Archives of Nethys

Pathfinder | Starfinder

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Step 8: Spells

Source Alien Archive pg. 143
This step is required only for NPCs with the spellcaster array or those you have given the secondary magic special ability (see page 142). By design, a spellcaster NPC can’t cast as many spells as a player character, as NPCs usually appear in the game for only a brief time. Pick notable spells that make a big difference when they’re cast so the NPC makes an impact when it appears. The DCs of these spells are determined by the array you chose for the creature.

Number of Spells

Source Alien Archive pg. 143
NPCs cast spells differently based on whether they have innate spell-like abilities or cast spells like a spellcasting class. Use the explanations below and examine the choices you made in the previous steps to determine which style suits your intended creature. (While NPCs can have both, such as when an NPC whose race grants natural spell-like abilities also receives a class graft, it’s generally easier not to mix them if you don’t have to.) Once you’ve decided, look up the CR range your NPC falls into and then check the appropriate column of Table 7 to determine its number of spells per day.

Remember that these are only guidelines. If you need to add or remove a spell to perfect a creature’s flavor, that’s your call, but at the same time, be sure you’re not unbalancing the NPC.

Spell-Like Abilities: Most NPCs in Starfinder cast spells as spell-like abilities—magic that they can use without having a spellcasting class graft. The spell-like abilities column of Table 7 tells you how many spells the NPC can cast, the spells’ levels, and how often the NPC can cast each of them. For instance, “3/day—four 2nd-level spells” means that you choose four 2nd-level spells that the NPC knows, and it can cast each of them three times per day. The NPC can’t cast any of these individual spells more than three times per day, even if it hasn’t cast all of its other spells—the listed limit is per spell.

Spellcaster: Some NPCs cast spells like a spellcasting player character; usually, these NPCs have a class graft (such as a mystic or technomancer), but it isn’t required. For these NPCs, the number of spells they can cast is tied to spell level rather than uses of individual spells. For example, “3rd (3/day)—two 3rd-level spells” means that you should select two 3rd-level spells the NPC knows, and it can cast any combination of them three times per day. Such an NPC has fewer overall spells per day than NPCs with spell-like abilities, but it has greater versatility in combat (which actually makes it more powerful, given the short lives of NPCs in combat).