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Pathfinder Starfinder Society Subscriber. * Starfinder Society GM. 551 posts (6,961 including aliases). 28 reviews. No lists. No wishlists. 8 Organized Play characters. 19 aliases.


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I haven't done a "from the ground up" conversion. It'd be a very very serious project. I just played with it long enough to realize that careful attention was going to need to be paid to the math, and that some classes (Envoy is a big offender) are going to have to require scrutiny.

If you'd like to make the damage output a bit more balanced with normal Starfinder, one low impact way to do so is to increase the AC of all NPCs by 2 and decrease their attack rolls by 2. This makes it so that full attacks are about on par between Starfinder's system and the 3action economy. 2 action attacks are still going to be about 25% stronger than a standard action attack in Starfinder, but I think that's doable.

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citricking wrote:
They only ones that seem worth using are color spray, magic weapon, heal, and magic missile. So you have maybe 4 of those, and other than that you just have cantrips. You really are so much worse than a fighter it's crazy. Even when you use those spells you aren't contributing more than a fighter would. And after that you're just contributing less than half the fighters expected damage with cantrips. The only saving grace is that electric arc is vastly over powered, giving them at least a decent contribution at low levels.

Interestingly, I consider spellcasters from levels 1-3 ish to be the star contributors to the party. Magic Weapon almost doubles the damage of your highest output martial pal - effectively for 2 actions and a spell slot, your contribution for the fight is already as much as your fighter friend. Everything else after that contributed via cantrips is gravy. You cast one level 1 spell per fight and then toss cantrips around.

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As someone who spent some time trying to work out how to port 3-action into Starfinder, this is even trickier than it looks. Some thoughts:

  • Going from Starfinder's full attack rules and penalties to the Multiple attack penalty is actually a big boost in lethality. I've done the math on this before. Just slapping in MAP is about a 65% boost in damage output assuming a creature spends 1 action / 1 move action on moving before attacking, and about a 50% boost in damage output on full attacks / 3 actions spent on attacking.
  • Starfinder has been carefully balanced around action scarcity and the exclusivity of actions. Many standard action abilities are balanced around doing them only once per round. Furthermore, many standard action abilities are ALSO balanced around not being able to attack on rounds where you use them.
  • Both caster classes have 3/4 BAB in Starfinder, and currently their abilities are balanced around not being able to mix attacks and spells. The system's underlying math allows most any character to deal good damage by nothing more than two feats (weapon proficiency, weapon specialization) and picking up an appropriate weapon. A mystic with a longarm and specialization that fires once and casts a spell is contributing WAY more in Starfinder than a cleric with a longbow firing once and casting a spell in PF2E.
  • Spellcasting should probably be 2 actions, just like PF2E.

    Its clear after you start digging into class changes that building from the ground up for the 3-action system is likely easier than trying to convert.

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    Currently working on my first ever submission: two Rules articles with some spells! Looking at some past issues of Wayfinder, a spell article can include a short blurb before the first spell that provides some background for the group of spells (ie. who made them, where they came from, etc). Is that appropriate for this issue?

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    Definitely on purpose. Pinned is incredibly crippling and giving creatures more than a small chance of landing it as a free rider with their attacks would be extremely strong.

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    @Cycle-1: If GM Valen starts a recruitment for Duskmire Accord 9, that's a Tier 1-4, so 1st level characters would be a go. Also, keep an eye on recruitment and there'll be stuff popping up soon.

    @Lysle: I'd be in for 1-25 Beacon Code as well, if there's room.

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    I skipped over looking at the VERA system and Starship changes, as I'm not a huge fan of breaking the walls down between XP, credits and build points. BYOV looks pretty reasonable, and for the most part self explanatory.

    Of your classes, I think the most interesting angle is the Engine Knight. Driving vehicles in combat is definitely under-explored right now and the Engine Knight has some cool flavor. I think a class with that as their theme is also sufficiently distinct from the Mechanic (though it's quite close).
    Mechanics-wise, there's a lot that's not clear to me with this class.

    Engine Knight Qs:
  • What kind of action is taking a melee attack with Modern Knight? Is it a free attack each time I take a move action to drive? Is it a standard action attack I can put mid drive action? Can I make it during a race action?
  • For Boost I, how does "boosting it twice" work? Do I need separate move actions each time I boost? Or when I take the move action to boost, I get the benefits of both Boost damage bonuses?
  • As written, Expert Pilot II adds "Sky Jockey bonuses" to all types of vehicles. Since Sky Jockey gives +10 fly speed, does that mean ALL vehicles gain +10 fly speed. Or is your intention that sky jockey gives +10 to each of its movement speeds. If so, you need to write that out.
  • Drive Knight - I assume that by "not taking any penalties while making an attack on a vehicle" you mean you don't take the moving vehicle's penalty to attack rolls. As is, you've just made it so the Engine Knight no longer takes penalties while full attacking, while sickened, shaken, etc.
  • Booster IV - what does "boosting a weapon twice more than normal" mean? Does the damage stack up? Which boost are you doing, the weapon's built-in one, or the one granted by your class feature? Does it take extra move actions?
  • Engine Knight - since Ram and Run Over are full actions, you can't take a swift action on the turn you do them (this is a rule a lot of people forget).
  • The Lifeline on the other hand is very similar to the upcoming Biohacker in the Character Operations Manual. You might want to check out the playtest Biohacker to see how it compares mechanically to your implementation.

