The Reach of Empire
[EDITORS NOTE: If this is your first experience with the Starfinder Roleplaying Game, you may want to consider starting with my previous review of the Core Rulebook. -dc]
An ancient, crashed starship on a new Pact Worlds colony in the Vast draws the attention of the sinister Azlanti Star Empire, who invade and annex the colony, remove an experimental starship drive from the crash site, and kidnap one of the colonists. The heroes must liberate the colony from Azlanti occupation before venturing inside the mysterious Star Empire, in search of both the experimental drive and the kidnapped colonist, who is an old friend of the heroes. Will the heroes rescue their friend and keep the drive out of Azlanti hands, or will the might of the Azlanti Star Empire crush them as it has so many others who have stood against the Aeon Throne?
That’s the official description from Paizo on Against the Aeon Throne, the second Adventure Path for the Starfinder RPG. Unlike the previous Dead Suns AP this is only a three-part story, so characters only advance to level 6 by the end of it, instead of level 12. This makes exactly zero difference when playing Against the Aeon Throne but it allowed the following AP, Signal of Screams, to start an entirely new story at level 6 and have players with those characters ready to go. There is something very satisfying about running a longer campaign so I wouldn’t want every AP to be a three-parter, but if we got a six-part and a pair of three-part APs in a rotation, I wouldn’t be at all disappointed. Or even a nine-part and a three-part.
The adventure portion of The Reach of the Empire is a pretty standard first level adventure. Split into three parts, it has a good variety of mini-missions and larger encounters to help newer players learn the game and all players to get into the flow of the story (both in and out of the game).
The rest of the book is always what I find the most interesting. Some parts are pretty constant, there is always an Alien Archive section with a mix of creatures that are in the adventure and that aren’t. There’s always a Codex of Worlds entry. This time we also got a great section featuring The Ships of the Star Empire, it full of stats for Azlanti ships, as well as some of the systems, expansions, and weapons they carry. Lastly, we get a detailed gazetteer of the Nakondis Colony where this adventure takes place. In what seems to be an unusual occurrence, the Codex of Worlds entry is actually on the planet of Nakondis. I admit having only gone through the first part of the three APs so far (to avoid potential spoilers), but this is the first time I’ve seen the adventure, the gazetteer, and the Codex of Worlds entry, all covering the same place. It was a pleasant surprise.