All over a bit of Drift Rock

Game Master Azih

Current Track:
Securitech

Map:

Istamak Interior Maps.
Istmak

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Abomination
Tzayl


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Hey guys, here's the discussion thread for this. I don't think there's a huge rush to start up especially as this is a brand new game and none of us have much experience :). Maybe we can aim to start early October? Maybe a little earlier?

Would be good to throw ideas around and walk each other through coming up with four fun characters to go through Starfinder's inaugural AP.

And heck these APs are smaller than Pathfinder APs so we might actually finish! I'm hoping for a post a day rate to keep the game ticking along.

Let's start with a quick introduction and how much experience we've got with Starfinder! I bought the core rule book and had a fun time going through it both in pdf and hardcover form. I managed to get into three Starfinder Society games on these boards and a few posts in those more than qualifies me to be a GM that won't make any mistakes at all!

I've GMed one Pathfinder module to completion and am GMing another, along with a game of Iron Gods so I'm not completely green to GMing.

Oh and the Startfinder SRD is up. Paizo was nice enough to make Starfinder character creation a VERY step by step process and it's on the SRD. We'll be using the standard creation rules (10 point buy, one to one!). So even if you don't have the CRB you'll have all the information you need to play. I played Pathfinder through free resources only for a long time.

There's no Player's Guide to the Dead Suns AP but looking over it, it seems like they're aiming for a very swashbuckly galaxy trotting adventure type of feel. So even if you've got a super deep backstory and a ton of NPC connections on Absalom Station I probably won't be able to incorporate them all that much while the four of you go off exploring the planet of the week. In fact the AP states outright that it expects that your starship (You will get a starship!) will be your home base rather than anything on a planet or Absalom Station.

For a bit of guidance though the AP will start with the four of you arriving at Absalom Station having arranged to meet a dwarf named Duravor Kreel who has promised to help you become members of the Starfinder Society.

Please don't shoot Duravor Kreel in the face when you meet him :(.


Gotcha, one dead dwarf coming up... Oh wait, there's a pesky "don't" in the middle of that sentence.

Hi GM Stargin, Hi everyone else!

I've played a test game of Starfinder (I'll send a link to the after-action report for anyone who's interested, lemme know) and it rocked.

Should probably think about character generation/roles. Quick question, GM: how much starship combat is there? If starship combat plays a reasonable part, then we definitely need the following: pilot, gunner, engineer, science officer. A captain is nice but not actually mandatory(!), if I read the rules right(?).

I'm thinking of playing a hotshot pilot but if there's no place for those skills then I'll re-think.


There's one ship combat in this AP. Probably will be more of those in the coming APs.

The game makes clear that the starship combat is optional so if you guys don't want to engage in it then we don't have to.

It looks like a lot of fun though. So yeah DR is right about starship roles. Thankfully Starfinder has kept character interaction with starships incredibly simple and ensured that you don't need to go out of your way to become a decent member of a starship crew.

An effective Captain needs good social skills (Diplomacy, Bluff, Intimidate)

An effective Pilot needs a high Piloting skill

An effective Engineer needs a high Engineering skill

An effective Science Officer needs a high Computers skill

An effective Gunner needs a high DEX and/or BAB.

And that's about it. You don't need to take any feats or anything like that.

I do notice that there are five roles but only four players. You only really need a Pilot and a Gunner but I'd probably change things to allow an Engineer to be a Science officer as well 'cause each role does nifty things.

And a link to the After Action Report would be great DR.


As you know, I like dwarves. So I'll shoot him while he's sleeping. :D

Hi friends!

Azih, I had no idea that was your GM handle... I was literally reading a post from your GM Stargin handle from July of this year about why some pbp games just evaporate when I saw you had sent me a private message. I did a double-take (Double-click? Double-Tab? I don't know, I had to check twice) It was really, really bizzare and I will put it in the top 10 most statistically improbable events in my life.

I've almost read through the entirety of the Starfinder Core Rulebook, will probably finish it tonight. Otherwise I have no experience with Starfinder , but I absorb rules like a dirty sink sponge so I shouldn't have too much trouble adapting. The worst part will probably be the subtle rule changes, like no more penalty for shooting into melee and such.

Anyway, I have ideas/motivation/inspiration for either an Ace Pilot Operative or an Icon Envoy. Darkness, if you want the pilot role I'm more than happy to make the Envoy and be the group Face/Captain. Even if there's not much starshiping pilots are still good for driving vehicles!

By the way GM, what were the two house rules you said you wanted to test out?


Hi Galorit, nice to see familiar faces!

I played a Ysoki Envoy (who'd trained his whiskers into a handlebar mustache and was fond of twiddling it in stressful situations; and yes, of course he had a monocle...) last time round. I know there's some skepticism on these boards about the Envoy, but I thought it was fun; but then I'm not really into ultra-optimising or powergaming, so I'd be the last person to know whether or not it really is underpowered.

OK, another question, O mighty and imperious DM: are you going to allow the quick draw feat to draw 2 weapons if you have the multi-weapon fighting feat? (This would be equivalent to how the 2-weapon fighting feat works in Pathfinder, where the feat allows you to draw both weapons as one action)

After-Action Report

Liberty's Edge

Hi, GM Stargin! Hello again, Alessandra, eh.. Darkness Rising!
And nice to meet you, Galorit!

As I mentioned to GM Stargin, I've played one and run one PFS scenario, and that's all my experience with Starfinder so far. Even with those, it's really hard to tell much about how the game's going to be. But one thing I learned is that in starship combat, it's crucial to have a pilot with really high piloting skill :)

I usually take a very long time to decide what I want to play, but this time I'm pretty sure I want to be a mechanic! Could be a mercenary, or could be an ace pilot, or could be something else. The theme I need to mull over (and it depends on the other members of the team)

Is there a general assumption of party "alignment"? Goody-two-shoes rescuing space princesses from death stars? Carefree mercs doing it for the money? Evil pirates attacking anyone straying too far from the safe lanes (I assume not this one)?