    It seems the Sharpshooter's class elements could fit elegantly as gear boosts and fighting styles for the Soldier. Say a "gunslinger" style, and making the crackshots into gear boosts?

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    A lot of RotRL's harder and/or most memorable encounters are hard and/or memorable because they used old 3.5 monsters that got unfairly powerful abilities (Book 1 Yeth Hounds, Tentamort) OR they threw high level spellcasters with deadly save or sucks that could shut down a party (Book 3 pitting you against spellcasters with confusion is one that sticks out to me). Using new creatures from the bestiary and spells from the 2E CRB will render those encounters much fairer.

    I suspect Karzoug will be nowhere near the same indomitable foe that he was in 1E if you build him by PC rules in 2E.

  • Time stop has been made far more limited - you can't affect objects or creatures in any way during it. Plus self-buffs are less potent than they used to be.
  • There are fewer AoE save or dies available, and spells in general are less binary than before.
  • Karzoug's bounty of quickened spells, including such beauties as quickened time stop, are no more. Quicken has been reduced to 1/day with an 8th level or lower spell.

    OTOH, the difference in spell DCs based on level means that all of Karzoug's spells are going to be a true nightmare to save against. DC = 10 + 20 from level + 8 from legendary prof +7? or 8? from INT! Good luck saving against DC46 for your 17th level party.

    Your best saves at this point are likely to be +17+8+6+2 = +33 and your worst are around +17+4+2+2 = +25. Against your bad save, you have 50% chance to critically fail. Or to put it in perspective: a rogue hit by an unheightened 9th level massacre has a 50% chance to die outright and 50% chance to take 100 damage.

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    Yeah, I think this decision relies heavily on what kind of starship combat you're doing. In empty space where you're dogfighting with a single enemy that roughly matches your ship, the extra piloting edge might be worth it. But whenever the combat is more complicated - where there are obstacles, where you're in a chase with another ship, when the combat is lopsided, anytime you have to cover a lot of distance such as when you're escaping something - all these situations give the higher base speed the edge.

    In general, I think the higher speed is worth a lot more than a measly +1 to piloting.

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    Starfinder handled this problem like this:

    Dragonkin (Starfinder) wrote:
    A dragonkin gains an extraordinary flight speed of 30 feet with average maneuverability. Until a dragonkin is 5th level, he must end his movement on the ground at the end of each turn or fall.

    I would change the transition to full flight to require an ancestry feat. Still very powerful, but much more difficult to fight while flying until later.

    In addition to the above, you could add one of these restrictions:

  • While flying using their racial flight, they're also slowed 1.
  • Flying for more than a short interval causes you to become fatigued.
  • Your fly speed is slow, say 15ft.

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    If I'm a wild shaped character, I'm limited to the attacks of the chosen form due to this wording:

    Animal Form, or any form spell wrote:
    One or more unarmed melee attacks specific to the battle form you choose, which are the only attacks you can use.

    If as a wild shaped character I enter into one of the restrictive stances, like crane stance, I have this wording:

    Crane Stance wrote:
    You gain a +1 circumstance bonus to AC, but the only Strikes you can make are crane wing attacks.

    Reading strictly, these two requirements disallow one another, leaving you unable to make any strikes at all. Is this intended? Or is one intended to have priority?

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    Frogliacci wrote:
    I like this in theory, but it has the problem of a huge range of low level spells costing the same when you're high level. No one will ever cast any spell at level 1 when you're spending the same resources to cast it at level 4.

    I don't consider that a problem. You'll still cast some 1st or 2nd level spells that play unique specialized roles, but I'm alright with the rest being obsoleted by 3rd and 4th level spells that have the same cost.

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    Rather than make systems with huge numbers in a mana pool, or systems with multiple different pools to track, why not just have a fixed pool with scaling costs? Something like:

    You have a pool of 20 mana.
    The highest spell-level spells you can cast cost 3 mana.
    The next highest spell-level spells you can cast cost 2 mana.
    All remaining spell levels down cost 1 mana.

    The most you can ever nova is 6x your highest level spell, and at the expense of having almost nothing else. But your significantly lower level slots are a lot cheaper and you can cast them pretty readily. If you're still concerned about too much nova incentive, you can add some kind of "risky" mechanic, like the kineticist's burn, that only happens if you cast your highest level slot spells back to back (for example, not specifying that this is what I'd do).

    You could also set up the pool to run off your casting ability score. IE:
    You have a pool of 15+your casting ability score. That way you still get some progression of your pool expanding as you rise in level, though the expansion is small enough that you're only really getting to cast a couple extra lower level spells.

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    Hi All! I'm coming in with a complicated set of questions around one very strangely written spell...

