Rude Awakening (SFRPG)
This module clocks in at 16 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page SRD, 1 page back cover/advertisement, leaving us with 12 pages of content, so let’s take a look!
All right, first of all, this is FREE. Originally created as a One-Page-Dungeon, it surprisingly does not show this humble origin; the adventure is intended for 4 1st level characters, and sports a detailed read-aloud introductory text, that presumes that the PCs are in cryosleep, something allowed by the cryogenic pods, bulk 4, which is introduced herein. Once common, in a post-drift era, these have become more rare, and for a reason. The pdf also notes the details for good crew berths and the turbo caterpillar drive, which allow for underwater movement. The pdf also provides detailed rules for long cold sleep – while death is possible, it is EXTREMELY unlikely, and the pdf provides a variety of mental effects…and there may be special effects, like temporarily gaining the ability to detect thoughts (not italicized properly). This generator/hazard encompasses physical and mental effects, and in a nitpick, does not specify the condition-durations for the minor mental effects, but judging from the presentation and explicit statements regarding durations of more pronounced effects, I assume these to last for only the immediate aftermath of cold sleep. On the plus-side, I did enjoy the decision to highlight terrain features and rules-relevant components in small boxes; it makes running the module smoother.
Beyond that, we get stats for a new tier 3 spaceship, the devilfish, which looks just as you’d expect – like a spacefaring mantaray! Now, here, I feel the need to comment on the supplemental material this pdf provides. You see, the adventure comes with a massive archive that includes VTT-friendly versions of the maps employed herein, as well as a pdf that provides the maps once more. Why? Well, you can print out both main map and deck plan of the ship in full scale, large size, 32 x54 inches & 28 x 31 inches, respectively) and as an additional bonus, the main map of the module comes with a LAYERED version! Yes, you heard me. You can easily customize this as you see fit, and the supplemental map-pdf is even bookmarked! Right from the get-go, that is a pretty amazing feat right there, and even if you are not interested in the module per se, I’d strongly suggest checking this out for the maps! (Seriously, this type of map-support should be the standard!)
All right, this is probably as far as I can go without diving into deep SPOILER-territory, so potential players should jump ahead to the conclusion!
All right, only GMs around? Great! So, the PCs revive from cold sleep, only to find that, beyond the locker room that contains their equipment, there isn’t much left of their ship – a massive hull breach awaits, and while spacesuits with magnetic boots (to avoid the issues of…well, space and zero G) are available, there isn’t much oxygen left – the PCs will have to hustle to get to safety! Indeed, the adventure, which could easily work in a convention slot, can be rather lethal here…if you choose to. The PCs will have to jump across the hull breach, and the Acrobatics DC is stiff. Consequences-wise, being off-kilter…or, well, dead, provide two variants on different ways to run the module. Indeed, at DC 20, the Acrobatics checks to do the like are pretty stiff. As the PCs hopefully make their way past the pressurized and unpressurized collapsed drone bays. Speaking of which: The first combat encounter will be with a hostile drone, which annoyingly notes just “good/poor saves” in the statblock, instead of noting them. While it’s only a quick flip of the corebook to determine the proper saves, that still constitutes a comfort detriment – the drone should have proper monster stats, not stats based on the mechanic class feature. Another thing you’ll notice, is that the statblock formatting of the stats herein lacks a couple of blank spaces and that sometimes, line breaks are missing, making the statblock formatting feel a bit rough. While I’m nitpicking – it’s still “electricity damage,” not “electrical damage”, as a plasma-hazard erroneously notes.
Anyways, the PCs will have to make their way past hostile mercenaries and navigate the broken vessel they found themselves in – best before the oxygen runs out! This is particularly interesting, considering that quite a few hazards have the potential to break spacesuits and leak oxygen. On the downside, the implementation of hazards like this is not always as concise as it should be: There are instances where no damage type is given, though we clearly have, for example, fire damage. Similarly, there is no such thing as “heat damage” in Starfinder and “enflamed” space suits could also use a more precise rules language. Anyways, the PCs will make their way to the aforementioned mantaray-spaceship, where they should attempt to open the hangar doors and bypass the biometric locks to escape…but, alas, no rules for the like are presented.
Editing and formatting are okay – I noticed quite a few formatting deviations, as well as issues regarding damage types, missing DCs and similar hiccups in the rules-language department. Layout adheres to a solid 2-column full-color standard and the pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience. The cartography is the star of this pdf – the full VTT-support, player-friendly, layered maps, etc. – it’s worth the download all on its own.
Michael Tumey’s brief little introductory module is, theme-wise, fun and interesting, and the supplemental material is surprisingly detailed, testament to the care that went into this. The adventure works well as a forgiving introduction or as a really deadly convention-style/hardcore game. That being said, the module does falter and stumble a bit regarding the rules-language, sporting more issues in the details than I am frankly comfortable with. As a commercial supplement, I’d consider this to be a mixed bag, but it is actually FREE – and frankly, I’d consider this to be worth downloading for the maps. Considering that this is FREE, I consider this to definitely worth checking out. Hence, my final verdict will clock in at 4 stars….and the maps warrant granting this my seal of approval; getting these for FREE is a huge deal and needs to be rewarded!
You can get this cool module and its damn fine maps here on OBS for FREE!