Starfinder Alien Archive

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Starfinder Alien Archive
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Strange aliens both friendly and fearsome fill this tome of creatures designed for use with the Starfinder Roleplaying Game! From the gravity-manipulating frujais and planet-killing novaspawn to space goblins and security robots, the creatures in this codex will challenge adventurers no matter what strange worlds they're exploring. What's more, player rules for a host of creatures let players not just fight aliens, but be them!

Inside Starfinder Alien Archive, you'll find the following:

  • Over 80 bizarre life-forms both classic and new, from the reptilian ikeshtis and energy-bodied hallajins to robotic anacites and supernatural entities from beyond the realms of mortals.
  • Over 20 races with full player rules, letting you play everything from a winged dragonkin to a hyperevolved floating brain.
  • New alien technology to help give your character an edge, including weapons, armor, magic items, and more.
  • A robust NPC-creation system to let Game Masters build any aliens or creatures they can imagine.
  • New rules for magical monster summoning, quick templates to modify creatures on the fly, and more!

ISBN-13: 978-1-60125-975-2

Note: This product is part of the Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscription.

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Very good essential book

4/5

Beautifully illustrated, rich with monsters and playable races options. The part about how to create monsters is fantastic and absolutely needed. The only reason I didn't give it 5 stars is that I found a few errors (mostly missing stats) which bring down the polish of this product quite a bit. Furthermore, due to the complexity of the equipment side of this game it makes for a decent amount of cross-referencing the core rule book in order to find what you need, and that sucks.
An F.A.Q./errata is needed, please!


Expensive for size, but Excellent

5/5

The Alien Archive is the first Starfinder "monster book." It includes sixty different creatures. Although GMs would be the natural audience for a book like this, players can get a lot out of it as well because no less than 21 of the creature entries have rules for running them as PCs. In addition, several of the entries introduce new weapons, armor, or other magical items. The book is structured pretty much like you would expect, with a short introduction, a whole bunch of creatures in alphabetical order, and then some (very useful and important) appendices. I'm going to go through each of these sections, but first I want to highlight the overall design and look of the book: it's absolutely gorgeous. The full-colour artwork is uniformly excellent and fits the "feel" of the Starfinder universe perfectly, the intelligently-designed footers and page borders make it very easy to tell where you are in the book at any moment, and the layout of the creature stat blocks and description makes the text very readable. Paizo is one of the best in the business at this part of RPG publishing, and their attention and expertise to detail (not to mention investment in quality artwork) shows here to full effect.

The book starts with a two-page introduction that has a couple of different topics. First, there's an explanation that the aliens given special rules to allow them to be played as PCs have often been scaled back in power from the same aliens when played as NPCs by the GM. This makes sense from a game-design perspective (because otherwise many of the playable alien races would be overpowered), but it can be somewhat disappointing as a reader to stumble on an alien that seems awesome only to realize that, if you want to play one, it's abilities will be significantly nerfed. Second, there's a "How to Read a Stat Block" section that explains each line in a creature stat block. Most of this will be pretty familiar to readers of Pathfinder Bestiaries, with some minor distinctions, like only showing ability score modifiers (not the scores themselves), only showing usable feats (not ones that are "built in" to the statistics), and the disappointing omission of the little one-line description in italics that I used to read out to players when they encountered a new monster. Another minor difference is that instead of having little symbols that define monsters by environment, the Alien Archive has little symbols that identify them as "Combatants", "Experts" (skillwise), or "Spellcasters".

The core of the book (120 pages), of course, is the creature entries. Each entry gets a full two-page spread. The advantage of this is that many entries include multiple stat blocks (such as Space Goblins getting a CR 1/3 "Space Goblin Zaperator" and a CR 2 "Space Goblin Honchohead"), there's room for the aforementioned new items or PC racial traits, and there's a *lot* of description. This last thing is probably one of my favourite things about the book, as the writers could go into much more depth on each creature than if they just had one-page entries. The background/description sections are full of flavour and setting lore, and I saw some great adventure hooks buried within some of them. The obvious drawback of two-page spreads for each entry is that it does limit the overall number of creatures in the book, which is already slim (a topic I'll talk more about below).

