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Starfinder Roleplaying Game Monster Design Notes—Spellcasting Creatures, Western Rakshasa

We’re going to take a pause from the Multiclass ThemeType rules, to pick up a thread from a few weeks ago when I was discussing how to make creatures and NPCs using the Starfinder Roleplaying Game monster creation rules. I already did two entries in this series using Really Wild West creatures as examples—the grizzly boar for the combatant array, and the rattle-cat for the expert array.

Now, it’s time to talk about the spellcaster array, and for that, we need something special.

Western Rakshasa

Rakshasa are native outsiders—that is they are inhuman creatures of supernatural power, that are born in and native to the mortal world. They are among the more powerful and feared threats of Southern Asia, and plagued that section of the world of the Really Wild West for centuries before anyone in Europe or the Americas knew anything at all about them. Rakshasa are generally born to a rakshasa part and a humanoid parent and few rakshasas immigrated out of South Asian, keeping their population elsewhere low. But there is a second circumstance where a rakshasa can be born—when human parents are exposed to great evil and cruelty and kept away from holy places, practices, and people, sometimes an evil reincarnated spirit to drawn to their misery, and born as a rakshasa in a concealed guide as the same race as its parents.

Sadly, the fact that the United States Naturalization Law of March 26, 1790 denied citizenship to all immigrants not of white lineage, and most South Asians who were brought to North America served as low-paid farm workers, often lead to situations where the immigrants were forbidden to practice their own religions, suffered cruelty and evils committed upon them, and were even sometimes imprisoned and used for experimentation by Caucasians seeking to gain more power through the expanding arts of theosophy and mad science.

As a result, in the mid 1800s, the first natural born western rakshasa began to appear.

Such creatures are natural deceivers, planners, leaders, and generally power hungry. They learn how to manipulate social systems to their advantage while just children, and are not above arranging horrible fates for their communities in order to be found as “lone survivors,” and adopted by wealthier, more affluent families, While some settle in to urban areas to gain political and economic power in increasingly large cities, others prefer to head to the frontier, to carve their own empires out of the wilderness as cattle barons, marshals, regional governors, and even the unquestioned leaders of outlaw gangs.

While an infant rakshasa might be less powerful than the CR 5 given here as a minimum, such a creature would never risk exposing itself. Any rakshasa willing to operate in any open manner is at least a young adult, and no less than CR 5. Western rakshasa are no more powerful or organized than their South Asian brethren, but they have grown to be one of the greatest threats any Really Wild West adventurer might encounter.

In their natural form, rakshasa have the appearance of anthropomorphic animals, usually predators, and have some joint or joints backwards from a human. The use of  tiger-headed rakshasa with backwards-curling hands in the spectacularly popular 1897 Mark Twain novel “The Chronical of Young Rakshasa,” where Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer encounter and must drive away a powerful Satan-like figure (who claims to be the “youngest of 44 master rakshasa”), has caused the common view of rakshasa to be exclusively this version, to the point that some rakshasas take the form when wishing to impress, even if they actually have different animals-features and reversed joints.

Rakshasa Gunslinger - JEB

Building and Defining a Spellcaster

Spellcaster arrays are for creatures that should first and foremost be seen as users of supernatural powers. They gain either spell-like abilities or spellcasting automatically, allowing them to use such powers for offense and defense, while still having other special abilities to make them unique and interesting. Anytime you are making an NPC mystic or technomancer, you want to use the spellcaster array and the appropriate class graft, in addition to any creature graft.

But in this case, we’re going to write up creatures that have innate spellcasting abilities, as natural to them as their unholy blood.

As with the creatures we designed in the previous entries, we want to create a template graft, that a GM can use to create rakshasas of any appropriate CR. So, the final template graft looks like this:

WESTERN RAKSHASA TEMPLATE GRAFT (CR 5+)

Required Array: Spellcaster
Required Type: Outsider
Alignment: Lawful Evil
Size: Medium
Speed: 40 feet
Ability Score Modifiers: Dexterity, Charisma, Strength
Special Abilities: 0-Spellcasting (mystic and technomancer). 1- Change Shape (see below). Damage Reduction (equal to CR x 1.5, bypassed by good). 3- Detect thoughts (see below). 4-Spell Resistance (equal to CR +15).
Key Spells: 1st charm person, magic missile; 2nd caustic conversion, invisibility, 3rd arcing surge, holographic image
Skills: Master– Bluff; Good-Diplomacy, Sense Motive
Attacks: Multiattack melee (bite, two claws), melee weapon, ranged weapon.
Detect Thoughts (Su): A rakshasa can detect thoughts as per the spell of the same name. It can suppress or resume this ability automatically at the beginning of its turn. When a rakshasa uses this ability, it always functions as if it had spent three rounds concentrating and thus gains the maximum amount of information possible. A creature can resist this effect with a successful Will save.

To make this monster, a GM just takes the spellcaster array for the desired CR of the end monster, adjusts the numbers as noted for the outsider type, and enters those values in a stat block as directed by the template graft.

