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Review of Starfinder Drift Crisis

Starfinder Drift Crisis by Paizo Image Credit:

Starfinder Drift Crisis, the latest sourcebook for Starfinder, poses the question: what if the Drift suddenly…wasn’t?

Without interplanetary travel via the Drift, the world of Starfinder would be much emptier. The Drift allows expedited movement from Near Space to the Vast while providing a window into the strange and unknown.

If the Drift goes down, then a lot of this interstellar society stuff goes down with it. What are the ramifications? Can it be fixed? What happens to the people who are IN THE DRIFT when it happens? Starfinder Drift Crisis explores those very ideas.

Let’s fly straight into the details of the book!

Starfinder Drift Crisis: Who It’s For

Starfinder Drift Crisis is heavily geared towards Gamemasters. In fact, I’d go so far as to say that it’s almost exclusively for Gamemasters except for some extra Themes, Gear, and Class Options. Everything else would make any Starfinder GM drool with how cool it is.

The first 50 pages talk exclusively about the Drift Crisis, along with those character options. When Starfinder first came out, I was a little skeptical about the Drift lore and how all of that would work. After all, it seemed like a fairly open-ended way to shoehorn anything into the universe, citing the strangeness of the Drift as reasoning.

But because of Starfinder Drift Crisis, I feel like I have a deeper understanding of what the Drift is all about. It really holds together all of the systems and planets. Everything is connected BECAUSE OF the Drift, not in spite of it.

The best chunk of Starfinder Drift Crisis comes in the Adventures section. As a GM, this is the section that I wish every book had, because the hardest part of Gamemastery for me is just coming up with ideas sometimes. I feel like I am decent at improvisation after the initial stage has been set, so long as I have a couple set pieces and breadcrumbs to throw at the players.

Starfinder Drift Crisis has 20 different adventure hooks, all with at least two pages of information to work from. There’s a good mix of level requirements; half of the adventures start as low as level 1, while five of them could be used as high as level 20.

Additionally, all of these adventure hooks have something to do with the Drift Crisis in some way. Some are more geared towards the beginning of the Crisis, whereas others might be good adventures to chain into after your first one is completed.

There are some callbacks to other Paizo products within the adventure hooks that could make your life easier. For example, in the Alluvion Fractures adventure, you could use the map from Starfinder Adventure Path #4: The Ruined Clouds. Also, pay attention to the references to the Core Rulebook to see where you can pull other information like hazards, weather, and more.

Even if you don’t find yourself struggling for Drift plot hooks, this book is filled with some really intriguing ideas and adventures that I’d love to run. It’s not something that I’ve seen from Paizo often – having plot hooks, that is – because you’d think that those ideas would get fleshed out in full Adventure Path books. So for us to get the general adventure concepts with enough detail to run with them is pretty neat.

And, just to be a completionist, here are the Themes that you may be interested in as a player:

  • Crisis Refugee – Without the Drift, you can’t return home. Or can you?
  • Drift Crashed – When the Drift Crisis went down, you were in the Drift!
  • Opportunist – You see the Drift Crisis, and all calamity, as an opportunity for personal gain.
  • Spectra Scion – You have some kind of special relationship with the Drift’s inhabitants, the Spectra.
Starfinder firefight

Starfinder Drift Crisis: The Best Parts

Now let’s take a look at my top three adventure hooks from the Starfinder Drift Crisis. These are things that caught my eye when reading through the book, and the things I’m most excited to bring to the table.

Trifold Response (Pg 86)

The Trifold Legionaries are responsible for the upkeep and possession of the Drift’s many secrets. Unfortunately, there is a rogue sect, the Severed Link, that wants to take full advantage of the Drift Crisis, potentially even selling those secrets off to the highest bidder. Who knows what might happen if nefarious entities took control of the Drift beacons?

There’s definitely money to be made if the PCs are able to track down the Severed Link and stop the sale or even recover the data on their own. The latter would also bring up an interesting choice for the party: should they complete the job or go rogue themselves for a massive payday?

There are tons of possibilities here that could sway the outcome of the adventure. Having that sort of open-ended plot hook is the kind of freedom that I particularly enjoy as a GM. On top of that, this adventure is a race against the clock to see who comes out on top. I’m here for it.

Interlocking Circles (Pg 94)

There are three different circles within the church of Eloritu, all with competing aspirations and opinions about the Drift Crisis. Each circle wants their day in the spotlight, and the PCs are going to be caught up in the middle of it all. As a GM, you’ll have access to the specializations and motives of each circle, and can respond to your players’ actions accordingly.

What I really love about this hook is that there is no ‘good side’ or ‘bad side’. Instead, there are three sides, all of which have pros and cons. I know that as a player, this would probably frustrate me to no end. At the same time, life is rarely so crystal clear about the right path. And the GM gets to craft the resulting world, showing how even the best intentions don’t always lead to glory.

“There are no right sides to this conflict.”

Interlocking Circles, Page 96.

Blazing Speeds (Pg 98)

When the Drift goes down, it has a profound business and economic impact throughout the galaxy. There’s no way to reliably travel those long distances anymore, so manufacturers and transportation grinds to a standstill. Unless there is another way to travel across the galaxy, industry will begin to condense into localized pods instead of spreading across planets.

However, the Norikama Syndicate has somehow promised a way that interstellar travel will be possible once more. With their new drives, ships won’t have to rely on the Drift any longer. Obviously this could be a huge money-making opportunity, and it certainly won’t be without skeptics.

I’m intrigued by this adventure because it is all about corporate espionage and solving the mystery of how the Syndicate has come up with their solution to the Drift problem. It feels very Cyberpunk, and I can see my players decked out in futuristic cyber-suits as they unravel the Syndicate from the inside.

Starfinder Blazing Speeds

Starfinder Drift Crisis: Parting Thoughts

The Starfinder Drift Crisis sourcebook is a fantastic collection of plot hooks for all of your Drift-centric adventures. Plot hooks provide some of the absolute value for me, and I can never get enough of simple lists of plot hooks. This book takes that a million steps further by giving in-depth detail about each hook. We have plenty of information to take the hook and run an entire multi-session adventure. It’s awesome.

This might be my favorite Starfinder book to date! In the past, this accolade went to the books with the most player content, but I am so happy with Drift Crisis and the toolbox it provides to Gamemasters everywhere. Let’s give it the Nerds on Earth Seal of Awesomeness to commemorate the occasion!

You can pick up your copy of the Starfinder Drift Crisis directly from Paizo, on Amazon, or better yet, your FLGS.

[Disclosure: Nerds on Earth was provided a copy of Starfinder Drift Crisis from Paizo in exchange for an honest review.]

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