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Glossary

This glossary provides short definitions of some basic terms used in the Starfinder Core Rulebook. Definitions of terms that are exclusive to the starship building, starship combat, and vehicle chase systems are excluded here.

Ability Check: To attempt this type of check, roll a d20 and add your modifier for the relevant ability score.

Ability Points: You use these at character creation and every 5th character level to increase your ability scores.

Ability Scores: These are numeric values that define a character’s raw talents. The associated abilities are Strength, Dexterity, Constitution, Wisdom, Intelligence, and Charisma.

Acid Damage: This is a type of energy damage.

Affliction: This is a harmful effect that generally worsens over time and may deal damage. Most afflictions are categorized as curses, diseases, drugs, or poisons.

Alignment: This is a general characterization of your basic moral and ethical attitude.

Ally: An ally is a creature you see as helpful. Some abilities allow you to affect an ally with a benefit of some kind. The GM has final say on who counts as an ally.

Android: This is a common player character race.

Armor Class (AC): This number represents how hard it is for an enemy creature to strike your character in combat. A character has two Armor Classes: Energy Armor Class (EAC) and Kinetic Armor Class (KAC).

Asleep: This condition applies negative effects to your character.

Attack: This is any action you take that could potentially damage a target. Attacks in combat are either ranged, such as shooting a laser rifle or throwing a grenade, or melee, such as stabbing with a survival knife. Monsters often can make attacks with their natural weapons, such as claws, or they might have access to other special attacks.

Attack of Opportunity: This is a special reaction that you can use in close-quarters melee when a target you threaten lets its guard down.

Attack Roll: This represents your character’s attempt to strike another creature in combat. An attack roll is the result of a d20 roll plus your attack bonuses with your weapon, and it is compared to your target’s relevant Armor Class.

Augmentation: This is a piece of technological or biological gear that modifies your body and gives you special benefits. Technological augmentations are cybernetics, and biological augmentations are biotech.

Bleeding: This condition applies negative effects to your character.

Blinded: This condition applies negative effects to your character.

Bludgeoning Damage: This is a type of kinetic damage.

Bonus: This is a positive numeric modifier you add to a die roll or a static value as the game rules dictate. Two bonuses of the same type usually don’t stack with each other.

Broken: This condition applies negative effects to armor, weapons, or other equipment.

Bulk: An item’s bulk represents its unwieldiness and weight.

Burning: This condition applies negative effects to your character.

Carrying Capacity: Your carrying capacity is the amount of bulk you can carry.

Caster Level (CL): This value represents the total number of levels you have in Spellcasting classes. Some effects, such as spells, have variables tied to your caster level.

Challenge Rating (CR): This is a numerical expression of the Difficulty of an encounter, a creature, a trap, a hazard, or another threat.

Character Level: This value represents the total number of levels you have in all your classes.

Charisma (Cha): This is an ability that represents your appearance, personal magnetism, and personality.

Check: A check is a d20 roll that may or may not be modified by another value. The most common types of checks are ability checks, initiative checks, and skill checks.

Class: This represents your training in a specific discipline that grants you an array of abilities.

Class Feature: This is an ability you gain from your character’s class.

Class Level: This is a value that represents your total number of levels in one specific class.

Class Skill: This is a skill in which members of a specific class are particularly proficient. If you have one or more ranks in class skills, you receive an additional bonus to those skill checks.

Cold Damage: This is a type of energy damage.

Combat: This typically refers to Tactical combat, which takes place on a square-gridded battle map and is tracked in rounds during which each character takes a turn.

Combat Maneuver: This is a type of standard action that can have a variety of effects when performed successfully.

Concealment: When enemies can’t see you clearly, their attacks are subject to a miss chance from concealment.

Condition: This is a circumstance that can affect a creature for an extended period of time.

Confused: This condition applies negative effects to your character.

Constitution (Con): This is an ability that represents your health and stamina.

Cover: This is a defensive bonus you gain when an object blocks half or more of your body from being exposed to enemy attacks.

Cowering: This condition applies negative effects to your character.

Creature: This is an active participant in the game’s world. It can be a player character, a nonplayer character, or a monster.

Credit: This is the standard unit of currency.

