Character Focus: Dead Suns

Over a year ago my family started playing the Dead Suns Adventure Path by play-by-post. The hows and whys of our decision to play online instead of at a table in our own home, and why we started playing it in the first place, is something I’ve already written about. Suffice to say, time is a factor (it always is, isn’t it?). Time to play, time to prep, time we could be dedicating to other games or other things.

Life’s busy. But, my kids adore the Dead Suns Adventure Path. They love their characters, and have a blast playing them. So, due in no small part to the requests of both of my children, we’re finally bringing our Dead Suns campaign to a proper table! Which means, it’s time to talk Dead Suns…

Dead Suns is a six-part Adventure Path for the Starfinder Roleplaying Game that sees your PCs join the Starfinder Society, and race to gain control of an ancient super weapon before the undead Corpse Fleet or the terrifying Cult of the Devourer get their hands on it and lay waste to the galaxy! Dead Suns and its supplementary products include:

You can also check out the awesome trailer for Dead Suns below:

Dead Suns is the first campaign that was released for Starfinder, which means there’s a few kinks to iron out, particularly in regards to the difficulty of starship combat. It’s a fun, tough adventure, and my family is sure to have their hands full surviving to the end. There’s only three of them (four if we include my NPC), and my children don’t always make the most sound tactical decisions. To top it all off, my family did NOT make a balanced party AT ALL. But, you know what we did make? A goofy, group of weirdos that are a ton of fun to play.

So who are the heroes of our Dead Suns campaign?

So glad you asked!

At the centre of our team is my NPC T’Kesh. I know, I know. I’m the GM so why the heck is my character the heart of the team? For reasons I’ve already written about here! Haha. It makes sense, I swear!

sfs 1-16 - ikeshti - congregant merthinett - nicolas espinoza
An ikeshti from Starfinder Society Scenario #1-16: Dreaming of the Future. Illustration by Nicolas Espinoza. Art courtesy of Paizo Inc.

T’Kesh is a red-scaled ikeshti (think of them as alien kobolds) from Akiton who, like most of her people, has a voracious appetite, a knack for surviving in the harshest of environments, and a willingness to stick pretty much anything in her mouth. She’s a hunter and a cook, and soon found she was exceptional at both. Like all ikeshti, life changed when she reached adulthood. Ikeshti who are in heat become incredibly aggressive, growing larger and angrier until they successfully mate and lay eggs. Those who cannot mate successfully turn into ravenous, violent monsters known as riveners. Luckily, T’Kesh found a mate and laid a clutch of eggs. Then, she and her mate fought to the death! (Which is absolutely normal behaviour for ikeshti parents. I blame the hormones…). TKesh won, which allowed her to become something known as a Congregant — a female ikeshti that is overcome with the need to ensure the success of her people as a whole. Not necessarily her individual eggs or young, but the whole of the ikeshti race. So T’Kesh set out to find a male brood-minder to tend to her eggs, dragged him back to her nest, and took off, heading for the nearest city. She marketed her talents at hunting and cooking, entering contests, competitions, and making home-made survival and cooking videos until she went viral. She bought herself a ship and convinced a local holo-vid station to let her have her own reality show: T’Kesh: Killer Chef! In the time since T’Kesh has travelled the Pact Worlds and beyond, surviving in harsh environments, hunting her own prey, and turning it into delicious gourmet meals. Whatever she doesn’t eat she turns into her own line of R2Es named after each episode of her show. T’Kesh: Killer Chef became a hit, allowing T’Kesh to send a hefty amount of credits back to her people.

T’Kesh is a bombastic, self-centred, resourceful ikeshti with a habit of narrating her exploits to the constantly filming video drones that follow her around. She fights with a survival knife, tactical pistol, and a sniper rifle. Mechanically, T’Kesh is an icon operative explorer that uses her surroundings to her advantage. She’s well-versed in a variety of physical, social, and survival skills, but knows next to nothing about technology.

pact worlds sro
A pair of SRO from Starfinder: Pact Worlds. Art courtesy of Paizo Inc.

While on Akiton T’Kesh met an SRO named Rabbot. Small in stature and rather slender, with a square squat base with large treads, a pole-like body, two stick-like arms, and two skinny antennae that stick up out of her head like the rabbit ears on an old tv, Rabbot is a bit of an enigma. She doesn’t talk about where she comes from, nor why she felt the need to work with T’Kesh. But, when T’Kesh was in need of a cinematographer for her hit show, Rabbot showed up for the job. In addition to working the cameras, Rabbot’s antennae function as a signal booster, and her torso can reconfigure itself into a small stove. Unknown to all but Rabbot, the little SRO has a hidden compartment in her forearm which contains a single, tiny, rabbit stuffed toy. Rabbot is very protective of her ‘baby’ and pets it when no one it looking. At all other times she denies its existence.

Rabbot is two and a half feet tall but can adjust her telescopic body and neck to be taller and shorter at will. Her treads allow her to be highly mobile, but make stairs and getting up onto high surfaces difficult. In such terrain Rabbot activates ‘jump mode’ which allows her to bounce up onto higher surfaces with ease and is likely the origin of her name. Rabbot has a robotic, monotone voice, and always begins every sentence with “Beep…. bop… rabbot…” making her seem rather serious and dim — which couldn’t be further from the truth! Rabbot is intelligent, cunning, and fond of telling jokes.