Hello everyone!

I don't know much of anything about Starfinder (but as I'm looking over the srd it do smell a bit like traveller d20) but I'm looking forward to figuring that one out : )

Spontaneously Engineering/Science seems open and that's usually fun - though I think I better sleep on it.

Anyways! Nice to meet you all and say hi at least!


Welcome everyone!

@Galorit: Top 10 most improbable is pretty good. I'll take it! And hopefully my rambles on how to keep a game moving will actually amount to something in this game!

@DR: By RAW I don't think it works. But I'll allow it. Two feats is a pretty hefty investment and it should be enough to support a TWF concept in that fashion. So you'll be able to draw two weapons as a swift action if you have both feats.

@Karma: Evil's not really going to work well with this AP (LE might be fine but I prefer no evil.). Other than that, you could meet for the first time when you arrive at Absalom station, or you could come up with a shared background that'll explain why you're all heading to meet Duravor for the first time. Both are fun.


-Karma- wrote:
Is there a general assumption of party "alignment"? Goody-two-shoes rescuing space princesses from death stars? Carefree mercs doing it for the money? Evil pirates attacking anyone straying too far from the safe lanes (I assume not this one)?

Rogar!!! Hey, great to see you.

Agree that alignment is critical - not so much the specifics of L vs C/ E vs G but in terms of the flavour/atmosphere we want.

I think my character is going to be a thrill-seeking daredevil pilot; more concerned with the adrenaline than the cause or the cash (although don't try short-changing them, 'less you wanna walk home...)

Happy to tie in backstory with anyone, but I need to develop it first!

GM Stargin wrote:


@DR: By RAW I don't think it works. But I'll allow it. Two feats is a pretty hefty investment and it should be enough to support a TWF concept in that fashion. So you'll be able to draw two weapons as a swift action if you have both feats.

Thanks! Appreciate the flexibility, although I may not go this route


Wow people really like to crap on the Envoy, huh. My favorite was someone called it "hot garbage", which not only made me laugh but also makes me want to play it out of some deep seated rebelliousness.

Well based on what everyone else is saying I'll probably go Envoy, acting as party Face, unless I have some kind of epiphany and change my mind.

I'll likely be recycling the personality of one of my old characters, who is Chaotic Neutral. She's obsessed with fame/fortune and has narcissistic/sociopahtic tendencies, but at the end of the day just wants people to like her. She errs on the side of good, because heroes are more popular than villians.


All right! After a bit of sleep I'm thinking Operative + Science Officer. We seem to have Pilot, Mechanic and talk-y person (captain?) already spoken for, so it would fit well. And I get to look through all those fancy computer rules :P

I'm tempted to also reuse bits of an old character (space-fareing pathfinder one no less!*). And I'm glad to see that Starfinder doesn't seem to discriminate against halflings anymore when it comes to weapon damage size, so that's nice.

*well mostly less, campaign was quite short! Also - the character...

@Alignment/atmosphere - I'm leaning towards the middle of the road lovable rogue. And if we happen to come across any space-princesses we'll take that problem/character development as it comes^^


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There are a lots of types of Princesses out there... best hope there are more Princess What's-Her-Name types rather than Queen Slug-For-A-Butt types.

Seems lke we're leanng more towards Neutral at this point. That's good, because I aim to flush at least one sentient creature out of an airlock before the adventure path is over.


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Galorit wrote:
That's good, because I aim to flush at least one sentient creature out of an airlock before the adventure path is over.

Not it!

---

Neutral with a leaning towards good I guess . )

Liberty's Edge

Starting in neutral axis suits me just fine. Pretty much what I first had in mind. Mercenary or bounty hunter theme might be best match, although stat-wise not too useful.

I've been thinking of making an android. Mechanically it would be perfect fit, but I'm not sure if I can roleplay one.


Galorit wrote:

There are a lots of types of Princesses out there... best hope there are more Princess What's-Her-Name types rather than Queen Slug-For-A-Butt types.

Seems lke we're leanng more towards Neutral at this point. That's good, because I aim to flush at least one sentient creature out of an airlock before the adventure path is over.

"They said shoot for the stars - they didn't say what (or who) I should shoot at them with..."

Thinking of a Lawful type, ex-gangster with a code (like the Hollywood mafiosi).

Or... Inspired by Firefly, where half the galaxy was colonised by Asia (and everyone used Mandarin swearwords as a way to bypass the censors at Fox) I'm thinking that Tian Xia must have been involved in colonising the Pact Worlds.

Hm. Now I'm thinking some sort of ex-yakuza type. Which is annoying, because I don't have any obviously Tian aliases already.


One thing you guys will have to watch out for is that the avatar selection on the boards is fairly dire for most of the races. Galorit has a great one for the Ysoki already but otherwise we will need to use our imaginations to visualize antennas or something in whatever pic find that most closely fits.

Ok, as for house rules. Here's the standard ones that I'm using in Pathfinder games that I think will translate well to Starfinder. They're in my avatar, but they are:

Block Initiative by GM'

When required the GM will roll initiative for players and NPCs. The results will be averaged and every distinct group will take their turns according to the averaged result for all the members of their group. Please let me know of any mistakes for Player initiative rolls and it can be retconned.

**
'Passive Perception'

Out of combat/high stress situations your characters will be taking 10 on Perception and any trained Knowledge Skill AT ALL TIMES. I will keep track of these skills and in every new area and will let your character know in spoilers what they see. If there is information that is hidden behind a check that is greater than 10 and lower than 20 away from your relevant skill than I will roll a d10 for you and add it to your take 10. No need to wait a day for someone to make one roll and then one more day for me to respond. On a Knowledge check you'll have to ask the appropriate question though while Perception is always active.

