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Archetypical Theme for Starfinder

So far this week, we’ve looked at using archetypes to access theme abilities and playing living fabric as player characters, both for Starfinder.

No shock, we’re sticking with that game system today, as we offer a way to access archetype abilities using a theme. For the reasons why you might want to “cross the memes” this way, check out the justification in Monday’s “InterThemed” article. I’ll also add that this can be a way to pick up some of two archetypes in one class, which otherwise can extremely difficult, despite how obviously things like a vaster priest or cyberborn law officer could easily exist within the game setting. While a theme can’t hand out a LOT of archetype abilities (and remain balanced, and not allow a theme to be better at being the archetype than the actual archetype), it can give enough to make a difference, and possibly act as a more customized variant of the “themeless” theme.

(Art by getmilitary photos)

Archetypical Theme

You have a connection to one archetype so strong it defines you as much as your class or background, and you gain a few of its key features without giving up any class abilities of your own.

Archetypical Knowledge: You gain a class skill of your choice when you create an archetypical character. Also, you gain an ability adjustment of +1 to any ability score you choose. Based on the archetype you wish to access, you may want to pick a related skill and/or ability score to benefit from this ability.

Archetypical Dedication: At 6th level, you select one archetype that you have not taken and which you meet all the prerequisites for, that has an archetype ability at 2nd, 4th, or 6th level. You gain it’s lowest-level ability you do not already have that is granted by the archetype by 6th level or earlier. Once you have selected an archetype with this theme, you cannot change it, and you cannot use the normal rules to take that archetype’s abilities in place of class abilities.

Archetypical Mastery: At 12th level, you gain the lowest-level ability of the archetype you selected at 6th level you do not already have, that is granted by the archetype by 12th level or earlier.

Archetypical Resolve: At 18th level, twice per day you can rest and focus yourself for 10 minutes to regain 1 Resolve Point.

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Owen Explains It All – Textile Characters 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!

(I guess I need to build that chair, now…)

If you haven’t already gone and watched the September, 2021 episode, we talk about the fifth episode of Marvel’s What If… series, titled “What If… Zombies?” 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.

I mean, obviously, while it’s pretty clear from the title that this is the Marvel Zombies inspired episode of What If…, I’m going to be talking about some things that aren’t necessarily clear just because there are zombies involved. So, if you want to avoid spoilers for this (or, weirdly, the Disney Alladin movies), I’ve given you fair warning.

Ready?

So in the episode, we see Doctor Strange’s Cloak of Levitation act entirely of its own accord. It does this in the Strange movie, of course, but here the doctor is no longer around to even subconsciously direct it, and the cloak makes tactical decisions, puts itself at risk, and makes a friend. In other words, the cloak acts not like an object, or a power, but as a character. And I was immediately reminded of Carpet, in the Disney Alladin movies, which similarly shows bravery, or fear, or whimsey, and is clearly more a person than a thing.

And, I realized, that would NOT be hard to make an option in a ttRPG.

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

Playable Textile Characters

Okay so, look. This is for people who have decided sentient magic items that happen to look like capes or carpets or sashes or whatever are no sillier than, and need not be restricted any more than, robots with healing circuits, floating brains with atrophied limbs, or 6-armed overhelpful furballs. Either you like the idea, or you don’t. I’m here to provide rules for people who do, not try to convince people who don’t to change their minds. 🙂

Weft

The weft are living, self-aware fabric magic items, and no one is sure where they came from. Are the living cloaks and rugs an offshoot of cloakers? Are cloakers some kind of morlock offshoot of the weft? Are fabric magic items simply more prone to gaining self-awareness than other forms of eldritch items? Is there some artifact loom, somewhere in the galaxy, cranking out cloth-people?

Like androids, weft are constructs that have sufficient complexity to attract a soul. Also like androids, when a weft is old enough, it simply chooses to let its soul move on, it’s body briefly being an inert length of cloth that changes color in a process known as “dyeing,” before a new soul moves in, and a new weft person arises in the same body. No weft remembers its creation, and it is unclear if this is because all original weft dyed long ago, of because even a “newborn” weft doesn’t become self-aware until removed from its place of origin.

While the majority of weft appear to be carpets or cloaks and capes, some instead take the appearance of coats, sashes, shawls, curtains, and other fabric objects.

(Art by vivali)

Ability Modifiers +2 Dex, +2 Cha, -2 Wis
Hit Points 2

Size and Type
Weft are Small, Medium, or Large constructs with the magical subtype, though unlike other constructs, they have Constitution scores. This decision is made at character creation and can’t be changed.

Blindsense
Weft’s sensitive fibers grant them blindsense (vibration)—the ability to sense vibrations in the air—with a range of 30 feet.

Living Threads
In addition to being constructs and thus able to benefit from spells like make whole, weft count as living creatures for the purposes of magic healing effects that work on living creatures, though the number of Hit Points restored in such cases is halved. A character must use the Engineering skill (or a fabric creation/repair Profession skill) to perform the tasks of the Medicine skill on weft. Weft also heal naturally over time as living creatures do, and can benefit from magic or technology that can bring constructs back from the dead, as well as effects that normally can’t (such as raise dead).

Silent, Sign, and Limited Telepathy
Weft do not speak, but can hear normally and communicate through signed versions of the languages they know. Also, they can communicate telepathically with any creatures within 30 feet with whom they share a language. Conversing telepathically with multiple creatures simultaneously is just as difficult as listening to multiple people speak.

