Starfinder is great at providing a system for sci-fi/sci-fantasy adventure with starships and crazy aliens, but there is a common type of sci-fi story that the game doesn’t much explore. That would be the near-future and fantastic now type tail, where protagonists exist in a contemporary or near contemporary setting and some kind of high technology or alien threat is introduced. There are all kinds of examples, from classics like The Terminator and Predator to the netflix show Stranger Things. It actually isn’t that difficult to create a game like that in Starfinder.
Consider the Troll from Alien Archive 3 – in a universe full of laser and disintegration weapons a lumbering hulk that has to squeeze through tight corridors and can be taken out with your level one azimuth laser pistol doesn’t seem all that challenging. But take the same monster and put it into the rural US circa 1985 and you have the kind of challenge that is going to decimate a town. Or perhaps you have alien predators that hunt based on sound, but also have DR/15 sonic – without sonic weapons they are going to be very, very tough for your heroes to fight.
If this kind of story interests you and your players, you can get the feel of it with few changes. Restrict races to just one, or mostly just one (the traditional choice would be just humans, but feel free to mix it up). Lock down the classes – soldier, operative, envoy, and possibly mechanic are fine, but solarians and casters should be rare to non-existent. Finally, lock down the equipment to largely low level, analog items, and armor should be both more difficult to get and not provide the kind of environmental protections that Starfinder armor typically does. Your players are going to have to get creative if they are going to face that Troll from before with just hunting rifles and survival knives! But maybe if they explore where it came from they can find weapons better suited to fighting it…
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