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FullStarFullStarFullStarFullStar Venture-Lieutenant, Netherlands—Leiden 11,455 posts (12,184 including aliases). 136 reviews. 3 lists. 1 wishlist. 27 Organized Play characters. 5 aliases.


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I think you have a better chance of getting it in SCOM.

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Well, then the easy move is just to say that new characters start with 50% WBL and one level-appropriate weapon and armor. That's pretty much what all the other players were doing anyway.

I wouldn't go too strict on 25% because some level-appropriate weapons and armor might be 23% or 28% or something.

It also wouldn't be a disaster if he spent 10% on one weapon and 15% on a different weapon. As long he's spending about 25% on weapons and 25% on armor.

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There are already rules for riding a mount in the core book, under Survival. Bit of a weird skill to ride a drone perhaps. But what are you expecting to change?

Sovereign Court **** Venture-Lieutenant, Netherlands—Leiden aka Ascalaphus

I like the change of pace, what with encounters not being sound-walled off from each other like in most dungeons. Although in our case the whole setup gets weird when the pirates downstairs know they can't open the locked door so there's this huge welcoming committee downstairs but the floor is lava.

It feels good being rewarded for thinking beyond entrance through the front door, although investigators are quite all or nothing when it comes to having had time to prebuff. I think we got it a bit too easy whereas otherwise it might have been really hard.

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Yeah, I'm not some dice-hating woolly-headed indie hipster, no worries :P

But I think dice are better for when the encounter is actually "happening on-screen", than in a bunch of rounds before the players are even aware anything is happening. What happens before is better handwaved a bit, so that you don't randomly come out too low (dud encounter) or too high (unfair GM power trip encounter).

Sovereign Court **** Venture-Lieutenant, Netherlands—Leiden aka Ascalaphus

In general, skill challenges become a significant feature from season 5 onwards. During season 6/7 some people who were used to dumping intelligence complained about the "year of the skill check", but nowadays we're used to it.

This coincides with the reign of John Compton as chief editor for PFS, who has a definite idea about what a good scenario looks like. He prefers a good mix of skill and combat challenges, so that both the people who like a good fight have a good time, and the people who get a kick out of talking their way past trouble instead of fighting it.

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Let's first take a look at why this can happen, and then at what to do about it.

The GM chapter about wealth in Starfinder is a good place to start.

There are roughly three sources of income: items, story-based wealth, and hard cash. Actually, story-based wealth and hard cash are more or less the same: they're straight money. The chapter notes that you should avoid using single huge lump sums, because they enable unbalancing purchases. That seems to be part of what's happening here: the player gets a lump of money to gear up with, and he's spending it on a couple of really expensive powerful things instead of spreading it over multiple bases.

The chapter mentions how you should evaluate the value of item drops: if the item is better than what the PCs are currently using, then it counts as full value. Otherwise, count it as 10%. This means that if the PCs are wearing on-level armor and weapons and find another suit of armor, it counts for only 10% and you might have to insert more loot. If someone skimped on weapons and armor, then it counts for full value and you should not be adding more loot. So part of the reaction to your player's tactics should be to reduce the loot. Except the rest of the party isn't going to like that very much. They'd be the victim of him gaming the system.

However, if you applied this in the long run, it would balance out. There might be some bumps in the beginning, but once he's armored and weaponed up, the next fight that drops the same armor and weapons isn't giving him such an advantage anymore. In the longer run, a lot of the loot does come from "primary" NPC gear, so this advantage of him fades a bit over time.

But the way you phrase your question, it seems as if you run a lot of shorter adventures, maybe a lot of "let's do a one-shot and start at level X" ones. So he gets to milk this trick again and again. So we need a different solution.

The chapter mentions that you shouldn't really spend more than 25% of WBL on weapons and no more than 25% on armor and protective devices. Comparing WBL to the weapon and armor prices, that will just about buy you a single on-level armor and weapon. Well, one armor might be enough but you generally need a couple different weapons to handle various resistances and immunities.

I'm thinking back to when Thurston was running the playtest for the upcoming SCOM book. It was focused on one-off playtests: make a character of level 1, 4 or 8 and play it for a scenario, then give feedback. So the situation is somewhat similar to yours (as it seems you have a lot of higher level starts for shorter campaigns or adventures). The way Thurston handled it was: build a character at level X, with your choice of {level X armor, level X-1 weapon} or {level X-1 armor, level X weapon}. You also got money to buy other stuff, but reduced by the average cost of these items. For example, a level 8 playtest character had 18,000 credits for discretionary spending; slightly over half the regular WBL which makes sense because a little less than 25% is already earmarked for a weapon and an armor.

