Longdreamer

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Pathfinder Starfinder Society Subscriber. * Starfinder Society GM. 1,061 posts (14,659 including aliases). 37 reviews. No lists. No wishlists. 11 Organized Play characters. 27 aliases.


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Last post for Book 4 and a bit of a retrospective:

One thing I really didn't like in book 4 was the ending. Ilvatri's motivations and actions (as either an agent of the Eshtayiv or as a free agent) didn't make much sense to me, and the forced "grows impatient" combat encounter was not my idea of a good end to the book. Plus the idea that the PCs would voluntarily break the Eshtayiv's prison seemed very far fetched. And also the whole of Ezorod was in dire need of some roleplay situations to break up all the combat. So I decided to significantly change up the end of the book.

The innermost chambers of the Illuminant Heart are blocked off by special magic to prevent pyric creatures from entering. Inside these chambers are not only the black bubble generator, but also an ancient immortal creature - the last of Ezorod's monk-guardians, now transformed into a cloaked, multi-armed figure seemingly formed of starlight itself. This being, the Watcher, has been actively maintaining the magic and machinery of Ezorod alone for countless years and has kept the Eshtayiv at bay. Recent incursions by the Eshtayiv's agents, pyric and otherwise, have upset that balance. Although the Watcher is exceedingly magically adept, it has its hands full dealing with keeping Ezorod stable and needs help.

I played the Watcher as a kindly figure, serving the PCs tea and answering their questions about Ezorod. The Watcher's sanctum contains countless eldritch tomes that have recorded everything that has ever happened within the bounds of Ezorod (except for the Gap), including records of the various psychic cries for help that reached Ezorod from Khalannal. The Watcher offers to share the knowledge within the tomes in exchange for the party's help in dealing with the Heliacus, the last and greatest of the Eshtayiv's pyric minions.

Here, the Heliacus was also once one of the monks that guarded and maintained Ezorod, but he was twisted to the Eshtayiv's purpose. The Watcher can fill the PCs in on the familial bond it once had with the other monks to amp up the conflict.

Upon defeating the Heliacus, the PCs are given access to the tomes where they learn of the cries for help from Khalannal, as well as the coordinates of their next destination. Unlike the book as-written, the bubble generator isn't required to make the trip, so the PCs can choose to leave it alone and to leave Ezorod intact.
-------

Ultimately, I think this approach gives some more positive resolution to the whole Book, places coming across the hook to the next book in the hands of the PCs, and let you amp up the eldritch weirdness levels some more. It worked pretty well for my group!


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That Drift Crashers key art up above is amazing! As is the incredible construct (?) art on page 2. Also love the idea that your ship is carrying a big NPC crew - it really gives the PCs some extra drive when they're directly responsible for the continued survival of characters from their own background.


Pathfinder Starfinder Society Subscriber

Lots of good ideas.

I thought about ranger, and while it does get additional snares, it doesn't have much else going for it that the snare master archetype doesn't offer (other than snare hopping). I plan to dig into ranger archetype if snare quantity is a problem. Kobold is of course a no brainer, thanks not only to getting more free snares, but also more riders when your snares go off.

Any particular reason why you feel dex is better for snares?

Spellcaster feats are less important, so dumping them toward snare optimization is pretty doable. I really like the idea of using command, hydraulic push and gravitational pull. Gravitational pull being 1 action is particularly nice because you can use it as a 3rd action at higher levels. Plus, if you play a Cha spellcaster, you can really leverage the 9th level kobold feat that gives you intimidation attempts as a reaction.

One other thing that's in the fighter's favor is the crit specialization effects - several of them push or move goes around.


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Leading Dance seems quite good for this - you want to do it anyway to gain panache, you have control over the direction, and it's at least somewhat reliable (though not as much as other options). The GM interpretation is the big hurdle .

Unfortunately I'm already locked into ancestry feats, so boulder roll won't fit.


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gesalt wrote:
If your goal is simply to move the enemy into your snares, you can also consider wrestler dedication on the fighter for whirling throw at 8 or running monk for the same at 6.

I like that it lets you throw right into the correct square, but it seems very unreliable - you have to have the creature grabbed first, and then you have to succeed at an athletics check, with no effect on failure.