Mechanically, Rabbot is a roboticist operative with the ghost specialization. She’s prone to quickly building barricades for cover and protection, before slinking off to another location entirely without anyone noticing. She’s exceptionally good at acrobatics, disguise, stealth, and sleight of hand, and is a fair judge of character. She’s a solid pilot and engineer with a preference for tinkering with mechanical devices over computers. Rabbot fights with an azimuth laser pistol and is my seven-year old daughter’s character.

My daughter is the driving force behind us playing Dead Suns in the first place, and finally bringing it to the table. Her absolute love for Rabbot and her companions, and passion for the game is absolutely astounding to see in one so young. She’s thrilled to share Rabbot with all of you!

250px-Space_goblin
A space goblin from Starfinder: First Contact and Starfinder: Alien Archive. Art courtesy of Paizo Inc.

The next person to join the T’Kesh: Killer Chef crew was Nubb, a snot-nosed goblin with a habit of sticking everything in his mouth. Yes, everything. Once experimented on by unknown parties, Nubb has an advanced AI installed in his brain which makes him exceptionally intelligent and good with technology. Of course, Nubb himself is exceptionally dumb, even by goblin standards, which makes the Nubb of today a strange mix of reckless stupidity, wanton destruction, and computer genius, mixed with bouts of astounding brilliance. Interfacing with his AI through a series of holographic screens transmitted directly to his eyes, Nubb is often seen poking randomly at the air and talking to himself, going through the motions of touching screens only he can see. Nubb works as T’Kesh’s editor, prepping the footage into episodes of her show, and transmitting them to the show’s producers back on Akiton.

Mechanically, Nubb is a cyberborn operative with the hacker specialization. He’s nimble, smart (most of the time), and a whiz with technology of all kinds. He fights with a survival knife, needler pistol, and a laser pistol, but the majority of his wealth is invested in the AI and computer installed in his brain. Nubb is my husband’s character and the resident trapfinder, disabler, and hacker.

critical hit deck skittermander taylor fischer
A skittermander from the Starfinder Critical Hit Deck. Illustration by Taylor Fischer. Art courtesy of Paizo Inc.

Finally, we have Skitt. Skitt is a super helpful yellow skittermander that desperately misses the little ‘tummy mouth’ he was born with. It was so helpful for eating! And Skitt LOVES eating. Eventually he had a new one made and installed as an augmentation, which he thinks is really neat. Skitt met the crew of T’Kesh: Killer Chef on Vesk-6 and, after hearing the word ‘chef’ Skitt couldn’t help but offer them his friendly services! T’Kesh told him to get lost — over and over again — but Skitt was always good with people! So he cast charm person and her and she didn’t complain anymore. …For a few days, at least! And so Skitt became a member of the crew! He works cameras (usually accidentally filming his feet) and helps with dialogue (which usually results in scenes having to be reshot). T’Kesh fires him at least once a week, but his magic-friend-making-smiley-spell always fixes that up real quick! Despite the many ways that Skitt messes everything up, he is friendly, helpful, enthusiastic, and cheery, making him the cheerleader and emotional heart of the group. He loves to sing and dance, and can even talk to animals — a trait which T’Kesh occasionally makes use of on her hunts.

Mechanically, Skitt is a priest mystic who worships Weydan, god of discovery, exploration, and freedom. He has the xenodruid connection and knowledge of a variety of living things. His favourite spells are charm person, life bubble, and mystic cure, while his favourite zero-level spells are ghost sound, stabilize, telekinetic projectile, and token spell. Although Skitt carries a survival knife and a laser pistol, he much prefers to use telekinetic projectile to throw things around with his mind — always being sure to point his many hands at his enemies like guns and shout ‘PEW PEW PEW!’ at them. Skitt is my eight-year-old son’s character.

Yes, you read that right. My family of four made three operatives for an adventure path. All the characters are small and dextrous, and none of them are physically strong. Far from a balanced party, I know. But, you know what we’re good at? Skills! Haha.

Dead Suns Crew 2
Our heroes are ready to begin their journey!

The Dead Suns Adventure Path begins with Incident at Absalom Station. The PCs have just arrived on the station to meet with a dwarf by the name of Durovar Kreel, who is supposed to be their contact in the Starfinder Society. Unfortunately, he dies in the first scene and it’s up to the PCs to work with the Starfinder Society to solve his murder. This leads the PCs to joining the Starfinder Society, and sets in motion a series of events that will take them farther and farther away from their home in order to save the Pact Worlds.

When my family started playing this adventure path we were already playing in the Starfinder Society, and didn’t want our AP characters to be doing the same thing. So, we decided to make a few changes. Although the AP itself and its characters would remain the same, the organization we work for would have a different name and purpose. It’s name?

That’s a story for another time!

We’ll be back later this week with our first campaign update for Dead Suns: Busted Up Dreams! See you then!

