Fate of the Fifth (1 of 6) GM's Reference


Attack of the Swarm

Grand Lodge

This is a forum for questions and discussion of book 1, Fate of the Fifth.


LOVE the start of this AP, trying to figure out how to squeeze this in between PF II at the moment but this looks to be a great and diversified beginning, can't wait to run this!!

Tom


Also loving this one, no two ways about it. I did have one question, though. The Bug Snare (pg 44) is listed as a level 10 item. Is that a typo? It seems awfully high for something that does a d4 and entangles on a failed DC 13 Reflex save.

Dark Archive

Yeah, the dev posted on the product thread its supposed to be level 2 item

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Pawns, Rulebook Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

It seems extremely weird to me that the vorphoma's venom attack isn't explicitly called out as a poison effect. That's just an oversight, I assume, and we're supposed to get that from the name?


Spoiler Maybe?

The soldier group that got to the temple first never made contact with the shirren? He didn't hear that ruckus outside?

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Starfinder Maps Subscriber

Better late than never! Here are links to all the other GM reference threads for this AP. Remember that there are no spoilers because these are GM resource threads!

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This is a spoiler-filled resource thread for GMs running the Attack of the Swarm Adventure Path, specifically for the first adventure, "Fate of the Fifth."

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All GM Threads in this series:

1 - Fate of the Fifth
2 - Last Refuge
3 - Huskworld
4 - Forever Reliquary
5 - Hive of Minds
6 - God-Host Ascends

Paizo Employee Developer

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Wonky Chewbacca wrote:
Also loving this one, no two ways about it. I did have one question, though. The Bug Snare (pg 44) is listed as a level 10 item. Is that a typo? It seems awfully high for something that does a d4 and entangles on a failed DC 13 Reflex save.

That is indeed a typo! It is a level 2 item and is priced as such.

Paizo Employee Developer

Devastation Bob wrote:

Spoiler Maybe?

The soldier group that got to the temple first never made contact with the shirren? He didn't hear that ruckus outside?

Xelonan was caught up in his trance at the time!

Paizo Employee Developer

Shisumo wrote:
It seems extremely weird to me that the vorphoma's venom attack isn't explicitly called out as a poison effect. That's just an oversight, I assume, and we're supposed to get that from the name?

Yeah, that should be a poison effect. Plus, the vorphoma is missing its Statistics section. Here's what should have been included.

STATISTICS
Str +1; Dex +4; Con +1; Int +0; Wis +0; Cha +2
Skills Acrobatics +5, Athletics +5, Stealth +10
Languages Shirren; telepathy 100 ft.


Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I read that Suskillon's aerial and orbital defenses were smashed, yet 6 months after the invasion began, Spacedock Prime-1 is attacked and crashes. Why was this or any Space Docks spared by the Swarm? Did the Swarm attack with a smaller army initially? Is this new attack the arrival of reinforcements?


Rasmar wrote:
I read that Suskillon's aerial and orbital defenses were smashed, yet 6 months after the invasion began, Spacedock Prime-1 is attacked and crashes. Why was this or any Space Docks spared by the Swarm? Did the Swarm attack with a smaller army initially? Is this new attack the arrival of reinforcements?

I read it as the SDF Interstellar powers are strong enough to secure it from the decreasing amount of swarm, or what they assumed to be decreasing amount. Mabye they had strong enough presence there to keep space dock prime 1 alive while others fell? Who knows, but you can frame it how you like.

and yes at the time of space dock 1 falling out of orbit it was attacked by a massive reinforcement component colony.


Ok, so how the hell do you even tell the scale of Sahtor region map on a computer! Im going to have a really hard time figuring out how to hand copy this for my game this satuday.

Paizo Employee Developer

alaiziadarkstar wrote:
Ok, so how the hell do you even tell the scale of Sahtor region map on a computer! Im going to have a really hard time figuring out how to hand copy this for my game this satuday.

That lower-right hand rectangular farm is 1/2cm long, so approximately 15 miles. Hey, that's pretty big! Its at least a few thousand acres of farmland!


