The Goat Lord's page

Organized Play Member. 213 posts. 1 review. No lists. No wishlists. 3 Organized Play characters.


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That's awesome! Thank you for creating this and sharing it.

Dang, the one episode I miss seeing live!

@ AtlasSniperman: My pleasure!

@Hmm: Totally!

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I came across a new RPG site,, that supports Starfinder Play by Post, anytime, anywhere, from your cell phone, tablet, PC, etc. I created a new mini-module I'm playing with friends as a prequel to AtAT. My game is full, but if you're interested in supporting and growing the Starfinder community check it out, and maybe create your own Starfinder game with friends or a pick up group.

The site is a text based PBP with dice rolls, character sheets, and assorted role-play and GM tools. Since it's new it's still being developed, but I wanted to let everyone here know about it to get an early jump on spreading the greatness that is Starfinder.

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Briit wrote:
I was waiting for the miniatures before I began to play Starfinder. I believe the kickstarter mentioned a May 2018 delivery. So I still have not yet played the game. Now with this failure I really feel like I have lost my taste to play it. Combined with 2E and I feel like I am just at the end of my relationship with Paizo which is a shame as I really enjoyed them for years. It makes me feel sad.

Sorry to hear that. Fortunately, there are plenty of other options for minis. There are pawns, and check out Reaper's Chronoscope line of minis. Don't let ND ruin the fun.

The Goat Lord wrote:
That's a good question, and as someone that GMed high-level Pathfinder I understand your concern. I'm happy to say that high level battles in Starfinder did not turn into a slog. You do have to take into account table variance, but the last battle of our campaign consisted of a CR 23 Cyber Red Dragon, two CR 15 red dragons, and three PCs. The entire combat lasted seven rounds. This battle was an optional encounter just for fun.

Oops: It was a CR 24 Cyber Red Dragon. Dang it. Too late to edit.

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Commodore_RB wrote:

How fast did highest-level combats go? There was a bit of puffy-sumo feeling in the last book of Dead Suns, but that could just be that our group had less rockets to play tag with than others. My own homebrewed game is smoothly plugging along at 7, but I eyeball the math ahead and worry a bit.

I do enjoy the Unchained monster building tables, much as my heart will always first love the original 3e "monsters and heroes are built alike". It's gotten to the point where if the players fiddle with something and I need an encounter I can smoothly just run it on the fly, building the monster in Notepad in the initiative-and-scene-setting minute.

That's a good question, and as someone that GMed high-level Pathfinder I understand your concern. I'm happy to say that high level battles in Starfinder did not turn into a slog. You do have to take into account table variance, but the last battle of our campaign consisted of a CR 23 Cyber Red Dragon, two CR 15 red dragons, and three PCs. The entire combat lasted seven rounds. This battle was an optional encounter just for fun.

The real climax was a starship combat between the PCs and Dispater's wife, Erecura, who had become an ocean sized cluster of nanobots. That encounter lasted, if I remember correctly, about five rounds. That was the PCs' Tier 20 starship against a Tier 20 enemy starship (a nanocluster ship) and several Tier 12s. The PCs pretty much mopped the floor with their enemies.

Before that battle, the PCs faced Erecura as a CR 23 boss battle. Erecura was CR 23, her minion was CR 19, and the four PCs at that battle were all level 20. This battle lasted for about 6 or 7 rounds, if I recall correctly. It took place on the outside hull of the PCs' ship, lodged into the side of Dispater's fortress, the Iron Scepter, on the second layer of Hell, Dis.

Each of the PCs in all of the above battles averaged around 80 points of damage or more per round. The mechanic's drone was right there with them putting up comparable numbers. Crits almost always went over 100 points of damage. Also, if you take into account certain spells, there are ways to eliminate enemies without raw damage.

In summary, if felt good, but your mileage may vary.

Steve Geddes wrote:
We’re at level seventeen at the moment (also homebrew) and also find high level play surprisingly smooth. Did you use experience points? Or just level up when you deemed it appropriate?

That's awesome. I'd love to hear more about your homebrew.

