Alien Archive 2: Eclectic Boogaloo

Friday, October 12, 2018

Howdy! Joe Pasini here, Starfinder developer and monstrous humanoid. One of my favorite things about Starfinder is that it's chock full of alien creatures that you can not only crush, kill, and destroy, but also befriend, bedazzle—and become!

Today we'll meet a few of the 16 new playable species presented in Alien Archive 2, along with notes from their writers.


Illustration by David Alvarez

Careful readers of the Starfinder Core Rulebook might have noticed a brief write-up in the setting chapter about Daimalko. On that blasted planet, horrific colossi have rampaged among the ruins of two once-great civilizations since an event called the Awakening. The survivors—the damai—have turned to empathic leaders and their powerful magical orbs to keep these roving beasts away. That planet is one of my strange little Starfinder children, and in Alien Archive 2, I had the privilege of dropping another piece of Daimalko into the game—now you can play a damai! When you do, your racial traits will reflect these people's time subsisting in underground caverns, as well as their now-innate survival senses. For those interested in Daimalkan lore, the write-up also includes the story of Reirali Kokolu, the first Guardian who both discovered the orbs linked to the colossi and united the disparate pockets of survivors into the pseudocivilization that exists on the planet today. If Daimalkan lore—or kaiju survivors, empaths, or scrappers—are your thing, playing a damai might be right up your alley!

—Amanda Hamon Kunz, Managing Developer

I wrote about Orry, the home planet of the phentomites, in the Starfinder Core Rulebook. The location was inspired by a homebrew Runequest game I played over a decade ago, where the players and GM worked together to collaboratively create an original setting. It was a thrilling creative exercise for everyone, and though we only played that game a handful of times, the experience has stuck with me. Of course, we pictured humans exploring this world's floating islands, but when you adapt something for a science-fantasy game, you get to make things a little more… alien. While they weren't named or described in the Core Rulebook, the inhabitants of Orry were illustrated, and I had a hand in that as well. When it came time for Alien Archive 2, I pitched giving these folks full stats and a bit more information about their home world and culture. Now that they are fully entrenched in the Starfinder canon, I just hope I can expand further on the phentomites at some point in the future!

—Jason Keeley, Starfinder Adventure Path Developer


Illustration by Rodrigo Gonzalez Toledo

I did the embri! In the spirit of honesty, I hadn't even noticed these mollusk-people tucked in the Starfinder Core Rulebook at first. But I discovered their write-up was really evocative: it starts with their eerily orderly society, then reveals that Hell is behind it all. Cue the ominous music! I tried to keep the same themes in my Alien Archive 2 entry, but I had to think more about embri masks. Why do these emotionless critters wear them? Probably as identifiers, but maybe also because showing even a little bit of emotion is exceptionally rude in their society, so they're socially expected. I thought about giving the ubiquitous masks some game benefit, but ultimately went the other direction—not wearing a mask makes an embri feel exposed and dangerously expressive, so they take penalties when not wearing one. If you play an embri, you'll want to keep your mask in place. The hivemask magic item helps you work well with your teammates—and keep a close eye on them!

—Ron Lundeen, Pathfinder Adventure Path Developer


Illustration by Alexandur Alexandrov

Hi! I wrote bolida and osharu. The bolida were my attempt at the molefolk trope—except instead of being inspired by adorable rodents, they're horrifyingly gigantic centipedes, 'cause why not! They otherwise stay true to the trope: a hardy, subterranean people who minded their own business deep underground for centuries. They didn't really care (or even know?) about the outside world until they were discovered by accident. The osharu were quite shamelessly inspired by the Bajorans from Star Trek. I was enamored of the idea of a spacefaring society whose religion takes the forefront in their culture. The osharus' cities were actually inspired by my daily commute through a pretty much town-sized college campus. I thought it would be interesting to have metropolis-sized settlements composed entirely of different departments of learning, where everybody worked together for a common cause (in this case, scientific and spiritual enlightenment). I must admit it was intimidating writing two races and cultures from scratch, with no previous material to use! I hope y'all enjoy my additions to the Starfinder universe!

