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Actually it's less defined than that, and "the gm can make it longer for extra long trips"'d so technically that might not be confined to a galaxy for the 3d20 days.
But it's not as though I was using those examples as *good* examples, just as examples of things that are already available and have to be watched out for/dealt-with/balanced-against if there's any of the advertised compatibility.
It would've been easier to just give them a speed in lightyears/time-unit if you ask me...
Starflight's a monster ability that gives interplanetary and interstellar travel.
Annoyingly it's all just called Starflight(Ex) but depending on the species it can be 3d20 hours between planets or 3d20 days anywhere in the galaxy, to 3d20 months if you're mi-go...
The most obvious, likely and common answers:
"Greater teleport actually states"
Their use in space actually has been covered in one of the splatbooks already, unfortunately.
There's also various beasties you can tame, dominate, shift into or make robot copies of with natural starflight of various levels of quality; so backwards compatibility means hyperspace travel has to be measured up against the ability to just use a shantak or anything potentially with the eldritch template...
Any such limitations would require fairly 'hard' reasons. Exponential energy costs for hyperspace and shielding based on vessel mass, perhaps.
1: Chances are the weapons *WILL* be capable of vaporizing things - particularly smaller ones - when said things are mooks. Your starfighter backed with a mid-level character probably does the same thing already as well however.
2: The only issue here without a good reason preventing it, is that other than putting all your eggs in one basket there's every reason to just make a bulkier transport; so this is where the limitation is most critical.
However, any backwards compatibility with pathfinder puts blocking things here at great risk; all the various travel methods and magic could easily mean there's a simple way around any size or mass or travel limitations. Thus, it's important that the system be allowed back its claims.
3: Automation could easily make for an argument the other way; Even basic computer controls (or golem/skeleton level command complexity with magic, which is already a thing) can allow a single gunner to only be limited by how many different targets he can command attacks on in a given sliver of time and the RoF of every weapon able to traverse (missiles can just fire out the other side and head that away too but their number of remaining turns/fuel/range may be limited; though don't forget they can just 'coast' in space)
This does mean that multiple highly proficient gunners are mostly advantageous if dealing with multiple bogeys; an Aegis system could easily handle basic interception, but if you want a specific mix on one target, a different specific mix of weapons on a second target, while also having the PDS target the shieldbreachers before the limpets, that might want a few more hands.
On related subject, there absolutely should be rules for things like beamspam and itano-circuses, to avoid it being a clunky thing that we don't want. "121 launch rolls, hit rolls, dodge rolls then damage rolls" is bad, but volley rules, clustered shots, beam 'corridors' wider than your ship (as opposed to those pathetic "its a thin line across five foot squares), missile swarms, all of the above combined and all sorts of other things are all made of pure fun if the system treats them properly.
4) Utterly agree. Ships can easily be as memorable and iconic as any main characters of whatever movie/show/game are on it. Depending perhaps a bit on your generation, everyone remembers Buck Rogers Thunderfighter, the Enterprise, the Enterprise-D, the Millennium Falcon, the T-301, and so on. In a way they *are* a main character themselves.
Watching your ship grow and evolve from some shiny showroom Lada to an overtuned planetbuster interceptor (for when something throws them at your mothership, you swear) that hasn't had a paint job in twelve years can easily be as or more important than a character on it.
5: "tech" (a misnomer since magical items *ARE* technology in a setting that has magic) vessels should be different but shouldn't be auto-inferior: "magic is always better" has plagued the d20 system with the caster divide in particular after all.
Devs: *ALWAYS* remember that "mundane" is NOT supposed to be "current real world human limitations" in a universe where "natural" includes Bulettes, Brain-Moles, Wyverns, where a decently trained warrior can hit the ground face first at terminal velocity and immediately continue on as if he'd merely hopped a foot. "Mundane" is graviton reactors, DU-bolt autocrossbows, fully sapient AI, giant plasma cannons, nanolathes, 'local strongmen' that throw cows across a battlefield, and crap that bloody swims in f***ing magma!
Since Starfinder Will Be Compatible With Pathfinder And Pathfinder's Compatible with 3.5, Will Starfinder Be Compatible With 3.5?
