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Five Differences Between Starfinder Rules and Pathfinder Rules

Friday, June 2, 2017

Given the ever-approaching release of the Starfinder Roleplaying Game, there's no better time to highlight a few new Starfinder rules! Although Starfinder is heavily based on the Pathfinder RPG system, there are nevertheless some significant rules changes between the two. So to give you a quick taste of some of the changes, here are five key mechanics that differentiate the Starfinder RPG from Pathfinder.

1. Hit Points, Stamina Points, and Resolve Points. In Starfinder, Hit Points measure the health and robustness of a character, while Stamina Points measure a character's readiness and energy (and can be replenished far more easily). Whenever you take damage, your Stamina Points are depleted before your Hit Points. In other words, you can soak up some hits without too much trouble, but once you start taking damage to your Hit Points, you're taking physical wounds that are much harder to heal quickly.

Starfinder characters also get a third pool of points called Resolve Points, which represent grit and luck. You can spend Resolve Points to power (or enhance) some class features, or to help you stay in a fight longer. Resolve Points also determine whether or not you die if both your Stamina Points and Hit Points are reduced to zero.

You can recover all of your Stamina Points by resting for 10 minutes and spending 1 Resolve Point; Resolve Points and some Hit Points are replenished after an 8-hour rest.

Illustration by Pixoloid Studios

2. Armor Classes. Characters in Starfinder have two Armor Classes: Energy Armor Class (EAC) and Kinetic Armor Class (KAC). Attacks that deal energy damage (like the fire damage from your trusty red star plasma pistol) target EAC; attacks that deal kinetic damage (like the bludgeoning damage from a gravity well hammer) target KAC. Starfinder has no flat-footed or touch AC.

3. No Iterative Attacks. Starfinder characters normally get a single attack every round, and this holds true from level 1 to level 20—a character's number of attacks does not increase as their base attack bonus goes up. Instead, any character (even at first level!) can use a full action to make two attacks in a round, each at a -4 penalty.

4. Attacks of Opportunity. In Starfinder, only three things provoke attacks of opportunity: moving out of a threatened square, making a ranged attack, and casting a spell. That's it. No other actions provoke attacks of opportunity.

5. Magic is Magic. There is no distinction between types of magic in Starfinder, whether arcane, divine, psychic, or something else. Spellcasting classes like the mystic and technomancer have different spell lists, but are both harnessing the same latent magical energy that permeates the universe. In addition, spells in Starfinder have no components; all you need is the ability to cast a spell and concentration.

That's it for now, Starfinders! Stay tuned to this space over the coming weeks and months for more Starfinder previews!

Robert G. McCreary
Senior Developer

More Paizo Blog.
Tags: Pixoloid Studios Starfinder
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Silver Crusade

14 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber, Campaign Setting, Companion Subscriber

No more double AoO for somebody standing up and drinking a potion? :)


Cool.


2 people marked this as a favorite.

Liking the three pools and the interactions thereof immensely. Other sustems have done it well. Also liking the AC types.

I do wonder how wielding two melee weapons will work. But I'm sure that will ve revealed in August.

All in all a great direction, and also feels like a good grounding for Pathfinder moving forward too.

Starfinder sounds stellar!


8 people marked this as a favorite.
Oceanshieldwolf wrote:
Starfinder sounds stellar!

It's out of this world.

Liberty's Edge

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber, Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Pathfinder Deluxe Comics Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Any chance you might expand a bit on #3? Can additional attacks be made through spells (haste?), feats (Rapid Shot?), or equipment (semiauto fire?)?


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

What increases when a character goes up in level?

A) Hit Points only.
B) Stamina Points only.
C) Both, Hit Points and Stamina Points.
D) Neither.

Shadow Lodge

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

Cool. Still not getting my hopes up till I get to sit down and actually read the rules for all of this. That said, Stamina & Hp is a cool idea and dropping/simplifying iteratives and AoO's is an interesting idea, I'm down to see simplification there to allow complexity in others.


