Starfinder Core Rulebook

****½ (based on 26 ratings)
Starfinder Core Rulebook

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Shoot for the Stars

Blast off into a galaxy of adventure with the Starfinder Roleplaying Game! Step into your powered armor and grab your magic-infused laser rifle as you investigate the mysteries of a weird universe with your bold starship crew. Will you delve for lost artifacts in the ruins of alien temples? Strap on rune-enhanced armor and a laser rifle to battle undead empires in fleets of bone ships, or defend colonists from a swarm of ravenous monsters? Maybe you'll hack into the mainframe of a god-run corporation, or search the stars for clues to the secret history of the universe or brand new planets to explore. Whether you're making first contact with new cultures on uncharted worlds or fighting to survive in the neon-lit back alleys of Absalom Station, you and your team will need all your wits, combat skill, and magic to make it through. But most of all, you'll need each other.

This massive 528-page hardcover rulebook is the essential centerpiece of the Starfinder Roleplaying Game, with rules for character creation, magic, gear, and more—everything you need to play Starfinder as either a player or Game Master! The next great adventure in science-fantasy roleplaying takes off here, and the Starfinder Core Rulebook is your ticket to a lifetime of adventure amid the stars!

Inside this book, you'll find:

  • All of the rules you need to play or run a game of Starfinder.
  • Seven character classes, from the elite soldier and stealthy operative to the physics-hacking technomancer and mind-bending mystic.
  • Character races both new and classic, from androids, insectile shirrens, ratlike ysoki, and reptilian vesk to the dwarves and elves of the distant future.
  • An in-depth exploration of the Starfinder setting, including its planets, gods, factions, and threats.
  • Hundreds of weapons, spells, technological gadgets, magic items, and other options to outfit any character.
  • Complete rules for starships, including customization and starship combat.
  • Rules and tips on using Pathfinder RPG content with Starfinder.

ISBN-13: 978-1-60125-956-1

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****½ (based on 26 ratings)

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Solid game overall

****( )

Starfinder is the latest roleplaying game offering from Paizo. But what is it really? Fans hoping for Spelljammer or fantasy Pathfinder in space with dwarves and elves will be highly disappointed. This is not the book for you. Honestly, you may be better served by looking at Starjammer (d20pfsrd) instead. So what is Starfinder? Let’s take a look.

First off, Starfinder is much more of a hard-core science fiction game with some fantasy elements blended in. Character creation is much like any familiar process with the addition of themes, core aspects of a character’s background and motivations. In addition to reflecting a certain background, a theme provides benefits to an appropriate skill and ability scores.

The races to choose from are all completely new except for human. Androids needs no explanation. Kasatha are a four-armed race from a distant desert world with a highly traditional culture.
(Almost sounds like the Dark Sun Thri-Keen with the serial numbers filed off, doesn’t it?) Lashunta are a charismatic and telepathic race of scholars with 2 subspecies, one tall and lean, the other short and muscular. The Shirren are an insectoid race that broke away from a locustlike hive, community-minded but addicted to individual choice. The Vesk are a warlike reptilian race that recently declared a truce with the rest of the other races – for now. Lastly, you have the Ysoki, also known as the ratfolk, who are short, furry scavengers that make up for their short size with big personalities.

The classes you can pick from provide considerable flavors yet maintain a strong sci-fi feel. The Envoy is your diplomat who is good at a wide range of skills and inspires allies to accomplish great heroic feats. The Mechanic is a master of machine and technology whose tinkering produces a drone companion (Shiny!) or a powerful brain implant. The Mystic is a magic user (yes, magic – I did say there were some fantasy aspects) whose mysterious connection to a powerful force grants him abilities that break the laws of the universe. The Operative is your standard sneaky-type class. The Solarian is a disciplined warrior who mastery of the stars grants him either a weapon or armor made of stellar power. The Soldier is your basic combat party fighter/tank. That role really never changes. Lastly, the Technomancer is a magic user who preternaturally attuned to technology and can use it to unlock powerful effects. (I kept calling this class a Techno-mage in my head 90% of the time.)

Resolve Points are another new addition. Essentially, they are used to activate class features and regain resources. Some abilities require you to spend points but are active only as long as you leave a minimum number of points available to you. For example, an Envoy with at least 1 RP remaining in his pool can use her expertise class feature to roll an extra die on Sense Motive checks without spending the point. Resolve Points can also be used for regaining stamina points (I’ll talk about those in a minute), stabilizing and staying in the fight (healing 1hp to go from unconscious to conscious).

Instead of sticking with the traditional hit point system as a way of tracking wounds and health, Starfinder implements a combination system of stamina points and hit points. Hit Points (HP) serve as a measure of health. Reduction in those points represent physical wounds/damage, illness, or other serous physical impairment. Stamina Points (SP) measure your readiness and energy. They also replenish much faster than hit points. When you take damage from an attack, spell disease, etc. – it reduces your pool of SP first with any damage beyond that extending into your HP. You can of SP like your ability to shake off a hard impact. It’s fairly easy to get up after the first one or two, but eventually they add up and wear you down and start to seriously to hurt you.

Let’s talk about space travel and starships. In the world of Starfinder, travel time between planets within the same solar system using standard thrusters can be measured in days. However, if you want to travel between star systems, it would take decades. It requires a certain technology and navigation of the hyperspace area known as the Drift to make the trip much quicker. (More on the Drift later.)

