A Starfinder Tabletop RPG One-Shot Adventure for Game Masters

his one-shot is intended for an APL 3 party. If needed, the enemy encounters can be adjusted for a higher level party. This adventure also assumes the PCs have completed at least book two of the Dead Suns Adventure Path, but can certainly be completed even if they haven’t as it has no impact on the outcome of that AP.

ADVENTURE BACKGROUND

the Pact Worlds and beyond, races and peoples of all shapes, sizes, colors, and dispositions hold firm to their various religious beliefs. As a matter of fact, there are many gods and planes of existence that our PCs can find themselves adventuring in. The darker side of this are the cults out there in the universe. One such cult, the Cult of the Devourer, is a prime example.

Cult of the Devourer Logo

The Cult of the Devourer is widespread with members originating from multiple species. Its goal is to bring down civilization, and even existence itself, in the name of its patron deity, the Devourer.

This one-shot adventure will find our PCs trying to learn more about this fiendish group while trying to save the kidnapped friend of a colleague of theirs. The story will take place, primarily on Castrovel in capitol city of Qabarat. It can be used as a side-quest during the Dead Suns adventure path as it assumes the PCs have already completed the first two volumes of that AP at the least; or it can be a stand-alone one-shot adventure customized to meet your party’s needs.

PART I

This story begins during the late morning in Qabarat, on the jungle planet, Castrovel. The PCs are familiar with the city as a result of a recent adventure where they tracked a team of cultists through the jungles and mountains of Ukulam in search of information on an ancient race and the superweapon they built. The PCs are currently in the underground city where respectable business people likely wouldn’t find themselves. The team is getting fuel for their ship, and topping off their gear and ammo. While out, running errands, the party receives a distress call to their comm units, patched through from their ship.

The message they receive said:

“This is Whaloss. I don’t know if you remember me, but I have a bit of a personal emergency and I didn’t know who else to contact. I can’t go to the police. It would be too dangerous for me. Please meet me at Qabarat University as soon as you can. I’ll be there until the end of the work day.”

The PCs remember that Whaloss (NG male damaya lashunta) is the contact that they were sent by the Starfinder Society to meet. He is a tall and thin lashunta, even by their own standards. He’s a scholar that works at the university in the department of xenoarchaelogy. He is a regular intermediary between academia on Castrovel and the Starfinder Society.

The PCs can hear that Whaloss is speaking in a quiet tone. With a DC 10 Perception check, the PCs can infer that Whaloss seemed to be holding back a tone of panic. Considering he is at the university, he probably didn’t want to discuss the details of his emergency where others might hear him.

If the PCs decide not to help him, they will find themselves wrapped up in the ordeal before the end of the day whether they wanted to be or not.

Assuming the PCs agree to meet Whaloss at the university like he asked, they show up to the department of xenoarchaelogy and the receptionist Ikimsi (LN male korasha lashunta) is at his desk, busying himself with a book that he has positioned down below your line of sight behind his countertop that he sits behind.

Before the door closes behind the PCs, Ikimsi puts his book down, smiles as recognition of the team registers. He asks them how they’re doing today and how he can help.

Considering how the team helped him deal with a mob of journalists and reporters the last time they were there, Ikimsi is more than happy to let the PCs in and go to Whaloss’s office on the fourth floor right next to Professor Muhali (LN female damaya lashunta), who he works for, now. They make it to the fourth floor and begin to head towards Whaloss’s office and they see him leaving the office, closing the door behind him. The last time they met him, he was wearing a somewhat worn suit made from fine, local silks. This time, he’s wearing a slightly less formal business casual ensemble that would be more appropriate for an office work environment and less appropriate for meeting with Starfinder Society representatives.

He smiles a warm, but worry worn half smile when he sees the PCs walking up the hallway. He hurries over, discouraging too much talk right there in the corridor.

Whether the PCs ask questions or not, Whaloss encourages them to follow him to his apartment. He says that he can not only speak more freely there, but he says that the investigation, should the PCs actually agree to help, would start there.

When the group makes their way down to the front of the xenoarchaelogy building, Whaloss hails a robocab and directs it to drive to his apartment building.

The drive winds its way out of the towering buildings of the dense downtown area and the buildings gradually begin to be spaced further apart, little by little. Whaloss doesn’t live in the suburbs, but just on the outskirts of the city, itself. Considering he is only adjunct faculty working under Professor Muhali as he works on his doctoral dissertation, he doesn’t make enough to live any closer to the center of the city.

His building, like much of downtown Qabarat was built with the philosophy that architecture ought to enhance, not subjugate nature. As such, plant life is directly integrated into the otherwise brownstone, row home style apartment building with vines intentionally growing up the facade and trees being planted on terraces on the corners of the second floor and what looks like a rooftop green space.

