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Picking up on the OP's original starship names intent (though it's amusing that they started with Serenity, heh, I'm still into the spirit of the thing):

4.5. Moorglade*
5. Pearl of Great Price
6. Blood of Prokopius
7. Stardragon
8. Empyreal Skylark
9. Sunwolf
9.5. Mother of Invention*
10. Stillstar
11. Dream of Sky
12. Destiny
13. Mandate of Heaven
14. Skyline Judge
15. Righteous Fury
16. Noble Siren
17. Dagon Ascent
18. Vigilant Prophet
19. Eiseth
20. Anna Perenna
21. Ha'Hanal
22. Innocent Taxogeny**

(All in-campaign names. Some of them were for 'mechs when we playtested the Mechfinder homebrew, but I think they work just as well for ships.

* Names excluded from the main sequence b/c they're actually based on Seventies bands or prog rock concept albums, but hey. Still fun.

** Name of an alien ship that was actually a literal description of the AI piloting it.)

Shadari-77 wrote:
Anybody got any personal ideas for Shadow Absalom Station? I find that place pretty interesting.

I used the Shadow Plane pretty extensively in my current campaign. The way it tended to work -- it wasn't a true inversion of the Prime Material but it often worked as a mirror image -- was that locations that were full of life and bustle in our plane were often dead and half-destroyed on the Shadow Plane, inhabited only by shadow creatures of negative energy. By contrast, sometimes there were locales that seemed dead and ruined on the Prime Material that were still active and full of some kind of "life" on the Shadow Plane.

I never got to do a Shadow Plane version of Absalom Station, although I planned for the possibility: the adventure just didn't move that way. If I'd gotten to do it, though, the Shadow Plane version of Absalom Station would have been abandoned and half-wrecked, warped and weird, portions of it open to the void and the remainder overrun by various creatures of Shadow, with a very few Kayal-type humanoids forming expeditions and bridgeheads. So, that's one possible way to go.

The Shadow Plane was serving a very specific plot function in my adventure, though. If I were doing the scenario in isolation I might take it further over-the-top and deeper into horror territory and have the station overrun by Kytons and their minions.

I get the OP's objection. It's worth keeping in mind that the Gap opens up storytelling possibilities, but unavoidably there are some it forecloses. It's a tradeoff not everyone is obligated to like, though it hasn't been a dealbreaker for me.

ForeverQueen wrote:
It was my impression that 'The gap' exists to give a reason for technology to have risen.

Technology was already rising in Pathfinder before the Gap happened. Starfinder just makes it way more ubiquitous and central to the setting. It's basically a continuity device, as others have mentioned.

Tom Gantert 146 wrote:

So I want to do an alternate history ... where "the gap" is filled in ... but I'm not quite sure where to begin.

Do I bring back Golarion as a regular world -- perhaps being what Coruscant is to Star Wars?

How do I try to estimate how many years of history were erased by "The Gap?"

Though I understand the reasoning behind it, the Gap isn't how I would have approached the problem either, personally. If you're trying to fill it in, there are hints at what seem to be about the 3 - 5 millennia that are lost therein.

The easiest way to gather those hints is to pick up the Distant Worlds Pathfinder supplement and compare the settings therein to the Starfinder setting in the CRB and in Pact Worlds. The results provide some pretty clear hints at what was going on, at least in loose outline, in the interim (and suggestions for certain weird mysteries about what happened where you can fill in the blanks yourself).

Another, IMO rather easier, way to introduce deep history into the setting is to simply go out into the Vast, create something with a detailed pre-Gap history of your own invention and plunge the players into that. Sci-fi and science fantasy are well-suited to epic storylines about Big Dumb Objects, weird alien phenomena and ancient lost civilizations on time scales far beyond anything fantasy tends to be comfortable with. You can throw your players into dramas hundreds of thousands or millions of years in the making without having to painstakingly recreate Golarian history. That's the approach I prefer; it also has the virtue of preserving some of the more weird and interesting story options that the Gap does offer (and it does).

Or of course, you can just make your own custom setting and ignore the Gap or be deliberately vague about it. I'm doing that for my next campaign, but that's mostly because I want to be able to eventually publish it as third-party content. I don't know that I would do it for something that's strictly a home game.

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Archpaladin Zousha wrote:
I've been wondering recently whether the exclamation point in "Zo!" is pronounced or not.

Little-known fact: due to an obscure quirk of Eoxian, all visible letters of the name are silent and it is actually pronounced "fan-shaw."

Mashallah wrote:

While this is 100% pure speculation, I think it'd be a really fun spin if they were lead by a resurrected or even undead Aroden, as Aroden was the last pure-blood Azlanti - this would at least give legitimacy to their claims of being the Azlanti Star Empire.