Drape
A weft can share the space of an ally without penalty to either the weft or ally. A weft can also drape itself on a creature willing to let it do so. At the beginning of its turn, the weft must decide if it is riding (in which case it can take no movement that turn, and only moves when the creature it is draped on does), or carrying (in which case it can carry the creature as it moves, but that creature cannot take any other movement until the beginning of the next turn). An ally can decide to stop allowing a weft to drape at any time as part of any action, but if the character was carried by the weft, it still can’t move on its own until after the weft’s next turn begins.

Additionally, whether is it draping or not, as a full-round action a weft can lay and move in such a way as appear to be a typical cape, or carpet (or whatever one mundane cloth object it matches the appearance of, as selected at character creation) to gains a +20 bonus to Disguise checks to appear to be that thing.

Woven
Weft are immune to bleed, disease, death effects, poison, nonlethal damage, and sleep effects unless those effects specify they affect constructs. Weft can be affected by effects or spells that normally target only humanoids, but receive a +4 racial bonus to saving throws against such effects. Weft can drink (absorbing liquids into their fabric), though they don’t need to, and they must rest by entering an passive torpor that is similar to sleep for 8 hours every day. Weft do not breathe or suffer the normal environmental effects of being in a vacuum.

Wrap Up

So, have different ideas for a weft character? Got other magic items you think could be turned into playable species? Interested in having me Explain It All for some other media-inspired content? Leave a comment and let me know!

(This is an Extended Post, with additional material discussing weft as drones for mechanics and technomancers, exclusively on my Patreon for my supporting Patrons.)

InterThemed Archetype for Starfinder

One of the customization options available to a Starfinder character is a theme. This can range from being an ace pilot to an athlete, cultist, icon, priest, street rat, and more. While theme benefits are generally modest, and are only granted four times over the course of a character’s career, they can be an important part of what defines a character’s background, goals, and methodology. Even when most other large-scale choices between two characters are the same, themes can help set them apart. There is a big difference between a human soldier priest, and a human soldier bounty hunter.

Sometimes, even though you you have a theme that’s perfect for your character, it turns out there are some abilities from other themes that are also great matches for your character. There’s no way in the core Starfinder rules to pick up abilities from multiple themes. That’s a weird limitation, actually, given that there’s nothing to stop a character from taking multiple character classes, and in some cases it’s easy to take two or even three different archetypes.

But, at the same time, you’d never want to have someone dipping a tow in a second theme to be better at it, at any level, than a character who selects it as a primary theme. Luckily, with the archetype rules available as a way to add new abilities to a character (at the cost of giving up some normal class features, to keep things balanced), and the highly-regimented nature of themes, it’s easy enough to create a balanced option for characters who really want to access some of the things locked behind a second, or perhaps even a third, theme. Unlike ThemeTypes, a set of options I created that combine theme and archetype into a single additional powerful concept you can add to a character, the InterThemed archetype is a way to use the archetype rules to access parts of multiple themes.

(This of course leads to the question: “Could you use themes to access some archetype abilities?” Come back Wednesday to see the answer!)

InterThemed Archetype

The narrative of your life is too complex (or, some might claim, muddled)

Dual Theme: At 2nd level, you select a theme other than your own. You gain the benefits granted by that theme at 1st level, except you do not gain any ability score increase, and if the theme grants you an untyped bonus to a skill you have already received an untyped bonus to, you do not gain the additional bonus from the selected theme. You are considered to have the selected theme for purposes of prerequisites.

Complex Theme: At 4th level, you may select an additional theme and receive benefits from it’s 1st level, as with the dual theme archetype ability. This is an optional ability, and you can choose to receive the normal class feature your class gains at this level, rather than take this archetype benefit.

Deep Theme: At 9th level, you gain the benefit granted at 6th level by the theme you selected with this archetype at 2nd level.

Emergent Theme: At 12th level, if you selected a second theme at 4th level, you can receive the ability granted at 6th level by that theme. If you did not select a second theme at 4th level, you may do so now, as outlined in the complex theme ability. This is an optional ability, and you can choose to receive the normal class feature your class gains at this level, rather than take this archetype benefit.

Developed Theme: At 18th level, you gain the benefit granted at 12th level by the theme you selected with this archetype at 2nd level.

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DungeonFinder/ShadowFinder Soldier Fighting Style

So, yesterday I pitched on way to handle weapons in DungeonFinder or ShadowFinder, both concepts for 100% Starfinder-compatible campaign settings (one classic fantasy, the other modern urban fantasy). I mentioned that while equipment was a big part of what would be needed to make such settings work, there would also have to be some work done on classes. Some classes would need to be tossed out and replaced. But others, like operative and soldier, just need new genre-appropriate choices.

So, what might those look like? Let’s look at the soldier.

Obviously the soldier class is going to stand in for the fighter, and likely a lot of fighter-adjacent base and hybrid classes. Now, some of that work can be done with archetypes and existing material (the assassin and battle leader archetypes work for any class and are pretty good as-is, and would take at most just a little tweaking, while the wrathful warrior fighting style does a pretty good job of turning a soldier into a rage-themed berserker). But there are some classic fantasy/modern combat tropes that no existing Starfinder material does a good job of covering. for example, the very first fighter archetype in PF1 is the archer, and nothing in Starfinder really fills that conceptual space.

So, we’d almost certainly want an archer fighting style. (As an aside – we might ALSO want an archer archetype, so other classes can do some archery-stuff, in which case we’d certainly want the two to be compatible. We might even want to have them draw from the same pool of abilities. But those are concerns we can tackle later — a proof-of-concept effort shouldn’t try to tackle every possible nuance. We can adjust the idea as needed when we’re further along – none of the work we do here is wasted, even if we move around who gets it and how.)

