Paizo Announces Starfinder 2nd Edition

As part of the keynote presentation for Gen Con 2023, Paizo announced Starfinder 2nd Edition.

SF2_Playtest_Banner_new logo.png

A new edition is coming for Starfinder, making it fully compatible with Pathfinder 2nd Edition and the Remaster Project. The new edition will be published under the ORC License and implements the three-action economy.

“With the finalization of the ORC License, and considering that Starfinder 1st Edition has been evolving since its release in 2017, we felt now was a perfect time to bring the system into the future,” says Starfinder’s Managing Creative Director, Thurston Hillman.

Taking the lessons of Pathfinder’s latest edition and everything they have learned since Starfinder began, Paizo is looking forward to making the next version of Starfinder better. This will be the most open playtest Paizo has ever launched, with deeper looks into the development process.

The roundtable discussion with the Starfinder team highlighted some key elements of the upcoming playtest and new edition:
  • Pathfinder 2nd Edition and Starfinder 2nd Edition rulesets will be completely cross-compatible provided your GM allows it. That includes classes, creatures, and more.
  • The first four classes announced for the playtest are:
  • Mystic, represented by the iconic shirren mystic Chk Chk
  • Soldier, represented by the returning iconic vesk soldier Obozaya.
  • Envoy, represented by the returning iconic human envoy Navasi
  • Solarion, represented by a new iconic pahtra solarian, openining up the feline pahtra as a core ancestry.
  • As part of the ‘open playtest’ model, the Starfinder team will be keeping players updated and involved with “Field Tests”- the first of which release today alongside the announcement at stafinderplaytest.com. The first Field Test includes the Soldier Class from levels 1 to 5, new equipment, and new creatures like the Computer Glitch Gremlin and Laser Wolf.
The Starfinder Playtest Rulebook will be available in summer 2024 as a softcover rulebook. Base system rules will not be a part of the playtest as Starfinder 2nd Edition will be using the Pathfinder 2nd Edition ruleset. The playtest will focus on the core elements of gameplay, including new classes, a scaling equipment system, new skills, and more.
 

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Dawn Dalton

Dawn Dalton

I forget if you've mentioned them in another thread, but what were the issues you encountered in it the first couple tries?
in my opinion the game feels over designed. It feels constraining and very tight. That tightness extends beyond just the math.

And the math. I appreciate that encounter balance means something. That the CR system works. That said, in my opinion, the jack-in-the-box effect is see alot is not great design. Characters going down and having to wait until someone can heal them, means those PLAYERS are sitting around with little to do. I see this alot. I saw it in the play test.

For a game that wants characters to be near full hit points for each combat the 1 hour lockout on Medicine doesn't make a ton of sense. Exploration systems don't really work well in my experience and I haven't found a good way to transition between Exploration and combat.

I don't think the game experience itself will be much different at 10th level than it is at 5th due to the way the math is structured. I don't see the break over points where characters get to feel like bad asses.

I continue to try working with the game for a couple of reasons. My Wednesday night game is online and the Foundry implementation is fantastic. The pre-written campaign material, and professionally produced Foundry content saves me time.

All that said, PF2 wants to be a team based tactical combat RPG which I love. It doesn't do it as well as 4e. Which is what I constantly compare it to. If I had more patience (and time) to work with 4e material in Foundry I'd play every time over PF2.
 

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payn

He'll flip ya...Flip ya for real...
in my opinion the game feels over designed. It feels constraining and very tight. That tightness extends beyond just the math.

And the math. I appreciate that encounter balance means something. That the CR system works. That said, in my opinion, the jack-in-the-box effect is see alot is not great design. Characters going down and having to wait until someone can heal them, means those PLAYERS are sitting around with little to do. I see this alot. I saw it in the play test.

For a game that wants characters to be near full hit points for each combat the 1 hour lockout on Medicine doesn't make a ton of sense. Exploration systems don't really work well in my experience and I haven't found a good way to transition between Exploration and combat.

I don't think the game experience itself will be much different at 10th level than it is at 5th due to the way the math is structured. I don't see the break over points where characters get to feel like bad asses.

I continue to try working with the game for a couple of reasons. My Wednesday night game is online and the Foundry implementation is fantastic. The pre-written campaign material, and professionally produced Foundry content saves me time.

