Bringing Out the Big Guns in Starfinder

Friday, June 16, 2017

As a science fantasy game, Starfinder has a wide range of high-tech weapons. Cryo guns, plasma weapons, lasers, full automatic projectile weapons, grenades, and many more categories of high-tech weapons cram the equipment chapter, ready for players to select what they need to stay alive in the adventures to come. But as soon as you mention that lasers are an option, and that Starfinder is supposed to maintain fair backward compatibility with the monsters of Pathfinder, players wonder how a goblin is supposed to be any kind of threat to PCs armed with advanced ranged weaponry. After all, realistically, a laser has to do more damage than a short sword, right.

Well, in a word, no.

Where realism impinges on making a fun and robust game, we're more than happy to deviate from realism—but in this case, it's not really necessary. Modern real-world laser pointers are lasers, for example, and do no damage to speak of when fired at your hand. And while it may seem unrealistic for laser pistols and plasma rifles to do low enough damage that you can be shot 4 or 5 times before you're in serious risk of death, that logic also applies to archaic weapons. It's not hard to make a 1st-level barbarian in Pathfinder who can easily survive four blows from a short sword and still be conscious. Certainly most people would agree that "realistically," being stabbed four times with 18 inches of sharpened steel isn't going to leave anyone in the condition where they can just walk away.

So, since we know lasers (and, by extension, most other energy weapons) can exist at a level where they do little to no damage, we can go ahead and make low-powered versions appropriate for the threats and foes low-level characters are most likely to encounter, letting your character start the game with that laser pistol they've been coveting.

But of course it wouldn't be any fun to restrict characters to such low-powered options forever.

Starfinder assumes there is almost always a better version of any weapon you can imagine—the trick is convincing people to sell it to you (and having the credits to afford it). In many cases the most advanced of these weapons don't make sense for rank-and-file troops. After all, why would an army buy a single avalanche-class zero rifle, when it can buy forty hailstorm-class zero rifles for the same amount of money? Sure, the avalanche-class does three times as much damage. But if you have an army to equip, it's better to have forty guns doing 2d8 damage than one gun doing 7d8 damage.

Of course there are exceptions to that thinking, including elite forces, commandos, assassins, snipers... and player characters.

As characters advance, they'll have the money, and connections, to buy more and more powerful versions of their early weapons. To keep this process simple, every piece of equipment in the game has an item level. That level has no effect on who can use the equipment—if a 2nd-level soldier gets hold of an 18th-level banshee sonic rifle, there's no reason he can't use it to full effect—just as a 2nd-level fighter could use a +5 flaming keen vicious bastard sword in Pathfinder. But by giving every piece of equipment an item level, we can tie numerous rules—including hardness, Hit Points, save DCs, and item creation rules, to name just a few—to a single mechanic. Item level is also a useful baseline to help determine what gear a character has the licenses, connections, and trust to buy. While circumstances and GM fiat can make any adjustment desired, in general a player character in a major settlement is free to buy any gear with an item level up to his character level +2. This gives characters freedom to decide if they are going to focus on just a few pieces of key gear, or do their best to have a variety of slightly less-effective options available, without a GM having to spend a lot of time checking tables and making availability rolls.

In general, there's no need to upgrade your weaponry at every level (though you certainly could if that was exciting for you), but over the course of a character's career they are likely to buy better, more dangerous, more powerful versions of their weaponry. The azimuth laser pistol is 1st level, and does 1d4 damage with an 80 ft. range increment and the ability to set things on fire with critical hits. The next lowest level laser pistol presented in the Core Rulebook is the corona model at 6th level, which does 2d4 damage. Of course, a player might run into a number of other weapon options along the way, ranging from the static arc pistol at 2nd level to the thunderstrike sonic pistol at 4th level or the frostbite-class zero pistol at 5th level.

Of course, for this system to work, feats and class features can't be tied to a specific model or level of a specific weapon. Instead, everything is geared to work with all the weapons for a specific proficiency, or all the weapons of the same category. Weapon Focus, for example, can be applied to all small arms, or all longarms, and so on. The soldier's gear boosts tend to work with categories of weapons, such as laser accuracy applying to all lasers, or plasma immolation working with all plasma weapons.

