Today we’re going to take a look at two of the most recent Pathfinder 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 then I recommend clicking on a different article. Whether you intend to use them in home games of the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game, sanctioned scenarios for use with the Pathfinder Society Organized Play, or just want to read a nifty new adventure, we’ve got you covered! So let’s get cracking!
This adventure gives the PCs a mysterious key that moves of its own accord and tasks them with taking it to its destination, exploring the site, and discovering what it opens. The location is known to be underwater, and involves a lost monastic academy. This mission makes heavy use of the underwater combat rules so GMs should refresh their memories on those rules (a handy summary is provided in this scenario) and players should select their PC carefully. If you’ve got sailors, swimmers, monks, unarmed fighters, members of the Concordance, or undine, now is a great time to take them for a spin (all for different reasons). Do not bring someone who relies on ranged combat, slashing weapons or bludgeoning weapons (they don’t work well underwater). This scenario starts with a very engaging mission briefing with a refreshing Venture-Captain (Rashmivati Melipdra of Niswan) who I desperately want to be pals with! Haha. There’s a fun navigation portion to this adventure. The first battle is very interesting, while another had some great hazards in play. The finale is a blast and looks like it could be a challenge. There were plenty of great opportunities for social encounters, and some interesting NPCs you can interact with. All of the enemies have distinct goals that really show in their tactics, which was awesome to see. Overall I thought this scenario was great fun. I can’t wait to play it. I give it four out of five stars.
Now, heading into an ancient dwarven ossuary to get two bad guys isn’t as easy as it sounds. Thurl has drawn a portion of an abyssal labyrinth to the region, making the corridors incredibly dangerous and difficult to navigate. By the time you arrive, many dwarves have gone missing or lost their lives in an attempt to oust the intruders from their holy site. In addition, monsters made from the desecrated remains of the dwarves ancestors have come out of the ossuary and slaughtered a legion of dwarven soldiers. Players who don’t want to try navigating the labyrinth can attempt to enter through the volcanic fissure above the mountain, but its clear that this will likely be an even more difficult task than the labyrinth — especially since no one’s even sure if the fissure can take you to Thurl and Muhlia. Either way, I like that the option is there. Particularly for such high-level PCs.
The next line I’m about to write is a bit more of a spoiler than I normally include, so it gets its own special warning! If you don’t want to read it, skip the rest of this paragraph! The labyrinth portion of this scenario was surprisingly short, and fell a little flat, I felt. Although the battle within was great, it just didn’t feel like you were trapped in a labyrinth. The battle was really well done, though. And I love the… added complications involved.
There were some fun NPCs to interact with, my favourite of which was Borsaget. She’s awesome, although not all groups will end up getting to meet her. Muhlia was very well done! I’m curious to see how different groups handle her (and the arguments that are sure to pop up regarding her fate). Thurl is much more of a classic villain, which will give players someone to unite against and give the characters they bring some much needed closure. Some groups may uncover clues in this scenario that can lead them to the location of another enemy of the society (which is sure to be covered in an upcoming Pathfinder Society Scenario). Overall I thought this was a great, challenging scenario that did an awesome job of wrapping up Thurl and Muhlia’s story. I give it four out of five stars.
Thanks for tuning in today! Be sure to head over to Paizo’s website tomorrow and download the free rulebook for the Pathfinder Playtest! I’ll race you to it!
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!
Scenario #1-18: The Blackmoon Survey is a Tier 1-4 adventure written by Jesse Benner. It takes place on Eox, a planet with a thin and toxic atmosphere that is run and populated by undead. More specifically it stops in the city of Zinhew, before heading out to the Blackmoon excavation site, and into the barren wastes of the planet. GMs will need to familiarize themselves with the poison rules, while players will need to ensure they have armour, which can protect them from many of the environmental hazards of Eox. This scenario has no tags and does not feature starship combat. Although it is influenced by Scenario #1-09: Live Exploration Extreme!, there are no mechanical advantages to bringing a character along who has played that scenario, nor are there any boons you should specifically slot. You do not need to play Live Exploration Extreme before playing The Blackmoon Survey. This scenario utilizes two custom maps, and has a third encounter area that has no map provided at all. In addition to the Starfinder Core Rulebook, it makes use of content from the Alien Archive and Pact Worlds. All the necessary information from these two extra sourcebooks is included in the scenario. This scenario features Venture-Captain Arvin, and introduces a few new characters, most notably the Starfinder Taylehm (a kasatha borai), and the contracted ‘dirt boss’ Berchta Deepdelver (a vesk mechanic with awesome horns) and her drone Digger.
