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Designing the Inquisitor for Starfinder: Class Basics

Having taken a look at what the key concepts for the inquisitor class are in PF1, it’s time to make a stab at some of its basic features. Things like Hit Points and Stamina Points per level, class skills, proficiencies, and spells per level may not seem as exciting as fancy class features, they are nevertheless the backbone of what a class can do and how it plays in game. They are also firm starting points when trying to determine what class features should be capable of–the more effective a class is in its basic bonuses and proficiencies, the less room there is for a lot of additional class feature abilities.

For the Starfinder Inquisitor, we’re shooting for something that has less spellpower than the core spellcasting classes of mystic and technomancer, and more room for class feature options. At the same time, we need to keep an eye on combat effectivness. There are only three HP and SP progressions in core Starfinder–5 per level (for the technomancer and later wirtchwarper), 7 per level (for the solarion, soldier, and later vanguard), and 6 per level (everyone else). So that midline seems a clear choice. Similarly, every class gets 4, 6, or 8 skill points per level, with both mystic and vanguard good example of 6-skill-point classes, so we’ll go with the midline for that as well. for class skills, we’ll try to hit all the areas of ability the PF1 inquisitor’s skills cover.

On armor, the closest equivalent to what we are doing with the Starfinder Inquisitor is the exocortex mechanic, which gets light and heavy armor (but not powered armor), and basic melee, grenades, small arms, and longarms. We don’t want to be significantly more effective than that, but a lot of iconic inquisitor concepts are going to want to be melee combatants, and basic melee weapons won’t cover that role well. But instead of just adding advanced melee weapons, let’s make the inquisitor choose between advanced melee and longarms as a starting character. That means they can be effective with their better-weapons of choice, but not as good or flexible with a backup as soldiers.

Good Fortitude and Will saves round out the base numbers, and that lets us take an initial stab at a class feature table. Looking at the spells known table I drew up when we did our first thoughts article, I want to match that theory and give the SF Inquisitor fewer spells known as well as being a full spell level behind in spells acquisition. This is a crucial balancing factor, since we’re giving the SF Inquisitor better combat proficiencies than any other spellcasting Starfinder class. At low levels, the SF Inquisitor just has 0-level spells, but can use their good armor, skills, and weapon options to be an effective character. Since pure spellcasters all gain access to a “wish”-like spell at 20th level, I’ve decided to allow the inquisitor a single 6th level spell known and spell per day when they hit 20th. It’s not nearly as good as wish/miracle/warp reality, but it’s a nice capstone for the class. Of course their spell list will be crucial too, but I’ll talk more about that tomorrow.

With everything else in place, this is also the time to take a first stab at what their class features will be called and when they’ll get them. For the moment I am assuming each inquisitor will gain one Inquisition, which will be a subclass-like option similar to the mystic’s connection, operatives specialization, or soldier’s fighting style. Judgement becomes a bonus to attack rolls with an action cost, similar to the mechanic’s exocortex target tracking. They get an inquisitor tactic at every even level, which is where a lot of secondary PF1 inquisitor class features will be found, along with things similar to teamwork feats. Disciplines are rarer, more impactful choices, a lot like how soldiers get gear boosts on top of tactics and bonus feats. I want to do something to detect outsiders with elemental subtypes, so I call it detect zealotry and stick it at 2nd level, and give an identifying-foes ability (adversary codex) similar to monster lore that comes in at 3rd. I can define all those things later, and adjust the class feature progression if needed once I am deeper into that.

I’ll want some kind of captstone for 20th level, above just another tactic and the one 6th level spell, but I can design that at the end of this process.

So, here’s what things look like at the moment.

(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 select either advanced melee weapons or longarms.

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+3Adversary codex, discipline, weapon specialization
4+3+4+1+4Inquisitor tactic2
5+3+4+1+4Judgement +2 2
6+4+5+2+5Inquisitor tactic3
7+5+5+2+5Discipline 32
8+6+6+2+6Inquisitor tactic32
9+6+6+3+6Judgement +3 33
10+7+7+3+7Inquisitor tactic 432
11+8+7+3+7Discipline 432
12+9+8+4+8Inquisitor tactic 433
13+9+8+4+8Judgement +4443
14+10+9+4+9Inquisitor tactic 4432
15+11+9+5+9Discipline 4432
16+12+10+5+10Inquisitor tactic 4443
17+12+10+5+10Judgement +544432
18+13+11+6+11Inquisitor tactic 44432
19+14+11+6+11Discipline 44433
20+15+12+6+12Inquisitor tactic, Capstone444431

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

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Designing the Inquisitor for Starfinder: First Thoughts

It’s been four years since Rogue Genius Games put out the Starfarer’s Compaion, and while I have since that time published codex books for Starfinder versions of the cavalier, dragonrider, godling, gunslinger, and witch, (not to mention the totally-new aeoncarnate and zoomer), I haven’t done any new conversions of classes for a while.

