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Sovereign Court

If you exchange your normal breathing atmosphere (which had better not be pure O₂!) with another gas is that you don’t change the pressure.

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Sound general quarters. Everyone puts on their spacesuit and helmet. Everyone gets to their action stations. Disable artificial gravity on all decks. In any areas of the ship (that are not action stations or sickbay) you cycle out your everyday atmosphere for Anesthizine gas.

The Captain and/or Science Officer should have this pre-programmed as a hotkey on their duty console.

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I've decided to knock together a quick draft of a house rule for selling starships. This is based on my prior experience in Savage Worlds/Pirates of the Carribean, 7th Sea, and a "Star Wars" game using the Mutants & Masterminds rules with the D20 Modern Wealth System tacked on. I have not used these in Starfinder, but I think they should work out okay.

Using these rules will result in your PCs having a lot more cash on hand than the default rules assume and the GM will need to adjust his campaign plans to suit. If you don't plan on having piracy, naval combat, and prize taking as a feature of your campaign then I suggest you skip these. If, however, you do want to inject some pirates and privateers into your campaign, these should work fine.

I also haven't come up with monetary values for the ships yet. But its safe to say they will be expensive.

Selling Starships House Rule

Simple Method
If you want a "quick and dirty" way of handling it, then Player Characters can sell ships for a flat 10% of its listed purchase price. The GM may change this based on market conditions or whatever other factors he feels reasonable by whatever amount he deems fair.

Advanced Method
If you are willing to put in a little more complexity, use the following system. Essentially, any ship the Player Characters are selling will fall into three categories: wholly owned, prizes, and salvage. A wholly owned ship is one that the PCs have purchased outright; Prizes are vessels captured in battle; and salvage refers to recovered wrecks.

When selling a wholly owned vessel, PCs must make a Profession (Politician, Corporate Professional, or Dockworker) check with a (DC = 10 + 1.5 × the starship’s tier). Success gets you 10% of its listed purchase price. For every ten full points by you exceed the DC, you get an extra 5%. Selling a vessle this way takes 2d4 weeks in an appropriatly large port, the GM has the decression to increase this time if her feels the port is too small (or even decresase it if he feels the port is especially bustling).

When selling a prize or salvage vessel, PCs must decide if they want to sell it on the "Black Market" or turn it over legally to the Admirality Prize Corporation.

If selling a prize on the Black Market, which is a criminal act, PCs must first make a Culture check DC 15 to recall the name of a fence willing to deal with them. Finding a contact takes 2d6 weeks. Then they must make a Profession (Con Artist, Lawyer, or Smuggler) check (DC = 10 + 1.5 × the starship’s tier). Success gets you 5% of its listed purchase price. For every five full points by you exceed the DC, you get an extra 5%.

Selling salvage on the Black Market works similarly, but the negotiation DC is (DC = 15 + 1.5 × the starship’s tier). You cannot earn an extra with higher successes.

If you turn it over to the Admirality Prize Corporation everything is legal and abover board. Representives of the APC can be found in any large port, but it takes 2d4 weeks to get an appointment. PCs must make a Profession (Politician, Lawyer, or Merchant) check with a (DC = 10 + 1.5 × the starship’s tier). Success gets you 10% of its listed purchase price. For every ten full points by you exceed the DC, you get an extra 5%.

Turning salvage over to the APC works similarly, but the negotiation DC is (DC = 15 + 1.5 × the starship’s tier). You cannot earn an extra with higher successes.

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As I've mentioned elsewhere, I actually work in the maritime industry as a legal investigator. I mostly deal with labor issues, but I try to keep abreast of the field generally. Exact prices for specific vessels will vary quite a bit (specialized equipment, tax breaks, sweetheart loans, bulk purchasing, etc.) but as a very rough figure your looking at $25 million USD and up for any serious cargo ship.

Typical Neopanamax bulk carriers (60-80,000 DWT; the biggest that can fir through the Panama Canal) sell for $35-40 million newly constructed and about $25-30 million used.

A Capesize bulk carrier (80,000 DWT and up; too big for either the Panama or Suez Canals, thus having to sail around the Cape) are pretty much the biggest things on the ocean and start at about $60 million.

China's OOCL Hong Kong is currently the largest container ship active today. She was the first of six vessels in her class and the contract to build all six was worth a reported $950 million. So doing very crude "back of the napkin math" that puts her at about $108 million dollars.

How do you handle Player Characters having that sort of money?

Very simple. You make the universe's economy work like an actual economy. A $35 million dollar cargo ship isn't going to be cheap to operate, even "parking" the thing in a port is going to cost thousands of dollars a day... Operating it will cost millions of dollars in fuel alone. Not to mention maintenance, tariffs, taxes, licenses, regulatory compliance. Oh, and you gotta pay the crew. You'll need to keep the ship moving cargo if you don't want to loose your shirt. If you are lucky you might break even. If you are very lucky, you might turn a modest profit.