(As a second aside – we’d ALSO need to do something about how bows work, too, but given we tackled the core idea of fantasy weapons in Starfinder yesterday, for now I feel comfortable saying “I could manage that.”)

So, what would an archer fighting style look like?

(Art by grandfalure)

Archer

You are a master of early ranged weapons and, despite this fighting style’s name, are expert with bows, crossbows, and slings. Whenever this fighting style says “bows,” the rules apply to any analog ranged weapon that is not thrown.

Hawkeye (Ex): At 1st level, Perception becomes a class skill for you. If it is already a class skill, you instead gain a +1 bonus to Perception checks. Additionally, you increase the range increment of bows by 10 feet of any You add an additional 10 feet to such range increments at 5th level, and every 4 levels thereafter.

Trick Shot (Ex): At 5th level, select one of the following combat maneuvers: dirty trick, disarm, sunder, trip. You can perform this maneuver at range using a bow. You can pick a second combat maneuver from the list to perform with such weapons at 11th level, and a third at 17th level.

Safe Shot (Ex): At 9th level, when making attacks with a bow, you do not provoke attacks of opportunity.

Sharpshooter (Ex): At 13th level, when making attacks with a bow, you add half your Dexterity bonus to the damage done.

Volley (Ex): At 17th level, as a full-round action, you can make a single bow attack at your highest base attack bonus against each creature in a 15-foot- radius burst, making separate attack and damage rolls for each creature. You use ammunition for each creature attacked.

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This is an Expanded Post, with more exclusive content (looking at different abilities that might be part of an archer archetype, or abilities a soldier archer could choose from) available exclusively to my Patrons!

Psionic ThemeType for Starfinder

I originally created the ThemeType rules as an alternate form of multiclassing, allowing a character to trade in their theme and swap out abilities using the archetype rules to gain some abilities from a second character class without interrupting their normal character class progression. However, you can also use ThemeTypes to represent a major additional source of power or training that doesn’t qualify to be its own class, but it more than a mere archetype.

For example, here is the psionic ThemeType, to allow a character of any class to gain significant mental powers.

Multiclass ThemeType abilities marked with (Theme) occur when you reach the listed character level, regardless of what classes you have taken levels in. Those marked (Archetype) are gained only when you reach the listed level in the first character class you take levels in. However, it is also recommended that characters with a Multiclass ThemeType not be allowed to also use normal multiclassing rules (in which case the character’s character level and class level will always match).

Psionic ThemeType

You have significant, and growing, mental powers. These might be an expansion of natural mental abilities, the result of some x-factor within your DNA (or equivalent core make-up), the result of mystic or super-science augmentation, or a side effect of being exposed to strange energies even you do not understand. Your psionic powers begin as little more than hunches and slightly improved ability to interact with others, and turns into the power to direct blasts of pure psionic power and move objects with your mind.

Theme Knowledge (Ex, Theme, 1st Level): At first level, you select two of the following skills of your choice: Bluff, Diplomacy, Mysticism, or Sense Motive. For each selected skill, if it is not already a class skill, it becomes a class skill. It you do have the skill as a class skill from other source, you instead gain a +1 bonus to that skill. Once these choices are made, they cannot be changed.

Telepathy (Su, Archetype, 2nd Level): You gain limited telepathy with a range of 30 feet. If you already have limited telepathy, its range increases to 120 feet, and whenever you encounter a creature that has a language but does not have a common language with you, you may make a Will save as a reaction (DC 15 + 1.5x creature’s level or CR), and on a successful save for 24 hours you may communicate with the creature with telepathy as if you had a common language. You may only make one such save for a specific creature each 24 hours.

Psionic Bolt (Sp, Archetype, 4th Level): You can cast mind thrust at will. This functions as the 1st level version of the spell, but deals only 1d10 damage on a failed save. Your caster level is equal to your character level, and the spell’s save DC is equal to 11 + your key ability modifier. This increases to 2d10 and a save DC of 12 + your key ability modifier at level 7, 3d10 and a save DC of 13 + your key ability modifier at level 10, 5d10 and a save DC of 14 + your key ability modifier at level 13, and 7d10 and a save DC of 15 + your key ability modifier at level 16.

Minor Telekinesis (Theme, 6th Level): You can cast psychokinetic hand and telekinetic projectile at will. If you can already cast psychokinetic hand at will from another source, instead the range of the spell increases to 60 feet, the max weight increases to 20 lbs or 2 bulk, and the speed you can move an object increases to 30 feet per round. If you can already cast telekinetic projectile at will from another source, instead you add x1.5 your character level to damage done with the spell.

Detect Thoughts (Sp, Archetype, 6th Level): You can cast detect thoughts. Once you have used this ability, you cannot use it again until after you recuperate*.

Calm Mind (Sp, Archetype, 9th Level): You can cast lesser remove condition, but only to remove the shaken condition. Once you have used this ability, you cannot use it again until after you recuperate*. At 12th level, you can instead use this ability to cast remove condition, but only to remove the frightened condition. At 15th level, you can instead use this ability to cast greater remove condition, but only to remove the cowering or dazed condition.

Precognition (Sp, Theme, 12th Level): As a move action, you can cast augury. Once you have used this ability, you cannot use it again until after you recuperate*.