Starships are a key component to Starfinder. In fact, it fact, it would be hard to run a campaign in Starfinder without starships. Right away, you get in in-depth explanation on how to read a starship stat block. This is followed by rules on how to build a starship. This is a 7-step process consisting of:
1. Conceptualization.
2. Determination of tier and build points.
3. Selecting ship frame.
4. Selecting a power core.
5. Selecting thrusters.
6. Fill out remaining systems.
7. Add remaining details.

If you don’t want to build a starship on your own or lack the time before running a game, several sample starships are provided. The Eoxian ship styles remind me of ships the Chaos faction in Warhammer Gothic. My personal favorite is the Vindicas Tyrant from the Veskarium ship styles. Granted, it’s a tier 16 Colossal dreadnought, but man, can she shell out the damage.

Starship combat takes a bit of getting used to but gets everyone involved which is good. Combat is dependent upon the role that each of the PCs assume when they board ship. These roles determine when the PCs act in combat. Players choose from Captain, Engineer, Gunner, Pilot, and Science Officer.

Starship combat is typically represented on a hex grid with some object used to signify the ship (miniature, pawn, coin, candy, etc.). Each ship occupies 1 hex unless otherwise specified. Combat occurs overs a series of rounds until it reaches conclusion. Each round is divided into 3 phases, resolved in order. Each character aboard a starship typically acts in only one of these phases, dependent upon his role.

1. Engineering – engineers each take an action to repair ship systems or to give them a boost.
2. Helm – each pilot attempts a Piloting check to move the ship. This is repeated each round the Helm phase. Also, during this phase science officers can scan for other vessels or target foes.
3. Gunnery – fire all weapons.

If combat is not resolved, a new round begins, and everything goes back to step 1. A Captain mact during any phase of combat. His options, however, depend on his character level. He may Demand, Encourage, Taunt, Order (6th level), or give a Moving Speech (12th level).

Starfinder contains a chapter on Game Mastering. If you are strictly a player, you can skip or skim the chapter. However, if you plan on running a Starfinder game, I suggest you read it. If you don’t have a lot of experience being a GM, you had better set aside some time to study this chapter! I’ve been a GM for over 30 years and even I found nuggets of good information here.

Now, let’s talk about the actual setting. In Starfinder, characters adventure among the Pact World, a densely inhabited solar system. One of the great mysteries is that all historical records go back a few centuries and then go blank or end. Or become completely contradictory. There is a period of time referred to as the Gap where history is just missing. It was during this time that the planet of Golarion simply vanished. No one knows why. In its place lies a vast space station known as Absalom Station.

The Drift is a hyperspace dimension reachable only via technology and allowing faster travel between stars. One of the problems with how Drift engines work, though, is they bring a chunk of a random plane into the Drift each time a jump is made. The longer the jump, the larger the piece of planar material that gets dragged in and left floating endlessly in the Drift. Sometimes this chunk appears right next to the ship which, if it happens to be a rock from Hell filled with devils, could be big trouble.

So remember what I said in the beginning of this review about not using Pathfinder races in Starfinder? Well, I kind of lied. The final chapter contains information on how to convert Pathfinder to Starfinder. Paizo warns you up front that such conversions can require a lot of work, but they do give you some tools to work with.

Overall, Starfinder is a very interesting beast of an RPG. While not true hard science fiction like Traveller, it’s not fantasy in space like Spelljammer either. It represents a good blend of both – mostly sci-fi with a touch of fantasy sprinkled in. If you are familiar with how the mechanics of 3rd edition D&D or Pathfinder works, then Starfinder will be a no brainer. If you are coming from a different gaming system, you will find it an easy learning curve. It’s a good game.

Score: 137/150


Beautiful, Professional, Fun!

****( )

It’s been exactly one year since the Starfinder Core Rulebook was released. After playing the game steadily since then, the timing seems auspicious to do a full review. Having read it cover to cover, I’ll be doing my usual chapter-by-chapter breakdown, but since this is a big book (13 chapters and 524 pages) I can’t be quite as prolix as usual.

Before getting into the content, I have to draw attention to the art and design of the book—it’s simply gorgeous. Paizo is the best in the business when it comes to integrating cool, “on-theme” artwork into their books, and the design of the book is clever and user-friendly, with a running border on the “right-hand” side so you instantly know what chapter you’re in, highlighted tabs at the bottom to tell you what you what section of that chapter you’re in, colourful sidebars and symbols to replace walls of text, and more. I don’t what the art and layout budget for it was, but it must have taken the best work of some very talented people to achieve such results.

Chapter 1 (Overview) is the shortest chapter, and it gives you the sort of thing most gaming books do: an explanation of what a role-playing game is, a quick glossary, an example of play, etc. When you’ve read a couple of these introductions to RPGs, you’ve read them all, but for people who have never gamed before, I imagine they’re pretty important. The example of play was pretty entertaining, and I found myself disappointed when it was over—odd!

Chapter 2 (Character Creation) walks you step-by-step through the process of creating a player character. It’s written in a very clear, straightforward way, and I know the developers spent a lot of time testing the chapter out on people unfamiliar with tabletop RPGs. This chapter is crucial, as it details important game concepts like Stamina and Hit Points (two different “pools” representing health; I don’t really think the distinction is worthwhile), Resolve Points (a pool of points allowing you to activate special abilities or stabilize if you run out of health), and Themes, which are sort of like background character concepts (“Bounty Hunter” and “Icon” are examples); they provide some minor mechanical bonuses, but frankly they’re not really going to change what a character can do and are more for flavour. Alignment is also covered in this chapter, but Starfinder is so wishy-washy on it, and it’s implemented in so few parts of the game, that it could be safely jettisoned entirely.

