Welcome to Guidance! People seem to love playing characters who don’t fit into the conventional mold. They want to be a bard that does huge amounts of damage, a fighter that inspires allies, or a cleric that unleashes fireballs at enemies. To a certain extent, I think that this “character melting pot” represents a fairly basic human need to want to take an idea and make it their own. ANYONE can color inside the lines, after all, but to make something grand outside of them? That is the glory, the satisfaction that many people—gamers included—crave.
As a result, it should come as no surprise that there is a vocal group of Starfinder players out there who want a technomancer who wades into melee with a big-ass weapon and beats people with it. For those people, I have designed today’s build. A junksword technomancer. Enjoy!
Any information important to understanding the build or its roots goes here.
- Species: Any (avoid races with Str, Int, or Con penalties)
- Ability Scores: Str 14, Dex 10, Con 11, Int 16, Wis 10, Cha 10
- Classes: technomancer 12
- Theme: Themeless or Space Pirate
- Feats: Weapon Focus (junksword) (1st), Spell Focus (Bonus; 3rd), Weapon Specialization (Bonus, 3rd), Heavy Armor Proficiency (3rd), Combat Casting (5th), Toughness (7th), Lunge (9th), Focused Spellcaster (11th)
- Magic Hacks: empowered weapon (2nd), extended spell (5th), quick scan (8th), eternal spell (11th)
- Abilities: cache capacitor (2 slots), spell cache, tech lore +4
- 4th- (2 known): dimension door, junk sword
- 3rd (4 known): dispel magic, flight, haste, lesser resistant armor
- 2nd (5 known): darkvision, invisibility, make whole, mirror image, see invisibility
- 1st (6 known): comprehend languages, detect radiation, disguise self, life bubble, supercharge weapon, unseen servant
- 0 (6 known): detect magic, fabricate scrap, mending, token spell, telepathic message, transfer charge
So, the basic concept for this build is, “Cast junksword, apply junksword to enemy face.” Simple, no?
Well, compared to other melee builds that I do like solarion or soldier, there’s a lot to consider with a technomancer. First is the simple truth that you’re not going to reliably deal as much damage per swing as a martial character. Trust me, you’ll get close. But you won’t be able to do it consistently, and you’ll never get to make triple attacks. Them’s the ropes. But let’s be honest, you’re not going to WANT to full attack. You’re a 3/4 BAB spellcaster with no means of improving your to-hit outside of maybe Weapon Focus (I say maybe because junksword does not clarify what time of weapon the junksword is, so it’s not clear if you can pick a weapon type that Weapon Focus will apply to) and sometimes the empowered weapon spell hack. (I say sometimes here because this spell hack relies you to burn spell slots for the buff, a hard sacrifice to make.)
So, your best bet with this build is to play the long-haul. Make single attacks that you stack as much onto as possible and go from there. And trust me when I say that you can stack a LOT of damage onto junksword if you try. At 12th level, you’re looking at a weapon that deals 3d4 E damage (I recommend the powered variant because this allows you to target EAC, which is often easier to hit than KAC) plus a specialization bonus of +18 (1-1/2 times your caster level) with a BAB of +9. If you add empower weapon on top of that, then you can sacrifice a 3rd level spell to get +3 to attack rolls and +3d6 to damage rolls, basically bumping yourself up to full BAB. If you took the time to supercharge your junksword with the supercharge weapon spell the round before, you get another +4d6 damage. As a result, for two rounds of investment you’re looking at 3d4 + 7d6 + 18 + your Strength bonus (with my stats, likely a Str 20 for +5). This is an average of about 52 damage over two rounds, which isn’t terrible. An 18 Str Soldier with melee striker and a yellow star doshoko (2d10 + 18) is going to average roughly 29 damage per attack, or 58 damage over two rounds, so you are actually pretty close on average. As a bonus for you, the technomancer, you only need to rely on a single attack roll to get these results. As a penalty for you, the technomancer, you need to sacrifice two spell slots (a 3rd for energize weapon and a 1st for supercharge weapon), and one of those spells provokes an attack of opportunity (this is why I have Lunge in the build, as a matter of fact).
So that’s the core of the build, let’s talk about the support. Basically every other spell I picked is simply a problem-solving spell that you may or may not use in combat. I tried to pick a bunch of spells that could be loaded into the spell cache with the capacitor ability, and I also picked general utility ad buffing spells because junksword has such a long duration (10 minutes/level) that the plan is to just have it up in encounter areas and not worry about it. This is a good place to mention extended spell, a magic hack I took with the intention of doubling the duration of junksword. Very helpful; a single junksword lasts 240 minutes, or 4 hours, with this hack. Also in the essential department is eternal spell, which we take in order to cast supercharge weapon at will starting at 11th level. (Hey! Using the aforementioned combo now only takes a 3rd-level spell slot, and the spell that provokes can be used at will. Helping!) We also have Combat Casting and Focused Spellcaster to help out in those moments when we take attacks of opportunity for supercharging our weapon, but if we build our junksword with the reach ability and use Lunge, many opponents are going to be out of luck in regards to countering your casting.
Overall, I think this is a fun, interesting, and competitive build that should help satisfy many players’ need for both playing outside of the box and being mechanically complex. Next time I’ll be hopping back over to the Designer’s Water Cooler to talk briefly about comparative differences between classes and why you always need to think about how classes and abilities look on paper when you’re designing, using the Starfinder RPG’s soldier and exocortex mechanic in my example! But until then, I’m Alexander Augunas, the Everyman Gamer, and I’m always here to offer you a little bit of Guidance!
Alexander “Alex” Augunas has been playing roleplaying games since 2007, which isn’t nearly as long as 90% of his colleagues. Alexander is an active freelancer for the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game and is best known as the author of the Pact Magic Unbound series by Radiance House. Alex is the owner of Everyman Gaming, LLC and is often stylized as the Everyman Gamer in honor of Guidance’s original home. Alex also cohosts the Private Sanctuary Podcast, along with fellow blogger Anthony Li, and you can follow their exploits on Facebook in the 3.5 Private Sanctuary Group, or on Alex’s Twitter, @AlJAug.