Amid our preparations for Gen Con, we here at the Paizo offices are strapping ourselves in for the launch of the Starfinder Core Rulebook and all of its related material (in less than a week!), including the first volume of the Dead Suns Adventure Path, Incident at Absalom Station. You've already seen a preview of the adventure, but I'm here to talk about the exciting new aliens and other threats that appear in the back of the book!
Much like how Pathfinder Adventure Path volumes present new monsters, every volume of the Starfinder Adventure Path will come chock full of new creatures in a section we are calling the Alien Archives. Many of these aliens will be found within the accompanying adventure, and some will present rules for playing them as characters, but all of them will help to flesh out the wider Starfinder universe. For the first volume, we presented ourselves with a unique challenge: we asked artist Allison Theus to draw two new aliens of her own design, and we would then write statistics and words to match! Feast your eyes on what she provided to us.
Pretty cool, right? Here's where I came in. Starfinder creative lead Robert G. McCreary asked if I wanted to be the one to write up these new aliens. Of course, I jumped at the chance to contribute to the first ever Starfinder Adventure Path volume. And since I had created adversaries for the playtest and the Free RPG Day product Starfinder First Contact, I was already familiar with the system we were using to build NPCs.
Let me walk you through some of my thought processes as I got my first glimpses of the art, starting with the rauzhant—that's the purplish-blue flying creature. We didn't yet have plans to introduce any new types of dragons into the game, and this beast has some wyvern-like qualities, so I started with the dragon creature type. The next thing that drew my attention was its face… or lack thereof. I figured it would have some form of blindsight (perhaps even being completely blind without it), and it really had to be able to do something with all those extra teeth and fangs, as well as those little hook-shaped claws. I decided it would have the ability to clutch on to its prey after succeeding at a bite attack and then rake with those claws in subsequent rounds. In the process, a rauzhant folds up its wings so that it and its victim begin plummeting through the atmosphere of Liavara, the gas giant the creature calls home. Once its prey is dead, it resumes flight while feasting on the corpse. A Large creature, the rauzhant is CR 6.
Next, let's look at the vracinea—that sort of plant-spider hybrid. With its wood- and grass-covered exterior making for good camouflage in jungle environments (especially those of Castrovel), this plant creature seemed like it could be an ambush predator of some kind, using its bright-purple blossoms as a lure. I followed this train of thought for a bit, making the lure a supernatural effect, turning the creature into a kind of aboveground plant-based anglerfish. I decided that, as a plant, the vracinea isn't very fast, so I gave it a paralyzing scent that freezes its prey in place, giving the creature enough time to approach and begin chomping with its many sharp-toothed maws. Also a Large creature, a vracinea is CR 4.
Look for more exciting new aliens in the upcoming Dead Suns Adventure Path volumes and the Starfinder Alien Archive, all coming soon!