New Crew Role: Stargazer


Homebrew


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I approached the uselessness of Mystics in the ship combat and crafted a new role that any mystical class trained in Mysticism can cover. Technomancers, Mystics and Solarians alike are ideally suited to this role, but Mystics especially so.

Stargazer (Solarian, Technomancer and Mystic only)

You use your mystical understanding of the Cosmos to guide your ship through the worst of space combat.
A ship can only have one Stargazer. A Stargazer operates first during the Engineering phase and is affected by the Life Support system status.

Actions

Quantum Entanglement
You attempt a Mysticism check with a DC of 5+1.5*tier of an enemy ship. If you succeed, your crewmates consider that ship's tier as if it were 1 lower for the round.

Uncertainty Principle
You attempt a Mysticism check with a DC of 10+1.5*tier of your ship. If you succeed, any enemy damage roll against your ship for the round that shows a maximum value is lowered by 1.

Exclusion Principle
You attempt a Mysticism check with a DC of 15+1.5*tier of your ship. If you succeed, you protect one of the systems of your ship from accruing further critical conditions. If a critical damage roll would hit that system, reroll the critical roll.

Quantum Tunneling (Push)
If you have 6 ranks in Mysticism, you can expend a Resolve Point and attempt a Mysticism check with a DC of 20+1.5*tier of your ship. If you succeed, your ship can ignore the result of one hit for the round.

Great Unification (Push)
If you have 12 ranks in Mysticism, you can expend a Resolve Point and choose a crew member. When that crew member makes a crew action for the round, you can roll a Mysticism check. The crew member can use either his roll or your Mysticism check, whichever is higher.


I think you should change the names of most of them, as they aren't very Mystic and are very Physical Science.


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I give this a thumbs down on the premise that it is class specific. That is bad design IMO. Aside from being class specific, I am not against the idea of alternate crew roles. As far as these specific abilities, they do need some refining. Perhaps simplification.

Something I would like to see is an expanded list of abilities for the captain. Why do the captains abilities need to be charisma based? I think there is a place for intelligence and wisdom based abilities.


Yeah, names should be changed, I just put those there for fun since I have a degree in physics myself.
However, dealing with that physical stuff at such a degree to actually do those actions is more in the realm of "sci-fy" magic I think, hence mysticism instead of physical science, refluffed depending on class and patron: a technomancer would likely keep the names as is.

I would remove the word that makes them more physical science, so the names would become Entanglement, Uncertainty, Exclusion, Tunneling and Unification for starters.

In a harder science fiction setting I would question the existence of mystics and solarians, but one could change the skill to Physical Science and the relevant ship system to Sensors, Core and/or Engines (or make another one from scratch, perhaps related to the FTL engine of choice, especially if it uses Einstein-Rosen bridges)

EDIT
@Ciaran Barnes
It is class specific because it requires some sort of magic access to do those actions, so only spellcasters and similar classes qualify. Regardless, it's just as easy to say that everyone trained in Mysticism or Physical Science can do these tricks, especially if one adds a ship system from scratch (Drift System?)
I'm open to adjustments and other abilities, I tried not to just add more bonuses since I reckon this is the design philosophy for Starfinder, and mimicked some other actions... the damage dampening one is a mirror of the engineer "divert to weapons" action for example.


Great. In this era of tollerance and acceptance this ship role is to be bashed. After all it is the mystic's fault not to be able to fit effectively in any role aboard a ship. Trying to create a role that can be covered only by spellcasters (yes, a technomancer could fit) is pure absurdity and offensive.
<But to be a gunner you only need high BAB or ranks in piloting> what if a mystic has low INT (so no skill ranks to spare) and is built and roleplayed as a priest or a guru? On a ship is useless.
What's the aesop here? The mystic is a bad class and you shouldn't play it as you want, you must conform by either taking Ace Pilot or Scholar theme or the star shaman connection if you wish to be "not useless".

