Creating a fortress world in starfinder, suggestions wanted


Advice


For the campaign im running I want to center it around a fortress world/system, example caida from 40k. Im having trouble justifying why enemy forces wouldnt just go around the planet and ignore it due to the way drift travel works. I want to avoid explaining it away with some sort of special magic plot device so im looking for some lore friendly suggestions.

For background the planet is in the vast, and is garrisoned by a combination of nyarthlotep cultists, Eoxian undead and hellknights along with a large militia comprised of peoples from various pact world colonies and protecterates from the surrounding systems.


In setting, there is no reason to not go around.

The only reason to attack said world would be to deal with a fleet stationed there, or to prevent that world from sending reinforcements elsewhere.

The world means nothing, but the troops (and their troop carriers) plus the fleet are a potentially mobile threat. If you go around, they'll show up at your destination too. (5d6/x days later)


The world could contain a strategically important nexus of gates to other worlds.

Sovereign Court

This is unfortunately difficult in Starfinder, due to how they set up the Drift. The Drift kind of removes "geography" from deep space travel.

Now, if you're at the beginning of a campaign, you could also decide to remove the Drift and substitute a different FTL concept. One that I like myself is featured in the books of Jerry Pournelle and used in the Stars Without Number RPG. It's also used in the Stellaris computer game. The basic idea goes like this:

Most space travel is conventional space flight. But at the border of a solar system, there are jump points, and with the right engine you can jump from one system to the edge of a nearby one. But it has to be sufficiently nearby, so sometimes you have to go past several other stars to work your way round to a particular star you want to visit.

If one particular star system is a bottleneck of jump point routes, it makes a lot of sense to put a fortress there.


Don't think interstellar, but interplanetary.

There is no reason to not drift past the solar system, but if you want to control the system itself a highly armed fortress world is kind of a problem and always a danger to your supply lines.


Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Yeah, the key to justifying a fortress world is not, literally, making it impossible to pass it. The key is to give a reason for why you *have* to take it. Given the context, yeah, the main reason is "Because otherwise this base of operations will lead to constant raids and assaults on anyone nearby".

Note that even a "fortress world" as you've described is still going to be nowhere near as big threat, or as tough a nut to crack, as an actual fully developed planet like any of the major Pact, Veskarium, or Azlanti worlds. They just are immeasurably bigger, richer, and more heavily developed. "Fortress world" is a very relative thing.


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Don't forget that drift travel only jumps you between the material plane and the drift. A fortress world situated on the lip of an entrance to a demi-plane or a section of weird space would be quite effective.

Also having the fortress world kitted out to launch attacks at massive range against ships dropping out of drift in the system is entirely possible. They could have sensors scattered in the 'local' drift and be ready to smack any unauthorized ships with a barrage of stupidly fast missiles the moment they drop out of the drift.

They could even serve as a staging ground for maintaining an active presence in the drift for their local star cluster. The same factors that make it easy to physically bypass the fortress world also reduce the manpower required to patrol and control the local drift area.

You've got a whole planet to play with. Weapons systems, ammunition magazines, computing power, and sensor systems that would not be practical when placed on you average starship are entirely feasible.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

also, "the Drift" works how you want it to.

maybe it's weird in this part of space. ships have to get out of the Drift when they get to this sector, and then enter a Driftgate which orbits the Fortress-world's sun in order to continue onto the Verdant Quadrant.

If you control Fortress-world, you can defend the Driftgate, or you can launch an armada into it.

It's your campaign. Do what you want.

Dataphiles

The best solutions are usually the simplest ones ...

In other words, make a reason why someone would want to get there.

Nobody builds a fortress guarding nothing in the middle of nowhere.

So, this world/system is located somewhere strategic, and the fortress protects something (or against something) valuable / dangerous.

Since it's Science Fantasy, stable portals, another StarStone fragment, doomsday weapons, headquarters of XYZ and ritual locations are all possible reasons, plus many more.

Cadia was "just" a world near the Eye of Terror, and was turned into a fortress to guard against things getting out, you could use the same principle.

Sovereign Court

Yakman wrote:

also, "the Drift" works how you want it to.

maybe it's weird in this part of space. ships have to get out of the Drift when they get to this sector, and then enter a Driftgate which orbits the Fortress-world's sun in order to continue onto the Verdant Quadrant.

If you control Fortress-world, you can defend the Driftgate, or you can launch an armada into it.

It's your campaign. Do what you want.

Yeah, I think you can get away with that. I think you need Drift beacons to efficiently get to places - the reason Absalom Station is so easy to reach is because the Starstone is a humongous beacon.

Normally there's beacons strewn all over, many of them placed by local cults of Triune. But maybe they're absent in this part of space? They could have been strategically demolished, except nearby the fortress planet. So anyone wanting to operate in this sector has to pass through the gate.

Of course there are rumors that a rogue Triune sect secretly places new beacons, in a kind of cat and mouse game with the local military. And smugglers could get you into the system discreetly, for a price. If you can find them and meet their price. </hook>

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