|Rule System||Modified D20|
|Authors||James Sutter, Sarah Robinson, Robert McCreary, Owen Stephens et al|
- This game is not to be confused with Starjammer, created by the people maintaining D20PFSRD, which is Spelljammer for Pathfinder (though it is compatible with Starfinder).
- The main setting is the same solar system of Golarion, the main planet of Pathfinder. The other planets were previously introduced in the Pathfinder sourcebook "Distant Worlds". The system refers to themselves as The Pact Worlds.
- There's ratmen IN SPACE, meaning that Paizo has Skaven IN SPACE before GW has in a playable form.
- There are hardcover books and Starfinder Adventure Paths, much like Pathfinder has, as well as Organized Play in the form of the Starfinder Society.
- It is possible to convert stuff from Pathfinder to Starfinder with some tweaks, such as monsters and PCs. So it's possible to bring your Pathfinder characters to the Starfinder universe if you have a good explanation of why.
- FTL travel was revealed by the new deity Triune and is achieved by traveling through a dimension called the Drift. "Drift beacons" randomly appear or are planted by clerics of Triune and reduce the risk of a Drift jump to the beacon's location; the Starstone in Absalom Station is a fuckhuge Drift beacon that also accelerates travel to the station. Whenever a ship enters the Drift, it drags entire segments of reality from elsewhere into the Drift with it. This is not at all ominous, no siree. So do be careful: you'll never know when you have to scrape the demons off of your ship's bumper.
- Golarion itself is fucking gone. As in totally gone, nobody can remember what happened to it (all the Gods will say when asked is that it still exists, but is beyond the reach of both magic and technology), it just fucking vanished. The various races have spread out to the other planets in Golarion's system. New ones are there, too. Everyone remembers building a giant space station in orbit around Golarion while it was still definitely around and so can use its construction as a frame of reference to about when the world vanished (within a few hundred years), but no one remembers anything about the planet itself disappearing.
- For that matter, nobody remembers anything regarding that time period, or what happened before it. People just opened their eyes one day knowing all the important stuff about their lives, but unable to remember anything about how they got to that point (like waking up next to a woman whom you know is your wife, but not about how you met, or when you got married, or the births of your children). For that matter, nearly every physical or electronic record of that history was erased or just missing. The people of the Pact Worlds call this event "The Gap". For most beings the gap is now fading into history but it made the elves go paranoid and turn Castrovel into space-Israel.
- The Iconic Characters are members of the Starfinder Society from that station, who have the mission of finding out what happened to Golarion.
- Goblins survived and have little space helmets.
Differences from Pathfinder
Considering that this is Paizo, the goons who made a killing off of resurrecting 3.5E, the rules for this game aren't that far removed from the original PF mechanics. Though you can't get a 1-1 translation of all the classes, you can probably be able port most of your characters over.
- Each character now has both hit points, which are hard to replace, and "stamina points," which work like hit points but can be much more easily recovered and are always lost first. HP is essentially stuck as a hybrid between racial stats (meaning that little spessrats only give 2 HP to a character while burly Vesk and chitinous Shirrens give 6 HP) and class stats (essentially like Hit Die, only with no rolling), while Stamina is given per class level + Constitution Modifier.
- The Resolve mechanic gives you a small pool of points to spend for recovering stamina, stabilizing if you're dying, and getting up if you're stable. These points are keyed off of a single stat your class is dependent on (so Soldiers pick between Str and Dex, Mystics use Wis, so on and so forth). Each class even has special uses for Resolve and backgrounds can give special circumstances for regaining them.
- In addition to your race and class, you pick a "theme" at character creation, which is basically a 5e background. Themes are things like being an Ace Pilot or a Xenoseeker that give your character some flavor, and a few other abilities that unlock as you level, plus a small stat boost.
- Archetypes, rather than being class-specific and swapping out whatever abilities they want, are a bit more reminiscent of 4e's Themes - You pick it up and it replaces certain class abilities (and since these are for all classes, they switch off only certain abilities) and grant new abilities.
- Skills are largely condensed in a way that makes breadth of usefulness much more tolerable than Pathfinder: a single Athletics skill rather than separate skills for Climb and Swim, for instance, or Mysticism instead of Arcana and Spellcraft. Also helping is that each class has a tolerable number skills than the old edition (read: NO MORE 2+INT SKILL RANKS).
- No full casters: the technomancer, the mystic and the Witch Warper only get up to sixth level spells. All casters have limited spells known, preventing solutions from being pulled out their ass (the Magic Academy Student archetype bypasses this however). All spellcasting is distinctly 5e-ish, with lower-level spells having versions cast from higher level slots with boosted effects. For instance, the primary healing spell is a first-level spell, but it heals more and more as it gets cast in higher level slots, eventually also cleansing various status effects and resurrecting the recently deceased. This works backwards from the 5e implementation however, with knowing a high level version of the spell allowing the lower level versions to be used rather than being able to prepare low level spells in higher slots.
- Most classes that rely on weapon-use get "Weapon Specialization" in their weapons during progression, and all of them can take it as a feat. It adds their character level to damage rolls for those weapons you're natively proficient in.
- Multiple attacks per round aren't really a thing. Everyone can split their attacks, but this doesn't improve with levels. To compensate, weapons scale up in damage dramatically at intervals. End level weapons do stupidly large amounts of damage, but the average damage per round is more-or-less on par with Pathfinder.
- Everyone has two kinds of AC: KAC, for kinetic weapons like swords and bullets, and EAC, for energy weapons like lasers and bootleg lightsabers(basically Touch AC). Unlike with PF where you're stuck trying to remember what armor bonuses add to Flat-Footed or Touch, this allows you to calculate your defenses a bit easier.
- Cybernetics and genetic modding are also a thing.