Jessica

 

Free RPG Day 2019

Today is Free RPG Day 2019!

Did you participate?

We sure did!

Established in 2007, Free RPG Day works with participating hobby game retailers and RPG publishers to bring new and exclusive RPG products and adventures into the hands of gamers worldwide. Fans can grab brand new material for a variety of RPGS for free by stopping by their local participating game and hobby shop.

Last year my family had a ton of fun with Free RPG Day, particularly with Paizo’s two releases: Skitter Shot, a first level Starfinder adventure featuring a crew of excitable skittermanders, and We Be 5uper Goblins, a hilarious sixth level Pathfinder adventure featuring some infamous goblin heroes on their most epic and amazing adventure yet! For those of you who missed FREE RPG Day 2018, both modules are available as a free download on Paizo’s website, or as a physical copy for five dollars.

Free RPG Day BooksThis year Free RPG Day was held on June 15, 2019, with Paizo’s free downloads of the PDFs being available on July 1, 2019.

My husband, my children and I headed out for a trip to our local game shop. There’s a few places you can go in Winnipeg for RPG products, but our shop of choice is Game Knight Games and Cool Stuff. It’s a bit of a trek to get there, two buses and at least an hour and a half of travel time for us, but it has a great selection of RPGs, board games, miniatures, and collectible card games. They also have a spacious game space. It’s a wonderful store. The buses were accommodating, and we made good time. In no time at all we headed inside and perused the goodies on offer. There was quite a selection!

There were two products we knew we wanted to bring home with us: Skitter Crash, a third level Starfinder adventure featuring skittermanders, and We Be Heroes? a Pathfinder Playtest adventure for first level goblins. My seven-year old daughter immediately scampered over to the table and swept up Skitter Crash, while my son grabbed We Be Heroes? This left my husband and I a bevy of books to browse. In the end, my husband settled on The Witcher Easy Mode: An Introductory Booklet to the Witcher TRPG, and I scooped up Modern Age Threefold Quickstart.

Free RPG Day 2019

The Witcher Easy Mode: An Introductory Booklet to the Witcher TRPG is just that –– an easy introduction to The Witcher TRPG. 30 pages in length it includes rules, six pre-generated characters and a short adventure called Still Waters.

Modern AGE Threefold Quickstart is an easy to understand gateway to the Modern AGE RPG that comes with streamlined rules, reference sheets, five pre-generated characters, and an introductory adventure called Burning Brighter. It’s 40 pages long and has a lot of nice art inside.

we be heroes? free rpg day 2019
We Be Heroes?

We Be Heroes? is an adventure we knew we wanted to bring home with us. It’s a Pathfinder Playtest adventure, using the final version of the Playtest rules. We Be Heroes? is a first level adventure written by Brian Duckwitz which continues the tradition of the super popular We Be Goblins series (We Be Goblins!, We Be Goblins Too!, We Be Goblins Free!, We B4 Goblins!, and We Be 5uper Goblins!). However, this adventure features a whole new team of goblin adventurers who are set to take on the minions of the Whispering Tyrant! (And zombie pigs?!) Driven by hunger and the orders of their chief, the goblins of the Crookedtoes tribe are tasked with finding out why all the animals in the forest have fled the region, and what happened to the tribe’s best scout. They get to meet up with some heroic knights, explore a wrecked farmhouse, and… be heroes! We absolutely adored reading this adventure and intend to play it soon — although whether we’ll play it as a Playtest adventure, switch it over to Pathfinder First Edition so we can play it right away, or wait for August and switch it over to Pathfinder Second Edition rules remains to be seen. Either way, we’re going to have a blast with it. If you didn’t get your hands on this amazing product, don’t worry. You’ll be able to download it for free on Paizo’s website in two weeks or so.

skitter crash - free rpg day 2019
Skitter Crash

Finally, there’s my personal favourite… Our skittermander heroes from Skitter Shot are set to continue their adventures in Skitter Crash! Written by Jason Keeley, this is a third level Starfinder module that sees our skittermander heroes crash their ship on a mysterious swampy planet after a run in with space pirates and an interstellar cyclone! They’ll need to find their ship, deal with the space pirates, and (of course!) make some nu-friends! The adventure was a lot of fun. So fun, in fact, that we played it today at our local gaming store with a wonderful GM (you’re awesome, Wil!) and another player new to RPGs (I hope you had fun, Robin!).

The verdict?

This adventure is a BLAST. I highly recommend it.

Skitter Crash Battle

I hope a lot of you got out to Free RPG Day! If you did, I’d love to hear what kind of products you got your hands on, and what you thought of them.

Happy gaming!

Jessica

 

Dead Suns Pawn Collection and a Trip Down Memory Lane…

Dead Suns Pawn CollectionWell would you look at this lovely package that arrived in the mail?!

Gorgeous!

I’m a huge fan of Paizo’s Pawn Collections, but it’s been ages since I’ve got my hands on a new set. Today that changes! It’s time to crack open Starfinder: Dead Suns Pawn Collection!

The Dead Suns Pawn Collection contains over a hundred pawns that include allies, enemies, monsters, and starships. The minis in this set are highly versatile, and definitely going to see some heavy use even after the campaign is over.

