Starfinder Society Scenarios: It Rests Beneath and Honorbound Emissaries!

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!

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Starfinder Society Scenario #1-28: It Rests Beneath by Jason Tondro.

Starfinder Society Scenario #1-28: It Rests Beneath is a Tier 1-4 adventure written by Jason Tondro. It takes place on the planet Vabaimus, a Near Space world home to a variety of ecosystems and rich mineral deposits. It’s dominant native species is a sloth-like race that is approaching sentience. On Vabaimus you will help out a small Starfinder research facility. This scenario features the Faction (Wayfinders), and Vehicle tags. It does not contain starship combat. It utilizes content from the Starfinder Core RulebookStarfinder Armory, and Starfinder Alien Archive . It makes use of Pathfinder Flip-Mat: Hill CountryPathfinder Flip-Mat: Twisted Caverns, and Starfinder Flip-Mat: Asteroid. In addition, you’ll also want a relatively featureless map, like Pathfinder Flip Mat: Basic Terrain Multi-Pack or Pathfinder Flip-Mat: Dragon’s Lair, for any unmapped encounters. If you’ve got any vehicle-related boons now is the time to slot them. Similarly, if your character happens to own their own vehicle, definitely bring it along!

It Rests Beneath features only one recurring character: Fitch, leader of the Wayfinders faction, an her mischievous grandchildren. It introduces a few new characters: Dr. Mora Motressi, leader of a Starfinder research facility on Vabaimus; her daughter, Little Mina; and Bud, a cuddly sloth-like being that’s both the good doctor’s pet and the most advanced native species on the planet. This scenario begins on the Master of Stars, the largest ship in the Starfinder fleet. It’s currently docked in Absalom Station’s Armada and has been undergoing repairs since the start of Starfinder Society Organized Play. From there it swiftly transitions to Vabaimus, where the rest of the scenario takes place. There PCs will need to assist the science team in performing a survey of a strange landmass. Nearly 85,000 square miles in size, with no water or plant-life, this calcified plateau is of great interest to Dr. Motressi and her team. She asks you to travel across the plateau to three specific locations, set up some specialized towers you brought with you, and calibrate surveying equipment atop of each one. Each tower has its own challenges, hazards, and enemies to contend with. There’s multiple vehicles your PCs can choose from, and the towers can be tackled in any order. There’s a simple vehicle handout that will be useful for both players and GMs, which is a nice touch. I love how flavourful the new creatures and environmental hazards are. A lot of thought has gone into ensuring they fit into their ecosystem — which is particularly important when players are surveying an environment. Also, I particularly enjoyed the mystery of the old kasathan ship.

I do have  one nitpick. Page three is missing half of a sentence at the end of the first section, which I assume should read something along the lines of ‘up to help,’ ‘up to lend a hand,’ or something else similar. It’s not a hindrance to the scenario. You can still get the gist of what it’s supposed to be saying, but it was jarring enough that it caused me to look around in confusion for a half a minute, to make sure I hadn’t missed anything. A minor distraction in an otherwise enjoyable read.

Overall, I loved I this scenario! The premise is different from any that have come before. It was engaging all the way through, with a wonderful array of social interactions, skill-based encounters, hazards, and combat. The enemies and hazards were all well-thought out. The NPCs were properly engaging and ‘real.’ And, best of all, your PCs have to make an important decision regarding the future of this planet. Really top notch! Although it didn’t blow my mind, like some other amazing Starfinder adventures, it was an… understated awesome. I give it 5 out of 5 stars.

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Starfinder Society #1-29: Honorbound Emissaries by Jenny Jarzabski.

Starfinder Society #1-29: Honorbound Emissaries is a Tier 7-10 adventure written by Jenny Jarzabski. Yup, you heard that right! Tier 7-10! The first of its kind! It takes place primarily on Saaruq-5, a planet in the Vast that’s part of a multiplanetary federation called the Kreiholm Freehold.  This scenario features the Faction (Second Seekers [Luwazi Elsebo]) tag, and does not involve Starship combat. It continues the ongoing Scoured Stars storyline, and is a direct sequel to the events of Starfinder Society #1-99: The Scoured Stars Invasion. Although playing these previous adventures isn’t necessary, I highly suggest you do. Everything will make more sense, have more importance, and be more engaging if you have.  It features NPCs from some previous scenarios (Starfinder Society Scenario #1-04: Cries from the Drift, Starfinder Society Scenario #1-05: The First Mandate, and Starfinder Society Scenario #1-11: In Pursuit of the Scoured Past). In addition, there are multiple instances where PCs who have played previous scenarios involving the jinsul have an advantage (Starfinder Society Scenario #1–13: On the Trail of History, Starfinder Society Scenario #1–99: The Scoured Stars Invasion, or Starfinder Society Scenario #1–23: Return to Sender). Finally, it should also be noted that this scenario helps lay the foundations for further scenarios, as well as the next interactive special. Important stuff! If you’ve got characters who have played any of the above-mentioned scenarios, I highly suggest bringing them. And, if you’ve got the Honorbound Allies boon, now’s the time to slot it!

