Theme oversight(?): People change, themes don't?


General Discussion


An ace pilot becomes afraid to sit at the controls ever again, a bounty hunter quits tracking down people in favor of a different kind of work, an Icon falls out of favor after controversial actions or simply seeks to drop from the lime light, a mercenary moves from payment for military(esque) action in favor of a new career, an outlaw goes legit, a priest loses faith in their god or their god loses support for them (an alignment change for example), a scholar loses interest in their field of study, after a horrific incident a starfarer gives up space travel in favor of adventures exclusive to a known world, or a xenoseeker's passion for new races fades.

All of the themes assume from level 1 to level 20 that you will forever be on that path, but what does one do if the theme stops fitting the character? I know retraining is an option, but that doesn't seem quite right for this (at least some of these).

What do people think of this? Am I seeing a problem that isn't a problem?

Also, what reasons can you come up with that a person might evolve such that a different theme fits them better or simply that their theme stops being appropriate to them?

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

The Ace Pilot is still an Ace Pilot even though he refuses to touch the controls. The Bounty Hunter still retains that skill set. The Outlaw still approaches problems like a criminal.

Starfinder is less into the 'you dramatically change' concept. Theme in particular is something internal that the character doesn't even really chose for themselves. There is a way to change it, but it's basically erasing one's memory and rewriting it to better suit them.


artofcheatery wrote:

The Ace Pilot is still an Ace Pilot even though he refuses to touch the controls. The Bounty Hunter still retains that skill set. The Outlaw still approaches problems like a criminal.

Starfinder is less into the 'you dramatically change' concept. Theme in particular is something internal that the character doesn't even really chose for themselves. There is a way to change it, but it's basically erasing one's memory and rewriting it to better suit them.

To a point, I agree, but lets say you have a priest of ZK. They are that way at 1st level and at.. 4th level they swear off the faith, publicly cursing his name, distancing themselves from his clergy. Lets say they had a redemptive arc so thats how that happened.

When they hit 6th level does it make sense they going to have a rank of authority in their faith? At 12th, does it make sense that he's going to give spells to this person who hasn't uttered a single prayer to him in 8 levels, has transitioned outside of the one step from him, and may even be antagonistic towards his clergy?


Xuldarinar wrote:
artofcheatery wrote:

The Ace Pilot is still an Ace Pilot even though he refuses to touch the controls. The Bounty Hunter still retains that skill set. The Outlaw still approaches problems like a criminal.

Starfinder is less into the 'you dramatically change' concept. Theme in particular is something internal that the character doesn't even really chose for themselves. There is a way to change it, but it's basically erasing one's memory and rewriting it to better suit them.

To a point, I agree, but lets say you have a priest of ZK. They are that way at 1st level and at.. 4th level they swear off the faith, publicly cursing his name, distancing themselves from his clergy. Lets say they had a redemptive arc so thats how that happened.

When they hit 6th level does it make sense they going to have a rank of authority in their faith? At 12th, does it make sense that he's going to give spells to this person who hasn't uttered a single prayer to him in 8 levels, has transitioned outside of the one step from him, and may even be antagonistic towards his clergy?

Then the person would probably find a new god, maybe one that is good aligned, and his redemptive status would elevate him as he rapidly climbs the ranks of his new faith.

Nowhere does it say that a Priest can't trade gods after all.


Hazrond wrote:
Xuldarinar wrote:
artofcheatery wrote:

The Ace Pilot is still an Ace Pilot even though he refuses to touch the controls. The Bounty Hunter still retains that skill set. The Outlaw still approaches problems like a criminal.

Starfinder is less into the 'you dramatically change' concept. Theme in particular is something internal that the character doesn't even really chose for themselves. There is a way to change it, but it's basically erasing one's memory and rewriting it to better suit them.

To a point, I agree, but lets say you have a priest of ZK. They are that way at 1st level and at.. 4th level they swear off the faith, publicly cursing his name, distancing themselves from his clergy. Lets say they had a redemptive arc so thats how that happened.

When they hit 6th level does it make sense they going to have a rank of authority in their faith? At 12th, does it make sense that he's going to give spells to this person who hasn't uttered a single prayer to him in 8 levels, has transitioned outside of the one step from him, and may even be antagonistic towards his clergy?

Then the person would probably find a new god, maybe one that is good aligned, and his redemptive status would elevate him as he rapidly climbs the ranks of his new faith.

Nowhere does it say that a Priest can't trade gods after all.

That does handle one route, but it assumes that they'd jump from one clergy to another. Not something I imagine clerics ordinarily doing all the time either but alright. But what if they don't? What if they become an atheist, having lost faith in the gods. Is it best to decide that counts as a philosophy?


Mnemonic Editor - The network of magic and technology is capable of removing experiences from a patient strapped to the bed over the course of a single 24-hour session. Skills and knowledge can be excised, lessons unlearned and muscle memory altered.

