Butch A.'s page

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I'm glad that they produced an answer for Society play, but what is taking so long to come up with some concrete solution for the Core Rulebook?

This book was released in mid-August, and the discrepancy between battery prices and item prices was noted almost immediately.

Obviously, no GM is gonna let you buy a thing and sell the battery in the thing for more than the thing itself, but it's also a rules error that should be easy to fix. It's not going to have cascading effects across the entire game or require rebalancing of WBL, or CR, or a particular class.

The fact that the problem may not arise in actual play doesn't mean that it's not a weird, obvious discrepancy. I'm kind of disappointed that some errata hasn't already been issued (other than the SFS one).

Is there a reason why there's no map for this encounter?

I can see the point that there might not be a fight, and the fight might happen in the cafe, or outside it, or nearby, but the same reasoning applies to the Fusion Queen encounter, too.

Has anyone created a map for it, or is there a good map to use in one of the SFS adventures (we are playing the AP, but I'm not averse to buying one to pillage)?

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Zaister wrote:
Yep thats what I thought, too, doing that derails the AP, but there's noting actually preventing it.

I mean, there's nothing preventing the PCs from going their own separate ways from the first encounter. If they are determined to not play the game, let them.

I once explained it to my players as "I'm not railroading you; you bought a ticket for the train!"

The_Defiant wrote:
Butch A. wrote:

... The rulebook says that NPCs with abilities similar to a PC of a particular level have a CR equal to that level. Presumably, that means that a PC has a CR equivalent to his level...

Sorry for potentially derailing the conversation, as I don't have a whole lot to add here beside agreeing with the point that the skill scaling seems entirely fine. I pulled this bit out specifically becouse I'd like to point out that in no way does a PC have a CR equal to his or her level. A 'CR 3' creature is susposed to be a challenging fight for a full party of 3rd level characters, and I think we can all agree that 1 PC isn't a terribly big challenge to beat up for a party of the same level.


This may be correct, but if it is, then we have a situation where PCs never increase in resistance to Intimidation unless they train in it. Since they don't have a CR, they can ONLY resist Intimidation with 10+Intimidation skill bonus, regardless of their level.

A level 20 technomancer with a 10 Charisma would be intimidated on a roll of 10 or better, unless she trained in Intimidation. She would easily be demoralized by a level 1 envoy (+1 rank, +4 Charisma, +3 Class Skill), who should succeed in Intimidating her on a 2+.

That seems more counter intuitive than the original problem I mentioned. That seems even worse.

It also means that an NPC who has the abilities of a level 10 Soldier (and is thus considered CR 10) is intimidated on a DC 30, and a level 10 Soldier, CHA 10 soldier, even one who has trained in Intimidation and has skill focus in it, is intimidated back by him at DC 26). The soldier would need to be CHA 18 to have the SAME resistance to being intimidated as ANY random NPC of CR10, even if that NPC has low charisma and NO skill bonus to Intimidation.

Again, that seems even more counter-intuitive than my original problem.

HWalsh wrote:

You don't need 20 - A soldier who takes Skill Focus Intimidate and drops each upgrade into charisma (still leaving room to upgrade Dex, Con, and Wisdom to handle AC/Stamina/Fort Save/Will Save ever raise) can start at charisma 10 and hit 18 by level 20, giving:

+4 Stat
+3 Skill Focus
+20 Ranks
+3 Trained Bonus

1d20+30 by level 20 (DC 40)
1d20+24 by level 15 (DC 34)
1d20+18 by level 10 (DC 28)
1d20+12 by level 5 (DC 22)

That's pretty hard to intimidate generally speaking. Not to mention way higher than CR x 1.5 and all this takes is 1 feat which, as a soldier, you have to spare.

Heck, even without the feat:

+27 at 20 (DC 37)
+21 at 15 (DC 31)
+15 at 10 (DC 25)
+9 at 5 (DC 19)

The DC to resist Intimidation is 15 PLUS CRx1.5.

So that exact same soldier, taking NO ranks in Intimidate, no Skill Focus for intimidate, and starting with a 10 Charisma and never bumping it at all whatsoever would have the following resistance to Intimidation:

DC 45 at level 20
DC 37 at level 15
DC 30 at level 10
DC 22 at level 5

So, your hypothetical soldier, despite being more intimidating (having a better bonus), is JUST as resistant to being intimidated as any other solder, or indeed, any other class at all. That's my point. Except in the MOST extreme edge cases, Intimidation does nothing at all to protect you from being Intimidated.

I'm having this issue with my PC right now. He's a lawful (but not Good) vesk.

He feels like the noqual cocoons are thus mineral resources, and the dispute in which he agreed to act as a neutral investigator is about the dispostion of mineral resources, so he feels like taking the noqual is abdicating his contracted role as a neutral investigator.

