Setting Questions


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So while I'm making this to ask questions myself, I kinda wonder if this could be like an "ask [dev] ALL your questions here" thread? It'd be nice, but probably depends on the devs' opinions.

Anyway, first question for the forums at large: does anybody think the Red Mantis still exist? Or has their god died/been left on Golarion?


Voyd211 wrote:


Anyway, first question for the forums at large: does anybody think the Red Mantis still exist? Or has their god died/been left on Golarion?

These are unrelated questions. They can not exist but their god can still be around. The red mantis were assassins inspired by but not encouraged or created by their god.

I don't think they exist because in the world of Starfinder with universal education, cheap transportation, and telecommunications you don't need to be an insular religious cult to produce assassins. Anyone with a the skillset and a commlink can get into the business. Plus Lao Shu Po has kind of filled the niche if you need religiously motivated or flavored assassins.


As to your first question: Nope. Devs and such occasionally chime in when they feel like it, but there's no rhyme or reason for when they'll grace us with some text.

For the second: Actually, I don't know what the Red Mantis is. So... Yeah, totally still around. I think they run a burger joint over by Aballon.


The Red Mantis were followers of Achaekek, the assassin god.

They might still be around, but no one is talking about them.

They we're a smallish group on Golarion, as followers of a minor deity. Neither has been canonically mentioned in Starfinder as far as I know.


The interesting question is to wonder how a group like that would evolve through to the time period of Starfinder. Certainly they wouldn't be at all the same.


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Claxon wrote:

The Red Mantis were followers of Achaekek, the assassin god.

They might still be around, but no one is talking about them.

They we're a smallish group on Golarion, as followers of a minor deity. Neither has been canonically mentioned in Starfinder as far as I know.

There is one mention in Dead Suns #1, in the Relics of Golarion section. However all the lore text we get is:

"Once the traditional headgear for an ancient cabal of Golarion assassins called the Red Mantis, the mask of the mantis is now a relic sought by scholars of the missing planet, especially those seeking evidence that the Swarm visited Golarion at some time in the distant past. "


There's always a need for hired killers. The Mantis' zealotry is a somewhat decent guarantee of quality if not excellence.
No reason they couldn't still be around - short of Achaekek being dead or gone.

It's however unlikely for them to be as visible as they once were : a new Mediogalti would not be tolerated in the Pact Worlds, prompting a shift to more secrecy. Not a huge deal.
Their Dogma would probably have to evolve as well, as their relation to heads of state was already getting a bit too old-fashioned in the Golarion days.

For the other thing, it's unlikely we see devs answering every setting question, they're kind of busy enough as is.
I wouldn't mind a setting subforum though, like PF has.


I was trying to make an assassin with a code of honor, which, uh, since Lao Shu Po seems to have replaced Norgorber, that doesn't really work.

New question: other than the kasatha and vesk (and I assume borais of those races), what races might be attracted to the path of the solarian?


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Voyd211 wrote:
I was trying to make an assassin with a code of honor, which, uh, since Lao Shu Po seems to have replaced Norgorber, that doesn't really work.

Norgorber is ... waiting ...

Quote:
New question: other than the kasatha and vesk (and I assume borais of those races), what races might be attracted to the path of the solarian?

Human - humans are interested in lots of things (and make for great solarians)

Android - caught in a cycle of birth and rebirth, the apparent linear nation of the cosmos presents an alternative for their self-conception

Ysoki - They like to figure things out mechanically. Solarians also figure things out, but spiritually

Shirren - Those drawn to mysticism probably are skittish about allegiance to 'connections' any of which might open a door for the malign influence of the Swarm; solarians by contrast connect with the cosmos itself

Lashunta - they are students. the solarian model of training academies seems like a natural fit for them.


Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I think there was an official statement that, any deity whose fate has not explicitly been stated, assume they are still around. They might be obscure, out of power, or even have basically no operations on the material plane, but they still exist.

For Achaekek specifically, I can't imagine anything fundamentally changing in his activity, barring actually being killed. He's presumably still hanging out on Pharasma's turf, waiting for the ever-rare order to go assassinate a god. OTOH, if Red Mantis accoutrements are considered to be archeological curiousities, and for reasons that make little to no sense in light of the Red Mantis' actual activities? I kind of suspect the Red Mantis order went extinct.


How would you roleplay a gray character in a party? The problem with grays as PCs is that I don't think we really know anything about them for certain. We don't know their culture, their social lives, what they do in their spare time, what they eat, their sex and gender structure... one of my acquaintances considered playing a (non-evil) gray almost as a sort of benevolent gremlin, that the crew doesn't really know about at first. The ship is running at peak performance, as are the party's weapons, and the crew reports small items going missing and no one can find them.


