Immediately after the announcement of the Starfinder Roleplaying Game last PaizoCon, our community started speculating about an organized play program to support the new game. We spent the ensuing months looking at workflow and charting out a course that would enable us to have both Starfinder and Pathfinder organized play programs. It delights me to end speculation and announce the launch of Starfinder Society at Gen Con 50!
Introducing the Starfinder Society logo, designed by the talented Sarah Robinson!
Before the questions flood in, I want to note that we are still in the active planning phase, and may not have answers to everything yet. Over the next few months, the team will release more information via blog, podcast, and forum posts. If you have questions, please put yours in the comments section, and we will work to get them answered.
Who is working on Starfinder Society?
The structure is very similar to the Pathfinder Society Roleplaying Guild. Tonya Woldridge will oversee the program, with John Compton taking on the role of lead developer of both the Pathfinder and Starfinder organized play campaigns. Developer Linda Zayas-Palmer will continue to focus on Pathfinder Society. We've added Thurston Hillman to the team as the dedicated developer for Starfinder Society. Thurston has been a part of Pathfinder Society since Season 1, when he authored Pathfinder Society Scenario #55:The Infernal Vault. Since then, he's both contributed many scenarios (and special events) to the Pathfinder Society as well as writing regularly for various other Pathfinder RPG lines. Thurston brings his depth of experience to the team, along with a bit of zany humor.
Is it going to be called "Starfinder Society?"
The official name is Starfinder Society Roleplaying Guild, or SFSRPG for short. The Starfinder game takes place in the distant future of the Pathfinder world, and while much has changed (or been forgotten), the Starfinder Society traces its mysterious history back to the Pathfinder Society of present day. The campaign's official name reflects this connection.
Are you making two separate organized play programs?
Yes. Although many similarities exist in structure and format, including a shared volunteer team, they are two separate campaigns with different rules, documentation, and characters.
Do I get to keep my same Pathfinder Society number?
Yes. What was your Pathfinder Society number will now be your number for all three of the Paizo-operated organized play programs: Pathfinder Society Roleplaying Guild, Pathfinder Society Adventure Card Guild, and Starfinder Society Roleplaying Guild. Starfinder character numbers will have a unique starting number, most likely 700, making your first Starfinder character XXX-701. The number 700 works really well for this, not only because it leaves space for plenty of Pathfinder Society roleplaying characters, but also because the PZO number (the number we assign to each of our products) begins with 7. Who knows, this bit of trivia may make it in to the PaizoCon quiz.
How much is staying the same from Pathfinder Society Roleplaying Guild?
We still have quests and scenarios with Chronicle sheets. Adventures will be broken into tiers, grant XP, and provide other rewards. Three experience points (XP) grant a level. There are fairly cooperative factions within the Starfinder Society, based on their worldview and goals. We will reveal more information about the campaign as we get closer to its launch in August 2017.
Illustration by Sebastien Hue
If all that is the same, what is different?
On a more serious note, we made a couple major changes for Starfinder Society. The first is the tier system. We are closing the gap between subtiers that resulted in so much confusion and consternation with calculating average party level (APL). Starfinder scenarios will include the following tiers: Tier 1-2, Tier 1-4, Tier 3-6, Tier 5-8, Tier 7-10, and Tier 9-12—perhaps more as higher-level play grows in popularity.
The second most noticeable change is that characters have a means of belonging to more than one faction at a time. Unlike the current Pathfinder Society faction rules, Starfinder Society characters will be able to gain favor with multiple groups, choosing which they want to champion on a scenario-by-scenario basis. But just like multiclassing, focusing on several groups won't see the same benefits as focusing on a primary faction. These changes to the faction system tie in with another issue that we are addressing: the handling of boons. One of our goals is developing a way to make the boons on Chronicles more relevant, and not just a stack of paper player's stick in the back of their folder. We'll reveal more about these changes in... the future (see what I did there?)
What is the release schedule?
The Starfinder Society Roleplaying Guild launches with 3 scenarios, 1 pre-generated character special, and 1 quest pack at Gen Con. From there, we will publish one scenario a month. Moving to a slower release schedule allows us to spin up the program and settle into the groove of running three organized play programs. During this time, we will solicit feedback and assess the rate of publication for 2018 and beyond.
When can I start playing Starfinder Society?
The fun begins Thursday, August 17th, at 8:00 AM Pacific time in the Sagamore Ballroom at Gen Con. After Thursday morning, anyone, anytime, anywhere, may schedule Starfinder Society Roleplaying Guild events.
Next week sees John holding down the fort while I travel to the GAMA Trade Show in Las Vegas to chat with retailers about our organized play programs. The following Wednesday, March 22, at 7 pm PDT, John, Thurston, and I join the Know Direction crew for a Question and Answer session about all things organized play related. If you have topics you wish us to cover, feel free to drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will fit as many answers on the show as possible.
Check out the blog next Monday for more exciting organized play news!
Until next time—Explore, Report, Cooperate!
Organized Play Coordinator