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Starfinder Inspirations

Monday, July 17, 2017

Few appendices have made as big a splash in gaming history as Gary Gygax's Appendix N. (I thought Cosmo's appendix bursting at Gen Con that one year might have it beat, but he reminded me that was technically a gallbladder removal, so it's OUT OF THE RUNNING!) That formative list of novels hit in 1979, in the AD&D Dungeon Master's Guide. In it, Gygax laid out some of the works that had made the largest impact on him in the creation of Dungeons & Dragons, from Leigh Brackett and Robert E. Howard to Jack Vance and Andre Norton. In doing so, he created a reading list for an entire generation of gamers and fantasy fans, and had a tremendous impact on the genre as a whole.

When we created the Pathfinder RPG Core Rulebook in 2009, we gleefully took the opportunity to publish our own version of Appendix N, keen to introduce fans to our new favorites like Clive Barker and China Miéville, along with grand masters like C. L. Moore. Yet it was ultimately still a fairly small list—just a single column of text—and cribbed heavily from Gygax, focusing solely on novels.

When I first sat down to paginate the Starfinder Core Rulebook, I knew that space was going to be at a premium. I had, by some estimates, 800+ pages of content to cram into something even smaller than Pathfinder's 576 pages. Yet I also knew that just one page of inspirational media wasn't going to be enough. In order to make a game like Starfinder, we had to stand on the shoulders of innumerable giants, both childhood heroes and our friends and peers. We couldn't in good faith restrict ourselves to just literature, either. How could you have Starfinder without Star Wars and Alien? Without Shadowrun and Warhammer 40,000? Without Starcraft and Mass Effect? It just wouldn't be the same.

So here, in its entirety, is the Inspirational Media list from the back of the Starfinder Core Rulebook. These are just a few of the science fiction and science fantasy works that most influenced us in our creation of Starfinder's rules and setting. Staff members from many different departments contributed their nominations, and believe me, cutting the list down to just two pages was brutal. I also want to give a particular shout-out to the folks in the Tabletop RPG section. It was really important to us to include not just the games we grew up playing, but also our favorite modern games like Numenera and Eclipse Phase. There's no question that there are some brilliant SF games out there at the moment, and we're excited to be joining their party.

So what are you waiting for? From Illuminae to Hyperion, Saga to Serenity, there's a world of amazing speculative fiction waiting for you—and hey, you've still got a month to kill until Starfinder launches!

James L. Sutter
Creative Director

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Tags: Starfinder
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Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber, Campaign Setting, Companion, Maps, Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Pathfinder Deluxe Comics Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

I see a lot of favorites on the list, and several new things to check out, as well!

Liberty's Edge

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

Holy... I can't believe Dave Cockrum got a nod here. *tears in eyes*


3 people marked this as a favorite.

Surprised Simon Green's Deathstalker books are not on the list.


Pathfinder Card Game, Class Deck Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Everything from Foundation to Cowboy Bebop. A wonderful list. Any specific names you can think of that you had to cut but don't mind mentioning here James?


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Great list - happy to see "The Black Hole" get a nod, as well as my all-time favorite, Doc Smith. I recommend checking out Alastair Reynolds' Revelation Space novels, as I think those capture a certain flavor that Starfinder looks to capture.

Silver Crusade

6 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber, Campaign Setting, Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Steven Universe!

Silver Crusade

3 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber, Campaign Setting, Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Macross!


4 people marked this as a favorite.

I love to see Trigun there

Paizo Employee Creative Director, Starfinder Team

4 people marked this as a favorite.
Wraithguard wrote:
Everything from Foundation to Cowboy Bebop. A wonderful list. Any specific names you can think of that you had to cut but don't mind mentioning here James?

Oh jeez... I can't remember exactly who got cut, but I know there are folks that I woke up days after it went to print going "OH $@%& WE FORGOT THEM!" So I would like to officially tender my apologies to Jason Hough, as a representative of all the wonderful creators unintentionally left off the list. :P

Silver Crusade

3 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber, Campaign Setting, Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Alas, no Stanisław Lem :(


5 people marked this as a favorite.

No Harry Harrison :( No Stainless Steel Rat love

No Alien Legion Comic

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber, Modules, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Trace.The.Snake wrote:

Surprised Simon Green's Deathstalker books are not on the list.

Love those books. But I suppose you have to like the black, dry humor of them.

