Alien Archive 2

For my birthday yesterday my family gifted me a wonderful book I’ve been itching to get my hands on: Starfinder Alien Archive 2! And what better way to celebrate than to share it with all of you? So today we’re taking a deep dive into the latest Alien Archive! Ready?

Let’s go!

Starfinder Alien Archive 2
Starfinder Alien Archive 2

Alien Archive 2 is an awesome supplement book for the Starfinder Roleplaying Game. This book has a hardcover, and is 159 pages in length. It’s got an American cover price of $39.99, which means that if you’re Canadian (like myself), you’re looking at a cost of around forty-five to fifty dollars for the book online, or up to sixty in your local game store. It’s currently on sale for around $32 Canadian on that handy link I posted, so I highly recommend picking it up cheap while you can.

At it’s core, Alien Archive 2 is a book of monsters. You’ll find a ton of creatures to fight and ally with inside this book, as well as some new player races. The book is easy to use, adaptable, and well organized. It also has some new character options, like new spells, equipment, and feats, scattered amongst the monster entries.

The Alien Archive features lovely cover art by Remko Troost which depicts a glitch gremlin, a mi-go, and a trox. The inside front and back covers feature an image of the Pact Worlds. After that we come to the table of contents. Alien Archive 2 has sixty-five distinct monster entries inside it, many of which have more than one stat block or variation of that creature, making the actual number of foes inside larger than it seems (around one hundred and twenty-six by my count). Of these, sixteen are playable as character races. There are also three starships, and twenty-six template grafts.

Combatant
Combatant

After the table of contents we reach the introduction. This is where we learn how the races are oriented, and how to read a stat block. While most of this is basic information that only a player new to d20 games will need to read, some of the information is quite important. Of course, all of this will be business as usual for owners of the first Alien Archive.

Expert
Expert

Each of the stat blocks inside the Alien Archive is sorted into one of  three categories: combatants (which excels in physical combat), experts (who are most effective with skills), and spellcasters (who rely on spells or spell-like abilities). These categories are represented by an icon in the left margin. These images are easy to distinguish and provide a quick and easy way for GMs to realize the role each monster plays in combat, which makes it super easy to find the type of creatures your looking for, or to quickly discern a creature’s tactics.

Spellcaster
Spellcaster

There’s also a few interesting things to note about the stat blocks themselves. Very few of the creatures inside have Resolve Points and none have Stamina Points. A creatures ability scores aren’t listed, instead, their stats show their ability modifiers. This is a simple change that will make it easier for GMs — especially new GMs — to handle unexpected situations (like unlisted skill checks) in combat. Not all of a creatures feats are listed in their entry. Instead, only feats that grant new combat options will be shown. Feats that grant static bonuses (like improved initiative, or skill focus) are already factored into the stat block and will not be listed anywhere at all. This really streamlines the stat blocks, and makes it easier to find important information fast. Similarly, not all of a creature or NPCs spells will be listed in a stat block. Instead, it only features their most powerful spellcasting options.

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Starfinder Alien Archive

Every one of the bestiary entries in this book is two side-by-side pages long. These entries include information on the creature, where they’re found, their use throughout the Pact Worlds, and their society — if they have one. Many of the entries include more than one stat block on a theme. For example, the Forman entry gives us stats for a CR 7 taskmaster, along with a CR 10 myrmarch. Similarly, the akata entry features the both the akata and the void zombie, which are controlled by its parasitic offspring. Some entries include many stat-blocks (such as the herd animals, predators, and dinosaurs) or include simple grafts that can be added to a featured creature to make it into other versions (such as metallic and outer dragons). Many of the archive entries introduce new gear, rules, or consumables. My personal favourites include the arquand horns found on the arquand gazelle’s entry, the glass skin of the glass serpent, and the apocalypse solarian weapon crystals from the living apocalypse.

