Should Kneeling Exist in Starfinder?


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So the rules do not include kneeling as a condition separate from normal (standing) and prone. It did exist in pathfinder, but as we all know and understand starfinder =/= pathfinder. So SHOULD kneeling exist in starfinder? And as a side question, since it doesn't, what are you RAW if you ARE kneeling? are you normal ie standing (no condition) or are you prone?

My personal opinion is that kneeling should included as a condition that splits the difference between prone and standing, Free to get into swift to stand an move normally.

I put this question to everyone here in the discussion forum as I'm most interested in the title question.


I am splitting the difference. Plus kneel to stand is a swift action unless it is part of a move action to actually move.


Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Roleplaying Guild Subscriber

This should probably be in the homebrew section. Beyond that I'd be against the free action. Starfinder has made a concerted effort to reduce free actions and this would buck that trend.

Assuming you don't have anything better to do with your swift and many character's don't. It leads to this akward situation where a character stands does all his relevent actions than resumes kneeling. Creating a stupid pseudo jumping jack action just to get a mechanical benefit.


I consider it a part of the on going narrative of combat. When my enemy takes cover behind an upturned table my GM doesn't describe him standing up straight behind it for example. I am totally fine saying its a free action both ways that does nothing mechanically.


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On the one hand, in a universe where most people have guns, it makes more sense to crouch/kneel in battle than in a universe where people mostly use bows and greatwords.

On the other hand, this is a game system that's trying to keep play relatively quick and simple, and this isn't really needed.

baggageboy wrote:
It did exist in pathfinder

Debatable, as there were no official Pathfinder rules for actions to kneel / stand from kneeling.


One reason I believe it should exist is that there is a distinctive cost benefit to kneeling while shooting in real life. Kneeling is generally considered a better position to be in from an accuracy point and you definitely present a smaller target, however to takes time to drop to a kneeling position and to get up again. Sometimes you just don't have the time available and need to take a shot now or be able to move as quickly as possible.

Currently it is a free action to drop to prone so I don't think that it would be any harder to kneel hence why I think a free to kneel is appropriate. Standing from kneeling in easier than from prone which is why I think it should be a swift action to stand. I don't think a free to stand would be appropriate as it should cost something to gain the bonuses, it just shouldn't cost as mush as prone does.

It is interesting that kneeling was a condition in pathfinder but not defined what actions got you there and out of the condition. Is it really no stated anywhere? I don't presume to be a pathfinder expert.


baggageboy wrote:
It is interesting that kneeling was a condition in pathfinder but not defined what actions got you there and out of the condition. Is it really no stated anywhere?

Unanswered FAQ for the last eight years.

There was a 3.5 ruling which some people use: "If you're kneeling on the ground, getting up takes some time, but it doesn't make you vulnerable, so you use a move action that doesn't provoke attacks of opportunity."


Hmmmm well the 3.5 ruling you mentioned does make it cost something and less than standing up from prone, I think I'd be ok with either one.


I don't presume to be a Starfinder expert, but I believe standing from prone doesn't provoke AoO, so that would make it no better than being prone.


Dropping prone is not a free action, it is a Swift. This is important as it means you can't do things like drop prone and full attack with a ranged weapon. Once again I don't think its something you have to simulate. Anything faster than Swift is free, so just assume characters take a knee when firing and possibly trying to avoid attacks.


Douh! Malk you are right, it is a swift to drop prone. I had mixed it up in my head because you can do the stand from prone, shoot and drop again all in one round. Therefore I must amend my stance a bit. I still think kneeling should be a thing, but should be a swift in and a swift out. Sorry it was early and I'm tired.


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Does chest high wall give cover because it hides you feet or because it is implied you kneel behind it?

Lantern Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber

Yeah this is not a tabletop game, so my answer is gonna be a straight: NO.

In all cases where it´s necessary you can simply use the rules for cover or softcover.


I kind of feel such rukes are needed purely because combat feels very sterile and boring.

I signed up for the Matrix and got Gattica.


Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Kneeling already exists in Starfinder. People exist in the setting, they have knees, they kneel every day.

Does Kneeling need a distinct status with different statistics? No. Its not different enough, or restrictive enough, compared to standing to be worth the complexity.


It's not much complexity as a house rule:

Swift action to kneel or stand from kneeling. +2 AC against ranged attacks, -2AC against melee attacks.

Or whatever.


Personally I don't think the benefit of adding this rule outweighs the fiddliness of having another stance option with smaller modifiers. Stand/Prone is fine for the core rules system, but you're of course easily able to houserule it in if you so choose. :)


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I don't really care either way. But some people think combat seems sterile at present. Maybe we should have lots more stances:

My expensive new 3PP wrote:


Kneel: Swift action to kneel or stand from kneeling. +2 AC against ranged attacks, -2AC against melee attacks.

Firing wildly without looking: -6 to hit on a full-round attack around a corner or other solid cover. No-one around the corner can attack you back unless without a readied action.

Doing a backflip: Swift action + acrobatics check to get +3AC and -2 to attacks for a round.

Jumping and then sliding along the ground while firing: Full round action that moves you 20 feet, gives you +4 AC and -2 to attack for one round, and leaves you prone. If you have a gun in each hand, you can fire them both with an extra -2 to your attack rolls.

Advancing in a menacing fashion, not even bothering to take cover: Full round action that moves you 10 feet towards the nearest enemy. You can fire a single shot at +2 to attack. If you hit, you get a free intimidate check. You are at -4AC for the next round.


I think combat is only sterile if your GM is being, quite frankly, super dull with it. Lots of people talk about Starfinder like ranged is the be all and end all, but in all the combats I've run I've tried to have at least 20% of the combatants be melee or aoe bombarders etc and my players are constantly having to move around.


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baggageboy wrote:

So the rules do not include kneeling as a condition separate from normal (standing) and prone. It did exist in pathfinder, but as we all know and understand starfinder =/= pathfinder. So SHOULD kneeling exist in starfinder? And as a side question, since it doesn't, what are you RAW if you ARE kneeling? are you normal ie standing (no condition) or are you prone?

My personal opinion is that kneeling should included as a condition that splits the difference between prone and standing, Free to get into swift to stand an move normally.

I put this question to everyone here in the discussion forum as I'm most interested in the title question.

The real question is what is the point of kneeling?

If it is to take cover, then that is covered under the well Coverage rules, it can be easily explained that taking cover behind an overturned table has you kneeling and that considering start to stop movement from kneeling, unless you are someone like Usain Bolt, would be pretty much comparable to standing so there would be no need to make an action to adjust, just like you don't need an action to stand up after you tumble, it's all considered part of the action.

The reason prone is different is that lying on your stomach, back or side is much more difficult to do in one quick fluid motion and most people will take a few seconds to do so, but with proper training you can easily get up in a second from that position, hence Kip-Up.

SO ask yourself this, what benefit would you get from kneeling that isn't covered by some other rule. And you do not want to be Tebowing in the middle of the battlefield in the open, even if the National Anthem is playing, get to cover instead. Making yourself a smaller target does not help when grenades, rockets and high capacity rifles are common place.


That's fine and all. A good GM can make up for a lot. But fundamentally whether or not the gm says I shoot and move to cover or goes into wild extrapolation about bullets flying everywhere as I slow mo behind the burning truck after ineffectually lasering in the general direction of the cyberized cyber demon the amount of engagement on the players part is the same. That's fine for some but I'd like to be more tactically involved

Matthew Downie is making light of it but it wouldn't take all that much silliness to expand it enough for combats to look and "feel" more like gunfights from an action movie rather than pathfinder with lasers.
Leaning around cover, kneeling to present a smaller profile or to take advantage of low cover are not that difficult to add. I mean the total amount of text for both would still be less than the amount of text that grappling takes up. And both would end up being used more.

If you wanted to get more complicated you start looking at ways of making cover more destructible. I've been playing around with a homebrew system for that I'm going to add into my games shortly to see how it goes.