We used experience points. I asked my group their thoughts on milestone leveling, and they voiced that they preferred experience points. We used Hero Lab Online for character sheets and tracking, but have now switched to Fantasy Grounds for Against the Aeon Throne. I guess my table likes seeing that experience point field filled with gradually increasing numbers. ;)

I also keep everyone at the same level/experience point total, even for those that join late or show irregularly, and for new PCs that replace a dead PC. I use hero points as an in game reward and insensitive for role play and heroic actions.

Lastly, I prefer awarding experience at the end of every session. That way leveling up can take place between sessions.

Combat maneuvers came up a few times, but since my table often lacked a full BAB class, the maneuvers often failed. I remember a few grapples that were successful, and a few that weren't. As GM I used them many times for monster abilities.

I found maneuvers work pretty well for cinematic moments, such as sliding under an armored beast and shooting it in the soft under belly, climbing on the back of a huge or larger creature, or that time when the mechanic used a construction crane arm to grab a foe. The attempts failed half the time or more, but they do work sometimes and make for memorable moments.

I used a hero point style system ala PF 2.0 and awarded hero points for such tricks and feats of heroism.

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Question for the show: What kinds of accommodations are available for dragons when it comes to starships? How do they travel by starship?

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Porridge wrote:
Great write up. And sounds like a great campaign. Thanks for the report!

Totally! Hopefully more folks will write up a campaign report.

Xenocrat wrote:
The Sideromancer wrote:

An adaptation of tracking weapons to personal scales

Weapons with deliberate and controllable ricochets or reflections.

These kind of exist with the guided sniper rifles and rebounding weapon fusion in Armory.

The Goat Lord wrote:
Proton Packs, ala Ghostbusters. We already have the containment tesseract, now we need proton packs, too!
This is a line weapon with the Continuous weapon fusion.

Sort of. What I'm talking about is an energy weapon that is continuous, is a line weapon, and entangles ghosts/incorporeal creatures for capture instead of outright destruction. Maybe we can already do this with a series of weapon fusions and weapon qualities?

Proton Packs, ala Ghostbusters. We already have the containment tesseract, now we need proton packs, too!

I appreciate the feeling of forboding and outright danger I'm getting while reading the chapters that take place in ASE territory. I can't wait to really lay it on thick when expressing to the players the severity of the situation they are in.

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Shar Tahl wrote:
What are some ways I can get my players to be a little more creative with starship builds? They have found out that you only really need three things; Big power core, Big shields and a big gun(s) on a turret. If you maximize those three, the pregen enemy ships get plowed through. It removes the tactical facings completely when you have a turret that doesn't need facing, which is one of the biggest parts of starship combat. It makes the combat very bland and just going through the motions. My knee-jerk thought is eliminate turrets on PCs and enemies. Wondering other folks thoughts on this.

I experienced a bit of this myself. One solution I often used was adding more enemy ships to the starship encounters. You can try adding a squadron of weak, tiny fighters. I added support craft like this, as it creates situations where the PCs have more targets to consider, and positioning becomes more important. I was careful to give them only enough hull points to survive a hit or two, although, they were occasionally destroyed on the first hit.

Additionally, I utilized hazards and obstacles, such as clouds of radiation, clouds of leaking engine coolant, asteroids, a black hole, etc.

One of my favorite encounters was a double encounter featuring a starship combat, and a character based tactical combat aboard the PCs' starship, which limited what the PCs could do in the starship portion of the encounter. That was loads of fun.

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Owen K. C. Stephens wrote:
The Goat Lord wrote:
My group recently concluded our first ongoing Starfinder campaign and I’d like to share my thoughts.

That's all really encouraging to hear, and I thank you for taking the time to write that up.

Was there anything in Starfinder you'd like to see more of, or had problems with during your 20-level campaign?

You're welcome, and thank you. It's my pleasure to support such a great game. It'll be easy for me to say what I'd like to see more of, but hard to speak on any problems/issues, but I'll try. ;)

What I'd Like to See More Of
As a GM, I'm always looking for plot hooks. The products that excite me the most are those rife with lore, setting info, and most of all adventure seeds.

Example: The articles at the back of the Against the Aeon Throne adventure "The Reach of Empire" has excellent extended content that I can't wait to explore, specifically, the adventure seeds relating to other locations beyond where the majority of the module takes place. I look at that content and think, "They didn't have to do that, but I'm glad they did because I can't wait to see what stories we can make out of it." The flavor of Starfinder is absolutely superb.

