PZO7116 Starfinder - Galaxy Exploration Manual - PDFCOFFEE.COM (2024)

GALAXY EXPLORATION MANUAL

GALAXY EXPLORATION MANUAL

DEVELOPMENT LEAD Joe Pasini AUTHORS Kate Baker, Jessica Catalan, John Compton, JohnCurtin, Alexi Greer, Sasha Laranoa Harving, JoanHong, Jason Keeley, Chris Lambertz, Robert G. McCreary, Andrew Mullen, AdrianNg, Emily Parks, Joe Pasini, Samantha Phelan, Stephen Radney-MacFarland, Mikhail Rekun, JessicaRedekop, JamesRodehaver, Simone D. Sallé, ShahreenaShahrani, Chris S. Sims, Abigail Slater, Kendra LeighSpeedling, and Jason Tondro DEVELOPMENT John Compton, Jason Keeley, and Joe Pasini ADDITIONAL DEVELOPMENT Thurston Hillman, Jenny Jarzabski, and JasonTondro

TABLE OF CONTENTS OVERVIEW: EXPLORATION IN ACTION

4

CHAPTER 1: EXPLORING THE GALAXY

6

Introduction

8

Backgrounds

9

Class Options Biohacker

14

EDITING LEAD Lu Pellazar

Envoy

16

EDITORS Judy Bauer, Janica Carter, Addley C. Fannin, Leo Glass, PatrickHurley, Avi Kool, Ianara Natividad, KieranNewton, Adrian Ng, and LuPellazar

Mechanic

18

Mystic

20

COVER ARTIST Remko Troost

Operative

22

INTERIOR ARTISTS Tuan Duong Chu, Pedro Krüger Garcia, MicheleGiorgi, Mark Hretskyi, Geun Cheol Jang, VíctorManuel Leza Moreno, Sarunas Macijauskas, Sarah Morris, Vladislav Orlowski, MircoPaganessi, Rashad Pozdnyakov, Gin Sakalauskas, GabrielScavariello, Michael Soong, Luca Sotgiu, and AlexStone

Solarian

24

Soldier

26

Technomancer

28

Vanguard

30

Witchwarper

32

ART DIRECTION AND GRAPHIC DESIGN Kent Hamilton, Sarah Robinson, Anthony Barnett, and Kyle Hunter CREATIVE DIRECTOR Robert G. McCreary

Exploration System

34

DIRECTOR OF GAME DEVELOPMENT Adam Daigle

Equipment

40

STARFINDER LEAD DESIGNER Joe Pasini PUBLISHER Erik Mona

Paizo Inc. 7120 185th Ave NE, Ste 120 Redmond, WA 98052-0577

paizo.com

CHAPTER 2: INFINITE WORLDS Building Worlds

44

Magic

108

46

Religion

116

Technology

122

Biomes Airborne

48

CHAPTER 3: SANDBOX ADVENTURES

Aquatic

52

TOOLBOXES

Arctic

56

Drift Encounters Toolbox

146

Desert

60

NPC Toolbox

148

Forest

64

Settlement Toolbox

150

Marsh

68

Starship Toolbox

152

Mountain

72

Treasure Toolbox

154

Plains

76

INDEX

156

Space

80

EXPLORATION LOG

158

Subterranean

84

Urban

88

Weird

92

Accord

96

Alignment

102

130

This book refers to several other Starfinder products using the following abbreviations, yet these additional supplements are not required to make use of this book. Readers interested in references to Starfinder hardcovers can find the complete rules of these books available online for free at sfrd.info.

AA AA2 AA3 AR

Alien Archive Alien Archive 2 Alien Archive 3 Armory

COM PW SOM AP#

Character Operations Manual Pact Worlds Starship Operations Manual Starfinder Adventure Paths

EXPLORATION IN ACTION

T

his book is for GMs and other players excited to explore a wide-open galaxy in all its wonder. Inside you’ll find new character options for explorers (Chapter 1), new ways to design and understand worlds (Chapter 2), crucial advice for running open-ended campaigns of discovery (Chapter 3), and much more! The following example of play illustrates how one group might use some of the exciting new tools and treasures to enrich their adventures!

John the Game Master is preparing an exploration campaign for three friends: Jenny, Joe, and Thurston. He starts the PCs at 8th level, casting them as experienced professionals hired to explore an uncharted star system and identify the source of a recent powerful energy signature. Before the group’s first session, John peruses Chapter 3 for advice about running open-ended campaigns. At their first session, the players look through Chapters 1 and 2 and quickly find inspiration in the new class features, descriptions of alien biomes, and wealth of character options. Jenny: Okay, I already love this rover fighting style for the soldier. An unstoppable explorer who can laugh off any mountain? Yes! She’s an android named Varlkos who believes her patron Damoritosh will answer her prayers if she fights a planet and wins. Joe: Wow, big goals. I want to play a negotiator, but there are so many new options to choose from. Envoy? Operative? I’m going with the new xenoambassador connection for my kasatha mystic of Weydan, Paliche. Is it okay if I make up a new home world for him?

GM

Absolutely. Chapter 2 has tons of ways to construct a world, randomly or otherwise. How about you Thurston? Thurston: Y’know, I’m seeing this background generator starting on page 9, and I’m just gonna let the dice decide!

Thurston rolls percentile dice several times, comparing the results to the home world, major event, influential associate, and party relationship tables. He uses these to make Zorsh, a dwarf mechanic with a drone named Quarry. Thurston: Excellent, I grew up on an asteroid mining colony until my drone won the lottery. We used the proceeds to buy a starship and travel. There’s a drone mod that lets my drone pilot vehicles autonomously, so I’m using some of my starting wealth to buy an all-terrain transport vehicle. Joe: My kasatha grew up on an aquatic planet, so I’m buying some of the new aquanaut elixirs from the equipment section and a lumenstaff from the aquatic biome section. I also like these new earth spells from the mountain section!

4

OVERVIEW

Varlkos Paliche Zorsh

Jenny: I want to play a sniper, so I’m really excited about these new feats from the marsh biome that let me conceal myself with mud and debris. Ha ha! Thurston: Hey, hey! Don’t track mud into my truck! As character creation continues, John flips to page 45 to create the first randomized planet the PCs will visit. He rolls dice to determine several physical features: astronomical object (rolling a 27), gravity (62), and three biomes (2, 7, and 10), resulting in a low-gravity terrestrial planet with ample aquatic, mountainous, and subterranean terrain. John already knows that the mysterious energy signatures stem from powerful magic, so he sets the world’s magic attribute at high and rolls a d6 for the others: accord (3), alignment (6, 2), religion (5), and technology (1). That makes a medium-accord world that’s predominantly lawful evil and has a powerful religious element and fairly rudimentary technology. John devises a quick story: the inhabitants rely on faith to empower living gods that each rule towering, cavern-riddled islands. He sees that each of the attribute articles starting on page 96 includes randomized adventure hooks, and deciding three hooks should be plenty, he rolls 1d20 once for each: high religion (7), low technology (19), and medium accord (2). Combining these results, he decides a natural disaster recently struck one of the islands, casting doubt on its divine patron. Additionally, a widespread curse causes those who contract it to have difficulty understanding technology. John chuckles. This is a promising start to a sandbox adventure full of exciting exploration and roleplaying challenges. Jenny: Oh lordie, John’s laughing to himself again. Buckle up, friends. Alright, I see everyone’s ready to go. Your starship blasts off from Absalom Station and seamlessly phases into the Drift. The swirling colors and extraplanar debris whiz by as you travel peacefully. That is, at least until—

GM

Joe: Oh no! I knew it was too quiet to be safe!

On page 146, John’s discovered a vast table of random Drift encounters. Deciding a short encounter would help the players get a feel for their characters, he rolls d% (rolling 70) and consults the

GALAXY EXPLORATION MANUAL table. Bubbles of the Maelstrom are stirring up this stretch of the Drift, which he decides would be a great skill-based hazard rather than a fight. He presents several narrative challenges involving skill checks like Piloting, Physical Science, and Perception, damaging the PCs’ starship with any failed checks. The team escapes with minimal damage. John fast-forwards to reaching the star system.

GM

Your starship emerges from the Drift at last. You spot a blue main-sequence star blazing softly in the distance.

GM

Alright, the ATV bounces along steep slopes and uneven boulders in the low gravity, making for hours of jarring travel. Everyone roll a Will save.

Zorsh and Paliche succeed at their save against the planet’s anti-technology curse, while Varlkos and Quarry fail. After Varlkos marvels at her expensive gear in disbelief, the party intuits what’s happening to them. Paliche: So, if Quarry no longer understands technology…

That you were! Space is a big place, though, and the planets could be hiding millions of miles away. We’re using the new exploration system to find these planets, including whichever one made that big energy burst. This uses the downtime system from Character Operations Manual, which means we’re doing tasks that take one or more days. Better warm up those sensors.

EXPLORING THE GALAXY Backgrounds Class Options

Zorsh: Wait, weren’t we promised planets?

GM

OVERVIEW

Zorsh: Yep, my drone’s experiencing an existential crisis and questioning its own consciousness, which probably means it’s not fit to keep driving.

GM

Fortunately, you’re less than a mile from that settlement you spotted earlier. As you pile out of the truck, about a dozen telias wielding archaic polearms break cover from the boulders and cautiously approach. Their shells are each carved with elaborate geometric designs.

Exploration System Equipment

INFINITE WORLDS Building Worlds Biomes

Joe: Whenever you’re ready, Thurston, you can apologize to me for skimping on sensors to buy more missiles. Thurston: Hey it’s Quarry’s ship. Don’t blame me!

John needs some inspiration for this patrol’s leader, so he flips to page 148 to grab a random quirk or two. A couple rolls later, and he’s decided the lead telia loves dueling and referencing childhood anecdotes. After hearing a few shouted challenges in an unknown language, Paliche casts tongues to negotiate.

John flips to the exploration system on page 34, using it to guide the PCs’ investigation. Even with their budget sensors, Zorsh’s Computers checks over the next three days earn two successes, letting the PCs find 2d3 gravity wells. They spend another two days performing the celestial analysis activity to study the wells. The better part of a week later, they’ve identified two gas giants and three rocky worlds. The PCs decide to start exploring. They spend one day orbiting one of the rocky worlds, scanning it further with the world analysis activity. John writes out some details and shares them with the players. Paliche: Huh, that’s a really high magic rating. Oh hey, the main inhabitants are telias!

Paliche: Bad news: this city’s god failed to stop an earthquake, now their whole society’s in crisis, and I’ve learned far more about the lead telia’s childhood fishing experiences than I care to paraphrase. On top of that, the leader thinks fighting us would boost morale.

Accord Alignment Magic Religion Technology

SANDBOX ADVENTURES TOOLBOXES

Varlkos: Stand aside! I might not understand guns anymore, but Damoritosh gave me fists!

INDEX

Varlkos and the lead telia duel, with the telia capitulating after a tough fight. In defeat, the telia offers the android a crystal that projects dancing images of telias at a feast day (inspired by the Treasure Toolbox on page 154). He then asks Varlkos a question.

Varlkos: The turtle people? It also looks like we have lots of islands: small, low population islands and eight bigger islands, each with a big settlement. Islands, Zorsh!

Paliche: I’m not even translating that. Tell him no. Zorsh: They asked if we’re gods, didn’t they?! Say yes!

Zorsh: What about “all-terrain transport” makes you think a little water will stop me? The PCs descend to a landing spot on a larger island before piling into the ground transport and trundling toward the nearest settlement. Wait, settlement?! John calls a 5-minute break, buying him time to skim the Settlement Toolbox on page 150 and invent some details. He decides to skip the settlement challenge, instead rolling twice for quirks (57 and 17) and three times for locations (22, 98, and 1). Precisely laid out streets and a curfew make sense, as does a restaurant and fairground, but the sensorium seems like a high-tech feature—until John decides it’s powered by the world’s intense magic.

Varlkos: I strike a heroic pose and nod enthusiastically!

GM

The telias cheer and carry Varlkos toward the city, pleased that she’s willing to duel their immortal god to the death for municipal dominance. Paliche: I tried to warn you!

The other PCs follow, hoping to avert further disasters. And this is only the start of exploring one planet in but one of countless systems in an infinite universe of possibilities—all made possible with the Starfinder Galaxy Exploration Manual!

OVERVIEW

5

EXPLORING THE GALAXY

1

EXPLORING THE GALAXY

W

ith untold billions of worlds, the galaxy is largely an uncharted wilderness brimming with wonders and opportunities for anyone brave enough to explore the unknown. Any explorer hoping to return home in one piece should secure proper training and equipment. Are you an indefatigably curious scientist? A cutthroat profiteer intent on earning your first million credits in unknown space? A hero motivated to root out evil in the galaxy’s most dangerous corners? Whatever your calling, this chapter presents myriad player-facing options to light your way, from narrative inspirations to wayfaring specializations to new ways to uncover the galaxy’s hidden secrets!

CHARACTER BACKGROUNDS (PAGES 9–13)

EXPLORATION SYSTEM (PAGES 34–39)

Before you know where you’re headed, it’s important to understand where you’ve been. This book provides randomized backgrounds to craft an inspired backstory. Where did your character grow up? Don’t just think about your home world’s most defining feature but also your community, financial circ*mstances, and education. Using Chapter 2, you can delve into detailed worldbuilding to create an even richer origin story. From there, what happened? Why depart your earlier life to travel the stars? The Major Event table on page 10 helps identify that call to action—or the dangers that drove you from a place of relative safety. Did you act alone? Who helped you up, guided your studies, or got you into more trouble? With the Influential Associate table on page 11, you can generate as many allies, rivals, and contacts as you need. Of course, you’ve almost certainly fallen in with one or more like-minded adventurers: the other PCs! One of the greatest character generation challenges is looking at the other players and asking, “Why does our eclectic band work together?” The robust Party Relationship on page 12 table helps inspire those bonds, rivalries, and professional contracts.

Your team is assembled, and your starship is warming up—now, where to? The new exploration system provides downtime activities to increasingly home in on promising destinations. Start big by identifying galactic destinations through astronomic study, poring through databases, and listening for rumors. Then, blast off to that distant system and spend a few days sniffing out gravity wells to track down worlds otherwise invisible against the tapestry of space. Found a promising planet? Study it from orbit to identify anomalies, pinpoint population centers, or even detect relative technology and magic levels. That way, when you touch down to explore the surface—using an overland hex grid—you’ve equipped yourself with all the information needed for success!

CLASS OPTIONS (PAGES 14–33) While any Starfinder character can contribute during a long-range voyage of discovery, some class options are especially suited to overcoming and enduring the unknown. Each Starfinder class receives two pages of new options that shape the characters into hardened explorers, observant linguists, and resourceful scavengers who can devise a solution to any challenge. Flow around any obstacle as a biohacker using the new ooze form theorem, or repel hostile fauna with the envoy’s shoo! improvisation. Design and construct nearly any device, no matter the technology level, with the mechanic’s stranded inventions trick, or explore the trailblazer mystic connection to divine the cleanest route to any objective. Capture the pulp flair of a whip-cracking adventurer with the explorer’s lash operative exploit, or transform falling damage into destructive shockwaves through the solarian’s heavy landing revelation. No matter what a planet throws at you, know that the vanguard can clear the way with the blaze a trail discipline—or failing those methods, the witchwarper can escape impediments with the dimensional extraction paradigm shift! Whatever explorer trope captures your fancy, you’re sure to find tools to make it a reality in the pages ahead!

8

EXPLORING THE GALAXY

EQUIPMENT (PAGES 40–43) Your equipment might be perfect for surviving the urban jungle, but what happens when you’re caught between trees that rival skyscrapers, scorching deserts that test your dwindling environmental protections, and pristine mountains where there’s without a recharge station in sight? It’s far better to be overprepared than become a scavenger’s next feast, so pore over the new survivalist gear in this section. Predict that devastating hailstorm with a meteorological reader, cling to the side of that glacier with frosthiker soles, and safely secure your objective with hazmat synthsleeves. Don’t watch your gear sink a mile beneath the waves when you could have purchased a buoyant pack—especially if that pack contains the energel food pellets that are supposed to keep you alive. Are local life forms threatening your well-being? Thank goodness you packed that defoliant grenade to clear an escape route, antigravity grenade to fling your companions to safety, or mindspike grenade to send a predator running. Just a few key purchases can make you rich, rather than a cautionary tale in that planet’s copy of the Treadsetter’s guide! Want more? Several articles in Chapter 2 include additional gear, such as armor on page 59, sniper weapons on page 79, and biotech augmentations on page 83. A handy player-facing index on page 157 groups all these options by type for easy reference.

WHAT NEXT? Keep reading! While Chapter 1 focuses on player options, Chapter 2 is equally exciting for players and GMs alike with worldbuilding tools, and additional character options and plot hooks.

1

GALAXY EXPLORATION MANUAL

OVERVIEW EXPLORING THE GALAXY Backgrounds Class Options Exploration System Equipment

INFINITE WORLDS Building Worlds Biomes Accord Alignment Magic Religion Technology

BACKGROUNDS A character’s home world, life experiences, and relationships can greatly affect their personality and how they interact with the people, places, and situations they encounter. A shirren operative raised on a tranquil nature preserve might be more chipper than if that same character grew up on a planet engaged in interstellar war, or was falsely imprisoned, or regularly consorted with demons. Fleshing out a character’s background can make it easier to understand their motives and get invested in roleplaying them—even just a few details can breathe life into a character, making them more than just a name with statistics. Players are encouraged to work with their GM to integrate the story elements, plot hooks, and important actors of their character’s background into the broader campaign. The following tables contain a variety of narrative-focused, open-ended ideas intended to help players craft aspects of their characters’ backstories. Each step is optional. Players can roll for a random result, choose entries they find interesting, or simply use them as inspiration for their own ideas. Of course, players can tailor the entires as they see fit for their characters’ concepts. Players are encouraged to use other parts of this book (such as the world-creation system in Chapter 2 and the NPC, Settlement, and Starship Toolboxes starting on page 148) to further detail their associates, families, and homes. Players can tie their characters to locations and organizations established in the Starfinder setting

using information presented in the Starfinder Core Rulebook, Starfinder Pact Worlds, and Starfinder Near Space.

STEP 1: HOME WORLD

SANDBOX ADVENTURES TOOLBOXES INDEX

Every character has a home world or origin, whether they were born and raised there, migrated later in life, or fled from it. Every character has a unique place of origin, and some characters might even have more than one. The following table lists ideas for home worlds, including planets, space stations, and societies. Each entry contains a few detailed examples to inspire ideas. Steps for customizing aspects of a home world, such as its environment (atmosphere, biomes, gravity levels, flora, and fauna) or cultural attributes (accord, alignment, magic, religion, and technology) can be found in Chapter 2.

PLACE OF ORIGIN D% 1–4

5–8

DESCRIPTION Your home world is a terrestrial planet overrun with dangerous creatures, such as giant animals, enraged elementals, swarms of voracious vermin, tormented undead, or massive colossi. Your home world is a gas or ice giant containing a portal to another plane. You might live in the upper atmosphere, sail the world’s dense gas seas, or hail from one of the planet’s several moons.

BACKGROUNDS

9

9–12

13–16

17–20

21–24

25–28

29–32

33–36

37–40

41–44

45–48

49–52

53–56

57–60

61–64

65–68

69–72

73–76

10

Your home world is a verdant place where flora and fauna live with little interference and could even grow to immense sizes. It might be unexplored and dangerous, or a peaceful nature preserve. Your home world is a tourist destination where life revolves around keeping patrons entertained. It might be visited for its ruins, casinos, theme parks, or idyllic scenery. Your home world is the site of a miraculous decennial phenomenon. Perhaps its orbit crosses through the atmosphere of another planet, or it teleports throughout the universe to orbit different suns. Your home world is at war on a national, planetary, or interstellar scale. Many citizens are soldiers, and those that aren’t support the war effort in their own way. You’ve likely lost loved ones to battle. Your home world is overrun by hostile forces. Whatever their treatment of your people, you might embrace the new regime, rebel against it, remain indifferent, or strive to go unnoticed. Your home world is a post-apocalyptic wasteland, destroyed perhaps by meteor impacts, war, or pollution. The survivors might live hidden in subterranean bunkers or scrounge through the wreckage of the past in the barren wastelands. Your home world is inhospitable to organic life. It might have extreme temperatures, a toxic atmosphere, or fatal radiation levels. Surviving here required specialized tools, such as magic, equipment, or even divine intercession. Your home world is a massive living creature, host to an entire biosphere. If your society is aware of its nature, they might treat the creature like a pet, a subordinate, or a god. Your home world is harried by extreme environmental forces, such as hurricanes, thunderstorms, or volcanic eruptions. These disasters could be natural, magical, technological, extraplanar, or signs of a god’s displeasure. Your home world is a large, urban settlement. Whatever its size or location, you live amid bustling crowds and the hectic buzz of city life. You’re from a newly-founded colony. Your community is tight-knit, and the world outside is largely unexplored. Whether life is serene or dangerous, thriving or failing, the colony and its residents are focused mainly on survival. You’re from a physically-confined community whose citizens have never crossed its borders. You might have lived in a cave system, fallout shelter, walled-in community, or mobile fortress. You might feel safe within these confines or yearn to break free. You’re from a mobile community, such as a nomadic colony, a traveling circus troop, a flotilla adrift on a flooded world, or a small fleet of starships traversing the galaxy together. You grew up in an educational institute or specialized training program. It might have been localized, such as in a monastery, school, or military base, or it might have been in a vast university-city. You’re from a city that flies through the skies of its home planet. Your people might have hated the world below, ignored it, fled from it, or considered themselves its protectors. Your home is a starship, and its crew like family. They might have been long-haul truckers, mercenaries, smugglers, space pirates, surveyors, or musicians touring the galaxy. You come from a colony ship designed to relocate large populations to new planets. The colonists might be daring explorers, political exiles, religious pilgrims, or refugees fleeing from a destroyed world.

EXPLORING THE GALAXY

77–80

81–84

85–88

89–92

93–95 96–98

99–100

You live on a space station. It might have been a large urban metropolis, a corporate-owned way station, or a scientific research facility. You’re from a community of miners. They might have been nomadic, moving from prospect to prospect, or they might have stayed working one promising vein for months or years. You hail from a society that was built upon the ruins of another culture. Most citizens might pay these ruins little mind, though some consider them holy sites, subjects of study, or places to explore for a thrill. Your society comprises a utopia built and maintained by the labor of hidden slums; you might come from either side of this social divide, fallen or climbed from one to the other, or be unaware of the division. You were found adrift in an escape pod with no memory of how you got there or where you’re from. You’re from another plane of existence, such as the transitory Drift, the riotous First World of the fey, or the shimmering slopes of Heaven. You come from a simulation under constant observation, unaware your world was artificial. Life might have been a dangerous fight for survival, a blissful utopia, or anything in-between. The simulation’s architects and their objectives might be shrouded in mystery.

STEP 2: MAJOR EVENT A character’s unique life experiences shape their personality, inspiring joy, challenging them with hardships, or burdening them with sorrow. Major events might propel a character toward their dreams or upend their life with hardships. The major events in a character’s life can have a significant impact on how they interact with others, as well as perceive themself. The following table lists suggestions for major events your character could have experienced, alongside some examples to spark inspiration. Players are encouraged to customize these suggestions, taking into consideration how these events affected their character’s personality and motivations. Many events serve as catalysts that launch a character into the life of an adventurer. Players can select as many major events as theydesire, with the GM’s approval.

MAJOR EVENT D% 1–2

3–4

5–9

10–14

DESCRIPTION You don’t know who you are or where you came from. Your missing memories might be a result of amnesia, repression, or a memory-modification procedure. You’re driven to uncover your past. You were once an animal, but somehow you gained sapience, whether through the power of technology, magic, or divine will. You’ve adapted to society well but retain some animalistic behaviors. You distinguished yourself as extraordinary, perhaps through academic excellence, a gladiatorial competition, or an important discovery. You might embrace, hate, or struggle with your reputation. You made an important scientific or anthropological discovery and strive to make more. You yearn to push the boundaries of knowledge, perhaps exploring the galaxy to uncover mysteries or unearth relics of the past.

1

GALAXY EXPLORATION MANUAL

15–18

19–22

23–26

27–30

31–34

35–38

39–42

43–46

47–50

51–54

55–58

59–62

63–66

67–70

71–74

75–78

You crash-landed on an alien world, becoming stranded for hours, days, or decades. You likely struggled for survival and might have fought fierce beasts, traversed treacherous landscapes, or made contact with an alien species. You were cursed. You might have bad luck, strange features, or an unfortunate tendency to self-sabotage in embarrassing ways. You’re searching for a cure and might turn to faith, magic, or superstition to find it. You fell into debt, and payment is past due. You might have gone to extreme lengths to repay loaners, such as theft, gambling, IOUs, or indentured servitude. You won the lottery, were the beneficiary of an inheritance, or otherwise obtained something of great value. Your good fortune might have been met with celebration, jealousy, false friendship, ortheft. You came into possession of something you shouldn’t have, perhaps a magical relic, a cutting-edge prototype, or classified information; whatever it is, its owners are determined to retrieve it—and they might not be the only ones. You obtained a mysterious key, coordinates, or a map you suspect leads to something valuable—perhaps a place, object, or wealth. Whatever the prize, you’re not the only one searching for it. You’ve been repeatedly mistaken for someone else thanks to a strong resemblance, or they’re often mistaken for you. You might have access to their wealth, gain their enemies, or be the victim of identity theft. You accidentally wronged someone and are struggling to live with (or escape) the consequences. Your negligence might have caused property damage, injury, or death. Those you wronged might be innocent victims, powerful public figures, or criminals seeking revenge. You spent time with someone who inspired you to follow in their footsteps, such as a crime lord, doctor, musician, or war hero. You idolize them, whether they deserve it or not. You met a rare creature and were changed by the encounter. It might have been a demon, a mi-go, or a unicorn. You might live in fear of the creature or yearn to meet it again. You fell under the influence of a criminal, and as a result you took the fall for a crime—whether you really did it or not. You might have served jail time, been exiled, or fled; you still might have a bounty on your head. Someone you trusted betrayed you. They might have been an individual, such as a lover, sibling, or friend—or perhaps a group, such as law enforcement, religious leaders, or employers. You seek revenge against someone who wronged you. They might have slandered you, robbed you, hurt your family, or killed your pet. Whatever they did, you’re furious, and believe whatever repercussions they faced were inadequate. You were the subject of experimentation. You might have been abducted or tricked into it, or maybe you volunteered. Either way, it was probably painful, and you might still suffer side effects. If you’re an escapee, the experimenters might be looking for you. You took a dangerous stand for your oppressed or endangered people. You might be an activist, freedom fighter, or revolutionary. You might uphold your morals or be willing to break them to achieve your goals. Someone close to you went missing. They might have gotten lost or been taken, or they might have disappeared of their own volition, the reasons for which seem embroiled in mystery. Finding them is important to you.

Someone close to you died, such as a friend, mentor, or parent, perhaps leaving you alone in life. You might have difficulty accepting their death, be driven to investigate it, or want revenge for it. Disaster, such as extreme weather or war, destroyed your home, likely hurting or even killing people you care about. 83–86 You’re homeless and struggling to find your place in the galaxy. You might care for other survivors, such as an orphaned child or lost pet. You were shunted here from the past, future, or an alternate dimension. You might encounter familiar faces, perhaps even 87–90 another you, but they’re not the people you know. You’re likely motivated to find a way home. You have prophetic dreams or visions of another dimension, or 91–94 you hear voices no one else perceives. The purpose, source, and veracity of these strange occurrences are unknown to you. You died or came close. You might be alive, undead, or possessing a robot or plant. You might have seen strange 95–100 visions or felt the weight of your sins. Whatever your experience, death changed you. 79–82

OVERVIEW EXPLORING THE GALAXY Backgrounds Class Options Exploration System Equipment

INFINITE WORLDS Building

STEP 3: INFLUENTIAL ASSOCIATE Throughout a character’s life, they’ll be influenced by other people: the people who raised them, inspired them, and hurt them; the people they confided in, competed with, and loved; and the people they fought with, squabbled over, or hurt in turn. This web of personalities pulls on everyone within it, influencing some, repelling others, and providing ample opportunity for adventure. The following table lists influential associates your character might have acquired during their lives alongside suggestions for detailing each connection and the role they might serve in a campaign. These associates include allies, contacts, mentors, and foes. Players should determine the associate’s name, location, and relationship to their character and can use the NPC Toolbox on pages 148–149 to flesh out details. Players are encouraged to work with their GM to incorporate these associates into the wider campaign.

Worlds Biomes Accord Alignment Magic Religion Technology

SANDBOX ADVENTURES TOOLBOXES INDEX

INFLUENTIAL ASSOCIATE D% 1–4

5–8

9–12

DESCRIPTION A mentor that raised you, educated you, or trained you. They might be a parent, teacher, sibling, boss, or captain. They might be especially fond of you, be indifferent toward you, or treat youunfairly. Your idol. The person you look up to, emulate, or who inspired you to follow in their footsteps or surpass to surpass their legend. They might be a relative, mentor, or celebrity. They might not even deserve your praise. A socially awkward loner that taught you an important lesson. They’re independent and capable but battling loneliness. They might be an exile, hermit, or introverted intellectual. They’ve likely been hurt or taken advantage of by others in the past, but they trust you.

13–16

A confidante that knows your secrets and has your full trust. They might be a parent, sibling, lover, best friend, or therapist. If you wrong them, they could become a terrifying enemy.

17–19

An old friend that has reinvented themselves, hiding their past to become powerful. They might be a celebrity, corporate executive, politician, or gang leader. They’re never happy to see you, but they might be convinced to help you— at least enough to make you go away.

BACKGROUNDS

11

20–22

23–26

27–29

30–32

33–35

36–39

40–42

43–46

47–50

51–53

54–57

58–61

62–65

66–69

70–73

74–77

12

An influential friend that’s well-liked and well-connected. If you’re looking to make new contacts, they’re happy to facilitate introductions with other guests if you attend one of their numerous parties. A clergy or religious leader that you’ve known for many years. You might confide in this person, seek their advice, or practice at their place of worship. Your benefactor or financier. They’ll cover your expenses in exchange for you plying your trade on their behalf. They might expect you to create holographic diversions for them, put on musical performances, or cure their ailments. A commanding leader you respect. They might be an educator, head of a crime syndicate, savvy CEO, military officer, or passionate activist. Whatever their role, when they speak, others listen. An irresponsible wanderer that flits in and out of your life. They’re fun and you care for them, perhaps as a friend, family, or lover, but they visit only when they need help—and they usually bring trouble. A criminal, troublemaker, or layabout that’s a bad influence. You might be friends, family, colleagues, or enemies. You might aspire to be like them or want to get away from them. An eccentric storyteller that orates wild tales of adventure that they claim happened to them in their youth. No one believes them, but occasionally their stories prove true. They’re an entertaining but dubious source of information. An academic, linguist, or scientist with a love for educating others. Brilliant and long-winded, they’re willing to answer your questions free of charge, though the answers are conveyed through lectures that last hours. A doctor, medic, herbalist, or mystic that repeatedly saved your life. When you’re hurt and in need of aid, you can count on them to patch you up–though they might not appreciate your visits. An enthusiastic inventor that supplies you with cutting edge, experimental technology in exchange for detailed reports on the objects’ performance. Many of these prototypes glitch, have unfortunate side effects, or explode. A trusted mechanic that keeps your starship maintained or upgraded in port. Whether they’re a junker working with spare parts or a corporate innovator, they’re always willing to bump you to the front of their queue. The owner of your favorite restaurant or hangout. They might treat you like a VIP, give you a place to hide, or complain whenever you visit. Whatever their opinion of you, they never turn you away. A dispatcher, fixer, or intermediary that connects you with clients, jobs, or contacts. When you’re looking for work or short on credits, you can count on them to hook you up, though the work might not be legal. A black market fence who’ll always off-loads even the strangest items, no questions asked. They’re shifty and reticent, refusing to engage in idle conversation or exchange personal information with customers, and they use an alias. A law enforcer that doesn’t appreciate your meddling but might aid you if they deem your cause worthy. They might let you access a crime scene, give you information, or check a restricted database on your behalf. An unwavering professional that, despite their close connection to you, never works for free. They believe everything has a cost that must be paid. When compensated, they complete their work to the letter despite obstacles. They’re reliable, fair, andconfident.

EXPLORING THE GALAXY

78–81

82–85

86–89

90–93

94–97

98–100

A person you’re indebted to, perhaps a moneylender, loan shark, best friend, landlord, or mechanic. You might be able to renegotiate terms or squeak some leeway out of them, but the cost is steep. A treacherous liar, hustler, or swindler who has gotten the best of you before. Every time you think you have the upper hand; they fool you again. You swear next time will be different. A longtime rival you’re constantly competing with. Whether good natured or cutthroat, friend or foe, neither of you get the upper hand for long. A competitor you bested or embarrassed who despises you for your victory. They likely accuse you of cheating, slander your name, challenge you to a rematch, interfere in your affairs, or sabotage your efforts. A criminal, detective, or space pirate that’s pursuing a vendetta against you. Driven by desperation or wounded pride, they hunt you wherever you go. They can’t be bargained or reasoned with. An outsider, fey, or other creature that takes pleasure in meddling in your affairs. They might have hold over your soul, claim you have a destiny to fulfill, enjoy messing with you, or be your friend.

STEP 4: PARTY RELATIONSHIPS The most important relationship in any campaign is that between the player characters. Building these relationships ahead of time can improve group cohesion and gives the characters reason to find solutions to disagreements and unite despite personality clashes. The following table lists potential relationships your characters might have with one another. The group can select a single entry connecting the whole party, or each party member can choose relationships for as many party members as they wish. Players should select these relationships collaboratively and can customize entries as they see fit for their characters’ visions.

PARTY RELATIONSHIP D%

DESCRIPTION

1–4

You and this character are family. You might be joined by blood, marriage, adoption, oaths, or through long-standing bonds of friendship so close as to make you effectively kin.

5–8

9–12

13–16

17–20

You and this character shared an intimate relationship, which might still be ongoing. You might have been lovers, soul mates, or considered yourselves two halves of a single identity. You know each other inside and out and have many sharedacquaintances. You and this character were once close, though circ*mstance, distance, or time caused you to drift apart. You might be happy to see each other, interact awkwardly and have nothing in common, bicker over past slights, or even utterly despise eachother. You and this character met online, have been friends for years, and are meeting in person for the first time. You have shared interests and jokes; you might or might not get along in person as well as you hoped. You and this character used to be enemies, but over time you became friends. You’re brutally honest with each other, and you might regularly mock or tease each other or bring up past conflicts. However, when push comes to shove, you’ve got each other’s backs.

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21–24

25–28

29–32

33–36

37–40

41–44

45–48

49–52

53–56

57–60

61–64

65–68

69–72

73–76

77–80

81–84

You and this character are competitive rivals striving to outdo one another. Whether your rivalry is friendly or cutthroat, you push each other to try harder, aim higher, achieve greater feats, and reach your full potential. You and this character served together in a military unit. You celebrated, fought, struggled, and suffered through loss together. You might be the sole survivors of your unit. Love them or hate them, you trust them to fight alongside you. You and this character are colleagues who worked together in the past or present. You know each other’s habits and probably work well together, even if you don’t get alongpersonally. You and this character share a professional relationship, such as boss and employee, teacher and student, or superior and subordinate. You probably want to make a good impression on each other and might be uncomfortable socializing. You and this character collaborated together on a project. You might have been co-stars in a theatre troupe or holovid program, members of the same band or orchestra, scientific research partners, or construction workers on the same buildsite. You and this character trained together. You might have enrolled in the same classes at school or university, gone through military training together, or been on the same sportsteam. You’re a fan of this character’s accomplishments and work, or they are of yours. One of you might even be a customer or patron of the other. Both of you likely appreciate each other and can count on the other’s support. You and this character are criminal associates. You understand— but might not trust—each other. Your illicit activities might be known to other members of the party, or not. You and this character are friends of the same person. You met through a mutual acquaintance or have overlapping social circles, and though you’ve socialized, you aren’t close. You and this character were both hurt, tricked, or ripped off by the same person. You might bond over shared misfortune, fear, or desire for vengeance. You and this character temporarily competed, such as by applying for the same job or pursuing the same lover, but you were both passed over for someone else and now bond over shared rejection. You and this character know each other by reputation but have never met. You might look forward to working together, regard each other with mild interest, or dread every interaction. You and this character were both arrested and falsely accused of the same crime. You might have proven your innocence together, served time in the same prison, or been pardoned but live with a tarnished reputation. You might both hold a grudge against those who accused or condemned you. You and this character are from the same neighborhood, settlement, country, or planet. You might be neighbors or strangers bonding over shared roots and connections. They might remind you of home, so you might find their presencecomforting. You and this character have mutual interest in a hobby that you regularly engage in together. You might go clubbing, hunting, perform music, or meet regularly to play a favorite game. You and this character share an intense passion for a specific hobby or media. You might love the same band, game, movie, or sport; both of you might even belong to the same fan club.. You discuss your shared interest for hours, in greater depth than anyone else thinks it deserves.

You and this character are affiliated with the same organization, such as AbadarCorp, the Free Captains, the 85–88 Golden League, the Starfinder Society, the Xenowardens, or a local charity. If it’s a large organization, it’s unlikely you know each other personally. You and this character are members of the same philosophy, religion, or cult; you might even be members of the same 89–92 congregation. Although you might quibble over minor philosophical matters, you support each other in matters of faith and morality. You and this character met while sharing an enjoyable experience together. You might have been volunteers at the 93–96 same charity, spectators at a sporting event, or passengers on the same planetary cruise. You and this character survived the same mass tragedy, perhaps an invasion, crash landing, or hurricane. Whether 97–100 or not you met during the disaster, you’ve bonded over your shared loss and suffering in the time since.

OVERVIEW EXPLORING THE GALAXY Backgrounds Class Options Exploration System Equipment

INFINITE WORLDS Building Worlds Biomes Accord Alignment Magic Religion Technology

SANDBOX ADVENTURES TOOLBOXES INDEX

BACKGROUNDS

13

BIOHACKER For many biohackers dedicated to expanding the breadth of knowledge, limiting their discoveries to a sterile laboratory is an intolerable constraint. These single-minded scientists travel the breadth of the galaxy, sometimes running decade-long field experiments but just as often voyaging with an open mind to uncover the next serendipitous secret they encounter on unnamed planets and in uncharted nebulae.

THEOREMS

move when using Acrobatics to tumble by 5 feet, and they reduce the amount by which the Acrobatics DC increases when the target tumbles through a space threatened by multiple opponents to 1 per additional foe beyond the first. The target can also calculate the DC of Athletics checks to jump as though they always had a running start. You can use this special biohack a number of times per day equal to your key ability modifier, and its effects last for 1 minute.

These theorems follow the same rules as those presented on page 46 of the Character Operations Manual. Theorems marked with an asterisk (*) apply to your biohacks class feature and do not stack with one another. Only one such theorem can be applied to an individual biohack. Level 2nd2nd Level

You must be 2nd level or higher to choose these theorems.

Cushion the Blow (Ex) D

As a reaction, you can expend one of your biohacks to protect an ally attuned to your custom microlab who is about to take falling damage. The target must be adjacent to you or within the first range increment of a ranged injection weapon you’re wielding. The target treats the fall as if it were 20 feet shorter, plus an additional 10 at 5th level and every 3 levels thereafter. At 5th level, you can spend 1 Resolve Point when you use this theorem to instead target an ally who is about to take bludgeoning damage from an attack or spell. The ally reduces the damage taken by an amount equal to twice your key ability score modifier. At 10th level, this amount increases to three times your key ability score modifier, and at 15th level, this amount increases to four times your key ability score modifier. Once a creature has benefited from this use of cushion the blow, they cannot benefit from it again until they take a 10-minute rest to recover Stamina Points.

Prickly Booster* (Ex) D

8th Level

You must be 8th level or higher to choose these theorems.

Advanced Locomotive Adaptation (Ex) D

Locomotive Adaptation (Ex) D

Once per day, you can spend 10 minutes creating fast-acting mutagens that alter subjects’ physiology (granting sticky suckers or webbing and fins on their appendages). Choose either a climb speed of 20 feet or a swim speed of 20 feet. At the end of the 10 minutes, you and all those attuned to your custom microlab gain the selected movement speed with a duration of 10 minutes × your biohacker level. A creature that already has the chosen form of movement is unaffected by the mutagen. You must have your custom microlab in your possession to use this ability.

Mobility Enhancement (Ex) D

14

You can administer a special biohack to a living creature, enhancing the target’s flexibility. This functions as a biohack booster but does not count against your total uses of biohack. If you hit the target, they increase the distance they can

EXPLORING THE GALAXY

Any booster you successfully use on yourself or an ally causes the target’s skin to sprout thorny projections for a number of rounds equal to your key ability score modifier, in addition to the booster’s other effects. Any creature who hits the target with a natural attack or unarmed melee attack takes 1d6 piercing damage; this damage increases to 2d6 at 8th level, to 3d6 at 14th level, and to 5d6 at 20th level.

You can use locomotive adaptation twice per day, and the climb and swim speeds you grant with this theorem increase to 30 feet each. When selecting the movement speed you give the targets, you add a burrow speed of 20 feet as well as an extraordinary fly speed of 20 feet with average maneuverability to the options from which you can choose. You must have the locomotive adaptation theorem to choose this theorem.

Enhanced Senses (Ex) D

Following a regimen of experimental treatments, you have altered your senses to notice even the faintest traces of sounds or movement. You gain blindsense (vibration) with a range of 5 feet as well as a +2 enhancement bonus to Will saving throws against illusions. As a move action, you can spend 1 Resolve Point to enter a state of heightened awareness. This state allows you see invisible creatures as per see invisibility, your enhancement bonus to Will saving throws against illusions increases to +4, and you take a –2 penalty to Fortitude saving throws due to the enhanced strain on your body. This state lasts for a number of minutes equal to 10 × your biohacker level, and you can end the state before then as a swift action.

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Grounding Inhibitor* (Ex) D

Any biohack inhibitor you successfully use against a foe that has a nonmagical fly speed severely inhibits that target’s ability to fly. In addition to taking the inhibitor’s normal effects, the target has its maneuverability reduced to clumsy; if its maneuverability is already clumsy, its fly speed is halved.

Sure-Step Booster* (Ex) D

Any booster you successfully use on yourself or an ally grants the target the ability to take a guarded step through difficult terrain for a number of rounds equal to your key ability score modifier, in addition to its normal effects.

The effect lasts 5 rounds, after which one of the copies dissolves, and the other copy becomes you. Combine the copies’ Hit Point totals and Stamina Point totals to determine your HP and SP totals when the effect ends; these totals cannot exceed their normal maximums. If the copies are adjacent to each other, one copy can meld with the other as a move action, ending the effect prematurely. If one of the copies is reduced to 0 HP, the effect ends; your remaining copy becomes the “real” version, and you are staggered until the end of your next turn.

Backgrounds

Options Exploration System Equipment

Using your custom microlab, you can spend 1 hour to treat the effects of radiation in one living creature, after which you make a special check, rolling 1d20 and adding your biohacker level and any insight bonus you have to Medicine checks to the result. The check’s DC equals the radiation effect’s save DC. If you succeed, the target is cured of both the radiation’s poison effects and the radiation sickness disease, moving the target to the healthy state on both tracks. At 14th level, it takes you only 10 minutes to perform this treatment, though this doesn’t count as a 10-minute rest to regain Stamina Points.

INFINITE WORLDS Building Worlds Biomes Accord Alignment Magic

14th Level

14th Level

Religion

You must be 14th level or higher to choose these theorems.

Technology

Iron Gut (Ex) D

EXPLORING THE GALAXY

Class

Treat Radiation (Ex) D

OVERVIEW

SANDBOX ADVENTURES

You know how to fight through nausea. You are immune to the sickened condition. While you are nauseated, you can take either a swift action and move action during your turn or two move actions. The nauseated condition still prevents you from attacking, casting spells, concentrating on spells, or doing anything else that requires attention.

TOOLBOXES INDEX

Ooze Form (Ex) D

Once per day, you can spend 10 minutes creating and administering a mutagen that gives your body ooze-like qualities for a number of hours equal to your key ability score modifier. For this duration, you gain the compression and unflankable universal creature rules, as well as immunity to the additional damage from critical hits (though you are still affected by critical hit effects). Once during the mutagen’s duration as a reaction when you take piercing or slashing damage, you can split into two copies of yourself. Divide your current Hit Points and Stamina Points evenly between the two, but otherwise, the copies share the same statistics and equipment. If one of the copies casts a spell, expends ammunition, or uses other limited-use resources, that resource is consumed for both copies. Any item dropped by just one copy becomes inert, shapeless biomatter. The copies share the same initiative count, with one acting immediately after the other. Each turn, one of the copies can use a full round’s worth of actions, and the other can take only a move action.

CLASS OPTIONS

15

ENVOY The envoy is the prototypical explorer, dashing off to unfamiliar places and meeting unfamiliar people. While many envoys seek fame or notoriety, others relish disappearing to new worlds to escape misdeeds and their consequences. In a crew, an envoy might serve as a loquacious researcher, a fast-talking ace pilot, or even a dashing leader, inspiring their allies to crest just one more hill before making camp.

ENVOY IMPROVISATIONS

At 6th level, you can spend 1 Resolve Point to affect multiple creatures, up to a maximum of half your envoy level. Attempt one check against all of the targets. The DC of the check is equal to the DC to use spectacle against the creature with the highest CR of those you’re attempting to affect, plus 1 for each target beyond the first. When you extend the effect, the duration increases for all targets. However, the effect ends for a target (though not necessarily for other targets) once that target can no longer perceive you with a precise sense.

The following envoy improvisations use the standard rules for envoy improvisations (Core Rulebook 61). 2nd Level

You must be at least 2nd level to choose these improvisations.

Expert Guide (Ex) D

As a move action, you can attempt a DC 15 Survival check to identify a clear path. If you succeed, select one 5-foot square of difficult terrain that you can perceive, plus one additional 5-foot square for every 5 points by which the result of your check exceeds the DC. Until the end of your next turn, you and your allies can move through the indicated spaces as though they weren’t difficult terrain.

4th Level

You must be at least 4th level to choose these improvisations.

Perfect Insult (Ex) D

Shoo! (Ex) D

As a standard action, you can attempt an Intimidate check to demoralize a creature with the animal or vermin creature type within 60 feet of you. If you succeed, the target must also succeed at a Will saving throw (DC = 10 + 1/2 your envoy level + your Charisma modifier) or become frightened for 1 round or until it takes an action to move away from you. Once a creature has been affected by this ability, it’s immune for 24 hours. At 6th level, you can spend 1 Resolve Point to target multiple creatures with the animal or vermin creature type with this ability, up to a maximum number of creatures equal to half your envoy level. Attempt one Intimidate check against all your selected targets. The DC of the check is equal to the highest DC to demoralize any one of the foes, plus 1 for each additional target beyond the first.

Quick Shoo! (Ex) D

16

As a standard action, you can distract an opponent within 60 feet. Attempt a Bluff check; the DC of this check is equal to either 10 + your opponent’s total Sense Motive skill bonus or 15 + 1-1/2 × the opponent’s CR, whichever is greater. If you succeed, the target’s attention is locked on you, giving it a –2 penalty to Perception checks other than those made against you as well as a –2 penalty to attack rolls for any attack that doesn’t include you as a target. This effect lasts until the end of your next turn or until the target can no longer perceive you with a precise sense. As a move action, you can extend the effect’s duration until the end of your following turn.

EXPLORING THE GALAXY

You can use shoo! as a move action instead of a standard action. You must have the shoo! envoy improvisation to choose this improvisation.

You’ve Got This (Ex) D

Spectacle (Ex) D

As a standard action, you study a creature to cultivate the perfect insult. Attempt a Culture check with a DC equal to 10 + your opponent’s total Bluff skill bonus, or 15 + 1-1/2 × the opponent’s CR, whichever is greater. If you succeed, you gain a +2 circ*mstance bonus to Bluff and Intimidate checks against that opponent for 1 minute. If you spend 1 Resolve Point, allies within 60 feet also gain this bonus for the same duration. Once you’ve attempted to craft a perfect insult against a creature, you can’t target that creature again with this ability for 24 hours.

When an ally within 60 feet fails an Acrobatics or Athletics check, as a reaction, you allow that ally to reroll the check, using your modifier for the skill if it’s better than theirs. They must use the second result. A creature can’t benefit from this ability again until they take a 10-minute rest to recover Stamina Points. 6th Level

You must be at least 6th level to choose these improvisations.

Fast Camouflage (Ex) D

You can use a disguise kit for 1d3 rounds to apply basic camouflage to yourself suitable for a specific biome; without a disguise kit, it takes 1d3 minutes to scavenge suitable materials and apply the camouflage. While wearing this

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GALAXY EXPLORATION MANUAL disguise in that biome, you can apply your expertise ability to your Stealth checks. The camouflage lasts for 1 hour. If you spend 1 Resolve Point when using this ability, you can instead apply the camouflage to a willing adjacent creature, applying your expertise die to the creature’s Stealth checks. Once any other creature has benefited from this improvisation, it can’t gain the benefits again until it has taken a 10-minute rest to recover Stamina Points.

Natural Spectacle (Ex) D

Once per minute, you can extend your spectacle ability’s duration as a swift action rather than a move action. The effect of your spectacle ends for a creature only when the duration ends or when you end your turn where the creature can no longer perceive you with a precise sense. You must have the spectacle envoy improvisation to choose this improvisation.

Quick Perfect Insult (Ex) D

Just Like That! (Ex) D

When you or an ally scores a critical hit against a creature, as a reaction, you can encourage a number of allies equal to your Charisma modifier to continue fighting that creature. For 1 round, the encouraged allies can score a critical hit against the creature on a natural 19 or 20; this effect ends immediately after an encouraged ally scores a critical hit against the target. Once you use this ability, you can’t use it again for 1 minute.

Quick Study (Ex) D

As a move action, you become proficient with a type of weapon with which another ally within 30 feet is proficient. If that ally has weapon specialization with that weapon type, you can also apply that ally’s weapon specialization with that weapon type. This ability’s effects last a number of rounds equal to half your envoy level, after which you can’t use this ability again until after you regain Stamina Points following a 10-minute rest.

Backgrounds

Options Exploration System Equipment

INFINITE WORLDS Building

You can use perfect insult as a move action instead of a standard action. You must have the perfect insult envoy improvisation to choose this improvisation.

Worlds Biomes Accord Alignment

When you succeed at a check to identify a creature, as a move action you can audibly point out its weaknesses in a way that makes the creature self-conscious. The creature becomes flat-footed until the start of your next turn. If there’s more than one creature of the same species present, this applies to all creatures of that species within 60 feet that can hear you. You can only use this ability once per species until you have taken a 10-minute rest to recover Stamina Points.

Magic Religion Technology

SANDBOX ADVENTURES

Take ’Em Alive (Ex) D

EXPLORING THE GALAXY

Class

Shocking Weakness (Ex) D

OVERVIEW

TOOLBOXES

You can urge your companions to avoid killing blows at the last second. To use this ability, you must be within 60 feet of both an ally and your ally’s target, the latter which must have taken damage from a nonlethal attack within the last minute. If your ally would reduce the target to 0 HP—and the attack doesn’t deal damage that equals or exceeds half the target’s maximum Hit Points—then, as a reaction, you can have the target merely fall unconscious from the attack as though the attack had dealt nonlethal damage.

INDEX

8th Level

You must be at least 8th level to choose these improvisations.

Changing Circ*mstances (Ex) D

As a reaction, you can spend 1 Resolve Point to change the triggering condition for the readied action of an ally within 60 feet, but you don’t change the readied action. Once a creature has been affected by this ability, they become immune to it for 24 hours.

Early Warning (Ex) D

You can use a reaction before the first time you act in a combat, but only to use an envoy improvisation. You can’t use early warning during a surprise round.

CLASS OPTIONS

17

MECHANIC From a humble flashlight to Drift access, technology has taken exploration from dream to reality. The right gear can analyze unknown substances, extract alien data modules, or provide protection in hostile environments, and mechanics are the masters of bringing that tech to bear. Even when denied their tools, true survivalists can transform mundane materials into futuristic machinery, jury-rigging miracles on low-tech worlds. It’s no wonder that wise captains reserve a seat for master mechanics!

Alternatively, you can craft a technological item whose item level doesn’t exceed your number of Engineering ranks – 2, regardless of the world’s technology or resources (subject to GM discretion). Armor or weapons you make using this trick gain the archaic property, technological items or weapons that use batteries can be used only once per day, and tool kits that provide bonuses to skill checks halve the granted bonus.

MECHANIC TRICKS These mechanic tricks follow the normal rules for the class feature (Core Rulebook 71). 2nd Level

You must be at least 2nd level to choose these mechanic tricks.

Calibrate Speed (Ex) D

Your experimental armor prototype (Character Operations Manual 72) enables faster movement. Your experimental armor’s speed adjustment is increased by 5 feet (maximum 0 feet) while you’re wearing it. At 8th level, you instead ignore the armor’s speed adjustment. You must have an experimental armor prototype to select this mechanic trick.

Terminal Uplink (Ex) D

Exploration Routine (Ex) D

You’ve installed routines in your drone that enable it to adventure efficiently through strange and alien worlds. Add the following to the list of feats your drone can select: Ambush Awareness COM, Climbing Master, Echolocation Attack COM, Environmental Adaptation COM, Memory Access COM, and Swimming Master. Additionally, your drone gains one of these feats as a bonus feat when you select this trick (it must meet the skill rank prerequisites for the feat). You must have a drone to select this mechanic trick.

Sample Scanner (Ex) D

Your exocortex is adept at analyzing field samples. As a move action, you can place items or materials weighing up to 1 bulk into your custom rig and direct your exocortex to analyze them. This functions as taking 20 to recall knowledge about the items, but it takes 10 minutes to perform, instead of the usual 2 minutes. While scanning an object, you can’t use your exocortex’s memory module, and the number of targets you can designate your exocortex to track is reduced by one. You must have an exocortex to select this mechanic trick.

Stranded Inventions (Ex) D

18

You know how to make the most of your available resources, which comes in handy while exploring lower-tech worlds. In place of UPBs, you can use an equivalent value of raw materials on worlds with medium or low technology (page 124–125) to craft technological items, but when you do so, you can craft items only of that world’s technology level or lower.

EXPLORING THE GALAXY

You can use your exocortex to stay vigilant. As a full action, you can upload your exocortex into a computer to which you have root access, directing it to monitor that computer. Once your exocortex is integrated, your custom rig alerts you whenever a creature operates or attempts to hack the computer, similar to the alarm countermeasure. Your exocortex upload can be removed from the computer by other users as if it were a module. If you upload your exocortex into a different computer, you lose the benefits of terminal uplink with the first computer, and the exocortex upload on that computer deletes itself 1d10 minutes later. If you upload your exocortex into a computer with a camera, microphone, or other similar monitoring device, you can perceive the computer’s surroundings with that hardware by using your custom rig, so long as you’re within 100 feet per mechanic level you have of the computer. While observing the computer’s surroundings in this way, you can’t use your exocortex’s memory module, and the number of targets you can track with your exocortex is reduced by one. You must have an exocortex to select this mechanic trick. 8th Level

You must be at least 8th level to choose these mechanic tricks.

Artificial Pilot (Ex) D

Your drone has learned to operate vehicles quite independently. When you’re piloting a vehicle in which your drone is a passenger, you can engage autocontrol (or engage autopilot, if you have the expert AI ability) as part of the action you use to drive or race, even if the vehicle doesn’t have an autocontrol or an autopilot function. If the vehicle doesn’t have an autocontrol or autopilot function, your drone must spend its actions each round to maintain the engaged function. If it’s unable to do so, the autocontrol or autopilot stops functioning. You must have a drone to select this mechanic trick.

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GALAXY EXPLORATION MANUAL

Broadcast Telemetry (Ex) D

Your exocortex can broadcast crucial combat data to allies. When you use your combat tracking exocortex ability to track a creature, as a swift action, you can grant an ally the ability to make attacks against that target as if their base attack bonus were equal to your mechanic level. If you do, attacks you make against that target use your normal attack bonus. To benefit from this ability, the ally must be within 30 feet and have an active comm unit (such as those installed in most armor) or have a cybernetic or magitech eye(s) augmentation; if the ally has both a comm unit and applicable augmentation, you can broadcast to that ally at a range of 60 feet. When you use this trick, exocortex abilities that increase the number of targets you can track with combat tracking instead increase the number of targets that your ally can track. This ability lasts until you end it with a swift action, you become unconscious, you can no longer perceive the target, or the ally moves beyond this trick’s range. You must have an exocortex to select this mechanic trick.

Divided Uplink (Ex) D

weapon prototype in at least one hand, you can use the installed item as if you were holding it. If the technological item and your experimental weapon prototype both use batteries of the same capacity, they can expend charges from each other’s batteries. The technological item remains joined to the weapon until you uninstall it with 10 minutes of work. You can’t have more than one item installed in your experimental weapon prototype at a time. You must have an experimental weapon prototype to select this mechanic trick.

14th Level

Backgrounds

Options

You must be at least 14th level to select this mechanic trick.

Experimental Cortex Design (Ex) You harness technologies normally available only to those with an exocortex. You gain the overclocking mechanic trick, and you’re treated as having an exocortex for the purposes of the overclocking, hyperclocking, and ultraclocking mechanic tricks. You must have neither a drone nor an exocortex to select this mechanic trick.

Exploration System Equipment

INFINITE WORLDS Building Worlds Biomes

You can keep your exocortex uploaded to a number of computers equal to half your Intelligence bonus (minimum 2) while using your terminal uplink mechanic trick. If your exocortex is uploaded to only one computer, you can monitor that computer’s surroundings without preventing you from using your exocortex’s memory module. Your uploaded exocortex is protected by a firewall countermeasure. You must have the twin tracking exocortex ability to select this mechanic trick.

Accord Alignment Magic Religion Technology

SANDBOX ADVENTURES

Rapid Scanner (Ex) D

EXPLORING THE GALAXY

Class

14th Level

D

OVERVIEW

TOOLBOXES

When you use the sample scanner trick, your exocortex takes only 1d4 minutes to analyze materials or items (rather than 10 minutes). Alternatively, you can choose not to accelerate the process, in which case the scanning process doesn’t prevent you from using your exocortex’s memory module and doesn’t limit the number of targets your exocortex can track. You must have the sample scanner mechanic trick to select this mechanic trick.

INDEX

Stranded Innovations (Ex) D

Your skill at crafting with low-tech resources is superb. You can use your stranded inventions mechanic trick to craft a technological item whose item level doesn’t exceed your ranks in Engineering –1. If you craft a technological item or weapon that uses batteries, it doubles the usage, but it isn’t limited to a single use per day and requires eight hours to recharge. You must have the stranded inventions mechanic trick to select this mechanic trick.

Tool Module (Ex) D

You can spend 10 minutes (during which time you can’t rest to recover Stamina Points) installing a technological item that you can operate with one hand into your experimental weapon prototype. While you’re holding your experimental

CLASS OPTIONS

19

MYSTIC Whether heeding the call from a deity of exploration or inspired by the universe to seek out new locales, mystics make top-notch explorers. Some might view exploration as a sacred duty, whereas others crave the chance to make first contact with unknown species or reap the riches of undiscovered worlds. Any mystic connection is suitable, though especially fitting choices include the new options found here as well as the akashic, empath, star shaman, and xenodruid connections.

CONNECTIONS

used to determine travel time to your destination and use the lower of the two results. When you travel overland in your bonded biome, you treat trackless terrain as though it had a road for the purpose of determining overland movement speed for you, any vehicle you pilot, and up to 10 allies within 60 feet of you. Once per day while in your bonded biome, you can cast haste as a spell-like ability, using your mystic level as your caster level.

These connections use the rules on page 83 of the Core Rulebook.

Trailblazer You love seeking out new vistas, exploring new horizons, and analyzing new environments. Benevolent trailblazers might travel for the sake of enlightenment, whereas selfish trailblazers exploit the resources and inhabitants of the worlds they discover. D Associated Deities: Desna, Eloritu, Weydan, Yaraesa D Associated Skills: Piloting and Survival D Spells: 1st–scan environment COM; 2nd–spider climb; 3rd–pinpoint navigation COM; 4th–control atmosphere PW; 5th–commune with planet COM; 6th–plane shift

Biome Bond (Su) D

After you spend at least 12 hours in a specific biome, you can spend 10 minutes attuning yourself to that biome to make it your bonded biome; you can spend Resolve points to reduce to reduce the time you must first spend in the biome by 6 hours per Resolve Point. While in your bonded biome, you gain a +2 insight bonus to initiative checks and a +2 resistance bonus to saving throws to resist hazards. You can spend 1 Resolve Point to cast wisp ally as a spell-like ability while in your bonded biome, using your mystic level as your caster level.

D

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15th Level

While in your bonded biome, you gain blindsense (vibration) with a range of 30 feet, creatures gain no bonuses when flanking you, and you take no penalties to Perception checks for being asleep.

One with the Universe (Su) D

18th Level

You can bond with a biome automatically upon entering it, and you can maintain a connection to two bonded biomes at once (although you must still encounter them to do so). You don’t require food or water for sustenance, and you automatically succeed at Survival checks to avoid getting lost.

6th Level

While in your bonded biome, you’re immune to the effects of severe cold and severe heat, and you can move through difficult terrain as though you had the Nimble Moves feat. When you attempt a saving throw against a hazard in your bonded biome, you can spend 1 Resolve Point to roll the saving throw twice and take the better result.

Swift Travels (Ex)

D

12th Level

While in your bonded biome, you can spend 1 Resolve Point as a standard action to channel the biome into a violent blast in a 20-foot-radius burst with a range of 100 feet, dealing 1d6 damage per mystic level (Reflex half). The damage type or types are based on your biome: airborne: bludgeoning; aquatic: cold and piercing; arctic: cold and sonic; desert: slashing and fire; forest: slashing; marsh: acid; mountain: sonic; other: piercing, acid, or electricity; plains: electricity; space: cold or force; subterranean: acid and bludgeoning; urban: piercing and sonic; weird: force.

Biome Sense (Su)

3rd Level

When using Piloting to navigate or astrogate a course, you treat unfamiliar locations as seldom visited locations and seldom visited locations as frequently visited locations when calculating the DC. Additionally, double your channel skill ability’s insight bonus to Piloting checks when you perform stunts during starship combat.

Tenacious Explorer (Ex) D

D

1st Level

Navigation Insight (Ex) D

Channel Biome (Su)

9th Level

For every 10 points by which you exceed the Piloting check DC to navigate or astrogate, you can reroll one of the dice

EXPLORING THE GALAXY

Xenoambassador You’re drawn to understand and embrace new cultures, especially anywhere you’re as alien to them as they are to you. You likely see yourself as a mediator who can prevent volatile first-contact encounters from becoming violent. Less benign xenoambassadors might study cultures only to subvert or exploit them. D Associated Deities: Abadar, Hylax, Talavet, Weydan D Associated Skills: Culture and Diplomacy D Spells: 1st–comprehend customs COM; 2nd–predict foe COM; 3rd– tongues; 4th–discern lies; 5th–telepathy; 6th–enshrining refuge

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GALAXY EXPLORATION MANUAL

Natural Linguist (Ex) D

If you don’t share a language with creatures you encounter, you and the creatures can spend 10 minutes attempting to converse (if they’re willing), after which you can communicate basic concepts (such as “friendly,” “dangerous,” or “need help”), though you can’t understand one another’s exact words. At 6th level, if you exceed the Culture check DC by 10 or more, you can create a pidgin language allowing you to engage in basic conversations. While communicating with a creature using any language you speak proficiently other than Common, your racial language, or the language of your home planet, your channel skill ability’s insight bonus to Diplomacy checks to influence that creature increases by 2.

Diplomatic Immunity (Su) D

3rd Level

You gain a +3 bonus to your AC and saving throws against any creature who can speak a language or communicate telepathically. Such creatures can sense this special defense before choosing you as the target of their attack. This protection ends at the end of your first turn in combat or once you perform a harmful action against another creature, whichever happens first. As a standard action before this ability ends, you can extend its duration by 1 round.

Forceful Directive (Su) D

12th Level

Once per hour while communicating with a creature using any language you speak proficiently other than Common, your racial language, or the language of your home planet, you can reroll any Bluff, Diplomacy, Intimidate, or Sense Motive check against that creature and use the better result.

Cosmic Mediator (Su) D

18th Level

Once per day as a standard action, you can spend 1 or more Resolve Points (maximum 10 RP) to create a zone of peaceful discourse in a 10-foot radius. Any creatures in or entering this area become fascinated for the duration’s effect (Will negates), though they can communicate with any other creature in the area as if they shared a language. The Will save DC increases by 1 for every Resolve Point you expended to activate the ability. For each Resolve Point you expended to activate this ability, the effect lasts for 10 minutes and increases the area of effect’s radius by 20 feet. This is a mind-affecting effect.

OVERVIEW EXPLORING THE GALAXY Backgrounds Class Options Exploration System Equipment

INFINITE WORLDS Building Worlds Biomes Accord Alignment Magic Religion

As a standard action, you can issue a powerful command, which functions as the spell command, to a living creature within 30 feet; you can use this ability a number of times per day equal to your Wisdom modifier.. When you use this ability, you can reduce the effect’s saving throw DC by 2 to ignore its language-dependent descriptor. Once a creature successfully saves against this ability, it’s immune to the ability for 24 hours.

Technology

SANDBOX ADVENTURES TOOLBOXES INDEX

9th Level

You gain a +1 insight bonus to AC against creatures with whom you share at least one language or pidgin language. Such creatures don’t gain any bonuses to attack rolls against you from flanking you. As a swift action, you can spend 1 Resolve Point to make such creatures flat-footed against your attacks until the beginning of your next turn.

Commune with Settlement (Su) D

D

6th Level

Xenoambassador’s Eye (Ex) D

Culture Sage (Ex)

1st Level

12th Level

You can spend 1 Resolve Point and 10 minutes focusing on the thought patterns of intelligent creatures in a single settlement within 1 mile of you to learn up to three facts about the settlement from among the following subjects: the alignment and type; the population and approximate species breakdown; the government; settlement qualities; or the starting attitude of the majority of the settlement’s inhabitants toward you. If you’re in the settlement, you can attempt to gather information in addition to gaining these facts. For the check, you must attempt a Culture or Perception check in place of a Diplomacy check to gather information.

CLASS OPTIONS

21

OPERATIVE Operatives make exceptional explorers who adapt to nearly any situation— traversing the wilderness, meeting inhabitants of a long-lost city, or mapping new routes to unfamiliar planets. Some operatives travel for the sake of wealth, fame, or scientific discovery, while others are motivated simply by the spirit of adventure. Many operatives who undertake these sorts of journeys have the explorer specialization, although the skills of any specialization can prove useful, from daredevils eager to see the view from a cliff no one else has scaled to gadgeteers stockpiling a device for every contingency.

OPERATIVE EXPLOITS

All-Terrain Pilot (Ex)

The following operative exploits use the standard rules for operative exploits (Core Rulebook 95).

D

Level 2nd2nd Level

You must be at least 2nd level to choose these exploits.

Beguiling Outsider (Ex) D

You rely on aspects of your culture or society that others might find unfamiliar to pique their interest and make a good impression. Double your operative’s edge bonus to Bluff and Diplomacy checks when interacting with a creature or creatures who are unfamiliar with your species or home world (at the GM’s discretion). When you encounter such creatures, you can spend 1 Resolve Point to attempt a special Bluff or Diplomacy check whose DC equals 10 + 1-1/2 × the highest CR of these creatures, plus 1 for each additional creature in the group (maximum +10 for a group of 11 or more creatures). If you succeed, the creatures’ starting attitude improves by one step for 1 hour. This improvement doesn’t stack with any caused by other effects; however, this exploit’s short duration might allow you to attempt longer-lasting adjustments, such as with Diplomacy checks to change attitude.

Explorer’s Lash (Ex) D

You can attempt Survival checks in place of Life Science checks to identify animal, plant, and vermin creatures. You can move at your full overland speed when using Survival to live off the land, and your successful check provides food and water for an additional number of creatures equal to your operative’s edge bonus.

Xenolinguist (Ex) D

Double your operative’s edge bonus to Culture checks made to decipher writing. You don’t risk entirely misconstruing the meaning of the text unless you fail the check by 15 or more. If your result exceeds the DC by 5 or more, you decipher the writing in half the usual time.

Level 6th6th Level

You must be at least 6th level to choose these exploits.

22

EXPLORING THE GALAXY

You’re proficient with disintegration lashes (Armory 10), monowhips, plasma lashes (Armory 10), taclashes, and similar one-handed, whip-like advanced melee weapons (at the GM’s discretion). You gain weapon specialization in these weapons as if your class granted proficiency, and you can use trick attack with these weapons. You don’t add trick attack damage to your attack, but the target is still flatfooted, and you can use debilitating tricks. You can choose to deal lethal damage with such weapons if they normally deal nonlethal damage.

High-Ground Sniper (Ex) D

Efficient Forager (Ex) D

You’re adept at piloting terrestrial vehicles. You gain a +2 circ*mstance bonus to skill checks to use tricks during a vehicle chase. Once per vehicle chase while you’re piloting a vehicle, you can perform the double maneuver action, taking a –2 penalty to each skill check rather than a –4 penalty (or no penalty if your vehicle’s full speed is at least 50 feet faster than the fastest enemy vehicle’s full speed). You must have the uncanny pilot exploit to learn this exploit.

You exploit elevation to deliver especially deadly attacks from afar. When performing a trick attack with a sniper weapon, and so long as you’re at least 20 feet above your target for every 100 feet between you and the target (minimum 20 feet), you gain a bonus to the attack’s damage equal to half your operative level. You must have the debilitating sniper exploit to learn this exploit.

10th Level 10th Level

You must be at least 10th level to choose these exploits.

Daring Explorer (Ex) D

When you fail an Acrobatics or Athletics check, you can spend 1 Resolve Point to either reroll the check and use the new result or add 5 to your result and use the new value to determine whether you succeed at the check. You can’t use this ability on trick attack attempts. Once you’ve used this ability, you can’t use it again until you’ve taken a 10-minute rest to recover Stamina Points.

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GALAXY EXPLORATION MANUAL

Ghost Step (Ex) D

You can’t be tracked using the Survival skill, though magical methods of following your tracks or finding your location function normally. When you would activate a trap with a proximity trigger, you can spend 1 Resolve Point to attempt a Stealth check whose DC equals the Perception DC to find the trap. If you succeed, you don’t trigger the trap for 1 round. The trap becomes immune to this ability for 24 hours afterward. This ability doesn’t prevent you from triggering the trap if you remain in the area, nor does it prevent other creatures from triggering the trap. You must have the without a trace (Character Operations Manual 82) exploit to learn this exploit.

Teleport Trace (Su) D

D

When you perform a trick attack with a one-handed, whip-like melee weapon for your debilitating attack, you can attempt to reposition the target. The target must succeed at a Reflex save or be moved 5 feet to a different location within your weapon’s reach and within 5 feet of its original placement. You can’t move the target past an obstacle. You must have the explorer’s lash exploit to learn this exploit.

If you’re wielding a weapon that targets KAC, for your debilitating trick, you can apply a dose of injury poison to the ammunition or weapon used as part of making the trick attack. If you exceed the target’s KAC by 8 or more, the poison’s initial save DC increases by 2.

Backgrounds Class Options

Equipment

INFINITE WORLDS Building Worlds Biomes Accord Alignment

Choose a starship stunt (once made, this choice can’t be changed). When you make a Piloting check to perform that stunt in starship combat, roll twice and take the better result. You can choose and apply this exploit’s benefits to an additional stunt at 14th level and again at 18th level.

Magic Religion Technology

SANDBOX ADVENTURES

Terrain Concealment (Ex) D

EXPLORING THE GALAXY

System

Signature Stunt (Ex) D

OVERVIEW

Exploration

Virulent Shot (Ex) D

Lash Snare (Ex)

As a reaction when you observe a creature casting a spell or using a supernatural ability with the teleportation descriptor (such as dimension door), you attempt a Survival check whose DC equals 10 + 1-1/2 the creature’s CR. If you succeed, you learn the creature’s destination. This knowledge is precise if the creature traveled to a location within 2,000 feet of you or traveled to a location that’s familiar to you. For a distant location you’ve never visited or studied, you sense the creature’s general coordinates, narrowing down its destination to a town or 5-mile-radius region, but not its exact location.

When you perform a trick attack, you make exceptional use of nearby cover and concealment until the beginning of your next turn. If you have partial cover or cover and would be hit by an attack or fail a Reflex save, you can spend 1 Resolve Point as a reaction to increase the cover’s bonus to your AC and Reflex saves by 2 against that effect; this ability can cause the attack to miss or cause your saving throw to succeed. If an attack would hit you while you have concealment, but the miss chance for concealment hasn’t yet been rolled, you can spend 1 Resolve Point as a reaction to increase the miss chance for concealment by 10% (maximum 35% miss chance). If the triggering attack misses, you can immediately take a guarded step.

TOOLBOXES INDEX

14th Level 14th Level

You must be at least 14th level to choose these exploits.

Extreme Movement (Ex) D

Your climb speed and swim speed are increased by your quick movement class feature and the improved quick movement exploit. You must have the versatile movement exploit to learn this exploit.

CLASS OPTIONS

23

SOLARIAN A solarian’s mastery of cosmic forces makes them a staple of spacefaring crews. Even imposing obstacles seem trivial to a solarian’s command of light and gravity, and the same willpower required to control their supernatural abilities is equally useful when serving as ambassadors to strange new species.

STELLAR REVELATIONS

Level 6th6th Level

These stellar revelations follow the normal rules for the class feature (Core Rulebook 102).

You must be at least 6th level to select these stellar revelations.

2nd Level

2nd Level

Gamma Distortion (Su) D

You must be at least 2nd level to select these stellar revelations.

