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Disappointing but understandable.

Thanks, all. I had missed the hints that a GM-focused book might be coming. Hopefully it's targeted for a Dec release so we can see it in 2019. I expect Starfinder's Character Operations Manual will be the hardback focus for the fall.

I suspect PF2 and Starfinder will have different release tracks that don't really impact each other most of the time but the PF2 Gen Con launch has to be resource-taxing. With COM slated for fall, I have a hard time seeing a PF2 GM book launching in the same timeframe.

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I know we don't get Monster-building rules in Bestiary 1, I know we can build NPCs using PC rules, and I know we're getting streamlined NPC rules in PF2. But does anyone know if NPC-building rules - meaning the new, streamlined system - will be in the PF2 CRB?

Also, has there been any mention as to the form it may take? I was always a proponent of building NPCs via PC-building rules but Starfinder's NPC rules made me a convert. Based on Starfinder, I sort of assumed we'd see something similar but the Pathfinder Society teases about NPC faction leaders only cite alignment, race, and gender. For example, Calisro Benarry (N female half-orc) instead of Aibretta Fulson (CN female human mechanic).

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Bah! I care not about waiting for PaizoCon!

People not going to PaizoCon want reveals now. People going to PaizoCon want reveals now, as well! It really is a win-win, no reason to wait kind of situation. Don't make me go all Thor and gather up a group of Revengers to come kick in the door!

Kidding aside, we're less than 3 months from PF2 launch. I understand the importance of PaizoCon, but C'MON!!!!

Also, there must be ale, mead, and beer! And do you know what makes ale, mead, and beer taste better? Reading PF2 reveals/teasers while drinking!!!

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Per the title.

Pretty please.

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Marc Radle wrote:

I see what you are saying and I can agree with it. My point is more about the physicality of Captain America - he’s faster than normL people, stronger, better endurance, heals more quickly, heck - one of the reasons he can do such cool stuff with his shield is related to the Serum. Sam even makes comments about it on more than one occassion in the movies “I’ll be doing whatever he does, just slower” etc.

I agree Sam probably is the closest to Steve’s moral center and ideals. But he’s nowhere near Cap from a physical, super soldier’s abilities sense, and to me that matters. Captain America is BOTH of those things - his sense of right and his morals AND his superior super soldier induced abiliities. In my opinion you can’t have one but not the other and still call someone Captain America. It just isn’t the same. Not for me anyway ...

As a diehard Captain America fan, for me Steve Rogers is the one true Cap.

That said, I'm a big Falcon/Sam Wilson fan as well and I've loved Mackie's portrayal of the character in the MCU. In terms of the physical limitations of normal human vs. super soldier, you're spot on.

However, Sam as Captain America is often referred to as Falcon Cap because he's effectively still in the Falcon suit (just a red-white-and-blue version) + the vibranium shield.

Chris Evans is the perfect Steve Rogers, IMO, and while I want more Steve Rogers stories in the MCU, I liked the way they handled the passing of the torch/shield in Endgame.

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eddv wrote:
BPorter wrote:
eddv wrote:
By the point that theyre back to playing 2nd banana to WotC, who really cares about Paizo is my point.

You actually came to the Paizo boards just to say "who really cares about Paizo"?!?

Damn, the Internet is weird.

If They go back to being a 3pp for WotC was the full context there.

But sure.

Ah. My bad, then. I find it impossible to believe that Paizo has any desire or intent to go back to relying on a being a 3PP for WotC. I also don't see a scenario where PF2 and/or Starfinder are abandoned.

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Former PF1 diehard, optimistic PF2 enthusiast here.

I've been anxiously awaiting a Kingmaker hardcover since the RotRL Hardcover was announced. I'm a huge fan of the AP and in many ways, it established Paizo as the company who "gets" the heritage of AD&D more than any other company.

Coming off the CRPG version of the game, this is the perfect way to support the PF2 launch. Although I was initially taken aback by the 5e bestiary, I can see the business logic of having a gateway vehicle for introducing 5e players to PF2.

Can't wait to see this baby in it's full PF2 glory! I didn't think we'd see PF2 Kingdom Building this quickly, but it's very welcome. I do hope KB gets refinement over the PF1 version, however.

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eddv wrote:
By the point that theyre back to playing 2nd banana to WotC, who really cares about Paizo is my point.

You actually came to the Paizo boards just to say "who really cares about Paizo"?!?

Damn, the Internet is weird.

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AnimatedPaper wrote:
The only thing I’m REALLY looking for is the monster creation rules. I can fudge the rest, but getting the math on that would be very useful.

Absolutely this! I keep forgetting they won't be in the Bestiary at launch.

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Mark Seifter wrote:

Oh sure, and ultimately, the product referred to here has to do enough heavy lifting in a variety of important ways that we can't devote tons of page space to any individual component; there will have to be some that we leave to you guys to implement yourselves, ...

Would it be possible to just have more than one "options" book? i.e. More than 1-Unchained! style book? Unchained is one of my favorite books from PF1 and struck a good balance of options. Conversely, I felt like optional systems from Ultimate Combat and Ultimate Magic were not playtested at all and as a result weren't truly viable optional subsystems.

Rather than have one Options book have to do everything, can't we get more trips to the Well of Optional subsystems/mechanics?

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1. While I want this one to be in the CRB, as long as we get an integrated Starfinder-style stamina/HP system (as opposed to UltCombat's Wounds/Vitality), I'll be happy.

2. Rules that illustrate how to adjust the "levers and dials" to tailor PF2 as desired. I want to be able to run a PF2 Dark Fantasy game with Paizo-approved guidelines rather than house rules. Such a section/chapter could be applied towards Mythic as well by altering things in the other direction.

3. Expanded downtime mechanics & rewards. More ways to integrate the PCs into the world beyond money & magic items. Factions, businesses, temples, knightly orders, etc. While I liked Kingdom Building in concept, I want to have stuff that ties characters deeper into the world/campaign and appeals to all characters at all levels (for those who want it).

4. Meatier building & castle construction rules.

5. Options for non-Vancian PF2.

6. A return & refinement of some of the Ultimate Intrigue concepts such as Heists and Social Combat.

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Fleet battles would be the equivalent of mass combat, something that hasn't really followed the character-level combat of just about any RPG.

Legendary Games' Star Battles is about the only alternative currently available that I'm aware of.

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TOZ wrote:
I wasn't going to say it.

...but yet you did.

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Bill Dunn wrote:

Frankly, I think you're actually proving TriOmegaZero's point.

The point that he clarified wasn't directed at me? Sure, dude. Helluva a ball of twisted logic you've got there.

Show me how my praises and criticisms of the movie actually align with the insinuations the "movie wasn't for men" blogger makes. The things she cites in 'all the negative reviews by men' aren't the issues I had with the movie. At all.

I have zero issue with people disagreeing with my criticisms of the movie. If someone came out of the theater thinking it's the greatest superhero movie ever made, I'm glad they liked it.

I have a big issue with people assigning motives to me for having any criticisms of the film, especially given that most of my issues have to do with Fury's portrayal and the challenges facing the good guys being so easily overcome. I find such insinuations especially disingenuous given that I praised Bree Larson's portrayal of Danvers/Marvel and the character's relationship with Maria.

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TriOmegaZero wrote:
TriOmegaZero wrote:
All of Carol’s challenges were in her mind, which is hard to portray in an action flick.

Ah, here we are.


The biggest problem with every single bad review of Captain Marvel coming from a man is that none of them seem to comprehend a narrative that isn’t meant for them.

