Starfinder: The Races
Space: It’s Not Just For Elves Anymore!
In Starfinder, the world of Golarion has vanished under mysterious circumstances; its peoples having long since been relocated to the futuristic Absalom Station, or the far flung corners of the Galaxy. The various races of Pathfinder (Elves, Dwarves, Halflings, Half-Orcs, etc) still exist, but lack the same dominance on the galactic scale that they enjoyed on Golarion. Instead, the demographics of the Pact Worlds have taken on a new form; one featuring a few familiar faces (especially for people who have played the Iron Gods adventure path), and some newcomers to the galactic scene.
Navasi, the Iconic Envoy.
Homeworld: Golarion (Former), Absalom Station
Patron Deity: Aroden (Long Deceased God of Humanity. Modern Humans tend to worship an array of other deities, including Abadar, Iomedae, Desna, Shelyn, Zon-Kuthon, Besmara… They’re too multifarious to be pinned down to one patron, see?)
Humans, with their relatively short lives and boundless adaptability, have taken to the shock of the Gap better than most of the other Golarion races. (The Elves are not taking it well, for the record). As such, they’ve managed to secure a major position on the galactic stage. No matter where you look, there they are.
Curiously, there are Humans that aren’t from Golarion, having evolved independently on other worlds.There are also rumors that the ancient civilization of Azlant had (at one point) managed to build their own interstellar civilization. However, as Azlant was ancient history when _Golarion_ was young, the veracity of this remains to be seen… though the Starfinder Society would certainly be interested.
Iseph, the Iconic Operative
Homeworld: Androffa (Former), Golarion (Former), Absalom Station
Patron Deity: Triune (Tri-Aspected Deity of Artifical Intelligence, Computers, and The Drift)
Androids are a type of biosynthetic lifeform designed to resemble a human being. Thanks to their inherent nanite-based systems, androids are almost indistinguishable from humans in many ways, save for the glowing circuitry on their skin and their limited emotional capacity.
Androids were invented on the ancient world of Androffa; a highly advanced civilization which eschewed magic in favor of science and technology. The Androids were one of their most brilliant creations; unlike normal constructs, Androids are ‘alive’ enough to possess a soul and true consciousness. As a result, Androids enjoy the same benefits (and vulnerabilities) as a purely biological creature. It’s even possible to see undead androids in places with a heavy necromancer population.
Androids first arrived on Golarion when the Androffan ship Divinity crashed into the country of Numeria, bringing advanced technology with it. Though the strange science of Androffa remained isolated to Numeria for many years, at some point during the Gap the process for mass producing Androids was reverse engineered and perfected. As a result, Androids have long been an underclass in galactic society, having only recently been recognized as an independent species.
Androids tend to reject many of the trappings of human society, electing to forge their own path. Some Androids (like Iseph, above) choose to reject the concept of gender, claiming that any such traits were artificially imposed by humans. Others reject the customs favored by humanity, embracing their machine-nature or seeking to create their own culture. All Androids are cognizant of their former nature as slaves, and some are fearful that unscrupulous corporations seek to restore the former status quo.
Androids are built to be very fast and intelligent, but their status as former slaves and artificial nature make it difficult for them to engage in more interpersonal pursuits. They make excellent Technomancers, Mechanics, and Operatives. Some Androids, seeking to improve the standing of their peers, have also worked to overcome their limited emotional capacity and become Envoys.
An interesting fact about Androids is that, while their bodies are technically immortal, their souls are not. An Android lives approximately 100 years (with their body aging appropriately), at which point their soul departs to the afterlife and their body enters a period of nano-rejuvenation. When the body reaches peak health (and possibly a new appearance) once more, a new soul is ‘born’ into the body with little more than their basic programming. This is the closest thing Androids have to reproduction, and some Android bodies have been active since the days of Ancient Golarion.
Quig, the Iconic Mechanic. (With his Drone, Scout).
Homeworld: Akiton (though some can trace their origins to Golarion)
Patron Deity: La Shu Po (Goddess of Night, Rats, and Thieves)
Also known as “Ratfolk”, Ysoki are a rodentine species native to the red planet of Akiton. Ysoki have been traveling between their native planet, Golarion, and Castrovel for generations, thanks to the magical portal systems that linked the worlds. With Golarion gone and the advent of The Drift, many Ysoki have turned to conventional space travel, but their reputation of traders and travellers hasn’t changed. Ysoki are incredibly skilled with technology and tend to favor unique and intriguing items over credits. It’s not uncommon for a young Ysoki mechanic to get their start by repairing an old machine they rescued from the junkpile. They make excellent Operatives, Technomancers, and Mechanics. Many also become Soldiers, collecting an arsenal of interesting equipment and tailoring it to their precise needs.
