Shackled City: Part Five: This Place is the Pits!

Welcome back to Cauldron, home of the The Shackled City Adventure Path! When we last left off our heroic musicians were investigating a series of missing person cases which recently culminated in the abduction of four children from a local orphanage. Fate led to our characters taking the rescue of these people upon themselves! They’ve tracked down the kidnappers, and discovered an underground complex run by slavers. They’ll have to work fast if they want to save their fellow citizens before they’re sold!

If none of this sounds familiar you can read this blog post, which details our characters, or continue on with this article to hear a quick summary and jump right into the action! You can also check out our previous adventures in Shackled City: Part OneShackled City: Part Two: A Mystery!Shackled City: Part Three: Jzadirune, and Shackled City: Part Four: Enter the Malachite Fortress.

The Shackled City Adventure Path is available for purchase in its entirety here. The first volume, Life’s Bazaar, is available for purchase here.

shackled city adventure path d20diaries
The Shackled City Adventure Path is a 3.5 Dungeons and Dragons Adventure originally printed in Dungeon Magazine by Paizo Publishing.

The Heroes

Our eccentric heroes are all members of ‘Dinorabbit,’ a musical band that changes its name frequently and was most previously known as ‘Boople Snoot.’ The band’s lead singer and song-writer is Falco Rhiavadi, a foppish noble bastard of mixed Tien descent whose father was devoured by a dragon when he was just a boy. A well-groomed, handsome man with an easy smile and a winning personality, Falco’s a black sheep among his family. Mechanically Falco is an oracle of life whose familiar is a jealous and demanding thrush named Ruby. Falco is played by my husband.

Mick Frimfrocket is a gnome with dark blue skin, bright pink hair that stands straight up on his head, and light blue eyes with flecks of red around his pupils. He’s energetic, bold, and loves nothing more than a good laugh! Mick acts as the band’s pianist and creative director. He’s the driving force behind the band’s constant name changes, and over-the-top performances. Mick was born in Jzadirune but was brought to the city of Cauldron to escape the Vanishing. Orphaned by the mysterious events and with few memories of those early years, Mick was raised in the Lantern Street Orphanage — the very same orphanage that recently had four children kidnpapped right from their beds! Determined to save those little scamps, Mick was very excited to take up this missing person’s case and follow it to its conclusion — particularly when he realized that it led to his one-time home. Mechanically Mick is a monk / bard (prankster) who attacks with wild kicks while playing his piano in battle. Partway through exploring Jzadirune he came into possession of a broken magical construct. He’s played by my seven-year old son.

Rabbity Castalle is a rabbitfolk waitress who works at the Tipped Tankard Tavern. A dancer and singer for the band Dinorabbit, Rabbity also has a pet panther named Panthy. She’s lucky, nimble, and quick, but a little skittish. One of her co-workers is one of the people who was recently abducted, so she’s very keen to solve this mystery and return him home. Rabbity is a hydrokineticist played by my six-year old daughter, using the rabbitfolk race. Rabbitfolk are a Pathfinder Compatible race created by my daughter (with some help) which will soon be published in the upcoming Realms of Atrothia: Primary Expansion by Sunburst Games (Kickstarter coming in February!)

The final member of our party is Aeris Caldyra, a local locksmith who was cajoled by her roommate, Rabbity, to join the band as a percussionist and set designer. With few friends to call her own, Aeris relented to the rabbitfolk’s request and is the least talented member of the band. The last worshipper of Alseta in Cauldron, with more than a few secrets and regrets, Aeris is a suli bloodrager with a chip on her shoulder. Always one to lend a hand, like her Grandfather Marzio once would have done, Aeris is determined to rescue the missing citizens of Cauldron. Aeris is my character for the Shackled City Adventure Path.

Although that’s the last of our PCs, that’s not the last of our party. The members of Dinorabbit are also travelling with a half-orc janitor named Patch! Patch is a big, stuttering, fool who works at the Lantern Street Orphanage — the very same place he was raised. Patch recently got recruited to the Last Laugh Thieve’s Guild and was asked to watch over an orphan named Terrem. Unfortunately, Terrem was kidnapped on the very evening that Patch went out to meet with with the guild. Distraught over the boy’s disappearance, Patch was pressured by Falco and Mick into helping them rescue the kids. And so, the poor one-eyed janitor finds himself heading into danger.

shackled city jzadirune group
The team!