Recent events have caused the Bone Sages of Eox (their ruling elite) to contract excavation rights on different parts of Blackmoon mountain to different agencies, one of which is the Starfinder Society. This is an incredible opportunity for the Society, both to expand it’s influence on Eox, but also because the site is so famous. It draws publicity in addition to the knowledge that could be gleaned from the location. Unfortunately, the Starfinder excavation has run into some trouble. Starfinders have gone missing, undead labourers have been destroyed, and a few living souls have also turned up dead. Your player’s job is to head to the site, discover what’s causing the disruption, and put an end to it. In addition, they need to ensure they don’t do anything to tick off the Bone Sages. This excavation is very important to the Society, and it needs to return to productivity as soon as possible. The scenario makes excellent use of Pact Worlds history and current politics, which I thought was wonderful. Not only does it involve the history of Eox, but it also touches on the history of the Diaspora, Damiar, Iovo, as well as the Magefire Rebellion of 7AG, and the Thousand Moons trap. Although learning this history and background information isn’t necessary, knowledgable PCs will get extra enjoyment from doing so. It’s a great scenario to crack out your know-it-alls! The mystery and investigation itself has multiple avenues of inquiry, and accounts for a wide array of skills that can be used to gain information. Players who find themselves stumped need not worry, as the scenario keeps moving even if you’re stuck. That said, uncovering as much as you can has benefits, so good investigation is rewarded. It provides some unique roleplaying encounters, mechanically interesting battles, and environmental hazards. One of these battles could be particularly challenging for some groups, so I’m curious how it will turn out in play. This scenario also strongly gives the PCs agency. There are multiple resolutions to this adventure, and your actions have a direct impact on which boons you receive and how various groups perceive you and the Starfinder Society as a whole. All in all, this scenario looks like a ton of fun! I can’t wait to play it. I give this scenario four out of five stars.
To Conquer the Dragon sends your players to Triaxus for the grand opening of the White Sands Starfinder Lodge! This new lodge is located between the Drakelands and the Allied Territories, and its opening is a huge win for the Society! Your job is to get there, ensure the gala goes off without a hitch, and impress the many dignitaries that will be in attendance. Sound a little familiar? Yeah, it’s premise is a bit like #1-05: The First Mandate, which worried me a bit. You attend a gala and try to impress some guests. It gets violent. That said, this scenario is full of surprises, and didn’t go as I expected. You get to spend a lot of effort on patrolling and defending the gala, which can allow you to do some pretty helpful pre-emptive things which affect this adventure’s outcome and how the Starfinder Society is perceived on Triaxus. The attack is certainly different than I expected it to be, and the sections of the adventure that follows are unique. The starship battle is a bit tricky and can really benefit from an awesome science officer, which is great to see. There’s a lot of fun social encounters, but honestly, where I think this scenario can most shine is its villain. She’s unique, driven, and has a grudge out for anyone whose played #1-13. This is personal, and she ensures your players know it. Of all the enemies I’ve seen so far in the Starfinder Society, she is BY FAR my favourite, and the most memorable. I highly recommend GMs play up this fierce opponent as much as possible! All in all, I think this is a great (but very dense) scenario, that suffers a bit from its similarity to The First Mandate. That said, it’s considerably different, and makes excellent use of its side characters and main villain. Overall, I give it three out of five stars, (although its villain nearly pushed the rating up to four out of five).
Thanks for joining us today! We’ll see you again later this week when we take a look at the new Pathfinder Society Scenarios!
Well, it’s been a busy summer so far. We’ve visited family, celebrated birthdays, gone swimming, tended our garden, played at the park and… Well, frankly my allergies are acting up like CRAZY! Whoo, I feel horrible! Haha. Still, my kids are happy, and I’d rather get out and enjoy the summer than I would let it pass me by.
A while ago my daughter asked me if I would start moving some of our d20 games online to play-by-post. She felt that she never got to play her many, many, many adventures and characters because when the weekend comes we only have time for one game, and it’s going to be one of the ones everyone agrees on. That means that we could go months without playing some of her characters.
“Pleeeeeeease, Mom?” she asked. “Some of my characters might as well be DEAD! I would rather play them one post a day than take no turns EVER! PLEEEEEEASE!?!?”
She’s a little dramatic, but she got the point across. Haha.
So, at my daughter’s request, we moved one of our ongoing family PFS games online and we moved our family Dead Suns Adventure Path online. My kids and I also have a lot of campaigns that involve only me and them. I told them they could choose one to move online for now. They gave this a great deal of thought and, although they have a ton of characters they enjoy playing, they also have campaign envy.
Every time the grown ups play Mummy’s Mask, or Iron Gods, or Reign of Winter they are desperately jealous. A while ago they began their own Mummy’s Mask campaign and they’ve been begging me to let them start Iron Gods and Reign of Winter ever since. In the end, they chose the Mummy’s Mask Adventure Path. I’m actually really excited, since they created a very entertaining group of characters that shook up our typical party dynamics. More details on that will come in an upcoming blog post.
In other news, Gameday VII will start in another few weeks, which is super exciting! I can’t wait! GenCon is coming up (for those of you lucky enough to attend such things), and Paizo recently released their Puzzle Hunt from PaizoCon online for mass consumption. No idea what that is? In short, its a series of Golarion-themed puzzles within puzzles that were given out at PaizoCon back in May. It’s a free download on their website, and you can talk about the puzzles with other gamers on the boards. I gave them a read and am actually super excited to try them out. It looks fun!
Paizo recently announced their upcoming Pathfinder Society Scenarios, which include the finale for Season 9 and the start of Season 10! They’ve also shared details on the next four Starfinder Society Scenarios. Soon we should get information on two new Adventure Card Game adventures, and the first three of their upcoming Pathfinder Playtest Scenarios! I can’t wait to get my hands on these beauties at the end of the month!
Speaking of the Playtest, there have been some awesome spoilers lately. My favourite turned out to be the BARD. Now, I’ve always had a soft spot for bards, so I was pretty sure I was going to love it no matter what they did. After reading their recent blog post on the topic I was elated! It’s got full spellcasting, performances are now a special sort of bard only cantrip called a composition (which means you’re not going to run out of music!), and some of the performances are reactions (counter song, here’s looking at you)! It’s just… awesome! I can’t wait to read the whole class!
