Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Starfinder Society Scenario # 1-12: "Ashes of Discovery"

NO SPOILERS

Although I've run every Starfinder Society scenario up to this point, Ashes of Discovery is the first time I've been a player in one!  This review is based off that experience and reading the scenario after the game.  I recognise the criticism some people have online that it's far too easy but, although it may have just been the rum, I had a great time playing it.  I don't mind an occasional softball scenario when, like this one, it's designed as an introductory, repeatable scenario with randomized elements.  I think it gives players a good taste of everything Starfinder has to offer.

SPOILERS

The premise of Ashes of Discovery is that the Starfinder Society has been contracted by an external organization to explore and secure a staging outpost abandoned centuries ago on a planet in Near Space.  After battling what's (essentially) a giant space shark in starship combat, the PCs land on the planet near a village of native inhabitants who can, with good role-playing and the right skill checks, be persuaded to take the PCs to the abandoned outpost.  On the way to the outpost, the Starfinders have to survive treacherous weather and rescue a native lost in the storm.  The outpost itself has been fortified by an exiled member of the natives and has to be overcome through force.

You probably noticed from the summary above that it's very vague.  Which organization contracted the SFS?  Which planet is the outpost on?  What are the natives like?  What kind of storm are they facing?  What kind of threats are in the outpost?  I had no idea while playing it, but *all* of these elements are randomly determined (or chosen) by the GM prior to the session.  The hiring organization, for example, could be AbadarCorp, the Church of Desna, the Hellknights, the Knights of Golarion, the Skyfire Legion, Ulrikka Clanholdings, Veylen Enterprises, or the Xenowardens.  The choice has cascade effects on the planet's biome, the outpost's security, the type of storm the PCs must brave, etc.  In addition, the GM is given an unusual amount of discretion to customise almost everything about the scenario (including the native inhabitants) to "fit" the randomly determined elements and provide a unique experience for the players.  I've played repeatable scenarios with some randomized encounters (like The Commencement and The Confirmation), and I can safely say they have nowhere near the amount of randomly determined elements as this one does.  Although the core through-line of the plot is the same, almost everything else is mutable--which is exactly what a repeatable scenario needs!

The scenario starts with a mission briefing by Guidance that concisely explains the goal of exploring the abandoned outpost.  It's not particularly memorable, but it does get things moving quickly.

On the way to the planet, the Starfinder's vessel is attacked by a "Besmaran whelp", a living creature the size of a starship that has massive teeth, claws, and a spiked tail.  The creature also has some randomly determined special powers.  Starship combat has never been a challenge in any of the SFS scenarios I've played (though I've heard that may be changing soon), so after a couple of rounds of combat I had my drug-addicted PC abandon his post for a quick fix and a nap.  We still won handily, which is a good indication that the Besmaran whelp was way underpowered.  It's a cool *looking* challenge, even though (in practice) it's a cakewalk.

The next part of the scenario is a classic first contact encounter.  The starting attitude and interests of the native inhabitants depends heavily on their randomly-determined physical and cultural traits. This is essentially a role-playing and skills challenge, as a certain number of successful checks are required to persuade the natives to help point the way to the outpost.  Again, which checks are useful depends on their particular cultural traits, and different classes or races might get bonuses when interacting with them.  In the session I played in, the natives were led by solarian elders, so my solarian PC was viewed favorably.

Travelling to the outpost requires surviving randomly-determined weather hazard--it could be anything from rock storms to blasts of hellfire and more.  Survival isn't hard, but the idea is to slowly wear down the PCs before they rescue a trapped native and then press on to the outpost.

The outpost features the most dangerous thing in the session: a laser security trap.  Traps are appropriately lethal in Starfinder, one of the things I really like about the system.  The Exile's special abilities (and motivation) are randomly determined, as are the nature of his minions.  The minions only have 6 hp each and are dispatched with laughable ease, and the Exile himself is also a walkover (though he did hit me with a nasty crit--the jerk!).  Computers in the outpost contain data that explains why the outpost was abandoned, and the more creative the GM, the more interesting the conclusion will be for the players.

