[Spoilers] Is the Sunrise Maiden a "well built" ship?


Dead Suns

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32

I checked the numbers, and the Sanjaval Vagabond is a "legal" ship build, but was adding an Aft mount worth the points? (Also, was adding an extra weapon a good idea?)

Another (minor) issue is that the ship cannot run its Drift engine at the same time as its normal engine. While this shouldn't be a problem, it does mean that the engineer has to switch out systems when the ship enters and leaves the Drift.


The CRB clearly states that NO ship can run its Drift and normal engine at the same time, the normal engines need to be powered down for a full minute to activate Drift engines.

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32

Troodos wrote:
The CRB clearly states that NO ship can run its Drift and normal engine at the same time, the normal engines need to be powered down for a full minute to activate Drift engines.

True. However, what I mean is that the ship's Pulse Green engine does not generate enough power to easily switch between systems (it is 69 points short). That means that the engineer will need to re-allocate power, which means some jury-rigging of systems. This is just a matter of convenience.

What I am really asking about though is an overall opinion of the ship.

Silver Crusade

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Its very pretty. And I like the fact that its actually got recreational areas.

In character, those are at least as important as whether or not I could have traded the aft cannon for something very slightly more optimal.


Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Lord Fyre wrote:
...but was adding an Aft mount worth the points? (Also, was adding an extra weapon a good idea?)

It's a very safe choice. Many players, at the helm of the Sunrise Maiden, will be engaging in Starship combat for the second time ever. Providing a weapon in every firing arc (coupled with the turret) allows some leniency in the pilot's tactical acumen.

In theory, you could stack more weapons in fewer arcs, rely on your pilot's skill and have a more effective ship, but spreading out the weapons is hardly crippling. It's a self-correcting issue, at worst - the PCs have the opportunity to reallocate Build Points after just one encounter, and if they feel that the ship's design does not work with their playstyle, they can change it up. Those groups less comfortable with concentrating their firepower and fine-tuning their ship can just leave it as is until the party hits 4th level.

Lord Fyre wrote:
Another (minor) issue is that the ship cannot run its Drift engine at the same time as its normal engine. While this shouldn't be a problem, it does mean that the engineer has to switch out systems when the ship enters and leaves the Drift.

Since entering and leave the Drift is never done in a combat situation, this doesn't matter much. In fact, I would argue that, when measuring up the Power Core, have a separate tally for the Drift Core and for everything else is the way it's meant to be.


Designing a ship to have enough spare power to charge a Drift Engine without needing the power tied up in the thrusters is an exercise in wastefulness, and the 75+ PCU that are being reserved for that could be better used by actually using them. That said, it is worth noting that the Vagabond cannot run its Drift Engine on the power it gains by turning off its thrusters; it has 3 PCU to spare normally, increased to 73 when thrusters are off. One more system must be disabled; probably the recreation suite.

In any event, the Vagabond is a decent ship. It'll get its job done, and let players learn what they're doing. It could be better, though, even without sacrificing any of its non-combat functionalities and amenities. You could replace the particle beam with a coilgun and move the flak thrower onto the turret and come out with 2 BP to spare with only .5 less damage on your main turret weapon. You could cut the flak thrower out entirely and upgrade the turret to a heavy weapon; the heavy laser cannon would give you a little bit of BP to play with, but you could fit a twin laser on if you don't care. Both of those options involve doing nothing but changing the weapon selection and arrangement, so the crew quarters, expansion bays, etc., are untouched.

But I think it's a decent starter ship. It's alright for it not to be "perfect" so long as it works well enough, and its main job is to let players figure out what they're doing both in combat and in ship building.


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yeah, the only real major change my players were looking at was swapping out the recreation suite for a medbay once they can.

Paizo Employee Developer

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Rereading the Drift Engines section of the starship building section, I realize that something may not have come across as intended. The "minimum PCU" listed in the table notes the minimum amount of PCU your ship's power core should provide to operate a Drift Engine, but it was never intended to be "factored in" in your ship's PCU budget. This mainly is because of the factor everyone has already mentioned: you can't really use the engine in combat.

Now this shouldn't really affect many of your games, as jumping in and out of the Drift is more about traveling than times when exciting encounters occur.

But do you think this distinction is an FAQ?


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It' "well-built" in the sense that it is user-friendly, it can accommodate many groups with different strengths and weaknesses. Having a turret and weapons in every arc means that even if you have two gunners and a rubbish pilot, everybody will still get to shoot. The forward-mounted gyrolaser means that as long as you have a competent pilot you can even fit three gunners.
It's also surprisingly fast with a baseline speed of 10, it has very high-end engines for its tier.

