Lets talk about soldier gear boosts


General Discussion

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I like the idea of this system, as I think that it supports an emphasis on gear, which I think many people looking at the soldier class will find appealing.

Most of the abilities are boosts to your weapons: which, at a glance, sounds reasonable. Weapons are important to a martial class focused on combat.

However:

a soldier gets 5 boosts by level 20, lets look at what options you have open.

Armor Gear Boosts:


  • Armored Advantage: can fit any build (unless it's something strange that doesnt use armor)

Weapon Gear Boosts:


  • Anchoring Arcana: weapon based action, requires magic weapon
  • Brutal Blast: Blast weapon bonus
  • Bullet Barrage: Projectile weapon bonus
  • Electric Arc: Shock weapon bonus
  • Flash Freeze: Cryo weapon bonus
  • Heavy Onslaught: Heavy Weapon bonus
  • Laser Accuracy: Laser Weapon bonus
  • Melee Striker: Melee weapon bonus
  • Plasma Immolation: Plasma weapon bonus
  • Powerful Explosive: Explode weapon bonus
  • Sonic Resonance: Sonic Weapon bonus

Non Weapon/Armor Equipment based Boosts:
None.

That's the whole list. There's not even a fire weapon specific option, which is interesting.

There is a total of 1 non-weapon gear boost, and, if you want to focus on 1 particular style of weapon, you can't use the majority of those weapon boosts.

Right now, most late-game builds will do one of three things:

1. Go the 'always prepared' route, and carry 4 different types of guns, each with a different boost.
2. Grab Armored advantage, one weapon boost, Maybe grabbing anchoring arcana. Consider the others to be wasted.
3. Try some shenanigans with combinining as many weapon boosts as possible, such as using an HFD Screamer with fusion: frost to use Brutal Blast, Sonic Resonance, Flash Freeze and Heavy Onslaught all together.

What is my point?

By level 20, gear boosts run out of steam, and out of options for many builds. We need more comprehensive options for armour and non-weapon gear, as well as possibly more weapon ones that stack/synergize with the existing weapon options.

I'm all for having the 'always prepared' soldier carrying ALL the guns to be a valid option, but right now Gear boosts feel like they are missing their own section.

Since we don't really have an equipment supplement yet: and much of the actual gear is probably still being developed, I understand why it's a bit light on the content, however I'm hoping that any PHB or Ultimate Equipment style supplements rectify this issue.


Upon re-reading the rules for fusions/boosts: fusion frost doesn't count as cryo, so that makes option 3 less usable.


Not good... besides I think Anchoring Arcana is very situational, since you can use it on any creature just once a day...which is locked in place for one measly round if you are unlucky (about 25% of the time)... AND it costs a resolve point...


Seisho wrote:
Not good... besides I think Anchoring Arcana is very situational, since you can use it on any creature just once a day...which is locked in place for one measly round if you are unlucky (about 25% of the time)... AND it costs a resolve point...

Yeah: it's a single attack as a full action (ouch) with a lowish DC (ouch) and a variable duration that can be 1 round (ouch).

Yet it's still the best option for third pick in many builds, due to having little/no real options to pick, if you don't want to specialize in multiple weapon types.


I agree that the current selection is a bit underwhelming, but this is exactly the kind of thing that I can see future books expanding on. Practically every class has a "talent" or "revelation", adding new ones are fairly easy and a great way to flesh out class-specific options. I'm absolutely expecting future books will add more gear boosts, especially armor ones.


Kudaku wrote:
I agree that the current selection is a bit underwhelming, but this is exactly the kind of thing that I can see future books expanding on. Practically every class has a "talent" or "revelation", adding new ones are fairly easy and a great way to flesh out class-specific options. I'm absolutely expecting future books will add more gear boosts, especially armor ones.

I think you're right:

Though there are some groups that like to run 'core only' to avoid power creep, and I imagine soldiers in those groups will probably be having a rough time in the future :P


I think part of being a Soldier IS specializing in multiple weapon types. They are meant to have a piece of gear for every situation. The current weapons and their levels support this as well, focusing solely on one weapon type will leave you without any upgrade options for up to 3-5 levels sometimes.


Malk_Content wrote:
I think part of being a Soldier IS specializing in multiple weapon types. They are meant to have a piece of gear for every situation. The current weapons and their levels support this as well, focusing solely on one weapon type will leave you without any upgrade options for up to 3-5 levels sometimes.

To an extent, I agree:

I like that the soldier weapon specialization just applies flatly to everything (barring special weapons which is fine), it prevents a game where your GM either has to hand you the same type of weapon constantly, or you are relegated to only ever buying yourself identical weapons.

