Announcing the Starfinder Roleplaying Game!

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Ever since Pathfinder Adventure Path #3, when James Jacobs and Wes Schneider had to hold me back from putting a space elevator in Varisia, I've wanted to take Pathfinder to the stars. A year later, I had the honor of writing up Golarion's solar system in Pathfinder Adventure Path #14, and then expanding it further in Pathfinder Campaign Setting: Distant Worlds. But I'm not the only one around here in love with outer space and science fiction—I think all of us have at various times said, "Wouldn't it be fun to do a futuristic version of Pathfinder?" Yet aside from the occasional jaunt to other worlds in adventures like Pathfinder Adventure Path #70: The Frozen Stars, it's always been a dream just out of reach.

Until now.

Next August, Paizo will be releasing the Starfinder Roleplaying Game—a new science fantasy RPG based on the Pathfinder universe and rules, but complete and standalone. It'll be backward compatible, so you can still use all those Pathfinder RPG bestiaries, but will feature all sorts of new classes, races, equipment, and other elements uniquely suited to our far-future setting. You want to play a lashunta technomancer using magic to hack the defense grid, or an android assassin with a laser rifle, or a ysoki ratfolk mechanic clambering around the guts of a spaceship as you blast your way through the enemy blockade? This is the place for it. There will also be new races you've never seen before, new worlds beyond Golarion's system that we've never visited, new twists on magic and the rules system itself—and, of course, ton and tons of cool science fantasy gear, from starships and computers to infinitely sharp zero-edge swords and rune-augmented plasma cannons.

The Starfinder RPG Core Rulebook will be releasing at Gen Con 2017, but that's not all—we're also going to be starting a monthly Starfinder Adventure Path in addition to our ongoing Pathfinder Adventure Paths. The Starfinder AP volumes will include both adventures and cool new rules and setting information to help expand your Starfinder game. Plus monsters. Lots of monsters.

So how does all this science fantasy goodness fit into the Pathfinder setting? Simple: Starfinder is set in Golarion's solar system, but far in a possible future—one in which the gods have mysteriously spirited Golarion away to an unknown location, and refuse to answer questions about it. In its place, the cultures of that world have evolved and spread throughout the solar system, especially to a vast space platform called Absalom Station. Gifted access to a hyperspace dimension by an ascended AI deity, the residents of the system suddenly find themselves with the ability to travel faster than light, and the race is on to explore and colonize potentially millions of worlds. But there are horrors out there in the darkness...

As the Creative Director of Starfinder, I can't wait to show you everything we've been building. Joining me as key players on Team Starfinder are longtime Paizo developers Rob McCreary and Owen KC Stephens, as well as Creative Design Director Sarah Robinson on the art side, but all the designers, developers, art staff, and editors are working on different parts of the project—it's an all-hands-on-deck affair. And it's not just us, either—as Starfinder will be released under the OGL, we're looking forward to robust third-party support of the game.


While the size and scope of the new game make a full public playtest infeasible, we'll be starting to bring in key community members to check it out in the next few months, so keep an eye on the blog for your chance to participate! In the meantime, we wanted to give you a sneak preview of some preliminary concept sketches for Absalom Station, androids, and ysoki from artist Taylor Fischer (who you might know from games like XCOM and Civilization)—while these are only our initial explorations, and far from final, it's fun to see the process as things change and evolve. And it's never too early to chime in and chat with us in the new Starfinder forum!

We hope you're as excited about Starfinder as we are, and that you'll join us as we boldly go where Paizo's never gone before!

James L. Sutter
Creative Director

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Tags: Starfinder Taylor Fischer
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Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I am really excited by this. Not only do I love the idea I can dust of my Dragonstar books and run that campaign setting again. :)


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This announcement gets my game designer brain grinding so well... I'veoften tried to explain how Paizo or any company almost NEEDS to choose a setting for sci-fi/sci-fantasy because there are fundemental differences between say Star Wars, Star Trek, Stargate, Battlestar Galactica, etc. that decide more than just the fluff but especially the hard mechanics. I look forward to Paizo's "solutions" to it all :)


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Is this exactly the same game mechanics as the Pathfinder (3.5 ed) system, or will there be changes? I've really been hoping that Paizo/Pathfinder would eventually release a simplified and streamlined version of Pathfinder similar to 5e. While sometimes I do find 5e a little too simple, the game just runs so smoothly and quickly... even at high levels!


Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Society Subscriber
Kor - Orc Scrollkeeper wrote:

Is this exactly the same game mechanics as the Pathfinder (3.5 ed) system, or will there be changes? I've really been hoping that Paizo/Pathfinder would eventually release a simplified and streamlined version of Pathfinder similar to 5e. While sometimes I do find 5e a little too simple, the game just runs so smoothly and quickly... even at high levels!

It is intended to be the same system.

Scarab Sages Developer

17 people marked this as a favorite.

James Sutter covered the question of Starfinder being "the same system" as Pathfinder in the panel we had today, and that's not quite what we mean when we say it'll be backward compatible. We intend for you to be able to use Pathfinder material, especially monsters, with Starfinder. That should require very little work, though that doesn't mean the game are identical.
After that our #1 goal is produce a complete RPG that produces a fun and satisfying science-fantasy experience and is the best system for telling the kinds of stories we foresee people being most interested in for the Starfinder setting.
The systems will certainly be very similar, and knowing how to play Pathfinder will be a significant step up on knowing how to play Starfinder. But we will handle some things differently, so some amount of conversion effort may be needed to use Pathfinder material in Starfinder, or Starfinder material in Pathfinder. Since we're very early in the process of creating this game, we can't currently say the two games will be exactly 98% compatible, just that making the best game we can, and making it work with our existing game material, are both important considerations to us.
The Pathfinder core classes won't be the core Starfinder races, but we will give the rules you need to play them in Starfinder (and background material on what elves, dwarves, half-orcs and so on are doing in a campaign where their homeworld is gone). We won't represent all the pathfinder classes, because we're building classes designed to work best in the science-fantasy setting of Starfinder, which will best utilize the Starfinder game systems.
We can't say exactly how much work it'd take to play an elven paladin in Starfinder. We can say it'll be easy to create a character matching that iconic concept using Starfinder on its own.
I'm sure we'll discuss this more in the months ahead, but until we're further along in the process, details on how we're handling some of these questions aren't settle, so we really can't get into details. :)

Scarab Sages

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zidders wrote:
You had me at anthropomorphic rats in space.

Yes, my overstuffed Skaven bits box will be getting some long-awaited release.

Mantic also do a race of sci-fi shipboard humanoid-rat scavengers, so there's no shortage of kitbashing options for your PCs and NPCs.

Scarab Sages

3 people marked this as a favorite.
Owen K. C. Stephens wrote:
We intend for you to be able to use Pathfinder material, especially monsters, with Starfinder. That should require very little work, though that doesn't mean the game are identical.

That is certainly something to provide all GMs a sigh of relief.

"My Bestiaries....my precious Bestiaries...."

Owen K. C. Stephens wrote:
After that our #1 goal is produce a complete RPG that produces a fun and satisfying science-fantasy experience and is the best system for telling the kinds of stories we foresee people being most interested in for the Starfinder setting.

This part is what I foresee being the main schism in the player base.

Those who want to play 'wizards in space', and those who want to play a sci-fi game, with the themes and tropes peculiar to that genre, and more importantly, without the fantasy elements that would actively undermine internally consistent science fiction plots and background.

I seriously hope that Paizo take the latter path, since those who want to play 'wizards in space' already have all the tools they need.
(GM: "These are the roles for wizards, you all have necklaces of adaptation, you start the campaign in space. What do you do?"
Players: "We look for a tavern.")

Those of us most interested in this want to see genre-relevant adventures, not just a mysterious patron in the space-tavern, telling the PCs to go to a space-dungeon, where they'll find a space-room, with a space-orc, guarding a space-pie.

Dark Archive

Snorter wrote:

I seriously hope that Paizo take the latter path, since those who want to play 'wizards in space' already have all the tools they need.

What tools? I certainly know a lot more pure scifi than wizards in space games .-.

