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Starfinder is a Science Fantasy RPG by Paizo Publishing, the creators of Pathfinder. Yes, it is, essentiallynote , Pathfinder... IN SPAAAAACE!.

Starfinder is set an unknown number of years in Pathfinder's future. Golarion, the main world of the Pathfinder setting, has gone missing, as are any memories or records of what may have happened to it, what it was like, or anything in a time period spanning several millennia. Even beings whose lives stretched into (or through) that time period have lost all memories. This millennia-long missing period of history is known as the Gap. In Golarion's place in the solar system is now the massive Absalom Station.

Other civilizations have not been idle in the unknown number of years between Pathfinder and the present, with Androids, Lashunta, Ratfolk (now called the Ysoki), and Kasatha from Pathfinder joining Humans and two new alien races, the reptilian Vesk and insectile Shirren, as core races. Of course, if you want to be a Elf, Dwarf, Half-Orc or Halfing IN SPACE, it gives options for those as well.

Like Pathfinder, Starfinder features a core book line, adventure paths, and an organized play program.

Officially released Adventure Paths:


Starfinder contains examples of:

  • Adaptational Attractiveness: The Korasha Lashuntas (which were always male at the time) were portrayed as ugly and brutish in Pathfinder, while in Starfinder both subspecies are considered very attractive.
  • Adaptation Name Change: To avoid simply calling alien races Planet-ians, several alien races from Pathfinder have gotten more unique names. The Aballonians have become the anacites, the Brethedans have become the barathu, the Eoxians are now the elebrians, the Vercites are the verthani, and the Triaxans are the ryphorians.
  • Adaptational Ugliness: While not especially attractive, Shobads in Pathfinder were reasonably human-like in appearance aside from the green skin & four arms. In Starfinder, they're hideous monsters with cylinder-shaped skulls, inhuman mouths, and massive tusks that would put any orc to shame.
  • Always Chaotic Evil: Averted, unlike in Pathfinder, with undead. In fact, Animate Dead is no longer an evil spell, and plenty of the civilian populace of Eox is Neutral.
  • Archaic Weapon for an Advanced Age: Swords, warhammers and staves are no less common as they were in Pathfinder despite widespread use of Ray Guns. There are limits however, with very primitive weapons like clubs suffering a damage penalty if used on non-primitive armor.
  • Ascended Extra: Numerous examples in terms of species and deities:
    • The setting itself takes off massively from the Pathfinder Planetary Romance sourcebooks Distant Worlds and People of the Stars.
    • In Pathfinder, Androids were common only in Numeria, the Kellid land where a giant spaceship crash-landed ages ago, and started yielding scavenged high-tech item. Lashuntas and Kasathas were around, but likely only to be encountered in a campaign that went off of Golarion onto another planet in the system, and thus quite rare. Ratfolk could be found anywhere, but generally not in large numbers. All of these are now considered core races.
    • Notably, the only minor deity in Pathfinder that becomes a main deity in her own right in Starfinder is Besmara, thanks to her importance among the Free Captains and other space pirates. In addition, and somewhat frighteningly, the Outer God Nyarlathotep is now important enough to be a main deity. Finally, two other obscure deities, the construct goddess Brigh and the Iron Goddess Casandalee, were combined into facets of the new main god Triune.
  • Asteroid Thicket: Averted with the Pact Worlds' major asteroid belt, the Diaspora. There are millions of asteroids in the belt, but the only danger is the occasional cloud of dust and debris. The Diaspora is also inhabited by the sarcesians, who have adapted to living in a vacuum, and have created a number of "crèche planetoids", which have just enough atmosphere to support life and grow food.
    • The Diaspora also has the River Between, a magically contained column of water that wraps through almost the entire asteroid belt.
    • Played straight with the rings of Liavara
  • Born as an Adult: Androids come from their production and renewal pods fully grown.
