Starfinder Ports of Call, the latest sourcebook for Starfinder, offers a myriad of locations for you to visit in your Starfinder games!
In addition to some extra species and downtime rules, the bulk of the book revolves around Ports, places where Starfinder heroes can dock their ships and explore the surrounding settlement. Think of all the characters you’ll meet, the exciting points of interest, and even the opportunities for work! You’ll find all of that, and more, within these pages.
A major trope of many sci-fi and science-fantasy works involves some kind of smuggling or transportation of cargo; the universe is a mighty large place and people always need someone to transport things from point A to point B. Whereas a good chunk of Starfinder content might center around combat or individual character abilities, Starfinder Ports of Call aims to explore the supply chains of the Drift.
Let’s submit our docking coordinates right for the details of the book!
Starfinder Ports of Call: Who It’s For
Starfinder Ports of Call is one of the rare Starfinder sourcebooks geared predominantly for Gamemasters, as a lot of the content serves as a basis for sessions, campaigns, and one-shots. There are 10 major settlements in the book, each one a fully fleshed-out entry that gives more than enough content to understand the dynamics therein such as important districts or key figures.
This isn’t to say that players can’t find things to like about Starfinder Ports of Call, however. Buried within the entries are additional archetypes, spells, and general inspiration for characters or contacts that your character might have. But even though these things do exist, they are ancillary, supporting effects of the book’s other content.
This book is a much a way to populate galaxy with fun locations that the players can visit, especially if you aren’t already using the Deck of Many Worlds. And, even if you were using those cards to create your planets, having some destinations already planned out is always nice to have in your Gamemaster toolbox.
While there are several Ports that are provided with a ton of extra detail, there are also some sections that provide only a handful of paragraphs to get you started. These are geared more as what I like to refer to as ‘springboards’ – just enough information to whet your palate and allow you to fully exercise your creative liberties.
Here’s how Starfinder Ports of Call boils down in terms of players and Gamemasters:
- As a player, I would use the ports of call as a basis for my characters, leveraging the dynamics of the locale to birth the inner conflict and drive to adventure.
- Gamemasters will love and appreciate the full complement of locations that can be seamlessly slotted in and repurposed without much effort at all.
Starfinder Ports of Call: The Best Parts
Now let’s take a look at my top three adventure hooks from the Starfinder Ports of Call. These are things that caught my eye when reading through the book, and the things I’m most excited to bring to the table.
Golarion World (Pg 64)
I’m about to be a player in a Starfinder one-shot and I can’t wait to enact a character concept of mine that I’ve had sitting on the backburner for awhile: a mechanic tasked with repairing entertainment-tech at a wonderful resort using a drone. And what better place to have their training than Golarion World!
What I love about Golarion World is that it was an easy way to take existing Golarion lore from Pathfinder and transition it to Starfinder. All of that information Gamemasters have lodged away in their brains can be directly translated and used in a Golarion World manner. Only now you get to also take advantage of technological advances to really dazzle and impress the party.
Maybe my next goal should be taking an existing Pathfinder Adventure Path and setting it IN Starfinder’s Golarion World. Sounds like a lot of work but also…it would be incredible.
Vault of Vorlath (Pg 152)
I’m not sure why, but when I was reading about the Vault of Vorlath and the worlanisi, I was getting a blend of Mad Max vibes along with some flashbacks to Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 3. Don’t worry – we’re spoiler-free here. However, I’ve always loved desert settings where water becomes akin to a form of currency; it is infinitely more precious because of its scarcity.
Because of the Vorlath Mercenary group that calls this moon home, this also makes a fantastic spot for the party to keep coming back for jobs and recruiting allies from their ranks. It’s a hip and happening place, and you can even pick up a commemorative tattoo from Squeaktail’s entertainment empire, if you so wish.
Luck is for suckers.Vorlath Mercenaries High Command, page 153
Cargo (Pg 166)
One type of Starfinder campaign that had to be sort of fleshed out through house rules up to this point has been the smuggling/shipping game. The transportation of cargo and goods can lead to a lot of excitement, such as corporate intrigue, clashes against authorities, and so on. Now with Starfinder Ports of Call you can find alternate rules for Galactic Trade and cargo!
What I really enjoy about this set of rules is that you don’t just get a framework for buying and selling cargo; you also get rules for complications that can arise from the the nature of the job itself. The cargo might be radioactive or a tough sell, leading to situations that the party has to deal with further.
This entire subsystem is also locked and loaded for adventures built around it. Want to play a Han Solo campaign? Starting with a tiny little ship and slowly transforming it into a freighter or series of massive cargo transports sounds like an excellent campaign that I would love to sink my teeth into.
Starfinder Ports of Call: Parting Thoughts
The Starfinder Ports of Call sourcebook dishes up a healthy serving of new and exciting locations for starships to land and explore. Alongside other sourcebooks like Starfinder Near Space or Starfinder Pact Worlds, and suddenly the galaxy seems even more sprawling than it already was. Exploration is a central theme to ‘space games’ like Starfinder, but sometimes having that port-level detail eludes us. Not any more.
[Disclosure: Nerds on Earth was provided a copy of Starfinder Ports of Call from Paizo in exchange for an honest review.]