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Class Preview: The Soldier

Friday, May 26, 2017

As soon as we announced Starfinder, there were fans that wanted to know what kind of options there would be for the heavy-armor-wearing, magic-plasma-cannon-firing, jet-packed combatant character. While any Starfinder character can do those things if they dedicate themselves to getting the needed resources, the character who does it most easily (and gets the most class features designed to work with such actions) is the soldier. This is the description the soldier gets in the Starfinder Core Rulebook:

Conflict is an inevitable result of life. On every world that harbors complex living organisms, creatures battle one another for dominance, resources, territory, or ideals. Whether you've taken up arms to protect others, win glory, exact revenge, or simply earn a living, you are the perfect embodiment of this truth. You're an expert at combat of all types but tend to prefer heavy armor and weapons—the bigger, the better. You may be a career soldier, a fresh mercenary recruit, or a lone wolf who rejects authority, but whether rushing in for hand-to-hand combat or firing tactical barrages, you're a consummate warrior, never hesitating to put yourself in the line of fire to protect your friends.

Soldiers are masters of weapons and armor of all types, with a good base attack bonus progression (and good Fortitude and Will save progressions); proficiency in light armor, heavy armor, and grenades; and proficiency (and eventually specialization) in basic and advanced melee weapons, small arms, longarms, heavy weapons, and sniper weapons. Since small arms and many basic melee weapons gain only half the damage boost from specialization that longarms and heavy weapons do, soldiers often prefer to use the bulkier weapon options to maximize the damage they deal. Since specializing in heavy weapons first requires you to be proficient with heavy weapons, which in turn requires proficiency with longarms, it's a much more significant investment for any other class to do the same.

But a soldier is not simply a killer or thug—she's a trained professional combatant with access to thousands of years of military theory and modern education systems. That education tends to be pretty focused, but it's still enough to get the solider 8 class skills and 4 skill points per level. The Athletics skill covers the need to climb, jump, and swim to get to advantageous positions in combat (though by 2nd or 3rd level, jump jets are a common armor upgrade that easily increases mobility, and by 5th or 6th level they're likely to be replaced by a jetpack armor upgrade). That still leaves 3 skill points even for a soldier with a 10 Intelligence to spread around class skills such as Acrobatics (useful if you want to get the most out of that jetpack, but not necessary for basic flight), Engineering, Intimidate, Medicine, Piloting, Profession, and Survival.

Since the soldier class's focus is clearly on combat, there's much more to her offensive and defensive abilities than just base attack bonuses, proficiencies, and specializations. Every soldier begins play with a fighting style, which grants special combat options tied to a specific approach to combat as the soldier gains levels. There are 7 fighting styles to choose from—arcane assailant, armor storm, blitz, bombard, guard, hit-and-run, and sharpshoot. A soldier also picks up some of a second fighting style beginning at 9th level. In addition to fighting styles, a soldier gains gear boosts that enhance the soldier's effectiveness with specific equipment (such as anchoring arcana, armored advantage, laser accuracy, and plasma immolation) at 3rd level and every 4 levels thereafter, and a bonus combat feat at 2nd level and every 2 levels thereafter.

The bonus combat feats leave the soldier free to use the feats all characters gain at every odd level to expand beyond combat effectiveness. Other than proficiencies and specializations, feats generally have at most one other feat and a few base attack or ability score minimums as prerequisites, making even a few bonus feats able to cover a wide range of options. (For example, the Shot on the Run feat requires only Mobility, a +4 base attack bonus, and a 15 Dexterity—all easily achieved by a soldier.) Even at 1st level, any soldier could take Skill Synergy to gain 2 new skills as class skill. Or if a player preferred, by 2nd level a soldier can have selected Weapon Focus and then Versatile Focus to gain the benefit of Weapon Focus with every weapon with which the soldier is proficient.

Since fighting styles are going to be an important part of any soldier's design, here's a look at the 5th-level ability from the arcane assailant fighting style.

