|Core Guide||Player Options and Tools||Game Master Options and Tools||Starships||Supplemental Materials|
May 22, 2023
Welcome to Starfinder Society
The Starfinder Society is a worldwide science fantasy roleplaying campaign set in the Starfinder Universe. As an agent of the Starfinder Society, an organization of explorers, archaeologists, and adventurers headquartered in the Lorespire Complex of Absalom Station, you dedicate your time to discovering and chronicling all corners of the galaxy (and beyond). Starfinder adventures range from exploring unknown worlds and star systems to undertaking covert assignments within the bowels of the Pact World’s largest metropolises.
Starfinder Society uses Paizo’s Starfinder Roleplaying Game ruleset and setting under the campaign leadership of the Paizo Organized Play Team. This guide presents the information you need to participate in this exciting, dynamic campaign. Welcome to the Starfinder Society!
What is Paizo Organized Play?
In a Paizo organized play campaign, your character adventures in a shared setting with thousands of other gamers worldwide. Anyone can host games at homes, game stores, libraries, conventions, and online, as long as they report the adventure’s results afterward. Reporting earns participants campaign rewards and player actions influence the fate of the worlds of the Starfinder roleplaying game.
As part of the organized play experience, you can take your character to any Starfinder Society event in the world, allowing you to join a game with friends and strangers alike with ease. After each adventure, your characters grow stronger and carry their rewards with them to the next adventure, even if your fellow players and Game Masters (GMs) change between adventures. The Paizo organized play experience is uniquely immersive, as the diverse range of players, GMs, and characters provide incredible depth. The campaign is also a great way to meet other gamers and play regularly without needing to schedule regular events with a single set of people as you might for a more traditional game.
Besides the Starfinder Society, Paizo Organized Play programs also include the Pathfinder Society (second edition) , Pathfinder Adventure Card Society , and Pathfinder Society (first edition) campaigns.
Registering for Organized Play
To ensure you have access to all the tools and benefits available to players, you need an organized play number and an account on paizo.com. To create an account, visit paizo.com/organizedplay and click on the “New Players Create an Account” button.
If you are unable to acquire an organized play number online, ask your Event Organizer for help.
Where can I find a game?
Each community uses their own game scheduling process. Common platforms used in scheduling games include:
- Paizo Event Calendar
- Online Region Discord
Organized Play Forums
Join the vibrant Starfinder Society online community by participating in the official Starfinder Society forums . Ask questions! Compare character builds! Discuss! Find events! Your feedback helps us improve our program, so drop by and tell us what we can do to enhance your organized play experience.
What is a Player Character?
To participate in an Organized Play game, you need a Player Character (or PC). You control your character, who will be one of the protagonists in the game's story and can directly interact with the objects, characters, and events within the adventure. You can use a pregenerated character or create your own using the rules in the Starfinder Society Characters chapter below.
What Is A Game Master?
A Game Master (GM) is the person who presents the story, adjudicates the rules, and establishes the parameters of the player’s exploration. A GM’s duty is to provide a fair and fun game for all involved, including themselves. GMs receive credit as if their character had played the adventure as well as other recognition as thanks for volunteering their time to run events.
What is an Event Organizer?
An Event Organizer sets up organized play games and ensures they are reported accurately. At smaller events, including tables at most game stores, there is no separate event organizer and the venture officer handles those duties. Separate event organizers are more common at conventions and other large events.
What is a Venture Officer?
A Venture Officer is a volunteer for Paizo Organized Play responsible for a specific geographical region, online lodge, or other area of responsibility. They set up and assist with regular organized play events in their area. They are also responsible for responding to any player concerns in their area, reporting concerns to higher ranked officers as needed, and ensuring accurate data reporting.
Legal Rules Sources
The rules of the campaign reside in this guide, the Character Options page , and the FAQ . As the campaign develops, additional rulings might be needed. These rules will be published via the paizo.com forums or blogs and from there be compiled into the program documentation listed above.
Starfinder Society Characters
Most Starfinder Society Scenarios and Quests require the use of a Starfinder Society Character or Starfinder Society Sanctioned Pregen.
Resources and Access
Characters have Access to all Options listed as Legal for Play by the Character Options page . Players can choose any options their character has Access to in any Paizo published books or supplements they own. Players residing in the same household may share owned resources. Players can choose options their character has access to in the Core Sources regardless of ownership. Boons and Chronicle sheets can grant access to options not normally Legal for Play.
Using a Pregenerated Character
You can use a pregenerated character (or pregen) based on one of the Starfinder iconic characters. This option can be useful when time is short or you want to try out a character class. See Applying Credit for additional rules for Chronicles earned by playing a pregen.
You can choose any of the pregenerated characters without owning the associated source. You can download the Starfinder Pregenerated Characters or request them from your Event Organizer.
Creating a character for Starfinder Society play follows the same steps as in the Starfinder Core Rulebook (page 14 ) with a few additional Society-specific rules and benefits.
There is no standard character sheet format required. Character sheets must be legible, clear, and reviewable by the GM. Blank character sheets for Starfinder can be found at:
- Paizo.com (printable)
- Hero Lab Online (digital)
Character Creation Guidelines
1. Create A Character Concept
Your character is a member of the Starfinder Society, so they should be able to work with any other Starfinder and abide by the Society’s Motto: “Explore, Report, Cooperate.”
2. Choose A Playable Species
Follow the normal rules in the Core Rulebook and the additional rules below.
Players have Access to the playable species published in the Core Rulebook, including both the Core (Chapter 3 ) and Legacy species (Chapter 13 ) as well as the following species in Starfinder Alien Archive :
- draelik, dragonkin*, formian*, ikeshti, kalo*, maraquoi*, nuar*, ryphorian*, sarcesian, shobhad, skittermander, verthani, and witchwyrd
The following species are also available provided you own a copy of the corresponding source book:
- orc, pahtra*, quorlu*, and vlaka* from Starfinder Alien Archive 2
- hanakan*, ijtikri, izalguun, raxilite*, and shimreen* from Starfinder Alien Archive 3
- copaxi and kiirinta* from Starfinder Alien Archive 4
- gnoll from Starfinder Alien Character Deck
- thyr from Starfinder Ports of Call
* Species marked with an asterisk (*) are also profiled in Starfinder Interstellar Species
Additionally, there are many species that can be accessed via a Species Admittance boon. If you have a Species Admittance boon for a playable species that has since become always available, see the Starfinder Society FAQ for more information on the effects of that boon.
