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Episode 60: How much map is enough?
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Today we will add another voice to the mix. Author of a book I shouted out in Episode 57, D.N. Frost. She is going to help up talk about what it means to make maps and how not to back yourself into a corner when mapping.

 

What do you use to make a map? Start with pen & paper.  Graphic Design experience isn’t required, and is less frequent.  Doodle a coastline on your paper or in a design program. From their you can shape the mountains and forests around those.  It moves down to labels eventually, but pen and paper is organic and easy to start over. It is easier to treat it as a rough draft and to evolve or iterate your map from that paper and pen version.  

 

How Much Map is Too Much map? How Much Map is Too Little map? When Map Making is for world building and storytelling on its own, the internal results of the mapping process creates the more viscerally understood setting.  The Map is Too Much when you overwhelm when sharing the maps with your audience (readers, players, or others) . As long as you know your map audience and your map, you can’t over map.  Know your audience and know what you need from it.

 

Don’t Overlook Earth’s Amazing Features.  We have an amazing amount of terrain and even unexplained features on Earth right now. Don’t overlook the wonder outside your door and around the world that may inspire you.

Stat Blocks

Zendead-

 

nulloperations- The Pitcher’s Talon


Small, easy to miss, but incredibly sharp; this talon appears at first glance to be an ordinary piece of keratin torn from a limb of some bird of prey attached to a cord and able to be worn as a necklace. Whenever this talon is held or worn on the body, its properties extend to certain objects thrown by the wearer. The objects must be small enough to be thrown one handed, and once released they will sail towards the thrower’s exact goal regardless of the distance.


Any distance.

If a plane is spotted miles away, the thrown object will fly to it at uncanny speeds. Distant moons are not off limit, although the survivability of objects travelling through open space at such speeds should be considered. Note: it is not recommended to throw live objects in this manner. A clear view must be visible between the thrower and the target, and even moderate fog can muddle the effects of the talon.

 

Guard-a-Manger- Sacrementum Letterman Jacket

 

You see it sitting in the thrift shop, alone in the corner of the store.  A letterman jacket with a stylized “M” over the left breast. A classic piece of Americana from some unknown school.  It’s turning chilly right now, so you think it’s as good as anything to keep you warm. It even gives you a little bit of flair and style, since you never quite made the team after the car wreck that left your knee  just a little bit off.

 

The jacket felt a little heavy the first few times you wore it but it cut the wind well.  It felt like a pick me up, a boost, a bit of an inspiration to move your feet a little bit faster.  It is like a good coach that always knew just the right words of motivation. It felt good to actually move again, like high school.  It felt like you had found some little part of your youth. Never mind the occasional nosebleed …. Or that a friend would keep tripping when you were around. The warmth of the jacket was something that brought you hope.

 

It’s the question of the “M” … the SacreMentum from the tag that keeps coming back to your brain.  There is no record of this school anywhere in the Tristate area and its mystery is nearly unfathomable.  The worst part is that you are starting to see other people in these jackets … but none of them will talk to you. They seem to be watching you … and when you run, it’s almost like they are evaluating you.  Scouting you.

 

For a new team.  

 

Lexicon

 

Fumarole  noun fu·ma·role  \ ˈfyü-mə-ˌrōl \

 

Definition
: a hole in a volcanic region from which hot gases and vapors issue

 

Origin and Etymology of fumarole
Italian fumarola, from Italian dialect (Neapolitan), from Late Latin fumariolum vent, from Latin fumarium smoke chamber for aging wine, from fumus

 

First Known Use: 1811

 

Popularity: Bottom 20% of words

 

Closing remarks

Zendead- Shadow myths Cards, SCRIBEdelivery monthly notebooks

 

nulloperations- Iliza: Elder Millennial – Netflix Comedy Special

 

Guard-a-Manger- Sherlock Holmes in Orbit – a Licensed collection of short stories, approved by Conan Doyle’s estate, taking the famed Detective of 221B Baker Street in a variety of different directions including vampires, cyberspace, and other science fiction places!

 

D.N. Frost – Cosmos A Spacetime Odyssey

 

Music is courtesy of The Enigma TNG you can find his music on YouTube or on Bandcamp

 

Find us

Show- Email, Twitter, Facebook

Zendead- Email, Twitter, Facebook

Joules- Email, Twitter, Facebook

Nulloperations-Email, Twitter, Facebook

Guard-a-manger- Email, Twitter

 

And Thanks to Merriam-Webster for our Lexicon segment

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I knew from the get go that Denys was going to make an appearance.  Aside from basing him on one of my characters, I needed a way to bridge the Noble and Commoner divide without it just being the Noble Sidhe with grumbling and challenging commoner underlings.  I needed someone who would literally straddle both worlds. Aside from that, I wanted to make sure I had a flawed leader and a potential Grump to show off the breadth of the system.

I found the form fillable two page Sheets, and linked to them below, but I won’t repeat too much on the sheet that is going into the words below in the Character Notes.

Design Notes

Conceiving of the character for Squire Denys, I know I want a weary and put upon Commoner who has a touch of Noble in him.  Trolls are a good choice because many have accepted Noble rank, they are generally respected, and I like the idea of a Grump troll in charge of these troublemakers in the Oathcircle. Trolls have additional Strength when dealing with their Chimerical nature, are Stubborn to the point of 2 bonus dice when making a Willpower roll to avoid distraction from duty, and cannot botch Athletics or Alertness tests.  The downside is that when they break a contract or oath, they lose that Strength and if they have their trust betrayed, they are likely to erupt with righteous fury.

For Noble Houses, I go with the House Liam for story reasons because they are the most well looked upon by the commoners of the Houses in the Changeling Book, so it would politically make sense and because it makes it easy to have political machinations to challenge his “rule” of this new freehold.  He won’t need to advertise his allegiance to House Liam for it to be a liability in his position. Currently Seelie, his dominant Legacy will be Paladin – he wants to right wrongs and protect people and that is something that has defined him. His Unseelie Legacy, should be switch Courts, is the Outlaw – why should he follow rules or laws.  He can take what he wants and he will. As a Grump, he starts with 3 Glamour, 5 WIllpower, and 5 Banality but as a member of House Liam he has an additional point of Banality to start. This means that, like all Grumps, he will be fighting for some Glamour in every adventure just to try to stay ahead of the Undoing, or losing their faerie mien and memories to the slow slide of banality.  

His Physical Attributes will be primary, followed by Mental and lastly Social.  He is a leader with little in the way of Social Graces. As a Grump Troll, rather than start at a 1 Strength, Denys will Start at 3! Hat makes it easy to bump him to a 6 Strength, 3 Dexterity, and 3 Stamina playing into his stalwart man mountain appearance.  SImilarly, his Mental Attributes break down to Perception 2; Intelligence 3; and Wits 3 while his Social Attributes are 2 for each of Charisma, Manipulation, and Appearance. He is a strong and shrewd Troll, but not really one that was expected to be talking in Court.

I started jotting down which Abilities I thought would go well for him, and ended up with a Primary Talents (13), Secondary Skills (9), and Tertiary Knowledges (5).  First and foremost, he starts with the max of 3 out of 5 ranks in Melee so he can use his large and fearsome Maul in Chimerical combat. I rounded out his Secondary Skills with tossing a rank each of Leadership and Etiquette just to show he has been trying to learn and then two ranks each of Crafts and Drive.  His Primary Talents meant two ranks in Alertness, Athletics, Brawl, and Dodge with three in Intimidation and a passing familiarity with Empathy and Streetwise. His knowledges with a rank in Politics and Law continue that attempt to be a better Noble and then a few skills to show his innate curiosity.

Backgrounds begin straightforward – he has a Rank of Title because he is a Noble Squire.  Then we provide two ranks of Holdings to reflect the Unearthed Vale Freehold and his position as Regent or Seneschal that can draw some Glamour from it.  I’ll give him a rank of Resources to reflect his Painting and a Rank of Treasure as well to start.

In the Faerie Magic realm, we look first at his Arts – I picked Soothsay, Wayfare, and Primal. To be honest, these are such wildly useful starting Arts that it is hard not to pick them at times.  Soothsay as the name portends is about seeing the future and fate; one rank allows for omens to be made in the Cantrip based on what realms you have. Wayfare is the Art of movement and speed which allows at the first Rank a Cantrip to allow the target to take great leaps and bounds! Remarkable to see a Troll in chimerical armor and with a Maul bound to the top of a second story building, isn’t it? Primal revolves around the natural world and evoking and manipulating it – Willow Whispers allows a Cantrip that will communicate with anything made from the natural world short of cold iron.  For Realms, or what these Arts may target in a Cantrip, I start with two ranks of Actor, one of Fae, One of Prop, and one of Scene. In the Second Edition that we are using, the Actor, Fae, Nature, and Prop Realms would define the basic target of a Cantrip and the Scene and Time Realms could be used to change to an area of effect or set a timer on the Cantrips. It worked well.

Finally, we get to Freebie Points, Merits, and Flaws.  Freebie Points let you customize your character beyond what we’ve done already.  Merits are other bonuses or traits that don’t fit elsewhere and cost Freebie points while Flaws are the inverse providing a handful more Freebie points to spend. One of the things I like about Trolls is adding Huge Size and Seemings Blessing.  Trolls are already large, but with Huge Size it takes on prodigious, professional American football lineman sizes. Seemings Blessing allows the fae to still have access to their Fae birthrights and powers even around mortals. So … as a Troll … who is Huge and Muscled …. Denys will get to retain his 6 Strength to do things like pick up cars or maybe shotput a motorcycle on occasion.  That’s 9 points of the 15 Freebies already though and I want to spent two more on raising his Melee to 4. I plan to drop the remaining 4 into Backgrounds to round out this Grump but first I want to scan the flaws to see if anything jumps out as a good way to get a few more freebies and provide some characterization. I think SUrreal Quality and Chimerical Magnet sound like good Flaws for Denys.  This is another 7 points, to our maximum Freebie point total of 22. These two together help explain why he is a tired Grump as Chimera seem to make a beeline for him, both to annoy but also on a rampage and humans seem struck for some reason by this large man. I’ll add a few more dots of Chimera and Dreamers and increase his permanent Glamour to 4 to get it a little closer to his Banality. That leave 3 more Freebie points and I think that I will look at adding Danger Sense as a 2 Point Merit and 1 Point of Past Lives to remember vague whispers of life before the SIdhe returned. I thought about True Love, but for story purposes, I would rather have Denys in a lost love situation.  

His Treasure is best suited to his Maul, though armor was a tempting idea.  I think that his Maul is imbued with the power to leave a wave of cold in the air behind it.  A variation of some primal cantrip powers. Similarly, while I wanted his Chimera to include a cute little dragon on his shoulder, I am going for the more functional armor that gleams with the colors of House Liam.  The Dreamers reflect the Artists Collective he is still a member of, though it has dwindled, and the Resources from the sale of the art itself.

 

Character Notes

Squire Denys seemed to be on the downslope of his time with his fellow fae.  He had a distinguished time as a Wilder, a Squire to a Sidhe Knight of House Gwydion.  In fact, the two in High School were inseparable with Denys playing the Center to his sworn Lord’s Quarterback.  It seems far too long ago and many dreams back for Denys.

Denys Chrysalis was long ago – a boy of only 7 he woke to the power of imagination and was just beyond the veil of “normalcy.” Despite being a Troll, and obviously destined for combat, it was the strokes of a paintbrush that truly touched young Denis.  He saw it first, the wonder of the world of Chimera and Dreams when he wandered away from his family and up a hill – the sunset was uniquely beautiful and, in a moment he never has forgotten, eye opening. He began painting, in the human’s world and the Dreaming where his large and rough hands found it more difficult to grasp the brush, but also more rewarding to complete a work.  By the time he was 15, Denis has taken on considerable responsibilities. He was dutybound after all, and his own sense of honor meant carrying on protecting others after his parents died. He was already the biggest kid on the block, and he already watched out for the neighborhood kids. He took the chance to be emancipated, demonstrating to the mortal world his responsibility.

