I’ve almost posted this 3 times and I kept on stopping myself.
Here’s a blog by one of the Starfinder developers talking about how GM’s of Starfinder can do high level play (mainly for The Devastation Ark AP). In all my years of gaming this is only the third time where I’ve ever seen anything like this, where a developer “officially” says, “Hey, this class we made is op, our bad!”
If any of y’all have an operative character concept dancing around in your head like some sort of sugar-plum, please take into account what everyone else in the party is playing, mainly their skills, and ask them what skills they plan on covering… and then let them cover those skills. Not perfect, since a high level operative will be trained in every skill that matters, but that’s a whole other problem. Let the envoy be the face, let the mechanic do engineering, let the ace-pilot be the pilot, let the technomancer be the computer gal, let the mystic be the life science dude, etc.
If we have multiple operatives in the group? Well, I just don’t know then.
The “solution”/trick they offer in the blog, to let non-operatives use the “aid another” action to help the operative hit all the skill checks. Well, that f**king sucks for everyone else.
So we can expect:
- a) skill DCs high enough to challenge the operative, so the only thing anyone else can do is aid the operative
- b) skill DCs low enough for everyone else to reasonably achieve, but are trivial for the operative
Which do y’all prefer?
Character Creation Info for the First Adventure
WARNING: DO NOT SEARCH FOR “Azlanti Star Empire”, “Nakondis”, or “Madelon’s Landing” UNLESS YOU WANT SPOILERS FOR THE ADVENTURE!
The primary antagonists are xenophobic humans from their own space empire who are hostile to both the Pact Worlds and the Veskarium. It’s reasonable to assume that you’ll come across lots of gear, facilities, weapons, clothing, armor, ships, etc, built/sized for humans. It’s also reasonable to assume that at some point during the AP the party might have to do the “stormtrooper’s escorting the wookie into the detention area thing”, but that means there’s going to have to be at least a couple of party member who can reasonably play the part of the stormtrooper.
The party starts with a tier 1 starship of their very own. They even get to design it if they so choose. There’s two examples of tier 1 party sized ships (i.e. non-fighter) in the CRB: the Kevolari Venture and the Starhive Drone Mk III for inspiration or in case no one wants the responsibility of designing a ship.
Someone who owns the ship (tbd by the party) has been tasked with transporting some goods from Absalom Station to a colony (Madelon’s Landing) on the planet Nakondis somewhere in the Vast. It’s typical colony stuff: foodstuffs, spare parts, oxygen scrubbers, batteries, etc, none of which is really worth stealing as the price to be paid for delivering the cargo to Nakondis is the same or more than what a level one party would get for stealing and selling the cargo somewhere else. Plus you’d be stealing from AbadarCorp at level 1; bad idea.
This ship would be a great plot hook. Some or all of the party could be an established crew before the adventure even starts. Other people could be just hitching a ride to Nakondis, as the other major plot hook of the story is some sort of tie to one of the prominent colonists: an andoid scholar named Cedona. There’s individual plot-hooks for some of the CRB themes to Cedona:
Ace Pilot: A few years ago, you received an emergency commission from an android named Cedona. She needed quick transport into an asteroid-choked section of the Diaspora, no questions asked, and couldn’t find anyone else able to navigate the complicated route quickly. Cedona was impressed with your flawless piloting and contacted you a few times for other jobs, even when another pilot would have been more convenient for her to hire.
Bounty Hunter: You had a high-paying job that seemed to have gone bust, as your quarry had slipped away to another planet without leaving behind any clues. You were about to admit defeat when Cedona contacted you with some information—your quarry’s location. You collected your quarry and your pay without any difficulties. Cedona has provided you with unexpected but useful information from time to time ever since, and the two of you have become friends, although she hasn’t ever revealed her information sources.
Icon: Cedona happens to be a fan of your type of performance or field of study. The android is polite and friendly, and the two of you have bonded based on her appreciation of your work. She asked that you come visit her in Madelon’s Landing if you ever found yourself out in the Vast. You could tell that she didn’t really think you’d find the time in your busy schedule to get out that far, and you look forward to surprising her with your presence.