On a more serius tone, i really don't see any problem: the names of the actions are cool and enough sci-fantasy to the uninitiated and punny to those who understand. The class specificity isn't really an issue since everyone can take ranks in mysticism :P


Just for clarification, Uncertainty and Tunneling should be rewritten as such:

Uncertainty
You attempt a Mysticism check with a DC of 10+1.5*tier of your ship. If you succeed, any enemy damage dice rolled against your ship for the round that shows a maximum value is lowered by 1.

Tunneling (Push)
If you have 6 ranks in Mysticism, you can expend a Resolve Point and attempt a Mysticism check with a DC of 20+1.5*tier of your ship. If you succeed, your ship can ignore the result of one hit of the Stargazer's choice (after the hit is scored but before the damage is rolled, quantum weapons can try again if they would have hit on the first try) for the round.

I firstly envisioned the role as spellcasters/solarian-only but since it's homebrew anyway, it shouldn't be that bat to open it to anyone trained in Mysticism, especially since the Priest theme is a thing.


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After a couple thoughts, I updated the crew role with the following edits:
- Entanglement reduces enemy tier by 2 rather than 1, so the bonus is more consistent. Most DCs scale with 1.5 times the tier, so a reduction of just 1 tier would mean -1 or -2 to the DC depending on odd vs even. This way, the bonus is consistently -3 to the DCs that scale with 1.5 * tier. Given that the bonus is higher, I also increased the action DC itself.
- Uncertainty mimics the Engineer's Divert action, but only for weapons. Divert is much more versatile, so it stands to reason that it should have a higher DC than Uncertainty. Regardless, if a Mystic is set to protect her ship rather than aggressively fire upon other ships as a Gunner, it's ok for her to more easily reduce incoming damage, even if the reduction itself is tiny. So, I reduced the Uncertainty DC.
- Minor wording edits so every action should be clear.
- Disclaimer: I use my own set of DCs in this crew role... likely Starfinder DCs would have been 10+tier for Uncertainty, 10+2*tier for Entanglement, 15+2*tier for Exclusion, 10+3*tier for Tunneling, but I despise those formulae since those are not homogeneous and the DCs become impossible to meet. I use my DCs in all other crew actions as well.

Crew Role: Stargazer (suggested for Mystics, Solarians, Technomancers and Priest-themed characters)

You use your mystical understanding of the Cosmos to guide your ship through the worst of space combat.
A ship can only have one Stargazer. A Stargazer operates first during the Engineering phase and is affected by the Life Support system status.

Actions:

Uncertainty
You attempt a Mysticism check with a DC of 5+1.5*tier of your ship. If you succeed, any enemy damage dice rolled against your ship for the round that shows a maximum value is lowered by 1.

Entanglement
You attempt a Mysticism check with a DC of 10+1.5*tier of an enemy ship. If you succeed, your crewmates consider that ship's tier as if it were 2 lower for the round. This effectively lowers many DCs of crew actions against that ship by 3 points.

Exclusion
You attempt a Mysticism check with a DC of 15+1.5*tier of your ship. If you succeed, you protect one of the systems of your ship from accruing further critical conditions. If a critical damage roll would hit that system, reroll the critical roll. The protected system can still be hit if this second roll results in yet another hit.

Tunneling (Push)
If you have 6 ranks in Mysticism, you can expend a Resolve Point and attempt a Mysticism check with a DC of 20+1.5*tier of your ship. If you succeed, your ship can ignore the result of one hit of your choice (after the hit is scored but before the damage is rolled, quantum weapons can try again if they would have hit on the first try) for the round.

Unification (Push)
If you have 12 ranks in Mysticism, you can expend a Resolve Point and choose a crew member. Whenever that crew member makes a crew action for the round, you can roll a Mysticism check. The crew member can use either his roll or your Mysticism check, whichever is higher.

