Starfinder Society Scenarios: Heart of the Foe and Rasheen’s Riches

Today we’re going to take a look at the two most recent Starfinder Society Scenarios that are available for purchase, and let you know we thought. Although you’ll find references to events in each that I liked or disliked, and comments about specific characters, these scenarios are not explored in detail. It’s not my intention to spoil the events in these scenarios, or give summaries and full reviews, but to share my opinions and provide recommendations. That said, if you want to avoid even minor spoilers I recommend you check out a different article. Whether you intend to use them in home games of the Starfinder Roleplaying Game, sanctioned scenarios for use with the Starfinder Society Organized Play, or just want to read a nifty new adventure, we’ve got you covered! So sit back, and get ready to explore the Pact Worlds!

SFS #1-34 - Heart of the Foe by Nicholas Wasko
Starfinder Society Scenario #1-34: Heart of the Foe by Nicholas Wasko

Starfinder Society Scenario #1-34: Heart of the Foe is a Tier 3-6 adventure written by Nicholas Wasko. It takes place on Rax, an inhospitable planet the jinsul are known to visit on occasion. There you will explore a ruined city that shows signs of life for any information you can scrounge up on the jinsul and their society. This scenario features the Faction (Second Seekers [Jadnura]) and Faction (Second Seekers [Luwazi Elsebo]) tags making it the first mission to prominently feature both First Seekers. This scenario continues the ongoing Scoured Stars storyline (#1-05: The First Mandate, #1-11: In Pursuit of the Scoured Past, #1-13: On the Trail of History, #1-17: Reclaiming the Time-Lost Tear, #1-99: The Scoured Stars Invasion, #1-23: Return to Sender, #1-29: Honorbound Emissaries, and #1-31: Treading History’s Folly). As such you’ll want to bring along characters who have an interest in the Scoured Stars Trinary System or storyline, who have interacted with the jinsul, or are working on collecting the ‘Journey to Scoured Stars’ boons. I also recommend bringing a character who does not have a Personal Boon permanently slotted. This scenario does NOT involve starship combat, but it MIGHT feature a vehicle chase (more on that shortly). It makes use of Pathfinder: Map Pack: Frozen SitesPathfinder: Flip Mat: Tech Dungeon, and an awesome full page custom map that has a very ‘Borderlands‘ feel to it. This scenario features content from Starfinder Core RulebookAlien Archive, and Armory. All of the necessary stat blocks are included in the scenario itself. However, GMs will definitely need the Core Rulebook for this one. Although this scenario doesn’t include a vehicle chase (but it could) it does use modified vehicle chase rules, which most players do not have internalized (in my experience). GMs will likely need to brush up on the vehicle chase rules and be prepared to teach it to their players as needed. Be aware that this is a rather dense scenario, so groups that are unfamiliar with chases could cause it to run long.

Heart of the Foe begins when both First Seeker Luwazi Elsebo and First Seeker Jadnura task the PCs with travelling to a planet the jinsul are known to occassionally visit in order to discover actionable intel and information about the jinsul themselves. For those of you who don’t know, the jinsul are a violent race of aliens that conquered the Scoured Stars Trinary system while the Starfinder Society rescued their comrades during the #1-99: The Scoured Stars Invasion. The jinsul have been a thorn in the side of the Starfinder Society ever since and the First Seekers are worried at the threat they pose to the Pact Worlds. Your PCs will need to travel to the mysterious planet — alongside both First Seekers and three other Starfinder teams — investigate a few sites that show signs of life, and uncover what they can about the jinsul and their society. Neither the Starfinder Society nor the players know a whole lot about these insectile fellows, so I was thrilled to dig a little deeper into the history of the jinsul themselves. Exciting stuff! Throughout the course of this scenario PCs will get to learn about jinsul anatomy, culture, history, religious beliefs, and — oh yeah — fight a whole lot of jinsul! It’s an action packed, exciting scenario that’s going to be a lot of fun. The battles all serve a purpose, the chase scene is both exciting and complex, and the world itself is very atmospheric. The finale is exciting and challenging, with a lot of moving parts. It’s chaotic and really well done. Dare I say… epic? Yeah, I do. Haha. There’s only one real social encounter, but the character you get to interact with is really… enjoyable so it strikes a nice balance. I love their demeanour and attitude towards the PCs. So good!

Ekkerah - Illustrated by Bryan Syme
Ekkerah, illustrated by Bryan Syme. Art courtesy of Paizo Inc.