In the middle of dming the game and am on break. my players kept trying to look for a vehicle for the long march thing moments after seeing the swarm because they are convinced they cant make the long march or escape these swarm without it.

gave em a busted up truck to make it a hour or 2 worth of the journey before it breaks down because they wouldn't stop asking about it and they were acting like I was being too strict or railroad

Ps, this was after the 4 dredger crater fight without them taking any damage because thye climbed up onto some rocks while one stood below and fought them.


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber; Starfinder Superscriber
alaiziadarkstar wrote:

In the middle of dming the game and am on break. my players kept trying to look for a vehicle for the long march thing moments after seeing the swarm because they are convinced they cant make the long march or escape these swarm without it.

gave em a busted up truck to make it a hour or 2 worth of the journey before it breaks down because they wouldn't stop asking about it and they were acting like I was being too strict or railroad

Ps, this was after the 4 dredger crater fight without them taking any damage because thye climbed up onto some rocks while one stood below and fought them.

You are a kinder GM than I. I would have had a Swarm Fleetfury swoop in and slag their vehicle after 10 minutes to add some Acid damage on top of the forced march...

There are no short cuts in this Shirren's army!


My party is just about to head out on the convoy, and have finally paid a visit to the Quartermaster right before they leave, and aren't going to have access to any printed items because they're about to leave. Which is fine, but after a very touch and go hike, they're wanting to stock up on healing serums. The text says the quartermaster tells them not to worry, as they'll be given healing items before they're sent out on a mission again, but there's no further guidance about how they can get those, or even if they can purchase them from the medics on site. I'm leaning towards letting them purchase at least some, but I was hoping to get some guidance.


Oh, additionally, just as a heads up for anyone else running the long slog:

As long as your party all have 30 ft movement speeds, they can walk to the 24 miles to Fort Gallant in eight hours. They can also hustle the distance, even though that isn't covered in the overland movement table, and it'll take them four hours. I had them take the non lethal damage from the hustle after the first hour, and then try the con check to avoid the forced march damage.

If they have less than a 30 ft movement speed, then they might end up taking long enough to need the sleep deprivation checks if they just walk.


Don't forget that they are already awake for quite some time.
2 hours for walking to their patrol area, 13 hours of patrol (a day in Suskillon has 26 hours), 1 hour back, 1 hour fighting etc.
So they are awake for around 17 hours when they start the long march.

This will also mean that their environment protection systems (eps) will be empty before they reach Fort Gallant.

My group is half way through the first book (they arrived in Reos) and the march to Fort Gallant was really tense, not only because of what just happened (SpaceDock-1, Jamallak, destruction of the City etc.) but also because their eps were close to run out of battery.
They only make it without Cold Climate rolls because they activated the eps not when they moved out of camp but a few hours later (and made the cold climate rolls then).
But the bridge and the low energy really brought up the pressure. (I also reminded the player during the march from time to time about the way ahead and the energy of their eps^^ ("8 miles to go and your energy is at 30%, let's hope nothing happens on the way..." *rolled a dice behind the DM screen*).


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber; Starfinder Superscriber
Tryn wrote:

Don't forget that they are already awake for quite some time.

2 hours for walking to their patrol area, 13 hours of patrol (a day in Suskillon has 26 hours), 1 hour back, 1 hour fighting etc.
So they are awake for around 17 hours when they start the long march.

This will also mean that their environment protection systems (eps) will be empty before they reach Fort Gallant.

My group is half way through the first book (they arrived in Reos) and the march to Fort Gallant was really tense, not only because of what just happened (SpaceDock-1, Jamallak, destruction of the City etc.) but also because their eps were close to run out of battery.
They only make it without Cold Climate rolls because they activated the eps not when they moved out of camp but a few hours later (and made the cold climate rolls then).
But the bridge and the low energy really brought up the pressure. (I also reminded the player during the march from time to time about the way ahead and the energy of their eps^^ ("8 miles to go and your energy is at 30%, let's hope nothing happens on the way..." *rolled a dice behind the DM screen*).

So I tried to leave some vague language on the time scale in that section for GMs to adjust things how they want. If you want the Long Slog section to be fairly easy you can run it short (like only 4 hours of forced March), or if you want them trudging through a snowstorm after being awake all night then that option exists too.

