Something Creates! – An Adventure (Quest #2 Outline)


Things are moving forward! That first quest was scary for me to write. I don’t think I’ve actively written that much adventure material in one spot ever before. Any sort of self-made material that I have used over the years was only written, at best in an outline format. I found though, that as with any project, but especially writing projects for me: once get over the inertia of not writing and actually start writing, things begin to flow much more smoothly. With that in mind, I need to come up with some tools to get over that lack of motion sooner in my available writing cycle so that I am not sitting around with the anxiety of needing to write making it even harder to write.

When I am running a Society scenario or quest pack, I thoroughly enjoy when the skills DCs throughout the adventure are essentially all the same. There is the chance that it will break immersion for the players once they figure out the ‘magic number’ for the scenario, but it also frees up some valuable headspace for the GM when they don’t need to constantly reference the scenario if there are only a handful of numbers to use. The multi-table specials for Starfinder Society have done a good job of giving tables to the GMs with High/Mid/Low DCs for Skills and Save DCs. For a regular scenario, I could see providing a Low/High DC table at the beginning of the scenario (or maybe in the appendix?) and just reference those throughout the scenario. I don’t think I will do that for this series, but you will see that I work to use the same skill DCs that I did in Quest #1.

Adventure Requirements

As with Quest #1’s outline, here is my basic list of what I believe are the requirements for the second quest in my series:

  • Have a skill challenge that utilizes Computers/Survival/Diplomacy and relevant professions for finding out information about a secret place.
  • Ensure that there is a way to ‘fail forward’ should the party not get enough successes
  • Have a trap
  • The fight will have non-humanoid antagonists to mix up the enemy types a little throughout the entire quest pack
  • Provide information of the location of the main hideout of the gang


As is now tradition for my outlines, you’ll see that I’ve included my handwritten outline in this article. I’m finding that it is getting a little more structured the more that I am doing these. When I started this outline earlier today, I immediately went and looked at the outline I had published for Quest #1. I knew I didn’t need all of the same information, since a chunk of it was actually setup for the entire series. I did realize that I skipped some of the ‘beginning’ sections of a quest in my outline, so I added those on the back side of the original outline. Here you’ll see it in the more chronological order. With more practice, I think I’ll get the ordering correct even in my handwritten outlines, which I hope will result in a better writing experience for me overall.


  • The building that the gang has used as a satellite hideout/safe house was previously a community center
  • City abandoned it due to cutbacks, still owned by city due to lack of investors
  • Provide a reason for the gang having abandoned this safe house
    • Possibly far from current operations
    • Possibly haunted or to expensive to upkeep even at their low standards


  • PCs given briefing by Cosmic Captain
  • Look for the hideout using various skills
  • Find a decrepit community center
    • have to ‘break in’
  • Vermin in the building attack intruding PCs, also a security robot (or two?) are activated
    • Need to Determine: Are robots programmed to protect something here? Programmed to ignore vermin?
      • Basically, what is stopping the robot from attacking the vermin as well (or maybe they WILL have a chance of attacking vermin)
        • consider a 3-way combat
  • Find & Hack into a device that holds information on the primary base location

Getting Started

  • Cosmic-Captain Farasa tasks party with finding safe-house
  • Provides general region within city to begin looking
    • Need to come up with a borough type name
  • Possible Questions from party
    • Why are they needing to look: Explain attack & events of previous quest
    • What about presence security services: budget so thin, barely able to provide protection for miners and convoys in the wilderness, and protect border areas from violent fauna

Finding the Hideout

  • Using Computers/Survival/Diplomacy (Gather Information)/Relevant Profession PCs can find the location of the hideout in 1d4 hours
    • Players need 1 success for party of 4, 2 for bigger party
    • DC 18, 21 for tier 3-4
    • If players don’t make any success they find location in 3d4 hours, and increase vermin by 1

Hideout Trap

  • Might be something technological/electrical based
    • Although adding a mystical element might surprise the group a little bit more. Possibly a magical trap instead.
    • Gang likely rigged it up before leaving to ensure that what ever small stockpile they might’ve left behind stays safe
      • Maybe gang has only temporarily abandoned this safe house
    • Look at examples of low-level traps
      • Book 1 of Against the Aeon Throne AP had a couple of good traps in this level range. Possibly use them as examples for DCs & Damage
    • Remember: Not so much damage they might want a 10 minute rest. Want this trap to lead right into combat encounter

Inside the Hideout

  • This encounter should be in the challenging range for a group, but not assuming they rested between Q1 & Q2
    • I’ve had parties not rest between quests and were severely hamstrung due to that and struggled with encounters
  • Have a few less than CR 1 vermin crawling about and obviously agitated by the activation of trap
    • If trap is not triggered, but disarmed vermin are instead actively eating or resting depending on exact creature
    • Possible vermin include; khefak, asteroid lice, diathea
  • Consider including in the CR of this encounter a security robot or two
    • possibly for high tier, have robots flicker and try to activate in low tier

In Another Castle

  • Have loot in here that represents a cache of goods the gang left behind
  • With cache include a device that stores the directions to the primary hideout of the gang.
    • This hideout is in an abandoned fuel production campus essentially on the outskirts on the opposite side of the city
    • Consider the storage device to be techno-magical to allow Mysticism be used to unlock
    • DC should be 18 (Tier 3-4, 21)


This week, I give you three loosely connected paragraphs that I thought of as I was typing out my outline:

This weekend during my run, I listened to John and Ron’s Digital Divination 006- CHAZ and Party Composition from June 16th (yes I am that far behind), and one of the questions that they answered was asking about adding more fantastical elements to Starfinder. I think that question has prompted me to examine my quest a little bit more and realized that it sits strongly on the sci-fi end of things, and that I would do well to add some more fantastical elements to it as well. It made me think that Mysticism can sometimes replace or work with Engineering or Computer checks when the situation is created in such a way to allow Mysticism to be used. So I am looking at add in sprinkles of it here and there throughout the rest of the quests in my series, as best as I can.

I’ve started using the typing up of the outline as another step. I am adding ideas or clarifying ideas that I had in my hand-written notes. Ron Lundeen, just did a great article about his process for getting an entire Adventure Path out the door to his stable of authors, and I think reiteration like this is an important step in the creation process. Currently, I do a lot of this work pretty solo. On any project bigger than this, I all but know I’d want to loop other people into even the initial outlining process to get feedback on what I’m looking at doing.

It is interesting to me that I am developing this world not all at once, but sort of as I need it. For me, this is a departure from my normal way of planning a campaign’s location. For instance, I hadn’t thought much of the flora & fauna of the planet until I got to the ‘getting started’ section and off-offhandedly mentioned violent fauna. Now I am beginning to consider what sort of violent fauna is out there. As much as I love dinosaurs, and dinosaurs-in-space as the next person, I honestly feel that Paizo’s own Castrovel has a good ‘lock’ there, so I may come up with something a little different for this planet. Although, at this point it can stay purposefully vague until I have some writing that requires it to really be defined by me.

I’m excited to write Quest #2 and show it to you all in two weeks! See you then!

Andrew Sturtevant

I have two bachelor degrees, one in Psychology, the other in Computer Science. I've been playing some version of D&D, Pathfinder or Starfinder since about 2000 when my Dad started teaching me. I've been GMing for most of that time as well. I am active in the Organized Play Foundation as a volunteer and organizer, along with volunteering to help my fellow military spouses as a Key Spouse.