  • Bizarre Alien Sexes:
    • Shirren have three: the male; who fertilizes the egg; the female, who provides the egg; and the host, who incubates the egg to maturity. All three need to get together to reproduce. Socially, there are several variations of coupling based on the culture the shirren comes from. For example, Keskodai, the iconic mystic, lives in an exclusive pairing with a female and a host (when he isn't off exploring) but it's not unheard of for a single host to carry eggs for several different male/female pairs.
    • The maraquoi of the Brethedan moon of Marata have seven sexes, all of which are necessary for reproduction.
  • Captain Ersatz: The illustration for the Knight of Golarion in the corebook looks suspiciously like a Warhammer 40,000 Space Marine.
  • Character Customization: It is a Table Top Role Playing Game.
    • Check the Starfinder Classes and Starfinder Player Races pages for more on those.
    • Players also get to pick a Theme for their characters, in addition to the classic Class and Level System.
      • Ace Pilot: From the veteran spacer or the skilled rookie, an Ace Pilot feels at home behind the controls of a ship.
      • Bounty Hunter: Someone who hunts people for money. May or may not have a personal moral code they follow.
      • Icon: A local celebrity who can use her influence and connections to find people, information, or equipment
      • Mercenary: Usually current or retired military and will lend their skills with weaponry to whoever will pay them.
      • Outlaw: Wanted by the law somewhere in the Pact Worlds. Has connections to the criminal underworld.
      • Priest: Gods do exist in this world, and the Priest devotes his life to serving them. May be on a Mission from God.
      • Scholar: An intellectual in pursuit of knowledge. Not an Omnidisciplinary Scientist, and must pick a specialty.
      • Spacefarer: Possessed of intense wanderlust. Thrilled by the prospect of seeing distant worlds.
      • Xenoseeker: There are an endless number of alien races out in the cosmos, and the xenoseeker longs to meet them all and experience their cultures for himself.
      • Themeless: Should none of the above options fit your character, you can make your own theme. Decidedly less powerful than the other themes, but is immensely flexible.
  • City Planet: In a variation, the tidally-locked planet of Verces has one massive city spanning the ring which makes up the planet's habitable zone.
  • Cutting Off the Branches: The Iron Gods adventure path in Pathfinder potentially ended with the PC's ally Casandalee ascending to godhood instead of the Big Bad. Starfinder makes this official with her as one of the three machine gods that make up Triune.
  • Defector from Decadence: The Shirren are an entire species of this — originally part of The Swarm, they broke away when some members of The Swarm started to develop individuality.
  • Demoted to Extra:
    • Of the Main Deities in the Pathfinder pantheon, only Abadar, Desna, Iomedae, Pharasma, Sarenrae, Urgathoa and Zon-Kuthon remain as such in Starfinder. With the exceptions of Besmara and Nyarlathotep, the rest are Canon Foreigners.
      • Asmodeus, Calistria, and Lamashtu have been demoted to minor deity status.
      • Torag, head of the Dwarf pantheon, disappeared along with Golarion. His place as patron of the Dwarves has been taken by his younger brother, the minor deity Angradd.
      • Shelyn is notable now only as Zon-Kuthon's sister, and while she didn't disappear altogether, her fleeting and diminishing responses seem to hint that she has gone into the void, possibly to find a way to reverse what warped her brother into the Midnight Lord.
      • Rovagug is completely missing from the setting, which paradoxically makes him important in the story. Golarion was his prison in Pathfinder, and now that it's disappeared and been wiped from all memories, the whereabouts and status of the Omnicidal Maniac god are completely unknown.
      • The rest of the Pathfinder pantheon seems to have been completely forgotten.
    • The core races (outside of humans) from Pathfinder are collectively this — while they are still present (and the rules for making a player character member of them are in the Core Rulebook), their presence is considerably smaller than they were in Golarion.
  • Deus Est Machina: Triune, the A.I. God responsible for gifting mortals the knowledge of Drift travel.
  • Domed Hometown: The Burning Archipelago, which floats in the upper layers of the Pact Worlds' sun, is set in a series of heatproof bubbles and tied together with magic tethers. No one knows who built them. However, they were quickly colonized after their discovery, and they now have their own government and a seat at the Pact Council.
