Question for GMs on SFS Quest: Into the Unknown [spoilers]


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I'm going to GM this shortly, and after a read through, noticed that the spaceship the characters are piloting in the last quest, Odyssey, is a tier 4 ship. That would mean that the DC for most checks would be 15 + 2*tier = 23. For most level 1 characters, even with max stats, the skill bonus would be +8, and with the mk1 computer, that's a +9. Leaving out various class shenanigans like envoy expertise, mechanic bonus, etc, that gives about a one-third chance to succeed. Just wondering if that would lead to frustrations among the players not being able to control a ship too advanced for them?

Liberty's Edge **

I ran that encounter 4 times at fencing and the players really didn't have too much of a problem with the DCs. They realized it was hard so the captain encouraged them a lot. Plus the pregens have some hotspots in key positions. Both the pilot and the engineer are +10.

*** ⦵⦵ Venture-Agent, California—San Francisco Bay Area North & East

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I actually wouldn't say that most checks are at DC 15 + 2*tier. The actions that get used the most frequently tend to be lower. The engineer will usually be attempting the Divert action, which at DC 10 + 2*tier = 18 is pretty doable for the mechanic with a +10 in Engineering. The Evade stunt for the pilot is also DC 10 + 2*tier. The science officer's Scan and Target System actions use the opposing ship's tier, which is 2, and the captain still only needs a DC 10 to encourage with aid another.

(I also ran the quests quite a few times at GenCon.)

Liberty's Edge **** Venture-Lieutenant, Indiana—Indianapolis

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Kate Baker wrote:

I actually wouldn't say that most checks are at DC 15 + 2*tier. The actions that get used the most frequently tend to be lower. The engineer will usually be attempting the Divert action, which at DC 10 + 2*tier = 18 is pretty doable for the mechanic with a +10 in Engineering. The Evade stunt for the pilot is also DC 10 + 2*tier. The science officer's Scan and Target System actions use the opposing ship's tier, which is 2, and the captain still only needs a DC 10 to encourage with aid another.

(I also ran the quests quite a few times at GenCon.)

Yeah, you did! Great working with you, Kate!

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Yeah, that's true. I was looking at the worst case scenarios, but understandably, if they are equipped with a starship that is more advanced than they are used to, they should focus on the more straightforward actions. Thanks!

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It was frustrating for my table because we couldn't make some of the actions we wanted to.

The bigger issue was we had a lot of really bad rolls on attacking, and at level 1 you have pretty low modifiers. So the second space combat dragged out a lot more from that than anything. If you're running for players new to organized I'd probably be a bit lax, maybe reduce the HP of the enemy ship if the fight is dragging out so they don't get frustrated themselves.

That was mostly randomality working against us, but still.

Liberty's Edge **

In the space combats I did call a few a adventures early because of time. But I'm was doing a lot of teaching and the players still had fun and appreciated the result.

Only one time did I not hold back and that was because the they understood the rules.

Liberty's Edge *****

Pathfinder Maps, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Society Roleplaying Guild Subscriber

prepping a bunch of starfinder for dragoncon

OK - so looking at the last space fight.

Or as I call it, hide and go seek with bazookas.

So, for the missile and torpedo launchers - does a gunner have to stay on these targets each round, and if it is the missile/torpedo doing its own tracking, does it
just use the skill check of the gunner that fired it?

The CRB says "it makes its rolls" but the pronoun is a bit fuzzy with androids
in the game.

Liberty's Edge *****

Pathfinder Maps, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Society Roleplaying Guild Subscriber

Also, if they do have to keep them on target, then do the asteroids blocking targeting prevent that?

Sovereign Court *** Venture-Agent, Minnesota—Champlin

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Here's a tip: Make sure you give your players the bonuses in the last ship combat if they've gotten the clues for the first 4 parts. My GM at GenCon didn't give us any of that, so we lost that fight.

Liberty's Edge **

Liam wrote:

So, for the missile and torpedo launchers - does a gunner have to stay on these targets each round, and if it is the missile/torpedo doing its own tracking, does it

just use the skill check of the gunner that fired it?

The CRB says "it makes its rolls" but the pronoun is a bit fuzzy with androids
in the game.

CRB Page 320 wrote:
... attempt a new gunnery check at the start of the next gunnery phase to determine whether the projectile continues to move toward the target; you don’t receive any bonuses from computer systems or actions by your fellow crew members from previous rounds or the current round, but you can take penalties, such as from an enemy science officer’s improve countermeasures action (see page 325). If the result of a gunnery check for a tracking weapon is ever less than the target’s TL, the weapon’s projectile is destroyed and removed from play.

emphasis added.