Chapter 3 (Races) introduces the seven core races of the game: Androids, Humans, Kasathas (four-armed traditionalists), Lashuntas (natural psychics), Shirrens (humanoid bug-like creatures), Vesk (Klingons in disguise), and Ysoki (ratfolk). I really like how attractively the two-page spread for each race is laid out, with male and female examples, highlighted special features, and other useful sections like homeworlds, role-playing tips, and how other races might view your own. None strike me as amazingly original, but they’re all solid and well-integrated with the setting lore of the game.

Chapter 4 (Classes) sets out the seven core classes: Envoys (diplomats and leaders), Mechanics (techies), Mystics (clerics), Operatives (spies and rogues), Solarians (a sort of Jedi), Soldiers (beatsticks), and Technomancers (magic/tech crossover specialists). A nice thing is that for each class, four build examples are given to help new players figure out what direction they want to take the character—so for Envoy, for example, builds are included for an Ambassador, a Military Officer, a Negotiator, and a Scoundrel. I only have space for a quick line about my impression of each class: 1) Envoys are great characters when it comes to teamwork, but it’s weird that their list of special ability (“Improvisations”) stops at level six; 2) Mechanics are loaded with several cool features, and are a fairly complex class to play with two main options (an integrated AI or a drone companion); 3) Mystic is a good, broad interpretation of a cleric from Pathfinder, but much easier to play (the Healer Connection might be too good compared to alternatives); 4) Operatives are the best at anything if they want to be, second-best in the group if they don’t even try—in other words, overpowered with too many skill ranks and bonuses, plus a special ability (trick attack) that has them rolling to resolve something before every single time they attack—it’s annoying in play; 5) Solarian is the most original class, with some really interesting lore involving connections to super novae and black holes that are well-integrated into their gameplay mechanics; 6) Soldiers are mostly what one would expect, with “Fighting Styles” the main distinguishing feature; 7) Technomancer is a cool concept, a class with spells plus “Magic Hacks” that do interesting things to technology. There are a lot of options within each class, they’re flavourful, and (with the exception of the Operative) they seem reasonably balanced with each other. I almost forgot about Archetypes—that’s because they’re completely forgettable (the book comes with two, a Phrenic Adept and a Starfinder Forerunner, but both require a PC to give up so many of their core class features that they’re unlikely to be worth it).

Chapter 5 (Skills) has the same basic system for skills as Pathfinder, but with far fewer to choose from: only twenty. But with every class getting at least 4+Int in skill points, it’s pretty easy to stay maxed out on the most important ones in the game. Indeed, some classes (looking at you, Operatives) get so many skill points that they can be good at almost everything. Designing skill lists must be a tough task in RPGs, as there are inevitably some that are going to come up nearly every session (like Computers) and some only rarely (like Swim). Some skills are too broad (like Culture, which apparently allows one to be an expert on every planet in the universe) and others are too narrow (like Disguise, which won’t let you disguise yourself as a specific person). There’s also still a lot of number-crunching involved in selecting the appropriate DC within each skill, so this is not a fast “rules-light” system. All in all, I would say it’s okay, but not a great leap forward from D&D 3.0 or Pathfinder.

Chapter 6 (Feats) has a lot of good, original ideas, some of which take real advantage of the setting like Amplified Glitch. There’s just over 100 feats in total, which seems like a lot, but many are, of course, really only useful for certain classes or builds, so I don’t think choice paralysis is going to be a problem yet. The interior artwork continues to be excellent in this chapter.

Chapter 7 (Equipment) clearly had a lot of design work put into it, as it’s far more integral to the game than mundane equipment was in Pathfinder. Every piece of equipment has a level attached to it, representing how easy or hard it is for a character to get a hold of it (with higher level pieces of equipment being better, of course). It’s more reminiscent of a video game, but I think it works in context as an abstraction of things like licensing and black market connections, etc. I really like some of the special properties and critical hit effects that weapons have, though I wish the tables would have been divided by level instead of weapon type. There’s some problems I could go into here (such as how annoying batteries are, or how fusions and fusion seals are each good ideas standing alone, but having both doesn’t make sense), but I’ll generally just say that encumbrance has been simplified (for better or ill), there’s a lot of design space for future books, and the problem of every character having a billion magic items has been solved in a way that (to me) is satisfactory. The way equipment is purchased, upgraded, and sold has had a surprisingly large impact on Starfinder gameplay, so this chapter shouldn’t be skipped over when thinking about the game.

Chapter 8 (Tactical Rules) is probably the most important chapter of the book, as it covers combat. The Pathfinder chassis is used here, with some minor differences such as only two types of armor class (EAC and KAC) and thankfully simplified combat maneuvers. Oddly, the dying and death rules are much *more* complicated, and I wish they had stuck with the intuitive negative hp concept (it’s pretty hard to die in Starfinder!). For the most part though, things are laid out clearly and carefully; it’s obvious the writers have learned a lot from their experience with ten years of Pathfinder. There’s also a section on vehicles, a part of the book that I must confess I’ve never used in actual play. It looks okay at first glance, though the speed of vehicles means they will be very hard to integrate with “on-foot” combat. The vehicle chase rules sound interesting, but it’s a whole new subsystem to learn and that’s a lot to ask for something that probably won’t come up too often.

