Starfinder RPG: Starship Operations Manual

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Preorder expected July 2020

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Blast off into space with the Starship Operations Manual, Starfinder's latest rules expansion hardcover! Outfit your beloved starship with more than 100 new starship weapons, expansion bays, alternate armors, and systems like drop pods, ramming prows, mines, ablative armor, virtual intelligences, and more. If you're looking for a new ride, you'll find profiles of leading starship manufacturers as well as statistics for more than 40 new starships found throughout the galaxy.

The Starship Operations Manual puts you at the controls, offering bold new ways to present starship combat, from dogfights in planetary atmospheres to daring chases through asteroid fields to pitched battles between huge fleets. New rules allow crewmembers to get even more out of their skills and feats, unlocking thrilling critical success results that add excitement to starship combat. Take your adventures into the great unknown and beyond with the Starfinder Starship Operations Manual!

ISBN-13: 978-1-64078-249-5

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

Product Availability

Preorder, expected approximately 30 Jul 2020

Are there errors or omissions in this product information? Got corrections? Let us know at store@paizo.com.

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Paizo Employee Webstore Coordinator

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Announced for July! Product image and description are not final and may be subject to change.

Contributor

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:D :D :D :D

Sovereign Court

Nice. I imagine with ramming prows, rules for ramming are going to be presented. Maybe even boarding? Sounds like a nice selection of new stuff.


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Maps, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Superscriber

This is a fantastic addition to the line. The Starship Combat rules are the one area of Core Starfinder I find missed the mark a little - they were promising but a little off in our experience (meaning most level appropriate space combats are pretty dull walks in the park).

Hopefully the options here will allow us to make that leap to awesome. :)


1 person marked this as a favorite.

I'm hoping there is some expanded support for personal fighters. Gotta get my Cowboy Bebop on.

And give use Grappler ships. I can almost do Outlaw star. I'm so close. Please.

Dark Archive

Woo :D


3 people marked this as a favorite.

Will we be able to "Form Voltron!"?


I hope it has some more building guidelines for making PC ships. Right now if the party is willing to stint on stuff that would matter if you actually had to be in the ship but has no real gameplay effects you can make ships that are insanely durable to the point of NPC ships not being a challenge.

It makes it difficult as a GM to judge what they should be sent against as if you push it too much you risk a lot of accidental TPK's.


Steve Geddes wrote:

This is a fantastic addition to the line. The Starship Combat rules are the one area of Core Starfinder I find missed the mark a little - they were promising but a little off in our experience (meaning most level appropriate space combats are pretty dull walks in the park).

Hopefully the options here will allow us to make that leap to awesome. :)

A lot of this I think stems from lack of level guidelines in ship building that they have in normal player armor/weapon equipment buying. Its way to easy to cheap out on a lot of stuff and shove some insane shields on a ship and a strong enough power plant to fire it up and then give it one or two good weapons in a turret and basically just be able to ignore most by the book fights as the NPC are rarely capable of punching through the defenses.

Second Seekers (Jadnura)

9 people marked this as a favorite.

I got to help write some of the cool stuff in this book and can't wait to share it with everyone!


Hmmm, curious if I should get this (skipped Armory since I don’t play Starfinder).


9 people marked this as a favorite.

I was still round when we began this, and it was already full of cool stuff! I'm excited to see what got added after I left. :)


Dang. I was hoping for this book to have something in it Starship related that wasn't Starship combat related given how my group hates Starship Combat in starfinder but it doesn't sound like there will be anything. This will be the first non-AP book my group skips for starfinder. :/


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Lost Omens Subscriber; Starfinder Superscriber
Milo v3 wrote:
Dang. I was hoping for this book to have something in it Starship related that wasn't Starship combat related given how my group hates Starship Combat in starfinder but it doesn't sound like there will be anything. This will be the first non-AP book my group skips for starfinder. :/

Starships and starship combat in the starship book? Crazy talk.

Paizo Employee Starfinder Senior Developer

9 people marked this as a favorite.
Milo v3 wrote:
Dang. I was hoping for this book to have something in it Starship related that wasn't Starship combat related given how my group hates Starship Combat in starfinder but it doesn't sound like there will be anything. This will be the first non-AP book my group skips for starfinder. :/

There's definitely a lot of support for starship combat in this book. There's also a considerable quantity of non-combat components, manufacturer lore, and adventure design. Ultimately, you're the best judge of what your group will enjoy, though I'm guessing there's content here that could interest you.

Paizo Employee Starfinder Senior Developer

16 people marked this as a favorite.

