SFS #1-26: Truth of the seeker


GM Discussion

5/5 ⦵⦵⦵

prepping this

The void thing doesn't seem to have reach. So there's no way for him to gravity pull and AOO right?

5/5 ⦵⦵⦵

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Ran this. Had more fun with the tea party than I thought I would. And less redundancy with the meeting in the temple.

The party's idea for gathering info was to use computers to look around the idari for any ideas as to his whereabouts. One of them got a 30, so they got jadnura's credit card records. They saw he made a purchase at a scarfadashery, a large purchase of tea, but no hotels . They also found out about the Temple

They wanted to hack the waiting list, but as traditional as they are I figured the list would be at the very least, written on paper. Or in a barrel of traditional kasathan handicrafts. The merchant offered to sell them genuine kasath rocks so they could inscribe their names and present them to the temple to be put on the waiting list.

Sovereign Court 4/5 Venture-Lieutenant, Netherlands—Leiden aka Ascalaphus

I'm having trouble with this fetishization of paper. As far as I know the Pact Worlds were fully electronic by the end of the Gap, so they really didn't have any paper tradition to fall back on. Scholars like Royo are total hipsters glorifying a medium that died somewhere during the Gap, and didn't do any better at avoiding a galaxy-wide memory wipe than electronic records.

Sovereign Court 4/5 Venture-Lieutenant, Netherlands—Leiden aka Ascalaphus

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Some questions about the boss...

* What is a Hantu? What's the lore behind this monster?

* The tactics mention that it tries to pull people in with its gravity power so it can make attacks of opportunity with its tentacles. Probably since the power explicitly says that this forced movement provokes attacks of opportunity. Should the tentacles have reach? It doesn't mention any reach in the statblock.

* The PCs arrive in a solar system that's being devoured by a black hole. That's a really big piece of scenery that gets no not a dime out of the special effects description budget in this scenario. What does it look like? Also, how fast is it happening? Are we talking hours, days, years, millennia? IANAA (I am not an astrophysicist); what should I know about this phenomenon to give my players a passable description?

Sovereign Court 4/5 Venture-Lieutenant, Netherlands—Leiden aka Ascalaphus

Why does area C5 have a challenge rating?

5/5 ⦵⦵⦵ Venture-Captain, Germany—Rhein-Main aka GreyYeti

I am a bit worried about the final boss. CR 7 or 9 seems a bit high for their respective sub-tiers and the fact that it more or less hits automatically while having a lot of hit points and being incorporeal makes me feeling a bit uneasy about my group that will just barely be in high tier.

Sovereign Court 4/5 Venture-Lieutenant, Netherlands—Leiden aka Ascalaphus

I'm not a fan of the habit of CR = Tier + 3.5 design paradigm. It seems quite a couple of scenarios are now featuring CR 7 bosses in the level 3-4 subtier.

I realize that's technically what you might get with the CRB advice of "for a 6-player party act as if APL was 1 higher". However, by that point, superior action economy doesn't really help when that's just a lot of actions all trying with great difficulty to land any hits, while the monster can barely miss the PCs if it tries.

Paizo Employee Starfinder Society Developer

Lau Bannenberg wrote:

Some questions about the boss...

* What is a Hantu? What's the lore behind this monster?

* The tactics mention that it tries to pull people in with its gravity power so it can make attacks of opportunity with its tentacles. Probably since the power explicitly says that this forced movement provokes attacks of opportunity. Should the tentacles have reach? It doesn't mention any reach in the statblock.

* The PCs arrive in a solar system that's being devoured by a black hole. That's a really big piece of scenery that gets no not a dime out of the special effects description budget in this scenario. What does it look like? Also, how fast is it happening? Are we talking hours, days, years, millennia? IANAA (I am not an astrophysicist); what should I know about this phenomenon to give my players a passable description?

1) It's a parasitic incorporeal creature spewed out by the black hole.

2) Originally it had reach, but lost it in the dev/editing process. I would just run it without reach and have it drag creatures in close then attack on subsequent rounds. If they start withdrawing, then it might get more aggressive.

3) Left to GM discretion. :)

Sovereign Court 4/5 ⦵⦵⦵⦵ Venture-Agent, Georgia—Atlanta aka The Masked Ferret

The Hantu is deadly enough, combined with the traps/environmental effects at the end temple, to make reach... not necessary. I could have TPK'd the party I ran it for last night. I think you could almost give the scenario a hard mode by just giving it reach and combat reflexes.

One thing I saw missing from the Scenario - there are no explicit rules if they decide to destroy the crystal in area C3. I ruled that it stopped the debuff (which they all failed their saves against).

Scarab Sages ⦵⦵⦵ Venture-Agent, Netherlands aka CptJames

Nils Janson wrote:

I am a bit worried about the final boss. CR 7 or 9 seems a bit high for their respective sub-tiers and the fact that it more or less hits automatically while having a lot of hit points and being incorporeal makes me feeling a bit uneasy about my group that will just barely be in high tier.

Yeah...you definitely have a right to be worried...we had a party of 5 last night run by Lau/Ascalaphus (me lvl 3 Mystic Healer, lvl 4s: Vesk Soldier, Vesk Vanguard, Halfling Witchwarper, and a Biohacker)

We quite enjoyed the story to start and I'll write a review later...but that last enemy was crazy...so we all failed to identify it (my +13 mysticism not mitigating my rubbish roll) but after about 7 or 8 rounds we had only dealt 50 damage to it, we had the Vanguard down (had to be sacrificed unfortunately) and we all decided to bail and run away...it was just too hard for us to kill and it hit us far too hard. I mean even at full-round attacks it hits us almost 80% of the time...

This is the first time I've ever run from a fight and even though my Mystic was championing Second Seekers Jadnura, I still bailed because it's just too difficult.

I always believe in giving players a fair go, and most of the times the fights are tough, but you can win, I just didn't feel a way we could win in this. Also, the combat before was quite difficult too...and the first fight seemed really easy, so lots of the build points for the NPCs were just spent on 2 enemies in low tier...which made it for more difficult than I would have imagined... #SorryJadnura

Sovereign Court 4/5 ⦵⦵⦵⦵ Venture-Agent, Georgia—Atlanta aka The Masked Ferret

I took a look at the optional encounter ... looked at the time... Nope, no optional encounter. That final fight was nasty enough, thanks.

Sovereign Court 4/5 Venture-Lieutenant, Netherlands—Leiden aka Ascalaphus

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Okay, I ran this yesterday, time for an after action report/spoiler-heavy review. (I'll try to do a spoiler-light review on the public page, but I have too much spoilery stuff to say to put that all there.)

Mission briefing
The mission is fairly straightforward: go there, find Jadnura, bring him back. There's not really any answer to any useful question in here, such as "what do we do to convince him to come back", or any in-depth background, like a bit more about the political consequences of his absence. The quest-giver is almost aggressively not in the know about anything. The answer to every question boils down to "I don't know, go there and find out yourself."