    Starfinder CRB wrote:

    Entropic Grasp T3

    School transmutation
    Casting Time 1 standard action
    Range touch

    Targets one nonmagical manufactured object (or the volume of the object within a 3-ft.-radius of the touched point) or one manufactured creature touched each round
    Duration see text
    Saving Throw Fortitude negates (object); Spell Resistance no

    Any unattended, manufactured (built from component parts, including metal, wood, plastic, glass, and so on) item you touch crumbles into dust, rust, and decay. If the item is so large that it can’t fit within a 3-foot radius, a 3-foot-radius volume of the material is destroyed. This is an instantaneous effect.

    You can employ entropic grasp in combat by making a melee attack against your opponent’s EAC. If you hit, you instantaneously reduce a manufactured armor’s KAC and EAC bonus by 3 (to a minimum of a +0 bonus). Damaged armor can be repaired using the Engineering skill; with a successful check, the armor’s armor bonuses are restored to their original values. Against a manufactured creature (generally constructs, but not undead), this attack instead deals 6d12 damage.

    Weapons and equipment in use by an opponent are more difficult to affect with this spell. You attempt a sunder combat maneuver against the item. If successful, you deal 6d6 damage to the weapon or item.

    Used in combat, this spell lasts 1 round per level, and you can make one melee attack each round on future rounds as a standard action. The target can attempt a save to negate each melee attack, but success does not end the spell.

    Casting this spell doesn’t provoke attacks of opportunity.

    Has anyone used this spell? If so, have you thought about any of the following questions and worked out reasonable answers for them?:

  • A starship is a very large manufactured object. An automatic door in a building is also a large manufactured object. When do these objects count as being attended? As written, this spell seems to be able to vaporize any secure door of any hardness, punching a 3ft radius hole in it.
  • What is the Engineering skill check to restore a damaged armor? How long does it take and what are the DCs?
  • When making a sunder maneuver using this spell, do you add bonuses for Improved Combat Maneuver to your attack roll?
  • Does damage from the sunder maneuver bypass hardness? (As written no, but this means it has a good chance of having no effect at higher levels)
  • How does this spell have a different duration if cast in combat? For example: if during combat I want to vaporize the space station's airlock door, why does that only use up one round vs. using up the whole spell if I want to do that out of combat?
  • Does the part about "the target can attempt a save to negate each melee attack" apply to the attack vs. manufactured creatures? What about the attack vs. an opponent's armor to reduce its AC? What about the sunder maneuver? I'm not clear if its intended to apply to all of these or not based on the wording.
  • Does the "nonmagical" target restriction apply to attempts to sunder or reduce AC?

  • Pathfinder Starfinder Society Subscriber

    The big difference is that the Solarian class and the solarian's solar weapon deals a significant amount more damage than the Vanguard's entropic weapon does (once you consider the solarian's class features vs. the vanguard's, its about 20-40% higher damage for the solarian).

    I don't think you'll break anything in your own game if you allow the solarian to manifest a weapon with the operative tag (though don't forget to make it add half level for specialization). It'll let your solarians be a bit more defensive at low levels in exchange for slightly lower damage.

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    I'm not sure what the problem is here. Every PF1 map I've ever extracted and added to my Roll20 campaign has involved some amount of alignment to get it matching the grid exactly. I never need an image editor to do so, just a minute or two of fiddling to get it right.

    (In Roll 20, just hold alt as you move or resize the image and it won't snap to grid)

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    Just want to chime in and say a big Thank you! to Joe for taking time to come on the forums and provide such a thorough clarification. This was one really vague, but really popular item.

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    Hmm wrote:

    I do think that seizing the Starstone could vault a demi-god to complete godhood.

    Cellion, your thoughts here are absolutely brilliant. I love all the ideas you've put forth.


    Thanks Hmm! Happy you like them.

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    Christine Bussman wrote:
    Thanks for letting us know. The GM has been given a gentle poke. :)

    I assume no word yet on this one? I'm also in this game with Revvy.

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    keftiu wrote:
    Not the most pressing thing in the works, but I’d really love for my icon to be Casandalee or Meyanda.

    There are already icons for both Casandalee and Meyanda. For Meyanda, just filter the list for androids. For Casandalee, its a bit more complicated: Remove all filters, then sort the list of all avatars by date. Casandalee should be on the 15th page.

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    CorvusMask wrote:
    The way I understand Starstone working is that it pretty much turns a creature into fledgling demigod with potential to become full god relatively fast. Malikah already has potential to become full god(implication seems to be that she just needs to establish her worship on material plane?) and presumably starstone isn't only artifact in setting capable of doing so, just in this galaxy or part of universe.

    Hmmm, I'd forgotten that the Starstone got you to demigod status first (mostly because every person who succeeded the Test of the Starstone is now a god). That does make it seem redundant! I guess I'm kind of assuming that Malikah is less than a demigod - she's the offspring of Feronia (a demigoddess) and some unnamed efreeti noble (non-divine). As opposed to her bro Ragathiel, who has Feronia on one side but Dispater on the other (an archdevil), which puts him solidly in demigod status. I don't know, the whole thing is kinda vaguely defined. Probably on purpose.

