STARFINDER: Here's What We Know

I've compiled all the information we know so far about Paizo's upcoming Starfinder RPG, which launches next year; it was announced in May, but my coverage has been lost in the recent crash. The game is based on the Pathfinder rules, and is broadly compatible but may require some "minimal" conversion. It's science-fantasy standalone game which crosses magic with technology (it sounds very similar to Dragonstar for those who remember that!)


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Products. Starfinder Adventure Path and Core Rulebook (August 2017, at Gen Con). Starfinder Bestiary soon after (this looks like it will also contain player alien races). The core rulebook will not be have same structure as the Pathfinder one. Starfinder will not be getting as much support as Pathfinder traditionally has. The setting is included in the core book.

Races. In addition to the Pathfinder core races (Dwarf, Elf, Gnome, Halfling, Half-Elf, Half-Orc, Human), Starfinder also includes Androids, Ratfolk, Kasatha, Lashunta, and two other alien races. The Lashunta -- "They’re the main race for Castrovel, They’re humanoid, psychic… got a bit of a Vulcan thing going for them in terms of their mindset."

Classes. The core Starfinder classes are Soldier (fighter), Operative (rogue), Mechanic (create robots), Envoy (buffer, diplomat), Technomancer (magic and tech hybrid; Warhammer 40K librarians), Mystic (oracle), Solerian (special energy powers).

Setting. Set in Golarion's solar system (as described in Pathfinder's Distant Worlds), but the core Pathfinder world, Golarion, is missing. Even the gods will not reveal where it is, but they say it is safe - it has not been destroyed. There is a memory gap (actually called "the Gap"), multiverse-wide, covering the entirety of Golarion and its history, although the actual memory gap length varies from place to place. " So you go to one system, maybe the edge is three hundred years before present day in Starfinder, but you go to another system somewhere else and maybe it’s three hundred and five years before present day. Where the cutoff is wavers, and all the Starfinders really want to find out as much information as they can from planets where the Gap is in a different place so they can rebuild that history that’s been lost."

The core location of the new setting is a space station called Absolam Station, which is where Golarion used to be and is described as "the UN meets Babylon 5". Societies are advanced into the future -- "What if Hellknights’ citadels, instead of being castles, were these big warships floating through space? Does the Church of Iomedae have giant cathedral ships throughout the system?"

FTL Travel. FTL travel is part of the setting. The distance travelled can have environmental effects, up to and including creation of or changing of planes.

Other Technology. The usual lasers, plasma, power armor, spaceships are included. Magic items are rarer. Cybernetics exist.

Starships. Starship combat is described as "Star Trek/Firefly-esque", and also "Battletech/Spelljammer", takes place on a 2D hex grid, and involves all players having a part in combat with each ship role hinging on a specific skill. Initiative has the winner moving last (reverse order) so they can react to the loser. Combat is divided into phases (engineering, piloting, gunnery). Starships have their own character sheets and are upgradeable. Ship roles include captain (buffs), pilot (stunts), science officer (scans), gunner (shoots), engineer (directs power). Fairly standard fare for the genre.


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Image from Jason Bulmahn​


Religion. Hyperspace was "gifted" to the galaxy by an ascended AI god; this god has some kind of link to one of Golarion's gods. Some of Golarion's gods are missing. In the Starfinder rulebook, 20 gods will be listed. Examples include Abadar (god of commerce; followers have created a corporation called Abadar Corp); Iomedae (followers have great cathedral ships).

Rules. Similar to Pathfinder. "There will be changes to the core engine, but it’ll be close enough that if you have a Pathfinder Bestiary, you can take an ogre out of that, give him a laser gun and use him in Starfinder with minimal conversation." Magic items will change -- "One thing that will not be in there is the conventional Pathfinder magic item creation system. We’re tweaking the rules around gear and economics and magic. We want to make it a little less bookkeeping and a little more “sense of wonder.”"

Playtests. There won't be an open playtest of this one.

Places to read more (sadly we lost EN World's interview and all the Starfinder coverage I've done in the recent crash, thus this article).



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Russ Morrissey

Comments

Grimjack99

Visitor
Dragon Star was an awesome D20 setting. It introduced some great new mechanics for v3.5, and really captured what the D&D system could be in a futuristic setting. I'm sure the Paizo team will bring their A game for this release.
 

ccs

39th lv DM
I had wondered where those came from.

It's unfortunate that they're releasing a space combat game that requires miniatures and don't have miniatures available for sale...
Yet. The key word is yet.

But the games also still 9 months or so away....
 
I had wondered where those came from.