The Hardscrabble Collective crew were just killed within the last few weeks. We had BREAKFAST with members of the Collective. Taking their stuff isn't cool. Their personal belongings should go to their families. Taking it ON CAMERA is even less cool. It establishes the Starfinders as no better than looters. If he was taking stuff off long-dead bodies, fine, but stripping gear off people in a recent tragedy? Uh, no. If we are low on charges and we grab a weapon to defend ourselves, good.

We haven't finished exploring the Acreon, much less the Drift Rock. So maybe there will be 'third party' loot that isn't mineralogical, that I can reasonably agree isn't part of the dispute.

Or maybe if we do actually establish ourselves as 'fair brokers', one of the parties involved might give us a reward as a recognition for helping this get resolved?

(maybe the GM will ensure that we don't get hosed on WBL even if I take a stand on principle?)

In any case, I feel like if Paizo wanted us to blithely loot everything on the ship, it would have been better written to have some noob Starfinders stumble across an abandoned vessel, rather than being approached by a major Pact Worlds diplomat to help in a public investigation of a starship tragedy.

Metaphysician wrote:
I think the problem might be the idea that a level 10 Soldier *should* be any more courageous than a Level 10 of any other class. They are *all* heroic individuals suited for facing danger.

You aren't wrong that all of them are heroic. My dissatisfaction is that THE ONLY heroes who are more courageous (vs intimidation, but not fear) are those whose highest attribute is Charisma (and whose Charisma is very high), AND who have trained in Intimidation.

The utility of being able to use your own Intimidation bonus to resist intimidation is extremely marginal. Only those PCs who have exceptionally high Charisma, regardless of whether they have Skill Focus in Intimidation, will see any benefit whatsoever from the rule. Someone with an average Charisma, even if Intimidation is a class skill, and they have a Skill Focus with it, and they devote the maximum ranks to it, will not benefit from this 'Intimidation defense'. The scaling of 15+(1.5xlevel) is a superior option to all but an extremely small set of characters (which diminishes as levels increase).

Otherwise, someone (of equivalent) who has NO training in intimidation is often just as resistant to being Intimidated as someone who has trained in it at every level.

You, of course, still have the standard benefits of the Intimidation skill, but training in Intimidation in order to be more resistant to it is a false option for most characters.

So, it seems like there is no good way to mechanically represent a soldier, for example, that is resistant to being intimidated (without making a LOT of sacrifices in design and advancement)

The rulebook says that NPCs with abilities similar to a PC of a particular level have a CR equal to that level. Presumably, that means that a PC has a CR equivalent to his level.

Intimidation has a DC of 10+Intimidation bonus, or 15+(1.5 x CR). That means that at first level, your Intimidation bonus needs to be +7 to be better than general baseline resistance to Intimidation.

That's easy at first level, with Skill Focus (or a good Charisma mod), but it rapidly becomes implausible for higher levels, unless you have a really high Charisma (which is generally unlikely for Soldiers). It seems really weird that your mid-to-high level Soldier CAN'T be any more resistant to Demoralize attempts than anyone else in the party unless he maximizes Charisma at the expense of Dexterity or Strength, even if he boosts Intimidation at every opportunity.

By level 12, even if you take 12 ranks of Intimidation, you need a +9 from Skill Focus, Charisma, or other sources, just to beat the basic resistance to intimidation that every other character has at that level. It doesn't seem like that's a good option for anyone but Operatives and Envoys (and perhaps Solarions).

It seems really weird that Soldiers aren't capable of being good at resisting this (without, for example, boosting Charisma at every opportunity, which would be kind of weird for a soldier).

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Freedom Snake wrote:
Butch A. wrote:

You also have races like the Reptoids [sp?] and the Greys are playable, technically, but if a GM has an adventure where the existence or motivation of these aliens is a major part of the story, they aren't terribly playable in that adventure. How do you establish a strange, mysterious group of aliens with a shadowy conspiracy and nebulous aims if they are also a playable race?

"Who are these gray aliens and what do they want?"

"I dunno. Why not ask Bob? He's one of them."

Because everyone from a species is the same and part of the same conspiracies or politics...

“Who are these Charlotte protesters and what do they want?”

“I dunno. Why not ask Oprah? She’s one of them.”

Or to take it back 70+ years...

“Who are these guys in black uniforms wearing swastikas and what do they want?”

“I dunno. Why not ask the Rabbi? He’s a human too.”

The argument that being the same species causes that difficulty is about as obnoxious as the examples here. You’d need evidence that they are literally “one of them” before this could come close to being an issue.

Yeah, but the Grays are presented in the Core Rulebook this way:

Escape-pod survivors of three different VisTour space liner tragedies spread over four decades (the Gossamer, Ostog, and Stardream II) did report mysterious bulb-headed gray aliens manifesting moments before disaster struck—descriptions that matched creatures said to have been present at momentous Pact Worlds events tracing back before the Gap.

So, the SPECIES is mysterious. A mysterious species said to have been present at momentous events back before the Gap.

