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

 

Starfinder Society Scenarios: ‘Siege of Enlightenment’ and ‘The Beacon Code Dilemma’

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!

Starfinder Society Scenario #1-24 - Siege of EnlightenmentStarfinder Society Scenario #1-24: Siege of Enlightenment is a Tier 1-4 adventure written by Tineke Bolleman. It takes place on Sansorgis, which is a planet in the Acalata system. It’s a dry place poorly suited to agriculture, but rich in mineral deposits. There players will help with the evacuation of a mining colony, attempt to peacefully navigate some space politics, and explore some Pre-Gap ruins. This scenario features starship combat. It utilizes Starfinder Flip-Mat: Basic Starfield Starfinder Flip-Mat: Space Station, and Pathfinder Flip-mat: Ancient Dungeon. It makes use of the Starfinder Core RulebookStarfinder Alien ArchiveStarfinder Alien Archive 2, and the Starfinder Armory. That said, all of the relevant information from both Alien Archives is included within the scenario itself. Siege of Enlightenment does not continue any ongoing storylines, and the only recurring character within it is Venture-Captain Arvin. There are a few interesting characters introduced in this scenario, including then hobgoblin Captain Odrakor of Susumu’s Sword, half-elven Corporal Kalyavata, and the human Chief Engineer Kerchatu. Unfortunately, roleplaying with such characters will be quite brief. There’s also some delightfully entertaining enemies (the first one is particularly fun)! There are no specific boons I’d suggest slotting for this scenario, although I will say that having a few characters trained in Computers and Engineering on your team is very important, and that such characters with have the opportunity to do something special during parts of the adventure. On a similar note, scholarly and studious characters — particularly those interested in archaeology, cartography, chronicling, history, and scribing — will also find opportunity to  showcase their interests in this scenario.

Siege of Enlightenment begins in a mission briefing with Venture-Captain Arvin, where he tasks the PCs with helping a mining colony in Near Space evacuate, and then exploring a ruin. Sounds simple, right? Not quite. This scenario involves a bit of space politics which mostly occurs behind the scenes, but is important to understanding the mission. Basically, it involves two different groups who have each have their own space empire in Near Space: the Marixah Republic (a multi-cultural group containing many races from lost Golarion which the Pact Worlds trades with), and the Gideron Authority (a militaristic, predominantly hobgoblin group that the Pact Worlds has few ties with). Both of these groups are independent of the Pact Worlds, rule their own star systems, and have colonies outside of their systems. Following a military coup, the Gideron Authority turned its attentions to conquest, and the two space governments have been cautiously circling each other since. Recently, the Gideron Authority appeared around the planet Sansorgis, collected information on the Marixah Republic’s mining colonies with their long-range sensors, then left. Worried that they would soon fall under attack, the Marixah Republic ordered the evacuation of the colonies. Knowing that they wouldn’t have time to excavate a nearby ruin on their own (and not wanting it to fall into the Gideron Authority’s hands), the Marixah Republic offered the right of exploration to the Starfinder Society in exchange for aid with evacuating the final colony. It is into this political turmoil that your players will travel. Characters will get to interact with both the Marixah Republic and the Gideron Authority, lend a hand to some people in need, explore an important historical site, learn some secrets, and kick some ass. The first physical combat is very interesting and should be a lot of fun at the table, but it’s very complex, so GMs will need to familiarize themselves with it thoroughly before attempting to run the battle. Despite the complexity (and the very dense map), I think it’s going to be a hoot! In the ruins there’s the addition of a simple new mechanic called Discovery Points, which are meant to track how much your players discover and catalogue about the ruins, without bogging down gameplay too much. Although such tracking will all happen on the GM side of the screen, I think it’s wonderful that your player’s thoroughness will be rewarded. It is supposed to be an archaeological investigation, after all. I love that this scenario featured so many new creatures from the recently released Alien Archive 2. I did have one major complaint, though. This scenario is very combat heavy! It contains one starship battle, four other combats, two traps, plus one of those listed combats is likely to also contain at least two hazards and traps (possibly more). That’s a LOT. All in all, even though this isn’t my favourite scenario it has some fun encounters and is a great choice for characters who just want to get into some good old fashioned fights. As an added bonus this scenario is perfectly set up to lead to more scenarios involving the Marixah Republic, the Gideron Authority, and the ancient ruins, which is always great to see. I give this scenario three out of five stars.

Starfinder Society Scenario 1-25 - Beacon Code DilemmaStarfinder Society Scenario #1-25: The Beacon Code Dilemma is a Tier 3-6 adventure written by Adrian Ng. It begins in The Starfinder Society’s Lorespire Complex in Absalom Station where you’ll do some research for an upcoming mission, and heads into the Drift where you’ll explore a recently discovered Starfinder vessel that’s been missing in action for over a hundred years. This scenario features the REPEATABLE tag. That’s right. It’s a tier 3-6 repeatable adventure! AWESOME! Although this scenario doesn’t continue any ongoing storylines it does have cameos from a lot of different characters featured in other adventures which I absolutely adore. The Beacon Code Dilemma doesn’t have starship combat. It makes use of one custom map and heavy use of Starfinder Flip-Mat: Ghost Ship. In addition to the Starfinder Core Rulebook this scenario uses content from the Starfinder Alien ArchiveStarfinder Alien Archive 2Starfinder Armory, and Starfinder Pact Worlds. That said, all of the information from the Alien Archives that is needed to run this scenario is included within the scenario itself.