Also, wait, you don't think space bars and mysterious patrons who make you do shady stuff aren't part of any good space adventure? :D

Seriously though, I don't see why "space-fantasy" would mean "Same as regular pathfinder, but with word space added in front of everything". Like, that train of logic doesn't make sense to me.


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Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Definitely something to look forward to.


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Pathfinder Lost Omens, Maps, Rulebook Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

So this sounds freaking amazing! The fact that it's backwards compatible with Pathfinder is just gravy. I do love a bit of SciFi with my fantasy!

Liberty's Edge

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Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Maps, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Owen K. C. Stephens wrote:

James Sutter covered the question of Starfinder being "the same system" as Pathfinder in the panel we had today, and that's not quite what we mean when we say it'll be backward compatible. We intend for you to be able to use Pathfinder material, especially monsters, with Starfinder. That should require very little work, though that doesn't mean the game are identical.

<snip>

Based on this, it seems that the changes from Pathfinder to Starfinder will be more extensive than those from D&D v3.5 to Pathfinder. I think that's a good thing. It really doesn't take much to allow reasonable 'backwards compatibility'... I'd argue it is still fairly easy to convert most 1st edition materials to Pathfinder. Thus, the more that can be done to improve systems and customize them for the new setting the better.

Scarab Sages

8 people marked this as a favorite.
CorvusMask wrote:
Seriously though, I don't see why "space-fantasy" would mean "Same as regular pathfinder, but with word space added in front of everything". Like, that train of logic doesn't make sense to me.

We'll wait and see, but if the change from AD&D 1 to AD&D 2, or from AD&D2 to D&D3.0, or from D&D3.5 to PF is any indication, there'll be a sizeable portion of the player base screaming, because they can't play a direct clone of exactly the same PC they always play, described in exactly the same mechanics, running through exactly the same situations, relying on exactly the same methods, with exactly the same outcomes.

"Same as regular pathfinder, but with word space added in front of everything" is exactly what those people will be demanding. But they need to be resisted, for the good of the new game, and its ability to tell the kinds of stories that need to be told.

The tools already exist, if their group wants to find out "What would happen if a wizard, a cleric, a barbarian and a ninja were transplanted to Arrakis?". Or Barsoom. Or Cardassia. Or Manhattan in 2016.
It's as easy as the GM saying "You wake up on Arrakis". Or Barsoom. Or Cardassia. Or Manhattan in 2016.

And the ruleset for that already exists. It's called 'Pathfinder'.

Starfinder is our chance to clean house, consolidate all the redundant feats, traits and abilities that do the same thing (but worded differently and confusingly), clean up the wording of rules that have been argued for years, show examples that explain the explicit intent of the designers, round up 40 years of sacred cows, that still interfere with running certain plot types, throw them in the airlock and send them into the void.

Sovereign Court RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32, 2010 Top 8

5 people marked this as a favorite.

Agreeing with the cow.

Starfinder is a stellar opportunity to streamline things. Owen's post brings me hope that Starfinder will support Serenity docking alongside the Phoenix and the Spelljammer, and characters who use nanotech healing kits looking askance at being healed by a cleric of Erastil.


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Would it have been so hard to just give us a Distant Worlds hardcover book about the other planets instead of creating a whole new gaming system/world.

Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Dragon78 wrote:

Would it have been so hard to just give us a Distant Worlds hardcover book about the other planets instead of creating a whole new gaming system/world.

One does not eliminate the other. In fact, expanding the cosmoverse in Starfinder and then revisiting its state in the current Golarion timeline sounds like a plan.


6 people marked this as a favorite.
Snorter wrote:
round up 40 years of sacred cows, that still interfere with running certain plot types, throw them in the airlock and send them into the void.

No way, nuke them from orbit, it's the only way to be sure.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Owen K. C. Stephens wrote:


After that our #1 goal is produce a complete RPG that produces a fun and satisfying science-fantasy experience and is the best system for telling the kinds of stories we foresee people being most interested in for the Starfinder setting.