Welcome to the Idari
This could have used a bit of box text about what you see while approaching the Idari, or a picture of it.

The Outland Markets
This scene is a bit railroady. Whether you succeed at the (easy) check or not, there's only one place to go, Alsuka. You can try to hide the tracks a bit as a GM but there isn't really anything to do here. No choices to make or clues to analyze.

Alsuka's Tea House
I'm disappointed that on our first visit to the Idari, the person we spend the most time interacting with is a lashunta who proceeds to lecture us. The PCs come in, sit down, and my players are quite polite; but they're still treated to several lines of box text berating them about how rude it is to turn down hospitality. They haven't turned down anything, so this comes a bit out of the blue.

The checks to impress to do small talk are a bit awkward. You can't really give people a list of skills to try ("You can roll mysticism to notice a Desnan motif on the ceiling"), but it's also not the complete list of skills so you can't tell people "small talk about anything and then make a relevant skill check" either. Anyway, the players all succeeded easily (most getting a 28, one going as low as 19, at low tier still a success). Although at this point there's no sign that Jadnura is in danger ("he went to the monastery to meditate") the PCs all get healing serums. Ominous much?

All in all the scene was entertaining though, I think mostly because Alsuka talks with each PC. NPCs who really go out of their way to get to know each PC aren't that common so that's refreshing.

Meeting Master Boojan
The players take Alsuka's warning to heart and don't speak until the master acknowledges them. They have no problem with the skill check for this bit of "impress him with etiquette".

I went over this pretty quickly because I don't really have anything to talk about. It's specifically Master Boojan and the PCs doing small talk before coming to the point. I don't really know anything about Boojan, don't have anything more than a few platitudes about The Cycle. There's not really anything to have a conflict about in this scene, the PCs and Boojan get along, want the same things, and easily trust each other. There's no intrigue, we don't really learn anything intrigueing about Jadnura except that he moved on. There isn't really much challenge in this scene apart from "does anyone make this easy check?".

In Defense of Honor
This fight was easy for the players, it's a straight up melee combatant that charges forward, leaving his lower-level minions behind. He's easily mobbed with superior action economy. After he went down I called the fight with the CR 3 mooks because they have trouble even scratching the vanguard PC, who is doing his job of getting in front of the party.

This whole fight feels rather pointless to me. It doesn't really do anything for the plot and the antagonist doesn't have enough buildup to make a personal impression. Maybe with some box text setting the scene, and some lines of dialogue for him, it could have been more. But dramatically, it's just a random bump. As a fight, it's not really threatening, doesn't result in relevant loot, and afterwards the PCs go on a ship for 3d6 days so it also has no impact on resources. So it feels like a complete waste of time to me.

There's also a weird lack of consequences after the fight. We just got attacked by some students of a prestigious monastery. They use unprovoked lethal violence. Maybe we respond in kind. And then we just... leave. Maybe loot them.

Also, there's the flipmat for the next encounter smack in the middle of this one. Why isn't it on the other side of page 13?

Intermission
It seems to me that in a way, this is where the story could have ended. The whole mission on the Idari could have been used to fill a complete story.

* Arrival, some officials warning us this is a nice ship, don't make trouble.
* Actually having to search through the markets for traces of Jadnura, retracing his steps, gathering clues and putting them together, trying to find out what he's been doing on the Idari. We find out that as a returned celebrity, people wouldn't leave him alone because they keep asking him questions. But also that some people blame him for the people who didn't make it back. We get our noses rubbed into the fact that the whole of the kasatha species is not much more than 50.000 people, that leading a lot of them into the Scoured Stars was a blow against the survival of the species as a whole and that people maybe didn't so much blame Jadnura openly, but that he didn't really feel super-welcome because of it.
* Maybe he didn't find peace on the Idari because someone wouldn't leave him alone, and we get ambushed too.
* Instead of spending most of the RP time budget of the session on a primer on kasatha etiquette, use 3 handouts with progressively more info, and a culture check at the beginning of the scenario determines how much you know in advance (actual kasatha PCs treat their result as one tier better). Then during the scenario, stuff from that cultural briefing comes up in scenes and we have to act on it. So instead of spending most of the scenario on preparation, we spend most of it on application.
* Getting to the monastery isn't that easy. It's in the faux-wilderness and we get ambushed by a monster. We also get ambushed by some monastery students who were influenced by our mysterious adversary (maybe the same people behind Solar Sortie/Star Sugar Heartlove?). These are just grief-mad kids, but the real trick is that if the PCs kill them mercilessly, they'll have a hard time getting into the monastery and getting to see the Master, because they just slaughtered his students.
* The adventure concludes with the PCs having gained the information about where Jadnura went, and with some idea why, or at least why he wouldn't stay on the Idari.

Journey into the Void
I like that we're going to the site of a spectacular stellar phenomenon. I like that the PCs get invited to the bridge to view it. I think it's a shame that we don't get any description of what this rare and spectacular phenomenon looks like. I think going to really AWESOME places, stuff that even in a sci-fantasy universe most people don't get to go to, is one of the big things in Starfinder. Just because we only spend some time looking out at it from the bridge, doesn't mean it's not worth putting things on pause for a moment and having at least some description but preferably a picture.

Solar Intrusion
Sigh. Why is the flipmat for the temple in front of this encounter? It's a full-page map, why did it drift here?

This was the first place where my players got in trouble. The wisp showed up, and engulfed the vanguard. And then we looked up what it takes to escape from engulfing: you have to escape a pin. Typically DC 10 + enemy KAC. So that's a DC 29 acrobatics check, for a level 4 character, wearing armor and a shield, that he can't take off because he's pinned. At a -4 penalty of course because it's a dexterity check. Here it seems I goofed, we missed the bit that you could also escape with an attack roll; the vanguard rolled a natural 20 on his acrobatics check which wasn't high enough to escape. As an attack roll it would have, because it's a natural 20 and only because of that; a roll of 19 would not be enough to escape. I'm really wondering if I did something wrong here because it seems like the Engulf ability on Starfinder monsters with CR-based KAC is bizarrely powerful.

The other players' dice were stone cold at this point, a lot of dice rolls were missed. I did rule that while engulfed, the vanguard could still touch the wisp that was engulfing him (he couldn't really not touch him), so he could to entropic strike damage. It was a race whether the wisp would burn him up before he gave the wisp too much heartburn.

The temple
They contemplated the side entrance but didn't like the idea of going in single file, so they never got there. Weirdly, although there's treasure there, there's no penalty to chronicle sheet credits for not going there and finding them.

They went in the front entrance, had some fun with the crystal but eventually overcame it. Then they explored some of the side hallways. This part went pretty well, the place is rather spooky. The nasty gray map and the mean traps worked well to set the mood. I really liked this part of the scenario, it's series of details like this that can really make a place come to life. Staggering, half-undead cursed life.

The Boss
Here's where it really went wrong. They walked into the boss room, vanguard in front, quickly raising shield. Boss flies up a bit and tries to use graviton pull to lift someone up and then drop them, but the save is passed. Next round melee combat starts, and the boss trades full attacks against the vanguard who raises shield and attacks with entropic strike.