So that could be your rough solution: let everyone start with one of the following packages:
A) a level X & X-1 weapon/armor combination and 60% of WBL for free spend.
B) a level X & X weapon/armor combination and 50% of WBL for free spend.

To your other players, this should have fairly low impact. For your problem player, he'll still have 50-60% of his WBL to play with and get something cool, but he can't afford the disruptive top shelf item anymore, and he can't skimp on primary items to the degree that the other players have to carry him.

Reference: https://paizo.com/community/blog/v5748dyo6sgei?Starfinder-Society-Class-Pla ytest

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HammerJack wrote:
As for whether it would be bad to do this, I suppose it would depend a lot on how the missles being used match up against the ship the players are in. If the GM rolls were lucky enough to have all the missles still be there on arrival, the party had the short sensor range, and they were suitably heavy ordinance, you could end up with your party being disabled before they have a chance to act, with nothing but luck determining the outcome. That's not a very fun game. On the other hand, if your party's sensor range isn't that bad, and they have a chance to maneuver and try to lose a number of the missles before impact, you could end up with an interesting fight.

I think this is the other important issue to consider. Even if you could fix the bad odds of hitting with multiple missiles, you should think about what kind of scene you really want.

Do you as a GM want to have the players show up for a game, settle down, then you take about five minutes doing dice rolls behind your screen, and say "hey your ship is suddenly disabled by massive missile fire. Don't look at me, it's just what the dice say."

This is a lot like "hey, everyone roll Perception. Oh, none of you rolled really absurdly high. John, your character gets hit by a realistically deadly sniper. Your character is totally dead." The player had no chance to do anything. That's also not especially fun.

---

That said, it can totally be interesting to have some combats start with the PCs getting hit with a heavy first barrage, and starting off-balance. Plenty of good Star Trek episodes have a space combat with the ship getting hit by surprise and them struggling to get back in control again.

If I wanted to do that as a GM, I would not roll the dice for the missiles traveling in the beginning; I'd pick however many missiles I wanted to arrive, no more no less. Not hiding behind the luck of the dice (and probably not getting the result I need for my story), just plain old plot fiat. I'd pick a number of missiles high enough to hurt the PCs but few enough that it's certain they won't be disabled before getting to do anything.

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@breithauptclan: did you factor in the decreasing range penalties?

For example, I fire a missile at 5x range increment and normally in first range increment I'd have a 70% chance of hitting; so against a stationary target I'd be rolling:

70% - 5th range increment = 30% chance
70% - 4th range increment = 40% chance
70% - 3rd range increment = 50% chance
70% - 2nd range increment = 60% chance
70% - 1st range increment = 70% chance

So the chance for all five rolls to be succesful (for the first missile) are 0.3*0.4*0.5*0.6*0.7 = 0,0252.

So even if you were a pretty good shot, you'd have only a 2.5% chance of your first missile hitting.

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Dayo wrote:

*points to the Loot Sheet link in his header*

Your current total should be accurate. Shows you as having 2068.

Cool, I had no idea how much I had. Blame it on Vitro being an elf who doesn't realize the power of compound interest so he didn't start any savings a hundred years ago.

Sovereign Court **** Venture-Lieutenant, Netherlands—Leiden aka Ascalaphus

Jeff Morse wrote:
Lau Bannenberg wrote:
James Anderson wrote:
Just a note, it is REALLY HARD to make the spellcraft check to determine what the orb does, so that you know how to solve the squid problem.

Our bard used Identify, the +10 helped.

---

That actually doesn't work. It is in the spell description that it won't work on artifacts.

I used a reroll and rolled a 20. My character wished he hadn't, and just wanted to lock it away.

Interesting, that's something that's never come up before.

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Where do we list how much money we have again?

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Rune of the Eldritch Knight cares if it is a weapon. Since it's in the weapons table, I'm cautiously going with Yes. You can draw creepy little runes on your teeth if you want to.

Fusions: these seem to be very item-oriented. You place a fusion on an item with at least sufficient level. So putting a fusion on your teeth is not possible right now, since they don't have an item level. I'm not sure what to think of any creature that happens to have an item level because it's intended to be a purchase limit...

Actually a feat that gives your body an item level for the purpose of adding fusions would be pretty neat.

--- Fair enough, that's all pretty murky.

Sovereign Court **** Venture-Lieutenant, Netherlands—Leiden aka Ascalaphus

James Anderson wrote:
Just a note, it is REALLY HARD to make the spellcraft check to determine what the orb does, so that you know how to solve the squid problem.