So if your character has a +3 in Kn:Local then I'll just tell the character the knowledge checks that are DC13 or lower when you ask (so if you ask what the name of the mayor is and that's a DC5 then you won't be flummoxed if you roll a 1 on a d20). If knowing the name of the local cutpurse is at DC15 then I will roll a d10 and if it rolls a 2 or higher then I will let you know. This was inspired by a Gumshoe system recruitment on these boards. I think it'll work well and it's definitely worth a shot.

In combat/high stress situations you roll as normal. This includes traps.

Character that have abilities that allow you you to take 10 in even high stress situations (such as Bard Lore Master for Knowledge checks) will enable Passive Perception/Knowledge even in those situations.
**
'The Sidekick Takes Over'

In the situation that a player character rolls a skill check and another player rolls an aid another check that has a higher result than the original player's result, the aiding player's result will be the one that applies against the Skill Check DC while the original character's roll will become an Aid Another Roll.

Of course this only applies if the skill check allows other players to aid.
**
'Healing Respite'

Outside of combat don't need to roll die for cure spells. Just take max.
**
'No Save. No Die'

No Save or Die spells like Phantasmal Killer, for either the PCs or the NPCs. Just run any new spell you pick up through me and we'll decide if they are Save or Die since it's a bit of a judgment call.

**
'What do you want to do? I don't know what do you want to do?'

A lot of stalling in PBP happens when a decision has to be made not everyone chimes in. So if two people say 'Let's go this way', the party goes that way, and the GM won't wait for the whole group to reach a consensus.

If one person has made a suggestion and no one else chimes in then the GM will go with that after two days.

If no one makes any suggestion even after prompting than the game is probably dead :_(

**
"What Knowledge I roll!??"

When rolling to identify the nature or abilities of an enemy creature just roll a d20 for knowledge, I'll add your appropriate bonus on (if any) and let you know the result.

***

Healing is VERY different in Starfinder so I think I'll skip that one, everything else translates pretty well I think. What do you guys think of these before I go into my dumb Starfinder ideas?


GM Stargin wrote:
One thing you guys will have to watch out for is that the avatar selection on the boards is fairly dire for most of the races. Galorit has a great one for the Ysoki already

Ha! This is actually a Wolf in Sheep's Clothing. I picked this as my avatar because I love squirrels, even if the squirrel depicted here is dead and being used as bait.

Most of your house rules look great. Block Initiative is THE way to do combat in PbP if you ask me.

I'm not 100% on the out-of-combat healing being max- resource consumption and management is an important part of the game and should have an air of randomness to it for the sake of excitement. That combined with Starfinder having easily replenished Stamina makes me think that rule will be unnecessary.

Probably won't have to worry about Save or Die spells cause it doesn't look like any of us are going to play casters?


Most of them seems really fine.

My only worry is, going by my (somewhat small) experience with other aps, the no save-or-die thingy. Might be annoying if it features prominently in the enemies tactics or traps so you have to rework/change all that.

On the other hand, not randomly dying is going to be quite nice .P

But most of the (extra) work on that one will be on you. Also thinking that it might conflict with the stated airlock goal, but I'm sure we'll find a way around that one : )


There might not even BE save or die spells in Starfinder. Haven't gone through all of them but spell level caps out at Level 6 and the really crazy stuff in Pathfinder comes about in higher than that.

I'll drop the healing rule. It's really there cause it's annoying as hell to roll 1s over and over on a stick of cleric between fights and Starfinder seems designed to not have that.

And I have no problem with Save or Sucks. If all y'all get nerve gassed and the NPCs drag you to an airlock to throw you out of it then that's a TPK that's earned.

It just never sat well to me that the PCs could randomly run into an high level Eoxian Necrovite or something and it'll just wave a hand in your general direction and DEAD! It's just a personal preference really.


I honestly have no idea either. I considered looking into magic, but the bucketload of operative skills just seemed too fun : )


...Too late for Alessandra, alas :-( But I agree. Show us your Starfinder ideas!


Alright let's do the simpler one first.

I don't like feet.

I mean the unit of measurement. (Not really a fan of the appendage either now that I think about it. I mean they're functional and I'm glad to have two, but they're just goofy looking).

Sorry if I offend any American peoples here but the unit of measurement, which actually works really thematically well for ye olde fantasy Pathfinder, just seems archaic when applied to sci fi. Heck Starfinder got rid of pounds etc pretty effectively by switching to 'Bulk' so why not do the same for feet and miles and stuff?

So, a really very simple and purely thematic change would be to use, not meters, but a fancy new sci fi sounding unit that I picked up from someone else called a metron.

5 feet = 1 metron

1 mile = 1 Kilometron

I don't foresee any problems and in some ways even makes things simpler.

What do you all think?

Liberty's Edge

I'm cool with all the presented house rules.

And neither I object with changing the units. Metrons are fine, or we can try to come up with even fancier-sounding names. I was wondering if it would be even easier to have 1 feet = 1 metron? I know most measurements come eventually down to squares, so a 5-foot base unit would make sense. But weapon, effect, and spell ranges are still displayed in feet (even if increments of 5).

I'm not saying that it would be better, just thinking aloud.

And also, if you ever describe characters or objects or ships in metrons, please include a conversion to metric as well :D


OK, so 30 feet = 6 squares = 6 metrons. Weapon/spell ranges and areas of effect: divide by 5 to get the number of metrons, correct?


Yes, that would be correct.

I'm also on board with the change. Feet is quite the arcane unit anyhow, so why not have something a bit sci-fi-ier :P


Yeah that's fine, it's not hard to divide by 5.

Believe me, as a chemist in the USA I desperately wish America had adopted the metric system...

