Starfinder Society Scenarios: Enter the Ashen Asteroid and Siege of Civility

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!

Enter the Ashen Asteroid by Larry WilhelmStarfinder Society Scenario #1-36: Enter the Ashen Asteroid is a Tier 1-4 adventure written by Larry Wilhelm. It takes place on Sledgehammer, a mining facility and exploration vessel owned by Ulrikka Clanholdings, a dwarven mining consortium that may be familiar to PCs who’ve played Starfinder Society Scenario #1-12: Ashes of DiscoveryFrom there the PCs enter Asteroid AA-126D, an asteroid in the Diaspora that contains duergar ruins dating back to the time of the Gap — and marked with the unholy symbol of Droskar. There you will explore the the site and collect any objects of archaeological importance. This does not feature any tags and does not contribute to the ongoing Scoured Stars storyline. PCs who are dwarves, speak dwarven, or have the Contractor’s Respect (Ulrikka Clanholdings) boon from Starfinder Society Scenario #1-12: Ashes of Discovery will find they have an edge in this scenario.  Enter the Ashen Asteroid does not feature starship combat. It includes two custom half-page maps (which are beautifully detailed!) and Pathfinder Flip-Mat: Elemental Planes. It makes use of the Starfinder Core RulebookStarfinder Armory, and Alien Archive 2. Although this scenario doesn’t feature any recurring characters it does introduce a new NPC of importance, dwarven Venture-Captain Thromkendal. In addition, five other NPCs you’ll have a chance to influence are introduced, most of which (but not all!) are dwarves.

Enter the Ashen Asteroid -VCThromkendal.jpg - Illustration by Bryan Syme
Venture-Captain Thromkendal. Illustrated by Bryan Syme. Art courtesy of Paizo Inc.

At it’s core, Enter the Ashen Asteroid is a dungeon delve. PCs enter an enclosed location, look around, unearth some secrets, and fight some bad guys. It’s a type of adventure that’s underrepresented in Starfinder, so I think it’s a nice change of pace. Happily this delve is packed full of opportunities to use a wide variety of skill checks, has interesting environmental hazards, and features a few obstacles in it that can be overcome in multiple ways. There’s some complex devices and backstory to untangle, which keeps the dungeon interesting, and plenty of important finds to collect. I particularly enjoyed the interconnectivity of the dungeon. Each room has ties to those around it, which is really nice to see. The battles in this scenario are challenging, particularly one against an old foe from Pathfinder whose new art looks amazing! At the end of the scenario PCs will have to report to some Ulrikka Clanholdings bigwigs and offer them a recommendation in regards to the fate of the asteroid. It should be noted that this is a complex adventure to run. There’s some subsystems at work here that new or inexperienced GMs could find confusing — luckily this is mitigated by a super handy player handout. One of the locations also has a complex obstacle some PCs might struggle with. Overall I really enjoyed this scenario. I give it four out of five stars.

1-37 - Siege of CivilityStarfinder Society #1-37: Siege of Civility is a Tier 5-8 adventure written by Kalervo Oikarinen. It takes place on a fortress moon named the Eye of Gideron, that orbits a gas giant named Maelstrom’s Maw. These areas are located within the territory of the Gideron Authority, a mostly-hobgoblin militant space empire at war with the Marixah Republic, both of which are introduced in Starfinder Society #1-24: Siege of Enlightenment. Although the two scenarios are linked, playing them is order isn’t necessary. In fact, characters who haven’t played Siege of Enlightenment are likely to have a different outlook on the Gideron Authority than those who have, which can make for some fun roleplaying between the party members. I think it’s best to have a mix of PCs who have and haven’t played Siege of Enlightenment. Whatever the party composition, your PCs mission is to convince representatives of the Gideron Authority to lend the Starfinder Society their aid — the Wayfinders flagship Master of Stars needs a drift engine only the Gideron Authority can provide, and the Starfinder Society would like exploration rights to some of their archaeological sites. This scenario features the Faction (Wayfinders) tag and does not contain starship combat. It makes use of one half-page custom map and no flip-mats. It includes content from Starfinder Core RulebookAlien Archive, and Alien Archive 2. There are two recurring characters in this scenario: Fitch, leader of the Wayfinders Faction, and Ceobarn Zeizerer, a drow who first appeared in Starfinder Society Scenario #1-06: A Night in Nightarch. There are five other new NPCs from the Gideron Authority who are likely to be of further importance in the future. PCs who have the Victory Over Authority boon will need to slot it for this mission.

Siege of Civility -CommanderImakoo - Illustraton by Bryan Syme
Commander Imako. Illustrated by Bryan Syme. Art courtesy of Paizo Inc.

Overall, this is a really fun social scenario. There’s plenty of interesting NPCs to talk to and sway to your side. The social engagements are well planned out, and interspersed with opportunities for other skill checks and a really cool combat encounter. It think it’s going to be an absolute blast to play! This is a great scenario to crack out your diplomats, envoys, and other charismatic characters. PCs who prefer to pound face all day are better suited to other scenarios, but that doesn’t mean they won’t have a chance to shine. The Gideron Authority is an aggressive, military-based society that values strength and experience, so even PCs with a martial focus will find someone they get along with.  Overall, I give this scenario four out of five stars. It’s one of my favourite influence-based Starfinder Scenarios. 

Thanks for joining us today! Tune in later this week when we take a look at the newest Pathfinder Society Scenarios!

Jessica

 

Pathfinder Playtest Scenario #4: Frozen Oath

Pathfinder Playtest RulebookToday we’re going to look at the brand new Pathfinder PLAYTEST Society Scenario and tell you what we thought. Currently, there are four of them available as a free download on Paizo’s website: three that were released back in August, and one that was released a short time ago. (For more information on the first three scenarios check out this previous blog post. Each scenario is replayable. You may create your own characters for the intended tier (either created as level one for a tier one scenario, created as level five for a tier five scenario, or created as level ten for a tier ten scenario). Unlike regular Pathfinder Society Scenarios, you do not need to earn enough XP to reach higher levels for the Playtest. If you don’t want to make your own characters, you can also head over to Paizo’s website and download the Pregenerated Pathfinder Playtest characters for the three low level scenarios. For this new scenario, which is tier ten, there are no pregenerated characters. You’ll need to make your own. All you’ll need to run these four scenarios (other than your characters) is the Pathfinder Playtest Rulebook, the most recent update document which, at the time of posting this, is version 1.3, and the scenarios themselves. Each scenario is intended for groups of FOUR players (unlike regular PFS Scenarios which are intended for six) although each contains easy ways to scale up encounters for larger groups. 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. Once you’re done playing or GMing any one of these scenarios, be sure to head over to Paizo’s website and fill out a survey about your experiences. This will be used by the Paizo team to make the Pathfinder Playtest the best that it can be.

So, without further ado, let’s get started!

Pathfinder Playtest 4 Frozen OathPathfinder Playtest Society Scenario #4: Frozen Oath is a Tier 10 adventure written by Ron Lundeen. As previously mentioned, you do not need to earn enough XP to reach level ten. Instead, you need only create your characters at level ten. The majority of this scenario takes place in Urjuk near the Crown of the World. It’s a harsh land of ice and snow, claimed by frost and taiga giants. The adventure begins in Turvik, a settlement in the Lands of the Linnorm Kings, then moves quickly to the Path of Aganhei, and finally to Dvalinheim, a giant temple. For more information on the Crown of the World check out Pathfinder Adventure Path 51: The Hungry Storm (Jade Regent Book 3 of 6). For more information on the Lands of the Linnorm Kings check out Pathfinder Campaign Setting: Lands of the Linnorm Kings. This scenario utilizes Pathfinder Flip Mat: Basic Terrain Multi-PackPathfinder: Flip Mat: Tech Dungeon, and a custom map of Dvalinheim.

ogthup tom ventre
Ogthup by Tom Ventre.

This scenario begins in a meeting in Turvik with the delightful Venture-Captain Bjersig Torrsen and his husky Mahki. Bjersig is a deaf half-orc well trained in reading lips who made another recent appearance in Pathfinder Society Scenario #10-03: Death on the Ice. He’s an awesome VC and I was thrilled to find that he had his own art this time around. Bjersig informs the party that he recently deployed a team of goblin trial-pathfinders on a scouting mission to a giant temple called Dvalinheim. They returned with an object of interest — a few tiles taken from the site which show the giant temple has a connection to the Tian representation of Desna. Believing that this temple could be a site built by the founder of the Path of Aganhei he’s dispatching the PCs to investigate further. He even gives the group a map drawn by one of the goblins. So… yeah. It’s totally accurate (not). Chances are the first thing the group will do is visit the goblin artist to ask her what the heck the map means. Which leads us to our second awesome NPC: Ogthup the goblin. Honestly, chatting with this quirky (and wonderfully drawn) goblin was my favourite part of the scenario. From there the PCs set out to follow Ogthup’s directions to the temple. There’s a few battles along the way, but the bulk of this scenario takes place in Dvalinheim itself. There the group will have to explore the temple, deal with more than a few angry frost giants, and… well let’s leave that part a secret for now. Haha. I particularly enjoyed the monster statistics in this scenario. Many of the creatures have special reactions, and interesting attack forms that make them feel really unique. My personal favourite was the disperse ability of the air elemental. Overall, I thought this was a fun scenario with engaging (but minor) NPCs and interesting opponents. I give it four out of five stars.