In short, for the typical group of players interested in adventure and exploration, bulk cargo ships are far more trouble than they're worth. A smaller tramp freighter that deals in luxury goods and/or express delivery of sensitive materials (and/or running contraband) is far more profitable, doesn't require crew beyond the size of the typical party, and has the freedom to venture away from established trade runs. Hence, their ubiquity in fiction (e.g., Millennium Falcon, Serenity, or the African Queen).

I'd look to Traveler as the benchmark for how to make a sci-fi roleplaying game with a realistic-ish economy. The game does do away with a lot of the "boring bits" but still allows for the PCs to engage in mercantile adventures. You can be a Mal Solo / Han Reynolds tramp freighter captain dealing in a mix of legit jobs as contraband running in a smaller ship or even become an independent yankee trader in a bulk freighter competing with the major corporate powers... Heck, if you really want to, you can work for one of the big corporations.

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The Mystic and allies are Creatures. So, yes, they are potentially affected.

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Metaphysician wrote:
Batgirl_III wrote:

I’m still waiting for a table-top game that accurately models the Knziti Lesson: A reaction drive's efficiency as a weapon is in direct proportion to its efficiency as a drive.

I wouldn't count on it, since this either means:

1. PCs do not have access to starships

2. PCs do have access to planet busting weapons

:)

This is why I hate settings where ships moving at FTL speeds (or significant fractions of c) are capable of interacting with the normal universe. I’ve done the math in the past and using it’s sublight engines, a bog-standard TIE/ln Fighter from Star Wars impacts at speed with kinetic energy the equivalent of the Nagasaki “Fat Man” bomb... Why bother building DeathStar doomsday weapons, just strap some engines onto a big rock.

Starfinder wisely avoids this. Interstellar travel is done via an alternate dimension using the same standard sublight engines you use in regular space, and the speed seems to max out at less than 1% of c.

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But cranks like Crothers aren’t talking about zero-point energy as actually deslt with by science. It’s just the new buzzword for people hawking perpetual energy machines and other such woo-woo. It’s the new “orgone energy.”

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I’m still waiting for a table-top game that accurately models the Knziti Lesson: A reaction drive's efficiency as a weapon is in direct proportion to its efficiency as a drive.

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I think you’ve added an unnecessary step. You don’t need to get a prosthetic limb and then add a hideaway storage compartment. You can get it in one go.

The storage prosthetic limb has a built-in concealed storage compartment, which functions as a hideaway limb, for $1,450; then you add the weapon to that.

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Quote:
The Aether is a real thing, the medium which light propagates. After all, advanced human beings use the luminiferous aether in their technology.

“Advanced human beings”? Let me guess, they’re from Atlantis aren’t they... and the reason no one has been able to reproduce their technology is because of a Global Conspiracy (probably involving the Jews) to keep everyone unaware of it.

Look, I’m a maritime and admiralty law investigator. I don’t have any academic or professional credentials in the sciences, I’m merely an enthusiastic amateur astronomer and physics nerd. But the whole point of science is openness, falsifiability, and reproduction of tests. You don’t need a Ph.D. or even a B.Sc. to read a scientific journal and try to replicate any experiment within... You can conduct your own Michelson-Morley experiment yourself. I did it as an undergrad. It’s fun.

As to “Zero Point Energy”... Sigh.

Look, the worldwide ocean-going shipping industry has something north of 90,000 vessels active today. They handle about 90% of all global trade (yes, ninety, that’s not a typo). These ships burn 2.5 million to 4 million barrels a day of fuel oil... that’s about $300,000,000 USD annually. An international treaty regulating sulfur emissions goes into effect in 2020 and the entire industry is bracing for massive financial losses as a result of it.

If “Zero Point Energy” technology is real, please, walk into your nearest Møller-Maersk, COSCO, CMA, Mediterranean Shipping Company, or Hapag-Lloyd office with a copy of the blueprint, a demo model, and an empty semi-truck to haul away the cash they will give you. Those are the five largest container shipping companies on the planet. Møller-Maersk alone moves about 15% of all the manufacturered goods on Earth. Møller-Maersk Has an operating revenue of, like, $35 billion... But, they had negative profits last year and in fact they’ve been operating at a loss the last few years. Almost entirely due to fuel costs.

A “Zero Point Energy” motor would be worth TRILLIONS OF DOLLARS to this industry. Yes, with a “T.”

(To say nothing of the Nobel Prize, international fame, permanent place in the recorded history humanity, and whole “rewrite every physics textbook” thing.)

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Cover grants an +4 AC bonus, it wouldn’t be hard to house rule that the Penetrating Weapon Property either halves or outright negates that... It will change the priorities of your characters – PC and NPC alike – when selecting weapons, but as long as everyone knows this rule is in pace it shouldn’t be too disruptive.

Strictly going by the rules as written, you need to reduce an object to 0 HP before it will stop providing cover and Penetrating does help in this regard. The Broken Condition doesn’t explicitly address what happens to an object being used as cover, however it does state that when armor is Broken “the bonuses it grants to AC are halved,” and if “the item is a tool or a piece of cybertech or biotech that provides a bonus to ability checks, saving throws, skill checks, or speed (including new movement speeds), those bonuses are halved, rounding down.” I think it’s safe to save that an object being used as cover should be treated the same way: with its AC bonus being reduced when it’s broken.