And that's not even talking about magic weapons! The Starfinder Core Rulebook has several pages of weapon fusions, which are special magic abilities that can be added to a weapon to gain a bonus in specific circumstances, or grant new combat options. For example, the anchoring fusion allows a weapon to immobilize a foe on a critical hit, while the holy fusion allows a weapon to bypass DR/good and ignore all energy resistance of evil dragons, evil outsiders, and evil undead. Fusion can also be placed in fusion seals, special weapon augmentations that can be moved from weapon to weapon if you decide to change your primary attack preference.

Nor does all of a character's increase in damage come from buying bigger guns and more powerful melee weapons. At 3rd level, every character class grants specialization with all the standard weapons the class gives proficiency with. This allows the character to add their level to damage dealt (or to add half their level in the case of small arms or operative melee weapons, the latter of which have the special property that anyone can use their Dexterity rather than Strength to determine their attack bonus). And of course class features, feats, and spells can grant further bonuses, depending on the choices a player makes while building their character.

All of this is tied to our rebalancing of combat math to make the game faster and simpler, while keeping weapon choice important and keeping the importance of treasure acquisition as a feature of the game. It also gives us flexibility when working in the weapon creation design space. The various weapon categories mean that characters with no access to magic abilities can still pick up weapons that do various forms of energy damage; create cones, lines, or explosions; or even stagger, blind, stun, or ignite foes. A soldier might decide their primary fighting style is to use a big two-handed melee weapon, but still carry a few grenades and a flamethrower for situations where they need to affect multiple targets in an area, or just deal a different damage type. It also removes the need to constantly chase pure accuracy bonuses, since doing more damage in a round is no longer dependent on having a 3rd or 4th (or 6th!) attack in a full attack action reliably connect with foes.

Most of the math and design work behind how Starfinder's weapons, attacks, feats, and more isn't particularly obvious to a typical player—quite intentionally—but we've put a lot of time into creating options that work well together, and making sure equipment and weapons generally come into play right at the point when it's appropriate for characters to access them. Hopefully this will allow players to focus less on finding some theoretical perfect combination of game elements for effectiveness, and more on interplanetary adventure!

Owen KC Stephens
Developer

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Owen K. C. Stephens wrote:

Critical hits have been changed to a natural 20 is always a critical (no confirmation roll, and no threat ranges beyond 20), and on a critical all damage (yes ALL DAMAGE -- no exceptions) is doubled.

I think the only thing I don't really like so far from everything I've heard is the no confirmation roll. I felt that was a very good mechanic that scaled "hitableness" vs accuracy with the likelihood of critting.

It stopped the lowly inept character that can only hit on natural 20 against ninja mc flipping pants from critting every time he hits said ninja.
Which is unrealistic as you're more likely to graze such a character.

Not that I can't just add it back in home games easy enough.

So two questions:

1, Was this done purely for simplicity's sake or for another reason?

2, Is x2 the only multiplier or are there more damage levels?

Thanks.


Marco Massoudi wrote:

Owen, how does "item creation" work?

I think it is one of the most broken things in Pathfinder and hope it is different in Starfinder.

I could also imagine, that you can´t manufacture some things at all without heavy industrial machines and even then, it won´t be possible if you are no expert.

Thx a lot. :-)

As I read it somewhere else you don't need feats and as material basic units of a universal compound which you can use to craft everything

a unit of the compound also equals a credit in worth
and crafting something is of course depending on the price tag

Designer

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Lemartes wrote:
Owen K. C. Stephens wrote:

Critical hits have been changed to a natural 20 is always a critical (no confirmation roll, and no threat ranges beyond 20), and on a critical all damage (yes ALL DAMAGE -- no exceptions) is doubled.

I think the only thing I don't really like so far from everything I've heard is the no confirmation roll. I felt that was a very good mechanic that scaled "hitableness" vs accuracy with the likelihood of critting.