I'm really excited about our great cast of authors on this project. Some of those who are comfortable with my calling them out by name include Abigail Slater, Alex Augunas, Alexi Greer, Diego Valdez, Jason Tondro, Jessica Catalan, JN Childs, John Godek, Kate Baker, Kendra Leigh Speedling, M.W. Hawkins, Sam Phelan, Vanessa Hoskins, plus a bunch more!

It'll be great to share their creations when the book comes out 2020!


Nice!

Contributor

2 people marked this as a favorite.
John Compton wrote:

I'm really excited about our great cast of authors on this project. Some of those who are comfortable with my calling them out by name include Abigail Slater, Alex Augunas, Alexi Greer, Diego Valdez, Jason Tondro, Jessica Catalan, JN Childs, John Godek, Kate Baker, Kendra Leigh Speedling, M.W. Hawkins, Sam Phelan, Vanessa Hoskins, plus a bunch more!

It'll be great to share their creations when the book comes out 2020!

I am SO excited about this product!

Contributor

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Milo v3 wrote:
Dang. I was hoping for this book to have something in it Starship related that wasn't Starship combat related given how my group hates Starship Combat in starfinder but it doesn't sound like there will be anything. This will be the first non-AP book my group skips for starfinder. :/

All I ask is for you to listen to what people say about it's content once the book comes out. I personally think that you'll be intrigued enough to purchase it, but we'll see!


I'll be keeping my mind open. I guess it'll primarily come down to how much non-combat stuff there is that is still rules-text, so I'll be keeping my ear out for previews on this book it gets to june-july.

Quote:
Starships and starship combat in the starship book? Crazy talk.

The issue isn't the topic itself, it's that the only things really mentioned in the description seemed to be focused on the a specific portion of the topic that my group hasn't enjoyed, and thus has little reason to purchase.

The topic of starships doesn't need to be limited entirely to a single subsystem of the game that only comes up 1/book of an Adventure Path that not every group necessarily enjoys. They can have local-scale options in a book with Starships as the topic if they desire to do so. For example Starships as a topic can mean having options like techomancers being able to telekinetically using technological environments like the interior of a starship or space station to attack enemies.

There is alot a team of skilled starfinder writers can potentially do with a theme like starships.


So will this book have an explanation (even just a sidebar) explaining how shields and armor are meant to be envisioned in this game? As in, shields are typically this bubble around your ship and armor is usually on the surface of the ship. But the manner in which attack rolls are adjudicated implies the reverse.

For example, if an attack roll is successful, then the incoming laser beam (or whatever weapon you like) has hit me despite the distance, speed, maneuverability, size, electronic countermeasures, and my own ship's armor. That is to say, we have at this point definitively determined how effective my ship's armor was against this shot (in this case, not enough). The ship's armor has physically interacted with the laser beam. And yet, after the ship's armor has had its opportunity to do its job, then we look to see what the shields will do. The shields that the laser beam already had to interact with or pass by before it ever got to the armor in the first place.

This would be akin to running a dungeon where you first run the final battle against the lich in the final boss room, and then running the battle against the guards outside to see if the party could have even reached the lich. It's out of order and does not make sense.

So what are we supposed to take this as, from an in-universe perspective? Does an incoming laser beam hit the ship, tear through the armor, and then somehow teleport back outside to be absorbed by the shields or not before teleporting back into the ship to continue doing its damage? Does the ship's computer just plot all incoming potentially-damaging effects (no matter how obscure, alien, or unique) and unfailingly determine whether the ship's armor can withstand it, only turning the shields on in the cases where the ship's armor isn't enough? Do Starfinder ships hold all their armor in tractor beams physically separate from the ship's hull and outside the shield bubble? Was the word "shield" just a really poor choice of term, where it's supposed to be more like a structural integrity field?

Grand Lodge Contributor

5 people marked this as a favorite.

This book was SO much fun to work on. It was, at the time, the biggest turn in I'd ever had and the most dense amount of writing I'd gotten done.

I'm really proud of the work we were able to do on this book and I think folks will really enjoy it!

Tectorman wrote:
So will this book have an explanation (even just a sidebar) explaining how shields and armor are meant to be envisioned in this game? ... Was the word "shield" just a really poor choice of term, where it's supposed to be more like a structural integrity field?

Like a lot of starship combat features, I think they're meant to be somewhat intentionally vague. If we start to get into "this is the physics behind how shields work" then that has lots of ramifications for how real-world physics interacts with game physics, etc. There's far more benefit to keeping things vague so players can focus on the "fun" of shields as points instead of the "realism" of shields as an energy barrier with a specific frequency ... or something.

