacks Garaggakal and misses by 1!!
Blackhand attacks Garaggakal and misses!!
Garaggakal uses Leech Life on Rev for 18 damage and Fort save is failed (everyone groans again)
Keskkin uses an RP to use Healing Channel on Rev for 14 healing
Indigo attacks Garaggakal and hits for 9 damage
Drone attacks Garaggakal and hits for 12 damage!! (Poor Garaggakal… killed by the Drone… how embarassing)

Yes, this fight could have been much worse if I had chosen to eat an AoO and fly away on the first Round and stay air-borne. In the end, it probably only would have prolonged the fight rather than made it more interesting. It used all of it’s RP and pretty much terrified the group for the last two turns, so I think it served it’s purpose as an adventure final boss. Also, my party is not fond of me having things escape and coming back later, so I tend toward more “fights until defeated” stance.

The party literally packs up every scrap of treasure onto their new ship and have plans for a big shopping spree when they get back.


Aftermath…
Spoiler:

Despite the last fight and the role of healing in it, Keskkin still doesn’t like his character and will rebuild it if everyone decides to run part 2. He’s not overly impressed with the Feat options a caster has in the Core book, which is just another mark against his class choice and build. He feels the 4e-like health system de-values Con and healing in general. That’s not necessarily a bad thing as it avoids the wand of cure light wound nonsense of PF, but it makes healing as a role or even sub-role, pretty unappealing. He also points out a feat to damage undead with Channel was more annoying than worthwhile and even Mystic Strike was completely useless to him outside of a single encounter. He says if Operative weapons also get dex-to-dmg, Strength is also de-valued unless you are a dedicated melee character. It’s a three stat game, he says… Dex, Int, and Wis.

Blackhand plans to do lots of theory crafting with his build to convince himself Solarian is worth it, or if he should do a full multi-class, or just a plain ‘ole Soldier. He likes the fact that the item Christmas tree is gone, but notes that it’s been replaced by the old golf bag of weapon types. Everyone carrying around a kinetic, fire, cold, electric and whatnot weapon to deal with resistances. He hopes later class abilities or feats address it, but we haven’t looked for that yet. He is unimpressed by the Solarian built-in weapon, particularly when I show him the crystals. The costs line up with normal weapons to him, so he sees no advantage to the Solarian “freebie”. He does not like the heavy reliance on fire in the class either and feels the Graviton mode should grant cold damage instead of a Reflex boost, or in addition to because right now he doesn’t foresee ever using that mode. He says the game feels a *lot* like a middle ground between PF and 4e, which I sort of agree with but none of us have any experience with 5e, so maybe it’s more like that? Too many things feel vague or undetailed compared to PF for his taste, but he can deal with it if the campaign continues. It also means adjusting my way of doing things as well… more rules are defined on the fly by me, rather than by the book itself. Seriously… zero-g… what a mess.

Indigo is in the middle ground, as he does not feel any overly good or bad things about the system. He has questions about Drone stuff, but he likes the skill side of his character. He says hit bonuses are *way* more important in SF than they are in PF, which everyone agrees with. While Perception is still king, there are a few other skills that saw heavy use and probably will continue to do so. He is frustrated by the lack of hacker/kitbasher/tinker Theme for his character, but ultimately hopes that Themes will be AP-centric like Traits were in PF, which sounds like an awesome idea to me.
Rev still loves her character and wishes it had an analog in PF. She’s worried about the golf bag thing though and bumping into carry limits since her class is more restrictive on that. If the golf bag is intentional to keep Str relevant, she says, then what’s the point of offering Dex based fighting if you still need to have to Str anyway?

Everyone hates ammo tracking… so much so, they’re considering revamping the battery system and only tracking kinetic/bullets.
No one likes the Ysoki. Everyone felt the Int penalty of the Kasathas was problematic. (Not sure why the Vesk wasn’t viewed that way… probably because he’s the big, dumb fighter). No one liked the Lashuntas because no one likes Charisma. The value of Low Light Vision and Darkvision has been significantly decreased due to equipment and class features, at least for the Operative. The Shirrens are more interesting due to the Blindsense and 1/day double roll (which Keskkin completely forgot about). Humans and Androids are the kings apparently.
While they feel they may have underestimated the Envoy because to-hit bonuses would be really nice, still no one wants to play one. The most obvious swap out is with the Operative, who had to use a feat to get access to all the face skills, and she likes the Operative too much. Blackhand looks over the class and says it has a similar problem as the Solarian… “not-enoughness”. We all agree we’re going to keep using that term… “don’t play that class, it suffers from not-enoughness”.

The more the ship system gets used, the more they are going to want 5 characters, but they feel the system is very odd in that respect. Everyone gets more skill points and combined with the fewer number of skills there is a lot more overlap, but everyone needs to have at least one ship oriented skill if they want to take part. Everyone wonders (but we don’t look it up) if the Technomancer has ship-affecting spells. They all vote to use the Background skill system, which I say I would veto… that would be too many skills… the Operative with 2 more would be close to having every skill on the list! Sheesh… fix the 2+Int problem of PF and what do the player do… give me more! Ingrates.

In the end we had fun, and the last fight that I thought was going to be over very fast turned into quite the nail biter.


If anyone wants to see the level 3 (or level 2) PC stats, let me know and I can try to post those. I can get a copy of the three levels of re-work on the Mystic too if desired. Jury is still out on the Solarian though.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Interesting feedback.

