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From a storytelling perspective, although it would be difficult to pull off, I have often considered having the BBEG be not nearly as obvious. Think of Loki/Loge, Mephsitopholes, the Master, Xellos, and the like. Really charming blokes, who are incredibly skillful liars, excellent company, and more than willing to take the facade of the disinterest third party. They are concealing the poisoned dagger of their words and actions, until they are at the disadvantage.

Or the "BBEG" who isn't evil at all, just on the opposite side of the PCs. Cardinal Richelieu falls into that category. Q might, although he has done some nasty things (setting in motion an event that would prevent the existence of humanity is a particularly evil deed for someone who just wants to have a little fun torturing his favorite plaything).

The PCs might run into no end of trouble when they realize they've been on the wrong side the entire time. If they're Murderhobos like many PC groups, they might not care.

Let me say two things right off -- the first is that I just picked up Fantasy Grounds Unity over the weekend as part of a bundle -- OK< and most of the bundfle -- and the supporting material I got is for PF1, not PF2. The second is that I am aware of how hard a difficult work it is to add a game, even a subgame, to the FGU catalog.

That said, I can;t help but think some of the items I have in my collection (which is much wider in scope electronically than on my shelves -- the only Paizo core book there is Starfinder). That said, there are some really ewxciting PF subgames like Ponyfinder and Pugmire, that hole considerable appeal as a GM or even as a player.

So how many people in RPG fandom would be at all interested in these games, as a general rule (I'm not soliciting for players, at least not until I've got all my dogs, cats, and magical horses in a row). More to the point, who uses Fantasy Grounds?

Is there a social element to this? A person with the right cyberware is always armed. Always. That might mean there are some important places they can't go into because they do not allow weapons.

And are there social advantages to eschewing cyberware?

Don't forget food to match the diets of everyone in your crew, or something that can replicate food as needed. "Real" food is tastier and more desirable, and thus more expensive, but you should be able to find some on Absalom. After all, even lower-class Stationers enjoy a good meal (or at least as good as someone with only a little money can buy) every once in a while.

At any legitimate starport/spaceport, there will be restaurants and hotels that vary considerable in cost and quality. It should be expected that PC travelers would choose to drop some money there when they have a chance, to get a break from ship rations and a night or two in a nice soft bed.

I see the potential for anti-Drift fanatics to use that as an excuse to what they really dislike -- the existence of alien creatures in their worlds. These would be the sorts of people who, for example see Absalom Station as an enclave that needs to be reserved for humans (and demi-humans, though some are not even comfortable with them being around). Sio some degree of the ugliness of xenophobia will service once humanoids find the stars.

Fortunately there may not be many of those people, though they certainly can make a lot of noise when they desire to. But on Absalom, most residents derive their income from interplanetary/interstellar trade and are used to seeing all kinds of creatures in the corridors. To them, aliens are no big deal unless they are openly hostile -- and probably find the thought of dealing with the racist Azlanti humans especially terrifying.

Part of that, of course, depends on whether you, as a GM, want to an optimist or a pessimist concerning human nature.

Harveyopolis wrote:
A little off topic but I'm more interested in how Triaxus doesn't become a big ball of ice when it gets to the furthest end of its orbit from the sun. (And yes for the love of the gods I know this is Science-Fantasy)

In this case, magic would definitely be involved. After all, there are several planets in the Pact Worlds system that should be complete hellholes but aren't. (and at least two that should be complete hellholes and are, in fact, complete hellholes).

We're talking about a universe with verifiably active gods, many of whom are quite capable of engineering worlds to their needs. These beings have the potential to throw everything out of whack, especially when they start going after each other for real or imagined slights.

It was repossessed by the bank for missing 300,000 payments on the mortgage. Their collections office is tough!

FormerFiend wrote:
You know if we're wondering about the gravitational affects that a given planet's orbit is going to have on the rest of the solar system, personally I'd be wondering what affect Golarion suddenly not being there is going to have, myself.

It was long enough ago that the effects would have happened already, and the current orbits of the planets would have been different than what they are now. Whatever destroyed/relocated the Cage might have been significantly enough concerned about the rest of the system to moderate it somewhat (if you're powerful enough to move planets around with impunity it's child's play). Whether they would have been concerned enough to do something with the people on the planet other than annihilate them or leave them to their own devices in a parallel universe is another story....

