Category Archives: Starfinder Development

Converting PF1 spells to Starfinder: Explosive Icon and Weakness Emoji

Today we continue the project to convert to Starfinder all the Pathfinder 1st edition spells that don’t already exist (or have a clear replacement) in that game. (You can find an index of all the PF1 spells I have already converted here.) We’re still working on doing all the glyphs, runes, and symbols. 

The second spell listed, weakness emoji (converted from symbol of weakness), means we’ve gone through all the PF1 “symbol” spells. But since we originally started this whole set of spells so we could eventually convert absorb rune I-III, and we already got glyph of warding changed over to glyph circuit, we might as well hop from symbol spells to other similar runes and magic traps… which brings us to explosive rune, which becomes explosive icon.(which I present first due to alphabetization). When designing explosive icon, I carefully kept in mind that glyph circuit already exists, so I want this new spells to be different enough to justify it’s own spell entry.

(Art by lassedesignen)

Explosive Icon
Class
 technomancer 3
School abjuration (force)
Casting Time 1 standard action
Range touch
Effect one rune
Duration permanent until discharged (D)
Saving Throw Reflex half (see text); Spell Resistance yes

You create a mystic icon on a computer, comm unit, or piece of electronic technological equipment (including anything that uses batteries and does not note it is a hybrid or magic item) to ward it so that it can discharge to harm a target that touches or activates the warded object.

You set all of the conditions of the ward. Typically, any creature activating the warded object without speaking a password (which you set when casting the spell) is subject to the magic it stores. Alternatively, or in addition to a password trigger, explosive icons can be set according to physical characteristics (such as height or weight) or creature type, subtype, or kind, or to a specific activity (such as speaking a specific word, or touching the warded object rather than activating it). They cannot be set according to alignment, creed, class, HD, or level. Explosive icons respond to invisible creatures normally but are not triggered by those who travel past them ethereally. Multiple icons cannot be cast on the same object. However, you can individually ward components of an item — for example you could place an explosive icon on both a laser pistol and the battery inside it. In such cases, wards on individual components are only triggered when they are accessed separately (firing a laser pistol with a warded battery would not set off the battery’s ward, but removing the battery could if that is how the ward is set).

When casting the spell, you weave a tracery of faintly glowing lines in the pattern of a computer icon that looks like an explosion. Explosive icons cannot be affected or bypassed by such means as physical or magical probing, though they can be dispelled. Mislead, polymorph, and nondetection (and similar magical effects) can fool a ward, as can any disguise that gains a bonus to the Disguise check (such as granted by technological or magic assistance), though other disguises and the like can’t. Detect magic allows you to identify an explosive icon with a DC 15 Mysticism check. Identifying an explosive icon does not discharge it and allows you to know the basic nature of the ward (both damage it deals and what conditions set it off).

You can have one explosive icon active at a time without expending any additional resources. Each time you cast an explosive icon when you already have one or more active, you must expend one Resolve Point. You cannot regain that RP until the explosive icon is discharged, dismissed, or dispelled.

Magic traps such as explosive icon are hard to detect and disable. While any character can use Perception to find an explosive icon, a character must use the lowest of their Engineering or Mysticism skill (based on the skill’s total bonus) to disarm it. The DC in each case is 28.

When activated, an explosive icon deals 5d8 bludgeoning force damage to the creature that triggered it. Creatures and objects within 10 feet of the warded object also take damage, but are allowed a reflex saving throw for half damage. When you cast the spell, you decide if it damages the object it is warding, or not.

Weakness Emoji
Class
 technomancer 4
School transmutation
Casting Time 10 minutes
Range 0 ft.; see text
Effect one rune
Duration see text
Saving Throw Will partial (see text); Spell Resistance yes

This functions as mirror emoji, except as noted above and as follows.  Each viewer of the rune perceives it slightly differently, with the rune taking the visible form of a simple symbol that is commonly associated with being encumbered or weak. When triggered, affected creatures in the area are weighed down (see below). If a creature succeeds at their initial save against this effect and leave the area, they are not affected again if they re-enter the area. Creatures that fail their save are affected each time they enter the area.

Creatures who succeed at a saving throw and have both Stamina Points and Hit Points remaining are unaffected. Both creatures that succeed at a saving throw but do not still have both Stamina Points and Hit Points remaining, and creatures that fail at a saving throw and do have both SP and HP remaining, are encumbered for as long as they stay within the rune’s area and for 1d4 rounds after leaving it. Creatures that fail a saving throw and do not have both SP and HP left are overburdened for as long as they stay within the rune’s area and for 1d4 rounds after leaving it.

Detect magic allows you to identify a weakness emoji with a DC 19 Mysticism check. Of course, if the symbol is set to be triggered by reading it, this will trigger the symbol.