Luckily, we don’t have much longer to wait. Pathfinder Playtest releases on August 2nd, along with the Doomsday Dawn Adventure, free maps to go with it, and a trio of Playtest Society Scenarios. I’ve had the good luck to join up with a group of play-by-posters who are going to be playing all three PFS scenarios in a row, which will give me a chance to try the game as a player. Meanwhile, I’ll be GM for Doomsday Dawn (and perhaps even the PFS Scenarios) for my family at home. I expect there will be a lot of characters being made around the house at that time, so who knows what we’ll end up playing with! It’s exciting.
Now I just have to find the time to read all of that…
Today I’m going to leave you with a photo my daughter took especially for d20 diaries. And yes, it has rabbits.
Another week, another game night! Today on d20 diaries we’re heading back to Wati for more of the Mummy’s Mask Adventure Path. So, sharpen your khopesh, pull out your holy water, and let’s get ready to take on the dead!
Mummy’s Mask is a six part adventure path for the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game, intended to bring your characters from level one to around level seventeen. This campaign takes place in the deserts of Osirion, and involves trap-filled pyramids, haunted tombs, scorching deserts, bustling bazaars and more undead than you can shake an ankh at! The Mummy’s Mask Player’s Guide is a free download on Paizo’s website, and contains a ton of useful information for players looking to make characters that have lasting ties to the campaign. For more information on Osirion, you can pick up Osirion, Legacy of Pharoahs. Players looking for desert-themed character options can also check out People of the Sands.
The Fateway Five left the Precinct of Left Eyes behind, and set off for their friend Manaat‘s house, deep in the slums of the Asp District. As they travelled, the streets got tighter, the homes smaller, and soon neither doors nor shutters protected the cowering inhabitants from the horrors outside. Only tattered curtains offered a barrier between the families hiding in their overcrowded homes from the zombies and skeletons stalking the streets.
“We need to get these people out of here…” Arc remarked. He was an awkward, red-headed herb witch from Thuvia. He wore little in the way of clothes and held a staff in his hands. On his back he wore a bag of dirt in which he grew a tiny garden and carried his pet rabbit.
“All of them.” Kasmet added. She was a fiesty catfolk dressed in ancient Osiriani finery with a pelt like that of a cloud leopard and an unhealthy fondness for shiny jewels.
Nazim Salahadine, a portly catfolk cleric of Pharasma who looked like an overgrown Persian housecat, spent no time in conversation. Instead, he let out a loud ululation and leapt into battle with his khopesh and shield against every undead he laid eyes on. Arc and Kasmet followed him a moment later.
It took them a long time to fight their way through the streets to Manaat’s house. Although the wandering, weak undead posed no challenge to them, there were plenty to fight off. To make matters worse, most of the dead were relatives and pets of the residents, who had been buried under the floors of their homes due to an inability to afford burial in the Necropolis. This meant that families didn’t just have to fight off a roaming zombie, they fought off grandma, or a cousin or their previous pet cats. They also faced freshly risen zombies — residents of the Asp who were killed recently and reanimated by the necromantic pulses that had been washing over the city.
Arcs little pet rabbit looked around at the chaos with a sad look and a twitching nose. A silvanshee named Kal sat beside her, mocking every move Arc made.
“This is it!” Kasmet suddenly exclaimed.
The group hurried into the tiny house to find it under attack. Undead had literally crawled out of the tiny home’s back wall. The house was no more than ten feet by fifteen feet, and was packed with a bed, table, and cupboards, not to mention Manaat’s husband, twelve children and three zombies.
In between attempting to maneuver through the house, combat the undead, and protect the children, this turned out to be the groups hardest battle yet! Thankfully they pulled through without any of the family being injured. As Arc and Kasmet ushered the family out into the streets and explained to the father who they were, Nazim inspected the walls. The house was built right up against the Necropolis, so he was worried that the undead had broken through the Necropolis walls and into the home. Luckily, that wasn’t the case. It looked like the undead were purposefully interred within the walls, although he wasn’t sure if they had been honoured ancestors unable to pay for a proper resting place, or murder victims buried in the sly. Whatever the case, he was certain the Necropolis walls were still holding strong.
The group filed out into the streets and started to make their way back towards the Grand Mausoleum.
“Wait,” Kasmet exclaimed. “The people in these homes have no protection. We need to get them out of here.”
“Agreed!” Nazim declared. “But we cannot take them all. If the group is too large we will not be able to protect them.”
Arc nodded. “This neighbourhood, then. We’ll gather whoever will come with us from this block.”
“And the others?” Kasmet asked. “We can’t leave them.”
“We will come back for them!” Nazim purred loudly. “For now we announce our intent to return and tell them to ready themselves! Now, hurry! Let’s be off!”
The group took to the streets shouting that there was safety at the Grand Mausoleum and that evacuations were under way. They banged on the walls of those homes who they could escort now — some of whom joined them — and shouted their intent to return in another hour for another group. As they left the neighbourhood behind with nearly forty other citizens in their care, they prayed that the people of Asp could last that long…
Arc ordered Kal ahead to scout for danger. Surprisingly he offered no quips or arguments. Despite his frivolous demeanour, Kal cared for protecting innocents, particularly from his hated foe: undead. With their guide hopping between rooftops as a lookout and the Fateway Five armed and ready for battle, they managed to get back to the Grand Mausoleum without any casualties.
