We stopped playing Starfinder yesterday, here's why.


General Discussion

1 to 50 of 389 << first < prev | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | next > last >>

7 people marked this as a favorite.

Hello hello all!

When Starfinder came out, my friends group was rather excited to play. Most of us prefer fantasy, but we enjoy some good Sci-Fi and a space-themed Pathfinder game seemed like the perfect route to go! We asked the resident Sci-Fi fan to GM, and he took to it with relish. He put 10+ hours of work into each session, and the characters were fun and had good chemistry. However, as of yesterday we stopped playing and are planning the switch back over to a Pathfinder AP. I thought I would share some of the reasons we stopped, as almost all of them are actual issues we had with the game, for anyone who's interested.

1.) Customization
This is the big one, and by far the most jarring difference between Pathfinder and Starfinder. In PF, there are a staggering number of options that help players tailor their character and gameplay to exactly what they have in mind. I realize that PF has been out much longer and has tons of material added later, however we found that it seemed like even the PF core rulebook just had more stuff in it. Starting off in vanilla PF, there are 11 classes to choose from, each with its own unique abilities. In SF, there are 7 classes. This trend continued throughout SF, with a shorter spell list, a replacement of archetypes with "themes" that offer little in the way of actual use and are more or less simple flavor. My group grew frustrated with the simple lack of choices to pick from.

2.) Mechanics
In SF, my group found that mechanics seemed to often fall into one of two categories: confusing or arbitrary. Many rules were written in strange ways that required several minutes of cross-referencing to figure out; for example, reading that grenades are thrown weapons, but they do not have the "thrown" special property, meaning that the section on "thrown weapons" does not apply to them but the section on "thrown ranged attacks" does. We got confused and cross-eyed many times trying to figure out simple things, and we are all experienced in PF, so we're no strangers to complexity. On the arbitrary side of things are item levels. We understood that item levels were an important mechanic, however they never made sense to any of us, and frustrated most of us. RAW state that an item's required level represents the connections needed to track down the item as well as the trust a vendor needs to have in their buyer. However I was personally frustrated by this because none of this information can mechanically reach the players. There are a plethora of ways of level-capping items with high skill check DCs, ability requirements, etc.; all without actually level-capping the items. As players, the current rules very much struck us as "you can't because I say you can't" and we believe they are in need of a major overhaul.

3.) Resolve Points
Let's talk about Resolve Points. The key thing we disliked about RP was that they are inherently tied to a character trait. Namely, your resolve. The fact that these points are meant to represent something akin to your character's will to live, tenacity, or determination made them a perplexing system in gameplay. You can roleplay a stalwart fighter who would rather die than let the villain win, but according to your sheet, you've run out of Resolve, and therefore cannot use some of your more potent abilities to turn the tide. Looking back, classes like the Gunslinger and Swashbuckler were probably a form of play-testing for this concept, but I'll say that we were equally baffled with those mechanics as well. A PC may be a grizzled war veteran with a batman voice who refuses to sleep on a bedroll, but suddenly they run out of Grit and can no longer use certain aiming techniques in the middle of a fight. Limited-use abilities are common in PF and resource-based abilities are prevalent as well, but they always distance themselves from character personality. A monk's Ki is an example of this type of mechanic functioning well because Ki is distinctively a semi-magical resource that is described as a material that requires time and focus to manifest and discipline to stockpile.

4.) Resource Tracking
PF can get complicated. PCs need to keep track of wand charges, spells per day, rations, and occasionally things like Ki and Grit. However all of it pales in comparison to SF. The amount of resources a single player needs to keep track of on a round-to-round basis is simply absurd and only increases as players progress. Mid-high level play can quickly dissolve into tedious algebra for each action. And while PF can simply throw rules out whenever they slow down gameplay, it becomes much more difficult to do in SF where resource mechanics are a main method of balancing. A single player may need to track: a weapon's current charge, the charge used per hit, point-based abilities like Solar Attunement, resolve points, two separate health pools (each healed by different things), spell slots, cooldowns on equipment and augmentations, as well as myriad other things they might choose to employ. It's difficult to appreciate how cool something might be (like wreathing yourself in solar fire and exploding in a mini-supernova, or swinging around a lightsaber) when you're doing math before and after each action to ensure that your action was valid and to re-plan your strategy next round based on the new numbers in front of you.

Honestly, I could very much continue. This list is probably only 60-70% of what caused us to stop playing (don't get me started on ship combat). But I'm not here to do a full review of Starfinder. This list is just the top issues my group had with the game. I wrote it in the hope that maybe other people having these issues can see they're not alone, and to voice the issues that my tabletop friends and I had.

The Exchange

1 person marked this as a favorite.

The mechanics of the game have similar connotations as 4th edition, we found. The arbitrary nature of level caps on gear and the fact enemies are built and function differently to players. While I thought those rules were great as a DM (they make running a balanced game far easier), the rest of the group hated it.