Magic traps such as weakness emoji are hard to detect and disable. While any character can use Perception to find a slow emoji (which may trigger it), a character must use the lowest of their Engineering or Mysticism skill (based on the skill’s total bonus) to disarm it. The DC in each case is 29.

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Converting PF1 spells to Starfinder: Striking Emoji, Strife Emoji, and Vulnerability Emoji

So, before we get to the spells, I need to shill for my Patreon. The time I take to write these posts is paid for my people paying me as little as $3 a month. I very much prefer making the vast majority of these posts publicly available, but right now my Patreon is not bringing in as much as I need to cover the time my blog takes up.

So, beginning next week and until my Patreon hits a higher benchmark, my Tuesday and Thursday posts are going to be Patreon-exclusive. At $1k/month, I’ll go back to having Thursday posts be public, and at $1500/month, I’ll go back to all my posts being public. I hate having to close some of my content, and I know a lot of people are in tight circumstances (and I get it), but the reality is I need to either cut back on the time taken on these blogs, or have my Patreon grow. Rather than cut back immediately, I’m trying to encourage more people to join my Patreon, in the hopes that can benefit everyone.

Okay, on to the game content!

Today we continue the project to convert to Starfinder all the Pathfinder 1st edition spells that don’t already exist (or have a clear replacement) in that game. We’re still working on doing all the glyphs, runes, and symbols. The first spell today, striking emoji, is also the first emoji spell I decided to create with a variable spell level. I did that because Starfinder spells do not have their attack bonuses and damage scale by caster level the way PF1 spells do, and I could see this being useful at a range of levels. I actually really like the end result, and I may go back and look at a few of the emoji/symbol spells I’ve already done and see if I want to remake them as variable spell level options.

Speaking of PF1 spells I’ve already converted to Starfinder on this blog to-date, you can find an index of them here.

Striking Emoji
Class
 technomancer 4, 5, 6
School illusion [shadow]
Casting Time 10 minutes
Range 0 ft.; see text
Effect one rune
Duration see text
Saving Throw None (harmless); Spell Resistance yes

This spell acts as mirror emoji, except as noted above and as follows. Each viewer of the rune perceives it slightly differently, with the rune taking the visible form of a simple symbol that indicates melee attacks or warriors.

When triggered, a striking emoji attacks each creature within 10 feet of it (see below). It attacks creatures closest to it, selecting those lacking Stamina Points over those who have SP if multiple creatures are equally distant from it. It then attacks any creature that comes within range, and attacks each creature within range once per round (acting just before the initiative count on which it was activated).The attack bonus and damage are determined by the spell’s level (see table at end of spell). Once activated, the symbol keeps attacking creatures until 10 minutes have passed, or it’s made a number of attacks equal to your caster level. Each time you cast a striking emoji, you must expend one Resolve Point. You cannot regain that RP until the striking emoji is discharged, dismissed, or dispelled.

Detect magic allows you to identify a striking emoji with a Mysticism check, with the skill check DC determined by the spell’s level. Of course, if the symbol is set to be triggered by reading it, this will trigger the symbol.

Magic traps such as striking emoji are hard to detect and disable. While any character can use Perception to find a striking emoji (which may trigger it), a character must use the lowest of their Engineering or Mysticism skill (based on the skill’s total bonus) to disarm it. The DC in each case is determined by the spell’s level.

4th level Spell: Each attack has a +15 attack bonus, deals 4d6+15 slashing damage, and has the knockdown critical hit effect. Identify DC 18, Remove DC 25.

5th Level Spell: Each attack has a +18 attack bonus, deals 5d6+18 damage, and has the staggered critical hit effect. Identify DC 20, Remove DC 31.

6th Level Spell: Each attack has a +22 attack bonus, deals 8d6+20 damage, and has the stunned critical hit effect. Identify DC 21, Remove DC 34.

(Art by VectorShots)

Strife Emoji
Class
 technomancer 6
School enchantment (compulsion, emotion, fear, mind-affecting)
Casting Time 10 minutes
Range 0 ft.; see text
Effect one rune
Duration see text
Saving Throw Will partial (see text); Spell Resistance yes

This functions as death emoji, except as noted above and as follows.  Each viewer of the rune perceives it slightly differently, with the rune taking the visible form of a simple symbol that is commonly associated with anger, attacks, or combat. Rather than deal damage, the rune causes creatures to attack one another (see below).  If a creature succeeds at their initial save against this effect and leave the area, they are not affected again if they re-enter the area. Creatures that fail their save are affected each time they enter the area.

Creatures who succeed at a saving throw and have both Stamina Points and Hit Points remaining are off-target for 1d4 rounds. Both creatures that succeed at a saving throw but do not still have both Stamina Points and Hit Points remaining, and creatures that fail at a saving throw and do have both SP and HP remaining, attack the nearest creature (as the “Attack nearest creature” result of the confused condition) for 1 round. Creatures that fail a saving throw and do not have both SP and HP left attack the nearest creature (as the “Attack nearest creature” result of the confused condition) for as long as they are within the rune’s area, and for 1d4 rounds after leaving.