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Oh, I’m fully on-board with having the heroes running around with comically large guns and powered armor straight out of Rifts!

I’m just not going to bother worrying about how such things would be classified in real life.

The phrase “man portable” means something quite different when the Player Characters could be a Human, an Elf, a Vesk, an Ogre, and a Pixie.

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Buried under the Structures / Breaking Objects rules, you'll find this clause:

Quote:
Vulnerability to Certain Attacks: Certain attacks are especially strong against some objects. In such cases, attacks deal double their normal damage and might ignore the object’s hardness.

Obviously, its a question of GM's Discretion as to what those "certain attacks" are. But, I think its reasonable to assume that if the players have explicitly purchased dedicated breaching charges and are using them to breach an airlock, then they should benefit from this rule. Using bog-standard frag grenades won't do it.

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But isn't that why the artillery laser is categorized under heavy weapons and not long arms? This is the same category that has cannons, missile launchers, and other massive weapons.

That's not much of a help, since the game's Heavy Weapon category is a mish-mosh of man-potable weapons, crew-served weapon systems, and all sorts of other things. Most of which only Bulk 2, putting them in the same approximate size/weight class as rifles and shotguns.

The "Artillery Lasers" seem to be more akin to a light machine gun or squad automatic weapon than any kind of artillery. Something with more dakka than the rifles issued to the rest of the squad, but not so heavy as to require multiple men to crew it.

It's probably easiest just to think of the weapon classifications as being nothing other than pure game mechanics. Otherwise, you'll go mad.

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I'm always open to the possibility that the standard model of physics is wrong. But, well, you've got to come up with a helluva lot of very good evidence if you want to upset the apple cart.

Prior to the Michelson–Morley experiment, just about every scientist knew that the luminiferous æther was a real thing. After Michelson and Morley demonstrated that the æther wasn't, scientists spent decades either trying to prove Michelson and Morley wrong or trying to come up with some other explanation for how light propagated. Enter Einstein.

Classic Newtonian physics and the luminiferous æther works well to explain nearly everything about our observable reality. Except, well, we couldn't observe æther. But the rest of the physics still "worked." So when Einstein developed the theory of relativity he had to work damn hard to provide the evidence to back up his hypothesis. So he did the work. He could have just hunkered down in his basement somewhere and written angry screeds about how The Conspiracy® was suppressing The Truth™... But, no, he wanted people to actually take him seriously.

Plenty of legitimate scientists have worked for years, if not there entire lives, in the pursuit of a hypothesis or model that turned out to be wrong. Lots of very serious physicists at the time Einstein first began to publish his work on relativity didn't think he had it right and worked to disprove his theories which is a perfectly legitimate avenue for science to take. But they did it "by the book," the experimented, they tested, they published... and when, eventually, they realized they were wrong they owned it.

Stephen Crothers is an embittered conspiracy theorist and a quack.

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That's why I use the Improvised Weapon rule to handle buttstrokes and pistol-whipping. But, yeah, you can totally charge with an improvised weapon.

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Quote:
But no charging with a gun, that's just silly.

Um... It has been done countless times throughout history. I've done it myself in training.

From the Highland charge of Jacobite rising of 1689, the enfants perdus and forlorn hope of the Napoleonic Wars, to the tennōheika banzai charges of the Imperial Japanese Army during WWII... Rushing headlong at the enemy, shooting him en route, and then bashing him with a butt-stock or stabbing him with a bayonet is a time honored tactic.

A buttstroke isn't an ideal way to use a modern rifle, shooting people is. (I mean, that's why you put the bullets in it, right?) But smacking someone in the face with a 3.5 kg M4A1 is going to get noticed.

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There’s just one question I ask whenever a player pitches me on such a concept: In a world of readily available cybernetic prosthetics and magical healing, why does your character still have a permanent disability?

Zatoichi is a cool series of movies, but a permanently blind swordsman makes a lot more sense in late Edo period Japan than it does in a universe of cybernetic space-monks and rocket-pilot paladins.

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The “Artillery Laser” subgroup of weapons are phenomenally misnamed. The meaning has changed overtime, there are also pedantic nuances between British and American English and some technical distinctions between military branches, but the modern usage in all cases pretty much agrees on one major point: artillery are not a small arms. (Which is another thing that bugs me: longarms [e.g., rifles] are one type of small arm; Starfinder uses the term “small arm” for what should be called sidearms.)

Artillery are things like canon, howitzers, mortars, rockets... Again, professionals will quibble about whether or not a particular weapon system is artillery or not, but no one ever would count a rifle as artillery.

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Stephen Crothers? Really? That guy was expelled from the University of New South Wales for academic misconduct. He refuses to publish his work in peer reviewed journals, claims a doctorate from the notorious Maxwell Einstein University degree mill, and constantly makes wholly unfalsifiable claims. Honestly, the luminiferous æther guys are more credible.

