Cybernetics and Augmentations

Saturday, June 24, 2017

A common trope of many science fiction stories is the ability of characters to be able to improve themselves with science, often in the form of cybernetic enhancements. In the Starfinder Core Rulebook, these kinds of augmentations fall into a few broad categories—cybernetics, biotech, and personal upgrades. Cybernetics and biotech are handled using roughly the same rules, while personal upgrades have their own system.

Personal upgrades represent any system—be it technological, magical, or a hybrid of the two—that increases a character's ability scores. Personal upgrades are useful, but not crucial to most character concepts because of how ability score generation and level-based increases are handled. In Starfinder, when a character reaches 5th level, and every 5 levels thereafter, the character increases 4 ability scores of the player's choice. Also if the ability score is a 16 or lower, it increases by +2, while scores of 17 or more increase by +1. This makes it easy for characters to shore up ability scores that turn out to be too low to produce the effect desired in mid-level and high-level play, without forcing a player to decide between improving a key ability score and improving weak ones.

As a result, personal upgrades are kept very simple. Over the course of a character's career, beginning around 3rd level or so, they can buy one personal upgrade that grants a +2 to one ability score, one that grants a +4, and one that grants a +6. It doesn't matter if these are mystic ability crystals, technological synaptic enhancers, or some hybrid system, each character can successfully use only three of them, each at a different level of ability boost.

Cybernetics and biotech work differently, as they come in a wide range of item levels, and can be as simple as gaining a fully function prosthetic limb to replace a lost body part, or as complex as installing a dragon gland that gives you a breath weapon attack. Other forms of augmentation, such as necrografts, are mentioned as existing in the Core Rulebook but don't have full descriptions there. (Hint: keep your eyes on the Adventure Path!) Here's an example of a cybernetic augmentation:

CARDIAC ACCELERATOR SYSTEM: HEART

Price 3,850 credits Level 6

This implant plugs directly into your heart and can be triggered to overclock the performance of your heart and circulatory system. When you run, charge, or take a move action to move, you can spend 1 Resolve Point to increase your speed (in the relevant mode of movement) by 20 feet for that action. This extra movement is treated as an enhancement bonus.

Alternatively, you can spend 1 Resolve Point as a reaction when you attempt a Reflex saving throw to gain a +1 enhancement bonus to your roll.

Each augmentation has a system it replaces or modifies, such as an arm, the throat, or your skin. You can't have more than one augmentation applied to the same system—once you add a dragon gland, you can't also get a vocal modulator installed, as they're both throat system augmentations. The price listed for each augmentation includes the cost of having it professionally installed, which normally takes about an hour per level of the augmentation. While a minimum level of skill is required to do this, there's no check involved—adding augmentations has become a routine outpatient procedure in the universe of Starfinder, with no significant risks of failure or complication. You can also have old augmentations removed or replaced with new options, though since all augmentations are custom built for their specific user, there's no market for used augmentations.

Once implanted, augmentations work just like your natural limbs and organs—a cybernetic arm is no more vulnerable to specific attacks or effects than your natural arm. Adding augmentations is essentially a character design choice: they can be useful, but no character concept requires them in order to be effective.

Owen K.C. Stephens
Developer

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Shisumo wrote:
Mashallah wrote:
Seisho wrote:
Voss wrote:
Seisho wrote:

I wonder why you are arguing so much about it here

I mean, obviously chop-shops, besides beeing morally lackluster, are not a thing in starfinder
When did recycling become evil?
THe day you decided to recycle (and possibly murder) intelligent beeings
The assumption is that you murdered them either way, as adventurers (colloquially known as murderhobos for a good reason) often do.
Are you equally as annoyed that the system probably doesn't include values for second-hand lungs and hearts? After all, most of the same settings that have chop shops have organlegging.

The OP explicitly says all augmentations are removable and replaceable whenever you wish. Thus, they are explicitly gear.

Part of gear being randomly non-sellable is just weird and arbitrary.

Liberty's Edge

I can pull out and replace organs too. Probably relatively easily in Starfinder, given the medical tech. Simply being able to remove and replace something doesn't make it gear.


Shisumo wrote:
I can pull out and replace organs too. Probably relatively easily in Starfinder, given the medical tech. Simply being able to remove and replace something doesn't make it gear.

But it does? If you can swap out something willy-nilly, it's not an integral/inherent part of you anymore.

Liberty's Edge

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Mashallah wrote:
Shisumo wrote:
I can pull out and replace organs too. Probably relatively easily in Starfinder, given the medical tech. Simply being able to remove and replace something doesn't make it gear.
But it does? If you can swap out something willy-nilly, it's not an integral/inherent part of you anymore.

In that case, I repeat my question: are you equally as annoyed that the system probably doesn't include values for second-hand lungs and hearts? After all, most of the same settings that have chop shops have organlegging, and as we've just noted, anything you can easily remove and replace is "gear" by your definition.


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Whether or not it can be removed or replaced doesn't mean there's a market for used versions. In the canon Starfinder setting cybernetics can't be installed on anyone other than the person who they were designed for, that is a rule within the universe. If you don't like it it's easy enough to change, but it won't be the canon for the Starfinder core setting.


Mashallah wrote:
Shisumo wrote:
I can pull out and replace organs too. Probably relatively easily in Starfinder, given the medical tech. Simply being able to remove and replace something doesn't make it gear.
But it does? If you can swap out something willy-nilly, it's not an integral/inherent part of you anymore.

So lets see... I've got two kidney slots, a heart slot and my digestive track takes up three slots with its subparts...

kindeys will always be integral (for the average humanoid) even if they can easily be replaced by artificial ones
and you would not say an artificial kidney is equipment (at least I wouldnt)
of course, if you are at a state you can easily replace it you can also enhance it...but do you really want your party to cut open every dead bad guy in the hope of finding an upgraded kidney?

Well if you like: houserule it but I am rather happy that implants are not on the loot list.

Liberty's Edge

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I need glasses to get by in everyday life, which include lenses specifically made for my eyesight. I guess these are indeed gear. But though it costs me money to buy them, I would be very hard pressed to find someone I could sell them to, even at a steep discount price


Shisumo wrote:
Mashallah wrote:
Shisumo wrote:
I can pull out and replace organs too. Probably relatively easily in Starfinder, given the medical tech. Simply being able to remove and replace something doesn't make it gear.
But it does? If you can swap out something willy-nilly, it's not an integral/inherent part of you anymore.
In that case, I repeat my question: are you equally as annoyed that the system probably doesn't include values for second-hand lungs and hearts? After all, most of the same settings that have chop shops have organlegging, and as we've just noted, anything you can easily remove and replace is "gear" by your definition.

I'm not annoyed about those, both because they have the benefit of being "original", and because, realistically, they would have negligible costs in such a setting.

Seriously, though, Pathfinder does have mechanics for cutting up people into organs and selling said organs, even though it's less appropriate there than in a sci-fi game.


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But did those rules come out in the CRB? If it isn't an important part of the game then why would they include it in the core rules? They're including a lot of stuff in the book already and I don't see why something like harvesting cybernetics would need to be there if that isn't a thing that happens in the setting they've designed.


Luke Spencer wrote:
But did those rules come out in the CRB? If it isn't an important part of the game then why would they include it in the core rules? They're including a lot of stuff in the book already and I don't see why something like harvesting cybernetics would need to be there if that isn't a thing that happens in the setting they've designed.

I'll reiterate. My complaints are largely because Paizo explicitly said they don't intend to publish any significant amounts of non-core content for Starfinder.

Hence, it is likely many such things won't ever see the light of day if they aren't in the CRB.
And cybernetics harvesting is an iconic part of sci-fi as a genre.

Scarab Sages

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Mashallah wrote:


Seriously, though, Pathfinder does have mechanics for cutting up people into organs and selling said organs, even though it's less appropriate there than in a sci-fi game.

Really? Do they appear in the core rulebook, or are they an optional rule in a later supplement? Because that is not a part of the setting for the core assumption of pathfinder, and that is likewise not a core assumption of the starfinder game.

Organ and cybernetic chop shops really only belong in a dystopian cyberpunk setting to drive home the fact that you are in a crapsack world. It doesn't belong in a space opera which is what the core game is trying to emulate.

I don't want shadowrun, I want Star Wars, Star Trek, Babylon 5, The Expanse, Farscape, Firefly, and Stargate.

Liberty's Edge

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You're willing to stipulate that organs have negligible resale values but can't accept cyberware that doesn't, even though in genre chop shops and organlegging basically go hand in hand?

Scarab Sages Developer, Starfinder Team

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There's a wide range between publishing as much material as we do for Pathfinder, and not publishing any significant amount beyond the core rulebook.

And, obviously, sales and popularity will affect where in that range we hit.

We've already announced monthly adventures from Starfinder society, a bi-monthly 6-part adventure path (which includes expansion articles in every book), pawns, maps, a partner doing miniatures, and a hardback alien book.

I don't know how much material will come out for Starfinder. unlike pathfinder, there isn't years of sales data and customer and retailer feedback to lean on when deciding that.

But I am sure for the foreseeable it'll be a volume that is more than just the things we have announced, and less than Pathfinder has.


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They also said there would be new rules content in most APs and they intend to still publish hardcovers occasionally, if it isn't in a cybernetics/robotics hardcover down the line it'll almost certainly appear in an AP at some point. Most of the most prominent parts of Pathfinder came out after it's initial release in a lot of the hardcovers so I have no doubt it'll show up in some form sooner or later. Just because something is iconic doesn't mean it has to be omnipresent, a game made up of all of the iconic tropes is completely generic, it's the combination of tropes whilst leaving others out that sets different universes apart.


Shisumo wrote:

You're willing to stipulate that organs have negligible resale values but can't accept cyberware that doesn't, even though in genre chop shops and organlegging basically go hand in hand?

Organs would be inherently not very valuable in a setting where strictly superior artificial equivalents are commonplace simply because why buy an organ when you can get the artificial thing that is better?


Quote:
why buy an organ when you can get the artificial thing that is better?

I could think of several


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Pathfinder Companion, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I completely disagree that cybernetics harvesting is iconic to science fiction. Cyberpunk, maybe, but science fiction as a whole? Starfinder seems much more aligned with the space opera genre than cyberpunk, and I can't really think of much space opera that had these 'chop shops'...indeed, the majority of ones that had them that I can think of didn't even have space travel as a thing.

Scarab Sages

Luthorne wrote:
I completely disagree that cybernetics harvesting is iconic to science fiction. Cyberpunk, maybe, but science fiction as a whole? Starfinder seems much more aligned with the space opera genre than cyberpunk, and I can't really think of much space opera that had these 'chop shops'...indeed, the majority of ones that had them that I can think of didn't even have space travel as a thing.

The only example I can think of are the Vidians in ST:Voyager, and they only did it because the entire speck had an incurable disease that destroyed their organs, they didn't have compatible cybernetics because the disease destroys integration tissue, and alien organs were more resistant to the phage than cloned organs and lasted longer before needing replacement.


Mashallah wrote:

...

I think what makes me the most uncomfortable about this is that isn't not even an optional rule, just an explicit "you have to houserule this". While it's a houserule that is likely to be present in every game I run myself, it being a houserule makes it generally very unlikely to be present in other games, which makes it very unlikely for me to be able to play in a game with it. Which, in turn, is a huge drawback of the system for me.

There's only so much you can put into the core book.

Owen K. C. Stephens wrote:

There's a wide range between publishing as much material as we do for Pathfinder, and not publishing any significant amount beyond the core rulebook.

And, obviously, sales and popularity will affect where in that range we hit.

We've already announced monthly adventures from Starfinder society, a bi-monthly 6-part adventure path (which includes expansion articles in every book), pawns, maps, a partner doing miniatures, and a hardback alien book.

I don't know how much material will come out for Starfinder. unlike pathfinder, there isn't years of sales data and customer and retailer feedback to lean on when deciding that.

But I am sure for the foreseeable it'll be a volume that is more than just the things we have announced, and less than Pathfinder has.