Rather hoping not.
We all know how many design flaws were in 3.X to begin with; being backwards compatible with PF is already gonna risk some wonkiness if they want new systems and all that to function cleanly.
"Just barely" with pathfinder, probably.
Nevertheless though, let not this be excuse for "fighty class" having less skill points and class skills than someone who spends all their time working on their PHD in magic-missilesness
My favorite way of weapons being effective against particular threats is when they just have so much power that reality just breaks down from being ruthlessly violated. Who cares if the universe just became a teeny bit less infinite?
I'd like to see the differences between divine, arcane, psionic and technological system selections to be more about practical design than flat "ONLY THIS WORKS AGAINST THOSE". When "only this works" you risk having a much better option than all the others, and wouldn't it be great if we didn't have the nastier levels ivory tower trap options, and instead stuff was nice and viable? Like, in PF, nonmagical weapons just plain *fail* against large swarths of creatures as you go up in level. There's no alternatives.
Perhaps it's like a second set of material bonuses and drawbacks:
Technological system: The default, but by no means the inferior option. Reliably draws power from your reactor or power-source, with only a small reserve should it lose those, and functions. Perfectly capable of doing the whole "+5 and screw your DRs" deal with higher quality design and capacitors.
Psionic system: Amplifies existing abilities. Psi systems let you use abilities, though often in a preset fashion only, without any power-point cost thanks to feeding them from the reactor. Problem is, they're just that - amplifiers.
Magic system: If you want to save on reactor-power, in most regions of space the easiest way to do this is arcane enchantment. Magic lasers power themselves, filling their capacitors with magic (but only magic; they'll run out fast reactor or not without ambient mana in a dead-zone) - although watch out for cheap knockoffs with X/day limitations; as much as it can save you, "I can only use this once a day" is damned pathetic for a point-defense!
Divine system: Take it all one step further: External wireless power not only keeps the item running as long as its god exists, but thanks to running off miracles and needing no power converters or engines of any sort it's also half the mass (and often one step smaller for space or handling).
That line is entirely dependent on the scale of warfare in the setting. Tactical weapons are meant to influence a battlefield situation, while a Strategic weapon is meant to alter things on a wider operational (and often wider physical area) scale. There's no defined line as to the actual output of the weapon; it's all about the role they're optimized for.
So it's mostly dependent on what the strategic scale is.
If entire wars are fought over a single castle on a plain, a single cannon is a tactical weapon, while a small nuke capable of leveling it would be a strategic one. A ship flying around with four cannons may also qualify, being a devastating fortress of doom to the poor bastards way down there.
If an orbital station is something you send a single ship to take out as part of a greater operation to attack a nearby moon, then a weapon capable of annihilating capital ships or the station is a tactical one, while a strategic weapon might core the moon itself. A ship may be able to carry single-shot or long-charge versions of the latter, while fighters are probably packing the former as their heaviest torpedoes or spinal mains. Something that merely punches a hole through a couple of feet of rock at a few hundred feet is probably a personal weapon now.
If individual squadrons take planets the way we used to have soldiers take a hill, then most likely the fighters glass continent with their main guns, frigates have planetbuster wave-motion cannons on their prows (tactical weapon), and a weapon probably has to thoroughly wipe out large star systems to qualify as strategic.
Hardness. Better than DR, and more appropriate when you've got a big ceramic shell around you anyways. SOME deflection (AC), some hardness, and a bit of absorption from its own HP(you do have to *punch through* it in many cases)
Remember that even DR/- (anything else basically doesn't work for anything but monsters designed to be a threat to lower level non-adventurers) is inapplicable to a wide variety of damage methods (including lasers), and that in pathfinder the way it scaled it was often a dangerously inconsequential ability compared to the damage output of appropriate-CR enemies at any given level.
Sure you had DR 4/- on your level 16 barbarian, but you have 229HP and that CR 16 dragon is hitting you for 21+14+14+5+6+19=79 after DR; you'll die from a third full attack if it gets to do so, whether you had the DR or not.
Let's hope the space marine or whatever isn't some brainless 2+int/lv thing "but they get many feats" again; The less "casting" and other highly-versatile, long-to-learn abilities you have, the more time you should have for other skills.
