We’ve covered a lot of bases in this series – Ace Pilots, Bounty Hunters, Icons, Mercenaries, Outlaws, Priests, and Scholars, which means that today we will be talking about the Spacefarer and Xenoseeker Starfinder themes, plus briefly touching on the Themeless concept.
That’s still a ton of ground to cover, and I’m a bit intimidated even thinking about it. Concluding this intense detail into Starfinder’s Themes will be bittersweet–not only because it’ll be over, but also because there’s no way to fully encapsulate the entire, endless spectrum of characters you can create within Paizo’s Starfinder RPG setting.
That’s what’s really great about the Themeless option; if none of the other Themes do your character justice in describing their schtick, then you can always go Themeless and solve that particular problem.
Whenever I create a character, I will usually start by trying to find an interesting or obscure Feat, characteristic, Theme, etc. and build the character around that. Some people are SUPER creative and come up with amazing backstories first and build the character to fit their artistic vision.
Although that’ll happen on occasion, I’ll generally determine a character’s backstory after I’ve fleshed out their vitals and statblock. The important thing for me is for my characters to stand out. Not from a min-max perspective, but from a standpoint of going outside the norm and playing a character with abilities that people may have never experienced before.
Stone Warder Sorcerer? Breadth of Experience Feat? Archivist Bard? Each of these types of choices go leaps and bounds to hint at what the character is all about.
A Stone Warder Sorcerer would be something like an Earth Bender from Avatar, gaining their powers from the rocky world around them. Characters with a Breadth of Experience are ancient, meaning that they’ve seen and heard nearly all there is to know. Bards with the Archivist archetype aren’t going to be dishing out much damage, but they are constantly scribbling down their experiences and every bit of lore they can get their hands on.
And just like that, a single piece of your character’s statblock can literally DEFINE them.
That’s partly been the point of these posts about the Themes in Starfinder. Sure, you can come up with an absolutely AWESOME character concept and attach a Theme that fits that character. No problem!
But if you’re having trouble coming up with a character, the options listed in these posts are meant to assist you in launching off into the incredible Imagisphere and help you create a truly unique character.
Alright, I’ve babbled so much that I’ve turned into a brook. Time to finish off the series!
(For more on creating a great backstory.)
Starfinder Theme Focus: Spacefarers
“Your longing to journey among the stars can’t be sated. You yearn for the adventure of stepping onto a distant world and exploring its secrets. You tend to greet every new opportunity with bravery and fortitude, confident that your multitude of skills will pull you through. Perhaps you simply find joy in the act of traveling with your companions, or perhaps you are just out to line your pockets with all sorts of alien loot!” – Starfinder Core Rulebook
Let’s face it. You saw a map of the Pact Worlds and immediately searched the best places to visit on each planet. Theme parks, monuments, parks – you want to visit them all and document your travels on a blog that you’re still coming up with a creative name for.
Experiences are the best currency to be paid in, and your goal is to become filthy rich on them. Now, you might not understand all of the different cultures or customs in the places that you’re visiting, but in your eyes everybody else should be happy that you’re bolstering the economy in your destinations.
Excuse me, could you please take my photo?
Perhaps in the same vein as the Environmental Engineer concept from the Scholar post, this character would be all about the weather and is drawn to the varied climates and conditions present in the Pact World planets.
Have you ever seen the sunrise through noxious fuchsia clouds or felt thick, oily rain land on your head? All of these phenomena can be explained through science.
Maybe you’ll publish a scholarly journal on your findings, or maybe you’re more of a storm-chaser bent on surviving the most wild and dangerous conditions. No matter how you spin it, you’re fascinated by the weather, whether your companions like it or not.
Hospitable Flight Attendant
Time to make everybody else’s travel experiences as enjoyable as possible. You’re an expert at socializing and keeping everybody’s minds off the baggage fees and severe lack of legroom. In your eyes, there’s no part of a space commute that can’t be made better by a tall glass of sherry or a delicious sack of Zeni’s Zesty Znacks.
While traveling, you are sure to keep all the amenities nearby to heighten the enjoyment of those around you. You might have gotten into the gig because you wanted to see the universe, and maybe that itch is just beginning to surface once more.
Hardly anything fancy about this one: you love exploring. The mystery, intrigue, and discovery thrill you to pieces.
Every time you come across a corner, you just HAVE to see what’s on the other side of it. This is known to get you into heaps of trouble and situations where you end up on the wrong end of a ‘No Trespassing’ sign. But, through your foolhardy actions, you’ve been able to experience things that very few other people have, and your stories are the things of legend.
There are countless star sectors to visit and only so much time…what are you waiting for?!