Resource tracking - the seriously tedious math is why our group eventually quit Pathfinder as well. It just became no fun to run combats with all the buffs and de buffs flying around, especially at high level. We all felt that this was going to be true in Starfinder as well.

I imagine plenty of folks will have fun with this system, but I fully understand why others are leaving it or not getting into it at all.


2 people marked this as a favorite.

I think it's indisputable that the CRB could be better-organized for certain things. Far too much flipping about is needed to fully understand how grenades work, which is quite odd. Hopefully they'll improve that in future editions.

It's funny, though. Most of the things that upset your group are features for mine. Themes and Classes seem to interlock into a pretty elegant way of generating a big variety of character concepts. I like that SF streamlines things like that and like the spell list (its handling of spellcasters is one of my favourite things about the system). And Resolve Points, Stamina and various class abilities interlock into a full system that can make for some interesting and dramatic choices. But hey, to each their own. *shrug*

Item levels don't particularly bother me since they're basically just a guideline and it's pretty easy to customize what's available at different places and settlements (thank God for the online community, some of the spreadsheets people have put up are real lifesavers). There could be other ways to do it, but again it's a feature of SF for me that it abstracts a lot of this stuff. It does seem like they could do a better job of emphasizing that a lot of the stuff that looks absolute really isn't.

I'm puzzled by the resource tracking point. I haven't noticed that being a problem, certainly not a worse one than in Pathfinder. Maybe it's that we play on Roll20 and most of that is automated through macros.


22 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

It sounds like you guys skimmed the book and said, "Nope! This is too different from what I have played for years so not going to try." and then quit. What makes me believe this? Well the points you bring up seem like you haven't fully looked through the game and asked why they have changed certain things. After ten years of creating content and listening to players they changed a lot to streamline the player experience.

I am not going to go through your post and give responses to each point because it doesn't matter. Your group has written off the game already. But I will touch on a key point that leads me to the assumption that your group didn’t really put a lot into the game.

Palidian wrote:
1.) Customization: ...Starting off in vanilla PF, there are 11 classes to choose from, each with its own unique abilities. In SF, there are 7 classes. This trend continued throughout SF, with a shorter spell list, a replacement of archetypes with "themes" that offer little in the way of actual use and are more or less simple flavor. My group grew frustrated with the simple lack of choices to pick from.

Classes: So it's a little more complex then, “Pathfinder has more stuff.” Pathfinder is already based off a system which D&D 3.5. It’s easy to have 11 classes when you build off an already existing system.

In Pathfinder you pick a class and you play that class. Example: A Barbarian probably isn’t going to be the face of the group. The classes in pathfinder are very limited. You pick a role on the picture or weapon alone. You want to be an archer? Well you are a Ranger then. You want to be a thief? Then you're a rogue.

While in Starfinder you have a shell and you build yourself into a role you want to play. If your party read fully into the classes you would notice there isn’t just 7 classes. Example: A drone mechanic plays very different than an exocortex mechanic. The Soldier has 7 very different roles it can pick from. Are you going to play a Blitz Melee soldier (Genji Overwatch) or a Jetpack Sharpshooting bounty hunter(Bobafett). You could even make a Druid with a Xenoseeker Mystic.

Spells: Yes, there is a shorter spell list. But again, this was on purpose. Technology and space travel has changed everything. Greatest example is, are you going to spend 10 years in wizard school to learn the light spell or are you just going to buy a flashlight? Are you going to keep a spell slot for haste or are you just going to modify your body with a haste circuit? You say lack of choices but I say lack of imagination and understanding of a new game system.

If you want to stick with pathfinder that’s fine. Pathfinder is a great game(#Rangers4Life)! But don’t compare different games when you haven’t spent the time to fully understand both.


31 people marked this as a favorite.

Just because someone else hasn’t met your arbitrary quota of forum posts doesn’t mean they haven’t played the game. They’ve played it enough to realize it’s not for them. How often or even if they post at all is an absolute non-sequitur in that regard.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Yeah, don't see what forum posts have to do with it.

I do think JetSetRadio has a good point about class customization being a different animal in Starfinder and about comparing numbers of classes to Pathfinder being sort of apples and oranges. And surprising to me as a reason to ditch a system that's only been out for a few months, but whatever.


Pathfinder Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

The first item will be taken care of in time as more Starfinder supplements are released.

But if the other three items are deal breakers for someone, it is unlikely that any future releases will change them in any meaningful way.


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Wrath wrote:
. . . enemies are built and function differently to players. While I thought those rules were great as a DM (they make running a balanced game far easier), the rest of the group hated it.

This is another one that puzzles me. Isn't it pretty commonplace for adversaries in RPGs to be built differently from characters?


Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Rysky the Dark Solarion wrote:
Just because someone else hasn’t met your arbitrary quota of forum posts doesn’t mean they haven’t played the game. They’ve played it enough to realize it’s not for them. How often or even if they post at all is an absolute non-sequitur in that regard.