I'm a bit busy preparing for some friends to visit this weekend, so I won't have too much time to work on my character, but I'll be around.


Alright, Metrons (or some other sci fi unit for length) are in at a 5 to 1 ratio.

Ok, the second one is a bit more invasive and goofier.

Paizo has been basically streamlining the basic d20 3.5 ruleset from the start. Starfinder is no exception and they've cleaned up a lot of stuff.

One thing they didn't take the opportunity to clean up is having two numbers per attribute. Score and Modifier. This irks me because there's no good reason that I can find to have two numbers, one of which is derived exactly from the other. The Ability modifier is what is used almost all the time in gameplay while the score is what is almost always used in character creation or advancement.

Why? Whyyyyyyyyyy!? Why not just have the number that you use almost all the time in game?

So I've written up a very short document on how to remove the abilty score from Starfinder character sheets and just keep the modifier. It's actually very simple mostly.

* You have a base ability modifier of 0 (rather than a base ability score of 10)

* Anytime the starfinder rules mention a score increase or decrease just divide the score by 2 and maintain any 0.5 decimal point that might come out of it before applying to the modifier.

So for example themes will give you a 0.5 bump to one ability modifier and you'll have 5 points to spend during character creation on your modifier (that can be spent in 0.5 increments)

* Whenever you use your modifier in game, round down if need be.

The math is identical to the base game, you just have six less numbers on your character sheet.

There are a few spots in the game where a bit more work needs to be done (such as Bulk calculation) but the gameplay itself is unaffected completely.

Either way this has the potential to be way more confusing especially when we're getting used to a new system so I'll completely understand if we don't want to use it.

I just like to streamline a lot!


Galorit wrote:
Believe me, as a chemist in the USA I desperately wish America had adopted the metric system...

OMG, I hadn't even thought about that! I'm guessing that Avogadro's Constant becomes slightly less useful when you work in ounces, rather than grams?

@GM Stargin: heh, I've been wondering the same thing since the days of TSR...! I'm happy with your suggestion.

In which case, Bulk calculation just becomes 5 + (Str modifier), if I've understood it properly.


Yeah 5 + Str modifier for Bulk without being encumbered.

Bulk without being overburdened is 10 + (2 X Str mod)

Liberty's Edge

I think Paizo removed quite a lot of mechanics related to ability scores - conditions give now penalties straight to attack, damage etc. instead of strength. And I think the enemy statblocks only contain the bonus, and not the actual ability score.

But for some reason they still kept the old ability scores for characters. Would it have been too great a change for the audience, and they didn't dare change it? Or maybe just some backwards compatibility - GM can now run a Pathfinder monster with ability drain, and run it pretty much as written...

The only place that I found the ability score matters, is spellcasting. You still need to have ability score of 10+ spell level to be able to cast it.

But if you want to remove the ability scores and just use the bonus, I'm ok with that. I have no great person like or dislike over it.


That is true - but in almost every case, I'm guessing that the casting stat will be that character's highest stat anyway.


It is true that the ability stats doesn't really matter. Though I think I would feel slightly weird not writing down Str X and stuff ...

But! If I want to include some extra redundant text on my character sheet for old times sake it can't hurt really right? And I'm more then okay with communicating using only the useful information (aka ability modifier!).


I've always liked the old stat blocks, because it gives a little nuance to characters and creatures that allows for easier roleplaying. Especially with intelligence, wisdom, and charisma. I was a little upset to see that they had removed it from creature sheets, and then confused why they left it for player characters? I mean either get rid of it or don't...

But I don't really care that much, so in conclusion it's a fine house rule.


Yeah, that's the thing about this. It barely matters to the game.

So how about if you want to remove the score from your alias character sheet and try it with only modifiers then that's great and we'll deal with any questions (like spellcasting) when they come up. If you don't then that's great too. Not a problem either way.

So in terms of characters it seems we've got (very roughly and subject to change) a fame obsessed envoy from Galorit, a dardevil pilot from Darkness, a know it all operative from Lessah, and a mechanic from Karma?

That sounds like a pretty cool party. Do any of you want to be from Absalom station? If so the Starfinder wiki has some high level information on the station and I can get you some more details from the gazetteer in the AP if you wish. Otherwise maybe you're all a bunch of backwater locals coming to the 'big city' for the first time?

Just throwing out ideas. Character creation is fun.


Still scratching for inspiration, to be honest.

Quick question: how does being on Absalom station affect the weapons we're allowed to carry? If I'm making a sniper for example, are the station guards going to harass us every few metrons for carrying around visible weaponry?


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Short Answer:

In the nicer neighbourhoods carrying a sniper around will get you odd looks and extra attention from the extra security around (and you would probably be stopped at the door of a corporate controlled campus or factory), but in the more rough and tumble neighbourhoods? Won't even get a second glance.

Way too Long Answer:

It's very similar to Absalom itself actually and it's more like a city floating in space than anything else. A very decentralized one at that. Each neighbourhood (run by Syndicsguilds) pretty much runs itself and the elected Prime Executive (Primex) doesn't interfere too much with day to day operations. The current LG Primex has already had an attempted assasination on her for being too LG.

It's the diplomatic center of the universe (cause it's where the Starstone is that makes it the easiest place to get to via Drift travel) so there's a lot of people wandering around with diplomatic immunity. It's also the center for exploration for the same reason and so explorers with conflicting ideas about who got the claim on what can easily lead to gunfights.

Absalom allows corporations to hire private security to maintain law and order in their holdings which leads to questions of jurisdiction between them and the overworked station security and The Stewards who are sort of in charge of law and order but also do the same for all the Pact Worlds.

Quick rundown:

The Arms are basically the docks of Absalom station and cater to all the ships that come to the Station and the crews of those ships. Unlike a city with just one dock area the Arms go all around Absalom Station.