But, it’s not all sunshine and roses radiation and bullets. I do have a few minor complaints with this one. First off, it’s tough to run. Now, this isn’t really a complaint. It’s an observation and potential warning. This is not the kind of scenario an inexperienced GM should attempt. There’s vehicle chase rules, modifications to the vehicle chase rules, environmental conditions, a whole lot of dice rolling during travel scenes, plenty of hopping around between pages for potential clues and intel, and complex battles with lots of enemies and allies to track. Not easy. Second, it has a bit of a slow start. Not the immediate start, but the… well let’s call it the travel scene. There’s a lot of dice rolling done every hour, which runs the risk of becoming a boring sort of routine if not handled right (particularly when you take into account the flipping between pages that might have to occur). That said, I do like the information your group could uncover about the jinsul along the way. Third, environmental protections. Chances are your characters have them. They protect us from a lot, but there’s also things it won’t protect you from. Fair. But in this one it feels like you get penalized for using them. You either use them and suffer X or don’t use them and suffer Y. Which is unfortunate. The scenario refers to snow clinging to your environmental protections’ helmet — when many armour’s environmental protections use a force field instead of helmets — and even if you are wearing armour that has a helmet, couldn’t you just wipe it off? And if you are wearing armour that has an environmental forcefield for it’s environmental protections, can it seriously not handle a bit of clingy snow? Sounds like that armour has a pretty big design flaw to me. I hope my Starfinder kept their receipt. Haha. It felt sort of arbitrary to me. I’m totally cool with some environmental hazards going through your protections, but this snow thing just wasn’t one of them. Contrariwise, if they wanted the snow to hamper visibility, I’m totally fine with that. I am no stranger to snow and yeah, it’s hard to see sometimes. And finally…. I love that baby jinsul on the cover! Except it’s not a baby jinsul at all. It’s a jinsul’s pet. I 100% thought it was a baby jinsul and was thrilled by it’s oddly adorable appearance. Jokes on me, I guess. Haha. Seriously though, I really like the creature, it’s stats, and it’s tactics. Overall, I thought this was a really great, exciting scenario that’s going to be a challenge to run — but well worth it! I give it 5 out of 5 stars.

SFS 1-35 - Rasheen's Riches by Mara Lynn Butler
Starfinder Society Scenario #1-35: Rasheen’s Riches by Mara Lynn Butler.

Starfinder Society Scenario #1-35: Rasheen’s Riches is a Tier 5-8 adventure written by Mara Lynn Butler. It takes place on Aratrosim, a unexplored moon in the Vast where you investigate claims of great wealth! Sort of… This scenario features the Faction (Acquisitives) tag and DOES feature starship combat. It makes use of Starfinder Flip-Mat: Basic StarfieldStarfinder Flip-Mat: Starship, and Pathfinder Flip-Mat: Hill Country. It includes content from Starfinder Core RulebookAlien ArchiveAlien Archive 2ArmoryStarfinder Adventure Path 3: Splintered Worlds (Dead Suns 3 of 6), and even Pathfinder Campaign Setting: The First World, Realm of the Fey. All of the necessary stat blocks are included in this scenario. Although this scenario doesn’t really continue an ongoing storyline, it does feature a social encounter that has ties to the Scoured Stars storyline — particularly Starfinder Society Scenario #1–13: On the Trail of History, #1–99: The Scoured Stars Invasion. It’s brief, but it’s something of interest to characters who have played a lot of the Scoured Stars. This scenario only features one recurring character, Radaszam (leader of the Acquisitives), although it also name-drops Historia-7 (leader of the Dataphiles). It introduces one new character that I rather liked, Captain Xizzvee of Tinker’s Path, a bulabar that runs a ship of fey salvagers.

Rasheen’s Riches sounds at first like a classic treasure hunt — in space! Which is only partly true. Radaszam recently discovered a treasure map said to lead to one of the last places the infamous space explorer Jelev Rasheen explored before disappearing. Presumed to house a treasure trove of unimaginable proportions, Radaszam’s taking a more measured approach. Although he doesn’t believe it’s actually the final resting place of Rasheen or her fabulous riches, he does hope that there you’ll find a claim beacon that she placed on planets she discovered but never fully explored. This beacon should be able to lead you to the next place Rasheen went. But, that’s another mission… Rasheen’s Riches is more accurately described as a treasure hunt where you’re aiming to find another piece of the treasure map. As long as this is clear to your players by the end of the mission briefing (which it should be) you won’t have a problem with any players feeling let down. However, if players think they’re off to find unimaginable riches they might be a little disappointed. I know my kids would say “That’s it? But where’s the treasure?!” Be sure to adjust those expectations a little. Haha. I enjoyed this scenario. It’s got some environmental challenges to overcome, an interesting investigation, illuminating player handouts, and a battle against some tragic enemies. It’s got the air of a mystery about it, which I liked. I absolutely adored the descriptions of this moon. The entire atmosphere of it — and the creatures that you encounter there — worked really well together. Definitely a highlight of the scenario for me. The starship combat was straightforward but enjoyable. I like the social encounter it begins with and the artwork of the ship! It looks like some kind of skeletal Batplane! Seriously cool. Overall I thought this was a really solid scenario that will — hopefully — lead to further adventures on the hunt for Rasheen’s riches! I give it four out of five stars.