Bigfoot can't be a mystery cryptid if you personally know multiple sasquatches. The Loch Ness monster can't be a mysterious lake monster if several are kept in petting zoos. If grays can be members of adventuring parties and members of the Starfinder society, then their species can't be these 'mysterious aliens' described in all sorts of reports. Their species might be up to something mysterious, but they aren't a mysterious alien species.

Your team-mate, Bob, might not know what the grays on the Ostog were up to, or what the Grays were up to before the Gap, but he damn well better know what the hell he is--unless that's the entire point of his character. Is every PC Gray an outcast ignorant of gray alien society?

It may well be obnoxious to assume that all humans know what other humans are up to, but if multiple groups of mercenaries, adventurers, and explorers all have a leprechaun in their organization, leprechauns aren't mysterious fae creatures spoken of in rumor and legend any more.

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avr wrote:
Most other races are about as large to Ysoki as the Sarcesian is to those other races. Ysoki still manage to work with humans etc.

Yes, but it's less of a problem to have EXTRA room than it is to not have ENOUGH room.

My initial impression is that 'playable' races is a bit of a misnomer for some of the races from Alien Archive. Technically, there are RULES for them, yes, but whether they are playable in any given campaign seems really dependent on a lot of variables.

Races like the Sarcesian will be playable IF you have spaces and equipment that will accommodate them in your particular adventure. It's entirely possible that your party (or your enemy) will move through areas and spaces where you will only be able to move with difficulty, if at all. It's also entirely possible that much or most of the equipment you find may be unusable, or usable with difficulty.

Entirely aquatic races MAY be playable, presuming they stay in their armor with life support systems, but they might also be too dependent upon those suits or recharging for those suits to function in a particular adventure. If all you can afford is level 1 armor, then you have a one day adventuring limit, away from a recharger.

You also have races like the Reptoids [sp?] and the Greys are playable, technically, but if a GM has an adventure where the existence or motivation of these aliens is a major part of the story, they aren't terribly playable in that adventure. How do you establish a strange, mysterious group of aliens with a shadowy conspiracy and nebulous aims if they are also a playable race?

"Who are these gray aliens and what do they want?"

"I dunno. Why not ask Bob? He's one of them."

My thought would be that it's more up to the GM.

Is the creature planning on using the skill in such a way that it would need tools (or does it have the skill and thus might use it for knowledge rolls)? I would certainly assume that if the creature was going to use Engineering to tinker with something in the scenario, that it would have the necessary tools, but if it was near home (or near its ship), it might simply plan on retrieving tools from there if necessary.

Also, I could certainly see a GM applying the rules for modifying armor to tools as well. If the creature has, say, masses of tentacles rather than individual articulated limbs, you might need to modify the tools to be able to use them.

Otherwise, yeah, I would think, all things being equal, they have a tool kit. The cost is not prohibitive, and you aren't going to get rich reselling them. But if you shoot a wookie, take his toolbox!

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I'd say that in the absence of gravity, when you cast the spell, you get to pick one "down" direction. That way the spell isn't markedly more flexible than when cast under gravity.

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David knott 242 wrote:

According to Alien Archive, the Swarm speak Shirren.

Thank you for that info! That makes my choice more useful day-to-day as well as fitting my conception. Sweet!

Another thing that has shown up in the AP is a keycard that gives you a bonus to Computer checks against a particular system.

So maybe it is intended that you don't normally get unauthorized root access to even basic computers without doing some legwork or being higher level.

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My vesk soldier wants to speak the language of his 'greatest foe', and to him, the Swarm, which forced the Veskarium into a treaty, is that foe. But what language do they speak?

It would be nice if Shirren and Swarm both spoke the same language, as he'd have a relatively common third language, but given that the Shirren broke from the swarm generations ago, that seems to be an unreliable bet.

Anyone have information from Alien Archive or some other official source I haven't seen?

I agree that they are conceptually inverted, but this stems from a conceptual inversion inherent to Starfinder, inherited from Pathfinder (and ultimately, from D&D.

Armor doesn't make you harder to hit.

The guy in plate mail isn't harder to hit with a paint pellet than the guy next to him in a speedo.

The system has ALWAYS had an attack roll to reflect the chance of landing a damaging attack. That's the basic mechanism of combat in the system.

It then almost IMMEDIATELY introduced separate mechanics to reflect certain things being resistant to certain attacks (+1 weapons required to hit, etc) and also introduced saving throws that reduced damage on things that often automatically hit (which is ANOTHER, entirely different way, of representing the chances of landing a damaging hit). And it also introduced resistance, which was ANOTHER way of representing the protection that you might have from an attack (and which worked on BOTH things that required to hit rolls, and things that allowed saving throws).

But the conceptual mechanism for armor in the game has always (I'm sure there are exceptions, duly noted, for grognards) been armor makes you harder to hit. It's weird, but it's LEGACY WEIRD.

See GURPS for a much more simulationist treatment of armor vs. defensive actions taken vs. an attack. I like it much more, to be honest, but it's always been easier to run and play in a D&D style game for me.