Secret of the Magi (SU)

When you imbue a weapon with the rune of the eldritch knight, in addition to its normal benefits, the rune grants the weapon one of the following weapon fusions of your choice: ethereal, flaming, frost, merciful, or shock. The weapon can't gain a fusion it already has, and this bonus fusion doesn't count toward the maximum total level of fusions the weapon can have at once. The bonus fusion ends when the weapon ceases to be imbued with the rune of the eldritch knight. For more information on fusions, see page 191.

With that, we've covered more than half of the Starfinder classes—check out paizo.com/starfinder to find links to previous blogs presenting the envoy, mystic, operative, and soldier. We're going to take a little break from classes next week in order to preview some other elements of the game, but in the months before the game's release this August, we'll preview the remaining three—the mechanic, solarian, and technomancer!

Owen KC Stephens
Developer

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Tags: Soldiers Starfinder
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3 people marked this as a favorite.

Ooh, there's a magic warrior specialization right off the bat? Nice!


And "Sharpshoot" as a fighting style!

I hope I can get two snipers in the party when I run this. An operative and a soldier, and watch them compete.

Dark Archive

1 person marked this as a favorite.

4 skill points! nice

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Society Roleplaying Guild Subscriber

Woohoo. Best classpicture up to now! A soldier with proper triggerdiscipline.

Also, I'm very much a fan of the entire class. Good willsave and 4 skillpoints.

Interesting how weapon proficiencies and specialization are going to work.


Allright! Varied BAB progression confirmed? Higher Skill points for fighter classes is something I like, as is the combination of Jump/Climb/Swim into "Athletics." Also, it looks like we have the full list of Class Skills for the Soldier: Acrobatics, Athletics, Engineering, Intimidate, Medicine, Piloting, Profession, and Survival. Was the old "Heal" Skill renamed "Medicine" or is that a new skill?

Last thing: What is the difference between basic and advanced melee weapons? Is it like Martial/Exotic Weapons, or are there swords with buttons and settings that do things that really make them advanced?


3 people marked this as a favorite.

Awesome art.

Looks like the Soldier fixes a lot of the problems the fighter has.

Liberty's Edge

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

Love it - but I was hoping for more info on the role of cyberware in the class most likely to have it...


2 people marked this as a favorite.

I greatly approve of the Acrobatics (DEX) and Athletics (STR) pairing of skills. I would have liked a pairing of Search (INT) and Notice (WIS) instead of just Perception (WIS), but hey, it works.


So I can start with my desired weapon style, then at 9 pick up arcane assailant to add magics to my own weapon. Very cool. Very very cool. Also yeah Versatile Focus! Was hoping soldiers didn't need weapon focus for every kind of weapon. Just take it twice!


CKent83 wrote:
Last thing: What is the difference between basic and advanced melee weapons? Is it like Martial/Exotic Weapons, or are there swords with buttons and settings that do things that really make them advanced?

Going off other sci fi sources, Basic melee weapons will probably be things like swords, ahmmers, machetes, the sorts of things you're liable to see in Pathfinder.

Advanced weapons would be like chainswords, gravity hammers, and blades covered in power fields that disrupt the material of whatever they touch. The awesome sort of melee weapons that comes with science fiction.

Grand Lodge

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Society Roleplaying Guild Subscriber
Shisumo wrote:
Love it - but I was hoping for more info on the role of cyberware in the class most likely to have it...

I expect that cyberware will get it's own preview as I can see all of the classes (except perhaps the Solarion) use cyberware.


Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Love it. There are several specializations that look interesting to me. Armor storm specifically has my attention. As a gish fan, I love arcane assailant as an idea. Good fort and will, assuming similar standing to pathfinder, are 2 great saves to have. And 4 skill points, yes. Was leaning solarion, but with this preview that has changed for now.

Not happy we're having to wait even longer for Solarion.


The soldier is obviously the Starfinder Fighter, down to the focus on weapon and armor (or more generally, gear) capabilities and the lack of broad skill proficiencies. Comparing it to the fighter, I like that many of the longstanding house rules and suggestions that players have suggested to "fix" the fighter in Pathfinder have made their way into Starfinder. Good will saves, 4 skills per level, and a selectable "fighter-only" set of class features that seem like they might work like advanced weapon and armor trainings (only better, and earlier).

