Dawn of Flame Adventure Path

Today we’re leaving our chilly Manitoba winter behind and turning up the heat! Gaze into the future with us as we check out the upcoming Starfinder Adventure Path: Dawn of Flame!

Dawn of Flame is a six part Adventure Path for the Starfinder Roleplaying Game which is currently available for pre-order. The first volume, Starfinder Adventure Path 13: Fire Starters (Dawn of Flame 1 of 6), comes out in February and is written by James L. Sutter. The entire campaign takes place around, on, and IN the Pact World’s sun, with a focus on the Burning Archipelago and the sun’s interior. The campaign should take characters from levels 1 all the way through to levels 12 or 13. In a recent interview on Starfinder Wednesday, Chris Simms explained that this Adventure Path is not as dark as the previous ones — putting it in direct contrast to the previous Starfinder Adventure Path, Signal of Screams (which begins with The Diaspora Strain). Much lighter in tone, Dawn of Flame is intended to get back to the heart of Starfinder — that space opera science fantasy mix of fun. This adventure path is full of mystery, surprises, and interesting discoveries. The further you delve into the mystery, the deeper into the sun you’ll travel, making your physical journey a mirror of your intellectual discoveries.

Which is awesome! As a mother of mystery-loving kids, I’m thrilled that this is a campaign my whole family can get excited about.

The Sun? How can I adventure there?!

A-ha! Good question! In a lot of ways the sun of the Pact Worlds is just like ours. It’s an incandescent ball of burning gas and plasma, with intense pressure and heat. Not very hospitable! But, because Starfinder is a science fantasy game, magic has allowed the folks over at Paizo to do a lot of cool things! The Pact Worlds sun has mystical connections (and magical portals) to both the Plane of Fire and the Positive Energy Plane. Plenty of strange beings live within the depths of the sun, such as the starship-sized flame whales that can be seen swimming and breaching through the sun’s plasma. Outsiders from the Elemental Plane of Fire are also known to live within the sun, including sentient beings such as efreet, and azers.

Upon the surface of the sun floats a settlement called the Burning Archipelago. Multiple districts make up this Pact Worlds Protectorate, each of which is contained within it’s own magical ‘bubble’ of unknown origin. These mysterious bubbles keep the neighbourhoods within protected from the harmful effects of the sun, and provide artificial environments that allow many forms of life to thrive. Although all of these bubbles are connected to one another via magical tunnels, only one bubble allows access from outside the Burning Archipelago. This entrance was originally discovered by devotees of Sarenrae (goddess of the sun) who noticed the mysteriously abandoned bubble settlements and attempted to fly as close to them as they could. Miraculously, they stumbled upon the entrance and claimed the settlement for their own. To this day the Church of Sarenrae has influence over most of the Burning Archipelago, including the only entrance. In the time since its founding, many people have come to the Burning Archipelago, including corporations, scientists, beings from the Plane of Fire, and citizens of the Pact Worlds. Each district has become home to different groups, communities, and industries, and serves different purposes. Each has its own security force, with the Sarenite Dawn Patrol, and the Pact Worlds Stewards acting as other over-arching police forces. Neighbourhoods of the Burning Archipelago include Asanatown, Chroma, Corona, Dawnshore, Fireside, Stellacuna, and Verdeon. The sun has many structures and life forms for its citizens to marvel over and study, and plenty of mysteries to unravel. For more information on the Pact Worlds Sun and its many secrets you can check out Starfinder: Pact Worlds.

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Entrance to the Burning Archipelago, as seen in Starfinder: Pact Worlds

Dawn of Flame

At its core, Dawn of Flame is about mystery and discovery. About unravelling secrets, and going places no one has gone before. Your characters will discover new settlements and people, strange creatures, and powerful enemies. After uncovering the machinations of a semi-divine being they’ll need to work fast to protect the sun from extraplanar conquest! The fate of the Pact Worlds Sun in is their hands!

