For the ultimate Ysoki Mechanic, consider these elements:
- The Ysoki race
- Use Outlaw or Pilot theme
- Choose combat-drone AI
- Lean into your tech knowledge for the story
The rat-like Ysoki seem to be built for the Mechanic class. Small enough to fit into tight ship compartments and scrappy enough to pull together scavenged parts to create tech on the fly, these little guys are thematically some of the most interesting character creations in the game. When you’re a little guy in a big cosmic world, you need all the tricks you can hide up your sleeve. Mechanics are complex, cunning and extraordinarily helpful in a game of space exploration.
I can’t help but play this character like Rocket Raccoon of the Guardians of the Galaxy, grimy New York accent and all. So, I’ll use that character as a near perfect example of how to play this build.
The Ysoki race…
Playing Ysoki is for those who want a creative, cunning and intelligent character. Scrappy and resourceful, these numerous rat people are effective in all aspects of Starfinder: Piloting vehicles, managing a starship, hacking computer systems and even excelling in survival situations. Let your teammates choose big, brawny muscle heads, you’ll be busy inflicting chaos behind the scenes.
As a racial bonus, these guys gain a +2 Dexterity and +2 Intelligence increase.
Ysoki have cheek pouches like a squirrel, giving them extra storage in a hidden compartment. This allows them to store up to 1 cubic foot of items weighing up to 1 bulk in total. Especially in cases of sabotage, this ability can come in handy for sneaking data sticks or small robot parts by unassuming NPCs.
Along with their affinity for technology, they are built as survivalists and explorers. Darkvision allows them to see up to 60 feet in the dark. Moxie allows them to stand from prone as a swift action, playing on their natural nimble nature. It also allows them to avoid the negative effects of being off-kilter and gives them a +5 bonus to Acrobatics when tumbling through the space of an opponent at least one size category larger. Finally, the Scrounger racial trait adds +2 to Engineering, Stealth and Survival checks.
Like I said, natural survivalists. All of these traits scream Rocket Raccoon.
The Outlaw or Ace Pilot theme
This was a hard choice for me, especially comparing to our boy Rocket. So, let’s take a look at each of these themes and how they relate to the mechanic.
Originally, I thought the Ace Pilot theme would fit perfectly with a Mechanic. I know, I know, the Mechanic is supposed to have a different role in the spaceship while another character flies. The thing is, it just makes sense. It’s like a “car guy”: they don’t only enjoy driving cars, they generally know what’s going on under the hood. The +1 Dexterity bonus will certainly help in other fields the Mechanic operates in. Plus, they would naturally know about starships and epic pilots (an ability bonus for Ace Pilots).
The next upgrade in this theme (level 6), Lone Wolf, allows my character to essentially operate every role of a starship. Specifically, you would be able to use half your rank in Piloting as the skill check for ship upkeep. This works for general repair and combat.
At higher ranks, you gain Need for Speed (level 12) and eventually Master Pilot (Level 18). Need for Speed reduces penalties to Piloting checks by 1. This is especially cool when driving high-speed vehicles, not just spaceships and helps with double-maneuver action on each turn. Also, piloting penalties don’t kick in until a failure of 10+ instead of 5+. Master Pilot simply allows you to recover 1 Resolve Point twice a day. Do this after winning a starship battle or escaping in a high-speed chase.
As it relates to Rocket, look at his roles in the movies. He generally fights Peter Quill on who gets to pilot what and often ends up piloting anyway. Think about all the space vehicles he’s gotten his weird little raccoon hands on.
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After some thought, it became clear to me that the Outlaw theme would synergize best with my character. Once again, we gain a +1 Dexterity bonus, which I’m all in for. On top of this, we gain the Sleight of Hand skill and knowledge of the criminal underworld. Imagine swiping an item from an NPC and hiding it in your cheek pouches. It’s too perfect.
At level 6 you get a bonus to finding a lawyer, seriously. Legal Corruption allows you to find the right lawyer for the right price (between 500-10,000 * character level). This, of course, depends on the severity of your crime. You might consider this with the next Outlaw ability, Black Market Connections (level 12), which allows you to sell exotic/illegal goods. On top of selling the goods in strange locations, you get an extra 10% price upgrade.
The final upgrade, Master Outlaw, works on your ability to concoct a heist. Take 10 minutes to formulate a plan. Regain 1 Resolve point if you succeed in at least one of the steps.