However:

The gear boosts present the opposite extreme. Their only usage seems to be to apply one weapon affect at a time, while simultaneously denying access to the others. In some ways this feels like being told to take weapon focus in a single weapon every three levels. It's just as bad as a system which requires you to take 5 stacking +1 rifle boosts, or 5 armor boosts, or whatever. Being forced into no variety, or redundant variety is just as uncomfortable.

Even if anchoring arcana is a bit lackluster, it's on the right track. It's something that can be used in conjunction with a myriad of styles or weapon choices.

I'm ok with flexibility being an option: but I'd like that flexibility to be more involved than just redundant weapon bonuses. Ideally it should take the form of feats/options that increase the repertoire of actions that a soldier can take in a given situation.

To compare it to feats:

Abilities like barricade, suppressive fire, bodyguard, even kip up (allows you to drop prone for swift at end of turn, then start your next turn with a swift to stand up and keep moving) that kind of thing represents tactical flexibility.

I don't think having 3-5 different minor bonuses that don't function together represents that, personally. The option to take more than one is fine to my eyes: go melee + shotguns, combine heavy + element, or simply carry multiple types and use what seems good: that's all good to have as options.

But I'd like to see gear boosts represent soldier-only active feats, weapon/armor tricks, as well as simple generic bonuses, ideally a wide selection of all three.

Right now it looks like that's their intention but it's just a very incomplete list.

Flexibility of choice is great, but being forced into a wacky sense of flexibility because there's no synergistic options is not a good way to enforce that. To an extent, combat feats will start to experience this later in builds as well, though at least they have a larger range of options.


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Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

As mentioned, fusions do not change weapon categories. However, Melee Striker does combine with Electric Arc, Flash Freeze, Plasma Immolation, and Sonic Resonance gear boosts for appropriate melee weapons.


Fire weapons are either Blast, Plasma or Laser, all of which are already covered by gear boost options. The lack of a Fire one is most likely intentional.

Nearly every Soldier build I can think of will want to select 2-3 gear boosts to complement its primary fighting style. By then, you're level 11 and quite a way into your adventuring career.

Also, while I agree some specialty weapons options feel a bit weak (or rather, maybe a bit too situational), the "core" ones (Melee Striker, Laser Accuracy, Bullet Barrage, Armored Advantage) are actually all quite powerful given how math works in Starfinder.


The gear boosts we have now are all pretty powerful actually. No you won't use all of them at the same time, but it think that is done somewhat on purpose. Of you could stack all of the it would be too much. As for not having non weapons based boosts I expect we'll see more in the future, but weapons are really the most defining feature of a soldier. I mean even one of the 2 armor focuses specialization basically revolves around how even your armor is a weapon lol.


Honestly the niche gear boosts for specific types of weapon would be a lot more appealing if the options existed to support them. Flash Freeze would be a lot more appealing if there were cryo weapons that had the same amount of scaling as projectile or laser weapons same with electric, sonic, etc. It's a similar issue with Power Armor in my mind. Not enough stuff to be worth the investment.


Valfen wrote:

Nearly every Soldier build I can think of will want to select 2-3 gear boosts to complement its primary fighting style. By then, you're level 11 and quite a way into your adventuring career.

I don't disagree, but the system as it stands might as well just be a flat bonus or two, and call it a day: it presents a concept of customization, but then really doesn't really provide a whole lot of it.

Fighter's combat feats have always been about 'build your own class', and these seem to have a similar flavour, but there's just not enough blocks to build with... yet.

baggageboy wrote:
The gear boosts we have now are all pretty powerful actually. No you won't use all of them at the same time, but it think that is done somewhat on purpose. Of you could stack all of the it would be too much. As for not having non weapons based boosts I expect we'll see more in the future, but weapons are really the most defining feature of a soldier. I mean even one of the 2 armor focuses specialization basically revolves around how even your armor is a weapon lol.

I agree that they're good (comparatively, some are weaker than feats, but you get them in addition to 1 feat every level, so that's actually really respectable), just trying to point out that there aren't enough to fill out a build without creating redundancies: I'm sure they intend to add more.

I also agree that having 5 stackable +1 bonuses would be a much worse problem (one of the worst things about pathfinder was the incentive to spend all your feats on slightly increasing one thing just to eke out more dps), so I'm happy that we don't have that situation either :)

Tarik Blackhands wrote:
Honestly the niche gear boosts for specific types of weapon would be a lot more appealing if the options existed to support them. Flash Freeze would be a lot more appealing if there were cryo weapons that had the same amount of scaling as projectile or laser weapons same with electric, sonic, etc. It's a similar issue with Power Armor in my mind. Not enough stuff to be worth the investment.