While that sounds really good somehow, what kind of stories are those exactly? A lot of people go crazy about spelljammer and dragonstar here and i´m sorry to say, i find that a bit backward. Old game repetition Nr. 23525435 gets boring, neither do i think those science-fantasy.

I´m hoping for a healthy part of advanced high tech, perhaps along with magic.


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

I don't really see what all that has to do with making a science fiction game over a science fantasy game...


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@Spacefinder Development Team: For my 2 cp, I'm really hoping all of the basic classes will have a good degree of narrative agency. XD That is, no class is just combat or just technology or whatever, but has a reasonable balance for the three realms of combat, social interaction, and exploration. Not every class needs to be balanced in the same way, obviously, but everyone should have an opportunity to somehow contribute to most encounters, regardless of type. That's my preference, anyway. ^^


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Shifty wrote:
Snorter wrote:
round up 40 years of sacred cows, that still interfere with running certain plot types, throw them in the airlock and send them into the void.
No way, nuke them from orbit, it's the only way to be sure.

Nuke seems inappropriate. Let's hit 'em with rods from god instead. Just to be on the safe side.


If it has the same "rules-mentality" that Pathfinder has - I won't be interested.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber
CBDunkerson wrote:
Owen K. C. Stephens wrote:

James Sutter covered the question of Starfinder being "the same system" as Pathfinder in the panel we had today, and that's not quite what we mean when we say it'll be backward compatible. We intend for you to be able to use Pathfinder material, especially monsters, with Starfinder. That should require very little work, though that doesn't mean the game are identical.

<snip>
Based on this, it seems that the changes from Pathfinder to Starfinder will be more extensive than those from D&D v3.5 to Pathfinder. I think that's a good thing. It really doesn't take much to allow reasonable 'backwards compatibility'... I'd argue it is still fairly easy to convert most 1st edition materials to Pathfinder. Thus, the more that can be done to improve systems and customize them for the new setting the better.

I am thinking that the new system will incorporate stuff needed to get space fantasy/science fiction to work, but probably won't change much of the underlying system of the game.

My thinking is that we will have largely the same system as current Pathfinder, but elements of the game will be tweaked to better support a more science fictional/space fantasy tone. Things like robust rules for space combat, the skill system, items, and of course classes and magic. I don't see much likelihood of major revisions to things like actions, or how characters are created, etc.

I think most gamers, when they hear compatible, are thinking 3.0/3.5 to Pathfinder. I certainly don't think most people would think 1E to Pathfinder.


I hope magic or spell casting classes don't get the shaft in this one. I can classes that choose to be spell casters be a more rare such as wizards and clerics. But classes that get magic through bloodlines, fate, or random weirdness such as sorcerers, oracles, and kineticist I can see being just as common as they were 1000+ years ago.


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Awesome, now make Trailfinder and move the gunslinger to its own pocket universe.

Scarab Sages Developer

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Hayato Ken wrote:
I´m hoping for a healthy part of advanced high tech, perhaps along with magic.

So are we!

Magic is a force in Starfinder. Rituals and gods and magic swords didn't cease to exist. But they do now share stage time with plasma rifles, medpacks, and megacorporations, so they don't hold as prominent a place in the overall day-to-day life of folks.

I suspect most characters won't have a magic sword, because with powered armor and jetpacks and arc cannons, a magic sword just isn't as useful The design team is certainly mindful of what is needed, both logically and in the rules space, for advanced technology and magic to both be of note in this game.

And they are coming up with some cool as heck stuff!


Filby Pott wrote:
How much of d20 Future and Star Wars d20 are OGL? There's a lot in them that I wouldn't mind seeing Paizofied.

Almost everything and exactly nothing, respectively.

Insane KillMaster wrote:
Zaister wrote:
OMG. This can't come fast enough.
Some people will have to be extra careful of who they elect as President, or some of us won't be able to see/get this.

Huh?

Owen K. C. Stephens wrote:
I suspect most characters won't have a magic sword, because with powered armor and jetpacks and arc cannons, a magic sword just isn't as useful.

Now I am wondering if there will be a specific class focussed on magic swords and and making them more useful in a setting with common high-tech guns, kinda like and anti-Gunslinger.

