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.

Idari is the fifth celestial body from the sun in the Golarian system. It's not a planet, but the generation ship that brought the Kasatha from their desert homeworld of Kasath. They were destined for Akiton, another desert planet. Due to monumentally poor project management, once they got to the system they were surprised to find that Akiton was already inhabited. After some good diplomacy rolls, the Pact Worlds managed to avert incursion by signing the ship up as a Pact World itself.


The population of the Idari is mostly Kasatha, and the interiour of the ship is largely designed to mimic the conditions of their homeworld. There are cities, industrial complexes, and parks (essential, I imagine, for oxygen production), but also stretches of desert. To help maintain the ship, they have imported androids (particularly good in places without atmosphere) and ysoki (particularly good in tight spaces).

Sites of interest

There are a few good spots your players might find adventure on Idari. There's Delimar Gallery, an art gallery that basically is begging to have something stolen or counterfeited or fenced. There's the Hub Station 3, the space port that manages imports and exports, and is probably subject to its fair share of smuggling activity. Hydroponic towers is usually busy producing food for its population, and it sure would be a pity for something to happen to it. There's a monastery and a place called Paradise Village, and Outland Markets. Plenty of places to visit, people to meet, factions to clash with.

As I've noticed by now, the places that are small and confined tend to get stronger write-ups than the actual functioning planets. I feel like I could run a game on Idari today, even though I'd never given any thought to it before reading this section.

The Hub and its elevators

In a departure from science fantasy, the central cylinder of the Idari rotates to provide actual gravity. There's a transport tube running through the center of the ship, sort of a people-highway to help you get from one spot to another. This is especially helpful when you want to get from a city that's located several miles across your "sky". You go up an elevator, transition to zero gravity, get onto a different elevator, and end up on the ground that used to be over your head.

You have to think about it for a moment to grasp this. I was confused after reading it because it didn't occur to me that the tube itself (along with its elevator shafts that extend to the ground) also rotates. It's only because the tub is dead center that it lacks gravity. I imagine they must have a rail or plank, or something that doesn't spin, running through the tube to help people gain traction once they're inside. I'm not sure how the elevator portal from the tube works, either, but I'm sure this is trivial to an engineer. It took me most of my life to understand how the effects in 2001 were achieved, so I choose to not over-analyse the transport tunnel. What great fodder for a table discussion, though.

Magic-style plane

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, Zendikar is Tomb Raider world, Amonkhet is ancient Egypt 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.

This was a good section, and Idari is fun to read about and imagine. I absolutely feel prepared to run an adventure in Idari, so mission accomplished, Pact Worlds.

Header photo by Seth Kenlon, Creative Commons cc0.

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