That said, I think that the core rulebook shields work more like Star Wars shields in that they're a barrier made of energy. It takes so much damage (or counter energy) to cancel it out or overwhelm it. Once that happens, damage just goes through and hits the hull. In Star Wars you see people get hit, but they rarely seem to mind inside their cabins until "shields are down." Then there's exploding bulkheads everywhere.

Conversely, in something like Star Trek you have "deflector shields" that still seem to let a little bit of damage through. A starship in that universe is hit with a torpedo which explodes. Inside the ship, we see terminals sparking and people flying out of their seats. This is immediately followed by someone reporting, "Shields holding at 72%." Holding? But people just got hurt because you got hit! Oh, I see... It deflected some of the harm, but not all of it.

Anyway, that's just my two credits.

Liberty's Edge

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

I'm very excited for this book! It's right in my wheelhouse for what I've been really enjoying about Starfinder in general ^_^

Liberty's Edge

3 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Pawns, Rulebook Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

I am really hoping that this book contains a reprint with appropriate errata of all of the core rules for starship combat, in addition to the new ones. It would be really lovely if I could just grab this one book whenever a starship combat started and reference it all the way through, not needing to flip between different sections or different books or, most especially, between a printed book and my online pdf of errata.


3 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I had a lot of fun working on my sections for this book, and I'm looking forward to its release! There's a lot of cool stuff in here that I think will appeal to people with a variety of tastes in things that interest them about starships.

-Kendra


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Shisumo wrote:
I am really hoping that this book contains a reprint with appropriate errata of all of the core rules for starship combat, in addition to the new ones. It would be really lovely if I could just grab this one book whenever a starship combat started and reference it all the way through, not needing to flip between different sections or different books or, most especially, between a printed book and my online pdf of errata.

Echoing this for emphasis. Please this be in this book.

Second Seekers (Jadnura)

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Card Game, Maps Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

I love the idea of an APG just for starships. Starfinder has long since become my favorite game, and every release since Armory seems like a missing link I didn't realize I'd been looking for.

Keep it up


I'm very curious how they are going to do atmospheric dogfighting with starships. I would imagine that it's a way to convert them from starship scale to creature scale so other creatures and vehicles can interact. If not, then I don't know how else they'll do it that'll add anything to the game.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Tectorman wrote:
Shisumo wrote:
I am really hoping that this book contains a reprint with appropriate errata of all of the core rules for starship combat, in addition to the new ones. It would be really lovely if I could just grab this one book whenever a starship combat started and reference it all the way through, not needing to flip between different sections or different books or, most especially, between a printed book and my online pdf of errata.
Echoing this for emphasis. Please this be in this book.

SECONDED


Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber
Sauce987654321 wrote:
I'm very curious how they are going to do atmospheric dogfighting with starships. I would imagine that it's a way to convert them from starship scale to creature scale so other creatures and vehicles can interact. If not, then I don't know how else they'll do it that'll add anything to the game.

I really hope they include some variant rules for giving starships and vehicles some room to interact. Apart from that, I mostly expect this to feature rules for environmental effects, like cloud cover, storms, gravitational effects, anti-air defence hazards, etc.

I’m also intrigued by all the new systems being introduced: ramming (our crazy ysoki pilot will be SO pleased), mines, asteroid chases and fleet combat, and virtual intelligence! What does that mean? Will it have any application outside starship combat? Whatever the case, I’m so happy our friendly AIs are getting some attention here. Whatever the case, this book is looking so must-have, I’m over the moon.

And Sanjaval Vagabond and supercolossal starship rules in core, must have! Motherships and iconic PC starship are shoe-ins for this.


Opsylum wrote:
Sauce987654321 wrote:
I'm very curious how they are going to do atmospheric dogfighting with starships. I would imagine that it's a way to convert them from starship scale to creature scale so other creatures and vehicles can interact. If not, then I don't know how else they'll do it that'll add anything to the game.
I really hope they include some variant rules for giving starships and vehicles some room to interact. Apart from that, I mostly expect this to feature rules for environmental effects, like cloud cover, storms, gravitational effects, anti-air defence hazards, etc.

If it's basically just hazards, like you mentioned, I'm going to be soooo disappointed, haha.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Tectorman wrote:
Shisumo wrote:
I am really hoping that this book contains a reprint with appropriate errata of all of the core rules for starship combat, in addition to the new ones. It would be really lovely if I could just grab this one book whenever a starship combat started and reference it all the way through, not needing to flip between different sections or different books or, most especially, between a printed book and my online pdf of errata.
Echoing this for emphasis. Please this be in this book.

