Iconic Design: There’s One Other Name You Might Know Him By

Welcome to Guidance, Private Sanctuary’s source for tips and techniques for the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game, written by Everyman Gamer Alexander Augunas. Today, I’ll be sharing a Star-Lord Iconic Design.

So apparently I was pretty foolish the last time I talked about the Guardians of the Galaxy. I had said that I had covered all of the characters on the team, but I was wrong! So, so wrong! I had forgotten the team’s heart and soul, the glue that holds it together. I forgot Star-Lord!

So today, for our first article after the end of Know Direction Network’s One Hell of an August, I’m going to be writing a build for Peter Quill. Let’s get started.


From MarvelCinematicUniverse.Wikia.com:

Peter Jason Quill, also known as Star-Lord, is a half-human who was abducted by the Ravagers. After his abduction, he began building a name for himself as a legendary outlaw, eventually becoming the leader of the Guardians of the Galaxy.

Deciding to leave the Ravagers, he stole the Orb, unintentionally becoming a part of the Quest for the Orb. During the Quest, he formed an uneasy alliance with Gamora, Drax the Destroyer, Rocket Raccoon, and Groot, and helped stop Ronan the Accuser from destroying Xandar.

After the Battle of Xandar, he left with the other Guardians to do “a little bit of bad and a little bit of good”.

Build Concept

Let’s go over Peter Quill’s powers and abilities, and how we’re going to emulate them in this build.

  • Human (?): Although Peter’s humanity is somewhat in question by the end of the movie, he’s human enough for our build. Bonus feats ate never a bad thing, right?
  • Gunslinger (Pistolero): Peter is an excellent marksman and specializes in one-handed energy blasters. The Pistolero is the perfect archetype for him because it gives him the ability to strike precisely with his blaster blasts. Also, all of the melee weapon fighting that Star-Lord does in the movie is pistol whips, which basically requires the gunslinger class.
  • Swashbuckler (Picaroon): Star-Lord is sassy and charismatic, so I think that a level dip in swashbuckler is basically a requirement, personally. Taking this dip allows Peter to add both his Wisdom and his Charisma to his panache pool, plus it gives him the ability to Two-Weapon fight with piercing weapons and pistols. In my opinion, the absolute best (and most appropriate) weapon for this is the player’s choice between the spiked gauntlet and the cestus, which both are piercing weapons that don’t fully occupy the gunslinger’s hand. This is treated as a bit of a weapon of last result in this build, however; you won’t see me building upon Star-Lord’s ability to deal melee weapon damage at all.
  • Perform (dance): I tried SO hard to get Peter Quinn ranks in Perform (dance) for this build, after his ending scene with what CLEARLY looked like the fascinate bardic performance. But sadly it wasn’t meant to be; no good way of making it work. Instead, the Fabulist grit feat covers this role somewhat.

With all this out of the way, let’s get started on the build!

Early Levels (1–7)

  • Classes: gunslinger (pistolero) 6, swashbuckler 1 (picaroon)
  • Feats: Gunsmith (Bonus), Point-Blank Shot (Bonus), Precise Shot (1st), Rapid Reload (3rd), Weapon Focus: pistol (Bonus), Rapid Shot (5th), Fabulist (7th)
  • Abilities: deeds, grit, gunsmithing, nimble +1, panache, pistol training, two-weapon finesse
  • Gunslinger Deeds: gunslinger’s dodge (1st), quick clear (1st), gunslinger initiative (3rd), pistol-whip (3rd), utility shot (3rd)
  • Swashbuckler Deeds: derring-do (1st), dodging panache (1st), melee shooter (1st)

Get used to having a single level of swashbuckler, because that’s all that’s really needed. For the early levels, the big abilities are all in gunslinger with the biggest ability being pistol training, the ability to add Dex to damage to all firearms. Aside from the minor multiclassing, this build is pretty standard for most gunslingers with the exception of the Fabulist feat, which captures a lot of Star-Lord’s personality. In addition to giving a small bonus on Perform checks and making Perform a class skill, it allows Star-Lord to regain grit-panache when he uses Bluff to convince someone of an outlandish story. That’s fun and pretty on-theme for Star-Lord’s character; he’s always trying to convince people of his outlaw background when he’s actually an abductee.