The robocab drops the PCs off right in front of the entrance to the building.

Whaloss’s Apartment

A. WHALOSS’S APARTMENT

As everyone gets out, Whaloss nervously looks over his shoulder as he punches in his passcode to unlock the front glass doors that lead into the downstairs lobby. In the lobby, there are a bank of numbered mailboxes that pertain to each of the 12 apartments in the building. He pushes the up button on an elevator keypad.

Whaloss leads the PCs to apartment number nine on the fourth floor. Once inside, he puts his keys on the kitchen bar counter, and you can see his body language visibly relax, but in more of a sad demeanor than a happy one. He clearly wasn’t comfortable being out in public.

Whaloss’s apartment is small and quaint, as would be appropriate for someone making as little as he likely makes. What the apartment lacks in size it makes up for in cleanliness. The apartment looks like it has barely been lived in. It has a small, single-person kitchen with all of the necessities, but not much more.

The living room is an open living space. In front of the kitchen is a small couch that maybe three people might be able to squeeze into, but it was probably made for two.

Opposite of the couch is a TV stand with two single-wide windows flanking it. On the adjacent wall to the left of the living room is a sliding glass door to a small outdoor space with some potted plants and two lawn-style chairs placed on it.

To the left right after entering the apartment is a hallway leading back to the bathroom and the single bedroom.

After everyone is inside, Whaloss opens up about what has got him so worried and why he called the PCs to help. It turns out that Whaloss has a childhood friend, Arrich (LG male halfling), that has been on the run from the Cult of the Devourer. Arrich’s parents were halfling ambassadors on Castrovel and Arrich and Whaloss met each other school. Arrich, being the only halfling on the planet that was his age got picked on by his lashunta peers. For Whaloss, this treatment was uncalled for, so he stepped in and stood up for Arrich. They were friends from that point on. At least, until Arrich’s parents were called back home some years later.

Arrich and Whaloss lost contact with each other due to the physical distance between them, but out of the blue, Arrich shows up at Whaloss’s door haggard, shaken, and scared.

Out of resentment for being forced to move away from the only home he had known and the only friend he had, Arrich fell into a series of bad crowds until one of his new friends eventually introduced him to the Cult of the Devourer.

The Cult seemed to be preaching directly to Arrich’s broken and bitter heart. He fell in deep with them. He was trusted more and more within the organization, being given more and more privileged information until he came across some information that had clearly scared him away.

Arrich didn’t go into detail with Whaloss, but he said that he couldn’t go home so he didn’t know where else to run to. Whaloss had been the only good friend that Arrich had ever had.

Now, though, Arrich has gone missing. Since he was on the run, he and Whaloss had come up with a system of communication so that Arrich had a way of secretly letting Whaloss know if something had gone wrong — a fashion magazine. If Arrich put a specific magazine on the kitchen counter, then Whaloss would know that something had happened and to send for help.

A1. LIVING ROOM

If the PCs search the living room with a DC 5 Perception check, they can pretty easily see that the living room doesn’t look to have been disturbed by any kind of struggle. The couch seems to be placed intentionally, and the couch cushions are all in place. The TV is standing straight on the TV stand and the blinds on the back windows are all shut but straight and perfectly aligned.

With a DC 15 Perception check, the PCs can notice that there are some dark fibers on the carpet in the living room that are darker than the light tan, almost white color of the carpet itself. Considering how much time and energy Whaloss obviously takes to keep his apartment clean, this dark colored fiber is definitely out of place.

If asked about pets, Whaloss will tell the PCs that he has never had a pet in this apartment and that no one brings animals over.

Give the PCs 100 XP if they find the fibers on the carpet.

A2. KITCHEN

The PCs can take 10 on the kitchen Perception roll, because the kitchen isn’t big and there’s not a whole lot to search through there. The first thing the PCs will notice (with a DC 5 Perception check if the PCs don’t take 10) is a fashion magazine on the kitchen counter that is 4 weeks old. There aren’t any dishes in the sink, or anything out on the counters that isn’t put away. Everything is organized. If the PCs search through the refrigerator, they would find some two day old leftovers and typical groceries.

A3. BEDROOM

If the PCs decide to search the bedroom, they find that the room is pretty tiny. The bed takes up most of the space, except for maybe a two foot walking path around the bed. The bed itself, is not made, but it’s not terribly disheveled. There is a backpack on the bed with some notebooks inside of it. A DC 15 Perception check will tell a PC that these notebooks seem to be filled with strange symbols, as well as various groupings of binary. There is also an address for a local Cult of the Devourer temple nearby in the city.

