The play test for the latest Starfinder class started this last week, and I’ll admit that I wasn’t immediately sold on the concept. Precog, to me at least, implied we were going to see a caster class with a whole bunch of divination spells to make the GM’s life more complicated. So I had reservations.
However, reading the actual class it comes across as something else. First off, this is a DEX based caster. That is a pretty odd beast in a D&D 3.5 derived game system, made all the more so by how important Dex is in Starfinder. If you want to go first, hit with guns, dodge explosions, and/or sneak around like a ninja, Dex is the stat for you. Now imagine all that, and your effectiveness as a caster is also based on the same stat?!? Suddenly I’m thinking less the Oracle from Chronicles of Riddick, and more Sergeant Rita Vrataski from Edge of Tomorrow. This isn’t so much a dedicated caster as a bad ass that can also create temporal powered magic effects when the situation demands it.
Digging into the class, the spell list weighs more towards functional spells than combat spells, with not a lot of area damage. Anchors are a bit like Mystic Connections, providing your with additional story elements for the character as well as shaping how your abilities will progress. Paradoxes are an interesting new mechanic – something I first remember seeing in Occult Mysteries (from PF1) with the lucky number spell. Basically you roll a few (1 + half your Dex mod) d20s at the start of an adventuring day, write them down, and can swap them out for certain kinds of d20 rolls for that in-game day. Their are additional uses as well, but the core is having a bank of rolls you can switch out as needed. This strikes me as a mechanic with a lot of swing. If you roll well your Paradoxes are going to be crucial, letting you have that high roll at crucial moments. If you roll poorly there are still some abilities that give you decent return on the Paradox, you just aren’t going to be swapping in the roll for a to hit or initiative roll. Temporal anomalies are your operative tricks or soldier gear boosts, your way to further customize your play style. There are also a progression of additional abilities that expand what you can spend your Paradoxes on, which is handy.
It’s a very interesting class, and one I’m eager to try out. I expect the final version to have a different spell list, and probably more Anchors, but I feel like this is a solid addition to Starfinder and one that many will want to play.
That said, here is a level 1 Precog, if you want to take the class for a spin yourself, either as a player or NPC (using a character array here, not the NPC array.)
ELF PRECOG CR 1
Elf space pirate precog 1
CN Medium humanoid (elf)
Init +4; Senses low-light vision; Perception +6
DEFENSE SP 4 HP 9 RP 5
EAC 15; KAC 16
Fort -1, Ref +6, Will +0; +2 racial bonus to saving throws against enchantment spells and effects
Speed 30 ft.
Melee survival knife +4 (1d4+1 S; analog, operative)
Ranged tactical plasma bolter +5 (1d10 E&F; 40 ft.; usage 4)
Precog Spells Known (CL 1st; ranged +4, +2 racial bonus to caster level checks to overcome spell resistance)
1st (3/day)- lesser confusion, death’s door
0 (at will)- detect magic, injury echo, psychokinetic hand, token spell
Str 12 (+1), Dex 18 (+4), Con 8 (-1), Int 12 (+1), Wis 11 (+0), Cha 10 (+0)
Skills Acrobatics +8, Bluff +5, Culture +5, Mysticism +6, Perception +6, Sense Motive +4, Stealth +8; (reduce the DC of checks about black market locations, known smugglers, and notorious space pirates by 5).
Feats Weapon Focus: Longarms
Languages Common, Elven, Ysoki
Other Abilities anchor (the Gap), paradox (3/day)
Gear second skin armor, survival knife, tactical plasma bolter with 2 batteries (20 charges each), industrial backpack, everyday clothing, flashlight, hygiene kit, personal comm unit, credstick (238 credits).
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Until next time Starfinders!
Artist and Writer