Mental Defense (Su, Archetype, 12th Level): If you succeed at a Will save against an effect that normally has a partial effect on a successful save, you instead take no effect. If you take damage from something that allows a Will save, you reduce the damage you take by 20.

Psionic Power (Theme, 18th Level): If you normally could not use an ability gained from this ThemeType until after you next recuperate*, you can instead expend a Resolve Point to use it immediately..

Greater Psionics (Sp, Archetype 18th): Once per day, you can cast telekinesis, telepathy, or teleportation.

(Art by White Raven)

*Recuperate is my proposed term for when a character takes a 10-minute rest and expends a Resolve point to regain Stamina points.

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Revised Icon Theme, for Battles of the Bands in Starfinder

So, yesterday I presented a reskinned version of the starship vehicle chase rules in Starfinder for use in Battle of the Bands contests. It works great. There’s just one issue.

Icons don’t have any real edge winning Battles of the bands with these rules.

Now, sure, the Icon theme might not be for musical/stage performers specifically, And they DO get a +1 bonus to their selected Profession skill, so that’s a small edge.

But if a campaign is REALLY going to use Battles of the Bands as often as, say, starship combat, there really ought to be a theme that makes you better at it.

So, here’s a revised Icon, tied into yesterday’s rules. Or, if you prefer, you can use this as a Jukebox Hero, Rock God, Pop Star, or Stage Diva theme, and leave Icon alone.

(Insert your character here)

Revised Icon

You’re going to be a Superstar, if you aren’t one already.

Theme Knowledge

Choose one of the following Profession skills – dancer, musician, orator, poet, video personality, electrician, vidgamer, or manager. You are hooked deeply into the culture of your iconic profession. You gain a +1 bonus to checks with your chosen Profession skill. Culture also becomes a class skill for you, though if it is a class skill from the class you take at 1st level, you instead gain a +1 bonus to Culture checks.

When you are in a Battle of the Bands contest, your band’s Musical Armor Class increases by +1, and you and all other members of the band receive a +2 enhancement bonus to all Perform Phase skill checks.

In addition, you gain an ability adjustment of +1 to Intelligence, Wisdom, or Charisma at character creation (whichever is tied to the Profession skill you selected).

Under Pressure (6th)

Performing is in your blood, and the harder things get, the better you perform. When you are not at full Stamina Points, or are down to 3 or fewer Resolve points, you gain a +2 circumstance bonus to skill checks with skill checks for your Profession associated with this theme. When performing (taking at least a standard action each round to make an appropriate Profession check, or participating in a Battle of the Bands), you gain a +2 circumstance bonus to saving throws against any effect that would prevent you from continuing your performance.

The Show Must Go On (12th)

You can keep on performing even while aiding you allies, keeping the equipment working, or even shooting at music-killing raith phantoms. During a Battle of the Bands, you can take a single action in the Perform Phase or Combat phase as a swift action (as long as it is normally a standard action or less), as long as you take no other action during that phase.

Holding Out for a Hero (18th)

The thrill of a great performance energizes you, whether it’s yours or someone else’s. The first two times each day you are present when someone rolls a natural 20 on a Profession check for some kind of performance check (for a Battle of the bands, or anything else), you recover 1 Resolve Point. If you take 20 on an appropriate Profession check, this counts as a natural 20 that day for purposes of this theme ability.

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Improved Override for Starfinder Mechanics

It is a source of some frustration among many mechanic players that they can’t hack androids and robots and control their actions as much sci-fi has taught them they should expect. Only the override class feature begins to allow mechanics to take such actions, and even it is pretty limited compared to examples in genre fiction. There are good reasons for this, but about the time mystics are picking up dominate person, mechanics should be gaining similar options for constructs.

But, that’s easy to fix!

14th Level Mechanic Tricks

Improved Override (Ex): Your ability to override the programming of constructs is far more advanced than most mechanics. When the target of your override fails their saving throw against the ability, you can control their actions as if you had successfully affected them with a dominate person spell. This effect is nonmagical, and you establish wireless comlink communication rather than telepathic, and it affects creatures you can target with override rather than humanoids. You can only have one target controlled by an improved override at a time, and once a creature has attempted a saving throw against override or improved override (regardless of the result), it is immune to further uses of either ability 24 hours. you must have the override class feature to select this trick.

Once you use this ability, you cannot do so again until you recuperate*.

*Recuperate is my proposed term for when a character takes a 10-minute rest and expends a Resolve point to regain stamina.

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Starfinder Theme: Heretic

While I don’t think in terms of themes “matching” classes in Starfinder (one of my great joys in the system is that the priest theme makes just as much sense for a soldier who is a military chaplain or who espouses a god of war as it does any mystic), I do confess that sometimes a series of concepts may be linked between the two.

So I’m not saying characters taking the new SF Inquisitor class are likely to want to take the Heretic theme, but I DID think of this as a theme niche while working on the inquisitor. (And, as a reminder, folks who are members of my Patreon for the span over Aug 31st to Spt 1st will receive a slightly revised and expanded Starfinder Inquisitor class pdf!).

Heretic (+1 Cha)

You are prepared to believe something wildly different from the accepted version of reality. You may have a radical opinion about the right way to worship a deity, or espouse largely-debunked fringe science, or have a wild theory about what happened during missing portions of history that no one else accepts. Alternatively, you may just be a skeptic of orthodoxy, not someone who holds any specific heretical belief, but who does not accept anything as a given just because the establishment presents it as so.

