Build me some alternate themes


Homebrew

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Starfinder Superscriber

What avr means, I think, is that everyone else gets a reduction in the DC of a specific and limited Recall Knowledge check. These can be important, but as long as they aren't too vague they're something that generally happens in a limited number of circumstances.

generic AP/SFS minor spoiler:
In the AP and SFS modules I've read, each theme may only get to use these a couple of times per module (some of them don't unless they get creative or a lenient DM).

You're taking off -5 to effectively all the difficult uses of one of the most important skills in the game. The only uses that wouldn't count as hacking are logging in to a public terminal (DC 10), Science officer rolls in starship combat, making a computer (which you can take 10 on anyway to make), and using Computer as a profession skill to earn a living (assuming your DM allows that). None of those is as important as the hacking part of the skill, except maybe the science officer rolls, and those only if that's a huge part of your home game.

generic AP/SFS minor spoiler:
Basically every use of the Computer skill in the APs and SFS material I've seen so far (except those made as part of the starship combat science officer role) is a hacking attempt. It's a huge part of several of the adventures and comes up several times in every module, so much so, that it's basically as necessary a party role as 'Tank' or 'Healer'.


Hacking is breaking the laws of nations, planets, and or cyber sites using the computer skill.

It is the narrow overlap between outlaw and Tech Nerd. Engineer is a class, not a theme, so a character can be both.

Normally a programmer or data entry clerk will go there whole life without hacking past security systems. If their boss wants there own version of a VR game, they will make one from scratch. Playing the game and then making something with as few similarities as possible is not hacking.

What they tried to teach me at Maxwell Institute was not hacking.

If you are worried about the power and utility, how about the DC of all hacking attempts are -1 per 4 character class levels. If I get less blowback from that I will post the changed version.


Anyone understand the design intention behind the “reduce the DC...” language in the Themes? I find it a bit awkward. Why not a bonus of 5?


Starfinder Superscriber

In the context of the game, Hacking is a defined use (actually multiple uses) of the computer skill. It doesn't have anything to do with breaking a law or a rule. It doesn't have anything to do with anything in real life. It's a thing you do with the skill that covers as much as 3/4 of the uses of that skill in an actual game. It's a thing that comes up a lot based on the APs, SFS Modules, and actual play podcasts. So much so, that it's basically a required thing for at least one character in every group to be good at. It looks like the SF equivalent of trap finding or diplomacy. As written, that Theme Knowledge is WAY more useful than any of the others, because of how often that use of the computers skill comes up, which is why you're being told it's OP.

If you want to ignore us and use it anyway, it's your game, do what you want. Enjoy.


I was basing it on Andromeda, Cyberpunk games, and Blindspot.

The OP was asking about a Hacker theme. If you want to attack the whole concept of a Hacker character theme, start your own topic.


A hacker character theme might still have something other than an effective +5 to an active skill as the first part of its level 1 ability. To be on a par with other themes it should be about as useful to the hacker as, say, 'Reduce the DC of Culture checks and Profession (mercenary) checks to recall knowledge about hierarchies, practices, personnel, and so on in the military by 5.' might be to your typical soldier grunt.

What sort of background knowledge should a hacker have? Perhaps it might be recalling physical science knowledge as it relates to computers, electronics and robots, and/or culture knowledge about other hackers. Some sort of knowledge rather than an active skill.

& yes pithica, you read my mind pretty well on the other stuff.


Starfinder Superscriber

I'm not attacking the whole concept of a Hacker character theme. I'm not attacking anything. I'm all for a Hacker character theme, and I'm all for you doing one, if you want.

What I'm trying to tell you is that the first level ability you chose is unbalanced, significantly, compared to all the others. You can address that, or not, or whatever. It's still unbalanced. Arguing that it isn't unbalanced because of how it works in some other game, or because of how you feel about it in real life, is all immaterial to the discussion. Every other theme gets a limited recall knowledge DC reduction. Yours gets a huge boost to one of the most important and used skill rolls in the game. That makes it OP, as written.

You can make a hacker theme without it being unbalanced.

Theme Knowledge (1st): Reduce the DC of all Culture and Computers checks to Recall Knowledge about computer models, systems, and other hackers and hacker organizations by 5. Computers becomes a class skill for you, if it is already a class skill you instead gain a +1 in Computers checks. You gain a +1 Int at character creation.

I'm probably missing some flavor text but that's the sort of rules text that the other themes have for level 1.

Quote:
& yes pithica, you read my mind pretty well on the other stuff.