Our bard used Identify, the +10 helped.

---

I played yesterday, Quentin GMed for me. We went in through the second floor window so we rather upset the intended order of the house. That was substantially easier than if we'd gone through the front door; the bosses hadn't had any time to prepare.

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Ghouls are in a weird place. They're only CR 1, without something extra they quickly get into trouble trying to hit people at higher level.

But when you give them something extra (like class levels), they become really unreasonably scary. What would be more dangerous? Giving the 5th level rogue another rogue level or giving him a chance at paralysis on each of his three attacks? Should be worth the same CR increase but it's not the same amount of danger extra.

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Ravingdork wrote:
Seems to me that not knowing adds another level of complexity to an already complex system. For those of you who have to keep scanning, how on earth do you and your gm keep accurate track of so many variables without turning starship combat into a slow quagmire?

Well, the GM has to keep track of their shields anyway. For the players, we just don't expect enemy shields to be the same as last round anyway. We're counting on them either slowly rebuilding the shields on the side we just hit (engineer) or to be reassigning them from elsewhere (scientist).

We don't really count on being able to accurately pick the arc with the least remaining shields. We mostly try to stay out of the arc of their best gun, since NPC ships are still often focused on a forward gun. And we rely on bringing a bigger-than-expected gun of our own so we just go through the shields.

Since we don't know what arc will be best defended, but assume they're doing emergency realignment, it's fine to just make it as hard as possible for them to guess which arc we'll be hitting next, so they have to defend everything.

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We had never even considered that you might keep knowing the up to date shield configuration. Scanning seems like a one-time event, just like firing a shot. You scanned a minute ago so you know what it was like back then, but you didn't continue scanning so you don't know the current situation.

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breithauptclan wrote:
Hmm... One more constraint that we should consider in these suggestions is that we really don't want to have to make DC adjustments to the published APs.

In fact, the DCs are pretty well calibrated for classes that do have the bonus. So if we lower the DCs to accomodate classes without scaling bonuses, they become too easy for classes that do have a scaling bonus.

The solution then should be to make it more equal opportunity for all classes to either start with or obtain a scaling bonus in whatever skills you think should be your character's signature.

breithauptclan wrote:
I would think that the better choice is not to change Skill Synergy and Skill Focus, but to instead introduce a new feat. Probably having Skill Focus as a prereq. The new feat could give the scaling insight bonus that is needed. It wouldn't stack with the insight bonus of Skill Focus itself, it would instead be an improvement over Skill Focus at higher levels. Maybe call it Improved Skill Focus, because names are hard.

I don't think this is a good idea, because you're introducing a really high feat tax that way. Starfinder (happily) drastically reduced feat chain length. The longest chains are the connection/technomancer/psychic chains that take three feats each of which gives you a higher level of spells from outside of your class. Beyond that, the Mobility -> X on the run feats are a two-part feat chain that does something nice. The thing is, they're not feat taxes; Mobility is actually pretty decent in Starfinder if you want to walk past mooks to get to/away from the boss.

So a feat that extends skill focus basically makes skill focus a feat tax. The soldier trying to keep up with the operative in just one skill would be two feats down. I don't think that's a good price.

I'd rather see skill focus scale as follows:

Benefit: choose a skill. You gain a +3 insight bonus on that skill. At 11th level and every 4 levels thereafter, the bonus increases by 1.

That keeps pace with the operative's bonus. It's more in line with Pathfinder's skill focus doubling at 10 ranks in the skill.

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Nerdy Canuck wrote:
And now you're seeing why I feel like the system needs scaling bonuses which are not class features.

I agreed with you on that from the beginning.

I think it's fine some classes get tapped "you're a mechanic, you're going to be good with engineering".

The problems I have are:
"You're a soldier, you're eventually not going to be good enough at anything"
"You're a soldier, you're eventually going to be outclassed by operatives at everything"

I think operatives need a bit of narrowing the range of skills they get a bonus at; it's good that they get big bonuses to their prime skills and it's fine that they have aptitude for many others (as reflected by many class skills and many skill points). But getting a scaling bonus to all skills is too wide.

It somewhat hides the fact that the soldier and solarian can't keep up with skill challenges because at higher levels, the operative will be doing all the skill challenges except those covered by another class' specific focus.

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Xenocrat wrote:
Ascalaphus wrote:

It's important to realize that Starfinder Force is not the same as in Pathfinder.

In Pathfinder, Force was kinda its own weird magical energy type, different from fire/cold/negative etc.

In Starfinder, it seems Force is a descriptor that you add on damage of another type. You can have a bludgeoning weapon with the Force descriptor. It'll still hit KAC and get reduced by DR/slashing. But it'll be effective against ghosts.

