I played prior to Starfinder’s release, at a table run by Owen K.C. Stephens, which wet my appetite enough over two hours to buy the CRB – mostly because I played the Ysoki mechanic iconic and kept thinking of Rocket from the Guardians of the Galaxy.
Rat, Raccoon, close enough. Now go get me that guy’s leg so I can build this gun.
This weekend I had the pleasure of playing my first real session, as the GM, with five players. We were all new to each other and the game. Gathering a group of strangers and sitting around a table playing a brand new game together is a rare RPG experience and worth cherishing.
I didn’t know much about the characters before we played beyond their theme/race/class and basic stats, so the plot focused on introducing a few (hopefully) interesting features of the setting. For the first adventure, I of course also wanted to sample different parts of the game system, especially including starship combat.
The game started with the party nearing the end of a simple delivery mission, flying a cargo hauler and a few escort fighters. Inevitably for an RPG, pirates attacked precisely when no one else was around. After engaging for several rounds in that scenario, though, a spatial distortion formed nearby, eventually exploding with an engine-wiping EMP as it formed a singularity of sorts. When they got their systems back online, the party noticed a hefty asteroid flying through space from the now-fading anomaly.
No ordinary asteroid, this two-kilometer wide rock was dense enough to have low gravity, and sensor scans picked up an artificial structure on the surface. Its current course would plow straight into an inhabited moon, and tractor beams proved unuseful when the asteroid managed to course-correct right back to its moon-killing vector.
The party landed on the asteroid and found evidence of an ancient, low-tech alien civilization surrounding a shiny black hemispherical building with advanced technology inside. I can’t say much more, given that they won’t finish that exploration until the next session.
Starship combat was fairly fun. One Tier-1 fighter got hit a LOT, and was disabled. Another fighter pilot had to eject before his powerless fighter inadvertently collided with the asteroid. Many pirate drones were destroyed to bring us this enjoyment.
I could already see some of the problems with starship DC scaling that many folks have brought up in other forums, and so for the future I’ve added house rules to modify the DCs and the crew skill calculations to take a stab at a fix until Paizo releases something official.
I also noticed that the rules feel like they might be a lot more fun with the entire party in a single ship. One might theorize that based by RAW, of course, but playing seems to confirm it. Next adventure, I’ll try it and see what happens.
Tactical combat down at the ground level proved much as expected for anyone that’s played 3.5e or Pathfinder.
One final note – the Bulk system is a great mechanic. It’s a lot easier to track than pounds, and makes decision points like “do I want this metal with a mass of 1 bulk” much quicker to analyze.
Looking forward to the next game day to see how the rest of the adventure plays out!