Game Title: Starfinder Adventure Path #48 – Masters of Time and Space (Drift Crashers 3 of 3)
Publisher: Paizo Inc
Authors: Ron Lundeen with Tineke Bolleman, Jessica Catalan, John Curtin, Sasha Laranoa Harving, Joshua Hennington, Jason Keeley, Quinn Murphy, Shay Snow, Sara Thompson, and Isabelle Thorne
Artists: Caio Maciel Monteiro, Ridell Apellanes, Darius Cheong, Sol Devia, Kyle Hunter, Ivan Koritarev, Damien Mammoliti, Denis Medri, Guilherme Olivieri, Sam Perin, Pixoloid Studios (Mark Molnar, David Metzger, Gaspar Gombos, Zsolt ‘Mike’ Szabados, Janos Gardos, Laszlo Hackl, Peter Lerner, Orsolya Villanyi) and Jino Rufin
Genre: Starfinder science fantasy roleplaying adventure path chapter
Pages: 64 pages
MSRP: MSRP $24.99 in softcover or $19.99 in PDF
Players must prevent a terrible mistake as they fight their way through 4D space in the Masters of Time and Space, the conclusion to the Drift Crashers Adventure Path.
Fundamentally, Masters of Time and Space is a dungeon crawl and its three acts are mapped to the three stages of exploration, as a sidebar calls out. While the Tesseract doesn’t initially feel like a traditional dungeon thanks to its high-concept, four-dimensional navigation challenges, digging in further checks off nearly every box.
Even with enjoyable combat, the choice to end on a crawl feels a little anticlimactic. Despite the threat from Malacanta and the need to avert Tope’s plan, there doesn’t feel like a steady build of momentum towards a crescendo and the major emotional catharsis relies heavily on the GM’s ability to sell a scene. While Nightmare Scenario was, perhaps, not the most intense outing, it still offered sections of sustained urgency, such as the fight to rescue the Solarian monk, Masters of Time and Space never seems to reach a similar pitch.
The emotional catharsis of the adventure may also generate a mixed reaction. As the player characters finally manage to make their way home, they are once again visited by Desna, now accompanied by all of the NPCs the players have helped. It’s a scene with a lot of promise and potential, but it requires the GM to really sell the moment and assumes the players have come to care about the NPCs with whom they had interactions. If both of those boxes are checked, it’s a wonderful, heartwarming moment, but if either element is missing, it risks falling flat. While some may find the closing message on the resonant effects of kindness and compassion a bit cloying, it does offer a wholesome note to end on and will heighten the impact for others.
None of this makes for a bad adventure, however. There’s a lot of fun to be had and the Tesseract itself is a great backdrop. One of the best moments comes in Tope’s betrayal of the player characters. Though chaotic, Tope is truly a good character through and through. He’s helpful to the players and he truly believes his plan is the best solution to help the galaxy recover in the wake of the Drift Crash. There’s never malice or selfishness in his motivations and he is genuinely distraught at the lives lost in the disaster — yet his betrayal still works. While it won’t shock seasoned players or GMs, it’s still a nice surprise when the heel turn doesn’t come from the reveal of a secret evil or descent into madness, even as the trope effectively plays out the same way.
For players interested in continuing their characters’ adventures, Joshua Hennington and Jason Keeley provide a series of plot hooks and leads for further tales. In addition to highlighting other relevant Adventure Paths, the section also includes a chart for generating plots, new villains, and even a new class type.
Masters of Time and Space offers a fun conclusion to the Drift Crashers Adventure Path and opens the door for a larger campaign. While it may not be the most memorable end, it’s a well-designed exploration- and combat-driven chapter with a potentially heartwarming finale and interesting supplemental material.