“But, Jared,” I hear you asking, “what about the +1 Intelligence bonus you receive from the Scholar theme?” Technically, yes that could be beneficial. But Rocket Raccoon is no scholar, and neither is this character. He’s a slummy rat person with shady rat connections across the galaxy. Plus, Rocket was a bit of a kleptomaniac, especially with robotic body parts.
Choose combat-drone AI
The Mechanic class receives the assistance of an AI helper. This AI can take several different forms, but mainly breaks down to Drone or Exocortex. Let’s take a look at the options to better understand why I went with combat drone.
The Exocortex works as a separate brain that assists your own brain. Kinda freaky, right? It’s often implanted inside of your body so the AI can talk to you directly. This is for the hardcore hacker or characters based on quick intelligence gathering.
The Drones, on the other hand, are exactly as they sound: robot companions. There are 3 basic drone chassis: Combat, Hover and Stealth. As you can imagine, each of these drone types have abilities that coincide with their builds. The Hover drone has flying capabilities that can be useful for exploration or ship repair, though it’s quite small. Stealth drones, however, are about the size of a greyhound and are made of light absorbing metal.
These other drones are great and all for precision work, but that’s not Rocket’s style. Like his friendship with Groot, our drone should operate as a hulking bruiser. He needs a combat drone.
The way I see it, my character will have all the technical abilities he needs. Plus, he’s capable of reaching high places or sneaking around as a small rodent person. Our drone should complement our character’s build, providing cover for our lacking physical appearance. This also means adding upgrades around combat: weapon mounts, armor slots, etc. I’ll be scampering around the battlefield lobbing grenades while my dude draws aggression.
Lean into your tech knowledge for the story
Mechanics are a technical class. To be honest, it can be daunting to figure out all of the tricks and abilities that make the class interesting. But if you can remember the character type, you can lean into the archetype. When building this character out, remember to place most of your points in Intelligence. Your second most should be in Dexterity, but it’ll receive a nice racial and theme boost. Ultimately, you want to be able to handle the situations you’re supposed to handle.
Let your teammates (and your drone) attack head on.
At level 2, we get a Mechanic Trick, which comes with a whole list to choose from. Because our drone is going to be built for chaos, I figure we can cover some of our tech abilities here. Hack Directory and Repair Drone are the two that stick out to me, at least to start.
Hack Directory covers you when you have a failing roll. It happens. On fail, you’ll know what countermeasures have been activated. Choose 1 of these countermeasures and immediately counter its effect. Because we chose such a high Intelligence score, two rolls should add a great deal of certainty to the odds.
Repair Drone is what it sounds like. Taking 10 minutes to work, you repair 25% of its HP instead of 10%. As I mentioned, we’ll be relying on our combat drone to draw enemy fire. It’s our muscle, our heavy hitter. If we can’t fix it up in a pinch, we’re going to be in trouble. Plus, what kind of Mechanic would I be if I couldn’t fix my buddy?
Other Cool Tricks
Though you’re able to customize your character with Mechanic Tricks, there are certain abilities that apply to Mechanics across the board.
Right off the bat, the Mechanic is working with the Bypass ability and a Custom Rig. Bypass gives +1 Insight bonus to Computers and Engineering skill checks. This ability increases by 1 at 5th level, every 4 levels after and at 20th level. The Custom Rig is a unique toolkit that allows you to hack different types of computers. This rig acts as a telecom device and a direct communicator to your drone. I think I’ll install it in my left hand, a cybernetic body part similar to Rocket Raccoon.
At level 3, you learn Overload, which causes a short in a small electrical device. Use this ability as a standard action. Your aim is to short out gadgets, weapons and armor slots. Also, the short doesn’t last forever—only 1 round—and it can’t be used on lock doors or safe. Sometimes, you have to hack things the old-fashioned way. A residual charge keeps the device being overloaded for 1 minute after the initial attack, so no spamming.
Another level-3 jewel is the Weapon Specialization feat. With specialization, you gain a bonus to damage equal to your level (1/2 for small arms and operative melee). This should add an extra kick to those pistol shots (which are already receiving a fat Dexterity bonus). Yeehaw.
Remote Hack comes in at 5th level, allowing me to access mainframes remotely. More precisely, you can use your Custom Rig to attempt Computer and Engineering skill checks at a range of 20 feet. Watch out for NPCs and enemies completing a Perception or Sense Motive check, because you could be tracked as the source.
I would recommend diving into the official book. There are so many ways to customize in Starfinder, as perfect and absolute as my Rocket Raccoon build is… you do have plenty of other options. The abilities are creative and the stories offer something unique to classic DnD players.
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