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ShadowFinder Class Preview: The Enigma

Today, I am going to continue actual OGL rule examples of some material coming in the Starfinder Infinite ShadowFinder book.

I wanted a class to fill the “modern character with weird powers” niche so common in much of the inspirational media that has influenced the form ShadowFinder took. This is more than being a spellcaster, or even something the psionic themetype I wrote up can represent. I needed a class for firestarters, dead zones, shining, heckspawn, and mutants.

I needed a way for a PC to be an enigma. So that because the class.

Here’s a preview of some elements of this new, 100% Starfinder-compatible, character class.

(Yes, I have new ShadowFinder art for all 8 classes I’m supporting in the ShadowFinder Core Book. No, this one is not the enigma. Yes, you’ve seen the enigma digitized tease already. Guess which one it is?!)

Enigma

An enigma has power, but no one (not even the enigma) is sure why. Unlike spellcasters or combatants, it is not a trained or learned power, and unlike warlocks it is not part of some bargain for power from otherworldly forces. That doesn’t mean the enigma can’t train to use their powers more effectively, or that it might not have been bestowed by an entity beyond the enigma’s understanding, but no science or mystic research has yet to understand enigmas’ abilities, and the growing number of enigmas is seen by many groups as a rising threat.

An enigma has often had to hide for much of their life, at least early on. Their powers are hard to control when they first manifest, and can both disrupt the stability of a support group and attract attention from others. It’s not unusual for an enigma to be the product of some mysterious experiment who escaped, and to be hunted by their former keepers. Others seem to bloom with power on their own, but organizations exist who wish to find the source of that power, even if they have to cut it out of the enigma. As a result, many enigmas learn to be self-sufficient when young, both in urban and wilderness settings.

Once enigmas grow into their abilities, most groups consider opposing an enigma directly to be too dangerous, though organizations with more reach and resources may feel differently. An enigma does well to forge bonds with allies to ensure anyone interest in knowing how they manipulate energy, form, or even reality itself sees that the enigma is not alone, and has friends who will come after them if they disappear.

Hit Points: 6
Stamina Points: 6

Key Ability Score
Cha

While no one knows where the power that makes enigmas comes from, the fact that it fueled by their own force of personality seems clear. Enigmas may be bold or shy, honest or deceptive, friendly or hostile, but they all have the strong sense of self that makes them naturally apt at interpersonal relationships. Your Charisma determines the save DCs of your various enigma powers, and is thus your key ability score.

Class Skills

The enigma’s class skills are Bluff (Cha), Culture (Int), Diplomacy (Cha), Disguise (Cha), Intimidate (Cha), Medicine (Int), Mysticism (Wis), Profession (Cha, Int, or Wis), Sense Motive (Wis), Sleight of Hand(Dex), Stealth (Dex), and Survival (Wis)

Skill Points at each Level: 6 + Int modifier.

Proficiencies

Armor

Light armor

Weapons

Basic melee weapons, small arms.

(Yes, I am ending this preview before the class features table on purpose!)

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The Icosantheon. No 20 — Aor

The Icosantheon is a host of twenty deities bound not by a common origin, but by a united conservatorship of the immaterium that forms the sides and edges of the material plane.

(Art by grandfailure)

Aor is among the most unusual of deities in the Icosantheon, as it is not perceived as self-aware. Rather Aor is the Beacon Tower, the very first structure created by mortals to serve as a warning to others. It is believed to be the first structure made by any civilization to be so tall it’s top could not be reached by one standing on the shoulders of another, the first made of stone, the first to have artifice and magic both involved in its creation, and the first built by more people than the land around it could support, requiring the coordination of multiple communities over months or years.

Thus Aor became a thing early civilizations would swear by, and call upon when attempting to rally people. Aor represents the act of creation and cooperation not to destroy, or even to defend, but to warn. A nonviolent transmission of data that required people struggling and sacrificing in order to pass a benefit on to later generations. While there is significant disagreement about when, where, and by who the true Aor was built, that made no difference to it’s growth as a symbol. And much as the sun, or the ocean, or the wind could act as a divine force with no anthropomorphization, so, too, could the Beacon Tower.