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Zahir ibn Mahmoud ibn Jothan wrote:
Lady Kali wrote:
Starfinder introduces the concept of a communal starship for the party.

Pathfinder had communal ships, kingdoms, caravans, underground organizations, etc.

Starfinder hasn’t “introduced”any such thing.

Pathfinder had loot splits, fireballs, etc.

If you want to change business models, that’s really fine, I just disagree, and really, I don’t believe, the reasons you are saying you’re doing it.

Just say, “we think we’ll make more money using this new method of doing business.” At that point, I would fully get it.

It was incorrectly worded but I think her point was that HeroLab did not do a good job of managing things like communal ships, etc, nor of things like loot splits, fireballs, etc., but HeroLab Online is intended to do so.

Of course they existed before Starfinder. They existed before PATHFINDER.

But I am eager to have a program that handles them natively as part of the character management itself. When I was running Skull & Shackles, before we began Starfinder, it was a real chore to manage 'loot that is on the ship that we can grab before rowing ashore' vs "my loot that I have on my person, or in my sea chest'

Applying buffs and the like was often kind of distracting, as each player had to find it on their own app and apply it correctly, and remember to turn it off (oh, how many times that happened).

I'm not saying that those types of things are worth it to you, or will be worth it to everyone, but they are definitely worth it to some portion of the potential audience. I'm not even sure that the subscription will be worth it for every member of my group, which would make the subscription not really worth it for ANYONE in the group. But I do think that it is a markedly different kind of software with a different core operation that might be attractive.

My biggest frustration is that we are playing this game NOW and we saw a preview of the engine at Gen Con, with an expected release sometime in September. I'm not saying LWD screwed up, or made any promises (they were clear that was a speculative date). I'm just really disappointed that we went from USING HeroLab in Pathfinder to not being able to use it in Starfinder.

The drone still communicates with the mechanic. So the camera is faster and more accurate (you can just see what the drone sees and use your own knowledge), but the drone can tell you what it observes without that camera.

To me, the camera mod will make it faster and easier to control a drone remotely, and it will make it much less likely that the drone will take actions that you would regret, and also make it possible to take actions quicker. It seems to be more important in combat and other time-dependent scenarios to have a camera.

For an example, without a camera, a drone may have to tell you, "Three people are standing in this room. One is a vesk holding a rifle. One is a halfling tied to a chair. One is a human aiming a pistol at me. What do I do?"

Whereas with the camera, you simply see a tied hostage, a distracted Vesk with a longarm, and an alert human guard, who you immediately shoot at.

Having to relay everything to you delays your drone's actions, and may require you to ask more questions. If the drone is carefully snipping wires to disable a trap, that might not be a problem at all. You can calmly ask it questions and make decisions. But when time is of the essence, I think the camera-less drone will have more problems.

I think it's weird that things that would seem to emblematic of CLEAVING, like huge, two-handed axes, are unwieldy and cannot be used to Cleave.

Speaking as a guy playing a Vesk, I'm also kind of annoyed that the unwieldy Doshko can't be used as PART of a full attack (such as, say, hitting one dude with the Doshko and the other dude with my tail). I'll just have to soldier on.

I actually don't want that errata. I think it fits the setting better that most people, fighting other people in futuristic armor, should be using WEAPONS, and not their fists.

Now, if they wish to produce a class, or even an archetype, which is some 'space monk' that fights dudes in power armor with his pinky finger, I would think that was AWESOME. But I don't personally want it to be available to every class with this one feat. I also wouldn't object to some Greater Unarmed Strike feat that did it.

As it is, the feat allows someone to be a dangerous brawler. When fighting other people outside of armor and the like, the guy with the feat is definitely more dangerous than his comrades without it, but he doesn't suddenly become a credible threat to the dude in Monolith armor. Don't get in a fistfight with her, but she shouldn't start fistfights with power armored nutters either.

That also retains a design space for races like the Vesk (and possibly others in the future) who ARE clawed fiends from outer space.

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I can see these doing very little damage to buildings. They are TACTICAL nuclear warheads for starship combat.

If we designed nukes to shoot at battleships which wouldn't sink them, and didn't even render them uninhabitable by the crew, those would be roughly equivalent.

So they are really small, really precise, nuclear weapons. I'm not surprised that they don't blow down walls that easily.

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I'm not remotely convinced that the battery can easily be touched while someone else is holding/wielding the weapon it powers.

You can't remove the battery from a weapon someone else is holding or wielding (or there appears to be no rules allowing you to do so), so I had presumed you can't touch this precise part with a touch attack either.

If you can touch the battery to cast a spell on it, why not use that action to remove the battery you are touching?

I'm not myself opposed to the projected $2/month subscription fee, except that it's per user. So our five player, one GM group is paying $12/month to use it. I'm absolutely convinced $2 per month is worth it. I'm way less convinced that $12 per month is worth it.

I can't believe we are contemplating going without HeroLab (given how incredibly useful it has been through two entire AP), but I don't think each of us will pay that. If we do use it at all, we might have one subscription to generate characters and print them out, and for the GM to use to manage the varied opposition--which probably isn't the business model LWD was hoping for.