There is still Pathfinder-style force energy damage in the form of the Magic Missile and Force Blast spells. There are also some aliens who have traditional force damage attacks, like the Frujai.

In addition to that, there are force descriptors on some weapons, which don't change the underlying basic physical damage type, but do allow interaction with incorporeal targets at full damage.

You might be right, there are "force and nothing else" and "something else but with a force descriptor" things. It's a bit less obvious that I would've liked.

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Quentin Coldwater wrote:
Fair enough, I should've specified I run on Wisdom. >_>

Oh you got the archangstytype?

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It's important to realize that Starfinder Force is not the same as in Pathfinder.

In Pathfinder, Force was kinda its own weird magical energy type, different from fire/cold/negative etc.

In Starfinder, it seems Force is a descriptor that you add on damage of another type. You can have a bludgeoning weapon with the Force descriptor. It'll still hit KAC and get reduced by DR/slashing. But it'll be effective against ghosts.

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Well, scaling "representative" DCs are not a terrible idea. A GM who's looking to challenge his players wants a formula that tells him how hard something should be to be a challenge.

The 1.5x level formula is a decent approximation, if someone making the roll has a scaling bonus:

- Operatives and mechanics gain a +1 per 4 levels => 0.25 per level
- Mystics and technomancers gain a +1 per 3 levels => 0.33 per level

You also gain an ability increase every 5 levels. At best it's worth a +1 per 5 levels so 0.2 per level; at worst it's +1 per 10 levels to 0.1

You can use personal upgrades to boost abilities, at levels 3, 7 and 14. 3/14 = 0.21 per level.

So someone focusing on a skill could gain about 0.33+0.2+0.21 +1 rank per level, so 1.74 per level. Which means you ever so slowly become better than average at skills in your primary ability area, which tends to be the signature skills. You extend your lead over the DC by 0.24 per level. Every four levels you need to roll 1 less on the die.

For someone without a scaling bonus, and not taking that ability as a prime target for augmentations (say, a soldier trying to use Engineering as a starship combat skill because the operative already called dibs on Pilot), the picture is more grim.

He gets 1 rank per level, 0.2 from ability increases every 5 levels, and that's it. Every level he falls 0.3 behind. By level 11, he needs to roll a 13 to succeed at a check that he at level 1 could succeed at 10. He's getting worse.

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Nefreet wrote:
Lowering it to x1 damage would relegate a lot of characters to the trash bin. The x2 damage boost keeps unarmed strikes competitive with other weapon options.

The thing I really dislike about the ring is that it gives a natural attack that's better than the natural attacks of races for which natural attacks are actually one of their showpieces.

Note that I proposed several things at once:
- Cutting down the specialization damage down to basically the level of a weapon, not a natural weapon.
- Allowing you to put fusions on the ring. You no longer need to strictly be a soldier to build a character around it, without being afraid of an incorporeal enemy pulling the rug out from under you.
- Treating it in most ways as a weapon, such as you being armed, and it not being archaic. (This also frees up Gear Boost slots so you can use Melee Striker if you want.)

With those things, the ring becomes basically a magical alternative to things like the shoulder laser: a weapon that does somewhat small damage but keeps your hands free.

It also keeps the damage proportional to the cost of the item. I'd be fine with higher-level versions of the ring that gave a bigger damage die. Right now, you'd be using Improved Unarmed Strike to upgrade the damage die just like a vesk would. 315 credits is after a couple of levels hard to distinguish from "basically free". Something that cheap really shouldn't be competitive with things that eat up 30+% of your WBL.

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That's why I suggested my "opening volley" variant. Starting combat with a crit definitely sets a tone. But even a crit isn't likely to drop a character immediately. And I put in limits to prevent ganging up on a single target.

It also brings crit effects into play, for example opening combat with a Dispelling Critical strike on someone, or just a plain old Burn effect. Opening with a Knockdown is also flavorful.

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Eoghan Miskos wrote:
''Vitro'' Wizjietroczenon wrote:
Right, let's get on that. What new spells to take... definitely Create Pit cuz it's an Earth school spell. And Blindness/Deafness to get some Fort action going.

Depends, what do you want to focus on? I think Justin's got the buffing part covered, do you want to go boom, crowd control, or something else? Also, I assume level 2 spells, right?

I'll edit this post as I find cool spells.
Big fan of Burst of Radiance, though maybe now it gets diminishing returns as you've reached the damage cap.
Lipstitch is nice to shut up spellcasters, Pilfering to grab greatswords from barbarians and such, See Invis...