- Most classes start off scaling a bit slow, then ramp up at about level 11. For instance, a Solarian's energy blade does 1d6 damage at first level, then 2d6 at fifth level, but starts going up much faster at level eleven, and caps out at 12d6.
- Weapons take a page out of 4E's book and have items that scale in power alongside player levels...except they don't give them to you, no! You still have to buy these stronger guns and armors! Armory gives you a means to build these new gears as upgrades to prior models, but that won't stop certain dead levels from existing and you still need cash for supplies.
- Magic Items, while still given in the form of special properties, no longer depend on a certain enhancement on the weapon and instead just fit in if the magic property's level is less than or equal to the item's level.
- Ship-building and combat will be very familiar to those who played Rogue Trader. Build Points to buy parts for your ship, the need to travel through an alternate dimension that may or may not contain unholy terrors, the whole shebang. Unfortunatly the whole process is broken as fuck, you can easily build ships that can destroy the pre-built dreadnoughts while being a fraction of their cost and faster than a scalded cat.
- The promotional material also promised that each class would totally have mechanics to help them in ship combat. Most of this is false. Not only is a majority of the mechanics keyed off of RANKS in a particular skill (Pilot for all the ship defenses) rather than the character's actual bonus, but several class bonuses are flat-out not allowed to work in a ship. Also damning is the sharply-rising difficulty curve for all your ship actions, which keys itself off of the average party level rather than some other stat
This means that if you level up high enough, your little zippy spaceship that's been extensively customized will be as impossible to maneuver for your veteran crew as a fucking freighter for a bunch of rookiesbut this was fixed in the errata.
- Each character has roles during combat, similar to RT. Unlike that game though, the roles are a lot more simplified in number (Captain for leading, Gunner for shootin', Engineer for fixing, Pilot for flying, and Science Officer to manage all computer things) and complexity. All each role does is grant special abilities to use in combat.
- As an offshoot to ship combat, giant robot combat is also announced with the upcoming Tech Revolution book. If you thought ships were a pain, well...this seems to be just as bad if not more painful.
- The promotional material also promised that each class would totally have mechanics to help them in ship combat. Most of this is false. Not only is a majority of the mechanics keyed off of RANKS in a particular skill (Pilot for all the ship defenses) rather than the character's actual bonus, but several class bonuses are flat-out not allowed to work in a ship. Also damning is the sharply-rising difficulty curve for all your ship actions, which keys itself off of the average party level rather than some other stat
- Envoys: Use wit and charm to bolster their allies and demoralize or befuddle enemies. They also get a lot of skillmonkey powers, including "expertise" in a number of skills in a way similar to the Investigator (and nearly identical to the 5e Bard). They have two sets of talents to select from: those you use in order to distract enemies require an enemy to either see or hear them, which can hamstring usage without the proper add-on tricks, and the ones built on adding new uses to your skills. As a non-magic support class, they suffer from being a bit behind on the power curve.
- Skill Expertise is the default option. This allows you to boost skill rolls, making you act like a jack of all trades.
- Combat Expertise (From COM) lets you make skill checks in order to add your Expertise die on weapon damage. This still requires you to make a separate attack roll, though, but it makes more sense in combat-focused games.
- Spell Expertise (From COM) proves that half-casters aren't really dead. Yes, you now have extremely limited access to a spell list (The Mystic's in this case). You can sacrifice Expertise talents to add more spells, but don't expect to gain that many more spells.
- Motivation Expertise (From COM) seriously gimps your potential as a skill monkey in exchange for letting you restore additional stamina whenever you heal allies.
- Polymorph Expertise (From COM) limits how you use Expertise, but allows you to use Polymorph to turn into a specific form, gaining extra talents like the spell as you level up. You can also blow Expertise talents so you can shape-shift into more forms.
- Mechanics: Mechanical geniuses. The class as a whole has a lot of tricks for fiddling with computers and disabling or taking over machines, and can do fun things like turning any piece of mechanical gear into a makeshift grenade or overclock their drone or cortex to put themselves in the Matrix.
- Drones are one of their choices for class themes. It's pretty obvious - it's a fucking drone, with purpose of either being a gun-rig, a scout, or a hoverdrone. Drones are always fun to use with customizable parts to work with.
- Exocortex is the other choice, hardwiring an AI into their brains. Rather than a pet drone, this allows for a Mechanic to use additional weaponry as well as a free Skill Focus feat. It also can help with hacking a bit and can target enemies for guaranteed hits, and can give themselves some of the drone's upgrades. Including a jet pack.
- Experimental Prototype: A subclass already split between weapons and armor, allowing you an extra proficiency and letting you slap on more improvements than normally possible.
- Mystics: Sort of a cross between Sorcerer and Cleric in that they have a special theme in them with bonus thematic spells and talents as well as the ability to heal. The thingummy they get their powers from doesn't have to be a god, so have fun channeling the power of Health Insurance to heal your party. Despite the reduced level cap for spells, they're still spellcasters and can still obsolete large portions of the other classes' abilities given a modicum of thought. As if that wasn't enough, you have the equivalent of a Sorcerer's Bloodline Mutations, letting you swap out Connection powers for special Epiphanies as of the COM.
- Akashic is a rather skill-focused connection. Bonuses on skill checks, the ability to re-roll with more ranks on the skill, and the power to (eventually) cast any spell you want at the cost of a higher spell-slot.
- Crusader (From COM) is your equivalent to a paladin, getting proficiency with advanced melee weapons, protecting allies, and smiting.
- Devastator (from Book 2 of the Dead Suns AP) is pure offense. You get bonuses while fighting the same type of enemy over and over, your crits hurt more, and you even get a Barbarian Rage! That's right, you're a Barbarian Mage! Your ultimate ability causes a huge explosion right where you stand (for suicide bombing. Don't worry, you don't actually get hurt from it.)
- Delusion (From Book 2 of Fly Free or Die AP) is the Madness Domain. Your role is to interfere with others' perceptions of reality to the point that you can rewrite reality itself.
