Starfinder Core Rulebook

****½ (based on 24 ratings)
Starfinder Core Rulebook

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Shoot for the Stars

Blast off into a galaxy of adventure with the Starfinder Roleplaying Game! Step into your powered armor and grab your magic-infused laser rifle as you investigate the mysteries of a weird universe with your bold starship crew. Will you delve for lost artifacts in the ruins of alien temples? Strap on rune-enhanced armor and a laser rifle to battle undead empires in fleets of bone ships, or defend colonists from a swarm of ravenous monsters? Maybe you'll hack into the mainframe of a god-run corporation, or search the stars for clues to the secret history of the universe or brand new planets to explore. Whether you're making first contact with new cultures on uncharted worlds or fighting to survive in the neon-lit back alleys of Absalom Station, you and your team will need all your wits, combat skill, and magic to make it through. But most of all, you'll need each other.

This massive 528-page hardcover rulebook is the essential centerpiece of the Starfinder Roleplaying Game, with rules for character creation, magic, gear, and more—everything you need to play Starfinder as either a player or Game Master! The next great adventure in science-fantasy roleplaying takes off here, and the Starfinder Core Rulebook is your ticket to a lifetime of adventure amid the stars!

Inside this book, you'll find:

  • All of the rules you need to play or run a game of Starfinder.
  • Seven character classes, from the elite soldier and stealthy operative to the physics-hacking technomancer and mind-bending mystic.
  • Character races both new and classic, from androids, insectile shirrens, ratlike ysoki, and reptilian vesk to the dwarves and elves of the distant future.
  • An in-depth exploration of the Starfinder setting, including its planets, gods, factions, and threats.
  • Hundreds of weapons, spells, technological gadgets, magic items, and other options to outfit any character.
  • Complete rules for starships, including customization and starship combat.
  • Rules and tips on using Pathfinder RPG content with Starfinder.

ISBN-13: 978-1-60125-956-1

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Note: This product is part of the Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscription.

Product Availability

Hardcover: Ships from our warehouse in 1 to 7 business days.

PDF: Will be added to your My Downloads Page immediately upon purchase of PDF.

Are there errors or omissions in this product information? Got corrections? Let us know at store@paizo.com.

PZO7101


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****½ (based on 24 ratings)

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Thanks again for another great game! May I have another piece of crow pie?

*****

I started gaming with Star Frontiers and science fiction gaming has always been my true gaming love despite most of the time being spent – unsurprisingly – on fantasy. The fantasy genre has done much over the decades to close the gap to where the affection gap between them is pretty narrow but sci-fi still wins out. However, science fiction and fantasy have always been “two great tastes” that didn’t really taste great together for me. For every Star Wars (and there are few), there are dozens of examples of poorly mashing the genres together. Planetary romance and pulp managed it before Star Wars was a thing but the only thing close to Star Wars that did it successfully IMO was Farscape.

So going into the announcement of Starfinder, I was intrigued but not thrilled. From a Paizo perspective, it made perfect sense – it gave the company the opportunity to satisfy Lisa’s love of Star Wars with Paizo intellectual property and no licensing headaches and also could satisfy Erik’s love of planetary romance/pulp as well as fully realize the science fantasy seeds planted in the PF1 era Golarion system.

I picked up Starfinder and while I was impressed with some elements, others on first glance didn’t quite satisfy my physics-degree based-desire to keep magic out of my science fiction. I’d found Savage Worlds years before and it provides the science-fiction toolbox I was looking for. (BTW, Pinnacle has a kickstarter for the Irongate expansion for their highly recommended Last Parsec setting underway right now).

Specifically, I wasn’t crazy about NPCs operating by different rules, the gear progression system, and what appeared to be the restrictive nature of the base classes. I was running multiple Pathfinder campaigns and struggling to find regular times to run those and still had my intermittent Last Parsec campaign so there was little incentive to add Starfinder to the mix of games I’d run.

But a month ago my eldest son said he wanted to purchase Starfinder with an eye towards running it. For the first time in many years, I would get to be a player rather than a GM, so I threw my Starfinder reservations aside and eagerly dove into Starfinder.

It iS GLORIOUS!!

Yes, it’s more Farscape and Guardians of the Galaxy than Aliens, Dark Matter, The Expanse, or Firefly (but it can do these also). Yes, it has a specific tone/feel just like Pathfinder is for fantasy so it can’t be molded to suit any style of science fiction. Also, yes – it’s a blast to play!