—L Pellazar, Editor


Illustration by Mary Jane Pajaron

Design of the quorlus is rooted in history and novelty. My assignment was to create a unique quadruped species that's not like a centaur. Long ago, I really loved dralasites—a species of little, shapeable blobs who could have multiple legs. (They're from the Star Frontiers RPG.) I started with bloblike, and then decided to use environmental extremes. What if quorlus adapted to harsh tectonics? From that came the silicon-based physiology and geothermic nature, along with no need to breathe. It also sparked a culture of practical, skilled engineers and miners who find it easy to accept loss. The seismic violence of the quorlu home world instilled within them a spirit of cooperation and love of peace. I also decided quorlu voices must be highly resonant, carrying through earth and stone (and quorlu "flesh") rather than air. A short leap led to the idea that other species might find these sonorous voices pleasing. Then, I integrated them with Pact Worlds species as ideal explorers and surveyors of harsh environments. That's the quorlu, in a lithic shell.

—Chris S. Sims, Starfinder Adventure Path Developer


Illustration by Raph Lomotan

I'm responsible for adding the kanabo, which are oni (ja noi)/hobgoblin crossbreeds. I wrote up the kanabo in Distant Shores for Pathfinder, and I thought that as a species of mystic outsider goblinoid warriors they were perfect for the science-fantasy feel of Starfinder. Of course since we haven't introduced either oni or hobgoblins to the Starfinder universe yet, I had to write both of those up for the book as well. That meant establishing what hobgoblins are like in the universe after the Gap, and if ever there was a group that seemed well-suited to the risks to pre-Drift space travel, the ruthless, organized hobgoblins fit the bill. That allows them to have spread far and wide from their origins on Golarion. With that in place, having ja noi be oni champions embraced by nations of expansionist hobgoblins gives a strong background for what kanabo origins are likely to be. Both hobgoblins and kanabo are available as PC races.

—Owen K.C. Stephens, Starfinder Design Lead

Joe Pasini
Starfinder Developer

More Paizo Blog.
Tags: Alexandur Alexandrov David Alvarez Mary Jane Pajaron Raph Lomotan Starfinder

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Really a great expansion to the game as it filled a lot of often requested must haves in terms of races and added a bunch of new ones. The world feels a lot more complete with what this archive brings to the table. Well done!


What's the rough total for new NPC and new PC races?

Edit

hah, never mind, the blog part hadn't loaded when I posted.

Grand Lodge

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Card Game, Class Deck Subscriber

Great title!


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

I REALLY love the generic herd/predator templates! Thank you for that!

Paizo Employee Developer

I'm glad folks are enjoying the book! It's probably my favorite hardcover so far. I may be biased, since I got to write a bunch of playable species...

By the way, if you already picked up a copy and want to write a review, that'll help others decide whether it's for them! =)


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Joe Pasini wrote:

I'm glad folks are enjoying the book! It's probably my favorite hardcover so far. I may be biased, since I got to write a bunch of playable species...

By the way, if you already picked up a copy and want to write a review, that'll help others decide whether it's for them! =)

There done!

Paizo Employee Developer

DJEternalDarkness wrote:
Joe Pasini wrote:

I'm glad folks are enjoying the book! It's probably my favorite hardcover so far. I may be biased, since I got to write a bunch of playable species...

By the way, if you already picked up a copy and want to write a review, that'll help others decide whether it's for them! =)

There done!

Wow, thank you!

Silver Crusade

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

I really enjoyed the options for PC races in this book but now I want to know when we can use them in SFS games

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Starfinder Maps Subscriber

Patience, grasshopper Twist!

I suspect that some races will get distributed via chronicle boons, some via GM convention boons and some via a player-mega boon (maybe even an Alien Archive 2 boon?) where you can unlock the species over time just by playing the game.

Which PC races do you most want to play, Twist? While I like the Bears and the Pathra, I think I'm really feeling the Damai.

Hmm
VC Online Play

PS Joe, I love that you had the authors talk about your creations. Please do that in future blogs -- it's fun!


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Starfinder Superscriber
twist3429 wrote:
I really enjoyed the options for PC races in this book but now I want to know when we can use them in SFS games

I'm right there with you ;)

Hoping to generally see more ways to get more races playable in some way or another in SFS as they keep exploring. I'd love to see some sort of incremental 'currency' for buying race boons get baked in SFS.


