Have you been wondering what all the excitement about Starfinder is, but haven’t had a chance to check it out? Here’s a quick look at Starfinder that might be helpful if you are wondering if your table might be interested in exploring the Pact Worlds together.
What is Starfinder?
Starfinder is a science fantasy RPG, set thousands of years in the future of the Pathfinder campaign setting, after an event called “The Gap” where the planet Golarion disappeared. Players take on the role of being a member of a starship crew who explore a galaxy of adventure. While Starfinder is built on Pathfinder, both in its d20 based game mechanics and with a shared setting/universe. However, Starfinder isn’t simply Pathfinder with space rules. This futuristic take on the fantasy genre makes it very much its very own game. Starfinder draws inspiration from many other science-fiction and space opera franchises, such as Star Wars, Alien, and Guardians of the Galaxy, but doesn’t forget its fantasy roots.
Paizo first dipped into the science-fiction genre back in 2012, with the successful Distant Worlds supplement to Pathfinder. Five years late, Paizo debuted Starfinder at last year’s Gen Con. The team brought along more copies of the core rulebook than it had for any product launch in its history and sold through them all in a single day. Since it’s release in August 2017, Starfinder has expanded to three adventure paths and has released a ton of other books and accessories to support the game.
Starfinder Core Rulebook
Strap in and blast off! The Starfinder Roleplaying Game puts you in the role of a bold science-fantasy explorer, investigating the mysteries of a weird and magical universe as part of a starship crew. Will you delve for lost artifacts in the ruins of alien temples? Strap on rune-enhanced armor and a laser rifle to battle undead empires in fleets of bone ships, or defend colonists from a swarm of ravenous monsters? Maybe you’ll hack into the mainframe of a god-run corporation, or search the stars for clues to the secret history of the universe or brand new planets to explore. Whether you’re making first contact with new cultures on uncharted worlds or fighting to survive in the neon-lit back alleys of Absalom Station, you and your team will need all your wits, combat skill, and magic to make it through. But most of all, you’ll need each other.
This massive 528-page hardcover rulebook is the essential centerpiece of the Starfinder Roleplaying Game, with rules for character creation, magic, gear, and more—everything you need to play Starfinder as either a player or Game Master! The next great adventure in science-fantasy roleplaying takes off here, and the Starfinder Core Rulebook is your ticket to a lifetime of adventure amid the stars!
Inside this book, you’ll find:
- All of the rules you need to play or run a game of Starfinder.
- Seven character classes, from the elite soldier and stealthy operative to the physics-hacking technomancer and mind-bending mystic.
- Character races both new and classic, from androids, insectile shirrens, ratlike ysoki, and reptilian vesk to the dwarves and elves of the distant future.
- An in-depth exploration of the Starfinder setting, including its planets, gods, factions, and threats.
- Hundreds of weapons, spells, technological gadgets, magic items, and other options to outfit any character.
- Complete rules for starships, including customization and starship combat.
- Rules and tips on using Pathfinder RPG content with Starfinder.
Back in 2017, reviews were happy with Starfinder’s streamlined rules, including the starship combat rules and the expansive setting itself. Let’s take a quick look at Starfinder.
Starfinder has seven core classes which provide a variety of play styles.
- Envoys use their wit and charm to act as diplomats and boost their allies
- Mechanics mess around with computers and machines and get a robot buddy
- Mystics blend the traditional cleric and sorcerer into a caster that channels the universe’s strange energies to manipulate biological systems
- Operatives use their stealth and wide skills sets to act as a detective, hacker, spy, thief and a variety of other roles
- Solarians harness the energy of the stars to act as Jedi-like melee spell-combatants
- Soldiers are heavy weapons and armor specialists
- Technomancers are techno-wizards who blend technology and magic
Starfinder has many of your traditional fantasy races found in Pathfinder and new alien species.
- Dwarves, Elves, Gnomes, Half-Elves, Half-Orcs, and Halflings are provided at the end of the book along with other Pathfinder legacy information and conversions. If you want to play them, you can, but setting support is more focused on humans and the new alien races.
- Androids are artificial, genderless people who aren’t too happy about being created to serve. They have intentionally distanced themselves from the human cultures they broke away from. Unlike other creations, androids have souls, a distinction that plays a large role in distinguishing them as sentient.
- Humans originated in Golarion, which has disappeared, and now call Absalom Station their homeworld. As in Pathfinder, humans are a versatile race, often viewed as brash and reckless by others.
- Kasathas are four-armed aliens from a desert world and the inventors of the Solarian traditions used by the class. The kasathas fled their home as their star neared collapse and arrived in the Pact Worlds in the generation ship Idari.
- Lashuntas are a race of telepaths with innate psychic powers and natives of the pact world Castrovel. They are separated into two subspecies, the bulky and muscular korasha and the lithe and graceful damay. Each lashunta begins life indeterminate and develops into one or the other subspecies during puberty.
- Shirrens are an insectoid people with three sexes. They recently broke free from a predatory hive mind called the Swarm which consumed all worlds in its path, gaining a sense of self. Addicted to the new drug of individualism, these renegades rejected the Swarm’s mindless consumption, and have settled within the Pact World system.
- Vesk are a powerful reptilian people with a Klingon-like honor culture. Vesk have natural weapons and armor proficiencies, reflecting their predatory and warlike appearance. Devoted to conquest and dominance, the vesk only recently ended their long war with the other races of the Pact Worlds, and many still distrust them.
- Ysoki, or “ratfolk,” are a plucky and hotheaded race, similar to the Pathfinder Skaven race. Small and furtive, the ysoki are often overlooked by larger races. Yet through wit and technological prowess, they’ve spread throughout the solar system, giving truth to the old adage that every starship needs a few rats.
“Battle or befriend more than 80 bizarre life forms in this creature collection for the Starfinder Roleplaying Game! Every new world and space station comes with its own dangers, from strange new cultures to robotic killing machines to alien predators ready to devour unwary spacefarers. Inside this book, you’ll find rules and ecologies for creatures from across the known worlds, plus alien equipment and more. A robust system for creating your own creatures ensures that your parties never be without weird new aliens to fight or trade with, and racial rules for many of the new organisms let you be the alien, making Alien Archive not just a collection of creatures to kill, but a fascinating menu of creatures to be! Want to play a hyperevolved floating brain? A mighty dragonkin? A silicon-based crystalline slug?”
This setting book goes into greater depth, providing additional details on the central planets present in the main setting as well as some of the factions. You’ll also find new races, there’s also some new spells, themes, items, archetypes, and feats.
“The Pact Worlds are the beating heart of the Starfinder campaign setting, a solar system full of citizens both familiar and bizarre. From the cosmopolitan corridors of Absalom Station to the carnivorous jungles of Castrovel or the floating cloud-cities of the gas giant Bretheda, this hardcover rulebook is your guide to Starfinder’s core worlds and civilizations, and the perfect place to launch any adventure.”
There are three adventure paths for Starfinder in various states of release and development.
“…Players take on the roles of members of the Starfinder Society, a loose association of scholars and adventurers who travel the galaxy uncovering the secrets of the past. When a fragment of an ancient alien superweapon surfaces in the depths of hyperspace, its discovery sets off a race to find the extraterrestrial doomsday device. Hopping from planet to planet in both the civilized Pact Worlds and beyond, the heroes must contend with both the undead Corpse Fleet and the nihilistic Cult of the Devourer, each of which seeks to acquire the alien artifact for its own purposes. Can the heroes find and destroy the superweapon before their enemies seize control of it, or will the Pact Worlds’ sun go dark and cold, a harbinger of dead suns across the galaxy?”
Against the Aeon Throne
Preorder Expected August 2018
“An ancient, crashed starship on a new Pact Worlds colony in the Vast draws the attention of the sinister Azlanti Star Empire, who invade and annex the colony, remove an experimental starship drive from the crash site, and kidnap one of the colonists. The heroes must liberate the colony from Azlanti occupation before venturing inside the mysterious Star Empire, in search of both the experimental drive and the kidnapped colonist, who is an old friend of the heroes. Will the heroes rescue their friend and keep the drive out of Azlanti hands, or will the might of the Azlanti Star Empire crush them as it has so many others who have stood against the Aeon Throne?”
Signal of Screams
Preorder Expected October 2018
“While relaxing on a posh asteroid resort, the heroes are beset by a plague of madness and horrible transformations and, after dealing with its unfortunate victims, learn these tragedies are part of plot engineered by an insane scientist trapped on the Shadow Plane. Using the funding of an amoral corporation, the scientist has crafted a mysterious signal that will spread pain from world to world. As this corruption begins to infect the heroes, they must stop the transmission at its source to save themselves—and the rest of the galaxy!”