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Cellion's page

Organized Play Member. 237 posts (1,581 including aliases). 14 reviews. No lists. No wishlists. 6 Organized Play characters. 8 aliases.


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Fuzzypaws wrote:
Cellion wrote:
One of my other (mostly rhetorical) questions is how smart is "to the best of its ability" supposed to be? Say there are two enemies. Would three 5ft squares of the cloud move to hem in one of the enemies so they can't guarded step away to get out of the cloud? Or would they split evenly? This is obviously 100% up to the GM right now, but it makes the spell vary wildly in usefulness, especially for the covering fire portion.
Since you can't directly command them once loosed and they don't have much intelligence, they would split up as evenly as possible. Two clouds after one target, two after the other target. In the case of three targets, the fourth "undesignated" cloud segment would either move towards the closest one or roll randomly to determine which of several equidistant targets it moved toward.

Actually, there's nothing in the spell that suggests they're not intelligent. In fact, since they're not only able to discern 'hostility' and are completely autonomous beyond you sustaining them with magic each round, it seems like they're at least slightly intelligent.

Thanks for the interpretations guys. Makes sense that they can move as far as they want when considering the analogy to summon spells. I guess I was imagining the microbots supporting the party while the technomancer sits in a coffee shop 10 miles away. You know, keeping in touch via skype and occasionally taunting creatures into hostility to keep the microbots motivated. I figure if I can have an idea like that, there's probably some other silly loophole that's going to be exploited.

I'm tempted to believe Over 9000's suggestion that they grant harrying fire and covering fire "continuously" rather than once only per round, it makes more flavor sense to me. The microbots are constantly there, being distracting, after all. But it doesn't gel well with how the covering and harrying fire rules are normally written.

It also doesn't seem that the microbot cloud is intended to count as a creature (but rather a spell effect), but at the same time its autonomous...

One of my other (mostly rhetorical) questions is how smart is "to the best of its ability" supposed to be? Say there are two enemies. Would three 5ft squares of the cloud move to hem in one of the enemies so they can't guarded step away to get out of the cloud? Or would they split evenly? This is obviously 100% up to the GM right now, but it makes the spell vary wildly in usefulness, especially for the covering fire portion.

2 people marked this as FAQ candidate.

So I was looking through the Technomancer spell list to work out how to build my support Technomancer, and I saw the Microbot Assault spell. At first glance it didn't seem particularly good, but I decided to run some math to work out how it stacks up in terms of effective damage. While doing so, I realized that this spell left me with so many questions...

Here's the spell:

Starfinder CRB wrote:

Casting Time: 1 standard action

Range: close (25 ft. + 5 ft./2 levels)

Duration: concentration + 1 round

Saving Throw: none

Effect: distracting cloud of microbots

Spell Resistance: no

You pull latent technological energy from the air to form a cloud of fist-sized hindering microbots that fill an area you designate. The microbots begin in a 10-foot-square area when you create them, and you can create the cloud so that it shares the space of other creatures. If no creatures are within the cloud’s area, the microbots pursue and harass the nearest creature that is hostile to you as best they can each round. Although the microbots generally know which creatures are your enemies, you have no control over their targets or direction of travel. If there are multiple valid targets the microbots can harass, the cloud will split into a maximum of four 5-foot-square segments and pursue different targets.

The cloud (and any segments thereof) has a fly speed of 20 feet. Each round on your turn, the microbot cloud grants harrying fire (see page 247) against the foes in its spaces. In addition, the cloud grants covering fire (see page 246) to anyone attacked by foes in its spaces. The microbots constantly repair themselves and the cloud generates new microbots every few seconds, so any attack against them is essentially ineffective.

  • You summon them as a standard action. Do they immediately get to split up and move, or are they stuck as a 10ft square on the first round? Do they apply their harrying/covering fire on the turn they're summoned?
  • Can they move as far away as they want in pursuing targets? Is there a max range they can travel, or are they restricted to "close" range?
  • If you summon them when there's no hostile creature within your line of sight, but there is one or more further away, will the cloud seek those creatures out? What if the creatures are invisible but close by? Does the cloud know where to go? Does it rely on your senses? Its own senses?
  • Does the covering fire apply to only the first attack made against one of your allies? First attack against each of your allies? The wording of the spell seems to imply it applies to "anyone attacked by" the foe.
  • If they enter the square of a creature on your turn and grant covering fire, but the creature leaves their square before attacking, does covering fire still apply?

  • 5 people marked this as a favorite.

    I firmly believe that you must enjoy GMing on its own merits. You must enjoy delivering a story, interacting with your players, and running the mechanical aspects. No amount of incentives, perks or credits can turn something you hate into something you like (ask anyone whose had a job they didn't like :>)

    From the topics that you're focusing on in this thread, its clear that you don't actually enjoy GMing games on PbP. That you're forcing yourself in order to 'pay back GMs that have run things for you in the past'.

    To answer the question at the top of the thread: Yes, its is ABSOLUTELY worth it to be a PFS GM. However, it may not be worth it for you specifically. If it isn't, don't GM. That's all there is to it.

    Its normally a standard action to draw a concealed weapon (see Sleight of Hand skill), but Rogue's Edge for Sleight of Hand w/ 15 ranks gets it as a swift if you take a hefty penalty on a SoH check that doesn't have a DC. I think there's another way to get it to a swift action too, but I don't recall exactly what that was.

    Regardless, the sap master/underhanded build is one of those "blaze of glory" builds that consistently underperforms. You invest way too much in this trick that works in a narrow set of circumstances. I would not recommend anyone try to use it.
    Your restrictions include:

    - Underhanded functions a number of times per day equal to your CHA mod.
    - Bludgeoner and Sap Master means your damage is nonlethal, bricking this strategy against Constructs and Undead. Considering that Elementals and Oozes are already immune to sneak, you're straight up useless against a significant portion of threats.
    - Sap Master functions only while enemies are flat footed. (Surprise Attack may or may not trump Uncanny Dodge, but if it doesn't, enemies with it are immune to this strategy).
    - If there is no surprise round, or if there is a surprise round but the rogue doesn't get to act in it, you only get the quick shot damage.
    - You have to start within ranged sneak attack range, which is 30ft unless you've made additional investments.

