One of the presents I received on Christmas Day was the Starfinder Core Rulebook. While I have had a copy of the .PDF tucked away in my slurry of digital RPG products for many months, I hadn’t given it much attention. There is something about a nice shiny hardback book that invites me to read in a way that a .PDF file never has.
There were quite a few surprises in my first flip through the book. I had thought that it was, basically, “Pathfinder in space”… but that isn’t really fair. The game is very much based upon the Pathfinder 1e roleplaying game – and even has guidance for converting stuff from the Pathfinder rules into Starfinder – but this is an adaptation rather than a clone.
On Boxing Day, I decided to sit down and create a character using the Starfinder rules. This is a good way for me to delve into actual play with a new rules system and engages my learning. I decided on the concept of a, “Ratty pilot with a laser pistol and lots of attitude; bit of a rebel; running and gunning.”
That made for a Ysoki (“ratfolk”) Operative using the Ace Pilot theme. I rather like the addition of the Theme to the character creation process – it’s a way to focus on the role your character might have in an adventuring party. It took a little over an hour to step through the process outlined in the rulebook, which is about par for the course with a new system.
Starfinder is unashamedly science-fantasy in flavour and focuses on what it describes as space opera as the central focus.
As I couldn’t really remember the original Pathfinder system at all well, my mind was comparing it with D&D 3rd Edition from which Pathfinder emerged. I was pleased to see a streamlined presentation of the skill system, familiar elements such as Feats and Class Features, and the three saving throws of Fortitude, Reflex, and Willpower. There’s also the familiar splitting of Hit Points and Stamina Points which I remember from Traveller20 and d20 Star Wars.
What’s nice is the Starfinder setting that includes alien races and lots of flavour. As with Pathfinder 2e, however, I was disappointed that the Core Rulebook lacks one major thing a GM needs by giving only a token example of an NPC stat block. You would need the Alien Archive to be able to run a game.
It looks like a fun game overall and something that I’d enjoy running. As always, the key barriers are finding players and having time to put a game together in an already busy personal gaming schedule. Still… who knows what 2022 will bring?