The first worshippers of Aor were essentially philosophers and planners who discovered that parables about the effort needed to build Aor, and the benefits that were reaped not by those who did so but those who came after, granted them more than just wisdom. Stories spread, and were compiled, talking about the need to maintain Aor so it would not fall into disrepair, to man it so the beacon could be lit as needed, to set aside some effort of a community to keep the advantages Aor had granted them. Aor became a symbol of a thing mortals did without the gods, and in doing so took the palce of gods in the minds of many.

Aor has no tenets, being an inanimate object, but its worshippers actively promote the ideas that must have held sway when it was constructed. They see themselves as beacons of their own, looking for dangers to entire societies and teaching the needed behaviors that will prepare populations to be ready for such threats.

*Aor is Neutral, and accepts worships of all non-chaotic alignments. The essential quality to worship Aor is to accept that there are benefits of forethought, and working together, and maintaining that which has been wrought. Such beleifs can be applied to good and evil, to strict laws or general trends, but do not mesh well with those who hold individual freedom of choice above joint, organized action.
*Aor’s color is gray — the gray of rock, stone, and dust gathering in ancient corners. Often Aor is represented by a single vertical gray stripe, which may be placed in the center or to the left of any other pattern or image.
*Aor’s favorite weapons are hammers, which were used to help craft and place it.
*Aor’s favored animal is the ganet. There are debates about why. Ganets are seabirds, suggesting the Beacon Tower might have been the first ligthhouse. Ganets are also famously fearless and easy ot kill, perhaps suggesting they need Aor more than other animals.
*Its servitors are non-chaotic outsiders linked to architecture and crafting, regardless of their other affiliations.
*Its holy symbol is a tower with a light or bolt at the top, spiraling outward from it.
*Its areas of concern are architecture, cooperation, communication, diligence, forethought, navigation, teaching, and warning.
*Its domains are Artifice (industry, toil), Community(cooperation, education), Rune (wards), Sun (light), Travel (trade), and Water (oceans).

Worshipers of Aor are often gifted with divine foresight, and an inherent understanding of construction. They may give up any skill known to gain Knowledge (Engineering) and have one bonus rank in that skill per level (still limited to max ranks equal to their level). Additionally, any worshiper of Aor that receives a domain, hex, or mystery can sacrifice a domain power, hex or, revelation to gain a power from the divination wizard school, or any of its subschools, that could be gained at the same or lower level.

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The Icosantheon. No 5 — Eirsival

The Icosantheon is a host of twenty deities bound not by a common origin, but by a united conservatorship of the immaterium that forms the sides and edges of the material plane.

(Art by grandfailure)

5. Eirsival

Eirsival is known as the Knight of the Final Thunder and the Coming Storm. She is the last of the Storm Mothers, agents of the primal divinities from before the fall of the Cthonic Gods. The Storm Mothers oversaw the destiny of those who would die defending others. In a twist of what could be considered irony, they were unable to foresee their own destiny, dying to defend the birth of mortals during the Gogolmachy when gods and elder beings first came into direct conflict and destroyed so much of reality, including entire alternate histories and places where technology was far more advanced than the current world.

Along with the other Storm Mothers and the First Heroes they had guided, Eirsival stood to hold the Final Line against aberrant horrors that sought to unmake the rules of the material plane. Had they failed, there would be no natural order to things, just a whirling tumult where the will and power of an entity were the only limits of what it could force others, and matter itself, to become. Though the Final Line did not break, when the maelstrom fell back, only Eirsival and Ixalicor, the progenitor of all unicorns, remained. Ixalicor swore to serve as Eirsival’s mount for all time, and Eirsival swore that those who defended the innocent, weak, and abused should never have to do so alone.

And in that moment, she went from the last of a line of angelic servants to being a deity.

Eirsival neither requires nor even requests worship, as she wishes to support all righteous defenders, whether they pay her obeisance or not. However, that very fact draws some to venerate her and wish to spread her name, and as long as they do so in the name of protecting a better world and respect the lives in the current world, she does not refuse them. Her temples are few, but tend toward massive fortifications that can take in and defend vast populations when needed. Slightly more common are stables and cavalry forts with a small shrine to her, as the friendship between her and Ixalicor has carried down to many forms of equine.