Ashes of Discovery isn't going to impress anyone with it's encounter design or difficulty level, but I thought it was a really clever scenario that (unlike most) encourages GM creativity.  I would happily run it or play it again, just to see how different rolls on the tables can change the gameplay.

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Pathfinder Module: Murder's Mark [RPG]


NO SPOILERS

Murder's Mark is a 32-page module designed for first level characters.  I ran it over the course of a few evenings for a fairly experienced group of players and and I think it has enough colourful and memorable elements to make a good choice for launching a new campaign.  It has a strong mix of classic RPG elements: role-playing, investigation, traps, and combat.  For GMs, it also adds some nice detail to the setting of Golarion and introduces one element that could easily reoccur in a variety of settings.  It does have some flaws, however, including a plot that is far more of a rail-road than might appear.  Overall though, I'd label it a really good module for first level PCs and a solid starting point for a new campaign.

SPOILERS

Murder's Mark takes place in and near the town of Ilsurian in the region of Golarion known as Varisia.  Ilsurian is a town of proud, independent people who are determined to keep the larger city-states in the area (like Korvosa or Magnimar) from taking control.  However, Ilsurians are also frankly racist towards the native Varisians, who are a largely nomadic people of traders, tinkers, and performers.  It's the perfect set-up for some drama when the Umbra Carnival (a Varisian operation) sets up shop outside the town!  (just a note to GMs: Ilsurian is detailed in Towns of the Inner Sea and the information in that sourcebook complements this module nicely; the Umbra Carnival also appears in a high-level module called the Harrowing).

The plotline of the module is that soon after the carnival sets up shop, robberies and murders start occurring all over Ilsurian.  When suspicion naturally falls upon the carnival, the PCs are enlisted to uncover the truth.  Their investigation takes them around the carnival, to the scene of one of the crimes (a robbed jewelry store), into a trap and attempted frame-up job, and finally into a multi-level warehouse operated by the local thieves' guild which is actually behind the crime.

I'll get into each of these elements shortly, but first a quick detour to talk about the structure and design of the module.  The interior artwork is nice and colourful in a manner befitting a tale about carnival folk.  The inside-front cover and inside-back cover are gridded maps of important encounter sites and are pretty well-done (the structure of the thieves' guild is a bit confusing and requires some extra GM attention to avoid messing things up--especially the *very* subtly indicated secret trapdoors).  The adventure itself is 28 pages long, followed by a 1 page bestiary entry introducing a new creature drawn from real-world mythology called panotti (humanoids with ears so massive they can fly) and a two-page overview of the Umbra Carnival.

Part One of the module ("The Circus Comes to Town") starts with the PCs already at the Umbra Carnival as an established group.  I always think the "meeting one another" scenes are so important for new groups, as that's where first impressions and introductions can set the tone for an entire campaign.  Since Murder's Mark was at least partially intended as the springboard for a new campaign, I wish more attention had been paid to this element--in a sidebar, if nothing else.  (PFS GMs will need to be creative on getting things going here and setting up a goal for the group to achieve.)  Anyway, the PCs have the opportunity to play some games at the midway and explore the attractions (a fun little RP opportunity) before drama starts when the carnival's "baby dragon" (a monitor lizard) gets loose and has to be contained.  It's a solid encounter because it introduces players to the concept that not every threat should be killed, and encourages them to think of creative tactics to catch the lizard alive.

