Starfinder: Ports of Call is out now (available for download to subscribers, and on book shelves soon) so let’s take a first look!
Ports of Call is very much a setting book, with 10 major settlements explored in detail, becoming both great jumping off points for adventure, as well as possible pit stops for your adventuring party when they need a place to rest and resupply after tackling challenges out in the Vast. The book is divided into 3 sections – the first looking at a few species that haven’t had a closer look in the Starfinder setting, the second containing the aforementioned ports, and finally the Traveler’s Toolbox with rules and resources for transporting cargo, making contacts, and more.
Section 1 – Traveling the Galaxy
Before we look at new Species, we’ve got a few quick sections on the Galaxy and various sectors. This is the first map I’ve encountered of Starfinder’s Galaxy, and one that includes clearly laid out areas of influence for the Azlanti Star Empire, the Swarm, and even the black hole at the center (Named Old Rovagug!). The galaxy is roughly 10 billion years old (also new info) and the black hole at the center is not only the gravitational core of the galaxy, but also a constant source of Negative Energy Plane rifts, as well as the undead that naturally generates. Old Rovagug is a dangerous place to get close to! Many other features of note are detailed as well.
Next we have a section on the changes to Drift Travel following the Drift Crises. Drift Lanes are new, and the fastest methods of travel from Port to Port have been drastically altered by this interstellar event. If you are familiar with Cowboy Bebop’s gates, or Star War’s hyperspace, you’ve got some rough understanding of Drift Lanes.
There’s a couple of pages on Galactic Anomalies, Exploration, and much more, with adventure seeds and such. Then we get to the new Species themselves. We start with Giant (the various types are subspecies) which I’m pretty excited about, then the shapeless oozes known as Selamid, another ooze type with the Thyrs, and finally the Xulgath (troglodytes if you’re nasty) which apparently have been spread through Pact Space by the Drow as a labor force (much like the orcs, all continuations of relationships from Old Golarion).
The section adds more Downtime options, then closes with Starship options including expansion bays, new frames, and more.
Section 2 – Ports
A quick rundown of the 10 Ports. There are two ‘guide’ characters (Sprax and Moscaru) who give some color commentary which is a lot of fun.
Anduwar – city of Giants. Strife between the different subspecies gives the sprawling city an undercurrent of tension, but you’d be hard put to find a better destination for characters that are Large or bigger. Interestingly, a few prominent deities from the Giant pantheon get a reintroduction into Starfinder here. In addition to the adventure locations, hooks, and other details, there’s a page of feats here with an emphasis on size and strength.
Atuity – An Azlanti outpost, located in a harsh jungle. It’s actually a crossroads for the Veskarium and Azlanti Star Empire, with both making a claim to the place. So far, there isn’t overt war, just both parties trying to ingratiate themselves to the local populace. Outside the city is an incredibly dangerous jungle, so that complicates matters as well. A page of Biohacker Theorems and Serums are presented as well.
Drifter’s End – This is the main port for Absalom Station, and as such it’s probably the most diverse location presented. Lots of great stuff here for the jewel of the Pact Worlds, and some new tech (including Extreme Hoverkates!) at the end.
Golarion World – It’s like Disney World for Old Golarion, a huge theme park built off somewhat misunderstood history of Golarion and blatant historical mistakes. The largest and most ambitious amusement park in the known galaxy! There may or may not be some mysterious and possibly sinister alien artifacts beneath the park. There also might be some issues with invasive species gone rampant, but I’m sure all that will be Totally Fine tm. We get a page of Golarion World serums, and pot-bellied bulette companions(!!!) to close this one out.
Izadamar – It’s a modern port built on top of a military outpost, built on top of an ancient megacity. Part of the Scoured Stars, and reclaimed by the Starfinder Society and allies, this port is likely to be the jumping off point for further adventure in the once inaccessible part of the Galaxy. Of course, there’s plenty of adventure to be had in the massive ruins the port is built in too. For our close, we get some new spells including the spicy Conjure Grenade.
Jhavom – This is a major city of the Osharu, the slug-like scholarly species from Alien Archive 2. A university city protected by a bubble, surrounded by jungle, Jhavom is the jewel of Osharu society and contains not only much of their accumulated knowledge but also the cutting edge of developing Osharu science. We bookend with a new archetype, the Expedition Chronicler.
Outpost Zed – a rebel space station on the edge of Azlanti space. Built in the rusty shell of an old mining platform, Zed is a lawless free-wheeling market and home port of smugglers, pirates, and more. The only law on the station is ‘no stealing’ with the understood caveat that it’s more ‘don’t get caught stealing.’ Most Starfinder parties are going to love this place. Savy players may recognize this place from a previous AP… We get a some new Nanocyte knacks at the end of this one.
Precipice – A free city on the surface of Apostae, Precipice is a gate to wider Drow society, as well as a place where the many less privileged species that call Apostae home can break free of Drow bondage. It’s technically a rebel city, as xulgath revolutionaries liberated it from a small Drow nobel house during the Drift Crises. How long it can remain free remains in question. We get another new archetype here, the Deep Delver.
Shulgi Station – A station right next to a stable portal to the Astral Plane, Shulgi is maybe the strangest Port of Call. Deeply affected by planar traffic, the port actually exists on multiple levels, and how much of it your can perceive depends on the mindset of the viewer. Government is a mishmash of religious orders, administration, and more, with both the Hellknights and the Church of Ibra playing significant roles. Oh, and on the other side of the portal is a demiplane in the Astral that connects Nirvana, the Abyss, and Axis. So that place gets pretty crazy. Lastly, we get some new spells, including Capricious Cats, which summons a swarm of kittens UwU
Uzodia – a nexus of learning and magic building on the traditions of Old-Mage Jatembe and the Ten Magic Warriors, Uzodia is in a lot of ways the Starfinder successor to The Magaambya. Created by scholars during the Gap, and reconnected to the Pact Worlds some time after, it is a place of rich magical tradition and a continuation of the blended magic of Jatembe. Interestingly, we end with a couple new Starship weapons.
We also get several two pagers on smaller stations. Tons of interesting lore and adventure hooks here. Lastly, Accord Ports, Magic Ports, Religion Ports, and Tech Ports provide a smorgasbord of lesser ports with a paragraph each.
Section 3 – Toolbox
I won’t go too heavily into this section. There is a detailed Cargo subsystem if your group is looking to turn their starship into a moneymaker (not a bad idea). We also get detailed write-ups of several possible Contacts the party could interact with (like Greentooth Zib here), a Sidejobs section for mini-adventures and short encounters.
Ports of Call is just brimming with great story and fun setting, sure to make any Starfinder game richer for it’s inclusion. I can’t wait to make a deeper dive through it! You can get your own copy from Paizo, or your Friendly Local Game Store (FLGS) soon!
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