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All Rules in Creating Monsters

Creating Monsters and other NPCs

Source Alien Archive pg. 126
In the Starfinder Roleplaying Game, nonplayer characters (including monsters) aren’t created in the same way as player characters. We’ve made building monsters and other NPCs in Starfinder a much faster process than creating a player character to account for the fact that a GM might need to create several unique NPCs for just one encounter, while each player normally needs to create only one player character for an entire game or campaign. Following the steps described in this section allows you to build a well-balanced NPC. Note that, unless otherwise stated, traits, abilities, and so on can be found in Appendix 4: Universal Creature Rules, and all spells are from Chapter 10 of the Starfinder Core Rulebook.

Overview

Source Alien Archive pg. 126
Creating an NPC encompasses nine steps, many of which don’t take very long. Each step is briefly outlined below and detailed further in its section (on the page noted in parentheses).

Before You Begin: NPC Concept

Before you start designing your NPC, you should have a clear concept for it. Think about its role in your story, and select a Challenge Rating for it. Consult Table 11–1: Encounter Difficulty on page 390 of the Starfinder Core Rulebook to help you determine your NPC’s CR based on the player characters’ Average Party Level. If you are creating a different version of an alien in this book (such as one with a higher CR or a class graft), feel free to give it special abilities similar to that of the original alien.

Step 1: Array (See Below)

Determine whether your NPC is a combatant, an expert, or a spellcaster, and use the appropriate array tables to determine the NPC’s starting statistics.

Step 2: Creature Type Graft

The first graft—a set of adjustments—you apply to your NPC gives it attributes that reflect the base kind of creature it is, such as animal, humanoid, or undead. This and other grafts give new abilities and possibly adjust the numbers from the NPC’s array. If you give an NPC a class graft (see Step 4), some of the adjustments from its class graft can be superseded by ones granted by its creature type graft.

Step 3: Creature Subtype Graft

If the NPC has any subtypes, add those now. Many subtypes don’t grant additional abilities, but they are important for interactions with other rules.

Step 4: Class Graft

If you’re making an NPC who functions as a character with a class, you can give it a class graft. The class graft gives it abilities based on the relevant class’s abilities, but which abilities the NPC gains is determined by its CR rather than by a class level. Some class graft adjustments can replace ones from its creature type graft (see Step 2).

Step 5: Template Graft

If you would like the NPC to have a template, apply it now.

Step 6: Special Abilities

In this step, give your NPC a number of appropriate special abilities, as given in its array. Some abilities are combat tricks, while other adjustments might switch up its basic statistics. A few abilities can be given to an NPC for free.

Step 7: Skills

Your NPC’s array (and possibly a graft or special ability you give it) determines its bonuses for skills it has mastered or is better than average at using. Pick the specific skills and determine the bonus for each now.

Step 8: Spells

If your NPC can cast spells, choose them now. Usually only spellcasters or creatures with spell-like abilities need this step.

Step 9: Final Check

Finally, make sure your NPC matches what you had planned for it. You also might want to double-check your numbers after applying special abilities to make sure none of them are too far from the baseline.