In Part Two ("The First Murder"), the PCs are summoned back to the carnival the next day by its leader, Anya Delisen.  Delisen explains that she needs help from trouble-shooters like the PCs because a murder took place last night and some people are pointing fingers at her carnival!  Assuming the group takes her offer of payment in exchange for aid, one of their first destinations is the jewelry store where both of the victims worked (and one was slain).  In the vaults, they realize that two of the responsible parties accidentally locked themselves in: skulks.  This was my first experience with skulks, who are human-like creatures that live on the fringes of society and can partially camouflage themselves to move around stealthily.  The encounter is solid, helped by a fun pit trap that takes place as the PCs *leave* the vaults.  The skulks, if captured alive, aren't willing to talk much (and don't know much), and many Ilsurians speculate that the "freaks" were simply part of the Umbra Carnival's sideshow.

Part Three ("The Second Murder") starts with the PCs being drawn into a confrontation at the Umbra Carnival between townspeople angry that they've been pick-pocketed and circus guards trying to calm down the situation.  It's another good encounter that can (hopefully) be resolved through peaceful means; who says all adventurers have to be murder-hobos?  But during the distraction, another murder has taken place!  This one is inside one of the carnival tents but the victim is the beloved town priest.  All signs point to the responsible party being a "sphinx" that is the Umbra Carnival's star attraction.  There's plenty of opportunity for investigation here, because one of the carnival's most closely-guarded secrets is that there really is no sphinx--it's an illusion created by bardic magic.  The murder is enough for the local sheriff to declare a quarantine, forbidding anyone from the carnival coming into Ilsurian, and vice-versa.  The idea that the PCs have to clear the carnival's name takes on greater importance, and hopefully they've found enough inconsistencies to suspect that something strange is going on.  There's another good encounter in this section where local townsfolk have caught and are beating a young carnie who tried to sneak into town to visit his paramour--and if the PCs don't react quickly enough, he'll die from his wounds.

Part Four ("The Third Murder") starts with the discovery of a body strung up in the town square bearing all sorts of clues pointing to the carnival as being responsible.  However, one clue is intended to lead the PCs to the home of a wealthy merchant named Braeton.  There's a subplot running through the module about a narcotic called Shiver that helps to provide a partial motivation for the actual murderers' actions.

Part Five ("Braeton Manor") has the first major combat encounters of the module.  The PCs have been lured into a trap by the Gilded Hands, the thieves' guild that has taken advantage of the Umbra Carnival's presence to launch a murder and burglary spree in Ilsurian.  The battles in the manor are pretty good, as the rogues of the Gilded Hands use ambush tactics and tricks like flash powder and tanglefoot bags to keep the PCs off-guard.  Perhaps the most fun moment is when the guild's leader appears looking and sounding just like one of the PCs to terrorize the Braeton children before returning to normal to "rescue" them.  It's great to frame the PCs, because nothing gets an adventure going better than when they take things personally!

The final part of the module, Part Six ("Ilsurian Storage & Hauling") has the PCs raid the thieves' guild.  This is actually a bit complicated for the GM to handle, as it's a running battle with a lot of movement and different tactics by various NPCs depending on how much warning they have and on the PCs' actions.  There's some nice use of 3-d environment (a catwalk, trapdoors in the floor, etc.) and a couple of surprises like a "sanguine ooze swarm" and an alchemist capable of hurling bombs all over the place.

Assuming the PCs are successful in the thieves' guild, they've found all the proof they need to clear the Umbra Carnival.  The module provides a couple of nice hooks for further adventures, which is something I always appreciate.

You can probably see by the structure of things that one of the major criticisms of Murder's Mark in the forums is that, although it seems like the PCs are gathering clues to solve a mystery, what they're really doing is running around until the module has another murder take place to progress the story further.  There's no plausible way the PCs can solve the case early or that, frankly, their actions matter that much.  It's not a true "whodunnit" because the PCs don't know any of the suspects until the module reveals them as the murderers.   To me, a good mystery should have that "a ha!" moment where all the pieces come together and the reader/player realizes they *could have* solved the mystery if only they had assembled all the clues properly.  Depending on your players, this may or may not matter much to them as long as they had a good time along the way.  (a final note for GMs: the back cover blurb spoils that the thieves' guild is responsible for the murders, so don't circulate it to the players!)

