Starfinder Solarian Stellar Ability - Significant Threat Clause


My player and I are at a disagreement on how the significant threat clause works for the solarian's Stellar Abillity. It reads as follows:

There needs to be some risk to you for your stellar mode to activate,so
you must be facing a significant enemy (see page 242). If there's
any doubt about whether you're in combat or able to access your
stellar mode. the GM decides. This also means that your stellar
mode might end before what was previously a dangerous battle
is over.

The way I read it is that as a DM, I should decide whether the combat they are in counts as a significant threat. Not ALL combat would count as significant. If it doesn't count, he can't activate his Stellar Mode abilities. For instance, he is facing 3 scrub enemies that have no realistic chance of killing him, he couldn't activate his Stellar Mode. However, if in a later round, the combat was joined by a powerful enemy, suddenly the combat would now pose a significant threat, and thus trigger his ability. I'm basing my interpretation the following passage from pg242 of the Starfinder Core Rulebook:

Significant Enemies
The GM can and should declare that an ineffectual foe is not
enough of a threat to count as an enemy for effects that grant
you a benef
it when you do something to an enemy or have an
enemy do something to you.

His interpretation is that he can activate it in any and all combat situations. That the fact that he's under fire, regardless of how much potential damage an enemy can do, would count as a threat.

Which one of us (or any of us) is correct?
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First Post
My understanding is that the game master is the correct one. It's supposed to be sort of an adrenaline-like ability that only comes out in moments of danger. In our game, the game master had to say whether or not our solarian could trigger that ability. I dont' remember where I read it, but I remember someone saying that the significant threat rule is there to prevent an easy cheesing of the ability. Without it, what's to stop the Solarian (or other characters that have similar ability activation) from creating situations to gives him bonuses (like having another character summon a weak monster just to trigger his friends effect)? Also, as the character goes up in levels, with out that clause you'll end up in a situation where the character becomes unbalanced.

The description also mean that if the Solarian is in a fight with a significant foe, and that foe dies, the ability can immediately stop working mid-battle if the DM says the main threat is dealt with. So yes, it seems entirely up to the DM. If a Solarian 'could' activate it in each fight, that would make it way too powerful, and the player would be able to cheese any encounter. The description seems quite clear: The DM decides if an enemy is significant.


Which honestly makes the Solarian Feel... Like you are only alive based on my Whims and Desires

It just seems like whether this class is any fun to play is way to... meh

combined with MAD issues and needing to get feats or archetypes, its very much why for me

That said it looks like it would be ok, fun to play as a Star Knight Weapon Solarian 2+ or a Steward Officer Armor Solarian 4+,

Less reliant on Stellar Modes, get your heavy armor prof or Longarm Prof. with Weapon Specialization


First Post
Oh man. I'd like to watch the kerfuffle that ensues when a DM rules that the Solarian's not facing a significant threat a round or 2 before the PC bites the space dust.


I believe the DM interpretation is correct, however as DM I would not abuse this ruling and let the Solarian trigger their ability under all but the most egregious circumstances. This clause is there solely for the DM to stop “bag of rats”-type shenanigans from the player, not to override player choice any time the DM feels like it.

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