And the itch for a Starfarer’s Companion II is growing stronger, so…

I’m thinking about doing a Starfinder version of the inquisitor. The inquisitor is one of my favorite PF1 classes, and I feel like it has a niche and concept that have not been fully explored yet in Starfinder. So, I’ve been thinking about what a Sf version would look like. Starfinder game design and math are different enough from PF1 that I can’t just juggle the class skills and proficiencies–I need to take the core concepts of the inquisitor, and redesign them to be Starfinder-compatible.

Which immediately means I need to decide what the core concepts of the inquisitor are, so I can create a Starfinder version.

(Art by grandeduc)

It’s a Secondary Fighting Class

Despite having a 2/3 base attack bonus progression, only being proficient with some martial weapons, getting a d8 hp, and not having heavy armor proficiency, the inquisitor is still largely a fighting class. Clerics are already good secondary fighters, and inquisitors are better at the role than clerics. But they aren’t primary weapon combatants, the way barbarians, fighters, paladins, and rangers are. The closest equivalents to this role in Starfinder are the exocortex mechanic and some builds of operative, so I’ll be looking at those for ways to build a secondary fighting class.

It’s a Secondary Casting Class

The inquisitor has the second-best progression for spontaneous spellcasters in PF1, on par with the bard. Now that tops out at 6 level spells, which is the same place Starfinder core spellcasters top out, but since those are the primary spellcasters of Starfinder, the inquisitor needs to be less good than that.

One answer, since PF inquisitors have a max spell level that is 2/3 of the highest spell level in the game (6th level spells vs 9th level spells), would be to give them a max spell level (4th) that is 2/3 of the max level spell in Starfinder (6th). But spells in Starfinder already have another major limiting factor–their core effectivness doesn’t go up with caster level the way most spells do in PF1. For example, a PF1 magic missile spell becomes five times more damaging as the caster gains caster levels, while the Starfinder version of magic missile‘s damage never increases with caster level.

My first-blush thought is that the right answer for a Starfinder inquisitor is to have them gain spells one level lower that a mystic/technimancer of the same character level, and to have fewer spells known and spells/day. That means that straight damaging spells will rarely be the best choice for the inquisitor (and, indeed, we might just not put any on their spell list), but they have access to lower-level utility spells to augment their effectiveness, which sounds right (but will definitely need playtesting).

Here’s my first crack at what I think Starfinder inquisitor spells known per level might look like.

SF Inquisitor Spells Known

Level01st2nd3rd4th5th
1st1
2nd2
3rd3
4th31
5th32
6th43
7th431
8th432
9th433
10th5431
11th5432
12th5433
13th54431
14th55432
15th55433
16th554431
17th555432
18th555433
19th555443
20th555444

Judgement

The judgement class feature is a core part of how inquisitors are effective, so I’ll need some version of that. But rather than limit it to uses per day and giving it a huge boost to effectiveness, I’m more likely to have it take a move action and bring an inquisitor up to the same attack numbers as soldiers and solarions, like how the mechanic’s exocortes does.

Domain/Inquisition

The main customizable class feature (outside weapons and spells) of the PF1 inquisitor is their domain or inquisition. I think inquisitions work much better than domains in PF1, and would be a great name for a selectable class power similar to operative exploits or solider gear boosts. And if two of the early choices are to gain Divine Blessing and Sacred Strike as bonus feats, this can even inject a good deal of divine flavor into the class.

Solo Tactics/Teamwork Feats

It’s no accident that the inquisitor is introduced in PF1 in the same book as teamwork feats, as those feats essentially serve as class features for the cavalier and inquisitor classes (and are only rarely used by PCs outside those class features). It would be possible to introduce teamwork feats to Starfinder (in fact, I’ve done it before), or do something like the “tactics” class feature we added in the cavalier SF class, or maybe a new solution would suggest itself. But one way or another, some form of tactical class feature is going to have be to added.

Cunning Initiative/Detect Alignment/Monster Lore/Stern Gaze

I don’t consider these “core” to the concept of the inquisitor, but they shouldn’t be forgotten either. Some, such as monster lore, would be super-easy to implement as minor class features. Others, such as detect alignment, are things that Starfinder intentionally doesn’t do. All of them should be things a SF inquisitor should be able to feel they can gain something similar one way or another, perhaps as inquisition choices and often modified (such as being able to detect outsiders and alignment subtypes rather than everything’s alignment).

Next Steps

Once I reach this point in a class concept, I like to see how I can space things out on a class advancement table. I like for classes to get something noteworthy at every level, and have what feels like a logical progression pattern, and knowing how often abilities will show up, and at what levels, helps determine how powerful they need to be.

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