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I'm currently brainstorming a snare-based character build, and while I hope to have opportunities to successfully set up snares in choke points, I expect that there'll be plenty of times where that doesn't end up being possible. Foes will end up intentionally or unintentionally bypassing snares, and that means falling back on fighting them the old fashioned way. Or, alternatively, it means finding ways to push foes into snares mid-fight! That brings me to my question.

What is the most effective and reliable class for pushing foes around? (Either based on theorycrafting or experience). What's important to me is that it is relatively action-efficient, reliable, doesn't cost more than a couple feats at most, and starts working at a reasonably low level (<7). Here's what I've seen so far:

My initial impression is that the fighter with aggressive block has the most reliable (and lowest action-cost) shoving possible, especially after you get the two follow-up feats. However, this is a very reactive approach, and not only do you have little recourse if foes don't attack you, but it also requires you to get in melee. Brutish shove is a lot less reliable, but a lot more proactive.

Outside of the fighter, some clerics have pushing gust, which pushes even on a successful save, but it doesn't do anything other than that and therefore isn't a very efficient use of a turn. Arcane and primal get hydraulic push, which is a lot nicer of a one-two punch, but its far from reliable.

Any more ideas?


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SuperBidi wrote:
Cellion wrote:
In my experience, you really do feel weak in PF2E.

It's funny because from your post I wonder if the issue would be the system feeling not punitive enough.

If at 0hp a character had real chances to die, combats would need to be entirely rebalanced: The difficulty would have to be toned down to take that into account, characters would drop far less often but the tension would still be there as a downed character would be a real issue.

I wouldn't call the problem the system not being punitive enough, though it depends on your definition of punitive.

I think better statistics/success rates accompanied by less HP and less forgiving dying rules (and probably no hero points) would go a long way to addressing the weird punching-bag feel. But those changes don't necessarily play nice with the crit system. It's not an easy or straightforward change.


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Also returning to the original topic:

In my experience, you really do feel weak in PF2E. That's not to say the game is difficult to succeed in as a whole, or that the system is prone to deaths and TPKs. In fact, I think it's far *less* prone to those things than several other systems, including PF1E. In a lot of ways, the superior balance actually makes the game feel like the PC's victory is more inevitable than ever before: they compensated for the tight balance by adding numerous systems that give security blankets against death, long term disadvantages, and general variance. However, the path to your party's seemingly inevitable success feels grueling far too often. If I had to point out several reasons why it seems that way, I'd say:

  • Individual actions, especially those you're trying to specialize in, feel like they have a low chance of success. The crit system forces the baseline chance of success toward 50%, and while perfectly specializing for a particular roll will allow you to get above that 50%, you can expect to fail a lot. The number of rounds in combat where it feels like you either accomplished nothing or your contribution was trivial seem uncomfortably high to me. Out of combat, your abilities and skills fail surprisingly frequently, but since critical failure is the outcome that blocks you from trying again usually, it often doesn't matter.

  • The system has a lot of punitive mechanics for failure. In the effort to make critical failures matter, Paizo added various punitive outcomes that occur rarely, but always make you feel your characters is incompetent when they do. False information on Recall Knowledge, breaking picks on thieves' tools, tripping and falling prone on jumps, etc. These critical failures rarely influence progress through an adventure, but they do occasionally make your character feel like a clown.

  • PF2E characters have a lot of HP, and the system is balanced around them regularly being hit, taking damage, and then patching themselves back up. Because PCs can afford to take a lot of hits, and reaching 0 HP is relatively forgiving, foes absolutely smash PCs round after round. This leaves characters feeling like punching bags, while the forgiving dying rules mean you're rarely in actual danger of permanent consequences.

    PF2E often feels too easy as a whole, and lowering the difficulty by adding levels to the PCs or the weak template to foes would only make that worse, taking away the reasons to use tactics. But at least to me, the *feel* of play from round to round is that my character is getting battered and beaten and often failing at what I imagine them to be good at.


