Starfleet Design — Alex’s Dead Suns Soldier Build

Hello, everyone! Welcome to another installment of Starfleet Design! I’m going to waste no time here—starting next month, James Ballod of Code Switch / Know Direction: Beyond fame is going to be running Dead Suns for me and some friends, and so I’ve been spending much of November trying to get myself together to play this. For the next few weeks, I’m going to talk about my preparations for Dead Suns: this week I’m going to be sharing my character build with you, next week I’ll talk about the materials I cobbled together to play Dead Suns, and last I’ll share my character’s backstory and talk about where I drew inspiration from when actually making my character.

My in-progress mini for this character! I’ve touched him up a bit since then, but this is basically his color scheme. THERE’S NO SWORD LIKE CHAIN SWORD!

I think the process of making a character build is largely unsung in Roleplaying Games; for me, it is crucial that I know where I’m going before I start playing a character. It helps me have a sense of progression for the character I’m playing, and it also keeps me from option paralysis—that terrible feeling when you realize that you have 50+ Player Companions and only one feat for your current level. Usually when I get ready to start an adventure, the character build is the first thing I design, and then I go back and try to come up with a character who would value the powers I want my character to have. But enough about that stuff, on to the design!

Build Concept

Any information important to understanding the build or its roots goes here.

  • Classes: soldier 12
  • Feats: Step Up (1st; Human Bonus); Weapon Focus: advanced melee (1st), Deadly Aim (2nd; Bonus), Weapon Specialization (3rd; Bonus), Mobility (3rd), Spring Attack (4th; Bonus), Coordinating Shot (5th), Step Up and Strike (6th; Bonus), Fleet (7th), Versatile Focus (8th; Bonus), Opening Volley (9th; Bonus), Nimble Moves (9th), Improved Initiative (10th; Bonus), Diehard (11th), Quick Draw (12th; Bonus)
  • Gear Boosts: melee striker (3rd); bullet barrage (7th); armored advantage (11th)
  • Primary Fighting Style (Blitz): rapid response (1st); charge attack (5th), keep fighting (9th)
  • Secondary Fighting Style (Hit-and-Run): Opening Volley (9th)

Play Summary

Basically, my build is based around movement—being at the right place at the right time. I want to primarily use melee weapons, and in Starfinder that means you likely need a decent movement speed. I picked the Blitz style because it gives you a flat +10 foot movement speed bonus in addition to a nice initiative bonus; eventually I pick up Fleet and Improved Initiative, which stack with the blitz fighting style. I also grabbed Hit-and-Run because Opening Volley is a useful feat, and considering how early Dead Suns ends that feat is likely to be the most useful thing I can pick up from my secondary style during the course of the adventure.

I want to eventually branch into ranged weapons, so I tried to time my selection of Versatile Focus (giving me Weapon Focus with all weapons that I’m proficient with) around my selection of the bullet barrage gear boost. (I also get Opening Volley after I “get good” with ranged weapons.) Speaking of that, I also know that the other people at my table are going to mostly use ranged weapons, so I picked up Coordinated Shot to boost them a bit—giving all my allies a +1 bonus to hit anything I’m fighting in melee seems pretty amazing to me, considering how rare flat bonuses to attack rolls is.

From there, I picked feats that went along with my speed and mobility theme—Mobility and Spring Attack were no-brainers. (Charging is generally better for this build than Spring Attack in terms of damage, but Spring Attack lets me move without provoking an attack of opportunity from my target, which is very tactically sound for this build if I want to get somewhere without risking a beating from a specific opponent.) Step Up and Step Up and Strike are also really helpful when you’re trying to keep the pressure on an enemy in melee. Nimble Moves helps me ensure that I can actually keep up with enemies when I’m forced to be on the ground, and Quick Draw helps me switch between weapons faster (since by the time I get it, I’m going to have decent bonuses with most weapons.

Lastly, Diehard. Really, it fits my character extraordinarily well (see you in three weeks), which was my major reason for taking it. I think it’s important to have a couple feats like that in your build when you have room for them.

And that’s my soldier build! What do you think? Am I going to own Dead Suns, or get stomped into the dust? Leave your comments and questions, and I’ll see you back here next week when I talk about the materials I cobbled together for Dead Suns. Ciao!

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 Alexs 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, or support him personally on Patreon at


  1. Aamir

    Isn’t Opening Volley a very circumstantial feat? If you’re forced into melee or don’t have a ranged target to hit on your first turn then the feat does nothing. Only if you have a target that you can hurt with ranged and then run up to hit the very next turn does it do anything. It seems really restrictive for a once per combat boost.

    • Alex Augunas

      It’s not a once per combat boost—its whenever I open with a ranged attack and follow it with a melee attack. Attack bonuses are tough to get in Starfinder, and if modifying my playstyle makes it easier for me to hit, then it could be worth it. 🙂