3. Choose A Theme
All Starfinder Society characters must select a character theme during character creation.
4. Choose A Class
Starfinder Society characters begin play at level 1.
5. Finalize Ability Scores
Starfinder Society characters must use the Buying Ability Scores rules . They cannot use the optional rules for Character Flaws, Ability Quick Picks, or Rolling Ability Scores.
6. Apply Your Class
Follow the normal rules in the Core Rulebook.
7. Assign Skill Ranks And Choose Feats
Follow the normal rules in the Core Rulebook and the additional rule below.
Skills: Each time your character invests a skill rank in Culture , choose an additional language from the list of languages in “Finishing Details” below or from any language they otherwise gain Access to.
8. Buy Equipment
Characters begin with 1,000 credits to spend on armor , weapons , and other equipment . Characters can purchase any piece of equipment listed in Chapter 7 of the Core Rulebook with an item level no greater than 2nd. Characters can purchase any piece of equipment authorized by the Character Options page with an item level no greater than 1st.
Characters retain any remaining credits on a personal credstick.
9. Fill In The Finishing Details
Follow the normal rules in the Core Rulebook and the additional rules below.
Age: Characters must be between the age of maturity and the maximum age for their species. When determining the maximum age of a species, assume maximum dice results. For example, human maximum age is 120, while ysoki maximum age is 80.
Alignment: Player Characters may not be evil-aligned. When choosing an alignment, be sure it satisfies any alignment requirements for your character’s theme (such as the priest theme).
Deities and Philosophies: Characters can worship any deity or philosophy from an approved source on the Character Options page, following the normal rules for sourcebook ownership.
Characters can worship any number of deities or philosophies but must choose a single deity or philosophy to gain mechanical benefits from. This choice may be changed later, but a character can never gain mechanical benefits from more than one deity or philosophy at the same time.
Characters with the priest theme must choose a deity or philosophy whose alignment is within one step (on either the good-evil axis or the law-chaos axis) of the character’s alignment.
Home World: This is where your character was raised, and it must be your species' home world, one of the Pact Worlds planets presented in the Core Rulebook, or a populated world presented in the Near Space sourcebook.
Introduction Notes: The beginning of a Starfinder Society game includes character introductions, so consider making a few notes on your character’s appearance, backstory, personality, and pronouns to share with other players. "In the Aftermath of the Gap" on the Society homepage and Chapter 12 of the Starfinder Core Rulebook both contain information on the campaign setting you can use for this purpose.
Languages: Characters gain some languages based on their species and home world, but might speak additional languages depending on their Intelligence or class. All Starfinder Society characters are literate and speak Common. A character with a high Intelligence score can select bonus languages from the list on pages 40–41 of the Core Rulebook.
They can also select the following languages from other sources:
- Bolidan, Daimalkan, Embri, Ghoran, Orrian, Osharu, Pahtra, Quorlu, and Vlakan (Spoken, Signed and Tactile) from Starfinder Alien Archive 2
- Accaran, Akan, Brenneri, Dirindi, Dromadan, Espraksi, Hortaa, Iji, Izalguun, Koshorian, Lumos, Morlamaw, Perani, Raxi, Sazaron, Shimreeni, Spathinae and Telian from Starfinder Alien Archive 3
- Copaxi from Starfinder Alien Archive 4
Natural Disabilities: The Starfinder Roleplaying Game allows for characters to be naturally blind or deaf as part of character creation; these character options are allowed as part of the Starfinder Society. The selection must be made at character creation and cannot be reversed. A character can choose to be either naturally blind or naturally deaf; he cannot choose to be both. A blind character gains the tactile version of any language he knows, while a character who begins play deaf automatically knows the signed versions of their known languages.
Registration: Make sure to register your character at paizo.com so you can earn credit for playing!
Starship: The Society provides Starfinders with starships as needed. See this Guide's Starships section for more information on how starships work in the campaign.
During combat, each PC is represented by a pawn. Each other creature controlled by a PC whose location outside their PC’s square affects combat is also represented by a pawn. No PC can place more than 2 pawns per adventure including their own. Temporary creatures who last no more than an encounter or two do not count toward this limit. Creatures who stay in their controller’s square during combat do not require pawns.
For in person games the Starfinder Roleplaying Game uses maps with a standard 1-inch grid to determine movement and tactical positioning in combat, so you need a physical representation of your character to use on the grid. Paizo produces a wide range of Starfinder Pawns and also works with Reaper Miniatures and WizKids to offer a wide variety of gaming miniatures , so you can find just the right figure for your character.
For digital play, use a digital image. Ask your GM for their preferred image format and size.
Between adventures, you can purchase items according to the rules below. When you are in a settlement during an adventure, the same purchasing rules apply subject to the normal limit that the only items available have an item level less than or equal to the settlement's listed Maximum Item Level . You can purchase the following items:
- All equipment listed on the Character Options page which you have Access to with an item level less than or equal to your character level.
- All equipment listed in the Starfinder Core Rulebook with an item level less than or equal to your character level + 1.
- All equipment listed on your character’s Chronicle Sheets with an item level less than or equal to your character level + 2.
- All items and services purchased with Achievement Points (AcP).
All starfinders also have access to the Tetrad Certified Translator
Characters have Access to items in the Treasure Access field on Chronicle Sheets applied to that character. Players still follow the normal rules for Resource ownership (see the Character Options page).
Infamy can reduce a character’s effective level when purchasing items.
Magic, hybrid, and technological items that can be used less often than once per day (such as once per week or once per month and so on) are considered to be usable once per adventure.
Provided you are in a settlement, you may purchase spellcasting services with a level up to half the settlement’s Maximum Item Level.
Follow the normal rules and costs for purchasing spellcasting services with credits in the Starfinder Core Rulebook (pages 234-235 ). You can also use AcP to purchase spellcasting services, which are listed individually by spell.
Purchased spellcasting is assumed to be cast using the minimum caster level. Spells without a level, such as miracle and wish, cannot be purchased as a spellcasting service.
PCs can never purchase the traveling service of a spellcaster.