There are a few things to look out for with rakshasa. First, since they sue the spellcaster array, they get spellcasting automatically, and you need to pick their spells known. The template graft offers some “key spells,” but that’s largely just to save you time and give you a feel for what a typical rakshasa of this type is likely to focus on. Feel free to deviate from this list if you wish. Also, the stat block doesn’t bother with 1st level spells, because the rakshasa is unlikely to run out of higher-level options during a typical fight. This is the same logic for giving it unlimited 2nd-level spells per day. If for some reason you need to know exactly how many lower-level spells an npc has, check out the rules in Starfinder Pact Worlds.

Secondly, as a tool user, the Raksha needs weapons. The easy options is to pick melee and ranged weapons that are about 10th item level. The same applies if you plan to give them armor, though rakshasa don’t really need it, and it doesn’t impact their AC anyway (you give a creature armor if it makes sense for the creature to have armor, or if you want to use it as PC loot, of if you want them to have an armor upgrade—which may also serve as loot). Since this is a Really Wild West rakshasa I gave it a damascus repeated shotgun and limited it’s pistols to 6 rounds each, but you could swap that out

Finally, I gave them multiattack. That allows them to forgo using a melee weapon to make a series of natural melee attacks. Read the multiattack rules on how to figure out their damage and attack rolls, but this only matters if they take a full attack routine. They can just use their melee weapon to make a normal attack.

Here’s what a CR 10 western Rakshasa (one of the most dangerous things in all of the Really Wild West) looks like, for example.

Rakshasa, Western                                 CR 10          [SPELLCASTER]
XP 9,600 each
LE Medium Outsider (evil, native, rakshasa, shapechanger)
Init +8 Senses darkvision (60 ft.); Perception +19
DEFENSE     HP 140
EAC 22; KAC 23
Fort +9; Ref +11; Will +13
Defensive Abilities DR 15/good
OFFENSE
Speed 40 ft.
Melee +17 microserrated longsword (2d10+13, critical bleed 2d6)
Multiattack bite +11 (1d10+13 P), 2 claws +10 (1d10+13 S)
Ranged +19 damascus repeater shotgun (3d8+10 P) or
+19 elite revolving pistol (3d6+10 P)
Technomancer Spells Known (CL 10th) DC 18
  4th (3/day)greater invisibility, mind thrust (DC 22)
3rd (6/day)
arcing surge (DC 21), charm monster (DC 21), holographic image (DC 21),
    lesser resistance armor
2nd (at will)
caustic conversion (ranged attack +18), invisibility
STATISTICS
Str +3; Dex +8; Con +3; Int +1; Wis +1; Cha +8
Skills Bluff +24, Diplomacy +19, Sense Motive +19
Languages Aklo, Common, Infernal
Other Abilities change shape
Gear Damascus repeater shotgun with 12 slugs and 12 shot, two elite revolving pistols with 36 rounds, microserrated longsword, 2 mk II serums of healing
SPECIAL ABILITIES
Change Shape (Su): As a standard action, a rakshasa can physically alter its form to look like any Medium humanoid or outsider, as long as it has seen a similar creature before. It can attempt to either mimic a specific creature or look like a general creature of any humanoid subtype it is familiar with. The rakshasa gains a +10 bonus to Disguise checks to appear as a creature of the type and subtype of the new form. The DC of the rakshasa’s Disguise check is not modified as a result of altering major features or for disguising themselves as a creature of a different type. The rakshasa can remain in an alternate form indefinitely (or until it takes another form).

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Alternate Multiclass Rules for Starfinder (Mystic)

Since we’ve spent this week introducing the Multiclass ThemeType concepts, providing examples for envoy, mechanic (with drone), mechanic(with exocortex), operative, and technomancer, and name-dropping the Really Wild West, we’re actually pretty close to handling all the core rulebook classes at this point. Since we’ve presented a way to use Multiclass ThemeTypes with spellcasting classes, let’s present the mystic!

Mystic ThemeType

You draw power of a supernatural connection to… something. It may be your faith in a divine force or philosophy is strong enough to grant you power, despite the majority of your training being elsewhere. Or you may have some innate connection, to psychic powers, the fundamental forces of the universe, or an ancient  secret once discovered by an alien race now dead for millions of years. Whatever the source, it channels real power through you.

Theme Knowledge (Ex, Theme, 1st Level): At first level, you gain two of the following skills of your choice as class skills: Mysticism, Sense Motive, or Survival. For each selected skill, if you have the skill as a class skill from other sources at 1st level, you instead gain a +1 bonus to that skill. Once these choices are made, they cannot be changed.

Minor Mysticism (Sp, Archetype, 2nd Level): Select one 1st level mystic spell. You can cast this spell once per day. Select two 0-level mystic spells. You can cast these spells at will. Your caster level for all mystic spells gained from this Multiclass ThemeType is equal to your character level, and you use your key ability score for all calculations that normally draw on the mystic’s key ability score.

Basic Mysticism (Sp, Archetype, 4th Level): Select two 1st level mystic spells. You have two 1st-level mystic spell slots per day you can use for any combination of the 1st-level mystic spells gained from this Multiclass ThemeType. This replaces the 1st level spell you gained from minor mysticism. Also select a third 0-level mystic spells. You can cast this spell at will.

