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Science, Huh? Ain't It a Thing

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

With any new game system, and associated organized play campaign, there are rules questions that even the designers and developers could not predict. I was surprised to find out that batteries are one of the more discussed issues in Starfinder Society Roleplaying Guild. There have been several discussions, both on the forums and among the venture-officers, about how to handle some of questions that came up with regards to handling batteries in Starfinder.

So, let's start with some new rulings!

New Starfinder Society Roleplaying Guild Rulings

The following rulings are official for the Starfinder Society Roleplaying Guild and go into effect immediately.

  • Any equipment a PC owns that comes with a battery is automatically recharged to its full number of charges between scenarios. The same applies to any individually purchased batteries a PC owns. It is assumed that PCs have access to free recharging stations within the Lorespire Complex or from their starship.
  • Starfinder Society starships, unless otherwise noted, can recharge batteries. If a scenario involves a starship, and the PCs have access to the ship, they can use the recharge station onboard at no cost.
  • The current number of charges on a battery does not impact the sale price of an item. Any items that are sold with a battery (such as energy weapons) must be resold with the associated battery, regardless of the battery's current charge.
  • Update the Pulsecaster Rifle (Starfinder Core Rulebook 176) statistics as follows: Capacity 20 charges, Usage 1.

Character Updates: If you previously purchased recharging services on your character between scenarios, you can reclaim any credits spent on these services. If you purchased a pulsecaster rifle for a character, prior to the publication of this blog post, you must use the new statistics, as presented above, or immediately exchange the weapon back at full credit value (instead of the standard 10% resale cost).

Moving Forward

After reading various forum comments, receiving private messages, attending conventions where I discussed this matter with players, and hearing from our venture-officers, the Organized Play team decided the above rulings worked best with our campaign. Tracking charges on batteries (beyond just weapons) between scenarios was cumbersome on players, and it just added another layer of complexity to GMing a scenario. There were some rightful fears that PCs might spend more time using the transfer charge cantrip to completely drain obtained equipment, to bypass having to purchase replacement charges—let alone the final impact on how equipment sharing would work with that cantrip.

As currently written in the Starfinder Core Rulebook, the pulsecaster rifle comes with a battery that's more expensive than the actual weapon purchase. The update above is in line with an upcoming FAQ/Errata from the Starfinder team that will address this issue. This future FAQ update should also include some other rules clarifications and updates, so keep an eye out for a future Starfinder FAQ

I suspect that these rules should alleviate most concerns with regards to tracking battery charges for a character. Players are still expected to track charges during a scenario, but I suspect that most PCs relying on energy weapons will pick up a secondary battery and have ample charges to get through even the most grueling encounters.

Now, go forth, and pew pew pew with all the lasers!

Thurston Hillman
Starfinder Society Developer

More Paizo Blog.
Tags: Organized Play Starfinder Society
Sovereign Court ***

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Thanks, Thurston! That addresses that issue!

Silver Crusade

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber

I for one am excited for the upcoming Starfinder FAQ.

* Starfinder Society Developer

7 people marked this as a favorite.
DM_aka_Dudemeister wrote:
I for one am excited for the upcoming Starfinder FAQ.

Disclaimer

This is by no means us setting ANY expectations for the Starfinder team to get out a new FAQ/Errata in X/Y/Z theoretical time frame. Instead, I mentioned this, just so that people are aware that the Organized Play ruling on pulsecaster rifles is consistent with the thinking process of the Starfinder team and how they intend on seeing this one specific issue more formally FAQ/Errata'd in the future.

Silver Crusade

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber
Thurston Hillman wrote:
DM_aka_Dudemeister wrote:
I for one am excited for the upcoming Starfinder FAQ.

Disclaimer

This is by no means us setting ANY expectations for the Starfinder team to get out a new FAQ/Errata in X/Y/Z theoretical time frame. Instead, I mentioned this, just so that people are aware that the Organized Play ruling on pulsecaster rifles is consistent with the thinking process of the Starfinder team and how they intend on seeing this one specific issue more formally FAQ/Errata'd in the future.