The Adventure

Our eclectic crew of musicians, janitors, and locksmiths, stood in an empty forge which had clearly been the site of a slaughter. Our heroes had battled enemy hobgoblins and goblins only moments before in an effort to free three citizens of Cauldron who had been labouring here. With the battle won they sent their travelling companion, Keygan Ghelve, off with the freed prisoners. It was his job to bring them back up to the city and see them safely to the Church of Adabar.

The group spent a moment catching their breath, whispered a few prayers for the people they had saved, then turned their attention to their surroundings.

“…Right!” my son decreed.

We opened the right door and found ourselves in a cross shaped hallway with a variety of doors. There was the echo of muffled conversation in the air, with at least one of these nearby rooms inhabited. Warily, Aeris led the way forward. But as she reached the intersection she cursed! There were a pair of hobgoblin guards on watch at both ends of the hall! The pulled out their bows and grinned.

“Meal time, boys!” one of them bellowed. The muffled voices from the nearby rooms took up the call.

“Uh-oh,” my husband remarked.

Rabbity shot a blast of water at the nearest guard and leapt off Panthy.

“Eat the next person you see come out of there!” she commanded her panther as she gestured at the nearby door.

Panthy growled and prepared to fight. Meanwhile the guards pulled out their bows and fired arrows at our heroes. Aeris took a few hits, but Rabbity’s quick reflexes saved her from injury. Aeris moved to step forward only to have the ground fall out beneath her feet! Pit trap! She launched herself across the pit and came up in a roll, landing on the far side. With a backward glance she called out, “Watch your step!” Then she lunged forward and moved right up beside the hobgoblins. Finding their bows useless in close quarters they snarled at her.

“This won’t save your friends!”

“We’ll see,” Aeris replied defiantly.

Back on he other side of the pit Mick stood in the centre of the room and cast a magic spell, summoning his grand piano right into the hall. Then he began to play a happy little tune. As he played he danced, kicking his legs wildly. Falco pulled out a tanglefoot bag and tossed it at the guards on the other side of the intersection.

“Patch! Get in here! Are there any more traps?”

“I d-d-don’t know!” Patch stammered nervously. “I’ll ch-check!” He hurried into the room and looked around. “Yup! M-m-m-more pits right beh-h-hind us.”

“Where?”

“Here and there and w-w-well… Everywhere!”

“Don’t moooooove!” Mick sang. “Got it! Hold your grounnnnd, hold your grounnnnd, watch your steeeeeeep!”

“Aww man!” shouted Rabbity. “This place is the PITS!”

My daughter grinned. “Get it, Mom? Pits! And there are pit traps around us! Hahahahahaha! That’s so funny.”

I laughed.

malachite fortress - shackled city - this place is the pits - d20diaries
“This place is the PITS!” (Room M22 with surrounding guard and bunkrooms).

Suddenly a door beside Rabbity opened. Panthy launched herself at the offending door-opener, clamping down on their neck with her jaws and tearing at them with sharp claws.

“I hope that’s a bad guy,” my daughter remarked a little too late.

Luckily it was an enemy. But, even as they fell to the panther, more hobgoblin soldiers gathered in the room behind him. Hobgoblins crowded into the side hallways from the other nearby rooms, trying to get at at the intruders. A pair lunged at Mick only to get a kick to the face for their trouble. Rabbity splashed away with her water blasts from the centre of the group. Panthy fought with tooth and claw, and Patch leaped over the hidden pit and moved into melee with the southern archers. Luckily, as much as the odds were against them, only so many hobgoblins could engage the group at once. The battle was long and fierce, but soon our heroes thinned the enemies ranks until only a pair of hobgoblins remained. Aeris, bloodied and out of breath from taking on the northern guards, leapt back over the pit and helped her companions finish off the stragglers.

They waited for a while…. Out of breath and wounded… Weapons clutched in hand…

“What are we waiting for?” Rabbity asked the others quietly.

“Heroes always wait dramatically,” Mick answered wisely.

Rabbity waited another moment…  “But it’s boring.”

“Heroes deal with it anyway,” Mick replied.

Aeris, who hates wasting time, checked out the side rooms, searching enemies and chambers for useful gear. They found a cache of healing potions in a nearby guardroom and drank what they could. Patch leaped back over the hidden pit trap and told the group.