Yep - I imagine that if soldiers are an equipment-focused class, they will benefit the most from any supplement that fleshes out equipment.


Obbu wrote:
Kudaku wrote:
I agree that the current selection is a bit underwhelming, but this is exactly the kind of thing that I can see future books expanding on. Practically every class has a "talent" or "revelation", adding new ones are fairly easy and a great way to flesh out class-specific options. I'm absolutely expecting future books will add more gear boosts, especially armor ones.

I think you're right:

Though there are some groups that like to run 'core only' to avoid power creep, and I imagine soldiers in those groups will probably be having a rough time in the future :P

Core Only in my experience has always been the bane of high-customization classes (especially Fighter-types) because after all you can only get so much customization in the CRB. This is especially true for Starfinder, where every class is customize-able. Even back in Pathfinder, the Fighter (and maybe Rogue, but Core Rogue was just hurt in general) was most hurt by Core Only, because their most actually usable options were almost all introduced in later books.


I have been underwhelmed by gear boost.


While we're here: I read a guide on reddit that said that since the Gear Boost "Flash-Freeze" was per hit, you can apply it twice to the same creature during a full attack, and reduce speed by 20ft (but not to less than 10 total).

Guide is here:

Wheel-n-Deal's Guides

While I love this idea, I also suggest it might be too strong (especially considering there's no save), and given that pathfinder generally does not let abilities stack with themselves, I'd suggest it's the wrong interpretation.

My gut feeling is that you can't stack it.

Thoughts?


It would be cool if there were gear boosts for engineering kits and the like. Then the solider could compete a bit with the other skill classes.


That would be cool, especially if it have a circumstance bonus instead of an insight bonus.


I feel like gear boosts are a revamped (more focused, more powerful) version of combat & equipment tricks from pathfinder.

Since they're not competing for feats now (at least, until they start giving out 'extra gear boost' feats) and they're less about having 5 mediocre/eclectic bonuses for 1 feat, and closer to about 1 for 1, they seem to thus far be more attractive from a power standpoint.

I think it has the potential to be a really nice system: once we get a few more options :)

It would be cool to have a soldier with a weapon boost, a targeting computer boost, a power armor boost, a jump jets boost and a sprayflesh boost - or whatever.


Don't have the odd in front of me, but do gear boosts work on grenades?


MerlinCross wrote:
Don't have the odd in front of me, but do gear boosts work on grenades?

Powerful Explosive works with the explode property, which grenades have, so that's fine.

However a cryo grenade doesn't have the 'cryo' category (they're in the grenades category), so RAW they won't function with things like flash freeze even if they have the word in their name.

I could see some people reading it differently, but RAW it's a no.


But then should we give the skill classes better weapons so they can compete with the Soldier in combat? In the end, let's just have 1 class so no one is better at anything than anyone else.

If you're playing a soldier and your first question of each situation isn't "Can I shoot it yet" you're not having enough fun!!

Take your skill points and put them into Medicine so you can plug up the holes you make in people.

Knight Magenta wrote:
It would be cool if there were gear boosts for engineering kits and the like. Then the solider could compete a bit with the other skill classes.


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EC Gamer Guy said wrote:
But then should we give the skill classes better weapons so they can compete with the Soldier in combat?

You mean like trick attack and quad attack?

I don't think anyone expects a soldier to be better overall at skills than a skill oriented class, but an option where a soldier can give up some of his combat focus a bit to become reasonably skilled at a specific skill would not be unbalancing.


baggageboy wrote:
EC Gamer Guy said wrote:
But then should we give the skill classes better weapons so they can compete with the Soldier in combat?

You mean like trick attack and quad attack?

An Operative is still notably inferior to a Soldier in combat with those abilities.


It's true, but they ARE competitive.

Level 20 PCs and weapons:

Trick attack of 10d8, gyrojet pistol of 5d12, plus 10 from specialization = 45 + 32.5 + 10 = 87.5

Soldier with a gyrojet rifle 8d12 plus specialization =54 +20 = 74

Now I know there's accuracy effects to DPR and other special effects that the soldier can have. I'm just trying to make a point that the operative if pretty dang close to a soldier in terns of DPR. It would not be so bad if a soldier could do a skill or two on par with an operative, especially if they are going to sacrifice some of their compact capability.


baggageboy wrote:
Now I know there's accuracy effects to DPR and other special effects that the soldier can have. I'm just trying to make a point that the operative if pretty dang close to a soldier in terns of DPR. It would not be so bad if a soldier could do a skill or two on par with an operative, especially if they are going to sacrifice some of their compact capability.

That accuracy matters quite a bit.

