Exclusive Deep Dive Into Starfinder RPG’s Planet Verces
Starfinder aims to catapult forward in Paizo’s Pathfinder fantasy universe, and tell stories set in a science-fiction meets fantasy setting of goblin-crewed starships, magical laser rifles, and dragon space explorers. We’ve had a few opportunities in the last several months to highlight Paizo’s upcoming tabletop RPG, including an interview with the creative director and a first look at one of the game’s iconic characters, Iseph the Operative, and later a broader look at all the central characters of the new fiction.
Today, we’re continuing the trend to show off a first look at one corner of the Starfinder universe, and some of its inhabitants, including another closer look at one of Starfinder’s iconic characters.
Verces is one of many explorable planets in the Starfinder universe. The images below each highlight a different aspect of this single planet, but it’s worth noting that the actual Starfinder setting includes info on numerous worlds and moons, space stations, and civilization arc ships, all that neighbor Verces, not to mention the way the Starfinder setting opens the door for galactic exploration of the solar systems that lie further away.
I’ve had a chance to begin exploring some of the Starfinder RPG, and Verces and its many unusual features are a good representation of the creativity on offer in the game. For players fascinated by the meeting point between magic and technology, Starfinder may be a great fit when it releases later this summer.
Each of the images below highlights an aspect of the planet of Verces, including both art directly shared from Paizo and written commentary from the development team.
Verces is a tidally locked world, meaning the same side always faces the sun, making the light side a parched desert and the dark side seas of frozen ice. Only along the planet’s terminator – the narrow band where the two sides meet – are conditions right to feed and support a robust society. And they have – Verces’ famed Ring of Nations is perhaps the most technologically and socially advanced humanoid society in the Pact Worlds, their urban megacities blending into each other and national borders all but subsumed by an effective worldwide government.
Keskodai, Starfinder’s Iconic Mystic
While not native to Verces, many shirren – such as Keskodai, our iconic mystic – settled Verces upon their arrival in the Pact Worlds system, having made first contact with Vercite aethership crews. Today, shirren have spread throughout the Pact Worlds, but that first desert colony in Verces’ parched Fullbright region remains a well-populated bastion of shirren culture. Among their most interesting qualities is the fact that, as former hive-mind creatures who managed to achieve independence, shirren derive physical pleasure from making choices, no matter how small. While most of them manage to keep this under control, it’s not uncommon to find shirren blissed out in so-called "option-bars,” feeding their addiction with seemingly minor decisions.
Bloodbrother, A Creature Of Verces
Native to Verces’ dark side, bloodbrothers are terrifying predators who don’t merely devour their prey. Instead, they place the victims inside their hollow chests and use tiny vampiric tendrils to link their circulatory systems together, using the prey as a spare heart. Bloodbrothers can keep these imprisoned creatures alive for months, slowly siphoning off their stored energy using the prey's own metabolic processes, before finally abandoning the desiccated corpse.
Ringworks Wanderer, a Starfinder Starship
Verces’ native verthani—humanoids with protruding, mouselike eyes and color-changing skin—were the first civilization in the Pact Worlds to take to the stars in their majestic aetherships. Today, Verces’ shipyards at Skydock, an orbital platform tethered to the ground by a space elevator, make some of the best starships in the Pact Worlds. Illustrated here is a Wanderer-class starship built by the Ringworks aerospace corporation. While wanderers are most commonly encountered in their shuttle configuration, the company also sells slimmed-down and armed-up versions like this Starwasp for planetary defense or use as a short-range fighter. While Starfinder is primarily a game about individual characters and their adventures, the Starfinder Core Rulebook also contains complete rules for starship combat, rules for building and customizing ships, and sample starships for a variety of different races.
A Cybernetically Augmented Adventurer
Even in ancient times, the traditional caste system of Verces included the Augmented—people who pioneered early cybernetics and other forms of technological body-modification. Today, most people on Verces embrace or at least condone such modifications, and some of the best cybernetics in the system come from their labs and factories.
The Augmented Faction
Grown from a local caste into a social movement that includes people of all species, the faction known as the Augmented seeks to further evolution and self-improvement through technology, and advocates on behalf of those ostracized by their communities for extreme augmentation. From their headquarters on Verces, the organization’s ruling Cypremacy Collective seeks to fund advanced research by groups like the Everlife Adaptation Corporation and the Spellsight Cooperative, while quietly hunting down and silencing those technoterrorists who tarnish the group’s reputation by seeking to “enhance” others against their will.
Thanks for checking out our first look at Verces. We'll be continuing our coverage of Starfinder with an in-depth look at the final game closer to release in August. In the meantime, for additional tabletop gaming recommendations, check out our Top of the Table hub.