_
glass.


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Owen K. C. Stephens wrote:
Hayato Ken wrote:
I´m hoping for a healthy part of advanced high tech, perhaps along with magic.

So are we!

Magic is a force in Starfinder. Rituals and gods and magic swords didn't cease to exist. But they do now share stage time with plasma rifles, medpacks, and megacorporations, so they don't hold as prominent a place in the overall day-to-day life of folks.

I suspect most characters won't have a magic sword, because with powered armor and jetpacks and arc cannons, a magic sword just isn't as useful The design team is certainly mindful of what is needed, both logically and in the rules space, for advanced technology and magic to both be of note in this game.

And they are coming up with some cool as heck stuff!

Why is it always magic swords and tech-guns? Why can't we have it the other way around for a change?

"What's that you have there, my good man?" asks Slicer, the Ninja.
"Oh, that? That's a Fierach II plasma rifle! See this? First magazine chamber is for the tiny portal to the Elemental Plane of Fire - second one, slot it in right on top, make sure the luminifers touch, yeah, like that, second chamber's a tiny portal to the Elemental Plane of Water. C'mon, hold my beer, I'll show you what happens when you hold the trigger."

(egregious amounts of plasma fire later)

"An' what's that you have there, Slicer?"
"Oh, those are Vibro-chainsword-katana-chucks. Luna Titanium blade, nanopoison dispensers, smartmatter exothermic reactors, the whole works."


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Is it time to quote Arthur C Clarke?


I think there should be advantages and disadvantages to having magic or tech based items. I can see magic items being rarer but the ones you do find should be good because there the ones that lasted this long.

I can see religion being less common and there by fewer clerics but the gods haven't gone any where so classes like oracles wouldn't be any more or less common.

I can see there being less wizards and alchemist since such practices would be very obscure. Though I can see there being just as many sorcerers or kineticist.

I don't see barbarians, paladins, inquisitors, cavaliers, samurai, warpriest, shamans, etc. being common. But I can see fighters, gunslingers, rogues, psychics, swashbucklers, rangers, etc. being common.

Also I hope to see a space pirate archetype for swashbucklers.


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Honestly, I hope they don't go the route of magic = technology. It just feels like a cop out. I'd rather they be two separate forces that can be combined for interesting effects. What I don't want are lasers that are just wands of fireballs reskinned.

Dark Archive

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What about magic tech weapons?


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Yeah magitech is cool by me.


Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path Subscriber
Owen K. C. Stephens wrote:
James Sutter covered the question of Starfinder being "the same system" as Pathfinder in the panel we had today, and that's not quite what we mean when we say it'll be backward compatible. We intend for you to be able to use Pathfinder material, especially monsters, with Starfinder. That should require very little work, though that doesn't mean the game are identical.

I get it it's early days yet. The difficulty I see is that the moment I'm faced potentially playing another system, there's nothing keeping me from pulling out... say... Numenara.

It's sort of the same thing that I point out when people talk about a second edition for Pathfinder; if I wanted to play not-Pathfinder, there are already many, many systems to choose from.

So while I get it that obviously 100% equivalence doesn't make sense, the more not-Pathfinder Starfinder ends up, the less interest in it I'd have.

Also also, re-remembering or un-remembering things is relatively hard. It's easier to learn new feats, classes, or abilities than it is to learn changes to existing things. Heck, there are 3.5-isms that some of us still have to work hard at remembering changed.

So hey, feedback, hopefully useful.


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Maybe because of certain events in the past that creating "magitech" weapons and other items is illegal or downright forbidden.

Liberty's Edge

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Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Just realized that StarFinder = SF = SciFi (or Sci-Fan) :-)

So, will we get a SFRD ?


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I think the guy who does d20pfsrd.com is already on that, so... XD


I would rather see a new version of Pathfinder d20 Modern than a space Pathfinder. Or a whole new setting, not one with the same setting, even if it is set many years in the future. I like a science-fantasy game, and that's what I'm running now, but basing it in the same star system as the default Pathfinder system just doesn't interest me.