“There’s v-v-voices on the other side. D-d-doesn’t sound like pris-s-soners.”

“We go the other way, then,” Rabbity announced. “We need to find Griffin before he gets SOLD!”

At Rabbity’s insistence the group crossed the northern pit trap and entered the far northern room.

malachite fortress - book - shackled city - d20diaires

It lead to a grand square chamber with a massive chain-draped statue in the centre of the room.

“If that attacks me, I’ll be angry!” Mick exclaimed. “You go first, Aeris.”

“My hero,” Aeris replied with a roll of her eyes. She drew her longsword and moved forward, but the statue never moved. …The chains did! They thrashed and lashed at Aeris! She parried the chains and backed up. “Get out of its reach!”

The gang hurried back out of the hall and attacked it from afar. Being mostly immobile and draped all over a statue, the chains proved little trouble. All it took was time.

The band continued on, finding two secret passages and pair of grand double doors. One of the secret doors they discovered led back to the original entry hall, so they returned to the statue chamber. They pushed open the double door to find a massive bridge. Falco created some magical lights and sent them across the bridge. They illuminated a rough stone cavern that stretched farther than they could see. Far below the bridge was an underground river.

“Hmmm…” Mick grumbled. “The riddle said we would find the kids in the Malachite Hold. That place over there is just… rock.”

“It probably leads to the Darklands,” Falco announced. “It stands to reason. They need to sell their slaves to someone, and there’s no other settlements nearby. Not that would buy slaves, that is.”

Rabbity twitched her nose. “I do NOT want to go to the Darklands…. Let’s turn around. We need to finish exploring the fortress.”

“Agreed.” replied Aeris. She ushered everyone inside, shut the doors, and barred them. Then she listened at the second secret door. “Sounds quiet.”

“I think that prisoners would be noisy. They would cry and stuff,” my daughter pointed out. “And we missed some rooms back near the forge where we found those prisoners.”

“Oh, yeah! I want to go back that way! I had a good feeling about that forge-door!”

My husband, who clearly wondered what was behind the secret door right in front of him, chuckled. “Alright, alright. We’ll go there next.” As the gang got ready to retrace their steps and continue their exploration, we tidied up and got the kids ready for bed. Saving the prisoners would have to wait for another day.

Thanks for joining us, everyone! I hope you enjoyed getting to hear a bit about our crazy adventures. We’ll see you again soon!

Jessica

life's bazaar d20diaries shackled city beholder
Life’s Bazaar is the first adventure in the Shackled City Adventure Path.

Behind the Screen

The Shackled City Adventure Path is a difficult to get your hands on adventure path published in eleven separate Dungeon Magazines, or available in hardcover from Amazon here or from Paizo Publishing’s website here. The first adventure, Life’s Bazaar is available in Dungeon Magazine #97 from Paizo Publishing’s website here.

Despite being a 3.5 Dungeons and Dragons Adventure Path, we’re running this campaign with Pathfinder (both the campaign setting and the ruleset). Our characters utilize content from many sources, some of which are listed below.

The shaman and the bloodrager classes, as well as the bloodrager archetype spelleater, can all be found in the Advanced Class Guide. The urban bloodrager archetype can be found in Heroes of the Streets. The Kineticist class can be found in Occult Adventures. The monk and bard are base classes found in the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game: Core Rulebook (or in a convenient travel-sized edition: Core Rulebook (Pocket Edition)  while the prankster archetype for bards can be found in the Advanced Race Guide.

Shackled City: Part Four: Enter the Malachite Fortress

Today we’re heading back into Cauldron, home of the The Shackled City Adventure Path!

shackled city adventure path d20diaries
The Shackled City Adventure Path is a 3.5 Dungeons and Dragons Adventure originally printed in Dungeon Magazine by Paizo Publishing.

When we last left off our heroic musicians were investigating a series of missing person cases which recently culminated in the abduction of four children from a local orphanage. Fate led to our characters taking the rescue of these people upon themselves! If none of this sounds familiar you can read this blog post first, which details our characters, or continue on with this article to read a quick summary and jump right into the action! You can also check out our previous adventures in Shackled City: Part OneShackled City: Part Two: A Mystery!, and Shackled City: Part Three: Jzadirune.

The Shackled City Adventure Path is available for purchase in its entirety here. The first volume, Life’s Bazaar, is available for purchase here.