It stopped the lowly inept character that can only hit on natural 20 against ninja mc flipping pants from critting every time he hits said ninja.
Which is unrealistic as you're more likely to graze such a character.

Don't worry: if you wouldn't have hit without the auto-hit from the 20, it isn't a crit.


Mark Seifter wrote:
Lemartes wrote:
Owen K. C. Stephens wrote:

Critical hits have been changed to a natural 20 is always a critical (no confirmation roll, and no threat ranges beyond 20), and on a critical all damage (yes ALL DAMAGE -- no exceptions) is doubled.

I think the only thing I don't really like so far from everything I've heard is the no confirmation roll. I felt that was a very good mechanic that scaled "hitableness" vs accuracy with the likelihood of critting.

It stopped the lowly inept character that can only hit on natural 20 against ninja mc flipping pants from critting every time he hits said ninja.
Which is unrealistic as you're more likely to graze such a character.

Don't worry: if you wouldn't have hit without the auto-hit from the 20, it isn't a crit.

Sweet. That works. Thanks. :)

Liberty's Edge

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The blog only really talks about energy weapons as far as firearms go. Where do the slugthrowers fit into all of this?


Sweet!

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Society Subscriber
Shisumo wrote:
The blog only really talks about energy weapons as far as firearms go. Where do the slugthrowers fit into all of this?

Probably under: full automatic projectile weapons or ,many more categories of high-tech weapons.


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It isn't a deal breaker so far, after all there are lots of other games where the granularity of weapons isn't nearly as fine as it is in others.

If it is set up where 4 pounds of sharp steel swung by a 6 foot tall warrior does the same dice of damage as 8 pounds of steel swung by a 12 foot tall warrior... well, I would hope there are other rules to justify it.

And no, it doesn't make any more sense for tech weapons. Bigger energy weapons should be throwing more energy and causing more damage. Or hitting more of a surface area with the same amount of energy per square inch, still causing more damage. Except maybe a monowire whip, or something similar.

However, I did prefer the old 3.0 way of doing weapons where a longsword was just a shortsword to a large creature and a greatsword to a small creature, so perhaps I could wrap it in my headspace from that angle when I see the final rules.


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Mark Seifter wrote:
Don't worry: if you wouldn't have hit without the auto-hit from the 20, it isn't a crit.

This is good though.

When you roll for a crit in Starfinder, do you roll double the dice and add double the modifiers or do you double the total after the fact? I infer that you don't roll double the dice and then add the modifiers like in 5e D&D.


This is great. Advance tech means more weapon levels because of capitalism. I am feeling the SciFi already.


Rhedyn wrote:
This is great. Advance tech means more weapon levels because of capitalism. I am feeling the SciFi already.

Be careful, somewhere out there is surely a planet that practices communism where everyone has the same kind of rifle


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Seisho wrote:
Rhedyn wrote:
This is great. Advance tech means more weapon levels because of capitalism. I am feeling the SciFi already.
Be careful, somewhere out there is surely a planet that practices communism where everyone has the same kind of rifle

I'm sure there are a few primitive worlds in the setting.


Stone Dog wrote:

It isn't a deal breaker so far, after all there are lots of other games where the granularity of weapons isn't nearly as fine as it is in others.

If it is set up where 4 pounds of sharp steel swung by a 6 foot tall warrior does the same dice of damage as 8 pounds of steel swung by a 12 foot tall warrior... well, I would hope there are other rules to justify it.

And no, it doesn't make any more sense for tech weapons. Bigger energy weapons should be throwing more energy and causing more damage. Or hitting more of a surface area with the same amount of energy per square inch, still causing more damage. Except maybe a monowire whip, or something similar.

However, I did prefer the old 3.0 way of doing weapons where a longsword was just a shortsword to a large creature and a greatsword to a small creature, so perhaps I could wrap it in my headspace from that angle when I see the final rules.

I imagine larger enemies like giants will simply wield more powerful weapons instead of stuff like longswords, weapons with an item level around their CR.

