Paizo Top Nav Branding
  • Hello, Guest! |
  • Sign In |
  • My Account |
  • Shopping Cart |
  • Help/FAQ
About Paizo Messageboards News Paizo Blog Help/FAQ
Pathfinder Roleplaying Game

Starfinder


Pathfinder Society


Pathfinder Adventure Card Game


Class Preview: The Operative

Monday, May 8, 2017

Illustration by Miroslav Petrov

Last Friday we took a look at the envoy. As soon as we announced the operative as a class, many fans began to theorize it would act as the "star thief," and wondered how it would be different from the rogue class in Pathfinder. There are certainly some thematic similarities between the two classes, but just as a 16th-century highwayman's tactics and skills were different from a modern hacker's, a character with a knack for stealth, security systems, and unexpected attacks in Starfinder should be significantly different from a Pathfinder rogue. We need a class that can easily serve as spy, assassin, thief, hacker, investigator, and trailblazer. That was the spark for the operative, which gets the following description in the Starfinder Core Rulebook:

You're a shadow. You move swiftly, strike suddenly, and always have an escape plan. You're a consummate professional, and always get the job done, whether it's scouting enemy lines, hunting down criminals, stealing and smuggling items, or assassinating key figures. As an operative, you're skilled in a wide variety of disciplines and specialties, and use speed, mobility, and your quick wits rather than relying on heavy weapons. You excel at the art of surprise, whether it's sniping targets from cover or striking while their backs are turned. Your cause may be righteous, but you have no problem fighting dirty—achieving your objective is all that matters.

The operative is very much a character skilled at working outside the norms of society. Whether committing crimes, hunting criminals, or just living on the fringes, operatives find ways to get things done, though their methods don't always meet with public approval. This takes skill, so the operative gets 8 skill points per level, and 16 class skills. Operatives also get the operative's edge class feature granting a bonus to all skill checks (as well as initiative checks). The class also receives special bonuses at 7th level with any skill in which the character has the Skill Focus feat.

The operative knows that sometimes getting things done means doing some damage, and the class gains a fair base attack bonus, poor Fortitude saves but good Reflex and Will saves, light armor, and proficiency (and eventually specialization) with basic melee weapons, small arms, and sniper weapons. The operative can augment the damage done with basic melee weapons and small arms with his trick attack.

Trick attack may sound on the surface like Pathfinder's sneak attack, but it works very differently. An operative can attempt a trick attack regardless of the combat situation—it's not restricted to targets that are flanked or have the flat-footed condition. Instead, the operative must make an opposed skill check (normally Bluff, Intimidate, or Stealth, though class features can alter that) to gain an advantage over his foe for the trick attack to function. At higher levels, the operative can also apply penalties to foes hit with a trick attack, beginning with the flat-footed and off-target conditions and expanding from there (potentially even applying such effects to sniper weapon attacks).

Because operatives have different methods and thus focus on different techniques, each operative selects a specialization. We present seven specializations in the core rulebook—daredevil, detective, explorer, ghost, hacker, spy, and thief. Each has an effect on that operative's trick attack (a detective can use Sense Motive to activate her trick attack, for example), and grants bonuses to specific skills and access to new abilities.

Finally, operatives also have exploits—special tricks they learn as they gain levels to help customize their abilities. While the selection of exploits is fairly small at first, they expand as the operative levels up, making increasingly powerful exploits available. Here's a sample of a 10th-level exploit (though the ghost specialization receives it at 5th level):

Cloaking Field (Ex)

You can bend light around yourself and muffle any minor sounds you make, allowing you to nearly vanish when not moving. Even when you move, you appear only as an outline with blurry features. This cloaking field doesn't make you invisible, but it does make it easier to sneak around. Activating the cloaking field is a move action. While the cloaking field is active, you can use Stealth to hide, even while being directly observed and with no place to hide. Attacking doesn't end the cloaking field, but it does end that particular attempt to hide. If you remain perfectly still for at least 1 round, you gain a +10 bonus to Stealth checks (which doesn't stack with invisibility) until you move.