The Heroes

Our eccentric heroes are all members of ‘Dinorabbit,’ a musical band that changes its name frequently and was most previously known as ‘Boople Snoot.’ The band’s lead singer and song-writer is Falco Rhiavadi, a foppish noble bastard of mixed Tien descent whose father was devoured by a dragon when he was just a boy. A well-groomed, handsome man with an easy smile and a winning personality, Falco’s a black sheep among his family. Mechanically Falco is an oracle of life whose familiar is a jealous and demanding thrush named Ruby. Falco is played by my husband.

Mick Frimfrocket is a gnome with dark blue skin, bright pink hair that stands straight up on his head, and light blue eyes with flecks of red around his pupils. He’s energetic, bold, and loves nothing more than a good laugh! Mick acts as the band’s pianist and creative director. He’s the driving force behind the band’s constant name changes, and over-the-top performances. Mick was born in Jzadirune but was brought to the city of Cauldron to escape the Vanishing. Orphaned by the mysterious events and with few memories of those early years, Mick was raised in the Lantern Street Orphanage — the very same orphanage that recently had four children kidnpapped right from their beds! Determined to save those little scamps, Mick was very excited to take up this missing person’s case and follow it to its conclusion — particularly when he realized that it led to his one-time home. Mechanically Mick is a monk / bard (prankster) who attacks with wild kicks while playing his piano in battle. Partway through exploring Jzadirune he came into possession of a broken magical construct. He’s played by my seven-year old son.

Rabbity Castalle is a rabbitfolk waitress who works at the Tipped Tankard Tavern. A dancer and singer for the band Dinorabbit, Rabbity also has a pet panther named Panthy. She’s lucky, nimble, and quick, but a little skittish. One of her co-workers is one of the people who was recently abducted, so she’s very keen to solve this mystery and return him home. Rabbity is a hydrokineticist played by my six-year old daughter, using the rabbitfolk race. Rabbitfolk are a Pathfinder Compatible race created by my daughter (with some help) which will soon be published in the upcoming Realms of Atrothia: Primary Expansion by Sunburst Games (Kickstarter coming in February!)

The final member of our party is Aeris Caldyra, a local locksmith who was cajoled by her roommate, Rabbity, to join the band as a percussionist and set designer. With few friends to call her own, Aeris relented to the rabbitfolk’s request and is the least talented member of the band. The last worshipper of Alseta in Cauldron, with more than a few secrets and regrets, Aeris is a suli bloodrager with a chip on her shoulder. Always one to lend a hand, like her Grandfather Marzio once would have done, Aeris is determined to rescue the missing citizens of Cauldron. Aeris is my character for the Shackled City Adventure Path.

Although that’s the last of our PCs, that’s not the last of our party. The members of Dinorabbit are also travelling with two NPCs: Patch, the half-orc janitor, and Keygan Ghelve, a local locksmith.

Patch is a big, stuttering, fool who works at the Lantern Street Orphanage — the very same place he was raised. Patch recently got recruited to the Last Laugh Thieve’s Guild and was asked to watch over an orphan named Terrem. Unfortunately, Terrem was kidnapped on the very evening that Patch went out to meet with with the guild. Distraught over the boy’s disappearance, Patch was pressured by Falco and Mick into helping them rescue the kids. And so, the poor one-eyed janitor finds himself heading into danger.

Keygan Ghelve is a gnome locksmith and competitor of Aeris’. He’s also the reason people are going missing! Months ago strange creatures came up from Keygan’s basement — which leads to the abandoned gnomish enclave of Jzadirune — and kidnapped his rat familiar! They forced Keygan to forge them a set of skeleton keys that can open the locks he’d installed in Cauldron, and a list of all his customers. In the months since, skulks and dark creepers have used his home as a way station, heading out into the city, abducting people from their homes, and dragging them back underground through his basement. Keygan feels guilty, but he’s more worried over his rat than anything! The members of Dinorabbit followed clues that led to Keygan’s shop and discovered his role in the abductions. Although Aeris wanted to turn him in to the guard, the Falco and Mick insisted he come with them if he wanted to save his rat. He’d need to help rescue the kidnapped citizens of Cauldron and undo the damage he’s facilitated.

Aeris decided that after that she’d still have him arrested. She’s a stickler for the rules. …Usually.

mick frimfrocket construct shackled city
Mick Frimfrocket with his construct. Aeris and Patch can be see in the background.