I didn't mean it to say that you have to post on the forums to understand the game. But if you are talking about current pathfinder campaigns how invested can you be with your Starfinder game? I don't know how much time you have but usually one game takes up all my time.


5 people marked this as a favorite.

Oh, there seem to be plenty of people who play in more than one game a week. Several of my players are currently in a Pathfinder AP too. Neither here nor there, really.


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Modules, Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Roleplaying Guild Subscriber

I think all of these points are pros for me, rather than cons. I think PF had more bloat than I enjoyed (yes, it can all be limited, but my player's are too enthusiastic about obscure materials to explicitly limit which books are in play with any effectiveness).

I don't think the resource management is worse, and in many areas it is not only smoother, but more engaging. Overall, it seems like SF scrapped the legacy material that made PF clunky, and I personally have a harder time going back to PF.


That's pretty much where I'm at. Playing and running Starfinder for the last few months has spoiled me for Pathfinder to a certainty.

I really am curious about what resources the OP found difficult to track in combat as the game progressed, though, and what exactly made this a worse problem than in Pathfinder. Maybe it's something I should be looking out for as a GM.


3 people marked this as a favorite.

Only 7 classes with a ton of ways to build each of the classes. They should have called them career path. Take the mystic you got the healer the priest, the zoologist and the druid. Same goes for the soldier there is the sniper the melee the Blitz the tank the Grenadier. Each class has a subset of classes you can choose. Toss in the themes and the focus of each of those are different. There is even a themeless theme that lets you choose what ever you want. Bet if your group all sat down to build a chosen class that they would not all come out the same way.

In time i am sure sf will gain as much complexity as PF. I am enjoying the simplicity while it lasts.


As for ammo count a clip holds 20 charges but the weapon but uses 4 charges per shot you mark down 5 in your ammo area and reduce the count by one each time you take a shot. That changes with all classes abilitys like burst which uses a full clip each time hits or misses everyone in a cone and you have to reload next round because using a burst attack is a full attack (think rambo). You do not need to track rations they last for a week worth of eating. Solar abilitys a big spells that take three rounds to go off but you do not have to sit in back twittling your thumbs while you wait you can fight take hits. If tracking a Solarian is so hard get seven large clear beads paint 3 black and three white and string them up with the last clear bead in the center round on starts move the black and white beads away from the center bead next round choose a colored bead over to the clear bead when three of one color touch the clear bead use your battle ending power. As for health do not think of it as two pools of health think of it as on pool stamana is always lost first once your stamana is gone your in the yellow you should stop what ever is hurting you as soon as possible. Resolse is d&ds hero points or what ever they are called use them to use abilities or to stop yourself from gasping your last or use almost all of them to shrug off that critical hit that should have killed you outright sure theres a fist size hole in your chest but that does not matter because your a boss and you have villians to smite. You think SF is hard go back to D&D 1.0 where classes are restricted to race age gender stat array and had something called thaco and you did not want to roll high you wanted to roll low. I would rule the battle field if 1s were 20s and vice vera.

I am reading the CRB because the gm and rule lawyer like to pull s+%~ over on me and while it is a slow read i have not had to stop reading yet and ask for directions. It makes sense from a certain point of view


13 people marked this as a favorite.
JetSetRadio wrote:

It sounds like you guys skimmed the book and said, "Nope! This is too different from what I have played for years so not going to try." and then quit.

...

But don’t compare different games when you haven’t spent the time to fully understand both.

As my post said, we were excited to play this since release, and got our hands on it shortly thereafter. We then spent several months trying our darndest to learn the system as we went. Honestly, that's all I'm going to say on your reply. You assumed that myself and my group were lazy and that I posted this thread with no understanding of what I was talking about. And so there is no conversation to be had between you and I.

Good day.


A lot of people have mentioned the fact that theme/class combinations lead to a lot of character customization potential. This is true, and I will admit that simply saying "there's only 7 classes" is misleading.

However, in my post I mentioned archetypes for this reason. Archetypes seemed to have been replaced by themes in Starfinder, and I was pretty disheartened to see it. Archetypes offer a theme-like take on each class, but they are tailored to each individual class, allowing for less vaguely-useful bonuses, and more flavorful replacements for traditional class abilities.

Along with this, I do realize that there is a great amount of character customization in Starfinder with class-centric choices. Operatives choose a specialization, Soldiers choose fighting styles, etc. However I wish to also point out that we have similar things in Pathfinder, but we still are able to add on top of it. Rogues choose talents, Clerics domains, Barbarians rage powers, etc.

Now, I realize that Starfinder has only been out for a short period, and more content will add more choices. But themes were disheartening to me simply because they appeared to be vague, non-class-specific replacements for archetypes. And the character options inside classes themselves seemed to be small bonuses and minor edits meant to reinforce flavor, rather than the unique abilities and major changes of archetypes.