Theme Knowledge (1st Level)

You have had to spend extensive time studying not just what conventional wisdom is, but who decided it as conventional. You look behind groups that make statements to see their track record of unbiased opinion, and while you don’t dismiss expertise of others, you do look to see where claims of expertise come from. At the same time, you often have to keep your true opinions to yourself, and have worked on being inscrutable to others The DC of other’s Sense Motive checks directed at you are 5 higher than usual. Sense Motive is a class skill for you, though if it is a class skill from the class you take at 1st level, you instead gain a +1 bonus to Sense Motive checks. In addition, you gain an ability adjustment of +1 to Wisdom at character creation.

Seeing How It Is (6th Level)

Though you may be too quick to question things that are true, your inherent suspicion actually helps you when faced with a facade. Whenever you are in the same space as an illusion, or attack an illusion, or are the target of an illusions attacks, you are automatically considered to have interacted with it for purposes of determining if you receive saving throw. Normally, you must focus on an illusion for at least a move actin to gain a save.

To Mock the Gods (12th Level)

Your willingness to oppose orthodoxy doesn’t always sit well with mystic and divine agents and forces, but you are growing used to bearing up under their wrath. Once per day, you can reroll a saving throw to resist the effects of a curse. You must decide to use this ability after rolling but before learning the outcome of your first roll.

Considered Opinion (18th Level)

You realize that denying reality because you don’t like it is just as dangerous and wrongheaded as accepting a comforting lie. You constantly turn your skeptical nature inward, and challenge your own assumptions, and become stronger for it. Up to twice per day, you can spend 10 minutes in deep contemplation of your own core assumptions and recover 1 Resolve Point.

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Designing the Inquisitor for Starfinder: Bringing It All Together

Okay, all the posts tagged “SF Inquisitor” in August of 2021 show the design and thought process I used to get to this point: a playable draft of the Inquisitor for Starfinder. But it’s hard to play a class spread out over a half-dozen posts, so here are the game things without all the design theory, all in one place (along with things like the text for Weapon Specialization, and true judgment as a capstone).

Anyone who is a member of my Patreon on Aug 31st and Sept 1st, 2021, will also get this as a stand-alone pdfs, slightly revised and expanded.

(Art by Digital Storm)

SF INQUISITOR

Hit Points: 6
Stamina Points: 6

Key Ability Score – Wis
Your Wisdom determines your spellcasting ability, the saving throw DCs of your spells, and the number of bonus spells you can cast per day, so Wisdom is your key ability score. A high Strength or Dexterity score can also help you in combat situations.

Class Skills
Athletics (Str), Bluff (Cha), Diplomacy (Cha), Disguise (Cha), Intimidate (Cha), Medicine (Wis), Mysticism (Wis), Perception (Wis), Profession (varies), Sense Motive (Wis), Stealth (Dex), Survival (Wis)

Skill Points at each Level: 6 + Int modifier.
Proficiencies
Armor
Light armor, Heavy Armor
Weapons
Basic melee weapons, grenades, and small arms. Also, when you take your first level of inquisitor, select either advanced melee weapons or longarms to gain proficiency with.

SF Inquisitor Class Features

LevelBase Attack
Bonus
FortRefWillSpecial1st2nd3rd4th5th6th
1+0+2+0+2Inquisition, judgement +1
2+1+3+0+3Detect zealotry, inquisitor tactic
3+2+3+1+3Acumen, adversary codex, weapon specialization
4+3+4+1+4Inquisitor tactic2
5+3+4+1+4Inquisition power, judgement +22
6+4+5+2+5Inquisitor tactic3
7+5+5+2+5Acumen32
8+6+6+2+6Inquisitor tactic32
9+6+6+3+6Inquisition power, judgement +333
10+7+7+3+7Inquisitor tactic432
11+8+7+3+7Acumen432
12+9+8+4+8Inquisitor tactic433
13+9+8+4+8Inquisition power, judgement +4443
14+10+9+4+9Inquisitor tactic4432
15+11+9+5+9Acumen4432
16+12+10+5+10Inquisitor tactic4443
17+12+10+5+10Inquisition power, judgement +544432
18+13+11+6+11Inquisitor tactic44432
19+14+11+6+11Acumen44433
20+15+12+6+12Inquisitor tactic, true judgment444431

Spells

You cast spells drawn from the inquisitor spell list (see the bottom of this article). To learn or cast a spell, you must have a Wisdom score equal to at least 10 + the spell’s level. The Difficulty Class for a saving throw against your spell is 10 + the spell’s level + your Wisdom modifier.

You can cast only a certain number of spells of each spell level per day. Your number of spells per day is given on the Inquisitor Class Table. In addition, you receive bonus spells per day if you have a Wisdom modifier of +1 or higher, using the same table as the Mystic in the core rulebook. Note that you only receive these bonus spells once you can cast spells of that level normally. You can also cast 0-level spells. These spells are cast like any other spell, but there is no limit to how many 0-level spells you can cast each day.

Your selection of spells is extremely limited. You begin play knowing one 0-level spell of your choice. At each new inquisitor level, you learn one or more new spells, as indicated on Table: Inquisitor Spells Known. Unlike spells per day, the number of spells you know isn’t affected by your Wisdom modifier.

Every time you gain a level, you can swap out one spell you already know and learn a single new spell of the same level in its place. In effect, you lose the old spell in exchange for the new one. You must choose whether or not to swap the spell at the same time you gain new spells known for the level.

You can cast any inquisitor spell you know at any time, assuming you have not yet used up your allotment of spells per day for the spell’s level. You can also cast a spell using a higher-level spell slot. For instance, if you want to cast a 1st-level spell but have used up all your 1st-level spells for the day, you can use a spell from a 2nd-level slot instead if you have one.