Denys made his name in the Fae world as a Wilder.  He had his Knight to follow and protect, but had a measure of independence that was unusual for squires.  He had a block he watched over away from the Fae Court, but was drawn repeatedly into the Dreaming’s machinations.  Chimera and the creatures of the Fae seemed to be drawn to Denys. He continued to sell his landscapes and paintings as a way to make ends meet.  Well over 6’6” tall, with a mohawk that set him further apart, his motorcycle and leather jacket made him instantly recognizable. He found a community of artists who would paint together and share some of the inspiration … he found his Dreamers in this time. It was a time of pride and protection for Denys.  He kept his friends safe, he served the Court. He even discovered a Troll’s size was no impediment to Courtly Love – the Eshu Whispering Wind captured his eyes and his painters soul. He found an artists collective where he could harvest Glamour and for a while, it seemed that life was as it should be for a crusading Troll.

He never seemed to quite make the leap from squire to Knight, though.  Perhaps it was the subtle nod to the Noble House that had taken a pledge – Liam.  He saw the wanderings of House Liam and their protection of common fae so fully in line with his own life, that it was a natural fit.  Certainly, Countess Brianna likely suspected his allegiance, but no words were ever spoken. No case ever made to drum him out. Yet, Baron Gottfried also never elevated him and the Knight that Denys protected moved on to another Barony, leaving Denys behind.  

In many ways, Denys was left behind in both the mortal and fae realms.  His devotion and honor did not mean that he would be on a path to success and recognition.  

Time passes for fae in ways more cruel and more roughly than it does for mortals, or even other prodigals.  Denys, never passing beyond a Squire, always a step away from the commoners, he was slowly slipping towards Undoing as a Grump.  He was trying to protect the Barony less and less – more taunted now by cruel chimera than inspired to fight, Denys was on the sidelines of the Court.  He saw Niklaus arrive at Court and the way he shocked the Sidhe as a Redcap who held his mien just … so. He watched as his old High School took in new students with Niklaus like Paul and Alex – an earnest soul and a passionate crusader if ever he saw.  He began to see the world in good hands. He began to let himself fade.

The Countess put a stop to that with one simple request – protect the people from this fight Squire.  How could he refuse? This new Freehold was a great boon to the fae, but the squabbling over who owned it threatened them all.  He took the mantle of Seneschal, with the promise of Knighthood to follow, on the condition that he could make an Oathcircle of commoners to stand with him in the new Freehold. And so it was done. Baron Gottfried “suggested” Niklaus as a representative in an attempt to frustrate Denys, but instead provided one of Denys’ greatest assets.  Maggie Pie came along with Niklaus, though few asked the creepy yet adorable sluagh why. It was perhaps most surprising that Alex volunteered but her crusader nature saw this as a chance to break free and Paul … well Paul knew he could help people. And he was sort of falling for her.

Squire Denys, Seneschal of the Uncovered Vale doesn’t know quite what will be coming next.  He is tired but was called to serve once more. Perhaps Whispering Wind will come back to the Barony.  Perhaps he will finally see his knighthood granted. Perhaps Banality will finally call him home after so long with nothing to show for it.  

Squire Denys – Grump Troll Seneschal

Changeling: The Dreaming & The Uncovered Vale Overview Here.

 

Character Sheet from Mr. Gone’s Character Sheets

 

World of Darkness, Vampire: The Masquerade, Vampire: The Dark Ages, Werewolf: The Apocalypse, Mage: The Ascension, Wraith: The Oblivion, Changeling: The Dreaming, Hunter: The Reckoning, Demon: The Fallen, Mummy: The Resurrection, Orpheus, Exalted, Chronicles of Darkness, White Wolf, and their respective logos, icons and symbols are trademarks or registered trademarks of White Wolf Entertainment. ©2018 White Wolf Entertainment AB, Västgötagatan 5, SE-118 27 Stockholm, Sweden.  Seize the GM is a fan work and is not affiliated with White Wolf Entertainment. This work is made as criticism and review of the published work – no claim of ownership is intended or implied.  Please visit https://www.white-wolf.com/ or http://theonyxpath.com/category/worlds/classicworldofdarkness/ for more information.

For whatever reason, my mind has been back in the 1990s lately and specifically in the World of Darkness – the Original World of Darkness.  Perhaps it is the launch of the fifth edition Vampire RPG, but I wanted to revisit the World of Darkness, and in particular what is arguably the most divisive of that line – Changeling: The Dreaming.  

Changeling: The Dreaming was the fifth of the five World of Darkness core games put out by White Wolf Game Studio in the 90s which began with Vampire: The Masquerade. It was a unique game even within what was at the time a rather revolutionary game design being used by White Wolf and created a fervent fan base but one that was smaller than the other games.  Despite a second edition, Changeling was transitioned to the Arthouse imprint White Wolf developed to maintain lines and properties that were not generating sufficient profit to be in the main line. Arthouse failed, however, to really advance the line or even put out much in the way of new books. Changeling:The Dreaming had the brightest colored books in the OWOD line because it was, in my opinion, also the most tragic. In working on this project, my love of the game and setting was rekindled and, as has happened with other Card  Catalog series, it’s inspired me to go spend some money on the Changeling: The Dreaming 20th Anniversary book from Onyx Path Publishing (and the Boggan Kithbook promised to us 20 years ago but only just delivered in 2018).

Usually, I would save this for Setting Notes, but the way in which Changeling ended and it’s absolutely polarizing status deserves some discussion.  What I saw in Changeling was the inevitability of loss – you were going to lose your fight against banality as a concept eventually. There wasn’t really anything you could do.  It provided the immediacy of imagination and the value of it, in an almost metadefense of tabletop role playing games when it still needed a defense, while providing the biggest differentiation from the other WWGS games.  Changeling was a victim in some ways to having the least clear metaplot of the OWOD setting; the First Edition had stories but no overarching movement to the world. This left some supplements and writers to take things in different directions that fed that confusion.  While steeped heavily in Celtic mythology, it wasn’t solely tied to it with the Core rulebook incorporating character types from Africa, Russia, and Nordic folklore. As the books expanded, the folklore available exploded the potential character concepts and a game born of imagination that was showing an explosion of imaginative concepts suffered for showing too much.

The Second Edition began to show some metaplot and to create some dynamism in the setting, but it also suffered from having a rehash of the other plots being foisted upon it in the midst of a larger direct plot.  No longer was the inevitable winter the danger that was an existential threat, which couldn’t be seen, but the precursor evil and powerful beings were stirring and making their way back to the world.  This just felt like a retread of the Vampire: The Masquerade and Werewolf: The Apocalypse metaplots. The imepnding fae civil war from the kidnapping of High King David never really came to fruition. Players seemed taken aback by the concept of courtly love and Romance creating a difficult time for the writers who faced a world built around courtly intrigue where these Romances and romances would matter.  While shuffled off to the ArtHouse imprint of White Wolf, Changeling at best only maintained the niche but passionate fan base. Changeling:The Dreaming wasn’t given a nice wrap up like Wraith: The Oblivion, the other underperforming core OWOD book, and instead slowly withered on the vine with releases petering out and support dwindling until it was just one chapter in a book that collected the end of all the leftover lines in the OWOD.  Sadly fitting to the larger themes of Changeling:The Dreaming.

System Notes

We took a look at the Storyteller System a bit when we looked at the offshoot Street Fighter setting published by White Wolf.  As a refresher, if you don’t want to go reread my magnum opus of street fighter stables, the Storyteller System builds dice pools by combining a an Attribute with an Ability for a number of d10s.  IN the first edition of the Storyteller System games, the target numbers were variable allowing a Storyteller to set the difficulty but in the Second Edition, White Wolf streamlined the system by setting a static target number and having Storytellers adjust how many successes were needed.  A ranking of 5 is considered the best a normal human could achieve in an attribute or an ability.

Before you reach your actual traits to score, the game asks you to consider your Fae Legacies, which take the place of other games Nature and Demeanor – because the Seelie & UnSeelie courts now mirror each other and Fae shift between them, you have two legacies to help shape your character.  The Seelie are the classical nurturing and honorable fae while the Unseelie see Honor as a lie and ravage human dreamers for their own sustenance. This is also where you make some initial choices like what kith, or species of fae, you will be playing and what age- Childling, Wilder, or Grump.  These three choices – which Court your currently follow, your kith, and your Seeming – are the most consequential in shaping your character to follow.

Attributes are divided into three categories, with three attributes in each.  Your physical Attributes encompass Strength, Dexterity, and Stamina while your Mental Attributes included Perception, Intelligence, and Wits.  The Social Attributes were Charisma, Manipulation, and Appearance. The OWOD Storyteller System games had a set of 10 Abilities in each of the three classifications of Abilities – Talents, Skills, and Knowledges.  The specific Abilities would change from game to game, as the core focus of the game may have different concerns but they could all be used together or imported between games easily.

Each of the five OWOD Games differentiated the greatest in the Advantages Section.  This includes the Backgrounds, special powers, and virtues that changed from game to game.  Where a Vampire would have a Blood Pool and a measure of Humanity, Changeling for example tracked both Glamour (imagination and inspiration) as well as Banality (the mundane day to day dreariness).  Changelings magic system was unique in OWOD.  Changeling Cantrips are combinations of Arts, which define an effect, and Realms which define the targets of the effect.  To accomplish these also requires a Bunk, or some sort of action invoking the glamour behind the Cantrip. In First Edition, you bought or made a deck of cards with the various Arts, Realms, and Bunks and would need to draw a hand to see what you had to cast them.  If this sounds familiar, that would be because WWGS also used a Card based concept in Street Fighter around the same time as Changeling was released. While the idea of combining an effect with a target is great and we’ve seen it carry through into other aspects of gaming since then, the card and the complexity of the original Cantrip rules were a bit of a barrier.  Second Edition did away with the card and the more random part of that system, standardizing the effects somewhat. For the purposes of Card Catalog, we will be using the Second Edition rules (and setting) We’ll talk more about the specific Arts and Realms in the individual Character Creation sections to come.

Changelings Virtues included the aforementioned Glamour and Banality, but you determined the starting values based on your age.  Changeling very much leaned into the idea that the youthful are more imaginative and that growing old means growing up and leaving behind your “imaginary” friends.  I’ll make one Childling and one Grump in the characters just for some diversity while we are at it.

To recap, a pool of d10s ranging from 1 to 10 made by adding up an Attribute score and an Ability Score is rolled against a static target number to determine an effect.  Changelings can cast magic called Cantrips through the interaction of their Arts and Realms which are fueled by Glamour and Willpower while trying to resist acquiring too much banality which would undo their chimerical essence.

 

Setting Notes

Born of the magic of imagination and belief, the Fae were always with us and shared our world.  It wasn’t until the Sundering, when imagination was limited and the trods to Arcadia closed that the Changelings ever had to deal with being trapped here with us.  They adapted, and shared bodies and souls with us to insulate themselves from the banality of our realm – the very lack of imagination and wonder would slowly undo them.  The nobles, for the most part, had tucked tail and ran back to Arcadia while the Commoners made their way through the world for hundreds of years with the Sidhe’s high handed rulership. It was harder now, where there was no retreat to the land of pure wonder and dreams.  The banality of this world beat down on the fae at every turn and grew heavier with every year of their life. The commoners found a way to share be born into the bodies of humans, shielding them from the worse effects but forcing them to live a double life ever balancing between the chimerical fae world just beneath the surface the the banality inducing day to day life of their body.