    Paizo have come down before to say that gods don't rely on the worship of mortals, so I doubt that Malikah needs to establish her worship on the mortal plane to become a full god. Plus there are plenty of demigods being worshipped that haven't bumped up to full god status. Either way I'm not sold on the driving goal for the AP being "take over one solar system's sun in an attempt to reach godhood". That's a pretty mundane way to get closer to being a god, even if its just a first step. In my case, I'd like Malikah's ascension to be something more dramatic and exciting for players to experience.

    CorvusMask wrote:
    On sidenote, final encounter of book 1 can actually be done with relatively low combat wise without changing encounter much: PCs could sneak aside the wall of the building(the imp isn't mentioned to patrol the building's walls, just sit in ceiling at vantage point), listen or peak through windows and then crash through window & attack boss of collective and take him hostage to talk down other collective members. But its definitely not directly pointed out in the text.(though they do give diplo/intimidate dc for talking them down after their boss is taken care of)

    That's a good point. I really like the idea that the final section can be resolved with minimal to no loss of life - though priming my usually bloodthirsty players to consider it may be tricky :>

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    CorvusMask wrote:
    Hmm went back to read this thread, but yeah, Malikah planning to steal starstone is kinda unneeded considering she is already daughter of Feronia and divine being already.

    Malikah is the daughter of a demigoddess and therefore only partially divine. Her stated goal per Book 1 is to become a full god. The Starstone is the most setting-famous way to do so. Why do you think its unneeded?

    In any case, I think the additional work is worth it. The individual adventures in Dawn of Flame are pretty great looking from a read through (barring a few plot holes and railroading), but the overall plot and the climax are both... so so. Repelling a warlord's attack on a desert sun when his boss is still waiting in the wings undefeated makes this feel like an AP that ends mid-way through.

    From what I've seen of books 3-6, my plot changes aren't going to invalidate any of the individual book plots (which stand pretty nicely on their own), nor are they going to require much in the way of encounter changes, except in Book 6. But they will change some of the context behind why the PCs need to do what they're doing.

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    How does the "Visions of Danger" spell work?

    Visions of Danger wrote:

    Saving Throw Will; Duration 1 minute

    An illusion of horrific creatures fills the spell's area. The creatures look like Tiny swarming monsters with a specific appearance of your choice, such as Hellish flies or animated saw blades. The burst deals 8d8 mental damage to each creature that's inside the burst when it's created, enters the burst, or starts its turn inside the burst. A creature that critically succeeds at its will save can immediately attempt to disbelieve the illusion. A creature that tries to Interact with the monsters or observes one with a Seek action can attempt to disbelieve the illusion. Creatures that disbelieve the illusion take no damage from the illusion thereafter.

    The saving throw line doesn't say Basic Will, so it's not clear to me if the initial 8d8 mental damage is halved or negated, or not reduced at all. I'm able to infer that the victims DO get a Will save on initial casting and when starting their turn inside the burst, but its not spelled out what that will save would do.

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    Yeah, the big weakness of this AP is how the villains are pretty disconnected from everything - they just have some vaguely "bad" goals that never really get going.

    I'm planning on having Malikah appear as a lower CR final boss at the end of Book 6 - likely as a short addendum post General Khaim - in which the PCs fight her temporal clones while trying to stop the ritual that's letting her attempt the test of the Starstone ad-infinitum. (Yes, I have serious plans that take the adventure well off the rails. I wrote a bit about them under the Book 1 GM thread)

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    Kurashiu wrote:
    One caught my attention. You say that the vessel will come out of the sun instead of the far portal. Book 3 has the PCs going after a ship that can go into the sun. I don't think this is really a problem for you because you plan on having the ship being mostly destroyed by the fire whale.

    You've got it exactly right - I figured that the ship is derelict and likely too damaged to fly properly. But its also an opportunity for the DCI, who have been studying the ship, to reverse engineer some special heat shielding to augment whatever the PCs manage to scrounge up during Book 3.

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    Ok, that certainly seems like quite some interest. Keep your eyes peeled for a recruitment thread in the next few days!

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    Zahir ibn Mahmoud ibn Jothan wrote:
    If you are doing a standard competitive recruitment, then I suppose I'd toss up something I wanted to play and cross my fingers.

    I would almost definitely be doing a competitive recruitment if this goes ahead. I find getting the right group of players - reliable, motivated posters who push the game forwards - is really important to having a healthy game, and a competitive recruitment would help identify those.

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    With the final volume of Starfinder's Dawn of Flame adventure path finally released, I'd like to gauge the appetite here on the forums for a PbP run of this Path. Surprisingly, I haven't been able to find ANYONE running a recruitment for this AP on the forums thus far. Not sure if this is just a matter of no GM stepping up to the challenge, or if people aren't that into the themes.

