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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Liberty's Edge

Shaudius wrote:
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.

Where is confirmation of the non-undead Elebrians?


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
captain yesterday wrote:
J4RH34D wrote:
captain yesterday wrote:
Review deposited.
Don't Panic :P
That sounds like something a Cylon would say...

Or Corporal Jones!

Dark Archive

Now officially sold out it seems.


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

Aren't they getting more in sometime this fall.

I seem to remember hearing that.

Dark Archive

captain yesterday wrote:

Aren't they getting more in sometime this fall.

I seem to remember hearing that.

Yes, i remember reading it is either planned for a november or december reprint.

But i think the core Rulebook reprint (which i´ll buy despite having the first printing) is due in december, so who knows?

Personally i hope the "sold out before street date" situation will end with "Pact Worlds" & AP #7.


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

The air elemental graft includes a feat called Flyby attack. Is that listed somewhere? Or was it included in error?

(Or am I missing something really, really obvious...?)


Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Maps, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Steve Geddes wrote:

The air elemental graft includes a feat called Flyby attack. Is that listed somewhere? Or was it included in error?

(Or am I missing something really, really obvious...?)

No, the Paizo folks missed something. In the first Pathfinder Bestiary, they have a section of monster feats that included Flyby Attack. They apparently forgot to include a similar section in Alien Archive or to define that feat in the single place that it is used. Flyby Attack seems to be the only "monster feat" referenced in Alien Archive.


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

Cheers. I wondered if it was somewhere and I just kept missing it.
Thanks.


A group of Nuar is a Brute Squad!


I'm particularly liking the Wrikreechee. Just need to build a soldier bounty hunter, ideally one who can do Melee and Ranged. Screams Predator to me, in terms of appearance ^^


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber
TheGoofyGE3K wrote:
I'm particularly liking the Wrikreechee. Just need to build a soldier bounty hunter, ideally one who can do Melee and Ranged. Screams Predator to me, in terms of appearance ^^

My only disappointment after reading Wrikreechee is they don't have a doctor type class, making it just a little bit harder figuring out how to make Doctor Zoidberg.


captain yesterday wrote:
My only disappointment after reading Wrikreechee is they don't have a doctor type class, making it just a little bit harder figuring out how to make Doctor Zoidberg.

I'm not sure that Dr. Zoidberg has a doctor-type class.


captain yesterday wrote:
TheGoofyGE3K wrote:
I'm particularly liking the Wrikreechee. Just need to build a soldier bounty hunter, ideally one who can do Melee and Ranged. Screams Predator to me, in terms of appearance ^^
My only disappointment after reading Wrikreechee is they don't have a doctor type class, making it just a little bit harder figuring out how to make Doctor Zoidberg.

While a doctor or battle medic-type class would be awesome, if you were to portray Doctor Zoidberg accurately you should really be as medically incompetent as crustaceanly possible.

Edit: Damn, Operative'd! That's what I get for digging up the artwork. ^^


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

Of course!


2 people marked this as a favorite.

So tell me Fry, disemboweling your species, fatal or non fatal.

Silver Crusade RPG Superstar 2014 Top 16

Kudaku wrote:
Edit: Damn, Operative'd! That's what I get for digging up the artwork. ^^

“Operative’d” Hahahaha!

Lantern Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber

Creative ideas: You could choose up to 7 playable races from Alien Archive to pair up with one of the core base classes to build an alien PC. Which races would you choose to build your alien party of adventurers?

I think at least a Witchwyrd would be in my party, and I have to admit a Space Goblin would be in the top 10. I have a hard time choosing which race with which class, which is why I want to hear what some others think. The following races include PC racial traits:

Spoiler:

  • Barathu
  • Contemplative
  • Draelik
  • Dragonkin
  • Drow
  • Formian
  • Goblin
  • Gray
  • Haan
  • Ikeshti
  • Kalo
  • Maraquoi
  • Nuar
  • Reptoid
  • Ryphorian
  • Sarcesian
  • Shobhad
  • Skittermander
  • Urog
  • Verthani
  • Witchwyrd
  • Wrikreechee


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Shirren-Style Ship
-------------------------


  • Barathus Soldier Gunner
  • Dragonkin Solarion Gunner
  • Formorian Mystic Captain
  • Haan Envoy Pilot
  • Ikeshti Technomancer Science
  • Ryphorian Operative Engineer
  • Wrikreeche Mechanic Engineer

edit: ugh, hate the gap at the top created by lists on this site. Makes them look ugly outside of spoilers.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Companion, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Envoy: skittermander (pilot)
Mechanic: urog with a drone artificial intelligence (engineer)
Mystic: early stage barathu with the xenodruid connection (science officer)
Operative: gray with the ghost specialization (gunner)
Solarian: dragonkin with the solar weapon solar manifestation (captain)
Soldier: wrikreechee with the armor storm fighting style (gunner)
Technomancer: witchwyrd (science officer)

Sovereign Court

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Card Game, Companion, Lost Omens, Pathfinder Accessories, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber
Milo v3 wrote:
edit: ugh, hate the gap at the top created by lists on this site. Makes them look ugly outside of spoilers.