I thought it didn't come out till the 28th?

Silver Crusade

4 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Bolidas are horrifyingly gigantic centipedes? I beg to differ! They are ADORABLY gigantic centipedes! I mean, they can curl up into little balls and roll around Samus-Aran-style! That's so precious!

Dark Archive

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Yqatuba wrote:
I thought it didn't come out till the 28th?

Street date is wednesday the 17th of october, so the book is indeed not yet out there in stores.

Subscribers already have access to their free pdf's, but us normal folk have to wait till next week. ;-)

I have to echo Hmm, it's really interesting to read the designers notes about their race creation backgrounds.
I would love to hear the stories behind the other 7 playable races! :-)


I like them all! Can't wait to get my copy!

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Honestly, I really want to know who was responsible for the Uplifted Bears. I’d dearly like to know what the inspiration for those were. Also, what most influenced the Damai. I’ve seen elements of Godzilla, Attack on Titan, and Evangelion in there...


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Maps, Pawns, Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
The Drunken Dragon wrote:
Honestly, I really want to know who was responsible for the Uplifted Bears. I’d dearly like to know what the inspiration for those were. Also, what most influenced the Damai. I’ve seen elements of Godzilla, Attack on Titan, and Evangelion in there...

And Pacific Rim, and Power Rangers.

Paizo Employee Managing Developer

6 people marked this as a favorite.
Ravingdork wrote:
The Drunken Dragon wrote:
Also, what most influenced the Damai. I’ve seen elements of Godzilla, Attack on Titan, and Evangelion in there...
And Pacific Rim, and Power Rangers.

Daimalko is absolutely anime inspired! Evangelion held me rapt in high school and was a major influence. Just as much of an influence was a more recent series you can find on Netflix called Knights of Sidonia. That series has some really fascinating sci-fi world-building revealed in delicious drips and drabs against a space mech-kaiju backdrop. If you like space kaiju and sci-fi, I'd definitely recommend checking it out.

Attack on Titan was certainly a secondary influence, especially in the way kyokors and the other types of colossi go about attacking the aboveground colonies.

You know, now that you mention it, Ravingdork--I didn't intend for Pacific Rim to be a huge influence, but I bet it was there rattling around my head in the background. I really love the world-building in it and the way its kaiju work. The main battle theme also gets stuck in my head constantly!

Godzilla and Power Rangers weren't intentional, but also probably fed into it from the background. I watched a ton of Power Rangers as a kid and have seen some things from the Godzilla franchise, though certainly not everything!


What is the most powerful creature in the book please tell me?

Grand Lodge

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Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Amanda Hamon Kunz wrote:
Ravingdork wrote:
The Drunken Dragon wrote:
Also, what most influenced the Damai. I’ve seen elements of Godzilla, Attack on Titan, and Evangelion in there...
And Pacific Rim, and Power Rangers.

Daimalko is absolutely anime inspired! Evangelion held me rapt in high school and was a major influence. Just as much of an influence was a more recent series you can find on Netflix called Knights of Sidonia. That series has some really fascinating sci-fi world-building revealed in delicious drips and drabs against a space mech-kaiju backdrop. If you like space kaiju and sci-fi, I'd definitely recommend checking it out.

Attack on Titan was certainly a secondary influence, especially in the way kyokors and the other types of colossi go about attacking the aboveground colonies.

You know, now that you mention it, Ravingdork--I didn't intend for Pacific Rim to be a huge influence, but I bet it was there rattling around my head in the background. I really love the world-building in it and the way its kaiju work. The main battle theme also gets stuck in my head constantly!

Godzilla and Power Rangers weren't intentional, but also probably fed into it from the background. I watched a ton of Power Rangers as a kid and have seen some things from the Godzilla franchise, though certainly not everything!

Not gonna lie, that is amazing. And with this confirmation, I feel a lot more justified in resolving the Daimalko portion of the campaign using giant robots.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Maps, Pawns, Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Yqatuba wrote:
What is the most powerful creature in the book please tell me?

The Living Apocalypse. It's a CR 20 civilization killer.