Eirsival believes that rules and order are a necessary part of protecting the rights and dignity of all things, but she also accepts that rules and order can be used for darker purposes. Thus while she has a natural distrust of anarchy and randomness, she does not inherently oppose it until it begins to impinge on her quest to protect all. Eirsival is a close ally with Karrackar, and where she and the Shade Dragon disagree on some finer details of how to best proceed, their mutual respect is so great they simply defer to one another within their specific areas of concern. Eirsival actively dislikes Garuuhl, and considers him excellent proof that if the ends is sued to justify the means, evil will eventually result. She largely ignores other members of the Icosantheon, and other gods in general, unless their interests and goals somehow overlap or oppose her own.

*Eirsival is Lawful Good, and accepts worships of all good alignments, and those who are Lawful Neutral. She supports all efforts to protect and aid others, and acknowledges that there are often many ways to do so, but does not tolerate evil in any form, or anarchy for the sake of anarchy.
*Eirsival’s colors are sky blue, silver, and pearly white, often in wind and cloud motifs. However, her colors are for times when color is appropriate, her worshippers feel no pressure to embrace those colors unless they both desire to and are safely can.
*Her favorite weapons are any form of lance or spear, most often one sheathed in lightning.
*Her favored animal is the horse and all horselike creatures, especially pegasi, unicorns, and hippogriffs.
*Her servitors are winged unicorns the color of thunder and lightning, tengu spearmasters who are wandering teachers, and smiths, especially lance-smiths.
*Her holy symbol is a single bolt of lignting, surrounded by darkness.
*Her areas of concern are destiny, dignity, heroes, honor, loss, resolution, and solitude.
*Her domains are Air (cloud, lightning, wind), Glory (chivalry, heroism, and honor), Good (friendship), Law (loyalty), Protection (defense, fortification, and solitude), and Weather (storms).

Any worshipper of Eirsival who is of good alignment and has the animal companion class feature can take the Unicorn Companion feat, even if they do not otherwise meet its prerequisites. Additionally, her worshipers can gain the feat and the animal companion feature needed to use it by giving up specifi class features based on their class: cleric (one domain), inquisitor (domain and stern gaze), oracle (revelations from 1st, 7th, and 15th level), shaman (spirit animal), warpriest (both blessings).

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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!

d20 Design Diary: How Many Class Options is Enough (Starfinder Inquisitor example)

In the long run, this all comes back to the Starfinder Inquisitor I designed a draft version of. And, as a reminder, if you are a supporter of my Patreon in the timespan from today through tomorrow, you’ll get a slight-revised-and-expanded version of the class as a free pdf!

One common format of d20 game class design is to have selectable options as class features. These may be specializations — things you pick once that then give you fixed abilities as you gain levels (cleric domains, and sorcerer bloodlines are good fantasy examples of this, while mystic connections and operative specializations are the same idea in the Starfinder Roleplaying Game) — or may be a long set of talents that are abilities (some with prerequisites) you get to pick from every few levels (with the ur example being rogue talents, and everything from operative exploits, to mechanic tricks, and soldier gear boosts being iconic Starfinder examples).

These are things like will get endlessly expanded in expansions, campaign settings, houserules, and the blog posts of former-design-leads, so in the long run “enough” is “when the game stops being played.” But when the class is first introduced, you need to decide how many of these choices are presented to begin with. How much is “enough” to feel like there are a range of options with different focuses, themes, and effects. Obviously space constraints are always a downward pressure on these questions, but from a design point of view, you want there to be enough options at launch for players and GMs to have a feel for what kind of things you plan for those options to include, and for characters of the same class to feel different.

So, how much is enough? Well… it depends.

First, if you include bonus feats as choices (or the class feature is nothing but bonus feats, as with the fighter/soldier), you can count that as much more than one entry (depending on how many feats can be selected with the class feature). After that, it’s a question of how many different concepts you want to highlight, and how many such options a single character can take.