  • Disintegrator Ray: The cult of the Devourer uses these, which use d20s for damage, making their damage highly variable.
  • Dropped a Bridge on Him: While most of the species of aliens from the Pathfinder era remain & several have even been given stats for the first time, even being promoted to playable, or otherwise simply haven't been mentioned yet, one notable exception are the ilee, the horribly mutated yet peaceful natives of Apostae, who've explicitly gone extinct. No explanation has been given though it's hinted the drow may have wiped them out when colonizing Apostae, but given that this happened during the Gap it's impossible to confirm. The Pact Worlds hints that they are Not So Extinct, and in fact evolved into the Astrozoans.
  • Earth Is the Center of the Universe: Played with.
    • Golarion, the Earth of the Pathfinder/Starfinder shared universe, has mysteriously disappeared, so not only can it not be the center of the universe, absolutely nothing can get there.
    • In Golarion's place, however, is Absalom Station, which has the unique benefit of being a Drift nexus, meaning that no matter the distance you are from Absalom, travelling to Absalom takes 1-6 days. In other words, you could spend up to 30 days travelling into the Vast, at the extremes of where humanoids have traveled to, and still be back to Absalom in less than a week.
    • In addition, the headquarters of the Starfinder Society, AbadarCorp (at least, its HQ in the physical realm), and the Stewards are all at Absalom Station, and Absalom is where the Pact was signed, linking all the planets of the solar system together as the Pact Worlds.
    • In a meta example: the first Starfinder Adventure Path began with the adventure titled "Incident at Absalom Station," which, true to form, happens entirely on Absalom Station, or in the vicinity of it.
    • The actual planet Earth (which was established in Pathfinder to exist in the setting) hasn't been mentioned one way or another.
  • Eldritch Location: The entire planet of Aucturn is this, and it's speculated that it is actually the egg of a Great Old One.
  • The Empire: The Veskarium, an expansionist militaristic force which has formed an uneasy truce with the Pact Worlds, and the Azlanti Star Empire, an advanced human empire founded by the remnants of Pathfinder's Precursors.
  • Enemy Mine: In the very recent history of the Pact Worlds, the Veskarium and the Pact Worlds were at war with each other until The Swarm arrived to attack both. The uneasy truce that developed between the two to fight off The Swarm currently holds, but both sides are distrustful of each other.
  • Faster-Than-Light Travel: Via the Drift, though obsolete methods are also mentioned, such as helldrives, shadow engines, and cathedral-ships powered by prayer.
  • The Federation: The Pact Worlds, an alliance of planets composed mainly of the planets of Golarion's solar system.
  • Generation Ship: The kasatha arrived in pact worlds space using one called Idari, which was launched prior to the development of Drift travel. After arriving and finding they could not colonize Akiton like they had hoped, the kasatha decided to stay on the Idari and declared the ship a Pact World all its own.
  • Gender-Equal Ensemble: Of the core rulebook iconics; Navasi, Raia, and Obozaya are female, Quig, Altronus, and Keskodai are male, and Iseph is nonbinary.
  • Gender-Neutral Writing:
    • Iseph, the iconic operative, is an android who lacks a gender identity(a sentiment not that uncommon among Androids). "They" is Iseph's preferred pronoun.
    • Shirren of the third gender (host) also seem to prefer "they" as a pronoun when speaking in common.
  • Genius Loci: Several worlds exist that are speculated to be alive, including the Eldritch Location Aucturn and the seeming paradise world Arquand, which turns the subconscious thoughts of sentient beings into reality (with often deadly results).
  • God Was My Copilot: Navasi suspects that the lover who sacrificed herself to let Navasi escape an angry crime syndicate was an avatar of Weydan, god of discovery and equality.
  • Green-Skinned Space Babe: The Lashunta, as always, though it now applies to both sexes, and both castes (the korasha are more muscular, while the damara are more lithe).
  • Hit So Hard, the Calendar Felt It: The present calendar is the AG calendar, necessary because the Gap eliminated the ability to tell exactly when it is in the old calendar.