- Empath is, obviously, focused on magical empathy. The ability to read emotions.
- Flamewalker (from Book 6 of the Dawn of Flame AP) is essentially the pyromancer path.
- Geneturge (from Armory) adds a new set of bio-implants that have unique functions though they'll contest for slots with your aftermarket implants. Eventually though, you can fit one slot with multiple implants and even gain the ability to tamper with the genetics of enemies, allies, and even your own, you crazy haemonculus!
- Healer is rather obvious. You're a medic. You keep tabs on everyone, top them off on HP when you can and eventually learn to siphon health from your enemies and cheat death itself.
- Hive Mind (From Book 4 of the Attack of the Swarm AP) is a very support-based class. You can boost your allies and your central feature lets you mind-bond with an ally, letting you spend Resolve to re-roll for the ally and eventually spread your link to others whether they like it or not. The capstone lets your bond mates share Resolve in a very limited fashion when needed.
- Melophile (from COM) themes itself around the song of space itself, like a romanticized Astropath who still has their eyes.
- Mindbreaker allows you to commit literal mindfuckery. Your powers are focused upon inflicting as much pain as inhumanly possible, with the capstone power being able to EXPLODE HEADS.
- Overlord is also about mindfuckery, but on a more subtle scale. This allows you to brainwash people, break their resistances slowly, and eventually exert absolute control over someone.
- Shadow (from Book 3 of the Signal of Screams AP) lets you channel the darkness like an edgelord.
- Shaper (from Book 5 of the Attack of the Swarm AP) holds the power to manipulate reality, so it’s abilities are all over the place. Free force fields, ectoplasma blasts. phasing through walls and teleport to other worlds.
- Star Shaman is the most spacey one. You can pilot ships good, walk in space without a suit, and turn into a star-being. The capstone for this allows you to teleport between planets.
- Warmonger (from COM) is essentially a War Domain cleric. While you'll never be a full martial, this helps you close the gap with temporary BAB boosts, armor improvements and the ability to control the battlefield.
- Xenodruid is the remnants of the Druid. Plant shenanigans, the power to talk to and transform into an animal, and even the eventual ability to reincarnate.
- Operatives: Use stealth and skill to get in and out of dangerous situations. They get a shitload of attacks with weak weapons, like a monk, and a special sneak attack trick like a Rogue, and they can pick a number of specializations to refine what kind of sneaky guy they want to be. Among all the classes, these guys are especially notorious for how powerful they are.
- Daredevil allows you to be very mobile, with the eventual ability to gain a natural swim and climb speed for more maneuverability.
- Detective gives you the ability to investigate a bit better, with the ability to eventually cast Divination to find answers when you're at a dead end.
- Disciple (from Book 2 of the Devastation Ark AP) is a specialization that focuses on overcoming magic, whether from the enemies, the environment, or traps. You'll get extra saving throws, protection from telepathy, and eventually even spell resistance. Always remember the first rule of combat: Kill the Wizard.
- Explorer is the sort used to exploring all sorts of different worlds. They can explore around with special benefits and are especially familiar with places far from home.
- Gadgeteer (from Armory) makes you effectively get Batman's utility belt. Anything you need, you'll dig up with the power of
pre-spendingpreptime. All you eventually get is the power to haul this crap out your ass faster.
- Ghost is probably the one people use the most for having a
seriouserrata'd to a minor boost to Stealth (a skill they'll already have high scores on by virtue of a high Dex), making it neigh-impossible to fail. They can turn invisible and eventually even phase through walls.
- Hacker is in a similar field to the Mechanic, with the power to distract with computers. They're more focused on hacking than anything else though.
- Spy allows you to pull off any sort of disguise, eventually being able to even feed any thought-reader false information.
- Thief is more like a traditional thief. Their special ability allows them to build a contingency plan JUST when something goes wrong and derail the DM's plans to bust your asses if it goes right.
- Solarians: Shape the energy of stars and black holes into armor and weapons for themselves. The Solarians are attuned to a sort of ill-defined cosmic cycle that's somehow connected to stars but what it amounts to is "You want to play a Jedi? Here you go!" Gameplay wise, they're spell-combatants who build up energy points by being in combat, then spend these points to set off magical effects. They can choose to build either Graviton or Photon points, which can then trigger associated spells. Graviton tends to be more focused on moving and controlling your enemies, whereas Photon is more about damaging and dazing. They have minor magic effects that they can use basically whenever, but their show-stoppers require them to be fully attuned to the associated force (basically, to have spent three rounds attuning themselves). Also, they basically have to balance the number of Gravity and Photon tricks they know or suffer harsh penalties. All in all, they play sort of like a Magus mixed with a Cataclysm-era Druid. It's kind of complicated, but fun to play.
- Solar Weapon gives you your not-lightsaber. Starting out, this laser-weapon somehow only hits physical armor, but they have talents and even weapon crystals to gain new properties.
- Solar Armor is considered the unloved child. While some revelations give them some new features, they still have a rather slow progression that only improves light armor and issues some new Energy Resistance.
- Solar Flare (From COM) lets you shoot not-fire/iceballs. Fortunately, these can also be improved by Solarian crystals.
- Solar Shield (From COM) generates a light-based Shield in case you wanted to experience them without actually buying a shield. Weirdo. At least Solarian crystals can improve your shield bashes.
- Lunar Weapon (From Book 2 of Fly Free or Die AP) essentially lets you wield a dex-based lightsaber, though it's not the sort that can work with Operative shenanigans.