Without wasting too much time on a simple setup, let’s move on where things get a touch more complex: the mid levels.

Mid Levels (8 –14)

  • Classes: gunslinger (pistolero) 6, swashbuckler 1 (picaroon), fighter (weapon master) 7
  • Feats: Gunsmith (Bonus), Point-Blank Shot (Bonus), Precise Shot (1st), Rapid Reload (3rd), Weapon Focus: pistol (Bonus), Rapid Shot (5th), Fabulist (7th), Deadly Aim (Bonus), Dodge (Bonus) Mobility (9th), Dazzling Display (Bonus), Deft Shootist Deed (11th), Blind-Fight (Bonus), Leaping Shot Deed (13th)
  • Abilities: deeds, grit, gunsmithing, nimble +1, reliable strike 1/day, panache, pistol training, two-weapon finesse, weapon guard +2, weapon training +2
  • Gunslinger Deeds: gunslinger’s dodge (1st), quick clear (1st), gunslinger initiative (3rd), pistol-whip (3rd), utility shot (3rd)
  • Swashbuckler Deeds: derring-do (1st), dodging panache (1st), melee shooter (1st)

Neither gunslinger nor swashbuckler has any abilities that Star-Lord needs past their respective levels, so I figured that the best approach would be to go fighter. But not just ANY fighter, weapon master fighter. Weapon Master is an awesome multiclass if you’re planning to use a single weapon; it gives weapon training earlier, which means a faster bonus on attack and damage rolls for you, plus it gives you some legitimately neat abilities as you level up in addition to bonus feats.

Feat-wise, the battle plan is to pick up as many of the strange, somewhat obscure grit feats as possible. Most grit feats are NOT combat feats, but require combat feats as prerequisites. This means that the battle plan is to spend Star-Lord’s fighter bonus feats on prerequisite feats as often as possible while grabbing grit feats using character advancement. Luckily, our 7 levels of not-fighter actually make it so Star Lord’s bonus feats generally come online at the same time as his standard feats, meaning that you can easily take something cool at the same time as a boring prerequisite feat. The two most important feats that you probably do not want to take are Dodge and Mobility, both of which are prerequisites for two separate grit feats (Deft Shootist Deed and Leaping Shot Deed). Leaping shot is basically a better version of Shot on the Run that’s exclusive to gunslingers while deft shootist allows a gunslinger to spend grit to load and shoot her firearm without provoking attacks of opportunity. Personally, I think that deft shootist is better so I recommend it first, but that’s up to you.

While we’re trying to grab our first two grit feats, I also recommend setting up for the third. Ricochet Shot Deed (which we’ll see at the endgame) allows you to mess around with cover substantially. For example, you could shoot a ceiling square and use that square to ricochet the bullet straight down at your enemy, effectively nullifying any cover that the target has from your allies. We need Blind-Fight to grab Ricochet Shot Deed, however, so we’ll be picking that up here.

Well, that’s all for now. Let’s move onward.

Endgame (15+)

  • Classes: gunslinger (pistolero) 6, swashbuckler 1 (picaroon), fighter (weapon master) 13
  • Feats: Gunsmith (Bonus), Point-Blank Shot (Bonus), Precise Shot (1st), Rapid Reload (3rd), Weapon Focus: pistol (Bonus), Rapid Shot (5th), Fabulist (7th), Deadly Aim (Bonus), Dodge (Bonus) Mobility (9th), Dazzling Display (Bonus), Deft Shootist Deed (11th), Blind-Fight (Bonus), Leaping Shot Deed (13th), Quick Draw (Bonus), Ricochet Shot Deed (15th), FREE BEE (Bonus), Gun Twirling (17th), FREE BEE (Bonus), Extra Grit (19th)
  • Abilities: deadly critical 1/day, deeds, grit, gunsmithing, nimble +1, mirror move, reliable strike 2/day, panache, pistol training, two-weapon finesse, weapon guard +2, weapon training +3
  • Gunslinger Deeds: gunslinger’s dodge (1st), quick clear (1st), gunslinger initiative (3rd), pistol-whip (3rd), utility shot (3rd)
  • Swashbuckler Deeds: derring-do (1st), dodging panache (1st), melee shooter (1st)

