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Astral Marine

The astral marines are high-tech shock troops used as terror troops and elite forces. While soldiers defeat the enemy’s body, astral marines break their spirit and will to fight. They are the faceless iron wall that an enemy finds themselves hopelessly thrust against. When their opponents break – even a chink in their armor, a small hole in their line, or a missed step – an astral marine is taught to spring into action and widen that gap.

Give them an inch and they are trained to take a mile tactically while guarding themselves in a safe, conservative, defensive posture.

Astral marines are unique in that the majority of their training is not initially done in the field but instead though hypno-indoctrination and brainwashing. They are made, not trained – their bodies and minds tampered with to create an obedient and fearsome warrior. Because of this they are fearless and never tire, able to withstand the loss of body parts without flinching and are capable of standing guard for days at a time. As they grow in skill and experience the training they received is contextualized and evolved; such veteran astral marines are often given officer positions and relied upon to offset the mindless lower rand-and-file’s lack of practical experience.

Astral marines are heavy infantry who often employ heavy weapons and armor. They employ uniform equipment and training patterns due to how they are trained and deployed. Astral marines can be “mass-produced”, though the process is expensive and requires a large population pool to draw from. These custom-made legions are tailored to their clients’ needs and wage entire wars.

Key Ability Score: An astral marine’s life is one of service, dedication, and combat. You can choose either Constitution or Strength as your key ability score.

Hit Points: 7

Stamina Points: 7 + Constitution modifier

Class Skills: Athletics ( Str), Engineering ( Int), Intimidate ( Cha), Perception ( Wis), Piloting ( Dex), Profession ( Cha, Int, or Wis), Survival ( Wis)

Skill Ranks per Level: 4 + Intelligence modifier

Proficiencies Armor Light and heavy armor; Weapons Basic and advanced melee weapons, small arms, longarms, heavy weapons, sniper weapons, and grenades

Playing an Astral Marine

An astral marine is either part of a military organization on detached duty or a “former” astral marine. Such marines are often the “leftovers” of a large conflict, a marine who became disenfranchised, or one who rose above the circumstances of their indoctrination. There are many stories to tell as an astral marine and yours will surely be unique.

Table: The Astral Marine
Level Base Attack Bonus Fort Save Ref Save Will Save Class Features
1st +1 +2 +0 +2 Hypno-indoctrination, standard issue equipment, subjugation
2nd +2 +3 +0 +3 Discipline
3rd +3 +3 +1 +3 Steel march, weapon specialization
4th +4 +4 +1 +4 Speciality
5th +5 +4 +1 +4 Damage reduction (1), slow and inevitable
6th +6 +5 +2 +5 Discipline
7th +7 +5 +2 +5 Damage reduction (2)
8th +8 +6 +2 +6 Speciality
9th +9 +6 +3 +6 Damage reduction (3)
10th +10 +7 +3 +7 Discipline
11th +11 +7 +3 +7 Astral onslaught, damage reduction (4)
12th +12 +8 +4 +8 Speciality
13th +13 +8 +4 +8 Damage reduction (5)
14th +14 +9 +4 +9 Discipline
15th +15 +9 +5 +9 Damage reduction (6)
16th +16 +10 +5 +10 Speciality
17th +17 +10 +5 +10 Damage reduction (7)
18th +18 +11 +6 +11 Discipline
19th +19 +11 +6 +11 Damage reduction (8)
20th +20 +12 +6 +12 Hellmarine, speciality

Hypno-Indoctrination (Ex) [1st Level]

You are immune to mind-affecting effects, but cannot benefit from morale bonuses due to the hypno-indoctrination you receive against fear.

Additionally, you must make a Will save (DC 25 – 1/2 character level) to willingly disobey an order from a superior. A person in a legitimate position of authority over you through bond, oath, contract, or willing affiliation counts as your “superior”. The morality of one’s superior (or their orders) does not change their relationship to the marine.