Minor Connection (Theme, 6th Level): You gain either the healing touch or mind link mystic class feature. Once this decision is made, it cannot be changed You treat your character level as your mystic level for all class features gained from this Multiclass ThemeType.

Intermediate Mysticism (Sp, Archetype, 6th Level): Select one 2nd level mystic spell. You can cast this spell once per day.

Advanced Mysticism (Sp, Archetype, 9th Level): Select two 2nd level mystic spells. You have two 2nd-level mystic spell slots per day you can use for any combination of the 2nd-level mystic spells gained from this Multiclass ThemeType. This replaces the 2nd level spell you gained from intermediate mystic.

Basic Connection (Theme, 12th Level): You gain the connection mystic class feature, for one connection of your choice, though you only have access to its 1st level connection ability. Once this choice is made, it cannot be changed. You do not gain the connection skill ability, but do add the 1st level connection spell to the spells you can use your 1st level mystic Mutliclass ThemeType spell slots to cast.

Greater Mysticism (Sp, Archetype, 12th Level): Select one 3rd level mystic spell. You can cast this spell once per day.

Greater Connection (Theme, 18th Level): You gain the 3rd level connection power of your connection, and add the 2nd and 3rd level connection spells to the list of spells you can use your mystic Mutliclass ThemeType spell slots to cast.

Full Mysticism (Sp, Archetype 18th): You replace all your mystic spells gained from this Multiclass ThemeType with 4 0-level spells known, 4 1st-level spells known, 3 2nd-level spells known, 2 3rd-level spells known, and one 4th-level spell known. You can cast the 0-level spells at will, and have three 1st-level spell slots, two 2nd-level spell slots, two the connection 3rd-level spell slots, and one 4th-level spell slot.

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Alternate Multiclass Rules for Starfinder (Operative)

Since we’ve spent this week introducing the Multiclass ThemeType concepts, providing examples for envoy, mechanic (with drone), mechanic(with exocortex), and technomancer, and name-dropping the Really Wild West, it seems a good idea to keep that momentum with another class that has abilities that are difficult to scale—the operative!

Operative ThemeType

You have extensive training in the arts of spying, stealth, subterfuge, or a combination of all of those. It’s not your primary area of expertise, but then, isn’t actually being good at something else entirely the best possible way to maintain your cover?

Theme Knowledge (Ex, Theme, 1st Level): At first level, you gain either Bluff or Stealth as a class skill. If you have both of these as class skills from other sources at 1st level, you instead gain a +1 bonus to one of the two skills. Once these choices are made, they cannot be changed.

If you select Bluff, you may use your Bluff skill bonus as your Stealth skill bonus, and are considered trained in Stealth. If you select Stealth, you may use your Stealth skill bonus as your Bluff skill bonus, and are considered trained in Bluff.

Minor Trick Attack (Ex, Archetype, 2nd Level): You gain the operative’s trick attack ability, subject to all of that class feature’s requirements. Your trick attack does not deal any additional damage, but on a successful skill check it does cause your target to be flat-footed against your attack.

Exploit (Ex, Archetype, 4th Level): You gain one operative exploit, selected from the list of 2nd level operative exploits. You treat your character level as your operative level for all operative exploits gained from this Multiclass ThemeType.

Edge (Ex, Theme, 6th Level): You gain a +1 insight bonus to all skill checks, and to initiative checks.

Basic Trick Attack (Ex, Archetype, 6th Level): Your trick attack now deals 1d8 additional damage for every three full character levels you have.

Exploit (Ex, Archetype, 9th Level): You gain one additional operative exploit, selected from the list of 2nd level operative exploits.

Improved Edge (Ex, Theme, 12th Level): Your insight bonus to all skill checks and initiative checks increases to +2.

Exploit (Ex, Archetype, 12th Level): You gain one additional operative exploit, selected from the list of 2nd level or 6th level operative exploits.

Greater Edge (Ex, Theme, 18th Level): Your insight bonus to all skill checks and initiative checks increases to +3.

Exploit (Ex, Archetype, 18th Level): You gain one additional operative exploit, selected from the list of 2nd, 6th, or 10th-level operative exploits.

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Alternate Multiclass Rules for Starfinder (Technomancer)

So we’ve presented the Multiclass ThemeType (which uses your theme and an archetype to present an alternate method of multiclassing), and provided examples for the envoy, drone-using mechanic, and exocortex-using mechanic. We’ve even name-dropped the Really Wild West setting hack, for people who are most excited about weird west options.

So, let’s talk multiclass spellcasting.

The Starfinder Roleplaying Game has a number of ways to get just a little magic power, including your race, theme, and archetype, and even combines your caster level among all your spellcasting classes is you happen to multiclass into more than one spellcasting class. But it’s still difficult to have spellcasting be a secondary, but major and ongoing, part of your overall character build. A character that adds just a few levels of solider gets abilities that retain their usefulness throughout a campaign. A character that takes a few levels of technomancer quickly find those options fall way the curve. At the same time, you obviously can’t have a few class levels give you access to the highest-level spells in the game, or the power boost involved is more than a few levels should grant.

The technomancer Multiclass ThemeType tries to get just the right balance, making sure your sacrifices of core class abilities from your archetype’s alternate class features reward you enough to be worthwhile, without making you overpowered.