Or, if you want to really challenge high-level adventurers, create a scenario where Triaxus has been thrown off-course and is ready to careen into another planet, risking a collision that would shatter both. Every single scientific or magical mind in the Pact is working on stopping it, and the PCs would obtain vital information that would oput Triaxus back on-course in the right hands -- or annihilate the system in the wrong.

And who sent it off-course in the first place? Why would anyone want to play billiards with inhabited planets?

"You may think it's a long walk to the Chemist's, but that's peanuts compared to space." -- Douglas Adams.

Even the Pact Worlds system is really, really big. There's lots of room for many more orbiting objects than are laid out. Which makes the possibility of, say, hiding additional objects in areas out of the usual space travel lanes absurdly easy. Not anything planet-sized, maybe more like additional stations significantly smaller than Absalom.

"Adherents of the Repeated Meme" (though not with that name, which implies organization -- and does anyone get the reference?), which are alien beings composed entirely of thought. They wear shells to look like physical entities, but in reality they have no real physical existence. They also have no physical needs, and some people find them (and their very existence) inexplicable.

The PDF of the Pact Worlds Coursebook is very high on my List of Things to Buy Right Now. The world-building is, to me, the very best part of the Starfinder line, so this supplement should be really helpful. So I have a couple of quick questions for those who already have it.

How much space do they devote to Absalom Station? The "Crossroads of the Universe" is important enough to deserve a book all its own, but it looks like it may be in this book. Every player-character probably goes to Absalom at some point, and in some capacity. I've had all kinds of questions in mind about how things work there, what living conditions are like, etc. Some of them I have discussed here, at sometimes alarming length. How many of my assumptions are correct?

Triaxis and Eox look like they will be important once I get a campaign going -- Triaxis for the influential Dragons and Eox for the Grateful Undead, some of whom make unlife look cool without even being human-looking. This should also answer the question that is on my mind, which is whether Eoxian undead retain enough of their original identities to be considered self-directed? If that is the case, then killing one is like killing a living person and will be dealt with accordingly!

The Disp will also be important in my campaign, because it is where Bellantrix the Silver Dragon lives most of the time. Which means PCs will frequently need to deal with their perils.

Looks like I have a pretty long list of things I want thiws book to tell me!

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Big Lemon wrote:

This is about to get more into philosophy that gaming, but I feel I must address this.

I think you and Pants are both underestimating the allure of Eternal Bliss. A Good person that dies with the option of returning has to choose between

A) A never-ending afterlife where all of their needs are met and they will suffer again, and might even get to see their long lost loved ones (depending on their alignment, and how a GM interprets afterlife memory). Perhaps most importantly, they will not have to go through the pain of dying again.


B) Return to a life where they feel pain, hunger, and illness, and they will have to work to provide for themselves. If they were murderer once, they will be at risk for being murdered again. Most importantly, they would be returning to a life that is at best postponing the Eternal Bliss that's waiting for them, and at worst, giving them a chance to morally screw up and lose it.

You are essentially describing one of the essential subplots involving Buffy Resurrection in Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Buffy was brought back because her friends needed her to help them stomp evil, and was given no choice in the matter. What they didn't know was that Buffy had been rewarded with Eternal Bliss and had no way to tell her friends what she had lost. Said friends had assumed she had been in a Hell dimension, when in reality they had placed her in a dimension (theirs) that was Hell compared to what she had been dragged away from. Some friends, right?

Of course PCs are in a situation where they will usually have enough unfinished business to want to come back even if they'd "made it" to Eternal Bliss (of course, it's just as likely the player will roll up a new character to carry on the struggle). And some people might find everlasting bliss boring and want something to strive for anew (these people might favor being reincarnated as an infant to start life over from square one and try a completely new direction). NPCs, on the other hand, can have a million reasons to either come back or stay dead. Even some evil characters might want to stay put in the afterlife if they can project power from it, or have their more twisted desired fulfilled.

kaid wrote:
Big Lemon wrote:

On a related note: Why does the archaic trait exist at all?

All its existence really accomplishes is:

1. Make punching less effective.
2. Make it harder for a primitive culture to fight back.

Given how both of those things are still true without the archaic weapons rule (lower damage whether you're trained or not), I don't see any need for it. We were apparently fine with characters punching armored knights in Pathfinder (and the damage was simply nonlethal for the untrained).