Understood, expectations managed :)

Sczarni *

2 people marked this as a favorite.

So is the same discount going to be provided to ballistic weapons? Or is there no longer going to be game balance between battery powered weapons and ballistics?

The Exchange

Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Sid De Squid wrote:
So is the same discount going to be provided to ballistic weapons? Or is there no longer going to be game balance between battery powered weapons and ballistics?

Was there ever balance between these two options RAW?

Sczarni *

Shaudius wrote:
Sid De Squid wrote:
So is the same discount going to be provided to ballistic weapons? Or is there no longer going to be game balance between battery powered weapons and ballistics?
Was there ever balance between these two options RAW?

True, but batteries costed more than bullets but since batteries are free recharge now they're an one time investment though you have to re-buy bullets.


Stabbyface has no problem getsing his bullets backs.

Grabs some tweezers.

* Starfinder Society Developer

4 people marked this as a favorite.
Sid De Squid wrote:
So is the same discount going to be provided to ballistic weapons? Or is there no longer going to be game balance between battery powered weapons and ballistics?

Nothing at present. The Organized Play team will be monitoring things, as we always do, to get a sense of if other rules need tweaking.

The focus of this update had nothing to do with addressing any sort of "weapon type parity", but instead to focus on the in-game assumptions of how batteries work in the Starfinder setting. The idea of Starfinders not having a free battery recharge station available, especially when more than just weapons rely on batteries, was something we did not want players to have to deal with the minutiae of tracking. Similarly, the breaking of verisimilitude of the Society having battery charging stations at the Lorespire Complex and on starships that field agents couldn't access.

I'm well aware that this can easily lead down the rabbit hole of "why wouldn't the Society just buy us ammo for missions then?" which is an entirely different discussion, and one I certainly invite people to discuss: specifically, in a new thread in the Starfinder Society forums!


Sid De Squid wrote:
Shaudius wrote:
Sid De Squid wrote:
So is the same discount going to be provided to ballistic weapons? Or is there no longer going to be game balance between battery powered weapons and ballistics?
Was there ever balance between these two options RAW?
True, but batteries costed more than bullets but since batteries are free recharge now they're an one time investment though you have to re-buy bullets.

But that makes sense. The idea of forcing an artificial contruct of balence seems wrong in the case of ballistics and energy weapons. There is a need for ballistic weapons still. Just not balanced to be equally powerful or cost effective.


Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Thank you--that's exactly the ruling I was hoping for.

Liberty's Edge *

Thanks for the clarification and ruling.

RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 16

Good call.

Dataphiles

"So, ah, thank goodness because ah, I was um, thinking I was um, going to need to buy ten um, battery packs and a generator and spend entire missions recharging them. This is ah, so much ah, better!"

And player thanks for saving some of the precious few brain cells remaining!

Sovereign Court *** Venture-Lieutenant, Netherlands—Leiden aka Ascalaphus

Did I miss something, or did this blog not discuss transferring charges between dissimilar items (i.e. between a comm and a riffle)?

Though I suppose now that your starship can freely recharge your weapons, that's not something we should be worried about; you could cheaply use a comm as a battery, or quickly slot a real replacement battery during combat.

Sovereign Court **

A sensible solution and cuts down on excessive paperwork too.

Silver Crusade ***** Venture-Captain, Germany—Aschaffenburg-Würzburg

Thank you for resolving this issue.

Grand Lodge **** Venture-Lieutenant, Online aka Hmm

Thank you, Thurston and Team! This was the resolution that I was hoping for. As a GM, I was getting sick of people looting bodies for batteries first, or having whole tables where people avoided energy weapons altogether because they were worried about the battery issue.

Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Hmm

****

13 people marked this as a favorite.