Liberty's Edge **

James Krolak wrote:
Here's a tip: Make sure you give your players the bonuses in the last ship combat if they've gotten the clues for the first 4 parts. My GM at GenCon didn't give us any of that, so we lost that fight.

That is too bad. I missed the bonuses the first time I ran that part but PCs still won. It was a challenge to be sure.

Even with the clues included, the fight is a challenge and fun.

Liberty's Edge **

Liam wrote:
Also, if they do have to keep them on target, then do the asteroids blocking targeting prevent that?

If the asteroids are in the way in the initial attack they can't fire. If the torp is able to keep tracking on later rounds, I would have maneuver it around the asteroids because they did have a lock.

Torps/missiles don't have to take a direct route to their target.

The Exchange

Pathfinder Starfinder Society Roleplaying Guild Subscriber

When a GM receive credit, do they receive the total 5 for one character when they run the 5 sections or the total 5 after running the 5 sections 5 times?

Liberty's Edge **

The quest pack is one adventure and worth 1 table credit.

Liberty's Edge *****

Pathfinder Maps, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Society Roleplaying Guild Subscriber
James Krolak wrote:
Here's a tip: Make sure you give your players the bonuses in the last ship combat if they've gotten the clues for the first 4 parts. My GM at GenCon didn't give us any of that, so we lost that fight.

Yeah, we played it locally and had none applied and it took forever, but we won.

Silver Crusade ***** ⦵⦵ Venture-Captain, Indiana—Bloomington aka CanisDirus

The Starship "character" sheets are now up on PFSPrep.com - I made sure to list what the "Clues" did for the PCs on the Lawblight's sheet (as well as also listing the four player adjustments in the notes sections).

Hope those are useful to new GMs!

Grand Lodge **** Venture-Captain, California—Sacramento aka FLite

Additional pro tip: If you are running the final fight with the 4 player adjustment, Have the captain of the Lawblight taunt (captain action) the PCs, as an excuse to have him then leave the com channel open.

An entire bridge full of drunk besmaran pirates and the coms are open. You can *in character* explain to the PCs what a fully staffed starship operates like. And you can explain why when they are doing what they are doing.

"***** Pilot! Why can't you shake them!"
"Oh, I know how to shake them..."
"...What are you doing..."
"Trust me, they will *never* follow us in here!"
"Yes, because *they* are not ******* idiots!"

(only with more profanity)

(As the Lawblight flies *through* a field of asteroids to get out of the PC's direct fire, and force the PCs to go around...)

Sovereign Court ***** RPG Superstar 2014 Top 32 aka Netopalis

Question: the ending seems a bit fuzzy. Once the PCs defeat the Lawblight, is it blown up? What if they try to board? Does the adventure just expect them to ignore the Lawblight and return home? How have you folks been handling this?

**** Venture-Lieutenant, Online aka Magabeus

At my table I let it explode in a huge fireball, leaving no-one alive and nothing to explore.

Liberty's Edge **

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Well per the Core Rulebook, a starship is disabled when it reaches 0 Hull points and destroyed when it has taken 2 times max hull points.

But yes, having it blow up is much more satisfying for the PCs.

Scarab Sages

What bonus do the mercenaries have to ranged attack?

Dark Archive ***

There is definitely something to be gained by hand waving part of a fight. Mike B. was my GM when I played this and the first ship combat we got on a roll and had hit the enemy ship pretty good with crits and more or less completely hammered the engines. We figured out how to manuever pretty well and instead of rolling 3 or 4 rounds of combat after we had them badly out damaged we just called it. I agree even with the bonuses the last combat though could definitely go South fast. We rolled super high inthe first round of combat and had 2 crits on them and it still looked like it could have gotten ugly if they started to roll well. Biggest thing is saving that time in the first fight. A few other folks at Gencon found the starship combat overall slowed down, so keeping the pace up is valuable.

Dark Archive *****

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I ran these today at our FLGS, and the PCs crushed this (in a good way)! They worked well together, and came up with some creative solutions. Most notably:

In Salvage, the science officer made the check to to learn about the atmosphere, so they asked if there was anything preventing them from using their armor to negate the negative effects (as they used them in Boarding). I allowed it, but then when they got to the crystalline rain anyone who took damage after the first round I made roll fort saves, as I said the slashing breached the integrity of their suits. They seemed okay with that, and anyone who took damage in at least one of the rounds needed to make fort saves in that round and all others afterwards. The two who made their reflex saves all three rounds got to look smug, especially after one of the others failed their save and became poisoned.

