New Paths Among the Stars: Compatibility Between Starfinder and Pathfinder

Monday, June 5, 2017

Starfinder is a complete roleplaying game, and can be played on its own without ever referring to the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game. It is based on Pathfinder, of course, and shares many similarities with its older cousin, but in many cases Starfinder handles specific issues differently than Pathfinder. We've mentioned several times that Pathfinder is easily integrated into Starfinder, and that there's some level of compatibility between the two games, but we haven't been very specific on exactly how easy it'll be to add Starfinder cybernetics to Pathfinder fire giants, or port Pathfinder character classes and races into a Starfinder campaign. Those questions are likely to take more than one blog post to cover, but we wanted to at least begin going into greater detail about how we envision these two games working together.

Illustration by Hugh Pindur

Starfinder should feel very familiar to experienced Pathfinder players, and much of the overall play experience is similar. Despite changes like iterative attacks for high base attack bonuses being replaced by universal full attacks allowing two attacks both at -4, or breaking hit points into two pools of Stamina Points and Hit Points, most of the general rules of the game are close enough to make it easy to see how to convert a specific option from one class to another. The most common specific tweaks to combat are covered in the Starfinder Core Rulebook, specifically Chapter 13: Pathfinder Legacy. This chapter presents the information a GM needs to convert between the two games when dealing with questions of bonus types, actions in combat, CMB/CMD vs EAC/KAC, damage, ability scores, and so on. A GM wishing to take griefgalls from Bestiary 5 and use them for an invasion of Absalom Station should have no trouble adapting the monster to Starfinder use. In fact, given that both Starfinder and Pathfinder inhabit the same fictional universe, we specifically designed the game so that you could use monsters from one in the other on the fly, with little conversion—after all, a keketar protean is a keketar protean regardless of system, and this way we can focus on creating cool new creatures for Starfinder rather than just converting all the old standards.

For things like magic items, spells, feats, equipment, and other player-facing options, conversion can be more difficult and have more hidden pitfalls. One of the hardest questions a GM will need to answer is if something from one game system even should be introduced to the other. For instance, Starfinder and Pathfinder make different assumptions about when in a campaign various options first appear, and when they become commonplace. This means that introducing a new options from one of the games into a campaign using the other set of rules can have consequences well beyond how well the two sets of game rules interact mechanically.

For example, every first-level Starfinder character is likely to have armor that protects against extremes of temperature and pressure, and provides breathable air, thus protecting them from gaseous poisons or even complete vacuum for up to 24 hours. In Pathfinder, that level of protection isn't available until much higher level, and many characters never acquire it. While the rules for extreme environments are similar enough that a character from either game can make the appropriate saving throws (and understand how to apply the effects of failing those saves), a Pathfinder game that introduces items and abilities designed for Starfinder is going to bypass or neutralize a lot of common Pathfinder threats and encounters. Similar issues arise when discussing movement, flight, senses, ranged attacks, access to energy damage, and even the ease with which non-spellcasters can access magic abilities.

Those differences in assumptions alter how items and options from one game will impact campaigns using the other game's base rules. Even with the differences between Armor Class rules in the two games, it's not hard to figure out how a suit of ceremonial vesk overplate with a jet pack and infrared sensors would operate in Pathfinder—but the impact it would have on a typical Pathfinder game is much higher than the low level of those options in Starfinder would suggest.

Similarly, the two games also use different methods to produce the numerical values characters and monsters use to interact with one another. This often includes math that is (quite intentionally) behind the scenes, and thus not particularly obvious. For example, Starfinder does its best to not require characters to constantly get higher and higher enhancement bonuses to attack rolls, damage, and armor class, or resistance bonuses to saving throws. As a result, there's no option to create a +1 plasma cannon in Starfinder, since the additional math isn't needed. Thus adding magic to Starfinder gear is always about gaining some cool new option or ability rather than just numbers. It would be easy to determine how to port such rules over from Pathfinder, but doing so would create imbalances, since the new game is designed to function without most pure bonus-boosters.

For races, these issues are much less likely to cause significant issues. We already provide full Starfinder write-ups for dwarves, elves, gnomes, halflings, half-elves and half-orcs in the Pathfinder Legacy chapter of Starfinder. Those races still exist in the Pact Worlds, they just aren't as common as they were in Golarion-focused games using Pathfinder. Converting other Pathfinder races should be straightforward, and unlikely to cause major problems. In fact, some races that don't fit well in most Pathfinder games may be less disruptive to a Starfinder campaign!