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Since we don't know anything about them pretty much anything could be part of a larger plan/experiment

"Well bob, we've dissected them, tortured them, squished them.. anyone tried being NICE to them yet?

"Anyone? Beuler? Okay bob you have the new experiment.


How often do you think interracial romantic couples form? Obviously the humanoid races that look similar do so frequently (lashunta, human, ryphorian, elf, android). But what about the races that are decidedly less human-looking? Shirrens, vesk, dragonkin, formians, kalos, khizars, kasathas, all those sorts of aliens.

Granted, I'm pretty sure the answer to questions like this is almost always "I'm sure there's someone out there."


Voyd211 wrote:

How often do you think interracial romantic couples form? Obviously the humanoid races that look similar do so frequently (lashunta, human, ryphorian, elf, android). But what about the races that are decidedly less human-looking? Shirrens, vesk, dragonkin, formians, kalos, khizars, kasathas, all those sorts of aliens.

Granted, I'm pretty sure the answer to questions like this is almost always "I'm sure there's someone out there."

Club 34?


How do characters become solarians? If it's a training thing, then how do non-kasathas gain the power of the stars? It's the tradition of the kasathas, so it makes little sense for, say, trox to follow that path.


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

I get the sense that romantic pairings between bonded ryphorians and dragonkin are pretty uncommon, but not unknown.

And over in Starfinder Society (avoiding spoilers), there's a budding romance going on between two recurring NPCs of seemingly disparate species that no one bats an eye at.


Voyd211 wrote:
How do characters become solarians? If it's a training thing, then how do non-kasathas gain the power of the stars? It's the tradition of the kasathas, so it makes little sense for, say, trox to follow that path.

It seems to be the way the universe works. Just because the kasatha have a path to get there doesn't mean that they have the only way.


John Mangrum wrote:
I get the sense that romantic pairings between bonded ryphorians and dragonkin are pretty uncommon, but not unknown.

Next on As the Planet Warms...


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Voyd211 wrote:
How do characters become solarians? If it's a training thing, then how do non-kasathas gain the power of the stars? It's the tradition of the kasathas, so it makes little sense for, say, trox to follow that path.

Based on my reading of the background for the Iconic Solarian, it's not really a training thing. Not exactly, anyway. Like the Jedi it's modeled after, some people just have a gift. The training simply helps nurture it. and this gift can manifest at any point in one's life. In the case of the Iconic Solarian, he didn't manifest Solarian powers until he nearly died trying to defend the brain vaults of the Idari from a would be thief. It took him by surprise about as much as it took the thief.

If anything, like the Jedi Order and the Jedi Council, the Kasatha just have a culture that is built to recognize and nurture this gift in people, and so Kasatha are naturally more prone to becoming Solarians. Theoretically, the rest of the Pact Worlds are just as capable, they just don't have the same culture to help bring it out in them.

Think the difference between Anakin having the Jedi order see his potential and taking him to teach him how to grasp it, versus Rei who kind of just... found it on her own.


John Mangrum wrote:
And over in Starfinder Society (avoiding spoilers), there's a budding romance going on between two recurring NPCs of seemingly disparate species that no one bats an eye at.

I think it's adorable.


Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Voyd211 wrote:
How do characters become solarians? If it's a training thing, then how do non-kasathas gain the power of the stars? It's the tradition of the kasathas, so it makes little sense for, say, trox to follow that path.

How does a Monk gain their powers? By training. Same thing for a Solarian. Its not some racial power, its just a particular cultural practice that others can learn, too. The Kasatha just happened to be the ones to introduce it to the Pact Worlds post-Gap.


Concerning Achaekek, isn't he revered in ancient Azlant? If so, that could lead to a some current worship in the Azlanti star empire.


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I would be both very concerned and highly curious about any character honestly attracted to an urog. But, hey, there are at least ten Jack Harknesses of every race, I imagine.

How would you roleplay a khizar character? The obvious answer is "I am Groot," but after reading up on the vanguard class, I was struck by the mental image of a khizar vanguard based on Exdeath from Final Fantasy 5 (trees live in the Void!).


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Pogiforce wrote:
John Mangrum wrote:
And over in Starfinder Society (avoiding spoilers), there's a budding romance going on between two recurring NPCs of seemingly disparate species that no one bats an eye at.
I think it's adorable.

Very, very true.


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In regards to grays, and reptoids for that matter, I wouldn't allow a player to bring one to the table and have it be just another character that's treated remotely normally; these races aren't integrated members of society, they're basically cryptids. They're outside infiltrators that few people know about and fewer people believe are real.