As already mentioned, this scenario features a lot of recurring characters. The bleaching gnome Venture-Captain Naiaj is certain to appear. Of the other four major recurring characters, two will appear in each playthrough (because it’s a repeatable scenario which two are featured will be determined at random by your GM). Depending on which two are featured you’ll want to have different boons slotted, and possibly even bring along different characters. If the ysoki Royo is featured you’ll want to slot ‘High Society Influence (Royo)’ which is from Starfinder Society Scenario #1–05: The First Mandate. If Whisperer of Solar Winds is featured you’ll want to slot the ‘Dream Whispers’ boon which is from Starfinder Society Scenario #1–16: Dreaming of the Future. If the shirren Chiskisk  is featured you’ll want to slot a chronicle sheet from Starfinder Adventure Path 1: Incident at Absalom Station (Dead Suns Book 1 of 6). And finally, if Venture-Captain Arvin is featured you’ll want to slot the ‘Starfinder Insignia’ boon from Starfinder Society Quests: Into the Unknown. Unfortunately, although you can choose which boons to slot after the briefing (and therefore can slot appropriate boons) there’s no way to know which characters you’ll be interacting with beforehand (so you might not slot the characters with the appropriate boons). Luckily, it’s repeatable, so you can give it a shot with all of your characters if you want to. And, if you’re really lucky, perhaps your GM will tell you ahead of time.

The Beacon Code Dilemma begins when Venture-Captain Naiaj calls you in for a mission briefing in the Lorespire Complex. There they meet a new character: an SRO priest of Triune by the name of MP-8 from Aballon. MP-8 was blessed with a holy vision from which he deciphered a beacon code. Knowing that this must be a mission of the utmost importance he put together a team and followed the coordinates into the Drift where they found a lost Starfinder vessel called the Amber Reconnoiter. Unfortunately, the ship opened fire on them. Surprised, an not wanting to risk damaging the very ship they were sent to find, MP-8 retreated and contacted the Starfinder Society. Naiaj tasks the group with researching the ship, then heading out into the Drift to explore the vessel, find out what happened to it, and retrieve whatever object it is within that MP-8 is after. As this scenario is repeatable, a lot of aspects are determined randomly. Where you need to do your research within the Lorespire Complex, who you interact with, the crew of the Amber Reconnoiter, their mission’s purpose, and how they met their end (and therefore which handouts you receive), are all obvious examples of randomized aspects. In addition, there’s a wide variety of environmental factors and enemy abilities that are also determined randomly. I absolutely loved this, and was surprised how thorough it was. Really well done!

Whatever random options are determined for your playthrough, characters will need to do some research on the Amber Reconnoiter in two different locations in the Lorespire Complex in order to learn what they can about the ship and determine the codes to shut down the ship’s automated defences. Some of those locations feature new characters as well, my favourite of which is the overly chipper Recordbot-128 in the Halls of Discovery. From there you’ll head out into the Drift and travel to the Beacon Code. Once there you’ll need to navigate through a planar storm, then spacewalk over to the wreck through a debris field (which has an awesome map!), fight off some creatures native to the Drift, and board the Amber Reconnoiter. But, that’s just the start of your mission. You’ll need to explore the wreck, figure out what happened to its crew, and find the object MP-8 is after.

I really enjoyed this mission. I love that is gives you a chance to explore some locations within the Lorespire Complex and actually research something — which should be an important part of being a Starfinder. I loved that we got to really engage in some of the hazards of Drift travel through the planar hazards, battle, and exploring the debris field (which I thought was super cool!). And finally, I loved the how the purpose and fate of the Amber Reconnoiter changes in each playthrough, along with the wonderful player handouts that come with each of those options. One of my only pet peeves was that some of the interactions on the Amber Reconnoiter mention sound when the ship does not currently have artifical atmosphere. It is mentioned that the PCs can repair the power core enough to restore atmosphere (and therefore let sound travel), but many of the things that happen before you’ll have a chance to do so (including enemy tactics) mentions or presupposes sound travelling through the ship. I found it odd. Still, it’s a small quibble that GMs should make note of before running it. Visual cues can easily be used in place of audible ones until atmosphere is restored. In terms of boons there are two up for offer. One is a nice Starship boon that’s useful in the Drift, and one is a slotless limited use boon that can help you get a bit more bang for your buck. Again, this scenario has a lot of gear options available on its chronicle sheet. Overall, I really enjoyed this scenario and can’t wait to give it a play. I give it four out of five stars.

I hope you enjoyed taking a look at these new scenarios with us. We’ll see you again soon when we dive into the new Pathfinder Society Scenarios!

Until then,

Jessica

Graey Erb-SusumusSword
Susumu’s Sword is a Gideron Authority ship under the command of Captain Odrakar. Featured in Starfinder Society Scenario #1-24: Siege of Enlightenment. Art by Graey Erb.
Michele Giorgi-MP8
MP-8 a, SRO devotee of Triune appearing in Starfinder Society Scenario #1-25: The Beacon Code Dilemma. Art by Michele Giorgi.