Some neighbourhoods in the Arm:

Fogtown is where the gaseous beings tend to hang out and has a strong biotech and gas mining corporate culture

Puddles is where the water breathers go. It's also a hip dining spot for everyone no matter what they breathe.

Vesk Quarter: Right after the Vesk war ended with the Pact Worlds, Vesk visitor and residents of the station concentrated in this part to reduce the possibility of violence. It's still got a very high concentration of Vesks and Vesk culture even though tensions are less high.
***

The Eye is the massive air filled central dome. It's rich and lush and the place where you would probably not be able to get by with walking around with a sniper rifle.

***
The Ring is what is between the Eye and the Arms. It's middle class and calm... mostly.

Neighbourhoods in the Ring:

Congregation: Religious district full of places of worship and research into mystical powers.

Drifter's End: Very rough and tumble as it caters to adventurers, cargo haulers, explorers and other spacers. Also to ambassadors from newly discovered worlds. This is where you'd go if you wanted to hire scouts or first contact specialists.

Freemarkets: Abadarcorp sponsored bazaar. Anything and everything your heart can behold can be found here. Abadarcorp attempts to keep things legal but if you want to buy other things and know the right (or is it wrong?) people....

Olensa: Human area, center of the 'Strong Absalom' movement (basically human speciests).
***

The Spike

Extending downwards from the eye this is where all the grunt workers and grunt machinery that keeps the station running is located. Grimy underbelly is a phrase that describes it perfectly and there's a lot of poverty here.

Some neighbourhoods in The Spike:

Botscrap: Plauged by goblin squatters that have burrowed into the mountains of trash and scrap. This is the place where nothing is wasted and everything is recycled. Run mostly by the Ysoki dominated Salvage Union.

Conduit: Known by the inhabitants as pipe town this is a three dimensional maze that is the central clearing station for the precious liquids such as water that are pumped through the other parts of the station. Local guides are necessary to make your way through here and they can steer you away from hazards such as water tigers and the like.

Downlow: The hipster trendy neighbourhood on the wrong side of the Ring. Relatively safe despite a low presence of station security because of the Lowrigger gang.

Sparks: Blue collar laborers and engineers congregate here to work in everything from small tech shops to massive dry docks for starship manufacturing. Almost all the profit from this work flows 'upstairs' to the corporate towers of the Eye of course. Beware of lightning elemenatls and mephits etc.
***

The Armada is the constatly morphing swarm of ships that surround Abslaom station. Some are transient, some are permanent, but all have decided to take advantage of the proximity of Absalom Station but not have to abide by its laws by refusing to dock with it. Absalom Station is fine with this as long as they don't cause trouble on the station itself.

Probably more than you needed but it was fun to go through the gazeteer again :).


That's really helpful, thanks! My PC is likely an off-worlder who's made occasional stops at Absalom but hasn't lived there before.

Liberty's Edge

So, I'm still aiming for android exocortex mechanic.

Some random ideas, which might, or might not be taken into use.
-"Born" into slavery
-Sympathies with Android Abolitionist Front
-Maybe renewed into old body
-Exocortex is actually an echo of the previous soul occupying the body
-General mistrust of humans, or "owning class", or faction x, y, or z...
-Outsider personality (like Belters in Expanse, To pochuye ke, beratna?)
-Talks to machines, bonds with the ship?
-Constantly trying to improve him/her/itself (Cybernetics, Exocortex)

Feel free to feed additional ideas...

The policy of weapons is a good question. Looks like the system assumes at that at least soldiers are carrying heavy weapons, but the book doesn't say much about weapon laws etc. Well, there's a similar issue in Pathfinder with animal companions, and PFS seems to handwave it a lot.

Then again, the glamered fusion doesn't cost that much, so we could even have a bit tighter approach on carrying weapons in public...


Hmm. So I'm thinking a lower class halfling from somewhere in the Spike, looking up at the Eye and wishing for the opportunity to explore all that greenery. A place on a ship would of course be even better! Think of all the fantastic worlds!

The Sparks looks good. So I'm thinking they worked a bit in one of the larger shops - but on the computational side fixing and calibrating sensors maybe.

An healthy interest in probing the minds of the ship crews and desire to read about strange places gives me an good excuse to pick up Life Science trough some theme - and I really like the look of that identify creature exploit at level two.

Looks like I got some more pieces to play with : )

@Weapons - I lurked around the forum a bit and someone mentioned that PCs are generally assumed to have licences for their tier of weapons. Now I'm not sure if that is actually reflected somewhere in the rules, part of the starfinder extra rules or something they just made up, but if felt like it made sense.


I loved The Expanse, if we have a story half as compelling as that I'll be delighted.

Thoughts on my character follow. Confession one: I'm not particularly inspired by the alien races (other than the Ysoki, which I've already played; and possibly the Android, which I might play another time), so I'm going to play a Human... In Spaaace! Not so glamorous, I admit, but hey.

Confession two: this isn't so much character creation as it is an exorcism - this character broke into my imagination around 4 a.m. and I'm hoping that committing them to the written word will help with the eviction process.

I’ve kept it to 2 NPC’s. Sincere apologies to anyone who suffers injury from the wall-of-text that follows.

The Story so Far:

====================
THREE YEARS AGO
====================

“Do you know why you are here?”

I remain kneeling in the traditional posture: forehead pressed firmly into the expensive carpet, arms stretched out, palms down, in front of me. A thousand possible answers run through my head: good excuses, bad excuses, pleas for mercy; I mentally wave them away. No. If I am to die, I will not go before the Oni having angered them with cowardice.

Besides, my mouth is too dry for anything except a simple answer: “Yes, Nikkura-san.” Damn. My voice is a hollow whisper.

