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Playing an Adventure

Once you have created a character or selected a pregen, it's time for the main event: playing an adventure!

About Adventures

There are two types of adventures written for the Starfinder Society campaign:

  • Starfinder Quests: 1-hour adventures often used as introductions to the game.

  • Starfinder Society Scenarios: 4–5 hour adventures that each present a single episode in a continuing story.

Rules for additional types of adventures can be found in GM Options: Additional Adventures.

Level Ranges

In a typical home game, the PCs are all the same level and face challenges tailored to their level. In an organized play environment, there needs to be more flexibility so characters of different levels can participate smoothly in the same adventure.

Each adventure lists the character levels that are eligible to play it, as well one or more level ranges within the adventure. If an adventure has more than 2 level ranges, each table must choose 2 adjacent level ranges for that adventure. Only characters of a level that falls within those two level ranges can play in that adventure at that table.

Scenario Tags

Starfinder Society adventures use a set of tags (labels) to highlight properties of the adventure as follows:

  • Exclusive: Scenarios with this tag have running requirements outside the standard one table environment. Scenarios with this tag include specific rules on who is eligible to run it and where and how it can be run.
  • Faction: Scenarios with this tag address the listed faction's goals and may grant additional reputation with a faction.
  • Mech: Scenarios with this tag indicate that the associated Scenario includes some form of Mech combat.
  • Metaplot: Scenarios with this tag are directly connected to a larger plot arc, typically the major plot throughline of a particular Season of Starfinder Society adventures.
  • Nova: Scenarios with this tag contribute to the GM 5 Nova requirements.
  • Quest: This tag indicates the associated product is a single Quest or a Quest pack.
  • Repeatable: Players and GMs may receive credit for Scenarios with this tag an unlimited number of times, though characters can still only receive credit once for a given Scenario.
  • Starship: This tag indicates the associated Scenario includes some form of the starship combat rules in the Starfinder Core Rulebook (Chapter 9 ).
  • Survival: This tag indicates the players will benefit from skills and abilities relating to survival while cut off from outside resources.
  • Vehicle: Scenarios with this tag indicate that the associated Scenario includes some form of vehicle combat or vehicle chase.

Starfinder Society adventures are written for four to six PCs.

Maximum Table: Tables cannot have seven or more players.

Minimum Table: A GM can run a table with two or three players in some situations. In those cases, all four-player adjustments written into the adventure still apply. See Adjusting the Adventure for details.

Before the Adventure

Before the game starts, choose a character to play. This can be one of your existing characters or a pregenerated character, but it must fall within the allowed levels for the adventure. If you choose a pregenerated character, you must also choose an existing character of a lower level, a first level character, or a brand new character to assign credit to.

You may also choose a Faction to represent.

Assigning Credit

The GM will provide a sign-in sheet to record your character’s name, Organized Play ID, Character Number, level and Faction, as well as any contact information the GM needs to send your Chronicle to you. If you are playing a pregenerated character, use the character number of the character who will receive credit for the adventure. At this point, the Chronicle for that adventure is assigned to that character at that level.

One Character Per Adventure

You can have as many active characters as you want in Society. However, you can play only one of your characters during a specific adventure.

One Adventure per Character

A character can only take part in one adventure at a time. From the time the character begins an adventure to the time Chronicles are issued, that character cannot be involved in any other adventure. Characters engaged in play-by-post are considered busy and may not be used in another game while the play-by-post is running.

Replaying Adventures

By default, each player can receive up to two Chronicles for a given adventure: one for playing the adventure and one for running the adventure as the GM. Players can play each adventure once and GM it as many times as they like. GMing an adventure contributes to GM Nova rewards and earns AcP even when it does not award a Chronicle.

Ways to Replay

There are several ways to replay adventures:

Adventures with the Repeatable tag: Adventures with the Repeatable tag can be played any number of times, with a different character each time. Unlike other adventures, they also grant a Chronicle every time they are GMed.

Seeker of Knowledge boon: The Second Seekers (Ehu) and Second Seekers (Jadnura) Factions grant Access to the Seeker of Knowledge Boon, which allows a limited number of replays. They are functionally a single Boon; you cannot gain double the replays by gaining the Boon from each faction. See the Boon text for details.

Granted and purchased Replays: All players are granted 2 Replays after their first game. Each January 1st, GMs are granted 1 additional Replay for each Nova they have earned up to that point. Additional replays can be purchased from the AcP Boon Store on paizo.com. Players must have or purchase a Replay prior to completion and reporting of the Scenario they are replaying.

Granted and purchased Replays can only be used on sanctioned content that is Scenario-length or shorter. Each granted or purchased Replay allows one replay of an adventure you have already played as though that adventure had the Repeatable tag.

Replaying for no credit: This is only allowed if the alternative is for the table not to play. Players must record any items or resources expended and may be given a blank Chronicle for this purpose. This is an exception to the rule that you cannot assign more than one copy of a single adventure's Chronicle to a given character.

Rules for Replaying

One Chronicle per Character: Each character can only earn one copy of a chronicle for any single adventure. You cannot replay an adventure for credit with a character that has already received credit for that adventure.