As a total package, I think Murder's Mark is a strong module.  I didn't spend a lot of time talking about the NPCs in the Umbra Carnival, but they're interesting and should elicit some great role-playing.  The challenges were varied and all seemed reasonable, and the storyline sets up plenty of future adventuring possibilities.  So while it's not exactly Agatha Christie, it's definitely one worth playing and a great introduction to Pathfinder for new players.

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Rise of the Runelords Recap # 47 [RPG]


[19 Kuthona 4707]


Hearing the sounds of explosions echoing through the valley, Kozen correctly deduces that her allies’ “reconnaissance” mission has gone awry.  Although still sick and shivering, he hurries towards the sound of battle and arrives at the edge of the battlefield just as the other adventurers prepare to make a stand against the bulk of the ogre army.  As Goragar and Shalelu prepare to hold the line, Kang flies to the top of the wall so he can drop bombs on the ogres when they storm out.  Sir Roderick and Artemis prepare to open fire as well, but the thick fog continues to hamper their ability to acquire targets.  Shalelu calls up to Kang that if she or Goragar fall in battle, it’s his responsibility to make sure they’re not captured alive because what the ogres would do to them would be far worse than death.

Ogres aren't smart, but they pack a punch!
The storm hits.  In twos and threes ogres stagger and stumble out of the front gate and into the fog, trying to find the foes that are right in front of them.  Fortunately, the ogres’ size and the adventurers’ clever positioning create a natural bottleneck that keep Goragar and Shalelu from being drastically outnumbered at the point of attack.  Goragar swings his blade methodically, cutting down ogres that have been sorely wounded from Kang’s inerrant explosives!  Sir Roderick has difficulty hitting anything in the fog, but Artemis’ arrows strike home time and time again.  Kozen arrives and lends a hand by enchanting a rope to trip some of the ogres.  In a matter of minutes, a full dozen ogres are slain!

Goragar is badly hurt, and it’s clear from the shouts coming from Fort Rannick’s courtyard that a second wave of ogres are on the way.  A hasty decision must be made: flee, or fight?  Fight!  Some of Goragar’s wounds are magically healed, but in mere seconds the fighting starts again.  This time the ogres are led by two warriors with better weapons and armor, and strange appearances: one has knees that bend in reverse like a goat, while the other has a grotesquely-oversized head that constantly wheezes.  Ogres aren’t smart, but the decision to focus all of their attacks on Goragar is an easy one.  In a vicious exchange of blow after blow, both sides are slashed, battered, and impaled.  Victory or defeat hangs by a thread.  Suddenly Sir Roderick gets a bead on the goat-legged ogre and fires a shot from his musket that’s so powerful it blows the top of the creature’s head off!

The wheezing ogre keeps fighting, feeling confident that once it kills the weakening half-orc in front of him, the others will be easy prey.  Kozen gets too close and suffers a vicious wound, but bravely maneuvers himself so that he can heal some of Goragar’s wounds even while the fighting continues.  Kang curses that he’s running out of bombs, but an instant before the last ogre can level a killing blow on Goragar, another powerful shot from Sir Roderick fells the attacker.

Goragar is somehow still standing despite the punishment he’s taken, and advocates a tactical withdrawal.  Kozen says retreating could be as dangerous as pressing forward, as they could be set upon in the night.  Artemis speculates they may have already killed all of the ogres and retaken the fort.  Kang agrees, and persuades the others that it’s worth investigating further.  Inside the main gate and to the east, the adventurers find one of the many horrific scenes they’re destined to encounter at Fort Rannick: an open-air cook house has been used by the ogres to roast almost a dozen of the Black Arrow rangers.  Kozen vomits from the sight, but Artemis and Shalelu each take the time to go through the bodies as if looking for something.  Meanwhile, just outside the gate, Goragar makes sure all of the ogres are dead and then looks to see if any are holding valuables: in addition to some mildly-enchanted suits of hide armor and ogre hooks, one carries a copper ring etched with a badger that Goragar identifies as a ring of feather falling.  He rejoins the others as they cross the courtyard and examine the other structures: a tall guard post that is clearly falling apart, wooden barracks that are a fire hazard, and stables that are well-maintained but empty. 