You can also decipher magical inscriptions that would otherwise be unintelligible or, as a full action, identify any spells encoded in a spell gem as a full action. This does not normally invoke the magic contained within, although it may do so in the case of a cursed or trapped spell gem.

SF Inquisitor Spells Known

Level01st2nd3rd4th5th6th
1st1
2nd2
3rd3
4th31
5th32
6th43
7th431
8th432
9th433
10th5431
11th5432
12th5433
13th54431
14th55432
15th55433
16th554431
17th555432
18th555433
19th555443
20th5554441

Inquisition

At 1st level you select an inquisition. This represents the thing that empowers you to strike out against the enemies of your order, faith, creed, people, or philosophy. Each inquisition may be tied to deific powers (for example the inquisition of battle is common among inquisitors that worship gods of war), to your role within an organization (a powerful star crusade may have inquisitors of battle as their elite battlefield commanders), or to your personal nature (a battle inquisitor may simply be driven by a warlike nature and conviction to defeat enemies without any outside force driven them on).

Your inquisition grants you a special power at 1st level, and every 4 class levels thereafter. If an inquisition power has a save DC, the DC is determined as 10 +1/2 your class level + your Wisdom modifier.

While the final version of this class will have multiple inquisitions available, for now there is only one written up, the battle inquisition, which is presented after the other class features and before the inquisitor spell list.

Judgment (Su)

You can focus your disapproval and wrath into a supernatural force that grants you additional might against a specific target. As a move action during combat, you can designate a target to direct your judgment against. Until that target is defeated or you designate a new target, you gain a +1 bonus to your attack and damage rolls against it. This bonus increases to +2 at 5th level, +3at 9th level, +4 at 13th level, and +5 at 17th level.

Additionally, at 1st level attacks you make against the target of your judgement are magical. At 5th level they are aligned to your alignment (for example, if you are chaotic good, your attacks against your judgment target is chaotic and good, bypassing any DR that is bypassed by chaotic or good attacks). At 9th level, they do full damage to incorporeal targets. At 13th level they ignore any DR or energy resistance the target has. At 17th level attacks you make against the target of your judgement do full damage even if the target is normally immune to the damage type the attacks deal.

Detect Zealotry (Sp)

At 2nd level, as a move action, you can detect the presence of strong supernatural forces aligned to a specific alignment. This functions as the detect magic spell, except as noted in this ability. Rather than magic, you can detect the presence of the chaotic, evil, good, and lawful subtypes, and of any spell, weapon fusion, or effect that allows an attack to bypass alignment-related DR (such as the anarchic, axiomatic, holy, and unholy weapon fusions). You can only detect a single alignment subtype or damage type (chaotic, evil, good, lawful) at a time. If you detect an alignment subtype in a creature, it must succeed at a Will save (DC 11 + your key ability modifier), or you learn it’s creature type and any subtypes as well. Once a creature has succeeded at a save against this ability, it need not do so again until you gain a new class level.

Inquisitor Tactics

You learn your first inquisitor tactic at 2nd level, and an additional tactic every 2 levels thereafter. Inquisitor tactics require you to have a minimum inquisitor level, and they are organized accordingly. Some require you to meet additional prerequisites, such as having other tactics.

If an inquisitor tactic has a save DC, the DC is determined as 10 +1/2 your class level + your Wisdom modifier.

2nd LEVEL
You must be at least 2nd level to choose these tactics.

Cunning Initiative (Ex): When determining your initiative bonus you can use your Wisdom modifier, rather than your Dexterity modifier. If you have 5 or more class levels, when you roll for initiative you can choose to expend 1 Resolve point to roll the d20 twice, taking the best of the two results.

Team Tactics: You gain a bonus Teamwork Feat. (This class feature is specifically designed to work with the teamwork feats I already created for Starfinder–if Starfinder ended up with official teamwork feats, I’d have to see if this needed to be rewritten). If you have 5 or more class levels, you can change who is considered to be on your team as a move action by expending a Resolve Point.

Tracking (Ex): You gain an insight bonus on Survival checks to track equal to your judgement bonus. If you have 5 or more class levels, when you roll a Survival check to track you can choose to expend 1 Resolve point to roll the d20 twice, taking the best of the two results.

Solo Tactics (Ex): You are always considered to have one team member adjacent to you when determining the effects of teamwork feats. You must have selected team tactics to select this inquisitor tactic.

Stern Gaze (Ex): You gain Improved Demoralize as a bonus feat. Additionally, you may use your Wisdom bonus, rather than your Charisma bonus, to determine your total Intimidate skill bonus.

8th LEVEL
You must be at least 8th level to choose these tactics.

Bane (Su): Your attacks are all considered to benefit from the bane fusion against any creature.

Discern Lies (Sp): You can discern lies, as per the spell, for a number of rounds per day equal to your class level. These rounds do not need to be consecutive. Activating this ability is a swift action or a reaction to hearing a statement.

Stalwart (Ex): If you succeed at a Fortitude save against an effect that normally requires multiples successful saves to cure (such as a disease or poison), that effect immediately ends and is cured with a single successful save.

14th LEVEL
You must be at least 14th level to choose these tactics.

Exploit Weakness (Ex): You have learned to take advantage of any opportunity that presents itself. Whenever your attack roll is a natural 19 or 20 (the die shows a “19” or “20”), that attack ignore any damage reduction or energy resistance the target might have. In addition, if the target has regeneration, the creature loses regeneration on the round following that attack and can die normally during that round.