The Fateway Five were tired and sore. Battered and bruised. Though they still has magical resources at their disposal, it had been a long night. Fatigue would set in soon.
But as the residents of the poorest sections of Wati fell upon the steps of the Grand Mausoleum and wept in relief to find sanctuary; as Manaat’s family rushed into her arms crying “Mommy;” they decided it had all been worth it. It wouldall be worth it… For they were far from done. The slums were large, and there were many other families who needed help.
The group beckoned over some healers to tend to their wounds, then headed off to speak with High Priestess Sebti. They found her in the sanctum making up sleeping pallets for the refugees. The group told her all they had learned so far, and informed her of the weakening of the wall wards, the rising of the recently deceased, the plans of the Voices of the Spire, and the Voices intent to summon psychopomps to supplement their numbers.
Sebti was grateful, but also worried. She thanked the group for aid and sent for the clergy’s resident expert in holy wards. While they waited for him to arrive so they could escort him to the Necropolis gates, Nazim explained their plan to protect the poor of the Asp district. Sebti was both shocked and pleased.
“A wise decision,” she told them with a smile.
Just then a regal looking man with pale skin, a bald head, and long blue robes strode into the room. With a very imperious look he assessed the Fateway Five. He sighed in disdain.
“You called for me, High Priestess.”
Sebti smiled at the scholarly priest and quickly introduced everyone. “This is Ahrutep Mahetree, our foremost expert on religious blessings and defensive wards.”
You’ll be escorting him to the Necropolis gates.” Sebti finished.
Ahrutep frowned. “I… uh… that is… High Priestess!” he stammered. “I am a scholar.”
Sebti smiled. “I wish you the best of luck. May the Lady of Graves watch over you.”
With their reluctant scholar in tow the group left the safety of the Grand Mausoleum and headed out into the abandoned streets. Kal hopped off to scout ahead. Not long after he shouted down from the rooftops,
“Hey! Losers! There’s some dead-heads over here.”
The Fateway Five took a slight detour over a block, heading towards the undead.
“What? No! Go the other way, you fools!” Ahrutep exclaimed in a panic.
Nazim let out a loud ululation, drowning out the man’s complaints, and leapt into battle. It was a trio of zombies, so combat was quick. During the fight Kal hopped down into Arc’s dirt-bag and cuddled up next to Arc’s rabbit. Arc offered some ranged support, and Kasmet attacked with her claws.
Ahrutep panicked, shrieked, and hid behind Arc.
Kal laughed at the top of his lungs. “A-HA-HA! THIS POMPOUS FOOL IS THE BIGGEST COWARD!”
Ahrutep was too scared to care.
As the battle came to an end he cleared his throat and smoothed out his robes. “Ahem… Yes, well… A fair job…”
Kal scoffed. “I’ve seen braver babies at Insula Mater!”
As Ahrutep stammered in embarrassment Kal rubbed his side against the rabbit, then hopped back up to a nearby rooftop and disappeared.
Only a handful of steps later and there was a strange glow emanating from the space behind the Ahrutep! He turned slowly so see a human-shaped figure made of glowing light.
“AHHH!” he shrieked. He hurried to hide behind Kasmet and cowered in terror.
The Fateway Five looked at the glowing figure. Kasmet bared her claws, while Arc and Nazim tried to determine if it was undead. Suddenly both of the men relaxed and rolled their eyes. Nazim held out a hand to prevent Kasmet from wasting her energy.
“It is but a trick!” Nazim explained.
“Not funny, Kal,” Arc remarked aloud. “We’ve got important things to do.”
From above they could hear the silvanshee laugh. “AHAHAHAHAHAHA! Did you SEE that? Get that guy a change of shorts!”
Ahrutep fumed angrily and sputtered out a rebuttal.
Kal laughed and turned, showing off his backside to the scholarly priest. “Ha! Okay, I’m really leaving now.”
And with that, he was gone. Again.
The short trip to the Necropolis gates took far longer than expected, but in time the massive gates loomed large. They could see Bal Themm and her reinforcements holding the gate against the hordes of undead who banged against the gates from the other side. The howls of the undead made a loud cacophony that gave chills to even the bravest of souls.
“Greetings, Bal! Here is your holy water,” Nazim said, handing over the vials. “And here is your priest.”
They pushed forth Ahrutep.
The scholar cleared his throat and stepped forward. “Lead the way, Voice.”
As the pair walked away, Kal laughed. “We should call that guy ‘yellow.’ And why was he wearing a dress?”
Arc, whose elaborate loincloth was more akin to a skirt than shorts, blushed. “Get a move on, Kal! We need to hurry.”
“Sure, sure,” Kal groaned as he scampered ahead.
The journey to the tail end of the Asp continued with Kal making a mockery of the Fateway Five, and pointing out all the undead in their vicinity. The PCs made quick work against all of the undead in their path. They battled zombie cats, skeletal members of the Silver Chain gang who were looting nearby homes at the behest of their skeletal champion gang leaders, sun-baked dead who had died of dehydration out in the desert and slums, and even an attic whisperer who stole Nazim’s voice.