They see Carol finally breaking free from being gaslighted by the Kree as “emotionally underwhelming,” never realizing that a climactic, emotional showdown with her abuser would be giving him exactly what he wants. Being in control of her emotions? Choosing not to react to a provocation? That’s strength most male comic fans don’t understand. They see masculine-coded strength as the only kind of valid strength. Carol not being angry and putting Yon-Rogg down in a shonen-esque battle doesn’t make sense to them because it’s not what they would have done.

They see a woman struggling to work through lies she’d been told as “bad narrative structure,” when in reality the movie was never about building Carol up from nothing, but about her realizing her true potential through seeing past those lies. Carol’s character arc parallels many women attaining social consciousness, throwing off patriarchal lies they’d been conditioned to accept about who they are and what they can do. Her strength isn’t about attaining power, but about embracing her true potential that had been deliberately hidden from her.

They see Carol’s emotions not lining up with the lies her abusers told her about being too emoional as “bad writing” or “bad acting,” never realizing that that was exactly the point. They only understand defiance as impassioned, outward battles of will and pride, not understanding that quiet, steadfast refusal to bend to others’ designs of who you should be is strength too.

Brie Larson was absolutely right. Carol’s story is not for men. And nothing proves that more than all the


So...there's a problem with the road you're headed down. I got the fact that Carol's challenges were "in her mind", ala the memory loss. But that internal struggle never really put her or anyone she cared about at risk. This, combined with no physical threat, added up to no real tension in the film.

I also didn't criticize Larson at all. In fact, I cited her performance as one of the highlights of the film.

As to the rant you posted to back up your point... complimenting Larson for portraying Carol Danvers/Capt. Marvel well, giving kudos for portraying Carol's confidence with a quiet cool in contrast to Stark or Thor's egos, highlighting the chemistry she had with the cast she had to interact with, and laying my criticism on the directors, writers, and the wasted potential of the Skrull threat, the typical Sam Jackson we got instead of Nick Fury, the eye loss played for a laugh... none of that is valid because A) I'm a guy, and B) the movie 'wasn't made for me'?!? I mean, you didn't come right out and say that, but I can only conclude that's what you mean if you're linking this "rebuttal" of criticism of the movie to me via your earlier post.

Other than saying the only real challenge she had to overcome was memory loss, I never said she lacked heroism. I certainly never said here anything about her emotions being invalid. I criticized the 90's setting because I believed the sexism she encountered in the military could have happened in 2019 as easily as it happened in the 1990s and the 90s setting didn't meaningfully contribute to the film.

If any of those valid criticisms of this movie can't be adequately defended (and since this is all opinion, you wouldn't think that would be that hard to do but apparently, it is), then sure, throw them into the "men can't speak" sewer. Unfortunately, that charge is the steaming pile of excrement that deserves to be dismissed.

Wonder Woman was a great movie about an empowered woman. Wonder Woman was also a great superhero flick with threat and tension for Diana and other characters. Wonder Woman dealt with the topics of sexism and the horrors of war. I frickin' loved it.

Captain Marvel was a decent, but flawed film. But don't take my word for it (I'm a man, after all). My wife liked it but didn't think it was as good as most MCU films. Also, in her own words, "it was no Wonder Woman" and she's eagerly awaiting the Black Widow movie. But I suppose the movie wasn't made for her, either.

I mean, Disney & Marvel should really put that info into the trailers, movie posters, comics, etc. "This media is not intended for the following genders and ethnicities...". That sounds like a very inclusive approach and a great business strategy.

I guess diversity is great unless it doesn't align with the proper 'mindset' of the 'people for whom it's intended'. And for those idiots that actually ARE looking for shallow or sexist reasons to tear down the film, by trying to lump people with valid criticisms in with them you're actually giving them ammunition.

And if, by some chance, you "didn't mean anything by it", you shouldn't have tagged that quote in the first place. It has no bearing on anything I posted in my thoughts/review of the movie. If you read my thoughts/review and equated it to the things in the quote you cited, then the problem lies with you rather than me.

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Irontruth, I'm not sure if you're arguing points from a different site or post but either you didn't read my thoughts/review of the movie or you're choosing to interpret things in a way that I didn't write them.

1. I never said anything about the "time spent" on Carol/Fury/Maria. I wasn't smoking anything. I actually complimented the chemistry between the characters. I said that there was a lack of tension & threat -- none of the characters were at risk. If you misconstrued that they 'didn't spend enough time on them', maybe check the ventilation in your zone.

2. Carol's role in Avengers:Endgame is immaterial to the merits of the Captain Marvel movie being able to stand on its own. This isn't Part 1 or Part 2 of a Hobbit trilogy or Harry Potter movie. It's not Avengers: Captain Marvel. The movie needs to stand on its own, period. As I stated, if this is the 2nd movie made for the MCU, it's good. If it's the 21st movie made for the MCU, it's far from their best showing.

3. Power Level - part 1. I did complain that Carol's power curve went beyond exponential in the film. Basically, it turned into almost a straight line upwards. If Carol has to be ultra-powerful to appear in Avengers: Endgame, it would have been better had she been introduced as part of the Endgame story ala Black Panther in CA: The Winter Soldier and then have her stand-alone movie tell her origin later.

4. Power Level - part 2. First, this movie isn't here to put Captain Marvel on a power level comparable to Thor, it's her origin story. It's to provide the first entry of a female-led MCU movie. (FWIW, I've been rooting for a Black Widow movie since Iron Man 2 and I would literally throw money at the screen to get a Scarlet Witch film.) Second, Thor didn't achieve his current power level in his first appearance and in a matter of minutes of 'world time'. Not minutes in screen time, literally within minutes of events taking placing in the context of the story.

5. My complaint about villains is directly related to the lack of threat posed. I expect the hero to win the day in a superhero movie. I also expect there to be a challenge that test the hero to overcome. We didn't get that.

If you loved the movie, great. Good for you. I stand by every point of praise and criticism I gave the movie and I cited examples for why I felt the way that I did. Let's agree to disagree.

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Bill Dunn wrote:
BPorder wrote:

There is a noticeable lack of tension in the film. At NO TIME did I fear for the characters in this film. The prequel structure of the film works against it in this regard.

Going to pull that out of the spoiler tag - I don't think it's particularly spoilery since we all know it's a prequel.

From my perspective, this is something that usually doesn't bother me in a superhero genre movie or comic, because there's usually no reason to fear for most of the principal characters in the genre - superheroes survive.

The genre itself isn't conducive to killing off the super-powered protagonists because its serial in nature - whether comic series or in movie franchises. The tension is almost always sought elsewhere using other suspense-building aspects of the story. "How to they get out of this?" "How does this affect other people?" and so on.

This might actually be a bit different in April since we, as viewers, know that multiple actors have contracts that are ending in Avengers: Endgame. We don't know if they're going to retire, die, or have something else happen to them. The fact that we know something about their future in the franchise is driving tension. Will they kill off Iron Man, Cap, Thor? Who knows?

On the other hand, even though this isn't a prequel, we're pretty sure they aren't killing off Black Widow. Scarlett Johansson's got at least one other moving coming up. Her serial/franchise life will continue.

I'm not even referring to killing off a hero like Danvers. I understand the genre. What I mean is that at no time during the film did I feel she or any other character was is danger of being harmed.

It's one thing to know Iron Man will be in another movie but has a scene where he's outmatched or getting his butt kicked. It's another for him to cakewalk through the film.

I like my heroes having to outwit and outfight the enemy. The only obstacle Danvers has to overcome is memory loss. Combine that with no real threat posed towards the supporting cast and you get the lack of tension or threat I referenced.

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Selene Spires wrote:
BPorter wrote:
Vidmaster7 wrote:
Worse then the 2nd or 3rd iron man or 2nd Thor? No I think not.
Yes, I think so.
Worse than The Incredible Hulk?