In this context, a character can only get a single specialization, so you don’t need as many of them. Talents, otoh, you usually get 5-to-10 of over the course of a single character’s career, so you need more to make sure that no member of the class is forced to pick the same talent as a different character with a different concept.

So, let’s look at the number of such class features that appeared in the Starfinder Core Rulebook, when the classes were first introduced. (I counted these by hand, so I might be off by 1 or 2 on one of these entries — which is fine, since I am looking for an idea of the range of options rather than an exacting tally.)

Envoy

Improvisations – 28

Expertise talents – 19

Mechanic

Artificial Intelligence – 2 (One being the drone, which has ANOTHER set of selectable options)

Mechanic tricks – 30

Mystic

Connections – 7

(The mystic also has spells, but that’s a bit different from selectable class features)

Operative

Specializations – 7

Exploits – 38

Solarion

Stellar Mode – 2

Stellar Revelation – 31

Soldier

Gear Boost – 12

Fighting style – 7

(These are in addition to gaining bonus combat feats at regular intervals, making the soldier highly customizable even with reduced number of gear boosts and fighting styles.)

Technomancer

magic hacks – 31

(The technomaner also has spells, but that’s a bit different from selectable class features)

It’s remarkable how similar some of those numbers are. It’s clear if you have an option that runs most of a class’s 20-level career, such as mystic connections, operative specializations, or soldier fighting styles, you want 7 of them to start. If you are doing talent-like choices, you want 20-40 of them (depending on how much the class depends on them, and how many other custom class features it gets).

So, what do we do with this knowledge?

Let’s apply it to our Starfinder Inquisitor., which is schedule to appear in a “full” version in the book Starfarer’s Companion II.

(Crowdfunding campaign coming this Fall!)

That class has inquisitions, which are very much in the “specialization” category for the kinds of class features we are discussing here. I only have one of those written up for the draft –the Battle Inquisition. I’m not going to have more than at-most one more for the free pdf version going to Patreon supporters, but when I release a “final” version of the class I’ll want 7 of those total. Offhand, I’d likely choose Battle, Madness, Occult, Solar, Technology, Tyrant, and Void for these first 7 slots, to give a wide range of options tied to both common Starfinder tropes, and inquisitor tropes from other science-fantasy fiction.

The class also has inquisitor tactics, which fill our “talent” design space. One of those — Team Tactics — is going to grant option to a range of teamwork feats designed for the class, so we can likely skew toward the lower end of the 20-40 talent number, especially since the class also picks either advanced melee weapon or longarm weapon proficiency at 1st, AND has spells. There are only 10 in the draft, so that number will need to be roughly double in the final version.

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Revised, Partial List of Very Fantasy Words (Update!)

It’s been more than 18 months since I updated the Revised, Partial List of Very Fantasy Words (which can be found here)!

So if you want to have a vavasor gallivant across his demesne, or have the sigil in a grimoire be the campaign’s telos, these are the words for you!

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Dash Cantrip, in Four Game Systems

Cantrips are interesting, in all 4 of the d20 game systems I work in regularly (PF1, PF2, StF, and 5e). You get unlimited uses of them, so they need to be useful enough to be worth tracking (even at mid- to high-levels), but can’t be so good that casting them endlessly can ruin a game.

And almost none of them impact movement.

Which lead me to wonder, CAN I design a cantrip that impacts movement? Something to give you a little edge when what you need to do is reposition yourself and just a double move (or dash, or triple move, or whatever the game’s equivalent is) won’t do.

Can I do in in four game systems?

Behold, the dash cantrip.

Pathfinder, 1e

Dash
School transmutation; Level Bard 0, Cleric 0, Druid 0, Inquisitor 0, Magus 0, Mesmerist 0, Psychic 0, Shaman 0, Witch 0, Sorcerer/Wizard 0]
Casting Time 1 standard action
Range personal
Target you
Duration 1 round

Your movement rate increases by an enhancement bonus equal to your current movement rate, +20 feet.

