It’s summer vacation here, so my kids and I are trying to fill our time with as much swimming and trips to the park as possible. They each set themselves a few goals this summer, so we’ve been working on that. My son wanted to learn about robotics and make himself a robot. My daughter wanted to learn how to sew, make herself a stuffed rabbit, and learn how to bake. My son has had a lot of fun checking out books from the library, and trying to put together a robot from a little kit. He’s discovered that making robots takes precision and attention to detail — both of which he’s decided to needs to practise. There were a lot of points where he noticed he’d done something backwards because he wasn’t paying close enough attention. Still, with some help he made himself a cute little spider robot that can motor around a bit. It drains the battery like CRAZY though, so he’s decided the next one needs a better power source. He wants me to teach him about solar panels, which I am not afraid to admit is not my forte. Sounds like another trip to the library is in order! Haha.
My daughter’s sewing and baking lessons are going better. I told her we would not have time to make a stuffed rabbit this summer, but I have been teaching her sewing safety and some basic stitches. She’s constantly looking around the house for socks and clothes with rips in them so she can mend them herself. It’s adorable. She always loves helping with baking, but this summer she wanted to make something (almost) all on her own. She’s made a few batches of cookies that turned out well. She adores watching Nailed It, Sugar Rush, and Zumbo’s Just Desserts on Netflix, so she was determined to enter a baking competition this summer. This past weekend she challenged some of our extended family to a bake-off for a family birthday party.
Everyone had to make a LEGO-themed cake. It had to include a bit of real LEGO on it somewhere, but otherwise, whatever you baked was up to you. She was positively thrilled everyone agreed, and set to work drawing cake plans. In the end she made a vanilla rainbow-chip cake with chocolate icing that she decorated to look like mud covered in grass. Then she stuck a big LEGO rabbit she built on top of it. My son baked a chocolate cake with chocolate icing that was in the middle of being demolished by LEGO construction workers, and I made a strawberry shortcake-style cake that was dyed inside to look like the cake was made of LEGO. So tasty. Other cakes were made to look like LEGO blocks, while my mother made a massive three-tiered cake covered with fondant work. Everyone had a great time and my kids were thrilled when some people voted their cakes the most creative, or tastiest. They really enjoyed tasting all the cakes and giving it their nit-picky judge’s remarks. They had a blast.
But, my kids aren’t the only ones with goals this summer. I’ve been working on not one, but four different freelancing assignments (currently top secret!), all of which are going really well. And of course, there’s the release of Pathfinder Second Edition! The game is highly intuitive, which makes it wonderfully easy to learn, but the Core Rulebook is a massive tome! It definitely takes a while to read through. Plus there’s the Bestiary, Hellknight Hill (Age of Ashes 1 of 6), The Fall of Plaguestone, and a whopping five Pathfinder Society Scenarios available already, which I’ve been trying to find the time to read.
We’ll be participating in an online gaming convention via play-by-post soon, which is hosted on Paizo’s message board. There’s a really welcoming community of people playing there, so if any of you are considering playing a game via play-by-post I highly recommend you sign up for the convention and give it a try. Play-by-post Gameday VIII begins on August 26th and runs until November 3rd. There’s still some room for players to join games, but there won’t be for long. For more information or to sign up for games, check out the announcement thread here! If you need guidance, assistance, or information about playing via play-by-post, stop by the Flaxseed Lodge, check out the helpful links at the top of the page, and make a post in the Discussion thread, letting everyone know what you need help with. There’s always people willing to lend a hand and help a new players get started.
Closer to home, this coming weekend my family and I will be attending Convocation, an annual Pathfinder and Starfinder Society convention in Winnipeg. We’ve signed up for a short demo game of Pathfinder 2e and PFS Scenario #10-16: What the Helms Hide on Saturday afternoon, followed by PFS #10-12: Breath of the Dragonskull on Sunday afternoon. Last time we played Pathfinder Society in person at a Con we all died a horrible death, so we’re hoping we have better luck this time! Haha. My kids are bringing some of their favourite characters, so wish us luck!
And after that…? My kids and I will be starting work on submissions for the upcoming issue of Wayfinder. For those of you who don’t know, Wayfinder is a digital magazine full of fan-created content for the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game or the Starfinder Roleplaying Game that releases each year at PaizoCon. Over the years they’ve made an astounding 19 issues of Wayfinder, as well as a Bestiary! Nearly every issue has a theme, with this latest one being Starfinder’s Absalom Station. This years topic is the Diaspora! Previous issues are all a free download on Paizo’s website. Everyone is welcome to submit an article to Wayfinder — a fact my children were thrilled to take advantage of last year — and I highly recommend any of you interested in getting into freelance RPG writing give it a shot. Just download a few back-issues, give them a read to see what kind of content they’re looking for, then head over to the Call for Submissions for full details. This year, my kids have decided to submit more than one article, so they’re already wracking their brains for ideas. My daughter, in particular, is thinking of more ways to include rabbits without actually being obvious about including more rabbits. This, of course, should surprise no one.
Well, I’ve got to run. My daughter is currently waving my new Core Rulebook at me, and mouthing the words ‘GOBLIN.’ Something tells me we’re making characters today…
Wayfinder, a free magazine made by fans of Paizo’s popular roleplaying games, has just announced their topic of their next issue. Wayfinder #20 will be all about the Diaspora, an asteroid belt in the Starfinder RPG.
Everyone is welcome to create and submit an article to the fanzine, no previous experience required. Submissions can contain a wide array of content, from advice, fiction, poetry and songs, to aliens, enemies and allies, and new rules content. So whether you want to make some themes, monsters, or nifty places to explore, now’s your chance.
Riverhorse just released Filly Sized Follies, a Tails of Equestria book filled with three adventures for ponies between levels 2 and 5. My kids adore the Tails of Equestria RPG, so we’re thrilled to see this one hit shelves!
And finally, we’d like to mention some FREE releases that you may or may not have had a chance to pick up…
Finally, Free RPG Day is just around the corner. On Saturday, June 15th be sure to swing by your local game store and pick up a free copy of some RPGs! My family’s most anticipated releases are We Be Heroes? and Skitter Crash, both from Paizo Inc. For more information on Free RPG Day 2019 you can head to their website or read this blog post.
We Be Heroes?
And that’s it for this month! Got a favourite release? I’d love to hear about it!
But, what’s inside Wayfinder #19? A lot! At around 72 pages for each issue, that’s a lot of free stuff! The articles inside offer new aliens, themes, equipment, and starships. In addition to player options, there’s plenty for GMs with adventure ideas, plot hooks, characters that can be used as allies or enemies, unique NPCs, and even a short adventure. Both players and GMs can make use of a ton of locations, personalities and gazetteers that are described throughout. To round things out there’s also songs, poetry, and fiction. And let’s not forget the awesome art!
Over eighty people contributed to this fanzine, from authors and artists, to directors and editors. My kids and I were both surprised and honoured to be among them this year. I submitted a ‘Weal or Woe’ article entitled ‘Victims of the Vat Gardens,’ as well as two themes, ‘Ghost Level Delver’ and ‘Scrounger.’ My seven year old daughter submitted ‘Galactic Rabbits’ and their smaller counterparts ‘Galactic Bunnies’ to the Alien Archive, while my eight year old son submitted ‘Radioactive Robots.’ Both of my kids have been showing off their creations to their teachers and friends at school, which proved rather difficult. First they had to explain what Starfinder and Wayfinder are. Haha. We’re all very proud. Their favourite part? Getting to see the wonderful art that was created for their monsters!
There was a lot that I loved inside Wayfinder #19. From player options and monsters, to fun locations and fiction, everything was really well done. My favourite player options were the many themes available, particularly the ‘Guttersnipe,’ ‘Laborer,’ and ‘Eyeswide Aspirant.’ I really enjoyed an article on the goblin hero-gods entitled ‘Blessings of the Barghest‘ by Joshua Hennington, with awesome art by Tyler Clark. There’s some really creative cortex options for mechanics written by Nicholas Flitter, which is sure to be a fan favourite. It’s accompanying art is by Paul Chapman.
If it’s gear you’re interested in, be sure to check out the ‘gloves of experience’ and ‘detective’s duster,’ magic items by Jonathan Hendricks. There’s also some snazzy new weapon properties, fast draw and low-velocity, by Adam Kessler and Nicholas Hite.
Starships. Some people love them and some people hate them. Most fall somewhere in between. Whatever your preferences I highly recommend you check out an advice article entitled ‘Making the Best of Starship Combat.’ The GM Guide, written by Hilary Moon Murphy, and the Player’s Guide, written by Brett Indrelee, are packed full of helpful advice for running and engaging in starship combat. This article alone is worth the effort of downloading the fanzine. It’s really great work. For those of you interested in more mechanical options, you’ll find many starships in this book, as well as crews and personalities to man them, and new build options. I particularly enjoyed an article on ‘Iceforged Ships’ by John Laffan with art by Beatrice Pelagatti. (You know you want to bring Winter Witches into space!)
There are a lot of cool new creatures inside Wayfinder #19, but my favourites (other than those my kids made!) turned out to be the trashbot, a CR 1 robot made of scrap, and the gelatinous z-sphere, a CR 3 ooze that can zip around even in zero-g. Oh, your poor low-level players!
My favourite campaign inspiration was an adventure seed entitled ‘The Show Must Go On,’ which was written by K. M. B. Kovalcik and features art by Todd Westcott. It involves skittermander pop stars who are in need of some help if they’re going to get to their performance on time. I also adored the many articles on Absalom Station itself, particularly ‘Ollie’s Option Bar‘ by Hilary Moon Murphy, and ‘Urban Myths of Absalom Station‘ by Alex Riggs.
Want less inspiration and more adventure? Check out ‘The Disappearance of Sector G17‘ by Paris Crenshaw, an adventure for 4–6 4th-level characters that tasks the PCs with tracking down an entire missing sector of the Spike. This adventure features art by Tanyaporn Sangsnit and maps by Alex Moore.
I hope you’ve enjoyed checking out the contents of the latest Wayfinder with me. If you happen to have contributed to it: Thanks! And if you’re thinking of applying for the next issue: I wish you the best of luck!
Update: The topic for the next Wayfinder Fanzine is Starfinder: The Diaspora! Stay tuned for more information.
There has been plenty of exciting news and sneak peeks from PaizoCon this year and, although PaizoCon hasn’t quite come to an end, we’re taking the time to share our favourite bits of news, spoilers, and previews with the world.
Pathfinder First Edition may be coming to an end, but that doesn’t mean there weren’t exciting bits of news and spoilers dropped at PaizoCon. So what was my favourite bit of information about? Midwives to Death!
Midwives to Death is the final volume of the Tyrant’s Grasp Adventure Path, as well as the final First Edition Adventure Path. The events of this campaign bring big changes to the world of Golarion, which will be seen in Pathfinder Second Edition. This information isn’t new. But what I didn’t know? Instead of the usual backmatter in this volume, all the Paizo developers were given two pages of space to create whatever they wanted to for First Edition. Two pages each to leave their final mark on the game. The last Pathfinder First Edition content! These 28 pages are filled with new creatures, archetypes, prestige classes, and character options. For example, Erik Mona created updated stats for Ostog the Unslain, and Owen K.C. Stephens gave the dwarven god Angradd some love with a paladin code and devotions. I am absurdly excited to see what the Paizo team has come up with. What a great send off!