The problem is that even when the vanguard uses all possible defensive bonuses available (raise shield, fight defensively, entropy point, block property on entropic strike, maximized dex/armor), he reaches a very respectable (at level 4!) 29 EAC, but the boss while full attacking is still hitting at +14/14. The other PCs aren't hyper-optimized for defense and have EAC 18 or so, which is really not unusual at this level. Unfortunately for the vanguard, I roll a bit above average and hit him once every round. But with a healing mystic in the background, this they could have been able to handle. But the boss also has Devour Sentence on its attacks. First round, 2 wisdom damage. Second round, 2 wisdom damage. Third round, boss smells victory and after hitting spends a resolve point to boost wisdom damage, but this time the vanguard saves, so 1 wisdom damage. Fourth round, hit again, spend resolve again, save fails, 5 wisdom damage, vanguard passes out.

At this point, the PCs assess their situation. The only PC that the monster doesn't almost automatically hit is down, and so far only the full BAB characters have had any luck dealing a bit of damage. Only a bit, because the boss is incorporeal so all damage is halved. The best attacks they do are the vesk with the called starknife dealing 1d4+10 damage, which after halving is 6 per round. The various energy weapons do half damage and so occasionally scratch it for 2-4 damage. After four rounds they've done the boss a bit over 40 damage, while the only PC who could defend them went down. The boss still has over 80 HP. So they decide to flee. A hologrenade with the illusion of a force cage buys them enough time to run away, but the vanguard is left behind. Also, Jadnura will not be coming to the company Christmas party.

So what went wrong here?

The boss ostensibly has normal stats for its CR. EAC and KAC are normal, Fort and Reflex are 2 above normal but Will is 2 lower, HP is 126 which is high for CR 7; 105 is normal, CR 8 gets 126. To-hit is 1 higher than the base array, damage I can't really match to the array (different dice) but the average is in line with CR 7. So all in all he's a bit above normal but not crazy much so.

On the one hand, it was the boss' abilities. His Devour Sentience is an awfully convenient ability. It can target any mental ability, so in the case of a melee dude right in front of him, he targets Wisdom; each hit makes the save for half damage next round just a bit harder. His ability to spend Resolve points to increase the ability damage is spent after he already knows the attack hits, also very convenient. This creature is a bit like the classic Pathfinder shadow, but with the AC, HP and to-hit of a high-tier monster.

On the other hand, incorporeal is also an ability that should not be underestimated. It's true that almost every Starfinder character has a weapon that can hurt incorporeal creatures. However, it still halves the damage, and makes critical hits immune. Magic Missile is of course a common spell but this party had 3 playtest characters and no technomancers. And besides, at that point the boss could have comfortably focused on killing the technomancer first. Altogether, I think incorporeal basically does the same as assigning the monster double HP, which definitely breaks the CR system.

On the gripping hand, the players' dice also weren't cooperating; there were a few off-by-1 attacks. There was no envoy to say Get 'Em, no operative to Debilitating Trick. The biohacker had blown most of his stuff on the solar wisp already, although I'm honestly not sure how much he could've done against an incorporeal foe.

On the fouth hand, I think the vanguard's shield was a risk. He raised his shield a lot, instead of taking guarded steps back from the boss. This meant the boss could keep making full attacks, which was ultimately better for the boss. (The boss focus-fired the vanguard because the vanguard kept standing in front of him.) Maybe the vanguard should have retreated, but he got caught by surprise by the 5 wisdom damage, he had no way of foreseeing that. Altogether, I think shields may be encouraging unhealthy tanking instead of "never stand in front of the CR = APL+3 boss' full attack". I think in the playtesting of shields, we should be looking at whether it should be possible to combine raising a shield with taking guarded steps or move actions. Otherwise we may see the return of 3.Pathfinder style stationary combat.

On the fifth hand (there was a skittermander in the party, he survived): the boss' statblock has some other weird glitches. He has a graviton pull ability that involuntary moves people AND this provokes attacks of opportunity, which is generally a taboo in ability design. His tactics suggest using his tentacles to make those attacks of opportunity, although he doesn't have reach. Was he going to just fly up at the ceiling, pull people towards him, make attacks of opportunity, devour sentience, and then drop people again for falling damage? That sounds awesome, unfair in the way that mean monster are unfair, but also kinda like "wishful thinking" game design. It's cute if you do that and balance the to-hit and damage around it, but if you leave the monster's regular to-hit and damage as-is then it's more like you're trying to take "fair at this tier" CR monster design behind the shed and trying to do unspeakable things to it. Also, a lot of the backstory of the location is justified by the monster using its Veil SLA to disguise the location, but Veil only changes the appearance of creatures.

On the sixth hand, let's talk about five-player parties and solo bosses. I think solo bosses are a bad idea. They're a bad idea in Pathfinder, and they're actually a worse idea in Starfinder. As we all know, regular encounter design assumes a four-player party. If you get more characters in the party, then you need to make the encounter more challenging. Encounters are designed with an XP budget with which you buy monsters; more PCs means more budget. Ostensibly, a 6-player party justifies the budget of a 4-player party of 1 level higher. All this is compensating for the PCs having more actions. Where the wheels come off the wagon however is if the extra actions aren't useful. That happens when you spend all that extra challenge budget on the same boss, raising his saves and AC. The PCs are making more attacks, but all attacks miss more often and the end result is less damage on a boss with more HP. And the same problem on the offensive side: more PCs means more HP, but if the boss deals more damage and hits more accurately, even specialized defenders can't really perform their job anymore. So why is this worse in Starfinder than in Pathfinder? Because of the scaling of CR. 1 CR higher in Starfinder is just plain worth more than it is in Pathfinder. Combat math is such that an appropriate monster stands a good chance of hitting the PCs; raising the CR means it goes from a good chance to a way too good chance.

It gets even worse with finicky tier calculations. Of course subtiers are the original sin of both PFS and SFS. PFS has weird cases where if a sixth player leaves the party, the party then suddenly has to play a higher tier. That's less likely in SFS, but you can still easily end up with a party that's just barely rounding up. The table I was running would originally have PCs 4,4,4,5,6; that's APL 4.6, so high tier with five players. They'd have faced the CR 9 boss with no adjustment, while the majority of the PCs were actually low level. I counselled them against that so now we had "only" one permadead playtest pregen because they realized when it was time to run.

There's been some murmurings about "scenarios are too easy": I think this is too hard, and I think it's the wrong kind of hard. It's really brittle math, when a mostly-low-tier party can stumble into an encounter designed to be challenging to a larger, fully high tier party.

The CRB encounter design guidelines say that to challenge a 6-player party you should be using enemies worth 150% the XP of a 4-player party. You can do that by adding 1 CR to a solo creature. But you can also do it by adding a minion of. That creates action economy to counter the PCs' increased action economy, instead of one overly strong boss monster.

