New Paths Among the Stars: Compatibility Between Starfinder and Pathfinder

Monday, June 5, 2017

Starfinder is a complete roleplaying game, and can be played on its own without ever referring to the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game. It is based on Pathfinder, of course, and shares many similarities with its older cousin, but in many cases Starfinder handles specific issues differently than Pathfinder. We've mentioned several times that Pathfinder is easily integrated into Starfinder, and that there's some level of compatibility between the two games, but we haven't been very specific on exactly how easy it'll be to add Starfinder cybernetics to Pathfinder fire giants, or port Pathfinder character classes and races into a Starfinder campaign. Those questions are likely to take more than one blog post to cover, but we wanted to at least begin going into greater detail about how we envision these two games working together.

Illustration by Hugh Pindur

Starfinder should feel very familiar to experienced Pathfinder players, and much of the overall play experience is similar. Despite changes like iterative attacks for high base attack bonuses being replaced by universal full attacks allowing two attacks both at -4, or breaking hit points into two pools of Stamina Points and Hit Points, most of the general rules of the game are close enough to make it easy to see how to convert a specific option from one class to another. The most common specific tweaks to combat are covered in the Starfinder Core Rulebook, specifically Chapter 13: Pathfinder Legacy. This chapter presents the information a GM needs to convert between the two games when dealing with questions of bonus types, actions in combat, CMB/CMD vs EAC/KAC, damage, ability scores, and so on. A GM wishing to take griefgalls from Bestiary 5 and use them for an invasion of Absalom Station should have no trouble adapting the monster to Starfinder use. In fact, given that both Starfinder and Pathfinder inhabit the same fictional universe, we specifically designed the game so that you could use monsters from one in the other on the fly, with little conversion—after all, a keketar protean is a keketar protean regardless of system, and this way we can focus on creating cool new creatures for Starfinder rather than just converting all the old standards.

For things like magic items, spells, feats, equipment, and other player-facing options, conversion can be more difficult and have more hidden pitfalls. One of the hardest questions a GM will need to answer is if something from one game system even should be introduced to the other. For instance, Starfinder and Pathfinder make different assumptions about when in a campaign various options first appear, and when they become commonplace. This means that introducing a new options from one of the games into a campaign using the other set of rules can have consequences well beyond how well the two sets of game rules interact mechanically.

For example, every first-level Starfinder character is likely to have armor that protects against extremes of temperature and pressure, and provides breathable air, thus protecting them from gaseous poisons or even complete vacuum for up to 24 hours. In Pathfinder, that level of protection isn't available until much higher level, and many characters never acquire it. While the rules for extreme environments are similar enough that a character from either game can make the appropriate saving throws (and understand how to apply the effects of failing those saves), a Pathfinder game that introduces items and abilities designed for Starfinder is going to bypass or neutralize a lot of common Pathfinder threats and encounters. Similar issues arise when discussing movement, flight, senses, ranged attacks, access to energy damage, and even the ease with which non-spellcasters can access magic abilities.

Those differences in assumptions alter how items and options from one game will impact campaigns using the other game's base rules. Even with the differences between Armor Class rules in the two games, it's not hard to figure out how a suit of ceremonial vesk overplate with a jet pack and infrared sensors would operate in Pathfinder—but the impact it would have on a typical Pathfinder game is much higher than the low level of those options in Starfinder would suggest.

Similarly, the two games also use different methods to produce the numerical values characters and monsters use to interact with one another. This often includes math that is (quite intentionally) behind the scenes, and thus not particularly obvious. For example, Starfinder does its best to not require characters to constantly get higher and higher enhancement bonuses to attack rolls, damage, and armor class, or resistance bonuses to saving throws. As a result, there's no option to create a +1 plasma cannon in Starfinder, since the additional math isn't needed. Thus adding magic to Starfinder gear is always about gaining some cool new option or ability rather than just numbers. It would be easy to determine how to port such rules over from Pathfinder, but doing so would create imbalances, since the new game is designed to function without most pure bonus-boosters.

