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.

Liavara is the tenth celestial body (counting the Diaspora as one) from the sun in the Starfinder version of the Golarion system. It's a gas giant, but it's got several satellite moons (such as Arkanen and Osoro) and the Upwell satellite station in orbit around it, so it's a busier place than you might expect from a planet that's got very little substance. Interestingly, Liavara itself is not a Pact World, largely because it's just a bunch of gas. Many of its moons, however, are designated collectively as a Pact World protectorate.


Liavara is home to a species called Dreamers. They're not native to the world, and actually migrated to Liavara from its neighboring planet Bretheda.

I don't own the Alien Archive (my local bookstore only had Alien Archive 2, so that's what I have), but it just so happens that Dreamers appear in Alien Archive 2, so for a change I was able to turn to the appropriate page and do a little extra reading. Dreamers a sort of large-sized jellyfish creatures with no recognisable society, although they do "sing" in what is often described in the same way you might describe whale songs. Their songs are psychically powerful, and they seem to thrive in the Liavaran environment.

Research of Dreamers is mostly forbidden, with most organizations (including the barathus, of Bretheda, who are considered the protectors of Dreamers) encouraging a live-and-let-live policy toward them. However, there are some by-products of Dreamers that have been exploited. Alien Archive 2 doesn't go into great detail of what form these by-products take (it may just be that people have reverse-engineered what Dreamers do in their songs) but there are stats for two things derived from the psychic powers of Dreamers.

  • Dreamsnuff is an inhaled drug that provides a bonus to Perception checks and to saves against mind-affecting effects, but comes with the risk of addiction.
  • The Synesthetic Weapon Fusion imposes psychic damage on a critical hit.

Sites of interest

There are lots of satellites and moons around Liavara, and I think the subtext is that this is functionally a miniature Diaspora. Unlike the Diaspora, though, there's a focus to all the disparate space stations and colonies, which is Liavara itself. I struggled for a few days trying to differentiate Liavara and Bretheda, because they're really similar: lots of little satellites around a big useless gas giant. I've settled on this: Liavara, to me, is Stargate Atlantis or SeaQuest.

Liavara is a big ocean of gas that draws both scientific study and economic exploration. It's not self-governed, and most of the territory is controlled by an organisation on Bretheda, called the Confluence. The moons that are detailed (however briefly) in the book are populated with miners, scientists, and even bacteria farmers (for food production). If you need a storyline involving mining rights that's not just about mining asteroids, or you need a scientific outpost that's gone suddenly mysteriously silent, or a frontier town being bullied by a greedy corporation or a rogue mining operation, then Liavara is your setting.


As usual, there's a theme at the end of the section. This one is the Dream Prophet character theme, which grants a Wisdom and some Mysticism bonuses. At 6th level, you get a free use of augury, which admittedly is one of the fuzziest spells of them all, but as a GM I actually really enjoy it. It's challenging, but fun.

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, 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.
  • Liavara is SeaQuest world, except the "sea" is a gas giant.

Next in line is Bretheda, another gas giant!

Header photo by Seth Kenlon, Creative Commons cc0.

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