With only the central keep left to explore, Goragar cuts through the already-battered doors to reveal a main hall swathed in a horror of dried blood and bits of flesh swarmed over by clouds of flies.  Ahead is a T-junction, and the adventurers can hear ogres talking and laughing from rooms nearby.  Kang and Artemis cautiously scout ahead and find one ogre in a room to the right admiring his own artwork (made with a decapitated human corpse as a “paintbrush”).  To the left, two ogres have dressed up in human-sized armor and are guffawing about each other’s “tiny man clothes” in front of a collection of heads mounted on pikes. 

Rapidly realizing that Fort Rannick is far from being cleared of danger, the group reassemble and whisper about what to do.  Shalelu speculates that something unusual must have been at play for the ogres to capture Fort Rannick, and that they must have a strong leader to keep the normally chaotic creatures in line.  Sir Roderick suggests returning to Turtleback Ferry so he can make more ammunition and Goragar can rest and heal.  Artemis suggests camping in a nearby copse of trees, but the smoke of a campfire (necessary given the cold) could be seen.  After further discussion, consensus is reached to return back to Turtleback Ferry.

An epic battle worthy of song has been won at the gates of Fort Rannick.  But the mission is unfinished, and the victors have been forced to retreat.  Should they have pressed their advantage, or were they wise not to press their luck?  And what will they find when they return?
---------------------------------------------------
Director's Commentary (June 10, 2018)

I'm writing this post as the campaign is just about to end Chapter Four, but I still think one of the craziest and most awesome things to happen so far was this battle at the gates of Fort Rannick.  The AP calls a frontal attack "suicidal," and gives at least a half dozen options it thinks players may pursue for trying to retake the fort through stealth or guile.  But my group chose to do things the hard way, and somehow it worked!  This was definitely a team effort aided by strategy (creating the bottleneck) and luck (the fog).  Goragar earned a place in Gorum's battlefield heaven by his feats in this session, but everyone contributed.  I don't think I've ever been as proud of the players as I was in this session, as they didn't win this battle through having munchkin characters but through sheer determination and the dice gods.

If there's one thing that tops this session . . . it's what happens next session!

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Pathfinder Campaign Setting: Towns of the Inner Sea [RPG]


Towns of the Inner Sea is a 64-page entry in the Pathfinder Campaign Setting line.  The point of the book is to present detailed looks at six different towns in the fantasy world of Golarion, suitable as either "home bases" for PCs or as interesting destinations to set adventures in and around.  Each town receives 10 pages of coverage that includes a drawing of it from the outside, a settlement stat block (from the Gamemastery Guide), a full-page map with keyed locations, discussion of the town's history and major landmarks, and then a one-page stat block and description of an important NPC.

The six towns covered are Diobel, Falcon's Hollow, Ilsurian, Pezzak, Solku, and Trunau.  The inside front-cover is a map of the Inner Sea region of Golarion showing where each of these towns are located (the inside back-cover is just a version of the average cover art sans logo and title).  The book starts with a two-page introduction that is actually quite useful as it includes a list (and one-paragraph description) of other towns in Golarion that have been fleshed out and what book they can be found in.  In another clever move, it then lists several  towns that are canonical but almost completely untouched in terms of established lore, giving a GM free rein to develop them without having to worry about any contradictions.  Introductions aren't usually so useful!