Chapter 9 (Starships) goes through the very cool origin of the Drift (a hyperspace-like realm allowing faster than light travel), discusses how starships are built and modified from a gameplay perspective, and then introduces the important topic of starship combat. I really *want* to like starship combat in Starfinder (I loved it in the Star Wars RPGs, for example), but after some trials I’ve just found it too slow-paced and unsatisfying. It’s really almost a separate little board game in which the PCs aboard the ship don’t have much to do besides roll one d20 each round, and if the gunner(s) miss, the rest of the round doesn’t matter. Ships have too many hit points, weapons do too little damage, and shields are too easy to restore, which means that battles are often a “plink-plink” slog. Further, there’s no way to have cool things happen like starfighters strafing ground targets or being driven off by anti-aircraft, fire, etc. Starship combat and ground combat must never mix in Starfinder, and the missed opportunity is a shame.

Chapter 10 (Magic and Spells) has a lot to like. All spellcasting is spontaneous, there’s no material components, spellcasters only have access to spells of levels 1-6, and the different types of magic (arcane, divine, psychic, etc.) have all been reduced to simply “magic.” Although I haven’t played at very high levels yet, I’m fairly certain we’ll see a lot less of the caster-martial disparity that plagued Pathfinder. In terms of the actual spells, I would say that perhaps three-quarters are familiar from Pathfinder, which is a bit too high a proportion. Some of the new ones are really fun, like “Battle Junkbot,”, “Crush Skull,” “Gravitational Singularity” (make a black hole!), and “Supercharge Weapon.”

Chapter 11 (Game Mastering) contains the standard rules and advice from Pathfinder on topics like experience points, wealth by level, challenge ratings, designing encounters, etc. The system hasn’t really changed much. The chapter contains some other sections as well, such as traps (which tend to be pretty nasty in Starfinder), environmental hazards (which, in a game with so much potential for dangerous environments, are negated 99% of the time by the environmental seals that come with *every* suit of armor), afflictions like diseases and poisons (which follow a very different set of rules and are quite deadly), and more. It’s probably worth mentioning that there aren’t stat blocks for monsters or enemies in this book, and GMs will need to pick up the Alien Archive for that purpose.

Chapter 12 (Setting) is another crucial chapter. I think it has a really solid backstory and set-up, introducing key concepts like the Gap (a period of time in which all records have been erased and memories lost), Lost Golarion (an entire planet missing!), the the Pact Worlds (the solar system of allied planets that is the “home” of the PCs), and more. The chapter presents two pages on each of the planets of the Pact Worlds, including some beautiful, evocative artwork. The planets offer worlds (pun!) of adventure, with everything from a planet ruled by the undead, a creepy Cthulesque planet, a John Carter of Mars-type planet, etc. GMs will have a lot to work with here. There’s also a section called “Beyond the Pact Worlds” that’s one of my favourite sections of the book, presenting so many awesome adventure hooks and campaign premises that I’d love to have time to use. Several pages are devoted to various factions, organisations, and faiths, and again this is very well-done. I know it’s controversial in some quarters, but I think integrating mechanics with a setting is a good choice.

Chapter 13 (Pathfinder Legacy) is surprisingly detailed. I remember when Starfinder was announced how much attention Paizo gave to making sure it was backwards-compatible with Pathfinder, which is somewhat odd since they (secretly) had Pathfinder Second Edition in the works and it has nothing particular compatible with the first edition except the world lore. Anyway, this section has the rules for “legacy races” (elves, halflings, etc.,) as well as some rough conversion guides for bringing Pathfinder classes into the future.

Last up, unlike some gaming companies, Paizo does not skimp on things like glossaries and indices. The back matter is very professionally done.

The Starfinder Core Rulebook is an impressive accomplishment. It deserves the attention and rewards that it has achieved. There are still some clunky mechanics here and there as a legacy of Pathfinder, but there’s plenty of streamlining as well, and lots to love. The kitchen-sink science fantasy setting provides something for everyone, even if it doesn’t have a mind-blowing singular vision. Overall, I’d say if you want a space-themed RPG with enough depth and crunch to support years of gameplay, the Starfinder Core Rulebook is an excellent choice.


Thanks again for another great game! May I have another piece of crow pie?

*****

I started gaming with Star Frontiers and science fiction gaming has always been my true gaming love despite most of the time being spent – unsurprisingly – on fantasy. The fantasy genre has done much over the decades to close the gap to where the affection gap between them is pretty narrow but sci-fi still wins out. However, science fiction and fantasy have always been “two great tastes” that didn’t really taste great together for me. For every Star Wars (and there are few), there are dozens of examples of poorly mashing the genres together. Planetary romance and pulp managed it before Star Wars was a thing but the only thing close to Star Wars that did it successfully IMO was Farscape.

So going into the announcement of Starfinder, I was intrigued but not thrilled. From a Paizo perspective, it made perfect sense – it gave the company the opportunity to satisfy Lisa’s love of Star Wars with Paizo intellectual property and no licensing headaches and also could satisfy Erik’s love of planetary romance/pulp as well as fully realize the science fantasy seeds planted in the PF1 era Golarion system.