All that said, PF2 wants to be a team based tactical combat RPG which I love. It doesn't do it as well as 4e. Which is what I constantly compare it to. If I had more patience (and time) to work with 4e material in Foundry I'd play every time over PF2.
I have many of the same concerns as you. I think it sucks that PCs dont get to feel awesome unless they are punching down, but I guess thats the cost of building a tactical game that allows for solos. I do find the proficiency without level variant helps a bit. Also, yes the point of PF2 being an encounters game, but with real clunky healing mechanics is a legacy issue. I think they were worried that if the game looked too different than 3E it would scare off players.

That said, im curious how much SF can get away with moving on from these legacy things? After the OGL, Paizo seems pretty emboldened to ditch some of the stuff they were afraid to at PF2 launch.
 

I have many of the same concerns as you. I think it sucks that PCs dont get to feel awesome unless they are punching down, but I guess thats the cost of building a tactical game that allows for solos. I do find the proficiency without level variant helps a bit. Also, yes the point of PF2 being an encounters game, but with real clunky healing mechanics is a legacy issue. I think they were worried that if the game looked too different than 3E it would scare off players.

That said, im curious how much SF can get away with moving on from these legacy things? After the OGL, Paizo seems pretty emboldened to ditch some of the stuff they were afraid to at PF2 launch.
I can't speak for everyone, but my experience so far has been encounters that are moderate in difficulty tend to give the PCs the chance to feel like they're awesome while severe and critical encounters remind them it's possible to die.

I fully recognize that may not be the system for everyone and some groups have struggled with moderate encounters due to the players not wanting to work together. For me I just appreciate how as GM I can largely build the encounter I want at the time. When I'm in the mood for something more random to GM, I'd probably stick to something OSR.
 

Jacob Lewis

Ye Olde GM
This is actually very good news for a number of reasons. I just wasn't ready for it. I'm still processing a lot of mixed feelings coming from my own personal issues. I picked up Starfinder a few years ago when I thought I would finally get back to in-person gaming. Despite being modeled after an older, clunkier version of the D&D system (though greatly improved in its own way), it checked a lot of boxes for me in terms of what I wanted. After spending a lot of time and energy (and money), however, I feel like I was barely able to scratch the surface. But that was mostly my fault.

With SF2 using the PF2 ruleset, this is going to make things a lot easier for me. I'll only need to learn one ruleset, which I truly like, and have two unique settings/genres to play with. Plus, I'll be able to get in on the ground floor this time, so to speak. It will also make it easier to find new players willing to try something other than fantasy with a system that most people genuinely like and may already be familiar with.

I still feel the sting of having spent too much on a system that I don't feel I'll ever really get to use as I intended. But I'll be 55 years old when SF2 comes out. I don't know how much gaming I'll have left in me by then. Every year, it gets harder for me to learn new material and find new people to play with. I am thankful that PF/SF will now become my sunset systems.
 


Thomas Shey

Legend
I have many of the same concerns as you. I think it sucks that PCs dont get to feel awesome unless they are punching down, but I guess thats the cost of building a tactical game that allows for solos.

More to the point, I think its the price of having a CR style system that actually works. I don't mean any offense to anyone, but I think a lot of the sense of "awesomeness" that came from D&D3e and PF1e was because the encounter balance tools basically lied to you; after a certain level they were telling you encounters were even that, in practice, were immensely far from it.

I do find the proficiency without level variant helps a bit. Also, yes the point of PF2 being an encounters game, but with real clunky healing mechanics is a legacy issue. I think they were worried that if the game looked too different than 3E it would scare off players.

Though, honestly, I've rarely seen it make a difference. Which of course questions why they bothered.

That said, im curious how much SF can get away with moving on from these legacy things? After the OGL, Paizo seems pretty emboldened to ditch some of the stuff they were afraid to at PF2 launch.

Most of what the stated changes are in PF2e(a) (not the official term) appear to be getting rid of some WOTC originated IP, simplifying the attributes to just bonuses, and doing a patch job on a few classes that needed a little more love. The most radical change to me seems the True20-style attribute-bonuses-only.
 

