Welcome to the first of a number of exclusive previews from the upcoming Starfinder game from Paizo. We are going to look at the planet Castrovel, one of the worlds that will be a part of the game's setting. All of the text is read is written by Paizo creative director James Sutter. All of the images are being seen here for the first time.
Castrovel is the second planet from the sun in the Pact Worlds, the solar system at the heart of Starfinder’s setting. Most famous for its steamy, continent-spanning jungles and dangerous megafauna, Castrovel actually hosts a wide variety of different environments, from rolling plains where ant-like formians build their massive hive-cities to frozen polar ice caps with their hordes of white-furred predators. It also plays home to not one but three major civilizations—yet even so, the planet’s native flora and fauna remain a constant threat, particularly the massive moldstorms capable of destroying all but the most robust technology.
The telepathic lashuntas are the most prominent race on Castrovel, and actually comprise two different subspecies, with children deciding which one they'll grow into during adolescence. Damaya lashunta are tall, poised, and adaptable, making excellent leaders and diplomats, while korasha lashunta are short, muscular, and headstrong, often serving as warriors or explorers. Both subspecies revere scholarship and self-improvement, and their natural charisma makes them popular with other races. Lashuntas traditionally live in matriarchal city-states fortified against the predators of the wild, but while they fiercely value their independence, these city states rarely engage in open warfare against each other, and come to each other’s aid in times of need—such as to defend against their ancient insectile enemies, the formians.
Elves in Starfinder are even more aloof and xenophobic than in Pathfinder. In the wake of the Gap—a magical, galaxy-wide form of amnesia that effectively erased thousands of years of history just before the current era—the elves were hit harder than most races. Given their long lifespans, many elves never truly recovered from the pain of losing their memories, and fear and paranoia turned them bitter and insular. Today, elven society is largely restricted to their traditional homeland of Sovyrian on Castrovel, and those elves who choose to live among other races are derisively referred to as the Forlorn.
Castrovel is home to an immense variety of predatory plants and animals—plus creatures like this ksarik, which fall somewhere in between. Ksariks are large, dangerous quadrupeds who hunt their prey with acid spittle and spore-coated thorns, and can use stolen genetic material from their victims to temporarily emulate or defend against their abilities.
Raia Danviri is a damaya lashunta and our iconic technomancer. Iconics are characters we create specifically to show what an archetypal member of a given character classes might look like—they also show up on book covers and in comics, and in general act as mascots for the game. As the name suggests, technomancers are spellcasters who blend magic and technology, acting almost like supernatural computer programmers to hack the laws of reality. While from Castrovel originally, Raia has further customized her class with the xenoseeker character theme, a set of rules that makes her better at her passion: exploring new worlds and interacting with new races and cultures.