Scanning for Intelligent Life-Forms

Friday, October 27, 2017

By now, many of you have seen the myriad of interesting and incredible creatures found within Starfinder Alien Archive (and if not, what are you waiting for?), but you might be wondering how we went population this book. After all, the galaxy is a very big place, full of all manner of beings—and that doesn't even begin to cover the infinite planes of existence.

Luckily, we had a few places where we could start. When we started thinking about Alien Archive, the Pathfinder RPG had already printed five Bestiary volumes (Pathfinder RPG Bestiary 6 was at the printer at the time) that we could mine for ideas. In addition, Pathfinder Campaign Setting: Distant Worlds established a number of tentpoles regarding the Starfinder setting, albeit in the distant past. Conceivably though, some of the monsters and cultures name-dropped in that volume would still be around!

However, to truly capture the feel of a weird, science-fantasy universe, we also needed brand-new creatures. To that end, several of us here at Paizo absconded to a conference room and began filling up a whiteboard with ideas: general concepts (space mermaid), cool-sounding names (assembly ooze), and specific alien features (ability to break into constituent pieces). The fruits of our labor can be seen below.

After all that, we needed to make some hard cuts. We knew dragons should be in the book, but we couldn't give them the space that Bestiary volumes give them, so we stuck with the evil chromatic dragons. We thought angels and devils should be represented, but we could only have one of each. We wanted to make sure that each creature type would be represented, and And, of course, each of us had our own ideas for the book.

I argued that we needed at least one starship-sized creature. Rob McCreary noted the Azlanti Star Empire with their Aeon Guard was one of the setting's core threats and should be in the book. Owen K.C. Stephens persistently urged for the inclusion of the nuar, a nod to one of the first things he ever wrote for the world of Golarion. Amanda Hamon Kunz wanted to design a creature for the kaiju-infested planet she wrote for the core rulebook. Similarly, James Sutter was interested in fleshing out some of the races he originally wrote about in Distant Worlds. Some of our other coworkers who took freelance assignments for the book (Crystal Frasier and John Compton) voiced their own opinions on what it would be fun to write.

All this information went into several spreadsheets and we organized and re-organized it until we hit on a final list, which was sent out to writers, who returned with some terrific takes on what were sometimes very odd requests. In the end, I think we curated a fine collection of creatures that flesh out the world of Starfinder, as well as provide GMs with a wide array of foes for their players and players with some exciting new choices for races they can play!

Jason Keeley
Developer

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Tags: Alien Archive Starfinder

3 people marked this as a favorite.
Quote:
We thought angels and devils should be represented, but we could only have one of each.

Cybernetically augmented Pit Fiends with rocket launchers for hands (an infinite explosive ammo generated from their own bodies)?

Genetically augmented extracted brains of devils capable of psychic magic and grafted to cybernetic spider legs with chain gun mounts?

:) ;) :D

Dark Archive

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Thank you for including Owen's brainchild!

Starts the pre-emptive searching for a Nuar race-boon for SFS...

Paizo Employee Franchise Manager

Berselius wrote:
Quote:
We thought angels and devils should be represented, but we could only have one of each.

Cybernetically augmented Pit Fiends with rocket launchers for hands (an infinite explosive ammo generated from their own bodies)?

Genetically augmented extracted brains of devils capable of psychic magic and grafted to cybernetic spider legs with chain gun mounts?

:) ;) :D

Sounds cool. I encourage you to use the simplified monster creation rules in the back of the book and share your designs with us!

Paizo Employee Starfinder Design Lead

9 people marked this as a favorite.
Berselius wrote:
Quote:
We thought angels and devils should be represented, but we could only have one of each.

Cybernetically augmented Pit Fiends with rocket launchers for hands (an infinite explosive ammo generated from their own bodies)?

Genetically augmented extracted brains of devils capable of psychic magic and grafted to cybernetic spider legs with chain gun mounts?

:) ;) :D

This thread is DOOMed.

:)

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps Subscriber

When can we expect AA2?

RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 16

I was super excited to see a write up for hallajins and that they were as powerful as they deserved to be.

However, I'm still bummed that Apostae's ilee became extinct. They would have made a great "create your own alien" kind of race.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Cyrad wrote:

I was super excited to see a write up for hallajins and that they were as powerful as they deserved to be.

However, I'm still bummed that Apostae's ilee became extinct. They would have made a great "create your own alien" kind of race.

The ilee are neither dead nor resting, but they are drowsy.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Roleplaying Guild Subscriber
James Sutter wrote:

First off: I'm extremely honored to see so many people asking about the ilee! I had no idea people were so attached to them. So thank you. :)

As for what happened to them: Well, as we can all see, there aren't any on Apostae anymore. Clearly that must mean they were wiped out, right? But recall the central conceit of the ilee as a race: the fact that their physical forms were all very different, thanks to their unique creation process. Now ask yourself, what if they could control that process? What if, instead of fighting, you could change shape and walk among your invaders?

All I'm saying is, keep an eye on the Pact Worlds hardcover.


Owen K. C. Stephens wrote:
Berselius wrote:
Quote:
We thought angels and devils should be represented, but we could only have one of each.

Cybernetically augmented Pit Fiends with rocket launchers for hands (an infinite explosive ammo generated from their own bodies)?

Genetically augmented extracted brains of devils capable of psychic magic and grafted to cybernetic spider legs with chain gun mounts?

:) ;) :D

This thread is DOOMed.

:)

DDDDDDDDDDDDDOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM!

:D


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Amanda made the Kyokor? Sweet! Thankies!

And Thankies to Crystal as well for making the Skittermanders!


Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Is it possible to make a nuar xenodruid that juggles skittermander whelps that he summons, and then use them as ranged thrown weapons? Just asking for a friend :)

Liberty's Edge

Who did the art?


SphereRunner wrote:
Is it possible to make a nuar xenodruid that juggles skittermander whelps that he summons, and then use them as ranged thrown weapons? Just asking for a friend :)

I'd allow it.

Liberty's Edge

Owen K. C. Stephens wrote:
Berselius wrote:
Quote:
We thought angels and devils should be represented, but we could only have one of each.

Cybernetically augmented Pit Fiends with rocket launchers for hands (an infinite explosive ammo generated from their own bodies)?

Genetically augmented extracted brains of devils capable of psychic magic and grafted to cybernetic spider legs with chain gun mounts?

:) ;) :D

This thread is DOOMed.

:)

We're going to need the BFG, then.

Silver Crusade

Wei Ji the Learner wrote:


Thank you for including Owen's brainchild!

Starts the pre-emptive searching for a Nuar race-boon for SFS...

You know, I was thinking the same thing. I haven't had a chance to go through the book in detail yet, but just skimming the playable races, the Nuar was the one that stood out most to me as one that I'd like to play.

Paizo Employee Developer

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Marc Radle wrote:
Who did the art?

I completely forgot to note that. Apologies to our fantastic artists!

David Melvin did the mountain eel, the big, green bruiser.

Alison Theus did the ikeshti brood-minder, the technomantic lizardfolk.

Mary Jane Pajaron did the nihili, the gravity-challenged undead.

Liberty's Edge

Jason Keeley wrote:
Marc Radle wrote:
Who did the art?

I completely forgot to note that. Apologies to our fantastic artists!

David Melvin did the mountain eel, the big, green bruiser.

Alison Theus did the ikeshti brood-minder, the technomantic lizardfolk.

Mary Jane Pajaron did the nihili, the gravity-challenged undead.

Thank you good sir!

Grand Lodge

Owen K. C. Stephens wrote:
Berselius wrote:
Quote:
We thought angels and devils should be represented, but we could only have one of each.

Cybernetically augmented Pit Fiends with rocket launchers for hands (an infinite explosive ammo generated from their own bodies)?

Genetically augmented extracted brains of devils capable of psychic magic and grafted to cybernetic spider legs with chain gun mounts?

:) ;) :D

This thread is DOOMed.

:)

> IDDQD

> IDKFA

MIGHT MAKES LIGHT! AND I AM MIGHTY!

RIP AND TEAR!

YOU ARE HUGE! THAT MEANS YOU HAVE HUGE GUTS!


Kittyburger wrote:
Owen K. C. Stephens wrote:
Berselius wrote:
Quote:
We thought angels and devils should be represented, but we could only have one of each.

Cybernetically augmented Pit Fiends with rocket launchers for hands (an infinite explosive ammo generated from their own bodies)?

Genetically augmented extracted brains of devils capable of psychic magic and grafted to cybernetic spider legs with chain gun mounts?

:) ;) :D

This thread is DOOMed.

:)

> IDDQD

> IDKFA

MIGHT MAKES LIGHT! AND I AM MIGHTY!

RIP AND TEAR!

YOU ARE HUGE! THAT MEANS YOU HAVE HUGE GUTS!

Can't forget IDCHOPPERS!

"Here Skitter-skitter-skittermanders...."
<brum-brum-brum-brum-brrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr>

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