Technomancer ThemeType

While you haven’t had the opportunity to master the ways theosophy and technology can be blended, you haven dabbled in the area. You understand the basics of how hybrid items function, and how to cast some small number of technomagical spells.

Theme Knowledge (Ex, Theme, 1st Level): At first level, you gain two of the following skills of your choice as class skills: Computers, Engineering or Mysticism. For each selected skill, if you have the skill as a class skill from other sources at 1st level, you instead gain a +1 bonus to that skill. Once these choices are made, they cannot be changed.

Minor Technomagic (Sp, Archetype, 2nd Level): Select one 1st level technomancer spell. You can cast this spell once per day. Select two 0-level technomancer spells. You can cast these spells at will. Your caster level for all technomancer spells gained from this Multiclass ThemeType is equal to your character level, and you use your key ability score for all calculations that normally draw on the technomancer’s key ability score.

Basic Technomagic (Sp, Archetype, 4th Level): Select two 1st level technomancer spells. You have two 1st-level technomancer spell slots per day you can use for any combination of the 1st-level technomancer spells gained from this Multiclass ThemeType. This replaces the 1st level spell you gained from minor technomagic. Also select a third 0-level technomancer spells. You can cast this spell at will.

Magic Hack (Theme, 6th Level): You gain one magic hack, selected from the list of 2nd level technomancer magic hacks. You treat your character level as your technomancer level for all magic hacks gained from this Multiclass ThemeType.

Intermediate Technomagic (Sp, Archetype, 6th Level): Select one 2nd level technomancer spell. You can cast this spell once per day.

Advanced Technomagic (Sp, Archetype, 9th Level): Select two 2nd level technomancer spells. You have two 2nd-level technomancer spell slots per day you can use for any combination of the 2nd-level technomancer spells gained from this Multiclass ThemeType. This replaces the 2nd level spell you gained from intermediate technomagic.

Improved Magic Hack (Theme, 12th Level): You gain one magic hack, selected from the list of 2nd level or 5th level technomancer magic hacks.

Greater Technomagic (Sp, Archetype, 12th Level): Select one 3rd level technomancer spell. You can cast this spell once per day.

Greater Magic Hack (Theme, 18th Level): You gain one magic hack, selected from the list of 2nd, 5th, or 8th-level technomancer magic hacks.

Full Technomancy (Sp, Archetype 18th): You replace all your technomancer spells gained from this Multiclass ThemeType with 4 0-level spells known, 4 1st-level spells known, 3 2nd-level spells known, 2 3rd-level spells known, and one 4th-level spell known. You can cast the 0-level spells at will, and have three 1st-level spell slots, two 2nd-level spell slots, two 3rd-level spell slots, and one 4th-level spell slot.

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Alternate Multiclass Rules for Starfinder (exocortex Mechanic)

We covered the basic idea behind Multiclass ThemeTypes in the Starfinder Roleplaying Game, talked about why they are especially good for Really Wild West campaigns, and presented two example of how it works—the Envoy and the drone Mechanic. That, of course, immediately suggests there should be an exocortex mechanic Multiclass ThemeType.

And there is! 😊

Mechanic (exocortex) ThemeType

You have an extremely advanced combat brain implant. It may not be the absolute best hardware in existence, but it’s much better than anything you can buy off-the-shelf.

Theme Knowledge (Ex, Theme, 1st Level): At first level, you gain two of the following skills of your choice as class skills: Computers, Engineering or Physical Science. For each selected skill, if you have the skill as a class skill from other sources at 1st level, you instead gain a +1 bonus to that skill. Once these choices are made, they cannot be changed.

Theme Knowledge (Ex, Theme, 1st Level): At first level, you gain two of the following skills of your choice as class skills: Computers, Engineering or Physical Science. For each selected skill, if you have the skill as a class skill from other sources at 1st level, you instead gain a +1 bonus to that skill. Once these choices are made, they cannot be changed.

Basic Combat Training (Ex, Archetype, 2nd Level): You gain proficiency in either longarms, or heavy armor. If you select proficiency in longarms, this counts as a proficiency granted by your class for purpose of weapon specialization class feature.
If you already have proficiency with both longarms and heavy armor, you instead gain Weapon Focus with longarms as a bonus feat.

Basic Combat Tracking (Ex, Archetype, 4th Level): Your exocortex provides you with enhanced combat ability. As a move action during combat, you can designate a foe for your exocortex to track. As long as that target is in sight, the exocortex feeds you telemetry, vulnerabilities, and combat tactics, allowing you to reduce one penalty you take to attacks against that target by 1. Designating another target causes you to immediately lose this bonus against the previous target.

Basic Memory Module (Ex, Theme, 6th Level): You can use your exocortex’s memory module to enhance your own knowledge. Once per day, as a reaction while not in combat, you can reroll a failed skill check to recall knowledge.

Improved Combat Tracking (Ex, Archetype, 6th Level): Your combat tracking ability can now allow you to treat your base attack bonus from this class as being 1 higher (to a maximum of 1 less than your class level), rather than reducing one penalty to attack rolls against the target by 1 point.
If your base attack bonus from this class is so high that this gives you no benefit, and you are talking no penalties to your attack rolls, instead when using combat training you add half your Intelligence bonus (minimum +1) to damage done with weapon.