Whether or not you are willing to houserule it: Is there anyone here that can give me a solid reason as to why archaic *should* exist (other than to give characters a power trip when fighting a low-tech culture)?

For armor it basically is does it have fancy high tech life support frills or not. The archaic stuff still protects you about as normal but it does not support mod slots and it does not have any of the life support extra frills normal advanced armor has. So it makes sense for their to be some differentiation there primitive people have no need for self contained air supplies on all their armor.

For weapons given force fields are integrated at some level in a lot of advanced armor it makes sense fists and ancient weapons don't have the penetration aids needed to function at full effectiveness against them.

Magic is a potential equalizer primitive cultures might have at their disposal. Invading a world that runs by Pathfinder rules is a dangerous pastime. Most of their armies might be pushovers, at first, but they have really powerful spells and a lot more time to practice using them. Those spells eclipse a lot of what Starfinder magic can do. Imagining ancient Golarion being attacked by high-tech aliens would be an interesting thought exercise, or potential game concept.

In Pathfinder, 20th-level characters can have spells that bring down castles around them. It would make sense that they could wreak similar havoc on an unprepared starship. In fact, the pre-gap ancestors of the Vesk might have had starmaps with the Golarion system circled in deep red with the warning 'DON'T TOUCH!" because the Vesk are not at all prepared to mess with these people.

The thing is that the universe is too cosmopolitan for martial arts attacks used on one species to have any effect at all on several others.

This isn't Star Trek, where everybody you see has the same nerves in the neck and shoulders that will cause exactly that response when pinched at exactly that point. When most unarmed humans punch a Vesk, the only response they'll get is a look that says "Oh, Really?" When most humans punch someone wearing even rudimentary combat gear, the only thing they'll get for their trouble is a broken hand and a quizzical look from their target. Some species might not even view a punch as an attack at all -- I can easily imagine two Vesk Soldiers who haven't seen each other in a long time trading blows that would cripple a human as a form of greeting, followed by loud laughter or its Vesk equivalent.

You could make a technomancy equivalent of Geordi LaForge's VISOR. It has a lot of useful qualities (seeing things like spectrographic qualities and magical auras/fields) but is so different from normal sight that many things people in the setting take for granted (like art and video) would leave him completely lost. He could analyze the chemical contents of the materials of a painting at will, but he won't see it as a whole or really experience the emotional impact of it. In many important senses, he's still blind. Plus the technology might cause its own difficulties (Geordi had to deal with crippling, untreatable headaches).

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CeeJay wrote:
pithica42 wrote:
It's putting the cart before the horse that's bad.

Maybe in space, you need the cart to pull the horse. ;)

You're right of course. But I got what they meant.

Generally speaking, horses do not do well in space, and their EVA suits tend to get truly awful smells after a while.

Doug Davison wrote:

Even at $50 for the Starfinder ruleset, it will take a lot of sales to recoup our investment. Adventures and supplements help with that ROI in the long run. Like with everything else, supporting things you like to see financially means that you'll see more of those things in the future. Whether that means FG, Roll20, D20Pro or none of the above is up to the consumers.

Businesses need to make money in order to continue providing content and services. I get that. But I will need to do some upgrades to my older FG license in addition. Unless I am actively running a game, spending $200 to get my FG up to snuff is just not in my price range.

I'm having enough trouble figuring out if I can afford Hero Lab Online to get access to the Starfinder stuff in that platform....

IIRC, Pathfinder provides options for specialized subclasses that players can take as they march towards omnipotence. And there are also special classes reserved or NPCs that are not quite as good as the PC classes but provide advantages over being Level 0.

Are either of these going to exist in Starfinder at some point? Should they? And would people use them if they did?

There was an earlier suggestion of a sort of in-system rally race where ship crews compete to get from, say, Absalom Station to Castrovel and back as fast as possibly, while avoiding obstacles (placed or otherwise). All the ships would have cameras mounted so the race can be broadcast throughout the Pact Worlds.

The original idea was for Drift racing, but that would pose a lot of challenges for broadcasting.

Gustavo's idea for 0g basketball would fit well in Absalom, where lower-class youth learn the game and can potentially become celebrities with money if they can play well enough.