In all honesty, if future books add new classes and class-modifying options of similar rigor as archetypes, then we will likely come back for a second look at the game. However for now, it is our deal breaker.

Keep in mind that much of this is simply the opinion of my group. The fact that you can make a Solarion fit the same slot as an Envoy may be exciting to some, but for us it has the opposite effect.


Archetypes have not been replaced in Starfinder. There are guidelines to building them in the CRB along with the Forerunner and Phrenic Adept sample archetypes. (It's possible you missed this as a player because the CRB doesn't put archetypes at centre stage in Character Creation, but it does have its own section that's fairly easy to find in the CRB itself.)

Granted, I've not had occasion to use any archetypes myself as I'm still far from even beginning to explore all the more basic build options.

I'm still curious about the resource tracking problem you mentioned. Care to expand on that? (EDIT: Oh. Sorry. On a re-read, you did go into some detail about this. Admittedly I'm not seeing what the problem is but hey, that's y'all's call.)


5 people marked this as a favorite.
Starfinder Charter Superscriber

OP: Thanks, interesting points. I’m not sure why the responses are so defensive. Different folks can like different systems, and there’s no point in trying to argue taste.


CeeJay wrote:
Archetypes have not been replaced in Starfinder. There are guidelines to building them in the CRB along with the Forerunner and Phrenic Adept sample archetypes.

This is news to me, but it looks like the list is pretty barren at the moment. We might have to come back later and see what options are available.

Although I will say that the simple number of classes was a big part of the deal breaker for us. I am currently in the process of creating a homebrew rpg with the d20 system, and I honestly had to stop myself at 12 classes. I have trouble understanding how 7 starting classes is enough or how it could have been difficult to create more than that.


2 people marked this as a favorite.

Well, hopefully I'm not coming across as "defensive." I am interested in clarifying where certain problems come from. The OP may have run into situations I haven't seen.

(I will cop to finding the number-of-classes complaint a little inscrutable but that really is just a question of taste, I guess; the over-profusion of classes in Pathfinder is more bug than feature for me.)


Jhaeman wrote:
OP: Thanks, interesting points. I’m not sure why the responses are so defensive. Different folks can like different systems, and there’s no point in trying to argue taste.

Haha, I was kind of wondering the same thing myself. This list really isn't "hey here are the bad parts of Starfinder" it really is what it says on the tin. We stopped playing yesterday and here's why.

Although to be honest, this is a problem my circle of friends is currently trying to wade through as well. It's easy to forget that this is a game. And if you're not having fun, it's fine to stop and do something else.


5 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Have fun with whatever you play!

I personally love Starfinder, but i agree, it's not for everyone.

Liberty's Edge

3 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Wrath wrote:
The arbitrary nature of level caps on gear

Unless you are playing in Starfinder Society, the game does not have level caps. A 1st level character can use an elite gyrojet pistol as easily as they can a azimuth laser pistol. They can't make one, but they can shoot it just fine. The GM can put any item they want in loot, and if the PCs can scrape together the money they can potentially buy anything they like - the rules explicitly state that it's up to the GM's call, because they can "make items of a higher level available for purchase."


2 people marked this as a favorite.
CeeJay wrote:
Well, hopefully I'm not coming across as "defensive." I am interested in clarifying where certain problems come from. The OP may have run into situations I haven't seen.

You're fine Ceejay. As for the resource tracking, to be honest I listed just about everything that was an issue in the post. Players got confused and mixed up frequently on each turn just keeping track of all the meters they had. I played a Solarion, and each round I was keeping track of my attunement points, which affect which abilities I could use, my weapon's charge levels, personal shields, stamina points, hitpoints, and resolve. The last three wouldn't have been much of a problem however it did often become confusing for players when we needed to know what items/abilities restored which pool of points.

Pathfinder does indeed have a lot of resource tracking, but it has never been on a round-by-round basis for every player, or even an action-by-action basis in some cases.


I went back and saw that you had specified that, sorry for my obtuseness.

Playing a Solarian myself right now. :) Hope y'all have fun with your Pathfinder AP, which one are you running?


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Shisumo wrote:
Wrath wrote:
The arbitrary nature of level caps on gear
Unless you are playing in Starfinder Society, the game does not have level caps. A 1st level character can use an elite gyrojet pistol as easily as they can a azimuth laser pistol. They can't make one, but they can shoot it just fine. The GM can put any item they want in loot, and if the PCs can scrape together the money they can potentially buy anything they like - the rules explicitly state that it's up to the GM's call, because they can "make items of a higher level available for purchase."

I do feel like sometimes people react to something presented in a table as if it's being presented as sacred writ, regardless of cautions to the contrary. This may just be a hazard of systems this "crunchy," that you have to keep reminding people that a lot of it is just option or guideline.

But then again, maybe people just get nervous about departing from the "guideline" because they're fearful of somehow "breaking" their game... and one thing I do agree with the OP about is that Starfinder has a whole lot of interplay between various elements (item and resource-based and otherwise) that might easily reinforce that fear. It's actually one of SF's selling points for me but I can see how it complicates really knowing how much of the rules you can get away with finessing.