My love of Savage Worlds and free-form/magic-free science fiction caused me to forget a lesson I learned when introducing my kids and their friends to Pathfinder. For most new players, class-based games provide structure that facilitates learning the game vs. being so overwhelmed by possibilities that a player doesn’t know where to start. The same goes for the gear list and while, yes it is a concession to game balance & structure, it’s not as intrusive or problematic as my casual initial Starfinder read-through appeared. And at the end of the day, it’s a game and not a physics simulator which is true of every RPG I’ve played in the past 35 years.

Once my preconceptions and biases were thrown aside, I’ve quickly grown to appreciate the design of this game. We are 4-5 sessions into the campaign and it’s fantastic. Some of my favorite SF facets:

1. Every class is broader than I originally believed. For example an operative, envoy, and even a soldier can be a skilled engineer, not just the Mechanic.

2. Every class is distinct but can contribute to similar roles via different means. The SF classes are very flexible. Themes allow for further differentiation out of the gate. Having multiple characters of the same class in a party isn’t detrimental.

3. Stamina Points + the removal of non-lethal damage provides a smooth cinematic experience without the limitations of Ultimate Combats Wounds+Vitality system. I like it so much I wish it would be in PF2. I understand why it won’t be, but I want it all the same.

4. Starship combat is excellent! It brought back Knight Hawks nostalgia but without the rough edges. If Knight Hawks was a classic car, Starfinder is the refined, high tech model of modern engineering.

5. Ability advancement is vastly superior to PF1. It’s easier to make well-rounded characters instead of having to hyper-specialize.

6. The broader magical classes that are differentiated by themes/sources/story is superior to PF1’s specialized spellcasting classes. I like that Priest is a theme rather than hard-wired into a class. The removal of arcane/divine makes magic seem more like a universal mystical force that can be interpreted multiple ways. In this respect, magic in SF seems more mystical than magic in PF, which is so categorized & defined that it seems more scientific in comparison.

7. Bulk is much more manageable than PF1’s encumbrance system. It has its own quirks but I like the system overall.

I’m still early into the system and have much to learn. While SF may not provide the pure science fiction of say The Expanse or the new Lost in Space out of the box, it does provide an exciting system and setting for science fantasy. As most players and GMs (and Hollywood directors) are perfectly happy moving “at the speed of plot”, the SFCRB provides a new-player-friendly toolkit for expanding beyond FRPGs. It builds off of PF1, the PF Beginner Box, and current media influences and refines the whole into a fun, yet familiar, science fantasy RPG.

Kudos, Paizo! Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to prep my ship. We’re heading into the Drift!


I've been playing for half a year now; here are my thoughts.

*****

First off, a review of a core rulebook is pretty similar to a review of a game system, so this is basically that. The short version? I really, really enjoy Starfinder, and I think the Core Rulebook does an excellent job of explaining and showcasing the system.

Alright, the long version:

Character Creation: In comparison to Pathfinder, building characters is less fiddly while maintaining a large array of meaningful customization options. One new addition is Themes (analogous to Pathfinder's traits) which have a small amount of mechanical impact but do a very good job of hooking your character into the world around them.

Races: Starfinder ships with six new alien races as well as all the core Pathfinder races. Most of them largely fall into the category of Star Trek aliens (ya know, humans with masks on), but they have some fairly interesting racial abilities to differentiate them.

Classes: Starfinder has seven classes. Some are familiar (soldiers are basically space-fighters), some are deceptively different (technomancers look like wizards, but they're really not), and some are completely new (solarians are... solarians). Overall, the power curve is pretty tight and each class is interesting, highly customizable, and worth playing.

Feats, Skills, and Spells: Feats are, overall, less important than in Pathfinder (as a corollary, feat taxes have been eliminated; the feat trees are quite short). Skills are arguably more important (especially in starship combat), and the skill list has been condensed in a way that makes skills more accessible. The biggest change to the magic system is probably the addition of undercasting (i.e., some spells can be cast at multiple spell levels), which is absolutely essential, considering that both spellcasting classes in Starfinder are spontaneous.

Tactical Rules: It feels like Pathfinder. There are a host of small to medium changes (iterative attacks have been replaced with scaling weapon damage, for example), but if you like Pathfinder combat, you'll like Starfinder combat (unless, of course, you hate change - Starfinder is a new system, not a setting on top of an old system).

Other Things: Starship combat! I think it's pretty neat and makes a good addition to the game. There's also an expansive chapter on setting, which includes deities, planets, groups, etc. - it's usful to both players & GMs. There's a chapter on game mastering, which is nice. Finally, the art is fantastic through and through.


*****


Ehhh?


While I like some aspects of this game. The over all experience fell flat. The main problem is equipment. The leveled set was so lockstep that it made all of my players disappointed. You could not have a signature weapon or such. It was grind for the next level of gear and toss out the old. No one like it.