    Spoiler-lite blurb for Dawn of Flame wrote:
    All is not peaceful in the roiling heart of the Pact Worlds' sun! A mysterious entity from the plane of fire has set their eyes on the star, intent on seizing it for themselves. But unable to explore the depths of their star, the people of the Pact Worlds remain unaware of the threat. Can the heroes piece together the clues to what’s happening in time? Or will their extraplanar nemesis' mysterious plan change the nature of the Pact Worlds forever?

    I'm thinking of running this as a fast-moving Play by Post for 4 players. If there's enough interest, I would start recruitment some time in the next week.

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    701 - (Digital Idol) - Leans very hard into her profession, singing her technomancer spells into existence.
    702 - (Sommelier) - My foppish and acerbic operative. He'll select you a wine that's to die for... as a courtesy prior to killing you.
    703 - (Private Eye) - Grizzled shirren investigator, chasin' perps on behalf of the Emerald Dame (Starfinder Society's Guidance).
    704 - None

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    Hi AZ!

    Matching Dawn of Flame's themes and story with your character is not essential. One of my most fun characters right now is my Corporate Middle Manager Skittermander, whose background and personality have very very little to do with Dead Suns. In fact, working out motivations for a character with a very different background to want to pursue the challenges of an adventure path can result in some super dynamic and interesting characters.

    That said, I'd say knowing how your character relates to the following prominent elements of Dawn of Flame is important:

  • The Sun (What do they think about it? Are they from there? A pilgrimage site? They're afraid of the dark? Etc)
  • Telepathy or psychic powers (Do they have telepathy? What do they think about the ambient telepathic aura of the sun?)
  • Sarenrae & other religions (Are they religious? Dogmatic or open-minded? etc)
  • Other sentient creatures, especially if they're very different to them (How do they regard other sentient aliens? Cautiously or with open arms? How has this affected them before?)

    (For a Dead Suns example, my skittermander relates to just some of the elements of Dead Suns as such: Undead are gross, Giant superweapons are a potential business opportunity, and a suplex hold is an appropriate way to deal with a dinosaur)

    Just reading your two character options above, both of them would mechanically work just fine with the AP. But I'm left wondering what the key aspects of their personality are - and how they might relate to the adventure at hand.

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    So after some careful consideration, I've decided to take Dawn of Flame for a whirl with some changes to fix perceived issues with the overall story and the specific bits of Book 1.

    I'll drop my thoughts off here, in hopes they may be useful to someone. Fair warning that I only have the first two books right now, so anything I suggest below could be contradicted later.

  • Malikah's plan is to seize the Starstone and use it to become a god. The original adventure overview provides no good reason for why Malikah wants to conquer the sun, or what it has to do with becoming a god. As a fan of dramatic, potentially-setting-shattering events, I see her plan as threefold - use the Anassanois' psychic/telepathic influence to throw the Pact Worlds into disarray, drag Absalom Station into the sun to burn everything except the Starstone away, and finally use the temporal vortex at the heart of the sun (Mentioned as a rumor in the CRB) to create backup copies of herself and attempt the Test of the Starstone as many times as needed.
  • Malikah isn't trying to completely conquer the sun (which is pointless anyway) She's just trying to sow chaos to distract from her General Khaim's seizure of the Crucible.
  • The Far Portal isn't that mysterious. But I'm having the escaping mystery ship emerging DIRECTLY from the sun itself, not from the Far Portal! Instead, Khaim's fire whale is the one that comes out of the Far Portal in pursuit. That way the mystery ship is of 100% interest to the DCI.
  • The fire whale bites the fire immune ship, rather than using its breath weapon The mystery ship is being piloted by an escaping Anassanoi, but the fire whale manages to chomp the ship and take out its bridge in the process.
  • The PCs find a psychic suppressor made with magic and technology unknown to the Pact Worlds - one made by the anassanois - on the mystery ship This adds a mystery (what is this strange device), a motive (the PCs are tasked with secretly delivering the device to the DCI HQ, which I've moved to Asanatown), and a cool item (using the psychic suppressor on the crazed lashunta in Asanatown can make them easier to calm down).
  • The telepathic burst is caused by General Khaim, who has enslaved the anassanois and turned them into a psychic weapon. He directs the first burst at Asanatown, testing to see if he can drive the Burning Archipelago into civil war with this new tool.
  • The Sunrise Collective has already seized control of Asanatown for a few days before the PCs arrive Only Taeress' vouching manages to get them in. But after the PCs arrive, things only get worse as the psychic assault continues.
  • Asanatown already has a civil resistance against the Sunrise Collective, but its in the process of being summarily crushed. Highlighting the Collective's angry brutality against non-lashunta makes the PCs actions against them more reasonable.
  • The DCI HQ in Asanatown is under lockdown. Nib joined the civil resistance, but was captured and locked up at the checkpoint.
  • The campaign against the Collective is similar, but with the psychic suppressor, the PCs can get through more non-lethally, if they so choose. While the first section of Asanatown in Book 1 considers the possibilities of PCs taking a peaceful stance, the last section does not. I think resolving the civil war in Asanatown by defusing the conflict should be a possibility - even if its a difficult one to execute.