7 people marked this as a favorite.

I don't understand the problem with leveled gear, personally. What's the difference between a Level 9 Cool Gun and a Cool Gun that provides the same bonuses but is so expensive that, assuming you follow WBL guidelines, there's no way you can reasonably afford one before level 9-ish? It has the same effect either way, that you don't get the Cool Gun before level 9.

Scarab Sages

9 people marked this as a favorite.
Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Companion, Maps, Modules, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps Subscriber

I would just like to comment on one thing, themes were actually built to replace traits, not archtypes, and when you look at them in that light, I think they actually work quite well. Instead of having two plinky little bonuses that quickly scale out, you have something that scales throughout your career.


4 people marked this as a favorite.
Jhaeman wrote:
OP: Thanks, interesting points. I’m not sure why the responses are so defensive. Different folks can like different systems, and there’s no point in trying to argue taste.

Well know your audience. I mean if I walk in a Red Sox bar and start saying, "I am not a fan of baseball because of how slow it is and and I like soccer way better." I might get some double takes. Maybe someone says, "Well what about this aspect?" I wouldn't call that "defensive" but more confused of why come here and to start this discussion?

I think that's why everyone jumped to the easiest thing to counter which is the complaint about classes. 15 year old game vs 6 month old game.

Palidian wrote:
Honestly, I could very much continue. This list is probably only 60-70% of what caused us to stop playing (don't get me started on ship combat). But I'm not here to do a full review of Starfinder. This list is just the top issues my group had with the game. I wrote it in the hope that maybe other people having these issues can see they're not alone, and to voice the issues that my tabletop friends and I had.

I read your lengthy post and I am wondering what you were trying to convey. I mean you posted this in General Discussion. So was your question, who else on the Starfinder threads agrees with your points? We're you looking for clarification on anything? Or was this just a complaint thread?

RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 16

1) I think this will resolve itself in time. Remember that Pathfinder's CRB had very little in way of customization. Even the classes with talent pools lacked ways to make your character feel unique. We didn't get all the cool options until Advanced Player's Guide and other books. Starfinder isn't even half a year old and we already have two solid core rulebooks.

2) I think most of the mechanics are fine, but there's definitely some rough areas (combat maneuvers bug me). I agree the item level restriction feels weird from a roleplay perspective, but it's waaaay better than going the Shadowrun route and wasting a lot of time at the table just to buy a better gun.

3) Grit and panache are radically different resource pools than Resolve. Resolve makes sense to me as even heroes aren't immune to running out of steam. I feel like D&D/PF does too much to paint martials as characters that can fight all day without getting exhausted, which is neither realistic nor how most action heroes in movies are portrayed.

4) I agree that there's a lot of book keeping, but I've found it roughly the same as Pathfinder.

That being said, I'm not going to discredit you if you aren't having fun. Starfinder is a different game. And honestly, I probably won't ever run it again until there's more content.


2 people marked this as a favorite.
CeeJay wrote:

Archetypes have not been replaced in Starfinder. There are guidelines to building them in the CRB along with the Forerunner and Phrenic Adept sample archetypes. (It's possible you missed this as a player because the CRB doesn't put archetypes at centre stage in Character Creation, but it does have its own section that's fairly easy to find in the CRB itself.)

Granted, I've not had occasion to use any archetypes myself as I'm still far from even beginning to explore all the more basic build options.

I'm still curious about the resource tracking problem you mentioned. Care to expand on that? (EDIT: Oh. Sorry. On a re-read, you did go into some detail about this. Admittedly I'm not seeing what the problem is but hey, that's y'all's call.)

While true, Archetypes aren't technically gone... in my personal opinion these new archetypes aren't really what OP seems to have been going for. Starfinder Archetypes are more akin to Prestige Classes, where-in you sacrifice part of your base class for progression in a completely unrelated set of powers (that so far... aren't really worth it most of the time,) than the Archetypes of Pathfinder. Pathfinder's Archetypes let you play with the options within a class to get a completely new angle on the class. That said, that very idea is exactly what the Devs have said they were going for with the built in options of the classes (such as the Mechanic's Drone VS Exocortex, the Solarian's Solar Manifestations, and the various Talent Pools all over the place.)


[Comment redacted]


You can convert all the old classes from Pathfinder to starfinder in the book somewhere you just got to look it up. I think they're called Legacy classes or something


2 people marked this as a favorite.

I just don't like how ship combat feels like 2 children fighting to the death with pool noodles. The rest of the problems will sort themselves out given some more content (I put my SF game I was GMing on hold to give it time), but I need to find a proper lethality balance for ship combat so it doesn't take all night to resolve one fight.

The Exchange

1 person marked this as a favorite.

