Starfinder Alien Archive

****( ) (based on 22 ratings)
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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****( ) (based on 22 ratings)

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the examples are awesome but the customization is where it shines

*****

This book is really good for building a ridiculous variety of monsters for the PCs to fight, I love it, even if the dragons section was a little weird to parse at first (you have to build them from scratch more than I expected, and no suggested sizes) the dragons come out great, and its a great balance of a complex encounter and easy to parse. Thanks!


Great starting point!

*****

Not only does this book provide many fun and bizarre aliens to use in your game, but sets up the rules to convert any Pathfinder monster into Starfinder rather quickly. Subsequent Archives should therefore be much bigger and that's exciting!


Half a book

*( )( )( )( )

This is half a monster manual sold at full price, definitely not worth it


Great variety

*****

One nice thing here is that you can create so many different Alien characters easily.

There are a lot of Aliens and monsters... and the template system is very nice: you can easily mix things up, surprise your players, mix and match. Very open ended, yet easy to use.

And nice spells and such too.

A good book!


Sweet Taste of Space

****( )

So this is, I think, my third or fourth time trying to write this review now because it kept getting lost. At the risk of having to do it again, I'll keep it brief.

The flavor in this book is top-knotch. Each monster gets a two-page spread and this really lets all of them shine way more than they otherwise might. The inclusion of stuff like items inspired from the creature's abilities, body parts, or their culture is also great and serves to elevate this book above and beyond the realm of simple smaller-than-Pathfinder bestiary. Oh, and the player races. There, are, a lot. It's great, even if they don't always quite match their flavor or NPC statblocks the sheer variety is exciting. The monster creation system takes a little getting used to, but it's grown on me a little bit since I first tried using it and now I feel it's much more of an asset to the book than I once thought.

The not quite so good points include the fact that there is real discrepancy between a player and nonplayer version of a race. Case and point, both contemplatives and grays are described as either being mostly or entirely telepathic, and neither gets telepathy. The book, while coming with a nifty-keen monster creation system, seems to expect you to be building all your monsters because it itself has very few, probably because of the awesome two-page spreads I was just talking up a moment ago. Were it to be like a Pathfinder bestiary this thing would have easily clocked in at over four hundred pages. Finally, summoning. Summoning is now handled by simply slapping grafts onto a preexisting statblock and calling it good, which results in absolutely no difference in the various levels of your summons other than ... they get bigger.

Still though, slight gripes aside, I absolutely love Alien Archive. Definitely worth the ten bucks for the PDF version, and it makes a great case for the new format Starfinder is trying with their releases as opposed to Pathfinder where, rather than monster or equipment or magic-centric books, we get a little bit of everything.


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Silver Crusade

1 person marked this as a favorite.

I wouldn't be surprised to see Starfinder Society limited to Core-only races, at least at first.


James Sutter wrote:

While it's way too early to answer a bunch of questions, some quick notes:

*There will be a ton of playable races in this book. In Starfinder, that's not the same as 0 HD races. We're taking a different approach in order to try and make it easier to play weird aliens. A lot of it is going to be GM discretional material—we feel it's more important to present a lot of options than to try and restrict everything that could be problematic in advance. That means GMs will have to be careful about what they allow, but that seems a small price to pay to have the option of playing a sentient space slug.

*There will be a fair chunk of equipment and other stuff for players in the book. I don't want to give a percentage at this point, but I will say that the focus is definitely still on the monsters.

*All monsters get 2-page write-ups. It's something I've wanted for a really long time—there's never enough room for flavor for me! That said, a lot of the creatures will have additional stats, race information, and other crunchy bits beyond just a single stat block.

Ok, this all sounds amazing...

...but how do you fit 80 2-page write-ups and info for players and rules for monster creation and things like general monster abilities into 160 pages?!

(Heck, how do you fit 80 2-page write ups and a table of contents into 160 pages?!)


Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Roleplaying Guild Subscriber
Porridge wrote:

Ok, this all sounds amazing...

...but how do you fit 80 2-page write-ups and info for players and rules for monster creation and things like general monster abilities into 160 pages?!

