Designing the Inquisitor for Starfinder: Class Spell List
Posted by Owen K.C. Stephens
In our quest to create the framework for a Starfinder version of the Inquisitor class from PF1, we’ve decided what is core to the class, and written up a draft of the basics.
Now, it’s time to create a class spell list. That gives us some things to consider.
We know we want our SF inquisitor to be bale to do useful things with magic, but we also know we’ve carefully given them better combat options that the standard Starfinder spellcasters. We’ve already reduced the SF Inquisitor’s total spellpower by delaying their access to spells beyond 0-level by one whole spell level (by the time the SF Inquisitor gets 1st-level spells, a mystic, technomancer, or witchwarper of the same level has access to 2nd level spells), and giving them relatively fewer spells known and spells per day even when they do get a new level of spells.
But that’s only part of the equation. Now, we need a spell list for the class… and there are a number of factors that go into keeping that balanced.
As an extreme example, if we let the SF Inquisitor select their spells known from any spell list, they could potentially be more powerful in spellcasting situations that mystics and technomancers, even with fewer and low-level spells, because they could cherry-pick the best spells from all spell lists. Since many spells available to just one class are designed to be balanced for that class, and to give the class some specific areas of expertise. When you begin blending the class spell lists, you create the opportunity to have whatever the best spell in the game if for a wider range of situations.
We need to make sure the SF Inquisitor class spell list doesn’t diminish the value of other classes’ spell lists. There are spells that help flavor specific spellcasting classes because they are the only class that gets them, and we don;t want to impinge on that.
But there’s another issues as well, common to third-party OGL products–expansions of the spell list. If we give the SF Inquisitor a unique spell list curated just for that class, when some other new spell comes along from another source (including, but not limited to, official content), it won’t be clear if inquisitors should have that spell on their own spell list or not. That’s not a big issue initially, but it can cause problems over time as official classes options keep growing, and the inquisitor’s doesn’t. This is sometimes the reason GMs don’t like allowing third-party spellcasters into their campaigns–they inevitably lead to players asking if some new spell can be added to the class’s spell list.
So we need a class list for the SF Inquisitor that is flexible, and easily expanded from new official spell options as they come out, but doesn’t impinge on any other classes’ unique flavor spells
So, here the first blush effort to square that circle: “The inquisitor’s class spell list includes every 0-6th level spell that is available to any two of the following classes: mystics, technomancers, and witchwarpers. If the spell is listed at different spell levels for any of those classes, use the highest of the listed spell as the spell level when adding it to the inquisitor spell list. For convenience, that list of spells as of time of publication is listed here.”
This gives us a large, flexible, class list that doesn’t require any GM consideration on what gets added when new spells come out, and never impinges on a spell exclusive to one class. Now, there are still potential issues–inquisitors that take save negates spells may get frustrated because their save DCs are so low, since their spell level is generally one behind other spellcasters. Maybe we want to exclude any spell that saves save negates? Also, this is a BIG list, which isn’t a power balance issue (the limited spells known and spells per day keep any given SF Inquisitor quite reasonable, and there’s no wand equivalent in Starfinder), but it might create option paralysis in new players.
But it’s a great start, and plenty good enough for us to use it for now, and start looking as the details of specific class features (tomorrow).
Remove condition, lesser
Song of the cosmos
Burning ash cloud
Glimpse of truth
Mind of three
Ray of exhaustion
Resistant armor, lesser
Speak with dead
Wall of air
Baleful polymorph, mass
Song of the cosmos, greater
Wall of fire
Baleful polymorph, mass
Contact other plane
Dispel magic, greater
Remove condition, greater
Wall of force
Baleful polymorph, mass
Flesh to stone
Resistant armor, greater
Summon drift beacons
Wall of steel
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About Owen K.C. StephensOwen K.C. Stephens Owen Kirker Clifford Stephens is a full-time ttRPG Writer, designer, developer, publisher, and consultant. He's the publisher for Rogue Genius Games, and has served as the Starfinder Design Lead for Paizo Publishing, the Freeport and Pathfinder RPG developer for Green Ronin, a developer for Rite Publishing, and the Editor-in-Chief for Evil Genius Games. Owen has written game material for numerous other companies, including Wizards of the Coast, Kobold Press, White Wolf, Steve Jackson Games and Upper Deck. He also consults, freelances, and in the off season, sleeps. He has a Pateon which supports his online work. You can find it at https://www.patreon.com/OwenKCStephens
Posted on August 10, 2021, in Game Design, Starfinder Development and tagged Base Classes, Game Design, gaming, Geekery, PC Options, SF Inquisitor, Starfinder. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.
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