Pathfinder Society Scenarios: Scourge of the Farheavens and In the Grandmaster’s Name!

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!

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Scenario #9-18: Scourge of the Farheavens, by Jason Own Black.

Scenario #9-18: Scourge of the Farheavens is a Tier 1-5 adventure written by Jason Owen Black which takes place in Iobaria. For those of you who don’t know, Iobaria is located northeast of Brevoy, just off the map of the Inner Sea. It’s a place they’ve rarely focused on for Pathfinder products. As far as I know the only other adventure that takes place there is Pathfinder Adventure Path 69: Maiden, Mother, Crone (Reign of Winter Part 3 of 6), while Pathfinder Adventure Path 33: The Varnhold Vanishing (Kingmaker Part 3 of 6) features a gazetteer on the region. If you’re curious, check out this nifty map of Iobaria! But, if you want the short, short summary: Iobaria’s cold, sparsely populated, generally ‘uncivilized,’ and prone to devastating plagues. It was once home to a Cyclopian nation, as well as an Ulfen one, and some of its people have ties to old Sarkoris. Sounds fun, right? Right! More specifically, this scenario takes places in an independent city-state called Mishkar, as well as a ruined village in the Norinor Forest.  It features creatures from Bestiary 3 and Bestiary 4 (although all of the necessary stat blocks are included within the scenario) and utilizes the Pathfinder Flip-Mat: Bigger Forest, and Pathfinder Map Pack: Ruined Village.

The Pathfinder Society has recently gained access to some old Sarkorian ruins, and wants to get the assistance of Sarkorians (or their descendants) to help them interpret the ruins and culture, before it is lost forever. To that end, the PCs are sent to Mishkar to meet with a refugee by the name of Nelket, whom the Society hopes to ally with. It’s a delightfully fun romp, that has a wide variety of social encounters (some of which could be quite challenging). It gives you a bit of a glimpse into Iobarian culture, but Mishkar didn’t feel very different to me, which is a shame. That minor nitpick aside, I thought it was a great scenario. Now, I ADORE adventures where you get to explore exotic locales, ruins and cultures. So, it should come as no surprise that I loved this scenario. Admittedly, I might be biased. Haha. I give this scenario five out of five stars.

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Dolok Darkfur from Pathfinder Society Scenario #9-18: Scourge of the Farheavens. Illustration by Sebastian Rodriguez.
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Scenario #9-21: In the Grandmaster’s Name, by Jenny Jarzabski

Scenario #9-21: In the Grandmaster’s Name is a Tier 3-7 scenario written by Jenny Jarzabski. It takes place in Druma, and is of particular importance to members of the Grand Lodge Faction. It features enemies from Bestiary 2, Bestiary 4, and the NPC Codex, and uses a single custom map. It features subterfuge, reconnaissance, infiltration, and trickery, so be sure to choose your PC wisely!

Now, it should be noted, that Grandmaster Torch does not appear in this scenario. (I found this very disappointing! Haha.) Instead, the PCs are tasked with impersonating some of his couriers. They must deliver a message to another courier, this one serving two one-time allies turned enemies: Ex-Venture-Captain Thurl, and Pasha Muhlia al-Jakri. If the PCs are successful, the message will (hopefully) cause Thurl and Muhlia to leave their defensible hide-out and move on to a new location, giving the Pathfinder Society the perfect opportunity to strike against them! If you’ve got characters kicking around who have met these characters before, now is definitely the time to bring them out to play! No idea who those two are? Thurl can be found in Scenarios: #2-08: Sarkorian Prophesy, #5-09: The Traitor’s Lodge, #5-24: Assault on the Wound, #5-25: Vengeance at the Sundered Crag, #7-17: Thralls of the Shattered God, #9-06: Shores of Heaven, and the Special: Siege of the Diamond City. As for Muhlia? As the old leader of the Qadiran Faction, she’s been mentioned and featured in a ton of early scenarios, but most notably #2-21: The Dalsine Affair, #6-05: Slave Ships of Absalom, and #6-11: Slave Master’s Mirror. But enough about the past! What’s up with this scenario? In an effort to prevent too many spoilers, I won’t go into detail, but I will mention that it involves Kalistocrats and Blackjackets! Exciting! Finally, the events in this scenario directly lead to another upcoming scenario, #9-25: Betrayal in the Bones, which is a Seeker level mission. All that excitement aside, I found that this scenario fell short of what I expected. In the end, I’m only giving it three out of five stars.

Thanks for joining us today! We’ll see you again soon, when we take a look at the two newest Starfinder Society Scenarios!

Jessica

 

Pathfinder Society Scenario Reviews: A Case of Missing Persons and the Fury of the Final Blade!

Today we’re going to take a look at one of the most recent Pathfinder Society Scenarios that are currently available for purchase, as well as it’s prequel, and let you know what 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 without further ado, let’s get started!

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The sigil of the Liberty’s Edge Faction.

Today, both of our scenarios focus on the Liberty’s Edge faction of the Pathfinder Society. This group is run by Major Colson Maldris, and many members are willing to bend and break laws in order to promote freedom throughout Golarion. They tend to utilize diplomacy, sabotage, proselytizing, and trickery to their advantage, and in addition to battling slavers and fighting oppression, they seek to spread hope among the downtrodden, and to inspire others to fight. There’s plenty of Liberty’s Edge related missions out there, but today we’re going to take a look at the brand new Scenario #9-20: Fury of the Final Blade, as well as it’s prequel, Scenario #9-02: A Case of Missing Persons.

These scenarios are heavily influenced by events that occur in other scenarios, and feature a variety of characters who have made appearances in the past.  PCs who have played some of these older scenarios are bound to get some extra satisfaction from playing these two scenarios. To prevent too many spoilers, I won’t say why these scenarios are relevant, but I will mention them! Relevant scenarios include:  #6: Black Waters, #3-16: The Midnight Mauler, #4-16: The Fabric of Reality, #5-03: The Hellknight’s Feast, #5-04: The Stolen Heir, #5-99: The Paths We Choose, #7-05: School of Spirits and #8-06: Reaping What We Sow. Both scenarios also feature Eliza Petulengro as the Venture-Captain.

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Scenario #9-02: A Case of Missing Persons, written by Alex Greenshields

Scenario #9-02: A Case of Missing Persons is a Tier 3-7 adventure which takes place in Woodsedge in Galt, as well as the Verduran Forest. It also features travel through they mysterious Maze of the Open Road, which is an interesting (but brief) addition to the scenario. The Maze of the Open Road is described further in the Pathfinder Player Companion: Pathfinder Society Primer, and is featured in the Eyes of the Ten Pathfinder Scenarios (Scenarios #46: Requiem for the Red Raven, #54: Maze of the Open Road, #2-05: The Red Revolution, and #2-22: Nothing Ventured, Nothing Gained). Be forewarned: The Eyes of the Ten series is an oldie, but awesome, and I highly recommend experiencing it as a player before reading it.

As the title so clearly points out, A Case of Missing Persons tasks the PCs with investigating the abduction of a group of missing people. I won’t give away much more about the investigation, as following the clues yourself is one of the best parts of a good mystery, but what I will say is that it involves members of Andoran’s Free People’s Council, and the Grey Gardeners of Galt! This missions requires discretion, intelligence, cunning and inventiveness, so choose your PCs carefully! In addition, the amount of time that passes matters, which always ups the ante a bit. Occasionally this can be a source of distraction, but I found it both well handled and integral to the plot line, so I enjoyed it. The investigation itself was enjoyable. It has plenty of threads to pull at and clues to tie together. I was certainly surprised at certain points, which was fun to see! But, my favourite part of the scenario? The DELIGHTFUL fey encounters. SO GOOD! Overall, I give this scenario four out of five stars.

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Scenario #9-20: Fury of the Final Blade, written by Lyz Liddell.

Scenario #9-20: Fury of the Final Blade is a Tier 7-11 adventure which picks up a few weeks after the end of #9-02: A Case of Missing Persons. The difference in tier means that if you want to play them in close succession you’ll want to start as a level six or seven character. This scenario takes place in Rosehaven and Isarn, both of which are located in the nation of Galt, and tasks the PCs with recusing the missing persons from the previous scenario, as well as the leader of the Liberty’s Edge Faction, Major Colson Maldris himself! This means you’ll have to track down the locations of the prisoners, face of against the Grey Gardeners and enact a daring prison break, all before the prisoners lose their heads to the notorious, soul-stealing guillotines: the Final Blades. Once again, time is of the essence, as the PCs must race against the clock if they’re to have any chance of saving the prisoners. The stakes are very high in this adventure, and failure could mean the beginning of an international incident, and war. In addition, the life of Major Colson Maldris is literally in your hands! Whether he lives or dies is entirely up to your players.