Gravity Grappler (Su) D

You can shape gravity into translucent coils that you can anchor to objects. As a standard action, you can hurl this coil at a target, functioning in all ways like a grappler with titanium alloy cable line with a maximum range equal to 30 feet multiplied by your Charisma modifier (minimum 1). This cable line lasts for 1 minute or until you use this revelation again. While you are attuned or fully attuned, you gain Grappler Pull (Starfinder Character Operations Manual page 115) as a bonus feat.

Heavy Landing (Su) D

Visionary View (Su) D

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D

D

PHOTON REVELATION

You’re only in the dark when you decide to be. As a full action, you gain low-light vision and darkvision 60 feet, which last for 10 minutes. The effect ends prematurely after a number of rounds equal to your Charisma modifier in which you are neither using sidereal influence with photon skills nor have at least 1 attunement point in photon mode. At 10th level, the darkvision granted by this revelation also allows you to see in magical darkness as if it were normal darkness.

EXPLORING THE GALAXY

PHOTON REVELATION

As a full action, you create a mobile shelter that surrounds you in a 5-foot aura, protecting you within a faint, star-studded bubble of energy. While in the shelter, creatures double the bonus to Fortitude saving throws to resist severe weather granted by the Survival skill, and they gain a +4 circ*mstance bonus to Survival checks to avoid becoming lost. The shelter does not impede creatures’ movement or attacks. The shelter lasts for 8 hours or until you either are no longer benefiting from sidereal influence for photon skills or move more than 60 feet in one round.

Warp Perception (Su) D

GRAVITON REVELATION

As a full action, you can warp light around you, creating an area of visual distortion in your space for 10 minutes or until your leave your space. This grants you concealment and a +2 circ*mstance bonus to Stealth checks, and the bonus increases to +4 when you attempt Stealth checks to snipe. If you begin combat while concealed by this ability and while using your sidereal influence ability to augment graviton skills, your sidereal influence doesn’t automatically end; it instead ends during combat only once your hunter’s gloom effect ends.

Shining Survival (Su)

PHOTON REVELATION

You can travel across great distances with incredible speed. You gain a +10-foot enhancement bonus to each of your speeds when calculating the distance you travel overland, and you grant this bonus to all allies within 50 feet of you. You also increase the full speed and speed in miles per hour of vehicles you pilot by 10%. While you are attuned or fully attuned, each of your speeds gains a +10-foot enhancement bonus until the end of your next turn whenever you use a photon stellar revelation.

As a full action, you create a 5-, 10-, or 15-foot-radius aura that lasts 10 minutes and deflects incoming radiation. Creatures in the aura treat any radiation to which they’re exposed as being one step less severe (e.g. high radiation levels are treated as medium radiation levels).

Hunter’s Gloom (Su)

GRAVITON REVELATION

You can redirect the energy of deadly falls into deadlier strikes. You reduce falling damage you take by an amount equal to your solarian level (minimum 0 damage). If you hit a creature using a melee attack within 1 round of reducing your falling damage in this way, your first such successful attack deals additional damage equal to the falling damage this revelation prevented. When you are fully graviton attuned, add your Charisma modifier to the maximum falling damage this revelation can prevent.

Lightspeed Tread (Su) D

GRAVITON REVELATION

PHOTON REVELATION

GRAVITON REVELATION

You bend light and minds alike to see what you want them to see. When you finish meditating to activate your sidereal influence for graviton skills, you can simultaneously attempt a Disguise check to change your appearance without using an action. Reduce the check’s DC modifier based on the features modified by an amount equal to half your level (to a minimum of +0). The disguise lasts for up to 12 hours. However, this effect ends prematurely after a number of rounds equal to your Charisma modifier in which you are neither using sidereal influence with graviton skills nor have at least 1 attunement point in graviton mode. You must have selected Disguise as a one of your sidereal influence skills to choose this revelation.

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GALAXY EXPLORATION MANUAL 10th Level 10th Level

Adaptive Graviton (Su)

You must be at least 10th level to select these stellar revelations.

D

Glowing Influence (Su) D

PHOTON REVELATION

Your influence over light and heat is more adept than most. When you are using sidereal influence with photon skills, you roll 1d8 and add the result as an insight bonus to your check, rather than rolling 1d6. In addition, you choose one additional skill from the photon skill list that you can modify using your sidereal influence ability.

Weighty Influence (Su) D

GRAVITON REVELATION

Your influence over gravity and attraction is more adept than most. When you are using sidereal influence with graviton skills, you roll 1d8 and add the result as an insight bonus to your check, rather than rolling 1d6. In addition, you choose one additional skill from the graviton skill list that you can modify using your sidereal influence ability.

Choose three graviton revelations that you don’t have. When you become fully graviton attuned, you gain one of these revelations of your choice until you are no longer fully graviton attuned. Temporarily gaining this revelation doesn’t count against your total number of photon and graviton revelations for the purpose of tracking disproportionate revelations. Whenever you gain a level, you can change one of the chosen revelations.

Adaptive Photon (Su) D

GRAVITON REVELATION

PHOTON REVELATION

Choose three photon revelations that you don’t have. When you become fully photon attuned, you gain one of these revelations of your choice until you are no longer fully photon attuned. Temporarily gaining this revelation doesn’t count against your total number of photon and graviton revelations for the purpose of tracking disproportionate revelations. Whenever you gain a level, you can change one of the chosen revelations.

D

Class Options Exploration System Equipment

INFINITE WORLDS

Biomes

You must be at least 14th level to select these stellar revelations.

Accord

GRAVITON REVELATION

Alignment

When you are attuned, you increase the maximum creature size that you can immobilize, lift, or move with the psychokinetic hand ability of your gravity hold revelation to Large creatures. When you are fully attuned, the revelation can also affect Huge creatures. When used to move or manipulate objects, the range of your psychokinetic hand ability increases to 100 feet. The maximum weight of the affected object increases to 10 pounds or 1 bulk per solarian level you have. While you are attuned, the maximum weight you can affect doubles. While you are fully attuned, the maximum weight instead quintuples, and you can move the object up to 30 feet as a move action. You must have the gravity hold revelation to choose this revelation.

Orbital Awareness (Su)

Backgrounds

Worlds

14th Level

D

EXPLORING THE GALAXY

Building

14th Level

Impossible Gravity (Su)

OVERVIEW

Magic Religion Technology

SANDBOX ADVENTURES TOOLBOXES INDEX

PHOTON REVELATION

The stars themselves serve as your eyes, though you can project your senses even in their absence. As a full action, choose a 5-foot square that is within 30 feet and to which you have line of sight. For up to 10 minutes while you are within 30 feet of that square, you can perceive as though you were in the selected space. The effect ends prematurely after a number of rounds equal to your Charisma modifier in which you are neither using sidereal influence with photon skills nor have at least 1 attunement point in photon mode. While you are outside, the effect’s range increases to 300 feet so long as you and the selected square both have a clear view of the sky or space. Under these circ*mstances, you can’t be flanked while this ability is active, and you can perceive from the selected square as though you had darkvision with a range of 120 feet.

16th Level 16th Level

You must be at least 16th level to select these stellar revelations.

CLASS OPTIONS

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SOLDIER None can match the soldier’s bravery. Whether a member of a formal military, a mercenary for hire, or the muscle for a band of explorers, a soldier faces strange places and unfamiliar threats without hesitation. The same combat training that conditions their body also helps stave off environmental hazards, overcome physical obstacles, and endure the worst that any planet can throw at them.

FIGHTING STYLE

Environmental Tolerance (Ex)

These fighting styles use the normal rules for the class feature (Core Rulebook page 111).

D

Rover No wilderness gets the better of you, and thanks to your special training and hard-learned lessons, your leadership might be crucial to your companions surviving the wilds as well.

Survivalist (Ex) D

1st Level

You are at ease in the wilderness, able to navigate treacherous terrain, and capable of recognizing flora and fauna. You gain the Nimble Moves feat. If you already have the Nimble Moves feat, you gain an additional combat feat of your choice for which you qualify. Further, you can use Survival in place of Life Science to identify creatures of the plant, animal, and vermin types, and you gain a +1 insight bonus to Survival checks. This bonus increases by 1 at 5th level and every four levels afterward to a maximum of +5 at 17th level.

All-Terrain Movement (Ex) D

Astounding Fortitude (Ex) D

GEAR BOOSTS Automatic Expert (Ex; 7th Level) D

D

Deft Movement (Ex) D

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You easily move around both treacherous terrain and dangerous creatures without either slowing you down. You ignore all non-magical difficult terrain. Further, you don’t provoke attacks of opportunity from moving through an enemy’s threatened space, though you still provoke attacks of opportunity as normal when casting a spell or making a ranged attack.

EXPLORING THE GALAXY

Weapons you wield that have the injection weapon special property gain bleed 1d4 as a critical hit effect. If the weapon already has the injection critical hit effect, you can apply both effects when you score a critical hit. If the weapon has another critical hit effect, apply either the weapon’s normal critical hit effect or this bleed effect. The bleed damage increases to 2d4 at 11th level, 3d4 at 15th level, and 4d4 at 19th level.

Disarming Critical (Ex; 7th Level) D

When you score a critical hit with a weapon that has the disarm special property, you can choose to forgo the normal benefits of a critical hit (both the doubled damage and any critical hit effects). If you do, the attack deals normal damage. Roll the attack a second time to perform a disarm combat maneuver against the target.

Double Shot (Ex) D

13th Level

When you attack with a weapon in automatic mode, you can reload the weapon as part of the full action used to make the attack. You must reload the weapon with a full set of ammunition, such as a full clip, cartridge, or battery, as appropriate for the weapon.

Bleeding Injection (Ex; 7th Level)

9th Level

You gain Improved Great Fortitude as a bonus feat. As a reaction, you can spend 1 Resolve Point to have an ally you can see within 10 feet reroll a failed Fortitude save. You can’t affect another ally in this way until you take a 10-minute rest to recover Stamina Points.

You gain cold and fire resistance equal to your level. If you have cold or fire resistance from another source, then this resistance stacks with one other source to a maximum value of 1-1/2 × your soldier level.

Soldiers can select the following gear boosts (Core Rulebook 111) to use their equipment in innovative ways.

5th Level

You gain a climb speed and a swim speed equal to your land speed. Further, when you gain a fly speed from any source, your fly speed increases by 10 feet. This effect stacks with abilities such as the Sky Jockey feat. As a swift action, you can spend 1 Resolve Point to inspire allies within 30 feet who can see you to match your athletic prowess; affected allies gain a +2 insight bonus to Athletics checks for a number of rounds equal to your key ability modifier.

17th Level

As a standard action, you can perform a special double shot attack using a weapon with the quick reload property that does not target multiple creatures (such as a weapon with the blast, explode, or line special property). The attack uses twice the normal amount of ammunition and increases the attack’s damage by 1 point per die of damage. This attack can’t benefit from the boost, guided, or variant boost weapon special properties, or any other ability or effect that is a move action and alters the effect of your attack or damage.

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GALAXY EXPLORATION MANUAL

Fast Hands (Ex; 7th Level) D

You can draw a small arm or weapon with the operative property as a swift action. If you have the Quick Draw feat, once per turn you can draw a small arm or weapon with the operative property without taking any action.

Forceful Trip (Ex; 7th Level) D

D

You can use this gear boost before attempting to fire a ranged weapon that is out of ammunition to immediately reload the weapon with an amount of ammunition or charge equal to the weapon’s usage value. This can’t provide a weapon additional ammunition if the ammunition’s item level is greater than half your soldier level. Once you use this ability, you can’t use it again until you take a 10-minute rest to recover Stamina Points.

You can set a weapon with the stun weapon special property to stun mode or reset it to normal mode as part of the action used to make an attack with the weapon.

Technology Smasher (Ex; 11th Level) D

When you successfully use a melee weapon with the trip weapon special property to perform a trip combat maneuver, you push that opponent to the ground with extra force, dealing additional bludgeoning damage equal to your key ability score modifier plus your soldier level.

One Bullet Left (Su; 7th Level) D

Stunning Decision (Ex; 7th Level)

When you use a weapon with the analog weapon special property to damage a technological object or creature with the technological subtype, your attack ignores that target’s hardness. If your weapon also has the archaic weapon special property, your attacks against technological objects and creatures with the technological subtype also deal additional damage to these targets equal to half your level.

Unstoppable Line (Ex; 7th Level) D

When you strike multiple targets with a weapon with the line special property, and the effect would be stopped due to a target taking no damage, and if that target does not provide total cover to creatures farther away, the remaining targets instead take half damage if the attack hits them. Additionally, if you score a critical hit with a line weapon, you can choose which target takes the effect of the critical hit.

Perfect Puncture (Ex; 11th Level) D

When wielding a weapon with the penetrating special property, add half your soldier level to the item’s level to calculate the amount of hardness that the weapon can ignore.

Backgrounds Class Options Exploration System Equipment

INFINITE WORLDS Building Worlds Biomes Accord

Magic Religion Technology

SANDBOX ADVENTURES

When you augment a weapon’s damage using the boost weapon special property, the property also increases the damage of the weapon’s second attack made before the end of your next turn so long as your first such attack misses its target and deals no damage.

TOOLBOXES INDEX

Serum Super-User (Ex) D

EXPLORING THE GALAXY

Alignment

Second Chance Boost (Ex; 11th Level) D

OVERVIEW

When you use a serum with a non-instantaneous duration, that duration is doubled. When you use a serum that grants a bonus to saving throws, that bonus increases by 1.

Skilled Blocker (Ex; 7th Level) D

When you successfully use a melee weapon with the block weapon special property to strike an opponent, you can also protect an ally adjacent to you. Both you and the ally gain the block property’s +1 enhancement bonus to AC against that foe’s melee attacks. The ally loses this bonus if they move outside your melee reach.

Stumbling Strike (Ex; 11th Level) D

You can use your attacks to stymie an opponent’s movement instead of directly attacking. When you successfully use a weapon with the reach weapon special property to strike a target with an attack of opportunity, instead of dealing damage to that target, you give the target the flat-footed condition and reduce all the target’s speeds (including burrow, climb, fly, and swim speeds) by half; both effects last until the beginning of the target’s next turn.

CLASS OPTIONS

27

TECHNOMANCER No strangers to pushing boundaries, technomancers explore and experiment, their curiosity driving them to travel the known galaxy and beyond. With just a pile of salvage, a technomancer can often rig critical tools to survive in unforgiving circ*mstances. Not all worlds sustain the digital infrastructure necessary for technomancy, though, and many spellcasting travelers learn to empower antiquated machinery, enhancing its performance by leaps and bounds beyond the local technology level.

MAGIC HACKS

If the upgrade requires a standard action or move action to activate a persistent effect, such as a force field’s effect, the creature wearing the armor can choose to activate that effect as part of this magic hack. If the upgrade has a capacity, it comes fully charged. The armor can’t gain an upgrade it already has or one that can’t be installed in armor of its type.

The following magic hacks use the standard rules for magic hacks (Core Rulebook 119). Level 2nd2nd Level

You must be 2nd level or higher to choose these magic hacks.

Augment Vehicle (Su) D

As a move action, you can expend an unused spell slot to magically reconfigure or enhance a vehicle you touch. All the vehicle’s movement speeds increase by 10 feet, the vehicle gains a +1 enhancement bonus to EAC and KAC, and the vehicle deals an additional 1d4 damage with collision attacks. If you’re piloting this vehicle, its Piloting modifier increases by 2. These effects last for a number of rounds equal to twice the expended spell’s level.

Extend Protections (Su) D

As a full action, you can expend an unused spell slot to recharge the number of days a suit of armor you touch can sustain its environmental protections by one day per level of the spell slot expended.

Toxic Spell (Ex) D

Level 8th8th Level

You must be 8th level or higher to choose these magic hacks.

Expanded Cache (Su) D

Reroute Trap (Su) D

As a standard action, you can expend an unused spell slot to rearrange the inner workings of a mechanical or technological device you touch. Reduce the DC of skill checks to disable the device by an amount equal to the level of the spell slot expended for 1 minute. If you fail a check to disable the device by 5 or more during this time, you can spend 1 Resolve Point as a reaction to avoid triggering the device.

You expand the selection of spells you can cast with the cache capacitor class feature. Add comprehend languages and lifting frame COM to the list of spells you can store in your cache capacitor’s first slot. At 12th level, add mental silence (Character Operations Manual 22) and personal gravity NS to the list of spells you can store in your cache capacitor’s second slot. At 18th level, add dampening field NS and instant upgrade COM to the list of spells you can store in your cache capacitor’s third slot. You must know a spell to store it in your cache capacitor.

Level 5th5th Level

Holographic Camouflage (Su)

You must be 5th level or higher to choose these magic hacks.

D

Instant Upgrade (Su) D

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When you cast an instantaneous spell that deals damage and are holding a dose of an injury poison in hand, you can expend the held poison to deliver it through your spell, breaking it down to its components and magically inserting it into your spell’s code. Choose a single target of the spell, or a single target within the spell’s area; if that target is damaged by the spell, they are also subjected to the poison.

As a standard action, you can expend an unused spell slot to temporarily create and install an armor upgrade into a suit of armor you touch. The armor must have the available armor upgrade slots to accommodate the upgrade, and the upgrade’s item level can’t exceed three times the expended spell slot’s level. The armor gains the chosen upgrade for a number of rounds equal to your Intelligence bonus.

EXPLORING THE GALAXY

As a standard action, you can expend an unused spell slot to hide your presence with holographic camouflage, becoming concealed. If you don’t move or act for 1 round, at the beginning of your next turn, this camouflage renders you invisible until the next time you move or act. Holographic camouflage lasts for a number of minutes equal to the level of the spell slot you expended.

Level 11th11th Level

You must be 11th level or higher to choose these magic hacks.

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GALAXY EXPLORATION MANUAL

Adaptive Defenses (Sp) D

As a standard action, you can expend an unused spell slot to construct magical defenses from the foreign particles in your wounds, granting you resistance to one type of energy damage dealt to you within the past minute. This resistance is equal to your class level and lasts for a number of rounds equal to the level of the spell slot you expended. You can spend 1 Resolve Point to activate this magic hack as a move action.

Proximity Alert (Ex) D

As a standard action, you cause a personal comm unit you touch to sense and transmit subtle electronic impulses back to you. You gain blindsense (electricity) with a range of 30 feet centered on the comm unit. This effect lasts for 1 hour or until you move more than 100 feet from the comm unit. As a move action, you can expend an unused spell slot to also gain blindsight (electricity) with a range of 30 feet centered on the comm unit, which lasts for a number of rounds equal to twice the expended spell’s level.

of the creature’s foes that both you and the target can perceive with a precise sense. The magic hack causes the target to treat the chosen ally as if they were an enemy, urging the target to attack, harass, or evade that ally. The magic hack’s target also treats the chosen enemy as if they were an ally, compelling the target to protect, aid, and fight alongside that creature. These effects don’t compel the target to attack their new enemy to the exclusion of other targets, but the target does preferentially harm the new enemy when possible. This effect lasts a number of rounds equal to your Intelligence modifier. At the end of any turn in which they harmed their new enemy, the target can attempt a new saving throw against this magic hack; if they succeed, the effect ends.

OVERVIEW EXPLORING THE GALAXY Backgrounds Class Options Exploration System Equipment

INFINITE WORLDS Building Worlds Biomes

Spell Coupling (Ex) D

Accord

When you cast an instantaneous spell that deals damage, you can expend an additional unused spell slot to code additional magic energy onto the spell, bolstering its effectiveness. You gain a bonus to your attack roll with the spell equal to half the additional unused spell slot’s level. The spell deals an additional 1d6 damage for every level of the additional unused spell slot. The saving throw DC of the spell increases by 1 if the additional unused spell slot expended is 3rd, 4th, or 5th level, or by 2 if you expended a 6th-level spell slot. These benefits apply to all creatures affected by an area spell, but for spells that target multiple creatures with multiple rays or other attacks (such as magic missile), the increased damage applies only to a single ray or missile. This increased damage doesn’t apply to ongoing damage from the spell (such as bleed or burn), nor does it increase ability damage or the spell’s other effects.

Alignment Magic Religion Technology

SANDBOX ADVENTURES TOOLBOXES INDEX

14th Level 14th Level

You must be 14th level or higher to choose these magic hacks.

Rebounding Spell (Su) D

When a single-target spell you cast fails to affect its target, you can spend 2 Resolve Points as a reaction to redirect the spell onto a new target within the spell’s range. If the spell requires an attack roll, reroll the attack against the new target with a –2 penalty. If the spell requires a saving throw, the new target attempts the saving throw with a +2 bonus.

Rewire Synapses (Sp) D

Once per day as a full action, you reconfigure the mind of a construct, living creature, or creature with the technological subtype within 60 feet of you and whose CR is lower than or equal to your technomancer level (Will negates). If the target fails the save, choose one of that creature’s allies as well as one

CLASS OPTIONS

29

VANGUARD Scions of entropy and change, vanguards embrace the adventuring lifestyle. The same unstoppable conviction that allows them to smash through physical obstacles also helps break the figurative ice when encountering unfamiliar faces. Come snow, ash, thirst, or toxic gas, the vanguard endures the worst environmental conditions, standing as an indefatigable bulwark for their companions as they press onward to crest one more hill and conquer one more mountain.

VANGUARD DISCIPLINES

Blaze a Trail (Su)

These vanguard disciplines follow the normal rules for the class feature (Character Operations Manual 55).

D

Level 2nd2nd Level

You must be at least 2nd level to select these vanguard disciplines.

Deflective Deterioration (Su) D

You gain a +1 bonus to AC and saving throws against traps and hazards. Once per hour when you take damage from or fail a saving throw against a trap or hazard, you gain 1 Entropy Point. If you are not in combat, you retain this Entropy Point for a number of rounds equal to your Constitution bonus (minimum 1) or until you spend it, whichever comes first.

Ruinous Rush (Su) D

You can break down your body to reap critical energy, boosting your speed. When you take a move action to move your speed, you can take damage equal to your vanguard level to gain a +20 enhancement bonus to your movement speeds (maximum twice that movement’s speed) until the end of your next turn. This damage bypasses any Stamina Points you have and is applied directly to your Hit Points.

Wasting Resilience (Su) D

You must be at least 6th level to select these vanguard disciplines.

Blast Through (Ex) D

30

Hold on Tight (Ex) D

When you take a full action to line up a shot to smash an object, your weapon gains the penetrating weapon special property. If your weapon already has that weapon special property, using this discipline instead adds half your vanguard level to your weapon’s item level for the purpose of calculating the amount of hardness that the penetrating special weapon property bypasses. When destroying an object with sudden force (Core Rulebook 409), you gain a bonus to the Strength check equal to your Constitution bonus. You must have Improved Combat Maneuver (sunder) to select this vanguard discipline.

EXPLORING THE GALAXY

You gain Climbing Master as a bonus feat. You gain a bonus to Athletics checks to climb equal to any attack roll bonuses you have that apply specifically to resolving grapple combat maneuvers. You must have Improved Combat Maneuver (grapple) to select this vanguard discipline.

Push Off (Ex) D

Your body is inured to other effects that would cause decay. You gain a +2 bonus to saving throws against necromancy spells and effects, as well as against effects that would cause ability damage, ability drain, or energy drain.

Level 6th6th Level

Your entropic aura disintegrates obstacles on contact. When you forgo gaining an Entropy Point for charging when activating the entropic charge discipline, you can spend 1 or 2 additional Entropy Points. If you spend 1 Entropy Point, you dissolve any plant growth, rubble, or other nonmagical obstructions in your path that create difficult terrain, turning any such squares you move through during your charge into normal terrain. If you spend 2 Entropy Points, you also dissolve such obstructions in any squares adjacent to those squares you move through while charging. So long as you spend at least 1 Entropy Point in this way, any creatures that hit you with an attack of opportunity as you charge take 1d6 acid damage for every 2 vanguard levels you have (Reflex negates). You must have the entropic charge discipline to select this discipline.

When you use Athletics to jump, you are always treated as having a 10-foot running start. You gain a bonus to Athletics checks to jump equal to any attack roll bonuses you have that specifically apply to resolving bull rush combat maneuvers. You must have Improved Combat Maneuver (bull rush) to select this vanguard discipline.

10th Level 10th Level

You must be at least 10th level to select these vanguard disciplines

Dastard’s Distraction (Ex) D

You gain Diversion as a bonus feat. If you already have this feat, you gain a different feat that lacks prerequisites. When you use the Diversion feat to allow multiple allies to hide, you take a –3 penalty to your Bluff check for every ally after the first, and on a failed check. You gain a bonus to Bluff checks to create a distraction equal to any attack roll bonuses you have that specifically apply to resolving dirty trick combat maneuvers. You must have Improved Combat Maneuver (dirty trick) to select this vanguard discipline.

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GALAXY EXPLORATION MANUAL

Intuitive Deconstruction (Ex) D

When you use Engineering or Mysticism to disable a device, you can do so in half the normal amount of time (with 1 round becoming 1 standard action). You gain a bonus to Engineering and Mysticism checks to disable a device equal to any attack roll bonuses you have that specifically apply to resolving disarm combat maneuvers. You must have Improved Combat Maneuver (disarm) to select this vanguard discipline.

Reactor’s Recollection (Ex) D

Your mind is quick to respond to flaws in a system. As a reaction when you fail a skill check to recall knowledge or to identify a creature, you can expend one use of your reactive class feature to reroll that skill check. You must have the reactive class feature to select this vanguard discipline.

18th Level 18th Level

You must be at least 18th level to select this vanguard discipline.

Chronal Pause (Su) D

Once per day you can spend 2 Entropy Points as a full action to take a 10-minute rest to recover Stamina Points, gaining all the normal benefits and following the normal restrictions for such a rest (including the ability to spend 1 Resolve Point to recover Stamina Points) except for the time expended. This rest does not decrease the duration of ongoing effects. For each additional 2 Entropy Points you spend when activating this ability, you can grant its effects to one additional willing creature within 15 feet of you.

EXPLORING THE GALAXY Backgrounds Class Options Exploration System Equipment

INFINITE WORLDS

Unknown Knowns (Ex) D

OVERVIEW

Anything is possible when broken into its simplest components, even complex actions. You can attempt any skill check untrained, and you can always take 10 to recall knowledge or identify a creature. When attempting a skill check untrained, you gain an insight bonus to that check equal to your Constitution bonus plus the number of Entropy Points in your entropic pool.

Building Worlds Biomes Accord Alignment Magic

14th Level 14th Level

Religion

You must be at least 14th level to select these vanguard disciplines.

Technology

SANDBOX ADVENTURES

Distortion Dreamer (Su) D

You exude entropy even as you dream. At the beginning of your turn, you can enter a dreamlike state until the beginning of your next turn. While in this state, you have the flat-footed and off-target conditions, and you gain Entropy Points from your entropic pool class feature at an accelerated rate in the following ways. First, each time you take damage equal to or greater than three times your character level from a single attack or effect (after applying any abilities that reduce that damage), you gain 2 Entropy Points from your entropic pool class feature instead of 1. Second, if you take damage from a critical hit, you gain 2 Entropy Points instead of 1, in addition to any you gain from the attack’s normal damage. Finally, if you have no Entropy Points when the dreamlike state ends, you can spend 1 Resolve Point to gain 3 Entropy Points.

TOOLBOXES INDEX

Weather-Inured (Ex) D

You endure cataclysms yet only emerge stronger. You gain Environmental Adaptation COM as a bonus feat, but you automatically gain all environmental and weather categories listed in that feat. In addition, when you attempt a saving throw against environmental conditions and weather conditions not listed in that feat (including magically altered conditions), and the result of your saving throw would cause you to suffer a partial effect, you instead suffer no effect.

CLASS OPTIONS

31

WITCHWARPER Witchwarper magic draws upon countless other realities, so witchwarpers are also among the best equipped to understand the bizarre impossibilities of the vast worlds of the galaxy. Rarely content with their life when the echoes of other lives and worlds flicker around them, witchwarpers experience a wanderlust few other beings can comprehend. What witchwarpers often lack in traditional survival skills, they more than compensate for by transforming hostile environments into more comfortable surroundings.

PARADIGM SHIFTS

Swap Paradigms (Su)

The following paradigm shifts use the standard rules for paradigm shifts (Character Operations Manual 63).

D

Level 2nd2nd Level

You must be at least 2nd level to select these paradigm shifts.

Disrupt Lethality (Su) D

As a standard action, you can touch a weapon to temporarily replace it with an incapacitating variant drawn from an alternate reality, causing the weapon to deal nonlethal damage (Will negates).

Swap Ammunition (Su) D

As a standard action, you can pull the ammunition from one weapon and teleport it into another. Select two weapons within 50 feet of you that use the same type of ammunition or batteries. You transfer an amount of the first target’s ammunition to the second target; the ammunition you transfer each time you use this ability can’t exceed your witchwarper level plus your Charisma modifier. This transfer can’t reduce the first weapon’s remaining ammunition to less than 0, nor can it grant the second weapon ammunition that exceeds its maximum capacity. If one or both weapons are in the possession of unwilling creatures, each such creature can attempt a Will save to negate the effect. This transfer is subtle but noticeable by anyone within reach of either weapon. You can transfer ammunition without it being detected as if using Sleight of Hand to palm an object, though you can use either Mysticism or Sleight of Hand for your skill check to resolve this action.

Level 8th8th Level

You must be at least 8th level to select these paradigm shifts.

Borrowed Excellence (Su) D

D

You must be at least 5th level to select these paradigm shifts.

Dimensional Medic (Su)

32

As a reaction when you would take damage from an ongoing condition (such as bleeding or burning), you can heal your recurring wounds by replacing them with already-sealed wounds. This ends the triggering condition before you take damage from it this turn. At 11th level, if you have a temporary blinded or deafened condition with a duration of less than 1 minute, you can spend 1 Resolve Point to end one or both of these conditions as well when using this ability.

EXPLORING THE GALAXY

You draw on the strengths of alternate versions of yourself. As a standard action, choose an ability score and gain a +2 insight bonus to all skill checks associated with that ability score. If your skill modified by the compound sight uses the selected ability score, you increase compound sight’s insight bonus by 2 for the duration of this effect. Once you’ve used this paradigm shift, you can’t use it again until you take a 10-minute rest to recover Stamina Points.

Shroud (Su)

Level 5th5th Level

D

As a standard action, you can temporarily replace one of your paradigm shifts with another paradigm shift that you don’t know but meet the prerequisites of. For the duration of this ability, you can use the new paradigm shift once but can’t use the paradigm shift it replaced. At 11th level, you can use the new paradigm shift twice during the duration of this ability. You can’t replace a paradigm shift that is currently in effect, that is a requirement for another paradigm shift you know, or that has limited uses that you have expended. When this ability ends, you immediately lose access to the new paradigm shift and regain your replaced paradigm shift. You can use swap paradigms multiple times per day, but you must spend 1 Resolve Point for each additional use.

As a standard action, you can expend an unused spell slot to wrap yourself in supernatural mist. You gain concealment for a number of rounds equal to twice the level of the spell slot expended. You can see through this mist clearly, and you can’t use this obvious source of concealment to hide. You can spend 1 Resolve Point to activate this paradigm shift as a reaction when you are targeted by an attack.

Level 11th11th Level

You must be at least 11th level to select these paradigm shifts.

Dimensional Extraction (Su) D

As a move action, you teleport up to 10 feet, extracting yourself from any impediments. If you are entangled,

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GALAXY EXPLORATION MANUAL grappled, or pinned, these conditions end. If you are prone and would move to a solid surface, you are now standing. If you are off-kilter due to being in zero gravity, you right yourself. You must have line of sight to your destination. This movement doesn’t provoke attacks of opportunity. After you use this ability, you can’t use it again for 1d6 rounds. You must know the flash teleport paradigm shift to learn this paradigm shift.

Shifting Adaptation (Su) D

You draw biological adaptations from an unfamiliar reality and apply them onto your form. Once per day when you regain your spell slots, select a single biome from those listed on page 46, such as aquatic, forest, or space. When you are in this biome, you ignore the effects of nonmagical difficult terrain. Additionally, you gain a +2 circ*mstance bonus to Survival checks and to saving throws made against environmental hazards when you are in this biome.

Transfer Affliction (Su) D

As a standard action, select two living creatures within 100 feet: a primary target affected by an ongoing disease or poison and a secondary target who is not. The secondary target is exposed to one of the primary target’s diseases or poisons of your choice and must attempt a Fortitude saving throw against the affliction. If they fail the save, they gain the affliction and move to the first step on its progression track, and the primary target attempts a new saving throw against that affliction with a +4 circ*mstance bonus, curing them of the affliction if they succeed at the save. You can’t attempt to transfer the same affliction more than once per 24 hours.

OVERVIEW EXPLORING THE GALAXY Backgrounds Class Options Exploration System Equipment

INFINITE WORLDS Building Worlds

14th Level

14th Level

You must be at least 14th level to select these paradigm shifts.

Biomes

Eldritch Siphon (Su)

Alignment

D

Accord

Once per day as a move action, you can siphon eldritch energy from an alternate reality to cast your next spell without expending a spell slot. You must cast this siphoned spell before the end of your turn. You can spend 2 Resolve Points to cast a siphoned 1st- or 2nd-level spell or 4 Resolve Points to cast a siphoned 3rd-level spell. You can siphon only spells with a casting time of 1 full action or shorter. At 16th level, you can spend 4 Resolve Points to siphon a 4th-level spell.

Magic Religion Technology

SANDBOX ADVENTURES TOOLBOXES INDEX

Endure Lifetimes (Su) • As a standard action, target one creature within 100 feet and subject them to the experiences of their every manifestation across myriad realities. This mental strain causes the creature to become exhausted unless it succeeds at a Will saving throw. This is a mind-affecting effect. Once you’ve targeted a creature with this paradigm shift, you can’t target that creature with this paradigm shift again for 24 hours.

Shred Defenses (Su) D

As a reaction when a creature with spell resistance is affected by a spell while within 30 feet of you, you can unravel their magical defenses. Reduce the target’s spell resistance by 4 until the end of your next turn (Will negates). Each time a spell successfully overcomes the target’s spell resistance during this time, the amount by which this effect reduces the spell resistance increases by 1. Once you’ve targeted a creature with this paradigm shift, you can’t target that creature with this paradigm shift again for 24 hours.

CLASS OPTIONS

33

EXPLORATION SYSTEM Perhaps one of the biggest challenges of having an entire galaxy to explore is figuring out where to start! With limitless stars ahead, each with the potential for multiple worlds to investigate, the task of picking a destination can be daunting to say the least. The exploration system presented in this section gives your party of galactic adventurers a wide range of tools to seek out new worlds.

Over the course of many adventures, your character may travel to a far-flung locale in the Vast, catalog a specific planet within a star system, attempt to locate something from orbit, or explore a previously unknown world on foot. No matter the scope of exploration, Starfinder provides a system for it in the following sections, starting with wide-ranging galaxy exploration and narrowing in focus to world exploration. Galaxy Exploration (see below) expands upon the standard rules for the navigation task of the Piloting skill, especially when you know next to nothing about the system to which you wish to travel. By doing research and gathering more information, you can learn enough about the system to make it merely unfamiliar. Once you locate a system and travel to it, the next logical step is to explore the system itself. The System Exploration section (page 35) gives you tools to track down the various gravity wells within a system and, with a little time and effort, create a map of the system. Once you’ve reached a particular world, Exploration from Orbit (page 36) provides guidelines for getting the most from your starship’s sensor readings while in orbit. It covers not only general information on what your sensors can ascertain, but also how to focus on and analyze data to gather information about a world’s attributes, anomalies, and inhabitants. The last section, World Exploration (page 37), gives some general guidance on how to handle on-the-ground exploration on a new planet, including using the tools presented in the biome sections of this book (pages 48–95). It also provides a system called hexploration to help you narrate and map the exploration of a world. Downtime Activities: Several components of this system use Starfinder’s downtime rules, which are available on page 150 of the Character Operations Manual as well as online for free at sfrd.info.

GALAXY EXPLORATION Long ago, galactic exploration was primarily the business of a diverse and often secretive group of priests and other magic-using fellowships who jealously guarded their secrets of magical space travel and planes-hopping. With the revelation of Triune and the advent of faster-than-light Drift travel, the galaxy became ripe for mass exploration, but only for those with the technology and know-how to navigate its expanse. Navigation is the key to exploring the galaxy. Every navigator is aware of the difference between Near Space and the Vast. Near Space comprises systems and worlds that have the greatest

34

EXPLORING THE GALAXY

density of Drift beacons, thereby reducing the time and risk it takes to travel there. Destinations in the Vast have fewer such beacons, increasing both the travel time and risk of potentially dangerous Drift encounters (pages 146–147), and making reliable information on such places even harder to come by. While a navigator must be knowledgeable in various calculations and equations to feed into Drift engines, they also must have at least some knowledge of where they want to go. While strange properties of the Drift make the galactic distance from one place to another almost meaningless, knowing a system’s relative bearing from one’s current position (and that said system even exists) is needed to properly navigate via the Drift. These details can be hard to ascertain, especially when searching for a path to a world in the Vast. If you want to find and travel to a known destination, even one unfamiliar to you (Core Rulebook 145), you can. You might even use the plan route downtime activity (Character Operations Manual 154) to gain some aid toward navigating to that system. But what about destinations, especially those in the Vast, about which little is known? Maybe you’ve found some brief reference to a system on a datapad, heard rumors about a mysterious space station, or uncovered some old but faulty star chart. For such obscure destinations, you can attempt to narrow your search by using the following downtime activity.

Locate Galactic Destination (Downtime Activity) Finding hints of the existence of an unexplored system or some other unknown destination in the galaxy, you spend the day researching clues to determine its location. Activity: You spend the day cross-checking clues, consulting star charts, or scouring databases to find more information about the destination for which you’re searching. Attempt a Piloting, Physical Science, Computers, or some other skill check appropriate to the activity (as determined by the GM). The GM also determines the DC of the check. Generally, it starts at 20 and can increase or decrease by up to 5 depending on circ*mstance, such as access to a reliable data set. You can’t take 20 on this check. Result: On a success, you gain a new clue as to the location of the system. On a failure, you waste the day searching. If you fail by 5 or more, you gain some faulty piece of information that seems plausible at first. This increases the number of clues you need to ascertain the position of the system by 1. The GM might instead rule that failure has other effects: Maybe some powers don’t want the system found, and the characters’

1

GALAXY EXPLORATION MANUAL bungled research has alerted them; or perhaps a jealous or annoyed civil servant bars a particular means of investigation out of spite. When you have gathered the requisite number of clues (set by the GM; generally 3 to 5), you can treat the destination as unfamiliar and travel to it using the navigation task for the Piloting skill (Core Rulebook 145–146).

EXPLORATION LOG Page 158 of this book includes a reproducible exploration log to help you record the worlds you explore (using this system) or create (using Chapter 2: Infinite Worlds).

SYSTEM EXPLORATION Once you’ve located and successfully traveled to an unfamiliar system, your next step is learning what exactly is in that system—no easy task, considering it may be hundreds of millions of miles across. Entering the system might give you some fundamental information about what’s present there, and you might have learned some particulars already through your initial search. To learn more about an unknown system, many explorers rely on the activities and starship systems detailed below. See pages 394–395 of the Core Rulebook for brief summaries about various types of astronomical objects you might encounter.

Finding Gravity Wells Gravity wells are formed when massive astronomical objects exert significant gravitational pull, such as a star or black hole around which a system’s other astronomical bodies orbit. When you arrive in a system, you can typically discover its primary gravity well very quickly and without the need for skill checks. You can then attempt to locate other astronomical objects in a system by searching for their telltale gravity wells. The most basic (and time-consuming) method for doing so involves searching the system via a starship’s sensors, using the map star system downtime activity (see below). You can then determine the nature of the astronomical objects you locate (see Analyzing System Data below). Due to the massive sizes of star systems and the relatively small size of even the largest planets and other bodies, finding all of a system’s gravity wells and corresponding worlds takes time. Traveling via starship to an identified astronomical object works as traveling in-system, taking 1d6+2 days.

Map Star System (Downtime Activity) By moving through a system and making multiple sensor sweeps, you search for any sign of large gravity wells in the system and learn the location of various planets and other astronomical bodies. Activity: You spend the day as a starship’s science officer, exploring large swaths of a system and making numerous sensor sweeps to search for signs of large gravity wells. At the end of the day, attempt a Computers check with a DC based on the kind of sensors installed in your starship (Core Rulebook 300–301). The DC is 25 when using short-range sensors, 20 when using medium-range sensors, and 15 when using long-range sensors. You can’t take 20 on this check, and you apply your scanner’s modifier to the check. Cut-rate scanners have a DC of 30 or higher, or they may not be usable for this activity, at the GM’s discretion. Only one character per starship can perform this downtime activity each day.

OVERVIEW EXPLORING THE GALAXY Backgrounds

Result: On a success, you are able to pinpoint 1d3 gravity wells (of those you haven’t yet discovered, and at the GM’s discretion). You are then able to perform the celestial analysis downtime activity and travel to those locations.

Class

Starship Systems

Equipment

There are widely available starship systems that can speed up the time it takes to map a star system. This tech include very long-range system-wide sensors that, while not useful in combat, can quickly scan a star system and produce a general map as well as sensor drones that you can deploy throughout a system. Such drones are slower but more affordable than system-wide sensors.

System-Wide Sensors (3 BP) While standard sensors act as the eyes and ears of a starship within relative proximity of the vessel, system-wide sensors instead ignore nearby objects and reach out for millions of miles, searching for large gravity wells. These sensors provide benefits to a science officer performing the map star system downtime activity: the DC for the activity is 15 regardless of the sensors used, and on a success, the science officer can pinpoint 1d3+1 gravity wells.

Sensor Drones (1 BP) This set of six drones is fired from ship ports to various parts of a star system, searching with long-range sensors for gravity wells and reporting back to the ship. It takes 1 week for the drones to scour a system and report their data, which the ship’s science officer can attempt to analyze with a DC 15 Computers check. On a success, the science officer can create a map of the locations of the major gravity wells in the system (at the GM’s discretion). On a failure, the system map is incomplete, missing half of the system’s gravity wells.

Options Exploration System

INFINITE WORLDS Building Worlds Biomes Accord Alignment Magic Religion Technology

SANDBOX ADVENTURES TOOLBOXES INDEX

Analyzing System Data After pinpointing a system’s gravity wells, you may want to determine exactly what kind of astronomical object lies at the heart of each well, especially before investing the time it takes to travel to one. This requires further analysis of the data. To analyze gravity well data and identify the type of astronomical object at its heart, you must first have pinpointed the gravity well, whether by successfully completing the map star system downtime activity, analyzing sensor drone data, or coming into possession of the necessary information some other way. Then you can perform the following downtime activity.

Celestial Analysis (Downtime Activity) You use a starship’s computer to analyze gravity-well data and determine the nature of one or more celestial bodies.

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Activity: You spend the day as a starship’s science officer, analyzing pinpointed gravity wells to identify the type of astronomical objects at their core. The number of gravity wells you can analyze in one day depends on the number of nodes the starship’s computer has: 1 gravity well with a basic computer or mononode, 2 with a duonode, and so on. At the end of the day, attempt a separate DC 30 Computers or Physical Science check for each astronomical object you attempt to identify. You gain a +1 bonus to such checks if your starship has a general science lab or a +2 bonus if it has a physical science lab. You also can apply the bonus normally granted by your starship’s computer. You can’t take 20 on this check. Result: On each success, you determine whether the gravity well is caused by a gas giant, a terrestrial world, a large asteroid, or an irregular world (including those science fantasy constructions that stretch the concept of a world, per the GM’s discretion). If your result exceeds the DC by 5 or more, you also learn the number of large satellites (such as moons) the astronomical object has, if any.

EXPLORATION FROM ORBIT While you can ascertain the location and general type of astronomical objects from a distance, finding out more generally requires traveling to and orbiting the body. While in orbit, you can use your starship’s sensors to determine the world’s atmosphere, primary biomes, and gravity. This process typically takes ten minutes and requires a successful DC 15 Computers

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check, as detailed on page 301 of the Core Rulebook. This check is modified by the type of sensors you have on your ship, as usual. A number of factors can increase or decrease that DC, as outlined in the Sensor Modifiers sidebar. Keep in mind that such scans must be performed outside of combat and that certain worlds’ inhabitants will not permit offworlders to peer down from orbit indefinitely—or at all. While getting general information about a world can be crucial, more information can be gained from a full sensor sweep and analysis of the data obtained. You can use the world analysis downtime activity to attempt a more thorough scan, or you can map out a portion of a world’s geography using the world mapping downtime activity.

World Analysis (Downtime Activity) You perform a more focused scan of a world from orbit, sifting through a mountain of data to pick out pertinent information. Activity: You spend the day performing detailed scans of certain aspects of the world and analyzing the data you collect. You must be in a starship orbiting a world to use this activity. Choose one or more of the following elements: the world’s sapient species, threat species, level of technology, level of magic, level of religion, level of accord, general alignment, large settlements, or a single planetary anomaly. The number of elements that can be analyzed in 1 day, per starship, depends on the number of nodes the starship’s computer has (1 with a basic computer or mononode, 2 with a duonode, and so on).

1

GALAXY EXPLORATION MANUAL GMs can use the guidance in the Building Worlds section of this book (pages 46–47) to generate results for both the basic elements of a world and most of those listed above. The GM may determine that some aspects of a planet’s physical or cultural attributes are not discernible from orbit. For GM advice on planetary anomalies, see the sidebar below. At the end of the day, attempt a separate skill check for each element you’re trying to learn more about. The type of skill check depends on the chosen element: Culture for alignment or level of accord, Engineering for level of technology, Life Science for sapient or threat species, Mysticism for level of magic or religion, Physical Science for large settlements. The type of skill check used for planetary anomalies varies by anomaly and is determined by the GM. Regardless of the skill used, the DC begins at 25 and is modified as normal (see the Sensor Modifiers sidebar). You can’t take 20 on this check. Result: On each successful check, you learn basic information about the chosen element, such as the most populous threat species or the world’s relative level of magic. If you exceed the DC by 5 or more, you might also glean more detailed information at the GM’s discretion.

World Mapping (Downtime Activity) You focus on scanning a specific area of a world to learn more about its geography. Activity: You spend the day scanning and analyzing data for thousands of square miles of a world’s geography. You must be in a starship orbiting a world to use this activity. At the end of the day, attempt a Physical Science check. You gain a +1 bonus to this check if your starship has a general science lab or a +2 bonus if it has a physical science lab. You also can apply the bonus normally granted by your starship’s computer. The DC for this check begins at 15 and is modified as normal (see the Sensor Modifiers sidebar). You can’t take 20 on this check. Result: On a success, you learn the biome of each 12-mile hex in a region, the size of which is determined by the GM (most often a map of the size provided on the Exploration Log on page 158). For every 5 by which your result exceeds the DC, you discover a more detailed feature in one 12-mile hex at the GM’s discretion. This might be a hazard, the presence of a group of sapient or threat species, a planetary anomaly, or even an interesting geological feature.

WORLD EXPLORATION Exploration-focused adventures and campaigns often take place on a single uninhabited or previously uncontacted world, or in a system of such worlds. Exploring a world whose inhabitants are willing to interact with outsiders and who have some degree of technological advancement can be as easy as getting the proper permissions to land your starship, buying a map, and booking a guided tour. In such places, you’ll often be able to use a large settlement as a base of operations. There, you might hire guides, purchase or rent terrestrial transportation, and stock up on the necessities of exploration before setting out, as you would in any major settlement of the Pact Worlds.

SENSOR MODIFIERS Various circ*mstances might modify the DC for the checks needed to ascertain information about a planet while using sensors in orbit. The following is a list of some of those circ*mstances and how they modify the DC. Modifiers from two or more different sources can stack (such as if a planet has both a thick atmosphere and an extreme magnetic field). Strange anomalies may hamper scanning at the GM’s discretion; see the Planetary Anomalies sidebar below. CIRc*msTANCE Anomaly Energetic magnetic field Extreme magnetic field Planetary sensor scrambler Thick atmosphere Thin atmosphere

DC MODIFIER –2 to +4 +2 +4 +4 +2 –2

OVERVIEW EXPLORING THE GALAXY Backgrounds Class Options Exploration System Equipment

INFINITE WORLDS Building Worlds Biomes

PLANETARY ANOMALIES Anything that makes a world unique beyond its basic physical and cultural characteristics can be considered a planetary anomaly. This could manifest as a strong connection to a different plane of existence, a global magic- or technology-dampening field, an abundance of mystical crystalline caverns just below the surface, especially active plate tectonics, or a singularity barely contained within the planet’s core. Each biome section (pages 48–95) and most cultural attributes (96–129) contain tables of adventure hooks, which can be a great source of inspiration for planetary (or more localized) anomalies. Feel free to adapt ideas from your favorite books, films, and other media, and remember that the only limit in a science fantasy setting is your imagination.

Accord Alignment Magic Religion Technology

SANDBOX ADVENTURES TOOLBOXES INDEX

Even without these benefits, you are likely to have enough information from whatever led you to the world in the first place, or from your exploration from orbit, to have a general location from which to begin your exploration. A relatively small terrestrial world still contains uncountable lifetimes’ worth of adventure in its millions of square miles. You’re likely to focus on key areas of interest in your exploration, rather than make a comprehensive mapping of a world’s every rock and tree. But what happens when you lack a known starting point, or the world doesn’t have large cities or advanced technology—or even any sapient creatures? Well, things may get trickier for both the player characters and the GM. The Sandbox Adventures chapter (starting on page 130) contains advice for creating and facilitating open-ended campaigns and adventures, while this section provides a “hexploration”

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system that GMs and player characters can use together to explore and map uncharted areas. Hexploration is detailed in the following sections, which assume the PCs have landed their starship in a relatively safe location and are traveling on foot in trackless terrain on an uncharted terrestrial world. Finally, the various biome sections in this book (pages 48–95) detail not only the kinds of environments, both familiar and alien, that you might encounter, but also potential inhabitants and adventure hooks. Each section also presents player options, such as equipment, feats, and spells, that can be especially useful in exploring such areas. It’s then up to the players to collaborate, using these and other tools along with the explorers’ decisions to weave together a fun and exciting story of the exploration of an alien world.

Hexploration Map Hexploration uses a map split into a hexagonal grid. Each hex on the map represents an area 12 miles across and features its own dominant biome, be it desert or forest, marsh, or mountain— see the Hexploration Table on page 39 for a full list of biomes. Terrestrial worlds with dynamic climates often have most, if not all, of these terrain types, while stranger worlds might feature only one or two dominant biomes across their entire surface. Just because each hex has a primary terrain type doesn’t mean that it’s the only terrain in that hex. A hex might feature a road or river snaking through it, smaller bodies of water, a thicket of alien vegetation, a massive city, or countless other variations.

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You can quickly draw a map using just a few colors, some basic symbols, and letters or numbers for reference; the Exploration Log on page 158 includes a hex grid for this purpose. When creating a hex map—often when the PCs land their starship or set out from a settlement—it’s helpful to start in the middle of the grid, since they can generally explore in any direction.

Hexploration Activities A group of PCs gains a number of hexploration activities per day based on the speed of the slowest member of the group, as shown on the table below. During the course of the day, the PCs can use their hexploration activities to either travel or perform recon.

SPEED 15 feet or less 20–25 feet 30–35 feet 40-45 feet 50 feet or more

ACTIVITIES PER DAY 1/2 1 2 3 4

Travel You move into or toward an adjacent hex. This requires a number of hexploration activities equal to the required activities (see the Hexploration Table on page 39) for both your origin hex and the hex into which you’re moving. For example, a party moving from a mountain into a forest would

1

GALAXY EXPLORATION MANUAL require 5 hexploration activities. If you don’t know the biome of the destination hex, you learn it after using the number of exploration activities required by your origin hex (2 in the previous example). If you don’t have enough hexploration activities in a day to move into an adjacent hex, you can use as many hexploration activities as you want to move toward that hex, and then add that progress to travel you perform on subsequent days. Keep in mind that with hexploration, movement from one hex to another includes some degree of exploration of the hex entered rather than point-to-point travel, so the travel rate is often slower than typical overland speed. Traveling in Vehicles: Remember that a vehicle must be designed for the terrain in which it’s traveling to use its overland movement speed; the GM makes this determination per vehicle and can modify the speed as needed. If the entire party is in appropriate vehicles with an overland speed of at least 20 mph, the group gets 6 activities per day instead of the usual 1–5. Traveling in a Starship: While it is often possible to fly a starship slowly enough and at a low enough altitude to easily travel over difficult terrain while gathering basic information, there are myriad reasons why this may not be advisable or preferable. Foremost, many of a world’s most interesting features are hidden from view and are fundamentally inaccessible from the air. There may be other concerns, such as an atmospheric field that interferes with technology or a strict local government with large no-fly zones. In addition, Huge or larger starships flying too close to a planet’s surface risk crashing.

SURVIVAL When exploring a world’s unmapped wilderness, the Survival skill (Core Rulebook 148–149) becomes crucial to, well, survival. From enduring severe weather and orienteering to predicting weather and living off the land, the tasks of this skill are particularly suited to the galaxy’s wilds. Precisely what you will face is dependent on the biome you are exploring, and there may be numerous environmental hazards (Core Rulebook 400– 405).

OVERVIEW EXPLORING THE GALAXY Backgrounds Class Options Exploration System

Random Encounters Whenever PCs explore, there’s a chance for a random encounter; this chance is based on the relative population density of an area, with some types of terrain tending to be denser than others. Each time the PCs travel or recon, roll a d20. On a roll equal to or higher than the encounter DC listed in the Hexploration Table (see below), a random encounter occurs. The GM can adjust these numbers based on circ*mstance. The GM can use the inhabitants and adventure hooks tables in the corresponding biome section (pages 48–95) to inspire a random encounter. Remember that encounters can be far more than combat with wandering monsters; there are plenty of opportunities for roleplaying and social encounters, especially those that tie into and expand on a world’s adventure hooks or various other attributes.

Perform Recon

HEXPLORATION

You carefully explore and map a single hex, gaining as much information as you can. This requires a number of hexploration activities equal to the hex in which you’re performing recon, and you choose whether to be more careful or more thorough. If you choose to be more careful, the encounter DC (see Random Encounters below) increases by 2; if you choose to be more thorough, it decreases by 2. Once you have successfully performed recon in a hex, you discover all the hex’s major features that do not require a check (at the GM’s discretion), and you learn the biome of each hex adjacent to that hex. In addition, if you chose to be more thorough, you also find the fastest way through the terrain; reduce the number of activities required to travel in or through that hex by 1 (to a minimum of 1). This reduction can apply only once per hex.

BIOME REQUIRED ACTIVITIES ENCOUNTER DC Airborne 1* 17 Aquatic 1* 14 Arctic 2 17 Desert 2 17 Forest 3 12 Marsh 2 12 Mountain 2 16 Plains 1 16 Space 1* 17 Subterranean 2 16 Urban 1 10 Weird Varies 14 * Assumes a fly (airborne or space) or swim (aquatic) speed; GM might require certain equipment and/or might increase the required activities.

Downtime Activities

Switching out of Hexploration

Characters not traveling or performing recon can spend the day engaged in a downtime activity instead. Several existing downtime activities can be especially relevant during exploration of unfamiliar terrain. More information about each of the following can be found in the Character Operations Manual: build shelter (page 150) gather supplies (page 152), inoculate (page 153), maintain readiness (page 153), and secure area (page 155).

When the PCs face a random encounter or discover an adventuring site while engaged in hexploration, these encounters typically do not cost the PCs a hexploration activity to tackle, assuming that they occur over several minutes rather than hours. However, if the PCs decide to explore a vast technological ruin, engage in lengthy diplomacy with locals, or get involved in a protracted chase with raiders, the GM might deduct a hexploration activity for the time spent.

EXPLORATION SYSTEM

Equipment

INFINITE WORLDS Building Worlds Biomes Accord Alignment Magic Religion Technology

SANDBOX ADVENTURES TOOLBOXES INDEX

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EQUIPMENT PERSONAL ITEMS Personal items (Core Rulebook page 230) cover a wide range of tools, garments, and food.

Arcanascopic Lenses These stylish eyeglasses boast lenses with a bluish tint but otherwise have no effect on the wearer’s vision unless the wearer is under the effect of detect magic. The lenses enhance the contrast of magical auras, making them easier to study and identify. While worn, the lenses grant a +1 circ*mstance bonus to Mysticism checks made to identify magical items.

Buoyant Pack This backpack doubles as a flotation device thanks to hard-shelled pockets of inert gas sewn into the lining. The pack functions as am industrial backpack (Core Rulebook 230), and its hydrophobic polymer fibers keep all items stored inside dry. Also, a buoyant pack helps keep you afloat while worn or held in two arms; while swimming, you sink deeper when you fail an Athletics check to swim by 10 or more, rather than failing by 5 or more. Further, if you take no actions on your turn (including if you’re unconscious), you can automatically stay afloat in any fluid whose Athletics DC to swim is 15 or less. The backpack’s air pockets make it difficult to dive, and you take a –1 penalty to Athletics checks to swim below the surface (except to ascend) while wearing this backpack.

Chemical Cold Pack When shaken and crushed as a full action, this single-use pack’s contents create a cooling endothermic reaction for 1 hour. While held against the body, an activated cold pack grants you a +2 circ*mstance bonus to Fortitude saves against hot environments. Once per day after being in contact with an activated cold pack for an hour, you also recover 1d4 Hit Points or Stamina Points lost due to hot environments or fire damage. Finally, if you have at least half of your maximum Stamina Points remaining and apply an active cold pack to your body while spending a Resolve Point to recover Stamina Points, you can recover the Stamina Points with 5 minutes of rest rather than 10 minutes.

Chemical Heat Pack When shaken and crushed as a full action, this single-use pack’s contents create an endothermic reaction that creates a heating effect for 1 hour. A heat pack functions in all ways as a chemical cold pack, except that it protects against cold environments and recovers damage dealt by cold environments and cold damage.

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Energel Food Pellet Energel food pellets are easy-to-swallow meals in pill form, capable of staving off starvation, though they lack the appropriate nutrient profile needed for long-term sustenance. You can substitute one pack of food pellets for a day’s food. If you’re already starving when you consume energel food pellets, you automatically succeed at your Constitution check to avoid nonlethal damage that day, but the effects of starvation resume the following day. You cannot benefit from consuming more than two packs of energel food pellets per week.

Frosthiker Soles These tough hiking boots include retractable ice spikes that provide crucial grip. As a move action, the wearer can click their heels together to extend or retract the spikes. While wearing the boots with extended spikes, your speed is reduced by 5 feet, but you can move across relatively even icy surfaces as though they were not difficult terrain, and the DCs for Acrobatics checks you attempt on ice are increased by 2 rather than 5.

Hazmat Synthsleeves This canister of quick-dry spray-on polymer provides protection for anyone handling dangerous materials but can’t afford to have their fine motor control impeded by gloves. Applying the polymer to your arms and hands takes a full action, and the polymer lasts for 1 hour before flaking away. While coated, you gain resistance 10 to acid, cold, electricity, and fire damage, as well as immunity to contact poisons, drugs, and other toxins. The polymer protects you in this way only from objects you’re handling—such as scooping up lava, handling toxic chemicals, or manipulating high-voltage wires—but not from other attacks or effects. One canister holds enough liquid polymer for 10 applications.

Helping Hand This foot-wide circular platform generates a weak anti-gravity field when activated, causing it to hover up to 4 feet above any solid surface like a small floating table. A helping hand can support up to 1 bulk; twice this value causes the device to gently descend, and any more causes it to plummet to the ground. It cannot move horizontally unless pushed or pulled. The helping hand requires a battery and uses 1 charge per 10 minutes of use.

Meteorological Reader This handheld sensor collects detailed analytics about surrounding atmospheric conditions such as barometric pressure, temperature, and humidity. Interpreting the data still requires a degree of technical expertise. While using a meteorological reader, you can use Physical Science in place of Survival when making checks to predict weather.

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GALAXY EXPLORATION MANUAL

Pocket Linguist

Treadsetter’s Guide

This glassy disk developed by field linguists connects wirelessly to a nearby computer and scans any writing it’s passed over. The pocket linguist doesn’t actually translate text but instead analyzes characters and symbols to identify patterns and compare results to a library of writing samples, sending its realtime analytics to the linked computer or comm unit. If you use a pocket linguist while using Culture to decipher writing, you double the amount of time required but receive a +2 circ*mstance bonus to the Culture check.

Countless travel guides promise the greatest getaways in the galaxy, yet the Treadsetter’s brand is so ubiquitous (and sufficiently accurate) as to be synonymous with travel literature. Each Treadsetter’s guide comes in physical and digital formats, corresponding to a specific planet, large moon, or other habitable astronomical object like an asteroid belt. There are hundreds of thousands of these volumes, representing most known and noteworthy worlds. By spending 1 minute referencing the guide while studying cultures, features, or creatures from its corresponding world, you gain a +2 circ*mstance bonus to Culture, Life Sciences, and Physical Sciences checks to recall knowledge and identify creatures.

Portable Condenser This wearable device consists of a 1-quart tank, a coolant pack, a standard battery, and a hose. When powered, the tank absorbs and filters moisture from the surrounding atmosphere, condensing it into potable water. The device condenses 1 quart of water per hour, using 2 charges per hour, and shutting off automatically once the tank is full. In especially dry areas, this process takes twice as long, and the device cannot function in a vacuum or where there is no atmospheric moisture at all. Most deserts hold enough ambient moisture for the device to function at its slower rate.

Waymarker Ribbon These bright reflective ribbons tear easily and are backed by an all-weather adhesive, making it easy to mark a trail while on the move. If you apply these to your path, you gain a +1 circ*mstance bonus to Survival checks to orienteer, and other creatures following your trail gain a +5 circ*mstance bonus to Survival checks to orienteer and follow your tracks. The ribbon’s adhesive usually lasts for one month before losing strength. One roll of waymarker ribbon is typically sufficient to mark 20 miles of trail.

Portable Power Hub This blocky charging device with four adapter cables can store a single battery of any capacity, allowing up to four connected devices to drain charges from the stored battery to recharge their own batteries. A connected device can transfer 1 charge per minute from the stored battery to the device’s battery, though a stored battery can recharge only devices whose batteries’ maximum capacity is equal to or lower than that of the stored battery. The adapters are unsuitable for military application and cannot be used to recharge weapons.

Stabilizer Bracelets This pair of neoprene bracelets— commonly sold at high-end sporting goods stores and marketed as a must-have for serious athletes— comes in an array of styles to fit almost any creature. Most serious explorers wouldn’t be caught dead wearing them. Each bracelet is weighted, making it slightly easier to keep your balance while you wear both on opposite arms. They provide a +1 circ*mstance bonus to Acrobatics checks made to balance and traverse narrow or uneven surfaces.

GRENADES

OVERVIEW EXPLORING THE GALAXY Backgrounds Class Options Exploration System Equipment

INFINITE WORLDS Building Worlds Biomes Accord Alignment Magic Religion Technology

SANDBOX ADVENTURES TOOLBOXES INDEX

The following specialized grenades follow the rules for grenades found on page 183 of the Core Rulebook.

Antigravity Grenade These explosives create temporary fields of reduced gravity, upending foes, helping move large objects, and enabling extraordinary acrobatic feats. Each grenade reduces the area’s gravity strength (Core Rulebook 401–402) by a number of steps based on the grenade’s model: extreme gravity to high gravity to standard gravity to low gravity to microgravity (effectively zero gravity with some exceptions, listed below). The grenade has no effect in zero gravity conditions; it cannot reduce gravity to less than microgravity conditions, and the effects of multiple antigravity grenades are not cumulative. Ranged attacks made through a microgravity area ignore any affected squares they pass through for the purpose of calculating their penalty to attack due to range increment. Such attacks

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41

traveling through low gravity or high gravity areas respectively count every third affected square or count each affected square three times when calculating the attack’s penalty due to range. The first time a creature enters or starts its turn in an area of microgravity, it can attempt a Reflex save. If successful, it automatically gains its bearings enough to fly, can move at half speed along any surface on which it was already standing, can take guarded steps, and can move along that surface as though the surface had sufficient handholds (or gains a +5 bonus to Acrobatics and Athletics checks to navigate the surface if it already had such handholds). If it fails the save, it is affected by zero gravity conditions normally and becomes off-kilter.

PERSONAL ITEMS ITEM Buoyant pack Chemical cold pack Chemical heat pack Energel food pellets (1 pack) Frosthiker Soles Hazmat Synthsleeves Portable Condenser Portable Power Hub Stabilizer Bracelets Treadsetter’s Guide Waymarker Ribbon Arcanascopic lenses Helping Hand Meteorological Reader Pocket Linguist

LEVEL PRICE BULK 1 50 1 1 5 — 1 5 — 1 5 — 1 35 L 1 30 L 1 50 1 1 10 1 1 15 1 1 25 L 1 3 L 2 50 L 2 75 L 2 100 L 2 75 L

Barbed Shrapnel Grenade This cruel grenade propels exceptionally jagged shrapnel, causing lasting pain. Affected creatures that fail their Reflex saves against this grenade take the listed damage; as long as they take any damage from the grenade, the shrapnel also impedes them per the embed weapon critical hit effect (Armory 31). Both these grenades’ sad*stic effects and their common use by slavers to immobilize victims have resulted in wide-scale bans on these weapons, though more lawless regions rarely regulate the explosives.

Concussion Grenade The powerful blast from a concussion grenade causes a small shockwave that blasts creatures off their feet. Creatures that fail their save against a concussion grenade are knocked prone. A flying creature caught in the blast is affected as if by the trip combat maneuver if it fails its save, descending 10 feet and becoming prone if this causes it to reach the ground. More advanced versions of this grenade explode so forcefully that they also inflict sonic damage. The grenade’s shockwave requires a gas or liquid medium, and this grenade has no effect in a vacuum.

Defoliant Grenade Banned on some worlds, such as Ghorus Prime, these grenades selectively destroy plants and plant fiber without harming other biological matter, and they’re considered more tool than weapon in many circles. A defoliant grenade unleashes a cloud of rust-red dust that causes vegetation to wither and die on contact. This kills most mundane grasses, shrubs, vines, brambles, small trees, and other moderately thick vegetation, eliminating any difficult terrain caused by

GRENADES GRENADES Concussion grenade, mk 1 Defoliant grenade, mk 1 Antigravity grenade, mk 1 Mindspike grenade, mk 1 Barbed shrapnel grenade, mk 1 Concussion grenade, mk 2 Defoliant grenade, mk 2 Mindspike grenade, mk 2 Antigravity grenade, mk 2 Barbed shrapnel grenade, mk 2 Concussion grenade, mk 3 Defoliant grenade, mk 3 Mindspike grenade, mk 3 Antigravity grenade, mk 3 Barbed shrapnel grenade, mk 3 Concussion grenade, mk 4 Defoliant grenade, mk 4 Mindspike grenade, mk 4 Antigravity grenade, mk 4 Concussion grenade, mk 5 Barbed shrapnel grenade, mk 4 Mindspike grenade, mk 5 Antigravity grenade, mk 5

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LEVEL 1 1 2 2 3 3 4 4 6 6 6 7 8 10 10 10 12 12 14 14 15 16 19

PRICE 50 75 140 150 225 230 320 305 575 580 615 850 1,275 2,650 2,500 2,600 4,800 5,000 9,500 9,800 14,250 21,000 83,000

EXPLORING THE GALAXY

RANGE 20 ft. 20 ft. 20 ft. 20 ft. 20 ft. 20 ft. 20 ft. 20 ft. 20 ft. 20 ft. 20 ft. 20 ft. 20 ft. 20 ft. 20 ft. 20 ft. 20 ft. 20 ft. 20 ft. 20 ft. 20 ft. 20 ft. 20 ft.

CAPACITY Drawn Drawn Drawn Drawn Drawn Drawn Drawn Drawn Drawn Drawn Drawn Drawn Drawn Drawn Drawn Drawn Drawn Drawn Drawn Drawn Drawn Drawn Drawn

BULK L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L L

SPECIAL Explode (knockdown, 10 ft.) Explode (2d6 A, 15 ft.; see text) Explode (1 step for 2 rounds, 10 ft.) Explode (1d4, daze, 10 ft.) Explode (1d6 P, embed 1d6, 10 ft.) Explode (1d4 So, knockdown, 10 ft.) Explode (3d6 A, 20 ft.; see text) Explode (2d4, daze, 10 ft.) Explode (1 step for 2 rounds, 10 ft.) Explode (2d6 P, embed 1d6, 10 ft.) Explode (2d6 So, knockdown, 10 ft.) Explode (6d6 A, 20 ft.; see text) Explode (3d4, daze, 15 ft.) Explode (2 steps for 2 rounds, 10 ft.) Explode (3d6 P, embed 2d6, 10 ft.) Explode (4d6 So, knockdown, 10 ft.) Explode (10d6 A, 20 ft.; see text) Explode (6d4, daze, 15 ft.) Explode (3 steps for 2 rounds, 10 ft.) Explode (7d6 So, knockdown, 10 ft.) Explode (7d6 P, embed 3d6, 10 ft.) Explode (8d4, daze, 20 ft.) Explode (4 steps for 2 rounds, 15 ft.)

1

GALAXY EXPLORATION MANUAL those features. Larger trees and wooden objects take full damage but typically are not destroyed outright. Creatures with the plant type take the listed damage and can attempt a Reflex save for half damage. All other creatures and objects are unaffected.

Mindspike Grenade Waves of neuro-disruptive energy burst from this grenade and scramble brainwaves with violent force. Creatures in the area can attempt a Will save against this grenade rather than a Reflex save. If successful, a creature takes half damage. If the creature fails, it takes full damage and is dazed for 1 round; if the creature’s CR or level is higher than the grenade’s item level, it instead takes full damage and is staggered for 1 round. Treat the CR or level of any creature with limited telepathy or telepathy as 3 lower for the purpose of this effect. This grenade has the mind-affecting special weapon property (Armory 29).

MEDICINALS The following medicinals follow the same rules for pricing and use found on pages 231–232 of the Core Rulebook.

Emetic Emetics are used to purge ingested toxins before they enter the bloodstream. One round after ingesting an emetic, you must succeed at a DC 12 Fortitude save or become nauseated for a number of rounds equal to 1d10 minus the medicinal’s tier (minimum 1 round); you can voluntarily fail this saving throw. If you take an emetic during the onset period of an ingested poison or drug, you attempt your initial saving throw with a bonus equal to 5 + the medicinal’s tier. This bonus is reduced by 5 if you take the emetic after the initial onset period. You gain no benefit from the emetic if you remove or suppress the nauseated condition it causes.

Narco-Imitator Those suffering from substance addiction can take a dose of narco-imitator to suppress the penalties for addiction as if they had taken a dose of the drug to which they are addicted. A narco-imitator must be formulated for a specific drug. You do not gain the benefits of the drug but do suffer any drawbacks. While taking narco-imitators, you can attempt saves to cure addiction as though you were not taking the drug at all with a bonus equal to the medicinal’s tier.

SERUMS The following serums following the same rules for use found on page 225 of the Core Rulebook.

Aquanaut Elixir After drinking this serum, your hands and feet become webbed and you grow gills. You gain a swim speed of 40 feet and your land speed is halved. You gain the ability to breathe water, and although you retain the ability to breathe air, you become fatigued if you breathe air for more than 10 minutes at a time. The effects of this serum last for 4 hours.

Nectar of Flame’s Glory For 10 minutes after imbibing this glowing orange drink, you gain the fire resistance 10. As a reaction after the elixir reduces the fire damage you take from an effect, you can end the elixir’s fire resistance to gain temporary Hit Points equal to the amount of damage the elixir’s fire resistance prevented from the triggering effect. You gain these temporary Hit Points immediately after resolving any other damage you take from the triggering effect, and the temporary Hit Points last for 1 hour.

OVERVIEW EXPLORING THE GALAXY Backgrounds Class Options Exploration System Equipment

INFINITE WORLDS Building Worlds Biomes

Regenerative Philter This potent violet serum accelerates the body’s natural healing to astounding levels, though doing so expends vital energy. For 1 minute, you gain fast healing based on the philter’s formula: fast healing 2 for mk 1, fast healing 5 for mk 2, and fast healing 10 for mk 3. After this effect ends, you become fatigued until you take a 10-minute rest to recover Stamina Points, during which you must eat a full day’s food; this food only helps you recover from the fatigue and does not contribute to your typical food needs for the day. If you do not eat after consuming this serum, you experience starvation equivalent to going a full day without eating. You cannot benefit from a regenerative philter more than once per day.

Accord Alignment Magic Religion Technology

SANDBOX ADVENTURES TOOLBOXES INDEX

Xeroform Jelly Immediately after ingesting this jelly, your body becomes semi-fluid. For 10 minutes, you gain the amorphous and compression universal creature rules. Most users find this experience wildly disorienting. For the serum’s duration, your speed is halved and you gain the flat-footed condition. As a standard action, you can attempt a DC 15 Fortitude save, ending the serum’s effects early if you succeed.

SERUMS ITEM LEVEL PRICE BULK Aquanaut elixir 4 325 — Regenerative philter, mk 1 4 350 — Xeroform jelly 5 440 — Nectar of flame’s glory 6 620 — Regenerative philter, mk 2 11 3,850 — Regenerative philter, mk 3 16 26,000 —

EQUIPMENT

43

INFINITE WORLDS

2

BUILDING WORLDS Creating an entire science fantasy world from scratch can be a daunting task, but this chapter provides easy steps to help you quickly generate nigh-infinite worlds. Whether you’re a player whipping up a home planet for your new character or a GM crafting worlds for other players to explore, simply follow the steps below—tweaking the results as desired—to craft your own worlds!

In the first three steps of creating a planet, you’ll determine your world’s basic physical characteristics, which can inform its inhabitants and provide potential adventure hooks. In Step 4, you’ll determine your world’s various cultural attributes, which flesh out a world’s character and can provide myriad possibilities for adventure. In the final step, you’ll add some finishing touches, perhaps including a few settlements and NPCs using their respective toolboxes on pages 148–151. By randomly determining your world’s physical and cultural attributes as well as blending their resultant inhabitants and adventure hooks, you can create virtually limitless arrays of science fantasy worlds to explore. Keep in mind that any seemingly conflicting attributes you generate with this process are rich opportunities for storytelling: does your asteroid have a thick atmosphere, a predominantly aquatic biome, and a high level of magic? Perhaps it’s a tiny ocean world with an icy shell, hurtling through space and carrying a magical society of miniature sapient creatures with it.