Optional
In a harder Sci-Fy setting, the ship could have an additional System, perhaps a Quantum Einstein-Rosen Drive or other appropriate Sci-Fy sounding name that could allow FTL travel (much like the Drift Engine itself), to affect the Stargazer, and these actions could be based off Physical Science rather than Mysticism.
A proposed critical roll table with the new system could be like this:
1-10: Life Support
11-25: Sensors
26-55: Weapons
56-70: Engines
71-85: Quantum Drive / Drift Engine
86-100: Power Core


As a Kasathan Mystic stuck in the Science Officer role, I heartily endorse this idea. I would love to be able to use my cerebral, philosophical side in a way that doesn't involve me fumbling with Computer checks.


Bookmarking. Being stuck in science officer role does suck.


So the captain sees a crewman looking out the window, "What are you doing?" he says. "Stargazing!"


Have you playtested this yet? How did it go?


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

While I like these tasks (Unification aside, that steps too hard on the captain's role), wouldn't a simpler fix be to allow Mysticism instead of Computers as the needed skill for Science Officer?


Simply swapping out the skill like that is boring. It would work in a pinch though.


Names can obviously change, I just went with a name that reminds me of a certain mystic option. You can call them Quantum Field Manipulator in harder sci-fi, or Cosmic Nexus, or something fancy.

I didn't get to play a crew member in a Starfinder ship yet, but I fully expect to make this role available in the campaign I'm GM'ing (a converted Eberron game, plenty of ships and magic there) and possibly also in the campaign I'm playing as (Star Wars themed, theGlitch is our GM).

I'm open to suggestion for something new in place of Unification, I just read the other level 12 tasks and devised a similarly strong one that could work for a punny name as well. It steps on the captain's role but it's a push and you have to expend a resolve point to make it work, and can work on a different target than the captain's (or even target the captain himself!).


Ciaran Barnes wrote:
I give this a thumbs down on the premise that it is class specific. That is bad design IMO.

That is a weird thing in Starfinder. This lack of class specific stuff. It's ok to separate things. It really is.


so did this starship role work?
-beta


I've been using this role (with some changes to the tasks, as reducing a ship's tier isn't actually very useful) for a few months. It's been a big hit with one of my players for their mystic character. The group overall has been really pleased with the additional role.


Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I'm not sure I like the specific abilities you picked(changing the enemy starships effective level means recalculating DC's on the fly), However, I love the concept, the game desperately needs a Mysticism focused Starship role, as none of the classes should be bad at something that is supposedly a core part of the game.


I don't know why do we need a "mysticism focused class", since no other starship role is class specific.
Every class can be the pilot, gunner, captain or science officer, it's just a matter of skill-points or attributes.

Sure some sort of magic crew role would be nice, but the problem will be that this would be the only class specific role.


Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Tryn wrote:

I don't know why do we need a "mysticism focused class", since no other starship role is class specific.

Every class can be the pilot, gunner, captain or science officer, it's just a matter of skill-points or attributes.

Sure some sort of magic crew role would be nice, but the problem will be that this would be the only class specific role.

A mysticism Focused Role wouldn't have to be class specific, it would just be a matter of skill points and attributes.

The reason we need a mysticism Focused Starship role is that starship combat is a key part of the game, and Mystic is the only class that it is easy to make an otherwise functional build that is useless in starship combat.

Envoys are Cha based, have Diplomacy, Computers, Engineering and Piloting as class skills, 8 skill points/ level, and a class feature that can give them a d6 Insight bonus to most of the relevant skills; making them amazing captains, and decent at everything else.

Mechanics are Int based, have computers, Engineering, and Piloting as class skills, 7-8 skill points/ level, a Class feature that gives them a bonus to Computers and Engineering, and several Mechanic tricks that spcifically make them better Engineers.

Operatives are Dex based, have Computers, Engineering, and Piloting as class skills, a whopping 10! skill points/ level, and a class feature that gives them a bonus to all skills, making them amazing Pilots, and good science officers, gunners or engineers.