In the worst cases (as above...) you can find yourself staring at the fluff/background, staring at the rules, and realizing they are terminally incompatible. It's important to make sure it never comes to that.
The story you want to tell may be literally impossible under a certain system.
But even small things can add up quite a bit in regards to how it flows, or how much you had to fight the system to get it where it is.
Consider the power disparities in PF for example, where one character's ability to deal with the narrative may be limited to "I hit things good" and 2 skill points per level, while another bends the narrative over and states "unless you use your right of veto and utterly negate my character's very existence, THIS is what happens, THIS is when it happens, and THAT is how it all resolves" and far more skill points just to rub it in as well.
A good mechanical framework will support and cradle your story for great ride.
The interactivity can be heavily influenced by the rules though, so you do want to make sure they'll fit.
When the rules fight the story/setting tooth and nail every last step of the way (Exalted 2e for example), your disbelief is rolling on the rims without a suspension.
If all they have is a souped up YT-1300's firepower, they'll stop USING ships by about level 8 as anything but a horse and buggy that holds their loot. Probably in favor of longbows.
And don't forget those blasts are supposed to be backed by a character's feats, proficiencies and class abilities. That 2d6 sword ends up pulling 3d6+30+extras (or rather, being replaced by a 3d6, and thus doing 4d6 instead) by the end of it. If the laser turret can't keep up because pathfinder-tech-guide, then someone'll just stick their heads out (mid level adventurers have no trouble breathing in space) and snipe with a frickin bow for far more damage and far more attacks per round as well (thus many times the DPR), YET AGAIN.
Assuming the developers are smarter than that mistake, those ship cannons should be pulverizing adamant hulls and glassing cities with a good gunner guiding them.
you do NOT want money to be the primary limiter. that never ends well.
in a lean campaign you're screwed, and if you're given free access to the downtime system you instead literally get to just spend money to further class abilities on top of the usual loadout.
That's "prepared full caster" levels of will-do-anything" here.
Well that or it'll run right into that other thread regarding planet-busting. But I'd be okay with that part, so long as it's the kind of thing that requires epic levels to do from personal scale gear.
"Uh, it doesn't, the station wasn't built to deal with gravitational forces so it would shear apart if you tried to aim it at the planet it orbits"
"So we'll move it a little further out"
"Uh, that, um, no it would, you can't aim it anymore"
"Yeah, I'm gonna do a bit of math for a minute here, we can be patient, we'll fire it off into space. No targeting, just, from these coordinates, with this specific direction that we've moved ourself to. We ARE able to control the attitude of the station in deep space right?"
"yeah of course"
"GOOD. The relativistic slugs hit the planet in 28.116 hours."
"The planet'll be there when the trajectories intersect."
Seriously; "uh, you can't because um, fiat" is nothing but a dare. If not blowing up planets is SO important, all the more reason to find ways to commit geocide before all the baddies realise they can just hide behind a planet and be safe.
I'd still say it's far more likely that much of what magic lost is simply now well enough understood that you don't need to be a wizard anymore.
"The process by which we harness the ambient energy to create light is taught to first graders"
"We managed to automate the production of force micro-missile sidearms (formerly wands of magic something). Technically each of these factory robot arms has craft wands and just enough levels in sorcerer. How? How should I know? Something about billions of lines of code and snorting coke at applesoft..."
But then you run into the problem of things that aren't explicitly covered, like giant constructs, or the utter silliness that is a mere 20d6 or flatly shrugging it off to "a bit more than a sword hit at that level with the bonuses" 5d6 when it utterly deletes ten cubic feet of anything "objects" with no effort.
Or the problem of "How long does that fighter with a mere low-teraton-output energy weapon take to finally core the planet if it keeps firing in the same place"
If we at least get, say, an average HP and hardness for general sections (crust/mantle/core) of worlds, the scale multiplier between personal and ship, and the actual output of superweapons, it can easily be done, without always having to devolve into arguments or having to rely on weapons or events that are purely GM-Fiat.
I mean, at some point someone will want to colony-drop something, and someone else might've thought "hey, we're making a space colony, something tends to happen to these things, we should install a ramming prow".