STEP 1: WORLD TYPE You can choose to create a relatively standard terrestrial world—one that’s naturally habitable and replete with one or more biomes (see Step 3)—or you can roll on (or choose from) the Astronomical Object table for the possibility of something stranger. See pages 394–395 of the Starfinder Core Rulebook for more about gas giants, irregular worlds, and satellites.

ASTRONOMICAL OBJECT D%

TYPE OF WORLD

1–50

Terrestrial

51–70

Gas giant

71–85

Irregular

86–90

Satellite

91–95

Asteroid

96–97

Colony ship

98–100

Space station

STEP 2: GRAVITY AND ATMOSPHERE Roll once on the Gravity and Atmosphere table to determine your world’s gravity, and then roll again to determine its atmosphere. See pages 395–396 of the Core Rulebook for more about atmospheres and pages 401–402 of the Core Rulebook for more about gravity.

46

INFINITE WORLDS

GRAVITY AND ATMOSPHERE D%

GRAVITY

ATMOSPHERE

1–50

Standard

Normal

51–60

Zero Gravity

None

61–75

Low

Thin

76–90

High

Thick

91–100

Extreme

Corrosive or toxic

STEP 3: BIOMES Terrestrial worlds are usually predominantly composed of one or more biomes, while other types of astronomical objects might have artificial or magical regions of a particular biome. You can select or roll a single biome on the Biomes table (a solely aquatic world could represent an ocean planet, for instance), or you can roll several times to produce a world with multiple prominent biomes, ignoring any results you don’t want to include. You can treat any duplicate results as an indication that the duplicated biome is more common than the others. For example, if you rolled aquatic twice and forest once, you might have a forested world that’s 60% water or a world of underwater forests with canopies that extend above the waves.

BIOMES D12

BIOME

PAGE

1

Airborne

48

2

Aquatic

52

3

Arctic

56

4

Desert

60

5

Forest

64

6

Marsh

68

7

Mountain

72

8

Plains

76

9

Space

80

10

Subterranean

84

11

Urban

88

12

Weird

92

Biome Subsections Whichever biomes your world has, pages 48–95 provide detailed information about each, including tables for inhabitants,

GALAXY EXPLORATION MANUAL adventure hooks, and player options that, while related to the biome, can be used anywhere in the galaxy. Biome Overview: Each biome provides a wealth of flavorful information that can help GMs and other players immerse themselves in fantastical adventures. Also included is information about adventurers that might hail from such places, what worlds of that biome might look like, and other general details. Finally, a rules and reference section highlights existing rules that will come in handy for that biome. Biome Inhabitants: A world’s inhabitants are presented in this book as either sapient or threat creatures. A sapient creature can generally think and reason, and they’re likely to form civilizations, interact meaningfully with PCs, need help, or even serve as archvillains. Threat creatures are generally (but not always) non-sapient creatures that serve as a threat to the world’s inhabitants or the PCs. Using the inhabitant table provided with each biome, you can roll a world’s inhabitants as you would a biome: once for a world that contains only a single such species or multiple times for a more nuanced world, again using repeat results as indicators of, for example, relative population size or political power. Roll separately for sapient creatures and threats. Note that inhabitant creatures are followed by superscripts that indicate the books in which you can discover more information about them. In such superscripts, “AP” followed by a number refers to a volume of the Starfinder Adventure Path; for example, “AP10” refers to Starfinder Adventure Path #10. More information about any inhabitant can be found online for free at sfrd.info. Biome Adventure Hooks: Each biome has a table of related adventure hooks. These open-ended story prompts can be combined with other adventure hooks, especially those in the Cultural Attributes section (below) to create unique adventures based on your world’s particular composition and culture. Player Options: Each biome presents thematic player options available to any character who meets the prerequisites. Furthermore, these options aren’t restricted to such biomes, although PCs might want to incorporate such connections into their backstories!

STEP 4: CULTURAL ATTRIBUTES Besides its basic physical features, a world is heavily influenced by the presence—or absence—of various cultural influences. Each of the following attributes has a corresponding section in this book (starting on the page given in parentheses) that provides in-depth details about its impact on a world as well as inspiration, adventure hooks, GM tools, and player options related to various levels of that attribute. Accord (page 96): Roll 1d6 to determine whether this world is a low accord (1–2), medium accord (3–4), or high accord (5–6). Alignment (page 102): First, roll 1d6 to determine whether the world is predominantly chaotic (1–2), neutral (3–4), or lawful (5–6). Then roll 1d6 to determine whether the world is predominantly evil (1–2), neutral (3–4), or good (5–6). For example, rolling 2 and then 6 would result in a chaotic good world (detailed further on page 104). Two results of 3 or 4 mean the world is predominantly neutral (page 105).

2

THE DECK OF MANY WORLDS As an alternative to using the tables presented in steps 1–4, you can use cards drawn randomly from the 100-card Starfinder Deck of Many Worlds accessory to quickly generate a world’s type, gravity, atmosphere, biomes, cultural attributes, inhabitants, and adventure hooks—all in a few seconds by simply combining a few cards. The cards themselves provide millions of possible combinations, and that’s before you pair them with the information and tools presented in this book!

OVERVIEW EXPLORING THE GALAXY Backgrounds Class Options Exploration System

Magic (page 108): Roll 1d6 to determine whether this world is low magic (1–2), medium magic (3–4), or high magic (5–6). Religion (page 116): Roll 1d6 to determine whether this world is low religion (1–2), medium religion (3–4), or high religion (5–6). Technology (page 122): Roll 1d6 to determine whether this world is low technology (1–2), medium technology (3–4), or high technology (5–6).

Equipment

INFINITE WORLDS Building Worlds Biomes

STEP 5: FINISHING TOUCHES Each biome and cultural attribute is richly supported in this book’s other sections, but there are more ways you can add enriching details to your new world. Adventure Hooks: With just a couple biomes and the cultural attributes set for your world, you have more than 100 adventure hooks to randomly roll or choose from! Better yet, you can generate nigh-infinite ideas by randomly rolling adventure hooks from different tables and combining them in interesting ways. These ideas aren’t just for GMs looking to challenge PCs, either. Other players might use such hooks to flesh out their background and explain how they got into adventuring—or what they left their home world to escape. NPCs: While you likely don’t want to detail every sapient individual on a world, it can be helpful to have a few compelling NPCs to serve as points of contact, villains, companions, and the like. You can use the NPC Toolbox on pages 148–149 to easily generate an alien name and species, along with some memorable quirks. You can also roll on the Influential Associate and Party Relationships tables (pages 11–13) from the Backgrounds section of this book for ideas on how an NPC might relate to some or all of the PCs. Settlements: As with NPCs, you likely want to detail a few major settlements in each world to serve as a landing site or home base. The Settlement Toolbox on pages 150–151 can help you generate rich locations with quirks and challenges to shape a settlement’s character. There’s also a table featuring a bevvy of potential locations for a science fantasy setting—roll a few times to see which locations are of particular prominence in a settlement, and you’ll know a lot more about the people who live there. Other Features: Feel free to add any features not covered by this system to your world, its places, or its people. Other Starfinder books, such as Starfinder Pact Worlds and Starfinder Near Space, provide treasure troves of interesting science fantasy worlds and locations to inspire your creations!

BUILDING WORLDS INTERSTELLAR TRAVEL

Accord Alignment Magic Religion Technology

SANDBOX ADVENTURES TOOLBOXES INDEX

47

AIRBORNE For eons, the skies have tantalized land-bound creatures that gaze up at them from below. With modern magic and technology, those without natural flight can take to the air, their visits fleeting but fascinating. But of course, terrestrial creatures aren’t the only ones in the galaxy.

Many civilizations exist wholly or partly in their planets’ atmospheres. An airborne biome might contain elaborate towers tethered to the ground or rows of houses magically suspended in midair, built by winged sapient species with no need for ground-level doors. Airborne civilizations might construct entire floating cities—large enough that if you aren’t near the edge, you could forget you’re airborne at all—or be composed solely of a small chain of vehicles or flying buildings tethered together, like traveling caravans making their way across theskies. Even in the absence of traditional terrain, airborne settings need not be featureless—you can narrate the sounds and scents of an airborne wilderness to give the PCs a sense of its atmosphere. The sight of a planet’s ground from the air provides a unique perspective on terrain miles below. Airborne biomes often host numerous vehicles, from simple turbogliders to massive hover carriers, and an encounter with a flying pirate ship or the vessel of a daring fellow explorer can liven up empty skies. Weather patterns and wind currents can either help or hinder the PCs’ travels and provide notable landmarks for gas giant planets that lack terrestrial features. Airborne biomes might be alien to terrestrial PCs, and the environments can be even stranger. The atmosphere gets thinner the higher you go on an Earth-like planet, but that’s not necessarily the case for all worlds. Perhaps the atmosphere gets thicker or is poisonous or hallucinogenic to those not acclimated. A denser atmosphere could allow structures filled with standard air to float, propped up by nothing more than the atmosphere’s natural buoyancy. Species the PCs have never encountered before may make their homes in the atmosphere of a gas giant or in a floating city cut off from the rest of their planet’s civilizations. Supplies, like food, water, and equipment, pose a prominent concern for an airborne society. Most airborne settlements can’t farm on a large scale and must distill water vapor from the air. Large floating cities can terraform, but smaller settlements (and many in gas giants) rely on what they can gather or acquire from trade. The smaller an airborne community, the more likely it is to be nomadic and to rely heavily on trade. Inclement weather can devastate airborne communities, and most have developed strategies to shield themselves from winds, lightning, and other dangers. Those who can fly, whether by themselves or in vehicles, have a greater degree of mobility than those who can’t. Still, it’s more difficult to find a safe place to rest in the air, where places to alight might be few and far between, than on the ground. In an airborne biome, the opportunities for adventure are boundless, and the sky really is the limit!

48

INFINITE WORLDS

AIRBORNE DELICACIES Airborne cuisines are often products of necessity—only the largest flying cities have the space for extensive agriculture, and the nature of an airborne civilization limits the choice of ingredients. Still, people of airborne societies are inventive, and their tables boast delicious meals. Chive-Lemon Flatbread: An airborne environment’s fluctuations aren’t always conducive to oven baking, so flatbreads (made with bio-engineered, container-grown grains) are quite popular. This dish boasts fresh chives, pulped lemon, and, when available, the meat of small birds native to the region. Flamethrower-Roasted Jellybird: Named for its amorphous, jellyfish-like appearance, jellybird and its related species are common animals on gas giants. Haan traditionally roast this creature with their own biological gas jets, though others in the galaxy utilize miniaturized technological flamethrowers instead. Flash-roasting is a common cooking technique in a gas giant’s unstable atmospheres. Lentil, Tomato, and Pole-Bean Sauté: Plants that can be grown in small spaces or on trellises are staple crops amongst airborne peoples. This rich, saucy dish is often cooked with dried herbs, such as basil or tarragon. Sky Fisher Blood Sausage: Made from the blood of these aerial predators, sky fisher blood sausage is translucent and has a tangy, subtly spicy flavor. The flesh of the creature’s tentacles is used as a binding agent, though it must be sliced carefully to remove its poison glands.

AIRBORNE ADVENTURERS The spirit of adventure inspires many who live in airborne biomes, as the wind currents create an inherently changeable environment. Adventurers from an airborne biome might be of species that can fly, such as barathu, dragonkin, or espraksa. Some might instead possess magic or technology that allows for flight or be a citizen of a floating city with no flight of their own. Adventurers often view the skies as a medium as a medium for travel rather than a destination, but abandoned floating cities, magically influenced air currents, and flying citadels present tempting adventuring locations.

AIRBORNE WORLDS An entire biome of airborne civilizations is unlike the worlds many terrestrial creatures are used to. Some are gas giants with no terrestrial surfaces, consisting only of various gases. Even in the absence of ground, these planets’ inner atmospheric layers are usually impossible to access since pressure and temperature increase closer to the core. Further into a gas giant, where the

GALAXY EXPLORATION MANUAL

2 OVERVIEW EXPLORING THE GALAXY Backgrounds Class Options Exploration System Equipment

INFINITE WORLDS Building Worlds Biomes Accord Alignment Magic Religion Technology

gases become more liquid-like, native species swim instead of fly. In these worlds, weather patterns replace terrestrial geographic features for navigation. Some gas giant species are adept hunters, though others derive nutrition in unusual ways by humanoid standards, such as absorbing nutrients through physical contact with other organisms. An environment lacking ground provides less encouragement to build permanent settlements, and many gas giant species are nomadic, floating through the atmosphere unaided or in vehicles, although “rest stop” structures are often built by species who require them. Outside immigration is limited without artificial assistance, as non-native species lack the capabilities to survive in such an environment. Inhabitants of gas giants can be very insular as a result—or, conversely, extremely curious about other worlds, especially if their world hasn’t seen much outside exploration. Sometimes, permanent platform stations and bubble cities are built within a gas giant’s atmosphere to accommodate other species, providing excellent jumping-off points for those not native to these environments. Some airborne biomes might have land, but that land is uninhabitable or dangerous—perhaps due to low-hanging smog, dangerous predators, or geological instability—that prompts the world’s prior ground-based inhabitants to move into the air. If these species don’t have natural flight, they likely rely on magic or technology to keep their settlements aloft. These civilizations face greater challenges with supplies than species of gas giants adapted to such environments, and engineering reliable sources of food and water is often paramount. Even large floating cities

with terraformed farms might encourage citizens to avoid overpopulation since they can’t easily expand their territory. Some groups expand up rather than out, creating multitiered structures that ascend further into the sky.

AIRBORNE RULES AND REFERENCE

SANDBOX ADVENTURES TOOLBOXES INDEX

Starfinder has many rules to aid in airborne adventures. Basic information on flying appears on page 259 of the Core Rulebook, with additional information about using the Acrobatics skill to fly on page 135. For dealing with cloud cover as well as stealth and detection in aerial terrain, see the Aerial Terrain section on page 396 of the Core Rulebook. The Weather section on pages 398–400 of the Core Rulebook details the wind conditions creatures might need to fly through and other weather they might encounter, while the rules on falling from pages 400–401 describe what happens to those who fail to stay aloft. Of course, creatures need to have a way to fly to begin with! Those without natural flight can make use of magic, such as flight (Core Rulebook 355), or technological methods of flying, such as jump jets for short hops or jetpacks for true flight (Core Rulebook 205). For specific settings to run airborne adventures or for inspiration in creating your own airborne worlds, check out the Aeries of Laubu Mesa on Castrovel (Pact Worlds 33), the strix-inhabited tower of Qidel on Verces (Pact Worlds 65), and the hovering citadels of Meruchia and Nusova on Triaxus (Pact Worlds 105). As for gas giants, the worlds of Liavara and Bretheda (Pact Worlds 108–126) showcase a multitude of settlements.

BIOMES

49

AIRBORNE TOOLBOX See Biome Subsections on page 46 for advice on how to use the following tables.

6

AIRBORNE INHABITANTS D% 1–4 5–8 9–12 13–16 17–20 21–24 25–28 29–32 33–36 37–40 41–44 45–48 49–52 53–56 57–60 61–64 65–68 69–72 73–76 77–80 81–84 85–88 89–92 93–96 97–100

SAPIENT Anacite AA Astriapi AA4 Azata, tritidair AA2 Barathu AA Contemplative AA Dessamar, imago AA3 Dragon, horacalcum AA3 Dragon, silver AA2 Dragonkin AA Dreamer AA2 Espraksa AA3 Genie, djinni AP15 Genie, janni AP14 Dragon, green AA Haan AA Haeshi-shaa AA2 Kiirinta AA4 Lucandrian AA3 Mi-go AA2 Muneen AP23 Necrovite AA Phentomite AA2 Planar scion, sylph AP14 Spathinae AA3 Strix PW

THREAT Aerial devil AP25 Air wysp AP15 Ashypsozoan AP22 Baykok AP6 Cloud ray AA4 Dinosaur, pterosaur AA2 Electrovore AA Elemental, greater air AA Elemental, lightning AP13 Fulmivar AP24 Gloomwing AP10 Irokiroi AA3 Mucilaginous cloud AP7 Muotta AP20 Niaq AP11 Psychic abomination AP23 Quantum slime AA3 Radiation drake AP8 Rauzhant AP1 ShantakAA2 Sharpwing AA Skreesire AA3 Sky fisher AP2 Swarm antecursor AP20 Swarm xersk AA3

AIRBORNE ADVENTURE HOOKS D20 ADVENTURE HOOK An enormous floating city traverses the sky, miles above the ground. However, the ancient magic (or perhaps experimental, 1 unstable technology) powering the city’s flight mysteriously begins to fail, and thousands of lives rest upon fixing or replacing it.

2

3

4

5

50

New research has discovered valuable gases in a formerly ignored gas giant, but further investigation reveals several newly discovered species reliant on the planet’s delicate ecosystem. Mining corporations and Xenowardens clash over the planet’s stewardship, each contracting outside help to aid their efforts. Heavy, low-lying pollution makes the ground uninhabitable for all but the most fearsome predators, while sky pirates prey on the air currents many traders use to transport their goods. A desperate merchants’ association calls for assistance in driving off the raiders. A small faction of Dreamers, psychic diviners who are typically oblivious to their surroundings, have begun attacking people according to some yet-unknown pattern. Is something wrong with these individual Dreamers, or have they foreseen a terrible portent? A violent storm has waylaid a flying caravan of nomadic traders, destroying crucial supplies. Far from any settlement, the nomads must work together and take any help they can get just to survive.

INFINITE WORLDS

7

8

9

10

11

12

13

14

15

16

17

18

19

20

A powerful djinni makes it known that their domain, an aerial city, is under attack by mysterious, shadowy winged creatures. The djinni asks for help protecting the city, promising rich rewards to those who do. A massive, empty airship floats adrift in the sky, with none claiming ownership or even knowledge of its origin. Exploration of the ship reveals neither crew nor passengers aboard, nor any sign of a disturbance—save for faint, omnipresent whispers that fracture the sanity of all who hear them. A child implores passersby to rescue their kidnapped sibling, who was supposedly taken by a dragon to a flying castle lair. Upon investigation, though, it turns out the “kidnapping” was anything but. A gas giant’s atmospheric gases are slowly turning toxic to its native species. The inhabitants and any who would help them must determine how to reverse the process—or evacuate the planet—before it’s too late. Adventurers and racers from Near Space and beyond are invited to enter a multiday marathon air chariot race held by a confederation of sky-towns, but a series of accidents among the participants hints of a saboteur on the loose. The PCs’ airship is blown off course in a storm, landing amidst a floating jungle landscape dotted with ruins. To escape, they must find a way to repair their ship, but disturbing nightmares indicate they aren’t alone here. Several gas-refining platforms high in the atmosphere have suffered mysterious accidents lately, and neutral parties are being asked to investigate. But is it simple corporate sabotage or a conspiracy that stretches far beyond a few mining outposts? A mysterious floating island suddenly appears in the sky, shrouded in mist. Rumors abound that the island holds a great treasure, but thus far, no one who has gone to investigate hasreturned. The nervous inhabitants of a small flying city used to resupply airborne travelers are on edge. An unusually large group of sharpwings hunts the town’s streets at night, and the aerial predators seem to prey specifically on the city’s newest visitors. A war has erupted between several factions of dragons, each competing for influence or resources. Locals and visitors alike have been pulled into the fray, and nearby dragonkin see daring adventurers to serve as their riders. A town made of floating, boardwalk-connected buildings experiences strange incidents in which people are seen walking right off the boardwalk edges... only to reappear in town hours later, eerily calm and claiming no memory of their actions. A massive, multicolored cloud bank that defies natural laws inexorably advances across the sky, totally enveloping everything in its path. Thus far, all parties sent to investigate its source haven’t returned. The tether to the agricultural district of a city of linked floating platforms has snapped, sending the district adrift miles away from the rest of the city. The city’s inhabitants desperately need to reclaim their lost food supply. A prestigious flight school is recruiting intrepid pilots willing to risk flying into a dangerous permanent storm, intending to train the would-be heroes to investigate the storm’s potentially magical source. The discovery of a portal to a landless demiplane leads to first contact with a civilization of humanoids living in airborne buildings. The inhabitants don’t know their home is a demiplane and believe visitors are harbingers of an ancient prophecy.

GALAXY EXPLORATION MANUAL

2

FEATS The following feats provide additional options for characters in flight—even those without natural flight themselves—in many circ*mstances, not just in airborne biomes.

OVERVIEW

Bird’s Eye View

EXPLORING THE GALAXY

While you’re in the air, you use your advantageous altitude to your favor. Prerequisites: Base attack bonus +8. Benefit: While you’re flying, you ignore cover and partial cover (but not total cover) of targets at least 10 feet below you.

Backgrounds Class Options Exploration

Dive Bomb

System

You’re adept at swooping down on a foe. Prerequisites: Dex 14, base attack bonus +1. Benefit: If you start your turn flying, you can take a full action to charge at an enemy that’s at least 10 feet below you. You don’t take the –2 penalty to your attack for this charge.

Equipment

INFINITE WORLDS Building Worlds

Effortless Aerobatics

Biomes

You’re particularly graceful while airborne. Benefit: When flying, it costs you no additional feet of movement to turn 45 degrees or ascend. At the GM’s discretion, maneuvering in high-wind conditions might still require additional feet of movement to turn or ascend. Normal: It costs an additional 5 feet of movement to turn 45 degrees while flying or for each square you ascend upward.

Accord Alignment Magic Religion Technology

SANDBOX ADVENTURES

Improved Dive Bomb Your attacks from above are powerful enough to drive your foes into the ground. Prerequisites: Dex 14, Str 14, Dive Bomb, base attack bonus +7. Benefit: When using the Dive Bomb feat, you can choose to substitute a trip combat maneuver for the melee attack at the end of the charge. The distance a target in the air descends upon a success is increased by 5 feet for every 5 by which the result of your attack roll exceeds the target’s KAC + 8.

TOOLBOXES INDEX

Steady Flier Through focused training, you can fly through inclement conditions with ease. Prerequisites: Acrobatics 5 ranks. Benefit: You get a +2 bonus on Acrobatics checks made to fly in dangerous wind conditions. In addition, you can take 10 on checks made to fly in wind conditions of windstorm or lower.

same point and against the same target. You must both begin and end your movement in the air.

Strafe

Wind Shield

Your quick reflexes allow you to shoot rapidly from the air. Prerequisites: Dex 17, Mobility, Shot on the Run, base attack bonus +12. Benefit: As a full action while you’re flying, you can move up to your fly speed and make two ranged attacks, each with a –4 penalty to the attack roll. These attacks can take place at any point during your movement, but both must be made at the

You can manipulate the air currents surrounding you to defend against attacks. Prerequisites: Str 11, base attack bonus +5. Benefit: As a move action while you’re flying, you can spend 1 Resolve Point to whip up the wind around you, giving yourself cover against ranged attacks until the beginning of your next turn.

BIOMES

51

AQUATIC Aquatic environments have long stirred feelings of horror, wonder, and discovery, for their depths can hold enchanting sights, unfathomable riches, and chilling terrors. On planets with aquatic biomes, adventurers don’t need to travel to new worlds to find themselves in a thrilling new setting.

Even a world with moderate, Earth-like climates might be a maze of thrashing vortexes below the water’s surface, and a world plagued by tempestuous atmospheric storms might have a refuge of calm in the water’s depths. Beneath the surface lie vibrant reefs where magnetic corals arrange themselves in geometric lattices and deep sea trenches cloaked in an icy darkness that seeps into one’s bones. Visitors to an aquatic biome might drift peacefully on a glittering pink lake that swallows them up in its vast expanse or suddenly find themselves whisked away by a waterfall flowing up into the atmosphere. On worlds with blue skies and clear waters, oceans appear to be blue, but on worlds where the sky is green or the water is mineral-rich, aquatic environments take on hues as varied as the colors on the light spectrum. These environments aren’t limited to just water, either. Explorers might strain to swim through an amber lake as viscous as honey, or they might sweat nervously while navigating a minisub through a series of interconnected, bubbling acid pools. Composition notwithstanding, aquatic terrains are generally more energy intensive to travel through compared to terrestrial environments because water is denser than air. The heightened drag in an aquatic biome means that vehicles must be sleekly constructed for efficiency, and creatures without a swim speed benefit greatly from the aid of mechanical, mounted, or magical means of propulsion. Civilizations in aquatic biomes might be organized in floating towns, undersea bubble cities, or even amphibious societies that split their time between land and sea. Some worlds might have entire nations built on ships or on the backs of gargantuan sea creatures. Regardless of how civilizations formed in aquatic biomes, they commonly rely on a combination of hunting, foraging, and aquaculture to sustain their populations. Water shapes how these populations grow and evolve, playing a major role in day-to-day life. Perception works differently underwater than it does on land, requiring some adjustment for first-time visitors. Threat detection might be impacted by turbulent water that limits visibility or by the liquid environment’s amplification and distortion of sound vibrations. Sensory inputs of smell and taste blend together and are challenging to parse for non-aquatic species. This type of environment’s inhabitants require adaptations—whether evolutionary, magical, or technological—to sustain life. While magic and technology make underwater life and exploration possible for non-aquatic species, it isn’t always comfortable. Deep-sea ventures risk water pressure and density that could crush ill-equipped adventurers, and depleted air supplies spell disaster for parties on extended excursions. Drowning is a constant danger, and combat capabilities become limited without equipment designed or modified for aquatic combat.

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AQUATIC INSTRUMENTS Musical arts evolve much differently in aquatic societies than on land. Many underwater instruments take advantage of water’s density and ability to amplify sounds. Aquaphone: Wand-shaped marvels of technology, aquaphones emit sound that changes tone with the instrument’s physical trajectory through water. The direction and velocity of motion affect tone and volume, respectively. Clacla: Claclas are percussion instruments traditionally made from clamshells, though other types of shells can be used. The shells are contained within a net and shaken or stirred rhythmically. Underwater, claclas’ vibrations are felt more than heard. Crystachord: Natural crystals vibrate at a frequency undetectable by most creatures, but their vibrations can be amplified by imbuing them with mystic energy. Crystachords are strips of crystal woven together with knots of kelp. Each magical crystal emits an ethereal, ringing sound when activated by the electrical pulse of a living creature’s touch. Illumitone: An illumitone is a photo-instrument that resembles a large gourd covered in holes. A phosphorescent mineral stone in the center of the instrument constantly emits light in a color of the creator’s choice. An illumitone is played by covering and uncovering the instrument’s holes, generating dancing patterns of light.

AQUATIC ADVENTURERS Aquatic biomes contain bounties of natural resources and potential scientific breakthroughs that encourage settlement. Adventurers hailing from aquatic biomes might be artisans, ecologists, farmers, researchers, or sailors. They’re typically strong swimmers skilled in Athletics and Acrobatics. While many species that thrive in water have swim speeds, such as brenneri and morlamaws, technology and magic can be used to outfit less aquatically-predisposed species.

AQUATIC WORLDS Aquatic worlds vary far beyond flat expanses of ocean. In surface or inland aquatic environments, webs of rivers might sprawl over fertile floodplains, or roaring waterfall valleys might lurk behind heavy curtains of mist. The landscape could feature geysers that launch into the air or rivers that drift through the sky. An ocean’s shifting tides might hide trenches with cliffs that plunge into pits of darkness and towering mountain ranges that rise from the seabed to create island chains above the surface. Currents replace terrestrial rivers, and aquatic forests of kelp reach toward the light of the surface. The sun warms the shallows, and aquatic life displays vibrant colors, illuminated

GALAXY EXPLORATION MANUAL

2 OVERVIEW EXPLORING THE GALAXY Backgrounds Class Options Exploration System Equipment

INFINITE WORLDS Building Worlds Biomes Accord Alignment Magic Religion Technology

by rays of light that pierce the sea. As one descends toward the core of an aquatic planet, the darkness is alleviated only by the lustrous glow of undersea cities or the gleam of magical or bioluminescent species. Looking up from the watery depths, the shadowy underbellies of aquatic life drift by, the danger they present unknown. Deeper still, temperatures drop and water density rises. The crushing pressure might make mobility challenging, and temperatures can verge on extreme, unlivable lows; signs of life are few and far between. The species that thrive in these extreme ecosystems have terrifying advantages over unwary travelers, such as those lying in wait with dancing lights that lure prey into their gaping maws. Aquatic civilizations, like the ebb and flow of the tide, constantly change. Some develop in caves, are woven into kelp forests, or spring up from the calcified remains of once-fearsome leviathans. Undersea bubble cities designed with the comfort and survivability of non-aquatic species in mind require astronomical resources. Some settlements are constructed out of necessity as avian and terrestrial species flee catastrophic weather on their planet’s surface, while others start out as small research outposts and evolve into cities of science. On the surface, cities might float or be constructed on stilts anchored in lake beds, with floating bridges connecting different districts and buildings. Deep-sea cities might also depend on current-sourced hydroelectric power or volcanic heat, while those near the surface might harness energy from waves or waterfalls to power daily life.

AQUATIC RULES AND REFERENCES Starfinder already has many rules to aid in aquatic adventures. Information on swimming appears on page 137 of the Starfinder Core Rulebook, and details on swim speeds appear on page 259. While several species can breathe underwater, those that don’t will find the mechanics of suffocation, drowning, and aquatic combat on pages 404–405 particularly useful. The Aquatic Terrain section in the Core Rulebook (page 396) describes terrain that players might encounter, including rules for adventuring in deep water and extreme deep water, as well as limitations on underwater perception. The Falling into Water section (page 401) details fall damage and diving mechanics, while the Heat Dangers section (pages 402–403) describes damage taken by exposure to boiling water. Not all creatures are adapted for aquatic adventures, and those without natural swim speeds can make use of cybernetics, such as gill sheaths (Core Rulebook 211). Standard starships aren’t designed for use in water, so vehicles ideal for aquatic travel, like minisubs and hoverpods (Core Rulebook 228–229), can also prove useful. Use your imagination to craft your own vibrant aquatic worlds, or take inspiration from the sarcesian underwater dome colonies on Nisis (Pact Worlds 85), the dark waters of The River Between that wind through the Diaspora (Pact Worlds 86), and the icy depths of Dahak’s Claw on Triaxus (Pact Worlds 104). The island-dotted Vesk-2 (Near Space 26–31) and the pink Basin Sea of Vesk-3 (Near Space 36) provide further examples of aquatic settings.

BIOMES

SANDBOX ADVENTURES TOOLBOXES INDEX

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AQUATIC TOOLBOX See Biome Subsections on page 46 for advice on how to use the following tables.

AQUATIC INHABITANTS D% 1–4 5–8 9–12 13–16 17–20 21–24 25–28 29–32 33–36 37–40 41–44 45–48 49–52 53–56 57–60 61–64 65–68 69–72 73–76 77–80 81–84 85–88 89–92 93–96 97–100

SAPIENT Bone trooper AA2 Brenneri AA3 Calecor AA2 Cephalume AA3 Cerebric fungus AA2 Corpsefolk AA2 Dragon, black AA Dragon, bronze AA2 Genie, marid AP18 Ghoran AA2 Ghoul, lacedon AA2 Ijtikri AA3 Kalo AA Mephit, water AP14 Morlamaw AA3 Oracle of Oras AA3 Osharu AA2 Planar scion, undine AP18 Scyphozoan AP5 Spathinae AA3 Stellifera AP8 Telia AA3 Vilderaro AP8 Woioko AP2 Wrikreechee AA

THREAT Anacite AA Atlapak AA4 Bloodbrother AA Cargo creep AP25 Cloud ray AA4 Diaspora wyrm AA3 Dinosaur, plesiosaur AA2 Elemental, water AA Elmeshra AP30 Giant, storm AA2 Glass serpent AA2 Haan AA Hashukayak AA2 Herd animal, aquatic AA2 Jakkerant AP20 Jubsnuth, aquatic AP5 Kami AA3 Ksarik AA Kyokor AA Mephit, water AP14 Muotta AP20 Murzzilat AA4 Osifern AA4 Predator, aquatic AA2 Wysp, water AP15

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AQUATIC ADVENTURE HOOKS D20 ADVENTURE HOOK A large and biodiverse coral reef is inexplicably dying—though the recent arrival of a controversial pharmaceutical company 1 just up-current from the reef draws the suspicions of the planet’s inhabitants, who look to outsiders to investigate. 2

3

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A deep-sea fishing vessel recently discovered the underwater wreckage of a massive, interplanetary research starship. The starship in question disappeared without a trace years ago amidst controversy over the ethics of its research.

16

Unusual geothermal activity has been reported near an underwater settlement. Scalding water spouts from small holes with unnaturally even spacing, stretching for miles and appearing to form a seam on the ocean floor. Are they relics of a past civilization, an incursion from deep below the world’s crust, or something even stranger? A planet’s kelp forests are a hot spot for tourists, but rangers charged with protecting the natural resource have become perplexed by a wave of recent reports of nonaquatic creatures attacking visitors among the forest’s deceptive, twisting strands of kelp.

17

Each year, a small settlement hosts a months-long festival of lights during the planet’s bioluminescent algal bloom. This year, during the peak of the festival, all the algae instead began to exude an ominous, purple-black light, pulsing together to an unheard rhythm.

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The PCs win a stay at a deep-sea luxury hotel. Their suite is a large pod with 360-degree views of the artificially lit ocean floor. Their first night there, the lights flicker and go out, immediately followed by the first of many distant screams. While conducting seismic imaging in search of natural resource deposits, scientists are shocked to discover two massive, inverted pyramids buried beneath the ocean floor. A rare disease leaves many of an archipelago nation’s children in critical condition. The only known cure is the nectar of a flower that blooms only in the deepest chambers of aquatic caves guarded by territorial sea-born predators. Amidst a prolonged famine, officials introduce a new, edible species of sea slug genetically modified to adapt to unfavorable conditions. The slugs turn out to be a little too adaptable, and they begin feasting on the town’s inhabitants. Magical, spherical pockets of oxygen-rich atmosphere have begun springing up randomly, with devastating consequences for the aquatic flora, fauna, and sapient creatures. Did this phenomenon result from an incursion of the Elemental Plane of Air or perhaps a failed magical or technological experiment? A large, drifting city suddenly pulls away from its projected trajectory by a mysterious new current. Reports from nearby cities indicate they’re all spiraling toward one central location of concentrated magical energy. A small research station located on the perimeter of Reaper’s Basin, a deep-sea methane lake, has sent out a distress signal. At the station, the researchers have vanished with all that remains being their uniforms neatly folded on chairs around a table set with still-warm food. The massive domes protecting a sprawling city on the sea floor have inexplicably begun to crack, sending mass panic through the air-breathing populace. A film crew working on an action vid blockbuster is woefully underprepared for shooting deep underwater. To make matters worse, what equipment they do have is being methodically sabotaged, putting dozens of lives at risk. Locals whisper of an iridescent ghost ship that appears on moonless nights over the wreckage of a sunken merchant vessel. When it appears, screams issue from the vessel before it rends in two and sinks beneath the waves. Communication with an underwater city has been cut off, and the only access to the trapped population is a network of massive elevators and platforms initially built to transport equipment for the city’s construction. An island known for its picturesque, sandy beaches has become a stinking isle of rotting fish and marine creatures. It seems something in the water has caused the creatures to beach themselves out of desperation. For the past month, seaweed-draped skeletons have marched from the ocean each night to terrorize a coastal town. Rumors connect the attacks to a necromancer who was exiled from the town years ago. A submarine cruise liner has abruptly ceased communication with the surface world. Analysis of its final messages seems to indicate that its crew and guests have become zealous initiates of a dangerous cult. A gargantuan deep-sea creature has absconded with an entire undersea research station that contains invaluable data and equipment. Retrieving these valuables will require navigating the creature’s cavernous lair filled with parasitic threats as well as finding a way to safely extricate the building itself or the resources within from the belly of the beast.

GALAXY EXPLORATION MANUAL

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ADVANCED MELEE WEAPONS TWO-HANDED WEAPONS UNCATEGORIZED Lumenstaff, tactical Toothblade, tactical Crystal spear, tactical Toothblade, microserrated Lumenstaff, advanced Toothblade, nanoserrated Crystal spear, sentinel Toothblade, ultraserrated Lumenstaff, elite Crystal spear, zero-edge

LEVEL

PRICE

DAMAGE

CRITICAL

2 2 3 5 7 9 11 16 17 18

800 550 1,600 3,400 6,850 12,700 25,500 176,000 240,000 390,000

1d6 B 1d6 P 1d6 P 2d4 P 2d6 B 4d4 P 4d6 P 12d4 P 10d6 B 11d6 P

Blind AR Embed AR 1d4 – Embed AR 2d4 Blind AR Embed AR 3d4 – Embed AR 4d4 Blind AR –

BULK SPECIAL 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1

Analog, block, bright, underwater Analog, underwater Analog, block, reach, thrown (20 ft.), underwater Analog, underwater Analog, block, bright, underwater Analog, underwater Analog, block, reach, thrown (20 ft.), underwater Analog, underwater Analog, block, bright, underwater Analog, block, reach, thrown (20 ft.), underwater

EXPLORING THE GALAXY Backgrounds Class Options Exploration System Equipment

LONGARMS TWO-HANDED WEAPONS SONIC Vortex rifle, pulse Vortex rifle, surge Vortex rifle, drum Vortex rifle, hammer

OVERVIEW

LEVEL

PRICE

3 6 12 17

1,400 4,150 38,000 250,000

DAMAGE RANGE 2d4 So 2d6 So 4d6 So 8d6 So

60 ft. 60 ft. 60 ft. 60 ft.

CRITICAL

CAPACITY USAGE BULK SPECIAL

Nauseate Nauseate Nauseate Nauseate

20 charges 20 charges 20 charges 40 charges

1 1 1 2

1 1 1 1

Breach AR, underwater Breach AR, underwater Breach AR, underwater Breach AR, underwater

INFINITE WORLDS Building Worlds Biomes Accord

WEAPONS

Alignment

Many weapons are less effective underwater, but the following weapons are useful both in and outside aquatic environments. Underwater Special Property: When used underwater, weapons with the underwater special property ignore the –2 penalty to attack rolls and deal full damage.

Magic Religion Technology

Crystal Spear

SANDBOX ADVENTURES

A creature wielding a crystal spear can tighten its grip on the spear to engage the crystal’s growth, giving the weapon extra reach. The new growth is brittle and collapses on contact, returning the spear to its original size and shape.

TOOLBOXES INDEX

Lumenstaff The tip of this staff is a hollow chamber packed with bioluminescent algae. Each time the lumenstaff strikes a solid object or creature, the force of the impact causes the contained algae to release a bright light, illuminating the area.

Toothblade Resembling a chainsaw’s blade, a toothblade is a large, serrated weapon. While traditionally crafted with shark’s teeth, a toothblade can be crafted with the teeth of any carnivorous predator. The blade slices through water efficiently, and particularly vicious blows result in some of the teeth dislodging from the weapon to embed in the target’s flesh.

Vortex Rifle A vortex rifle shoots a burst of sonic energy so powerful it generates a small vortex or whirlwind on impact. Well-aimed shots can overcome a target with waves of nausea. Vortex rifles also can be used to generate enough force to break down doors and walls. Vortex rifles can be found in pulse, surge, drum, and hammer varieties, which, in ascending order, generate increasingly powerful sonic waves.

BIOMES

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ARCTIC Many may not see the appeal of a climate locked in perpetual winter, but when the howling gusts settle, these frigid realms hold their own stark beauty, from the sharp scent of the cold and the soft silence of a gentle snowfall to the glitter of light on the ice under waxing moons.

As distant sunlight slants over the horizon on long summer days, or an aurora’s first prismatic hues splash across the skies, even those who can’t bear the cold may forget their discomfort momentarily. On stranger worlds, varied atmospheric gases may contribute to a rainbow of colors across the sky, within the frigid seas, and or even imbued in the snow itself. Adventurers exploring such mesmerizing, uninhabitable areas may trek across crystalline frozen seas, pilot small crafts through ice floes in frigid waters, climb stark cliffs of ice and rock, or lower each other down ominous, turquoise crevasses in search of lost secrets or new scientific discoveries. Though they may experience periods of solitude, adventurers will find the arctic is far from empty, encountering a variety of cold-weather creatures, secret bandit hideouts on drifting bergs, and thriving settlements. If adventurers hail from other biomes, the arctic may seem monotonous at first glance: ice and more ice. But even these frozen realms have abundant opportunities for rich biodiversity, and an endless variety of forces can shape an alien arctic region. Is the ice actually frozen water, or is it made of something else entirely? How might especially distant suns or multiple moons change the periods of darkness and light? How long are the seasons, and how does the landscape transform from one to the next? An arctic zone could consist of a vast landmass surrounded by fluctuating sea ice, or it might have little land at all, instead comprised mostly of frigid water and dark, crashing seas dotted with immense icebergs. Towering snowy peaks, rocky remote islands, blue-green ice caves, and inexorably advancing glaciers provide ample domain for a wide variety of life. Tundra typically has shallow scrub vegetation, if any, due to limited growing seasons and impenetrable permafrost, but on alien worlds, icy flora and fungi might adapt enough to flourish and grow tall. In such a frozen science-fantasy setting, massive bioluminescent mushrooms or thin, icy trees stand stark against the sky, providing faint light and brittle shelter—or masking unknown dangers. Even if ice isn’t a fertile landscape for flora, plenty of animal life exists in cold climes, from smaller amphibious birds and mammals to imposing predators, both on land and sea. Consider the impact a cold, stark climate might have on life-forms, as well as the ways they could shape their territory in return. In a land where high caloric intake, hibernation, and occasional migration are essential for survival, what creatures might have evolved to roam the cold, dark expanse of an alien arctic region? As for sentient inhabitants, those not adapted to or prepared for the realities of cold weather and limited light won’t last long in these regions. The long, dark winters and impossibly short growing seasons (if tundra suitable for agriculture exists at all) necessitate innovations for sustenance, whether inhabitants rely

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ARCTIC CELEBRATIONS Arctic cultures aren’t a monolith across worlds, but it’s not uncommon to mark shifting seasons with a gathering or celebration; in perennial darkness, many gather to celebrate the light (or the reverse for creatures who prefer the shadows). Adventures in these desolate landscapes that include fetes or spectacles are bound to be memorable. Perhaps visitors have arrived just in time for the region’s Aurora Festival, where intricate ice sculptures infused with bioluminescent agents or refractive crystals adorn famous midnight markets. Hosts might hold overnight vigils with elaborate dances, epic stories, and chilled delicacies reserved for special occasions.

on hunting and gathering or manage to cultivate sheltered crops and livestock through greenhouses and heated enclosures. Some worlds may have mineral exports from ocean or permafrost mining that enable arctic residents to rely on agricultural imports. Salvaged wrecks or mining operations can provide the metal components to construct cities on land or thick ice—or large icebreaker ships could become permanent sailing shelters for small communities, miniature nations in their own right. Less nomadic groups may turn to icy caves for natural shelter, as lumber is unlikely to be an option for construction. Larger communities might build sprawling domed settlements on (or in) a glacier where magic or innovative technologies provide light and heat that enables them to thrive, constructing sparkling towers of never-melting ice visible across the tundra for miles. Cultures that form around periods of weather-necessitated isolation or near-hibernation may be famous for the art and music they create while sequestered from the elements, or the scientific advances they make in icy labs and observatories. Reclusive arctic cities may be home to renowned observatories, theaters, or esteemed flight schools; elite pilots looking to test their skills against strong winds and slippery landings need look no further. With large predators and extreme weather, arctic regions are not considered particularly inviting or hospitable places for some sentient species, but hardy folk have found ways to adapt and thrive even in the bleakest environments.

ARCTIC ADVENTURERS Though the exact makeup of various arctic regions may vary from one planet to another, all arctic zones are characterized by their biting cold and limited light, and adventurers hailing from arctic regions often adapt well to the vast, cold darkness of space travel. Though a prominent aspect of arctic adventurers’ backgrounds, wilderness survival is not the exclusive focus for

GALAXY EXPLORATION MANUAL

2 OVERVIEW EXPLORING THE GALAXY Backgrounds Class Options Exploration System Equipment

INFINITE WORLDS Building Worlds Biomes Accord Alignment Magic Religion Technology

those raised in frigid climates. Scientists, engineers, architects, miners, and artists are also common, as well as merchants who handle essential imports and exports. Mercenaries and smugglers find plenty to keep themselves busy, and soldiers, bounty hunters, and outlaws may find a foothold on the tundra.

ARCTIC WORLDS Arctic biomes can form on any planet with a region that spends enough time distant from a sun, but planets with large enough orbits can be entirely arctic in nature. Some planets, like Triaxus in the Pact Worlds, might not be permanently arctic worlds, but experience winters so long that they remain arctic for centuries before the glaciers recede at summer’s return. In addition to natural causes, there might be plenty of reasons a planet remains locked in ice—a deity’s will, a planetary shield or forcefield that blocks light, a poisoned sun, or other mysterious interferences. A single-biome world won’t necessarily be uniform: an arctic planet may have incredibly cold polar regions with permanent ice that yields to mountainous tundra closer to the equator. Such planets commonly feature multicolored night skies over inexorable glaciers that shape and alter the landscape as they advance and recede, with oceans beneath that host formidable icebergs and unknown denizens of the frigid depths. Some arctic worlds might be entirely marine, with any settlements anchored to shifting sheets of ice adrift in the sea. Water may not even be the prime component of an arctic planet; perhaps the ecosystem instead consists of frigid, heavy gases or frozen chemical

compounds in a variety of colors. Some arctic worlds might be completely inimical to life, but if the planet is hospitable, flora and fauna—and indeed, any sapient residents—must adapt to lengthy periods of darkness, harsh winds, and minimal precipitation.

ARCTIC RULES AND REFERENCE

SANDBOX ADVENTURES TOOLBOXES INDEX

The Starfinder Core Rulebook has numerous applicable rules to help guide adventures in arctic realms. The desert terrain section on page 397 is a good place to start, as the lack of precipitation on the tundra qualifies it as an extremely cold desert. Cold dangers are discussed on page 400, followed by the mechanics for navigating icy terrain. Heavy winds, another common occurrence on the tundra, are covered starting on page 399. You can also find information on various atmospheres on pages 395–396, in case your arctic world’s atmosphere is less hospitable. Characters exploring frozen environments may run the risk of falling through thin ice; you can refer to the rules for falling into water on page 401. Pages 404–405 cover drowning and underwater combat if adventurers explore any arctic seas (accidentally or by choice). In this vein, the aquatic terrain section on pages 396–397 might also be useful. Living mounts are common in arctic biomes; the fleecy, eight-legged wollipeds are a hardy steed in cold regions. These domesticated herd animals are a common choice for a companion or steed (Starfinder Alien Archive 3 146–147). Further information on creature companions can be found in Alien Archive 3 on pages 138–147.

BIOMES

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ARCTIC TOOLBOX See Biome Subsections on page 46 for advice on how to use the following tables.

7

Local bandits are harassing a mining operation on the planet’s largest ice shelf. The miners claim they’re collecting mundane resources, but the bandits accuse them of a far more nefarious purpose, leading both groups to seek support.

8

The singing poet whales who swim between ice shelves in the arctic seas have always drawn admirers and researchers, but recently their songs have changed. Is this some kind of message— or warning? Who is it for?

ARCTIC INHABITANTS D% 1–4 5–8 9–12 13–16 17–20 21–24 25–28 29–32 33–36 37–40 41–44 45–48 49–52 53–56 57–60 61–64 65–68 69–72 73–76 77–80 81–84 85–88 89–92 93–96 97–100

SAPIENT Brenneri AA3 Cephalume AA3 Damai AA2 Dragon, siccatite AA3 Dragon, silver AA2 Dragon, white AA Dragonkin AA Espraksa AA3 Ghost AA2 Gray AA Kalo AA Kothama AA3 Lucandrian AA3 Maraquoi AA Moon Giant AA2 Morlamaw AA3 Reptoid AA Ryphorian AA Sarcesian AA Shimreen AA3 Shobhad AA Uplifted bear AA2 Verthani AA Vlaka AA2 Wrikreechee AA

THREAT Akata AA2 Arabuk AA4 Ashypsozoan AP22 Bloodbrother AA Deh-nolo AA Diaspora wyrm AA3 Dinosaur, plesiosaur AA2 Elemental, water AA Flayer leech AA3 Ghoul AA2 Glass serpent AA2 Gremlin, hobkins AA3 Hallajin AA Herd animal, aquatic AA2 Kyokor AA Marooned one AA Niaq AA4 Predator, arctic AA2 Scavenger slime AA Shantak AA2 Sharpwing AA Stormghost AA4 Thorgothrel AA3 Ursikka AA4 Wolliped AA3

ARCTIC ADVENTURE HOOKS D20 ADVENTURE HOOK An entire region’s temperature is dropping rapidly with no obvious explanation. As their world freezes over, several groups hoping to 1 protect their settlements and interests seek assistance uncovering the cause of this mysterious change. 2

3

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A shady offworld corporation drilling into the planet’s permafrost has awakened something ancient and terrible. Trying to keep their blunder quiet, they surreptitiously recruit teams to handle thethreat. A dangerous, arctic-adapted prisoner has escaped while in transit and is now hiding in the ice and snow. Rumors suggest that the prisoner has information about a criminal organization, and that law enforcement aren’t the only ones seeking to recapture them. An alien starship is discovered buried deep in the ice, its crash dated far before any similar technology appeared in the system. Does the wreck hold advanced alien technology? Or will its secrets perhaps rewrite the world’s entire history? A group of devoted solarians make a pilgrimage to an arctic zone during summer to observe and celebrate the long hours of daylight. A journalist covering the expedition discovers that it may have another grimmer purpose—then disappears. A new strain of purple lichen is spreading on the ice where nothing should be able to grow. Might this phenomenon lead to agricultural advances, or is the mysterious growth cause for concern?

INFINITE WORLDS

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The PCs are invited to an aurora festival in a remote tundra, but while perusing the vibrant midnight markets, they overhear a group of thieves planning to steal a priceless work of art from the PCs’ host. A newly active subglacial volcano has turned a previously frozen and impassible stretch of arctic wastes into a giant lake, connecting two communities that had been entirely cut off from each other. What opportunities and challenges arise from this new contact? A vlakan research expedition discovers a fallen meteor encased in ice with bizarre properties that disrupt nearby technology and magic. What’s causing the anomalies—and will the thaw release something deadly? Skyfire Legion protectors of an arctic settlement have stopped communicating with their team, and the ryphorian and dragonkin pilot team sent to investigate has also disappeared without a trace. What secrets menace this region? A sparkling glacial palace boasts an ancient, expansive library. When a new cavern is discovered that may contain lost secrets of the Gap, numerous groups angle to gain access and decipher the information first. Crevasses have been opening in the ice with alarming and unnatural frequency, and scientists project that the next crevasse will open underneath their research station. What’s causing these rifts to appear, and can they be stopped in time? An extinct volcano now covered in rime is rumored to hold a dragon’s vast treasure, and several groups of adventurers and bandits are vying to be the first to find the lair—and avoid its guardian. Xenoarchaeologists have discovered alien ruins under the ice while working to cultivate a more hospitable settlement zone. Do the ruins they’ve uncovered hold the answers to the previous inhabitants’ disappearance, and what might this mean for future settlers? A technomancer scholar from the Preita Institute of Technology disappears after winning a corporate contract, and executives suspect that an isolated, storm-wracked city is involved. They’re looking for a team to brave the ursikka-infested ice fields surrounding the city and investigate within. A strange new aurora has begun to fill the upper reaches of the skies and seems to cause unbalancing effects on resident creatures, including the sapient population. Tensions are rising as new cults emerge daily with conflicting ideas about what the phenomenon means. A pack of frost squoxes has become so aggressive that a university student research group had to hole up on an iceberg for safety. The young scientists hope their rescuers can help them determine what’s causing the squoxes’ ferocity. A ruling council of mystics is looking for a covert party to investigate disturbances among local sentient ice caves, which are central to their cultural traditions. What could be upsetting the delicate balance in this magical and wintry ecosystem? Is it the work of a subversive element?

GALAXY EXPLORATION MANUAL

2

LIGHT ARMOR ARMOR MODEL

LEVEL

PRICE

EAC BONUS

ThermSkin I Ursikka carapace, synthetic ThermSkin II ThermSkin III Ursikka carapace, traditional ThermSkin IV

3 5 6 10 11 15

1,275 4,000 5,900 21,800 41,000 120,000

+2 +5 +6 +12 +13 +17

KAC BONUS +3 +6 +7 +14 +15 +18

MAXIMUM DEX BONUS +4 +5 +5 +5 +6 +7

ARMOR CHECK PENALTY – – – – – –

SPEED UPGRADE ADJUSTMENT SLOTS – 0 – 0 – 1 – 3 – 2 – 4

BULK L L L L L L

Moraine mantle, bedrock Moraine mantle, gneiss Moraine mantle, orogen

EXPLORING THE GALAXY Backgrounds Class

HEAVY ARMOR ARMOR MODEL

OVERVIEW

Options

LEVEL

PRICE

EAC BONUS

3 6 10

1,100 5,700 19,800

+5 +9 +15

KAC BONUS +7 +11 +18

ARMOR While developed with arctic terrain in mind, the suits of armor described below also have benefits applicable in other environments.

Moraine Mantle The sturdy moraine mantle resembles the bleak, rocky tundra where it first originated, with extremely durable crystal and ceramic plating that makes its wearer appear encased in sheets of rock or ice. Born of a desire to shield wearers from large predators as well as the elements, this heavy armor is well-suited for defending a settlement or mining the icy depths, though its bulk makes it less suitable for long-range missions across the ice. An airtight crystalline visor and buoyancy contingents are built in for emergency submersion should a wearer misjudge the soundness of the surrounding terrain. The mantle’s gneiss and orogen models grant resistance 5 to cold.

ThermSkin ThermSkin is a lightweight, form-fitting suit of flexible carbon fiber and blended fabrics that prioritizes ease and quickness of movement, even in harsh environments. It compensates for its lack of insulating layers with a webbing of temperature-regulating lines that run across the entire suit like meridians, glowing dimly with shifting multicolored lights as if mirroring the auroras in the sky. The faint glimmer can be increased if additional light is needed, or dampened in situations where stealth is necessary. A black opaque helmet provides additional protection, glare reduction, and life-support technology. The sleek design also holds up well in the water

MAXIMUM DEX BONUS +1 +2 +2

ARMOR CHECK PENALTY –4 –4 –4

SPEED UPGRADE BULK ADJUSTMENT SLOTS –10 ft. 1 3 –10 ft. 2 3 –10 ft. 4 3

when exploring frigid arctic seas or taking an unexpected spill off an iceberg. Full suits of ThermSkin II and III grant resistance 5 to cold, and ThermSkin IV grants resistance 10 to cold.

Exploration System Equipment

INFINITE WORLDS Building Worlds Biomes Accord

Ursikka Carapace The fierce insects of Triaxus’s southern glacier evolved sharp claws and heavy fur to contend with the planet’s long, harsh winters. Enterprising ryphorians have long used these materials to bolster their own survival prospects, salvaging everything they can from the slain or fallen beasts. The lightweight, curved carapace plates provide protection from wind, water, and weapons, while the layer of ursikka fur underneath traps heat. A fur-lined hood, gloves, and boots complete the cold-weather protection, and the traditional model grants resistance 10 to cold. For those unwilling to face down an ursikka—or, as in the case of most, whose worlds lack the fearsome creature’s presence in the first place—manufacturers produce a similar but synthetic version of ursikka carapace, using lab-created lightweight plating and synthetic fibers for insulation. Though easier to produce, the lightweight synthetics don’t provide quite the same level of protection from the elements without getting extremely bulky; a synthetic carapace grants only resistance 5 to cold. Because their design and coloration reflect so much of the natural world around them, both models of ursikka carapace grant a +4 circ*mstance bonus to Stealth checks to hide in an arcticenvironment.

BIOMES

Alignment Magic Religion Technology

SANDBOX ADVENTURES TOOLBOXES INDEX

59

DESERT A planet’s sun-bleached crust crunches loudly under heavy boots, breaking the silence and heightening the effect of the surface’s radiating heat. Small mammals hide among red rocks, and birds nest in ancient, towering cactus trunks.

Life in the desert bends toward two ruling forces: water and shelter. But apart from these, each desert is unique, providing a breadth of options for adventure. Caves born from nutrientrich lava beds of former tropical islands can offer quiet refuge to the galaxy’s outcasts. Slot canyons can obscure the hideaways of the most daring bandits—but these fugitives risk awakening long-sleeping predators slumbering at the center of such arid mazes. Though even a mundane world’s deserts can feel distinctly otherworldly, consider an alien landscape permanently tinged with saturated sunset oranges and pinks where obsidian rocks litter the ground and swarms of large insects trail dusty clouds of fragrant, glittering pollen. On another world, a forest of deep blue cacti begins to open 3-foot-wide pronged blooms filled with potent and fuel-efficient nectar. Still other deserts might offer nutrient-rich soil, where epiphytic plants cling to the remains of long-dead trees, providing both shelter and sustenance to a troop of miniature two-headed marsupials. The most desolate deserts are disorienting, wholly unforgiving, and unavoidable on older planets. Environmental obstacles such as windstorms carrying tsunamis of lung-blocking, equipment-wrecking sand require specialized respirators and constant maintenance of sensitive gear. Extended journeys on foot may be severely limited by the heat of the day, leaving travelers to navigate under a bitterly cold night sky. Unadapted vehicles can quickly become a liability in this landscape; lack of replacement parts or specialty equipment will leave travelers no choice but to improvise repairs and upgrades with whatever can be found and more heavily rely on desert inhabitants for support and fuel. Such inhabitants, meanwhile, might cling to rare oases, building a rich civilization around these fonts of life among the desolation, or might travel in nomadic groups, possibly cleaving together with systems of barter for rare resources, or constantly fighting over what little is available. For a visitor, an afternoon spent stranded behind a lone mechanic’s shop could provide some quiet downtime to gaze outward as the blinding sky and sand blurs into an indistinguishable horizon, a soft wind carrying the scent of the spiny sagebrush that still manages to cling to life.

DESERT ADVENTURERS Survival in the desert requires cooperation and unwavering camaraderie among settlements. Adventurers must form a hardened symbiotic relationship with the land, its native lifeforms, and the elements. Though deserts frequently attract outsiders looking to exploit the terrain for valuable metals and energy resources, they also draw small, science-driven communities studying now-extinct specimens to further advance medical or magical technologies. Desert adventurers are usually well-adapted

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DESERT GATHERINGS The solitude of the desert makes it the perfect place for nonconformists to form their own townships unburdened by the conflict, hazards, and bureaucracies of larger settlements. Here, visitors can encounter great artistic masters who create elaborate pieces from scrap augmented with glittering arcane fragments, or breakthrough musicians who play on instruments constructed of spare vehicle parts and circuit boards. On the other hand, some of these communities reject most technology altogether, relying on only the most essential communicators and energy sources. Experts there might demonstrate how to craft useful items and improved gear specific to the desert from natural resources. Other townships might be more ephemeral, the product of a tremendous seasonal celebration that has drawn the attention of thousands of off-world visitors to experience fantastic and weird spectacles, enhanced by the swirling ionization of the sky above. Locals and important visitors alike might go missing in the frenzy of a wild concert crowd, their absence unnoticed until the lights and sound finally fade at dawn.

to extreme and unpredictable conditions. They’ve cultivated keen, practical Engineering and Survival skills to repair and upgrade their gear and vehicles as needed. They can weather prolonged isolation and expertly navigate confrontations with deadly, underfed fauna. They’ve often trained in Athletics to self-arrest on rocks during windstorms and heft durable stone to reinforce structures, and their keen intuitive nature has heightened their Perception, helping them dodge camouflaged carrion creatures. Characters who hail from more insular settlements may strike others as unsettlingly quiet or otherwise bizarre in conversation. Some prefer long-form and meandering conversation, while others offer few words, if any. The backdrop of the desert inspires innovation and deeper connection, offering sprawling space for the galaxy’s most capable spiritual travelers, tinkerers, artisans, and general misfits to thrive.

DESERT WORLDS Desert biomes are commonly found on planets that orbit closer to their suns. Still, a degrading atmosphere, an aging star, or stranger factors can cause deserts to continuously spread on nearly any terrestrial world. For some planets, like Akiton—a dying world in the Pact Worlds system—the ecosystem’s decline is starkly evident. On the oldest of desert worlds, a complete lack of stored surface water exposes the ghosts of their oceans and reveals deep reliefs of steep mountain ranges and channels. Despite this, these planets can experience short, thick muddy

GALAXY EXPLORATION MANUAL

2 OVERVIEW EXPLORING THE GALAXY Backgrounds Class Options Exploration System Equipment

INFINITE WORLDS Building Worlds Biomes Accord Alignment Magic Religion Technology

rainstorms and flash flooding. In their polar regions, this rain can freeze to form heavy, dirty flakes up to a foot in diameter. Major wind events occur with great regularity, eroding even the most colossal mountains into dappled purple and bright white dunes. Younger worlds may still maintain seasonal seas able to support gentle elephantine land mammals. The hub of such a planet might be a shielded oasis that resembles something like a typical tropical island, serving as a vacation destination for affluent residents and visitors. Alternatively, civilization could be in the middle of transition after a planet-wide dust storm devastated the above-ground infrastructure, forcing residents to flee to other planets and leaving those with less resources behind to fend for themselves and forge a new way of life. When winter falls on such a planet, the thick atmosphere casts deep burgundy light onto the skeletons of former palaces, museums, apartments, schools, and markets, where creatures displaced by the storm begin to take up residence. Though water is universally lacking on desert planets, deep underground aquifers might still rest under bygone forests, cities, and volcanic mountain ranges, allowing the world’s ecosystems to flourish. Where a reef once filled fishers’ nets, leathery terrestrial descendants of octopi might now flex their tentacles to hide among blighted coral, searching for prey to snap up with their razor-sharp beaks. The exposed bones of an ancient city could become overrun by innumerable brightly colored succulents, their roots running deep into unused sewer systems. A desert within a desert, large swaths of equatorial land may form into pools of

slick, holographic glass that creates hallucinogenic refractions and audibly sizzles from miles away, often interfering with any technology that comes within range.

DESERT RULES AND REFERENCE

SANDBOX ADVENTURES TOOLBOXES INDEX

The desert terrain section on page 397 of the Starfinder Core Rulebook is a good starting point for the dangers adventurers might face in these challenging environments, including navigating and enduring desert conditions. Further, the rules for heat dangers on page 402–403 and storms on page 398–399 are relevant to all travel within this biome during any season. Explorers navigating a desert may choose to don patchwork dust manta hide armor (Alien Archive 2 47), providing them additional concealment and protection. Kasathas originally hail from Kasath, a desert world, and most retain their ability to move through difficult terrain in deserts with ease. In the Pact Worlds, Akiton (Pact Worlds 48) is a hugely varied desert planet, while Fullbright, an entire hemisphere of the tidally locked Verces (Pact Worlds 58), is constantly sun-scorched. Vehicles, frequently modified beyond recognition of their original models, are the primary method of transport among the swaths of arid nothingness, creating the opportunity for chase encounters, races, and obstacles that are an everyday reality of desert life. Rules for vehicle chases are found on pages 282–287 of the Core Rulebook, and the Desert Environment subsection on page 286 provides more detailed tips for running a desert chase.

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DESERT TOOLBOX See Biome Subsections on page 46 for advice on how to use the following tables.

6

Major trade routes across the desert are under constant attack by an infamous gang of raiders who hide their whereabouts in a dizzying forest of thin, rocky spires, their tactics directed by a mysterious leader shrouded in wild rumors.

7

A catastrophic storm has plunged the world into endless night, causing crops to die and residents to flee offworld. Stranded locals and cultural relics alike need rescuing before the atmosphere completely degrades.

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The migration patterns of electrified creatures have suddenly and unseasonably changed. Their passage will soon take them over a domed vacationer’s paradise where their energy fields will disrupt the power systems that protect the tourists and staff.

DESERT INHABITANTS D% 1–4 5–8 9–12 13–16 17–20 21–24 25–28 29–32 33–36 37–40 41–44 45–48 49–52 53–56 57–60 61–64 65–68 69–72 73–76 77–80 81–84 85–88 89–92 93–96 97–100

SAPIENT Bolida AA2 Contemplative AA Dragon, abysium AA3 Dragon, gold AA2 Dragonkin AA Endiffian AP7 Formian AA Ghibrani, husk AP5 Giant, sun AP17 Haan AA Ihonva AP11 Ikeshti AA Iztheptar AP8 Kasatha Oracle of Oras AA3 Planar scion, suli AP14 Quorlu AA2 Reptoid AA Ryphorian AA Shirren Shobhad AA Strix PW Urog AA Witchwyrd AA Ysoki

THREAT Acrochor AP4 Crest-eater AA Dinosaur, dromaeosaurid AA2 Dinosaur, thyreophoran AA2 Dust manta AA2 Electrovore AA Elemental, earth AA Ellicoth AA Herd animal, desert AA2 Mephit, radiation AP14 Moonflower AA2 Mountain eel AA Predator, desert AA2 Rageshkor, rock AA4 Robot, mining AP10 Salamander AP14 Scavenger slime AA Solar wisp AA2 Spookfish swarm AP30 Supenga AA4 Synapse worm AP7 Thermophilic ooze AP21 Veolisk AP3 Void palm AP8 Wysp, fire AP15

DESERT ADVENTURE HOOKS D20 ADVENTURE HOOK A rare and beautiful medicinal flower’s first super bloom in centuries is expected to occur in the foothills just outside the 1 planet’s capital city, attracting tourists, alarming surface botanists, and enticing enterprising smugglers.

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A sinkhole has appeared in a bustling marketplace, revealing an elaborate series of tunnels and broadcasting the threatening and haunting calls of unseen creatures. Locals are looking for a group to enter the sinkhole and locate its source, charting the underground system along the way.

3

The annual dune rallies are about to begin! All sorts of competitors, both local and from across the galaxy, are vying to enter, qualify, and win to claim the grand prize—a priceless arcane artifact—all while fending off ruthless competition on and off the course.

4

The water and energy systems in a desert settlement begin to collapse, sinking further into the sand each day, with no discernible natural cause. While the residents welcome outside help, the local government blames any further damage on outsiders’ arrival and interference.

5

A survey crew goes missing while studying nutrient-dense crystals lining the bottom of an evaporated ocean. With the camp left intact and no signs of struggle, it’s up to a brave group of rescuers to find them.

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A strange metaphysical shift recently revealed that a previously impassible stretch of dunes was in fact a permanent mirage hiding a vast, empty city of untold wealth. The discovery draws opportunists and scientists alike. Larger-than-normal dust storms issuing from a remote part of the desert are wreaking havoc in other regions of the world. Local environmental and governmental authorities are looking for adventurers to investigate the potential source of the phenomenon. Vehicles carrying loads from a food-modification district to smaller desert outposts have been found destroyed and abandoned. Stranger still, the crates of produce appear to have been broken open from the inside. Surveyors locate plentiful subterranean lakes underneath a desert plateau—an ideal spot for a new settlement. However, the entire survey crew disappears without a trace... until one of their walking corpses shambles out of the desert. A merchant begins selling capsules of powdery blue silt, claiming that it increases endurance and promotes wellness. Though it’s a rapid success, failure to disclose its source—a forbidden shrine in a vast salt flat—results in nightly phantom attacks. A remote rest stop in the desert is the last known location of a string of disappeared travelers. A living hologram has taken over the depot and has been capturing visitors, forcing them to build it a new machine body so it can escape from its desert prison. A desert starport is infamous for scavengers that pick ships clean while their crews are distracted by the famed local cactus-bloom liquor. But the robbers have just relieved a notorious gang of its latest haul, and someone must intervene before tensions erupt into a war. Each year, highly valuable and culturally revered bioluminescent moths return to the cactus forest. This year, they haven’t arrived on time, nor have they been spotted along their migratory route, throwing local traditions into chaos. A powerful water elemental is holding an entire desert region ransom by withholding the much-needed annual rains. None have been able to determine the elemental’s exact demands. An old and unused system of beacons for communicating during ionic storms suddenly lights up, sending an incoherent distress call that speaks of living sandstorms and animated dunes. Farmers across the biome report that the aquifers they rely on have abruptly run dry. An exploratory team ventures into the empty ducts to find massive, swollen moonflower root balls that are about to break the desert’s surface. A roving settlement of wind-powered dune skimmers is rapidly approaching a more permanent desert settlement. Does the approaching community offer hope of trade and cultural exchange, or something far more sinister?

GALAXY EXPLORATION MANUAL

VEHICLES While often found in desert biomes, these vehicles are useful in a variety of terrain types. Rules for vehicles can be found on pages 228–229 of the Core Rulebook and page 136 of Starfinder Armory.

COMBAT SANDRAIL

LEVEL 11

PRICE 73,000

Large land vehicle (5 ft. wide, 10 ft. long, 5 ft. high) Speed 30 ft., full 500 ft., 55 mph EAC 24; KAC 25; Cover none HP 150 (75); Hardness 8 Attack (Collision) 10d10 B (DC 18) Attack advanced rotolaser AR (2d8 F; critical burn 1d6) Modifiers +1 Piloting, –1 attack (–3 at full speed) Systems planetary comm unit; Passengers 2

Modifiers +2 Piloting, –2 attack (–4 at full speed) Passengers 1

SPECIAL ABILITIES

Overclocking Dampener (Ex) Three times per day as a swift action, a rally jammer’s pilot can overclock its systems to boost its speed an additional 10 ft. for 1 round.

DESCRIPTION

Built for competitive racing, rally jammers are flashy amalgams of borrowed mechanical parts, polished into a unique, ramshackle hover vehicle. As a result of this patchwork design, rally jammers are almost fully manual, with only the most essential software to monitor overall system stability.

OVERVIEW EXPLORING THE GALAXY Backgrounds Class Options Exploration System Equipment

INFINITE WORLDS

SPECIAL ABILITIES

Dermacrystal Coating (Ex) The body and engine system of the sandrail is coated with a composite of microfine crystals and sand, forming a hard glassy barrier that allows it to skim across a desert as though it was flat terrain instead of difficult or rough terrain. Long Jump Booster (Ex) Once per day, the pilot can take a standard action to use the sandrail’s long jump booster, propelling the vehicle up to 20 ft. vertically and up to its full speed horizontally.

Building Worlds Biomes Accord Alignment Magic Religion

DESCRIPTION

Technology

The combat sandrail skims over fine dust and sand, powered by a dynamic rear engine and a set of twin propulsion fans. Its lack of wheels and tubular roll cage keep the vehicle ultralight, and a passenger can fire from a small platform set on top of the engine.

HOGBACK

2

SANDBOX ADVENTURES TOOLBOXES

LEVEL 3

INDEX

PRICE 4,100

Large land vehicle (5 ft. wide, 10 ft. long, 3 ft. high) Speed 30 ft., full 550 ft., 60 mph EAC 13; KAC 14; Cover none HP 24 (12); Hardness 4 Attack (Collision) 5d4 B (DC 12) Attack pulse staccato rifle AR (1d10 So; critical deafen) Modifiers +3 Piloting, –1 attack (–3 at full speed) Systems planetary comm unit; Passengers 1

DESCRIPTION

The hogback is a rough-riding, battle-ready motorcycle that has been heavily modified to sprint across loose dirt, rocks, and sand. Though exact make and model vary, all hogbacks are agile and lightweight sprinters boasting deafening bass engines, enhanced suspensions, and robust gripping tires.

RALLY JAMMER

LEVEL 6

PRICE 14,000

Large land and air vehicle (5 ft. wide, 10 ft. long, 5 ft. high) Speed 40 ft., full 700 ft., 80 mph (hover) EAC 15; KAC 17; Cover cover HP 76 (38); Hardness 6 Attack (Collision) 6d8 B (DC 14)

BIOMES

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FOREST Tree branches sway in a breeze that resonates with insect trills, bird calls, and the scuffling of unseen creatures in the undergrowth. Alien ferns and other undergrowth compete for shards of sunlight that pierce the dense canopy, and the ground is soft with decomposing leaves.

