Welcome to Iconic Design! Where I start your week off right with an exciting character build for the Pathfinder or Starfinder Roleplaying Game! I’m Alexander Augunas, the Everyman Gamer, and today I’m putting together a theoretical envoy build for one of my fellow Know Direction personalities! Those of you who watch our Live Actual Play podcast, Stellar, know that I’m playing with a fantastic group of Know Direction staffers (plus Paizo’s Amanda Hamon Kunz) in the Against the Aeon Throne adventure path! Among our group, Loren’s still pretty new to the whole Starfinder thing, and we’ve been discussing build options often as a build-up to the show. I offered her tons of advice, and with her blessing I’m going to share with you my “sample” build that I wrote for her Stellar character, Sam. Please note that this might not be how she actually ends up building her character; this is just my suggestions to help her get what she wants out of it.
- Race: Human
- Theme: Outlaw.
- Ability Scores: Str 10, Dex 15, Con 10, Int 12, Wis 10, Cha 16
- Feats: Longarm Proficiency (1st; Bonus), Weapon Focus: Longarm (1st), Versatile Weapon Specialization (3rd), Deadly Aim (5th), Quick Draw (7th), Fast Talk (9th), Skill Focus: Intimidate (11th)
- Class Features: expertise (1d6+1)
- Envoy Improvisations: get’em (1st), dispiriting taunt (2nd), quick dispiriting taunt (4th), improved get’em (6th), hurry (8th), improved hurry (10th), expert attack (12th)
- Skill Expertise: Intimidate (1st), Bluff (5th), Diplomacy (9th)
- Expertise Talent: menacing gaze (3rd), create diversion (7th), well-informed (11th)
Playing the Build
When designing this build, Loren told me that the #1 thing she wanted was that she wanted to play a character who worked similarly to Ashe from Blizzard’s hit game, Overwatch. Ashe is pretty straightforward to build: she uses a longarm that possesses a sniper scope, throws grenades, and has a coach pistol that helps her withdraw from a fight. There isn’t a lot we can do about that coach pistol attack; the best way to simulate it would be the parting shot feat, but Mobility + Parting Shot is very feat intensive for an envoy, so I didn’t recommend that for Loren’s build. Instead, I decided to focus on the longarm attacks feat-wise; rifles are iconic to Ashe’s fighting style, and they need a bit of feat support to be worth it for the envoy. Specifically, I recommend taking Longarm Proficiency with the human bonus feat and Weapon Focus: Longarms as the 1st-level feat. Starfinder doesn’t have an unncessary BAB +1 requirement on Weapon Focus, and these two feats go a LONG way towards making anyone great with longarm shots. At 3rd level, Versatile Weapon Specialization is needed to add Loren’s level to damage rolls. Its mandatory to keep up the damage level. I also recommend Deadly Aim at 5th level. Loren is often going to be taking single shots as part of things like improved get’em or simply on her own, so Deadly Aim is actually pretty good here since she won’t have the action economy to full attack. At the capstone of our AP, I recommend Quick Draw because the envoy almost never takes full actions, so most of the time Loren’s going to have a swift action floating around. Might as well have a way to use it with Quick Draw. That being said, Fast Talk might be more iconic to an Ashe-style outlaw, so making that her capstone also makes a lot of sense. I also recommend Skill Focus: Intimidate for a higher level Ashe because with the envoy’s expertise, the feat basically allows her to reroll an expertise die she rolls with any of her expertise skills.
So, what skills SHOULD Ashe take with skill expertise? Intimidate, hands down. Being scary is Ashe’s thing, and it goes great with the dispiriting taunt improvisation. I talked a bit about this improvisation in between episodes on our first Stellar AP stream at Loren’s request; the advantage to this ability is that if you pass the check, you’re rendering the foe shaken. If you fail the check, you’re rendering the foe off-target. No matter WHAT you do, pass or fail, the foe takes a -2 penalty to attack rolls. You know, the IMPORTANT part of the shaken condition. Dispiriting taunt is a debuff that offers consistency more than anything, and when Sam gets the improved version, she can do it as a move action. Get’em is also a favorite tactic of our fearless leader, and its FANTASTIC, so I suggested to Loren she pick up that option shortly after. A perfect combination of actions allows her to taunt as a move action, then use get’em as a standard action combined with a shot from her longarm. Ouch! It may be beyond our game, but picking up hurry and improved hurry are also great, and the high-level expert attack feat allows Loren to dump some Resolve to have the best attack bonus of anyone in the party for ONE shot. Get’em, Loren!
So, maybe Loren doesn’t like these feat choices. What else can she get? Going Improved Feint and Greater Feint is an awesome choice because it gives Loren a move action that she can use against foes that can’t be demoralized, and Greater Feint creates an even larger attack-to-AC swing in our party’s favor. Between get’em and the flat-footed condition, our party would get a massive 4 point swing to AC, and if Xvi also hits the target with a counteragent we’re looking at a 6 point swing. It’s rather insane.
Overall, this is a fun, action-packed build that would allow Loren to be the mean-spirited captain she’s always dreamed of being. A combination of demoralizing and attacking with big guns while bossing her party around with get’em makes this the perfect build for Sam or anyone who wants to be part of the notorious Deadlock Gang! Next time I’m planning on writing an article about what I learned at PaizoCon (which starts THIS WEEK! AHHH!) and after that I’ll be returning to my Kineticists of Tian Xia series. After that will be a new Dev Pit article on the difficulty in choosing where your new content goes. Until then, take care!
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 and Starfinder Roleplaying Games, owns Everyman Gaming LLC, and cohosts Know Direction: Beyond with James Ballod and Jefferson “Perram” Thacker. You can keep up with Alex’s exploits on the Know Direction Discord or at his Twitter, @AIJAug.
Creative Commons Credit: Ashe Overwatch by AyyaSAP