All that changed in the summer of 1969.  When humans landed on the moon, the trods long closed tore open and through those passages came nobles who had long abandoned our world.  The sidhe returned and tried to reassert their feudal structure. This did not go well. A war broke out between the Commoners who stayed behind and who had adapted to this world and the newly returning Sidhe lords and ladies seeking dominance. Something had them fleeing Arcadia, but what and why was left unanswered. The sidhe were not as inured to the ravages of banality, but this did not stop them from claiming newly reinvigorated Fae Freeholds.

The war wound down when a young sidhe found possession of Caliburn, the legendary sword that was the basis for excalibur.  As the war finished and this young David was crowned the High King, he made overtures to the Commoners and to the disgraced House Liam.  He spoke for more than just the returning Sidhe as a world born new wildling. The War ended, some Commoners found Noble rank, and the Kingdoms of Concordia pledged their fealty to the High King of Tara Nor – David Ardry.  It is only lately, as tensions mount that the High King’s future comes into question.

In the decades since, the High King holding on to his fae mien through judicious time in faerie freeholds holding banality at bay, the Shadow Court has arisen as a true faction.  The Gallain – creatures of pure nightmare without any part of the higher hopes and dreams – returned as well pushing on the shaky foundations of the faerie world. Noble Houses engage in backstabbing and plotting to try to take over the Kingdoms and Duchies that populate this chimerical phantasm of a world they straddle.  And then High King David was kidnapped. And Caliburn is in the hands of a commoner – an Eshu … War is brewing in Concordia and the fae can not stop a war of their own making.

The Uncovered Vale

It gets complicated when freeholds show up from nothing.  While the Sidhe were away, the commoners took the Freeholds and they kept the Commoners alive.  When the Sidhe returned, the trods opened just as Freeholds awoke leaving more for the nobles to claim.  The Accordance War may have left feudal structures intact, but the Common fae held more voice and power now than ever before.  So when a Freehold no fae knew of is found in the County, there is a rush to claim it.

A freehold alone could elevate a Knight to a Baron or make a Baron far more powerful.  Which House should hold this new Freehold, and as the intrigues swirled, the answers become more and more complicated.  Baron Godfried of House Gwydion certainly made a strong claim to a Freehold in, though just at the edge, of his Barony! The Parliament of Commoners proposed a truce and a stop gap – a Noble commoner could keep it safe with an Oathcircle of their closest fae.  It wasn’t a returned Sidhe gaining more power but neither was it a commoner motley thumbing their noses at the Sidhe. This was a plan that worked.

The Oathcircle formed around the Freehold as an exercise in political machinations.  The Countess Brianna of the Shattered Lance of House Fiona needed a Noble commoner that wouldn’t be objected to but that also was not deep in the pockets of another House and a luckily she had a way to meet this need and weaken House Gwydion at the same time.  Squire Denys, a Troll Grump that she knew was of the oathbroken House Liam, could elevate to Knighthood if he stood as Seneschal over this Freehold. His status as squire to a Gwydion Knight was what kept him in service and in him there was not only a Noble, that the Commoners would accept, but one whose time was short as grumps were well on their way into the clutches of banality.  

Baron Gottfried saw the weakening refusal to grant him the Freehold as an attempt to weaken House Gwydion and, in fit of pique, saddled Squire Denys with one of the greatest oddities of his Barony – Niklaus von Eatenbachen.  How could this odd Seelie redcap, with little in the way of fighting skills, be anything but a burden to Squire Denys – at least it would be driven out of the Court and that damnable three piece suit would no longer intrude on the protocol of Court.  Niklaus was accompanied by a Childling Sluagh, Maggie Pie, though for what purpose is known only to those secret mongering Sluagh. A precocious and cute child, though silent as the Sluagh are, her place in pageants was second only to her unsettling stare when she wriggled her way into your lap.  A boggan just showed up, chubby and pleasant, but possessing a fierce spirit and set about cleaning the Freehold. Paul was just there and frankly welcomed by Denys. Finally, an errant Satyr …. Swearing an Oath to each other and the Freehold, this seemingly disparate group of Kithain set about keeping the peace and protecting a new reservoir of fae power.

All seemed to be proceeding apace and perhaps in the long term, the commoners would find this Freehold permanently held … but then the High King was kidnapped.  Pulled from the Kingdom of Willows and Caliburn abandoning its owner to the hands of an Eshu. What now for this Oathcircle, precariously balanced between a jealous Gwydion Baron on one side, malcontent motleys fomented by the Shadow Court on the other, and the drum beat of an impending war of fae succession?

 

Squire Denys
Seelie Grump Troll Squire of House Liam
09/18/18

Denys still doesn’t see himself as a leader.  Sure, in high school he was the center of the football team, with the Gwydion Knight, the Quarterback, behind him.  He knew how to rally protection and knew how to follow orders. He never saw himself as a leader. Unlike his charge, he advanced to Grump, always shouldering more responsibility and duty than others realized on his broad shoulders.  A painter in his heart whose clear eyes saw the slow slide of Concordia towards war Denys is now in a position he never expected – the forefront of the political jousting between Sidhe houses and even the Shadow Court. Thankfully, an unlikely Oathcircle of commoners, formed as part of the compact agreed upon while the Freehold’s proper place in the Kingdom of Concordia, caretaking the Freehold are fending off these challenges for now.

 

Niklaus von Eatenbachen
Seelie Wilder Redcap Courtier
09/25/18

Indeed it is strange, and perhaps most uncommon, to pass witness to a Seelie Redcap.  Stranger still is one who feels more at home in the Court than in the alleyways. Niklaus von Eatenbachen exemplifies a nightmare few ever admit to having – that even a monster can sit at the table with dignity; that even the contours of etiquette don’t hold the creatures at bay.  Niklaus takes his place in stride, knowing how hard it is for a Redcap to be taken seriously as a courtier, but he has been the greatest asset to Denys by using shrewd political knowledge and an astounding mastery of Courtly etiquette to keep the Troll aware. His dear friend, Maggie Pie, is really a price he pays for secrets he bought but who would ever ask why a Sluagh would be palling around with a Redcap ….  

Margaret “Maggie Pie”
Unseelie Childling Sluagh Problemchild

10/02/18

A Sluagh High Tea is a sight to behold, but the price for what information came at the sideboard before the tea was poured may not have been what was expected.  Margaret was the price Niklaus paid. Margaret seems listless, despite her Catharsis. She sees the chimerical realm, but something doesn’t move her like the other Sluagh expect.  She lacks any real urgency or concern, save when she enters the beauty pageants to hear the backstage gossip. Her nickname came about as she seemed to have a dour or at least doomed observation whenever queried. It is certainly a tale of sound and fury … so the Sluagh decided to have her better trained.  A Sluagh is no good if she cannot navigate High Tea and to seek out the secrets that hold the truth, so who better to teach this lesson than a remarkably mannered Recap?

 

Paul Scheno
Seelie Wilder Boggan Questor
10/09/18

Inspiration strikes in the strangest of places at times.  Whoever expected a kid from the city to find old VCR tapes of 1970s Kung Fu Action Theatre flicks? Even more, whoever expected that kid to really be a Boggan changeling?  It is strange enough for people to see a Boggan leaping around with a grace that defies a boggan’s rubenesque physique, but even more so when Paul takes the chance to be the first into the fight. Paul’s inspiration is hard to share as VFX has taken over for actual physical stunts … but Paul keeps fighting to inspire people and to protect people as long as he can.

Alexandra
Unseelie Wilder Satyr Athlete

10/16/18

Passions drive all of us, and the fae doubly so. Alexandra exemplifies the embrace of passions that the Satyr Kith are known for.  Alex has excelled at athletics, track and field, for so long that it is second nature to her. The exceptional physicality of the Satyr’s shows up in her movements and in her joy.  Alex has dove deep into the world’s passions and come out, while protecting her Oathcircle, with a deep hunger to pull and wrest every ounce of life and Glamour that she can. She is a challenge at times to the Oathcircle, but has been a forceful, if strident, voice to protect the Freehold and a Radicalist in her philosophy of equal fae rights.    

 

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Welcome back to Card Catalog’s look at Starfinder.  As previously mentioned, the resulting characters are getting advanced all the way to Seventh Level and if you have not checked out the overview for this series the link is right here! Also, a reminder that I ignored the suggested wealth table to have more fun with the characters.  After the original five characters for the Troublemaker were in my head, I flipped towards the back of the book where Starfinder addressed legacy character options and the picture on page 506 made me want to make a dwarf in powered armor. You are therefore getting a dwarf in powered armor!

 

Design Notes

I’ve previously mentioned my fondness for dwarves, and I hadn’t planned to make a dwarf for this crew, but as I looked deeper, I realized that the crew needed some more heavy duty tanking and fire support and saw the picture of a dwarf in powered armor with what seemed to me like a grenade launched.  This meant I would revisit the Soldier class and demonstrate how it can be used differently, but also I would make use of the Mercenary Theme that makes an almost archetypal combination for a Soldier. Starfinder provides quick start Ability Score options where instead of rolling for your Ability Scores, you can start with a preset list of rolls to assign as you wish.  If you recall from the overview, no Ability Score can start over 18, but we will get well past them later. With a spread of 14, 14, 14, 11,10, and 10, I am starting her with STR 11, DEX 14, CON 14, INT 10, WIS 10, and CHA 14. Stoli Kilaim is a Dwarven Mercenary Soldier, so we will start by unpacking those choices.

Species – Dwarf.  If you are familiar with fantasy dwarves in general, and Pathfinder dwarves in particular, you will likely recognize the dwarven advantages and disadvantages.  First, Ability scores are modified with +2 CON, +2 WIS, and -2 CHA. They may be short and have a limited movement of 20’, but they never lose movement from being encumbered or wearing armor.  They can see in the dark, are resilient in resisting poisons and spells, and have the traditional enemies of goblins, orcs, and giants. These are all reflected on the character sheet below. Culturally, they acknowledge coming from the lost planet of Golarion, but are mostly accepting of this seeing space as the result of the Quest for the Sky being fulfilled.

Theme – Mercenary. Mercenaries always exist when there is a need for combat and conflict.  Mercenaries sell their services often having had some form of military service before entering the private market.  This provides a bonus on culture checks or Profession (Mercenary) checks to recognize military tactics, personnel, or similar knowledge.  Athletics becomes a class skill, or receives a bonus, and the theme provides a +1 STR.

Class – Soldier. If you recall when we talked about Besu before, the Soldier has the choice from 7 different Primary Fighting Styles to help provide flexibility in the concepts.  Because, no matter how much the Core Rule Book may not have the best options, I want a power armored dwarf, Stoli is choosing Armor Storm as his Primary Fighting Style. The Hammer Fist ability means that Stoli, when wearing Heavy or Powered Armor, strikes with the equivalent of a powered gauntlet called a Battlefist AND adds one and a half times his STR bonus to damage.  

For his starting Feat, Stoli is going to have Blind-Fight.  Having been on more than one bug hunt before, and dealt with enough things that specialize in concealment, he can not only better target them but also withdraw or break away from enemies he can’t always see.  

Unsurprisingly, the Soldier does not come with many skills. The 4 + INT bonus number of skills means that Stoli will not have the most flexibility there.  He starts with Athletics, Culture, Profession (Miner), and Survival. I decided to go with Profession (Miner) rather than (Mercenary) to give him a little bit of a different background to flesh out.