Forests can be one of the most important and biodiverse biomes on a planet, serving as massive natural recycling centers and homes for countless denizens, all of which survive in an intricate web of interdependent symbiotic relationships. Forests exist in almost every climate, from frigid taigas to sweltering jungles. Tropical rainforests tend to have the greatest biodiversity of any biome, boasting plants, animals, and even societies of sapient creatures that might be entirely unique to the world—or even the galaxy. Widely varied even in their most mundane manifestations, alien forests are rich with bizarre possibilities. A jungle might be a labyrinth of crystalline, silicon-based plant life, or it might be filled with wildlife that evolved to project strange illusions that ward off predators. In one forest, some trees might bend toward unseen mystical energies instead of the sun, intersecting with nonmagical plant life at odd angles. In another, trees may grow into shapes that channel wind into haunting melodies that prophesize the future. Besides the thrill of discovery, forests typically contain an abundance of natural resources, such as food, lumber, fuel, or medicinal plants. Dense tree cover can also provide the perfect place to lay low for anyone on the run or just simply fed up with the demands of an urban lifestyle. Life in a forest revolves around its trees, whose shape, size, and structure can vary wildly even on Earth-like planets. On a world with low gravity, slender-trunked trees might stretch hundreds of feet into the air, with branches and leaves that spread and sway in the slightest breeze like sea anemones in the ocean. In high gravity, trees could be much shorter and stouter, perhaps even wider than they are tall, as they struggle to move nutrients against powerful gravitational forces. In any forest, all manner of strange creatures adapt to these different forms. Sapient creatures who make forests their homes are as diverse in their interactions with the biome as forests themselves. Some inhabitants might spend their entire lives flying or swinging from branch to branch among the canopy, never setting foot on the forest floor. Others might tap into the forest canopy, capturing energy gained via photosynthesis and distributing it to advanced technologies among its shade. Those who live in the dense and dark undergrowth may develop senses more powerful than sight and might live in mobile and makeshift structures that can be as difficult to spot as they are easy to move. Those who build more permanent structures often do so in tangent with the surrounding trees, building their homes in sprawling woven-vine villages or among complex root systems. However a species adapts to its forest home, it’s likely to be closely intertwined with the ecosystem. A forest-dwelling sapient species might form symbiotic relationships with fungi or parasitic plants that

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USEFUL FOREST GEAR Trekking through the woods can be a challenge. Be sure to bring the right equipment! Antitoxin: Tropical rain forests and jungles are home to all kinds of poisonous plants and insects. Cable Line: Depending on your mission, you might need to do some tree-climbing. Keep the party secured so no one falls. Clearsight GogglesAR: Need to see through jungle foliage, misty rainforests, or boreal snowfall? Better bring a pair of these. Grappler: How else to get your cable line up the tree? Habitat Box AR: Keep any samples you might collect in a portable stable environment. Hammock AR: Hang this useful item from tree branches to avoid ground-prowling predators. SightAR: Enemies taking cover behind trees? With one of these, that’s not a problem! Starfinder BackpackAR: Hikes are hard enough without all the gear youmust bring along. It’s best to have a way to carry it all. Survival StrawAR: Plants might store water you can drink in an emergency; use this to filter and purify it before drinking. Swarmproof BanglesAR: No one wants to be bothered by bugs during a hike. Prehensile TailAR: Monkey see, monkey do! Perhaps one of the most effective ways of traversing a forest is to follow the lead of the native inhabitants. Travel TreadsAR: These can help make overland travel a little less strenuous, as well as help you avoid getting stuck in heavy undergrowth.

concentrate needed nutrients from the trees, or they might develop elaborate rituals for living in peace with apex predators that would otherwise eradicate them.

FOREST ADVENTURERS Forests are often the source of livelihood for those living in or around them. Those from forest biomes might be hunters, poachers, farmers, biologists, or loggers. Adventurers who grew up near a forest might have climbed trees to find food or simply for fun, increasing their Athletics skill. Balancing on moss-covered branches and navigating intertwined canopies require deft Acrobatics. Survival and Life Science are important, both for not getting lost and for knowing which creatures are dangerous and which foods are safe to eat. Stealth and Perception help those who need to stay alert for potential dangers, but are of special importance to hunters, whose livelihood can rely on noticing prey before being noticed by predators.

GALAXY EXPLORATION MANUAL

2 OVERVIEW EXPLORING THE GALAXY Backgrounds Class Options Exploration System Equipment

INFINITE WORLDS Building Worlds Biomes Accord Alignment Magic Religion Technology

FOREST WORLDS It’s not uncommon for terrestrial worlds to have land masses predominantly covered in forests—that is, until native societies reach a phase of rapid industrialization. But a forest planet isn’t necessarily a monoculture of the same trees for countless thousands of miles. Boreal forests, temperate forests, and tropical forests are capable of hosting a multitude of different life-forms and thrive in different environments. A forested planet doesn’t have to consist of only land masses. Forests of kelp or other underwater plants serve as havens for all sorts of life. Forests in tropical environs are the most ecologically diverse, with thick canopies and nutrient-poor soil, and typically stay the same temperature year-round. Temperate forests are more likely to experience seasonal cycles, such as leaves changing color and falling off in autumn and winter and regrowing in the spring. Because of this cycle, creatures typically use the plentiful warmer months to stock up and prepare for the colder, sparser months. The flora and fauna of boreal forests have adapted to extremely cold temperatures; the trees are typically evergreens with needle-like leaves, and the animals have thick coats of fur, feathers, or layers of insulating fat. Areas that experience a dry season can be at risk of forest fires. While devastating in the short term, these fires serve a purpose by leaving behind fertile soil from which new life can grow. Sapient beings might even utilize this by burning swathes of land to make room for crops. Large fauna can also have a significant impact on the environment, their movement clearing

trails on the forest floor that last for generations and are used by many other species. Large creatures might also uproot entire trees, making room for new growth.

FOREST RULES AND REFERENCE

SANDBOX ADVENTURES TOOLBOXES INDEX

Basic rules information on forest terrain already appears on page 397 of the Core Rulebook. Here you can find hardness, HP, and climbing DCs for your average tree, though these could all certainly change depending on the particulars of your forest. Trees and undergrowth also provide cover, the rules for which can be found on pages 253–254 in the Core Rulebook, though remember that not all forests are thick with undergrowth—old-growth forests like rainforests don’t allow enough light to the floor for much to grow. Rules for rain (Core Rulebook 398) and fog (Core Rulebook 399) can also come in handy for rainforests in particular. In rainforests and jungles, deadly insects and reptiles can invoke the affliction rules (Core Rulebook 414), especially those for poisons (Core Rulebook 415). In a boreal forest, the rules for snow (Core Rulebook 398) and for cold dangers (Core Rulebook 400) might come in handy, as temperatures in that environment can easily reach extreme cold. If you expect a vehicle chase in a forest, you can use the sample chase environment (Core Rulebook 287) for some obstacles your PCs might encounter. For examples of forest worlds, look at locations on Castrovel’s primal continent Ukulam (Pact Worlds 36), such as the unmappable Caliria Maze jungle, or Triaxus’s Doraeshi Rain Forest (Pact Worlds 104), an ecological wonder capable of adapting to the extreme seasons of Triaxus.

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FOREST TOOLBOX See Biome Subsections on page 46 for advice on how to use the following tables.

7

FOREST INHABITANTS D% 1–4 5–8 9–12 13–16 17–20 21–24 25–28 29–32 33–36 37–40 41–44 45–48 49–52 53–56 57–60 61–64 65–68 69–72 73–76 77–80 81–84 85–88 89–92 93–96 97–100

SAPIENT Cerebric fungus AA2 Dessamar AA3 Dragon, green AA Entu symbiote AA4 Espraksa AA3 Formian AA Ghoran AA2 Goblin, space AA Hortus AA3 Huitz’plina AA4 Izalguun AA3 Jububnan AA4 Kalo AA Kiirinta AA4 Maraquoi AA Muneen AP23 Neskinti AP8 Oracle of Oras AA3 Pahtra AA2 Raxilite AA3 Spathinae AA3 Uplifted Bear AA2 Valnarum AP23 Vlaka AA2 Xaarb AP8

THREAT Aerial devil AP25 Defrex AA3 Eohi AP4 Feeder fungus AP20 Frujai AA Hobgar AP7 Jubsnuth AP5 Kaukariki AP2 Ksarik AA Moonflower AA2 Paralith AP8 Rageshkor, green AA4 Renkroda, whiskered AP2 Seed walker AP24 Sharpwing AA Shotalashu AA2 Stroxha AP22 Synapse worm AP7 Tashtari AA2 Troll AA3 Veolisk AP3 Void palm AP8 Vracinea AA3 Writher swarm AP4 Yaruk AP2

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FOREST ADVENTURE HOOKS D20 ADVENTURE HOOK After a security breach at a wildlife conservation compound, a number of exceedingly rare and endangered animals have been let 1 loose into the surrounding forest. Conservationists call for their safe return, while a frightened local populace wants the creatures exterminated immediately. A group of uplifted bears has taken up residence in a forest on land owned by a powerful corporation. Their leader has issued a 2 declaration that rejects technology and promotes a return to the simplicity of nature.

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Centuries of rapid industrialization by the native species has left a planet’s forests on the brink of complete destruction. Recently, something has begun animating the trees to fight back.

4

A conservation group hopes to start a controlled breeding program to increase the population of a critically endangered arboreal species. They need guards to escort them to a specific part of a dangerous forest, the only known location of the creatures.

5

An epidemic threatens the populace, and the best chance of a cure lies in a flower that is only found in an ancient rain forest far from civilization reportedly guarded by an especially protectivekami.

6

A fire elemental whose rare sojourns through the forest set the environment ablaze—helping control the forest’s otherwise rampant growth—is missing. Locals call for help to find the missingelemental.

INFINITE WORLDS

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Researchers in a petrified forest claim that parts of the forest have suddenly and inexplicably come to life, its rocky forms growing, moving, and even multiplying as though still made of biologicalmaterial. Every 1,000 years, an entire forest of immense trees uproots itself and migrates hundreds of miles in search of richer soil, trampling everything in its path. The planet’s only sapient creatures arrived from offworld relatively recently—and they built their settlements directly in the forest’s path. An environmental advocacy group is desperate for outside help in proving that a logging company is exceeding its governmental charter and cutting down wide swaths of protected forest, including a sacred magical grove. A tenacious and quickly mutating plant species has recently broken through the thick jungle canopy. Its new direct access to sunlight is enabling it to rapidly evolve into a mobile and predatory plant creatures that threaten to devour all nearby life. No one knows why local fauna have been fleeing a forest in droves. The only bit of evidence discovered so far is the presence of small, shallow, and perfectly circular wounds at the base of the animals’spines. Strange spores have spread into settlements near the forest’s edge, coating structures in a barely perceptible film. The inhabitants—sapient and nonsapient alike—seem unharmed so far, but many have developed an obsession with digging deep holes in the ground. A species of tree evolved to feed on radiation after a nuclear war decimated the rest of the planet’s indigenous life. A corporation wants to harvest and transplant the trees to put their unique ability to use, but the xenowardens oppose disrupting the planet’s delicate ecosystem. Loggers in a rarely visited part of the forest recently discovered the ancient skeletons of a humanoid alien species completely encased in felled trees, each equipped with ceremonial pieces of pre-Gap technology. After centuries of industrialization and urbanization, the wilds reclaimed a settlement overnight without warning, leaving structures totally overgrown with foliage and no sign of the once-dominant sapient species. Nearby inhabitants are alarmed and request immediate help investigating the phenomenon before it claims another settlement. An invasive alien species has entered a forest and quickly overpopulated the area, pushing out the natural flora or fauna. Now, the ecosystem is close to collapse and the local government is looking at drastic solutions.

A forest is slated to be clear-cut in one week to make room for crops and livestock, unless hard evidence is presented of 17 the near-mythical creature that calls it home, which would automatically qualify the forest as a protected area. In the Murmuring Grove, the trees whisper to one another constantly. Some say their conversations speak of long-lost 18 secrets. Recently, scientists translated some of these whispers as geographical coordinates. An apex predator, capable of looking exactly like a tree until the moment it strikes, recently chose a hunting ground that includes 19 a forest settlement. Inhabitants are desperate for help in dealing with the dangerous creature. A region once thought to be a diverse forest ecosystem was recently discovered to be the offshoot of a single, massive, 20 underground organism that spans hundreds of square miles. And something is agitating the creature toward violence.

GALAXY EXPLORATION MANUAL

CREATURE COMPANIONS

Izhash Companions

While the following creatures are native to forest environments, characters anywhere in the galaxy that meet the level requirement can choose one as a companion. The full rules for creature companions are available in Alien Archive 3 starting on page 138.

Originating in the jungles of Ukulam on Castrovel, izhashes are fearsome ambush predators with sensitive feeler tendrils.

Bhanda Companions Bhandas are slender, pale, lemur-like creatures that mimic the hunting cry of a winged apex predator to flush out prey.

BHANDA

LEVELS 4–11

Small magical beast Senses darkvision 60 ft., low-light vision Good Save Ref; Poor Saves Fort, Will Speed 30 ft., climb 20 ft. Melee Attack bite (P) Space 5 ft. Reach 5 ft. Ability Modifiers Dex, Cha

IZHASH

LEVELS 11–20

Large plant Senses blindsight (vibration) 60 ft., sightless Good Save Fort; Poor Saves Ref, Will Speed 50 ft. Melee Attack bite (P) Ranged Attack adhesive spit (A) Space 10 ft. Reach 10 ft. Ability Modifiers Con, Str

SPECIAL ABILITIES

SPECIAL ABILITIES

Horrific Shriek (Su) Every 1d4 rounds, a bhanda can shriek as a standard action. All creatures within 30 feet except for you must succeed at a Will saving throw (DC = 10 + half the bhanda’s level + the bhanda’s Charisma modifier) or gain the shaken condition for 1 round. Creatures that fail their saving throw against a bhanda’s horrific shriek can’t be affected by that bhanda’s horrific shriek for 24 hours. Unnerving Gaze (Su) As long as your bhanda is adjacent to you, you gain a +2 circ*mstance bonus to Intimidate checks against creatures within 30 ft. that can see your bhanda, and the DC of any spell you cast with the fear descriptor increases by 1.

Adhesive Spit (Ex, 12th level) Every 1d4 rounds, an izhash can launch a tether of sticky strands as a ranged attack against EAC with a range of 60 feet. A creature hit by this attack must succeed at a Reflex saving throw (DC = 10 + half the izhash’s level + the izhash’s Strength modifier) or become entangled for 1 round. Creatures entangled by this ability are immobile and tethered to the izhash. Compression (Ex) Your izhash can move through an area as small as one-quarter of its space without squeezing or one-eighth its space when squeezing.

OVERVIEW EXPLORING THE GALAXY Backgrounds Class Options Exploration System Equipment

INFINITE WORLDS Building Worlds Biomes Accord Alignment Magic Religion Technology

SANDBOX ADVENTURES

Ilskitt Companions

TOOLBOXES

Natives of Vesk-3, ilskitts look like brightly colored owls with weasel-like torsos. They love to steal and hoard objects, and they are known to bring their owners gifts of items they “find.”

ILSKITT

2

INDEX

LEVELS 1–8

Tiny animal Senses darkvision 60 ft., low-light vision Good Save Ref; Poor Saves Fort, Will Speed 20 ft., climb 20 ft., fly 20 ft. (Ex, average) Melee Attack talon (S) Space 2-1/2 ft. Reach 0 ft. Ability Modifiers Dex, Wis

SPECIAL ABILITIES

Distracting (Ex) Ilskitts gain a +4 racial bonus to AC against attacks of opportunity for entering or leaving an opponent’s space. If your ilskitt is sharing an opponent’s space, that opponent takes a –2 penalty to Perception and Sense Motive checks. Filch (Ex) As a standard action, your ilskitt can attempt to steal an item that isn’t being wielded or worn from a creature within 60 feet of you using the pick pocket task of the Sleight of Hand skill. An ilskitt’s bonus to this check is 4 + the ilskitt’s level, or your Sleight of Hand bonus, whichever is higher. The target automatically succeeds at noticing the attempt.

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MARSH Wet, smelly, and buzzing with flies—the stereotypical marsh is hardly an attractive destination. But this image ignores the breadth of how wetlands manifest and overlooks the incredible biodiversity of alien quagmires, where the possibilities of life remain virtually endless.

Marshes can range from herbaceous territory of towering grasses that can hide any threat to swamps with shadow-casting trees—and far beyond. Do explorers trudge through the peaty sludge of a bog or clamber up a fen’s far drier inclines? Even riparian zones like riverbanks, flood plains, and estuaries meet the core criterion: consistently waterlogged soil. Add to that the wide range of temperatures of these marshes—from tropical mires to tundra that periodically thaws into ice-cold ponds—that provide a vast number of narrative and descriptive options. Wetlands are a literal slog to navigate, and those on foot endure the boot-sucking mud while brushing aside sheets of stubborn hanging moss and slapping away insistent insects. Marsh travel can also feature unusual vehicular travel: from explorers piloting fan boats while cruising an uncharted bayou to river pirates fleeing pursuit in a daring hovercraft chase. Common features of Earth-like marshes can become wild and strange when encountered in alien ecosystems. Under a blue sun, predatory rainbow eels the size of tree trunks undulate through the dark water, ominously rocking orange lily pads as they search for their next meals. The water pressure and surface tension on one high-gravity world can be so intense that foot-thick rafts of algae choke the mires, creating floating bridges stable enough to support an all-terrain buggy. Grasses in a low-gravity marsh may loom 30 feet high, able to hide even tremendous, broad-footed theropods that hunt by scent. Flora on another world produce toxic gases as a byproduct, which pool in dense clouds over the bog waters. Fauna have adapted to clamber and fly above these dead zones, and those who misstep tumble into the oxygen-starved waters only to mummify in the thick peat. Thankfully, marshes present as many opportunities as dangers. Only a rain forest surpasses a wetland’s biodiversity, and those animal, plant, and fungal resources can be the key to unlocking medical discoveries or simply represent a lucrative delicacy that wealthy patrons would pay well to acquire. While marshes are quick to swallow ruins and hide even the largest starship wrecks, their still waters inhibit decay in a way that makes excavating them one of the best ways to understand the past. And as an imposing biome that most civilizations hesitate to invade, a marsh can be an invaluable sanctuary for those who need to escape the hustle and bustle (and perhaps the arrest warrants) of modern society. Water shapes life in the wetlands—both through the abundance of moisture and also the seasonal periods when the ground becomes more dry. The most successful inhabitants straddle the line between being fully terrestrial or aquatic. Even nimble arboreal specialists like monkeys and cats must become adequate swimmers. Broad feet keep larger inhabitants from sinking irreversibly into the mud, allowing mid-sized sauropods,

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USEFUL MARSH GEAR Just because you have comm units and GPS doesn’t mean you’re ready to brave the marshes. Be sure to pack the right equipment. Cable Line: Whether you’re keeping you group together, hauling a friend out of the mud, or hoisting your shelter to a dry height, it’s essential. ChemalyzerAR: What’s that gas? Is that poisonous? A chemalyzer can help you find the answers. Emergency RaftAR: When wetlands descend to deep water, a boat is invaluable. Field Rations: It’s difficult enough to navigate marshes without having to also look for food. Gear Maintenance KitAR: If you won’t use it for yourself, at least use it to get rid of that swampy smell. Medpatch: Marshes often host diseases, and a few patches can treat typical infections. Navigator’s Tools: There are countless ways to get lost in marshes, so be prepared to find your way out. Survival StrawAR: Marshes might purify water, but you’ll want this straw to ensure it’s safe to drink. Swarmproof BanglesAR: Being slowed down is often a fair trade for not being bitten by insects. Travel Clothing: Pack an extra set to change into after you’ve reached dry land.

bovines, and pachyderms to graze on any foliage that can survive being submerged for months at a time. Many bogs and fens have poor soil nutrients, which drives plants to evolve carnivorous strategies to meet their needs. In an alien environment, these plants can grow to immense size, able to consume virtually any animal they encounter. Sapient non-aquatic inhabitants must contend with the constant wet conditions. For most, that means constructing elevated living spaces—such as woven tree houses built on sturdy platforms—creating floating settlements, or just selectively draining parts of the marsh to reclaim dry land. For aquatic species, seasonal droughts remain a bigger concern, inspiring the creation of artificial reservoirs that remain submerged year-round. Both kinds of sapient creatures benefit from dredging deep channels to form watery highways, with carefully maintained marshes transforming into webs of transit and aquaculture over generations.

MARSH ADVENTURERS Wetlands are fertile grounds for culture, research, and life. Farmers, fishers, biologists, and mariners are all excellent

GALAXY EXPLORATION MANUAL

2 OVERVIEW EXPLORING THE GALAXY Backgrounds Class Options Exploration System Equipment

INFINITE WORLDS Building Worlds Biomes Accord Alignment Magic Religion Technology

backgrounds for prospective adventurers raised in and around marshes, though more remote regions could as easily attract smugglers, fugitives, or even luddites who disdain the inexorable march of spaceflight and technology. Growing up in the wetlands hones an adventurer’s movement skills to navigate slippery banks and deep water, possibly represented by Athletics and Acrobatics. The wide range of poisonous, disease-bearing, and outright carnivorous organisms paired with the ample natural resources also means that skills like Life Science and Survival are key to reaching maturity.

MARSH WORLDS Wetlands are common on terrestrial worlds, yet only a rare few planets are covered entirely by this biome. Such planets often have flat topography that’s conducive to supporting standing water and spongy soils, kept inundated either by consistent precipitation, powerful tides that draw water over vast estuaries, or both. On such worlds, even the rare mountain chains are low, creating rain shadows that channel water into low-lying areas while valleys accumulate steep fens. Because of the diverse range of wetlands, a single-biome planet can support countless varieties of life based on the nuances of drainage, elevation, and soil type, with regional boundaries defined by where bog transitions into swamp, lagoon, or river. Conventional continents might not exist, with dry land instead consisting of peat accumulations a hundred feet thick or greater.

While sapient beings might clear and manage vast aquaculture fields, some animals might dam key waterways and create lakes, while others tear game trails through thick swamps that are then used by countless other organisms. Where societies rise, the combination of perishable materials and unstable foundations mean that ruins swiftly disappear. On tectonically active planets covered by peat and other fuel, lava could spark subsurface fires that slowly burn their way across the world, creating smoldering underground hellscapes that burst upward to consume an entire region before dying out, making way for new growth.

SANDBOX ADVENTURES TOOLBOXES INDEX

MARSH RULES AND REFERENCE Starfinder already provides numerous rules that befit marsh adventures. Basic information appears on pages 397–398 of the Core Rulebook, with an emphasis on navigating shallow bogs and deep bogs. Check out the cover rules on pages 253–254 of the Core Rulebook, as a combination of water and a swamp’s woody vegetation should give creatures in these environments plenty of natural defenses. On those same pages, see the concealment rules to incorporate sheets of hanging moss, mazes of grass, and low-lying boughs into firefights. Wetlands can quickly enter deeper water, where suffocation and drowning (Core Rulebook 404) and underwater combat (Core Rulebook 405) come into play, and marshes often attract disease-spreading creatures that can leave creatures fighting off afflictions (Core Rulebook 414–419).

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MARSH TOOLBOX See Biome Subsections on page 46 for advice on how to use the following tables.

MARSH INHABITANTS D% 1–4 5–8 9–12 13–16 17–20 21–24 25–28 29–32 33–36 37–40 41–44 45–48 49–52 53–56 57–60 61–64 65–68 69–72 73–76 77–80 81–84 85–88 89–92 93–96 97–100

SAPIENT Brenneri AA3 Cerebric fungusAA2 CopaxiAA4 Dragon, blackAA Dragon, bronzeAA2 Entu colonyAA4 Entu symbioteAA4 FormianAA GhoranAA2 Goblin, spaceAA HortusAA3 IjtikriAA3 IlthisarianAP5 JububnanAA4 Khizar PW Mi-goAA2 OsharuAA2 PahtraAA2 RaxiliteAA3 ScyphozoanAP5 SpathinaeAA3 TeliaAA3 Vesk VilderaroAP8 WrikreecheeAA

THREAT Atlapak AA4 CaypinAA Colour out of SpaceAA2 DiathaAA3 Dinosaur, pterosaurAA2 Dinosaur, sauropodAA2 ElectrovoreAA Elemental, earthAA Elemental, waterAA ElmeshraAP30 Bodysnatcher slimeAA2 Feeder fungusAP20 Frujai colonyAA Herd Animal, marshAA2 KsarikAA MoonflowerAA2 MurzzilatAA4 Predator, marshAA2 Scavenger slimeAA Swamp striderAA4 Swarm corrovoxAA TashtariAA2 TrollAA3 VracineaAA3 Writher swarmAP4

MARSH ADVENTURE HOOKS D20 ADVENTURE HOOK Gases unknown to science bubble up through a marsh. Scientific institutions and mining corporations alike court 1 adventurers to investigate this resource and its source—a difficult task because the gases cause local wildlife to become extremelyaggressive. A settlement was recently abandoned and flooded, its levies and drainage systems apparently torn down on purpose. The more 2 explorers investigate, the more it seems the settlement’s former residents flooded their home to bury something terrible beneath the waters. Drought has caused an otherwise permanent wetland to recede, uncovering hibernating amphibious eels that hungrily attack a 3 nearby settlement whose residents are wholly unprepared for the previously slumbering threats. For decades, local wetlands have filtered and absorbed techno-magical waste from nearby factories, yet arcane pollution 4 has reached critical mass, rapidly mutating flora. Carnivorous plants have grown to terrifying sizes, while other plants are growing lucrative, magic-infused fruits.

5

70

A planet’s millions of mangroves have always migrated, meandering several miles a year. Satellite imaging has identified a pattern to the movements, and in a few weeks, the mangroves and channels will have aligned to form Ibra’s holy symbol. What secrets might this confluence uncover?

INFINITE WORLDS

Exploitation of a fen’s rare plants has inadvertently spread a deadly fungus, infecting several other worlds. The harvesting 6 corporation desperately wants researchers to explore the locale to seek a remedy to the dangerous infecter. Baffling yet consistent data has convinced surveyors that a massive marsh shouldn’t exist; it lacks the rivers or rainfall to remain wet, yet 7 the area is consistently waterlogged. Magical consultants believe a connection to the Elemental Planes might be responsible. A perpetual swamp, saturated with mystical otherworldly water, gradually saps its visitors’ memories. Explorers have returned 8 from the marsh carrying strange, incomplete relics that might hold secrets to the Gap. Yet, the adventurers have no memory of how they found these artifacts. “Itrion’s Tears” seemed a figurative name for a large marsh until the land recently peeled away to reveal a miles-wide staring eye, 9 blinking away the swamp water. Locals desperately need someone to investigate and possibly negotiate with the eye. Is the entire world one living creature? A vast bog’s rare flowers release psychotropic pollen on a 17-year cycle. The pollen infested nearby colonists, killing them in an 10 ecstasy-fueled frenzy and caused them to rise as emotivores that even now attack their neighbors. Ominous smoke began seeping from the bog as an errant and enraged fire elemental ignited an isolated peat deposit. It’s only a 11 matter of time before the elemental seeks out a larger deposit that could set the continent ablaze. Operating under the guise of ecologists, a cult of Oras has transformed a marsh into its personal laboratory. The cult’s 12 experimental creatures have run amok, not only upending the local ecosystem but also threatening nearby settlements. An estuary’s salinity increase has caused previously innocuous wildlife, such as clams and otters, to manifest magical abilities to 13 adapt to these conditions. Their primal outbursts have begun to threaten nearby communities. A proliferation of poisonous moss has grown so quickly that it’s 14 dangerously changing the atmosphere’s composition. What is driving this explosive growth and what can stop it? A fey monarch has offered extraordinary wealth in exchange for a talented starship crew’s services. Yet earning the payout involves 15 tracking down the fey in a vast marsh. What’s so important that it warrants this trial and reward? The threads of marsh-dwelling constellation moth cocoons encode secrets of distant star systems. This pristine silk is effectively a 16 treasure map, yet local Xenowardens attack anyone who threatens the endangered moths. An alien wetland isn’t damp from water; it’s semifluid due to ongoing radioactive and magical decay, creating a muddy expanse 17 of irradiated ferns. The radioactive source has intensified in the past month. What does it portend? Swamp-dwelling locals have gradually reshaped the land to expand their floating cities, yet this threatens ancient ruins that 18 predate their culture. Xenoarchaeologists need help salvaging these sodden sites before they’re swallowed forever. After sapient inhabitants hunted down most of the large predators in a swamp, those creatures’ prey have exploded in 19 number and are swiftly reshaping the environment, threatening to flood local settlements. A local bog has always been a haunt for criminals lying low, but a bandit leader has united these dissidents into a small army of 20 raiders that has raided research stations and stolen dangerous biological agents. They’re now threatening to unleash these on innocent populations if not paid off.

GALAXY EXPLORATION MANUAL

FEATS

Silt Shield

Although well suited for characters traversing wetlands, the following feats provide an edge in nearly any natural environment.

You’re an expert at adopting emergency camouflage. Prerequisites: Stealth 1 rank, Survival 1 rank. Benefit: As a full action, you can use a free hand to slather nearby moss, mud, or other easily smeared natural materials over your body; if you have at least two free hands, you can instead do so as a move action. While coated, you increase the percent miss chance of concealment provided by similar natural materials by 5% (or by 10% if you have at least 10 ranks in Stealth). In addition, each time a creature with blindsense (scent) would detect you with that sense, they have a 50% chance of failing to detect you with that sense. Each time a creature with blindsight (scent) would detect you with that sense, they have a 50% chance of gaining only the benefits of blindsense (scent). The coating lasts for a number of minutes equal to 10 × your ranks in Survival, until you are critically hit by an attack, or until you are thoroughly doused by clean water or similar liquid, after which the coating is compromised enough to provide no benefit. You can benefit from only one application of this ability at a time.

Alien Herbalism By gathering natural ingredients, you can create life-saving medicines. Prerequisites: Life Science 5 ranks, Survival 5 ranks. Benefit: Once per day, you can take 10 minutes and spend 1 Resolve Point to gather local flora and fauna, processing them to create a short-lived medicinal (Core Rulebook 231). The GM has discretion over whether enough such plants and animals are nearby to allow you to use this ability, though most wilderness settings not specifically described as barren typically have sufficient organisms to create such medicinals. Your creation is a tier 1 medicinal of any type you can create with Life Science, and it retains its potency for a number of minutes equal to 10 × your ranks in Survival. For every 5 ranks in both Life Science and Survival you have beyond 5, you can either increase the tier of one medicinal you create with this feat (to a maximum of 4), or you can create one additional tier 1 medicinal or the same type. For example, with 15 ranks each in Life Science and Survival, you could create a tier 3 medicinal, a tier 2 and tier 1 medicinal, or three tier 1medicinals.

2 OVERVIEW EXPLORING THE GALAXY Backgrounds Class Options Exploration System Equipment

INFINITE WORLDS Building Worlds Biomes Accord Alignment Magic

Borrowed Vitality

Religion

By sapping nearby flora, you can protect your own lifeforce. Prerequisites: Mysticism 5 ranks. Benefit: When you would be hit by or fail a saving throw against a cold, death, or necromancy effect, or against an effect that would make you exhausted or fatigued, you can take a reaction to dissipate that attack into surrounding organisms. Until the end of the turn, you gain cold resistance equal to your ranks in Mysticism against such attacks, and you roll saving throws against those effects twice and take the better result. Non-creature plants within 15 feet of you visibly wither; if these plants would provide total concealment, they provide only concealment; if they would provide concealment, they provide no concealment. Affected plants typically recover within several days; affecting them again with this feat typically kills smaller mundane plants outright. You can use this feat once per day, though you can use it additional times by spending 1 Resolve Point each additional time you use the feat. To use this feat, there must be at least 8 squares of healthy vegetation within 15 feet of you, such as grasses, mosses, or trees. As few as 4 squares of especially dense vegetation, such as rain forest or intensive hydroponics, is also sufficient, and the GM has discretion over whether there are enough plants nearby to use this ability.

Technology

SANDBOX ADVENTURES TOOLBOXES INDEX

BIOMES

71

MOUNTAIN Never ideal for an easy journey, mountain terrain varies greatly. Mountains can be glorified hillsides with very few trees, extreme ranges spanning thousands of miles coated in dense forest, and desert peaks with brittle climbing conditions relentlessly heated beneath a harsh sun.

The common hazards of even the most mundane mountains— steep cliffs, deep ravines with rushing rivers at the bottom, low oxygen, extra hours of night and weeks of winter, and the constant threat of avalanche and rock slide—are amplified all the more by the endless potential of science fantasy. Anything could await atop the next peak, from magically animated, ever-shifting stone to dangerous apex predators that can scale near-vertical surfaces with supernatural ease. Higher altitude also comes with colder temperatures, even on a sunny day. Nights can turn bone-chilling quickly, and high winds might make it difficult to start a fire. Campsites must be scouted ahead, and mercurial weather conditions can turn deadly in an instant. Barren desert plateaus might pose a challenge for travelers whose equipment requires regular cleaning with water. Extra equipment weighs anyone down, with picks, oxygen tanks, and camping gear stuffed into oversized packs. Weather events, such as rain, can turn into ice storms at higher elevations. In warmer climes, desert heat and dehydration can quickly endanger unprepared trekkers. However, where there is death, there is also great propensity for life. Mountain wildlife evolves to be nimble and quiet, often making it difficult to detect without magic or advanced technology. Sometimes enormous and covered in fur, other times slithering along the ground, these creatures have adapted to difficult circ*mstances and treacherous terrain. Even the rockiest, craggiest peaks are rife with lush moss, fat highbush berries, and edible weeds. Glacial runoff and deep-rooted springs offer crisp, clean drinking water. Small critters make for easy game, and dense, dry trees provide plentiful firewood. Medicinal herbs grow thick in shaded regions, though this highlights the need to know the difference between the edible, the medicinal, and the poisonous. Many of these delights are well-documented in guidebooks, but there is still ample opportunity for discovery. Some mountains stand alone, formidable paragons of the form that hold great mysteries not just at their peaks, but along their jagged crevasses and treacherous rock faces. Others form extensive ranges that stretch for thousands of miles of seemingly endless elevation change, slowing all but the hardiest travelers to a crawl. At their base, mountains might ease into sloping, heavily treed hillsides or vast expanses of shale and eroded boulders. Whatever shape their homes take, sapient inhabitants of mountain biomes turn to technological and magical solutions to mitigate the dangers of mountain living. Whether carving their homes into the rock, constructing elaborate, sturdy-strutted buildings among the cliffs, or even camouflaging their presence with boulder-size, rock-textured dwellings, mountain inhabitants are often as rugged as their surroundings.

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MOUNTAIN GHOST TOWNS The incredible biodiversity of mountain regions is reflected in the many abandoned settlements that dot their slopes. The rush for precious gems and other resources leads people to form teams and hunt deposits as get-rich-quick schemes. However, parties whose goals revolve entirely around finding fortune often fall apart once the cold reality of mountain life sets in. Small groups coalesce and disintegrate at rapid rates, whether due to a sudden change in the terrain that separates them or from conflicts of interest between parties. Veritable ghost towns can be found throughout mountain ranges, often still containing food and equipment left behind hastily. Some of the abandoned shelters with sinister histories might also house spirits of the long-deceased who still haunt their former homes, making the label of “ghost town” even more literal.

MOUNTAIN ADVENTURERS Those who live in mountain climes gradually adapt to the lack of oxygen and become acclimated to high-altitude living (Core Rulebook 397), which also serves them well in worlds and environments with thin atmospheres. On top of their physical adaptability, adventurers from these regions tend to come with a cynical humor and mental preparedness for worst-case scenarios and sudden catastrophe. Although mountain-raised adventurers are mostly individualistic, there is one trait that nearly all share regardless of planet, race, or climate: sheer rugged grit. Growing up in these unpredictable environments makes for hardy characters with relentless attitudes, whether upbeat or fatalistic. Between the mines and other precious resources that flow from the mountains, these regions tend to attract those seeking glory and quick riches. Sadly, the mountains often provide neither. Often, by the time travelers reach these deposits, they find them already plundered. Those glory-seekers who survive often settle the area, usually passing down stories of the riches that got away. Adventurers who hail from mountains often have hardy Survival skills born of necessity, while Physical Science helps them predict and adapt to their ever-changing circ*mstances. Those whose culture revolves around the spiritual draw of mountains might be well versed in Mysticism, while others might have a more economic bent, lending themselves well to any number of related Profession skills. New arrivals to mountain regions face a steep learning curve and often rely on technology to fill in the gaps. With these resources required to live, newcomers find themselves operating

GALAXY EXPLORATION MANUAL

2 OVERVIEW EXPLORING THE GALAXY Backgrounds Class Options Exploration System Equipment

INFINITE WORLDS Building Worlds Biomes Accord Alignment Magic Religion Technology

alone or in small groups, as trusting the wrong people might leave them without the necessary equipment to make it through the next day.

MOUNTAIN WORLDS The vast majority of terrestrial planets have some kind of mountainous region, though the diversity of their wildlife and landscapes may obscure the common thread which links them. Planets composed entirely of mountains are often lightly populated—usually with small settlements scattered across peaks and valleys—and feature a great range of environments. The valley floor might be hot and extremely wet, while the mountain itself might be fully iced over and dry enough to crack skin. Desert mountains might be the inverse of this, with higher altitudes providing wetter conditions than the valleys. Due to this diversity, flora and fauna have evolved to withstand many unique hurdles. Creatures accustomed to wetlands in other regions prefer to explore higher, drier areas, and many light-preferring animals have become accustomed to longer bouts of shady weather. All inhabitants have learned to live with big earthquakes and small aftershocks. A commonality among most mountain worlds is a lack of moisture. Whether such planets are covered in dusty desert or bone-chilling ice, the air is dry and difficult to breathe. Face coverings and breathing apparatuses are necessary to avoid long days of upward crawls that slowly turn lethargic as throats crack and brains starve for oxygen.

Mountain worlds often experience outsized tectonic activity, rock slides, and avalanches. The damage caused by even small tremors can be catastrophic for valley cities or hillside homes. Mountainsides can be riddled with the bodies of fallen travelers, climbers, and prospectors. Due to the remoteness and danger of collecting these bodies, they are often left behind without a burial, and it is not uncommon for the undead to roam these vast ranges.

SANDBOX ADVENTURES TOOLBOXES INDEX

MOUNTAIN RULES AND REFERENCE A short but comprehensive set of rules for mountain adventure is available in the Core Rulebook on page 397. This section outlines the different aspects of mountains, from chasms to Perception checks. The Weather and Environmental Rules sections on pages 398–405 of the Core Rulebook also contain several relevant rules, particularly cold dangers and falling. For equipment, the gear clamp (Core Rulebook 231) is useful for keeping items together while climbing, and having gems on hand to trade can help when encountering mountain-dwelling miners who prefer to barter solely in valuable minerals. Perhaps the most famous mountain in the Pact Worlds is Akiton’s Ka, Pillar of the Sky (Pact Worlds 55), which is the site of many spiritual journeys made to its peak and a bustling market at its foot. Extensive and mysterious mountain ranges can be found on many planets, such as Castrovel’s Singing Range (Pact Worlds 36) or on the Liavaran moon Osoro (Pact Worlds 116), where settlements sit on mountaintops emerging from a sea of toxic gases.

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MOUNTAIN TOOLBOX See Biome Subsections on page 46 for advice on how to use the following tables.

7

Strong, little-understood mountain-born winds turn devastating when they carry deadly plant compounds straight toward a large city in a peaceful valley. Can the source of the contamination be found and cut off?

8

A mountain region has been the domain of a single rogue contemplative for what seems like an eternity. When the contemplative passes on, their journals are found filled with strange, apocalyptic prophesies that speak of the mountains coming to life. What dangerous truths lie in these premonitions?

MOUNTAIN INHABITANTS D% 1–4 5–8 9–12 13–16 17–20 21–24 25–28 29–32 33–36 37–40 41–44 45–48 49–52 53–56 57–60 61–64 65–68 69–72 73–76 77–80 81–84 85–88 89–92 93–96 97–100

SAPIENT Azata, tritidair AA2 Bolida AA2 ContemplativeAA DamaiAA2 DessamarAA3 Dragon, blueAA EmbriAA2 EspraksaAA3 FormianAA HaanAA IkeshtiAA Kasatha MaraquoiAA PhentomiteAA2 QuorluAA2 ReptoidAA RyphorianAA ShobhadAA SkittermanderAA TroxAA2 Uplifted bearAA2 UrogAA VerthaniAA VlakaAA2 WitchwyrdAA

THREAT Akata AA2 ApariAA BryrvathAA Crest-eaterAA DefrexAA3 Deh-noloAA Dust MantaAA2 Elemental, earthAA EllicothAA GhostAA2 Glass SerpentAA2 IgnursoAA4 Marooned oneAA Mi-goAA2 MoonflowerAA2 Mountain eelAA OniAA2 Rageshkor, rockAA4 Scavenger slimeAA ShantakAA2 ShotalashuAA2 SkreesireAA3 SurnochAA ThermatrodAA4 WollipedAA3

9

10

11

12

13

14

MOUNTAIN ADVENTURE HOOKS D20 ADVENTURE HOOK A haunting call from a dangerous mountain peak has led travelers to their death since the end of the Gap, inspiring local folklore. The 1 same mountain also harbors a rare herb that is key to cutting-edge bioweapon research. In nearby foothills, mountain eels make for dangerous sport. When 2 a rare white eel is sighted, trophy hunters from neighboring regions seek out an opportunity to be the first to capture the creature.

74

15

16

17

3

Starship mechanics and modifiers are invited to a retreat by a wealthy collector deep in the mountains. Once they arrive, they find that the retreat was a fabrication, and they have been lured for an extremely specific purpose.

18

4

A lucrative mining job comes with a critical downside: the ramshackle mine is heavily irradiated by an unknown source, requiring exceptional modifications to staffed mining equipment and personal protections alike—and that’s just to breathe.

19

5

An infamous space pirate is being held in severe lockdown conditions in a prison deep beneath a remote mountain. Rumor has it that they have a map to a large trove of fabled starship parts, which many parties would give anything to obtain.

6

Worshipers of a mountain range are so heavily against the proposed development of the area that they plan to force-crash an asteroid into its primary construction site, stating “If we can’t save it from slow death, we will give it the mercy of a quick one.”

INFINITE WORLDS

When a disputed will leaves a small patch of fertile mountain range up for grabs, the local government announces that the territory is free to anyone willing to get there first and lay their claim. An accidental explosion at a mine has broken a mountain into a thousand pieces and devastated the surrounding valley, littering the area with chunks of rock filled with precious gems. Word spreads quickly, spurring a rush for the valuable resources and upending the routines of several nearby communities. A company-controlled mine has long held a monopoly on a much-needed and supposedly rare mineral. Rumors have begun to spread that the mine magically regenerates its minerals each day, and that the company is artificially restricting the supply to jack up prices. A massive earthquake destroyed a mountain range’s network of exclusive resorts and hideaways for the wealthy. Now the site is in ruins, filled with unguarded riches and roaming undead, attracting the brave and foolhardy from across the system. Archaeologists digging along mountains thought to be untouched by sapient creatures have uncovered evidence of a historic anacite presence. Stranger still, the deeper in the rock this evidence is buried, the more recent and developed the anacite technology seems to be, directly contradicting the geological evidence. A city carved into a mountain bustles with activity and nightlife except for one week every year, when it must shut down to appease the great and hungry beast that crawls from its cave and seeks fresh blood. A chasm-filled mountain range is known for attracting—and trapping—hapless climbers. During a recent rescue mission, several missing climbers kidnap their would-be rescuers to use them as strange tributes for an ancient, unknown evil. Mountain farmers have long made money from illegal hallucinogens that thrive in nearby oxygen-starved climates. One such farmer mixes up his legal order of herbs with an illegal order of a powerful hallucinogen, sending massive quantities into the world. In a valley river, the annual run of fish is a cause for great celebration. The festival lasts two weeks and brings in visitors from all over, including nefarious types who use the celebration as a cover for meeting in secret and plotting criminal acts. When bolidas dig into an enormous gemstone deposit deep within a mountain, a great rush to the area ensues. The resident bolidas, however, are not so keen to give up their find; they ask for outside help to protect their claim. A series of magical tunnels within a mountain swallow some of those who attempt to explore them in an endless time loop. Locals use the maze as the site of a ritual for entering adulthood, but an outsider recently went missing in the mountain, severely disrupting local customs.

Extreme sports are all the rage in a resort town adjacent to the highest peaks of a famed mountain. A high number of mysterious 20 accidents have claimed the lives of many in recent months, but officials seem to prioritize keeping the resort open over investigating the cause.

GALAXY EXPLORATION MANUAL

SPELLS While especially useful in or originating from mountainous areas, these spells unleash the raw power of handy in myriad environments.

CAIRN FORM

2

2

School transmutation Casting Time 1 standard action Range personal Target one living creature Duration 1 round/level Saving Throw none (harmless); Spell Resistance no You transform your outer layer into solid rock, amplifying your offense and defense. You gain a special unarmed strike that deals lethal damage, doesn’t count as archaic, and threatens squares. You also add 1-1/2 × your character level to damage dealt with this attack (instead of the normal Weapon Specialization damage). You also gain DR 2/—. Finally, you gain a +2 circ*mstance bonus to your AC against bull rush, reposition, and trip combat maneuvers.

You form the crater of an active volcano at a target location, immediately exposing all creatures in the area to lava (Core Rulebook 403), dealing 2d6 fire damage immediately, and continuing to expose creatures who begin their turn in the area, who take the appropriate fire damage at the beginning of their turn. Damage from the lava continues for 1d3 rounds after a creature leaves the area, but this additional damage is only 1d6 fire damage per round. In addition, every 1d4 rounds, creatures in or within 30 feet of the crater must succeed at a Reflex save or take an additional 5d6 fire damage as the crater periodically erupts.

2 OVERVIEW EXPLORING THE GALAXY Backgrounds Class Options Exploration System Equipment

INFINITE WORLDS Building Worlds Biomes

TECTONIC SHIFT

1-3

1-3

1-3

Accord

School enchantment (mind-affecting) Casting Time 1 standard action Range see text Targets see text Duration see text Saving Throw Will negates; Spell Resistance yes You create the sensation of a massive earthquake for a short period of time, causing affected creatures to become unsteady on their feet. 1st: When you cast tectonic shift as a 1st-level spell, you can target a creature within close range (25 feet + 5 feet/2 levels). The target must succeed at a Will saving throw or be shaken for 1 round. 2nd: When you cast tectonic shift as a 2nd-level spell, you can target a creature within medium range (100 feet + 10 feet/level). The target must succeed at a Will saving throw or be shaken for 1d4 rounds. A creature that fails the save by 5 or more is knocked prone. 3rd: When you cast tectonic shift as 3rd-level spell, you can target up to 5 creatures within medium range (100 feet + 10 feet/level). Each target must succeed at a Will saving throw or be shaken for 1d4 rounds. Creatures that fail the save by 5 or more are stunned for 1 round and knocked prone.

UNCANNY ERUPTION

Alignment Magic Religion Technology

SANDBOX ADVENTURES TOOLBOXES INDEX

4

School evocation (fire) Casting Time 1 standard action Range medium (100 ft. + 10 ft./level) Effect 20-ft.-radius crater filled with 2-footdeep magma Duration concentration + 1 round/level (D) Saving Throw Fortitude half; Spell Resistance no

BIOMES

75

PLAINS Some plains nestle against venerable mountain ranges or gently slope to meet a glittering sea. Rivers meander across rolling lowlands or carve deep paths through otherwise flattened landscapes. Volcanoes spawn irregular fields of long-cooled lava, and distant, jagged mountains ring isolated plateaus.

It’s easy to think of plains as featureless expanses stretching to the horizon, but their steady elevations can host an immense range of flora, fauna, and terrain features. Floods or glaciers gift the lands they flatten with sediments that support an abundance of plant life, an alimentary oasis for beasts and sapient creatures alike. Temperature, latitude, and rainfall levels combine to create variations like tropical savannas, arid steppes, and frozen tundra. Jutting formations of deposited rock or inselbergs might dot a continent and be visible for miles around. Seasonal lakes and floods can reshape the land at regular intervals. Yes, plains are flat, but so is a painter’s canvas. Adding alien elements to plains’ most familiar manifestations expands the canvas further. An immense starship crashes and skids for leagues, scraping some areas flat and ploughing up furrows in others to create disaster-birthed valleys. Gargantuan filter feeders might skim the landscape, the downdraft of their flight bladders applying enough force that only pressureresistant life can survive. There could be translucent, shoulder-high grasses that crackle and sing with electricity as they ripple in frigid winds. An amoebic river might flood once per season—up into the air, where the planet’s strange atmosphere refines the liquid into nearly solid layers, with just enough room between them for rodents to forage for the river’s arthropods. Cracks in leathery ground ooze biological sludge, the substance nearly boiling beneath triple suns but cooling in winter into scabrous, nutrient-rich animal dens. Life native to the plains adapts to the wide-open spaces and difficult-to-avoid weather. Trees likely have deep root systems to withstand strong winds, or form symbiotic bonds with creatures that can shelter inside them. Predators can take advantage of storms to hunt prey in their burrows or even charge their unique physiologies with lightning strikes or more alien atmospheric manifestations. The hunted might avoid hunters through high-speed locomotion such as flight or sprinting, or use early detection enabled by powerful sensory organs to give them time to conceal themselves. Others create cover that mimics rock formations or stands of grass. The same conditions that create interesting evolutionary niches can cause trouble for adventurers, who must contend with bizarre storms and howling winds. The psychological elements can be just as difficult. Those unfamiliar with the plains and forced to spend long stretches of time there may become unnerved by isolation, the ever-receding horizon, or the ever-present wind. These same challenges likely make other features stand out all the more, be they solitary waystations or an unlikely social encounter. Other problems—and their causes— are of a larger scale, like ecological degradation from long-term

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INFINITE WORLDS

PLAINS TRAVEL Plains are a common conduit for adventurers’ travels, either as the backdrop on the way to a destination or the destination itself. They serve as excellent opportunities to show off an alien world’s unique vistas and provide idle travel time for interpersonal interactions. Starfinder’s science fantasy setting offers numerous methods to traverse them. Magical means could include stabilized walkways of quickening arcane energy. More conventional methods include grav-trains, hover barges, or smaller vehicles. Biological transport options are also an excellent way to display alien creatures and ecosystems. A network of pressurized above-ground fungal threads might serve as a sort of pneumatic tube transit system. Consult page 235 of the Core Rulebook and page 135 of the Armory for guidance on pricing technological and biological transportation options, respectively.

resource extraction or smog settling over a heavily populated intermountain plateau. Systemic problems usually mean sapient populations, and plains are natural population centers. Nomadic peoples follow herds of migratory beasts or windborne plants. Many such biomes are relatively easy to build on or cultivate for industrial agriculture; a busy plains city might sit at the center of concentric rings of multicolored farmland. These cities can also make natural transit hubs, as many are positioned between other metropolises, often because plains peoples were a key part of a planet’s early trade networks. Those networks usually facilitated cultural exchange, meaning plains societies can be important sources of historical or archaeological records. Others might wage war across expansive and familiar terrain, using speed to compensate for a lack of defensible positions. These same conditions could instead lead a society to value diplomacy to defuse threats before they can fully coalesce.

PLAINS ADVENTURERS Those hailing from plains regions are usually familiar with vast distances and long journeys. They might gain this knowledge in nomadic communities or by working long-haul shipping. Yearly on-foot sojourns across lush subtropical grasslands likely lead to aptitude for Athletics, while hours in the co*ckpit of a hoverhauler imparts knowledge of Piloting. Some are experienced at reading the sprawling horizon for weather signs. Others earn their livelihoods from the land itself through hunting prairie game or investigating a planet’s natural resources. Both categories make good use of the Survival skill. Resource seekers can be botanists, geologists, surveyors, and other professions that require Life

GALAXY EXPLORATION MANUAL

2 OVERVIEW EXPLORING THE GALAXY Backgrounds Class Options Exploration System Equipment

INFINITE WORLDS Building Worlds Biomes Accord Alignment Magic Religion Technology

Science and Physical Science skills. The Culture skill helps historians, diplomats, and archeologists; many arable plains make ideal population centers or facilitate transportation and cultural exchange. Given many plains’ lack of easily defensible positions—or the simple need to spot water, food, or shelter— plains adventurers are likely proficient in Perception. Lastly, many cultures have used plains for representing grand figures or establishing striking monuments; such devotees are almost certainly skilled in Mysticism.

PLAINS WORLDS Many plains worlds are likely created by the same forces that form typical plains, but on a global scale. A planet’s molten core may have vented long ago, covering the surface in smooth layers of lava rock, or an atmospheric anomaly might have evaporated a formerly oceanic world’s surface water. Perhaps melt or glaciation from polar ice caps takes the places of alluvial plains. Origins might be stranger still, such as a rhizome hive mind that shapes the world to its needs or an extraplanetary gravitational force that flattened great portions of a world. Shared origin doesn’t have to mean a uniform surface. Uninterrupted wind currents are likely a large part of plains-world ecology, carrying seeds, soil, or even fauna across the globe. These might leave clear physical markers, such as windborne seeds that take root in colossal rivers of plant life that in turn attract migrating herds. The same winds likely interact with

the planet’s axial tilt and temperature bands to produce diverse regions; it’s perfectly feasible for arid grasslands, tree-studded savannas, and tundras of bioluminescent lichens to exist on the same largely flat world. Lakes, rivers, and underwater aquifers likewise influence surrounding regions. For instance, subterranean water or a reservoir of hom*ogeneous biomass would enable lush surface growth.

SANDBOX ADVENTURES TOOLBOXES INDEX

PLAINS RULES AND REFERENCE River erosion can hide aquatic dangers or create chasms through long erosion, and alpine plains and plateaus might have high altitude conditions; rules for each of these environments can be found on pages 396–397 of the Core Rulebook. With wide open spaces and relatively few features, the storm and wind rules on pages 398–400 of the Core Rulebook can be important factors in a plains adventure. That same expansiveness makes the biome a natural fit for vehicle-based encounters and scenes. The Core Rulebook’s vehicle tactical rules begin on page 278, and vehicle chase rules begin on page 282. Long sight lines and a relative lack of obstacles provide the perfect sniper battleground; sniper weapons can be found on page 79 of this book, as well as in the Core Rulebook and Armory. The following Flip-Mats can be helpful aids for play in a variety of features found on plains: Starfinder Flip-Mat: Ice World, Pathfinder Flip-Mat Classics: Battlefield, Pathfinder Flip-Mat: Giant Lairs, and Pathfinder Flip-Mat Multi-Pack: Ambush Sites.

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77

PLAINS TOOLBOX See Biome Subsections on page 46 for advice on how to use the following tables.

6

PLAINS INHABITANTS D% 1–4 5–8 9–12 13–16 17–20 21–24 25–28 29–32 33–36 37–40 41–44 45–48 49–52 53–56 57–60 61–64 65–68 69–72 73–76 77–80 81–84 85–88 89–92 93–96 97–100

SAPIENT AnaciteAA Angel, barachiusAA Cerebric fungusAA2 CorpsefolkAA2 Dragon, blueAA Dragon, copperAA2 EmbriAA2 GhoranAA2 Giant, moonAA2 Giant, stoneAA2 Haeshi-shaaAA2 IzalguunAA3 MaraquoiAA NuarAA OsharuAA2 PahtraAA2 QuorluAA2 RyphorianAA ScyphozoanAP5 SpathinaeAA3 RaxiliteAA3 TroxAA2 VerthaniAA VlakaAA2 WitchwyrdAA

THREAT ApariAA Assembly oozeAA BloodbrotherAA Demon, pluprexAA2 DinosaurAA2 Elemental, airAA Flayer leechAA3 Golem, nanotechAA2 Haeshi-shaaAA2 HashukayakAA2 Herd animal, plainsAA2 HesperAA JubsnuthAP5 KhefakAA2 Living apocalypseAA2 MagminAP16 MoonflowerAA2 NyssholoraAA2 Predator, plainsAA2 Robot, assassinAA2 Robot, siegeAA2 Scavenger slimeAA ValnarumAP23 Velstrac, anchoriteAA2 Void palmAP8

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PLAINS ADVENTURE HOOKS D20 ADVENTURE HOOK Local predators have evolved to cope with the thick grasses by developing highly attuned psychic senses that lead them 1 to prey. A recently formed settlement of telepathic sapient creatures, unaware of the threat, has become a smorgasbord for the dangerous creatures.

16

2

An entire settlement’s populace is convinced that a rival settlement is involved in the recent and unexplained disappearance of dozens of domesticated herd animals while they were grazing on a nearby plain.

3

Unusual weather conditions combined with a quirk of life cycle have given rise to vast clouds of local insects. Trillions of hungry swarms sweep the plains, consuming all in their path—vehicle hulls and building materials included.

18

Every few years, the standing monoliths that dot the plains shift positions. No one quite knows why or how, but anyone who studies the problem too closely develops the affliction of the eyes that locals call “spire sickness.”

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4

5

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15

Capacitor trees gather static electricity in highly efficient organic batteries and then eventually explode, leveling the surrounding area and spreading their seeds far and wide. Recently, someone or something has been provoking these plants into exploding prematurely, causing widespread damage to theecosystem.

INFINITE WORLDS

17

20

Local tornadoes are combining with the razor-sharp amnion shards of local carrion-eaters to turn an already-dangerous weather phenomenon into a destructive force that can shred starship armor easily. A recently discovered patch of leathery, waving grass was the site of a massive sinkhole that swallowed an entire vehicle— except this sinkhole has teeth, digestive juices, and internal parasites the size of dogs. Void dragons have used these plains as ritual burial sites for eons, and mammoth skeletons dot the expanse. Dragon bones and funerary objects fetch a high price for anyone bold enough to offend the draconic hierophants. Decades ago, unknown entities manipulated a chalk flat, cutting grass and scraping away the topsoil to form a desperate message. The incongruous emergency cypher is visible only from high altitude, and for that reason has only recently beendiscovered. The sound of wind whistling through gnarled graytrees has long inspired local music. Recent research has shown that so-called graysong contains meaning-bearing patterns. Are the trees aware of their messages, or did someone engineer them? A rare cyclical drought has revealed the outlines of an ancient city not detailed in any known records. Closer investigation reveals ruins deep beneath the earth. The Aggregate Throne, an irregular rock formation that towers over the surrounding veldt, is the subject of numerous improbable local legends. The recent discovery of technological relics suspended in its inner layers shows some of these legends might be true. Travelers to a mysterious section of a nearby windswept plain report that companions vanish in front of their eyes, even though there’s nothing but flat grassland in every direction. Curious lights manifesting above a community resemble a distress call signature detectable many miles away. When nearby rescuers arrive, the town is abandoned, the soil blasted, and the plant life withered in odd patterns. Nearby hydrocarbon fields provide an exceedingly lucrative resource, one that is harvested despite protests from locals and the sentient environment. Several opposing factions are planning decisive action and enlisting outside aid. The farms and ranches of the region provide food for countless communities, but their production has ground to a halt after a recent campaign of sabotage. The perpetrator’s manifesto is about to become public. The occasional trees that dot a local steppe share an immense root system. Their pollen has numerous medical uses but causes dangerous hallucinations in concentrated doses. A pollen-launch season, unprecedented in magnitude, is about to begin and a complacent populace is woefully unprepared. Implausibly titanic sauropods amble slowly across the plains. Their physiology violates several laws of physics and mystical theory, attracting many researchers and trophyhunters. A swath of verdant fields is unusually fecund and adapted to a sapient civilization: all the grasses bear large grains, the grazing creatures are well-fed and docile, and scattered plant life bears succulent fruits. However, there is no evidence of sapient life anywhere nearby. Every cycle, the plains flood with several feet of water as rivers overflow their banks. Countless aquatic animals take the opportunity to wake from hibernation and breed, including an aggressive species of venom-spitting reptiles.

GALAXY EXPLORATION MANUAL

2

SNIPER RIFLES NAME

LEVEL PRICE DAMAGE RANGE

CRITICAL

CAPACITY USAGE BULK SPECIAL

PROJECTILE

Extrusion rifle, 12-atm Extrusion rifle, 24-atm Extrusion rifle, 48-atm Extrusion rifle, 96-atm

3 8 13 18

1,470 1d10 B 9,840 2d10 B 55,000 4d10 B 392,400 10d10 B

60 ft. 70 ft. 80 ft. 90 ft.

Knockdown Knockdown Knockdown Knockdown

20 charges 20 charges 40 charges 80 charges

4 4 8 10

2 2 2 2

Sniper (500 ft.), stun, unwieldy Sniper (500 ft.), stun, unwieldy Sniper (750 ft.), stun, unwieldy Sniper (1,000 ft.), stun, unwieldy

2 4 7 9 12 14 17 19

950 2,180 6,600 14,500 36,300 80,000 290,000 600,000

80 ft. 60 ft. 80 ft. 80 ft. 100 ft. 100 ft. 120 ft. 120 ft.

Staggered Corrode 1d6 Staggered Corrode 2d6 Staggered Corrode 3d6 Staggered Corrode 4d6

20 charges 20 charges 20 charges 20 charges 40 charges 40 charges 80 charges 80 charges

5 4 5 4 5 5 10 10

1 2 1 2 1 2 1 2

Force penetrating, sniper (500 ft.), unwieldy ForceAR, sniper (250 ft.), unwieldy ForceAR, penetrating, sniper (500 ft.), unwieldy ForceAR, sniper (400 ft.), unwieldy ForceAR, penetrating, sniper (750 ft.), unwieldy ForceAR, sniper (600 ft.), unwieldy ForceAR, penetrating, sniper (1,000 ft.), unwieldy ForceAR, sniper (800 ft.), unwieldy

EXPLORING THE GALAXY Backgrounds

UNCATEGORIZED

Philosopher’s sting, lead Rift rifle, pinhole Philosopher’s sting, iron Rift rifle, keyhole Philosopher’s sting, mercury Rift rifle, borehole Philosopher’s sting, gold Rift rifle, wormhole

OVERVIEW

2d6 B 1d10 S 3d6 B 3d10 S 6d6 B 6d10 S 14d6 B 11d10 S

WEAPON ACCESSORY The following weapon accessory can come in handy in plains environments, but it is usable anywhere. The rules for weapon accessories appear on page 58 of the Armory.

FIREBURST CHAMBER

LEVEL 1

PRICE 400 BULK — CAPACITY 20 USAGE 1/hour WEAPON TYPE Railed weapon, small arm A fireburst chamber is a weapon accessory that attaches to a firearm’s barrel, and you can load it with a single grenade as a full action. You can fire the airburst tube as a ranged attack to detonate the loaded grenade, changing the area of its explode property to a 15-foot cone originating from your square. If this accessory is attached to a small arm, the grenade’s Reflex save DC is reduced by 2.

AR,

targeted area is transmuted into a small bolus of foreign material that disrupts the target’s functions, biological or otherwise.

Class Options Exploration System Equipment

INFINITE WORLDS Building Worlds Biomes

Rift Rifle

Accord

A rift rifle doesn’t fire projectiles. Instead, dozens of sigil-covered ceramic coils fill its squat barrel. Once charged, the coils destabilize planar boundaries in a targeted area to create a small, localized teleportation field. The field affects the individual cells and chemical bonds that comprise a target’s physical form, and the weapon deals damage by violently and simultaneously teleporting these minuscule components a short but devastating distance.

Alignment Magic Religion Technology

SANDBOX ADVENTURES TOOLBOXES INDEX

SNIPER RIFLES The following weapons can deal damage at great range—an attribute often useful in flat plains with long sightlines but also handy in many other situations.

Extrusion Rifle An extrusion rifle creates powerful pressure waves that exit the weapon with an incongruous whisper. The bulk of the rifle is a slender and reinforced cylindrical barrel. When fired, a piston travels from one end of the barrel to the other, compressing the gases inside to extreme pressures before the other end opens and release the projectile. A series of baffles at the rifle’s tip stabilize the pressure wave so that it maintains cohesion over long distances and retains enough power to punch a perfectly clean hole into its target, though it can be modulated to simply hit a target’s surface with forceful impact.

Philosopher’s Sting These intricate weapons look less like firearms and more like horizontal wind sculptures. Their interlocking geometric forms lengthen and compress to create sympathetic vibrations between themselves and the target. Once the right frequency is reached, the

BIOMES

79

SPACE Whether it manifests as a barren asteroid, its horizon filled with alien suns half a system away, or the utter isolation of an abandoned, airless space structure, space can provide both environmental hazards and dramatic settings for adventures.

80

No science fantasy game would be complete without high-stakes drama set in the endless possibility of space. Fantastical technology and reality-warping magic means explorers can find themselves probing the hearts of suns or discovering the mysteries of black holes—and facing people and creatures that have the power or knowledge to survive in such unforgiving ecosystems. Space presents the rare biome where the primary feature is not what it contains, but what it lacks. Space by default threatens terrestrial life with its lack of atmosphere, and it complicates conventional locomotion by removing gravity. These challenges make for naturally epic moments, as the perils of space mean that even a small miscalculation or mistake has dire consequences. Surrounded by such danger, any life that exists in space has an element of the fantastic to it, and with magical influences, the possibilities are endless. Creatures in space have either evolved to exist without the need for respiration or have a supernatural alternative to breathing; many also have specialized means of getting nourishment from the scarce resources of space, or else have some way to survive long periods without food. With no atmosphere, the means of locomotion in space are either technological or supernatural. Many space creatures utilize the environmental dangers of space to their own advantage, whether it’s an apex predator hunting within the mysterious darkness of a nebula or a sentient saboteur staging an extraplanar ambush from beyond the event horizon of a black hole. With magic and technology pushing the limits of what’s possible, space becomes even more exciting and dangerous. Civilizations that exist in space can vary wildly. Mining colonies and fuel depots on the fringes of society may get by on pure grit and whatever scraps trickle in from the hub worlds, while research stations or orbital depots may receive regular visits delivering supplies and checking on the progress of their intended operations. Asteroid miners may struggle with boredom in their ships as they try to pass the time between shifts, while space pirates may find themselves living adventure to adventure with no meaningful peace in between. In the furthest reaches of space, society gets even stranger; you may meet scavenger collectives that leap fearlessly from asteroid to asteroid in rings comprised of former planets, magical beings that congregate in shielded sanctuaries on the surfaces of stars or hide depraved deeds in the dark of derelict freighters. Space is truly the largest, greatest wilderness, and those that set out to face it need resilience, ingenuity, and more than a little luck to keep flying.

researchers, soldiers, pirates, and scavengers are equally at home in the depths of space and make great backgrounds for those who take up the adventurer’s life. The importance of gear and equipment in deep space means that the Engineering skill becomes especially critical, and many advanced systems of life support also rely on a working knowledge of Computers to maintain or a masterful grasp of Computers to repair. When floating in zero gravity, Acrobatics or Athletics makes the difference between careful navigation and out-of-control careening. Piloting is, of course, a necessity when it comes to the handling of spacecraft. A number of Profession skills, such as archaeologist, miner, or smuggler, may also align particularly well with spacefaring cultures.

SPACE ADVENTURERS

SPACE WORLDS

Even the most pedestrian life in space presents plenty of opportunity for adventure. Merchants, miners, explorers, scientists,

Celestial bodies offer extraordinary variety in their composition and feel. Asteroids, comets, and other pieces of space debris

INFINITE WORLDS

USEFUL SPACE GEAR Space is hazardous at the best of times and deadly to the unprepared. The following gear can make the difference between life and death. Cable Line: Going for a spacewalk? Belay on and tie yourself somewhere sturdy so you don’t slip and careen into the void. Climate Control UnitNS: Popular among contingency-minded explorers, this armor upgrade enhances both your armor’s environmental protection duration and its radiation shielding. Gravitational HarnessAR: Gravity becomes what you want it to be with this versatile piece of technomagical equipment that can keep you in control in any sort of gravity, including no gravity at all. Jetpack: Not just for atmospheric flight, this iconic armor upgrade provides a reliable method of movement in zero-gravity situations. Khefak ArmorAA2: These special materials provide hefty bonuses against radiation exposure, even when powered environmental protections may be depleted. MagbootsPW: Going above and beyond the magnets in most armors’ boots, these items also aid in climbing and protect against certain combat maneuvers. Moon CrystalAA3: This low-level magic item is both light source and contingency against failing environmental protections. Pressurized LungsAR: Being able to hold your breath for an hour is a nice perk, but the real benefit here is immunity to the normal environmental effects of being in a vacuum. Good-bye, gradual decompression! Radiation BadgePW: For a mere 100 credits, never be surprised by a radiation source again.

GALAXY EXPLORATION MANUAL

2 OVERVIEW EXPLORING THE GALAXY Backgrounds Class Options Exploration System Equipment

INFINITE WORLDS Building Worlds Biomes Accord Alignment Magic Religion Technology

can be large enough to present years of exploration. Proximity to a source of cosmic power, like a star or a black hole, might expose a world to immense amounts of energy, supernatural or otherwise, which can allow inhabiting creatures to evolve into unique niches over immense stretches of time, creating strange exceptions well beyond the norms of terrestrial life. Technologically or magically advanced species use specialized means to generate artificial gravity and atmosphere, allowing orbital platforms, asteroid bunkers, or floating super-structures to operate in relative normalcy. Any interruption can mean catastrophe for unprepared inhabitants, so the defense and maintenance of these systems is top priority for the crews. If something goes wrong in these remote habitats, the results can be devastating, but the rewards can be immense for those willing and able to explore such ruins and lay claim to their resources. Absent of the erosive forces of a natural atmosphere, the remains of spacefaring civilizations can exist in the vacuum for millennia. The structure may present a readily apparent purpose, like industrial construction or population resettlement; or it may provide more questions than answers, like a fortress built for containment of a mysterious power. Discoveries from the far reaches of space or the distant ages of the galaxy may be impossible to truly understand, leaving explorers to operate under well-educated hypotheses that may be disastrously incorrect. Well-maintained or carefully preserved defenses may remain intact to fend off interlopers centuries later, or the

original inhabitants may have preserved themselves—naturally or artificially, ready to wake the moment new visitors arrive. Such places may host a number of different species over the centuries, with each new group interpreting the mysteries of the previous owners differently, modifying the environment to their own needs, and further obfuscating the purpose of the originators.

SANDBOX ADVENTURES TOOLBOXES INDEX

SPACE RULES AND REFERENCE Starfinder contains many rules and systems specifically for use in space and space-related situations. The Core Rulebook contains some basic information on space, cosmic rays and vacuum (including decompression) on page 394, as well as information on astronomical objects that may fit into forays that go beyond atmosphere. Rules for movement in zero gravity (Core Rulebook 402) and the dangers of radiation and suffocation (Core Rulebook 403–405) are all especially useful in space environments. As the majority of characters wear armor, being familiar with environmental protections (Core Rulebook 196–199) also comes in handy. Unless otherwise specified, the boots included with a set of armor can anchor the wearer’s feet to a solid surface in a zero-gravity environment (Core Rulebook 196). You can find examples and inspiration for your own space locales in the Diaspora (Pact Worlds 78), the rings of Preluria (Near Space 100), or even outside stations and worldships such as Absalom Station (Pact Worlds 38), the Idari (Pact Worlds 68), or Conqueror’s Forge (Near Space 62).

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SPACE TOOLBOX See Biome Subsections on page 46 for advice on how to use the following tables.

6

The occupants of a lunar base report that their food supplies taste odd and have unappetizing odors. Records and scans indicate that the food is not expired or contaminated, but the complaints keep growing in number.

7

A coronal mass ejection has collided with a nearby space station and flooded it with excess energy. The victims of the blast have requested outside assistance, citing that their station’s automated defenses are acting erratically.

SPACE INHABITANTS D% 1–4 5–8 9–12 13–16 17–20 21–24 25–28 29–32 33–36 37–40 41–44 45–48 49–52 53–56 57–60 61–64 65–68 69–72 73–76 77–80 81–84 85–88 89–92 93–96 97–100

SAPIENT Android Azata, tritidairAA2 CorpsefolkAA2 Dragon, voidAA2 Dragon, vortexAA2 EquinoxianAA3 Giant, moonAA2 Goblin, spaceAA Human LucandrianAA3 Mi-goAA2 OnkushiAP18 PahtraAA2 ParaforanAA3 PhentomiteAA2 QuorluAA2 RavaiAA2 SarcesianAA SelamidAP5 SeprevoiAP5 ShakaltaAA3 SROPW ValnarumAP23 VarculakAA3 VerthaniAA

THREAT AkataAA2 AsterayAA ChomurkAP17 Colour out of spaceAA2 Deh-noloAA Devil, endbringerAA Ferrofluid oozeAA3 Gremlin, ship glitchAA2 Haeshi-shaaAA2 KaionAA4 Mordagast butcherAA4 OmaAA ParaforanAA3 Plasma oozeAA2 ShantakAA2 ShipmindAA2 Solar wispAA2 StatiketeAP19 SurnochAA Troll, voidAA3 ValnarumAP23 VeoliskAP3 Vermin, spaceAA2 Void oozeAP10 VorthuulAA3

8

9

10

11

12

13

14

SPACE ADVENTURE HOOKS D20 ADVENTURE HOOK A mining station has stopped sending regular status and inventory updates and is instead broadcasting the same cryptic message 1 on automated repeat. Several corporate interests are looking for freelance contractors to investigate the matter, each offering rich rewards of credits and privilege.

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2

An exploration start-up has developed new methods of survival in space and is requesting volunteers to serve as test subjects onboard their research vessel. They promise competitive compensation and first access to the cutting-edge technology— should the test subjects survive, of course.

3

A vortex dragon has taken over an unsurveyed asteroid and announced that it will speak only with the strongest representatives of the region. Many have attempted to parlay with it, from prominent diplomats to renowned soldiers, but none have yet returned.

15

16

A notorious conspiracy theorist insists that the planet is directly in the path of a dangerous cosmic entity. Their warnings were largely ignored until recently, when a flock of shantaks landed on the planet and confirmed the coming danger. A local scavenging crew is hired to do a survey job on a distant moon. When all but one of the team suddenly vanishes, the remaining crew member pleads for help to seal the temple they opened during the mission. A private military organization is seeking contractors to bring a new orbital facility online—under the strict requirement that they must do everything possible to avoid detection by the populace on the world below. A startup holovid studio wants to pilot a new zero-gravity sporting experience in deep space. The studio is hiring private security to ensure that the inaugural games go smoothly. An artificial intelligence has designed its own upgraded housing and is seeking adventurers to install the final firmware into a remote lunar uplink facility from which it can control its new and enhanced form. Two corporations recently laid claim to an already-occupied, starmetal-rich asteroid. Each has hired mercenaries to remove the rival claim, leaving the resident sapient creatures to call for outsideassistance. A huge burst of energy has sent a moon careening out of orbit at high velocity, leaving precious little time to rescue the lunar station’s inhabitants before the entire moon enters a nearby black hole’s event horizon. Locals also need to discover the cause before another moon is affected. A signal has begun to broadcast from a nebula, purporting to originate from a ship reported missing centuries ago. The message requests immediate assistance in containing a dangerous outsider before it escapes and wreaks havoc. A popular science program needs footage for an upcoming episode documenting a cosmic phenomenon and is paying handsomely for footage—and first contact with the mysterious lifeforms that accompany the event.

17

A patch of cosmic radiation seems to be moving through space with intent, irradiating lone starships and remote space stations with unknown purpose. A fringe scientist has claimed to have derived a pattern to the attacks and is asking for help in preventing the next calamity.

18

A ship of unknown origin and made of organic materials is discovered drifting across major shipping lanes. Attempts at communication go unanswered, but scans show signs of life inside.