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First, I would talk to the players. It seems like there is some cognitive disconnect (which sometimes happens when the players have a week between sessions but the characters have a day or so).

How is the Fusion Queen a dead end? You show the gang members are there. You show that there's a back room that is uninvestigated. You show that the gang is doing illegal activities there, including MURDER. How is this a dead end?

I mean, I'm not sure what your group found out about the Downside Kings, but at the very least, they know that the same gang that killed Duravor Kreel is operating in this club, and their nominal superior in the Starfinder Society asked them to find out who wanted him dead and why. If all of the above isn't enough of a lead for them, you might need glowing arrows floating over the directions they should go.

Second, since the characters were in a shootout with the Kings, did any of the Kings escape? If so, maybe a gang member recognizes them, and realizes that they have tracked them to their hideout, and trouble ensues.

The higher radiation levels do have an additional effect relevant to the spell.

Armor protects you from low level radiation and gives you a +4 circumstance bonus to saves vs. higher levels of radiation. Armor of level 7 or above protects from Low and Medium radiation, and gives you +6 to saves against higher levels. The increasing radiation levels both enlarge the spell, and allow you to affect people whose armor might otherwise protect them.

It's also handy that the party will almost certainly all have armor, and thus may be immune to the effects of irradiation, while the enemy might be 'space monsters' without suits of armor that do so, so the caster might be able to drop a 'rad bomb' safely on his own team-mates!.

I mean, they KNEW they were hired to help determine rightful ownership of a particular object. They KNEW that this was a legal dispute between a major corporation and a major mining collective. They knew a primary ambassador from a Pact World was involved, and they KNEW they were being filmed by a drone.

If the PCs were absolutely determined to completely derail the entire adventure and do something which would be obviously, explicitly a BAD IDEA:

I would ask them why they don't want to play in the adventure path. I don't see this as any different than deciding that they aren't going to join the Starfinder Society, or they aren't going to take the mission, or they aren't going to work for the ambassador.*

I would decide if you want to run another adventure for them, or if you'd like to run the AP for another group.

I'd also ask them to let you know in advance if they are unwilling to work with you on a particular story line in the future, so you don't waste money and time prepping an AP that they aren't going to use.

It's a WHOLE FREAKING GALAXY. Theoretically, the PCs can go ANYWHERE and they don't have to stay together when they do it. There's gotta be a basic assumption that the group agrees to tell some sort of story where the GM can prep for it and the group can play together. That's not railroading.

I can't think of a single Pathfinder Adventure path where the PCs couldn't just decide to do something objectively stupid and awful and screw the whole thing up from encounter one. If a group decides to do something that has already been established as NOT A GOOD OPTION, they must have some reason for it.

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LivingDedBoy wrote:
I think a lot of clarification needs to be done by the designers on the interaction between mechanics, their abilities, and drones.

I agree. This is one that I think needs a revision, and some designer's notes. Even though the rules aren't contradictory, they are kind of clunky to understand, and I'm really not convinced that what got published was the way they intended them to work in actual play.

As another example, aside from my concerns about Hover Drones, why is the Standard Action that a drone can take by itself only usable for an attack? Why can't it use a Standard Action to provide Covering Fire or Harrying Fire? Why can't it use a Standard Action to use a skill (if the skill would use a standard action)?

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Bloodrealm wrote:
What I don't get is why people use the clearly evil, cosmos-destroying Drift Drives when the Plane Shift based pre-Drift FTL drives would be faster (perhaps not 2 Standard Actions, but probably less than 1d6 days). I know there was something about cost effectiveness of Drift Drive construction, but I would imagine that would mean Drift should be the bargain can't-afford-anything-else basic option. Are there stats for those alternate types of travel methods yet?

Every voyage through the Drift picks up SOME part of SOME dimension. A lot of these dimensions are infinite, or at least, really, really big. It doesn't say that it picks up a really interesting part of the dimension.

If you took everything in a 10' cube randomly selected from our entire universe, virtually all of the time, you'd get empty space.

Yes, sometimes you might get part of a maternity ward, and strand a bunch of babies to perish in the Drift. That's unbelievably awful.

But we are one planet around one star in a galaxy of billions of stars in a universe of billions of galaxies. You might need quadrillions of drift jumps before it would happen once. So the chance of doing that is really, really remote--and Drift engines pluck from MULTIPLE universes/planes, which makes it even more remote.

Plus, there's the counterweighting chance that you strand Fire Hitler from the Elemental Plane of Fire in the Drift, thus averting Fire WWII.

Bloodrealm wrote:
Expert AI does not let it use a Move Action and a Standard Action in the same round without Master Control. It just adds the option to make Full Attacks without Master control with an additional penalty. This has been stated already. You need True AI in order to do that.

Ah, you are correct! That makes it even less useful than I had stated!