Definitely worth a free download!

I hope you enjoyed taking a look at this playtest scenario. If you have a chance to play it, I’d love to hear what you thought!

All the best,

Jessica

 

New Pathfinder Society Scenarios: ‘Reaver’s Roar’ & ‘Mysteries Under Moonlight: Testament of Souls’

Today we’re going to take a look at two of the most recent Pathfinder Society Scenarios that are currently available for purchase, and let you know we thought. Although you’ll find references to events in each that I liked or disliked, and comments about specific characters, these scenarios are not explored in detail. It’s not my intention to spoil the events in these scenarios, or give summaries and full reviews, but to share my opinions and provide recommendations. That said, if you want to avoid even minor spoilers then I recommend clicking on a different article. Whether you intend to use them in home games of the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game, sanctioned scenarios for use with the Pathfinder Society Organized Play, or just want to read a nifty new adventure, we’ve got you covered! So let’s get cracking!

10-04 Reaver's RoarScenario #10-04: Reaver’s Roar is a Tier 7-11 Adventure written by Steven Hammond. It begins in Three Pines Ford in Lastwall, with a mission briefing hosted by Venture-Captain Shevar Besnik and Ollysta Zadrian, leader of the Silver Crusade. The scenario quickly moves on to the semi-abandoned outpost of Roslar’s Coffer, and the Sarenite temple known as the Bastion of Light found within. For more information on Lastwall you can check out the Inner Sea World Guide. For more information on Sarenrae you can check out Inner Sea Gods. This scenario features creatures from Pathfinder Roleplaying Game: Bestiary, and Pathfinder Adventure Path: Curse of the Crimson Throne Anniversary Edition (although all of the necessary stat blocks are included within the scenario). It makes use of a vast number of sourcebooks, including the Core RulebookAdvanced Class GuideAdvanced Player’s GuideUltimate CombatUltimate Equipment, and even Mythic Adventures. All of the necessary rules from the Advanced Class Guide and the Mythic Adventures are included in this scenario. It features one custom map, and one custom chase. This mission is of particular importance to members of the Silver Crusade faction as well as any worshippers of Sarenrae.

pfs 10-04 - reaver's roar - uirch of the burning sun - dion harris
Uirch of the Burning Sun from PFS #10-04: Reaver’s Roar. Illustrated by Dion Harris. Art courtesy of Paizo Inc.

This adventure tasks the PCs with travelling to Roslar’s Coffer and retrieving a helmet of religious significance from the Bastion of Light, an important temple to Sarenrae. The temple once contained many relics and rituals vital during the Shining Crusade. Unfortunately, the temple has since become the lair of an incredibly powerful red reaver. The PCs will have to enter the temple, defeat the red reaver, and obtain the helmet. But, this mission won’t be as simple as it seems! For starters, the red reaver has formed powerful bonds with the relics housed in the temple, which have greatly empowered it. PCs will need to find ways to weaken the red reaver, sever its connection to these relics, and outsmart the territorial creature. In addition, orcs from the Twisted Nail tribe are also after the red reaver for (no doubt) nefarious purposes. The cast of characters is rounded out by Gorm Greathammer, a famous Pathfinder and the third prince of the dwarven sky citadel Kraggodan, who acts as a contact and source of information for the PCs. The town of Roslar’s Coffer is appropriately serious and ominous. When the villagers learn of your purpose in town they offer to send a letter to your loved ones when you die a horrible death. How sweet! Haha. It’s a simple but effective way to showcase the ‘friendly’ villagers and let the players know that they might not survive the challenges ahead. I love the atmospheric buffer zone between the town and the territory of the red reaver. There’s a great chase scene in this scenario, and the red reaver is wonderfully challenging. The exploration of the Bastion of Light is a lot of fun, providing characters with danger, a few scares, chances to weaken the red reaver, chances to gain holy blessings, and even chances to make an ally or two. It offers GMs some nice flexibility in the placement of a few encounters, and does a really great job of setting an ominous, suspenseful mood. Perhaps one of the most impressive things? It will make your PCs scared for their lives. A rare thing at high levels of play! The red reaver is a fierce opponent that needs to be weakened in order for your characters to have a chance of defeating it. And even then? It should still be a tough fight! This, of course, makes it a difficult scenario to use with players who prefer to decimate everything, straight-forward encounters, and for most younger players. But the ending? SO worth it! Overall I really liked this scenario, although it’s atmosphere and difficulty are not for everyone. I give it four out of five stars.