Technomancers are Int Based, have Computers, Engineering, and Piloting as class skills, 7-8 points/ level, and a class feature that gives them a bonus to Computers, Making them strong science officers, and good gunners, pilots, and engineers.

Soldiers that are Dex based, are good gunners by virtue of being full BAB and having good dex, Str based soldiers do have a bit of trouble, but it dosnt cost them anything to be decent gunners; and if they invest some of their 4 skill points/ level they can be decent pilots or engineers.

Solarians are Cha Based, and have diplomacy as a class skill, which makes them an ok captain if the party lacks an envoy, and full BAB means that they can function as a gunner, but they arent in the best situation here.

Mystics however, are Wis based, only have diplomacy of the relevent lass skills, have 6 skill points/ level, and so lack any role that they can function as without effort.


Mystics can easily fit every starship role.

Gunner and Pilot: Star Shaman gives Pilot
Captain: Mindbreaker give Intimidate, Overlord gives Diplomacy and Intimidate.

Science Officer and Engineer: Grab Skill Synergy Feat and you can get both relevant skills as class skills.

And six skillpoints are enough to max out one or two relevant skill. ;)

Since Class Boni don't give any benefit it only depends on Skill and Attribute. And both are in the hand of the player.

So if you want to be a top ace pilot as a mystic, you can easily do it, there is nothing which hinders you (except the restrictions you put on yourself when you create your character)


Just wanna say this is AWESOME!


Tryn wrote:
I don't know why do we need a "mysticism focused class", since no other starship role is class specific.

The modified version I'm using has a simple answer as to why it was "needed" for our campaigns: because the players wanted it. Because they felt that a sci-fantasy game was really missing out on something cool for starship encounters by not having something that uses mystical abilities with the ship. Astropaths of 40K fame, Navigators of Dune fame, or fill in your favorite other example of that trope. That's why Stargazer is useful. It gave even more options for players, and that's never a bad thing in this GM's opinion.

One of these days, I'll have to remember to post up the changes I made to this role. But I will say that it's been a huge success in our campaigns. I'm so glad I found this to add in, back when the campaign was starting.


I see where you are come from and where you are heading.
I just was curious bevuas efrom a game design perspective adding something for the reason of just of adding it, isn't really good ("good design is as less design as possible").

I really like your reasoning, it's not about "mythics can't contribute to space combat" (like many say here), but "I want to add more fantasy theme to space combat".

For the mechanics itself I just don't have a fantasy flair, it's more or less "use Mysticism instead of computer/engineering" flair for me (you could easily make all of them to engineering/science officer actions by switching the required skill and they would still sound/feel right).

Most Scifi fantasy tropes have a level of uncertainty to it (not 100% exact, drawback etc.) maybe you could embrace this a little more.

Example:
Drift Skimming
You can channel the mythical powers of the universe to try to enter the drift. Since the drift denys such approaches your ship will be repelled immediately.
Attempt a Mysticism check (DC X), if you suceed your ship moves one hex in a random (d8) direction. For this round your ships AC increased by +2 and tracking weapons have to make a new attack roll (vs. the normal TL). It can also have further consequences according to the battlefield. This action can be taken once at any point in a combat round.


The key with Stargazer (as described up above, or even with most homebrew I've seen with it) is that it still needs to fit the core paradigm of Starfinder ship combat: Everybody gets to do something useful and cool.

Randomness, not found anywhere else in the system, doesn't really seem to fit for that. (Nor do I really find randomness anymore relevant or representative of Mysticism or sci-fantasy in general, but that's going to be a personal taste thing.) It's also not something that's going to seem very useful or fun for most of my players. For me, Stargazer is a happy compromise between "because Mysticism should be in ship combat" and "add some cool Mysticism stuff." Mileage will vary, and all that.

Edit: Random movement would also be a huge mess, as it could very easily completely screw over the teamwork that ship combat is built on. Suddenly facings don't match up to desired weapons fire, enemies are not in the right arcs, etc. Then you've got to figure out which phase that movement happens in, which can open up a whole lot more problems.

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