Pathfinder Second Edition
There was a LOT of information, sneak peeks, and spoilers dropped about Pathfinder Second Edition over the weekend, and in the weeks leading up to it. Recently a new map of the Inner Sea was released, complete with some new nations and newly organized geographical and cultural regions. Notable new additions include New Thassilon, Oprak, Ravounel, and the Sarkoris Scar. During PaizoCon, more information was given on these regions and their organization.
Most of the spoilers regarding Pathfinder Second Edition were unveiled at PaizoCon’s Preview Banquet. The page layout for the new books all looks absolutely gorgeous, which is really exciting and so reassuring. Attendees were also given spoiler cards which contained a single spoiler on it for Second Edition. 100 spoilers were given out, with the promise of more if all of the spoilers are collected on Paizo’s message boards. You can also follow the spoilers on Twitter with #MyPathfinderSpoiler.
Perhaps one of the most exciting previews to come out during the Paizo Preview Banquet, in regards to Second Edition, is the announcement of the Lost Omens Character Guide and Lost Omens Gods and Magic!
Lost Omens Character Guide is a 136 page hardcover book that is the second release in the Lost Omens World Guide series, scheduled for release in October 2019. It will contain a ton of new character options, including new heritage and ancestry feats for every entry in the Core Rulebook, five factions with archetypes and other benefits of membership, templates to make faction specific monsters, and three new ancestries for player characters: hobgoblins, leshy, and lizardfolk! Honestly, it looks like an incredibly useful book, similar to the Advanced Player’s Guide, but with direct ties to the Lost Omens campaign setting included. Definitely going on my must-have list!
Lost Omens Gods & Magic is a 128 page hardcover book that is the third release in the Lost Omens World Guide series, scheduled for release in January 2020. It will contain information on the gods of the Inner Sea Region, as well as an index covering important information on the hordes of deities of Golarion, updated to Second Edition. There’s new domains, spells, feats, and other options to help players of all classes customize their characters. It looks awesome!
But, my favourite spoilers for Second Edition weren’t revealed at the preview banquet at all, instead they were revealed at a panel on the upcoming adventure paths. Sure, Age of Ashes sounds cool, and I’m thrilled to have dragons be the big-bad’s in that series, but the next one? Extinction Curse? That one’s really got me excited! The Adventure Path takes place on the Isle of Kortos, occasionally known as Starstone Isle, but doesn’t venture into Absalom proper. The PCs are all members of a travelling circus ready for their debut performance in a small town. Unfortunately, right before the performance begins the ringmaster turns up dead! The PCs need to take control, act as ringmaster, do their performances, ensure the show goes off without a hitch, and solve the ringmaster’s murder all at the same time! Throughout the campaign the circus travels with you, which will really help to shake up the social aspects of the campaign (both within and outside of your circus troupe). The Extinction Curse Adventure Path involves the history of Absalom and the Isle of Kortos, the legacy of Aroden, Aeon Towers, and troglodytes from the darklands. An added bonus? One of the volumes is called ‘Siege of Dinosaurs,’ and is written by Kate Baker. It sounds amazing! Haha. My son’s already planning his upcoming character for this one.
PaizoCon marks the debut of the new Pathfinder Society logo, which looks awesome, and some minor details about the upcoming season of Organized Play. But, my favourite sneak Peeks for the Pathfinder Society were actually released before PaizoCon, on Paizo’s blog. They’ve announced that the factions of the Pathfinder Society will be shaken up, with none of the old factions remaining in Pathfinder Second Edition. Instead of being outside organizations that work through the Pathfinder Society, the new factions are groups of like-minded individuals within the Pathfinder Society. As Tonya Woldridge said during the PaizoCon banquet, “Everyone is Grand Lodge now. We are bringing back our core values of ‘Explore, Report, Cooperate.’ ” The first season of Second Edition Pathfinder Society will be the Year of the Open Road.
This is an awesome change, that I can’t wait to see it take effect. There will be four major factions, whose stories will continue throughout each season of the Pathfinder Society Organized Play Program, as well as two minor factions. Minor factions will have special missions during the year they are released, but will not receive much attention in later seasons. However, these minor factions will still remain open for play and will not be retired. In addition, new minor factions will be added as the stories evolve. Although these factions are all new, most are lead by familiar faces. So far two factions have been announced. Horizon Hunters, a major faction led by Venture-Captain Calisro Benarry whose focus is on exploration, discovery, and the fame of its members. And Radiant Oath, a minor faction led by Valais Durant, a Pathfinder who has really been through the wringer! Haha. This faction has a focus on compassion, kindness, and redemption. Although they combat evil, they’re not as rigid or innately devout as the Silver Crusade faction of the previous Pathfinder Society. Instead, they hope to inspire small acts of kindness in all Pathfinders.
I love Starfinder. And there were some cool new spoilers revealed this weekend. My favourites include new details on the upcoming Alien Archive 3, which releases in August 2019. It includes 19 new playable races including turtlefolk, otterfolk, sapient bug swarms known as spathinae, sapient raptors, and Starfinder Society fan favourite: the morlamaw! There’s also tons of new monsters including the giant space tardigrade and the skittermander hunting stridermanders of Vesk-6. Finally, there’s creature companion rules which can let you have pets, mounts, and more! My kids and I have been hoping for rules for pets for a long time, so we’re absolutely thrilled!
Also exciting is the Character Operations Manual, which releases in November and includes three new character classes (the biohacker, vanguard, and witchwarper), themes, archetypes, alternate racial abilities for all core and legacy races, and two new roles for starship combat, including the magic officer! This is going to be one useful book.
On the Adventure Path front, there was plenty of information on Attack of the Swarm!, a military focused adventure path that pits the PCs and their fellow soldiers against the overwhelming menace of the insectile swarm. Following Attack of the Swarm! is a six-part adventure path that focuses on conspiracy theories, and ever-deepening mysteries that revolve around the unseen – aliens like reptoids and grey that walk among us, hidden from sight. This adventure path is called The Threefold Conspiracy and begins in February 2020. I’m very curious to see where this Adventure Path leads!
Starfinder Society Organized Play
Before PaizoCon it was announced that the next season of Starfinder Organized play would be the Year of a Thousand Bites! This season has a focus on the Pact Worlds and the effect that the Starfinder’s recent exploits and decisions have had upon the Society, and their home. It’s also rumoured to involve Lao Shu Po, often known as Grandmother Rat. The Year of a Thousand Bites launches a Origins with #2-00: Fate of the Scoured God.
But, as the Year of Scoured Stars comes to an end, so to do the missions of the current First Seekers, Luwazi Elsebo and Jadnura. And, when a First Seeker’s missions is accomplished, they step down, leaving an opening for a new First Seeker to take their place. That doesn’t mean we’ll be saying goodbye to Luwazi or Jadnura. They’ll still be around, as will their faction and followers. But, that does mean a new First Seeker will be elected. And who will it be? One of us. PCs who have achieved a certain amount of reputation within the Second Seeker (Luwazi Elsebo) faction were given the opportunity to acquire a boon that instructed them to send an email with detailed information about their character to the Starfinder Society Organized Play team. These characters have been examined and four of the team’s favourites will be introduced in a special scenario, #2-07. Said to be similar to #1-01: The Commencement, this mission will allow players to meet the potential candidates, perform minor tasks for them, and learn about their platforms and goals. Shortly after it releases in September a poll will go up on Paizo’s blog, that allows players to vote for their favourite candidate. The winner will become the next First Seeker, and their goals will influence the storyline for Year Three. Which is amazing! I can’t wait to see them!
Finally, with PaizoCon comes the launch of another Wayfinder fanzine. Made by fans for fans, this year’s issue is entitled ‘Destination: Absalom Station‘ and features a ton of new Starfinder content. Wayfinder #19 is a free download on Paizo’s website and is always an entertaining and useful read. This year’s issue is especially exciting for my family, as not only did I get an article and two themes into the fanzine, but each of my children (aged seven and eight) created their own monsters which were printed in Wayfinder #19s Alien Archive. So if you want some giant space rabbits to nibble on your PCs, and broken radioactive robots to stumble around the Ghost Levels of Absalom Station and Elytrio, (or just want to see what some creative kids can create!) be sure to give it a download. And even if not? Download it anyway! It’s free and full of awesome content!
May is here and plethora of new gaming products are hitting shelves! Check out this month’s new d20 releases!
Dungeons and Dragons
Dungeons and Dragons is releasing two very exciting products this month. Stranger Things D&D Roleplaying Game Starter Set contains everything players need to get started playing D&D – a basic rulebook, an adventure, a set of dice, five character sheets, and an awesome enemy to face off against – all in a retro red box with a Stranger Things twist. The adventure is written in the style of Mike Wheeler, a character and DM from Stranger Things, and pits PCs against a mysterious castle and the Demogorgon! The pre-made character sheets feature the kids D&D characters from Stranger Things, including Dustin the Dwarf, Will the Wise, and so on. Finally, the set comes with two Demogorgon figures (one painted and one unpainted). You can watch Stranger Things on Netflix (I highly recommend it!).
Due out May 21, Ghosts of Saltmarsh is a collection of seven nautical and coastal themed adventures that vary from levels 1-12. These adventures can be run separately, or combined by DMs into one larger campaign. The adventures contained in this volume are all previously published adventures, including some of the most popular first edition D&D adventures and some from Dungeon Magazine. Adventures in Ghosts of Saltmarsh include:
The Sinister Secret of Saltmarsh (originally written by Dave J. Browne and Don Turnbull in 1981)
Danger at Dunwater (originally written by Dave J. Browne and Don Turnbull in 1982)
The Final Enemy (originally written by Dave J. Browne and Don Turnbull in 1983)
Isle of the Abbey (originally written by Randy Maxwell for Dungeon Magazine #34)
Tammeraut’s Fate (originally written by Greg A. Vaughan for Dungeon Magazine #106)
The Styes (originally written by Richard Pett for Dungeon Magazine #121)
Salvage Operation (originally written by Mike Mearls for Dungeon Magazine #123)
In addition to the adventures themselves there’s details on the port of Saltmarsh, mechanics for ship-to-ship combat, new monsters, and new magic items.
Launching next month is Beadle & Grimm’s Sinister Silver Edition for Ghosts of Saltmarsh! Currently available for pre-order on their website, the Sinister Silver Edition contains twelve high quality player handouts, a detailed ship map, a reusable ship map, two large scale battle maps, a map of the Styes, 30 encounter cards (which are designed to be hung over a DM screen so players can see images of the monsters they fight while the DM sees it’s statistics), custom DM screen, two objects, bonus encounters, and characters!
This month’s Pathfinder Society Scenarios have not yet been announced, although canny players can find them on the schedule for PaizoCon (which takes place later this month in Seattle). For more information on PaizoCon and to register for events head over to https://paizo.com/paizocon!