I mean, c’mon, the whole electric universe model can be falsified using a prism, a sheet of white paper, and a sunny day. Crothers likes to spin wild tales about how “big academia” is oppressing him, suppressing the truth, and how general relativity is a big lie... But his pet pseudo-science cannot accurately model observed reality like basic optics.

In the standard model, the nuclear reactions in the Sun’s core produce light and heat that cause the star to shine. If this were true, then we should observe thermal radiation bring emitted by the sun. We should observe a spectrum of colors that is almost continuous (and we should observe some Fraunhofer lines where cooler gasses in its upper atmosphere absorb some of the light.)

If the Sun were lit by electrically excited plasma, as the electric universe model claims, then the spectrum would be a discontinuous melange of bright lines. Plasma discharges do not emit a continuous spectrum of light.

So, what do we actually see?

[img]https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/2/2f/Fraunhofer_lines. svg/800px-Fraunhofer_lines.svg.png[/img]

Quod erat demonstrandum.

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Wait... That thread was taking that pseudo-scientific claptrap seriously? I had just assumed it was playing with the idea the same way Spelljammer played with the luminiferous æther or Mystara played with the hollow world concept.

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Spectroscopic observation has shown that the speed of the stars at the center of M104 couldn’t be sustained unless there was a black hole of staggering mass there.

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I think you mean the Sombrero Galaxy (also known as Messier Object 104). Any particular reason this galaxy appeals to you?

It's about half the size of the Milky Way and contains a greater number of globular clusters, both of which would (I guess) make for a better setting where travel over pan-galactic distances is commonplace... and its got that cool dust lane surrounding it and is theorized to have super-massive black hole at its core, which sound like nice places to set your Space Opera's Big Bad Evil Guy's Doomsday Weapon.

I just think its far easier to just not worry about the specific size and shape of the galaxy when the heroes probably won't ever leave their own star system.

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Obligatory Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy quote:

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Space is big. You just won't believe how vastly, hugely, mind-bogglingly big it is. I mean, you may think it's a long way down the road to the chemist's, but that's just peanuts to space.

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I’ve always lived by the maxim that fictional universes operate the same as the real-world unless we are told otherwise. This makes it much easier to maintain verisimilitude and makes sure everyone is playing by the same assumptions. If I don’t explicitly tell my players that my campaign world is a flat disc resting on the backs of four elephants standing on a giant turtle being circled by a glowing giant riding a fiery chariot, they will probably assume it’s a oblate spheroid orbiting a yellow star.

Ergo, unless Paizo tells me different, I’m assuming the Starfinder galaxy is approximately the same size and shape as the Milky Way.

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If I have time to plan the adventure, i will probably have computerized locks have separate DCs for both skills. If making things up on the fly, I’m just going to use one or the other.

A purely mechanical lock, like a good old fashioned padlock, would be the domain of the Engineering Skill. An electronic like, like the magnetic card reader locks used in hotels nowadays, would be the domain of the Computer Skill...

This last bit is something of a “because it’s a game” abstraction. Poorly made electronic locks, in the real world, can be defeated by someone who knows how to disable just their electronics or just their mechanics. Whereas higher end ones will “fail secure” if only one of the two systems is disabled. But no one really wants to be hassled by that sort of minutiae in an action-adventure game. Much easier and much more satisfying to divide all locks into one basket or the other, let both the Mechanicial Genius and the L33t HaX0r hero have their moment to shine, and get on with the adventuring.

If you do feel like being a bit of an Old School Evil Bastard Game Master, simply put two locks on every door. One mechanical and one computerized.

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If you're capturing some pirate raider you shot the f@!+ out of, unless you're spending the time to repair it first and refit it to full working, you should never get anything near that 10 percent to start with.

Why would you want a pirate raider as a prize? You go after the fat merchantmen, not the skinny pirates that feed off them...

And why are you “[shooting] the f@!+ out of” your prize? You go after the fat merchantmen because (a) they have stuff worth stealing, (b) they’re weaker than you in a fight, and (c) you can intimidate them into surrendering.

It also recently occurred to me that Starfinder defaults to a universe of widely divergent technology levels, widely divergent magic levels, and absolutely nothing like a Prime Directive or other law against such contact. So, what’s to stop someone from selling a Tier III gunboat to the Wizard-Kings of Medievalon IV in exchange for a crate of Wands?

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This is going to sound very strange to most people, but what do you mean when you say "ton." As the various definitions of ton can be as mush as 400 lbs. different, it can have a big impact on how you plan to envision a spaceship.

• The tonne (colloquially known as the "metric ton" in the United States) is a non-SI metric unit of mass equal to 1,000 kilograms / 2,204 lbs.
• The short ton (or just "ton" in the U.S.) is a unit of weight equal to 907.2 kg / 2,000 lbs.
• The long ton and shortweight ton (or "imperial ton" in the U.S.) are units of weight equal to 1016 kg / 2,240 lbs.
• The longweight ton is a unit of weight equal to 1088.6 kg / 2400 lbs.