And besides, what could be cooler than an undead deity?

The Azlanti Star Empire would have had to split off from the Azlanti at the height of their culture's power, long before the days of Aroden. New Thespera was founded by a high-tech Azlanti expedition thousands of years ago, whereas Aroden's story stems from the collapse of Azlanti civilization.

There are narrative ways to make even high-level players feel the danger.

In Starfinder, the much-maligned gear chase also means that likely enemies and their weapons are levelling up along with the characters. Such enemies even in small numbers can still present a real and even deadly threat to a party.

Even if the guy in front of you is someone you could, all other things being equal, diss and dismiss, it's about more than the one gun in your face, the one sword at your throat: there is often something much larger behind them that the PCs still have to reckon with. If killing some random guard means getting into a war with an entire army, or an entire planet's law enforcement, or some far more powerful entity yet... even just the prospect of getting the more heavily-militarized units called in on them should give them pause. And they should have experiential reasons to have that pause.

It's a problem that can be solved with narrative and encounter-building as much as raw mechanics. You can of course build a system where, no matter how high-level you are, that one gun in one punk's hand can end you. Stars Without Number is your ticket, there... but baking that extent of "realism" into the mechanics can have serious drawbacks. It's certainly very hard to run that kind of system in the kind of heroic register that Starfinder delivers; SWN is very frank with GMs about the need for them to build the game around frequent character death, with combat something to be avoided at almost any cost.

SuperBidi wrote:
CeeJay wrote:
Yeah, and here's the thing: I don't believe there's a big market for playing someone who has a bunch of skills but basically sucks at all of them.
The Intelligence-based Operative has all the skills at higher levels than all his party members, save from Charisma-based skills if there is an Envoy. There is a market for that, it's called solo hero.

If skill checks were all there was to the game. Which, of course, is not the case.

At a table that specifically uses almost no other parts of Starfinder, of course, such a character would be legitimately OP. If that's your table, then certainly feel free to hate Int-based Operatives with the intensity of a thousand blazing suns. But it's going to be of limited relevance to most other tables, since Starfinder is pretty clearly designed (and I would speculate with some degree of confidence, more usually played) with a more balanced approach in mind.

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"Dr." Cupi wrote:
So what if another player is better or just as good as you at something? Roll the check anyway! You want it, then get it. If you don't want to be caught in a perpetual aid another situation, then just don't aid another. Surprise, there are other ways of playing than the optimum. Just relax, and play the game.


The thing I've kind of refrained from mentioning but is kind of important at Starfinder tables I think is: "don't let mania for optimization get out of hand." Personally, I find the mentality that stews in resentment of another character getting to be as good at something as mine... rather on the petty side. And needlessly so.

I mean, I play a Solarian at a table where she's consistently competitive with our Cha-focused Envoy at certain social skills (b/c I built to maximize my key stat and powers). I have never once had to field complaints from that player when I "beat" him at a Bluff or an Intimidate check. Because, why would I? We've both got plenty of other space in the system to expand out and strut our stuff.

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SuperBidi wrote:
For me, a jack-of-all-trades is someone good in all skills, but specialist in none.

Yeah, and here's the thing: I don't believe there's a big market for playing someone who has a bunch of skills but basically sucks at all of them. What you have then is a character whose skills are marginally useful in any context but probably constantly outclassed by at least one other specialist party member on any given occasion. The "master of none" in this sense seems to me to be rarely seen at tables for just this reason. It's uselessness. It's the opposite of getting to play a heroic character.

The point of being an Operative with a skills focus is being Space James Bond. You have a wide skill set on which you can consistently deliver. An Envoy or an Operative focused on being a "skill monkey" will inevitably become this kind of character. If you have people at the table who are going to resent that character or feel like they're overshadowed, then aside from planning and communication, it may also be worth remembering that skill checks are only a small subset of the class powers and abilities that make up the game.

SuperBidi wrote:
For me, the only problematic Operative is the Intelligence-based Operative. This one is overwhelming, having all skills to levels equivalent to the ones of his companions.

Uh, jack-of-all-trades is one of the basic sci-fi archetypes Operatives are supposed to be able to fill. It isn't "problematic" that they can do so. It would be "problematic" if they made trade-offs against their key stat (around which all their combat stuff is built) and still couldn't do so.

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Honestly, a better solution for my money instead of ripping the guts out of one of the classes is just to have some pre-consultation about people's builds and roles.

