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Chapter 4: Classes

Source Starfinder Core Rulebook pg. 58
Your character’s class represents her field of expertise, whether she’s a battle-hardened soldier or a technomancer bending the laws of physics. Her class grants a number of abilities—these could be the result of formal training, honed talent, or even a direct connection to a god. It also determines statistics such as her Hit Points, Stamina Points, weapon and armor proficiencies, class skills and skill ranks per level, and base attack and saving throw bonuses. The following are Starfinder’s core classes.

Class Descriptions

Source Starfinder Core Rulebook pg. 58
Your class is the single most important factor in determining your character’s abilities—the chassis on which everything else is constructed. At the same time, however, each class has the potential to spawn an infinite number of characters depending on the choices you make, both rules-wise and in terms of your personality and the story you want to tell. An android mystic who acts as a priest of the machine god Triune is going to feel and behave wildly differently in play than a lashunta mystic who uses his psychic abilities as a mindreading private detective, despite the fact that they share the same class. The following sections describe Starfinder’s seven core classes, with each entry containing all the information you need to play a member of that class at any level. This introduction is designed help to explain the format used in all class descriptions.

Overview

Each class entry begins by describing a stereotypical member of the class and suggesting a number of ways your character might use her abilities during an adventure. You aren’t restricted to those actions or personality traits when you play a character of that class, and as noted above, it’s possible to create specialized characters of the same class who are effective in very different areas. But if you’re new to Starfinder and looking for help deciding how to roleplay a character of a given class, start here.

Stamina Points: At 1st level and whenever you gain a new level, you gain this number of Stamina Points + your Constitution modifier (minimum 0 SP per level) (see page 22). If your Constitution modifier changes later, adjust your Stamina Points for all your levels.

Hit Points: At 1st level and whenever you gain a new level, you gain this number of Hit Points. These are added to the Hit Points you gain from your race at 1st level.

Key Ability Score

This entry indicates which of the six ability scores is most important for this class—that ability is your key ability score. To be most effective, you should usually make your key ability score your highest ability score. Unless otherwise noted, the saving throw DC for foes to resist your class features (if appropriate) is equal to 10 + half your class level + your key ability score modifier. This entry also notes one or two other ability scores that are important for this class but are not vital.

Class Skills

This entry notes the number of skill ranks you gain at each level; regardless of any penalties to this number, you always gain at least 1 skill rank per level. This entry also lists your class skills, which are those skills a member of your class is usually particularly good at—if you put at least 1 rank in a class skill, you gain a +3 bonus to skill checks with that skill.

Armor Proficiency

This entry lists the armor types with which you are proficient (meaning you automatically know how to use them). See Armor Proficiency in Chapter 8: Tactical Rules for more information on how proficiency affects you.

Weapon Proficiency and Specialization

This entry lists the weapon types in which you are proficient. See Weapon Proficiency in Chapter 8: Tactical Rules for more information on how proficiency affects you. When you reach 3rd level in that class, you also gain Weapon Specialization (as per the feat) in those weapons, which allows you to add your class level to your damage rolls with those weapons (see Weapon Specialization on page 163 for more information). Grenades, missiles, and other consumable weapons never add specialization damage, even when you’re using weapons like a cyberbow or grenade launcher.

Class Features

Source Starfinder Core Rulebook pg. 59
Each of your class features is detailed in the remainder of the class description. If a class feature ever requires a calculation or produces a numerical result that would include a fraction, always round down unless otherwise stated. This follows the normal rule for rounding (see page 243).

Class features may reference different types of levels, such as character level, class level, and caster level (if you’re a spellcaster). For a character with only one class, these are all the same thing. If you decide to take multiple classes, when a class feature has an effect or prerequisite based on your level, it always means your level in that class, not your total character level (which is the sum of all your different class levels). If a class feature or spell mentions your caster level, that refers to your combined levels in all spellcasting classes (though the number of spells you can cast per day and the number you know at each level are still based on just the level of the class granting them).

