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!
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.
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.
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!
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.
Alien Archive 3: Designer Diary
Thursday, August 22, 2019