payn

He'll flip ya...Flip ya for real...
More to the point, I think its the price of having a CR style system that actually works. I don't mean any offense to anyone, but I think a lot of the sense of "awesomeness" that came from D&D3e and PF1e was because the encounter balance tools basically lied to you; after a certain level they were telling you encounters were even that, in practice, were immensely far from it.
It's true, CR has largely been horseshoes and hand grenades in D&D editions. I'm not sure if it doesn't bother me because I like it, or that I just got used to it. What I can largely point to in experience is that as both player and GM I found the game less predictable. I also really enjoyed the strategy side of the game and ability to punch up as a player. PF2 severe/extreme encounters all feels the same. Papercut the enemy to death and hope to god they dont pulverize you first. Thats ok, on occasion, but its entirely predictable once combat starts. IME, of course.
Though, honestly, I've rarely seen it make a difference. Which of course questions why they bothered.
The best I can describe the level based system of PF2 is "must be this tall to ride". Once something is over your level no amount of strategy will win the fight. The system math basically means it cant happen. Dropping the +1 per level expands the band a bit allowing you to fight tougher encounters.
Most of what the stated changes are in PF2e(a) (not the official term) appear to be getting rid of some WOTC originated IP, simplifying the attributes to just bonuses, and doing a patch job on a few classes that needed a little more love. The most radical change to me seems the True20-style attribute-bonuses-only.
True, most of the changes are simply dropping terms and reorganizing things that wont make any difference in play. The really interesting bit is dropping alignment and ability scores. Those were largely kept to quell the traditionalists, but Paizo doesn't seem to worry about that now. I get the feeling any complaints will be met with blame WOTC. A convenient scapegoat. SF2 will, of course, be open to expanding even more.
 

Thomas Shey

Legend
It's true, CR has largely been horseshoes and hand grenades in D&D editions. I'm not sure if it doesn't bother me because I like it, or that I just got used to it. What I can largely point to in experience is that as both player and GM I found the game less predictable.

Well, see, at the point I can't make pretty good predictions out of an encounter balance tool, I don't think its doing much useful.

I also really enjoyed the strategy side of the game and ability to punch up as a player. PF2 severe/extreme encounters all feels the same. Papercut the enemy to death and hope to god they dont pulverize you first. Thats ok, on occasion, but its entirely predictable once combat starts. IME, of course.

There's usually some difference you can make there, mostly planning for Vulnerabilities or to get around Resistances.

The best I can describe the level based system of PF2 is "must be this tall to ride". Once something is over your level no amount of strategy will win the fight. The system math basically means it cant happen. Dropping the +1 per level expands the band a bit allowing you to fight tougher encounters.

I wasn't clear in what I was saying; what I meant was that, in practice, I'd rarely seen the "only Heal once an hour" thing to matter.

True, most of the changes are simply dropping terms and reorganizing things that wont make any difference in play. The really interesting bit is dropping alignment and ability scores. Those were largely kept to quell the traditionalists, but Paizo doesn't seem to worry about that now. I get the feeling any complaints will be met with blame WOTC. A convenient scapegoat. SF2 will, of course, be open to expanding even more.

Well, honestly, my suspicion is that most of the really hard-core mechanical traditionalists had bailed on PF2e by now anyway. You're more likely to get people to mourn particular takes-on or names-for certain monsters (or things like how mage schools are handled).
 

payn

He'll flip ya...Flip ya for real...
Well, see, at the point I can't make pretty good predictions out of an encounter balance tool, I don't think its doing much useful.
I'll freely admit the CR was wildly inaccurate in 3E/PF1. Though, I do think you can tighten it up a bit as 5E can attest. The tightness of PF2 that I dislike, is also part of the tactical over strategic design choice. Part of it is just the way the game is played.
There's usually some difference you can make there, mostly planning for Vulnerabilities or to get around Resistances.
Not really. There is a hard point where PCs will struggle to hit, let alone even be able to crit. Spell list shrink as your best spells will be saved against easily. etc... Best I can say is the ceiling is too low, IMO. This is a taste thing not a mechanical problem thing.
I wasn't clear in what I was saying; what I meant was that, in practice, I'd rarely seen the "only Heal once an hour" thing to matter.
We did a constant "can we rest 10min GM?" shuffle. It got to the point where if I GM I'll just wave that obnoxious part away.
Well, honestly, my suspicion is that most of the really hard-core mechanical traditionalists had bailed on PF2e by now anyway. You're more likely to get people to mourn particular takes-on or names-for certain monsters (or things like how mage schools are handled).
Often one and the same, but yes, I suppose there are some camps.
 

I tend to agree. PF2 is a well designed and put together. I was, and continue to be, disappointed it doesn't really work for me. There are elements that I really, really like, the three-action economy, reigning in of caster supremacy, rituals, I even like the rune system. I wish they had kept the item restrictions from play test though.

As a crunchy, tactical, game with a ton of player options I am the target consumer. It just doesn't work for me. I will keep trying though. I am running Abomination Vaults via Foundry so we'll see how it goes. The players just made 3rd level. I'd like to get to at least 5th before I think about pulling the plug.
 

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