Soldiers Weapon Proficiency list amounts to all weapons and all armor with the best BAB and Strong Fortitude and Will saving throws. To round out the beginning character, we look to the Hit Points from Species and Class (13) and the Stamina Points from Class plus CON (7+3). Finally, Resolve Points start as half your level, rounded up plus your class chief ability score modifier, DEX for Stoli means he will have a lower number of Resolve (3). Stoli is going to be Lawful Good as well as Hiroko, but for different reasons.  Stoli’s background definitely instills the respect for order and for structures that is reinforced by his lawful alignment choice. His goodness comes from his belief that there is a place for everyone under this “Sky” this is the Pact World. He may be a Soldier, but he isn’t without humanity.

Advancement

Check the link below for the full character sheet, but we will look at the highlights of the character advancement here.  

First, on the Ability Score increases, as a Soldier and a Tank, STR, DEX, and CON all get bonuses especially because CON is at the cusp of the +2 bonuses.  Finally, CHA gets a bump as I want a well liked and jovial dwarf who gets others deep in their cups with him. To enahnce the tanking, I went for a Mark I personal upgrade to Stoli’s CON – Angradd’s Blessing. A mystic ore is mined deep in the Asteroid belts before infused with magical energy by Dwarven mystics.  When it is grafted to dwarven bones, those bones take on the strength and durability of the stone itself. This gets Stoli to a CON of 20 and keeps him a tough character to take a few extra hits.

Athletics is the only skill I keep all the way at maximum partially to help offset the Armor Check Penalty he has for wearing the heavy armor.  I shave a few ranks from the other skills to add Sense Motive at one rank and Perception at 2 ranks. His Mercenary theme also means that his STR is treated as one higher to determine his encumbrance.   

I only added a Respiration Compounder for Augmentations.  A cybernetic enhancement extending an Oxygen supply and providing a bonus to hold his breath and against airborne poisons seemed like something Stoli would do.  In the Magical gear department, Stoli now has an Efficient Bandolier which blends tech and magic to allow him to carry ammunition and batteries for weapons with no additional bulk to his encumbrance.  Extra grenades are always a good thing for someone like Stoli.

Soldiers come stacked, though with abilities and bonus feats.  We have three Feas, three Bonus Feats, two Gear Boosts, and a Fighting Style ability that have shown up! Perhaps surprisingly, I took Mobility to begin to allow Stoli to act as mobile fire support while also adding Enhanced Resistance and by the time he gets his last Feat – Adaptive Fighting to give him the flexibility to use something else.  His Mobility is enhanced by the Soldier Class Combat Feats of Shot on the Run and Nimble Moves. Take a look at the Starfinder CRB for full details of how these all work together. His Armor Storm Class Ability, though, is the fantastic one. He gets a suit of Powered Armor, and Powered Armor Proficiency! Yes!! This is a suit with an extra enhancement slot as well that fits an enhancement at half price.  It should come as no surprise that Stoli has an articulated grenade launcher mounted on his armor with an autoloader and Deflective Reinforcement to provide DR 5/-. He does keep a Estex III LIght armor on underneath because you can do that in a powered armor, and it has a Radiation Buffer and Thermal Capacitor to give him some extra protection without adding to his armor class.

One aspect of the Soldier Class I also like is the Gear Boost abilities where the soldiers are able to make better use of certain types of gear further allowing for variation in what has evolved from the most basic of classes.  It is another obvious choice, but Armored Advantage Gear Boost adds a +1 to KAC and the Powerful Explosives Boost increases the explosive radius of many of his grenades from 10; to 15’.

As with other d20 based systems, the Base Attack Bonus and Saving throws also increased.  Check out the character sheet linked below for the full write up. Yes, he does have a Tactical Hammer if you get a little too close for comfort.  

 

Character Notes

Stoli Kilaim was born to the open expanse of the “Sky” that is space and at the same times the depth and comfort of a deep cavern aboard a Citadel ship belonging to Ulrikka Clanholdings.  His clan firmly believed that he Quest for the Sky was successful and Torag left to protect Golarion once his people, the dwarves, were safely away. With the Gap’s lack of records nobody could tell them otherwise.  The Kilaims had entered a contract with Ulrikka Clanholdings so that they were guaranteed employment if requested but that they had to provide a certain amount of services every century to keep that contract renewed.  So far, the family had kept its end of the bargain and so far UC had more than enough work for the Kilaims.

Stoli had little in the way of ambitions, though.  Despite a long a storied history of the Kilaim’s heroics and exceptional forerunners, Stoli wanted little more than to spend time with friends and earn a fair wage.  He became a miner, one of the miners who would actually pilot the powered loaders into the asteroids and do the work alongside the drones. There was still a need for that no matter what all those Mechanics claimed.  It was here, twenty six years back, that Stoli’s direction changed.

Pirates and raiding have always been a danger, but the Swarm were something new and something that the Pact Worlds were not ready to face.  While the Silent War ended as the Veskarium joined the Pact Worlds in resistance, Stoli was front and center to see the Swarm attack his mine.  The “Cavers”, dwarven special forces from Ulrikka Clanholdings fought them back and held them off. Stoli had direction. While he may never be as agile or precise, he knew he could serve his fellow dwarves by enrolling with the Ulrikka Clanholdings private security and military wing.    

Stoli found that he enjoyed wearing the heavy armor and using his knowledge of mining explosives in more militant action.  He had the gusto and bravado that seems to come with a great many dwarves. He even made his grandparents proud. He still had his friends and they still would get deep in their cups, but it was between serving some greater good … or that’s what he told himself.    

Stoli and the rest of his unit were having trouble fighting off the uptick in pirate attacks, so Ulrikka brought in some freelancers on a ship called The Troublemaker.  And make trouble they did. While they helped save Stoli and a handful of remaining dwarves when they arrived, eventually Stoli had to come rushing in to save them months later.  These deep policing actions further into the Diaspora were showing Stoli that Ulrikka didn’t treat every employee, or even every dwarf, as well as they treated the Kilaims. If he wasn’t doing much for the greater good of the dwarves and the other Ulrikka workers, what was he doing with Ulrikka?  He had nephews and nieces old enough to take up the indentured contract. He can look for a loophole out, or a favor to call in, so his family can leave.

He left with these Troublemakers, besides they needed some more levity.  Valaeyo was a serious type of Lashunta, and Hiroko was always thinking far too much.  Chitter … well, it’s always fun to poke at a pilot on board their ship. The Elven conspiracy to wipe out thousands on Castrovel and feed the Bone Sage’s personal army was just more proof that the Quest for the Sky was being subverted and harmed.  Stoli is still looking for a way to free his family, and take them far away from the Disapora. He is still looking for a way to see what true freedom is, but for now will drain his cups with Clausweld and Besu and look to the sky, in moe ways than one.

 

Stoli Mercenary Dwarven Soldier

Starfinder & Troublemaker Beta Crew Overview

 

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Sheet by http://paizo.com/people/Gilfalas

 

Episode 59: Worldbuilding 201
Regular Shows

 
 
00:00 / 54:48
 
1X
 

Main Topic

We are revisiting Worldbuilding which we talked about in Episode 57 and that will be gracing the blog soon with an ongoing series! Whether you do Top-Down, Bottom-Up, or thread the ever elusive needle between the two, you should put some thought into some specific questions about your world:

 

  • Who is in charge? At a macro level or at a micro level, what is the name or identity of the person that makes the decisions that impact the players? Did you have a gang leader that is the de facto chief executive of this block’s inhabitants?  In a post-scarcity science fiction setting, is there a communal social media voting platform calling the shots? Maybe representatives of the prominent trade guilds are setting the port’s policy?

 

  • What is the current conflict? Roleplaying games are not about routine and ordinary lives – roleplaying games are about dynamic and moving stories which means there is some kind of conflict.  Your overall theme may inform you about the kind of conflict that the players will face but let’s break it down just a little bit more. It doesn’t have to be violence or actual fighting.  

 

  • How do the Players fit into the setting? Even when it is a Top-Down designed game, your player’s will have some kind of connection to the setting.  These are not only role playing cues for your players, and your NPCs (See Episode 45), but are also plot threads the GM can pull at or weave into the larger story.  For example – Is your dashing close combat expert a graduate of a well known school of fighters?  Did your starship pilot get drummed out of a major empire’s military? Is the fraternal organization that gave your mage a scholarship actually a secret society out to conquer the world?

 

  • Define your first Boss fight and sub-bosses.  Related to the current conflict question, what will be the first major hurdle or boss the PCs will face?  It could be something less tangible, especially in a political or social game where there are political ramifications, but there will be direct people or things to face off against.  Is there a raiding tribe of humanoids encroaching on the village? Has a resource crisis forced the neighboring star empire to start rattling sabres and sending a named operative into your area?

 

Stat Blocks

Zendead-  The Dark

 

As the darkness flows over the area the creator of it sits quietly waiting for it to finish.

The creator known as The Dark waits after years of slowly working on this revenge plans for the final stage to activate. As those final stages start to fall into place she remembers what lead her down this path.

 

People always think it is the lost of a child that drives women to turn in to the darkness. Or of the family but what if it was something that isn’t the cliche? What if killing a person’s dreams pushed them to this path.

 

When the king pushed his kingdom into the forest he pushed those that had made it their homes. Before she was known as The Dark she was just called Malia and she was a protector of them, all of them.  Her dream was to be a great protector and she lost that not to the king but to his champion and lover. The king was fine with moving a few people around but not all of them. His champion thou wanted to have land for his family so he pushed harder and forced people to run. He killed anyone that got in his way. Malia came to stop him one day and the champion stopped her by almost killing her. He left her to finish dying but she didn’t she was a survivor. The king fell first and fast once she started her plan.

 

Selling yourself to the darkness was the thing she did as she laid there. It told her how to bring about the fall of the champion. She put it all in place as she could it took time. Years in fact. The Darkness is complete and in the end it consumed it all.

 

Guard-a-Manger – Sally Streudel

 

Sally smiles quite a lot when she is home.  She seems to be one of those eternally pleasant, eternally cheerful, and contended women who loves to make a home.  Her dark hair is pulled back into a ponytail, but not in a ran out of time way but a carefully considered way as her hair is just between being cut short and having grown out.  You would swear she always has that same blue shirt on when you come over, and it seems always to be perfectly pressed.

It’s odd, though, as you don’t remember how you met Sally.  You don’t recall if it was church, or work, or the park … you just know she asked you to come over for some tea.  It’s a perfectly arranged home, with just a hint of clutter, a hint of last minute cleaning. The pie baking in the oven permeates the house with the smell of fruit and spices … sugar and lard.  You are sure that the pie is going to taste like a breath of fresh air …. A piece of summer in a slice of dessert. Sally’s smile is so distracting, so wide and full, like she had extra teeth in her perfectly shaped head.  

Just when the tea is being poured and pie being sliced, the doorbell rings and Sally steps away …. Just when you have one last chance to make good on the promise you made yourself last time you were here.  The promise to stop Sally.

Joules- “Bob’s Pipe”

There’s a strange artifact out there.  It’s not a bracelet or necklace. It’s not a weapon of any kind.  It’s a pipe. A gentleman’s pipe with a black mouthpiece and a polished ebony bowl.  This pipe once belonged to the world’s greatest salesman. A man who made millions playing the stock market over the phone.  It was rumored that even when he failed, he still made a million dollars. There are many photos of this gentleman from his time as a photographer’s model and all include his trademark pipe.

After his death (veracity of which is still under debate), the pipe went “missing.”  Rumors abound as to its current location. But tracking it down is nigh impossible. It shows up when and where it’ll bring the deserving luck and the undeserving chaos.

 

“Bob’s” Pipe is said to bring luck to anyone who clamps it between their teeth.  The person can cross an 8 lane highway during rush hour, find a winning lotto ticket in the median, and then emerge unscathed on the other side.  They can tell their boss what they really think of them, while the big boss is walking by and then receive a promotion for speaking truth to power.  Heck, rumors say that they can evade the blue shell in Mario Kart with no special items.

