Today, I wanted to give you a bit more use out of your Starfinder monster books. There are a ton of monsters available in Starfinder, with three Alien Archivebooks and even more monsters in the back of every adventure path volume. If you need more to prepare for a session, it’s easy to make them; the tables at the back of the first Alien Archiveallows you to quickly build a monster based on its role (combatant, expert, or spellcaster) and the Challenge Rating (CR) that you need. But if your players are throwing you for a loop and you need something fast, you can re-flavor or “reskin” any of the existing monsters for still more options. 

Here’s how to strip a monster down to its gears and reskin it as something else.

First, think about the CR you need. If you’re preparing a monster that will take on your heroes by itself, you want a monster that’s the same CR as your heroes’ level, or maybe 1 CR higher than that. If you’re preparing a monster that will attack the heroes in a group of 2, 3, or 4, lower that CR by the same amount (2, 3, or 4, respectively).

Second, find monsters that are the CR you’re looking for. The back of every Alien Archive has a table allowing you to look this up easily. 

Third, look at these monsters quickly. Focus on their stat blocks, and ignore the picture on the page. You’re looking for a couple of things: the monster’s role (combatant, expert, or spellcaster), which is an icon near the monster’s name; the monster’s key resistances/immunities/etc., its most common attacks, and its special powers. Try to see these abilities as something separate from the monster. Ask yourself this question: other than this particular monster, what other creatures in the galaxy might have those same abilities?

Finally, describe your alternate, or “reskinned” creature in your head. Note those abilities that match the description, and those that should change to match your image. Write these down, and you’ve got a new monster.

Let me give you two examples.

Example 1: My heroes are prowling around in the lowest levels of a grimy planet-wide city, where the smog is thick and gangers and monsters are a constant threat. I want to throw a back-alley brawl at them with some sneaky thug-type monsters. These are enforcers for a local gang. My players’ characters are 7th level, and I want three or four foes. That means I’m looking at CR 4 monsters.

I crack open the Alien Archive, which is the nearest monster book at hand. I could look in other books, too, but I’m lazy, so I’m sticking with this one. CR 4 monsters include the crest-eater, gray, ksarik, nuar enforcer, patrol-class security robot, and shobhad. That’s a lot of options to skim.

I look over these monsters, and I see that the thug-type opponents (with the combatant role) are all of them but the gray. Still plenty of options! The crest-eater and the ksarik are quadrupedal monsters, and not what I’m looking for. I also don’t want a robot. So the nuar enforcer and the shobhad seem like the best options. The nuar enforcer has lots of abilities: a goring charge, the ability to knock foes over, and a strong sense of direction. They fight with big ol’ pikes. The shobhad has fewer abilities: ferocity and cold resistance, and it uses a sword and a machine gun. That’s sort of it for the shobhad.

The shobhad works best, I think, so I’m using that stat block. I want to make a couple of swaps: first, the acidic smog means my thugs resist acid 5 rather than cold 5. And they prefer to fight with their machine guns over their swords, so I’m swapping their to-hit modifiers: +10 with their swords, and +13 with their machine guns. My thugs aren’t big, so I’m ignoring the big Space and Reach of shobhads. I like that they have ferocity, which makes them feel dedicated and tough. I want to make them badger-people, just because. So here’s what I have:

Badger-People Gang Toughs (4)  CR 4

XP 1,200 each

N Medium monstrous humanoid

Init +1; Senses darkvision 60 ft.; Perception +10

DEFENSE         HP 50 each

EAC 16; KAC 16

Fort +6; Ref +8; Will +5

Defensive Abilities ferocity; Resistances acid 5


Speed 40 ft.

Melee carbon steel curve blade +10 (1d10+9 S; critical bleed 1d6)

Ranged squad machine gun +13 (1d10+4 P)


Str +5; Dex +1; Con +3; Int +0; Wis +0; Cha +1

Skills Intimidate +15, Stealth +10, Survival +10

Languages Common

Gear tactical war harness (functions as defrex hide), carbon steel curve blades (2), squad machine gun with 80 heavy rounds


Example 2: My heroes, much higher level now, are investigating an ancient ruin on an asteroid. They need to get something special from this ruin—a crystal, say—but getting it releases some big, threatening monster from stasis that skulks around the ruin until it finds the heroes. This monster probably wants to eat them. My heroes are 15th level, and I want something that’s a challenge by itself. So I’m looking at CR 16.

