Dead Suns Comp book thoughts and comments, changes, what stayed the same and so on...


Dead Suns


Hav'nt pulled the trigger just yet but I will sooner or later, and I have the original AP from the start so...

Not quite sure what to expect from the "minimal changes/Tweeks" said to be done and just a couple more or different art pieces added in.

So what are your thoughts on this for those who have it, compared to the indivigual Modules in the AP way back at the start?

Worth it for the changes?

Stick with the originals?

What you might have changed if you were doing this (that did'nt) comp book and so on?

Thanks

Tom


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I've started going through it side-by-side but my time is limited this part of the year.

I can say that the compilation is, as advertised, a straight Dead Suns reprint, with a few minor tweaks as needed.

Book 1 Tweaks:
Hebiza Eskolar and by extension Gevalarsk Nor's motivations are clearly defined now for the GM. Her role in the story has not been expanded, however, so these two Eoxians' motivations are likely to remain quite opaque to the PCs. And as before, even encountering Eskolar at all requires the PCs to go quite far "off the path" (breaking into a cargo container that Nor has told them not to mess with, while being followed by a floating camera they know is sending a live feed directly to Nor).

The infamous garaggakal fight is "fixed" by simply directing the GM to the creature's statblock in Alien Archive 2.

The various NPCs with "unique" class abilities (Ferani, Vrokilayo, Clara-247) have not been altered.

I'll post more later as I work through the book, unless others beat me to the punch.


Thanks John

Did you note any new art yet?

And how are the maps in the map PDF, any changes or the exact same and in the same resolution as when they first came out?

Tom


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There are a few new full illustrations, including (I think) several new half-page action scenes, plus three full-page illustrations that kick off each chapter, following the current format. Most notable of the new art is a full-page illo of the Acreon hauling the Drift Rock. The other full-page illos feature iconics fighting a sky fisher and one of the Sunrise Maiden zipping through the Corpse Fleet.

Side note about the Acreon:

Spoiler:
Still no restroom. But I understand that would probably be a major pain to fix. When I ran IaAS, I just told my players to squint and picture the outer-starboard crew cabin, at the bottom of map as printed, as the restroom.

You also get a separate PDF of interactive maps. As usual, these interactive maps don't include the starship maps originally featured on the inside back covers (though you do still get those maps within the hardback itself).


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Book 2 Tweaks:
* The Thauntech Cairncarver's gunnery and crew skill bonuses have been brought in line with the general rules for NPC starships in the Core Rulebook (3rd printing).

* Following on Eskolar's clarified goals, the Iron Rictus's motivation has been gently nudged to suit (leading to the same actions).

* Since the yaruk stampede is not presented as a combat encounter, yaruk stats are not included in the bestiary. I think the yaruk is the only creature unique to Dead Suns (and isn't reprinted elsewhere) whose stats aren't included.

Dark Archive

I assume they didn't clarify how traveling speed thing worked? Because the original version was confusing as hell to parse and ended up feeling bit pointless :'D

Maybe I should just get the book for myself so I can see these things too..

Dark Archive

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I crumbled under curiosity..

I'm not giving full breakdown detail here since somebody is already doing it, but I observe they changed wording on some of the annoying railroady spots on original and they little bit tweaked Empires of Bones' part where players get idea to:
go to flagship by making it more gradual rather than them instantly hitting on plan to hijack flagship without knowledge(aka, they first find out that super weapon has structural weakness that could be exploited to destroy it and that data is on flagship, so they first infiltrate trip to find that info and only after that learn that mutinous officer's pet project and nature of ship makes hijacking possible)


Thanks so its looking like they got to the main things that needed it, very nice. And always refreshing to get new art so you can pop em on players.

Might be getting this way sooner than I expected!!

Tom


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CorvusMask wrote:
I assume they didn't clarify how traveling speed thing worked? Because the original version was confusing as hell to parse and ended up feeling bit pointless :'D

No changes to that. I'm also only commenting on actual changes, not little changes I think they should have made. For example:

Tiny Tiny Book 2 Spoiler:
Early on the PCs are given a head count for the Devourer cultists they're tracking (14 plus Dr. Solstarni). But the adventure only accounts for 13 cultists, living or dead, leaving one cultist, either a human or lashunta, unaccounted for.