At level 20, assuming that AC lines up with estimates from the corebook example (Equal to at-level armour with no dex bonus).

Marksman Soldier with Reaction Cannon Damage Per Round: 124.74
Operative with Zero Pistol Trick Attack (EAC is 2 lower than KAC almost always and most of the damage comes from trick attack) 51.87

The Soldier gets 3 attacks at much higher accuracy than the Operative's single attack. The Operative's value at higher levels is more in applying debuffs than being an alpha strike class (Like flat footing the enemy to give everyone else a hefty DPR buff).

Mind you, I DO think the Soldier should be able to do more non-combatwise.


I would like to see the full breakdown (I don't have time to do it right now sadly) if you can post a breakdown that would be awesome :) but I would like to point out a couple of things that brings those closer that it would appear.

The operative gets to move as a part of the trick attack full action, and the soldier does not. I know the operative is actually better off generally for max DPR doing their quad attack, but again I'm short on time so no calculation. I used trick attack because the math was easier. Also the soldier example you gave was an absolute top DPR example, not every soldier is a sharpshooter targeting a single target and using heavy kinetic weapons. However every operative can use their trick attack and having top DPR small arm is more likely.


I'll post the full breakdown when the new monster book is out so that I can actually confirm my assumptions so I'm not spreading misinformation.

So far though it seems:

Deadly Aim is a trap 90% of the time as the accuracy decrease is worth a LOT more than the damage buff.

Weapon Focus, in contrast, is godly. Especially for Operatives and Mechanics.

Going with a longarm over a pistol for Mechanics/Technomancers/Mystics/Envoys seems to basically double your DPR by the end. Pistols for non-operatives are utterly pitiful between lower weapon scaling AND lower expertise.

The Exchange

I think there's plenty of room for more options both in combat and out for more gear boost. Some I'd like to see in some form that are more combat focused.

When using injection weapons boost the DC by 1(maybe 2 at some point)

Once per day may use a limited use fusion one additional time after its limit has been reached.

Once per day get an extra use/charge from one armor upgrade.

I agree that it's not unreasonable to let a soldier have some non combat options for their boost. Though I think they should be more in line with extra abilities or options instead of skill bonus boost. A soldier gets half as many gear boost as most other classes similar options, so even with something like this available they're not going to surpass any other class for skill supremacy anytime soon. I've fewer ideas for these, but that'll change as I play more and most gear comes out.

When using medkit to treat deadly wounds heal an additional 2 hp, +1 per four levels you have.


baggageboy wrote:

I would like to see the full breakdown (I don't have time to do it right now sadly) if you can post a breakdown that would be awesome :) but I would like to point out a couple of things that brings those closer that it would appear.

The operative gets to move as a part of the trick attack full action, and the soldier does not. I know the operative is actually better off generally for max DPR doing their quad attack, but again I'm short on time so no calculation. I used trick attack because the math was easier. Also the soldier example you gave was an absolute top DPR example, not every soldier is a sharpshooter targeting a single target and using heavy kinetic weapons. However every operative can use their trick attack and having top DPR small arm is more likely.

I can hand you full breakdown. By the way he is right on the matter. And btw your soldier is not so optimized. You can add barrage +5 damage, and heavy weapons to your soldier example as well as +7 for focus fire.

Operative comparasion.

Soldier comparasion.

The soldier version can be edited to model a ranged soldier. The result is identical to Ikiry0 numbers though. Or you can replace the numbers in the Operative version to reflect a soldier.

Either way the DPR against a foe with a expected AC of 37 is 137,5. With a max damage of 290,17 if all attacks hit. And those numbers are achieved by using a lvl 20 Soldier with the sharpshooter spec, Bullet Barrage and using a reaction cannon. The comparable trick attack damage for a equally optimized Operative is 55.13 with a max damage of 87,28.

A non sharpshooter soldiers using a Long arm and Bullet Barrage does 99.54 DPR. The Soldier is obviously much better at combat. As it should be. The operative is a "skilled" class first and foremost, he/she shouldn't fight fair or deal as much as the Soldier. As such she/he is no match for Solarian or Soldier in melee/Ranged (the Solarian deals 77,70 DPR at range and 144,59 in melee). A exocortex Mechanic will have the same ranged damage as a Solarian. A drone Mech actually out-damages a Soldier in ranged combat.

BTW I love the gear boosts. I have hard time understanding the complaints. A soldier can take up any weapon and be awesome. I love that. And you can bet more Gear Boost will come. The Soldier class is great. Only lacks the Perception Class imo.


Very nice spreadsheet for the operative, can you link the soldier one too? I am surprised just how big the gap is. This also means that everyone else is even further behind than fighting classes spells and special abilities aside.