This is not the first 3-6 scenario I've run with a CR 7 monster, but in the others there were effects playing in the PCs favor (musical help, and a vehicle chase that gave them time to take some shots at the monster before confronting it on the battle rid). In this scenario there was nothing to help them in advance, and the Incorporeal quality effectively doubled the monster's hit points. That made it a really unfair combat.

Players like to reminisce about the time they won that fight against the awesome boss, pulling out all the stops and crazy tricks; they don't really love to reminisce about the time they had to run from the boss because the boss was just randomly OP, just with numbers too high, nothing particularly clever.

The Exchange 4/5 Venture-Agent aka JERRY WAYNE 073

I have some questions about parts B and C.

In the optional encounter for part B, is there no four player adjustment?

In part C, is there atmosphere and normal gravity within the temple? I can't imagine Jadnura had a plan to reside there for weeks in just his environment suit.

Thanks!

5/5 ⦵⦵⦵

Maybe i misread what the rubble is, but is there any reason you can't just grab jadnura and run?

Sovereign Court 4/5 Venture-Lieutenant, Netherlands—Leiden aka Ascalaphus

JERRY WAYNE wrote:

In part C, is there atmosphere and normal gravity within the temple? I can't imagine Jadnura had a plan to reside there for weeks in just his environment suit.

Thanks!

The captain mentions somewhere that he left Jadnura there with extra oxygen tanks.

Sovereign Court 4/5 Venture-Lieutenant, Netherlands—Leiden aka Ascalaphus

BigNorseWolf wrote:
Maybe i misread what the rubble is, but is there any reason you can't just grab jadnura and run?

I understood the rubble to be "would take too long to shovel through, blocks the corridor for plot convenient reasons."

The Exchange 4/5 Venture-Agent aka JERRY WAYNE 073

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Lau Bannenberg wrote:
JERRY WAYNE wrote:

In part C, is there atmosphere and normal gravity within the temple? I can't imagine Jadnura had a plan to reside there for weeks in just his environment suit.

Thanks!

The captain mentions somewhere that he left Jadnura there with extra oxygen tanks.

Yeah, that's the most mention of Jadnura's situation I found in the scenario text. I can't imagine the temple was inhabitated at one time (albeit centuries ago) and the acolytes had to roam the halls in environment suits. Jadnura's extra oxygen tanks would do him well if he wanted to take a stroll around the asteroid landscape but to say he was planning on staying in the suit the whole time in an airless setting? How does he eat, expel bodily waste, etc? Perhaps part of his meditation regime would include fasting, I guess. Well, he is supposed to be quite the badass solarion...

5/5 ⦵⦵⦵

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JERRY WAYNE wrote:


Yeah, that's the most mention of Jadnura's situation I found in the scenario text. I can't imagine the temple was inhabitated at one time (albeit centuries ago) and the acolytes had to roam the halls in environment suits. Jadnura's extra oxygen tanks would do him well if he wanted to take a stroll around the asteroid landscape but to say he was planning on staying in the suit the whole time in an airless setting? How does he eat, expel bodily waste, etc? Perhaps part of his meditation regime would include fasting, I guess. Well, he is supposed to be quite the badass solarion...

Given that you can stay in a level 7 suit for a week there has to be some sort of.. reclamation process .

The less you think about it the happier you'll be.

Sovereign Court 4/5 ⦵⦵⦵⦵ Venture-Agent, Georgia—Atlanta aka The Masked Ferret

As for the facilities..... they have been damaged, so not having atmosphere is not surprising.

The Exchange 4/5 Venture-Agent aka JERRY WAYNE 073

Glen Parnell wrote:
As for the facilities..... they have been damaged, so not having atmosphere is not surprising.

Yeah, structure damage would be a very logical answer to the atmosphere answer.

As for Jadnura's waste expulsion in his environment suit, I'm going to answer, "Magic" if that question comes up at the table.

Sovereign Court 4/5 Venture-Lieutenant, Netherlands—Leiden aka Ascalaphus

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Eh. Maybe the original priests all had the Star Shaman connection so they were totally cozy in vacuum. Makes sense at that location.

5/5

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I ran for a party of four that was barely upper tier. The two full BAB characters were the ones playing up. After four rounds of whiffing, I asked what everyone's to-hit was, and the person with the highest needed a 15 to hit an incorporeal creature with 174 HP. So I started using the lower subtier AC values, but kept the rest of its stats the same. And I changed the 4PA to zero RP instead of two less. I also changed the tactics to "try to pull everyone close, spread attacks out as much as possible among the group." It was still a meat grinder, but they survived (except the drone), even with everyone dropping at least once.
One of the players who was in-tier spent all of his money on some armor off a chronicle sheet that was just at the very upper limit of what he was allowed to buy, and still got hit on a 6 or so. The only character that could consistently do double-digit damage would not have hit one time had I not made the adjustments I did.

Incorporeal creatures effectively have double hit points. Did everyone forget why incorporeal creatures have terrible AC in 3.5/PF1?

1/5

Ran this at low tier with four regular characters and playtest vanguard and biohacker (both GMs themselves, but had not ran this scenario). The investigation part had some decent roleplaying opportunities. Some players love those more than combat victories, so that's a plus.

The first fight was easy, and mostly seemed to be a test of character (as in "do we kill these guys or just knock them around"). The optional encounter was pretty much a race to kill the thing before it engulfed someone. I should have skipped it despite the written instructions about remaining time. The party walked past most of the temple (the technomancer had maxed Sleight of Hand and was overjoyed at getting to use it) and went straight for the last encounter, and there they got to be on the receiving end.

While I admit it felt nice to be on the "winning" side, the void hantu would have slaughtered the party if it concentrated on one target at a time. Fortunately the tactics and player actions allowed me to run it as an arrogant little dominator who spent half its rounds pulling characters close and going after characters who tried to flee, drawing AoOs that mostly missed. The players knew terror that day. I don't know if the tactics were intentionally ambiguous, but they allowed me to spread the hurt.

Most characters had a fusion-equipped weapon for half damage, but some of the newer ones didn't (frantic weapon exchanges were made). In the end, they won. Mental damage from mind thrust and share pain were not halved. Mindbreaker mystic and the vanguard were dropped as a reward for inflicting most of the damage, and everyone else was hurt (except for the operative who just fired ineffectively for most of the combat until delivering the killing blow).

It's a running joke now to yell at the technomancer for not taking magic missile. The shirren mystic has Profession (psychiatrist) and tends to get a new regular patient every scenario. Devour sentience combined with effectively 252 hp is a nasty combination. Thankfully the hantu had a low Will save.

Sovereign Court 4/5 Venture-Lieutenant, Netherlands—Leiden aka Ascalaphus

Naal wrote:
Mental damage from mind thrust and share pain were not halved.

That's an interesting observation; I'm not sure it's true?

