Brian Holland

by Brian Holland

The heroic planet-hopping action of Starfinder sits nicely in the niche somewhere between Avengers: Infinity War and Star Wars. Players band together in a party, unearth ancient alien civilisations, do daring battle with wicked space-pirates, and thwart the schemes of undead wizards.

Wait, what was that last one?

Starfinder is Science-fantasy. It’s a setting where half-orcs with laser-axes throw down with a robot in a space-tavern over a glass of spilled, blue-space milk.

It’s the ideal place to let your imagination run wild, to transport your Drow character to a time when they could wield a machine pistol and harness the power of gravity.

Paizo, the company that produces Starfinder, got their name in the industry when they launched Pathfinder ten years ago. Tweaking and streamlining the core rules of the third edition of another popular tabletop RPG, Pathfinder exploded into a market where D&D 4th Edition was largely being received poorly by the fan base. 

A decade and a helluva lot of expansions later, Pathfinder is still going strong. Paizo took what they’d built with Pathfinder, and in 2017 launched it into the far future of space!

Starfinder was an instant hit, and 100% a game you should play, especially if dungeon crawling, killing dragons and looting treasure chests is a staple in your hobby life.

Like Pathfinder before it, Starfinder carves its niche into the roleplaying genre through intense, tactical combat, and deep character customisation options. Not only will you be able to piece together the right (and familiar), combination of Race and Class, but the added choice of Character Theme (Ace Pilot, Icon, Bounty Hunter, etc), gives character creation another layer of depth.

One of the most refreshing things about Starfinder, particularly in the Core Rulebook, is its streamlined and accesisble approach to an otherwise daunting and rules-heavy roleplaying system.

Paizo have learned a lot from their ten years working on Pathfinder, and it shows.

The Core Rulebook is very cleverly designed, with graphics on the inside of the page allowing you to quickly flip between the sections you need, to find the information pertinent to your character in an otherwise weighty tome.

While some of the character classes, such as the Soldier, will be familiar, the majority of character options in Starfinder offer a fresh take on classic D&D (in space). Classes like the Solarian allows you to manipulate the power of the stars, warping gravity into both it’s positive and negative aspects, while the Technomancer gifts you with the abilities to control and manipulate machinery in a way that just lets your imagination take hold.

When starting a new RPG, even one with a D20 system as familiar as that of Starfinder, I find it always helps to have a good guide to get you into the world, particularly in the role of the Game Master. Paizo has published a series of adventure modules for Starfinder which contain everything you need to run smooth, interesting and tactically satisfying tales of adventurer’s in the far-future.

Unlike campaigns published for games like Dungeons & Dragons, these modules are printed in soft-cover, 30-50 page chapters. Most of them also string together to form a ongoing campaign, taking characters from early levels all they way to the fabled 20. 

The advantage to these modules being published in individual chapters, as opposed to one mighty tome is twofold. Firstly, they allow you to buy them as you go, inserting them as side-quests in an ongoing home-brew campaign, or to treat them as one-shots for your gaming group.

Secondly, if like me you find yourself travelling around a fair bit when it comes to roleplaying- be it at your house, a friend’s, or the dedicated roleplaying night at your local Good Games,- it’s nice not to have to carrying a full hard cover book with you, when you know you’re only going to be using a few pages at a time. The Starfinder line is still relativity new, and is very accessible if you’re the type of roleplayer who likes to dive in and buy everything.

In addition to the essential add-ons like the Game Master’s Screen and the Combat Pad, You’ll find the Starfinder Armory, a collection of weapons, equipment, mods and many more trinkets for players to discover, and GM’s to pickle throughout their adventures.

The ever-present Alien Archive functions as a Monster Manual/Bestiary equivalent, where each page has a different monster, complete with a little background and beautiful art.

Starfinder Pact Worlds is a more recent release focusing on the official campaign setting of Starfinder, the eight worlds in the system of the planet from the original Pathfinder setting.

There is a lot to love about sci-fi, and combining it with the out-there imagination, and D&D-Star Wars fusion of Science-Fantasy makes Starfinder the best RPG on the market for Dungeon Crawling Through The Stars.

Contact your local Good Games store today and ask about Starfinder!