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Starfinder: Attack of the Swarm (Fate of the Fifth) AP pbp


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Starting post for the upcoming Starfinder: Attack of Swarm pbp I will be running. I'm mainly using this to get a feel for Starfinder & such as I'm hoping to run a game or 2 at ReaperCon 2021.




Paizo Inc.

(Part 1 of 6 Attack of the Swarm Adventure Path)


(as quoted from the Paizo product page:)


"Suskillon Needs You!

As the ever-ravenous threat of the insectile Swarm surges across another system in the Vast, the heroes are part of the defense effort. They must fight back against waves of foes and rescue civilians, including a shirren priest of Hylax whose temple seems to be of particular interest to the invaders. By relying on their wits—and each other—the heroes just might survive the Swarm onslaught."


Suskillon System


The Story so far..........


It has been 6 months to the day, since the Swarm* first touched down on Suskillon in a bloody conflict named the Battle at Stone Sea. After the Swarm punched through the planet’s aerial and orbital defenses, its components landed near the Stone Sea, a large freshwater lake surrounding a dormant volcano. The Fifth Battalion of the Suskillon Defense Force (SDF**) was closest to the site of contact and held the Swarm back long enough for the SDF to mobilize other battalions to the area. Stories of the battle have already reached near-mythical heights, as most members of the Fifth Battalion were killed in glorious, terrible combat.


Since then, the SDF has fought a losing battle against the Swarm. Though Suskillon is a friendly trading partner with the Pact Worlds, the planet’s government has yet to officially request aid, with many afraid that the Pact Worlds will claim their planet as a protectorate in “payment” for such help. However, that hasn’t stopped volunteers and mercenaries from other systems (including the Pact Worlds and the Veskarium) from journeying to Suskillon to join in the fight against the invasion. The Swarm is relentless, though, and it has already overran and taken nearly half of the planet.


*The Swarm is a collective menace of sentient insect-like creature bent on expanding it's colonies by devouring anything in it's wake. The Swarm doesn't negotiate with people it just consumes it's host & whatever it's host is on. The Shirren were part of the Swarm, but during "The Gap" they were able to free themselves from it's collective mind & established their own colonies. Unfortunately, The Swarm has the ability to adapt to the challenges conquering it's foes & were able to follow the Shirren & left most of their new colonies in ruins due to the Shirren's connection with the Hylax, a divine entity the Swarm are hellbent on wiping from existence.


This also led them to come in contact with the Veskarium, the system of the military-like reptilian humanoids. The Swarm was so overwhelming that the Vesk (as their race is called) called in the Pact Worlds (home to many, but notably humans) & formed an alliance to beat back the Swarm. This has only temporarily stopped the Swarm from taking over both their worlds.


Only time will tell when that may happen........


** Suskillon Defense Force (or the SDF for short) is the military force of planet Suskillon. In the beginning it was your standard military but as the war with the Swarm has progressed, the leaders of the SDF have brought it whoever wanted to fight the Swarm. Whether or not these folk due to it for honorable reason, matters not, as the SDF needs bodies to win the war against the Swarm. So far, the war has only gone the way of the Swarm. The Fifth Battalion is the unit, you the PCs are assigned to. Welcome aboard, solider!


The Present...


You have answered Suskillon's need for heroes & saviors, whether it was due to you were already in the SDF as career military, a merc, a prisoner whose sentence was to serve or die, or just someone who wanted to help out in any way you can, etc etc. You been enlisted into the SDF & have been asigned to the Fifth Battalion & have been sent to Camp Cavalier, a small military encampment outside the capitol city of Brinnoa. Brinnoa is located on the planet's most populated continent in the southern hemisphere. The commanding officer is Major Jaldamarrak, a Vesk with a impressive military background (feel free to give me, Culture or Profession (soldier) check to learn more about this individual).


The adventure begins in the middle of "Dead Winter", one of Suskillon's extended, extremely cold weather period. Also, much the surprise to most people, the daily attacks of the Swarm have died off, almost to a point that if not for their previous attacks & destruction, one might think they have decided to retreated & focus on some other system.


