I love the Starfinder Roleplaying Game (Starfinder Core Rulebook). But, I also didn’t want to leap right into Starfinder with my own custom adventures. I wanted to try it out as a player first. Obviously, there’s not many options right now. There’s the Starfinder Adventure Path: Dead Suns (Part One: Incident at Absalom Station), which looks great, but I didn’t want to lock my family into a long campaign with their first characters. I wanted to do something short. Something that got started right away. That hopped right into the action!
So I turned to the Starfinder Society.
The Starfinder Society is a lot like the Pathfinder Society, but in space. It’s a world-wide organized play campaign where anyone can make a character and play a single short adventure (usually four hours in length). The adventures are called scenarios and available as PDF downloads on Paizo’s website for only a few dollars each (usually $4.99 American). These scenarios are short, action packed, and fun. There’s other rules you’ll need to know for playing in the Starfinder Society, all of which are available as a free download on their website, here. In addition to special rules, you should also know a bit about the setting, and the recent achievements of the Starfinder Society. Paizo’s website says it better than I ever could:
“The gods have mysteriously spirited Golarion away to an unknown location and refuse to answer questions about it. In its place, the cultures of that world have evolved and spread throughout the solar system, especially to a vast space platform called Absalom Station. Gifted access to a hyperspace dimension by an ascended AI deity, the residents of the system suddenly find themselves with the ability to travel faster than light, and the race is on to explore and colonize potentially millions of worlds. But there are horrors out there in the darkness…”
“The Starfinder Society is on the brink of ruin, having had to resort of mercenaries to maintain their hold on claimed planetoids, stellar regions, and archeological sites. After training to join a new cadre of Starfinders, it is up to you as a member of the Starfinder Society to help restore the organization. The Starfinder Society, with memories of the Scoured Stars incident still fresh, embarks on the quest to rebuild and discover the truth of what happened in the inaugural season: Year of Scoured Stars!”
Playing in the Starfinder Society is a blast, and I highly recommend it either in person, or online via play-by-post (which is my preferred method), but you don’t have to use these Starfinder Society Scenarios for organized play alone. These scenarios also make great mini-adventures for playing at home in a more casual setting. I’ve continually been impressed with their quality, and the continuity of the scenarios. When used together they’re already beginning to tell a longer, more important story than they do on their own.
Today we’re going to take a look at the Starfinder Society Scenarios that are currently available for purchase, and let you know our favourites. 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. So sit back, and get ready to enter the Drift!
Scenario #1-00: Claim to Salvation is a Tier 3-4 adventure which is unlike any of the other scenarios. In this special scenario you don’t play your own Starfinder Society character. Instead, you play one of the level four pre-generated iconic characters. These characters are mercenaries hired by the Starfinder Society only a few months after the Scoured Stars incident decimated their ranks. These mercenaries are tasked with exploring the surface of a ‘fake-moon’ known as Salvation, for the purpose of determining if the site is worth further exploration, or is a dud that needs shelving. As one of the very first scenarios released, this adventure has some great supplementary rules notes and cheat sheets included within it for ease of play, which is a really awesome addition. This adventure is really fun, and has a cast of colourful characters, both allies and enemies, which are a blast to interact with. The starship battle in this adventure is really unique and kooky. Plus, it’s got goblins in it! Who doesn’t want to see goblins in space?!? Despite that this was a really fun adventure, there are two major downsides for me. The first, is that you need to use pre-generated characters if you’re playing it in the Starfiner Society, as mentioned above. And the second? You’re only exploring the surface of Salvation and determining if the site is worth further exploration. Exploration of the interior continues in another adventure, #1-09: Live Exploration Extreme!, and I strongly believe it will continue on in at least another scenario or two further down the line. That means that when you reach the end of this scenario you’re likely to feel as a player like its unfinished. Although I’m definitely going to use this scenario with my family as part of an ongoing campaign, I’m unlikely to play it in the Starfinder Society. Pre-generated characters aren’t really my thing. Overall, I give this scenario three out of five stars. However, if you enjoy using pre-generated characters, or, if you’re going to use it in a home campaign, I’d increase it to four out of five stars.