Your cloaking field lasts for up to 10 rounds before it becomes inactive. While inactive, the cloaking field recharges automatically at the rate of 1 round of cloaking per minute.

We already looked at the envoy last week, and we'll present more information on the remaining five classes in the coming weeks. And, of course, you can read the full classes this August when the Starfinder Core Rulebook is released at Gen Con!

Owen K.C. Stephens
Developer

More Paizo Blog.
Tags: Miroslav Petrov Operatives Starfinder
1 to 50 of 114 << first < prev | 1 | 2 | 3 | next > last >>
Sovereign Court

3 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber, Campaign Setting, Companion, Maps, Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Pathfinder Deluxe Comics Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Yessss

That thief looks awesome.

The Exchange

1 person marked this as a favorite.

So how does this cloaking field ability work? Is it magic, some sort of "force" power, or tech? Because while I can wrap my head around a thief's sneak attack I can't figure how this cloaking field works. I've never seen this sort of thing work without the three things I mentioned. So I'm curious to hear how this works.


4 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber, Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I love that picture! Though he should really tie his shoes.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Crusader3025 wrote:
So how does this cloaking field ability work? Is it magic, some sort of "force" power, or tech? Because while I can wrap my head around a thief's sneak attack I can't figure how this cloaking field works. I've never seen this sort of thing work without the three things I mentioned. So I'm curious to hear how this works.

"Pick one"


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Society Roleplaying Guild Subscriber; Pathfinder Legends Subscriber

That armor looks awesome! he gona trip tho

Paizo Employee Creative Director, Starfinder Team

8 people marked this as a favorite.
Crusader3025 wrote:
So how does this cloaking field ability work? Is it magic, some sort of "force" power, or tech? Because while I can wrap my head around a thief's sneak attack I can't figure how this cloaking field works. I've never seen this sort of thing work without the three things I mentioned. So I'm curious to hear how this works.

We actually address that aspect of class abilities in the chapter's introduction, but the short answer is "any or all of the above." :D

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber, Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Pathfinder Deluxe Comics Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

As in, we can pick? Hm....

Sovereign Court

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber, Campaign Setting, Companion, Maps, Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Pathfinder Deluxe Comics Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

The golden dragon emblem is a nice detail.

The Exchange

1 person marked this as a favorite.
James Sutter wrote:
Crusader3025 wrote:
So how does this cloaking field ability work? Is it magic, some sort of "force" power, or tech? Because while I can wrap my head around a thief's sneak attack I can't figure how this cloaking field works. I've never seen this sort of thing work without the three things I mentioned. So I'm curious to hear how this works.
We actually address that aspect of class abilities in the chapter's introduction, but the short answer is "any or all of the above." :D

Okay I can buy into any of the three I mentioned since I can as a player and GM envision how all three could work. Plus it gives the player more freedom to his character development. I like that. Heck I like the idea of a "divinely inspired" operative. "I'm on a mission from my god." :-) Faith Ninjas!

And I assume this would be the class to build the "Operative" in Serenity from.

I know this is a bit tangential but which class makes the best pilot?


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber Subscriber

If tech, it could have some sort of gene-engineered/mutant biological base.


James Sutter wrote:
Crusader3025 wrote:
So how does this cloaking field ability work? Is it magic, some sort of "force" power, or tech? Because while I can wrap my head around a thief's sneak attack I can't figure how this cloaking field works. I've never seen this sort of thing work without the three things I mentioned. So I'm curious to hear how this works.
We actually address that aspect of class abilities in the chapter's introduction, but the short answer is "any or all of the above." :D

So how does that work with EMP and/or antimagic fields? Is it a decision that can be changed (by the player, in case that was unclear- start with magic cloaking and switch to tech cloaking)?

Scarab Sages

3 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Crusader3025 wrote:
So how does this cloaking field ability work? Is it magic, some sort of "force" power, or tech? Because while I can wrap my head around a thief's sneak attack I can't figure how this cloaking field works. I've never seen this sort of thing work without the three things I mentioned. So I'm curious to hear how this works.

Just like all other Ex abilities do: through pure awesomeness.

Also as an Ex it should be functional in an AMF and is not dispel-able.


