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Specific Battery / Charging Questions for the FAQ (and simple suggestions for solution)


Rules Questions

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38 people marked this as FAQ candidate. 7 people marked this as a favorite.

So, despite all the general hubbub about batteries and their cost, I think there are only a few really specific problems with them in the equipment so far. Quick rules recap:

A weapon's capacity measures what size battery it uses (p168).

Items with a specified usage use a battery that comes fully charged when purchased. (p218)

To recharge the full capacity of a spent battery costs half the price of that battery. (p234)

Batteries can be recharged or they can be replaced. (p218)

The pulsecaster Rifle (100 credits) has a capacity of 40 charges. It must contain a high capacity battery (which contains 40 charges) and costs 330 credits. This means that it costs 165 credits to recharge the battery of a weapon which cost 100 credits.

A personal comms unit costs 7 credits and has 80 charges. That means it must come with a fully charged super-capacity battery, which costs 390 credits. You can sell the battery for 10% of the price and make 32 credits. It costs 195 credits to fully charge a 7 credit comms unit.

Fire extinguishers have a specified usage, which (by the rules listed) mean that they must use batteries, but their own rules also specify that they can be recharged for 10% of cost. Their battery must be a standard battery (which has 20 charges), and can be removed (again, according to the rules), so you can recharge your fire extinguisher for 1.5 credits, remove the fully charged battery, and use it in your gun or other item, rather than paying 30 credits to charge it.

Beacons, flashlights, lanterns, spotlights, laser microphones, and motion detectors come with 10 charge batteries. Signal jammers come with 12 charge batteries. Detonators come with 5 charge batteries. There are no batteries with the listed number of charges, so it is not possible to buy a charged battery for these items, nor can you figure out a cost to recharge them.

I have some suggested solutions for these items:

The pulsecaster rifle simply has the wrong cost. It costs less than a pulsecaster pistol, despite having a longer range and doing more damage. If the pulsecaster rifle cost as much (or more) than the pulsecaster pistol, it would not be cheaper to buy a new one than recharge it.

Fire extinguishers need to be called out specifically as not having batteries. That would solve all problems with them (other than how to bill the 1.5 credit price to recharge them).

There should be another battery in the equipment list: the low-watt battery. This battery has 10 charges and CAN ONLY be used to power items with a usage duration of minutes or more and a Bulk of 1 or less. The battery is not capable of producing an intense amount of energy in a short period of time (like a round) and thus cannot be used to power weapons and the like, nor can it power large objects like powered armor. This battery costs 1 credit, and has no cost (but normal time) to recharge. I would note such charges as (X)w charges, i.e. 10w for a fully charged low-watt battery.

Then you would need to alter some equipment for that battery. The beacon, flashlight, lantern, spotlight, laser microphone, and motion detector would all work normally. You would need to change the signal jammer to have 10 charges of the same duration. The personal comms unit would need to have 10 charges of 12 hours each). Thus, instead of running for 80 hours (3-⅓ days) on one battery it would run for 5 days.

The detonator could either be changed to have a capacity of 10w, and use the new battery, or have 20 charges.

I think this would be a relatively simple and easy change to the equipment that would eliminate many of the absurdities of battery/charging costs for low level items.

Beyond that, there is the mystery of charging costs: It costs ½ the price of a battery to recharge at a public charging station (and 1 round per charge). It costs less (or nothing) to recharge from the generator that may be on larger ships (but takes 1 round per charge). What is the time and cost to charge a battery at a private charging station? How much does it cost a person to charge their own batteries in their own home? Does someone have to leave their home and go to a public charging station just to charge their personal comms unit (especially since it is cheaper to buy 28 more units than recharge the one you have)? But that's for another FAQ.


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Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Thank you for a nice, clear explanation.