 

There’s a lot of awesome pawns in this collection, so narrowing down our favourites was tricky! Our favourite medium figures are the dwarf, Durovar Kreel, and the Downside Kings thugs. Both are incredibly versatile, easy to use, and look awesome. Our favourite large pawns are the whiskered renkroda, Ilthisarian, Gatecrasher, and scavenger slime. Why? They look like nothing else I own. Of the big pawns, I like the sky fisher a lot, while for ships I like the Crypt Warden, a ‘Batplane’-like Eoxian ship, and the Barrow Catacomb, which looks fierce!

Favourites

Now, I know what you’re thinking. Why Dead Suns? It’s been out a while now. Surely I’d rather have Against the Aeon Throne or Alien Archive 2?

Our story begins back when Starfinder was new… The rulebook had just hit my hands and I was scouring it for character concepts and cool locations to adventure in. ‘Eww, bugs!’ I thought, ‘NOT playing a shirren.’ (My, how the tables have turned! I love those fellas!). I was excited to check out the first Adventure Path and see what the Starfinder Society would look like. So imagine my surprise when I realized the first adventure path would feature the Starfinder Society. Why would I want to adventure with them when I’m going to get a ton of that in the Starfinder Society? In short, I didn’t. A little disappointed I gave Dead Suns a cursory glance and decided to jump into the Starfinder Society with both feet.

It wasn’t a mistake. I adore the Starfinder Society, both it’s structure, low price point, and exciting adventures. 100% huge fan. But, later down the line when I was getting into the world of play-by-post gaming I was looking for some fun Starfinder games to join –– I was up to date with all the SFS scenarios at the time –– when I stumbled across a recruitment for the Dead Suns Adventure Path. I created a character, applied, and was accepted. We had some rough patches at first. Players arguing and some drop-outs. But the GM crafted a really detailed world for us to adventure in, and it showed. Unfortunately, we played together only a few months before the GM stopped posting, and my glitching, emotionless, android mechanic hung up her adventuring shoes. I was disappointed, of course. But, I was also hooked.

I loved Dead Suns.

So, a short while later, when my brother asked if I’d let him practise GMing a one-shot of Starfinder I hopped at the chance. I offered him one of my SFS scenarios to practise on, but he declined. He owned the first volume of Dead Suns and wanted to give it a shot.

I spent a solid week planning my character. There would only be myself and an NPC run by my brother, and we would only have a single afternoon to play together (while our kids ran around my house causing havoc), so it needed to be something easy to play, and have a personality or background I could capitalize on quickly. Something fun! Something crazy! With a race I couldn’t use in SFS.

I decided to make an ikeshti congregant who left Akiton to make her fortune. She could send her money back home to support her people and adventure for both excitement and coin. Simple motivations that would let her hop into the action. So how, exactly, would she make her fortune? Reality TV! My ikeshti, named T’kesh, would be a reality star known for hunting down exotic prey, cooking it, and eating it. Everything she didn’t eat she would craft into her own line of R2Es named after the episodes and dishes she created! She was a hunter, chef, and daredevil! I decided to call her show ‘T’Kesh: Killer Chef!’ I made her an operative with the explorer specialization. She fought with a knife, tactical pistol, and sniper rifle.

When I told my brother he laughed and decided to create his character to be her cameraman. A mystic lashunta who dreams of creating award winning documentaries, the poor guy was stuck filming my crazed ikeshti’s absurd hunting-cooking show.

Thus prepared we sat down to play. We only got a few minutes into the session before my daughter stuck her head up to the table. She was six at the time, and had only learned how to play Starfinder a week or two before. “Can I play, Uncle?” she asked.

“…Uh…. No, I don’t think so. I don’t have time to help you play today.”

My daughter gave him a pouty scowl and stayed there, stubbornly perched at the edge of the table with her eyes and nose just barely above the tabletop.

Soon the first fight broke out. “Can I at least roll something?” My daughter asked. “I can count, you know.”

My brother said no again, but I’m a sucker for including kids in RPGs. “Oh, let her roll something. She can grab a mini from your bucket and act like a bystander. You use an enemy stat block and she’ll just move and roll. It’ll be fine.”

My brother relented and my daughter peeked into the mini bucket. She found little droid mini from the Star Wars RPG and plopped it on the table. “This is Rabbot!” she announced grandly. “I am an SRO operative with the ghost thing! I will sneak around really quiet like a bunny! I have antenna on my head, and they look sort of like skinny rabbit ears! Also, I am your second cameraman! My eyes record pictures and sound like a camera and my tummy can turn into a stove.” She moved her mini onto the board. “Beep… bop… rabbot… Oh no…. what is with this… fighting…”

When it was her first turn she looked at the board and then looked up at my brother. “Does rabbot have a tactical pistol or an ‘az-ma’ laser pistol? I hope it is a laser one. They shoot way further.”

“Uh… sure. Laser pistol.”

“YAY!” she moved her mini around behind some cover then snuck up on top of a crate. “Trick attack with stealth!” she yelled, rolling her dice. Then she did her best robot voice. “Beep… bop… rabbot… eat this…” She fired her laser pistol, scored a critical hit, and spent the rest of the fight being an absolute rockstar. She was focused, remembered all her rules, and spontaneously created an adorable, thoroughly entertaining character.