Wireless Hack (Ex, Archetype, 9th Level): You gain the wireless hack ability of the exocortex version of the mechanic’s artificial intelligence class feature, though your range is only 10 feet.

Exocortex Trick (Ex, Theme, 12th Level): You gain one mechanic trick, selected from the mechanic tricks of 8th level or less that grant an ability to your exocortex (such as neural shunt or overclocking).

Exocortex Mod (Ex, Archetype, 12th Level): Your exocortex allows you to apply any one of the following drone mods to yourself as if you were a drone with that mod installed: armor slot, cargo rack, climbing claws, enhanced senses, hydrojets, jump jets, resistance, smuggler’s compartment, speed, or weapon proficiency (gaining proficiency in advanced melee or heavy weapons).

Twin Tracking (Ex, Theme, 18th Level): You gain the twin tracking ability of the exocortex version of the mechanic’s artificial intelligence class feature.

Advanced Combat Tracking (Ex, Archetype, 18th Level): When using the combat tracking ability of the exocortex version of the mechanic’s artificial intelligence class feature, you treat your base attack bonus from this class as being 2 higher (to a maximum of 2 less than your class level), or reduce one penalty to your attack roll by 2.
If your base attack bonus from this class is so high that this gives you no benefit, and you are talking no penalties to your attack rolls, instead when using combat training you add your Intelligence bonus (minimum +2) to damage done with weapon.

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Alternate Multiclass Rules for Starfinder (drone Mechanic)

We covered the basic idea behind Multiclass ThemeTypes in the Starfinder Roleplaying Game, talked about why they are especially good for Really Wild West campaigns, and presented one example for the Envoy. That, of course, leaves six more classes to cover just to expand the concept to the classes in the core rulebook. Alphabetically, after envoy, that would bring us to the mechanic.

And we immediately run into a problem.

One of the core things someone wishing just a little of the utility of the mechanic might want is a drone. It IS possible to build a ThemeType that gives you access to a drone… but unless that drone very quickly becomes useless, it can’t do much of anything else. So if we build a mechanic ThemeType that handles drones well, it’s not likely to handle exocortexes or generic mechanic hacks well. It could be done by having every choice at every level being one of three options, but then either what you do at 1st level locks you in to just one of those choices at every level, or you’d have the choice of only occasionally selecting a drone upgrade, which very quickly makes the drone too weak to be of any use for the character.

Ultimately, it seems best to just accept that if you want a drone, that’s pretty much all you are getting from that ThemeType, and break the mechanic into multiple ThemeTypes. This also promotes more spotlight protection for a core mechanic. If a group has a mechanic with an exocortex, a player taking the Mechanic (drone) ThemeType doesn’t overlap at all with the true mechanic. Similarly, if a full mechanic does take a drone, it’ll be obvious among all the players that selecting this ThemeType may step on the mechanic’s toes, hopefully leading to an adult and rational conversation where GM and other players all work out how to proceed to everyone has fun.

A group COULD decide everyone is going to have a drone, for example, and make that a unifying theme of their adventuring party. As long as the mechanic player liked that idea, and everyone else was fine with the fact that the mechanic’s drone is always going to be noteworthily better than theirs.

And now, without further ado, we present the Mechanic (drone) ThemeType.

Mechanic (drone) ThemeType

You may not be the universal miracle-worker or mechanics that some people manage, but you have built a unique drone AI ally that is way beyond what can be bought off the rack. It’s maybe never going to be quite as good as a full mechanic’s drone, but it’s better than what any other non-mechanic can manage.

Theme Knowledge (Ex, Theme, 1st Level): At first level, you gain two of the following skills of your choice as class skills: Computers, Engineering or Physical Science. For each selected skill, if you have the skill as a class skill from other sources at 1st level, you instead gain a +1 bonus to that skill. Once these choices are made, they cannot be changed.

Basic Drone (Ex, Archetype, 2nd Level): You gain 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. You do not gain any other mechanic class features, but your drone does gain drone special abilities, feat, and drone mods appropriate for your effective mechanic level.

Drone Improvement (Ex, Archetype, 4th Level): Though still calculated as your character level –1, your maximum effective mechanic level for your drone increases by +1.

Drone Improvement (Ex, Theme, 6th Level): You gain the repair drone mechanic trick, treating your mechanic level as your character level -1

Drone Improvement (Ex, Archetype, 6th Level): Though now calculated as your character level –2, your maximum effective mechanic level for your drone increases by +2.

Drone Improvement (Ex, Archetype, 9th Level): Though still calculated as your character level –2, your maximum effective mechanic level for your drone increases by +4.

Drone Improvement (Ex, Theme, 12th Level): Though still calculated as your character level –2, your maximum effective mechanic level for your drone increases by +3.

Drone Improvement (Ex, Archetype, 12th Level): Though still calculated as your character level –2, your maximum effective mechanic level for your drone increases by +3.

Drone 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 drone (such as drone meld or overclocking).

Drone Improvement (Ex, Archetype 18th): Though still calculated as your character level –2, your maximum effective mechanic level for your drone increases by +2.