That user-friendliness comes with some drawbacks, however. The shields leave something to be desired. My 4-man party only has one gunner, so all the extra weaponry are wasted on us. We're likely to strip all the guns, upgrade the turret slot, and install a heavy-class particle beam instead. The rest of the PB will probably be spent on 80 HP Light shields.

We were playing around with downgrading the power core and reducing the thrusters to M8 to get better armor installed, but I don't think we have the downtime for all that.

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32

Kudaku wrote:

It' "well-built" in the sense that it is user-friendly, it can accommodate many groups with different strengths and weaknesses. Having a turret and weapons in every arc means that even if you have two gunners and a rubbish pilot, everybody will still get to shoot. The forward-mounted gyrolaser means that as long as you have a competent pilot you can even fit three gunners.

It's also surprisingly fast with a baseline speed of 10, it has very high-end engines for its tier.

That user-friendliness comes with some drawbacks, however. The shields leave something to be desired. My 4-man party only has one gunner, so all the extra weaponry are wasted on us. We're likely to strip all the guns, upgrade the turret slot, and install a heavy-class particle beam instead. The rest of the PB will probably be spent on 80 HP Light shields.

We were playing around with downgrading the power core and reducing the thrusters to M8 to get better armor installed, but I don't think we have the downtime for all that.

That is kind of where I was going with this question.

Most groups will be five characters - a Captain, Pilot, Engineer, Science Officer and Gunner. So all the extra weapons may not be helpful, though there is some value in having back up weapons if the main is damaged.


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You generally want two weapons available per gunner, don't you? So you can't fire a gun more than once per phase, but there is an action that lets a gunner fire two guns at a penalty, if memory serves. So that's why you have a big, impressive gun on a turret and some cheaper ones scattered around the hull.

Also, its nice to have a gun to spare so when your engineer or science officer feel like they have nothing better to do, they can shimmey over to one and pew pew a bit.


You're right, the action is called "Fire at Will". You fire any two starship weapons (regardless of their arc), each attack is made at a -4 penalty. :)

Disclaimer: The following is entirely theory and speculation, I haven't had a chance to put together a high-tier starship or run medium-high level starship combat yet - this is just me thinking out loud, so to say. :)

You definitely want two guns down the line but early on I'd rather have 1 powerful heavy weapon turret than two light weapons in different arcs (see spoiler below for math). On tier 4 I'd consider putting in a light backup weapon for secondary gunners to plink with. When we're on tier 5-6 I'd probably install a second turret mount and twin-link it to the existing heavy weapon. Twice the damage with no attack penalty is a hard offer to pass up.

However, there are risks to putting all your eggs in one basket. If your gunner's dice go cold and he rolls badly you're gonna have a hard time - fewer attacks each round means your damage output is more swingy. If your weapons takes system damage and gets wrecked you don't have a backup weapon to fall back on. Finally, having one massive cannon is not ideal if you're fighting multiple ships - you'll probably annihilate one interceptor each turn, but the rest of them could sting you to death in the meantime.

Again, this is just me outlining my initial plan for the Maiden. It could work out well or backfire horribly, either way I can't wait to find out. ^^

Napkin math:
The Sunrise Maiden's somewhat eclectic weapon loadout comes to 22 BP. If we want to improve on that we can strip off the existing weaponry apart from the light particle beam turret (10 BP), and instead install a light plasma cannon (12 BP), or we can spend it upgrading our turret to a heavy slot (turret upgrade: 6 BP) and installing a Particle Beam (15 BP).

If we go for the light weapons we have two guns hitting at -4 (or -0 but probably lower total attack bonus on the second attack if our engineer/science officer is shooting) for 3d6 and 2d12 (average of 24.5), with the heavy turret we have one gun hitting at the gunner's full bonus for 8d6 (average of 28). Note that the heavy weapon is Long range, the two light ones are medium and short.


so my group decided, after the beginning of Temple of the Twelve, that they would spend some time at absalom station rebuilding the sunrise maiden.

The newly christened Vesk's Fortune is crewed by 3 party members (the fourth having dropped out due to RL concerns).

They have chosen to forgo the Port, starbord, and aft weapon mounts, and add a second light mount to the turret. Linked Coilguns produce a long-range weapon with significant throw power, and the used the spare bp to mount a flak cannon on the bow.

They also downgraded the computer to a mark 1 mononode, and upgraded the shields to light 70s.

Liberty's Edge Contributor

Jason Keeley wrote:

Rereading the Drift Engines section of the starship building section, I realize that something may not have come across as intended. The "minimum PCU" listed in the table notes the minimum amount of PCU your ship's power core should provide to operate a Drift Engine, but it was never intended to be "factored in" in your ship's PCU budget. This mainly is because of the factor everyone has already mentioned: you can't really use the engine in combat.