Honestly, that one had me bouncing between the two. Ultimately, had Capt. Marvel been the 2nd movie in the MCU*, it would easily beat The Incredible Hulk (and probably others). As the 21st(?) movie in the MCU...not so much.

*Which is ironic, I guess, since chronologically, it is.

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Vidmaster7 wrote:
Worse then the 2nd or 3rd iron man or 2nd Thor? No I think not.

Yes, I think so.

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Sigh. Captain Marvel, being a prequel film, wasn't one of my "must see" MCU films but I had high hopes for another entertaining entry in the MCU.

Unfortunately, what I experienced was a serviceable, but unremarkable superhero film.

Brie Larson's portrayal of Carol Danvers was a highlight. She found a way to portray a cockiness in a manner distinct from Tony Stark's or Thor's and I think she nailed the essence of the Danvers character which has kind of ranged all over the map at times in the comics.

The rest of the cast - human, Skrull, and Kree all do well in their roles as well (problems noted below).

The special effects are good and at this stage of the MCU, those are table stakes. The Skrull shapeshifting is exceptionally well done and are a highlight of the film.

That said, however...


This movie has little to no emotional weight to it. Danver's banter & chemistry with Fury is a high point, as are the scene's with Maria & Monica. But since Danvers is 'on mission' for almost the entire film, there is less time devoted to Danvers as a person. The story beats are there, but they're glimpsed so briefly (due to her memory loss) that with the sole exception of the 'she always gets back up' sequence, they don't really pack the same punch as other movie heroes have executed. It's actually a testament to Lawson's portrayal that you can feel for Carol to the extent that you do despite this failing.

There is a noticeable lack of tension in the film. At NO TIME did I fear for the characters in this film. The prequel structure of the film works against it in this regard. Danvers is almost never in physical harm's way and the one time she is (the dogfight), since it's a flashback we know she's not at risk. Other characters have to survive to appear in other films and are clearly safe.

Action sequences are serviceable but unremarkable. There's nothing on par with an Avengers, Captain America, Black Panther, or Spider-Man fight scene here.

These two points combine into a larger concern - Captain Marvel is the first MCU character that left me thinking that the hero was too powerful. I haven't collected comics regularly in at least 15 years. I know Captain Marvel has been elevated to be one of the powerhouse of the Marvel Universe. But the power escalation that occurs in this film is problematic. Imagine Tony Stark going from Mark I armor to his Infinity War armor in the course of 1 film. Captain Marvel beats that. Carol goes from not knowing how to fly to literally flying through and smashing spaceships in a matter of minutes. It's the worst of the Superman problem of "how do you challenge a character this powerful"? Watching Captain Marvel left me with the feeling of the throwaway comic book storyline where the hero gets a ridiculous power boost which is quickly undone when the author responsible for the power boost rapidly leaves the title and the incoming author has to do a filler 'de-power the character' story just to make the character someone who can be challenged again.

Aside from Carol & Fury's banter and a Monica scene-steal or two, most of the humor seems forced. The 90's technology laughs land for those of us who lived through them, but the other 90's jokes effectively peak with the Blockbuster store. The attempts to capture some Guardian's style laughs with the alien cat quickly grow tiresome.

The 90's setting really does little to enhance the film. There is little, if anything, tied to the core plot that requires the 90's setting. Carol & Maria could still face male stereotypes in the military today as they could in the 90's and for what little mileage is gained from it in the film the decade is irrelevant. The relationship with Fury could have easily been filled by present-day Fury or another Shield agent. In fact, the #1 reason for setting this movie in the 90s seems to be solely so Captain Marvel can be worked into the MCU in time for Endgame. I can't shake the feeling that Captain Marvel would have benefited from having a movie or two of character development before integrating her into the Avengers.

The score being comprised almost entirely by 90's songs doesn't really land either. It's all serviceable but it feels like a 90's nostalgia grab bag whereas Iron Man's AC/DC or Guardians' 70's soundtrack really helped reflect the tone/attitude of their heroes or the film. And there is nothing close to approaching the goosebumps-inducing combo of Wonder Woman in action with her now-iconic theme.

Coulson is used effectively but almost too sparingly. Ronan...if you thought he was underutilized in Guardians this movie only makes it worse. Aside from providing more context as to what a Kree Accuser is, his appearance is worse than a throwaway.

But without a doubt, the #1 flaw of Captain Marvel is the one that I never expected. That's probably why it actually pisses me off rather than being a mild criticism. Nick Fury is played for laughs in this film. Aside from Jackson's & Larson's chemistry (which is great), the Nick Fury of this film is a pathetic shadow of his other MCU entries. Gone is the intelligent, secretive, cool, and calculating superspy. Instead we have a standard "agent" playing the role of comic relief. We know this isn't an issue with Jackson's ability to portray the character, so clearly the fault lies with either the writers, directors, or both.

Even though, by this time in the MCU, Fury would have met Alexander Pierce (his pic in The Winter Soldier is Fury with two eyes), reached the rank of colonel in the US Army, worked as a spy and has been with SHIELD for years, we get 'cool guy Nick Fury'. We get 'standard wisecracking Samuel L Jackson' rather than Nick Fury. This isn't the 'get the job done' Fury that Pierce describes to Steve Rogers. It isn't the guy who would oversee Project Insight. It's not even the "I've got my eye on you" Fury of Iron Man 2.

But wait! Maybe you'll embrace my wife's theory of "maybe he hasn't become cynical & jaded yet". I could stomach that if this film tried even a little to portray that shift. Remember how Fury "trusted someone once" and it cost him his eye? Remember how the Skrulls are part of this story so the setup for a worldview-changing betrayal is right effing there in front of you? Nope. Would-be top agent & superspy Nick Fury is too busy playing kissy face with a freaking cat. Hell, he didn't even get his blood pressure up that aliens A) exist, and B) can perfectly duplicate anyone, anywhere. No big deal, I'm Sam mutherf'ing Jackson, I mean...Nick Fury.

And then the loss of his eye is played for laughs.

Captain Marvel is decent superhero film and had it come out in the 90's it would have been fantastic. Bree Larson makes for a great Captain Marvel and I do look forward to seeing her interact with the larger MCU. But this movie has serious problems. It is definitely my least favorite entry in the MCU.

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SuperBidi wrote:
BPorter wrote:
1) You can run away if your ship can maintain distance or increase distance over a period of time.

Even with a faster ship, it's nearly impossible, as weapons can shoot at 10 times their range increment and we are speaking of 2 to 4 squares per round. Roughly, you need 50-100 rounds to run away, you're blown to pieces long time before safety, especially if you took a few shots before running away.

BPorter wrote:
2) The ship is crippled and the bad guys leave.


The ship is crippled and the bad guys finish it. They are bad guys...

BPorter wrote:
3) The ship is crippled and the PCs plead/taunt/trick the bad guys into a boarding action.

Why again? I'm the bad guy, I've won the fight, if I don't want to destroy the ship, I ask the crew to just hang outside while I board it easily. As a PC, I always ask that to vainquished ships.

BPorter wrote:
4) Allied reinforcements are detected en route and the bad guys leave before they can arrive.
That's the fairest point. But it's a very special combat situation, unless you want some deus ex machina saving the PCs all the time, but it will be quickly visible.

#1 - Being able to shoot at that range and hit at that range are 2 different things. Also, if you're going to take that literal an interpretation of range & escape, you'll have to also take it for initial detection and closing. Both of which would be resolved via a few checks at my table but if you want to adhere to those kinds of scenarios, the PCs should have ample time to assess/scan foes and disengage before combat starts.

#2 - This is no different than any personal combat encounter. Being a "bad guy" doesn't equate to "kill all opponents all the time". If it does, I suspect TPKs and frequent introduction of new characters is a commonplace occurrence, so starship combat doesn't alter that.