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Alternate Multiclass Rules for Starfinder (Envoy)

Character concepts don’t always fit neatly into just one character class. Sometimes you want to play a diplomat who is also trained as a spy, or a brilliant engineer who has studied just enough magic to consider it one more tool in her toolbox, or a soldier with psychic powers. Starfinder offers three broad tools for adjusting a character to fit such concepts—themes (to represent background training), archetypes (to represent a different path than a typical member of a class), and multiclassing (to represent training in more than one role). Generally exactly the right balance of those options can make nearly any character concept work.

But it can take a lot of effort.

Maybe, if they were all blended into one definitive all-encompassing option, a broad range of new character concepts could be made easier and faster to write up. A way to indicate that a character has been working to add a second career to their primary training for most of their life, and plans to continue to blend the things represented by multiclassing, theme, and archetype. Something that takes some of the advantages of multiclassing, and places them in the slots of additional abilities normally granted by themes and archetypes. In short, a Multiclass ThemeType.

MultiClass ThemeTypes

A Multiclass ThemeType gives you some abilities of a second character class, but counts as both your theme (preventing you from gaining any other theme, and requiring you to select the ThemeType at 1st level) and as an archetype for the first class you take levels in (requiring you to give up some abilities of your primary class, as normal for an archetype).

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).

A character cannot take class levels in the class that matches their Multiclass ThemeType.

While ThemeTypes can be used in any Starfinder campaign, they are particularly appropriate for the mash-up world of the Really Wild West setting hack.

As an example, here is the Envoy ThemeType, which allows any character to gain some of the abilities and roles of an envoy.

Envoy ThemeType

You have carefully mastered some aspects of leadership, negotiation, tactics, and making friends and influencing people. While you are generally measured against your abilities from your primary character class, you are seen as a leader within the ranks of those with your other skill sets.

Theme Knowledge (Ex, Theme, 1st Level): At first level, you gain either Bluff or Diplomacy as a class skill. If you have both of these as class skills from other sources at 1st level, you instead gain a +1 bonus to one of the two skills. Once these choices are made, they cannot be changed.

If you select Bluff, you may use your Bluff skill bonus as your Diplomacy skill bonus, and are considered trained in Diplomacy. If you select Diplomacy, you may use your Diplomacy skill bonus as your Bluff skill bonus, and are considered trained in Bluff.

Expertise (Ex, Archetype, 2nd Level): You gain the envoy’s expertise ability for one of the following skills of your choice: Bluff, Computers, Culture, Diplomacy, Disguise, Engineering, Intimidate, Medicine, or Sense Motive. Once this choice is made, it cannot be changed. Your expertise die is a d4, rather than a d6.

If you have an insight bonus of +4 or better to all applicable skills, you may choose to instead treat your expertise die as a +1 circumstance bonus.

Basic Improvisation (Ex, Archetype, 4th Level): You gain one envoy improvisation, selected from the list of 1st level envoy improvisations. You treat your character level as your envoy level for all envoy improvisations gained from this Multiclass ThemeType.

Expanded Expertise (Ex, Theme, 6th Level): You select a second skill from the list of skills in the expertise ThemeType feature to which you apply your expertise die.

Intermediate Improvisation (Ex, Archetype, 6th Level): You gain one additional envoy improvisation selected from the list of 1st-level envoy improvisations.

Expertise Talent (Ex, Archetype, 9th Level): You gain one expertise talent, selected from the list of envoy expertise talents.

Improved Improvisation (Ex, Theme, 12th Level): You gain one envoy improvisation, selected from the list of 1st level or 4th level envoy improvisations.

Greater Expertise (Ex, Archetype, 12th Level): Your expertise die increases to 1d4+1.

Greater Improvisation (Ex, Theme, 18th Level): You gain one envoy improvisation, selected from the list of 1st level, 4th level, or 6th level envoy improvisations.

Full Expertise (Ex, Archetype 18th): Your expertise die increases to 1d6+1. You select a third skill from the list of skills in the expertise ThemeType feature to which you apply your expertise die.

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Really Wild West Supernatural Wilderness Feats (for Starfinder)

While we already added some mundane wilderness feats to our Really Wild West setting, a big part of RWW is that magic (primarily in the form of theosophy) is real, and supernatural powers exist. So in addition to feats for those who are simply skilled at wilderness training, we need some feats that represent a not-so-mundane connection to the wilderness. The core of these feats is the Wildling feat, with the other feats building off of that.

Animal Soul
Your close bond with the animal world allows you to ignore harmful magic that cannot affect your wild side.
Prerequisite: Wildling, Survival 1 rank.
Benefit: You can choose not to allow spells and effects to affect you if they would not be capable of affecting both your original creature type and the animal creature type.