Now this shouldn't really affect many of your games, as jumping in and out of the Drift is more about traveling than times when exciting encounters occur.

But do you think this distinction is an FAQ?

Hey, Jason. I do think that it's worth clarifying this in an FAQ. Just to make sure I understand what you're saying, I'm going to try to restate it:

"The Minimum PCU values listed in the table on page 298 of the Core Rulebook represent the minimum PCU value a ship's power core must be able to produce, not the minimum PCU that must be available for use at the time the drift engine is engaged. In other words, any ship with an Arcus Light or higher power core can employ at least a Signal Basic drift engine. No reconfiguration or powering down of systems is required to use the drift drive."

Is that correct?

I do think there's something interesting in the option of requiring reconfiguration, because it means ships with smaller power cores could be vulnerable to attack for a brief period after making a drift jump. That may be a fun detail for some groups, but if that's not what the designers intended, I think it's important for us to be certain of that.


The drawback to fewer weapons is if you get a glitch. If you have fewer weapons then they get wrecked easier.

Paizo Employee Developer

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Paris Crenshaw wrote:
Jason Keeley wrote:

Rereading the Drift Engines section of the starship building section, I realize that something may not have come across as intended. The "minimum PCU" listed in the table notes the minimum amount of PCU your ship's power core should provide to operate a Drift Engine, but it was never intended to be "factored in" in your ship's PCU budget. This mainly is because of the factor everyone has already mentioned: you can't really use the engine in combat.

Now this shouldn't really affect many of your games, as jumping in and out of the Drift is more about traveling than times when exciting encounters occur.

But do you think this distinction is an FAQ?

Hey, Jason. I do think that it's worth clarifying this in an FAQ. Just to make sure I understand what you're saying, I'm going to try to restate it:

"The Minimum PCU values listed in the table on page 298 of the Core Rulebook represent the minimum PCU value a ship's power core must be able to produce, not the minimum PCU that must be available for use at the time the drift engine is engaged. In other words, any ship with an Arcus Light or higher power core can employ at least a Signal Basic drift engine. No reconfiguration or powering down of systems is required to use the drift drive."

Is that correct?

I do think there's something interesting in the option of requiring reconfiguration, because it means ships with smaller power cores could be vulnerable to attack for a brief period after making a drift jump. That may be a fun detail for some groups, but if that's not what the designers intended, I think it's important for us to be certain of that.

Yeah, that's exactly what I meant!

There's already a FAQ about how switching up which systems are powered works, and it was my intent to A) make it as easy as possible outside of combat and B) not at all possible in combat. Its possible that being vulnerable right out of a Drift jump might appear in some scenario or adventure, but it would be the exception to our general intent. And probably the result of space goblins chewing on your wires.


Thanks for keying in with this Jason. Official FAQ or unofficial post, either way it's always good to have input from the developers. :)


Lord Fyre wrote:
Troodos wrote:
The CRB clearly states that NO ship can run its Drift and normal engine at the same time, the normal engines need to be powered down for a full minute to activate Drift engines.

True. However, what I mean is that the ship's Pulse Green engine does not generate enough power to easily switch between systems (it is 69 points short). That means that the engineer will need to re-allocate power, which means some jury-rigging of systems. This is just a matter of convenience.

What I am really asking about though is an overall opinion of the ship.

I was noticing when I was making my own low tier ships for testing how the process worked that this is pretty common that at low tiers you have to shut down the normal engines to have the power to fire up the drift engine. Given you are supposed to not use normal drives when powering up for drift anyway this seems to be working as intended.

From puttering around with the system it seems a pretty reasonable starter ship and competent in a fight.

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32

Kudaku wrote:
You're right, the action is called "Fire at Will".

Poor Will.


kaid wrote:

I was noticing when I was making my own low tier ships for testing how the process worked that this is pretty common that at low tiers you have to shut down the normal engines to have the power to fire up the drift engine. Given you are supposed to not use normal drives when powering up for drift anyway this seems to be working as intended.

From puttering around with the system it seems a pretty reasonable starter ship and competent in a fight.

Drift Engines don't consume any PCU. They have a minimum core rating that has to exist in the ship, but you never actually have to power them, which is especially nice when enjoying your HAC in your Luxurious quarters during a jump.


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I ran the numbers myself, and the Sunrise Maiden does *not* seem to be legal.

Spoiler:
Even assuming you can mount a HAC room and a gym room in the same bay, which the rules don't allow for but make sense as a gentle way to make a ship unique (the fluff description basically declares that this was why and how they did it), she's technically 1 BP over, since she can't afford both rec rooms.