I would probably reskin higher end weapons for large weapons and lower end weapons for tiny weapons when it comes to loot.

So an ogre might wield a corona laser pistol that would be refluffed as an ogre sized azimuth laser pistol. Meaning it would be a level 6 item that deals 2d4 damage.

For a pixie wielding a corona laser pistol I'd refluff it as a piexie sized version of the laser pistol that comes after the corona in the laser "tree".


I am hoping that you are either right, or close enough that I can justify it in the same way.


Owen K. C. Stephens wrote:
Stone Dog wrote:
Is there a synergy between Soldiers and weapon specialization possessed by other classes as was hinted at in an earlier blog, or is the Soldier simply happy everybody gets weapon specialization at 3rd level because the Soldier gets WS with more things?

The main thing is how expensive it is for other classes to get WS, since they must fist be proficient, and sometimes they must be proficient with multiple things.

So, for example, no class but soldier is automatically proficient with long arms or heavy weapons. Remember that small arms add half your level as specialization damage, but long arms and heavy weapons add your full level.

So at 3rd, a soldier gets to add +3 to long arms and heavy weapons attacks. A envoy who wants to do the same thing must take Longarm Proficiency, Weapon Specialization (longarms), Heavy Weapon Proficiency (which has a 13 Str, and small arms and longer proficiency as prerequisites), and then likely Versatile Specialization (so the envoy will be specialized in any other weapon picked up later on).

That means the envoy *can't* do that by 3rd level. Even a human envoy can't.

Now at 5th, a human envoy can have spent his 1st, 3rd, 5th, and human bonus feat -- that is, ALL feats, to have the same damage options as the soldier. Of course by now the soldier has 3 universal feats, and two combat feats, and a gear boost, and two style technique powers.

And the difference between small arms and long arms stays relevant. This isn't like Pathfinder where the difference between a +2 bane flaming morningstar and a +2 bane flaming two-handed sword is 2.5 hp per attack and double the critical change. The highest-damage 10th level small arm does 3d6 and gets +5 from specialization. The highest-damage 10th level longarm does 3d10 and gets +10 from specialization. The highest-damage heavy weapons do 2d12 in a cone or radius, and still gets +10 from specialization.

While other classes can chase the soldier in terms of feats, they begin at least 4 behind,...

This might have been answered elsewhere already... what about multiclassing? one level of Soldier and then the rest in Envoy sounds like it might be a good fit for a heavily armored, rifle user who has some buff options.


Stone Dog wrote:
I am hoping that you are either right, or close enough that I can justify it in the same way.

If I had to guess, I would say larger size weapons do +1 damage per dice per size larger because that is basically how dice damage increases work now.


As far as I recollect Multiclassing was perfectly valid and pretty much like in pf

but be sure to link your archetype to your main class


I totally get what they are saying about scaled weapons in the blog but can someone science-y weigh in on Plasma being... i dunno, low enough charge or "cold" enough to not be dangerous? If it has enough energy in it to make the electrons go all crazy that doesnt seem like something you would shrug off. Maybe its just a teeny tiny bit of plasma though? Or is plasma really bad at transferring energy?

Silver Crusade

Yes, this is all very well, but will my Elf Technomancer still be able to shoot his shuriken catapult pistol?


Oh, btw, love the mass effectian design of all the weapons shown so far.


IonutRO wrote:
Oh, btw, love the mass effectian design of all the weapons shown so far.

I was seeing a lot of Destiny styling there but i can also see some Mass Effect... effect now that you mention it.


Are there going to be kinetic weapon options? Call me old fashioned, but I like to shoot sold objects at my enemies and have always found gauss and coil guns a really cool concept.

Designer

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Torbyne wrote:
I totally get what they are saying about scaled weapons in the blog but can someone science-y weigh in on Plasma being... i dunno, low enough charge or "cold" enough to not be dangerous? If it has enough energy in it to make the electrons go all crazy that doesnt seem like something you would shrug off. Maybe its just a teeny tiny bit of plasma though? Or is plasma really bad at transferring energy?