I think there is an error on the first sentence; last week was Envoy, this week is operative.


I love the idea of the trick attack!

Being able to excel in combat because of your focus on skills and not despite them really makes me happy.


I feel like the Ysoki would make excellent Operatives.

(Speaking of Ysoki, anyone know where the heck they came up with that name?)

Sovereign Court

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber, Campaign Setting, Companion, Maps, Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Pathfinder Deluxe Comics Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
AlaskanWolf wrote:

I feel like the Ysoki would make excellent Operatives.

(Speaking of Ysoki, anyone know where the heck they came up with that name?)

Like any other name, experimenting with random syllables and going with what sounds right.


i wish the operative have a assassin archetype one days. But i like this preview Owen. My next hope is the solérian and the mystic class.

Dark Archive

Finally, a variation of hide in plain sight that I can actually use.


Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
demiurge108 wrote:

i wish the operative have a assassin archetype one days. But i like this preview Owen. My next hope is the solérian and the mystic class.

I believe that, from my understanding, the specializations are separate from themes and archetypes. That's the impression I had. Although they sound alot like themes so maybe not.

Paizo Employee Designer

5 people marked this as a favorite.
demiurge108 wrote:

i wish the operative have a assassin archetype one days. But i like this preview Owen. My next hope is the solérian and the mystic class.

Oh believe me, from what we've seen so far around here of operatives, you should have no problem building an effective and flavorful assassin with the class right from the start (especially if you choose the right high-level exploits). I'd probably go ghost and use the previewed power to disappear into the shadows after I make the kill!

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Society Roleplaying Guild Subscriber

Hmm. Interesting.

I wonder if the fair attack bonus is better or worse than the average attack bonus.

What I like is that it that both Envoy and Operative have a lot of skillpoints to play with and different mechanics to boost their skills.

The new "sneak"-attack looks to be very useful, but I hope the skillcheck is part of the trick attack and not a separate action (or if it is a separate action, fast enough that you can still use the trick attack in the same round).


James Sutter wrote:
We actually address that aspect of class abilities in the chapter's introduction, but the short answer is "any or all of the above." :D

Wait, so you can have extraordinary supernatural abilities now?


I love it, this is exactly what the rogue should have always been. :)


This looks awesome. So the operative seems to be the catch-all bounty hunter/rogue/assassin from sci-fi? Whelp, guess I have a new main class.

Paizo Employee Designer

8 people marked this as a favorite.
OmegaZ wrote:
I love it, this is exactly what the rogue should have always been. :)

When I concocted the initial chassis for this class way back at the start of the process, I had a little note in front of me with "lessons from the rogue". My #1 goal there was to avoid the pitfalls we knew about from years and years of rogue PCs and NPCs, so your comment hits the nail on the head for me. Add to that all the amazingly cool stuff that Owen, Rob, and all the rest added and tweaked through the many months since then, and you're left with a class that I'm sure is going to excite rogue fans and skeptics alike!


17 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Companion, Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Hmm. So is the ghost specialization the phantom of the operative?

Paizo Employee Senior Developer, Starfinder Team

1 person marked this as a favorite.
QuidEst wrote:
Hmm. So is the ghost specialization the phantom of the operative?

Ha!

(Organ not included.)

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 8

3 people marked this as a favorite.

It's refreshing to see that the problem of untying shoelaces still hasn't been solved. The art looks great though.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Ghost makes me think of Nova from Starcraft.


I'LL TAKE A DOZEN!


Really loving the idea of specializations, reminds me of cleric domains, or wizard schools, which makes them far more interesting. 2 big questions now:

Which is better, average or fair? I'd guess fair, which makes me wonder if it's 2/3,3/4, and full. Or something

And 2-what specialization is Iseph?


1 person marked this as a favorite.

The mental image that I got for using Bluff for Trick Attack was "LOOK OVER THERE!"

BLAM!


Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Wouldnt Sniper Rifles generally be considered Small Arms? Or is it more of basic small arms is similar to "simple weapons" and "sniper weapons" is more like a weapon group, Monk Weapons or the like?

Cautious hopeful about how awesome this could be but a 10th level ability that sounds like "Hide in plain sight with a cool down timer!" doesnt strike me as the best way to show off the class.