Sidebar: GMing Hypno-Indoctrination

As a GM how you choose to employ the hypnoindoctrination class feature says a lot about the tone of the game you want to run. Speak with your astral marine player about how they want to employ this. If they are down for a “gritty horrors of war” game, maybe have an immoral general commanding the astral marine (possibly from the shadows) to do wicked deeds. If the astral marine wants to downplay this, maybe they are a free agent whose only “superior” is a fellow player who their character trusts (and the player trusts out of game); envoys and other social characters work great for this role. When employing tactics that exploit this class feature, it should be rather dramatic and not everyday – not everyone knows about the exploitable flaw in an astral marine’s hypno-indoctrination.

Standard Issue Equipment [1st Level]

You are issued standard weapons and equipment. You may exchange them at any outpost of their government for a fresh set, so long as they were expended while on assigned duties. When refreshing your supplies you receive 10x the weapon’s maximum capacity in ammunition for all weapons. The nature of your standard issue equipment is dependent on your astral marine level and specializations and changes as you level. You may request any equipment from a lower level if they wish. A GM is the final arbiter of what piece of standard issue equipment is appropriate for an astral marine to receive. Selling standard issue equipment is a crime and anyone caught selling their standard issue equipment or who owns standard issue equipment is liable to get shot, imprisoned, or at the very least charged 10x the amount it is typically worth. Standard issue equipment is easily identified as being such and microscopic serial numbers detail who it was issued to. Because of the gear you are provided, you begin play with only 1/10th of your normal starting credits.

Table: Standard Issue Equipment
Level Primary Firearm Sidearm Armor Melee Weapon
1st-5th Hunting Rifle Tactical Semi-auto Pistol Hidden soldier armor Survival Knife
6th-10th Autotarget Rifle Advanced Semi-auto Pistol Vesk overplate I Tactical Knife
11th-15th Combat Rifle Elite Semi-auto Pistol Vesk overplate III Ultrathin Dagger
16th-19th Advanced Gyrojet Rifle Tactical Gyrojet Pistol Vesk monolith II Zero-edge Dagger
20th Gyrojet Rifle Paragon Elite Gyrojet Pistol Vesk monolith III Molecular Rift

Subjugation (Ex) [1st Level]

At the end of your turn you can make a free Intimidate check to demoralize all creatures you damaged during your turn. Roll once and compare the result against all creatures you damaged this turn.

Discipline (Ex) [2nd Level]

Your strength comes from your fearlessness and absolute discipline in the face of the enemy. This continued training in warfare is represented by you gaining a discipline at 2nd level and every 4 levels thereafter.

See the “List of Disciplines” section later in this class entry.

Steel March (Ex) [3rd Level]

An astral marine may “march”. Marching is a special type of move action. While marching, you must move at least 10 feet (2 squares) and must always move in a straight line towards enemies and end as close to them as possible. A marching character moves at half their speed (minimum 10 feet). A march can be made towards an enemy even if you don’t have line of sight to the creature so long as you are aware of the enemy’s presence (Example: You can march to an airlock you just saw your foe flee behind. You, however, could not march over a ridge if you hear noises that could possibly be the bandits that you suspect are lying in wait for your party).

While marching you can also draw a weapon. If a march is made through difficult terrain, you suffer no additional reduction in movement speed (though you are still subject to other environmental hazards). A march may not be made through obstacles that prevent you physically moving forward (a wall, a table, etc) nor through squares that contain creatures (other than helpless creatures). You cannot take a 5-foot step or another move action on the same turn you’ve marched.

You may take a full round action to “double march” which allows you to march up to normal movement speed.

Weapon Specialization (Ex) [3rd Level]

You gain Weapon Specialization as a bonus feat for each weapon type this class grants you proficiency with.

Speciality [4th Level]

Astral marines are trained for specific roles so they can fill gaps in the combat needs of their organization. At 4th level and every 4 levels thereafter, you pick a specialty – a unit typing that gives you a small bonus under certain circumstances and training on certain kinds of equipment. This equipment becomes standard equipment they can request.