Starfinder Society Quests: Into the Unknown is the next adventure we’re going to take a peek at. This tier 1 scenario is awesome! For starters, Into the Unknown is a free download. So click the link and get downloading. Its a repeatable adventure, which means that if you’re playing it in the Starfinder Society you can play it once for each character (as opposed to only once as a player). That’s a very important thing when there’s so few scenarios to choose from. Like Claim to Salvation, Into the Unknown has some wonderful cheat sheets and extra rules listed, which makes it awesome for beginner players and GMs. As a quest, it’s formatted a bit different than the other scenarios. Instead of being one four hour long adventure, its a connected series of five short one-hour long adventures. Each of these short quests forms one cohesive, wonderful adventure that feels much grander in scope than your typical scenario. These quests are meant to be played in order, and intelligence gathered in the first four quests can provide you with an advantage in the final quest. The adventure itself has got a bit of everything in it: fun social interactions, local combat, and starship battles. My kids loved roleplaying with Julzakama and the ysoki family who own the Vat Garden in the first quest, ‘Salvation.’ The Vat Garden encounter also had some tricky environmental effects that made it unique. I loved the ‘Boarding’ quest, but did have a few qualms with it. There’s no mention of any bodies, which is unfortunate. Also, this scene could really benefit from an ominous, atmospheric opening description. I loved the battle in ‘Salvage,’ although this scene also could have benefitted from a scripted description of the wreck. There’s a total of two different starship battles in these quests, both of which are very different. I would have loved to learn more about the crew of the Lawblight, though. For such a cool ship with a lot of build-up, we don’t even learn the name of the captain! Events in this scenario tie into later adventures, including #1-02: Yesteryear’s Truth. In addition, there’s further hints that this scenario will tie into other unwritten scenarios in the future. All in all, Into the Unknown is one of my very favourite scenarios, and I give it five out of five stars. I highly recommend it as the first scenario for new players to try.
Up next is scenario #1-01: The Commencement. This is a repeatable scenario that does not feature any starship battles. This scenario is intended as an introduction to the Starfinder Society and its major factions. As brand new Starfinders, you’ll need to complete a task for each of the faction leaders. These tasks are fun, but quite minor. Some of them are… silly. That being said I enjoyed the silliest one a lot. (Star Sugar Heartlove!!!, here’s looking at you!). I found there was a bit too much rolling and math during the Acquisitives mission, which bogged down gameplay quite a bit. The Wayfinder and Exo-Guardian missions were great fun, while the Dataphiles task allowed characters with a lot of skills to shine. One of the best parts of this scenario is its adaptability. Multiple parts of this scenario are chosen randomly each time you play, which is just awesome in a repeatable scenario. From vehicle statistics, to enemy abilities, and even alien appearances and motives, although the tasks don’t change, the details do, which will make for a fresh experience every time. Conceptually, I like that they give fresh agents minor tasks, but in practise it feels… underwhelming. Not very exciting. For that reason, although this is a great first adventure for Starfinder Society characters, and a wonderful introduction to the factions, I don’t recommend it be your first Starfinder experience. If you’re new to Starfinder, play Into the Unknown instead. This adventure features events that tie into other adventures, as well as characters that continue to play a role in the Year of Scoured Stars. I give it three out of five stars.
Scenario #1-02: Fugitive on the Red Planet is a tier 1-4 adventure that doesn’t feature any starship battles. This scenario sends you to the Mars-like planet of Akiton on the trail of an ex-Starfinder who stole an artifact from the Society. This is a another fun adventure. I like the encounters, both social and combat, but the scenario itself was very ‘on the rails.’ Now, this isn’t surprising for SFS or PFS scenarios, and it doesn’t feel like it’s constraining, but it is worth noting. I was impressed that the investigation in Maro has an effect later in the scenario. I really enjoyed the inclusion of AbadarCorp in this scenario, and that there were repercussions or benefits based on your interactions with them. I also liked that infamy repercussions were built right into the module, which is a nice early example that evil actions don’t work out for your characters in the long run. The final battle’s location was wonderfully varied, and the inclusion of the mine carts made it very dynamic. Overall, I really enjoyed this scenario and give it four out of five stars.