  • Horde of Alien Locusts: The Swarm, a major antagonist force which was only barely repelled by the combined strength of the Pact Worlds and the Veskarium, and which still poses a real danger to travelers in the Vast.
  • Homeworld Evacuation: The Kasatha built their Generation Ship and came to the Pact Worlds as their sun was soon to go nova.
  • Hive Mind: The Swarm, with the Shirren being an offshoot capable of free will and obsessed with personal choice.
  • Human Resources: One of the most lucrative industries on Eox, the undead planet, is the creation of necrografts, body augmentations created from undead organs, rather than cybernetics or biotech. They are usually made from mass-produced, artificial flesh, but there is a Black Market for off-world cadavers.
    • Off-world cadavers are also the only way for Eox to grow its population, since undead can't reproduce biologically(and most Elbrians are undead). There are also plenty of living people on Eox who have sold their remaining years of labor in exchange for undeath.
  • Hyperspace Is a Scary Place: In Starfinder, it steals a tiny bit of a random plane every time somebody fires up a hyperdrive. Aside from the cosmic implications, this also means that you're never 100% sure what you might run into during a hyperspace jump.
  • Insectoid Aliens: The Shirren, and their antagonistic cousins the Swarm. Native to the pact worlds are the ant-like formians of Castrovel & the haans of Bretheda, who're an odd mix of bombardier beetles, spiders, and sea scorpions. Non-playable examples include the orocorans, who're likened to semi-humanoid fleas or mosquitoes.
  • Laser Blade: The primary weapon of the Solarian class, Starfinder's analog to Star Wars' Jedi. Each Solarian is accompanied by a mote of stellar energy, which they can transform into any melee weapon they choose, or make it into a suit of energy armor instead. Plasma swords and doshkos are a more mundane counterpart, though they are very expensive.
  • Laser-Guided Amnesia: On a multiverse-wide level, even. There's a span of history called "The Gap" where nobody is exactly sure exactly what happened (though it's commonly thought that it has something to do with Golarion's disappearance). The actual span of The Gap varies from world-to-world, and in some cases person-to-person (for those who were alive back then). One common background is to try to find out just what happened.
    • Even the gods seem unaware of what happened during the Gap, and questions as to the fate of Golarian only return with, "It is safe and unharmed, along with the descendants of those who were on the planet when it disappeared, somewhere unreachable by science or magic." If they know any more than that, they aren't telling.
  • Lawful Stupid: Defied by the Stewards, who are allowed — even encouraged! — to follow their codes without being morons about it.
  • Magitek: Very prevalent. Most technological devices have some minor magical effects within them, and vice versa. Adding magical effects to tech-based weapons is not uncommon.
  • Massive Race Selection: Paizo has stated that they want to take the "Cantina Approach" to races in Starfinder, referencing the scenes in the various Star Wars movies, most notably A New Hope, where the heroes enter a bar or similar establishment & the camera focuses on dozens of different alien patrons. Paizo wanted to create scenes like that where almost any alien race seen could be playable. Less than a year after release, they'd made good progress with that; with 13 playable races in the core rulebook, 22 in the first Alien Archive, 6 in the Pact Worlds source book, and several more over the first Adventure Path as well as early society modules, with more to come. On top of that, the definition of what can be a playable race is expanded, with many creatures listed as Monsters in Pathfinder now available. This includes Starfish Aliens, certain Dragons, and even intelligent Oozes.
  • Mega Corp.: AbadarCorp, which is both a massive world-spanning corporate powerhouse, and the church of Abadar, the god of wealth and civilization.
  • Monster Fangirl: Hilariously, Carsai the King has fangirls, due to in-universe media portraying him as a Draco in Leather Pants.
  • Multi-Armed and Dangerous: As in Pathfinder, Kasatha have four arms. Shirren, being insects, have two small arms in addition to their main two, but it is considered taboo to use, but not display, them in public. In addition, any character can get up to two additional cybernetic arms.
  • No Communities Were Harmed: Several of the Pact Worlds are clearly inspired by the planets in our own solar system.