“You have nothing to say for yourself?” He sounds mildly surprised – and amused. “The ashigaru I sent reports that were most vocal about where he could stick the money he was to pay you for throwing the race – and that you cut him with a knife when he wouldn’t leave.”

I say nothing. It is true, after all; denying it would be pointless. Also, stupid.

Almost as stupid as attacking one of Nikkura-san’s errand-boys.

The voice continues. “You race well, they tell me; excellently, in fact. You were a favourite to win. Coming in third would have made you very, very, wealthy.”

This time I raise my head, looking him straight in the eye. “I race to win, Oji-ma. My prince. “Anything less would anger the Oni.”

He smiles, even white teeth flashing in a youthful grin, and I blink in surprise. He’s younger than I expected. Much younger. Barely older than me. His clothing is sharp, expensive, but modern. “I am not a prince. At least, not yet. You follow the Old Ways, then. Tell me of the Oni.”

I do. I can no more not tell him than I can disobey gravity: his eyes lock with mine, holding me, seeing all there is to see. I tell him of the Oni, the demons that seek to devour each of us, and how they must be fed; that I feed them by throwing myself at death, over and over, that the exhilaration and terror nourishes them, that as long as they are kept fat and happy, they will bless me.

In my nai-nai’s hut, surrounded by the shrines, the icons, the idols, it made perfect sense; here, surrounded by chrome and glass, it sounds like the ravings of an illiterate peasant.

Yet still, I believe.

Eventually I fall silent. The next question comes out of nowhere: “You have been seeking to join the… Fellowship, have you not? For quite some time, I understand. But nobody would accept you, fools that they are.” He waves at me impatiently. “Oh, do get up. I’m not going to execute you. I’m offering to be your sponsor into the Fellowship. I need gifted pilots, after all.”

My jaw drops open. I close it. I open it again. “Nikkura-san, I-”

He interrupts me with another glowing smile. “Please. My allies in the Fellowship call me Nikki. Unless it is a very formal occasion.”

================
ONE YEAR AGO
================

The hoverbike was never meant to go this fast, or make turns that sharp; the grav-motor whines, threatening to burn out. I grin. This is where I belong, where the gap between life and death is indivisibly small, where every lurch and thrill is meat and drink to the lurking Oni… I send them a fleeting thought: Keep me alive, and I’ll keep you fed!

The air around me is split by gunfire: the three SecuriBots chasing me are catching up. I frown with disappointment: only three? Not much of a challenge. I have run this route dozens of times in my head, and up ahead is where I can lose them-

The limo appears out of nowhere, a hundred yards dead ahead, as its stealth field evaporates. A window opens and a gun pokes out. Serious hardware. I don’t recognise it. Behind it, Nikki’s face, sighting down the barrel, winks at me, flashing that trademark smile of his and a single word: “Duck.”

I’m no more than 10 metrons above the ground: if I go into a dive with the grav-motor in this state, I won’t recover in time. I pull up instead, missing the limo by no more than a lick of paint, yawing into a loop-the-loop, watching as Nikki’s gun opens up beneath me, the destructive autofire tearing the SecuriBots apart in seconds.

I’m in the descent from the loop when the grav-motor finally sparks out, turning the machine into dead weight. I let it go and it plummets beneath me as I activate the ’chute, and Nikki reaches out from the limo and grabs me as I tumble past, bundling me inside, and I laugh, out of breath, ribs bruised, but alive, so, so alive…

Nikki allows himself a satisfied nod as the limo drives us to safety. “I have news. Business is good. I’ve acquired another ’ship.” Wait – a Starship?! “The Far Star. She’s a small thing, but she’ll carry the packages I need delivered off-world. It’s dangerous work, but I assume you’ll accept?”

I grin with delight, shrugging off my top before fumbling with my belt. “Help me out of these and I’ll show you how much I accept...”

Such intimacy with one’s superior is dangerous. But that’s part of the fun. Besides, the Oni aren’t the only ones with appetites.

==================
ONE MONTH AGO
==================

My descent in the Far Star is violently resisted: re-entry is a battle between my skill, my ship, and the planet’s gravity and atmosphere. Alarms blare as I fight to stay awake, with the G-forces involved almost knocking me out, sending me spiralling helplessly down to a fiery death.

Almost. And in that almost, the Oni feed.

There’s no emergency: this is just how I prefer to land. I spot the landing pad and make a perfect 3-point touchdown, springing the cockpit canopy open and sliding out with a grin on my face-

-which promptly evaporates at Nikki’s expression. And that of Shotokayo-san, his bumptious little secretary. We have a history, him and me – and not a good one: a few months back he seemed to think he could help himself to anything that belonged to his boss. Including me. I disagreed, strongly. Now Shotokayo looks smug, and Nikki… Nikki looks blank. My stomach lurches with dread. “Wh-what’s wrong?”

Nikki doesn’t answer, he just stares at me, unblinking. Shotokayo’s greasy voice pipes up: “It seems, Dearest Child, that the crates you just delivered were empty when opened. Making Nikkura-san look like he has reneged on an agreement.”

Another time, I’d make him pay for that ‘Dearest Child’ crack. But I let it pass, in my confusion. “That’s not possible.” I state it as flatly as possible, although my brain is whirring. “I loaded those crates myself, and they were sealed. Nobody touched them since.”

Shotokayo-san almost purrs with satisfaction. “I’m so glad you grasp the realities of the situation, Dearest Child. So. To whom did you sell them, and for how long have you been betraying Nikkura-san?”

I look at Nikki, helplessly. I have a code: I don’t take what isn’t mine, and I don’t backstab those who are loyal to me. There’s more, but that’s the important bit right now. His face gives nothing away. I am on my own. Time to think.

“Wait. Wait. Those crates were sealed – they could have been empty when I loaded them! Who sealed them?” I see the spark of something in Shotokayo’s sallow face and I jump to a conclusion. “You! You did – and we both know already that you have difficulty keeping your filthy hands off our boss’s belongings...”