If you don't put a paragraph between your list and your first bullet point, it looks more normal.

Shirren-Style Ship
-------------------------

  • Barathus Soldier Gunner
  • Dragonkin Solarion Gunner
  • Formorian Mystic Captain
  • Haan Envoy Pilot
  • Ikeshti Technomancer Science
  • Ryphorian Operative Engineer
  • Wrikreeche Mechanic Engineer

Lantern Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber

Nice! I wasn't sure if anyone would take up the creative challenge. :) I like the way you peeps think. ;)


I have been reading this book for a week now and I'm loving making new and exciting NPCs for my players to meet, but I'm having trouble here.
Making my first Drow NPC and I've noticed that nowhere on the page does it implicitly say that they have a racial ability to create darkness. I know that's an old staple of the race, and the examples both have the ability, though no details are given about what it does and why they have it.
It this detail missing? Am I missing something? What's up?


Create darkness is in the universal creature rules, on p. 153.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

It seems to me that no one else pointed this out about the Witchwyrds, so I'm writing this.

Beware there are spoilers, if you still have not read their Alien Archive entry!

Witchwyrd spoiler:
Ok, so they are the creators of both Kasathas and Anacites (who knows of how many other races), and they are stellar merchants so they can be found on Absalom Station too.
My thought is: why annihilate a great and beautiful mistery as the origins of one of the major playable races AND of the robotic race that created the third aspect ot Triune, one of the pillars of the setting?!? Moreover, why doing it in the first monster manual, just writing a single line "It is aknowledged they are the creators of these races" - period.
This way one of my players, whose character is a kasatha operative, may just run in a bar into his creator, while the witchwyrd is telling to the bartender: "Yepp it's awesome: we created those nice bots that in turn created the AI Epoch that in turn created Triune that in turn created the Drift. Amazing. Oh, look a Kasatha! We have big expectations for your lot!! Cheers, buddy!"
Ok I made it quite dramatic, but it's weird, at the very least: I surely won't use it in my campaign, as it is.
Any thoughts?

Dark Archive

Raspo wrote:

It seems to me that no one else pointed this out about the Witchwyrds, so I'm writing this.

Beware there are spoilers, if you still have not read their Alien Archive entry!

** spoiler omitted **

Uh, read wrong. It said kasatha and shobads, aka the other four armed races. Because I guess writers wanted to connect all three four armed races together. They have no relation to anacites.


You are right, my fault: shouldn't have read hastily before posting!

Anyway, the first part of my thoughts still holds: why such a spoiler in the first place, then why so early and without any real explanation?
...Most of all, it doesn't make sense to me that the creators casually mingle with the created...Shouldn't they be VERY further up the chain??


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Without going into exacts regarding the "creation" of each species and what all that amounts to (they could just be intentional genetic offshoots), I don't really see it as that much different than humans/elves/orcs to half-elves/orcs or the like.

You don't have to be a nigh-omnipotent supreme being in order to create.


Halfbreeds (they don't even need a third party) are totally different from created, by definition; and you don't usually create a race and partially direct its evolution on a whim, casually...This just seems the case to me, being depicted the way it is.

I know Paizo has probably projects and ideas about Witchwyrds in SF, but maybe it would have been better to wait and describe that thing properly instead of just plainly stating it in a couple of paragraphs; come on, kasathas are one of the main playable races, they deserve better! I like when things are not perfectly outlined in every detail but instead leaving space to personal adjustment and inventive, but we are far beyond that here.

I'm Italian and not sure if I'm conveying properly what I mean: not being polemic, just trying to give some positive criticism ;-)


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber

Kasatha and Shobhad have always had the genetic link Witchwyrd in Pathfinder, it's nothing new.


Didn't know it! In truth, know very very little of the PF canon: I'm considering it from a pure Starfinder view


It does raise the question of why the Witchwyrd would tell the Kasatha to go to a planet they already know is populated.

Liberty's Edge

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Milo v3 wrote:
It does raise the question of why the Witchwyrd would tell the Kasatha to go to a planet they already know is populated.

They're traders. War is always good for business.


Paul Watson wrote:
Milo v3 wrote:
It does raise the question of why the Witchwyrd would tell the Kasatha to go to a planet they already know is populated.
They're traders. War is always good for business.

Interesting!

According to Distant Worlds sourcebook Shobhads are THE SAME RACE as Witchwyrds: they waged a civil war while the former went barbarian and the latter, more civilized, raced for the stars.
Broken canon or decoy? ^_^

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