    • Aballon, based on Mercury: the closest planet to the sun; with an uninhabitable surface blasted by solar radiation
    • Castrovel, based on Venus: second planet from the sun; roughly the same size as Golarian, the Earth analog; with a hot, wild, and dangerous surface similar to the Planetary Romance conception of Venus.
    • Akiton, based on Mars: fourth planet from the sun; covered in red, windswept deserts; once a lush and vibrant world, but has slowly decayed for centuries
    • Liavara, based on Saturn: an orange-ish gas giant with massive rings and dozens of small moons
    • Apostae, based on Pluto: a tiny planet with a highly angled orbit, likely not a true planet
  • Reassigned to Antarctica: Obozaya was reassigned to the frozen wastelands of Vesk-8 for shaming a well-connected squadmate in a duel.
  • Reincarnation:
    • Androids often choose to do this as a form of reproduction, allowing a new personality to form in their body while the old one is allowed to pass in the veil. Most of the time, the prior personality attempts to wipe every record of their old life away before reincarnating so the new soul doesn't feel any pressures from their prior incarnation. Most of the time.
    • The Reincarnate spell from Pathfinder returns as well.
  • The Reptilians: The Vesk. The traditional reptilian shapeshifting Chessmaster type appears as well in the form of the Reptoids.
  • Retcon: Interestingly, not for any element of continuity, but if you compare both systems' character alignment descriptions, you'll notice some differences. For instance, Lawful Evil is described in Pathfinder as one who upholds law and order, albeit at the cost of freedom and dignity, and a LE character would "like to rule [a hierarchy], but is content to serve". In Starfinder, the description insists that any such desires are pretenses and their actions are only to benefit themselves, which really sounds more like Neutral Evil.
  • Science Fantasy: As explained above, this is the same universe that Pathfinder took place in, set many thousands of years into the future. Which means that many of the rules and tropes that apply to a Standard Fantasy Setting also apply to this universe of spaceships and laser guns. This includes:
    • Angels and demons equipped with power armor and laser rifles
    • Fey creatures that are the embodiment of nuclear radiation, asteroids, and the vacuum of space.
    • Undead creatures brought into being by the trauma of suffocating in the void or of being marooned in space with no hope of survival.
  • Sequel Difficulty Drop: In a similar vein to Dungeons & Dragons 5e, the mechanics of Starfinder have been severely streamlined when compared to Pathfinder. To name a few ways: the number of base classes has been reduced from twenty to seven, feat trees are now virtually nonexistent, level 1 stats are capped at 18, and a number of skills and bonus types have been melded together.
    • Weapon enhancements are also far less potent in Starfinder, with most of them only activating on a critical hit. And even then, an attack can only activate one critical hit effect at a time.
  • Silicon-Based Life: Dykon, one of Bretheda's moon, has an entirely silicon-based ecosystem. The resident sentient species, the Urogs, are giant slugs that hover around in electromagnetic bubbles that their bodies produce.
  • Single-Biome Planet: There are a few of them in the Pact Worlds.
    • The continents of Castrovel are almost entirely jungle.
    • Akiton is a rusty, sun-blasted desert planet, akin to Mars.
    • Eox is a toxic wasteland, fit only for the native undead elebrians.
    • The inhabited moons of the gas giants Liavara and Bretheda tend to have a single biome as well.
  • Space Elves: Quite literally. Elves have become prone to becoming isolationist and paranoid as their long lives mean most are missing memories from the Gap. The Lashunta could also be considered Space Elves, which is appropriate since they are from the same planet.
  • Space Isolation Horror: Getting abandoned in space with no hope of rescue can cause your body to reanimate as a Marooned One, an undead bent of causing as much anguish as possible by getting other space travelers marooned like they were.
  • Space Pirate: The Free Captains of the Shackles return, now based on a hidden asteroid called the Broken Rock.
  • Tidally Locked Planet: Verces, with an endless city filling the ring which is the habitable zone.
  • Virginity Flag: Ikeshti that fail to mate during their once in a lifetime rutting season transform into large, muscular, and mindless "riveners" that other Ikeshti consider kill-on-sight.
  • War God: Damoritosh the Conqueror, the name says it all.

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