CRB, p. 264 wrote:

Incorporeal

An incorporeal creature doesn’t have a physical body. It is immune to all nonmagical kinetic attacks. All energy attacks and magical kinetic attacks deal half damage (50%) to it. An incorporeal creature takes full damage from other incorporeal creatures and effects, as well as from all force effects. Corporeal spells and effects that do not cause damage have only a 50% chance of affecting an incorporeal creature. An incorporeal creature is immune to critical hits.

Mind thrust is neither an energy attack or magical kinetic attack (half damage), but it's also not a force effect (full damage).

So I'm not really sure on which side of the fence it would fall?

1/5

Lau Bannenberg wrote:
That's an interesting observation; I'm not sure it's true?

You could be right. But at that moment we were in a hurry* and I made a snap judgment that mental damage went entirely through. If that is not the case, mea culpa.

*aftermath when the creature went down was like this: "There's our guy he's alive you carry him back to the ship and fly back to Absalom Station and lets gather our dice and papers since the store owners are approaching with torches and pitchforks right now I'll hand you the chronicle sheets when we have escaped them."

Sovereign Court 4/5 Venture-Lieutenant, Netherlands—Leiden aka Ascalaphus

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Yeah I'm not blaming you, I legitimately don't know. So you have to make a GM call, and considering how many HP the boss has, I can't fault you for favoring the players.


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Our level 6 Mystic was the MVP because of Mind Thrust (and absurd amount of Stamina for a mystic, able to tank a few hits).

I am pretty sure that Mind Thrust works fine. It isn't in the list of damage that Incorporeal is immune to or takes half damage from. Force effects are called out, because they can be kinetic damage, which the creature would otherwise resist/ignore. Like the Idari Force Batons from 1-03 Cries from the Drift treat their bashing damage as Force damage if wielded by a character with Str 12 or greater.

Plus, the treasure at the top of the stairs is a 3rd level Mind Thrust spell gem and a ghost armor upgrade. The Ghost Armor upgrade is nigh useless because of the Hantu's ridiculous hit bonus, but the spell gem is clearly there to help with the knock-down, drag-out fight.

One of the players at my table questioned whether my 2nd level Junksword would be able to damage it, because it just did kinetic damage and didn't have a fusion, but my argument was that it was a weapon created by a spell, and was therefore magical. The GM allowed it to do half damage the one time I was able to hit the thing (I needed a 16 on the dice even using Empower Weapon after being Fatigued by the stair trap).

Our group was uniquely qualified to fight this thing. Three Technomancers, a Mystic, and two Operatives... The GM interpreted the creature to have Reach even though it didn't make the final stats due to the context of the abilities, and that last room isn't very big, so the level 6 Operative intentionally provoked to give us Technos the ability to full-round magic missiles, and of course the Mystic went into full-on mind blast mode. The level 3 Operative was using a rare boon race and understandably didn't feel like risking his life, so he went in to check on Jadnura.

Thankfully, our GM also blew off the optional encounter despite having enough time, since it (like the horrible traps) was clearly designed to siphon off resources direly needed for the boss battle.

So while we did fine, I can't help but wonder what a group of Envoys, Operatives, and Soldiers would do here if they didn't specifically have weapons with the Force descriptor like the Idari Force Baton. Die, probably.

⦵⦵⦵ Venture-Agent, Minnesota—Woodbury aka Wishing Wells

So in regards to the "hospitality" with Alsuka, how would that work with non-organic characters/characters with unusual biology? In my local group, we have a SRO and last I checked they don't really have the stomach(pun intended) for tea.

I feel like common sense wise Alsuka would understand it if "Wall•E" physically is unable to consume outside of borrowing an USB port and wouldn't force it if the character(s) don't have a digestive system.

Sovereign Court 4/5 Venture-Lieutenant, Netherlands—Leiden aka Ascalaphus

Quote:

Robotic

SROs are immune to bleed, disease, death effects, poison, nonlethal damage, and sleep effects unless those effects specify they affect constructs. SROs can be affected by effects or spells that normally target only humanoids, but receive a +4 racial bonus to saving throws against such effects. SROs can eat and drink, though they don’t need to, and they must recharge their internal batteries by entering an off-line mode that is similar to sleep for 8 hours every day. SROs do not breathe or suffer the normal environmental effects of being in a vacuum.

SRO's can have a nice cuppa.

5/5 ⦵⦵⦵

Lau Bannenberg wrote:
Quote:

Robotic

SROs are immune to bleed, disease, death effects, poison, nonlethal damage, and sleep effects unless those effects specify they affect constructs. SROs can be affected by effects or spells that normally target only humanoids, but receive a +4 racial bonus to saving throws against such effects. SROs can eat and drink, though they don’t need to, and they must recharge their internal batteries by entering an off-line mode that is similar to sleep for 8 hours every day. SROs do not breathe or suffer the normal environmental effects of being in a vacuum.
SRO's can have a nice cuppa.

Just be sure to clear out the junk drawer and THEN drink the tea

1/5 ⦵⦵

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

I noticed one other noteworthy consequence of the void hantu's tactics when I ran this. While targeting spellcasters first, and draining their casting stat does prevent the void hantu from going straight for the 8 INT soldier, and knocking him out immediately and permanently (for the purposes of the fight) with ability drain, it does greatly increase the likelihood of death, since the casters are likely to have all of their resolve removed by damage to their key ability score before they reach 0 HP.

Sovereign Court 4/5 Venture-Lieutenant, Netherlands—Leiden aka Ascalaphus

I dunno about that. The tactics in the scenario really aren't that definite about all-out pursuing spellcasters. It seems more opportunistic than a prime goal:

Quote:
During Combat The void hantu attacks the nearest target with its tendrils and uses its gravitic pull attack to pull targets closer so it can make attacks of opportunity with its tendrils. It uses its devour sentience ability on creatures that display signs of spellcasting, selecting Wisdom for mystics and Intelligence for technomancers when targeting creatures who’ve shown they can cast spells from either spell list.

It has a lot of conflicting priorities: pulling people in, attacking the nearest creature, and going after spellcasters (which will probably NOT be the nearest creature).


Pathfinder Starfinder Society Subscriber
Glen Parnell wrote:

The Hantu is deadly enough, combined with the traps/environmental effects at the end temple, to make reach... not necessary. I could have TPK'd the party I ran it for last night. I think you could almost give the scenario a hard mode by just giving it reach and combat reflexes.

One thing I saw missing from the Scenario - there are no explicit rules if they decide to destroy the crystal in area C3. I ruled that it stopped the debuff (which they all failed their saves against).

I agree the final boss is way overpowered -- even the lower tier boss would be too much for most higher tier parties. I ran this last night and it could have been a TPK. With high hit points, high armor class, and being incorporeal, the party was only slowly making headway against him while he was ripping them up. The only time he missed them was when he rolled a 1 and he averaged about 20 damage every time.

Had I played him to the hilt, the party's only hope of success or survival would have been to avoid him by investigating things in a different direction. Once they were fighting him, their best hope of survival would have been to scatter and run, then 1 (maybe 2) might survive.

If you're running this and want your party to have a chance, skip the wisps and hint at ways the could skip the warning/trap gem.