Gardens of Gallowspire (Tyrant’s Grasp Book 4 of 6)
Chronicle of Legends
Pathfinder Adventure Card Game
Very exciting news, as this month the new Pathfinder Adventure Card Game in unveiled! Players can test it out in person at PaizoCon or pick up a copy at the end of the month. Pathfinder Adventure Card Game: Core Set is the base game, which include all the rules, the Dragons Demand adventure series, and a ton of cards. They’re also releasing Pathfinder Adventure Card Game: Curse of the Crimson Throne Adventure Path which is designed to be mixed into the Core Set to create a whole new series of adventures. For more information on some of the changes you can expect to see in the newest version of the Pathfinder Adventure Card Game check out this post, or head straight to the source and check out Paizo’s blog!
WizKids releases some lovely products this month, primarily Pathfinder Battles: Ruins of Lastwall! This brand new set of pre-painted miniatures comes in blind booster boxes that contain four minis each – one large figure and three small or medium figures. In addition to buying a single standard booster box you can order a brick of boosters (which contains eight boosters) or a case of boosters (four bricks for a total of 32 boosters). Anyone who orders an entire case of boosters may also order Pathfinder Battles: Ruins of Lastwall: Cemetery of the Fallen Set which is a collection of graveyard themed set dressing! For images you can check out this blog post from last month, or head straight to the source and view the images on WizKids and Paizo’s blog.
Also out this month is Wave 3 of the Wardlings pre-painted miniatures. My kids and I absolutely adore this line of minis. Each one is interesting, highly detailed, and comes with one youthful adventurer and their pet. A few of the new releases also include male and female versions of eccentric adventurers (such as ghosts, goblins, and zombies), or a single large mini (such as a troll of treefolk).
Wayfinder Fanzine is a free magazine of fan-created content that releases every year at PaizoCon. Typically filled with Pathfinder content, this years topic is Starfinder – more specifically, Absalom Station! Wayfinder #19 is due out later this month, and will be a free download on Paizo’s website. Although not currently on Paizo’s website, you can find all of the previous Wayfinder issues available, which I highly recommend you download and give a read.
My kids and I are particularly excited for this issue, as each of my kids created an alien that’s going to be featured in the magazine! I wrote a few articles as well (which is awesome!) but not nearly as impressive as my kids doing it. Haha. (Pardon my ‘proud mom’ bragging).
And that’s it for this month! Got a favourite release? I’d love to hear about it!
This morning brings a bunch of huge smiles to the faces around my house as Wayfinder Fanzine announces the authors whose articles will be published in their upcoming magazine: Wayfinder 19.
Wayfinder is full of fan-created content for the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game, and is a free download on Paizo’s website. Over the years they’ve made an astounding 18 issues of Wayfinder, as well as a Bestiary! Nearly every issue has a theme, with this latest one being Fey and the First World. But, the next one coming up really breaks the mold! In fact, it’s not Pathfinder at all. It’s the Starfinder Roleplaying Game! This coming Wayfinder fanzine focuses on Absalom Station.
As some of you may have heard my kids and I all submitted articles to this coming issue and are proud to say we all had something accepted! My kids are literally screaming in glee and jumping up and down. I’m so proud of them. What a huge achievement for a pair of young kids.
And yes, my daughter’s involves rabbits. She’s desperately hoping hers gets some adorable artwork. Haha.
There’s a long time to wait before Wayfinder 19 releases. Art has to be made and edits have to happen, not to mention the ton of other work that the folks over at Wayfinder have to get done. It’s such a huge undertaking, and I know that my family is always happy to see the results. We adore the Wayfinder fanzine.
So join me in congratulating my kids and all the other authors whose pieces will be showcased in this next issue.
And more importantly, we’d like to offer a huge thank you to the people who work hard every year to make the Wayfinder fanzine a thing of beauty, creativity, and awesome gaming material. They should be beyond proud.
For a full listing of which authors works were accepted, check out the announcement here.
My kids had their school holiday concert this week. They were supremely excited for it. My daughter’s been practising her holiday songs and dancing around every day since they first started practising two months ago. She would give me a mischievous smile every time I saw her practising, then shut the door in my face. Haha. Anyway, the concert was a lot of fun. They sang Hanukah, Kwanza, Christmas, and holiday songs, and had a ton of fun. I had my niece and nephew with me for both shows (they do an afternoon and an evening show) which I suppose might make some people nervous. What two and four year old want to sit nice through a concert, never mind the same one twice? But they’re usually pretty good for me, and I bring them with me every year, so they were pretty excited to see their cousins put on a show for them. They had a lot of fun and were actually really, really good. Which was nice. I got to enjoy the show too, haha. I parked my niece in her stroller at the edge of an aisle so she could see, but other parents kept getting up and standing in front of her and blocking her view. I suppose they figured she was ‘just a baby’ and wouldn’t mind. Ha! She’s two and at that age where she’s using new words every day. So, every time someone purposely stood in front of her she’d shake her little fist and exclaim, “HEY! CAN’T SEE! YOU! GO! I CAN’T SEE!”
So many parents jumped and looked around shocked to see it was this tiny, cute little chubby toddler giving them a scolding. Some moved, some ignored her, some scowled at her, some jumped a foot like we were on some gag show, but either way I had a laugh. She’s adorable. Haha.
Later in the show Santa made an appearance and went through the crowd greeting kids so my niece and nephew were just AMAZED. “SANTA! ITS SANTA! LOOK AUNTIE! SANTA!!” My kids up on stage were pretty excited about it to. Apparently Santa had made a few visits to their rehearsal ahead of time to say he was coming and greet all the kids. My daughter explained to me later that night that someone from her class had written him an email to invite him to the concert, so OF COURSE he came. It was cute.
Last night we went to a fancy gala for my husband’s work. Princess Auto is celebrating its 85th year in business. Not only that, it’s a small Winnipeg-based, family owned, Canadian business that stretches from coast to coast. Many of you won’t have ever heard of Princess Auto before, but let me start by saying: no, they don’t sell cars. Haha. They were originally an auto wrecking business based on Princess Street here in Winnipeg, but as the years went on their owners were always adapting to the current and future retail market. They got into army surplus at the end of the war, mail order catalogs, and later stores. They kept changing with the times and now they have 43 stores across Canada and are opening one more that I know of this year, with a few more in 2019. They sell products in all kinds of categories: hand tools, outdoor, farm, trailer, driveline, hydraulics, and surplus (where you can find good deals on just a bunch of.. stuff. Haha). Where I live people either have never heard of Princess Auto, or LOVE IT. Like, OBSESSIVELY love it. Their customers are absurdly loyal. I suppose it’s mostly due to their ethos. Princess Auto has made it their mission, and always has, to treat their customers and employees with kindness and respect. They’re one of those businesses where the regulars come in and hang out all day, chatting and visiting and browsing. Staff probably knows them by name, what they do for a living, and about their family. Like at an independent coffee shop, or your local gaming store. A little community where everyone’s welcome. I’m just some employees wife, and I’ve had the pleasure of meeting the owners, CEO, and all kinds of other wonderful people plenty of times. A lot of customers bring in gifts for the staff and store, just because. I have some smoked fish and pepperoni sticks made by some happy customers sitting in my fridge right now.
Anyway, the folks over at Princess Auto are super nice, and they always throw a great party, so it’s one of those work get-togethers that is always fun to go to. For the 85th Anniversary Gala they hosted a big dinner and dance, with a live brass band, free food and drinks, prizes, gifts for everyone, and (very important) free cab vouchers to get home. There were staff in from all over the country, and guests of honour from the early days of Princess Auto. It was a lot of fun.
My kids went for a sleepover to my Mom’s house for the evening, so I’m sitting in my living room as I type this with a hot cup of tea and… silence. There’s just the tap of the keyboard as I type, a distant drip in my sink — I really should get up and turn that off — and my husband’s snoring from the other side of the apartment. It’s so… still.
I’m not used to that. Being still.
Even when my kids are at school I’m watching other young children and trying to stop them from tearing my modest apartment apart. Life is never quiet for me. And certainly never still.
It’s weird. But nice. Give me another few hours and I’ll miss my kids. Haha. But, for now, it’s the first quiet break I’ve had in a long time.
Later this week it’s my birthday. I’ll be turning… (pardon me while I count) … 33! Yes, I literally had to count. Honestly, once I turned 18 (which is the year you’re an adult where I live in Canada) I just stopped counting. I’m an adult! That’s all I need to know. Haha. I don’t do much for my birthday. I’m not one of those people who has a big party, or even family over really. I usually just take a day off from babysitting and spend the day with my husband. My birthday wishes? Same as always! Hugs from my kids, a day free from chores and cooking, and a slurpee for a treat.
I’m a fan of the simple things. Haha.
Not sure what I’ll be doing this year. Taking my kids to school. Probably cleaning my house and cooking. Haha. But, my husband booked the day off (he’s a sweetheart), so maybe I’ll make him do all my chores for me.
Hey! A girl can dream!
So, from me and mine to you and yours, here’s wishing you all happy birthdays throughout the year. I value every one of you that comes by to visit our little corner of the internet.
A thousand thanks!
In other news, PaizoCon registration has officially begun!
PaizoCon will be held at the DoubleTree by Hilton hotel in SeaTac, Washington over Memorial Day weekend (which is May 24–27). I may admit that I’m a little jealous of all you folks who are going to attend. Haha. At PaizoCon you can meet your favorite Paizo artists, authors, designers, developers, editors, and personalities. You can also play games at the Pathfinder and Starfinder Society organized play tables, attend panels and workshops, get some snazzy sneak-peeks, and (of course) buy stuff! This PaizoCon will also mark the relaunch of the Pathfinder Adventure Card Game (which has been getting an overhaul) and their new Adventure Path: Curse of the Crimson Throne. The Starfinder team apparently has some secrets to share, and Pathfinder Second Edition is sure to be a hot topic, as well.
The Guests of Honor for PaizoCon 2019 are Liane Merciel (author Pathfinder Tales: Hellknight), Wayne Reynolds (freelance illustrator whose work includes every Pathfinder RPG hardcover release and the Pathfinder Iconics), and The Glass Cannon Podcast (weekly live-play podcasters who play Pathfinder and Starfinder. I’ve previously written about them here.).
Curious about pricing? Look no further!
4-Day Badges are $75.00
4-Day Kid’s Badges are $40.00
PaizoCon Preview Banquet Tickets are $45.00 and include an exclusive commemorative item available only to attendees at the Preview Banquet and through auctions or prizes at select charity events.
Purchasing a 4-Day Badge (regular) and a Preview Banquet ticket together are $110 ($10 savings)
In other news, Wayfinder is announcing their accepted authors this week. Wayfinder is a free Paizo magazine written by fans, for fans, which features a ton of new content for the Pathfinder RPG. The issues are always a free download on Paizo’s website, and are always a treat to read. Usually they follow a theme and this year it’s not about Pathfinder at all! It’s about Starfinder! Absalom Station to be exact. They’ve been accepting entries from fans since the summer, and reading through them for another two months, and now this weekend they’re supposed to announce everyone who’s articles and submissions they’re going to use. My kids each created a creature for Wayfinder this year, and I submitted a Weal and Woe article and two themes. We’re all excited to see if any of us made the cut. My kids, particularly, are on the edge of their seats. It’s adorable. We’ve got our fingers crossed.