As for the creatures themselves, I guess it's not really practical for me to go through all sixty of them. Some general observations: 1) They struck a reasonable balance between (re)introducing some Pathfinder creatures into the new setting (like Dragons, Drow, Elementals, and Goblins) without turning the book into just an updated Bestiary. The vast majority of creatures in the book are new. 2) Despite being an "alien" book, most of the creatures are roughly two arm/two leg/one head humanoids. There are definitely some exceptions, such as my beloved barathu (floating jellyfish-like creatures, one of which I'm running through Dead Suns), skittermanders (six-armed over-helpful little creatures that have become Starfinder's break-out hit), and exotic threats like the tech-devouring "assembly ooze" (cooler in theory than in practice). 3) Even with a relatively small spread of creatures, some entries are pretty unimaginative and fall flat: I'm looking at you Formians (generic ant creatures), Grays (generic mysterious aliens), Mountain eels (eels . . . on mountains!), surnoch (forgettable giant worms), and the Swarm (generic bug monsters). 4) The book somehow manages to handle, incredibly concisely, some entries for creature types that should take up several pages: all of the chromatic dragons, for example, are included into a single two-page spread (through the use of templates), and all four of the basic elemental types and sizes are summarised through similar means in just two pages. I admire the economy of space, though I worry the templates don't include enough special features to make a white dragon play significantly differently than a blue dragon (for example) or for a water elemental to really seem different than an air elemental. 5) A few of the creatures are large enough to post a threat to entire starships, and have been given additional stat blocks for starship combat. 6) The creatures are heavily skewed to the low to middle levels of gameplay. There's only one or two creatures each for CRs of 13 or above.

Appendix 1 weighs in at a hefty 17 pages and provides a GM with instructions for creating custom monsters and NPCs. There's a nine-step process which includes selecting an ability score array, creature type, special abilities, etc. The process is designed to be quick and painless, and operates on the premise that what's important from a player-facing perspective is what cool things a creature can do during an encounter rather than whether it has precisely the right amount of skill points or one too many feats. This was a conscious decision by the Starfinder designers, and is a big break with the D&D 3.5/Pathfinder model which operated under the premise that monsters/NPCs couldn't "cheat" (so a Level 5 Wizard NPC couldn't have more spells than a Level 5 Wizard PC "just because"). The choice has led to criticism from a lot of GMs who prefer the Pathfinder way. I almost exclusively run pre-made adventures these days so I haven't used the monster/NPC creation rules in the Alien Archive myself. Perhaps the only problem I've noticed is that monsters and NPCs can seem very "samey" because they're not built organically with real strengths and weaknesses (there's never a Level 6 creature running around with a 10 KAC because it's slow and doesn't wear armor, for example--it'll have a fixed KAC of 18, 19, or 20 depending on which array is chosen).

Appendix 2 (five pages) provides the rules for summoning creatures in Starfinder. It introduces the Summon Creature spell and the associated tables for what exactly can be summoned for each level of the spell. One of the differences from Pathfinder is that a spellcaster must decide, ahead of time, which four creatures they're familiar enough with to summon (instead of being able to summon anything on the table). In addition, there are some alignment and class restrictions on what can be summoned, which is an intelligent limitation. I personally hate summoned creatures, animal companions, and familiars, so anything that can be done to curb the abuse we see in Pathfinder is welcome as far as I'm concerned.

Appendix 3 (two pages) provides 16 new templates (called "Grafts" here) that can be applied to creatures to change them up a little. A couple of these are familiar from Pathfinder (like Celestial, fiendish, and Giant), but most of the others are new for Starfinder (like Cybernetic, Synthetic, Miniature, and Two-Headed).

Appendix 4 (7 pages) is the most important of the appendices, as it contains what every GM will need to reference frequently: universe creature rules. When a stat block says a monster has Blindsense, Grab, or Undead Immunities, they'll need to turn here to figure out exactly what that means in mechanical terms. Some of these rules will be very familiar to Pathfinder GMs, but there are enough little differences that it's worth reading the entries carefully.