I've only GMed a single session of Starfinder, but I have to admit I just don't see the "fun" value-add of all of these battery and recharging requirements. I would far prefer the designers had slightly reduced WBL and (for the very rare occasion when a "stranded on a remote planet" adventure comes up) set a rule that routine powered items have to be recharged every x number of days. Clean, simple, and less bookkeeping.


I think that an extended charging time for free (say, a minute per charge) may have fixed a lot of the problems, but then all your kinetic weapons (which already target a higher AC) become more unattractive because the plasma sword charges on your desk overnight, and your heavy machine gun still needs you to buy bullets :p


I kind of think there was supposed to be a distinction between 'weapon batteries' and 'electronics batteries'. If you only use the batteries in the ammunition table for weapons, and treat other gear as recharging for half it's purchase price, it makes a bit more sense. Doesn't fix the issue of batteries costing more than the gun, but I suspect the devs weren't expecting people to put their cellphone batteries in a laser pistol.


In my game, I said that only armor and weapons have removable batteries. Other technological items have stationary batteries that cannot be removed.

I ruled that the stationary batteries in technological items can be recharged by removable batteries, but that removable batteries can't be recharged by stationary batteries.

I know that is a very loose interpretation of how it is written, but it makes logical sense, and saves the problem of the comm unit having an 80 charge battery. The battery can't be removed or used for anything other than the comm.


1 person marked this as FAQ candidate.
Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Looking at the other pulsecaster longarms, i would submit not that the level 1 pulsecaster rifle has the wrong cost, but instead it has the wrong charges, especially looking at the charges for the rest of the chart. I think it should have a 20-charge battery (for 10 shots total) and that would put it into line.


for more details on that..

With that lv 0 transfer charge cantrip like thingy..
Couldn't you take charges from the cheapest battery and fill up on the most expensive ones?


Comm Units do not use ammunition batteries because they are computers:

Self-Charging Page 216 wrote:
While most computers can operate for up to 24 hours on internal batteries ...
Comm Unit page 218 wrote:
A personal comm unit is pocket-sized device that combines a minor portable computer (treat as a tier-0 computer ...

Things with only 10 charges can also be assumed to have internal batteries, since if they had removable batteries, there would be a price for it.

The fire extinguisher probably needs chemicals to recharge - just a battery charge won't do it. Anyway, its custom recharge price is already specified.

The pulsecaster rifle needs an errata. Possibly it just needs to have 20 charge capacity.


Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Roleplaying Guild Subscriber
Zwordsman wrote:

for more details on that..

With that lv 0 transfer charge cantrip like thingy..
Couldn't you take charges from the cheapest battery and fill up on the most expensive ones?

No, that doesn't work.

Transfer Charge, Starfinder CRB, pg. 383 wrote:
You can only transfer charges using two objects of the exact same type (two batteries of the same size, two identical power cells, or the like);

They also have a line in that spell about destroying the battery.


whew wrote:

Comm Units do not use ammunition batteries because they are computers:

Self-Charging Page 216 wrote:
While most computers can operate for up to 24 hours on internal batteries ...
Comm Unit page 218 wrote:
A personal comm unit is pocket-sized device that combines a minor portable computer (treat as a tier-0 computer ...

Things with only 10 charges can also be assumed to have internal batteries, since if they had removable batteries, there would be a price for it.

The fire extinguisher probably needs chemicals to recharge - just a battery charge won't do it. Anyway, its custom recharge price is already specified.

The pulsecaster rifle needs an errata. Possibly it just needs to have 20 charge capacity.

You may assume that items with 10 charges have internal unremovable batteries, but the violates the rules on pg 218 and still doesn't tell you how much they cost to charge. Even if the personal comm unit is treated as a computer, it violates the rules about usages indicating a battery and has a completely different use time than other tier 0 computers (80 hours vs 24).

By the logic of "if it existed there would be a price for it", all items with less than 20 charges aren't rechargeable. Recharging is only priced in relation to batteries except the fire extinguisher.

Your suggestions aren't bad, but they are additions to the rules as well.