Bjørn Røyrvik wrote:
There are several Blake's 7 episodes that could be turned into good SF (and SJ, DrS, PS, etc.) episodes. Especially the ones written by Tanith Lee.

"City at the Edge of the World" would be a good treasure-hunt-gone-wrong adventure. A warlord blackmails the PCs into helping him get through a door that supposedly leads to the entire wealth of a once-great civilization, with their lives as the sole compensation. It would require taking away the PC group's weapons, forcing them to rely on guile to worm out of their problem. The door could lead to any number of places -- none of them quite what the Warlord expects. In the actual Blakes 7 series, it was a piece that focused on Vila's role as a master burglar and how much that defines his personality. In a SF game, the focus would have to be spread wider.

The best episodes of Blakes 7 have that kind of focus on a character's weaKnesses and strengths, such as Roj Blake's descent into megalomania and the ruthless lengths to which he is willing to go to carry out a quest only he truly believes in, or the lust-hate chemistry between Avon and Servalan. So to put the example of B7's storytelling to best use requires players to create vivid, robustly alive characters with defining traits that do not show up on an RPG character sheet (especially in the d20/PF/SF model).

Rocket considers Starlord HIS sidekick.

One question that comes to mind is how to account for a race that is dependent upon its technology for its very survival. One iconic example is the Daleks of [i]Doctor Who]/i], who have been engineered by be utterly dependent on their "shells" and don't usually live very long outside them, to the point that the shell is viewed by a lot of people as the Dalek's actual body.

Childeric, The Shatterer wrote:
AnimatedPaper wrote:
I think worst case scenario would be whatever is going on with the PRD, which is coming up on two years worth of books that have not been added.


The PRD hasn't been updated in almost 2 years, So I wouldn't hold my breath on them making the Starfinder version a very high priority. I'm sure it's on "the list of things to do", I just wonder how high on that list it is.

Given that it only makes money for people who aren't them....

CurleyWhirly wrote:
It might be a little expensive for a first level character, but there is always the 500 credit Holoskin. You could be wearing the heaviest armor, but it look like you're in the skimpiest of fashionwear, at least until someone goes to try and touch you. But at slightly higher levels, it could be a very cost effective way to easily blend into any crowd, considering it can even change what race you look like, again, until someone touches you in some way.

You would still have to deal with wearing hot, sweaty, and heavy armor -- even if nobody else can see it. Safety and fashion must sometimes give way to comfort. Especially since I imagine the lower quarters in Absalom Station (where all the proles live) are hot, steamy, dirty, and only moderately sanitary. You can get sticky and gross in a great hurry down there. Hopefully someone in the party knows some magic to give them the equivalent of a good shower whenever they need one, even with no hot water available....

A few examples of partial-conversion and full-conversion cyborgs would be very helpful. It'll be interesting to see these concepts liberated from the cyberpunk cliches. Perhaps there is a place in the Drif where a large crew and their passengers got stranded and going full-on cyborg was the only way they could survive. They could be grateful for rescue, or it could have driven them mad....

What would someone think if you walked around the station wearing Second Skin and nothing else?

If it's an opaque color, there would probably be no problem (though the lack of pockets might be a practical issue, it can be gotten around). But if it's transparent, there are decks where there would be issues.

Although there might be a deck or two where walking around semi-naked is perfectly acceptable....

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Lavawight wrote:

So how would you guys deal with a player who decides that they're going to wear a Second Skin underneath Thinplate which is underneath other armor and that the ACs of all of them should stack.

Other than telling them not to do that of course.

"You didn't read any of the book, did you?"

Can you have forelimbs that work just as well at carrying things and fine manipulation as they do at locomotion?

jack ferencz wrote:
i imagine that the fashions are constantly changing on absalom station! in my game black turtlenecks are all the rage among the hoi polloi right now thanks to those grim but fashionable eoxians.

Who don't care in the least about the trends they are setting? Or do Exoians off-world play the goth act to the hilt to try and maintain the perception of being undead as cool and even desirable?

kaid wrote:
CeeJay wrote:
I don't know how much bulk transport trade there would really be. Technology would seem able to provide for the basic needs of most worlds, so interplanetary / interstellar trade is probably focused more on some mixture of UPB's and of rarities and luxuries that can't be synthesised. Cargo holds probably should scale with the ship's size but cargo is likely not necessary to the basic infrastructure, so big-volume haulers might be relatively rare.