The most commonly heard complaint about the Alien Archive is that it's just too short for its price. It's $ 39.99 for just 159 pages, while a hardcover Pathfinder Bestiary is 328 pages and a $ 44.99 retail price. I think the criticism is fair, and I wouldn't blame people for choosing to instead get the $ 9.99 PDF. Apart from its length/price, however, this is a really strong book full of gorgeous artwork, strong writing, and a good array of various creatures. It's definitely worth picking up in one format or another.


A must for Starfinder fans

5/5

The first "Bestiary" is just amazing, plenty of cool creatures, new races that players can choose for their characters (this is one of the most amazing features of Starfinder), cool and easy rules to create your own alien species. An amazing book, people complain that is not as big as the Pathfinder Bestiaries, but hey, they are giving us Alien Archives every couple of mothns (third is on the way). In that sense, I prefer "smaller" books, that arrive more often. Very happy wiht this!


5/5


Definitely gets the creative juices flowing!

4/5

Lots of variety, amazing artwork, new spells, playable races, and creation rules. What's not to like?


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Starfinder doesn't use Templates, they use "grafts", which will be in this book.


Rysky the Dark Solarion wrote:
Starfinder doesn't use Templates, they use "grafts", which will be in this book.

Huh... "quick templates to modify creatures on the fly"...

Ok, maybe my comment was miswritten. I was actually wondering about what kind of templates we might get here. Honestly, I'd love to get a template that changes a creature's physiology based on the planet. The same bird on Golarion won't have the same characteristics if it lived on Castrovel or Akiton.

Believe me, if they publish this template, that woudl save a LOT of time and would use ALL of the PF Bestiaries someone might have since the beginning.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Well, hopefully with fewer pages of AWESOME they won't have to worry about potential binding issues from trying to fit too much into a smaller living space?


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

It doesn't surprise me that this book is smaller...Bestiary 1 was comprised almost entirely of SRD monsters supplemented (I think?) by monsters from the first few APs. Starfinder has to start from scratch, without even the benefit of a few APs to yank things from.

Dark Archive

some possible races in the book*

some possible creatures in the book*

*some are already in the "Alien Archive" sections of AP#1 and probably won´t be in this AA, but maybe in AA 2.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Marco Massoudi wrote:

some possible races in the book*

some possible creatures in the book*

*some are already in the "Alien Archive" sections of AP#1 and probably won´t be in this AA, but maybe in AA 2.

Several of those are in the First Contact, nothing new apart from wrikreechee and maraquoi.

Dark Archive

Gorbacz wrote:
Marco Massoudi wrote:

some possible races in the book*

some possible creatures in the book*

*some are already in the "Alien Archive" sections of AP#1 and probably won´t be in this AA, but maybe in AA 2.

Several of those are in the First Contact, nothing new apart from wrikreechee and maraquoi.

Most creatures in Starfinder: First Contact are gonna be reprinted in Alien Archive (Space pirates being the only exception i think).

Also we havn´t had Starfinder stats for Drow, Formian, Shobad & Grey yet.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Im excited. Can't wait for these new monsters so I can actually run some non-society stuff without killing my sleep schedule, plus the art for Starfinder has been really high-quality so the $10 for the PDF is worth it just for the art alone.


Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I just hope my order isn't causing breakdowns because:

1. Picked up physical Copy of Core at GenCon

2. Physical copy had the binder issue.

3. They had to jiggle the system to send a replacement (because I selected 'pick up in person').

4. Physical copy had the binder issue.

5. Waiting to hear back on how we're going to try and fix it so the binder issue is not an issue (and researching how to fix it locally to perhaps not have another Core sent)

6. Enough ego, waiting to see and hope and pray that we'll see it soon. Subscriber powers: GO!


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Really? Still nothing?


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

Patience.

They're probably still working through the pathfinder only orders. :-)


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
captain yesterday wrote:

Patience.

They're probably still working through the pathfinder only orders. :-)

That would be the pattern from last time. Pathfinder only, then Starfinder and Pathfinder/Starfinder


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Marco Massoudi wrote:
Also we havn´t had Starfinder stats for Drow, Formian, Shobad & Grey yet.