Glaciomonitor - Illustration by William Marton
Glaciomonitor, illustrated by William Martin. Art courtesy of Paizo Inc.

Thanks for joining us today! Be sure to tune it again soon to check out our reviews on the newest Pathfinder Society Scenarios!

See you in the Drift!

Jessica

Starfinder Society Scenarios: Acts of Association and Data Breach

Today we’re going to take a look at the two most recent Starfinder Society Scenarios that are currently available for purchase, and let you know we thought. Although you’ll find references to events in each that I liked or disliked, and comments about specific characters, these scenarios are not explored in detail. It’s not my intention to spoil the events in these scenarios, or give summaries and full reviews, but to share my opinions and provide recommendations. That said, if you want to avoid even minor spoilers I recommend you check out a different article. Whether you intend to use them in home games of the Starfinder Roleplaying Game, sanctioned scenarios for use with the Starfinder Society Organized Play, or just want to read a nifty new adventure, we’ve got you covered! So sit back, and get ready to explore the Pact Worlds!

SFS 1-32 - Acts of Association by Scott YoungStarfinder Society Scenario #1-32: Acts of Association  is a Tier 1-4 repeatable adventure written by Scott Young. It takes place on Absalom Station, and tasks the PCs with taking a visiting dignitary a tour of the space station. This scenario features the repeatable tag, meaning it can be played once per character instead of once per player. It doesn’t directly continue any ongoing storylines, although it does build off of previous events. The Scoured Stars Invasion has come to an end, and the Starfinder Society has begun to rebuild their once stellar reputation. Acts of Association does not feature starship combat. It makes use of Starfinder Flip-Mat: Urban SprawlStarfinder Flip-Mat: Jungle WorldStarfinder Flip-Mat: CantinaStarfinder Flip-Mat: Starship, and Starfinder Flip-Mat: Space Station. A lot, I know, but you won’t need all of them at the same time. Some of the events in this scenario are randomly determined, so you’re going to need three or four of the flip-mats depending on which events you roll. Acts of Association makes use of the Starfinder Core RulebookArmoryAlien Archive, and Alien Archive 2. All of the necessary stat blocks are included in this scenario, although one randomly altered stat block allows GMs to apply select race grafts onto it (if desired), which are found in Alien Archive and Alien Archive 2. These grafts are not included in the scenario and are entirely optional. This scenario features only one returning character, Chiskisk, who was previously featured in the Dead Suns Adventure Path and Starfinder Scenario #1-25: Beacon Code Dilemma. There’s no specific boons you should slot for this scenario, nor are any factions invested in this mission more than the others. However, thematically it fits well with members of the Acquisitives and Wayfinders factions.

Acts of Association begins in Absalom Station’s Lorespire Complex, base of the Starfinder SocietyWith the Scoured Stars Incident behind them and some prominent successes under their belt, the Starfinder Society is seeking to expand its influence back into Near Space and the Vast. To that end they’ve entered into negotiations with a variety of distant civilizations in order to acquire exploration rights in their territories.  Many ambassadors and dignitaries have made the journey to Absalom to negotiate with the Starfinder Society, and one of them needs a break. They want a tour of Absalom Station. That’s right! Chiskisk is calling on your PCs to act as tour guides. Although it may sound mundane, this is actually a pretty important. They’ll need to take the dignitary to multiple locations, ensure they are safe and entertained, all while making a good impression of the Starfinder Society. As a repeatable scenario, this adventure has some randomized elements to it. There’s a series of seven different pre-made dignitaries, as well as an eighth dignitary which is created entirely by the GM. In addition, each dignitary has randomized personality traits, values, taboos, and attractions they want to see. These attractions will determine the locations your PCs visit.

Emissary
Emissary DV8, one of the potential dignitaries you could meet in Starfinder Society Scenario #1-32: Acts of Association. Art courtesy of Paizo Inc.