The problem with Lipstitch is that they can overcome it. Blindness is more reliable and does more on non-casters. Burst of Radiance is an idea, I do have Intensify Spell. Could be a thing next level. See Invisibility I already have.

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At this point I would be delighted if it was errataed to be 1x level damage (so not outshining races with natural weapons with a 315 credits item) but clearly defined to be non-archaic, "armed unarmed" and capable of attacks of opportunity, and suitable for fusions.

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Spellslinger's Dodge - I'm fairly sure all touch spells already don't provoke. Almost no spells have a casting time longer than 1 standard action, so you often can take a guarded step back to cast without provoking. So for a normal character, this feat isn't actually all that necessary to take.

You also have to wonder why you would make a feat like this. Starfinder tried to do something fairly specific when it came to spells and concentration. Your concentration only breaks if you fail a save or get hit by an effect with an attack roll on you. Ready actions to do offensive things resolve after the trigger, so you can't ready a grenade or a gun to attack someone if they cast a spell. So attacks of opportunity are one of the very few things that can prevent someone from casting a spell. It's probably not a good idea to remove that limit then.

Also, it encourages people to spend a lot of resolve in one combat. Resolve is part of Starfinder's game design that makes it possible to have multiple encounters per day at reasonable strength, instead of one fight in which you blow through all your resources and then have to go to sleep, the much-hated 15 minute adventuring day from D&D/Pathfinder. By allowing you to spend lots of resolve in one combat to cast without provoking, you're undoing that clever design.

If you wanted to make a feat to cast a few spells without provoking, the typical Starfinder design would be something like "you can't use this ability again until you've spent Resolve to recover Stamina in a 10 minute rest", making sure you only do it once per encounter.

Increased Life - If you compare this to the Toughness feat, it's not really out of proportion. Gaining an additional resolve point is perhaps a bit generous. But on the whole, I think Toughness is better because you'd be able to regain those bonus stamina points every encounter. Toughness is more efficient.

Battle Flurry (Combat) - This is completely OP. Compare this to the Flashing Strikes ability of Solarians, which only reduces it by a -1, and only for melee attacks, and they have to wait until level 7 for that. The way Starfinder to hit/AC is set up, a +1 to hit (or reduction of a penalty by 1) is a really big deal.

Then, the 5th level benefit is also a class feature for operatives, so now you've already got a feat doing the work of two exclusive class features.

Improved Healer - Regular mystics have to choose between healing themselves and doing other stuff, like attacking. Healing Connection mystics can heal themselves as a move action already, and that's one of the selling points of taking that connection instead of others. This feat cheapens that.

Although they'd be happy to be able to channel to the whole group as a standard action, because normally it's a full action so everyone already needs to be in position to receive the benefits. This makes life very much easier for them - it would easily be worth a feat on its own.

Spending a resolve to maximize the healing you do by "a non-item" (which is very vague, it can also refer to abiilities from feats or other classes) essentially gives you double value compared to rolling. If you were going to channel once for healing this round and again next round, might as well spend those two resolve and get it all done now. So you gained healing faster and it didn't even cost you any extra. That's also probably too good even on its own.

Privileged - I'm not sure what NPC contacts do. Spending a feat for 1000 credits is rather a bad deal, since the amount of wealth you earn goes up faster and faster, so essentially you sold a feat for less and less.

Battle Damaged - I like the concept of this, you're still trading a feat for money but the money goes up as you level, so the exchange rate is preserved more.

---

To be honest, I get the feeling whoever made these feats has no clue about how Starfinder's game balance works.

---

Also, Non-Player Characters are still Characters, they're just Non-Player. And monsters are NPCs. (CRB p. 8: Creatures, NPCs, Monsters)

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breithauptclan wrote:

OK. I haven't played at high level characters yet. So I am trying to understand where the problem here is.

Operatives and maybe Envoy dominate in skills. It is actually hard to build an operative that isn't good at practically every skill. Envoy can do well at most things that are important and can get even higher skill roll results than operative in a few select things.

The other classes don't have anything that compares to this very well.

So in order to do skill challenges at high level, the DCs scale at about 1.5 per level (taking Ascalaphus as citing things correctly). This is in order to make sure that the challenges are still challenging to an operative at high level.

But this leaves the other classes in the dust. A soldier or Mystic has no hope of doing skills stuff at high level play.

Is that a good summary and understanding of the problem?

So what we are looking for is a way for any class to pick a skill or three and be capable of succeeding at the high (base + 1.5 x level) DCs of skill challenges at high level, yes?