I told all my friends that mind reading potion I found in the woods would work. They didn't believe me. :)

Sovereign Court

For the record, it was me who was criticizing the concept of a Hacker theme. My reasoning was explained at length and hardly seem like “attacking” to me.


Just go with themeless and chose what you want.


Hack system is on page 139 of the Starfinder Core Rulebook. You use it to gain access to a computer system to which you don't already have access to.


Starfinder Superscriber

Yes. That is, in deed, what I'm referring to.

Outside of starship combat, unless you're playing something like a Hacker Operative that uses computers for a specific class ability, that's going to be the vast majority of the rolls you likely make with the Computers Skill. It's a check you make literally every time you get to a non-public computer terminal, electronically locked door, or datapad. That happens all the time in the modules and actual play podcasts. It's potentially several times a game session. Moreover, even some of the other uses of the computer skill (such as 'Gain Root Access') actually have 'Hacking' in their description, so someone that gets a +5 to 'hacking' rolls as you describe it would be able to argue it should apply to those as well.

Recall Knowledge seems to come up pretty often too, to be fair. However, I've only caught three instances (outside of starship combat, the ace pilot one potentially comes up every starship combat) in an AP/Module/Game so far where the DC reduction from an existing theme would have applied, and it was once each for three separate themes (Outlaw, Mercenary, and Priest).

That's a huge disparity in usefulness. It's so useful, I'd take it as a theme with any character with the computers skill even if I didn't want to be the party hacker.


Hacker
Theme Knowledge[1st]
All DCs to hack system are -1 per 4 character class levels. This does not apply to using the normal functions of a computer once you are in, but it does apply to hacking past firewalls.

That's my suggestion, take it or leave it.


The SF3PP wiki just added the Genetically Gifted theme, from one of Everyman Gaming's products. For those who want more genetic variation, there's also info on playing mutants and characters with various other kinds of biological adjustments.


Lord Fyre wrote:

Retrying, in light of baggageboy’s legitimate concerns

Draconic Bloodline Theme: +1 Str

Theme Knowledge (1st)
You enjoy an intuitive connection to dragons, you also gain Draconic as a bonus language.and you can draw upon this mysterious fount of information to aid your adventurous pursuits. Reduce the DC of Culture checks and Mysticism checks to recall knowledge about creatures of the dragon type by 5. Dragons have keen senses and so do you; Perception is a class skill for you, though if it is a class skill from the class you take at 1st level, you instead gain a +1 bonus to Perception checks. In addition, you gain an ability adjustment of +1 to Strength at character creation.

Frightful Presence (6th)
You have some measure of dragon’s fearsome mien, this causes some creatures to be reluctant to cross you. Once per day, you can reroll an Intimidate check. You must take the second result, even if it is worse.

Draconic Resistance (12th)
You manifest some of your draconic ancestor’s elemental connection. You gain energy resistance equal to your base attack bonus of an appropriate type to your dragon bloodline (Enhanced Resistance Starfinder Core page 157). See the chart below.

  • Acid - Black, Copper, or Green
  • Cold - Lunar, Silver, Void, or White
  • Fire - Brass, Gold, Red, Solar, or Vortex
  • Electricity - Blue, Bronze, or Time
(Other dragon types can be added as appropriate.) Note that this can cause the character’s skin to take on a slight cast of the appropriate color.

Dragon Scales (18th)
Your draconic arrogance and self-confidence, even if you are outwardly more humble, will not let you accept defeat. Up to twice per day, when you take damage to your Hit Points (not your Stamina), you regain one Resolve point. You still gain this Resolve point even if damage taken reduces your hit points to zero or lower.

Wouldn't this be more along the lines of an archetype? Theme would be more along the lines of what you do when your not adventuring. Like a career. It flavors your class and your abilities but has no outstanding whatsits. *Can not think of a good word there* i would give up all of my class abilities for this if it were an archtype.

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32

ghostunderasheet wrote:
Lord Fyre wrote:

Retrying, in light of baggageboy’s legitimate concerns

Draconic Bloodline Theme: +1 Str

Theme Knowledge (1st)
You enjoy an intuitive connection to dragons, you also gain Draconic as a bonus language.and you can draw upon this mysterious fount of information to aid your adventurous pursuits. Reduce the DC of Culture checks and Mysticism checks to recall knowledge about creatures of the dragon type by 5. Dragons have keen senses and so do you; Perception is a class skill for you, though if it is a class skill from the class you take at 1st level, you instead gain a +1 bonus to Perception checks. In addition, you gain an ability adjustment of +1 to Strength at character creation.

Frightful Presence (6th)
You have some measure of dragon’s fearsome mien, this causes some creatures to be reluctant to cross you. Once per day, you can reroll an Intimidate check. You must take the second result, even if it is worse.