Class features usually fall into one of three categories: extraordinary abilities, spell-like abilities, and supernatural abilities. You may gain these abilities through one or more of a variety of means, including advanced meditative techniques, athletic training, biological stimulants, cutting-edge technological devices, experimental cybernetic enhancements, mysterious alien technology, or state-of-the-art biotech. The specific source of these abilities is up to you, as a way to add flavor to your character. Regardless of the source, these abilities are class features and cannot be taken away from you, though they may be suppressed or negated by other effects (see below).

Extraordinary Abilities (Ex): Extraordinary abilities are nonmagical, despite the fact that they’re not something just anyone can do, or even learn without extensive training. Effects or areas that suppress or negate magic have no effect on extraordinary abilities.

Spell-Like Abilities (Sp): Spell-like abilities are magical abilities similar to spells. Spell-like abilities are subject to spell resistance (see page 265) and do not function in areas where magic is suppressed or negated. Spell-like abilities can be dispelled.

Supernatural Abilities (Su): Supernatural abilities are magical but not spell-like. Supernatural abilities are not subject to spell resistance, but they don’t function in areas where magic is suppressed or negated. A supernatural ability’s effect cannot be dispelled.

Class Table

Source Starfinder Core Rulebook pg. 59
Each class description contains a table that summarizes the various features of the class at each level.

Class Level: This is the class level at which your character receives the benefits listed in the line.

Base Attack Bonus: This is the total base attack bonus at that level, which is used to calculate your melee and ranged attack bonuses.

Fort Save Bonus, Ref Save Bonus, Will Save Bonus: These entries list your base save bonus for Fortitude, Reflex, and Will saving throws at that level. You add your Constitution modifier to Fortitude saves, your Dexterity modifier to Reflex saves, and your Wisdom modifier to Will saves.

Class Features: This lists the class features gained at that level, which are described in detail later in the class description.

Spells per Day: For a class that can cast spells, the table lists the number of spells per day you can cast at each class level (known as your “spell slots”). You may be able to cast additional spells based on your key ability score, as indicated in a separate table in the class entry. If an entry is marked with a dash (—), you can’t cast spells of that level yet.

Other Entries: If the class grants different features that depend on your level, they are listed here. For instance, the solarian’s armor bonus and weapon damage by level can be found under Solar Manifestation. These abilities are described in detail later in the class description.

Class Builds

Source Starfinder Core Rulebook pg. 59
Following the explanation of a class’s features are four examples of ways to build the class. These are examples of some of the choices you could make to create a specific kind of character, designed to help you think about different ways of playing the same class.

Theme: This is an appropriate theme for the class build.

Ability Scores: This entry notes which ability scores are most important for the build.

Class Choices: Many classes offer multiple choices within certain class features (such as envoy improvisations and mechanic tricks). These entries list some appropriate choices for the build, ordered by the earliest level at which you can take each option.

Spells: Choices of spells that are particularly suited to the build are listed by spell level.

Feats: Useful feats are listed alphabetically.

Skills: These are the skills that best complement the build.

Archetypes

Source Starfinder Core Rulebook pg. 126
From the cunning operative to the deadly soldier, each core class in the Starfinder Roleplaying Game draws upon a central idea common to many characters found in science fantasy settings. However, there is a vast universe of interesting and useful character concepts beyond those easily represented by the existing classes. Players can emulate some of these concepts by choosing specific class features, selecting an appropriate theme (see page 28), or multiclassing (see page 26) to combine elements from more than one class. However, other concepts demand changes to a character’s focus that are beyond the scope of the standard classes and themes. To encompass these major differences, your character can take an archetype—a set of alternate class features that alters or replaces class features you would otherwise gain at specific levels.

An archetype is a character concept more specific and involved than a theme, but not as comprehensive or broad as a class. Each archetype represents a significant divergence from the abilities of a typical member of the core classes. Archetypes provide an additional layer of control for players who want to fine-tune their character’s advancement.