I picked up Starfinder and while I was impressed with some elements, others on first glance didn’t quite satisfy my physics-degree based-desire to keep magic out of my science fiction. I’d found Savage Worlds years before and it provides the science-fiction toolbox I was looking for. (BTW, Pinnacle has a kickstarter for the Irongate expansion for their highly recommended Last Parsec setting underway right now).

Specifically, I wasn’t crazy about NPCs operating by different rules, the gear progression system, and what appeared to be the restrictive nature of the base classes. I was running multiple Pathfinder campaigns and struggling to find regular times to run those and still had my intermittent Last Parsec campaign so there was little incentive to add Starfinder to the mix of games I’d run.

But a month ago my eldest son said he wanted to purchase Starfinder with an eye towards running it. For the first time in many years, I would get to be a player rather than a GM, so I threw my Starfinder reservations aside and eagerly dove into Starfinder.

It iS GLORIOUS!!

Yes, it’s more Farscape and Guardians of the Galaxy than Aliens, Dark Matter, The Expanse, or Firefly (but it can do these also). Yes, it has a specific tone/feel just like Pathfinder is for fantasy so it can’t be molded to suit any style of science fiction. Also, yes – it’s a blast to play!

My love of Savage Worlds and free-form/magic-free science fiction caused me to forget a lesson I learned when introducing my kids and their friends to Pathfinder. For most new players, class-based games provide structure that facilitates learning the game vs. being so overwhelmed by possibilities that a player doesn’t know where to start. The same goes for the gear list and while, yes it is a concession to game balance & structure, it’s not as intrusive or problematic as my casual initial Starfinder read-through appeared. And at the end of the day, it’s a game and not a physics simulator which is true of every RPG I’ve played in the past 35 years.

Once my preconceptions and biases were thrown aside, I’ve quickly grown to appreciate the design of this game. We are 4-5 sessions into the campaign and it’s fantastic. Some of my favorite SF facets:

1. Every class is broader than I originally believed. For example an operative, envoy, and even a soldier can be a skilled engineer, not just the Mechanic.

2. Every class is distinct but can contribute to similar roles via different means. The SF classes are very flexible. Themes allow for further differentiation out of the gate. Having multiple characters of the same class in a party isn’t detrimental.

3. Stamina Points + the removal of non-lethal damage provides a smooth cinematic experience without the limitations of Ultimate Combats Wounds+Vitality system. I like it so much I wish it would be in PF2. I understand why it won’t be, but I want it all the same.

4. Starship combat is excellent! It brought back Knight Hawks nostalgia but without the rough edges. If Knight Hawks was a classic car, Starfinder is the refined, high tech model of modern engineering.

5. Ability advancement is vastly superior to PF1. It’s easier to make well-rounded characters instead of having to hyper-specialize.

6. The broader magical classes that are differentiated by themes/sources/story is superior to PF1’s specialized spellcasting classes. I like that Priest is a theme rather than hard-wired into a class. The removal of arcane/divine makes magic seem more like a universal mystical force that can be interpreted multiple ways. In this respect, magic in SF seems more mystical than magic in PF, which is so categorized & defined that it seems more scientific in comparison.

7. Bulk is much more manageable than PF1’s encumbrance system. It has its own quirks but I like the system overall.

I’m still early into the system and have much to learn. While SF may not provide the pure science fiction of say The Expanse or the new Lost in Space out of the box, it does provide an exciting system and setting for science fantasy. As most players and GMs (and Hollywood directors) are perfectly happy moving “at the speed of plot”, the SFCRB provides a new-player-friendly toolkit for expanding beyond FRPGs. It builds off of PF1, the PF Beginner Box, and current media influences and refines the whole into a fun, yet familiar, science fantasy RPG.

Kudos, Paizo! Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to prep my ship. We’re heading into the Drift!


I've been playing for half a year now; here are my thoughts.

*****

First off, a review of a core rulebook is pretty similar to a review of a game system, so this is basically that. The short version? I really, really enjoy Starfinder, and I think the Core Rulebook does an excellent job of explaining and showcasing the system.

Alright, the long version:

Character Creation: In comparison to Pathfinder, building characters is less fiddly while maintaining a large array of meaningful customization options. One new addition is Themes (analogous to Pathfinder's traits) which have a small amount of mechanical impact but do a very good job of hooking your character into the world around them.

Races: Starfinder ships with six new alien races as well as all the core Pathfinder races. Most of them largely fall into the category of Star Trek aliens (ya know, humans with masks on), but they have some fairly interesting racial abilities to differentiate them.

Classes: Starfinder has seven classes. Some are familiar (soldiers are basically space-fighters), some are deceptively different (technomancers look like wizards, but they're really not), and some are completely new (solarians are... solarians). Overall, the power curve is pretty tight and each class is interesting, highly customizable, and worth playing.

Feats, Skills, and Spells: Feats are, overall, less important than in Pathfinder (as a corollary, feat taxes have been eliminated; the feat trees are quite short). Skills are arguably more important (especially in starship combat), and the skill list has been condensed in a way that makes skills more accessible. The biggest change to the magic system is probably the addition of undercasting (i.e., some spells can be cast at multiple spell levels), which is absolutely essential, considering that both spellcasting classes in Starfinder are spontaneous.

Tactical Rules: It feels like Pathfinder. There are a host of small to medium changes (iterative attacks have been replaced with scaling weapon damage, for example), but if you like Pathfinder combat, you'll like Starfinder combat (unless, of course, you hate change - Starfinder is a new system, not a setting on top of an old system).