When the game was done my brother left and my daughter grinned, “When do we play next, Mom?”

“We don’t,” I told her. “Sorry, baby. We were just playing Dead Suns that one time.”

“But, Rabbot is the coolest.” She gave me a pouty face then added in her best robot voice, “Beep… bop… rabbot… don’t let me… die…” She stuck out her tongue and closed her eyes, making a very silly ‘dead face.’

We didn’t have time to play another game at the table, so I had to say no. But, weeks passed, then months, and she never lost interest. Eventually, I buckled. Sort of. I told her we could all make characters and try Dead Suns out as a play-by-post. But, it would be up to all of us to take the time to write out our turns. She was absolutely thrilled and forced everyone in the house to get characters made. She insisted I keep T’Kesh, of course, and that she would play Rabbot. My son made a skittermander mystic with the xenodruid connection. He named him Skitt and decided that he tried to be a helpful cameraman too, but he was horrible! In fact, the only reason T’Kesh allowed Skitt on her team was through Skitt’s heavy use of charm person spells. Also, he could talk to animals. My husband gave it some thought and ended up making a space goblin operative with a supercomputer implanted in his brain. He named him Nubb, and decided he could act as an editor for T’Kesh: Killer Chef!

Yes, we had a mystic and a whopping three operatives. SUCH a balanced team (not). Surely this would turn out great…

We didn’t always have the time to post in our Dead Suns campaign, but we never stopped playing it. Just this month both of my kids insisted that their Dead Suns characters were their very favourites and they really wanted to bring Dead Suns to the table. So, we did some shuffling and carved out some time. Dead Suns would enter out weekly game rotation.

I didn’t need to pick up the Dead Suns Pawn Collection. A lot of the minis I already have from the Core Rulebook, Pact Worlds, and Alien Archive could cover what I needed. But, my kids really love Dead Suns, and I wanted to make it special.

Plus, did I mention I love Pawn Collections? What better excuse could I have to pick them up!? Haha.

Minis in hand and statistics transferred to proper character sheets, we’re ready to bring this game to life.

My daughter couldn’t be happier. This morning she looked at me with her big brown eyes and gave me a giant hug. “Thanks for not letting Rabbot die, Mom.”

Totally worth it.

 

Starfinder Critical Hit Deck

Hello everyone and welcome to d20diaries!

Today we’re taking a look a delightful little pack of cards…. Starfinder Critical Hit Deck!

Starfinder Critical Hit Deck

critical hit deck skittermander taylor fischer
A lucky skittermander! Illustrated by Taylor Fischer. Art courtesy of Paizo Inc.

Starfinder Critical Hit Deck is the size and shape of a deck of playing cards. It retails for around $10.99 USD (or around $15 Canadian dollars). There’s an adorable little skittermander playing with a d20 on the box, with some product information on the back.

The cards inside are high quality and easy to read with a colour scheme matching the Starfinder Core Rulebook. There’s fifty-five cards inside. One contains product information, the open game license, and cites Owen K.C. Stephens as the author and Taylor Fischer as the illustrator. The second card lists the rules of using the Critical Hit Deck. And the other 53 cards are Critical hit Cards.

All of the cards follow a specific set of rules laid out on the rules card. All critical hits deal double damage unless the card specifies otherwise. Any effects listed as ‘Crit Effect’ can replace your weapons regular critical hit effect (if it has one) if you want it to, but you don’t get both. Any effects listed as ‘Bonus Effect’ apply in addition to the critical hit effects of your weapons. There’s some other simple rules for DCs, scaling, and so on, but they’re all easy to get a handle on.

You’ll also need to decide ahead of time how to use the Critical Hit Deck. That is to say, when you use it. For players that’s simple. Every time you score a critical hit (a natural 20 on a d20 dice) you draw a card and apply it’s effects. For GMs it works a little differently. The deck provides three options for the GM to select from. First, the GM draws a card whenever a major villain, creature, or NPC scores a critical hit. Second, drawing a critical hit card is a special ability that NPCs can take, and the GM selects which NPCs have it. And third, the GM draws a card every time a villain, creature, or NPC scores a critical hit. Personally, my family uses it for all PC critical hits and for major villain, creature, and NPC critical hits, but I like that there’s a variety of ways to integrate this deck into your game.

When you score a critical hit you draw a card. Each card has four different critical hit effects. One for energy attacks, one for kinetic attacks, and one for spell attacks. The fourth critical hit effect is an ‘extreme blow’ and lists a single specific damage type (such as electricity or slashing). You simply read the card, select the critical hit effect that matches your damage type, and carry out the effect listed. If you happen to deal the exact same type of damage as the extreme blow you use that critical effect instead. Easy.

Most importantly? It’s fun! My family loves pulling out a card and getting some extra effects. Particularly the extreme blows. It always ends in laughter. Of course, they’re not so thrilled when an enemy does it, but hey, that’s the way the dice land. Haha.