Pathfinder classes are going to be the element it is most difficult to move to a Starfinder campaign, and require some work on the part of a GM, both in understanding how Starfinder handles various kinds of abilities and in looking for places where problems might crop up from unbalanced bonuses that Starfinder doesn't need or abilities that lack the support in one game system or the other. Of course, we tried to make sure common character tropes could be created in Starfinder, even if they're built differently than their Pathfinder equivalents. While there's no straight-up paladin analogue in Starfinder, a soldier with the priest theme, phrenic adept archetype, and various psychic power feats can certainly take the role of a religious champion with access to both martial skills and magic powers.

If nothing but the original Pathfinder classes will satisfy, however, the Pathfinder Legacy section gives what guidance we could manage for GMs wanting to port Pathfinder classes directly over. Questions of key ability scores, stamina points, skill points, weapon and armor proficiency and specialization, and other common core game mechanics are easy, and we mostly spell them out. When it comes to tougher questions like class features, eidolons, animal companions, familiars, class spell lists and 7th-9th level spells, bardic performance, and even flurry of blows we give advice, but it'll be up to each GM to decide exactly how to implement that advice.

In many ways, all of Pathfinder is like a series of "Starfinder Unchained" books—optional rules and subsystems a GM can adapt or not as appropriate for their game and their own desire to tinker. Our first priority was always to make Starfinder the best game it could be on its own, with as many robust options as we could make fit without overcomplicating it. Yet its underlying game engine remains close enough to Pathfinder that anyone who wants to adopt or convert materials from those sources to Starfinder should be able to do so with a minimum of effort.

Owen KC Stephens
Developer

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I like how this wole thing develops, interestint at the very least.
I just hope there is something in for my girlfriend who refuses to play anything besides the mesmerist since the playtest :P
I wonder if there are magic options for the envoy...that would probably suit her quite nicely


Seisho wrote:

I like how this wole thing develops, interestint at the very least.

I just hope there is something in for my girlfriend who refuses to play anything besides the mesmerist since the playtest :P
I wonder if there are magic options for the envoy...that would probably suit her quite nicely

Phrenic Adept archetype on an Envoy sounds like it might be her thing.


2 people marked this as a favorite.

I don't care about compatibility outside of monsters and races. I have no plans to try and convert any classes and such. I do love the math fixes talked about. I feel it's gotten to a point in gaming where +X weapons and armor are used because they've always been there, and the system math warps around having them rather than them being there because the math needs them. And yes more accurate weapons are nice, maybe there will be something the provides a small but not unbalancing amount with the fixed math. As for damage, pickup the equivalent flaming enchantment, or one of it's cousins.


jedi8187 wrote:
I don't care about compatibility outside of monsters and races. I have no plans to try and convert any classes and such. I do love the math fixes talked about. I feel it's gotten to a point in gaming where +X weapons and armor are used because they've always been there, and the system math warps around having them rather than them being there because the math needs them. And yes more accurate weapons are nice, maybe there will be something the provides a small but not unbalancing amount with the fixed math. As for damage, pickup the equivalent flaming enchantment, or one of it's cousins.

So based on the level 1 and 5 Obozaya, her doshko doesnt increase in damage die so much as it picks up new weapon qualities. i could see a weapon quality to add accuracy, or masterwork weapons can still be a thing. Or maybe just add scopes and sights to weapons, gain a move action to add +x to your next attack. there are lots of other ways to approach "better weapon" now which is neat.


Torbyne wrote:
Seisho wrote:

I like how this wole thing develops, interestint at the very least.

I just hope there is something in for my girlfriend who refuses to play anything besides the mesmerist since the playtest :P
I wonder if there are magic options for the envoy...that would probably suit her quite nicely
Phrenic Adept archetype on an Envoy sounds like it might be her thing.

Wasnt that a Soldier thing? or are there Archetypes for multiple classes now?

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Society Subscriber
Quote:
An archetype is a template that can be applied to any class for the most part (future archetypes could have stricter requirements geared towards specific classes, i.e. casters) to change its base abilities.

So, yes, at least the two archetypes that are in the core book are universal.


Yeah they mentioned a bunch of archetypes would be universal. I forget where though.


Seisho wrote:
Torbyne wrote:
Seisho wrote:

I like how this wole thing develops, interestint at the very least.

I just hope there is something in for my girlfriend who refuses to play anything besides the mesmerist since the playtest :P
I wonder if there are magic options for the envoy...that would probably suit her quite nicely
Phrenic Adept archetype on an Envoy sounds like it might be her thing.
Wasnt that a Soldier thing? or are there Archetypes for multiple classes now?

All archetypes currently planned should to be universal. They explained it during the twitch charity Q&A.


