I like the idea for system generation, but the other options you mentioned sound like they would be a better fit in an Ultimate Campaign style book, to me, but I would welcome anything.
Truthfully, I'm not sure if Starfinder needs a Gamemaster's Guide. The CRB covered much of that. I don't think random treasure tables get used much anymore, either. Therefore, I'm thinking the book would be Alien Archive thin, containing info such as how to tell a science fantasy story, and not much more than that. I feel like RPGs in general have largely moved away from the three core books model of D&D. As an alternative, perhaps a book that is more UC and less GG, but contains the story telling advice? I guess I just described Occult Adventures and Horror Adventures. Science Fantasy Adventures?
I'm one of those rare people that prefer GMing to playing, too. As such, I would like to see more setting info, story hooks, alien books, and goodies to entice my players. So far, the current release model is working for me. All that said, I buy everything they print, so, Paizo, take my money.
I am very excited to GM this AP. My table opted to skip DS because we were so eager to play Starfinder that we started a homebrew adventure in the Pact Worlds on release day, we were just too eager to wait for me to prep DS. We should be wrapping up in September, once the PCs hit level 20, and then my players will start new PCs for this AP.
The PCs in my homebrew adventure had a brief run in with the ASE, which I think will tie in nicely with the new AP, from what I can tell from the product description. Like a bit of cross campaign foreshadowing, if you will.
I'm hoping we get more types of azlanti enemies, combat, expert, and spellcaster, as well as loot and starship parts for the players to utilize.
I'm not much of an optimizer, so I typically throw skills all over the place. From what I've experienced with those that do strive to optimize, they usually max out fewer skills instead of spreading them. Because of starship combat I think the role you want to play should be considered during skill assignment, which means the classes with fewer skill points will have more to think about when assigning their precious few ranks.
I largely agree with the assessments above.
I think the chassis of the solarion is rife with room for expansion, but that can be said for pretty much all classes (a good thing). I, too, wish that the early levels offered a little more build leeway for the solarion. The ability score increase at level 5 and so on greatly helps, though. Right now Solar Weapon builds are pretty much superior, but I wager the margin of viability will diminish with time.
It's a very cool class. I can't wait to see where it goes in the future.
Dune is awesome, and I think the folding of space serves its plot well, as it pushes the action more planetside where drama plays out between people instead of starships. I do like Drift travel quite a bit for Starfinder, though. The very first time the players in my game performed a Drift jump they rolled a mishap which ended up leading them on a memorable side story in Hell. From this the PCs met a NPC they grew to love, a NPC that will be the focus of an upcoming adventure. Without the Drift we wouldn't have had such a great story. Therefore, I think the Drift serves the core setting well and can potentially lead to interesting and unexpected stories. It's all about what serves your story.
I agree, Starfinder is pretty awesome. I've tried other sci-fi games, but none of them hooked me like Starfinder does. My group hasn't played Pathfinder since the release of Starfinder, but we plan to participate in the 2e playtest and begin a new campaign when 2e officially launches. My group has already tossed around ideas on how to make time for both, whether it's bouncing back and forth every week, or alternating as we finish campaigns. It's a good problem to have, I suppose. For now we'll finish my level 1 to 20 homebrew Starfinder campaign and then start Against the Aeon Throne. After that, we'll see which 'finder' we're on.
I felt the same way about the Operative for the first few levels, but it seems like the curve evens out a little in the later levels. The players at my table just leveled their PCs to 16. We have a couple people that can't make every session, but the primary party that attends every session consists of a Mechanic (drone), Mystic (Star Shaman), Operative (Ghost). At first the Operative was stealing the show, but that's settled a bit at this point. The other classes have enough cool abilities to make the players feel special, and everyone contributes in starship combat.
I will say that we always hold a session 0 before we begin a campaign. My players each decided which roles, which skills, which niche they would focus on so as to not step on each other's toes, which helps.
