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Introducing Starfinder’s Final Core Race: The Shirren!

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Two weeks ago we revealed a brand new Starfinder core race, the reptilian vesk, leaving us with just one mystery race left. Now, at long last, we're revealing that final core race: the insectile shirrens!

Shirrens were once part of the Swarm, a monstrous, locust-like race that traveled from world to world, consuming all it encountered before moving on. Generations ago, however, a mysterious mutation caused an entire subcolony to break from the Swarm's hive mind, with each of its members gaining a sense of self. Addicted to the new drug of individualism, these renegades rejected the Swarm's mindless consumption, forming a new race called shirrens that eventually came to settle within the Pact World system.

Illustrations by Remko Troost

Shirrens are arthropods with chitinous exoskeletons, large compound eyes, and sensitive antennae that aid in their telepathy. Unlike many arthropodan races, they walk upright, manipulating items with three-clawed hands. In addition to their two sets of main limbs, they also have two sets of smaller limbs growing from their thoraxes. While often displayed, these “mating arms” are extremely weak and used only for ceremonial and reproductive purposes—to use them for mundane activities would be seen as grotesque and shameful.

Shirrens have three sexes: male, female, and host. During reproduction, female and male shirrens provide the initial eggs and sperm, and hosts incubate the fertilized eggs while also adding their own genetic material and immunities. Shirren young spend their first 2 years in a tiny, wormlike larval form, and are often carried around in protective containers to let them safely observe the world.

Shirrens define themselves by their individualism. When they left the Swarm, they assumed partial control over the neurological pleasure and pain systems by which they were formerly directed, and even generations later, making choices for themselves can literally flood them with pleasurable neurotransmitters. While this ability is not always beneficial—some shirrens deliberately drug themselves this way, becoming “option junkies” blissed out on sequences of trivial decisions—freedom of choice is crucial to shirren identity. At the same time, shirrens remain highly communal, and are valued as collaborators by other races due to their ability to foster teamwork and put the goals of the group first.

All 7 of the core Starfinder player races—humans, androids, kasathas, lashuntas, vesk, shirrens, and ysoki—are joined in the core rulebook by updated versions of Pathfinder's core races, and even more playable races will be following shortly behind in the Alien Archive. Now that the core rulebook is off to the printer, you're going to be seeing a steady stream of Starfinder-related preview blogs right up through the game's launch at Gen Con, so keep your transponders on and open to future transmissions!

James L. Sutter
Creative Director

More Paizo Blog.
Tags: Remko Troost Starfinder Roleplaying Game
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Cool! Looking forward for more about starfinder. I would love seeing a preview about weapons and gears.


3 people marked this as a favorite.

This bit:

Quote:
While this ability is not always beneficial—some shirrens deliberately drug themselves this way, becoming “option junkies” blissed out on sequences of trivial decisions

Interesting. This sounds a lot like the concept of the ludic loop that I just read about in a New York Times article.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Pawns Subscriber
Quote:
All 7 of the core Starfinder player races—humans, androids, kasathas, lashuntas, vesk, shirrens, and ysoki—are joined in the core rulebook by updated versions of Pathfinder's core races

So this sounds like 13 playable races with the Core Rulebook. Is that true?

Liberty's Edge

4 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I am totally in love with the idea of a fiercely individualistic insect race, which is so very much against the usual stereotype. I also dig the three genders a lot - not groundbreaking there, but still not something I've personally gotten to play with in an RPG before.

Paizo Employee Creative Director, Starfinder Team

8 people marked this as a favorite.
1970Zombie wrote:
Quote:
All 7 of the core Starfinder player races—humans, androids, kasathas, lashuntas, vesk, shirrens, and ysoki—are joined in the core rulebook by updated versions of Pathfinder's core races
So this sounds like 13 playable races with the Core Rulebook. Is that true?

Yup! :D


Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Hmm, will Vercites be covered in the Alien Archive?

