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

****( )

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

*****

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

*****

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!


*****


Definitely gets the creative juices flowing!

****( )

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


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captain yesterday wrote:
I imagine the wing span might have something to do with it.

Pretty much.


I wish we have dragonkin race pictures to we can see how they look like ?
vesk with bat wings or human with horns and scales


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Buy the book, it's the only way to be sure.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Or look at the cover.


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

Pictures from the cover occasionally diverge from what's inside.

Buy the book, it's the only way to be sure.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Yes, save for the fact that dragonkin are an old creature, and that they look like that. But let's not argue.


Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Roleplaying Guild Subscriber
David knott 242 wrote:
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.

Wow, so many! This awesome! A little surprised Anacites didn't make the list though. Pact Worlds sourcebook, maybe. Are there any fey in the book? Also, anything from the Dominion of the Black, like shipminds, or Neh-Thalggu?


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Maps, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
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?

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

The original size of Dragonkin was 15 to 20 feet, so reducing them to the 8-10 feet range is a major size reduction. I guess the real surprise is that the original version wasn't classified as Huge to begin with.


4 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Maps, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

There are definitely fey in the book. I haven't gone through the book in enough detail to confirm or deny the rest.


David knott 242 wrote:
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.

SRD contributors are going to be busy in a couple of weeks I see.

Definitely picking up a copy of this when I or my table can afford it, if for no other reason than 22 new playable races needing a LOT of referencing, plus I'm assuming we finally get npc creation guidelines?


Why aren't Elebrians (Eoxians) among the playable races?


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

My guess is space concerns and with Dead Suns three including an article about Eox they might be in there, and if not I'd imagine most definitely in The Pact Worlds hardcover.

Liberty's Edge

3 people marked this as a favorite.
Golurkcanfly wrote:
Why aren't Elebrians (Eoxians) among the playable races?

They've been specified to be in the Pact Worlds Hardcover, so it's probably just to avoid duplicated creatures.


Darn. Was hoping for Elebrians for a Halloween one-shot.


3 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Maps, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Other creatures in this book:

Aeon Guard
AHAV
Anacite
Angel, Barachius
Apari
Assembly Ooze
Asteray
Bloodbrother
Bryrvath
Caypin
Crest-Eater
Deh-Nolo
Devil, Endbringer
Dragon
Electrovore
Elemental
Ellicoth
Frujai
Hallajin
Hesper
Inevitable, Anhamut
Ksarik
Kyokor
Marooned One
Mountain Eel
Necrovite
Nihili
Novaspawn
Oma
Orocoran
Robot, Security
Scavenger Slime
Sharpwing
Surnoch
The Swarm
Symbiend
Undead Minion
Void Hag


Hopefully I can adapt player race statistics for Undead Minions because I need some spooooooooooky skeletons for the one-shot.


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Aww, no playable anacites is a disappointment. Fingers crossed for Pact Worlds I guess.


3 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Maps, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

My best guess is that they saw some issues with the Con-less races that they wanted to work out before they made playable constructs or undead.


David knott 242 wrote:

My best guess is that they saw some issues with the Con-less races that they wanted to work out before they made playable constructs or undead.

They could just do it like the Dhampir and have them healed by negative energy and damaged by positive energy, and have them otherwise function like a living creature with a few caveats (like Androids).


Golurkcanfly wrote:
David knott 242 wrote:

My best guess is that they saw some issues with the Con-less races that they wanted to work out before they made playable constructs or undead.

They could just do it like the Dhampir and have them healed by negative energy and damaged by positive energy, and have them otherwise function like a living creature with a few caveats (like Androids).

Half-Undead/Construct (Dhampir/Android)is not the same as playing as an actual Undead or Construct.


But with how things are streamlined in Starfinder with races being more standardized, it should be fine.


2 people marked this as a favorite.

It doesn't have anything to do with being streamlined or "standardized". Undead and Constructs aren't alive. A living creature with Undead qualities is not a full on Undead, playing a race that is not actually alive is most of the appeal of an Undead race, I would think.

Grand Lodge

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Brew Bird wrote:
Aww, no playable anacites is a disappointment. Fingers crossed for Pact Worlds I guess.

I'm bummed to and will do the same.


7 people marked this as a favorite.
David knott 242 wrote:


Void Hag

Wait ...Void ...hag?

*Flashback to November 2016*

GreyYeti wrote:
Is Navasi a human or an android? The hair color looks more like an android, but she is missing the distinct circuit-like tattoos.
Malefactor wrote:
Neither, the Heterochromia clearly points to her being a Changeling. Void Hags Confirmed!

>mfw my random s--- posting from last year accidently predicted a monster that is actually in the game


2 people marked this as a favorite.

Void hags have stellar cauldrons.


Which of these races will be Starfinder Society playable?

The Exchange

Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Golurkcanfly wrote:
Why aren't Elebrians (Eoxians) among the playable races?

Non-undesd eoxians (Elebrians) have been confirmed as playable in Dead Suns 3 of 6. Undead Eoxians have been confirmed as playable in the Pact Worlds book.