Starfinder Charter Superscriber
JC Huber wrote:

These last couple of posts have dramatically reduced my enthusiasm for Starfinder. I was really looking forward to a universally compatible game that would allow me to introduce more Sci-Fi elements to my Pathfinder games (and vice versa). Making changes to things as fundamental as armor class, hit points, and iterative attacks means that I can't just hand my players books from both systems and say "go to town".

Very disappointing.

And yet, they made it clear all along that it would not be that way.

I, for one, am very happy that the game isn't going to be what you described.


4 people marked this as a favorite.
Shadrayl of the Mountain wrote:
JC Huber wrote:

These last couple of posts have dramatically reduced my enthusiasm for Starfinder. I was really looking forward to a universally compatible game that would allow me to introduce more Sci-Fi elements to my Pathfinder games (and vice versa). Making changes to things as fundamental as armor class, hit points, and iterative attacks means that I can't just hand my players books from both systems and say "go to town".

Very disappointing.

And yet, they made it clear all along that it would not be that way.

I, for one, am very happy that the game isn't going to be what you described.

From a mechanical backbone standpoint Starfinder is looking like the Pathfinder 2.0 that everyone interested in such a thing wanted. The resident martial has a good will save and more skills. There seems to be a universal archetype and grit system. Numerical bonuses are replaced with interesting effects. I imagine that people would be more interested in backwards conversion rather than trying to fit Pathfinder stuff to Starfinder.

But there are still plenty of options to make Pathfinder with more scifi. Between Aethera, Anachronistic Adventures, Starjammer, and the Technology Guide there's a lot to work with. But... last year I've been running a Pathfinder in space and the backbone of Pathfinder doesn't exactly work, or rather a lot of things get fugly. Handing out advanced stuff at level 1 is very overpowered very early, touch AC, when combined with flat-footed AC, energy damage gets hard to keep track of. Everything technically works but its a pain in the butt to deal with.

Actually one thing that makes me happy is that so many of the changes I had to make with Pathfinder in space seems to be winding up in Starfinder. All the different Armor Classes got annoying and difficult to deal with so we just got rid of it. Skills got cumbersome so we just used a modified consolidated skill list. The action economy got weird so we used a version of the Revised Action Economy. We used a lot from Anachronistic Adventures so most everyone shared a universal archetype system and had a point pool. I feel that if you do Pathfinder in space you'll have to tweak things to be closer to what Starfinder is looking like anyways just to reduce the amount that you have to keep track of

Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I'm very happy with the direction. Streamlined, but not quite 5e streamlined. This just might be the perfect middle ground between 5e and 3.5/PF, because it is somewhere there where my dreamland is.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Card Game, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Accessories, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber
MikeMN<3Pathfinder wrote:
When it comes to available races for crossbred Path/Starfinder games, will we be able to use the Androids from Starfinder Core and/or Inner Sea?

I'm pretty sure, for all intents and purposes, they're all the same Androids with regard to game mechanics.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Society Subscriber
MythicFox wrote:
MikeMN<3Pathfinder wrote:
When it comes to available races for crossbred Path/Starfinder games, will we be able to use the Androids from Starfinder Core and/or Inner Sea?
I'm pretty sure, for all intents and purposes, they're all the same Androids with regard to game mechanics.

I think the answer for that is most likely: Ask your GM.

It also depends on which core rules you're going to use, pathfinder or starfinder. If most is pathfinder use the Inner Sea version. If most is starfinder, use the Starfinder version. Makes less hassle for any conversion that needs to be done.

Scarab Sages Developer, Starfinder Team

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Seisho wrote:
are there Archetypes for multiple classes now?

The Starfinder archetype rules are set up so it's easy for an archetype to be used by every class, and both the archetypes we present in the core rulebook work that way. I could see us doing some small number of archetypes that were not universal in future products (if we did some sort of special spellcaster a an archetype, we'd likely limit that to spellcasting classes), but they'd be very much in the minority.


Archmage Variel wrote:
All archetypes currently planned should to be universal. They explained it during the twitch charity Q&A.

That seems like a pretty great idea.


Owen K. C. Stephens wrote:
The Starfinder archetype rules are set up so it's easy for an archetype to be used by every class, and both the archetypes we present in the core rulebook work that way. I could see us doing some small number of archetypes that were not universal in future products (if we did some sort of special spellcaster a an archetype, we'd likely limit that to spellcasting classes), but they'd be very much in the minority.

Maybe try how to avoid that, if not only for design focus reasons, but for consistency's sake?


Archmage Variel wrote:
Seisho wrote:
Torbyne wrote:
Seisho wrote:

I like how this wole thing develops, interestint at the very least.