    So yep, in a certain % of encounters, you alpha strike to take out one enemy (of CR9 or lower, since their average HP is 115, everything else would still be standing) and then the rest of combat you're a rogue with almost no relevant feats and half of your rogue talents inactive. And you can do this maybe 2 or 3 times per day for the full mega-damage, while otherwise you're dealing on average 54 or so on the sap master attack. Meanwhile the barbarian makes a standard action charge during the surprise round, dealing 38 average damage with a greatsword (or, if the GM allows pounce on a standard action charge, 76+ damage). And then he gets to be super capable in every subsequent round, since he didn't warp his build to accomplish it.

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    I like to think all Vesk get manicures involving carbon fiber reinforcement and sharpening.

    Currently the campaign clarifications and faq links given in the Guild Guide don't direct you to what they're supposed to. In fact, every time I want to find the Starfinder FAQ or SFS FAQ/campaign clarifications, I just do a google search.

    The link given in the guild guide for the Guild FAQ is "". It takes you to the campaign clarifications for Starfinder (though you have to know to scroll all the way to the bottom of the page).

    The link given for campaign clarifications is "", which takes you to the default Starfinder Society page.

    The most critical FAQs for players to be aware of are on the Starfinder FAQ, but there's no link to that anywhere in the guide.

    1 person marked this as a favorite.
    Ikiry0 wrote:
    FiddlersGreen wrote:
    I'm not begrudging Joe his advantage - that's what his class does, and he does it well, good for him - otherwise there would be no point to the soldier class. But at that kind of disparity I'm inclined to think that I'm far more useful trying to make sure he gets to attack rather than trying to attack myself. Sure, ok, I can accept that is what my class is meant to do, and that's my best role in combat. But that still makes it hard to justify to myself the cost of spending on a weapon or the 2 feats to learn to use that weapon. Especially if my end point is (substantially) less than 50% chance to hit.

    There is an issue with this, however. You are comparing pc vs pc math, when PCs and monsters use different math now.

    Here is some level by level math

    As you will see, the Mystic/Technomancer (See the Pistol Dork tab) actually keeps a pretty good chance of hitting the monster at every level.

    What this is showing me is that a Technomancer with Harmful Spells is better off firing Magic Missiles from 1st to 20th level than they are full attacking with a small arm. Seems like there's no reason to spend money on upgrading the small arm if its outclassed by a 1st level spell (and if you're worried about running out of spells, 1st level spell gems are cheap!)

    Yes, the Starfinder casters are weaker than a sorcerer. I think that's true even considering the other goodies they've gotten in the transition. But considering the fact that the sorcerer was one of the stronger Pathfinder classes, is making the caster classes somewhat weaker in Starfinder really that wrong?

    I think if I had to point to one big weakness of Starfinder casters, its that their reduced spells/day is compounded by the fact that combats tend to last a few extra rounds each. You can't really cast round after round until well into the mid-to-high levels.

    @Kalderaan: Not sure what you mean. Operatives can make opponents flatfooted when they succeed at a trick attack (and not just with respect to themselves) from 4th level, and they don't need an exploit to do so.

    Starfinder CRB, Operative wrote:


    When you hit an enemy with a trick attack, you can make the creature flat-footed or off-target until the beginning of your next turn. You might learn exploits that grant you additional options for your debilitating trick, but you can select only one option each time you hit with a trick attack.

    Claxon wrote:

    We could pretty easily do a basic damage comparison between using a long arm with weapon spec and attacking twice vs trick attacking with a small arms.

    At level 10 it seems like the semi-auto pistol, elite is your best choice with 3d6 damage + 5 damage from weapon specialization + 5d8. This gives you about 38 average damage with trick attack.

    Longarms gives you 3d8 with a rifle + 10 from weapon specialization for 23.5 damage. If you hit twice successfully you deal 47 average damage.

    However this doesn't account for likelihood to hit, and locks you into a full attack instead of being able to move. So without trick attack you're not hobbled, but you are locked into a full attack routine.

    As a note: For a specific character, the difference in a trick attack succeeding vs a full attack routine will be -6 to attack by comparison ( 2 from flat-footed and 4 from the penalty to full attacks). That's a 30% reduction in likelihood to hit, which is pretty huge.

    Building off your numbers, an Operative that trick attacks vs. a creature with CR=his level has about a 75% chance to hit with the attack, including the bonus from making his foe flatfooted.

    So DPR for trick attack is (0.75*38+0.05*38)= 30.4 DPR.

    Full attack with a longarm has a 45% chance to hit with each attack, and doesn't make a foe flatfooted.

    So DPR for a longarm full is (0.45*23.5+0.05*23.5)*2 = 23.5 DPR, a pretty big decrease. Not to mention you're no longer making enemies flatfooted for your team when you land your attack, resulting in what is about a 20% loss in DPR per team member that's a full BAB class and is full attacking.


    With heavy weapons, little changes... Hvy Rxn Cannon at 10th level deals 26.5 on a successful hit. So its DPR is (0.45*26.5+0.05*26.5)*2 = 26.5 DPR. Still a significant shortfall, and you had to invest multiple feats, extra strength, and a bunch of money into it.

    I can't recreate your damage numbers (mine are even higher), but regardless your damage is more than high enough. You can freely drop Risky Striker and Steadfast Slayer as andreww suggests.

    Steadfast Slayer requires you to be the only character threatening your opponent anyway, which won't be the case with a medium sized bat mount.

    You'll want to improve your utility and defenses. Right now I'm seeing a save profile of +9/+5/+5(+1 vs. fear/mind affecting), assuming a +2 cloak, so you could go for Iron Will. Advanced Weapon and Armor Trainings for additional skills would also be fairly appealing.

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    WatersLethe wrote:

    Can someone better at numbers run the numbers on Shifter's Fury?

    For animals with one or two natural attacks, it looks great. For others it doesn't seem like it's a good idea at all.

    At least when you add on TWF with unarmed strikes, you're getting 3 extra attacks over all your secondary NAs at sixth level.

    Also, I'm in full agreement that they should scrap Oozemorph and make it the Shifter's take on the Cave Druid.