Critical Hit: When you make an attack roll and the result on the d20 is a 20, it’s a critical hit. You roll damage twice, and your weapon might inflict an additional effect.

Critical Hit Effect: This is a weapon’s effect that applies when you deal damage with a critical hit.

Curse: A curse is a magical effect and an affliction that is normally triggered when you take a certain action.

d% (percentile): This indicates that you should roll to generate a number from 1 to 100. If you don’t have percentile dice, you can roll two 10-sided dice, one of which represents the result’s first digit and the other the second digit. A set of percentile dice consists of a 10-sided die expressing multiples of 10 (10, 20, 30, etc.) and a 10-sided die consisting of multiples of 1.

d4, d6, d8, d10, d12, d20: These are abbreviated expressions of die rolls, often expressed with a preceding number, as is the case of 1d4. They typically indicate which dice you roll to determine a variable number, such as the amount of damage a weapon deals. The first number in the expression indicates how many dice you roll, while the second number indicates the number of sides the die or dice must have. For example, 2d12 means that you must roll two 12-sided dice to determine a variable result from 2 to 24. In the case of an expression without a preceding number, roll a single die with the indicated number of sides. For example, “roll a d10” means you must roll one 10-sided die. Occasionally, you may see a rare die type that isn’t reflected in the basic set explained above, such as 1d3. In this case, you can use math to simulate the result, such as rolling 1d6, dividing the result in half, and rounding down.

d20 Roll: This is a roll with a single 20-sided die. Ability checks, attack rolls, saving throws, and skill checks are all rolls that require you to roll 1d20 and add various modifiers.

Damage: This is the numerical value subtracted from a target’s Stamina Points or Hit Points after a successful attack against it.

Damage Reduction (DR): This is the ability to ignore a specified amount of kinetic damage.

Dazed: This condition applies negative effects to your character.

Dazzled: This condition applies negative effects to your character.

Dead: This condition applies when your character dies.

Deafened: This condition applies negative effects to your character.

Dexterity (Dex): This is an ability that represents your agility, balance, and reflexes.

Difficulty Class (DC): This value is the lowest total at which a saving throw attempt, a skill check, or any other relevant check is successful.

Disease: This affliction represents some agent infecting you and may be contagious.

Hyperspace: Starships with Hyperspace drives travel great distances via Hyperspace.

Drug: This form of poison initially has a beneficial effect.

Dying: This condition applies when your character is unconscious and near death.

Electricity Damage: This is a type of energy damage.

Encounter: An encounter is an event that presents you with a specific problem to solve.

Encumbered: This condition applies when you carry more bulk than is comfortable.

Enemy: This is a creature you seek to harm or that seeks to harm you. Some abilities and effects specifically target enemies. The GM has final say on who counts as an enemy.

Energy Armor Class (EAC): This number represents how hard it is for an enemy to strike your character in combat using an attack that deals energy damage.

Energy Damage: Acid, cold, electricity, fire, and sonic are the common types of energy damage, and attacks that deal energy damage target a creature’s Energy Armor Class.

Energy Resistance: This number represents how much energy damage of a specific type a creature can ignore.

Entangled: This condition applies negative effects to your character.

Envoy: This is a class in which your character can train.

Exhausted: This condition applies negative effects to your character.

Experience Points (XP): These are distributed to you for defeating encounters. Once you have reached a certain total of experience points, you increase in class level, or “level up.”

Extraordinary Ability (Ex): This represents intense training or innate skill, but not magical ability or influence.

Fascinated: This condition applies negative effects to your character.

Fatigued: This condition applies negative effects to your character.

Feat: This is an ability not derived from your race, class, theme, or skill ranks.

Fire Damage: This is a type of energy damage.

Flat-Footed: This condition applies negative effects to your character when you are unprepared for combat.

Fortitude Saving Throw (Fort save): This type of saving throw measures your character’s ability to stand up to physical punishment.

Frightened: This condition applies negative effects to your character.

Full Action: This action in combat allows you to perform an involved task, such as charging or attacking multiple times.

Game Master (GM): This player adjudicates the rules and controls the various elements of the game’s story and world. 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.

Grappled: This condition applies negative effects to your character and is a common combat maneuver.

Guarded Step: This careful movement allows you to move 5 feet as a move action without provoking attacks of opportunity.