The longer the pipe is held, the stranger the effects become.  Over time, the “luck plane” becomes visible and starts to overlay with reality.  The smoke from the pipe changes from the expected gray to a strange blue green colour and doesn’t seem to dissipate.  It hangs in the area. anyone who comes into contact with it will have a noticeable change in personality. Think a case of the fuck its with no depressive influence.  It seems to make the populace stop taking itself too seriously for a while while the holder laughs at the whole inanity of existence.

With enough of a shakeup and the joke coming to a natural end, the pipe once again disappears.

 

But wherever it turns up, you can expect luck, slack, a dash of chaos and some sublime self delusion.

 

Lexicon

Vainglory  

noun  vain·glo·ry  \ ˈvān-ˌglȯr-ē , ˌvān-ˈglȯr-ē \

 

Definition of vainglory
1 : excessive or ostentatious pride especially in one’s achievements
2 : vain display or show : vanity

Origin and Etymology of vainglory
Middle English vaynglorie, borrowed from Anglo-French veineglorie, from veine, feminine of vain, vein vain + glorie 1glory, after Medieval Latin vāna glōria

 

First Known Use: 13th century

 

Popularity: Bottom 40% of words

 

Closing remarks

Zendead-  Pathfinder 2 Playtest

 

Guard-a-Manger – Fresh and Local Tomatoes

Joules- Church of the Subgenius

 

Music is courtesy of The Enigma TNG you can find his music on YouTube or on Bandcamp

 

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Welcome back to Card Catalog’s look at Starfinder.  As previously mentioned, the resulting characters are getting advanced all the way to Seventh Level and if you have not checked out the overview for this series the link is right here! Also, a reminder that I ignored the suggested wealth table to have more fun with the characters.  The last original member of the Troublemaker crew is Hiroko Benandetti who brings a bit of flair and a magical touch on board.

Design Notes

I always knew there would be at least one human on the crew, so Hiroko will not only be the newest form of magic user available in Starfinder but also out token human member.  Technomancers are the “mages” of the Starfinder setting. generally, this means the utility and attack spells with a lot of interesting flair and a flavor of blending some of the science and magic. As you have been able to tell by now, Starfinder does put a premium on INT as Hiroko will put a lot of weight in that and she will have CHA as important as well supporting her public thought leader work as an Icon theme. Starfinder provides quick start Ability Score options where instead of rolling for your Ability Scores, you can start with a preset list of rolls to assign as you wish.  If you recall from the overview, no Ability Score can start over 18, but we will get well past them later. With a spread of 18, 14, 11, 10,10, and 10, I am starting her with STR 10, DEX 10, CON 10, INT 18, WIS 11, and CHA 16. Hiroko Benandetti is a Human Icon Technomancer, so we will start by unpacking those choices.

Species – Human.  Humans are the most flexible of the species available for Starfinder and hold what can be called a “standard” set of bonuses with a +2 to an Ability Score if he player’s choice where we will go with CHA. Similarly, humans have an extra Feat and an extra skill per level. In game Humans are also the most uprooted culture as their homeworld of Golarion vanished during The Gap and the mystery of that missing homeworld could be what pushes some of the humans to explore and look outward.

Theme – Icon. Icons are an example of individuals who have made their name and show an ability to use the interconnected “social media” to make connections. This is a theme that provides great knowledge of the areas where you are gaining your icon status gaining a bonus in your profession. For Hiroko, we are looking at a Profession – Philosopher and gaining the Culture skill as a Class Skill.  Finally, Hiroko gets a +1 CHA for being an Icon.

Class – Technomancer. Technomancers are the magic users of Starfinder, but they are much more than that in the description.  Technomancers bridge science and technology, fusing them together. The scientific way of looking at the universe, as opposed to the more holistic way of the Mystics, is likened to “hacking the underlying structure of the universe.” The variety for Technomancers is mostly done through spell selection unlike the other classes so we will take some time on that momentarily. Hiroko begins with a Spell Cache, that for her takes the shape of a nanite infused arm bangle, which assists the Technomancers in accessing and storing spells, even allowing the Technomancer to channel one spell per day through the cache when out of spell slots.  

For spells, at the 0 Level choices, I am going to pick Detect Magic, Mending, and Daze while the First Level spells of Unseen Servant, Magic Missile, and Holographic Image make sense to me. I am going to be pushing the use of nanites as a theme and part of her philosophy background, so a large number of these are ones that seem to make use of nanite like manipulation and the creation of magical technological entities which she’ll do even more of later on.  

For starting Feats, Hiroko isn’t that great ina fight so I grab Barricade for her to be able to make light cover out of any junk just laying around, and noting to make sure I have the rank in Engineering to qualify for it.  I also choose Die Hard because it is just terribly useful for an adventuring philosopher like Hiriko to not die in an inopportune way.

Technomancers have a low number of base skills, 4+INT, with their magic providing a great deal of utility, but receiving bonus ranks from their primary requisite Intelligence.  Mechanics actually have limited skills selections with a 4 + INT modifier since they get so many other abilities and access to utility. The skills that I want to keep at or nearly maxed out are going to be Bluff, Computers, Engineering, Life Science, Mysticism, and Profession – Philosopher. To start off, I’ll also add a rank of Diplomacy and a rank in Perception.  The interaction skills seem to flow back to being an Icon and I can see Hiroko’s philosophical live streams being something that helps her hone her ability to convince or negotiate as needed.

Technomancers have an unsuprising Weapon Proficiency list of Light Armor, Basic Melee Weapons, and Small arms.  With saves and low BAB, we look to the Hit Points from Species and Class (9) and the Stamina Points from Class plus CON (5). Finally, Resolve Points start as half your level, rounded up plus your class chief ability score modifier, INT for Hiroko (5). Hiroko is an example of a Lawful Good character for sure.  She is someone who does live within structures, and while she challenges them it is in service of finding where they can be improved and similarly believes that the underlying nature of life is good. This is part of her professional identity and part of her Icon status as well.

Advancement

Technomancers have some of the simplest progressions in Starfinder.  They gain more spell slots and known spells along with the usual increases in skills and feats. They have a handful of other class abilities that show up and we will handle those with aplomb! Just as a reminder, check the link below for the character sheet since we won’t discuss all of the advancements.

First, on the Ability Score increases, I am going to continue to use one of them to increase a prime requisite on INT but also on CHA as Hiroko is growing much more into a leading light.  Finally, she has agreed to training a bit to improve her DEX and CON. The Mark II Upgrade that Hiroko has is a Manahive which is an implanted home for magically infused nanites that are keyed to her biological field providing a further INT bonus of +4.

With the INT upgrades, the retroactive skill ranks come into play so while Bluff, Computers, Engineering, Life Science, Mysticism, and Profession – Philosopher are all kept at full ranks, moderate ranks of Culture, Diplomacy, Intimidate, Medicine, Perception, Physical Science, Piloting, and Sleight of Hand are all added from experience and adventure. Hiroko’s fame has grown as an Icon and she can now call out for help from her followers and fans to find people wherever she goes within the Pact World.  

For Class abilities, aside from Spells, Hiroko has picked up two Magic Hacks – Fabricate Tech and Fabricate Weapon.  When you remember that she is focused on being able to create and create life out of the magical and technological interplay expending spell slots to whistle up some gear seemed appropriate. The Tech Lore ability provides an Insight bonus to Mysticism and Computers while the Cache Capacitor allows Hiroko to store Unseen Servant in the Spell Cache for use all day long.   Finally, all technomancers get Spell Focus at the appropriate level.

For general Feats, I continued to plucky not really a combat character theme with Combat Casting, Dive for Cover, and Extra Resolve.

Additional Spells fall into some of the same general descriptions like Second Level Caustic Conversion, INjecting Nanobots, and Microbot Assault or the Third Level Handy Junkbot and Healing Junkbot.  Creating and manipulating the potential for life out of magic and tech coming together falls easily into this system. Finally, a few utility spells like Detect Radiation, Grease, and Security Seal, while adding Arcing Surge to keep some combat ability around.  Check the character sheet below for more!

As with other d20 based systems, the Base Attack Bonus and Saving throws also increased.  Check out the character sheet linked below for the full write up. The gear and armour have also been upgraded to reflect the character advancement.  

Character Notes

Hiroko Benandetti was always thinking  She was born on Absalom Station with the same quizzical look she’ll give a new planet today.  Growing up on a bustling station full of different species and new ones arriving every day only left Hiroko more curious than she was before – she resolved to herself by the tender age of 5 to solve the mystery of why we all came together.  

Her parents gainful employment meant that she had the privilege to learn from the best of scholars on Absalom Station, and to begin quite early making a name for herself in her precis on what it meant to have a soul.  Oh certainly, having a soul was something that was easier to determine and define with all the magic out there but what it meant was something few 14 year olds wanted to explore. Her Technomancer training began quite rapidly, and brought fame to her family on the Station.  The Benandettis had provided one of the youngest Technomancer students the Station had ever seen!

Hiroko became something of a media darling as she began to formally posit her emerging theory of being.  Her beginning work, and admittedly work she expressly said to still be developing, was even transmitted off Station and across the Pact Worlds.  The idea that the magic of the soul was no longer confined solely (pardon the pun) to the same cycle previously identified intrigued people … and frightened some. As she would weave nanobots out of thin air with her magic, constructing them from the ether of the universe, she kept asking what differed these bots from the ones produced in the manufacturing facilities below and how does one gain the kind of draw an Android has.  

These are the datafiles that attracted attention, and it was then that her true adventures would begin.  A radical cell of Perceptionists from the Android Abolitionist Front stole her data files containing her notes and thoughts and where her theory was going.  They wanted it for themselves to support their view that there was no difference when you can’t perceive what does or does not have a soul from their external actions.  She called for help, and she did it how best she knew – by live streaming it. Valaeyo quickly saw the opportunity to take control of the situation and with Besu and Chitter began the hunt for the missing data chips.  Hiroko insisted on coming along, and not long afterwards when the chips were retrieved she found herself deep in conversation with Clausweld and Valaeyo. They would help her test these theories and develop them even more.   

Into the Diaspora to fight pirates, Hiroko’s lawful tendencies were reinforced and her philosophy reflected an underlying order she was seeking out and seeing deep into the connections of the Pact Worlds.  It seemed a bit odd to Clausweld, who wasn’t so sure that there was anything that resembled the greater plan or even greater structure in the universe despite the gods existence. Seeing how the pirates raided the Ulrikka ships, and seeing the Ulrikka workers also added to her humanity.  Dwarven miners and other species lumped in were doing as poorly or worse than the worse on Absalom Station. Maybe the Android Abolition Front has a point. Maybe we have glossed over what it should mean when a soul is enshrined among us?

While Stoli seems disruptive to others on the ship, Hiroko doesn’t mind him.  He hasn’t gotten in the way of her thoughts yet at least. The Trouble with Eox however does worry her.  The more she saw up close of what happened to the Undead in the Bone Sages’ service to more she became convinced that she was correct – souls were what mattered and we should honor them.  The Undead send a chill up her spine in ways she cannot describe as the flow of the soul, and what it should mean even as she weaves junkbots into being to do her cleaning cannot be overlooked.  

Her fame is growing, and her ideals are solidifying.  What Hiroko does next could well impact the Pact Worlds very thoughts on what it means to be alive.  

Hiriko Icon Human Technomancer

 

Starfinder & Troublemaker Beta Crew Overview

 

Starfinder is © Paizo Inc.  This website uses trademarks and/or copyrights owned by Paizo Inc., which are used under Paizo’s Community Use Policy. We are expressly prohibited from charging you to use or access this content. This website is not published, endorsed, or specifically approved by Paizo Inc. For more information about Paizo’s Community Use Policy, please visit paizo.com/communityuse. For more information about Paizo Inc. and Paizo products, please visit paizo.com.