His face creases with fury: “You little b!#@+!” A cruel-hooked knife gleams in his hand. “I’ll cut the truth out of you: you jockeys aren’t so tough outside your machines-”

He looks down in astonishment as the first shot tears into his gut; a second swiftly follows it and he collapses to the ground. The pistol seemed to leap into my hand of its own accord, and now it pivots to point straight at-

“Nikkura-san.” I haven’t called him that for a long time. But it seems appropriate somehow. I try to keep my voice and face steady. Another part of my code is that I don’t shoot people who aren’t armed and able to defend themselves (especially – even? – if they’re my sponsor/sometime bedmate/it’s complicated), but if he sees through my bluff and calls the guards, I’m dead.

He gives that smile of his, and looks straight through me. I can’t fool him, not for a moment. But – to my astonishment – he puts his hands behind his head, and kneels.

I could live a thousand, thousand lifetimes and never understand that man.

The gun falls out of my trembling hand, and he rolls his eyes. “Oh, do pick that up. You’ll need it. Space is not a friendly place for the loner. Now, you’ll have to sell the Far Star obviously, once you get to safety. But I’ve grown rather fond of her and I’d prefer you not to sell her for parts. Or scrap.” He looks at me, and smiles once again. “You need to get moving: I’m sure someone heard those shots and is on their way here. Be safe, Fi-hana.” My flower. “May you keep your Oni happy and fed.”

I will never understand that man. But I take his advice. It’s the best.

==================
THREE DAYS AGO
==================

I didn’t get much for the ship on the black market – it was obviously stolen – and what credits I earned were spent making connections, seeing who wants a pilot. I have no credentials: I can’t exactly admit I spent the last three years driving for the yakuza, the Fellowship.

The Starfinder Society is my last hope, but even they are barely returning my calls. Finally, today, my comm-link pings: there may be an opening. I’m to go to Absalom Station and meet a dwarf named Duravor Kreel.

I have little choice in the matter.

Of Books & Covers:

Fianh (pronounced "fee-ONG" with the emphasis on the last syllable; also known as ‘Fi’) is of just below middling height for a Tian, which makes her considerably shorter than most people she encounters. This, together with her features and her long, straight, jet-black hair make her ancestry unmistakable.

Among people she doesn't know, Fianh keeps her daredevil attitude and speech repressed, confining herself to an inner monologue – more of which is expressed on her face than perhaps she realises; although among strangers she tries to play up to the 'inscrutable Tian' stereotype, saying very little while noting everything. Plus, she has learned that being short and outspoken means you get called 'feisty' - a word that makes her want to release the safety catch on her Mitsuyoba heavy pistol.

However reserved Fi has learned to be in her speech, her actions are still those of the irrepressible daredevil. The Oni are ever-hungry, after all.

Faces Past & Present:

Nikkura - A man who plays 3-dimensional chess in a galaxy where everyone else seems to be playing checkers, Nikki is now a daimyo in the Fellowship, the youngest to make that title in over ten generations. He let Fi go partly out of sentiment, because she wasn't guilty - but mostly because he never removes a piece from the board unless he's sure it is of no further value.

Shotokayo - Fi was correct in her guess: Shotokayo was indeed responsible. His attempt to frame Fi out of spite backfired badly. He was allowed to live because he was in the pay of a rival daimyo; Nikkura extracted a number of highly advantageous concessions in exchange for letting Shotokayo go, but not before removing both the little fingers of his hands (the traditional Fellowship penalty). Unwilling to return to his boss carrying these marks of shame, Shotokayo has slunk away to the Diaspora, where he has quickly become a lieutenant of one of the more unsavoury Free Captains. He harbours a festering grudge against Fi, blaming her rather than his own actions.


I wasn't very inspired by the new races either. Maybe we're just old-school?

I haven't gotten much down on paper yet but my Envoy is probably going to be a half-elf born to a fling (in elven terms) between an Elven diplomat (mother) and Human diplomat (father). She'd end up cycling between living on Castrovel, being raised by her half-sibblings and tutors, and Absalom station in a similar situation on her father's side until her parent's relationship fell apart and she stayed with her mother's family on a more permanent basis. Still frequent trips to Absalom for her mother's diplomatic duties, though again she was mostly with her half-siblings and tutors.

Life of luxury and wanting for nothing, she dabbles in many things and has a talent for people and the arts.

I'm still deciding if she ends up going into music and becomes a singer/rockstar that got bored of her band or she's more of a video personality. I'm leaning towards video personality, specifically an "irl streamer" as they call it these days, broadcasting portions of her life and making videos about them. It could kind of fit the whole adventuring thing be the perfect way to scratch the itch that is her narcissistic tendencies/constant desire to be the center of attention. I guess I should actually watch some these irl things so I can get a feel for how they operate. Ugh, I've never dreaded doing character development research before... it seems so banal.

Mechanics wise she'll be focusing on Bluff, Intimidate, and Diplomacy, and talking our way through annnnyyything no matter how big the lie. Even with this there are two ways I could build her. One focuses more on damage, giving her the Longarm Profiency, Weapon Focus, Versatile Weapon Specialization, etc feats. The other focuses on getting ever higher bonuses or utility in bluff, intimidate, and diplomacy via Skill Focus, Skill Synergy, or tasty utility feats like Veiled Threat.

I'm not sure which route I'll go, but I'm leaning towards focusing on skill points and out-of-combat utility while leaving the pew pew to you guys. We'll see.


Ahah. Seems like a team is coming together.