It's not like high level pathfinder characters don't already have the ability to slowly glass a continent (sometimes not even that slowly) just on foot anyways. We should at least have a framework for what happens when the Yamato aims straight down....
Although I'd note that manipulators likely take system slots; while legs may be part of any land movement system, you can change your heading with a stubby weapon "arm" (with some thrusters for an extra kick in emergencies) just as well as some complex legpiece.
Chances are, for things to work out well, for any given hardpoint or system slot we'd have several options:
- If all that mass and processing is used on a fixed weapon mount, that's probably weapons +1 size over the craft maximum. Main weapons on fighters or really nasty capital mounts meant to deal with planetoids or whatever; but you gotta point the hull in the general direction to get a shot.
- You could instead have a gimbal mount for equal sized weapons. They get a nice arc like "Forward", "Left", "Right", "Rear". Probably the standard.
A full turret is likely for weapons one size smaller; can switch by one arc clockwise or counterclockwise every turn, while one more size down gets you full 360 firing point defenses OR a manipulator arm with more limited traverse but that can swap handheld weapons or offer more utility.
In that way, a starfighter or mech - or models like those in Einhander or those silly grappler ships - would be a matter of how you build and equip your vehicle, as well as the scale....
So all we'd be missing are combining or at least docking/control-transfer rules and you can make the "one giant gun" destroyer, the transforming carrier that came with it, and live out your dreams of Battle-7 or whatnot.
Speaking of, where do you think the scale will/should be starting? Is the basic size scale of pathfinder kept and expanded, or is there a separate ship track (with fighters being "tiny ship-scale" thus "huge personal-scale" for example)? Are we looking at "Colossal (ship)" or "Colossal IV" or even "City-Mech G"?
Well if you can't customize armors when you already can in the previous game that would be kinda sad.
And if the system can't handle limbs on a fighter-scale vehicle, that's not very rugged a system at all.
Probably we'll be okay.
Here's what I see looking at those classes:
And wizard's even worse. The work comes all in the morning when you choose and memorize. "Do I want two empowered acid arrows, or do I want a maximized augury (no I don't know why you'd maximize augury), how many heightened limited wishes do I set up here today?
Um, how is it anything but less bookkeeping?
Compare that to tracking remaining slots of each different level, as well as (in case of prepared casters) which spells of your spells known list are stored in each slot and expended for the day once cast.
psionics would definitely fit better than vancian psychic casting though.
At the same time, the damage of magma in pathfinder is a measly 20d6 for submersion, so damage may not climb linearly. Maybe based on logarithmic scaling, but preferably not the pathetic damage of a blown tech-guide nuclear reactor going off (seriously what the hell)
That said, I think there's plenty of good reasons to have the numbers on city and planetbusting weaponry onhand for when someone uses their inhuman skills to aim a battleship's spinal down for some alternative close-air-support, or for impacts off any tech whose sublight engines would allow travel between planets in-system in days. Rods from someone-a-few-levels-short-of-finally-qualifying-as-a-god and whatnot.
Could also be that the FTL method is inherently hostile to the gods. One of those "it shortens the distance between point A and B or else it gets the hose again" (ab)uses of basic physical law combined with ridiculous energy outputs, that because it's so mundane the god of magic cannot simply go "that spell don't work no more".
In such a case, probably logistics are what gets the magic. Infinite air so much cheaper and easier than the technical versions. Cheap low energy light. Internal telepathic or voiced comms that aren't dependent on circuitry to individual sections. Dimensional storage that doesn't require a reactor.
Added bonus: We need that kind of reality-violating level of power anyways if the ships are to be worth having over simply running around in space as mid-level characters (quite literally, feet and all) then they need to be something that offers power above and beyond an individual adventurer's own "power". Primitive kingdoms and continents are probably entirely at the mercy of some moon-carving sniper fighter's guns or a bomber's little torpedo bay (to say nothing of planet-buster capital ships), which sounds horrible until you realize the party barbarian could in fact just spend an hour systematically cleaving the capital unhindered, or the wizard just send the entire place to his favorite hell (for extra profit). It's only natural that the scaling up into the vehicles those walking disasters use would.... make what they can already do a little faster and/or easier.