4

Years ago, a colony ship was attacked by pirates and left derelict in space. A family member of one of the pirates’ victims wants to reclaim a family heirloom they believe may still be aboard thewreckage.

19

A large portion of another plane floats in space, seemingly ripped from its home and deposited there. Early reports compare this to the planar chunks encountered in the Drift, but this is on the Material Plane.

5

Every 13 years, a mysterious collective hosts an open meeting on a comet that passes through the solar system. The most important conditions: no spaceships are allowed on the comet’s surface, and attendance must be in person.

A creature in a space suit, near death, is found floating in space with no memory of how they got there or who they 20 are. Indecipherable words are scrawled across their suit—is it protection? Or a warning?

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GALAXY EXPLORATION MANUAL

BIOTECH AUGMENTATIONS While often found in those adapting to life in space, these augmentations can be useful in many environments. Full rules for augmentations can be found on page 208 of the Core Rulebook.

ANGLER’S LIGHT

SYSTEM Spinal Column

PRICE 560 LEVEL 2 This enhancement adds an antenna-like bioluminescent pod of photobacteria that extends from the top of the spinal column to provide light. Its original purpose was for asteroid miners who needed both hands for hefty equipment, but it has also grown popular among rave communities. An angler’s light increases the light level from darkness to dim light, or from dim light to normal light, either in a 20-foot cone or a 10-foot radius; altering the shape of the light’s illumination is a move action. The effects of multiple angler’s lights do not stack.

FLIP GLANDS

SYSTEM Hand

SLIMELASHES

PRICE 1,750 LEVEL 4 Slimelashes were developed to help technicians retrieve tools that drift out of reach without needing to uncouple and risk drifting away themselves. A pair of specialized glands embedded into your palm can launch a protoplasmic tendril and quickly retract it. While this allows for quick retrieval of small items, the tendrils are not able to move heavier objects. If you have a hand free, you increase your natural reach by 10 feet when picking up unattended items of less than 1 bulk. You also can increase your natural reach by 10 feet when attempting a disarm combat maneuver with a free hand. If you succeed at the disarm maneuver, you can automatically grab the item before it falls, but only if it is less than 1 bulk.

EXPLORING THE GALAXY Backgrounds Class Options Exploration System Equipment

Building Worlds Biomes Accord Alignment Magic

SYSTEM Brain

Religion Technology

PRICE 2,100 LEVEL 4 These neurological expansions were discovered by phentomite (Alien Archive 2 96) scientists studying their species’ brain anatomy in an attempt to increase success during complex and dangerous bridging operations. The additional lobes help to instill an instinctive grasp of the complex physics of low- and zero-gravity environments, and come with an instinctive knowledge of some of the hazards of space. You gain a +1 insight bonus to Athletics checks to jump and to Physical Science checks, and you can attempt Physical Science checks to recall knowledge even if untrained.

RIPCORD SIPHON

OVERVIEW

INFINITE WORLDS

SYSTEM Ears

PRICE 1,275 LEVEL 3 These expanded cochlear implants orient your equilibrium to zero-gravity conditions; their name is derived from the enhancements’ popularity among extreme-sport athletes. You automatically succeed at any Acrobatics or Athletics checks to avoid the off-kilter condition, and you gain a +1 insight bonus to saving throws against the off-kilter condition.

JUMP LOBES

2

SANDBOX ADVENTURES TOOLBOXES INDEX

SYSTEM All Hands or All Feet

PRICE 1,750 LEVEL 4 Originally designed as the last line of safety for a technician falling from an orbital installation into space, these sacs eject bursts of stored air to provide the wearer enhanced control and maneuverability in zero-gravity situations or during flight. When you are flying and use the charge action, you can use your ripcord siphon to make one turn of up to 90 degrees as part of the move, as long as you have moved at least 10 feet in the initial direction. When you are floating in zero gravity, you can expel the bladders to propel yourself 30 feet in any direction as a move action; this counts as creating thrust for the purposes of moving in zero gravity (Core Rulebook 402). Once you’ve used your ripcord siphon, you can’t use it again until you’ve rested for 10 minutes to regain Stamina Points, though you can spend 1 Resolve Point at any point to recharge it immediately.

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SUBTERRANEAN Between a planet’s core and its crust lie caverns lit with softly glowing crystals and fungi, underground rivers and seas, ancient stone fortresses, and metropolitan technological wonders. These are just a few of the myriad adventure locations one can find within a planet’s subterranean reaches.

When adventurers observe a planet from orbit, they might see verdant forests, vast deserts, jagged mountains, shimmering oceans, or sprawling metropolises. However, these environments merely scratch the surface of what adventures a planet might hold. As brave heroes traverse the depths, who knows what wonders they might find as they journey through the seemingly infinite network of tunnels and caves? Subterranean environments exist parallel to the surface world, covering just as much, if not more, area as their aboveground counterparts. While explorers might find themselves in cramped tunnels and passageways, their underground adventures might also take them across vast open caverns or enable them to cross a planet via a network of caves. In a science fantasy adventure, the heroes can use all manner of technological equipment and magical methods to navigate the dark—darkness that can hide threats, challenges, and discoveries the likes of which surface dwellers have never seen. Adventurers might need to rappel down cliffs, scramble over craggy boulders, carve pathways into the rock, and navigate a wide range of other environmental challenges to discover ancient, long-forgotten treasures and ruins. Subterranean environments are replete with bizarre life forms and discoveries that often differ greatly from those of the surface. Darkness is a defining feature of underground environments, and the flora and fauna that dwell within have likely adapted over the eons to life without a sun. Mosses and fungi might glow with bioluminescence or slowly crawl across surfaces in vast migrations. Animals might have surpassed the need for eyesight and use other senses that excel in their rocky homes, such as intensely keen hearing or the ability to feel life through vibrations in stone. Such creatures also would have evolved ways to navigate treacherous terrain, such as being expert climbers or being able to bypass steep rock faces via flight. All manner of people can inhabit a planet’s subterranean environments. Visitors might encounter small, nomadic groups that survive by hunting cave-dwelling animals or by farming unusual crops, such as glowing mushrooms, verdant mosses, and stranger plants. The PCs may visit technologically marvelous metropolises that thrive underground by harvesting resources that can be found only in such environments: rich starmetal veins, minerals that thrum with magical energy, and even thinned boundaries between the Material and Elemental Planes. Such underground empires can thrive, becoming primary suppliers of materials that are difficult to obtain from aboveground sources. These civilizations might have developed technological advances fueled by both necessity and industry, and certain underground cities are likely to be rich troves of knowledge unlearnable anywhere else.

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USEFUL SUBTERRANEAN GEAR Getting ready to rappel into a dank cave system? Think you’re all set with your armor’s protections, climbing gear, and a ration or two? Think again! The following gear can be vital when you delve into the depths. Crash pad AP15: Don’t let a 100-foot fall stop your fun! Culinary synthesizer AR: A good meal can be hard to come by underground. Darksight gogglesAR: Light levels can vary wildly throughout a subterranean environment, so be ready for anything. MagneglovesAR: If you drop something in a cave, chances are it’s gone forever. Mindlink circlet: Sound echoes through a cavern, so telepathy is a good communication method to avoid the keen hearing of underground predators. Proximity helmet: Don’t let any cave-dwelling threats get the jump on you. Sleeping bag: In the event of an unexpectedly prolonged underground visit, it’s nice to have a comfy sleeping bag.

Regardless of a sapient civilization’s scale, it must contend with the dangers and threats that life underground presents. Nomadic groups could have developed gear to camp on sheer cliff faces, or cities might be carved into the stone to provide natural defenses.

SUBTERRANEAN ADVENTURERS Although not every civilization can eke out a subterranean existence, those able to adapt to such locations can thrive, leveraging their underground surroundings for a variety of industries. Adventurers from such a place could be part of a mining company toiling beneath a planet’s crust, or they could be a scientist who studies cave-dwelling plants and animals. Subterranean regions also attract those who engage in morally gray fields. Poachers, smugglers, and others wishing to conduct shady dealings away from the prying eyes of the surface may find a subterranean environment the perfect location for a hideout or headquarters. Adventurers who grew up in a subterranean environment likely developed skills that allowed them to thrive in their dark and stony surroundings. Perception is a key skill for those hailing from underground, and many adventurers must rely more on senses other than normal sight, such as darkvision and blindsense. Acrobatics and Athletics help adventurers navigate steep rock faces and unstable ground, while Survival

GALAXY EXPLORATION MANUAL

2 OVERVIEW EXPLORING THE GALAXY Backgrounds Class Options Exploration System Equipment

INFINITE WORLDS Building Worlds Biomes Accord Alignment Magic Religion Technology

allows them to find sustenance in a seemingly barren landscape. When facing threats, an adventurer can find great use in the Stealth skill to evade notice in the shadows. Adventurers who aren’t naturally adapted to cave environments might be from civilizations that rely on magic or technology to aid in their existence underground, and Engineering and Mysticism skills can serve such adventurers well.

SUBTERRANEAN WORLDS Subterranean biomes can be found on just about any terrestrial planet, as they exist separately from the other biomes that occupy the surface, although their formation often relies on environmental factors in a planet’s history. Many cave systems form via erosion, whether from acidic rainwater dissolving stone, a glacier carving passages into bedrock, or even an ocean’s waves crashing against a cliff for centuries. Volcanic activity also results in the formation of subterranean environments, with lava tubes leaving intricate interconnected cave systems in their wake. In some cases, these systems may seem like separate worlds entirely from the rest of their planets. While the sapient citizens of many planets often primarily inhabit the surface world, they may interact with the subterranean world for a variety of reasons. Perhaps mineral-rich veins crisscross the underground reaches of a world, leading a society to mine those resources. An abundance of plants and animals underground might lead a scientific community to explore the depths further.

On some worlds, the subterranean biome is essentially the only habitable environment for a sapient species, thanks to factors in the planet’s development. Perhaps sapient species left the surface world due to the prevalence of threats or a drastic change in the surface environment. A catastrophic threat, such as the emerging colossi of Daimalko (Near Space 74), would not only provide a reason for the sapient species of the world to retreat underground, but it also might inform how that society constructs its defenses and leverages its new subterranean home to defend against outside incursions.

SANDBOX ADVENTURES TOOLBOXES INDEX

SUBTERRANEAN RULES AND REFERENCE Several Starfinder rules are particularly important for subterranean adventures. Creatures that originate from subterranean biomes often rely on senses other than normal sight, such as blindsight or darkvision, and the rules for special abilities relevant to subterranean creatures can be found on pages 260–265 of the Core Rulebook. Adventurers from the surface world might not be adapted to an environment where natural light can be inconsistent at best. For these creatures, it’s important to understand the rules for light levels (Core Rulebook 261). Traversing the rocky terrain of a subterranean biome can be like navigating the hills and mountains of the surface world, and the rules for chasms and rock walls on page 397 of the Core Rulebook can be relevant as adventurers navigate the depths. Of course, the rules for falling on pages 400–401 of the Core Rulebook might come up frequently in a subterranean adventure.

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SUBTERRANEAN TOOLBOX See Biome Subsections on page 46 for advice on how to use the following tables.

7

A planar tear has led to an influx of fire elementals, threatening a nearby underground metropolis. The residents need help holding off the elemental incursion and closing the rift to the Elemental Plane of Fire.

8

Explorations into the deepest reaches of an extensive cavern system have led to the discovery of a gigantic metallic door, the composition of which scientists cannot determine. All efforts to open the door thus far have failed.

9

Unusually constant seismic activity has recently started causing extensive damage to an underground city. Xenobiologists suspect it may be due to the mysterious agitation of tunneling wyrms in the vicinity.

SUBTERRANEAN INHABITANTS D% 1–4 5–8 9–12 13–16 17–20 21–24 25–28 29–32 33–36 37–40 41–44 45–48 49–52 53–56 57–60

SAPIENT Amrantah AP21 Bolida AA2 Damai AA2 Dragon, copper AA2 Drow AA Dwarf Embri AA2 Formian AA Genie, efreeti AP13 Genie, shaitan AP17 Giant, slag AP17 Giant, stone AA2 Gosclaw AP8 Hobgoblin AA2 Iztheptar AP8

61–64

Nuar AA

65–68 69–72 73–76 77–80 81–84 85–88 89–92 93–96 97–100

Planar scion, oread AP17 Psacynoid AA4 Quorlu AA2 Shimreen AP6 Telia AA3 Thorgothrel AA3 Trinir AP22 Trox AA2 Varculak AA3

THREAT Acrochor AP4 Bloodbrother AA Carnivorous crystal AP9 Dust manta AA2 Elemental, earth AA Elemental, fire AA Entropy slug AP9 Ferrofluid ooze AA3 Herd animal, subterranean AA2 Magma ooze AP16 Murzzilat AA4 Odheo AP8 Predator, subterranean AA2 Robot, guardian AA3 Robot, mining AP10 Robot, observer-class security AA Skreeling AA3 Skreesire AA3 Surnoch AA Swarm dredger AP19 Swarm molitera AP22 Thermatrod AA4 Thermophilic ooze AP21 Thoqqua AP14 Writher swarm AP4

SUBTERRANEAN ADVENTURE HOOKS D20 ADVENTURE HOOK A group of local miners haven’t been heard from in days, prompting their loved ones to ask for assistance in finding them. 1 Investigations into the mine reveal a strange sinkhole that reeks of sulfur and smoke.

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2

A cult of the Devourer has claimed a section of a cave system as the site for a ritual designed to destroy the entire planet. Aboveground, a nearby town is terrified as tremors and sinkholes open in the surrounding area.

3

A geologist studying a crystalline cavern has noted unusual energy readings emitting from the minerals. Lately, the crystals have started shifting in and out of phase in a rhythm that suggests the cavern walls are breathing.

4

Multiple galactic corporations are vying for the mining rights to a rich starmetal vein recently discovered deep beneath a planet’s crust. Adventurers hired by one company to scout the area soon come into conflict with corporate interests from across the galaxy.

5

After a planetwide catastrophe, surface-dwelling inhabitants retreat underground with what supplies they can carry in a desperate search for a sustainable new home.

6

A copper dragon has recently laired near an underground town, becoming a source of ever-more-dangerous mischief. The town’s fearful inhabitants need help driving the dragon away.

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Local archaeologists have discovered ancient ruins hidden beneath the earth, and they’re eager to find adventurers willing 10 to accompany them on an expedition. Unbeknownst to them, the ruins are anything but abandoned. A local crime syndicate recently established a hideout in a nearby cave system, shaking down locals and stashing their stolen goods 11 underground. With corrupt government and law enforcement providing no assistance, it’s up to brave outsiders to provide justice for the people. Explorers inadvertently brought surface bacteria into a subterranean fungus forest, infecting the mushrooms that sustain 12 an underground society. The town is looking for assistance in finding a way to save their crops. The customs of a surface town forbid travel into a tunnel system 13 nearby—but people in town have started to go missing, and several of the lost were reportedly last seen sleepwalking into the tunnels. Pollution from surface power plants has seeped into the earth, causing toxic oozes to manifest near an underground settlement. 14 Not only must the ooze threat be stopped, but the surface societies must be convinced to curtail their pollution to prevent the threat from returning. Spelunking scouts have noticed their comm units picking up faint signals, with voices that sound almost like chanting, occasionally 15 cutting through the static. The signals seemed to grow stronger the deeper they explored, prompting them to call for outside protection and assistance. Smugglers have been using an underground tunnel network to ferry illicit goods between aboveground cities. Local governments 16 are seeking freelancers to help track them down and put a stop to the illegal trade. An underground city is hosting its first-ever extreme bouldering competition, where top athletes gather to tackle outrageous feats 17 of climbing. The grand prize includes expensive gear and a hefty sum of cash, drawing attention from all over the system. An enterprising shaitan freshly arrived from the Plane of Earth is looking to set up a gem-mining business in some nearby 18 abandoned caverns. They seek employees and protection, though they dismiss the rumors of dangerous predators roaming the cave system. A pod of dust mantas has been hunting closer and closer to a surface settlement, despite there being ample food for the 19 creatures in their original, distant territory. The local government is hiring adventurers to investigate the reason behind the strange incursion. Excavators recently discovered an ancient temple to Yaresa buried beneath old stone. The temple, seemingly abandoned long ago, 20 contains strange machines fueled by long-forgotten magic. The temple may hold secrets to divinely inspired technology the likes of which the galaxy has never seen.

GALAXY EXPLORATION MANUAL

WEAPON FUSIONS Explorers of subterranean biomes often gear up with equipment suited to those underground environments; this includes adapting their weaponry. The following weapon fusions are especially useful in subterranean biomes but can also apply in a wide variety of situations aboveground. The rules for weapon fusions are detailed on pages 191–192 of the Core Rulebook.

CLIMBING

LEVEL 1

The climbing weapon fusion allows a weapon to grip onto most surfaces, allowing its wielder to climb while holding the weapon. For the purposes of Athletics checks to climb, a hand wielding a climbing weapon counts toward the two hands needed to climb. This weapon fusion can be installed only in weapons that require only one hand to wield.

DIMMING

LEVEL 2

The dimming weapon fusion douses any technological lights carried by the targets of its attacks. On a hit with a dimming weapon, any technological light sources that the target is carrying or wearing, such as portable lights, cease to function until the end of your next turn. This doesn’t affect any other functions of these light sources other than their light-producing capability.

ECHOING

This weapon fusion can be installed only in two-handed melee weapons.

TUNNELING

LEVEL 6

The tunneling weapon fusion transforms a heavy weapon into a tool that can carve tunnels into stone. As a full action, you can fire a tunneling weapon at a wall made of unworked stone or softer materials, blasting open a space 10 feet tall, 10 feet wide, and a number of feet deep equal to half the weapon’s range or range increment; if the wall is made of harder material, this has no effect. This requires the expenditure of ammunition equal to triple the weapon’s normal usage, and you must be within the first range increment of the tunneling weapon from the wall to use the weapon in this way. The blast leaves behind rubble in all squares of the newly created space, which is difficult terrain. Any creature in the way of this blast must attempt a DC 15 Reflex save. On a failure, that creature takes half the weapon’s normal damage. This applies no other effects from the weapon other than damage. This weapon fusion can be installed only in heavy weapons that deal kinetic or energy damage.

EXPLORING THE GALAXY Backgrounds Class Options Exploration System Equipment

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Alignment

LEVEL 4

Magic Religion Technology

SANDBOX ADVENTURES TOOLBOXES

LEVEL 2

INDEX

The glowing weapon fusion casts a target in a glowing sheen, allowing others to discern it even in the darkness. On a successful hit with a glowing weapon, the target can be observed until the start of your next turn as if it were in normal light conditions, regardless of light level. This glow also casts squares adjacent to the target in dim light for the same duration.

LAUNCHING

OVERVIEW

Accord

The echoing weapon fusion reflects the sound waves emitted by sonic weapons off nearby surfaces to reveal previously hidden creatures. When you hit with an echoing weapon, you gain blindsense (sound) with a range of 30 feet until the end of your next turn. This weapon fusion can be installed only in weapons in the sonic category.

GLOWING

2

LEVEL 3

The launching weapon fusion allows you to either strike or fire a magically empowered shot into the ground to propel yourself into the air. This functions as the jump jets armor upgrade (Core Rulebook 205), except that it requires a standard action and consumes ammunition according to the weapon’s normal usage. This weapon fusion can be installed only in powered melee weapons and in ranged weapons that use ammunition.

MINING

LEVEL 1

The mining weapon fusion allows a weapon to become a tool for digging through rock and dirt, carving through such materials easily. A mining weapon ignores an amount of hardness equal to the weapon’s level for all walls made of unworked stone or softer materials. This has no effect on materials harder than unworked stone, such as steel.

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URBAN Whether a metropolis of pristine edifices or a deteriorating slum, an urban biome is defined by its inhabitants as much as its environment. Usually populated to the extreme, urban settlements overwhelm their visitors with a cast of foreboding characters that fill narrow alleys and lively plazas alike.

Even the smallest local hovel and backstreet alley are rife with threat and opportunity. Only the best and brightest of the universe can make their mark under the shadows of daunting corporate towers and stand apart from the pedestrian crowds. The most successful explorers delving into concrete jungles know how to avoid becoming just another cog in the machine. From isolated space stations to sprawling cities to linked rafts of starships, urban environments offer a kaleidoscope of cultures, industrial danger, and salacious intrigue. Even if the streets are named and the ship decks numbered, urban environments most often form a social and mechanical maze. The overlapping layouts of ground and sky traffic, combined with tight quarters and constant construction make explorers of an unfamiliar city as prone to navigation mistakes as those in a foggy forest. Fully exploring what urban environments have to offer requires some local know-how or investigative skills. Urban biomes challenge explorers to rely on their conversational skills or cultural knowledge to discover their environment. Public transportation and vehicles are powerful assistants for navigating the neon lights and intersecting streets. Urban biomes are sometimes infused with their local ecosystem, and many settlements across the galaxy have less-than-hospitable locations. Your rich metropolis may rest at the bottom of an ocean with aquatic residents, float on islands in the sky, or be buried under a mountain. Some cities take advantage of locations with no atmosphere or places that lack natural terrestrial structures entirely, such as outposts on orbital bodies or dozens of starships linked together to form makeshift cities in the deadest parts of space. The primary residents of urban areas determine the area’s unique architecture, resulting in cities built for giants or scaled down for minuscule sapient creatures. Urban areas often allow technology to flourish, from AI deeply integrated into the environment to entirely non-biological residents. The possibility for the location of an urban settlement is limited only by the ingenuity of the people that populate it (or originally created it), and its structure is a reflection of its residents. While populated cities on established planets offer many opportunities to expand on the culture and create population epicenters, urban environments don’t necessarily need to be populated. Explore the possibility of urban areas with minimal population, such as a city forcibly evacuated after a disaster, an abandoned space station, or a deteriorating metropolis. The scaffolding, locked storefronts, and factories remain as a gymnasium of obstacles bordering eerily silent streets.

URBAN ADVENTURERS Urban areas offer fertile ground for opportunities to accumulate wealth and social status. Residents range from pillars of the

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URBAN DISTRICTS While urban settings can vary drastically in culture and structure, the following are common areas to consider exploring on urban worlds. Commercial District: Wealth flows through this district like blood, serving as the home for merchants and tradesfolk. Where wealth congregates, so too do folks willing to beg, borrow, or steal for a piece of it. Corporate Headquarters: Urban areas often form around the establishment of a major corporation, and these headquarters can be rife with corporate espionage. Government Center: Large settlements often accumulate major political figures and lobbyists, but even smaller settlements require a central location for political power and governing force. Industrial District: Often defining the nature of the working class, factories and processing plants provide a great place to hear rumors from the common folk—though they’re prone to disgruntled workers and dangerous machinery. Luxury Entertainment: The rich and affluent demand a quality of amusem*nt that scales with their credits. Areas of luxury entertainment may include lounges, theaters, arenas, and casinos. Spaceport: Traveling and freight hubs see all kinds of life from the city and beyond. The constant arrival and departure of starliners and cargo ships means that trouble could be brought into the city at any moment. Underground Diversions: Grungy alleys and slums are a likely place to find bars, clubs, gambling halls, thieves’ dens, mafia headquarters, black markets, and other businesses that may not always have their patrons’ best interests in mind. Urban Media: Cities are big producers and consumers of media. The broadcasts and streams of news and entertainment media contain vast cultural information, though many also wield propaganda as a dangerous tool.

community and culturally attuned icons to gritty underbelly grifters. Dense populations require power structures to operate, and many law enforcement officers and noble scions hail from these governments. The city also can be a brutal place, leaving its less fortunate occupants as street rats while corporate agents and diplomats trade in credits and information from shining towers that rise far above the crowded streets. Navigating bustling streets, lively markets, and malls hones the social and bartering skills of urban inhabitants, reflected in their Diplomacy, Intimidate, and Sense Motive skills. Young adventurers surrounded by technology tend to pick up skills with Computers and Engineering, which can be second nature

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to the affluent and a necessity in the dredges of urban living. The city also gives opportunities for its inhabitants to pursue a wide breadth of Profession skills. Ready access to vehicles driven throughout urban environments means that many urban inhabitants have some Piloting knowledge.

URBAN WORLDS Most inhabited planets contain at least one or two pockets of truly urban areas, but some settlements or even entire worlds consist entirely of this sapient-constructed biome. The most common fully urban worlds are those built in the harshest reaches of space, where a manufactured atmosphere and metal walls provide the only livable refuge in deep space or orbiting other celestial bodies. An otherwise-unlivable chunk of rock can become a thriving metropolis with enough applied ingenuity. Larger worlds entirely consumed by sprawling urban landscapes typically reflect a populace’s technological advancement and preference for the comforts of society over the planet’s rough natural environment. Such technological dominance can interfere with the world’s natural resources, weather, and habitats, possibly leaving a world in a dire situation if they still rely on those resources but haven’t adapted ways to compensate for their absence. The natural environment may fight back against the urban development, resulting in swaths of urban areas suffering floods, blizzards, earthquakes, and sandstorms—or simply being overtaken by the constant, rampant growth of flora. Urban worlds may exist purely due to the

creative tenacity of the universe’s cultures as their technology expands to be able to create non-naturally occurring planetoids set into rotation around a sun.

URBAN RULES AND REFERENCE

SANDBOX ADVENTURES TOOLBOXES INDEX

Starfinder’s social and technological rules can help add unique elements to your urban adventures. Basic information on urban terrain appears on page 398 of the Core Rulebook, including how the clutter and cacophony of city streets might affect characters’ ability to perceive threats. The most important determining factor for urban adventures is going to be the settlement or city in which they take place. Pages 405–409 of the Core Rulebook, along with the tables in the Settlement Toolbox on pages 150–151 of this book, can help determine the primary elements of a settlement, as well as rules for typical manufactured structures like doors and walls and how to break them. Vehicles (Core Rulebook 228–229) and vehicle chases (Core Rulebook 285–287) are likely to appear in an urban biome. In addition to the physical environment, the social construction of an urban biome is enhanced by the social rules. The Bluff, Diplomacy, and Intimidation skills will help visitors engage with residents, in particular the Change Attitude rules on pages 139–140 of the Core Rulebook. Finally, while cities can be found on almost any sapient-populated planet, consider incorporating environments such as space stations and space colonies, such as the ones demanded by inhospitable planets such as Vesk-5 (Near Space 44) and Preluria (Near Space 100).

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URBAN TOOLBOX See Biome Subsections on page 46 for advice on how to use the following tables.

URBAN INHABITANTS D% 1–4 5–8 9–12 13–16 17–20 21–24 25–28 29–32 33–36 37–40 41–44 45–48 49–52 53–56 57–60 61–64 65–68 69–72 73–76 77–80 81–84 85–88 89–92 93–96 97–100

SAPIENT Android Bear, uplifted AA2 Brenneri AA3 Dromada AA3 Drow AA Ferran AP2 Formian AA Ghibrani, membrane AP5 Giant AA2 Gnome Goblin, space AA Hanakan AA3 Human Ijtikri AA3 Kalo AA Kasatha Lashunta Osharu AA2 Pahtra AA2 Shirren Skittermander AA Verthani AA Vesk Wrikreechee AA Ysoki

THREAT AHAV AA Animated quartz swarm AA4 Assembly ooze AA Death cruiser AP31 Electrovore AA Emotivore AA2 Ferrofluid ooze AA3 Fulmivar AP24 Ghost AA2 Golem AA2 Gray AA Gremlin, glitch AA2 Hound of Tindalos AA3 Living hologram AA3 Marooned one AA Mephit, pollution AP14 Mephit, tech AP14 Mi-go AA2 Quantum slime AA3 Robot, patrol-class security AA Rogue drone AA3 Scavenger slime AA Scrap-bot AP20 Weaponized toy AA3 Witchwyrd AA

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URBAN ADVENTURE HOOKS D20 ADVENTURE HOOK Due to a faulty algorithm, a patrol of code-enforcement robots is enforcing even the most minor infraction with deadly force while 1 ignoring major violators entirely. The local government’s efforts to override the system have failed, and the machines continue to terrorize the local populace. Small pockets of resistance to an overbearing government have formed quietly in underground clubs. If a freedom movement 2 begins, it will likely hinge upon exploring and uniting the resistance present in the underground party scene. A popular music idol is performing to their largest audience yet. Rabid fans at previous shows have been destroying the venues, 3 and rumors swirl regarding cult-like activities and sacrifices at the shows. The fans seem to fall under some kind of mind control as soon as the music starts. A deadly gas has started pouring from sewers and building duct systems across the city. Panicked evacuation efforts commence, 4 leaving the city in chaos as an invisible cataclysm threatens to choke out the population. Who could be responsible for this bioweapon?

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Street-level crime has risen to an all-time high, with muggings and brazen burglaries occurring daily. A mysterious syndicate is backing these criminals to slowly take hold of the underground, keeping local authorities under their thumb with extortion, blackmail, and bribes.

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The city’s foundations sit atop an enormous mechanical god. This ancient god’s mechanical workings have begun grinding, screeching, and spewing black smoke as the entire city trembles atop its dilapidated body. After an enormous explosion levels an entire bay of the local spaceport, a massive starship of unknown origin lands in the destroyed bay. The ship’s doors open, but no one emerges. A cult of Oras is secretly sowing discord and anarchy among the populace, delighting in the downfall of society and the rapid, sweeping change it brings. Can it be stopped, or is the settlement doomed to dissolution? A potent virus is sweeping through the population. Those who aren’t killed transform into hulking, feverish mutants who devour corpses. A subset of the population mysteriously appears to be immune and may be the only hope for finding a cure. The entire population of a massive metropolis has disappeared without a trace. All evidence indicates that a normal day was in progress before the disappearance, and lingering planar energies suggest that the population may have been abducted to another dimension. Wealth and power in this city revolves around a complex system of nightly illicit street races. Throughout the city, the sounds of roaring engines echo off the skyscrapers as souped-up vehicles rip through the streets, their pilots oblivious to the lives of innocent bystanders. Corporate-owned factories are poisoning the air and water of poorer neighborhoods. While earnest citizens try desperately to fix the issues, addressing the root cause will require an overhaul of the entrenched political system. A reclusive tycoon is hiring guards for an extravagant gala. As wealthy—and suspicious—characters congregate in preparation for the event, rumors grow about the party’s nefarious purpose. The owners of an inhumane pit-fighting ring are smuggling dozens of rare beasts into the city, and will unleash their dangerous pets on anyone who threatens to interfere with their gambling scheme.

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Negotiations between two powerful factions in a settlement have slowed to a standstill, even as many of the settlement’s residents suffer from lack of crucial supplies. If something doesn’t happen soon, there won’t be a settlement left to fight over.

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Unbeknownst to most of the populace, bodysnatcher slimes AA2 have infiltrated most major political and economic institutions. While they seem to have seized power peacefully, what motivates their insidious takeover?

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The scrap material churned out by local factories has begun coalescing into monstrous, animate forms and attacking the locals. Rumors of sentient scrap compete with theories that a mastermind controls the strange creatures.

An entire city is locked in a cycle of repeating the same day, and its residents are unaware of their temporal prison. Can a group of 18 adventurers find a way out for the city and its people, or are they doomed to a loop of endless, identical tomorrows? A local gambling den has upped its stakes considerably, creating dangerous bets that involve unwilling participants. An individual 19 heavily indebted to the den’s operators is desperate for help to escape their predicament. A dangerous tyrant is scheduled to arrive in the city to negotiate the terms of an absolute surrender of its people. 20 Desperate to stop the tyrant’s reign, a band of rebels is planning a daring assassination attempt and is surreptitiously seeking co-conspirators.

GALAXY EXPLORATION MANUAL

FEATS The following feats represent the skills an urban dweller might develop to thrive in an environment rich with culture and technology, though several are useful in other environments.

Cultural Chameleon You can tap into the local zeitgeist to win friends and influence people. Benefit: Once per day after spending 1d4 hours in a settlement, you can attempt a DC 15 Culture check to recall knowledge about local customs, fads, sports teams, or other local phenomena. If you succeed at this check, you gain a +2 bonus to Diplomacy checks to gather information in that settlement, as well as to change the attitude of its residents. This benefit can’t apply multiple times to the same settlement.

Free Runner You’re used to nimbly navigating constructed environments. Prerequisites: Acrobatics 3 ranks. Benefit: When you are in an urban or otherwise constructed environment (such as most settlements, a space station, or similar), you gain a +2 circ*mstance bonus to Athletics checks to climb and to Acrobatics checks to balance and tumble. In addition, you ignore the extra movement cost for the first 5 feet of difficult terrain you move through each turn in urban or constructed environments.

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the vehicle’s heading up to 90 degrees rather than crashing or spinning out.

Street Smarts You’ve developed your judgment through broad experiences and have learned to gather information at a glance. Prerequisites: Sense Motive 5 ranks. Benefit: While in a settlement, you can spend 1d4 hours observing the populace to attempt a Sense Motive check in place of a Diplomacy check to gather information.

OVERVIEW EXPLORING THE GALAXY Backgrounds Class Options

Urbanist

Exploration

You have an intuitive understanding of built environments and how people move through them. Prerequisites: Sense Motive 5 ranks. Benefit: While in urban environments, you can use the Survival skill to follow tracks (with a base DC of 15), live off the land, and orienteer. You gain a +2 insight bonus to such checks. In addition, if you spend 1d4 hours in a settlement, you can take 20 on Culture checks to recall knowledge about that settlement as if you had access to a downloaded data set.

System Equipment

INFINITE WORLDS Building Worlds Biomes Accord Alignment Magic Religion

Friends in Low Places

Technology

Your winning and adaptable personality gains you access to less-reputable professional services. Prerequisites: Diplomacy 5 ranks. Benefit: When using services (Core Rulebook 233–235; Armory 134) in a settlement—such as lodgings, professional services, or transportation— you can tap into a settlement’s gray market to pay half price for the service. If you do, there’s a 25% chance something goes wrong, subject to the GM’s discretion: a spell might wear off early, a lodging might be attacked in the middle of the night, or transportation might break down in the middle of a journey. In addition, reduce the DC of Culture checks to recall knowledge about the criminal underworld by 2.

SANDBOX ADVENTURES TOOLBOXES INDEX

Street Racer You’ve picked up the talent of drifting around tight city curves and can perform this maneuver whenever you pilot a vehicle. Prerequisites: Piloting 2 ranks. Benefit: When performing a race action with a vehicle, you can attempt a Piloting check (DC = 15 + your vehicle’s item level) to drift, changing the heading of the vehicle at the end of the race movement up to 90 degrees. If you succeed at the check by 5 or more, you can change the heading of the vehicle by up to 180 degrees from its initial heading. In addition, when you force a vehicle to race unsafely, you can roll twice for the Piloting check and take the better result. If you still fail this check, you stop short (as the pilot action), changing

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WEIRD Sucking marshes, desiccating deserts, frigid tundra, and crushing ocean depths may seem the height of inhospitable terrain to new explorers, yet such relatively mundane terrestrial biomes represent only a fraction of the galaxy’s impossibilities.

Nascent worlds rage with volcanic activity as their crusts cool, their semisolid surfaces ablaze with fresh lava. Rogue planets exiled by their exploding suns wander the lightless expanses. Aberrant lifeforms grow as large as planetoids, slumbering with unspoken aspirations as unsuspecting creatures carve out a life on their miles-thick carapace. Cosmic forces that could never support life in a mundane multiverse arise in arcane nebulae and star systems born from divine will. Across the galaxy’s billions of planets, the impossible becomes merely improbable, birthing biomes best described as weird. In a science fantasy setting, weird biomes exist in part to provide a counterpoint to familiar Earth-like realms. What qualifies as weird may simply be a planet, star, or system encountered at an extreme point of its life cycle, such as newborn molten planetoids, realms so decrepit that they’re practically crumbling, or stubborn occult echoes of worlds that have long since disintegrated. More often, though, weirdness borrows from the outlandish tropes of planar travel, made even more jarring because weird biomes aren’t monolithic, infinite, divine realms; they exist within and are a natural extension of the Material Plane, reinforcing that the strangest destinations lie unsettlingly close to home. Unlike in mountains and deserts, adventurers can’t just turn on environmental protections to forget their surroundings; a weird biome presents a constant threat that could absorb, consume, or melt the complacent traveler. More than any other environ, these worlds aren’t just the setting; they’re the story itself. Given their dangers, why hazard even approaching these worlds? In the case of living worlds, visitors might have no choice; these planets and colossal creatures often hunt down nearby starships, space stations, and whole worlds to consume or corrupt in the perpetuation of their million-year life cycles. Those who survive this predation often establish the beachheads for future exploration. What’s more, alighting on such a beast’s surface might be the only way for heroes to neutralize the behemoth and save their own homes. More often, weird realms hide many of the setting’s greatest secrets: lifeless tracts preserve ancient knowledge for eons, tremendous living worlds are inimitable biological case studies, regions with aberrant physics might prove a critical testing ground for the next great technologies, and time-locked sanctums hypothetically exist where clues from the Gap survive into the modern era. In other cases, eccentric realms promise extraordinary resources. Intense pressures cause crushing atmospheres to rain diamonds. Magically warped nuclear fission yields supernatural elements key to building ever more powerful computers. Certain inorganic lifeforms might even photosynthesize raw UPBs, fulfilling that fanciful dream of

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money growing on trees. Through a combination of physics and magic, anything is possible, and each possibility is a scientific treasure, attracting unconventional adventurers with the promise of novelty and riches.

WEIRD INHABITANTS Where life exists in weird biomes, always consider how the creatures navigate, subsist, breath, reproduce, and survive. After all, even an utterly alien realm benefits from internal logic that makes its oddities more plausible. What’s more, these inhabitants might view PCs as the truly unnatural beings, establishing an unsettling dynamic for first-contact encounters. Native species are often as strange as the terrain itself, and by necessity, such organisms have adapted to survive—and even thrive—under bizarre circ*mstances. Life in a volcanic expanse is likely virtually immune to heat, either naturally breathing the otherwise-toxic gases or being able to swap between different forms of respiration like aberrant lungfishes. Dead planets might lack true life, populated instead by undead or outsiders. Those dwelling on or within immense planet-beings must weather their host’s tremendous movements, with sustenance as likely to be parasitized from the planetoid’s body as captured through photosynthesis. Inhabitants who originate offworld must have advanced technology, magic, or utter fortitude to survive, and they rarely settle these realms as a first choice. Instead, exile, desperation, or refuge drive immigration, and many of these creatures suffer in inhospitable surroundings that will never truly be home. Aucturn’s toxicity illustrates the trend, as any cultists and exiles who don’t choke in the toxic atmosphere inevitably mutate beyond recognition. Most ominous of all are those creatures that can’t thrive in a weird biome’s current conditions—yet like seeds awaiting rain, these organisms can unfurl or hatch if the status quo changes, potentially creating an even stranger ecosystem!

WEIRD ADVENTURERS Player characters are exceptional, and no origin’s more exceptional than growing up on a weird world. These planets rarely appeal to mainstream residents, instead attracting an eclectic mix of the desperate, the academic, and the opportunistic—all shaped into rugged survivors by the experience. The “sea legs” of a child raised on an immense living creature’s surface give them extraordinary balance, represented by Acrobatics skill, and for those living worlds that can listen, learning the planet’s language and honing one’s Diplomacy can outright avert earthquakes. On volcanic worlds, freshly hardened rock formations can block paths, and a keen eye is critical to spotting solid ground, requiring

GALAXY EXPLORATION MANUAL

2 OVERVIEW EXPLORING THE GALAXY Backgrounds Class Options Exploration System Equipment

INFINITE WORLDS Building Worlds Biomes Accord Alignment Magic Religion Technology

capable Athletics, Perception, and Physical Science training. The weirder the world, the more likely magic is involved, and Mysticism is often more valuable than Life Science or Survival when navigating enchanted turf.

WEIRD WORLDS Weird biomes defy expectation; they tend to feel most natural when experienced in isolation, with an entire world being uniformly weird, rather than including an eccentric ecosystem on an otherwise mundane planet. Any monolithically weird world becomes a study in what-ifs. If a planet isn’t roughly spherical, how might that affect gravity? If a planet is truly dead, does it lack a magnetic field that would deflect cosmic rays? If a planet is largely molten, does it instead have an overwhelming electromagnetic field? For a living planet, does it need to feed or respire, and if so, how does that drive its weather? For utterly bizarre realms, does matter consist of completely alien elements or operate under aberrant physics? Unpacking all the potential ramifications isn’t necessary when presenting a weird world; however, the GM should prepare at least three of these consequences as a way of illustrating the weirdness and making the world more believable. Thick skeletons could allow the native fauna to weather unexpectedly heavy gravity. Creatures on a dead world might shelter underground during the day to avoid irradiation, emerging at night to compete for ever-dwindling resources on the dying surface. Their counterparts on a molten world might be silicon-based or soar high above the

lava, with visitors’ computer equipment malfunctioning almost immediately from overwhelming radiation. A living planet might exhale regularly, blasting air from crater-sized geysers that travelers exploit with sturdy gliders, reaching lofty ecosystems sustained by these updrafts. Even where a world’s explanation is “it’s magic,” it needs an underlying logic. Identify and apply that logic consistently, and even the most bizarre planet can come alive—sometimes literally!

SANDBOX ADVENTURES TOOLBOXES INDEX

WEIRD RULES AND REFERENCE Nearly anything can be true on a weird world, which affords a GM vast freedom in deciding which rules to apply from a vast array of possibilities. These planets might be utterly hostile to life, in which case abnormal atmospheres are ideal—anything from the corrosive, toxic, and strange atmospheres on pages 395–396 of the Core Rulebook to no atmosphere at all. Erratic orbits, rapid rotation, and worse could beget extreme weather, using the rules on pages 398–400 as a starting point. Gravity (pages 401–402) could range from extreme to erratic, applying inconsistently across some worlds. Even terrestrial worlds, partly warmed by radioactive decay in their cores, might weep radiation (pages 403–404) across whole continents. For those worlds where physics simply doesn’t work as expected, the physical and mental disease tracks (pages 414–415) can represent explorers’ gradual degradation. Most crucially, remember that weird worlds are exactly that: weird. If ever there’s a time to apply strange circ*mstances, modify existing rules, or invent your own, this is it.

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WEIRD TOOLBOX See Biome Subsections on page 46 for advice on how to use the following tables.

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WEIRD INHABITANTS D% 1–4 5–8 9–12 13–16 17–20 21–24 25–28 29–32 33–36 37–40 41–44 45–48 49–52 53–56 57–60 61–64 65–68 69–72 73–76 77–80 81–84 85–88 89–92 93–96 97–100

SAPIENT Android Astrazoan PW Bodysnatcher slime AA2 Bone trooper AA2 Borais PW Calecor AA2 Cerebric fungus AA2 Contemplative AA Copaxi AA4 Corpsefolk AA2 Dessamar AA3 Dragon, void AA2 Entu colony AA4 Genie, efreeti AP13 Hallajin AA Hanakan AA3 Hortus AA3 Hulsa AA4 Jinsul AA3 Kami, chinjugami AA3 Oracle of Oras AA3 Orocoran AA Quorlu AA2 Shirren Urog AA

THREAT Bryrvath AA Cloud ray AA4 Colour out of space AA2 Deh-nolo AA Demon, pluprex AA2 Diatha AA3 Dinosaur, radioactive AA2 Frujai colony AA Glass serpent AA2 Herd animal, thermic AA2 Ignurso AA4 Irokiroi AA3 Magma ooze AP16 Mi-go AA2 Moonflower AA2 Plague ooze AP12 Protean, rifti AP13 Psychic abomination AP23 Quantum slime AA3 Robot, mining AP10 Thermatrod AA4 Thermophilic ooze AP21 Troll, void AA3 Undead minion AA Vermin, necropede AA2

WEIRD ADVENTURE HOOKS D20 ADVENTURE HOOK Centuries-long volcanic eruptions cease in the course of a single day, and lava worldwide begins to drain back underground in a 1 deafening torrent. Where is all of this molten rock going, and what subterranean realms is it uncovering in its wake? A dead zone blasted to lifelessness millennia ago unexpectedly hides stasis pods or dormant eggs, the last vestiges of a forgotten 2 past. Biologists’ excitement fades to panic when these lifeforms awaken, enraged by their barren environs and intent on destroying all other life. Ghost-haunted ruins have continuously replayed millennia-old, 3 pre-Gap scenes, yet recently, the ghosts began speaking of their experiences with the Drift as if the plane existed in their time. With little warning, tectonic plates have taken flight like spacefaring manta rays, carrying continents on their backs and leaving behind a 4 molten core. Where is this convoy of immense aliens traveling, and what is the fate of those stuck on their backs? An inverted planet, with a molten exterior and a hollow, inhabitable interior, cracks open once every 96 years, allowing 5 traffic for several weeks before closing. The planet has just reopened. What lies within? After disgorging lava for eons, several volcanoes have run dry. Passageways lead deep into the planet’s core, where cooling 6 caverns bear prophetic inscriptions in Ignan warning of an apocalypse “when the halls grow cold.”

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Slain in an ancient age, an amorphous planet is actually the curled corpse of a dead god. Literal veins of precious metals have long attracted prospectors, yet recent pilgrims have developed inexplicable spellcasting powers. Is the god coming back to life? Tens of thousands of miles long, an immense angler fish beast swims through space, its glowing lure heating its back like a miniature sun. The people living atop its back recently learned how to steer the beast, urging it to gobble up planets in their quest for resources. Rather than seasons, a rocky world experiences phases where rifts open to particular planes. The season of Maelstrom dawns, and the planet seems to be mutating as proteans swarm the surface. Seven planets, each carefully carved with miles-wide runes, orbit a star with clockwork precision. Astronomers predict that all seven will align perfectly later this year, but it’s unclear whether this event might open a portal, trigger a miracle, or something stranger. Five titanic, insectile limbs project from a planet, each bursting through at the beginning of a new age. A deafening tapping has begun under one continent. Is a sixth leg approaching, and does this mean the planet might fully hatch at long last? Nearly a third of a moon’s mass consists of vast servers, processors, and other computers, all whirring busily while tended by robotic minions. It’s clear the moon is calculating something, and more ominously, a large display appears to be counting down to an imminent date. A nearby star emits trace amounts of siccatite, which has accumulated in thick layers on an orbiting world over billions of years. Corporations now clash on the planet’s pyro-taiga to control the mineral rights. The souls of those who die in this biome become comfortable ghosts, never judged by Pharasma. Psychopomp starships patrol the skies to fend off scoundrels who would die here rather than languish in Abaddon. The PCs must brave the blockade to question a dead murderer’s spirit. Flung from its sun eons ago, a rogue planet’s frigid surface encases millions of undead inhabitants. As the planet approaches a new star system, the ice thaws, releasing the undead to pillage nearby worlds. An aberrant world abducts anyone in the galaxy who dreams of its haunted surface. A mysterious holovid circulates widely, showing these landscapes to the unwary, who wake from terrible nightmares to find themselves trapped untold light years from home.

Paleontologists uncover countless layers of mass extinctions that occurred like clockwork on a vibrant world, and the evidence 17 suggests another die-off is imminent. They’re desperate to uncover what keeps killing off all life before this unique ecosystem is lost forever. A barely sentient expanse of the Abyss manifested on the Material Plane during the Gap, only to be settled by skittermanders who 18 adore the living planetoid, confusing and calming its demonic instincts. A recent raid by off-worlders has riled the planetoid, threatening its residents and nearby worlds alike. Haunting dreams plague anyone who alights on a lifeless planet, causing visitors to transform into the planet’s long-dead, 19 once-dominant species. Exceptionally strong and smart, they’re operating from a gutted metropolis, hoping to abduct and transform more victims. An immense ring world surrounds a mystic portal through which nothing has ever returned, including those rim inhabitants with 20 fatal curiosity. Suddenly, an explorer missing for millennia emerges from the portal, carrying tales of untold riches and a growing threat on the other side.

GALAXY EXPLORATION MANUAL LEVEL 1–12

WEIRD COMPANIONS

TETLOTOLAN

Bizarre environments beget even stranger organisms. Originally adapted to their distant home worlds, these creatures can make excellent companions in adventures across the galaxy.

Small aberration Senses darkvision 60 ft. Good Save Will; Poor Saves Fort, Ref Resistances sonic 5 Speed 25 ft. Melee Attack frond (So) Space 5 ft. Reach 5 ft. Ability Modifiers Con, Cha

Chostolichi Companions Reanimated from several smaller bodies and fused into a vaguely saurian shape, chostolichi servitors develop a pack mentality that desperately seeks a leader.

CHOSTOLICHI

LEVEL 4–20

Large undead Senses darkvision 60 ft. Good Save Will; Poor Saves Fort, Ref Speed 35 ft. Defensive Abilities undead immunities Melee Attack bite (P) or tail (B) Space 10 ft. Reach 10 ft. Ability Modifiers Str, Cha

OVERVIEW EXPLORING THE GALAXY Backgrounds Class

SPECIAL ABILITIES

Discordant Burst (Ex, 7th level) Every 1d6 rounds, a tetlotolan can create a 5-foot-radius burst of unsettling harmonics within 30 feet as a standard action. Creatures in the area become flat-footed and off-target for 1 round unless they succeed at a Fortitude save (DC = 10 + 1-1/2 × the tetlotolan’s level) Frond (Ex) A tetlotolan’s frond attack targets EAC and has the unwieldy weapon property.

Options Exploration System Equipment

INFINITE WORLDS Building Worlds

SPECIAL ABILITIES

Biomes

Crumbling Embrace (Ex) When reduced to 0 Hit Points by a melee attack, a chostolichi entangles the attacker until the end of the attacker’s next turn unless it succeeds at a Reflex saving throw (DC = 10 + 1-1/2 × the chostolichi’s level). Draining Bite (Su) Once per hour when it damages a living significant enemy with its bite attack, a chostolichi can absorb part of the target’s vital essence, restoring a number of Hit Points equal to one-tenth the chostolichi’s maximum HP.

Accord Alignment Magic Religion Technology

Iridian Echo Companions

SANDBOX ADVENTURES

The mysterious spectra (Alien Archive 3 102) defend the Drift, and some can appear on multiple planes simultaneously. When an iridia spectra leaves the Material Plane, it sometimes leaves behind a crystalline, humanoid husk known as an iridian echo.

IRIDIAN ECHO

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LEVEL 1–20

Medium outsider Senses darkvision 60 ft. Good Save Ref; Poor Saves Fort, Will Speed 30 ft., 30 ft. fly (Ex, average) Melee Attack slam (B) Space 5 ft. Reach 5 ft. Ability Modifiers Str, Cha

SPECIAL ABILITIES

Bitter Beam (Su) Every 1d4 rounds, an iridian echo can fire a beam of cold from one hand as a ranged attack that targets EAC and has a range increment of 50 feet. Technician (Ex) An iridian echo can attempt Computers and Engineering checks using its skill bonus. While your iridian echo companion is adjacent to you, you gain a +1 morale bonus to Computers and Engineering checks.

Tetlotolan Companions This squat hexapod’s body has radial symmetry and resembles a starfish with tall, fern-like crests that chime softly when rustled. They filter feed on sounds, migrating slowly to absorb a varied diet.

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ACCORD For all its intellectual and material accomplishments, culture withers without the collective—some shared experiences, values, and goals that provide a society meaning and unite its people in overcoming challenges they could never defeat alone. Accord measures the degree to which a world’s individuals and societies cooperate with one another and the galaxy at large. While it outwardly corresponds to alignment, accord is distinct, and even though lawful societies tend to have higher accord than chaotic ones, powerful exceptions exist. The factors that shape accord are as complex as the constituent cultures it reflects. Codifying accord starts with asking questions. Why do a world’s inhabitants fight and compete? What drives them to seek peace and community? Did the inhabitants evolve from creatures whose survival depended on especially gregarious or individualist behavior? How monolithic is the world’s culture? How many species comprise these cultures, and are they on relatively equal footing with each other? Is there history that encourages cooperation or stokes resentment? Keep an open mind. In human-centric sci-fi settings, myriad conditions might drive accord, from longstanding peace and prosperity to indoctrination and merciless punishment levied against anyone stepping out of line. With the introduction of magic, alien species, and unfamiliar environments, the underlying possibilities become far more diverse and fantastical. Devastating living conditions could drive an unwavering code of hospitality or encourage desperate raiding. Abundant magic might provide all of a society’s needs and drive peace, but it could also fuel arcane subjugation. The existence of telepathy opens up vast possibilities for accord, potentially breaking down

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any barriers between personal and communal thought. In a collective consciousness, the group-mind’s anger or joy becomes the emotion of all, creating trusting societies that can turn on a perceived threat as one. Few societies embrace this concept so fully as the barathu of Bretheda, who meld physically and mentally with one another to create increasingly powerful amalgam beings. High-accord worlds could include an ideological, semi-democratic stratocracy governed by generals and driven by referendums in which only those who serve or have served in the military can vote. The axiom that military service grants citizenship prevails; soldiers get valorized for their role while civilians are looked down upon—not hated, but pitied. Another world might feature a prosperous pluralistic democracy with a strong social safety net and a powerful economy. Most inhabitants are happy with their circ*mstances, and over time, politics addresses an ever-narrower set of issues with citizens treating it as a spectator sport rather than something relevant to their daily lives. High accord could reflect a cybernetic surveillance state in which sophisticated AI programs monitor inhabitants and dissent becomes impossible beneath the machine’s all-seeing eye. The AIs, in turn, remain bound by their programming always enforcing what they deem a virtuous society. On a medium-accord world, a once-united theocratic oligarchy cracks under a massive religious schism, all inspired by the discovery of space travel and alien species. Some accept the “sky people” as friends; others see them as peerless angels from beyond, while certain inhabitants arm themselves against the threat of otherworldly invasion. On another world, a perilously unstable coalition of burgeoning nation-states

GALAXY EXPLORATION MANUAL

2 OVERVIEW EXPLORING THE GALAXY Backgrounds Class Options Exploration System Equipment

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pools its resources to compete on the galactic stage. While the confederation presents a united front, old rivalries and divisions mean that internal factions always jockey for advantage and dominance. Across the galaxy, a utopian world with sophisticated nanomanufacturing and omnipresent AIs might have granted every citizen a life of decadence—until a few of the AIs achieved self-awareness. Now, the mainframes responsible for a billion lives debate their future, even as the masses remain blissfully ignorant of the often-violent disagreements conducted beneath theirfeet. An iconic low-accord world is an anarchic, postapocalyptic wasteland, where scavenger bands compete over scarce resources left behind by the ancients. Isolated city-states work to consolidate power, yet most inhabitants live nomadic lifestyles to avoid spectral hot spots, mutated beasts, and hostile raiders. Compare this type of society to a hyper-individualistic plutocracy, where citizens must contract all possible services, such as police, fire prevention, and life support. Safety lies only in joining one of the megacorporations’ petty states or one of the workers’ cooperatives that sprout from time to time. Elsewhere, citizens swear fealty to militarized aristocracies on a techno-feudal world where semidivine war machines breathe radioactive fire. Ostensibly, marriage and alliances bind that society’s aristocrats to each other, but belligerent vestiges of honor spark noble vendettas and valorized violence without fail. Whatever the conditions, accord can shape adventure possibilities as much as any other factor. The PCs might find ample opportunities for conflict and profit on low- or mediumaccord worlds, yet any gains they make might stay at constant risk of loss to betrayal or even raiding, allowing for high-risk/ high-reward gambits.

Religion

ACCORD AND SKILL CHECKS A world’s accord reflects its inhabitants’ perspectives on whom they can trust and what they fear, impacting how easy it is to affect them with Bluff, Diplomacy, and Intimidate checks. High Accord: Reduce inhabitants’ effective CR by 1 for the purpose of calculating Diplomacy check DCs. Inhabitants often have an initial attitude of indifferent orbetter. Medium Accord: Typically, no change is involved. Low Accord: Increase inhabitants’ effective CR by 1 for the purpose of calculating Diplomacy and Intimidate check DCs. Inhabitants often have good Bluff, Intimidate, or Sense Motive skill bonuses, and their initial attitudes are rarely friendly or helpful.

Technology

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Meanwhile, high-accord realms might have little apparent opportunity for enterprising freelancers—at least until the PCs dig up long-suppressed grievances, treasures from a bygone age, or opportunities to overthrow the quiet tyranny that currently maintains order. Often, these worlds appropriately function as a home base where adventurers can retire in peace—or serve as discrete informants charged with keeping an eye on rising threats. Such places can also present the PCs with a moral quandary, as those living in worlds at peace might prefer the price they pay for the absence of conflict, no matter how high, and exhibit resentment toward outsiders who meddle in their affairs.

ACCORD

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HIGH ACCORD High-accord societies and worlds often appear at peace with few disagreements or divisions. Life tends to be stable, if not necessarily pleasant. The great majority of citizens can expect tomorrow to be a great deal like today. Likewise, life tends to be safe; even in the most dystopian regimes, the inherent predictability of life means that it’s easy enough to avoid danger, at least for those who live by any extant social contracts necessary to protect themselves. This relative safety often means that the populace perceives threats to any institutions that maintain the peace—whether those institutions are long-standing peace treaties, shared virtues, or tyrannical guardians—as existential threats to their happiness and safety. Whether these peoples hope to preserve their utopias or fear retribution from an overbearing government, citizens often push back against anything threatening the existing order, especially wandering bands of offworldadventurers. Not everyone living within a dominant paradigm of a high-accord world agrees with the status quo. Some might have no choice, forced into an outcast state because of their identity. Others make a philosophical choice to stand in opposition to their society, whether out of youthful rebellion or considered judgment. For these people, life in a high-accord society can become singularly unpleasant. Rebels living in more benign societies at the very least find themselves shunned with friends and relatives treating them with puzzled pity. Those in harsher regimes might be harassed, persecuted, imprisoned, or even killed if they refuse to conform. Despite these risks and dangers, almost every high-accord society has some pockets of resistance to the norm. Some adventurers hailing from high-accord societies seek surrogate relationships to replace the ones they’ve left behind, ranging from intense friendships to vast adoptive families to merciless hierarchies. Other adventurers are the aforementioned misfits, departing when then find they don’t fit their home world’s exacting expectations. Adjusting to the galaxy at large can be a difficult process for refugees from high-accord worlds. What might seem like intolerable rebellion in the stable domain of a high-accord society becomes downright quaint in the chaos of galactic civilization, and few high-accord adventurers have real experience with physical danger before leaving their homes, making traveling the galaxy—especially as an adventurer forging their own path—quite an education.

MEDIUM ACCORD A medium-accord world is riven by one or more serious divisions, whether ethnic, religious, ideological, geopolitical, or something else. Medium-accord worlds lack the overwhelming unity of high-accord worlds, but they don’t generally suffer the pernicious struggles or isolation of low-accord worlds. Medium-accord worlds are the most common in the galaxy since they occupy a sort of natural equilibrium on the spectrum. Maintaining a high-accord society requires considerable, concerted effort and no small amount of luck, while low-accord societies tend to exhaust themselves through conflict, either eventually extinguishing themselves or seeing a single group rise to dominance. Rarely, a medium-accord world arises when

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the members of a low-accord world finally seek peace after generations of division. Typically, the residents of a medium-accord society have a distinct sense of home and nation while simultaneously being familiar with the idea of other kinds of societies and ways of life. This knowledge can sometimes lead to xenophobia, excessive nationalism, and a siege mentality with the populace seeing itself surrounded by others unlike and unfriendly toward them. Just as often, however—and especially on worlds that have access to the interstellar community—differences may be seen as a source of curiosity, strength, or profit. Adventurers might hail from medium-accord worlds for any number of reasons, but many won’t find a circuitous life among the stars, hopping from culture to culture, to be particularly strange. Already used to dealing with outsiders and those unlike them, they tend to settle easily into the galactic scene, seeing it as just one more job or turn of life. Medium-accord adventurers often develop strong alliances and friendships, though they can sometimes be prone to viewing things with dichotomous, us-versus-them mindsets—often an asset for their allies but a hindrance to forming complicated relationships or dealing with situations that require more nuance.

LOW ACCORD Life on a low-accord world is almost universally governed by fear. All-out war between numerous small factions grips the archetypical low-accord society, whether that war involves literal armed conflict or a constant state of competition where there are no true allies yet ample consequences for failure. Chaotic societies are most naturally inclined to collapse into such conflicts, yet even lawful factions might initiate and sustain these long-term struggles. Few people enjoy living in a low-accord world, though occasionally small groups can establish pockets of relative stability and profit. These fledgling societies are uncertain, insecure enterprises, as whatever forces caused the world to fall into low accord remain a threat. The exceptions include worlds and societies that survive and eventually push their homes toward greater stability. It’s uncommon for a low-accord world to stay that way indefinitely; most of what the Pact Worlds recognize as sapient species gravitate toward stability and safety, even if their societies also encourage individuality, self-expression, and a degree of dissidence. Worlds that remain in a low-accord state for extended periods often do so because of external factors that prohibit a safer equilibrium, whether offworld political influence or geological instability that manifests as societal imbalance. Adventurers from low-accord worlds often consider themselves refugees or escapees, finding solace in a galactic society that seems oddly trusting and cooperative. Life in a low-accord world tends to cultivate paranoia and self-reliance in equal measure, and for many such adventurers, learning that trust isn’t a weakness can prove a difficult yet vital step toward fitting into other societies. Adventurers who overcome this hurdle and accept trusted allies might still assume the worst of everyone else and, in turn, expect others to assume the worst of them.

GALAXY EXPLORATION MANUAL

HIGH-ACCORD ADVENTURE HOOKS D20 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20

ADVENTURE HOOK Someone plans to assassinate the highest ruler. There’s a moral panic about decadent, depraved offworld music. Authorities have scapegoated an outsider for a hideous murder. Seditious literature spreads throughout the world, and the state police arrest any who possess copies. A new translation of a society’s founding documents would invalidate centuries of established tradition—if it’s legitimate. The government introduces highly-intrusive surveillance technology. Recent warnings of a terrible imminent disaster (invasion, plague, asteroid) are being all but ignored by a complacent population. A senior state official wants help to discreetly bail their child out of prison—and to ensure their permanent record stays clean. A political or cultural dissident stows away on the PCs’ starship. A social media fad allows a corporation to subtly control aspects of everyday citizens’ lives. Authorities investigate the import of an offworld foodstuff or medicine that seems to cause discontent in users. A body double for the government’s most controversial leader seeks to betray their former employer. An offworld corporation is hiring outside help to penetrate insular local markets. Certain identifying documents are required to get legitimate work, but one neighborhood is awash in convincing black-market forgeries. A hacker erases the identities of dozens of prominent citizens to bring attention to the government’s mistreatment of a marginalized group. A senior official has died with no clear successor, and the government covers up their death until a suitable successor is produced. Missionaries of a chaotic-aligned deity try to spread a new faith. The government isn’t enthused. A recent discovery proved that a long-dead, important historical or cultural figure wasn’t who they pretended to be. The government commissions offworlders to ferry a dozen prisoners to exile. Most are political dissidents; one is a serial killer. The terms of an ancient treaty keeping a world at peace also require its powers to conquer neighboring systems, which request aid.

MEDIUM-ACCORD ADVENTURE HOOKS D20 ADVENTURE HOOK A new, shadowy organization claims responsibility for an upswing in 1 natural disasters in several enemy states. A massive natural disaster hits a once-strong state whose enemies 2 now pose a looming threat. 3 A high-ranking member of one faction’s military looks to defect. An obscure, ignored state manages to acquire the most powerful 4 super weapon in the system and wins a war it was doomed to lose. A powerful offworld mercenary organization has offered its services to 5 one faction, threatening to destabilize the entire geopolitical system. A revolutionary but expensive biotechnology exacerbates tensions 6 between the upper and lower classes. A newly-appointed ambassador, utterly ignorant of local customs, 7 needs help preparing for a major upcoming cultural event. A diplomatic crisis causes a once-valuable export to become 8 worthless, and merchants look to sell the goods elsewhere. A seemingly unbreakable code gives one nation an advantage in 9 matters of espionage. The assassination of a political figure by regional separatists has 10 triggered an international crisis.

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A major, multilateral summit is being held offworld, making security and scrutiny in the area tighter than ever. Two major states finally agree to peace talks, and a nervous third party hires help to sabotage them. An offworld hacker threatens to destabilize global markets unless all nations agree to a unilateral disarmament treaty. A nation’s senior intelligence official is a mole for an enemy state. One state looks for help to discreetly salvage a wreck belonging to a rival state. One nation attempts to disguise its espionage of an enemy state as much-needed humanitarian efforts. A sudden invasion of outsiders from another plane of existence scrambles all the usual alliances and power blocs. The sacred dead of a faction rise en masse as peaceful undead, but other states believe this event to prelude a war. A major arms syndicate sells weapons to all factions at very low prices; the weapons are soon discovered to be faulty. A long-running, massive conflict ends abruptly as each side realizes they can’t remember why they fought in the first place.

2 OVERVIEW EXPLORING THE GALAXY Backgrounds Class Options Exploration System Equipment

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LOW-ACCORD ADVENTURE HOOKS D20 ADVENTURE HOOK Someone is taking advantage of the planet’s disorganization to hide 1 a secret research facility. A local warlord looks for aid in training their nebbish heir in the arts 2 of violence. A major discovery of natural resources in what was previously a 3 wasteland sparks a land rush, and tempers are high. 4 Star-crossed lovers from rival factions beg for outsiders’ help. An offworld corporation looks for help in retrieving a cargo of 5 dangerous weapons shipped to the world “by accident.” A powerful and violent faction suddenly goes silent. What are they 6 planning—or what happened to them? A lawful-aligned outsider appears in an area of sacred ground that 7 was previously the focus of a three-sided civil war. A freighter full of humanitarian supplies goes missing in a wasteland 8 thought to be inhabited by monsters. Though they have ceased hostilities, two rival groups can’t agree on 9 the terms of peace and require outside arbitration. A retiring warlord bequeaths their lands and goods to a group of 10 offworlders they’ve supposedly never met before. There’s a murder at a neutral meeting between factions, but the 11 obvious suspect is a little bit too obvious. A new faction joins the chaotic political landscape when the plants and 12 animals of a large stretch of wilderness suddenly become sapient. People flock to a charismatic new demagogue. Anyone who hears 13 them speak becomes a convert. A desperate faction requires assistance to bring a holy figure to an 14 important location behind enemy lines. 15 A peacekeeping group on a world on the brink of war goes quiet. A minor faction is so desperate for offworld help that it has just 16 kidnapped a prominent offworld personality. The underdog faction in a minor war looks offworld for mercenary 17 assistance, offering higher pay than they should be able to afford. A profiteering offworld corporation secretly hoards a key natural 18 resource that the world’s factions has long fought over. A key contact for offworld visitors was killed in a minor raid. What 19 happens to visiting adventurers now? An interstellar criminal cartel suborns local clans into providing 20 them with illicit goods, such as dangerous drugs.

ACCORD

Worlds Biomes Accord Alignment Magic Religion Technology

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LEADERSHIP SYSTEM Roleplaying game campaigns, even open-ended ones, often revolve around a handful of individuals of steadily growing competence and renown while facing an array of foes in battle. This classic model is reliable for a campaign, but what if players are placed in command of some kind of organization: a military unit, a political campaign, a business, a cult, or something else? In these cases, the leadership system comes into play. In the leadership system, PCs manage an organization: a group of people with some sense of collective identity. The party is in charge as a group, although a single PC might serve as the nominal head. For instance, one PC might take on the position of CEO for a business with the other PCs representing members of the board or other high executives. The leadership system isn’t a mechanical boost or a campaign reward, nor is it strictly tied to a character’s progression; rather, the system follows the logic of an ongoing campaign. In some cases, running and improving the PCs’ organization could be central to the campaign’s victory conditions. Perhaps the PCs are underbosses of an Akitonian crime ring, and their goal in the campaign is to forge an interstellar criminal network stretching from Verces to Absalom Station. The organization might exist in the background, allowing for a different style of campaign to unfold. Perhaps the PCs command a deep-space exploratory

vessel, and the organization is their trusty crew, gaining in ability and confidence just as the PCs do. The leadership system here presents a framework that GMs and other players can flesh out together, depending on the circ*mstances of their campaign, and can represent anything from the Corpse Fleet to the Absalom Station Orchid Fanciers’ Club.

Organizations Every organization has the following characteristics. See the Organizations table on page 101 for level-based guidance on an organization’s statistics. Level: Each organization has a level, which helps inform its other statistics and is generally equal to 2 lower than the PCs’ level. The GM might allow extra adventures to raise it to a maximum of 2 higher than the PCs’ level. Followers: These people aren’t a formal part of the organization but devote some share of their energies to it. They might be loyal customers, adoring fans, social media followers, voters, worshipers, and so forth. Followers have their own lives but are reasonably dedicated to the organization. For every follower, there are another five to 10 people with a casual interest toward the organization. Followers are always CR 1/3. Members: These people are full-time members of the organization. They’re a military organization’s soldiers, a political campaign’s permanent staff and volunteers, or a business’s employees. They carry out their assigned duties and are assumed to be loyal—but not fanatically so—to the organization’s leadership. Members are much lower CR than the PCs’ level. While membership covers a spread of CRs, generally, each higher CR has half as many people in it as the CR before it; for example, a 6th-level organization with 14 members will probably have two CR1 members, four CR 1/2 members, and eight CR 1/3 members. Lieutenants: These people are more important full-time employees of the organization—the priests, the military officers, the social media representatives, and so forth. They follow the same CR spread as members. Often, one or more lieutenants will be fully realized NPCs, serving as figureheads for the organization. Power: At the GM’s discretion, an organization can be called upon to act mechanically by performing skill checks. Perhaps a PC-run military unit can identify a new alien threat, or the promoter for the PCs’ music group can try to score a record deal. In this case, the PCs roll a d20 on behalf of the organization and add its power bonus. The GM determines whether the organization can use the appropriate skill and assigns the DC according to the difficulty of what the PCs attempt to achieve.

Using Organizations Tending a gradually growing organization is a satisfying use of leadership in a campaign that features it; the players succeed when their organization does, and they gradually become potentates of various sorts. There are several other ways to use organizations more actively in a campaign. A campaign that has the PCs running an organization should occasionally call for power checks, much as it might call for Diplomacy or Stealth checks. If the PCs lead a band, for instance, they might use their organization’s power checks to get into

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GALAXY EXPLORATION MANUAL restricted social gatherings, mobilize flash mobs, or sic lawyers on those using their music without permission. Organizations can also pay the PCs a salary. This option can be one way for the GM to get the expected wealth per level into PC hands in otherwise remote or treasure-light campaigns. Organizations can serve as sources of friendly NPCs and safe locations, and a campaign that features an organization should give the PCs plenty of chances to talk with their allies, employees, and supporters. Giving players a chance to customize a home base or the ability to recruit NPCs they like into their organization can lead to fun storytelling opportunities. Finally, the organization can serve as a source of plot points and adventures for the PCs, who are the highest-level and most powerful characters in the organization and likely to be called on when trouble arises. However, GMs should be cautious about making the organization feel like a liability. Ideally, the PCs should want to initiate adventures themselves to expand or strengthen their organization.

Leadership Downtime Activities Characters in command of an organization can use the following downtime activities. Full rules on downtime activities can be found on page 150 of the Character Operations Manual.

Delegate Work You assign menial tasks to others to complete. Multiday: You give orders and shift personnel so that they can conduct a downtime activity of your choice. You must spend as much time delegating as the downtime activity takes to complete. Results: The organization performs the chosen downtime activity, using its power modifier for any checks. The downtime activity must be appropriate to the organization (like a military unit building a shelter), and it must be something that can actually be delegated (you can’t delegate carousing, for instance).

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ORGANIZATION NPCS Not all organizations have followers, members, and lieutenants attached to them. If the PCs run a church, then having priests (lieutenants), deacons and acolytes (members), and worshipers (followers) makes sense. If the PCs are social media influencers, then they might have many followers but only a few lawyers and accountants (lieutenants). A ship’s crew might have only crew (members) and officers (lieutenants).

OVERVIEW EXPLORING THE GALAXY Backgrounds Class Options Exploration System

Executive Decisions You issue specific instructions to your organization. Activity: You spend a day reviewing files and holding meetings, mobilizing your organization to operate at peak efficiency. Results: Your organization gains a +1 circ*mstance bonus to a single power check of your choice during the following week. An organization can have a maximum of +5 from these bonuses in reserve at any one time and can use any or all on a single check. Unused bonuses are lost when the week ends.

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Membership Drive

Alignment

You make an effort to grow your organization’s membership. Multiday: You spend a week actively seeking new members. This activity might mean standing on street corners with pamphlets or running sophisticated recruiting campaigns. At the end of the week, attempt a Diplomacy check with a DC equal to 10 + 1-1/2 × your organization’s current level. You can’t take 20 on this check. Results: On a success, you recruit a number of new followers and members equal to 10% of your current numbers, up to the maximum for the organization’s level.

Magic Religion Technology

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ORGANIZATIONS LEVEL 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20

FOLLOWERS 1–10 11–25 26–50 51–100 101–250 251–500 501–1,000 1,001–2,500 2,501–5,000 5,001–10,000 10,001–25,000 25,001–50,000 50,001–100,000 100,001–250,000 250,001–500,000 500,001–1,000,000 1,000,001–2,500,000 2,500,001–5,000,000 5,000,001–10,000,000 10,000,001–100,000,000

MEMBERS 1–2 3–4 5–6 7–9 10–13 14–18 19–27 28–36 37–53 54–75 76–99 100–150 151–215 216–300 301–425 426–600 601–850 851–1,200 1,201–1,700 1,701–2,400

MEMBER CR 1/3 1/3 1/3 1/3 1/3 1/3–1 1/3–1 1/3–1 1/3–1 1/3–2 1/3–2 1/3–2 1/3–2 1/3–3 1/3–3 1/3–3 1/3–3 1/3–4 1/3–4 1/3–4

LIEUTENANTS – – 1 1 1 2 2 3 4–5 6–7 8–10 11–15 16–22 23–30 31–42 43–60 61–85 86–120 121–170 171–240

LIEUTENANT CR – – 1 1 1 2 2 2–3 2–3 3–4 3–4 3–5 3–5 4–6 4–6 4–7 4–7 5–8 5–8 5–9

ACCORD

POWER +5 +7 +8 +10 +12 +13 +15 +16 +18 +19 +21 +22 +24 +25 +27 +28 +30 +31 +33 +35

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ALIGNMENT ALIGNMENT Alignment is a simplified characterization of a community (or individual’s) ideology. On a personal level, it can encompass one’s behavior, morality, and personality. When applied to a group, it encompasses the beliefs, laws, traditions, societal framework, and shared ethos of the institution and its members—the spiritual zeitgeist that unites individuals into a community. This section focuses on alignment as applied to a settlement, society, world, or other group. For more information on individual alignment, see page 24 of the Core Rulebook.