Sheet by http://paizo.com/people/Gilfalas

Episode 58: GM Chat with Mark Owens
GM Chat

 
 
00:00 / 1:05:10
 
1X
 

Main Topic

DAMN YOU DUCHARBANE!  Just a bit of a sitdown to chat with a member of the facebook group that is an old hat at running games.

 

Closing remarks

Zendead-  Klaus

 

Joules- Girl Genius

 

Mark- Norse Mythology

 

Music is courtesy of The Enigma TNG you can find his music on YouTube or on Bandcamp

 

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Welcome back to Card Catalog’s look at Starfinder.  As previously mentioned, the resulting characters are getting advanced all the way to Seventh Level and if you have not checked out the overview for this series the link is right here! Also, a reminder that I ignored the suggested wealth table to have more fun with the characters.  This week, we are taking a look at Clausweld-7 or C-7, the Android Scholar Mechanic and all of Clausweld’s little friends that is the science officer and general out-of-the-box problem solver of the Troublemaker Beta.

 

Design Notes

Starfinder fulfills it’s science fiction and space opera promise by including playable Androids as a regular race. These are androids derived from a previous Pathfinder book, like the Lashunta, but are a welcome component of the Starfinder system. Clausweld-7 is going to add to the intellectual throweight of the team and will in conjunction with Chitter and to a lesser extent Hiriko fill knowledge gaps, act as a medic, and a general force multiplier.  Starfinder provides quick start Ability Score options where instead of rolling for your Ability Scores, you can start with a preset list of rolls to assign as you wish. If you recall from the overview, no Ability Score can start over 18, but we will get well past them later. With a spread of 14, 14, 14, 11,10, and 10, I am starting our leader character with STR 10, DEX 14, CON 14, INT 14, WIS 11, and CHA 10. Clausweld-7 is an Android Scholar Mechanic, so we will start by unpacking those choices.

Species – Android.  Androids in Starfinder are an interesting take because they are partially biologic and are recognized as having souls.  Each Android frame can have a different amount of metal or plastic mixed into the biological components, but they often have glowing circuit board like patterns visible on their skin.  They are a former slave race that was used, and in corners are still used, for labor but have been freed in the Pact Worlds. For their Ability Score modifiers, C-7 takes the +2 DEX, a +2 INT but a -2 CHA.  Additionally, Androids are the Android subtype and count as either humanoids or constructs on targeted effects taking the worse result. They do get a +2 bonus against disease, mind-affecting effects and the like unless designed to target constructs.  Similarly, they don’t breath and don’t suffer the negative effects of the vacuum. Their Android bodies come equipped with lowlight and darkvision and have an armor upgrade slot that can fit any upgrade for light armor. Finally, while they have a -2 penalty on making Sense Motive checks because they don’t fully understand emotions, the difficulty of Sense Motive checks against them is also increased by 2.  

Theme – Scholar. I knew there would be at least one studious and scholarly character in the Troubelmaker Beta’s crew, and it’s the indefatigable studious Android. I see C-7 as on a literally quest for knowledge and studying something that doesn’t make sense so I decided to push that route for development.  As a Scholar, C-7 has specialized in Life Science studying Xenobiology reducing the difficulty of the checks and gaining a bonus on those rolls. Finally, a Scholar Theme provides a +1 INT.

Class – Mechanic. The Mechanic has some of the broadest application and can be a very interesting cross between an Operative and a Soldier.  There are two specific paths that make a significant difference for a Mechanic – Exocortex or Drone. All Mechanics have an AI they cobbled together but whether it is a dual processing implant or an external bot shapes how they progress.  For C-7, I am going with Pet class and giving him a Drone that we will call Balor. C-7 also gets a bonus to Computer and Engineering checks making him a good team up with Chitter. Finally, C-7 has a customized rig or toolkit that allows C-7 to always have the appropriate tools for computers, engineering, or drone modifications.  Also, it will allow C-7 to communicate or control with Balor over 2500’ and is a Mk. I comm unit. I am going to install it as an armor upgrade slot into C-7’s arm! SInce Androids get a free upgrade slot and the Rig has to go somewhere, why not always have it? And why not enjoy the mental image of the forearm splitting open and little tools coming out and C-7 muttering about non-Androids insufficient respect for the mechanical.  

For C-7’s starting Feat, I go with Medical Expert since C-7’s role is science officer and organic science officer and bonuses to saving the lives of the rest of the crew will probably be needed. Mechanics actually have limited skills selections with a 4 + INT modifier since they get so many other abilities and access to utility.  Computers, Engineering, Life Science, Physical Science, and Perception are definite starts. Medicine and Culture will round it out even if C-7 doesn’t always like to use those skills. Aside from the light armor and small arms, Mechanics do get Weapon Proficiency: Grenades, so I do believe C-7 will be lobbing grenades left and right. With saves and moderate BAB, we look to the Hit Points from Species and Class (10 and the Stamina Points from Class plus CON (8). Finally, Resolve Points start as half your level, rounded up plus your class chief ability score modifier, INT for C-7 (4). For alignment, I settled on Neutral Good for Clausweld.  While I understand the idea of making an Android Lawful, these are Androids with emotions and biological components … think more Replicant or Westworld Host. I think Clausweld is generally good, in that the betterment of al the races is something to seek and liberation of the Android species certainly can give hope and Neutral because Clausweld isn’t sure whether the rules of the Pact World and the species that exist are just – see the aforementioned enslavement of the Android species.

Balor gets its own section because it is a fantastic combat drone that will often play fetch with Clausweld-7. A Mechanic with the Drone AI gets to build an entirely separate pet and level it up as you go! The combat drone I have in mind is a four legged attack beast with wheels at the bottom of those legs.  While Balor starts with reductive plating, weapon proficiency and a weapon mount, I am adding a second weapon mount as the starting Drone mode so that I can mount a rifle on it for better ranged attack options. Unsprisingly, this means that Balor has Weapon Proficiency Long Arms to start!

Advancement

Clausweld-7 shows a pretty stable progression as a Mechanic without the pace of the Operative’s skill heavy build or the sheer flexibility and choices of a soldier.  Just as a reminder, check the link below for the character sheet since we won’t discuss all of the advancements.

First, on the Ability Score increases, I will push INT as the prime requisite but also DEX, WIS, and CHA. The WIS and CHA are certainly part of learning more about non-Androids and about what these other species truly are. The DEX increase provides additional needed Armor Class, Initiative, and ranged ability.  I only doled out a Mark I personal upgrade, but the Trinary Defragmentation Subroutine firmware for the INT bonus helps out a lot especially when we add the High Density Datajack augmentations. Sitting at a 20 INT is a pretty good place for our Android Mechanic.

With the INT upgrades, the retroactive skill ranks come into play so while Computers, Engineering, Life Science, Medicine, Perception, and Physical Science are all kept at full ranks, moderate ranks of Culture, Profession, and Sense Motive are picked up. A small smattering fo ranks in Stealth, Piloting, Athletics, and Acrobatics come from various misadventures that C-7 has had.  Finally, I wanted to put a few ranks in Mysticism for C-7’s personal journey and to reflect that. As a Scholar, Clausweld now has a rereoll to recall information once per day on his specialty.

Next we look at the Mechanic Tricks and bonuses from the Mechanic class as we progress to 7th Level. We have three Mechanic Tricks, an increase in the Bypass ability, and then the Overload, Remote Hack, Miracle Worker, and Expert Rig improvements! For the Mechanic Tricks, Clausweld-7 has focused on fixing things as the Troublemaker’s crew tends to break things.  Specifically, Quick Repair, Quick Patch, and Portable Power to speed up repairs, make patching during starship combat faster (probably by literally plugging into the computer), and providing power by plugging a computer or starship into C-7’s arm. Overload allows C-7 to force a fault in an electronic device, which is most of them in Starfinder, to remporary render it inoperative  while Remote Hack means that C-7’s hacking can happen at range and usually in competition with Chitter. Finally, Miracle Worker goes a long way to being *that* mechanic who can literally pull a ship together with duct tape – check the Core Rule Book at Page 70 for more details. We’ll talk a little more about that improved Expert Rig momentarily.

For general Feats, Clausweld added Skill SYnergy for LIfe Science and Medicine to keep up as the medic, even when Vaelayo is somewhat occupied, Master Crafter, and Weapon Focus – Grenades because Stoli encouraged C-7 to develop the love of explosives

As with other d20 based systems, the Base Attack Bonus and Saving throws also increased.  Check out the character sheet linked below for the full write up. The gear and armour have also been upgraded to reflect the character advancement.  

Balor has gotten to improve as well! In addition to the Aphelion Laser rifle, Balor has also gotten a new weapon mount for an Arc Pistol when those pesky pirates would swarm in close which also means we picked up Weapon Proficiency Small Arms, but put extra ammo on the Aphelion rifle and hardened Balor’s AI.  He has gotten a bit more stubborn as Clausweld and Balor have waded through more combats and the upgraded Expert AI system shows the further development there! For Feats, I added Far Shot, Versatile Focus, and Weapon Focus – Longarms so Balor can keep raining down ranged attacks on Clausweld-7’s enemies!

Bast is our newer addition.  The Expert Rig upgrade for Clausweld-7 means that the Rig is now a Tier 3 Computer and I gave it the Artificial Personality upgrade! If you remember, the Rig is in Clausweld’s arm so C-7 is often seen talking to the drone and the arm at the same time.  It’s quite funny. Part of the reason for only a Mark I upgrade was to spend the credits on extra Computer Hardening for Bast. Unlike Balor’s eagerness, Bast has a more laconic outlook on things and often will just “lounge” about in the technosphere around C-7.  Her personality is best described as acerbic and lazy … but when she has to actually act she gets a mean streak a mile wide!

 

Character Notes

Clausweld-7 is the latest Clausweld, the 7th in fact as the name suggests.  Clausweld-6 underwent Renewal 30 years ago, finally feeling the work of began in the Thyst Rebellion has run its course.  Clausweld-7, or C-7, still have not been told just what C-6 had done during that Android uprising. The only remnant of C-6 left when C-7 began this journey as a sentient lifeform is Balor.  C-7 has had Balor as a constant companion since the time of awakening where Balor has looked after and protected C-7 the entire time. C-7 has fixed, debugged, and upgraded Balor many times over the decades, but there is still something about Balor’s code that holds a few secrets.  

On Absalom Station, C-7 was thrust into a cosmopolitan and pluralistic world which has left many questions.  The Androids are a constructed race, but it is agreed and known that Androids have souls, or attract souls to stay with these bodies for some time;  C-6 had at least 250 years before choosing Renewal. What was it that makes a soul-filled person a soul-filled person? C-7 has been consumed by this question for the entirety of C-7’s life.

As an Android, even with a modicum of biological parts, Clausweld was easily drawn to tinkering with machines and so C-7 quickly established a life as a Mechanic on Absalom Station. While earning a living taking apart drones, computers, and the like, C-7 delved deeply into the study of taking apart biological constructs as well.  Oh, don’t fret like that – there were no vivisections in the process. A normal curiosity compelling C-7 to try to understand how an Android could be so similar to a Lashunta and yet so different. Clausweld’s strength lay in the practical side and so the dissections and repair work continued.

That’s where it stood.  Clausweld-7 with Balor at the side, playing “fetch” in the bowels of Absalom Station to study the Human, Android, Kasathan, Elven, and Vesk condition. That is, until a little case of stolen datachips went a bit astray.  Balor heard them first, and was the first to greet this strange trio of Vaelayo, Besu, and Chitter who were poking around for some missing datachips. Clausweld was about to shrug and write off this chance encounter with troublemaking newcomers to Absalom station when Balor knelt down and snuggled up to Besu.  The Kasathan had no way of knowing this was in any way out of the ordinary, but Clausweld knew. Clausweld knew Balor had never treated anyone else like that.