If a player were to say to me they wanted to play one, or if I were to come to a dm wanting to play one, we'd need to work together to work out what their deal was. Are the grays actually working towards some larger goal or are they just f'ing with people for their own amusement? Is there a single overarching faction that the reptoids answer to or are there several independent groups of them that may be working at cross purposes? Is the gray player a rogue agent or a double agent?

I'd need to answer these questions & more, and work from there. Do the other players know what a gray is? Do they believe they exist? Is their new crew member just a weird looking unidentified alien? If they know what he is, do they think he's gone rogue or are they okay working with him towards some potentially terrible goal?

In regards to Achaekek; ancient Azlant did worship him as a god of monsters & natural disasters, not assassins, which would suggest that if his worship continues under the Star Empire, it's through that lens, which would mean that they probably don't have their own red mantis death squads. Having said that, "god of monsters & natural disasters" does make the whole, "was ancient Golarion visited by the Swam" angle sound half-way plausible.

In regards to Solarions; Dead Suns also mentions that elves on Castrovel have ancient solarion traditions predating Kasatha arrival to the system, so there's elves & half-elves. I believe there's artwork of skittermander solarions that's been printed, and if skittermanders can do it, anyone can.

In regards to interspecies romance; given the existance of astrazoans, endiffians, and reptoids, more frequently than people probably realize.


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FormerFiend wrote:
In regards to interspecies romance; given the existance of astrazoans, endiffians, and reptoids, more frequently than people probably realize.

I now want a reptoid to be redeemed by a relationship.


The technomancer iconic is in a relationship with a Ryphorian I think.


Milo v3 wrote:
The technomancer iconic is in a relationship with a Ryphorian I think.

Just checked, can confirm. Raia had a romance with a winter Ryphorian male named Danese during her days in college, but they ended up parting ways after. Danese joined the Skyfire Legion, while Raia pursued her studies in alien life forms. Danese had actually offered to abandon his commission with the legion to remain with her, but Raia convinced him that neither of them should sacrifice personal advancement and improvement for the other.they however remain committed to one another and communicate regularly.


The talk about romance makes me wonder what races are biologically-compatible enough to have children. It's pretty much a given that humans can have kids with elves, orcs, half-elves, half-orcs, planar scions of their own or the mentioned races, and hags/changelings; I also know that some half-elves are half-ryphorian instead of half-human. But what about lashuntas, astrazoans, borais strix, reptoids, verthani, damais, and other very humanlike (or shapechanging into such) races? Can they have kids with each other?


Voyd211 wrote:
The talk about romance makes me wonder what races are biologically-compatible enough to have children. It's pretty much a given that humans can have kids with elves, orcs, half-elves, half-orcs, planar scions of their own or the mentioned races, and hags/changelings; I also know that some half-elves are half-ryphorian instead of half-human. But what about lashuntas, astrazoans, borais strix, reptoids, verthani, damais, and other very humanlike (or shapechanging into such) races? Can they have kids with each other?

There really is potential for half Ryphorian, half verthani, half X races in Starfinder.i think that really should be explored more.


Voyd211 wrote:
How would you roleplay a gray character in a party? The problem with grays as PCs is that I don't think we really know anything about them for certain. We don't know their culture, their social lives, what they do in their spare time, what they eat, their sex and gender structure... one of my acquaintances considered playing a (non-evil) gray almost as a sort of benevolent gremlin, that the crew doesn't really know about at first. The ship is running at peak performance, as are the party's weapons, and the crew reports small items going missing and no one can find them.

There is actually one significant thing we know about Greys vis a vis the setting.

They speak Aklo.

There seems to be a conspiracy among the speakers of this language as among the four armed.


Voyd211 wrote:
The talk about romance makes me wonder what races are biologically-compatible enough to have children. It's pretty much a given that humans can have kids with elves, orcs, half-elves, half-orcs, planar scions of their own or the mentioned races, and hags/changelings; I also know that some half-elves are half-ryphorian instead of half-human. But what about lashuntas, astrazoans, borais strix, reptoids, verthani, damais, and other very humanlike (or shapechanging into such) races? Can they have kids with each other?

I know that Paizo's offical philosophy on the subject is keeping crossbreed races to a bare minimum; it's effectively just half-elves & half-orcs &, more disturbingly, ogrekin, with others mixings being more magical in nature, either with supernatural creatures such as hags, lycanthropes, vampires, and deep ones, or full on outsiders, and with the latter, Paizo tries to downplay the notion of any actual sex taking place and it being more the result of magical influence. Same goes for dragons.