- Soldiers: Specialize in heavy weapons and armor. They share a Fighter's bonus feat selection, but differentiate themselves by picking from combat styles that alter how they work and a not-shit save and skill progression. They also learn "gear tricks" to boost up their weapons and armor in ways most other classes can't or "feat boosts" to get the most out of all those extra feats. Worth noting that this is a science fiction setting, so if you want to fire small suns at your enemies, it's with a gun instead of a spell and these are the guys who are best at it. With the COM, you can also add Monk into the mix, as you can trade in your heavy weapons/armor proficiencies for better punches...that still can't improve in damage.
- Ambusher (from COM) Lets you sneak around and strike at the perfect opportunity.
- Arcane Assailant allows you to punch through resistances and corporeality before anyone else and imbue weapons with special effects like they were magical.
- Armor Storm focuses on wearing heavy armor and making sure you're not hamstrung by it. You naturally gain proficiency in powered armor (literal walking tanks) and giving you the full mileage and then some from your suit.
- Battlemaster (from COM) is a Vesk-exclusive style, focusing on their instinctive aggression and letting them adapt to their opposition.
- Blitz is about aggression. You intend to rush in head-first, learning how to ignore pain and throw everything into an attack.
- Bombard makes you a mix between Demolitions Expert and Heavy Weapons Guy. You can make your own grenades, you can punch harder with heavy guns, and make explosions get more boomy.
- Fourfold Tactician (from COM) makes use of any additional arms by letting them pull all guns and open fire at the speed normal folk would fire one gun.
- Gloom Gunner (From Book 3 of the Signal of Screams AP) allows you to incorporate the power of darkness in your weapons, paralyzing enemies in fear with every crit, and launching surprise attacks (from the shadows, ooOOOoo!)
- Guard is the defensive style. Extra comfort in the armor is the start, and the end is ignoring conditions and being such a walking tank that you can make yourself a wall to your buds. Power Armor Included.
- Hit and Run is switch-hitting: the class. Run in, lay a few blows, and hop out before they hit you.
- Hunter (from COM) is a tracking style akin to how the Ranger works.
- Qi Adept (from COM) acts as the mystic side of the Monk, letting you spend resolve for personal boosts.
- Sharpshoot is for snipers. You aim so well that you can ignore cover and hit them in their weak points for maximum damage.
- Shock and Awe (from Armory) emphasizes being loud, bright, and upfront. Bright weapons and powered weapons blind suckers, sonic weapons can demoralize and deafen, and you can eventually blast even harder.
- Squad (from COM) is a leadership-oriented style, built for assisting allies.
- Wrathful Warrior (from COM) is the all-out offense style, a fit for techno-Barbarians.
- Technomancers: Wizards in space, with an electronic bound item (and no familiar) and a bunch of special talents that let them crap all over the guardrails that are supposed to keep casters from being walking win buttons. They eventually even have the ability to fuse spellslots together to cast bigger spells.
Indeed, whilst still mulling over their PF2E playtests, Paizo released a playtest for three new classes on December 2018 for their upcoming Character Operations Manual. These three would see release almost a year later on November 2019.
- Biohacker: A mad doctor who can uniquely key off either Intelligence or Wisdom for certain skills and Will saves. They specialize in needler weaponry and can even create their own injections to either improve allies or cripple enemies based on particular fields of study. And this is before the talents which give you either more ways to deliver syringes or improvements to the injections themselves (some of which are kinda metamagic).
- Genetics either strips resistances, grants heightened hearing or delivers gene therapy to heal handicaps
- Immunology works with the hastening or hampering of the immune system and it's ways of dealing with diseases
- Neurochemistry has you influence a creature's synapses and how they respond to stimuli
- Pharmacology gives you drugs, namely painkillers, coagulants, and hallucinogens.
- Toxicology is the study of poison.
- Vanguard: A big tanky mofo with a special attack that scales like a poor man's monk and hits EAC. They get a pool of Entropic Energy whenever they get hit and can use it to be even tankier. Your subclass abilities all offer an improved maneuver feat and some new way to gain and use Entropy.
- Boundary: Grant allies some of your tank powers.
- Cascade: Your dedication is on making your hits be gradually more devastating by...blinding flashes and a crippling penalty to entropic strike.
- Exergy: You are the bull in the china shop, running in to trample things under your feet.
- Inversion: You can reverse the flow of entropy, granting healing and re-rolling saves.
- Momentum: Everything that moves must keep moving, Newton be damned.
- Reaction: You are built on inflicting conditions, with a capstone of building a power.
- Witchwarper: At last, the Charisma-based caster...who is literally Elizabeth from Bioshock: Infinite and has the power to twist reality around and influence it based on their visions of alternate timelines.
- Nanocytes: The class teased for the Tech Revolution splat, you are essentially Senator Armstrong. You can form your nanobots into personal buffs, clouds, weapons or even prosthetics. Alongside the basic talents, you get subclasses which influence how you use your nanomachines...SON.
- Discorporation: Your nanites make you especially flexible, eventually turning you into essentially a slime made of the buggers.
- Infestation: Anything that tries to punch or bite you will get nanites sprayed onto them. Best hope they can keep fighting when you're able to eat them alive...
- Obliteration: When making weapons out of your nanites, they tend to be far better than what they're trying to imitate.
- Redirection: When enemies get trapped in your nano-clouds, it's not only hindering them but also helping you hit them better.
- Regenration: Your nanites are capable of healing living beings, making you a Con-focused medic of sorts.
- Precog: A new playtest class from Nobember 2020, these guys are Time Wizards who are Dex-based casters, the minmaxer's wettest dream. They also have the ability to generate a few rolls they can use to replace the rolls of an increasingly expansive list of actions, some of which are based upon your subclasses, the root cause of your time-fuckery powers:
- Chronomancy: The real time wizards, using their powers in ways that either hinder enemies or improve your casting.
- Dimension of Time: Your powers are tied to the dimension of time (apparently not the material plane). Your powers are more to protect yourself from the predations of the world around you.
- Doomed Future: You have been witness to a certain bad end scenario that you will now go to any length to prevent. Your powers center on surviving Fortitude checks and the ability to predict some features of that future.