Starfinder's plasma weapons also tend to spread out the plasma over an area, plus starting in at higher levels than lasers.


Torbyne wrote:
I totally get what they are saying about scaled weapons in the blog but can someone science-y weigh in on Plasma being... i dunno, low enough charge or "cold" enough to not be dangerous? If it has enough energy in it to make the electrons go all crazy that doesnt seem like something you would shrug off. Maybe its just a teeny tiny bit of plasma though? Or is plasma really bad at transferring energy?

I am someone science-y by trade and I also minor'd in philosophy. So mindlessly equivocating technical terms can be said to be my specialization!

Plasma is basically ionized gas popularized recently by Plasma-screen TVs and Neon signs. More dangerous kinds of plasma refer to things like the surface of stars.

For more details, I would go to a physicist. The rabbit hole goes deeper about this 4th state of matter.


So volume of plasma, concentration of the projectile charge involved, and the source material excited to a plasma state all contribute to damage. Sounds like sufficient Space Opera explanation to me!


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Haywire build generator wrote:

Damage on tiered weapons? Sounds video gamey.

I like it.

Call it full circle. Videogames were in many ways built on RPGs like D&D that came out first by sometimes a full decade.


Pathfinder Adventure, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Sounds good to me.

Scarab Sages Developer, Starfinder Team

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Marco Massoudi wrote:

Owen, how does "item creation" work?

I think it is one of the most broken things in Pathfinder and hope it is different in Starfinder.

I could also imagine, that you can´t manufacture some things at all without heavy industrial machines and even then, it won´t be possible if you are no expert.

Thx a lot. :-)

You can only create things in the core rulebook. Obviously the GM could make new things available, but the rules assume you are restricted to these existing items.

For technological items, you must have ranks in Engineering equal to the device's item level. For magic, you must have ranks in mysticism equal to the item's level. For hybrid items, you must have ranks in both skills. For computers its ranks in Computers, for medicinal is ranks in Life Science or Physical Science.

Spend UPBs (universal polymer bases) equal in value to the item's cost, and take a base time of 4 hours.

You have now created the item. It is easier for you to fix something you made, and it has more hardness and Hit Points than mass-produced versions.

That's the core of it. The whole rules system is less than a page for everything, and there are no item creation feats or similar resource sinks.

Scarab Sages Developer, Starfinder Team

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Lemartes wrote:
Owen K. C. Stephens wrote:

Critical hits have been changed to a natural 20 is always a critical (no confirmation roll, and no threat ranges beyond 20), and on a critical all damage (yes ALL DAMAGE -- no exceptions) is doubled.

I think the only thing I don't really like so far from everything I've heard is the no confirmation roll. I felt that was a very good mechanic that scaled "hitableness" vs accuracy with the likelihood of critting.

It stopped the lowly inept character that can only hit on natural 20 against ninja mc flipping pants from critting every time he hits said ninja.

As it happens, if you only hit on a 20, you do not critical when you roll a 20. That's strictly worse for people who only hit on a 20 than confirmation rolls (by one critical out of every 400 attacks), and we are okay with that.

Lemartes wrote:


1, Was this done purely for simplicity's sake or for another reason?

Numerous other reasons, some mathematical, some philosophical, and some playtest-oriented.

Lemartes wrote:
2, Is x2 the only multiplier or are there more damage levels? Thanks.

All crits are only on a 20 (there are no expanded threat ranged), and all damage )of all types) is doubled.

However, some weapons have a critical hit effect, which may be a burn effect, or a bleed, or a knockdown, or even some damage arcing to a secondary target. Those arguably have additional damage impact on a critical, even though they re still just x2.

Scarab Sages Developer, Starfinder Team

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Shisumo wrote:
The blog only really talks about energy weapons as far as firearms go. Where do the slugthrowers fit into all of this?

They exist, and work the same way except they so slashing, bludgeoning, or piercing and attacks with them go against KAC.


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Owen K. C. Stephens wrote:
Marco Massoudi wrote:

Owen, how does "item creation" work?

I think it is one of the most broken things in Pathfinder and hope it is different in Starfinder.