The Adventure

Our eclectic team of musicians, janitors, and locksmiths, descended through hidden passageways, into the long-abandoned gnomish enclave of Jzadirune, on the trail of subterranean kidnappers! In time they discovered that the kidnappers had been using Jzadirune’s ruins as a base of operations. Although our heroes battled the skulks and their dark creeper minions, my players never found any signs of the kidnapped citizens of Cauldron.

What they did find was a door. The door led to a platform that, with the flick of a switch, descended down a shaft into the darkness. When the doors opened they found themselves someplace else. Someplace new. A place of dwarven construction, made from malachite.

My son and daughter gasped in shock!

“MOM! MOM! The riddle! The riddle says something about that mal-kite! We are almost there!”

My son read the riddle a few more times and double checked the notes that he keeps in his detective’s notebook (which is a copy of Detective Murdoch’s notebook from Murdoch Mysteries). “Hmmm… Yup! Those kidnappers must have been working for a duergar! He’s the true culprit!”

My daughter clapped her hands in glee. “Yes! We are almost there! I have to save my good friend Griffin who I work with! He was supposed to be married! His girlfriend is so sad she cries everyday! We must hurry! He could DIE!” She says the word ‘die’ with such drama. It’s adorable.

Aeris and Falco led the way, with Mick, Rabbity, and Panthy travelling in the middle of the group. Patch and Keygan took up the rear, with the cowardly locksmith strongly debating running away when no one was looking.

shackled city team
The team!

Our heroes entered the main hall of the fortress only to realize that the strange stone sculpture in the middle of the room was actually an earth elemental known as a stone spike! The beast slammed into Aeris, causing heavy damage and surprising the party. The battle was over in just two rounds, with Aeris and Rabbity dealing heavy damage to the brute — Aeris bloodraging with her longsword and Rabbity with her water blasts.  Mick inspired the group with his wonderful piano music. Falco and Patch had poor luck, not landing a single blow against the creature. And Keygan? Well, he didn’t even try to help. He just lingered at the back near the elevator, ready to flee if the party died.

The battle with the stone creature drew forth an ogre from a nearby chamber. The brute stunk like garbage and wielded a filth encrusted falchion which he swung around clumsily.

“More carrion for my larder!” the brute bellowed. “Very nice!”

“Carrion?!” My son exclaimed. “I know that word! I am not carrion!” He waved his arms around and pointed at the offending miniature ogre on the table. “I am a SINGER! Face the wrath of Mick Frimfrocket!!!”

Unbeknownst to my players the ogre was Xukasus, the fortress majordomo. The ogre was actually an otyugh, polymorphed into the form of an ogre long ago and his room, which was just off of this entry hall, was a massive heap of sewage, gore, and garbage. As the smell trickled out into the entry hall Keygan and Rabbity gagged. By the start of this fight Aeris was already heavily wounded from battling the stone spike. Falco gave her what healing he could and then she strode off, ready to intercept the ogre and protect her fellow bandmates. The battle was a tough one, with Mick urging Keygan to get into the fight and help. The gnome begrudgingly obliged, getting up close and sending a colour spray at the ogre!

Which didn’t work.

Keygan was nearly chopped in half by a falchion for his trouble, and tossed into the ogre’s bedroom for snacking on later.

(…Whoops!)

Aeris too, nearly fell, but Falco and Mick managed to keep her standing long enough with their magic that she took down the disgusting ogre. The group rescued Keygan, healed everyone back up to full hp, and searched the entry hall for anything of interest. After some hesitation they searched the ogre’s room as well. They spotted an iron chest in a massive pile of dung. They debated some more, then decided that whatever look was in that chest could stay there. They didn’t want it that bed. Not if poop was involved!

Which is too bad! It had a good deal of treasure in it. Haha.

malachite fortress - book - shackled city - d20diaires

Mick used his magic to clean everyone up, and then the group looked around. They discovered two secret passages, chose one at random, and continued on. They found themselves in a dead end hallway, which led to another secret door and a secret armoury filled with racks of armour and weapons. The group took it all — being in a band didn’t earn them much income! — and gave the construct some big sacks of gear to carry. Then they continued on again, finding themselves in a hot, stuffy forge.

There they finally found their first citizens of Cauldron! The dwarf, Sondor Ironfold, worked ceaselessly at a forge alongside three goblins. Nearby two other halfling victims, Jeneer Everdawn and the rogue Maple, sat in the corner putting together chainmail suits one link at a time. Four hobgoblins stood watch in this chamber.