Based entirely on the flavor text, I feel like a character would lose their natural sight. That said, I wouldn't feel good about telling one of the players at my table that their PC has lost darkvision, for example, so I would probably say that they still have it in addition to their new eyes' abilities. I'm a player friendly GM, though.
You could come up with some explanation, such as, in order for the eyes to function and not be rejected they have to contain lab grown organic material that is genetically similar to its new host. The organic material has the same photoreceptors necessary for darkvision, or something like that.
This being the internet, any suggested solution found on these boards going one way or the other could be argued away by another person who loves poking holes in other peoples' fun, but I look at it like this: do I want my players to enjoy playing and have a good time? Yes. Would this unbalance the game? Not at my table.
Would allowing the PC to keep their darkvision hamper anyone's enjoyment or cause any GMs to lose control of their table?
I've had the same experience, for the most part. Some figs are shiny, some are not, and all are brittle. I broke the weapon off my vesk, broke the drone, and also had to take a file to the feet of the minis. I, too, received slotted bases. I hope this turns around at some point, as all this game is missing is some great minis.
3: Pro Ambulation Body Scanner – CR 2: This technological device is often found near public transportation hubs and other secure locations, deployed to detect weapons and contraband. Utilizing the latest in imaging technology and consisting of black polycarbonate panels measuring eight feet long, five feet wide, and half a centimeter thick, PABS units are commonly mounted vertically on stands. As few as four and as many as twenty can be connected together into one seamless unit and positioned near walls to create a hallway of sorts. To scan a subject, a creature must move alongside a PABS unit, thus allowing a viewer on its opposite side to monitor in real-time the skeletal structure of those being inspected as they pass by, their skeleton typically displayed digitally in neon green on the panel. The nearby computer terminal that controls a PABS can be calibrated to detect a variety of known materials, such as metal or plastic. When such material is displayed, an alert notifies the active security personnel. A PABS unit can be hacked with a DC 20 Computers check or temporarily disabled with a DC 20 Engineering check. PABS panels are especially fragile, having only 8 hit points.
Agreed. My idea for a UPB deconstructor/printer is purely cosmetic and flavorful, with other perks mentioned in my posts above. Applying magical properties would follow the standard rules, though, I would grant the crafter a +1 or greater bonus for style should they plunge the newly formed blade into the heart of a dragon, or for other such dramatic efforts.
That sounds fun! For simplicity, you could try going without the graft and make a unique NPC with abilities comparable to a worm that walks and simply call it a worm that walks. At sfrpgtools.com you can have fun creating NPCs. When you're at the point of giving the NPC special abilities, you can pick the ones you want off a list or create your own that resemble traditional Pathfinder worms that walk.
I agree with you about trying to avoid saying "no." I would perhaps approach magic of 7th level or higher to how rituals are handled in Occult Adventures. Using the ritual creation rules in that book you can make rituals that the whole party can participate in, with the technomancer in the ritual leader role. When the ritual is successfully completed the spell produces the desired effect. This will ensure that the technomancer isn't breaking the game by unleashing these spells during combat, as rituals take much longer to perform. Casting these spells as rituals is certainly not game breaking.
Going outside the printed way of running enemies/NPCs during encounters has led to some fabulous, rewarding role play and immeasurable volumes of fun in our games, moments and stories that would have been otherwise lost by adherence to the text. I would bet that almost all the folks involved in producing the adventures we play would be perfectly fine with us taking their creations in different directions than what is suggested on the page. Deviations from the baseline are encouraged and welcome.
The Ragi wrote:
I agree, that's why I added the next part.
The Goat Lord wrote:
If you feed dragon teeth into it the machine dispenses UPBs equal to 10 percent the original item's value.