Wish us luck!
Finally, I want to talk about Pathfinder Friday. This past week’s episode was AWESOME! Erik Mona, Chief Creative Officer and Publisher of Paizo, was on the show and was an amazing guest. Erik has been with the team at Paizo the whole time. From back in the Dungeon and Dragon Magazine days, when Pathfinder wasn’t even born yet. This marked his first time on the show since they got they’re snazzy, comfy set for the twitch stream, and wow! They should really get him on more often!
Erik shared a ton of information with us about the Starstone! From behind the scenes inspirations, to the history and lore of the Starstone, how it arrived on Golarion, it’s effect on the world, its powers, and how you can use it. Just a ton of interesting information. Some of it was even new to me (exciting!).
For those of you who don’t know, the Starstone is part of a giant meteorite that was called down from outer space by some ticked off aboleths in order to put those uppity humans back in their place. The meteorite was slowed and detoxified by two Azlanti gods, Acavna and Amazden, which prevented much of the devastation that could have been caused at the expense of their lives. But, the impact still shook up the world. Civilzations ended, the sun was blocked from the sky, the terrain was literally reshaped, some races fled to different locations, which even created new races. In short, it was a BIG DEAL. A long time later a survivor by the name of Aroden found the stone, raised it up from the oceans, created the isle of Kortos, became a god, and made a city for his worshippers called Absalom. Thanks Aroden! When you interact with the Starstone you undergo a series of phantasmagoric visions and experiences that is different for everyone. This is known as the Test of the Starstone, and it sort of pits yourself against yourself. This inner test determines if you’re worthy to be a god, and if so, what you’ll be god of. If you pass you can become a living god, which is sort of like a demigod and is the most available method for ordinary people to become divine. Some people managed (Norgorber, Iomedae, and Cayden Cailean), while many more died in the attempt. Around the Startsone Aroden built a temple and filled it with dangerous tests, traps, and guardians.
“The first part of the Test of the Starstone, the dungeon part, tests your character sheet, but the second part tests your character,” said Erik Mona.
The Starstone is an artifact which had a huge historical impact on Golarion, it’s people, and the Pathfinder Campaign Setting as a whole. It even has a role to play in the Starfinder universe. Which is why this episode was such a neat one to get to see. Because, despite its importance, the Starstone isn’t really something that Pathfinder has focused on. It set the stage for the game and the world, but then it’s been sort of… idle. Nothing’s really happened with it lately, in and out of game. This is something that they hope to remedy in Pathfinder Second Edition. Erik explained that they’re going to do the Test of the Starstone one day, but the question is when and how. Is it better served as an Adventure Path or a high level deluxe adventure? He also mentioned that the team at Paizo is putting in a lot of thought into some central themes which may have been neglected over the last few years. This includes Absalom (which only PFS has focused on), Aroden, the Starstone, and much more.
If you haven’t seen the most recent Pathfinder Friday episode, I highly suggest you give it a watch. You can watch it and other previous episodes on Paizo’s Twitch stream, as well as on youtube. Although, I highly recommend watching it on Twitch so you can see the Q&A portion of the episode as well.
Way back in March I shared my family’s experiences creating their first Starfinder characters. We had a lot of fun making a kooky crew, and tried them out a bit before deciding they would join the Starfinder Society. There were some changes that needed to be made. Tucker was a halfling, which would have to change, but otherwise the transition went smoothly. Then we sat down and played Into the Unknown. Life got busy. We moved on to play Starfinder Scenario #1-03: Yesteryear’s Truth, which was great fun.
So today, when I turned on my computer with the intent of writing a blog post, my daughter put her little hands on her hips and said, “Mom, you did not write about our Wayfinders in a long time! You need to do that.”
Has it really been that long?
Yup! It certainly has.
And so, at my daughter’s insistence, we’re rejoining the crew of Infinity and heading out into the Vast! So strap in, and get ready for wild ride!
Our crew consisted of three mercenaries and a single Starfinder Agent. The Starfinder Agent Hoponisa (Hops for short), is a ysoki technomancer from the dark side of Verces who loves to dance. She’s on a mission to find herself the ‘perfect mate’ and is handy both in the pilot’s chair, the engineering bay, and at a computer console. She has a robot rabbit dubbed ‘Snowball’ who is a glorified computer with some minor mobility that she crafted herself, then wrapped in fuzzy faux fur for ultimate cuddle-ability. It’s also her spell cache. Hops is a member of the Wayfinders faction who acts as a contact with a specific group of mercenaries — the other PCs. Together, Hops and her hired help travel the Vast, deploying drift beacons for credits at the behest of the Wayfinders. After discovering new planets, collecting data on their environments, and deploying drift beacons, the group prepares a report on the planet for the Wayfinders, which allows the spacefaring faction to better prepare proper Starfinder teams for further exploration on these locations. The mercenaries make some decent credits, and the Wayfinders get to expand their influence without using up valuable Starfinder resources and personnel.
Hops and the crew of the Pegasus Class ship, Infinity, have gone on plenty of missions together. Led by their Captain Aya, a wise, enigmatic kasatha mystic who believes that every life is precious, they’ve charted planets and discovered new places. Their roles on the starship change a lot, with the rest of the crew rotating between pilot, engineer, science officer, and gunner as the mood strikes them. Aya and Hops are joined by Tucker Aetherfoot, a ysoki operative with the daredevil speciality who’s nimble, acrobatic, and full of boundless energy. He wears a t-shirt with a shirren design on it (to represent his long-time friendship with the shirren Vishkesh), and wears a racing helmet with a rose-tinted visor and stylized mouse ears on the side (which was given to him by Hops as a birthday gift). Tucker’s insatiably curious, and runs a blog in his spare time about his experiences exploring the Vast. He’s a devout Desnan from Absalom Station, prone to dancing when he’s idle too long. …Even in the middle of a mission. Lastly, there’s Vishkesh, a shirren mechanic with a little flying spy drone named Rijin. Rijin is trained to help Vishkesh with repairing starships, and is also outfitted with a flare gun. He’s a chipper little thing, with a bubbly artificial personality. Vishkesh has a fondness to caring for (and rescuing) larval shirren, and currently has a dozen dangling off of him in their protective canisters at all times. Vishkesh is the proud owner of a pig stuffed animal — a rare creature he’s never seen in in the flesh! He’s also from Absalom Station, and is a long time friend of Tucker’s. Vishkesh worships Hylax.
Recently a fellow scouting ship hired by the Starfinders, Unbounded Wayfarer, went missing. Worried for their friends and fellow mercenaries Aya, Tucker, and Vishkesh urged Hops to inquire with Venture-Captain Arvin after the other ship’s status. The news? Bad.
The crew of the Infinity were dispatched to find the Unbounded Wayfarer, save them (if possible), and return with the information they had acquired on their recent voyages. The mission was different than anything they had done for the Starfinders before, but they accepted. They made friends along the way, particularly with a vesk pawn-broker by the name of Julzakama, and a family of enterprising ysoki who run the Vat Gardens. They fought their way through undead from Eox, alien creatures, and space pirates. In the end they discovered that their friends from the Unbounded Wayfarer were dead. They retrieved their bodies, the information they had discovered, and learned of a few planets worth exploring. Then they returned to Absalom Station to report to Venture-Captain Arvin, and mourn the loss of good friends.
Upon completion of their mission, Arvin offered the crew of the Infinity a rare opportunity. He would sponsor their entry into the Starfinders as actual agents, then he would grant them right of first exploration on all of the planets that they had received intelligence on from their companion’s ship. Aya, Tucker, and Vishkesh did some soul searching, and decided to officially join the Wayfinders faction of the Starfinders on the condition that they would always work as a team, and they would retain their ship.
With the bargain struck, the crew of the Infinity spent a bit of time in Absalom Station resting and upgrading their ship to meet Starfinder standards. They interviewed fellow Starfinder agents, eventually hiring two rookies to assist them with rounding out their crew: Gizdara, a half-orc technomancer who’s a whiz with computers, and Diggs Drifthopper, a burly ‘rabbitfolk’ whose planet was conquered by the Vesk years ago. Diggs was forced into the military, but was recently allowed his freedom and was looking for work. He’s good with a gun, but not much else (which he can’t use in SFS play, as a non-combatant hireling, haha). Still, my daughter insisted on hiring him because he was destined to be Hops’ mate. (Uhhh… Okay? Haha). Diggs’ job is mostly to watch the ship while we’re away from it.
With their crew rounded out Infinity set off into the Vast to check out the first of the planets their friends on the Unbounded Wayfarer had discovered before dying. This planet was called Elytrio, and was reported to be protected by powerful automated defences. Hops took the pilot’s chair, and Captain Aya gave her the order to set off. Gizdara programmed the coordinates into the ship’s databanks. Vishkesh and Rijin headed down to the engineering room to ensure the ship was in tip-top shape. And Diggs wandered around aimlessly. As they entered the Drift the stars outside became replaced by a swirling mass of colours and motion. The journey was underway….
After ten days they came into communication range of another ship.
“Registration information?” Aya asked Gizdara.
The half-orc techie clicked away at her console for a few seconds. “Identified as Clutter Collector. It has docking certifications for Absalom Station. Looks like a salvage barge run by a ysoki called Winks.”
Aya considered this a moment. “Open communications.”
“Got it. Hailing the Clutter Collector.” Gizdara replied.
The rest of the crew gathered round just as Winks appeared on the view screen. “Hey, pal! The name’s Winks! I’ve been in the Drift 25 days, and I am BORED!” the ysoki exclaimed. “SO happy to meet ya’! You?”
Aya chatted with Winks for a minute before passing control of the comms over to her crew. Hops, Tucker, and Vishkesh all had a blast chatting away with the ysoki and his familial crew. But, after about an hour, they were nearly out of range of each other.
“Thanks for the chatter,” Winks said with a wink. “You can save my frequency. Maybe we’ll chat again in the future, eh?”
And with a crackle of static, he was gone.
“Out of communication range,” Gizdara announced.
“Thank you,” replied Aya. “End transmission.”
The crew headed back to their normal routine, performing their duties, eating, gaming, dancing and chatting. Nine days later they exited the Drift. Seeing the blackness of space and its brightly twinkling stars for the first time in weeks, the crew heaved a sigh of relief.
“The Drift makes me nervous,” Diggs admitted. “This is how space is supposed to be.”
Hops laughed. “Space is beautiful! But, we can’t travel like this all the time! We’d never get anywhere!”
“To your stations,” Aya announced. “Hops, prepare for approach. Vishkesh and Rijin, begin pre-descent systems check. Gizdara and Tucker, what can you discern about the planet?”