No PC to PC Exchanges
In Starfinder Society play, you can never permanently transfer items or credits between PCs, but you may allow another PC to borrow items for the duration of an adventure. This means a PC cannot buy, sell, trade, or donate items to another PC. This rule does not affect the ability of PCs to pool their credits for group purchases or removing afflictions.
Applying and Transferring Fusions
The Society has specialists at the Lorespire Complex trained in Mysticism who can apply or swap out fusions for agents of the Starfinder Society. This service is free but is only available before the briefing or once the adventure is complete unless stated in the adventure. Only the service is free; characters must still pay the normal cost for transferring the fusion.
All gear is sold back for 10% of the credits the character originally paid. Partially used consumables cannot be sold back. A pregenerated character's gear can never be sold.
All purchases must be recorded on a Chronicle Sheet or on a separate record tracker.
When rebuilding your character in any way, you must describe all changes on your next Chronicle Sheet. You can never create a character using Rebuilding or Retraining that you could not build without it.
Level 1 Free Rebuilds
After playing a new character, you might find aspects of your character you would like to change. Don’t worry! Until you play a game in which your character starts with 3 or more XP, you can rebuild any aspect of your character. If this would change the character’s equipment, you can sell back equipment at 100% of credits paid. This otherwise follows the rules for Selling Gear. The character retains their Reputation earned and character number.
For retraining options available once your character reaches 3 or more XP, see Player Options: Retraining Characters.
The Starfinder roleplaying game is a living game, and sometimes game elements change over the course of a PC’s career. To reduce confusion, rule changes announced during a gaming event do not take effect until after the event ends. If an errata changes an element of your character, you may be eligible for a partial rebuild. See Errata Rebuilds for more details.
Playing an Adventure
Once you have created a character or selected a pregen, it's time for the main event: playing an adventure!
There are two types of adventures written for the Starfinder Society campaign.
- Starfinder Quests: 1-hour adventures often used as introductions to the game.
- Starfinder Society Scenarios: 4–5 hour adventures that each present a single episode in a continuing story.
Rules for additional types of adventures can be found in GM Options: Additional Adventures.
In a typical home game, the PCs are all the same level and face challenges tailored to their level. In an organized play environment, there needs to be more flexibility so characters of different levels can participate smoothly in the same adventure.
Each adventure lists the character levels that are eligible to play it, as well one or more level ranges within the adventure. If an adventure has more than 2 level ranges each table must choose 2 adjacent level ranges for that adventure. Only Characters of a level that falls within those two level ranges can play in that adventure at that table.
Starfinder Society adventures use a set of tags (labels) to highlight properties of the adventure as follows:
- Exclusive: Scenarios with this tag have running requirements outside the standard one table environment. Scenarios with this tag include specific rules on who is eligible to run it and where and how it can be run.
- Faction: Scenarios with this tag address the listed faction's goals and may grant additional reputation with a faction.
- Mech: Scenarios with this tag indicate that the associated scenario includes some form of Mech combat.
- Metaplot: Scenarios with this tag are directly connected to a larger plot arc, typically the major plot throughline of a particular Season of Starfinder Society adventures.
- Nova: Scenarios with this tag contribute to the GM 5 Nova requirements.
- Quest: This tag indicates the associated product is a single quest or a quest pack.
- Repeatable: Players and GMs may receive credit for scenarios with this tag an unlimited number of times, though characters can still only receive credit once for a given scenario.
- Starship: This tag indicates the associated scenario includes some form of the starship combat rules in the Starfinder Core Rulebook (Chapter 9 ).
- Survival: This tag indicates the players will benefit from skills and abilities relating to survival while cut off from outside resources.
- Vehicle: Scenarios with this tag indicate that the associated scenario includes some form of vehicle combat or vehicle chase.
Legal Table Size
Society adventures are written for four to six PCs.
Maximum Table: Tables cannot have seven or more players.
Minimum Table: A GM can run a table with two or three players in some situations. In those cases, all four-player adjustments written into the adventure still apply. See Adjusting the Adventure for details.
Before the Adventure
Before the game starts, choose a character to play. This can be one of your existing characters or a pregenerated character, but it must fall within the allowed levels for the adventure. If you choose a pregenerated character, you must also choose an existing character of a lower level, a first level character, or a brand new character to assign credit to.
You may also choose a Faction to represent.
The GM will provide a sign-in sheet to record your character’s name, Organized Play ID, Character Number, level and faction, as well as any contact information the GM needs to send your chronicle to you. If you are playing a pregenerated character, use the character number of the character who will receive credit for the adventure. At this point, the chronicle for that adventure is assigned to that character at that level.
One Character Per Adventure
You can have as many active characters as you want in Society. However, you can play only one of your characters during a specific adventure.
One Adventure per Character
A character can only take part in one adventure at a time. From the time the character begins an adventure to the time Chronicles are issued, that character cannot be involved in any other adventure. Characters engaged in play-by-post are considered busy and may not be used in another game while the play-by-post is running.
By default, each player can receive up to two chronicles for a given adventure: one for playing the adventure and one for running the adventure as the GM. Players can play each adventure once and GM it as many times as they like. GMing an adventure contributes to GM Nova rewards and earns AcP even when it does not award a chronicle.
Ways to Replay
There are several ways to replay adventures:
Adventures with the Repeatable tag: Adventures with the Repeatable tag can be played any number of times, with a different character each time. Unlike other adventures, they also grant a chronicle every time they are GMed.
Seeker of Knowledge boon: The Second Seekers (Ehu) and Second Seekers (Jadnura) Factions grant Access to the Seeker of Knowledge boon, which allows a limited number of replays. They are functionally a single boon; you cannot gain double the replays by gaining the boon from each faction. See the boon text for details.
Granted and purchased Replays: All players are granted 2 Replays after their first game. Each January 1st, GMs are granted 1 additional Replay for each nova they have earned up to that point. Additional replays can be purchased from the AcP Boon Store . Players must have or purchase a Replay prior to completion and reporting of the scenario they are replaying.
Granted and purchased Replays can only be used on sanctioned content that is scenario-length or shorter. Each granted or purchased Replay allows one replay of an adventure you have already played as though that adventure had the Repeatable tag.
Replaying for no credit: This is only allowed if the alternative is for the table not to play. Players must record any items or resources expended and may be given a blank Chronicle for this purpose. This is an exception to the rule that you cannot assign more than one copy of a single adventure's chronicle to a given character.
