Hi everyone, and welcome to the second installment of making a critter for Starfinder, and the MONSTER GARAGE! :P
So, I've been asked specifically one question in regards to the previous article, which is how to calculate Challenge Ratings / CRs, and I'll tackle that up front. CRs are not something you calculate, at least very rarely, instead, the CR is something you decide before setting out. It might get adjusted by the end, depending on what you ended up with, but to begin with, you need to have a fairly clear idea of what you're trying to do with the creature, in terms of how tough it is. In the end, you look back at what you've created and determine if it fits that CR range (which is mostly a judgment call, rather than an exact science).
So thinking back to our spider-robot-zombie-thingie:
I took a look at the image, and sort of tried to set it in my mind. Generally speaking, creatures of size Large or bigger have higher CRs - in some games, like PF1, you never saw a Large creature below CR 4 for example, as they were too strong and tough for groups of a lower level than that.
More importantly, though, you want the creature to feel like a challenge for the party you throw it at. As said, I wanted this to be a tough creature, so nothing you wanted the PCs to encounter at the beginning of a campaign, so not CR 1 (especially with the size being set as Huge or bigger). I didn't want it to be an end-of-campaign boss either, so not CR 20, but it'd make for a very cool mid-level fight, so I've gone with a CR of 10.
STATTING UP THE CREATURE
First things first, it's a good idea to find a template for creating your creature, so I have one here. This is just a stand-in for now, but it's the one I use for my own freelancing work, as it ensures I get everything, in the right order. At the end of this mini-series, you'll get a properly laid out version of these - one that looks a lot nicer. :P
#NAME# CR# #Type# AL Size Creature type Init +X; Senses X; Perception +X Aura X (X ft, DC X)
DEFENSE HP X RP X EAC X; KAC X Fort +X; Ref +X; Will +X Defensive Abilities
Offensive Abilities Spell-Like Abilities (CL Xth) X/day—#name of spell# (DC X if applicable) STATISTICS Str +X; Dex +X; Con +X; Int +X; Wis +X; Cha +X Skills (omit Perception) Languages
ECOLOGY Environment Organization
SPECIAL ABILITIES #Insert Description of Special abilities here, in alphabetical order#
So, since we're doing this in Starfinder, it's time to pull out the Alien Archives - now this can be done using the various SRDs online, but for this particular part, I find it very handy to have the books ready. (In fact, I not only have the book and PDF for it, but I've printed out this specific section and bound it separately from my book, as I use it so often. And I don't want to ruin the book - and since I laminated the pages, I can make notes on it for later. :) )
So, looking at this we need to decide the creature's type: Combatant, Expert (Skillmonkey), or Spellcaster. As I mentioned last time, the creature seemed to me, to be focused on the combat side of things, so we'll choose Combatant. A small note here - while this is being typed into my template here, this particular "stat" does not appear on the various printed versions. That's because they're an icon in Alien Archives, one that signifies the creature's role. However, not all publishers use that, but keeping it in is still useful, if nothing else, then to check you got your math right.
In the Alien Archives (page 129 for those that have the book) you'll find a table called "Combatant Array - Main Statistics," and this is where we start our journey. Next time. :P This article first appeared on d20radio.com on the 15th of May, 2020.