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Chapter 2: Character Creation / Ability Scores

Buying Ability Scores

Source Starfinder Core Rulebook pg. 18
In this method, you customize your ability scores by “buying” them using a pool of points. Since the purpose of this system is to help you build exactly the character you want, before starting to customize your ability scores, first decide what you want your character’s race (Chapter 3), class (Chapter 4), and theme (see page 28) to be. Once you’ve got those firmly in mind, follow the steps below in order.
  • Step 1: Start with a score of 10 in each ability. On your character sheet or a piece of scratch paper, write down all six abilities—Strength, Dexterity, Constitution, Intelligence, Wisdom, and Charisma—and put a 10 next to each of them.
  • Step 2: Add and subtract points for race. Races in Starfinder are often naturally gifted in some abilities and less so in others. The first page of each race entry lists these advantages and disadvantages in terms of points you add or subtract from specific starting ability scores; you can also look at Table 2–2 to see all the racial advantages and disadvantages at a glance. For instance, a shirren starts out with +2 points in Constitution and +2 points in Wisdom, but –2 points in Charisma (meaning you’d add 2 points to your starting Constitution and Wisdom scores, but subtract 2 from your starting Charisma score). Some races, like humans, are so versatile as a race that they get points they can put in any single ability.

    Once you know your racial modifiers, add or subtract those points from your starting scores of 10.
  • Step 3: Add points for theme. Each theme gives you a single ability point to apply to an ability score. For instance, choosing the ace pilot theme gives you +1 point in Dexterity, while the themeless option lets you apply an extra point to any ability score you choose. The points granted by each theme can be found in its description or on Table 2–2. Once you know your theme, add that point to the designated ability.
  • Step 4: Spend 10 points customizing your scores. Now that you’ve got your baseline scores, which incorporate modifications for class and theme, you get a pool of 10 extra points to assign to your ability scores as you see fit. You apply these to your existing ability scores on a 1-for-1 basis—if you have a Dexterity score of 12 and you add a point from your pool, you now have a Dexterity score of 13. You can divide these points up however you want, but you can’t make any individual score higher than 18. (Later on, as you level up and gain ability-boosting gear, your ability scores may rise above 18, but 18 is the highest value any character can start out with.) Be sure to spend all 10 of your ability points—you can’t save them for later.
  • Step 5: Record ability scores and ability modifiers. Once you’ve spent all your points, you’re done. Write your final ability scores in the appropriate boxes on your character sheet, then check Table 2–1 to find the corresponding ability modifier for each one, and write those down as well. Modifiers are explained in Ability Modifiers and Ability Checks on page 21.

Example of Buying Ability Scores

Let’s say you’re building a vesk soldier—you saw the art on page 27, and immediately started imagining a gruff but loyal mercenary who plays by her own rules.

You start out with 10 in every ability, like any character. You already know you want to be a vesk, and looking at Table 2–2, you see that her race grants her +2 points to Strength and +2 points to Constitution, but –2 points to Intelligence. You apply those to your starting scores of 10, so now your scores look like this:

STR 12, DEX 10, CON 12, INT 8, WIS 10, CHA 10

Next, you apply a theme. You know you want her to be a mercenary, and you see from the table that the mercenary theme gives her +1 point to Strength, making your scores these:

STR 13, DEX 10, CON 12, INT 8, WIS 10, CHA 10

So far, you’re spot on for your concept—plenty strong but not particularly bright. Now it’s time to take your 10 discretionary points and assign them. Table 2–3 tells you that a soldier’s key ability score is either Strength (for fighting hand-to-hand) or Dexterity (for shooting projectile weapons). You’re imagining her charging into combat with a big assault hammer, so you go ahead and spend 5 points to get her Strength from 13 to 18, the strongest anyone of her level can be. At the same time, though, you know there will be situations where she wants to use guns, so you spend 4 more points to bring her Dexterity up to 14. With 1 point left to spend, you consider adding it to Intelligence to offset her racial disadvantage there, then decide it’s more fun to add it to Charisma—she may be a brute, but she should be charming in her own way. So these are your final scores:

STR 18, DEX 14, CON 12, INT 8, WIS 10, CHA 11

You write those down on your character sheet, then locate the appropriate ability modifiers on the table above and write those down in the boxes marked for them next to each ability score—an 18 equals a +4 modifier, a 14 equals a +2, and so on. Now you’re ready to move on to the rest of character creation!

Optional Rule: Character Flaws

The buying ability scores method makes sure that your character is always at least close to average—your race might push you slightly below the average of 10, but you won’t be severely hampered. Sometimes, however, it’s fun to play a character with a major flaw. If you want to reduce any ability scores for your character below what this system would normally allow, that’s fine—playing a brutish soldier with an Intelligence of 5 or a noodle-armed technomancer with a Strength of 4 could allow for some fun roleplaying opportunities—but you don’t get to reassign those lost ability points elsewhere. Beware making your scores so low that your character can’t keep up with the rest of the party!

Pro Tip: Ability Modifiers

Ability modifiers are the values you’ll use most often in gameplay to modify rolls and checks—positive modifiers add to your results, while negative modifiers subtract. As you can see on Table 2–1, however, ability modifiers increase only with each new even ability score you reach. While odd scores are still good to have—they can enable you to qualify for feats and get you that much closer to the next ability modifier threshold, making it easier to achieve higher scores when it’s time to level up—some players try to customize their ability scores to have as many even ability scores as possible, thus making sure they’re not “overpaying” for a particular ability modifier.

Table 2-1:Ability Scores and Modifiers

Ability ScoreAbility Modifier
1–5
2–4
3–4
4–3
5–3
6–2
7–2
8–1
9–1
10+0
11+0
12+1
13+1
14+2
15+2
16+3
17+3
18+4
19+4
20+5
21+5
22+6
23+6
24+7
25+7
26+8

Table 2-2: Ability Points from Race & Theme

RaceSTRDEXCONINTWISCHAAny
Android+2+2–2
Human+2
Kasatha+2–2+2
Lashunta (Damaya)–2+2+2
Lashunta (Korasha)+2–2+2
Shirren+2+2–2
Vesk+2+2–2
Ysoki–2+2+2

ThemeSTRDEXCONINTWISCHAAny
Ace Pilot+1
Bounty Hunter+1
Icon+1
Mercenary+1
Outlaw+1
Priest+1
Scholar+1
Spacefarer+1
Xenoseeker+1
Themeless+1

Table 2-3: Key Ability Scores by Class

ClassKey Ability Score
EnvoyCharisma
MechanicIntelligence
MysticWisdom
OperativeDexterity
SolarianCharisma
SoldierStrength or Dexterity
TechnomancerIntelligence