Archives of Nethys

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Chapter 4: Running Starship Campaigns / Starship Campaign Arcs / Lost In The Vast

Time Runs Short

Source Starship Operations Manual pg. 150
By the time the campaign is entering its final chapters, you can leverage the high-level PCs’ newfound abilities to reveal the information they’ll need to get home. These high-level abilities also enable the party to tie up loose ends and capitalize on clues spread throughout the campaign to discover the means to their return—but the heroes must act quickly. Perhaps there is a rapidly closing portal that they need to reach to get home, or an artifact of great power that a previous contact also wants to acquire.

This campaign offers a chance to do something unusual: finish out the story with a series of high-stakes skill checks instead of a brawl. Take note of each PC’s abilities and include everyone by layering party challenges on top of each other. Not only does this give every character a time to shine, but it builds tension, with every failed check impacting the others. A race against time tests the pilot, while an envoy rallies the NPCs and alien contacts the party has made along the way. Perhaps a cast of old enemies return at the last moment; with the ship careening to its destination, there’s no time for a lengthy fight, but someone has to hop on the guns to buy time. The party is sufficiently powerful that you can introduce time, space, and divinity as story elements without worrying if the PCs are up to the challenge. By layering multiple challenges into the same encounter, the final moments of the campaign become a truly epic conclusion, not focused on winning a fight but just escaping the story alive.