KingOfNinjas wrote:
Void hags have stellar cauldrons.

I just wish they weren't so empty-headed and didn't fly off the handle so easily.


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

We now have an expression for people who have more of something than they need:

"You are like a skittermander with cyber-arms."


What is an Aeon Guard?


Rysky the Dark Solarion wrote:
captain yesterday wrote:
I imagine the wing span might have something to do with it.
Pretty much.

That... would be the first time I hear that a wingspan affects a size category.

David knott 242 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?

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

The original size of Dragonkin was 15 to 20 feet, so reducing them to the 8-10 feet range is a major size reduction. I guess the real surprise is that the original version wasn't classified as Huge to begin with.

True, but... the writting can confuse some people...

Paizo Employee Customer Service Manager

2 people marked this as a favorite.

Product discussions thread aren’t the best place for feedback for new concepts. I've sent the contents of the removed post to the poster so they can repost elsewhere.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Maps, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Xenocrat wrote:
What is an Aeon Guard?

Basically an Azlanti storm trooper.


Sounds neat. Hope the armor is as cool.


David knott 242 wrote:
Xenocrat wrote:
What is an Aeon Guard?
Basically an Azlanti storm trooper.

So it's a human with specific training, not a new race? Or does it include Azlanti racial stats?


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Maps, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Azlanti are referred to as human.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Do any of the new player races have uniquely alien physiology? Like an amorphous body or non-carbon based biochemistry?


3 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Maps, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Brew Bird wrote:
Do any of the new player races have uniquely alien physiology? Like an amorphous body or non-carbon based biochemistry?

They do get pretty weird, yes.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Jelloarm wrote:
It's actually just all skittermanders. Hundreds of pages of the lovely little bastards.

Bah! (space) Gremlins get the short shrift again!!!! (╯°□°)╯︵ ┻━┻


6 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Maps, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

One bit of bad news for fans of Sarcesians: They seem to have lost those d810 damage guns. ;)

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32

David knott 242 wrote:
One bit of bad news for fans of Sarcesians: They seem to have lost those d810 damage guns. ;)

They were a bit too high level for the character. :(


2 people marked this as a favorite.
David knott 242 wrote:
Xenocrat wrote:
What is an Aeon Guard?
Basically an Azlanti storm trooper.

Do they have a -20 attack penalty on every ranged attack with a laser weapon?


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Axial wrote:
David knott 242 wrote:
Basically an Azlanti storm trooper.
Do they have a -20 attack penalty on every ranged attack with a laser weapon?

That and a weakness to hurled rocks.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Maps, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Axial wrote:
David knott 242 wrote:
Xenocrat wrote:
What is an Aeon Guard?
Basically an Azlanti storm trooper.
Do they have a -20 attack penalty on every ranged attack with a laser weapon?

Maybe they do. That would explain why they all use weapons that do physical instead of energy damage. Note that all of their ability score modifiers (including the mental ones) are positive.

Dark Archive

So how many different creature images are in here?
I'm asking because of the Pawns Box coming next month.
And how many (and which) creatures are larger than huge (Novaspawn will probably still get a pawn for space combat)?

Dark Archive

I'm counting 60 different creatures, but if elementals have s, m, l & h versions that accounts for 15 more.

Five different Dragons will probably account for the rest.

-Which dragons are in it and do they range from small to huge or larger?

-Some details about Drow would be much appreciated (do they still have spell resistance)?

Thank you all.


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Card Game, Maps, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Deluxe Comics Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Marco Massoudi wrote:

So how many different creature images are in here?

I'm asking because of the Pawns Box coming next month.

Each of the sixty monster entries begin with a full body portrait. Almost all of them then include a second piece of art on the second page - often that's a different exemplar of the Alien, but other times it's a related item or somesuch (for example: the space goblin entry has the portrait from First Contact on the opening page and an illustration of a goblin junklaser on the second).

I counted three alien entries out of the sixty that only had the opening illustration and no art on the second page.

Some vary slightly - the elemental entry (for instance) has a fire elemental shaped as a spider on the first page, then a humanoid water elemental on the second page.

I counted 89 images that could be easily used as pawns (including three starships and a few images already featured in first contact). The rest were equipment or "action scenes" and stuff like that.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Card Game, Maps, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Deluxe Comics Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Marco Massoudi wrote:

I'm counting 60 different creatures, but if elementals have s, m, l & h versions that accounts for 15 more.

Five different Dragons will probably account for the rest.

-Which dragons are in it and do they range from small to huge or larger?

-Some details about Drow would be much appreciated (do they still have spell resistance)?

I'm not really interested in delving into the PDF particularly deeply, so I don't have all the answers.

The CR1 Drow Enforcer has SR7, the CR11 Drow Noble Arms Dealer has SR22.

PC Drow get a +2 to enchantment magic and immunity to sleep.

The Drow entry gets two full body portraits of Drow, so that's two potential pawns. :)

Dark Archive

So what is AHAV and what is the angel, devil and invetable in the book like?

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