I've got this strange feeling that after playing the soldier the Pathfinder fighter is going to look pretty sad!

I'm definitely looking forward to the fighting styles, as it looks like (Su.) abilities are not off limits like they've been in the past. And since they're not feats, there is also potential that they'll be giving the soldier stuff that players can really look forward to as cool and unique.

Count me in as excited :>


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Card Game, Class Deck Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Awesome preview Owen. The classes previewed so far have definitely convinced me that my dollars will be well spent.

Keep up the good work everyone.

Dark Archive

Versatile focus, so you have weapon focus with all weapons you are proficient with.

If you'd posted that in the homebrew forum yesterday you'd have been told it was massively over powered and ridiculous.
Heck, you might still get told that today by people who haven't seen this preview yet...


1 person marked this as a favorite.

This bit here, "Other than proficiencies and specializations, feats generally have at most one other feat and a few base attack or ability score minimums as prerequisites, making even a few bonus feats able to cover a wide range of options." is pretty interesting to me. Hopefully it means that long feat chains are gone, replaced by broad feat trees. With luck, previous feats like "Greater Trip" are just ways "Improved Trip" gets better with age.


3 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Companion, Maps, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Since soldiers are proficient with light and heavy armor, I would infer that they have eliminated the medium armor category.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Pathfinder Deluxe Comics Subscriber

Soldier On!

I wonder how translatable soldier class features will be back to Pathfinder. A more robust core fighter would be great.

But back to the preview. I'm not super happy about ability score prerequisites still being part of feats. It just narrows interesting options.

Store Manager - Gator Games & Hobby

So hot right now.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Jaaaaayyyynnnne! The man they call.... Jayyyyynnnne!


1 person marked this as a favorite.
DM_aka_Dudemeister wrote:

Soldier On!

I wonder how translatable soldier class features will be back to Pathfinder. A more robust core fighter would be great.

But back to the preview. I'm not super happy about ability score prerequisites still being part of feats. It just narrows interesting options.

Well if you have a negative Dex modifiwe and want to take something that involves being super dexterous... hardly makes sense

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Pathfinder Deluxe Comics Subscriber
TheGoofyGE3K wrote:
DM_aka_Dudemeister wrote:

Soldier On!

I wonder how translatable soldier class features will be back to Pathfinder. A more robust core fighter would be great.

But back to the preview. I'm not super happy about ability score prerequisites still being part of feats. It just narrows interesting options.

Well if you have a negative Dex modifiwe and want to take something that involves being super dexterous... hardly makes sense

I see feats as training that allows you to do things beyond your natural aptitudes.

A person who is generally clumsy but is a great two-weapon fighter has practiced their fighting style a lot and locked it into muscle memory.

It's a personal preference and easily House-ruled, but ability score pre-reqs tend to punish martial classes more than anything.

In any case this is a debate for a different thread.

I'm excited the soldier gets some magic toys built in as options to the class


Fair enough. I'm also not sure why Dex is used for range. Just a game thing for balance I guess? Anywho.

Loving these firing styles! Just a few guesses about each:
Arcane Assailant: I'd assume the eldritch signs are a big part of the character, though I highly doubt they'll get spells. Maybe some sa and su,but not spells themself.
Armor Storm: power armor user, obviously. I'm just wondering what cool things the armors can do. Maybe this is Ironman?
Blitz: is assume this is melee, Damoritosh style.
Bombard: the opposite. Focus on blading big and hard.
Guard: this one in most curious about, add a lot of defense boosting stuff usually is meh. Though if that gives you the chance to jump in front of a bullet meant for the Mystic, that would be cool.
Hit-and-run: sounds cool. Maybe gets something like shot on the run for free?
Sharpshoot: Sniper sounds cool, though I can't help but wonder if this is more like a gunslinger, or someone who does trick shots. I hope not though, I want everyone to be able to do called shots

Paizo Employee Developer, Starfinder Team

10 people marked this as a favorite.
David knott 242 wrote:

Since soldiers are proficient with light and heavy armor, I would infer that they have eliminated the medium armor category.