Much to my amusement Nazim’s player, my brother, played the rest of the session only acting and mouthing out Nazim’s words. We all had one heck of a fun time guessing and replying in character. I particularly enjoyed playing Kal, who assured everyone that he could read lips, and then proceeded to translate everything Nazim attempted to say horribly wrong, and thoroughly insulting. It was a complete and total blast! So much fun! We probably spent more time laughing than we did playing. Haha.
The Fateway Five pushed themselves hard, and made a total of six trips to and from the Asp district, escorting the residents to the safety of the Grand Mausoleum. They were surprised to see a few familiar faces among the residents. Senja Messeniah, a dancer who occasionally performed at the Tooth and Hookah was among the citizens. As was Tais (a half-orc who had befriended Kasmet a few days earlier), Frida Bylo (a partying dwarven lass who had tried seduced Arc in the hopes of robbing him blind. Her flirting stopped abruptly when she realized all he had in his room was plants). They also met the Pahnet, the wife of a dead man they had discovered in the Necropolis on their second day of the lottery.
Unfortunately, undead weren’t the only ones to cause trouble. Kal tricked Arc into an embarrassing encounter with a thief girl that Arc had a massive crush on. While Arc blushed, Kal threw his voice and gave his best Arc impersonation, then proceeded to make chauvinistic comments at the young woman. She was less than unimpressed.
On another trip the group discovered that they were missing a handful of refugees! They backtracked and found the missing citizens trying to rob a local shop. Outside the battered and bruised teenaged girl who worked there sobbed in the street. To make matters worse, one of the refugees was a kid. The Fateway Five ended up beating the robbers into unconsciousness, then dragged them through the streets to the Grand Mausoleum and handed them over to High Priestess Sebti. The shopgirl refused to come with them, knowing that her father had told her not to leave the shop unattended.
On their last journey, right at the end of Mender’s Row, where the slums transition to the lower class section of the Asp (as opposed to the destitute section) they heard screams and some strange growls. The Fateway Five called a halt, left Kal in charge of the refugees (which he loved), and hurried over a street. There they reached a fabric and dyer’s shop called Rising Pheonix Textiles, which happens to be the place that Manaat worked as a dyer. Out front they saw the owners — Ohmun Kotem and Shamihn Hep — being attacked by zombies while two massive beasts tore the zombies apart. The creatures looked like wide, panthers with ruffled black feathers around their necks, and skeletal crocodile heads.
“Esoboks!” Nazim exclaimed. “Psychopomps who devour all in their path!”
“You mean the Voices of the Spire summoned those things even though you told them not to?” Kasmet shrieked. “Fools!”
The esoboks finished devouring the zombies and approached the women with open, bloody jaws. Ohmun and Shamihn shrieked in panic.
“Ah!” Arc exclaimed. Then he waved his arms and starting yelling at the beast. “Hey! Over here! You’re ugly and… you look like the undead! HA!”
The esoboks turned at the word undead, pinning Arc with their baleful gaze. The Fateway Five dashed into battle intent on not only destroying the esoboks, but protecting the women. It was a fun battle, that really showcased some of the esobok’s cool abilities (wrench spirit, anyone?) which was made extra challenging due to the maidens in danger. In time the esoboks were defeated, and vanished in a puff of gravedust, confirming that they were summoned creatures brought to Wati on purpose. Although they had combatted the undead, as the Voices of the Spire intended, they also were a threat to the living, as Nazim had warned. Nazim took a quick look around for the caster, but couldn’t find him (or her), while Arc and Kasmet tried to calm the women. They offered to escort the ladies to the Grand Mausoleum, which Shamihn accepted, and Ohmun complained about. After some fine diplomacy checks the Fateway Five convinced them to join the refugees.
“Oh!” Kasmet suddenly remarked. “And Manaat sent us to check on you, you know.” she lied. “You owe her your lives. You should probably give her a raise or something.”
When they finally reached the Grand Mausoleum the sun was rising. The Fateway Five reported to Sebti, ensured the citizens were well cared for, and then headed off to their rooms down the road at the Tooth and Hookah to fall asleep. They hadn’t slept in almost 24 hours.
Undead still stalked the streets. Citizens were still in danger. And there was a group of impatient nobles waiting at the Grand Mausoleum to be escorted to their homes. But, the Fateway Five had saved a lot of lives. They had held the Necropolis gates, coordinated the major religious organizations, evacuated the most at risk neighbourhood in Wati, and slayed dozens of undead.
They had done an amazing job. But, there was much left to do.
Wati needed heroes.
So heroes they would be.
Thanks for joining us on another trip to Wati! I hope you enjoyed your time with the dead as much as we did.
Welcome, welcome, gather round! Need a hand? Today there’s plenty of furry hands just itching for a chance to be helpful! Curious what’s up?
For this year’s Free RPG day, Paizo released a wonderful Starfinder module entitled Skitter Shot. This adventure is written by Jason Keeley and is intended for a group of four level two characters. Each player gets to select one of four pre-made skittermanders and get helping! My family and I were incredibly excited to give this adventure a whirl, so I gave it a quick read and within a day we settled in to play.