Paizo Employee Editor

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Archpaladin Zousha wrote:
Bolidas are horrifyingly gigantic centipedes? I beg to differ! They are ADORABLY gigantic centipedes! I mean, they can curl up into little balls and roll around Samus-Aran-style! That's so precious!

Haha, I’m glad you think so too! Also, Samus (and the gorons from Legend of Zelda) were totally the inspiration behind thier sweet roly-poly moves. =)


Ravingdork wrote:
Yqatuba wrote:
What is the most powerful creature in the book please tell me?
The Living Apocalypse. It's a CR 20 civilization killer.

That sounds cool. What is it and what does it do?


4 people marked this as a favorite.
Sauce987654321 wrote:
Ravingdork wrote:
Yqatuba wrote:
What is the most powerful creature in the book please tell me?
The Living Apocalypse. It's a CR 20 civilization killer.
That sounds cool. What is it and what does it do?

Based on the name alone, I’m going to guess that it lives and also apocalypses.


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Maps, Pawns, Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Sauce987654321 wrote:
Ravingdork wrote:
Yqatuba wrote:
What is the most powerful creature in the book please tell me?
The Living Apocalypse. It's a CR 20 civilization killer.
That sounds cool. What is it and what does it do?

It is a mindless killing force created when the most powerful destructive energies known to the galaxy are unleashed without constraint or limitation, especially in acts of malice or as a result of criminal negligence. A living apocalypse can be the result of powerful energy generators melting down, the use of doomsday weapons, or even magic experimentation gone horribly awry.

It ends all life, wherever it can find it.

It somewhat resembles the smoke monster from Lost, or the mindflayer from Stranger Things (season 2), or a radioactive storm of vengeance living spell (Eberron), or the Nothing from Never Ending Story. It is a shapeless engine of death that burns, crushes, disintegrates, and irradiates everything within hundreds of miles of it.


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Ravingdork wrote:
Yqatuba wrote:
What is the most powerful creature in the book please tell me?
The Living Apocalypse. It's a CR 20 civilization killer.

Is it a playable race? Asking for a friend...


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Maps, Pawns, Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
A Mite Excessive wrote:
Ravingdork wrote:
Yqatuba wrote:
What is the most powerful creature in the book please tell me?
The Living Apocalypse. It's a CR 20 civilization killer.
Is it a playable race? Asking for a friend...

Yes, but it's PC stats are nothing like the real thing. /tongue-in-cheek

The Exchange

4 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Ravingdork wrote:
A Mite Excessive wrote:
Ravingdork wrote:
Yqatuba wrote:
What is the most powerful creature in the book please tell me?
The Living Apocalypse. It's a CR 20 civilization killer.
Is it a playable race? Asking for a friend...
Yes, but it's PC stats are nothing like the real thing. /tongue-in-cheek

GM:Bob's character walks into the spacebar, to meet his new crew. Please describe your self.

Bob:I am a colossal all powerful being of death and destruction. Everyone needs to save vs high radiation due to my awesomness.

Other Players: haha great. So what are you, a shobhad soldier? dragonkin?

GM: no, bob is a living apocalypse, make your saves,

Paizo Employee Starfinder Design Lead

5 people marked this as a favorite.
A Mite Excessive wrote:
Ravingdork wrote:
Yqatuba wrote:
What is the most powerful creature in the book please tell me?
The Living Apocalypse. It's a CR 20 civilization killer.
Is it a playable race? Asking for a friend...

Of course it is!

It gives you the ability to become a GM and start running Starfinder games for your friends!

Paizo Employee Developer

GeneticDrift wrote:
Ravingdork wrote:
A Mite Excessive wrote:
Ravingdork wrote:
Yqatuba wrote:
What is the most powerful creature in the book please tell me?
The Living Apocalypse. It's a CR 20 civilization killer.
Is it a playable race? Asking for a friend...
Yes, but it's PC stats are nothing like the real thing. /tongue-in-cheek

GM:Bob's character walks into the spacebar, to meet his new crew. Please describe your self.

Bob:I am a colossal all powerful being of death and destruction. Everyone needs to save vs high radiation due to my awesomness.

Other Players: haha great. So what are you, a shobhad soldier? dragonkin?

GM: no, bob is a living apocalypse, make your saves,

All hail the Glow Cloud!


