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Review of Starfinder Interstellar Species

Cover for Interstellar Species Paizo Starfinder
Starfinder Interstellar Species by Paizo Image Credit:

Starfinder Interstellar Species, the latest sourcebook for Starfinder, provides even more depth to the vast variety of playable species already in the game!

I don’t know if you’ve been keeping track, but I think at this point there are over 100 unique species that you can currently incorporate into a character build in Starfinder. A HUNDRED! And although Starfinder Interstellar Species doesn’t expand on all of them, it does take the 25 species that Starfinder players wanted more options for, adding things like additional lore, traits, spells, and more.

And, on top of all that, there’s also a brand new playable class: the evolutionist! If you choose this class for your Starfinder character, you’ll be tapping into ways to augment and adapt your body to help you be the best space pirate, corporate spy, or bounty hunter on this side of Absalom Station!

Let’s fly straight into the details of the book!

Starfinder Interstellar Species: Who It’s For

Starfinder Interstellar Species is a book completely dedicated to Starfinder players, not just Gamemasters. After all, the entire idea and premise of the book was built upon a community poll to see which species players wanted Paizo to develop most.

But before I get into that, I’d like to call attention to pages 37-41, which provide a showcase of every playable species in Starfinder so far. This includes a little mugshot, description, and which sourcebook contains more detail for you. If you’re anything like me, you can’t remember the difference between a Bolida and a Kanabo, so this is a much-appreciated reference for player and Gamemaster alike.

Beyond that, if somehow there just isn’t a species that grabs your fancy and you want to create your own, there’s even a section on how to build your own custom species to help keep it balanced with the other options. You can even randomly generate options for a custom species thanks to the tables being rollable. I especially appreciate the weighting towards more common abilities and traits, with things like the ability to Change Shape or having an inherent Breath Weapon are more rare.

Then we’re getting into the chunk of the book discussing all of the expanded options for 25 Starfinder species. I’m not going to get into the details of each one, but the art alone is worth the price of admission. One of my favorite aspects of Starfinder is paging through the Alien Archives to see which creatures and species jump out at me, so Starfinder Interstellar Species is like an expedited on-ramp for that experience.

One of the hardest things for me as a player is to figure out the motivation for my characters. By including information on homeworlds, culture, and more, I’m able to find those little nuggets of inspiration that I can tap into and run with. It really gives you an idea of why these species have their special traits or how they’ve evolved over time.

Speaking of evolution, players will be thrilled by the new Evolutionist class in Starfinder Interstellar Species! The class revolves around the use of Mutation Points (MP), which are gained at the start of your turn. These points grant you bonuses during each combat, meaning that the longer the combat goes, the more powerful you’re going to become. So for something like a long boss battle, an Evolutionist can be a real boon.

What I like about the Evolutionist class is the versatility that comes with augmenting your character. You really need to manage those MP, as when you have a certain number they can activate drawbacks instead of just being beneficial. You can also spend your MP on various abilities, which makes you into a pseudo-multi-tool that actually feels adaptive to a plethora of scenarios. Players who like to figure out how to make their character shine in any situation will find a welcome home in the Evolutionist.

Starfinder Interstellar Species Art

Starfinder Interstellar Species: The Best Parts

Now let’s take a look at my top three adventure hooks from the Starfinder Interstellar Species. These are things that caught my eye when reading through the book, and the things I’m most excited to bring to the table.

Astriapi (Pg 52)

Starfinder Interstellar Species Art

Astriapi are insectile engineers that are known for the biodiversity and ecological engineering marvels of their home world, Colveare. However, most of the technological advances and knowledge associated with their arboretums and groves was developed during the Gap, so they are a society that is desperately trying to reverse-engineer their surroundings to re-unlock the knowledge of the past.

What I really like about the Astriapi is this core idea that their society is undergoing a slow march towards extinction if they are unable to figure out their own secrets. It gives plenty of plot hooks and reasons why an Astriapi PC might be venturing off their home world. In fact, you could center an entire adventure path around this idea, having the party delve deep into the annals of Astriapi society to find this knowledge and restore them to greatness.

I also really like the Singing Stinger one-handed weapon, that functions as a musical instrument, blowgun that fires darts, and includes the analog, breakdown, injection, professional (musician), and subtle special traits. It’s such a strange concept, but I really dig it.

NPC Gallery (Pg 150)

One of my favorite books from Pathfinder First Edition was the NPC Codex, because it was a veritable trove of character concepts. These aren’t just characters that you can slot into your game as NPCs, but they’re also really good springboards for player-characters as well. Starfinder Interstellar Species has an NPC Gallery of 72 concepts that function the same way.

All of the NPCs in the gallery are separated out by Theme so that you can quickly find an NPC that might fit in a given situation. You might slide an Influencer into a dance club as a source of information, or perhaps you have a plenipotentiary who has gone rogue, creating treaties that line their own pockets without any thought to the ramifications of their home nation.

On top of that, every other page has some amazing artwork that you could easily repurpose for your own characters, including species that are featured within the Starfinder Interstellar Species itself. There’s also a really cool Ops Infiltrator on page 181 that looks like it’s been put together from Space Marine parts. Love it.

“..However, power corrupts some plenipotentiaries, turning them into terrifying political juggernauts who can spread chaos unless their patrons intervene quickly.”

Plenipotentiary, Page 161.

Evolutionist (Pg 10)

I have to bring up the Evolutionist again, because this is definitely going to be my next character. One of the options for Evolutionists in Starfinder Interstellar Species is a Sepulchral Evolutionist, meaning that they are working to attain undead immortality. This isn’t a process that comes easily, and a careful balance has to be achieved to maintain such evolutionary drives.

Their instinct allows them to deal more damage with their adaptive strikes to living creatures, scaling based off their Mutation Point total. However, their drawback is that they have to make Will Saves or spend an action attacking a foe they just dropped to 0 HP. Plus, if they have 3 or more MP, healing and Stamina point regeneration is less effective.

All of this also comes with the eventual ability to become completely undead, gaining immunity to death effects and negative levels. See what happens when you achieve your goals?

Starfinder Interstellar Species: Parting Thoughts

Nerds on Earth logo with 'Deal with It' sunglasses. Text inside the seal reads "Nerds on Earth Seal of Awesomeness".

The Starfinder Interstellar Species sourcebook is right up there alongside some of the best Starfinder books that Paizo has released. If you are playing a ton of Starfinder and rolling a million characters, then this is the book that you want on your shelf. Teeming with character options galore, Starfinder Interstellar Species breathes that alien life into your game that paints the world into the sprawling space cantina that you’ve always dreamed of.

Of course, I have to award the Starfinder Interstellar Species sourcebook with the Nerds on Earth Seal of Awesomeness. It’s jam-packed with character-building goodness and I couldn’t ask for anything more.

You can pick up your copy of the Starfinder Interstellar Species directly from Paizo, on Amazon, or better yet, your FLGS.

[Disclosure: Nerds on Earth was provided a copy of Starfinder Interstellar Species from Paizo in exchange for an honest review.]

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