Draconic Resistance (12th)
You manifest some of your draconic ancestor’s elemental connection. You gain energy resistance equal to your base attack bonus of an appropriate type to your dragon bloodline (Enhanced Resistance Starfinder Core page 157). See the chart below.

  • Acid - Black, Copper, or Green
  • Cold - Lunar, Silver, Void, or White
  • Fire - Brass, Gold, Red, Solar, or Vortex
  • Electricity - Blue, Bronze, or Time
(Other dragon types can be added as appropriate.) Note that this can cause the character’s skin to take on a slight cast of the appropriate color.

Dragon Scales (18th)
Your draconic arrogance and self-confidence, even if you are outwardly more humble, will not let you accept defeat. Up to twice per day, when you take damage to your Hit Points (not your Stamina), you regain one Resolve point. You still gain this Resolve point even if damage taken reduces

...

If this were an archetype, I could also give this some more powerful abilities.


Starfinder Superscriber

Personally, I like it as a theme. I think it fits, and am using it thusly.

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32

pithica42 wrote:
Personally, I like it as a theme. I think it fits, and am using it thusly.

But, I wonder if ghostundrasheet is onto something.

Dragon Blooded may work better as an Archetype (much like Phrenic Adept). It would also allow me to include some benefits more focused to spell casters (my original intent anyway).


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It would allow for it to be more powerful, but still you should allow characters that aren't spell casters to take it if it is an archetype. Maybe one of the features it replaces could be a one of the dabbler/inkling feats. This would mean those that don't have a spelcasting ability get some level of that and for those that are already spelcasters they get the replacement feat. Or you could craft something in the same vein.


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Space fantasy needs propaganda.

Propagandist: +1 Int
With the advent of interstellar communications and immigrants, even more causes and ideals are competing for public attention and you understand what grabs that attention. Whether you believe in one of these causes or just work for hire, you make sure anyone associated with the cause has an easier time dealing with the public.

Theme Knowledge (1st)
Choose an organised cause for this theme, such as a faction, rebellion, religion, or company, that subscribes to an ideal. You can change cause at any time but lose all theme abilities till you spend a day learning how people react to it. Reduce the DC of Culture checks to recall a society's or organisation's attitude to the cause by 5. Reduce the DC of Sense Motive checks to determine a person's real attitude to the cause by 5. Culture becomes a class skill for you, though if it is a class skill from the class you take at 1st level, you instead gain +1 bonus to Culture checks. In addition, you gain an ability adjustment of +1 to Intelligence at character creation.

Publicity Campaign (6th)
You can organise a low level publicity campaign for your cause in a location you choose within planetary communications range of you, up to the population of a city or space station, through online forums, social media, posters and vids using hired promoters, casual workers and media contractors. Recognised members of the cause in the location gain +2 competence bonus to Diplomacy, Bluff or Intimidate when conversing with non-members for activities, such as bullying, fast-talking, gathering information, negotiating, recruiting, or trading, who have an attitude of Indifferent or better. For non-members with an attitude of Unfriendly or Hostile, apply a -2 competence penalty. A campaign costs 2000 credits per week and has no effect on its first day. Costs can be reduced (GM's discretion) if the cause supplies its own promoters and workers. You must spend 5 hours per week co-ordinating the campaign. You can start a new campaign in a new location, which ends your current one.

Grand Publicity Campaign (12th)
You are experienced enough to organise a low level publicity campaign across a star system despite the communication delays. This is like Publicity Campaign but applies to everywhere within system-wide communications range of you and costs 40000 credits per week.

Master Propagandist (18th)
You revel in stories that show your campaigns are as unstoppable as the tide. Up to twice a day, when someone describes an event you've never heard before and when the campaign bonus made the difference between a Skill Check failure and success, you gain 1 Resolve Point.


What Everyone Seems to forget that even in a Sci-Fi setting, there are still going to be Cultures, Communities, and Worlds that are still relatively primative compared to the rest of the Galaxy. With that in mind...

Savage Born +1 CON; Maybe you grew up in an isolated rural community, your home town might of actively shunned "advanced technology". Maybe your parents were shipped wrecked and you grew up in the wilderness. Maybe your home planet/species simply isn't as advanced as much as other cultures. But for what ever reason you grew up in what many would consider backwards by the standards of advanced cultures.

Theme Knowledge: You grew up in the wilderness having to track and hunt your own food. Reduce the DC of Survival checks to Follow Tracks by 5. Survival is a class skill for you, or if your first level class already has survival as a class skill you instead gain a +1 bonus to survival.

