Iconic Design: I’m a Doctor, Not a Priest!

Hello and welcome to Iconic Design! I’m your author and Starfinder character-building guru, Alexander Augunas, and WOW it’s been a long time since you’ve had a double dose of me in the same week, hasn’t it? Not only did I publish my Alex Analyzes article yesterday to cover for Randal (who’s currently in the middle of moving halfway across the country and unpacking his new home), but now here I am, ready to lather your brain up with a new Starfinder character build. Hooray!

The envoy is one of my favorite character classes. I love skill monkeys, and I love that the envoy is great at non-magical support. It’s really refreshing to see people helping people without resorting to magic in a Tabletop RPG. The envoy sometimes gets flack for its design, but I’ve found it to be a super versatile class that can cover a ton of Starfinder character builds. Don’t believe me? Let me show you a build that I’ve dreamed up for a Dawn of Flame adventure path group that I got invited to, code name Dr. Envoy!

Character Build

  • Race: Any.
  • Ability Score Priority: Cha, Int, Dex
  • Theme: Battle Medic
  • Class: Envoy (Medic) 12
    • Alternate Class Features: motivational expertise 1d6+2 (replaces expertise)
    • Expertise Talents: Miracle Worker (3rd), Surgeon (7th), Battlefield Medic (11th)
    • Improvisations: Inspiring Boost (1st), Quick Quaff (4th), Bedside Manner (6th), Inspiring Oration (8th), Watch Your Step (10th), Quick Inspiring Boost (12th)
    • Replacement Class Features: Doctor (2nd), Medical Specialist (9th)
    • Skill Expertise: Medicine (1st), Diplomacy (5th)
  • Feats: Medical Expert (1st), Weapon Specialization: Envoy Weapons (3rd), Quick Draw (3rd), Quicker Trickler (5th), Skill Focus: Medicine (7th), Extra Resolve (9th), Tailored Serum (11th)

Playing the Build

So, the goal of this character is to do whatever it takes to keep allies alive using good, old-fashioned science rather than spellcasting. This build accomplishes this using several different class features and abilities that work together to make the treat deadly wounds task of the Medicine skill as efficient as possible; this is very important, as the number of times per day that you can treat deadly wounds is limited based on your equipment. By default, you can treat a character once per day if you have access to a medkit, an additional time per day if you have the patient in a medical lab. Interestingly enough, you can use an advanced med kit to set up a temporary one-patient medical lab, and based on the rules written for the Medicine skill I think that this temporary lab qualifies for a second use qualifies for the “additional uses of treat deadly wounds” clause, but you’ll have to talk with your GM about that. The difficult part, of course, is that treating deadly wounds is time-consuming and can’t be done nearly as often as casting spells.

Enter this build.

  • By default, Treat Deadly Wounds heals Hit Points equal to the level or CR of the creature you’re healing, plus additional Hit Points equal to your Intelligence modifier if you succeed by 5 or more (DC 30 for a basic medkit or DC 25 for an advanced medkit).
  • Miracle Worker (Expertise Talent) and Bedside Manner (Improvisation) both have a component that allows you to add your Charisma modifier to the total amount of hit points you heal with Treat Deadly Wounds. Unlike bedside manner, miracle worker requires that you beat your target’s DC by 5 or more as well. It’s important to note that currently these two sources of additional Hit Points stack both with themselves and your Intelligence bonus. Furthermore, miracle worker allows you to forgo your expertise bonus on your Medicine check to treat deadly wounds in order to heal a buttload of additional Hit Points if you succeed; it looks akin to the highest-level mystic cure spell that a mystic of your level could cast.
  • Medical Specialist (medic archetype, 9th level) allows you to add your level to the number of Hit Points that your treat deadly wounds cures when you succeed at your check by 5 or more.
  • Surgeon (expertise talent) allows you to use treat deadly wounds on your targets additional times each day, but you have to do so at a higher DC. Battlefield Medic (expertise talent) gives you a free treat deadly wounds on anyone that you stabilize or stop the bleeding of with Medicine, once per day. (This doesn’t count as your treat deadly wounds for that target, and if you have Surgeon you can use Surgeon to use Battlefield Medic again.)
  • Motivational Expertise (alternate class feature) allows you to add your expertise die to any healing that you do, but the healing is Stamina Points. Doctor (medic archetype) causes any healing that your equipment or actions do that heals your target to full Hit Points to “overheal” into their Stamina Points, meaning excess Hit Point healing is applied to Stamina Points.

So with all this in mind, let’s figure out what a treat deadly wounds from this build can do.