Do you gain extra Hit Points when you level, or is it a fixed number from level 1? What about Stamina and Resolve Points? How much do you get, and how much do they go up per level (if at all)?

Wzrd wrote:

What increases when a character goes up in level?

A) Hit Points only.
B) Stamina Points only.
C) Both, Hit Points and Stamina Points.
D) Neither.

LoL, you beat me to it.

Dark Archive

2 people marked this as a favorite.

1. This sounds a lot like D&D 4th edition, i don´t know if i like this yet.

2. This is a definite betterment.

3. So i guess fireing a chain-gun is now reflected by very much damage, if you fire at one target only OR one attack roll counts against each of the 20 targets if you fire a broad salvo?

4. Okay i guess.

5. Not great. Individual spell-lists are unneccesary complicated. One arcane, one divine and one psychic distinction would have been way easier.

These are my initial thoughts. Of course i´ll have to check out the finished product before i can make a real meaningful review. ;-)


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Wzrd wrote:

What increases when a character goes up in level?

A) Hit Points only.
B) Stamina Points only.
C) Both, Hit Points and Stamina Points.
D) Neither.

If it's anything like Star Wars d20, Stamina Points will go up whenever you gain a level while Hit Points are purely based off Con.

We'll have to wait for more info on it, though.


requiem_in_mortis wrote:

If it's anything like Star Wars d20, Stamina Points will go up whenever you gain a level while Hit Points are purely based off Con.

We'll have to wait for more info on it, though.

There are pics floating about from PaizoCon that confirm HP is based off of Class and Race. Probably also Constitution Modifier, but not 100% sure of that yet (only 99%).


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber Subscriber

HYPE

Silver Crusade

13 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber, Campaign Setting, Companion Subscriber

Hey, Star Wars SAGA is making a comeback!


I do wonder if there is anything like casting defensively in this system... I suppose it would help balance martials/casters if the answer is 'no', and technomancers and mystics are 6th-level casters and so would presumably be fairly likely to have at least some not-spellcasting options.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber, Campaign Setting, Companion Subscriber

Perhaps the blog hints at every casting requiring a concentration check?


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber, Campaign Setting, Card Game, Class Deck, Maps, Modules, Pawns, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Deluxe Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Legends Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Tacticslion wrote:
HYPE

Indeed. Can't wait until August. :)

Liberty's Edge

7 people marked this as a favorite.
Gorbacz wrote:
Hey, Star Wars SAGA is making a comeback!

Star Wars: SAGA is what 4th Edition should have been (indeed, what it almost became).

Had 4th Ed been SW:SAGA, my guess it that we would all be gearing up just now for some iteration of 5th Ed - and Pathfinder RPG would never have existed.

Water>Bridge

The best mechanics in SAGA were the consequences of critical damage to all objects and creatures -1/-2/-5/-10/-Dead and the starship crew rules to give everybody something to do on a starship during combat.

I am pretty certain that some derivative of SAGA's crew rules will be in use in Starfinder, because they elegantly address a central problem that has existed in all SF RPGs before SW:SAGA (and, frankly, since).

Well, there was another key feature to Star Wars:SAGA. Class abilities achieved at various levels. That central mechanic has already made it into many of the class designs in PFRPG after the Core Rulebook (i.e. APG and subsequent classes and archetypes).

Paizo Employee Developer, Starfinder Team

6 people marked this as a favorite.
Gorbacz wrote:
No more double AoO for somebody standing up and drinking a potion? :)

Yep, neither of those provoke.


The pools are interesting and I am hoping won't complicate things too much. Then again I am curious if HP won't really increase too high in the game, because I would love if the numbers didn't raise too incredibly high. I mean even if its something as simple as your HP is equal to your Constitution(or Con+level) it makes it a smaller resource that makes players scared when they lose their Stamina.

