You are passengers on the starship Hope's Peak, a luxury civilian cruiser on a leisurely voyage between each of the Pact Worlds. Your trip has been pleasant so far, having begun at Aballon and stopped at each of the worlds thereafter and has just left the vast city-ship, the Idari. You retire to your cabins as the crew prepares the ship's Drift Drive to carry you safely on to Triaxus (nobody wants to go to Eox on a luxury cruise).
When you awaken, something feels different. Something feels wrong. You exit your cabin into silence. The ship should be full of the bustle of crewmembers serving passengers and readying the ship for dock. It is silent. It is empty.
You find others still present, all other passengers. Not a single crewmember can be found. You make your way to the bridge. All of the controls are unresponsive, and the ship's viewports reveal a dark vista. This is not the Golarion system. This is not any system. You are adrift in the vast emptiness between the stars.
Once you have all gathered on the bridge to discuss what to do, an image flicks onto the main viewscreen. A sinister figure, one eye empty and black as the void itself and the other blazing with the light of a dying red star.
She cackles, her voice sounding through every speaker on the ship. It is bone-chilling, supernatural in timbre.
"This is your captain speaking. Ah, now that you're all here, I can tell you about tonight's shipboard activities and amusements. I took the liberty of arranging a fun little diversion I call 'The Mutual Killing Game'."
She smiles, displaying wickedly sharp teeth.
"Oh, and I suppose you're wondering what happened to your previous captain and crew. Don't worry. They won't be experiencing nearly as much despair as all of you. In fact, they've found their unexpected spacewalks so peaceful that they decided never to return. How delightful!
Let me introduce myself. I am The One Unhued. Is that a bit too grandiose for our exciting entertainment? Well, then. You may call me Captain Umbra!"
She puts on a captain's cap. You recognise it as the one that your former captain wore. Umbra looms close in the viewscreen, her one red eye flaring with the somber plumes of an aged sun.
"I bet you're dying to know what the rules of the game are. It's very simple: Some amongst you are my friends! You've already helped me so much by disposing of the crew. Now you get to start murdering the passengers! But alas, you are dreadfully outnumbered and now they're on guard. You'll have to be sneaky about it.
The rest of you probably don't want to be slaughtered mercilessly, so it's up to you to figure out who the attackers are and kill them first! If you kill all of my friends, I'll graciously reactivate the ship's Drift Drive and you can go home! If you all die, well, at least you got to participate in all this fun. It's win-win!"
This is the recruitment post for a game of Starfinder Mafia! Once enough players have signed up, I will randomly assign roles to each of you. The game is divided into the DAY PHASE and the NIGHT PHASE.
The game begins with the DAY PHASE, with all of you standing on the bridge right after the deadly announcement. You may spend this time roleplaying, getting to know each other, and making wild accusations and/or terrified gibbering.
A few of you will be DEVOURER CULTISTS. You know each other and must mingle with the other passengers to avoid being detected. Each night, you collude with each other and decide to murder one passenger. The cultists win if they are the only ones left on the ship. The game then passes to the DAY PHASE
The rest of you will be PASSENGERS. You don't know the true identities of anyone else on the ship and your goal is to eliminate the cultists. Each day you (and the cultists in their guise as passengers) will vote on who you think is a cultist. The one with the most votes will be killed.
Depending on how many players we end up with, some of you will be assigned SPECIAL ROLES. Which roles are present in the game and what their special abilities are will be announced when the game begins, but the identities of each role is secret.
You may start making characters and submitting them under this post. You don't need stats or a character sheet for this game, just an identity that you wish to roleplay as a passenger on the Hope's Peak.
Do not begin roleplay in this thread. It's just for recruitment!
For the last month I have been working on what is currently called 'Mechfinder', a system for highly-detailed construction of mechs and their use in Starfinder.
It is integrated with both personal combat and space combat. Rules are included for the support, maintenance and transport of mechs with starships.
As of the time of writing, it sits at about 15k words and I expect I might hit 18-20k by the time it is finished.