The classes were Okay and the concepts were pretty cool. But I can say if this is the basis for pathfinder 2nd ed were not likely going to put out any more money.

One big problem you have is this drive to constantly simplify and stream line. Thing get lost when you smooth out the details to much. Good things get lost. This is not a hobby that tend to attracted people who can handle a few rules, And the simplification feels like our intelligence is being questioned and only the lowest common denominator is being served. I don't know why I am writing this though. Publishers never listen.

Any way the critical flaw is still in the money and equipment.


Great system, great book!

*****

The book is beautiful, thick, filled with good mechanics and a lot of background.

The game is very nice, streamlined.

Go Starfinder!

I am very happy to have discovered the game, and this book is enough to run a lot of adventures.


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Paizo Employee Community & Digital Content Director

Now available for preorder! Cover image and description are not final and may vary before release!


Woohoo!


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

Is this covered under the existing pathfinder subscription? Or will there be a new subscription for this? If a new subscription, can you preorder/subscribe at the same time?

Paizo Employee Customer Service Manager

32 people marked this as a favorite.

We are still in discussions about how Starfinder subscription(s) might operate. As soon as we are ready to discuss subscriptions, I am sure we will broadcast it loudly from the rooftops. In the meantime, if you want a copy of Starfinder books, I would say to go ahead and preorder them. In the next few months before the launch at Gen Con, if there is a subscription that you wish to sign up for, the process to switch from preorder copy to subscription copy will be made as easy and painless as possible for you.


Ok, ok.

NOW I'm getting excited!

^^

--C.

Liberty's Edge

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

double woot


1 person marked this as a favorite.

How easy will it be to make a Deus Ex style cyborg?


3 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

My excitement levels are off the charts!


Is that a kasatha iconic?


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Lordwakkawakka wrote:
My excitement levels are off the charts!

Same! Now would it be Engineering, Computers, or some other skill to calculate those levels?


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Will the ships featured in the game encompass everything from starfighters to capital ships?


7 people marked this as a favorite.

If we preorder, can we get the PDF version with it too?

Dark Archive

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Charismatic Envoy? Is there a diplomat class?! I find that crazy exciting!


Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Oceanshieldwolf wrote:
Is that a kasatha iconic?

It looks like it may be the iconic solarian as seen in the Starfinder Core Pawn Collection, which appears to have the solarian classes manifested energy weapon.


8 people marked this as a favorite.

I hope everyone grabbed a towel...

Paizo Employee Developer, Starfinder Team

Oceanshieldwolf wrote:
Is that a kasatha iconic?

Well... the OTHER two figures on the cover have been revealed to be Iconics...

Paizo Employee Developer, Starfinder Team

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Axial wrote:
Will the ships featured in the game encompass everything from starfighters to capital ships?

I dunno about "featured"... but we certainly plan for those all to be options.

Shadow Lodge

4 people marked this as a favorite.

Will there be a preorder for the PDF-only version?


4 people marked this as a favorite.

so...no big red space dragon on the cover.

Grand Lodge

Want to order now...all of it. :-)

But also want to pick it up at GenCon--it's one of the main things I am looking forward to this year.

Can't wait!


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

Woot! I wondered when I saw a sub folder for general discussion in the forums if something was dropping soon. So excited. Anyway. Yeah. Here's my credit card and my first born son.

Paizo Employee Community & Digital Content Director

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Avatar-1 wrote:
Will there be a preorder for the PDF-only version?

No. The only digital products we offer for preorder at this time are through paizo.com are the Pathfinder Legends Digital and Pathfinder Roleplaying Guild Society Scenario subscriptions.

Paizo Employee Community & Digital Content Director

SnowHeart wrote:
I wondered when I saw a sub folder for general discussion in the forums if something was dropping soon.

;)


Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I am also interested on how the subscriptions will be done.


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

Preordering for now, but hope there will be a subscription available. Definitely hyped.


7 people marked this as a favorite.

Enthusiastically waves towel over head.


2 people marked this as a favorite.

I anticipate a high volume of 3pp to account for the fact that there will be less Starfinder content released over time compared to Pathfinder (with just an AP line instead of AP, setting, and player companions). Plus, there are many, many writers out there who would love to take a crack at writing sci-fi content for Starfinder.


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

What's the word on subscriptions?


Pathfinder Companion, Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
DJEternalDarkness wrote:
What's the word on subscriptions?

Just scroll up a bit.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Yippee! Some happy news!!

