Archives of Nethys

Pathfinder | Starfinder

<- Return to All Rules

All Rules in Getting Started

Some Basic Concepts

Source Starfinder Core Rulebook pg. 7
To make the best use of this book, you’ll want to be familiar with several key terms and abbreviations. These are used throughout the book, and many are common to tabletop roleplaying in general. For a larger glossary, see page 512.

1d6, 1d20, etc.

Source Starfinder Core Rulebook pg. 8
These figures are abbreviations for die rolls and indicate which dice you roll to determine a variable number, such as the amount of damage a weapon deals. The first number tells you how many dice to roll, while the second number tells you the number of sides the die or dice must have; if there’s no first number, just roll one die. For example, “roll 2d8” means that you must roll two eight-sided dice, and “roll a d20” means you must roll one 20-sided die. Occasionally, you may need to roll a d3; if you don’t have a three-sided die, you can roll a d6 instead—treat a roll of 1 or 2 as a 1, a roll of 3 or 4 as a 2, and a roll of 5 or 6 as a 3.

Abbreviations

Source Starfinder Core Rulebook pg. 8
Starfinder has many game terms that are typically expressed as abbreviations, including HP (Hit Points), SP (Stamina Points), and RP (Resolve Points). If you miss or forget what an abbreviation means, they’re explained in the glossary starting on page 512.

Armor Class (AC)

Source Starfinder Core Rulebook pg. 8
This is a number representing how hard it is for an enemy to strike your character in combat. A character has two Armor Classes: Energy Armor Class (EAC) and Kinetic Armor Class (KAC).

Attack Roll

Source Starfinder Core Rulebook pg. 8
An attack roll is a d20 roll that represents your character’s attempt to strike another creature in combat.

Check

Source Starfinder Core Rulebook pg. 8
A check is a d20 roll that may or may not be modified by your character’s statistics or another value. The most common types are skill checks and ability checks (which determine whether you successfully perform a task), and initiative checks (which determine when you act in combat).

Combat

Source Starfinder Core Rulebook pg. 8
Typically, references to combat refer to tactical combat between individual characters, which takes place on a square-gridded battle map and is covered in depth in Chapter 8. Combat can instead refer to starship combat, which uses a hex map; you can find the details of that system in Chapter 9.

Creature

Source Starfinder Core Rulebook pg. 8
A creature is an active participant in the story or world. This includes player characters (PCs), nonplayer characters (NPCs), and monsters.

Difficulty Class (DC)

Source Starfinder Core Rulebook pg. 8
This is the target number a creature must meet or exceed when attempting a check in order to accomplish a given task.

Encounter

Source Starfinder Core Rulebook pg. 8
An encounter is a situation that presents characters with a challenge. This could be a roleplaying challenge where they need to get information, a physical battle, a trap or puzzle, or anything else that requires players to use their wits or their characters’ statistics. Characters typically earn experience points for completing encounters.

Experience Points (XP)

Source Starfinder Core Rulebook pg. 8
Often just called “experience,” this is a way of tracking your character’s increasing expertise gained as a result of overcoming challenges. When characters earn enough experience points, they advance in level, or “level up” (see Leveling Up on page 26).

Game Master (GM)

Source Starfinder Core Rulebook pg. 8
The Game Master is the player who adjudicates the rules and controls the various elements of the Starfinder story and world that the players explore. A GM’s duty is to provide a fair and fun game—she wants the other players to ultimately succeed in their goals, but only after much heroic striving and danger.

Hit Points (HP) and Stamina Points (SP)

Source Starfinder Core Rulebook pg. 8
Stamina Points represent how much damage you can take before you’re actually hurt, while Hit Points represent how badly hurt you can be before you fall unconscious or die. Stamina Points are lost before Hit Points and are much easier to regain. For a more detailed explanation, see page 22.

Level

Source Starfinder Core Rulebook pg. 8
A level is an indication of relative power within the game. There are several types of levels. Class level is the number of levels of a specific class that a character has. Character level is the sum of all of the levels a character has in all of her classes. Level can also refer to a spell’s level, an item’s level, or another scaling mechanic that falls within the framework of the game’s rules.

Modifier

Source Starfinder Core Rulebook pg. 8
A modifier is a number that is added to a roll such as an attack roll, saving throw, or skill check. It can be positive or negative.

Monster

Source Starfinder Core Rulebook pg. 8
A monster is a nonplayer character. In general, monsters are too strange or unintelligent to be player characters, or are prevented from being them for other reasons. A monster might be a player character’s opponent or ally, or serve any other role.

Nonplayer Character (NPC)

Source Starfinder Core Rulebook pg. 8
A nonplayer character is controlled by the GM for the purpose of interacting with players and helping advance the story.

Player Character (PC)

Source Starfinder Core Rulebook pg. 8
This is a character controlled by a player.

Roleplaying

Source Starfinder Core Rulebook pg. 8
Describing a character’s actions, often while play-acting from the perspective of the character, is referred to as roleplaying. When a player speaks or describes action from the perspective of a character, it is referred to as being “in character.”

Round

Source Starfinder Core Rulebook pg. 8
In tactical combat, a round is a unit of time equal to 6 seconds in the game world; every character who is able to act gets a turn once per round. In starship combat, rounds consist of three phases of actions and don’t correlate to a specific amount of time.

Saving Throw

Source Starfinder Core Rulebook pg. 9
A saving throw is a d20 roll representing your character’s attempt to avoid or reduce some harmful effect.

Tier

Source Starfinder Core Rulebook pg. 9
Tier indicates scaling and is similar in meaning to “level”; it is used for computers and starships, as well as other elements.