(Heck, how do you fit 80 2-page write ups and a table of contents into 160 pages?!)

Ooo! Maybe, instead of an index, the Alien Archive comes with its own snarky AI personality chip installed in the cover to advise you on encounter building?

"Double-A, I need a quick build for my 3rd-level party tonight, should I go with a -"

"Cyberlich riding a Mecha-Dragon, master, has an optimal probability of stimulating entertaining human feedback. Please arrange a space for me where I may spectate this session for purely academic reasons. Also, tell that meatbag with the distressing haircut I am not his coffee coaster, or he may elicit many painful papercuts of dubious origin in the near future."

Book also makes an excellent coffee coaster!

So, doesn't sound like there will be much room for something like this in the Alien Archive coming out, but would you consider releasing a list of monsters from the Pathfinder Bestiaries that are native to the Starfinder setting? Distant Worlds did something like this, recommending several monsters from the Bestiaries and describing various planets where they could be found across Golarion's solar system.

80+ aliens are an awesome number to start Starfinder with, but it'd be cool to have an idea of what familiar creatures we should expect to see as well, especially where native wildlife is concerned. Def wanna make sure my Disney Xenowarden has plenty of fuzzy, antennaed animals to sing-along to!


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
James Sutter wrote:
*All monsters get 2-page write-ups. It's something I've wanted for a really long time—there's never enough room for flavor for me! That said, a lot of the creatures will have additional stats, race information, and other crunchy bits beyond just a single stat block.

This is excellent news. Six bestiaries in I have enough monster stat blocks. What I need is something compelling, and it's much easier to get me excited about a monster with a page of text than a paragraph. That's especially true for the playable ones - honestly I have very little interest in a number of the pathfinder player races because there's so little info on them. This is particularly frustrating because I first fell in love with Pathfinder because of the "Monsters Revisited" books, and those have basically died off.

And I am constantly frustrated by the lack of any real background information on the new dragons in each bestiary. As far as I'm concerned the true dragon entries for the past few bestiaries have just been wasted space for me - I'd rather only have one age statted up and give the rest towards making the dragon feel like more than a one-line catchphrase. Particularly aggravating is the wasted two page introduction to the true dragons that could be like the great single-page introductions to each outsider race, but instead repeats the same convoluted true dragon rules over and over again.

tl;dr - please give any dragons an actual reason to be there and excite a GM, and not just a pretty picture.

Creative Director, Starfinder Team

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Porridge wrote:
James Sutter wrote:

While it's way too early to answer a bunch of questions, some quick notes:

*There will be a ton of playable races in this book. In Starfinder, that's not the same as 0 HD races. We're taking a different approach in order to try and make it easier to play weird aliens. A lot of it is going to be GM discretional material—we feel it's more important to present a lot of options than to try and restrict everything that could be problematic in advance. That means GMs will have to be careful about what they allow, but that seems a small price to pay to have the option of playing a sentient space slug.

*There will be a fair chunk of equipment and other stuff for players in the book. I don't want to give a percentage at this point, but I will say that the focus is definitely still on the monsters.

*All monsters get 2-page write-ups. It's something I've wanted for a really long time—there's never enough room for flavor for me! That said, a lot of the creatures will have additional stats, race information, and other crunchy bits beyond just a single stat block.

Ok, this all sounds amazing...

...but how do you fit 80 2-page write-ups and info for players and rules for monster creation and things like general monster abilities into 160 pages?!

(Heck, how do you fit 80 2-page write ups and a table of contents into 160 pages?!)

Dimensional folding.

No, actually, those 80+ monsters include cases where there are two stat blocks for distinctly different versions of the same creature family—your basic security robot and your hardcore terminator droid, a basic creature and one with class levels, etc.


But it says more than 80. besides, the 160 page limit doesn't typically include a few pages before page 1. or after the last.


1 person 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 I imagine that this Alien Archive will focus on bringing a lot of classic and pop culture aliens, horrors from the depths of space, and creatures from strange dimensions into Starfinder. Although it is probably to late now, I hope they give the Tome of Horrors a second look when doing future Alien Archives. There are a lot of monsters in there that fit nicely with the theme of strange, alien, and extra dimensional.