Grand Lodge

4 people marked this as a favorite.
Sara Marie wrote:
We are still in discussions about how Starfinder subscription(s) might operate. As soon as we are ready to discuss subscriptions, I am sure we will broadcast it loudly from the rooftops. In the meantime, if you want a copy of Starfinder books, I would say to go ahead and preorder them. In the next few months before the launch at Gen Con, if there is a subscription that you wish to sign up for, the process to switch from preorder copy to subscription copy will be made as easy and painless as possible for you.

I encourage you to consider a Starfinder subscription that includes most, or all, Starfinder products. Last I heard the product releases were not going to be as rigorous as Pathfinder. Those of us who want to Subscribe probably want to collect all the things!

Liberty's Edge

Will there *be* a PDF version?


8 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
rknop wrote:
Will there *be* a PDF version?

Pffff! PDF? In the future, APs will be downloaded directly into your prefrontal cortex.

Liberty's Edge

Let me be honest:
This didn't build any hype. Nothing new was revealed. I was hoping for a new race.


Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Paladinosaur wrote:

Let me be honest:

This didn't build any hype. Nothing new was revealed. I was hoping for a new race.

They've mentioned already known races that will become playable races. I'm excited for the Contemplatives.

Liberty's Edge

Archmage Variel wrote:
Paladinosaur wrote:

Let me be honest:

This didn't build any hype. Nothing new was revealed. I was hoping for a new race.
They've mentioned already known races that will become playable races. I'm excited for the Contemplatives.

Are contemplatives a new races? I only know about humans, kashata, androids and ratfolk.


Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Paladinosaur wrote:
Archmage Variel wrote:
Paladinosaur wrote:

Let me be honest:

This didn't build any hype. Nothing new was revealed. I was hoping for a new race.
They've mentioned already known races that will become playable races. I'm excited for the Contemplatives.
Are contemplatives a new races? I only know about humans, kashata, androids and ratfolk.

They're listed as appearing in Starfinder First Contact as a playable race.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Archmage Variel wrote:
They've mentioned already known races that will become playable races. I'm excited for the Contemplatives.

Yes- that will be cool to see. Now I can make the Golarion version of MODOK. >:)


Owen K. C. Stephens wrote:
Oceanshieldwolf wrote:
Is that a kasatha iconic?
Well... the OTHER two figures on the cover have been revealed to be Iconics...

Sooo that's a no then?

:P


Starfinder Charter Superscriber

I'm just wondering what class the Kasatha is. I'd guess Soldier, but there's no huge weaponry. Maybe solarion...

Silver Crusade

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

How about a Pocket Edition of this?

Dark Archive

3 people marked this as a favorite.
Franz Lunzer wrote:
How about a Pocket Edition of this?

Way to early and financially suicidal.

The development and art costs have to be paid for first.


I usually prefer PDFs but I am mega hyped.


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

I for one welcome our technomagical overlords...I'd like to remind them as a committed PFS gamer, I can help them gather others to enslave in their organized play sugar mines.


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

This will be a perfect excuse to debut my science-fantasy hommage to Larry Niven's Integral Trees book

Sooo excited!

Dark Archive

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

Squee :3 Its almost cruel to release pre orders half year in advance. Anticipation is starting to kill me

Shadow Lodge

1 person marked this as a favorite.

*ahem*
squeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee
*ahem* sorry


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Roleplaying Guild Subscriber
Sara Marie wrote:
We are still in discussions about how Starfinder subscription(s) might operate. As soon as we are ready to discuss subscriptions, I am sure we will broadcast it loudly from the rooftops. In the meantime, if you want a copy of Starfinder books, I would say to go ahead and preorder them. In the next few months before the launch at Gen Con, if there is a subscription that you wish to sign up for, the process to switch from preorder copy to subscription copy will be made as easy and painless as possible for you.

I have pre-ordered everything Starfinder except the pawns (I'm holding out for Starfinder miniatures). Once the Starfinder subscription is available I will definitely switch to that, but for now I thought I would show my support for Starfinder, and appreciation and faith in the design team, by throwing some money at it.

Silver Crusade

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Society Roleplaying Guild, Tales Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber
Sara Marie wrote:
We are still in discussions about how Starfinder subscription(s) might operate. As soon as we are ready to discuss subscriptions, I am sure we will broadcast it loudly from the rooftops. In the meantime, if you want a copy of Starfinder books, I would say to go ahead and preorder them. In the next few months before the launch at Gen Con, if there is a subscription that you wish to sign up for, the process to switch from preorder copy to subscription copy will be made as easy and painless as possible for you.

Along with the Subscriptions has there been any talk about a Starfinder Advantage attached to subscriptions? And also if you have it and the Pathfinder Advantage, while they probably wouldn't outright stack, would get an increased discount?


Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Yeah after reading it again, there is no new info revealed.

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