I just hope there is something in for my girlfriend who refuses to play anything besides the mesmerist since the playtest :P
I wonder if there are magic options for the envoy...that would probably suit her quite nicely
Phrenic Adept archetype on an Envoy sounds like it might be her thing.
Wasnt that a Soldier thing? or are there Archetypes for multiple classes now?
All archetypes currently planned should to be universal. They explained it during the twitch charity Q&A.

How would universal Archetypes work? Is it like Variant Multiclassing? Are there certain tiers of Character traits every class has in one way or another? Or can you just stick one Archetype of your choice on every class?


bugleyman wrote:
Owen K. C. Stephens wrote:
The Starfinder archetype rules are set up so it's easy for an archetype to be used by every class, and both the archetypes we present in the core rulebook work that way. I could see us doing some small number of archetypes that were not universal in future products (if we did some sort of special spellcaster a an archetype, we'd likely limit that to spellcasting classes), but they'd be very much in the minority.
Maybe try how to avoid that, if not only for design focus reasons, but for consistency's sake?

I wouldn't mind spellcaster archetypes for extra flavour.


Imbicatus wrote:
The main thing about any character from Pathfinder that was imprisoned/temporal stasis/petrified/ whatever is that they were probably on Golarian when it happened, and are therefore still on Golarion now. Unless you're using a collector trope to explain why they were moved off planet before the gap, it's not likely that they're still able to be freed in Starfinder.

dont forget the portals on golarion that lead off world, and the space ships that they did have that could go off world as well.

thus the collector trope isnt a ... what is the phrase I'm looking for.... oh well get back to it later/// slipped my mind and all

but as for my mirror of life imprisonment. assuming it was well hidden thatit would survive , to free said character all it would take would be to break mirror to free them

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

I've removed a post. We don't need to fan the edition war flames here.

Shadow Lodge

Pathfinder Card Game, Companion, Lost Omens, Maps, Pawns, Rulebook Subscriber
Mine all mine...don't touch wrote:
Stats needed for the pan galactic gargle blaster

You're going to be waiting quite some time - my recipe shows lemon-scented paper napkins as a pre-requisite.


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Seisho wrote:
How would universal Archetypes work? Is it like Variant Multiclassing? Are there certain tiers of Character traits every class has in one way or another? Or can you just stick one Archetype of your choice on every class?

I think it's similar to how Variant Multiclass works. But I think it's class features you lose, not feats from leveling up. I think that implies that at certain levels all classes get something that's easily swapped out. Like Alchemist Discoveries, Rogue Talents, Slayer Talents, Magus Arcana, etcetera. It could be that some archetypes could swap things at different levels, and maybe some will swap your leveling up feats. I believe they've once said it's class features that get swapped, but I'm not sure that that was a solid guarantee, if that makes sense.


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Quote:


For example, every first-level Starfinder character is likely to have armor that protects against extremes of temperature and pressure, and provides breathable air, thus protecting them from gaseous poisons or even complete vacuum for up to 24 hours. In Pathfinder, that level of protection isn't available until much higher level, and many characters never acquire it

Um, this is 4th (if crafted) to 6th level (earliest to buy):

Necklace of adaptation: The magic of the necklace wraps the wearer in a shell of fresh air, making him immune to all harmful vapors and gases (such as cloudkill and stinking cloud effects, as well as inhaled poisons) and allowing him to breathe, even underwater or in a vacuum.

Only reason one wouldn't have it is due to needing neck slot for other fun things.


Starbuck_II wrote:
Quote:


For example, every first-level Starfinder character is likely to have armor that protects against extremes of temperature and pressure, and provides breathable air, thus protecting them from gaseous poisons or even complete vacuum for up to 24 hours. In Pathfinder, that level of protection isn't available until much higher level, and many characters never acquire it

Um, this is 4th to 6th level:

Necklace of adaptation: The magic of the necklace wraps the wearer in a shell of fresh air, making him immune to all harmful vapors and gases (such as cloudkill and stinking cloud effects, as well as inhaled poisons) and allowing him to breathe, even underwater or in a vacuum.

Only reason one wouldn't have it is due to needing neck slot for other fun things.

I just want to point out that's 9k gp. A 5th level character is assumed to have about 10k worth of gear... so sure, at 5th level you could have one, if you want to spend almost everything you've got on such a situational item.


Mark Seifter wrote:
Benjamin_Mahir wrote:

I guess classes has been my biggest concern. Though looking at this and the previous blog post... the bigger question might be whether it's best to convert a Pathfinder class or expand on a Starfinder class.

High of my list, for instance, are the Oracle and Spiritualist. And while curses and phantoms offer things that Starfinder doesn't at first glance, it might be less invasive to create new connections for the Mystic class using Pathfinder as a basis.

I think new connections for the mystic would be a stronger and simpler way to handle oracle curses compared to porting the class whole cloth. The phantom could even be a weird kind of mechanic drone potentially.