For races, these issues are much less likely to cause significant issues. We already provide full Starfinder write-ups for dwarves, elves, gnomes, halflings, half-elves and half-orcs in the Pathfinder Legacy chapter of Starfinder. Those races still exist in the Pact Worlds, they just aren't as common as they were in Golarion-focused games using Pathfinder. Converting other Pathfinder races should be straightforward, and unlikely to cause major problems. In fact, some races that don't fit well in most Pathfinder games may be less disruptive to a Starfinder campaign!

Pathfinder classes are going to be the element it is most difficult to move to a Starfinder campaign, and require some work on the part of a GM, both in understanding how Starfinder handles various kinds of abilities and in looking for places where problems might crop up from unbalanced bonuses that Starfinder doesn't need or abilities that lack the support in one game system or the other. Of course, we tried to make sure common character tropes could be created in Starfinder, even if they're built differently than their Pathfinder equivalents. While there's no straight-up paladin analogue in Starfinder, a soldier with the priest theme, phrenic adept archetype, and various psychic power feats can certainly take the role of a religious champion with access to both martial skills and magic powers.

If nothing but the original Pathfinder classes will satisfy, however, the Pathfinder Legacy section gives what guidance we could manage for GMs wanting to port Pathfinder classes directly over. Questions of key ability scores, stamina points, skill points, weapon and armor proficiency and specialization, and other common core game mechanics are easy, and we mostly spell them out. When it comes to tougher questions like class features, eidolons, animal companions, familiars, class spell lists and 7th-9th level spells, bardic performance, and even flurry of blows we give advice, but it'll be up to each GM to decide exactly how to implement that advice.

In many ways, all of Pathfinder is like a series of "Starfinder Unchained" books—optional rules and subsystems a GM can adapt or not as appropriate for their game and their own desire to tinker. Our first priority was always to make Starfinder the best game it could be on its own, with as many robust options as we could make fit without overcomplicating it. Yet its underlying game engine remains close enough to Pathfinder that anyone who wants to adopt or convert materials from those sources to Starfinder should be able to do so with a minimum of effort.

Owen KC Stephens
Developer

More Paizo Blog.
Tags: Hugh Pindur Starfinder
1 to 50 of 125 << first < prev | 1 | 2 | 3 | next > last >>

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Cannot wait to see this book!~


5 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Maps, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Quote:
Starfinder does its best to not require characters to constantly get higher and higher enhancement bonuses to attack rolls, damage, and armor class, or resistance bonuses to saving throws. As a result, there's no option to create a +1 plasma cannon in Starfinder, since the additional math isn't needed. Thus adding magic to Starfinder gear is always about gaining some cool new option or ability rather than just numbers.

This sounds great. Wish there were a way to retroport the concept back into Pathfinder and avoid the magic-item churn.

(Yeah, I know: ABP. But it doesn't really work the way I'd like it to.)

Paizo Employee Designer

8 people marked this as a favorite.
Joana wrote:
Quote:
Starfinder does its best to not require characters to constantly get higher and higher enhancement bonuses to attack rolls, damage, and armor class, or resistance bonuses to saving throws. As a result, there's no option to create a +1 plasma cannon in Starfinder, since the additional math isn't needed. Thus adding magic to Starfinder gear is always about gaining some cool new option or ability rather than just numbers.

This sounds great. Wish there were a way to retroport the concept back into Pathfinder and avoid the magic-item churn.

(Yeah, I know: ABP. But it doesn't really work the way I'd like it to.)

Your best bet is Unchained's automatic bonus progression, but that's more of a patch, and Starfinder having it baked into the game engine itself is much shinier.


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

Ok so I can make a plus 3 holy avenger submachine gun?


Delighted to hear that the internal math doesn't expect magical assistance!

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
plassteel wrote:
Ok so I can make a plus 3 holy avenger submachine gun?