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    Considering that you'll have mind thrust, keep in mind that both fear and mind thrust are mind-affecting. That means if those are your 3rd levels, every time you face constructs, undead, or mindless creatures, that mystic will be sitting on their hands.

    My vote's for slow. Fear is the stronger spell in isolation. I'd definitely pick it up eventually.

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    The APs are fairly serious (though even them I find more light hearted than some of Pathfinder's heavy fare), but the SFS scenarios definitely have a lot of light hearted, silly or comedic stuff. Not all of them do, of course, but enough that you get a general sense that things are not very serious.

    SFS 1-01, 1-07, 1-09, and 1-14 all stand out to me as extremely goofy from the first half of season 1.

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    I don't have the slightest clue how Starship combat could be translated into the 3-action economy. If it could, it'd have to be done whole cloth - creating new Starship actions that are balanced around being able to do them thrice per round.

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    Sir NotAppearingInThisFilm wrote:
    Cellion wrote:
    That sure is a convenient coincidence so that one bookseller's apprentice with a dagger can hold their tribe hostage. :>
    As the party is probably going to come across the courtyard battle fairly early, I wonder if it might not work out better to simply have the goblins trapped on the battlements with no Calmont in sight. After being rescued, they would say they were attacked by him demanding to know the location of the lower level entrance, but that they drove him off, and he's probably still lurking in whatever parts of the first level the party has yet to explore. When they go off looking for him, he could stealth up behind and sneak attack whoever is in back, revealing somewhat more sparse info regarding voz and alseta's ring as necessary in the ensuing combat.

    I'm not a huge fan of reducing Calmont to just a combat encounter. As JJ points out, injecting social drama and skill checks into the middle of the dungeon crawl is good design that adds variety.

    Instead, maybe Calmont came upon the goblins, but knowing that there was too many of them, he managed to inveigle the tribe into letting him join them. His ultimate plan being to betray them once they reveal how to get to Alseta's Ring. That way there can be a big confrontation where the PCs call him out on his lies and his crime back in Breachhill. The advantage of this set up is that he can be playing his con for as long as necessary for the PCs to arrive without it seeming unrealistic.

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    The action economy would be by far the bigger benefit to start with. Unfortunately, based on person experience its also a gigantic pain to get working right.

    Instating the Multiple Attack Penalty mechanic wholesale is in general a significant increase in damage output for the martially inclined characters vs. Starfinder's current system. But you can get that somewhat under control by increasing all NPC ACs by 2 and decreasing their attack rolls by 2.

    But the big problem is balancing out all the other mechanics. Strongly action-economy-limited classes like Envoy are difficult to translate without accidentally making them super powerful. You almost need to build the Envoy from the ground up with the new PF2E system!

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    @OP: I don't understand your concern. If you actively avoid anything that helps your character's defenses, then of course you'll be crit. You don't need to optimize to the hilt to survive, you just need to give a little bit.

    As others have stated, a blank-slate monk already starts with AC 15. Even dex 14 gets you AC 17, with which creatures of your level are likely only critting on a 19-20. Mountain stance gets you to AC 19. Higher dex does the same. And shield use gets you even higher. But really 17 AC will serve you just fine.

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    CorvusMask wrote:

    To be fair on those of those, Bumblebrasher goblins are pretty much civilians commoners as far as adventure treats them, so kinda feels like everyone in tribe is peaceful enough that none of them are actually warriors :p (note: I have just skim read adventure so I might be forgetting stuff to contrary)

    And on 20 feet climb, from real life perspective that does look intimidating, especially if there aren't obvious handles. Its not really implausible that if none of them are experienced climbers that they would be skittish to try to do so(even if mechanically its easy or they have enough skills for it), they are cultists not athletes.

    RE: Goblins being civilians: I agree that these guys are civilians, though that doesn't make them helpless, they're still goblins!

    The adventure goes out of its way to disarm them - the PCs find that in the courtyard "No fewer than seven dogslicers, three shortbows and 15 arrows lie scattered about the courtyard, weapons dropped by the panicked goblins". Effectively, these guys dropped ALL their weapons in trying to flee the grauladon. That sure is a convenient coincidence so that one bookseller's apprentice with a dagger can hold their tribe hostage. :>

    RE: Cinderclaws: My point is that the main villains of the adventure are being stymied by something so simple. The idea that they're not doing everything in their power to escape and oppress the good people of Breachhill makes them an unimpressive threat.

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    Lady Melo wrote:
    I'm curious what your general ideas are to make him a bit more interesting. While it's not like it isn't realistic to meet people who are absolutely incompetent and from the outside appear like there ideas are almost intentional self sabotage (I have met a few irl). I am going to be starting this adventure in a week or two and am curious how you might spice up the opening a bit.

    I think having folks be incompetent can be fun, but it generally turns them into comic relief and totally undercuts them as a villain.