This is a work in progress and I'd like to work with an interested publisher in bringing it to completion. I can provide a link to the WIP on Google docs. :)
Please get in touch if you want the best and most in-depth mech system Starfinder has seen so far!
Just tell me what you'd want to see in a Starfinder-compatible mech addon.
What do you want mechs to be capable of?
What cool stunts would you try to pull off in a mech?
What kind of magical additions would you want on a mech?
What class features would you like to be usable in a mech?
Note that they are not just big power armour. The mech system is fully realised and compatible with both personal and space combat, with mechs as customisable as SF starships (in fact, using a tier and BP system).
SIZE ............. LENGTH ............... WEIGHT
Weight is in US tons to two significant digits.
My Technomorph (cybernetic shapeshifter) class is nearing completion, pending only playtesting and tidying.
I'm also working on MECHFINDER, which I may call something else because it's about giant robot battles and to be honest, they are not very hard to find.
Mechs can be used in personal combat, mech to mech combat or starship combat (although their movement options are very limited there without added flight capabilities).
At the moment, encountering a mech while on foot has a CR equal to the mech's tier +5. A powerful party can take them down! A mech is a truly frightening opponent, with numerous combat options in a single turn.
It's not just about shooting, either. You can man advanced tactical consoles, coordinating and inspiring strike forces. Or install a cyberwarfare suite in your mech and hack your enemies into ejecting all their ammunition! Magical characters can channel their spells through techno-magical spell capacitors to power up arcane devices installed on their mechs, and solarions can employ the unique Solar Conduit to meld their energies with the mech's own weapons or defenses.
Let's say your average starship is about five times as long as it is tall and wide.
A starship's density should be about 0.25 metric tons per cubic metre. A jet airliner has an average density of 0.27, but 0.25 is a nicer number to work with for approximations.
So for the above starship with proportions of 5:1:1, to calculate its total mass in metric tons, all you need is:
m = l³ / 100
Where l is the ship's length in metres along its longest axis. If you start with the mass and want length, it's the same thing in reverse:
l = ∛(m * 100)
Say you summon a Lillend. They are cool friends from good realms that know a lot of stuff. Within the span of the summoning spell's duration, can you ask questions? Could you ask the Lillend the name of an outsider she knows that might be willing to pop over for a binding to help out these good guys in a desperate situation?
You swap a creature with a statue that takes on its appearance, making it look like it was petrified.
Before you can cast this spell, you must have at least one nonmagical stone statue affected by your arcane mark.
When you cast this spell on a creature, you may designate a marked statue that is the same size as the creature. If the creature fails its saving throw, it is teleported to the location of the statue and the statue is teleported to the creature's location simultaneously; they swap places and the arcane mark on the statue ends. If any effect would prevent either the creature or the statue's teleportation, or the statue has been destroyed, the spell fails without effect.
The statue arrives altered to appear as though the creature had just been petrified, regardless of the statue's original appearance. This effect leaves a lingering aura of the transmutation school of the same strength as the original spell, in addition to the normal aura of the conjuration school.
Hmm. Maybe the writing could do with some tidying. I think the idea is sound. :3
One complaint I often see is the ability of spellcasters to absolutely precisely land explosions in exactly the right place between a roiling melee of combatants such that it only hits enemies.
What if you could never be entirely certain of the precise radius of your effects? You could clip a nearby ally with that fireball.
How would this work?
I'm making a Soulfire Master/Devourer Thaumaturge and I'm being given the option of gestalting with a few restrictions:
If I gain another casting progression, I only gain the better of the two, not both. This progression can benefit from spell-modifying class abilities of both classes where appropriate.
Spherecasting is the only available type of spellcasting, although spell-likes work as normal.
The character is a creepy destruction/dark cultist weirdo that wants to wield the hideous powers of the enemy (not that we know exactly what the enemy is yet) against its own forces.
At the moment I'm thinking of taking Incanter as my other half, gaining an eventual +20 talents over what Thaumaturge would normally have. It does, however, leave two bad saves. :I
Millions, perhaps even billions of people must have been doing incredibly dangerous or life-saving work when their memory got blanked.