And you would be correct. :)


Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Looks very nice. For a preview of something other than classes can I make request for how iterative attacks work.

Also have yet to get an answer of if there are effects to taking hit point damage other than longer to heal than stamina. This leads me to believe there may be something there.

Dave2


Any guesses on what fighting style Obozaya is? My guess is blitz.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Why isn't Perception a class skill now? Shouldn't situational awareness be within a soldier's wheelhouse?


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Archmage Variel wrote:
Any guesses on what fighting style Obozaya is? My guess is blitz.

For Obozaya, I'd guess arcane assailant since arcane and divine magic is all lumped together. She drifted away from Darmoritosh's faith, but still uses his symbol on her "holo-banner" and probably inscribes her "sacred doshko" with his symbol.

Kaushal Avan Spellfire wrote:
Why isn't Perception a class skill now? Shouldn't situational awareness be within a soldier's wheelhouse?

At least fighter types can do first aid now. Still can't stand watch for guard duty though. :'(


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Kaushal Avan Spellfire wrote:
Why isn't Perception a class skill now? Shouldn't situational awareness be within a soldier's wheelhouse?

Hopefully because Perception is no longer a skill, and so not something you need to spend skill points on...


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Porridge wrote:
Hopefully because perception is no longer a skill, and so not something you need to spend skill points on...

Stealth is still a skill, so Perception should still be a skill also. Otherwise a 5th level Operative/Ghost may very well never be seen by anyone.


Maybe it's something else now?


CKent83 wrote:
Porridge wrote:
Hopefully because perception is no longer a skill, and so not something you need to spend skill points on...
Stealth is still a skill, so Perception should still be a skill also. Otherwise a 5th level Operative/Ghost may very well never be seen by anyone.

Perception still seems to be a skill.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
CKent83 wrote:
Porridge wrote:
Hopefully because perception is no longer a skill, and so not something you need to spend skill points on...
Stealth is still a skill, so Perception should still be a skill also. Otherwise a 5th level Operative/Ghost may very well never be seen by anyone.

Well, Perception could now be a passive attribute everyone has, whose value is (say) lvl+3+wis. And that could be what's used in opposed Stealth/Perception checks. So it would be as if everyone maxed out the Perception skill (as is generally the case) without having Perception effectively be a skill point tax.

I don't know how likely that is... but I've got my fingers crossed!


Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Archmage Variel wrote:
CKent83 wrote:
Porridge wrote:
Hopefully because perception is no longer a skill, and so not something you need to spend skill points on...
Stealth is still a skill, so Perception should still be a skill also. Otherwise a 5th level Operative/Ghost may very well never be seen by anyone.
Perception still seems to be a skill.

Ah, they've said that, have they? Oh well. :/

Silver Crusade

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber, Campaign Setting, Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I never had a PC without maxed out Perception at my table, so hopefully Pathfinder Reloaded Beta ... I mean, Starfinder axed that particular feat tax.


I know I saw it but I can't for the life of me remember where.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Gorbacz wrote:
I never had a PC without maxed out Perception at my table, so hopefully Pathfinder Reloaded Beta ... I mean, Starfinder axed that particular feat tax.
Archmage Variel wrote:
I know I saw it but I can't for the life of me remember where.

If they kept Perception as a skill, I'm sure they had some good reasons for doing so. Though I'm having a hard time thinking of what those might be...

Any developers who want to pre-emptively diffuse the inevitable angry mob are welcome to drop some clues as to what those reasons are. :)

...what do you mean you're prepping for PaizoCon? Where are your priorities?


Didn't expect to dig the Soldier, but I do. Was expecting more of a straight Fighter conversion but there are clear influences from Ranger and Magus/Warpriest too... and Obozaya's preview indicated Cavalier elements as well. Also seems like maybe they've had an eye on what 5e has been doing with Fighters.