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This is one of those things that is coherently written, but I'm still not sure it is doing what it is INTENDED to be doing. I understand the rules as written, and I'm pretty sure I understand how to use the drone in those conditions, but I'm really not convinced that was the INTENT.

The hover drone, while hovering, is ONLY able to use actions to attack, or manipulate objects, if you are directly controlling it, until level 7, when expert AI allows it to use a standard action to attack, but not anything else, as well as a move action.

So if you take a Skill Unit like Engineering or Computing, the Hover Drone can't use it while hovering until level 20, unless you directly control it, which eliminates one of the benefits of a Skill Unit (namely, that it can be used when it isn't under your direct control).

If you give it Manipulator Arms, the Hover Drone can't use them while hovering, until level 20, unless you are directly controlling it, as it can only use the Expert AI standard action for an attack.

The Hover Drone can't even automatically hover by using a move action. In stressful situations, like combat, you can't take 10, so even in a completely windless area, the drone has to make a DC 15 check every round just to hover. Without using a feat, the drone MIGHT fail to hover successfully until level 7 (7 ranks+3 Class+4 Dex+1=15)!

I don't see the hover drone as being INTENDED to be an unreliable flier for most of the game. I don't see it as being intended to fly to a LEDGE, then shoot. I don't see it as being intended to fly to a convenient desk, then operate a computer. I don't see it as being intended to fly to a door, land on the ground, and then try to unlock the door. I don't see it as being unable to just FLY OVER AND PICK UP SOMETHING unless you directly take control.

It's smaller, less heavily armed (than the combat drone), slower (than the stealth drone), and less well protected (by camouflage or armor) than either. I just can't believe that the intended use of the hover drone is just to fly over to things, then either land or let you take over, for most of the class progression.

I understand that the ability to fly is itself a very useful one (worth two advanced drone mods, in fact), but I do not think that it is SO useful that to be able to do anything else should require Direct Control or 7th level. I don't even think that this is the way the developers envisioned the drone as working in actual play.

I would probably simply give it the ability to AUTOMATICALLY hover as a free action in any area where taking 10 would allow it to succeed in a Fly check (whether it could take 10 or not). This would allow 1st level drones to automatically hover in light to strong winds, and higher level drones to hover in worse conditions.

Jurassic Pratt wrote:
Edenwaith wrote:
Maybe Paizo realized the game wasn't going to do very well and won't commission NJD to make a minimum amount afraid they won't sell enough. Somebody may want to call Wizkids...
Highly doubt that. According to Paizo the demand for Starfinder has actually exceeded their expectations.

I suspect the exact opposite problem may have occurred. I don't think Ninja Division has ramped up their design and production for a new mini line enough to supply the demand that is obviously out there for Starfinder. I think they were planning a niche line, and somebody realized that they are gonna get a tiny, immediate sellout of the line, and a huge, angry crowd of pent-up demand.

Is it better to release a very, very small range of minis, sell out in minutes, and have nothing backed up, or not release anything but pawns until you have a genuine supply of minis? IDK.

Someone like Wizkids may not have done minis that were as nice and detailed as the planned NjD line, but they could have put out two dozen figs and resupplied them. Of course, WIzKids may not have been able to supply enough for the demand for the consistent Pathfinder mini line AND a new line, so Paizo may have decided not to screw up what was already working for Pathfinder.

I'm thinking that the demise of prophecy (the Age of Lost Omens) and the disappearance of history (the Gap) are the same thing, just flowing in different directions.

You can't see very far into the future, because something has broken the connection between now and then. You can't see very far into the past, again, because something broke the connection between now and then.

It seems weirder to us that scrolls and monuments and inscriptions and historical works all become confused and illegible, because they are concrete objects that existed in the past, but for someone with perfect prophecy, they were concrete objects that existed in the future.

The only real thing that makes me extremely dubious of my own theory is that Aroden is basically a 'local' God. It doesn't seem that he was worshipped anywhere but Golarion, and I'm not certain that his demise "shattered prophecy" anywhere but Golarion, so I don't see why any reverberations of that event from the future to the past would affect anything but the area around Golarion. Did all races everywhere in the galaxy lose access to reliable prophecy when he died?

This is part of my larger problem with theology in this game. Pharasma judges all souls, everywhere, evidently. Triune creates a dimension and communicates plans to access it to virtually all civilizations in the galaxy, simultaneously. Then we have a deity like Iomedae, who's an ascended mortal from one race on one planet in one solar system in the galaxy. Why is she a big deal, again?She seems like a local demigod, while Triune seems like a major player.

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The other nice thing about NOT tying a starship to the character's wealth is that if you WANT to do a story where they don't have a ship until they accomplish enough magnificent deeds to earn one, you aren't screwing up their wealth by level!

Starship possession is a story event, and not tied to any metrics that the characters have to meet. If you don't run any adventures where they need a ship, then they don't have one. If you run adventures where the ship is someone else's, and it is used to ferry them to and from adventure locations, it's not messing anything up.