Butch A. wrote:
By the logic of "if it existed there would be a price for it", all items with less than 20 charges aren't rechargeable.

There's no rule for what it costs to recharge flashlights at a recharging station, so, yes, they can't be recharged except for free on a large starship.

It might even be realistic that no one ever recharges them unless they can get it done for free, because under the current rules the recharge cost may well be more than the cost of a new flashlight.

How about: the battery can't be worth more than the item it comes in, so the recharge cost shouldn't be more than half the cost of the item (per page 234). Is there any rule against overpaying for a service?

Argh, that still doesn't work for signal jammers and computers. Yeah, we need some kind of simple price/charge rule for things that don't use their battery power as ammunition.


This is why I'm trying to focus on as much analog gear as possible. I can figure out these bullets go in this gun and cost this much. The fluctuating value of a battery's charge from item to item is already bad enough, I don't want to worry about it when I'm shooting something. Also a technomancer or a mechanic can't just turn my gun off with space magic!


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Maps, Pawns, Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Wait, you have to pay to recharge batteries? I thought it was free!

Man! Why does Paizo always scatter related rules all over the place?


Ravingdork wrote:

Wait, you have to pay to recharge batteries? I thought it was free!

Man! Why does Paizo always scatter related rules all over the place?

It's free on your ship because you own the power source. Others charge for electricity.


I concur. If you own the recharging source, there's no cost. If you're paying a vendor for their service, it costs credits.

I can imagine the scene in a city or starport now. Our Heroes are huddled around a Quik-E-Charj recharging station when some bad guys show up to do bad guy stuff. Our Heroes camp right next to the recharging station, light the bad guys up, rifle through their credsticks for loose change, recharge their spent batteries using the bad guys' money and move on.

RAW or not common sense has to take priority. It'd be like paying 50% of the cost for the rechargeable batteries many of us have at home for any number of items.


If the cost is really annoying your Technomancer can take the right hack and recharge with unneeded spellslots. It's a decent hack for disabling doors and traps anyway.


I mostly expect to just loot spare batteries from defeated enemies. A crappy gun still has decent batteries.

Scarab Sages

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

For now: play as a Mechanic with the Overload Weapon trick, paint "Tediore" on all of your Pulsecaster Rifles, then enjoy throwing them away like grenades and buying new ones instead of recharging them. (because it's cheaper that way)


The transfer charge 0-level spell takes care of looting partially-spent batteries rather nicely.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Ravingdork wrote:

Wait, you have to pay to recharge batteries? I thought it was free!

Man! Why does Paizo always scatter related rules all over the place?

The funny thing is, we don't know how much it costs, in some places.

In public charging areas, it's half battery cost (regardless of how much you need to charge it)

In "some larger" spaceships, it can be free or at a reduced cost. How large? Large? Medium? Larger than a breadbox?

But there's no guidelines at all for, say, the person charging a battery at home, or at a friend's house, or at a really nice hotel room, or a smaller space ship. Part of me thinks, "Well, of course! There's way too may variables to cover that! Your GM should decide those costs on a case-by-case basis."

But then the other part of my brain goes, "We can settle on precisely 4 battery sizes for everything in the galaxy, but we can't come up with transparent recharging pricing?"


'tis a bit daft not resolving this in the rules ... maybe it didn't come up all that much during play testing thanks to handwavium?

Shadow Lodge

Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
The Mad Comrade wrote:
The transfer charge 0-level spell takes care of looting partially-spent batteries rather nicely.

Considering there's no way to tell how many charges are in a battery, and if you overcharges you damage the item, it's not a nicely wrapped set up.

1d6 damage per overcharge, and batteries have anywhere from 6-10 HP, depending on the level of the battery (5+Level).

For a standard battery, one mess up and you can destroy the receiving battery.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
bookrat wrote:
The Mad Comrade wrote:
The transfer charge 0-level spell takes care of looting partially-spent batteries rather nicely.