And the trip back to civilization is still handwaved.

Not a big deal by any means, but didn't change for the compilation.

Also, and this is SOP, the starship statblocks included here (like the Thaumtech Cairncarver mentioned above) have not been rebalanced to match the revised BP costs from the updated CRB. As it happens the Sunrise Maiden is still on budget, though.


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Oh, I should also mention an addition for the compilation: a campaign timeline. On the one hand, this is very nice to have, but on the other hand, it could have been far more useful. The timeline includes 16 events, ranging from the unknown depths of the pre-Gap to the present. But of these events, about a third are just Big Moments in Pact Worlds History with no direct connection to this adventure (such as the breakouts of the Silent War and the Swarm War). Only five events are directly tied to this adventure path. Other events I would have rather seen here include:

Spoiler:

* Halkueem Zan's expedition to the Temple of the Twelve
* Introduction of the Cult of the Devourer to the Pact Worlds, and more specifically, Nyara's authoring of The Entropy of Existence and Glorious Rise of the Void. As is, the adventure mentions Nyara's "long elven life span" and that she wrote her prophecies "some centuries ago," which seems to push much of her "career" into the whole can o' worms that is the Gap.

For that matter, the AP still wavers on whether the kishalee and sivv were active "millions" of years ago, "thousands of millennia" ago, or "thousands of years" ago. Those zeroes matter! As written, it suggests that the kishalee civilization took hundreds of thousands of years, maybe even longer, to dwindle after defeating the sivv. Maybe that's so, but I'd prefer less guesswork.

Onward:

Book 3 Tweaks:
* As with the Thaumtech Cairncaver in the last volume, the Nebulor Outfitters Starhopper's gunnery score has been tweaked slightly; its stats have not been rebalanced for the revised BP costs. (They do now include ranges with the starship weapons.) I'm just going to assume this will be the case with all of the starships in the compilation going forward.

No tweaks to the adventure itself.


They didn't fix the eoxian maps? Mainly the marrowblight one.


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No changes to any maps.

Book 4 Tweaks:
* There's a very small, intriguing tweak to the sharpwing encounter. For whatever reason, the original The Ruined Clouds included an entire sharpwing statblock, directing the reader to Alien Archive just for details of one ability. The compilation keeps the entire statblock, now more clearly noting its AA entry, but tags it as a variant by making a small change to its attacks. One reason I can think of to do this would be to subtly support the notion, as mentioned in the text, that this creature is actually the product of convergent evolution, and not the "standard" sharpwing PCs might be familiar with from the Pact Worlds.

* As in the original adventure, the compilation provides the entire statblock for a scavenger slime (without referencing Alien Archive). This is a first for the compilation, and honestly I'm guessing that the reason is as simple as that removing this stat block would require filling in half a page with new text in a spot in the publication that isn't convenient for expansion. One could make the same argument for the Large elementals that occupy a full page a bit later, but in fairness you're getting statblocks that have already had the relevant grafts applied, as opposed to AA, so who's to complain.

*Hybeki's KAC and EAC have been reduced to bring them in line with Alien Archive's guidelines.

* Xavra's KAC and EAC have also been reduced, rather significantly in his case.

P.S.: Combing through this all again is reminding me that focusing closely on the narrative links connecting Books 1 through 4 is like constructing a red-yarn conspiracy map.

Dark Archive

Hmm oh right thats true, all of extra text from original is probably result of statblock referencing.

Still though I do think there was other stuff they could have expanded with that amount of extra wordcount even in book 4 x'D


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Book 5 Tweaks:
* Hey, was I wrong that all the starships would have their crew skills adjusted but stats unaltered? The modified ATech Bulwark has been reduced from Tier 7 to Tier 6. However, despite this, none of its stats have changed, and under the revised BP costs, it comes out to a BP budget of 206. Which means it was originally published as a Tier 7, has been relabeled a Tier 6, but is actually a Tier 8 starship, by the book, albeit one that might be a glass cannon at that tier.