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Colson Maldris from #9-20: Fury of the Final Blade. Illustrated by Marko Horvatin.

This scenario features some fun investigation elements, which are adaptable enough to allow all of the different members of the party a chance to shine. The infiltration segment is well created, allowing different groups to use different methods for accessing, and progressing through the location. It also has some very unexpected enemies. But, in my opinion, this scenario’s greatest strength is in it’s dynamic battles. Overall, I really enjoyed this scenario, and give it four out of five stars.

Thanks for joining us today on our foray into the recent events of the Liberty’s Edge Faction! I hope you’ve enjoyed reading about them as much as I have! Tune in later this week for our sneak peek of the other most recent Pathfinder Society Scenario, and both of the brand new Starfinder Society Scenarios!

Until then, Get rolling!

Jessica

 

Farewell to OutPost

As we roll into the month of May, we reach the end of the online play-by-post convention for the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game and the Starfinder Roleplaying Game: OutPost!

OutPost marked my first PFS convention. It was also my husband and children’s first foray into play-by-post gaming, and their second adventure in the Pathfinder Society, so it was pretty exciting for us! My husband signed up for one game, while my children each signed up for two. And me? Well, I signed up for a lot. Three for Starfinder and three for Pathfinder. Plus the Solstice Scar Special.

All of the scenarios were a blast, and we had the wonderful luck to play alongside some awesome GMs and players. All told, not counting specials, OutPost hosted fourteen games of Core Pathfinder Society Scenarios, fifty-seven games of Classic/Standard Pathfinder Society scenarios, eleven games of the Pathfinder Adventure Card Game, and twenty-four games of Starfinder. That makes for nearly a hundred games!

So, what did we play?

I’ll tell you!


Black Waters

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Glyph of the Open Road, symbol of the Pathfinder Society and the Grand Lodge faction.

My husband, children and I all signed up for an old classic: Scenario #06: Black Waters. From season zero, this adventure is intended for tier 1-2 and 4-5, and was written by Tim and Eileen Connors back before Pathfinder had it’s own rules set. It was being run by one of my favourite GMs I’ve had the pleasure of playing alongside on Paizo’s Messageboards, GM Shieldbug, who gave us a great game. Seriously. It was such a wonderful experience, my kids and husband are now thoroughly spoiled. I warned them after we finished this scenario to lower their expectations for whatever scenario they signed up to next, because not all GMs are as awesome as Shieldbug. They didn’t believe me at the time, but for the record, they do now. If you happen to be lucky enough to join a game he’s running, I highly recommend leaping at the opportunity. You won’t regret it.

Black Waters takes place in the Beldrin’s Bluff district of Absalom. Once a neighbourhood full of the wealthy elite, this area was devastated by an earthquake a decade or so ago, which killed many, and sent an entire chunk of the cliffs the neighbourhood was built upon, tumbling into the sea. Included in this devastation was a school for the city’s elite called the Tri-Towers Yard, which collapsed into an ancient underground necropolis. As the buildings are destroyed, black foul water rose up from below, drowning all those who weren’t crushed. The Tri-Towers yard was sealed up, and no one has been allowed inside–or into the necropolis–since. Lucky for us, the Pathfinders have finally been granted clearance, presuming they treat the site with respect.

My husband played Enzo Jeggare, a well-groomed, Chelaxian nobleman with pale skin, black hair, grey eyes, and a fabulous moustache. He’s a handsome, if lanky, gentleman with a reputation as a philanthropist and a conjurer. He enjoys fine wine, fine company, and ancient magical objects. Enzo is a secretive man, which gives him an air of mystery. Though well-practised in the art of evasion, he’s an awkward liar. He is never without his Devil Deck—a beautifully illustrated harrow deck adorned with images of devils and infernal symbolism—and a worn-out dog figurine that he can occasionally be seen speaking to. Enzo’s an occultist who specializes in conjuring creatures. He used his esteemed family’s political connections to gain membership into the Dark Archive’s faction of the Pathfinders, and is hopeful that handling other objects of power will allow him to access other magical abilities.

My daughter played a two-tailed kitsune druid (saurian shaman) with pink fur and eyes by the name of Bunny Paras. She is always accompanied by her pink and yellow pet parasaurolophus, called Paras, and adores rabbits. She and Paras run a rabbit farm–although they are sold only as pets, and are not for eating! Bunny Paras is a vegetarian, and a good healer. Paras loves to sing and dance, and is very, very loud.

My son is playing Senton, a pale Ulfen ranger better known as Mr. Ice. He is always shivering with cold, and has constantly chattering teeth.  He wears warm winter clothes in every weather, including a big furry hat on his head, and a fur cloak and boots. He has a black patch on his cheek from some old frost bite, a big bushy beard, and a full moustache. Under his hat his hair is grey and his eyes are blue. He likes to fight with his short swords and his fine longbow. Senton works on Bunny Paras’ rabbit farm as a guard. He often lays traps to protect the farm.

Their characters were first introduced in the d20 Diaries blog post: Joining the Pathfinder Society, where I talked about their backgrounds, creation, and mechanics. Their first adventure, playing Scenario #9-10: Signs in Senghor, was chronicled in a two part series on d20 Diaries: Signs in Senghor: Part One and Signs in Senghor: Part Two.

But, this kooky trio wasn’t the only Pathfinders on the case. I played my wood kineticist, Everbloom, a wild and curious kitsune who grew up alone in the wilds and views life and death as just another fascinating part of existence. Her fur is an orangy-brown, with bits of leaves and flower petals constantly tangled in its length. Everbloom’s easily fascinated by people and places, and just as easily bores of them. More than a little aloof and uncaring, Everbloom comes off as way nicer than she actually is.

The final character was Tera Fosham, a veiled ifrit oracle with clouded vision whose healing touch and blessings were invaluable on this adventure.

Together, these five Pathfinders enjoyed some awesome roleplaying with their venture captain (Drandle Dreng), at a fancy dinner party held alongside Absalom’s nobility, and with the caretaker of the Tri-Towers Yard, who is equal parts sad, deluded, and gifted. Possibly insane. I’ll leave that up for debate! From there they investigated the haunted classrooms, and foul black waters of the estate. Battling off monstrous bugs and undead, they descended into the ancient necropolis to discover its secrets. Along the way, they made some amazing discoveries, and even saved a little girl. The frail–but still alive–Junia Dacilane. Junia reappears a decade down the road in the Pathfinder Society Scenario #7-05: School of Spirits (which is a delight), and can even be found in the  Pathfinder Society Pawn Collection, which I only recently discovered and am itching to get my hands on!

Want to follow along with their adventures? Check out the complete gameplay for our group here.

In the time since playing Black Waters, Enzo, Bunny Paras, Paras and Mr. Ice have played through the Many Fortunes of Grandmaster Torch, and are soon to begin Scenario #7-10: The Consortium Compact!


Delirium’s Tangle

My children were so excited to play in OutPost that they created a second character each for the occasion, a pair of twenty-five year olds who couldn’t be more different. Lady Naysha is an oracle of whimsy who stumbled in the First World through a fairy ring, and came back over a decade later looking like not a day had passed. A few years have passed since then, but she still doesn’t look a day over twelve. Lady Naysha has a child-like enthusiasm and innocence about her. She believes her stuffed rabbit, Miss Whiskers, is the source of her powers (which is entirely false, by the way), and can all upon her fairy friend to play tricks on her enemies.  Contrariwise, my son made a paladin of Iomedae who is brave, bold and true! Unfortunately, he died fighting in the Worldwound. Iomedae took pity on him and granted him a second life, but he was reincarnated as an old man, with horrible memory problems. Unable to even remember his name, he calls himself Fuzzzy, and he relies on his pet owl, Bobby, to keep him on track. For full details on my Lady Naysha and Fuzzzy, check out my blog post OutPost Commences.

I joined them, with my dwarven fighter, Juno Berik, a self-centred woman who believes she’s far more important than she’s given credit for. Together with some other quirky characters, they entered a complicated maze underneath Absalom City to search for a lost minotaur prince, Nuar Spiritskin, in another classic PFS Scenario, #45: Delirium’s Tangle. This is a tier 1-5 scenario written by Crystal Frasier. Personally, I find this is a difficult scenario to run by play-by-post, as navigating a maze is always tricky in person, never mind over message boards. When it could take an entire day for a team to roll a single perception or survival check–which could be done in seconds in person–there’s a high probability the game will get bogged down. Fortunately, our GM was wonderful at streamlining the navigation process. In fact, this scenario finished first out of all the games I played! As poor navigators, the sheer number of pit traps we endured (and by endured I mean fell into over and over again) was painful (literally), and has left permanent mental scarring on Juno. Fuzzzy was also traumatized by the event–for about a minute before he promptly forgot about it. The fights and secret chambers were interesting, and left my kids hungry for more information on the maze and its connecting chambers. The final battle was interesting, as was the wrap-up roleplaying. All in all, we had a lot of fun, although this one certainly left a lot of unanswered questions.