You can run NPCs and encounters any way you like, but the things you're citing are mostly GM decisions/choices and not flaws (or features) of starship combat.

Bottom line, where you see a binary outcome, I see unexpected/unscripted role-playing and story opportunities.

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Ixal wrote:
SuperBidi wrote:

Space combat has one very major difference with normal combat: It's either a flawless victory or a total party kill.

Also, there are no special resources you can use to "save the day" when a combat looks badly engaged. And you can hardly run away. It's win or die, period.
This is probably the main problem with space combat. Combined with how disconnected the spaceship is from the rest of the game those are the only two possible outcomes with nothing in between.

Um, not even close. Per the SFCRB: "Hull Points: This is the total amount of damage a starship can take before it becomes inoperative. A starship with 0 Hull Points isn’t destroyed, though many of its systems are no longer functioning and it is no longer a threat to its enemies."

Now, for some encounters, that could result in ship destruction and a TPK just like any personal combat with monsters or enemies. It's hardly the binary choice being discussed, however.

Off the top of my head:
1) You can run away if your ship can maintain distance or increase distance over a period of time. Since starship combat and space travel contain hefty doses of abstraction already, a GM could say the encounter ends after a random or set number of turns. Even if pursuit is maintained over a long period, the PCs could be hailing any friendly/neutral ship for assistance, etc.

2) The ship is crippled and the bad guys leave.
2a - The PCs have to make field repairs to get moving again.
2b - The ship is a hopeless wreck. The PCs have to use escape pods which will take them to that mysterious planet...
2c - The PCs have to limp to an asteroid field, moon, or planet and gather resources to repair their ship so that they can resume their journey.
2d - The PCs are stranded in their crippled ship but their distress calls are picked up by an allied/friendly/neutral vessel that can either rescue them, tow their vessel, repair their vessel, or be hostile to the PCs where the PCs will need to try and take the new vessel.

3) The ship is crippled and the PCs plead/taunt/trick the bad guys into a boarding action. Personal combat ensues as the PCs attempt to board the enemy vessel to salvage needed parts, capture the enemy vessel, or capture enemy hostages to bargain for repair parts.

4) Allied reinforcements are detected en route and the bad guys leave before they can arrive.

If Hull Points = 0 = Star Wars ship explosion, then yes, starship combat is pretty binary. Fortunately, Starfinder isn't that way. You are no more limited by losing encounters than you are in Pathfinder or Starfinder personal combat. In fact, in many ways, you are less limited.

You're free to impose whatever limitations on a game/campaign/session that you like, but don't blame the game for imposing a limitation that the GM assigned.

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Xenocrat wrote:
How do you control magicians in this poorly thought out world of yours where no one carries weapons?

There's a huge gulf between police state with no armor and weapons and futuristic Wild West where no pretense of law enforcement exists.

The beauty of Starfinder is that it's far more conceivable for PCs to move to different settings. Verces isn't Akiton. The scope available for author's in Starfinder is far, far greater than in Pathfinder and should be used accordingly.

To use an example, in Firefly, the frontier worlds are pretty lawless. When they do the run on the hospital on one of the core worlds, they have to operate very differently. That is a setting and storytelling feature and opportunity, not a "that's not fun" restriction.

And the example issue of the trapped front door in a metropolitan area is spot on for showcasing things that need better design. I'm all for a certain amount of suspension of disbelief because you're playing a game or adhering to genre conventions. But that falls into the "too stupid to be remotely plausible" category.

It's Starfinder. I can buy into the melting pot of unusual races, tiered weapons and armor, and social norms that allow for weapon carry permits and armor in certain/most situations. But don't put me in a cosmopolitan city that is an example of the top-tier of Pact Worlds society and treat it like Tombstone, Az before Earp comes to town.

And, if you're hell-bent on doing just that, you probably shouldn't include a gazetteer of the city in question where a significant portion of the write-up talks about how relatively nonviolent the city is, focus a good portion on the police force, and where the NPC art for the article is the chief of police!

I, for one, want an adventure in a city on Verces to feel different and present different challenges than a dead/dying boomtown on Akiton. If I'm going to stamp setting sameness on everything, what's the point of having so many diverse settings?

Starfinder is great. That doesn't mean that adventure and encounter design can't improve and shouldn't embrace it's Science Fantasy environment - including the new challenges that introduces.

Starfinder can be so much more than "Pathfinder in space".

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SuperBidi wrote:

In Dead Suns, there's a space combat I found kind of silly.

We were attacked without warning (I was captain, and tried to open discussion for no result), and once we won, we discovered the enemy ship was having some very important information to us.
First, we could have blow them up. But, more importantly, the guys tried to blast us, without warning nor discussion, and now we have to make some Diplomacy checks and stuff.
My True Lawful Priest of Lissalla was that close to explain them how she handles what she considered an act of piracy...

That's fair. I can see that.

I think that's more an issue with encounter design than starship combat itself, however. Starfinder is still relatively new but sometimes the application of Pathfinder-dungeon-style encounter design doesn't really work as well for far future science fantasy. I'm hopeful that will improve over time and hopefully will also help improve starship combat encounter design as well.

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Space combat has been great in our campaigns. It's been a welcome change of pace. In Reach of Empire, one of the space combats is critical to the adventure, so I'm not getting how they are getting looked at through a more critical lens than a XP-filler encounter.

As for "less meaningful" encounters, I'm really tired of low-/no-stakes encounters awarding more XP than a life-or-death encounter at a lower level, simply by virtue of being in a higher AP installment. If such encounters are just going to be XP-filler, there's really no point in tracking XP (regardless of whether it's Starfinder or Pathfinder).

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I, too, generally think that some of the population numbers are quite low. It's never been something that Paizo pays too much attention to, even in Pathfinder, so I tend to take them with a certain amount of Handwavium.

That said, while the setting doesn't really portray it this way, this is how I've chosen to interpret things.

The core races represent the races most interested in space travel, colonization, and exploration. Other races may be more populous, but they are content living within their planetary system for the vast majority of those races/species.

As for looking at some of the numbers, yeah, some things seem out of whack. The assessed degree of whack is a matter of personal taste. Here are a few examples/comparisons:

1. Castrovel is less populated than expected because so much of the planet remains jungle. The elves are already a slow-to-reproduce species. Formians are short-lived.

2. Verthani do seem underrepresented. Despite being tidally-locked, Verces appears to be one of the most densely populated and relatively stable planets in the Pact Worlds. Cuvacara alone has 30 million inhabitants; 16.5M are Verthani. And that's just in one city!

3. Poor little Absalom Station only has 980,000 humans. Cuvacara has 3 million humans. Arl has almost 7 million humans. Yet, Absalom Station is portrayed as the center of human society. This only makes sense if Absalom Station is the primary place where humans can significantly wield power.

4. And don't get me started on the Kasatha. Yes, their homeworld is accessible now, but a single ark ship seems unlikely to have enough inhabitants to constitute a core race -- unless we're referring to propensity to be a starfaring race of explorers, colonists, etc.

The Pact Worlds are interesting and I believe they are structured as they are so that the efforts of a group of space vagabonds is more easily felt. However, I do think that since the Races chapter of the SFCRB explicitly cites the core races as being "so common as to be ubiquitous" the Pact Worlds setting would have done a better job of reflecting that.

Paizo always favors story over statistics, though, so I wouldn't expect much in the way of official changes or retcons. If the numbers bother you, your best bet is to change the numbers in your campaign.

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CoeusFreeze wrote:
BPorter wrote:

So, love the book and content so far.

One question: what the heck are "cp"?!? They're referenced multiple times in regards to Wealth Points.

cp refers to Credit Points. It's the currency of Starfinder akin to Gold Pieces in Pathfinder.

