I’ve been an avid pen and paper player for many moons, and I can honestly say I have played more than 100 different types of games. Everything from Dungeons and Dragons first edition, GURPS, Pathfinder, and lesser known titles which offer anything from one shots to lengthy campaigns. I don’t think I’m in the minority when I say that Pathfinder really nailed the pen and paper genre, making it easy for new players or even those seasoned players who want to make uniquely designed characters.
So when Paizo announced Starfinder, I knew I would enjoy it, but at first the basics seemed more confusing than I had become accustomed to, and it took me a long time to bring myself back into trying it out.
I am glad I made that decision, and wanted to share the idea behind it, the fun you will get from it, and the basics that will show you why you need to pick this title up.
The world of Starfinder takes a lot of pieces from Pathfinder, adds some unique flair to it, but takes place all across the galaxy. Like Pathfinder, there are characters who use melee, ranged, “magic”, tech, and all sorts of weaponry and augments, but the main feature you get in Starfinder is the addition of starship battles.
Starfinder takes place thousands of years in the future, and sets our heroes up for a journey across many planets to come to one common goal. That goal may be riches, adventure, or could be as simple as survival. The multitude of creation which takes place is available to do a million things, contained within a few books to date.
The main calling is that most of the races do not exist from Pathfinder, as the world in which many adventures took place is just gone. With no memory of the world, or anything from it, the galaxy has moved on to greater things, all because of the God Triune. Formed three years after the “Gap” (which is what the world disappearing is known as since no one has any recollection of what took place) the three deities Epoch, Casandalee, and Brigh formed into one singular God bringing about the technological advancement known as Drift Engines, allowing races to travel through the galaxy much faster than before.
This designation formed many races, showcasing abilities long thought lost, but in the end contributed to the advancement of almost every culture in the known universe.
Choosing a race is an important part of all pen and paper RPG’s, and Starfinder has an abundant selection of unique character options.
Androids – Created to be servants for humanity, their biological design, mixed with artificial intelligence, allowed them to grow quickly, and begin to think for themselves. Not much ill will was given to their creators, as Humanity quickly noticed the usefulness of this race and allowed them to be treated fairly. Their intelligence makes them fast allies, at least for now.
Humans – I’m certain almost every game has them. Advanced at this point, but still fleshy with pieces that can be shot or ripped off, our main benefit is our ability to create things far outside of the imagination. Well that and our sheer numbers across the galaxy.
Kasathas – These four armed creatures are a wise race of traditionalists. They tend to focus their time using their intelligence to grow their knowledge of the stars. Not a lot is known as they are from a far outlying system, which most have never seen.
Lashuntas – They come in two distinct varieties, tall and lean, or short and stout. Their amazing Psychic abilities make them an asset to almost every situation, and they are dedicated to be as perfect as possible. If I had to compare their look, think Mantis from Guardians of the Galaxy.
Shirrens – They honestly look like a mixture of a fly and a venus fly trap, but their hive-mind, of which they broke off years before, was once a force to be reckoned with. They are powerful, and able to wipe out large groups when needed, but have chosen free-will over the glory of the hive.
Vesk – Large lizardfolk, built usually like a walking fridge. They make amazing tanks, engineers, and their sight alone is enough to terrify enemies into submission. They are focused on conquering anything and everything in their path, and don’t do too well at taking orders.
Ysoki – In my personal opinion, the best of all the races. They are rat-folk, who are usually good at stealth, unless they donèt want to be. They focus a lot on just having fun and doing as they please. They are amazing at talking their way out of trouble, but just as good at talking their way into it.
Envoy – Great at the political and negotiation side of the party. Easily able to convert the thoughts of others to their own way of thinking, they tend to be the groups Strategist. A lot of the choice with an envoy comes down to your Charisma score, since youèll be the one negotiating contracts, or talking the group out of a whole lot of trouble.
Mechanic – You want a robot pet, then this is the class for you. They create things from nothing most times, and are good at keeping the ship running, while assisting in protecting their friends. The mechanic is usually used to having a pet of some sort, built from scrap, and used for anything from scouting, to tanking. They are definitely a useful piece of the puzzle.
Mystic – Since “Magic” isn’t really a thing in Starfinder, the Mystic uses their belief that all things are connected to use manipulation of energy to do magical things. Using the force of the surrounding elements, they are usually amazing at healing, but also have some of the best support mechanics in the game.
Operative – I would akin a Shadow to a rogue, but a lot more advanced. The Shadows job is to infiltrate, deceive, and do anything needed to ensure the job gets done. They rely on cunning, stealth, and an abundance of brass ball syndrome to get in and out before anyone notices. That being said, even when found, they can really hold their own to keep going.
Solarian – Another race that can manipulate the forces that surround us, they focus on the understanding that light and dark do not work against one another, but actually work hand in hand. They focus their powers into trying to ensure the universe is as protected as it can be, while creating weapons and armor using these fundamental elements.
Soldier – They pride themselves on usually being the first in and last out. They have access to many pieces of gear and weaponry that most classes don’t, but they are truly dynamic classes, as they have a brave mixture of in your face, or take your face off from a distance. Myself, I am playing a Sniper from the soldier class, and rely more on accuracy then the underlying reasoning of why they ended up in the fight.
Technomancer – This would be the closest class to a wizard, harnessing energy, but combining it with technology to use “spells” against the enemies they meet. The use nature and science in perfect harmony, allowing their unique abilities to overcome most obstacles in their way.
Within these classes, are many subclasses as Starfinder continues to do what Pathfinder did well, with an entire slew of creation concepts for each time you play. Just in the book each one has 4 subclasses which are a guideline on how to build “X” character.
Starfinder will not be for everyone, but I would recommend everyone I know to at least give it a try. The game itself is fairly straightforward once you get used to the new mechanics. I have loved the character creation, I enjoy the setting, and overall I know the theme is something I had wanted to play for quite sometime. While 90% of the game would be an extremely positive design, I will say the largest complaint from almost every gaming group is the ship style fighting is a bit complex and boxey, if you will. There is still fine tuning, as with any sort of pen and paper RPG, but as a whole Starfinder has the right mixture of fantasy, science fiction, and group dynamic to make it an absolutely enjoyable pick-up.
The Comic Hunter has a slew of material, and you can always find answers online for basic information, but I am certain once you give the corte rulebook a once over, it will answer 90% of the questions you may have. Alternatively, I would recommend giving a one shot a go with friends to get a feel for the overall theme of the game, and then place your order with The Comic Hunter once you are ready.
The game can be unforgiving, it can make you feel like all is lost, but as with any games there is always a light at the end of the tunnel, the best to come will be when you finally start to understand the actions you are doing, and you come up with a reason your character is doing them.
Should you need any other information please do not hesitate to contact The Comic Hunter through face, or their site. You will not regret your decision to pick up this title, of that I am certain.