That was sort of my thought as well. With UPB most manufacturing stuff is not getting shipped around. You ship around the UPB if anything so easier to contain and pretty lightweight and less bulky than finished products.

Other stuff you would be transporting would basically be stuff you can't make with UPB for some reason or rare art's and resources.

The only real major bulk thing to transport may be food/air/water for space stations but this is unlikely to be a trade player adventurers do much with.

Billantrix (the Silver Dragon), like many other extraordinarily wealthy beings, has "exotic" tastes in food. And since she's a dragon, when she wants to have something specific to eat she'll want a lot of it. And since she's being hunted off-and-on by the Chromatics, she has to be discreet about how she gets it. She will sometimes hire a freighter crew to bring her whatever large herbivore whose flesh she wants to have and bring them to her Lair. The crew usually won't know they were hired by a dragon.

This topic also reminds me to ask this question -- a lot of significant places in the Pact Worlds have large populations with no explicit means of feeding them. How much of Absalom Station would need to be devoted to hydroponic farming to keep its millions of inhabitants alive?

When I picture Absalom Station in its enormity, I think of its role as crossroads of the galaxy meaning a lot of different people walking the corridors in all sorts of local garb from where they arrived. So I started to think -- when player-characters from the core races are walking around Absalom Station going about their business, what do they wear?

They obviously wouldn't be in battle gear all the time. Practically, armor and environment suits are probably uncomfortable enough that you don't want to wear it all the time unless you have to. Socially, if you're walking around in full gear ready to fight at a moment's notice and you're not affiliated with law enforcement, people will naturally assume you're looking for trouble -- and the station police will be happy to oblige. Is there some sort of magic which would make that unnecessary, as it enables you to "summon" your combat gear whenever you need it?

In any case, if you want to blend into the crowd, your clothes will say a lot about whether you can. Likewise, if you want to stand out as someone to pay attention to without looking like an immediate threat, there are other ways you can dress (and any Icon worth their credits will know exactly how!). So what do people (and PCs) wear?

I don't know about a ship in a human-like form; it seems woefully inefficient. But personal "fighting vehicles" is another matter. I can see them as ground combat weapon systems (though, again, there are usually more efficient ways to do that job).

Billantrix (the Silver Dragon) finds the whole idea rather silly. She'll hire a mecha pilot for a specific job, but usually finds the idea of a tank or fighter in humanoid form in poor taste. If you want to impress her with your sense of cool, you might want to build one in the "far superior" shape of a dragon....

What occurs to me is that physical distance being irrelevant to Drift travel, your map may represent something different.

Am I correct in thinking that a trip in the Drift between two "points" (say the Pact Worlds system and the Vesk capital) might require a different "route" and take different lengths of "real time" to complete based on factors outside the navigator's control? Wouldn't that make interstellar trade even more difficult than it already is?

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David knott 242 wrote:

The physics of Drift travel seems to favor the defender in an interstellar war, as you have no way to guarantee that the ships in an invading fleet arrive together. Of course, the fact that Absalom Station has such a strong Drift beacon gives the Pact Worlds a slight disadvantage in that regard, as the spread in arrival times is greatly reduced -- but the invaders are also forced to arrive near Absalom Station, which should be the best defended point in the entire Pact Worlds system for that reason.

So I am thinking that the Pact Worlds are able to hold off invaders because, while they are vastly outnumbered by any potential invaders, they are not outnumbered by a big enough factor to make a defense impossible. Of course, that does mean that the idea of the Pact Worlds trying to invade the Veskarium or any other similarly advanced and highly populated solar system would be absurd.

The Pact invading ANYBODY is a bit absurd. That's not what the loose alliance is built for. Even "taking the war to the enemy" is something there is no way to get the entire system to agree to. It is the sort of risk to which many of the governments of the Pact Worlds are fundamentally averse.

And it's not the Pact World defending themselves. Absalom Station, if it know a threat was coming, would be able to call in enough favors that it is suddenly one of the most heavily defended points in the Universe. No matter what differences it may have with other members of the Pact, all recognize its significance and will rush to its aid with very significant firepower. Even the Veskarium, now that they and the Pact Worlds are at peace, know that it is in their best interest that Absalom Station not fall, and they will act accordingly -- and they, unlike the Pact Worlds, have no disagreements with invading an enemy's territory if they threaten a friend.