Color me somewhat confused, then. Star Empires goes out of it's way to say a direct Credit:Build Point conversion doesn't exist. This seems a strange thing to contradict in Star Intrigue.

Going along with CP = credits, however, things don't really get any better/clearer. If a Wealth Point = 400 credits, and 10 WP = 1 Build Point, that means that the starting treasury of a Star EMPIRE is a measly 200,000 cr (50 BP).

I'm fine with BP & WP being abstractions lacking a conversion from currency. However, Star Intrigue goes out of its way to say factions can "purchase" additional wealth points for 400 cp. That seems ridiculously low.

I appreciate the answer, though. It's easily house-ruled to a different value, of course.

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Wealth by Level is a useful tool for providing GM and PC guidance on appropriate gear balance in the context of the game. I get it, it’s useful, and I’m glad we have it in the game as a guideline.

Unlike Pathfinder, however, the application of WBL to an advanced society and economy like the one depicted in Starfinder needs to (or at least should be able to) account for much more than your typical roving band of fantasy adventure heroes. Corporations, advanced banking, investments, planetary economies, interplanetary economies, etc. all exist and are commonplace elements of Pact Worlds societies.

Since Starfinder is a game about science-fantasy adventures, the relevant application of WBL is rightly on adventuring gear. No one is seeking to play Starfinder Drift Barons or Starfinder Accountants. This is acknowledged in both leveled gear and the explicitly stated “can’t sell starships for cash” part of the SFCRB.

Also, before anyone makes the “post scarcity” argument, that’s clearly not in play as a signficant factor. Treasure/wealth/gear are clearly explicit rewards of the game. The problem, however, is that in order to steer PC wealth towards leveling up their gear appropriately, some really wonky stuff is thrown around for the rest of the Starfinder economy. Here are a few examples:

1. A sleep pod (communal showers/restrooms) costs 1 Cr per night. A 1-2 person suite is comparable to a standard hotel room by today’s standards and cost 10 Cr per night for 2 beds. Quite the deal! Yet a 0-level spell costs 20 Cr. But spellcasting requires skill has a rarity component, etc. Fair, and true enough. However, the hotel has to be a profitable business.

2. Starship passage (good) costs 300Cr / day of travel per person. Makes sense as space travel encompasses much more than a standard hotel room, right? But is it really worth 60 times what a hotel room would cost (Suite, 1 bed = 5 Cr/night)? It could very well be that starships are that expensive to operate, but then there's the following examples (#3, 4, & 5).

3. In the Penumbra Protocol, renting a private hangar for the PC’s starship is a measly 10 Cr/day. This is despite the fact that “Cuvacavra is a densely populated metropolis with only one allocated area for landing spacecraft”. If the goal is to make starship operations costs irrelevant, simply say something like “docking fees are assumed to be paid out of starship operation funds” and move on.

4. In The Reach of Empire, the PCs will be paid 4000 Cr for delivering supplies to the colony. This is presented as PC wealth. I certainly hope that’s profit after starship operations costs are accounted for because I question the viability of starship freight transport, otherwise.

5. Starship salvage is effectively ignored. The only time I’ve seen it addressed is in The Diaspora Strain and it amounts to “they carried nothing of value” from a NPC, as though the ship itself is of no intrinsic value.

6. The apparent setting conceit that robots exist but can't be purchased by PCs.

However, in addition to providing in-game rewards for PCs, the use of economic hurdles, items of value, mining and salvage and host of other topics are all excellent fodder for stories. Greed-motivated villains, piracy, bounty hunting, mercenary work, ‘get a job, keep flying’-style merchant campaigns, etc. all need at least a somewhat plausible 'economy' in order to make sense contextually. Sure, non-adventuring economic topics shouldn’t take the focus away from adventuring but they don’t have to be dismissed, or worse, made nonsensical or trivial in a way that calls attention to it. Saying “your ship is like a corporation and the UPBs and credits that pay for it aren’t available as PC personal wealth” is perfectly acceptable. Creating scenarios where selling a relatively commonplace weapon will pay for living expenses for an extended period of time isn’t.

I really hope that a future supplement addresses or expands topics like cost of living, downtime money-making activities, starship operation costs, salvage, & trading outside of the constraints of WBL. If we can accept level-gated gear, we should be able to accept separate sources of wealth, income, and expense that can only be applied to certain areas. Let’s not close off story opportunities or internal setting logic because of a fear that PCs will break WBL restrictions.

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So, love the book and content so far.

One question: what the heck are "cp"?!? They're referenced multiple times in regards to Wealth Points.

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Quick clarification to my earlier post: Star Empires does have sample nations & colonies. However, the AbadarCorp & Starfinder Society analogs are in Star Intrigue.

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ForeverQueen wrote:

So, let me preface this by saying I am a DM running three different parties in the same 'universe/continuity'. So, the ships occasionally send messages to each other, and at some point the groups may team up to overcome severe threats, or share knowledge stuffs.

My big three-pot homebrew game is moving towards Swarm stuff. In my head I'm picturing the PCs as being one group of many on a planet battlefront. There are loads of NPC locals, small militias, random folks, all trying to fight against the might of the Swarm. Will they turn the tide of battle? Are they trying to merely minimize loss? Or direct the swarms slaughter until reinforcements arrive?

I'd love to have a hex 'battlefield' map with resources, (a la Ultimate Campaign style), armies, etc, to help coordinate attacks.

Has anyone else had this sort of feeling of needing a bigger venue for planet-side combat? (Is anyone working on something like this for themselves/their party that I can peek at?) Am I thinking too big?

(Also, I realize a lot of Starfinder is 'the ship is home, so we don't need to put down roots', but I think it would be cool to have a method for building your own scifi outpost on a random asteroid in the diaspora or something.)

I'm a huge fan of Ultimate Campaign and would love to see a Starfinder book in the same vein.

Specific to your point, though, I recommend getting Star Empires from Legendary Games. They essentially adapted principles of the kingdom-building rules and applied them to science-fiction/fantasy concepts. It's abstract enough that it can be applied to everything from colonies, outposts, corporations, guilds, etc.

I've begun using it to develop groups and entities that are relevant in my campaigns. So far, it seems to be crunchy enough to be satisfying but abstract enough that it is readily applied to a variety of organizations/power groups. It seems to have found a good balance without bringing along some of the more problematic aspects of Kingdom-building. It also includes examples for 2 organizations that for IP-related reasons seem to closely align with AbadarCorp and the Starfinder Society without naming them such. I appreciated their inclusion for showing how the rules apply to things other than stellar nations/empires.

It also has rules for sci-fi warfare and mass combat but I haven't had a chance to play with those so I can't speak to how well they work at the table.

I also just picked up their Star Intrigue supplement which provides rules for developing factions that can struggle for power within a 'star empire'/colony/corporation if you want to play up internal power struggles while fighting the external threat. As with the warfare rules, though, I haven't had a chance to dig into them too much yet.

Good luck with the campaign!

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Wishlist Items:

#1 - Better projectile firearms or ways of making them more viable such as increased magazine size. Projectile firearms have ridiculously low magazine sizes compared to energy weapons for no apparent reason and without a tangible trade-off to compensate.

#2 - Better options for automatic weapons such as burst fire rather than single-shot or empty mag. Honestly, although I'm generally quite happy with Starfinder combat, the automatic fire rules suck.

#3 - More vehicle options and vehicle creation rules. While starship rules get plenty of expansions and love in the rules and supplements, vehicles are a criminally underserved part of the game. Starfinder is a RPG that screams for speeder-bike chases, car chases, aerial battles, etc. but the current options are tame at best.

#4 - Additional weapon accessories & armor upgrade options. While Armory 1 offered a nice selection of these, I'd be happy to see more.