    So far I've only had a chance to test vs. Level 12 builds; specifically, I've been comparing to the Dino-Bull-Tiger shifter that uses dex to hit described in this post I made last year.

    At level 12, Shifter's Fury looks decently balanced. A hypothetical STR based Tiger major form that uses claw as its fury attack (bite and 2nd claw as secondary) deals slightly better DPR than the build above, but its not a big change. For major forms like Bull, where you have only one natural attack, your full attack damage is now on par with the many-natural-attacks builds (within +/- 10% by my reckoning). You also scale much better with party buffs like good hope, inspire courage and haste. On the other hand, without tiger or dino form, you don't have the insane advantage of pounce... so I doubt we're going to be seeing a flood of bulls or whatever.

    I still have a lot to test, but I'll say that Shifter's Fury is cleverly designed! It helps the underperforming forms catch up while being minimally impactful to the best forms.

    Cool! Shifter's Fury should go a long way to making Forms with single big natural weapons viable. I'm looking forward to running the numbers vs. the dino-tiger-bull shifter build that people identified earlier.

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    Shaudius wrote:

    Are we all 100% sure that you can take 10 on a trick attack starting at level 7, I'm not convinced.

    Take 10:
    "Unless you have an ability that states otherwise, you cannot take 10 during a combat encounter. Also, you can’t take 10 when the GM rules that a situation is too hectic or that you are distracted..."

    Specialization Skill Mastery:
    "When attempting a skill check with a skill in which you have the Skill Focus feat, you can take 10 even if stress or distractions would normally prevent you from doing so."
    The level 7 ability doesn't say it specifically works during a combat encounter and this is a separate clause than the distracted clause. This would also be consistent with the Daredevil specialization actually doing something.

    Yes we are 100% sure. Here's the quote from Owen confirming it.

    Pithica42 wrote:

    So let's see, @7 the Ghost Op is doing something like 2d4 (Corona Laser Pistol) + 4d8 (Trick Attack) + 3 (Weapon Specialization) = 26 average damage/round.

    @7 a Heavy Weapon Soldier is doing something like 2d8 (Corona Laser Artillery) + 7 (Weapon Spec) = 16 average damage/round. But, all else being equal, the soldier hits 10% more often, so over time, that should be closer to 18 average damage/round. If he generally full attacks, he hits 10% less often than the operative but does almost 29 damage/rnd.

    Yep, as I mentioned upthread, Operatives and Soldiers are more or less tied on ranged DPR between levels 5 and 10. Keep in mind that while Operatives get to move as part of their Trick Attack, they can't do anything else that would need a move or swift action. And firing a small arm without trick attack is a huge DPR loss (About 21 DPR down to 6.5 DPR... 69% loss). While a Soldier that chooses to move, drop prone and fire takes less of a DPR loss (20 DPR down to 14 DPR, 30% loss) vs standing in place and full attacking.

    This is pretty relevant in any scenario where the fight is anything other than "blast 'em until they're dead". Need to pick up the macguffin next to you as a move action? Lose 2/3rds of your damage. Need to drop prone? Lose 2/3rds of your damage. Etc. The Operative's attack routine is surprisingly restrictive.

    Operatives are fine. They have great skills and survivability, but these are more or less their niche and other classes are not far behind.

    In terms of damage: They do not beat Soldiers or Solarians in damage at low levels (as a rough approximation, they do 2/3rds of the ranged DPR of those classes at levels 1 through 4, have rough parity with a Soldier's ranged DPR at levels 5-10, and then fall increasingly behind at 11+), though they tend to do sufficient damage to survive typical encounters.

    In terms of support abilities: They don't have the raw group support utility of an Envoy, despite providing some utility through debilitating tricks. Nor do they have the problem solving flexibility of a casting class.

    Yes, their package as a whole is well rounded and capable. But its far from god-like, especially in the face of comparisons to the original Pathfinder Summoner or (dare I say it) Wizard.

    Great! This is a tidy way to bump up some of the functionality of the class without requiring a massive overhaul.

    That said, I still feel it falls short of being the shifting superstar that it seems it should be. Improving high level wild shape, changing action economy for shaping as you level, adding easier access to utility forms, and other changes to make the class the clear cut winner at being an "awesome shapeshifter" would be great. Sadly, I don't think we'll see that kind of revision to a printed product.

    Bill Baldwin wrote:

    I agree Starfinder battles at 1st & 2nd seem to be more difficult than Pathfinder as it is much more difficult to have a heavy damage dealer from the get-go. Only a strength-based character with a Reach Weapon seems to come close to a comparable damage output to a typical Pathfinder character. Add in the fact the NPCs get Attack and Damage bonuses even at CR 1/2 that the PCs cannot match and things can indeed get difficult.

    However, I would stop short of using the word "deadlier" as, despite the fact I have seen many PCs go down in combat at low levels, I haven't seen a single death due to the fact that Starfinder has more generous death rules, and crits (the number one low level PF PC killer) aren't as deadly in Starfinder. As long as you don't run out of Resolve Points, you aren't likely to die and with little else to spend Resolve on at low levels, you aren't likely to run out unless you are constantly going down in combat.

    My math was entirely from the perspective of: this is how many rounds on average it takes to down an enemy vs how many rounds it takes for an enemy to down a PC. And at 1st and 2nd level that ratio is in the enemy's favor in Starfinder, and definitely not in the enemy's favor in Pathfinder, at least not on average. There are fewer surprise crit deaths in Starfinder, but the PCs tend to take a larger % of their HP+SP pool in damage than an equivalent Pathfinder PC over the course of a fight (mostly because Pathfinder PCs end fights way faster). That said, I'd agree that deadlier isn't the right word. Resolve adds a very reliable buffer vs. death that keeps bad RNG from taking you down without a fight.

    As an anecdote... the very first fight in Dead Suns, I had a party member that ran out into the engagement and was shot at 3 times with laser pistols. Two hits, one crit, and total damage high enough to bring him down immediately. Since the laser pistol has a burn effect, on his turn he lost 1 RP to the burn (taking damage while dying deals 1 RP damage) and spent an RP to stabilize. He attempted a reflex save to stop burning and failed. Next turn he took 1 RP damage from burning and spent 1 RP to stabilize. This time he succeeded at his reflex save. If he hadn't, he would have been at 0 resolve with incoming damage next round.