Ah, mystery solved. The ship is still tagged as Tier 7 when it appears in the adventure, so labeling it Tier 6 in the starship gallery is almost certainly just a typo.

* In the atrocite encounter, PCs now have a chance to spot the creature coming and act in a surprise round.

* A little nod to changing times: A reference to an NPC having "gone mad" has been removed.

* Osteth's speech to the PCs, demonstrating the power of the Stellar Degenerator, has been expanded slightly to emphasize the moral and physical horror of its effects and that no one can be trusted with it.

* After the big speech Osteth also assures the PCs that they have time to take a long rest before pushing onward to take out the rest of the cult.

* At the end of the adventure, the PCs have time to return to Absalom Station (to shop, upgrade their ship, or what have you) and fly back before the Corpse Fleet arrives.


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Okay, home stretch.

Book 6 Tweaks:
* A stray, erroneous reference to the Gate of Twelve Suns being in the Nejeor system has been removed.

* As has already been mentioned, the adventure swaps out the PCs spontaneously realizing that they need to crash the Empire of Bones into the Stellar Degenerator for a trail of breadcrumbs that more gradually leads them to the EoB in search of a way to destroy the SD. It's a good fix.

* As a note, the compilation preserves a trivial continuity error between Books 5 and 6: In Book 5, the dormant SD has a power signature like a docked starship. In Book 6, its power signature is much more powerful. Just go with your preference, it doesn't matter which you pick.

* As the end credits roll, the PCs get a final extra credits reward to see them out.


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Adventure Toolbox Stuff
Here are the articles and Alien Archive entries that are included in the compilation. All of the starship stats and maps from the inner covers are included.

Included:

Continuing the Campaign
The Cult of the Devourer
The Corpse Fleet (including Vanguard of the Corpse Fleet)
Istamak (including Relics of the Kishalee)

Alien Archives
Acrochor
Atrocite
Baykok
Elebrian
Eohi
Gatecrasher
Jubsnuth
Kaukariki
Kish
Kurobozu
Lore guardian
Marrowblight
Mohrg
Oblivion shade
Pale stranger
Rebuilt
Renkroda, whiskered
Sky fisher
Vampire, jiang-shi
Veolisk
Writher Swarm

And here are the articles and Alien Archives entries that are not included (and where else to find them now, if applicable). No Codex of Worlds entries are included.

Not Included:

Absalom Station (Pact Worlds)
Alien Worlds and Cultures (found only in AP #5: The Thirteenth Gate)
Castrovel (readers are directed to Pact Worlds, but the articles aren't entirely identical)
The Drift and Alluvion (found only in AP #4: The Ruined Clouds)
Eox (readers are directed to Pact Worlds for the gazetteer, though the articles aren't identical. For necrografts, see Armory)
Relics of Golarion (found only in AP #1: Incident at Absalom Station)
Ships of the Corpse Fleet (the compilation includes only the arcane mortuary expansion bay; otherwise found only in AP #6: Empire of Bones)
Ships of the Line (Starship Operations Manual)

Alien Archives
Akata (Alien Archive 2)
Bone trooper (Alien Archive 2)
Corpsefolk (Alien Archive 2)
Driftdead (Alien Archive 3)
Ferran (found only in AP #2: Temple of the Twelve)
Garaggakal (Alien Archive 2)
Ghibrani (found only in AP #5: The Thirteenth Gate and Starfinder Society materials)
Ghoul (Alien Archive 2)
Ilthisarian (found only in AP #5: The Thirteenth Gate)
Living hologram (Alien Archive 3)
Rauzhant (found only in AP #1: Incident at Absalom Station)
Scyphozoan (found only in AP #5: The Thirteenth Gate)
Selamid (currently found only in AP #5: The Thirteenth Gate, but has been announced as coming back in Ports of Call)
Seprevoi (found only in AP #5: The Thirteenth Gate)
Shimreen (Alien Archive 3)
Skreeling (Alien Archive 3)
Skreesire (Alien Archive 3)
Vracinea (Alien Archive 3)
Woioko (included only in AP #2: Temple of the Twelve)
Yaruk (included only in AP #2: Temple of the Twelve)
Zombie, void (Alien Archive 2)

Finally, the compilation provides a combination glossary and index for various people, places, and things in the AP.

