Starfinder Roleplaying Game – First Thoughts

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Last May, Paizo announced they were working on a new roleplaying game called Starfinder. This science fantasy RPG would be based upon the Pathfinder rules, but modified to better handle a far-future setting.

This past week at Gen Con, Starfinder was finally unleashed upon the masses. I managed to grab the PDF and have been reading through it over the last several days.

I thought I’d post my first thoughts about the game. I want to make this clear that I have yet to play Starfinder and this is not meant to be a detailed review of it. This is just me presenting my initial reactions.

Let’s start with the most obvious compliment. The Starfinder Core Rulebook looks great. Like the majority of Paizo’s products, the quality of the book is definitely on the higher end. The layout is very clearn, the text easy to decipher, and the art does a fantastic job getting the reader into the proper mood to hop onto a spaceship and explore the stars.

The only exception to this is that several of the depictions of the Ysoki just look…wrong. It’s similar to the uncanny vibe the halflings in the 5th Edition’s Player’s Handbook possessed. Thankfully, this is a tiny blemish on an otherwise good-looking product.

Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, let’s move onto what you really want to know: What do I think about the rules?

Starfinder utilizes a modified version of the d20 System. Those who are familiar with the game’s older sibling Pathfinder will recognize a great deal of the mechanics. However, this isn’t just Pathfinder with a fresh coat of science fiction paint. The designers have taken the opportunity to rework certain aspects of the game, streamline others, and introduce new ideas to better model the shift in genre.

To be honest, I think the majority of the changes made were for the better. The basic chassis of the d20 System is still present, but the various alterations feel like they’ll actually help make the game run more smoothly at the table. The further clarification of different elements of the game, like the various actions one can take and how certain rules work, strengthens this opinion.

I also really like many of the new rules that have been added. For example, I find Resolve Points to be very intriguing. I like how they create this new resource for players to spend, but also present an interesting choice because Resolve Points determine whether a character dies when they drop below 0 HP. The Themes are also pretty cool, and the upgradable weapons seem like a fun way to keep various equipment fresh.

The spaceship and vehicle combat also seems like it’ll be a blast. I really like how it gives everyone in the party something to do during these encounters, making sure they’re involved in someway. I do wonder if the math will remain solid once the players reach higher levels, but on the surface it looks like a very solid system.

I have yet to really dig my teeth into the default setting presented with the book, the Pact Worlds, so I can’t honestly give much of an opinion on it just yet. I will say it does seem like an interesting place to explore.

I do kind of wish they would have removed the Pathfinder Legacy stuff so they could include some more setting info, or maybe some NPCs or alien creatures we could use until the Alien Archive comes out. I get why it was included, wanting this game to be somewhat backwards compatible and the fact both are connected to each other through a shared setting (albeit one being a possible future to the other), but I think the Legacy stuff could have just been put into a separate PDF. I admit I am probably alone in this regard.

Right now, I plan to give the Core Rulebook a more detailed read in the upcoming days before getting a few people together to give it a whirl. I will end this post with this. Paizo had my curiosity when they announced Starfinder. They now have my attention after I’ve looked it over, and I’m excited to see what they do with this.

I can’t wait to explore Starfinder. How about you?

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