Rules for Replaying
One Chronicle per Character: Each character can only earn one copy of a chronicle for any single adventure. You cannot replay an adventure for credit with a character that has already received credit for that adventure.
Notify the GM: Inform the GM that you have already played the adventure or run it as a GM. Although GMs are asked to be flexible, the GM maintains the right to deny running the adventure for you if they feel uncomfortable running the event for players who have foreknowledge of the story.
No Spoilers: When you are replaying an adventure, avoid spoiling the adventure’s plot or using insider information to affect gameplay. Doing so can be grounds for the GM to remove you from the table. In general, be mindful in separating player knowledge from character knowledge, and if you are uncertain how to proceed, speak privately with the GM to determine the best course of action.
Reporting and Rewards for Replaying
Replays of repeatable adventures or using granted or purchased Replays earn rewards for the playthrough normally; that is, they earn a Chronicle and the same rewards a first-time player would earn. They get access to any boons and items on their Chronicle Sheet, as well as currency, XP, and Reputation, all subject to the outcome of the scenario.
When reporting a scenario replayed using a granted or purchased Replay, the GM checks the “Consume Replay” box next to the character’s information so they earn full credit for the scenario.
GMs do not record or report organized play numbers of players replaying for no credit.
During the Adventure
Remember your character is a member of the Starfinder Society, working with colleagues and friends. The Society's motto is “Explore, Report, Cooperate.”
Each adventure typically begins with a briefing, either in the form of a message, a meeting with a venture-captain, or a job offer from an outside employer.
Slotting Boons: This is when you choose which of your character's boons are active (slotted) in boon slots for the adventure.
Purchasing Equipment: This will also often be the last opportunity your character has to purchase any needed equipment during the adventure.
Characters may not craft items during an adventure. The only allowed crafting is a single item per Downtime period (see Downtime Crafting).
Run As Written
The Paizo Organized Play program strives to provide a fun, engaging, consistent experience at all tables. GMs must run Paizo Organized Play adventures as written, which means:
- No change to major plot points and interactions
- No addition or subtraction to the number of monsters other than scaling directed by the scenario
- No alteration to the DCs or Results of Hazards or Skill Checks defined in the scenario.
- No changes to armor, feats, items, skills, spells, statistics, traits, or weapons.
- No alteration of mechanics of player characters, or the scenario including penalties due to weather, terrain or hazards.
- No banning of legal character options
Beyond the above, GMs are encouraged to make choices that would result in the most enjoyable play experience for everyone at the table and that emphasize PCs are the heroes of the story. (See GM Discretion for discussion and examples.)
Ethical Infractions and Infamy
Players are responsible for their characters’ choices and are subject to consequences resulting from those choices.
Infamy represents a character’s reputation for performing evil or criminal actions. Some scenarios will call out specific actions that will cause one or more PCs to gain infamy. A GM may also assign infamy for evil or criminal acts not specifically called out by the scenario.
Warnings: The GM must warn the Player that their act will earn Infamy. This warning can be in character or out of character but must be clear to the player. If the PC goes through with the action, they earn the point of Infamy.
Effects of Infamy: Each point of infamy reduces the PCs effective level by one for purposes of purchasing gear.
If a PC ends an adventure with 3 Infamy, they are ejected from the Starfinder Society and are no longer allowed to play in the campaign. The character must be marked dead when the table is reported.
Reducing Infamy: A PC may purchase the Infamy Reduction boon with AcP to reduce their Infamy by 1.
Major Infractions: Characters who become Wantonly Evil by performing vile actions deliberately and without motive or provocation cannot reduce the value by spending AcP and are retired from the campaign when they reach 3 Infamy. This measure is a last resort; players must try to play their characters in ways that are within the constraints of acceptable alignments, even if their characters have gained some Infamy.
If a character is retired for reaching 3 Infamy, the GM must report the issue to their local Venture Captain or Regional Venture Coordinator (more information here)
Only in-game actions earn Infamy. Code of Conduct violations earn players table sanctions.
After the Adventure
Issuing Official Chronicles
After every adventure, the GM issues each player a chronicle to document the rewards earned by a PC during a particular adventure.
Each chronicle sheet includes a summary of the adventure; indications of any choices made along the way which may impact the future of the campaign; and a log of rewards earned while exploring. It also provides areas for notes, purchases, and the acquisition/removal of conditions.
GMs must use the chronicles included in the adventure or the adventure's sanctioning documents. GMs cannot create their own custom chronicles. Changes made to increase accessibility for the GM or players, such as enlarging the text to improve readability, are permitted and encouraged and do not invalidate chronicles.
Organized play characters rely on good record-keeping to ensure accurate information while playing. Several methods of tracking exist, but the most prevalent is the Chronicle, though players can choose alternative tracking methods and keep their Chronicles as a backup. Players using other tracking methods must ensure all the data on each Chronicle is reflected in their records.
Players may choose to keep their records digitally or in paper files. If stored digitally, players must be comfortable with GMs handling their device while reviewing records. If in paper files, all pages must be carried to games.
All spells and effects end at the end of an adventure with the following exceptions:
- Spells and effects with permanent or instantaneous duration that heal damage, repair damage, or remove harmful conditions remain in effect at the end of the adventure.
- Afflictions and harmful conditions obtained during an adventure remain until healed and carry over from adventure to adventure.
During an adventure, a character might gain afflictions or harmful conditions such as curses, diseases, poison, or death. Any permanent afflictions must be cleared from the character before the end of the adventure or the character ceases to be available for organized play and must be marked dead by the GM.
Exceptions include permanent negative levels, ability drain that does not reduce an ability score to 0, permanent blindness or deafness, and conditions that impose no mechanical effect. These must be recorded on the character’s chronicle sheet.
Affliction removal applies to pregenerated characters. Any unresolved afflictions on a pregen carry over to the Starfinder Society character receiving credit for the adventure. If that means the character would be marked dead, they are marked dead immediately.
Other PCs can use their spells, feats or class abilities to assist characters in recovering from negative effects. They can also contribute consumables or credits, but are not required to. Characters can always use credits earned during the adventure to clear conditions. Condition removal purchased using AcP or credits automatically succeeds providing it is possible for it to succeed.