If we consider the dragon corpse to be an item of value equal to 10% of it's reward, we could figure out how many UPBs we have at our disposal. If the players want to produce a number of items from the corpse, divide the number of UPBs the dragon produced by the number of items they want to create...I think. I'm not a math guy, so correct me if I'm wrong. :)
The Ragi wrote:
If a player at my table wanted to have a sword made of dragon bits, I would be perfectly fine with them feeding dragon bits into a UPB machine and producing a sword that looks however the player wants it to look. Certainly the machine would have a computer assisted design element to it that would allow the PC to customize the item's appearance, cosmetic or otherwise, and essentially 3D print the desired item. I'll add, too, that I did use the word "teeth" in my original post about the suggestion. Additionally, dragon teeth can get pretty big. Plenty of material to work with, if you ask me.
For me and my table the flavor is the fun part, especially when all we're really doing here is slapping a skin on a weapon. Of course it's the same as selling the loot at a vendor, but I find it more creative and fun to take this approach. Plus, this could be performed on some remote location where no stores are available, or during the downtime that comes with Drift travel, for example.
As GM I try to find ways to facilitate the fantasies of the players. If a player wanted a dragon teeth sword, this would be my solution. In a setting of such imagination and fantasy, this is an easy problem to solve utilizing the rules that have been presented in the scant books we have. Unfortunately, my players haven't tried something like this yet, as they are more the sell and buy type. ;)
Surely there's a machine that you can feed objects into that breaks them down into UPBs. There's the assembly ooze, after all. I would say that a workspace on a starship has one, and such a device can be found in major cities. If you feed dragon teeth into it the machine dispenses UPBs equal to 10 percent the original item's value. Any easy way to determine value would be consulting the treasure by encounter table. Base the total value of all the bits on the dragon's CR and compare that to the reward table. Use the UPBs to craft a sword and boom: Dragon Sword.
As a GM, homebrewing brings me more creative satisfaction, but there are many published adventures I love. All my games are set in one persistent continuity, therefore I often make changes to published material so that it fits. Additionally, I have a pretty good understanding of what my players will and will not enjoy, so I'll make changes as needed for their benefit. Other times I will make changes because I feel like I can make improvements. I think it's well within the spirit of the game to adapt material for your table.
Icy Grip wrote:
One thing to keep in mind is that a CR 1 creature is designed to be an average challenge for a party consisting of four level 1 PCs. If you are only level 1 and face a CR 1 creature, that is going to be quite a challenge, especially for your Envoy build. If you are level 2 and are alone against a CR 1 creature, that is still going to be tough to overcome. It won't be until you have several levels under your belt before you're going to be dropping CR 1 creatures with a single shot from a small arm. Defeating a CR 1 creature alone in less than 5 hits is something most non-soldier/solarion/operative builds will struggle with.
This came up at my table and we handled it in exactly the manner Pithica and ghostunderasheet suggested. I think I charged the PC 10 credits for a pair of sunglasses that can autodarken or un-darken so that the light level is always reduced by one step. And we handled the environmental protection afforded by armor the same way during a spacewalk episode.
I estimate that on average it takes my table about three sessions per level, but, if I remember correctly, my players hit level three by session five or six. The first few levels flew by before settling. Each session runs about four or five hours, with some going six and seven. Regarding the frequency of leveling such factors should be considered, but I would say that with how much time we've put into it, it feels appropriate to be where we are right now. I'm confident that they'll hit level twenty by September, close to the birthday of this game and my homebrew campaign.
Not only do I provide experience points for overcoming encounters, I also award story experience. When the PCs complete quests, I usually give them bonus experience equal to their CR +1 or CR +2, depending on the significance of the story. We've been playing weekly and sometimes more since release day, and the PCs are currently at level 15 using this method. We skipped Dead Suns and opted to play a homebrew campaign in the Pact Worlds setting, and I expect it to wrap up shortly after my players' PCs hit level 20. By then it will be time to begin a published adventure, Against the Aeon Throne. You'll notice in published adventures that they award bonus experience points as well. If your table adopts such a model, perhaps you'll level a little quicker.
I've been receiving my batches of Ninja Division Starfinder Minis from the Kickstarter I backed. They're about on par with the Pathfinder Battles line by WizKids, and I'm mostly pleased by them, but they are definitely not on the level as the WidKids HD minis. They're fine, but I did receive the wrong bases with both of my shipments.