You all begin inside a room outside the commanding unit at Camp Cavalier, awaiting on when you can see the Major. 

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"Major Jaldamarrak has taken command of the Fifth, eh.  I heard a lot of good things about him. I can't wait to hear what he has to say about the mess we're in with those bugs."


Gustav tries to recall the Major's history and his reputation among his subordinates.  Culture check 11 + 9= 20

Edited by ferret
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Ra'astar sits awkwardly in his chair, one of his four hands absently counting what seem to be some sort of prayer beads.  His solar mote, currently extinguished as he has found that it disturbs some people, floats invisibly over his right shoulder.  At Gustav's words he try's to recall any pertinent about the Major.


Culture check: 19+6=25 

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Vitharyan Vanishka, Suskillon Defense Force, Cpl, 5th Battalion


KAC: 15 | EAC: 14 | CMAC: 23 | FORTITUDE: +1 | REFLEX: +5 | WILL: +2



Sitting in the briefing room, Vitharyan couldn't help but think back to the Battle of the Stone Sea, six months seemed like a life time when you reflected on it.  The 5th had fought like brush stalkers when the Swarm had first punched through their defenses, and he had thought that's what he wanted, a life of action, of service, something away from the plankton farms of Drachovya, and here he was almost missing them.  Those were simpler times, shirking his chores, grabbing a rifle and riding out with Chisk'isk popping dart weasels from the back of their enercycles at 100 yards.  He nodded his large head, a toothy grin as he remembered those times, but then reality came rushing back, the Stone Sea, pumice rock floating on it's surface as the Swarm vexxers, their components having landed in the lake itself, rising from the water, and demolishing the ground defenses, including his childhood friend.


He snarled as he pushed the losses down beneath an iron will, he was a soldier, this was Suskillon, his home, and he'd fight like hell to make sure they pushed the Swarm back to whatever corner of the Vast they came from.  His request for the status of outlying communities had been denied, there weren't casualty, or evacuation lists that they were willing to make public yet, thankfully he'd seen Gustav around camp, and knew he'd been assigned S-2.  They'd trained at Gallant together, and he thought that he might be able to get him to lose a report for old times sake.  He craned his neck, scanning the gathered soldiers, some experienced, some civilian barely through the accelerated basic training meant to replace the 5th's losses, some looked nervous, some seemed to think this pull back meant that the swarm were preparing for a full withdraw.  To him, it felt like the tide pulling back before a tsunami leveled the coast, however, he knew that the Major had called the briefing for a reason, so he tried to dig through the intel he'd gathered on the 5th command structure, to see if he could recall Jaldamarrak's service record.


Profession (Soldier) 1d20+5=16+5=21  (As a Career Trooper, the DC of the Check is reduced by 5, so my 21 should be enough to get a total of DC 26)

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Profession (Soldier) 1d20+5=16+5=21  (As a Career Trooper, the DC of the Check is reduced by 5, so my 21 should be enough to get a total of DC 26)

    I didn't think the reduction to DC applied (Gustav is also a career trooper) since it seems rather narrow in scope. 

   "Reduce the DC of any Culture or Diplomacy check to gather or recall information about enemy troop sizes and tactics by 5."

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Ratticus is staring at where the mote was, trying intently to see it.  He has heard of a solarian before but hasnt seen one on his home world and he is trying desprately to see it or figure it out without looking like a noob.  He is also rubbing his hands and stamping his small feet in response to the cold, even though its comfortable in the room.  He is not trying to see the mote, he is wandering around the room looking for something to fix or take apart, overall he has a vibrant energy and seems to be looking for something to do or someone to engage him in conversation but he's not sure where to start.

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Doc is pleased when he realizes that he has been assigned to the unit with Vith, his young friend having given him permission to use the short form of his name. Having seen the courage and ferocity of the big Vesk, he is quite comforting to have around. Also, Ratticus is in the unit, and this gives him a large smile, as he had found him quite entertaining. And Ra'astar, the Solarian is with them. Nearly as tall as Vith, he seems to draw upon a deliberate peace, Doc is looking forward to talking with him and learning. He just hopes at his age, he will not be a liability to his teammates.