An archetype generally grants abilities that aren’t otherwise available to characters through a class, or it may grant easier access to a specific set of appropriate abilities. In general, these abilities aren’t tied to the background of any one core class or theme and aren’t available to characters via other sources. For example, the phrenic adept archetype (see page 128) could be used for a character who is naturally psychic or who gained psychic powers after being exposed to strange alien technology. Without a similar background or event, other characters can’t gain these powers, making it more appropriate for an archetype than a series of class features.

Gaining an Archetype

Source Starfinder Core Rulebook pg. 126
You can gain an archetype when you achieve a new class level in an eligible class matching the earliest level for which the archetype offers an alternate class feature. The archetype is then considered part of the class you gain a level in when you level up. For example, if you are playing an envoy interested in being a Starfinder forerunner, you must select that archetype when you gain your 2nd level of envoy (the first level at which the Starfinder forerunner has an alternate class feature). From that point forward, whenever you gain an envoy class level, you should check whether you gain an alternate class feature from the Starfinder forerunner archetype, as well as whether any envoy class features are altered or replaced. When you first gain an archetype, read through all the altered or replaced class features that will affect your character, and note these down; for some classes (especially mystics and technomancers) these changes affect features from levels before or after the levels at which you gain archetype features.

You cannot add the same archetype to multiple classes if you multiclass. For example, if a 2nd-level vesk envoy has selected the Starfinder forerunner archetype and later decides to multiclass and gain levels in the soldier class, the character cannot add the Starfinder forerunner archetype to his soldier class. Every time he gains soldier levels, he follows the normal character progression. If the character later gains more levels in envoy, that class continues to have the Starfinder forerunner archetype attached to it.

You also cannot add more than one archetype to a specific class. For example, once you have added the Starfinder forerunner archetype to the envoy class, you cannot add any other archetype to that class. If you multiclass and gain a level in a new class, you can add a new archetype to that class when you reach the appropriate level.

When an archetype refers to class level, it is referring to the number of levels you have in the class associated with the archetype.

Alternate Class Features

Source Starfinder Core Rulebook pg. 126
An archetype grants alternate class features that replace or alter class features normally granted by your class at one or more levels. The possible levels at which an archetype might grant an alternate class feature are 2nd, 4th, 6th, 9th, 12th, and 18th. An archetype might grant alternate class features at a few of these levels or at all of them.

Each class has a specific list of the class features that are altered or replaced, as defined in each class’s replaced class features entry. For example, an envoy who selects the Starfinder forerunner at 2nd level gains the trained for trouble class feature granted by the Starfinder forerunner instead of the envoy improvisation normally gained at 2nd level.

In some cases, a character gains a class feature at a later level than she would normally, rather than not gain it all. In these cases, a different class feature is generally replaced at the level the delayed class feature is now acquired. For example, a mechanic who has an archetype with a 9th-level alternate class feature does not gain the override class feature until 10th level. When this character’s mechanic class level reaches 10th, she gains the override class feature, but she doesn’t gain the mechanic trick normally gained at that level.

Other Considerations

Source Starfinder Core Rulebook pg. 126
While having an archetype may represent your training with or membership in a specific faction, having the archetype is generally not required for you to be considered part of a faction. For example, the Starfinder forerunner (see page 129) is specifically for characters who are part of the Starfinder Society and who have received special training for participation in Starfinder expeditions. However, it is not necessary to take this archetype in order to become a member of the Starfinder Society. The archetype represents only one possible path within the society, not the sole choice for characters tied to that faction.

Archetypes can generally be added to any class, though some archetypes might note they are available only to specific classes or might have other prerequisites you must meet to select them. For example, an archetype that represents training in a specific magic tradition might be available only to mystics and technomancers, while an archetype designed for devotees of an ancient monastery’s fighting techniques might be available only to solarians and soldiers. An archetype notes in its description whether it has any prerequisites or restrictions.