Scenario #1-03: Yesteryear’s Truth is a tier 1-4 adventure that contains one starship battle. This mission is of particular importance to the Wayfinders faction and sends you to explore a newly discovered planet. I found that the starship battle was too long, but a slower launch rate of the combat drones, or less hp for each drone would fix that easily. I really loved the premise of this adventure. It’s very much a ‘first contact’ situation, and I thought it followed through on this wonderfully. As expected for a scenario of this kind, social skills are very important to the mission, which could be hard for some groups. That being said, they have plenty of chances to make friends with both types of locals, and the module can progress as scheduled even if they fail to do so. Finally, I loved the history this scenario lets you uncover, and that your actions can affect the planet’s future. This scenario features a planet that was first mentioned in Into the Unknown, and introduces Winks, a character who will later be met again in Scenario #1-04: Cries from the Drift. I give it five out of five stars.
Scenario #1-04: Cries from the Drift is a tier 1-4 adventure that sends the players to investigate a missing Starfinder ship. It contains one starship battle. This mission is of particular importance to the Exo-Guardians faction and is highly likely to link to further missions regarding Sangoro’s Bulwark. I thoroughly loved this scenario, but be warned, this one is NOT for the squeamish. It features body horror, gore and suspense. Because this scenario really benefits from all players being surprised, I won’t be saying anything else about the events contained within. What I will say is that it connects to lots of other adventures. It name-drops Winks, from scenario #1-03: Yesteryear’s Truth. It also introduces a starfinder team known as the Manta Corps, who will make a further appearance in scenario #1-08: Sanctuary of Drowned Delight. This social encounter is a fun way to let players brag about their accomplishments. There’s some fun goodies hidden in this scenario for players who’ve already experienced scenario #1-01: The Commencement, including the return of Zigvigix and his warehouse. It also features tie-ins to a not-yet-released scenario that involves a Strawberry Machine Cake concert. I give this scenario five out of five stars, but remember: it’s not for everyone!
Scenario #1-05: The First Mandate is a tier 1-4 adventure that tasks your players with impressing dignitaries and contacts who are important to the Starfinder Society. It is of particular importance to members of the Acquisitives faction, and the Second Seekers faction. There are no starship battles in this scenario. This scenario introduces six really important NPCs, including Luwazi Elsebo, leader of the Starfinder Society. It also introduces Royo, a ysoki Forum member, and Naiaj, a gnome bleachling Venture-Captain. All three of these characters were fun to interact with, detailed, and are certain to make plenty more appearances as the Starfinder Society continues. There’s also two other important NPCs of note, Iteration-177, an android Aspis Consortium member, and Zo!, an Eoxian media mogul. Despite the premise of this adventure, it doesn’t all come down to social skills. There’s plenty of combat to go around and the NPCs varied interests mean that even the most awkward characters have a chance of impressing someone. The NPCs represent a wide variety of races, which was really refreshing. The social encounters themselves are a lot of fun, and the rules introduced to measure the players success aren’t overly complicated. In addition to the intangible benefits of impressing the dignitaries, there’s also visible, mechanical benefits that occur in the scenario, which are sure to make players pleased. I felt that the investigation part of this scenario was really well done. The clues were subtle, and it didn’t beat you over the head with details, which was really refreshing. The final battle allowed for multiple different approaches, methods and tactics, all of which look to be a lot of fun. So far two other scenarios are connected to this one, including #1-06: Night in Nightarch, and #1-09: Live Exploration Extreme! Although I wasn’t sure I’d like this scenario from it’s premise, I ended up really loving it. I give it five out of five stars.
Scenario #1-06: Night in Nightarch is a tier 3-6 scenario that grants your players leave to track down a missing weapons shipment from a drow thief. The best part? She’s on a planet of drow. Yeah. Take a second and imagine that. Yikes! This scenario doesn’t feature any starship battles. I absolutely love the premise of this scenario. It’s got some fun NPCs to interact with, awesome drow artwork, and does a great job of setting an atmospheric tone with only a few short sentences. I really enjoyed that the mission was on a timeframe, and the quick mechanics that were used to speed up/determine time. The office levels were well-detailed and organic. It had character, which was really nice. There were multiple ways to go about one of the encounters, which is nice. The outcome of the battle doesn’t change too much from one to the other, but its nice to have the option. I even loved the little details hidden here and there, like the advertisements–particularly the one featuring Zo!’s reality tv show. I give this scenario four out of five stars.
