Two weeks in a row? I told you that I’m completely committed to giving you five character ideas for every Starfinder Theme. Until I’ve accomplished that goal, you’re going to have to deal with me.
I apologize in advance.
Last week, we covered two different sorts of technicians. One was focused heavily on mechanical technology. The other was more about the integration of technology with natural biology.
This week, we’re putting all of that in the past. Instead, we’re setting our sights on the future. The two themes this week are the Career Trooper and the Colonist. One that’s been in the thick of it, and one that’s just getting started.
And we’re off!
Starfinder Theme Focus: Career Trooper
“You are a career member of a military and have been embroiled in conflicts and military bureaucracy for many years. During your enlisted time, you have trained with top ground troops, participated in war games that have turned deadly, and been privy to military intelligence given only to commanders. You are prepared for almost anything on the battlefield that your own commanders or your enemies able to throw at you.”Starfinder Adventure Path #19: Fate of the Fifth
Years of studying charts and military formations have allowed you to become a tactical mastermind. Whether it’s coordinating troops on the ground or squadron assault formations in the sky, your mind can make sense of the chaos created by battle. You always like to have a plan, but improvisation isn’t out of the question.
Where did your brilliant strategic mind come from? How long have you served in a military outfit, or was your service to a corporation? Have you ever been a part of a rebellion? What are some of your favorite maneuvers or formations? Is your name attached to any famous battles in history?
Are you mostly focused on a single facet of combat, like ground troops, or do you perform better when you control the entire picture? How often do you still participate in these battles? What’s the highest rank you obtained? Why did you leave your service? Do you have to draw things out, or do you see them perfectly in your mind’s eye?
In the ever-present, never-ending struggle for galactic power, people need weapons. They need bigger and badder guns than the planet next door, and you’re more than happy to oblige. You have obscene connections in the supply chain of conflict. From manufacturers to distributors to researchers, you define the cutting edge of things that cut edges. It’s like Tony Stark presenting the Jericho, except with 150% more explosions.
Do you operate under an alias or do you happily wear the crown of one of the galaxy’s greatest arms dealers? Where did you get your start in this industry? Is everything legal and above water, or do you deal with some shady people? Do you have any specific customers that you refuse to deal with, or does money do the talking? What are your motivations? Are you orchestrating an elaborate coup?
What is your weapon of choice? Do you typically have bodyguards to protect you? Are there some who wish to see you dethroned? How do you handle those sorts of threats? Is your base of operations in a static location, or is it constantly shifting? What’s the latest weapon on the market that everybody HAS to have? Do you also deal in…actual arms?
Teachers share knowledge in a wide variety of skills. From computer science to mathematics, their calling is to shape the minds of the youth. In your case, you are putting your military knowledge to the test by getting swaths of new recruits ready for the frontlines. Not everyone is cut out for a life of war and battle, and you know how to weed out the bad apples. You are given a lump of coal and you turn it into a beautiful batch of diamonds.
Do you train recruits for the military, a corporation, or a raiding pirate party? Who sends you the ‘new meat’? What is your primary teaching philosophy? How about discipline? Are you a believer in physical pain bringing results, or do you whip the recruits in line with different methods? Do you find yourself spending more time with the top-level students, or do you focus on those who are struggling?
What’s the hardest part about your job? When do you know that someone is ready to be cut loose? They say that those who can’t, teach. Does that saying apply to you? Is your knowledge base grounded in practical experience or theoretical learning? Do you have a strong personality or are you a pushover? Is this your full-time gig, or are you more of a consultant or substitute?
When battles break down or tactics change, word needs to travel quickly. In the age of data pads and interplanetary communications, technology is usually taken for granted. But somebody has to ensure that the infrastructure functions correctly and makes sure the messages get to their destination. And what happens out in the remote parts of the Drift where communication requires more rudimentary and primitive methods? Enter the dispatcher.
You excel at all forms of communication. Written, spoken, gestured, written in space spaghetti sauce – you’ve done it all. How many different languages do you know? What is your native language? Are you constantly learning more ways to communicate? Have you developed a unique form of shorthand to make your messages more quickly?
Who entrusts you with their messages? What level of security clearance do you have? Do you ever open or decrypt the messages that you’re in charge of? Have you withheld a message based on its contents? Does duty come before morality? What other skills do you possess to make you exceptional at your position? Have you seen the movie 1917?
Professional War Gamer
War isn’t that hard. Paper beats rock, rock beats scissors, and scissors beat paper. Everything is a combination of pitting the correct combination of advantages against your adversaries. You consider yourself to be an expert tactician and solider, despite having minimal experience. Who needs that practical stuff anyways? All of your knowledge is based on the playing of war games, and in your eyes it’s just as legitimate as the real thing.
What sorts of games are you best at? Do you consistently win tournaments and use war gaming as a primary source of income? Is this more of a hobby for you? Do you know all of the military jargon and lingo? Would it be easy for you to impersonate someone based on your knowledge? Have you every cosplayed during one of your sessions?
Has your knowledge ever come in handy? What do others think of your obsession? Do you flaunt around your war gaming prowess to the point of exhausting those around you? Are you tolerable? The most important question to answer, however, is: Do you like Monopoly?
Starfinder Theme Focus: Colonist
“You have an unquenchable trailblazer’s spirit, matched with the training and fortitude you’ll need to carve out a new life for yourself and others in the wilderness. Although you might be the sort to go it alone on the frontier, you’re more likely part of a small group of settlers. You might be preparing for your first voyage, or you might be a grizzled veteran who has already helped found several successful colonies.”Starfinder Adventure Path #7: The Reach of Empire
Your wish is simple: to go where nobody has gone before. You want to make the first footprints on a new planet and to discover the undiscovered. People like you are exceptionally curious and bold, not unlike Sweet Chili Doritos. Nothing can get in your way, and you’re outfitted for whatever Mother Nature can throw at you.