THE ALIGNMENT SYSTEM Alignment is measured using two pairs of opposing values: good and evil, and law and chaos. Each pair of values creates an axis within a spectrum, with neutrality in the middle. Combined, these two axes produce a total of nine alignment possibilities: lawful good (LG), neutral good (NG), chaotic good (CG), lawful neutral (LN), neutral (N), chaotic neutral (CN), lawful evil (LE), neutral evil (NE), and chaotic evil (CE).

Good and Evil The good-evil axis measures morality. Good alignment could indicate a society that values altruism, charity, helpfulness, honesty, loyalty, respect for life, or the protection of others. An evil alignment could indicate a society rife with corruption, cruelty, greed, oppression, prejudice, selfishness, violence, or lack

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of compassion. Neutral morality could indicate indifference, a lack of commitment, a commingling of aspects of these two opposing values, or a purposeful rejection of the concept of morality.

Law and Chaos The law-chaos axis measures order against spontaneity. A lawful alignment could indicate adherence to rules, codified values, real or perceived fairness, honesty, or deference to authority or tradition. Lawful societies tend to be consistent, predictable, organized, and stable. A chaotic alignment could indicate distrust of authority or emphasize anarchy, freedom, unpredictability, creativity, or spontaneity. Chaotic societies tend to be adaptable, inventive, and flexible. Neutrality on the law-chaos axis often indicates indifference, passivity, or living by a fluid code of conduct that may be altered or broken as required.

Using Alignment Every world, nation, settlement, organization, and community can have an alignment, though quantifying it is neither simple nor universal. A society’s alignment reflects the typical alignment of its citizens, leaders, and government. This alignment is neither hom*ogeneous nor inherent to its inhabitants or environment. Individuals and smaller communities within these groups and cultures can be of any alignment, regardless of their surrounding society or governing body.

GALAXY EXPLORATION MANUAL Much like individual alignments, a society’s alignment isn’t static. It changes over time, as behavior shifts, cultural mores change, or when new generations come into power. Typically, this change happens over centuries. When change occurs at an accelerated pace, it’s often the result of internal shifts, such as cultural reform, revolution, or new leadership; external influences, such as natural disaster, war, or other shared calamity; or rapid change in a community’s other attributes, such as accord, magic, religion, or technology. When creating worlds and settlements, alignment is a useful descriptive tool meant to differentiate locations from one another, quickly convey societal information, and spark creativity. Applied well, alignment enhances a location by setting a baseline for a society that events can be measured against. Alignment alters worlds completely, making two worlds with the same attributes and biomes distinct. A world governed by ascetic ysoki warrior-mages that idolize self-sacrifice will be very different from that same world governed by backstabbing ysoki gangs vying for supremacy, scrappy ysoki freedom fighters hiding out among the trees, or spoiled ysoki aristocrats who wield social connections and magic to suppress lower castes. Among these varied worlds and cultures, a single act—perhaps the theft of an apple or a pernicious lie—can have drastically different meanings and repercussions. However, alignment shouldn’t restrict player creativity or actions. Rather, it should provide context, qualities, and quirks for a location and its inhabitants; drive social interactions; and engage players in the people and places around them. In addition to alignment’s ability to affect the gaming environment, alignment is a helpful guideline for GMs. It indicates which player characters will find easy acceptance and which will have to work to fit in, or more easily rebel. When encountering random NPCs, most will be of the same alignment as their surrounding culture; those who don’t fit these expectations are likely to catch the attention of players. Alignment is also useful for determining basic laws, social encounters, and typical combats. GMs running a lawful world might introduce law enforcement, customs agents, religious leaders, professional greeters, or ardent patriots tasked with acclimating— or assimilating—foreigners. GMs running a chaotic world might introduce a band of criminals, dashing musicians, wily pickpockets, or frantic philosophers who battle in the streets with lyrical soliloquies. Generally, chaotic worlds feature dangerous wildlife and hazards more often than lawful ones. The nine alignments and how they might influence a society or world are examined in more detail below. As with any system, alignment is a tool meant to enhance gameplay and inspire adventure. If you don’t enjoy the interactions facilitated by the alignment system, feel free to ignore it altogether.

ALIGNMENT ENTRIES Each alignment entry lists some of the many creatures, deities, planes, and worlds associated with that alignment, followed by details about how that alignment might manifest in alien societies and worlds. More information about the cited creatures and worlds can be found in their respective cited books, and the Starfinder Core Rulebook has more information about deities (pages 482–493) and planes (pages 470–471). You also can find more free information about these topics online at paizo.com/sfrd.

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Associated Creatures: osharu AA2, philosopher worm AA3, shirren Associated Deities: Angradd, Hylax, Iomedae Associated Planes: Heaven Associated Worlds: Idari, Helfen-Thel NS, Marixah Republic NS, Szandite Collective NS

OVERVIEW EXPLORING THE GALAXY Backgrounds Class Options Exploration

A

lawful good society is altruistic and ordered. It possesses a codified set of beliefs, laws, or traditions, with clear repercussions for those who break them. Its citizens help those in need, protect the innocent, and speak out against cruelty and oppression. In a lawful good society, greater value is placed on people than on profit and progress. Beyond these basic qualities, lawful good societies vary greatly. One might be a peaceful utopia where all citizens are equal, a meritocracy with complex social strata, or a stratocracy with a rigid military hierarchy. Its citizens may be insular, content to police one another; pacifists who enforce law with a strongly worded scolding, ritualized debates, or collective ostracism; or valorous warriors intent on righting the wrongs of the world both within and beyond their borders, perhaps going out of their way to arrest criminals, topple tyrants, vanquish extraplanar threats, or revolutionize corrupt societies. Lawful good societies are typically stable and consistent, capable of weathering hardship and tragedy without breaking down or descending into panic and chaos. Their laws and processes might enable extraordinary unity and efficiency, though if applied unwisely, these elements could as easily hamper dayto-day life and unwittingly ensnare visitors who are unfamiliar with the arcane, altruistic intricacies. Many lawful good societies value traditions and prove relatively slow to enact change. This can cause some societies to stagnate or grow so rigid that they become incapable of adapting to changing environments. Some societies embrace the democratic ratification and modification of laws, confident they move closer to a more virtuous and perfect society with each amendment. Lawful good societies police or monitor their inhabitants to ensure conformity with laws and values. Generally, this is well-intentioned and respectful, yet visitors to a lawful good world might nevertheless experience uncomfortable inspections, questioning, and lectures on local laws and customs to ensure they don’t upset the peace. Whether welcomed or watched warily, visitors are expected to conform. Most citizens in a lawful good society are proud, considering themselves blessed, virtuous, or morally just. This can make these worlds difficult for strangers to feel at home. The inhabitants often consider chaotic visitors flighty, immature, untrustworthy, or troublesome. They consider neutral visitors lacking in determination. They consider evil visitors cruel and selfish, and although these travelers might receive mere reprimand for any villainy, most lawful good societies can quickly mobilize to imprison, punish, or chase away true threats.

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System Equipment

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NEUTRAL GOOD

Associated Creatures: agathion AA4, noqual dragon AA3, phentomite AA2, rheonnaghan AP18 Associated Deities: Arshea, Sarenrae, Yaraesa Associated Planes: Nirvana Associated Worlds: Absalom Station, Bretheda, Ghorus Prime NS, Orry, the sun, Varturan NS

A

neutral good society is benevolent and encourages its citizens to do the right thing, help others, and cooperate, but doesn’t force them to conform, uphold this mandate, or feel pressured to sacrifice their own wellbeing for others. Laws aim to make life comfortable for citizens and punish harmful behavior, not codify virtue. Neutral good societies police their inhabitants lightly. Reform and community service are often fair punishment for minor crimes. Neutral good societies are typically diverse. They may be a cultural melting pot, a refuge for those fleeing oppression, or a fledgling colony whose survival depends on cooperation and tight community bonds. Their citizens might be trying to establish a better way of life, might consider their neighbors family, or might simply be trying to live their lives in peace. Visitors receive a warm welcome, whatever their appearance, creed, or history. All are judged by their deeds, not their reputation or place of origin. Such societies are a often a safe destination for refugees and exiles. For all their neighborly and generally content status, these societies should be aware that there’s room for improvement to make things better for all. They have little patience for self-righteousness, prejudice, oppression, or rebellion. They’re willing to settle most disputes among themselves, rather than requesting intervention from authority figures or law-enforcement. When confronted by those in positions of authority, members of neutral good societies are most likely to rely on collective decision-making and mutually beneficial ideals passed on through social norms. They likely consider lawful visitors rigid and close-minded, chaotic visitors impatient and unreliable, and evil visitors cruel, perhaps even a danger to themselves and others.

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CHAOTIC GOOD

Associated Creatures: azata AA2, copper dragon AA2, dessamar AA3, dirindi AA3, djinni AP15, onkushi AP18, storm giant AA2 Associated Deities: Black Butterfly, Desna, Weydan Associated Planes: Elysium Associated Worlds: Daimalko, Gaskar III NS, Landahl NS

A

chaotic good society is constantly changing, though it remains focused on doing what’s right regardless of the repercussions. It’s flexible, capable of rapidly adapting to changing environments and situations, and willing to break rules for the greater good. Its citizens are fiercely independent, valuing freedom and resenting attempts to control or limit them. As a downside, these societies sometimes overextend themselves or act without acknowledging the full ramifications of their actions. The society might be a vibrant democracy, a fractured collective of provinces vying for dominance, or an egalitarian community rallying against oppressors. Its citizens might be daring survivors fighting for their lives, activists spreading progressive ideologies, freedom fighters determined to abolish galactic slavery, or innovative intellectuals creating new methods to better their world. Innovators and iconoclasts, like adventurers and explorers, often find themselves welcome in these cultures. Leadership often incorporates many voices, with no one person retaining longterm control. When powerful leaders arise, they’re often charismatic visionaries who lead by example. These societies uphold accepted values but have few codified laws. Its citizens might condone vigilante justice, solve disputes among themselves, or have courts that pass judgment via popular opinion or democratic vote. Most citizens in a chaotic good society are confident and outspoken, considering themselves good people living independent lives free from oppression and corruption. They likely consider lawful visitors boring, old-fashioned, and overbearing. They consider neutral visitors in need of encouragement and guidance, and exhibit little restraint when given a chance to offer either. They consider evil visitors in need of reform or punishment and watch them carefully for signs of ill-intent.

GALAXY EXPLORATION MANUAL

LAWFUL NEUTRAL Associated Creatures: anacite AA, azer AP13, formian AA, inevitable AA, witchwyrd AA, yithian AA3 Associated Deities: Abadar, Kadrical, Talavet Associated Planes: Axis Associated Worlds: Aballon, Castrovel, Nakondis AP7, Pabaq NS, Tabrid Minor NS, Triaxus, Verces

2

NEUTRAL

Associated Creatures: contemplative AA, elemental AA, moonflower AA2, nyssholora AA2, robot AA Associated Deities: The Eldest, Eloritu, Ibra, Pharasma, Triune Associated Planes: The Boneyard, the Drift Associated Worlds: Arquand, Liavara, Orikolai, Riven Shroud

OVERVIEW EXPLORING THE GALAXY Backgrounds Class Options

A

lawful neutral society is ordered and dependable, with consistent social customs, codified laws, processes for arbitrating disputes, and repercussions for breaking laws and taboos. Its citizens respect and embrace authority. In a lawful neutral society, reason and order are valued over emotion, morality, and personal expression. A lawful neutral society might be a tightly controlled utopia or dystopia, a bastion of enlightenment and education where rational thought outweighs emotion, a corporate plutocracy, or a monarchy with traditions dating back millennia. Its citizens may be innovators pushing the boundaries of science or magic, colonists trying to tame the wilderness, or laborers working to get by. Stability is often more important than transparency, which may result in governments keeping secrets from their citizens. These societies are typically peaceful and predictable. They might be overburdened with excessive laws or a model of streamlined efficiency. Citizens understand their laws and lives aren’t perfect but prefer them to the alternative, believing order is the only thing holding society together. Most citizens know their role in society, follow the rules, and find comfort in safety and routine. Lawful neutral societies often monitor their citizens and visitors closely, staying alert for lawbreakers and corruption. Imprisonment, labor, and fines are common punishments meted out to criminals after judgment is passed, dependent on local customs. Citizens in a lawful neutral society often get along well with other lawful-aligned visitors, who typically respect that society’s strictures, though they consider both groups overly judgmental. They consider good visitors naïve and evil visitors cutthroat. Chaotic visitors are likely considered corrupt, lawless, and unreliable.

Exploration

A

neutral society is slow to unite and difficult to sway. Although some are committed to balance, political neutrality, unbiased reason, or other philosophical ideals, most simply exist, expending their energy to carry on or maintain the status quo without any particular inclination to conform or grow toward a specific ideal. Its citizens might prefer good to evil or law to chaos, but they don’t go out of their way to uphold or impose these values. A neutral society’s citizens likely care more for themselves and their families than they do their neighbors or the world at large, and most consider distant or future problems of little consequence unless they pose a tangible threat. Alternatively, a neutral world might be occupied by creatures that act purely on instinct or programmed behavior, such as animals, plants, or constructs. A neutral society might be a nature preserve, a holographic or illusory construct, a preprogrammed world of golems or robots, a settlement unconcerned with the outside world, or a loose affiliation of farmers who rely on each other for support. Its citizens might be an insular cloister of esoterics contemplating life, a gathering of those trying to survive in a hostile environment, or people just trying to feed their families and care for themselves. Neutral societies are often natural meeting places and trade hubs, as they’re largely unconcerned with visitors. Many have simple laws based off common sense and the preservation of society. Visitors to a neutral world can disappear easily, making these planets popular among criminals or revolutionaries looking to lay low. Most citizens in a neutral society are self-interested and passive, considering other people’s problems none of their concern. Most consider visitors bossy and nosy, especially on moral matters.

ALIGNMENT

System Equipment

INFINITE WORLDS Building Worlds Biomes Accord Alignment Magic Religion Technology

SANDBOX ADVENTURES TOOLBOXES INDEX

105

CHAOTIC NEUTRAL Associated Creatures: : asteray , calcecor , colour out of space AA2, equinoxian AA3, hesper AA, oracle of oras AA3, valkyrie AA3 Associated Deities: Besmara, Calistria, Groetus, Oras Associated Planes: The Maelstrom Associated Worlds: : Akiton, the Diaspora, Preluria, Tabori Cluster AA

A

AA2

chaotic neutral society is unstable and unpredictable. It features few codified rules and little to no governing body, instead being ruled by whatever groups or individuals have the most power at any given time. Often, these lawless societies divide into factions vying for power, though even these alliances and coalitions might fragment suddenly based on evolving circ*mstances. Its citizens resent authority and any attempts to control them. If forced into obedience, many citizens seize their first opportunity to escape, lash out, or turn on their oppressors. These unpredictable elements thus make many chaotic neutral societies dangerous. Chaotic neutral societies value adaptability, creativity, and spontaneity. A chaotic neutral society might be a smuggler’s paradise, a blasted wasteland where gangs hold sway, a boomtown on a resource-rich frontier, a refuge for artistic iconoclasts evading retaliation from the tyrants they mock, or a hot spot for reckless youths and daredevils. Its citizens are opportunistic and often care more for their themselves, their interests, and their holdings than they do for their neighbors or surroundings. They may be angry anarchists, greedy criminals, fast-talking swindlers, or unashamed opportunists out to have fun and strike it rich. In other chaotic neutral societies, though, inhabitants are less interested in lawlessness than they are dedicated to their group’s freedom from others’ hegemony and dogma, making this an ideal alignment for cultures purposefully living off the galactic grid. Chaotic neutral societies typically don’t monitor their citizens or visitors. Their citizens must protect themselves or find someone stronger to protect them, often in exchange for services or credits. Inhabitants keep their word only as long as it benefits them. They do what they want and rarely regret it. Their opinions on visitors are incredibly varied, though most consider lawful visitors a pain, good visitors gullible or preachy, and evil visitors unnecessarily cruel and violent.

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LAWFUL EVIL Associated Creatures: : bone trooper AA2, efreeti AP13, embri AA2, hobgoblin AA2, reptoid AA, velstrac AA2, vesk Associated Deities: Asmodeus, Damoritosh, Lissala, Zon-Kuthon Associated Planes: Hell Associated Worlds: Azlanti Star Empire, Embroi, Gideron Authority, the Veskarium

A

lawful evil society is rigid, ordered, and often oppressive, benefiting those who best know how to maneuver, manipulate, and wield the society’s laws, hierarchies, and traditions for their own benefit. Its citizens believe in the rule of law and take pride in using it to get what they want, regardless of whom it might hurt. In a lawful evil society, loyalty, profit, tradition, and order are valued over dignity, freedom, and even lives. In times of turmoil and tragedy, lawful evil societies stand firm, recovering quickly and rarely falling to chaos. Many lawful evil societies wield their laws as weapons and use them to justify cruelty, oppression, violence, and other heinous acts. They may argue their despicable behavior is honorable, for the greater good, for the welfare of their people, or to the benefit of those they oppress. Some regimes delight in causing pain, spreading terror, or displaying power. A lawful evil society may be an expansionist military dictatorship, an oligarchy ruled by devious tyrants, or an oppressive bureaucracy where barristers hold more power than emperors. Its citizens may be social climbers manipulating their way to the upper echelons of society, despicable slavers, or loyal soldiers serving remorseless masters. Lawful evil societies tightly monitor, police, and punish their citizens and visitors. Many citizens are capable of wielding the law for their own ends, in an underhanded but entirely legal manner. Most do this for their own financial or social betterment, to tear down their competitors, to punish those who offend them, to prove their abilities to superiors, or even just for their own sad*stic entertainment. Most citizens of a lawful evil society are greedy, selfish, and power-hungry. They consider themselves cunning and superior to those around them. They often consider good visitors deluded, neutral visitors lazy, and chaotic visitors insufferable or a threat to their way of life.

GALAXY EXPLORATION MANUAL

NEUTRAL EVIL

Associated Creatures: bloodbrother AA, draelik AA, gray AA, hound of tindalos AA3, mi-go AA2, necrovite AA, undead minion AA, void hag AA Associated Deities: Lao Shu Po, Urgathoa Associated Planes: Abaddon Associated Worlds: Daegox 4, Eox

2

CHAOTIC EVIL

Associated Creatures: bryrvath AA, drow AA, ghoul AA2, jinsul AA3, kyokor AA, orocoran AA, the Swarm Associated Deities: The Devourer, Lamashtu, Nyarlathotep Associated Planes: The Abyss Associated Worlds: : Apostae, Aucturn, Shadari Confederacy

OVERVIEW EXPLORING THE GALAXY Backgrounds Class Options

A

neutral evil society is amoral, dangerous, and utterly without remorse. Most are loosely governed or corrupt, espousing rules that are regularly broken. Its citizens have little respect for authority or order, routinely flouting laws and ignoring boundaries. Many are selfish and lack empathy. In a neutral evil society, lives and vows have little value. A neutral evil society might be a dangerous haven for criminals where any service is for sale, a proving ground where the cunning rise to power, or a prison as corrupt as its inhabitants. Its citizens might be opportunistic bounty hunters, blood-soaked gladiators, vile cannibals, or unethical scientists who develop and test magic or weapons on unwilling subjects. While some of these societies are purposefully sad*stic, others become neutral evil as a result of hardship and trauma, with selfish actions being the only means for survival in a cruel galaxy. Neutral evil societies are typically aggressive and opportunistic, capable of a wide variety of evil acts. Alliances last only as long as they’re beneficial. Most neutral evil societies make enemies regularly. Some neutral evil societies monitor their citizens, visitors, and enemies, while others pay them little attention. Visitors are often unofficially assessed for their usefulness, either by the society or its citizens. Visitors who might prove useful are often embraced and utilized, while those who don’t are ignored or targeted. Most citizens of a neutral evil society consider themselves free to do whatever they want, whenever they want. They regard visitors in terms of their utility and are willing to ignore flaws and differing opinions as long as those visitors might be of use to them. They often judge visitors based on behavior they’ve witnessed rather than on stated beliefs or morality.

Exploration

A

chaotic evil society is dangerous and unpredictable. It has few laws or governing bodies, instead being controlled by whoever can wield the most power or inspire the most fear. Many chaotic evil societies are overseen by a variety of powerful groups or individuals who have found tentative equilibrium, though how much control each has is constantly in flux. Individuals and groups in positions of power change rapidly as they’re toppled, betrayed, or overthrown by their underlings or enemies. A chaotic evil society primarily respects cruelty and power. While much of their violence is internecine, these societies often project their aggression outward through raiding, pillaging, and conquest. Citizens from a chaotic evil society are often driven by greed, hate, lust for power, or a love of inflicting pain. They’re often brutal and unpredictable, having no qualms about betraying even their closest allies. They lash out at anyone who attempts to control or restrain them, though many must rein in these urges against more powerful adversaries. A chaotic evil society might be a terrifying military powerhouse ruled by a bloodthirsty tyrant, a coalition of gangs locked in a tenuous equilibrium until one can seize control, an anarchic metropolis where every citizen struggles for survival, or a cutthroat kleptocracy hiding behind a veneer of legitimacy. Its citizens might be bloodthirsty berserkers or mages who aim their aggression at outside enemies, criminals who prey on each other as often as they’re preyed upon, anarchists intent on tearing down governments throughout the galaxy, or demon-worshiping cultists who yearn to spread pain and misery. Chaotic evil societies don’t usually monitor their citizens or control who visits them, but most citizens consider visitors to be either future a d ve r s a r i e s to confront or victims to oppress.

ALIGNMENT

System Equipment

INFINITE WORLDS Building Worlds Biomes Accord Alignment Magic Religion Technology

SANDBOX ADVENTURES TOOLBOXES INDEX

107

MAGIC The galaxy spins in magic. Species manifest this truth in various ways, from bizarre supernatural powers to spellcasting to magicinfused objects. This pervasive field of eldritch energy ebbs and flows in regions and even on entire worlds. Though magic manifests in near-infinite ways, its underlying functions seldom vary in such extremes as to change the way it works from the expected norm. Exceptions exist, though they’re difficult to explain or predict in general terms. Magic gives way to altered possibilities. It’s not only an expression of manifestation through will, but also a force of potential, creation, and destruction. Magic can define reality in some places, but its presence isn’t usually necessary for life. A world that varies from the magical norm might look like any other. Changes in magic don’t always manifest in obvious ways, but when the change is noticeable, it can be spectacular and dangerous, especially in high-magic locations. The galaxy has many such places of wild magic, often inhabited by creatures to match. In the physical universe, magic allows the seemingly impossible not only to be conceivable, but also to occur and to endure. The mightiest spells and magic items act as proof, but plenty other evidence exists. In some places, magic alone holds entire shattered planets together, allowing them to remain viable for their native species. Elsewhere, beings use supernatural power to survive in improbable conditions, including in the void of space or within the depths of a star. Magic underpins features that defy typical understanding of reality. There exist entire dead worlds with undead inhabitants created by magical means as well as resplendent cities that somehow sit within stars.

108

INFINITE WORLDS

Only imagination limits the forms magic takes in the galaxy. The explanation of “it’s magic” makes room for all sorts of creatures, locations, events, and—through these elements— adventures. Magic offers the weird and wondrous, allowing the exploration of inhospitable places and providing a means of transport to distant parts of the multiverse. With magic, there can be worlds that exist only in a dream dimension, paired with Material Plane worlds whose inhabitants visit only in their sleep. The broad scope and freedom magic provides can enhance any Starfinder game, adding a constant dash of the unexpected. Magic can underpin an alien environment or make an extraterrestrial place even more peculiar. Magical life occurs in defiance of scientific laws, and a species might use magic to perform tasks for which others use technology—to deal with challenges and create happy, stable, safe living conditions. Conversely, leaders might use or control magic to gain and maintain influence and power. They might hide this magical tyranny from the populace or practice it in the open, steeped in tradition or menace. A world might be low-magic by custom and design, whether to keep a magically-inclined populace under control or to avoid the problems caused by uncontrolled magicalenergies. It’s all too easy to think of a world’s magic as what spells people cast, yet the ambient magic levels in the environment and society can shape so much more. Life in magical realms evolves to withstand, avoid, or consume that magic, giving rise to mystical beasts that fill traditionally animal niches: squirrels that hoard loose magic after the latest arcane monsoons, cephalopods that escape in a burst of magical darkness, migratory grazers that disappear into other realities when their seasonal foods go dormant, and predators whose enchantment-laden roars

GALAXY EXPLORATION MANUAL

2 OVERVIEW EXPLORING THE GALAXY Backgrounds Class Options Exploration System Equipment

INFINITE WORLDS Building Worlds Biomes Accord Alignment Magic

create ensorcelling eddies in the nighttime skies as they vocally reaffirm their respective territories. Not only could magical abilities evolve naturally among a world’s intelligent inhabitants (such is the case with the magically-adept lashuntas of Castrovel), but the presence of magic can shape their cultures in extraordinary ways that can amaze and confound visitors. Start with the most physically apparent manifestations: a species with considerable magic might not have certain technologies simply because magical solutions were abundant, easier to develop, or lionized over their strictly scientific counterparts. Devices like comm units, vehicles, and indoor climate control become curiosities in a culture where the accessible norm includes long-range telepathy, practical teleportation, and primal magic that maintains comfortable conditions. Also consider less immediately apparent factors like language. Telepathically adept inhabitants might never vocalize, creating eerily silent yet bustling cityscapes. Perhaps magic manifests so easily to citizens that their speech includes tiny eldritch highlights like puffs of color, brief buzzes, or empathic nudges that collectively function as crucial syntax or punctuation. Strangers who can’t keep up with arcane diphthongs appear oafishly inarticulate. On the other hand, lower-magic worlds might be so insulated from spellcasting that inhabitants process the same linguistic flourishes as painful static, much like being exposed to blinding light after an eternity of darkness. Magic can combine with other randomizing elements to create juxtapositions and synergies. Magic might interact with low gravity to form floating continents or seas. Valuable materials might be found only where magic interacted

with natural resources. Magical bubbles of life-sustaining biosphere could persist on an otherwise hostile or barren world. Life on a planet might thrive because of magical interactions or suffer because of them. One planet’s aerial reptiles wait for the yearly psychic storms, for only during these thought-dense clouds do their eggs incubate and hatch out of reach of terrestrial predators. Elsewhere, divinelycreated parasites are all that keep lumbering herbivores in check, swiftly devastating their numbers when herds grow too vast. A seemingly lifeless moon might sustain a thriving culture because millennia ago they harnessed local energies to pray food into existence. Of course, magic can prove dangerous as well; levels of eldritch energy, whether planet-wide or regional, could be a hazard rather than an advantage. Raw magic rarely endangers life directly, but it can produce conditions that do. Such paranormal forces might come from natural concentrations or from planar forces. Extraplanar influence can create magical anomalies or conversely arise as a symptom of such oddities— for example, an elemental plane’s interaction with a magical world produces especially powerful spell gems. Magic is change, whether defying the natural order or enhancing it, and can be used in a science fantasy setting to justify the improbable or strange. The right magic can protect something ancient from decay; it might allow beings and objects to remain hidden or, by that merit, uncover them. Changes in magic can explain the emergence or reemergence of certain forces, or the powers that once suppressed them. Adventurers wielding magic or magic items who visit a world untouched by magic might find themselves in positions of inordinate power andresponsibility.

MAGIC

Religion Technology

SANDBOX ADVENTURES TOOLBOXES INDEX

109

110

HIGH MAGIC

MEDIUM MAGIC

The presence of high magic can have profound effects on culture. It might lead to more magic in practice, which changes the way society operates. High magic can also be a source of harm, chaos, or both. This danger could come from magical creatures, interactions of magical fields, and more. Even if an abundance of magic isn’t actively harmful, it can still cause erratic, unpredictable results upon using magic. Magic might be enhanced (see the Enhanced Or Impeded Magic sidebar on page 111), making it easier to learn and perform. In such areas, spellcasters become more common and far mightier, though remember that a world need not treat all forms of magic equally. Fields of magical energy could be divided in ways that enhance or impede specific schools or types of magic, with one planet bolstering abjuration effects and another augmenting any magic drawn directly from a deity (which might be the case for some mystics). A magical society might also carry biases that artificially restrict spellcasting by treating some types as sacred but others as taboo, such as by idolizing technomancers’ talents while simultaneously ostracizing those who dabble in the magic of alternate realities. Where spellcasters are stronger magically, their political and social statuses often rise as well. More benevolent societies might develop benign magocracies where spellcasters harness their power and supernatural insights for the benefit of society as a whole. Crueler worlds could, just as easily, develop magically-enforced tyrannies, and any magocracy risks developing harmful class divisions with the magically adept lording over comparable mundane second-class citizens. Divisions might even form along schools of magic if nation states espouse only a few types of magic in opposition to their neighbors’ arcane traditions. Just having more magic available can mean more reliance on magic. In such places, enchanted objects likely replace or augment technology. Magical travel, including space travel, might replace technological analogs. While a society over-reliant on magic might be behind in faster-than-light Drift technology, they also could have alternative means of rapid interstellar transit, as suggested by the existence of portal networks in the Pact Worlds and magical interstellar drives (Starfinder Starship Operations Manual 9–11). High magic makes such powerful magic artifacts more possible. A mighty magic item or items could even be the source of a world’s high magic, and control over these objects a source of political influence. Another possible source of high magic comes from the influence of other planes. Extraplanar traits can be inherently magical. When they intrude on the Material Plane, their magical influences and inhabitants might intrude, too. Such incursions likely won’t be beneficial for Material Plane inhabitants. High magic also makes for magical beings without planar influences. People, plants, and beasts with spell-like and supernatural abilities are more common. A magical population can make a world more stable. More often, though, a variety of magical beings can create a hostile environment with monsters that menace civilization. For such creatures, high magic could be like how oxygen is on some worlds, providing fuel for incredible growth and power. To live on or even explore such a world can present a constant struggle against overwhelming odds.

One might assume a medium-magic world is like any other planet in the galaxy: a mix of magic and technology. That’s widely true. However, as the Pact Worlds show, variation exists even at this level of “normal” magic. Minor magic is an everyday experience in a locale that has long had medium magic, making it a part of the culture. People use magic like any other tool, allowing them to gain and protect the things that they value, like power, wealth, and pleasure. If society is low-technology, even a modicum of magic likely serves an important role in government, religion, and other cultural mores. Spellcasters are aptly held in high esteem. Even a small amount of magical talent or training earns one a place of respect, from a village wise-person to an archmage. As the level of technology meets or exceeds magic’s capabilities, magic might fade in importance or be relegated to traditional situations. However, skill with eldritch arts becomes more common as training grows widespread, and magic use can become more specialized and individualized. With this social shift, the status of spellcasters could diminish except for those in time-honored positions, such as priests. Instead of being a hom*ogeneous zone, a medium-magic world might have access to higher magic in some regions and lower magic in others, such as a world governed by powerful leylines accessible only to those within a few miles of the conduit. This division could result from how magic works on the planet or in that sector of space, where the ebb and flow of magical energies are perceptible in pockets of magic. On some worlds, this imbalance might produce profound differences among cultures, such as a low-magic society developing technology faster to keep up with their magically-powerful neighbors. On worlds with smaller magical sites, the people likely designate such areas as holy or otherwise culturally significant, and fiercely guard these fonts of potential. Perhaps the world was once high in magic, but the magic was throttled somehow. The main question is: why? Secondary questions are: what, who, and how? What would be the consequences of these fonts being uncapped? Various factions might want to encourage or oppose the release of magic. Such a situation could lead to a whole campaign, especially if characters must deal with initial consequences (for example, the awakening of magical creatures) before learning that the release of magic is the problem. Similarly, a spellcaster PC might have been drawn to, or even unlocked some portion of, that otherwise untapped magic. Similar issues might emerge from natural cycles of magic diminishing or increasing a world to medium magic. Magic users could lose their places of dominance, or they might seize power long denied them. This change could herald war, political disintegration, and religious crises as well as the dissolution of age-old manifestations or uses of magic. Magical creatures might go extinct, while new ones rapidly emerge. Geographic upheaval and shifts in the biosphere can even alter the weather, breed new diseases, harm food production, and destroy living space; forced migration and other disasters could follow. Any of these changes might alter sapient species as well, costing them the magical talents they relied on or activating latent powers.

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GALAXY EXPLORATION MANUAL

LOW MAGIC Causes of low magic can vary. In some cases, a region simply undergoes a temporary downturn in available magic, such as a star system whose magic comes from a comet that passes through only once every few decades. Rather than a lack of magic, low magic in a world might instead result from some force that actively consumes or warps magic so that it doesn’t function as reliably or powerfully as expected, such as a planet whose moon is an immense creature parasitizing the world’s otherwise ambient energies. In any case with an irregular or diminished magical supply, inhabitants evolve and learn to deal without magic. Even if the environment experiences a periodic glut of supernatural power, that magic functions as a luxury more than as a necessity. For visitors, these worlds can seem utterly vexing because magic doesn’t work as expected. Unlike the enhanced effects of high-magic areas, this form of low magic impedes spellcasting and spell-like abilities (see the sidebar below). In extreme forms, low magic might even hinder supernatural abilities, although that effect appears less common since such traits can be more reliant on a creature’s personal power. As with planes beyond the Material Plane, some regions experience restricted magic only for certain schools of magic. This situation happens more often when something, such as a planar intrusion, warps the magical field on a planet. In exceptional circ*mstances—and any galaxy is full of exciting exceptions—different combinations of magic might be impeded and enhanced. Consider the case of a sapient gas giant planet that longs to be a rocky planet; it thus enhances earth-themed spells while impeding air- and flight-themed spells out of a sense of self-loathing. Mix and match to create something unique. For some low-magic societies, however, culture limits magical use. Past catastrophes could instill rhabdophobia that lasts generations, even becoming incorporated into a society’s laws and legends as a forbidden art. Religious dogma might have demonized magic long ago, and a low-magic world might have only recently rediscovered ancient spellcasting traditions and created new techniques. Magic could even be a lost art, as the world’s arcane potential survives only in a dwindling supply of magic items. Whatever the case, a world’s inhabitants likely consider magic some combination of alien, fascinating, and frightening. In instances where magic works but is rarely seen or used, visitors possessing magic might find themselves in trouble for using it. Few worlds are so limited in their magic that a typical person is completely unfamiliar with it, even if that familiarity takes the form of fanciful cautionary tales that contain a kernel of truth. Magic could also be a tradition so prestigious that it’s closely guarded by elites. Alternatively, magic might be considered so hazardous or corrupting

2

ENHANCED OR IMPEDED MAGIC The easiest way to simulate variable magic in your game is to treat magic as enhanced or impeded. Enhanced magic functions at a higher caster level, typically 2 higher. Much higher than that could become too powerful for the PCs’ level. Impeded magic can function with unexpected side effects, or even opposite than intended. Particularly impeded magic might require a spellcaster to succeed at a caster level check (DC = 15 + the spell’s level) to cast the spell at all. Failure results in the spell failing while the spell slot used is still consumed. For spells cast from magic items, instead use a Will saving throw (DC = 10 + twice the spell level). Similar to some planes, entire worlds, regions, or locales might enhance or impede magic of specific schools or descriptors. Such changes to magic help reinforce the character of a place. For example, the Shadow Plane enhances shadow magic and impedes spells that use or produce fire or light. Another option for unstable high magic is an environment where magic triggers uncontrolled reactions. To create this situation, you might have a creature using a spell or a spell-like ability attempt a Will saving throw (DC = 10 + twice the spell level). On a failure, roll on the table for the wonder warp spell (page 115), but you, the GM, control the results. Impede magic only rarely. Doing so restricts the capabilities of some characters, making the game less fun for their players. Be doubly careful with the absence of magic. Impeded or absent magic might serve as a challenge for a short while, but it can feel frustrating or even punitive if prolonged.

OVERVIEW EXPLORING THE GALAXY Backgrounds Class Options Exploration System Equipment

INFINITE WORLDS Building Worlds Biomes Accord Alignment Magic Religion Technology

SANDBOX ADVENTURES TOOLBOXES INDEX

that the society recruits pariahs to train as mages in service to the comparably pure populace. Wherever magic potential exists, though, there’s inevitably someone willing, able, or conscripted to practice it. This control can stem from authorities—whether the government, the priesthood, or otherwise—such as an ancient, traditional order of mage hunters or wizards who hoard these powers. Any of these groups might suppress magic in an artificial but overarching way, using edifices, policies, or devices devoted to keeping magic from everyday life, much like the fonts mentioned for medium-magic worlds. These places or tools make obvious targets for dissidents who want to make magic free, resulting in a conflict like a cold war, a secret insurgency, or an open rebellion.

MAGIC

111

ARTIFACTS Artifacts are extremely powerful magic items. The objects here follow the rules for artifacts on page 118 of Starfinder Armory.

Canu’s Cache Who Canu was, if they were a person, is lost to the Gap. Canu’s cache is a bracer datapad (negligible bulk, changes to fit its user) that functions as a tier 10 computer with a personality specially attuned to you and your preferences. The device has planetary range for controlling peripheral devices. Not only does the bracer never need power, but it can also act as a recharging station (Core Rulebook 234) for up to three batteries at a time. If you’re a technomancer and use Canu’s cache as your spell cache, as part of casting a spell, you can activate this artifact three times per day to cast a spell you know of 5th level or lower, even if you lack a spell slot to do so; alternatively, you can activate the artifact in this way once per day to cast a 6th-level spell. For your cache capacitor class feature, Canu’s cache gains two slots each time your normal cache would gain one. Also, this artifact grants you the cache concentration (Starfinder Character Operations Manual 94) and summon cache (Armory 156) magic hacks. Canu’s cache can be destroyed only by someone who uses the fuse spells feature with 2 Resolve Points and two 6th-level spell slots to cast wish to destroy the bracer; the spell slots and Resolve Points used to do so are permanently lost.

Evomorpher This dull silver, tapered rod can change the nature of creatures, imparting sapience they never had or transforming them into a non-sapient ancestor. Several evomorphers exist, the leavings of a magically-advanced species. You can devolve or uplift a willing or unconscious target with a touch of the evomorpher, which takes 10 minutes. A target that succeeds at a DC 25 Will saving throw negates the effect and is immune for 24 hours. Devolving casts the 6th-level version of baleful polymorph (Alien Archive 2 147–148) on the target. If you gain the option to make the effect permanent and do so, the magic ends. Then, the effect lasts as if created by an instantaneous spell. The target’s final form is that of a distant evolutionary ancestor. Only an evomorpher’s uplift power can reverse this devolution. You can uplift a creature with an Intelligence score of 5 or lower (a –3 or lower modifier), including one with no Intelligence score, plant creatures, or constructs. Roll 3d6 for the creature’s Intelligence, Wisdom, and Charisma—each score can only increase. You can instead choose a score for each ability from 6 to 11. If the creature lacks other statistics, the GM assigns them. The uplifted creature gains sapience and initially has an attitude of friendly to you. Once uplifted, a creature can’t be uplifted in this way again. An evomorpher can be destroyed only if a user willingly devolves themself using the device and chooses to make the process irreversible. Then, only the resultant creature can destroy the artifact, as though it were a normal 20th-level item.

Titan’s Gate Titan’s Gate is a mass of metallic nanotech ranging from silver to coppery to gold in color. The object, normally no bigger than a

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datapad and of light bulk, shifts into various shapes or abstract forms and is still only when in use. Agents of the Azlanti Star Empire originally found Titan’s Gate on a far-flung and dead silicate world in the Vast that was completely destroyed due to the artifact’s use. The gate and several starships vanished in the same disaster, which imperial authorities declared an act of sabotage. Titan’s Gate can be used in several ways. The gate, as its name suggests, is a transport device. While holding Titan’s Gate, you can teleport up to 30 feet to a space you can precisely sense as a move action that doesn’t provoke attacks of opportunity. The artifact also has a capacity of 15 charges that can be used to cast the following spells, using their normal casting times and a number of charges equal to the spell’s level: dimension door (4 charges), dimensional anchor (4 charges, Alien Archive 3 53), dismissal (4–5 charges), ethereal jaunt (6 charges), interplanetary teleport (6 charges), plane shift (6 charges), telepathic jaunt (6 charges), and teleport (5 charges). Casting these spells from the artifact doesn’t require Resolve Points. Titan’s Gate regains 2d4 charges every 24 hours and can’t be recharged by any other means. In addition to these powers, Titan’s Gate can open a magical portal between two points. To create this portal, you must visualize or state the destination (which can’t be in the Drift), place the artifact where the portal is to open, and expend 9 charges. The material comprising Titan’s Gate forms the aperture’s perimeter; the portal appears within this boundary, and it leads to the destination as precisely as you described or visualized it. This portal is normally 10 feet in diameter, but you can alter the diameter by expending more charges: 25 feet (1 charge), 60 feet (2 charges), 150 feet (3 charges), 400 feet (4 charges), 1,000 feet (5 charges), and 2,500 feet (6 charges). The portal remains open while you concentrate and for 1 round thereafter. A two-dimensional opening, the portal reveals its destination only from the front, and creatures and objects can pass through from the front only, not from the back or from the destination. A creature of godlike power can sense the portal opening on the same plane, and the creature can move the destination to another place on that plane or stop the portal from opening. Once the portal closes, the artifact returns to your possession. The official Azlanti take on their loss of the artifact—claiming it a result of sabotage—is wrong. Using Titan’s Gate for transport, except the move-action teleport, has a potentially catastrophic side effect. During the travel, roll a d20. If the result is 1, the teleportation results in a mishap, and each creature and object transported takes 2d10 damage. Roll a d20 again, repeating mishaps for as long as the result is 1. Once mishaps cease, the transported creatures and objects arrive at a destination as determined by the effect used. Three or more mishaps can result in a random destination for those transported, and the Titan’s Gate disappears, transporting itself to a random place in the galaxy. Titan’s Gate can be destroyed only if it’s taken into an extradimensional space and used to open a portal. You must then willingly invite and be subjected to three mishaps. Then, the artifact and the extradimensional space collapse into nothing.

GALAXY EXPLORATION MANUAL

HIGH-MAGIC ADVENTURE HOOKS D20 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20

ADVENTURE HOOK Rebels claim that a government uses magic to pacify the populace. The magic holding this improbable world together starts to fade. Xenodruids seek to merge with a verdant planet’s world-mind. A world that once created pleasurable illusions for tourists has gone bad, trapping people beneath the surface. When an oracle used to choose government ministers picks a pariah, officials want to suppress the truth. A crime syndicate hides on a mystical world that erases their enemies’ memories. The devoured memories feed a supernatural evil. Efforts to extract a magic ore are disrupting the world’s magical balance. Intense magical fields disrupt advanced technology, causing them to cease functioning—even in orbit—and endangering visiting starships. Smugglers actively defy a magocracy’s restrictions on magical exports. On a planet tied to the First World, a bizarre stairway leads into an extradimensional space of unknown depth. Xenobiologists believe the world they’re surveying is a bundle of eggs of a massive magical beast and seek to preserve this new life. A vengeful exile has unleashed an extraplanar bioagent that burns out spellcasters’ nerves. Genies war over a world at a nexus of the Elemental Planes. A world’s people live out of phase with the Material Plane. They believe recent arrivals are ghosts. Unpredictable magical effects on an uninhabited world call for surveying and taming before colonization. A malevolent entity is drawn to a world that spawns planar portals. Diminutive, hive-minded sapient creatures magically manipulate their world in misguided, dangerous attempts to communicate with visitors. A grieving mystic uses enchanted bombs to ignite magical currents and turn back time, releasing unintended effects. When a notorious raider snatches a magic stone from a remote world, a curse follows their flight across the galaxy. A mighty being, such as a void dragon, consumes magical creatures, forces, and items to become a “death god.” They have a loyal cult.

MEDIUM-MAGIC ADVENTURE HOOKS D20 ADVENTURE HOOK To pursue magical research, an organization needs help in 1 establishing a planetary presence despite danger or resistance. A grimoire found in an ancient ruin contains a dangerous ritual to 2 accelerate or dampen a world’s magic. An experiment in nascent emotion magic goes awry, contagiously 3 amplifying darker emotions in the populace and threatening pandemonium. Previously unknown magical creatures emerge from underground, 4 endangering surface dwellers who might resort to weapons of mass destruction. Natural leylines are shifting, causing changes in the geography of 5 magic and heralding a return to lost glory or an oncoming doom. Talavet’s followers find sealed legendary gates on several worlds. 6 The locks require the help of Nyarlathotep’s faithful to open. Entertainers enhance performances with minor magic, hoping to strike 7 it rich before the damage the magic inflicts catches up with them. Several murderous rampages and premature deaths can be traced to 8 a magic item merchant whose wares empower a ghastly artifact. A patron needs to transport an antique blade that has healing 9 powers and attracts unwanted attention from across the galaxy. Priests of non-good deities have fallen prey to something. Is it a divine 10 punisher, an enemy god’s avenger, or a creature feeding on magic?

11 A faction of witchwarpers wants to meld realities on a planetary scale. Despite a cover-up, investigation reveals a serial killer’s targets are 12 government agents mutated by magic. A corporation wants to raid another’s magical research facility, 13 claiming ethical violations. The magic could afford either corporation a monopoly. Infants are being born with magical powers. Does this new pattern 14 suggest a change in magic, sinister meddling, or both? A shapechanger invents magical identity verification, which some 15 shapechangers violently oppose and authorities threaten to abuse. A recent spate of supernatural disasters can be traced to a secret 16 site tapped into the world’s magical energies. Entitled magnates fund studies of transferring magic powers. A 17 breakthrough comes at the cost of innocent lives. Warlords or powerful monsters vie for a rare place of power or an 18 artifact, unconcerned for who or what they harm. The guardian of a magical place wants to discover why a starship 19 crashed there, unleashing magical radiation. An acolyte disappears after claiming the priesthood’s traditional 20 power comes from a source other than their god.

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LOW-MAGIC ADVENTURE HOOKS D20 ADVENTURE HOOK Legend says magic is locked in leylines that also imprison a powerful 1 entity. A radical group decides to test this theory. Explorers discover natural features that keep magic low on an 2 inhabited world. Some want magic set free; others fear this change. Fugitives manipulate magic and the beliefs of a world’s people to 3 hide and keep their enemies at bay. 4 Archaeologists uncover evidence that magic wasn’t always low. 5 Conspiracy theorists ambush leaders that they suspect hoard magic. All of a world’s magic goes to protect it from a nearby black hole. A 6 greedy conqueror threatens this stability. Histories claim that the use of magic attracts fiendish attention, but 7 heretics want to test the doctrine. The world absorbs magic without diminishing the effects, making 8 learning (though not using) it difficult. Where’s this energy going? Members of an age-old order hunt mages and suppress magic use. 9 Enemies and the authorities believe the order hides a secret. The first spellcasters have appeared among low-magic people. This 10 “sign” has been interpreted in more bad ways than good. A potent, spacefaring extraterrestrial tours low-magic worlds. Some 11 say it’s searching, and others claim it’s changing things. Why? 12 Magic-starved monsters prey upon a planet’s population. Infamous warriors who carry eldritch heirlooms have answered a 13 psychic call to gather on a low-magic world. A scrupulous authority figure wants help freeing a prisoner to aid 14 them in uncovering the shocking reasons for the world’s low magic. Eco- and mago-fascists believe low magic is a state of imbalance and 15 releases a transmutation agent to set magic free. Those suffering from magical maladies flock to a facility that 16 suppresses magic. A wealthy expatriate wants to recover cultural relics from a planet 17 ravaged by nonmagical war and full of environmental hazards. Leaders have duped a world’s people for generations with fake 18 magical displays. 19 Extraplanar forces have begun to gather on a low-magic world. An astrophysicist has discovered the world’s magic is being 20 siphoned into a local star.

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SPELLS The following spells relate to exploration, unusual locales, or environmental manipulation.

CONTROL WINDS

1-4

1-4

School transmutation (air) Casting Time 1 standard action Range 10 ft./level; see text Area 10 ft./level–radius cylinder, equally high; see text Duration 10 minutes/level (D) Saving Throw Fortitude negates, see text; Spell Resistance yes You alter the movement of air in an area around you. Wind created by this spell imposes a penalty to Perception checks equal to the penalty the wind imposes on non-energy ranged weapon attacks (see Table 11–6: Wind Effects on page 400 of the Core Rulebook). At the GM’s discretion, outdoor wind conditions are generally light wind, while indoor wind conditions are generally no wind; these conditions can vary by environment. This spell can’t create wind in an area that has no atmosphere. 1st: When you cast control winds as a 1st-level spell, you can lower or raise the wind speed in the area by one level (for example, from strong wind to either moderate or severe wind), to a minimum of no wind and a maximum of severe wind. 2nd: When you cast control winds as a 2nd-level spell, you can lower or raise the wind speed in the area by up to two levels, to a minimum of no wind and a maximum of severe wind. 3rd: When you cast control winds as a 3rd-level spell, you can lower or raise the wind speed in the area by up to three levels, to a minimum of no wind and a maximum of severe wind. When you dismiss the spell or it otherwise ends, you can create a blast of severe wind in an instantaneous line-shaped burst that originates from the area’s point of origin and has a length equal to the area’s radius. Creatures that enter the area or start their turn there must attempt a Fortitude saving throw to avoid effects based on their size: Tiny and smaller creatures are knocked prone and pushed 1d4 × 10 feet along the wind’s path, up to the end of the wind’s range, and the creature takes 1d4 bludgeoning damage per 10 feet. Small creatures are knocked prone. Medium and smaller creatures moving against the wind move at half speed. In addition, flying creatures in the area must attempt an Acrobatics check to fly in dangerous wind conditions (Core Rulebook 135). This gust can also do whatever a gust of severe

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wind might be expected to do, such as put out small flames, fan large flames, blow away vapors, and so on. 4th: When you cast control winds as a 4th-level spell, it functions as the 3rd-level version, but you can raise the wind speed up to a maximum of windstorm. In addition, when you cast the spell, you can exclude up to 2 squares per level from the spell’s effects; these squares must be contiguous. If you create a blast of wind when you dismiss the spell or it otherwise ends, the blast is windstorm level. Creatures are treated as one size category smaller when determining the effects of the blast on them.

EXTRA SENSE

1-3

1-3

1-3

School transmutation Casting Time 1 standard action Range touch Targets one creature or camera Duration see text Saving Throw Will negates (harmless); Spell Resistance yes (harmless) You magically amplify or add to a target’s senses. 1st: When you cast extra sense as a 1st-level spell, the target gains blindsense (vibration) out to a range of 30 feet. The blindsense can be based on scent or sound rather than vibration. If the creature has an existing sense that’s tied to the blindsense—such as touch (vibration), smell (scent), or hearing (sound)—and it’s suppressed, the blindsense is suppressed for the same duration. This spell lasts 1 hour/level. 2nd: When you cast extra sense as a 2nd-level spell, the target can emit a piercing sound and, by listening to the echoes, gain blindsight (sound) with a range of 20 feet and blindsense (sound) with a range of 40 feet for 1 round. The sound emitted is audible to others in the 40-foot area, and the target emits the sound as if it were part of combat banter (Core Rulebook 249). The target can decide not to emit the sound but doesn’t gain the benefits this spell grants until they do so. This spell lasts 10 minutes/level. 3rd: When you cast extra sense as a 3rd-level spell, it functions as the 1st-level version, except the range of the blindsense extends to 60 feet, the target gains blindsight (of the same type as the blindsense) with a range of 30 feet, and the spell lasts 10 minutes/level.

STARWALK

School evocation Casting Time see text Range personal Duration 1 round You can better control your movement in zero gravity. As a swift action, you can cast this spell to end the offkilter condition gained from movement in zero gravity.

GALAXY EXPLORATION MANUAL If you cast this spell as a move action, you can move up to half your speed in zero gravity.

VOID WHISPERS

School enchantment (compulsion, mind-affecting) Casting Time 1 standard action Range close (25 ft. + 5 ft./2 levels) Targets one living creature Duration 1 round/3 levels Saving Throw Will negates; Spell Resistance yes The target’s mind is flooded with elder mysteries from the dark between the stars, galaxies, and dimensions. The target must attempt a Will save; on a failure, it whispers incoherently and takes a move action to move half its speed in a random direction. When it moves, the target takes the safest route and doesn’t enter hazardous terrain. If the target is attacked, the spell endsimmediately. Creatures that begin their turn within 20 feet of the target and can hear it whispering must succeed at a Will saving throw or become confused for 1 round. A creature that succeeds at this save is immune to the whispers until the spell ends.

WONDER WARP

4

4

1

2–5 6–10 11–14

19–22

23–26 27–30

31–34 35–38 39–42 43–46 47–50

4

School evocation Casting Time 1 standard action Range 30 ft. Area 60-ft.-radius sphere centered on you Duration 1 round/level (D) Saving Throw varies, see text; Spell Resistance varies, see text You alter the magical forces in the area near you into an unpredictable field of eldritch entropy, potentially causing a number of effects both positive and negatives for those who find themselves in the area. When you cast this spell, and each time you start your turn during the duration of the spell, roll d% on the following table. Each time there’s a new effect, you can attempt a Will saving throw. If you succeed, you can choose the targets affected by the warped magic. Otherwise, the effect affects all creatures (and sometimes objects) in the area, including you, as described. If the effect is a spell, the spell’s normal parameters (including saves to avoid its effects) apply, except for duration. Each effect lasts only until you roll again, or for the duration specified in the effect, whichever is shorter (except on a result of 100; in which case you use the spell’s normal duration). Subject to the GM’s discretion, in a low-magic area, you might have to subtract 10 from your d% rolls for this spell; in a highmagic area, you might have to add 10 instead.

D%

15–18

EFFECT All magic ceases working, including for you, even if you succeed at the spell’s Will save. Unless you expend a 2ndlevel spell slot at the start of your next turn, this spell ends. Decrease the area, damage, duration, and range of spells and spell-like abilities used by half. If you failed the spell’s Will save, that includes the duration of this spell. No effect. Creatures are affected by the lesser confusion spell.

51–54 55–58 59–62 63–66

67–70

71–74

75–78

79–82 83–86 87–90 91–95 96–99 100

Creatures become vulnerable to one energy type; roll a d10 to determine which: on a 1–2, use acid; on a 3–4, use cold; on a 5–6, use electricity; on a 7–8, use fire; on a 9–10, use sonic. If you succeed at the spell’s Will save, you can choose the type for each target instead. A Medium aeon arrives, as if summoned by a 3rd-level summon creature (Alien Archive 144 ) spell, and it’s hostile to you. Its turn occurs just after yours. If you succeed at the spell’s Will save, the aeon remains when the spell’s effect changes. Dreamlike realities appear, customized to each creature; each creature who fails a Will save becomes fascinated. Creatures must attempt a Fortitude save; on a failure, a random technological item they have ceases to function. A technological construct that fails is instead staggered. You can read the surface thoughts of creatures in the area as if they were affected by the third round of the detect thoughts spell. The area becomes zero gravity (Core Rulebook 402). Creatures are affected by a 1st-level baleful polymorph (Alien Archive 2 147) spell. Creatures are affected by the grease spell. Each creature is affected by the force blast spell; you can attempt the additional bull rush combat maneuver granted by the spell. Countless Diminutive creatures appear flying in the air and scrambling on the ground, making the area difficult terrain. To move at more than half speed in the area, a creature must succeed at a DC 15 Acrobatics check. Chaotic illusions render creatures dazzled. Creatures and objects become invisible. Each creature switches positions with another randomly determined creature (no save). No creature arrives in a place immediately hazardous to it, instead appearing in the closest safe space. Creatures gain a fly speed of 30 feet with average maneuverability. If a creature is airborne when the effect ends, it falls. A random Medium creature arrives, as if summoned by a 3rd-level summon creature (Alien Archive 144 ) spell. If you succeed at wonder warp’s Will save, the creature acts as if you summoned it. Otherwise, it’s hostile to everyone. Creatures gain resistance 5 to one energy type; roll a d10 to determine which: on a 1–2, use acid; on a 3–4, use cold; on a 5–6, use electricity; on a 7–8, use fire; on a 9–10, use sonic. If you succeed at the spell’s Will save, you can choose the type for each target instead. Each creature regains 2d4 Hit Points or Stamina Points (creature’s choice). You cast magic missile without expending a spell slot. If you take (and have taken) no other actions this turn, you can fire a third missile. You create one effect of the prescience (Character Operations Manual 139 ) spell. Increase the area, damage, duration, and range of spells and spell-like abilities used by 50%. That doesn’t include the duration of this spell. Roll two effects, treating 1 and 96–100 as no effect. Each effect affects only targets of your choice. You can cast any 1st- or 2nd-level spell you know without expending a spell slot. You must abide by the spell’s normal parameters, and it lasts for its normal duration.

MAGIC

2 OVERVIEW EXPLORING THE GALAXY Backgrounds Class Options Exploration System Equipment

INFINITE WORLDS Building Worlds Biomes Accord Alignment Magic Religion Technology

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RELIGION Nearly every sapient species has asked how the universe functions, where they come from, why they exist, and what comes after their mortal lives end. As they face the unforgiving universe, they tell tales of the things they fear and the extraordinarily powerful heroes (or villains) who vanquish (or are vanquished by) terrifying anthropomorphized monsters. They narrate acts they believe admirable, glorifying those who dedicate their lives to performing great deeds. These tales serve to explain the unexplainable, express a society’s consciousness, warn against harm, and provide hope to persevere in a universe that’s magical, supernatural, terrifying, and hostile but simultaneously wondrous and beautiful. As these tales take on importance, each society forms rituals and traditions to reinforce these messages and preserve their cultural memory. Over time, the original meanings of the tales, rituals, and traditions might become lost as new meanings, perspectives, and beliefs emerge and evolve. All these components coalesce into a ritualized set of organized beliefs and ceremonies focused on a supernatural being or beings, supernatural forces, philosophies, or science, leading to the birth of a religion. Many factors determine religious influence that can affect adherents, nations, and entire worlds. Who or what is the focus of worship? Why do followers adhere to the faith’s tenets? Does the focus of the religion reciprocate the worship? How does the religion affect relations with others outside the faith? How does the landscape reflect the religion’s focus, possibly through divine miracles and scarred battlefields where demigods clashed in ages long past? And how common are supernatural outsiders like angels and velstracs who might not just affirm their patrons’ mandates, but actively enforce them?

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In the Starfinder universe, there can be religions and philosophies as diverse as anything found in ancient or modern mythology. Unusual creatures from other dimensions, entities of cosmic abilities, strange alien beings, technologically-advanced civilizations, simple superstitions, and an all-seeing cosmic network recording events throughout the universe form the myriad myths and religions within the Starfinder universe—and these are just the beginning. Whether dealing with known and familiar deities typically worshiped within the Pact Worlds or interacting with never-before-encountered religions of the Vast’s far reaches, religion can provide a way to introduce new adventures, challenges, encounters, alliances, and immersive interactions into any Starfinder game. Yet make no mistake: in Starfinder, the gods are real. Even among the countless false religions, salvation scams, and mystery cults with considerable followings, scores of true gods wield near-omnipotence from the Outer Planes. Outsiders comprised wholly of extraplanar quintessence battle for influence and supremacy while serving as living messengers of the gods and their dogmas. Powerful spells can open direct, albeit brief, communication to a deity or immortal servant, and questions of the afterlife can receive definitive answers by using potent spells to hop to an Outer Plane and confirm the truth with one’s own senses. Religion in Starfinder is an expression of demonstrable fact, not wholly of just one faith; furthermore, only the most sheltered cultures and recalcitrant philosophers can deny the gods’ existence. While atheism is difficult to rationalize, societies might experience outrage rather than reassurance in the existence of the divine. These anti-religious movements

GALAXY EXPLORATION MANUAL

2 OVERVIEW EXPLORING THE GALAXY Backgrounds Class Options Exploration System Equipment

INFINITE WORLDS Building Worlds Biomes Accord Alignment Magic

are equally appropriate for societies with high-, medium-, and low-religion attributes and can be just as compelling to explore as the gods. What actions or inactions drove the society to rebuke the divine? How passionate are the inhabitants and their laws in policing visiting faithful? What alternate faiths and philosophies might have arisen in place of worship, and how can they drive exciting adventures and stories? No matter how religion gets expressed on a world, this section serves as a resource for GMs to use while creating new and inventive adventures with encounters that provoke imagination. Religion often describes intriguing history for a campaign or characters. It describes places of magic and legend to explore—such as towering cathedrals infused with divine energy awaiting prophesied trials ahead, lost temples whose sequestered records hold the last whisper of a forgotten history, or the reinforced bastion of a militant faith bent on conquest. It provides items of myth to find, like the first doshko gifted to the vesk by Damoritosh, the first code generated by Triune after their unification, or an Iomedaean adamantine shield inscribed with a crucial message from the Gap that has survived against all odds. Religion can also supply heroes to emulate and villains to revile, perhaps a Hylaxian saint who weathered withering attacks to broker an impossible peace or a Kuthite whose self-inflicted wounds spilled out shadows that strangled a nebula’s stars and cast part of the galaxy into supernatural darkness. Whether characters or worlds are fanatically devout, opposed to the gods, or located somewhere within the spectrum, religious background is often at the core of any character or cultural identity. The same adventure hooks on page 119 can as easily inspire character backgrounds as local conflicts!

Religion can provide moral and ethical codes of behavior for characters as well as motivation to embark on quests and adventures. While certain behavioral or moral tenets might limit a character’s actions, they aren’t meant to limit creativity within the game. Religion within a game can be seen as a way for players to delve into their characters’ roles and worldviews for them to explore the world of the imaginary, which might differ from their real-life perceptions. It’s a way to contemplate not only the sights, smells, and textures a character encounters, but their deeper thoughts, philosophies, and motivations. Religion can give their characters inner strength, a sense of structure, and a connection to others. For any character (player or non-player), religion can also function as a source of power and advantages as well as a set of tenets to carefully navigate while trying to achieve philosophically acceptable goals. With a universe as diverse as Starfinder, players are likely to encounter nearly endless varieties of civilizations with an inexhaustible range of philosophies, religions, and worldviews on universal truths. Characters might come across the worship of deities overseeing domains much like those of ancient Greek and Roman pantheons. Just as likely, they might meet beings with alien bodies and minds whose philosophies and religions seem incomprehensible to humanoids in the Pact Worlds. One of the exciting things about a science fantasy game is the ability to combine seemingly familiar ideologies and traditions of the real world with the fantastical, the unique, and the bizarre. However, it’s important to remain respectful of other people’s imaginations and personal beliefs, and to remember that religion is just one facet of Starfinder’s tapestry of imagination. Starfinder is a fictional fantasy game designed to be played and enjoyed by all peoples.

RELIGION

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RELIGION AND SKILL CHECKS When characters interact with members of their own faith, the GM might give a +2 bonus to Culture or Diplomacy checks based on the circ*mstance. Likewise, interacting with members of rival faiths (especially those of opposed alignment) might incur a penalty of –2. PCs can also attempt DC 10 Culture or Mysticism checks to know how to behave appropriately among members of a religion common to a world or system. Those who behave inappropriately might suffer social penalties or outright hostility.

HIGH RELIGION In a world of high religion, deities actively participate in the planet’s existence and may take form to do so. These gods might battle one another and deliver visions to their faithful. They might be living gods or even mortals elevated to the status of godhood by their people. On some high-religion worlds, the populace might worship deities that don’t (or no longer) exist, yet they worship no less fervently for the lack of divine intervention. A high-religion world might also have multiple religions, each as potent as the others but where none can gain dominance over the entire world. In such a world, zealots are likely numerous and active as they strive to expand their respective faith’s influence. There are varied reasons for why an individual or an entire population might adhere to certain faiths. Many likely believe in and practice all the tenets espoused by their religion, while others see themselves as religious and adhere to fundamental tenets of the faith despite disagreeing with some tenets or ritualistic practices. Some might worship insincerely, not truly having faith but coveting the financial, political, or military power they gain from being a member of the religion. For some, the safety, security, benefits, and social standing that come from being a member of the religious community far outweigh their own spiritual beliefs. Imagine a world where religion plays a major role in the evolution of society, a world where immortal gods walk among mortals, granting them supernatural powers and sending them on quests of religious significance. Or, imagine a world where a vast city complex covers nearly the entire surface, its towering spires decorated to venerate the planet’s sovereign, a living deity kept alive for the advancement of technology wielded for the betterment (or the suppression) of its subjects. Perhaps another world recognizes and practices the religions of a thousand cultures, each religious institution competing vigorously for power, dominance, and control of resources. On another world, the majority of the population might feel drawn instinctively to perform particular philosophies that they believe necessary for communal prosperity and harmony. Also consider how a high-religion attribute intersects with the society’s magic rating. In a high-magic society, the faiths’ supernatural power is prevalent, powerful, and potentially accessible to a large array of its inhabitants. In lower-magic societies, a high-religion attribute could represent divine power that’s tightly restricted to an ecclesiastical elite or concentrated

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entirely in one or more heavily involved deities who dole out only a fraction (if any) of their ample supernatural influence.

MEDIUM RELIGION On many worlds, religion plays a significant part in daily life yet typically doesn’t maintain an overriding influence on life, politics, economy, and relations. This distinction doesn’t mean that the adherents to these faiths are any less devout compared to those of high-religion worlds. The faithful of medium-religion worlds might allocate great structures or complexes for religions to come together, share their philosophies, and learn. However, either their gods don’t require extreme and constant devotion, or the society has developed an equilibrium where its needs accommodate, yet don’t kowtow, to its patrons’ dictums. Alternatively, a world might host numerous religions that all compete for the minds and souls of the faithful. These religious struggles could take place intellectually, ritualistically, or through physical violence. However, the daily lives of the majority of the people are less likely to be influenced by religion compared to everyday economic and political concerns. For example, a space station or planet designated for the inhabitants of multiple worlds to intermingle and cooperate can be a place where religion, though heavily influencing the lives of many residents, has an overall muted impact due to overriding intragalactic political, military, and economic concerns. Another world might have relatively aloof or distant gods. They might grant miracles and power to their priests, and perhaps occasionally listen to the prayers of their devotees, but otherwise intervene little in mortal lives. Perhaps another world regards its heroes and leaders as living gods, thus bestowing upon them great prestige and power, while their society still recognizes them as mortal and fallible, ensuring that their influence never exceeds that commanded by a true deity. Even technology could become the focus of worship if its capabilities surpass the population’s understanding of how some devices function.

LOW RELIGION There are also numerous worlds where religion holds little influence. Perhaps the gods are so removed from and uninvolved with the population that the residents of the world are little more to deities than ants are to humans. Religion might never have evolved, isn’t a natural expression of the inhabitants’ psyche, or became illegal following any number of disasters or secular coups. On these worlds, religion, divinely-powered magic, and spiritual practices and traditions are implausible notions—either shocking onlookers due to their taboo status or baffling witnesses due to the faith’s unfamiliar underlying assumptions. Consider when a society’s low-religion attribute manifested. A recent change might mean the inhabitants are actively converting, burying, or destroying old symbols. An ancient change might result in gradual amnesia with inhabitants following traditional holy days and performing prayers, despite not knowing why they continue to do so. Perhaps the populace came to the realization that their world has no gods or that the gods don’t listen. These practices might offer communal solidarity but provide little else.

GALAXY EXPLORATION MANUAL

HIGH-RELIGION ADVENTURE HOOKS D20 ADVENTURE HOOK 1 An outsider is being held captive by those who worship them. A humble traveler suddenly begins manifesting miracles and 2 gathers a following. Are they a charlatan looking to earn power? A fanatical, splinter religion attempts to build a doomsday device to 3 hasten the end of the galaxy. Rival demigods want to settle a challenge by recruiting offworlders 4 for a series of trials while trying to convert them. A series of recent disasters on an inhabited world reveals the planet 5 to be a god waking from eons of slumber. A capricious god grants temporary deific powers to passersby as 6 tests of their moral fiber. A monotheistic world makes first contact with the greater galaxy, 7 and many citizens become enamored with the idea of other gods. A new god manifests as a gestalt entity through the bodies of 8 dozens of individuals, their minds linked by technology or magic. On a formerly atheistic world, hundreds of minor deities begin 9 appearing for nearly every concept imaginable. A large collection of demonic or celestial creatures emerge on a 10 distant planet with a small population. Alien beings who purport to hail from another dimension promise 11 eternal bliss to those who demonstrate their worthiness. When a god is gravely wounded in conflict with another deific 12 power, their followers look for help to heal their god. An asteroid is on a collision course with a world and can be diverted 13 from its course only by the power of a reluctant god. A religious sect claims that the sacrifice of an entire world’s 14 population is needed to placate their god. A relic appears in the possession of a meek traveler. Others race to 15 retrieve it before a conjunction of stars activates the item. Robots seem to gain souls after being constructed to fight a holy 16 war, and they now struggle with their purpose. An ancient religious icon depicts an individual who only recently 17 rose to prominence. The roads and highways of a metropolis form a devotional symbol 18 that generates new power for a god as people travel them. A god has been stripped of their powers by rival deities and seeks 19 assistance in navigating the mortal world. A researcher discovers religious texts that mention a location even 20 the gods fear to go—and seeks volunteers for an expedition.

MEDIUM-RELIGION ADVENTURE HOOKS D20 ADVENTURE HOOK The legitimacy of a museum’s collection of religious artifacts is 1 called into question; the curator asks for help in proving otherwise. Several assassinations occur at a conference of spiritual leaders 2 from various religious institutions. 3 A distraught family hopes to rescue a loved one from a strange cult. 4 The key to a serial killer’s crimes hides in an obscure religious text. 5 A wealthy eccentric attempts to purchase an entire minor religion. 6 Pilgrims seek transport to observe an interstellar religious event. 7 A state-sponsored religion suddenly enacts a suffocating bureaucracy. 8 Adherents of a peaceful religion begin to purchase weapons of war. 9 Religious extremists take over a facility and make extensive demands. A manufacturer of mass-produced religious curios needs help 10 ensuring its goods reach the market before its competitors. Facets of a religious holiday begin appearing in unrelated pieces of 11 pop culture throughout the galaxy.

12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20

A whistle-blower who uncovered a religious leader’s corruption needs protection from that faith’s followers. A group of pious adherents need to raise credits to save an orphanage, though an opposing deity’s interference makes their task more difficult. Personalized pantheons of gods are a high-status purchase, and the devout followers of a single deity look to carve out a place of their own. A corporation releases an app called “God 2.0”; local religious groups find the software blasphemous and demand its deletion. A religion looks to grow its congregation by appealing to a wider audience but requires help navigating the current social landscape. A previously unknown world appears, which many religions take it as a sign (with contradictory meanings). A religious organization enacts a smear campaign against a rival group using information it acquired illicitly. A religious group suddenly places bounties on seemingly unconnected individuals. An outsider seeks to reform their ways, but they need asylum from religious groups who want to slay them.

LOW-RELIGION ADVENTURE HOOKS D20 ADVENTURE HOOK When a world outlaws all religion, the faithful seek aid in smuggling 1 relics offworld before they’re destroyed. Divine magic suddenly ceases working on a planet in the middle of 2 a religious festival. Copies of a banned religious text suddenly begin appearing 3 everywhere, all with the same passages highlighted. An anti-religion crusade sweeps through dozens of settlements, 4 damaging church-owned property and harming the openly faithful. Ancient beings return to a world that once worshiped them to find 5 its inhabitants have abandoned all forms of religion. Archaeologists discover ancient temple ruins under the capital city 6 of a world with no religions. 7 A group of escaped criminals poses as gods on a world with no religions. A planet that disdains all deities and religious magic now needs holy 8 magic to combat a plague. Several missionaries disappear while traveling to a remote world of 9 sentient machines who are suspicious of religion. When technology begins to fail on an atheistic world, a stranger arrives 10 claiming to have the ability to “heal” the machines with divine magic. Recently uncovered paperwork reveals that a certain company 11 owns a warehouse full of holy paraphernalia for a religion no one has ever heard of. To stop a catastrophe, a collection of ancient religious relics must be 12 retrieved from the vaults of an organization of skeptics. Scholars find a map that depicts the domains of various minor gods 13 in a state of flux. Religious pilgrims make regular stops on an atheistic world, and the 14 xenophobic residents want it to stop. A religious corporation is suspected of illegally operating on certain 15 worlds through supposedly secular subsidiaries. A popular religion’s clergy are revealed to be shapeshifters, causing 16 a crisis of faith. A group claims to have slain a god and will do so again unless their 17 demands are met. A portal opens onto a small, remote settlement populated by 18 outsiders who seem unaware of their origins. 19 A market for illicit religious art will soon hold its annual auction. A mysterious figure has the power to radically alter a person’s 20 religious views with only a touch.

RELIGION

2 OVERVIEW EXPLORING THE GALAXY Backgrounds Class Options Exploration System Equipment

INFINITE WORLDS Building Worlds Biomes Accord Alignment Magic Religion Technology

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ARMOR UPGRADES These armor upgrades are hybrid items that follow the rules presented on pages 204–205 of the Starfinder Core Rulebook.

