Review: Paizo – Near Space (Starfinder)

Near Space
Near Space is a supplement for the science fantasy RPG Starfinder, written by a number of authors and published by Paizo.
By Aaron T. Huss

Learn more about Near Space here
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Near Space is a mash-up of supplemental content for Starfinder all placed within the context of “near space”. “Near space” has a very specific meaning in Starfinder as it pertains to all space and planets within that space close to the Drift, which allows hyperspace travel. Everything beyond “near space” is called the “vast”. This is like comparing to coastal settlements to hinterland settlements; they are located all over the place, but their geographical distance name (coastal & hinterland) is based on their proximity to a common point (e.g. water). Thus it is that Near Space contains new planets to explore, a full write-up of a new race, new starships, and player options tying some of the content to the game mechanically.

The bulk of Near Space centers on the vesk race – effectively lizardfolk in space to oversimplify it. The book does not hand-wave the content like I just did as this lizard-humanoid race is given an extensive write-up, which includes a deep delve into the culture and a look at all planets within their domain. This includes some pretty cool regional maps of those planets and a descriptive look at who else is involved in those planetary goings on besides the vesk. While it may seem as though this book should be called Veskarium instead of Near Space, it has a lot more in it than just the vesk. It is simply that the folks at Paizo took the opportunity to breath life into what is in “near space” by presenting a fully fleshed-out race for GMs to use and players to consume. Otherwise the book contains a wealth of non-vesk options.

The non-vesk options also include new planets and systems located within “near space”, other starships, and alternate racial options for races that can be found within “near space”. This includes some really weird looking alien races! Additionally, to get the most out of the character options, players will want a copy of Starfinder: Character Operations Manual with options from that book featuring in this one.

Near Space is a good supplement! I think if it only contained collections of bits and pieces from across “near space”, it would be lacking in substance and interest. Adding the vesk and weaving them in and out of the featured options makes it much more interesting and connects it to something that can be easily added to a campaign as-is. Disparate collections of options often require a lot of massaging and the GM may not have a reference to work from; adding the vesk fix that. It also means players and GMs have another cool race to add to their repertoire.

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