Review: Paizo – Scoured Stars (Starfinder)

Scoured Stars
Scoured Stars is a space fantasy adventure path campaign for Starfinder, written by Eleanor Ferron, Vanessa Hoskins, Thurston Hillman, Jenny Jarzabski, Mikko Kallio, Cole Kronewitter, Lyz Liddell, Shahreena Shahrani, Christopher Wasko, Nicholas Wasko, and Larry Wilhelm and published by Paizo.
By Aaron T. Huss

Learn more about Scoured Stars here
Purchase Scoured Stars here (paid link)
Find other Starfinder posts here

Scoured Stars is a repackaging and revision of the first season of Starfinder Society, the organized play program Paizo releases for Starfinder. It is a living timeline and as such, it features the beginning of the Starfinder Society timeline where outcomes from this campaign flows into products released later on. It is not a traditional adventure path campaign and instead contains 12 adventures linked together with a common storyline that builds in intensity from its first gaming session to its last. It does not contain some of the normal adventure path elements and instead is presented as a single, self-contained campaign, albeit one that participants in the Starfinder Society Organized Play will recognize with some revisions here and there. Although self-contained (GMs don’t need other books as everything is printed therein), it does take from many other products that can be utilized to enhance the gaming experience including a large quantity of Pathfinder and Starfinder flip-mats, the Alien Archive series, Pact Worlds, and more. It also features a culture that becomes more prominent in later products, but more on that later. It is not what I was expecting from a product labeled as an “adventure path”, but in the end I was not disappointed.

Space Fantasy/Sci-Fi Fantasy games can easily be approached in two different ways. The first is fantasy with advanced technology (think fantasy with lasers), but it’s still feels like a fantasy game. The second is sci-fi with magic and cultures shared between both sci-fi and fantasy. Scoured Stars presents the latter form and being the first season of Starfinder Society, could possibly be the best way to introduce new players to Starfinder – especially if you’re trying to convince sci-fi gamers (WH40k, Traveller, Star Trek Adventures, etc.) to try something new. In fact, the game actually feels like a mash-up of Warhammer 40k and Star Trek wrapped around the OGL d20 mechanics. This isn’t really a spoiler because the players will become 100% aware of this early in the first session, but the campaign starts out with a group exploring a new planetary system before becoming cut off from everyone else due to an unknown energy shield (not what it’s called, but I’ll call it that). It then becomes the PCs’ mission to help save this crew, but it’s definitely not THAT easy. Otherwise it wouldn’t be a game developed by Paizo. In fact, you will encounter a number of aspects of sci-fi gaming social encounters, intrigue, aliens, starship battles, rescue missions, and a series of adventures that build and build until you reach this almost Star Wars-like climax.

It’s friggin’ cool, I’m not gonna lie. I love how the campaign approaches the setting and more importantly, I love how it stays true to being a space fantasy game. It’s not all perfection though, as there are little things here and there that may annoy the seasoned GM.

First, there’s not a lot of artwork in the book and it relies heavily on source content found elsewhere. Not that the source content is required to run the campaign, but if your players are truly inquisitive and want to go off the rails, you’ll have to start building your library. Second, it relies heavily on Paizo’s flip mats. Not a big deal if you don’t mind recreating the maps from the book, but if you want the full experience, you’ll have to source many flip mat products. Third, veteran players of Starfinder, especially those from the Starfinder Society organized play, may find it difficult to disconnect themselves from so much meta knowledge that the PCs in Scoured Stars are not supposed to have as part of the game. This is due to the organized play being a living timeline whereas events from one season proliferate throughout later seasons. The book does touch on this multiple times to help the GM, but sometimes players simply know too much.

With that said, if you are running Starfinder for a group of noobs, then this is the perfect campaign to start with! And afterward, you can keep the game going with other products and characters completing the campaign at Level 15. If you are running it for a group of Starfinder veterans, there might be some bookkeeping required to match-up this campaign’s timeline with other products in the Starfinder library. It’s still doable, but the GM will have to put some extra work into it.

Share this post:

Related Posts

Leave a Comment