There's really only two ways you can screw up the system on this. Run adventures where they NEED a ship (and don't give them access to one), or run adventures where they can use the immense resources that would be required for a ship on other things that then screw up the challenge rating.

If you're giving them credits to buy a ship, and they can't use those credits for anything but the ship, then, basically, earning the ship is a storyline, just like Starfinder recommends. If they can take those credits and spend them on other things (like leveled gear, not like conservation easements), you're going to have considerable balance issues like anyone who gives their players access to substantially above-level gear.

Maybe the hit point damage you take IS from the suit being punctured?

The laser may not burn you, but the heat melts part of the suit and it drips onto you. The projectile pokes a hole in the suit and part of the suit fragments go into your body. The frost ray makes part of the suit brittle and you lose body heat in that area to the void. The suit gets a hole from the disintegration ray and the little vesicles inside that contract to keep air pressure cut into your limb.

It could also be a general decision by the dev team to treat attacks with spells like attacks with ranged weapons and attacks with melee weapons.

Starfinder doesn't allow you to stop someone from shooting you by shooting them RIGHT BEFORE they shoot you, or stop someone from stabbing you by shooting them right before they do it. Being shot doesn't disrupt ranged or melee attacks. Maybe they decided that it shouldn't disrupt spell attacks either.

This has some good effects, in that it doesn't unfairly target spellcasting for penalties that other types of attacks have.

It does have some downsides, which aren't, to me, unique to spellcasting. There's no way to, for instance, cover someone with a gun. You can't meaningfully yell, "Drop the weapon or I'll shoot!", when physically, it is impossible to anything other than shoot them after they attack.

Perhaps a valid, rules-supported way to do things is already present. The CRB notes that:

You can drop any item or items that you’re holding into your square or into an adjacent square at any time without spending any actions.

So, for weapons and the like, ON YOUR TURN, you demand the opponent drop the weapon (as Combat Banter) and if they do not (since they can do it at any time), then you shoot them ON YOUR TURN.

The problem then becomes that Spellcasting can be done without any gestures, incantations, or components, in most cases, so there is no way to inhibit spellcasting. Thus, there's no way for an opponent to indicate that they are relinquishing the option of casting spells.

That's not a problem unique to this scenario, however. I feel like Starfinder has a general issue with spellcasting in that the ONLY way to safely contain a spellcaster is to render them unconscious or dead. Spellcasters with hands and feet encased in buckets of cement and bound, gagged, and blindfolded can still cast spells. There's no automatic way to detect a spellcaster, either, so security forces may need to render everyone they detain unconscious unless they have really, really good Sense Motive checks. I think this is a mistake by the design team (from a valid goal of avoiding the additional mechanics of Still/SIlent/Eschew Component spells). It removes a narrative option because there's no way of disarming a spellcasting opponent (or disarming yourself as a spellcaster to show good faith) other than just 'sounding sincere'.

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I'm not sure how you compel your players not to run away from NORMAL combat, other than by artificial constraints (you're trapped in this room) or their own objectives (the treasure is in this room). Other than the mechanisms of avoiding combat ("we keep moving until he gives up" vs. "We aren't going into the scary dungeon"), it seems like the same problem/non-problem either way.

So, you may want to avoid scenarios where simply fleeing is both tactically and strategically viable (where they both CAN and would want to run away). Beyond avoiding those scenarios, you may want to discuss the expectations of the game. Do they not enjoy starship combat? Are you enjoying the combats yourself but not offering sufficient reward/reason for them to risk them?

Mustachioed wrote:

So I don't know if this would make battle more fun per se, but there are other tasks for players to do during ship combat besides taking their turn. Basically keeping track of things so the GM only has to track the stats on the enemy ships. This will help the players stay more engaged and paying attention.

Here is my list:

1) Captain: The captain records all ship and crew bonuses and penalties and double checks that other crewmates are adding them into their rolls.

2) Engineer: The engineer tracks ship HP, critical threshold, critical damage, and reports critical damage to the captain so she can track the penalties.

3) Science Officer: The Science Officer tracks shield points, and records all known information about the other ship.

4) Gunner: Track ship AC and TL and reports if enemy attacks hit or miss.

5) Pilot: Didn't come up with an extra job for pilot, but they probably have the most active job so this is okay.

This is a really good idea. It off-loads some record-keeping to the players, and keeps them invested in their ship like another character. It also gives them something to do during other parts of the combat than just their turn, and what they track is pretty thematic. I like it a lot!

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Mark Carlson 255 wrote:

My PC is going to use sonic TP.

It is a free attachment that is included and snaps on to my Lt Reaction Cannon.

You'll shoot your @$$ out, Ralphie!

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d'Eon wrote:
I think part of the cheek pouch issue is people expecting the cheek pouches to be stealthy. Hamsters can triple the size of their head by filling their pouches, so I see no problems with the ysoki and 19 grenades. Everyone's going to notice though.