Also really really pleased to see feat chains have been hacked down somewhat. Just comparing SF's Shot on the Run to PF's, it requires slightly higher Dex but 2 fewer feats. Almost all of my group's houserules involve eliminating/reducing feat taxes, so this will be very well received :)

All in all... I'd had my eye on the mechanic, but I might just make a soldier instead.


2 people marked this as a favorite.

I hope the jump jet's mentioned are gear and not an option for a class ability.

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

ugh... sooooo torn now between soldier and operative...

I have a favorite comic (which I pulled out again to just read it) and with starfinder I can play 2 of my favorite chars and it is going to be glorious!


The Soldier looks great. Hmmm arcane assailant fighter with priest theme kind of gives me paladin vibes.


Interesting.. definitely the kind of thing I was hoping for, with a few surprise extras. (wasn't expecting the fighting styles)

So, of the classes so far, the mystic seems the only one with poor saves (i.e., only 1 good save). Was honestly hoping every class would have 2. (though I note everyone so far has good Will)


2 people marked this as a favorite.

"Good Will Save"

I already like it more than the Fighter. XD Definitely looking forward to the full writeup.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

The only fhing i dont like the sound of is weapon focus being a feat, but thats predicated on it being basically the same as 3.5, and the versatile focus even makes up for it a little. I paused on the implication of no more feat trees, because there are good feat trees (like many style feats), and feat trees which I consider bad (Like Greater Whip Mastery) But sweet mothers of mercy I love everything else in this.

Two good saves? 4+int ranks per level? Further skill consolidation? Non-spellcasting magic incorporated into 'mundane' classes? The phrase "plasma immolation"? Save me Owen-one Kenobi, you're my only hope!


2 people marked this as a favorite.

Definitely does sound interesting! And very nice preview, I especially like how you managed to weave in confirming A LOT of details about the Starfinder system in general beyond just the Soldier. Thanks for that!


1 person marked this as a favorite.

I'm liking it...was wondering how they'd make it more than just 'Fighter with gun proficiencies' and it sounds like that's been achieved.

and that android art is really cool!

Liberty's Edge

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Everything I see in these previews of the Starfinder RPG system make me like it even more! A feat at every odd level? Minimum skill points of 4 + INT Modifier (so far)? Feat trees that don't require a ton of prerequisites? Removing the Medium Armor classification? Skill consolidations (Athletics)? Yes, PLEASE!

The only bad thing about this is that now I want to see Pathfinder updated in a similar fashion... who else is ready for Pathfinder 2.0?


Voss wrote:

Interesting.. definitely the kind of thing I was hoping for, with a few surprise extras. (wasn't expecting the fighting styles)

So, of the classes so far, the mystic seems the only one with poor saves (i.e., only 1 good save). Was honestly hoping every class would have 2. (though I note everyone so far has good Will)

Well that can't be good. Someone is bad to have a bad Will save. So of the Mechanic, the Solarion, and the Technomancer, I would think that the Technomancer would have Will, given that it's a mental focused class. Since the Solarion is based on Jedi in a bit, I would expect them to have good Will as well. Leaving just the Mechanic, as it would probably have Fort and Ref, given how often they're around grease and smog, plus being nimble enough to climb around the inside of a ship. Can't wait to see what's next!


There might be something wrong with me that the detail on all of this that stands out to me most is the fact that "mercy" is still a modifier that exists for weapons, and a well trained soldier can apply it to any weapon within the limitations of their Rune of the Eldritch Knight.

I mean, this isn't your mom's D&D/Pathfinder system. It's a space opera. We have rocket launchers and laser swords... that can be imbued with mercy. The phrase "Hit me Brutus" comes to mind...

...or, you know, "You'll be surprised what you can live through," for a reference that is more contemporary. "Hit me Brutus" is more of an in joke from a home brewed system in 3.5 that my brother ran years ago.


Owen K. C. Stephens wrote:
David knott 242 wrote:

Since soldiers are proficient with light and heavy armor, I would infer that they have eliminated the medium armor category.

And you would be correct. :)

So did most Medium armor get squeezed into Light, into Heavy, or more or less an even split between these?

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