Agreed.

An all-encompassing "Starship Rulebook" would be nice, when you could pretty easily tack in the errata's rules into this book as well with a few pages. I know a few pages makes a big difference when it comes to printing, but having to reference three different documents when trying to run space combat is less than ideal, especially since it's not something that players and GMs are likely doing often enough to have it all memorized.

It CAN be a focus of a campaign, but most people use it as kind of an aside between the 'meat' of starfinder.

That aside, I am also hoping for some more balance changes, to keep player ships from turning into spheres of death. Focusing entirely on turrets and shields is just too potent once you start getting to mid-to-high level spaceship building.

Silver Crusade

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

Really hoping for some sort of recommendations for something along the lines of "We have a main ship and 2 fighters", could just split the pool of points, but some suggestions from the design team would be amazing (even if it's not in this book, maybe something for the future?)


So excited about this one!!!!

Wayfinders

Sauce987654321 wrote:
Opsylum wrote:
Sauce987654321 wrote:
I'm very curious how they are going to do atmospheric dogfighting with starships. I would imagine that it's a way to convert them from starship scale to creature scale so other creatures and vehicles can interact. If not, then I don't know how else they'll do it that'll add anything to the game.
I really hope they include some variant rules for giving starships and vehicles some room to interact. Apart from that, I mostly expect this to feature rules for environmental effects, like cloud cover, storms, gravitational effects, anti-air defence hazards, etc.
If it's basically just hazards, like you mentioned, I'm going to be soooo disappointed, haha.

The principle problem is one that West End addressed decades ago - the matter of scale. Think about that WW2 strafing run by a fighter, and how a single person can react to it. The one Vehicle/Starship combat I've seen felt right being done using modified chase rules. The ship (a fighter size creature) was basically too big for the vehicle to do any real damage, but they were able to affect it's ability to hit them. Realistically, Han can fire his blaster at a Lambda class shuttle all he wants, and he'll probably hit every time, but the shuttle pilot will ignore him. Or fire back, with a lower chance of hitting, but if he does, Han's vicinity is going to be pretty unpleasant.


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Starship are an fundamental part of the game, i would like read this book.


YEEEEEESS!!!! WANT!


Lethallin wrote:
Tectorman wrote:
Shisumo wrote:
I am really hoping that this book contains a reprint with appropriate errata of all of the core rules for starship combat, in addition to the new ones. It would be really lovely if I could just grab this one book whenever a starship combat started and reference it all the way through, not needing to flip between different sections or different books or, most especially, between a printed book and my online pdf of errata.
Echoing this for emphasis. Please this be in this book.

Agreed.

An all-encompassing "Starship Rulebook" would be nice, when you could pretty easily tack in the errata's rules into this book as well with a few pages. I know a few pages makes a big difference when it comes to printing, but having to reference three different documents when trying to run space combat is less than ideal, especially since it's not something that players and GMs are likely doing often enough to have it all memorized.

It CAN be a focus of a campaign, but most people use it as kind of an aside between the 'meat' of starfinder.

That aside, I am also hoping for some more balance changes, to keep player ships from turning into spheres of death. Focusing entirely on turrets and shields is just too potent once you start getting to mid-to-high level spaceship building.

Yes, that would be awesome. But to be honest, it's not a requirement for me. I am excited about ANYHTING new en expanding around starship life, operation AND combat. So for me this is an automatic buy. Can't wait! :D


Count me in as very interested as well, wonder if that Starship AP that was hinted at being thought of/considered might not be far behind in one of their twitch casts.

I asked the question and got an interesting reply, but things can change at the drop of a Lazer pistol, but still hoping this type of AP might be in the works and this new Book.

Starship combat seems to be either a hit or a miss from the ones I have Gmed and player feedback afterwords.