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Torbyne wrote:
That ship sounds... excessive. 20 miles by 4 miles? that would dwarf Absalom station. We are getting close to Death Star sized with this thing. If it was built pre-artificial gravity than is it subject to normal inertia and such? by the time the populated planet is aware of it, it is probably too late to slow it down or significantly alter its course. time to evacuate the planet! :P or more likely, park that thing in orbit and become a new regional super power by slowly chipping off bits to build the largest fleet in the known galaxy and leave the last quarter or so to still be the largest station in known space. I like the idea of a runaway ecosystem on board and setting an adventure on a ship like that but clearing through literal miles of shipboard fighting? That could be a very long campaign.

Funnily enough, I am under the impression that to fulfill its function in the campaign, Absalom Station would have to be significantly larger than its cited dimensions. (And that the Death Star needs to be a little bit smaller than it appears to be on screen for what happens on screen to work, per your example. but that's neither here nor there). Absalom Station isn't just the Crossroads of the Cosmos -- it's the de facto homeworld for two significant species in the setting (well, one species you encounter everywhere and one that always seems to be underfoot where they are least wanted -- which is which, of course, depends on who you ask). There are always similar size constancy issues with places like this such as DS9 and Babylon 5: they always seem to be just as big as the plot needs them to be at any given time, which can be a problem if you want to make your plot adhere to any sort of specific rules.

Billantrix' spin on on Skittermanders is that their company is agreeable in small doses. She has four or five who are regular parts of the staff of her spacefaring lair (technically they're "on loan" from a Vesk diplomat she consults from time to time, but for some reason he's never bothered to ask for them back)), including a couple who have become quite proficient at preparing the large beasts that feature at her feasts.

captain yesterday wrote:
I'm still working on getting the party onboard with a Vesk "in charge of" a group of Skittermanders.

I imagine each of them have their own "talents" to aid in the task at hand. Whatever each member of your crew tries to do during your voyage, there's a Skittermander offering a few hands to help, wanted or not. Whether it's holding the engineer's tools for her, assisting the cook with seasonings for meals (because nothing goes better in oatmeal than curry powder!), or finding this great shortcut to Absalom Station, they will have no idea how you ever got along without them.

Metaphysician wrote:
Xuldarinar wrote:

The gods, every single god, have agreed to swear to secrecy the fate of the Cage, only that it is safe. Long lived races had their memories wiped. Of the cage.. of X number of years around that time.. ect.

Note, this only applies to memories of the events *during* the Gap. A sufficiently old dragon could have pre-Gap memories just fine, and it wouldn't break anything. Though the Gap is supposed to be several thousand years long, so I don't think any normal dragons live that long.

Will a dragon EVER die from natural causes? Are there even natural causes for a dragon? Does a dragon ever even get sick?

(And now I'm imagining Billantrix with a cold sneezing cones of ice everywhere, leaving the crew of her ship with problems (and needing to severely bundle up to avoid catching colds themselves).

Vidmaster7 wrote:
I just really want to see a dragon ship I think.

I haven't quite wrapped my mind around shipbuilding in SF yet, but I'm easily thinking that the Silver Dragon in question (she even has a name now -- Billantrix) would have a Drift-capable ship. She keeps her main residence in the Disp because she's an exile from the Chromatics on Triaxus, but owns shipyards and other enterprises scattered across the Pact Worlds and in a few other systems as well.

Billantrix is a CR17 Silver Dragon, which should be enough to prepare her stat block. You wouldn't want to fight her anyway. She is cultured, polite, witty, and even somewhat friendly -- or at least as friendly as a 125-foot-long dragon can be. She does, however, have an overarching goal -- to return in triumph to Triaxus and settle her unfinished business with the Chromatics. By her calculations, in two or three millennia those plans should be ready to come to fruition. It's a shame nobody else around her is that patient....

Oh, and don't ship Billantrix. The one pairing she was in ended up badly, her son never visits, and she's sworn off mating. Her typical response to the onset of mating season is to hide in a cave for four weeks and not see anyone.... WHAT?

Ravingdork wrote:
I imagine it was the dragons who started the first banks, and probably still run them today.