Shirrens are certainly interesting, though.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

I like the race a lot. My only real nitpick is that I am kind of disappointed that they dont retain full use of their fifth and sixth appendages. Still, I guess we have the kasatha for that, so I'm cool with it.


4 people marked this as a favorite.

In space, no one can hear me FREAK OUT about getting to play bug people.

Freak.

Out.


2 people marked this as a favorite.

What pronouns do hosts use?I feel like that's important for both role play and not confusing players.


2 people marked this as a favorite.

*chirp*


17 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting Subscriber

I, for one, welcome our new Shirren overlords.

EDIT: And this: "Shirren young spend their first 2 years in a tiny, wormlike larval form, and are often carried around in protective containers to let them safely observe the world."

Best bug parents ever.

Silver Crusade

9 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Tales Subscriber

Finally the option to write space romance encounters involving rat tails, lizard cloaca and forbidden chitonous mating arms can be made possible.
Forget Mass Effect, these are the space romances the people have been waiting for!

In all seriousness though, I'm glad to see a very alien alien race as playable.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

And... I'm adding this race to my Star Wars Saga games.

Scarab Sages

10 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Dear lord, a Shirren at a Chipotle or Subway...

*Shirren ordering food*

*Ysoki looks at the Android across from her*

"I'll have what... its... having."

*Android* "Check please!"

Shadow Lodge

i was still holding out hope that the contemplatives would be a core race...no floating brain pc for me i guess...


8 people marked this as a favorite.

*waggles antennae in complex pattern; emits pheromones*

Paizo Employee Creative Director, Starfinder Team

18 people marked this as a favorite.
nohar wrote:
i was still holding out hope that the contemplatives would be a core race...no floating brain pc for me i guess...

I can't officially say anything about this, but, um, don't get too discouraged yet.

<_<

>_>


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Pawns, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Having partial control over how you feel pain seems like a pretty useful feature when you find yourself in a fight!

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Odraude wrote:
I like the race a lot. My only real nitpick is that I am kind of disappointed that they dont retain full use of their fifth and sixth appendages. Still, I guess we have the kasatha for that, so I'm cool with it.

Actually, if I'm counting right, I think they have 8 limbs total.


nohar wrote:
i was still holding out hope that the contemplatives would be a core race...no floating brain pc for me i guess...

From what I hear, there will be better rules for playing monsters as PCs in Starfinder, so you and I may have our contemplatives yet.


3 people marked this as a favorite.

Almost 100% sure the contemplatives will be in the First Contact book, or atleast the Alien Archive.

Edit: Yeah, the second bullet on the First Contact book. "Player-race information to let you be the alien, from the atrophied psychic creatures called contemplatives to the bug-like haan who float across gas giants on balloons of spun webbing."

Shadow Lodge

James Sutter wrote:
nohar wrote:
i was still holding out hope that the contemplatives would be a core race...no floating brain pc for me i guess...

I can't officially say anything about this, but, um, don't get too discouraged yet.

<_<

>_>

discouragement unofficially suspended : )

Scarab Sages

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Troodos wrote:
What pronouns do hosts use?I feel like that's important for both role play and not confusing players.

I would imagine that the hosts use pronouns unique to their cultural language.

RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 16

The culture actually sounds pretty interesting.

And they don't look too creepy.

Dark Archive Vendor - Fantasiapelit Tampere

11 people marked this as a favorite.

I'm totally gonna make a Shirren assassin. "I just love killing!"


2 people marked this as a favorite.
RocMeAsmodeus wrote:
Troodos wrote:
What pronouns do hosts use?I feel like that's important for both role play and not confusing players.
I would imagine that the hosts use pronouns unique to their cultural language.

Further, just because the Shirren have 3 sexes, does that mean they have 3 distinct genders (grammatical or otherwise)? Maybe the notion of "he", "she", and "they" etc. seems as silly to them as using different pronouns based on someones eye color or height.