I think kneeling isn't in the game because nobody wants to see the old trick of:

"I stand up as a swift action with kip up."
"I full attack."
"I drop prone as a free action to gain full cover."


TarkXT wrote:

That's fine and all. A good GM can make up for a lot. But fundamentally whether or not the gm says I shoot and move to cover or goes into wild extrapolation about bullets flying everywhere as I slow mo behind the burning truck after ineffectually lasering in the general direction of the cyberized cyber demon the amount of engagement on the players part is the same. That's fine for some but I'd like to be more tactically involved

Matthew Downie is making light of it but it wouldn't take all that much silliness to expand it enough for combats to look and "feel" more like gunfights from an action movie rather than pathfinder with lasers.
Leaning around cover, kneeling to present a smaller profile or to take advantage of low cover are not that difficult to add. I mean the total amount of text for both would still be less than the amount of text that grappling takes up. And both would end up being used more.

If you wanted to get more complicated you start looking at ways of making cover more destructible. I've been playing around with a homebrew system for that I'm going to add into my games shortly to see how it goes.

Its not even about being super descriptive. You can say nothing at all apart from rules text and have more interesting tactical decisions by having enemy variety. Imagine if in xcom the only enemies you fought were ranged, it would be dull and static. The GM needs to include enemies or environments that force people to move. If anything adding the proposed kneeling rules would make it even more static, because if you can't make it to cover you just kneel for half the bonus and stay there.


Hwalsh said:
I think kneeling isn't in the game because nobody wants to see the old trick of:
"I stand up as a swift action with kip up."
"I full attack."
"I drop prone as a free action to gain full cover."

I agree this would be a problem, however what I'm advocating for is a swift to kneel and a swift to stand. Which would mean no full attack on either round as a full attack requires all of your actions.


steven lawson said:
The reason prone is different is that lying on your stomach, back or side is much more difficult to do in one quick fluid motion and most people will take a few seconds to do so, but with proper training you can easily get up in a second from that position, hence Kip-Up.
SO ask yourself this, what benefit would you get from kneeling that isn't covered by some other rule. And you do not want to be Tebowing in the middle of the battlefield in the open, even if the National Anthem is playing, get to cover instead. Making yourself a smaller target does not help when grenades, rockets and high capacity rifles are common place.

------------------------------------------

Kneeling is taught as a shooting position in real life as well as prone. In fact there are several positions that are taught that are in between off hand (standing) and prone. Using these positions is generally considered preferable to standing, but time may not be available to get into a better stance. This is true for prone as well, but as you pointed out it takes even more time to get into a prone position. Kneeling as a condition that split the difference between the two positions we currently have makes sense as a way to model the advantages of these in between stances. It should cost some time to assume such a stance, but it should be less than assuming prone.

It becomes effectivly a poor man's prone. If you have kip up as a feat to can drop to prone as a swift and stand from prone. He gains the full benefits of prone while he is there. A person without the feat would if we use the model I'm advocating would be able to do the same thing by kneeling, but would only gain half the being prone, or the could chose to go prone and accept the move action to stand.


Malk_Content wrote:
TarkXT wrote:

That's fine and all. A good GM can make up for a lot. But fundamentally whether or not the gm says I shoot and move to cover or goes into wild extrapolation about bullets flying everywhere as I slow mo behind the burning truck after ineffectually lasering in the general direction of the cyberized cyber demon the amount of engagement on the players part is the same. That's fine for some but I'd like to be more tactically involved

Matthew Downie is making light of it but it wouldn't take all that much silliness to expand it enough for combats to look and "feel" more like gunfights from an action movie rather than pathfinder with lasers.
Leaning around cover, kneeling to present a smaller profile or to take advantage of low cover are not that difficult to add. I mean the total amount of text for both would still be less than the amount of text that grappling takes up. And both would end up being used more.

If you wanted to get more complicated you start looking at ways of making cover more destructible. I've been playing around with a homebrew system for that I'm going to add into my games shortly to see how it goes.

