#Starfinder – Starfinder Month: Species

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June is going to be Starfinder Month here on the Postmortem Studios blog. I’ve been thinking of doing a Machinations of the Space Princess conversion and some rules modifications for the game and that’ll be the core of what I do this month. I’ll take some suggestions too though, so if you have a picture of a cool spaceship, alien or some sci-fi gear you’d like to see statted up for MotSP or Starfinder (or both), comment with a link to the image below!

This month’s content is going to be free for everyone, sometimes – however – I paywall what I write other than a preview. If you want to support me you can do so for as little as $1 a month on Patreon or 1 token a month on Minds.com.

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Machinations of the Space Princess uses the OSR retro-clone games (versions of house-ruled old version of D&D in this case, Lamentations of the Flame Princess) to power it. So it is, very broadly, compatible with anything that is D&D derived. That includes Pathfinder and, in its turn, Starfinder.

Rather than ‘races’, I prefer to use the term ‘species’ (though I vacillate back and forth over which I use). This is doubly true, I think, in science fiction games. Race and species used to be interchangeable terms (Darwin referred to species as races) but this has altered over time to the point where referring to entirely different alien lifeforms as races feels weird.

One of the absolute joys of truly creative science fiction is the mass of different alien species that you can encounter. In writing MotSP I took this to heart and, rather than endless lists of different specific alien species I made a system that allowed you to craft individual species of alien to play, almost on the fly, grab-bagging from a set of different traits.

This isn’t, necessarily, balanced, but it does give players the opportunity to hand-craft a character from the bottom up. It can mean they’re overpowered in their particular arena of expertise, but that tends to just mean more weakness elsewhere. Other players will create alien species to suit their roleplaying desires more than anything mechanical per se. Balance tends to lead to grey, boring, interchangeable characters in any case. If RIFTS can put a street-rat alongside a power-armour wearing Glitterboy, then surely we can manage? Making games fun for everyone at the table (for different qualities of fun) is probably the main job of the Games Master.

In Machinations of the Space Princess, you got three species options or bonuses for free and any others had to be balanced by taking negative traits, lowered statistics being the default.

Starfinder’s racial options don’t exactly meet that, so it’s necessary to do a little hammering and smashing to make it work.

Androids get:

  • +2 Dex (1 slot)
  • +2 Int (2 slots)
  • -2 Cha (back down to 1 slot)
  • Constructed +2 Save against things that normally only affect living beings. (2 slots)
  • Exceptional Vision – Darkvision (we’ll drop the low-light, it seems redundant, 3 slots)
  • Flat Affect – a penalty (dropping them to 2 slots)
  • Upgrade Slot (3 slots)

If we use them as the baseline, that balances nicely with MotSP.

Humans, meanwhile would get

  • +2 to any stat (1 slot, Bonus Feat (2 slots), Skilled (3 slots).

Kasathas:

+2 Str (1 slot), +2 Wis (2 slots), -2 Int (1 slot), Desert Stride (2 slots), Four Armed (3 slots), we remove Historian and note it as being more of a species trend, give them their natural grace (4 slots) and, needing to balance them out, give them ‘Inscrutable’, which works much like Flat Affect.

Lashuntas:

+2 Charisma (1 slot), gendered stat bonus (2 slots), gendered stat penalty (1 slot), and we give them their at will power (choosing only one) OR their 1/day power and their limited telepathy. We lose the Student ability.

Shirrens:

+2 Con (1 slot), +2 Wis (2 slots), -2 Charisma (1 slot), Blindsense (2 slots), Limited Telepathy (3 slots) and we drop their Cultural fascination, give them communalism but double their Charisma penalty, because bugs are gross and communalism seems vital to the species ‘hook’.

Vesk:

+2 Str (1 slot), +2 Con (2 slots), -2 Int (1 slot), Fearless (2 slots), Natural Weapons (3 slots). We drop the Armour Savant and give them Low Light vision and a -2 penalty to Charisma, rounding us out at 3.

Ysoki:

+2 Dex (1 slot), +2 Int (2 slots), -2 Str (1 slot), we give them their Darkvision and Moxie as being the most defining traits (taking us to 3 slots), give them a -2 penalty to Charisma (vermin freak people out) and replace Cheek Pouches, which are lame, with a gnawing ability (double damage to inanimate objects, even with weapons).

This leads to a grittier game that would be more compatible with MotSP materials. Another option would be to give characters in the game four character options, some – like humans – will gain more versatility and power, while others still won’t be at their full, normal, Starfinder potential.

A human in this version might get another instance of a free feet or the affects of Skilled, twice.

A sample species from Machinations, converted to Starfinder, are the Urlanth. The Urlanth are a matriarchal species that once ruled most of the known galaxy. Taken over to Starfinder they would have:

  • 3 trait version
  • +2 Charisma
  • Skilled – Urlanth women start play with two additional skill ranks and every level thereafter.

4 trait version

  • +2 Charisma
  • +2 Wisdom
  • Skilled – Urlanth women start play with two additional skill ranks and every level thereafter.

Base Starfinder Equivalent

  • +2 Charisma
  • +2 Wisdom
  • -2 Con
  • Skilled – Urlanth women start play with two additional skill ranks and every level thereafter.
  • Urlanth women start with an additional feat.