Shifty wrote:
Snorter wrote:
round up 40 years of sacred cows, that still interfere with running certain plot types, throw them in the airlock and send them into the void.
No way, nuke them from orbit, it's the only way to be sure.

Airlock, then the nearest star... no need to waste nukes.


Owen K. C. Stephens wrote:
Hayato Ken wrote:
I´m hoping for a healthy part of advanced high tech, perhaps along with magic.

So are we!

Magic is a force in Starfinder. Rituals and gods and magic swords didn't cease to exist. But they do now share stage time with plasma rifles, medpacks, and megacorporations, so they don't hold as prominent a place in the overall day-to-day life of folks.

I suspect most characters won't have a magic sword, because with powered armor and jetpacks and arc cannons, a magic sword just isn't as useful The design team is certainly mindful of what is needed, both logically and in the rules space, for advanced technology and magic to both be of note in this game.

And they are coming up with some cool as heck stuff!

You mean I can't be the barbaric guy who tear the doors appart when the power is out? That plain old metal survival knives are things of the past? etc?


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Looking forward to this, I actually like sci-fi mixed in with fantasy, Iron Gods was a great AP and I really enjoyed Expedition to the Barrier Peaks back in the day. This won't be Star Trek or Star Wars and I like that, I want to play their setting with their rules. I think they have a solid concept, everything I have seen seems to indicate it's going to be well done, and I can't wait for this to be released. I'm okay with letting the storytellers tell the story. And just a side note, not everyone cares about art, I for one could care less. Just give me the product already!

RPG Superstar 2010 Top 32

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1) Holy merciful goodness.
2) My god, it's full of stars.
3) Will there be support for post-apocalypse settings? Clearly this won't be part of the main-stream Starfinder world, but I'd love to see some muties in there.


Dragon78 wrote:
Maybe because of certain events in the past that creating "magitech" weapons and other items is illegal or downright forbidden.

That'd be pretty stupid. I'd definitely remove that setting detail (though there is a 90% chance I'll ignore the setting anyway I guess). I mean hell, you can already mix tech and magic in the golarion days.

Personally I'd prefer it all be magitech if I didn't think that golarion would just do the Eberron style of "Take tech from genre, cover in magic paint".

Silver Crusade

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Joe Wells wrote:

1) Holy merciful goodness.

2) My god, it's full of stars.
3) Will there be support for post-apocalypse settings? Clearly this won't be part of the main-stream Starfinder world, but I'd love to see some muties in there.

Want Mutants? Their called Orcs.


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Is there s gold dragon from Hermea as CEO of a megacorporation.


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Danubus wrote:
Joe Wells wrote:

1) Holy merciful goodness.

2) My god, it's full of stars.
3) Will there be support for post-apocalypse settings? Clearly this won't be part of the main-stream Starfinder world, but I'd love to see some muties in there.
Want Mutants? Their called Orcs.

There are also Mana Waste Mutants, Ogrekin, just plain Mutants...


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Odraude wrote:
Honestly, I hope they don't go the route of magic = technology. It just feels like a cop out. I'd rather they be two separate forces that can be combined for interesting effects. What I don't want are lasers that are just wands of fireballs reskinned.

See, NOW that we have an actual sci-fi setting, they can officially use psionics and have it be the magic system du jour. ;)

Liberty's Edge

Does it use a version of D20 modern or the basic Pathfinder rules?


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Qstor wrote:
Does it use a version of D20 modern or the basic Pathfinder rules?

they are modifying PF rules into an RPG system all its own as I understand it.


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Cornuthaum wrote:

"What's that you have there, my good man?" asks Slicer, the Ninja.

"Oh, that? That's a Fierach II plasma rifle! See this? First magazine chamber is for the tiny portal to the Elemental Plane of Fire - second one, slot it in right on top, make sure the luminifers touch, yeah, like that, second chamber's a tiny portal to the Elemental Plane of Water. C'mon, hold my beer, I'll show you what happens when you hold the trigger."

{squints at possible suspect, pops holster's retention strap} That sounds suspiciously like a modified or cloned Lawgiver, citizen, and highly illegal. Care to explain yourself and produce the proper permits?

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