Darkbridger wrote:
He says if Operative weapons also get dex-to-dmg, Strength is also de-valued unless you are a dedicated melee character.

One minor point: It's been clarified in the Starfinder FAQ, here that Operative weapons do not get dex-to-dmg.


Porridge wrote:

Interesting feedback.

Darkbridger wrote:
He says if Operative weapons also get dex-to-dmg, Strength is also de-valued unless you are a dedicated melee character.

One minor point: It's been clarified in the Starfinder FAQ, here that Operative weapons do not get dex-to-dmg.

Wow, I hadn't even considered there might be a FAQ out that quick... we didn't even look. I'm sure there are a lot of our questions that will be addressed by that, or a more careful reading of the core book. Still, when Kesskin got re-worked, he dropped Str back to 10 and took Dex instead. After looking over the full Mystic spell list he came to the conclusion that a melee Mystic character isn't really doable. It would cost either several feats, or a level dip into Soldier to get some of those feats. I'm not sure... maybe he and Blackhand are over-valuing heavy armor... only time will tell on that one, assuming the group comes back for later parts of Dead Suns.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

Hey, just a quick thought on the +1 ranged damage some of the enemies have. Is that because they're level-3-equivalent and have Weapon Specialization perhaps? 3rd level weapon spec on small arms would, in fact, add +1.

Great report, by the way, and supremely useful!


Bronzemountain wrote:

Hey, just a quick thought on the +1 ranged damage some of the enemies have. Is that because they're level-3-equivalent and have Weapon Specialization perhaps? 3rd level weapon spec on small arms would, in fact, add +1.

Great report, by the way, and supremely useful!

From what I understand now (didn't at the time), enemies are built with a different system than PCs. Expecting the numbers to line up to the PCs was not a correct assumption.


Man, my fight against the Garagakkal was entirely a different experience. It took about 8 rounds, he laid out two PC entirely to a dying status. The Garagakkal does enough damage with a bite (20 max) to easily massive-damage-kill pretty much any character once they get their HP lowered a bit... A crit could lower any fully-healed PC at level 2 to 0 HP immediately.


Ah the Gara. Welcome to Dark SoulsStarfinder!

Or as the Pursuer would say, "Is it still too easy for you?"


Mustachioed wrote:
Man, my fight against the Garagakkal was entirely a different experience. It took about 8 rounds, he laid out two PC entirely to a dying status. The Garagakkal does enough damage with a bite (20 max) to easily massive-damage-kill pretty much any character once they get their HP lowered a bit... A crit could lower any fully-healed PC at level 2 to 0 HP immediately.

I'm sure it would have been far different for us if I insisted the party stay at level 2 until after the fight. I learned long ago with a certain Lamia in a certain Clock Tower to err in favor of the party most of the time. It's not that they want kid gloves or anything, but we all hate the headache and downtime caused by a character death. Once they have things like Breath of Life, I tend to push a little harder, and mistakes rarely turn permanent.


Darkbridger wrote:
Mechalibur wrote:
How was Indigo's drone able to take Heavy Weapon proficiency? My understanding is they still need to meet all the requirements, which in this case is small arms and long arms proficiency.

Excellent point... one of us misread something somewhere. It's possible to start with proficiency, but not weapon focus. All Drones start with small arms, and the combat drone gets a Weapon Proficiency mod for free that it can use on longarms, then it can spend the 1st level feat to pick up heavy weapon. That might have extended one or two of the combats by a round if there was ever a "barely hit" from the Drone. Since he may still re-work the drone to use longarms anyway, it will probably become a non-issue going forward. Good catch though... that's part of the reason I posted this to find all the stuff we did wrong before I'm forced to read the core book in detail this weekend. :)

Drones can't take the feat for weapon proficiency they only get mods for it.


LivingDedBoy wrote:
Darkbridger wrote:
Mechalibur wrote:
How was Indigo's drone able to take Heavy Weapon proficiency? My understanding is they still need to meet all the requirements, which in this case is small arms and long arms proficiency.

Excellent point... one of us misread something somewhere. It's possible to start with proficiency, but not weapon focus. All Drones start with small arms, and the combat drone gets a Weapon Proficiency mod for free that it can use on longarms, then it can spend the 1st level feat to pick up heavy weapon. That might have extended one or two of the combats by a round if there was ever a "barely hit" from the Drone. Since he may still re-work the drone to use longarms anyway, it will probably become a non-issue going forward. Good catch though... that's part of the reason I posted this to find all the stuff we did wrong before I'm forced to read the core book in detail this weekend. :)

Drones can't take the feat for weapon proficiency they only get mods for it.

DRONE FEATS: When choosing feats for your drone, you can choose from the following: Blind-Fight, Cleave, Deadly Aim, Far Shot, Great Cleave, Great Fortitude, Improved Combat Maneuver, Improved Critical, Iron Will, Jet Dash, Kip Up, Lightning Reflexes, Lunge, Mobility, Multi-Weapon Fighting, Nimble Moves, Opening Volley, Penetrating Attack, Shot on the Run, Skill Focus, Skill Synergy, Slippery Shooter, Spring Attack, Strike Back, Suppressive Fire, Versatile Focus, Versatile Specialization, Weapon Focus, and Weapon Specialization.

At 10th level, when the drone has an upgraded power core, you can also choose Extra Resolve, Improved Great Fortitude, Improved Iron Will, and Improved Lightning Reflexes. GMs can expand this list to include feats from other sources

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