Reduce the credit cost to remove afflictions from a pregenerated character by:
|Level 1||100 credits|
|Level 4||600 credits|
|Level 8||3,300 credits|
Once completed, some adventures may grant access to boons. These chronicle boons will be noted on the chronicle sheet and can be accessed on the Boons tab of the My Organized Play page on paizo.com. (Year 1 and 2 scenarios included such boons on each chronicle sheet.)
Not every Starfinder works for the Society full time. Some are trained artisans, professionals, or performers and earn extra credits between missions. After each adventure that grants XP, except for Bounties, you gain a period of Downtime before your next mission, Characters who are trained in a Profession can use this to earn extra income.
Day Job: During Downtime, you can attempt one trained Profession check to earn extra money; this is called a Day Job check. Permanent bonuses from class, equipment, feats, species, and theme apply to your Day Job check as they would any check for the relevant skill. Temporary bonuses do not apply to Day Job checks, no matter the source. You can take 10 on a Day Job check, but you can’t take 20 or use the “Aid Another” action.
You gain a number of credits equal to twice your Profession skill check result, per the “Earn a Living” entry under the Profession skill (Starfinder Core Rulebook page 146 ). You cannot use other skills to make a Day Job check. Add this amount to the Day Job box on your Chronicle Sheet.
For other ways to spend your downtime, see Alternate Downtime Options.
Each time you play an adventure, your character will receive experience points (XP). Typically, you gain 1 XP for completing a Starfinder Society scenario or 3 XP for completing an Adventure Path volume.
Reputation is a measure of how influential your character is in the Starfinder Society. See Factions and Reputation for more about how Reputation works.
Unlike a traditional game in which the PCs would divide recovered magic items and other treasure among themselves, Starfinder Society awards each participating PC a share of credits based on their respective levels. Rather than divide up items unequally, PCs have equal access to purchase any special treasure found, represented by the items listed on the Chronicle. See Purchasing Guidelines for complete purchasing rules for these items.
Normally, chronicles are applied as soon as they are issued. Apply all chronicle rewards, downtime, and ongoing effects and conditions to the character. This must be done before the character’s next game.
When a chronicle is applied, the following things happen in order: earn adventure credits, complete Downtime, then earn XP. Downtime occurs before leveling up, which affects alternate Downtime options including crafting. Items may be purchased at any time when not playing an adventure, so characters can level up before making purchases, which affects what items are available.
Chronicles earned by playing a pregenerated character have a few additional rules:
- Pregen Chronicles assigned to a brand new or 1st level character can be applied immediately to the character at 1st level or held until the character reaches the pregen's level. Chronicles assigned to a character above level 1 must be held until the character reaches the pregen's level.
- Pregen chronicles applied to 1st level characters gain the following limitations:
- Reduce the credits awarded to 720 credits if the adventure grants 1 XP or 2,160 credits if it grants 3 XP.
- Characters do not benefit from any boons on the Chronicle until the character reaches the minimum Chronicle level.
- Characters receiving credit for pregen chronicles can earn the rewards or benefits associated with any of their current boons, as long as those boons could have been slotted during the adventure. This can also apply to “out of table” boons like Digital Presence or Worldwide Explorer.
Once a PC reaches the level of one or more of their held Chronicles, those held Chronicles are applied immediately in the order in which they were played. Complete Downtime and earn all rewards on one Chronicle (following the order above) before applying the next Chronicle. Downtime checks use the skills of the character who is receiving credit for the adventure at the time the chronicle is applied.
Applying credit in batches may advance a character multiple levels. The character’s level cannot exceed the level of any Chronicle applied to them, so any out-of-level Chronicles applied are lost.
Characters advance 1 level for every 3 XP they earn. Characters who are eligible to level up must do so immediately.
Being a Game Master
Running Starfinder Society games is similar to running a home campaign with a few house rules established by campaign leadership. In addition to this section, familiarize yourself with the other sections of the Guide. You need to know what players know, what their expectations are, and how their characters are created, played, and advanced.
Who can be a Game Master
Anyone with a valid Organized Play ID can run Starfinder Society adventures. Local Starfinder Society groups and the campaign as a whole benefit as the pool of Game Masters increases; the venture-officer network provides support and guidance for anyone who wants to GM.
Your Duties As Game Master
As a Starfinder Society GM, you have the following duties:
- Communicate with your local Event Organizer.
- Prepare an adventure to offer to players, including gathering the necessary supplies such as maps, miniatures, and reference materials.
- Provide a welcoming environment for players.
- Deliver session results to the player via established recording mechanisms.
- Report the results of the game:
- Ask your Event Organizer what reporting process they use.
- If you are also the Event Organizer, report games directly on the paizo.com My Organized Play page.
Where Can I Buy Adventures?
Starfinder Society adventures, including scenarios and quests, are available for purchase at paizo.com . They are usually released during the last week of each month. Current production rates include one or two new scenarios each month, with additional Society content released periodically throughout the year. These adventures are written expressly for use in the Starfinder Society campaign.
Paizo also produces additional adventures written for more general use. See Additional Adventures for more about these products and how to use them in Paizo Organized Play.
Preparing an Adventure
Because adventures are written for a variable number of characters across a range of levels, GMs need to adjust the scenario to their table using the Average Party Level and Table Size Scaling.
Determining Average Party Level
If the adventure has multiple level ranges, the GM will need to calculate the group’s Average Party Level (APL) to determine which range to use.
|APL = (sum of character levels)/(number of characters)|
Divide the total number of character levels by the number of characters in the party, rounding to the nearest whole number. (This is an exception to the usual ‘round down’ rule.) If the result of the Average Party Level calculation ends with 0.5, the players decide whether to round up or down.
Adjusting the Adventure
Level Range: Nearly all encounters list two different sets of creature statistics, one for each of the two level ranges the adventure is designed for. The adventure often also refers to important skill checks and saving throws in room descriptions or during events, listing one DC for the lower level range and one for the higher level range. In each of these cases, use the numbers, creatures, and other information listed for the selected level range.
Scaling: Within a level range, the scenario will also contain instructions for adjusting the difficulty of the scenario based on the number of PCs. These scaling instructions are usually in “scaling sidebars” but might also be in the text of the room description or encounter.
Legal Table Size: Starfinder Society adventures are written for four to six PCs. However, a GM can run a table with two or three players in some situations. In those cases, all four-player adjustments written into the adventure still apply. Make the following adjustments:
- Adventures with a minimum level of 8 or lower: can be run for a table of two or three players by adding pregenerated iconic characters at the appropriate level to meet the minimum table size of four PCs. The GM can either play these characters themselves or have one or more players play them, provided the player or players agree.