Considering there's no way to tell how many charges are in a battery, and if you overcharges you damage the item, it's not a nicely wrapped set up.

1d6 damage per overcharge, and batteries have anywhere from 6-10 HP, depending on the level of the battery (5+Level).

For a standard battery, one mess up and you can destroy the receiving battery.

You should know how many charges remain in your batteries before beginning the transfer. ;)

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber
The Mad Comrade wrote:
bookrat wrote:
The Mad Comrade wrote:
The transfer charge 0-level spell takes care of looting partially-spent batteries rather nicely.

Considering there's no way to tell how many charges are in a battery, and if you overcharges you damage the item, it's not a nicely wrapped set up.

1d6 damage per overcharge, and batteries have anywhere from 6-10 HP, depending on the level of the battery (5+Level).

For a standard battery, one mess up and you can destroy the receiving battery.

You should know how many charges remain in your batteries before beginning the transfer. ;)

But you don't know how many charges are in the other battery.

"My battery is down 10 charges, so I grab the opponent's battery and transfer 10 charges"

That's fine. What if the opponent's battery only had 5 charges left? or 2? Now you don't know how many charges are left in your battery either.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Oh, how silly of me.

Something like a Smart Battery and similar items fall under this part of the equipment section:

Technological Items wrote:


Of course, there’s a vast array of technological devices available in most settlements — well beyond the number that could possibly be presented in any real-world book. In general, any minor piece of equipment with a real-world equivalent (alarm clock, camera, digital keys for vehicles you own, timer, watch, and so on) can be purchased with GM approval, costs 5 credits and has light bulk.

One or two 5 credit items, max, and you can determine precisely how much charge remains in each battery (source and target).

Given the massively advanced technology of Starfinder, I'd call it a 5 credit app for a personal communicator and call it a day.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

How about instead of bothering to use the transfer charge cantrip, just plug the new looted battery into energy weapon and just blast away til it's empty.
Also there ought to be a way to know how many charges you got left once the battery's in the weapon, or are we to assume we're expected to count our shots EVERY time?


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Protoman wrote:

How about instead of bothering to use the transfer charge cantrip, just plug the new looted battery into energy weapon and just blast away til it's empty.

Also there ought to be a way to know how many charges you got left once the battery's in the weapon, or are we to assume we're expected to count our shots EVERY time?

Frankly, batteries of this tech level should include accurate charge displays as part and parcel of existing. That they don't is pretty high on the Derp Scale.


Is it stated anywhere in the Book that you can't tell how many charges are left?


Rysky the Dark Solarion wrote:
Is it stated anywhere in the Book that you can't tell how many charges are left?

Only time I've ever seen it are spells stating they don't reveal charge quantity information (Detect Tech, Recharge, Transfer Charge). I'd assume weapons (like HALO video games) and technological items (like every other current technology in real world) would state how much of a charge is left in whatever convenient unit of measurement that would be considered standard.

Though Powered Armor's Capacity and Usage section is the only thing I can find that actually states one knows how many charges are left in a battery:

SCR, page 203 wrote:
Once you have entered a suit of powered armor, you can tell how many battery charges it has remaining, if any.


*nods*

I think it's safe to assume you can tell how many charges are left in an item.


That's what I'll be going with.


*nods*

Shadow Lodge

Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

If you know how many charges are left in an item, then:

1) Why does power armor specifically state that you can tell how many charges are left and no other item does?

2) Why do spells specifically state that you can't determine how many charges are left via use of the spell?

3) Why does it not state anywhere else in the book that you can?

Those points become really unusual if the base assumption is that you'd just know.


1) I believe that's them pointing out that you have a HUD of some sort in powered armor.

2) Because the spell doesn't detect charges, it just refills them, just like Mystic Cure doesn't tell you how many HP the target has.

3) It's probably one of those things they figured everyone would assume/keep track of and didn't feel the need. or it was simply overlooked. *shrugs*

4) Not "just know" but that items have readouts or gauges on them that would inform you.