Notify the GM: Inform the GM that you have already played the adventure or run it as a GM. Although GMs are asked to be flexible, the GM maintains the right to deny running the adventure for you if they feel uncomfortable running the event for players who have foreknowledge of the story.

No Spoilers: When you are replaying an adventure, avoid spoiling the adventure’s plot or using insider information to affect gameplay. Doing so can be grounds for the GM to remove you from the table. In general, be mindful in separating player knowledge from character knowledge, and if you are uncertain how to proceed, speak privately with the GM to determine the best course of action.

Reporting and Rewards for Replaying

Replays of repeatable adventures or using granted or purchased Replays earn rewards for the playthrough normally; that is, they earn a Chronicle and the same rewards a first-time player would earn. They get access to any Boons and items on their Chronicle Sheet, as well as currency, XP, and Reputation, all subject to the outcome of the scenario.

When reporting a scenario replayed using a granted or purchased Replay, the GM checks the “Consume Replay” box next to the character’s information so they earn full credit for the scenario.

GMs do not record or report Organized Play numbers of players replaying for no credit.

During the Adventure

Remember your character is a member of the Starfinder Society, working with colleagues and friends. The Society's motto is “Explore, Report, Cooperate.”

Mission Briefing

Each adventure typically begins with a briefing, either in the form of a message, a meeting with a Venture-Captain, or a job offer from an outside employer.

Slotting Boons: This is when you choose which of your character's Boons are active (slotted) in boon slots for the adventure.

Purchasing Equipment: This will also often be the last opportunity your character has to purchase any needed equipment during the adventure.

Crafting

Characters may not craft items during an adventure. The only allowed crafting is a single item per Downtime period (see Downtime Crafting).

Run As Written

The Paizo Organized Play program strives to provide a fun, engaging, consistent experience at all tables. GMs must run Paizo Organized Play adventures as written, which means:

  • No change to major plot points and interactions
  • No addition or subtraction to the number of monsters other than scaling directed by the Scenario
  • No alteration to the DCs or Results of Hazards or Skill Checks defined in the Scenario.
  • No changes to armor, feats, items, skills, spells, statistics, traits, or weapons.
  • No alteration of mechanics of player characters, or the Scenario including penalties due to weather, terrain or hazards.
  • No banning of legal character options

Beyond the above, GMs are encouraged to make choices that would result in the most enjoyable play experience for everyone at the table and that emphasize PCs are the heroes of the story. (See GM Discretion for discussion and examples.)

Ethical Infractions and Infamy

Players are responsible for their characters’ choices and are subject to consequences resulting from those choices.

Infamy represents a character’s reputation for performing evil or criminal actions. Some Scenarios will call out specific actions that will cause one or more PCs to gain Infamy. A GM may also assign Infamy for evil or criminal acts not specifically called out by the Scenario.

Warnings: The GM must warn the Player that their act will earn Infamy. This warning can be in character or out of character but must be clear to the player. If the PC goes through with the action, they earn the point of Infamy.

Effects of Infamy: Each point of Infamy reduces the PC's effective level by one for purposes of purchasing gear.
If a PC ends an adventure with 3 Infamy, they are ejected from the Starfinder Society and are no longer allowed to play in the campaign. The character must be marked dead when the table is reported.

Reducing Infamy: A PC may purchase the Infamy Reduction boon with AcP to reduce their Infamy by 1.

Major Infractions: Characters who become Wantonly Evil by performing vile actions deliberately and without motive or provocation cannot reduce the value by spending AcP and are retired from the campaign when they reach 3 Infamy. This measure is a last resort; players must try to play their characters in ways that are within the constraints of acceptable alignments, even if their characters have gained some Infamy.

If a character is retired for reaching 3 Infamy, the GM must report the issue to their local Venture-Captain or Regional Venture-Coordinator. (See Violation Enforcement Procedures for more information.)

Only in-game actions earn Infamy. Code of Conduct violations earn players table sanctions.

After the Adventure

Issuing Official Chronicles

After every adventure, the GM issues each player a Chronicle to document the rewards earned by a PC during a particular adventure.

Each Chronicle Sheet includes a summary of the adventure; indications of any choices made along the way which may impact the future of the campaign; and a log of rewards earned while exploring. It also provides areas for notes, purchases, and the acquisition/removal of conditions.

GMs must use the Chronicles included in the adventure or the adventure's sanctioning documents. GMs cannot create their own custom chronicles. Changes made to increase accessibility for the GM or players, such as enlarging the text to improve readability, are permitted and encouraged and do not invalidate Chronicles.

Record-Keeping

Organized play characters rely on good record-keeping to ensure accurate information while playing. Several methods of tracking exist, but the most prevalent is the Chronicle, though players can choose alternative tracking methods and keep their Chronicles as a backup. Players using other tracking methods must ensure all the data on each Chronicle is reflected in their records.

Players may choose to keep their records digitally or in paper files. If stored digitally, players must be comfortable with GMs handling their device while reviewing records. If in paper files, all pages must be carried to games.