Damage Reduction (Ex) [5th Level]

At 5th level, you gain DR 1/-. At 7th level, and every odd level , this damage reduction rises by 1 point.

Damage reduction can reduce damage to 0 but not below 0.

If you gain damage reduction from another source, this damage reduction stacks, but only grants half the normal amount.

Example: Frank is an 11th level astral marine with the Enhanced Resistance feat granting him DR. The feat grants him DR 11/-, and his damage reduction class feature improves this by +2 (half of his normal DR 4/-), for a total of DR 13/-.

Slow and Inevitable (Ex) [5th Level]

Due to careful stepping, an increased awareness due to your slower speed, a solid sense of balanced, and the special training you have received, you’ve become more difficult to deter. While marching you gain a bonus on all Reflex saves equal to your Constitution modifier and an equal bonus to your AC against attacks of opportunity. In addition, after making a march you gain a +1/4 circumstance bonus on attack rolls made until the start of your next turn.

Astral Onslaught (Ex) [11th Level]

When you make a full attack, you can make up to three attacks instead of two attacks. You take a -6 penalty to these attacks instead of a -4 penalty.

Hellmarine (Ex) [20th Level]

When you successfully Intimidate a creature the creature is paralyzed for rounds equal to your key ability score modifier. The creature may attempt a Will save (DC 10 + your total ranks in Intimidate) start of each of their turn to end the effect prematurely. This is a mind affecting emotional effect.


The following are astral marine disciplines. You may take each only once unless otherwise noted. If a discipline grants a bonus feat you do not need to meet the requirements.

Biological Control (Ex)

You can make a Fortitude save at the start of your turn to suppress the effects of any poisons or diseases you are currently suffering from. The DC of this check is equal to the save DC of the biological agent with the highest DC currently affecting them. This also allows you to control basic biological cycles on a superficial level: allowing you to force your hair to stop growing (or grow at twice the normal rate), to cause your nails to stop growing, to turn off your digestion tract temporarily, to make yourself feel not hungry temporarily, etc.

Breach (Ex)

You gain Improved Initiative as a bonus feat. In addition, you can choose to go first during a round if you marched on your last turn. This is decided at the start the the turn and can only be done once per minute.

Blood In The Water (Ex)

If you caused HP damage to a creature during your turn, the DC to demoralize that creature is reduced by -4 until the start of your next turn. You must be at least 10th level to take this discipline.

Constant Advance (Ex)

Once per round, as you march you may reload your weapon or charge a boost weapon as part of the same move action.

Creeping Barrage

After marching, you gain a +1/4th circumstance bonus to AC against attacks of opportunity made when you fire ranged weapons until the start of your next turn. You must be at least 6th level to take this discipline.

Dogged Pursuit

After marching, you gain Step Up and Step Up And Strike as bonus feats until the start of your next turn.

You must be at least 6th level to take this discipline.

Extreme Conditioning (Ex)

You only need to eat or drink 1 days worth of food and water per week and require only 3 hours of sleep per night to get a full night’s rest.

Grunt Work (Ex)

You can do the physical labor of up to three people and double your carrying capacity.

Machine Breaker (Ex)

Constructs and machines that are mindless are not immune to fear effects you cause. Androids and other creatures with the constructed racial trait (or similar) do not get their racial bonus against fear effects you cause.

Push Beyond Pain (Ex)

You gain a +2 morale bonus on saves against fatigue and exhaustion effects. In addition you add 10 to the number of rounds you can hold your breath for before you need to make Constitution checks to avoid drowning or suffocating. Finally, you gain a +4 morale bonus on saves to continue running for protracted periods of time (as is the case with the “local movement” rules).

Scare Stiff

When an adjacent creature suffering from a fear effect attempts to move away from you, as a reaction you may attempt a special Intimidate check to demoralize them. If you succeed, the creature loses the action and remains adjacent to you. You must be at least 10th level to take this discipline.