In Lawblight I took Jared's suggestion and left the comm open after the captain taunted them (which took two tries, so they already thought he was incompetent), and they loved it! They muted their end and listened to the havoc they were wrecking. They targeted crit the guns multiple times to cause them to malfunction, and the captain and engineer had choice words with each other while they tried unsuccessfully to patch the system. The pirate science officer couldn't make rolls to save their lives, so I decided he had already started drinking (even though there was no 4 player adjustment needed). The gunners were the only ones doing their jobs properly, though with the systems having issues they only hit a few times (and I mentioned smoke pouring out of the guns, thanks to the PCs crits). After a chase around the asteroids, the PCs finally brought the Lawblight to exactly 0 hull points, so I had it list to the side and then drift at full speed into an asteroid where it exploded gloriously upon impact. The PCs cheered and went home happy.

All in all, a fun series!

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

The first starship combat encounter looks a little hard, a softer entry level starship encounter would have been nice... just for players to learn the rules.

Sovereign Court **** Venture-Captain, Online aka Imhrail

I ran this several times at the demo tables at GenCon and we found the pilot have a decent chance of making the DCs required, especially if the captain was cheering them on. In addition as mentioned above for that particular capstone fight the PCs get major help vs the last fight if they did well on the other parts of the quests.

Grand Lodge **

I'm confused about The Vat Garden encounter. If the plants are causing total concealment, then no one above can see Exagara or the goons (or vice versa), right? So they get attacked immediately when the first one descencds into the vat? Is the point of stating that there's a 50% miss chance just because that's the rule, even though these PCs won't really have a way of pinpointing any location that the NPCs are in?

Dark Archive *****

Sebastian Hirsch wrote:
The first starship combat encounter looks a little hard, a softer entry level starship encounter would have been nice... just for players to learn the rules.

This is where the science officer position really shines, which I think is part of the reasoning for the setup. If they successfully scan the other ship, they know about the blind gun spot, and lack of shields. This makes a HUGE difference. Then the pilot gets to shine with maneuvering the ship into said blind spot to avoid taking damage that round. The engineer gets to learn how play with the engines, and either make the ship's guns more effective, or fix the shields/systems if they get hit. The science officer continues to be useful by either re-balancing the shields, or targeting systems (weapons is always a good choice). The gunner(s) get to do actual damage, and the ship has enough guns that you can have multiple gunners each round (assuming you have enough PCs). If there's only one gunner, they get to learn about minor actions, and firing two guns at once. and then of course the captain learns how the crew works and to support those with the weaker bonuses, or give stronger ones the chance to be almost guaranteed a success (depending on where it's needed). After the first couple of rounds, my table figured out how to work best together, and almost always managed to avoid damage (the pilot had a high bonus, so usually won initiative). I only got through their shields once (with the big gun, when the pilot failed a stunt) to do single digit damage, while they took down the Eoxians much quicker than I expected. By the time we got to the second starship combat, they were a well-oiled machine!

Dark Archive *****

claudekennilol wrote:
I'm confused about The Vat Garden encounter. If the plants are causing total concealment, then no one above can see Exagara or the goons (or vice versa), right? So they get attacked immediately when the first one descencds into the vat? Is the point of stating that there's a 50% miss chance just because that's the rule, even though these PCs won't really have a way of pinpointing any location that the NPCs are in?

I had the PCs roll perception checks when they first entered to know roughly where the enemies were. They didn't try to stealth, so Exagara and goons heard them coming, but didn't immediately see them. I had the goons first try to scare the PCs away (thinking they were regular citizens), telling them it was none of their business. When the PCs were insistent, the goons said to leave or they'd be leaving in a body bag. By this time everyone at least knew what square everyone else was in, so when the shooting started they only had to worry about the miss chance, and not finding people. Only one of them stayed up above while all this happened (the others filtered down), so they were the only one with 50%, instead of 20% for being on the same level. The goons tactics say they resort to melee, which at least negates the miss chance, since they have to come right up to them.