Pregenerated iconic characters are available for 1st, 4th, and 8th level. Use the pregens closest in level to the party’s APL, then recalculate the APL including the pregens since adding them may change the APL.
- Adventures with a minimum level of 9 or higher: can be run for a table of 3 players, but only if all players at the table agree. A “hard mode” playthrough like this is expected to be satisfying, but remember that adventures are designed for a minimum of four PCs. Players and GMs are cautioned that playthroughs on "hard mode" will be more difficult than normal.
- All levels: If there are still not enough players even with these adjustments and there is a player available who has already played the adventure, they can join the table, playing for no credit.
Running an Adventure
As a Starfinder Society GM, you have the right and responsibility to make whatever judgments, within the rules, that you feel are necessary at your table to ensure everyone has a fair and fun experience.
This does not mean you can contradict rules or restrictions outlined in this document (including the requirement to Run As Written), a published Starfinder RPG source, errata document (like the Starfinder FAQ and Errata ), or official FAQ (like the Starfinder Society FAQ ) on paizo.com . What it does mean is that only you can judge what is right for your table for cases that are not covered in those sources.
Some examples of GM discretion include the following:
- Creature tactics that have been invalidated by the players' actions.
- Situations or player actions not covered by the rules.
- Unclear rules.
- Terrain or environmental conditions described by the scenario, but not given mechanics.
- However, if mechanics are included, they cannot be altered.
- Reactions of NPCs to good roleplaying, and the effect that has on the outcome of the encounter.
- Alternate or creative skills used to bypass or overcome traps and skill checks.
- Note that DCs and results of the check are part of the mechanics and cannot be changed.
- Aspects of the scenario’s description and story as appropriate for the players at the table as described in the section "Running the Game" (Starfinder Core Rulebook page 392).
- Changes required to comply with the Acceptable Content provision of the Community Standards.
- Creative solutions presented by players to overcome obstacles.
- Moving plot points missed by players to encounterable areas.
- This does not include moving missed treasure.
If a particular issue comes up repeatedly or causes a significant problem in one of your games, please raise any questions or concerns on the Organized Play forums where venture-officers, members of Paizo’s Organized Play team, or fellow GMs can help you resolve it.
Errata and Adventures
If an errata or clarification changes how an ability works in a scenario, follow the current rules. If that means that the ability no longer works with how NPC tactics are written, modify the tactics as best you can to incorporate the changes.
Death and GM Discretion
Given the dangers characters face once they become Starfinders, character death is a very real possibility (and a necessary one to maintain a sense of risk and danger in the game). GMs should however consider the experience of the player when deciding whether to use especially lethal tactics or target a character in extreme danger of death, especially when the player is new to the game.
Sometimes during a game, your players might surprise you with a creative solution that the adventure did not anticipate. Rewarding the creative use of skills and roleplaying makes Society games more fun for the players. If your players find a solution to successfully resolve or bypass an encounter, give the PCs the same reward they would have gained by resolving the encounter in the method anticipated in the scenario.
The Starfinder Society never wants to give the impression that the only way to solve a problem is to kill it.
It is also possible that the PCs will kill an NPC with an important piece of information or destroy a critical clue. Unless the scenario specifically instructs you to withhold that information, you are free to improvise an alternate way for the information to survive and reach the PCs.
Concluding an Adventure
Filling Out a Chronicle
The sections of a Chronicle are detailed below. Sections marked with an asterisk (*) include some element that GMs must address before players leave the table, either by filling it in themselves or asking the players to fill in the appropriate information. Players can fill out other sections between sessions.
(A.) Adventure Name/Number: Preprinted on the form.
(B.) Character Name: Name of the hero who took part in this adventure.
(C.) Character Number:* Unique identifier for the character played, including the player's Organized Play ID and the character's number.
(D.) Partner Code: A unique code that identifies the Chronicle. May be used by third-parties to reference the Chronicle.
(E.) Adventure Summary: This may contain checkboxes to help remind you which choices you made during the adventure.
(F.) AcP Pointer: Where to find Achievement Point totals on paizo.com.
(G.) Treasure Access: Uncommon or high level items found during the adventure.
(H.) Variable quantities:* Quantities that depend on character’s level or successes during the adventure, such as credits earned, reputation, etc.
(I.) Event Name*: Name given to the event on paizo.com. This may be used when an event number is incorrect or illegible.
(J.) Event Number*: Unique identifier for the event where the game was played; provided by the Event Organizer.
(K.) Date*: Date the adventure was completed.
(L.) GM Number*: The GM's Organized Play ID.
GMs are no longer required to sign or initial any part of a Chronicle, even though earlier adventures include boxes for that.
GMs are encouraged to add notes to chronicles about interesting events that occur during the adventure.
GMs cross off the high level range items on the chronicle sheet if the party did not play in high level range.
Experience Points (XP) Each scenario awards 1 XP. Each quest typically awards 0.25 XP.
Credits earned: Each chronicle lists the "Max Credits" a scenario grants if the PCs complete all encounters and find all the treasure. PCs playing in their level range receive the amount listed for that level range. PCs playing outside their level range receive the amount listed for "Out of level range". Scenarios contain instructions for how to reduce these amounts if PCs do not complete an encounter successfully.
Reputation Each adventure lists how much reputation to award. Scenarios typically award 1 Reputation for accomplishing the mission you were sent on and 1 more for going above and beyond expectations (for a total of 2 Reputation gained). If the player did not choose a Faction to represent, they gain those 1-2 Reputation with the Wayfinders. Scenarios with the Faction tag often award an additional 1 Reputation with the named Faction(s) for completing their goals.
Fame Adventures in Seasons 1-3 granted Fame as a spendable and trackable currency. Fame was replaced with Achievement Points (AcP) for all games played after the beginning of Year 4 (May 2021)--including tables of Season 1-3 scenarios. If the Chronicle has a section for fame, cross it off.
Game Masters earn GM table credits and Achievement Points each time they GM an adventure. GMs earn a chronicle once per adventure (unless the adventure has the Repeatable tag), typically the first time they GM the adventure. Chronicles earned by GMing must be assigned to characters when received.