Fire Starters

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Starfinder Adventure Path 13: Fire Starters (Dawn of Flame 1 of 6)

The Dawn of Flame Adventure Path begins in the Burning Archipelago, and involves Far Portal — a structure that, like the Burning Archipelago itself, is far older and more technologically advanced than anything in the Pact Worlds. It’s creator and purpose is a mystery, but it’s function is not. Far Portal is a magical portal to a particularly inhospitable region of the Plane of Fire. It hovers nearby, within sight of the Burning Archipelago, but rarely sees use. Although intrepid and foolhardy explorers sometimes enter it, none have ever returned. What’s more, nothing has come out of it. Ever. Until now! A ship flies out of Far Portal, chased by an astoundingly big flame whale. The portal soon disappears INTO the sun, and a massive psychic disturbance wracks the populace. These life-changing events lead our PCs to accept work for a local scientist, in an effort to help her figure out what’s going on. PCs will need to travel into Asanatown, a lashunta enclave in the Burning Archipelago, to contact another scientist who can help. Unfortunately, the psychic burst has hit the telepathic citizens of Asanatown hard. Tensions boil over, and chaos erupts in the district. Finding that scientist? Yeah, that’s the easy part…

Starfinder Adventure Path 13: Fire Starters (Dawn of Flame 1 of 6) is written by James L. Sutter and is intended for 1st-level characters. In addition to the adventure itself, this volume contains detailed information on the district of Asanatown (written by Jason Tondro) and the Church of Sarenrae and its worshippers (written by Patrick Brennan), including some new equipment common to her worshippers. The Alien Archive entries focus on extraplanar creatures, including ifrits and proteans, and is written by Leo Glass, Owen K.C. Stephens, and James L. Sutter. The Codex of Worlds introduces us to a “beautiful resort planet” with connections to the Plane of Water, and is written by Lacy Pellazar. Finally, the ship that will be showcased is a Sarenite vessel designed by Jason Keeley.

Soldiers of Brass

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Starfinder Adventure Path 14: Soldiers of Brass (Dawn of Flame 2 of 6)

Starfinder Adventure Path 14: Soldiers of Brass (Dawn of Flame 2 of 6) is written by Crystal Frasier and is intended for characters around level 3. By now your PCs work for the Deep Cultures Institute, which is a scientific corporation of dubious reputation that believes there are not only ancient archeological sites to discover within the sun, but living breathing people and cultures. Intent on unraveling the mysterious psychic burst that came from the Sun’s depths, they’ve turned to outside help to aid them. But, when important data is stolen from DCI your PCs will have to track down the thieves, retrieve the data, and figure out why they wanted it in the first place.

This adventure will take your players through Stellacuna, the district that is home to the Deep Cultures institute and other centres of learning, and Corona, a dangerous district that is home to many denizens of the Plane of Fire, and the infamous market known as the Brass Bazaar. Although no further information is currently available as to the other articles in this book, I imagine we’ll be treated to an in depth article on the district of Corona.

Brass Bazaar
The Brass Bazaar

Sun Divers

Sun Divers
Starfinder Adventure Path 15: Sun Divers (Dawn of Flame 3 of 6)

Starfinder Adventure Path #15: Sun Divers (Dawn of Flame 3 of 6) is written by Joe Pasini and is intended for 5th-level characters. During this part of the adventure path your characters will have discovered proof of a settlement within the sun’s depths, and have the coordinates to get there. The problem? A ship! Your PCs will need to track down the creators of an experimental ship known as a Sun Diver, and retrieve it from the shady folks who have it now. In addition to getting to explore the Verdeon district of the Burning Archipelago, they’ll get to take their  awesome new ship (that looks a lot like a pinecone!) beneath the surface of the sun, and explore an undiscovered city!

Further content in this volume includes an article on Noma (the newly discovered bubble-city) and on organized crime. Alien Archive entries are said to include creatures that live within the sun. Although the planet examined in the Codex of Worlds is still a mystery, the ship that will be detailed is going to be the Sun Diver.