Heavy Armor: This type of armor prioritizes maximum protection over a higher degree of maneuverability.

Helpless: This condition applies negative effects to your character.

Hit Points (HP): This number represents how badly you can be hurt before you fall unconscious or die. When you take damage and have 0 Stamina Points remaining, you lose Hit Points.

Human: This is a common player character race.

Hybrid Item: This is a piece of equipment that uses technology and magic to function.

Initiative Check: The result of your initiative check determines in what order you can act in combat. This check’s result is often called your initiative count.

Intelligence (Int): This is an ability that represents how well you learn and reason, and it is frequently associated with knowledge and education.

Item Level: This value refers to the complexity, durability, and potency of armor, weapons, and equipment.

Kasatha: This is a common player character race.

Key Ability Score: This is the ability score that’s most important for a certain class.

Kinetic Armor Class (KAC): This number represents how hard it is for an enemy to strike your character in combat using an attack that deals damage from physical impact.

Kinetic Damage: Bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing are the common types of kinetic damage, and attacks that deal kinetic damage target a creature’s Kinetic Armor Class.

Lashunta: This is a common player character race.

Level: This might refer to your caster level, character level, class level, a spell’s or item’s level, or another scaling mechanic that falls within the framework of the rules, depending on the context. See separate entries for each type of level listed here.

Light Armor: This type of armor prioritizes maneuverability over the heaviest possible protection.

Magic Item: This is a piece of equipment that uses magic to function.

Mark (Mk): Some items can be bought at increasing ranks of efficiency, thus increasing their price. A mark 3 item is more expensive and more potent than its mark 2 version, and so on.

Mechanic: This is a class in which your character can train.

Melee Attack: You make this type of attack in close-quarters combat with a melee weapon against a creature you threaten.

Modifier: This numeric value is added to a d20 roll, such as an attack roll, a saving throw, or a skill check. Modifiers can be positive (bonuses) or negative (penalties).

Monster: A monster is an NPC. In general, monsters are too strange or unintelligent to be player characters or are prevented from being PCs by other qualifications. A monster might be your opponent or ally, or it might serve any other role.

Move Action: This action in combat allows for movement such as traveling up to your speed or preparing a piece of equipment.

Mystic: This is a class in which your character can train.

Natural 1: This occurs when you roll a 20-sided die as part of a game mechanic and the result on the die is 1. A natural 1 is always an automatic failure if it’s rolled for an attack roll or a saving throw, even if your bonuses might otherwise make it a success.

Natural 20: This occurs when you roll a 20-sided die as part of a game mechanic and the result on the die is 20. A natural 20 is an automatic success if it’s rolled for an attack roll or a saving throw, even if the result would not normally succeed.

Nauseated: This condition applies negative effects to your character.

Nonplayer Character (NPC): This is a character the GM controls for the purpose of interacting with players and helping advance the game’s story.

Off-Kilter: This condition applies negative effects to your character.

Off-Target: This condition applies negative effects to your character.

Operative: This is a class in which your character can train.

Overburdened: This condition applies when you carry much more bulk than is comfortable.

Panicked: This condition applies negative effects to your character.

Paralyzed: This condition applies negative effects to your character.

Penalty: This numeric modifier is subtracted from a die roll or a static value as the game rules dictate. Unlike bonuses, penalties stack with each other and do not have types.

Piercing Damage: This is a type of kinetic damage.

Pinned: This condition results from the grapple combat maneuver.

Player: This is a person who portrays a player character in a game.

Player Character (PC): This is a character that a player has created and portrays.

Poison: This affliction represents a toxic substance’s effect on a target.

Powered Armor: This is a mighty personal rig that offers protection and requires a battery.

Proficiency: You have proficiency with a weapon or armor type if you’re trained in its use, through either your class or a feat.

Progression Track: This represents the worsening effect of an affliction such as a curse, disease, drug, or poison.

Prone: This condition applies negative effects to your character.

Race: This usually refers to your species, such as human or ysoki. A vehicle chase can also be referred to as a race.

Ranged Attack: You make this type of attack at a target from a distance using a ranged or a thrown weapon.