My personal theory (with no insider information), is that if Starfinder takes off, many of the Pathfinder resources will go to it. After all, Pathfinder is very mature. While it will always be open for adventures and world-themed materials, there's not as much generic material you can do without power creep. when the only design space they have is Ultimate Basketweaving, sales will drop off. If Starfinder takes off, there's lots of places to expand.

Liberty's Edge

Mashallah wrote:
because why buy an organ when you can get the artificial thing that is better?

Because it's a lot easier to grab some random homeless guy and steal his kidney than it is to buy or steal a high tech cybernetic kidney. Black market organic organs would basically be the cheap, bargain priced version of black market cybernetics.

Liberty's Edge

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Philo Pharynx wrote:
There's only so much you can put into the core book.

To be fair, they did decide to waste a whole chapter on "Please don't try to convert Pathfinder stuff, it won't work well at all." instead of putting that in a free PDF where it should be. I'm willing to bet losing that would give more than enough pages for an optional rule for second-hand cybernetics and basic starship economics.


Pathfinder Companion, Maps, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Whether killing people for their organs is economically worthwhile depends on which problem is solved sooner and better: (1) Eliminating the rejection that is likely to occur when an organ from a random stranger is transplanted into somebody's body, or (2) Figuring out how to make artificial organs that work at least as well as natural organs.

A scenario in which organlegging is a major issue requires (1) to be substantially cheaper and/or more feasible than (2).


Mashallah wrote:
Luke Spencer wrote:
But did those rules come out in the CRB? If it isn't an important part of the game then why would they include it in the core rules? They're including a lot of stuff in the book already and I don't see why something like harvesting cybernetics would need to be there if that isn't a thing that happens in the setting they've designed.

I'll reiterate. My complaints are largely because Paizo explicitly said they don't intend to publish any significant amounts of non-core content for Starfinder.

Hence, it is likely many such things won't ever see the light of day if they aren't in the CRB.
And cybernetics harvesting is an iconic part of sci-fi as a genre.

I'm still baffled by your hatred of simply houseruling things you want to be different? Why does it have to explicitly be written as an optional rule?

I'm curious because as a gm i've house ruled many many different rpgs and even certain rules to fit certain types of campaigns. It's really not a huge problem.


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Jaxom Faux wrote:
Mashallah wrote:
Luke Spencer wrote:
But did those rules come out in the CRB? If it isn't an important part of the game then why would they include it in the core rules? They're including a lot of stuff in the book already and I don't see why something like harvesting cybernetics would need to be there if that isn't a thing that happens in the setting they've designed.

I'll reiterate. My complaints are largely because Paizo explicitly said they don't intend to publish any significant amounts of non-core content for Starfinder.

Hence, it is likely many such things won't ever see the light of day if they aren't in the CRB.
And cybernetics harvesting is an iconic part of sci-fi as a genre.

I'm still baffled by your hatred of simply houseruling things you want to be different? Why does it have to explicitly be written as an optional rule?

I'm curious because as a gm i've house ruled many many different rpgs and even certain rules to fit certain types of campaigns. It's really not a huge problem.

Most of my games are on roll20 through applying to games advertised there.

Houserules are vastly less likely to be commonly used than optional rules.
Thus, if it has to be houseruled, I'm vastly less likely to ever get to use it in play than if it was an optional rule.


Mashallah wrote:
Luke Spencer wrote:
But did those rules come out in the CRB? If it isn't an important part of the game then why would they include it in the core rules? They're including a lot of stuff in the book already and I don't see why something like harvesting cybernetics would need to be there if that isn't a thing that happens in the setting they've designed.
I'll reiterate. My complaints are largely because Paizo explicitly said they don't intend to publish any significant amounts of non-core content for Starfinder.

From the subscription announcement:

Quote:


We plan to release rulebooks on a roughly quarterly basis.

That sounds pretty significant to me.

http://paizo.com/store/blog/v5748dyo5ljxf?Starfinder-and-Stripes-Forever#di scuss


Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I think creating house rule for salvaging cybernetics and implants would not be too hard. Sell them at same cost as a weapon at that item level. I think it is tad odd too that cannot sell. The fix is not that hard though. It also would not impact roll 20 since sale price is based on same item level weapon.


Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I also think this could easily show up as optional rule later on. Space in core book may not have allowed for salvaging cybernetics and implants due to space in core book.


Mashallah wrote:
Jaxom Faux wrote:
Mashallah wrote:
Luke Spencer wrote:
But did those rules come out in the CRB? If it isn't an important part of the game then why would they include it in the core rules? They're including a lot of stuff in the book already and I don't see why something like harvesting cybernetics would need to be there if that isn't a thing that happens in the setting they've designed.

I'll reiterate. My complaints are largely because Paizo explicitly said they don't intend to publish any significant amounts of non-core content for Starfinder.

Hence, it is likely many such things won't ever see the light of day if they aren't in the CRB.
And cybernetics harvesting is an iconic part of sci-fi as a genre.

I'm still baffled by your hatred of simply houseruling things you want to be different? Why does it have to explicitly be written as an optional rule?

I'm curious because as a gm i've house ruled many many different rpgs and even certain rules to fit certain types of campaigns. It's really not a huge problem.

Most of my games are on roll20 through applying to games advertised there.

Houserules are vastly less likely to be commonly used than optional rules.
Thus, if it has to be houseruled, I'm vastly less likely to ever get to use it in play than if it was an optional rule.

Ok, I understand that, if you don't have a local group that could make things a huge pain if the default scenario isn't to your liking.


Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I personally do not mind cybernetics, other augments, armor, weapons, and ship upgrades being tide to item level and character level. I am not a big fan of a pure wealth system for items. I think levels is a way of showing increased access to the people that can supply the upgrades.


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Jhaeman wrote:
I have to admit I'm concerned about the impact of removing low ability scores on role-playing. After a few levels, every PC is going to be clustering around 16-17 with every ability score, and (I presume) most of this scores will be far above sentient average. So everyone is super smart, wise, strong, fast, etc., with the difference between PCs relatively small.

What's the effect of having huge disparate ability scores in Pathfinder? In games I play in it means that people specialise in their task and dabble in a few other core abilities (e.g. perception) and simply hop on their phone or sit back and relaxe when someone else's specialty is being called upon. Not having a good climb skill doesn't really result in any interesting roleplaying scenarios after a few levels, it means that either magic is used to overcome the limitation or the players simply check out when climbing becomes a core part of the encounter.

Maybe your group remains engaged in all aspects of the game at all times, but my experience is players simply idle (flick through rulebooks, do some bookkeeping, hop on their phone or relaxe and simply watch the game silently) while they wait for the game to progress to a point where their character can contribute again. That doesn't actually do anything to enhance the roleplaying. It simply means people check out of the roleplaying (except for a few throwaway lines).

IonutRO wrote:
O, ok. So the max a level 20 character with a +2 racial can have in any stat before personal upgrades is 25? That seems way too low.

Why? Pathfinder has the same innate maximum, except in Starfinder you can increase a whole bunch of other ability scores while getting that 24 in your primary (technically speaking Pathfinder's cap is 25, but it's awfully close).

Leo_Negri wrote:
How is 18's across the board at level 20 well rounded? In ANY other situation, this would be seen as the worst form of muchkinism.

Because it's come at the expense of something else. By level 20 you could have 28, 24, 20, 18, 10 and 8 as your final scores (or something very close to it). If someone has chosen to get 18s across the board they're making a sacrifice.

IonutRO wrote:
Ironically STR and CHA are my favorite stats.

Yeah, but you also think power attack and deadly aim are bad choices. So you're not exactly a veteran optimiser.

Aratrok wrote:
You'd probably see a lot of characters with very similar arrays.

How is that different to Pathfinder?

Luthorne wrote:
Also I don't know how I would feel about a game where not mutiliating people's corpses was reducing your loot...

If my players are intent on prying gold teeth out of people's mouths for the extra few credits it represents I think I might lose it. I've put up with this greyhawking behaviour for 9 years now. I'm over it and don't think it has any place in a science fiction game. Han Solo was pretty mercenary. Did you see him loot greedo's corpse for the few credits he could scrounge up? No. Enough's enough!

