Take a sneak peek at one of the seven core classes for Starfinder.
The folks over at Paizo are gearing up for Starfinder’s August release (which, by the way, how is it already May? Wasn’t it January just yesterday?). Right now that means taking a look at one of the seven core classes of the game, the Envoy.
The best way to understand the Envoy is to start with the Bard. They have a lot of similarities–the Envoy is the face of the party. Like the Bard, they’re all about Charisma and Skill. But, that’s just the start:
“You make your way in the universe with a charming smile, quick wit, and keen sense of self-preservation, and excel at getting others to do what you want. You might be a trickster, hustler, or con artist, or you might serve as an actor, ambassador, or businessperson, paving the way for negotiation through kind words or the occasional dirty trick. You are often the group’s strategist, using your quick wit and tactical acumen to push your friends to greater heights. You may also be skilled in diplomacy, serving as the face for a starship crew, talking your way into restricted systems or gaining audiences with local politicians or warlords.”
As that description suggests, envoys are good at social skills. Whether they’re using those skills to make friends, fool victims, or threaten foes, envoys often use their wits and charm to get the job done. (And when that doesn’t work, well, there’s always your laser pistol.) Some of that ability to affect others is modeled by their 8 skill points per level and 16 class skills, which allow them to pick up a lot of social skills while still being able to put ranks into skills such as Acrobatics, Computers, and Stealth, as appropriate for your character concept. The class couples that with an average base attack bonus, poor Fortitude saves, good Reflex and Will saves, light armor, and proficiency (and eventually specialization) with basic melee weapons, grenades, and small arms.
Boy it sure is nice that we have proficiency with grenades about now, don’t ya think?!
Like I say, start with the Bard–they’ve got buffing abilities and a lot of skill mastery–but then layer in a healthy dose of the Charisma Rogue for good measure. These are the scoundrels with a heart of gold, who always think on their feet. That’s actually something that I really like about this class is the implication that they have to be able to back it up whenever their plans fall through, or when their skills just can’t get the job done.
It’s that Han Solo talking in the detention level moment.This class seems built for those “we’re all fine here, now, today” moments. But then when you get into the non-skill aspects of the class, it’s also perfect for those Han Solo running around the corner and then immediately turning tail because there’s a whole cadre of Stormtroopers waiting right there. I don’t know what about this class specifically makes me feel like they’re always put-upon, maybe it’s that their abilities are called Improvisations.
Each envoy also gets to select a number of envoy improvisations over the course of her career, beginning at 1st level. These allow the envoy to more directly hinder her foes and aid her allies. Many improvisations are sense-dependent, and some are also language-dependent or mind-affecting. Clever use of envoy improvisations can turn the tide of battle, as the envoy can bolster allies actions and defenses, warn them of impending dangers, and—with higher-level options—even give them additional actions in a turn. Here’s an example of a 1st-level envoy improvisation.
Clever Feint (EX) [sense-dependent]
As a standard action, you can fake out an enemy within 60 feet, making that enemy open to your attacks. Attempt a Bluff check with the same DC as a check to feint against that enemy (though this isn’t a standard check to feint, so Improved Feint and Greater Feint don’t apply). Even if you fail, that enemy is flat-footed against your attacks until the end of your next turn. If you succeed, the enemy is also flat-footed against your allies’ attacks until the end of your next turn. You can’t use clever feint against a creature that lacks an Intelligence score.
At 6th level, you can spend 1 Resolve Point to treat a failed Bluff check for clever feint as if it were a success.
Something about that description makes it feel like the Envoys are all about thinking on their feet, constantly juggling all manner of chaos to pull out victory. At any rate, you can head over to the blog and find more developer comments, including confirmation that you’ll get higher level Improvisations at 1st, 4th, and 8th.
Higher level improvisations can get deadly…
The Envoy also gets a variable “expertise” die that lets them add a d6 (at 1st level) to certain skills–Sense Motive and one other skill. And as you level up you can expand your expertise options. Leveling up as an Envoy seems like it’ll offer a lot of flexibility/customization. We know that some Improvisatios will build off of each other, feats style, but then you’ll also have your skills and eventually weapon specialization.
Actually all classes will get weapon specialization of one kind or another–which makes me happy. Hopefully every class will be functional in combat and then differentiate themselves via style instead of just levels of competency.
At any rate, there are seven classes all in all, the envoy, mechanic, mystic, operative, solarian, soldier, and technomancer–and Paizo has promised to reveal more details in the coming weeks, so stay tuned for more Starfinder news as it develops.
Prepping all of my Babylon 5 references for the technomancer update. So. You know. Brace yourselves.