For those who questioned my points

- the recommendation in the book is purchasing of gear at level +2, sometimes +3 in big trade centres. That's where the balance point is. Feel free to stray from that but this game is pretty finely tuned in combat. I think messing with that recommendation will mess your game up pretty fast.

- yes there are systems where creatures are built with very different rules to the players. We don't like an of those systems really. None of us have an issue with creatures having unique abilities because it's a dragon or a troll or whatever, but when the entire build mechanics differs from what players can do, it breaks out immersion. Why should a human NPC get to do all this other stuff and shoot better and add more damage to his gun, than the human player character?

- I personally don't mind any of the issues I outlined, except the ridiculous maths that creeps in for high level play. My group really disliked this game. It's difficult to play a game designed for four or five players if you're the only one sitting at the table.

So instead, we play games we all like. It's why I didn't invest any more money into this than the PDF core book and issue one of the AP.


CeeJay wrote:
Shisumo wrote:
Wrath wrote:
The arbitrary nature of level caps on gear
Unless you are playing in Starfinder Society, the game does not have level caps. A 1st level character can use an elite gyrojet pistol as easily as they can a azimuth laser pistol. They can't make one, but they can shoot it just fine. The GM can put any item they want in loot, and if the PCs can scrape together the money they can potentially buy anything they like - the rules explicitly state that it's up to the GM's call, because they can "make items of a higher level available for purchase."

I do feel like sometimes people react to something presented in a table as if it's being presented as sacred writ, regardless of cautions to the contrary. This may just be a hazard of systems this "crunchy," that you have to keep reminding people that a lot of it is just option or guideline.

But then again, maybe people just get nervous about departing from the "guideline" because they're fearful of somehow "breaking" their game... and one thing I do agree with the OP about is that Starfinder has a whole lot of interplay between various elements (item and resource-based and otherwise) that might easily reinforce that fear. It's actually one of SF's selling points for me but I can see how it complicates really knowing how much of the rules you can get away with finessing.

Some of the rules are messy, and some are just "poorly" worded, SF is still new on the other hand...

Wrath wrote:
- yes there are systems where creatures are built with very different rules to the players. We don't like an of those systems really. None of us have an issue with creatures having unique abilities because it's a dragon or a troll or whatever, but when the entire build mechanics differs from what players can do, it breaks out immersion. Why should a human NPC get to do all this other stuff and shoot better and add more damage to his gun, than the human player character?

That's the weirder one in the rules/systems and need some fleshing out.


Looks to me like NPC's are pretty well-designed to stay balanced with PC's at certain levels without having to go through a full character generation process for all of them. And PC's typcially have a far vaster range of abilities than NPC's do... "all this other stuff"? Weird.

*shrug* I guess if people can't manage to deal with abstractions of certain things there's really nothing you can do. My group's already accustomed to Pathfinder which is pretty much the same way, so it's not really an issue.

Quote:
yes there are systems where creatures are built with very different rules to the players. We don't like an of those systems really.

Let me ask it a different way. Is there a system are you now playing that doesn't build NPCs and adversaries differently from players? I'm not trying to put you on the spot, I'm genuinely curious.

(I'll tell you why I'm asking: I was part of a group that suspended SF play too, in our case because our GM hated the system. [I kind of felt like he was blaming the system for some of his own bad decisions without really understanding it, but nevermind, it was his call.] I've been considering putting together a homebrew sci-fantasy thing for this group since I do miss them as a group. So I am on the lookout for interesting possibilities.)


3 people marked this as a favorite.
CeeJay wrote:
Let me ask it a different way. Is there a system are you now playing that doesn't build NPCs and adversaries differently from players? I'm not trying to put you on the spot, I'm genuinely curious.

Well, to use Wrath's example up there... honestly Pathfinder. In Pathfinder a Human Wizard is a Human Wizard is a Human Wizard. Now there are tons of options you can put on said Human Wizard, but by default anything you can put on an NPC Human Wizard is generally going to be available on a PC Human Wizard. Now sometimes this isn't true, but that's usually the exception not the rule.

Contrast this to an example I've seen already for Starfinder, one of the pre-written adventures (I think it might be one of the books of the AP, can't remember off-hand) has an Elf Solarian with a ranged Solar attack, usable more than once per rest, because the writer felt like that NPC needed a ranged attack. And like all NPC attacks it does whatever damage because that's what the CR says its damage should be, rather than following any of the internal Solarian scaling.

And even more general than that, NPCs always add their CR to damage (PCs have to wait until level 3 for something similar), and their use of weapon and armor is purely fluff because their damage is determined by CR. Even their stats are meaningless. In fact, building an NPC the same way you do a PC in Starfinder is actually going to do horrible things to the math, because as a general rule NPCs have higher attack and lower AC than PCs so PC rules vs PC rules means pretty much neither side is going to hit worth a dang.


Shinigami02 wrote:
CeeJay wrote:
Let me ask it a different way. Is there a system are you now playing that doesn't build NPCs and adversaries differently from players? I'm not trying to put you on the spot, I'm genuinely curious.
Well, to use Wrath's example up there... honestly Pathfinder. In Pathfinder a Human Wizard is a Human Wizard is a Human Wizard.