End game! Weapon master gets another small crop of interesting abilities, but honestly, you’re not here for those abilities. You’re hear for the crazy ranged tactics, so let’s talk about them. We pick up Quick Draw alongside Ricochet Shoot Deed at 15th level, and then use Quick Draw to qualify for the last grit feat that we care about at 17th level, Gun Twirling. This awesome feat allows you to feint with a gun (very iconic for someone like Star-Lord) and if you have Quick Draw, you gain the abvility to holster a one-handed firearm as a free action. Incredible. This is basically how dual-wielding firearms works; you get a bunch of firearms with big capacities and use this feat to cycle through them. Expensive, but doable.

After Gun Twirling, there’s nothing you really NEED; I recommend two Free Bees and a selection of the Extra Grit feat. As an alternative, your weapon training ability caps out at 18th level (you won’t have enough levels to gain the final +1 bonus) and what you get at fighter 12 (a bonus feat) and fighter 13 (deadly critical) isn’t drop-dead amazing. If there’s something else you want more, consider those levels fluid.

So, what’s Star-Lord supposed to do? Tricks. Lots and lots of crazy, more-powerful-than-ordinary deeds tricks. The grit feats have always been, “Deeds you want but didn’t get for free,” so specializing on deeds gives you many clutch tricks to rely on. You can clear your gun as a standard action (or a move by spending panache) surprise enemies by fighting with two weapons using a cestus, and doing so without provoking using the melee shooter deed, get a bonus on skill checks, regain panache by being social, make a diving jump, shooting as you go, and more. You get what amounts to all of the damage-boosting abilities that a gunslinger can take and even have Weapon Specialization and Greater Weapon Focus available to you if you want them (a worthy choice for your freebees). This build has the numerical advantages of the fighter as well as the awesome, cinematic tricks of the gunslinger and I think that it looks like a blast to play, personally.

So, what did you think of this build for the final Guardian of the Galaxy? Is this a build you’d use? (Personally, I probably will if I end up playing a PFS gunslinging character.) What would you change? What do you like/dislike? Leave your thoughts and comments below, and I’ll see you back at Guidance next week! 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 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.

Alex Augunas

Alexander "Alex" Augunas is an author and behavioral health worker living outside of Philadelphia in the United States. He has contributed to gaming products published by Paizo, Inc, Kobold Press, Legendary Games, Raging Swan Press, Rogue Genius Games, and Steve Jackson Games, as well as the owner and publisher of Everybody Games (formerly Everyman Gaming). At the Know Direction Network, he is the author of Guidance and a co-host on Know Direction: Beyond. You can see Alex's exploits at http://www.everybodygames.net, or support him personally on Patreon at http://www.patreon.com/eversagarpg.

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  1. Darrell Vin Zant

    I might consider a 2-level dip for the Grig Jig Rogue talent. It’s not exactly the dancing scene from the movie, but it’s very close.

  2. Don

    Interesting build, taking Picaroon was particularly inspired. While Pistolero fits the theme it has a reputation as a bad archetype. I would stick with regular Gunslinger myself. I would also take either a spell-less ranger archetype or a Order of the Shield Cavalier over weapon master. Star-Lord isn’t shown to be too skilled in the film but I would want to have as high of ranks as possible in charisma, bluff, acrobatics, and perception, sense motive, and perform to really capture the flavor of the character. The fighter’s 2 skill points per level would really handicap this build skill wise. I would like to build Star-Lord for PFS play and will certainly use this build as a foundation and guide for feat selection. Keep up the awesome work!!