Sounds like it would just be a holy avenger submachine gun, no +3 involved.


17 people marked this as a favorite.

I assume because towels are universal there will be no need for conversion.


4 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Ford Prefect wrote:
I assume because towels are universal there will be no need for conversion.

There are no towels in the future! Science has moved beyond the restraints imposed by the towel!


2 people marked this as a favorite.

Sounds good (though I will always find it weird when cultures will make tonnes of different weapon enchantments and never think up "Hit harder" or "make me more accurate" as enchantments).

Silver Crusade

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

Awesome. But when I inevitably need to convert the kineticist, how should burn work, do they take Stamina damage or health damage?


DM_aka_Dudemeister wrote:
Awesome. But when I inevitably need to convert the kineticist, how should burn work, do they take Stamina damage or health damage?

Both.


7 people marked this as a favorite.
Archmage Variel wrote:
Ford Prefect wrote:
I assume because towels are universal there will be no need for conversion.
There are no towels in the future! Science has moved beyond the restraints imposed by the towel!

Balderdash! I knew a guy who forgot his towel, we call him Louder. Went deaf from listening to vogon poetry, wouldn't have happened if he had a towel to muffle it.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

While I'm bummed we haven't gotten back to class and character previews (mechanic! Why must I wait so long?!) This is a cool update I know tons of people have been freaking out about. Personally not planning on using pathfinder stuff much myself, but I did have a fun idea for using a rust monster in a non-metal ship with certain key parts as metal.

So since Friday it week probably not be Quig, in going we get either ship stuff or space rules. Like being outside a ship for too long. No, scratch that. Weapons. Pistol vs machine gun. That's the man that's making me crazy

Paizo Employee Outreach Coordinator

7 people marked this as a favorite.
Ford Prefect wrote:
I assume because towels are universal there will be no need for conversion.

If you're a hoopy frood...you'll just somehow know the conversion.


This satisfies a lot of the concerns I had. I will always lean classic Pathfinder first, but I am REALLY looking forward to seeing how this looks. August cannot get here soon enough!


Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Looking forward to this even more... if that is possible.

Scarab Sages

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

Is that Art.... Harsk?

Scarab Sages

Stratagemini wrote:
Is that Art.... Harsk?

Nah, Harsk is more blond than ginger.

Paizo Employee Developer, Starfinder Team

Stratagemini wrote:
Is that Art.... Harsk?

Our Legacy Race Examples do not, at this time, have names and backstories.


Owen K. C. Stephens wrote:
Stratagemini wrote:
Is that Art.... Harsk?
Our Legacy Race Examples do not, at this time, have names and backstories.

That's oddly specific. Do the Mystic kasatha and vesk envoy have histories then? :D


5 people marked this as a favorite.
DJEternalDarkness wrote:
Cannot wait to see this book!~

Indeed!

CREW! Prepare for a daring raid upon the Paizo offices! Many of you will die, but that's a sacrifice I'm willing to make! I MUST HAVE THAT BOOK!


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Cards, Companion, Maps, Modules, Pawns, Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber
Dan Tharp wrote:
Ford Prefect wrote:
I assume because towels are universal there will be no need for conversion.
If you're a hoopy frood...you'll just somehow know the conversion.

I sass that.

Paizo Employee Developer, Starfinder Team

TheGoofyGE3K wrote:
Owen K. C. Stephens wrote:
Stratagemini wrote:
Is that Art.... Harsk?
Our Legacy Race Examples do not, at this time, have names and backstories.
That's oddly specific. Do the Mystic kasatha and vesk envoy have histories?

Not at the moment. Our specific Iconics, as we are introducing in the 'Meet the Iconics" blogs, have names and backstories. Out other character illustrations are like Pathfinder archetype or prestige class illustrations -- neat and appropriate but not (currently) tied to one specific character we expect to use in multiple venues.


Owen K. C. Stephens wrote:
TheGoofyGE3K wrote:
Owen K. C. Stephens wrote:
Stratagemini wrote:
Is that Art.... Harsk?
Our Legacy Race Examples do not, at this time, have names and backstories.
That's oddly specific. Do the Mystic kasatha and vesk envoy have histories?
Not at the moment. Our specific Iconics, as we are introducing in the 'Meet the Iconics" blogs, have names and backstories. Out other character illustrations are like Pathfinder archetype or prestige class illustrations -- neat and appropriate but not (currently) tied to one specific character we expect to use in multiple venues.

Ah, fair enough. Had to ask lol. Now the big question-when does meet the iconics come back? Quig and Keskodai are my favorites, and in losing my mind waiting for the mechanic preview lol

Paizo Employee Developer, Starfinder Team

1 person marked this as a favorite.
TheGoofyGE3K wrote:
Now the big question-when does meet the iconics come back? Quig and Keskodai are my favorites, and in losing my mind waiting for the mechanic preview lol

As soon as we can conveniently do so without rushing the writers, overloading the editors, upsetting the schedule, dropping any other balls in the air, or missing any product deadlines. I suspect that'll be week-after-next, but don't hold me to that.

Dark Archive

9 people marked this as a favorite.
Starfinder Superscriber

Stats needed for the pan galactic gargle blaster


DM_aka_Dudemeister wrote:
Awesome. But when I inevitably need to convert the kineticist, how should burn work, do they take Stamina damage or health damage?

I'd have it reduce maximum stamina until your next rest instead of dealing non-lethal, if non-lethal is even still a thing.


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Owen K. C. Stephens wrote:
TheGoofyGE3K wrote:
Now the big question-when does meet the iconics come back? Quig and Keskodai are my favorites, and in losing my mind waiting for the mechanic preview lol
As soon as we can conveniently do so without rushing the writers, overloading the editors, upsetting the schedule, dropping any other balls in the air, or missing any product deadlines. I suspect that'll be week-after-next, but don't hold me to that.

Oh wow, I was mostly kidding, didn't expect a response. Thank you!

And wow, that's a lot of balls to keep juggling. You guys are all amazing. Just in case you haven't heard it lately. I can't begin to describe how appreciative we all likely are for all these cool previeWs leading up to the release


So what does this mean for DR/X? And since everybody and their brother has a laser rifle, where are energy resistances at? its been on my mind since Starfinder was announced and every little drop of information brings it back up. Like Obo's rifle that ignores 1 point of hardness... ok, 1 point is pretty minor in Pathfinder, is it more common to see small amounts of hardness in Starfinder?

Scarab Sages

Quote:

While there's no straight-up paladin analogue in Starfinder, a soldier with the priest theme, phrenic adept archetype, and various psychic power feats can certainly take the role of a religious champion with access to both martial skills and magic powers.

So this addresses a paladin analoge, is there a monk analoge that will be possible in starfinder core? I'm not really concerned about flurry of blows, but I would love to make an unarmed and or unarmored character that is still able to survive against the guns and laser swords and power armor available in the game.

I'm concerned about unarmed strikes being treated as archaic, and if there are any non-armor ways to increase KAC/EAC.


6 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Society Subscriber
Dan Tharp wrote:
Ford Prefect wrote:
I assume because towels are universal there will be no need for conversion.
If you're a hoopy frood...you'll just somehow know the conversion.

And Thus Erik Mona created the universe...This made a lot of people very unhappy and has widely been regarded as a bad move.


Imbicatus wrote:
Quote:

While there's no straight-up paladin analogue in Starfinder, a soldier with the priest theme, phrenic adept archetype, and various psychic power feats can certainly take the role of a religious champion with access to both martial skills and magic powers.

So this addresses a paladin analoge, is there a monk analoge that will be possible in starfinder core? I'm not really concerned about flurry of blows, but I would love to make an unarmed and or unarmored character that is still able to survive against the guns and laser swords and power armor available in the game.