Oh, and samsaran's can reproduce with humans but again it's one of those, either it's a samsaran or a human, not a mix of the two, things.

James Jacobs, at least, has claimed that it's because they want to keep the main half-breed races special. I imagine that at least part of it is so that every time they come up with a new race they don't have to come up with two new races to cover the halfbreed aspect.

Now, Jacobs isn't heavily involved in the starfinder side of things which may be why they expanded the elven crossbreeding to ryphorians, but I still don't see it being something they massively shift gears on, arbitrary as a lot of it is gonna be.


I mean, you could do something like having racial "templates" for being half-something; such that you put two templates together to determine the racial traits of, say, a half-strix half-pahtra.


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I definitely prefer the half & half races to be less common. Most species not being able to have children together makes the various races feel less like rubber forehead aliens.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Starfinder Society Subscriber
Voyd211 wrote:
How would you roleplay a khizar character?

I love the idea of the khizar: strange telepathic plant thingy with a mood light stapled to its top. Like, this is exactly the kind of genre, playable race, craziness, that I come to Starfinder for :D

I've always thought it'd be fun to play a khizar that leans heavily into the psychic: like one of the mental Mystic connections, or the phrenic adept archetype, or the psyhic power feat tree. (Or all three!) But the idea is you just wander around picking up on the emotional states of others and broadcasting it visually by changing the colour of your head-seed-bulb-thing. Now I just need to get my grubby paws on a khizar boon...

Merc 1: dude you totally have a crush on that barathu don't you
Merc 2: wat no u, shove off
Kwondo the Emotive Khizar: *head turns blush red*
Merc 1: Hah I knew it!
Merc 2: KWONDO PLS


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Maps, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Nerdy Canuck wrote:
I mean, you could do something like having racial "templates" for being half-something; such that you put two templates together to determine the racial traits of, say, a half-strix half-pahtra.

In theory, PF1 covered that with the Racial Heritage and Planar Heritage feats. While the folks at Paizo repeatedly denied the existence of half-dwarves, for example, you could easily make one by creating a human character with the Racial Heritage (Dwarf) feat as his bonus feat.


D’you think a mechanic could have biotech-based stuff? Like an exocortex that’s like a controlled tumor, or a biologically-crafted drone, or a living custom rig.


Considering you can recreate any biotech or cybernetic augment with a necrograft, there are most likely mechanics using undead biotech to do their thing.

The mechanics of the class don't support it, but there is no reason in setting for biotech mechanics and necrograft mechanics to not exist as well.


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

Don't forget that new biohacker class. It may have some way to do the things being discussed.


Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Voyd211 wrote:
D’you think a mechanic could have biotech-based stuff? Like an exocortex that’s like a controlled tumor, or a biologically-crafted drone, or a living custom rig.

As a matter of flavor, sure. However, it wouldn't make any real mechanical difference. Their abilities would still work the same, and they'd still be a primarily Computers/Engineering class. Perhaps a Mechanic Trick that lets them add a new skill to their Bypass ability would be appropriate.

A more fundamental reworking, where the Mechanic would still be a skill monkey + zookeeper/offtank/controller, but through biological methods? Would be too cumbersome to be practical. Too many fundamental assumptions would have to be rebuilt, you'd effectively need an entire Archetype that is absolutely useless for any other class.


Buggery. So a barathu mechanic just wouldn't work, simply because the class doesn't fit the flavor of the race.


Why wouldn't it, exactly?


Barathus are all about that biotech, that's their whole schtick. All of their technology is organic.


Voyd211 wrote:
Barathus are all about that biotech, that's their whole schtick. All of their technology is organic.

That could fit better than you think.

Adaptive Biochains wrote:
You can duplicate the effects of cybernetics with biotech by using adaptive biochains—microscopic cells that can reform themselves into replacements for technology within the body of a living host. This replicates the effects of any cybernetic augmentation, but it costs an additional 10% due to the price of the biochains. Adaptive biochains can also be used to replace any existing cybernetic with a biotech version of the same device; doing so has the same price and time as introducing a new adaptive biochain.

Then there's the sixth level ability of the Biotechnician Theme

Industry Connections wrote:
You’ve forged and maintained a number of connections with significant players in the biotech industry, scoring yourself favors and preferred treatment. As long as you are able to contact your connections in the industry, you gain a 10% discount off the typical list price for biotech augmentations installed in you.

so between the two, you can have a Barathu who is into Genetic Engineering. Their augments are all biotech, including the exocortex and the custom rig. All biology is really just a super complex machine. Though admittedly, the Biohacker would fit so much better, and could still use the above combination.

the above combo by the way is actually pretty great, because effectively means you get a discount on both biotech, and what would otherwise be cybernetic augments, just at a lower discount. Example, Minimal Speed Suspension is normally 1900c and Adaptive Biochains Minimal Speed Suspension would be 2090c, but for the Biotechnician it'd be 1801, a 9 credit discount. Extremely minor I know, but think about the much more expensive augments and that number will climb. and then augments that are normally biotech are naturally cheaper than that.