The first job? Picking your character! There are four up for offer, and each of them is a member of the Clutch, a salvage ship run by a vesk named Nakonechkin, whose entire crew are fluffy, manic little skittermanders. First up, Dakoyo, a purple furred priest mystic, worshipper of Ibra, and the ship’s doctor. Dakoyo is obsessed with learning about ancient forms of medicine, and is pretty sure life before the advent of modern medicine must have been horribly stinky and disease ridden! My husband took on the task of playing this contemplative fellow. Up next is Gazigaz, a green furred xenoseeker envoy who loves nothing more than being helpful and making friends. In fact, he grooms himself constantly, in an effort to always look his best. Even when under attack he’s prone to make excuses for his attackers. Perhaps they had a bad life? No choice? They’re just confused! We can still be friends!? Right? My son happily took on the role of this chipper, friendly guy. The third skittermander is a red furred, female spacefarer soldier named Nako. She idolizes their captain, Nakonechkin, and even took his name as her own. She fights with a doshko and is the most battle-minded of the skittermanders. Nako wears her hair in a big braid on the top of her head, and enjoys playing her exotic finger drums (which are sized for someone much larger than she is, so she wears them around her forearm). My daughter happily picked Nako (she picked first). Lastly, there’s Quonx. Quonx is a blue furred scholar mechanic who loves to fix things. Everything. Machines, computers, wounds, and even reality. Or, at least, she’s trying to fix reality. Her tools don’t really work yet… But… Theoretically, if it did work, she could fix things! This messy but well-meaning skittermander was my favourite of the four, so I was thrilled to play as the delightful Quonx.
With our character selections made, it was time to get rolling! The adventure started innocently enough. Your salvage ship discovered a cruise liner aimlessly drifting through the Vast. Initial scans show no signs of life, so Nakonechkin went aboard to check it out, leaving his helpful crew behind, with the promise not to ‘fix’ anything while he was gone. But, it’s been a long time since then, and the skittermanders are restless. Deciding that their captain must be in trouble, my daughter (as Nako) ordered her crew to follow her! There was saving to be done!
“Whoah, whoah!” I made Quonx exclaim. “I can fix it! I’ll check the scanners!”
Unfortunately, I rolled horribly, and all we discovered was the location of their airlock. Armed with this imperative information the skittermanders turned on their armour’s protections and space walked over to the cruise liner. Unfortunately, Nako and Dakoyo spotted something strange coming right for us. Tiny meteorites! Quonx bravely tried to fix it with her quantum wrench, but alas! My wrench still couldn’t repair reality. Gazigaz (my son) and I got walloped pretty hard, but Dakoyo and Nako slipped by unharmed. Quonx opened the airlocks and we all slipped inside.
The cruise ship was fancy looking, and we immediately were greeted by some robots! Unfortunately, the robots thought we were pets, and tried to stuff us in cages. My kids thought this was HILARIOUS. Gazigaz tried to make friends with the confused robots, while Nako was offended, and pulled out her doshko to do battle! The robots proved little trouble, but Nako almost got shoved into a cage. My daughter was hopping around and shrieking in a panic every time the robots tried to lock her in.
As we left the broken robots behind, Quonx resisted the urge to fix them… But it was so hard! They needed it so bad! And think how much MORE amazing she could make them!
Dakoyo convinced the group to take a bit of a rest, and then they moved on, only to hear an announcement from the ship’s AI. It informed the passengers — wherever they were — that pets were on the loose, but they would be captured soon. Please inform your porters if you find one!
Quonx decided immediately that the AI was bonkers! Clearly it needed fixing! Joy!
Nako was pretty sure it needed smashing, while Dakoyo — the contemplative one — wondered where all the passengers were. Gazigaz was pretty sure that wherever the AI was, they would soon be great friends!
More importantly, where was Nakonechkin?
They hurried deeper onto the ship and discovered a room full of cool stuff! Holographic billiards tables, cards, and a dart board where Nako found a really fancy dart. After that they found a room full of hurt sick people who pointed guns at them! Wow! New friends!
Gazigaz put his stylish hair and pleasant words to the test, and convinced the dirty, scared people with guns (passengers) who were hiding in the dining room to not shoot them! Yay!
My son was very excited. Making friends is one of his very favourite things about d20 games. He was absolutely adorable, prancing around the table in excitement, and trying to learn everyone’s names and problems. They learned that the AI, M2, had gone crazy! In an effort to make the relaxing cruise much more relaxing, it altered their course to empty space, and started drugging people who caused trouble or were stressed. It even sent robots to attack them in an effort to force them into their rooms. Gazigaz was pretty sure that M2 only needed a friend, and Nako still said we should smash it. (My daughter was taking great glee in being the strong character for a change!).
Meanwhile, Dakoyo used his magical powers to heal a wounded man.
After learning a bit about they layout of the ship the helpful skittermanders continued on their quest for Nakonechkin!
As they entered what was supposed to be the observatory, they found the room unnaturally dark! They heard sounds in the dark, and soon little skittering, shadow bugs appeared! Nako sliced and diced with her doshko, while Gazigaz tried to befriend the bugs. Maybe they didn’t know any better?! Luckily, Quonx and Dakoyo realized that in the centre of the room was a tiny portal to the plane of shadow, which was being drawn in by some magical rocks around the room. Well, alright, there was more to it than that, but they knew explaining that to the others wouldn’t be worth their time. Quonx and Dakoyo worked together to deactivate the onyx shards and shut down the shadow portal, while Nako and Gazigaz battled against the bugs. After a bit of work, the observatory was saved! Quonx used her wrench to fix reality around the portal — but really it was Dakoyo using his mystic arts.
“Yeah! Fixed it!” Quonx exclaimed.