Detect magic allows you to identify a strife emoji with a DC 21 Mysticism check. Of course, if the symbol is set to be triggered by reading it, this will trigger the symbol.

Magic traps such as strife emoji are hard to detect and disable. While any character can use Perception to find a strife emoji (which may trigger it), a character must use the lowest of their Engineering or Mysticism skill (based on the skill’s total bonus) to disarm it. The DC in each case is 34.

If cast by a technomancer with the Robot Influence hack, the spell has full effect on creatures of the construct (technological) type and subtype, even they are normally immune to the off-target or confused condition.

Vulnerability Emoji
Class
 technomancer 6
School transmutation
Casting Time 10 minutes
Range 0 ft.; see text
Effect one rune
Duration see text
Saving Throw Will partial (see text); Spell Resistance yes

This functions as death emoji, except as noted above and as follows.  Each viewer of the rune perceives it slightly differently, with the rune taking the visible form of a simple symbol that is commonly associated with cracks, rust, weakness, or vulnerability. Rather than deal damage, the rune causes creatures to have their defenses reduces (see below).  If a creature succeeds at their initial save against this effect and leave the area, they are not affected again if they re-enter the area. Creatures that fail their save are affected each time they enter the area.

Creatures who succeed at a saving throw and have both Stamina Points and Hit Points remaining have their DR (if any) reduced by 5 and their energy resistances (if any) reduced by 10 for as long as they are in the area of the rune. Both creatures that succeed at a saving throw but do not still have both Stamina Points and Hit Points remaining, and creatures that fail at a saving throw and do have both SP and HP remaining, have their DR (if any) reduced by 10 and their energy resistances (if any) reduced by 20 for as long as they are in the area of the rune and for 1 minute after leaving. Creatures that fail a saving throw and do not have both SP and HP left have their DR (if any) reduced by 15 and their energy resistances (if any) reduced by 30 (and if they have immunity to an energy type, have their immunity replaced by energy resistance 30) for as long as they are in the area of the rune and for 10minutes after leaving the area. These reductions can never reduce a defense to less than 0.

Detect magic allows you to identify a vulnerability emoji with a DC 21 Mysticism check. Of course, if the symbol is set to be triggered by reading it, this will trigger the symbol.

Magic traps such as vulnerability emoji are hard to detect and disable. While any character can use Perception to find a vulnerability emoji (which may trigger it), a character must use the lowest of their Engineering or Mysticism skill (based on the skill’s total bonus) to disarm it. The DC in each case is 34.

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Converting PF1 Spells to Starfinder: Electrical Storm Emoji and Slow Emoji

Continuing the project to convert to Starfinder all the Pathfinder 1st edition spells that don’t already exist (or have a clear replacement) in that game. We’re still working on doing all the glyphs, runes, and symbols.

You can find an index of the spells that have already been converted on this blog to-date here.

Electrical Storm Emoji
Class
 technomancer 6
School evocation [air, electricity]
Casting Time 10 minutes
Range 0 ft.; see text
Effect one rune
Duration see text
Saving Throw Reflex partial (see text); Spell Resistance yes

This functions as mirror emoji, except as noted above and as follows.  Each viewer of the rune perceives it slightly differently, with the rune taking the visible form of a simple symbol that is commonly associated with electrical storms or electricity. When triggered, the spell immediately strikes one randomly selected target within 30 feet of it with a single-target bolt of lightning that deals 10d6 electrical damage (Reflex save for half damage). Each round afterwards on the same initiative count, the rune strikes another randomly selected target within 30 feet of it. Once activated, the rune lasts for 1d4 minutes.

Detect magic allows you to identify an electrical storm emoji with a DC 21 Mysticism check. Of course, if the symbol is set to be triggered by reading it, this will trigger the symbol.

Magic traps such as electrical storm emoji are hard to detect and disable. While any character can use Perception to find a electrical storm emoji (which may trigger it), a character must use the lowest of their Engineering or Mysticism skill (based on the skill’s total bonus) to disarm it. The DC in each case is 34.

(Art by Yael Weiss)

Slow Emoji
Class
 technomancer 4
School transmutation
Casting Time 10 minutes
Range 0 ft.; see text
Effect one rune
Duration see text
Saving Throw Will partial (see text); Spell Resistance yes

This functions as mirror emoji, except as noted above and as follows.  Each viewer of the rune perceives it slightly differently, with the rune taking the visible form of a simple symbol that is commonly associated with being slow, tired, unfocused, or lackadaisical. When triggered, affected creatures in the area are slowed (see below). If a creature succeeds at their initial save against this effect and leave the area, they are not affected again if they re-enter the area. Creatures that fail their save are affected each time they enter the area.