I agree with the curses... but I'm putting a boot on the mechanic drone phantoms.

The appeal of taking phantoms into Starfinder is having that moment where ghost walks through an airlock door to "greet" the borders on the other side. It's taking the horror of ghosts in space and makes it work for the player rather than against them.

Looking at the engineer and their mechanical pets will be important, but we still don't know what level of customization that either the engineer or mystic will have nested within their primary choices. Or the technomancer, for if you want a spell caster who places with drones they might be your better choice.

Paizo Employee Designer

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Benjamin_Mahir wrote:
Mark Seifter wrote:
Benjamin_Mahir wrote:

I guess classes has been my biggest concern. Though looking at this and the previous blog post... the bigger question might be whether it's best to convert a Pathfinder class or expand on a Starfinder class.

High of my list, for instance, are the Oracle and Spiritualist. And while curses and phantoms offer things that Starfinder doesn't at first glance, it might be less invasive to create new connections for the Mystic class using Pathfinder as a basis.

I think new connections for the mystic would be a stronger and simpler way to handle oracle curses compared to porting the class whole cloth. The phantom could even be a weird kind of mechanic drone potentially.

I agree with the curses... but I'm putting a boot on the mechanic drone phantoms.

The appeal of taking phantoms into Starfinder is having that moment where ghost walks through an airlock door to "greet" the borders on the other side. It's taking the horror of ghosts in space and makes it work for the player rather than against them.

I was imagining something like a "ghost in the machine" possessing a mechanical shell or a mechanic for phasing through the airlock that could be shared between an incorporeal spirit and a sufficiently small nanobot conglomerate.


Lanitril wrote:
Seisho wrote:
How would universal Archetypes work? Is it like Variant Multiclassing? Are there certain tiers of Character traits every class has in one way or another? Or can you just stick one Archetype of your choice on every class?
I think it's similar to how Variant Multiclass works. But I think it's class features you lose, not feats from leveling up. I think that implies that at certain levels all classes get something that's easily swapped out. Like Alchemist Discoveries, Rogue Talents, Slayer Talents, Magus Arcana, etcetera. It could be that some archetypes could swap things at different levels, and maybe some will swap your leveling up feats. I believe they've once said it's class features that get swapped, but I'm not sure that that was a solid guarantee, if that makes sense.

That's what I was thinking. Every class is designed from the ground up with abilities at level 1/x/y/z which are intended to be swapped out by archetype abilites. I'm guessing the jetpack abilities mentioned in the soldier class write up fall into this catagory. So a Phrenic Adept Soldier doesn't learn to use a jet pack.


Honestly though, Archetypes eating feats is a far easier design choice to make, you dont have to cripple any core class ability progressions or be enslaved to a past design choice to make all future classes follow the same style of progression so that they can be compatible with Archetypes.

As an example,there seems to be an assumption that things like jetpacks are going to be easily available at a relatively low level, taking that away from a class in exchange for an unrelated ability would leave a character roadblocked at something that is trivial to everyone else.


Torbyne wrote:

Honestly though, Archetypes eating feats is a far easier design choice to make, you dont have to cripple any core class ability progressions or be enslaved to a past design choice to make all future classes follow the same style of progression so that they can be compatible with Archetypes.

As an example,there seems to be an assumption that things like jetpacks are going to be easily available at a relatively low level, taking that away from a class in exchange for an unrelated ability would leave a character roadblocked at something that is trivial to everyone else.

Eating away feats would be rather crippling for some character (well also depending on how feat dependent the chars are here) I for example think that vmc (at its core at least) was very good but usually didnt have enough feats to spare (if i was not fighter)

So simple giving all classes a rogue talent counterpart and exchanging some or all of them (depending on the archetype) i guess would make a good option

as for the second part
I would also assume that the exchanged abilities are most likely the ones you have options to pick them either way, so if you dont exchange all you can still have your jetpack, only on another level then planned maybe
and if you run into a roadblock because you can't pick one of the probably many options I would guess you have done something wrong in your character design


Seisho wrote:
Torbyne wrote:

Honestly though, Archetypes eating feats is a far easier design choice to make, you dont have to cripple any core class ability progressions or be enslaved to a past design choice to make all future classes follow the same style of progression so that they can be compatible with Archetypes.

As an example,there seems to be an assumption that things like jetpacks are going to be easily available at a relatively low level, taking that away from a class in exchange for an unrelated ability would leave a character roadblocked at something that is trivial to everyone else.