  • Pathfinder Starfinder Society Subscriber

    The Heliacus is a spicy boss with some unusual rules interactions. Some things to highlight for anyone in the future running it:

  • Greater invisibility + constant nondetection = very hard to detect. This defeats see invisibility unless the caster makes their caster level check. Exotic senses can help PCs pinpoint the square. I ruled that the mechanic's invisibility bypass processor wasn't a divination spell and therefore got to bypass nondetection. Note additionally, the Illuminated property means that the Heliacus is constantly giving off light. As a GM, you'll need to decide whether that light is hidden while invisible or if it gives the Heliacus away. (Its an interaction that's been ruled for other systems, but I don't think it has a ruling in Starfinder).
  • Wall of fire + sense through (life) lets the Heliacus place a wall and accurately fire pyric beams through it. The twists and turns of the Illuminant Heart provide several places where a wall of fire can do a lot of work.
  • Implosion functions as gravitational singularity, but note that the damage is significantly lower than the normal spell (which is good, because 12d6/round for a level 8 PC is a fairly swift death sentence). The description of Implosion doesn't provide an Athletics DC to escape, but assuming its CR of 10 is its effective mystic level gives a reasonable DC30 to escape.


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    Elfteiroh wrote:


    The trick here is that yeah, they “use” knowledge. But not in a INT or WIS way,
    They don’t analyze it in a scientific way, trying to logically find the one that fit. That would be INT. That would be the “Analytical” way.
    They don’t specifically look at folklore and religious texts, nor try to find the most enlightened source, or the more natural, or seek out a mentor, be them mortal or godly, to guide their decision. That would be WIS. That would be the “Guided” way.
    No. They take everything, put it in a blender, and hope for the best. CHA is the “brute force” of Magic, and they are using it here on “common” knowledge. This is the “Forceful” way.

    Oh no, thaumaturges are just fantasy homeopaths, aren't they?


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    I'm kinda confused about all the rave comments. This one didn't really grab me.

  • The whole "the rich are actual monsters" is kinda trite, and in Ustalav especially so.
  • Mios seems fine, but their heroic skill being "I can do research really persistently" in this story really doesn't inspire me to play a thaumaturge. It just seems like something everyone in Mios' position would already be doing? The lantern spooking the werewolf is similarly unimpressive.
  • The "incredible truth" seems to be that people can sometimes get lucky and not succumb to their fate? I'm not sure why this was a revelation.

    The Thaumaturge is kind of a wibbly-wobbly concept to start with, with abilities that are intentionally vague and esoteric, but I was really hoping for a more exciting background that shows off what makes them distinct compared to other adventurers.


  • Invisibility grants total concealment, so the targeting computer won't help there. If you had some way to outline the for, like Flint did last round, to bring it down to regular concealment, then your targeting computer would do its thing.


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    You can find pregen character sheets for the iconics right here. They're designed for starfinder society play so they're available at 1st 4th and 8th level.


    Pathfinder Starfinder Society Subscriber

    For me, I don't see why remote hacking is tied into a class feature - surely if wireless hacking is a thing in-setting, anyone should be able to pick up the tech that allows it. Especially because the amplified glitch feat is a thing!


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    Just wanted to say THANK YOU to citricking!

    This tool has been invaluable when working on homebrew content as a yard stick for class mechanics against existing classes. The tool has a bit of a learning curve, but once you get the hang of it its surprisingly flexible, powerful and it handles so many different types of mechanics with ease. Just a big step up from doing my "sense check" math on paper or in excel.


    Pathfinder Starfinder Society Subscriber

    My PbP table is finally now getting through to the end of this book, and man, this one just did not work for me. The plot does not sufficiently sell the PCs on why it's worth first unlocking an ancient eldritch prison and then releasing an eldritch entity. Due to the weak build up, there's no way for the PCs to know that getting the fancy solar bubble device is a 100% critical task in order to stop the larger villains. From the PC perspective, this looks like a suicide mission that can only end in more harm than good for the greater universe.