Liberty's Edge

I appreciate this is a provisional cover, but could you please do straight-on cover shots not these horrible skewed ones...


Megan Robertson wrote:
I appreciate this is a provisional cover, but could you please do straight-on cover shots not these horrible skewed ones...

They usually do this to show us that the product is a "Hardcover". I'm always excited when I see an "horrible skewed" cover preview.


James Sutter wrote:
Porridge wrote:
James Sutter wrote:

While it's way too early to answer a bunch of questions, some quick notes:

*There will be a ton of playable races in this book. In Starfinder, that's not the same as 0 HD races. We're taking a different approach in order to try and make it easier to play weird aliens. A lot of it is going to be GM discretional material—we feel it's more important to present a lot of options than to try and restrict everything that could be problematic in advance. That means GMs will have to be careful about what they allow, but that seems a small price to pay to have the option of playing a sentient space slug.

*There will be a fair chunk of equipment and other stuff for players in the book. I don't want to give a percentage at this point, but I will say that the focus is definitely still on the monsters.

*All monsters get 2-page write-ups. It's something I've wanted for a really long time—there's never enough room for flavor for me! That said, a lot of the creatures will have additional stats, race information, and other crunchy bits beyond just a single stat block.

Ok, this all sounds amazing...

...but how do you fit 80 2-page write-ups and info for players and rules for monster creation and things like general monster abilities into 160 pages?!

(Heck, how do you fit 80 2-page write ups and a table of contents into 160 pages?!)

Dimensional folding.

No, actually, those 80+ monsters include cases where there are two stat blocks for distinctly different versions of the same creature family—your basic security robot and your hardcore terminator droid, a basic creature and one with class levels, etc.

Ah, gotcha. Thanks!


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

Tribbles. Tribbles are all I ask for. :D


1 person marked this as a favorite.
The Gold Sovereign wrote:

Other of the things I really want to known is how much these creatures are going to be influenced by technology.

Of course, my greatest question about this book is... Are we going to have 5 futuristic true dragons in this one? That would be awesome! I would call them cyber, nano, toxic, energy, and either nuclear or digital. Dragons that where born from the union between their souls and technology.

Ok... I will refrain from making this huge assumptions...

Love those dragon ideas! :)

There should be no "or" it's nuclear and digital! ;)

Contributor

5 people marked this as a favorite.

Finally, a book for all my Allens.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion Subscriber

Allens?


Why is this book so much smaller than the Bestiaries?

Scarab Sages

Since you are going with playable races that are not 0HD, will there be some rules, suggestions or advice on how to balance those races with the 0HD ones should a GM decide to include them into his game?


Dragon78 wrote:
Allens?

I think only the dragon community is unaware of these "Allens", for neither do I know what did Donato mean...


Tallow wrote:
Since you are going with playable races that are not 0HD, will there be some rules, suggestions or advice on how to balance those races with the 0HD ones should a GM decide to include them into his game?

It might just be that you're playing the race with a character level instead of a bunch of racial hit dice (like a young patch of sentient fungus that went into Technomancy instead of getting the degree in Fungusology like everybody else). So you get the stats and some/all special abilities, rather than the mechanics of having grown up like a normal cloud of nanites.


Will there be new creature types in Starfinder?

Secondly will my question from a week ago be answered? :P

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Et cetera et cetera wrote:

Will there be new creature types in Starfinder?

Secondly will my question from a week ago be answered? :P

I guess the answer to your question is that Starfinder is a different game with a different design philosophy and that you shouldn't expect things to work the same way as they do in Pathfinder. Including the size of the bestiary.


Perhaps different phrasing may be better.

What was the design philosophy that lead Alien Archive to be smaller than a Bestiary?

My Personal Theory: With fewer people working on Starfinder there are less resources to work on a Bestiary sized book. Said people are focusing resources on developing the Core Rulebook. In addition monsters from Pathfinder can be imported into Starfinder, therefore the need for new monsters is lessened.