Everyone got to work, and soon Tucker grinned. “Elytrio is the fourth planet orbiting an unnamed sun. It has two barren moons, but I’m seeing minor energy fluctuations. There might be the remains of an installation up there. Whatever it is, it’s no longer functioning.” Tucker clicks a few more buttons on the computer console before continuing. “As for the planet itself… looks like some kind of wasteland. I’m seeing blasted deserts, strong winds, and higher than normal levels of radiation. Nothing harmful, but we should activate our armour’s environmental defences just in case. Air is breathable, gravity normal. …I’m not seeing any plants or water, and little signs of animal life. I’m not detecting any settlements left or — wait! I’ve pinpointed a large energy output from what seems to be a fully functioning city in the Southern Hemisphere. My readings indicate that the city has a level of technology similar to the Pact Worlds, though it seems… outdated. It’s hard to learn more. The entire city and surrounding area it is encased in a powerful force field.”
Aya nodded. “Thank you, Tucker. Gizdara, try to find us a safe landing zone near the city. Tucker, triangulate suitable locations on the planet’s surface to deploy four drift beacons. Let’s get this planet on the grid, shall we?”
“Got it!” Tucker replied.
“Vishkesh, prepare for battle. We’ll be making our descent any minute, and I want to be ready for the planet’s automated defences.” Aya ordered calmly.
“Check!” Vishkesh replied.
“I am happy to be useful!” Rijin added in an overly happy voice. “Oh, yeah! The joy is filling me up!”
“Now listen children,” Vishkesh told his larval shirren. “This is how we activate our ship’s shields. First press this… and then…”
“Hops, take us down.”
“On it, Captain!” Hops exclaimed.
Infinity began its approach… After only a few minutes, a loud klaxon alarm sounded.
“Approaching ship!” Tucker exclaimed. “Scanning it now!”
“Incoming transmission!” Gizdara announced.
“Play it over the comms.” Aya replied.
The message that played over their speakers was in a crackling, robotic voice. It’s language was foreign and unknown to them, but the tone seemed serious.
“It’s a warning,” Aya announced. “Gizdara, activate the tetrad certified translator. I want to know what it’s saying.”
“The message won’t be enough for the translator to get a handle on the language.” Gizdara retorted.
“It’s a start.”
The message repeated a few more times, then cut out in a crackle of distortions and static, like a corrupted audio file. Only the proximity alert continued to chime, breaking the silence with an irritating whine.
Suddenly, a hemispherical ship emitting a ring of red light from the edges of its lower hull came into view.
“Ship in sight!” Tucker exclaimed.
Vishkesh quickly examined it. “Intel was accurate. It’s a launch platform. Fully automated. Unmanned. Feel free to blow it up without worry!”
“Confirmed! Not reading any signs of life inside the ship.” Tucker added. “Take over Gizdara, I’ll man the guns!” With a grin, Tucker nodded at Diggs. “Come on, pal. Make yourself useful. We’ve got more than one gun.”
Tucker and Diggs hurried over to the gun controls as the enemy ship began to open.
“It’s launching a combat drone.”
Aya let out a sigh. She preferred to avoid a fight whenever possible. Still, at least the only loss of life they had to worry about was their own. “Engage.”
Hops tore off through space at breakneck speed as Tucker and Diggs fired at the launch platform. (GM Comment: technically, it was only Tucker. As a hireling Diggs cannot actually aid in battle. I only described him doing so in session for flavour).
The battle was a tricky one, and the launch platform managed to deploy three combat drones before we destroyed it. The combat drones stood little chance after that. My daughter had great fun flying our ship and acting as pilot, but did need help to properly move the ship and select her fancy flight maneuvers. My son rather enjoyed being engineer with his drone (which is my personal favourite starship role). My husband’s character is a solid gunner, and even when firing an extra gun most rounds he managed to do a number on the enemy fighters. And me? I enjoyed bossing everyone around with serene, super serious commands. I even put on my serious face for the occasion. Haha. We made use of Starfinder Flip-Mat: Basic Starfield for this battle, which I highly recommend picking up if you don’t already own it.
With the enemy drones defeated, Vishkesh examined the wreckage for information and made a few nifty discoveries. Although outdated, there were some interesting algorithms in the platform’s programming which would be helpful in improving their own automated defences. Soon Infinity continued its descent to the planet.
Due to our characters backstory we had some tasks to accomplish before landing (in addition to completing our actual mission). With Tucker’s coordinates, we set out to deploy some drift beacons on Elytrio. This was a fun way to provide some hints to the planet’s purpose and past without hitting my family over the head with a massive information dump. The first deployment location was a rocky mesa on top of a small mountaintop. From there the crew found the remains of a destroyed city on an uneven plateau near the base of the mountain. They discovered that it had been blown up long ago and eroded over the centuries. At our second location the group found themselves on a dried up lake-bed, which gave them some clues to Elytrio’s past eco-systems. They also discovered a new species of bug scurrying across the ground, which Tucker collected for further study, and some razor sharp weeds that they thought would easily be blown around by the wind and could cause some irritating cuts and wounds. The third location was in the desert beside a metal spire. They discovered the spire was the antenna or technological device that topped a building of some kind. After some examining from Vishkesh, he deduced that this was a power relay that sent energy and messages to a distant loctation just outside the atmosphere. Likely one of Elytrio’s two barren moons. Interesting!
The final drift beacon location was also going to be our final landing site. It was located as close to the city’s force field as we could get. After setting up the beacon in the desert wastes the group bid Diggs and Gizdara goodbye, leaving them behind to keep and eye on the starship. Then Aya, Hops, Snowball, Tucker, Vishkesh, and Rijin set off across the sands towards the city’s glowing forcefield.
Suddenly there was a shifting in the sands… a grumble of the earth… and a massive beast that looked like an oversized lion with a beige mane and a body covered in dark brown scales leapt out of the sand and chomped at Tucker! It had a stubby face with a maw filled with razor sharp fangs, and a long, segmented tail.
“Aaaah!” Tucker exclaimed as he dodged out of the way. “We’ve got company!”
“Bad kitty!” Rijin scolded the sand brute in an overly happy robot voice.
“Yeah!” Vishkesh said with a nod. “BAD CAT! SHOO!”
The creature let out a terrifying roar. Hops’ eyes widened in fear. “Let’s get out of here!”
“Hold your ground!” Aya commanded. “If you run it will follow. Weapons out. Engage!”
“You don’t have to tell me twice!” Tucker exclaimed. He fired a shot at the sand brute with his azimuth laser pistol, only for the creature’s hide to reflect the blast. Tucker let out a surprised shriek and ducked, causing the reflected laser beam to strike the sand right behind him. “It’s got a reflective hide!”
“No lasers,” Aya quickly commanded.
Vishkesh gave Rijin a nod. “Battle mode, Rijin!”
Rijin’s little metal hands waved around in excitement, drew a flare gun and loaded it. “Okay! I am so happy to be engaging in deadly battle with you today!”
Vishkesh stroked his multiple guns. “Oh, my… Decisions, decisions! This feels like a flame-thrower moment to me!” He pulled out his flamethrower, took aim, and unleashed a torrent of fire at the sand beast. The creature howled in pain.
Aya drew her battle staff and gave it a whirl. It spun through the air with a ‘whoosh’ sound. “I’ll distract the creature. Keep up the assault at range.” With her orders given, Aya dashed into honourable battle against the sand brute. She swung her battle staff, striking the beast in it’s forelimb. It growled in pain and bit at her, but she knocked it’s jaws out of the way with her staff — the first time. It growled and snapped at her again, tearing into the flesh on one of her four arms.
Hops nodded at Snowball. “Let’s hop to it!” she exclaimed (my daughter giggled in glee at her rabbit joke). Then she got to spell casting! She fired an icy cold ray of energy at the monster, while Snowball hopped around her feet.
Meanwhile, Tucker frowned. “But I only have laser guns!” He holstered his gun, drew his survival knife and took a deep breath. “Let’s dance!” (my daughter giggled in glee at my husband’s dancing joke). Tucker dove and tumbled across the battlefield and joined Aya in melee combat, stabbing at the sand brute as he danced around it. Aya whacked it with her staff, while Rijin and Vishkesh burnt it up with their flame-throwers and flare guns.
The battle was surprisingly short, but we took heavy damage. Aya had to cast multiple healing spells on the group, and use up some resolve to utilize her healing channel ability. Yesteryear’s Truth makes use of Starfinder Flip-Mat: Basic Terrain for this encounter, but (since I don’t own that) we used Pathfinder Flip Mat: Bigger Basic instead.
With the beast finally down she moved to cast another healing spell, only to see figures surround them. They were small beetle-like people with hard outer shells and protruding mandibles. They wore tattered cloaks and big goggles over their eyes. In their hands they held rifles, but they did not aim them. Instead, one of the bug-men approached and spoke.
Unable to understand, Aya pulled out the translator again, and got it working. It would take ten minutes of conversation, but eventually it would be able to translate simple sentences back and forth between the common tongue and… whatever the bug-men were speaking. It sounded the same as the language transmitted by the defence platform.
Aya led the crew through some pantomime in order to put the bug-people at ease. In time, they approached closer and the translator began to work. They learned that these people were called -untranslatable word-
For the record, I had great fun roleplaying the translators capabilities in this adventure, and the interactions of the group. It was awesome to watch my kids try to puzzle out messages that wouldn’t get garbled or messed up in translation, and to pantomime and act when translation was inadequate. So much fun!
Eventually they earned enough of the leader’s trust that Aya was allowed to cast a spell upon him (share language), which granted the bug-leader, Dystane, the ability to speak and understand Common, Kasathan, and Akitonian. From there, communication got much easier. They learned that the bug-people were known as ghibrani, and that this group were hunters, out scouring the deserts for food for their tribe. Aya offered the ghibrani the corpse of the sand brute and together they helped haul the lion-monster back to the ghibrani’s home. The crew was surprised to discover that was in the opposite direction of the city. Interesting!
Still, they all prioritized befriending the locals over investigating a city they might not be able to a access, so they followed the ghibrani into the desert without fuss. After half an hour they came to a drab cliff pockmarked with holes and cracks. More ghibrani crawled in and out of the crevices, which were clearly serving as their homes. Most of them wore plain scraps of clothing, while a few also wore make-shift goggles and carried a battered old gun in a holster at their side. There was a tiny, little garden off to the side which was clearly in poor health. That it was growing at all in these conditions caused Aya to raise an eyebrow ridge in surprise. There was also a crumbling well nearby, and a pair of older looking ghibrani wearing colourful necklaces who were surrounded by ghibrani children. It looked like they were telling them a story, or perhaps educating them.
At the sight of the hunters returning with a massive sand brute, the ghibrani cheered — until they noticed the weird strangers that accompanied them. Then the little beetle-people shrieked and scurried into their caves in a panic. Only the two elderly ghibrani and the few armed with guns remained in sight.
Dystane spoke to the elders in their harsh, chittering language while the the translator tried its best to keep up.