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    For the typical levels of accuracy that both combatant NPCs and well built PCs have, full attacking is about a 30% increase in their damage output. This is hardly an 'exponential' increase in lethality. Having enemies take the full attack action every time they have the freedom and reason to do so seems reasonable to me.

    From a player perspective: Denying enemy full attacks by getting into the face of a ranged NPC or playing keep-away with a melee NPC, while simultaneously maximizing the amount of time your PCs are able to full attack is one of the main bits of depth to Starfinder combat. If enemies never full attack there is less to be gained from good combat strategy.

    From a GM perspective: About a month ago I did the average damage math on low level combat in Starfinder and found that despite initial appearances it starts off deadlier than in Pathfinder. CR1/2 and CR1 Enemies on average deal a significant portion of player HP/SP pools before going down. By levels 3 or 4 the deadliness is way down as the players pick up specialization and become significantly more effective at ending encounters.
    While I haven't seen it to be necessary in SFS games I've GM'd so far, playing low CR enemies a little 'dumb' is probably healthy to compensate for this low level deadliness.

    Note that the convention in Pathfinder stat blocks is that enemies trying to full attack (especially if they have natural attacks) is the general rule and the tactics section describes when the GM deviates from that. After all, that's what your PCs are doing if they can!

    Wrath wrote:
    As for the NPC issue folks are really talking about - it's the numbers themselves. NPCs have very high to hit and really crappy armour values. It made the players in my groups (plural) wonder why they bothered with expensive armour, and wonder why you'd bother with things that increase hit chance.

    Coming in from Pathfinder, I think this is a very common impression for players. A sense of getting hit no matter what. This is because for combatant type NPCs (with CR equal to character level) against mostly optimized characters with good EAC/KAC, the player characters are getting hit something like 70% of the time and are hitting enemies 70% of the time or slightly less. There's a certain consistency at all levels of Starfinder around how likely you are to hit an enemy and how an enemy hits you.

    In Pathfinder, these ratios varied wildly. When you make a character in Pathfinder you might have 14-16 AC with your leather armor, dex and other features. Enemies have a +2 to +4 modifier, hitting you 40-50% of the time maybe. But you could hit them way more often! If you were a barb you'd be hitting their 12 AC with 75% consistency due to your +7 attack roll. And then once you hit level 2 if you were a heavy armor type that could get full plate you might be rocking AC20 while enemies still had only +4 or +5 to hit and you got to feel like a sweet tank! At higher levels your first iterative hits might land 95% of the time, making you feel like you've made some real progress, even if your followup attacks are far less likely to land.

    The ratios of how likely enemies are to hit you vs. how likely you are to hit them in Pathfinder are all over the place from level to level, build to build. In Starfinder they're far more rigid and constrained. I can see how people feel that's less fun.

    4 people marked this as a favorite.
    Redelia wrote:
    I'm still trying Starfinder out, but moving more and more towards not playing for the following list of reasons: (...)

    Its interesting to me how almost all the points you list as reasons to dislike Starfinder I find to be its main advantages. Things that have made it a joy to play.

    1) Lack of mechanical character customization is a byproduct of this being mostly just a CRB game so far. Though as far as the Mystic comment is concerned, the deity just being flavor is the best part! And if you absolutely must have the thematic link between character options and deity choice, the CRB contains suggestions for which Connection goes with each god/goddess.

    3) Technomancers and Mystics ARE full casters. Its just a matter of recalibrating expectations. They can focus entirely on spellcasting and do well for themselves + their class features do not lend themselves to doing particularly satisfactory damage with weapons anyway. Yes, spellcasting effectiveness has been toned down and moderated with technological options for creating some of the same effects. But that doesn't mean a character fully focused on casting is bad!

    4) The moral greyness can add complexity and character to the stories your group explores, or you can entirely ignore Eox and what it implies. Undead are always evil bricked a huge number of potential plot concepts in Pathfinder and I'm glad they removed it. 'Undead are an abomination and always want to hurt the living' is a setting assumption that is obviously not true in Starfinder.

    5) Spell scaling was one of the big problems with casting, as it allowed casters to exponentially increase their relevant resources as they leveled: they both had more spell slots and those slots became more powerful. Very glad this was removed!

    6) Religion is still important, but narratively rather than mechanically. Detect evil might as well have been called detect villain in Pathfinder 99% of the time and made games less interesting.

    7) Magic has been freed up. Now I can play a technomancer that casts by vocally manipulating esoteric sound frequencies that manifest into physical and visual effects. I don't have to fit in narrow thematic buckets for my spellcasting. In Pathfinder this character would have been stuck either praying to a god or making funny hand motions.

    8) Iterative attacks are the scourge of Pathfinder, playing a big role in the skyrocketing player + enemy damage values at levels 10+ and producing issues around melee full-attack flexibility that are constantly being patched and fiddled with by Pathfinder supplemental rulebooks without finding a universally acceptable solution.

    9) After playing for a while, I can say its not better or worse, just different. You have to commit your turn to a full attack to get the reward of extra damage, you have to make a real sacrifice in terms of effectiveness to move away from an opponent in safety, and so on.

    RumpinRufus wrote:

    I still have the original description of my Mary Sue!

    Lucky Luke(...)

    This guy sound fantastic and hilarious if played with a gratuitous dollop of self-awareness on the part of the player. I can imagine any failure being quickly covered up in character with either:

  • Instant forgetfulness "Missed? I haven't the foggiest idea what you're talking about! I'm ready to make my first attack though!"
  • Aggressive in character ret-conning "Obviously I hit him, can't you tell how he's limping? That was me. In the past."

  • Go Go Ability Scores:
    4d6 ⇒ (6, 3, 6, 2) = 17 15
    4d6 ⇒ (6, 1, 4, 2) = 13 12
    4d6 ⇒ (5, 6, 5, 2) = 18 16
    4d6 ⇒ (3, 2, 5, 5) = 15 13
    4d6 ⇒ (3, 6, 6, 1) = 16 15
    4d6 ⇒ (3, 5, 4, 5) = 17 14
    4d6 ⇒ (2, 2, 1, 1) = 6 Phew, dodged a bullet there

    Ah yes, the good old 34 point buy. Quite a well known variation on the rules. :> Time to whip up a well-above-average wizard.