You can read our complete gameplay experience here, if you’re interested.

In the time since, Lady Naysha’s begun Scenario #5-08: The Confirmation, alongside my husband’s character, Toban Tangletop (check out the ongoing gameplay here). Fuzzzy’s moved on to combat the Master of the Fallen Fortress (a free download on Paizo’s website, by the way) and rescue a lost Pathfinder (check out the ongoing gameplay here). And, Juno’s decided to tell the Aspis Consortium where to shove it, in Scenario #4-07: Severing Ties. Currently being as boorish and mean as she can be, she’s in Riddleport, happily dragging the Aspis Consortium’s name through the mud. This scenario’s about to begin a two-week break while some of the participants go on vacation, but you can check out it’s progress so far, here.


The Unseen Inclusion

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Symbol of the Scarab Sages, a faction of the Pathfinder Society.

I was positively thrilled to bring my beloved half-orc monk, Kenza Bloodborn, through Scenario #9-04: The Unseen Inclusion. Why? Well, as a member of the Scarab Sages, whose faction stories have come to an end, I wanted to see my stoic warrior tackle a Scarab Sage-centric mission. Taking place in the Thuvian city of Merab, Kenza delved into haunted ruins on the hunt for a mysterious spirit that even now seeks her master’s jewels… Part dungeon delve and part investigation, I had no idea what to expect with this scenario when I signed up for it, but I ended up having a blast. She had plenty of opportunities to hurl herself into danger to protect her allies, and nearly died on more than one occasion. You can check out the complete gamplay here.

In the time since, Kenza’s journeyed to Absalom for the first time, in order to pay her respect to the centre of her order. There, she’s been called on by Venture Captain Drandle Dreng, on a mission of great importance… Fetching him a bottle of wine. Fortunately, this mission is a lot more than it seems at first, leading the group through hidden chambers, abandoned homes, conspiracies and secrets, and even into Absalom’s Temple of the Fallen. That’s right, she’s playing through a super quick run of Scenario #6-10: The Wounded Wisp. Check out her adventure so far, here.


Yesteryear’s Truth

But not everything’s about Pathfinder! I’m also involved in three wonderful Starfinder Society Scenarios. My primary SFS character, a bold, boastful vesk solarion with far more brawn than brains by the name of Julakesh Starfist participated in Scenario #1-03: Yesteryear’s Truth. We’ve already spoken about Julakesh earlier this week, but if you’ve missed it, check out my blog post Competitions and Compliments. If you’re interested in reading Julakesh’s experiences in Yesteryear’s Truth, the complete gameplay if found here. Want a summary? She discovered a new planet, engaged in amazing battles, attempted to befriend the planet’s natives, and made a lot of people laugh! Seriously, a ton of fun. Speaking of fun, Julakesh recently began a new adventure that’s tailor made for her: Scenario #1-07: The Solar Sortie. Or, it’s half made for her, anyway… Sent to retrieve information from a corporation that orbits the Sun, Julakesh gets to begin this infiltration by impersonating a gladiator! This pretty much consists of her being herself, in front of a large adoring crowd. Awesome! And all that other subtle espionage stuff? Well…. we’ll cross that bridge up (and mess it up horribly) when we get to it! Check out the start of out adventures, here! It’s been a ton of fun so far (and it’s only just begun).


Fugitive on the Red Planet

I also used OutPost as an opportunity to try out two Starfinder classes I had yet to have a chance to test. Firstly, I created a proud, smooth-talking ysoki xenoseeker envoy by the name of Aurora Vim (Rora, for short) who was tasked with finding a rogue Starfinder and retrieving an powerful object he stole from the Society in Scenario #1-02: Fugitive on the Red Planet. Her adventures took her to  the grungy planet of Akiton alongside a haan, a human, and a whopping three other ysoki! Apparently those furry little fellows are popular! All in all this scenario was a lot of fun, and Rora really had a chance to shine throughout its length. It was completed quite quickly, and was hosted by a wonderfully humorous GM. You can check out the complete gameplay here.

Following her adventures on Akiton, Rora hopped a shuttle back to Absalom Station, where she’s been invited to attend a gala in honour of the First Seeker, Luwazi Elsebo. Scenario #1-05: First Mandate is right up her alley, and has seen her wheeling and dealing with a bunch of movers and shakers–including Zo!, who I’ve been dying for her to meet! This scenario is reaching its climax, but you can check out its progress so far, here.


Cries from the Drift

I also made a curious but awkward shirrin spacefarer operative, Zez’ka, who is prone to announcing her emotions to the world. She’s friendly, but super awkward, and honestly a blast to play. Unfortunately, Scenario #1-04: Cries from the Drift, is a horror scenario, which tossed my chipper shirren into the most traumatizing, suspenseful, and gory Starfinder Scenario to date. This adventure particularly benefits from having the element of surprise, so I won’t mention much more in the way of spoilers. What I will say is that if you’re uncomfortable with body horror, don’t play it. That being said, when played by play-by-post the suspense is lost, so it turned out to be a fun, romp despite the tone. For those of you who aren’t afraid of spoilers, our complete gameplay can be read here. In the time since, Zez’ka has joined a delightfully fun and carefree mission, which won’t possibly be as traumatizing for her as her previous one was! Right? Right…? Wrong. She’s currently engaged in Starfinder’s second horror scenario, Scenario #1-10: The Half-Alive Streets, which amuses me to no end. She’s currently oblivious to the dark turn this scenario’s going to take, and is currently having great fun making friends and shopping. You can check it out here.


The end to these Starfinder scenarios will mark the sixth games I’ve played in the SFS, which means I’ve reach a milestone on my Alien Archive Boon. No idea what that means?

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The alien archive boon features creatures from Starfinder Roleplaying Game: Alien Archive, which you will need to make full use of the boon.

Well, let me enlighten you!

For every Starfinder Society game you participate in as a player (not a GM) you can get your GM to sign your boon sheet, which is available here. When you have six games played you can apply this sheet to a new character to make them either a wrikreechee, or a ryphorian. Or, you can wait until you have twelve games played, and then apply it to a new character to make them a barathu. After applying it you can start a new boon, and begin earning new plays. Note, that there is a time limit on earning credit for this boon. After June 14th of this year they’ll be releasing a new boon in its place, which will let you unlock other races for play.

Now, of the current options, I think I’d get a kick out of a Barathu, but I won’t have a chance to earn that bad boy. I’ll be hitting six, which leaves the wrikreechee and ryphorians. And for me, the choice is clear! Ryphorians! I have honestly no idea what I’m going to make for her class, but its definitely going to be different than the others I’ve got! Soldier, perhaps? That’s a question for another day!


And that’s it!

OutPost and its associated adventures have come to an end–for this year. But, there’s plenty more adventures out there waiting to be played!

Until next time,

Jessica

 

May New Releases

Well, another month has come and gone, which means there’s a whole bunch of new and awesome products coming out from Paizo. But first, it should be noted that today’s your last day to pre-order physical copies of the Pathfinder Playtest Rulebook, Pathfinder Playtest Adventure: Doomsday Dawn, and the Flip-mat multipack. If you intend to pick up a copy of any of them, now’s your last chance. Free copies of the PDF will be available in late August.

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The Pathfinder Society’s Glyph of the Open Road

Two new Pathfinder Society Scenarios were recently released, Scenario #9-18: Scourge of the Farheavens is a tier 1-5 scenario that sends the players all the way to Iobaria, which promises to be a blast. This is definitely the scenario I’m most excited for, and I hope to pick it up soon. The second PFS release is Scenario #9-19: Clash in the Kaimuko Wood, is a tier 5-9 scenario that takes place on the border of Kwanlai and Tianjing in Tian Xia. Involving abyssal corruption, this adventure continues events in Scenario #9-12: Shrine of the Sacred Tempest, and directly contributes to the ongoing storyline of the Silver Crusades.

