Friday, November 18, 2016

O.K. Paizo May be Getting Some of My Money Again Soon

Paizo's Starfinder RPG
I'll admit right up front, my experience with science fiction gaming is limited to a few games of Traveler, a little more Star Frontiers, one foray into Shadowrun, creating characters in Space Opera and after that, mostly Gamma World. This is despite being an avid Star Trek fan in all its incarnations, a lover of Star Wars, Babylon 5, BattleStar Galactica, Dr. Who, Firefly, Stargate SG1, Arthur C Clarke, Larry Niven, Asimov, Bradbury, Poul, Bova, and well ... you get the idea. Why I could never get a long term Sci Fi game going with my gaming buddies is a mystery to me, since we all loved Sci Fi and spent as much time arguing about that as we did D&D.

Then the other day I ran across the ad for Paizo's Starfinder Sci Fi RPG and my heart skipped a beat. Just like when I saw all those other Sci Fi games I mentioned sitting on the game store shelf all those years ago. Would this be the one? Could this game recreate for me the kinds of adventures Kirk, Spock and Bones had on my little black and white TV all those years ago? Would this be my gateway into world spanning rebel alliances? I envisioned all the colorful scenarios I could play out with my own kiddos who consumed Clone Wars episodes as fast as they came out, and could quote Dr. Who dialogue and dressed up as Enterprise red shirts for halloween? Certainly they would be as excited as I felt when I saw this new Paizo offering.

So, to summarize what we know so far: As Charlie Hall's Polygon article states, the game seeks to capture a swords and planets type of space fantasy ethos. And goes one to describe the setting as one in which magic coexists to some degree or other beside technology. The Starfinder universe is also the universe of Golarion, except that Golarion has gone missing and the entire known population of the Universe has amnesia about its past and their current trajectories. Shades of SyFy series Dark Matter?
Dark Matter
Well, probably to some degree, only on a much larger scale ... intriguing? Evidently trhe "Starfinders" are those amnesiac inhabitants of Golarion who make up the heroes of the StarFinder Universe. They are called Starfinders because they are out to "find" in the stars, the answers to the mysterious roots of their past, and the still unknown destiny of their futures. And then there is the novel idea of hyperlight travel through what is evidently called The Drift in StarFinder. Not sure of the details, but the idea of hyperlight travel ripping off huge swaths of Heaven or Hell and adding it to the Drift is enough to make my spec fic heart go flutter!
Space Demon by Pumpkin Pie 92
If you were to press me for my favorite sci fi series of all time, it would be a difficult choice. I am a Star Trek fanboy through and through, but if I could only have one, and one only. I might choose Babylon 5. And what do we hear about StarFinder's main "city" Absalom? Well, here I quote directly from the article itself, "It's a kind of a Babylon 5-style place," Sutter said. "You could play an entire campaign there and never leave Absolom Station, if you wanted to." Well, if you had just gone out and made the perfect Sci Fi game for me it would look an awfully lot like Starfinder is starting to look.

New races are planned as well, so the game is not just a mashup of Pathfinder and Sci Fi. Androids are present as are the ever required and iconic space battles. This is where I hold out hope and am inspired by their design goals. The basic concepts the designers sketch out in the article point out that combat will be based on the highly successful Battletech system, though I'm unsure how much they can even say that. I thought BT was sold by Wizards some time back, but I suppose the basic idea is fairly universal. But the danger of course is to not lose focus on the roleplaying aspect of the game. Here Paizo says the aim is to keep each role in combat important and actively involved in space battles. It's a tall order, but I'm hopeful for them.

At any rate, I'm excited and whether or not a get a long term game up and running, Paizo is likely to get another couple hundred bucks from me within the next year. And that my friends is not a bad thing in this case.