Really? The Pathfinder NPC builder doesn't look all that different from the Starfinder one to me.

Quote:
Contrast this to an example I've seen already for Starfinder, one of the pre-written adventures (I think it might be one of the books of the AP, can't remember off-hand) has an Elf Solarian with a ranged Solar attack, usable more than once per rest

I know the example you mean, the undead guy in Temple of the Twelve. It's not an example of a Solarian just arbitrarily having different powers. Who comes from a completely dead civilization and is built that way for a narrative reason, not just a mechanical one.

Solarian and spellcaster builds in Starfinder do generally use the same powers the players have access to. You can of course vary this as a GM because the builder is just a guideline, you're supposed to be able to still use the system to produce weird and unique alien adversaries. I take the same to be the case in Pathfinder.

Quote:
And even more general than that, NPCs always add their CR to damage (PCs have to wait until level 3 for something similar), and their use of weapon and armor is purely fluff because their damage is determined by CR.

Their damage is a range *suggested* by CR, not determined by it? Monsters and NPCs in Pathfinder aren't built to use the same damage and bonus system players do either, yes?


I have some issues with the rules, but there are parts of the setting that I enjoy so I am still on the fence about the RPG. I am wanting to stick it out and finish the 6-part module at least.

Issues I've encountered:

The Rulebook should be read from front cover to back cover, in order, to be understood (I've discovered). I tried using the appendix to jump around and answer my rules questions as I run the module for my players, but that method doesn't work very well unless you have read the chapter.

In the first game module, the enemies seem to drop like flies. The gang boss in the cantina and her Vesk bodyguard got one shot off each before being taken out. Was disappointed when the frag grenade I threw with the Vesk (his listed strategy) did 1 whopping point to a party that has both stamina and hit points to burn through, rather than only hit points for the monsters. I did lose the Initiative roll so that didn't help, but the combat could have been a little tougher. Heck, even the life draining "demon thing" in the hangar of the Drift Rock died rather quickly. I didn't want to roll over the party, but I worry about fights being a challenge to them so they don't get bored.

Things I like:

Themes. I am on the side of opinion that the themes are pretty cool for character customization. My party tended to choose the normal combos (like soldier/mercenary, mystic/priest, envoy/icon, mechanic/spacefarer). I look forward to any new themes that come out, but the existing ones are a good start for getting your feet wet in Starfinder.

Fusions. It feels very sci-fi to slap on a disc (or whatever) to your weapon and then the weapon changes appearance and gains magic abilities. Very cool.

Original monsters. Some are re-skinned ideas, but it's nice to see something new to be adversaries for a party to encounter. I am toying around with the idea of giving the party a Assembler Cube (if they are smart enough to control it), so they can actually do something with all of the (D&D learned behavior) looting that they do.

Silver Crusade

4 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Starfinder Superscriber

That Pathfinder NPC builder is not the standard way to build NPCs, it's an optional rule in Pathfinder Unchained. The standard way to build NPCs is by the same rule as PCs. That difference is one that also bugs me a lot.


Wrath wrote:
- yes there are systems where creatures are built with very different rules to the players. We don't like an of those systems really. None of us have an issue with creatures having unique abilities because it's a dragon or a troll or whatever, but when the entire build mechanics differs from what players can do, it breaks out immersion. Why should a human NPC get to do all this other stuff and shoot better and add more damage to his gun, than the human player character?

Are you talking about that weak ranged attack the Solarian NPC gets in Dead Sons 2? It only does 1d10 and doesn't scale so it's obsolete in like 2 lvls. If your players really want that ability then why not let them choose it?


4 people marked this as a favorite.
Shinigami02 wrote:


Well, to use Wrath's example up there... honestly Pathfinder. In Pathfinder a Human Wizard is a Human Wizard is a Human Wizard. Now there are tons of options you can put on said Human Wizard, but by default anything you can put on an NPC Human Wizard is generally going to be available on a PC Human Wizard. Now sometimes this isn't true, but that's usually the exception not the rule.

Honestly this is one of my personal favorite things about Pathfinder. Now I won't make any comparisons to Starfinder (I was only a player so I don't know how any enemy stats were done), but I LOVE that villains in Pathfinder APs are built from the ground up just like a PC. I always thought it was really cool just because the villains are held to the same rules as players, which adds a layer of immersion to it. Players can look at enemies and know that they could do the same thing if they wanted to.

When I first got Runelords, I immediately flipped to the back (cuz what GM doesn't love a good BBEG?) and I took one look at the boss' stats and said "HOW?!". But after an hour of crunching numbers and looking up spells and magic items, it all added up. That was probably the moment I decided that Paizo is a pretty damn good company.


Disconnecting NPC and PC creation was necessary to make them behave differently, which allows you to make variety of changes how player to player interactions work and how player to npc interactions work.