You know, that was my thought exactly long before Starfinder. Why just sit on a big pile of gold doing nothing when you have such a powerful intellect? The appeal of playing chess with thousands of human pawns must be enormous. I imagine it might start as a few dragons starting a competition to see who can grow their hoards the fastest in investments, while playing to specific rules (you can't openly raid your opponent's properties, but financing armies is OK). They could well be the force behind the equivalent of the Renaissance, with dragon money supporting the building of great nations, patronizing the arts, etc.

Of course, since the dragons would be rivals it would be a time full of skulduggery that leaves plenty of opportunities for enterprising PCs to get in on the action and -- once they find out what's really going on -- a chance to really upset the apple cart.

One possibly relevant and possibly not question: how does one get around the seeming paradox of a powerful Metallic being quite old by humanoid standards, yet not having pre-Gap memories that would break campaign secrets like the fate of Golarion? Of course, for many if not most campaigns this simply won't matter -- the PCs will have better things to do with their time and energy than chase down rumors like that, and their draconic patrons will most likely have more pressing concerns. But if it does occur to players to think "Say, the dragon's really old -- maybe she'll know!", how does a GM respond, especially in a way that doesn't especially annoy the dragon (you don't want to annoy dragons -- trust me on this).

baggageboy wrote:
Gold plated starships, just cause

Gold is too soft to work well as starship plating. It'll look incredibly pockmarked after just a couple of days in normal space, and who knows what it'll look like after a week in the Drift.

Infusing gold in space-grade paint is much better-looking and more practical.

Ouachitonian wrote:

I have a feeling that a lot of modern dragon hoards are tied up in stocks and bonds generating interest. Possibly quite a lot of interest, if the dragon himself is doing the investing. Millenia of experience playing the stock market probably comes in handy. Of course, they’d have some tied up in precious metals too; hedge against inflation and all that.

Nitpick: there’s a difference between “hoard” and “horde”, y’all. Adventurers might want to find a dragon’s hoard. Adventurers would probably run in terror from a dragon horde.

The horde/hoard thing has been bothering me all thread long. I didn't know quite how to respond, but I associate horde more with orcs than with dragons.

A Starfinder dragon's hoard may have started out in precious metals -- a very, very long time ago. And she still might have quite a large stockpile of them at home. But the Pact Worlds and other systems at this level simply don't view gold and silver as money in themselves. Having hundreds of thousands of gold coins actually makes them less valuable than in you had only a few hundred, because their value is to a collector and depends on their scarcity. To fight over gold would be unthinkable to a Pact Worlder. So if all a dragon is doing is hiding out in a cave sitting on a bunch of no-longer-precious metals, he's not very interesting and there's no reason for an adventuring party to bother him.

If, on the other hand, the Dragon had taken an interest in the outside world and got in at the right time to turn her hoard into wealth that translates into the real world's needs, then she becomes powerful indeed. Now combine that wealth with powerful intellect, near-immortality, and a capricious mind-set that is alien to that of humanoids. If you attract the interest of such a being, you'd better hope it's on her good side. And that's the advantage of dealing with a Metallic -- they actually have one.

Rahod wrote:
Wait...Adult dragons who have Spaceships? I wonder what they would look like, and how big they would be?

Big enough that unless the dragon in question knew enough magic to shapeshift into a humanoid-sized form (and probably roughly human-shaped, if only for convenience in dealing with humanoids), it would require special facilities simply to embark and disembark. Getting a dragon into space is not for the timid or the cheapskate. Not only do you have to carry around a whopping great dragon, but you also need her food, the attendants needed to prepare it, sanitary facilities (dragons probably value cleanliness, after all their ancestors spent a lot of time in quarters that were very cramped for creatures their size, but still a creature that eats four or five cows at a sitting and washes it down with three barrels of beer or the equivalent is going to have waste to deal with), a crew to fly the ship (unless the ship is a REAL custom job and the Dragon can fly it herself, in which case it would be utterly unmanageable by anyone else), and so forth. The dragon will also be traveling with whatever entourage it sees fit. I'd say a Large ship would be ideal if dragon and dragon-tenders are going to be at all comfortable.

There are places like Absalom Station where dragons simply cannot go -- at least not in their natural forms -- which means they have to rely on agents to work on their behalf there. Since space itself is one of the places where a dragon is at her most vulnerable, it's a significant event when a dragon's ship shows up in orbit. Like in the ancient days of lost Golarion, the day a dragon comes to your world is a day you will never forget as long as you live. Even if that turns out to only be about a quarter of an hour or so....