Near the end of May there’ll be two more scenarios for us to sink our teeth into. Scenario #9-20:  Fury of the Final Blade is a tier 7-11 scenario that sees the Liberty’s Edge faction leader, Colson Maldris, up to some shifty underhanded shenanigans, involving Andoran’s corrupt elite, the Grey Gardeners of Galt, and the soul-trapping guillotines they’re known for. Turning to the Pathfinders for aid Maldris set out to lay the groundwork for a rescue plan–only to end up captured himself. This awesome-sounding scenario leaves the fate of Colson Maldris in your players hands, and directly affects the Liberty’s Edge faction’s ongoing plot. Finally, we have Scenario #9-21: In the Grandmaster’s Name, which is a tier 3-7 adventure that lets your players pose as intercepted agents of Grandmaster Torch, and perform some underhanded espionage in Druma. I don’t know about you, but I’m super excited for this mission, as my whole family loves the Grandmaster (or rather, some love him, and some love to hate him!).

There’s two new awesome pawn collections coming out soon, the Ruins of Azlanti Pawn Collection, which contains just over 100 pawns from the Ruins of Azlant Adventure Path (including minis from Part One: The Lost Outpost, Part Two: Into the Shattered Continent , Part Three:: The Flooded Cathedral, Part Four: City in the Deep, Part Five: Tower of the Drowned Dead and Part Six: Beyond the Veiled Past). The second is the Starfinder Pact Worlds Pawn Collection, which features over 200 pawns, including creatures and starships. As I’ve recently come to own Pact Worlds, I can assure you these pawns have a ton of cool artwork. I can’t wait to see how they look.

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Pathfinder Adventure Path: War for the Crown Part 4 of 6: City in the Lion’s Eye

The very intriguing War for the Crown Adventure Path continues this month with Part Four: City in the Lion’s Eye. Previous releases include Part One: Crownfall, Part Two: Songbird, Scion, Saboteur, and Part Three: Twilight Child. We’ve talked plenty on d20diaries about the War for the Crown, so if you’d like to learn more, click away: Preview: War for the Crown, Paizo New Releases, War for the Crown: Player’s Guide and April Blooms and d20 News.

While last month brought us the delightfully dark Pathfinder Campaign Setting: Nidal, Land of Shadows, this month brings us a Player Companion that looks like it’s handy for everyone. Pathfinder Player Companion: Blood of the Ancients, looks like it’s going to focus on both unlocking the powers of your own ancestry, and on the remnants of ancient civilizations. I’m particularly curious about the Azlanti ioun kineticist archetype, and the Jistkan artificers. But, we’ll have to wait to find out more.

There’s two new Pocket Editions out: Ultimate Magic and Bestiary 4; and a whopping four play-mats. Two of the Play-mats are brand new: Starfinder Flip-mat: Starship: Sunrise Maiden, and Pathfinder Flip-mat: Carnival. The other two are reprints from the Pathfinder Flip-mat Classics line: Darklands and Battlefield. Both are popular mats which are pretty heavily used in Pathfinder Society Scenarios.

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Pathfinder Player Companion: Blood of the Ancients

But, the most exciting new release? The Jungle of Despair pre-painted plastic minis! Like the rest of the randomized Pathfinder Battles minis, they come in four-figure boosters (with one large and three medium minis inside). You can also buy a brick (which is eight booster boxes) or a case (which contains four bricks).

Whatever you’re interested in, there’s a lot of neat stuff coming out this month. Far more than I could indulge in, that’s for sure! It’s the two pawn collections that I’m most interested in getting my hands on. That and the Scourge of the Farheavens PFS scenario. What about you? What are you most excited for from Paizo’s upcoming products? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Jessica

New Starfinder Society Scenarios: Ashes of Discovery & On the Trail of History

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 # 1-12: Ashes of Discovery is a Tier 1-4 adventure which takes place on an abandoned outpost in Near Space. It has the repeatable tag and features starship combat. As a repeatable scenario, this adventure can be played once with every character (as opposed to once per player), which is AWESOME and makes it easier to get some much needed experience for low level characters. In addition, it features randomized mechanical and story elements, which means that each time you play it will be slightly (or very) different. These randomized elements include what special abilities the enemies have, the atmosphere of the planet, attitudes and cultural quirks of the locals, what corporation the colony once belonged to, and much, much more. I was super impressed with how completely these randomized elements could change the scenario. I fully intend to play this one through with every character I ever make for SFS play. The only difficulty? With a scenario this randomized it’s really up to the GM to sell the environments, characters, and atmosphere. With a GM not willing to put their all into running this delightful scenario, it could fall flat.

So what’s this scenario about? Recently a corporation discovered records of a long abandoned outpost they haven’t had contact with in centuries. They’ve hired to Starfinders to head on down to the planet–cleverly named Colony-753–and have a look see. Your Starfinder will get to explore an unknown planet, deal with hazards and wildlife, befriend the locals and survive a bit of wild weather. Basically, this scenario is a wonderful example of what being a Starfinder is all about! It features Guidance, an AI created from the memories and knowledge of previous Starfinders. Unlike the other repeatable scenario (#1-01: The Commencement, which also happens to be Guidance’s first appearance), this one really lived up to my expectations. It was wonderful. Overall, I highly recommend Ashes of Discovery. I give it five out of five stars.

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Besmaran whelp from SFS #1-12: Ashes of Discovery. Art courtesy of Paizo Inc.

Scenario #1-13: On the Trail of History is a Tier 3-6 adventure which takes place on an unchartered planet in the Vast known as Icefront, or Izalraan to the natives. It has the Faction (Second Seekers [Luwazi Elsebo] scenario tag and features starship combat. In addition to being of great importance to the Second Seekers (Luwazi Elsebo) faction, this scenario also contributes to the ongoing year of the Scoured Stars storyline. Following a lead discovered in Scenario #1-11: In Pursuit of the Scoured Past, First Seeker Elsebo sends the Starfinders on an expedition to a planet that could have a connection to the Scoured Stars incident. Tasked with finding out whatever they can about the planet, and a relic believed to have landed there, the group must deal with a strange environment, and dangerous locals. Unlike similar scenarios, this adventure features a whole lot more than you’d expect, the mysterious introduction of what’s sure to be an important part of the Scoured Stars plot line, and some delightful moral dilemmas. Those of you who have played through #1-05: The First Mandate, will find that one of your boons might earn you an extra hint or two. Overall, this was an awesome scenario, that was very different from those that have come before. I give it five out of five stars.

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A mysterious ship… Art courtesy of Paizo Inc.
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A Starfinder Society Agent from the Starfinder Society Guild Guide. Art Courtesy of Paizo Inc.

And that’s all for today! Thanks for joining us on our exploration of the wonderful new scenario’s available this month. I hope you’ve enjoyed reading about them as much as I have. Both scenarios look like a ton of fun, and I can’t wait until I have a chance to run them for my family, or play them myself. My son’s been super curious about the mystery of the Scoured Stars incident, so I can’t wait to tell him about what’s waiting for him down the line.

Until next time,

Jessica

Starfinder: Alien Archive

Today on d20diaries we’re going to take a look at an awesome supplement book for the Starfinder Roleplaying Game, the Alien Archive! This book has a hardcover, and clocks in at 159 pages. It’s got an American cover price of $39.99, which means that if you’re Canadian (like myself), you’re looking at a cost of around forty-five to fifty dollars for the book online, or up to sixty in your local game store. There’s a sequel in the works, Starfinder Roleplaying Game: Alien Archive 2, which is due out in October, though I’ve heard little more than that about it.

At it’s core, Starfinder Roleplaying Game: Alien Archive is a book of monsters. Like Pathfinder Roleplaying Game: Bestiary, you’ll find a ton of monsters to fight and ally with inside this book, as well as some new player races. With that being said, there are a lot of differences between the Alien Archive and the many Bestiaries available for the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game. For starters, it’s shorter, with a typical Bestiary being around 325 pages in length, compared to the Alien Archive’s 159 pages. But, that’s only scratching the surface. The Alien Archive is also easier to use, and much more adaptable, than any Bestiary I’ve ever read. So, without further ado, let’s get started!

The Alien Archive features lovely cover art by Remko Troost, which shows off some of my favourite creatures inside the book–the dragonkin and the skittermander–as well as a robot. The inside front and back covers feature an image of the Pact Worlds, although it’s faded looking, instead of shiny and bright. After that we come to the table of contents.

The Alien Archive has sixty distinct monster entries inside it, many of which have more than one stat block or variation of that creature, making the actual number of foes inside larger than it seems (around ninety four). Of these, twenty-two are playable as character races. Each of these player races is differentiated from the other entries by a star beside their name, which is really useful for quickly referencing player options.

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Combatant icon, which denotes creatures that excel in physical combat.