The Blind City

Starfinder Adventure Path #16: The Blind City (Dawn of Flame 4 of 6) is written by Ron Lundeen and is intended for 7th-level characters. Your PCs time in the bubble-city of Noma has led to further discoveries, including an ancient magical tablet. Bringing the tablet back to the Burning Archipelago for translation causes a clash with the cult of Azathoth. If they’re lucky, your players will beat back the cultists and discover the coordinates to another mysterious location within the sun, known as Ezorod. The discoveries they make in this lightless (yes, you read that right: LIGHTLESS), foul dungeon will change their lives forever, and finally place the PCs on the trail of Dawn of Flame’s major villain.

Further content in this volume includes an article on various cults found in the Pact Worlds, and a bunch of new and weird techonological and magical equipment. The Alien Archives include new creatures from throughout the multiverse. Information on the Codex of Worlds and ship details have yet to be revealed.

Solar Strike

Starfinder Adventure Path #17: Solar Strike (Dawn of Flame 5 of 6) is written by Mark Moreland and intended for 9th-level characters. It begins with the PCs receiving a distress call from the peaceful citizens of settlement deep within the sun who are under attack by efreet invaders from the Plane of Fire. Your PCs will need to dive back below the surface of the sun to liberate the city of Kahlannal from their conquerers! Unfortunately, this isn’t an isolated incident. It’s the start of an invasion…

Further content in this volume includes an article on the bubble-city of Kahlannal, and an article on the cultures of the Pact Worlds sun and other stars throughout the galaxy. Content of the Alien Archives, Codex of Worlds, and ships has yet to be announced.

Assault on the Crucible 

Starfinder Adventure Path #18: Assault on the Crucible (Dawn of Flame 6 of 6) is written by Jason Tondro and is intended for 11th-level characters. It is the final volume in the Dawn of Flame Adventure Path and should bring your PCs to level 12 or 13. In it, the efreet army, acting at the behest of a semi-divine being from the Plane of Fire known as Malikah, launches an assault on the Burning Archipelago from the depths of the Sun! Aware of this coming attack your PCs will have have to defend the city, bring the fight to the enemy at their hidden base, close the portals to the Plane of Fire, and return Far Portal to its home on the surface of the sun! Epic stuff!

Further content in this volume includes an article on continuing the Dawn of Flame Adventure Path past the story’s conclusion, and an article on Starfinder’s version of the Plane of Fire. The Alien Archive is said to contain creatures from the sun, the Plane of Fire, and elsewhere in the galaxy. Details on the Codex of Worlds and ship details have yet to be revealed.

An Ending

And with that we come to the end of the Dawn of Flame Adventure Path. Or rather, we come to the beginning. Next month the first volume of Dawn of Flame will be in our hands and we’ll get to create characters that can embark on this epic quest of discovery. Turns out the fate of the entire Pact Worlds hangs the in balance. No pressure! When asked if he had any further thoughts and themes that he wants Starfinder fans to come away from Dawn of Flame with, Chris Simms had this to say:

“There’s no place you can’t go.”

And he’s right! Starfinder is a game that allows us to go anywhere, explore anything, and become something greater than ourselves. It’s a world of advanced technology, alien species, and powerful magic. This fusion of big, bold ideas has led to a truly wonderful game. If you haven’t given it a try, I highly suggest you do!

Want more information on the Dawn of Flame Adventure Path, or to see awesome artwork from Fire Starters? Check out this past week’s episode of Starfinder Wednesday, featuring host Dan Tharp and special guest Chris Simms!

Enjoy!

Jessica


UPDATE: Check out the recently released Dawn of Flame Trailer!

Starfinder: Armory

Hello and welcome to d20 diaries! Today we’re taking a look at Starfinder: Armory! This is one of the few Starfinder sourcebooks that’s available for purchase. It’s a hardcover book that focuses on new gear and equipment for use in the Starfinder Roleplaying Game.

This article isn’t meant to be a thorough review or critique of Starfinder: Armory. It won’t replace the book (nor would I want it to!). It’s a quick breakdown of what’s found inside, and what I liked best in each chapter. It’s a collection of my favourites parts of the book, and some highlights. It’s here so that fellow gamers and fans can take a look and get a real a feel for what they’ll get out of the book. Hopefully it helps you decide whether this product is right for you.