Very interesting art piece to go with it, is that a cybernetic arm? looks like some kind of tribal scaring on the cheek too, interesting bit of flavor for a high tech setting :)


Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I think so far with each class presented the Envoy and now Operative they both had allot of things they could do/class abilities. I would think the Soldier would be no different. Staff would take the knowledge and feedback they gained from the Fighter in Pathfinder. So based on what I have seen so far not too worried about the Soldier.

Dave2


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Torbyne wrote:

Wouldnt Sniper Rifles generally be considered Small Arms? Or is it more of basic small arms is similar to "simple weapons" and "sniper weapons" is more like a weapon group, Monk Weapons or the like?

Cautious hopeful about how awesome this could be but a 10th level ability that sounds like "Hide in plain sight with a cool down timer!" doesnt strike me as the best way to show off the class.

Very interesting art piece to go with it, is that a cybernetic arm? looks like some kind of tribal scaring on the cheek too, interesting bit of flavor for a high tech setting :)

I think of it as similar to how a Rogue gets simple weapons, and also the martial/exotic weapons most suitable for rogues (rapier, shortbow, hand crossbow).


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Society Roleplaying Guild Subscriber

I've really enjoyed both these class write-ups to far, but also want to mention that the Q&A afterword has been very refreshing and informative as well. I appreciate how open you(developers) have been with giving direct and meaningful answers to our questions. It's probably because of how close we're getting but honestly the more I read the more I want to know! Really glad you're comfortable divulging details ahead of time because this slow reveal is totaly working for me.


Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

Very nice!


Oh this is really cool. I am particularly interested in the explorer, hacker, and thief specializations :D


Now I wonder about multiclassing. So much possibility!


Mark Seifter wrote:
demiurge108 wrote:

i wish the operative have a assassin archetype one days. But i like this preview Owen. My next hope is the solérian and the mystic class.

Oh believe me, from what we've seen so far around here of operatives, you should have no problem building an effective and flavorful assassin with the class right from the start (especially if you choose the right high-level exploits). I'd probably go ghost and use the previewed power to disappear into the shadows after I make the kill!

Would the Operative be the best class to make a surgeon? (No magic)

Paizo Employee Designer

8 people marked this as a favorite.
Lemartes wrote:
Mark Seifter wrote:
demiurge108 wrote:

i wish the operative have a assassin archetype one days. But i like this preview Owen. My next hope is the solérian and the mystic class.

Oh believe me, from what we've seen so far around here of operatives, you should have no problem building an effective and flavorful assassin with the class right from the start (especially if you choose the right high-level exploits). I'd probably go ghost and use the previewed power to disappear into the shadows after I make the kill!
Would the Operative be the best class to make a surgeon? (No magic)

There's more than one good choice for that, but an operative would be excellent at it. You'd potentially want to make a new specialization for it beyond the core seven (they aren't hard to build for those interested in doing so and I can see a lot of the pieces you'd want for it already), and you'll get a few of the powers Owen mentioned that not all surgeons might have, so you might be something of a mix. For instance, Owen mentioned the detective can use Sense Motive to analyze foes' weaknesses and make a trick attack, so if you were hypothetically a surgeon specialization, you might gain the ability to use your medical skills against the foes in the same way to pinpoint weak spots. This would make you into the type of surgeon who can also put those anatomatical skills to use to take lives as well as to save them (even if she might be reluctant to do so depending on the backstory). You might also be a combat medic, asked to perform surgery in the most dangerous situations or, a secret badass who accompanies a bedridden patient to serve as both surgeon and secret bodyguard. I'm sure you guys have even more ideas about how an operative can be a surgeon while still matching the flavor and abilities that Owen described in the blog.

Does that make sense?


Why do I get the strange feeling the Soldier is going to get a medic specialisation?


2 people marked this as a favorite.

TIE YOUR SHOES


They're actually lockpicks disguised as shoelaces.

I mean they'll still trip you up, but...


3 people marked this as a favorite.
MageHunter wrote:

They're actually lockpicks disguised as shoelaces.

I mean they'll still trip you up, but...