10-05 Mysteries Under Moonlight Part 1 Testament of SoulsScenario #10-05: Mysteries Under Moonlight: Part 1: Testament of Souls is a Tier 3-7 adventure written by Alexander Augunas. It is the first of a two part series that takes place in Magnimar entitled Mysteries Under Moonlight. Both of these adventures are intended to be played in order. This adventure’s sequel Scenario #10-07: Mysteries Under Moonlight: Part 2: The Howling Dance is a Tier 3-7 adventure written by Crystal Malarsky and is scheduled to be released at the end of October. For more information on the city of Magnimar you can check out the Inner Sea World Guide, and Pathfinder Campaign Setting: Magnimar, City of Monuments.

Testament of Souls features creatures from Pathfinder Roleplaying Game: BestiaryBestiary 2, and the Monster Codex (although all of the necessary stat blocks are included within the scenario) and makes use of a variety of sourcebooks including the Core RulebookGameMastery Guide, and Occult Adventures. It utilizes the new Pathfinder Flip-Tiles: Dungeon Starter Set, as well as Pathfinder Map Pack: Village Sites, and a custom map reprinted from Pathfinder Campaign Setting: Undead Unleashed. Although this mission is not tied to any particular factions, if you have any characters who are from Magnimar, have a love of monuments, or an interest in laying spirits to rest, now is a great chance to bring them out to play.

pfs 10-05 10-07 - mysteries under moonlight - inspector theodorus ichonvarde - tadas sidluahskas
Inspector Theodorus Ichonvarde from PFS #10-05: Mysteries Under Moonlight. Illustrated by Tadas Sidluahskas. Art courtesy of Paizo Inc.

Something strange is happening to Magnimar’s beloved monuments, and its up to your PCs to find out what’s going on, and put a stop to it! But, this mystery isn’t as simple as it seems. The honourable Lord-Mayor Grobaras has hired his own investigator to look into the crimes, one who seems to be more than a little biased towards blaming the city’s Varisian population. Your players will have to investigate monuments, question witnesses, confront dangerous enemies, speak with the dead, and dabble in the occult to succeed! The three monuments featured in this scenario are the Cenotaph, Founder’s Flame, and Mistress of Angels. There’s a wide array of NPCs in this delightful adventure including Venture-Captain Shiela Heidmarch and her husband Venture-Captain Canayven Heidmarch, Mystery Cultist Davorge, Inspector Theodorus Ichonvorde, plenty of witnesses (living and dead!), an outsider, and even the ghost of one of Magnimar’s Founders: Ordellia Whilwren! Perceptive PCs can uncover a lovely little tribute to any of your players characters who permanently died during any Season 4 Scenario, or during #7-03: The Bronze House Reprisal, #7-25: Orders from the Gate, #8-01: Portent’s Peril, #8-22: Wrath of the Fleshwarped Queen, or #9-09: Beyond the Halflight Path. It’s a nice little shout-out that’s lovely to see. There’s a lot of unique and interesting social encounters in this scenario, which are really the highlight of this adventure. That said, there’s still a large number of battles in this one, so it’s going to be tricky to fit it all in. I found the final battle properly climatic and exciting, with obvious consequences for failure. The other battles aren’t particularly exciting, though. The occult rituals and objects included in this adventure are fun, and don’t bog down the game with complicated rules. I really enjoyed it (although I admit to being a sucker for the occult! Haha). I really enjoyed this scenario. It’s a fun change of pace that has a lot to offer. My only complaint? If you don’t have a good GM for this one, some sections could become repetitive. Overall, I really enjoyed it! It’s a fun, refreshing adventure that’s right up my alley! I give it four out of five stars.

Thanks for joining us today! Tune in later this week when we take a look at the final Pathfinder Playtest Society Scenario that’s been released: #4: The Frozen Oath!

See ya’!

Jessica