The Bridge crossing is like the climax of the first part of the book, and the stakes should feel do or die (if a player character is out of RP at that point the explosion is definitely deadly!)

Paizo Employee Developer

GothPanda wrote:
My party is just about to head out on the convoy, and have finally paid a visit to the Quartermaster right before they leave, and aren't going to have access to any printed items because they're about to leave. Which is fine, but after a very touch and go hike, they're wanting to stock up on healing serums. The text says the quartermaster tells them not to worry, as they'll be given healing items before they're sent out on a mission again, but there's no further guidance about how they can get those, or even if they can purchase them from the medics on site. I'm leaning towards letting them purchase at least some, but I was hoping to get some guidance.

We meant for the PCs to get healed of any damage they took during the long slog and bridge escape, so they can start fresh for the evacuation. What the quartermaster is saying is that they would be given healing supplies if they get sent out on their own again, but what happens is that the whole fort packs it up.

Also, if the PCs get wounded during the gunship showdown, an SDF medic should patch them up too.

Hopefully, the PCs will earn those mk 1 healing serums for dispersing the crowd being stirred up by Zantos, but if not, they can certainly buy serums from the medics. You should probably impress that supplies are limited, so maybe they can only get between two and four of them.


Jason Keeley wrote:

We meant for the PCs to get healed of any damage they took during the long slog and bridge escape, so they can start fresh for the evacuation. What the quartermaster is saying is that they would be given healing supplies if they get sent out on their own again, but what happens is that the whole fort packs it up.

Also, if the PCs get wounded during the gunship showdown, an SDF medic should patch them up too.

Hopefully, the PCs will earn those mk 1 healing serums for dispersing the crowd being stirred up by Zantos, but if not, they can certainly buy serums from the medics. You should probably impress that supplies are limited, so maybe they can only get between two and four of them.

Thanks for the guidance! They did get the serums for dispersing the crowd, so they've got at least a couple on hand. That hike definitely has them a bit spooked, but the being able to heal after the convoy absolutely makes sense. Will definitely dial up the scarcity of resources angle.

Thanks again!


Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I'm curious why Commander Najiri had her leg cut off when a Healing Serum could have healed her wounds. Are there in game mechanics that back up the reason why her leg was removed or was it just for the story?

My players also wondered why the SDF bothered blowing up the bridge when the Swarm could have just as easily flown across the river. I get that the Dredgers can't fly, but they brought enough ships with them, that I don't see this being an issue. Plus the Vorphoma can fly across.


Rasmar wrote:

I'm curious why Commander Najiri had her leg cut off when a Healing Serum could have healed her wounds. Are there in game mechanics that back up the reason why her leg was removed or was it just for the story?

My players also wondered why the SDF bothered blowing up the bridge when the Swarm could have just as easily flown across the river. I get that the Dredgers can't fly, but they brought enough ships with them, that I don't see this being an issue. Plus the Vorphoma can fly across.

Don't bother looking for answers, the military side of this adventure makes 0 sense. I doubt Paizo spend much thought on it.


Simple Reason:
Storytelling & Atmosphere. It's the same reason the BBEG didn't kill the main character in a movie in the first five minutes.


Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Ixal wrote:
Don't bother looking for answers, the military side of this adventure makes 0 sense. I doubt Paizo spend much thought on it.

Unfortunately it appears this is the case. So many things are happening that make zero sense.

Last night's game, the characters were heading to Reos City. The convoy gets attacked by one single lonely Swarm fleetfury. A massive slow moving convoy would be easy pickings. Why one fleetfury? Why not a half dozen, make the convoy lose half of it's vehicles. Maybe the fleetfury was just a scout.

When they arrive at Reos City, my players can see ships coming and going. They want to leave. They could care less about Commander Najiri's rescue mission. It took veiled threats from the Commander, as well as the characters demanding some sort of compensation before they were willing go.

The adventure assumes the characters will get a nights rest. But there is this massive hurry to get the priest to safety. One minute Commander Najiri is saying, "Any questions before you move out, soldiers?" the next Lt. Gorham is waking the PC's at dawn to bring them to a vehicle to begin their mission.

Well... My players left immediately, they didn't wait until morning. There is a real sense of urgency to get off this planet. For the adventure to assume they would rest up before heading out just seems weird to me.

