The Starfinder Society sends its agents on missions throughout the Pact Worlds, Near Space, and the Vast. The Universe Of The Starfinder Society below provides a basic introduction to the setting; you can learn more about the Starfinder Setting from Chapter 12 of the Starfinder Core Rulebook, from the various books in the Starfinder product line, and from the Starfinder Wiki.
The Gap, an indeterminate span of time from which memories and records alike were wiped away, profoundly altered the galaxy. The planet Golarion, cradle of humanity in the home star system of the Pact Worlds, disappeared entirely. Untold history vanished during the Gap, with no species retaining any memories of this tumultuous time. Even the gods remain silent on the Gap, giving only vague allusions to the safety of lost Golarion.
Founded shortly after the Gap, the Starfinder Society was inspired by incomplete tales of a similar pre-Gap organization called the Pathfinder Society. The Starfinder Society originally aimed to map the temporal edges of the Gap and piece together the history of what transpired during that tumultuous event, ambitiously endeavoring to find lost Golarion. Since the Society’s inception, its mission has changed to focus less on the Gap and more on exploring a galaxy made accessible due to the spread of Drift beacons.
The heroes of the Starfinder Society travel the breadth of the galaxy—from verdant jungle worlds where even a fingernail-sized insect is deadly, to seemingly abandoned space stations filled with unspeakable horrors, to ruined temples of dead gods hidden amid the ruins of similarly dead worlds, and to the bustling streets of the metropolises of the Pact Worlds. Starfinders work in small but efficient groups to explore the known and unknown, recording their findings and bringing them back to the greater organization for dissemination.
Most Starfinders operate out of scattered regional headquarters called lodges, which dot the galaxy. Each lodge is home to a venture-captain and that officer’s staff, who provide direction and support for field agents and manage the day-to-day operations of the Society. The Lorespire Complex stands apart from other lodges. Located in Absalom Station, the Lorespire Complex is always accessible to even the farthest-flung Starfinder expeditions due to the unique ability for ships to quickly travel the Drift to reach Absalom Station. More than a single building, the Lorespire Complex is a campus of structures built around the eponymous spire. The Archives, the Hall of Discovery, and other edifices integral to the Society’s ongoing existence fill the grounds of the Lorespire Complex.
The First Seeker is a Starfinder elevated above her peers. This Starfinder is elected based on the merit of adventuring experience and personal field of focus. Each First Seeker uses her appointment to prioritize the Starfinder Society’s primary research focus, using the position to advance a personal scholarly pursuit of value. Once a First Seeker’s term has ended, that First Seeker can never again serve as a leader within the Starfinder Society. The thrust of many of the Starfinder Society’s missions are the result of the First Seeker’s goals—luckily, those same agents who perform these missions are integral in deciding who receives the honor of ascending to the rank of First Seeker.
The Forum is an elected body of Starfinders who work to coordinate the Society’s many operations. Integral in drumming up the necessary support to elect a First Seeker, the Forum also assists the elected First Seeker in completing her personal mission. Any Starfinder can ascend to become a member of the Forum, and membership does not stop one from partaking in other activities. In fact, many faction leaders and venture-captains are active members of the Forum in addition to their other duties. Other Forum members are experienced Starfinders who hold no title beyond their Forum membership.
The third pillar of the Society’s leadership is Guidance, a network of uploaded personalities of exemplary Starfinders. Most First Seekers are invited to upload their consciousness into Guidance, and only those deemed unworthy or who perish in their mission fail to become part of the Starfinder Society’s spiritual anchor. Guidance functions in two major ways: it’s the first entity to formally induct new Starfinders into the organization, and every new Starfinder begins his or her careers by receiving a commencement address from Guidance. The uploaded bank of personalities also confirms the election of new First Seekers, and while historically Guidance agrees to the democratic decision of the Society, there have been a handful of cases where Guidance has not approved an elected First Seeker.
Every Starfinder contributes to the overall success of the Starfinder Society. Some do so through diligent research, rarely leaving the teeming Archives of the Lorespire Complex. Others prefer to explore the relative safety of the Pact Worlds or the appropriately titled Near Space, where civilization remains only a short jaunt through the Drift away. The bravest Starfinders travel to the other ends of the galaxy, using the Society’s starships to explore the endless expanse of space known as the Vast.
The official symbol of the Starfinder Society is a compass, a stylized representation of the "wayfinder" used by Pathfinders on lost Golarion. Many Starfinders wear the emblem on their armor, get a tattoo of the symbol, or otherwise display it prominently. Some Starfinders elect to receive a special subdermal graft, which allows them to covertly display the symbol.
Factions have existed within the Starfinder Society since the organization’s inception. Each faction supports its agents working within the Starfinder Society. All Society agents know that their allegiance is first to the Starfinder Society, followed by any faction allegiances they maintain. In fact, most factions within the Starfinder Society actively cooperate despite their differing goals.
Acquisitives: "Fame, glory, and money. We want it all."
Members of the Acquisitives seek to increase their personal fame and fortune through working with the Starfinder Society. As the Society’s newest faction, the Acquisitives build their reputation by increasing the prestige of the Starfinder Society.
Dataphiles: "Knowledge is power."
If information is power, the Dataphiles seek to become the most powerful faction within the Starfinder Society. The Dataphiles believe in curating all data (both digital and physical) and that they alone are worthy of deciding what is fit for public consumption.
Exo-Guardians: "The sword that seeks the darkness."
Agents of the Exo-Guardians work to protect the Pact Worlds against the various as-of-yet unknown threats of the Vast. Their members crusade into Near Space and the Vast to amass equipment, knowledge, and magic believed to be essential in protecting the Pact Worlds.
Second Seekers: "Learn from the past." - Ehu Hadif
The Second Seekers are an informal faction dedicated to pursuing the agenda of the Society’s current leader, the First Seeker. The current First Seeker, Ehu Hadif, has dedicated his tenure to re-establishing the Society as an archaeological research organization.
Wayfinders: "First into the unknown."
Named for an old relic of bygone explorers, the Wayfinders seek to explore space and create peaceful relationships with new species. Members of Wayfinders often act as first contact ambassadors, as well as explorers to the absolute frontiers of known space.
There are innumerable entities and organizations in the galaxy, and some represent unique factions yet to make major inroads with the Starfinder Society. During the course of play, it is possible for a character to receive an offer to join one of these new factions. Other factions currently in circulation:
- Manifold Host
- Second Seekers (Roheas)