Spell Breaker (Ex)

You gain Spellbane as a bonus feat. In addition, when you march the bonus this provides increases by +1/4th your astral marine level (minimum +1) until the start of your next turn. You retain this feat and its benefits even if you gain a spell-like ability.

Superhuman Pain Tolerance (Ex)

You gain 5 additional Stamina points. This stacks with Toughness. You must have either the extreme conditioning or push beyond pain discipline before selecting this one.

Terror Trooper (Ex)

Astral marines are trained to break not only the defenses and bodies of their foes but their will to fight as well. You add 1/2 your class level as an insight bonus on all Intimidate checks.

Unit Cohesion (Ex)

If an ally fired a range weapon while adjacent to you since the end of your last turn you gain a +2 circumstance bonus on attack rolls against whatever that ally targeted. This lasts until the end of your turn.

Will Breaker (Ex)

Any time you successfully impart a fear effect on a creature the level of fear it imparts increases by 1 step (shaken > panicked > cowering). This has no effect on effects that cause a creature to cower.


Each of the following options gives you the option to replace some piece of your standard issue equipment with something described on either Table 1-3: Weapon Specialities (Primary Firearm), Table 1-4: Weapon Specialities (Sidearm), Table 1-5: Weapon Specialities (Melee Weapon) or Table 1-6: Armor Specialities in the column with the same name as the speciality. If your specialities would cause your standard issue armor to have more armor upgrades than your armor has upgrade slots for, you choose which upgrades are installed when you requisition the armor. If multiple specialities replace the same weapon slot, you choose which weapon you receive when you requisition your weapons.

Alpine Scout

You gain a climb speed equal to your land speed. In addition, you gain a +2 bonus on Athletics checks made to jump. You must have 3 ranks in Athletics to select this specialty.

Aquatic Trooper

You gain a swim speed equal to your land speed. In addition, you gain a +4 bonus on Fortitude saves against pressure caused by extreme depth. You must have 3 ranks in Athletics to select this specialty.

Arctic Trooper

You treat cold conditions as one step lower than normal (extreme cold > severe cold > cold > normal).

In addition, you ignore the difficult terrain effects of deep snow and ice. All your standard issue armor comes equipped with a thermal capacitor as described on Table 1-6: Armor Specialities under the “Arctic Trooper” heading.

Combat Engineer

You gain Barricade as a bonus feat. You must have 3 ranks in Engineering to select this specialty.

Combat Pilot

You gain Sky Jockey as a bonus feat. You must have 3 ranks in Piloting to select this specialty. While this specialty does not grant you a vehicle or ship you may be assigned one for particular missions.

Demolition Marine

The DC to avoid a grenade you throw is increased by 2.

Drop Trooper

You are first to the fight, being deployed orbitally into hot zones in powered armor to establish a beachhead. You suffer the heaviest fire from the enemies’ defenses and, as such, drop troopers are given powerful titan shields to protect themselves.

Drop troopers use a trick where they deploy their titan shield on their feet as they drop and fire over it as they land. This allows you to install jump jets or jetpacks on powered armor and utilize them without a penalty. You must have the mobile infantry and jump trooper specialties to select this specialty.

Escort Guardian

You gain Bodyguard as a bonus feat. This speciality typically is used to protect VIPs and requires a mastery of decorum and ceremonial weapons. You must have at least 3 ranks in Culture to select this specialty.

Heavy Gunner

You gain a +2 insight bonus on attack rolls made to provide covering fire and harrying fire while using a heavy automatic weapon. Additionally, the bonus to AC you provide your allies from these actions is increased to +4 (rather than +2).

Inferno Marine

The range of flamethrowers you use is increased by 10 feet.

Jump Trooper

You gain a +2 insight bonus on Acrobatics checks made to fly. All your standard issue armor comes equipped with jump jets or a jetpack as described on Table 1-6: Armor Specialities under the “Jump Trooper” heading.