    What I want to do with Calmont is to make him a petty tyrant. Story wise:

  • Have him go missing from town. The initial quest granted to the party is therefore "find a missing person" rather than help some goblins in distress. This gives PCs a chance to go around town, ask questions, and get to know (and get attached to) the populace.
  • While the PCs investigate, they learn that Calmont has a mean streak and was a bully to other children when he was younger until Voz took him under her wing. Now, Voz's secret (to the town) oppression of him has only made him meaner and ignited a desire in him to rule over others. Throw in some breadcrumbs that leads the party to Hellknight Hill.
  • Calmont ran away after not being able to take Voz any longer. He figured Hellknight Hill was a good place to hide out. Before he got there, he got captured by a Cinderclaw scout. (In my version, the Cinderclaws aren't trapped, but are using the basement levels as a base from which they're scouting out the countryside while their leader works out how to get Huntergate open again)
  • The Cinderclaw leader interrogated him to learn more about Breachhill, then realized that Calmont could be a useful tool. He leaned into Calmont's megalomania by offering him some scrolls and telling him that he should take control of the goblin tribe (The Bumblebrashers) that now infest the surface level of the Citadel. He planted the idea that Calmont could use the goblins to get revenge against Voz and against the town that treated him "unjustly". The Cinderclaws figure this may be a good way to pit their enemies against each other - delaying any action against the Cinderclaws until their full force can come through the gate.

    This turns the ground level of the Citadel into Calmont's petty little kingdom where he's oppressing goblins using magic scrolls given to him by the true villains down below.

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    Having read through the adventure now, I was struck by quite a few elements that people have already commented on earlier in the thread and in the reviews for book 1. The one that struck me most was the following:

    Why is almost every NPC hilariously incompetent?

    I've recently been running book 1 of the original Rise of the Runelords. Over the course of that first book, the main villain of the story and her lieutenants accomplish much of what they set out to do. I'll refrain from listing any specifics, but people they want to die end up dying, things they want to sacrifice to foul gods get sacrificed. There's a real sense that its only the intervention of the PCs that stops them from completing their evil plans.

    In comparison, the most NPCs in Hellknight Hill are bumbling idiots.

  • Calmont wants to go to the Citadel to locate Alseta's Ring and sell info to whoever will buy it. He doesn't want anyone to beat him to this discovery, especially not any pesky PCs. But somehow he reasons that he should first set fire to the town hall, which paints a target on his head and ENSURES that people will go to Hellknight Hill to bring him to justice.
  • The Cinderclaws send their grauladons chasing the goblins up towards the surface, and oh no!, both stairways collapse, trapping those bumbling cultists in two separate groups!
  • Calmont wants to know from the goblins how to get downstairs, but in Helba's own words "We would have told him how to get downstairs, but he grabbed me too fast and started screaming, and waving that knife, and we couldn't get a word in edgewise". Calmont is presented as so crazy that he can't even let his prisoners submit to his demands.
  • The Bumblebrasher goblin tribe is so incompetent that a bookseller's apprentice with a dagger manages to overpower them.
  • The Cinderclaw cultists in the basement - A) Don't find the secret exit that literally all of them have enough perception bonus to locate. B) Don't think to either free their leader or clear the stairway leading up. C) Think their best tactic is to dig a tunnel to Breachhill a whole MILE away.
  • The Cinderclaw cultists at the Ring level are stymied by a gosh-darned 20ft climb. What incredible evil! How lucky for the town of Breachhill that this slippery cliff and hole are currently keeping them safe! (I'm just going to ignore that none of them thought to bring any ropes, apparently. I'm ALSO going to ignore that the charau-ka in the group have whips and sickles, which they could have used to produce improvised climbing gear or something)

    Only Voz and Alak seem competent at pursuing their own stated goals.

    I'm currently in the middle of a rewrite to make the Cinderclaws much more of an immediate threat, to make Calmont a more relevant and interesting minor villain (instead of "I don't like my boss, so I'm going to incidentally murder random people while I look to become rich."), and to basically write Warbal out of the story.

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    Since this thread is aggregating questions for next week as well:

    Are all unarmed attacks in the brawling group of weapons, or are unarmed attacks like glutton's jaws and dragon's claws not part of any weapon group?

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    If a feat gives you the ability to deal damage on a failed Strike, but requires you to ignore the damage dice and add only flat modifiers, do flat modifiers that scaled on number of damage dice all go to 0?

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    I think Curse of the Crimson Throne is my current favorite. The way that the story of the city keeps moving even as you address pieces of the various crises is really engrossing. And as soon as the players buy in to the idea that the city is worth protecting - well, the stakes are high and the threats are immediate.

    I particularly like the way its various characters and factions are so well interwoven through the first three books. It really feels like a cohesive whole rather than three separate adventures that happen to be near one another.

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    I haven't had the pleasure of digging into any of the APs past War for the Crown (which I've been absolutely enjoying so far, even if it does have a 'mechanics where roleplay should have been just fine' feel to it). But I do want to comment that I've been an avid consumer of Starfinder stuff since release and I've found almost all the Starfinder APs to be... lacking that something special.