    I think in retrospect, I'd want to change the entire setup to this book. Create some kind of pressing, obvious threat that can only be stopped by the PCs finding something in Ezorod. The threat has to be worth the risk of freeing a malevolent eldritch being of untold danger. I could see the goal being one of:

  • Freeing the Eshtayiv in exchange for its aid in some task, turning this book into a "freeing the prisoner" scenario
  • Finding the solar bubble macguffin, because the Burning Archipelago bubbles are in danger of immediate collapse (perhaps due to some kind of long range attack from Khaim)


  • Pathfinder Starfinder Society Subscriber

    I tried to do a similar build back when Heavy Landing was revealed. The route I took was Ferran, STR main stat, 1 level of Soldier for heavy armor and better Key Ability Score linkage, and then every subsequent level in Solarian (solar weapon, plasma sheath, stellar rush, defy gravity, heavy landing). This lets you almost "quadruple-dip" on character level to damage:
    - weapon specialization for 1x
    - heavy landing for up to 1x
    - ferran momentum for 1x
    - plasma sheath for 0.5x
    - photon attunement for ~0.2x

    You hit only once per round, but for hilarious amounts of damage (at 12th level about 6d6+50) while staying fully mobile.

    The moment I started thinking about how it would work in practice, to fly up sufficiently high each round in a typical AP, my dreams of aerial meteorite striking bad guys kind of soured. As Claxon points out, it's not very practical.


    Pathfinder Starfinder Society Subscriber

    I do like that Paizo took a stab at further fleshing out the hacking rules. These rules definitely head in a direction I like, but I think they do it in an overcomplicated way that threatens to bog down action at a table. I haven't had a chance to use them and I think it's unlikely that I will use them over making my own rules.

    The core of why hacking isn't currently interesting for me in Starfinder is:

  • The way adventures are written, hacking doesn't have interesting consequences. Things you *need* to hack for plot continuation reasons usually have no time pressure or permanent lockouts, and often you have the possibility of NPC aid. Things you *don't need* to hack have very binary results (hack it and get a prize, if you fail there's no consequence). Unlike combat or social rolls, there isn't a sense of risk or drama.
  • Hacking has no decision making. Of course there have to be consequences first, but once there are meaningful consequences, you then need to allow hackers to make decisions that affect the outcome. Even if you create an encounter with interesting and graduated consequences, if the hacker just "piles all their bonuses together" and rolls Computers, you don't have much of an encounter.

    The Dynamic Hacking rules:

  • Add a bunch of bookkeeping (assigning points to the three subskills every hacking encounter, tracking persona health and the staged penalties to performance, progress on different obstacles, countdowns, etc.)
  • Make encounters more complicated without inherently making them more interesting. Is it more fun to open a basic node with two Computers checks (one to hack and one to process) rather than just one? I'd argue that's just roll bloat. The rules suggest a medium hacking encounter requires 10 successful checks. That's a not-insignificant amount of table time, so the encounter better be interesting!
  • Fail to add rules or structure around how you might go about hacking through the infosphere, hacking comms devices, hacking worn technology from a distance, and many other things that players ask about, but there aren't solid rules for (usually individual classes get to do very specific hacky things, but there aren't universal rules for those activities - like how mechanics can disable tech at range with overload, or people with amplified glitch can make tech noisy and distracting).
  • Do add one element I like: Counterhackers! Although much of what counterhackers can do just extends the length of the encounter (you can heal the CP damage from a counterhacker, or you might have to re-do an obstacle they repair) the possibility of them tracing the hacker's location provides an evocative consequence that immediately asks you to reassess your party's position and situation.

    So overall, I'm looking for simple to run, with basic but meaningful decisions and consequences. This isn't it.


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    Pathfinder Starfinder Society Subscriber

    Yep, that's perfectly normal for a character's best skills at 2nd level. Their total bonus to a skill is equal to:

  • their ability score modifier for that skill (up to +4 or maybe +5 at that level)
  • plus their ranks in that skill (up to +2 at 2nd level)
  • plus 3 if the skill is a class skill
  • plus insight bonuses granted by their class or the skill focus feat (+1 for some classes at 2nd level or +3 if they have the skill focus feat)

    All put together, you could even get up to +13 or more if a character is really invested in that particular skill. And yeah, its a big difference from D&D 5E, where the total bonuses are must lower.

    Don't forget that for skills that don't use the character's best ability score, their modifier is going to be a lot worse. As a result, I'd caution against setting the DCs too high. Let the person who is really good at hacking do their thing with a pretty solid chance of success. The rulebook's suggested DCs for various actions are usually quite good.