One thing I did notice looking at the operative's sheet is there is a way to increase damage, though I couldn't run out the calculations. If instead of focusing on intelligence strength were the operative's highest secondary stat, used multi-weapon attack with melee weapons on quad attack the numbers should be higher. Granted this does mean sacrifices most operative's shouldn't be making, and it still wouldn't be enough to close the gap.


baggageboy wrote:
Very nice spreadsheet for the operative, can you link the soldier one too? I am surprised just how big the gap is. This also means that everyone else is even further behind than fighting classes spells and special abilities aside.

Well the above example is at lvl 20. But the spreadsheet allows you to view the DPR at lvl 1,5,10 and 15 as well. The difference between classes is smaller percentage-wise at lower lvls (at least I think so).

This was great since people were claiming the Solarian was so weak. It's pretty much always better in melee than Soldiers from lvl 10 or so. Sure it's not a huge difference. The Soldier is still amazing. And the Envoy can really make as a support/leader class.

Yes you are right melee operative can get higher numbers by making Str secondary. And that's quite reasonable thing to do. As a Human Operative you only need Int 20 to max all class skills. Anymore is superfluous (and a MEchanic will pretty much always be better at you with Computer skills). That's a very good suggestion. The above example of the operative is a ranged multi-fingting Operative btw.

I havent saved my soldier example (I did it however), since that would necessitate making a copy and linking to it. Havent asked the creator if I can do that. But sure I can do one and wait for his approval to post my version.


Actually I got it to work, and the difference is minimal, which I was kinda bummed by, at least assuming I input my numbers right.

Anyways as much as this has been a fun tangent, back to gear boosts lol. I expect as the game grows we will see more gear boosts. I do think the ones we have now are good, I would just like to see some that are skill focused.


Current DPR comparisons are nice to have, but most I've seen lack indirect party contribution (DPR increase for allies from an Envoy Get'Em or an Operative making a target Flat-Footed should be included in Envoy/Operative DPR), and effect of reloading. (That Reaction Cannon is awesome for 2-3 rounds, but if combat last longer, you'll take a huge hit in DPR. Granted, I don't know if they'll last longer than that or not). Like DPS charts in MMOs, DPR is waved around as a misunderstood tool by lots of people, instead of being used for what it should (for example, realizing that underlying math in Starfinder are for the most part, quite robust and well-thought).

I agree Soldiers are lacking in the "skilled" options department. Gear boosts could be a way of doing it, but they get so few, it would be even harder to choose. :(

Also, you can count me in the camp of people feeling incredibly salty that after all these years, professional fighters *still* don't get Perception as a class skill. It never made sense, and it's even worse in a futuristic setting. *grumbles*


Valfen wrote:
Current DPR comparisons are nice to have, but most I've seen lack indirect party contribution (DPR increase for allies from an Envoy Get'Em or an Operative making a target Flat-Footed should be included in Envoy/Operative DPR)

Oh, I did. The Operative got an effective +2 to it's attack bonus to account for hitting flat footed guys.


Erk Ander wrote:
A drone Mech actually out-damages a Soldier in ranged combat.

That would be an interesting breakdown to see considering the accuracy differential given some baseline assumptions like ranged enemies almost always benefiting from cover, and the drone presumably being the beneficiary of Overcharge.

Maximum Overcharge is only 14d6 in any given round if both attacks hit, versus Focus Fire's 6d6 if all 3 hit. Assuming you are firing against cover against Combatant Array enemies, a Soldier targeting KAC (and hence doing more damage per attack) will have an effectively equal to-hit as a Mechanic targeting EAC and a significant bonus over the drone. Versus non-combatant array the Soldier is ahead by +1 (assuming cover) and when the Soldier targets EAC or the Mechanic targets KAC the Soldier comes out ahead even further in terms of accuracy with 3 attacks.

A Soldier at 20 using the level 20 x-gen gun will be at +25/+25/+25 for an average of 86 damage per attack. A Mechanic/Hover Drone both using the zenith laser rifle will be at +25/+18/+18 for 82/82/38.5.

As for ranged Solarion versus Exocortex Mechanic, Solarion's Onslaught does not require a melee weapon, nor does Photon Attunement. How does the Solarion not pull ahead?

Edit: My numbers are off by 1. Mechanic and Drone should have +1 higher to-hit. That pesky Weapon Focus. I also didn't apply 'Personal Upgrades' to the drone. I'm skeptical that a drone can take them given both the name of their broader category and each example item specifying the target as a 'character' versus 'you' or 'the creature'.