    Hello folks, Grumbaki (Sendi) invited me to come and help fill in for a missing player. I've had a chance to skim through the player's guide, the first few pages of Gameplay posts and the most recent few pages of Gameplay. Seems like a fun group!

    I'm planning to put together a nice arcane caster, probably wizard, to round out the team.

    Questions for the GM:
    - Are the character creation rules in the Recruitment still valid? 4d6 drop lowest, 1 reroll, and all that?
    - Starting at 2nd level it seems. What kind of wealth level should I start with? Any restrictions on item availability for starting gear?
    - How exactly are you planning to fold in the new characters? Anything I should know for the sake of backstory formulation?
    - Anything else I should know?

    Nice to meet you all. I should have a character assembled soon, after I hear back about the questions above.

    Unless the spell grants a specific exception, you're still making a melee or ranged attack, so you use STR or DEX respectively.

    For an example on a spell that does make a specific exception, see Disintegrate

    Disintegrate wrote:
    When you cast this spell, a thin, green ray springs from your pointing finger. You must make a ranged attack against your target’s EAC, but you can add your key ability score bonus to this attack instead of your Dexterity modifier if it is higher. (...)

    Greylurker wrote:
    Crunchyroll just added Good Luck Girl to their catalog. If you haven't seen it before it's a big pile of crazy fun and well worth watching.

    Can confirm that Good Luck Girl is a lot of fun. It also feels like a blast from the past... the style of it feels very early 2000s. Plus, like most comedy anime, I watched the dub and I can confirm that its pretty good.

    I've been slowly chipping away at an overwhelmingly huge backlog of shows to check out. Here's two of them:

    91 Days was a prohibition era mobster drama that went relatively light on the anime tropes to deliver a pretty interesting story. I was surprised how gripping the drama and suspense were, I don't expect much of that from anime anymore. Great pacing and some unexpected twists too!

    Samurai Flamenco lampoons tokusatsu heroes by placing ordinary people who desperately want to be them in the real world. Its awfully funny. Until suddenly it decides that it actually wanted to be a zany tokusatsu show all along! Seriously, this series does a hard turn into unfunny, tacky silliness at episode 7 and never looks back. Eventually I couldn't watch it anymore.

    Because I love doing math and spreadsheets, I ran a comparison of a Bombard Soldier (their 5th level power lets them apply STR mod to explosive weapons if they use a special full action) using deadly aim vs. an Alien Archive combatant NPC, ie. one with a good Reflex mod. I then compared the expected damage per round vs. a heavy weapons sharpshooter soldier (with reaction cannon).

    Here's some rules of thumb:
    @6th level when you get your first explode weapon, just catching one enemy in your explosion more or less equals the full attack of a soldier with a reaction cannon! Nice! Sadly this won't be true ever again.
    @7th through 12th levels, two enemies caught in the explosion allows you to exceed the damage of a reaction cannon full attack by 10-40%.
    @13th through 20th levels, you need at least three enemies caught in the explosion to exceed the full attack damage of the reaction cannon soldier.

    When not able to make full attacks, the rule of thumb is a bit simpler:
    You need at least two enemies caught in your explosion to exceed the single attack damage of a reaction cannon soldier.

    To answer your other Qs:
    2) Yes, it is always advantageous to deadly aim with explode weapons, despite the hit to their save DC. You gain 1-2 average damage per round, which is small but consistently beneficial.
    3) You will fall behind the save DC curve even when doing your best to max out the save DC, but this is true for Technomancers/Mystics as well! Keeping it as high as possible is always going to be worthwhile for you.

    Abraham spalding wrote:

    With full optimization I am seeing a KAC of 10 +3(dex, class soldier and guard for the extra dex bonus) +5(armor, hidden soldier) +1(racial, vesh) of 19, EAC of 17.

    I might have missed another possible bonus somewhere but I don't think I did.

    You're absolutely right. I was looking at items with item level = character level, and didn't consider the Guard Soldier or vesk natural armor. Oops! In any case, this would lower the CR1 enemy's DPR to 3.7 ish meaning it takes them 5-6 rounds to defeat such a PC and it lets them get about 15 damage out on that PC until the foe keels over.

    PS: Now that I'm looking at all the 1st level Starfinder characters in play by post games on the boards, they have mostly 14-16 KAC. There are a few outliers with 17, and a couple of daredevils with 12 or 13. No 18s or 19s, probably because the Guard fighting style is fairly unpopular, and the combo of vesk+highdex+lvl2heavyarmor is somewhat rare.

    CeeJay wrote:
    Cellion wrote:
    In Starfinder, combats are way more life threatening at low levels based on the math above.
    Interesting. For purposes of that analysis, what qualifies as "low levels"? Anything below level... 6 or 7, say?

    I've only done the analysis at 1st level, so I can't really say with any authority about levels beyond that, but I assume it stays roughly true due to the slighly higher HP totals in Starfinder and significantly lower player damage output.

    kaid wrote:
    Also the major differences in damage between longarms/advanced weapons and their small arms/operative stuff does not really start hitting until mid/late levels. Early on you are a few damage points down but not a huge margin it is not until the damage starts really boosting that small arms for non operatives falls off. By that time the character can make the choice if they want to do their primary damage with guns then pick up the feat to use them. So characters would get a fair bit of time playing to see if they want to jump to the longarms/advanced melee track before having to make that investment.

    Small arms are equivalently bad for non-operatives from early to late levels, dealing about 55-65% of the damage of an equivalent long arm. Those few points at low levels are a big portion of the total damage! Here's a spreadsheet showing the differences with specialization bonuses baked in. Its small arms when used by operatives that start to fall off dramatically from about 11th level onwards, since the trick attack bonus damage doesn't grow at the same rate as weapon damage.

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    From my perspective, one of the problems is that enemies are just so darned likely to hit you in Starfinder. So when you're in a fight and lose all your stam you feel like you could be killed at any moment. Let me try to prove it to you with some math...