After the table of contents we reach the introduction. This is where we learn how the races are oriented, and how to read a stat block. While most of this is basic information that only a player new to d20 games with need to read, some of the information is quite important.

For starters, each of the stat blocks inside the Alien Archive is sorted into one of  three categories: combatants (which excels in physical combat), experts (who are most effective with skills), and spellcasters (who rely on spells or spell-like abilities). These categories are represented by an icon in the left margin. These images are easy to distinguish and provide a quick and easy way for GMs to realize the role each monster plays in combat, which makes it super easy to find the type of creatures your looking for, or to quickly discern a creature’s tactics.

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Expert icon, which denotes creatures that rely upon their skills in combat.

There’s also a few interesting things to note about the stat blocks themselves. Very few of the creatures inside have Resolve Points and none have Stamina Points. A creatures ability scores aren’t listed, instead, their stats show their ability modifiers. This is a simple change that will make it easier for GMs–especially new GMs–to handle unexpected situations (like unlisted skill checks) in combat. Not all of a creatures feats are listed in their entry. Instead, only feats that grant new combat options will be shown. Feats that grant static bonuses (like improved initiative, or skill focus) are already factored into the stat block and will not be listed anywhere at all. This really streamlines the stat blocks, and makes it easier to find important information fast. Similarly, not all of a creature or NPCs spells will be listed in a stat block. Instead, it only features their most powerful spellcasting options.

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Spellcaster icon, which denotes creatures who utilize spells and spell-like abilities during combat.

In addition to information provided in this chapter, I’d like to point out a few other things of note. Every one of the bestiary entries in this book is two side-by-side pages long. These entries include information on the creature, where they’re found, their use throughout the Pact Worlds, and their society–if they have one. Many of the entries include more than one stat block on a theme. For example, the Aeon Guard entry gives us stats for a CR 3 rank and file soldier, along with a CR 7 specialist, capable of working without support for weeks and months at a time. Similarly, the apari entry features the both the hive-like apari, and it’s tiny, bug-like constituents. Some entries include many stat-blocks, or simple grafts that can be added to a featured creature to make it into other versions. Examples of this include elementals, which are statted out by size and have grafts which apply the elemental abilities themselves (including air, earth, fire and water), and dragons, which have one age category statted out, rules for making other age categories, and grafts which can be applied to determine the dragon’s colour (including black, blue, green, red and white). In fact, as you’ll soon discover, grafts and templates are a common sight in the Alien Archive, and are used to great effect. Many of the archive entries introduce new gear or consumables. My personal favourites include the shadowstaff found on the draelik’s entry, and the bone cestus of the crest eater.

After this we come to the meat of the book: the Alien Archive itself. There are a ton of cool creatures in this book, and even some that I wasn’t sure I’d like on first perusal, I ended up really enjoying. Some of my favourites you should check out include the asteray, a CR 12 fey which is to space what mysterious water creatures like mermaids and nixies were to the oceans and waterways of golarion. I also adored the caypin, a CR 6 aquatic tentacle beast with eyeball mouth worms which can detach and explore their surroundings, before returning to the caypin’s face. Seriously cool! Electrovores were a fun, low level challenge I also really enjoyed, as were the radioactive fey, hesper.

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Starfinder Roleplaying Game: Alien Archive

Mixed amongst the monster entries are twenty-two playable races. Each entry features two different CR stat blocks representative of their race, a bunch of interesting information on their societies and home worlds, and a side bar which include the rules for playing them as a race. Although many of these were ‘humanoid shaped’, with arms and hands or some sort, there were some which were not, most notably the jellyfish-like barathu. This was just awesome to see, and I really enjoyed it! Some of the races and monsters from old Golarion were up for selection, including contemplatives, drow, and space goblins but many were brand new. I honestly loved a TON of these races, but my favourite new additions are dragonkin, ikeshti, sarcesians, and the cheerful skittermanders.

Curious about the playable races available in this book? Well, look no further! The Alien Archive includes:

  • Barathu: highly adaptable jellyfish-like race who float like blimps through the sky
  • Contemplative: telepathic creatures with massive brains and atrophied little bodies
  • Draelik: green, nihilistic, gaunt humanoids with ties to the negative energy plane
  • Dragonkin: large bipedal dragons who form a close bond with their soul-mate
  • Drow: dark-skinned, demon-worshipping, evil elves–a fantasy classic!
  • Formian: ant-like humanoids who live in hives and are resistant to sonic effects
  • Space Goblin: comical little runts with big heads, and bad attitudes. You know you love them!
  • Gray: small, hairless humanoids with bulbous heads and telepathic powers who abduct and experiment on other beings for unknown reasons
  • Haan: large insectile humanoids who can spew fire and create buoyant balloons of webbing
  • Ikeshti: small lizardfolk who live in desert wastes and can squirt blood from their eyes
  • Kalo: aquatic humanoids with wing-like fins who live in freezing cold waters
  • Maraquoi: primitive simians with prehensile tails who have exceptional hearing
  • Nuar: strong minotaurs with pale skin, a great sense of direction and an affinity for complex patterns
  • Reptoid: cold-blooded reptilians who can assume the appearance of specific individuals
  • Ryphorian: trimorphic elves who have adapted to the generations-long seasons of Triaxus
  • Sarcesian: large humanoids who can survive in a vacuum for a time, and grow glowing wings of energy in the void of space
  • Shobhad: large, four-armed, nomadic giants who are ferocious and quick
  • Skittermander: small, furry, six-armed humanoids with a cheerful disposition who love to lend a helping hand
  • Urog: large, crystalline magical beasts with meticulous minds, a lack of tact, and a resistance to electricity
  • Verthani: tall, long-limbed humanoids with black, orb-like eyes and skin capable of camouflage
  • Witchwyrd: terribly mysterious interstellar merchants with four-arms who are capable of absorbing force from magic missiles and launching them back at their enemies
  • Wrikreechee: amphibious, humanoid, filter-feeders who look like a mix between bugs and mollusks

Past the statistics for all those snazzy new aliens we come to arguably the most important part of the book: Appendix 1: Creating Races and NPCs. In Starfinder, monsters and NPCs–even those with class levels–are created differently than PCs. Within these fifteen pages you’ll find simple, easy to use instructions on how to make any kind of creature you can imagine. To use some options you’ll also need access to the Starfinder Core Rulebook, which shouldn’t be an issue, as if you’ve purchased the Alien Archive you probably own the Core Rulebook it already. And if you haven’t? Well, you really should! Haha.

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Starfinder Roleplaying Game: Alien Archive 2, due out in October.

My kids and I gave making monsters a try and found it very simple and easy to use. It makes use of a few handy charts, some simple templates and your creativity. That’s it, that’s all. For those of you more interested in the nitty gritty, I’ll give you a quick rundown. First: a concept. Figure out what you want to make and what CR. Next? Pick an array. That means deciding if it’s a combatant, expert or spellcaster. Then you look at the chart for that category. Each category has two charts for it, which give you the all the stats you need to make the monster. These numbers are the actual values you’ll be using, so you won’t need to do any calculations. These values include everything from ACs, and hp, to the amount of damage they’ll do with ranged and melee attacks. In addition, it lists how many extra special abilities they’ll be able to select later on.

Once you’ve got your stats you need to select your monster’s creature type from a list. Each of these will grant your monster a slight variation to its statistics, as well as a few other static abilities (typically related to its vision types, and innate immunities). For example, aberrations gain darkvision 60 feet, and a +2 to all Will saves, while fey gain low-light vision, +2 on Fortitude and Reflex saves, and a -1 to all attack rolls. Simple and easy. Once you’ve got your creature’s type applied, you pick out it’s subtype. Not all creatures will have one, but if they do, it will grant them some extra traits. Give your monster the cold subtype and they gain immunity to cold and vulnerability to fire. Give them the demon subtype and they gain immunity to electricity and poison, resistance 10 to acid, cold and fire, the ability to summon allies, and telepathy. Slightly more complicated than applying a creature type, but still easy.

What’s next? A class graft. Now, not all monsters will have a class graft, but many intelligent NPCs you make will. This is essentially a quick and easy way to give your creations access to class abilities. So, how does it work? First, you choose the class you want them to have, then you check out the class graft. This will have a requirement (for example, envoys need to use the expert array), a few adjustments (like which saving throws they get an extra bonus to, and which skills they’re best at), a quick formula for giving them equipment, and a helpful chart. On this chart you look up the CR you’re aiming for and check out which abilities you’ll be applying. Now, this isn’t the full class abilities, but rather a few of the best abilities, which the creature will be able to use. You’re not literally applying a whole class here, but just the selected items on this list. For example, if you’re making a CR 1 mystic, the chart tells you to select one first level connection power and one special ability. Pick those out and you’re done. If he’s instead CR 11, the chart tells you to select the first, third, sixth and ninth connection powers, mind link and telepathic bond. Done and done. Although not overly complicated, this is the most difficult step involved in monster creation.