I really enjoy the pre-made dignitaries and the random personality traits. They’re all unique, memorable, and are going to be great fun to interact with. As a lot of this scenario involves social interactions, playing the scenario through with different dignitaries will make each play through unique. As an added bonus, playing through the scenario with the same dignitary can also have its own surprises, as they may not be the same person or value the same things the second time through. I enjoyed the rather mundane tourism destinations that all seem to go awry — either this poor dignitary has the worst luck or Absalom Station is the worst place to go on vacation! There’s a lot of opportunity for clever use of skill checks and combat, and how you handle each situation can affect what the dignitary thinks of you — although how it affects them depends entirely on your actions and their personality traits. Their outlook matters, and you can’t just leave all the social interactions to your most charismatic PC — which is great! The downside to all this randomness is how loosely scripted the social interactions are. The reactions of the dignitaries is entirely up to the GM to determine (based on their randomly rolled traits), which puts a lot of work into the GMs hands — particularly when you take into account how much of this scenario is social interactions. It’s definitely going to take some prep work or some great improv. Still, in the hands of a decent GM Acts of Association is going to be a lot of fun and really memorable. Another minor downside is the number of attraction options. There’s only six locations, and on each playthrough the dignitary will want to visit four of them. That means that on your second playthrough you’ll already have some overlap. That said, it’s more variable than the other repeatable scenarios out there, so I think it’s going to be a popular one. Acts of Association has some nice player handouts — dossiers on each of the dignitaries (although you’ll only get one on a playthrough). Unfortunately, one has a typo. After labelling one of the dignitaries preferred pronouns He/him he’s referred to as she/her throughout the rest of the dossier. Overall, I think it’s a really fun scenario that’s sure to create some memorable moments when run by any GM willing to embrace the roleplaying and social interactions. I give it four out of five stars.

#1-33: Data BreachStarfinder Society Scenario #1-33: Data Breach is a Tier 3-6 adventure written by Jim Groves. It takes place on the edge of the city of Cuvacara on the planet Verces where you’re tasked with breaking into a secure facility and stealing classified data. For more information on Cuvacara you can check out Starfinder Adventure Path 11: The Penumbra Protocol (Signal of Screams 2 of 3) and for more information on Verces you can check out Starfinder Pact Worlds or the Starfinder Core Rulebook. This scenario features the Faction (Dataphiles) tag and is of particular importance to members of that faction. This scenario does not have starship combat and utilizes a single full-page custom map.  It makes use of the Starfinder Core RulebookStarfinder Armory, and Starfinder Pact Worlds. It features creatures from Alien Archive, and a variant of a creature first introduced in Starfinder Adventure Path 2: Temple of the Twelve (Dead Suns 2 of 6). All of the necessary stat blocks are included in the scenario itself.

Hira Lanzio
Hira Lanzio from #1-33: Data Breach. Art courtesy of Paizo Inc.

Data Breach continues an ongoing storyline that began in #1-07: The Solar Sortie and continued in #1-14: Star Sugar Heartlove!!! I highly recommend playing those two scenarios before this one, although it’s not necessary. It’s also assumed that #1-99: The Scoured Stars Invasion has taken place, although that has little effect on this scenario for players. If you have the ‘Tip of the Conspiracy’ ally boon from Star Sugar Heartlove!!! now’s the time to slot it. The events in this ongoing storyline are sure to continue on in future scenarios, including the upcoming #1-38: The Many Minds of Historia. Recurring characters in this scenario include Historia-7, leader of the Dataphiles, Hira Lanzio, a mysterious businessman first introduced in #1-14: Star Sugar Heartlove!!!, and a cameo from Venture Captain Naiaj. New characters introduced include Xatina Marcos of the Stewards, and two Dataphile technicians, Kaizel and Xarafo. It should be noted that Computer and Engineering skills are integral to this scenario, so select your characters wisely. It’s important to ensure your team has at least one tech-savvy character (preferably more than one!). If you don’t, slot one of the ‘Hireling Access’ boons. You’re gonna need it!

Data Breach begins in Absalom Station, where players are tasked with breaking into a secure facility on Verces and obtaining all the information they can from the site. Although there’s good reason for this heist, I won’t get into the details of it here, as it involves mild spoilers from some previous scenarios. Rest assured: it’s important! Before heading off on their mission the Starfinders have a chance to question a prisoner being detained by the Stewards at their base of Absalom Station, Bastion, and potentially uncover more information on the facility and its defences. From there we head right to Verces and the infiltration of the top-secret facility. Admittedly, computers and hacking aren’t my favourite parts of Starfinder. But, that said, I love a good heist. So I wasn’t sure how much I would enjoy this scenario. Turns out, I loved it! I really like the mission premise and its importance to the overarching events of this season. I like the complex itself, it’s set up, and it’s defences. I really enjoyed that many of your actions as players can have consequences in this one (including past the end of the scenario), which aren’t always immediately obvious. It was nice subtlety. Although it isn’t the major focus of the scenario, I liked the opportunity for social encounters at the beginning and end of the mission. The battles were complex and layered, particularly the final combat, which is going to be a really nice challenge. All in all, I think Data Breach is a great, guilt-free romp that I think a lot of players are going to enjoy. I give it four out of five stars. (Although, if you particularly enjoy computers, hacking, and intel-themed missions, consider it a five!)

Thanks for joining us today. We’ll see you again soon when we take a look at the newest Pathfinder Society Scenarios.

Jessica