I believe you mean plasma lockpicks.

This is Starfinder, after all.


Pathfinder Companion, Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Those lights you see are the visual effects of a curse going to work and untying his shoes.

Pratfall cantrip?

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber, Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Pathfinder Deluxe Comics Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Torbyne wrote:
Wouldnt Sniper Rifles generally be considered Small Arms? Or is it more of basic small arms is similar to "simple weapons" and "sniper weapons" is more like a weapon group, Monk Weapons or the like?

I would speculate that "small arms" here is being used in contrast to "longarms" - the "small arms" group is one-handed firearms while there is probably a heavier firearms group that is two-handed firearms, of which "sniper rifles" is a subset.


zergtitan wrote:
Ghost makes me think of Nova from Starcraft.

Somebody call for an exterminator?


Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I am interested in the daredevil, ghost, and spy specializations. Also interested in trick attacks.

Dave2

Paizo Employee Developer, Starfinder Team

20 people marked this as a favorite.
Milo v3 wrote:
James Sutter wrote:
We actually address that aspect of class abilities in the chapter's introduction, but the short answer is "any or all of the above." :D
Wait, so you can have extraordinary supernatural abilities now?

There's how the thing works, and there's how you got it.

How it works is, at the point your character is using it, extraordinary. It's not invoking magic to " bend light around yourself and muffle any minor sounds you make." Things like real-world interactive camouflage and sound dampening show that you don't have to have magic to produce those effects.

Nor is it a piece of gear that can be taken from you.

Now, maybe that means you had a technomancer alter the quantum state of your entire body, so you could have different light and sound refracting qualities. that certainly would take magic to accomplish... but once it's done you just do it, like glass allows light to pass through it.

Or maybe you learned deep meditation techniques. This is the same universe as occult rituals after all, there's no telling what you can do with mind over matter.

Or maybe you had Stealthites, a form of nanites, injected into your body that can cause this reaction, with the same biochemistry that allows your electric nerve impulses to continue to function even if you are hit by an EMP.

Or maybe you allowed a Vangarian Phase Ooze seep into every pore of your body, so you could gain its natural ability to be hard to see and hear, though you can only prod the thing into doing so for short bursts at a time. Plus, everything sweet now tastes like copper, as you aren't afraid to remind friends.

Those are decisions you can make to match your character's background.
the effect is extraordinary -- far from "normal," but not explicitly driven by magic or active technology, regardless of how you originally gained the ability.

1 to 50 of 114 << first < prev | 1 | 2 | 3 | next > last >>
Paizo / Messageboards / Paizo / Starfinder® / Paizo Products / Paizo Blog: Class Preview: The Operative All Messageboards

Want to post a reply? Sign in.

Pact Worlds Map and Mnemonic!,

Beware the Sea and Garden,

The Ironfang Resolution,

Announcing Ultimate Add-On Decks!,

Leaders in Liberty,


©2002-2017 Paizo Inc.® | Privacy Policy | Contact Us
Need help? Email customer.service@paizo.com or call 425-250-0800 during our business hours, Monday through Friday, 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM Pacific time.

Paizo Inc., Paizo, the Paizo golem logo, Pathfinder, the Pathfinder logo, Pathfinder Society, Starfinder, the Starfinder logo, GameMastery, and Planet Stories are registered trademarks of Paizo Inc. The Pathfinder Roleplaying Game, Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Pathfinder Adventure Path, Pathfinder Adventure Card Game, Pathfinder Player Companion, Pathfinder Modules, Pathfinder Tales, Pathfinder Battles, Pathfinder Legends, Pathfinder Online, Starfinder Adventure Path, PaizoCon, RPG Superstar, The Golem's Got It, Titanic Games, the Titanic logo, and the Planet Stories planet logo are trademarks of Paizo Inc. Dungeons & Dragons, Dragon, Dungeon, and Polyhedron are registered trademarks of Wizards of the Coast, Inc., a subsidiary of Hasbro, Inc., and have been used by Paizo Inc. under license. Most product names are trademarks owned or used under license by the companies that publish those products; use of such names without mention of trademark status should not be construed as a challenge to such status.