And now we do. All include player character racial traits.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Nice! Did you like the Skittermanders?


2 people marked this as a favorite.

They are so darn helpful. And a little terrifying.

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Card Game, Lost Omens, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber

What are the monster summoning rules like? Is it an abstraction with grafts based on CR, or something else entirely?


KingOfNinjas wrote:
They are so darn helpful. And a little terrifying.

Yay!


Did they change akata? Or are they the same as in PF?


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Kryzbyn wrote:
Did they change akata? Or are they the same as in PF?

From the Dead Suns Bestiary they seem to function the same.


Now I just need to get off work so I can download this.

I need to design a monster for the Dead Suns AP I'm running. My "Part:2" is going through an overhaul.

Critter:
Large frog-like monster that lives around Pipetown. It has been terrorizing residents in the maze-like area.
It feeds off energy discharges around the area to power a lightning attack.

Special Ability: Spend a Resolve Point to attempt a ranged disarm (100 ft.) with a bonus (+4 to compensate for the +8 KAC) to eat weapons powered by batteries.
Next round it can make a lightning bolt attack. Should be good.


3 people marked this as a favorite.
UllarWarlord wrote:
What are the monster summoning rules like? Is it an abstraction with grafts based on CR, or something else entirely?

Spoiler:

Summoning is interesting. You only know four creatures for each level of the spell (this defaults to the four elementals). The table tells you which statblock and template to use, and whatever requirements there are to select the creature.

Most of the outsiders use the elemental base stats with a summoning template applied.

For instance a Daemon is a choice on the 3rd level summon creature list. You start with a Medium elemental base stats and add the Daemon summoning template. This adds DR, immunities, increased movement, skills, languages, and a unique attack that depends on CR. Not every template has an additional attack, but several do.

Skittermander whelp is on the 1st level list.


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Rysky the Dark Solarion wrote:
Kryzbyn wrote:
Did they change akata? Or are they the same as in PF?
From the Dead Suns Bestiary they seem to function the same.

They are not updated in Alien Archive, so the Dead Suns Bestiary is definitive.


2 people marked this as a favorite.
KingOfAnything wrote:
So, I kind of have a ...thing for dragons. What are the dragonkin like? Are they playable?

Spoiler:
Glad you asked!

Dragonkin are a playable race. They are large, with a Strength bonus and Dexterity penalty. They have a breath weapon (30-ft cone usable 1/10-minute rest), draconic vision, limited flight, and a permanent partner bond.

The entry includes several levels of dragonglaives: a powered polearm with an electrified blade. They are too heavy for most Medium and smaller creatures to wield.

I'm going to start hoarding SFS boons to trade for this now.


1) Eeeeeeeeeeee!!!!!

2) Awesome.

Liberty's Edge

What's the weirdest creature in this?

Scarab Sages Starfinder Design Lead

9 people marked this as a favorite.
Paladinosaur wrote:

What's the weirdest creature in this?

Frank.

Oh he LOOKS like a typical member of his race. And we're happy to have him as our representative illustration for them. But his eating habits and pet conspiracy theories are just... weird.


Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Maps, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

And it looks as though we will have to wait for a future product (Pact Worlds?) to get rules for undead PCs from Eox.


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Anyone want to spoil us non-subscribers on the racial options? Pretty please?


8 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Maps, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

PC races in this book: Barathu, Contemplative, Draelik, Dragonkin, Drow, Formian, Goblin (Space), Gray, Haan, Ikeshti, Kalo, Maraquoi, Nuar, Reptoid, Ryphorian, Sarcesian, Shobhad, Skittermander, Urog, Verthani, Witchwyrd, and Wrikreechee.


Thank you Mr Knott. My curiosity has been sated.

Dark Archive

Can somebody post a list of creatures?

If possible with CR, size and type, but that´s not a priority.

Thank you.

Liberty's Edge

Are there any "starship" creatures? And dragons?


Paladinosaur wrote:
Are there any "starship" creatures? And dragons?

Yes to both.

Dark Archive

Akata in Dead Suns is slightly bit different from Pathfinder version number wise iirc

Anyhoo, what are other creatures from Pathfinder in this book?


