Alien Archive 3: Designer Diary

Thursday, August 22, 2019

Hello! Joe Pasini here, Neutral Good outsider and Starfinder Lead Designer. As the lead developer for Alien Archive 3, I got to work with a ton of awesome authors to fill the book with weird critters, from friendly playable species to colossal threats to all sapient life. I asked a few of these folks to talk about their experience writing these creations—take it away, designers!

Kate Baker

As Starfinder Society players are aware, I am responsible for the psychedelic-colored, four-tusked walrus aliens, the morlamaws. If you haven’t had a chance to play Starfinder Society Scenario #1-08: Sanctuary of Drowned Delight, then I hope you enjoy your introduction to these bizarre but orderly creatures of the deep sea in Alien Archive 3. I certainly didn’t expect when I first wrote them how much they were going to resonate with players, and I was delighted to get to expand on the morlamaws, their home, and what they’re up to now. I got to ask such questions as what kind of musical instruments work underwater and how would morlamaws dance? My original task when writing the scenario was to create something memorable and distinct from other underwater aliens, and I certainly feel like I succeeded there. Hope you all enjoy!

A walrus-like creature with four tusks and scintillating multicolored skin.

Illustration by Michele Giorgi

Natalie Kertzner

Jinsuls were the Big Bad of Starfinder Society Season 1: Year of the Scoured Stars, and they certainly had a larger-than-life presence—both as antagonists and as the source of endless hashtags like #LegBladesForDays and #VivaKadrical. Despite Season 1 being full of aliens, jinsuls were the first species we encountered that felt truly unknown; we just didn’t know what they wanted—except to kill us. As creatures created with Organized Play in mind, I designed the jinsuls to specifically combat certain common builds—casters, operatives, and melee fighters. While no one jinsul can counter all of them, I wanted to give GMs the flexibility when building these to add in abilities based on the party composition of their players. Even low-level jinsuls without extra special abilities are endlessly entertaining, and they toe the fun line between “this could really kill us!” and “phew, we took that one down!” I hope to see jinsuls spread far across the Starfinder universe, and that they stop doing biomedical experiments on adorable sharktopus space puppies.

An imposing purple arachnoid alien bristling with blades and spikes.

Illustration by Graey Erb

Hilary Moon Murphy

Z-z-zap! Dirindi are an electrically attuned race who love to use their spell like ability as a joy buzzer to give each other playful zaps in greeting. Those who are not adventurers often have no idea how annoying these zaps are to other people. I decided early that dirindi playfulness would translate into a love of stories and humor. Their relationship with the facts is sometimes hazy, making their newscasts simultaneously wildly inaccurate and incredibly popular.

Dirindi are one of the two races that co-govern the Liavaran moon Arkanen. Collaborating with Katina Davis, who wrote Sazarons, we decided that our races were best buddies who complement each other well. Dirindis provide creativity, optimism, and ideas, while the scholarly sazarons make sure projects stay on schedule and on budget. I hope they spark joy in your games.

A smiling three-eyed, gray-skinned humanoid raises his right hand in a gesture of friendship.

Illustration by Tom Ventre

Lu Pellazar

I DEFINITELY didn’t just write these so I can have one named Kazooie and an uplifted bear named Banjo. NOPE NOT AT ALL. In all seriousness, I wrote these charismatic, enigmatic folks for those kinds of people in your life that you instantly fall in love with—not necessarily romantically, but those that are the life of the party and have that uncanny ability to get along with anyone. I met a lot of these kinds of people in L.A. We became fast friends, but everyone’s just kinda doing their own thing and eventually drift apart. Espraksas are usually in your life short-term, because nothing gets in the way of their life goals of traveling the universe and learning everything they can before returning to their home world. I guess it’s kind of sad, but never fear—espraksa friends will always remember you, and who knows, maybe their travels will take them to your home planet!

A tall, white-feathered bird-like humanoid with a sheathed sword on its back.

Illustration by Javier Charro

Jessica Redekop

The cephalumes were initially created at the Designing Aliens panel of PaizoCon 2018, with Jason Keeley, Lyz Liddell, Luis Loza, Joe Pasini, and guest artist Taylor Fischer, where the audience and panelists collaborated to develop a creature while Taylor illustrated it. It was important to maintain the elements that resonated most with the audience, such as their liquid hydrocarbon environment, but also add enough new material to still make a fun read for everyone who participated. One of my favourite things about the cephalumes is the way they communicate. They 'speak' Lumos, a visual language comprised of sequential blinks of their racial bioluminescence. When other races communicate in Lumos, I imagine they make clicking sounds, or apply tactile pressure, in place of each blink.