ALIGNED BUFFER (HYBRID) PRICE 6,450 SLOTS 1

ITEM LEVEL 7 ARMOR TYPE ANY

BULK L

This upgrade bolsters your armor against threats from beyond the Material Plane. Against effects created by outsiders, the armor grants you DR 3/— as well as resistance 3 against acid, cold, electricity, fire, and sonic damage. If the outsider has any alignment subtypes, this protection might increase. If at least one of the outsider’s alignment subtypes is the opposite of your alignment (such as a demon with the evil subtype attacking a good-aligned wearer), increase the damage reduction and energy resistance values by 2 each. If the outsider has two alignment subtypes that are opposite of both components of your alignment, you also ignore the first 5 points of the outsider’s resistances and damage reduction for 1 round after that outsider deals damage to you.

SACRED SEAL (HYBRID) PRICE 4,200 SLOTS 1

ITEM LEVEL 6 ARMOR TYPE ANY

BULK L

This pair of pendants connected by a loose silver braid shimmers with faint axioms of the viewer’s faith. When installed in armor and attuned to a specific deity with heartfelt prayer as a full action, this upgrade’s appearance transforms, modifying the armor’s appearance to reflect that patron deity’s aesthetic or iconography. This appearance might involve intimidating skull pauldrons for the Devourer, bold golden highlights for Abadar, or a network of holographic circuits for Triune. While your alignment is within one step of the attuned deity’s, this upgrade grants a benefit specific to that deity, detailed below. In addition, you gain a +1 morale bonus to Diplomacy checks to influence members of that faith. If uninstalled for at least 24 hours, the sacred seal reverts to its silver pendants form and can be reattuned to a different deity. Abadar: While in any settlement with a population of 10,000 or more, you can communicate with any sapient creature using a rudimentary form of truespeech, allowing you to convey simple ideas such as “I need help,” “We are here to negotiate,” or “Let’s trade this for that.” However, this communication doesn’t allow you to affect such creatures with language-dependent effects. While in a settlement with a population of 100,000 or more, you can communicate as if affected by tongues. Besmara: While aboard a starship, you gain a +1 morale bonus to your AC and saving throws, and you increase your speed by 5 feet. Damoritosh: Using Intimidate to bully creatures isn’t a language-dependent ability for you. Once per day as a full action, you can attempt an Intimidate check to scare onlookers within 60 feet into a state of fearful, supernatural comprehension. The DC for this check equals 10 + 1-1/2 × the CR of the most powerful creature you would affect. If you succeed, choose a language you know; a number of creatures in the area equal to 5 times your number of ranks in Intimidate gain the ability to understand

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basic statements in the chosen language for 10 minutes. Desna: While within 1 mile of an astronomical object, such as an asteroid, space station, or planet, you can concentrate for 10 minutes to designate it as your beacon. You gain the spaceflight universal creature rule, though you can use it only to travel to your beacon, and you use Mysticism instead of Piloting for checks to navigate. While traveling in this way, you also have the void adaptation universal creature rule and don’t need to eat or sleep. The Devourer: Once per hour when you use an effect to deal damage in an area and are included in that area, you can augment the effect’s power. The effect ignores any resistances or immunities you have, and if the effect wouldn’t normally harm you (such as a solarian’s supernova revelation), you’re affected anyway. All other creatures in the area take a –2 penalty to saving throws to resist the effect and take an additional 1 damage per die from the effect. Eloritu: Your divination spells and effects that reveal information about a planet, its people, their languages, their culture, or their history have their ranges and durations doubled. Commune with nature and commune with planet (Character Operations Manual 134) grant facts about people or intelligent life respectively, in addition to the other granted facts. Hylax: You gain blindsense (thought) with a range of 60 feet and blindsight (thought) with a range of 10 feet, though you can use these senses to detect only those creatures whose attitude toward you is either friendly or helpful. These senses aren’t foolproof for discerning friends from foes; a creature feigning friendliness who succeeds at a Bluff check (opposed by your Sense Motive check) can trick this sense into detecting them as though they were a friendly creature. Ibra: When you would attempt a Fortitude or Reflex saving throw against a hazard or trap, you can use your Will saving throw modifier instead. Iomedae: You gain a +2 insight bonus (or increase an existing insight bonus by 1) when using Diplomacy to change the attitude of unfriendly or hostile creatures. If combat begins within 1 minute of your failing to change the creatures’ attitude, you gain a +2 morale bonus to your AC until the end of your first turn. Lao Shu Po: Once per day, you can activate this armor while finalizing a deal with another party, such as a contract or truce. If the other party violates the deal in a malicious way, such as by double-crossing you, you can take a reaction to gain a +2 morale bonus to AC and saving throws for 1 minute against the other party and their direct associates. The reaction granted by this ability can be used only once per violated deal. If you instead violate the deal maliciously, you gain a +2 morale bonus to your next initiative check in a combat against those creatures if that combat starts within 1 minute. This ability can track only a single deal at a time, and activating it again replaces the previous deal with the new one. Nyarlathotep: Once per hour when you attempt a skill check to identify a creature or recall knowledge, you can apply an insight bonus to the check between 1 and 4. If you succeed at the check, you take 1d6 damage for each point of insight bonus you applied (for example, 3d6 damage for a +3 bonus).

GALAXY EXPLORATION MANUAL Oras: This upgrade has a capacity of 40 charges and naturally regains 1d6 charges per day. When you first arrive on a planet, this armor upgrade temporarily transforms into one of the following armor upgrades of your choice: descent thrusters (Pact Worlds 197), hydrojet (Armory 83), infrared sensors, jump jets, leapers (Armory 84), longstrider module (Armory 84), or radiation buffer. The selected upgrade must be one that would function for the type of armor you’re wearing. Once per day as a full action, you can spend 1 Resolve Point to choose a different upgrade from the list and transform this sacred seal into that upgrade. Pharasma: Once per day as a reaction when an ally within 30 feet has 0 Hit Points and would die from being unable to spend a Resolve Point, you can grant that ally 1 Resolve Point to spend immediately to avoid dying. During the same day, you can grant additional Resolve Points in this way as a reaction, but each subsequent use of this ability costs you 1 Resolve Point. Sarenrae: You gain resistance 5 against fire, which increases to resistance 10 against fire in solar environments. In addition, you gain the solar adaptation ability and are immune to fire for the purpose of withstanding a star’s heat. Talavet: Three times per day, you can begin animatedly telling a fable that reflects your actions; doing so doesn’t require an action. When you do, choose one of the following: charge, combat maneuver, covering fire, feint, harrying fire, or move your speed. So long as you perform the chosen action before the end of your turn, allies within 30 feet of you who perform the same type of action before your next turn gain a +2 morale bonus to AC and a +1 morale bonus to attack rolls and skill checks while performing those actions (such as a bonus to AC against attacks of opportunity while charging, but not against subsequent attacks). Triune: While on any high-technology world, you draw life from the ambient technology; you need only one-tenth as much food and water to survive, gain a +2 resistance bonus to saving throws to recover from ongoing afflictions, and recover 5 Hit Points whenever you take a 10-minute rest and spend a Resolve Point to recover Stamina Points. Urgathoa: Once per minute when you’re exposed to radiation, you gain temporary Hit Points that slowly replenish as if this armor upgrade were a force field (Core Rulebook 206). This upgrade functions as a purple, black, white, or gray force field for low, medium, high, and severe radiation levels, respectively, though the force field activates automatically and doesn’t consume charges. The temporary Hit Points disappear 1 round after you’re no longer exposed to radiation, and the HP maximum and fast healing increase or decrease if you move to stronger or weaker areas of radiation. If you’re immune to the current level of radiation, you gain no benefit from this upgrade. Weydan: When calculating the time it takes you to astronavigate in a starship or navigate a course through the Drift, you treat any maximum die results as the next lowest number (for example, you treat a result of 6 on a d6 as 5 instead). Yaraesa: Once per day when you successfully scan a planet or other astronomical body, you can convey your insights to a number of other creatures equal to your ranks in either

Computers or Physical Science. For the next 24 hours, you and the chosen creatures gain an insight bonus to Survival checks to navigate that area and an insight bonus to saving throws to resist natural hazards there. This bonus equals 1 plus 1 for every 5 ranks you have in Computers or Physical Science. Zon-Kuthon: Once per minute when an attack or effect causes you to lose Hit Points, you gain a +2 morale bonus to attack rolls, weapon damage rolls, saving throws, and skill checks until the end of your next turn.

2 OVERVIEW EXPLORING THE GALAXY Backgrounds Class Options Exploration System Equipment

INFINITE WORLDS Building Worlds Biomes Accord Alignment Magic Religion Technology

SANDBOX ADVENTURES TOOLBOXES INDEX

RELIGION

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TECHNOLOGY The hum of machinery on a factory floor. The gentle whirring of fans inside a computer. Even the flint and steel used to spark a world’s first campfire represents a species’ drive to create something new and harness power. Unlike the spontaneity of magic, technology arises systematically through invention and necessity; each step builds from what came before to overcome the next available obstacle, eventually allowing engineers to reach the stars and infinite worlds beyond. From manufacturing to computing to simply staying warm at night, each culture takes its own path toward greater and greater technological solutions. Technology is as diverse as those who make it. Just as each culture has its needs and wants, so will each culture’s technologies be distinct and unique to that society. One species might not need fast transportation and thus never develops wheeled carts, instead innovating extraordinary communication technology that spans distances faster than any mundane conveyance. Plantlike species who drink energy from their sun might readily develop solar power as an extension of their own physiology, yet they might have nearly nonexistent agricultural technologies compared to herbivorous species’ farms. Elementally-infused beings capable of projecting destructive energies at great range might master metallurgical skills while never once thinking to develop weapons. Keep in mind that a high-technology attribute need not always manifest as spaceships and lasers. After all, what desire does a culture have to brave the vacuum of space when its home planet accommodates its every need, which spares its residents’ creative energy to develop technologically peerless art or synthetic companions with which to share its utopia?

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A culture doesn’t need space-age technology to thrive (even in a science-fantasy setting like Starfinder), and countless factors could explain a planet’s or region’s low-technology attribute. Cultural taboos born of past technological disasters or divine mandate could quash otherwise life-changing innovations. Environmental factors might stymie technological breakthroughs, such as an aquatic world struggling to harness metallurgy or a mineral-poor planet lacking the raw materials to fuel technological revolution. In rare cases, the environment might not have stymied innovation so much as reset it; consider a world in which overexploitation triggered societal collapse, where a supervolcano almost erased civilization, where a solar storm knocked an advanced society back to the stone age (figuratively or literally), or where emerging from the Gap upset the laws of physics in a way that invalidated much of a star system’s tech. Rudimentary technology could result simply from bad timing, as alien visitors arrived just after one of the aforementioned disasters or during the early phases of native species’ cultural development. What would a culture look like if its ancient history included first contact with alien visitors? Would its people react the same way if they had a mediumtechnology attribute at that time? Technology levels often aren’t uniform within a single society, much less across an entire planet, and tempting as it might be to paint entire worlds as a monolith, variety sparks countless narratives. Oligarchic systems could restrict technologies to specific social strata, with wealthy elites enjoying wildly different devices than the everyday populace. A biologically cosmopolitan society might include some species that disdain specific technologies, while other inhabitants rely on certain tools for

GALAXY EXPLORATION MANUAL

2 OVERVIEW EXPLORING THE GALAXY Backgrounds Class Options Exploration System Equipment

INFINITE WORLDS Building Worlds Biomes Accord Alignment Magic

their survival—even creating devices that are incompatible with other species’ anatomy or lifestyles. Vastly different biomes across a planet can require an assortment of technologies, and geographic barriers might have separated societies that have simply never contacted each other or haven’t traded innovations much after discovering different civilizations. Viewed another way, technological diversity can translate to starkly different tech levels for various technologies; certain devices could exceed even the Pact Worlds’ capabilities while the surrounding culture lacks other commonplace implements. As technology addresses a society’s basic needs, it just as readily caters to trivialities and entertainment. Most intelligent beings require some form of creative enrichment, and anything from whimsical curiosity to shallow desire could kick off a technological revolution. Consider how a society’s history, structure, values, and physical anatomy shape entertainment. One culture’s escapism might embrace familiar forms like cinema, music, and video games, whereas others could revolve around complex mechanical puzzles, targeted neural stimulation with electricity, or extreme tourism based on mind-swapping bodies with unsuspecting victims. What are the values, validations, and wish fulfillments immortalized in these media, and how have the technologies involved adapted to their creators’ unique physiologies? Does a skittermander’s vidgame controller require six hands, a drow’s horror film eschew shadows as a spooky element because of widespread darkvision, or dessamar (Alien Archive 3 14) equipment readily reconfigure to accommodate either of the species’s different body shapes? Whatever the form, remember that play itself can inspire creativity and innovation, so consider how happy accidents might have shaped a society and its technological

trajectory—much as real-world science fiction can inspire and explore technologies made feasible by scientific advances decades later. When compared to one that keeps rigidly to tradition, a society with incentive to invent far more likely has a mediumto high-technology attribute. Invention by default introduces something created and new into the world. Whether or not those inventions are welcomed determines how successfully the new technology spreads. A society where luddites quash innovation in favor of traditionalism will see fewer technological advancements on average, whereas societies that celebrate (or even deify) their greatest scientists could drive ravenous discoveries and developments as inhabitants aspire to become the next great innovator. In extreme cases of anti-technological sentiment, major developments might be forced underground or outright destroyed to maintain the status quo—an occurrence that helps explain why Triune’s Signal spread throughout the galaxy yet resulted in no noteworthy advances in some places. No matter a culture’s technology, there are three essential takeaways. First, technology often falls into one of three broad categories—high, medium, and low—addressed in the following pages, along with an even more refined breakdown of tech levels on page 126. Second, even though technological development often follows fairly predictable paths, technological development isn’t strictly linear, instead reflecting a society’s needs and values. Third, technology isn’t shorthand for civilization or sophistication, even for the most mechanically adept or technologically rudimentary societies. With these foundations in place, you’re ready to mix and match countless tech levels to create a wide range of wondrous worlds (all the more so when combined with accord, alignment, magic, and religion attributes)!

TECHNOLOGY

Religion Technology

SANDBOX ADVENTURES TOOLBOXES INDEX

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HIGH TECHNOLOGY High technology not only conveys the power and capabilities of a society’s technology, but also how readily accessible that technology is. A high-technology society might be defined by space travel, infosphere networks, or advanced computer intelligences. The general populace of these places often enjoys a plethora of electronic amusem*nts, such as virtual reality sports or star system broadcasts. High-technology worlds often develop synthetic life and artificial intelligence, such as androids or sentient robotic organisms. The Pact Worlds and Veskarium both serve as excellent high-technology system examples, yet they’re far from the only ones. High-technology cultures often develop serious dependencies on their advanced machinery for everyday life. The greater the technology’s role, and the more centrally controlled it is, the more vulnerable the society becomes in the event of a disaster. Accidental mismanagement leading to overloads, physical sabotage, solar storms that fry electronics, cyberattacks, and magical interference could all threaten the power grid, life support, and more. Player characters might be called upon to protect these systems, or they might be the ones hacking it. Either way, a high-technology society is bound to feel the repercussions of a security breach. A highly-mechanized world might experience chaos and limited communication if its infosphere and vehicles grind to a halt, whereas a space station might become uninhabitable within hours or be unable to maintain its orbit and crash. This possible turmoil is especially true when a society’s technology advances swiftly—sometimes due to great innovations, but often thanks to outside intervention, such as benevolent alien patronage or even divine intervention— as the inventions quickly surpass the society’s ability to adapt to and understand its wealth of new devices. Triune’s Signal in particular provided an extraordinary boost to countless worlds’ technological innovation and, while this development has connected worlds like never before, it has also provided dangerous tools enabling some cultures to run before they could figuratively walk. High technology often helps a species surpass its physical limitations. Planes and space suits allow humans to defy gravity and breathe in inhospitable environments; in a science-fantasy world there are even stranger possibilities. The Burning Archipelago on the surface of the Pact Worlds’ sun has architecture that allows lifeforms to live in an impossibly hot realm; starships carry inhabitants

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far beyond the worlds where they evolved; and Drift technology puts the whole galaxy within travelers’ reach for a modest investment. Space stations might orbit black holes, defying crushing gravity and time dilation through extraordinary safeguards while scientists collect priceless data. Elsewhere, cloud cities float above methane seas, and entire civilizations thrive amid ceaseless volcanism. With a high-technology attribute, life could exist anywhere, even in the most unlikely places. Of course, whether outsiders can access these settlements is another matter! Technology presents the means for creatures to exceed their worlds’ natural carrying capacities, like how artificial fertilizer and mechanization revolutionize a planet’s agricultural output. Most high-technology societies harness extraordinary manufacturing and material-manipulation capabilities, such as the use of universal polymer base (or UPBs; Core Rulebook 233), that allow citizens to surpass many physical resource limitations. Taken a step further, technologically extraordinary societies might transcend mortal bodies by developing robust networks, where uploaded digital consciousnesses can exist indefinitely without need for sustenance. These uploaded consciousnesses differ from true AI, however, and while the functional differences might seem academic, the questions of life, death, and identity are often crucial to these postcorporeal cultures.

MEDIUM TECHNOLOGY Cultures with a medium-technology attribute have taken important steps in their scientific development. They might exhibit powerful technology in particular areas yet lag behind high-technology worlds in most other disciplines. Citizens of medium-technology worlds can expect their basic needs to be answered via scientific and technological means. These worlds also might be capable of staffed or entirely automated space travel, but would rarely have access to Drift technology. Worlds of medium technology have mostly, if not entirely, analog and archaic weapons and limited access to technological items. One of the most spectacular advances for medium-technology societies isn’t flashy—it’s sanitation. Sophisticated sewage and medical care help inhabitants live longer and limit disease, and the resulting increase to lifespans allow more time for leisure, art, and learning that drive subsequent innovations. As a result, medical capabilities present a common benchmark for this attribute—at least for ecosystems where medical care is a vital need, which might not be true for undead societies or stranger worlds. After medicine, consider a world’s other threats and limitations, as many medium-technology societies endeavor to overcome these factors: deadly weather, hazardous terrain, and voracious animals; such immediate dangers necessitate sophisticated shelters, inventive transportation, armaments for self-defense, or barriers built on a massive scale. Other goals are more aspirational, like developing more productive agriculture and devising new techniques for procuring

GALAXY EXPLORATION MANUAL essential resources. These factors uphold a very human perspective; nonhuman cultures might have vastly different goals than mere safety and material needs, such as creating esoteric technology strictly for artistic ends, designing massive infrastructure to channel telepathic communication, or creating sophisticated homunculi only to sacrifice them in divine rites. Always think beyond Earth-like concepts when creating your strangest worlds. Consider inventors’ physiologies and needs. Would a quadruped species intuitively build land vehicles if they naturally evolved for running and sprinting? Would a species that filter feeds invest in agriculture or culinary arts? How might a species with 360-degree vision approach photography or visual arts? While some technologies are universally helpful, what one species deems vital another might find a novelty. These differences distinguish cultures of similar sophistication without presuming one as more advanced than another. These idiosyncrasies make medium-technology worlds exciting opportunities for first-contact scenarios; these worlds support countless intelligent minds that could readily adopt and adapt the visitors’ technology to explore the stars, and at the same time, these inhabitants might have innovated their own technology in sufficiently strange and advanced ways that are practically unique to galactic culture. Simultaneously these conventions can spark disastrous consequences for societies that can quickly grasp the practical applications of gifted technologies but not their greater ramifications, causing a world war, a breakdown of longstanding cultural norms, or the empowerment of interplanetary invasions. Spacefaring explorers like Starfinders and Weydan’s faithful often exercise protocols to limit cultural and technological shock when meeting unfamiliar species, yet even the best intentions can result in dozens of local disasters and revolutions. One of the most interesting consequences of this is when individuals of these younger species choose to join the galactic community. Adventurers from medium-technology worlds might consider high-tech gear fascinating and wish to learn more, becoming passionate mechanics and technomancers in the process. They might also become invaluable ambassadors, interpreting for medium- and low-technology societies based on shared experience. No matter the profession, anyone hailing from a medium-technology world would needs to be a fast learner to make use of other civilizations’ technologies.

LOW TECHNOLOGY A low-technology attribute conveys limited technological development—anything from early stone and metal tools to rudimentary mechanization and early electrification. Sciences such as medicine and physics are likely fairly early in their development, and lower tech often introduces challenges to building and maintaining larger urban centers and empires alike. From a high-technology society’s perspective, it can be easy to assume low-technology inhabitants are somehow intellectually inferior, yet this reasoning is harmful, dismissive, and inaccurate. There are numerous reasons a low-technology attribute might manifest. The simplest reason is that a society is young and hasn’t had time to develop beyond basic machinery;

millennia later, the population might achieve or even surpass the standards of current high-tech life. Relatively older societies could lack key resources, stymieing their growth, such as how an alternate Earth without fossil fuels would struggle to power its Industrial Revolution. Environmental conditions might inhibit certain technologies, such as a planet exposed to intermittent EMP bursts that devastate any attempts at developing electronics. Physiology could also limit technological development; for example, the lack of dexterous prehensile appendages (or a suitable substitute, such as precision telekinesis) could inhibit all but basic tool creation regardless of a culture’s innovative potential. The above ideas assume inhabitants even aspire to higher technology levels. A civilization might possess extraordinary intelligence and sophistication while also upholding taboos against certain technologies. These attitudes might arise from reliance on magic. A high-magic attribute could fulfill most needs of a world’s inhabitants, so necessity never drives mechanical innovation; or, perhaps, an oppressive government disdains technology to preserve an arcane ruling class’s hegemony. Technophobia could arise from the ashes of a once-industrialized society laid to waste by warfare or natural disaster, with legends of machinists’ hubris haunting the survivors generations later. In each of these later examples, lowtech societies remain cognizant of technological developments yet rarely pursue them. Alien visitors who expect low-tech worlds to accept their futuristic inventions with open arms might be surprised to find the inhabitants violently rebuking these forbidden offworld devices. Advanced technology often relies on batteries and ammunition, which can prove difficult to recharge on worlds without power outlets and where UPBs are unheard of. This limitation makes exploring low-tech worlds—especially if the PCs crash-land there—an exciting challenge, where survival skills and mastering less familiar technology becomes as perilous as any predator. Not only might the PCs need to secure the means to return home, but they might have to do so while shielding their wreckage or even their presence from the planet’s curious inhabitants. Reversed, low technology could present an exciting way to begin a Starfinder campaign, eventually opening up to interplanetary and galactic travel as the PCs secure the essential technology, magic, or both—either by developing it or by scavenging it from outside sources. Page 500 of the Core Rulebook presents guidelines for adapting Pathfinder fantasy roleplaying game concepts into Starfinder, which might represent an exciting and unique way to capture lowtech concepts. Once such characters reach the stars, their backgrounds could shape their strategies and styles: think, mystics who styles themselves as clerics of long-dead deities, vanguard luddites dedicated to destroying the high-tech devices that ravaged their home world, or soldiers who turn outwardly archaic weapons like bows or slings into devastating armaments that can fell towering battle robots. Above all, a low-technology attribute is never the product of inhabitants being wrong or imperfect, merely different. The galaxy’s an extraordinary and diverse place, and every planet, no matter its technology, is full of surprises.

TECHNOLOGY

2 OVERVIEW EXPLORING THE GALAXY Backgrounds Class Options Exploration System Equipment

INFINITE WORLDS Building Worlds Biomes Accord Alignment Magic Religion Technology

SANDBOX ADVENTURES TOOLBOXES INDEX

125

TECH CATEGORIES With an area as vast as an entire galaxy, different civilizations possess divergent levels of technological advancement, from archaic to the most cutting-edge. Tech categories are an optional subsystem for determining the types of technology available (or not) on a given world with more nuance than the general distinctions of low, medium, and high. The table below presents nine tech categories. Categories 1 and 2 represent low technology, categories 3 through 6 represent medium technology, and categories 5 through 9 represent high technology; the overlap between medium and high allows some flexibility when choosing a tech category. To use this subsystem, first choose the general technology attribute of the world: high, medium, or low. Then choose one of the specific tech categories within that attribute from the table below. Alternatively, you can randomly determine a world’s category (and corresponding technology attribute) by rolling a d10 (rerolling any result of 10) and using the result for the category. Each category has a descriptive name as well as a list of example technological advancements and items usually available in that category, divided into five groups: space travel, weapons, armor, vehicles, and other. The categories are additive, meaning that technology from lower-tech categories is available in higher

categories as well; lower categories don’t have access to technology from higher categories. For example, PCs visiting a Space Age world (category 3) wouldn’t generally be able to find sonic weapons, which are not available until the Digital Age (category 4), but they could purchase flame weapons since those are Industrial Age (category 2) technology. While these tech categories aren’t comprehensive, you can use the examples in the table as guidelines to determine the specific technological items available on a world. For example, holographic technology is a hallmark of the Digital Age (category 4), so a technological item that uses holograms should generally be available in that category. No two worlds are alike, even within the same tech category, so feel free to mix and match specific technological advancements from different categories to match the needs of your campaign. If you want a Space Age world to have powered weapons or for domestic drones to be available in a Digital Age civilization, go for it! Likewise, a world doesn’t necessarily need to advance from one tech category to the next in numerical order. It’s perfectly possible for a Cybernetic Age world to jump directly to the Pre-Drift Age without developing biotech at all. There’s room enough in the galaxy for worlds and civilizations with every possible combination of technological prowess—and this subsystem gives you the tools to create them all!

TECH CATEGORIES TECH CATEGORY

ADVENTURE HOOK

1: Archaic Age

2: Industrial Age

3: Space Age

4: Digital Age

suborbital and orbital flight

limited satellite flight

WEAPONS archaic

archaic AP4

analog flame, melee, and — non-automatic projectile automatic, laser, and non-analog flame and space suits projectile sintered melee; sonic

limited sublight powered, shock; 5: Cybernetic Age interplanetary travel, integrated weapons AR; starships (thrusters only) ultrathin melee

6: Biotech Age

7: Pre-Drift Age

126

biomechanical starships PW (thrusters only) interplanetary travel, non-Drift interstellar engines SOM

ARMOR

living weapons

AR

VEHICLES OTHER biological transport AR, nonpowered land and pre-industrial technology water land, water

industrial technology

air

computers (tier 0–2), nuclear technology

nonarchaic armor with environmental protections

powered armor

multi-type, tunneling

dendron armor AR, preserver’s mantle AR

molecular rift melee, cryo, plasma, and gravitation weapons AR

hover

dimensional blade/slice and zero-edge melee, disintegrator, nanite

quantum

8: Drift Age

faster-than-light Drift travel

9: Intergalactic Age

non-Draft faster-than-light travel, travel beyond the AG weapons AA, galactic rim, sivv rel-space degenerator weapons AP33, AG armor AA drives AP33, witchwyrd dimensional disruption AP5 planar aperture drives SOM

INFINITE WORLDS

computers (tier 3–4), modern Earth–equivalent technology, holographic technology, infospheres, personal comm units artificial/virtual intelligence, computers (tier 5–6), cybernetics, domestic drones AR, jetpacks, jump jets, robots, starship data nets PW, system-wide comm units biotech, spore starship weapons PW artificial gravity, computers (tier 7–8), force fields, graviton and hover technology, x-ray visors computers (tier 9–10), nanotechnology, quantum technology, regeneration tables, standardized credit currency, unlimited comm units, UPBs advanced or unknown alien technology, Azlanti technology AP7, AP8 , computers (tier 10+), kishalee relics AP5, sivv relics AP33, witchwyrd technology

GALAXY EXPLORATION MANUAL

HIGH-TECHNOLOGY ADVENTURE HOOKS D20 ADVENTURE HOOK A recently awakened AI seeks aid in emancipating its core from a 1 heavily guarded corporate facility. 2 A cloning accident causes havoc in a top secret laboratory. 3 A fleet of automated starships sends an SOS from a hazardous area. 4 A popular vidgame starts blackmailing its players. 5 Dangerous virtual reality characters have escaped into the real world. A strange alien signal interrupts all communication arrays in a 6 system, including vital emergency transmissions. 7 Life support systems in a hostile atmosphere begin to fail. An anomalous planet in the Vast turns out to be a titanic computer 8 calculating an unknown equation. A world develops an organic computer network that begins to 9 painfully absorb the minds of any who access it. 10 A robotic civilization begins a campaign to “liberate” all technology. Members of an advanced culture offer to sell technology that can 11 create a star from nothing, sparking a bidding war. Mysterious tractor beams have been pulling starships into a 12 seemingly empty area of space. No ship has returned. A rogue computer virus has shut down most electronic systems and 13 caused security robots to turn on citizens. 14 A dangerous nanite malfunction threatens an entire world. A mischievous hacker is creating digital graffiti on a settlement’s 15 holographic billboards that riles citizens toward an uprising. A comet is actually an immense hologram populated by electronic 16 duplicates of hundreds of historical and pop culture figures. The inhabitants of an advanced society leave all decision making to 17 an AI network. One day, they’re told to declare war on a neighbor. A mysterious signal emanates from a world ruled by the collective 18 uploaded consciousnesses of the entire world’s population. The antigrav generators beneath a floating city begin to fail for 19 unknown reasons. A massive colony ship careens toward an inhabited world, and the 20 crew members are all in an unknown form of cryogenic sleep.

MEDIUM-TECHNOLOGY ADVENTURE HOOKS D20 ADVENTURE HOOK A world’s first contact comes via an alien lawsuit alleging a metal slug 1 its denizens launched ceremoniously into space damaged a starship. A small settlement in the Vast struggles with an alien pathogen and 2 requires delivery of new sanitation equipment. A manufacturer wants to sell advanced arms to a mercenary 3 company on a less-advanced world despite significant opposition. A scientific probe that crashed on an inhabited world and sparked 4 its industrial revolution must be recovered. A destabilizing economic boom occurs when rich veins of precious 5 metals are discovered deep underground. 6 An ancient transmission from offworld foreshadows catastrophe. A millennia-old probe from an alien culture has been recovered and 7 holds encrypted data believed to lead to its utopian home world. 8 A scientific facility testing new advances in technology vanishes. 9 An astronaut of an alien species is stranded on a world that fears them. A newly contacted species asks for help clearing a mass of satellites 10 and space junk that prevents space travel. An individual claiming to be a time traveler attempts to advance the 11 technological development of an industrial culture. A sudden increase in pollution levels on a particular world sparks 12 several ecological disasters. The inhabitants must evacuate for their safety.

13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20

A world’s miraculous advances in medicine are traced back to a captive alien beast that’s being unethically experimented on. A humongous spacefaring creature enters orbit around a world, dangerously affecting its tides. Invasive alien flora is taking over a planet’s natural areas, and the indigenous culture doesn’t have the resources to combat it. A seemingly low- or medium-technology species not only isn’t fazed by first contact, but presents a technologically-advanced gift. The society of a world with rare megafauna pleads for help to combat poachers wielding advanced weaponry. A society claims that its planet’s landmarks were built by aliens. A planet’s strong magnetic fields preclude computer technology. A local war escalates to other worlds with the introduction of starships.

2 OVERVIEW EXPLORING THE GALAXY Backgrounds Class Options Exploration System

LOW-TECHNOLOGY ADVENTURE HOOKS D20 ADVENTURE HOOK The rust red dust of a remote moon is discovered to be ancient 1 nanites that could still hold data of an advanced civilization. An impending natural disaster threatens mass extinction of the 2 nascent ecosystems on a planet where technology doesn’t function. A starship seemingly made from stone contains a Stone Age culture 3 of people who don’t realize they’re in space. A world’s inhabitants shy away from any form of technology, a 4 repercussion of a previous calamity caused by such machines. A member of a low-technology culture found advanced technology 5 that gives them immense power over others in their society. A world is dotted with an advanced civilization’s ancient ruins that 6 the natives claim are haunted. A war between two analog weapon–wielding nations escalates 7 when an unknown arms dealer gives one side laser weaponry. A criminal group takes an entire starport hostage after grounding 8 all vehicles with an EMP. Anomalous weather patterns on a distant planet threaten the safety 9 of a group that has forsworn technology. A creche containing larval versions of living weapons has been 10 occupied by a dangerous military force. Rival corporations enact plans to uplift the same low-technology 11 civilization and make them loyal customers. Visitors to a planet that’s home to enormous sapient life forms are 12 captured and treated like beasts. A postapocalyptic civilization has built its recovering society upon 13 buried megacities, not knowing what technology might lie beneath. Explorers are treated as returning royalty upon first contact with 14 an alien species, whose legends tell of ancient monarchs who came from the stars. A low-technology civilization builds its settlements on the backs 15 of massive, flying fauna, but trophy-hunting tourists now threaten that society’s growing population. First-contact tours have become popular with the hyper-rich, but one 16 such ship needs rescuing from a hostile low-technology civilization. First contact is made with a pre-industrial alien species that already 17 speaks Common. They claim to have learned it from ghosts made of starlight who live in a nearby system of caves. After first contact, a low-technology society becomes addicted to 18 Pact Worlds consumer goods and willingly barters away crucial resources for steady supplies. A strange disease renders the affected unable to comprehend even 19 the simplest technology. The society of a resource-rich planet rejects proposals to harvest 20 these resources, but certain groups refuse to take “no” for an answer.

TECHNOLOGY

Equipment

INFINITE WORLDS Building Worlds Biomes Accord Alignment Magic Religion Technology

SANDBOX ADVENTURES TOOLBOXES INDEX

127

TECHNOLOGICAL ITEMS The following new technological items follow the rules for technological items found on page 218 of the Core Rulebook.

Altitude Bead This small, metal bead syncs with a comm unit to transmit its relative location from a starting point. When dropped more than 10 feet, accelerometers inside the bead begin measuring how far the bead has fallen. Once it stops free falling, an app on the connected comm unit displays how far the bead fell and the bead’s relative position from the user, to a range of 5 miles.

Hardlight Netting Popular with survivalists and trappers, hardlight netting resembles regular fiber nets except for the metal beads woven into each intersection. These beads are actually small hardlight

generators that activate in response to solids attempting to pass through the net’s gaps, allowing liquid and air to circulate normally. With their flexibility and long battery life, each 10-foot-by-10-foot net is suitable for a variety of uses, from fishing to making pest-proof shelters. Each net has two settings; the first allows Fine creatures and objects to pass through, while the second blocks even these solids. On this second setting, the netting’s hardlight fields can’t block microscopic agents such as microbes and nanites. Using active hardlight netting grants a +2 circ*mstance bonus to Survival checks made to endure severe weather or live off the land. If used along with the downtime activity to build shelter (Character Operations Manual 150), reduce the DC of the Survival check by 5. The netting can be used as an improvised nyfiber net (Core Rulebook 189) whose effective item level is 1 for the purpose of creatures escaping.

Medical Inhaler This handheld device stores and delivers an aerosolized drug into the user’s respiratory system, most often to relieve inflammation caused by toxins or overexertion. As a full action, you can load or swap out a serum or liquid medicine into the inhaler, and you can activate the inhaler as a standard action to consume the contents. Each medical inhaler contains a single dose of respiratory medication (often a specialized steroid) when purchased. When consumed during an inhaled affliction’s onset period, this medication grants you a +1 resistance bonus to your next saving throw against the affliction’s ongoing effects. If you consume it while you have the fatigued or exhausted condition, reduce those conditions’ penalties to initiative checks and Strength- and Dexterity-based skill and ability checks by 1 for 1d6 minutes. Replacement doses of this medication cost 5 credits.

Mnemonic Scanner Developed independently by dozens of species, these devices typically consist of a lightweight harness externally affixed to a creature’s body near its brain, such as a partial helmet or shoulder yoke. Once properly positioned and attached, a mnemonic scanner can upload part of the user’s memories, storing them as a data module (Core Rulebook 215) to a connected computer. Creating a data module in this way uses the same rules, credits, and time required as crafting a module from scratch (Core Rulebook 235). Specific data modules typically represent a short experience of 10 minutes or less. Average data modules might represent a full day’s experiences or numerous related events whose combined duration is approximately 24 hours. Large data modules are rarely feasible to create without inflicting lasting mental scars, yet those rare examples can represent entire lifetimes. Once stored, these memories can be played back through a variety of devices in real time; however, the playback’s sensory output is limited by the device with most providing a wholly visual and auditory experience. A mnemonic scanner used as a playback device can convey an array of senses to the user, even imparting some of the memories’ emotional states.

128

INFINITE WORLDS

GALAXY EXPLORATION MANUAL If you have a datajack augmentation or the exocortex class feature, you can download and review stored memories directly, allowing you to process up to 10 minutes of memories as a full action, as if the memories’ source cast mind link on you. For every minute you spend processing memories in this way, you must attempt a Will save (DC = 10 + 1 for each minute spent processing memories), taking 1d6 damage on a failure.

Smart Lock This digitally controlled lock uses cutting-edge technology and advanced programing to secure doors and alert owners of unauthorized entry. Smart locks work the same way as conventional locks of the same quality (Core Rulebook 220) but with added features that sync to a computerized security system. An average smart lock includes two of the security features below, selected at the time of purchase. Different security companies might offer alternative features, though smart locks rarely have more than four security features. Good and superior smart locks include all four features. Anyone studying a smart lock can identify which features it has with a successful DC 20 Engineering check. An intruder can try to disable one or more of the lock’s features while disabling the lock. For each feature they attempt to disable, increase the time it takes to disable the lock by 1d4, and increase the Engineering DC to open the lock by 1. Disabling a lock feature prevents it from triggering or registering the intrusion, such as not scrambling a passcode or automatically relocking. Automatic Relock: The smart lock relocks itself each time its door closes. Ink Spray: Should an intruder fail an Engineering check to disable the lock, dark magitech ink sprays onto the would-be thief (Reflex DC 20 negates). In addition to staining skin, hair, and fabric, the ink reacts to 0-level spells that would remove it, such as token spell, by instead turning a vibrant hue in response to the magic. The ink fades after 1d4 days. Lock-State Detection: The lock monitors its status—open, closed, damaged, and so on—and regularly conveys this information to a computer within 500 feet. In addition to the lock logging exactly when it opens, the lock is typically designed to activate an alarm if opened by an unauthorized user, if its door remains open for more than a minute, or if more than a minute passes without the lock successfully contacting its linked security computer. Scramble Passcode: The smart lock lets a passcode work only once. After the code is used, whether by a legitimate keycard or by

tricking the lock with disable device, the smart lock creates a new passcode. Legitimate keycards contain an algorithm to generate a valid passcode, but an intruder must attempt a new Engineering check to disable the lock each time it closes and resets.

Vidgame Prevalent across the galaxy and catering to countless genres, vidgames are popular interactive entertainment. Basic vidgames include a wide array of casual entertainments and function on virtually all computers, including datapads and comm units. Advanced vidgames require exceptional processing power, often to support intense graphics, complex game play, or demanding multiplayer capabilities; such vidgames only function on computers of tier 2 or higher. Vidgames are wholly digital and thus have no bulk, and they have a capacity and usage based on the device on which they’re installed. Most vidgames have security features and copy protection that limit how readily users can duplicate games to other devices. In addition to their more immersive experience, advanced vidgames provide an additional effect to their players. The following are popular advanced vidgame titles and their benefits. The vidgame industry is vast and innovative, and many other advanced vidgames could provide similar or entirely new benefits, at the GM’s discretion. Mighty Melee V: The latest installment in a series of fighting games started in 287 ag, Mighty Melee V requires considerable technical skill and command combinations, but it also boasts unrivaled controls for emotes, taunts, and character outfits. These features make the game wildly popular with vidgamer personalities who broadcast their matches and develop fan followings based on their digital avatars’ eccentricities. When playing this vidgame, you can use Charisma in place of Intelligence to calculate your Profession (vidgamer) modifier when used to earn a living. Wayward Legacy: In this cooperative, tactically rigorous multiplayer game, players take on the roles of fantastical spellcasters and warriors as they adventure in a semi-accurate historically version of Golarion. When you and up to five other creatures play your respective copies of Wayward Legacy together while using the lounge downtime activity (Character Operations Manual 153), you can each attempt a DC 15 Intelligence or Profession (vidgamer) check. If at least half of the participants succeed, each of the participating creatures also gains the benefits of the coordinate downtime action with each other (Character Operations Manual 151).

2 OVERVIEW EXPLORING THE GALAXY Backgrounds Class Options Exploration System Equipment

INFINITE WORLDS Building Worlds Biomes Accord Alignment Magic Religion Technology

SANDBOX ADVENTURES TOOLBOXES INDEX

TECHNOLOGICAL EQUIPMENT NAME/MODEL Medical inhaler Vidgame, basic Vidgame, advanced Altitude bead Hardlight netting Smart lock, average Mnemonic scanner Smart lock, good Smart lock, superior

LEVEL 1 1 1 2 3 4 8 8 16

PRICE 10 10 100 100 1,275 1,850 9,350 8,700 150,000

HANDS 1 — — 1 2 2 — 2 2

BULK — — — — 2 L 2 L L

CAPACITY — — — 20 — 40 — —

USAGE — — — — 2/hour — 1/10 minutes — —

TECHNOLOGY

129

SANDBOX ADVENTURES

3

SANDBOX ADVENTURES Traditionally structured adventures, such as Starfinder Adventure Paths, guide player characters through a story that’s already been written. In these adventures, most of the twists and turns are already determined—even though the PCs might make meaningful choices that divert them from the story, they eventually return to the main plot. There’s an alternative kind of RPG experience, however, that gives more agency to the players, encouraging them to decide what the adventure will be. In these games, the GM creates a “sandbox”—a large creative framework in which the players can go wherever they want and do whatever they wish—with the GM responding and reacting to their choices. As the GM, you can use the tools in the Galaxy Exploration Manual to create and run sandbox adventures, and this chapter goes into detail about this unique and rewarding challenge. A good sandbox adventure requires an engaging setting with multiple compelling locations, characters, and threats that the PCs can decide as a group to explore. They might choose an unexpectedly difficult path, finding themselves face to face with enemies far beyond their ability, or perhaps an antagonist that was not so dangerous after all and could have been left alone. They could learn the secrets behind some of the mysteries they investigate, but others might go forever unanswered. This helps create a sense of unpredictability and mystery in a sandbox adventure, as the players have agency in shaping the narrative. This chapter will guide you through the creation of an original sandbox setting for your Starfinder game. It also provides guidance on running campaigns and adventures within the setting.

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SANDBOX ADVENTURES

GALAXY EXPLORATION MANUAL

3

SETTING DESIGN When creating a sandbox setting in Starfinder, it’s important to take into account the game’s vast, interstellar scale. Starfinder assumes your player characters have a starship, and most starships have a Drift engine or other means of faster-than-light travel, which means any planet in the universe is just one Drift jump away. How does the GM prepare for a game session when players can go literally anywhere? In a universe of infinite choices, it’s important to help players avoid feeling overwhelmed by countless options.

OVERVIEW EXPLORING THE GALAXY Backgrounds Class Options Exploration

Here are some things to keep in mind when you begin to create your own setting for sandbox play. Limit player scope at the start. Initially limiting your setting to a handful of compelling details, such as a few interesting worlds or systems, not only makes it quicker and easier for you to prepare, but will also guide players with an initial course of action that’s easy to follow. You can expand on these options over time as the players become more experienced and the setting gains complexity. Don’t fixate on fine details. While it’s exciting to detail every last aspect of your new sandbox setting—from starship factories, settlements, cultures and customs, all the way down to the last NPC—it’s more productive to focus on only those elements which you must have ready for the next session. Focus on world-building rather than story-telling. Traditionally structured RPG adventures focus on the story of the player characters—everything in the setting is designed around their rise to power and glory as they overcome obstacles and challenges, with important milestones and the conclusion already defined before the game even starts. However, In a sandbox adventure the setting contains many independently moving parts. The PCs shape the story by interacting with these parts, making decisions, and dealing with the consequences. Focus on creating interesting situations for the PCs, instead of planning in advance where their adventures will take them. Use the tools in the Galaxy Exploration Manual! This book contains extensive guidance and tools for generating new worlds, settlements, and the NPCs who inhabit those settlements. The Deck of Many Worlds and other Starfinder products supplement these tools. With these, you can quickly generate basic information that you can then expand upon.

CREATE THE PCS’ HOME BASE So where do you start when you’re ready to begin building your settings? Start where the player characters start! They’re going to need some kind of home base, which allows you to restrict the sandbox to a manageable size. The following are some broad examples of some types of home bases. Enormous Starship: The PCs’ base is a battleship, generation ship, or exploration cruiser that’s capable of Drift travel. The PCs might have their own personal craft, such as a fighter, shuttle, or exploration vessel, but the craft is usually not capable of Drift travel. After the PCs explore a solar system, the main starship can move on to a new location. With this option, your setting can include multiple star systems while still being manageable.

Settlement: The PCs live on a world that is the central focus of their adventures, and their central hub is a settlement on the world. They probably have a starship, and it may have a Drift engine, but most of their journeys away from their home world involve bringing back resources or investigating mysteries that directly affect their home planet. Space Station: The PCs’ are based on a space station orbiting a celestial body or in deep space. Exploration can take place around the star system where the PCs are stationed, while starships visit the space station for trade, diplomacy, or something more nefarious. The PCs might have access to a Drift-capable starship that allows them to travel to distant worlds when necessary. A home base should provide everything the PCs need at low level, such as shops or suppliers to hawk weapons and armor, a medical bay or hospital for when the PCs are injured, and workshops for PCs who need to rebuild a drone or craft a computer. There should be some kind of rumor mill—a place where the PCs can learn about new adventure opportunities. A rumor mill could be a cantina, a mercenary job board, an infosphere chat channel, someone’s conspiracy wall, or something else, as long as the PCs can readily access it. Its also likely to contain places of worship. Be sure to include representation for a couple of factions, such as a corporate office, arcane library, or smugglers’ den. The Settlement Toolbox on page 150 and the Starship Toolbox on page 152 help in creating settlements or starships to use as the PCs’ home base. You don’t need to figure out every aspect of the home base before you start playing—just hash out details that might be immediately relevant. Start with a couple of key NPCs who are certain to interact with the player characters; the NPC Toolbox on page 148 provides resources for creating such NPCs. Give each of these NPCs a couple of simple, clearly identifiable traits that PCs will notice after just a few minutes of conversation. Finally, you’ll need a map of the home base. You can create your map however you’d like, from drawing it by hand to creating it with a computer program. You can also consider adding multiple locations on the map that the PCs can detail as they explore their home base.

System Equipment

INFINITE WORLDS Building Worlds Biomes Accord Alignment Magic Religion Technology

SANDBOX ADVENTURES TOOLBOXES INDEX

EXPAND YOUR SETTING The PCs might start at their home base, but their adventures will take them into the unknown. Now it’s time to flesh out what lies beyond. Surround the PCs’ home base with a handful of discrete locations, such as regions, planets, or universes, depending on the scope of your setting. If the PCs have a method

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of longdistance travel, such as a starship, these locations don’t need to be nearby, they just have to stand out as worthy of exploration. It’s important to make these locations distinct from one another, as clearly identifiable attributes help the PCs make informed choices about which locations they’d like to visit. Consider varying the biomes of these locations to make them distinct, adjusting other attributes when the locations have similar biomes. For example, if you have two volcanic regions, one might have high magic and the other low magic. Some of these locations should be obviously and especially dangerous, and a few of them might even be out of reach, at least for low-level characters. Players often identify these hard-to-reach areas as goals—sites to explore when their characters are higher level and have access to more powerful abilities and gear, like teleportation or resistance to high radiation. Add specific adventure locales inside the regions you have created. Each of these adventure locations should be a miniature sandbox nested within the larger sandbox that is your setting. Your adventure sites should vary in size and be clearly distinguishable from each other. For example, one might be the lair of a single creature, while another might be an abandoned mining complex that stretches for miles underground. The PCs could easily explore the lair in one play session, but the mining complex could take many such sessions to investigate. You can find more details on how to create sandbox adventure locations on page 136. Depending on the home base you design, you might want to add some additional safe spots in your setting, such as settlements or hideouts outside of your PC’s home base, where they can rest and prepare. These safe spots allow the PCs to explore locations far away from their home base. You can use the NPC Toolbox on page 148 and the Settlement Toolbox on page 150 to generate details for these safe spots and some of the NPCs who live there. These safe spots should contrast with the PCs’ home base; change their cultural attributes and spotlight new species, factions, and deities to make them feel distinct. Note that these safe spots aren’t necessary if the PCs have means to easily return to their home base whenever they want, such as a starship.

ADD SECRETS TO THE SETTING As you add details to your setting, give each important NPC, location, or object a secret, such as a hidden motivation or history. These secrets serve as adventure hooks that help you add detail to your setting at a manageable pace. To make sure that the PCs can discover these secrets, place clues pointing to them throughout your setting. One clue in every important location is a good place to start. As your players adventure in the setting you’ve created, they can stumble across these clues. Some of those clues, and hopefully they will capture their attention. By following the breadcrumbs, the PCs can build their own story out of the setting you’ve created for them.

MODIFY EXISTING MATERIAL Rather than creating all of your settings’ inhabitants, worlds, and settlements from scratch, you can save time by modifying existing creatures and locations from Starfinder products, modifying

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names and elements to fit your setting. If your setting calls for a large space station, for example, you could use Absalom Station or Conqueror’s Forge (Starfinder Near Space 62) as a base. Akiton makes an excellent Mars-like desert planet, and Bretheda could be a gas giant. Between Starfinder Pact Worlds, Near Space, and the Codex of Worlds entries found in each Starfinder Adventure Path volume, you have over a hundred worlds that you can modify to fit your setting. Similarly, you can use creatures from Alien Archive volumes and the Alien Archives entries found in each Starfinder Adventure Path volume, changing any details you think appropriate. For example, you could change drow to instead be humans who have been genetically modified to flourish in low-light environments.

Example: The Alqet Setting To illustrate the process described in this chapter, here’s an example of a GM, Joan, creating a sandbox setting, which she names Alqet. First, Joan needs a home base. Looking over the list of common choices, Joan decides the PCs live on an enormous starship with an important mission in the Alqet star system. The PCs’ personal starship isn’t capable of Drift travel, but they might be able to persuade the authorities in charge of the home starship to give them a lift to another star system they wish to visit. This also allows Joan to occasionally strand the PCs on a planet in the Alqet system while their home-base starship is away on another mission. She creates two NPCs for the home base. She decides the base is staffed primarily by spacefaring ecologists similar to the Xenowardens. Commander Laurel O’Brien is the stoic and veteran captain of the vessel, known for always wearing her regulation uniform, complete with cravat. Evan McConnacht is an engineer on the ship who hosts weekly poker games below decks and who seems to know everyone. The poker game is Joan’s first rumor mill—a place where PCs can learn about interesting adventures. Important NPCs should always have a secret, so Joan decides Commander O’Brien is hosting an increasingly aggressive symbiote; she’s kept this fact from everyone but has begun to lose control to the alien creature inside her. Evan’s father was a wanted criminal who disappeared in the Alqet system 20 years ago, and now Evan is desperately (but secretly) seeking any trace of him. Joan creates 10 planets for the Alqet system and uses the Building Worlds section in this book (starting on page 46) and corresponding tables to create half of them. She generates a ringed gas giant she names Alqet II, a space station called Morpheus Station that orbits Alqet II, and three terrestrial worlds with differing biomes. She decides that Alqet IV has a toxic atmosphere. Alqet V is wet with aquatic, arboreal, and marsh biomes. Alqet VI is dry with desert, mountain, and plains biomes. She also determines that each has a secret. Alqet IV was once home to a civilization that severely polluted the planet, resulting in the toxic atmosphere and the species’ own extinction. Alqet V has naturally occurring magical seaweed that

GALAXY EXPLORATION MANUAL can extend life, regenerate wounds, and boost magical power. Alqet VI is a holy site for the Dominion of the Black, who believe one of their ancient and terrible gods is buried here. The rest of the planets appear to be uninteresting balls of rock, ice, or gas; Joan can fill in details for these planets when the PCs have explored for a while and need fresh places to adventure. Joan is off to a good start, but there’s much more to do!

SCIENCE AND FANTASY IN YOUR SETTING Starfinder is a science fantasy game, and that genre immediately points you in two different genres to draw inspiration from. Science programs, websites, books, and podcasts will not only inspire ideas for creating your own setting but provide examples of worldbuilding useful to helping you understand what you want your setting to be. Real-world science is a great resource that you can dip into in when you want, but you don’t have to completely understand the science you wish to use as inspiration for your setting. A little real-world science introduced into your game goes a long way toward making your setting feel believable and creating a sense of wonder in your players. Most Starfinder games have fantastic elements, including magic; the setting blends both technology and magic, though most routine goods and services might be provided by technology. Magic isn’t always as prominent as technology in Starfinder—you and the other players can decide together whether the PCs sail between worlds on a magic space galleon, and whether they use personal comm units to communicate, or spells, crystal balls, or well-trained ravens. See High Science Fantasy on page 141 for tips about running that kind of setting. Feel free to vary the amount of fantasy in your setting as you see fit. However, be wary of cutting it completely—many classes and items—such as weapon fusions—are magical, and if you eliminate all magic from your setting, you’ll need to either remove those options or find new explanations for them. As you flesh out your campaign, you can incorporate fantasy elements into your setting to give locations strange, mysterious, and unusual features to entice players. The most extreme example of using science or fantasy is the inclusion of big, obvious, and perhaps inexplicable phenomena that entice your PCs to investigate them. In Starfinder’s setting, the Gap is a example of such a phenomenon—players are frequently curious about the Gap and pursue any hint of an adventure that illuminates either what caused it or what might have transpired during it. Consider adding similar big mysteries to your setting. These mysteries can be based in science or fantasy—whatever you and your players find interesting. For example, the galaxy might be peppered with gates that allow instantaneous teleportation from one world to another, no matter how far apart; no one knows who built these gates, but the interstellar economy is now totally reliant on them. There might be a region of space from which starships never return, and no one knows why this is. Stars across the galaxy might slowly be going out for reasons unknown; now, every settlement is storing resources and exploring desperate

schemes to survive in the event that their own star burns out. You might know the secret to the mystery already, but it’s perfectly all right if you don’t yet—a good idea will come to you eventually, and much of the fun of exploring mysteries in campaigns is that you and your players can explore it together.

Example: Back to Alqet It’s time to add adventure locations to the worlds in the Alqet system. When Joan used the Building Worlds section of this book (page 46) to generate the worlds in the Alqet system, she got Aeon Guards and bone troopers as antagonists. She expands on this, deciding that two evil interstellar powers are warring over the Alqet system. The Necrotocracy of Brin is an evil society of high-tech necromancers (known as “techromancers”) who rely on undead foot soldiers, while the Interstellarium is a fascist state that combines magic and high technology. Joan can use Corpse Fleet NPCs and starships for the Necrotocracy and Azlanti Star Empire soldiers and starships for the Interstellarium, changing any details necessary to fit her setting as it evolves and to keep the players guessing. Each of these groups have multiple bases in Alqet, some as small as a listening post with only a couple of personnel, while other bases are large, easily detectable, and well-entrenched. She adds additional adventure locales, such as a ruined starship floating in the gas giant’s icy rings and a high-magic zone on Alqet II smothered in abnormally high radiation—something the PCs will easily be able to detect from space but unable to investigate until they reach higher level. The space station around Alqet II is a likely candidate for an additional safe spot where the PCs might go to rest, shop, and conduct downtime activities. Prompted by setting material she read, Joan makes Morpheus Station a research facility where the floating jellyfish-like barathus study Dreamers who dwell in the swirling atmosphere of the gas giant below; the biotech available at the station won’t be available anywhere else. She adds some clues that point the PCs to the secrets she’s created: an abandoned campsite on Alqet V where Evan’s father briefly lived, and a barathu scientist trying a radical, experimental treatment for the commander’ssymbiote. Joan then decides to add another magical and fantastical element to the Alqet setting, perhaps some resource that has lured the Necrotocracy and Interstellarium to Alqet in the first place. Most star systems in the real world are surrounded by Oort clouds, vast swarms of icy particles where comets originate. Joan uses Oort clouds as an inspiration for Alqet. The icy proto-comets in its cloud are composed of an unusual element that, when exposed to the magical heat of Alqet’s unique sun, turn into materials usable in hybrid batteries that an advanced civilization can use to fuel anything from artifacts to starships. Interstellar powers war over Alqet as they try to catch the comets spiraling around the sun.

SANDBOX ADVENTURES

3 OVERVIEW EXPLORING THE GALAXY Backgrounds Class Options Exploration System Equipment

INFINITE WORLDS Building Worlds Biomes Accord Alignment Magic Religion Technology

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135

CAMPAIGN DESIGN Often a GM creates their setting with a specific campaign in mind; perhaps the GM has decided the PCs are members of an interstellar organization devoted to science and peacekeeping that travels the galaxy discovering new planets, and so the GM tailors the setting to fit that premise. But the mark of a good setting is the ability to support more than one campaign, and many GMs find it rewarding to set all their campaigns in a single setting that expands as each campaign ends and the next begins.

Many Starfinder adventures can be labeled as space opera: they place the heroes at the center of a grandiose story with galactic stakes. Such campaigns require the GM to plan much of the campaign in advance—there are prophecies for the PCs to fulfill, dark lord antagonists to always escape the PCs until a final conclusion, and heroic sacrifices to make. They are stories for the PCs to participate in, not settings for the PCs to explore. That said, some campaigns are more suited to the sandbox play style than others. Fortunately, many staple subgenres of science fiction and fantasy make excellent sandbox campaigns. (Many subgenres especially well-suited to sandbox play are detailed starting on page 140.) A starship of soldier scientists who take an expedition to a new planet every week makes a fine sandbox game, and they can make informed choices at each destination. In fact, any campaign that features a group of people traveling together can make excellent use of your sandbox setting. The PCs might be any of the following. D Bounty hunters tracking down fugitives on the run. D Mercenaries seeking contracts on the edge of known space. D Journalists in search of the next big story. D Archaeologists exploring the ruins of long-dead cultures. D Merchants and traders looking to buy low and sell high. D Freedom fighters on the run from a tyrannical star empire. D Band members trying to book gigs and make the big time. Regardless of the type of sandbox, it is easy to be overwhelmed by the numerous possibilities available to players in a science fantasy setting. If the PCs are sent to explore a region with dozens of worlds, you don’t need to prepare all of those worlds before the campaign starts. Instead, you can nest some adventure locales and other parts of the setting into other parts, or gate them behind knowledge the PCs don’t have yet. In a sense, you are creating multiple sandboxes, each of manageable size. As the PCs move through one sandbox, they find clues necessary to open the next. See the example setting, Alqet, throughout this chapter for one illustration of what such a series of nested play areas might look like. Having players participate in sandbox development can be a tremendous boon. If your players suddenly decide to travel to a planet you have yet to expand upon, enlist their help! You and your players can use the tools presented in this book to quickly generate that unexplored planet, learning some of its residents and threats, its cultural attributes, and more. This is true of everything in your setting, not just worlds: most groups have players who will gladly help you create settlements, NPCs, aliens, and treasure (especially treasure) if you ask.

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Finally, don’t hesitate to simply ask the players at the end of a gaming session where they intend to go next; they’re usually more than happy to tell you where they intend to go and what they intend to do so you can prepare accordingly. This gives you opportunity to prepare their next adventure location between gaming sessions. One of the hallmarks of a sandbox game is travel. Your PCs will often be moving from one world or region to another, and while you can often gloss over travel time, the relative frequency of this travel can nevertheless pose some unique challenges. You can make that travel time feel more meaningful by encouraging the players to use the downtime rules from Starfinder Character Operations Manual to pursue long term projects and track their day-to-day experiences while traveling aboard ship. The Drift Encounters Toolbox on page 146 includes a list of encounters for starships in the Drift, which helps to make journeys more memorable while also potentially reinforcing the idea that traveling though the Drift gets exponentially more hazardous as the journey goes on. You can also look for ways to bring the adventure to the PCs; perhaps the PCs brought something dangerous aboard, they have a stowaway, or a passenger has a secret agenda.

NPCS IN SANDBOX CAMPAIGNS Because the PCs are frequently on the move in sandbox adventures, it can be difficult to build a strong supporting cast. Every planet, region, or adventure locale has its own NPCs whom the PCs might only barely get to know before they’ve once again moved on. You have multiple ways to help build your setting’s supporting cast. First, remember your home base. PCs in Starfinder regularly need to return to some kind of settlement where they can sell loot, upgrade their weapons and armor, and learn of new adventure sites to explore. You can create NPCs who initially simply offer these services and then gain additional connections to the PCs as the campaign proceeds. The shopkeeper who sells the soldier a new plasma rifle might be a veteran from past wars who needs a favor, or the sapient robot bartender who serves the PCs drinks might be on the run from a megacorporation that considers them to be property. Most home bases have an authority figure who quickly connects with the PCs and becomes one of the most important NPCs in your setting. Recurring NPC factions and organizations can provide continuity across locations, even as their member NPCs come and go. A rival captain from another planet’s military might appear only once, but they’re just the temporary face of an evil

GALAXY EXPLORATION MANUAL

ALQET

II Ship High Magic Zone

V Camp Site

Home Base (Starship)

OVERVIEW

Big Ruins I

Ruins on Moon

III

Backgrounds

Options Exploration System

VI

VII

Dominion Base

Equipment

INFINITE WORLDS

VIII

Ruin Site Ruined City

EXPLORING THE GALAXY

Class

Morpheus Station (Safe) IV Necrotocracy Base

3

Building Worlds Biomes

Interstellarium Base

IX

Accord Alignment

Known Accessible

Known Inaccessible

Unknown Accessible

Magic Religion

empire represented by different enemies over the course of the campaign. Corporations, religious institutions, and schools all make excellent factions that can be represented by many different individuals on different worlds. It’s important to remain flexible with your NPCs. Start by giving each NPC a distinguishing trait (see the NPC Toolbox on page 148); roleplay them the best you can on the PCs’ initial interaction with that NPC; pay attention to which NPCs the players engage with most, and then develop those NPCs in more detail.

DEEPER SECRETS In designing your setting, you’ve thought about the secrets of every important NPC, location, and object (page 134). Secrets are key to making your campaign come to life and feel like more than just a string of unrelated adventure locations. As the PCs travel from one region to the next, build relationships with NPCs at their home base and elsewhere, and investigate the world, they’ll uncover clues to these mysteries. As with NPCs, you really can’t predict ahead of time which clues the PCs will find compelling, but eventually your PCs will smell a mystery and begin a concentrated effort to unravel it—when they do, that’s when you really have a campaign. Each secret leads to more clues which leads to more secrets. Inevitably, the PCs will overlook clues, forget about them or lose interest in them. Other clues will reveal secrets simply too dangerous for the PCs at their current level. But as the PCs gain in power and ability, they will return to those secrets and pursue them again, slowly creating a story for themselves out of the sandbox you made for them.

Example: Alqet Campaigns When Joan made the PCs’ home base an enormous starship with a mission in Alqet, she had initially assumed the PCs would be “assigned” to Alqet by commanding officers. But on reflection, Joan realizes this premise doesn’t necessarily give the PCs much latitude when it comes to deciding where they go and what they do. After all, their superior officers are right there on the starship, and would presumably be giving orders. She retools the campaign, making the PCs an archaeological research team. Now, as their own bosses, they can more easily explore any planet they want. They’re still brought to the system by an enormous starship, and they have quarters there if they want to use them, but Commander O’Brien doesn’t actually have any authority over them. Of course, archaeological teams will want ruins to explore. Probably every world in the system should have at least one; this is an opportunity to create nested sandboxes that save Joan some initial preparation work. One way to plan out such a series of linked sites is with a simple map or diagram. Such a diagram is shown above, with arrows indicated how one adventure site leads to others. She begins with a big archaeological site on Alqet V that the PCs can approach in multiple ways, preserving that sandbox feel. Clues in these ruins will reveal additional sites on Alqet IV, Alqet VI, and the moons of Alqet II, while clues there will direct the PCs to some of the other planets in the system that initially appeared uninteresting. When the PCs discover these clues, they can decide which of these sites they want to explore, and then Joan can prepare them.

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Technology

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137

ADVENTURE AND ENCOUNTER DESIGN Sandbox adventures differ from traditionally structured adventures, such as Adventure Paths, in that the settings are open rather than structured, they reward improvisation and creativity in different ways, and the emphasis is on verisimilitude instead of narrative.

Ultimately, the sandbox is a site, not a story. It should have multiple means of entry and progression so the PCs can decide for themselves how they want to enter and work their way through it. To make these decisions, the PCs need information, so they should be able to acquire it within your setting—perhaps by observing a site, researching it on the infosphere, or simply asking their contacts. If the PCs discover three doors within a set of alien ruins, the choice between them is significant only if there’s some way to differentiate the doors from one another. If they know one door has an evocation aura, one door is filled with a nanite mist, and the last shows signs of a large carnivore sleeping beyond, your PCs can now make a meaningful choice based on their own preferences and strengths. Similarly, the interior of the site should have multiple paths, and it should be possible for the PCs to withdraw from the site completely and come back later. One of the hallmarks of a sandbox is that the PCs can explore it over multiple sessions, so they can explore, retreat to their home base, and return to explore some time—perhaps even a long time—later. As a GM, you have a unique opportunity in sandbox adventures: you get to create problems and let the players find workable solutions! In other words, don’t decide ahead of time that there’s only one way to bypass a given obstacle. Instead, give the players enough details about the obstacle for them to come up with creative solutions. Then, allow those solutions to have at least a chance of success (if they are reasonable and move the story forward). For this type of encounter to be successful, you need to be open-minded. Sure, that defrex guarding a siccatite mine is probably violent and hostile, and the PCs will likely fight it, but perhaps they can find a way to sneak around it, lure it off, or even befriend it—after all, it’s an animal and that means the xenodruid mystic can talk to it. Your preparation will include some thought into the various approaches the PCs might take, but you don’t need to overthink it. Let the PCs surprise you. While this is true even in prewritten adventures, it becomes much more common and relevant in open-ended adventures. The Core Rulebook describes how to create encounters that are an appropriate challenge for your PCs, but in a sandbox adventure, the PCs might encounter threats far above or below their ability. This realism makes the adventure feel more alive and adds a sense of unpredictability to the campaign. It’s important to signpost especially deadly encounters so the PCs can choose whether to go forward or withdraw. After all, if 3rd-level PCs don’t know they’re walking into the lair of a CR 14 deh-nolo, or even just that something especially dangerous is down a particular tunnel, they’re not to blame when all the whole party is killed. But if the PCs have heard rumors of corpses found in this area with their brains missing, they have a lead they can pursue to gain an idea of what they’re in for.

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Random encounter tables can be useful in sandbox games. A good random encounter table reinforces the themes of the adventure site, contributes to in-world verisimilitude, and can even reveal clues the PCs would otherwise miss. Most of the encounters on such a table will be hostile, but others might be neutral observers or even potential allies. This book includes many tools to help you create these tables, particularly the inhabitant and adventure hook tables in Chapter 2’s biome and cultural attribute sections. See Example: Alqet Encounters below for an example of an encounter table. Above all, your adventure should challenge both the players and their characters. The PCs should have to use all their best abilities both in and out of combat to be successful, and the players should be rewarded for clever tactics, preparation, creativity, and excellent roleplaying. Let the players call the shots while you throw obstacles their way. As with any adventure, when your players solve or simply avoid one of your encounters through means you didn’t anticipate, such as the use of an ability, don’t be tempted penalize them or block the use of their ability. Instead, congratulate them on their ingenuity and let them enjoy the victory! After all, there’s a lot more to explore, and you have many more difficult challenges in store for them.

Example: Alqet Adventures Joan’s players will make a team of archaeologists for their characters, but that leaves a lot of latitude for individual concepts. They might be technical support, security guards, field agents, or mystics looking for traces of ancient alien gods. There’s a large ruin on Alqet V, which the PCs know about before the campaign begins. With a little investigation—and a poker game with Evan—the PCs can learn of traces of life on the toxic Alqet IV and a ruined starship in the rings of Alqet II. Each of these is a smaller sandbox adventure site nested inside the larger sandbox that is the Alqet system. The PCs are unlikely to investigate some of the other adventure sites in the system initially, either because they don’t know about them yet (the other planets in the system) or because the sites are too dangerous (the high-magic zone on Alqet II). Joan begins with the big site on Alqet V, which she decides is in a swamp and includes nine crumbling pyramidlike structures. These buildings correspond to the nine planets in the system, and each building will have clues pointing to ruins on each corresponding world. Because the pyramids are in the open, half sunk into the marsh, the PCs can investigate them in any order and withdraw when they want to. But Joan knows some of the pyramids are

GALAXY EXPLORATION MANUAL

3 OVERVIEW EXPLORING THE GALAXY Backgrounds Class Options Exploration System Equipment

INFINITE WORLDS Building Worlds Biomes Accord Alignment Magic Religion Technology

more dangerous than others. She puts a shadowy cloud of necromantic energy around one of them to indicate it’s been taken over by a Necrotocracy team, buries a few pyramids deep into the marsh, and surrounds another pyramid with Interstellarium gun emplacements. PCs are more likely to explore easy sites before hard ones, and if some of the pyramids are difficult to get to, the PCs will most likely put off exploring them till later, at which time Joan can prepare them fully. This still gives the PCs several pyramids to choose from, however, so Joan prepares a basic map she can show the players and gives the remaining pyramids distinguishing features. She’s decided one of the PCs will win this map in one of Evan’s poker games; with it, the PCs can decide which of the pyramids they intend to explore in their next session, and Joan can focus her efforts on developing the site they choose.

Example: Alqet Encounters Joan is making a random encounter table for the pyramids on Alqet V; she expects the PCs to first come here when they are 1st or 2nd level. She wants to include encounters that point the PCs toward threats elsewhere in the system, encounters the PCs can avoid, and some they would wisely flee.

D10 ENCOUNTER 1 2 squoxes, hunting for food to bring home to their young. They avoid the PCs unless somehow communicated with. (Indifferent) 2 1d3 anacite wingbots, conducting maintenance on the facility. They ignore the PCs unless interacted with. (Unfriendly) 3 1 assembly ooze that went rogue. (Hostile) 4 2 barathu scientists, who came here exploring but are now lost and terrified. They are noncombatants and flee or cower in fear. If the PCs get them out of the facility, they have a shuttle nearby and invite the PCs to Morpheus Station. (Indifferent) 5 1d6 mutated worms, products of strange magical energy in the ruins. (Unfriendly) 6 1 medium earth elemental, left behind as a guardian by whoever built these ruins. (Hostile) 7 1 Interstellarium soldier, the last survivor of her squad, now just trying to get out alive. Though lawful evil, she will work with the PCs if they agree to help her get back to the Interstellarium pyramid. (Indifferent) 8 1 Necrotocracy techromancer looking for lost technology. Flees the PCs and attempts to reunite with his ghoul minions, below, before hunting down the PCs. (Unfriendly) 9 1d3 ghouls, servants of the techromancer, scouting for objects of interest and corpses to eat. (Hostile) 10 1d6 cocooned akatas. If moved, a cocoon has a 25% chance to break open and an akata emerges. (Hostile)

CR SOURCE 1/2 Alien Archive 2 118

SANDBOX ADVENTURES TOOLBOXES

1

Alien Archive 11 INDEX

1 1

Alien Archive 16 None

2

Use asteroid louse, Alien Archive 2 132 Alien Archive 46

3 3

Use Aeon Guard, Alien Archive 6

CR 3 Use bone trooper technomancer, Alien Archive 2 22 CR 3 Alien Archive 2 60

CR 4 Alien Archive 2 8

SANDBOX ADVENTURES

139

SUBGENRES Science fiction comes in many variations and categories; the subgenres discussed here all make great use of the sandbox nature of this book. They change the default cultural attributes (page 47) of a Starfinder campaign and often involve travel to many locations in varied environments. Many feature protagonists with agency, who decide for themselves where they’re going to go and what they’re going to do, while others send their protagonists on a wild ride through time, space, or the multiverse.

140

CYBERPUNK

HARD SCIENCE FICTION

Related Media: Mirrorshades (anthology), The Matrix (film), Person of Interest (TV series), Robocop (film) This genre involves urban decay and hacker protagonists battling soulless corporations in gritty, post-futuristic urban settings. Information is all-powerful, assassins lurk around every corner, and characters escape their decaying reality by entering a digital universe which, despite being virtual, is still deadly. But underneath the surface, cyberpunk is more than just dark and gritty science fiction—it’s a counterpoint to classic science fiction dreams of a post-scarcity technotopia. Cyberpunk settings recognize that, if the future is supposed to be an improvement on the world we’re in now, some people (namely, the privileged, rich, and famous) are going to get to enjoy that future more often, faster, and easier than others. Urban biomes are common settings in cyberpunk, though that doesn’t mean the heroes won’t find themselves adventuring in some eccentric billionaire’s mountaintop villa or orbital mansion. In a traditional cyberpunk setting, technology can be high, though often inaccessible to ordinary people. Magic can be low or nonexistent, but the genre often crosses over with urban fantasy, which includes spellcasters and fantasy creatures on city streets. Competing corporations, not governments, run everything and accord is low. The PCs probably approach the game world as chaotic antiheroes, surrounded by lawful evil tech billionaires and megacorporations. Mechanics—and technomancers, if your setting has medium or high magic—hold the keys to the digital realm and are in high demand. Biohackers install cybernetic and biotech augmentations and push the edges of medical science. Megacorps and failing nation-states hire mercenary soldiers and assassin operatives. Religion is likely low, though some settings link virtual reality to religion in interesting ways. One of the most identifiable themes of the cyberpunk genre is the relationship between the human body and machines. Augmentations remain prevalent in these stories, and many other pieces of equipment—melee weapons and armor, for example—might be replaced or enhanced by augmentations in these stories. You might even consider allowing characters to have more than the usual limit of augmentations installed in their bodies. Augmentations are likely much more common in cyberpunk settings, both in terms of availability and prevalence among both PCs and NPCs.