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Thanks, Rone. I really appreciate your and Lou's answers and additional contextual info. It all sounds incredibly cool.

Please, don't misunderstand, I wasn't questioning the plausibility of the Grimmers believing in supernatural elements, especially in regards to matters of faith. It just surprised me that 1 of the 5 'pillars' of Crux-space would be culturally built around it.

Again, thanks for the additional details. I'm very much looking forward to Grimmerspace!

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Awesome! Thanks for the answers!

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Themetricsystem wrote:

I'm not Lou but I may be able to field that question from a relative outsider perspective.

Magic is almost CERTAINLY not real in our universe but even today there are cultures that value live sacrifice in hopes to achieve personal/communal gain or wealth. Superstition and belief systems do not need to be grounded in the factual/historical reality of the setting mechanically in order for their adherents to believe that sacrifice adds value to their culture.

True, but I've having a hard time reconciling that with an advanced society that is one of the five cultural pillars of the 'no-magic' setting and squaring your approach with the whole "battle of science fiction vs. science fantasy". A culture with the mindset you're describing seems more likely to run screaming to embrace magic (with the purpose of controlling it for themselves, of course, since this is Grimmerspace).

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Louis Agresta wrote:

The Apostasy
Five aristocratic houses rule a wicked civilization of wealthy human sadists and their bio-engineered sycophants spread across the thirteen moons of a single crypt-world. The royal families of each house chase immortality in their own unique way and are always at each other’s throats. But two things unite them: faith in their inherent superiority and the annual festival of Tarthaziel, wherein they spill blood to appease the ghosts of the ancient aliens who once inhabited their home system.

Lou, all of the Grimmerspace teases sound fantastic and I'm anxiously awaiting the Kickstarter! I do have nagging questions though. If Grimmers are science-fiction and magic is new, why is one of the main Crux factions appeasing alien ghosts in a blood ritual? Wouldn't that be a culture built around knowledge of magic? That sounds straight-up science fantasy to me.

Also, are the factions described the largest Crux factions or the only Crux factions? While the factions described sound incredible, they also sound pretty specific and I'm wondering if/where less exotic(?) cultures exist (if, in fact, they do) and where core rulebook races might fit (if, in fact, they do). Galaxies are pretty big, after all.

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I’ve been a Paizo fan since Burnt Offerings. Pathfinder has been my primary RPG since the Core Rulebook arrived at my house a decade ago. My experience with new editions of most other RPGs did not get me excited because it usually was more about revenue goals than refinement or evolving the game. (Savage Worlds being a notable exception of how to do it right.) Change for Change’s sake is NOT a good thing, in my experience.

Even with new-edition ‘signals’ such as PF Unchained! and Starfinder I was hoping that when the inevitable PF2 came around it would be a Refinement approach instead of the Rebuild mentality traditionally adopted by WotC. I was not interested in a new edition. I did, however, understand the likely necessity of PF2 from a business perspective.

Then the blogs began teasing PF2. Initial resistance gave way to intrigued interest. Not only that, it seemed that many “wish list” items were being incorporated: spell-less rangers, ancestries and backgrounds vs. the inelegant trait system, the new action economy, and yes…even Resonance. I found myself eagerly awaiting each new tease of PF2 info and it became evident that a genuine desire to innovate for the betterment of the game – on both sides of the GM screen – was a driving force. Some changes might be radical, but they weren’t changes for Change’s sake.

Like many on the forums, I suspect, that (in my case unexpected) enthusiasm caused me to lose sight of the Playtest goal, or at least it’s primary one: to playtest the rules. Like many, I got caught up in the cycle of “speak loudly and often lest your voice go unheard”. And I was disheartened, annoyed, and disgusted when stating a design preference about a game resulted in…we’ll call it less than meaningful discourse. I was told my preferences had no place in Pathfinder, ANY restriction of magic or demigod-like power was bad, that the power curve HAD to climb or PF2 was a failure out of the gate, and that 5e was a better place for my desire for more grounded fantasy. The boards were becoming increasingly toxic, they weren’t fun to read or a way to decompress anymore. So I decided to check out 5e and see if they were right.

D&D 5e is a fine game. I actually found a lot in the design that I liked. Unsurprisingly, a lot of that design looked like a Pathfinder variant (i.e. similarities, not plagiarism). However, the ‘well-intentioned’ claims of Club Take-Your-Ball-and-Play-Elsewhere were wrong. 5e was not a low, or even lower-magic game. Sure the math was flatter but magic was just as prevalent as it was in 3e. And presumably, 4e. I dunno, I skipped 4e for Pathfinder. Bottom line, 5e wasn’t going to scratch my Pathfinder itch.

After experiencing the design changes of Starfinder (which I love, btw), I started revisiting PF2. I wasn’t in a position to participate in the Playtest but I weighed in on the surveys where possible. More importantly, I started digging into the system more by making characters and running some mock combats. I watched the Paizo videos. I listened to the Glass Cannon playtest sessions.

I don’t know what the final form of PF2 will take. It has become abundantly clear to me, however, that Paizo is truly seeking to innovate and improve Pathfinder, to separate the PF1 wheat from the 3.x chaff that perhaps got improved in PF1 but never got fixed. I’ve taken many PF1 characters and rebuilt them as best I could in PFP form. In every case, the PFP version is more thematically interesting. They appear to be more competent in the way action heroes and swords-and-sorcery heroes are without going the trite route of MOAR POWER. I can see how they are trying to clean up areas and open up new design space. I can see the potential for (please, oh please, oh please) modular dials and levers that a GM could employ to use the PF2 chassis to fit a variety of play styles.

Of course, I do have concerns. Legendary proficiency in many cases seems geared for campaign-consistency-breaking gonzo wonkiness that I despise. I worry that the magic “un-nerf” will swing the pendulum to the other side. I worry that the math will only support one style-of-play (High-to-Epic Fantasy) and will cause the Zero-to-Demigod path to be an express-lane. Will I really like having NPCs utilizing a different character creation system than the players? Will the dreaded Christmas Tree Effect survive another edition? Will magic feel more, well, magical? Will goblins still be menacing, if often inept, fire-loving psychos?

Ultimately, though, those are minor concerns. Since the end of the playtest, developer comments, videos, interviews, etc. have helped me conclude that they’re looking at the right things, that the TEST was a plan and that they’re pleased with what the execution of that test produced. I see character builds that I want to see tried at the table. I see the promise of intrinsic GM tools that will make the game easier to run and easier to teach to new players. I see the potential for a game that is easier to run so that my youngest child who loves to play PF1 will try running a game of his own rather than being intimidated by PF1’s complexity.

I truly appreciate the effort and care that Paizo is putting into PF2. I eagerly await its release. Thanks for the past decade of Pathfinder greatness and I hope that the next decade leads to even greater success for the Pathfinder game and Paizo.

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Ambrosia Slaad wrote:
Edit: I like that they are already showing Flash Thompson as having genuine respect and admiration for Spider-Man.

The MCU incarnation of Spider-Man is the best ever, hands down. I thought SM: Homecoming was great.

That said, Flash Thompson is a pathetic shadow of the character in the comics. However, he's light years ahead of the new 'MJ'. At least Flash shares the antagonist traits of his early comic-counterpart. Michelle has nothing in common with Mary Jane. I don't know why the just didn't treat Michelle as a purely original character (which I would have been completely ok with them doing instead).

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Magic getting a buff, let alone a strong one, is the last thing PF needs but it's probably also the least surprising bit of news in this thread. Unfortunately, it probably also means that balancing things will be as problematic as it can get in PF1. However, I remain hopeful that if there is a way to walk the knife's edge that Paizo will find it.