Liberty's Edge

4 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber, Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

No Iain M. Banks. List is invalid.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Woran wrote:
Trace.The.Snake wrote:

Surprised Simon Green's Deathstalker books are not on the list.

Love those books. But I suppose you have to like the black, dry humor of them.

They had some great ideas in them.


4 people marked this as a favorite.

I'm surprised Outlaw Star isn't on the list. Some of the sources were rather obvious others not so much.

This list does confirm that Starfinder is attempting to encapsulate all of pop sci-fy, for good or ill.


Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Well, guess I have a new reading list.

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Thrice Great Hermes wrote:


I'm surprised Outlaw Star isn't on the list. Some of the sources were rather obvious others not so much.

This list does confirm that Starfinder is attempting to encapsulate all of pop sci-fy, for good or ill.

After Firefly, Outlaw Star will always be the iconic "party scifi" adventure series for me.

Kind of disappointed to see Legend of the Galactic Heroes not listed, but it might be a bit too realistic for a Scifi, not to mention hard to find. There is a remake of it this Fall though!

Liberty's Edge Contributor

1 person marked this as a favorite.

I'm listening to the audiobook version of Peter F. Hamilton's "Night's Dawn" Trilogy, right now. Owen suggested Hamilton, but I felt I needed to go back to some of the first books in the setting before I could understand what was happening in other parts of the Commonwealth series. I'm really glad I did. There's some definite "science fantasy" stuff going on in that trilogy.


Everything sci-fi I love: The Game.

<3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3


6 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber, Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
spacetimc wrote:
Great list - happy to see "The Black Hole" get a nod

Agreed. The Black Hole is still my go-to movie for moody gothic sci-fi. And Maximillian, one of the scariest robots to ever come out of film.

Dark Archive

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

When I flipped through the Core Rulebook, I was disappointed not to see Lexx in the inspiration. I still am.


Lots of things that I love about sci-fi, a few that I have not heard about, and there were a few omissions. Overall a good list of inspirations.

Some love to Marc Miller's Traveller game, and a good amount of popular series. The gamut from Trigun to Captain Simian and the Space Monkeys. Would have loved to see Gundam or Exo-Squad, but both of those were less pulpy than what Starfinder seems to be aiming for.

Paizo Employee Developer

3 people marked this as a favorite.
Moskau wrote:
When I flipped through the Core Rulebook, I was disappointed not to see Lexx in the inspiration. I still am.

When you what?


Great list. Too bad there are no russian sci-fi writers other than Asimov in there. Weird not seeing the Strugatski brothers on that list.

Liberty's Edge

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber, Campaign Setting, Companion, Maps, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Surprised to see David Weber's Honorverse in there, given the sci-fantasy focus, but that just leads me to even more anticipation of reading the naval combat section.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Ex Machina. You guys. I love you. So much.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

The Adventures of the Galaxy Rangers...

NICE.

Dark Archive

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Phantasy Star. Spelljammer. Gamma World. You crazy bastards are reading my mind!


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Two which didn't make the cut were by Robert Lynn Aspirin, Cold Cash War and the Phule's Company series, and are well worn reading. Cold Cash is a bit darker, but you can easily see an adventuring company in the vein of Willard Phule's Omega Company / Hogan's Heroes / McHale's Navy vibe. :)

Scarab Sages

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Roleplaying Guild Subscriber

Thundarr the Barbarian. Nice.


No J.R.R Tolkien? Really?

At least a few goodies in there though.


5 people marked this as a favorite.

A moment of silence for Farscape being removed from Netflix...

Also f#$@ yeah!


4 people marked this as a favorite.

+1 the Alien Legion omission.

No Buckaroo Banzai?! No watermelon for you!

Nothing by Masamune Shirow?! That means no Deunan Knute, no Briareos, no landmates, no Leona, no Bonaparte, no Annapuma and Unipuma, no Tachikomas, no Major Kusanagi...
No, there never was a live-action GitS. Nope, never happened. LalalalalaIcan'thearyou...

NO MOEBIUS (aka Jean Giraud)!!!!!!

:)

Paizo Employee Developer, Starfinder Team

6 people marked this as a favorite.