Eating away feats would be rather crippling for some character (well also depending on how feat dependent the chars are here) I for example think that vmc (at its core at least) was very good but usually didnt have enough feats to spare (if i was not fighter)

So simple giving all classes a rogue talent counterpart and exchanging some or all of them (depending on the archetype) i guess would make a good option

as for the second part
I would also assume that the exchanged abilities are most likely the ones you have options to pick them either way, so if you dont exchange all you can still have your jetpack, only on another level then planned maybe
and if you run into a roadblock because you can't pick one of the probably many options I would guess you have done something wrong in your character design

Its hard to say which is easier to trade out wihthout having the book in hand, and i completely agree that a lot of Pathfinder classes need feats to make them really workable, but in my ideal world class abilities are far more important than feats because by their very nature feats are the nice to have add ons while class abilities are those things that let you really believe a character is capable of being called Soldier/Operative/Mechanic etc.


Torbyne wrote:
Seisho wrote:
Torbyne wrote:

Honestly though, Archetypes eating feats is a far easier design choice to make, you dont have to cripple any core class ability progressions or be enslaved to a past design choice to make all future classes follow the same style of progression so that they can be compatible with Archetypes.

As an example,there seems to be an assumption that things like jetpacks are going to be easily available at a relatively low level, taking that away from a class in exchange for an unrelated ability would leave a character roadblocked at something that is trivial to everyone else.

Eating away feats would be rather crippling for some character (well also depending on how feat dependent the chars are here) I for example think that vmc (at its core at least) was very good but usually didnt have enough feats to spare (if i was not fighter)

So simple giving all classes a rogue talent counterpart and exchanging some or all of them (depending on the archetype) i guess would make a good option

as for the second part
I would also assume that the exchanged abilities are most likely the ones you have options to pick them either way, so if you dont exchange all you can still have your jetpack, only on another level then planned maybe
and if you run into a roadblock because you can't pick one of the probably many options I would guess you have done something wrong in your character design

Its hard to say which is easier to trade out wihthout having the book in hand, and i completely agree that a lot of Pathfinder classes need feats to make them really workable, but in my ideal world class abilities are far more important than feats because by their very nature feats are the nice to have add ons while class abilities are those things that let you really believe a character is capable of being called Soldier/Operative/Mechanic etc.

That is true, on the other hand think simply of some of the usual feat sinks.

If you want a lot of combat maneuvers you first had to take either combat expertise (which was utter crap if you ask me, I was so happy when they released dirty fighting) or power attack (which is a nice to have) and than at least one feat for every maneuver you want to use just so you don't get hit in the face for trying
Or if you want to be a dexterity based character you need weapon finesse to hit in melee, agile maneuvers for, well maneuvers in melee (+ the maneuver feat sink) and if you want to do some damage you need to either be mythic or weapon focus + slashing grace and might not get the weapon of your choice.

I am for one relieved that you don't need to sink a dozen feats into maneuvers just to be able to use them without getting hit but depending on what you want to play feats are as essential as the class abilities


3 people marked this as a favorite.
Seisho wrote:
Torbyne wrote:

Honestly though, Archetypes eating feats is a far easier design choice to make, you dont have to cripple any core class ability progressions or be enslaved to a past design choice to make all future classes follow the same style of progression so that they can be compatible with Archetypes.

As an example,there seems to be an assumption that things like jetpacks are going to be easily available at a relatively low level, taking that away from a class in exchange for an unrelated ability would leave a character roadblocked at something that is trivial to everyone else.

Eating away feats would be rather crippling for some character (well also depending on how feat dependent the chars are here) I for example think that vmc (at its core at least) was very good but usually didnt have enough feats to spare (if i was not fighter)

So simple giving all classes a rogue talent counterpart and exchanging some or all of them (depending on the archetype) i guess would make a good option

as for the second part
I would also assume that the exchanged abilities are most likely the ones you have options to pick them either way, so if you dont exchange all you can still have your jetpack, only on another level then planned maybe
and if you run into a roadblock because you can't pick one of the probably many options I would guess you have done something wrong in your character design

The worst part about VMC is that some options were literally objectively worse than just feats. Let's take a peek at Gunslinger for an example:

At level 3, you trade a feat to gain the Exotic Weapon Proficiency (firearms) feat. In effect, you gain no benefit at all over simply selecting that as your feat, just locked in progression.
At level 7, you trade a feat to gain the Gunsmithing feat. In effect, you gain no benefit at all over simply selecting that as your feat, just locked in progression.
At level 11, you trade a feat to get the Amateur Gunslinger feat. In effect, you gain no benefit at all over simply selecting that as your feat, just locked in progression.
At level 15, far above the maximum level of most campaigns, finally, for the first time in your progression, you gain something that isn't a feat - a 3rd level deed. Aka something that was relevant 12 levels ago and is probably worse than a feat at this point.
Same situation at level 19.