Once you’re done with your class graft (if you’re adding one) you can choose to add a simple template. These are available later in the Alien Archive (in Appendix Three) and include choices like fiendish, giant and two-headed. These grafts are as easy to use as the creature type ones are, and take barely any time at all to add. There’s also some other templates found in the Alien Archive which can be chosen.

The next step is to select your monster’s special abilities. Depending on their array and CR they’ll have a number between one and four that they can choose from. In addition, some abilities are free. These abilities include things like feats, universal monster abilities, and statistic increases. You can also select abilities that show up in other stat blocks. If you’re like my son, you’ll want to make radioactive broken robots, so you could select an aura of radiation as one ability, the ability to shoot blasts of electricity as a second, construct immunities as a third, a vulnerability to critical hits (to represent their broken chassis), and have them self-destruct upon their destruction. If you’re like my daughter, you’ll want to make colossal sized flying space rabbits who shoot laser beams from their eyes, breathe fire from their noses and can survive in a vacuum. Yes, that’s seriously what she made. So pick up a breath weapon as your first ability, a ranged natural attack as your second, as well as immunity to cold, vacuums, and the no breath universal monster ability. This is also where you’ll decide what kind of attacks your monsters will use. Maybe the aforementioned radioactive robots have a slam attack with the stun critical ability, or perhaps their slams do bludgeoning and electricity damage. (My son’s pretty fond of both at once). And the flying space rabbits? Their bite attacks do piercing damage, and perhaps they can swallow you whole. But their laser beam eyes? Definitely fire damage.

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Starfinder Roleplaying Game: Alien Archive Pawn Box, which contains over three hundred pawns.

Once you’re done with the special abilities, you can select your monster’s skills. Your array chart already gave you the skill points you’ll have, and how many you’ll be good at, but now’s the time you choose which skills those will be. This is a simple step, and will be done in a flash. Then you’re onto selecting spells and spell-like abilities (if your creature happens to have them from a class graft or a special ability you’ve chosen). If it does you check out a simple chart to see what you’ll be adding by CR, make your spell selections and away you go. If you happen to be making a CR 2 creature with Spell-like abilities, they’ll have two 0 level spells usable at will, and two first level spells each usable once per day. If they instead are CR 16, they’ll have two third level spells usable at will, four fourth level spells usable three time a day each, and two fifth level spells usable once a day each. The chart works the same for spellcasting, but with different numbers. Again, only the most powerful spells will be added into your stat block. Your CR 15 creatures won’t have level one spells available, since they’ll be much more likely to use their third fourth and fifth level spells during battle.

And now it’s time for the last step: checking it over. Take a gander at your creation and make sure it lives up to your concept.

And you’re done! It may sound complicated, but it’s actually very easy to use in practise. Even my kids, who are only six and seven, managed to make something fun, balanced, and unique in a short amount of time.

Once you’re done with the first appendix you move on to the second, which focuses on summoning creatures. Much like the monster creation process, this six page section makes use of charts and grafts, although this is infinitely simpler and easier. Each time you gain access to a summon creature spell you select four specific creatures that you can summon. But what are the options? They’re awesome is what they are! Balanced, thematic and adaptable all at the same time. So what do you do?

First, head on over to the elemental statistics. These will be the base stats for all summoned creatures. The level of summoning spell you’re using determines which size stat block you’ll be using. Then, check out the charts and select what you’re summoning. Is it an aeon, agathion, angel or archon? An elemental? what about a protean, robot or shadow creature? Depending on what you choose it will allow you to select either an elemental or summoning graft which you can then apply to the creature. These grafts are simple and easy to use. And that’s it! You’re done. Get summoning. I, for one, can’t wait.

Which brings us on to our third appendix: simple template grafts. This is two pages of simples grafts, which I already mentioned when I spoke about creating monsters. In addition to their use for monster creation, NPC creation and summoned creature statistics, you can also use these templates to quickly alter existing creatures into new creations.

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Starfinder Roleplaying Game: Starfinder Core Rulebook

Past this is our fourth and final appendix, which focuses on universal creature rules. Here you’ll find a listing of the common abilities that the different monsters in the Alien Archive have, which also happen to be abilities you can choose to give your monstrous creations.

So what’s left? An index which sorts the creatures by CR for ease of reference, and an advertisement at the back of the book.

That’s it. We’ve come to the end of the Alien Archive.

And what did I think?

I highly recommend this book for players, even if just to have access to the plethora of fun races, but for GMs? This book isn’t recommended, it’s necessity. You need it for the monsters inside, and you need it for the monster creation rules. Lucky for us, this book is just awesome! I’m supremely happy to own it.

And now it’s time to say goodbye!

But before I go, I want to hear from you! What’s your favourite creatures and races from the Alien Archive? What have you made with it? Let me know in the comments!

Until next time,

Jessica

 

Starfinder Society Scenario Reviews: Half-Alive Streets and the Scoured Past

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 enter the Drift!

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Scenario #1-10: The Half-Alive Streets, a Tier 1-4 scenario for the Starfinder Society.

Scenario #1-10: The Half-Alive Streets is a Tier 1-4 adventure which takes place in Absalom Station. It has no scenario tags and does not feature starship combat. This lovely little scenario sends the PCs on a hunt throughout Absalom’s Freemarkets to track down the creator of a new series of biotech augmentations which the Pathfinder Society would like to make accessible to its agents. Unfortunately, the creator is unknown, and the only lead comes from a shady contact of the Society’s, Julzakama, a vesk pawnbroker first introduced in Quests: Into the Unknown. In addition to the wonderful recurrence of Julzakama, this scenario also involves AbadarCorp, and the shirrin Philt, so anyone who has played through Scenario #1-02: Fugitive on the Red Planet and earned the AbadarCorp Respect boon, will want to slot it for this scenario. There’s plenty of wonderful new faces in this scenario as well, including a ysoki pawnbroker named Dot, a vesk ‘barber’ who specializes in scale and horn detailing named Katazoa, a burly medicinals saleswoman named Isidre, a verthani technomancer named Chryson, and a halfling family in need of your player’s help. This tidy little mystery is great fun, and a has a bit of a horror vibe to it. However, its got a  bit of a horror vibe to it. It would definitely freak my kids out. Overall, I give this scenario four out of five stars.

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Scenario #1-11: In Pursuit of the Scoured Past, a Tier 3-6 scenario for the Starfinder Society.

Scenario #1-11: In Pursuit of the Scoured Past is a Tier 3-6 adventure which takes place on the library planet of Athaeum which constantly teleports throughout the galaxy. It is of utmost importance to the Second Seeker’s Faction (Luwazi Elsebo), and is strongly tied to the Year of Scoured Stars metaplot. In addition to Luwazi herself, this scenario also includes Royo (a ysoki who dislikes digital records) and Iteration-177 (and android member of the Apis Consortium), both of which are characters introduced in Scenario #1-05: The First Mandate. Anyone who’s earned the boon High Society Influence (Royo) should definitely slot it. New characters and organizations introduced include the axiomite Curators of Athaeum, and the Hellknight Order of the Pyre! Rife with wonderful roleplaying opportunities and a delightful cast of characters, this scenario is a blast! How can it go wrong? Right?! All in all it was a fun scenario, and certainly unique. The major downside is that it’s a relatively high-minded plot in this one, so if you’re just after a fun romp, or you’re playing alongside children, I would recommend a different scenario. Overall, I give this scenario three out of five stars. If you’re particularly interested in the Scoured Stars Incident, or a big fan of roleplaying (like I am) I’d increase the rating to four out of five stars. It should also be noted that there is a Mission Faction Note missing at the end of this scenario. This line has been copied from the Paizo website and is shared below:

“If the PCs succeeded at their primary mission, they further goals of Luwazi Elsebo in uncovering the truth behind the Scoured Stars incident. Each PC earns 1 additional Reputation with the Second Seekers (Luwazi Elsebo) faction, in addition to any other Reputation earned as a result of completing this scenario.”

 Thanks for joining us today on our exploration of the new scenario’s available this month. I hope you’ve enjoyed reading about them as much as I have. Now it’s time to go out, join a game, and get playing!

Jessica

Gifts from the Stars!