I go back to the Alien Archive, and see that there is only one CR 16 creature: an oma, which is a colossal space-whale. That doesn’t feel right. Maybe something just a little bit tougher, like CR 17? The only creature there is a hallajin (bad pun on “halogen”), a light-based monster with a raft of special abilities that don’t seem quite right, either. With a sigh, I reach way overto the bookshelf and grab Alien Archive 2. This one has three CR 16 monsters: a haeshi-shaa, moonflower titan, and plasma ooze. These sound promising, but I don’t know any of these creatures well, so I take a quick look.

My monster should be big and sneaky, so a combatant or expert role sounds right. The haeshi-shaa is a spellcaster role and also an incorporeal monster, which isn’t want I need. The moonflower titan is a big combatant and already eats people (it has the Swallow Whole ability), although I’m not envisioning a plant. The plasma ooze is…another enormous monster that flies through space? Huh, maybe they spend time battling omas. But the plasma ooze doesn’t fit. 

The moonflower titan is my best bet. I don’t like that it’s a plant, but I can fix that. I’ll just call it a magical beast instead, and delete the “plant immunities.” Its attacks feel right, particularly the bite that swallows whole. My monster maybe doesn’t have tentacles, but that’s easy to change into claws or whatever (and change the damage type to slashing). Its special abilities are zany: my monster doesn’t need specialized telepathy or “Pod Spawn.” I like the Root Tremor ability, but it can be some other effect: maybe this creature stomps the ground or something. Moon Pulse seems like a neat ability to catch the heroes by surprise, and I could just keep it as-is, but I think I’d rather have some other “debuff the heroes” ability instead. When I was looking at the plasma ooze, I saw it had an electromagnetic pulse power that emptied charged items. That seems neat, especially if reflavored as a creature that makes things decay or expire. That feels right for a monster in crumbling, ancient ruins. I’ll replace the Moon Pulse with this ability and rename it “Decay of Ages.” I see the plasma ooze puts this in the Aura line, so I’ll do that, too.

So my monster is feeling like a “herald of the end times”-type creature that got locked away. Maybe it looks like a huge hippopotamus/crocodile monster, like Ammit from Egyptian mythology (it helps to know a lot of mythological monsters). So here’s what I have:

Ammit, Ender of Epochs, Hippo-dile Horror    CR 16

XP 76,800

N Gargantuan magical beast

Init –1; Sensesd arkvision 60 ft., low-light vision; Perception +28

Aura decay of ages (100 ft., DC 22)

DEFENSE         HP 300

EAC 30; KAC 32

Fort +20; Ref +14; Will +18; DR 10/slashing; Immunities electricity; Resistances cold 10

Weaknesses vulnerable to fire


Speed 30 ft.

Melee bite +30 (6d10+26 P plus swallow whole)

Multiattack bite +24 (6d10+26 P plus swallow whole), 2 claws +24 (5d6+26 S)

Space 20 ft.; Reach 20 ft.

Offensive Abilities mighty stomp, swallow whole (0 or 10d6 A & B [see text], EAC 30, KAC 28, 75 HP)


Str +10; Dex –1; Con +7; Int –2;Wis +5; Cha +0

Skills Stealth +28 (+33 in ruins)

Languages telepathy 120 feet


Decay of Ages (Su) An ammit generates a field of supernatural decay that disrupts electronics and interferes with signals. Electronic signals, such as those employed by comm units, do not function within this area. When a creature activates an object with charges that is in the area, that object must succeed at a DC 22 Reflex save or it is drained of all charges and the action is lost. A technological construct that begins its turn in this area must succeed at a DC 22 Reflex save or be staggered and unable to use energy-based attacks for 1d4 rounds. A creature or object that succeeds at its saving throw is immune to the ammit’s decay of ages for 24 hours.

Mighty Stomp (Ex) As a full action, an ammit can rise up and bring its bulk crashing to the ground, causing a violent tremor. Each creature within a 50-foot-radius spread originating in the ammit’s space must attempt a DC 22 Reflex saving throw. Those that fail take 10d6 bludgeoning damage and fall prone. Creatures that succeed take half the damage and remain standing.

Swallow Whole (Ex) If an ammit successfully swallows a target, that creature remains inside the ammit for 2 rounds, during which the victim takes no damage and the ammit can’t swallow another creature. After this time, the target is enclosed in a stony disintegrator pod and expelled into a space adjacent to the ammit. The pod then acts as the swallowing creature, with the same swallow whole statistics but now able to deal acid damage as the creature is quickly disintegrated. A creature can’t use Athletics to climb out of this disintegrator pod. Other creatures can attack the pod, but the enclosed creature takes damage equal to half the damage dealt to the pod. An external attacker can avoid dealing the enclosed creature damage by using a bludgeoning weapon to make one attack against the pod as a full action.