Ikiry0 wrote:
Valfen wrote:
Current DPR comparisons are nice to have, but most I've seen lack indirect party contribution (DPR increase for allies from an Envoy Get'Em or an Operative making a target Flat-Footed should be included in Envoy/Operative DPR)
Oh, I did. The Operative got an effective +2 to it's attack bonus to account for hitting flat footed guys.

What I meant was, if an Operative makes a target flat-footed for a Soldier, the Soldier's DPR increase from that -2 AC should be counted in the Operative's DPR, not the Soldier's. Same for an Envoy Get'Em ability, for example.


Valfen wrote:
Ikiry0 wrote:
Valfen wrote:
Current DPR comparisons are nice to have, but most I've seen lack indirect party contribution (DPR increase for allies from an Envoy Get'Em or an Operative making a target Flat-Footed should be included in Envoy/Operative DPR)
Oh, I did. The Operative got an effective +2 to it's attack bonus to account for hitting flat footed guys.
What I meant was, if an Operative makes a target flat-footed for a Soldier, the Soldier's DPR increase should be counted in the Operative's DPR, not the Soldier's. Same for an Envoy Get'Em ability, for example.

Well you can easily account for that by increasing hitrate with a 2. It really is a non-issue. I will say that Operative that grants flatfooted to its mates is doing a great job. Also you can simply take another weapon if you feel reaction cannon has too few rounds. the difference isn't huge.


Don't go into Power Dome A wrote:
Erk Ander wrote:
A drone Mech actually out-damages a Soldier in ranged combat.

That would be an interesting breakdown to see considering the accuracy differential given some baseline assumptions like ranged enemies almost always benefiting from cover, and the drone presumably being the beneficiary of Overcharge.

Maximum Overcharge is only 14d6 in any given round if both attacks hit, versus Focus Fire's 6d6 if all 3 hit. Assuming you are firing against cover against Combatant Array enemies, a Soldier targeting KAC (and hence doing more damage per attack) will have an effectively equal to-hit as a Mechanic targeting EAC and a significant bonus over the drone. Versus non-combatant array the Soldier is ahead by +1 (assuming cover) and when the Soldier targets EAC or the Mechanic targets KAC the Soldier comes out ahead even further in terms of accuracy with 3 attacks.

A Soldier at 20 using the level 20 x-gen gun will be at +25/+25/+25 for an average of 86 damage per attack. A Mechanic/Hover Drone both using the zenith laser rifle will be at +25/+18/+18 for 82/82/38.5.

As for ranged Solarion versus Exocortex Mechanic, Solarion's Onslaught does not require a melee weapon, nor does Photon Attunement. How does the Solarion not pull ahead?

Edit: My numbers are off by 1. Mechanic and Drone should have +1 higher to-hit. That pesky Weapon Focus. I also didn't apply 'Personal Upgrades' to the drone. I'm skeptical that a drone can take them given both the name of their broader category and each example item specifying the target as a 'character' versus 'you' or 'the creature'.

I need to find it again that Mechanic Drone calc.

You are right a Solarion should deal more damage than Exocortex Mech. My bad, will edit


For an exemple of what I'm talking about, see for example this excellent post. (Also, I fully admit DPR/DPS misuse is a pet peeve of mine. If you already grok all of the implications of these tools, don't mind me too much. :) )


On page 111 of the soldier class it seems that by RAW multiple gear boosts of the same type could be taken twice and stack.


Revengeancer wrote:
On page 111 of the soldier class it seems that by RAW multiple gear boosts of the same type could be taken twice and stack.

Hmmmm...

I just checked, you're correct insofar as there's no mention of stackability, so I could see some people making that argument for RAW.

However, the majority of the passive bonuses are typed, so still won't be stackable.

From how similar benefits work, such as mechanic tricks etc: I'd be inclined to assume that the intention is that they don't stack, but that doesn't really get supported in the text, so it's certainly a valid point.

There's also the aforementioned question of whether multiple applications of the same effect (such as flash freeze) can be stacked on a target with successive hits, as well.


Valfen wrote:
Current DPR comparisons are nice to have, but most I've seen lack indirect party contribution (DPR increase for allies from an Envoy Get'Em or an Operative making a target Flat-Footed should be included in Envoy/Operative DPR), and effect of reloading. (That Reaction Cannon is awesome for 2-3 rounds, but if combat last longer, you'll take a huge hit in DPR. Granted, I don't know if they'll last longer than that or not). Like DPS charts in MMOs, DPR is waved around as a misunderstood tool by lots of people, instead of being used for what it should (for example, realizing that underlying math in Starfinder are for the most part, quite robust and well-thought).