♫ Do you ever feel like you're out of charge
Drifting through the void
Wanting to start again?

Do you ever feel like your laser's dead
Space gobs on your head
One blow from caving in?

Do you ever feel there's no signal here
All alone, kinda queer
And no one seems to hear a thing?

Do you know that there's still a charge for you
'Cause there's a spark in you

You just gotta ignite the light
And let it shine
Just own the night
Bioluminesce
Show your joy and effervesce
Show em that your battery's full
Make 'em go "Oh, oh, oh!"
As you shoot across the sky-y-y

Baby, your battery's full
That's Thurston's shiny rule
Make 'em go, "ah, ah, ah"
You're gonna leave them all ow, ow, ow

Don't have to scrounge for batteries to replace
Just go ahead and tase their face
If you only knew what your cargo holds
Just a backup batt'ry to stow
Lorespire Complex has your back
Time to Explore, Cooperate and Attack!

Like a lightning bolt, your heart will glow
And when it's time, you'll know

You just gotta ignite the light
And let it shine
Just own the night
Bioluminesce
Show your joy and effervesce
Show em that your battery's full
Make 'em go "Oh, oh, oh!"
As you shoot across the sky-y-y ♫

_____
Source: Katy Perry's Baby, You're a Firework

***

In 4 SFS scenarios my character has spent 80cr on ammo and averages 42cr per scenario on day job checks. I'm not too worried about ammo costs.

Sid De Squid wrote:
So is the same discount going to be provided to ballistic weapons? Or is there no longer going to be game balance between battery powered weapons and ballistics?

RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 16

Sid De Squid wrote:
So is the same discount going to be provided to ballistic weapons? Or is there no longer going to be game balance between battery powered weapons and ballistics?

Projectile weapons are usually cheaper and do more damage. And it's easier and cheaper to carry and reload extra ammunition than it is for extra batteries.

Energy weapons are also probably not as good at higher levels when enemies with energy resistance and immunity are more common. Damage reduction isn't as much of an issue in a game where martials don't rely on iterative attacks as much.

The Exchange *

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Cyrad wrote:
Sid De Squid wrote:
So is the same discount going to be provided to ballistic weapons? Or is there no longer going to be game balance between battery powered weapons and ballistics?
Projectile weapons are usually cheaper and do more damage. And it's easier and cheaper to carry and reload extra ammunition than it is for extra batteries.

Not really for heavy weapons at least, which a lot of soldiers or others who like them will prefer. The cost for most of the weapons between the two types is roughly equivalent, finding close comparisons is hard but in cases where you're paying more I feel you're getting more. The initial cost of batteries and the cost of the rounds is mostly the same with recharging definitely being cheaper than buying more rounds even before it was free. The damage differences are small between comparable weapons, particularly considering the 10% or more greater chance of hitting with the energy weapons.

The Exchange *

Cyrad wrote:
Sid De Squid wrote:
So is the same discount going to be provided to ballistic weapons? Or is there no longer going to be game balance between battery powered weapons and ballistics?

Projectile weapons are usually cheaper and do more damage. And it's easier and cheaper to carry and reload extra ammunition than it is for extra batteries.

Energy weapons are also probably not as good at higher levels when enemies with energy resistance and immunity are more common. Damage reduction isn't as much of an issue in a game where martials don't rely on iterative attacks as much.

On the last bit, why would energy resistance have any more effect than damage resistance? The ways to mitigate DR are mostly outside the scope of SFS play. The way to mitigate ER or flat immunity is that there are a wide variety of different energy types, so you've only got so much of a chance of being affected.

***

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Thurston Hillman's Blog wrote:
As currently written in the Starfinder Core Rulebook, the pulsecaster rifle comes with a battery that's more expensive than the actual weapon purchase.

{sidetrack}

Welcome to the real world. This just didn't surprise me. If you look at cordless power tools, it's not to difficult to find a battery that costs more than the original bare tool.