Diobel is the first town covered.  Flavourful opening text positions it nicely as a sort of smugglers' den on the same island as the metropolis of Absalom, filled with earthy, friendly folk who respect hard work and common sense and despise pretense and regulation.  My first experience with Diobel was running a Pathfinder Society scenario (The Hydra's Fang Incident) which has a notoriously-confusing explanation of Diobel's geography.  I'm not sure if the entry in this book really matches that scenario, but that might be for the best.  There are a couple of fun ideas, like a floating pleasure barge name Wisps on the Water and an abandoned but potentially devil-haunted warehouse fittingly called Devil's Pier.  One of the major themes of the entry is the role played by the Kaldroon family (proprietors of Kaldroon's Smokehouse) in lending stability to Diobel, and the featured NPC is Elvi Kaldroon, the head of the family.  All in all, Diobel seems fun as a trade town suitable for a short story-arc, but I didn't get a real feel for it as a place PCs would naturally want to spend a lot of time.

The second town is Falcon's Hollow, a fairly famous location in Golarion as the setting of several early modules.  Falcon's Hollow is a classic place for an adventuring campaign, as it's a sort of refuge for the desperate, surrounded by untamed wilderness and mysterious ruins.  The town itself has a surprisingly dark history, while its present-day domination by the Lumber Consortium (headed by a fully statted NPC, Thuldrin Kreed) means it's definitely not a forgettable, sedate little town--this is the sort of "home base" that ensures the danger and excitement aren't just had once the PCs are off adventuring.  The write-up is great, with tons of flavourful description and bits of intrigue I could see as the basis for hours of game-time.  If I had to pick just one town in the book to use for a new campaign, it would be Falcon's Hollow.

Ilsurian, the third town in the bunch, is the one I've used most as both a minor part of Rise of the Runelords and as the setting for the Murder's Mark module.  (indeed, it was for the former reason that I bought this book to begin with!)  Ilsurian is a town of proud, independent folk who work hard to avoid falling under the control of any of the larger city-states in Varisia.  It's notably racially intolerant of ethnic (nomadic) Varisians, however, which creates some good role-playing opportunities.  The entry here is a bit dry, but it does provide some adventure hooks involving thieves guilds, shiver (a narcotic) distribution, skulks, and so forth.  There are some spoilers for Murder's Mark, so GMs shouldn't allow players to read the whole entry.  The major NPC detailed is Genthus Duggern, a sort of political propagandist hoping to return Ilsurian to its former glory; I don't think the concept really comes across well as a threat to PCs.

For something completely different, take a look at the fourth town: Pezzack.  Pezzack is a city under siege, as it has rebelled and tried to break away from the devil-loving country of Cheliax!  The reader is thrust right into the the middle of the action, as there are loyalists, insurgents, strix (!), spies, assassinations, tons of story seeds and adventure hooks, and everything else needed to make the liberation of Pezzack the focus of a very memorable campaign.  A storyline involving Pezzack would be a natural fit for GMs interested in politics, espionage, and other themes a bit more sophisticated than the traditional "kill the monsters and take their stuff" approach to gaming.

Solku, the fifth town, is a fortress bastion in the deserts of Katapesh that serves as a major stopover for caravans.  Due to the omnipresent danger of gnoll armies, the town has a major military function and is home to a prominent contingent of priests and paladins of Sarenrae.  The locations detailed within Solku are done really well, and I think it would make a solid staging area for campaigns focussed on Indiana Jones-style "expeditions into desert ruins."  It's also the first one we've seen that has a more "Middle Eastern" than "Western" aesthetic, and it's good to show off the diversity that Golarion has to offer.

The final entry is for Trunau, a town with an epic backstory as home to the lone human hold-outs in territory long since overrun by orcs.  With each resident sworn never to flee or surrender, the town is in constant danger of being destroyed, but the shared danger (and isolation) also brings a real sense of community that comes across well in the entry.  When you need a place for the PCs to really love and care about, Trunau could be a good choice.  (or, if you want to tell a story about trying to find glimmers of hope in the face of despair, a storyline where Trunau finally falls could be suitably tragic).