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

I think it's also because in science fiction, classically, you focus on a few monsters, often focusing on specific ones, and many of the enemies are of only a few races (possibly your own). There are a few exceptions, such as the survival variety where travelers wind up stranded on a primitive planet filled with nasty monsters (or in a foreign region of space with no way back, such as Star Trek: Voyager), but in general, I think that while monsters will certainly still have a place (in which case, six Bestiaries worth of Pathfinder monsters are available), in many games they won't be quite as prominent in Starfinder as they are in Pathfinder, with a greater variety of space pirates, expansionist warmongering races, entities that want to swarm across space, the occasional spaceship-sized eldritch horror, etc.

That's just my own personal thoughts, though, so I could certainly be wrong! After all, Starfinder is science fantasy, so there's certainly some room for things to be more traditionally fantasy in places...I just feel like intelligent, social races are more likely to move to the forefront as the majority of encounters...though certainly not all of them!

Creative Director, Starfinder Team

7 people marked this as a favorite.
Et cetera et cetera wrote:

Perhaps different phrasing may be better.

What was the design philosophy that lead Alien Archive to be smaller than a Bestiary?

My Personal Theory: With fewer people working on Starfinder there are less resources to work on a Bestiary sized book. Said people are focusing resources on developing the Core Rulebook. In addition monsters from Pathfinder can be imported into Starfinder, therefore the need for new monsters is lessened.

This is definitely part of it. There was no way we were going to be able to put out a 300+ page creature book a month or two after a 528-page Core Rulebook. That said, there are some other factors as well: As you noted, a lot of Pathfinder monsters are still around in the Starfinder universe, but we didn't want to just update a ton of old creatures, so we leaned toward doing new stuff. And to be completely honest, there's also a big element of risk to doing a new game like this, and it's safer for us to put out slimmer books that reflect less of a resource investment than a massive all-hands-on-deck hardcover—we *know* roughly how many copies a Pathfinder Bestiary will sell, but until we've got some numbers on Starfinder, we need to be cautious!


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Card Game, Maps, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Deluxe Comics Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

How are things progressing with getting ready for Starfinder's launch? Are you seeing the light at the end of the tunnel yet?

(Timelines are hard to read from this side of the screen - I presume there's a mad rush to get all that out the door and then the ongoing work on APs+supplement stuff will settle down to something more manageable).


Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Society Roleplaying Guild Subscriber
James Sutter wrote:


there's also a big element of risk to doing a new game like this, and it's safer for us to put out slimmer books that reflect less of a resource investment than a massive all-hands-on-deck hardcover—we *know* roughly how many copies a Pathfinder Bestiary will sell, but until we've got some numbers on Starfinder, we need to be cautious!

This is understandable and frankly, prudent....though if this game blows up then I expect 300+ damn pages on how my upcoming Lawful Evil Void Solarion can conquer the stars and enslave whole worlds.

Naturally the blog post for that book's product page will be "Fear will keep the local systems in line."

In all serious though, I'm cautiously optimistic you guys will have the chance to cover stuff like outer gods, space horror, galactic settlements, and giant books of lasers, starships, and Alien Archives 2-6, or entire hardcovers of just different Envoy Archetypes (Voice of the Void, anyone?)


Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Companion Subscriber
thecursor wrote:
entire hardcovers of just different Envoy Archetypes (Voice of the Void, anyone?)

Individual classes don't get archetypes in Starfinder. Archetypes apply to all classes, or a broad subset like all casting classes.


Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Nice, i hope we get more books like this in the future.


Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Society Roleplaying Guild Subscriber
QuidEst wrote:
thecursor wrote:
entire hardcovers of just different Envoy Archetypes (Voice of the Void, anyone?)
Individual classes don't get archetypes in Starfinder. Archetypes apply to all classes, or a broad subset like all casting classes.

You do know how sarcasm works, right?


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Companion Subscriber
thecursor wrote:
QuidEst wrote:
thecursor wrote:
entire hardcovers of just different Envoy Archetypes (Voice of the Void, anyone?)
Individual classes don't get archetypes in Starfinder. Archetypes apply to all classes, or a broad subset like all casting classes.
You do know how sarcasm works, right?

Well, I know you didn't actually expect entire hardcovers; I just assumed hyperbole rather than sarcasm.


Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Society Roleplaying Guild Subscriber
QuidEst wrote:
thecursor wrote:
QuidEst wrote:
thecursor wrote:
entire hardcovers of just different Envoy Archetypes (Voice of the Void, anyone?)
Individual classes don't get archetypes in Starfinder. Archetypes apply to all classes, or a broad subset like all casting classes.
You do know how sarcasm works, right?
Well, I know you didn't actually expect entire hardcovers; I just assumed hyperbole rather than sarcasm.

Perhaps a combination of the two. Hyperbole for the expectation of an entire hardcover, sarcasm because I have zero doubt Starfinder is going to eventually drop the exclusive archetype stuff at some point.


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

Yay! Tribble-esque adorable gremlins things! My one wish was granted! This cover is really great!

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Listening to Know Direction's podcast coverage of Paizocon, you can hear a ripple of "awwwwww" run through the audience when the final cover is presented.


I just want some cyborg goodness, and playable robots. Also some blood. You know... for the blood god.


So what percentage does everyone think will be playable? I'm hoping it will be the same as First Contact (approximately 33%).


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

So the Alien Archive Pawn Collection is described as containing nearly 250 distinct creature images from the Alien Archive. Throw in equipment and a few starship options (as per Jason Keeley's tip) - and the density of material in this book is nearly unbelievable. 80 aliens with nearly 250 distinct creature images? You peeps at Paizo must really be wizards! I'm trying to wrap my brain around this. I imagine that for creatures like Skittermanders and Robots, there might be half a dozen types, each with their own illustration. We've already seen the security robot in First Contact, and another quadrupedal robot has been popping up as a pawn in a few Facebook pictures. I imagine most 0HD races will also have both male and female illustrations for their entries.

This is still averaging about three illustrations per alien, or about 1.5 illustrations per page. Unless that 250 distinct creature images bit was a typo, this is setting up to be one very pretty book.

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

5 people marked this as a favorite.

The Alien Archive Box description was incorrect—I've updated it. (There are really just over 90 different pawn illustrations.)

That said, in the main section of the Alien Archive, there is an illustration on almost every page, and since each entry is two pages, that means two illos per critter (most of the time).


1 person marked this as a favorite.

I hope that the rules to play as an alien dragon, aka dragonkin, are just as balanced as those in First Contact. One of my wishes for Pathfinder came to be in Starfinfer. Luck me, for the systems are compatible.

RPG Superstar 2010 Top 32

Will the pdf for this one be $9.99 as well?

Will the contents be largely OGL and included in the Starfinder Reference Document?

Really looking forward to seeing this!

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

4 people marked this as a favorite.

The PDF will be $9.99 and the game mechanics will be largely Open Game Content and will eventually be part of the SFRD.

RPG Superstar 2010 Top 32

Beautiful. Thanks, Vic!


"A robust system for creating your own creatures ensures that your parties never be without weird new aliens to fight or trade with, and racial rules for many of the new organisms let you be the alien, making Alien Archive not just a collection of creatures to kill, but a fascinating menu of creatures to be!"

I hope this is something similar to the Advanced Race Guide, I have a few alien races I plan to make playable for players.


So, this system for creating your own creatures means I can make Tribbles and Hutts


2 people marked this as a favorite.

Flipping through the Bestiaries I realized something I want to see in the Alien Archive (or sequels).

Mecha-Mogaru.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Maybe Space Mogaru? I guess he went away alongside Golarion... :/

Dark Archive

I really hope that the creatures in here are small to huge in size and that only very few space-bound monsters are larger than that (gargantuan or colossal), because there is no way to represent them with pawns on the flip-mats.

I really liked the gargantuan creature (forgot it´s name) in the "Starfinder: First Contact" book and was bummed that i could never represent it on a flip-mat due to it´s size and unique look... ;-(


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Will Anacites/Aballonians be in this book, and more importantly, playable?

Paizo Employee Community & Digital Content Director

Updated with final product description!

Dark Archive

Chris Lambertz wrote:
Updated with final product description!

Thank you Chris!

One question, though:
will there be a list of creatures coming up in september or october?

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