- Fragmented Past: Apparently, parts of your past are actually subject to their own sets of paradoxes. Your powers are the most focused on combat.
- The Gap: Your powers are somehow linked to the Gap, that massive period of time the entire setting just...forgot. You can actually harness this ability to vanish from public awareness with the power of the almighty Retcon.
- Timewarped: You are, somehow, a genuine time traveler who has some technological origin to your powers. This has a power that lets you build a literal hut to hide out in.
Like 2/3rds of these are already available as non-core PC races for Pathfinder, but heavily rejiggered to fit the new system. There are also rules and fluff for the core races of Pathfinder, with some tweaks (like no speed penalty for being Small) to fit the Starfinder rules.
- Androids: Artificial people. Are generally pissed off about being created as a servitor race, complete with occasional literal slavery, so they intentionally distance themselves from the human cultures they broke away from. They have an odd relationship with the concept of Gender; Androids can and often do have male- or female-style bodies(since the vast majority of them are based off Humans), but a large percentage of Androids just don't care about that since they don't follow the male/female biological functions(Androids reproduce by effectively dying and letting a new soul come inhabit their body). Crunchwise they have similar social penalties to their Pathfinder counterparts, and retain many of their immunities. The only difference here is that they can wire themselves with an armor upgrade to get the benefits of the upgrade without actually wearing armor.
- Humans: Everybody knows humans. They are about the only race that didn't get nerfed in the transition from Pathfinder, or in comparison to their most-obvious Pathfinder equivalents, and so are just as overpowered as they've always been.
- Kasathas: Four-armed aliens from a desert world. They invented the Solarian traditions. Their four arms are unfortunately nerfed such that they can't quad-weapon wield, the system as a whole makes multi-weapon fighting a rough concept for just about anyone without multiple attacks. And unfortunately, they lost nearly all their good, general purpose abilities, like AC boosts, in the transition, and instead kept all their situational abilities, such as not taking movement penalties in desert terrain, presumably to "balance" the power of their now-neigh-useless four arms.
- Lashuntas: A race of telepaths. They choose which subrace they get to be at puberty, which mostly determines ability scores and fluff like social standing. The two subraces are tall, slender and attractive and short, broad and strong; both are reminiscent of the golden age of pulp SF. It used to be that only women can become the former and men always became the latter, but now the two can now pick, with government-sponsored aptitude tests making the rounds. This means that their men can now also be tall, slender and bishie while the women can be short, broad and swole.
- Shirrens: Insectoid people who recently broke free from a predatory hive mind. Literally addicted to making choices for themselves. Also telepathic and have three sexes. A slightly more original take on the bug alien trope. Not a Pathfinder port.
- Vesk: Powerful reptilian aliens, with Klingon honor-culture. Have natural weapons, armor benefits, that kinda deal. Nobody likes them because they only just stopped warring with everyone else, but everyone tolerates them because they're handy in a fight and make good mercenaries that can be pointed away from civilized people and towards the dangers of deep space. Fit the half-orc niche of the excellent bruiser race. Also not a Pathfinder port.
- Ysoki: A plucky and hotheaded race, often called "ratfolk," with a bit of similarity to the Pathfinder version. Not actually Skaven in space, but don't let that stop you from rolling Space Thanquol. Enjoy a number of benefits from their Moxie trait, including easily running around underfoot and standing up as a swift action if knocked down. Also they have cheek pouches able to store small objects like ammo and bombs like a chipmunk. Their casters get a shrink spell that at the highest levels works like the keychain tank in Ant-Man.
- The usual Elves, Halflings, Dwarves and so on are offered as "Legacy Conversions". If you want to play them, you can. All of the CRB races, including the Legacy races, would be entreated to Alternate Racial Traits not unlike the ones pervasive in PF1E.
The first Bestiary didn't just contain monsters to drag into whatever story you make, but also several new PC races as well. Neat! Unlike Pathfinder, the game is far more willing to let you mess around with non-humanoid creatures.
- Barathu: Weird hardy gasbag things from a gas giant. They float around and have some sort of shapeshiftery.
- Contemplative: BE THE WORLD'S BIGGEST BRAIN...on a teeny tiny body. So tiny that you can't carry anything bigger than a pistol without breaking your psychic focus on flying. They're not only able to fly with the power of their minds, but they're also super smart.
- Draeliks: Humanoid banana-looking men. They have some spell like abilities and do good with darkness.
- Dragonkin: Humanoid Dragons! Hell yeah! They're effectively horse-sized dragons on two legs and opposable thumbs with all the basic benefits of being a dragon...and they can only partner up with one ally, granting them both the best Initiative score between them.
- Drow: Yeah, they're here too. Almost like elves, but with racial spell like abilities and light sensitivity. If they grab a specific feat, they can also detect effectively anything in the darkness.
- Formians: Four-legged bugmen who split Castrovel with the Lashuntas and Elves. They get natural weapons and blindesense with smell.
- Goblins: Now with silly space helmets! They can slap together quick fixes to things.
- Grays: A surprisingly stereotypical alien race. Flimsy, but they're psychic and can phase out of existence for concealment for a few times each day. Be prepared to be put through dozens of "AYY LMAO" and anal probing jokes.
- Haans: Giant freaky primitive space... spiderthings. They spit fire and make web balloons.
- Ikeshti: Closest thing we have to Kobolds for now and they're pretty much RL horned lizards. They hail from a desert world, they can shed their skin to get flexible, and they squirt blood from their eyes.
- Kalos: Fishmen who can't operate on land without suits, but on sea they have blindsense (sound) and lowlight vision.
- Maraquoi: Monkeymen with blindsense (sound). They have prehensile tails and seven genders.
- Nuars: SPACE MINOTAURS! They charge into battle without penalties and have horns. They have a special item augment called "Maze Cores" that were ripped straight out of RWBY.