Some of our favourite effects include blast back (energy), lodged in the bone (kinetic), shrapnel by the bone (kinetic), blood magic (spell), vampiric magic (spell), disintegrate (extreme spell), it’s a gusher (extreme melee), mega-smash (extreme bludgeoning), punctured lung (extreme piercing), sound of victory (extreme sonic), severed spine (extreme slashing), and disarmed (literally!)(extreme slashing).

 

Got a favourite critical hit card? Let us know in the comments!

Enjoy!

Jessica

Free RPG Day 2019 Products Announced!

Exciting news from Paizo as their upcoming releases for Free RPG Day 2019 have just been announced!

Established in 2007, Free RPG Day works with participating hobby game retailers and RPG publishers to bring new and exclusive RPG products and adventures into the hands of gamers worldwide. Fans can grab brand new material for a variety of RPGS for free by stopping by their local participating game and hobby shop.

Last year my family had a ton of fun with Free RPG Day, particularly with Paizo’s two releases: Skitter Shot, a first level Starfinder adventure featuring a crew of excitable skittermanders, and We Be 5uper Goblins, a hilarious sixth level Pathfinder adventure featuring some infamous goblin heroes on their most epic and amazing adventure yet! For those of you who missed FREE RPG Day 2018, both modules are available as a free download on Paizo’s website, or as a physical copy for five dollars.

This year Free RPG Day will be held on June 15, 2019, with Paizo’s free downloads of the PDFs being available on July 1, 2019. So what are they bringing to the table this year?

For starters, our skittermander heroes from Skitter Shot are set to continue their adventures in Skitter Crash! Written by Jason Keeley, this is a third level Starfinder module that sees our skittermander heroes crash their ship on a mysterious swampy planet after a run in with space pirates and an interstellar cyclone! They’ll need to find their ship, deal with the space pirates, and (of course!) make some nu-friends! It sounds like a blast! I’m absurdly excited for this!

skitter crash - free rpg day 2019

Their second release is called We Be Heroes and will be a Pathfinder Playtest adventure, using the final version of the Playtest rules. This adventure will not grant Playtest Points, but will instead provide players with a chronicle they can apply to a second edition Pathfinder Society character once the new edition is released. We Be Heroes is a first level adventure written by Brian Duckwitz which continues the tradition of the super popular We Be Goblins series (We Be Goblins!, We Be Goblins Too!, We Be Goblins Free!, We B4 Goblins!, and We Be 5uper Goblins!). However, this adventure features a whole new team of goblin adventurers who are set to take on the minions of the Whispering Tyrant! (And zombie pigs?!) Driven by hunger and the orders of their chief, the goblins of the Crookedtoes tribe are tasked with finding out why all the animals in the forest have fled the region, and what happened to the tribe’s best scout. They get to meet up with some heroic knights, explore a wrecked farmhouse, and… be heroes! I’m excited to give this one a read.

we be heroes? free rpg day 2019

For more information on Free RPG Day, check out the official website! They’ll have more information up in the coming months. Got any stories about previous Free RPG Days you want to share? Let us know in the comments!

Jessica

We Be (Good) Goblins
My daughter’s reaction when she realized goblins would be a playable races in Pathfinder Second Edition. Guess her dreams just came true!

January New Releases

January’s here, which means there’s a whole slew of new d20 products coming out.

Dungeons and Dragons doesn’t have any new releases coming out this month (as far as I know), but last month brought us the Waterdeep: Dungeon of the Mad Mage adventure which brings PCs from levels 5-20, as well as the Guildmasters’ Guide to Ravnica which brings the wonder of Magic: The Gathering to D&D.


Pathfinder released plenty of wonderful products last month, including Pathfinder Campaign Setting: Faiths of GolarionPathfinder Module: Cradle of Night, and Pathfinder Adventure Path 137: The City Outside of Time (Return of the Runelords 5 of 6). None of which I own (sadly) so they’re still on my wish list. Haha. This month Pathfinder fans can expect to see the much anticipated finale of the Return of the Runelords Adventure Path with Pathfinder Adventure Path 138: Rise of New Thassilon. Exciting stuff! There’s also Pathfinder Player Companion: Wilderness Origins  coming out, which is sure to be a solid addition to the Player Companion line. Two new pocket editions are coming out: Ultimate Campaign Pocket Edition and Ultimate Intrigue Pocket Edition. Pathfinder Society Scenarios for this month are #10-12: Breath of the Dragonskull (a Tier 1-5 scenario written by Michael Sayre) and #10-13: Fragments of Antiquity (a Tier 5-9 scenario written by Sam Polak). Finally, Pathfinder Flip-Mat: Tavern Multi-Pack comes out later this month.


Starfinder only has a few releases coming out in January. Starfinder Flip-Mat: Jungle World is a really nice looking map. The Against the Aeon Throne Pawn Collection is finally here, which I’ve been itching to get my hands on! And the Signal of Screams Adventure Path comes to a thrilling conclusion this month with Starfinder Adventure Path 12: Heart of Night (Signal of Screams 3 of 3). Starfinder Society Scenarios for this month are #1-30: Survivor’s Salvation (a Tier 1-4 scenario written by Kiel Howell) and #1-31: Treading History’s Folly (a Tier 3-6 scenario written by Vanessa Hoskins). Last month brought us the Starfinder Critical Hit Deck featuring adorable illustrations of skittermanders, which I’ve yet to get my hands on. If you own it, I’d love to hear what you thought in the comments.