While I still believe gods should be more... resident of their own star systems...
Iomedae: So evil trumpets is still around? You'd think that other than the desperate zealots on Golarion, any number of other worlds would've fixed that little problem already. Seriously, given her own official material she shouldn't still be around, let alone known as a galactic paladin idol.
Erastil: Hunting maybe a bit less, but there could be entire agri-worlds dedicated to mass production of foodstuffs. Community and Families are still a thing as well.
Torag: Are there no dwarves anywhere else? He covers several portfolios as well.
Sarenrae: Seriously depends: Goddess of one star system (golarion's) sun is rather minor in the grand scheme of things, and would be highly inappropriate as a major interstellar deity. "All suns" would be extremely powerful though, and doing so would mean you gotta accept Sarenrae as being in the very top of deities worshipwise, because many stars will have one or several worlds around'em.
Desna: The most likely non-local deity, as you've pointed out.
Abadar: Civilizations in general, rather than exploration. A god of having new places to visit, not of actually going out and finding them.
Irori: Speaking of "the Gap", is the starfinder society going to be as abjectly... unethical... as the pathfinder society? Still remains to be seen if "the gap" will be used tastefully in the background or if it'll be a cheap heavyhanded thing, however. Focusing on golarion's races while taking it out and going "well now uh, all these worlds are golarion's peoples except golarion, do not attempt to land there" worries me quite a bit actually.
Gozreh: How is the empty void not nature? It's some of the harshest parts of nature, but it's nature.
Pharasma: Another one that could be planet-locked; if you think back to previous editions for example, most crystal spheres had their own death gods (yeah sometimes more than one). Most worlds for example would've nuked Toril after they stoppered the flow of souls from their own gods being such tantrum-tossing little a%&&*@~s that they couldn't keep enough worship for themselves... There could easily be other gods doing that job in their own star systems.
Nethys: Is perhaps more quietly in the background, since any sufficiently advanced technology... (and vice-versa, any well-understood enough 'magic'...)
Gorum: Another possibly 'local' deity, one with a lot of other friends out there. A LOT.
Rovagug: It would probably be best if there were more than one of this. Otherwise it makes it too easy for APs and fluff to fall into a lazy "but what about golarion" focus on the setting all the time. Plus it gives high level players something to face off against in their best ships once in a while.
Traveller at least has fully functional ship combat. It's several steps up over any of the vehicle combat currently in pathfinder. Even when abstracting, it did work well enough, while you're still counting things in squares one way or another with pathfinder, no matter what one may say about no minis.
Will starfinder also have similar weapon scaling? In pathfinder, a cannon might have only 8d6 (roll low and even a direct hit might not even do more than disable but not destabilize a level 1 commoner) and often finds itself dealing less damage than a guy swinging a sword as a result. A lot less, in fact. And that's before sword guy gets the second of his 4-5 attacks this round while the cannon goes on the reload with three guys for next turn.
Meanwhile in traveller that 1d6 light laser cannon on your 10t starfighter does 50-300 against personal/vehicle scale targets, probably punching a clean hole through the tank, and that heavier 2d6 cannon leaves *absolutely nothing* where the marine in top-tech-level battledress once was as it continues on towards whatever it actually got aimed at. 'Course it also cost about as much as said tank anyways...
This ain't exactly Wish here. If "allows you to use a basic situational class ability in exchange for some conventional stats" is TOO POWERFUL for vehicular combat, then the basic design premise would be terminally flawed.
Especially since other than CAS, you won't find many targets; the odd possessed-vessel aside most targets are gonna be sans-alignment, even if their occupants are on the vile side of the spectrum. Sure, those are kobold-eating slavers over there, but their ship? it's usually just a ship.
A 1pp and its 3pp counterpart, because hey, plenty of us use psionics.
Ships should probably allow a measure of externalizing/scaling-up abilities by default, in particular stuff like one-man fighters.