If you use a mnemonic editor, you can undo 2 character levels’ worth of decisions about which class levels you took, which feats you selected, how you applied any level-based increases to ability scores, how you assigned new skill ranks, and so on.

pg 266-267

So if you choose to retrain a level lets say level 1 then you could change your theme with GM approval.


Some themes also assume you continue to go about your life in the exact same way for your entire career. You stay being an idol in the public and being adored. You stay being active within the organized clergy of your faith and are around a lot. You always have black market contacts everywhere and keep up with them.
The Icon, Outlaw, and Priest themes are the big issue, really. The others can easily equate to skillsets the character has just like Classes do.


If you couldn't be an icon your whole life Dancing With The Stars or Celebrity Rehab wouldn't exist.


Yes, but it also assumes you keep getting MORE famous. And Priest assumes you keep advancing in station.


I'd say you keep your current stuff and advance as if themeless, from a GM point of view


TheGoofyGE3K wrote:
I'd say you keep your current stuff and advance as if themeless, from a GM point of view

Either that or start over with a different theme, like multiclassing, so if you do this between 2nd and 5th level, at 6th you get the 1st level ability of a new theme.


Well I would say start over. If you're a protest who stops following the faith didn't suddenly forget what they knew.


I think you are meta thinking right now. It's already been stated but you don't forget the skills of being a Bounty Hunter if you all of a sudden decide to quit your job. If you want to do a "multiple class" type thing with themes then that should be a homebrew and ran by the DM.

Themes are made to be built around your character. It's kind of your job in the game. If you don't want to do that you could go themeless. Or probably start on a new theme starting at lvl 1 minus the bonus in a attribute.


If they put in ways to change your theme people would abuse it and power game their butts off to try to plot out when they should mechanically switch classes.


You could flavor it.

"You gain a +2 bonus to Diplomacy and Intimidate checks against lay followers and lower-ranking clergy."

You know certain secrets of your old religion. The clergy must respect your opinion or risk you exposing the inner machinations of their system.

If you're creative enough you can come up with any flavor that can adequately align with the theme track you're on.

Grand Lodge

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captain yesterday wrote:
If you couldn't be an icon your whole life Dancing With The Stars or Celebrity Rehab wouldn't exist.

Next week on the newest Pact worlds hit Vid program, Dancing with the Vaguely Familiar!

Acquisitives

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
HWalsh wrote:
If they put in ways to change your theme people would abuse it and power game their butts off to try to plot out when they should mechanically switch classes.

this.

Han Solo is always going to be an outlaw. No matter where he ends up, or how many points he accumulates in Pilot, that's always going to be him.


Yakman wrote:
HWalsh wrote:
If they put in ways to change your theme people would abuse it and power game their butts off to try to plot out when they should mechanically switch classes.

this.

Han Solo is always going to be an outlaw. No matter where he ends up, or how many points he accumulates in Pilot, that's always going to be him.

Of course no matter how you did it, it would be problematic...

Lets say, for example, that you could switch theme...

Well either the Ability Score changes, or the benefits change...

So you are like, "Okay, I'm doing an Operative, so I'll start as a Mercenary, for the +1 to Strength (because power gamers only think about long term mechanical benefit) and then switch over to get the benefits of another theme now I have the bonus that will mechanically matter."

Or

"Well I now have a 17 in a stat that my theme has given me... I'm going to jump to a new theme to get a better mechanical bonus because that +1 no longer helps, so by switching it goes to a 16, I do my raise, and it is an 18 anyway! Hah! Suck it rules!"

Or

I started with a Dex of 18, at 5 it went to 19, at 10 it went to 20, at 15 it went to 21, and I changed themes to Ace Pilot at 16 to make it 22.

Scarab Sages

I made a homebrew theme that I called the “Redemptive,” based around an outlaw wanting to reform: Found here

Might be something to look into.


Pathfinder Maps, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Rahod wrote:

Mnemonic Editor - The network of magic and technology is capable of removing experiences from a patient strapped to the bed over the course of a single 24-hour session. Skills and knowledge can be excised, lessons unlearned and muscle memory altered.

If you use a mnemonic editor, you can undo 2 character levels’ worth of decisions about which class levels you took, which feats you selected, how you applied any level-based increases to ability scores, how you assigned new skill ranks, and so on.

pg 266-267

So if you choose to retrain a level lets say level 1 then you could change your theme with GM approval.

To retrain a theme via an Mnemonic Editor, you would need to use the Mnemonic Editor before you reach 3rd level. I don't think Starfinder has any official way to retrain non-recent choices.


HWalsh wrote:
Well either the Ability Score changes, or the benefits change...

Why would you change anything that you already have? What is the thought process behind gaining a +1 strength from being a Mercenary at the beginning of the game and all of a sudden switching to Ace Pilot and gaining another Ability point?

If anything, you would start at lvl 1 when you selected a new theme and not get the ability bonus and keep the skills you already have. But you can only do this at 6, 12, or 18.

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