Admittedly, I'm not the most proficient at the crunchier side of the game, so I lack the vocabulary and mechanical proficiency to explain if there is anything wrong with the underlying math of the game, but here are some thoughts:

1) My group really appreciated and want more class path options. What I mean by "class paths" are choices like, choosing between drone and exocortex for mechanic, connections for the mystic, specializations for the operative, weapon or armor for solarion, etc. We all feel like those types of meaningful choices is something all classes could benefit from more of. Additionally, it's the opinion of our table that the Technomancer and Envoy need a little more love to make them more attractive.

2) We feel like the Ghost Operative may be a tad strong at skills, maybe the entire class is a little too good at skills. I can count on two or less hands the number of skill checks the operative failed over the length of the campaign. Trick Attack failed even less. The operative was the primary roller on most checks, and usually succeeded. For reference, I used the formula listed in the book for determining custom skill DCs: 15 + 1.5 x the CR (+5 for harder, -5 for easier). For Trick Attack we used the DC listed in the book.

3) Starship combat is a joy and one of the most enjoyable aspects of the game, but it may be trickier than ground based tactical encounters to manage for some. It was our experience that having more ships involved in the encounter added more life and excitement to the combat. Additionally, it may be a little too easy to restore shields, which can cause the battle to become a little long and grindy. We all would love more added to every aspect of starship combat, weapons, tricks, etc.

Starfinder is very solid, very functional, and most all, very fun. Thank you for taking the time to review my thoughts, Owen.

Xenocrat wrote:
Energy shields?

Sorry, force fields. I couldn't remember the exact name. Had to look it up. They're a type of armor upgrade. In my experience, players love them. Good treasure to drop from a boss.

Garretmander wrote:
The Goat Lord wrote:
Tryn wrote:

Really nice summary.

Just a shot question: How many encounters (and what kind of (easy, average, challeging etc.)) do you came up with on one "encounter day"?

That's a good question. As much as I love a good dungeon crawl, we rarely had any adventures that featured going from room to room fighting enemies. There were a few, but not many situations like that. There were several occasions the PCs fought against escalating waves of enemies while defending a location, and there were occassions when they would fight battle after battle but there was travel between each fight.

Starfinder allows for a more mobile and three dimensional experience, due to starships, jet packs, and the like, so I created fewer, more challenging encounters instead of several small ones back to back. Often this meant encounters at APL +1 or APL +2 if the party is at full strength. Boss battles were often APL +3, and the finale was APL +4.

Running dead suns, this is my experience as well, if you throw several lower encounters at your party make sure they are leading up to a boss with only a 10 min rest once or twice. Don't be afraid to push them as long as they have 10 min rest available at a narratively appropriate moment.


During the penultimate endurance run of our game, I made sure to drop a few healing serums mk 3 and a couple energy shields. Players LOVE the energy shields, by the way, and it motivates them to keep pushing on and face escalating challenges.

I also used the Hero Point system from the Pathfinder Playtest. It worked very well!

Silver Scarab wrote:
I really glad to hear the game felt good in the higher levels.

It really does, on both sides of the screen. We tend to play year plus long campaigns that reach the upper teens or even level 20. After years of D&D/Pathfinder falling to pieces at that level, it was refreshing to play a system that maintains stability at high level pretty well. Obviously, you can't put a level 20 party into the same situations a level 1 party would face, but in my experience Starfinder is easier on the GM than other games have been in the past. Give high level play a try.

The Goat Lord wrote:
Tryn wrote:

Really nice summary.

Just a shot question: How many encounters (and what kind of (easy, average, challeging etc.)) do you came up with on one "encounter day"?

That's a good question. As much as I love a good dungeon crawl, we rarely had any adventures that featured going from room to room fighting enemies. There were a few, but not many situations like that. There were several occasions the PCs fought against escalating waves of enemies while defending a location, and there were occassions when they would fight battle after battle but there was travel between each fight.

Starfinder allows for a more mobile and three dimensional experience, due to starships, jet packs, and the like, so I created fewer, more challenging encounters instead of several small ones back to back. Often this meant encounters at APL +1 or APL +2 if the party is at full strength. Boss battles were often APL +3, and the finale was APL +4.