Mark Seifter wrote:


I was imagining something like a "ghost in the machine" possessing a mechanical shell or a mechanic for phasing through the airlock that could be shared between an incorporeal spirit and a sufficiently small nanobot conglomerate.

Those would both still have the issue of the character needing to be a Mechanic though, which doesn't fit most spiritualist concepts.

I think people will just have to accept Starfinder wont be able to cover a tonne of PF character types (which makes sense considering it's only the Core book so far).

Scarab Sages

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Milo v3 wrote:
Mark Seifter wrote:


I was imagining something like a "ghost in the machine" possessing a mechanical shell or a mechanic for phasing through the airlock that could be shared between an incorporeal spirit and a sufficiently small nanobot conglomerate.

Those would both still have the issue of the character needing to be a Mechanic though, which doesn't fit most spiritualist concepts.

I think people will just have to accept Starfinder wont be able to cover a tonne of PF character types (which makes sense considering it's only the Core book so far).

Why doesn't mechanic fit a spiritualist concept? It has the available companion game mechanics to allow the phantom, and the "concept" could be handed by your choice of theme or archetype.

Class and concept are not the same things. A class is simply the game mechanics you use to generate your abilities. This has always been the case in Pathfinder, but with the addition of themes Starfinder seems to be taking that further.


Imbicatus wrote:
Why doesn't mechanic fit a spiritualist concept?

It will fit some spiritualist concepts (I can see many people wanting to have a ghost in the machine). It still doesn't fit most, because when most people think "I want to play a spiritualist" they aren't thinking of playing the person with all the class features about interacting with tech.

Quote:
Class and concept are not the same things. A class is simply the game mechanics you use to generate your abilities.

If the mechanic class has nothing to do with interacting with tech it should be renamed. I'm all for reflavouring, but the classes should have some link between flavour and mechanics, otherwise the game would be bland and I can't really see them doing that.


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Mashallah wrote:
Seisho wrote:
Torbyne wrote:

Honestly though, Archetypes eating feats is a far easier design choice to make, you dont have to cripple any core class ability progressions or be enslaved to a past design choice to make all future classes follow the same style of progression so that they can be compatible with Archetypes.

As an example,there seems to be an assumption that things like jetpacks are going to be easily available at a relatively low level, taking that away from a class in exchange for an unrelated ability would leave a character roadblocked at something that is trivial to everyone else.

Eating away feats would be rather crippling for some character (well also depending on how feat dependent the chars are here) I for example think that vmc (at its core at least) was very good but usually didnt have enough feats to spare (if i was not fighter)

So simple giving all classes a rogue talent counterpart and exchanging some or all of them (depending on the archetype) i guess would make a good option

as for the second part
I would also assume that the exchanged abilities are most likely the ones you have options to pick them either way, so if you dont exchange all you can still have your jetpack, only on another level then planned maybe
and if you run into a roadblock because you can't pick one of the probably many options I would guess you have done something wrong in your character design

The worst part about VMC is that some options were literally objectively worse than just feats. Let's take a peek at Gunslinger for an example:

At level 3, you trade a feat to gain the Exotic Weapon Proficiency (firearms) feat. In effect, you gain no benefit at all over simply selecting that as your feat, just locked in progression.
At level 7, you trade a feat to gain the Gunsmithing feat. In effect, you gain no benefit at all over simply selecting that as your feat, just locked in progression.
At level 11, you trade a feat to get the Amateur Gunslinger feat. In effect, you gain...

I tottally agree. In Pathfinder i rarely give VMC a serious look because what most options give arent worth the feats you give up. But in theory, the design at least, it allows some real customization, a side grading of power instead of upgrading. But that really only works when the VMC gives you access to abilities that are distinct from feats and they need to come online at relevant levels. i would like to see Patfhinder VMCs revisited again at some point but with something wholly new like Starfinder they have had a chance to look over the system as a whole and design something that is balanced and supported from the start.


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Personally, I find feats to be one of the most important mechanics to character customization. I'd rather give up class features than feats.


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Steven "Troll" O'Neal wrote:
Personally, I find feats to be one of the most important mechanics to character customization. I'd rather give up class features than feats.

Just goes to show to each their own. I usually deal with feats last and pretty much unwillingly. It seems (to my 100% subjective personal tastes!) that there's this weird mix of way too many feats to sort through, but also rarely ever anything that fits what I want to do (or I need to take 3 or 4 feats I'm not at all interested in to get to the one I am). I'd personally be happy never having to pick feats again. ;)

(Again, just my personal preference - not saying it's wrong, or broken, or bloated, or whatever, just it's like mint chocolate chip ice cream. My wife can't get enough, and I really don't like it.)