A blue alien with a tentacled face, lower body and appendages holds a spear.

Illustration by Nathanael James

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Tags: Starfinder
Grand Lodge

13 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Starfinder Maps Subscriber

Yay, it's so nice to see these go live! I have such good company in the blog.

Hmm


2 people marked this as a favorite.

I'm glad we finally get to see an avian race to play with in addition to having Sazaron and Dirindi to round out the common Pact Worlds races (outside of some missing children of Golarion).

Really excited to see how the Sazaron look as well as dig in and see some of the other races.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Starfinder Maps Subscriber

Yes, Lu's Espraksas look awesome. You'll like the sazarons too!

Hmm


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

I would think other races trying to communicate in Lumos would use a display pad to display different color and blink patterns. It would be pretty reasonable to translate various syllables into light patterns.

Text to blink translation!

I look forward to getting my copy of the book soon.


2 people marked this as a favorite.

I LOVE the Dirindi.
Are the Jinsuls playable?

Paizo Employee Starfinder Lead Designer

4 people marked this as a favorite.
Troodos wrote:

I LOVE the Dirindi.

Are the Jinsuls playable?

The jinsuls aren't a playable species—but every other creature featured here is!


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens Subscriber

Yay! Kate, Natalie, Hilary, and Jessica! (Knowing four out of five isn't bad, right?)


7 people marked this as a favorite.
Troodos wrote:

I LOVE the Dirindi.

Are the Jinsuls playable?

My trick: if you're the GM, everything is playable ;)

Contributor

11 people marked this as a favorite.

Moar morlamaws! Moarlamaws!

Dark Archive

4 people marked this as a favorite.

This blog is like a who's who of amazing SF contributors! Couldn't look forwards more to this coming out and getting to read up on all these wonderful creations! :D

Second Seekers (Jadnura)

Awesome getting a peek behind the curtain to see how these great designers do their work!

Scarab Sages

4 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps Subscriber
Kate Baker wrote:
Moar morlamaws! Moarlamaws!

One of my favourite things I did running that scenario...give them a French accent...one of our players now has a French Morlamaw making his way around tables :D

Silver Crusade

1 person marked this as a favorite.

I would love a cephalume boon for SFS... They are so wonderful!!! Like a giant cuttlefish, with weapon proficiency!

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Starfinder Maps Subscriber
Troodos wrote:
I LOVE the Dirindi.

I love them too. My dearest wish is to someday get a boon to play one in Starfinder Society! A roving reporter for those oh-so-accurate Dirindi newscasts would be beyond awesome!

Hmm

Grand Lodge

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

Why are you all so amazing?? It was an honor to work on this project with all of you. <3


Well, nice to see imaginations firing to bring us Alien Archive 3. I plan on buying this tome, twice. ;)

Grand Lodge

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Pathfinder Starfinder Maps Subscriber
Lindley Court wrote:
Why are you all so amazing?? It was an honor to work on this project with all of you. <3

Everyone we worked with was amazing!


1 person marked this as a favorite.

I love reading things like this, I'm glad y'all had fun making such cool creatures for everyone ^w^


Lu Pellazar wrote:
I DEFINITELY didn’t just write these so I can have one named Kazooie and an uplifted bear named Banjo.

1) Yesssssssssssss

2) Do they have a dragon mode?


Still no race builder? DISAPPOINTED! I just want to play a proper robot mechanic.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Tymin wrote:
Still no race builder? DISAPPOINTED! I just want to play a proper robot mechanic.

A SRO doesn't work for you?


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Society Subscriber

I love how in the SFS document that introduced the Morlamaws they were cute and purple and wearing mumus but then they get into a hardcover and suddenly "Eye is Seriouz player species...see mah armor?"


thecursor wrote:
I love how in the SFS document that introduced the Morlamaws they were cute and purple and wearing mumus but then they get into a hardcover and suddenly "Eye is Seriouz player species...see mah armor?"

They can be both.


Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Society Subscriber
Rysky the Dark Solarion wrote:
thecursor wrote:
I love how in the SFS document that introduced the Morlamaws they were cute and purple and wearing mumus but then they get into a hardcover and suddenly "Eye is Seriouz player species...see mah armor?"
They can be both.

I haz bucket.

Contributor

3 people marked this as a favorite.

They contain multitudes!

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