    Looking at Pathfinder: A first level PC easily has 14-18 AC, and CR1 enemies have +2 to +4 to hit (See Wolves as an example), dealing 1d6+2 or so damage. That's like 25-50% chance to hit for 5.5 damage on average. Say about 1.9 DPR.

    And in Starfinder: A first level PC in Starfinder has 13-16 KAC (16 is at full optimization), and CR1 enemies have +6 to +8 to hit (combatant NPC guide) dealing 1d6+4 or so damage! That's like 55-75% chance to hit for 7.5 damage on average. Or about 4.9 DPR.

    A 1st level Pathfinder PC has 8-14 HP. A 1st level Starfinder PC has 14-20 HP. A Pathfinder PC dies to their tormentor in 5-7 rounds or so. A Starfinder PC dies to theirs in 3-4 rounds give or take.

    PLUS, Pathfinder melee PCs deal GROSS damage at low levels, ending encounters fast and taking little to no damage, while Starfinder fights are almost always slugfests where both sides chip away at one another. Average HP of a CR1 creature in Pathfinder is 15 per the Monster Creation guide (AC~12). The average fighter or barbarian with only a greatsword and power attack is dealing 16-18 points when they land an attack with about 70% accuracy. This is about 11 DPR. They will finish most enemies in 1-2 rounds. A Starfinder Soldier or Solarion has to bash through 20 HP for a CR1 enemy with KAC 13 (Per Alien Archive tables). At full optimization they hit for 8.5 damage with about 70% accuracy, or 6 DPR. It takes them more than twice as long to defeat the enemy!

    So in summary:
    Why are players scared of taking damage? Because fights are way tougher and more damaging than in Pathfinder and they can feel it! Each Starfinder foe is sticking around longer and dealing more damage each round, leading to a damage output over the course of a fight that vastly exceeds its Pathfinder brethren. A Pathfinder foe sticks around for 2 rounds and deals a total of 4 average damage over those rounds. A Starfinder foe sticks around for 4 rounds and deals a total of 20 average damage over those rounds.

    Starfinder PCs may have 50-70% more total HP, but enemies are doing 5x the damage to them over the course of a fight!

    Real TL;DR: In Starfinder, combats are way more life threatening at low levels based on the math above. It is NOT a more forgiving system!

    From what I've seen, enemy combatant to hit bonuses go up at EXACTLY the same rate as the maximum AC for PCs. Player maximum to-hit bonuses go up at the EXACTLY same rate as enemy combatant ACs do.

    Or said another way:
    When player level = enemy CR, players cap out at about 70% accuracy on single attacks (vs. NPC Combatant EAC; player attack rolls based on optimized full bab class). This is true at ALL levels.

    When player level = enemy CR, combatant NPCs with attack rolls on the high end of the range have a minimum of 70% accuracy (most highly optimized PCs are hit 70% of the time with single attacks, less optimized PCs are hit more often). This is true at ALL levels.

    Enemies and players benefit exactly the same amount from making full attacks assuming player optimization keeps pace with enemy stats.

    Matt2VK wrote:
    Ikiry0 wrote:
    Full attack is one of those things that is very rarely not worth the effort if both people are in the open. Single shot really matters when that -4 is a significant percentage your accuracy (Like when it drops you from say 25% accuracy to 5%).

    If my accuracy is only 25% I'm going to full attack every time.

    While my odds of landing a hit just got a lot worse, the odds of my hit being a crit has gone way, way up.
    Plus crits usually have some kind of secondary effects.

    Unless your secondary effects are amazing, this isn't correct. See below for the calculations on average damage per round if your base damage per hit is 'X':

    Single attack: (X damage)*0.25+(X damage)*0.05 = 0.3*X avg damage per round
    Full attack: 2*(X damage)*0.05+2*(X damage)*0.05 = 0.2*X avg damage per round

    Prisons are still a thing and at least some of them seem to function the same way modern prisons do in real life. See SFS Scenario 1-00.

    Not much of a spoiler for the scenario, but...:
    You go to extract info from someone who is being held in a Barathu prison.

    @Jiggy My experiences with Fate Core are all from a single session a couple of years ago, so I don't recall too much. But it didn't strike me that Fate had to be high stakes or action-y. In fact, IIRC the ability to fight was just another skill on a list of skills (ie. in Fate fighting is a skill like acrobatics is a skill in pathfinder). Though I guess the fate points made it so that sessions tended towards being dramatic.

    Fate does have advancement, but honestly I'm not sure if we advanced in the session I played, so I can't really comment. But character creation and stats in Fate are ALL about character development. I remember that there were aspects that were basically character personality and/or background that you could call upon to resolve challenges. Like for example: one of your character's aspects might be 'Survivor of Five Wars' so you can call upon that to establish rapport with someone else who participated in those wars, or explain why you're able to continue fighting through a horrible injury, or the GM could throw a challenge at you that involves your PTSD (IIRC aspects went both ways, your GM could use them as well).

    Anyway, I'm probably not the right person to make any real comparisons to Fate. Your description just sounds similar to it.

    The limited description here makes it sound a lot like Fate (Fate Core specifically, as that is the only edition I'm at all familiar with). How is this RPG different or how does it differentiate itself?

    One of my current characters is a paladin of Osiris. I'd love more material from Paizo on the ancient Osirion gods.

    Fireshaper, your DM is either making a mistake with the magnetar stats or your game is very unusual. The only magnetar rifles appropriate for the level you're currently at are dealing 2d8 damage (Tactical Magnetar rifle is a 9th level item). The magnetar rifle that does 4d8 damage is a 13th level item and way beyond what an 8th level character should be encountering.

    Plus, if enemies are dropping 13th level rifles, surely they also have 13th level pistols (that deal 4d6+4 at your current level, or exactly equivalent damage to the magnetar you're mentioning).

    Stick with flash teleport (or another hack).

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    Just skip it and fire your pea shooter instead. This hack doesn't even get your specialization in the weapon, so for example at your level: instead of the 2d6+4 you'd deal with an advanced semi-auto pistol (average 11), you would get to deal 2d8 with a tactical seeker rifle (average 9) or best case if you have enough STR, you could pick up a tactical reaction cannon for 2d10 (average 11). So you do the same damage but had to spend a standard action to activate and 1 RP.

