science fiction

Quick Review of Starfinder Alien Archive 3

Starfinder Alien Archive 3

Starfinder Alien Archive 3

I enjoy a lot of science fiction, particularly the subgenres of sci-fantasy and space opera, so it is no wonder that I really like the entire concept behind Starfinder. That said, I currently have all of the Starfinder books, and I have been pleasantly surprised by the Alien Archive series. As with the other bestiaries from Paizo, you can expect a lot of quality art along with a host of interesting creatures and species. These are not the massive - some would say bloated - bestiaries from Pathfinder with 300 to 400 pages of monsters that most people will never use. Alien Archive 3 comes in slimmer at a little more than 160 pages, but that certainly does not detract from the quality of content.

Types of Monsters in Alien Archive 3

The latest release has a host of cool monsters that can be added to your game. Let’s take a quick look at just a couple of them.

Starmetal Dragons brings in several new types of metallic dragons to your game. There are grafts for five of these dragons based on these, well, “star metals”, including the Noqual Dragon, which hunts down and fights evil spellcasters.

There are also denizens of The Drift, such as the Driftdead and Drift Natives like the Time Eaters. The entire concept of The Drift in Starfinder is strange and nightmarish to me, and I imagine there could be some really cool stories told about mishaps in this infinite hyperspace plane.

I imagine that most people will enjoy the Giant Space Tardigrade, as well, which is so large that it is only able to engage in starship combat. These are massive creatures that look just like the tardigrades of earth, except for their size. Some have been known to hold grudges against starships that may have fought and damaged them in the past. Imagine the fun you could have telling a Moby Dick story with a mad starship captain and a great white giant space tardigrade (this is a sentence I never imagined writing).

There are new takes on golems, gremlins, and trolls, as well as a host of other creatures to help keep your games interesting and weird for a long time to come.

New Races and Creature Companions Round Out a Great Book

One of the other benefits of the book is that it will add even more player races to the mix as we’ve seen with other supplements. In all, there are 20 new races in this book that can be used with your GM’s permission.

Some of my favorites include the Brenneri who are essentially adorable otter people who make great diplomats, Espraksa, who are bird people, and the Telia, who are turtle people. Of course, the aforementioned races have far more to offer than just “looking like an earth animal”. To be honest, it just gets weirder from there with these and other species options in the book. Needless to say, there are some really fun options that will make for memorable NPCs and PCs that break out of the standard mold.

The book also has an entire section on creature companions including a list of creature companion feats, which essentially improve your character’s working relationship with the creature. Sure, this might not apply to a lot of players out there, but you know there are plenty out there who want pets. Some options include empathic spiders and canines that can shoot frikkin’ laser beams out of their heads.

Overall, this is a solid addition to the Starfinder line, and if you love the universe Paizo has created, it is well worth picking up and adding to your collection. If you like Starfinder and would like to see more content here, please let me know.

Should You Buy the Star Trek Starter Set from Modiphius

Are you a fan of Star Trek? While I will admit that my knowledge of the lore and history of the Star Trek universe is woefully inadequate compared with many out there, I enjoy it immensely and have seen most of the shows – still need to go through Enterprise and Discovery. I started the latter but didn’t quite get hooked yet. I want to give it a full shot, though. So, when Modiphius released Star Trek Adventures using their 2d20 system a couple of years ago, I picked up a copy of the Collector’s Edition. I read through it, enjoyed what the book offered, and watched a number of live plays, such as Shield of Tomorrow.

I wanted to play or run a game but didn’t have anyone I knew that was into the idea. So, it sat on my shelf with a lot of other games I own. Still, I liked the game and when I found the Star Trek Adventures Starter Set for a good price, I decided to pick that up as well. I was hoping that it might be laid out in a way that would make it easy to help me teach others how to play the game.

I’m happy to say that it does this job remarkably well. In fact, it’s one of the best starter sets that I’ve ever had, and other companies would do well to follow this model.

What Does the Starter Set Include?

The Starter Rules booklet contains all of the basic rules you are going to need, including starship combat. Everything is laid out in a logical manner that will make it easy for people to pick up the gist of the 2d20 system quickly and easily. If you have ever played any of the other 2d20 systems from Modiphius, you will feel right at home here. The rules are written clearly, too, which is nice. There are some RPGs that have language that seems purposefully obtuse, but Star Trek Adventures doesn’t suffer from that problem. The concisely and clearly present the rules in about 20 pages.

In addition to the Starter Rules booklet, you will also find 5 premade PC sheets, as well as a sheet that describes the abilities and stats of the PC’s ship, the USS Magellan. “A Star Beyond the Stars” is the starter campaign, which is split into three adventures that should be run one after the other. The Starter Campaign booklet is about 50 pages.

One of the best things about this set is the campaign. It is laid out in a very easy to read and understand manner that slowly guides the GM, introducing different rolls and aspects of gameplay slowly, so they and the players can get used to them. By the time you finish with the campaign (and likely well before you finish), you will be able to run a session easily.

The adventures also provide a lot of the lingo and tech-speak, which is nice. Like I said, when it comes to Star Trek, I’m not the most knowledgeable. The way it’s written can make me seem far more competent than I am. The way the adventures in this campaign (and others I have) are written makes them sound and feel like a real episode of the show, which is great.

Do You Need Special Dice for the Game?

The Starter Set also comes with a set of special Star Trek dice, but special dice aren’t needed in order to play. The d20 rolls don’t need any conversions (they are just d20s), and the d6 conversion is very simple. Literally, just remember that 3 and 4 on a d6 mean no damage and 5 and 6 mean a point of damage with an effect. It’s easy. Also, the price of the special sets of Star Trek dice online is very overpriced if you ask me. The dice are cool, but you are paying for the licensing.

Do I Recommend the Star Trek Adventures Starter Set?

If you love Star Trek and roleplaying games, and you want to start playing a great game that does a good job at capturing the feel and flavor of the setting, this is it. The starter set is a perfect introduction, and I highly recommend it. In fact, I enjoyed the starter set enough that I’ve dusted off my core book, bought the GM screen, and the Star Trek Adventures Beta Quadrant Sourcebook, not to mention a bunch of PDF adventures.

Go ahead and check it out. I have a feeling you might like it.

On a side note, I swear, if I don’t find some people near me that want to play, this might end up being one of the online games that I plan to start running toward the end of this year.

My Story "Red Skies" for the Dark Era TTRPG is Available to Read

Photo by Darren Robertson from FreeImages

Photo by Darren Robertson from FreeImages

Just a very short and quick post for today. I wanted to let folks know that the short story “Red Skies” that I had written for the Dark Era RPG is now available at their website.

I would love if you would go and check out the story. It has some horror, a little bit of that 60s-style pseudo science fiction, and some grossness. I thought it was quite fun to write, too, and I am proud that it will be a part of this game.

You can read the story by visiting https://darkerarpg.com/red-skies. It won’t cost you a thing other than the time it takes to read it. Plus, you can check out the rest of the Dark Era site to learn more about their roleplaying game.