Leaving behind the observatory, the skittermanders hurried down the hall. Stairs were on their left, and ahead was the bridge, but to their right they heard a sound…
Nako gasped! (My daughter shrieked). “It’s Nakonechkin!” (Or rather, she tried to say Nakonechkin. It came out more like ‘Nakokochiky.’ I’m not sure why they decided to give the vesk such a long and tough to say name. We butchered it constantly during play. Haha!
The group bust into the room to find Nakonechkin relaxing at the spa! Or, was he relaxing? Why was he in pain?
Quonx knew what was up! “The robotic masseuse is massaging too hard! NO MEANS NO! I’ll fix it!”
Quonx leapt upon the robot and whipped out her tools — her proper ones, not the quantum reality spanner — and in no time flat she disabled the robotic massage arms and Nakonechkin was freed!
Nako helped Nakonechkin up while Dakoyo healed him.
Nakonechkin thanks his ‘little fuzzballs’ for helping him and gave them new orders: get to the bridge, shut down the psycho AI and take control of this ship. He was sure that the cruise line would pay good money to get this ship back — and some hush money for them to keep this debacle quiet! And with that, the skittermander’s brave and fearless captain… went back to the Clutch.
“Got it, Boss!” Nako exclaimed. Then she turned to boss around the rest of the crew. “You heard him! To the bridge!”
The door to the bridge was locked, but that was no trouble for Quonx, who had the door open in a jiffy. The group hurried inside only to find a dead crew member on the floor! Dakoyo went over to check on him while Quonx approached the computer consoles.
A moment later the crewman moved! Yay!
And bit Dakoyo in the face!
The poor crewman looked like he had come into the bridge to try to shut down the AI and had been electrocuted! Oh, no! The shock messed with his augmentations and he arose as a cybernetic zombie! Double oh, no!
The zombie managed to deal a lot of damage to the little skittermanders when stuck in the close quarters of the bridge — particularly by shooting electricity from its arms! Poor Gazigaz’s hair was never the same after that…
But, in time, they poor crewman was defeated.
Gazigaz tried talking to the corpse. “I’m sorry we had to kill you, Mr. Deadman. Now that you’re not trying to kill us, did you want to be my friend?”
The crewman didn’t argue.
“Yay!” Gazigaz exclaimed. He shook the crewman’s hand ‘hello’ while Quonx tried to access the ship’s mainframe…. to no avail! The clever M2 had disabled these consoles. In order to access the ship’s mainframe and shut down the mad AI they would have to reboot the computer core (which was likely on the engineering deck!)
It was at this point that the calm, soothing voice of M2 came over the loudspeakers once more. She had decided that we were not, in fact, pets. We were rebellious intruders here to upset her passengers! We needed to be calmed! Preferably into unconsciousness!
Gazigaz tried to explain that we were only here to make friends, but M2 didn’t respond. The group of hyper skittermanders hurried down the stairwell to the lower level of the ship. There they found the crew and guest quarters, as well as a second airlock where baggage would have been loaded onto the ship.
As they investigated the various cabins Dakoyo noticed something strange… He felt a little sleepy… And what was that sound…? A quiet hiss..?
Poisonous gas was pouring into the rooms though the vents! That sneaky AI was trying to knock them out!
As Dakoyo explained the many proper uses for knockout gas, Quonx tried to override the ventilation controls and jam them all shut. Luckily, it worked, and the skittermanders hurried on to the engineering deck. But they did not go unopposed! Outside the doors was one final robot who stood over the corpse of another crew member.
Before Gazigaz could even try to befriend the robot Nako dashed into battle! Overcome with the urge to help the others followed suit and soon the robot was defeated. Quonx hacked her way into the engineering deck while Dakoyo and Gazigaz checked on the corpse. Quonx ushered everyone inside and took a look at the layout, quickly determining that they would need to dismantle parts of the computer’s core which would be located somewhere in the ship’s framework. Unfortunately, Quonx had no more time to ponder. The AI made another pleasant announcement.
In order to rid the ship of pests it would vent the entire interior of the ship to space!
The skittermander thought on that for a moment.
Finally Gazigaz asked, “Would that kill everyone?”
Dakoyo very helpfully assured him it would.
“Ah!” Gazigaz exclaimed. “I have to go help the people!” Then he ran off, heading back upstairs to try to get all of the passengers into emergency space suits.
Nako and Dakoyo looked to Quonx. “What do we need to do?” they asked.
Quonx got right to work. “Nako! Pry open that panel! We’re going to have to head into the walls and shimmy through the vents to get to the core.”
Nako did as told, Quonx led the way into the vents and Dakoyo followed. From down the hall they could hear Gazigaz struggling to carry too many suits up the stairs.
“I’m going to help Gazigaz!” Nako exclaimed. She couldn’t help it!
Quonx and Dakoyo hurried through the vents and came upon the core.
“Uh-oh!” Quonx exclaimed. “She’s got a decentralized core! It’s bound to have at east a few nodes we need to break!” Quonx hurried forward, but Dakoyo stopped her.
“No! There’s a magical aura around here. If you get any closer you’ll get burned!”
Quonx explained that she had no choice, but Dakoyo shook his head. “Nope! I will go first. Then you can break the node!”
Dakoyo proudly moved forward and, sure enough, a ball of fire exploded on him. He moved to heal himself while Quonx took the opportunity to scurry forward and deactivate the node. Then they hurried off to the others.