The mind control situation is one of those.

Dark Archive

1 person marked this as a favorite.
starlite_cutie wrote:

The gang boss in the cantina and her Vesk bodyguard got one shot off each before being taken out. Was disappointed when the frag grenade I threw with the Vesk (his listed strategy) did 1 whopping point to a party that has both stamina and hit points to burn through, rather than only hit points for the monsters.

That's okay. The Vesk fumbled the roll in my game (pretty much the only way to miss) and the drifting ended up dropping the grenade on him and his boss...


3 people marked this as a favorite.
Palidian wrote:
Shinigami02 wrote:


Well, to use Wrath's example up there... honestly Pathfinder. In Pathfinder a Human Wizard is a Human Wizard is a Human Wizard. Now there are tons of options you can put on said Human Wizard, but by default anything you can put on an NPC Human Wizard is generally going to be available on a PC Human Wizard. Now sometimes this isn't true, but that's usually the exception not the rule.

Honestly this is one of my personal favorite things about Pathfinder. Now I won't make any comparisons to Starfinder (I was only a player so I don't know how any enemy stats were done), but I LOVE that villains in Pathfinder APs are built from the ground up just like a PC. I always thought it was really cool just because the villains are held to the same rules as players, which adds a layer of immersion to it. Players can look at enemies and know that they could do the same thing if they wanted to.

When I first got Runelords, I immediately flipped to the back (cuz what GM doesn't love a good BBEG?) and I took one look at the boss' stats and said "HOW?!". But after an hour of crunching numbers and looking up spells and magic items, it all added up. That was probably the moment I decided that Paizo is a pretty damn good company.

It's cool in a way. OTOH, it makes it an enormous amount of work to build NPCs, defining them in great detail that often isn't needed for the 3 rounds they're going to stand up in a fight.

And then there are monsters, who very often have plenty of abilities not available to PCs, so it's not really like it's a full solution anyway.

There are also issue with PCs and NPCs being balanced differently. Among other things there's absolutely no reason for an NPC not to nova the vast majority of the time, since the chances of another party of PCs coming along that day are slim.

Silver Crusade

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Starfinder Superscriber

The biggest problem with NPCs and PCs being built differently is how to handle the situation when an NPC joins the party for a while. And players being the creatures of chaos that they are, you can't predict ahead of time which ones they will try to recruit. So you either build every NPC twice, once as NPC and once as PC, have weirdly unbalanced fights by having the NPC still use NPC stats, or have the game come to a screeching halt while you rebuild the NPC they've recruited. And this is not an infrequent thing in my games. The little bit of extra time to build every NPC like a PC is a far better solution than any of the above, but because of how the math works, it's not a good option in Starfinder.


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Farlanghn wrote:
Wrath wrote:
- yes there are systems where creatures are built with very different rules to the players. We don't like an of those systems really. None of us have an issue with creatures having unique abilities because it's a dragon or a troll or whatever, but when the entire build mechanics differs from what players can do, it breaks out immersion. Why should a human NPC get to do all this other stuff and shoot better and add more damage to his gun, than the human player character?

Are you talking about that weak ranged attack the Solarian NPC gets in Dead Sons 2? It only does 1d10 and doesn't scale so it's obsolete in like 2 lvls. If your players really want that ability then why not let them choose it?

It doesn't scale because the NPC doesn't level.


Redelia wrote:
The biggest problem with NPCs and PCs being built differently is how to handle the situation when an NPC joins the party for a while. And players being the creatures of chaos that they are, you can't predict ahead of time which ones they will try to recruit. So you either build every NPC twice, once as NPC and once as PC, have weirdly unbalanced fights by having the NPC still use NPC stats, or have the game come to a screeching halt while you rebuild the NPC they've recruited. And this is not an infrequent thing in my games. The little bit of extra time to build every NPC like a PC is a far better solution than any of the above, but because of how the math works, it's not a good option in Starfinder.

If that's a common thing for you, I suppose that makes sense. And if the NPC stats aren't good enough for handling an NPC along with the party. (Unbalanced? Maybe, but so are random NPCs not at the PC's level.)

Even so, that's somewhat under GM control, right? The PCs can't just shanghai any NPC. They're not grabbing kids off the street or somehow turning the evening's boss villain into an ally with no intent or expectation of the possibility from your end? Might happen occasionally, but not regularly and there'll be a lot more than stats that need adjusting.

Generally in my games, NPCs other than those I expect to get into fights don't even get stats. A handful of exceptions, where they might need some detail despite not fighting, but certainly not everyone the PCs might talk to.


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

In my case, I've been trying not to overdo it and mix in some pathfinder games so it's not all Starfinder all the time.

1 to 50 of 389 << first < prev | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | next > last >>
Community / Forums / Starfinder / Starfinder General Discussion / We stopped playing Starfinder yesterday, here's why. All Messageboards

Want to post a reply? Sign in.