Marine Scout-Sniper

You can move up to half your speed and take the aim action necessary to fire at your full sniper distance while using sniper weapon.

Mobile Infantry

You gain Powered Armor Proficiency as a bonus feat even if you do not meet the prerequisites. In addition, you increase the base speed of any powered armor you wear by 10 feet. At higher levels it may be appropriate to request alternative powered armor as the situation demands.

Plasma Marine

Any enemy damaged by a plasma weapon you fire has their KAC reduced by -2 for a number of rounds equal to your Constitution modifier. You must be at least 7th level to select this specialty.

Rad Trooper

All your standard issue armor comes equipped with a radiation buffer. In addition, you add +2 to the save DC of radiation effects you create. Finally, you don’t expose yourself to radiation when you roll 1 with weapon with the radioactive special quality.


You are trained to use massive artillery pieces designed to take down vehicles. The title of “schiffjaeger” is reserved for an astral marine who has fired a killing blow on a capital ship, though most anti-armor squads are simply referred to as schiffjaegers. They often man shipboard weapons or are deployed in the field to destroy enemy armor.

Once per day per key ability score modifier you can grant your weapons the penetration special quality on all attacks you make that round as a free action. In addition, you gain a +2 insight bonus on attack rolls made with ship-scale weapons. You must have at least 2 of the following specialties to select this specialty: demolition marine, heavy gunner, plasma marine, rad trooper. If you select the IMDS Missile Launcher in place you also get 10 missiles with it of a sort defined by Table 1-3: Weapon Specialities (Primary Firearm).


You are the tip of the spear when it comes to breaching enemy lines. You gain a +2 insight bonus on Initiative checks and can turn on a forcefield as a reaction or swift action (rather than a standard).

All your standard issue armor comes equipped with a forcefield as described on Table 1-6: Armor Specialities under the “Shocktrooper” heading.

Void Marine

You gain a +4 bonus on Acrobatics or Athletics to move in zero-g.

Table 1-3: Weapon Specialities (Primary Firearm)
Level Heavy Gunner Inferno Marine Marine Scout-Sniper Plasma Marine Rad Trooper Schiffjaeger
Replaces Primary Firearm Primary Firearm Primary Firearm Primary Firearm Primary Firearm Primary Firearm
1st-5th Squad Machine Gun Ifrit-class Flamethrower Tactical Shirren-Eye Rifle Electromagnetic Radcannon
6th-10th Light Machine Gun Salamander-Class Flamethrower Advanced Shirren-Eye Rifle Red Star Plasma Cannon Electromagnetic Radcannon
11th-15th Medium Machine Gun Hellhound-Class Flamethrower Elite Shirren-Eye Rifle Yellow Star Plasma Cannon Neutron Radcannon IMDS Missile Launcher (Tactical Missiles)
16th-19th Heavy Machine Gun Firedrake-Class Flamethrower Paragon Shirren-Eye Rifle White Star Plasma Cannon Rapid-decay Radcannon IMDS Missile Launcher (Advanced Missiles)
20th Paragon X-gen Gun Phoenix-Class Flamethrower Warpshot Shirren-Eye Rifle Blue Star Plasma Cannon Rapid-decay Radcannon IMDS Missile Launcher (Advanced Missiles)
Table 1-4: Weapon Specialities (Sidearm)
Level Combat Engineer Demolition Marine Void Marine Drop Trooper
Replaces Sidearm (Gain 10 extra energy packs) Sidearm (Gain 5 grenades) Sidearm Sidearm
1st-5th Batteries Frag Grenade I Corona Laser Pistol
6th-10th High Capacity Batteries Frag Grenade II Aphelion Laser Pistol
11th-15th Super-capacity Batteries Frag Grenade IV Parallax Laser Pistol Titan Shield
16th-19th Ultra-capacity Batteries Frag Grenade VI Zenith Laser Pistol Titan Shield
20th Ultra-capacity Batteries Frag Grenade VIII Zenith Laser Pistol Titan Shield
Table 1-5: Weapon Specialities (Melee Weapon)
Level Aquatic Trooper Escort Guardian
Replaces Melee Weapon Melee Weapon
1st-5th Tactical Spear
6th-10th Sentinel Spear Red Star Plasma Doshko
11th-15th Buzzblade Spear Yellow Star Plasma Doshko
16th-19th Zero-edge Spear White Star Plasma Doshko
20th Gravity Spear Blue Star Plasma Doshko
Table 1-6: Armor Specialities
Level Alpine Scout Arctic Trooper Combat Pilot Jump Trooper Mobile Infantry Shocktrooper
Replaces None None Armor None Armor None
1st-5th Grappler (Cable Line, Titanium Alloy) Thermal Capacitor Mk 1 D-Suit I Jump Jets Forcefield (Brown)
6th-10th Grappler (Cable Line, Titanium Alloy) Thermal Capacitor Mk 1 D-Suit II Jetpack Battle Harness Forcefield (Purple)
11th-15th Grappler (Cable Line, Adamantine Alloy) Thermal Capacitor Mk 2 D-Suit IV Jetpack Battle Harness Forcefield (White)
16th-19th Grappler (Cable Line, Adamantine Alloy) Thermal Capacitor Mk 3 D-Suit V Jetpack Jarlslayer Forcefield (Red)
20th Grappler (Cable Line, Adamantine Alloy) Thermal Capacitor Mk 3 D-Suit VI Jetpack Warmaster’s Harness Forcefield (Prismatic)