Shinigami02 wrote:

I think the only reason the Metallics weren't written up is they only had so much space, and of the two the Chromatics are more likely to be enemies (being Evil after all). With how NPC-gen works in Starfinder you don't really need in-depth write-ups for both sides so much.

That said, I can totally see both sides being actually involved in society now-days, like at the higher tiers of corporations and such. Possibly even frequently direct competitors in corporations. After all, if there's anywhere that's going to have the economic power required for a successful startup it's going to be a Dragon Horde. Heck, having a successful company might even be the new thing in Hordes, a Horde that's not only massive but actively grows itself rather than just sitting in a cave.

It just occurred to me that the metallic I'm thinking of might have gotten into the shipbuilding business, perhaps because of family history of having to finance custom ships to get as many of themselves and their clan as they could off-planet as the Chromatics gained greater sway. Their wealth, while still extravagant by human standards, is not great compared to their chief Chromatic rival, and they are required to rely on both putting out a superior product and engaging in a constant war with their chief chromatic competitor to remain profitable. In this feud the gloves are off, the claws are out and sharp, and even assassination is on the table. The difference is that our Metallic mistress pays the party fairly and treats them well in her own, utterly alien way. Her rivals use as their chief incentive "Serve us well and we might wait until tomorrow to eat you alive. Serve us poorly and we won't."

I've been thinking about the Metallic dragons since I saw the Dragon writeup in AA. They're easy enough to build at the age required now, and even easier if you want them not to be fight-able by the PCs. Since most of the dragons listed were chromatic, and evidently there are not a lot of dragons around period, I wonder where the more benevolent ones can be found.

Notice that "benevolent" does not necessarily mean "nice"! I can easily imagine a Metallic that becomes a PCs patron having a bit of fun with the phrase "Have you for dinner" just to see the look on their faces when they realize she's going to chow down on roasted whole cows and she merely wants them for company. And if you give them reason to, a Metallic can make your life just as hellish as any other dragon can -- as much with their economic power as with their physical prowess.

It strikes me that making the Mild Meld a race feature that any Vulcan can do is quite powerful. It's a formidable ability even with its significant downsides. I wonder if it would be feasible to make it an ability you need to devote serious effort to learning how to do.

Mind you, I'm not quite sure how you would accomplish this. Still,. it shouldn't be an assumption that every Vulcan you meet knows how to Mind Meld. In fact, IIRC they find the intimacy distasteful (a reflection of their cold demeanor), especially when done without consent of the second party (Spock, from a reasonable Vulcan perspective, does this far too often.). Why it isn't presented as an assault, like any other form of unwanted intimacy, is something I'm wondering about,.

When trying to create a PC, I'm a little confuzzled about tracking Ability Score points. The points start at 0 instead of 10. Probably a minor thing, but it is somewhat less intuitive when it comes to how many points you have to spend.

It's an Alpha, of course, so working out kinks is the point of the exercise.

A massive ship is detected on the fringes of the Pact system, and it is either unwilling or unable to respond to any efforts to communicate with it. Although it is on a course straight for Absalom Station, it appears to be significantly older than it. The best guess of anyone looking into the matter is that the thing is headed to where Golarion theoretically used to. If there is sapience controlling it, they would not be happy to see it gone. If there isn't, there's potential that it will crash into the station and utterly destroy it -- and with it the Pact, leaving the rest of the system in bloody chaos.

Numerous expeditions are competing to get into the anomalous object, discover its secrets, and possibly get rich doing it. It's a lure no explorer worth anything can resist. Before you're done, though, you may wish you had.

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Lord Fyre wrote:
Ltfngr wrote:
Just Vargr, K'Kree, etc more to go :D

I'm not sure if the K'kree would work as a Starfinder race? They may be too strong.

As it is, I am kind of worried that the Aslan I've written are a bit too powerful, but they seem in line with the Vesk. (And the Dex penalty is brutal in this game.)

K'kree would also have the practical problem that they're big, and thus don't readily do well in the tight (for them) quarters of a Human ship. They are also, IIRC, xenophobic to sometimes alarming degrees.

They'd make poor player-characters but would be nice "aliens". Or, rather, nasty ones.

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