I personally like the hasted or hit-and-run Sonic gear boosted Sharpshooter Soldier using Longarm sonic weapons. Base damage is a tad lower than a bullet or laser based soldier, but at high levels sonic is less likely to be resisted, targets EAC and doesn't have issues with smoke that a laser would have. The Sonic gear boost makes the target flat footed for 1 round (for the whole team), and with multiple attacks in a full attack routine against different targets can potentially make multiple enemies flat footed (as opposed to the Operative's single target).

They are also much more likely to hit at least once in that round, and thus are much more likely to apply the flat-footed condition for their teammates than an Operative. Only the Envoy's Get 'Em is better since no roll is necessary.

I'll also note the 5th level (or 13th as a secondary style choice) Hit-and-Run style allows the Soldier to full attack and half move or guarded step, not unlike trick attack. Haste also lets you full attack and move.

If you don't like only have 6 shots with a reaction cannon, take a few point damage reduction per hit and grab a X-gen gun which gets 50 shots per reload (16 or more rounds of combat at 3 shots per turn). Or an Artillery laser (20 shots). Or a Sonic rifle Longarm (20 shots).

If you're looking at the DPR bonuses for the entire team, an appropriately built Soldier can provide more reliable bonuses than an Operative. And it can be pretty mobile as well. What it can't do is apply as many debuff types, and some of those debuffs an Operative applies are really good.


Obbu wrote:
Revengeancer wrote:
On page 111 of the soldier class it seems that by RAW multiple gear boosts of the same type could be taken twice and stack.

Hmmmm...

I just checked, you're correct insofar as there's no mention of stackability, so I could see some people making that argument for RAW.

However, the majority of the passive bonuses are typed, so still won't be stackable.

From how similar benefits work, such as mechanic tricks etc: I'd be inclined to assume that the intention is that they don't stack, but that doesn't really get supported in the text, so it's certainly a valid point.

There's also the aforementioned question of whether multiple applications of the same effect (such as flash freeze) can be stacked on a target with successive hits, as well.

There's no question you can take the same gear boost over and over again. Here's a breakdown of their interactions with themselves:

Non-stacking:
Anchoring Arcana: Stacking this does nothing, as taking it permits a special full action - once you've taken it, you can legally take the action, so taking it again doesn't actually add anything to you.
Armored Advantage: This provides an insight bonus, which won't stack.
Brutal Blast: This provides an insight bonus, which won't stack.
Bullet Barrage: This provides an insight bonus, which won't stack.
Laser Accuracy: This provides an insight bonus, which won't stack.
Plasma Immolation: Stacking this does nothing, as once you've taken it, you inflict the burning condition on a natural 19 - taking it a second time still means you inflict the burning condition on a natural 19. Like Anchoring Arcana, this boost is fundamentally non-additive.
Sonic Resonance: This is fundamentally non-additive, as well - like Plasma Immolation, once you take it, you now inflict a condition.

Stacking:
Caustic Burns (Dead Suns 2): This will stack. If you take it all 5 times, you can either give an L6 or L11 Disintegrator Pistol Critical Corrode 5d6, or increase the Critical Corrode on the other Disintegrator weapons by 5d6, capping out at Critical Corrode 9d6 for Eradicator Rifles and Cannons.
Electric Arc: This will stack, but can only be taken up to 4 times, and will produce an individual arc for each time you took it, all of which will have the same target. Because this boost can't be used with a Shock Caster and only an idiot would use it with a melee weapon (as it would simply punch the wielder back in most cases), the most extreme example is the Tempest Arc Rifle, where each hit will pick a secondary target, and hit that target 4 times for 19 electric damage each time (if the target dies, additional hits are simply lost, but the damage occurs individually, meaning resistance applies every time).
Flash Freeze: This will stack, but can only be taken up to 4 times, at which point a creature hit will reduce its speeds by 40 feet for 1 round, to a minimum of 10 feet.
Heavy Onslaught: This will stack, but can only be taken up to 3 times, at which point you will reduce a target's damage reduction by 30.
Melee Striker: This will stack, as it applies an untyped bonus; after taking it 5 times, you will deal 5 * (half your Strength bonus, rounding down) additional damage on each hit in melee.
Powerful Explosive: This will stack, as it applies an untyped bonus, but can only be taken up to 4 times, at which point you will increase the radius of Explodes (at least 10) by 20 feet, letting you throw a Screamer Grenade IV with a 50 foot radius.