The Starfinder Society is pretty desperate for new recruits after The Scoured Stars incident so even your crazies will get in no problem :)

A bit more on weapons:
I listened to a podcast with one of the Starfinder leads and his vision of weapons/availability was like, "You can go to a vending machine, put in a credstick, and a laser pistol will pop out with your favorite pop star emblazoned on the side". So as far as the base setting seems to be concerned tier 1 weapons are not a big deal. Absalom station isn't a 'modern' setting where a nation state enforces their monopoly on violence. It's very space fantasy where a goblin could pop out of the pipes and having a pistol around to protect yourself is not uncommon at all.

The game does restrict you to not being able to buy any weapons a higher tier than your level + 1. The impression I get is that when you 'level up', you're not just becoming more capable but you're also making new contacts and gaining influence of the sort that would allow you to buy better weapons based on your increasing stature. And that includes having a 'license' for better weapons in the Pact World setting.

Which sort of makes sense. Level 1 PCs are already kind of special as they have Stamina and Resolve Points that NPCs don't but as soon as you hit Level 2 you're pretty hot stuff. Interestingly enough there are no 'tier 3' weapons in the base game so you're not going to be able to buy better weapons then what you have available at the start until you really prove yourself (Level 3 to have access to buy tier 4 weapons).

It's definitely hand-wavey, but I think it works well.

Karma: I really like your concept. Why would your Android want to join the Starfinder society? They're pretty friendly and sympathetic to the Android Abolitionist Front.

Lessah: Dreaming of a better life is a great start.

Darkness Rising: Man, exorcisim is right in the best way possible. Hope I can give Fianh something to feed her Onis with. Since Drift technology appeared 300 or so years ago there's been a major spread of colonization so I imagine her background happens on a planet/other giant space thing colonzied by humans in Near Space (3d6 drift travel away from the pact worlds?)

Galorit: Since this is a new system I'll allow rebuilding at pretty much any time at least for the first book as long as you guys don't abuse it. I'm sure you won't! So go with whatever fits the character at level 1. Envoys can give up their standard action in exchange for what look like pretty good buffs and debuffs so Space Bard is definitely a valid approach.

There's so many vlogs out there on youtube. Sooo many :|. I don't see why some adventurers wouldn't vlog their whole adventures. People like watching other people play games and walk around after all.


Vlogs! That's the word I was failing to remember, thank you. Yeah, that entertainment industry it's a churning pit of humanity, for better or worse. Totally up Astrianna's alley to record, comment on, and most importantly MONETIZE her adventures.

Thanks for the flexibility on builds. If I don't like one way I'll try the other. I had the same thought about the standard action. It seems the Enoy can use their standard action every turn for some very powerful buffs and healing... so why be shooting with it? Of course damage going out is damage prevented in the long run, but eh, we'll see.

What's the Scoured Stars incident? Is it in those links you posted? Haven't had a chance to look that over yet. Lots of new lore bits to learn...


It's probably in the Starfinder Wiki. Basically the biggest piece of recent news is that the First Seeker (Elected Leader) of the Starfinders committed a massive amount of Starfinders (80%) to an expedition to The Scoured Stars which is a mysterious, almost unreachable expanse of space with him at the head.

They didn't come back.

The new First Seeker is basically doing everything she can to hold the remnants of The Society together and rebuild.

Play Starfinder Society to find out more!


Galorit: seems to me that most Envoy abilities require a standard action or a move action, so the chances of you using a full-round action to attack look pretty small. In other words, getting longarm proficiency, versatile specialisation etc looks like a non-optimal tradeoff, but it is of course your character :-)

Trying to come up with a class for my pilot, and it looks like Operative, but I don't want to tread on Lessah's toes. That said, the Operative class is varied enough that you could have a whole party of them and they'd all be slightly different.

EDIT: Oh yes, homeworld. Actually not fussed about this aspect, I'm assuming it doesn't really come into play except as a place to have come from. Post-Gap, I can imagine that a distrustful portion of Tian society basically went its own way (see RL 14th/15th Century isolationist Japan/China) and colonised its own planets/solar system, trying to recreate what it could remember of the glories of Ancient Tian Xia (now lost).


GM: Wooowww that sounds like a really bad time for everyone involved. I've never been interested in society because it seemed too video game-y (I can play video games for that), but maybe I should be.

Darkness: You're absolutely right, which is why I probably won't go down a combat-focused route. The small arms are just sooo piddly it bothers me a bit, but them's the tradeoffs.

I don't think having two operatives would be a bad thing, they seem to pack high customizability.


Yeah Pathfinder Society just feels way too much like a MMO to me to really be able to get into it. Being in at the ground floor of the brand new Starfinder Society kind of changes that to being exciting. That excitement might fade though, we'll see.

DR: Done, some planet in Close Space that's been colonzied by Tian refugees after The Gap and has many many large cities that are full of Hong Kong action movie and Yazuka mob flick hijinks.


Hope everyone had a good weekend. How are we all doing with character generation?


I think I have everything figured out mechanically, I just need to get it into a character sheet format and write up background. I went whole-hog into charisma, so while she's going to suck at combat she should be able to talk her way out of most things (and make the GM's life as difficult as posssible ;).


Ah.. 18 charisma from the get go? Starfinder character advancement is designed to discourage that as much as possible without making it impossible (since the first attribute bump at level 5 will only net you a +1 rather than +2). But if that's what you want...

While everyone gets their characters figured out I guess I'll talk about maps and such.

I want to do theater of the mind combat BUT with the use of the paizo map as set dressing.

Partly this is because paizo makes some really pretty and evocative maps and it's a shame for all of us to not use them (because I'm certainly going to use them for myself just to keep myself straight).

For another thing for dungeon exploration type stuff I've found it works really well to throw up a powerpoint slide with the AP provided map on it and throw up overlay blocks to 'fog out' rooms that you haven't been to yet. And if we're going to be doing that then any room in which combat breaks out we'll all be on the same page as to what the general layout is.

We'll worry about starship combat when we get to it.

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