As the group entered the room Panthy growled, low in her throat, and Rabbity launched a blast of water at the nearest hobgoblin. “Get ’em, team!” she called out.

The battle had begun!

This fight was a long one, with plenty of characters on both sides of the fight. The PCs and their allies fought the goblins and hobgoblins in relatively tight quarters, with the dwarf prisoner giving some goblins a few swings of her hammer, and the halfling prisoner Maple giving a hobgoblin a knife to the back. Only Aeris ended up getting hit with any frequency — due to her position on the front lines, not a lack of armour — but even then she only took a total of eight damage through the entire encounter. All our others heroes came out of it unscathed.

When the hall fell silent except for the crackle of flames my kids took it upon themselves to explain to the prisoners that they were about to be rescued by Dinorabbit — the coolest band in Cauldron! Maple was thrilled. Jeneer was clearly delirious with fear. And Sondor was… sad, quite frankly. She dropped her hammer to the ground and cried. They thought it was relief, at first, but it soon became clear Sondor was in mourning. She and her husband had been kidnapped together, but her husband had been sold as a slave four weeks ago. She knew she would never see him again.

My kids were quiet for a moment. It was the first time that they realized they might not be able to save everyone. People had been going missing from Cauldron for a few months. If their captures were slavers, surely Sondor’s husband wasn’t the only one who had already been sold…

My husband pulled out his list of missing people and put a little checkmark beside Maple, Sondor, and Jeneer. Then he crossed out Sondor’s husband, Lorthan. The look on my kids faces when that poor guy’s name got crossed off was a strange mix of solemnity and determination. It’s not a look I see on them often. Or ever, really.

“We’re going to get these people to safety right now!” My son / Mick announced.

My daughter shook her head. As Rabbity she said: “No! I’m not leaving here without Griffin! He is my friend and his fiancé cries too much with him gone!”

Mick grinned and pointed at Keygan. “He’s going to do it! Keygan! You get your wish! You have your rat back, and now your job is to bring these people into the elevator, up through Jzadirune, and back to Cauldron. Bring them to the Church of Adabar. That lady named…” My son paused. “I forget her name.”

“Jenya Urikas?”

“JENYA will help you! Now GO! Save people and redeem yourself!” My son pointed around grandly used his ‘serious hero’ voice.

“Yeah! And bring these bags of loot up with you!” Rabbity added practically. “Then the construct can help us fight again!”

Keygan, of course, needed no further encouragement. He groaned in relief, grabbed some bags, and left without even a goodbye. The newly liberated citizens of Cauldron followed after him, with Maple and Sondor lending a hand with the loot.

Our heroes stood alone in the forge for a few moments.

“Aww!” My daughter suddenly exclaimed. “We should have taken the stuff from these dead hobgoblins before sending Keygan away! Now we have to carry it!”

I laughed.

The group took what gear they could from the bodies, and explored the room. There were two doors leading deeper into the complex. My kids started to argue over which door to open, which is a sure sign that they’re getting tired. We paused the game there, with promises to play again soon. After all, they still had people to save!

Thanks for joining us, everyone! I hope you enjoyed getting to hear a bit about our crazy adventures. We’ll see you again soon!

Jessica

life's bazaar d20diaries shackled city beholder
Life’s Bazaar is the first adventure in the Shackled City Adventure Path.

Behind the Screen

The Shackled City Adventure Path is a difficult to get your hands on adventure path published in eleven separate Dungeon Magazines, or available in hardcover from Amazon here or from Paizo Publishing’s website here. The first adventure, Life’s Bazaar is available in Dungeon Magazine #97 from Paizo’s website here.

Despite being a 3.5 Dungeons and Dragons Adventure Path, we’re running this campaign in Pathfinder (both the campaign setting and the rules). Our characters utilize the following: The shaman and the bloodrager classes, as well as the bloodrager archetype spelleater, can all be found in the Advanced Class Guide. The urban bloodrager archetype can be found in Heroes of the Streets. The Kineticist class can be found in Occult Adventures. The monk and bard are base classes found in the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game: Core Rulebook (or in a convenient travel-sized edition: Core Rulebook (Pocket Edition)  while the prankster archetype for bards can be found in the Advanced Race Guide.

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.