It's also that people are reading the ability to transfer an item between hand to cheek pouch as a swift action and interpreting that as the ability to transfer a SPECIFIC item from cheek pouch to hand as a swift action, which is not the same thing.

As I understand it, you can quickly stow the stuff in there, but getting the right thing OUT again isn't any easier than any other sort of stowage.

This is not backed up by anything in the text, but the term 'battle harness', to me, implies, that it is a harness similar to what was worn under medieval armor.

Here, the assumption that I am making is that it is intended to be worn over light armor (rather than hold together, like the medieval harness), and you would get additional upgrade slots in the light armor itself.

I can't immediately find anything in the rulebook that says specifically how you determine your total number of armor upgrades in this case (whereas it spells out how to determine AC bonuses and various penalties), so this may be wrong, but it's not clearly against the rules.

The description of the battle harness even notes that it is a powered armor frame, which suggests that it's not intended to be worn just by itself.

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mwjen wrote:
Not sure about real world but they are aggressive, imperialistic, believe strongly in honor. If you can't wait for a official book from Paizo I think it would be pretty safe to use Klingon culture to fill in any blanks.

That's actually kind of what I'm trying to avoid. I don't want the Vesk to be Klingons in Gorn suits.I mean, I like Klingons (and Gorn), but I want them to be their own thing.

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Does anyone (maybe some helpful developer) know if any particular 'real world' cultures were particularly influential in the creation of the Vesk? We have some sample names, and a little bit about their culture, but not much else.

I'm trying to work on my character's personality, speech patterns, and backstory, and I really don't want to discover later that the name I pick out from the pregenerated list is typically female (or maybe I could be the Vesk Leslie Nielsen), or that some cornerstone of my PC's personality is actually really uncommon and weird among Vesk. Plus, I'd like to search around for more name inspiration.

Of course, they are a species that inhabits several WORLDS, so theoretically their culture should be quite a bit more diverse than Earth culture, but hey, they give SOME guidelines about Vesk culture and naming, so why not look for a little more?

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And, as noted, it's an ASSUMPTION of the game. You don't have to make it as a GM. You can let them spend all their cash on one awesome gun. You can give them starting gear. You can push them out the airlock naked (good job picking Android as your race!). But the default assumption is that PCs have a certain amount of wealth at each level, and generally don't get access to items very far above their level.

Starfinder and Pathfinder both have quirky (being charitable) economics already, but I think the item level assumptions being spelled out right in the gear lists is pretty straightforward for GMs and players to use.

Tervola wrote:
Both Engineering and Intimidate are class skills. Maybe take the Skill synergy feat for them and be the Captain. Or backup Engineer.

Given that for a lot of the checks, the Captain can just make Aid Another checks, that may not be a bad idea either. You may need to spend a few levels getting the skill points to be able to help on each check, but after that, you can just be Sgt. Helpful.

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I think they are the most inconsistently depicted race. Sometimes they look positively cartoonish, other times they seem relatively physically plausible. I'm not sure if I want to retcon that in my own personal head-canon as massive physical variability within the species, or just shrug it off and pick the one I like.

The resin ones at GenCon were really, really nice. I'm glad I got the ones I wanted. I could not believe that prepainted ones were going to look anywhere near as nice.

I don't see how lawful + maybe evil = slavery.

The Veskarium could have conquered races, even races with fewer rights, without enslaving them. I'm not saying they don't have slavery, but I don't see it as a given. I could easily see them as stern and uncompromising but not vindictive overlords. Subjugated races might get very little say politically and have revolutions harshly suppressed, but also not be mistreated or abused.

Of course, they could have other sorts of slavery than the racist/economic model, too. They might practice slavery as a criminal sentence or even indentured servitude.

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It seems like magic, in general, lost its "oomph". Many types of magic disappeared. Most powerful magic vanished. Magic items can no longer be easily combined (2 per person).

Maybe it's a galaxy wide decline of magic like Jack Vance writ large. Maybe the creation of the Drift is shifting magic from here to there. Or maybe it's just more broadly spread, reducing the peaks like 9th level spells but expanding minor magic like the subtle magic inside most tech.

The STR focused soldier does fail to shine in ship combat, but he steadily progresses as a gunner with absolutely no investment in resources. Sure, he's going to lag behind a dex-based soldier and a high dex character who puts points into pilot each level, but he gets better automatically. Maybe convince the crew to reserve one computer check bonus to gunnery?

Aside from a lot of good suggestions in the thread (computer security, actual physical security, magical countermeasures), it's also worth noting that you'll need one minute per size category to activate the thrusters to get out of the dock. (I'm assuming that you don't just activate Drift engines right in space dock, here, which may not actually be correct. Maybe you can, but it seems weird to me.)

So you'll not only need to hack the ship, you will need to hack or spoof the spacedock, as well, or you may be recognized as driving off with someone else's ship.

Then, once you get out of spacedock, you'll need to spend the same time deactivating the thrusters before you can activate the Drift engines. So it seems like it would need to be a rather clever plan, rather than a dash and grab.

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