Further complicating things, is that of the above are units of weight or mass, which is are quite different tonnage as a unit of volume. This is how the word ton is commonly encountered when dealing with shipbuilding and maritime trade. Without getting even more lost in pedantic details than we already are, ships are measured by the amount of water they displace... Which can vary between salt and fresh water, temperature, and the like.

But, basically, the displacement ton) is a unit of volume, 35 cubic feet (0.9911 cu. m.), the approximate volume occupied by one tonne of seawater. This is the most useful definition for the total size of a ship... But...

The cargo a ship carries can be measured by weight, by displacement tons, or by one of several different form of cargo capacity measurement: the freight ton is equal to 40 cubic feet (1.133 cu. m.); the register ton is 100 cu. ft. (2.832 cu. m.); the water ton is 35.96 cu. ft. (1.018 cu. m.) and rarely seen outside of the U.K. or the Commonwealth (but they account for a huge amount of maritime trade, so...); and, last but not least, the Panama Canal Ton a.k.a. Universal Measurement System which was developed for billing shipping through that canal, which works out to be 100 cu. ft. (2.8 cu. m.).

Again, we see how this can greatly impact the way a spaceship is described. A ship that can hold "one ton" of cargo might have a hold that is 2.8 cu. m. (RT or UMS) in size or a less than half that at 1.13 cu. m. (FT)... Or it might not be a defined size at all and be talking about weight! Or mass!

Personally, despite the fact that I work in the maritime trade, I think that an advanced sci-fi setting works best if you stick to strictly metric units (and standard SI units whenever possible). They just make more sense and are more readily acceptable by gamers that don't want to fret about this sort of minutia. Thus, unless specified, I assume all use of "ton" in scifi games means a metric ton 1,000 kilograms / 2,204 lbs with a volume of 1 cu. m. / 35 cu. ft. This is based on the equivalent mass and volume of water and gives us a very satisfying 7 x 7 square room when drawing our spaceships on Ye Olde 5-Foote Square combat map.

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That’s one of the tricky bits about conversions from outside media into a class and level based system like Starfinder. An effects based open point buy system, like Mutants & Masterminds or GURPS, makes it easier to reproduce characters that don’t fit quite so neatly into Classes. For example, Mollari could very well be modeled by an Icon Envoy with a few combat Feats or perhaps an Operative “dip,” but it’d be much easier to use a M&M-like system to build him from the ground up.

Class-based systems are great at doing the genre and play-style that the designers intended. Starfinder is built with independent, adventurous explorers as the focus, very much in the classic Space Opera style. This means it does action-adventure oriented heroes quite well and the genres related to it: Space Opera, Planetary Romance, Sword and Planet, and Space Western. But not necessarily other sci-fi subgenres, like Hard Sci-Fi, Cyberpunk, Diselpunk, Gothic Sci-Fi, and so forth...

Given the popularity of Pathfinder and Paizo’s continued use of OGL for Starfinder, I suspect will see third-party settings and sourcebooks that expand on the current selection of Classes into ones better focused on those areas Starfinder doesn’t necessarily cover that well. Again, to use Mollari as an example, although he could be built using Envoy, if someone where to make a Babylon 5 game using the Starfinder OGL, we would probably see a Class or Archetype expressly for Diplomats. (Not to mention Psi-Cops.)

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Dr. McCoy appears in seventy-six of Star Trek’s 79 TOS episodes, all twenty-two episodes of the animated series, one episode of TNG, and six feature films... In all that span, I can think of less than a half-dozen “combats” he’s involved in.

Most prominent, is “Bread and Circuses,” TOS s.2, e.25, where he basically just holds his shield up and let’s his opponent swat at it. Even his opponent criticizes his poor technique...

He bum rushes Evil Spock and gets judo flipped to the floor in seconds during the final fight of “Mirror, Mirror” TOS s.2 e.9...

He slaps some sense into a pregnant woman in “Friday’s Child” TOS s.2 e.11...

And he karate chops a Redshirt into unconsciousness in “City on the Edge of Forever” TOS s.2 e.28.

There may have been another “all hands on deck” brawl here or there throughout the series that he played a part in... But those were usually Scotty’s time to shine, so I can’t think of any. But despite his lack of combat scenes, McCoy is still a key part of the show’s “Power Trio” and a stone-cold bad ass.

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I didn’t say that these characters were complete and total pacifists, did I? They were engineers, doctors, diplomats, scientists, and other roles we might think of as “support classes” instead of “martial classes.”

Gandalf swings his staff and his sword, now and again, but you’d never call him a Fighter, right?

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Dr. McCoy, Dr. Crusher, Dr. Bashir, Lt.Cmdr. LaForge, Cmdr. Troi, Ensign Kim, Quark, and the Doctor were all prominent characters on Star Trek and all non-combat characters; Dr. Franklin, Ambassador Delenn, and Ambassador Mollari were major non-combat characters on Babylon 5; Ripley is a non-combatant in Alien and most of Aliens; C-3PO, R2-D2, BB-8, Rose, Padmé, Leia (in TFA and TLJ), and Anakin (TPM) are all non-combat characters in Star Wars.