Aspect of the Beast
You have a strong supernatural connection to the animal world.
Prerequisite: Wildling, Survival 1 rank.
Benefit: Your bestial nature manifests itself in one of the following ways. You choose the manifestation when you choose the feat, and then you cannot change it.
Night Senses (Ex): If your base race has normal vision, you gain low-light vision. If your base race has low-light vision, you gain darkvision out to a range of 30 feet. If your base race has darkvision, the range of your darkvision increases by 30 feet.
Claws of the Beast (Ex): You grow a pair of claws. Your unarmed attacks are not considered archaic and can deal piercing or slashing damage, and gain the bleed critical hit effect. The bleed is 1d4, and increases to 1d6 at character level 4, to 1d8 at character level 9, and to 2d6 at character level 14.
Predator’s Leap (Ex): You gain a +5 bonus to Acrobatics checks made to leap or fall.
Wild Instinct (Ex): You gain a +2 bonus on initiative checks and a +2 bonus on Survival skill checks.

Greater Wildling
Your natural empathy stretches across the world of nature.
Prerequisite: Wildling, Survival 3 ranks.
Benefit: You gain a +2 bonus on wild empathy checks, and you may use wild empathy to duplicate an Intimidate check rather than a Diplomacy check. In addition, choose one of the following kinds of creatures: elementals, fey, lycanthropes, plants, or vermin. You may influence creatures of that type with wild empathy, if their Intelligence score is –4 or –5, or they do not possess an Intelligence score. Once you choose the type of creature, it cannot be changed.

Wildling
You were touched by nature at an early age and share a kinship with wild creatures. Your body might bear animalistic features, such as bestial ears or a tail, or your presence may be subtly unlike that of others.
Prerequisite: Survival 1 rank.
Benefit: You can improve the attitude of an animal with wild empathy. This ability functions just like a Diplomacy check made to improve the attitude of a person. You rolls 1d20 and adds your character level and Charisma modifier to determine the wild empathy check result. The typical domestic animal has a starting attitude of indifferent, while wild animals are usually unfriendly.
To use wild empathy, you and the animal must be able to study each other, which means that you must be within 30 feet of one another under normal conditions. Generally, influencing an animal in this way takes 1 minute but, as with influencing people, it might take more or less time. You can also use this ability to influence a magical beast with an Intelligence modifier of –4 or –5, but you take a –4 penalty on the check. If you have the wild empathy class feature, you gain a +3 bonus to your wild empathy checks.

Patreon

I have a Patreon, which supports my writing material like this. When writing this article I found myself going two different directions. Once route lead to the feats presented here, which focus primarily on the Wildling feat as the base. The other was built off a Fylgja feat, which drew inspiration from the nodric concept of an animal spirit that is linked to you in some way, and may even be part of your own soul. While that line didn’t pan out as well in general I still like the core Fylgja feat, which I posted as a Patreon-exclusive for my backers.

“Far Alamo”: A Really Wild West-esque Video

This video is exactly the sort of thing I’d want to see in a Really Wild West campaign! My complements to the creator! (And to the people who created the thigns that inspired the video!)

And the amazing “Dinosaurs of the Wild West” are ALSO perfect for this setting hack!

Wilderness Feats For Really Wild West (in Starfinder)

The Really Wild West setting hack for the Starfinder Roleplaying game is likely to have characters spending a lot of time in the wilderness. The following feats are designed to allow characters to be better prepared to explore and adventure far from civilization. Of course, these feats can also be used in a typical Starfinder Rolepalying Game campaign, though players should consider if such a game is going to spend most of its time in spaceships and urban settings.

Adaptive Training
You can adjust your movements, attitude, and awareness to match specific conditions while adventuring.
Prerequisites: Three or more general feats.
Benefit: Select three general feats that you do not have but whose prerequisites you meet. Once per day after a 10-minute rest, you can gain the benefit of one of these feats until you next spend 1 Resolve Point during a 10-minute rest to regain your Stamina Points. Each time you gain a level, you can replace one of these three selected feats with a different feat that you don’t have but meet the prerequisites for.

Ambush Awareness
You are always on your toes and are rarely caught off-guard for long, even when an enemy gets the jump on you.
Benefit: If you are unable to act in the surprise round because you failed a Perception check, you can still act on your initiative count in the surprise round, but only to take the total defense action. Additionally, when rolling initiative you can choose to gain a +4 bonus to your roll, but you must then  take the total defense action on your first turn in that combat.

Animal Call
Your mimicry of animal noises is extraordinary.
Prerequisite: Bluff 1 rank, Survival 1 rank.
Benefit: You may use Survival in place of Bluff to mimic animal calls. When you use Bluff or Survival to mimic animal sounds, creatures with no ranks in Survival cannot attempt Sense Motive checks to identify the sounds as fake. You can use your animal calls for the Diversion and Pass Secret Message tasks of the Bluff skill. Creatures that do not recognize your animal calls as fake cannot attempt to make Sense Motive checks to understand secret messages you send in this manner.

Arctic Adaptation
You are comfortable in the driving snow and glaring ice of frigid climes, and you can survive much longer in such harsh environments than those who are unaccustomed to the cold.
Prerequisite: Beast Hunter (cold), Survival 1 rank.
Benefit: You treat cold environments as though they were one step less severe than they normally are. Additionally, you gain a +2 bonus on Perception checks against creatures that gain a racial bonus on Stealth checks in snowy conditions, and you gain a +4 bonus on saving throws and checks to avoid becoming blinded or dazzled.