Yeah, there's a lot of awesome stuff not on this list. Even in a really small font we couldn't get all the interesting sci-fi and science-fantasy out there onto two pages.
These are things that particularly moved someone on staff, and that survived the culling when we ran out of room. And it can be amazing, sometimes, what strikes someone as the MOST formative books, games, comics, and movies in their life. And which ones specifically inspired us when creating a game about a small band of heroes fighting a universe of mixed technology and magic.
That said, I am excited to see fans talking about the things that moved them that we didn't include. Those suggestions, and the conversations they start, are to me the greatest legacy of all these inspirational media appendices.

Grand Lodge

3 people marked this as a favorite.

I played a TON of Star Frontiers in the 80's and I have a lot of wonderful memories. Super happy to see it represented on the list. And I can't think of anything cooler than a Paizo-created space RPG.

Contributor

You had me at Captain Simian and the Space Monkeys.


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Gorbacz wrote:
Steven Universe!

Does that mean we can expect giant hand-shaped spaceships?

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32

3 people marked this as a favorite.

Let me add a couple of others.


4 people marked this as a favorite.

*Sees Barsoom series on list*

Ah, I see that you are a man/woman of culture.

...maybe now I'll know more than two other people who have actually read A Princess of Mars.

Grand Lodge

2 people marked this as a favorite.

No "Ice Pirates"?! For shame.

SM


Owen K. C. Stephens wrote:


That said, I am excited to see fans talking about the things that moved them that we didn't include. Those suggestions, and the conversations they start, are to me the greatest legacy of all these inspirational media appendices.

Hear, hear! Even in a world where "all plots have been created," discussion of inspirations leads to both (a) great lesser-known fiction being discovered by others, and (b) the birth of someone's next great campaign!


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber, Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Childhood's End is one of my all-time favorite books, super happy to see it listed here. Also really interested in what its inclusion implies...


I'm interested to know how the Divergent series of books influenced Starfinder. Definitely not what I would have expected, though it is sci-fi and in a future setting so I maybe my surprise is misplaced.


Is it sad that I've seen and read just about everything on this list.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

You had things that you had to cut but left Jason X on the list? I will forgive you because I see Wayne Barlowe on there. Wayne Barlowe's Guide to Extraterrestrials was basically a childhood reading guide for me. From there I read Childhood's End and Larry Niven's Neutron Star. But then again, I don't see Outlaw Star or John Christopher's Tripod trilogy.

Some of my additional influences when I begin running this.
Soldier, Ask Not - Gordon R Dickson
I Have No Mouth and I must Scream
"Repent Harlequin!" Said the Ticktockman - Harlan Ellison ( I saw some influence from "I Have No Mouth..." in Pathfinder and hope to see some here as well)
The Darfsteller - Walter M. Miller jr
Flowers for Algernon - Daniel Keyes
Stranger in a Strange Land Robert Heinlein

I'm afraid my influences from other media doesn't expand beyond what's listed though.
Actually, now that I look through the list, I'm a bit suprised not to see the original Transformers series on there. I mean, I see Silverhawks (and I am super happy to see that) But no Transformers, no He-man, no She-ra and no Exo-Squad (I loved me some Exo-Squad)


3 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Owen K. C. Stephens wrote:
That said, I am excited to see fans talking about the things that moved them that we didn't include. Those suggestions, and the conversations they start, are to me the greatest legacy of all these inspirational media appendices.

Put me down for Almost Human, yet another good TV show Fox cancelled before its time.


First World Bard wrote:


Put me down for Almost Human, yet another good TV show Fox cancelled before its time.

Yeah, I liked that one a lot - so sad they really didn't get a chance to develop that one fully, too many unanswered questions about the world I would have loved to see fleshed out.


Glad to see Babylon 5 in there. ^_^

BTW Kitsune Warlock, I just started watching Legend of the Galactic Heroes. It's old fashioned anime goodness that I grew up watching. ;)

A bit sad that I don't see Dominion Tank Police, Ghost in the Shell, and a few others but I'm sure Paizo tried to fit as much in there as they could.

Wasn't there one anime OVA about a battleship that used sails to capture starlight so it could move at interstellar speeds? Wasn't there also another anime where a human male finds himself in possession of a space ranger gauntlet and goes on an adventure with a woman and a sentient pterodactyl alien (who also has a similar gauntlet)?

I wish I could remember the names of those animes. :(


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Companion, Maps, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

I am impressed that anyone at Paizo is old enough to remember Blake's 7.


The Thing? Does that mean we might see it started up? Nothing would make me happier.

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