James Sutter wrote:
And also, lest that answer seem too cold and corporate... you can't imagine the wailing and gnashing of teeth around here as we came to that conclusion. We *really* wanted to do a full public playtest, and overturned every rock in our search to make it feasible. But in the end it was a trade-off we had to make. :\
I'll just straight up voice the worry here: Just remember to be careful with purely internal testing where it's too easy for everyone to know the intent well - which can mean some rather impressive surprises or many questions once other people get their hands on the RAW. And watch out for yes-men! If those testing it aren't tearing the everliving crap out of at least some kind of issue they've caught onto, remember your rolled up newspaper, and make them do their job!
For all the garbage one has to read through when dealing with public testing, nothing quite beats it in terms of "someone will spot the problems". 'Course it doesn't really help if all the numbercrunching and suggestions are ignored and a kineticist comes out "intact", but not much the testers can do there!
.. Although yeah, it can be a *lot* of crap to trudge through.
Remembering the Core alpha and beta playtests I find this understandable. But, whatever you do, please don't make 1st level abilities(like Claws from Sorcerer bloodlines) anything but at will in this one!
Also THIS. It would be nice to finally break away from Dying Earth, but failing that, even if it's a class ability, if all it is is just some regular everyday attack like claws (or worse yet something that's barely a shortbow, but more likely not even that and just on par with a crossbow instead), just... just let it *be* a bloody normal optimizable weapon equivalent if they want it, save us all that stupid stupid bookkeeping. "A class ability equal to like a 10gp item if that" should not be limited per day.
The problem there is forgetting the old adage "any sufficiently advanced technology..." (and its reverse). Feels like people are looking at it thematically and going:
But WHY? Why can magic do everything better than anything else? Other than because of bad balancing based on a misapplication of the Vancian roots of the magic being used here I mean. WHY should only magic be able to raise the dead (and why should it be the cheaper version too)? Why should only magic allow, say, hyperspace travel? Why should only magic be capable of everything? Why is it wrong for anything else to step on its toes when it can already do everything?
Why is it cheaper/better to use resurrection than to, say, simply take the last functional copy of someone's transporter buffer pattern and at most they've lost the last few hours or a day or two, instead of months of experience and training? Because of levels? If that transporter operator is the same level, he should have the same amount of relative power or impact upon the setting. That's what level represents after all.
And for other spells: Look at the cost of making a basic magical item (and at least halve it again to account for the fact that they're going to craft it using the downtime rules so we're at least down to like 20%):
Why can't a flashlight be cheaper than magically creating a wand of light? Why can't a laser(20k!!!!!) be cheaper than a stick of at-will 5 magic missiles (16200 base I believe, for a command word item that won't run out)?
The majority of tech's disadvantages are/were implemented deliberately, to trap those wishing to use them in pathfinder. You'll notice those robots never run out of juice, and yet recharging a battery requires artifacts if you're a player.
But they don't *have* to be traps. A frag grenade could be a mere tenth of the cost of the stim-patch you'll need to slap on if that equally-powerful fireball takes 3-4 drain. A rocket could easily put that fireball to shame, and doesn't require you to fry half your physical track in the process. A hand phaser could recharge itself and tell you about the weather; hell artificial intelligence might be significantly cheaper than making a magic item smart.
But in the end, it still doesn't change that technology is nothing more or less than the practical application of knowledge: a wand or staff or magic item *ARE* technology, because magic is part of that universe. If the light emission in that laser can be done cheaper with a psionic crystal light than with some diodes, maybe that's how lasers get built by most companies. If material components can be refined for higher efficiency, maybe your bat dung, piece of sulfur and little glass rod with fur are handily pre-packaged and with all impurities baked out. Maybe nothing makes an acid arrow spell happier than being force-rammed through a charged hyperdrive, making the acid nearly an afterthought after the relativistic liquid death lances your hull.
In fact, let me make a proposal here, and to clear our heads of the usual issues of "it's magic I ain't gotta explain s&&@" (even though learning to be a wizard kind of explicitly requires magic to "gotta explain s!!~") and take the word out entirely:
A simple change of words can make the discussion much easier; people willingly argue whether it's right or wrong or balanced or imbalanced for psionics to have certain effects, but the word "magic" tends to immediately stunt arguments with the idea that "it can do anything and that's how it should be".