Creatures who succeed at a saving throw and have both Stamina Points and Hit Points remaining are unaffected. Both creatures that succeed at a saving throw but do not still have both Stamina Points and Hit Points remaining, and creatures that fail at a saving throw and do have both SP and HP remaining, are slow (as the spell) for 1d4 rounds. Creatures that fail a saving throw and do not have both SP and HP left are slow for 3d4 rounds.

Detect magic allows you to identify a slow emoji with a DC 19 Mysticism check. Of course, if the symbol is set to be triggered by reading it, this will trigger the symbol.

Magic traps such as slow emoji are hard to detect and disable. While any character can use Perception to find a slow emoji (which may trigger it), a character must use the lowest of their Engineering or Mysticism skill (based on the skill’s total bonus) to disarm it. The DC in each case is 29.

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Converting PF1 spells to Starfinder: Sleep Emoji and Stunning Emoji

Continuing the project to convert to Starfinder all the Pathfinder 1st edition spells that don’t already exist (or have a clear replacement) in that game. We’re still working on doing all the glyphs, runes, and symbols.

You can find an index of the spells that have already been converted on this blog to-date here.

(Art by film.design.)

Sleep Emoji
Class
 technomancer 5
School enchantment [compulsion, mind-affecting]
Casting Time 10 minutes
Range 0 ft.; see text
Effect one rune
Duration see text
Saving Throw Will partial (see text); Spell Resistance yes

This functions as death emoji, except as noted above and as follows. The symbol created is one that represents sleep of unconsciousness, it can only deal a total of 120 points of damage, and the damage is nonlethal. Wherever death emoji refers to a Fortitude save, sleep emoji instead uses a Will save.

Detect magic allows you to identify a sleep emoji with a DC 21 Mysticism check. Of course, if the symbol is set to be triggered by reading it, this will trigger the symbol.

Magic traps such as sleep emoji are hard to detect and disable. While any character can use Perception to find a sleep emoji (which may trigger it), a character must use the lowest of their Engineering or Mysticism skill (based on the skill’s total bonus) to disarm it. The DC in each case is 34.

If cast by a technomancer with the Robot Influence hack, the spell has full effect on creatures of the construct (technological) type and subtype, even if they are normally immune to nonlethal damage. If such a construct is knocked unconscious by the nonlethal damage, it shuts down and functions as if asleep until conditions occur that would wake a biological creature, it receives any healing, or 1d4 hours pass.

Stunning Emoji
Class
 technomancer 6
School enchantment [compulsion, mind-affecting]
Casting Time 10 minutes
Range 0 ft.; see text
Effect one rune
Duration see text
Saving Throw Will partial (see text); Spell Resistance yes

This functions as mirror emoji, except as noted above and as follows.  Each viewer of the rune perceives it slightly differently, with the rune taking the visible form of a simple symbol that is commonly associated with boggled, confused, or dazed. When triggered, affected creatures in the area are staggered or stunned (see below). If a creature succeeds at their initial save against this effect and leave the area, they are not affected again if they re-enter the area. Creatures that fail their save are affected each time they enter the area.

Creatures who succeed at a saving throw and have both Stamina Points and Hit Points remaining are staggered for 1 round. Both creatures that succeed at a saving throw but do not still have both Stamina Points and Hit Points remaining, and creatures that fail at a saving throw and do have both SP and HP remaining, are staggered for 1d4 rounds. Creatures that fail a saving throw and do not have both SP and HP left are stunned for 1d4 rounds.

Detect magic allows you to identify a stunning emoji with a DC 21 Mysticism check. Of course, if the symbol is set to be triggered by reading it, this will trigger the symbol.

Magic traps such as stunning emoji are hard to detect and disable. While any character can use Perception to find a stunning emoji (which may trigger it), a character must use the lowest of their Engineering or Mysticism skill (based on the skill’s total bonus) to disarm it. The DC in each case is 34.

If cast by a technomancer with the Robot Influence hack, the spell has full effect on creatures of the construct (technological) type and subtype, even they are normally immune to the staggered or stunned condition.

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Converting PF1 spells to Starfinder: Barrier Emoji

Okay, this week I’m back to doing glyphs, runes, and symbols for the project to convert to Starfinder all the Pathfinder 1st edition spells that don’t already exist (or have a clear replacement) in that game. You can find an index of the spells that have been converted to-date here.

Today I’m converting symbol of sealing, which mostly works like my mirror emoji spell, but is just different enough that I decided I needed to write out the spell’s details out, rather than saying “as mirror emoji, but…” .