The unchained gang encounter... They saw the picture of the inmate, immediately figured it out (Some were saying it was an Ambush) and didn't stop to help them. In fact they shot at them as they drove past, then they kept on going.

I have a feeling I am going to have to modify the rest of this adventure for it to make sense.

Dark Archive

Umm two things: Players are supposed to be military members, if they ignore their commander, they become deserters which is a severe crime in any military. Soldiers don't ask compensation from their boss to do their job.

If pcs refuse to play along the premise of AP(e.g. being part of military)then what prevents them from just escaping the entire solar system once they capture a ship? Altering the AP wouldn't solve the issue. You should instead talk with players(btw, did you show them the player's guide and tell them what ap was about? Did players agree to idea of having commanding officer give them missions?)

Second, you probably shouldn't have showed them picture of inmates before they got close enough to the ambush :P That is straight up meta knowledge considering the only visible inmate was lying on ground and hard to spot their clothing under jacket.


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From what you tell, it seems more that your players don't wanted to lean in on the "military theme" of the adventure.
Sure some pieces doesn't looks logical at the first look, but also keep in mind that there are always things happen who are not shown/told in the AP.

Example: Why only one fleetfury?
When the convoy moves out Cmdr. Najiri of course told the HQ in Reos about it. They sent a swaudron of fightercrafts to backup the convoy. When Fort Gallant exploded, they are enganging the enemy sqaudron which tries to kill the convoy. They managed to hold them back, but one enemy slipped through their lines ans chased the convoy.

Why not evacuate immediately from Reos?
Because there are civilians and the duty of a soldier is to protect civilians. So the civilians will be evacuated first.
There were only a number of ships available, so it will take some time to evacuate several thousands of civilians.
That's why they were told "It will take 2-3 days to evacuate everybody from Reos".
They already had a days march from Fort Gallant to Reos behind them, so giving them some sleep before the next mission is logical.
If your player head right after the convoy to the temple I would suggest to take a look at the "Sleep Deprivation"-Rules.

For me it looks more a "player issue" then a AP issue


Tryn wrote:

From what you tell, it seems more that your players don't wanted to lean in on the "military theme" of the adventure.

Sure some pieces doesn't looks logical at the first look, but also keep in mind that there are always things happen who are not shown/told in the AP.

Example: Why only one fleetfury?
When the convoy moves out Cmdr. Najiri of course told the HQ in Reos about it. They sent a swaudron of fightercrafts to backup the convoy. When Fort Gallant exploded, they are enganging the enemy sqaudron which tries to kill the convoy. They managed to hold them back, but one enemy slipped through their lines ans chased the convoy.

Why not evacuate immediately from Reos?
Because there are civilians and the duty of a soldier is to protect civilians. So the civilians will be evacuated first.
There were only a number of ships available, so it will take some time to evacuate several thousands of civilians.
That's why they were told "It will take 2-3 days to evacuate everybody from Reos".
They already had a days march from Fort Gallant to Reos behind them, so giving them some sleep before the next mission is logical.
If your player head right after the convoy to the temple I would suggest to take a look at the "Sleep Deprivation"-Rules.

For me it looks more a "player issue" then a AP issue

Just quote the Birkenhead Drill at them or the Starfinder equivalent

To take your chance in the thick of a rush, with firing all about,
Is nothing so bad when you’ve cover to ’and, an’ leave an’ likin’ to shout;
But to stand an’ be still to the Birken’ead drill is a damn tough bullet to chew,
An’ they done it, the Jollies—’Er Majesty’s Jollies—soldier an’ sailor too!
Their work was done when it ’adn’t begun; they was younger nor me an’ you;
Their choice it was plain between drownin’ in ’eaps an’ bein’ mopped by the screw,
So they stood an’ was still to the Birken’ead drill, (2) soldier an’ sailor to


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I plan on running this with some first time Starfinder players next week and before they are sent on their patrol, I plan on having the PCs run through an obstacle course as a final part of their basic training. Right now the plan is for the PCs to climb a wall (Athletics check), balance on a beam (Acrobatics), make ranged and melee attacks against targets, and run through tear gas (Fort save). Any other suggestions for core game mechanics that new players should be familiar with before they are sent against the Swarm?