I forgot to mention how many encounters there were per day. There were only a handful of back to back encounter situations, but I'd say at most I threw 7 or 8 encounters at them in one adventuring day. Those encounters were of a CR at their APL, with maybe one or two at APL +1.

The finale was only one encounter for the day at APL +4, in our case CR 24. The higher the challenge, the fewer the encounters for the day.

Tryn wrote:

Really nice summary.

Just a shot question: How many encounters (and what kind of (easy, average, challeging etc.)) do you came up with on one "encounter day"?

That's a good question. As much as I love a good dungeon crawl, we rarely had any adventures that featured going from room to room fighting enemies. There were a few, but not many situations like that. There were several occasions the PCs fought against escalating waves of enemies while defending a location, and there were occassions when they would fight battle after battle but there was travel between each fight.

Starfinder allows for a more mobile and three dimensional experience, due to starships, jet packs, and the like, so I created fewer, more challenging encounters instead of several small ones back to back. Often this meant encounters at APL +1 or APL +2 if the party is at full strength. Boss battles were often APL +3, and the finale was APL +4.

Ascalaphus wrote:

Something our GM came up with in Dead Suns (now heading into #4) is that instead of loot and wealth in detail, we occasionally reset to WBL. So we just hit level 7 and went through Absalom Station to upgrade our ship/report/resupply.

Flavorwise, the Society is sorta convinced we're dealing with an existential threat to the Pact Worlds so they take our current outdated gear off our hands and give us a $23000 budget to gear up with.

Practically speaking, we don't have to spend time bookkeeping any looted laser pistols or worrying about inefficient investments in armor or weapons. If we find loot that looks useful we keep it until we reset wealth; otherwise we just assume it was carried back and sold but we don't really need to bookkeep it because it makes no difference for our wealth.

Obviously this is something that makes sense in a Starfinder universe where the PCs have the backing of an organization with resources, not so much in my current Iron Gods campaign where the PCs operate in a barbarian wasteland.

I like it! I don't think my players would ever try it, but I can see the logic behind handling WBL that way. Very cool.

Ascalaphus wrote:

No apologies needed, it's very interesting to hear from actual experience. My pet theory is that you ought to be able to get by staying in a name brand, like going from Lashunta Ringwear Mk1 to Mk2 to Mk3 and so on, upgrading about every three levels.

It's interesting you mention using the encounter design guidelines. Much of my experience is from PFS/SFS, which have to work with a 6-player assumption so they're shooting for a bit higher encounter level. Sometimes they do that by adding more mooks, but sometimes it's by using CR+3 or even +4 creatures, and that's when armor feels very inadequate.

It's also interesting that you mention using the monster building rules a lot, so I guess you were able to have "that monster over there, at this CR please" more than someone working strictly with Alien Archive monsters. SFS probably gets a lot more of "the story requires this monster, which has that CR, we need to work around that".

I agree. Staying in brand makes total sense and should be a viable goal, for several reasons.

I know what you mean about SFS encounters, and I'm hoping it smoothes a little now that we have Alien Archive 2 and thus more monsters to pull from. My table fluctuates from session to session, but we usually have at least three, which is definitely easier to build for, taking into consideration the battlefield, abilities, action economy, etc.

It's true I made more homebrew NPCs/monsters than using the ones in the book. It's partly because the PCs went up against different variations on a type of monster, kind of like how there are different types of devils and demons, etc. In my game they went up against several predator beasts on an artificial moon that were designed to hunt people. They also went up against an android math cult, so I needed several variations of android cultists. Lastly, they went up against a host of nano-beasts, so I needed several variations of those monsters. It's so easy to make your own villains that you can always have exactly what you need at a moment's notice.

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MER-c wrote:
Now I have a slightly better motivation to get that Titanfall inspired mini campaign started. Just need to figure out how to make semi intelligent murder mechs not be overwhelming.

Our campaign featured a mech battle. I took the easy path and created stat blocks that were essentially just monster stat blocks for each mech. Same movement rules, same action economy, basically. I allowed the PCs to each take on a different role in the piloting and operation of the mech, such as movement, gunnery, and engineering, applying their bonuses in a similar manner as starship combat.

