Starfield Speech Build

A character in a space suit walk down a sci-fi street.

A character in a space suit walk down a sci-fi street.

In this guide, we will help you create speech builds in Starfield. Whereas other builds will focus on the most efficient ways to kill your enemies, this build will instead focus on a more subtle play style: using speech and persuasion as a tool to get what you want. You’ll use intimidation, coercion, and influence to complete your quests and progress across Starfield’s immense galaxy.

This guide will go over the best background, traits, and skills that will help you talk your way out of any situation. And when that doesn’t work, we’ll also review some viable weapons and armour for you to make a swift exit.

Persuasion Explained

Firstly, as we are working on a Speech Build, you will need access to Persuasion. This mini-game takes the dialogue options from The Elder Scrolls and Fallout and turns them up to the max.

To use Persuasion well, the skill must be unlocked. If you choose one of the following backgrounds - Diplomat, Industrialist, Sculptor or Space Scoundrel; you will have Persuasion as a starting skill. Alternatively, you will need to save up all that XP and spend it on the Social Skill tree to unlock it.

However, your speech checks aren't limited to just persuasion. You can use sk

How to Use Persuasion in Starfield

To use your silver-tongued ability, the PERSUADE option must appear when conversing with another character. Making a save before proceeding is recommended in case things go wrong. Select the PERSUADE option; you will see a screen with several choices.

The adoring fan
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Green, yellow and red show the difficulty of succeeding with the options presented, with green being easy and red being hard. Choose wisely, as failure may come quickly if you make a mistake; revert to the save you made should things go off the rails.

Next to each option is a number that will fill the Persuasion bar slowly as you make the right choices. You will have a set number of tries to do this with the turn number displayed below the dialogue options. Each time you win a turn, you get another free; it's convenient when it gets close to filling the bar and you fail!

Lastly, you can choose to use Auto-Persuade. This bar will fill up as correct choices are made and reset every time you use one. Balance your choices carefully to be sure of successful Persuasion.

Best Background for Speech Builds

Starfield's character creation screen. Showing the Diplomat trait
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Credit: Diplomacy is highly persuasive

Choosing a background in Starfield will determine your character’s origin story and give you three starting skills. You can only pick one background, and each will provide your character with certain buffs, benefits, and NPC reactions.

When building a speech-based character in Starfield, it’s recommended that you go with the Diplomat background. This background gives you three starting skills - Persuasion, which presumedly will make it easier for you to persuade and convince NPCs. Commerce, which works like Fallout’s barter skill—giving you better prices when buying and selling. Finally, Wellness, a skill that gives you a permanent health increase—is always helpful.

Best Traits and Skills for Speech Builds

Starfield's skill selection screen, showing the intimidation skill and its levels.
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Credit: Bethesda
Speak your mind

When making your character, besides your background, you can also have traits for your character. Each character can have up to three traits. Here are traits that will benefit the speech build.

  • Extrovert: The Extrovert trait opens up many dialogue options for you to talk freely with NPCs and even befriend them despite meeting in hostile circumstances.
  • Empath: The Empath trait is excellent for keeping in mind the feelings of your fellow companions and NPCs. It comes in handy, especially if you plan on romancing a companion.
  • Neon Street Rat: Out of all the faction traits, the Neon Street Rat trait will give you the most insight and dialogue. Although its scope is limited to Neon City, the immersion aspect is worth it.

Once you're done selecting your traits, we move to the most important part of the speech build. Picking the right skills is essential to making the speech build work. Here's what we have:

  • Persuasion: The backbone of this build. Unlock the ability to persuade NPCs. Make sure to max this skill early on.
  • Deception: Fool enemy ships with piracy demands easily. Excellent for avoiding too much space combat.
  • Diplomacy: Force target NPCs to calm down and stop fighting. Great for getting away with activities such as pickpocketing.
  • Intimidation: Force your target to flee from you in fear. Great for disengaging from combat.
  • Manipulation: If applying the calm or fear effect wasn't enough, you can use the Manipulation skill to make NPCs do your bidding.
  • Stealth: Some level of stealth ability will help this build in situations where combat would be hard to avoid. Learn how to max stealth skills.
  • Negotiation: Reduces bribery costs and makes it easier to pay your way through lots of encounters.
  • Leadership: Rally your troops and give your companions some strong bonuses to help with combat.
  • Xenosociology: Force aliens to stand down and obey your commands.
  • Incapacitation: While you don't have to be a total pacifist with speech builds, you can rely on EM weapons to stun enemies who get aggressive.
  • Pistol Certification: Before unlocking Incapacitation, it makes sense to invest in a pistol, as you can use one with a silencer to make it through early-game encounters.
  • Shotgun Certification: If EM weapons are not your style and you need an actual weapon, you can't go wrong with shotguns.

A pure speech build is definitely unorthodox and challenging to pull off. However, for those willing to try, gathering and levelling these skills quickly will have you simply talking your way through most encounters.

Best Weapons and Armor for Speech Builds

Starfield gameplay, the player character is reloading a sci-fi looking pistol
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Credit: Bethesda
Stay out of trouble kid!

For speech builds, your main strategy for combat is… not getting into it. You’re a speech and persuasion specialist: talking your way out of sticky situations will be your go-to tactic. But if things get heated, and you need to get your hands dirty, you will want something reliable to defend yourself with. A robust shotgun or trusty pistol is probably your best bet, as they will be effective even with low combat skills. If you're looking for firearm recommendations, check out our best early-game weapons guide and list of the best overall weapons in Starfield.

The same applies to armor. You shouldn’t be getting shot at that often anyway with speech builds, so the need for high damage reduction isn’t essential. We'd suggest grabbing some light armor to escape combat encounters quickly.

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