  • Assuming you used the ability priority I listed (Cha, Int, Dex), then at 12th level you probably have Cha 24 and Int 20 if you maxed out those ability scores (start with Cha 18 and Int 15 at least, then boost Int and Cha at 5th and 10th levels, then apply a +4 personal upgrade to Cha and a +2 Upgrade to Int).
  • Medicine is an Int -based skill, so if you maxed out Medicine and have the Battle Medic theme (which buffs Medicine), you’d have a Medicine bonus of +23 using the statistics I provided here. (This includes +3 from Skill Focus [Medicine] and +1 from your theme). I didn’t include the minimum result from motivational expertise since I assume we’ll be forgoing that bonus using miracle worker to try and get the bonus healing.
  • Since the Medicine DC is 20 to treat wounds if you have an advanced medkit (you should at 12th level), this means that by default your checks should always succeed, so you should always heal your target for their level / CR plus your level / CR plus your Intelligence bonus +5) and twice your Charisma bonus (+7). Using the numbers we have here and assuming you’re healing a party member (who’d have the same level as you), that’s 36 guaranteed healing, plus 1d6+2 Stamina Points and any overhealing from this action spills into the target’s Hit Points. That’s fine, but a 3rd-level mystic can heal the same amount of Hit Points using healing touch for the same number of times per day. The big advantage is that if you have sprayflesh, the Medical Expert feat allows you to do this as a full action instead of 1 minute (the latter of which is STILL faster than a mystic’s healing touch, though, which takes 10 minutes).
  • As a result, you REALLY want to be going for miracle worker’s bonus dice. This means you have to hit DC 25 instead of DC 20, which means you have a 5% chance of failing the check baseline. Assuming you pass, you’d heal your target for an additional 12d8 healing. That changes this to 12d8+36 Hit Points of healing, which overflows into Stamina Points, plus 1d6+2 Stamina Points. This is a substantial number, as a 4th-level mystic cure spell heals 12d8 + your Wisdom (assuming you use it for the Hit Point healing and not the breath of life effect).
  • At 13th level (which is beyond all but one Adventure Path, the new Devestation Ark AP), you’ll get an extra +1 to your checks, plus a max-level personal upgrade, which means you can do this at-will. Additionally, if you can weasel additional bonuses elsewhere (such as a +1 enhancement bonus from a biohacker’s serums or a mechanic’s miracle worker, or a +2 racial bonus from your race such as for being a lashunta, a ghoran, or a hanakan), you can hit this magical “always max” healing sooner. You simply need a Medicine bonus of +24 or better.

Now, I know what you’re thinking. “Alex! This build is too powerful. You can out-heal the mystic with this build!” Okay, fair. Here are some considerations, however, regarding why it might not be as crazy as it seems.

  • This build can’t heal multiple targets efficiently. A healing-focused mystic can pick up channel heal and life link, both of which are super efficient for healing.
  • This build needs a full action to heal one target for this massive amount. A healing-focused mystic uses a standard action.
  • A healing focused mystic can heal their target for as many additional Hit Points as they’re willing to sacrifice. (This puts the mystic in danger, of course, but the fact remains that a mystic can theoretically hit MUCH higher numbers if they want to.)
  • Treat deadly wounds has a failure chance at all but the highest levels of play.
  • This ability only works with a total of two improvisations (one normal, one replaced with an archetype feature), two expertise talents, a feat, and a skill expertise. It represents a sizable commitment of the envoy’s class features and feats, all of which are limited abilities. A mystic need only choose a single spell to accomplish a similar feat.

It’s also worth noting that massive healing via treat deadly wounds isn’t this character’s only trick. You can also do a lot with serums. Quick Trickler allows you to administer a serum as a standard action instead of a full action, and serums count as a weaponlike item for the purpose of the Quick Draw feat, so you could move, draw a serum as a swift action, and administer as a full action. If you took the time to make the serum into a tailored serum, you would get to add the serum’s item level to the amount of healing it does (+9 for a mk 3 serum), and using that item activates motivational expertise, healing the target for an additional 1d6+2 Stamina Points. You can actually buy a ton of low-level serums and just sit there, trickling them down a patient’s throat to fully restore their Stamina Points and Hit Points using a combination of doctor and motivational expertise. You’re also extremely good at treating poisons and diseases thanks to bedside manner and medical specialist, and inspiring boost allows you to use your actions to restore a friend’s Stamina Points after they get hurt. I’d also recommend picking up a small arm called a shield generator; at this current level, you could buy a 9th-level one and use it to give a target a force field / energy shield that absorbs the next 2d6 damage that the target takes. Considering the cost of using all those sprayfleshes and serums of healing, an ounce of prevention from this shield gun could in fact be worth a pound of cure!

And that’s my doctor build! Hope you enjoy it, and please continue to stay safe while quarantining and check out all of our awesome Know Direction Network content throughout the week!

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.