I could also imagine, that you can´t manufacture some things at all without heavy industrial machines and even then, it won´t be possible if you are no expert.

Thx a lot. :-)

You can only create things in the core rulebook. Obviously the GM could make new things available, but the rules assume you are restricted to these existing items.

For technological items, you must have ranks in Engineering equal to the device's item level. For magic, you must have ranks in mysticism equal to the item's level. For hybrid items, you must have ranks in both skills. For computers its ranks in Computers, for medicinal is ranks in Life Science or Physical Science.

Spend UPBs (universal polymer bases) equal in value to the item's cost, and take a base time of 4 hours.

You have now created the item. It is easier for you to fix something you made, and it has more hardness and Hit Points than mass-produced versions.

That's the core of it. The whole rules system is less than a page for everything, and there are no item creation feats or similar resource sinks.

This immediately sticks out to me as a huge problem for the setting. You can only have a number of ranks in a skill equal to your level, which means there need to be huge adventuring badasses sitting around making those high level items for them to exist. Pathfinder got around that setting problem by making crafting a relatively easy skill check you can boost with equipment and helping hands, so you can actually have teams of adepts making high level items.

This... feels like a serious step back, when manufacturing should be easier than ever, if anything. And items requiring the same cost to craft as they cost to make is baffling for other reasons.


Aratrok wrote:
Owen K. C. Stephens wrote:
Marco Massoudi wrote:

Owen, how does "item creation" work?

I think it is one of the most broken things in Pathfinder and hope it is different in Starfinder.

I could also imagine, that you can´t manufacture some things at all without heavy industrial machines and even then, it won´t be possible if you are no expert.

Thx a lot. :-)

You can only create things in the core rulebook. Obviously the GM could make new things available, but the rules assume you are restricted to these existing items.

For technological items, you must have ranks in Engineering equal to the device's item level. For magic, you must have ranks in mysticism equal to the item's level. For hybrid items, you must have ranks in both skills. For computers its ranks in Computers, for medicinal is ranks in Life Science or Physical Science.

Spend UPBs (universal polymer bases) equal in value to the item's cost, and take a base time of 4 hours.

You have now created the item. It is easier for you to fix something you made, and it has more hardness and Hit Points than mass-produced versions.

That's the core of it. The whole rules system is less than a page for everything, and there are no item creation feats or similar resource sinks.

This immediately sticks out to me as a huge problem for the setting. You can only have a number of ranks in a skill equal to your level, which means there need to be huge adventuring badasses sitting around making those high level items for them to exist. Pathfinder got around that setting problem by making crafting a relatively easy skill check you can boost with equipment and helping hands, so you can actually have teams of adepts making high level items.

This... feels like a serious step back, when manufacturing should be easier than ever, if anything. And items requiring the same cost to craft as they cost to make is baffling for other reasons.

Adventuring is not the only way to gain experience, it is merely the most expedient.


Quote:
Adventuring is not the only way to gain experience, it is merely the most expedient.

I don't mean that they're actively adventuring while making high level items, I mean that for high powered items to exist you need someone who can get shot with low level lasers hundreds of times to be making them. It's a similar issue to what 3.x grappled with, where a "master smith" type dude has to actually be a badass that can crush your head between his forefinger and thumb to be allowed to have more ranks in Craft.


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Aratrok wrote:
Quote:
Adventuring is not the only way to gain experience, it is merely the most expedient.
I don't mean that they're actively adventuring while making high level items, I mean that for high powered items to exist you need someone who can get shot with low level lasers hundreds of times to be making them. It's a similar issue to what 3.x grappled with, where a "master smith" type dude has to actually be a badass that can crush your head between his forefinger and thumb to be allowed to have more ranks in Craft.

Or one superior AI with an assembly line.

Liberty's Edge

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Aratrok wrote:
This immediately sticks out to me as a huge problem for the setting. You can only have a number of ranks in a skill equal to your level, which means there need to be huge adventuring badasses sitting around making those high level items for them to exist.
Owen K. C. Stephens wrote:
it has more hardness and Hit Points than mass-produced versions.

