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Operative and Small Arms Specialization Bonus


Starfinder General Discussion

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Claxon wrote:

I mean, that's what happens in Pathfinder as well.

No one really uses simple weapons. Especially since an ioun stone can give you weapon proficiency.

Not really. A number of them are useful to various degrees depending on build.

More importantly there's the issue of the magnitude of that superiority. A glaive is unequivocably superior to the longspear, but only by 1 damage with static modifiers that are otherwise the same. Meaningful at level 1 but growing rapidly less important over time as static modifiers remain the same between them.


It's true, that weapons represent the most meaningful part of a character's damage (whereas it meant almost nothing in Pathfinder) which is why usually people picked up a weapon based on crit range or other special abilities of the weapon.

Certain weapons were clearly better. And even if it wasn't for damage specifically, simple weapons basically didn't get used if you wanted to focus on martial capabilities.

The fact that specific builds can use them well doesn't mean much, because it was generally more of a "lets take something that sucks and make it viable".

The only difference is at this time, nothing really makes small arms viable compared to longarms. I will say that we probably should have a set of two feats that put small arms close to longarms in terms of damage. But base unmodified small arms? No, I don't see any good argument for why they should even approach the amount of damage longarms can do.


ENHenry wrote:

As the old saying goes, "A handgun is merely a weapon used to fight your way back to your rifle - which you shouldn't have left behind..." All things being equal, a longarm being more powerful than a small arm is the more "believable" concept - it's that way in real life.

Admittedly, there is room in the game for a fighter spec or an archetype for getting more out of small arms for style purposes. If you are willing to expend the character resources (class/level/feats), there's no reason not to allow it.

Well all Small Arms deal less damage Long arms even before you factor in specialisation. So small arms are already weaker than Long arms. To keep the entire category weak because of Operatives is a little harsh. Why not make Trick attack weaker ?

Besides as I have proven again and again. Operatives are in no way close to overpowering Soldiers as things are now. Even Full spec won't make operatives more powerful than soldiers.


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Claxon wrote:
No, I don't see any good argument for why they should even approach the amount of damage longarms can do.

I guess we can just chalk that up to a difference of opinion then.

But I think mandatory feats are terrible. Wasted book space is terrible and making it harder for people to play popular fictional archetypes is... also pretty terrible.

I can't fathom why anyone would argue that those are good things for a game to have.


Erk Ander wrote:
ENHenry wrote:

As the old saying goes, "A handgun is merely a weapon used to fight your way back to your rifle - which you shouldn't have left behind..." All things being equal, a longarm being more powerful than a small arm is the more "believable" concept - it's that way in real life.

Admittedly, there is room in the game for a fighter spec or an archetype for getting more out of small arms for style purposes. If you are willing to expend the character resources (class/level/feats), there's no reason not to allow it.

Well all Small Arms deal less damage Long arms even before you factor in specialisation. So small arms are already weaker than Long arms. To keep the entire category weak because of Operatives is a little harsh. Why not make Trick attack weaker ?

Besides as I have proven again and again. Operatives are in no way close to overpowering Soldiers as things are now. Even Full spec won't make operatives more powerful than soldiers.

I imagine the issue is less trick attack and more quad attack. Someone would have to crunch the numbers, but I get the vibe that with full spec you'd fairly rapidly approach the "no real difference in overall DPR" when comparing Operatives to Soldiers which from what I vaguely recall reading, Ops weren't THAT far behind once they got quad attack.


Eh, not really. The 3/4 BAB does a LOT to make the Operative a less powerful fighter than the Soldier because Starfinder doesn't quite have Pathfinder's 'You start hitting on 3+ before too long' as you level.


Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Roleplaying Guild Subscriber
Ikiry0 wrote:
Eh, not really. The 3/4 BAB does a LOT to make the Operative a less powerful fighter than the Soldier because Starfinder doesn't quite have Pathfinder's 'You start hitting on 3+ before too long' as you level.

3/4 of 15 is +11. With Weapon Focus you regain 2 of that.

I don’t know how finely they tuned the system, but I really hope that characters are still viable with less than maximum attributes. The questions are what should be an acceptable lower bound, and when does a fully optimized operative overtake a sub-optimal Soldier or Solarian in DPR.