Altered or Replaced Astral Marine Class Features

For any level at which an archetype provides an alternate class feature, an astral marine who takes the archetype alters or replaces the listed class features.

Multilevel [2nd, 6th, and 18th Levels]: You don’t gain a discipline.

Multilevel [4th and 12th Levels]: You don’t gain a specialty.

9th Level: You don’t increase the amount of DR you gain a 9th level.


Mysterious Space Bounty Hunter

Theme: Bounty Hunter

You’re a rogue bounty hunter who always gets your man.

Ability Scores Our mysterious space bounty hunter is as deadly as they are crafty. They have high Dexterity and Wisdom while keeping a respectable Constitution score.

  • Breach
  • Extreme Conditioning
  • Superhuman Pain Tolerance
  • Alpine Scout
  • Jump Trooper
  • Inferno Marine

Heavy Grunt

Theme: Mercenary

You are a soldier’s soldier, a career grunt with a pension for using heavy weapons.

Ability Scores The heavy grunt cares about its ability to come home after the job is done (you don’t get paid if you aren’t around to collect the paycheck) so he has high Constitution and Dexterity as he needs to be able to shoot with his massive weapons.

  • Heavy Gunner
  • Plasma Marine
  • Schiffjaeger
  • Constant Advance
  • Creeping Barrage
  • Grunt Work

Zealous Crusader

Theme: Priest

You are the front line in religious expansion, heading the charge. The faithful are shielded beneath your welcoming arms, while the heretics should flee or be crushed underfoot.

Ability Scores You want a strong Constitution since you’re going to be shot a lot, while a good Charisma will bolster your Intimidate skill.

  • Machine Breaker
  • Terror Trooper
  • Will Breaker
  • Escort Guardian
  • Heavy Gunner
  • Shocktrooper

Psychic Powered Marine

Theme: Scholar

Archetype: Phrenic Adept

You lend your raw psychic might and knowledge of the occult to the aid of your fellow marines. Some may not trust you but all will respect you.

Ability Scores The psych power marine has great Intelligence and Constitution. Its psychic powers are based on the classes key ability score ( Constitution in this case) so it is important to keep that high and their Intelligence will help supplement their lack of skill points.

  • Spellbreaker
  • Terror Trooper
  • Mobile Infantry
  • Plasma Marine
Section 15: Copyright Notice

Astral Marine © 2019, Little Red Goblin Games LLC; Authors: Scott Gladstein, Ian Sisson