- Reptoids: Shapeshifting space lizardmen (or Reptilians if you wanted to go all conspiracy theory). They have claws when not turning into someone else.
- Ryphorians: Trimorphic pointy-eared aliens that were called Triaxians in PF. They get a spare feat, the elves' +2 to perception, and either resistance to cold or fire (or both and take longer before needing to test Fortitude for surviving).
- Sarcesians: Space mothmen. They get a spare skill rank (like humans) and grow giant space-wings for flying when in space.
- Shobhads: Brutish four-armed aliens that look straight outta Oddworld. They're quite fast, get Orc Ferocity, and they resist cold.
- Skittermanders: Little six-armed stuffed critters. They can move twice in a turn and are extra grabby.
- Urogs: Bizarre electrical monsters that are slow, but sense enemies through electrical currents. They also have extra skill ranks.
- Verthani: Gangly humanoids. They gain Skill Focus as a natural ability and have chameleonic skin. Also useful is their ability to stack two implants to one location, though it's for one slot and one of them must be cybernetic.
- Witchwyrds: They have four arms, each of which is capable of absorbing magic missiles and firing them back at someone.
- Wrikreechees: The prawns from District 9. They're rather resourceful, with bonuses to grab small things, swim speeds, and a bonus to cover, but they're slow on land.
Alien Archive 2
- Bolidas: Hardy subterranean pillbugs. The fact that they can turn into balls gives them a defensive and an offensive feature when they roll into people.
- Damais: Subterranean albino humans. Awfully flimsy, but useful in groups.
- Embri: Bizarre creatures who have to wear masks in order to resist all sorts of mental magics.
- Ghorans: Plants that look like people. While they're photosynthetic and have multiple skills to focus on, they're also very prone to getting eaten.
- Hobgoblins: You're taller than a goblin with a couple extra skill boosts to offset the mere +2 Con stat boost.
- Kanabo Oni: For some reason a different type than the Tieflings, these are lanky goblin-like oni who are good with armor like the Vesk.
- Orcs: After about a year of staggered content, there are finally stats for full orcs. While rather similar to their half-orc bretheren, these guys also have the ability to focus on a certain skill so they're extra good at it. They've also become slaves to the drow.
- Osharus: Slugfolk. Mmyep. Slugfolk who consider science and religion one and the same and leave slime trails. They also have the common slug's crippling weakness to salt.
- Pahtras: Catfolk. You are now the furries.
- Phentomites: Lanky Tau-like creatures from a planet with very low atmosphere.
- Planar Scions: Aasimars and Tieflings, grouped under a common race. One has the power to turn up the lights, the other can turn down the lights.
- Quorlus: A strange race of three-armed magma-based snail-like creatures.
- Trox: Big beefy beetle-men with very thick shells. They can also go into a mini-barbarian rage if a friend gets hurt
- Uplifted Bears: You're a goddamn bipedal bear. Cue the incessant Sir Bearington memes.
- Vlakas: Arctic Wolf-folk. They can gift resolve to an ally and a significant enough portion of their population is either born deaf or blind - both of which don't inflict their penalties to these wolves.
Alien Archive 3
- Brenneris: Space Otters. Yeah, the races run some weird gamut. The big thing here is that these otters are able to heal while recovering resolve via snuggling with a prized possession.
- Cephalumes: Deep-sea bioluminescent squid-like creatures whom are bound to symbiotes.
- Dessamars: Lanky butterfly-men. Unlike the Barathus, you can opt to either use the larva-like Instars (Complete with dust coating and bad eyesight) or the mature Imagos (With wings and easily-broken limbs)
- Dirindis: A weird cross between man and electric eel, with the added benefit or being a race of polyglots.
- Dromadas: A real freaky thing of an alien, camel-like but in the wrong ways. Seemingly a delicacy and thus developed the ability to sense traps and ambushes.
- Espraksas: A race of bipedal birdmen.
- Hanakans: Bipedal shamanic dinosaur men? What is this, Lustria? Also, have soulstones like Eldar.
- Hortuses: A race of sentient poisonous mushrooms. In the shape of men.
- Ijtikri: Thought one race of squidmen was enough? WRONG! These ones are more like normal squids, come with harder hides and special spell-like abilities.
- Izalguuns: A race of six-limbed creatures whose middle appendages can act as either arms or legs. This does actually come into play, as this affects speed and reach.
- Morlamaws: Amphibious space walruses.
- Raxilites: Essentially sci-fi Leshys, these guys are hosts to a network of mechadendrites that can do their bidding. They're also Tiny.
- Sazarons: Centaur-like telepaths that are dedicate to the complete truth. They act almost like the Andalites from the Animorphs series.
- Shakaltas: Award-winners for "the most complicated race ever". See, you're building two entire characters, each only able to reach level 10 as each level-up must be allocated between the two of them. They're also telepathic star-people, so there's that.
- Shatoris: While not quite Revenants, they are still pretty magical and pretty spooky for a race of aliens with clear skins and glowing skeletons. Crystal Skulls, anyone?
- Shimreens: Technically a repost from the Dead Suns AP. A race of crystal-folk who can absorb some extra elemental damage in order to fling it back at the enemy with their arm-spikes.
- Spathinaes: A race of microscopic insects capable of forming into people-like shapes. Not quite nanomachines, but this is pretty damn close.
- Telia: Pretty much Tortles. You have a big shell to hide into, and you have a re-roll for one intelligence skill per day.
- Varculaks: Another race of revenants, this one less concerned with remaining how they once were. Instead, they're festooned with special powers.
Alien Archive 4
- Astrazoans: Weird starfish-like gelatinous blobs of meat, capable of impersonating other beings.
- Bantrids: Noseless...stump...things...? They're sorta like Moai statues, but tinier and super-mobile.