The loss of Touch or Flat Footed seems odd but it may be a nice simplification. I am used to multiple ACs for Sci Fi games so this isn't a big shift for me.

I am SO down for losing Iterative attacks. That will simplify things wonderfully and I like that taking a second swing is always an option. This has me excited.

I am curious about the why magic has been pushed together like it has. I am fine with it but really curious for the lore reasons.

Scarab Sages

1 person marked this as a favorite.

AHEM

makes a huge coughing fit in an attempt to gain everyone's attention

Speaking as a player in Rob's game at Paizocon (as well as multiple Delves), I must protest a glaring inaccuracy in the blog!

While there is not a specific flat-footed Armor Class statistic per se, the flat-footed condition DOES still exist! Whenever a creature is flat-footed (presumably from not acting in combat, though that is unclear to me from what I recall; I do know that feinting still applies it), they take a -2 penalty to both of their Armor Classes!

This is a horrendous oversight, and one that will not stand with me, a person who annoyingly soaks in every last detail presented to me when it is regarding things in which I have an invested interest! For shame, sir. For shame.

Sorry, I just like being a know-it-all. Really hyped about the release!

Paizo Employee Developer, Starfinder Team

11 people marked this as a favorite.
Shisumo wrote:
Any chance you might expand a bit on #3? Can additional attacks be made through spells (haste?), feats (Rapid Shot?), or equipment (semiauto fire?)?

No, no, and not exactly.

If you autofire a weapon it has special rules, which can allow you to make a single attack roll and apply it to the AC of multiple creatures within the autofire area, though each creature is attacked only once and there's a limit to how many you hit. It's a kind of area affect, along with lines and explosions.

Haste's affect on attacks is you take less of a penalty to make two attacks with a full attack.

Paizo Employee Developer, Starfinder Team

12 people marked this as a favorite.
Wzrd wrote:

What increases when a character goes up in level?

A) Hit Points only.
B) Stamina Points only.
C) Both, Hit Points and Stamina Points.
D) Neither.

C

Paizo Employee Developer, Starfinder Team

11 people marked this as a favorite.
Gorbacz wrote:
Perhaps the blog hints at every casting requiring a concentration check?

Actually there are no concentration checks.

None.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Yes, I'd heard if you take damage you lose the spell, no roll... which is the main reason I worried about some form of casting defensively, if obviously looking radically different (while reluctantly admitting that making it so spellcasters *cannot* cast a spell while threatened without being more likely than not to lose the spell does help in some ways).


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Woah I like alot of these ideas, some stuff seems streamlined while others add a bit more complexity(such as the hp, resolve, and stamina points)

Liberty's Edge

So, maybe when you're TWFing you just add the dice and take a penality to the attack roll?


I would assume two weapon fighting makes you either able to move and then take two attacks, or lowers the penalties for two attacks. Another possibility is that two weapon fighting just does not exist as a feat, and if you have two weapons and do the full attack you can shoot with both of them.


Paladinosaur wrote:
So, maybe when you're TWFing you just add the dice and take a penality to the attack roll?

As Vitruvius said in the LEGO Movie:

Vitruvius wrote:
"Sure...sure. Let's go with that!"

Paizo Employee Developer, Starfinder Team

7 people marked this as a favorite.
LordInsane wrote:
Yes, I'd heard if you take damage you lose the spell, no roll... which is the main reason I worried about some form of casting defensively, if obviously looking radically different (while reluctantly admitting that making it so spellcasters *cannot* cast a spell while threatened without being more likely than not to lose the spell does help in some ways).

[Edit]Three things make this not an issue.

First, reactions resolve directly after the triggering action. So if you cast a spell and someone readied to shoot you if you cast, if the spell has a casting time of 1 standard action you get the spell off before the AoO gets made.

Secondly, most touch-range healing spells specify they do no provoke attacks of opportunity (as do a few other touch spells including some offensive ones).