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    Pathfinder Starfinder Society Subscriber

    Weapons with the throttle property allow you to deal damage when you use them to grapple. Some class abilities let you do damage on other combat maneuvers as well, such as a solarion's stellar rush, or a Powerhouse Soldier's Forceful Attack feature. As Garretmander says though, there's no universal rule that let you do full weapon damage.


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    Pathfinder Starfinder Society Subscriber

    It's equally bad in all three formats (or equally good if you're a glass half full kinda person), because the needless complexity and uneven distribution of fun gameplay affects all three formats, even if those problems manifest in slightly different ways.

    In F2F games, the bloated rules with lists of actions and DCs and tables to reference all slow down the action. One Starship Combat per adventure path book or one every few Society scenarios is infrequent enough that many people have to refresh themselves on the rules each time.

    In VTT games, you have the same issue at the F2F games, but you at least can automate some stuff. In exchange, you get a little less of the "bridge roleplay" that comes a bit more naturally when people are sitting around the same table in meatspace.

    In PbP games, you have plenty of time to run the rules right and consider your actions, and you can write out roleplay freely, but PbP is almost always forced to crunch down some of the tactical complexity in order to speed combat up. Generally PbP tries to do Engineering/Helm/Gunnery all at once so a single round doesn't end up taking half a week or more to resolve.


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    I think one clear answer is that guards at the door should be APL-4 or lower. It takes a lot of manpower to cover a whole building, so most of your guards are there more to raise the alarm than serve as a credible defense. Then you have more elite defenses to handle the threats themselves (APL+4 or higher).

    In my imagination, a heist target would have many different infiltration angles, including more than one that would bypass guards entirely.


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    Grav-Train definitely sparked the thought for me because I'm playing it right now. It's an A+ adventure, but its small size means it cuts out all the juicy investigation leading up to the heist, and though it has some options in approach, it's pretty linear. The structure is more "here's the plan, let's execute it" and less a "how do you achieve your goal given what you know" sandbox. It's otherwise really good though.


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    I'd love a proper heist + cyberpunk adventure, with expanded/fixed hacking rules, lots of high quality joint-casing, infosphere sleuthing, and so on. And then really high quality infiltrations.

    What I've found from existing Starfinder "heist-themed" adventures is that they always account for the 4x soldiers team. You can always break in and do a bunch of combats and get out. I'd want a heist adventure where straight up fights are deeply inadvisable.


    Pathfinder Starfinder Society Subscriber

    Rapid response is always on. You can tell it doesn't need to be activated because it neither specifies an action required nor a duration.


    Pathfinder Starfinder Society Subscriber

    The rules don't say. I'd probably rule it as "use the higher of the two slot requirements", because that reduces headaches when you transform a slotted weapon.


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    Pathfinder Starfinder Society Subscriber

    Summoning a creature isn't a "bonus", so pg 266 doesn't apply. You can absolutely use it multiple times to have more than one creature summoned.

    However, you may be overlooking a couple of things that throw a wrench in the summon-a-horde plan. First, gravitic calling is a zenith revelation, so you can only use it every three rounds or so (depending on things like whether you have disproportionate revelations, for example). Zenith revelations require you to be fully attuned, and after you use them they drop you to unattuned. Second, you need to be facing a 'significant enemy' in order to build and maintain attunement to graviton. This means that you need to be in a particularly long combat to be able to get multiple summons off.


    Pathfinder Starfinder Society Subscriber

    I *think* that text in there is to cover energy damage natural attacks, rather than spellcasting. I can see your argument, but it seems like a bit of a stretch, at least to me.


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    Pathfinder Starfinder Society Subscriber

    Explosive blast is looking a little long in the teeth these days. Ignoring SR is great, and acid is still less widely resisted than fire. That said, explosive blast does still have some edges over acid puddle:

  • It does 9d6 damage, or 1d6 more than acid puddle. (Assuming the foes don't sit in the acid puddle after the first turn)
  • Several class features that increase spell damage (harmful spells or wrecking spells, for example) only work with instantaneous spells. Explosive blast benefits, but acid puddle does not.
  • The superheated spells feat, if its allowed at your table, works only with spells that deal fire damage.
  • The heat leech spell empowers the next explosive blast, providing a one-two combo.


