Something Creates! – An Organization pt.1

The last two posts of mine were a deep dive look at Starfinder’s armors and my attempt to carve out some new-ish design space. When I look back at the list I made almost two months ago, it would be really easy for me to continue delving into the more technical and numerical aspects of Starfinder. While I know it wasn’t a slight, Ryan’s mention of my article last week in his latest Recall Knowledge (also welcome Jessica!) was a reminder that not everything I write needs to be about the mechanical aspects of the game. Some of the best parts about Starfinder is that settings can be so varied without being particularly contradictory. So, I took a look at my list of things that I would like to showcase creating and I think I’m going to work through my process in writing up an organization for my setting (which I should name at some point as well!).

Before I get started though, I do want to take a moment to talk about my process moving forward. I think I’m going to be continuing my trend of doing two part series. With the first one talking more towards the research I’ve done in how to create something that Paizo or a 3rd Party Publisher might put together. The second article then has a short discussion on how I put it all together, the “finished” product and my final thoughts on putting that particular thing together. This lets me marinate some ideas in my noggin’ for a few weeks after I’ve done my initial digging. So let’s get started!

Anatomy of an Organization Gazetteer

If we use the Starfinder Core Rulebook’s setup for an organization’s gazetteer starting on p. 473 with Abadarcorp through the Xenowardens on p. 481, most organizations have between 430 words up to around 650 words. Essentially it looks like it depends on how much the character art took up on the 1-page spread that each organization got. 

Here are a few other things that I noticed that each of the organizations presented had that I want to do my best to present in my next post. 

  • Organization name
  • Organization emblem
  • A sub-title identifier for the organization
  • The Leader(s) of the organization
  • Location of the headquarters

When you start reading the organizations some other less obvious things also come to light. For instance, each one discusses how their members are organized (military, quasi-military, informal, etc..). Most of them do have a paragraph or two giving a description of the organization, followed by some complications that they are currently facing, left vague enough to be worth at least a single session of play, up to an entire campaign centered around some of the things mentioned. 

Choosing an Organization

What I love most about an organization’s gazetteer is that they are one of my favorite game elements to deliver setting information obliquely. That is why this organization that I put out there should be able to really help me deliver some wonderful setting information to the reader.  Not only that though, I’ll need to ensure to plant some seeds for GMs to use in their own storytelling. 

An easy choice for me would be the Cosmic Combiners, but honestly, they are too closer to the Starfinder Society in my head right now that it would be tough for me to write something that wouldn’t be a clone. I think some of the best organizations are ones that in some situations, it might be helpful for the players to have as their friends, but in others the organization could cause at a minimum some complications in a plan that the players might have. The Xenowardens and Stewards of the Pact Worlds are two such organizations that come to mind pretty quickly. 


I haven’t landed exactly what kind of organization I want to present to all of you, but you can be sure that in two weeks time you’re going to see my hand written notes on my thoughts as I begin to narrow it down! 

Andrew Sturtevant

I have two bachelor degrees, one in Psychology, the other in Computer Science. I've been playing some version of D&D, Pathfinder or Starfinder since about 2000 when my Dad started teaching me. I've been GMing for most of that time as well. I am active in the Organized Play Foundation as a volunteer and organizer, along with volunteering to help my fellow military spouses as a Key Spouse.