David knott 242 wrote:
Nerdy Canuck wrote:
I mean, you could do something like having racial "templates" for being half-something; such that you put two templates together to determine the racial traits of, say, a half-strix half-pahtra.

In theory, PF1 covered that with the Racial Heritage and Planar Heritage feats. While the folks at Paizo repeatedly denied the existence of half-dwarves, for example, you could easily make one by creating a human character with the Racial Heritage (Dwarf) feat as his bonus feat.

#JusticeForMuls


Pogiforce wrote:
the above combo by the way is actually pretty great, because effectively means you get a discount on both biotech, and what would otherwise be cybernetic augments, just at a lower discount. Example, Minimal Speed Suspension is normally 1900c and Adaptive Biochains Minimal Speed Suspension would be 2090c, but for the Biotechnician it'd be 1801, a 9 credit discount. Extremely minor I know, but think about the much more expensive augments and that number will climb. and then augments that are normally biotech are naturally cheaper than that.

It doesn't fit the barathu character idea but:

Necrografts wrote:

Any biotech or cybernetic

augmentation can be created as a necrograft and installed
for only 90% of the augmentation’s normal cost, but doing
so causes the recipient to gain the necrograft subtype

For any penny pinching character. Especially since the necrograft subtype isn't exactly detrimental.


I feel like I would need to have a particular character concept who's into that sort of thing enough that they wouldn't care about the social stigma associated with necrografts. I don't think any of my current characters would do that just to save money.


I'm not sure how much social stigma there would be, I'd guess that's really heavily table dependent.

But you could always limit it to internal necrografts, and just not tell everyone you meet that you have undead parts.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Maps, Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Pogiforce wrote:
Voyd211 wrote:
Barathus are all about that biotech, that's their whole schtick. All of their technology is organic.

That could fit better than you think.

Adaptive Biochains wrote:
You can duplicate the effects of cybernetics with biotech by using adaptive biochains—microscopic cells that can reform themselves into replacements for technology within the body of a living host. This replicates the effects of any cybernetic augmentation, but it costs an additional 10% due to the price of the biochains. Adaptive biochains can also be used to replace any existing cybernetic with a biotech version of the same device; doing so has the same price and time as introducing a new adaptive biochain.

Then there's the sixth level ability of the Biotechnician Theme

Industry Connections wrote:
You’ve forged and maintained a number of connections with significant players in the biotech industry, scoring yourself favors and preferred treatment. As long as you are able to contact your connections in the industry, you gain a 10% discount off the typical list price for biotech augmentations installed in you.

so between the two, you can have a Barathu who is into Genetic Engineering. Their augments are all biotech, including the exocortex and the custom rig. All biology is really just a super complex machine. Though admittedly, the Biohacker would fit so much better, and could still use the above combination.

the above combo by the way is actually pretty great, because effectively means you get a discount on both biotech, and what would otherwise be cybernetic augments, just at a lower discount. Example, Minimal Speed Suspension is normally 1900c and Adaptive Biochains Minimal Speed Suspension would be 2090c, but for the Biotechnician it'd be 1801, a 9 credit discount. Extremely minor I know, but think about the much more expensive augments and that number will climb. and then augments that are normally biotech are naturally cheaper than that.

Quite right, Pogiforce.

We even have organic computer systems with the cerebric fingus.

If someone wants to stick to the bio-theme of barathu, there's very little that can stop them from saying their custom rig is made out of fungus, and having all of their augments benefit from biochain adaptions.


Pantshandshake wrote:

I'm not sure how much social stigma there would be, I'd guess that's really heavily table dependent.

But you could always limit it to internal necrografts, and just not tell everyone you meet that you have undead parts.

It's written into the setting. From Armory:

Quote:
Necrografts are augmentations utilizing undead organs and necromantic rituals rather than technology. They were invented on Eox, and they are most commonly available in Orphys and at the Necroforge within Eox’s Lifeline. Most other Pact Worlds outlaw the creation and installation of necrografts (though not their possession), but they can still be found in some less reputable back-alley augmentation clinics on multiple worlds throughout the system and beyond.

Outside of Eox, Necrografts are relegated to shady, black market business. They aren't widely accepted.

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