Related Media: 2001: A Space Odyssey (film and novel), Arrival (novel and film), The Expanse (novels and TV series) Hard science fiction is devoted to realism and accurate science; everything in the setting should be plausible according to physics as we understand it—though, sometimes you can make exceptions to the rules of science, such as permitting starships to travel vast distances in days instead of years. There’s no faster-than-light travel, and fuel or some other reaction mass is critical to operating spacecraft. Because of this, hard science fiction is usually centered on Earth and nearby planets. Another exciting opportunity in a hard science fiction game is the chance to learn and use actual science in building your settings. As you create your campaign, you might research various scientific topics, from the soil composition of Mars to theoretical models of methane-based life on Titan. But this also brings uncertainty, as humanity’s knowledge of science is ever changing! Creating and GMing a hard science fiction campaign can provide you opportunities to speculate on where the real-world science of today might expand our understanding in the future. Adventures in a hard science fiction campaign are more realistic and grounded in real-world science than in a traditional Starfinder campaign. Environmental threats like a vacuum or radiation are more serious. The PCs explore biomes dangerous to many species when they visit planets in our own solar system: the deserts of Mars, the frigid ice fields of Europa, the volcanic surface of Io, or the swirling storms of the gas giant Jupiter. Technology is high or medium and extrapolated from current real-world science, so drones, projectile weapons, artificial intelligence, pharmaceuticals, and genetic engineering are especially prevalent. There is almost never magic in such settings. Other attributes, such as accord and religion, are highly variable and depend on the types of conflict you want to emphasize—hard science fiction is often based on modern trends, and you can use these trends to determine how you change those measurements. Envoys lead these expeditions as representatives of planetary governments and corporations, hiring veteran soldiers from the ranks of the armed forces. Operatives fly independent spacecraft around the solar system with the help of trusty mechanic copilots. Creatures found in the Alien

SANDBOX ADVENTURES

GALAXY EXPLORATION MANUAL

3 OVERVIEW EXPLORING THE GALAXY Backgrounds Class Options Exploration System Equipment

INFINITE WORLDS Building Worlds Biomes Accord Alignment Magic Religion Technology

Archives must often be modified to fit within the thematic constraints of a hard science fiction game. For example, species such as pahtras, vlakas, and ysoki might instead become genetically engineered humans.

HIGH SCIENCE FANTASY Related Media: Jack Kirby’s Fourth World (comics), She-Ra (TV series) A high science fantasy campaign emphasizes the magic in the setting and the fantasy roots of roleplaying games as a whole. In a high science fantasy game, PCs are more likely to wield magic swords than laser rifles, and when they travel to new worlds, they might do so in enchanted longships rather than by starship. Elves, dwarves, and other species found in the Pathfinder Legacy chapter of the Starfinder Core Rulebook are more common. The PCs probably pursue a quest that leads them from one world to another, each of which is home to one or two unique cultures dwelling in their preferred biome; accord is high within those societies, but there’s usually a threat from outside the city walls that the PCs must face. There’s no interplanetary government, and the inhabitants of each world are suspicious of other worlds and the people who live there, so the PCs are outsiders wherever they go. High science fantasy settings are defined by their high magic and high religion; mystics, solarians, witchwarpers, and vanguards might be more commonplace than operatives and

soldiers. Technology, though less common in everyday life, is still high—a soldier can wield a plasma doshko, though such a weapon is rare enough to be distinctive. This technology is sometimes based on arcane or disproved scientific theories from real-world history; for example, magical galleons might sail the luminiferous aether, and flame weapons could be fueled by phlogiston. You might modify armor and other equipment from the Starfinder Armory to better fit the genre; for example, instead of donning high-tech armor, most soldiers don enchanted or hybrid plate mail (with the same stats and other benefits as standard Starfinder heavy armor). Alternatively, technology could be so advanced that it is indistinguishable from magic; a mystic might incorporate a disintegrator pistol into their staff, for example. In such settings, mechanics and technomancers are among the few who understand and operate computers, so they occupy a special role as guardians or keepers of technology, perhaps sought out by magic-wielding heroes ignorant of suchtopics. High science fantasy embraces extremes of alignment and archetypal fantasy tropes; the heroes are chaotic good freedom fighters waging war against a tyrannical lawful evil necromancer who lives on a planet shaped like an enormous skull, for example. The PCs delve into vast subterranean chambers, where they face devils, dragons, undead, and other creatures drawn from fantasy literature and mythology. Some so-called monsters are actually sapient creatures who have been mistaken for mythical beasts; nuars, for example, may

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141

have given rise to the myth of minotaurs, while vesk are called “lizardfolk” by outsiders. On some worlds, accord can be high, as each planet is dominated by a single kingdom, wizard’s guild, church, or empire. But there is always at least one planet, perhaps even the central planet from which most of the PCs originate, that is fractured into many different realms and where accord is low. Space replaces the wilderness of a traditional fantasy setting and is a place for bandits, reclusive wizards, and wanderingmonsters.

MILITARY Related Media: Battlestar Galactica (TV series), David Weber’s Honorverse (novels), Elizabeth Moon’s Vatta’s War (novels), Metal Gear Solid (video game) In a military campaign, the player characters are members of a military unit sent on missions around the galaxy. They might be mercenaries participating in the petty wars of border planets, on one side of a galactic civil war, or serving in the interplanetary defense forces of a unified civilization and defending their homes against a relentless invader. Accord is high, except on the planets where the PCs see the most combat, where accord has broken down and is very low. Military structures tend to be lawful, but the army in which the PCs serve could be good, neutral, or evil—in any case, there should be clear opposition and obvious stakes. Every Starfinder class has a role in a military unit, especially if your setting is one that has medium or high magic. PCs serving together could

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also share a common background; they may be related, from the same hometown, or all enlisted at the same time. Military campaigns give the PCs and your adventure a lot of structure. Rather than being in command, the PCs likely receive orders from superiors and carry out those orders with only the equipment and intelligence deemed necessary to complete the mission. But as the PCs rise in level (perhaps through promotion or as their superiors die in combat) some among the PCs might take on officer roles where they have more authority. The leadership system (page 100) is an excellent tool for modeling military forces for the PCs to command, and you can use the NPC and Settlement Toolboxes (pages 148–151) to generate the various subordinates that report to the heroes and the strategically important sites the PCs must protect from the enemy—or, if it’s too late for that, initiate a campaign to reclaim. The nature of the antagonist is key to any military campaign, and you will want to devote time and effort to creating or adapting the enemy forces for the PCs to oppose. You will need various enemy creatures to ensure the PCs face a wide range of foes, as well as some recognizable and colorful enemy commanders whom PCs can love to hate. Many military campaigns are based on an invasion timeline: First, the enemy appears unexpectedly and has a tremendous early victory. Then, as the PCs are forced to retreat, the enemy scores additional successes, and new enemies are introduced. In the third stage, the PCs rally, recruiting new allies or depriving

GALAXY EXPLORATION MANUAL the enemy of its primary strength to turn the tables on the enemy. Finally, the enemy wagers everything on a desperate plan to win the war, and only the PCs stand in the way. Through each of these stages, the PCs are moving from world to world, fighting in a variety of biomes and facing a diverse cast of foes. The war itself may seem unending, but the constant variety of unusual environments and strange creatures keeps the campaign feeling fresh.

PARALLEL WORLDS Related Media: The Man in the High Castle (novel and TV series), Sliders (TV series), Star Trek’s Mirror Universe stories (TV series) In a parallel worlds settings, heroes traverse parallel universes. They may be castaways, adrift through countless dimensions in search of their home, or perhaps they’re fleeing a cross-dimensional threat. The worlds they visit are usually different versions of one planet, such as their home world, but might instead be alternate versions of one or more Pact Worlds or some other interstellar civilization. For example, imagine a parallel universe in which the Swarm never invaded, so the war between the Veskarium and the Pact Worlds hasn’t ended. In another (or even the same) alternate world, the kasatha aboard the Idari might have followed through with their plan to settle Akiton and attempted to conquer the planet. Regardless of what the setting is an alternate form of, the PCs are most often characters from different parallel worlds. In these cases, have your players create their own versions of their world as part of their backstory, take note of the different versions, and take the story back there, one at a time, to explore the setting your players have made, pursuing the story hooks therein. One common version of the parallel worlds subgenre is a story with just two parallel worlds that the PCs consistently move between. All the primary attributes are exactly opposite in these two worlds. For example, one has high magic and is home to spellcasters, solarians, and vanguards, and the other has low magic and is populated by biohackers, mechanics, operatives, and soldiers. In one, the most common alignment is lawful evil, while in the other, it’s chaotic good. How do the PCs travel from world to world, and how much control over their travel do they have? The easier it is for the PCs to travel from world to world, the more challenging the game becomes for the GM to run: if the PCs can hop worlds more than once per session, you’ll be improvising a lot of new worlds! Fortunately, the tables and other tools in this book will help you create worlds on the fly, and if you’re comfortable yielding some of the creative space to the players, they can help you create these parallel worlds as necessary. Another option is to create an interesting liminal space in which the PCs must spend a certain amount of time between visits to alternate worlds. A parallel-worlds campaign is all about adjusting the attributes that describe a world, changing them from one game to the next. The PCs might travel from a world that is notable for high religion and accord, for example, to a parallel version that has low religion and accord. To the PCs, one of these

worlds might be the “right” one, and changing the “wrong” one to be more like home is impossible. Instead, the PCs must survive long enough to escape or even do some good while they’re there. As the PCs travel from one world to the next, they might encounter distorted reflections of recurring NPCs whose alignments have changed to their opposite, so the PCs might help reflections of their enemies and battle reflections of their friends—or even themselves! Parallel world stories can also come about from time-travel stories that lead to characters changing history; see Time Travel on page 145 for more on these types of campaigns.

PLANETARY SURVIVAL Related Media: Kim Stanley Robinson’s Mars trilogy (novels), Lost in Space (TV series), The Martian (film and novel), Nicola Griffith’s Ammonite (novel) In planetary-survival stories, the protagonists are either stranded on a remote and dangerous planet or they wander from planet to planet in a quest to return home. The PCs often span a range of classes—with combat-oriented soldiers, solarians, and vanguards protecting the cerebral mechanics, biohackers, and spellcasters—but share a common origin that you can generate using the background rules starting on page 9. Likewise, the PCs can have differing alignments, but they work together because they are all related, have shared goals, or are old friends. A planetary-survival game—especially one in which the PCs are stranded on a single planet without access to a starship, perhaps alongside a large number of NPCs—can potentially evolve into a campaign where the characters explore and settle the planet. The PCs’ initial camp might eventually grow into a bustling settlement. In these cases, the PCs’ actions (or inaction) likely determine the accord and dominant alignments. The PCs could use the leadership system (page 100) to foster alliances with other settlers. In games like this, be sure to place many different biomes near to the PC settlement so they have a wide variety of new environments and challenges to face. You might make the prevalence of magic on the planet the opposite of what the PCs are used to; for example, they may come from a low-magic society, but their new home has high magic, and so some of the PCs discover that they have magical or supernatural abilities. Alternatively, the PCs come from a high-magic setting but are stranded on a low-magic world and must learn to make do without the ability to cast spells. For campaigns in which the PCs are constantly on the move, their starship becomes their home base, and every different world they land on has new attributes, environments, and people. The biome inhabitants and adventure hook tables in Chapter 2 will help you prepare these new elements every session. As the PCs use up their initial store of resources, they will need to discover and extract resources from the planet they find themselves stranded on. This can lead to technology levels changing over time; consult the optional tech categories on page 126 when the PCs, for example, have no way to repair their disintegrator weapons, but find crystals that allow them to develop new laser weaponry instead. One of the best things about a planetary-survival story is that it has a clear conclusion. When the evolving story of PCs

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3 OVERVIEW EXPLORING THE GALAXY Backgrounds Class Options Exploration System Equipment

INFINITE WORLDS Building Worlds Biomes Accord Alignment Magic Religion Technology

SANDBOX ADVENTURES TOOLBOXES INDEX

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stranded on an alien world—or traveling the stars in search of home—starts to wear thin, you can end the campaign in a satisfying manner as the PCs finally find a way off the world, whether they used problem-solving, found some miraculous technology that brings them home, or managed to signal a passing rescue ship. You can even run planetary survival as one part of a longer campaign, in which the heroes begin in some other genre, are stranded on a dangerous planet for a few levels, and then escape to seek vengeance on whoever stranded them in the first place.

POSTAPOCALYPTIC Related Media: Fallout series (video game), Mad Max series (film), N. K. Jemisen’s Broken Earth series (novels), Nnedi Okorafor’s Who Fears Death (novel), Thundarr the Barbarian (TV series), The Walking Dead (comic and TV series) The world is broken. Perhaps a meteor strike devastated the planet, or a relied-upon resource suddenly dried up. Regardless, society has collapsed, taking technology with it. Now, those who remain struggle to stay alive and eke out a living from the ashes of a desolated world.. This is life in the wasteland. What happens next, after the end has already come? The postapocalyptic genre has a natural story arc. At first, the heroes are just trying to survive. Extreme biomes and environmental effects fill your world as the PCs scavenge for supplies, tools, and weapons. At this stage, every battery is precious. The heroes encounter animals and people that have been profoundly transformed by the apocalypse; creatures from the Alien Archive volumes may now be mutants, and you can use the herd animal and predator stat blocks from Starfinder Alien Archive 2 to create bigger, meaner versions of everyday beasts. Eventually, the PCs will start thinking about building a new home, perhaps even trying to re-create civilization. This is the thematic heart of the postapocalypse story, because it obliges us to look at the world we live in now and ask, “If we had to do it again, could we do it better? Or should we even try?” The answer should largely be up to yourplayers. One of the first things you want to decide is how the apocalypse happened. The answer should inform the details of your setting. For example, while most postapocalyptic worlds have low or no magic, you might decide civilization was destroyed by a poorly cast ritual that caused magic to violently erupt into the world, making it high magic but destroying civilization. Regardless, survivors of the apocalypse get by with low tech, if they have any tech at all. Some settlements— and the PCs—have limited access to medium-tech items like guns and vehicles. You could link high technology to the cause of your apocalypse; perhaps the people who ruined the planet left weapons behind that the PCs can find, or the apocalypse was so long ago that those who remain mistakenly think high-tech items are magical. There are no working starships, but there might be a crash site with a wrecked starship that would make for an excellent high-level dungeon. What are the environmental ramifications of your apocalypse? If the world is now an irradiated wasteland, the PCs can use the options for desert adventurers on page 60, but if a nuclear winter has

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overtaken the planet, maybe the PCs should come from an arctic biome instead (page 56). Accord is low, and chaotic is the dominant alignment, even within “organized” areas such as settlements. Everyone is dependent on their jury-rigged machines, so the mechanic and technomancer (if there’s magic in your setting) becomes the super star. Soldiers and operatives lead perilous missions into the wasteland or defend the settlement from dangerous mutants and monsters, while envoys and mystics use the leadership system (page 100) to attract bands of desperate, halfstarved followers. Biohackers might serve their communities as trustworthy physicians, fighting off the plague and treating deadly wounds, but they might also be living in the wasteland, creating mutants and conducting cruel experiments.

SPACE WESTERN Related Media: Battle Beyond the Stars (film), Firefly (TV series), The Mandalorian (TV series), Outland (film), Mike Resnick’s Santiago (novel) You can add robots, lasers, and spaceships to any genre, but the space western subgenre is a prime example with a long history. The fun comes from mixing the two genres, so the mysterious gunslinger who drifts into town is a robot, the two gangs tearing the town apart are drow and ysoki, and everyone dreams of getting rich in a horacalcum rush. But a space western game is still about the frontier. Small pockets of safety, security, and law are surrounded by expanses of chaotic wilderness, so accord is low, but faith is an important salvation and organizing principle to those on the fringe, so religion is high. The civilians who live in these settlements are threatened by greedy corporations buying up resources, cruel mine bosses, rowdy raiders, organized-crime gangs, and monstrous creatures that lurk in the wild. Everyday civilians look to heroes to keep them safe, but they can also fear and despise the life of violence that adventuring protagonists might seem to embody. So distrustful might they be that, as soon as the heroes have dealt with the current problem, the locals force them to move on to the next town—or, as often is the case of Starfinder, the next planet—tempted by bounty hunting (if neutral), a desire to leave the settlement in peace (if good), or just the next lucrative crime (if evil). The space western game’s emphasis on the wilderness will give you many opportunities to use the various biomes described in this book, from the harsh heat of a desert planet to a mountain world’s snowy peaks. Any of these places could be home to mining camps, humble farms, or boom towns, all of which you can generate with tools in Settlement Toolbox on page 150. Soldiers are the most common character class and a common background, with veterans of some past war venturing into the wilderness where their skills are still useful, and envoys, operatives, and mechanics are also plentiful. Magic, however, is mysterious and dangerous, something even gunslingers avoid, so you will find the low-magic rules helpful. Technology might be a mix of archaic and modern, with black powder and rust mixing with lasers and androids. As you run a space western game, bear in mind that the western genre has traditionally been home to many harmful

GALAXY EXPLORATION MANUAL tropes, none of which have a place in a game of Starfinder. Remember, while a space western game may have roots in the western, it also takes place in a fictional science fantasy setting. This offers a great opportunity to leave behind the harmful stereotypes of the past; just remain wary of these insidious tropes creeping their way back into your space western game.

TIME TRAVEL Related Media: Back to the Future trilogy (films), Connie Willis’s Doomsday Book (novel), Doctor Who (TV series), Time Bandits (film) The heroes of a time-travel story move through time, freely between the past and future. They might use a time machine of their own invention or naturally occurring temporal phenomena. The heroes could be confined to the timeline of a single world, but GMs and players ready for the creative challenge can install a time machine in a starship to travel through both time and space. Regardless, the PCs have adventures throughout history, fixing the timeline when it goes astray, pursuing and capturing temporal thieves or terrorists, and tracking down the occasional extinct creature for an eccentric collector. They might be dispatched into a given time through some kind of portal, through which they must return by a certain date; be equipped with personal time machines; or simply be castaways, leaping through time in a never-ending quest to get home. The PCs in such a story come from many different historical periods and can include everything from distant biological ancestors to androids from the far future. In a time-travel campaign, a world’s attributes tend to change over centuries, so accord and technology typically begin low but increase over time, while religion and magic begin high but slowly diminish. In addition, there are flash points in history where attribute shifts occur, and these flash points can become the scene of adventure. For example, you might decide your setting began with chaos as the dominant alignment, but that something happened in the past that caused chaos to decline until lawful alignments became more common. Now, outside forces—perhaps rival time travelers or evil beings from another dimension—want to travel back to that critical moment and change it, so that chaos never wanes. The PCs discover this change when, suddenly, the world is transformed into a chaotic, lawless place. Now they must go back and fix history, or they’re sent back by an organization that monitors and protects the timestream. If your heroes are castaways adrift in time, they can land at these flash points by coincidence, though perhaps with a subtle, persistent hint that the PCs are just pawns of destiny and that time itself is using them to heal temporal wounds. Use the biomes described in this book to represent how a place changes over time: forested environments slowly yield to urban ones, and prehistoric civilizations live in subterranean caves while those of the far future live in aerial biomes or in the void of space. The character options associated with each biome give you the tools to make the inhabitants of every time distinctive, including player characters who come from these far-flung time periods. The optional rules for tech categories

(page 126) will help you represent technological progress over time in specific, concrete ways. In another classic time-travel trope, PCs from the modern era (or the near future) are cast back in time with no way to return. Trapped in the past, they use their knowledge of history and science to change the world in ways both large and small. When the heroes in a time-travel game change history—or fail to prevent the changes enacted by their antagonists—they’ve created a parallel world; see the Parallel Worlds section (page 143) for more guidance on campaigns of this sort.

3 OVERVIEW EXPLORING THE GALAXY Backgrounds Class Options Exploration System Equipment

INFINITE WORLDS Building Worlds Biomes Accord Alignment Magic Religion Technology

SANDBOX ADVENTURES TOOLBOXES INDEX

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145

DRIFT ENCOUNTERS TOOLBOX When a starship travels through the Drift, there is a chance that the crew might randomly encounter something that has been pulled from another plane (Core Rulebook 291). You can roll on

the table below to determine exactly what that encounter could be, possibly leading to exciting adventures that break up the monotony of long-distance space travel.

DRIFT ENCOUNTERS 29–30

A bored asteray AA follows the PCs’ ship. Unable to find another source of entertainment in the Drift, the capricious fey causes endless trouble for the PCs whenever the creature feels the need for amusem*nt.

31

The PCs cross paths with an enormous plasma ooze AA2 the size of a small sun. An array of AbadarCorp satellites orbit the ooze, studying its unusual properties in the hopes of capitalizing on any discoveries, but they are about to be consumed by the ever-growing ooze.

32

The Failed Gate AP4, an anomalous storm of raw arcane magic centered on a Drift Beacon, looms ahead of the ship. The Failed Gate was the result of a catastrophic ritual meant to create a magical gate between the Drift and the Material Plane.

33–34

A hesper AA boards the starship and begins bonding with the ship’s power core (or other major power source), causing odd but (at least initially) nonthreatening errors, glitches, and malfunctions.

35–36

The players receive an old distress signal from a powereddown starship floating through the Drift. A pack of akatasAA2 got aboard the ship before it jumped to hyperspace, and the crew died of void death.

15–16

Another ship’s jump dragged an oma AA into the Drift, leaving it stranded ever since. The oma carries a single passenger, another lost traveler it found floating alone.

37–40

The PCs pass through a shrinking planar bubble inhabited by marooned ones AA.

41

17

Time eaters AA3 slip aboard the ship and trap its crew within a time loop, forcing them to repeat the same 10-minute sequence until they can discover and defeat the temporal stowaways.

The PCs pass through a stable bubble from the Material Plane, finding it to be the lair of a void dragonAA2. Inside, the dragon keeps a hoard of vanquished starships.

42

A time dragonAA2 travels the Drift, ensuring any temporal differences of active planar bubbles are not being abused.

43–44

A solar wispAA2 has attached itself to a slow-moving planar bubble floating through the Drift, searching for minerals to feed on.

45

The PCs encounter Horizon’s End, an explorer-class starship crewed by individuals who each claim to be mortal avatars of Weydan. The crew travels the Drift in search of new experiences, something they hope—or perhaps even demand— that the PCs offer.

46

The PCs encounter the Flotilla of the DevourerAP4, a massive collection of starships in the Drift serving as both fleet and fortress for the Cult of the Devourer.

47–50

The PCs’ route crosses through a doldrumAP4, a pocket of the Drift where no technology works. The sizes of these spaces vary greatly—some require only a couple of minutes for a ship’s momentum to carry it through, while the other, longer patches are incredibly dangerous, as entire crews die without the life support systems of their ships.

51–52

A misty bubble from the Ethereal Plane leaks souls into the Drift. Some of the spirits are vengeful wraiths—their emotions tied too strongly to the Material Plane for them to pass on. However, none of these lost souls will reach the Boneyard.

D%

DESCRIPTION

1

Nothing. A desolate void, an empty path inhabited by not even the tiniest speck of reality. There are no other ships, no planar bubbles, and no sign that any other path charted through the Drift has gone this way before.

2–6

The ship’s path intersects with AlluvionAP4, Triune’s divine realm and the metaphorical center of the Drift.

7–10

Paraforans or paraforan fragments AA3 flock around the ship, following and waiting to feed on the Drift engine’s energy when it jumps to the Material Plane. Paraforans inadvertently dragged along by the Drift jump are disoriented and, if pulled inside a starship, can become violent in their desperation to escape.

11–12

The PCs receive a distress signal from a ship under attack by garaggakals AA2. The crew of the ship are desperate and believe their deaths to be imminent.

13–14

A malfunction with the Drift engine attracts a muddle of three to 30 riftis AP13. The tiny proteans cause mischief and chaos on the ship until they pop out of existence 1d100 hours later.

18

19–20

146

A Drift architect AA3 appears and begins deconstructing nearby matter (either a planar bubble, a creature, or the starship itself) for incorporation into the Drift. In addition, you can roll again, ignoring additional results of 18, to determine the scenario in which the Drift architect appears. A powered-down ship floating through the Drift crosses the PCs’ route. There are no signs of life aboard the ship and it doesn’t respond to messages. The ship’s crew died in the Drift long ago and rose as driftdead AA3, doomed to forever relive the day they died.

21–24

Teleliths AA3 hide among debris and miniature planar bubbles, waiting to ambush passing starships. They attack all passing ships, feeding on those they subdue. Plastics and other undesirables from their previous kills float nearby.

25–26

A colour out of spaceAA2 enters the ship and begins feeding on the Drift engines, slowing down the vessel and potentially halting it altogether.

27–28

A coven of three void hags AA entered the Drift years ago on a technoplanar pilgrimage for knowledge and magic. Without a ship of their own, the coven has no way to return to the Material Plane.

TOOLBOXES

GALAXY EXPLORATION MANUAL

53–54

55–56

57–58

59–60

61–62

63–64

A planar bubble from the First World overspills its bounds into the rest of the Drift, growing instead of shrinking. Giant, florescent tree roots seep into the void, grabbing nearby asteroids or other spatial detritus. Gremlins AA3 and other fey create mischief for those approaching or entering the bubble. VoidboilsAP12 cover the surface of a planar bubble from the Shadow Plane, a dark globe that sucks in the light of passing starships. The boils spray dark bolts of shadowy energy into the surrounding space, frosting passing ships with quickly dissipating rime, though creatures inside might be affected by the cold.

75–76

77–78

The PCs encounter a planar bubble from Nirvana, from which a pair of barachiuses AA make it their mission to defend innocent creatures brought into the Drift.

79–80

A planar bubble from Elysium consists of a huge mountain surrounded by vibrant, shining emerald fields, and the azatas brought into the Drift play beautiful music. TritidairsAA2 can leave the bubble in their starlight form, but they cannot leave the Drift.

Planar bubbles from the Positive and Negative Energy Planes have converged. They are locked in an unstable cycle of creating and destroying each other, attracting the attention of several equinoxians AA3. The PCs encounter a planar bubble from the Plane of Air that contains breathable air, a hospitable atmosphere, and subjective directional gravity; everything within the bubble can fly of its own accord by shifting their concept of “down.” Starships entering the bubble could be adversely affected due to a swift change in gravity and atmosphere. A planar bubble from the Plane of Earth, an enormous asteroid-like chunk of planar material, floats in the PCs’ path. Tunnels and mines create a navigable path through the otherwise solid bubble of elemental earth. Veins of precious metals and glittering growths of crystal can be found within, in addition to a population of earth elementals AA. Avoiding the rock might add time to the PCs’ journey, while navigating through the asteroid’s tunnels requires a skilled pilot. The PCs encounter a planar bubble from the Plane of Fire inhabited by an efreeti AP13 with azer AP13 servants working to build a starship from scrap that has floated into their bubble. The efreeti will grant one wish to any mortal who can return her to the City of Brass.

65–66

A planar bubble from the Plane of Water encapsulates a huge quantity of water floating through the Drift, much like a giant fishbowl. The interior of the bubble has subjective directional gravity and contains a myriad of aquatic fauna. Any vessel passing through the bubble must compensate for the increased pressure on the hull.

67–68

A planar bubble from the Astral Plane contains a silver squall, a storm made from violent thoughts and competing ideas. The squall shrieks through the ship’s comms, and hearing its psychic chatter might cause confusion or damage to the psyche. Those who aren’t overcome can yellback, verbally dismantling its arguments until the storm subsides.

69–70

A large planar bubble from the Maelstrom has split into innumerable smaller bubbles that slowly float away and encroach on pieces of other planes, threatening to enter and contaminate those bubbles with the Maelstrom’s unstable planar traits.

71–72

A planar bubble containing a chunk of the Spire stolen from the Boneyard floats through the Drift.

73–74

A planar bubble of Axis contains a fractured city district, many of its buildings featuring symbology of some long-forgotten god.

A planar bubble from Heaven known as BulwarkAP4, a large, grassy hill that floats through the void, glows with a gentle light. Bulwark’s lone inhabitant, an archon who sits atop the hill, welcomes good-aligned creatures to rest in the miniaturized upper planar realm.

81–82

A handful of squabbling demons inhabits a bubble of the Abyss. A haughty pluprex demon AA2 has declared the bubble their own new layer of the Abyss, and themselves the Demon Lord who rules it.

83–84

The black, festering waters of the River Styx cut through a dark planar bubble from Abaddon, the Eternal Eclipse, trickling off the edge into the endless Drift.

85–86

The PCs encounter the Iron Steeple AP4, a diabolical cathedral pulled from Hell into the Drift. Contingents of devils have taken control of the planar bubble, defending the site, preventing anyone else from entering, and even aggressively attacking those who pass nearby.

87–88

A bubble from the Dimension of Dreams contains animated dreams and the dream avatars of sleeping mortals who might never wake up, trapped inside a dream stolen by the Drift.

89–90

The PCs encounter a twisting lemniscate-shaped planar bubble from the Dimension of Time with a time dimensional AA3 waiting to ambush any who come near.

91–92

A small population of mi-go AA2 eke out an existence within a planar bubble that contains a partial fragment of an unknownmoon.

93–94

A mundane planar bubble contains a chunk of a terrestrial world on the Material Plane, inhabited by peaceful, grazing animals. Perhaps with enough time, some clue hidden inside the bubble might reveal more about theworld.

95–96

The PCs encounter two planar bubbles that collided some time in the recent past. In the resulting mass, the disparate gravitational, spatial, or conceptual realities converged on each other, forming a unique environment.

97–98

A triad of iridia spectra AA3 contact the PCs through the comm unit of their ship. They might inquire about the PCs’ journey, offer to help with any needed repairs, correct their course, or ask for the PCs’ assistance in spreading hyperspace technology throughout the galaxy.

99

A powerful and predatory outsider attacks the PCs and quickly proves beyond their ability to defeat. Just as the situation turns dire, an aspecna spectraAA3 appears, phasing into hyperspace, and saves the day. If the PCs are lost or need assistance leaving the Drift, the aspecna offers to escort them to their destination.

100

Roll twice on this table, ignoring any additional results of 1 or 100.

TOOLBOXES

3 OVERVIEW EXPLORING THE GALAXY Backgrounds Class Options Exploration System Equipment

INFINITE WORLDS Building Worlds Biomes Accord Alignment Magic Religion Technology

SANDBOX ADVENTURES TOOLBOXES INDEX

147

NPC TOOLBOX Use the following tables to help you generate nonplayer characters quickly. NPC Name and Species: Roll twice on this table to come up with a name and a species for a random NPC.

NPC NAME AND SPECIES

148

NPC Quirks: This table provides memorable characteristics a Starfinder NPC might have, whether they’re an alien a PC is meeting for the first time or they’re a character from a PC’s background (see Step 3: Influential Associate on page 11) .

73–74

Theq

ShakatlaAA3

D%

NAME

SPECIES

75–76

Tiibre

ShatoriAA3

1–2

Ailei

AasimarAA2

77–78

Traeghet

Shirren

3–4

Aztria

Android

79–80

Uzuonn

ShobhadAA

5–6

Biyad

BarathuAA

81–82

Valartemni

SkittermanderAA

7–8

Coelris

Bear, upliftedAA2

83–84

Vyldii

TeliaAA3

9–10

Cyvin

BrenneriAA3

85–86

Wecrau

TieflingAA2

11–12

Dedarrel

ContemplativeAA

87–88

Wyvix

TroxAA2

13–14

Dvemis

DamaiAA2

89–90

Xirali

VarculakAA3

15–16

Elyrkaen

DragonkinAA

91–92

Xoadra

VerthaniAA

17–18

Esrithe

DrowAA

93–94

Ydaj

Vesk

19–20

Fefadis

Dwarf

95–96

Yznanno

VlakaAA2

21–22

Gexarin

Elf

97–98

Zalv

WitchwyrdAA

23–24

Giej

EspraksaAA3

99–100

Zeymaaq

Ysoki

25–26

Haamori

Formian

27–28

Hjinae

GhoranAA2

29–30

Hrenne

Gnome

D%

DESCRIPTION

31–32

Iasa

Goblin, spaceAA

1

Always wears a bright top hat embroidered with a kaukariki

33–34

Itakateii

Half-Elf

2

Always snacking on various flavored honeys

35–36

Jaxem

Halfling

3

Absentmindedly hums the latest synth-pop hits

37–38

Kih-Alyne

Half-Orc

4

Mortally terrified of squoxes thanks to a childhood mishap

39–40

Kuegalyi

Human

5

An aspiring chef who searches the galaxy for new ingredients

41–42

Lajai

Ikeshti

6

Spends their free time playing infosphere strategy games

43–44

Lonbe

IjtikriAA3

7

Always well-apprised of the latest celebrity gossip

45–46

Mehindir

KaloAA

8

Has a secret and unrequited crush on an acquaintance

47–48

Mkani

KanaboAA2

9

Extremely sensitive to heat and always carries a portable fan

49–50

Nariel

Kasatha

10

Intentionally talks louder than everyone else

51–52

Nuveth

Lashunta

11

Quick-tempered, but quick to apologize for their outbursts

53–54

Ouna

Maraquoi

12

Looks for any opportunity to share a limitless supply of factoids

55–56

Ozast

MorlamawAA3

13

Speaks very slowly, with long pauses between most words

57–58

Pahkret

NuarAA

14

Follows the latest fashions, replacing their wardrobe regularly

59–60

Pserax

OrcAA2

15

Insists on interpreting others’ dreams for deep meaning

61–62

Qinatelle

PahtraAA2

16

Enjoys acting extremely mysterious, even among friends

63–64

Quri

PhentomiteAA2

17

Normally rather grouchy, but has a soft spot for animals

65–66

Riila

Quorlu

18

Takes their duties, even minor ones, extremely seriously

67–68

Rutih

RaxiliteAA3

19

Makes friends very easily but never remembers their names

69–70

Seqruv

RyphorianAA

20

Always tired, no matter how much rest they’ve gotten

71–72

Suyaer

SarcesianAA

21

Has an encyclopedic knowledge of the local laws

TOOLBOXES

AA

AA

AA

AA2

NPC QUIRKS

GALAXY EXPLORATION MANUAL

3

22

Loves playing vidgames but is not particularly good at them

60

Challenges new acquaintances to a game of Imperial Conquest

23

Has an acute sense of smell and often comments on odors

61

Extremely learned in their field of study but absent-minded

24

Names all of their weapons or equipment after historical figures

62

Makes dramatic speeches about mundane events

25

Never misses a chance to relate a childhood anecdote

63

Always has headphones on, blaring custom playlists

26

Has always wanted to be a dashing adventurer-pilot

64

Is meticulous and pays close attention to minor aesthetic details

27

Never forgives an insult against them, no matter how minor

65

Is extremely interested in dragons

28

Constantly talks about their large collection of niche antiques

66

Is often underestimated because of their bubbly demeanor

Backgrounds

29

Loves poetry and always carries a notebook to jot down ideas

67

Judges others by what they have and haven’t read

Class

30

Takes credit for others’ successes

68

Prefers technological solutions and is wary of magic

31

Loves to travel and has visited numerous worlds

69

Tinkers with virtual intelligence projects in their free time

32

Tends to get distracted mid-conversation and changes the subject

70

Moves around constantly, never staying in the same spot

33

Paints amateurish portraits and always looks for new subjects

71

Lies about being able to play a musical instrument

34

Has multiple identities and sometimes forgets to respond to names they’ve given

72

Has a photographic memory but doesn’t realize it’s unusual

73

Keeps numerous pets of a wide variety of species

74

Always experiments with the latest pyrotechnics

75

Collects decks of playing cards from throughout the galaxy

76

Very contrarian and loves to argue even when they agree

77

Quotes philosophers in everyday conversation

OVERVIEW EXPLORING THE GALAXY

Options Exploration System Equipment

INFINITE WORLDS

35

Is deeply impressed by magic and spellcasters

36

Has a penchant for challenging people to duels

37

Thinks highly of themself and is unintentionally condescending

38

Enjoys knitting handicrafts and pushing them on others

39

Gets so focused on tasks that they forget to blink or move

78

Always sees the best in people, even to their own detriment

Alignment

40

Is a devout follower of their deity, but interprets their tenets in an unusual way

79

Very quiet until someone gets them talking about a pet subject

Magic

41

Dotes on a pet incessantly and narrates its thoughts in falsetto

80

Utterly disinterested in everyone and everything

Religion

42

Hates their day job and daydreams about becoming a vid star

81

Makes up a nickname for everyone they meet

Technology

43

Is extremely risk-averse except in defense of their loved ones

82

Prefers analog equipment to technological, for the aesthetic

44

Takes great pride in their family lineage

83

Has an uncanny sense for when someone has a secret

84

Wants to be someone’s mentor but hasn’t found any mentees

45

Extremely clumsy, always knocking something over or breaking things

85

Easily starstruck by even minor celebrities

TOOLBOXES

46

Gullible enough to have accidentally joined not one, but two cults

86

Breaks into songs from their favorite musicals whenever remotely relevant

INDEX

47

Always reading mystery novels and fancies themself an amateur detective

87

Fond of expensive jewelry, and prefers sapphires

48

Has a new hobby every other week

88

A gifted but incredibly shy performer who refuses the limelight

49

Not shy about voicing their extraordinarily vehement brand preferences

89

Loves to barter and relentlessly offers trades that heavily favor them

50

Is entrenched in a pyramid scheme and enthusiastically offers opportunities to join

90

Always very well-dressed, even at informal occasions

91

Thinks they know best and always volunteers to give others unsolicited advice

92

Enjoys matchmaking, whether romantic or platonic

93

Encourages everyone they meet to monetize even the most minor talents

51

Attempts to place wagers on every possible event, no matter how mundane

52

Obsessed with conspiracy theories, the wilder the better

53

Peppers their conversations with terrible puns

54

Is an amateur linguist who wants to learn as many languages as possible

94

Jumps to conclusions and (incorrectly) finishes others’ sentences

95

Constantly asks conversation partners to repeat themselves

55

Can’t resist embellishing tales of their exploits

96

Tries to imitate stunts from their favorite action vids

56

Can’t be intimidated, but tears up at any display of empathy

97

Has a deep nostalgic streak even about recent events

57

Proudly displays several commissioned statuettes of themself

98

Bends over backward to avoid admitting when they’re wrong

58

Won’t go anywhere without their lucky hip flask

99

Attempts to live well beyond their limited means

59

Mixes metaphors and uses mashed-up aphorisms

100

Laughs uncontrollably when stressed

TOOLBOXES

Building Worlds Biomes Accord

SANDBOX ADVENTURES

149

SETTLEMENT TOOLBOX From small towns to bustling metropolises to orbiting space stations, settlements comprise one of the major building blocks that make up a campaign setting. Every settlement should feel unique, whether due to geography, culture, or the quirks and challenges presented here. When creating a settlement from scratch, GMs can use the following tables to help give a particular settlement a touch of personality. Alternatively, a player can use these tables to determine something interesting about where their character is from.

SETTLEMENT QUIRKS D%

DESCRIPTION

1–4

An enormous statue stands in the settlement’s center. No records of its construction exists, and no one knows what it represents.

5–8

Harmless swarming creatures overrun the settlement.

9–12

A yearly festival celebrates a certain crop, food item, or trade good that isn’t produced anywhere near the settlement.

13–16

A specific color is banned from appearing in the settlement.

17–20

The settlement enforced a strict curfew, giving rise to several after-hours establishments operating just outside it.

21–24

An unusual weather or cosmic phenomenon hangs just above the settlement in defiance of meteorology or physics.

25–28

Every hour, a tolling bell can be heard throughout the settlement—though no such timepiece exists.

29–32

The settlement’s law enforcement officers proudly use a peculiar or outdated form of transportation.

33–36 37–40

A famous and reclusive author or artist lives within the settlement; the locals dissuade outsiders from bothering them.

41–44

Many inhabitants claim to be descended from a lost line of an important family that originates from this world or another.

45–48

The settlement houses the decorated tomb of a historical figure.

49–52

Detailed murals depicting a sibling settlement grace many of the exterior walls of the settlement’s residences.

53–56 57–60

150

A factory or fort on the settlement’s outskirts opens its gates only once every 3 months, and none of the locals work there.

A benevolent secret society believes itself the settlement’s masterminds, but locals merely humor the society’s members. The settlement’s layout follows a precise geometry, but the streets seem to be numbered or named at random.

Settlement Quirks: These details help a settlement stand out. Settlement Challenges: These plot hooks might determine why the PCs visit a particular settlement, or they might spur adventure while the PCs are there. Settlement Locations: These locations might appear in any settlement. If you want a location in a low-technology settlement, reroll results of 51 or higher. If you want a location in a medium-technology settlement, reroll results of 81 or higher.

85–88

An archway stands in the middle of the settlement and occasionally flashes with (harmless) eldritch energy.

89–92

A secret passage connects two seemingly unrelated structures.

93–96

Several of the settlement’s structures were built for inhabitants much smaller or larger than the average local.

97–100

All but one of the settlement’s buildings are identical.

SETTLEMENT CHALLENGES D%

DESCRIPTION

1–4

The settlement and its people are heavily taxed or in deep debt.

5–8

A rival settlement is luring away the settlement’s residents.

9–12

A grifter holds control over the settlement’s resources or finances.

13–16

The settlement’s leaders trade some of its inhabitants to an evil outsider in exchange for future prosperity.

17–20

A wealthy, influential individual is maneuvering to purchase the settlement in its entirety—and then demolish it.

21–24

Bizarre accidents plague the construction work on a new, high-profile public building within the settlement.

25–28

A huge influx of visitors recently entered the settlement, overwhelming local resources and leading to culture clashes.

29–32

An unknown saboteur has infected the settlement’s water source.

33–36

A magical curse or technological virus afflicts the settlement’s equipment, rendering it ineffective.

37–40

An addictive substance taints the settlement’s food supply, turning inhabitants against each other when provisions run low.

41–44

The settlement’s inhabitants enjoy a form of entertainment that surreptitiously carries a supernatural form of mental illness.

45–48

Unpredictable severe weather periodically cuts the settlement off from the outside world.

61–64

Dozens of stray animals make their home in a particular building.

65–68

A precocious child rumored to possess powerful psychic abilities serves as one of the settlement’s leaders.

49–52

Wild animals, both predators and prey, regularly encroach upon the settlement’s limits, attacking the citizens on sight.

69–72

A small garden grows in the middle of the settlement that produces a type of flower found nowhere else in the galaxy.

53–56

A group of space pirates or other villains holds one of the settlement’s major landmarks under siege.

73–76

The settlement observes an elaborate weekly tradition.

57–60

Warring criminal groups use the settlement as a battleground.

77–80

The settlement hosts a regular gathering of collectors of a rare but unusual type of object.

61–64

A serial killer stalks the settlement’s streets, avoiding capture through either magical or advanced technological means.

81–84

The inhabitants get their clothes from a single tailor or fashion designer, who boasts a distinct and unusual style.

65–68

A terrifying figure from the settlement’s distant past has returned from the dead to seek revenge.

TOOLBOXES

GALAXY EXPLORATION MANUAL 69–72

Half of the settlement recently vanished without a trace.

35–36

Inn: Secure short-term lodgings.

73–76

The locals have no memory of the past week.

37

Boarding House: Secure long-term, impermanent lodgings.

77–80

The settlement’s inhabitants simultaneously receive a cryptic glimpse of their individual futures.

38

Theater: Watch live performances.

A recently discovered relic at the heart of the settlement draws attention, both good and ill.

39

Bank: Deposit or withdraw money, or apply for a loan.

40

Livery Stable: Keep, purchase, or rent mounts. Transport Dealer: Purchase or repair ground-based transport.

81–84 85–88

A group of unscrupulous mercenaries made the settlement their home base and now refuse to leave.

41–42

89–92

A high-profile legal proceeding uncovers all manner of dark secrets about the settlement’s inhabitants.

45

Cartographer: Engage the services of a mapmaker.

The settlement is under constant threat of being quickly reclaimed by nature and must be diligently maintained.

46

Undertaker: Engage the services of a mortician.

47

Thieves’ Guild: Engage the services of a thief.

48

Casino: Gamble on games of chance.

93–96 97–99

A prank war among the students of a nearby institute of learning escalates dangerously, engulfing the settlement.

100

An especially temperamental domesticated animal or pet terrorizes the settlement’s inhabitants.

SETTLEMENT LOCATIONS

43–44 Spellcaster’s Tower: Engage the services of a spellcaster.

3 OVERVIEW EXPLORING THE GALAXY Backgrounds Class Options Exploration System Equipment

49–50 Pet Shop: Purchase a creature companion or supplies for it. 51–52

Pawn Shop: Sell items for cash or purchase secondhand items.

53

Comic Book Shop: Purchase comics and graphic novels.

54–55 Media Shop: Purchase films, music, and other media. 56

Hacker’s Den: Engage the services of a hacker.

57–58

Infosphere Cafe: Connect to the local or global infosphere.

D%

LOCATION

1–2

Restaurant: Dine in for local cuisine.

59–60 Tech Repair Shop: Repair computers and other technology.

3–4

Pub: Enjoy alcoholic beverages.

61–62

5–6

Café: Enjoy hot brewed beverages and pastries.

63–64 Public Transportation Hub: Use public transportation.

7

Butcher: Purchase pre-cut portions of meat.

65

Office Building: Engage the services of a professional.

8

Greengrocer: Purchase fresh fruits and vegetables.

66

Hospital: Receive emergency or long-term medical care.

9

General Store: Purchase various sundries.

67

Gym: Train and exercise.

10

Smithy: Purchase worked metal items.

68

Broadcast Studio: Create live broadcast transmissions.

11

Woodworker: Purchase worked wooden items.

69–70

Maker Space: Learn and use crafting skills and equipment.

12

Stonemason: Purchase worked stone items.

71–72

Nightclub: Enjoy food, alcohol, and music.

13

Tanner: Purchase, alter, or repair leather items.

73–74

Enchanter: Purchase and install weapon fusions.

14

Tailor: Purchase, alter, or repair clothing.

75–76

Museum: Learn about art, natural history, or relics of the past.

15–16

Alchemist: Purchase magic potions and similar items.

77–78

Aquarium/Zoo: Observe rare and interesting animals.

17

Gallery: Purchase or admire artwork.

18

School: Learn basic or advanced skills and information.

19

Fairgrounds: Enjoy outdoor fairs and exhibitions.

20

Monument: Learn about or reflect on a figure, place, or event.

21

Jeweler: Purchase or repair jewelry or buy and sell precious gems.

22–23

Stadium: Watch major sporting events.

24

Solarian Monastery: Train in the ways of the solarian.

25

Library: Borrow books and periodicals, and perform research.

26

Records Hall: Examine local government records.

27

Post Office: Pick up mail or post it for delivery.

28

City Hall: Engage with local government and its officials.

29

Jailhouse: Visit prisoners.

30–31

Healer: Purchase medicines or receive medical treatment.

97–98

Sensorium: Watch productions that envelop all senses.

32–33

Temple: Offer prayers to a deity, or speak with local clergy.

98

Zero-G Arena: Watch or participate in zero-gravity sports.

34

Seer: Engage the services of a diviner or fortune-teller.

100

Holovid Arcade: Play immersive virtual reality games.

Fuel Station: Purchase fuel and small sundries.

INFINITE WORLDS Building Worlds Biomes Accord Alignment Magic Religion Technology

SANDBOX ADVENTURES TOOLBOXES INDEX

79–80 Observatory: Learn about the local star system. 81

Drone Arena: Compete in high-stakes robotic sports.

82

Alien Consulate: Engage with offworld cultures.

83–84 Augmentation Clinic: Purchase and install augmentations. 85–86 Starship Dealership: Obtain, repair, or upgrade starships. 87–88

Starport: Board starships going to other places.

88–89 Starfinder Society Lodge: Meet with intergalactic explorers. 90

Artificial Personality Studio: Create artificial personalities.

91–92

Recycling Centrifuge: Convert almost anything into UPBs.

93

Memory Clinic: Alter or remove your memories.

94

Cryonic Suite: Freeze yourself to be thawed at a later date.

95–96 Tech Workshop: Craft tech, magic, and hybrid items.

TOOLBOXES

151

STARSHIP TOOLBOX Use the following tables to help you generate starships quickly. Starship Names: Roll twice on this table to name a random starship. You can arrange and tweak the two results in a way that makes sense to you (for example, you could add “the” before the first word, form a single compound word from the first and second words, make the first word possessive, or place the

STARSHIP NAMES

152

second word before the first). You can even use results from the same column or roll more than twice. Starship Quirks: This table provides a memorable characteristic for a random starship. Legendary Starships: Each of this table’s entries showcases a unique legendary starship.

69–70

Reborn

Prince

SECOND WORD

71–72

Regal

Princess

D%

FIRST WORD

1–2

Adamant

Angel

73–74

Ring

Raven

3–4

Asteroid

Atlas

75–76

Silver

Road

5–6

Astral

Bastion

77–78

Stellar

Ruby

7–8

Bantam

Brand

79–80

Storm

Runner

Course

81–82

Sun

Saber

9–10

Blue

11–12

Boundless

Deal

83–84

Swift

Song

13–14

Bright

Desire

85–86

Trick

Trader

15–16

Comet

Destroyer

87–88

Unlucky

Vision

17–18

Dancing

Devil

89–90

Void

Wanderer

19–20

Divine

Diplomat

91–92

War

Wasp

Diver

93–94

Wending

Watcher

21–22

Eclipse

23–24

Fate

Dragon

95–96

Wild

Wind

25–26

Free

Dream

97–98

Worthy

Wolf

27–28

Galactic

Emerald

99–100

Young

Wonder

29–30

Golden

Falcon

31–32

Green

Flare

STARSHIP QUIRKS

33–34

Hell

Ghost

D20 DESCRIPTION

35–36

Hollow

Glory

1

The ship has been painted to resemble an apex predator.

37–38

Horizon

Guard

2

A mummified corpse is mounted on the ship’s fore hull.

39–40

Hungry

Hand

3

The ship’s name is printed in 14 languages.

41–42

Infinite

Hope

4

A yellow triskelion on the ship’s hull causes headaches.

43–44

Invincible

Hunter

5

The ship’s hull is covered in holographic corporate logos.

45–46

Last

Kraken

6

47–48

Lucky

Lance

A third of the ship was very clearly cut from a different vessel and soldered onto this one.

49–50

Moon

Messenger

7

Knots of bright cerulean tendrils cover the ship’s hull.

51–552

Nameless

Mystery

8

The exoskeleton of some space-going Swarm horror is draped across the ship’s hull as decoration or armor.

53–54

Nebula

Navigator

9

The ship sports multiple glittering, golden solar-sail arrays.

55–56

Neutron

Nexus

10

The ship’s hull features a large, imperfectly patched crater.

57–58

New

Oblivion

11

The ship boasts an entourage of bejeweled escort drones.

59–60

Night

Omen

12

Several of the ship’s bulkheads are transparent.

61–62

Old

Opal

13

The ship is a replica of a fictional ship from a popular holovid.

63–64

Plasma

Paradise

14

The ship is designed for a very large or a very small crew.

65–66

Pulse

Path

67–68

Purple

Phoenix

15

The ship’s weapons have holographic projectors that make it look like they’re being operated by cute cartoon characters.

TOOLBOXES

GALAXY EXPLORATION MANUAL 16

The ship’s weapons emit plumes of red smoke.

17

The ship’s shields shimmer like an aurora borealis when hit.

18

The ship’s thrusters vibrate at an annoying frequency.

19

The ship’s lighting fails at dramatically appropriate moments.

20

The ship’s engine emits harmless radiation that smells of lavender.

LEGENDARY STARSHIPS D%

DESCRIPTION

1–4

The Ouroboros, a curiously shaped research ship, resembles a twisted ring of metal with every angle carefully polished into a curve. Its polite human crew bears a thoroughly uncanny resemblance to one another.

5–8

The eccentric Eoxian entertainment mogul Zo! outfitted the Exemplarion, his personal space-yacht, with a casino, spa, and three restaurants—all operated by a crew of bone troopers.

9–12

Designated YG-78 by the Pact Worlds, this city-sized vessel looks like some unwholesome combination of squid and fungus. It houses hundreds of thousands of mi-goAA2, who mine asteroids and sometimes trade with outsiders.

13–16

The Springs Eternal, a ghoran AA2 bio-ark that resembles a skyscraper-sized tree, boasts terraforming capabilities designed to establish Ghorus Prime, but which have also been used on other worlds.

17–20

Not much is known about The-Five-Who-Speak-As-One, one the Dominion of the Black’s mysterious overlords. They reside somewhere in the darkness between the stars on an organic spaceship the size of a small moon.

21–24

The Blood Tusk, a feared pirate ship of the Vast, gained notoriety for its swift engines, adamantine-tipped ramming spike, and its crew of bloodthirsty morlamawAA3 demon worshippers.

25–28

The King of Ravens is a well-designed starship cursed with the vilest luck. Accidents and misfortunes occur regularly, and twice have killed the entire crew—once in a freak life-support accident, once when a rare bacterium made its way onboard.

29–32

The Rising of Porleq is the pinnacle of Vercite technical achievement, the product of a decades-long military procurement process. The ship is overengineered to absurdity and orders of magnitude over budget, but the individual components (including rapid-fire meson guns and adaptive shields) are among the finest in the Pact Worlds.

33–36

An enormous, nameless pyramid-shaped vessel sometimes appears on the edge of systems as an ill omen. Covered entirely in black glass with no visible engines or entrances, some cults worship it as an avatar of Nyarlathotep.

37–40

The Conqueror of Worlds is the pride of the Veskarium, a warship over 6 miles long, bristling with guns and torpedoes, covered in armor and shields, and carrying tens of thousands of soldiers. The ship can conquer a world all on its own but is more often found serving as the flagship of the Veskarium’s war fleet.

41–44

The Inquiring Mind was a deep exploration ship specializing in xenobiological research that vanished after entering an unexplored nebula. It was recently spotted in Near Space, broadcasting strung-together audio clips pleading for help.

45–48

The AI-operated drone ship known as Panacea hails from unknown origins, but for centuries, its drones have collected genetic samples from sapient populations, never communicating but sometimes leaving behind hyper-advanced medicines.

49–52

The Zier XIV was the personal yacht of a planetary dictator from a distant system. Just before a revolution overthrew the despot, they loaded the ship with a planet’s treasury and launched it into the depths of space without a crew.

53–56

The ancient mega-freighter Morius plies the trade routes of the Vast, its crew stacking cargo around an enormous, building-sized sarcophagus in the central hold with unknown contents.

57–60

An experimental warship designed by Ringworks Industries for the Pact Worlds navy, the Payload is built around its “catapult array,” a giant mass driver capable of sending vehicle-sized metal slugs at an appreciable percentage of light speed.

61–64

The Ship of Archelliens is a wooden trireme with an immortal crew. Eons ago, they were cursed to sail forever. Even now—with their planet destroyed and their god forgotten—they still sail.

65–68

The Deadfall resembles a lumbering cargo vessel until it unveils its many cannons and missiles. The crew of experienced marauders works more in extortion and theft than murder, but the Deadfall is no slouch in a fight.

69–72

The pre-Gap deep explorer Zorya haunts the farthest reaches of the Vast. Run almost entirely by machines and using its vast engines to consume asteroids and harvest the plasma of suns, the ship has a fell reputation.

73–76

The Shiveilo Princess is one of the more famous ghost ships of the Vast, a luxurious star liner that perished with all hands when it was invaded by a cabal of velstracs AA2. Now it floats, silent and eerie, inhabited by horrors and lost souls.

77–80

The Perpetual Pilgrimage is a refurbished junk barge, occupied by a motley collection of religious pilgrims from dozens of faiths. Despite the ship’s ramshackle nature and untrained, fractious crew, it’s famously one of the luckiest ships in the Vast.

81–84

One of the most infamous mercenary fleets in Near Space, the Claws of Dahak consists not of warships but of a half-dozen dragons in sophisticated power armor, flying forth from a decommissioned Triaxian support carrier, Dahak’s Hoard.

85–88

The Known Variable, a corporate research vessel, conducted illegal experiments in mind expansion in the depths of space. One experiment succeeded too well, and now a fledgling republic of uplifted laboratory rats rules the ship, trading with outlying colonies and attacking corporate vessels.

89–92

The High Queen Kerlammkt, a large shirren vessel crewed by devotees of Hylax, welcomes all visitors and boasts a wide promenade. Rumors abound that numerous espionage agencies from several systems use the ship as a clandestine meeting spot.

93–96

Designated The Nightmare by the Stewards, this matte-black living cruiser seems to be unique in the Swarm. The ship uses psychic abilities, hallucinogenic spores, and a small supply of terror-organisms to conduct psychological warfare operations.

3 OVERVIEW EXPLORING THE GALAXY Backgrounds Class Options Exploration System Equipment

INFINITE WORLDS Building Worlds Biomes Accord Alignment Magic Religion Technology

SANDBOX ADVENTURES TOOLBOXES INDEX

The cathedral ship Inheritor’s Scale bears mighty guns and armed paladins, but is better known for its state-of-the-art 97–100 forensic labs, veteran investigators, and law courts versed in a hundred planets’ legal systems, all of which are placed at the disposal of beleaguered worlds.

TOOLBOXES

153

TREASURE TOOLBOX You can use the following table with Table 11–4: Wealth Gains per Encounter (Starfinder Core Rulebook 391) to provide interesting and varied level-appropriate treasure for PCs.

Use these (or your own variations) to make treasure more exciting than another dropped credstick. Each of these items might even spur its own further adventure!

TREASURE OBJECTS D20 DESCRIPTION

4

A cold siccatite statuette of a white-furred, many-eyed, six-legged mammoth creature kneeling in an apparent act of supplication

1,000 CREDITS 1

A collector’s edition, limited-run physical pressing of Strawberry Machine Cake’s album Star Sugar Heartlove!!!

5

An unpublished libretto of Vendrax Steelsong, a vesk composer who was presumed killed in a pirate raid gone wrong in 216 ag

2

A toy starship with 5 doses of hyperleaf stuffed into the co*ckpit

6

3

Magical figurines of three kasathas in bright performer’s outfits; when activated, they perform tumbling and acrobatic tricks together

A magical crystalline houseplant that rustles its glassy leaves whenever it detects a living creature nearby

7

4

A hand-carved wooden figurine portraying a ysoki in gladiatorial costume fighting an unknown quadrupedal predator

A gold statue of a dragon lying atop a treasure hoard; the hoard includes an openable tome with miniaturized text etched within

8

5

A decorative, nonfunctional circuit board soldered to portray a portrait of an unnamed android

A scale model of the Idari made of precious metals that hovers and spins slowly above its base

9

6

A holy symbol of Damoritosh made of a chitinous substance covered in dense scrimshaw

A ceremonial warhammer with an inscription in Terran that reads “In Peace, Leaders; In War, Brethren; In Death, Heroes”

10

7

An iridescent egg of exceptional beauty that pulses with a warm glow whenever someone casts a spell nearby

A traditional elven mask, made of silver and decorated with emeralds; the mask shape indicates a monstrous humanoid physique

11

8

A holographic painting of a dull-yellow mountain range with heavy digital static. The painting’s file name is “The Gate To Their Realm”

Ornamental vase depicting biochemical diagrams and a human figure undergoing a transformation into a beastlike shape

12

9

A statuette portraying a large tusked, six-legged creature; a scale at the base indicates that it represents a 40-foot tall beast

An infosphere-disabled datapad containing a banned fiction e-book that features scenes of summoning evil outsiders

13

10

A consumer-grade polyresinous figurine of an armored human woman with a nameplate: “Gres Uzur—300 planets discovered”

A computerized music box that algorithmically generates new songs based on what other music it has overhead

14

11

A basic medkit hiding a stash of adamantine shards

Silk wall hanging portraying a cityscape by a lake underneath a pair of twin suns; sleeping near the hanging causes disturbing dreams

15

A shopping bag filled with physical credits from different worlds

12

Clay statuette of a humanoid with a spreadable seed packet attached. When applied, the seeds grow into the words “SAVE ME” in Ghoran

16

13

A folder of handwritten notes with “DO NOT DIGITIZE” scrawled across the outside; the papers detail an advanced AI program

A jigsaw puzzle made from burnished aluminum portraying a detailed cityscape as seen from above

17

14

A collection of glittering decorative metallic rings of various sizes, designed to be worn around antennae or tentacles

A golden statue of an insectile humanoid in heavy armor emblazoned with the holy symbols of Hylax and Damoritosh

18

15

A complete set of vidgame cartridges for a popular, long-lived series

A cast-iron standing lamp portraying a robotic figure; light emanates from its raised appendages

16

A flask bedecked with gemstones; it reads “It’s Sixthday Somewhere” and still holds a serving of superior liquid intoxicant

19

A platter of gilded wood with overlapping carved circles and a dozen miniscule garnets at various points upon the circles

17

Three ceramic spheres in an understated wooden box, each carefully decorated in minute detail to look like a different planet

20

A collection of six knucklebones from different species carved into dice that whisper to the bearer when held in a closed hand

18

A ceramic mug that magically refills with a lukewarm stimulant

19

An exquisitely tailored outfit of formalwear; the pockets hold a picture of a lashunta and a pistol with the serial numbers removed

1

A magical orrery comprised of assorted precious stones levitating and orbiting each other, portraying an unidentified solar system

20

A crystalline lamp that emanates a magical feeling of calm when lit

2

A necklace of traditional elvish artisanry featuring a sizable carbuncle with a formian silhouette moving within it

3

A luxurious woven tapestry that depicts a highly stylized and magically animated scene from the Battle of Aledra

5,000 CREDITS

154

25,000 CREDITS

1

A pair of diamond cufflinks in the shape of longswords

2

A prototype projection drone that animates one hardlight holographic pet at a time, with a dozen species to choose from

4

A masterfully painted portrait of a Weydanite lashunta before a starry background depicting a little-explored section of the galaxy

3

An anonymous, high-quality physical manuscript of a novel about a forbidden romance between a corpsefolk and a Pharasmin

5

An archaic scepter crafted from assorted precious materials including a pulsing biomechanical apparatus of unknown purpose

TOOLBOXES

GALAXY EXPLORATION MANUAL

6

A lockbox containing the deed to a small business in a major metropolitan area that has changed owners every few years

7

First-printing memoir of a Veskarium high despot

8

A humanoid skull sculpted from adamantine, with teeth made of gemstones and curious dark stains around the eye sockets

9

An apocryphal text of the Cult of the Devourer, detailing how the destruction of all things is an act of good in its removal of evil

10

A small, hovering pink cube that plays beautiful lush music whose qualities vary based on the proximity of the operator’s extremities

11

A polished-smooth hunk of amber containing an insect associated with an infamous plague

3

11

An envelope with twenty winning pieces to a corporate sweepstakes

12

The original prototype of a trophy for a major sporting event

13

A large mass of diamonds, held together through a mysterious force; a dark object is barely visible at the center of the bunch

14

A shadow box containing a large iridescent feather made of precious minerals and an illustration of an immense avian creature

15

A long blade of exquisite craftsmanship and materials resting inside a petrified-stone heart of aberrant origin

16

A humanoid hand that seems to have been dipped in molten gold; scans show bones and organic material still exist in the center

Class

12

17

A set of drinking vessels from a pre-Gap culture; the set as a whole radiates divination magic, but individual pieces appear to be nonmagical

Exploration

A law enforcement badge made of adamantine; inscribed into the back is a set of stellar coordinates in an asteroid field

13

A palm-sized pearl painted and engraved to be a globe of a planet

18

A 6-inch containment tube holding a miniaturized Daimalko colossus

A technomagical mask that casts deep slumber on a willing wearer and has a technological alarm that sounds if a creature approaches within 50 feet

19

A clockwork globe portraying a planet-spanning metropolis

14

20

A holovid set-up that can access channels from other dimensions

15

A datapad containing a spreadsheet and files detailing the debts owed and services rendered by blackmailed “assets”

16

Tickets to luxury box seats for a major upcoming sporting event, with a cryptic message hinting at a fixed betting scheme

2

Traditionally created, barrel-aged Idari pepper wine

3

Collectible Mightiest Warriors of the Veskarium action figures

17

An aquarium containing a few mundane species and gravel composed of rare alloys

4

Data stick containing raw unedited footage of The Necromancer

18

An old but carefully maintained analog strategy board game; the pieces appear wooden but are much heavier

5

Hybrid data crystal engraved with digital blueprints and security plans for a major corporation’s headquarters

19

An abstract art statuette made of a metallic alloy; it provides a small, harmless electric shock to any non-android who touches it

6

Dwarven chronicle stones detailing daily life and operations on an unidentified pre-Gap asteroid mining colony

20

An animated silver statuette of a crest eater that growls aggressively at any kasathas that approach it

7

Tier 1 computer with camera footage of a crime in progress that clearly identifies the perpetrator

8

A recently stolen art piece by an up-and-coming artistic influencer

Encrypted hard drive containing covert information about a undercover Steward agent embedded in the Golden League

9

A holographic projector containing compromising video footage of a public figure

2

Terrarium containing an unidentified crustacean species whose carapace grows semiprecious stones

10

A null-space chamber with nothing inside but a single data stick with a series of galactic coordinates

11

3

A small polycarbonate globe with a miniature planet hovering inside; close examination reveals tiny spaceships flying within the globe

An antiquated, pre-Gap computer that contains schematics for a cutting-edge negative-energy hybrid weapon

12

An alien bone made from a dense synthetic material. One end unscrews to reveal a hollow, which in turn contains a hand-drawn map

4

A large carved wooden puzzle chest containing hundreds of small gemstones

5

A decorated embri mask made of porcelain and gold gilt; it is inscribed with Celestial text organized in an unknown grammar

13

An electronic photo frame that displays various commercial buildings along with encrypted files of the buildings’ floorplans

6

A full-length mirror of polished stone and an unidentified metallic alloy that reflects only biological lifeforms

14

A home gardening kit with the original seed packets replaced with contraband flora smuggled from offworld

15

Tiny robotic figures that act out popular holovid shows and movies

7

An artificial polycarbonate gemstone containing a single reptilian eye at the center; the eye seems to move of its own volition

16

A personal computer of a public figure that contains their journal

8

A null-space chamber filled with a wide variety of taxidermized species of unknown provenance

17

Gemstones containing magical recordings of divination results

18

A personal comm unit bedecked with tiny rubies that contains personal contact information for several important figures

19

Small tin containing the top-secret intergalactic blend of herbs and spices from a popular chef’s kitchen

20

Datapad containing everything necessary to claim ownership of a private stock portfolio

9

10

A large collection of ornate bronze gears, each numbered and inscribed with a different aphorism; some gears are missing A fist-sized opal enchanted to float on command and burst into illusory flames, giving the jewel the appearance of a miniature sun

Backgrounds

Options

System Equipment

INFINITE WORLDS

Worlds

Autographed rookie brutaris cards

1

EXPLORING THE GALAXY

Building

VALUE VARIES 1

100,000 CREDITS

OVERVIEW

TOOLBOXES

Biomes Accord Alignment Magic Religion Technology

SANDBOX ADVENTURES TOOLBOXES INDEX

155

INDEX airborne biome 48 alien herbalism (feat) 71 aligned buffer (armor upgrade) 120 altitude bead (technological item) 128 angler’s light (augmentation) 83 antigravity grenade 41 aquanaut elixir (serum) 43 aquatic biome 52 arcanascopic lenses (personal item) 40 arctic biome 56 backgrounds 9 barbed shrapnel grenade 42 bhanda (creature companion) 67 bird’s eye view (feat) 51 borrowed vitality (feat) 71 buoyant pack (personal item) 40 cairn form (spell) 75 Canu’s cache (artifact) 112 celestial analysis (downtime activity) 35 chemical cold pack (personal item) 40 chemical heat pack (personal item) 40 chostolichi (creature companion) 95 climbing (weapon fusion) 87 combat sandrail (vehicle) 63 concussion grenade 42 control winds (spell) 114 crystal spear (weapon) 55 cultural chameleon (feat) 91 defoliant grenade 42 delegate work (downtime activity) 101 desert biome 60 dimming (weapon fusion) 87 dive bomb (feat) 51 echoing (weapon fusion) 87 effortless aerobatics (feat) 51 emetic (medicinal) 43 energel food pellet (personal item) 40 evomorpher (artifact) 112 executive decisions (downtime activity) 101 exploration system 34 extra sense (spell) 114 extrusion rifle (weapon) 79 field probe 40 fireburst chamber (weapon accessory) 79 flip glands (augmentation) 83 forest biome 64 free runner (feat) 91 friends in low places (feat) 91 frosthiker soles (personal item) 40 glowing (weapon fusion) 87 hardlight netting (technological item) 128 hazmat synthsleeves (personal item) 40 helping hand (personal item) 40 hexploration 38

156

INDEX

hogback (vehicle) 63 ilskitt (creature companion) 67 improved dive bomb (feat) 51 iridian echo (creature companion) 95 izhash (creature companion) 67 jump lobes (augmentation) 83 launching (weapon fusion) 87 leadership system 100 locate galactic destination (downtimeactivity) 34 lumenstaff (weapon) 55 map star system (downtime activity) 35 marsh biome 68 medical inhaler (technological item) 128 membership drive (downtime activity) 101 meteorological reader (personal item) 40 mindspike grenade 43 mining (weapon fusion) 87 mnemonic scanner (technological item) 128 moraine mantle (armor) 59 mountain biome 72 narco-imitator (medicinal) 43 nectar of flame’s glory (serum) 43 organizations (leadership system) 100 philosopher’s sting (weapon) 79 plains biome 76 pocket linguist (personal item) 41 portable condenser (personal item) 41 portable power hub (personal item) 41 rally jammer (vehicle) 63 regenerative philter (serum) 43 rift rifle (weapon) 79 ripcord siphon (augmentation) 83 sacred seal (armor upgrade) 120 sensor drones (starship system) 35 silt shield (feat) 71 slimelashes (augmentation) 83 smart lock (technological item) 129 space biome 80 stabilizer bracelets (personal item) 41 starwalk (spell) 114 steady flier (feat) 51 strafe (feat) 51 street racer (feat) 91 street smarts (feat) 91 subgenres 140 subterranean biome 84 system-wide sensors (starship system) 35 tectonic shift (spell) 75 tetlotolan (creature companion) 95 ThermSkin (armor) 59 Titan’s Gate (artifact) 112 toothblade (weapon) 55 Treadsetters guide (personal item) 41

tunneling (weapon fusion) uncanny eruption (spell) urban biome urbanist (feat) ursikka carapace (armor) vidgame (technological item) void whispers (spell) vortex rifle (weapon) waymarker ribbon (personal item) weird biome wind shield (feat) wonder warp (spell) world analysis (downtime activity) world mapping (downtime activity) xeroform jelly (serum)

87 75 88 91 59 129 115 55 41 92 51 115 36 37 43

GALAXY EXPLORATION MANUAL

3

PLAYER CHARACTER OPTIONS ARMOR

59 ARMOR UPGRADES

120–121 AUGMENTATIONS

83

OVERVIEW EXPLORING THE GALAXY Backgrounds Class Options Exploration System

CREATURE COMPANIONS

67, 95 FEATS

51, 71, 91 MEDICINALS

43

Equipment

INFINITE WORLDS Building Worlds Biomes Accord Alignment

PERSONAL ITEMS

40–41 SERUMS

43 SPELLS

75, 114–115

Magic Religion Technology

SANDBOX ADVENTURES TOOLBOXES INDEX

STARSHIP SYSTEMS

WEAPONS

35 TECHNOLOGICAL ITEMS

41–43, 55, 79 WEAPON FUSIONS

128–129 VEHICLES

63

87

INDEX

157

EXPLORATION LOG WORLD NAME

ACCORD

ALIGNMENT

MAGIC

TECHNOLOGY

RELIGION

INHABITANTS

SYSTEM TYPE GRAVITY

ATMOSPHERE BIOMES

158

NOTES

INDEX

Permission granted to photocopy for personal use. © 2021 Paizo Inc.

GALAXY EXPLORATION MANUAL

PAIZO INC.

Creative Directors • James Jacobs and Robert G. McCreary Director of Game Design • Jason Bulmahn Director of Visual Design • Sarah E. Robinson Director of Game Development • Adam Daigle Organized Play Managing Developer • Linda Zayas-Palmer Developers • Eleanor Ferron, Jason Keeley, Luis Loza, Ron Lundeen, Patrick Renie, and Jason Tondro Starfinder Lead Designer • Joe Pasini Starfinder Senior Developer • John Compton Pathfinder Society Developer • Thurston Hillman Starfinder Society Developer • Jenny Jarzabski Organized Play Developer • Mike Kimmel Design Manager • Mark Seifter Pathfinder Lead Designer • Logan Bonner Designers • James Case and Michael Sayre Managing Editor • Leo Glass Senior Editors • Avi Kool and Lu Pellazar Editors • Addley C. Fannin, Patrick Hurley, Ianara Natividad, and Kieran Newton Managing Art Director • Sonja Morris Art Directors • Kent Hamilton, Kyle Hunter, and Adam Vick Senior Graphic Designer • Emily Crowell Graphic Designer • Tony Barnett Director of Brand Strategy • Mark Moreland Paizo CEO • Lisa Stevens President • Jeffrey Alvarez Chief Creative Officer • Erik Mona Chief Financial Officer • David Reuland

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3 OVERVIEW EXPLORING THE GALAXY Backgrounds Class Options Exploration System Equipment

INFINITE WORLDS Building Worlds

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Biomes Accord Alignment Magic Religion Technology

SANDBOX ADVENTURES TOOLBOXES INDEX

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INDEX

159

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YOUR GUIDE TO THE GALAXY

W

hat wonders does the vast galaxy hold? With the Starfinder Galaxy Exploration Manual, you’re about to find out! This book has everything you need to generate infinite worlds— and then adventure on them! Start with an easy system for creating your own science-fantasy worlds, populate them with inhabitants and adventure hooks, and then use a new exploration system to dive into adventure. And don’t forget to stock up on new equipment and rules options to prepare your characters for their galactic escapades! Inside this book, you will find: D

A wealth of player character options, from detailed background generation to exploration-themed rules for every class, plus new creature companions, equipment, feats, spells, and more!

D

A system for quickly generating and fleshing out infinite new worlds of your own design, from physical attributes and biome-specific details to a multitude of cultural aspects and adventure hooks. Advice and tools to help Game Masters run trailblazing, exploration-based sandbox games in a limitless galaxy. Toolboxes for enriching any science fantasy setting, from starships and treasure to settlements and NPCs.

D

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paizo.com/starfinder Printed in China. PZO7116

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