I’ve been anticipating the release of these rules for some time now as I have been hankering for a sci-fi RPG but couldn’t agree on a rule set with my players, but then, some time ago, Paizo announced a new set of sci-fi rules, based on the Pathfinder system, called Starfinder.
So I picked up a copy and have started reading through them.
It’s a big set of rules weighing in at 532 pages and has all the usual high quality production values that Paizo are known for.
Whilst the rules do remain fairly faithful to the Pathfinder ethos there are a number of refinements.
The system uses the standard 6 ability scores of strength, dexterity, constitution, intelligence, wisdom and charisma however the races, classes, skills, feats and equipment have all been refined to reflect the nature of the setting.
The seven races include Androids, Humans, Kasathas (a four armed alien), Lashuntas (an alien looking similar to a human but with more psychic abilities), Shirrens (a kind of bug type of alien), Vesk (a kind of reptilian type of alien) and Ysoki (a kind of rodent type of alien).
There are seven character classes to choose from including Envoy, Mechanic, Mystic, Operative, Solarian, Soldier and Technomancer. The origin of some of the character classes at first glance seem similar to Pathfinder but they are in detail quite different. For example the Mystic is a lot more skills focused then a Cleric.
Whilst some of the Skills and Feats are the same as Pathfinder, many have been changed, representing the more viable skills and feats needed in a spacefaring setting. So, for example, whilst there is still the Acrobatics, Bluff, Perception, Stealth skills there is now also Computers and Piloting. It’s a similar situation for Feats.
Equipment, well where do I start. There are:
· Melee weapons (including one handed, two handed, basic, advanced, flame, plasma, shock, sonic types)
· Fire arms (including one handed, two handed and heavy weapons, grenades, cyro, flame, plasma, projectile, shock and sonic types as well as special materials and weapon fusions to customise your weapons)
· Armour (including light armour, heavy armour, power armour, armour upgrades etc)
· Augmentations (such as many types of cybernetics)
· Technological items (eg comms unit, detonator, fire extinguisher)
· Magic items (eg rod of cancellation, shadow orb, spell ampoules)
· Vehicles (eg junkcycle, enercycle, exploration buggy, urban cruiser etc)
· Personal items (eg backpack, space suit, drugs, medicines and poisons, trade goods)
Plenty of everything really to satisfy most sci-fi nuts including plenty of pictures. A lot of these items will help to customise characters as well, eg the augmentations.
The Tactical Rules (aka combat rules) are similar to Pathfinder but are a little simpler and include several refinements such as a Energy Armour Class and a Kinetic Armour Class, Stamina, Hit and Resolve points (instead of just Hit Points in Pathfinder) and a Full Attack option to let you empty that clip into your enemy. The Tactical Rules have been expanded to include vehicle tactical rules.
The Starships chapter is one of the big differences. There is every intent that characters will, in most games, have access to a spaceship and so a lot of thought has gone into to the design elements of the ships and also the character roles in guiding and looking after the ship, especially during combat. There are of course navigation rules and ship descriptions (including systems, weapons, armours etc) as well as a detailed section on Starship Combat. In order to give all the players a role during starship combat, Paizo have included a number of Crew Roles including the Captain (who can motivate the crew or taunt the enemy), Engineer (who can enhance the performance of the ship), Gunner (shoots weapons), Pilot (pilots the ship) and Science Officer (who uses the ships computers, scanner and other systems to better identify threats, target foes etc). So no sitting around just letting the pilot have all the fun. Everyone can participate.
The second last chapter is Magic and Spells which includes instructions for casting spells as well as the spell lists for Mystics and Technomancers. The spell lists are not as extensive as Pathfinder but they still include some of the classics such as Identify, Magic Missile and Mirror Image but they also include a lot of new spells such as Supercharge Weapons, Implant Data and Logic Bomb.
The last chapter is Game Mastering which is quite extensive as it needs to cover broad range of environments as well as the normal tips on how to run a game and how to generate scenarios and give experience points etc.
All up I’d say that I’m a little excited and daunted by the scheer scale of the rules but I’m looking forward to developing some new characters and getting into a game.
It’s a bit hard to know where to start with a campaign but Paizo have brought out a new Adventure Path called “Incident at Absalom Station” so I’ll be sure to check that out. Who knows that might just be our first adventure.