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I am one of those GMs who is aching for high-level Starfinder play, but ABSOLUTELY does not want to do a corrupting horror campaign. So... I've been thinking about how to use campaign mode to offer a far less horrific version of Signal of Screams.
Player Buy-In: Obviously this would be critical. This run would need to advertised as a Campaign Mode run that is intentionally defanging horror elements and shifting the tone. That's why I am playing with the 'Signal of Scooby-Doo' name. I want it to be obvious what sort of tone I am reaching for, so that I don't recruit people who actually want the full horror.
Finding alternate challenges to the Corruption Sub-Plot. Are there tone-appropriate moral dilemmas and choices that I can find to replace the personal corruption plot line to keep things interesting for the players?
Maintaining sense of threat: I do want the players to feel challenged by the monsters and obstacles, and motivated to stop the strain from spreading.
Looking for spots where I can shift the tone and yet keep a good portion of the story: Where can I make small shifts to affect big changes in tone?
I'd be interested in the thoughts of other GMs and developers on these challenges, since I am thinking of doing this once either my Dead Suns or my Aeon Throne campaigns complete.
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I would just add this rule:
When you fail (voluntarily or not) a saving throw against a fear effect, you can choose to be utterly terrified.
Utterly terrified: You run away as fast as you can from the source(s) of fear, dropping anything you hold and messing around with everything in your path. You are immune to damage and your movement cannot be impeded (like the effects of Freedom of Movement). You fail all saving throws, but you succeed at all skill checks through sheer luck, like falling into secret passages, convincing people by babbling incoherently and such. This condition ends when you find someone who's not under a fear effect and spend a minute in his arms.
Perhaps you could add a little bit of Ghostbusters in the AP as well, by having the carrier signal open a mini-portal in communication devices allowing for a spook/ghost to manifest in the material plane (which may initially only be visible to the device's owner, then gradually become more substantial and produce more mischief in the Material Plane). The villain's "pain is great" schtick can change to "being spooked is great," and kytons become more like adrenaline junkies than pain obsessed.
Perhaps more powerful spooks can't manifest separately into the Material, and require possessing a host. So the personal corruption comes from how much control each player is willing to give their ghost partner in exchange for the buffs.
I'm finding it difficult dressing the full AP in Scooby-Doo style, but the first adventure definitely has SD-like elements. One possible interpretation:
Ulrikka Clanholdings left D-334H, claiming the asteroid was haunted by the spirit of a deceased space pirate captain who presumably left his treasure within the rock. The resort is built, and one of its employees developed a virus in the Keys to Elysium program that would manifest monstrous holograms (some of which can be a solid-light type a la Star Trek for combat purposes), scare everyone off the rock, and allow the villain sole access to this treasure. Said villain will occasionally dress as the ghost pirate captain, and probably set up other holographic scares throughout the resort.
The heroes' starship breaks down near New Elysium, and they must wait the night at the resort before their ship can be repaired. They meet the Absalom Buzzblades, the Pact World equivalent of the Harlem Globetrotters, who join them in the investigation and late-night snacking hijinks.
At least one chase sequence is required in a hallway with 6 to 8 doors, with "the ghost captain" and heroes entering and exiting the doorways in an unusual fashion. Although the ghost captain is quite translucent, large, and otherworldly throughout most of the adventure, the final combat and/or trap reveals it to just be a suit and mask with some holo-emitters.