Ongoing Effects

All spells and effects end at the end of an adventure with the following exceptions:

  • Spells and effects with permanent or instantaneous duration that heal damage, repair damage, or remove harmful conditions remain in effect at the end of the adventure.
  • Afflictions and harmful conditions obtained during an adventure remain until healed and carry over from adventure to adventure.
Ongoing Afflictions

During an adventure, a character might gain afflictions or harmful conditions such as curses, diseases, poison, or death. Any permanent afflictions must be cleared from the character before the end of the adventure or the character ceases to be available for organized play and must be marked dead by the GM.

Exceptions include permanent negative levels, ability drain that does not reduce an ability score to 0, permanent blindness or deafness, and conditions that impose no mechanical effect. These must be recorded on the character’s chronicle sheet.

Affliction removal applies to pregenerated characters. Any unresolved afflictions on a pregen carry over to the Starfinder Society character receiving credit for the adventure. If that means the character would be marked dead, they are marked dead immediately.

Removing Afflictions

Other PCs can use their spells, feats or class abilities to assist characters in recovering from negative effects. They can also contribute consumables or credits, but are not required to. Characters can always use credits earned during the adventure to clear conditions. Condition removal purchased using AcP or credits automatically succeeds providing it is possible for it to succeed.

Reduce the credit cost to remove afflictions from a pregenerated character by:

Level 1 100 credits
Level 4 600 credits
Level 8 3,300 credits

Adventure Rewards

Chronicle Boons

Once completed, some adventures may grant access to boons. These chronicle boons will be noted on the chronicle sheet and can be accessed on the Boons tab of the My Organized Play page on paizo.com. (Year 1 and 2 Scenarios included such boons on each chronicle sheet.)

Downtime

Not every Starfinder works for the Society full time. Some are trained artisans, professionals, or performers and earn extra credits between missions. After each adventure that grants XP, except for Bounties, you gain a period of Downtime before your next mission, Characters who are trained in a Profession can use this to earn extra income.

Day Job: During Downtime, you can attempt one trained Profession check to earn extra money; this is called a Day Job check. Permanent bonuses from class, equipment, feats, species, and theme apply to your Day Job check as they would any check for the relevant skill. Temporary bonuses do not apply to Day Job checks, no matter the source. You can take 10 on a Day Job check, but you can’t take 20 or use the “Aid Another” action.

You gain a number of credits equal to twice your Profession skill check result, per the “Earn a Living” entry under the Profession skill (Starfinder Core Rulebook page 146 ). You cannot use other skills to make a Day Job check. Add this amount to the Day Job box on your Chronicle Sheet.

For other ways to spend your downtime, see Alternate Downtime Options.

Experience Points

Each time you play an adventure, your character will receive experience points (XP). Typically, you gain 1 XP for completing a Starfinder Society scenario or 3 XP for completing an Adventure Path volume.

Reputation

Reputation is a measure of how influential your character is in the Starfinder Society. See Factions and Reputation for more about how Reputation works.

Treasure

Unlike a traditional game in which the PCs would divide recovered magic items and other treasure among themselves, Starfinder Society awards each participating PC a share of credits based on their respective levels. Rather than divide up items unequally, PCs have equal access to purchase any special treasure found, represented by the items listed on the Chronicle. See Purchasing Guidelines for complete purchasing rules for these items.

Applying Credit

Normally, Chronicles are applied as soon as they are issued. Apply all Chronicle rewards, downtime, and ongoing effects and conditions to the character. This must be done before the character’s next game.

When a Chronicle is applied, the following things happen in order: earn adventure credits, complete Downtime, then earn XP. Downtime occurs before leveling up, which affects alternate Downtime options including crafting. Items may be purchased at any time when not playing an adventure, so characters can level up before making purchases, which affects what items are available.

Chronicles earned by playing a pregenerated character have a few additional rules:

  • Pregen Chronicles assigned to a brand new or 1st-level character can be applied immediately to the character at 1st level or held until the character reaches the pregen's level. Chronicles assigned to a character above level 1 must be held until the character reaches the pregen's level.

  • Pregen Chronicles applied to 1st-level characters gain the following limitations:
    • Reduce the credits awarded to 720 credits if the adventure grants 1 XP or 2,160 credits if it grants 3 XP.
    • Characters do not benefit from any boons on the Chronicle until the character reaches the minimum Chronicle level.

  • Characters receiving credit for pregen Chronicles can earn the rewards or benefits associated with any of their current Boons, as long as those Boons could have been slotted during the adventure. This can also apply to “out of table” boons like Digital Presence or Worldwide Explorer.

Once a PC reaches the level of one or more of their held Chronicles, those held Chronicles are applied immediately in the order in which they were played. Complete Downtime and earn all rewards on one Chronicle (following the order above) before applying the next Chronicle. Downtime checks use the skills of the character who is receiving credit for the adventure at the time the Chronicle is applied.

Applying credit in batches may advance a character multiple levels. The character’s level cannot exceed the level of any Chronicle applied to them, so any out-of-level Chronicles applied are lost.

Leveling Up

Characters advance 1 level for every 3 XP they earn. Characters who are eligible to level up must do so immediately.

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