Class abilities and archetypes, however, I absolutely love! I usually find far more that I'm interested in than I can ever play.

I'm glad that Pathfinder (and by extension hopefully Starfinder) are flexible enough to meet both of our desires. That is a sign of a great RPG.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Pawns, Rulebook Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

The shorter (practically nonexistent, it seems like!) feat trees might help somewhat with your issues, Ken...


Steven "Troll" O'Neal wrote:
Personally, I find feats to be one of the most important mechanics to character customization. I'd rather give up class features than feats.

I think that is at least somewhat due to class abilities being so old and set that they have not aged well in comparison to feats and archetypes which can both vary wildly in power but between all the new options they represent there is usually something that does a character concept much better than a base class can. On the flip side Pathfinder Feat chains are basically VMCs of their own. Archery is the big one that if you want to do it well you need to sign over at least half your feat choices. Style chains are another option that usually lock up 3-4 of your feats to complete. Except when you view feat chains as VMC you have a lot more freedom in updating them with the most recent content whereas we arent likely to see VMC Bard 2.0 or an updated Magus VMC option.


When I hear that the Archetypes are universal, i think less about Pathfinder archetypes and more about D20 Modern/Anachronistic Adventures, where thwy aren't desifned to swap anything oyt but designed to be tacked on. Especially since there is now a universal point pool. Is tbat what's happening? If so I'm in favor of it since I used Anachronistic Adventures a lot in my Pathfinder space campaign.


Malwing wrote:
When I hear that the Archetypes are universal, i think less about Pathfinder archetypes and more about D20 Modern/Anachronistic Adventures, where thwy aren't desifned to swap anything oyt but designed to be tacked on. Especially since there is now a universal point pool. Is tbat what's happening? If so I'm in favor of it since I used Anachronistic Adventures a lot in my Pathfinder space campaign.

No, archetypes still replace class features. It's currently assumed that all classes have something of equal worth at the same levels (perhaps like talents) that these archetypes replace, hence why they can be universal.


I read a couple interviews with brief mentions of ways to get druid-style spellcasting in Starfinder, and I'm curious as to how they'll handle the aspect of druids I was more concerned about: wild shape. If converting creatures back and forth is relatively easy, then I imagine I can still create something similar to a wild shape druid in Starfinder as long as an ability that lets me turn into an animal (or alien, in this context) exists. Any word on shapeshifting in Starfinder?


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Fardragon wrote:
I'm guessing the jetpack abilities mentioned in the soldier class write up fall into this catagory. So a Phrenic Adept Soldier doesn't learn to use a jet pack.

Actually the designers have stated that jetboots and jetpacks are equipment that ANYONE can buy and use. It is just that Soldiers will probably be good with the skills necessary to use them more effectively.


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Ken Marable wrote:
Steven "Troll" O'Neal wrote:
Personally, I find feats to be one of the most important mechanics to character customization. I'd rather give up class features than feats.

Just goes to show to each their own. I usually deal with feats last and pretty much unwillingly. It seems (to my 100% subjective personal tastes!) that there's this weird mix of way too many feats to sort through, but also rarely ever anything that fits what I want to do (or I need to take 3 or 4 feats I'm not at all interested in to get to the one I am). I'd personally be happy never having to pick feats again. ;)

(Again, just my personal preference - not saying it's wrong, or broken, or bloated, or whatever, just it's like mint chocolate chip ice cream. My wife can't get enough, and I really don't like it.)

Class abilities and archetypes, however, I absolutely love! I usually find far more that I'm interested in than I can ever play.

I'm glad that Pathfinder (and by extension hopefully Starfinder) are flexible enough to meet both of our desires. That is a sign of a great RPG.

See, I agree with you. While I do feel feats are my preferred method of character customization, I also feel that feat trees are too long and have too many prereqs. That's one of the reasons I'm excited for starfinder.

Grand Lodge

daphnetrodon wrote:
I read a couple interviews with brief mentions of ways to get druid-style spellcasting in Starfinder, and I'm curious as to how they'll handle the aspect of druids I was more concerned about: wild shape. If converting creatures back and forth is relatively easy, then I imagine I can still create something similar to a wild shape druid in Starfinder as long as an ability that lets me turn into an animal (or alien, in this context) exists. Any word on shapeshifting in Starfinder?

The Mystic probably has a Beast Shape spell on his list.

But for longer durations, in a sci-fi game, I would expect shapeshifting to be a racial ability.


The mechanic should have a giant robot shape on thier list.


Fardragon wrote:
The mechanic should have a giant robot shape on thier list.

That seems more technomancer to me.

Liberty's Edge

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Mechanic is not a source of spells as I understand it.

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