Third, you lose the spell only if an attack successfully hits your AC or you fail a save against it. For example, if someone lobs a grenade and you are caught in the area while casting, but you make your save against it, that doesn't cause you to loose the spell.

[An earlier version of this post noted that all AoO were resolved after the triggering event, but while that is true for readied actions and most other reactions, it is not for attack of opportunity -- this is one reason we have to write down rules, especially after going through 6 versions of ho things work in development, rather than just trusting out memories].

Liberty's Edge

4 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber, Campaign Setting, Companion, Maps, Modules, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Pathfinder Deluxe Comics Subscriber

Can we also assume that spellcasting, without components, doesn't have "manifestations" if the caster doesn't want them to?

One serious problem I have with Pathfinder is that spells like Charm Person and (especially) Ghost Sound really don't make a lot of sense.... These are supposed to be subtlety-type infiltration spells, but it takes a feat and a higher spell level or two to cast them that way.


2 people marked this as a favorite.
UllarWarlord wrote:

AHEM

makes a huge coughing fit in an attempt to gain everyone's attention

Speaking as a player in Rob's game at Paizocon (as well as multiple Delves), I must protest a glaring inaccuracy in the blog!

While there is not a specific flat-footed Armor Class statistic per se, the flat-footed condition DOES still exist! Whenever a creature is flat-footed (presumably from not acting in combat, though that is unclear to me from what I recall; I do know that feinting still applies it), they take a -2 penalty to both of their Armor Classes!

This is a horrendous oversight, and one that will not stand with me, a person who annoyingly soaks in every last detail presented to me when it is regarding things in which I have an invested interest! For shame, sir. For shame.

Sorry, I just like being a know-it-all. Really hyped about the release!

Okay that's much better than no flat-footed AC at all. Thanks.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Marco Massoudi wrote:
1. This sounds a lot like D&D 4th edition, i don´t know if i like this yet.

How so? 4th edition had hp, healing surges, and action points, none of which were really like how this stamina/health system is described.


So no iterative attacks. How does this work with two weapon fighting? How about natural attacks say you have 5 of them? Thanks.

Liberty's Edge

5 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber, Campaign Setting, Companion, Maps, Modules, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Pathfinder Deluxe Comics Subscriber

There were quite a number of very good ideas and systems in D&D/4e. Many of them made it into 13th Age. One of them sort of made it into Jason Buhlman's Minions (Minotaur Games).

Personally, I prefer Pathfinder over 4e, but there were some things from 4e that were very nicely done.


3 people marked this as a favorite.

A lot of those changes sound very promising. It also seems likely that some of them may someday be under consideration for a future edition of Pathfinder (yeah, yeah...put away your pitchforks!).

Scarab Sages RPG Superstar 2015 Top 16

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Wzrd wrote:

What increases when a character goes up in level?

A) Hit Points only.
B) Stamina Points only.
C) Both, Hit Points and Stamina Points.
D) Neither.

If I remember correctly from the Starfinder delve at PaizoCon, you get SP and HP from both your race and class at character creation, then get more of both (I think) from your class when you level. Don't know how/if resolve points go up.

Edit: Oh and after reading the whole thread I see Owen already answered this. :)


Is there a lore reason for magic no longer being differentiated? Or is it more of a "you choose how you get your magic in your own game" thing?

Scarab Sages RPG Superstar 2015 Top 16

It seems to be that each character can decide the flavor behind their powers, one mystic might be arcane, while another is psychic in flavor.


Rusty Ironpants wrote:
It seems to be that each character can decide the flavor behind their powers, one mystic might be arcane, while another is psychic in flavor.

Not much point to though.... since it's just "the force" and no mechanics to make it anything else. There's nothing to actually have someone be a divine caster that wouldn't be identical to an arcane caster or a fish-blood caster.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Mechalibur wrote:
Marco Massoudi wrote:
1. This sounds a lot like D&D 4th edition, i don´t know if i like this yet.
How so? 4th edition had hp, healing surges, and action points, none of which were really like how this stamina/health system is described.