Alien Archive 2 - Glass Serpent -Armor
Armour made from a Glass Serpent

After this we come to the meat of the book: the aliens archive itself. There are a ton of cool creatures in this book, and even some that I wasn’t sure I’d like on first perusal, I ended up really enjoying. Some of my favourites you should check out include the squox, a CR 1/3 or 1 creature which is utterly adorable and makes a fabulous pet. I also adored the adaptable entries on dinosaurs, herd animals, and predators, each of which comes with a sample stat block for a creature of each size, followed by simple rules for how to make an innumerable combination of custom creatures of those types. It’s simple, incredibly useful, and has awesome art. LOVE IT. Glitch gremlins were a fun low level challenge I also really enjoyed, as were the akatas, which I’m thrilled to see included. For a great high-level challenge check out the calecor and the living apocalypse.

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Starfinder: Alien Archive Pawn Box

Mixed amongst the monster entries are sixteen playable races. Each entry features two different CR stat blocks representative of their race, a bunch of interesting information on their societies and home worlds, and a side bar which include the rules for playing them as a race. Although many of these were ‘humanoid shaped’, with arms and hands or some sort, there were some which were not, most notably the mollusk-like embri, and the  silicon-based quorlu. This was just awesome to see, and I really enjoyed it! Some of the races and monsters from old Golarion were up for selection, including aasimar, tieflings, ghorans, hobgoblins, orcs, and trox,  but many were brand new. I honestly loved a TON of these races, but my favourite new additions are damai, osharu, pahtra, and the wolf-like vlaka.

Curious about the playable races available in this book? Well, look no further! The Alien Archive includes:

  • Aasimar: celestial blooded humanoids you’ll find under ‘planar scion’
  • Bolida: armoured burrowing arthropods with a wide array of senses
  • Damai: pale, scrappy humanoids forced to hide underground from the colossi they share their world with
  • Embri: masked, mollusk like aberrations with a rigid social order secretly controlled by the forces of hell
  • Ghoran: delicious plant beings from Golarion who have terraformed their own planet-paradise and genetically split into two subraces: oaklings and saplings
  • Hobgoblin: tall, war-mongering, militaristic humanoids with faces similar in appearance to goblins
  • Kanabo: a red-skinned oni, which is a type of evil spirit given a physical form
  • Orc: strong humanoids conditioned as slave labour by the drow of Apostae
  • Osharu: slug-like creatures that view religion and science as intertwined
  • Pahtra: asexual cat-like humanoids that adore music and battle
  • Phentomite: agile humanoids acclimated to thin atmospheres and high altitudes that live on a broken planet
  • Quorlu: silicon based quadrupeds with tentacle arms and eyestalks capable of digging through earth and stone
  • Tiefling: fiendish blooded humanoids you’ll find under ‘planar scion’
  • Trox: large, chitinous, gentle humanoids that have been magically transformed since their time on Golarion
  • Uplifted Bear: intelligent, bipedal bears that you’ll find under ‘bear’
  • Vlaka: wolf-life humanoids from a dying world often born deaf or blind

Past the statistics for all those snazzy new aliens we come to the Appendixes, of which there are eleven. Appendix One contains two pages of creature subtype grafts and Appendix Two contains two and a half pages of environmental grafts. Appendix Three contains rules for the polymorphing creatures. This section is around seven pages long and frankly, feels quite complicated to me. Definitely not something my kids could use. Appendix Four contains all of the universal creature special abilities. Appendix Five, Six, and Seven are very short, sorting the creatures in the Alien Archive 2 by CR, type, and  terrain. Appendix Eight lists the template grafts and the pages they can be found on, while Appendix Nine lists the new character options and gear and the pages they can be found on.  Appendix Ten contains a chart of average vital statistics for all playable races from Alien Archive, Alien Archive 2, and for the Legacy Races from the Starfinder Core Rulebook. Finally, Appendix Eleven is a list of the playable races and their page numbers.

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Starfinder Roleplaying Game: Core Rulebook

That’s it. We’ve come to the end of the Alien Archive 2.

And what did I think?

In short: I loved it. Alien Archive 2 is packed full of a wide array of monsters and cool races. Many of the stat blocks are highly adaptable, there’s plenty of new templates and grafts that help with monster creation, summon spells, and polymorph. There’s content in here for players and GMs. I’m supremely happy to own Alien Archive 2, and highly recommend it to fans of Starfinder!

Want a sneak peek at some of the playable races? Check out the image below! Got a favourite creature from Alien Archive 2? let me know in the comments!

Until next time,

Jessica