I'm concerned about unarmed strikes being treated as archaic, and if there are any non-armor ways to increase KAC/EAC.

Well Obo's unarmed attack has a +12 modifier which seems pretty legit though i cant say anything about un-armored :/


I guess classes has been my biggest concern. Though looking at this and the previous blog post... the bigger question might be whether it's best to convert a Pathfinder class or expand on a Starfinder class.

High of my list, for instance, are the Oracle and Spiritualist. And while curses and phantoms offer things that Starfinder doesn't at first glance, it might be less invasive to create new connections for the Mystic class using Pathfinder as a basis.

Paizo Employee Designer

Benjamin_Mahir wrote:

I guess classes has been my biggest concern. Though looking at this and the previous blog post... the bigger question might be whether it's best to convert a Pathfinder class or expand on a Starfinder class.

High of my list, for instance, are the Oracle and Spiritualist. And while curses and phantoms offer things that Starfinder doesn't at first glance, it might be less invasive to create new connections for the Mystic class using Pathfinder as a basis.

I think new connections for the mystic would be a stronger and simpler way to handle oracle curses compared to porting the class whole cloth. The phantom could even be a weird kind of mechanic drone potentially.

Grand Lodge

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Starfinder Maps Subscriber
Owen K.C. Stephens wrote:
For example, Starfinder does its best to not require characters to constantly get higher and higher enhancement bonuses to attack rolls, damage, and armor class, or resistance bonuses to saving throws. As a result, there's no option to create a +1 plasma cannon in Starfinder, since the additional math isn't needed. Thus adding magic to Starfinder gear is always about gaining some cool new option or ability rather than just numbers.

Owen, you have no idea how delighted this makes me. As a person who simply cannot do most in-game arithmetic, this is completely, utterly freeing. Leveling in Pathfinder drives me crazy, because of the way the game ramps up power and requires magic boosts to base abilities in order to function.

I love that magic will be used for bringing in cool options rather than for playing figurative rocket tag with monsters.

(Though I can see using Magic for literal rocket tag. I want my jet boots! WHOOOSH!)

Thank you also for allowing us to continue having the core Golarian races in Starfinder. I'm rather attached to gnomes, and have already decided that my very first Starfinder character will be a gnome who's been raised by Shirren. All the options and individuality! Though if I could manage it, I'd love even better to be a gnome raising a Shirren. Gnomes do have a habit of adopting promising youngsters that aren't their race. They're very family oriented. Besides, I think it would be hilarious to watch him or her deal with having to wear spacesuits designed for ratfolk.

Then I'll try out the other Starfinder races. But I really want to start with my gnome first.

Hmm

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

This sounds amazing, though I am still concerned by niche classes like the kineticist not getting support. Wonder if maybe the solarion works similarly to it...

Ah well, I'm super excited about all of this!


1 person marked this as a favorite.

I have been hesitant but the more I find out the more comfortable I am with the changes. I think they might actually fix some problems That I have seen in pathfinder. IF star finder goes well maybe they will even do a pathfinder 2.0 that would be more like starfinder


Vidmaster7 wrote:
If star finder goes well maybe they will even do a pathfinder 2.0 that would be more like starfinder

One can hope.

P.S. In before "If Paizo ever makes Pathfinder 2E I will burn my books, boycott the company forever, and kick a puppy." ;P


When it comes to available races for crossbred Path/Starfinder games, will we be able to use the Androids from Starfinder Core and/or Inner Sea?


bugleyman wrote:
Vidmaster7 wrote:
If star finder goes well maybe they will even do a pathfinder 2.0 that would be more like starfinder

One can hope.

P.S. In before "If Paizo ever makes Pathfinder 2E I will burn my books, boycott the company forever, and kick a puppy." ;P

If Paizo makes Pathfinder 2nd Ed. I'll... I'll...

NOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!


