It’s Been A While – Character Creation in Starfinder
I love tabletop RPGs, so I keep buying them. The problem is that I never get to play them. Starfinder is no exception and despite my initial post, I have come to terms with the decisions made by Paizo regarding the interplay between Star- and Pathfinder. After all, the Universe is a big place, and there’s room for everyone (and room enough to get away from undesirable elements).
Last night I sat down and decided to try my hand at making a character. It has been…oh…several decades since I actually made a non-NPC character for any kind of role-playing system, which is why I was saddened to find that the way sourcebooks explain the character creation process hasn’t changed for the better. At least the Starfinder CRB outright states that the instructions aren’t designed to follow the flow of the character sheet; the sheet is designed to facilitate gameplay and is organized so as to make things easy for the player to reference during the game. I think this has been my issue all along: trying to “work” the character sheet alongside the instructions, but still finding myself all over the geography of the sheet such that by the end of the process I’m starting over at a higher level to ensure that any field left blank wasn’t accidentally overlooked in the process of jumping from one section to another to another to another.
In an odd turn of relatively unrelated events, this character fell into the same mold as the character I recently made for a potential upcoming Pathfinder game. He’s chaotic neutral, meaning that while he’s not actively trying to screw people over, he’s more or less out for himself and won’t hesitate to take his share and leave everyone to squabble over the remainder. His alignment allowed him to naturally fall into the “Outlaw” theme. In some cases we might hear “outlaw” and think of someone wanted by the highest levels of law enforcement, with multi-million credit bounties on their heads, but to me this “outlaw” was merely someone who sliped through the hands of Justice and is trying to make a life for himself with a low profile.
Now, being sci-fi, the one thought that kept going through my mind was “don’t make Han Solo…don’t make Han Solo!” — you know, chaotic neutral*, outlaw, etc. When it came to class, though, I didn’t want to make him a soldier because that would be too obvious. I didn’t want to make an envoy because while I can think of all kinds of scenarios where an “outlaw envoy” would be cool, I didn’t want to play a high-profile criminal. Forget technomancer. I settled on mechanic because it seemed like an innocuous profession where someone could find excuses to keep his head down while also having access to transport to almost anywhere in the universe.
Anyway, I believe that the character was completed to specification. The only one thing that worries me is those little last minute applications from feats and racial/class selections that can’t be applied until everything else is done (for example, the weapon focus feat I chose in “small arms” gives me a +1 to attack with said weapons, which I didn’t record until I got the “equipment” phase of creation, which is something like step 8 in the process).
Even though I don’t have a reason to have created a character, it’s bringing back the excitement of the process. Now I’m thinking about a history for this character: why is he an outlaw? What is he doing to stay below the radar? How did he get to be a mechanic, and what is he doing with that profession now? Ultimately, his past is going to position him for whatever future he might experience, should I ever get to use him in an actual game, but regardless I’m enjoying the fun of character creation.
* Yeah, some might say that Solo is more Lawful Neutral, but that’s as we know the character from the movies. Before he ever got screen time, though, and outside of whatever media is considered canon these days, Solo was probably way more self-serving than he ended up being in the movies, on account of his reputation.