Archives of Nethys

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Chapter 4: Running Starship Campaigns / Building Starship-scale Creatures

Step 5: Special Abilities

Source Starship Operations Manual pg. 128
With your creature’s basic statistics taken care of, it’s time to add abilities to make it stand out.

Free Special Abilities

Source Starship Operations Manual pg. 128
All starship creatures (including undead) gain the living starship special ability. Spacefaring starship creatures gain several more abilities for free.

Living Starship: All starship creatures you create with this system should have the living starship ability, as described below.

Living Starship (Ex): This creature is so immense that it functions as a starship (and thus engages only in starship combat). It has no crew, but it can take engineer, gunner, magic officer (Character Operations Manual 148), and pilot actions (one of each, in the appropriate phases) using the appropriate skill bonuses and ranks. Because living creatures have unique anatomy, they require a special table for determining critical damage effects and conditions (Core Rulebook 321). This also serves as a list of systems an enemy science officer can target with the target system crew action. An example critical damage effect table is listed here, but you can tailor yours to reflect your specific creature’s anatomy.

Spacefaring Starship Creatures: Starship-scale creatures that live or travel in space have the void adaptation universal creature rule, which grants immunity to cosmic rays, immunity to the environmental effects of vacuum, and the no breath universal creature rule. In addition, they often have the spaceflight universal creature rule, granting them the ability to fly through space at standard navigation and astrogation speeds (Core Rulebook 290).
1–30 Weapons array Randomly determine one arc containing weapons; condition applies to all gunner actions using weapons in that arc.
31–60 Propulsion Condition applies to all pilot actions.
61–90 Heart Condition applies to all engineer actions, except when patching or repairing the heart.
91–100 Brain During the next round, each of the creature’s attempted actions has a 25% chance of failure.
The brain doesn’t gain critical damage conditions.

Standard Special Abilities

Source Starship Operations Manual pg. 128
In most cases, starship-scale creatures should have no more than three standard special abilities, including those gained from the creature’s type but not including those listed above as free special abilities. Unless otherwise noted, you can select an ability more than once. You can also come up with your own special abilities, but be careful using any that significantly adjust its combat statistics or abilities, as this might make your creature too easy or too challenging to defeat in combat.

Agile Flying: The creature gains a +2 bonus to its Piloting checks.

Biological Redundancy: The creature ignores the first critical damage effect it would take each combat.

Crystalline: The creature’s crystalline body refracts light. It takes half damage from weapons with the word “laser” in their names.

Cunning Predator: Once every 1d4 rounds, the creature can attempt the target system science officer action using a skill bonus equal to its good skill bonus.

Death Throes: When the creature reaches 0 Hull Points, it perishes violently. This functions as a self-destruct system but can’t deal more than the creature’s maximum high weapon damage from Table 4-1: Starship Creature Array.

EMP Resistance: The creature gains a +4 circumstance bonus to AC and TL against weapons with the EMP property.

Fearsome: Once every 1d4 rounds, the creature can attempt the taunt captain crew action using its good skill bonus.

Graviton Resistance: The creature gains a +4 circumstance bonus to AC against weapons with the tractor beam special property. It also gains a +5 circumstance bonus to Piloting checks it attempts to escape a tractor beam.

Improved AC: The creature gains +1 AC.

Improved Hull: The creature has additional Hull Points equal to 5 × its tier.

Improved Shields: The creature has additional Shield Points equal to 5 × its tier.

Improved Speed: The creature gains +2 speed.

Improved TL: The creature gains +2 TL. This special ability can be selected only once.

No Shields: The creature has no Shield Points and has additional Hull Points equal to one-quarter the Shield Points appropriate for a starship creature of its tier.

Realign Energy: Once every 1d4 rounds, the creature can attempt the balance science officer crew action using its good skill bonus.

Regeneration: The creature automatically regains a number of Hull Points equal to its tier at the start of each engineering phase, up to its maximum number of Hull Points.

Speed Burst: Once every 1d4 rounds, the creature can increase its speed by 4 for 1 round during the Engineering phase.

Teleportation: On its turn during the helm phase, in lieu of its standard movement, the creature can select an empty space within 5 hexes and teleport to that space with a facing of its choice. Once it uses this ability, it can’t use it again for 1d4 rounds.

Titanic Slam: Once every 1d4 rounds, the creature can make an attack that deals damage on a hit equal to 1-1/2 × its high weapon damage to a ship that is adjacent and in its forward arc.