Note the distinction between PC-created items and "mass-produced versions." I wouldn't read a whole lot into the larger economy from these crafting rules; they are explicitly different things.


its also possible that there are machines you can get that raise your effectice skill level so a small crew with 4 or 5 ranks and a factory's worth of specialist machines can still produce high level items... but those machines are expensive and beyond the means of most PCs to acquire. or some such.

Scarab Sages Developer, Starfinder Team

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The assumption is that AbadarCorp and other mega-producers have different options for mass producing things, which use non-PC scale rules. In short, anything you buy in Starfinder is taking advantage of a massive economy of scale, with at the very least hundreds and in most cases hundreds of thousands of them being made.

PCs won't be doing that. That's not what the game is for. Just as in Pathfinder adventures it is often said some deal was cut with a specific outsider, or a mysterious ritual was performed, and no rules exist for PCs to exactly duplicate those effects, Starfinder tells you how you, as a lone artisan, make something all by yourself, but doesn't assume you can compete with mass-produced, assembly-line, economy-of scale weapons.

It would in fact break my suspension of disbelief much more if the best way for 15th level adventurers to make money is to take in raw materials and spit out individual items, and somehow compete with galaxy-spanning corporations when they do so.

Of course the individually produced versions are a little heartier, and easier for their creators to fix. That's the advantage of that craftsmanship.

Liberty's Edge

Wait, longswords are Advance melee weapons? Does that mean that the Iconic Envoy isn't proficient with that sword she's carrying?


Okay. So what happens when the PCs purchase, steal, borrow, or invent their own 3D printer or micro-factory or whatever other obvious sci-fi trope you want to emulate? Do you just go the 4e route and tell them to screw off and stop trying to interact with the economy in any way that isn't a pre-proscribed black box method? Being transparent with rules for that kind of thing and letting players directly interact with the world is one of the best things about d20-based games, and not being transparent is part of what killed D&D's market share in the first place and gave Pathfinder its position.

For that matter, why does having a larger pile of cash still directly translate into more character power ad-finitum? That was a flaw discovered around 2000 when 3e came out, and presumably only included in Pathfinder due to its rushed development cycle and desire for backwards compatibility- so why carry it forward?

Scarab Sages Developer, Starfinder Team

Paladinosaur wrote:
Wait, longswords are Advance melee weapons? Does that mean that the Iconic Envoy isn't proficient with that sword she's carrying?

No, it means she is carrying a dueling sword, which is a basic melee weapon.

Liberty's Edge

Owen K. C. Stephens wrote:
Paladinosaur wrote:
Wait, longswords are Advance melee weapons? Does that mean that the Iconic Envoy isn't proficient with that sword she's carrying?
No, it means she is carrying a dueling sword, which is a basic melee weapon.

Nice!

Can't wait for this to come out

Scarab Sages Developer, Starfinder Team

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Aratrok wrote:
For that matter, why does having a larger pile of cash still directly translate into more character power ad-finitum? That was a flaw discovered around 2000 when 3e came out, and presumably only included in Pathfinder due to its rushed development cycle and desire for backwards compatibility- so why carry it forward?

Actually, being able to advance in part through the acquisition of stuff is a key part of the enjoyment of the game for a lot of folks. You may not be someone who finds that crucial to how you enjoy the game, but there are lots of people, some of whom have been playing games of this ilk since before 2000 and others who simply picked it up recently and enjoy that aspect, who would find removing that to be a major disappointment.

That's a game design philosophy question, and it's well outside the scope of answering questions about what we did d. I don't plan to spend much time explaining what went into the things we didn't do, because we didn't do them. This isn't the place for that discussion, and honestly it could very quickly expand to a scope I honestly cannot even take the time to write at length about. And if I could find the time, I'd likely print it as a book.

But no, Pathfinder did not retain that concept purely because it was produced quickly, and neither did Starfinder. We carefully considered it, and came to this conclusion. We made a lot of adjustments to how the game produces similar results, but in the end we do want this to be very familiar to Pathfinder players. That's part of the design brief. That that includes the acquisition of things having a positive impact on your total power level and character options, even if we changed a lot of how that works or what kinds of things you acquire.