Makes a mental note to see if there are any extra medical supplies available at the Med Tent to take with him.

Edited by Corsair
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9 hours ago, ferret said:


    I didn't think the reduction to DC applied (Gustav is also a career trooper) since it seems rather narrow in scope. 

   "Reduce the DC of any Culture or Diplomacy check to gather or recall information about enemy troop sizes and tactics by 5."


In this case, I will allow it, the Major is a "major" player in the war, so his name is well known (hence the reduction amongst military personnel. Good call on looking that up thou.)

(ok new layout is a bit confusing....editing is now above the post)


Ok, everyone but Doc (@Corsair) knows all the following about the Major:


The vesk officer is one of the most stalwart and feared commanders in the SDF. He is over 60 years old and has had a storied career. He has worked for the Veskarium military, the Stewards, and as a private military consultant in the Pact Worlds.


Jaldamarrak was one of a few vesk given the Starstone Medal—one of the Pact Worlds’ highest military decorations—for fighting the Swarm during its attack on the Pact Worlds and the Veskarium. Credible rumors say that he turned down an offer to join the Knights of Golarion after the hostilities ended.


(Doc you are unfamiliar with this tidbit of info)


When Major Jaldamarrak joined the SDF at the beginning of the Swarm invasion, he insisted on being given the rank of private and has worked his way up to his current position in a short period of time. He has been heard to say that fighting against the Swarm is his true purpose in life.


After waiting for anther 10 mins, the door finally opens & a male human with the ranking of lieutenant enters the room, commanding everyone to rise & follow him into the next room. The room is decorated with some personal treasures of the Major, his Starstone Medal (if I had a pic I'd post it. The Starstone was a unique gemstone meteorite that was part of a massive meteoroid which shattered and struck Golarion in -5293 AR. This event, known as Earthfall, caused the destruction of many ancient empires including Azlant, Thassilon, Koloran, and Ninshabur; it created the Inner Sea; and it ushered in the Age of Darkness in the Official Pathfinder Setting.) is one that catches your eye as it's displayed in a glass case above his desk. The room has a large leather chair behind a simple desk. In front of that are 2 simple chairs.


The Lt says "the Major will be here in a few, at ease troops." & he takes his leave through anther door that is in the room (the room has 3 doors in it). After a a minute or so, the Major arrives in the room. Major Jaldamarrak Vesk's scales are dark green, and the spikes on his jaw point forward to form a sort of beard. He sports a large red cybernetic eye. As he arrives he inspects the party that has assembled in his chamber. You notice he overlooks you & your equipment, before he begins to speak.



"At ease, soldiers. I am Major Jaldamarrak. I am your new commanding officer here at Camp Cavalier, & I was killing Swarm before most of you were clutching your mother's tails.  I know more about
this enemy than every soft-skin general in this system, and I know for a fact we are losing this war."


"You’ve probably heard that over the last seven days, the Swarm has retreated from three smaller cities to the east of Brinnoa, and the media and the SDF alike are calling this a turning point for the war, but I know better. If you know what best for you & fellow soldiers, you won't listen to them. Those vexers are up to something, and I’m not letting the Fifth Battalion get caught with their spacesuits around their ankles, again."


He pauses slightly before continuing on,


"You’re now part of what I’m calling the Midnight Squad. & your first assignment, you’ll patrol the Delta Escarpment a few miles west of Camp Cavalier from sundown to sun-up and report back with any unusual activity."


His cybernetic eye opens & closes as he overlooks everyone in the room before finishing with,


"Any questions?”


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Ra'astar bows his head respectfully before replying;


"Master, er, I mean Major Jaldamarrak, is there anything in particular that we should be on the lookout for, or is it just Swarm activity in general.  And perhaps if we are to be patrolling while the sun is down, we should requisition some sort of night vision.  Those of us without the genetic disposition for it, that is."  he finishes with a glance at his Yosoki and Vesk team mates.

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Gustav. Comes to attention before addressing his new commanding officer.


" Sir, may we look at the relevant Intel reports and any aerial recon photos or maps of the Delta Escarpment.  It might help us prepare if we know as much as possible about what we are likely to encounter while patrolling the area."

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