Designing the Inquisitor for Starfinder: The Fun Stuff Begins

We’re still working on creating a Starfinder version of the Inquisitor class from PF1. We’ve decided what is core to the classwritten up a draft of the basics, and created a spell list.

That is ALL crucial, difficult work, but all it does is create the framework for the class. The success of failure of a new class is mostly decided by how much players enjoy its class features. So, now the fun (and really hard) work begins.

I know each SF Inquisitor gets on inquisition, which will work like the mystic’s connection or operative’s specialization, and that they’ll have tactics and (less often) disciplines to select from. And there’s a strong temptation to leap in to those and start coming up with cool stuff.

But, in my experience, that would be a mistake.

Because we ALSO know that each inquisitor is going to get some static abilities at low level, specifically judgement, detect zealotry, and adversary codex. Since those impact every SF Inquisitor, nailing down the (draft) details of how those work before we start trying to pin down the power level and breadth of the flexible, PC-selected powers makes it much more likely we’ll get those options zeroed in correctly.

So as much fun as inquisitions, tactics, and dedications should be, we aren’t there yet. Instead, we need to define the class features every inquisitor gets. (While keeping an eye on what we’ll ask SF inquisitor’s to give up at 2nd, 4th, 6th, 9th, and 12th level for archetypes).

So, let’s start with the highest level of those, and work our way backwards. Adversary codex needs to be something you are looking forward to getting, but since we’ll also be handing out weapon specialization and the first discipline at that level, it can’t do too much for direct power level or the effect will be overpowering.

Luckily while knowledge is power, it’s a different KIND of combat benefit that more attack or damage bonuses. We want our inquisitors to be read-up on likely foes even fi the player doesn’t invest in a broad range of skills to do so. Starfinder has some specific language about skill tasks, especially identifying creatures and recalling knowledge, so we want to make sure we’re using it correctly if we want to build off of it. (Rather than trust my memory, I pulled up the relevant rules and had them open as I wrote this ability.)

Class Features

The following are class features of the inquisitor.

Adversary Codex (Ex): You are constantly studying information about possible foes you might face or need to track down. You may have a codex provided by an order you belong to, or may be skilled as searching through the dregs of dark infospheres, sorting fact from wild speculation.

You can make a special check whenever you want to identify a creature and it’s strengths and weaknesses. This acts as am identify creature task of the appropriate skill to identify the creature (Engineering, Life Science, or Mysticism), using the normal DC for that task, but your check is 1d20 + your Wisdom bonus + (inquisitor level x 1.5). You cannot gain any insight bonuses to this check.

You can also use this check to learn more about a group’s or culture’s leaders and prominent inhabitants, and deities and religious figures, as if using the Culture skill for the recall knowledge task to do so. However, the DC for such checks is 5 higher than it is when suing the actual Culture skill.

(We’ll look at detect zealotry tomorrow.)

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About Owen K.C. Stephens

Owen 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

Posted on August 11, 2021, in Game Design, Starfinder Development and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

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