Greater Bane (Su): Whenever your attack roll is a natural 19 or 20 (the die shows a “19” or “20”), you can apply the stunned critical hit effect to the target. If the attack is a critical hit, you may also apply any one other critical hit effect the attack has. You must have selected the bane inquisitor tactic to select greater bane.

Acumen (Ex)

At 3rd level, your constant and disciplined study of topics related to your mission has given you greater talent with one or more skills. You may select two class skills, which now gain an insight bonus to skill checks equal to your judgement attack bonus. Alternatively you may select one skill that is not a class skill of yours. That becomes a class skill, and gains an insight bonus to skill checks equal to your judgement attack bonus.

You gain an additional acumen at 7th level, and every 4 levels thereafter. Each time you may select two new class skills, or one non-class skill, which gain the benefits of this class feature.

Adversary Codex

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.

At 3rd level, 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.

Weapon Specialization

You gain the Weapon Specialization feat as a bonus feat for each weapon type this class grants you proficiency with. This includes either advanced melee weapons or longarms (whichever you selected to be proficient with when you gained your first level of inquisitor).

True Judgment

At 20th level, you can level judgment against your foes with barely any effort. Whenever you make an attack, you can change the target of your judgement to be the target of your attack without taking any additional action.

Inquisitions

BATTLE INQUISITION

You know the best way to oppose the forces that threaten your chosen order is to face them in violent, final conflict.

Trained for War: At first level, you gain proficiency in advanced melee weapons or longarms (whichever you did not select from the base inquisitor proficiencies) and heavy weapons, and when you gain weapon specialization as a 3rd level inquisitor it applies to these weapons as well. When making attacks with starship weapons, you automatically gain your judgment bonus to attack rolls (but not damage).

Power Fist (Ex): At 5th level, you can wield weapons that normally requires two hands to use in just one hand. This also means you can make attacks with this weapon while grappled (because this is not considered taking an action that requires two hands).

The Tool for the Job (Ex): At 9th level, as part of the first action you take, you can reload any 1 weapon (assuming you have the appropriate ammunition or battery) or change what weapons you are wielding (putting away anything else you were holding as long as it is something you could have dropped). This takes no additional action.

Triple Jeopardy (Ex): At 13th level, when you make a full attack against the target of your judgment, you can make up to three attacks instead of two attacks. You take a –6 penalty to these attacks instead of a –4 penalty.

Deadly Determined (Su): At 17th level, you can focus your will into an attack to increase its effectiveness. Once per round when you roll damage for an attack (including an attack made in starship combat), without taking an additional action you can expend 1 Resolve Point to reroll any damage die that resulted in a 1. You must use the rerolled damage, even if the dice roll more 1s.

