Try building a Vesk soldier monster hunter with these elements in mind:
- Utilize the Vesk features in play
- Choose Xenoseeker theme
- Wield a longarm, scatter gun and a melee weapon
- Use the Hit-and-Run Primary Fighting Style
- Choose Gear Boosts that increase weapon damage
- Choose Combat feats for ambush, damage and maneuverability
I’ve been re-watching Predator lately and reminiscing on how cool this alien concept was. This species is innately carnivorous, an apex hunter by nature—a lion. Obviously intelligent, they’ve managed to build a civilization into the stars, yet their hunting instincts never left them. They are specialist bounty hunters, blurring the line between primal ferocity and sophisticated warfare.
I love this duality—a sentient predator with bone necklaces and decorative knives but also carries a laser rifle.
In the world of Starfinder, my character is the kind of bounty hunter that tracks and eliminates invasive species. With so much intergalactic travel, it must be a problem in this galaxy. Maybe a tentacled abomination was set free in the sewers of Verces. Maybe a laboratory was overrun by parasitic body snatchers. Either way, I’m the guy they call to clean up the mess.
Utilize the Vesk features in play
Being a hulking reptile, I have several racial features that will add to my hunting prowess.
Low-Light Vision allows me to see in dim light as if it were normal. Naturally, I’m going to find myself in dark, dank locations where this will come in handy. For example, the sewers of a city, a cavernous planet or even a dark night are perfect settings for a fun hunt.
Fearless gives me a +2 racial bonus against fear effects. Remember, Starfinder is full of magic and telepathy, so this goes for more than staring down monsters. In a group dynamic, this could give me an edge my friends may not have—my warrior’s courage.
Armor Savant gives me a +1 racial bonus to my armor class, with an armor check penalty of 1 less for heavy armor. The concept is that my build is so heavy that I can move around comfortably in thicker combat armor. My soldier is going to need this perk if he’s going to get in the mix with giant alien monsters.
Natural Weapons refer to my claws. I’m considered armed (zing) and can deal 1d3 lethal damage with unarmed strikes. At level 3, this feature amplifies in power, adding 1½ times their character level to damage rolls made with these claws. As I level up, my ability to rip apart foes with my bare hands increases. Gnarly.
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Choose Xenoseeker theme
Naturally, I considered Bounty Hunter and Mercenary for the theme. They seemed straight-forward enough, considering the Soldier build. Then, I realized there was a perfect choice for this particular hunter—the Xenoseeker.
Xenoseekers are character types that seek far-flung planets at the edges of the known universe. They are the ultimate space adventurer and have a few tricks up their sleeves for tracking and identifying rare alien lifeforms.
At level 1, I can reduce the DC of identifying a rare lifeform by 5. Life Science will be added as a skill for me, which will come in handy. This theme/class combination is reminiscent of the classic ranger of fantasy lore. In addition to all this, I’ll gain a +1 to Charisma—that’s cool, I guess. Really, I want to focus on Strength, Dexterity and Constitution, but a little personality never hurt anyone.
More abilities, such as Quick Pidgin, First Contact and Brilliant Discovery come at later levels, which lean into the explorer aspect of this character. Sure, my lizard man will be down for adventure. He’s gotta pay those bills first, though.
Wield a long-arm, scatter gun and a melee weapon
Now we’re getting into Soldier territory. Before I choose my Primary Fighting style and array of feats, I need to think about my weaponry. What I choose to carry will be directly impacted by my feats, so it’s important to choose wisely.
For my selection, I chose weapons befitting a hunter. Obviously, for long, medium and melee range.
I’ll choose a projectile longarm near the beginning of my adventure, giving me high-powered, accurate damage from a distance. I considered a sniper rifle as well, but it doesn’t quite fit this guy’s style. Yes, I want accuracy, but I operate in a closer range. I want to bring my prey toward me, possibly finishing with a melee strike like a warrior should.
Choose the Hit-and-Run Primary Fighting Style
The Hit-and-Run Primary Fighting Style is based on maneuverability and ambush. This is a tactical style that makes use of both melee and ranged combat, allowing me to move between ranges.
Opening Volley is my first combat feat from this fighting style and is useful for smaller opponents and guards. In my mind, it’s intended for a melee weapon specialist, but I can still capitalize on the bonus to clear the field of minions. I use a ranged attack as a distracting, crippling ambush and gain a +2 bonus to my next melee attack. I’ll need to be sure and use my next turn for that melee attack to receive the bonus.
As I level, I’ll be able to pick other fighting styles to add their benefits as well. Here, I’ll look at the Sharpshooter and Blitz fighting styles— advancing my close and long-range combat.
Choose Gear Boosts that increase weapon damage
This might be my berserker side coming to surface, but I have an objective here.
Sure, we could and probably should include armor gear in these boosts. However, I want to be sure and flex my ambush fighting style as much as possible. Therefore, I’m picking Brutal Blast and Bullet Barrage as my first 2 choices.
Brutal Blast grants me a +2 insight bonus to damage rolls with weapons that have the special property. In other words, this is extra shotgun power. My tactics will utilize my longarm like a jab, switch to something with more knock-down power as the battle drags on.
Bullet Barrage gives me a +1 insight bonus to ranged projectile weapons. Starting off, I’ll utilize normal ammunition to give some punch to my weapon. Plus, later levels will grant me unique abilities for cryo or laser weapons. I might as well utilize this early on and build from there.
From here, I can go different directions. My primary combat strategy is covered. Now, I can gain upgrades to armor and melee weapons to round out my arsenal.
Choose Combat feats for ambush, damage and maneuverability
As I level up, I will gain opportunities to choose new combat moves for my repertoire. I like this aspect of the soldier—I receive training through my experiences. For this character, I’ll need to find combat feats that relate to an ambush and slay method of fighting.
Quickdraw is a method to protect myself from ambush. Though I’m big and fierce, I still want to be tactical. With a prerequisite of a +1 base attack bonus, I’ll be able to draw my weapon as a swift action. For instance, I could throw a rock to distract the monster and pull my weapon as a complete action. Now, I’m ready to drop the hammer.
Shot on the Run is going to be helpful against larger, deadlier prey. This is essentially how it sounds—fire a shot and move as a bonus action. I’ll need a Dexterity score of 15 for Mobility and a base attack bonus of +4. The benefit here is to keep myself nimble. As much as I want to flex my lizard muscles and go in aggressively, I need to add some cunning to the mix as well.
The soldier is an extremely versatile character that seems to be thrown together as the character grows. With a certain character theme in mind, this build can be utilized to interesting effect. You could always build for optimum damage output, but don’t forget to add cool story elements as well. Otherwise, you’re no fun.
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