Or maybe their language does exactly that, traditionally assigning different pronouns based on a different arbitrary set of physiological features?

Liberty's Edge

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Troodos wrote:
What pronouns do hosts use?I feel like that's important for both role play and not confusing players.

Hse?

Hse, hsis, hsim.

Starfinder Society Developer

2 people marked this as a favorite.

Yes, good, GOOOOOOOD! Now I can begin the process of getting my forum avatar applied. :3

Paizo Employee Developer

4 people marked this as a favorite.
Brew Bird wrote:
RocMeAsmodeus wrote:
Troodos wrote:
What pronouns do hosts use?I feel like that's important for both role play and not confusing players.
I would imagine that the hosts use pronouns unique to their cultural language.

Further, just because the Shirren have 3 sexes, does that mean they have 3 distinct genders (grammatical or otherwise)? Maybe the notion of "he", "she", and "they" etc. seems as silly to them as using different pronouns based on someones eye color or height.

Or maybe their language does exactly that, traditionally assigning different pronouns based on a different arbitrary set of physiological features?

I like how you think!

Scarab Sages

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Modules Subscriber

Look at those beautiful legs <3


2 people marked this as a favorite.

Ugh. This race is so cool. This game is quickly becoming one of my favorite RPGs - I shouldn't be surprised, Paizo has yet to disappoint me.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Quote:
All 7 of the core Starfinder player races—humans, androids, kasathas, lashuntas, vesk, shirrens, and ysoki—are joined in the core rulebook by updated versions of Pathfinder's core races, and even more playable races will be following shortly behind in the Alien Archive.

So we're getting updated states for elves, dwarves, gnomes, halflings, half-orcs, and ratfolk then? Will the Alien Archive feature any of the other Pathfinder races (aka Aasimar, Tieflings, Suli, Catfolk, etc etc)?


3 people marked this as a favorite.
Berselius wrote:
Quote:
All 7 of the core Starfinder player races—humans, androids, kasathas, lashuntas, vesk, shirrens, and ysoki—are joined in the core rulebook by updated versions of Pathfinder's core races, and even more playable races will be following shortly behind in the Alien Archive.
So we're getting updated states for elves, dwarves, gnomes, halflings, half-orcs, and ratfolk then? Will the Alien Archive feature any of the other Pathfinder races (aka Aasimar, Tieflings, Suli, Catfolk, etc etc)?

Oh I'd really like to see Space Tieflings.

Paizo Employee Creative Director, Starfinder Team

5 people marked this as a favorite.
Aunders wrote:


Edit: Yeah, the second bullet on the First Contact book. "Player-race information to let you be the alien, from the atrophied psychic creatures called contemplatives to the bug-like haan who float across gas giants on balloons of spun webbing."

Oh, hey, I can officially say it after all! Score! :D

Silver Crusade

25 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Tales Subscriber

Shirren Bard: "Let me sing you the songs of my people!"
Rubs legs together rapidly

Grand Lodge

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Oh, I love the shirren, especially Shirren parents! Awwww....

Hmm


Pathfinder Companion, Maps, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
James Sutter wrote:
1970Zombie wrote:
Quote:
All 7 of the core Starfinder player races—humans, androids, kasathas, lashuntas, vesk, shirrens, and ysoki—are joined in the core rulebook by updated versions of Pathfinder's core races
So this sounds like 13 playable races with the Core Rulebook. Is that true?
Yup! :D

Now I am wondering about the numerous other races in the Pathfinder setting as Starfinder characters. Will the racial info for Pathfinder core races set a pattern that can be followed readily for the other races, or will we be missing critical conversion information initially?


I really hope they'll include updated stats for the Pathfinder core races in the actual Starfinder manuals instead of as web enhancements (still not forgiving WotC for doing that a great deal of the time).


1 person marked this as a favorite.
DM_aka_Dudemeister wrote:
Shirren Bard: "Let me sing you the songs of my people!"