Scenario #1-07: The Solar Sortie is a tier 1-4 adventure that sends the players undercover on Brilliance, a solar satellite owned by the Arch Energy Consortium, for the purpose of recovering classified information. To this end, the players must earn the friendship of Envar Tamm, the ‘boss’s’ hard-partying son. This scenario could contain one starship battle. This scenario is fun and quirky. It requires subterfuge, social skills and computer skills to succeed, but is not without combat. Because of the skills required, its not a scenario for everyone, but it did a great job of making all kinds of characters useful. Envar himself is a great NPC who’s going to be a blast to play at the table. This scenario features a character introduced in #1-01: The Commencement, and can be affected by your players experiences in #1-02: Fugitive on the Red Planet. I give this adventure four out of five stars.
Scenario #1-08: Sanctuary of Drowned Delight is a tier 3-6 adventure that has your players investigate an old Starfinder Lodge on an aquatic planet. In addition to determining if the Lodge is salvageable, they also need to make contact with the first group who was sent on this mission, the Manta Corps, who were introduced in #1-04: Cries from the Drift. This mission is of particular importance to the Wayfinders faction. It does not contain any starship battles. This scenario is location based, which is to say that they are given a single location to explore, and can do so in any fashion and order they desire. In addition to room-based encounters and there are also event-based encounters, which are a lot of fun. In addition to getting to explore a great location on a new planet, players will get to meet and interact with a new alien race. This is a great adventure for players who love to role-play social encounters. It also features investigation elements which are wonderfully subtle. This scenario reintroduced us to Fitch and the Master of Stars, which is the same ship visited in #1-01: The Commencement. This scenario is just… AWESOME! I give this scenario five out of five stars.
The last adventure we’re going to take a look at today is Scenario #1-09: Live Exploration Extreme! This is a tier 1-4 adventure which is a direct sequel to #1-00: Salvation’s End. It also has ties to #1-05: The First Mandate, and features Zo!, who was met in that scenario. It is the first (likely of multiple) scenarios that will delve into the fake-moon, Salvation. The catch? In the aftermath of the Scoured Stars incident, The Starfinders had to rely on mercenaries, investors and powerful organizations in order to keep operational. One such investor was Zo!, a undead Eoxian media mogul. He provided the Starfinders with a vast amount of funding, on the condition that if any important discoveries were made on those sites the Starfinders would cease investigation immediately, until Zo! and his camera crew were ready to document the findings and turn it into a new reality television special. That’s right! You don’t just get to explore an awesome ruin and make amazing discoveries, you have to do it alongside a film crew while impressing a live studio audience! It does an awesome job of playing up this quirky experience, including pulling characters aside to ask prying questions, and having the studio audience vote on how some situations should play out. This adventure is populated with a ton of entertaining characters. From the crew, to Zo!, and the people met while exploring Salvation, this is a scenario that’s overflowing with fun, engaging, social encounters. It’s full of personality, and I guarantee you’ve never played anything like it before. Aside from the wonderful ‘reality t.v.’ schtick it’s got going for it, the adventure itself–the things you find in Salvation–are really, really surprising. Honestly. Wow! I cannot wait for the investigation into Salvation to continue in another scenario, and I strongly hope that Zo! and his camera crew will be along with us for the ride. This scenario is one of my very favourites. I give it five out of five stars.
And that’s it! The first eleven Starfinder Society scenarios, specials and quests for your perusal. I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait to play through them all. But when it comes down to it, which ones were my very, very, favourites? Which ones blew my mind?
Into the Unknown, Sanctuary of Drowned Delights, and Live Exploration Extreme!
What about you? If you’ve got a favourite Starfinder scenario let us know in the comments below! Have experiences playing or GMing these adventures that you want to share? Do so! We’d love to hear from you!
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