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Starfinder Roleplaying Game: Starfinder Core Rulebook Hardcover – Illustrated, August 17, 2017
"The Fifth Doll" by Charlie N. Holmberg
The Wall Street Journal bestselling author of The Paper Magician Series transports readers to a darkly whimsical world where strange magic threatens a quiet village. | Learn more
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- Item Weight : 4.13 pounds
- Hardcover : 528 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1601259565
- ISBN-13 : 978-1601259561
- Product Dimensions : 8.7 x 1.1 x 10.9 inches
- Reading level : 16 and up
- Publisher : Paizo Inc.; Illustrated Edition (August 17, 2017)
- Language: : English
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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I really want to like this product but sadly, I cannot recommend you spend $60 on this book. Stick to the PDF if you don't want to be disappointed.
Paizo needs to work with someone else for binding, the poor quality craftsmanship is hurting the experience of purchasing their games.
As far as the system behind the game goes, most of it is a translation of Pathfinder with some helpful streamlining. The character power/progression curve is still steep, especially compared to RPGs like D&D 5th edition and the Star Wars RPG, but some changes like no more base multi-attacks for fighters and spells capping at sixth rather than ninth level flatten the curve slightly from Pathfinder. The rules begin to breakdown with ship combat, where the game tries to keep power creep down by introducing checks relative to party level (which determines your ship's level, or "tier"). There's plenty of discussion on this topic among the forums, and it's hard to judge right now if the ship system is broken, but it's obvious that as written it's a poor solution that will put players on a treadmill, feeling like they need to improve their skills just to be able to accomplish the same ship activities with roughly equivalent success as they level. It's a system that is neither realistic nor adds to the fun that should come with gaining levels, and therefore it's a wonder that Paizo created this design in the first place.
Then there's the quality of the book. Paizo's print and production work generally wavers between average and shoddy. While I've had multiple adventure path books fall apart, their core books are usually a bit below the quality of books from Wizards of the Coast or Fantasy Flight. My Starfinder core book, however, arrived in pretty miserable condition. Upon opening it, the binding immediately split between pages 32 and 33. The binding looks thin with questionable integrity in other areas as well. There are multiple reports online of people missing pages, or pages assembled out of order. I'll be returning my copy and might buy the PDF instead.
As a whole, the Starfinder Core Rulebook contains a decent RPG and fills a niche for those looking for a science-fantasy setting that isn't Star Wars. If you plan to buy this, I recommend grabbing the digital PDF. Regardless, based on my experience I can't recommend purchasing a hard copy of this book.
But taking a closer look at the classes, they seem to get a very dull, uninspired, and paltry suite of abilities. Most abilities are just either crummy little passive +1 bonuses to some broad category of attack or skill roll, or once-a-day re-rolls to a similar type of check. Very little seems to be spent on making classes feel mechanically distinct or exciting. That is to say, the abilities are rarely active or open to tactical choices. Really disappointed at this dated approach to class design.
Then there are the races. Lots of impressive illustrations, but when you get down to it there's not much imagination there either. One difference between fantasy and sci-fi is that you expect the latter to offer racial options that feel very distinct and, well, alien. Instead, we just see anthropomorphic versions of earth animals. Replace a half-orc with a half-gator, replace a halfling with a mouseling.
That alone is not enough to give the impression that Starfinder has only thin coating of paint over Pathfinder, but it really shows through is that there are spellcasting classes that closely correspond to wizards and clerics. The spell lists do exactly what I would hope they wouldn't do: copy them word-for-word when they're generic, like magic missile, and only apply sci-fi trapping when they're named spells. So, for instance, Melf's Acid Arrow is now represented by nanobots coating an enemy with acid. In fact, pretty much any time a spell is altered, it's nanobots. The lazy man's magic.
And what's with all the goblins? I mean, I get that Paizo pushes their versions of goblins as part of Pathfinder's identity, but here they don't even bother with the thin coat of paint. They're just goblins in spacesuits. Why not come with an iconic alien race that's equivalent? Think "Mars Attacks!" ACK ACK ACK!
Hard pass, I'm afraid.
Top reviews from other countries
So why am I giving this a 1?
Here's the thing.
This is quite possibly the worst put together book I've ever bought. I work at a library and I've never seen a book fall apart so readily as this one did. Books that have spent years in basements that get handed in as donations have more shelf life than this piece of substandard garbage. The minute I cracked it open the pages broke away from the spine. Pages are already tearing away from whatever sub standard glue was used to bind this thing together. The outside of the book is splitting along the seams of the spine and it looks ready to fall apart at any minute. And this was just after opening it for the first time. I bought this new and it arrived in immaculate condition. That condition plummeted the moment I began using it. And by 'using it' I mean just opening it up to look inside. I'm going to have to bring it in to work and do some repairs just to keep the thing together. And they're charging how much money for it?
I can't understand why this happened? How did Paizo let this book get produced? I've had my Pathfinder core rulebook for years and that thing is built like a freaking battleship. Honestly, I've seen five dollar paperbacks that have lasted longer than this poorly put together product. Even the stuff I've weeded out of the collection that's been checked out hundreds of times have fared better.
I've had the same problem happen with my 5e DnD books. Several of them have fallen apart, clumps of pages tearing away from the spine, but nothing compares to this books readiness to just come to pieces. It feels like it was put together with blue tack and dreams.
So if you were thinking of ordering this product please wait. I'm hoping they'll come to their senses and fix whatever issue is causing this. I'd be willing to pay a bit more if the quality was better. But honestly I'm extremely disappointed with the shoddy work done on this product. Which is a shame because the game itself looks quite fun.