Let's call it, I dunno, "mana tech" or something.
Should be based on reactor type as well. If you're running on some singularities, containment loss might be more of an implosion, with other ships disappearing or at least losing a bit of mass as you collapse inwards.
I prefer compact, reliable power sources. Twin-Sphere Annihilation Drives for example. I mean if we absolutely MUST be so saturday-morning in our villainy that slaves must be what's fed to power our systems, we should at least make sure it's nice, compact and efficient!
At the very least, desoul the slaves at the fueling station, to save on all the space they need.
That's more along the lines of using the claim as evidence of itself. I mean I could tell you a certain part of me not to be mentioned in polite company is magically delicious, but that doesn't make my "lucky charms" actually magical.
Some info would certainly be appreciated though.
well, more like a swarm of jawas.
In order for magic to be supplanted, technology would have to supplant it outright in the ability to manipulate the local universe.
And it has to do so on every front, otherwise there's no reason you wouldn't just have magitech.
It gets particularly spurious an explanation if magic is just "um, not allowed" or "whoopsied"; that kind of thing was what they pulled with "the weave" on Toril, and basically is just *begging* to just blow back entirely with "AND THEN MAGIC BECOMES SUPREME AGAIN, SEE JUST HOW WORTHLESS S+#& YOUR LASER USING CHARACTER BECOMES ONCE MORE" from a single adventure path or splatbook "unlocking" it back to full power. You definitely don't want that sword hanging over the setting's neck.
Conjuration will only be matched once you've got full-fledged replicators and transporters... except not even then, because one is the person themselves doing all of that and even calling in fully sentient entities, while the other requires massive amounts of reactor power, large machinery and computing, and often isn't even instant.
So the safest and most reasonable path is to have areas where science wins out a little, but a majority of areas (research-wise, not "places") where "magic" is no longer "magic", just a well understood part of the universe's physical laws. That little eternal flame inscription will last longer than an LED, that "fireball wand" is now fully rechargable (it's advanced enough we can build'em without that "burning out" problem), and with enough data that central computer 'augury' is far less likely to lie to you than any deity.
In other words; just like wizards first researched metamagic, thus applying "science" to their spells, technology continues to advance with full understanding that the 'metaphysical' stuff is nothing more than one of the many sets of laws they can exploit to achieve certain effects. After all, science is just the process, and technology is just advances. The first magic staves were a technological advancement, just, in a universe with "magic" in it is all.
At the same time, far too often the drawbacks are often completely debilitating trap options, OR basically mean nothing and may as well not exist. The fragile quality being one of the latter when it comes to magical weapons. HP/Hardness in pathfinder don't really come into play for items unless someone is purposefully sundering them, and unless you're built for that you can forget it no matter how vulnerable the little blade in your opponent's hand is, even though by all means it should probably have shattered on your shield.
The benefits and drawbacks can be kept simple if A) they are well documented, and B) organized properly. The use of keywords and straightforward wording can make it just as simple as the single material modification in pathfinder is/was.
Could be simple headers in, say, a weapon entry.
Man-Portable Cannon | Variant: Gauss | Generator: Prana-Capacitor | Ammunition Type: Zol-Orichalconium
"but less HP" would really have to go a few steps beyond the "lol fragile" rules we currently see. Perhaps striking against high enough DR/Hardness (discounting strength and power-attack, anything that can block half or more of the damage) means up to the weapon's own TOTAL damage dealt is suffered (and reduced by its hardness)?
So that ultra-sharp ceramic blade is amazing and effortless against security guards in disturbingly-resilient neon orange jumpsuits, worryingly chips a little when you're hitting the guy in power armor, and you really, really oughta have known better than to try and smash a tank in half with the edge using a potion of strength and power attack.
Enchanting your gun into a "robot" so it stops costing 10gp a shot because the only other way to recharge it yourself would be a colossal artifact building, or *two* of them just to craft batteries?
No wait, that's regular pathfinder.
We can probably hopefully look forward to reasonable applications of infinite energy, as well as massive capacitors that put the steady output of your twin-spheres trash reactor to good use.
One of the biggest other advantages may be in life support and infinite reaction mass.