One of Starfinder's best features is that you can produce a wide variety of character concepts using many different classes (and you're allowed to be competent in combat and good or even better at other things), which means you can be one of the galaxy's bestest hackers with an operative, a technomancer, an envoy or a mechanic equally easily. But this does mean that if someone is going to be upset if someone else's character is going to be able to compete with an ability they wanted to be exclusive in, that's going to take some planning and some clarity about concepts and niches.

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Or not. :)

Do they use a "hive-like" gender structure to procreate? I can't actually think of a parallel to Maraquoi gender among insects, and there's nothing else about their society that indicates a "hive." In fact the complexity of sex and gender in Maraquoi society is as alien to insects as we know them as it is to mammals as we know them, and carries a clear psychic aspect that seems more designed to highlight a spiritual-phrenic dimension to the species, not an analogue to insects (and Starfinder is already replete with much clearer insect-analogues).

SuperBidi wrote:
This is kind of a serious question: In Maraquois' description, there's nothing about their eyes. But both Maraquoi hunter and mystic features this strange kind of eyes/eyewear. Do Maraquoi have fly-like eyes or is it just fancy goggles they love to wear?

I choose to interpret them as goggles or some kind of traditional mask made from a local predator, personally. It just fits better with the race as described, in which there's a) no mention of compound eyes in their Alien Archive description (unless it's in online SRDs who've inserted such mentions after the fact), and b) there's no reason at all for them. The art so far is arguably portraying compound eyes but since that's silly and unnecessary, I have no problem at all with ditching that assumption.

It might make sense for them to have large eyes to go with their Low-Light Vision, as would befit nocturnal hunters. But that's different. You don't need compound eyes for Low-Light Vision. Another nice feature of the goggles "theory" and/or retcon is that it would make sense for a species with that kind of nocturnal hunting vision to favor goggles in daylight to cut glare. So it works that way, too.

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Tom Gantert 146 wrote:

But I've come upon a stumbling block that I can't get around, which is the basis for the game.

And that is technology in the the science fiction role playing has to be severely limited to allow for character interaction but that's not realistic for that universe.

A lot of things are taken care of by Starfinder's being a science-fantasy setting. You can have en-souled AIs, cyber-enhanced organisms, robots, androids, extra-planar scions and star shamans and straightforward meatsacks with extraordinary capabilities all inhabiting the same space. The game is deliberately Made of Tropes for this very reason, to allow you that freedom. You aren't bounded by Science alone. It's one of the game's most basic and IMO most profound features. In that sense, the simple answer is not to try to play it all as Hard SF. You're missing out on one of Starfinder's most basic benefits if you ignore that advantage.

(That said, when questions about technology come up, I generally tend to favor the solution that most favors tech we have today or can plausibly imagine having The Day After Tomorrow. For example, I generally let players in my game do anything with a comm-link that a present-day smartphone could do.)

I've found what's best is not to get hung up on those minutiae and to treat science-fantasy as a gateway drug to the kinds of stories (sci-fi or sci-fantasy) that fantasy roleplayers would not normally encounter. This can be very rewarding. I've introduced my players to:

- A far-future-cyberpunk story featuring an alien ship whose governing AI was infinite iterations of the consciousness of a slain Starfinder;

- A one-shot on a deep space rogue planet inhabited by "monsters" who turned out to be the lonely descendants of a long-destroyed civilization who had lived for the last 21 million years under their planet's crust;

- An intricate long-arc quest that involved an ancient interplanar war between factions from a far-off star situated at the very edge of "the Vast" above the galactic disk, a world that had once been run by Humanoids but was now being run by a rigidly-programmed android descendant society that had replaced them;

- An ecological parable about corporate greed and counter-corporate extremism on Castrovel;

- (more science-fantasy style) A one-shot on Eox that showed an undead society living endless Unlives of Quiet Desperation in which the party's objective was to stop an illicit "Samsara Ring" that was reincarnating the undead as living slaves;

And so on. Most of them aren't accustomed to stories that go beyond "Dark Lord blah blah find an artifact blah blah Defeat Evil blah blah," and the rewards of sneaking in more strictly sci-fi story arcs (or unorthodox fantasy ones) under the science-fantasy coating have been inspiring. It's worth not sweating the smaller details to have those larger opportunities.

Tom Gantert 146 wrote:
Do you have gods who show up and interact with the players in a divine intervention manner, or are they silent and not seen but grant powers?

Gods making direct appearances are rare in my philosophy, and generally manifest as the result of some major story arc having happened. The Pact World pantheon (I play in the Pact Word setting) is replicated across the galaxy and beyond in endless variation, where the variation sometimes strays into whole new deities or totally different concepts.