(Art by Franck Thomasse)

Barrier Emoji
Class
 technomancer 6
School illusion [figment]
Casting Time 10 minutes
Range 0 ft.; see text
Effect one rune
Duration see text
Saving Throw None (harmless); Spell Resistance yes

This spell allows you to scribe a potent rune of power upon a surface adjacent to a door, doorway, portal, corridor, junction, or similar area creatures can more through, which must be no larger than 25 square feet (one side of a 5-foot x5-foot square) per caster level. Each viewer of the rune perceives it slightly differently, with the rune taking the visible form of a simple symbol that indicates a barrier or wall to the viewer. When triggered, a barrier emoji covers the selected doorway or portal with a wall of force. Once triggered the wall of force lasts 10 minutes, though it can be re-triggered during that time to reset the duration. Each time you cast a barrier emoji, you must expend one Resolve Point. You cannot regain that RP until the mirror emoji is discharged, dismissed, or dispelled. Additionally, when you cast this spell you can choose to instead expend 4 RP to cause the barrier emoji to reset after each use, as long as you neve choose to recover those RP.

Until it is triggered, the barrier emoji is inactive (though visible and legible at a distance of 60 feet). To be effective, a barrier emoji must always be placed in plain sight and in a prominent location. Covering or hiding the rune renders the mirror emoji ineffective, unless a creature removes the covering, in which case the mirror emoji works normally.

As a default, a mirror emoji is triggered whenever a creature does one or more of the following, as you select: looks at the rune; reads the rune; touches the rune; passes over the rune; or attempts to pass through a portal bearing the rune. Regardless of the trigger method or methods chosen, a creature more than 60 feet from a barrier emoji can’t trigger it (even if it meets one or more of the triggering conditions, such as reading the rune). When you cast the spell, you can also specify a password or phrase that allows a creature speaking it to bypass the rune and pass through the opening. You can also attune any number of creatures to the barrier emoji so they do not trigger it, but doing this extends the casting time by 10 minutes per creature you attune it to. However, the force wall created by the rune blocks attacks and line of effect even for creatures that know the password or are attuned—the password only prevents them from triggering the symbol, not from ignoring its effects if triggered. Once the spell is cast, a barrier emoji‘s triggering conditions, passwords, and attuned creatures cannot be changed.

In this case, “reading” the rune means any attempt to study it, identify it, or fathom its meaning. Throwing a cover over a barrier emoji to render it inoperative triggers it if the spell is set to reacts to touch. You can also set special triggering limitations of your own. These can be as simple or elaborate as you desire. Special conditions for triggering a barrier emoji can be based on a creature’s name, identity, or official group affiliation, but otherwise must be based on observable actions or qualities. Intangibles such as level, class, HD, alignment, Resolve Points, Stamina Points, or Hit Points don’t qualify.

Detect magic allows you to identify a barrier emoji with a DC 34 Mysticism check. Of course, if the symbol is set to be triggered by reading it, this will trigger the symbol. A barrier emoji can be removed by a successful dispel magic targeted solely on the rune. Other spells that affect text or computer programs do not affect a barrier emoji unless they specify they function against magic glyphs, runes, and symbols. Destruction of the surface where a barrier emoji is inscribed in destroys the symbol, but such attacks also trigger it causing it to be protected by its own wall of force before an attack can hit it.

Magic traps such as barrier emoji are hard to detect and disable. While any character can use Perception to find a barrier emoji (which may trigger it), a character must use the lowest of their Engineering or Mysticism skill (based on the skill’s total bonus) to disarm it. The DC in each case is 39.

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Awesome 80s: Transforming Feats for Starfinder

Today we’re wrapping up this week of Awesome 80s blog posts, which are about sharing some of the things I created partially due to the inspirations I got from movies, shows, games, and literature of that decade. It’s been all about transforming vehicle robotstuff this week, so I’m tacking on a couple feats in case you want your species, monster, or ThemeType to focus even more on transforming.

(Art by Jacob Blackmon. Want to pay him to make art of YOUR transforming robot character? Drop him a line!)

Dodging Transformation
You can change forms to duck enemy attacks.
Prerequisites: vehicle form special ability (from the deceptive transforming robot graft, mechamorph species, or mechaserve robot pilot themetype).
Benefit: Once per day, when you fail a Reflex saving throw or your armor class is hit by an attack, you can change modes as a reaction. This allows you to reroll the Reflex save with a +8 bonus, or force the attack to be rerolled against you with a -8 penalty. You can also take a guarded step as part of this action, if you wish.

Triple Transformations
There’s even more to you than one trick up your sleeve.
Prerequisites: vehicle form special ability (from the deceptive transforming robot graft, mechamorph species, or mechaserve robot pilot themetype).
Benefit: Select a second vehicle mode, following all the rules for your first vehicle mode. Any time you switch to your vehicle mode, or gain benefits from your vehicle mode, you can choose between your original vehicle mode or this new mode. Every time you gain a character level, you may select a new second vehicle mode.

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Awesome 80s: MechaServe Pilot ThemeType (Transforming Robot/Vehicle/ Armor Augmentation for Starfinder)

Today we’re continuing the Awesome 80s line of blog posts, which are about sharing some of the things I created partially due to the inspirations I got from movies, shows, games, and literature of that decade. In this case, it’s robots that act like drones but can also be vehicles but can also become augmentations for your armor.