One pesky turn of events later and Clausweld had signed on as the science officer and mechanic for the Troublemaker as they made their way to the Diaspora to hunt for pirates.  Vaelayo had a definite take on what it meant to be alive and channeling the power of the universe, but it was Hiroko that attracted C-7’s attention the most. The Technomancer Philosopher had been making a name for herself on the Absalom positing on the connection between souls and therefore between the species in the Pact Worlds.  Her work came at C-7’s question from the metaphysical direction, and there was no reason to stay on Absalom Station when so much could be learned from these companions.

Rooting out the source of the pirates that were harrowing the Ulrikka Clanholding shipments wasn’t the interesting part, though it had its excitement – the Android pirate mate that asked why Clausweld would stand against her was the interesting part.  It took this Android sometime to realize C-7 wasn’t C-6, and she tried over and over to get C-7 to see how the dwarves treated their own like Androids. She tried to convince C-7 the only Androids were above enslavement …. And to be honest Clausweld can’t say she is wrong yet.  

Clausweld’s focused existence has been somewhat disrupted by Stoli’s arrival and he just encourages and eggs on Chitter while the two of them swap stories and insults.  It has certainly gotten in the way of the talks with Hiriko and Vaelayo, though the Bone Sage’s unsouled undead certainly took their share of the attention. It was curious to Clausweld that while the Elves in league with the Eoxian wouldn’t approve of slavery, they had no qualms with the undead servitude of the Bone Sage’s might. Curious indeed.

And now, as Balor plays with Stoli and Bast counsels to stay away from these overly emotional creatures, Clausweld-7 thinks back to try to find why Clausweld-6 finally chose Renewal and whether any work was left behind unfinished.  

 

C-7 Android Scholar Mechanic

Starfinder & Troublemaker Beta Crew Overview

 

Starfinder is © Paizo Inc.  This website uses trademarks and/or copyrights owned by Paizo Inc., which are used under Paizo’s Community Use Policy. We are expressly prohibited from charging you to use or access this content. This website is not published, endorsed, or specifically approved by Paizo Inc. For more information about Paizo’s Community Use Policy, please visit paizo.com/communityuse. For more information about Paizo Inc. and Paizo products, please visit paizo.com.

Welcome back to Card Catalog’s look at Starfinder.  As previously mentioned, the resulting characters are getting advanced all the way to Seventh Level and if you have not checked out the overview for this series the link is right here! Also, a reminder that I ignored the suggested wealth table to have more fun with the characters.  This week, we are taking a look at Besu Pratili Vin Atrides of Clan Hadard, House Locklin, of the line of Zye, the Kasathas Spacefaring Soldier that is the muscle of the Troublemaker Beta.

Design Notes

The Kasathas, along with the Vesk, are the two most striking unique species in Starfinder. The four armed and veiled Kasathas appealed to me and their cultural setup where they are making new traditions to follow later in life was really intriguing.  I realized that we still needed some muscle in the Troublemaker Beta crew so I went with a Soldier and Besu’s concept started to form in my head. The curious but reserved fighter who appears stoic but is absorbing all of the reactions of her friends and crewmates with the battle staff or pike became my target. Starfinder provides quick start Ability Score options where instead of rolling for your Ability Scores, you can start with a preset list of rolls to assign as you wish.  If you recall from the overview, no Ability Score can start over 18, but we will get well past them later. With a spread of 16, 16, 11, 10,10, and 10, I am starting our leader character with STR 16, DEX 16, CON 11, INT 10, WIS 10, and CHA 10. Besu is a Kasathas Spacefaring Soldier, so we will start by unpacking those choices.

Species – Kasathas.  The Kasathas are a new addition to the Pact Worlds having arrived by generation ship The Idari fleeing a dying star and carry with them a tradition bound culture but with traditions that are constantly being created.  They came from a desert world and cover their mouth at all times having four arms. This means that for Ability Score modifiers, Besu takes the +2 STR, a +2 WIS but a -2 INT. Additionally, the Kasathas are evolved from a desert race allowing unencumbered movement in difficult desert, hill, or mountain terrain. The four arms mean that the Jasathas can hold four arms of equipment, which we will make use of later.  Finally, they receive a +2 bonus on Culture, Acrobatics, and Athletics checks.

Theme – Spacefarer. Besus is a Kasathas who is seeking out her truth and her reality.  To do so means leaving the Idari behind and so she is constantly looking over the horizon and looking for new experiences so that she can find her own traditions to marry with her family traditions.  Besu has a bonus on Physical Science rolls to recall information or deduce information about the new and strange places she goes. and has Physical Science as a class skill. Finally, a Spacefarer Theme provides a +1 CON

Class – Soldier. The Soldier is the future form of the Fighter, but Starfinder has certainly made the Soldier a deep and engaging class. Each Soldier selects a Primary Fighting Style that provides techniques that fit that overall theme of the character.  The CRB has 7 different Fighting Styles and for Besu’s preference for melee combat I selected the Blitz Style. This style allows for quickly getting into melee combat and begins with a +10’ Speed increase and a +4 Initiative bonus.

For her starting Feat, I am going with Cleave so that Besu can attack two different melee opponents even if it means an AC penalty.  Besu does not start with a lot of skills, in fact the 4 per level is reduced to three per level because she is not particularly bright.  I started with her having Acrobatics, Athletics, and Survival with the Spacefarer theme providing a rank in Physical Science. Soldiers unsurprisingly have proficiency with nearly every weapon but otherwise start out fairly straightforward with the good saves and BAB we are used to from a long time gaming.  

Hit Points are a set amount based on your species and class (11), while Stamina points are a set amount from your class plus your CON modifier(7+1).  Finally, Resolve Points start as half your level, rounded up plus your class chief ability score modifier, STR for Besu(5). Finally, thinking about Besu and her unsettled nature unsure of what or who she will be, I settle on a Chaotic Neutral alignment. This isn’t a selfish or random alignment choice, but more reflective of Besu not yet knowing where her traditions will take her.   

Advancement

While the Operative shows you a lot of the potential at first level, the Soldier explodes as they advance in levels.  Just as a reminder, check the link below for the character sheet since we won’t discuss all of the advancements.

First, on the Ability Score increases, I don’t go after the STR but focus on the DEX, CON, INT, and WIS increases for Besu. This increases her AC and Initiative, Hit Points, removes the skill penalty, and I like to think shows how she grows a little less impetuous by 7th level. On the personal upgrades, though, I went straight for her main requirement of STR and provided a Mk. II upgrade in the form of a Fast Twitch Biochemical Enhancement Gland that changes the Kasathan blood composition to increase the efficiency of their fast twitch muscle fibers leaving ehr with a STR of 22.  .

On skills, I add Culture and Intimidate at moderate levels, but that does mean stepping off a perfect limit on the original three.  That’s okay because a Soldier isn’t going to be made or broken by their skill selection. As a Spacefarer, Besu now can make any untrained skill roll as an Eager Dabbler with a +2 bonus.  

For augmentations, since Besu keeps getting into the thick of melee combat, I added some Dermal Plating to provide a Damage Resistance 1/- on all attacks that is going to stack with the Golem Forged Plate Armor and the Deflective Reinforcement (5/-). Besu also has a magical ring of Resistance, Mk. II which provides a bonus to her weakest Saving Throw, which as a Soldier is Reflex.  

Soldiers come stacked, though with abilities and bonus feats.  We have three Feas, three Bonus Feats, two Gear Boosts, and a Fighting Style ability that have shown up! Enhancing the general theme of the Blitz style, the Feats and Combat Feats from the class support it with choices like Step Up, Step Up and Strike, Stand Still, Improved Stand Still, Mobility, and Great Cleave.  These work well with the Blitz Ability of Charge Attack that allows Besu to make a charge without the penalties as well as put a bull rush on the end of the charge for board control purposes. The selection of Feats is about allowing movement without provoking attacks and keeping Besu able to keep attacking her opponents in Melee. Check the Starfinder CRB for full details on those feats.   

One aspect of the Soldier Class I also like is the Gear Boost abilities where the soldiers are able to make better use of certain types of gear further allowing for variation in what has evolved from the most basic of classes.  The obvious first one is Melee Striker that adds additional damage on Melee Weapons but the second is Sonic Resonance enhancing the ability to make foes flat footed when hit. Since Besu has four arms and can carry and use both the Pike and a Sonic Rifle at the same time, this is a truly significant combination.

As with other d20 based systems, the Base Attack Bonus and Saving throws also increased.  Check out the character sheet linked below for the full write up. The gear and armour have also been upgraded to reflect the character advancement which Besu kept pretty slim instead going big for the upgraded Pike and the Golem Forged Armor.  

 

Character Notes

Besu Pratili Vin Atrides of Clan Hadard, House Locklin, of the line of Zye is a woman in search of herself.  For all that the honor bound and traditionalist Kasathas are viewed in public as such, their culture is coming from the new rituals and traditions each generation and indeed each Kasathan finds on their own.  The Idari’s generation ship travel may have slowed that process, but in the Pact Worlds it has resumed.

According to family legend, Zye was an ancient Kasathan who struck out on his own across the windswept desert landscape to forge a new path forward.  His line has grown over the centuries to include many Houses such as House Locklin. Besu Pratili Vin Atrides came into the world after the Idari had come to rest in the Pact Worlds, abandoning the desire to settle on the actually occupied Akiton. House Locklin had followed Zye’s lead of being outward facing and outward looking as much as could be done on board the Idari and Clan Hadard took the opportunity to push out of the Idari into the Pact Worlds.  This meant a chance to see and a chance to learn. This was a chance to bring back the exploration to the Kasathan and continue to legend of Zye’s contributions to the Sholar Adat, great world bank of memories still held aboard, though the spectre of being recalled as the Doyen of Exploration to governmental service may slow the footsteps on a few members of Clan Hadard.

Besu stepped into the role of ordained by tradition for her easily.  She was unsettled and anxious as a child. Easily distracted and always wanting to run through the different sectors of the Idari. Often board studying the traditions of the past, but grudgingly accepting the stories of her heroes, Besu could do little but wait for her Tempering where she could strike out on her own with the chains of tradition.  And it did come to pass.

With a blessing from her parents, her family, and her clan, Besu’s Tempering would take her first to Akiton where the Kasathas had originally intended to settle. There she ahd her first experience that may set her path through the Temepring to be a traditional Kasathan.  The impertinent and chaotic way these being lived on a planet so choked with debris was shocking. The beautiful desert that Akiton could be was wasted on these profane and short sighted inhabitants. When Besu saw a gang of street toughs trying to take the last few credits of an old woman, it was too much.  Even they should venerate their elders and know not to steal from the past that gave them their present.

In making short work of them, a Ysoki showed up and just started … talking.  This “Chitter” seemed friendly enough and truth be told a guide through whatever traditions these strange Pact Worlders have would be helpful. She begrudgingly joined Chitter on the way to Absalom Station, perhaps there to find something more …. Understandable.  Besu was already beginning to miss home. Valaeyo’s sharing of the cabin with them was interesting, but the Lashunta Mystic was only the first of many redeeming events of the Tempering. There was a sense of honor and tradition in Valaeyo’s ways that convinced Besu to stick around.  Even when Vaelayo volunteered her to help them investigate a bit of a theft on the Station. While Chitter seemed intrigued by this Hiroko Benandetti, Besu was more interested in Clausweld-7’s own traditions. Androids were creating their own traditions but in ways that didn’t always follow the Kasathan ways and watching C-7 became a hobby for Besu.  

