Archives of Nethys

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Alternative Building Points

Source Ports of Call pg. 166
The focus of these new rules alters the way PCs obtain Build Points (BP) for building and upgrading starships. In the standard rules, BP are a pool that constantly increases as the PCs level up. Build Points are never lost; if the PCs’ starship is completely destroyed, they can just use their BP to purchase a new starship when the GM allows it. However, in the cargo subsystem, Build Points become a form of currency. The PCs spend BP on their starship and cargo and earn BP when they sell that cargo.
The PCs’ starship becomes an investment—like any other piece of equipment, but bought with BP instead of credits. As the PCs complete jobs, they get more BP with which they can upgrade their starship. They can do so gradually, installing one new system at a time, or by hoarding and spending BP all at once. They’ll always want to keep some unspent BP on hand, however, since they’ll need BP to buy the cargo for their next job. If the PCs’ ship is destroyed, those BP are gone! (Many crews insure their starship for just this eventuality; see page 170 for details on starship insurance.) But if the PCs’ business flourishes, they’ll find themselves living in the lap of luxury, hiring additional employees, or even buying a second starship to ply the interstellar trade routes.
The Starfinder Core Rulebook includes some guidelines for how the PCs can acquire the Build Points they need to create their first starship and upgrade it—via salvage, favors, or an arrangement with a friendly spacedock, for instance—suggesting that BP represent a lot more than simple credits. Indeed, they’re an abstraction separate from the methods by which the PCs buy their personal equipment, used exclusively in the starship creation system. This is an important distinction, because if the PCs can exchange BP for credits, they could end up underpowered in starship combat while simultaneously overpowered in all their other encounters.
In the rules presented here, Build Points represent the party’s business capital. That capital has many components, including the PCs’ available credit, loans they’ve taken out, and assets they might use as collateral. This capital is used to make big purchases—lots of cargo or starship modifications, often with the help of financing from a bank or other establishment.
To begin, the PCs receive a number of Build Points as determined by their Average Party Level (APL) as noted in Table 9–1: Starship Base Statistics on page 294 of the Core Rulebook. They should use those BP to build their starship as usual, keeping in mind that their vessel will need plenty of room for cargo and that they’ll need a few BP to purchase that cargo.