Tom


Raia of Jabask wrote:
Sauce987654321 wrote:
Opsylum wrote:
Sauce987654321 wrote:
I'm very curious how they are going to do atmospheric dogfighting with starships. I would imagine that it's a way to convert them from starship scale to creature scale so other creatures and vehicles can interact. If not, then I don't know how else they'll do it that'll add anything to the game.
I really hope they include some variant rules for giving starships and vehicles some room to interact. Apart from that, I mostly expect this to feature rules for environmental effects, like cloud cover, storms, gravitational effects, anti-air defence hazards, etc.
If it's basically just hazards, like you mentioned, I'm going to be soooo disappointed, haha.
The principle problem is one that West End addressed decades ago - the matter of scale. Think about that WW2 strafing run by a fighter, and how a single person can react to it. The one Vehicle/Starship combat I've seen felt right being done using modified chase rules. The ship (a fighter size creature) was basically too big for the vehicle to do any real damage, but they were able to affect it's ability to hit them. Realistically, Han can fire his blaster at a Lambda class shuttle all he wants, and he'll probably hit every time, but the shuttle pilot will ignore him. Or fire back, with a lower chance of hitting, but if he does, Han's vicinity is going to be pretty unpleasant.

While I get what you're saying, these examples only work in a vacuum. If scale is going to be the argument here, then we should consider the vehicles we currently have statted for creature scale combat. If you check, they can range anywhere from the size of cars, space shuttles (in your example), to huge sized spaceships. Your examples are more of a narrative display of level disparity, as opposed to scenarios that require a mechanical separation of scales. To use Han Solo as a baseline of what should be considered "realistic" is ignoring the existence of a progression system and its purpose.

Grand Lodge

7 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Starfinder Maps Subscriber
John Compton wrote:
I'm really excited about our great cast of authors on this project. Some of those who are comfortable with my calling them out by name include Abigail Slater, Alex Augunas, Alexi Greer, Diego Valdez, Jason Tondro, Jessica Catalan, JN Childs, John Godek, Kate Baker, Kendra Leigh Speedling, M.W. Hawkins, Sam Phelan, Vanessa Hoskins, plus a bunch more!

I am part of that 'bunch more' and was very excited to be part of this project. I hope you like what we did!

Hmm


Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

With the existing rules, my current game has largely avoided starship combat. Maybe this will revive it.


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Hmm wrote:
John Compton wrote:
I'm really excited about our great cast of authors on this project. Some of those who are comfortable with my calling them out by name include Abigail Slater, Alex Augunas, Alexi Greer, Diego Valdez, Jason Tondro, Jessica Catalan, JN Childs, John Godek, Kate Baker, Kendra Leigh Speedling, M.W. Hawkins, Sam Phelan, Vanessa Hoskins, plus a bunch more!

I am part of that 'bunch more' and was very excited to be part of this project. I hope you like what we did!

Hmm

Drift tea shops? :3


6 people marked this as a favorite.

Poshkettle Tea! Opening franchises in the Drift near you!


3 people marked this as a favorite.

Are we going to see a terrestrial vehicle manual at some point?

Asking for a friend...


Paizo Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories, Starfinder Accessories, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber
Vanessa Hoskins wrote:

Conversely, in something like Star Trek you have "deflector shields" that still seem to let a little bit of damage through. A starship in that universe is hit with a torpedo which explodes. Inside the ship, we see terminals sparking and people flying out of their seats. This is immediately followed by someone reporting, "Shields holding at 72%." Holding? But people just got hurt because you got hit! Oh, I see... It deflected some of the harm, but not all of it.

Anyway, that's just my two credits.

Heh. In the Honorverse, nothing can penetrate the wedge. But the wedge doesn't completely surround the ship, and nobody has yet figured out how to make sidewalls as strong as a wedge. Not to mention bow- and stern-walls. So ships do get hit. In some cases, obliterated. Put another way, if somebody invents some kind of shield or amor tech, somebody else will invent a way around it.

Paizo Employee Starfinder Senior Developer

3 people marked this as a favorite.
Shifty wrote:

Are we going to see a terrestrial vehicle manual at some point?

Asking for a friend...

It's never outside the realm of possibility. If that's something you'd like to see, it could be handy to start a discussion thread about what folks would want to see in such a book. If such a thread already exists, kindly send me a link.


I sure hope a tractor/recall beam is in there. If there's gonna be drop pods to get you onto the planet, you gotta also have a way to get back out, right?

And while rather optimistic given the way the combat subsystems interact (or for that matter, don't), assault pods/ramsleds for boarding would be a really fun addition.


Paizo Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories, Starfinder Accessories, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber
RiverMesa wrote:

I sure hope a tractor/recall beam is in there. If there's gonna be drop pods to get you onto the planet, you gotta also have a way to get back out, right?

And while rather optimistic given the way the combat subsystems interact (or for that matter, don't), assault pods/ramsleds for boarding would be a really fun addition.

Cap troopers are recovered by shuttles. Heinlein said so. So mote it be! :-)


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Please, for the love of Triune, tell me this book will finally include the rules for mecha.

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