Galaxy Pirates: Adversaries – Voidborn (PFRPG/SFRPG)
This Galaxy Pirates supplement comes as two pdfs – one made for Pathfinder, and one for Starfinder. Both pdfs clock in at 4 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page SRD, leaving us with 2 pages of content, so let’s take a look!
The voidborn fast zombie presented for PFRPG clocks in at CR ½ and is a take on the infectious fast zombie. Slightly odd – while the type is undead, the statblock still reiterates basically a ton of the undead traits and calls them voidborn traits. This would usually not be an issue, but here, as they’re non-intelligent, the voidborn would usually fall under the undead clause of no natural healing, something that is not explicitly stated by the voidborn traits, which makes me think that they may be intended to heal. The CMD is unfortunately off, and the second attack routine looks like their slam attack may be intended as a secondary natural attack.
The voidborn also features some lore DCs, which is generally something I like – but “Medium Undead Knowledge check DCs” is not standard – first of all, this is a good place to note that the pdf italicizes stuff like “Knowledge” that shouldn’t be italicized. Secondly, PFRPG usually handles knowledge pertaining undead via Knowledge (religion). It’d have been nice to see variants of the virus codified as scaling hazards, but that may be me.
As unfortunate as aforementioned hiccups are, the pdf does have something to offer that really stoked the fires of my imagination: A lore section. The pdf discusses how the voidborn are the result of a nanotech virus designed to wipe out life in the Milky Way, and when the pdf talks about how the virus was seeded by sublight probes, how it feels to be infected, the behavior patterns of voidborn, their campaign role and how their predation works, I couldn’t help but smile. As underwhelming as the statblock was, as much did I enjoy this page of well-written and fun lore.
Now, for SFRPG, the voidborn also clocks in at CR ½, but uses the EAC and KAC values of a CR 1 creature from the combatant array. Instead of +2 to Ref-saves, we have +2 to Will, which is odd – as per the undead graft, the critter should have +2 in all saves. Similarly, the undead/unliving traits are nowhere to be found here, instead sporting the voidborn trait. The attack values provided are correct, but the damage values lack the modification bestowed by Strength. Furthermore, the line looks like the creature gets a secondary melee attack at low attack bonus, which is uncommon in SFRPG at low levels, where multiple attacks are usually relegated to CR 6 and above. The ability DC for their fever is off, and we, alas, get no proper track, though the disease practically screams for a custom disease track progression.
The statblock should also specify that they’re mindless, which would usually influence their skills. Here, they seem to be using the CR 1/3 values instead. While them having a master skill (Intimidate) violates mindless’s paradigm, I can live with that, though it’s odd when you think about it, as Intimidate requires a conscious effort that the creature is clearly incapable of undertaking. The statblock, as a whole, does not operate as a SFRPG-statblock does, lacking “other abilities”, the proper formatting of a couple of components, etc.
The table is properly codified regarding the skill employed, which is a plus, though considering the flavor, Life Science or Medicine notes to treat the disease (in Starfinder, much more dangerous than in PFRPG!) would have been nice. As an aside – this being a virus, this practically screams for its own subtype graft.
The flavor, as before, is nice.
Editing and formatting on a formal level are good, though the deviations from the default values irks me. On a rules-language level, there are quite a few issues and deviations from the standard, and, alas, this pdf doesn’t have much beyond the statblocks to rate in that regard. Layout adheres to a printer-friendly two-column b/w-standard, with the SFRPG-version having a nice, starry border. The pdfs have no bookmarks, but need none at this length. The artwork featured rocks.
Paul Fields and Jim Milligan have written, as loathe as I’m to say it, two deeply flawed statblocks here, with the SFRPG one feeling like it’s a pre-Alien Archive one. Particularly in SFRPG, the options of the system have not been realized, and there are, unfortunately, quite a few glitches in this brief file. This is all the more unfortunate, as the lore section is inspiring, to say the least, and oozes flavor. Still, as a whole, I can’t rate this higher than 2 stars.
You can get this inexpensive, early offering here on OBS.