I'm especially curious about Demons and Dragons.

Grand Lodge

3 people marked this as a favorite.
Starfinder Charter Superscriber

It's actually just all skittermanders. Hundreds of pages of the lovely little bastards.


Are the Contemplative, Space Goblin, Haan, and Sarcesian stats different than those presented in First Contact?


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Maps, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Ventnor wrote:
Are the Contemplative, Space Goblin, Haan, and Sarcesian stats different than those presented in First Contact?

Yes, in various minor ways, since First Contact did not use the final monster rules.


Also, is the Hive in there at all?


Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Maps, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
The NPC wrote:
Also, is the Hive in there at all?

If you mean the Swarm, then yes.


David knott 242 wrote:
The NPC wrote:
Also, is the Hive in there at all?

If you mean the Swarm, then yes.

Yes, that. Wait, I thought the Hive (Horror Adventures) and the Swarm we're the same thing.


can any one give more info about dragonkin especially their partner bond ability?

Dark Archive

1 person marked this as a favorite.
The NPC wrote:
David knott 242 wrote:
The NPC wrote:
Also, is the Hive in there at all?

If you mean the Swarm, then yes.

Yes, that. Wait, I thought the Hive (Horror Adventures) and the Swarm we're the same thing.

As far as I know, they aren't same thing since the Hive are xenomorph expies while the Swarm is space locust


3 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Maps, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
khadgar567 wrote:
can any one give more info about dragonkin especially their partner bond ability?

Partner Bond is basically telepathy and shared initiative, for life.

And the Large Dragonkin evidently are smaller then the ones who served as mounts in the Pathfinder era -- they shrank from the high end of Large to the low end of Large, as best I can tell.


KingOfNinjas wrote:
KingOfAnything wrote:
So, I kind of have a ...thing for dragons. What are the dragonkin like? Are they playable?
** spoiler [about Dragonkin] omitted **

That... doesn't add up...

Why is there a part about "using DNA engineering to reduce size" in the Core Rulebook then?

And no, going from 10 to 8 feet doesn't count as a size reduction... especially if you just don't change size category :S

Well, at least I correctly called the dragon breath and flight XD


Is there any hard and fast rules for size categories or is it all varied from monster to monster?


JiCi wrote:
KingOfNinjas wrote:
KingOfAnything wrote:
So, I kind of have a ...thing for dragons. What are the dragonkin like? Are they playable?
** spoiler [about Dragonkin] omitted **

That... doesn't add up...

Why is there a part about "using DNA engineering to reduce size" in the Core Rulebook then?

To let us know that Dragonkin exist in different sizes.


Rysky the Dark Solarion wrote:
JiCi wrote:
KingOfNinjas wrote:
KingOfAnything wrote:
So, I kind of have a ...thing for dragons. What are the dragonkin like? Are they playable?
** spoiler [about Dragonkin] omitted **

That... doesn't add up...

Why is there a part about "using DNA engineering to reduce size" in the Core Rulebook then?

To let us know that Dragonkin exist in different sizes.

I'm so sorry, but... when we're talking "sizes", we're not talking about actual sizes in feet or inches, but size categories, like Small, Medium and Large.

From a first read, it all pointed to having Dragonkin going from Large to Medium, but being 7 feet tall on average.


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

I imagine the wing span might have something to do with it.


JiCi wrote:
Rysky the Dark Solarion wrote:
JiCi wrote:
KingOfNinjas wrote:
KingOfAnything wrote:
So, I kind of have a ...thing for dragons. What are the dragonkin like? Are they playable?
** spoiler [about Dragonkin] omitted **

That... doesn't add up...

Why is there a part about "using DNA engineering to reduce size" in the Core Rulebook then?

To let us know that Dragonkin exist in different sizes.

I'm so sorry, but... when we're talking "sizes", we're not talking about actual sizes in feet or inches, but size categories, like Small, Medium and Large.

From a first read, it all pointed to having Dragonkin going from Large to Medium, but being 7 feet tall on average.

I know.

But the Core book only says that "some" Dragonkin families underwent the modifications, not all. One day we might get stats for the Medium Dragonkin.

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