Starfinder: Armory is a hardcover sourcebook 159 pages in length. Nearly all of that is dedicated to gear, with the remaining pages offering new character options for each of the seven Starfinder core classes. It features delightful cover art by Remko Troost which depicts Obozaya (the iconic vesk soldier) and Quig (the iconic ysoki mechanic) shopping. The inside covers feature a nice image of the Pact World System (which is not to scale). Following that is the table of contents and the ‘Overview.’ Basically, the two page introduction just lets you know what kinds of gear you’ll find in this book, and explains the difference between the different types of equipment categories. Perhaps the most useful tidbit? A tiny sidebar about minor equipment. Basically, any random technological item you want to invest in that’s not a weapon — things like cameras, clocks, headphones, so on and so on. Each of those items is available if GM approval for a price of 5 credits. Easy. Done. Love it. My daughter tends to try to purchase a lot of frivolous gear like this, so it’s nice to have a proper baseline for it.

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Starfinder: Armory

After this its on to Chapter 1: Equipment. At a whopping 130 pages long, this chapter is by far the bulk of the book. These pages are filled with all new gear (not reprints) sorted by category. Equipment categories include: weapons, weapon accessories, weapon fusions, special materials, armour, powered armour, armour upgrades, augmentations, technological items, magic items, hybrid items, personal items, drugs, medicinals, poisons, other purchases, and vehicles.

Up first? Weapons. In general this book provides a wider array of weapons for each damage type at various levels, and some new abilities. And the number of choices? Huge! Just looking at the weapon charts there are six pages of melee weapons, four pages of small arms, three of long arms, three of heavy weapons, one of sniper weapons, a quarter page of untyped weapons, a quarter page of ammunition, a half page of solarian crystals, and a half page of grenades. That’s hundreds of new weapons up for sale — not even counting the new modifications and weapon fusions. There’s some awesome artwork in this section, with the art for the Bravado Handcannon (a small arm projectile with critical knockdown), the Exhorter Shout Projector (a sonic heavy weapon with critical demoralize), the Grave-Class Void Rifle (a cryo longarm with critical suffocate), the Matrix Resonant Pistol (a sonic small arm with critical deafen), the traditional battle ribbon (an uncategorized advanced melee weapon), and the warfan (and uncategorized advanced melee weapon), all numbering among my favourites. There are 46 new weapon special properties (breach, drain charge, free hands, and gravitation are my favourites), and sixteen new critical hit effects (blind and stifle are my favourites). There’s also an array of weapons manufacturers, each of which can add special abilities to your gun (for an extra fee, of course!). I’d be sure to buy from AbadarCorp and Ringworks Arsenal Group’s lovely weapon selection.

Kent Hamilton-Armory Spread
Some of the many weapons available in Starfinder Armory. Illustrated by Kent Hamilton.

But that’s not all! There’s also new weapon accessories, weapon fusions, and special materials up for offer. For accessories be sure to check out the bayonet bracket and collapsing weapon. I like a lot of the new weapon fusions, but my favourites probably turned out to be accurate, conserving, guarded, obscuring, rebounding, and soulfire. For special materials I was surprised to find I enjoyed horacalcum and inubrix the most.

 

After leaving behind sixty pages of weapons and weapon-related products we’re heading out into the wide world of armour. There’s six pages dedicated to light and heavy armour (with two of those being full-page art), followed by six pages dedicated to powered armour (with two of those being full-page art), and finally six more pages of armour upgrades. The upgrades are a lot of fun. I particularly enjoyed adaptive energy shield, agility enhancer, auto injector, easy access kit, glamour projector, long strider module, medical interface, stabilizer springs (a nice low-level option), and (my personal favourite) the computer interface, which essentially lets you make a ‘Jarvis’ for your ‘Iron Man’ suit.