Thematically, I liked Resonance but I'm also not surprised to see it go by the wayside. I know it had its problems but a lot of the resistance towards this system seemed to stem solely from the idea of limiting the amount of magic items a character could employ at all.

Overall, I think most of the changes cited sound positive and trust Paizo to make a good game. However, if the vocal crew pushing for more power creep get their way AND we don't get the system modularity that was cited I just don't know if it will become the fantasy rpg that displaces PF1 for my campaigns. If I can emulate Witcher & Dragon Age-style stories & heroics, I'm golden. If it only supports the demigod 0-to-mythic hero then high-level play will likely remain closed off.

Here's hoping that PF2 "high level play" doesn't start at level 12.

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In my earlier post I cited defining a timeline as a recommendation for GMs. Below is the timeline that I created for my game when I ran it. For any GM, there will be variance in the exact number of days since travel times are (or at least can be) randomly determined.

Doing this helped me on a couple of fronts:
1. It validated that the AP's events held together in the context of Starfinder in-system and Gap travel. Since it's a Paizo AP, I expected this but it was still good to know that events held to internal consistency without GM intervention. Plenty of adventures over the years have failed to do this.

2. It provided a sense of context for NPC mindsets, both for the invading Azlanti and the occupied colonists. This was crucial with my group for answering basic "who, what, & when" questions in conversations with NPCs and kept me from having to wing it and keep the improv consistent.

3. Sharu and her team have to have been at the Royal Venture for a brief time or the Azlanti look even more incompetent than as I summarized in my review and earlier posts. Sharu wouldn't keep her team trapped in the Royal Venture for an extended period and Olaraja wouldn't forgo regular communications or sending a patrol to help dig her out if Sharu and her team were trapped for days.

4. It underscored the fact that the events of Rise of Empire take place over a short period. Otherwise, the transmission that kicks off Book 2 arrives before Book 1 is completed. If the GM allows for an extended delay, it makes the Stewards look incompetent and also undercuts the "we can't get a ship there fast enough, please help" part of the transmission.

So, here's the timeline from my run-through. Text in parentheses at the end refer to citation of the event in the AP, not a specific day/sequence.

314 AG
Zolan Ulivestra learns of scholars researching Azlanti pre-Drift interstellar travel. Ulivestra convinces IVSC to send out survey probes with Ulivestra overseeing the project. Ulivestra is intrigued with the voyage of the Royal Venture and makes finding it his personal mission.

318 AG
Day 1 - IVSC probe enters Nakon system and malfunctions. Broadcasts a message to the IVSC before crashing. (RoE)

Day 3 - Ulivestra learns of probe data of Nakondis. (RoE)

Day 7 - The Barazad is dispatched from Gulta to the Nakon system. (RoE)

Day 24 – The Barazad reaches the Nakon system. It begins scanning planets of the system, working from the sun outward. (RoE)

Day 25 – The Barazad moves on to Nadonis, the 2nd planet of the Nakon system. (RoE)

Day 30 – The Barazad reaches Nakondis (RoE)

Day 31 – The Azlanti invade and occupy Madelon's Colony. Cedona sends distress call message to Bastion. Colony communications array destroyed soon after. (RoE)

Day 32 – The Barazad transmits an update to Ulivestra. (RoE)

Day 40 – The PCs’ ship leaves Absalom Station headed for Nakondis. (RoE)

Day 47 - Ulivestra dispatches the Silver Needle (Vanguard Comet model) to Nakondis. Also, Cedona’s distress call reaches Bastion. (RoE)

Day 48 - The Stewards identify the PCs’ ship as bound for Nakondis and transmit message for it. (EftPM)

Day 52 - Silver Needle arrives at Nakondis. Rune Drive and Cedona are brought on board. Silver Needle departs. (RoE)

Day 53 - Barazad begins survey of remaining Nakon system. (RoE)

Day 57 - The Silver Needle arrives at Gulta. (RDG)

Day 58 - Cedona and Rune Drive taken to Aurelos aboard the Starunner. (RDG)

Day 59 - Sharu takes team to Royal Venture to see what other information or artifacts you can recover. Sets up base camp. (RoE)

Day 60 - Reactivation of the Royal Venture's power core results in an overload that collapses rear engine of the ship, trapping Sharu and her team inside. Sharu notifies Olaraja but is confident that she and her team can find another way out or dig their way out and have sufficient rations for now. (RoE)

Cedona and Rune Drive arrive at Aurelos. Interrogation of Cedona begins. (RDG)

Day 61 – PCs’ ship arrives in Nakon system. Lands on Nakondis (RoE)

Day 67 – Lt. Evosco’s transmission for the PCs reaches Nakondis (EftPM)

So, in my play-through the Azlanti occupation is 30 days old. Sharu has just become trapped within the Royal Venture. Some of the Azlanti's poor tactics can be explained away by the routine/boredom of a month-long occupation. The colonists are cowed and beaten, at least until the PCs arrive. Cedona's interrogation has just begun. Quite a bit of time will have passed by the time the PCs reach her in Book 2.

I realize that this level of attention to detail is more than many GMs would care to undertake but I find such things greatly help me in understanding the plot and portraying NPCs. I really wish Paizo would begin to incorporate something like this (albeit less specific, probably) in the APs.

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Lord Fyre wrote:

Against the Aeon Throne implies that no Drift before the Gap. Other methods were known though, such as methods used by both the Azlanti and the Androffans.

Lol. Sorry I wasn't clear. Not "before the Drift existed" but "course plotted but before engaging Drift drive".

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A question regarding Drift Travel that I can't seem to find anywhere: When a course is plotted but before the ship enters the Drift, is the travel time known/calculated?

My read on The Drift is no. Like the age of sail, you have an approximation (3d6 or 5d6 days at Drift 1) but the Drift's unpredictability makes precise calculations impossible.

With respect to in-system travel, however, this absolutely should be identifiable before setting out on a plotted course. This is occurring in real-space, so the distance of a particular course is fixed.

I think this leads to a better risk/reward analysis that the captains and pilots of the Starfinder universe have to employ: Is the potential of a shorter trip better than the known travel time of in-system travel?

The higher the Drift rating, the less of a factor this becomes but I like the premise. If for no other reason it explains why ships aren't always Drift-capable and why in-system travel is still a thing.


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Aunders wrote:
Getting ready to run this adventure for a group of mine. Any notes that anyone might have to a DM about to run this adventure?

Reach of Empire has great story hooks and a cool concept and pays homage to some classic Star Wars style imagery and action. I like it quite a bit. If you check out my review, however, you can see that I do think it has some structural and plot problems. I feel pretty strongly that these issues were inflicted upon it by Starfinder AP’s lower page count.

For my playthrough, I had read the adventure but my group wanted to play early so I ran it pretty much as written. A lot of the issues that I have with the adventure could be modified or removed with a bit of additional prep. We had fun but I feel it was a missed opportunity. It could have been much more memorable with a bit of tweaking.

The list below deals with most of the issues I have with The Reach of Empire.

1. Azlanti Communications Capability – This is detailed in the module, though much later in than it should be. However, there is little discussion of how the Azlanti forces coordinate or respond. This reinforces the dungeon-design that is applied to the colony. Give thought to what/how the Azlanti would communicate status reports, alerts, and under-fire scenarios. Which Azlanti know what and when should matter.

2. Pacing – Being an adventure where PC-injury is wildly variable, it’s unsurprising that no specific timeline is established. However, the story in RoE work best when taking a speed-of-plot approach of an action movie. The internal logic of the story breaks down quickly if significant periods of time go by between the PCs arrival and the colony’s liberation. Starfinder’s Stamina system already mitigates a lot of short-adventuring day issues but if you want to adhere closely to the adventure as-written it has to be a really tight timeframe. After that, you’ll need the suggested additional prep or improve because what the Azlanti might be doing on Day 1 when the PCs arrive makes NO sense on Day 3.