Grand Lodge **** Venture-Captain, California—Sacramento aka FLite

claudekennilol wrote:
I'm confused about The Vat Garden encounter. If the plants are causing total concealment, then no one above can see Exagara or the goons (or vice versa), right? So they get attacked immediately when the first one descencds into the vat? Is the point of stating that there's a 50% miss chance just because that's the rule, even though these PCs won't really have a way of pinpointing any location that the NPCs are in?

The Shirren have 30 foot blind sense (Vibration). They have no problem locating the NPCs.

Grand Lodge **** Venture-Captain, California—Sacramento aka FLite

Both times I have run this by the way most PCs have just dropped over the side of the wall. (Controlled fall, first 10 feet are treated as non lethal, DC 15 Acrobatics to negate damage entirely and not go prone.)

Also every time, someone has botched it and wound up prone.

First time it was a ranged character, and they just stayed prone and pot shotted people. Second time it was my wife, playing the envoy, who landed prone, next to a goon, who went next and full attacked, and got a hit and a crit. Wound up 2 hp worth of damage away from insta death.

***** Venture-Captain, Germany—Rhein-Main aka GreyYeti

Alanya wrote:
Sebastian Hirsch wrote:
The first starship combat encounter looks a little hard, a softer entry level starship encounter would have been nice... just for players to learn the rules.
This is where the science officer position really shines, which I think is part of the reasoning for the setup. If they successfully scan the other ship, they know about the blind gun spot, and lack of shields. This makes a HUGE difference. Then the pilot gets to shine with maneuvering the ship into said blind spot to avoid taking damage that round. The engineer gets to learn how play with the engines, and either make the ship's guns more effective, or fix the shields/systems if they get hit. The science officer continues to be useful by either re-balancing the shields, or targeting systems (weapons is always a good choice). The gunner(s) get to do actual damage, and the ship has enough guns that you can have multiple gunners each round (assuming you have enough PCs). If there's only one gunner, they get to learn about minor actions, and firing two guns at once. and then of course the captain learns how the crew works and to support those with the weaker bonuses, or give stronger ones the chance to be almost guaranteed a success (depending on where it's needed). After the first couple of rounds, my table figured out how to work best together, and almost always managed to avoid damage (the pilot had a high bonus, so usually won initiative). I only got through their shields once (with the big gun, when the pilot failed a stunt) to do single digit damage, while they took down the Eoxians much quicker than I expected. By the time we got to the second starship combat, they were a well-oiled machine!

This all sounds very easy on paper, but somehow i wonder how the pilot is expected to win the initiative most of the time.

The Threnody's pilot has a +8 pilot modifier and the captain has a very good chance to boost that to +10 which should be not that far below anything a PC can do at that level (and the Threnody wins ties because their pilot has more skill ranks). The Threnody will win around 40% of the rounds at least and with its big main gun a few hits will hurt a lot which will happen with a +7 gunnery against an AC of 13 (15 while evading)

Also: you cannot do minor actions if you already did an action action for that role. So no shooting a gun as a minor action if you already shot one.

Grand Lodge **** Venture-Captain, California—Sacramento aka FLite

Iseph has a pilot of +10, Navesi boosts that +2 on anything 4+ on the die. +1 for the ships piloting bonus, +1 for Duo node computer.

That is a +14.

And that is a pregen.

***** Venture-Captain, Germany—Rhein-Main aka GreyYeti

Jared Thaler wrote:

Iseph has a pilot of +10, Navesi boosts that +2 on anything 4+ on the die. +1 for the ships piloting bonus, +1 for Duo node computer.

That is a +14.

And that is a pregen.

That means they have a 66% of winning Initiative (not counting the fact hat Navasi's chance of boosting is 85% compared to the undead captain's 95%)

Liberty's Edge **

The undead ship is slow. Even moving first a PC can keep the undead ship off balance throughout the fight. Evade is a good option for the pilot.

I found the first starship combat a good encounter to teach the mechanics.

I ran this encounter about 6 times at Gen Con and never came close to seriously damaging the PCs.

Dark Archive *****

Nils Janson wrote:
Also: you cannot do minor actions if you already did an action for that role. So no shooting a gun as a minor action if you already shot one.

You're absolutely right. It was past midnight when I wrote that and I confused it with shoot twice at -4.

**** Venture-Lieutenant, Tennessee—Nashville aka Wolfspirit

I played through all the Quests at Gencon. The first ship combat took about an hour and a half, though that was with a new table learning the rules. The second ship combat took longer, but with the clues we handled it it fairly well.