In terms of your second question, stacking with successive hits:
Non-Stacking:
Anchoring Arcana can't stack, because it inflicts the target with immunity to Anchoring Arcana. Clever targets may have had a Soldier friend shoot them with this ability in the morning, to be immune to it all day.
Sonic Resonance won't stack, as flat-footed has no special rules saying it will, meaning multiple sonic hits still leave the target flat-footed for one round.
Stacking:
Flash Freeze will stack with itself, as the penalty is untyped.
Plasma Immolation will stack with itself, as Burning explicitly stacks.
Obviously, anything that improves damage output intrinsically stacks with itself, as that is how hit points work - e.g. bullet barrage will add its damage to each hit, and total damage taken will simply continue to tick up on the target.


I'm pretty sure gear boosts stacking is not intended.


Followup to previous post:

Most gear boosts with some way to stack can't keep up with the intrinsic way you want to build a soldier. Caustic Burns is crit only and only practically helpful with a longarm, and Electric Arc is only practically helpful with a longarm (and while you can shoot the scenery nearby to deal more damage to your actual target base than trying to hit it, usually, that will only work if your target has no electrical resistance to speak of, as you have no way of improving the arc's ability to bypass resistance). Plasma Immolation has similar problems to Caustic Burns if you want to go for maximum burning on something, with the additional problem that you can't take it more times to make it burnier (you can combine it with a Plasma Sword or Plasma Doshko, but neither will be as good as another copy of Melee Striker). Brutal Blast is typically dreadful, due to its worthless range and how limited you are in choosing weapons that will work with it.

Potentially interesting results from taking gear boosts multiple times, in terms of ones that work with Heavy or Advanced Melee weapons:

Flash Freeze stands out from the above if you're actually willing to use a Zero Cannon, because it's compatible with Line, but Unwieldy and maximum range 30 makes that a hard sell. Outside of that, you will want a longarm, so your damage output will be terrible, but Flash Freeze isn't about damage - if your primary goal is keeping your target still, an Anchoring Avalanche Zero Rifle with 4 copies of Flash Freeze is difficult to run away from (or towards), and an Anchoring Lich Tomb Claw combined with Perfect Opportunity from Blitz and FFx4 is even harder to escape.

Stacking Heavy Onslaught twice lets you practically ignore DR 20, which so far as I know is the highest DR anything in the game can actually get, so taking it a third time isn't the most helpful, but it directly stacks with Bullet Barrage in practice, making a pair of them an excellent choice for a Reaction Cannon soldier. Keep an eye on this if we ever get an actual explanation for how grenade arrows work - if they stack with arrow damage, and depending on how you resolve various numbers of grenade and normal arrows in an arrow bundle, this mixed with some Powerful Explosive on a heavy crossbolter could be pretty fantastic.

Powerful Explosive is great if what you want is more smoke - if you take it 4 times, you can easily lay down 3 40 foot radius clouds with a full attack, which is 240 feet across of smoke, if you want to build a smoke wall.

Melee Striker is amazeballs. An L20 Soldier with Str 28 who has 5 copies of Melee Striker can combine Sharpshooter with a trio of Returning Dimensional Slice Starknives for a full attack that does, on average, 108 damage per non-crit hit - more than the 99 a Paragon Reaction Cannon can do with Bullet Barrage and Sharpshooter. For reference, that could be 115 with a Dimensional Slice Curve Blade (which also has Critical Bleed 6d6, i.e. Critical Bleed 21 on average), which will stack with the Against the Odds to 117 minimum (against a solitary target).


I understand that some gear boosts are really lack luster over the long haul if they don't stack, but if you allow stacking you have some ridiculously good things that could be done with certain gear boosts as you've kindly pointed out. Like heavy onslaught. I'm pretty sure the designers didn't intend a level 6 soldier to basically ignore DR.


A level 6 soldier can't ignore DR, period. Heavy Onslaught is first available at level 11, so assuming you also take Penetrating Attack, DR ignoring looks like this:

11: Ignore 5.
12: Ignore 10.
15: Ignore 25.
19: Ignore 35.

Without Penetrating Attack:

11: Ignore 5.
15: Ignore 20.
19: Ignore 30.

With Penetrating Attack, can't take Heavy Onslaught more than once:

11: Ignore 5.
12: Ignore 10.
15: Ignore 15.

Without Penetrating Attack, can't take Heavy Onslaught more than once:

11: Ignore 5.
15: Ignore 10.

The best DR, as I noted, that I know how to get is DR 20/-, by having a Soldier or Solarian take Enhanced Resistance [Kinetic]. I don't think I've seen DR higher than 10 that's difficult to bypass on NPCs (dragons can get up to DR 20/magic, but the hybridized fusion is L1). There's no way I've seen to ignore or mitigate immunity.


That is more reasonable that I had thought, forgive me for not doing my homework, I didn't have time to go and check more thoroughly. That being said you still have pointed out several options that would seem to be overpowered if you allow stacking.

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