Marco Massoudi wrote:

I can see some of the mostly mechanical/rules reasons for not taking parts from enemies.

But it doesn't make sense in reality.
Look at how people get organs transplanted from other peoples bodies even with different blood types or sizes. Sure, it doesn't always work flawless or sometimes at all, sometimes the body rejects the alien part, but still.

I also see people installing body parts from alien species into themselves.

Name five fictional settings where this is a trope in the setting where the good guys do this.

Guardians of the Galaxy Pathfinder style: The group of PCs get arrested. They start a brawl in the main cafeteria and then slowly but surely murder every single person in the prison, careful to strip the bodies of the prison garb, uniforms and weapons. They spend weeks loading up multiple ships with the weapons and valuables of the prison before finally disembarking and heading to the nearest world with a large enough marketplace and ambiguous enough government where they can sell the loot. They then spend weeks installing cybernetic enhancements and carry out bookkeeping to make sure they get every little bit of loot and spend it on as many numerical enhancements to their combat abilities as they can. Only once this is done do they go on to the next part of the story.

Stargate Pathfinder style: The group of PCs travel to a new planet. They meet with the local inhabitants and agree to overthrow the local goua'uld overlord. They do so, killing of the jaffa, and then carefully but methodically strip the entire complex of advanced technology and also strip the soldiers of all their weapons. They spend days (likely coercing the local inhabitants into helping) shipping this to another planet with a large enough marketplace and ambigious enough government to buy the goods. They then spend weeks getting their weaponry upgraded and boosted before finally reporting in to Stargate command that a goa'uld base was here that they took care of, although it had nothing of value inside.

I know what I'm looking to play in Starfinder. It is not what I have described above. If the default WBL doesn't assume greyhawking I'll be overjoyed.

Luthorne wrote:
Though with all this talk of cyber-theft, is anyone else imagining a new kind of undead that specifically arises when a creature's spirit is furious with the mutilation of their corpse for their cybernetics, turning into an undead that uses ectoplasmic replicas of their cybernetic gear that might have some limitations, but also possess other benefits (like being able to use them more often or more flexibly, since instead of normal charges they would be powered by their outrage from beyond the grave). Would be a cool new form of the restless dead concept...bent on getting revenge on those who took the parts from them, and perhaps dedicated to hunting down those who now have them, unable to be laid to rest until all their parts are either destroyed or returned to them.

I'd rather go with "after millennia of corpses being desecrated, Pharasma has really just gotten fed up with the entire practice and curses any cybernetics that are removed from corpses. The end."

Torbyne wrote:
This doesnt even need to be an actual thing now to be an old space farer's tale that every adventurer will hear and then spend a whole cmapaign freaking out over, power down or completely destroy all cyberware afte the host is killed or you leave the shell open for cyber-demons to posses and hunt you. Cyberpunk-body horror, thank you! :D

Now that I do like.

Mashallah wrote:
So far this is one of my two biggest disappointments in Starfinder as a system and generally a huge buzzkill, making me far less interested in the system than before I heard of it. (the other of the two being the inability to buy/sell spaceships, which is about as weird)

The more I hear about your "biggest dissapointments" the more I get the impression you just wanted Pathfinder in space with it working exactly as Pathfinder works. Which is fine and all, but I for one am glad that's not what we're getting.


John Lynch 106 wrote:
The more I hear about your "biggest dissapointments" the more I get the impression you just wanted Pathfinder in space with it working exactly as Pathfinder works. Which is fine and all, but I for one am glad that's not what we're getting.

Simply not true. I'm a fan of a lot of the changes introduced by the system, such as the removal of 9-casters, the removal of prepared casting, the introduction of resolve points and semi-formalised short rests, the new class structure as was shown so far, the removal of Touch/FF AC, the streamlining of AoO's, the level tiering of gear, and many others, which I praised on multiple occasions.

There are, however, very major drawbacks I see in the system and I'm actively calling them out as it's disappointing to see them after a streak of things that I largely enjoyed.

Silver Crusade

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Mashallah wrote:
John Lynch 106 wrote:
The more I hear about your "biggest dissapointments" the more I get the impression you just wanted Pathfinder in space with it working exactly as Pathfinder works. Which is fine and all, but I for one am glad that's not what we're getting.