Jim

3/5 ⦵⦵ Venture-Agent, Virginia—Portsmouth aka Pogiforce

Lau Bannenberg wrote:

Okay, I ran this yesterday, time for an after action report/spoiler-heavy review. (I'll try to do a spoiler-light review on the public page, but I have too much spoilery stuff to say to put that all there.)

I agree with the assessment that raising a shield as part of a guarded step or move action would be nice. If a character wants to use a shield and be stationary that should be their choice, not something they are forced into doing.

I do want to point out something in the tactics that I think should be mentioned given your play by play of the fight with teh Hantu though. It says that any creature it sees is capable of spellcasting becomes a target. In that situation, while yes it also says it attacks the nearest creature, I think the tactics would want you to abandon the Vanguard in that situation and go after the Mystic. I don't know, maybe it sees the spellcasting and knows that spellcasting usually means bigger/stronger minds, and being that it seems to Devour Sentience for sustenance...

I don't actually know if that would have made the fight more managable at all, but just to point out something.

I fully agree that this monster is too hard. I haven't run this yet, but I have taken an indepth look at the statblock. He has effectively 50% DR, a massive HP pool, really high to hit and damage, an ability that drains ability scores guaranteed, a fly speed to avoid melee strikers, literally the only thing he doesn't have is an AoE, and thank god for that.

I'm running this Scenario today. I'll post how it goes.

I also have to remark on something Dracomicron said, which was that their level 6 Mystic handled the fight. and that brings up some weird thing I noticed, and that's this:

Any absurdly hard fight can be rendered no big deal by a good mystic.

I say that because (dead suns spoiler)

Spoiler:
I'm running the Dead Suns Adventure Path. In Book 5, they encounter an Axiomite on their ship. It's stupidly poweful and nigh indestructible, on account of a number of things but mostly because it's regen 5/chaos. No one can do Chaos damage, the adventure path doesn't even really allow your party time to buy UPBs, forget going shopping.The only way they could have actually stopped the Axiomite from attacking would be a really high diplomacy, or remove condition spell. They had neither an Envoy nor a Mystic, and so they were forced to flee. They ended up with a TPK, as the Mechanic stayed back to distract the Axiomite while the rest fled in the escape pods, but they were way out in the Vast and weren't found until everyone but the Technomancer had eventually starved to death or ran out of oxygen. The technomancer was the sole survivor, only because he was an android so didn't have to breath, and had a ring of sustenance so didn't need to eat or drink. The technomancer hired a bunch of mercenaries (the new party) and they made sure to bring both an envoy and a mystic this time.
So it really seems like the developers will sometimes just throw a nigh impossible combat against you that has one extremely niche thing to bypass it that you couldn't have possibly planned for, unless you have a mystic in which case you're fine. If people start seeing things that way they're never going to want to adventure without a good mystic in the party, "in case this is one of those BS Boss type of scenarios". and I'm not sure we want to have the game be where people are pressured into playing one specific class...

5/5 ⦵⦵⦵

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It drains mental ability scores, so this is what the monster sees when it sees casters.

Sovereign Court 4/5 Venture-Lieutenant, Netherlands—Leiden aka Ascalaphus

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Sean Castor wrote:
Lau Bannenberg wrote:

(...)

(...)

I do want to point out something in the tactics that I think should be mentioned given your play by play of the fight with teh Hantu though. It says that any creature it sees is capable of spellcasting becomes a target. In that situation, while yes it also says it attacks the nearest creature, I think the tactics would want you to abandon the Vanguard in that situation and go after the Mystic. I don't know, maybe it sees the spellcasting and knows that spellcasting usually means bigger/stronger minds, and being that it seems to Devour Sentience for sustenance...

I don't actually know if that would have made the fight more managable at all, but just to point out something.

I could have, and I thought about that myself. But I found the critter's tactics rather poorly written (implying Reach shenanigangs that it doesn't have). Some tactics are written "advisory": hey here's what this monster can do, this is how you use it well as GM. Other monster tactics are written "obligatory": hey we gave you an OP enemy but he's limited for some reason so instead of using optimal tactics, do this other thing.

I took the tactics to be more advisory. I ignored the pulling thing, because it didn't have long enough tendrils that actually do the AoOs for just moving in. I didn't think to float at the ceiling and drop people, that would have probably been much easier on them though, that'd be only one hit per round.

The creature has conflicting priorities: attacking the nearest creature, and using its ability on spellcasters. The problem is that its ability works on everyone, and actually works better on non-casters who don't have such high mental scores.

The decision was pretty much made for me by the vanguard who stuck to the monster to tank it (his AC was about 10 better than the next PC). With a suitable target in front of it, there was no good incentive for the monster to go after the others yet.

That's why I think the move action to raise shield invites bad tactics. Even with raised shield, the monster was likely to hit twice if it full attacked, so the better move would have been a fighting retreat, denying the monster full attacks by taking a guarded step every round.

3/5 ⦵⦵ Venture-Agent, Virginia—Portsmouth aka Pogiforce

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Ran this Scenario yesterday, my take on the adventure.

First, I feel a party breakdown is in order. Our party consisted of 6 players: a 4th level blitz soldier, a 3 rd level armored storm soldier, a 4th level Keskodai, a 3 third level envoy, a 5th level operative and a sixth level technomancer. They were playing tier 3-4.

iGetting Started
I like the use of a skittermander for this introdutction, though the way his block text is written he feels more like a vest in presentation. I get this is a skittermander who had been in the scoured stars and lost 3 arms and an eye, but I think his generally gruff and vaguely disinterested way he interfaces with the PCs is a missed opportunity. This is the ‘goblin’ of space, the iconic species that’s so heavily associated with the starfinder brand. Having them written in such a way that they seem to belittle the PCs when they ask certain questions, outright ignore them for a minute to pick at food when they ask other questions, and to be generally dodgy and evasive in other questions,it’s kind of like playing.a pathfinder scenario where when you encounter a goblin he speaks in well constructed sentences using extremely verbose sentences, being very polite and confident with the PCs while reading war and peace. It just felt out of character for the species, and this is one of few, if not our first, major skittermander npc We’ve encountered.

Welcome to the Idari
Felt very hand wavium. I used what info I was provided to describe it as best as possible. The envoy used the opportunity to talk with the other passengrs of the shuttle, and the techno a car prompted character introductions. Other than that, eshki’s robo taxi charter to the markets.

The Outland Markets
This turned into a pretty good role play opportunity. In addition to the block text, I roleplayed various merchants hawking wares to prompt conversations. The one lone kasatha that in the party was offered a brand new face scarf made of Haan silk from a lads than vendor. The three ysoki, who were kind of moving around as a pack, we’re offered ysoki grooming kits from Akiton by a kasathan merchant. Another offered the human a 3D printed model of the Pradulex Monastery as a souvenir of his visit. The last was a lashunta wild warden, who offered to sell a pet cage armor upgrade to Keskodai so his tadpole son would have a safer place to be. ( the PC playing Keskodai then proceeded to try to sell his son to the merchant, which the party intervened in and said that was extremely out of character for Keskodai.) the envoy tried to wheel and deal and make connections and did most of the talking. They eventually learned about alsuka tea house and headed there.