With only a few exceptions in over five decades, the Doctor and his Companions on Doctor Who aren’t combat characters. Heck, one version of the Doctor Who roleplaying game is actually structured so that running away or attempting to schmooze/bamboozle the bad guy always take initiative priority over combat.

Heck, there isn’t a single combatant character in 2001, Moon, Gravity, Interstellar, The Martian, Contact, Sphere, Passengers, or ten-thousand other sci-fi genre films and novels.

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I didn’t mean I was going 3/1/3/1/3.... I meant that I was going to focus mainly on Operative levels but mix in some Mechanic levels, here and there, as appropriate.

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Why do you want to play a non-combat role in a game where 90% of the rules govern combat?

Because the quantity of rules about a subject doesn’t necessarily reflect the quantity of that subject during play. Combat requires more rules than social interaction, exploration, investigation, and other challenges do. In my experience, most sci-fi adventure RPGs try for a roughly equal mix of combat, exploration, and diplomacy. Usually more Star Trek/Star Wars than Starcraft.

Furthermore, even if a campaign does focus on combat to a greater degree than other axes of play, not everyone wants to be a primary combatant. Star Wars had it’s C-3PO and R2-D2, not just Luke and Han.

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I’m planning on mixing Operative (Hacker) with Mechanic (Cortex) at a roughly 3:1 ratio for my SFS character. Won’t be as optimized for combat as a pure Operative, but her abilities as an engineer and hacker will be greatly enhanced.

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Bayonets will probably always be a part of the fighting man's kit:

∙ Given: The soldier will always need to have some kind of longarm (ranged weapons let you Do Unto Others before he can do unto you, making them long aids in aiming, etc.);
∙ Given: The soldier will always going to have some kind of knife (even if its just a utility tool 99.999% of the time);
∙ Given: The soldier will always use mass produced equipment;
∙ Given: Designing a knife that can be readily attached to a rifle is beneath simple for any civilization that has basic machine tools;
∙ Assumption: It doesn't add anything significant to the cost.
∙ Assumption: Bayonets have a significant morale impact. They make the user feel more confident and they intimidate the enemy.
◦ Conclusion: Bayonets aren't ever going to disappear.

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Fuzzypaws was speaking specifically about the weight of "[a] box of bullets," so I based my reply on exactly that, the weight of bullets not whole cartridges.

The grain weight of a complete cartridge can vary and will be more than that of just the bullet, but its very rare to be more than 125-150% of that of just the bullet. Bullets are solid lead or steel, cartridges are empty brass or steel tubes filled with fairly lightweight powder. The bullet is by far the heaviest part for most calibers of ammunition.

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There is a reason most modern militarys don't even issue bayonets. They aren't a very good option.

I'm unaware of any modern military that doesn't issue bayonets to its land combat branches as standard. Hell, plenty of modern militaries will also issue them to limited elements of their naval and air forces too. Knives are one of the most useful tools humanity has ever invented, soldiers need to do all sorts of things with knives. Your basic everyday tasks like cutting ropes or opening boxes, more unique utility tasks like blazing trails or digging up booby traps, and, yeah, occasionally you gotta stab someone.

The U.S. Army still issues the M9 Phrobis III bayonet as standard since the 1980s; the U.S. Marine Corps has issued the OKC-3S bayonet since 2003; the British Army and Corps of Royal Marines are both issued the British L3A1 bayonet; Germany issues the KCB-70 bayonet (and two others whose model numbers escape me) to the Bundeswehr Heer and Marine... and darn near every other nation in NATO uses one of the above, manufactured locally and issued under a different name.

The People's Republic of China, Russian Federation, and Islamic Republic of Iran all use some variation of the 6Kh5 bayonet developed for the AK-74, although plenty of rear echelon elements in these forces can still be found using honest-to-Mikhail AK-47s and the various bayonets that went with it.

The AK-47 is, as we all know, almost as common as sand in Sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East, and Central Asia. Bayonets can be found as well, although I hesitate to call them "standard issue" since the fighting forces in these places are anything but standardized. But, really, its a knife with a ring welded onto it. It's not exactly high technology.

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In my Savage Worlds/Pirates of the Spanish Main campaign, where the players have explicitly turned piratical, I have the heroes make a Streetwise skill check to auction off prizes and captured cargo. A single success finds a buyer willing to give 10% of the "retail" price for a ship, with every Raise getting them +5% (up to a max of 25%).

So a $25,000 cromsteven might get them $2,500 to $6,250, plus whatever they can get for the cargo. This then all has to be divided amongst the ship's company according to the ship's Articles of Agreement.

When they were privateers, I handled things a bit differently, in keeping with the historical practice the crew of a privateer vessel receives no pay unless a prize is captured. Then their ship's NPC owner received the largest share – 40 to 70% of the captured vessel's "retail" price – and the king/queen/governor took 10 to 20%. The rest got divvied up amongst the PCs and NPCs actually crewing the ship.