Finding out the charge of a battery is a 5 credit item because we have that kind of technology today.

Magic and abilities don't tell you charge because anyone can tell the charge with 5 credits.

Shadow Lodge

Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Yet my $20 battery recharger doesn't exist, and it instead costs upwards of 220 credits to recharge a battery, or an investment of a generator.

Heck, even my van has 110 outlets, but space ships don't have any plugs to charge a battery?


You can recharge your batteries on your spaceship.

Shadow Lodge

Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Rysky the Dark Solarion wrote:
You can recharge your batteries on your spaceship.

How? I'd he very happy to be wrong about that. Got a page number?

To note, doing a search of battery, charge, and generator doesn't reveal anything in the starship chapter. And I didn't see anything stating such in the equipment chapter.

The closest I can find is on page 234: "At the GM’s discretion, some larger starships might have onboard recharging stations."


If you don't like paying for battery charges, just use guns with cartridges, those are free, right?


Been playing a little, and unless you're playing some sort of survival game, guns and therefore batters are super plentiful. The thing is that weapons are tied to level, and there's only a few weapons for any given level. So, you get plenty of spare weapons. I'm beginning to wonder if I will ever buy any more batteries, because they come along faster than you can use them.


bookrat wrote:
Rysky the Dark Solarion wrote:
You can recharge your batteries on your spaceship.

How? I'd he very happy to be wrong about that. Got a page number?

To note, doing a search of battery, charge, and generator doesn't reveal anything in the starship chapter. And I didn't see anything stating such in the equipment chapter.

The closest I can find is on page 234: "At the GM’s discretion, some larger starships might have onboard recharging stations."

P. 234 was what I was remembering. I'll go and dive through some of the Dev's posts for anything more explicit.


bookrat wrote:

Yet my $20 battery recharger doesn't exist, and it instead costs upwards of 220 credits to recharge a battery, or an investment of a generator.

Heck, even my van has 110 outlets, but space ships don't have any plugs to charge a battery?

Remember, remember the post of November

Technological Items wrote:


Of course, there’s a vast array of technological devices available in most settlements — well beyond the number that could possibly be presented in any real-world book. In general, any minor piece of equipment with a real-world equivalent (alarm clock, camera, digital keys for vehicles you own, timer, watch, and so on) can be purchased with GM approval, costs 5 credits and has light bulk.

Looks like a 5 credit L bulk item to me. ;)


Fast charging of small, high capacity batteries that don't actually exist are not real-world items.


Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Roleplaying Guild Subscriber
Xenocrat wrote:
Fast charging of small, high capacity batteries that don't actually exist are not real-world items.

No, but a volt meter or a connector to a computer with the right software (to read the battery information) could be made to work.

Getting the number of charges should be simple for anyone with an engineering kit and a rank in engineering. I expect a lot of variation when you lack those.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Maps, Pawns, Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

In my games, either the batteries themselves, or their respective devices, will have readouts showing their remaining energy levels.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Maps, Pawns, Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Power cells are mentioned no less than 16 times in the core rulebook, but I can't find any rules for them.

What are they? What do they do? What are their cost and bulk? How do they differ from batteries?

Could they be the answer to the battery problem?

Shadow Lodge

Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Page 181. Powered special property.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Maps, Pawns, Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

I seriously doubt that's what it is. More than likely it's something that got omitted by mistake. Something that might even have fixed some of the issues brought up in this thread.

My guess is that it was a type of cheap no bulk battery meant for non-weapons, such as the comm unit.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Card Game, Class Deck Subscriber
Ravingdork wrote:


My guess is that it was a type of cheap no bulk battery meant for non-weapons, such as the comm unit.

So, are you thinking there is some 5 credit battery for things that dont require such a fast discharge?


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Maps, Pawns, Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Pretty much. Some sort of low watt battery meant for simple devices. Like the kind in modern calculators.

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