Beast Whisperer 6th: While you might not have grown up around as much advanced tech as most adventurers, you have spent a LOT of more time around animals and other wild life than many people today. Once per day you may re-roll a Survival roll for Handle an Animal, Rear a Wild Animal, or Ride a Creature.

Master of Survival 12th: You have so much experience surviving in extreme environmental conditions that doing so is second nature to you at this point. Allowing you to take 20 on survival checks to Endure Severe Weather, Predict Weather, and Live off the Land. However, doing so does not allow you to grant a bonus or provide food or water to others. If you choose to roll though, you are able to automatically provide a bonus and/or food or water to +1 creatures, on top of what your roll success was.
-ex: If your roll is not good enough to provide a bonus, you still grant 1 creature a bonus. If your roll is good enough to provide 1 creature a bonus, you instead are able to grant a bonus to 2 creatures.

Resolve of the Wild 18th: Up to twice per day, after making a Successful Survival check, you can take 10 minuets to reflect on the wonder of the natural world around you to regain 1 Resolve Point. This does not count as resting to regain Stamina Points.

Scarab Sages

Randomly, off the top of my head.

Martial Artist

Your formative years were spent learning martial arts in some form or another, either with or without weaponry, from any one of many different styles.

Theme Knowledge:
You have spent years meditating on the meaning of life and of life's many mysteries. You gain Mysticism as a class skill, or a +1 bonus to mysticism checks if it is a class skill for the class that you took at first level. In addition, you reduce the DC of all culture and mystisim checks by five when the knowledge pertains to monastic orders, temples, or fighting styles. You gain a +1 bonus to wisdom.

Find the flaws Your training in martial arts has taught you to analyze an opponents moves and expose their weaknesses, allowing you to call them out to your friends if need be. As a standard action you can make a perception check against a thinking opponent within 30 feet (not a mindless opponent, animal, or magical beast). The DC of this check is equal to either 10 + your opponent’s total sense motive skill bonus, or 15 + 1-1/2 × the opponent’s CR, whichever is greater. If you succeed, the target is off-target for 1 round. The duration increases by 1 round for every 5 by which the result of your check exceeds the DC. This is not a fear-based effect.

Master of Hand to hand combat
Gain Improved unarmed strike as a bonus feat. Your unarmed strikes are no longer considered archaic, and you deal 1-1/2 your level to damage with them in place of the normal bonus from weapon specialization (if any). If you already have improved unarmed strike, you may instead choose the improved combat maneuver feat (and your unarmed strikes are still not considered archaic, and you still get the damage bonus.)

Center yourself You have discovered a way to center yourself in this chaotic universe and let the natural energies that suffuse the universe restore you. Twice per day you may meditate on scriptures, enter a deep meditation, or perform an elaborate martial arts ritual. Either way, this takes ten minutes and restores 1 stamina. This does not count as a ten minute rest.


Noting I plan to publish this theme third party as part of my Kaidan Empire of Japanese Horror setting for Starfinder...

Samurai +1 Wis
A samurai must choose a person, cause, or belief and devote every effort to serve, protect, defend and give all, even one’s life to uphold. Living by the rules of the strict Bushido code involving righteousness, courage, compassion, respect, honesty, honor and loyalty, a samurai uses martials arts training and meditation to achieve the balance needed to walk this difficult path in a life of militant service.

Theme Knowledge (1st)
your adherence to etiquette, protocols, restraint and the understanding of hierarchal bureaucracies grants insight into any diplomatic discussions with the ruling class or bureaucracies of societies you encounter. Reduce the DC of Culture checks to recall knowledge about the ruling class. Diplomacy is a class skill for you, though if it is class skill from the class you take at 1st level, you instead gain a +1 bonus to Diplomacy checks. In addition, you gain an ability adjustment of +1 to Wisdom at character creation.

Honorable Soul (6th)
your reluctance to bring shame to yourself, your house, your lord, cause or belief, combined with the honorable deeds you perform in service to that which you’ve dedicated yourself, as well as your recognition of the honor in others, grants you a +2 bonus to Diplomacy and Sense Motive checks to bureaucrats and authority figures of factions you encounter.

Inspiring Commander (12th)
your sense of honor, duty, and selflessness inspires the same qualities among those put under your command. Whenever someone under your charge, or a longtime ally (such as a fellow character) faces an opponent in combat, they gain a +1 bonus to their DC check versus attempts to Intimidate them or be compelled by an Enchantment to act in ways they would normally not do, while within 30 feet of you.

Samurai Lord (18th)
twice per day, after spending a minute in quiet meditation, you regain 1 point of resolve.

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