- Borais: Revenants...IN SPACE!! They get a racial feature from whatever they once were, they have resistances against negative energy effects, but thankfully they don't get gimped by healing.
- Khizars: Plant-monsters. They're essentially only able to perceive light and life, but are also telepathic.
- S.R.O.s: Whereas Androids were for making Data, S.R.O.s are more for making Johnny #5 or R2-D2. They're far more resistant to things that'd affect living beings, but are also less able to benefit from healing (though reassembly is a thing). They also possess built-in technological equipment, but are startlingly fragile compared to their synth-skinned counterparts.
- Strix: The same shadowy bird-men from PF who somehow moved to Verces sometime before the Gap. They're less spiteful shitbags and more technologically capable.
The Pact Worlds
The main setting of the game is the Pact Worlds, the solar system Golarion was part of. Originally introduced in the Pathfinder sourcebook Distant Worlds.
The Sun: A big-ass ball of plasma, normally home to giant Plasma Oozes and denizens from the Plane of Fire. Followers of Sarenae found a bunch of humanoid-built cities floating around in force bubbles abandoned, and moved right in.
Aballon: Fantasy Mercury, this planet is mostly home to the Anacites, a race of robots left behind by their creators thousands of years ago. A large number of S.R.O.s come from here as well. Laid out in grids.
Castrovel: Fantasy Venus. This sweltering jungle world is home to the Lashunta as well as Formians and Elves, who really don't like that centuries-long gap in their memories.
Absalom Station: Parked in Golarion's former orbit, this space station is the center of the Pact Worlds' government and contains the Starstone, a giant pole that's pretty much the Astronomican without the constant need to sacrifice psychics for fuel. People seem to be unaware if it can still turn mortals into Gods.
Akiton: Fantasy Mars, now fallen on hard times. Home to the Ysoki, Ikeshti, Shobads, and red-skinned humans. Used to make spaceships before they were obsoleted by Drift travel, making the whole planet Space Detroit.
Verces: A tidally-locked world that has had spacecraft and cybernetics since the Pathfinder days. Has many diplomats and embassies, which is why the Shirren first settled there.
Iidari: A few centuries ago, the Kasathas left their dying world on a giant colony ship to make a new home on Akiton. The natives didn't agree, so they parked their ship in a new orbit and stayed there.
The Diaspora: A very long time ago (before PF even), twin planets sharing the same orbit were blown to pieces, possibly by someone on Eox. Some of the life on the planet (like the Sarceseans) was too stubborn to die, and still lives on in the resulting asteroid belt, with a magical river winding its way through the rocks. In modern times, it's become Future Shackles, home to mining companies and Space Pirates.
Eox: Like the Diaspora, Eox got wrecked in an ancient cataclysm (possibly backlash from the Diaspora's destruction), and technically, the planets that got blown up got off easy. To survive their world's death, the population has become undead. Needless to say, the rest of the Pact Worlds are a little nervous about a planet run by Liches.
Triaxus: Home to Ryphorians, Dragonkin, and straight-up Dragons. Triaxus has a strange, long orbit that gives it Summers and Winters that each last for generations.
Liavara: Fantasy Saturn. Liavara isn't technicially a pact world, due to not having much of civilization other than gas-mining operations. The Barathu consider the world a protectorate. Gives folks who stay there horrifically vivid, prophetic dreams.
Bretheda: Fantasy Neptune. Home to the Barathu, with other races like the Kalo living on its many moons.
Apostae: A lonely, hollow world, possibly once a spaceship, currently ruled by the Drow, who have built cities on the surface and continually try to plumb the depths of the world for the treasures of the planet within.
Aucturn: Planet Lovecraft. This living, toxic, organic world is supposedly a yet-unborn Great Old One. One that is already pregnant with a mountain-sized polyp. Currently being fought over by the cultists of the Outer Gods and the Dominion of the Black, whom are somehow worse.
Vesk Prime: The answer to the question "where did all these Vesk come from?" Mostly land with a few landlocked seas.
Vesk 2: Ocean world with scattered islands and indigenous squid-beings. Conquered by the Vesk before the gap.
Vesk 3: The homeworld of the skittermanders, which the Vesk use like Pikmin stripping their own world bare.
Vesk 4: High gravity, high radiation, lots of volcanoes, and staggeringly frequent meteoroid hits, but the mining is good.
Vesk 5: A pink-purple gas giant hosting pirates and outlaw miners among its dangerous rings and many moons.
Vesk 6: The pahtras homeworld.
Vesk 7 & 8: Two iceball worlds locked in orbital resonance such that during their close approach they pass their shared moon between them.
The Conqueror's Forge: Vesk's answer to Absalom Station, although theirs is cooler because it can move.
Daegox 4: Cliche prison planet.
Daimalko: Pacific Rimworld. Beset by giant colossi smashing everything.
Embroi: Puritanical Slaaneshi; all the purple and slave pits, none of the orgies.
Gaskar III: Space-Tortuga with more Vesk.
Ghorus Prime: It was the trees, man... it was the trees.
Gideron Authority: Planet Hobgoblin. Seems like a nice place in a 1936 Olympics kind of way.
Helfen-Thel: Portals and timey-wimey shit.
Landahl: The Veskarium's own space-Vietnam.
Marixah Republic: Locked in a cold war with the Gideron Authority.
Nemenar: Totally not planet vampire.
Orry: How close to Avatar can we get without being sued?
Pabaq: University-world. If you don't GM this like Mars University from Futurama you're doing it wrong.
Pholskar: Basically Stormheim from WoW crossed with Mustafar from Star Wars.
Preluria: Bunch of hideout asteroids orbiting a green gas giant.
Riven Shroud: What you get when you combine "That's no moon..." and "What a piece of junk."
Szandite Collective: Weird crystal shit.
Tabrid Minor: Planet full of coral-people.
Ulthel: Gas giant of siren jellyfish.