* Starfinder Society Developer

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Swiftbrook wrote:
Thurston Hillman's Blog wrote:
As currently written in the Starfinder Core Rulebook, the pulsecaster rifle comes with a battery that's more expensive than the actual weapon purchase.

{sidetrack}

Welcome to the real world. This just didn't surprise me. If you look at cordless power tools, it's not to difficult to find a battery that costs more than the original bare tool.

Entirely true! When I explained this situation to my partner, she simply responded: "Oh, so this rifle is like buying a modern printer? You throw it out for the ink."

It certainly makes sense from a real world context, but doesn't fit with the desired game design effect. :)

Sczarni ***** Venture-Captain, Georgia—Augusta aka MatthewHudson

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Thurston Hillman wrote:
Sid De Squid wrote:
So is the same discount going to be provided to ballistic weapons? Or is there no longer going to be game balance between battery powered weapons and ballistics?

Nothing at present. The Organized Play team will be monitoring things, as we always do, to get a sense of if other rules need tweaking.

The focus of this update had nothing to do with addressing any sort of "weapon type parity", but instead to focus on the in-game assumptions of how batteries work in the Starfinder setting. The idea of Starfinders not having a free battery recharge station available, especially when more than just weapons rely on batteries, was something we did not want players to have to deal with the minutiae of tracking. Similarly, the breaking of verisimilitude of the Society having battery charging stations at the Lorespire Complex and on starships that field agents couldn't access.

I'm well aware that this can easily lead down the rabbit hole of "why wouldn't the Society just buy us ammo for missions then?" which is an entirely different discussion, and one I certainly invite people to discuss: specifically, in a new thread in the Starfinder Society forums!

I started that discussion thread here: http://paizo.com/threads/rzs2unf9?Free-Batt-Recharging-Balance-options-for

along with two proposals for balancing ammo restock options with the free battery recharging. Feel free to provide input!

The Exchange

Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Darkling36 wrote:


On the last bit, why would energy resistance have any more effect than damage resistance? The ways to mitigate DR are mostly outside the scope of SFS play. The way to mitigate ER or flat immunity is that there are a wide variety of different energy types, so you've only got so much of a chance of being affected.

One of the best answers to tbis at least from a resistance and not immunity standpoint is the holy weapon fusion.


I've been wondering, does the cheapening of repeated use batteries make (energy) automatic weaponry somewhat viable?

Liberty's Edge *

If you have time to get to a starship or Lorespire Complex, yes.

The charging of batteries does not include from vehicles..

****

Since we're talking about Batteries -

How does Weapon Fusions effect them?
Does a battery count as ammo or does it count as something else?

Actually the whole Weapon Fusion needs it's own FAQ thread.

Grand Lodge **** Venture-Lieutenant, Online aka Hmm

Exactly. Also there have been a number of situations in scenarios that I've seen that can cause people to regret bringing lasers -- smoke, fire resistance, or other weird monster properties.

Just like in Pathfinder, it's a good idea to diversify.

Hmm

Sovereign Court *

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Roleplaying Guild Subscriber

Another Subsidy for Energy Industrial Complex while the poor Kinetic enthusiast are left shouldering (and firing) the cost of ammo.

Silver Crusade

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber
Thurston Hillman wrote:
Swiftbrook wrote:
Thurston Hillman's Blog wrote:
As currently written in the Starfinder Core Rulebook, the pulsecaster rifle comes with a battery that's more expensive than the actual weapon purchase.

{sidetrack}

Welcome to the real world. This just didn't surprise me. If you look at cordless power tools, it's not to difficult to find a battery that costs more than the original bare tool.

Entirely true! When I explained this situation to my partner, she simply responded: "Oh, so this rifle is like buying a modern printer? You throw it out for the ink."

It certainly makes sense from a real world context, but doesn't fit with the desired game design effect. :)

Thing is, the new printer comes with a partially filled ink-tank.

Liberty's Edge *

People are suckers if they don't fill their own ink/toner.