I'm no crunch expert, so I'm sure plenty of folks could punch holes in my approach, house rules, and design, but my players had no complaints and had big smiles on their faces after the session, and that's all that matters.

Ascalaphus wrote:

I'm gathering ideas for a homebrew campaign, so this is very interesting to me.

How did it go with armor and weapon upgrades? It seems that you need to regularly replace armor to keep your AC somewhat functional. How did that go? Did you worry about WBL? How often did people replace armor?

Great questions! Get ready for some strong opinions here, so I apologize in advance... ;)

We didn't find armor and weapon upgrading to be as big a deal as some folks in the community make it out to be. It would be quite expensive to buy all new weapons and armor each time you level. Honestly, most PCs can get by only upgrading weapons and armor every two or three levels. I could be wrong, but I think most players that get concerned about upgrading see item levels and think that if they don't have an item that matches their level (or better) they will be out of reach. That mindset is just not practical, and in my experience as a SFS player and home GM, just flat out wrong.

Keep in mind, most monsters are made assuming average players, meaning, a party of people that don't min/max. Sometimes those of us that visit these boards have a slightly askew perception of playability. We here on the boards see spreadsheets and are exposed to other analysis that shows how to deal the most damage, how to mitigate damage the best, and how to achieve optimal builds, but I feel like it's rather unnecessary. Yes, PCs get knocked to zero HP every now and then, yes everyone wishes they could deal more damage, but success is almost always achieved in the end. Do folks really need to high-step on their way into the end zone? What's wrong with one or two deaths over the span of a campaign? That's what my players sign up for! :)

How did I make sure the PCs weren't TPKed? By following the guidelines for building encounters as listed in the CRB. I'm not trying to sound smug or condescending. The guidelines laid out in the CRB are solid. The math surrounding PCs versus Monsters is spot on. I had zero issues when laying out encounters by the book.

Did I worry about WBL? Not really. Because items have levels, I make sure to only give out treasure that is level appropriate. In some cases, like in boss battles, I'll give out an item that is one or two levels higher. Also, I gave out lots of credits, per the treasure per encounter table in the Game Mastering chapter of the CRB. Since the characters frequented Abslom Station, I allowed them to purchase items no higher than their level +2, as suggested in the books.

I hope that helped!

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The three central themes in AtAt to me are that of friendship, the harshness of life in the Vast, and what happens when the frontier meets industrialization. We have Cedona, a walking, talking McGuffin with feelings and a flat-affect. The people and places of the fringe, be it colony or outpost. Finally, we have the opposite of the fringe with the ASE, and the lengths one must go to when opposing them.

For a quick snapshot of the overall feel, look no further than the map of Madelon's Landing with the ASE garrison at it's center. Later this symbolism is reversed when the PCs venture into ASE territory. How could such a force be contested? As the story unfolds, much can be attributed to hubris, a great equalizer.

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I, too, love the lore episodes, but my favorite show to date featured Amanda discussing the planet Daimalko. We need an adventure set there, please!

Thank you, Paizo, for making hump day even better.

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Thank you! I was compelled to share my group's experience as a way of showing support for this great game. Completing a year long campaign is such a joy; we're still reeling from all the fun and excitement. Paizo truly created a brilliant system and sandbox with which to craft memorable stories. I can't say enough about it.

This sounds great. Question: What is the smallest sized armies and the largest sized armies the mass combat rules support?

I have enjoyed using the consequences of The Gap in my story telling. It's made for some great moments of wonder and role play.

23: Booze Sea

The PCs encounter an ocean worth of pure alcohol drifting through space/the drift. The massive glob of alcohol is roughly spherical is shape and clean of debris or other contaminants. What's hidden in its core? Do any life forms live in it? Who may be interested in such a discovery?

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I highly recommend the Paizo Twitch, specifically Starfinder Wednesday. It's not too long, not too short, and always has good stuff for us. My favorite episodes are the ones that discuss and go into detail about the lore.

Much of the old spell effects can be replicated by technology and hybrid items. Also, magic-users can lean on powerful ranged attacks in the form of guns. Magic's role in the game world hasn't been replaced, but brought in line with technology and more efficient means of accomplishing the same tasks.

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I would love to have some map tiles. I've been enjoying the recent tile sets for Pathfinder. Some Starfinder appropriate tiles would be nice, too. Set dressing tiles, pawns, and even figures would be marvelous as well.

