Dev Question: Why are certain things disallowed in Society?


Starfinder Society Roleplaying Guild


Heya! This one goes out to the devs, and despite how it may sound at first, this is more a question of curiosity rather than complaint.

It strikes me as odd that very specific things, such as the mature xenolash weapon (but not any of the others of its line) and resilient jacket magic item are banned from Society play. I know some things like the Aeon Guard stuff and Devastator connection wouldn't fit in lorewise with the non-evil restrictions in place, but what about the others? Were they deemed overpowered? If so, why, and how come they weren't simply balanced before release of the books they came from? I know Society play is not the only way to play Starfinder, but still, it's a curious oddity. Thanks in advance for the response!

Sczarni *****

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Starfinder Charter Superscriber

This was a frequently asked question in Pathfinder Society, and the dev response HERE is very appropriate for Starfinder Society as well.

Some highlights from that discussion include:

Some are meant to be unlocked through play wrote:
We sometimes hold back some options until we can set an adventure in the associated location, thus allowing PCs to see those options in action in the world before unlocking the ability to use those options themselves. To provide an example, I might withhold derro options from one book due largely to those humanoids' evil insanity and virtually nonexistent relationship with the in-world Pathfinder Society; however, were we to present a scenario that raids a derro laboratory and let the PCs run off with some of that technology, there's a really good chance that I would include those on a Chronicle sheet.

Other considerations to take into account might be:

• Requires too much GM adjudication.
• Provides a price imbalance.
• Complicated mechanics/slows down combat.
• Restricted for storyline reasons.
• Perhaps only appropriate for an unconventional race.
• Such a good option everyone takes it, eliminating variation in character builds.
• Generally perceived to be "evil", socially unacceptable, immature, or otherwise unsuitable for a diverse real world audience.

Pathfinder Society actually had vastly more material legalized than restricted, but because of the way that the Additional Resources page was laid out it would appear sometimes that more material was restricted rather than allowed.

Starfinder Society aims to approve even more material, so the amount that gets restricted should be even less. But there will always be something that isn't allowed. Starfinder Society is just one avenue of playing Starfinder, as you pointed out, and not everything in the general setting may be appropriate for an Organized Play environment.

Shadow Lodge *****

The taclash does seem really. really weird to me.

* Starfinder Society Developer

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Nefreet provides some good examples above. There's a lot that goes into these decisions, even with Starfinder where we're trying to allow more content to be available from the get-go. Comments on Azlanti equipment or the Devastator connection are on point, but I've learned that it's generally best to avoid getting into the nitty-gritty on specific choices with the Additional Resources. The reason for this is simple: there's a lot of wildly divergent views, and a lot of people can get very passionate about certain topics, leading to forum threads specifically dedicated to "Developer Appeal."

What I do want to re-iterate on this topic, is that these decisions aren't made by one person. The OP team discusses these items internally, and we enlist the assistance of some trusted Organized Play veterans to help provide some guidance that we might miss during our readings.

As far as why certain rules aren't changed prior to printing: most products are created for a space beyond Organized Play, and some options are specifically made for campaigns that don't mesh well with the style of game that Starfinder Society is. In any environment like Organized Play, where everyone is playing with the same overarching rules, it's also harder for us to balance when powerful items come through. Generally, we tend to have an approach of "does this invalidate an existing option? If so, we should consider looking at restricting it." In many ways, this is our form of "GM Campaign Guidelines" that you might expect to see in a home game.

Hope that helps explain things a little!


Thurston Hillman wrote:

Nefreet provides some good examples above. There's a lot that goes into these decisions, even with Starfinder where we're trying to allow more content to be available from the get-go. Comments on Azlanti equipment or the Devastator connection are on point, but I've learned that it's generally best to avoid getting into the nitty-gritty on specific choices with the Additional Resources. The reason for this is simple: there's a lot of wildly divergent views, and a lot of people can get very passionate about certain topics, leading to forum threads specifically dedicated to "Developer Appeal."

What I do want to re-iterate on this topic, is that these decisions aren't made by one person. The OP team discusses these items internally, and we enlist the assistance of some trusted Organized Play veterans to help provide some guidance that we might miss during our readings.

As far as why certain rules aren't changed prior to printing: most products are created for a space beyond Organized Play, and some options are specifically made for campaigns that don't mesh well with the style of game that Starfinder Society is. In any environment like Organized Play, where everyone is playing with the same overarching rules, it's also harder for us to balance when powerful items come through. Generally, we tend to have an approach of "does this invalidate an existing option? If so, we should consider looking at restricting it." In many ways, this is our form of "GM Campaign Guidelines" that you might expect to see in a home game.

Hope that helps explain things a little!

It does, actually! Thank you very much!

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