Other Things: Starship combat! I think it's pretty neat and makes a good addition to the game. There's also an expansive chapter on setting, which includes deities, planets, groups, etc. - it's usful to both players & GMs. There's a chapter on game mastering, which is nice. Finally, the art is fantastic through and through.


*****


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Pathfinder Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Also -- Part 1 of the 1st AP comes out in August, and it will have a few monsters in it.


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Also -- one can play with NPCs as adversaries.

Also -- there's a mini-bestiary to be released in June for Free RPG Day.

Lantern Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
David knott 242 wrote:

My guesses:

Scientist = science officer role in starship combat

Pilot = pilot role in starship combat

Aristocrat = Envoy core class

Hacker = maxed out Computer skill

No idea about Explorer/Pioneer/Spacer. Maybe an Operative specialization?

You have a point with the Aristocrat and the Envoy. But come on, you can use more imagination than that! The Hacker could be something way more worthwhile than a skill and Scientist could be way more than a role on a starship.

Contributor

Hmm. I could easily imagine a Hacker style class that functions as something like a tech-mesmerist. But Scientist is vague enough to be literally anything. Are we talking a xenobiologist or a geologist here?


Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Deluxe Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Maps Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Michelle A.J. wrote:
But Scientist is vague enough to be literally anything. Are we talking a xenobiologist or a geologist here?

Or a thaumatologist, even?

Lantern Lodge

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Michelle A.J. wrote:
Hmm. I could easily imagine a Hacker style class that functions as something like a tech-mesmerist. But Scientist is vague enough to be literally anything. Are we talking a xenobiologist or a geologist here?

Per my earlier post, I meant a class that has specialties, like bloodlines for sorcerers or spirits for shamans. So, the scientist could be a doctor/xenobiologist, an archaeologist, an astrophysicist, a xenopsychologist, or whatever sciences we think up with uses for in game. Some versions of these are already archetypes for pathfinder classes, like the Bard's Archaeologist or the Alchemist's Vivisectionist, when science is at one of its lowest points. So, why not have scientists as a playable class in a game set when scientific knowledge is supposed to be at it's peak?


well how ever they do this I'm truly excited for this release


KrashKourse wrote:
I see no way to play this game with out monsters. how will monsters be added with out waiting a WHOLE month for them to come out??? are they in the core book? if not im not buying them till both come out and only if the monsters dont suck, other wise I dont think I will buy this from the site, maybe some other cheap download for a dollar because the game is getting released with out monsters.

You have this thing coming out in July

Lantern Lodge

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Axial wrote:
KrashKourse wrote:
I see no way to play this game with out monsters. how will monsters be added with out waiting a WHOLE month for them to come out??? are they in the core book? if not im not buying them till both come out and only if the monsters dont suck, other wise I dont think I will buy this from the site, maybe some other cheap download for a dollar because the game is getting released with out monsters.
You have this thing coming out in July

Earlier if you can get the physical copy on Free RPG Day, Saturday, 17 June, 2017.

Shadow Lodge

Okay so it comes out in August, I get that, cool.

Can I just have a copy now though? Thanks in advance, PDF is fine. I can appreciate making full books is tricky.

Dark Archive

So this will be available on the first day of Gencon 2017.

I guess street date will still be august 23rd?


Marco Massoudi wrote:

So this will be available on the first day of Gencon 2017.

I guess street date will still be august 23rd?

Nope, August 17, same as the pdf.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Dunno if this can even be answered at this stage, but will Starfinder, like Pathfinder, be a 20-level system?


Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Deluxe Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Maps Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
The Drunken Dragon wrote:
Dunno if this can even be answered at this stage, but will Starfinder, like Pathfinder, be a 20-level system?

Erik confirmed the game will go to twenty levels here.

That was a while ago so I guess things may have changed in development but it read to me like they had settled the issue.

Lantern Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Steve Geddes wrote:
The Drunken Dragon wrote:
Dunno if this can even be answered at this stage, but will Starfinder, like Pathfinder, be a 20-level system?

Erik confirmed the game will go to twenty levels here.

That was a while ago so I guess things may have changed in development but it read to me like they had settled the issue.

I think the oft-repeated compatibility with Pathfinder monsters means that this will be a 20 level system, as well. Also, part of the reason that Paizo is so careful about releasing information too early is that they don't want to end up in a situation where they wind up contradicting themselves. So, I doubt very much that would have changed the 20 level thing in development after that was made public.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Maps, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber

Part of me really wants to get into this, but I think the thing that's keeping me from really diving in, is just the lack of knowledge about how it all works. Is anyone else similarly stuck?


Paizo Superscriber; Pathfinder Tales Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

As someone who actually dislikes the 3.X system rules, I can assure you the reason I own everything Paizo has made for Pathfinder was my sheer love of the world treatment and variety within the setting.

That said, I have come to have a tolerance for the 3.X system which allows me to appreciate what Paizo does produce regardless of the system's failings. I have already set myself up to transition from pre-order to subscription solely based on the fact that my prior experience with the company's history of Pathfinder leads me to trust they will provide me an equivalent sci-fi world.

Quite admittedly, if they use Starfinder to change and improve on the 3.X mechanics, I for one will shed no tears. So a lack of "system" info is certainly not one I have any concern about. ;-)

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

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Dhampir984 wrote:
Part of me really wants to get into this, but I think the thing that's keeping me from really diving in, is just the lack of knowledge about how it all works. Is anyone else similarly stuck?

