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Starfinder Update: Space Fantasy in the Future of Pathfinder

Tuesday, April 30th, 2019 | Posted by Andrew Zimmerman Jones

StarfinderBeginnerBoxFor the last couple of years, one of my favorite games has been the science fantasy RPG Starfinder from Paizo, the makers of the Pathfinder RPG. Starfinder has all the magic and adventure of Pathfinder, co-mingled with high technology and a wild space setting. The best way to describe the feel of the adventures is a mix of Dungeons & Dragons with Guardians of the Galaxy.

The game has expanded at a steady pace over the last couple of years. Two Alien Archive supplements have been released, with a third slated for a GenCon release in August. They’ve released the Pact Worlds setting book and an Armory supplement, and a Character Operations Manual focusing on increased player options is coming in October 2019. They’ve also just announced a collaboration with WizKids to produce a Starfinder Battles series of prepainted miniatures.

The setting focuses on the solar system that once housed the planet of Golarion, the main Pathfinder setting, but Golarion itself no longer exists. In its place is Absalom Station, a giant space station that houses the Soulstone and is a hub of travel for shifts traveling through the Drift, the mysterious dimension that allows for rapid travel across vast distances of space. Among many other things, Absalom Station is the headquarters of the Starfinder Society, a group of explorers and adventurers who travel throughout the Pact Worlds and beyond into the Vast to discover new worlds and civilizations, occasionally running afoul of the undead Corpse Fleet or other threats, from space pirates to alien menaces like the vicious Swarm.

For those who haven’t yet explored the setting, and are looking for a guided introduction, the new Starfinder Beginner Box offers a great springboard to get into the game. It comes with a streamlined rule set, some cards that help provide rule and condition reminders, pregenerated characters, a variety of cardboard pawns representing characters and creatures, a gridded map for play, and an introductory adventure module.

My two boys and I have been particularly fond of the Starfinder Society organized play games, often run at local gaming stories and nearby conventions throughout the year. Through this, we’ve become engrossed in the engaging narrative unfolding through these adventure modules. The Season 1 plotline, Year of Scoured Stars, focuses on the in-game Starfinder Society dealing with the loss of many members, as their armada was trapped in a region of space known as the Scoured Stars. While players through the single modules, they can uncover more secrets of this region … and eventually rescue their lost leader. Season 1 has lasted two years, and the second year of the season comes to a close at Origins Game Fair this June, with a massive season finale adventure, Fate of the Scoured God, that will also be run at subsequent conventions such as GenCon and DragonCon.

YearofThousandBitesThis will resolve the Year of Scoured Stars storyline for Starfinder Society organized play, and set the stage for the Season 2: Year of a Thousand Bites. The icon to the left is the symbol for the season. As described on the Paizo blog:

The Year of a Thousand Bites brings us back to the Pact Worlds and re-focuses the campaign on two major concepts: what it means to be a Starfinder and the living aspect of our campaign. Being a Starfinder can mean a lot of different things to a lot of different people, and we’re going to get some insight into what people outside the Society think of Starfinders this season. We’re also going to get a chance to revisit some choices that players have made over the past twenty months of play and see how those choices have worked out.

Players interested in finding out more about how to get involved in Starfinder Society can get more information on the Paizo website, including information on available supplements, and download the Starfinder Guild Guide that will lay out what you need to know to get started. The website Warhorn is useful for finding local Starfinder Society games.

For those looking to get started with the the Starfinder Beginner Box, you can acquire it from your friendly local gaming store to support these important community institutions … but if you prefer to order it online, the game (or the Core Rulebook) can be obtained directly from Paizo.com (along with the PDF, perhaps) or from another online retailer, such as Amazon.com. The retail price of the Starfinder Beginner Box is $39.99.

Whether you’re an established Starfinder, or just looking at joining the Pact Worlds universe … just watch out for the Corpse Fleet and space pirates out there. I look forward to crossing your path in the Drift.

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