It was a race against time!
Which the skittermanders won!
They cheered! They danced! They celebrated!
The skittermanders took control of the ship and assured the passengers that they were saved, while Quonx repaired the ship and got it up and running. Soon after they sent a hail to Nakonechkin on the Clutch.
He didn’t answer.
The proximity alert sounded and Quonx fired up the sensors…
“Pirates are approaching! They’ve already hit the Clutch with an EMP! We’ve got to hurry or we’ll be next!”
“NO! NAKONECHKIN!” Nako shouted. (The word Nakonechkin was once again mutiliated). “To your stations!”
Gazigaz leapt into the pilot’s chair. “Are you sure we can’t be friends?”
Nako fired up the guns, Quonx switched over to the engineering console and rerouted auxiliary power to the guns, and Dakoyo calmly climbed atop the Captain’s chair.
“Fire at will, Nako.” he ordered.
The battle was underway!
The battle was a short one. Although the enemy ship had a lot of guns (and the cruise liner had few), the cruise liner was also a higher tier ship with solid defences. Our group wasn’t in any real danger of being defeated. Still, my kids were on the edge of their seats, and it was a blast.
The skittermanders left the pirate ship broken in the Vast and flew off, with Nakonechkin and the Clutch. They had a cruise ship to return to Verces!
All in all, a good day’s work for a group of helpful skittermanders! And a great day’s gaming. My whole family enjoyed the adventure and it’s colourful cast of characters. They’re already talking about next year’s Free RPG Day, where they hope the skittermanders will be back in action!
As we cleaned up, my daughter turned her big brown eyes up to me and gave me a pleading look.
“Mom? You know I LOVE Starfinder. And I love PLAYING Starfinder.”
My children love d20 games. My son’s favourite is Pathfinder, while my daughter’s is Starfinder. They love to make characters, craft adventures, play online via play-by-post, and play as a family at our dining room table. But, they need help. The rulebooks use a lot of complicated jargon, and, even though my son reads well above his grade level, they’re still only six and seven. The books aren’t really geared at kids that young.
There are other games out there, of course. Easier games we could invest in, learn, and play, but that’s always a gamble. Besides, who says they’ll be a better fit for a young kid?
Recently a fellow gamer, who happened to be playing alongside both of my children via play-by-post, suggested that I give a game called Tails of Equestria a try. She and her daughter had recently played it at Origins and had enjoyed it.
My first thought was: My Little Pony? My kids love my little pony!
Followed closely by: My Little Pony? I love my my little pony!
There were plenty of other thoughts that followed.
For those of you who don’t know My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic is a super popular kids show. It’s aimed at girls, but I know just as many boys who enjoy it as much as girls. As a bonus, it’s hilarious. My husband and I both enjoy the show immensely. Its one of those shows that typically Mom and Dad don’t mind being on while they’re in the room. I know I certainly enjoy it more than a lot of other shows my kids like.
Even if you don’t have kids of your own, or young relatives who have watched it, the stores are filled with movies, toys, and games featuring the characters.
But, what the heck is Tails of Equestria?
I looked it up. For starters it’s full name is Tails of Equestria: The Storytelling Game. It’s a nice thick hardcover book, and on the back it explains simply and plainly that it is a cooperative storytelling game, where multiple players and a GM forge a tale together. Then it goes on to clearly and simply explain what a Game Master is, and how the game works.
Right there, on the back is a clear, concise, easy to understand description of what the heck a d20 game is. And it revolves around a world my kids already know and love. The whole book is like that. It does away with jargon, and presents a streamlined, easy to understand game. At the same time, it doesn’t talk down to you. An awesome introductory d20 game that looks like a ton of fun. Light-hearted, family friendly, fun.
A lot of the book is devoted to creating your very own pony. The character sheets looks fun and even have a little template for a blank pony, so your kids (and you) can draw in your own pony details and appearance and still come out with a decent looking horse.
Perhaps the best part? It has a strong focus on teamwork, and overcoming obstacles together. In fact, parts of the game are built specifically to reward players for cooperating and being generous. Although battle is a component of the game, it’s not the focus. ‘Scuffles’ are short and rare. More often, you’ll be aiming to avoid, befriend, calm, or trick an enemy. It’s a nice change of pace, but definitely means that games are going to be structured differently that I’m used to. Luckily, the book itself has a sample adventure right in it. And a relatively involved one, at that.
Unfortunately, while I scoured the internet for information, my children peeked over my shoulder and saw exactly what I was looking for.
“My Little Pony RPG?!? AWESOME!” exclaimed my daughter.
“That looks fun, Mom!” added my son.
They then immediately proceed to ask when we could get it. Could they have it as an early Christmas gift? How about a graduating from Kindergarten and Grade 1 gift? Just because I love them? But, they’ll do chores!
“You know, Mom. You promised we each could get one book after school was over, but it had to be a tough one that we would work at reading this summer. You said we could pick it out ourselves. I think that book looks pretty tough…”
Yeah, Mommy had a much smaller budget in mind for that book, kids…
The conversation soon evolved into discussing what I had learned about the game system, followed by my kids contemplating what kind of characters they’ll make.
I honestly cannot express how excited they are. They’re just…
Man, they look so happy. Haha.
Now, if only I had an excuse (and the funds) to buy it for my children…