Rank: A rank usually refers to a skill rank you have invested in a particular skill to reflect training in that area of expertise. You receive a certain number of skill ranks to assign at each level.

Reach: Your reach determines the distance at which you can attack foes in melee combat.

Reaction: This is a quick action you can take, even if it’s not your turn, in response to a specific trigger.

Reflex Saving Throw (Ref save): This type of saving throw measures your character’s ability to dodge area effects and unexpected situations.

Resolve Points (RP): These represent your character’s intrinsic reservoir of grit. Your total Resolve Points increase as your character gains levels and can fuel special abilities.

Roleplaying Game (RPG): This is an interactive story in which the Game Master sets the scene and presents challenges, while the player characters each assume the role of a hero and attempt to overcome those challenges. Starfinder is an RPG.

Round: In Tactical combat, 1 round is equal to 6 in-world seconds. Combat elapses in rounds, and combatants each take a turn in order during each round.

Saving Throw (save): This represents your attempt to avoid or mitigate a dangerous effect. Saving throws are often referred to as saves.

Shaken: This condition applies negative effects to your character.

Shirren: This is a common player character race.

Sickened: This condition applies negative effects to your character.

Significant Enemy: This is a foe that represents a real danger to you.

Size: There are nine categories of creature sizes, and each creature takes up a specific amount of space on a battle map based on its size.

Skill: A skill represents a concrete category of tasks, areas of knowledge, and other topics of expertise.

Slashing Damage: This is a type of kinetic damage.

Solarian: This is a class in which your character can train.

Soldier: This is a class in which your character can train.

Sonic Damage: This is a type of energy damage.

Speed: Your speed indicates how far you can usually move during a single move action in combat.

Spell Level: This is a value that expresses a spell’s relative power. Spells’ levels typically range from 0–6th.

Spell Resistance (SR): Spell resistance represents a creatures innate protection against most spells.

Spell Slot: Spell slots represent the number of spells of each level that you can cast per day.

Spell-Like Ability (Sp): This functions much like a spell and usually originates from a racial ability or class feature.

Spells: These magical formulae can produce a wide range of effects. Normally, only characters with levels in Spellcasting classes, such as mystic and technomancer, can cast spells.

Square: One square on a battle map represents a 5-foot-by-5-foot space.

Stable: This condition applies when your character is knocked unconscious but is not dying.

Stacking: This refers to values (usually bonuses) of the same type that the rules allow you to add together.

Staggered: This condition applies negative effects to your character.

Stamina Points (Sp): These measure your readiness and energy. When you take damage from an attack, you lose your Stamina Points before your Hit Points.

Standard Action: This action in combat allows for activities such as making an attack or casting a spell. Normally, you can take only one standard action each round.

Strength (Str): This is an ability that represents your muscle and physical power.

Stunned: This condition applies negative effects to your character.

Supernatural Ability (Su): This is a magical attack, defense, or other quality that you can use.

Surprise Round: This is the first round of combat if some but not all combatants are unaware of their opponents.

Swift Action: This is an action in combat that takes a short amount of time. Normally, you can take only one swift action each round.

Take 10 or Take 20: These options for attempting skill checks are sometimes available when you are unthreatened and have lots of time.

Technological Item: This is a piece of equipment that uses technology to function.

Technomancer: This is a class in which your character can train.

Theme: This represents a Focus for your character, which may be a result of background, upbringing, or training.

Threaten: You threaten all squares into which you can make a melee attack.

Tier: This term measures the power of computers, starships, and other elements.

Trap: This is an environmental hazard that can damage you if you trigger it.

Unconscious: This condition applies when your character is knocked out but alive.

Universal Polymer Base (UPB): This is the basis for most technology. Each UPB is a tiny multifunction component not much larger than a grain of rice. UPBs can sometimes be used as currency.

Vesk: This is a common player character race.

Weapon Category: This is a group of weapons that deal damage in a similar manner, such as lasers.

Weapon Type: This is a group of weapons used in a similar manner as defined by the weapon proficiency needed to operate them without penalty, such as small arms.

Will Saving Throw (Will save): This type of saving throw measures your character’s ability to shake off mental effects.

Wisdom (Wis): This is an ability that represents your awareness, common sense, and intuition.

Ysoki: This is a common player character race.