I would like more variation on sci-fi environments, as I don't want all corridors, starship decks, and other establishments to all look the same.

I think having more classes added to the game is a given, but I'm happy with the seven we have for now. Almost any concept can be achieved with an archetype and additional class options. Then again, I'm a GM.

This has happened in my games a few times. I allow it if the crew members occupy the same station. Also, I allow the mechanic's drone to Aid Another. Neither situation has broken anything.

I'm a sucker for the planes. Give me all the outsiders, as well as loads of new ones, please!

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Ravingdork wrote:

Thanks for sharing your experiences! It sounds like it was a blast.

I don't get why you guys chose to go homebrew in the beginning though, at least not for the reasons given.

If I were to run a hombrew game, it would take at least two weeks to prep. If we were to settle on an adventure path though, I could have it ready to go in a day. I can't even begin to understand how you and your group would be the opposite. Could you enlighten me in some way?

Yeah, I gotcha. I'm one of those GMs that hand draws all my maps on wet erase battlematts and I like reading APs cover to cover before starting. I'm not comfortable running an AP two hours after purchasing it. Additionally, I get more creative satisfaction out of homebrewing. Typically, for every AP I run we play through two or three honebrews. That's just the way we roll.

After the players made their characters, I knew the session would only last two or three hours tops, so I proposed the bounty hunter angle. The first session consisted of fighting holographic enemies in a holotsuite, and then chasing down a wanted space goblin. The week leading to session two gave me time to further flesh out more details and broaden the scope of the campaign. It also allowed time for the players to construct backstories for me to weave into the campaign.

I'm running Against the Aeon Throne next. It just so happens to fit with the ongoing continuity of my game world, as the bounty hunters of the previous game had a fleeting brush with the ASE.

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GM Cellion wrote:

Thanks for sharing, that sounds like an awesome time :>

One of the things I've definitely noticed about Starfinder is how it supports an incredible variety of story types and topics. Where Pathfinder had some inherent 'classic fantasy' expectations (along with a desire for a basic level of realism), all that goes out the window in Starfinder. From minute #1 of the first session you can slap your PCs in a starship and go do anything from liberating the Shevroth Hivemind from Dominion control to providing security for a group of sugar-pop superstars, and none of it seems out of place.

Exactly! I totally agree. I love both Pathfinder and Starfinder, but Starfinder is very refreshing.

Also, I managed to work Strawberry Machine Cake into my homebrew. :)

Some Kind of Chymist wrote:
So starfinder plays well as a lot of semi-disjoint arcs? Do you ever have trouble with keeping things semi-containable (Not in a railroady way but in a Woops this part of the map hasnt been painted yet kinda way) without some sort of over arching theme; that is, where there many suprises where you had to make a while lot up on the spot?.

Any group can wander off the beaten path, and you know what, sometimes that’s more fun! For example: There was a point in our campaign when the PCs were deep in the Vast, and after concluding the adventure that brought them there, instead of traveling back to their home base on Absalom Station, they decided to follow the astrogation log of a crashed alien starship to see where it was going before crashing. I had no such plans! Luckily, before Starfinder launched, I had written up brief outlines for about 7 or 8 different adventures. One of them fit perfectly in this situation, so I used that one. It still required lots of preparation and work, but it became a memorable side adventure that lasted months.

So, yes. The PCs took unexpected detours, and yes, I had to make up material on the spot, but Starfinder’s setting and mechanics are easy enough to work with, in my opinion, largely due to the diversity and wealth of story hooks.

Some Kind of Chymist wrote:
Also any advice with the enemy and NPC creation side of thing; I'm stuggling with figuring it out and I'm a bit worried I'll accidently make enemies that are either way to powerful or way to weak due to a lack of judgememt call ability stemming from inexperience?

Creating your own material is always a challenge, but like anything else, it gets easier with practice. Learn by doing, is my advice. I highly recommend visiting and using the tools available there to create anything you want. My advice regarding monster difficulty would be, start by making monsters that are a standard encounter for the PCs. Assuming you have four PCs and they are all level 1, try making a CR 1 enemy. Four PCs should be able to handle one CR 1 enemy without too much trouble.