Mercenary: You took a job a few years ago clearing some invading forces out of a ruined factory, and one of the mercenaries working alongside you was an android named Cedona. It became clear to you that she was no ordinary mercenary but was seeking a particular individual you later learned was an escaped convict. Regardless, Cedona was cool under fire and very professional, and you appreciated that. She saw the same in you, and the two of you became friends. You have an ongoing, good-natured dispute about which of you could take the other in a fight, but you’ve never pushed it to the test—deep down, you might worry that you’ll lose.
Outlaw: Despite your back-alley dealings and efforts to avoid legal entanglements, you kept running into an android named Cedona. You might have thought she was a bounty hunter or a police officer, as she so frequently seemed to know where to find you, but she didn’t seem interested in capturing you. She was more interested in finding out why you were charged for your crimes, and whether you had done illegal things for the right reasons. Cedona seemed to actually like you, when so many others were willing to cast you aside or turn you in, and you struck up a friendship with her. She once showed up to provide you a transit pass and fake identification documents when forces of the law were closing in on your home, and you feel like you still owe her for that.
Priest: Cedona was a friend of a friend whom you tended through a difficult illness. Although Cedona doesn’t share your religious conviction, you learned over long hours at your mutual friend’s bedside that she is a good and caring person. When your friend passed away, you and Cedona both agreed to keep in touch, but you drifted apart nonetheless. You heard she retired to an AbadarCorp colony in the Vast, and you resolved to rekindle your friendship.
Scholar: You attended a short series of lectures a few years ago about the business of religion, but you found the presenter’s conclusions ill-founded and lacking in intellectual rigor. You met another attendee—an android named Cedona—and struck up a friendship while complaining about the lectures. Cedona was primarily interested in learning about AbadarCorp colonies; she hoped to join one of those colonies once she retired from her current job, although she didn’t mention what that job was. When she was approved to join AbadarCorp’s colony on Nakondis, Cedona asked you to come visit her when you could, to see “religion and business in the field.”
Spacefarer: You’re the reason Cedona came to Nakondis in the first place. You’ve been to the system before, although it seemed to have little to recommend it to anyone. Sure, Nakondis is lush with beautiful, healthy forests and thick with sparkling fog, but you aren’t the sort to consider settling down planetside. Your acquaintance Cedona agreed it seemed pleasant, and you weren’t surprised when you heard she retired to the AbadarCorp colony there. You would like to see her life on the planet you first introduced her to.
Xenoseeker: You chafed at the confines of civilization in the Pact Worlds, finding your center in remote gardens or little-traveled wildernesses. On these journeys, you occasionally encountered an android named Cedona. She never told you what she did for a living, but she talked often about how she was looking forward to retirement on a wilderness planet far off in the Vast. When she was approved to join the colony on Nakondis, she invited you to a going-away party to celebrate her good fortune, and she asked that you look her up some day.
Themeless (or Other Theme): You were Cedona’s neighbor for a few months, and she was the only person in the neighborhood you really considered a friend. She had a pet named Cubber—a vulpine creature known as a squox (see Starfinder Alien Archive 2)—that she occasionally asked you to feed while she was away for work. You never learned what Cedona did professionally, but she seemed glad to retire from it. She was happy when she told you she’d been accepted to join an AbadarCorp colony on Nakondis, although it meant she’d have to find a new home for Cubber. Whether you now own Cubber is up to you.
There’s also a Colonist theme “new” to this adventure who might be just tagging along about the PCs ship to the colony and have no tie to Cedona before the adventure starts.
Characters with ties to AbadarCorp might be on official business (or at the least accompanying the cargo for “safety” reasons). Characters with ties to the Starfinder Society might be interested in exploring Nakondis. Characters who are(ex-)LEOs might have a super secret plot hook as well.
I don’t know enough about the higher level adventures to say how that’s going to influence character creation.