One thing that tipped the scales considerably for both was the Captain successfully Taunting during the Helm phase, then using their Aid on either the Pilot or the Gunner for the remainder. For new players, clarify that Taunting affects all the actions of a phase, and what actions are in what phase.

For the traditional combats, grenades were a fairly determining factor. (remind new players to use consumables!) The only one that gave my tables any trouble was the one on the sand planet, and even then a single character (me, of course...) was KO'ed after taking a couple melee hits as an Operative.

Liberty's Edge **

Michael Donley wrote:
One thing that tipped the scales considerably for both was the Captain successfully Taunting during the Helm phase, then using their Aid on either the Pilot or the Gunner for the remainder. For new players, clarify that Taunting affects all the actions of a phase, and what actions are in what phase.

Just realized I was doing the Taunt action wrong. I was applying to all phases, not just the phase it was done in.

Dark Archive ***** Venture-Captain, Minnesota—St. Paul

Jared Thaler wrote:

Both times I have run this by the way most PCs have just dropped over the side of the wall. (Controlled fall, first 10 feet are treated as non lethal, DC 15 Acrobatics to negate damage entirely and not go prone.)

I'm familiar with the Pathfinder version of that, but haven't found that in the Starfinder CRB outside of 'If you are falling and you can fly...' (pg 135).

Grand Lodge **

The captain can act in each phase? Not just once per round?

**** Venture-Lieutenant, Online aka Magabeus

claudekennilol wrote:
The captain can act in each phase? Not just once per round?

No, the captain also gets one action per round. Not per phase.

Grand Lodge **** Venture-Captain, California—Sacramento aka FLite

Keith Apperson wrote:
Jared Thaler wrote:

Both times I have run this by the way most PCs have just dropped over the side of the wall. (Controlled fall, first 10 feet are treated as non lethal, DC 15 Acrobatics to negate damage entirely and not go prone.)

I'm familiar with the Pathfinder version of that, but haven't found that in the Starfinder CRB outside of 'If you are falling and you can fly...' (pg 135).

Page 400

Enviroment
Falling.
Exactly where it is in Pathfinder, actually. (well, except different page ref)

Grand Lodge **

Magabeus wrote:
claudekennilol wrote:
The captain can act in each phase? Not just once per round?
No, the captain also gets one action per round. Not per phase.

That's what I thought but Michael's post seems to imply otherwise

Liberty's Edge **

What he meant was to taunt in one round then in the other rounds help the pilot or a gunner.

**** Venture-Lieutenant, Tennessee—Nashville aka Wolfspirit

Gary Bush wrote:
What he meant was to taunt in one round then in the other rounds help the pilot or a gunner.

Sorry, I was in a rush before work and could have been more specific. Yes, I meant Taunt during the Round 1 Helm Phase, then Encourage the Pilot or the Gunner in the remainder of combat (subsequent rounds.) If the Captain is successful in the Taunt (with Push) and the Encourage, the Pilot is at effective +4 Initiative for a couple rounds, which almost guarantees forcing the opponent to move first.

<Edit to remove some incorrect information. Thanks Suede for the correction!>

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Taunting is a push, which means you can't do it with malfunctioning system. There no exception to the "you can't perform a push" for taunt. I think you're misreading the verbage.

"If you are successful, each enemy character acting during the selected phase takes a -2 penalty to all checks for 1d4 rounds; the penalty increases to -4 if the enemy 's check is made as part of a push action."

The penalty to the taunted crew member is a -2. It becomes a -4 if the taunted crew member attempts to perform a Push action. IE; if you taunt the enemy pilot he takes a -2 on maneuver checks, but a -4 on stunts (Which are push actions.)

**** Venture-Lieutenant, Tennessee—Nashville aka Wolfspirit

@Suede: Wow, that makes a lot more sense now. I had three different GMs, including two running quests at Gen Con, completely miss that.

***

It's a bit of a weird read, glad to have helped!

Liberty's Edge **

Michael Donley wrote:
@Suede: Wow, that makes a lot more sense now. I had three different GMs, including two running quests at Gen Con, completely miss that.

Hope I was not one of the GMs because I did not play it this way!


Starfinder Charter Superscriber
redpandamage wrote:
What bonus do the mercenaries have to ranged attack?

Looking over other creatures at CR 1/2, they have +3 and +6 attack bonuses. For others that's been +3 Melee and +6 Ranged, but in this case it is likely they have +3 with their pistols as they have been geared towards melee.

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