But the Gods turning up directly should be rare and I particularly enjoy having the Gods mediated through fast-food kiosk-like easy-access belief, where massive temples are a rarity but little local "shrine ports" or "kiosks" are common.

My campaign has some issues because it's based historically on Earth which has a very limited pantheon

Or does it? Don't underestimate Earth's inventiveness. For example, every God that everyone ever conceived in a fictional setting could become a "real" god at some future point, with enough followers to feed it as a "real" thing. Think of things like the Church of the Subgenius, Dudeism or Jedi-ism, all of which started as larks before people lost track of the line between irony and reality.

For that matter, there's nothing to stop you introducing D&D and Pathfinder deities from the same route. Deities that started out as fictions and later acquired substance. There's nothing to stop your general framework from functioning in that instance.

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Okay, December 23rd and January 6th. :) We had to reschedule the session on the 30th to today.

We got a fourth member on this outing: a Wis-based human Biohacker (and Xenoseeker) to complement our existing (Int-based) Biohacker.

First off, we wrapped up the end of our 8th level session which had the original party of three in battle with a young blue dragon and his Dragonkin "Stepsons." The dragon came pretty close to killing them, but they prevailed: even at eighth level, the Vanguard can dish out some obscene damage with just a little lucky break on the rolls (or even without it), the Witchwarper can be very hard to lay a claw on, and the Biohacker's healing, buffs and debuffs are less spectacular but come in undeniably handy.

We then embarked on the last leg of our playtest journey: 14th-level play. We tried the party out in starship combat, running a Tier-appropriate Explorer ship against a trio of starfighters, on their way to investigate the hulk of a lost Starfinder ship.

This was a little more straightforward than starship combats I usually run, but even though a couple of our players were inexperienced with starship combat we had a fine outing full of fly-by strafing, close calls, creative use of Engineering and clutch Captain and Gunnery actions. Our Int-based Biohacker ran Engineering, our Witchwarper made a fine Captain, our Vanguard was a strong gunner and our Wis-based Biohacker... forgot to build for starship combat and drank tea. :) All in all, though, pretty solid.

Afterward, aboard the hulk, we faced a set of undead opponents and then a rogue faction of Jinsul (not yet known by that name, here they were "Unsubs"):

1) The Vanguard at 14th-level inhabited their super-tough tank role ever-more-perfectly and delivered some nasty surprises for opponents with their Vanguard Disciplines.

2) The Witchwarper had a cornucopia of fun toys to play with. Their Infinite Worlds and Alternate Outcomes powers were just a few that got a solid workout. They proved untouchable in the first combat encounter and close to it in the second, even when specifically targeted by a powerful enemy Technomancer.

3) The Biohackers were very effective de-buffers, especially in the second combat, who degraded the enemy's capabilities dramatically the longer an encounter went. It reached a point where they had the opponents in the second encounter afflicted by so many simultaneous conditions at once that they could no longer mount a serious offensive, despite having plenty of HP and other resources left.

The Witchwarper on balance proved the most single impressive class for our group. The Vanguard was next, though getting some of its abilities into play frustrated the player at certain points. The Biohackers had fun but overall felt like they had the shortest menu of available options in our scenario, and felt the class' abilities were often more "situational." (This is partly a function of running short, combat-focused one-shots; I feel like in longer and more story-oriented adventures they would have had more opportunities to shine.)

In all our group enjoyed the new classes and the adventures we had with them quite thoroughly. Thanks to the Paizo team for the chance to take part in this playtest.

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Just wrapped the first of two planned playtest sessions for the new classes.

We're running a group of Starfinders composed solely of new-class characters; it would've been nice to have some more "traditional" characters to compare and contrast, but unfortunately we don't have enough players free in this time-frame in our regular group(s) to accommodate that.

The adventures are a series of short scenarios at the low, mid and high levels of play: 3rd, 8th and 14th levels respectively. I wanted quick snapshots of how play runs at each of these levels. The premise is a retrospective on the career of a Starfinder group that drops into and out of the major scenes in a long story arc.

Our characters were an SRO Vanguard (Momentum Aspect), a human Biohacker (Pharmacology field) and a human Witchwarper. Today's session covered the entire 3rd-level adventure and part of the 8th-level scenario. Takeaways:

1. In terms of class abilities and features, the Witchwarper was probably the MVP and really impressed at both 3rd and 8th levels. Interestingly enough, the Infinite Worlds ability didn't see use in either scenario. However, the Paradigm Shift "Lessen Injury" proved extremely useful in both outings, as did the "Summon Creature" spell. Charming Veneer was helpful in the low-level encounter. 8th-level play saw clutch uses of Alternate Outcome, Augury and Displacement.