First I would make clear that they are in for a "military" campaign, this campaign is not for the typical rag-tag group of adventurers.

For the obstacle course, I would run some basic simulated combat encounter. simply to show the player their options, the importance of cover and the general combat lethality.

Also maybe you should provide them with some basic equipment-packs they can choose from instead of giving them the freedom to equip themself (which can be daunting to new players). Also this would fir the APs general theme.

Also make sure to explain the environment rules, especially the environment protection system and make sure they have a general feeling of ingame time in the first AP (especially in the first part time is a really important factor).

Beside of this don't hesitate to add some small stories/encounter to show the merciless swarm and the threat it pose to the whole system.


It also depends if some of the players have a military background themselves.
As written the entire military part of this adventure doesn't make sense, especially on a larger scale, and requires some rewriting if the players are interested in it.

Liberty's Edge

A healing serum can reattach a leg, regrow a leg or some other traumatic damage?

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Pawns, Rulebook Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Tryn wrote:
Also maybe you should provide them with some basic equipment-packs they can choose from instead of giving them the freedom to equip themself (which can be daunting to new players). Also this would fir the APs general theme.

I agree with this suggestion 100%. When I finally get a chance to run this AP, I fully intend to design a standard kit of assigned gear (armor, sidearm, longarm, comm gear, rations, medkit, etc.) to just hand out to each PC, and then give them maybe about 500cr more for their own personal use. This will probably end up being somewhere between 1250 and 1500cr worth of gear total, to make up for not having options for a lot of it.


@Noven: Wrong post? and No it can't.

Liberty's Edge

Tryn wrote:
@Noven: Wrong post? and No it can't.

Nope, not a wrong post. I was referring to this, sorry.

Rasmar wrote:

I'm curious why Commander Najiri had her leg cut off when a Healing Serum could have healed her wounds. Are there in game mechanics that back up the reason why her leg was removed or was it just for the story?


My bad, sorry.

But basically it's story-reason plus Serum of healing didn't reattach/regrow limbs.


Finally found a time slot to get this game going for a new group I just formed

For those who have run this or are running this now, what might be some things to watch out for?

Classes are still up in the air as we are waiting for COM to drop next week but right now I will start it like this

1. It will open with the players on a military transport ship map heading planetside. (with R20 animated space map background) Still debating if a short but sharp swarm ship engagement (trying to think of a way to have them all take a turn as just gunner and not a full space battle) should happen or they have about a half hour RP time getting to know each others characters, explore the ship map a bit and a few sprinkled in soldier NPC's in their unit that will get flattened in their first and 2nd combat dirtside as the squad gets whittled down til only the Pc's and maybe 1 or 2 NPC's remain.

2. they land at the base and get drill Sgt hussled off and into the base and get their instructions, have a bit of time for rumors and meeting NPC's as they start to grasp the dire situation of the war at this time then get ordered out for their first patrol.

Spending a LOT of time on finding, buying and creating maps as the ones provided needless to say leave a lot to be desired sadly.

I have the transport ship map, 1st base and the first 2 actions maps done and ready to go so far.

Thanks for any insight and help here gang

:)

Tom


Any stats for the stryker vehicle for the chase scene somewhere? Did not see it in the module or Nethy's

thanks for any help here

Tom


If stats are needed I would take the All-Terrain Transport from the CRB for it. But since the Fleetfury will never really hit the Stryker you don't really need stats for this encounter.


Cool, thanks ya going to turn it into a battle, the PC's manning the stryker have to drive , and shoot and spot incoming. Once a hit is made that enemy crashes or flees, what have you, but Stryker might also take damage and slow the convoy or one of its vehicles gets blasted, more a flavor battle but should fit right in and give it that real retreat the planet is lost and need to leave ASAp feeling, or so I hope

Thanks again

Tom


Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Noven wrote:
A healing serum can reattach a leg, regrow a leg or some other traumatic damage?

I don't think I implied it could "reattach" a leg. However, her leg was still attached when the characters arrived. Yes, her leg was mangled badly and the bone was exposed, but it was still attached.

Perhaps, it was so badly damaged, a healing serum could not heal it.

I just wanted to clarify what I meant.

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