It's unfortunate that they're releasing a space combat game that requires miniatures and don't have miniatures available for sale...
Whats even more unfortunate is that if they do make a line of minis they will probably come from Wizkids and looks as terrible as the Star Trek Attack Wing minis do. God I wish Paizo would sign a deal with Fantasy Flight...
 

Jester David

Adventurer
Yet. The key word is yet.

But the games also still 9 months or so away....
Making minis takes a good year. They'd wait until knowing if the game is a hit or not first. So the soonest we'd have any would be mid-2018.
And even then, it'd take a looong time to have enough minis for a reasonable campaign. Especially if mixing PCs, monsters, and ships.

Whats even more unfortunate is that if they do make a line of minis they will probably come from Wizkids and looks as terrible as the Star Trek Attack Wing minis do. God I wish Paizo would sign a deal with Fantasy Flight...
Honestly, I'm hoping for a pawn set or two. Maybe one of PCs & monsters and one of ships. Or one of PCs and player ships and one of monsters and enemy ships.

I dig the idea of a low accessory game that is just the core book, a monster book, and an AP. Without the waves if monthly splat. But pawns are appealing. And useful for multiple games.
 

LuisCarlos17f

Adventurer
I wait the Spanish translation, and I am wishing to have in my minds to try create my crazy mash-up, I love mixing ideas from lots of other franchises: (Star Wars, Star Treck, Doctor Who, Andromeda, Farscape, V: the visitors, alien nation, aliens vs predators, Frank Ebert's Dune, Mass Effect, Starcraft, Dead Space, Transformers, Galactica, Earth: Final Conflict, Flash Gordon, Buck Rogers, He-Man and Masters of the Universe, Warhammer 40.000, Fading Suns, D&D Spelljammer, Eclipse Phase, alien empires from DC and Marvel Comics...).
 
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Desh-Rae-Halra

Explorer
I wonder if I will be able to use my pieces from Burning Suns for this? Do you think the little planet cut-outs will be downloadable or a physical product?
I guess it will use a hex system? Any recommendations of space themed mats with a hex overlay?
 

ccs

39th lv DM
I wonder if I will be able to use my pieces from Burning Suns for this? Do you think the little planet cut-outs will be downloadable or a physical product?
I guess it will use a hex system? Any recommendations of space themed mats with a hex overlay?
Years ago Geo-Hex made hexed mats (green, brown, water, & space). I see them now & then on EBay. Not exactly cheap, but you only need to buy it once....

You can buy space mats of varying design (aimed for use with the x-wing game). About 3x3. Then just hex it yourself.
 

ccs

39th lv DM
Making minis takes a good year. They'd wait until knowing if the game is a hit or not first. So the soonest we'd have any would be mid-2018.
And even then, it'd take a looong time to have enough minis for a reasonable campaign. Especially if mixing PCs, monsters, and ships.
Yes, I'm well versed in the production & shipping times concerning toys.
 

Morrus

Well, that was fun
Staff member
There's a billion hex maps and starship minis out there. I don't think anybody will lack for them. I bought tons of micro machines off eBay for next to nothing, which are perfect (I use them in N.E.W. The Science Fiction Roleplaying Game).
 
I'm excited to play Starfinder. I play Stars without Number now, but I am looking forward to seeing the Paizo team develop a rich, starfaring world to adventure in.

As far as minis, there is always the Tim Mee Galaxy Laser Team. 50 minis for $15
 

Kaodi

Adventurer
I still think that they should have called it "Starcharter" . You do not "find" stars. They are right there for everyone to see. And if they ever do a Modern version, call it "Groundbreakers" . But I guess it will inevitable be Somethingsomethingfinder now too.
 

Morrus

Well, that was fun
Staff member
I still think that they should have called it "Starcharter" . You do not "find" stars. They are right there for everyone to see. And if they ever do a Modern version, call it "Groundbreakers" . But I guess it will inevitable be Somethingsomethingfinder now too.
Branding is the important thing here. Dropping the naming format would be intentionally handicapping themselves.
 

Lwaxy

Cute but dangerous
Initiative the wrong way round is giving me headaches. Even a ship is better off if it can react first.
 

Morrus

Well, that was fun
Staff member
Initiative the wrong way round is giving me headaches. Even a ship is better off if it can react first.
It's a fairly common mechanic. I use it myself in NEW, and I've seen it in many games of this type (also in those using vehicles and stuff, too, not just spaceships).

Two phases. You move in reverse order of initiative, then you fire in forward order. So you get to react to your opponent's choice of position, and then you get to fire first. It works perfectly.
 

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