Beast Hunter (Combat)
Thanks to your experience hunting in the wilds, you are capable of tracking animals in your most often traveled terrains, and you can easily take down animals larger than yourself.
Prerequisite: Survival 1 rank.
Benefit: Select one of the following terrains: Cold, Desert, Forest, Jungle, Mountains, Plains, Swamp, Urban. You gain a +2 bonus on Survival checks to track animals, humanoids, magical beasts, and monstrous humanoids native to that terrain. Additionally, against animals native to that terrain, you gain a +1 dodge bonus to your AC and a +1 bonus on damage rolls.
Special: You can take this feat multiple times. Each time you select this feat, you can choose an additional favored terrain to gain the listed benefits in.

Desert Dweller
The endless sands and waterless wastes are your home, and neither the heat nor dehydration presents as lethal of a threat to you as it does to other travelers.
Prerequisite: Beast Hunter (desert), Survival 1 rank.
Benefit: You treat hot environments as though they were one step less severe. You need to consume only half the normal amount of water for a creature of your size, and you gain a +4 bonus on Constitution checks to resist the effects of thirst. You also gain a +4 bonus on saving throws and checks to avoid being deceived by illusions (including desert mirages).

Drover
You are comfortable in the wide and endless prairie, savanna, or steppe.
Prerequisite: Beast Hunter (plains), Survival 1 rank.
Benefit: You, your mount, and an a number of allies (and their mounts) equal to your ranks in Survival add +2 hours to how long you can walk or be otherwise active before needing to attempt Constitution checks for a forced march, and you can hustle for 1 extra hour per day during overland travel instead. Youu reduce the penalty for following tracks using Survival while moving at double speed by 5. In plains terrain, you gain a +4 bonus to Survival checks to avoid getting lost, to find food and water, to protect yourself from severe weather, and to predict the weather.

Expert Salvager
You can find useful materials and mystic components off corpses others think of as worthless.
Prerequisite: 1 rank Mysticism or Engineering.
Benefit: If you have 1 or more ranks of Mysticism, when you defeat an aberration, dragon, fey, magical beast, outsider, or undead, and the creature has a treasure entry of “none” and that actually has no treasure, you can attempt to salvage useful components off its corpse. Make a Mysticism check (DC 15 +1.5x the CR of the defeated foe)—you may not take 10 or take 20 on this check and may only attempt it once per creature. If you succeed you recover components with a value equal to 25% of the normal treasure value of the monster which may only be used toward paying the cost of crafting a magical or hybrid item.
If you have 1 or more ranks of Engineering, when you defeat a construct that has a treasure entry of “none” actually has no treasure, or disarm a trap, you can attempt to salvage useful components off its remains. Make an Engineering check (DC 15 +1.5x the CR of the defeated construct or trap)—you may not take 10 or take 20 on this check and may only attempt it once per creature. If you succeed you recover components with a value equal to 25% of the normal treasure value of the threat’s CR which may only be used toward paying the cost of crafting a technological or hybrid item.

Forester
You are a master of woodcraft and forest lore and can move through even the densest of trees with ease and grace.
Prerequisite: Beast hunter (forest), Survival 1 rank.
Benefit: You ignore difficult terrain created by light or heavy undergrowth, and you ignore increased DCs for Acrobatics and Stealth checks in light or heavy undergrowth. In addition, you can use trees to shield yourself from attacks, gaining a +1 cover bonus to your AC whenever you are adjacent to a tree (including while climbing). If you are adjacent to two or more trees simultaneously, you gain a +2 cover bonus to your AC and a +1 bonus on Reflex saving throws.

Improved Beast Hunter (Combat)
You are well trained in stalking and hunting the animals of the wild.
Prerequisites: Beast Hunter, Survival 3 ranks.
Benefit: Your bonus to tracking creatures native to the terrain you have chosen with Beast Hunter increases to +4. Additionally, you gain a +4 bonus on combat maneuver checks against such creatures, and gain a +4 bonus to AC against their attempts to use combat maneuvers against you. Further, you gain a +2 bonus on saving against extraordinary and supernatural abilities native animals, humanoids, magical beasts, and monstrous humanoids.
Special: If you have selected Beast Hunter multiple times, you gain this benefit for all of the terrains you have chosen for those feats.

Jungle Survivalist
Normally pestilential rain forests are a safe haven and home to you.
Prerequisite: Beast Hunter, Survival 1 rank.
Benefit: You gain a +2 bonus on saving throws against diseases, poisons, and the distraction ability of creatures with the swarm subtype. You also gain a +2 bonus on Acrobatics and Athletics checks when climbing trees and a +2 bonus on Perception checks against creatures that gain a racial bonus on Stealth checks in vegetation.

Thrill of the Hunt (Combat)
The pursuit of prey invigorates you. You revel in tracking down and slaying your quarry.
Prerequisite: Survival 1 rank.
Benefit: Once per day, when you succeed at a Survival check to find or follow a creature’s tracks, you can designate that creature to be your prize for a number of hours equal to 4 + your ranks in Survival. You gain a +2 morale bonus on Survival checks to follow your prize’s tracks and on weapon damage rolls against your prize.
If you find and subsequently render your prize dead or helpless, you regain the ability to use Thrill of the Hunt on the same day.

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