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These new rules focus on altering the way PCs can obtain Build Points (BP)
for building and upgrading starships. In the normal rules, Build Points are
a pool that constantly increases as the PCs level up, but in this subsystem,
Build Points become a form of currency. The PCs spend BP to buy a starship and
cargo, and they earn BP whenever they make a sale.
The PCs’ starship becomes an investment like any other piece of equipment, but bought with BP instead of credits. As the PCs complete jobs, they get more Build Points to spend on upgrading their starship. They can do so gradually, installing one new system at a time, or they can hoard BP and then spend them all at once. However, the PCs should always keep some BP on hand to buy the cargo for their next job. If the PCs’ ship is destroyed, they also lose the BP they invested in it! (Many crews insure their starships for just this eventuality; see page 54 for details.) But if the PCs’ business flourishes, they’ll find themselves living in the lap of luxury, hiring additional employees, or even buying a second starship to ply the interstellar trade routes.
The Starfinder Core Rulebook includes some guidelines for how PCs can acquire the BP they need to build and upgrade their first starship—via salvage, favors, or an arrangement with a friendly spacedock, for instance. In this case, Build Points represent much more than simple credits and become exclusively useful through the starship creation system, staying separate from the methods by which PCs buy their personal equipment. This separation provides an important distinction because if PCs had the ability to exchange Build Points for credits, they could end up underpowered in starship combat while simultaneously overpowered in all their other encounters.
In the rules presented here, Build Points roughly represent the party’s business capital. That capital has many components, including the PCs’ available credit, loans they’ve taken out, and assets they might use as collateral. PCs use this capital to make big purchases, like cargo or starship modifications, often with financing help from a bank or other establishment.
To begin, the PCs receive a number of Build Points determined by their Average Party Level (APL) as noted in Table 9–1: Starship Base Statistics on page 294 of the Starfinder Core Rulebook. They should use this BP to build their starship; you might want to remind the PCs that their vessel needs plenty of room for cargo and that they’ll have to spend a few BP to purchase that cargo. (The PCs in “We’re No Heroes” receive a prebuilt starship and earn a few extra BP by the end of the adventure.)