“Greeting brother -untranslatable word- sister -untranslatable word-. I will that mother -untranslatable word- watch you close. Find strangers who kill sand brute. Gift to us. Food. Many. “
The conversation continued and Dystane gestured the PCs forward. “This is Brother Koseemo and Sister Alomir. They serve Mother Touloo and lead our colony. Come. I will assist with translating.”
Everyone introduced themselves, then my family began asking questions of the ghibrani. They were surprised to find that none of the ghibrani asked questions of them! Turns out that Mother Touloo was a god who promised to save the ghibrani if they left behind the comforts of civilization and lived a life of hardship in the deserts. Although the ghibrani were happy to receive visitors — a joyous event which had only happened twice in recent memory — they were not interested in learning about whatever comforts and technologies the strangers from the sky possessed.
After only a short conversation Brother Koseemo beckoned at the caves and chittered some more.
The translator tried it’s best. “Stop speak. No deep speak. Welcome return hunter special ceremony. Happy feelings follow participate.”
Dystane’s mandibles clacked. “Brother Koseemo says that before we can speak in depth our people must perform the Welcoming. This is a special ritual where we officially receive our returning hunters. We would be overjoyed if you would join us.”
Aya bowed respectfully. “We would be honoured.”
The others agreed and soon were ushered into a large cave in the cliff. It was stuffy inside, with a fire burning in the centre of the room. It was surrounded by ghibrani, all standing in lines. There were a few piles of furs and leathers around the edges of the room where some ghinbrani set up drums and instruments made of stone and hide. Brother Koseemo and Sister Alomir crossed the room and stood at the opposite side of the entrance, while the hunters and the PCs waited at the cave mouth. There was some chittering, which the translator couldn’t quite translate from across the room, and then the ghibrani began to play a surprisingly stately tune. There was some waving, some bowing, and then the lines of the ghibrani — including the hunters — began a clearly choreographed processional dance. A few of the ghibrani looked at them expectantly.
“They want us to join in,” Aya explained.
“You don’t have to tell me twice!” Tucker exclaimed. He watched the dancers for a moment and then began to mimc their movements. A natural dancer, and incredibly graceful, Tucker caught on incredibly quick and was soon dancing even better than the locals. Hops, who loved dancing nearly as much as Tucker, noticed the patterns in the ghibrani movements and joined in with confidence. Vishkesh and Aya tried to join in, but proved incapable of mimicking the ghibrani’s movements, despite their best efforts. As the dance drew to a close the ghibrani cheered and clapped. A few hurried over to Hops and Tucker and drew them into hugs as family. They chittered at Tucker, who had added a few creative flourishes to the dance.
“You teach us rhythmic movement pretty,” the translator announced.
Tucker smiled and tried to teach the ghibrani some of his dance moves. Hops joined in and the pair had a ball. Vishkesh approached the musicians and enquired after their instruments (with Dystane assisting as translator). As he attempted to learn about their music Aya wandered the room nodding her head in greeting at the ghibrani. Everywhere she looked was poverty and hunger. She beckoned Dystane join her, then approached Brother Koseemo and Sister Alomir.
“I understand Mother Touloo protects you because you choose to live here. It is a hard life, yes? You seem to be proud, capable survivors. But, tell me. Survival is taking what you can when you can find it, yes? We have plenty of food on our starship — ” She considered her words before continuing. “On our moving home. May I bring you some food in exchange for your hospitality? As an offering to your people?”
Dystane translated and the elders chittered at each other for a while. Eventually Dystane nodded at Aya. “You are one of us now. Ghibrani welcomed home. Here we share all that we have with one another. We accept your offer of food and in exchange call you Hunter. This is a great honour. But, please, keep your other comforts on this ‘moving home’ of yours. We will accept nothing else.”
Aya nodded. “Thank you.” Then she fetched Vishkesh who clapped his hands happily at the news. The duo went outside and contacted Gizdara and Diggs on their communicators, telling them to move the ship closer — but not within sight of the caves. Then they began unloading food for their new friends. Tucker and Hops soon came out to help, as did Dystane. At the sight of their ship he stood stunned for a moment and turned around, pointedly refusing to look at the technological marvel any longer. After a few trips to and from the ship, the PCs returned to the party to find themselves welcomed with cheers. A few children had already snuck into the food stores and were eating flavoured protein sticks with excitement — a joyous event which the nearby ghibrani pretended not to notice.
As the festivities continued they were approached by a strange ghibrani. Where the others were short and stocky looking, this ghibrani was tall and slender. Where the others were brown, this ghibrani was blue. And where the others clambered and climbed over everything, this ghibrani flew. The ghibrani held a hand to its throat and then pointed at Vishkesh’s. Curious, Vishkesh went closer. The ghibrani cast a spell and then placed a hand on Vishkesh’s throat. Then she did the same to the others. With a clack of her mandibles she said “Greetings, strangers from the sky. I am Klarima. You are different from any I have met before. Are you a Husk or a Membrane among your people?”
Despite that the ghibrani had spoken in her native tongue, everyone understood her perfectly. With a wide grin Hops introduced everyone, then she asked, “What are Husk and Membranes? And why do you look so different than everyone else?”
Klarima clapped her hands. “If you do not know of Membranes and Husks, then surely you must be uneducated Husks! This makes sense. Do not worry about your lack of knowledge. I will teach you. Membranes like myself know much.”
Klarima explained that long ago a great war raged across Elytrio’s many ghibrani nations. Their weapons killed each other and most living creatures across the planet. Arkeost was the name of one of the cities that survived, locked behind a powerful forcefield. That was Klarima’s home. Some of the surviving ghibrani chose to worship a new god — their Mother Touloo — who promised them protection if they lived in the wastes. Due to the radiation, these ghibrani lost the use of their wings and became known by the citizens of Arkeost as Husks. The other ghibrani stayed in Arkeost and became known as Membranes by the Husks. Apparently Arkeost was a city of automated luxury, where the citizens want and work for nothing. All is provided for them.
“Unfortunately, I have been afflicted with a severe case of wanderlust!” Klarima joked. “I wanted to see the world outside of Arkeost, but I was wounded by soarnettles. Foolish of me, I know. The Husks bandaged my wounds and gave me shelter, but I was hoping to return home soon. This place is…. not to my liking.”
The group was grateful for the information, and thanked Klarima.
“Can we accompany you?” Tucker asked. “We were hoping to view Arkeost ourselves.”
“Oh, I would enjoy that very much! You will be the first Husks to visit Arkeost since the separation!”
Hops laughed. “We’re not Husks, Klarima.”
“Oh? You can fly?”
“Then you are Husks! I am sad for you, of course. But you should accept your heritage.”
Aya looked around the cave, then at the frail looking membrane. “I do not wish to burden our hosts with accommodating all of us. I suggest we offer our gratitude and then some of us retire to our starship.” She looked at her crew, who nodded at her in turn. Then she continued, “Would you like to see our ship, Klarima? You may spend the night with us, and we can fly to your city at dawn. I will spend the night with the Husks.”
Klarima clapped her hands in glee, clearly happy at the thought of leaving the caves. “I would like that very much.”
So the group enjoyed the rest of the party, bid their hosts farewell, and then returned to Infinity. Tucker, Hops and Vishkesh gave Klarima a tour and found her incredibly curious about… everything! Although, she was oddly incapable of doing anything for herself. Meanwhile, Aya enjoyed the simple but welcoming hospitality of the Husks.
My kids had a wonderful time with this whole section of the scenario. They adored interacting with the Husks, winning their friendship, and then showing Klarima around their ship. It’s why we picked this one to play, actually. I knew they’d love it.
The next morning Aya rejoined the group with some gifts from the Husks (a few healing serums that smelt like licorice, and a rifle) then they flew off back to a safe landing zone near Arkeost. Klarima used her magic to make the crew understand the ghibrani tongue, and then they approached the forcefield. Klarima pulled out a clunky, old fashioned data-pad and clicked away on it. Nothing happened, and Klarima’s mandibles clacked in impatience. She re-entered the commands and this time a gap opened in the forcefield, like a little door. The group filed in and Klarima tapped a few commands on her data-pad, causing the forcefield to close back up.
Arkeost was a sprawling metropolis with tall buildings lined with open doorways in place of windows. Membranes flitted through the air without a care, while robots and drones traversed the city’s lower levels, flying higher only when necessary. The streets and roads at ground level were in horrible condition, broken, jagged, and impassable in many places. Flowerbeds and gardens were overgrown, and all of the structures were suffering under years of rust, wear, and neglect. Although Arkeost was still standing, it was clearly not well maintained.
A group of Membrane guards wearing matching armour and carrying fine looking laser pistols approached the group and demanded to know the PCs business, but Klarima calmed them.
“Fear not, Honoured Guards! These Husks are my guests. I am taking them to see the Most Elevated!”
The guards, who did not seem very comfortable with their gear, eyed the group warily. “Very well,” the finally chittered. “We will escort you on your journey.”
And with that, a few more Membranes fell in line behind the group.
“Who is the Most Elevated?” Hops asked curiously.
“Oh, my! What a question to ask! Although, I suppose you are only Husks. The intricacies of proper Ghibrani society were lost to your people long ago. The Most Elevated are Arkeost’s governing council of most elder, wise, and important ghibrani. They will want to see you for themselves! It is a great honour!”
Hops rolled her eyes at being called a Husk and shrugged, following along with the others. Klarima and the guards flew relatively low to the ground, making keeping up with them only a little difficult. They were led through the city to the tallest and grandest building, located right at the heart of Arkeost. There, Klarima and the guards flew up towards an open doorway.
“Where did you go? Ah! Of course! You are Husks! I have forgotten again.” Klarima laughed. “I am afraid our city if not meant for ghibrani unable to fly. We have always had the ability, you see.” Klarima pulled out her data-pad and tapped a few commands into it. Soon a quartet of floating platforms arrived in front of the group. “There are hover disks used to transport goods and supplies through the city. You may ride on them. However, I recommend hanging on tight! They have no safety harnesses. Also, I hear Husks have a great fear of heights!”
The guards let out a chittering laugh.
Everyone climbed aboard their hover disks and held on. It was an unstable, jolting ride. Clearly very dangerous! There was a sudden puffing sound, and then a whine, as Hops’ hover disk malfunctioned. Her eyes widened, and she began to plummet back down to the ground.
“Eeeek!” she shrieked. But, as she neared the ground her hover platform let out another puff and a whine, and it’s engine turned back on. Hops once again began her ascent, although this time she wore a terrified, panicked look.
“Oh, dear!” Vishkesh exclaimed. “I think your drones could use some maintenance.”
“Maintenance?” Klarima asked. “You mean labour?” she laughed. “Oh, everything is done for us in Arkeost. I am sure if it is in need of main-ten-ants it will be taken care of.”
Vishkesh’s antennae twitched in agitation. He was pretty sure there was a lot of things around here that could use fixing…
After a shaky ride the hover disks dropped the group off at the entrance forty feet above the ground. Hops quickly scurried onto solid ground and clutched Snowball tight. Her robot rabbit twitched its nose and nuzzled her, guided by the artificial personality she had programmed in it. “That was… scary!” Hops muttered. Snowball made a clicking sound and cuddled up closer to Hops.