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Starfinder Flip-Mat: Basic Starfield

It’s been a while, but I finally got my hands on a Starfinder flip-mat! Which one, you might be wondering? The most important one, of course! We’ve been using a hex grid at my house for starship combat while playing Starfinder, but it’s terrain from another game. Admittedly, brightly coloured grass, hills and some trees is not exactly an atmospheric location to be making fancy piloting maneuvers and firing our laser turrets. But, Starfinder Flip-Mat: Basic Starfield has come to the rescue! This mat is gorgeous, folds well, can handle markers, and has two different sides: one is black with white stars, while the other is more colourful. We’ve tested it out a few times and honestly, couldn’t me more thrilled.

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Contents from the Starfinder Pawns: Starfinder Core Pawn Collection. My kids and I had a blast unboxing it!

Which brings me to the next wonderful product I finally got my hands on: Starfinder Pawns: Starfinder Core Pawn Collection. Now, there’s other pawn collections out there for Starfinder: Starfinder Pawns: Alien Archive is another beauty, but I knew that if I only invested in one pawn collection, Starfinder Pawns: Starfinder Core Pawn Collection would be it. Why? For starters, it has ships. SHIPS. No longer will we fly around a random leucrotta or demon mini while travelling the stars! Oh, no! We’re upgrading to a gorgeous Idaran spaceship! Second? The races. With over ten different minis for each of the core Starfinder races, many of which contain multiples, this Pawn Collection has you set for player characters, NPCs and enemies of all kinds.

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My son’s favourite pawn from the set: The Thaumtech Omenbringer!

In addition to the core races represented, there’s also a mini or two for each of the legacy races, as well as a few select Starfinder races from other sources, including the haan, elebrian, grey, and contemplative. The icing on the amazing star-cake? A few drone minis for all those mechanics out there! My son adores all the ships inside, but his favourite turned out to be the Thaumtech Omenbringer, an ominous looking Eoxian ship made of bone and magically enforced steel.

2018-04-05 18.59.592018-04-05 18.59.38My daughter’s favourite was certainly more expected: the cutest and cleanest looking ysoki in the set: The ysoki Star Shaman. And myself? I’m actually a big fan of the stealth drone, which turned out to be a cute little dog-bot!

Come on! You know you want it! Haha.

 After sifting through the pawns with my kids and finding them a new home in a shoe box, we had a ton of fun picking out which minis would be our Starfinder characters. No longer will Hoponisa be using a kobold mini, nor will Vishkesh and his drone be represented by a kuo-toa and a stirge! We couldn’t be happier.

Do any of you own the Starfinder Core Rulebook: Pawn Collection? Got a favourite mini you want to share? Let us know!

We’ll see you in the Vast!

Jessica

April Blooms and d20 News

Well, April’s here and that means rain and puddles and flowers all around. Or it should, anyway. Instead, we’ve got another cold snap and some snow where I live. But soon! Oh, SOON it will feel spring-like outside! Eventually…

Whatever the weather, Spring Break and Easter have just come to an end for us, and my kids are back in school. My son’s more than a little put-out with this situation, but my daughter’s thrilled to get back to Kindergarten and have some fun. Plenty has happened for us this past week, and it’s been more than a little busy. My daughter obsessively loves rabbits, so Easter is her favourite holiday. In fact, the only thing she likes better than Easter is her birthday, which also passed last month, so this time of year’s always a little bonkers. Aside from Easter events, egg hunts and dinners, we also took my kids to get their picture taken with the Easter Bunny at the mall, and tried to squash in enough time to pick up a gift for my kids. My daughter ended up picking out her own Easter gift when she discovered a children’s stuffed chair–that was a pink rabbit. She’s quite pleased with the gift, and sits in her rabbit chair constantly.

We had two opportunities to get some d20 gaming in this week, although we had hoped to get three in. This past Tuesday my kids sifted through their many, many, MANY characters and took a look at the adventures that each adventuring party was in the middle of or about to embark on. They decided to each pick a group and we’d play one on Tuesday, and the other on Friday. My son chose our aptly named ‘Jungle Characters’ while my daughter chose our much beloved ‘Goblin Characters’ who are about to finish up We B4 Goblins! (which is a FREE download and great fun, so you should definitely click that link! Haha). Deciding we’d start with the Jungle crew, I cracked out my old Dungeon Magazine, Volume #136, and we got right down to playing a modified Tensions Rising. Unfortunately, we ended up busy on Friday and didn’t have time to play our trouble-making goblins, but we did find time on Saturday to begin our second adventure with our Starfinder characters! We embarked on an important Wayfinders mission to Elytrio with Yesteryear’s Truth. Full details on our play sessions this week will appear in an upcoming post, but for now, just know that we had a ton of fun!

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Starfinder Roleplaying Game: Pact Worlds

In Starfinder news, Pact Worlds was released last week, which we’re itching to get our hands on in my house. Seriously. Even my husband wants that one! And today it just became sanctioned for Starfinder Society Play. Nearly everything in the entire book is an option. Now, if only I owned it… There were also two new Starfinder Society Scenarios released, which I did splurge on. Scenario #1-10: The Half-Alive Streets is a tier 1-4 mystery involving a lethal bio-tech augmentation that sets the PCs loose on Absalom Station. While Scenario #1-11: In Pursuit of the Scoured Past is a tier 3-6 that sends the PCs to the library world of Athaeum, where they’re on the hunt for information about the Scoured Stars Incident. Also joining you? Some Hellknights from the Order of the Pyre! How could it go wrong? Neither of these scenarios involve starship battles.

Later this month the volume five in the Dead Suns adventure path will be released: The Thirteenth Gate. Dead Suns begins with Volume One: Incident at Absalom Station, which I’ve found great fun. They’ve also announced the next Starfinder Adventure Path. For those of you who don’t know, Starfinder Adventure Paths are going to be of varying lengths. One six-part series, followed by two three-part series’. This means that once Dead Suns wraps up we’ll be treated to Against the Aeon Throne, which is a three volume series that begins at level one with The Reach of the Empire. This Adventure Path pits the PCs against the Azlanti Star Empire which I’m absurdly excited for! Afterwards we’ll get to play Signal of Screams, which begins at level 7 with The Diaspora Strain. I’m particularly interested in this one as it strikes me as a horror themed space adventure which is just AWESOME. I can’t wait to see how it unfolds.

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Pathfinder Adventure Path: Volume Two: Songbird, Scion, Saboteur

As for Pathfinder, the second volume of War for the Crown, Songbird, Scion, Saboteur has been on game shelves for a while, but volume three, Twilight Child, is due out later this month. If you’ve been reading my blog lately you’ll know that I’m super excited for this campaign, although I’m not yet lucky enough to own it. Last month Merchant’s Manifest came out, which admittedly, I’m not very excited for. But, later this month a sourcebook on the creepy nation of Nidal is released. Called Nidal, Land of Shadows, this IS a book I’m thrilled for. I’ve always been drawn to this ominous place and I can’t wait to see what they do with it. The Pathfinder Society has two neat scenario’s out this month. The first is Scenario #9-16: Fallen Family, Broken Name, which is a series of five one-hour quests that take place in Isger and revolves around the now deceased Irrica family who were said to command some kind of supernatural forces. Sent to discover this weapon and the family’s secrets, this scenario sounds like a lot of fun. Plus, if I’m being totally honest, I’ve never had the chance to play in Isger before. This scenario is intended for tiers 1-5. The second scenario recently released is Scenario #9-17: Oath of the Overwatched, which returns to the constantly cursed Blakros Museum and directly involves the Dark Archives faction. I’ve been a big fan of this series of scenarios from way back during Season 0, so I’m desperate to play this one! Intended for tier 5-9, this one’s going to be tricky!

In other news, my whole family’s been loving their play-by-post campaigns they joined for OutPost. My children and I finished one of the scenarios, Scenario #45: Delirium’s Tangle, over a week ago, and my daughter immediately set out to bring her beloved oracle, Lady Naysha into another adventure. She has since joined up in a game of Scenario #5-08: The Confirmation, alongside one of my husband’s new characters. Meanwhile, my son’s forgetful wizard, Fuzzzy, alongside his pet owl, Bobby, joined up to play Master of the Fallen Fortress, a free Pathfinder Module which is sanctioned for Pathfinder Society play. Lady Naysha and Fuzzzy were both previously introduced in this blog post. My character, Juno Berik, has yet to join another game. For those of you curious, our escapades in Delirium’s Tangle can be found here. My husband has had such fun playing his occultist Enzo in our still ongoing Black Waters adventure, that he made three new Pathfinder Society Characters. Toban Tangletop, an eccentric gnomish chef and inquisitor of Shelyn is joining Lady Naysha on her Confirmation; Ruslo, a roguish Varisian slayer who fights with a grappling hook and has a bone to pick with the Aspis Consortium is playing alongside Fuzzzy and Bobby in Master of the Fallen Fortress. And finally, Jeb Barlo, a water kineticist swamper from Wartle, has just begun to tackle Scenario #0-23: Tide of Morning. One of my Starfinder characters has also completed one of her OutPost games: Aurora Vim, a stylish and vain ysoki envoy with a chipper attitude and an ego bigger than a starship. Better known as Rora, this quirky little ball of fun just made a name for herself by tracking down a fugitive on Akiton and saving an entire town in Scenario #1-02: Fugitive on the Red Planet. To read about her adventures on Akiton, check out the completed gameplay thread, here.