GMs have a few special rules for assigning and applying chronicles:
- Chronicles earned by GMing provide full rewards. This includes 100% of all credits, XP, reputation (including any bonus reputation), Downtime, and access to items and boons.
- A GM's character receives credit for the level range they are in when the chronicle is applied, regardless of the level at which the GM ran the adventure.
- GMs can choose not to receive a chronicle for any game they run, deferring it to a future run.
- GMs can assign Chronicles to characters currently playing another adventure. In this case, apply the chronicle after the character completes their current adventure.
- Chronicles earned by GMing and playing count equally for the One Chronicle per Character rule.
- When a chronicle is assigned to a character who is below the minimum level of the adventure, treat it as if the GM had played a pregenerated character at the minimum level of the adventure.
- The GM’s character receives Downtime when the chronicle is applied.
The GM can choose any combination of checkboxes / boons / rewards that could have been earned by a player. The GM is not limited to the results of the players at any particular table; however, they must select rewards that could have been earned during a single play of the adventure. Boons for specific faction members may only be selected if the character that is receiving credit also receives Reputation for that faction.
If the scenario requires players to choose among factions to receive bonus Reputation, the GM must also choose one; GMs do not earn reputation with each faction that could be chosen. The GM's choice can be different from their players' choice.
The following rules are unlikely to come up at most tables. Many of them ideally never come up. They are included here for when they are needed.
The people with the authority to issue rulings for the Starfinder Society campaign are:
- Linda Zayas-Palmer (Development Manager (Narrative Team)),
- Alex Speidel (Organized Play Coordinator), and
- Jessica Catalan (Starfinder Society Developer).
Clarifications from other campaigns and their campaign managers do not apply to the Starfinder Society Organized Play campaign unless confirmed by one of the above individuals.
From time to time, players might encounter different rules sources with minor variations in the rules. In general, the most current English-language printing of the rulebook in question is the definitive source. For this Guide, the most current printing is the English version on this web page.
The following guidelines allow players to update or convert existing characters to use the most current rules. Campaign Leadership may allow additional changes in the case of specific errata.
Class Features and Archetype Abilities: If an errata or FAQ changes an ability score-dependent feature of a class or archetype, you can rebuild your character to its current XP. You can keep the same equipment or choose to resell any equipment that augments the altered ability score at full price.
If an errata or FAQ changes one of your character's class features for which there are multiple options (such as a biohacker's field of study), you can switch that class feature to a different one that your character would have qualified for at the same level when they first received the class feature. Any abilities that have the removed feature as a prerequisite may also be altered in the same manner.
If an errata or FAQ changes a class or archetype so that you no longer have proficiency with a given weapon or armor type, you can sell back any affected equipment at full price. You can also swap out any feats directly associated with the affected equipment.
Feats: If a feat changes or is removed from the Character Options page, you have two options: you can switch the old feat for an updated feat of the same name in another legal source (if available), ignoring any prerequisites of the new feat you do not meet, or you can replace the feat (and any of the old feat’s prerequisite feats) entirely with another feat for which you meet all the prerequisites. If any of the feat’s changes directly reference one or more pieces of equipment you own (such as the weapon selected for the Weapon Focus feat), you can sell back that equipment at full price.
Items: If the price of an item increases, you must sell back the affected equipment at its original full price. So long as you have enough credits, you can repurchase the same item at its updated cost.
Spells: If the level of a spell changes, you must retrain the altered spell, replacing it with another spell of its original spell level. You can also retrain one spell of the altered spell’s new level, but only in order to learn the altered spell. You must sell back any items that use that spell at their current full price based on the spell’s old level.
Community Standards and Expectations
All participants in Paizo Organized Play must adhere to the Paizo Organized Play Code of Conduct and the Organized Play community standards—read through them and uphold them at all Organized Play events and sessions.
Community Code of Conduct
The version of the Paizo Organized Play Code of Conduct posted on paizo.com is the official version and takes precedence in the case of any conflict with the version below, which is reproduced here for convenience.
Paizo Organized Play, encompassing Pathfinder Society (PFS), Starfinder Society (SFS) and Pathfinder Adventure Card Society (PACS), is an inclusive social event open to everyone, where we intend that all participants may enjoy gaming in a fun and safe environment. Participants are expected to respect their fellow players and work together to create positive and memorable experiences. While conflict between characters may arise, at no time should a player or Game Master (GM) feel excluded or threatened at the table. The Paizo Organized Play organization reserves the right to refuse participation to any person for inappropriate or illegal conduct. All refusals of participation from Organized Play must be accompanied by a reason, duration of refusal, and criteria for rejoining organized play activities.
Inappropriate conduct includes, but is not limited to: the excessive use of foul language, physical or verbal aggression/intimidation, lewd conduct, inappropriate physical contact, unwelcome sexual attention, slander, stalking, or harassment/discrimination based on age, disability, ethnicity, gender or gender expression/identity, race, religion, sexuality, or any other reason.
Complaints under this policy should be brought to the Event Organizer or a Venture-Officer, who will work to resolve the issue or escalate the issue to the next level within the PFS organization. As an alternative, issues may be reported to the Organized Play Manager (OPM) via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Issues will be resolved at the lowest level possible within the Organized Play organization. In the case that escalation is necessary, the OPM is the final arbiter of any dispute arising from application of this policy.
Illegal activity needs to be escalated to proper authorities such as convention organizers, facility security, local police, or other appropriate organizations. Event Organizer or Venture-Officers are available to assist participants with contacting local law enforcement, providing escorts, or otherwise help participants feel safe for the duration of an event.
Paizo recognizes that there may be themes included in the Organized Play campaigns that result in uncomfortable situations at the gaming table. If content within a scenario or another character at the table presents cause for concern, we request players identify the issue to the Game Master either vocally or by passing a note. We ask that GMs help the table respect attendees’ sensibilities and reduce/redirect problematic themes once identified. If a participant has been asked to stop any problematic behavior, they are expected to comply immediately, or will be asked to leave the table.
Once again, the intention of Paizo Organized Play is to provide a fun and inclusive gaming environment. The above policy is in place to help further that goal. By joining any Organized Play table, participants are agreeing to the terms and conditions of Paizo Organized Play.