It looks to be an exciting month!

Know of another new d20 product you want to recommend we check out? Let me know in the comments!

Jessica

New Starfinder Society Scenarios: Truth of the Seeker and King Xeros of Star Azlant

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!

1-26 Truth of the Seeker
Starfinder Society Scenario #1-26: Truth of the Seeker

Starfinder Society Scenario #1-26: Truth of the Seeker is a Tier 3-6 adventure written by Shahreena Shahrani. It begins in Absalom Station before quickly moving to the Kasathan home-ship of Idari. This scenario later travels into the Vast, to the remains of an Ibran Temple. This scenario features the Faction (Second Seekers [Jadnura]) tag and does not include starship combat. It makes use of a gorgeous map if Idari, Pathfinder: Flip-Mat: AsylumPathfinder Flip-Mat: Desert Ruins, and Flip-Mat – Starfinder – Asteroid. In addition to the Starfinder Core Rulebook, it’s highly recommended you own Starfinder Pact Worlds. It also features some nifty new creatures from Alien Archive 2, and equipment from Starfinder Armory. All relevant stat blocks are included in this scenario.

Eshki Graey Erb 1-26 Truth of the Seeker
Eshki, a skittermander Starfinder recently rescued from the Scoured Stars Trinary System. Art by Graey Erb.

Truth of the Seeker continues the story of the Scoured Stars plot line, and directly follows up on events from Starfinder Society Scenario #1-99: The Scoured Stars Invasion. Although playing these prior scenarios isn’t necessary, you really should! They were awesome! If you haven’t, there is a bit of important information you’ll need to know: under the guidance of First Seeker Luwazi Elsebo the Starfinder Society has rescued the their lost comrades from the Scoured Stars Trinary System. This includes rescuing the old First Seeker, a kasatha by the name of Jadnura. Surprisingly this scenario only features one recurring characters: Captain Kahir of the Void Scholar who was briefly met in Starfinder Scenario #1-19: To Conquer the Dragon. In addition it introduces a few new ones, some of which could become recurring characters. For starters, there’s the skittermander Starfinder Eshki who hires your PCs for their mission. There’s also First Seeker Jadnura, of course. Finally, there is a lashunta teashop owner by the name of Alsuka, and a serene kasathan solarian called Master Boojan. They’re all delightful — particularly Eshki! There aren’t any specific boons I recommend slotting for this mission, although there are a few important things to note when selecting characters. This mission will go a lot smoother if someone in your party is diplomatic and sensitive to the traditions of other cultures. In addition, a Starfinder trained in mysticism is also important. Lastly, you’ll want to have some way to harm something incorporeal. You have been warned! Haha.

First seeker Jadnura
First Seeker Jadnura, one-time leader of the Starfinder Society.

Truth of the Seeker begins in Absalom Station, as the PCs attend a fabulous dinner with Eshki, the most cultivated skittermander I’ve ever encountered. This mission briefing is great fun, and packed full of flavourful interactions. Many of Eshki’s behaviours are scripted out, which serves to immediately make him likeable, quirky, and entertaining. He’s awesome (just in case you couldn’t tell from his art! Haha). Eshki explains that he was a Starfinder trapped in the Scoured Stars System, and that First Seeker Jadnura was a friend of his. Unfortunately, since returning, Jadnura’s gone into seclusion on Idari and Eshki isn’t sure where. He wants you to head to Idari, find his pal Jadnura, and convince him to come back to the Society. After agreeing the PCs bid Eshki farewell, hop aboard a shuttle, and end up on Idari. There they have to navigate their way through the Kasathan home-ship and track down Jadnura, all while dealing with the vastly different cultural traditions around them, and (hopefully) not offending anyone too badly. This scenario does a wonderful job of immersing you in a unique, serene sort of culture with strong Asian and Middle Eastern influences. It was engaging, fun, and wonderfully handled. Vastly different than the frantic, high-tech, fast pace of most scenarios, your players time on Idari is sure to throw some players for a loop. Characters who have social skills will definitely excel in this part of the adventure, but its not only skill, but clever roleplaying that’s necessary to make progress here, so even the most awkward of characters can be helpful if they try. Personally, I felt the the entire time on Idari was wonderfully handled and a real highlight of the scenario. That said, some groups may find it tedious. In time the PCs will need to track down Jadnura. The final location has a wonderful atmosphere, but other than that I’ll leave this part of the scenario a mystery.

One of the battles has an opportunity for roleplaying with your opponents, and your actions can have an obvious effect on the battle. Most have more straight-forward enemies — not so much in mechanics, but in roles. This scenario also featured some flavourful psychological/magical traps which will be interesting to see play out at the table. I’m curious how they’ll work. Overall, I thought this was a fun adventure. I particularly enjoyed how well it immersed us in Kasathan culture. That said, unprepared groups may find the final battle too difficult, or the social interactions tedious. Because of this I give it four out of five stars.