Yeah, you got it. The principle is described in the GM section:

CRB p. 329 wrote:

Skill DCs

It is up to you, as the GM, to determine the DCs of the various skill checks the players will attempt during play. Many of the skill descriptions include guidance on typical DCs for skill checks, but there may be times when you need to come up with a DC on your own. If a skill check does not have a predetermined DC, or if a player wants to attempt a task that is not covered in a skill’s description, use the following guidelines. A challenging DC for a skill check is equal to 15 + 1-1/2 × the CR of the encounter or the PCs’ Average Party Level (APL). For an easier check, you might reduce the DC by 5, while increasing the DC by 5 makes for a more difficult check. Changing the DC by 10 or more makes for either a trivial check with little chance of failure or a prohibitively high check with little chance of success, so be cautious when adjusting skill check DCs!

You see this in evidence in various places:

* Trap DCs scale by 1.5x trap CR
* Monster identification DCs scale by 1.5x monster CR
* Starship combat DCs scale by 1.5x ship tier

You also run into it more and more in scenarios where you see a table somewhere in the beginning defining Easy, Average and Hard skill DCs. They began doing this in specials because it helped clean up the text, instead of having to write a DC for every separate subtier they can just say "an Easy Mysticism or an Average Engineering check to open the hybrid tech lock".

Now at low level, the scaling modifier you may or may not have from your class isn't such a huge factor in your skill bonus, class skill and ability modifier matter more. But at higher levels, it really starts to matter.

It was an unpleasant eye-opener moment for me when at some point in the Dead Suns AP my level 7 character took 20 to search for traps, with maxed perception (wis 10), and was just not able to find the trap, because the CR 10 trap had a detection DC of 35 that I just couldn't make.

Sovereign Court **** Venture-Lieutenant, Netherlands—Leiden aka Ascalaphus

HERE is the Guide.

There will probably be a separate one for second edition. Things like how many people per scenario, how do subtiers work, that is all going to be slightly different, a separate document per edition makes more sense. It's why Starfinder has its own guide as does the card game.

In PFS1, scenarios were originally (seasons 0-3) written for 4 people but you're allowed to play with up to 6. From season 4 onwards, scenarios are written for 6 people with instructions on how to scale down the difficulty if you have only 4 people.

In all cases you need at least 4 PCs, preferably no more than 6, 7 PCs is supposed to be something that only happens if your planning goes wrong and you'd otherwise have to send someone home. You should never schedule for 7 people. (It's also just not that fun, the game really works better with a smaller group.)

If you have only 3 players, you can add an NPC pregen character to the group to fill it out. In theory it's under the control of the GM, but the GM often delegates it to the players. People tend to take a pregen that does something the group doesn't have yet (Kyra gets taken along a lot as healer), or that's really little work to administer (Zadim is sooo sweet and straightforward).

Another option to fill up a table is with people replaying for no credit. Normally you can play each scenario only once, but if the table needs more warm bodies to be legal, you can replay, but you won't earn any rewards. The reward will be a fun afternoon with friends who can play because you help make the table :)

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"You're bad and you should feel bad"

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Milo v3 wrote:
I find it weird some people are surprised that Sniper Rifles are designed to primarily be used when sniping rather than close fights.....

The "problem" is that sniping doesn't do what you'd expect it to do. Real-world sniping aims to kill people with a single shot. It doesn't do that in Starfinder unless you're using a gun that far outclasses the thing you're shooting.

Which makes sense from a game design standpoint: you don't really want the GM to say "Hey Bob, roll Perception. Oh, you didn't get a 40? What's your AC? Oh, you're dead, sniper got you."

To be fair, the other guns in Starfinder also don't usually put down someone in a single shot. But it's less fundamental to them than it is to the idea of sniping.

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Well, soldiers can actually afford to spend 1-2 feats on skills. At least until we get some more books with good combat feats.

I think operatives will survive even without operative's edge. They have a lot of skill points, often take above-10 Intelligence, and have lots of class skills. But they'll have to choose what they really want to excel at.

What I really want is that in a gaming group the party has to divide up the skill jobs so that everyone is doing something important and together they cover all the important things. Right now, the operative almost accidentally is good at all the things and soldiers and solarians are easily crowded out entirely.

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I have the apocalypse crystal in Dead Suns since we went to Eox (seems like an appropriate place to get one), and it's been quite helpful since.

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breithauptclan wrote:
Ascalaphus wrote:
Rolling initiative every turn hasn't been part of D&D style games since 3.0; and even White Wolf got rid of it in their newer game systems. What is the reason for this "regression"?

