Starfarer’s Codex: Planetary Explorers’ Essential Equipment (SFRPG)
This installment of the Starfarer’s Codex-series clocks in at 11 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page SRD, leaving us with 8 pages of content, so let’s take a look!
All right, we begin this pdf with 16 different technological items, which include pretty much what you’d expect to see, considering the title of this pdf: There is, for example, a toxicity sensor, a a water purifier…and e.g. a sonic topographer, which is a great excuse for the GM to share maps and allow PCs to plan expeditions properly. The aerial survey is a fist-sized sphere that follows a similar paradigm: In a cool way, it needs to return to provide the holographic image, which once more can provide an interesting way to use it, while still allowing the GM to limit it.
The distress beacon also represents a definite classic that will get some serious use. Don’t want to spend the night on the floor? An elevated blind does the trick, and (xeno-) archaeologists will appreciate the hand excavator for careful excavations. I also really enjoyed the convenience of the properly codified hyperspace delivery drone and seismic charges that can help level terrain. Off to an inhospitable planet? Well, you will want to pack perimeter fences…and depending on the amount of life there, a nutrition station and a mobile lab can mean the difference between death and survival. A personal bivouacs and portable spans can help you maneuver the rugged terrains you may find.
Rebreather masks and specimen containment units, ranging from S to L, complement a section that must be considered to be a rather impressive array. Beyond these, we are introduced to a total of 6 different magic items: Automated deforesters are basically one-use, low-cost magical herbicides that can be pretty lethal to plants. Beastblind amulets hide you from unintelligent fauna, but only from animals. The boots of winding ways record steps taken, which has pretty damn cool narrative potential! Greensight goggles grant sense through, but only through vegetable matter, of 60 ft. The immersive panorama visual, auditory, olfactory and thermal impressions and can then reproduce them as a 4th level holographic image. Like it. The sympathy stone can be held nearby an object, then flying to the closest concentration of that material in a 400 ft. radius. Vermin repellant does pretty much what it says on the tin.
We also get an array of 6 different hybrid items: Campsite veils are basically cloaking versions of the perimeter fence, and there is one more potent version included, with the invisibility veil. Perimeter walls go full scifi with basically the force-protection upgrade for such fences. The Nav beacon greatly helps navigation, allowing for reliable, if not perfect, approaching of the beacon while cryostorage…well, I think you know what that one does, right? The section also includes orbital gateways.
The pdf concludes with two new vehicles: At level 3, the hardy planetary rover (anyone said Mass Effect?) and the level 10 mobile command station.
Editing and formatting are top-notch, I noticed no glitches on either a formal or rules-language level. Layout adheres to the two-column full-color standard of the series, and interior artwork is full-color and of a consistent style, showing new pieces by Jacob Blackmon. The pdf comes with detailed bookmarks, making navigation comfortable and fun.
Matt Morris delivers big time here – this humble item-collection provides a ton of items that include the staple ideas we have about planetary exploration, and it does so in an inspired manner, providing narrative angles for both players and GMs to explore. This is a fantastic little offering, and manages to cram more style into its humble objects than I dared to expect. Highly recommended for all Starfinder groups seeking to explore unique planets in a professional and systematic manner – the book made me think about xenobiological/archaeological explorations and how to run them – inspired! This is a fantastic little book, well worth 5 stars + seal of approval.
You can get this inspiring equipment here on OBS!