A humble request for GM Books


General Discussion


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Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Society Subscriber

I would like to politely, respectfully, humbly request that Paizo consider inserting a Starfinder Game Mastery book or an NPC Codex or a Villain Codex or an Adventurer's Guide or some combination of those books into one hardcover that gives bad GMs like me a lot of easy options for creating our own campaigns.

You guys keep giving us awesome settings and player options and I know the Alien Archives and AP backpages have some of this stuff but right now the biggest gap between what's provided between the two settings are the books for GM support.

I know that's a niche market and I'm not expecting like a whole bunch of stuff all at once but GM support books have a lot of value for folks like me who aren't as good at crunch but love running games. Having a bunch of templates lets me pick and choose what to throw at my players.

At the very least, could you simply collect some of the disparate templates you already have floating around and drop them inside a PDF or some sort of small support section in the back pages of some larger book. Like even if we can't get a full book, I'm just asking for a few easy to deploy NPCs from the various factions from the back pages of the core rule book.

Grand Lodge

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Pathfinder Starfinder Maps Subscriber

That's an interesting idea, Cursor!

I recently learned how to make up NPCs using the Alien Archive rules. Once I got over my fear of it, the process turned out to be extremely fun and really illuminating. It was daunting at first, but after the first two monsters, I really started enjoying myself. Another consideration (since you GM SFS) is that you can borrow SFS villains and rework them into slightly changed version of themselves and use those to torment your players.

Would a user guide to putting together NPCs using Starfinder's rules be something helpful to you? Something that went step-by-step, with examples?

Hmm


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

I thoroughly agree. A Starfinder GM Guide would be terrific.


Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Society Subscriber
Hmm wrote:

Would a user guide to putting together NPCs using Starfinder's rules be something helpful to you? Something that went step-by-step, with examples?

That would be fine and all but part of the reason Pathfinder is so smooth to DM is because there are things I can slid in and out of on the fly. If I'm running an AP in Pathfinder and the players break into a house. I can yank out my Villain Codex and turn to page 42 where they have an entire chapter dedicated to city guards, stats and all, and then on page 53 they have groupings of guards each at a different CR. If my players are at war and I want my players to encounter a bunch of rowdy soldiers in a bar: turn to page 54 in the same book where I can hot swap in the stats in that chapter for a bunch of drunken off duty soldiers. And then lets say these soldiers have a leader and after beating their butts in, I need to have furious encounter with a tough opponent on the fly: NPC Codex, page 88, Brutal Warlord and maybe he's got support from page 50, Death Priest.

I admit, building NPCs is something I'm not that good at it and I'm always up for more tools to help me with it. But when doing home games, having an encyclopedia of NPCs right there for an impromptu combat caused by gamer silliness is always helpful and would go a long way for making the setting easier to run and play on the fly.

Let's say we need to do a quick excursion to the corporate offices of the Aspis Consortium. I would love stats for a corporate security drone, an armed guard, and a corporate merc. Then later, after the cops arrive, a couple of Stewards, a plain clothes investigator, and a senior officer. Then very later, when the players need to sell the info they stole from Aspis, a sleazy fence and his two heavy hitter bodyguards.

All of that would make my life easier as a GM.


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thecursor wrote:
Hmm wrote:

Would a user guide to putting together NPCs using Starfinder's rules be something helpful to you? Something that went step-by-step, with examples?

That would be fine and all but part of the reason Pathfinder is so smooth to DM is because there are things I can slid in and out of on the fly. If I'm running an AP in Pathfinder and the players break into a house. I can yank out my Villain Codex and turn to page 42 where they have an entire chapter dedicated to city guards, stats and all, and then on page 53 they have groupings of guards each at a different CR.

Multiple times now I've ad libbed off the NPC charts for encounters. If you are surprised as a GM, turn to the back of AA1 and voila, read off the table for some stats, fudge as you go. Throw in a spell you like or two if they have to be a caster.

I don't want a villain codex necessarily. I don't need stats on the fly, I'd rather more fluff and options for my players than premade NPCs of X level.


Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Society Subscriber
Garretmander wrote:
I don't want a villain codex necessarily. I don't need stats on the fly, I'd rather more fluff and options for my players than premade NPCs of X level.

I'm aware I'm asking for something that some GMs don't bother with but I (and more the few beginner GMs) wouldn't mind a quick reference. I'm not looking for a full book either, but a little more support would be nice.

Sovereign Court

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Hmm wrote:
Would a user guide to putting together NPCs using Starfinder's rules be something helpful to you? Something that went step-by-step, with examples?