2. The Vanguard was a very tough tank and effective melee fighter. Thus far, aside from the protection afforded by their shield, we've seen their Aspect Insight and I think the Accelerate discipline in action: both were effective, but I have the feeling we're going to see much more of their class powers in play in the second session as the player gets more familiar with the class (and has a clearer head -- they were a champ today and were fighting through sickness to be with the group).

3. The Biohacker's scientific skillset saw lots of non-combat use, and they're also the party face. Their other class-specific abilities saw less frequent use, again probably because the player is still getting used to them, but their Field Dressing and Counteragent abilities have seen clutch use in the 8th-level scenario already.

I'm thus far pretty impressed by this small party's performance overall, both in and out of combat -- the encounters I've thrown at them have ranged from Challenging to Epic and required solid teamwork and creative play -- and the glimpse I've gotten of the Witchwarper's class abilities has been both impressive and flavorful. I think I'll have a fuller picture of each class after our second session, when our Vanguard and Biohacker players have gotten more comfortable with their class abilities. All the classes seem really fun and interesting thus far, though.

Hard to say. I feel like it's pretty uncommon to see a table without a Vesk... although on the other hand, I do play at such a table. Ysoki seem pretty popular, I certainly enjoy them. Can't say as I've noticed a particular pattern apart from that.

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Yqatuba wrote:
I'm not saying it's a bad thing. It's just that a lot of it seems to just be different for the sake of being different.

It's simplified. Pathfinder's system of bonuses in particular was kind of a trainwreck.

It's also broadened to include scenarios that weren't commonly part of Pathfinder, like starship combat and vehicle chases.

The math is tighter so that it at least marginally makes sense to be rolling d20s to decide anything at mid- to high-level play.

The magic system is rebalanced so that magic-using classes are effective at low levels and don't vault above everyone else to godhood at high levels.

It's different for the sake of being an improved system that can run science-fantasy effectively.

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Yeah, Roll20 isn't that complex. If a techno-peasant like me can use it, anyone can. Believe me. :)

I do highly recommend using the "basic" Starfinder sheet. The "officially-sponsored" sheet has so many weird, elliptical and counterintuitive assumptions built into its design that in practice it's close to useless. Someone else is going to have to come along and design a new sheet from the ground up with the end user actually in mind. (Apologies to the creator if they should happen across this, I wanted to like it and I don't say this with malice. But it's true.)

Roll20 ought rightly to have way more Starfinder content by now. At the very least an "official" sheet that actually works and doesn't require a user's manual. So it goes.

That said: Roll20 is still the friendliest platform I know of. Been running my campaign on it for more than a year and it's reasonably easy and intuitive to use, has plenty of good features, and is easy for potential players to access. I still recommend it.

I'm looking for some suggestions here. I'd like to playtest the new classes over a short span of time when my main group will be on break due to the holidays, and I'd like to do the test as "snapshots" of a Starfinder group's career so we can try out builds at different levels of play.

I think I know what I'll be running as the low-level starter adventure, but everything I've run with my current group (who have just hit level 11) has been homebrew and I'd like to explore doing this with some published adventures. Does anyone have experience with published adventures they recommend for mid-level (7 -14) and high-level (15 and up) play?

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For a more "local" example of enigmas from the Gap: there are still Elves, dragons, and of course Eoxian undead and various extraplanar beings old enough to have lost memories to the Gap. In fact, it's perfectly possible that Bone Sages exist whose unlives actually span the Gap, before and after. (Though probably no such figure will ever appear in official materials.) The Gap didn't wipe out all information evenly and there are pockets or "caches" of data that survive and can be reconciled with each other.

In light of this, one interesting character-driven hook could be discovering such a "cache" within the memories of several immortals at once: perhaps a particular intense shared memory of a spot on a certain world where the various entities interacted that could provide a clue to a major interplanetary war, or a summit of great powers, or clues to the origins of a specific threat that survived into the post-Gap universe. How this particular "memory cache" could come to light would be a story unto itself.

In the meantime, such entities still retain memories from during the Gap that would hint at *possible* events, but those memories would be fuzzy and indistinct and would change on any attempt to recall them, much like dreams. That could be a source of countless contradictory but suggestive and compelling accounts of events during the Gap which might well provide all sorts of fuel for archaeological attempts to verify one narrative or another.

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One day, I hope some devs in Paizo can create some examples of the contradictory and nonsensical information that made it out of the Gap so players (who care to) can internalize the same things as people living after the Gap.

Technically, contradictory and nonsensical information is always making it out of the Gap. Any view of any star from more than 317 light-years away is a view of that star before the Gap. This means the Gap would have to be constantly "present," in a sense, randomizing or confusing data whenever it's observed at that distance.