Before moving on, I should go ahead and discuss the artwork.  The featured NPC in each entry gets a full-figure illustration, but the other artwork (aside from the opening drawing of the town itself) are just head-shots of particular NPCs.  It's frankly pretty bland from an art design perspective, and this is one area of the book that could have been improved.  On the other hand, the maps are uniformly clear and easy to use.

This is definitely a book for GMs, as players will not find new character options.  On the whole, I think Towns of the Inner Sea achieves its intended purpose--towns like Falcon's Hollow, Pezzack, and Trunau would all make memorable settings for a campaign.  With so much of the setting work already taken care of, the GM can focus on role-playing and coming up with great adventures.  I wish there were subsequent volumes of this book devoted to some of the more exotic locales in Golarion (even beyond the Inner Sea).  Still, as long as any of these towns are of interest, a GM will get their money's worth from this book.

Monday, June 4, 2018

Pathfinder Map Pack Storage Box [RPG]

The Map Pack Storage Box is one of those products that will seem ridiculous to a lot of people, but, for collectors like me, they're great!  The reason for the product's existence is that many of the earlier Pathfinder Map Packs just came shrink-wrapped--which is fine when front-facing on a store's display racks, but problematic once opened: how do you keep them together and how do you display them so you know what you have at a glance at your shelves?  The Map Pack Storage Boxes are solutions for this problem and are similar to the cardboard boxes used in later Map Packs.  Basically, each box is *just* big enough to hold the 18 tiles in a standard map pack.  There's attractive artwork on the front and room on both the front and "spine" to write the name of the map pack for easy sorting.  I've purchased several to help display my collection of older map packs, and I think they work well.  I have noted some discussion on the Paizo forums that not every map pack fits nicely into the box; I haven't had any problems, but it's worth flagging just in case.  So, from one perspective spending $ 2.99 for a single empty cardboard box barely bigger than a slim paperback novel is silly; but from the collector's perspective, it's a small price to pay!

Pathfinder Map Pack: Starship Corridors [RPG]

I have to admit that there is truth in advertising when it comes to the Starship Corridors map pack.  All 18 tiles contain corridors (in a "dirty/old grey steel" aesthetic) with a variety of configurations--straight lines, four-way junctions, elbow bends, etc. A few of the tiles have something different: one is lined with (what I think are) spacesuits, another couple have computers or ladders going upwards, and one has an exterior door adjacent to a forest scene.  Although there's nothing wrong with the set per se (and it makes a good companion for the Starship Chambers pack), using this set isn't really going to be any better than just drawing some roughly parallel lines on a blank grid.  True, the tiles are more attractive, but setting them up in exactly the right configuration (and keeping them from sliding around) is probably more time-consuming than it's worth.  (at least, that's been my experience the couple of times I've used them.) I'd label them as "fine, but inessential."

Pathfinder Map Pack: Starship Chambers [RPG]

Starship Chambers is an interesting Pathfinder Map Pack.  Released back in 2014, long before Starfinder was a thing, the map pack was designed much more around an "ancient, crashed starship discovered by fantasy adventurers" aesthetic (influenced by the Iron Gods Pathfinder AP).  By this, I mean that the starship chambers are intentionally dimly lit, dirty, and full of wrecked equipment.  The 18 5x8' tiles can be combined to make a starship bridge, crew quarters, med bay, cargo hold, and a couple of other chambers that I don't immediately recognize.  The chambers have a lot of nice detail--rust stains, exposed wiring, debris on the ground, etc.  I also appreciate how each chamber has connections to the corridor sections.  In regards to the several corridor sections (the packaging calls the "maintenance catwalks") though, again showing the original design, they and some of the other tiles contain trees next to them as if explorers stumbled over the ship in the forest.

All in all, there's nothing wrong with the concept of Starship Chambers as long as you're expecting Warhammer 40k "grim and gritty" starship chambers as opposed to Star Trek style "sleek and gleaming" architecture.  The map pack is done in the same style as another one, Starship Corridors, so they're a natural pairing.