It's certainly something I'd be interested in myself. I've been a bit daunted so far by going into it even though people say that it's much easier than in Pathfinder.

I just realized that what I'd like a lot would be a good hand-fillable NPC sheet. NPCs are sufficiently different from PCs that using the same template makes no sense.

Such a sheet is well-ordered in two ways: assembly (in which order do I learn the values to fill in the fields?) and application (what information should be close to each other to run the NPC efficiently?).

I'm thinking subtle numbering in the margins indicating the steps of the creation process.

What I'm curious about: the NPCs in the NPC codex were generally a bit disappointing to me because they felt weak for their CR, compared to monsters. I suspect due to NPC stat arrays really biting on humanoids. And they of course don't have the kind of versatile and redundant gear that PCs have.


Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Society Subscriber
Ascalaphus wrote:
What I'm curious about: the NPCs in the NPC codex were generally a bit disappointing to me because they felt weak for their CR, compared to monsters. I suspect due to NPC stat arrays really biting on humanoids. And they of course don't have the kind of versatile and redundant gear that PCs have.

Oh that is certainly true, hence why I always used them as a random or improv encounter.

Paizo, if you do give us a Starfinder NPC Codex, organize it more like Villain Codex or Adventurer Guide and then toughen them boys up.


Honestly, all you need is a basic statblock (like the ones in the AAs or APs) and AA1 and it should be easy to pull out on-demand level-appropriate enemies, because for the most part it's literally as simple as changing the numbers to be appropriate to the chart's designation for that CR, or maybe add/take away one or two special abilities (if desired) if your CR changes dramatically. For instance, from CR 2 (3 for Expert Arrays) to 11 the only thing that should be changing is the exact numbers, which are designated on the appropriate chart (well, charts plural because damage is it's own chart). At CR 12 you can add a special ability, and then from then until CR 18 (19 for Experts) it's again just changing numbers. Really the main things that might trip up are Spellcasters because spells are complex, and making up appropriate loot afterwards, everything else should be a matter of seconds.

That said, I can still see the appeal of what you're asking for, since it would be nice to not have to hot-swap from the chart, and maybe be able to have spell lists and loot tables on-hand. I just don't think it's going to be a big priority given how quick it should be to just adjust a block on the fly.

Sovereign Court

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Both the NPC and the Villain Codex also resulted in extremely useful pawn boxes.

I would certainly like some more racially-diverse-humanoid-ish pawn box. You know, several different pawns for each race, showing them in different roles.


Here's a thought:

With today's robust digital landscape, would it be difficult for a (smart web-savvy) person to make a NPC-building website tool?

Something where I could hit a 'New NPC' button, and through a series of pulldown menus, choose some stats, abilities, spells, equipment, hit 'Done' and it will spit out a statblock which I could save as a link (if I'm playing digitally) or print out (if I'm playing traditionally?)


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As far as GM focused books, I wouldn't mind a systems heavy book like Ultimate Campaign. I love me some subsystems.

Sovereign Court

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TempusAvatar wrote:

Here's a thought:

With today's robust digital landscape, would it be difficult for a (smart web-savvy) person to make a NPC-building website tool?

Something where I could hit a 'New NPC' button, and through a series of pulldown menus, choose some stats, abilities, spells, equipment, hit 'Done' and it will spit out a statblock which I could save as a link (if I'm playing digitally) or print out (if I'm playing traditionally?)

Not insanely difficult. The NPC/monster creation process in Starfinder is well-described so you can do that. It's on my list of things to try when I want another coding project. But I'm a busy boy so no idea if I'll get to it.

Also, check out https://www.sfrpgtools.com/monster-builder


there is a pretty good little smattering of such characters in the Pact World book, under Supporting Characters. I think its about 10 archetypes, each built to various levels like the PF codexii, easy enough to reskin in to whatever you want if a specific thing isn't there.


Ascalaphus wrote:


Not insanely difficult. The NPC/monster creation process in Starfinder is well-described so you can do that. It's on my list of things to try when I want another coding project. But I'm a busy boy so no idea if I'll get to it.

Also, check out https://www.sfrpgtools.com/monster-builder

Thanks for the link; I'll have to explore it when I have the time, it might be just what the doctor ordered.

The idea behind my request was that it wouldn't be difficult to replicate the utility of a "NPC Codex" type of book with an easy tool at our fingertips; in one's spare time, a person could whip up all the NPCs they could ever need and offload the labor/cost of an author and a publisher producing hard copies. One could even imagine a forum thread where the labor of such a body of content is subject to crowdsourcing and sharing.

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