Alsuka’s Tea House
a nice description, good set piece. Not a lot to say about here.

A Lesson in Manners I agree this section comes off as rather preachy and unprompted, especially since up to this point the party has been Fairly polite. When Alsuka was like “ you need to be polite.” At least one of the PCs was like ‘ but I am polite.” I think this would work better if she tells them jadnura went to the monasteryfirst, but then emphasizes that she will provide them a lesson in manners to help them ensure they don’t accidentally insult master boojan.

Sharing information
So now we get to the actual tea party, which admittedly I was excited for. I brought actual tea and cups, with a plate of snack cakes and a couple boxes of tea bags. This section ran for a while, and was honestly quite fun, though at times the party kind of hit a wall as to what to do. Most people are used to using social situations like that to gather intel, not to make small talk, and the player for Keskodai kept trying to talk about business with the rest of the party berating him for it. A few times they got a few good conversations in. Alsuka and the blitz soldiers discussed the possibility of singing ginseng, to which the technomancer eagerly chimed in that she’d love to engineer that. The envoy kissed butt and also tried to compliment her business. The armored storm complimented the decor and offered to render her business as a VR simulation so people could see it in the info sphere, which triggered a discussion about the value of business with physical locations and the need to physically go to a place and seeing it for oneself than to experience it via simulation. But then other times, everyone just sat in awkward silence drinking tea unsure what to say. Again, if it was made more obvious in the previous section that this was a teaching experience and that small talk was important, rather than the PCs having to make a relatively high sense motive check to get that info, those awkward silence moments could be avoided.

the pradulex monastery
At this point the party was eager to get here. They had gotten their intel from Alsuka, and got to meet the initiates. They did take note how agitated Kan-zeal was, but didn’t ask.

meeting master boojan
The party was warned to not speak first, and did a very good job on that. Eventually boojan addressed the kasatha in the party, asking the light or dark question. His answer was light. The party seemed to have a better time coming up with things to talk about, as it is a solarian temple, and master boojan was all too happy to oblige given the subject matter. They asked questions like what is the cycle? How does that apply to the world? Why is the cycle important? In the end, with all allowed bonuses and the way the encounter is set up, they got a 44 to influence master boojan. He set up the meeting with Kahir and sent them on their way.

in defense of honor

This probably would have been better with block text. I did my best to try to make kan-zal sound accusatory, and distraught that his parents died in the scoured stars, but I struggled to find good wording for it. The party tried to talk him down but failed the diplomacy to influence his friends, so they all attacked. The way this fight was arranged was actually really fun tactically speaking. The armored storm genuinely realized that the walls were low enough he could jump jets over them to get behind the enemies. The combined tactics of the solarian initiates felt like great interplay we don’t see often. The party made use of various obstacles for cover. They did primarily non lethal damage, and knocked out kanzal and one of the initiates, and did enough damage to the other to make him surrender. They decided ( without prompting even) to take the initiates back to the monastery, where they recieved a formal apology and assured the matter would be handled internally. After that it was meeting Kahir and boarding the Void Scholar.

Into the Void
the party appreciated having several days to heal up from the last fight. I did my best to try to describe some fantastic, visual thing to emphasize how amazing the stellar phenomenon Kahir dropped them off.

solar intrusion
we did not have time for the optional encounter and so did not run it, but only just barely. I had trouble finding the sidebar saying it was optional, I only knew it was optional because of this discussion thread. I ended up finding it on page 13, when the encounter is on page 15. The map for the temple was in between. Why is the map there?

Ibran observation temple
I let them see the whole map since it says they can get a good idea of the layout from above, but I didn’t let them see the rubble until they were in the rooms. I thought the perception check to notice the dome was oddly high, since they’re descending to the temple from above it and the dome is described as quite large.

The party dutifully starfinder Ed the entire building, and triggered every trap in the process. The mental remnant crystal seems to do a lot of damage, and if the technomancer had not saved it likely would have dropped her. The isolation chambers was a fun multi tiered trap that lead to a little role play. The t4chnomancer got stuck in there for what felt like 5 years. I also took the liberty of adding the dried, desiccated corpses of shirren Ibran priests to any room with treasure in it, including claw marks on the stone walls, and for the room with the knife, a pool of dried blood under the corpse from where that priest ultimately took its own life. I felt it made that area more interesting than simply loot lying on the floor of otherwise empty rooms. The infinite stairs was another fun and interesting one. The only thing with that one is because they could see the layout, and they thought it lead straight to the back of the temple, they didn’t see the need to go that way since they didn’t t know that back room was otherwise blocked off. They only realized that after they had already triggered the boss fight. Considering the treasure is items that would be useful in the boss fight, this is a problem. Speaking of which.

the void Hantu
I am convinced a mystic is necessary for this fight. My strategy based on tactics was to fly up in the air, use the gravity pull to yank enemies up into the air, then take an aoo when they fell past the hantu. First round both spellcasters go after the hantu, so he targets who is closest which is the operative. He blows away the fort save and nothing happens. Everyone takes shots except the blitz soldier, who had no ranged options and forgot about the called tactical knife they had found. The technomancer uses a full round magic missile after identifying it, and Keskodai uses a lvl 2. Mindthrust. The hantu fails the save. Next round the mystic is clearly the biggest threat, and so he goes after him. The hantu’s strat goes off without a hitch, and the mystic takes damage from the blow, wisdom damage, and falling damage. Thankfully it’s low gravity so falling damage is halved.the shirren mind thrusts again. And basically this repeats until eventually the technomancer finished him off with a magi missile. I think about 70% of the damage was done by the mystic, with 20 done by the technomancer and the rest by the rest of the party. I feel like a mystic is essential to this fight, and that the fight’s tactics assume a mystic Or technomancer in the party to make it manageable. The funny thing is this part could have easily been 3 soldiers, a solarian, and a operative instead of 2 soldiers, an envoy, a mystic, an operative and a technomancer. Without casters the hantu attacks classes who typically do not have good mental scores and would drop quickly because of it. There seems to be this occasional flaw in encounter design that seems to assume that there is always a mystic, which makes it seem like if you don’t have one, survival is impossible. I don’t think having encounters where it goes ‘having this specific class is the only way to manage this” is a good idea, and seems counter to one of the benefits I’ve seen in starfinder that being that people don’t have to play hardline roles anymore. You don’t necessarily need a dedicated healer. You don’t necessarily need a dedicated tank or dps. You don’t have to be a mechanic to be a good engineer, or a soldier to be good in melee. Sure, certain classes have certain roles they do better than others, but there are enough options in every class that you can have an offbeat play style and still perform well. Various systems make it where you can get by.But then you get encounters like his where clearly one specific class is needed. And if you don’t have it, it’s time to roll up a new character. From my experience, that one class is always a mystic. Maybe I need to roll one up for myself.

