Starfinder has over 100 playable species now, but one of the things we wanted to do in the Character Operations Manual was give a little love to the 13 species found in the Starfinder Core Rulebook (including legacy races). What does that mean? That means alternate ability score adjustments, alternate racial traits, and new feats, gear, and class options which—while perhaps pioneered by a given species—are actually available to everyone.
Let’s start with the simple stuff: ability score and racial trait options unique to each species. So, for example, some androids were built for manual labor; instead of high Intelligence and Dexterity, they’re stronger and more able to endure tough working conditions (Strength and Constitution). Species known for settling diverse environments have options that model adaptation to high (human), low (human and vesk), or zero gravity (human and ysoki). There’s a lot more.
Every species also has one or more options that replace each of their racial traits. A player who doesn’t like the shirren’s Cultural Fascination ability, for example, has three (three!) new choices. Cultural Assimilation gives you a bonus to Disguise checks instead of Diplomacy, as you blend in with an adopted species; Individual Obsession allows you to pick an additional class skill and get an automatic skill point every level, along with a +2 bonus in the chosen skill; and Linguistic Acculturation swaps out that Diplomacy bonus for more languages (a lot more).
But what I find really cool are feats, gear, spell, and class options, and if your character has the right physiology, you can take these options no matter your race. Check out kasatha, for example: You’ve got a bunch of new feats for characters with four arms. (How many new feats? Four, of course!) There’s even a new class option for soldiers who wield three or more weapons at a time: the Fourfold Tactician. As followers of the Four-Armed Conspiracy™ can tell you, you don’t have to be a kasatha to qualify. Even a human or lashunta soldier with a couple of cybernetic arms can use the Fourfold Tactician fighting style to fire two automatic weapons at the same time! (We call that class feature “Overkill,” and you can see why.) Other class options have no requirements at all: the Crusader connection for mystics, for example, or the vesk Battlemaster fighting style for soldiers.
On top of all this, there’s spells and gear. Now your ysoki can cast shrink object to fit that big special something in their cheek pouches (at high level, a really big special something).
The rest of the Star Chamber will be chiming in here over the next few weeks with more glimpses into the Character Operations Manual, but let me tell you, you are not going to be disappointed. This book blows Starfinder character creation wide open. From now on, you’ll never feel like your hero is just like everyone else.
Character Operations Manual Preview: Race Options
Monday, October 28, 2019