Pact Worlds Review


settings rpg starfinder scifi

I've been reading through the Starfinder source book, Pact Worlds. It's a small book, but fits a lot of information into it, so I'm going to post about sections as I finish them.

Triaxus is the ninth celestial body from the sun in Golarion's solar system. As I recall, it was the first planet in the Pathfinder game setting that I learned about. I wasn's exactly surprised to find that there were other planets in the setting. I knew Spelljammer enough to know that D&D was not confined to just one world, but the only function I knew for planet hopping was to change game settings. If a game started on Toril, you visit Krynn. If you start on Krynn, you visit Toril. What other reason could there possibly be to travel the stars?

To discover that Triaxus existed and that there was no D&D setting associated with it was actually very intriguing to me. I'd been to other planes of existence, I'd been to Sigil, I'd been to a citadel in the Astral Plane. It just never occurred to me that you could also travel to planets (except the ones that were bound to a setting.)

Because I was so intrigued by it, I was ended up being pretty familiar with Triaxus before reading this section, so it's no surprise to me that Triaxus is legitamately one of the most exciting planets in the system.


Triaxus is a world of dragons, dragonkin, and a humanoid race that resemble elves and were, as I'd always understood it, known as Triaxians. Starfinder refers to Triaxians as "ryphorians," which confused me at first because I thought it was a new race. It's not, it's the same people, but it fairly recognises that dragons and dragonkin of Triaxus are also "Triaxians." I don't yet own the Alien Archive book (all my local bookstore had was Alien Archive 2, so that's my main monster manual) so I'm still not sure what a ryphorian is, but I assume it's the elf-like humanoid described in Paizo's Distant Worlds Pathfinder source book.

The different nations of Triaxus used to be busy either starting wars with each other, or else making alliances with one another so a new configuration of war could be started. After space travel became common, and specifically after Drift engines were invented, opening the entire universe for exploration, warfare at home became less interesting. In the time of Starfinder, Triaxus is still divided into a few different nations, but each nation has plenty of interests offworld to keep them busy. The way this manifests, of course, are mega-corporations, many of which are run by dragons.

Now I don't know what your TTRPG background is, but along with D&D I'm a big fan of Shadowrun, an urban fantasy cyberpunk game in which corporations often have a dragon as CEO. And I am more than happy to get this flavour in my science fantasy Starfinder game.

Oh but wait, it gets better.

Sites of interest

There's nothing but compelling story ideas in this section.

The ruler of the nation Dretchnyl is Dretchnyliax, a green dragon who's frighteningly powerful, and also very paranoid. She seems to think all the other nations are conspiring against her, and not without reason. Before the Gap, a bunch of them allied against her for fear that she was mounting a plan for world domination. This caused her to retreat into her realm, but since then she's spent time upgrading herself with cybernetics, so now she's a green cybernetic dragon with a world domination complex and a treasure hoard rumoured to contain a powerful artefact.

Bora Wood is a forest where the plants have started to become aggressive. The Doraeshi Rain Forest is strictly controlled by an AI called Iota. There's no connection whatsoever between these two forests.

The Meruchia and Nusova islands are home to massive hovering citadels run by a white-scaled dragonkin called Roslant.

There are military outposts, volcanos, paranoid leaders, greedy corporations, dragons, magic, cyborgs, plus the winter and summer seasons each lasts for decades (due to the eccentric orbit of Triaxus.)

Being a fan of Dragonlance, I really love the amount of dragons in Triaxus's lore. Not only are there dragons proper, but there are even a Paizo version of Draconians. And because this is Starfinder, it's all of that plus lasers.

Magic-style plane

Maybe I'm biased because of my love of Dragonlance and Shadowrun, but Triaxus is [still] my favourite planet in the system. It was exciting in Pathfinder, and it's exciting in Starfinder.

I've decided that the Starfinder worlds need shorthand descriptions, the way one might refer to Magic: The Gathering planes by theme. Innistrad is gothic horror world, Theros is Ancient Greece world, Ravnica is city world, and so on.

So far, this is what I have:

  • Aballon is Factorio and Portal world, with Machinarium world in the cities of the First Ones.
  • Castrovel is Zendikar.
  • Absalom Station is an aircraft carrier bathed in neon, or it's the Enterprise, depending on your preference.
  • Akiton is wild west world.
  • Verces is Mad Max or Rage world.
  • Idari is Chinatown or Casablanca or Marakesh world. It's a necessarily insular community with lots of homegrown shops and markets and traditions.
  • The Diaspora is an asteroid field. I figure anything goes.
  • Eox is cyberpunk Hyperborea.
  • Triaxus is Dragonlance plus Shadowrun.

Next in line is Liavara, a gas giant!

Header photo by Seth Kenlon, Creative Commons cc0.

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