The potential for individual profit by being pirates incited them over to the dark side, much as it did for real pirate crews. Of course, now they lack the protection of a Letter of Marque and will dance the hempen jig should they be caught.

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Um, Fuzzypaws, where in the world are you coming up with that kind of weight for real-world ammunition? Bullets are tiny, man.

Just this morning I placed an order for 1,000 rounds of .223 Remington 75 grain JHP... 75 grain is approximately 0.011 pounds, the cardboard boxes that the ammo is in has negligible weight, so all one-thousand rounds will work out to be just shy of eleven pounds. Ten rounds is less than a tenth of a pound.

Something like the much heaver 230 grain .45 ACP or 158 grain .357 Magnum that I use in my preferred handguns are a whooping 0.033 lbs. and 0.023 lbs. respectively per round. Ten rounds of each is well under a half pound. The Smith & Wesson Model 649 that I carry weighs a mere 1.4 lbs, fully loaded with all five rounds its 1.5 lbs. Believe me, I'd notice if the ammunition weighed more than the firearm!

The massively huge .50 BMG used by heavy weapons like the M2 Browning machine gun or anti-materiel rifles is usually 650 grains (0.09 lbs), so basically ten rounds per pound.

Now, the grain weight of ammunition can vary. Gun geeks will spend countless hours debating the pro's and con's of 125 grain Brand X versus 130 grain Brand Y versus 132 grain Brand Z... But for the most part, we're talking pedantic technical details of only a few dozen grains (so less than tenths of an ounce) at the most.

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They didn't use such for reasons they've explicitly stated many a time: if you allow players to buy or sell ships ( or ship parts ), you break the economy in half.

If that's the case, then I would suggest that it is the economy that should have been fixed and not the money sink treadmill that they actually put into Starfinder.

The default assumption of Starfinder is that the PCs will be independent adventurers and not part of any formal state's military. So, where a Star Trek game could ignore the taking of prizes by saying simply "Starfleet doesn't do that." there is no narrative reason that a group of Starfinder adventurers wouldn't do so... Except that the game's mechanics make it impossible. As a general rule, I do not like when game mechanics don't have a narrative explanation.

Maritime law regarding the taking of prizes has been, more or less, standardized since since De Iure Praedae Commentarius was written in 1604, with significant refinements during the mid-18th Century. Maritime law happens to be what I do for a living and maritime history is an area that I am especially prone to "geeking out" over, but I recognize that its something 99.999999999% of the human race has no interest in. Hell, most people don't realize (and don't care) that "ship" and "boat" mean different things... Nevertheless, given how prominent pirates and privateers are in role-playing games and how prominent space-pirates are in sci-fi RPGs, I find it mind boggling that Starfinder's designers wouldn't think that PCs would be taking prizes.

Prize law is very well-developed and has been for centuries, but it is to put it plainly complicated as hell. Prize cases are handled by the admiralty court of whatever nation the prize taker sails the prize to, but its international law and a byzantine web of treaties, accords, common law, and (shudder) diplomatic relations that actually apply and not necessarily the laws of the country that is hearing the case. If the prize ship was flagged by one nation, owned by someone in a second, but carrying goods belonging to an owner in a third (and a fourth, fifth, ... fiftieth) then you get even more complicated cases.

Now, we haven't really see prize taking as a common activity since the 19th Century. But during the Age of Sail and the Age of Steam, prize taking was serious business. Capturing only one prize could be enough to set a ship's master and commander for life... Prizes, collectively, actually impacted the global economy. During the American Revolution the combined American naval and privateering prizes totaled somewhere north of $25 million, during the War of 1812 the Americans captured something like $40-50 million... and that is in 1800s dollars.

Here's the thing though, the legal cases would take years sometimes decades to work their way through the courts. In September, 1778 British sloop Active was captured by an American privateer, the case would spend the next three decades working its way through the court*. This was one ship and two nations that shared virtually the exact same legal precedents for how to resolve prize cases (mostly because the Americans had only been independent for two years at that point), and during an active shooting war.

All of this is a long-winded way of saying that Starfinder heroes should be allowed to take prizes. But if they want it to be legal and above-board, the GM should feel justified in making the process a long and drawn-out one. If the PCs don't want to wait months or years to get their money (and don't want to role-play the thrilling and exciting months of depositions and administrative hearings) then maybe we can have a NPC run "Admiralty Prize Corporation" award them a tiny percentage of the prize's assessed value... and then the corporation goes through the years of long and boring legal work. The PC's capture a prize worth $1,000,000. They turn it over and walk away with $100,000... But its all legal and proper.

Alternatively, the PCs can to spit upon their hands, hoist the black flag, and begin keeping prizes for their own personal use. This is naked piracy and should render the PCs outlaws within the Pact Worlds and other civilized star systems. Which makes for a wholly different kind of campaign than the default Starfinder game... But no less fun.

* United States v. Peters, 9 U.S. 115 (1809) for any of you nerdy enough to care.

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Buy a real battery pack (or two), summon a gizmo that requires a battery, and presto.

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Just remember, you ain’t paid to bring ammo back.