There is a “walk-in” style closet in one corner of the bedroom. Inside of it are clothes that the PCs can easily assume belong to Whaloss, but there is also a pile of clothes that look like they might belong to a toddler in a pile in the corner.

Give the PCs 100 XP if they find the notebook with the symbols and temple address in it.

A4. BATHROOM

The bathroom is also small, as with everything else in the apartment. The initial inspection shows a clean, yet not unused bathroom space. The grout between the white subway tiles on the walls is discolored, but not unusually. If the PCs take a minute or two to actually look, they’ll find that there are two toothbrushes and two sets of toiletries supporting Whaloss’s claim that he had been letting another individual stay here.

There isn’t much else to find in the bathroom.

After inspecting all of the rooms, Whaloss asks if the PCs think that they can help. If no one found the notebooks, Whaloss says, “Wait, I think I have something that can help you find Arrich. He had something…hold on,” and walks into the bedroom, mid-sentence to retrieve the notebook. After a quick moment, he comes back out with the notebook and he opens it up to the show the PCs what’s inside.

Here. This notebook has a lot of information in it, but I’m not sure how to make sense of most of it. But, I do think that it gives you a place to start looking — there’s an address in here.

Assuming the players decide to take their only lead, they hail a cab and head over to the temple.

PART II

The temple is away from the main traffic thoroughfares. It’s set back in the shadows between other, taller buildings. It’s like a dark spot on a white wall compared to its surroundings. Unlike the buildings adjacent and nearly everywhere else there are no plants growing on or near this building. Looking at it makes you think of the cold vacuum of space — and death.

Cult of the Devourer Temple

B. CULT OF THE DEVOURER TEMPLE

The building doesn’t have a sign out front, but with a DC 10 Culture check, the PCs know that the Cult of the Devourer doesn’t like to advertise their presence. That and based on the ominous shroud of shadow that envelops the building all the way to the sidewalk in front of it, this is the right place.

The time is starting to get late. The sun hasn’t set, yet, but it’s on its way down. In a city, though, that means a lot of long shadows, cool night breezes, some of the ambient lights turning on, and somewhat seedier residents coming out from their daytime hibernation.

With a DC 15 Perception check, the PCs will notice that none of the few other people walking by the temple even seem to notice it. The place looks abandoned, even though the dim light spilling gently out of the windows indicates that it’s likely not.

As foreboding as the building is, it’s not secured from the outside. It doesn’t have any barriers to entry, such as gated fences or locked doors. As secretive as the Cult of the Devourer is, they do actively recruit newcomers much like a church of an actual religion would. That starts by welcoming people in through the front doors. Normally, that would be during “business hours”.

Along with the above DC 15 Perception check, the PC will also notice that this building has a pair of carved hardwood double front doors. The design in the carving contains a cleverly disguised logo of the Cult of the Devourer, confirming that this is the right place for them to be.

The players can reach the back of the building through a very narrow alleyway on the right side of the temple. The alley is only about three feet wide and the back door is through the alley into the back/storage area behind the building.

With a DC 20 Perception check, the players can find a somewhat hidden access to the roof from a ladder connected to the back side of the building. The intended purpose of this roof access is for utility access.

The PCs could attempt to play this using stealth or going right through the front door. No matter how the PCs enter the building, there are a number of cultists inside. The number can be adjusted for what is appropriate for the party, but in this guide, there are three cultist mystics inside.

If the PCs go in through the front door, the front lobby is empty. There are no lights on in the front lobby, but there is a golden glow of amber colored lights and the flicker of light and shadow on the walls that indicates candles breaking up the relative darkness of the front. On the left side of the lobby, there is a male restroom while on the right is a female restroom. In front of the PCs is an open, door-less transition between the lobby and what appears to be a sanctuary.

The sanctuary opens up to an open room with four pillars placed around the room to hold up the large, vaulted cathedral ceiling. There are evenly spaced rows of pews that are all facing a stage area all the way at the back of the sanctuary. On either side of the sanctuary there are doors that lead into what look like side rooms.

Two cultists can be seen in this sanctuary and as soon as the PCs step into the sanctuary area, the cultists, dressed in white, priestly robes turn around. Initially, they are smiling as if to welcome in an unexpected new visitor, but in such a couple of seconds, their facial expressions change from smiling and welcome to a brief moment of confusion, finally resting on recognition and animosity.

Alternative Narrative: If the PCs decide to try to sneak in through the back/side door, they need to make a series of Stealth checks that become more difficult over time as it becomes more and more likely that the cultists in the temple would become aware of their presence.

It is important to note that the Devourer Mystic Cultists have Detect Thoughts, and/or Detect Magic. The PCs will also need to roll the appropriate skill saving throws in order to avoid detection by those spells.