Honorbound Emissaries utilizes Pathfinder Map Pack: Starship DecksStarfinder Flip-Mat: Hospital , and a custom half-page map. It contains content from the Starfinder Core RulebookStarfinder Alien ArchiveStarfinder Alien Archive 2, and Starfinder Armory. In addition to containing important events, this scenario has a lot of important NPCs. It features First Seeker Luwazi Elsebo, Iteration-177 (who was previously in Starfinder Society Scenario #1-05: The First Mandate and Starfinder Society Scenario #1-11: In Pursuit of the Scoured Past), Captain Yuluzak (who was previously in Starfinder Society Scenario #1-04: Cries from the Drift), and mentioned (but unfortunately doesn’t feature) the gruff vesk pawnbroker Julzakama (who was previously in Starfinder Quest: Into the Unknown and Starfinder Society Scenario #1-10: The Half-Alive Streets). Captain Yuluzak has his own artwork this time around, and it is awesome! All of these NPCs were well-represented, and I’m happy to see them back. Honorbound Emissaries also introduces a ton of new NPCs to interact with, many of which have names, personalities, and quirks. I particularly enjoyed the crew of Honorbound.

The opening premise for this mission is… convoluted. Captain Yuluzak, who runs a salvager, discovered a starship wreck, took what was valuable and returned to Absalom Station. Some objects he kept, and others he sold to a pawnbroker named Julzakama. Juzakama recognized one of the objects as an important piece of art and contacted some people he thought would buy it. One of those people, Iteration-177, recognized the object as belonging to a culture that was once a part of the Scoured Stars Trinary System, so he contacted Luwazi Elsebo. Luwazi had the object brought to her, along with a team of Starfinders, Iteration-177, and Captain Yuluzak himself. Luwazi tasks the PCs with travelling aboard Captain Yuluzak’s ship to investigate the original wreck. There they’ll  determine the ship’s origins, and travel there to investigate and (hopefully) make some new allies.

Jinsul Graey Erb
A jinsul. Illustrated by Graey Erb. Art courtesy of Paizo Inc.

This scenario was big with a capital ‘B.’ It involves the Scoured Stars storyline, the jinsul, a new solar system full of inhabited planets, three new races (nelentu, syngathrix, and thyr), people to save, important decisions to make, a massive starship battle, and combat on… well we’ll leave that part secret for now. Haha. To say this scenario is bold is an understatement! The entire hospital section of this scenario was particularly well handled, as were the NPC interactions found throughout. And the setting for the final battle? Epic! Your PCs are sure to come away from that fight feeling like badass action heroes. It’s going to be a ton of fun to play.  On the downside, everything in this scenario is overly convenient in a rather heavy-handed way. Now, I’ve no problem with a ‘railroad,’ particularly in short adventures like Society Scenarios, but in Honorbound Emissaries you always arrive in the exact right place at the exact right time in order to avoid something troublesome. Heck, you even travel through a massive space battle and don’t get attacked by either side. At all! In fact, you even manage to approach the planet and land without a single threat or altercation. It’s like you’re invisible. Which brings me to me second down-side: starship combat. This scenario should have had one. Getting to witness an epic starship war and not engage in it at all is kind of a let down. And how fun would it have been to help out the crew of the Honorbound? Now, I get why it’s not in here. This scenario has more than enough encounters to engage in, and they’re all cool. But, it would have been nice to at least see the ship you’re on come under attack. Or mention the bumpy ride as the pilot has to take evasive maneuvers. Something.

…But that final battle! Wow! Haha.

sfs 1-13 - on the trail of history - jinsul ship
A jinsul ship. Originally depicted in SFS #1-13: On the Trail of History. Art courtesy of Paizo Inc.

Overall, I really enjoyed this scenario. It’s bold, daring, and casts your players into situations much bigger than themselves. PCs get to do some heroic things, some absurd things, and   some absurdly heroic things, all of which is going to be a blast! It’s rounded out by some really solid social interactions with a large cast of quirky characters. This is truly one of those scenarios that players will talk about for a long time afterwards, simply because they want to brag about their character’s exploits. Five years some now I’m sure some players will still look back on it fondly and say “Wow, remember when my Starfinder character did THAT? THAT was cool.”

Which is cool!

I give this scenario 5 out of 5 stars.

Thanks for joining us today!

I wish you happy holidays, plenty of natural 20s, and all the best in the upcoming year!

Jessica

Starfinder: Armory

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

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

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

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Starfinder: Armory

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Armoury Android Envoy Alexander Nanitchkov
Android Envoy by Alexander Nanitchkov.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

StarfinderCover
Starfinder Core Rulebook

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

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

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

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

See you in the Drift!

Jessica