Also, what happened to culture and science? Since recorded information was erased as well, do people have to invent new cultures from scratch, pieced together by influence of what relics of their now-unknown civilisation surround them?
With vehicles becoming a more integral part of the game, what are we to do with spaceships (and creatures) that are above Colossal in size?
Both the Millennium Falcon and a Star Destroyer are bigger than Colossal, but one is clearly magnitudes larger than the other.
Do we need an extension of the size categories? Or something else?
What happens to the narrative if you describe failed will saves not as breached mental defenses, but as a failure of character, a submission to temptation or flaws? That the character chooses, of their own will (as determined by the roll of the die), to take the worse option?
In this case, the will save represents not just a psychic wall against effects, but strength of character. What kind of game would arise from this idea?
Try to be both original and faithful to the setting (as much as we know about it, at least)! Here's one to start us out:
So, I'm to make a level 1 character using Spheres of Power in place of the Vancian magic system. Conventional classes are allowed, albeit per the conversions that replace their casting.
This means gestalting two casting classes does not stack casting. I'm considering doing a healy, naturey, 'druid-themed' soul weaver, but I haven't a clue what I should use for my second class.
And if not for that concept, just in general what are good gestalt SoP combos?
1. A wheel half in an area of reverse gravity, used as the ship's generator.
2. Everyone's favourite old point-portals to various planes for use as electricity generation or even materials sources for shipboard replicators.
3. A magical teleportation chamber that attempts to teleport bombs aboard the enemy ship.
Add more! Or countermeasures to previously posted devices.
I woke up with some ideas and I'm going to try to get them down here before I run out of energy or become to miserable to do so.
The role of cybernetics in a future society
Different societies may look on kinds of cybernetics very differently. In some, augmentation may be all-pervasive, seen as no more unnatural as you see your smartphone. Integrating technology into yourself to make life easier, healthier and all around more convenient may be utterly the norm. Such a society may have a highly-regulated and widespread cybernetics industry. The tradeoff of easy access to the technology is that you are wired into their global (or even interstellar) system. This might not be a Facebook you can opt out of; Those without all the latest augments may be locked out of modern conveniences like someone without email and a phone. For most, this is fine. Adventurers might prefer not to use commercial grade gear if they want to keep their activities under cover.
Another option is that cybernetics are available only to those that can afford them: The tools of the elite that elevate them even further above the unagumented populace. The rulers look out over the masses through digital eyes, augmented ubermenches defending their high stations with exclusive technology. Their militaries may be likewise heavily augmented, mechanical superiority the reward for (perhaps chip-enforced) loyalty. This kind of equipment would be quite superior and possibly even unethical in the R&D methods used to produce it. This kind of high-end cyberware would be ideal for adventurers, if difficult to obtain.
The reverse is a society that sees cybernetics as ugly, crude tools for keeping unskilled workers relevant in an age increasingly dominated by automation. Such devices may be very obvious, unfashionable and even grotesque. Still, an adventurer might find the capabilities of a living bulldozer quite applicable to his or her work.
Of course, these are just three of many possibilities. I don't expect the Starfinder universe to be uniform in its take on cybernetics in society.
Cybernetic installation limitations
I have been thinking about how to go about balancing cyberware for characters in a way that doesn't leave the unaugmented left out.
One option is that cyberware is simply the 'Big Six' of Starfinder. You don't go without it. A 20th level character is a synthetic god. Or that it simply competes with magic items for the same position, granting non-stacking bonuses. Is there room for someone that wants neither technology nor magic?
In the same way, it could simply be treated as equipment. How much difference is there between a suit of armour and dermal plating? Both do exactly the same job. That armour can be removed easily may be both an advantage or a disadvantage. It is hard to say which is better. Pay the price for whichever one you want and you aren't charged anything more than money and perhaps a proficiency feat for it (if those still exist); armour proficiency or cyberware proficiency. Such a cyberware proficiency could come in similar grades of 'none', 'light', 'medium' and 'heavy'. A technomancer might begin with heavy cyberware proficiency whereas a mystic might have light or none.