And, in anticipation of Pathfinder Playtest, we’ve been reading Paizo’s previews of the new ruleset on their blog. Recent articles include information on critical hits, critical failures and a system that they’re calling the four degrees of success, and a rogue class preview. But, my personal favourite? The details they shared about those beloved pyros: goblins! Colour me intrigued, Paizo!

I hope, like us, your last week has been full of fun, and the glorious sound of rolling dice.

Until next time,

Jessica

War for the Crown: Player’s Guide

Well, it may be a little late (okay, more than a little), but the War for the Crown Player’s Guide has finally been released by Paizo. Meant to go with their War for the Crown Adventure Path, which takes place in the nation of Taldor, this player’s guide is a free download on their website. The War for the Crown Adventure Path is already underway, with volume one, Crownfall, released in February, and volume two, Songbird, Scion, Saboteur, released this month. The other four volumes have yet to be released.

Now, I’m not sure about all of you, but I’ve been supremely excited for the War for the Crown Adventure Path. However, purchasing that lovely little book isn’t in the cards right now, so I was ready to pounce on the Player’s Guide the moment it launched. And I waited…. And waited…. And waited….

But, now that it’s here! Was it worth the wait?

Uh, yeah, obviously. It’s awesome and it’s free.

Want more details? On it!

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War for the Crown Adventure Path, Volume One of Six, Crownfall

Like the Adventure Path Player’s Guides before it, this one is filled with all the information you need to create a character well-suited to the (War for the Crown) Adventure Path, and invested in its major plots and purpose. It contains advice and compiled lists of which classes and archetypes are best suited to the campaign.  It briefly describes the region that the Adventure Path will be taking place in (Taldor, in this instance), as well as the culture or cultures found there. It describes each races place in the region, and gives advice on which obscure races are more common there (I was pleasantly surprised to find Taldor contains a LOT!). It also releases a series of traits specific to the Adventure Path (called Campaign Traits), of which each character is expected to have one.

There was plenty of wonderfully, interesting information in this little guide, and I actually got a really great feel for Taldor from it. Not a clichéd stereotype of the nation, either. An actual feel for the place. It left me happily inspired. Although there’s lots of neat tidbits we could discuss here, I’m not going to go into details. It’s free! You might as well download it yourselves.

My favourite parts of the Player’s Guide were quite unexpected. The first was a wonderfully illustrated map of Taldor. It’s just… beautiful. I love it!

And the second? We finally got a good, clear view of Princess Eutropia Stavian, eldest daughter and only living child of Grand Prince Stavian III, ruler of Taldor. Who? The War for the Crown Adventure Path was not given its name without cause! The players are going to be acting as spies/diplomats/agents of Princess Eutropia herself as she maneuvers through a budding civil war in order to claim Taldor’s throne for herself. And her opponents? Not nearly as awesome as she is! Holy smokes! I knew a bit about her from campaign spoilers, namely that she wanted to change Taldor for the better, she supports reform, she wants to ensure that women could inherit (as currently in Taldor only men can), and wants to claim the throne for herself. I’m not sure what I expected, but the Princess Eutropia we got was not it! In a good way! She’s AMAZING. From her stats to her backstory, from her public attitude to her inner turmoil, and especially THAT ART, she literally blew me away. Never mind who her opponents are, I’m in, hands down. Call it! I support the Princess!

Seriously! Look her up.

But, it’s a Player’s Guide! It’s not about our patrons, or our country. Not at its core. At its beating heart the Player’s Guide is a free tool to help players like us make characters who will work well within the Adventure Path they’re going to commit to. It should inspire us to make characters, entice us with ideas, provide us with some cool traits, and let us go crazy. And this one did.

So after reading the guide, what would I make?

A good question!

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War for the Crown Adventure Path, Volume Two of Six, Songbird, Scion, Saboteur

There’s plenty of character concepts you could run with for this campaign, and a ton of classes that would work. Rogues and bards (from the Core Rulebook or the Core Rulebook (Pocket Edition)) as well as investigators (from the Advanced Class Guide or the Advanced Class Guide (Pocket Edition)) are the most obvious options, and probably the best suited to the campaign. But, I’m not one for optimization. I won’t play something just because it’s going to be the best or the most useful. It’s characters and quirkiness that I tend to enjoy most. So, I gave all the classes a lot of thought. I quickly narrowed it down to four classes that I was inspired to make. Yes, bard was one of them. I LOVE bards. Absolutely, positively, my favourite class. And although I’ve made plenty of bards, they all seem doomed to have their campaigns crash and burn and die. So sad. Which means that bard is once again a strong contender for class choice. I also adore occultists, and making one who utilizes ancient relics of Taldor sounds like a ton of fun. The third option I’m contemplating is the mesmerist. I recently had a chance to test one (finally) as a player for a Pathfinder Society Scenario and I just had a ball. I think mesmerist’s would be a great choice for this campaign. Both the occultist and mesmerist are from Pathfinder Roleplaying Game: Occult Adventures.

And lastly? The vigilante, of course! I feel that vigilante’s are a hard class to play. Not mechanically, but to actually use. At their heart they’re linked to one area or region (which not a ton of campaigns are) and they rely on keeping your two identities secret (which could be a challenge among certain parties, and even among players). Although I’ve been interested in them since their release in Pathfinder Roleplaying Game: Ultimate Intrigue, I haven’t had opportunity to play one before. And War for the Crown seems like the PERFECT time. Honestly! Is there ever going to be a better chance than this campaign? I highly doubt it. How can I resist?

So, although mesmerist is a close runner-up, I’d play a vigilante for War for the Crown. But what kind? One that I’ve desperately wanted to play since it’s publication is the magical child. Yeah, yeah. It’s cheesy, I know. But my favourite show growing up was Sailor Moon. This archetype is literally my childhood dreams all rolled up into a spectacular little package! So, obviously I want to make one. But, it’s not the only vigilante archetype I’m interested in. The warlock is also cool. With the ability to hurl magical bolts or wield them in melee combat and up to sixth level spells at your disposal, I think this archetype would be a ton of fun. And finally, the psychometrist! This class gains the ability to use the focus powers of the occultist class, with implements you designed yourself. You get to be an master inventor, who utilizes awesome gadgets. How cool is that? All three archetypes are from Pathfinder Roleplaying Game: Ultimate Intrigue.

In the end, it was the psychometrist that won me over. I’d probably play a clever woman… The daughter of an inventor or craftsman. She was married to a ‘like-minded’ man before her father’s death so that she could inherit her father’s business and home (through her husband). Unfortunately, her husband wasn’t as ‘like-minded’ as they thought. He sold the business, took over the house, and was generally a big jerk. Infuriated, she lobbied for change and reformation, making a public spectacle of herself, and gaining the support of many of the lower classes (or at least causing them to talk). In order to shut her up, she was given a government job tending to the plights of the commoners. It was office work, reading official requests for assistance and sorting them by priority and importance. Unfortunately, the department she was supposed to pass on her recommendations to, turned out to be completely un-staffed. It existed only on paper. Her job was useless! A sham! And her reputation? Ruined! Or was it? Using the complaints as a guide, and her father’s inventions (with a few modifications of her own), she took to the streets to help those in need. She would save Taldor one person at a time!

How about you? What character concepts and builds would YOU like to play for War for the Crown? I’d love to hear them!

Until then,

Get reading! You’ve got a free Player’s Guide to download!

Jessica



Update: All of the issues of War for the Crown are now available!

War for the Crown: Book One: Crownfall

War for the Crown: Book 2: Songbird, Scion, Saboteur

War for the Crown: Book Three: Twilight Child

War for the Crown: Book Four: City in the Lion’s Eye

War for the Crown: Book Five: The Reaper’s Right Hand

War for the Crown: Book Six: The Six-Legend Soul