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Build Your Own Aliens

Friday, October 6, 2017

There's a chill in the atmosphere, a hint of pumpkin spice in the air recyclers, and fallen leaves are littering the floor of the hydroponics bay. Yes, October is here, and so is the Starfinder Alien Archive! Over the next few weeks, we'll be previewing some of what can be found in this newest offering for the Starfinder RPG, starting with some goodies for Game Masters!

The Alien Archive is chock full of strange alien creatures and fearsome extrasolar monsters to populate your Starfinder games, but when your players discover an uncharted world deep in the Vast, you'll want to create your weird own native life-forms to inhabit it. Fortunately, the Alien Archive has you covered!

First off, in Starfinder, all nonplayer characters (NPCs as well as monsters) are built using different rules from those used to create player characters. Since most monsters are needed for just one encounter, this system allows GMs to quickly and easily create NPCs and monsters without having to go through the entire process of building a player character. So how does it work?

The central components of monster creation in Starfinder are arrays and grafts. Every monster derives the majority of its statistics from one of three arrays, which define the monster's primary role: combatant, expert, or spellcaster. Unsurprisingly, combatants are those who excel in combat, experts are more skill-focused, and spellcasters primarily use spells or other magic. The numbers from a monster's array are not set in stone, but they give you a baseline that can be modified by grafts, special abilities, or your own preferences.

After you've chosen an array for your monster, you add grafts to it, which adjust the monster's various stats and add additional abilities. There are grafts for creature types and subtypes, as well as a graft for each character class. Generally speaking, an NPC or monster will only use a creature type graft or a class graft, not both, depending on the monster's focus. Template grafts are another option that transform a creature in some way. For example, you might create a new alien using the combatant array and the monstrous humanoid creature type graft, then turn it into a shambling, technological undead horror by adding the cybernetic zombie template graft.

Once you have these basics in place, you can start giving your monster special abilities. The monster's array and its CR determine how many special abilities it has. If a monster has a class graft, that class determines most, if not all, of its special abilities, but for non-classed monsters, you can add your own abilities or choose abilities from the list of Universal Creature Rules—those special abilities that appear in the stat blocks of the various creatures in the Alien Archive.

By this point, you're mostly done. Choose your monster's skills and determine a few other statistics like initiative, speed, and languages. If your monster has spells, you'll need to determine which spells it can cast, and you might need to outfit your monster with some armor, weapons, and other gear, but you should have all the statistics you need to use the monster in play.

In addition to dozens of fully detailed creatures, Starfinder Alien Archive provides GMs with tons of options to build and customize NPCs and monsters for Starfinder. Check out the full rules and keep your eyes on the blog for more Alien Archive previews!

Robert G. McCreary
Creative Director, Starfinder

More Paizo Blog.
Tags: Alien Archive Pixoloid Studios Starfinder
Scarab Sages

7 people marked this as a favorite.
Paizo Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

I love Dr. Frankenrat.


Will one of these forthcoming updates be about the lack of supply/fact the Alien Archive is already backordered?


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

Interesting! The anticipation of my order shipping out is killing me lol. Can't wait to start tinkering with the creation rules.


4 people marked this as a favorite.

"SCIENCE!!"

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

7 people marked this as a favorite.
JMadigan wrote:
Will one of these forthcoming updates be about the lack of supply/fact the Alien Archive is already backordered?

There's not a lot to say there: We had to place our order with the printer a while before the Core Rulebook came out, so we didn't yet know how high the demand would be. The reprint has already been ordered, and is currently scheduled to arrive in December. (There will be no differences between the two print runs.)


7 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Card Game, Class Deck, Maps, Modules, Pawns, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Deluxe Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Legends Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Congratulation again, Paizo. Great to see Starfinder is doing so well.

RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 16

3 people marked this as a favorite.

Horray. Simpler NPC creation is something I'm really looking forward to.

Dark Archive

Hmm another blog that's made its way to Website Feedback. Methinks something somewhere is stuck and sending them here?

I know absolutely nothing about the process, it just seems suspicious that's now two this week.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

(looks at the picture at the very bottom)

BY THE INHERITOR WHAT IN THE NINE HELLS IS THAT ABOMINATION? SOMEONE KILL IT WITH FIRE!


Looks like a lot of weird fun in store for the crews of various starships exploring the infinite vastness of space.

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Modules, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber

What happens if the PCs find a way to ally with a monster?

Is there an easy way add on the necessary extras?


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Berselius wrote:

(looks at the picture at the very bottom)

BY THE INHERITOR WHAT IN THE NINE HELLS IS THAT ABOMINATION? SOMEONE KILL IT WITH FIRE!

That's a little harsh. It's just a ysoki scientist. No need to start shouting.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

The link to the upper right image (http://paizo.com/image/content/Starfinder/PZO7105-MonsterCreation02.jpg) is broken.


Ventnor wrote:
Berselius wrote:

(looks at the picture at the very bottom)

BY THE INHERITOR WHAT IN THE NINE HELLS IS THAT ABOMINATION? SOMEONE KILL IT WITH FIRE!

That's a little harsh. It's just a ysoki scientist. No need to start shouting.

You know which one I was talking about. :P


Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
GeraintElberion wrote:

What happens if the PCs find a way to ally with a monster?

Is there an easy way add on the necessary extras?

If the monster has a class graft you can just rebuild them using PC rules and keep any unique abilities that they had from being an NPC, or give it a class if it's a classless but intelligent creature. If it's more of an animal (like a space-dog for example) then you just have to use the rules given.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Starfinder Charter Superscriber
GeraintElberion wrote:

What happens if the PCs find a way to ally with a monster?

Is there an easy way add on the necessary extras?

If it's under the GM's control, it's still an NPC, so there's no need to change anything. If it becomes a player, then you'd use the player version, and the creature would (probably) suddenly become weaker. Bad guys often get weaker when they become regulars.

Paizo Employee Customer Service Manager

2 people marked this as a favorite.

Moved thread to Starfinder General Discussion.

Liberty's Edge

If we are a subscriber do we have to wait until December or is our copies in the soon pipe? I got my sub order generatin mail on the 28th.

Liberty's Edge

Distant Scholar wrote:
GeraintElberion wrote:

What happens if the PCs find a way to ally with a monster?

Is there an easy way add on the necessary extras?

If it's under the GM's control, it's still an NPC, so there's no need to change anything. If it becomes a player, then you'd use the player version, and the creature would (probably) suddenly become weaker. Bad guys often get weaker when they become regulars.

Based on the stat blocks those of us without the Alien Archive have seen thus far, 'weaker' is probably not precisely correct. PCs are less impressive than NPCs offensively, but better defensively. If they were lower CR than the PCs, they'll actually almost certainly get a net power up.


3 people marked this as a favorite.
Luke Spencer wrote:
If the monster has a class graft you can just rebuild them using PC rules and keep any unique abilities that they had from being an NPC, or give it a class if it's a classless but intelligent creature. If it's more of an animal (like a space-dog for example) then you just have to use the rules given.

So THAT'S what the Ysoki Frankenstein is trying to learn (although unfortunately having picked up the Race Grafts manual by mistake) . . . .


just wow. I hope this coming in hero labs.

Dark Archive

Starfinder Superscriber

Just like mortals to become Gods and make immortals


1 person marked this as a favorite.

I'm not the only one who saw the title and mistakenly took it as a challenge... Right?

Seriously though, if anyone gave me a manual for "how to make Starfinder races for PCs", I'd probably go nuts with the fact that apparently now you can play as Magical Beasts; yay for the Urog!

Liberty's Edge

1 person marked this as a favorite.

That last picture is just plain disturbing!

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