Is slow a death sentence for a melee character?


General Discussion

Shadow Lodge

With starfinders new action economy the good old 5 foot step is now a full on move action.

If a melee character gets slowed, are they as hosed as i think they are? Anyone can just whack them and 5 foot step back. They're too far to reach and swing and they're too close to charge.


Slow isn't a condition but a specific spell, so I'm going to quote it for reference.

Slow:
School transmutation
Casting Time 1 standard action
Range close (25 ft. + 5 ft./2 levels)
Targets up to one creature/level, no two of which can be more than 30 ft. apart
Duration 1 round/level
Saving Throw Will negates; Spell Resistance yes
An affected creature moves and attacks at a drastically slowed rate. Creatures affected by this spell are staggered (see page 277) and can take only a single move action or standard action each turn, but not both, and it can’t take full actions. A slowed creature moves at half its normal speed (round down to the next 5-foot increment). Multiple slow effects don’t stack. Slow counters and negates haste.

As for your answer, the Staggered condition in mentioned in the spell, and then immediately described.

Staggered wrote:
You can take a single move action or standard action each round, but not both, nor can you take full actions. You can still take swift actions, but not reactions.

So that's confusing. I was going to suggest teamwork, since I know there's an Envoy ability to ignore a condition (in this case Staggered) for a turn, but since it doubles down on saying 1 action only I'm not sure if it would work. Level 7 is the earliest this spell becomes available and would ballpark a (player) DC of around 16-17 (max Wis/Int of +4 with a personal upgrade making it +5 or +6). A bad save with no ability investment or item/ability supplement would be +2, so 75% failure rate in the worst case scenario. Plus it would last 7 rounds.

Yeah, solutions would be to get out of it with teamwork. Either a Dispel Magic (also a level 3 spell) or other class ability to shrug an effect off. Clarification needed if the Envoy's Don't Quit removing Staggered would let them take 2 actions again, or would only just unlock AoOs again.

Other solution: Carry a small arm or thrown weapon in a Quick Release Sheath. Since you can still take Swift actions you can draw and shoot/throw same turn even when slowed. Not as big as your normal melee damage, but you can have the hand free for a 1-handed melee weapon if they get close, or a battleglove never hurts. Largest impacted are melee fighters who use a two handed weapon.

TLDR; Yes, it's pretty debilitating if Will save is your weakness. However between teammates and a few alternative options while you won't be at your best there are still things you could do. If prepared like any good adventurer should be.


As Isaac says, thrown weapons are good. Quickdraw also works with thrown weapons, making it a free action to draw any thrown weapon if you throw it (saving you a swift action). At a range of 10 feet, I feel thrown is the way to go for a melee character rather than small arms.

Alternatively, just a use a reach weapon. My SFS Solarian favors a tactical pike with the Entangling fusion, which lets me do it to typical non-reach enemies. I.e. charge in 80 feet stopping 10 feet away with reach, hit and entangle, move action to back up 40 feet. Who needs slow or spring attack?

Or at 6th or 7th level grab the Lunge feat. Or grab the lunge feat with a reach weapon.

Guard Soldiers can remove staggered for a resolve point at 9th, Solarians can get Haste as a power at 9th every 3 turns or alternatively, attempt to slow the enemy to equalize it.

By 9th or so level, any melee character could also have an armor mod that hastes you as a swift, which would also cancel a Slow effect specifically. Doesn't help with staggered in general though.

Lastly, if your a Blitz Soldier or Stellar Rush Solarian, you perhaps could charge a different enemy as a standard action.


Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Also worth pointing out: so the enemy melees and then steps back. Sure, they are out of reach, but you are out of reach, too. If they want to continuing meleeing, they will have to approach again. If they have ranged weapons, sure, its an issue, but if you ended up slowed, presumably there is more than one ranged foe. Charge the other guy.

Long story short: don't run off solo, and don't be a one trick pony.

Shadow Lodge

The envoy can definitely take it off. You can only take one action because you're stagggered, so if you're not staggered you're good. The spell is describing the condition so you don't have to go looking through the book for it. Although its not doing the best job because the spell makes it sound like you couldn't take swift actions and according to the condition you can

You can take only a single move or standard action each round and can’t take reactions, but you can take swift actions as normal.


My melee soldier has a called starknife for situations like that. Swift action to call + Standard action to throw. There's also Reach weapons.

Thrown even uses Strength, so it isn't a decrease in attack bonus.


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There is a thing called "firearms" in this setting.
Simply grab one and if this happens, quick draw it (feat or weapon mod) and shoot.
Or you can also wield sword and weapon (Warhammer 40k style) and simply use the one you need.

Of course it will not be a optimized attack (since you are a melee fighter, your dex will be lower then strength), but hey has everything you do be optimized?


Slow s pretty terrible for melee monsters, especially if they lack reach. I plan on taking it as my first level 3 spell on my mystic.


Save or suck spells have to be saved against, or you'll suck. I miss having more of them in the game, honestly. Slow is an excellent spell that mystics, technomancers, and solarians should all probably take ASAP (assuming Chm-built solarian).


Slow is annoying, but as others note you could still charge another character if you are a high enough level Blitz soldier or choose Stellar Rush as a Solarion (and those are really the only characters that should be going hard into melee combat). It's also easy for Soldiers to have a reach weapon, or a backup ranged weapon.

Solarions are the only one with any real difficulty since they don't get longarms by default, and don't currently have an option to add reach to their Solar Weapons (something that's been overlooked IMO).

Still thrown weapons are a good answer, as well as charging.

So, it's challenging but not insurmountable.


Claxon wrote:

Slow is annoying, but as others note you could still charge another character if you are a high enough level Blitz soldier or choose Stellar Rush as a Solarion (and those are really the only characters that should be going hard into melee combat). It's also easy for Soldiers to have a reach weapon, or a backup ranged weapon.

Solarions are the only one with any real difficulty since they don't get longarms by default, and don't currently have an option to add reach to their Solar Weapons (something that's been overlooked IMO).

Still thrown weapons are a good answer, as well as charging.

So, it's challenging but not insurmountable.

Solarians however have options like stellar rush to close the gap even hindered. They also have a number of other powers that can be used to gimp the movement of others or attack at range.

Every melee monster really should have a star knife or other thrown weapon you use your same stats you are focusing on and even slowed its unlikely the opponents can get far enough out of your range for it to not be effective.

The other solution is team mates. There is a reason you don't run solo so if you get goobered up with some debuff your buddies can help.


Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

As related to the matter of teammates, don't forget the other intelligent response to being Slow-ed: retreat. Yes, your movement is more limited, but if you can't afford to charge into melee because your hobbled, using what movement you have to withdraw to a better defended position until the Slow wears off is a good idea. Especially since you can go Full Defense and be that much harder to hit.

Dark Archive

1) If you're going to go around failing will saves, there are a lot worse things you could be hit with than Slow, especially as a melee character. In other words, keep your saves boosted.

2) As noted there are multiple ways for your party (or you) to deal with this spell. For instance, Haste Circuits are right there in core, get one.

3) Thrown weapons use Str to both hit and do damage - pack some as backup. Melee should not be your only out.

The Exchange

Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Claxon wrote:


Solarions are the only one with any real difficulty since they don't get longarms by default, and don't currently have an option to add reach to their Solar Weapons (something that's been overlooked IMO)

Solarian weapon crystal and putting a chained fusion in it.


That's kind of like having actual reach, for 1 of up to 3 attacks per round.

But I guess if you're just looking for a CYA type thing it works.

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