This would play serious havoc with astronomy. In fact, astronomy as we know it would be impossible, since in this universe you cannot get consistent readings on the planets orbiting stars at any significant distance in light-years. Maybe the data varies every-so-slightly for different observers at different times; likely the stars look "normal," but closer investigation reveals that you're looking at a foam of quantum indeterminacy that never resolves into a single picture.

That would be the primary (and most alien) example of contradictions coming out of the Gap. It would add a whole other layer of enigma to Ibra the Inscrutable in particular, who may be directly responsible for randomizing or confounding information about distant cosmological phenomena. It would be why Ibra's "followers worship through appreciation of the cosmos, and disregard all notions of moral alignment in place of simple questions about the patterns and properties of celestial bodies — questions Ibra's followers must simply ask, as the answers themselves are immaterial."

"Historical records are mixed up and contradict each other" is pretty small potatoes by comparison (and not all that different from normal-universe history as Raving points out).

Xenocrat wrote:
The only evidence of class grafts working this way is the Aeon Trooper and a few other low CR creatures built the same erroneous way.

The way that approach would break down at high CR does decidedly favour your point. Conceded. [And I guess I'm lucky the sfrpgtools guy agrees with you. ;)]

I find that only very, very rare NPCs are worth the trouble of statting as PCs. NPC allies will still contribute their fair share to combat -- though with nothing like PC versatility and durability -- and I think that's okay, it keeps the focus on the party. The exceptions are long-term mentors and recurring characters who may need to adventure with the party for more than an encounter or two.

Xenocrat wrote:
But the type of armor and its stats had nothing to do with how hard he was to hit, just like natural armor, deflection bonuses, size bonuses, dex bonuses, and all that no longer have anything to do with why a monster is hard to hit.

Well, it's wrong of me to say you're definitively wrong, since there's fuel out there for either view at this point: a closer look at the creatures in AA2 shows they don't apply armor to AC in the way creatures with class grafts in AA1 do. I personally have no problem with the way it's done in AA1 and it seems clearly in line with the building rules to me, but someone who wants to do it your preferred way clearly has some justification for going that route.

Snark Cannons powering down. Have a nice day. :)

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Xenocrat wrote:
The Aeon Guard was designed by someone like you who didn’t understand the rules.

While I'm certainly amused by the singular qualities of "you clearly know nothing about the rules, just like the designers of the game" as a riposte... it's not really a good look, mate.

Anyway, the very passage you quote as supposedly proving Armor in class grafts doesn't affect AC says this:

you can skew the creature’s gear by a few levels, though you might need to make other adjustments to its statistics if you do so.

Because the class grafts affect the creature's statistics. All of them. As if it was wearing gear. Which, sensibly, is the reason gear would be part of class grafts. Your highly esoteric reading of the towering importance of one use of the word "attacks" is at odds with all other evidence of how class grafts work. Which strongly suggests that your highly esoteric reading is mistaken.

The armor and underlying dex bonus determining AC as with a PC calculation?

It's pretty clearly not "as with a PC calculation" since PC calculations aren't based on the stats in creature arrays, and class grafts are. But hey, if you're happy applying every element of armor except its AC bonuses to your NPCs, you do you. Just don't try to tell the rest of us we're wrong for following the clear intent and actual application of the rules as written.

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The Drunken Dragon wrote:
Xenocrat wrote:
Getting armor is part of the graft. Adjusting stats is not. Only damage from weapons selection is adjusted. The Aeon Guard was designed by someone like you who didn’t understand the rules.
Alright, no need for anything personal. CeeJay does have a point in that the RAW of class grafts say you do adjust things with armor and weapons as well. However, I would still argue that this adjustment is large wnough to warrant a CR change.

Hey, everything is optional. :) One can always house-rule them.

That said, I've been designing NPCs "wrong-according-to-Xenocrat" (e.g. by the actual rules) for more than a year of weekly SF sessions and have yet to run into the class graft adjustment that breaks CR. (I have effed up CR in other ways from time to time, mind you... but not that way. :D ) That experience has left me fairly sure that the CR system has already been designed with class grafts, gear and their results in mind, so FWIW it's not something I'd worry about.

The class grafts all explicitly include both armor and weaponry as part of the gear. AA p. 141, the Soldier:


Gear: A soldier creature’s gear selection depends on

whether it’s focused on melee or ranged combat.
Melee: Heavy armor (item level = CR), advanced melee
weapon (item level = CR + 1), longarm (item level = CR), and
two grenades (item level = CR).
Ranged: Heavy armor (item level = CR), advanced melee
weapon (item level = CR), longarm (item level = CR + 1) or heavy
weapon (item level = CR), and two grenades (item level = CR).