    Make peace with the fact that you're firing your pea shooter if fights drag on. For your 8th level hack get Flash Teleport to get yourself out of sticky situations or Mental Mark to make enemies easier for your allies to kill.

    Moonclanger wrote:
    Zhayne wrote:
    I'm of the opinion that the game becomes next to unplayable after about 8th level because of how open-ended and unrestricted magic is in D&D/PF.

    I've never found that to be a problem with Paizo's adventure paths.

    It's been about 25 years since I last experienced the caster-martial divide, and that was playing AD&D. I think 3rd ed and PF have done a lot to correct the imbalance.

    And experienced GMs and adventure-writers know how to handle wizards. The last time my group tried scry and fry we teleported into a beautifully set trap that nearly killed us.

    This is anecdotal, but from browsing comments on the Adventure Path specific boards on this site, many people seem to report that APs get easier in their last third, from level 10 on up. Certainly, I've noticed in my home games that the amount of layered preparation that full casters can provide starts to get extremely high around these levels. With sufficient prep, even if the party is going into things blind they stay relatively safe.

    Before one of the most recent encounters for my 12th level party, they put up Protection from Energy on everyone (fire and lightning), Resist Energy on everyone (30pts of each type), Protection from Evil on everyone, Life Bubble on everyone, Spell Resistance/Ward Shield on key party members, Bull's Strength for party members without it, Cat's Grace for everyone, etc etc. This used a bunch of low level slots across their four full casters and left each of the casters with plenty of slots remaining.
    Once they were done with minutes/level and 10minutes/level buffs they had already overcome the next couple of encounters... those encounters could no longer meaningfully hurt them, so it was going through the motions. Its surprisingly difficult to design encounters that challenge casters that do this as there are few gaps to exploit.

    Chess Pwn wrote:
    Well, like how's it's full attack DPR compared to other Full martials?

    I did this upthread already to rebut the ridiculously low lv12 DPR numbers. Here's the dino build again, except with some more detail and revised calcs:

    Shifter Lvl12 (Transforms to Deinonychus, chimeric minor aspects of Bull + Tiger)

    Key Stats: STR 20 (14+4enhance+2size) | DEX 24 (18+4enhance+2levelups) | WIS 16 (14+2enhance)

    Feats: Weapon Finesse, Shifter's Edge (I assume shifters edge bonus damage only applies to the two claw-replacement attacks, in this case the talons), Power Attack, Weapon Focus (talons), rest flexible.

    Items: WIS headband +2, Amulet of Mighty Fists +3, Deliquescent Gloves.

    Attack Routine (all attacks include pow atk, DPR is vs. AC27):
    Talon +19 (1d8+22+1d6acid) (DPR:20.36)
    Talon +19 (1d8+22+1d6acid) (DPR:20.36)
    Bite +18 (1d6+16) (DPR:12.30)
    Foreclaw +13 (1d4+9) (DPR: 4.23)
    Foreclaw +13 (1d4+9) (DPR: 4.23)
    TOTAL DPR:61.48

    Since you have pounce you're usually getting the +2 charge bonus on attack rolls...
    Talon +21 (1d8+22+1d6acid) (DPR:23.49)
    Talon +21 (1d8+22+1d6acid) (DPR:23.49)
    Bite +20 (1d6+16) (DPR:14.33)
    Foreclaw +15 (1d4+9) (DPR: 5.43)
    Foreclaw +15 (1d4+9) (DPR: 5.43)
    TOTAL DPR:72.18

    This build uses roughly 2/3rds of your feats and half your gold (48k gp vs. 108k gp by wealth by level). Plenty of room for further improvement if anyone were so inclined.

    Per this thread, a CRB 2-handed fighter at level 12 without haste has a DPR of about 80 when full attacking (the fighter build has also spent 48k on a +4 weapon and +4 STR belt). My build above is short of that, but instead has pounce. So maybe that's a roughly comparable trade-off.

    The Dragonkin's breath weapon does not gain specialization (Note that the wording is not similar to the Vesk natural weapons trait, which specifically says specialization), it gets a unique scaling damage bonus based on level. There is no reason to believe the damage bonus from one ability applies to a biotech-based breath weapon, either from a RAW rules standpoint OR from a flavor/RAI standpoint.

    You would have two completely separate abilities.


    Following up from John above...

    Spoilers for the movie:
    1) As others have mentioned, the First Order blew up the core Republic worlds near the end of Ep7, presumably eliminating a bunch of potential reinforcements the 'Resistance' could have gotten.
    2) John's answer has this one down.
    3) Not important for the story being told. He's a Sith (despite contradictions to existing canon) that has evil plans. His real role is as a stepping stone for Kylo to develop his character.
    4) The whole point is that her parents are nobody. There are two themes hammered home in this movie (sometimes well, sometimes poorly). One is that failure helps you become stronger, the other is that anyone who is willing to fight can become a hero and that bloodlines are totally bogus (this also kind of contradicts what Eps 1-3 are all about, but whatever).
    5) Porgs will sell toys. They have 0 role in this movie, other than as jokes.
    6) Presumably since the base is abandoned but open to the outside via that hole in the back, they used it as a roomy den.
    7) Yeah, and then Rey left. This isn't a failing of the movie.
    8) One of the things I don't like about the movie was that Luke was against the Jedi purely because he himself failed to train someone successfully. To me that doesn't follow logically. Once yoda gives him a pep talk he suddenly supports Rey becoming one. Agreed on this one being unclear and deserving of more detail.
    9) For some portion of this movie, Luke IS the last jedi. Presumably Rey will kickstart things again in the future, but right now she's far too firey and brash to be called a jedi.
    10) Yes. This has always been a problem for Star Wars. I guess you could argue that Star Wars is all about not sweating the small stuff (like travel time).
    11) Its a memorable character trait, that's all the reason it needs to exist.

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    I'm with justmebd on this one (though I can at least say I liked it more than Phantom Menace). It has some cool ideas and the visuals were incredible, but the writing wasn't very good.

    Minimal spoilers, but just to be careful...:
    The movie reeks of its script being chopped to pieces by a committee. There is so much character development that heads in the direction of: 'This character learns something about themselves, or about being less idealistic and more realistic' but none of this character development is allowed to come to fruition. Every character's arc (other than Luke's) is abruptly cut off or outright reversed in order to maintain the status quo established at the beginning of the movie.