Dark Archive

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Thanks for checking through the stuff again :D

Acquisitives

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huh. no Alluvion article anymore... gonna be an update in Drift Hackers?


I'm new to Starfinder and picked up this hardcover compilation as my first adventure path. Am I missing out on significant information for the campaign since it doesn't include several articles and Alien Archive entries? I see that it looks like some have been reprinted elsewhere since the individual books were released, but it seems odd that they would be removed from the compilation.


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The items that have been removed have since been reprinted in other hardbacks (sometimes updated with important fixes) or aren't relevant to this adventure path.

One thing to consider for folks choosing which to buy: The compilation PDF costs $40. PDFs of all six original volumes will run a total of $120.


Thanks JM for the nice info on whats changed and what has not, curious to see what you might have changed compared to what we got, when you have some time that is.

Tom


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Well, considering that the intent here was to simply put Dead Suns back in print, rather than significantly reworking it (as it seems Scoured Stars will), other than tightening up some loosey-goosey continuity the only "big" changes I think I would want to make would take up a couple of paragraphs.

1. At the conclusion of Book 2, I'd toss in a sentence or two to explain why the trek back to civilization is no big deal. I think one of the big let's play podcasts added a one-way aiudara, but you could just as well note something along the lines of "On the third day of the trek home, the PCs cross paths with a nomadic group of khizars making their way to the coast for some trade and shopping. With safety in numbers and the khizars' expertise, the return journey to Turhalu Point passes without problems."

2. The main change I would want to make would be to strongly clarify the trail of crumbs the cultists of the Devourer are following as they progress through Books 1-4. I had to "sit down" (virtually) with someone online and suss it all out to construct a workable picture in my head.

2B. Part and parcel with clarifying the cultists' path, in Book 1 I would have clarified for the GM that the alien language found on the Drift Rock was Sivv (perhaps even adding that analysis of the damaged security robot encountered on the Drift Rock revealed that it used an entirely separate, but equally unknown, programming language). And then, in Book 2, I'd clarify for the GM how the Oatia were exposed to that language, as well as how they recorded it (for Zan to later find).


Nice, sounds good, any idea what you would do to progress or have some sort of side story for the hybernating general by chance? I've always scratched my head on that and wished it was fleshed out a bit more myself.

And have something to have it come back around again later in the AP.

Tom


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It's not original to me, but to elaborate on the idea someone put forth on the forums here...

Spoiler:
In Book 1, Eskolar isn't trying to fully defect; she's trying to deliver crucial info to Nor before slipping back to the Corpse Fleet as a mole. In this circumstance, the Corpse Fleet ship that comes hunting for her in Book 2 (and the Corpse Fleet in general) has only tracked down that a traitor is onboard the Acreon, but they haven't deduced the traitor's identity. If Eskolar is captured, she'll be used to root out her allies in the fleet.

If the PCs are "good workers" and deliver Eskolar in Book 1 without exposing her to Absalom Station's law enforcement or media, then by Book 6 she has successfully returned to her duties within the Corpse Fleet and the PCs encounter her as a surprise ally onboard the Empire of Bones when they most desperately need a helping hand.


That should work very well, trying to think of a way to have someones backstory involved with it as well. That might be a good hook for someone I think.

Thanks for the helping hand here!!

Tom


John Mangrum wrote:

There are a few new full illustrations, including (I think) several new half-page action scenes, plus three full-page illustrations that kick off each chapter, following the current format. Most notable of the new art is a full-page illo of the Acreon hauling the Drift Rock. The other full-page illos feature iconics fighting a sky fisher and one of the Sunrise Maiden zipping through the Corpse Fleet.

Side note about the Acreon:

** spoiler omitted **

You also get a separate PDF of interactive maps. As usual, these interactive maps don't include the starship maps originally featured on the inside back covers (though you do still get those maps within the hardback itself).

The Interactive Maps are a big bonus to those who use a VTT, or simply a big TV screen they can put virtual counters on ^_^

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