Simply not true. I'm a fan of a lot of the changes introduced by the system, such as the removal of 9-casters, the removal of prepared casting, the introduction of resolve points and semi-formalised short rests, the new class structure as was shown so far, the removal of Touch/FF AC, the streamlining of AoO's, the level tiering of gear, and many others, which I praised on multiple occasions.

There are, however, very major drawbacks I see in the system and I'm actively calling them out as it's disappointing to see them after a streak of things that I largely enjoyed.

It seems your biggest complaints has to do with setting. I can understand where you are coming from to a degree. I'm not gonna refute any of those because "to each their own" and all of that jazz.

However, if you aren't going to be playing in organized play then you actually have a lot of wiggle room on what you do and do not want in your game. You can GM just about anything you want setting wise as long as there are rules available for you to use. I'm sure there will be some quality 3rd party stuff before too long as well.

If you aren't going to GM then you are kinda stuck with what the GM decides to do but that's true of any game, in any setting, using any rule set.


Can you get cybernetics at character creation?


Starfinder Charter Superscriber
John Lynch 106 wrote:
Jhaeman wrote:
I have to admit I'm concerned about the impact of removing low ability scores on role-playing. After a few levels, every PC is going to be clustering around 16-17 with every ability score, and (I presume) most of this scores will be far above sentient average. So everyone is super smart, wise, strong, fast, etc., with the difference between PCs relatively small.

What's the effect of having huge disparate ability scores in Pathfinder? In games I play in it means that people specialise in their task and dabble in a few other core abilities (e.g. perception) and simply hop on their phone or sit back and relaxe when someone else's specialty is being called upon. Not having a good climb skill doesn't really result in any interesting roleplaying scenarios after a few levels, it means that either magic is used to overcome the limitation or the players simply check out when climbing becomes a core part of the encounter.

Maybe your group remains engaged in all aspects of the game at all times, but my experience is players simply idle (flick through rulebooks, do some bookkeeping, hop on their phone or relaxe and simply watch the game silently) while they wait for the game to progress to a point where their character can contribute again. That doesn't actually do anything to enhance the roleplaying. It simply means people check out of the roleplaying (except for a few throwaway lines).

I think we're talking about different things. When I talk about role-playing, I'm not talking about game mechanics like Perception or Climbing (things that some characters are going to be better at than others). I was talking about how a lot of players sensibly use their character's ability scores as a starting point to develop that character's personality. So a character with a low Int and a high Str can be the classic "dumb strongman" or the the character with a low Con and a high Cha can be the classic "pretty boy with a glass jaw". Endless variations can be derived, and this helps people who aren't experienced role-players try to figure out what their PC is "like" when it comes to role-playing. ("archetypes" in the non-game mechanic sense). If, however, and I admit this is only an if, all Starfinder ability score stat arrays produce PCs who excel in every single ability score, it's harder to take advantage of the role-playing opportunities inherent in a broader range (both low and high). In a way, it's a little like the Mary-Sue problem in fiction writing: when a character is great at *everything*, they're less interesting from a dramatic perspective.


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Pax Rafkin wrote:
Can you get cybernetics at character creation?

There hasn't been an explicit statement of "yes" but the rules structure allows for cybernetics with no innate value, ability or interactions beyond a normal arm so... if you say you have a basic cybernetic replacement for a limb lost in your character's backstory, a stock civilian design with no fancy lasers or extra dimensional drug trafficking holes, than that isnt anything different than saying "my character has gray eyes" is it?


Torbyne wrote:
Pax Rafkin wrote:
Can you get cybernetics at character creation?
There hasn't been an explicit statement of "yes" but the rules structure allows for cybernetics with no innate value, ability or interactions beyond a normal arm so... if you say you have a basic cybernetic replacement for a limb lost in your character's backstory, a stock civilian design with no fancy lasers or extra dimensional drug trafficking holes, than that isnt anything different than saying "my character has gray eyes" is it?

That's an excellent way of putting it. If not allowed, I think that's my house rule. Cybernetics as cosmetics basically. Thank you.

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