Pathfinder, 2e

Dash [Cantrip 1]
Traditions Arcane, Divine, Primal
Cast [three actions] Verbal
Duration until the start of your next turn

You move a distance equal to triple your speed +30 feet.

Starfinder

Dash  [Mystic 0, Witchwarper 0]
School transmutation
Casting Time 1 standard action
Range personal
Duration 1 round

You gain a +10 foot increase to your land speed until the beginning of your next turn. As part of casting this spell, you can move up to your land speed.

5e

Dash
Transmutation cantrip
Casting Time: 1 action
Range: Self
Components: V
Duration: 1 round

You can move a number of feet this round equal to double your move, +20 feet.

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Technomancer Mind-Affecting Spells VI

Today we wrap up (for now, at least) exploring the design space of technomancer mind-affecting spells.

If we want a mind-affecting spells to feel like a viable concept for a technomancer (which is the only time at which it would make sense to select the robot influence magic hack), we’re going to need at least two different mind-affecting spells at each spell level for 1st and higher, and at least one 0-level spell.

So far we’ve done a 0-level spelltwo first, a 2nd-level (to go with their existing 2nd-level mind-affecting spell, daze monster), two 3rd-level, 4th-level, and 5th-level spells. So, let’s do two technomancer-flavored 6th-level mind-affecting spells.

For balance on these we looked at a lot of 6th-level spells, but since there don;t seem to be any 6th-level mind-affecting spells in Starfinder, there aren’t any specific 1-to-1 comparisons.

mysterious woman in futuristic cloak with hood walking with blue light particles, digital art style, illustration painting

Algorithm [Technomancer 6]
School enchantment (compulsion, mind-affecting)
Casting Time 1 standard action
Range medium (100 ft. +10 ft./level)
Targets one creature/level, no two of which can be more than 30 feet apart
Duration 1 round/level
Saving Throw Will partial; Spell Resistance yes

You impose an algorithm on the decision-making processes and efforts undertaken by of the spell’s targets. Each round, you can designate one creature to be protected by the algorithm. Any affected target takes a -5 penalty to all skill checks regarding the target, attack rolls against the target, and to the save DC of any ability they use that affects the target. You can change the protected creature each round, ending the protection against any previous creature. Targets that fail their saving throw are unaware their actions are being influenced by a spell.

Targets that succeed at their Will save only take a -2 penalty to skills, attacks, and DCs, and are aware they are under the effects of a spell.

Target Lock [Technomancer 6]
School enchantment (compulsion, mind-affecting)
Casting Time 1 standard action
Range medium (100 ft. +10 ft./level)
Targets one creature
Duration 1 minute/level
Saving Throw Will partial; Spell Resistance yes

You lock the target’s attention onto one foe, and prompt it to attack that foe. The target must attack the foe with the attack most likely to be effective against it with at least one action per round. If the target succeeds at a Will save it can ignore this command, but the mental effort to do so causes it to be fatigued for the duration of the spell. The fatigue ends when the spell ends, or if the creature decided to attack the designated foe.

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Technomancer Mind-Affecting Spells V

We’re still exploring the design space of technomancer mind-affecting spells.

If we want a mind-affecting spells to feel like a viable concept for a technomancer (which is the only time at which it would make sense to select the robot influence magic hack), we’re going to need at least two different mind-affecting spells at each spell level for 1st and higher, and at least one 0-level spell.

So far we’ve done a 0-level spell, two first, a 2nd-level (to go with their existing 2nd-level mind-affecting spell, daze monster), two 3rd-level spells, and two-fourth-level spells. So, let’s do two technomancer-flavored 5th-level mind-affecting spells.

Blockchain looks at the scaling fear spell for determining it’s total power level–it’s not as debilitating, but has a much larger area, targets nonliving creatures, only targets enemies, and at this level lasts long, and has some effect even on targets who make their save, with off-target a pretty good guaranteed effect (and even dazzled causes you to be -1 on all attack rolls, which may not seem like much but isn’t bad if you hit a bunch of foes as the minimum effect they take on top of off-target).