Remember that the Core Rulebook is still three months from release, so we're really just at the start of the process of revealing the sort of information you're looking for. A *lot* of info will be coming via the Paizo Blog in the coming weeks.

Paizo Employee Developer, Starfinder Team

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Steve Geddes wrote:
The Drunken Dragon wrote:
Dunno if this can even be answered at this stage, but will Starfinder, like Pathfinder, be a 20-level system?

Erik confirmed the game will go to twenty levels here.

That was a while ago so I guess things may have changed in development but it read to me like they had settled the issue.

I think it's safe to reveal we stuck to Erik's 20-level statement in the final version. :)


Hi there,
Can anyone tell me why the core book is so expensive? It's 10 dollars more than the core book for Pathfinder...

Silver Crusade

GRuzom wrote:

Hi there,

Can anyone tell me why the core book is so expensive? It's 10 dollars more than the core book for Pathfinder...

Inflation? It has been 8 years since the Pathfinder CRB was published, after all.

My own question: Will there be a prd with the Starfinder CRB before Gen Con, or will all Starfinder Society tables at Gen Con be played with only pregens, since we won't have the info to make PCs in advance?


3 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Smaller print run?

The Pathfinder Core Rulebook has going for it economy of scale (since more volumes are printed for this book than for any other Pathfinder book) and its possible use as a loss leader for a much larger product line.


Fromper wrote:
GRuzom wrote:

Hi there,

Can anyone tell me why the core book is so expensive? It's 10 dollars more than the core book for Pathfinder...

Inflation? It has been 8 years since the Pathfinder CRB was published, after all.

My own question: Will there be a prd with the Starfinder CRB before Gen Con, or will all Starfinder Society tables at Gen Con be played with only pregens, since we won't have the info to make PCs in advance?

Seconding this. If you do the conversion, it pretty much accounts for the difference alone.

Plus, the PDF is still a ridiculously low price.

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

4 people marked this as a favorite.

The biggest reason for the increased price compared to the Core Rulebook is indeed that the costs of printing have gone up over the last 8 years. A more appropriate comparison would be the more recent Curse of the Crimson Throne hardcover, which is 480 pages for $59.99. The Starfinder Core Rulebook actually comes out ahead there, with an additional 48 pages for the same price.

As David knott 242 mentioned, print quantity is also a factor in pricing—as a GM-focused book, Crimson Throne has a smaller reach than we expect for the Starfinder Core Rulebook, so our per-copy print costs are higher for that one. And our print runs of the Pathfinder RPG Core Rulebook tend to be bigger still.

A lesser (but still significant) factor is that it cost us a fair bit more to make this book than it did to make the Pathfinder Core Rulebook. Some of you will remember that the Pathfinder RPG Core Rulebook reused a fair amount of art from our 3.5-era RPG products, but all of the art in the Starfinder Core Rulebook was commissioned specifically for this product. Our editorial costs were also higher.


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Paizo Superscriber; Pathfinder Tales Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

I have every confidence my dollars are well placed in this product. Whether each and every piece is more expensive than its Pathfinder counterpart is of no consequence to me as my purchase is made for the sheer enjoyment I know I will get from them.

Ever since Distant Worlds first appeared in my hands, I have been waiting for what is about to be loosed upon us.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I bought it as soon as it was available for preorder and I haven't wavered in the slightest.

waves towel enthusiastically.


Vic Wertz wrote:
The biggest reason for the increased price compared to the Core Rulebook...

Thanks for answering, Vic:-)


Plus, the PDF is still a ridiculously low price.

You're right - that IS cheap! hadn't noticed...


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber

So when are we going to see the subscription(s) set up for Starfinder?

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I know this has probably been answered somewhere before, but how easy will it be to convert Pathfinder classes to Starfinder?


The Drunken Dragon wrote:
I know this has probably been answered somewhere before, but how easy will it be to convert Pathfinder classes to Starfinder?

Here are two blog posts about classes in Starfinder

The Envoy
The Operative

Those don't look very easy to convert to Pathfinder classes, which I would imagine is by design. This isn't Pathfinder In Space.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
CrystalSeas wrote:


Here are two blog posts about classes in Starfinder

The Envoy
The Operative

Those don't look very easy to convert to Pathfinder classes, which I would imagine is by design. This isn't Pathfinder In Space.

Oh no, I know that. I was wondering if the reverse was true. For instance, would it be possible to make a Psychic in Starfinder, or perhaps a Summoner, or an Alchemist. There are a bunch of cool classes in Pathfinder that might have a nice spin with the addition of tech, so I was wondering if that was possible, or if it would be impractical.

Silver Crusade

Fromper wrote:
My own question: Will there be a prd with the Starfinder CRB before Gen Con, or will all Starfinder Society tables at Gen Con be played with only pregens, since we won't have the info to make PCs in advance?

This earlier question was ignored. Anyone at Paizo care to weigh in?

Lantern Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Fromper wrote:
Fromper wrote:
My own question: Will there be a prd with the Starfinder CRB before Gen Con, or will all Starfinder Society tables at Gen Con be played with only pregens, since we won't have the info to make PCs in advance?
This earlier question was ignored. Anyone at Paizo care to weigh in?

All of the Starfinder events listed for PaizoCon have mentioned pregens. I have not seen any Starfinder Society events listed for PaizoCon.


Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Maps Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Fromper wrote:
Fromper wrote:
My own question: Will there be a prd with the Starfinder CRB before Gen Con, or will all Starfinder Society tables at Gen Con be played with only pregens, since we won't have the info to make PCs in advance?
This earlier question was ignored. Anyone at Paizo care to weigh in?

It is going to be pregens. I wouldn't expect an online resource from Paizo anytime soon, due to staffing changes a while back the person who was working on the PRD is now flooded with other stuff to do, so the PRD itself has stagnated. As such, unless a "Starfinder Reference Document" was on a priority list, I wouldn't hold my breath to see anything like that from Paizo. I image 3rd party sites will step up to the plate in the months after release.

Starfinder Society Developer

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Fromper wrote:
Fromper wrote:
My own question: Will there be a prd with the Starfinder CRB before Gen Con, or will all Starfinder Society tables at Gen Con be played with only pregens, since we won't have the info to make PCs in advance?
This earlier question was ignored. Anyone at Paizo care to weigh in?

The question wasn't ignored. In this case, the Starfinder Society team is lining up a lot of things and just don't have an announcement on this front yet. I would expect to see more information about the Starfinder Society's Gen Con launch coming out of PaizoCon, in just about 2 weeks time.

...

Oh gosh, only two weeks!

*gets back to madly working on all the Starfinder Society Roleplaying Guild things*

Starfinder Society Developer

1 person marked this as a favorite.
skizzerz wrote:
It is going to be pregens.

Please don't post speculation as though it were fact. The Starfinder Society team has yet to announce the Starfinder Society Gen Con release strategy yet.

Thanks.


Pathfinder Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

The Know Direction podcast with the PFS folks mentioned that the Starfinder events on day 1 of Gen Con would all use pregen characters, since nobody would have time to pick up the core rulebook, digest the rules, and create characters in such a short period of time.

From day 2 on would be a different story.


Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Maps Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Thurston Hillman wrote:
skizzerz wrote:
It is going to be pregens.

Please don't post speculation as though it were fact. The Starfinder Society team has yet to announce the Starfinder Society Gen Con release strategy yet.

Thanks.

I posted fact as if it was fact, I just missed the nuance that the pregens are only for the first day as David knott explained above. For that, I apologize. (Notes from the interview this was taken from.)

Starfinder Society Developer

skizzerz wrote:
I posted fact as if it was fact, I just missed the nuance that the pregens are only for the first day as David knott explained above. For that, I apologize. (Notes from the interview this was taken from.)

No worries, and as I was one of the people involved in the interview, I'm well aware (OK, mostly aware) of what was said. Given that Gen Con events will be up soon, I'm just trigger-happy on anyone spreading information as fact. Especially if the fact could be misconstrued as "All of Gen Con Starfinder Society will be Pregens", which would doubtless be followed by a torch-bearing mob coming for me!

Of course, this response is itself a bit of a statement... So take this post how you will ;)


I can't wait for this too come out. I would preorder a copy of this for myself but that'll have to wait till I know where it is I am going to be when august rolls around.

Still I love everything shown so far.

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

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The Drunken Dragon wrote:
There are a bunch of cool classes in Pathfinder that might have a nice spin with the addition of tech, so I was wondering if that was possible, or if it would be impractical.

All I can say at this time is that the Starfinder Core Rulebook has a chapter on Pathfinder compatibility.

Silver Crusade

Thurston Hillman wrote:
Fromper wrote:
Fromper wrote:
My own question: Will there be a prd with the Starfinder CRB before Gen Con, or will all Starfinder Society tables at Gen Con be played with only pregens, since we won't have the info to make PCs in advance?
This earlier question was ignored. Anyone at Paizo care to weigh in?

The question wasn't ignored. In this case, the Starfinder Society team is lining up a lot of things and just don't have an announcement on this front yet. I would expect to see more information about the Starfinder Society's Gen Con launch coming out of PaizoCon, in just about 2 weeks time.

...

Oh gosh, only two weeks!

*gets back to madly working on all the Starfinder Society Roleplaying Guild things*

Thanks for responding.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Maps, Modules, Pawns, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Vic Wertz wrote:
All I can say at this time is that the Starfinder Core Rulebook has a chapter on Pathfinder compatibility.

Nice.

I was expecting something more like the short web PDF for converting v3.5 stuff to Pathfinder. That seemed like plenty.


Been looking forward to this for some time. Do we get a PDF copy for preordering this product? Because if not I'll buy it from my LFGS.


Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Biztak wrote:
Been looking forward to this for some time. Do we get a PDF copy for preordering this product? Because if not I'll buy it from my LFGS.

I was wondering this too. In the past they said they haven't decided yet so I e-mailed them on Wednesday and they responded but said they still haven't worked out if they will be doing that or not yet.


Axial wrote:
I anticipate a high volume of 3pp to account for the fact that there will be less Starfinder content released over time compared to Pathfinder (with just an AP line instead of AP, setting, and player companions). Plus, there are many, many writers out there who would love to take a crack at writing sci-fi content for Starfinder.

You can also convert any of the pre existing material from the Pathfinder world and throw it into space! (with some modifications of course)


I will be at GenCon, but would like to preorder to insure that I get the books I want. Is there an option to preorder and pick up at GenCon? If so, how do I make this happen?

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

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We will offer free PDFs to subscribers to the Starfinder RPG line. Subscribers will also be able to pick up their August shipment at Gen Con. We'll be announcing subscription details soon; the Gen Con pickup option will be turned on shortly after we ship our July releases. You haven't missed anything yet!

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