Sure, it’s definitely dangerous to be venturing out on one’s own. You take all of the necessary precautions to ensure your safety. Whether it’s state-of-the-art gear or enrolling in survival courses at the local co-op, you’re ready. If you run into something you don’t know the answer to, your ingenuity will lead you home.
Are you credited with any specific discoveries, or are you venturing out on your own for the first time? Do you actually have a lot of knowledge and preparedness, or is that just a lie you tell others so that they sleep better at night? Where have you traveled? Do you stick to the Pact Worlds, trying to find an unknown corner of a planet? How do you fund your expeditions?
Do you usually travel alone or with others? What dangerous situations have you found yourself in? Are there any climates that you gravitate towards? How much research do you conduct on a location before you get your boots on the ground?
Colonists require some level of danger-seeking. Jumping off cliffs and swimming with strange beasts is only the tip of the proverbial iceberg. You’ve done all that and now you want to try your hand at something else. You want to be thrown to the wolves in a new place with none of the trappings of civilization. In fact, if you really want those trappings, you’re going to have to create the civilization for yourself.
Despite being in a group, you want nothing more than to slip away and see what danger you can get yourself into. Surely there must be some carnivorous species here that will serve as a willing challenger for your senses. Or maybe there will be some toxic sludge or magical anomaly to give you that all-time rush.
How do you usually get your adrenaline fix? What are you hoping to find or experience by colonizing a new planet? Do you have a line that won’t cross as far as something that’s too dangerous? Is there a high-adventure group that you’re a part of? Are you more into risky sports or is it really just anything that gets your blood pumping?
Do you secretly have some kind of death wish? What are your goals in life? Is there a journal of your experiences, or do you have a bucket list of things that you want to accomplish? Is being a colonist actually exciting? Do you make a point to wear a helmet?
Whenever a dropship brings a fresh load of colonists to a planet, it’s important that someone is there to document the experience. That means collecting firsthand accounts, drawing accurate maps, and cataloguing the local flora and fauna. It takes someone with an insane level of detail and diligence to make sure no stone goes unturned. It’s not just for the history books either; you’re proud to say that the authorities have even consulted your notes for solving crimes. Who’s the nerd now?
Detail is your middle name. When others would say the sky is blue, you would describe its brilliant azure hue with fluffy nimbus clouds. Why use two words when ten would be better?
How do you document your findings? Is it electronically or do you keep paper records? How are your artistic talents? What is your primary motivation for keeping meticulous records? Would others consider you to be a busy-body? When’s the last time you got a full-night’s rest?
Do you employ any technological help to assist you, like a drone or specialty equipment? Are your works eventually published? How many planets have you been a part of documenting? Do you have a background in investigation? Are you an informant, keeping tabs on colonists for the expedition’s benefactor? You carry a bunch of scrolls, right?
Your job is to bring colonists to their new forever-home. It’s sort of like piloting a galactic bus, except that you typically only ever see your fares one time and that’s it. It’s pretty easy for you to tell who’s going to make it and who’s chapter might be ending prematurely.
Because of your interactions with so many types of people, you have an abundance of stories to tell. Turns out, people booking a one-way ticket to a whole new world have a lot to say. Those stories are often way more revealing than they have to be, but it makes good entertainment when drifting from rock to rock.
How did you end up with this gig? What’s the best part about your job? Do you typically travel to the same planet or does your destination change with a modicum of regularity? What happens when people have a change of heart at the last second? Do you have any experience as a colonist?
Do people ever leave you with trinkets or belongings that simply aren’t fitting for life in a new colony? Is it easy for you to make friends? Do you keep in contact with anybody that you’ve transported? Does it get lonely in your line of work, specifically on the return trip? What are your favorite tunes to jam out to?
Let’s face it: you don’t know much. You’ve never been one to exploit your curiosity or go out of your way to learn new skills. In fact, you don’t know the first thing about being a colonist. If someone gave you a lighter, you could definitely start a fire. But that’s about where your knowledge ends.
You wouldn’t consider yourself to be technologically savvy, and you don’t possess skills that new colonies require like medical expertise or agriculture knowledge. Your reason for being here isn’t even clear to you; it’s just another step along the journey of life.
Is someone constantly looking out for your best interest? What are you honestly doing out here? Can you provide any benefit to the colony, or are you more like dead weight? Where did you come from? Is this all a big misunderstanding?
Do you just like the freedom that comes with being in a new place? Can you defend yourself? What’s your experience with weaponry or vehicles? Are you here with anyone in particular, or is this a solo venture? Did you think this would be a cakewalk vacation?
Surely there must be SOMETHING you can do. Please, share with the class. Anything.
Starfinder Theme Focus: Warships and Dropships
Sometimes the Starfinder Themes that Paizo puts out are just specific enough to make it really difficult to come up with creative ideas. Career Trooper gives a little more flexibility, but Colonist is a little trickier.
Hopefully you can find some interesting creative nuggets in this post to glob onto. The themes of discovery and exploration are bound to be in any Starfinder campaign, so embrace the mystery!
I’ll be back next week with two more Starfinder Themes: Corporate Agent and Cult Hunter. There are a ton of directions you can go with these, some I’m excited to write that installment.
Until then, see you in the stars!
All 10 Original Starfinder Themes: