By now, you've had a look at the rules governing the Starfinder universe in the Starfinder Core Rulebook. Perhaps you've created a character or two and played in a few sessions of the Dead Suns Adventure Path! You've also gotten a glimpse of many of the weird and wonderful beings found in the Starfinder Alien Archive. But, in my opinion, an RPG really begins to blossom with an exciting and vibrant campaign setting. Luckily, Starfinder Pact Worlds is right around the corner!
The Pact Worlds is a unified coalition of worlds within the same star system who have banded together for mutual protection against larger threats. These 14 worlds and celestial bodies are the heart of the Starfinder campaign setting, providing a home base (or several home bases) for starship crews and other groups to blast off for adventures among the distant stars. But that doesn't mean the Pact Worlds are safe and boring. Far from it! Intrigue and danger abound in the varied environments and settlements. In fact, the planets of the Pact Worlds boast everything from sun-blasted deserts to frozen mountaintops and from massive space stations to untamed jungles.
Chapter One of Pact Worlds details these planets and celestial bodies, providing descriptions of the geography, residents, society, and political landscape, as well as an extensive list of notable locations. In addition, each entry is accompanied by a full-page map of the entire world—or, in some cases, a map of the most important area. Finally, a new theme inspired by that world rounds out the section.
Let's take a look at a few highlights of the book.
The chapter begins with a description of what is arguably the most important celestial body in the system: the Sun. Though it may seem to be just a burning mass of incandescent plasma that provides heat and light to all other worlds, it is so much more. A strange settlement actually exists floating inside this churning furnace. Discovered by worshipers of the sun goddess Sarenrae over a century ago, this collection of force bubbles of various sizes—dubbed the Burning Archipelago by its first pioneers—now houses a sizeable population. Corporations harnessing the ambient radiation, Xenowardens tending a series of lush gardens, solarian monasteries, a marketplace staffed by efreet and other denizens of the Elemental Plane of Fire, and a huge metal cathedral to the Dawnflower all exist in close proximity in this diverse metropolis.
From the heat of the sun, we turn to the wandering planet of Triaxus, which is currently in the throes of one of its centuries-long winters. The planet's eccentric orbit around the sun stretches out its more extreme seasons, but life has adapted to these climates, with some flora and fauna hibernating until their time to thrive draws close once again. Triaxus's two largest landmasses are home to the planet's main species: dragons, dragonkin, and ryphorians. These ancient cultures warred in the time before the Gap, clashing mainly on the bridge of land between the two continents, but are now in a state of peace. Some individual realms within these areas—the Allied Territories and the Drakelands—still look outward with expansionistic eyes. One such domain is Dretchnyl, run by the powerful green dragon Dretchnyliax, who recently emerged from hiding after being attacked by a contingent of good-aligned metallic dragons. She is now more machine than flesh-and-bone dragon, bristling with cybernetic augmentations and gun-bearing prosthetics.
While dragons and ryphorians have existed in the Pact Worlds system since before the system garnered that name, some denizens are slightly more recent emigrates. The kasathas of the generation ship the Idari are such a civilization, having fled their dying home planet on a slow migration centuries ago. The kasathas bring facets of their own culture to the melting pot of the Pact Worlds, as represented by the tempered pilgrim theme. In their adolescence, kasathas undertake a yearlong walkabout known as the Tempering, in which they are encouraged to experience as much as possible. Some members of other races have adopted this practice as well, and they are represented with the tempered pilgrim theme. They have extended the philosophy to their everyday lives, and learn about new cultures very easily and can draw on the diverse array of experiences they have already had. They consider themselves students of the universe, always ready to learn more.
Like any other spacefarer, these tempered pilgrims need a way to get from planet to planet or from star system to star system. Pact Worlds includes a handful of new starship options and example starships, focusing on groups such as the Hellknights and the Xenowardens. The most impressive of these vessels is the Iomedaean Cathedralship, a gargantuan carrier designed to look a soaring marble edifice. The Cathedralships come complete with soaring buttresses and artificial stained glass windows. The sight of such a ship usually evokes pride in the faithful and fear in the hearts of their enemies.
And that's just a taste of what can be found in Pact Worlds! Stay tuned for more preview blogs in the coming weeks!