Your goal? The perfect shot. You might be a movie producer scouting locations for your next sector-buster. Or maybe you’re an artistic photographer determined to capture the essence of the human (and alien) experience.
You never miss a moment and you are incredibly easy to track based on the trail of snapshots that you leave behind. Whether you’re honing your craft or a complete amateur when it comes to lighting, focus, and apertures, space grants you the freedom to create magnificent works of art.
Every horizon has another potential shot, and you’ll hitchhike your way around the galaxy if it means catching your elusive unicorn.
Starfinder Theme Focus: Xenoseeker
“The thought of meeting alien life-forms excites you. The more different their appearances and customs are from yours, the better! You either believe they have much to teach you or you want to prove you are better than them. Of course, the only way to accomplish your goal is to leave the Pact Worlds and travel to the Vast, where a virtually endless number of aliens await.” – Starfinder Core Rulebook
This concept makes perfect sense. As an anthropologist, you live and love to study the differences between humanoid species. You can even take it a step further to be fascinated with specific aspects of each of the races.
What are the secrets behind the Lashunta’s psychic abilities? How tough are the scales of the Vesk? So many questions and not enough time to find all the answers.
You might become acutely interested in your crewmates, asking them all sorts of intrusive questions in order to develop an understanding for their specific gifts and talents. Beings with surgical enhancements might be particularly interesting to you as humanoids continue their never-ending quest for power.
Inquisitive Marketing Guru
If you want to sell something, you MUST know your market. Double-blind surveys, focus groups, experimental expos…you will stop at nothing to understand the people buying the products you’re pitching.
Whether you’re a part of an elaborate Ponzi scheme or a well-known enterprise, you are hungry to understand the psychology of buying patterns and habitual spending. If you can unlock those secrets, you will be the most valuable asset to whichever company decides to employ you. And, by developing an understanding for the beings around you, you’ll undoubtedly be an asset in any situation involving sweet-talking with honeyed words.
Heck – maybe if you can find some delicious edible aliens, you will be the next great snack mogul in the Pact Worlds! Second only to Zeni himzelf.
You embrace the uniqueness of yourself and encourage others to do the same. Stand out from the crowd, you say. Set yourself apart! Implant yourself with one of the many augmentations that you can provide!
Your interest in the countless creeping aliens and obscure creatures skittering around the Vast stimulate your imagination and provide you with the necessary…tools to allow you to develop exciting new attachments for your adoring fans. Or maybe you’re more secretive and don’t think your work should see the light of day.
Will you be a mad scientist or a renowned surgeon? The choice is yours!
People will pay loads of money to see an exhibit they’ve never experienced before. There are countless numbers of mindless creatures out in the far reaches of space that would be welcomed additions to a zoological attraction.
Your history in taming wild beasts and soothing the animalistic nature in the creatures you’ve encountered makes you the perfect person for the job. There is a fantastic space zoo that’ll pay top dollar for new specimens, and you’re itching to get paid.
This isn’t to say that you are inconsiderate of the creatures’ feelings, however. The zoo that you’re working for is more akin to a resort, and they take great care of the residents that live there.
Talkative Space Taxi Driver
While taking fares, you’ve come across just about every type of intelligent being known in the sector. Long nights that turned into early mornings were a staple of yours, and you’ve delivered passengers to slums, clubs, and luxury estates, learning about them all the while.
You love a good conversation; it helps pass the time and gives you an amazing repertoire of stories to share with your crewmates. Everybody comes from a different background, and you have learned to appreciate the intricacies and uniqueness that everybody brings to the figurative table.
You might have a bit of a lead foot as well…but who doesn’t?
Starfinder Theme Focus: Themeless
If you don’t fit the bill with any of the other Themes, then you are probably Themeless. By choosing to forgo a Theme designation, your statistical bonuses will suffer compared to a character who has a Theme, so if you’re more concerned with numbers and maximizing your character, then this might not be the route for you. Choosing this option, however, will allow you to portray your character as a vast canvas, awaiting your masterful strokes.
Hopefully I’ve portrayed the wide variety of concepts that the Starfinder Themes can cover. With a dash of creativity, you can morph at least one of the Themes to fit the base core of your character.
Try to think about each of the Themes in new ways; don’t get caught up in the specific ‘title’ of the Theme. Read the blurbs about each one and search for synonyms that line up with the character that you’re envisioning in your mind.
At the end of the day, play a character that you WANT to play. You should be excited every time that you portray your character, playing the game in whatever way is going to be the most fun for you.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this series on the Themes of Starfinder! See you in the stars!
All 10 Starfinder Themes: