So I know what you’re thinking. It’s “Alex, you told us that you were going to teach us more about the Starfinder RPG in your next article, and now you’re sitting here doing an Iconic Design instead you shill!” Yes, I am totally doing an Iconic Design INSTEAD of teaching you more about how to design for Starfinder. I admit it. But I have a good reason! This is a build I have literally been trying to make work for WEEKS for Starfinder Society, and I finally figured out how I wanted to do it and I just needed to SHOW YOU ALL. So there. On to the build!
- Class: mechanic 12
- Feats: Longarm Proficiency (1st), Weapon Specialization (Bonus); Versatile Weapon Specialization (3rd), Weapon Focus: longarms (5th), Improved Feint (7th), Greater Feint (9th), Enhanced Resistances: DR (11th)
- Class Features: Artificial intelligence, bypass +3, coordinated assault +1, custom rig, expert rig, miracle worker 2/day, override, remote hack
- Drone Chasis: Combat (two melee weapon mounts, plus Advanced Melee Weapon Proficiency)
- Drone Feats: Mobility (1st), Coordinated Shot (3rd), Weapon Focus: advanced melee weapons (6th), Weapon Specialization (9th), Extra Resolve (11th)
- Drone Mods: enhanced armor (1st), speed (3rd), armor slot (5th), cybernetic bridge (7th), enhanced senses (9th), enhanced armor (11th)
- Mechanic Tricks: repair drone (2nd), visual data processor (4th), distracting hack (6th), overclocking (8th), hyperclocking (10th), invisibility bypass processor (12th)
Playing the Build
The first thing that this build does is get longarms up and running for the mechanic as quickly as possible. Honestly, there aren’t that many great feats for a ranged-weapon using mechanic at low levels, and since you’re not forced into small arms like the operative is, there’s no good reason to avoid investing in longarm proficiency. So my first two feats are Longarm Proficiency and Versatile Weapon Specialization, while my third feat is Weapon Focus: longarms. Those are all basically required for a mechanic who plans on fighting even a little bit. So you might be wondering, “Alex, why are you investing in feinting so late?” That’s an excellent question, and the reason is twofold. First, the mechanic’s BAB means that I can’t qualify for Greater Feint, the feat that will allow my drone to benefit from my feinting, until 9th level. You need BAB +6 after all for Greater Feint. In addition, feinting isn’t strong action economy for the mechanic until 7th level anyway when the mechanic’s drone gains expert AI, which allows you to feint and attack while still having the drone take automated actions on its own. Finally, I don’t want to invest in Bluff—I want distracting hack, which means I shouldn’t bother with feinting until I can fit distracting hack into my build. Since the levels you gain feats and mechanic tricks don’t overlap, one of those options is always going to be “sort of bad” until a level passes and I have both, so having distracting hack first at 6th level (meaning I can actually feint as a standard action if I want to) means that feinting is, at least, an option if not a great action economy option.
Drone Feats: Mobility is, in my opinion, a must for the combat drone. It is such a massive swing in AC that protects the drone so effectively from attacks of opportunity that I can’t foresee a situation where I regret my drone not getting smacked into breakable pieces. Coordinated Shot is nice because it buffs everyone in the party, and since this is my SFS character, I won’t be super sad if another melee PC comes to the party with this feat because oh well, that’s just my drone. No harm done. It was tough picking Weapon Focus over Weapon Specialization at 3rd level, but the combat drone has a relatively low chance to hit so I felt it was a smart investment. I take specialization at the next opportunity for a feat at 9th level, and end with Extra Resolve at 11th. More Resolve Points for more opportunities to attack without needing my orders via the Power Core ability is REALLY good.
Drone Mods: Okay, so going over my choices quick, I feel that the enhanced armor mod is mandatory for a combat drone since they’re so difficult to heal. I really want my drone friend to survive if possible…. Additionally, getting my drone into and out of combat is super important, so speed is nice. Armor slot, which does what it says on the tin, is super good. Basically, I can put a jetpack into my drone, giving it a better version of the flight systems mod earlier. Hurray! Cybernetic bridge, from Starfinder Armory, is incredibly good. Basically you get to put one “freebee” cybernetic or magitech augmentation into your drone. If you have the appropriate number of ranks in Engineering or Mysticism, you can install it for FREE. FREE. I like free, and considering you can swap the augmentation once per day with only a little bit of work, this seems extraordinarily good.
Mechanic Tricks: Repair drone is basically mandatory if you’re going combat; your drone is directly in the line of fire and will take more damage as a result. I like visual data processor because it gives a great boost to Perception, and eventually leads into the insanely good invisibility bypass processor ability. Overclocking’s +2 initial bonus is okay, but Hyperclocking’s +1 insight bonus to AC and evasion abilities for your drone are INSANELY good. The real MVP here, however, is distracting hack. This awesome talent allows you to feint using the Computers skill as long as there’s a computer near your enemy to startle them with. This is actually REALLY easy to do considering at 1st-level your custom rig counts as a personal comm unit, which is a Tier 0 Computer. Yeah, that’s a thing. So if you staple a comm unit to your drone and carry your custom rig around with you, you’ll basically be able to feint whatever you want using your absolute best skill. Nifty, right?
Weapons: So this is the part where my build sort of “works”. Basically, the idea is that both the mechanic and the drone will be outfitted with energy weapons. EAC for most creatures is easier to hit than KAC, so the drone’s kind of low attack bonus doesn’t matter as much. At low levels I’ll likely outfit my drone with whatever weapons I can find, but the goal is to find a big two-handed melee weapon for the drone and slap it right onto it for massive swings of damage while my mechanic peppers people with energy blasts too. Currently, I’m planning on going for a “battle DJ” theme with my halfling mechanic having a sonic rifle, his custom rig acting as my holorecord spinners, and his drone acting as a giant subwoofer!
And that my dear readers, is the basics of my build! What do you think? Will this work in Starfinder Society or am I making a terrible mistake? I want to hear your thoughts in the comments section below, or in our Discord server. Don’t hesitate to @Alex Augunas with your thoughts and opinions! Until next time, I’m signing out. Have a wonderful week everyone!
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.