SSSSSKKKKKKKRRRRRRRRRRREEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!

(enemies and allies alike run in terror as they bleed from their ears, eyes, and noses)

Paizo Employee Creative Director, Starfinder Team

4 people marked this as a favorite.
Berselius wrote:
I really hope they'll include updated stats for the Pathfinder core races in the actual Starfinder manuals instead of as web enhancements (still not forgiving WotC for doing that a great deal of the time).

Yup! They're in the Core Rulebook.


Are there stats for the other major races of the solar system, like the Triaxians and the Vercites?


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Odraude wrote:
I like the race a lot. My only real nitpick is that I am kind of disappointed that they dont retain full use of their fifth and sixth appendages. Still, I guess we have the kasatha for that, so I'm cool with it.

According to the original post, they are eight-limbed.

There might be centaur-like Shirren with four walking appendages instead of two. We've only seen one or two of the three genders so far. Maybe the Shirren are sexually dimorphic (trimorphic?) also. If so, I'd bet that the host gender would be true octopods as befits their role as incubator.


7 people marked this as a favorite.
Odraude wrote:
I like the race a lot. My only real nitpick is that I am kind of disappointed that they dont retain full use of their fifth and sixth appendages.

Nah, they're for more important things, like communication. "Hey baby, how you doin'?"

Rosgakori wrote:
I'm totally gonna make a Shirren assassin. "I just love killing!"

"Oh boy, here I go killing again!"


Brew Bird wrote:
RocMeAsmodeus wrote:
Troodos wrote:
What pronouns do hosts use?I feel like that's important for both role play and not confusing players.
I would imagine that the hosts use pronouns unique to their cultural language.

Further, just because the Shirren have 3 sexes, does that mean they have 3 distinct genders (grammatical or otherwise)? Maybe the notion of "he", "she", and "they" etc. seems as silly to them as using different pronouns based on someones eye color or height.

Or maybe their language does exactly that, traditionally assigning different pronouns based on a different arbitrary set of physiological features?

Referencing someone in pronoun by gender is habitual in human culture in that different levels of deference and respectability were recognized based on gender. If there is a mixed group of males and females or if all members of a group are male, the French uses _ils_ as 3rd person plural. Only if all members of a group are female is _elles_ used.

Shirren pronouns may be based on something other than gender, for example their equivalent of _he_ (default 3rd person singular) might refer to any male, female, and nongestating hosts. But a gestating host (and perhaps a female in heat) would have a special 3rd-person pronoun to signify some kind of honorific status among their kind. Like using thee's and thou's and "royal we's", and capital-H He/His/Him.


Quote:
All 7 of the core Starfinder player races—humans, androids, kasathas, lashuntas, vesk, shirrens, and ysoki—are joined in the core rulebook by updated versions of Pathfinder's core races

EBERRON IN SPACE!!!

Complete with Eldritch Machines to provide you with total life support and FTL. Just not through the Drift, but using teleportation. NEAT!


5 people marked this as a favorite.

Picturing Shirren parents carrying around their kids in plastic boxes with green lids that have leaf and bug imprints on it, letting them out to play then using a net to pick them up again, occasionally putting fresh leaves and twigs in the terrarium for them.


4 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Card Game, Class Deck Subscriber

Shirren Tinder must be the complete opposite of human dating.

*Swipe left, right, right, left, left, right*
Hey, you've got a match!
No, I'm good. *Lights a cigarette*


2 people marked this as a favorite.

My first thought was "What? No sawtooth sabers?"

My second thought was "What? No electro-sawtooth sabers?"

Rosgakori wrote:
I'm totally gonna make a Shirren assassin. "I just love killing!"


Hmm... not sure i'm too into the name for the zerg in Starfinder being the "Swarm". Could maybe one of their developers tell me what other defining traits the Swarm had before the Shirren were a thing? I might want to call them something different like maybe "The Grating Swarm" or "The Mindless Swarm".

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