Iconic Design: Starfinder Battle Leader

Hello, everyone, and welcome to Iconic Design! Last week I shared a bit of helpful advice for designing archetypes in the Starfinder Roleplaying Game, and in that article I named what is (in my opinion) the best-designed archetype of Starfinder—the battle leader. In today’s article, I’m going to share my build for my brenneri battle leader that I’m currently playing in a Signal of Screams campaign. Ready? Let’s get started!

Character Build

  • Race: Brenneri.
  • Theme: Tempered Pilgrmam (Cha / +1 Culture)
  • Class: Envoy (Battle Leader) 12
    • Alternate Class Features: Motivational Expertise
    • Altered Class Features (Battle Leader): Got ‘Em (2nd), Glorious Shout [Regroup] (12th)
    • Skill Expertise: Medicine (1st), Diplomacy (5th), Bluff (9th)
    • Envoy Improvisations: Get ’em (1st), Inspiring Boost (4th), Improved Get ‘Em (6th), Quick Inspiring Boost (8th), Bedside Manner (10th)
    • Expertise Talents: Battlefield Medic (3rd), Surgeon (7th), Miracle Worker (11th)
  • Feats: Longarm Proficiency (1st), Weapon Focus: longarms (3rd), Weapon Specialization: longarms (5th), Deadly Aim (7th), Improved Feint (9th), Greater Feint (11th)

This is a picture I had commissioned by Jacob Blackmon of my brenneri envoy! If you like the style, hit him up for a reasonably priced commission at commissionprodigyduck@gmail.com.

Playing the Build

My battle leader is very much designed to do two things relatively well: healing and buffing. This was a necessity based on party role: originally my character was a brenneri mystic who filled those roles, this character’s husband in fact, but he died during the first book of Signal of Screams. So I wanted to make sure the niche that I had set out to fill was still filled, but in a different way. You see, buffing is kind of difficult for the mystic. The number of raw numeric bonuses that the mystic has is lower than, say, the cleric in Pathfinder 1E, and most of those buffs aren’t very resource efficient. Not like the envoy, who can use Get ‘Em all day every day.

In building this character, I decided to take a bunch of the class’s Medicine-themed options, and I have to say I’m really impressed by how much better the envoy is at the Medicine skill baseline than, say, the biohacker. That feels weird to me personally, but it worked out well for Raka! Miracle Worker is an awesome expertise talent that gives me an opportunity to add my Charisma to my healing done with Treat Deadly Wounds, while Surgeon lets me use Treat Deadly Wounds on creatures more often then I would otherwise be able to. Battlefield Medic is a useful ability that allows me to pass out additional healing when someone’s life is on the line (which is also nice, because it lets me use TDW as part of a standard action when TDW is normally much longer then that). Motivational Expertise is the unsung hero of this build, however, as it allows me to give Stamina Points equal to my expertise die to any ally whose Stamina Points or Hit Points I heal using any of my actions. While this certainly means Treat Deadly Wounds, I prefer to use it in conjunction with serums of healing. I buy a butt load of serums and just administer them to allies for about a minute; they get a ton of Hit Points back and for each action I use, they also get Stamina Points back. It basically makes me super efficient with serums of healing, which my party has really enjoyed so far.

Of course, none of that speaks to why the Battle Leader archetype is so great. The answer? Got ‘Em. I love this ability SO much, because basically whenever me or one of my allies successfully crits an enemy or downs them, I can trigger the reaction to give them a damage bonus equal to half my Charisma. While it’s tempting to take this cry again to boost the damage bonus to equal my full Charisma bonus, my plan for the book’s end game is to take Glorious Shout instead, which will allow me to restore Stamina Points to an ally who triggers one of my conditions instead. What’s nice about that is that the victory cry doesn’t count against my Inspiring Boost envoy improvisation, and when I get Regroup I’ll also be getting Glorious Shout, which means I can trigger both Got ‘Em and Regroup with the same action. Nice!

As for my feats, Raka’s backstory is that she was a combat medic who married a prophet of Hylax (my previous character), so she became a pilgrim after spending her time in Varturan’s military, As a result, most of her feats are very weapon-proficiency oriented, favoring longarms and feats that allow me to boost the action economy of them. Deadly Aim is actually decent here, as I almost never full attack with this character due to always wanting an action for Get ‘Em or something else. I also picked up Improved Feint and Greater Feint so I have something I can do when I’m not able to shoot for some reason. (Say because my uplifted bear ally is blocking the hallway and I literally can’t take any shots without hitting his massive head. Hypothetically of course.)

And that’s my Battle Herald build! Hope you enjoy it, and please continue safe during all this quarantining and enjoy our GenCon coverage!

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.