That said, one thing to keep in mind is combat is usually more fun when the PCs are facing an equal number of bad guys. Four PCs against four bad guys. You should not throw four CR 1 enemies at a level 1 party, as each added monster ups the difficulty of the encounter. Four CR 1 enemies is around a CR 5 encounter, give or take, which would spell doom for a level 1 party.

Starting out, it’s better to make things that are too weak than too strong. Use the numbers as presented in the Alien Archive, and then over time you may try tweaking the numbers a little bit here or there to better fit the concept of the monster you created.

If you don’t feel comfortable making your own stuff, then don’t worry about it. We now have AA and AA2. You can run entire campaigns without making any monsters. There are other 3rd party monster books out there, too, such as the Alien Bestiary.

Some Kind of Chymist wrote:
Also did you make an encounter table for the drift yourself or is there one hiding somewhere in the material I'm yet to get around to reading? [I know the core rules have a spot with a percentile dice roll table to know if you run into something but it doesn't suggest what that something might be.

I didn’t create my own Drift encounter table. I think I rolled a d4 to randomly determine the alignment of the plane the PCs’ ship brushed up against, and then a d6 to determine which plane. This system is not in the book, I just made it up on the spot. It turned out to be evil for the alignment, and then Hell for the actual plane.

Because the PCs rolled a 001 I wanted to make this more than just a random encounter, so I created a whole side story that turned into about three game sessions worth of material. I didn’t come up with the whole thing on the spot. Instead, I described an immense gothic castle floating over a sea of flames. Two missiles launched from the castle and headed towards the PCs’ starship, and then I ended the session on a cliffhanger. Doing so left the players wanting more, and gave me time to craft a story. A classic GM trick. ;)

Let me know if you have any other questions!

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My group recently concluded our first ongoing Starfinder campaign and I’d like to share my thoughts. We began the day Starfinder officially launched and ended on 10/15/18. We went homebrew because the players didn’t want me, the GM, to spend two weeks prepping before starting play. Therefore, our first session was born improvisation style on day one.

The Campaign
To make the first session easier, I proposed that the PCs work for a bounty hunting organization. The players liked the idea and built accordingly. Over time, the monster-of-the-week episodes evolved, taking the players from planet to planet in the Pact Worlds, to near space, to the Vast, and Hell thrice. Overall, the campaign lacked a single overarching thread like those common in APs, but the end of the campaign tied back into events that took place in the first few sessions, bringing the PCs full circle.

The Feel of Starfinder
I’ve mostly run games in published settings, my favorite being Planescape from D&D 2e. I loved that no matter how weird and out there the setting, situation, plot, etc. the players were along for the ride, as that fit the feel of Planescape. The Starfinder setting reminds of that feeling due to the marriage of science and fantasy. I find it liberating and very accommodating to the types of stories I want to tell.

Car chases through tube shaped freeways. Starfinder.
Space pirates led by a popular android synth musician who lives in a flying hover-coach. Starfinder.
Mech battles in the streets of the Spike. Starfinder.
A planet made of worms. Starfinder.
A hurricane of super-concentrated dish soap unleashed on Castrovel. Starfinder.
An artificial moon inhabited by people made of soul imbued nanobots overlaid with holograms. Starfinder.

On and on. The more weird and out there the more we loved it.

An Awesome Hook
The first time I called for a Drift Mishap roll, the players rolled a 001. To determine which Outer Plane the PCs encountered, I rolled a die, which resulted in the Lower Planes, and then rolled another die, which resulted in Hell. This created a cascading series of unplanned, organically evolving events, that reverberated through the entire year long campaign. Awesome.

Low Level to High Level
We had occasional guest stars, but the core group of PCs consisted of a ysoki ghost operative, an android drone mechanic, a contemplative technomancer, and a grey star shaman mystic. The mystic joined after the technomancer was killed in combat.

In the beginning the operative was stealing the show skill-wise and combat-wise, but over time the drone mechanic caught up to and surpassed the operative’s damage output, I’d say around level 13. Although the technomancer was very effective until it died, the grey mystic was quite a force to reckon with, especially when he could see the stars. I asked the players in the end how they felt about high level play in Starfinder versus Pathfinder, and they all agreed that the game system feels much tighter, and enemies remained threatening even at level 20. The final battle was a nail biter CR 24 encounter in the caldera of a volcano against a colossal red cyber-dragon and two of its minions. Epic.