Acquisitives 1/5

Sean Castor wrote:

the void Hantu

I am convinced a mystic is necessary for this fight.

Calling out this bit of text. As when I played in it, we had the following party make-up, and no-one dropped. (admittedly. 6 player party, and since we had no casters, the GM would attack whichever character had done most damage so far. (or when no-damage was done in a round, come after me, since I was throwing around the "buffs" mostly. See below.) [Gm even used the incorporeal to move through walls and ceilings to avoid AOOs intelligently.] Which due to rolls, caused the damage to rotate around the table pretty evenly in the end.)

2 soldiers (both level 5), 2 Envoys (both level 5), 2 solarians (one level 6, one level 3).

Didn't pay too much attention to exact abilities around the table except the other Envoy. (ya know, curiosity on fellow Envoy builds) I played one of the envoys, improv'ed with Get 'Em and Inspiring Boost. Other Envoy was another Inspiring Boost, they also had Clever Feint.

Both myself and the other Envoy stacked the pluses-to-hit. (get-em and he succeeded at the feint more often than he failed it. I would also Harrying-fire just before one of the Soldiers attacked if I hadn't needed to use Inspiring Boost [or couldn't cus I'd already Inspired who-ever took the damage]). Plus Inspiring Boosts for the Stamina around the table.

The Solarions both opted for solar pretty consistently, and exploded in the Hantu's face. (The party decided taking the occasional blast damage in order to apply damage to the Hantu was worth it considering we had all the IBs and previously un-used healing serums.)

I don't remember anything special about the Soldiers honestly. (We played this back in February, I am just now posting.)

Over-all, the fight was rough, but we managed.

TL;DR. Mystic is not needed for the fight on high-tier. Just need a couple Envoys.

3/5 ⦵⦵ Venture-Agent, Virginia—Portsmouth aka Pogiforce

Hantu tactics say if there isn't a spell casters to Target, he targets whoever is closest. Sounds like Your GM did not do that, unless you had multiple people equadistant. Not sure if that would have made your fight harder or not.

It also sounds like your GM left your Hantu at ground level, which debatably is also against tactics. If it had used the airborne "pull and provoke" maneuver I'm curious to know how your solarians would have performed.

5/5 ⦵⦵⦵

Sean Castor wrote:

It also sounds like your GM left your Hantu at ground level, which debatably is also against tactics.

Absolutely not.

The back room having the same ceiling height as the big room requires the fight to take place on a mobius strip. I don't see where anywhere says that all of the ceiling heights are 50 feet. The building is 50 feet high therefore all rooms are 50 feet high doesn't follow.

The pull and AOO attack tactic you're deriving the "must hang out on the ceiling" mandate from is an artifact from a known development change from 10 foot reach to 5 foot reach. There's nothing wrong with doing it but if it were a required tactic it would be explicitly spelled out not derived from a number of other facts including the buildings architecture.

Sovereign Court 4/5 Venture-Lieutenant, Netherlands—Leiden aka Ascalaphus

The hantu's tactics with regards to pulling are "broken".

Quote:
Gravitic Pull (Su) As a standard action, a void hantu can alter the gravity between itself and a target. The void hantu selects a target within 40 feet; that target must succeed at a Reflex save (DC 17) or be pulled 20 feet closer to the void hantu. This movement provokes attacks of opportunity.
tactics wrote:
During Combat The void hantu attacks the nearest target with its tendrils and uses its gravitic pull attack to pull targets closer so it can make attacks of opportunity with its tendrils.

99% of the time, when a random creature has tendrils, those have longer reach than it's other weapons. The tactics to make attacks of opportunity on someone you're pulling in with Gravitic Pull make perfect sense if the creature has reach and pulls you through it.

Starfinder, unlike Pathfinder, awards AoOs for moving through threatened areas even if the movement is not voluntary: the only way to avoid it is to use guarded steps or withdrawals. It's much more systematic that way. Movement caused Bull Rush and Reposition also provokes in Starfinder.

So yeah, lifting people to the ceiling, dropping them and taking AoOs is correct under Starfinder rules, but I don't think it's what the tactics intended. I do think it's a good idea to do as GM, because (1) it actually showcases something of what this creature is about, (2) it means the creature is making only one melee attack per round, which is actually easier on the PCs.

---

The other "broken" part of its tactics is the suggestion that it specifically singles out spellcasters to use its Devour Sentience on. Because it doesn't cost the creature anything to use it on other PCs either. If you're making a melee attack against a non-caster, there's no point to not also using the devour sentience rider effect. But you could honor the tactic by only spending the resolve for extra heavy ability damage against casters, and skimping on it with non-casters. This would make it a little easier for the PCs because a lot of melee PCs are going to have wisdom 10-12, and can't really cope with losing it in 1d4+1 chunks. (And picking wisdom here because it's a death spiral: if you lose the first few points your will save against the next attack will be worse.)

Acquisitives 1/5

Sean Castor wrote:

Hantu tactics say if there isn't a spell casters to Target, he targets whoever is closest. Sounds like Your GM did not do that, unless you had multiple people equadistant. Not sure if that would have made your fight harder or not.

It also sounds like your GM left your Hantu at ground level, which debatably is also against tactics. If it had used the airborne "pull and provoke" maneuver I'm curious to know how your solarians would have performed.

The hantu was, mostly, at ground level. yes. As for the people equidistant or not. For the most part, yes, the soldiers and solarions were all attacking in melee. The GM appeared to be of the same idea as others here that only certain rooms were the full 50 feet, hence the ground level.


We played it yesterday. Our party : Mystic 3, Soldier 4, Mechanic 6 and Envoy 6. The Envoy and Mechanic main weapons were non magical kinetic ones. We got lucky and the GM got nice, we got it to half hit points.

I like tough fights, but I don't find it very funny when the fight is lost before even starting. I think they should advertise a bit more on how deadly this module is, so people will bring properly build parties.

5/5 ⦵⦵⦵

In pathfinder being incorporeal meant you lost your con bonus and most major sources of AC. Starfinders incorporeal rules with CR based HP and AC make incorporeal damn near doubling somethings HP.


It's way better than doubling HP. You also avoid half of non-damaging spell effects, you are immune to critical hits (and coup de grace), to combat maneuvers, you go through walls, you have blindsense, you can't be sensed by smell or sound, non magical kinetic weapons can't affect you (and in Starfinder, having a magical weapon is far more expensive than in Pathfinder) and all the damage you take is rounded down.

In my opinion, it's a +2 to CR, which would make the CR of this encounter far closer to what it should really be: A killing encounter (hardly countered by the non-optimized monster tactic)

Shadow Lodge 5/5 ⦵⦵⦵⦵ Venture-Captain, Indiana—Southern aka CanisDirus

Prepping to run this in a few days. I just wanted to post a thank you for the discussion here, especially the reviews by Lau and Sean. You've both given me quite a few things to spend extra time studying so I can make this as good of an experience for my players as possible!

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