I don't remember rolling initiative every round in D&D 3.0 or 3.5. I don't even remember rolling initiative every round in D&D 2.0, but I didn't play that one more than one or two sessions.

I think the reason for doing initiative every round in starship combat is because of the extreme advantage that going last gives. If the initiative was set for the entire combat by one initiative roll at the beginning, then the battle would be entirely one sided.

If you wanted to go to a one-initiative round play, then I think it would work as long as each ship got to take their entire turn uninterrupted - engineering, move, science, captain, gunnery, etc. At that point you would still have a bit of an advantage to the ship that won the initiative same as the advantage going to the character that wins initiative in standard combat scenarios. They get to deal their damage first and if they win the battle, then there is one fewer round of damage dealt by the opponent than if they had lost the initiative but won the battle.

Yeah, 3.0 is the one that introduced the "wheel" model of initiative, 2.5 had the "roll 1d10 plus the speed of your weapon, low goes first model" where you could try to interrupt casters by hitting them while casting.

Every time we discuss all the things that are wrong with starship combat I wonder how many of them are a result of this dubious initiative system. It seems like they really really wanted piloting to matter, which I can understand, but that's kinda like "small weapons are faster and that should matter".

I want to try doing "whole ship turns", perhaps while also making ships a bit slower, like on a 4-8 scale instead of the current 6-12 scale. That means that Turn 2 becomes a whole lot heftier, engineering to boost speed makes a bigger relative contribution, but also, turrets become less essential because you can move and shoot without enemies getting to scuttle off in between.

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To put some perspective on the "it's been 30 years" part of the peace. I live in the Netherlands. Growing up, even in the 90s, Germany was considered kinda nasty. It took two generations before the general population started viewing our neighbor country and biggest trading partner as more positive than negative.

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I'd been thinking in roughly the same direction, but a bit more far-reaching. It really annoys me that (1) operatives take up too much of the skills game, crowding out other classes, because they get bonuses to too many skills, (2) the skill bonuses of various classes are needlessly contrived and different.

So,

* Skill focus starts at +3 and scales up by +1 at level 11 and every 4 levels afterwards.
* Operatives don't get Operative's Edge to skills anymore (they still get it to Initiative). They do still get Skill Focus on their specialization's skills.
* Other classes skill bonuses are now free Skill Focus feats in those skills. Except perhaps envoys, I haven't figured them out yet.
* Skill Synergy is replaced by Skill Training, a new feat that makes a skill a class skill and gives you one skill point in it per level. (This still needs some balance tuning.) Solarians gain two Skill Training feats with their Skill Adept class ability.

The big idea is that key skill challenges in Starfinder use DCs that scale at a rate of 1.5 per level, so without a scaling skill bonus, you gradually stop being competent at skills. Without a class-given scaling skill bonus, you were never going to be a long-term competitor. This sucks for soldiers who apparently are dumb jocks that should just fight and watch in awe as operatives hog all the skill challenge spotlight.

So my take is that operatives still get lots of skill points and two free skill focuses, but anyone can now decide that their character is going to have a particular signature skill, using Skill Focus, and stay relevant at it for their whole career.

And for classes with poor skill points, like soldiers and solarians, particularly in races with Int penalties like Vesk and Kasatha, the Skill Training Feat will help them climb out of that pit.

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HammerJack wrote:
On the gripping hand

<3

The fuzzy ordering of pilot and science officer actions is a bit of a stray thing in the otherwise rigidly ordered phases of starship combat.

The more I think about it the more starship combat feels like an entirely foreign piece of game design.

* Rolling initiative every turn hasn't been part of D&D style games since 3.0; and even White Wolf got rid of it in their newer game systems. What is the reason for this "regression"?

* The whole point of a level-based system is to prevent people from putting all their character build points into maximizing a couple of key things. But that's exactly what optimal starship building is all about. There are no level caps to selecting particular weapons, there's nothing really forcing you to spend your points sort of evenly. The best ships tend to be highly uneven. Compare this to the rest of Starfinder which is somewhat neurotic when it comes to restraining you from getting equipment of the wrong level.

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Ixal wrote:
Analyzing past battles to evaluate the used strategy has nothing to do with being an "out of touch cook" and people freaking out because of the result shows a great deal of snowflakeyness.

He's out of touch because he may have been a professor for a century or so at that university, but in the last 30 years a war that has been raging since before the Gap was settled peacefully, and he's talking about how it could (sounds a lot like "should, you sissy") have been won violently instead. That sort of talk doesn't help if the peace is still fragile, which is probably is after a war that lasted millennia.