From My Side of the Screen
I feel like the PCs made most of their skill checks in the skills they chose to focus on. In the end they were easily hitting 50+ on their checks. This did make certain checks all but a formality, but I was able to create situations that still held tension with each roll. Additionally, I feel like my monsters/aliens/NPCs made their saving throws more than half the time. Less so in the beginning, more so near the end, but the PCs were usually able to work around it.

Starship combat is awesome, we love it, but I think it has to be used carefully. It can become sluggish in certain matchups. I feel starship encounters play best when there are time limits, unique locations, space hazards, several ships involved, and other unique factors that add to the tension. We had maybe twelve starship encounters, and that felt right. I'd love this aspect of the game to receive more expansion in the future.

Alien Archive
I stopped using creatures from the Alien Archive when the PCs were around level 8. After that, all the enemies were my creation, using the NPC creation rules in Alien Archive. It's such a breeze. Thanks to for making home creations even easier and quicker to build!

In Conclusion
Our adventures in Starfinder have been memorable and among our most beloved as a group. I've been a GM for over 20 years, and this game and setting ranks up there with my all-time favorites. Without question, this campaign has been my favorite science fantasy campaign and favorite science-fantasy game system. Thank you, Paizo! Keep it coming!

What's Next?
Against the Aeon Throne.

If anyone has any questions, or if you want more details, let me know.

Awesome! Feel free to tell us about your experiences with the game and let us know if you have any questions. Obviously, we love the game and love to talk about it, too!

Jason Keeley wrote:

Oh no, I've just totally thanked Baphomet, didn't I?

Well, that's it for my soul!

You've fallen into my trap! *evil cackle*

1 person marked this as a favorite.

So far, I'm loving AtAt. Great work!

I was one of the lucky ones and got two shipments relatively quickly. Even though I received these two shipments, I still haven't received half of what I paid for, definitely not 400 bucks worth. What a shame.

I feel like a heavier focus on Pathfinder right now is to be expected with the playtest taking place, but they do have Starfinder interviews and discussions on the Paizo Twitch every Wednesday, as well as occasional mentions on the site. Starfinder has fewer releases to talk about, therefore it can feel like it gets buried by constant Pathfinder news, but it probably hasn't lost much time in the spotlight overall. We just want more because we are passionate, insatiable fans.

I need this. Paizo, take my money.

I've been running a homebrew campaign since release day, with the PCs just hitting level 18 last session. We've had only a handful of starship battles, by design. I use it not to seriously threaten the PCs, but to punctuate a dramatic moment. This helps to keep away from the slog that others speak of, and the players get excited to show off the starship they've spent hours optimizing. Win win.

That said, I feel like the biggest issue with Starship combat is how easy shields are to replenish. It can be worked around with higher tier enemies, bigger guns, smaller shields, etc., but I feel like we shouldn't have to work around it. The damage to damage mitigation ratio feels slightly off, lengthening the battle. My favorite starship battles so far have been completed in 30 minutes or less.

In my experience with SFS, several of the starship combats have been great fun, but there are a few that aren't.

4 people marked this as a favorite.

The Stamina system in Starfinder greatly contributed to my table's ability to run with only three PCs and push on for several combats without a full rest. I worry that Pathfinder will be more challenging to run with only three players. I can make anything work, but Starfinder's Stamina system has been very accommodating to my table's needs.

1 person marked this as a favorite.

I attended a local con over the weekend, and the number of Starfinder Society games was equal to or greater than the combined number of PFS and 5E games. To say the least, Starfinder seems to be very healthy in my area. A member of the Paizo staff was in attendance, and I was lucky enough to be in a game he ran.

Additionally, I've spoken with local brick and mortar shops as well, and they all have mentioned SF selling well. In fact, I have to pre-order with my flgs to ensure I get copies of the latest products.

If you check YouTube and Twitch, there are many SF live plays, and there are twice that many podcasts. Also, there are a number of smaller boards, Reddits, Facebooks, etc. that have healthy communities. This board is mellow, but I wouldn't use it to represent the entire product. I think the world may be slowly moving away from message boards and gravitating more towards comment formats.

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