I certainly don't want cyberware to be limited by specific character stats, as that locks cyborgs into a very narrow range of characters. Look at the cast of Ghost in the Shell. Almost all of them are cybered to the nines and yet they each have their different way of operating and unique skillsets.
If it is limited by con, every cyborg must be the tough guy. If it is limited by int, every cyborg must be the smart guy. And so on.
Perhaps then, something abstract like level or hit dice might be required to limit it? That might feel weird.
Making room for more machine
I've also been thinking about the possibility of reducing function in some areas in order to make more space for cybernetics. For example, removing your entire digestive system to put in a powerplant and some fancy gadgets: You haven't removed your need for food, and must now subsist on a synthetic nutrition fluid produced externally.
Drawbacks in exchange for cybernetic 'slots' or whatever might lead to drastically more characterful cyborgs; they have the choice to become even more machine than ever if they are willing to sacrifice normality.
Gain vulnerability to hacking in exchange for more mental upgrade space. Gain vulnerability to a technomancer's 'control robot' spells to gain more motor systems. Etc.
After all, do we want cyborgs to simply have exactly the same requirements and lifestyle as ordinary sophonts?
I have a number of times started something with great ideas but not been able to finish due to my own exhaustion and depression. I suffer from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Clinical Depression. It's hard.
So I am wondering, is there anyone out there suffering the same conditions that has a method of mustering the strength to write RPG content? How do you do it?
Will there be bows?
If there are, I hope they are not the premier damage-dealer. Instead, I'd prefer to see them act in a role they are suited to that guns and lasers can't perform: Non-kinetic payload delivery.
Poisons (make the poison rules work this time!), technological devices, and so on, could be attached to arrows.
Breakable arrowhead, capsule full of grey goo (the science fantasy kind, since that's what we seem to be going with). Make your targets melt from the inside.
With the proliferation of magic, the simple act of getting away with murder gets a whole lot more complicated.
Let's split this into three parts:
1. THE CRIME
You're a criminal and you want to do a crime without being caught. Knowing you live in this magical world, what do you do to succeed at your crime? What precautions must you take to avoid leaving evidence that can be traced back to you?
2. THE INVESTIGATION
A crime has been done! Now from the angle of the detective, in a world where criminals can do magic, how do you perform a full and thorough investigation? What do you have to do to make sure you are not boggled or bedeviled by some sorcerous trick (or even mundane trick that takes advantage of the assumption that magic is used in the crime)?
3. THE TRIAL
This is something I've always wanted to do in a roleplaying game, but it is immensely hard. A courtroom scene, with the party attempting to present convincing evidence that their nefarious nemesis actually did the crime. Do we have a magical courtroom as well? In such a case, what happens in it and what behaviours must be enforced or accounted for?
I'd like good advice from peeps that know how to handle these things!
It might require an entirely different system to pull off well. Pathfinder is probably unsuited for it. Oh well! Here's the idea:
The player characters are disembodied souls, perhaps deceased mortals, or elemental spirits or alien influences or something.
Player characters don't have their own body. Instead, they possess a creature to act as their body until killed, whereupon they have to possess another one. In this world, enemies aware of these possessing spirits might have wards of some kind that prevent easy possession.
If a player character dies, their soul emerges from the body and follows the party around powerlessly until an opportune body appears. This may be a subdued foe with their ward removed or broken.
Hmm. Maybe I should adapt something like Eclipse Phase rather than Pathfinder. The vast variation in power between possessable bodies would be too problematic, unless the possession 'normalises' the bodies somehow, which would also be weird.
I wanted some handy, printable reference cards for creatures and stuff for my game, so I decided to fire up Magic Set Editor and fill in the necessary text.
The result! (Ignore the houserule stats such as DEF and AR.) The 'casting cost' icon in the top right is its hit dice.
I think it turned out nicely. More complex creatures may require two cards.
Does anyone here play?
I enjoy it quite a bit, and I used to hate the MOBA genre. It turns out I just don't like LoL and DotA.
I'll be honest. I'm mainly posting this in hopes that enough people join through my link that I get the Vulture mount (bonus for four recruits reaching level 10). :3