It's not really debatable. Armor is factually part of class grafts. It is visibly applied this way to creatures.

Of course it's up to GMs whether they apply that aspect of the rules as written, but there isn't an argument to be made that it's not there. It's there, and it was clearly applied to the Aeon Guard.

Lord Fyre wrote:
CeeJay wrote:

The "recommended range" is before the application of gear. Aeon Guards have a soldier class graft and gear appropriate to their CR (note their AC, speed et cetera are consistent with the Heavy Armor presented in their entry). Class grafts plus the appropriate gear are meant to make opponents tougher than the baseline for their CR. You can also see the same phenomenon in action with the Kalo Sharkhunter, which likewise has AC higher than the base numbers for its CR and for the same reason.


Yep. What you've cited is not in conflict with my statement. The gear IS one of the adjustments from the grafts. It's the result of having a class graft.

It has been applied in exactly this way to the Aeon Guard. The base numbers have been pulled directly from the array and then adjusted according to the gear from the class graft. It's not a typo. It's very, very clearly the way the grafts work.

The Drunken Dragon wrote:
I would like to point out that said section also cautions GMs against making substantial changes that throw off the CR balance . . .
Given that the monsters published in the front of the book are created by the designers, who are aware of the potential threats to balance of raising the AC of a creature to 6 points above the recommended range for that CR, this still seems like an oversight.

The "recommended range" is before the application of gear. Aeon Guards have a soldier class graft and gear appropriate to their CR (note their AC, speed et cetera are consistent with the Heavy Armor presented in their entry). Class grafts plus the appropriate gear are meant to make opponents tougher than the baseline for their CR. You can also see the same phenomenon in action with the Kalo Sharkhunter, which likewise has AC higher than the base numbers for its CR and for the same reason.

The whole idea of using gear to adjust creature abilities is, in other words, already built into CR. In fact the CR balancing rules make specific mention of the kind of gear adjustments that would have to raise or lower a creature's CR. The Aeon Guard doesn't meet those criteria, because what you're seeing is a basic application of the creature building rules.

That's not to say they aren't tough as hell for a CR3 monster, because of course they are. That's a thematic decision. The Azlanti are supposed to represent a major threat whenever they appear, they are a Serious Business setting villain. They can be expected to be built to present the biggest threat their CR will allow, and GMs are also expected to be aware of and thinking through specific details like that when building encounters. That, too, is a specifically stated part of using CR.

I'm planning to put an unknown planet of free Orcs out in the Vast somewhere (the Conditioned Focus ability, otherwise pretty cool, could be re-fluffed without too much difficulty for their circumstances). I don't much care for every Orc in existence being under the thumb of the Drow now, either. It *is* a relief not to have Orcs that are just flat-out Dumb Evil Brutes.

Interesting idea. Might it be a concept better fitted for an Archetype? Starfinder classes are generally designed to be able to accommodate a wide range of backgrounds and flavours in ways that classes in other RPGs are not. Some of the features here would make standout Archetype features that would actually be worth giving up regular class features for.

but the first step on the physical disease track is LATENT.

Any step on any disease track in Starfinder is a place you don't want to be. I guarantee you.

Farlanghn wrote:
BigNorseWolf wrote:
Dipping blitz soldier lets a solarion use strength for resolve and gives them a much needed 10 feet of movement.
Yes, it's still floating around.

Huh. Well... it's silliness.

Farlanghn wrote:
-You shouldn't have to dip into blitz soldier to make the character functional.

Is this notion still floating around? I would have thought the experience of players who didn't have to dip levels to make the character "functional" would have penetrated this "one true build" static by now.

The "Solarians need fixing" threads have retreated because the angst over the Solarian was largely misplaced, and the more people have play experience with them the clearer this becomes. A bit harder to build (but not that significantly) and there's a couple of Revelations that could use clarification or re-tuning.

First fell in the love with the system while playing with (some) people who hated it, and a GM who dumped on the system for his own unrelated failings. Even then I could see the potential and knew I wanted more. Now seven months and nearly thirty sessions into my own campaign, and I've never looked back. For most of the reasons of you've stated.

There are a few little things I'd like to punch up. There are some class abilities that tend to put people on rails of least mechanical resistance and maybe something could be done about that. The Envoy needs a broader selection of abilities. That stuff will come, though. Bottom line, it's the first system ever to persuade me to get a sci-fi / sci-fantasy game off the ground and really commit to it. Huge fun.