Squiggit wrote:
Claxon wrote:
No, I don't see any good argument for why they should even approach the amount of damage longarms can do.

I guess we can just chalk that up to a difference of opinion then.

But I think mandatory feats are terrible. Wasted book space is terrible and making it harder for people to play popular fictional archetypes is... also pretty terrible.

I can't fathom why anyone would argue that those are good things for a game to have.

See I think it's necessary that there are options, including sub-optimal options. So that there are tiers and room for meaningful choices. You aren't required to pick up longarms proficiency and versatile specialization, But if you want to fire a weapon often you probably should.

You are right however, that it does seem we have very different opinions on the design aesthetics for the game. I doubt we can resolve it, since it's just a fundamental difference in the way we look at the game.


Tarik Blackhands wrote:


I imagine the issue is less trick attack and more quad attack. Someone would have to crunch the numbers, but I get the vibe that with full spec you'd fairly rapidly approach the "no real difference in overall DPR" when comparing Operatives to Soldiers which from what I vaguely recall reading, Ops weren't THAT far behind once they got quad attack.

Already done that. At lvl 20 Soldiers DPR is roughly 138 if using reaction cannon and sharpshooter style. At lvl 15 its 82,22 for same build. A non-sharpshooter soldier deals 114 at 20 and 64,26 at 15

Operative at lvl 20 deals 77 dpr with full spec and 62 without. And yes the operative uses Quad attack. At LVL 15 its 57,97 with full spec and 44,52 without.


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I kinda see the Small Arms/Longarms disparity in Starfinder as a parable to how crossbows and longbows worked in Pathfinder pre-ACG, and to some degree still works today.

A lot of people like the crossbow theme and want to make them work for their character even though baseline longbows are much better weapons. Then they're more or less inevitably disappointed to find that even after sinking multiple feats into them (Rapid Reload, Crossbow Mastery etc) they're still a much worse alternative to bows: You can't use Manyshot, there's no ability score modifier to damage, Deadeye Bowman is off the table... I've had several players sour on the system after their first character tried and failed to make crossbows work. I'd hate to see that repeat itself with small arms in Starfinder.

I don't necessarily want pistols to work identically to longarms, but if players are willing to invest the same amount of feats into pistols that they would normally spend to gain Longarm Proficiency/Specialization then small arms should be a viable option in its own right.

ENHenry wrote:
As the old saying goes, "A handgun is merely a weapon used to fight your way back to your rifle - which you shouldn't have left behind..." All things being equal, a longarm being more powerful than a small arm is the more "believable" concept - it's that way in real life.

I don't want to sound dismissive, but I feel like this argument has limited value when we're discussing a system where bringing a sword to a gunfight is a perfectly good idea. I don't think "it's that way in real life" should be a compelling reason to obstruct one of the oldest sci fi tropes in existence.


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Kudaku wrote:
ENHenry wrote:
As the old saying goes, "A handgun is merely a weapon used to fight your way back to your rifle - which you shouldn't have left behind..." All things being equal, a longarm being more powerful than a small arm is the more "believable" concept - it's that way in real life.
I don't want to sound dismissive, but I feel like this argument has limited value when we're discussing a system where bringing a sword to a gunfight is a perfectly good idea. I don't think "it's that way in real life" should be a compelling reason to obstruct one of the oldest sci fi tropes in existence.

Yes, this point is important. Starfinder patently takes the premise that its universe has people who intend to bring a sword to a gunfight and win - Solarians are built around it, in fact. It's disingenuous to then insist that Small Arms are sidelined for realism - what we care about here is consistency, not realism, and there's nothing inconsistent about there being ways to make Small Arms awesome in the Starfinder universe.


Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
BretI wrote:
Ikiry0 wrote:
Eh, not really. The 3/4 BAB does a LOT to make the Operative a less powerful fighter than the Soldier because Starfinder doesn't quite have Pathfinder's 'You start hitting on 3+ before too long' as you level.

3/4 of 15 is +11. With Weapon Focus you regain 2 of that.

I don’t know how finely they tuned the system, but I really hope that characters are still viable with less than maximum attributes. The questions are what should be an acceptable lower bound, and when does a fully optimized operative overtake a sub-optimal Soldier or Solarian in DPR.

