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Starfinder – Citizen Zo!

First off, next week is PaizoCon, so no new blog post then. I’ll be busy with the con, but will be back the week after with Starfinder news and developments.

Second, if you are chomping at the bit for Mechageddon, there is a preview encounter up on the Paizo Blog. It’s a fun little encounter, and a good way to get familiar with Mech Combat.

Third, there is a new playtest adventure! Written by Dustin Knight for higher level play, we return to the not so gentle hands of Eox’s most famous personage, Zo! This time players will take part in Zo!s most successful show, Wheel of Monsters! They’ll compete for fabulous prizes, and hopefully escape with their lives. No guarantees though, that’d ruin the drama.

Wheel of Monsters!

Which brings me to today’s blog topic. Eox has been a horrible blasted wasteland ruled by the undead for a LONG time in the Pact Worlds setting. In fact, well before the Age of Lost Omens, the Eoxians built a super weapon they used to destroy their nearest planetary neighbor (creating the Diaspora) and trashed their own world’s atmosphere in the process. All but wiped out by their own actions, a significant portion of the population was able to ‘survive’ by transitioning into Bone Sages (aka Necrovite). The few that remained alive survived in the underground vault known as the Halls of the Living.  The bad news for the survivors and their descendants is that a bunch of liches with nothing else to do for millennia and a captive population of living who are largely dependent on said liches for resources, means that some pretty messed up form of reality television has been happening on Eox for a very long time.

Fast forward to AG 324 and the Halls of the Living are still going strong. No longer the last living refuge of the elebrian species, the Halls are now a vile mecca of high stakes reality television competitions. To say that Eoxian holo-vids are dark is a bit of an understatement, and most programs are blocked by the rest of the Pact Worlds, protested by numerous organizations, but remain legal and quite popular on the planet of undead. The population is all voluntary now, with a long waiting list of celebrity hopefuls looking to make their break in the competitions. Few, if any, actual elebrians take part anymore, with that nearly extinct species instead putting distance between themselves and further blood sports. The necrovites of Eox have adapted to media and infosphere entertainment quite handedly, having transitioned their own private reality show into a host of programs and media empires built around a similar premise. The most famous, and successful, of them is Zo!

Zo!

I debated making a stat block for Zo! Here (he’s a necrovite, but I’d build him as a unique one), but any encounter where the media mogul actually gets into combat would be wildly out of character for Zo! and Zo!’s commitment to the bit is immaculate. Who Zo! was before Gap, and just how old they are, is unknown. What we do know is that Zo! has built a larger than life persona for themselves as a consummate entertainer, host, and something of a buffoon.  Everyone in the Pact Worlds is at least passingly familiar with Zo! due to the pervasive reach of Zo! Media Group, so much so that I wouldn’t make players roll checks to identify the necrovite. If they are from the Pact Worlds, or even the Veskarium, they know who Zo! is (Eoxian entertainment, especially Zo! Media Shows, are quite popular in the Veskarium. They like competitions with a threat of real danger.)

Zo!s persona is something of a melding of Bob Barker and John Waters, with a significant injection of Damon Killian from the Running Man movie. Take all of that over the top and you roughly have it. Now imagine all that coming from an animate elebrian skeleton with a pencil thin mustache glued on. Somehow the mustache turns what should be terrifying into ridiculous, and Zo! 100% knows it. Somewhere, beneath all the glitz and showmanship, is an incredibly intelligent spellcaster who completed the personal but definitely horrific ritual to become a necrovite. And as an elebrian necrovite, they almost certainly did all that before the humans of Golarion had figured out things like ship building and sanitation. And yet, when you pretend to be something long enough, you begin to become the facade, and I’d argue that Zo! is there. Sure they were probably a terribly evil undead overlord, and in a lot of ways they still are, but put on the mustache and become the face of everyone’s favorite Thursday night show block, and suddenly a massive swath of the population is willing to ignore the undead eater of souls thing and you get invited to all the best parties. In a life or death situation, Zo! would likely let their body be destroyed rather than break character, and they absolutely would let someone else die rather than drop the ruse. As a necrovite they can just reform in a few days, but should the audience turn on them, well baby that kind of thing can be forever.

Live Audition Extreme! Hosted by Zo!

Zo! makes a great villain, but even the GM may find that the character is just too lovable and ridiculous to make a true antagonist. As such, they make a great and colorful side NPC. But should the party ever see beyond the façade, or discover some secret that Zo! cannot have revealed, the necrovite would not hesitate to use everything in their power to ensure the party is silenced forever.

There’s no exhaustive list of all of Zo!s appearances in Starfinder, so here’s my best shot at it:

SFS 1-05: The First Mandate
Pact Worlds
SFS 1-09: Live Exploration Extreme!
SFS 2-01: Pact World Warriors
SFS 3-10: Live Adventure Extreme!
Starfinder AP Crash and Burn (Fly Free or Die 5 of 6)
Starfinder Redshift Rally
Starfinder Drift Crisis
SFS 7-02: Zo! vs Zo
Starfinder Playtest Scenario #3: Wheel of Monsters
Tales from the Drift: Live Audition Extreme


As always, if you like this or any of the other content here on Solo Run Studio I would welcome a little of your support through Ko-fi. Until next time Starfinders!

Categories: Article Writing

Jeremy Corff

Artist and Writer