Steven "Troll" O'Neal wrote:
Aratrok wrote:
Quote:
Adventuring is not the only way to gain experience, it is merely the most expedient.
I don't mean that they're actively adventuring while making high level items, I mean that for high powered items to exist you need someone who can get shot with low level lasers hundreds of times to be making them. It's a similar issue to what 3.x grappled with, where a "master smith" type dude has to actually be a badass that can crush your head between his forefinger and thumb to be allowed to have more ranks in Craft.
Or one superior AI with an assembly line.

Based off this line alone my headcanon is now going to be that Triune brought advanced equipment to the multiverse and everyone's just been working off their designs ever since.


3 people marked this as a favorite.
Owen K. C. Stephens wrote:

Actually, being able to advance in part through the acquisition of stuff is a key part of the enjoyment of the game for a lot of folks. You may not be someone who finds that crucial to how you enjoy the game, but there are lots of people, some of whom have been playing games of this ilk since before 2000 and others who simply picked it up recently and enjoy that aspect, who would find removing that to be a major disappointment.

That's a game design philosophy question, and it's well outside the scope of answering questions about what we did d. I don't plan to spend much time explaining what went into the things we didn't do, because we didn't do them. This isn't the place for that discussion, and honestly it could very quickly expand to a scope I honestly cannot even take the time to write at length about. And if I could find the time, I'd likely print it as a book.

But no, Pathfinder did not retain that concept purely because it was produced quickly, and neither did Starfinder. We carefully considered it, and came to this conclusion. We made a lot of adjustments to how the game produces similar results, but in the end we do want this to be very familiar to Pathfinder players. That's part of the design brief. That that includes the acquisition of things having a positive impact on your total power level and character options, even if we changed a lot of how that works or what kinds of things you acquire.

I didn't say anything about acquisition of stuff being counter to enjoyment of the game. Getting a shiny new magic sword or a ring that grants wishes is fun, and was one of the core tenents of the game long before 3e. I have no idea why you're telling me I dislike that, considering I didn't mention anything to that tune in my post.

No, there's a problem with piles of money turning into raw personal power forever. That was a brand new concept in 2000, and it failed. You heavily discourage people from spending their currency on anything that doesn't make their character personally stronger, or else they risk falling behind the curve and dying or failing more often. There are other issues, but that's the brightest and most damning one, because it creates a system where a player that wants to spend their money on ale and partying or buying a castle or penthouse is being punished for that choice, possibly lethally, and it's almost single-handedly responsible for "murderhobo" becoming such a popular and accurate meme.

The concept of gathering higher level contacts that get you access to more dangerous, powerful, and experimental gear is an awesome one that meshes really well with just finding cool stuff. I really wish you'd leaned harder on that with limitations more on what you can carry/use at any given time, because it's sounding like the paradigm hasn't really changed much from Pathfinder.

All this isn't to say I think it ruins the game or anything. A flawed game can still be great- what game doesn't have its flaws?- I just hoped this particular one would have been worked out.


So if both a dueling sword and a longsword deal 1d8, then why do they have different proficiency? What advantage does the longsword have over the dueling sword to not make them the same base weapon?


IonutRO wrote:
So if both a dueling sword and a longsword deal 1d8, then why do they have different proficiency? What advantage does the longsword have over the dueling sword to not make them the same base weapon?

Maybe they have different upgrade paths. Maybe they deal different damage types. Maybe they have different crit effects, or one has a crit effect while the other has the operative property so that you can use Dex for your attack roll.

Designer

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Also, that's operating under an assumption that dueling swords deal 1d8.

Scarab Sages

IonutRO wrote:
So if both a dueling sword and a longsword deal 1d8, then why do they have different proficiency? What advantage does the longsword have over the dueling sword to not make them the same base weapon?

At the very least, I would expect the specialization bonus for the dueling sword to be half level, and the long sword to be full level.

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