Paizo Organized Play games use the Pathfinder Baseline from page 486 of the Pathfinder Core Rulebook . Circumstances such as venue restrictions, table composition or player needs can require additional adjustments to the baseline. GMs are encouraged to choose alternate descriptions, utilize Lines and Veils, or incorporate X-Cards as described on page 485 of the Pathfinder Core Rulebook to provide the best gaming experience possible.
The version of the Pathfinder Baseline published in the Pathfinder Core Rulebook is the official version and takes precedence in the case of any conflict with the version below, which is reproduced here for convenience.
The Pathfinder Baseline
You might find that your players don’t have much to say on the topic of objectionable content, and just assume that general societal mores will keep the most uncomfortable topics out of the game. That’s not always enough, as that approach relies on shared assumptions that aren’t always accurate. The following is a set of basic assumptions that works for many groups, which you can modify to fit your preferences and those of the other players.
- Bloodshed, injuries, and even dismemberment might be described. However, excessive descriptions of gore and cruelty should be avoided.
- Romantic and sexual relationships can happen in the game, but players should avoid being overly suggestive. Sex always happens “off-screen.” Because attempts at initiating a relationship between player characters can be uncomfortably similar to one player hitting on another, this should generally be avoided (and is entirely inappropriate when playing with strangers).
- Avoid excessively gross or scatological descriptions.
The following acts should never be performed by player characters:
- Rape, nonconsensual sexual contact, or sexual threats
- Harm to children, including sexual abuse
- Owning slaves or profiting from the slave trade
- Reprehensible uses of mind-control magic
Villains might engage in such acts, but they won’t happen “on-screen” or won’t be described in detail. Many groups choose to not have villains engage in these activities at all, keeping these reprehensible acts out of mind entirely.
Do Not Cheat
Maintain the integrity of the game. Cheating behaviors include, but are not limited to, falsifying rolls, forging records, using unapproved resources, not owning the sources used by your character, and lying to GMs and Event Organizers. Participants caught cheating will be barred from Paizo Organized Play events for an amount of time dependent on the severity of the offense. Repeat offenders will be banned from all Paizo Organized Play activities.
Keep Good Records
Paizo Organized Play uses a combination of character sheets, Chronicles, and record trackers to chart character progression. GMs and Event Organizers rely on these documents to keep the campaign honest, fair, and fun for everyone. It is your responsibility to maintain accurate records. Always bring either paper or digital copies of your character sheet and supporting documentation such as Chronicles and record trackers of any character you wish to play to Paizo Organized Play events. If using paper copies, we suggest keeping them all together in a binder, with a folder for each character.
If you cannot produce the supporting documents for your character, the GM can ask you to play a pregenerated character instead.
No Character-versus-Character Combat
In keeping with the “Explore, Report, Cooperate” motto of the Starfinder and Pathfinder Societies, engaging in non-consensual character-versus-character conflict is prohibited. Players must obtain the consent of other players before taking an action that would intentionally include another Player Character in a damaging effect or other or harmful effect (such as effects that impose negative conditions).
Some examples include casting a harmful spell on another Player Character or an area that includes them, throwing a weapon with the explode property that would deal damage to another Player Character, or moving closer to another Player Character while surrounded by a harmful emanation in a way that exposes them to its effects.
This rule does not apply in situations where a character is not acting of their own free will, such as if they’re being mind-controlled by an NPC and forced to attack a fellow Starfinder or Pathfinder.
Dealing with Problems
Dealing with Cheating
Cheating is rare, and it can be a rather heated topic. If you suspect that a player is cheating, it’s always a good idea to take a step back and consider the possibility that they are instead making an honest mistake. Inaccurate numbers on a character or mistakes on a Chronicle are far more likely to be math errors than deliberate cheating. When you see these issues, keep an open mind and work with the player to resolve them. Other issues, such as lying about the results of a dice roll or the contents of their character sheet or breaking the rules even after being informed of what they are, are more clear-cut. If you believe the player to be cheating, record the organized play number of the player in question and then ask them to leave your table. Afterward, send an email to the Organized Play staff at email@example.com , including the player’s number and as much detail as you can remember about the situation.
Dealing with Distractions
No game table is completely free of distractions. However, if something (like an electronic device) creates an ongoing distraction, a GM can request that the player put it away or police their use of the device (such as not also using a tablet computer to play a video game). If the device continues to be a distraction, the GM has the right to ban that particular item for the duration of the game.
Dealing with Interruptions
Sometimes circumstances prevent a player from completing a scenario. Reasons include—but are not limited to—personal emergencies, device battery issues, venue problems, and bad timing.
To mitigate the impact on the table, GMs can exercise their discretion by adjusting the scenario’s level range or scaling to accommodate the table’s remaining players, bring in the pregenerated character that most closely resembles the lost PC, or postpone the game until all players are able to complete the scenario. If a character sheet is no longer accessible due to a loss of battery power, the player can play the pregenerated character and apply the scenario’s rewards to their original character. In all cases where the GM applies one of the above remedies, rewards for all players are based on the lowest level range played during the scenario.
GMs should work with players who do not finish an adventure to receive their Chronicle Sheets. When filling out this chronicle the Player receives full XP. They receive any reputation rewarded for the tasks the party has completed up to that point, as well as any treasure earned to that point, and any items found that were listed on the chronicles.
Players receive partial credit for Adventures and Adventure Path volumes based on the amount of sanctioned material they completed. If they complete less than half of the adventure, they receive half of the adventure’s treasure and XP; they gain full access to the items that they found during play. If they complete more than half of the adventure, they receive full credit for the adventure.
In the (hopefully rare) case of a medical emergency (defined as a player needing immediate, unexpected, professional medical treatment), the chronicle is filled out as if the player stayed for the full session and they earn the same benefits as the rest of the table.
Violation Enforcement Procedures
If a player is removed from a table for violating the community standards, or a character is marked “dead” due to Infamy, then it is the responsibility of the table GM or Event Organizer to advise their local venture-officers of the situation. The GM or Event Organizer must advise the player of the report and provide the player with the venture-officer's contact information, so that the player may present their side of the issue to the venture-officer. Rules infringements will be kept on file, as continued violations will result in suspension of organized play membership.
Characters reported as Wantonly Evil must additionally be reported to the Organized Play Coordinator (firstname.lastname@example.org) to advise them of the situation. Be sure to include the player’s name, organized play number, and email address.
(See Ethical Infractions and Infamy for more about Wanton Evil.)