One of the most iconic traits of the Ysoki is their communal nature; one rivaled only by the insectoid Shirren. The Ratfolk are deeply protective of their kin (or those they perceive as kin) and will go any length to help them. Never harm a Ysoki unless you’re prepared to deal with all of their friends and family; they’re not ones to leave such insults unavenged.
Obozaya, the Iconic Soldier.
Homeworld: Vesk Prime (and the other worlds in the Veskarium)
Patron Deity: Damoritosh (God of War, Duty, and Conquest)
The Vesk were, for centuries, the sworn enemies of the Pact Worlds. Fiercely militant, with a culture revolving around honor and conquest, the interstellar empire of the Veskarium conquered much of their corner of the galaxy, and their attempted conquest of the Golarion System is the reason why they became the Pact Worlds in the first place. It wasn’t until the arrival of the Swarm (a brutal insectoid hivemind that threatened to consume both sides in the war) that the Veskarium and the Pact Worlds set aside their interests in favor of mutual survival. The truce born from this incident has lasted to the present day, if only just.
Ironically, the warrior code of the Veskarium is actually helping things along in that regard. Only those who have proven themselves in combat are capable of holding political power in the Veskarium. However, the Veskarium doesn’t particularly care what sort of combat you’re involved in, or who the target actually is. As a result, the Pact Worlds are flush with glory-seeking Vesk, whose law-abiding and honorable natures make them ideal mercenaries, bodyguards, and security personnel. Though, don’t think that them being law-abiding means you can walk all over them; Vesk culture has a lot of provisions for honor duels and blood debts.
That’s also not to say that all Vesk are Soldiers. Many are merchants and craftsmen, while a growing number have embraced the academic pursuits of the Pact Worlds in order to become scientists, or even Technomancers. Other Vesk are fond of the more philosophical pursuits of the Solarian (whose focus on melee combat meshes well with Vesk tradition) and the Mystic.
One thing that many non-Vesk have trouble with is identifying the gender of their reptilian companions. Vesk have very limited sexual dimorphism, and their warrior focused culture doesn’t make much of a distinction between genders to begin with. The easiest way to distinguish a Male Vesk from a Female is to look at their skin coloration; females (like Obozaya, above) have brighter colored scales with shades of blue and yellow, while men have duller, earth-colored tones.
Raia, the Iconic Technomancer
Patron Deity: Yaraesa (Goddess of Knowledge, Science, and Scholarship)
Lashunta are a species of telepaths, renowned in the Pact Worlds for their focus on scholarship and mental perfection. Their homeworld, Castrovel, is home to some of the most prominent institutions of higher learning in the Pact Worlds, and some have travelled across the Drift for lightyears in order to get an education there.
The Lashunta are actually two subspecies; Damaya Lashunta (like Raia, above) are taller, and known for their beauty and force of personality. Korasha Lashunta are much shorter than Damaya, but far more muscular. Lashunta mature into one of the two subspecies at puberty based on environmental stimuli; those born into more communal and civilized environments become Damaya, while those in harsher environments tend to become Korasha.
In the past, the Lashunta’s strictly matriarchal society meant that these two subspecies were almost exclusively the domain of a single gender; female for Damaya, and male for Korasha. As men were expected to serve as soldiers while women were placed in charge of the cities, it was extremely rare for a young Lashunta to mature into the “opposite” sub-species, and early scholars who encountered the Lashunta through magical portals mistook this evolutionary adaptation for a form of extreme sexual dimorphism. Shifting cultural norms (and improvements in hormone therapy and medical technology) mean that modern Lashunta are free to choose what sub-species they become at puberty.
Regardless of their sub-species, all Lashunta are intellectuals at heart, and favor classes that allow them to pursue mental perfection; many choose to become Technomancers or Mechanics, while others enjoy the more esoteric intellectual pursuits offered by Mystics or Solarians. Damaya Lashunta on Castrovel tend to become Envoys, while Korasha often become Soldiers.
Altronis, the Iconic Solarian.
Homeworld: Kasath (Former), The Idari.