Yep, it’s a pretty specific example. I’m going with the name “MechaServe Robot Pilot.”

To create this as a PC option, we’re using a ThemeType, a PC option that combines a character’s Theme with an Archetype to allow them to be significantly more varied than a typical character. I first introduced and explained ThemeTypes in a 2018 article, and they remain a useful tool for some kinds of character concepts. I’ve done several ThemeTypes already, including multiclass options for nearly all the official Starfinder classes (the new Evolutionist class has yet to get one, but it’s coming), and some special kinds of characters that might have been presented as prestige classes in other d20 games (such as the Psionic and Lawstar Justicar ThemeTypes). Since the MechaServe Robot Pilot has to integrate a robotic drone, transforming vehicle, and armor augmentation, a ThemeType is definitely the way to go with it.

An Aside: One of the things that some people criticize about ThemeTypes is that they prevents you from getting the +1 to 1 ability score that a typical theme grants. While that’s true, it’s also a minor issue. Losing that +1 never needs to result in having a lower ability bonus — all it does is make a single score that would have been odd instead be even, and thus potentially not qualify for feats with ability score minimums. That’s not nothing, but it’s also not a major character balance issue. Essentially you give up a slight edge in a narrow range of feat prerequisites in favor of the greater flexibility of accessing abilities n scale with accessing the features of another character class.

(Art by Jacob Blackmon)

MechaServe Robot Pilot ThemeType

You have access to a MechaServe – a robot that can also be a vehicle that can also become part of (and thus augment) your armor. Maybe you built it. Maybe you found it in a cache of lost technology. Maybe you’re from a world where MechaServes are common. Maybe it came with your role in the cyberband. Whatever its origin, it’s your now, and that gives you a lot of flexibility.

Theme Knowledge (Ex, Theme, 1st Level): At first level, you gain Piloting as a class skill. You may use your Intelligence bonus, rather than your Dexterity bonus, to determine your Piloting skill bonus total, if you wish. You also gain a free dragoon armor upgrade with an item level equal to your character level (minimum item level 2), that only you may use. It can be installed in your armor without using an upgrade slot, and the vehicle it can become can have a level no greater than your character level. You can change what vehicle this is each time you gain a level. This is your basic MechaServe, which starts with two modes (reinforced plates and vehicle, as outlined in the dragoon armor upgrade).

Basic MechaServe (Ex, Archetype, 2nd Level): Your dragoon armor upgrade vehicle also acts as a mechanic’s drone, as if you had the drone version of the mechanic’s artificial intelligence class feature. Your effective mechanic level is equal to your class level –1, to a maximum mechanic level of 3rd. Select a chassis for your drone and build it normally. Your drone can switch between this drone form and the vehicle form for your dragoon armor upgrade. This functions as the vehicle form ability from the deceptive transforming robot graft.

Your MechaServe now has three modes: Reinforced plates, drone, or vehicle. It can change directly from vehicle to reinforced plates, but must be adjacent to you to do so.

You do not gain any other mechanic class features, but your MechaServe does gain drone special abilities, feats, and drone mods appropriate for your effective mechanic level. When it vehicle form it only has access to abilities from that vehicle, and it can still only take actions as allowed by your drone version of the mechanic’s artificial intelligence class feature.

MechaServe Improvement (Ex, Archetype, 4th Level): Though still calculated as your character level –1, your maximum effective mechanic level for your MechaServe’s drone mode increases by +1. You can use one MechaServe Upgrade Swap (see below).

MechaServe Repair (Ex, Theme, 6th Level): You gain the repair drone mechanic trick, treating your mechanic level as your character level -1. You can use one additional MechaServe Upgrade Swap (see below).

MechaServe Improvement (Ex, Archetype, 6th Level): Though now calculated as your character level –2, your maximum effective mechanic level for your MechaServe’s drone mode increases by +2. You can use one additional MechaServe Upgrade Swap (see below).

MechaServe Improvement (Ex, Archetype, 12th Level): Though still calculated as your character level –2, your maximum effective mechanic level for your MechaServe’s drone mode increases by +3. You can use one additional MechaServe Upgrade Swap (see below).

MechaServe Trick (Ex, Theme, 18th Level): You gain one mechanic trick, selected from the mechanic tricks of 8th level or less that grant an ability to your MechaServe’s drone mode (such as drone meld or overclocking). You can use one additional MechaServe Upgrade Swap (see below).

MechaServe Improvement (Ex, Archetype 18th): Though still calculated as your character level –2, your maximum effective mechanic level for your MechaServe’s drone mode increases by +2. You can use one additional MechaServe Upgrade Swap (see below).