    My thoughts about Starfinder APs mirror a lot of what the OP here is talking about: Weird nonsense NPC motivations, blandly straightforward plots that provide constant and heavy rails to ensure the players don't go off course, plot holes, and a general sense that there isn't enough meat on the bones.

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    shroudb wrote:
    At level 13 the monsters have more than 50% to resist your poisons. A level equal monster has around 60%+ on Fort saves. (just checked the 4 first* monsters in the bestiary at level 13, their Fort were +24/+26/+24/+26. So average +25. Purple worm DC is 32. On average they save on 7, so 70% chance to save...)

    I agree. My calcs assumed 35% chance to fail their save.

    If the combats run 6 rounds, you need 3 total reagents per combat. One for poisons, two to generate 6 high level bombs, and zero to generate 6 lower level debilitating bombs with quick alchemy. That gives you five fights per day comfortably at 13th level, even if they're all running 6 rounds.

    And I'm not convinced that you need to drop poisons to provide mutagens. Why not both? Two one-hour mutagens is only 1 reagent. You've got 18 to play with at this level.

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    Poisons barely need any character build investment from a bomber and don't use your actions in combat, so they're not competing with bombing in any meaningful way.

    If you're rationing infused reagents, then yes, poisons are worse than bombs. But from 8th level onward you have 12+ reagents at your disposal... that's enough for a lot of bombs with advanced alchemy! You can spare a few reagents to create two or three batches of poisons, and add them to your party's martials for spike damage at the start of fights.

    At 13th level, a fight might cause you to spend 2 total reagents. Imagine the following:

  • Spend 1 reagent during daily prep to make two doses of purple worm venom with advanced alchemy. Apply the venom to your two melee allies.
  • Spend 1 reagent during daily prep to make three greater alchemist's fires, each capable of dealing 3d8+3 persistent +7 splash.
    In combat:
  • Action 1 - Quick toss your greater alchemists' fire <avg 20 damage ish>
  • Action 2 - Quick Alchemy for a moderate bottled lightning (no reagent cost due to Perpetual Potency), enhanced with debilitating bomb
  • Action 3 - Toss bottled lightning <avg 10 damage ish, if it lands (~25% chance), makes enemy flatfooted and clumsy 1>
  • Nonaction - Two melee allies attack, each one delivering one dose of purple worm poison over the course of their two attacks. <avg 8.5 dmg per dose, if the enemy doesn't save (~35% to fail) also makes them enfeebled 2>
  • Remaining two rounds, you repeat your actions from round 1, using up your remaining two alchemist's fires.

    In round one, your total DPR is 47, and you've possibly inflicted flatfooted, clumsy 1 and enfeebled 2. This is a big round, and the contribution from poisons is significant.

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    My impression from the CRB is that trying to execute a character that simultaneously has the best poisons and also has good enough melee capability to use them effectively is a fools errand. I think the best poisoner is actually a bomber alchemist who uses advanced alchemy to prep enough poisons to pre-poison their martial friends' weapons prior to each fight.

    Wyvern poison's 5d6 dmg on first failed save is no joke, and purple worm gives that and enfeebled 2 on top. When delivered at no action economy cost, its a potent opening round. Meanwhile trying to repoison weapons costs more DPR than its worth, even if you can do it with a single action.

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    Kurashiu wrote:
    Cellion wrote:

    I think the idea that Malikah plans to use the Sun as a staging point for attacking Absalom Station seems good, but I mostly want to make sure I'm not contradicting intentions stated in later books. One of the things I often like to do when running APs is seed the early books with rumors, hints, or allusions to the BBEG's future plans.

    For Q5, I don't think we have. But other objects seem perfectly capable of being sent to different planes without a Drift Drive. So I'm not clear on why it was needed here. I was hoping it was discussed in one of the other books and I just missed it.

    I've read all the books except the sixth one. I too wanted to read them all before I started the game. I wanted to place seeds throughout each book. Unfortunately, reading up to book 5 has little to no information on General Kam or the Malikah. I am hoping I get more in book 6 but I'm not too hopeful. I feel like the AP is just meant to showcase the sun.

    Gosh, that's really disappointing. The sun is pretty cool, but if the main villain (and their right hand man) have next to no information or characterization by book 5, I'm not sure if its the AP for me.

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    Fantastic! Very clean and very fast.

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    Nice! I've started my own calcs, so this'll be a good check for me.

    Some comments:

    Brutal Finish; pg 151 wrote:

    Your final blow can make an impact even if it rebounds off a

    foe’s defenses. Make a Strike with the required weapon. After
    the Strike, your turn ends.
    The Strike deals one extra weapon
    damage die, or two extra weapon damage dice if you’re at least
    18th level. The Strike also gains the following failure effect.
    Failure You deal damage equal to one weapon damage die of
    the required weapon. Increase this to two dice if you’re at
    least 18th level.
  • It looks like your calcs assume multiple Brutal Finishes, but this press attack ends your turn.
  • You also haven't included Desperate Finisher, which will add another press attack per round that stacks with haste.

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