These figs will do for now, but I very much hope Paizo exercises a new strategy for getting minis into our hands. Minis should have been available long ago, and I wonder how much better this already great game would have been received with slick minis to go along with it. Additionally, minis need to be available in stores, as these days minis go hand in hand with promoting tabletop products. I wish I could have been a fly on the wall during the meeting that decided to go with Ninja Division over WizKids for these minis. I would like some prepainted WizKids minis, please.
I prefer 3d minis, but the Starfinder pawns are also good.
I'm pretty sure it doubles in Pathfinder, but this is a different game. At my table, my players and I agreed that since there is an attack roll, yes, Enervation deals double the level loss. My players also prefer above average and challenging encounters. If your table is a little less masochistic/bloodthirsty, maybe don't double it. As GM, I don't care either way since I lose pretty much every battle anyway. My preference is that it deals double the level loss on a crit.
There are so many factors at play here that it's hard for me to accept that it's the system's fault. There's table variance, there's die rolls, there's role play, etc., but, for example, when you say you're getting cornered or swarmed by 13 enemies, I'm wondering about your teammates' ability to protect your character and I'm wondering about your GM's ability to properly run encounters. Why are teammates leaving you in situations where you're alone, and why is the GM throwing 13 enemies at you? That's a couple red flags right there.
Regarding your build, Envoy is a support class, and maybe going with your chosen archetype wasn't the best choice for combat. You'll never shine like a Soldier, Solarion, or Operative at combat. Never. Like playing a Bard in Pathfinder, an Envoy's contribution during combat can be difficult to see at first, but, for example, if you buff an ally and they only hit an enemy due to your buff, then all the damage they cause is YOUR damage, and if that damage leads to a kill, that's YOUR kill. Improvisations are so great, I would never trade them out. Additionally, Envoys can replenish Stamina, which is huge, especially in Starfinder Society.
I suggest talking with your GM and sharing your concerns. If you were at my table I would let you rebuild your current character or try a new one altogether. If you stick with Envoy, accept the fact that you will not be a combat master, and perhaps give the buffing/support build a try. Your teammates will love it. Also, tell your GM that The Goat Lord says that 13 flying monkeys is too many, bub.
I've been running Starfinder as a GM weekly since release, and I've played in several society games. In my experience, Envoys have been a great boon for parties. I wish your experience was the same, and I wish you could grab a seat at my table and join us in having fun with this great system.
I like the concept of the Solarion and how sci-fantasy it feels. I'm hoping for more really out there concepts like that. Where the Solarion takes inspiration and derives power from things that are immense (stars), perhaps there could be a class that draws power from things that are tiny, at the quantum level? Their powers can even vary depending on who is observing them. String Theorist! Stringer! Quantarion! You get the idea.
Absalom Station has the Eyes Wide Agency, a private investigation firm of psychics. I'd like to see some sort of psychic class, without going all the way to psionics, that draws power from probability a la Marvel's Domino, uses telekinesis, can communication telepathically, wears fedoras and trench coats, and can buff itself with inner monologues. Neo Noirist.
Steve Geddes wrote:
Instead of inflating the DCs, the best trick I've been able to pull to keep the tension during critical skill checks is to create situations where a task can't be overcome in one round with one check. For example, there was a situation in my homebrew where the PCs were riding on the outside of a stealth bomber, trying to disable it before it dropped what they thought would be a nuclear payload on a city in Castrovel (turns out it was only dishsoap). The Mechanic wanted to hack the on board computer system to disable the bomber. I knew the chance for success was nearly 100%, so I asked for a d4 roll to determine how many rounds it would take to hack. Meanwhile, the pilot of the bomber tried to shake the PCs loose with aerial maneuvers, requiring the PCs to cling for dear life with Athletics checks while also continuing to hack.
