Owen Explains It All – Super-Shrinking for Starfinder

Before we get to any OGL content, an editorial aside:

First, this blog has spoilers for an animated series, so if you want to avoid those, don’t read this.

Second, you may be wondering why is this tagged as an “Owen Explains It All” post, when that’s very unlike my normal marketing tone? Well, because this links into a show from the BAMF podcast I’m on, titled “Owen Explains It All!“. We do an episode every two weeks, picking new things from the zeitgeek to use as inspiration for game material, specifically the Starfinder Roleplaying Game.

We have a logo and everything!

If you haven’t already gone and watched the August 29th, 2021 episode, we talk about the third episode of Marvel’s What If… series, titled “What If… the World Lost Its Mightiest Heroes?” Obviously there are spoilers for that episode both in the OEIA episode, and this tie-in blog, so go no further if you want to avoid those.

Seriously, much more than either of the first two What If… stories, “What If… the World Lost Its Mightiest Heroes?” has twists and reveals you may not want to know until you’ve seen it. It’s a murder mystery, and we’re going to spoil who done it, and how. Ready?

I mentioned in the blog “Owen Explains It All! – Forlorn Hope and Gadgeteer Armor,” superhero movies and TV are particularly good places to pick up ideas for Starfinder, because they are generally modern-or-later settings that include aliens, technology, magic, and small-unit action –and sometimes even starships– much as Starfinder does. In this What If…, Hope Van Dyne (the Wasp in main MCU continuity) dies before the episode begins and Hank Pym, clearly grief-stricken but also possibly driven mad by using Pym particles without a properly protective helmet (as noted as a potential drawback to the Yellowjacket armor hank’s wearing in this in the first Ant-Man movie) kills everyone tagged in the Avengers Initiative as revenge on Shield.

He does this by being small. So small, people can’t see him, and he remains free to employ both his massive genius and full-size strength at miniscule size. And that got me to thinking about how to make miniscule-but-mighty threats in Starfinder!

Now with that explanation out of the way, let’s get to the OGL game content!

Tiered Super-Shrinking

This is now added to the long list of tiered powers we have available for sci-fi Starfinder games, but also FreedomFinder and/or GammaFinder campaigns using the same rules. That link will show you how you can gain tiered powers through feats, themes, archetypes, and so on.

Super-shrinking is about more than just getting small. It is a specific form of shrinking that leaves you the full power of your personal abilities, muscles, and gear while becoming harder and harder to spot. Even movement is unaffected — your reduced weight means you can pump your legs faster or even just jump as needed to maintain the same move rate as you do at full size. The only changes that occur to your character’s game stats at each tier of shrinking are those listed with the power.

Growth-Punch: Whenever you are shrunk, you can end your shrinking as part of a melee attack against a target bigger than you. The target is treated as flanked by you for this one attack, and add your tier to the damage done by a successful attack. The stress of a growth-punch on you means you cannot shrink again (from any source) until after the end of your next turn.

Tier 1: You can become Small. If you are already Small, you shrink down to the minimize size for a Small creature. You have a 5-foot space and 5-foot reach (10-feet for any attack with the reach weapon special property), and weigh between 8 and 60 lbs. (as decided by you when you use the power). You gain a +2 size bonus to Acrobatics checks.
Tier 2: You can become Tiny. If you are already Tiny, you shrink down to the minimize size for a Tiny creature. You have a 1-1/2-foot space and 0 reach (5-foot reach for any attack with the reach weapon special property), and weigh between 1 and 8 lbs. (as decided by you when you use the power). You gain a +3 size bonus to Acrobatics checks, and a +1 size bonus to Stealth checks.
Tier 3: You can become Diminutive. If you are already Diminutive, you shrink down to the minimize size for a Diminutive creature. You have a 1-foot space and 0 reach (5-foot reach for any attack with the reach weapon special property), and weigh between 2 oz. and 1 lb. (as decided by you when you use the power). You gain a +4 size bonus to Acrobatics checks, and a +2 size bonus to Stealth checks.
Tier 4: You can become Fine. If you are already Fine, you shrink down to an even smaller size within Fine. You have a 1/2-foot space and 0 reach, and weigh between 0.2 oz. and 2 oz. (as decided by you when you use the power). You gain a +5 size bonus to Acrobatics checks, and a +3 size bonus to Stealth checks.
Tier 5: You can become Fine, but even smaller than even typical Fine creatures. You have a 0-foot space and reach, and can share a space with a creature of any size without either of you taking any penalties. You are between 0.1 and 1 inch in height, and weigh less than 0.1 oz. You gain a +5 size bonus to Acrobatics checks, and a +4 size bonus to Stealth checks. Unless an area is described as totally barren and clean, there is always something in your space you can use to take cover as a move action, retaining cover until you move again.
Tier 6: You can become Fine, but much smaller than even smaller Fine creatures. You have a 0-foot space and reach, and can share a space with a creature of any size without either of you taking any penalties. You are between 0.01 and 0.1 inch in height, and have no effective weight. You gain a +5 size bonus to Acrobatics checks, and a +5 size bonus to Stealth checks. You always have cover against any creature of Diminutive or larger size (allowing you to always attempt Stealth checks against such creatures). Unless an area is described as totally barren and clean, there is always something in your space you can use to take cover against Fine creatures as a move action, retaining cover until you move again.
Tier 7: As tier 6, but you are also treated as invisible by any creature of Diminutive or larger size that is unaware of your presence (see the Four States of Awareness). This applies to all senses except those based on thought and emption, and abilities that normally reveal or sense invisibility do not apply you.
Tier 8: As tier 7, but you are also treated as invisible by any creature of Diminutive or larger size that is aware of your presence, but unaware of your location. (see the Four States of Awareness). This applies to all senses except those based on thought and emption, and abilities that normally reveal or sense invisibility do not apply you.
Tier 9: You can shrink done to microscopic scale. As tier 8, but you are also treated as invisible by any creature of Tiny or larger size that is not using at least tier 8 super-shrinking. (see the Four States of Awareness). This applies to all senses except those based on thought and emption, and abilities that normally reveal or sense invisibility do not apply you.
Tier 10: You can shrink down to atomic scale. As tier 9, but you are also treated as being incorporeal by any creature of Tiny or larger size that is not using at least tier 8 super-shrinking, though you can attack and affect such creatures normally. Unlike most incorporeal things, you can move completely through solid objects (though not those that can stop incorporeal creatures, or that block teleportation).

Wrap Up

So, have different ideas for a Forlorn Hope campaign? Got other supers you think could be turned into archetypes? Interested in having me Explain It All for some other media-inspired content? Leave a comment and let me know! The best way to do that is to Join my Patreon, and leave me a note through that!

About okcstephens

Owen K.C. Stephens Owen Kirker Clifford Stephens is the Starfinder Design Lead for Paizo Publishing, the Freeport and Pathfinder RPG developer for Green Ronin, a developer for Rite Publishing, and the publisher and lead genius of Rogue 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.

Posted on September 1, 2021, in Adventure Sketch, Game Design, Starfinder Development and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

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