“Yes, I was afraid that Husks would not enjoy the flight.” Klarima replied.
Hops scrunched up her face. “Hey! I LOVE flying. I’m a pilot, you know! I just don’t like riding malfunctioning death platforms!”
The Membranes let out a chittering laugh, and ushered the group inside. Hops put down Snowball and followed after the others.
Rijin flew up to Hops. “You did not die a horrible death! I am pleased!”
Vishkesh laughed. “Me too!”
They travelled down winding hallways and came to a large central chamber that held a massive table surrounded by chairs. A collection of five Membranes dressed in elaborate clothing sat in the chairs chatting amongst themselves. At the sight of the group they regarded the PCs with their shimmering, multifaceted eyes. They stood, bowed to the group, and then gestured for them to approach. Klarima and the guards bowed in return, so Aya, Tucker, Hops and Vishkesh did the same.
“I cannot bow!” Rijin exclaimed happily. “I do not possess a waist!”
Snowball twitched its nose.
Klarima introduced the group and everyone took a seat at the table.
“Do all of your people look like you?” one of the Most Elevated asked.
Vishkesh shook his head. “Oh, we are not all of the same people at all! I am shirren, Hops and Tucker are ysoki, and Aya is kasathan. Snowball and Rijin here are drones created by myself and Hops.”
“I see!” Another nodded. “And all of your people are Husks?” the same Membrane asked.
“It is unfortunate your servants seem so small.” another added, clearly referring to the robots in the group.
Hops crinkled her nose. “We’re not Husks. We’re all different races from different worlds.”
“But you cannot fly?” One of the Most Elevated pointed out. “So you are Husks.”
“Other worlds?” Another asked. “You are referring to other cities on the far side of Elytrio?”
Aya shook her head. “We are not, Most Elevated. We come from outer space. The skies.” She paused a moment and added, “At night the stars shine brightly. Yes? If you were to travel to those stars, each is a sun, like the one you have here. Many of those suns are surrounded by other planets — worlds like Elytrio, but different. Some of those planets bear life, and others do not. Each of us comes from a different planet in space. Our galaxy is known as the Pact Worlds. It — “
Suddenly there was a chiming of bells. The Most Elevated clapped their hands.
“Yes, yes, I see,” replied one of the Most Elevated. They seemed unsurprised at such talk. “Dinner is served!”
Klarima smiles. “You are in for a real treat, my friends! It feels like ages since I have had a proper meal!”
Hover drones flew into the room from hidden hatches and placed ceramic bowls and a flat, stick-like utensil at every spot at the table. Others came out and squirted a serving of thick tan liquid filled with chunks of…. something. It smelt like smoke and cheese.
Rijin waves its hands at the hover drones. “Greetings friend robots! I am smiling in my heart! Pleasing to meet you!”
The hover drones didn’t respond, but that didn’t stop Rijin from speaking to/at them.
Some of the drones made an unappetizing sound when they served the food, while others flew irregularly. One of them missed a bowl completely and poured food all over the tabletop and Tuckers hand.
Klarima didn’t seem to notice. “This is called kahlgee! It’s delicious!”
The ghibrani all began to eat, while the Starfinders eyed the food suspiciously. Aya picked up her flat stick and used it as a spoon to scoop food up to her mouth (behind her mouth-mask). The others followed suit only to find the food was disgusting. Vishkesh ate it without complaint, Aya gagged but forced it down, Hops spit it out across the table in shock. Everyone turned to look at her. She chuckled nervously and tried to eat the rest of the food, which made her very ill. Still, she managed. Meanwhile Tucker spent the meal pretending to eat and subtly disposing of the food wherever he could without being caught. Halfway through the meal the lights flickered, and Tucker quickly dumped the rest of his food into another nearby bowl. Finished, he smiled brightly and began to chat with the other diners.
“That was lovely, thank you. Is there anything we can do to show our gratitude to you? Anything we can do to aid the ghibrani of Arkeost?” Tucker asked.
The Most Elevated laughed in unison. “We thank you for your generosity, but nothing is wrong here. Nothing needs to be done. We require no aid. Life in Arkeost is perfect.”
Tucker raised an eyebrows. “I see… Those power disruptions. The… uh… flickering lights and malfunctioning drones. Do those happen often?”
“Oh, there is no need to worry,” one of the Most Elevated replied. “The Mainframe acts up on occasion, but it always self-corrects in a few seconds.” They seemed unconcerned.
“I see. May I hear more about the Mainframe? We’re all fascinated with technology.” Tucker added with a smile. Perhaps the ghibrani could become allies of the Starfinders if Tucker and the team were able to repair their power grid.
“The Mainframe is located at the outskirts of the city. It was constructed by our ancestors to provide continuous power to Arkeost, and to house the many servants that cater to our whims.” One of the most Elevated gestures to a nearby robot. “Unfortunately I know no more of it than that. It is taboo for ghibranis to enter the area of the city where it is housed.”
“You’re not allowed to access your city’s own Mainframe? Uh… Aren’t you concerned about that? Who maintains it?” Tucker asked in surprise.
“The servants, of course.” Another answered happily. Clearly they were not concerned.
“I think that your servants could use a bit of help.” Tucker remarked with a smile. “May we visit the Mainframe ourselves to assist them? We are not ghibrani.”
The Most Elevated shook its head. “You clearly are Husks…”
The dinner bell sounded again. A flurry of hover drones flew out of the wall and set the table again — right on top of old dishes and uneaten food. A moment later a second set of drones flew out of the walls and poured more kahlgee into the bowls. The table was a massive mess. The drones flew back into the walls.
The Most Elevated clacked their mandibles serenely as if nothing was amiss. No one moved to eat a second helping.
“I’m sure the cleaning servants will be along any minute…” Klarima pointed out.
“About that Mainframe,” Tucker prodded.
One of the Most Elevated nodded its head vigorously. “You may be Husks but, as you say, you are not ghibrani Husks.” The others considered this. Without waiting for their response, the speaker continued, “It is not taboo for you. You may view the grandeur of our glorious Mainframe for yourselves.” He gave the group directions.
Tucker smiled. “Thanks. We’d like to head there soon, if you don’t mind.” He dreaded the thought of dessert.
The Most Elevated smiled. “Klarima will show you the way. Farewell.”
And with that, the Starfinders quickly left the messy, smelly table behind and hurried back out to the hover disks.
Hops groaned. “Not this again! Auw… When we get back to Absalom Station I need to invest in some jump jets!”
Vishkesh smiled. “I hope you do not fall to your doom!” He looked at the disks. “Hmm… Decisions, decisions… I will select… this one!” He squealed in delight. “I hope it is stable!”
My kids had great fun interacting with the Membranes. They tried their best to think of sneaky ways to avoid eating the kahlgee without offending their hosts. I found their attempts at conversation a blast. It was so fun watching them try to figure out how to explain things to the Membranes without being offended. Particularly when the Membranes didn’t seem to get the point. My daughter crossed her arms and scrunched up her nose every time someone called her a Husk, but couldn’t quite think of an argument that proved she wasn’t one. And those hover disks? They were so excited at first, but on the way back? Ha! They were terrified of stepping back on those things. It was hilarious. We had a blast.
The group descended down to ground level, then Klarima guided them through the city. The Starfinders examined the city as they travelled, and spoke with the locals. By the time they reached the edge of the city the streets and buildings were in much worse repair. The building was small and squat, but a constant stream of drones of all kinds moved in and out of the building. Massive signs reading “TABOO!” “NO ENTRY!” and “Off limits to ghibrani!” were hung all around the building.
Klarima waved farewell to the Starfinders. “I will wait out here for you.”
The Starfinders headed inside and were greeted by a series of ramps that descended down into the earth in a wide spiral, like a parking garage — although instead of storing vehicles it stored drones. They turned on the flashlights built into their armour and headed down the ramps. Eventually they reached a hallway different than the others. They headed inside and found themselves in a white plastic room lit by incredibly bright lights. The group filed in and looked around. Fans spun overhead, and a series of coveralls lined one wall.
Hops eyed the coveralls. “Should we be wearing those?”
Tucker shrugged. “It couldn’t hurt.”
Aya nodded. “I recommend it, if you can.”
Hops and Tucker put on coveralls, although they were too small for Vishkesh and Aya. Vishkesh squished himself into a pair, but Aya refrained. Together they approached a nearby door. Aya moved to open it and was electrocuted. She grunted in pain and surprise.
“Oh, dear! That looked painful!” Vishkesh happily pointed out.
“Whoah!” Tucker exclaimed. “I… didn’t expect that. Sorry.” He turned to the door and pulled out a series of tools and gadgets from his backpack. “I’ve got this.” As he worked he told the others, “Nobody touch anything unless I give the go ahead. There might be more traps or malfunctioning systems in here.”
Aya drew herself up to standing. “Agreed.”
“Is that maybe why this place is taboo?” Hops wondered aloud. “Because it’s dangerous?”
Aya considered this. “It is possible. Or, perhaps the city’s builders wanted to prevent meddling.”
“It is possible,” Hops mimicked. Aya didn’t seem to mind.
With a swoosh, the door slid open. Tucker put away his tools and led the way inside the next room. It’s walls were also made of plastic, and it’s entire floor was a bright light. Four pillars covered in circuitry and four waist-high generators circled the centre of the room. One of the generators was surrounded by flashing red lights, clearly showing it was in need of repairs.
Tucker led the group inside and began to look around for traps and hazards. Suddenly panels on the walls slid open and a trio of robots that looked like a mix between Husk and Membrane ghibrani stepped into the room.
“Restricted area!” The robot announced. “Leave immediately or be terminated!”
Despite the warning, the robot did not wait for the group to leave. Instead, it shot laser beams out of its eyes right at them.
“Eeek!” Hops shrieked.
“Engage!” Aya ordered.
“You don’t have to tell me twice!” Tucker exclaimed. He dove across the room and fired his laser pistol at the nearest robot. “BOOM!”
“Rijin!” Vishkesh commanded. “Battle mode!”
“Yes, sir! I will happily assault my fellow robots on your behalf!” Rijin replied. He pulled out his flare gun and aimed it at a robot. “Pew pew!” he called out as he fired the flare.
Rijin examined his guns. “Decisions, decisions… This feels like a — “
A laser beam zipped past his head and nearly singed an antenna. “Yup! Laser pistol it is!” He drew and fired his pistol at the robots. “I adore my flame thrower, but I do not want to cause unnecessary harm to the room’s generators!”
“Get behind me Snowball!” Hops exclaimed as she fired off energy rays at the robots.
Aya strode into honourable melee combat with her combat staff.
Once again, this battle was short but painful! Aya used up nearly all of her magic on healing spells for the group. Once the battle was over they took a ten minute break to rest and recuperate, then Aya finished healing the group with her magic. Meanwhile, Vishkesh, Rijin, and Tucker got to work repairing the generators, and Hops ran a diagnostics check and fixed some faulty programming. As the red lights stopped flashing, the group smiled.