Boarding pirate ships and hitting them with her pike was much more to Besu’s liking once the Ulrikka Clanholding contract got underway.  Investigations and mysteries were all well and good, but the best truth in life was found on the battlefield against an opponent. While the Troublemaker was lost in that battle with the pirates, teh Troublemaker Beta came with a new clanmate … err … crewmember.  The dwarf Stoli Kilaim may have a dishonorable tendency to shoot grenades first and rifles later, but he did provide cover to her friends. To be honest, some of the dwarven traditions now that Stoli found the Quest for the Sky complete strike Besu as similar to her own place.  How to find a new way that still respects the old.

Renegade elves and undead minions have left Besu more firmly convicned of the Kasathan way to let the elders die and retain their knowledge.  Long lived elves and undying Bone Sages have lost though with the traditions themselves and instead see themselves as tradition. This is a dangerous thing in the eyes of the scion of the line of Zye.  

Besu Kasathan Spacefarer Soldier

Starfinder & Troublemaker Beta Crew Overview

 

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Welcome back to Card Catalog’s look at Starfinder.  As previously mentioned, the resulting characters are getting advanced all the way to Seventh Level and if you have not checked out the overview for this series the link is right here! Also, a reminder that I ignored the suggested wealth table to have more fun with the characters.  This week, we are taking a look at Grik “Chitter” Krowlestic, the Ysoki Bounty Hunter Operative who acts as the Pilot for the Troublemaker Beta.

 

Design Notes

I knew I was going to make acute and spunky mouse creature somehow, and honestly the idea of the Pilot popped into my head.  In all fairness, Guardians of the Galaxy has made the furry pilot a little bit of a thing lately. A little abrasive and a little friendly balancing those two concepts while also being a dedicated techie was something I thought would be fun to make. Starfinder provides quick start Ability Score options where instead of rolling for your Ability Scores, you can start with a preset list of rolls to assign as you wish.  If you recall from the overview, no Ability Score can start over 18, but we will get well past them later. With a spread of 16, 16, 11, 10,10, and 10, I am starting our leader character with STR 10, DEX 16, CON 11, INT 16, WIS 10, and CHA 10. Grik is a Ysoki Bounty Hunter Operative, so we will start by unpacking those choices.

Species – Ysoki.  The fun, and rather cute looking, Ysoki were also high on my list.  They provide a nice niche in populating the Pact Worlds and the standard player species with a nod to the Sci-Fi trope of the underclass race that is a scrounger.  This means that for Ability Score modifiers, Grik takes the -2 STR but a +2 INT and +2 DEX. The additional benefits of being Ysoki are the sheek pouches where you can store 1 cubic foot of items, Darkvision, and bonuses to various flat footed and prone actions.  Finally, all Ysoki receive a +2 racial bonus to Engineering, Stealth, and Survival checks.

Theme – Bounty Hunter. I envisioned this scittering and busy hustling Ysoki as someone who would find someone or something for a price and make themselves an invaluable part of the local economy as a go-between.  The Bounty Hunter theme fit perfectly. If Chitter has a specific “mark”, all checks to recall information about that mark are reduced. Also, survival is a class skill for all Bounty Hunter Themed characters. Finally, a Bounty Hunter Theme provides a +1 CON

Class – Operative. The Operative may be my favorite class.  It is a version of the old Rogue or Thief class but broadened significantly as you may recall from the version of it we saw in the Babylon 5 Card Catalog Series with Mia Correy as an “Agent”[LINK].   The Operative is the most skill heavy class and definitely more “finesse” based. Operatives receive an Insight bonus to all skill checks and initiative called “Operatives Edge” that increases in levels and also pick a specialization, like a subclass, for their type of Operative with Grik going for Hacker to round out the technical needs of the Troublemaker Crew.

As a Hacker Operative, Grik gets a free rank of Computers and Engineering at each level as well as the Skill Focus Feat for each of those skills.  That is one way the Specialization sets itself apart providing both Skills and Feats before the additional special abilities and Exploits. Operatives have the Trick Attack ability to increase their damage, and each type of Operative can set a foe up for it with different abilities as well. At first level, I am starting Grik off with Mobility to make sure that she can later do the running around and popping of shots even if she isn’t sniping.  Oh, Operatives have Weapon Proficiency in Sniper Rifles. If you’ve followed along with my love of Archers, you know I perked up at that point. Additionally, they have the Trick attack bonus damage that comes into play! It starts as an additional 1D4 damage, but goes up from there!

After we get the Computers and Engineering Skills, I am going to spread out the long list with Acrobatics, Athletics, Bluff, Culture, Diplomacy, Perception, Piloting, Profession (Bounty Hunter), Sense Motive, Sleight of Hand, Stealth, and Survival.  This is a broad range and Skills and the Operatives Edge gives them all a bonus!

Hit Points are a set amount based on your species and class (10), while Stamina points are a set amount from your class plus your CON modifier(4).  Finally, Resolve Points start as half your level, rounded up plus your class chief ability score modifier, WIS for Vaelayo(4). Finally, thinking about Vaelayo and his desire to for power, even if it is just soft power, a Lawful Neutral Alignment seems good.  He certainly respects traditions and structures, but has no inclination to use them for the general betterment of the Pact Worlds.


Advancement

Taking these Starfinder characters out to 7th level really let’s the Operative shine! Just as a reminder, check the link below for the character sheet since we won’t discuss all of the advancements.

First, I’m a big fan of plugging the weaknesses of characters so the initial Ability Score improvements at level 5 took STR to 10 to remove the penalty and CON to 14 for extra hit points.  INT and DEX are both taken to 19 to push the specialties out even further. Finally, for personal upgrade, I gave Chitter a Mk. II DEX Upgrade – Wired Reflexes! Why keep your original nervous system when we can make it faster and better with the wonders of tech bringin Chitter’s DEXT to 23(!!)! .

On skills, since Computers and Engineering will keep pace thanks to Operative abilities, I’ll peel a rank each off of Athletics, Bluff, and Diplomacy to put a handful of ranks in Medicine because somebody has to heal the healer is Vaelayo ever goes down. When you factor in the Operative’s Edge bonus of +3 at 7th Level, Chitter is throwing +17 or better in all of her core competencies which are legion.  

For augmentations, I switched over to the technological options for Chitter.  I started with a High Density Datajack to let her plug directly into a computer and gain a circumstance bonus.  Next, I wanted to give her a prosthetic arm and hid a tactical knife in it with an extra modifications to breath underwater and enhance her hearing even more. I kept the magic limited with only a Glove of Storing, where a nice sized medkit can be kept without the Bulk, and a Trailblazer fusion on the Sniper Rifle.  Because what sniper won’t want to ignore environmental modifiers to sniping shots. I also spent some credits on a highly customized and enhanced datapad with increased security and firewalls because I like the idea of Chitter madly typing away on this thing trying to outhack an enemy hacker.

I already mentioned how the Operative’s Edge has increased to a +3, which means that the bonus now equals the Skill Focus that Chitter has in Computers and Engineering.  This is balanced by the Specialization Skill Mastery feature allowing her to take 10 on those skills even in stressful situations like combat! For Exploits, which are the special powers or tricks to round out the character, I looked at Elusive Hacker and Speed Hacker to make Chitter better at her professed Specialization but also Uncanny Pilot as the main pilot of the Troublemaker Beta.  

For additional Feats,Evasion and Shot on the Run go hand in hand with the Operative powers like Quick Movement, Dive for Cover, and Uncanny Agility.  Easy choices for this light on her feet and rather hyperactive character. Finally, the trick attack damage bonus is now an additional +4D8 and you can make the victims flat footed as a result!

As with other d20 based systems, the Base Attack Bonus and Saving throws also increased.  Check out the character sheet linked below for the full write up. The gear and armour have also been upgraded to reflect the character advancement.  Including jump jets on her armor.

 

Character Notes

Grik Krowlestic grew up in what is an almost sterotypical ysoki neighborhood! The half finished projects and tinkering across the whole block combined with the absolute plethora of young Ysoki rummaging around and making trouble was an invitation to disaster … or adventure! Periodic bouts of laughter and arguments broke out between the families as Grik would play and explore in the rusted remains of the space barges that once took Akiton’s precious ore to the stars.

Grik knew, as much as he loved his parents and siblings that he couldn’t stay.  As much because his parents couldn’t afford to feed the whole family on the declining thasteron mining wages the Company offered.  LIfe was dirty and dusty and hard, but Grik also knew it would be better for his family if he took his life on the road … and great thing about being a ysoki is that on Akiton, the traveling hover caravans are always glad to have another body! In the Hivemarket, Grik became known as chitter as she took it upon herself to explore every nook and cranny of the vast bazaar.  She made a name for herself tinkering with the delicate electronics in ways even the Mechanics didn’t quite fathom but that made complete sense to her. The first time she was paid bringing back information on someone’s hideout, Chitter found her calling as a Bounty Hunter.

Being a Bounty Hunter on Akiton means you are bound to make enemies, and Chitter was no exception.  A bad habit of throwing beer glasses across rooms, with the beer still in them, made even fewer friends than the organized smuggling rings she ran up against.  Walking down a neon lit alley, wondering where the next attack would come from, Chitter saw a glorious and wonderful Kasathas rip a pipe from its moorings and proceed to absolutely school a pair of young punks. Even better than a hiding place, a friend with a strong arm, right?

Chitter made friends with Besu Pratili Vin Atrides of Clan Hadard, House Locklin, of the line of Zye, or “Besu” for short because she was also looking for something.  She was finding herself and her traditions away from the Kasathas and the Idari, and Chitter thought now was as good a time as any to let the heat subside.

On the way to Absalom Station, a strange forward Lashunta approached them and get them deep into a running debate about culture and history all the way to Absalom Station.  For whatever reason, that Lashunta volunteered them to help find a missing datacard and Chitter was about to tell him to take a long walk out a short airlock when the victim was Hiroko Benandetti.  She may be a bit of an up and comer, but anybody getting published like that is worth knowing. For whatever reason, they stayed together even then Clausweld-7 and his drone just started coming along.  If one friend with a strong arm is good, maybe another one with a drone mounted assault rifle is better?

It was a little bit of a flashback for Chitter working for Ulrikka Clanholdings.  Mining is always dangerous, and the dwarves in charge of Ulrikka were no better as a corp than those in charge on Akiton.  It was hard sometimes to help them maintain “profitability” because Chitter knew that meant some miners would lose their lives.  The pirates made it a little easier since they didn’t even pretend to care for the miners, the company men and women, or anybody else in their way. Chitter is still not sure that is more annoying from that job – losing the Troublemaker or gaining Stoli Kilaim.  Despite the similarity in size and demeanor, the dwarf and the ysoki don’t see eye to eye.

By now, Chitter had settled comfortably into a role as pilot, and sometimes jester, for the Troublemaker Beta.  When the crew was up against renegade elves and crazed undead Bone Sage minions, it helped to have a laugh once in a while. Maybe Stoli wasn’t so bad, or maybe that is just his grenade launcher Chitter admires so, but she is starting to not mind the dwarf even as she is starting to wonder where Vaelayo has all their best interests at heart as they stare into the Vast.   

Chitter Ysoki Bounty Hunter Operative

Starfinder & Troublemaker Beta Crew Overview

 

Starfinder is © Paizo Inc.  This website uses trademarks and/or copyrights owned by Paizo Inc., which are used under Paizo’s Community Use Policy. We are expressly prohibited from charging you to use or access this content. This website is not published, endorsed, or specifically approved by Paizo Inc. For more information about Paizo’s Community Use Policy, please visit paizo.com/communityuse. For more information about Paizo Inc. and Paizo products, please visit paizo.com.

Sheet by http://paizo.com/people/Gilfalas