GM note: the maps in this guide intentionally do not have markers for where any of the NPCs or PCs are. That will be left up to you to decide. Enjoy!

Roll initiative.

If the PCs defeat the cultists, award them with 1,200 XP per cultist defeated. If the cultists aren’t killed, but instead they are detained alive, the PCs aren’t able to get any information out of them beyond the fact that they were expecting the PCs. They’ve had surveillance on Whaloss ever since Arrich came back into town. They were briefed earlier in the afternoon that the PCs might be showing up.

At the end of the fight (or, alternatively, by the end of the interrogation), they hear the sound of footsteps running towards the back of the temple and the creaking of a door opening and closing quickly and with some force. They look up and see that there was a hidden door in the back right side of the stage area and clearly someone just went through that door.

When they follow the sound of footsteps towards that door and they transition into the next room, they find themselves in a dark closet-sized room with no exits. It is only lit by a single wall-mounted candelabra. On the wall opposite of the candelabra is a painting of a blonde-haired human woman wearing a business professional suit with a Cult of the Devourer pin affixed to her lapel. She’s smiling a warm, yet foreboding smile.

In the middle of the floor is an ornamental Persian-style rug that is half flipped over revealing a wooden secret door. It’s a heavy door with iron hinges and an iron hand ring.

PART III

With a DC 15 Athletics, or Strength check, the PCs yank open the trap door. There is a shaft that goes straight down about twelve feet with a ladder bolted to one wall to get in and out. The walls and floor are all made from chiseled and smoothed natural stone masonry.

Cult of the Devourer Temple Basement

The shaft that the PCs climb down into opens up into a square room directly underneath the temple. In the middle of the room is a giant ring standing upright on a slightly raised platform. The ring is made from a gold-colored metal that is about one foot thick. The ring reaches the ceiling with a diameter of about ten feet. On the east side of the ring is a four foot tall standing desk with a computer on it.

The PCs arrive just in time to see a glow of electricity flash and then fade away. It sounded similar to a turbine slowing down.

With a DC 15 Computer check, the PCs can hack into the computer and see what the last user was doing. They see a window with X, Y, and Z inputs with the following text in each field:

X: 00110110 00110100 00110011

Y: 00110011 00110100 00110111 00110010

Z: 00110110 00110110 00110110 00110010

If the PCs were able to hack into the computer, they would know that this is binary, but without another skill check, they won’t know what it means. The skill check can be any navigation or profession (piloting) related skill with a DC of 15 to conclude that this is a three-dimensional coordinate system, and it is most likely where the last person to go through it went.

If they hope to follow the trail before it goes cold, they’ll need to fire this portal back up and walk through. (Alternatively, they could take the coordinates back to their ship and, using the drift drive, try to hone in on the coordinates and hope that they are still able to pursue their prey. Note that this very well could lead to a mission failure. Roll a d%. There is a 60% chance the trail is cold.)

Assuming the PCs go through the portal, after taking about five minutes to get it back up and running, they are met on the other side with a very dark room that mirrors the one they left in terms of shape, size, and construction materials. The lighting is a lot darker as only about half of the room has any light (low light). The other half of the room is dark. Instead of being in the middle of the room, the portal is placed at the far end of the room, opposite from the side that has the one and only exit door.

The final thing that the PCs will notice before anything else happens is a Kasatha, wrapped in darkness like a suit of armor, grinning at the PCs as they arrive.

Cult of the Devourer Lair in the Drift

“I’ve been expecting you,” he says.

Then, before the PCs have a chance to know what happening, one of the PCs is chosen at random and is pulled towards the kasatha solarian after being shot with a Graviton Pistol, Vector.

Roll Initiative.

If the PCs win the fight, award the team another 1,600 XP.

After they beat the solarian and the noise of battle quiets down, they hear a noise that they hadn’t noticed before. It sounds like the whimpering of a wounded animal. When the PCs investigate in the direction that the noise is coming from, they find that there is a small humanoid looking creature cowering in the corner, chained to the stone like a prisoner. It’s hard to tell how long Arrich has been here like this, but with a successful skill check of DC 10 in Engineering, or DC 20 for a Strength check, the PCs can free Arrich from his bonds.

ADVENTURE CONCLUSION

After Arrich is brought safely back to Whaloss’s apartment, Whaloss is clearly relieved to see his old friend alive. Even though he didn’t think he would be able to pay the PCs anything, Whaloss managed to put together 1,000 credits that he hands over to the party in thanks for helping. He also notes that if the PCs ever need his assistance on Castrovel, he will be at their beck and call so long as he is able.