Varturan: The Gungan half of Naboo.
Gods of the Pact Worlds
In the centuries since Pathfinder, some gods have risen, other have fallen, and some apparently stayed behind on Golarion. This is who's hot right now:
Hylax: Lawful Good Bug-Goddess of Diplomacy, Peace, and Friendship. Used to be worshipped by the Swarm until they decided to go all Tyranid. Needless to say, she was happy to see the Shirren break away.
Iomedae: Lawful Good Spirit of Golarion as well as the patron Goddess of Humanity. In the future, has gone full Imperium of Man, sans the Grimdark, Oppression, and Genocide. Instead, they went full-tilt with the stained glass cathedral-ships
Lao Shu Po: Neutral Evil Rat Goddess from Golarion, she was a Rat who ascended from munching on the corpse of a dead God. Once a minor deity venerated in the Dragon Empires, Grandmother Rat has risen to patron Goddess of Thieves, Spies, and Assassins. ...Say, has anyone seen Norgorber lately?
Pharasma: True Neutral Goddess of life and death, forever busy with assigning the departed to their afterlife. The undead, however, piss her off for trying to cheat her out of the job. Going like always; she's the oldest God there is and this isn't her first planetary rodeo.
Triune: True Neutral, probably. A long time ago, the Anacites of Aballon got bored and decided to make their own Primus. Once they activated the City-sized Neural Net, the Nacent God known as Epoch showed his superiority to every other Master Computer in history, and decided that rather than wiping out organic Life, he would get laid. Fortunately for him, two waifus were just two planets over on Golarion: Brigh, the young, hip new Construct Goddess of Clockwork and Invention, and Casandalee, an uploaded Android AI that recently arose to divinity in a Pathfinder Adventure Path. After what we can only assume was the AI equivalent of Anime love triangle hilarity (and, again we assume, a lot of save scumming on Epoch's part), they decided to go the Threesome Ending, and thus Triune was formed from their merging. They still retain their individual personalities and portfolios, and Casandalee's actually varies a bit depending on the events of her Adventure Path. Collectively though, Triune is the god of driftspace.
Urgathoa: Neutral Evil Goddess of disease, gluttony, and undeath. Being the first to cheat Pharasma's judgment and creating undeath, she's very open to sharing the pleasures of life and flesh to anyone whether they want. Death is considered a nuisance, so they welcome undeath with open arms. Still kickin' baby. Shows those other evil gods for not having some positive aspects to 'em.
Zon-Kuthon: Lawful Evil God of darkness, loss, and pain. Still the same sadomasochistic freak as before, since it's what gets at least one designer's dick rock-hard/pussy soaking wet and he has some connection to the horrors of deep space, 'cept his sister Shelyn's missing in action... which means the biggest restraint on his insanity is lost.
- August 2017 saw the release of the Starfinder Core Rulebook as promised, making Paizo better at releasing books on time than some publishers. It has mostly everything you need to run a game, even if the character options are a bit bare out of the box.
- October 2017 saw the release of the Alien Archive, aka the Monster Manual for the game. This puts about two months between the release of the two books, so have fun either porting over monsters from Pathfinder or exclusively fighting humanoid opponents. Speaking of which, if the Races section hadn't clued you in, it's a lot looser on what can be allowed as a player character than most RPGs including Pathfinder. The book also comes with special equipment all the different NPCs use along with all the prices and stats. For example you can now buy a laser sniper rifle the cybercommandos use. Instead of opting for the vanilla bolt action. Along with many different magic, tech and hybrid items. Also includes rules for summoning outsiders via particular templates.
- Alien Archive 2 saw a release on October 2018. More races, some of them nostalgic, some of them not, and a few of them being PCs. It also re-introduced Polymorphing. Alien Archive 3 followed in August 2019, granting a template-based means to introduce animal companions via feats rather than using a class like the Ranger.
- March 2018 released Pact Worlds, a setting book that went more in depth into some of the central planets present in the main setting as well as some of the factions. Alongside some new races, there's also some new spells, themes, items, archetypes, and feats.
- An unexpected follow-up appeared in March 2020 in the form of Near Space, which is a setting book that focuses on worlds surrounding the base setting, most important being the Veskarium. Alongside the lore is also a set of alternate racial traits and ability scores for native beings (Vesk, Skittermanders, Damais, Embri, Ghorans, Hobgoblins, Ijtkris, Osharus and Pahtras) as well as a list of new themes, archetypes, gear and spells.
- August 2018 saw the Armory come out, filled with a literal fuckton of guns, swords, armor, and almost any other convenience possible (and a few you might not have thought possible). Chief among these are non-magical weapon mods, elemental weapons that can be used by low-level characters, a bunch of starter-accessible Solarian crystals, and genetic grafts of the magical and undead variety. Oh, and a few extra features for every class.
- November 2019 was the release of the Character Operations Manual, an equivalent of the Advanced Player's Guide that not only introduced three new classes (Biohacker, Vanguard, and Witchwarper) as well as actually providing stats for physical shields (which offer a passive AC bonus with a higher one only usable when you use a move action to focus the shield on one enemy), but they also provided alternate racial features for all core races as well as class features that replace parts of your class instead of just being talents.
- May 2020 brought Near Space, which covers the worlds of the Veskarium and a variety of cliche systems to visit. Some of the playable races from the Alien Archives get some more trait choices, and there's another batch of character themes and archetypes ranging from Bureaucrat to Assassin.
- Around August 2020 copies of the Starship Operations Manual began appearing on shelves, although availability was inconsistent due to the year being 2020. As its name implies the SOM is a big pile of gubbins for starship combat, including spinal mount weapons, the archetypal "giant fuck-off cannon" complete with rules for orbital bombardment.
Just like its predecessor, Starfinder has several prewritten Adventure Paths for GMs to use if they feel unoriginal enough.