    It feels like the movie Rian Johnson set out to write was about about people learning from their failures. We have *SPOILER CHARACTER A* leading the charge on that front with a gigantic failure, but all the side-stories and narrative arcs in this movie are about people failing as well. The problem is that this kind of narrative arc is only satisfying if characters learn from their failures and grow, and for the vast majority of characters, this arc never comes to fruition. We never get to see them learning and growing. Its like the 'satisfying conclusion' part of each character's story was just excised out. Now we just have people failing at things... then we just jump into another character's story to distract the audience from the lack of payoff.

    As a result the story feels deeply emotionally unsatisfying.

    And I'm trying extremely hard to avoid thinking about plot holes (Its swiss cheese and I just don't want to admit it yet).

    Also, JOKES. This movie has so many jokes/quips/silly bits, and most are not good. We got quite a few groans in the audience in my theater.

    Alex's build is packed full of mistakes (in addition to the ones listed, the base attack roll on any of his attacks doesn't add up), but more importantly it uses more or less no gold on improving his attacks. Its hardly giving the shifter a fair shake.

    After correcting his calculation errors (and assuming a fixed shifter's edge granting +6 damage at 12th level instead of +12), I'm getting 36.1 DPR vs. AC27.

    Just by adding an Amulet of Mighty Fists +3 (roughly 1/3rd of your gold at 12th level), and assuming you are pouncing (because of course you are), and you're at 66.9 DPR. Add deliquescent gloves and you're at 77.8 DPR. That's still a bit short of what a pouncing barbarian with a 2 handed weapon is doing at this level (which, if I use mostly CRB options for the barb, runs around 88 DPR), but its hardly as mediocre as Alex or some of the people in this thread are making it out to be.

    The pouncing dino build is plenty viable. Shifter damage is OK to good with the right build.

    But as many people have pointed out already in-thread, the class as a whole has complexity issues, narrow build options, and is thematically unsatisfying (for me at least).

    Technomancers are absolutely NOT a hybrid class. Their 3/4 BAB and some of their class features have led people to think that they are, but they are absolutely not.

    A technomancer that spends feats on wep focus, sniper proficiency, versatile specialization, spends a magic hack on empower weapon and constantly spends credits on new weapon upgrades is almost as effective as a soldier, but only for 3-4 rounds per day (until they run out of high level spell slots. And yes, I've done to math to back this up). Yeah, you can do this, but you could do almost the same amount of *single target* damage by just throwing an explosive blast (and you'll usually do far more due to having multiple targets). This is the same thing as a wizard in pathfinder pumping strength, grabbing power attack, and casting enough buff spells to make up for the lower BAB. We don't consider the wizard a hybrid class because it can do this, and I wouldn't consider the technomancer a hybrid class for the same reason.

    It is perfectly possible to be a normal, pathfinder style, full caster as a technomancer (or mystic). You can cast battlefield control abilities (Grease, Fog Cloud, Wall of Force), group and single target buffs (Haste, Resistant Aegis, Greater Invisibility), AoE debuffs (Microbot Assault, Slow, and in the case of the Mystic 4th level Fear), and all the wonderful utility spells you've come to know and love. The spell list could use a bit more fleshing out, but it hits all the essentials.

    Making a class that is better at spellcasting than the technomancer or mystic risks utterly invalidating both classes, as both are currently strongly balanced around their access to spells and not their ability to deal damage with weapons.

    Kudaku wrote:
    Hm... All right, I'll take a stab at this. :)

    These kinds of effects are exactly what I'd like to see out of feats in Starfinder. New capabilities that are relevant for martial classes and don't just add more damage. Also these particular ones are really thematic.

    Hold Person is a mind-affecting compulsion rather than a force effect, so the moment she loses consciousness she falls to the ground.

    Claxon basically has it (Skinwalker natural attacks were a mistake). Of note, 5 primary natural attacks at 1st level is far above the expected damage per round at that level.

    Paizo follows a design philosophy that says (roughly) that 3 natural attacks at low levels is OK. These are always claw/claw/bite, so that you can't stack beyond 3. Exceptions to this are relatively few, and in each case are restricted to some kind of niche option. This is the reason the shifter gains claws instead of slams or another type of natural.

    Just for the curiosity of anyone who stumbles across this thread: If you do the DPR math on natural attacks, you find that in order for them to keep pace with an optimized core-rulebook-only fighter with a two handed weapon, they need the following natural attack progression (assuming full BAB and a scaling str bonus similar to barb rage):

    @1st: 2 primary natural attacks
    @6th: 3 primary attacks
    @9th: 3 primary attacks, 1 secondary attack
    @11th: 4 primary attacks + an additional primary from haste, 1 secondary attack
    @13th: 4 primary attacks + an additional primary from haste, 2 secondary attacks
    @15th: 5 primary attacks + an additional primary from haste, 2 secondary attacks
    @18th: 6 primary attacks + an additional primary from haste, 2 secondary attacks

    Seems really low right? I mean, you don't need 5 primaries until 15th level! But that's how the math works out.

    Encounters with a total CR equal to the average party level of a 4 man group (APL from now on) are generally considered to be a basic encounter that drains a small amount of party resources but is otherwise nonthreatening. Typically, a party might come up against a few of these encounters, mixed together with other encounters that are of a higher difficulty, over the course of an adventuring day.

    Encounters with a CR of APL+1 or APL+2 are common and reasonable to throw at your party. An APL+3 encounter is often very challenging and should be used sparingly, or as a boss encounter/climax. No matter what, you want to have encounters with multiple creatures, usually with individual CRs lower than the APL. Important or boss monsters can have individual CRs of higher than the APL.

    I strongly encourage you to pick up a Pathfinder adventure path, module, or scenario and take a look at how they've structured their encounters. I started DM-ing by trying to build encounters 'blind' and in retrospect I should have started off by learning from Paizo.

    I'd love some details on the four rogue talents, if anyone with the book is willing to share. I kind of have my fingers crossed that they'll make a poison-based rogue worth making, though I know that's pretty unlikely.

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