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And just a quick rundown of my favorite "snub fighters," most of which are actually more akin to gun boats/torpedo boats/fighter-bombers than to "space superiority fighters."

‣ SA-23E Mitchell-Hyundyne Starfury Medium Fighter (Babylon 5)
‣ VF-4 Stonewell Bellcom Lightning III Variable Fighter (Super Dimension Fortress Macross: Flash Back 2012)
‣ Star League Gunstar Starfighter (The Last Starfighter)
‣ A/SF-01 Slayn & Korpil B-Wing Assault Starfighter (Star Wars)
‣ ARC-170 Incom Corporation Aggressive ReConnaissance Starfighter (Star Wars)

Yes, that's a "top five," not a top three and one of them is a mecha. Sue me.

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Moya / Leviathan-class Transport (Farscape)
‣ U.S.S. Reliant / Miranda-class Cruiser (Star Trek)
‣ J.S.S. Valiant / Valiant-class Strike Carrier (Jovian Chronicles)

I think that the Miranda-class Cruiser and Moya don't really need much explanation. Other people in this thread have mentioned Moya and I'd be shocked if anyone here hadn't see Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, in which the U.S.S. Reliant plays such a prominent role. So let me wax lyrical about the much more obscure Valiant-class from the Jovian Chronicles RPG/Wargame.

The designers of the Jovian Chronicles RPG clearly knew what most military/mecha campaigns need: an awesome ship! The Valiant-class is basically the perfect homebase for most gaming groups in this setting. To begin with, it is just friggin' awesome looking. That is always a good thing! Just look at her. She's an absolute beauty.

But even better, the ship's intended role of long independent patrols at far-flung stations combined with its transport capacity of up to six exo-armors (the name for the setting's spacefaring fighting mecha) makes it perfect for the adventuring gaming group. The Game Master has a built-in reason for the Heroes to be out, on their own, sticking their noses into trouble. But, since the Valiant-class is also strong enough to hold a place in the line of battle, the GM can also have the heroes' home ship play a key role in those awesome set-piece battles that make great capstones to a campaign. The large crew of senior Officers, NCOs, and support staff mean that their are plenty of NPCs around so that the GM can have someone to act as the heroes' boss, one hero's love interest, another hero's antagonistic rival, and another hero's tag-a-long kid sister, etc. Heck, you can even reasonably have some of the heroes playing non-mecha pilots. Bridge officers, engineers, doctors, ground troops, and even civilian specialists somehow attached to the ship's mission can come along and still contribute to the space-combat.

A while back, I converted her for use with the Mutants & Masterminds rules. I don't have enough experience with the rules (or enough free time) to do so into Starfinder. But if anyone out there has a desire to tackle the conversion work, I think that Jovian Chronicles could be made to fit the Starfinder ruleset very well.

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As I see it, Undeath has layers of “life” just as much as Living creatures do. There’s free-willed sapient undead (e.g., Vampires, Liches); enthralled but sapient undead (e.g., Lesser Vampires); sentient but not sapient “animalistic” undead (e.g., Ghouls); and non-sentient, non-sapient, automata-like undead (e.g. Skeletons, Zombies).

We wouldn’t expect a Human, a Wolf, and a Shark to have the same sort of moral and ethical standards, right? If a Human steals your cattle, you can hold him responsible for violating your property rights, but if a Wolf eats your sheep you can’t sue him or have him arrested for homicide.

Immanuel Kant’s famous maxim “ought implies can” seems to apply here. A fully sapient undead, like a Vampire, can restrain himself from murdering every living being he meets, so we can say that he ought not commit homicide. A mindless undead, like a Ghost, cannot stop itself from attacking the living so saying that it ought not do so is meaningless.

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For the record, it was me who was criticizing the concept of a Hacker theme. My reasoning was explained at length and hardly seem like “attacking” to me.

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There's also the High God of the Dragonlance pantheon, who may or may not be the same being as Ao of The Forgotten Realms, who may or may not also be Io of Council of Wyrms/Monster Mythologies. These guys have cropped up in a few other sources over the years either as adaptations or just indirect references. But, by and large, are all presented as "the god that the gods pray to."

I generally just hand-wave the whole thing as "mortal minds just cannot understand it" when it comes to trying to explain how the gods work. Any time my players have ever gotten to a point where they can fight a god (because if you give it stats, eventually, a PC will try to kill it) then I never have them actually kill the god. It's an avatar, a manifestation, a proxy, or some other form of Doombot.

You can kill Thor, the God of Thunder, but unless you figure out how to remove the very concept of weather from reality, there will always be a thunder god.

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That is a truly glorious bit of sesquipedalian loquaciousness used to obfuscate the eschewing of academic rigor vis-a-vis publication of practical philosophic finding via juxtaposition of justifiable arguments with jargon.

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Castilliano, CeeJay, and I have got to figure out how to get our SFS characters together: Red-hot interstellar sociopolitical theory! Thrilling tales of two-fisted philosophy! Action-packed theological apologia!

Cogito Ergo Badass.

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