Up next? Augmentations. Biotech has two pages dedicated to it (be sure to check out the mighty vocal chords and regenerative blood), Cybernetics has two pages (I like the optical laser), Magitech has four pages of options (check out antimagic skin and arcane lenses), and finally Necrografts fill the last four pages (I like the bore blade and the healing larynx).

Armory - Power Armor Spread Leonardo Borazio
Some of the Powered Armour found in Starfinder Armory. Illustrated by Leonardo Borazio.

Then we move right on to Technological items. This section fills up a whopping twelve pages! Some of it is new, while others are pleasantly familiar, either because you can find them in our world, or because they were introduced in Pathfinder’s Technology Guide (such as ion tape and zipsticks). I particularly enjoyed the auto cartographer, datapad, domestic drive, emergency raft, evenfire unit, holographic sashimono, hoverskates, ion tape, nanite hypopen, and the many new tool kits. There’s lots of useful stuff!

Magic Items are up next, where you’ll find ten more pages of new equipment to spend your credits on. To start with there’s some cool aeon stones, my favourite of which is the kaleidoscopic icosahedron. The very expensive containment tesseract is also pretty nifty. I also enjoyed the cover seed, darksight goggles, dented kasa, diffraction cloak, figurine of wondrous power (which summon creatures to fight for you), ofuscated journal, plasma beads (pretty much a necklace of fireballs), Starfinder backpack, and the tangle burst seed. This is followed by three new artifacts: Atrocite Sphere, Trafodi Paradox, and, my personal favourite, the Book of Unwritten Truths.

Fusing Technological Items and Magic Items are the delightful Hybrid Items, which take up eight pages. I enjoyed the captive-star amulet and various vital seeds most, although I’m sure there’ll be lots of fans of the new hybrid grenades (of which there are many). I got a great laugh out of computer idols, and the software imp! Be sure to give them a read.

Ysoki Gear - RatAfter this is four pages of Personal Items. Although not the most exciting category of items, it’s certainly useful. My favourites are staples! The gear maintenance kit, mess kit, and books. (I know, I know. I’m really stepping out of my comfort zone there! Haha!).

Drugs, Medicinals, and Poisons all share the next two pages (which aren’t really my cup of tea), followed by two pages of ‘Other Purchases.’ This section is mostly flavour, but I found I really enjoyed reading about the types of cuisine created and favoured by the core races of the Pact Worlds. The ysoki were hilarious! (Don’t eat their food. In fact, I’d stay away from Shirren cuisine, as well!).

Finally, there’s two pages of new vehicles, the cheapest of which is the level two motorcycle for 1,900 credits. And that brings us to the end of the new equipment. 140 pages have flown by just like *snaps* that! But, that’s not the end of the book. That simply brings us to the next chapter.

Armoury Android Envoy Alexander Nanitchkov
Android Envoy by Alexander Nanitchkov.

Chapter 2: Character Options. Here you’ll find one new archetype, plus two pages of new class options for each of the core classes. All of these options are focused on equipment —- typically using your equipment to the best of its ability (or beyond its normal capabilities). The archetype comes first and is called Augmented. These guys are great with — you guessed it — augmentations! They get more, pay less for them, and can make their augmentations do more than they’re built to. The Augmented grants alternate class features at 2nd, 4th, 6th, and 9th levels. I really enjoyed it (and know at least one character created by my family who’ll be using it!).

The Envoy’s class options include four new low level improvisations, two sixth level improvisations, and two eighth level improvisations, followed by seven new expertise talents. Be sure to check out fire support, brace yourselves, improved brace yourselves, terrifying blast, and improved terrifying blast for improvisations, and expert advice for talents.

The Mechanic’s class options include four new level two tricks, three more level eight tricks, two more level fourteen tricks, and four new drone modifications. My favourite tricks were provisional repair and recalibrate engine, both of which are available at level two. My favourite drone mods were barricade, and grease.