***

75 pages a week free printing at the County library.

My home cartridges dry out before I use them up.

Noven wrote:
People are suckers if they don't fill their own ink/toner.

Grand Lodge ***** Venture-Captain, Arizona—Phoenix aka TriOmegaZero

1 person marked this as a favorite.

I need to look into those ink drums, with how many maps I print.


I'm confused. Why is tracking the charge in your battery and buying more charges between sessions "too cumbersome", but tracking the bullets in your clip and buying more between sessions not too cumbersome?

Am I tracking battery charges wrong?

Silver Crusade ***** Venture-Captain, Germany—Aschaffenburg-Würzburg

Steven Schopmeyer wrote:
I need to look into those ink drums, with how many maps I print.

Bought an Epson eccotank, basically a printer with those ink drums build in, my printing costs have reduced significantly, I print way too much. This year alone about 3000 normal pages and about 1500 for maps on thicker gauge paper.

Also started buying laminating sheets in bulk, just got an order of 2000 for a decent discount.

Grand Lodge *****

1 person marked this as a favorite.
MiggidyMack wrote:

I'm confused. Why is tracking the charge in your battery and buying more charges between sessions "too cumbersome", but tracking the bullets in your clip and buying more between sessions not too cumbersome?

Am I tracking battery charges wrong?

If it was just weapons that used batteries, sure.

But are you tracking battery levels for your comm set, computer, flashlight, power armor and jump jets too? That's a level of resource tracking that can seriously slow down play.

Grand Lodge ****

1 person marked this as a favorite.
MiggidyMack wrote:
I'm confused. Why is tracking the charge in your battery and buying more charges between sessions "too cumbersome", but tracking the bullets in your clip and buying more between sessions not too cumbersome?

The procedure with batteries wasn't so much cumbersome, as inconsistent and open to silly exploits. Bullets are physical objects - you buy them, you fire them, they're gone - and are not transferable between as many different kinds of equipment. They still fit guns of different levels, so they don't act as a scaling consumable cost, but that's a small loss.

Dark Archive ***** Venture-Captain, Minnesota—Minneapolis aka Silbeg

Sebastian Hirsch wrote:
Steven Schopmeyer wrote:
I need to look into those ink drums, with how many maps I print.

Bought an Epson eccotank, basically a printer with those ink drums build in, my printing costs have reduced significantly, I print way too much. This year alone about 3000 normal pages and about 1500 for maps on thicker gauge paper.

Also started buying laminating sheets in bulk, just got an order of 2000 for a decent discount.

Granted, I may not be able to use your source, but from where and how much?


Lau Bannenberg wrote:
Did I miss something, or did this blog not discuss transferring charges between dissimilar items (i.e. between a comm and a riffle)?

Exactly, that question practically started this whole discussion. So what about comm unit and its 80 charges battery?

Sovereign Court *** Venture-Lieutenant, Netherlands—Leiden aka Ascalaphus

Devasura wrote:
Lau Bannenberg wrote:
Did I miss something, or did this blog not discuss transferring charges between dissimilar items (i.e. between a comm and a riffle)?
Exactly, that question practically started this whole discussion. So what about comm unit and its 80 charges battery?

Well it isn't quite as important now that you can recharge weapon batteries at your ship. If you're worried about running out mid-adventure buying a spare battery/clip is not a problem.

The big difference was "do we need to buy new ones every session" or "buy a backup battery once".

* Starfinder Society Developer

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Devasura wrote:
Lau Bannenberg wrote:
Did I miss something, or did this blog not discuss transferring charges between dissimilar items (i.e. between a comm and a riffle)?
Exactly, that question practically started this whole discussion. So what about comm unit and its 80 charges battery?

The blog did not discuss this item. That is more of a general FAQ/Errata question, which this blog was not intended to handle. Instead, the blog focused on some situations unique in Starfinder Society, rather than announcing any errata.

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