Detect Radiation kind of baffles me, I have to admit. AFAICS it doesn't do anything that the basic tech available in the setting shouldn't be able to do, except it costs a spell slot. I guess maybe if you found yourself stranded in the wilderness with no gadgets?

Why isn't the swarm (or any enemy of the pact worlds, for that matter) attacking the core worlds first?

For the Swarm, I suspect they significantly predate the Drift and do not have actually Drift-capable ships. Note the length of time between the Shirren showing up and the Swarm showing up. I believe the other Swarm ships are out there and still pending (there is heavy hinting in canon to this effect), and the Swarm war the Pact Worlds recently experienced was a preliminary skirmish.

As for other enemies: well, Alaska or Canada are just hours away from the Russsian border. Why doesn't Russia just invade? Because it's not that simple. The universal proximity of Absalom Station doesn't change the fact that the Pact Worlds are evidently quite powerful (counting the combined Brethedan, Aballonian, Eoxian, Castrovelian, Aucturnian and Vercite navies, to say nothing of Absalom Station itself) and more than capable of defending themselves against enemies who are most probably behind the curve of figuring the Drift out for themselves. Absalom is not really any more or less "exposed" to comparable powers than the United States on a global level when air travel was invented.

Crafting is actually easier and faster in Starfinder than it was in Pathfinder. Having the option to make high-level equipment commercially available means you have more options for how you handle high-level equipment as a GM, not fewer; it doesn't limit you to always explaining how they're buying stuff at the store. It is fairly counterintuitive to expect Paizo to "see that as a problem."

People keep saying in Starfinder you have a "normal commercial infrastructure." No you don't. Normal commercial infrastructures as we know them don't have to deal with magic weapons, teleportation circlets and plasma cannons, and if they did have access to such things probably would not sell them at convenience stores. You have the power in your hands as GM to regulate things on the item lists that you don't feel should be commercially available, if that's what you want to do.

I've found it depends on class. The Soldier and Operative in my group are very gear-dependent and always chasing the latest gadget. Our Envoy will go whole levels at a time barely spending anything, precisely because he wants to be able to come through in a clutch to bribe guards or pick up the right formal wear or (in one memorable case) buy shares in a bad-guy company to try to influence their policy. (Long story.) Our technomancer and mechanic fall somewhere in the middle.

I feel like not a few tables wouldn't care for it, yeah.

Pretty much.

I mean, C would not be quite so radical a change for Starfinder in that there's already a whole part of the rules with a non-monetary BP system. But it would still be tied to progression, anyway.

To a point, I do get Tryn's annoyance with the non-combat equipment. I'm far from thinking it "breaks" anything (we run plenty of non-combat encounters and the equipment hasn't caused an issue), but that's not to say that it's particularly logical. Starfinder's being built largely out of tropes rather than extrapolated from real-life things is a strength, but it can also be a weakness.

I'm not sure I get Saffron's "water pistol" complaint though. I don't see how equipment progression is all that different from any other form of power progression you could find in either Starfinder or Pathfinder.

I think a version of C could be made to work. I've toyed with some ideas for it, even. Mainly because tracking Build Points would be easier for my bookkeeping.

But for instance: the player running an Envoy at my table, one of the things he's specifically there for is to be the face man who negotiates for the party and drives hard bargains in space merchant bazaars. The Mercenary Soldier in our group is there specifically to be a mercenary Soldier. They're the kind of players who'd feel immensely cheated if I tried to wave my hands and say *poof* no more money, just abstract Build Points. So I wouldn't really bother to pursue it, personally.

Tryn: I mean, it's extremely easy to toss out phrases like "these rules weren't thought out" and "last-minute copy-paste" but in all honesty, looking at the problem from every angle:

A) unless you really want to rip progression out of the game entirely (in which case probably just go play something else) or
B) unless you really want it to be impossible to buy advanced gear and have everything in the equipment list do largely the same damage (a no-go for most of the people playing a system like this) or
C) unless you really want to abstract money out of the picture entirely and just build gear with Build Points...

... then what Starfinder has done seems like the way I'd go, basically, with some differences in detail.

Options A and B mostly certainly do not interest me in the least, personally. As it happens, I'd be fine going with option C, and I think that's a genuine alternative... but I feel like it would be a bridge too far for many players.

Having an "unrealistic" money economy -- for whatever that's supposed to mean in a setting built from equal parts Skiffy Trope, Magitech and Rule of Cool -- is something more players are likely to tolerate than basically taking money out of the equation altogether. Most of the people running Starfinder still want at least a little bit of that loot and money-management gaming. I think someone who tried reinventing the gear system might well find the solution in Starfinder to be a lot more thought out than you're crediting it for. So to speak.

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Very good. Bones rolled, as it were.

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