This actually sounds a lot like the CRPG Pillars of Eternity. I kind of like it.

http://pillarsofeternity.gamepedia.com/Vitality


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Owen K. C. Stephens wrote:
Shisumo wrote:
Any chance you might expand a bit on #3? Can additional attacks be made through spells (haste?), feats (Rapid Shot?), or equipment (semiauto fire?)?

No, no, and not exactly.

If you autofire a weapon it has special rules, which can allow you to make a single attack roll and apply it to the AC of multiple creatures within the autofire area, though each creature is attacked only once and there's a limit to how many you hit. It's a kind of area affect, along with lines and explosions.

Haste's affect on attacks is you take less of a penalty to make two attacks with a full attack.

No more long pauses looking up what triggers AOOs? No taking AOOs whenever you try to make a combat maneuver you haven't sunk feats into? Nice.

No iterative attacks? No Haste being so overwhelmingly good that it's pretty much assumed higher level PCs will have it up, and developers making new classes/archetypes have to make DPR calculations assuming Haste is in place? (E.g., see: Elemental Annihilator.) AWESOME.


3 people marked this as a favorite.

No components! Yes, that is what I'm most excited about. A lack of 40 year old puns.

Looks good. So... when do you start reverse engineering these fabulous ideas and applying them to creaky and bloated PF?


Rusty Ironpants wrote:
It seems to be that each character can decide the flavor behind their powers, one mystic might be arcane, while another is psychic in flavor.

That's nice for roleplay, but I'm going to miss the different mechanical stuff that different magic brought to the game.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Hit points, stamina points, and resolve points!!?

No wonder why, when a character gets hit by a laser blast in tv shows such as the original Transformers or Adventures of the Galaxy Rangers, they get right back up!!!!


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Milo v3 wrote:
Rusty Ironpants wrote:
It seems to be that each character can decide the flavor behind their powers, one mystic might be arcane, while another is psychic in flavor.
Not much point to though.... since it's just "the force" and no mechanics to make it anything else. There's nothing to actually have someone be a divine caster that wouldn't be identical to an arcane caster or a fish-blood caster.

That lines been getting blurry for years. Ever since Bards could cast Cure Light Wounds and still called Arcane casters.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

These Resolve points are reminding me of Radiance RPG's Vitality points. Wonder if that was the inspiration.


23 people marked this as a favorite.
phantom1592 wrote:
Milo v3 wrote:
Rusty Ironpants wrote:
It seems to be that each character can decide the flavor behind their powers, one mystic might be arcane, while another is psychic in flavor.
Not much point to though.... since it's just "the force" and no mechanics to make it anything else. There's nothing to actually have someone be a divine caster that wouldn't be identical to an arcane caster or a fish-blood caster.
That lines been getting blurry for years. Ever since Bards could cast Cure Light Wounds and still called Arcane casters.

Personally, I never found the arcane/divine distinction useful or interesting. Having it be ambiguous is much more flexible (not to mention intriguing).

P.S. One can always recognize a fish-blood caster; their spells always scale.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

RE #3: Can we assume creatures with multiple natural weapons still get an attack with each during a full round (or its equivalent)?


1 person marked this as a favorite.
bugleyman wrote:


Personally, I never found the arcane/divine distinction useful or interesting. Having it be ambiguous is much more flexible (not to mention intriguing).

P.S. One can always recognize a fish-blood caster; their spells always scale.

Nice....

Back in 2nd edition I liked the Arcane and Divine split. It made the cleric/Wizard feel very different. One magic comes from one source and another from a different... I could deal with that. Cure was divine, Fireball was Arcane...

3.X bard started crossing the lists and now with Oracles, psychics, witches, and a half dozen other classes with unique casting sources who are mixing and matching the spell lists... I don't see the value anymore.

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