There have been other situations I've constructed where the PCs needed several consecutive successful skill checks over the course of several rounds. It helps maintain the tension and keeps them on the edge of their seat in dramatic moments. And it's always fun when the computer they're trying to hack transforms into an Ahav and literally hacks them back.
Sometimes I ask for checks with DCs so low they can't be failed, which is good for those checks that would help the PCs learn something or recall a bit of knowledge that keeps the plot moving. The players didn't know when they picked up the dice that they were rolling an auto success, so they feel good in the end and that's all that matters.
Skills, they're something to think about.
I don't have any math to support this, but compared to Pathfinder it feels like NPCs/aliens/monsters hit more often when they attack. Additionally, even with level 15 PCs the players at my table tremble when I ask them to roll a save, as they fail often enough for saving throws to evoke dread. I like this, as most saves become seemingly trivial in Pathfinder at high level. In hindsight, I would have designed a few of the encounters in my homebrew campaign slightly differently between levels 3-6 due to those two factors. For the most part, combat has remained competitive and scary, even at high level play, which is great.
On the other hand, it feels like Starfinder characters nail every skill check. By level 15 the Operative at my table can theoretically trick attack CR 30+ enemies which means she is almost always adding +8d8 to each successful attack, the Pilot and Engineer can get into the upper 40s on their checks, and the Mystic PC in my game has a +30 to Perception. So the skill checks feel on par or better than Pathfinder.
I'm thinking some organizations, like the Stewards, probably employ the services of security bots to help bolster their forces. One steward could patrol the streets with 2-4 bots, for example. Likewise, I'm sure there are similar resources, such as drones, AIs, volunteers, and privatized military units, available to all factions. Same goes for starships. With this taken into consideration, the numbers of fieldable units must be staggering.
Creating a 'plausible' planetary environment that prevents starship or capital grade weapon 'solutions'
Suggestion 1: The kaiju are clusters of reincarnated souls made flesh, towering and walking mass graves, entire communities of returned dead that can still think and feel. Their souls can be saved by "killing" the kaiju and performing a ritual to ferry the souls to the boneyard for judgement, but if nuked or otherwise annihilated with such large scale weaponry their souls are lost to oblivion.
2: The atmosphere is damaged from previous nukes, so using more threatens complete destruction of all life on the planet. Additionally, high winds and violent global storms prevents small aircraft/spacecraft from being used in battle. Radioactive particles in the air make orbital strikes impossible, as scanners and targeting systems fail. Reaching space is only possible by space elevator, a juicy target for kaiju.
He's a gray star shaman mystic. I don't have his sheet with me, but not much stands up long to enervation + bestow curse + mind thrust. Up close he often uses the gray's phase racial ability to great effect, along with clever use of starlight form to waste enemy actions. The walk the void ability is great when boarding/blowing airlocks. My wife's ysoki ghost operative is all about trick attacking things in the face to death, but my son's mystic has been tactically disruptive to crowds and surgically effective against single targets. Fun for all.
I'm looking forward to having players at my table play goblins, as my players have already expressed their joy over the inclusion of goblins as a core race. Goblins won't change our stories for the worse, break our immersion, or otherwise ruin our experience. As GM, I realize I'm in control of my world and have final say on what's in and what's out, and goblins don't pose any threat to my sovereignty. Thankfully, my group isn't opposed to more options. If and when we come across aspects of the game that we don't like, we simply ignore it or replace it, as we've always done.
I've always appreciated how Pathfinder provides me the options and tools to tell the kind of story I want to tell. If you include other RPGs, I've lived through more than a dozen edition changes, and never has my table suffered for it. Thank you, Paizo, for providing my table with more shiny toys with which to tell stories.
One of the PCs in a campaign I'm running is a contemplative. We've had great fun exploring the interesting aspects of that race and how it impacts the game. As a GM, I enjoy the more "alien" options, as they present fresh role play opportunities. Mechanically speaking, I haven't noticed anything unbalanced or unfun about the race.