I mean some day it is bound to happen just a matter of when. Honestly I don't expect it for at least another 2 years if not longer.


and what go the way of TSR/ WOTC?

dumb question.
what if a pathfidner character get nailed in a mirror of life trapping and is freed in starfinder??
would they still use the class they were or would they have to take on new class?

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Society Subscriber
Steelfiredragon wrote:

what if a pathfidner character get nailed in a mirror of life trapping and is freed in starfinder??

would they still use the class they were or would they have to take on new class?

It would be easier to take on a starfinder class.

Ofcourse you could use the guidelines provided to rework the pathfinder class, that simply requires a lot more work between the GM and the player of that character.

Scarab Sages

The main thing about any character from Pathfinder that was imprisoned/temporal stasis/petrified/ whatever is that they were probably on Golarian when it happened, and are therefore still on Golarion now. Unless you're using a collector trope to explain why they were moved off planet before the gap, it's not likely that they're still able to be freed in Starfinder.

Sovereign Court RPG Superstar 2011 Top 32

2 people marked this as a favorite.

But what if you want a magic weapon that's more accurate/damaging? The "+" on a weapon indicates that it's better at being a weapon, and sometimes that's what you really want instead of a bunch of oddball fancy abilities.

I hope there's some sort of "accurate" special ability at the very least.

Silver Crusade

Well I can think of a certain high level module that had a mirror of life trapping conveniently off world... Luckily I was rescued by highly competent Pathfinders, or was I?


3 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Class Deck Subscriber

These last couple of posts have dramatically reduced my enthusiasm for Starfinder. I was really looking forward to a universally compatible game that would allow me to introduce more Sci-Fi elements to my Pathfinder games (and vice versa). Making changes to things as fundamental as armor class, hit points, and iterative attacks means that I can't just hand my players books from both systems and say "go to town".

Very disappointing.

Silver Crusade

8 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society, Tales Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber
JC Huber wrote:

These last couple of posts have dramatically reduced my enthusiasm for Starfinder. I was really looking forward to a universally compatible game that would allow me to introduce more Sci-Fi elements to my Pathfinder games (and vice versa). Making changes to things as fundamental as armor class, hit points, and iterative attacks means that I can't just hand my players books from both systems and say "go to town".

Very disappointing.

I don't think it was ever advertised as being such. Sorry it's not what you were looking forward to though.


2 people marked this as a favorite.
JC Huber wrote:

These last couple of posts have dramatically reduced my enthusiasm for Starfinder. I was really looking forward to a universally compatible game that would allow me to introduce more Sci-Fi elements to my Pathfinder games (and vice versa). Making changes to things as fundamental as armor class, hit points, and iterative attacks means that I can't just hand my players books from both systems and say "go to town".

Very disappointing.

I suggest the Aethera Campaign Setting by Robert Brookes. It's third party, but incredibly well done and from what he was telling me at PaizoCon, they borrowed from the setting for some Starfinder things, like star ship rules.


JC Huber wrote:

These last couple of posts have dramatically reduced my enthusiasm for Starfinder. I was really looking forward to a universally compatible game that would allow me to introduce more Sci-Fi elements to my Pathfinder games (and vice versa). Making changes to things as fundamental as armor class, hit points, and iterative attacks means that I can't just hand my players books from both systems and say "go to town".

Very disappointing.

I would say they have been very clear from the get go that this would not be possible. they have said many times that you should be able to do some quick conversion work to get things across systems but it still requires a little bit of work on the GM's part. basically decide which rules to use and switch them over, put a Soldier in Pathfinder and maybe just give them regular iteratives? i dont think it will be very taxing after seeing the pregen character sheets, mostly the same kinds of numbers in the same places.

1 to 50 of 125 << first < prev | 1 | 2 | 3 | next > last >>
Community / Forums / Starfinder / Starfinder General Discussion / Paizo Blog: New Paths Among the Stars: Compatibility Between Starfinder and Pathfinder All Messageboards

Want to post a reply? Sign in.