3. The Resistance…isn’t one – The colony is under the thumb of the Azlanti and no meaningful resistance exists. This doesn’t change once the PCs arrive. Aibretta exists primarily to play quest-giver and the other resistance members personify the fetch-quests. Aside from Aibretta providing shelter and limited aid, the PCs are on their own. As a result, most of Aibretta’s missions are pointless except as a means to acquire necessary XP. Which brings me to…

4. Replace most of the resistance quests – These are old-school fetch-quests that do little to advance the overall story. They also trigger the “wouldn’t strangers be more suspicious than locals?” response. Hobgar Liberation, Cemetary Showdown, the Execution, and the Assault on the Garrison are decent. The rest are a waste of space. This leads me to…

5. Utilize Nakondis more effectively – Replace the aforementioned missions with encounters that better leverage the setting detailed in the Nakondis backmatter article. Instead of looking for a report about a mining accident, have the PCs rescue trapped miners. Colony under water rationing? Have the PCs gather water from Lightning Lake using vehicles. Get some hoverbike vehicle action going. Maybe have the PCs discover that those larger hobgars do exist in a bigfoot-style encounter.

6. Define a timeline – While a compressed timeline for PCs actions in the adventure works best, understanding the timeline in the greater scheme of things helps roleplay NPCs more effectively. The Azlanti have been occupying the colony for at least a couple of weeks prior to the PCs arrival. Sharu’s team is cut off due to the engine overload, but they are still in communication with the colony. This ties back into #1, but once Sharu gets word that things are going badly back at the colony, she should be shifting focus to digging free. If the PCs take too long or rest too frequently, the Azlanti should retreat to the Royal Venture if the colony is slipping their grasp or Sharu and her forces should reinforce the garrison.

7. Don't treat the colony like a dungeon - This one just galls me. Fog or no, people can't hear gunshots or screams? What about the other colonists aside from the "resistance" members? Especially since they have limited numbers, the Azlanti should show as much force as possible when they can.

8. Azlanti Responses – The Azlanti occupiers are a barebones force. They have limited numbers. As presented, this keeps the Azlanti in CR-appropriately managed groups. To be a threat, they have to be intelligent & ruthless opponents. If they can’t find the PCs, can they find their ship? To they set a trap and use a colonist as bait? Do they strongarm a colonist to find and attack the PCs (or Aibretta)? When do they call for reinforcements? With their drones destroyed, can the Azlanti send up some kind of communications relay to contact the Barazad? Etc. These suggestions certainly break the standard CR-encounter design of your typical dungeon but the PCs aren’t in a dungeon. To make the Azlanti memorable, they have to be a threat.

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Xenocrat wrote:
Tagged for movement into the relevant subforum.

It’s not commenting on the playtest so why would it move there? This for speculation on topics for the whole book, not playtest class discussion.

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Let the rampant speculation being! Since this is my list, they're tagged with what I think is likely or less likely but greatly desired.

1. With 3 classes in the playtest, my guess is that this will parallel PF1's Advanced Players Guide with respect to new classes, new class features for core classes, archetypes, and themes for all. New spells, gear, and magic items. (LIKELY)

2. Since its Character Operations aside from potentially seeing new starship roles and role actions, I don't expect to see much on the starship side. That likely is being saved for the Starship Operations Manual...? (please, oh please) (LIKELY)

3. Playtest concludes in Jan. Revisions, Print, ship. Don't compete with PF2 launch at GenCon. Holiday season 2019 release (Nov/Dec)? (LIKELY-ish)

4. Since Alien Archive covers monsters and new species, I don't really expect new species in this book. Doing so would seem to undercut part of what the Alien Archives are about. (LESS LIKELY)

5. I'd love to see expanded downtime rules for character-scale activities. Since Starfinder doesn't really follow PF1s segmentation of player:GM content, I don't see an Ultimate Campaign-style book in the Starfinder line but could see character downtime in this book, starship downtime tasks in a starship book, etc. (LESS LIKELY)

6. Along the lines of Ultimate Campaign-style content, background generators, cohort and hireling rules, etc. would be great. (LESS LIKELY)

And since it bears repeating....THEMES, THEMES, and more THEMES & Archetypes.

What do you expect/hope to see in the Character Operations Manual?

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Raylyeh wrote:

I don’t really want to get dragged into this conversation but I do have to ask... How is a night’s rest better than being treated by a trained professional?

As stated above a night’s rest is still important for status removal and other little things like say... preparing spells, alchemical items, spell points, resonance points, magic items and what not. I’m not necessarily saying that treat wounds couldn’t be tweaked a bit. But it should be better than sleeping for hp recovery.

Not sure what others' take might be. I'm not suggesting that Treat Wounds can't be better than a night's rest. I'm suggesting that Treat Wounds is too strong in its current form.

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In case anyone's interested, here's the opening crawl that I used at Star Wars Intro Creator.

Somewhere, across time and space...




It is a turbulent time in the galaxy.

The loose alliance of the PACT WORLDS drives interstellar expansion for dozens of species throughout the galaxy. New colonies are established across NEAR SPACE and THE VAST by pioneers, pilgrims, research teams, and corporations. Many seek a life of adventure among the stars.

One such starship crew races through THE DRIFT on a mission to transport supplies to a colony on the mist-shrouded forest world of NAKONDIS. There, they also hope to meet up with CEDONA, an old friend.

Unbeknownst to the crew, the evil AZLANTI STAR EMPIRE has arrived in the system and mercilessly occupied the colony. Unless the crew can overthrow the Azlanti occupation force, the invaders’ mysterious mission may spell doom for the galaxy...

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So, I submitted my review of Reach of Empire. I like the shorter APs immensely, even if I had structure and story problems with RoE.

This AP installment marked the beginning of my 2nd Starfinder campaign and 1st Starfinder AP. I even created a Star Wars style opening crawl to kick things off!

Starfinder continues to be a huge crowd pleaser for my players, with every excited to try out their particular species/class combo. The game just runs very smoothly and is straight-up fun to play.

I'm glad Starfinder AP installments are now monthly but I really think the page count needs to rise on par with PF AP installments. There were a lot of missed opportunities in this adventure that I believe are probably due to page count restriction more than the adventure writing.

While I think Paizo is doing a really good job of balancing personal/on-the-'ground' and starship adventuring, I really wish vehicles would get some attention. Reach of Empire sends a strong Endor vibe and it just seemed like a huge oversight not having some kind of speeder chase/combat in the game. Also, the presence of starships and vehicles means the reach of the players is much greater than your typical FRPG (esp. at low levels) and adventure design should account for that.

All in all, though. I really like the premise/plot of this AP overall and hope these shorter APs become more prevalent.

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ShadeRaven wrote:

2nd) The bigger concern was how it felt like Treat Wounds really made Full Rest healing terrible. A single 10-minute rest with a competent Medicine user was as good as a full night’s rest. That 16 CON level 4 Fighter got 12 HPs in 10 minutes – and 36 in just a half an hour. Had he taken a full 8 hours rest, he would get just 12.


So the real concern was that suddenly 8 hours of rest seemed inconsequential.

While I like Treat Wounds as a concept/option, this sums up the majority of my issues with Treat Wounds as written. It's overpowered.

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Zorae wrote:

One would be making a terrible argument then. Might as well do away with tanks or skill monkeys.

Playing a support character is fun for many people and should be a viable playstyle.

'Viable' is fine (and it's already applicable in Starfinder, btw). 'Required' isn't. Many don't want to play the healer and feeling like the system requires it doesn't help anything, trope or not.

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