Greater check the comments looks to greater command for how to upgrade 1st-level spells at 5th level.

Technomancer Eye

Blockchain [Technomancer 5]
School enchantment (compulsion, mind-affecting)
Casting Time 1 standard action
Range 60 feet
Targets all foes in a cone-shaped emanation
Duration 1 round/level
Saving Throw Will partial; Spell Resistance yes

You flood the minds of of every foe in the area to a series of interconnected mental checklists they must fulfill while taking any action. Targets are entangled as they constantly start and stop each thing they do, trying to fulfill the checklists demanded for each decision they make. Targets that succeed at their Will save still find their minds filled with checklists, but know they are artificial and can be ignored, though the distraction causes them to still be off-target. Targets already off-target are instead dazzled.

Check the Comments, Greater [Technomancer 5]
School enchantment (compulsion, mind-affecting)
Targets up to one creature/level, no two of which can be more than 30 ft. apart
Save Will negates

This spell functions like check the comments, except you can affect up to one creature per level and creatures make their announcements in one language you know of your choice, even if they do not speak that language (or, indeed, even if they speak no language).

PATREON
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Technomancer Mind-Affecting Spells IV

We’re exploring the design space of technomancer mind-affecting spells.

If we want a mind-affecting spells to feel like a viable concept for a technomancer (which is the only time at which it would make sense to select the robot influence magic hack), we’re going to need at least two different mind-affecting spells at each spell level for 1st and higher, and at least one 0-level spell.

So far we’ve done a 0, two first, a 2nd (to go with their existing 2nd-level mind-affecting spell, daze monster), and two 3rd-level spells. So, let’s do two technomancer-flavored 4th-level mind-affecting spells.

The quantum zen king / 3D illustration of male android hardwired to computer core

CAPSLOCK looks at the various fear spells as a way to establish a power-level baseline, while safety on is balanced against hold monster.

CAPSLOCK isn’t nearly as debilitating as fear, but even on a failed save the target is affected briefly.

I also wrote safety on as a reminder (to myself as much as anyone) that’s there is more to technology than just computers, and thus technomancer spells should play with nondigital concepts as well. I like the concept of a technomancer being able to take the concept of a gun’s safety, and apply it to a person. It’s not as debilitating as hold monster, but the target also doesn’t get a save to end it every round, and again it has some impact even on targets that make a save.

CAPSLOCK [Technomancer 4]
School enchantment (compulsion, mind-affecting)
Casting Time 1 standard action
Range medium (100 ft. + 10 ft./level)
Targets all foes, no two of which can be more than 30 ft. apart
Duration 1 minute/level
Saving Throw Will partial; Spell Resistance yes

You rewire the targets’ ability to make decisions, forcing them to go all-or-nothing on everything they do. They can only take actions designated a full actions or double move actions (preventing any single attacks, standard actions, or single move actions) and cannot take reactions or swift actions. If they speak they must shout, and when moving they make heavy, deliberate steps, preventing any Bluff check to pass secret messages, and any Sleight of Hand or Stealth checks. They cannot take 10 or take 20 on skill checks, even if they have an ability that would normally allow them to do so when distracted or in danger.

If a target succeeds as a skill check, the duration of this spell is reduced to 1d4 rounds for that target.

Safety On [Technomancer 4]
School enchantment (compulsion, mind-affecting)
Casting Time 1 standard action
Range medium (100 ft. + 10 ft./level)
Targets one creature
Duration 1 round/2 levels (D)
Saving Throw Will partial, see text; Spell Resistance yes

The target cannot use a weapon for any purpose, make any attack roll, or take any action that would force creatures to make saving throws if they were targeted by or in the area of the action’s end result.

A target that succeeds at a Will save can take any actions it wishes, but suffers a -2 penalty to attack rolls, and the save DC of any effect it creates is reduced by 1.

PATREON
Enjoy this Starfinder content? Want to see more? Want to see something else? You can back my Patreon to encourage me to do more of the kind of work you want to see, and you can subscribe to the 52-in-52 program to get entire game supplements, one a week for every week of 20020, that are done in four versions for four game systems, including Starfinder!