She's not "well built", although that's probably her owner's fault, not the manufacturer's; as you ascertained, her weapons loadout is a bit screwy. This is better:

Remove the gyrolaser, the aft flak thrower, and the aft weapon mount. Add a second turret mount with a flak thrower in it. Upgrade the ship's computer to a Mk 1 Tetranode. Drop the Pulse Green to a Pulse White. The net effect on BP is 0. You're now FAR better in almost any gunfight - not only do you no longer need to worry about which side a tracking weapon is coming in from, but flak throwers outdamage gyrolasers at the same range, so whatever gunner was using the gyrolaser before is now doing more damage at the same range with more accuracy to the left and right, and can legally shoot the rear, now. The better computer is clearly better.

There are other ways to improve the ship, of course - that's just an example.

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32

quindraco wrote:

I ran the numbers myself, and the Sunrise Maiden does *not* seem to be legal.

** spoiler omitted **

That is actually a much better load out.

I think the reason for the Gyrolasers was their expanded arc allowed covering the rear arc at range, but your build still does a better job with that overall.


Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

When my group ran the first fight on the Sunrise maiden, we found the rear-mounted flak thrower invaluable.

For context, we weren't using many stunts, adn the Gm wasn't using any. The enemy ship in that ombat has no rear-mounted weapon, so we would fly around it, into it's rear-arc, tilt our rear arc to face it (we were coming from the front, so this was closer) and fire into it's unarmed arc with our two most powerful weapons.


Lord Fyre wrote:

That is actually a much better load out.

I think the reason for the Gyrolasers was their expanded arc allowed covering the rear arc at range, but your build still does a better job with that overall.

Thank you, but that's not how Gyrolasers work. Gyrolasers have Broad, which lets them shoot into adjacent arcs. A front Gyrolaser can't shoot into the ship's rear.

Unfortunately, Gyrolaser damage is so anemic, even its utility as the only Broad weapon in the game right now isn't enough for me to see the purpose in bringing it. Every time I tinker with a ship build, I end up dropping it. If its range was better, that would help a ton, since I could potentially see a compelling reason to take it on a Tiny sniper (the best use I've come up with so far for using Tiny ships effectively in combat as part of a larger fleet is parking them very far away with maximum sensors and having them roll Scan, since they can hop on the radio and tell the entire fleet what they discover, so also giving them weapons to let them pressure the enemy into committing forces to deal with them can also be good).


Starfinder Superscriber

A tiny fighter or racer with Gyrolaser in front and aft arc can hit on all sides without having to buy a turret (which some DM's seem to think is illegal anyway) or aft/starboard weapons.

A fighter with an upgraded heavy tracking mount in front for launching nukes or something, with gyrolasers in the other two mounts could be effective as a sort of bomber/fighter, circumstantially. It would make sense for large fleets, since it would be cheaper to mass produce.

That was the only use I could think of for them.


pithica42 wrote:

A tiny fighter or racer with Gyrolaser in front and aft arc can hit on all sides without having to buy a turret (which some DM's seem to think is illegal anyway) or aft/starboard weapons.

A fighter with an upgraded heavy tracking mount in front for launching nukes or something, with gyrolasers in the other two mounts could be effective as a sort of bomber/fighter, circumstantially. It would make sense for large fleets, since it would be cheaper to mass produce.

That was the only use I could think of for them.

How evil do you want to be? You can fit Budget Long Range sensors, T14 Thrusters, a Signal Basic Drift Engine, and a tactical nuke launcher onto a Racer frame for chump change. The sheer number of those you can just deluge your opponent with is absurd, although since their accuracy is so poor, the name of the game will be jumping in close to the enemy's civilians and dropping nukes on them til they surrender.

I assume there is some reason the Corpse Fleet has not already done this.

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Tales Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

I can't for the life of me figure out why they get a +1 to piloting. The M10 has a 0 piloting mod, and it doesn't appear anything else would grant that direct bonus to piloting.

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32

Runnetib wrote:
I can't for the life of me figure out why they get a +1 to piloting. The M10 has a 0 piloting mod, and it doesn't appear anything else would grant that direct bonus to piloting.

The Explorer frame gives a +1 bonus.


My party is running this in society. When we first used the Sunrise Maiden in combat, the weapons were so underpowered that starship combat took over an hour. When we started book 3, our GM allowed us to pilot a society Drake instead, which was vastly more effective.


My players changed the Sunrise Maiden. Tomorrow we are going to test it for the first time. At tier 5, they put twin linked heavy lasers in the front (I limited turrets to light weapon, except for huge+ ships, which can use heavy). They also put a turret with anti-missile stuff, and then spend most of the rest of the budget in shields.

I think it's going to be a very effective ship.

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