The StarfinderRPG allows for literally a universe full of original settings, giving Gamemasters the opportunity to create their own worlds and societies as the basis for their games. For those who like working with a framework of existing source material, though, the Starfinder development team has done a great job of presenting exactly the sort of rich, diverse system of planets, races, and societies that one could hope to find: the Pact Worlds.
Starfinder is set in the distant future of their Pathfinder RPG fantasy setting, after the dominance of magic and superstition has given way to science and technology (and, of course, technomagic). The planet of Golarion, the center of the Pathfinder fantasy setting, has vanished. In its place rests the massive Absalom Station, surrounded by the remaining planets of its solar system. No one knows what happened to Golarion or who built Absalom Station, due to a break in history known as the Gap.
The planets of the system have joined together with Absalom Station to form the Pact Worlds, a loose defensive alliance formed against external threats. These fourteen locations (not all are planets, as they include the Sun and an asteroid belt) get a couple of half-pages apiece in the StarfinderCore Rulebook, but the newly-released StarfinderPact Worlds sourcebook (Amazon, Paizo) fleshes them out and provides a variety of related starship and player options for Starfinder characters. Both players and Gamemasters will find much to love about this newest installment in unfolding universe of Starfinder.
Kurtzhau, my 13 year old son who’s currently GMing the game for his mates, rates it as “Awesome.”
80+ new aliens (depends on how you count), 20 playable races (some delightfully nuts ), lots of alien tech, each entry a rich adventure seed in its own right and rules for building your own NPC aliens.
Lovely illustrations. Good writing. And it’s got a sort of creative gravitas. Nothing here is throwaway.
“Dad, we can’t get the Starfinder combat system working…”
“Look, Son, it’s a D20 system, so Armor Class reduces the chance of being hit, rather than absorbs damage.”
“OK. I get it now! You’re the best, Dad!”
(Tousles hair) “That’s what Dad’s are for, Son.”
OK it didn’t quite go like that. For a start, I did not in fact tousle my 13-year-old son’s hair since (a) it’s shoulder length and he gets cross if you tangle it, and (b) he’s 13. Even so, it was a “life’s full circle” Country and Western moment of the same order as when non-geeks teach their kids to throw a rabbit or skin a baseball or whatever.
However, Kurtzhau was indeed encountering a D20 system for the first time, the engine at the heart of Starfinder, Paizo’s new Science Fantasy (it uses that term in the text!) system, with which he’s pretty much fallen in love. The blurb says it all.
The Starfinder Roleplaying Game puts you in the role of a bold science-fantasy explorer, investigating the mysteries of a weird and magical universe as part of a starship crew. Will you delve for lost artifacts in the ruins of alien temples? Strap on rune-enhanced armor and a laser rifle to battle undead empires in fleets of bone ships, or defend colonists from a swarm of ravenous monsters? Maybe you’ll hack into the mainframe of a god-run corporation, or search the stars for clues to the secret history of the universe or brand new planets to explore. Whether you’re making first contact with new cultures on uncharted worlds or fighting to survive in the neon-lit back alleys of Absalom Station, you and your team will need all your wits, combat skill, and magic to make it through. But most of all, you’ll need each other.
Inspired by my son’s enthusiasm, I decided to take a look myself…