Inquisitor Spells

0-Level

Dancing lights

Daze

Detect affliction

Detect magic

Ghost sound

Grave words

Mending

Psychokinetic hand

Starwalk

Telepathic message

Token spell

Void whispers

1st-Level

Acidic mist

Akashic download

Akashic tutor

Aqueous form

Baleful polymorph

Build trust

Charm person

Comprehend languages

Confusion, lesser

Control winds

Detect radiation

Detect thoughts

Disguise self

Ectoplasmic barrage

Erase

Extra sense

Fatigue

Fear

Flight

Gloom mote

Grease

Gyre

Hide weapon

Hold portal

Identify

Jolting surge

Junk shards

Keen senses

Know coordinates

Life bubble

Mental silence

Necromantic revitalization

Phase blade

Polymorph

Pressurize

Quick change

Remove condition, lesser

Scan environment

Shared evolution

Shrink object

Summon creature

Swim

Tectonic shift

Verdant code

Wisp ally

2nd-Level

Akashic tutor

Alter corpse

Amorphous form

Aqueous form

Atavistic howl

Augury

Baleful polymorph

Benevolent synesthesia

Bioluminescent lure

Body double

Cairn form

Caustic conversion

Cavitation sphere

Command undead

Control winds

Dampening field

Darkvision

Daze monster

Ectoplasmic barrage

Ectoplasmic snare

Ego whip

Emberstep

Extra sense

Fear

Flight

Flux density

Fog cloud

Force blast

Hold person

Inflame

Invisibility

Knock

Last gasp

Make mischief

Make whole

Mirror image

Necromantic revitalization

Overheat

Paranoia

Personal gravity

Polymorph

Remove condition

School spirit

See invisibility

Shrink object

Song of the cosmos

Spider climb

Status

Summon creature

Swim

Tectonic shift

Venomous weapon

3rd-Level

Accelerated adaptation

Akashic tutor

Aqueous form

Arcane sight

Archive

Baleful polymorph

Burning ash cloud

Charm monster

Clairaudience/Clairvoyance

Control winds

Death affinity

Dispel magic

Displacement

Ectoplasmic barrage

Entropic grasp

Etheric shards

Explosive blast

Extra sense

Fear

Flight

Glimpse of truth

Haste

Id insinuation

Intellect fortress

Irradiate

Mental block

Meticulous match

Mind of three

Necromantic revitalization

Nightmare

Nondetection

Pinpoint navigation

Polar vortex

Polymorph

Preserve specimen

Probability prediction

Ray of exhaustion

Remove affliction

Resistant armor, lesser

Selective invisibility

Shifting shadows

Shrink object

Sinking ship

Slow

Speak with dead

Suggestion

Summon creature

Swim

Tectonic shift

Tongues

Wall of air

Warpwave

4th-Level

Akashic tutor

Animate dead

Aqueous form

Baleful polymorph

Baleful polymorph, mass

Borrow corruption

Confusion

Control atmosphere

Control winds

Cosmic eddy

Creation

Data dump

Dimension door

Dimensional anchor

Dismissal

Ectoplasmic barrage

Ectoplasmic eruption

Fear

Flight

Gravity well

Hold monster

Invisibility, greater

Miasma

Necromantic revitalization

Planar binding

Polymorph

Polymorph, mass

Reincarnate

Remove radioactivity

Resilient sphere

Resistant armor

Shadow jump

Shrink object

Song of the cosmos, greater

Summon creature

Swim

Wall of fire

Wander warp

5th-Level

Akashic tutor

Aqueous form

Baleful polymorph

Baleful polymorph, mass

Break enchantment

Contact other plane

Creation

Crush skull

Dismissal

Dispel magic, greater

Ectoplasmic barrage

Flight

Hailstorm

Mislead

Modify memory

Necromantic revitalization

Passwall

Planar binding

Polymorph

Polymorph, mass

Private sanctum

Raise dead

Rapid repair

Reanimate construct

Remove condition, greater

Resistant aegis

Shadow body

Shrink object

Summon creature

Unwilling guardian

Wall of force

6th-Level

Akashic revival

Akashic tutor

Baleful polymorph

Baleful polymorph, mass

Bilocation

Control gravity

Control undead

Disintegrate

Ectoplasmic barrage

Enshrining refuge

Ethereal jaunt

Flesh to stone

Flight

Interplanetary teleport

Invisibility, mass

Necromantic revitalization

Planar barrier

Planar binding

Plane shift

Polymorph

Polymorph, mass

Reanimate

Resistant armor, greater

Shadow walk

Shrink object

Star storm

Subjective reality

Summon creature

Summon drift beacons

Terraform

True seeing

Veil

Wall of steel

Designing the Inquisitor for Starfinder: Discipline Becomes Acumen

We’re still working on creating a Starfinder version of the Inquisitor class from PF1 (having already decided what is core to the classwritten up a draft of the basicscreated a spell list, and written up the adversary codexdetect zealot and judgment class features, and taken a first stab at one option for the inquisition class feature). I thought we were done when we did some inquisitor tactics… but I was wrong for two reasons.

First, while writing a short list of sample inquisitor tactics, I came up with tracking, which let an inquisitor add their inquisition value as a insight bonus to Survival when tracking, and at 5th level or higher expend a Resolve point to roll such checks twice and take the better of the two skills. That felt like a great addition, which lead me to thinking maybe every inquisition should automatically have 1 or 2 skills listed that get the same bonus as part of the inquisition. Expanding on that idea wouldn’t require me to write out all the inquisitions I want to use in the final version of the class, but I did want to explore the design space and see if it makes sense.

That quickly had me planning potential inquisitions and listing skills that might be associated with them. I soon realized I needed to think about class skills vs non-class skills. Getting an insight bonus to kills is nice, but the big +3 for putting a rank in a class skill has more impact up until 13th level. So, I thought, maybe each inquisition has either two class skills associated with it (and they get an insight bonus equal to the inquisition’s attack bonus), or has one non-class skill, which both becomes a class skill and gets the insight bonus.

I did a fair amount of work trying to tie either one non-class skill or two class skills to each of a variety of inquisitions; so the Celerity inquisition got just Acrobatics, while the Deceit inquisition got both Bluff and Disguise. But I wasn’t happy with all the pairings (the Flesh inquisition getting Athletics and Medicine was okay except for the name, and I never came up with one I liked better). Some worked great (the Investigation inquisition got Perception and Sense Motive) while others felt forced (the wrath inquisition got Intimidate, which was great, but the structure meant it needed a second class skill, and none were a good fit.)

Second, I began to see some ways in which linking skills to specific inquisitions might make the class less suitable for cooperative play. If a player is extremely excited to have the Starfarer inquisition, which might offer Piloting as a skill… what if some other players is running a character optimized to take the Pilot role in Starship combat? If the inquisitor maxes out the Piloting ranks, they likely still can’t compete with a high-Dex operative, and if the inquisitor ignores the skill, they feel part of their inquisition’s granted powers is useless.

While pondering that question I went back over all my previous posts. looking at old design ideas and notes is a good way to review what lead you to a new design issue. And, while doing so, I discovered I had completely forgotten an entire planned class feature! I had given the draft inquisitor “disciplines,” at 3rd level and every 4 levels thereafter. But, now that I have versions of inquisitions and inquisitor tactics done, my original idea for disciplines isn’t needed. And if I axe that class feature, the inquisitor has nothing but spell upgrades when gaining levels 7, 11,15, and 19.

BUT! This means I have a concept I want to disconnect from any existing class feature, and a gap where a new class feature needs to go. And thus, discipline gets removed from the SF Inquisitor, and a new feature, acumen, is granted at level 3 and every 4 levels thereafter.

(Art by grandeduc)

Acumen (Ex): At 3rd level, your constant and disciplined study of topics related to your mission has given you greater talent with one or more skills. You may select two class skills, which now gain an insight bonus to skill checks equal to your judgement attack bonus. Alternatively you may select one skill that is not a class skill of yours. That becomes a class skill, and gains an insight bonus to skill checks equal to your judgement attack bonus.

You gain an additional acumen at 7th level, and every 4 levels thereafter. Each time you may select two new class skills, or one non-class skill, which gain the benefits of this class feature.

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