“Well, that should stop the power fluctuations,” Tucker remarked.
Vishkesh smiles happily. “Joyous news!”
“High five’s team!” Rijin exclaimed. “Although my hand appendages only possess three digits!”
When they were done the group moved on, heading over to another nearby door. Tucker checked it out and decided it looked safe. They headed inside and found the room full of computer servers. They looked around, then approached the access terminal. Hops clicked away for a while and gained access to the mainframe.
“Oh, wow!” Hops exclaimed. “I thought this would control the mainframe, but it’s… like… everything! It looks like a long time ago they took all the information from the local databases and transferred them here. Some of its classified. Information from past leaders and stuff…” Hops began to sift through the data, and transferred all the important information about Elytrio and it’s society to Snowball — who was a walking computer.
As she read, she frowned. “Oh my… Uh… Well, some of this we guessed already. Elytrio used to have a variety of ecosystems until it was ravaged by nuclear war a few years after the Gap. There were a lot of different ghibrani nations up until then, and it looks like this city is the only place that survived the devastation. Lots of people died.” Hops shook her head sadly. “They used to worship Damoritosh. Before the war they managed to achieve orbital flight and built some stuff on their moons, but never actually got into outer space. Hmm… Looks like they anticipated a lot of trouble with keeping the population in Arkeost fed…. Something about automation… and…. Oh, my….”
Hops pressed a button and a video clip played on the screen. It showed a ghibrani who displayed features of both Husks and Membranes dressed in fine clothes. “…without a doubt food will runout before the end of one hundred years. As such, we have decided to enact protocol Exodus…” the video glitches before continuing. “…purposefully engineer several disasters to befall the surviving population. Rumours will be seeded throughout the lower and middle quarters that an angry Damoritosh was responsible for this ‘divine punishment.’ Select personnel, officers and delegates will know this to be false. Such agents will work to spread the creation of a false deity we’re going to call ‘Mother Touloo” who will promise salvation to those ghibrani who give up the comforts of civilization and head out into the wastes. One of our eldest — Most Elevated Gaulwen — is ill. He will serve as the leader of this false faith and lead a sizeable contingent of ghibrani’s into the wastelands. They will die, of course, but the leaders of Arkeost, our most trusted advisors, government officials, and military personnel, along with our closest friends and family, will remain behind…” the video glitches again. “Thus ensuring the continued survival of the great ghibrani people. Long live Arkeost. Praise Damoritosh. The war will be won.”
The video fell silent.
My daughter looked thoughtful. “Huh.”
My son shook his head. “So… they made up a fake god and tricked people into leaving their city? But the people who left became the Husks, right? The didn’t all die. Some lived.”
I nodded. “And the people who stayed in Arkeost became the Membranes. They also lived.”
My son shook his head again. “They were so… MEAN.”
I nodded noncommittally. This is the kind of thing I prefer to let my kids puzzle out and form an opinion of themselves, before throwing my two cents in there.
My daughter shrugged. “At least some people lived. Maybe they would all be dead if they didn’t do that.”
“But… They thought the Husks would DIE! I love the Husks!” My son replied.
“Wait.” My daughter said. “Does this mean the Membranes are bad?”
I shrugged. “What do you think?”
They thought. My daughter eventually said, “I will use my computers to see what happened after that stuff. When this mean guy was going to die or something.”
Hops sifted through the datalogs and eventually found some more videos and reports. Turns out only select personnel were told that Mother Touloo was fake. The remaining ghibrani held a ceremony bidding those who left farewell, then continued on with their lives. They completed automation on the city, ensuring that they and their descendants would live a life of leisure for centuries to come. A few decades later it became clear that some ghibrani has survived the wastes. The leaders of Arkeost publicly called this a blessing, but warned their people to stay clear of them and their strange religion. They had ordered all data of the past be transferred to the central mainframe and, as those ghibrani who created Mother Touloo neared the end of their lives, they closed off the Mainframe to prevent any of their fellows from learning the truth of Mother Touloo. Such knowledge could be dangerous.
My kids thought some more.
“Well… it is not really the fault of the Membranes that are left… Their grandparents and stuff were the mean ones….”
My kids thought some more. Their characters gathered all the information they could, and then left the Mainframe, locking it up behind them. Back outside, they found Klarima.
“How was it?” she asked.
“We learned much,” Aya replied.
“And we fixed the power fluctuations!” Vishkesh added helpfully.
My kids looked at each other.
“Are you going to tell anyone in Arkeost about Mother Touloo?” I asked them.
My kids shook their heads.
“What about the Husks? Will you tell them the truth?”
My kids shook their heads.
“Doing so might cause a war.” My husband pointed out. “But, they also deserve to know.”
My kids thought some more. They shook their heads.
“You’re keeping it quiet?” I confirmed.
The Starfinders returned to the centre of Arkeost and spent the night among the Membranes. The next day they left the city, with Klarima at their sides in order to access the forcefield.
“Something happened in the Mainframe,” Klarima pointed out. “I can feel it. You are burdened.”
My kids (and their characters) fell into guilty silence.
Aya stepped forward. “We learned much. Not all was good. But, it is the past. We would prefer not to dredge it back up. Divisions and anger can help neither Husk, nor Membrane at this stage.”
Klarima thought on this. “We have plenty, and they have nothing. But, I wonder who is better off. After seeing the Husks…. They can care for themselves. Membranes cannot.” She drifted off into silence. “Arkeost is great. I wish the Husks would accept its wonders. But then, I suppose their Mother would no longer protect them.” She shrugged. “I wish I could help them both.” With a clack of her mandibles she held out her hands in farewell. “It was a pleasure to meet you. I hope you enjoy your other worlds.”
“You should come with us!” Hops exclaimed.
My son grinned. “Yeah!” Vishkesh announced. “Come fly on our starship with us. You can join the Starfinders and see the galaxy! Maybe you’ll learn something helpful. That can help all ghibrani.”
Klarima clapped her hands. “Really? You would take me with you? Oh, I would love to!”
The Starfinders and Klarima, travelled to Infinity and headed back out into the Vast. They taught Klarima all they could — minus the history of her people — and soon returned to Absalom Station. Venture-Captain Arvin asked for a report, which they gave honestly. They provided him all the information they had learned from the Mainframe about Elytrio, it’s ruins, and history — including about Mother Touloo. Then they spoke of the cultures of the Husks and Membranes. Lastly, they told Arvin all about Klarima and the other friends they had made.
“You faced a difficult decision,” he pointed out. He made no comment on whether he agreed with their actions. “I will enter Klarima into training shortly.” After a pause, he smiled, “You did your friends from the Unbounded Wayfarer proud. I’ll contact you when the next expedition is ready to begin.”
The Starfinders fetched Klarima and brought her to see Arvin. Then they headed out into Absalom Station to recover from their adventures.
My kids had a ton of fun in this adventure. They loved interacting with the Husks and Membranes, enjoyed the starship combat against foes they didn’t have to feel bad about shooting, and made tough decisions that could affect the future of their new friends.
As you may have heard, the latest issue of Wayfinder Magazine was recently released. Wayfinder is full of fan-created content for the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game, and is a free download on Paizo’s website. Over the years they’ve made an astounding 18 issues of Wayfinder, as well as a Bestiary! Nearly every issue has a theme, with this latest one being Fey and the First World! So whether you you’re a fan of the fey, or a fan of free, I highly suggest you give this little gem a chance!
But, what’s inside it anyway? A lot! At around 75 pages for each issue, that’s a lot of free stuff! The articles inside offer new player races, archetypes, feats and spells. As well as new equipment, both magical and mundane. In addition to player options, there’s plenty for GMs with adventure ideas, plot hooks, characters that can be used as allies or enemies, unique monsters, and even short adventures. Both players and GMs can make use of a ton of locations, personalities and gazetteers that are described throughout. To round things out there’s also songs, poetry, and fiction. And let’s not forget the awesome art!
There was a lot that I loved inside Wayfinder 18. My favourite archetype was the ‘Bogeykin,’ a spiritualist who has formed a bond with a dead bogeyman that urges her to sow terror! This archetype is written by Calder CaDavid, features art by Adam Munger, and can be found on page 26.
For spells, check out ‘liar’s light,’ ‘mother’s embrace,’ and ‘seneschal’s rebuke,’ all of which are inspired by Eldest of the First World, and can be found on pages 34-35. These spells are written by Jason Daugherty and Wojciech “Drejk” Gruchala, while the art in that article is by Jess Door.
I’m not a big fan of style feats, so imagine my surprise when my favourite feats all turned out to be styles! I’d suggest giving both the ‘Cold Iron Style’ (page 37) and the ‘Quickling Style’ (page 50) feat trees a read. These are written by Stewart “Reduxist” Moyer, and Matt “Helio” Roth, with art by John Bunger.
If it’s gear you’re interested in, be sure to check out the ‘living spear,‘ a +3 living wood called spear which is home to a dryad! This sure-to-be-fun weapon is on page 39. If you’re a worshipper of the Lantern King, then you should also check out the ‘vagabond’s cloak,’ found on page 40.
There are a lot of cool new creatures inside, but my favourites turned out to be the poppy leshy, a CR 1/2 creature found on page 65-66 which has adorable artwork. I also love the zolavoi, a somber little CR 5 creature found on page 67-68.
My favourite campaign inspiration was a plot hook on page 48 entitles ‘Rise of the Gerbie,’ which was written by Amanda Plageman and features art by Adam Munger. I also adored the article entitled ‘Sailing Across Eternity: Locales and Personages of the Sea Without a Shore‘ on page 54. Written by Matt Roth, with art by Fil Kearney, this is a mini gazetteer which takes a look at a few super unique settlements located within the Sea Without a Shore.
My children also enjoyed the Wayfinder Magazine. My daughter’s favourite part was an article on how animal companions can become altered by the First World. This is in no small part due to the wonderful art of a rabbit shooting fairies out of it’s mouth by Beatrice Pelagatti. The article itself is written by Calder CaDavid and features a ton of cool, creative ideas. I’m sure my daughter will be using some in the near future.
Meanwhile, my son’s favourite part was an article about the unintended side effects of bartering with fey. I highly suggest you check it out for yourself on page 14. Entitled ‘First World Trade,’ it’s written by Taylor Hubler, and features art by Jeremy Corff. It’s hilarious!
Want to contribute to the next Wayfinder issue? You can! The next issue’s topic is Stafinder: Absalom Station! Head on over to the Paizo message boards, here, for more information on how and what you can submit! Each person is only allowed three potential submissions, so send your best! My children have both already submitted a creature each for consideration, while I’ve penned a ‘Weal or Woe’ article which I’ve submitted for consideration. I’ve also got an archetype and a theme in the works, but we’ll keep those under wraps for now. If you don’t own them, be sure to pick up the Starfinder Core Rulebook, and Starfinder Roleplaying Game: Pact Worlds before penning your submissions. Best of luck!
I hope you’ve enjoyed checking out the contents of the latest Wayfinder with me. If you happen to have contributed to it: Thanks! And if you’re thinking of applying for the next issue: I wish you the best of luck!