MechaServe Upgrade Swaps

Your MechaServe can gain the following abilities in place of drone feats or mods. Essentially, your MechaServe has one less feat or mod in drone mode, but gains the upgrade swap of your choice from the list below. You can’t have more upgrade swaps than have been granted to your by the MechaServe Pilot ThemeType, and you can change what swaps you have at each character level.

MechaServe Enlargement: When your MechaServe is in reinforced plates mode, you can choose to be one size category larger. This increases your reach by 5 feet, and the amount of bulk you can carry without becoming encumbered or overburdened by +10.

MechaServe Reinforcement: When your MechaServe is in reinforced plates mode, you gain a +1 shield bonus to AC. This increases to +2 if your character level is 14th level or higher.

Robotic Flexibility: Your MechaServe retains all its vehicle movement types and equipment when it is in drone mode. If you select this a second time, your MechaServe can carry as many passengers in drone mode as it can in vehicle mode, without becoming encumbered or overburdened. If you select this a third time, when your MechaServe is in reinforced plates mode, you can use any movement form your MechaServe has in drone or vehicle mode.

Swift Switch: Once per round, your MechaServe can change mode as a free action.

Upgrade Flexibility: When your MechaServe is in reinforced plates mode, it can grant your armor any one armor upgrade with an item level no greater than your character level -2. This does not require an upgrade slot, has no cost, and can be an upgrade for any type of armor (light, heavy, or powered), regardless of your actual armor. You may change what this upgrade is each time you gain a new level. If you select this a second time, your MechaServe also has this upgrade when in drone mode. If you select it a third time, your MechaServe also has this upgrade in vehicle mode.

Vehicular Flexability: Your MechaServe retains use of its drone weapons and equipment while in vehicle mode. If you select this a second time, you also have access to its weapons when it is in reinforced plates mode. If you select this a third time, your MechaServe has access to all its drone feats and upgrades while in vehicle mode.

(Jacob carefully made sure a humanoid fit in his MechaServe in reinforced plates mode. And, he had his own thoughts about what it should be called. 🙂 )

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Awesome 80s: Robofauna (for Starfinder)

Today we’re continuing the Awesome 80s line of blog posts, which are about sharing some of the things I created in part from the inspirations I got from movies, shows, games, and literature of that decade. In this case, it’s robots serve the role of fauna on alien worlds and cultures where robotic life fills every ecological niche, and biological creatures are rare or nonexistent. Such worlds are often also populated by SROs, MechaMorphs and Deceptive Transforming Robots, and may be patrolled by allies or visitors with Transforming Cycle Armor in an effort to fit in and keep up.

Do you want robot bug swarms? Because this is how you get robot bug swarms.

Art by klyaksun.

ROBOFAUNA GRAFT Robofauna almost always matches the form, function, and niche of a type of animal or vermin found elsewhere in the galaxy. They are robots, but robots created by an endless (and arguably natural, by which we mean people almost always argue about it) cycle of previous machines.
Creature Type: Only stat blocks for creatures of the animal and vermin type can be used for robofauna. Type changes to Construct (technological).
Traits: Add: construct immunities; unliving; vulnerable to electricity.
Skills: Add Computers as master skill.
Additional Abilities: Robofauna generally have at least one ability the biological lifeforms that fill the same niche don’t. Roll 1d6 on the table below to determine the robofauna abilities:

1. Add a ranged energy attack (acid, cold, electricity, fire, or sonic). The attack has an attack bonus 2 lower that the creature’s melee attack, and does the same amount of damage.
2. Add DR/adamantine, with a value equal to half the creature’s CR.
3. Add energy resistance against one energy type (acid, cold, fire, or sonic; not electricity) with a value equal to the creature’s CR.
4. Add a new movement type (burrow, climb, land, fly, or swim). This movement is as fast as the creature’s fastest movement type (if climb, land, or swim), or half that (if burrow or fly).
5. Add blindsight (life, sound, or vibration) with a range of 30 feet (60 feet if creature is CR 10 or higher).
6. Roll three times and add all results. This may give you multiple different ranged attacks of forms of blindsight, or double the value of DR or Energy Resistance gained. If you roll a 6 again, rather than roll 3 more times, select one ability the robofauna does not yet have. Also increase Hit Points by +20%, and CR by 1.

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Awesome 80s: Deceptive Transforming Robots (for Starfinder)

Today we’re continuing our look at some of the weird, awesome scif-fi and science-fantasy stuff came out in the 1980s, that impacted my geek trajectory significantly. The Awesome 80s line of blog posts is about sharing some of the things I have been inspired to create by movies, shows, games, and literature of that decade. In this case, it’s robots that can disguise themselves as (and operate in the form of) vehicles.

If this kind of content interests you, you might enjoy my Polymechs entry in the CODEWORLD micro-campaign setting from my blog entries in April 2018. If you want quick, simple rules to allow robots that transform into vehicles as a player character species in Starfinder, check out my MechaMorphs blog entry from December 2019.