As a professor, his job isn't just to do research and be as correct as possible about the facts. It's also to be a teacher and a research community leader. His statements and also his contempt for social graces show that he's basically incompetent at half of his job.

(As a side note, "iffish history" is generally not seen as a very serious pursuit among professional historians, more as the indulgence of people who want to sell successful popular science books.)

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I'm boring when it comes to feats, I go with weapon focus or spell focus. There's no substitute for hitting enemies.

Great Fortitude is a good feat, because poison and disease are quite horrible in Starfinder. However, most Fortitude threats are delivered in melee. Invest in scopes for your gun so that you can negate cover and stay behind your melee party member. Learn the Remove Affliction spell at level 7 so you can fix him up.

Sky Jockey is a bit of a weird feat. The vehicle bonus doesn't do all that much. The device-based bonus to fly speed reads like code for "use with jetpack" to me. The bonus to ship speed is quite cool because outspeeding enemies really helps in starship combat.

But I'd still go for weapon focus and spell focus myself, because Starfinder just has really tight to-hit and save math, and a +1 bonus (+2 later on for weapon focus) really matters a lot.

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I'd lean more towards making grenades stronger, than cheaper. If grenades aren't exactly cheap, but noticeably strong compared to items accessible on their level, they might become a "special occasion" weapon. Of course, Bombard soldiers would also like that.

The thing I'd like to change most is the save DC against the grenade's effects. Because that's really where it all goes wrong: if you succeed at the save against the grenade you don't get secondary effects, which makes most of them pointless. And any penalties to your attack roll (like range increments, or nonproficiency) bring down this save DC.

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Yeah, when you someone with no social graces whatsoever talking about genocide, and there's other people who'd like the same tenured spot, that's going to be office politics. Not national politics.

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I only played the adventure, don't have the text handy, but I didn't remember anything being particularly forced or strange. Maybe it would be helpful to quote the supposedly offending text rather than rely on secondhand information from someone who clearly didn't like the text?

From what I recall from the text, Ailabiens 21:2 was a bit of a caricature character, the "rational but with no social skills whatsoever" scientist who is surprised that he offends people by being rude and suggesting awful things. And although supposedly super-smart and perfectly rational, isn't smart enough to realize or rational enough to acknowledge that you need social graces to get ahead in society.

I'd be more offended for dreary nerd-bashing an old stereotype than seeing any particular liberal bias in "most people thing genocide is bad, especially now that we're finally at peace with those people and things are pretty swell".

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Yeah, with the speed at which you accrue new wealth, any poor choices have become inconsequential in 2-4 levels because the amount of wealth you get increases so fast.

I think the "right way" to buy gear is hard to see, I don't think even we agree on the "correct" frequency of upgrading armor and weapons. The planned obsolescence of lower level items makes it harder to guess what's good.

But that doesn't mean finding a "good enough" way is impossible. After playing a few levels people will stumble across the understanding that constant upgrading is unsustainable, and also that grenades are just ridiculously expensive and feeble compared to other weapons. I think it's pretty natural to gravitate towards only using found grenades or carrying 1-2 for special occasions.

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DR/magic hasn't been that common, but incorporeal enemies can really ruin the day of a Ring of Fangs build...

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You can't really blame people for having a suboptimal purchasing strategy since the core book gives the players no advice about it and even the experienced players on the forum don't really agree what the right strategy should be.

Sovereign Court **** Venture-Lieutenant, Netherlands—Leiden aka Ascalaphus

Yeah that seems pretty clear-cut to me.

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Nerdy Canuck wrote:
Grenades are pretty powerful, and really easy to use, so...

Are they actually powerful? Unless you're using on-level grenades with no bad circumstances, the save DC to halve damage and avoid rider effects isn't all that high. They don't do more damage than same-level weapons, and you don't add weapon specialization.

In my experience, most grenades are only good for "we think there's a monster hiding here, let's piss it off so it comes out".

Nerdy Canuck wrote:
It is important for the DM to replace the lost wealth from grenades detonating (same as other consumables, like healing serums), though, to prevent falling behind the WBL curve.

If you use the guidelines in the core book for treasure, you're giving out about 50% more than people would need to keep up with WBL. Some of that goes into healing serums, some into the inefficiency of selling your lower-level gear at 10%, but some of it is also intended for grenades.

Sovereign Court **** Venture-Lieutenant, Netherlands—Leiden aka Ascalaphus

Yeah that high-tier lizard is way over the top.

Sovereign Court **** Venture-Lieutenant, Netherlands—Leiden aka Ascalaphus

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It took me a while to figure out [REDACTED] wasn't actually [REDACTED] who also murdered a [REDACTED] and was recently prominent.

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