The Mystic class options were both the least adaptable, and my favourite! They introduced a new mystic connection, and two new spells granted by that connection. So what is it? The Geneturge! These guys are capable of altering their genetic code (and even those of others). In application their abilities mostly involve biotech, and sudden evolution. I particularly enjoyed their Personal Modification third level ability, their Warping Strain ninth level ability, and their Instant Evolution fifteenth level ability. The two new spells are detect augmentation, and reject augmentation (which sounds awesome! Haha).

Armoury Human Mystic Alexander Nanitchkov
Human Mystic Genethurge by Alexander Nanitchkov.

The Operative class options include sixteen new exploits (six at level 2, five at level six, four at level ten, and one at level fourteen). and one new operative specialization. Of the exploits, I particularly enjoyed armour optimization, fast aim, pistol whip, trap spotter, and ricochet shot. The new Specialization is the Gadgeteer, a very cool inventor which makes use of two new exploits: utility belt, and quick deployment. His trick attacks involve using a custom device to distract the enemy. Such fun!

The Solarian class options include one new stellar revelation and one new graviton revelation for each level (level two, six, ten, and fourteen), and for zenith revelations. That makes for ten cool new options total. I had a hard time picking my favourites, but in the end I decided I liked constructive interference, stellar equilibrium, attractive force, debris field, particle field, and particle wave, which turned out to be an even split between stellar and graviton powers. Awesome!

The Soldier class options include ten new gear boosts and a new fighting style called ‘Shock and Awe.’ The fighting style is supposed to focus on making a real spectacle of yourself. I like it in theory, but in execution I wasn’t that impressed. Still, it’s different. Fighters who take this style will want to make use of sonic weapons and weapons with the bright special quality. As for gear boosts, there’s a ton of useful options. My favourites were steady sniper, twinned threat, and unstoppable strike.

StarfinderCover
Starfinder Core Rulebook

Finally we come to the Technomancer’s class options which include five new magic hacks of varying levels, and three new spells. My favourite magic hacks were recode gem (which is available at level two), and enchanted fusion (which is available at fifth level). As for spells, I rather enjoyed animate armour, and incompetence. The third spell, electroplating, is also quite useful.

And that’s it! All that’s left is the index and the end. 160 pages of awesome.

Honestly, I think that Starfinder: Armory is one of those books you’ve got to invest in. It’s not a frivolous extra purchase. You’ll reference it ALL the time. Every time you need to spend your credits you’ll crack out the Starfinder Core Rulebook and the Armory. For players, I’d say its more important than the Alien Archive (and Alien Archive 2) and Pact Worlds. For GMs? Well, hard to say. If you only GM it’s going to be less useful for you than the Alien Archives and Pact Worlds. But you’ll still get your use out of it. I adore this book and think it’s well worth the money.

I hope you enjoyed taking a peek inside Starfinder: Armory with us!

See you in the Drift!

Jessica

 

Pathfinder Playtest 1.5!

This week’s Pathfinder Playtest Update is Version 1.5 and it’s a small one!

Sort of.

There are really only two changes this week, but both changes have quite a bit of a ripple effect. For starters they’ve tweaked the death and dying rules again, which also affects the DC to administer first aid, and the wording used on some other minor abilities (the dwarven ancestry feat mountain’s stoutness, the feat toughness, and the spells breath of life and stabilize are all good examples of this). On a related note, the DC for treating wounds with the medicine skill has changed, and is based on the patient’s level now, instead of the player’s.

And the only other change?

Spells! They’re making them stronger. Unfortunately, the only kind of spells that are easy to edit in this type of playtest are the damage dealing ones. So, although you can expect see many (if not all) spells get beefed up a bit for the release of Pathfinder 2 next year, the 1.5 update only changed the damage dealt by around forty-five spells. Typically it was the initial damage that was changed, with the heightened increases remaining at the same interval. Exciting!

This is definitely one of those aspects of gameplay you want to give feedback on. Did your spells slaughter the enemies without difficulty? Did the enemy’s spells slaughter you? Important to know (and easy to playtest)! So after you’ve given the spells a test run be sure to give your feedback. I know I’m curious to see how this plays out.

Jessica