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Maps, Pawns, Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Ron Lundeen wrote:
GeneticDrift wrote:
Ravingdork wrote:
A Mite Excessive wrote:
Ravingdork wrote:
Yqatuba wrote:
What is the most powerful creature in the book please tell me?
The Living Apocalypse. It's a CR 20 civilization killer.
Is it a playable race? Asking for a friend...
Yes, but it's PC stats are nothing like the real thing. /tongue-in-cheek

GM:Bob's character walks into the spacebar, to meet his new crew. Please describe your self.

Bob:I am a colossal all powerful being of death and destruction. Everyone needs to save vs high radiation due to my awesomness.

Other Players: haha great. So what are you, a shobhad soldier? dragonkin?

GM: no, bob is a living apocalypse, make your saves,

All hail the Glow Cloud!

Rise up Children of the Atom! Bask in the Glow and BE DIVIDED!


Ron Lundeen wrote:
GeneticDrift wrote:
Ravingdork wrote:
A Mite Excessive wrote:
Ravingdork wrote:
Yqatuba wrote:
What is the most powerful creature in the book please tell me?
The Living Apocalypse. It's a CR 20 civilization killer.
Is it a playable race? Asking for a friend...
Yes, but it's PC stats are nothing like the real thing. /tongue-in-cheek

GM:Bob's character walks into the spacebar, to meet his new crew. Please describe your self.

Bob:I am a colossal all powerful being of death and destruction. Everyone needs to save vs high radiation due to my awesomness.

Other Players: haha great. So what are you, a shobhad soldier? dragonkin?

GM: no, bob is a living apocalypse, make your saves,

All hail the Glow Cloud!

Night Vale does feel like the kind of place where one of those would crop up every other week.


Ravingdork wrote:
Sauce987654321 wrote:
Ravingdork wrote:
Yqatuba wrote:
What is the most powerful creature in the book please tell me?
The Living Apocalypse. It's a CR 20 civilization killer.
That sounds cool. What is it and what does it do?

It is a mindless killing force created when the most powerful destructive energies known to the galaxy are unleashed without constraint or limitation, especially in acts of malice or as a result of criminal negligence. A living apocalypse can be the result of powerful energy generators melting down, the use of doomsday weapons, or even magic experimentation gone horribly awry.

It ends all life, wherever it can find it.

It somewhat resembles the smoke monster from Lost, or the mindflayer from Stranger Things (season 2), or a radioactive storm of vengeance living spell (Eberron), or the Nothing from Never Ending Story. It is a shapeless engine of death that burns, crushes, disintegrates, and irradiates everything within hundreds of miles of it.

This is ABSOLUTELY PERFECT for the Starfinder campaign I'm starting next week.


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

Came here expecting that AA2 has a monster called a "Boogaloo" and now I am EXTREMELY disappointed.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Maps, Pawns, Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Paranoid Android wrote:
Came here expecting that AA2 has a monster called a "Boogaloo" and now I am EXTREMELY disappointed.

*Passes Paranoid Android an uplifted teddybear*


Owen K. C. Stephens wrote:
A Mite Excessive wrote:
Ravingdork wrote:
Yqatuba wrote:
What is the most powerful creature in the book please tell me?
The Living Apocalypse. It's a CR 20 civilization killer.
Is it a playable race? Asking for a friend...

Of course it is!

It gives you the ability to become a GM and start running Starfinder games for your friends!

"I am Thanatos, and I'll be your GM."

"Why?"

"Because I'm playing a living death cloud!"

Liberty's Edge

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

I really really really need a SFS Uplifted Bear boon...

The Exchange

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I love the whale on page 140. Feeling the breeze among the clouds, it makes me smile. I hope to be it's friend.


Was super happy to see damais get statted up. Did a starfinder RP a while back where my gf was playing one; she wasn't sold on SF & it's race selection until I showed her the picture of the damai woman from the CRB which instantly sold her.

In general I'm very happy with all the races in AA2. Was somewhat disappointed that uplifted bears didn't come with a template or guideline for making other uplifted animal races but there's enough to go on there to do it without, I suppose.


Am I the only one who saw the quorlus and thought "Oh, a Horta as a playable race"?

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