Patron Deity: Talavet (Goddess of Storytelling, Community, and Self-Reliance)
Four-Armed humanoids from the distant desert world of Kasath, no Kasatha living in the Pact Worlds remembers their native planet, because all Kasatha travelled to the Pact Worlds on a massive generation ship known as the Idari centuries ago, when their homeworld’s sun was about to go nova. Unable to colonize Akiton as they had originally planned, the Kasatha have instead converted the ship which had long served as their home into a massive space-station.
Kasatha society is heavily structured around tradition. Scholar-Priests known as adata preserve thin-slices of the brains of the deceased in order to preserve their memories and knowledge for future generations. Other Kasatha draw their lineage from various noble houses on the Idari, who have traditionally served as navigators, pilots, and ship officers. With the transition from being a Generation Ship to a Space Station, many of these noble houses are struggling to find a new purpose, leading many of their scions to seek out other pursuits.
The Kasatha are the ones who introduced the Solarian philosophy (known as the Cycle) to the Pact Worlds. Their introspective, philosophical nature also makes them excellent Mystics, while those more martially inclined Kasatha who aren’t disciples of the Cycle may elect to become Soldiers. The natural agility and speed of Kasatha also make them excellent Operatives, though the Operative’s tendency to operate on the fringes of society runs counter to the traditions of the Idari (not much of a Fringe on a generation ship, after all). Not that that hasn’t stopped some particularly brash Kasatha from pursuing such professions.
Keskodai, the Iconic Mystic.
Patron Deity: Hylax (Goddess of Diplomacy, First Contact, Friendship, and Peace).
One of the most terrifying forces in the galaxy is The Swarm; a race of Locust like creatures that travelled from world to world, consuming all they encountered before moving on. Most members of the Swarm are simply part of a hivemind, having abandoned individuality long ago. At some point, however, a sub-colony of the Swarm underwent a mutation, regaining their sense of self and rejecting the mindless consumption of their kin. This subcolony would eventually become the Shirren,and came to settle peacefully in the Pact Worlds.
Shirren are an insectoid species with a chitnous exoskeleton, compound eyes, and large antennae which aid in telepathy. They possess six limbs; two arms, two legs, and two weak “mating arms” used for reproductive and ceremonial purposes. The Shirren species has three genders (male, female, and host), and their children spend two years as larva. Many Shirren use specially designed transparent containers to house their larval children, allowing them to safely observe the world while communicating with their parent telepathically. It’s not uncommon for Shirren to take their larva with them on long expeditions or adventures; in the hopes of granting them a variety of experiences.
The Shirren’s former nature as members of a hivemind has made them deeply communal; they are excellent collaborators, though their past connection with the Swarm makes other races slow to trust them. Their desire to understand and form connections with others make them ideal Mystics, though it’s not unheard of for them to pursue the path of the Solarion. Some, eager to atone for the harm caused by their mindless kin, elect to become Soldiers; their hardy nature makes these more martially oriented professions a sound choice the Shirren emphasis on diplomacy and friendship draws many of them to the path of the Envoy, though it takes a lot of dedication to excel at this path.
Despite their communal nature, Shirren are also literally addicted to individualism; making choices floods them with endorphins, and some Shirren become “option junkies”, constantly making trivial choices in order to achieve a blissful high.
Everything Else Under The Stars
Of course, just because these are the most common races doesn’t mean that they’re the only ones. All of the races of Golarion still exist (either on Absalom Station, or elsewhere in the Galaxy), and the core rulebook is set to come with conversions for all of the Core Pathfinder Races. Wanna be a Space Elf? No problem!
Conversions of other classic Pathfinder races will be released in future books. Don’t wanna wait? No problem! The Core Rulebook also has guidelines for converting any existing Pathfinder race to their Starfinder equivalent, and Rogue Genius Games is already planning to release a book (The Starfarer’s Companion) filled with Paizo-Approved conversions (not to mention a few new options).
If that’s not enough, many of the alien races you’ll encounter during your exploration of the Pact Worlds and beyond are also playable! Wanna be a Space Goblin? How about a floating brain? Or a space pirate that glides through the vacuum of space? The Alien Archive is set to be filled with dozens of new alien species, many of them available as options for Player Characters.
And don’t worry if you’re playing Starfinder Society; members of the Wayfinder faction can unlock all sorts of alien races for play by completing storylines. Make first contact in one season, and you can play as that species in the next!
Starfinder is set up to have one of the most interesting racial makeups in tabletop gaming in years. What are you gonna play?