The Universe of Starfinder

Friday, November 10, 2017 | By | Add a Comment

The Universe of Starfinder

Starfinder is set in the same universe as Pathfinder. In addition to the obvious “lots of time has passed, and now there’s more technology,” there are two significant events that set the stage for the passage from Pathfinder to Starfinder. The first is the Gap, a span of centuries that no one remembers. Everyone just woke up one day with knowledge of basic present facts (for example, “this person is my spouse”) but no recollection of historical facts (for example, “how did I meet this person”). Of particular note is that, at some point during the Gap, the central world of Pathfinder (Golarion) disappeared.

The second event is the creation of the Drift (and the creator of the Drift, the gestalt deity known as Triune). The Drift is what allows interstellar travel without the use of high-level magic. To travel with a drift engine means shunting into a parallel dimension, traveling through that, and then translating back into the prime material. Drift travel usually means a week or two travel time between systems (drift travel works in-system as well, but is not typically any faster than taking several days to travel through realspace). Notably, there is no equivalent of “subspace” or other instantaneous technological communication – sending a message through the Drift is no faster than simply travelling through the drift, meaning that interstellar communications are mostly at courier speed.

The home base of the Starfinder setting is the Golarion system, home of the Pact Worlds. The Golarion system is a very crowded place, with around a dozen inhabited worlds (including worldships, massive space stations, asteroid belts, and such). The Pact Worlds is a confederation of the various worlds and demi-worlds of the Golarian system, plus protectorates both in and out of the system. The government of the Pact is located on Absalom Station, which resides in the orbit that used to belong to Golarion. Player characters are reasonably likely to have some involvement with this government, as it can provide a good excuse for throwing disparate PCs together and giving them a mission. Because of its somewhat limited mandate, the Pact government does not really get into the sort of traditional law and order function that’s not well-suited for PCs.

Notable Pacts Worlds and protectorates include the sun (a protectorate inhabited mostly by the Church of Sarenrae), Aballon (a machine-ruled Pact World), Castrovel (the Pact World home of the lashunta), Verces (a tidally locked world where most civilization exists along The Line), the worldship Idari (home of the kasatha), Eox (a self-ravaged Pact World now inhabited by the undead), Apostae (a world captured from the depths of space, inhabited by drow and a lot of ancient technology they don’t understand), Aucturn (not a planet as much as a giant egg for a chthonic being), and a couple of inhabited gas giants.

Nearby to the Pacts Worlds is the Veskarium, a solar system that is also multi-species, but that is ruled by the reptilian vesk. Further away a menace that has not yet turned its eye on the Pact Words is the Azlanti Star Empire (descendants of a settlement founded by humans from the ancient Golarion empire of Azlant, before that empire destroyed itself). Another dozen worlds or systems are briefly described. In addition to the playable species discussed below, the worlds in and out of the Golarion system are ripe with sentient species to be added as playable races in later supplements.

Significant factions include Abadarcorp (the massive corporation/church of the god of wealth), the Android Abolitionist Front (who try to root out continued use of androids as slaves), the Augmented (pushing for the advancement of life through cybernetics), the Free Captains (space pirates), the Hellknights (Order Above All), the Knights of Glarion (a band of do-gooders associated with the church of Iomedae), the Starfinder Society, the Stewards (the elite warrior-diplomats who work for the Pact), and the Xenowardens (space druids).

Twenty core deities are described, although I would say that around a dozen of them are possible sources of faith for player characters. These are a gestalt of existing Pathfinder deities, new deities brought by other species, and deities of cosmological concepts that take on an increased importance in a science fantasy setting. There are, however, many gods in existence beyond this score.

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