Art by klyaksun

DECEPTIVE TRANSFORMING ROBOT GRAFT (CR 1+)

Sometimes, robots are built (or otherwise come into existence) with the ability to switch between robot and vehicle forms, and disguise themselves as typical vehicles when in that form. In some regions of space, transforming sentient robots are the predominant form of spacefaring intelligence and culture, and some fight vast civil wars among differing factions over centuries. The Deceptive Transforming Robot (DTR) graft can be used to turn any robot NPC into a DTR.

Required Creature Type: Construct.
Traits: Vehicle form (see below).
Skills: A DTR gains Disguise and Pilot as master skills if it did not already have them.

Vehicle Form
A DTR can change into a the form of a Small, Medium, Large, or Huge size vehicle (but not starship) as a swift action. Its vehicle form must be within one size category of the DTR’s base form, and have an item level no greater than the DTR’s CR -2 (minimum item level 1). and once selected cannot be changed. While in a vehicle form, the DTR gains a +20 bonus to Disguise checks to appear to be that vehicle (including appearing to have an appropriate driver or pilot, even if it actually doesn’t). Changing back from vehicle form to robot form is also a swift action.

In vehicle form, a DTR can pilot itself (gaining a +8 bonus to all Pilot checks to do so), or allow someone else to pilot it. Anything it carried in its robot form is stowed within it in its vehicle form, and the DTR may opt to allow it to be accessed by riders/passengers. When assuming its vehicle form, the DTR can select equipment or weapons it has in robot form that could be wielded in 2 hands or less, and have them become integrated equipment in its vehicle form. Its vehicle form has the same number of Hit Points as its robot form, and damage taken in one form carries over to the other. It’s EAC, KAC, and speed in vehicle form is determined by the type of vehicle it is.

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Awesome 80s: Transforming Cycle Armor (for Starfinder)

Some weird, awesome stuff came out in the 1980s, that impacted my geek trajectory significantly. The Awesome 80s line of blog posts is about sharing some of the things I have been inspired to create by movies, shows, games, and literature of that decade. In this case, it’s armor that can transform to have a motorcycle or additional protective plates (depending on the need of the wearer).

(Art by Raven)

Dragoon Frame [Armor Upgrade]

Model Level Cost Crit Effect Negation Cycle Speed
Brass ___ 2 _____ 450 _ 10% ________________ 30 ft.
Bronze _ 4 ____ 2,850 _ 20% ________________ 40 ft.
Copper _ 9 ___ _7,000 _ 30% ________________ 50 ft.
Silver __14 ___ 30,000 _ 40% ________________ 60 ft.
Gold ___ 19 _ 200,000 _ 50% ________________ 70 ft.

A dragoon frame is designed to enhance the mobility of armored infantry units, allowing them to choose between greater mobility or greater resilience. When installed, a dragoon frame appears to be a series of angular armored plates and curved matte black highlights that fit around the armor. While in this reinforcing plates mode, the dragoon frame grants the armor’s wearer the listed percent chance to negate the critical hit effect of a critical hit (though it does not negate the double damage of the critical or any ability triggered by a critical hit). This chance is rolled separately from any chance to completely negate a critical hit (such as might be gained from high-level force fields).

As part of any action that allows the armor’s wearer to move (including guarded steps and the movement element of a trick attack), a dragoon frame can unfold from the armor it is in, and reassemble as a motorcycle ridden by that armored character. In this mode it does not offer any protection against critical hit effects, but does give the rider the listed land speed, and the ability to carry one additional creature of the same size as the armor wearer or smaller without worrying about bulk or using any arms to do so. As long as the armored character is not overburdened, the cycle’s speed is not reduced by armor modifiers or encumbrance. If the armored character is overburdened, the cycle’s movement is reduced to 0.

However, a dragoon frame in cycle mode isn’t as maneuverable as being on foot. When moving in cycle mode, the armored character’s land movement acts a great deal as if they were flying (though limited to movement on the ground) and had average maneuverability (see Chapter 8 of the Core Rulebook). This includes it costing you an additional 5 feet of movement to turn 45 degrees, needing to make Acrobatics checks (see the skill description) when driving in high winds (though you gain a +8 bonus to such checks and may choose to use Piloting rather than Acrobatics). When moving in motorcycle mode, the armor wearer can also use Piloting in place of Acrobatics for the balance and tumble tasks.

It does not take any hands to pilot the cycle – everything is managed by the onboard system of the linked armor. No one but the wearer of the armor with the dragoon frame upgrade can normally pilot the frame in motorcycle mode. The armor wearer can leave the cycle, but it cannot be piloted (or change from cycle mode to reinforcing plates mode) when not ridden by someone wearing the armor is an upgrade for.

When in cycle mode, the dragoon frame can fold back onto its armor as part of any move or full action taken by its pilot, setting any passenger that was riding it on the passenger’s feet in an adjacent square of the armor wearer’s choice when it does so.

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