1-27 King Xeros of Star Azlant
Starfinder Society Scenario #1-27: King Xeros of Star Azlant

Starfinder Society Scenario #1-27: King Xeros of Star Azlant is a Tier 5-8 adventure written by Christopher Wasko. It begins with a mission briefing on Absalom Station, but quickly moves to a region of space near a lunar outpost called ‘Peak of Evening.’ There you will attempt to get your hands on an Ancient Azlanti Starship known as ‘King Xeros,’ which was ancient beyond reckoning long before the Gap. Of course, the Azlanti Star Empire already has it… so there’s that major complication to deal with. Haha. This scenario features the Starship tag and has starship combat. It is a distant, distant sequel to Pathfinder Society Scenario # 20: King Xeros of Old Azlant. In addition, this scenario has connections to the Against the Aeon Throne Adventure Path (Starfinder Adventure Path 7: The Reach of EmpireStarfinder Adventure Path 8: Escape from the Prison Moonand Starfinder Adventure Path 9: The Rune Drive Gambit). This scenario can easily be woven into that campaign. This scenario makes use of Starfinder Flip-Mat: Basic StarfieldStarfinder Flip-Mat: Urban SprawlPathfinder Flip-Mat: Forest Fire, and a custom map of King Xeros which looks awesome! Fans of the original King Xeros will be happy to know the ship looks nearly the same.  Awesome! As for books, it’s expected you own the Starfinder Core Rulebook and Starfinder Armory. In addition it makes use of content from Starfinder Adventure Path 7: The Reach of EmpireStarfinder Adventure Path 8: Escape from the Prison Moon and Starfinder Alien Archive, although all necessary rules from those books is reprinted in this scenario itself. King Xeros of Star Azlant only features one recurring character: the bleachling gnome Venture-Captain Naiaj. Although there’s no boons I specifically recommend slotting, if you have characters who has chronicle sheets from the Against the Aeon Throne adventure path I highly recommend you bring them along! Otherwise, all characters will excel in this scenario.

This scenario begins when Venture-Captain Naiaj gathers a large number of Starfinder together for a mission briefing. She explains that the ancient Azlanti ether-ship ‘King Xeros’ has been sighted for the first time since the Gap. Capable of sailing through the ethereal plane and exploring other worlds at incredible speeds, King Xeros is a ship of legends. Information is sparse, but you know it’s location — around a lunar base known as Peak of Evening — and that the Azlanti Star Empire has sent a small contingent of ships after it. Determined to get the ship in the hands of the Starfinder Society and to keep the Azanti Star Empire from acquiring it, Naiaj wants your group to go in and retrieve it. Well, not just your group. This is a multi-team mission! Basically, the teams will be split into three: Scout Team, Shield Team, and Strike Team. Naiaj will also be there on her personal ship as Commander of the mission. Your players will be a part of Strike team, whose job it is to land on the base and steal King Xeros. The other ships will support and protect you from the rest of the Azlanti ships as best as they can. With the briefing out of the way the Starfinders all board their ships and set out for the lunar base. Once there Naiaj determines there are two areas that appear of particular importance to the Azlanti: the Construction Bay and the Greenhouse. Your team gets to choose which nearby Azlanti Garrison to attack, and then begin their infiltration at whichever of the two points they desire.

This scenario has a dynamic starship combat that will be quite tough. King Xeros is an awesome ship, with some cool Azlanti upgrades. Luckily, the advantages your team may have discovered in their first location will give them a much needed benefit here. Which benefits is variable though,  depending on what they uncovered in their chosen location, and how efficiently they recovered it. Which is nice! With the starship battle complete they get to board King Xeros, fight the Azlanti inside, and explore the ship. But, the ship is acting erratic, and it soon becomes clear they’re on a timer for this one. They’ll need to recover what they can from the ship and make some split-second decisions about what matters to them and their mission the most. This does a wonderful job of ramping up the tension, and keeping this mission moving along at a good clip.

KingXeros Graey Erb 1-27 King Xeros of Star Azlant
King Xeros, an ether-ship from Old Azlant.

Overall, I really enjoyed this scenario. It’s got awesome art of King Xeros, great interconnectedness with its prequel, and the Against the Aeon Throne Adventure Path, but is a solid and fun adventure that’s more than capable of standing on its own. It has a different feel and tone to it than most scenarios. It’s dynamic, engaging, suspenseful, and a little frantic. Players and characters should be on the edge of their seats for this one. I love that your player’s get to make decisions that have an effect on the scenario and its outcome.

There’s some wonderful new ship mechanics that players will get to see the enemy make use of, and a lot of cool gear on the chronicle — including a unique aeon stone that’s awesome! There are two boons up for offer, both of which involve the alien races you could meet, and one of which allows access to that race as a player. You’ll only be able to get one of these boons though, so make your decision wisely! I think this scenario is a great change of pace that will be fun to run at a table. I give it four out of five stars.

Thanks for joining us today! We’ll see you tomorrow when we report on the new Starfinder Playtest Classes! See you then!

Jessica