Its not even about being super descriptive. You can say nothing at all apart from rules text and have more interesting tactical decisions by having enemy variety. Imagine if in xcom the only enemies you fought were ranged, it would be dull and static. The GM needs to include enemies or environments that force people to move. If anything adding the proposed kneeling rules would make it even more static, because if you can't make it to cover you just kneel for half the bonus and stay there.

But again, that doesn't make the player feel more involved in their own actions. Just increases the variety of enemies. This makes players more creative with what they have to a degree. But doesn't increase what they can actually do.


It bloody well should make them feel more involved. And even then I still think all kneeling will do is create more situations where you just sit still.


Im curious, why do you think it will make combat more static? Prone is currently a thing and reduces movement more than kneeling would. With kneeling implemented the way I've proposed you can move and shoot every round, you'll just have to alternate between kneeling and standing.


Because it reduces the need to move into cover. If I had to choose between full attacking this turn or running to cover I'll um and ah over that. If I can just kneel and get half the benefits and still fire this turn I'll just do that instead. And then stay there unless something forces me to move.


Why wouldn't you just move to cover and attack? You'd get more benefits and non of the penalties. Cover would still always be preferable to kneeling in the open. Kneeling would be something you do if you expect to have to move again soon, but want to take some better position than just standing there.


Well if the cover is within a single move then yeah I'll do that. I mean go ahead and try it (obviously) but I think its adding rules that will either do nothing or will be detrimental to flow and should be covered by covered pretty simply by narrative. Maybe I just don't like the idea of characters getting AC effectively for free when moving and shooting.


I'm just figuring out if there's any real benefit to full attacking in star finder. Is the dpr typically higher? -4 to both attacks seems rather steep without a great deal of attack bonuses to stack and they're not terribly common.


But it's not for free, it's at the cost of being able to full attack.


The math's been done and you're pretty much always better off full attacking as far as DPR goes.


Thinking about it I'm on the side of baggage boy.

If rules ever came to allow someone to just full attack from full cover at no consequences. The easy solution to that is just to blow up the cover or move to a better angle.

I don't see it causing static combat like World War 1 style tactics. You have access to grenades, jetpacks, stealth cloaks, hard to kill murder drones, and gravity sword wielding space wizards. Crouching behind cover and kneeling around it is just a measure of temporary safety that adds another tool to the toolbox.


Its free if you were going to move anyway that turn. It basically turns move and shoot into move and shoot +2AC


Not from all the angles I'm looking at it. In any case I'm going to get these rules written up and see how they play out. All the debate in the world doesn't hold up to gameplay results.


TarkXT wrote:
Not from all the angles I'm looking at it. In any case I'm going to get these rules written up and see how they play out. All the debate in the world doesn't hold up to gameplay results.

With the Swift in Swift out that was proposed and the +/-2 Ranged/Melee AC excepting times when you had a better swift action to why would you ever not kneel after a move?


When you're about to get run over by a bayonet charging ogre.

Outside of that there's no reason. Which is fine. If you're in a gunfight in the open why wouldn't you make yourself a smaller target?

Keeping your head down is quite literally for your health.


TarkXT wrote:

When you're about to get run over by a bayonet charging ogre.

Outside of that there's no reason. Which is fine. If you're in a gunfight in the open why wouldn't you make yourself a smaller target?

Keeping your head down is quite literally for your health.

I agree it makes sense (which is why I fold it into narrative), its just that mechanically you are now giving every +2 AC they couldn't otherwise get around 50% of the time minimum.


TarkXT wrote:

When you're about to get run over by a bayonet charging ogre.

Outside of that there's no reason. Which is fine. If you're in a gunfight in the open why wouldn't you make yourself a smaller target?

Keeping your head down is quite literally for your health.

I agree it makes sense (which is why I fold it into narrative), its just that mechanically you are now giving everyone +2 AC they couldn't otherwise get around 50% of the time minimum.


Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Malk_Content wrote:
I think combat is only sterile if your GM is being, quite frankly, super dull with it. Lots of people talk about Starfinder like ranged is the be all and end all, but in all the combats I've run I've tried to have at least 20% of the combatants be melee or aoe bombarders etc and my players are constantly having to move around.

Also, from some of these threads, you'd get the impression that all combat occurs in a flat featureless plane with at least a hundred feet of leeway in every direction, and no obstacles, points of interest, or bystanders. Or at least, that's what I have to presume based on all the love of heavy weapons and sticking them on random classes. Its like every fight occurs on a battlefield where its totally safe to drop big area attacks or autofire bursts without causing any collateral damage.


Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

As an aside, whose to say "taking a knee to fire" isn't *already* assumed as part of the system? Combatants are not standing stock straight in their square shooting at people, they are moving, hustling, aiming, bracing. Its very likely that "I hunch down and take some shots, then get moving again" is just an assumed part of a typical action, not something distinct. Your stopping for a moment to shoot, of course your posturing to minimize your exposure, its why 'stopping to shoot' has no penalty to AC vs "continuing to move".

( And really, if your problem is "But how am I supposed to get cover when there's no cover within a one square move?" . . . maybe, I don't know, spend more than on square of movement getting your butt to cover? The answer is not always going to be "Stand your ground and keep attacking". )


Metaphysician wrote:
( And really, if your problem is "But how am I supposed to get cover when there's no cover within a one square move?" . . . maybe, I don't know, spend more than on square of movement getting your butt to cover? The answer is not always going to be "Stand your ground and keep attacking". )

Unless it's a Guarded Step to get away from a melee, moving only 1 square in general is kinda bad. Which is probably why this is the first time it's come up in this thread. There was mention of a single move action earlier, which is because that's the furthest you can move and still get an attack off, and generally speaking getting even a single attack is better than not getting an attack, unless you're downright desperate.


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Metaphysician wrote:

As an aside, whose to say "taking a knee to fire" isn't *already* assumed as part of the system?

I also think the rules somewhat enforce it. Taking a bit of time to setup before you shoot is fairly well simulated by the fact that (unless you take a feat) you either shoot then move or move then shoot, not move shoot move.


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I think the big problem with making a swift action +2 AC action is it gives free stats to any build that doesn't care about full attacks. Casters especially benefit, since they don't need to full attack to cast spells.

I don't see why builds that don't full attack should get free AC while builds that focus on weapons only get it situationally.


Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Roleplaying Guild Subscriber

Just give kneel the same entry/exit costs as prone. And you've pretty well dealt with any balance issues. Of course not many people would ever use it... but not many people ever used kneeling when as it is half halfheartedly written into Pathfinder.


Yes. Then what are knees for? Weak spots to target? You kneel bown to take cover and you need to kneel down to crawl. And how do you expect to be honored by royalty if you cannot kneel before them. Anc it is a status/condition called "taking cover". If your wanting to split fine hairs..... what kind of action or condition would it be to do the spin that happens when you return fire right after having your back against some cover. Or what condition should should one have while in the middle of diving for cover, the part where your hovering in the air. Pron is not something you are prepaired for so it takes longer to recover from it. Aka standing up. Tends to happen after you fall on your face or knocked down. Taking a knee *aka kneeling* is something you are prepped to do during something else. Aka I kneel down to take advantage of that Low cover. The way I see you wanting it to go is I kneel down by this cover and next round I will take advantage of this cover in the meantime I will take every round the enemy can unload into me. Here is hopeing I don't die.


Only time kneeling and unkneeling is should be a problem or slow is when your 400 pounds, overburdened, trying to standing in the middle of a grease spell, trying to get up while on a bunch of marbles/legos, or on an unstable surface.


Matthew Downie wrote:

It's not much complexity as a house rule:

Swift action to kneel or stand from kneeling. +2 AC against ranged attacks, -2AC against melee attacks.

Or whatever.

so a swift action to pop the cork from a healing potion?

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