I havent run the math myself and dont have nearly enough table experience with the system to say definitively... but a lot of people are claiming to have run the math on whats available and the system does seem to expect that you will max out your combat potential on any character just to keep up. I dont know what kind of growth you are supposed to feel when you still need an 11 to hit at every level and it takes the same 3.8 hits to defeat every enemy you encounter.

Of course "maxing out" at this point is putting 16-18 in your accuracy stat at character creation and just remembering to bump it at level ups and with the stat boosting item.

Grand Lodge

Envall wrote:

Side arms are side arms, they are not primary weapons.

Of course, side arms might still be your own weapon, but that is obviously case of role and situation.

Sure, you cannot be Han Solo and one-shot stormtroopers, but I am okay with disallowing that idea.

Han Solo is obviously an OPerative. :)

Also, additional DPR for Operative is the Weapon Focus feat. (+2 attack at lvl9)

And, a lot of people are forgetting that both the Operative and Solarian get free extra damage as they level up, without the need to spend credits. While levelling, you can't spend money on a new gun AND new armor every level. In my experience in the AP so far, is that your gun is usually your LVL or LVL-1, even if you can buy LVL+2 guns. ;-)


People are also forgetting that operative is primarily a skill class, they already have the best of both worlds with a high dpr compared to other skill classes and best skill bonuses, if want to look at a short changed class look at the mechanic, the operative is fine


Robert Gooding wrote:
People are also forgetting that operative is primarily a skill class, they already have the best of both worlds with a high dpr compared to other skill classes and best skill bonuses, if want to look at a short changed class look at the mechanic, the operative is fine

The Mechanic is arguebly better at it chosen skills than the operative (unless the operative has INT as highest stat) is. Both Mechanics also deal more DPR than Operative. The Mechanic is a great class.


...operative ranks 3rd in dpr, look at any of the spreadsheets many people have made behind only the solarion and the soldier


Robert Gooding wrote:
...operative ranks 3rd in dpr, look at any of the spreadsheets many people have made behind only the solarion and the soldier

Dude I have done the calculations myself with those very spreadsheets. In fact my posts are all over the board on this very topic. Both Mechanics outdamage the Operative after from 13 or so. Don't remember how much they outdamage priot. Around lv 10 trhey deal equal damage.

Do you want me to post it again ?


Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Erk Ander wrote:
Robert Gooding wrote:
...operative ranks 3rd in dpr, look at any of the spreadsheets many people have made behind only the solarion and the soldier

Dude I have done the calculations myself with those very spreadsheets. In fact my posts are all over the board on this very topic. Both Mechanics outdamage the Operative after from 13 or so. Don't remember how much they outdamage priot. Around lv 10 trhey deal equal damage.

Do you want me to post it again ?

I am kind of interested in it, or a summary thereof. as i understand it, the Mechanic makes for a better sniper than the Operative. They both have to spend a feat for proficiency, yeah? But the Operative cant apply trick attack to sniper weapons whereas the Mechanic can take an energy based sniper rifle and overcharge it for exceptional single target damage? It really amuses me that while the Operative can make for a great mechanic, the Mechanic can be the better operator. Both of course when looking at specific niches within those roles.


Claxon wrote:


See I think it's necessary that there are options, including sub-optimal options. So that there are tiers and room for meaningful choices

Meaningful choices are good... but I don't see how you can argue there's a meaningful choice when one option is so significantly superior to its alternative.

If you're not an Operative, you're not going to do anywhere near decent damage with small arms or operative weapons and there's little else to say about it.


Torbyne wrote:
as i understand it, the Mechanic makes for a better sniper than the Operative. They both have to spend a feat for proficiency, yeah?

Operatives do not have to spend a feat on Sniper proficiency, they get it for free. They do have to spend an Exploit to Trick Attack with them though, and even then still don't get the bonus damage and (at least by current RAW) can't even use the Sniping property because they don't have an actual Move Action to spend.


Yeah, to use a term I picked up in wargaming: Operatives have serious Skornergy with sniping, anti-synergy where the abilities actively contradict working together.


With sniping it's less the operative's abilities not working together but more them not working with sniper rules. Toss in a caveat to debilitating sniper that they can use the enhanced sniper range in lieu of movement when trick attacking and it's a workable set up if absolutely nothing else.

(Also color me shocked seeing warmahordes lingo showing up here)

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