Product– Starfinder Adventure Path #1: Incident at Absalom Station (Dead Suns 1 of 6)
TL; DR-Not the brightest star, but a decent start. 83%
Basics– ARE YOU READY FOR ADVENTURE!? Incident at Absalom Station kicks off the first Starfinder adventure path. Players step off the ship and into gangland warfare as their contact is gun downed within seconds of seeing him. Why? What dark secrets are at play? Who is involved? Also, this book contains a gazatier on Absolom station, several new monsters, and a whole new world for your players to play in.
Mechanics or Crunch-Ah the intro adventure! What can a level 1 nothing do on their first day? Not much, but LOTS OF SKILL CHECKS! Paizo has a history in their adventure paths of having players do lots of checks to get past those first few levels. This adventure is no different. It’s not bad, but once you get past the first fight, its checks. And, if your party doesn’t have the right checks, then its a slog. Past that its balanced and fun. After the checks, there are some simple space fights to get those mechanics out there, an exploration with some progressive fights to get those mechanics out there, and then we’re off to the next adventure book. Overall it’s balanced, but the standard paint by numbers of a new RPG needs to really get players into the system and teach them the rules can be a bit boring. 4.25/5
Theme or Fluff-Repeat after me-PLAYERS HATE FIGHTS WHERE THE ENEMIES SHOULD RUN AWAY. I’m not talking big bads, I’m talking regular grunts above the player’s level. Players want to KILL! This adventure starts with gang war above the players pay grade, and the players want everyone dead. It’s not supposed to happen, but my players are always EVIL, SPITE-FILLED MONSTERS who must kill EVERYONE! If that describes your players, then as written, they will be mad. For check section I mentioned above, the players need to talk to people, and if your party decides Charisma is for suckers, then that is a SUPER slog as my Cha 10 fighter attempts to talk to people as the -1 to -2 modifier other players hope for 20s to even get the middle of the ground information. Past that first fitful start, it’s a fun adventure as players can find the roles they need and better understand what they should do next. This adventure runs like a train-slow, clunky start but then smooth sailing the rest of the way. 4/5
Execution-PDF? Check! Hyperlinked? NOPE! Why not hyperlink this book? It’s 60+ pages! Next, Starfinder isn’t going to get the 64 page world building books that went with the Pathfinder line. That’s ok, but now my players don’t get as much world building as before as unless I print of sections and hand those out, they players either can read the book or spoil the adventure. The items are nice, the monsters are interesting and have great pictures, and the layout is well done. But, no new races! Part of the fun of Starfinder is if you want to be an intelligent mist, then we got stats for that baby! But, I’m not seeing that here. Throw me a new playable race each mod! There are a few other issues as some things just don’t fit well. The water world of Heicoron IV is ok, but there are no mentions of how I can play either of the races that live there. It feels thrown in. It’s not bad, but reference your other books or give me stats, so I can have a whole adventures with the fish people. This is a good but, but it has some flaws that do knock it down a bit 4.25/5
Summary-I’m ready for more, but I have some notes. Overall, I like what’s here. It’s done well, readable, and a good introduction to the mechanics of the system. The story itself has a few issues, but those issues are part of every adventure path’s start. I have more notes on the new execution of the Starfinder line. I want separate books and changes to how they are produced. New races, new tech in the books, and some focus will help improve this line. Will I get that? Most likely not. But, as a GM running a game, I think this is a good way to get your players rolling dice and understanding how to play Starfinder 83%