  • Once again, credit is going to:

    233690-701
    LINE-04 "Lynn"
    Level 6
    -----------

    For the pregens, my preference is the Thief or Hacker, then the Heavy. Both Thief and Hacker look super fun for this scenario.


    Pathfinder Starfinder Society Subscriber

    Small arm with a bayonet bracket gets the best "quick-switching" action economy as far as I know. I have this combo on one of my Society characters, using a static arc pistol + sword cane as the two weapons.


    I've heard some really good things about this one.

    Credit goes to:
    233690-701
    LINE-04 "Lynn"
    Level 6

    I'm leaning toward either the envoy or the technomancer, with a definite preference for the envoy.
    BTW this concept for a game reminds me so much of the book Space Opera, whose plot I can roughly summarize as a glam-rock version of Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.


    Pathfinder Starfinder Society Subscriber
    Shifty wrote:

    First come first served - post below!

    Oh cool! I was hoping someone might run this. I'm in!


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    RE Radiation: If that's how irradiate works... oof. I've been running it wrong since launch, and everyone that's GM'd for me when I've used the spell has also been running it wrong. It certainly didn't seem broken when treated as a normal poison, since most creatures made their saves within one or two rounds.

    And final batch of commentary:

    Spiritual Bonds:
    +1 bonus to saves is a pretty small effect to cast mid-combat (duration means its tricky to prebuff), and the ability to spend RP for your allies as a standard action seems only OK. Trading a fully functional character's turn for an already KO'd ally to quickly jump back into the fight seems about a wash - usually the RP spending person could instead take an offensive action to end the fight sooner instead. But I can see it coming in handy occasionally.

    Star Touch:
    There have been a lot of interesting tools for melee spellcasters in this book. The effect when you miss the attack roll is surprisingly not trivial, but unless you have 10ft+ reach you may end up hurting yourself. The effect on a successful hit + failed fort save isn't as good as disintegrate (110 avg damage vs 147 for disintegrate) but its not something to sneeze at either. I'd have to do some math to see how it all balances out. The radation from the orb you leave behind seems unlikely to be more than flavor at the level you get this - armor is mostly granting immunity and the DC will be low.

    Star Wall:
    Wall of Radiation seems quite good, dealing a small but not trivial amount of damage, potentially blinding, providing ongoing battlefield control, ongoing radiation, and sometimes just busting undead really well. Not having a save on the damage portions (just the blindness) goes a long way. I used to not be a big fan of wall of flame style effects, but recent experience has shown me how they can overperform when placed right. I think the region of high radiation from this spell will do a lot of work too - even the highest level armors don't provide immunity to high radiation, so it'll keep doing automatic exposure damage if you've placed it well.

    Stumble:
    Pretty small debuff even for a cantrip. Low cantrip DCs and lasting only for one round will probably sideline this most of the time: at low levels dealing damage is going to be better than fishing for a chance at a penalty, and at high levels or against bosses, the DC will be too low to reliably penalize the target.

    Subzero Clutch:
    The upfront damage isn't too impressive, but the free grapple check is nice (with a bonus to boot!). There are enough bonuses to grapple floating around between choice of race and various equipment that you can probably get a good chance of pinning your target. On subsequent rounds though, maintaining the grapple only gets you a little more damage and an extension to the debuff. Maintaining the grapple on subsequent rounds might be tricky unless you're Strength based, as the ability modifier switch out seems to only affect the free grapple check? I would definitely take this on a purpose-built melee spellcaster that has a way to patch their BAB.

    Summon Corpse:
    Odd! While the obvious use here is to summon an ally's dead body when you've been forced to leave them behind, I can see it used for things like "we think X has been kidnapped and murdered, lets find them" as well. The price in credits is quite steep, though well within the means of a high level character.

    Suppressing Field:
    Wow, what an enormous middle finger to spellcasting. ALL the effects of 2nd level dampen spell means: half area and number of targets, half duration, half damage and healing. Slap this field on your melee friend and foes and friends alike might as well give up on damaging spells. It's not entirely clear to me from looking at this spell if the dispel check that would be required from dampen spell is still needed, or if "subjected to all the effects of the 2nd level version" is just saying they apply without a check.

    Swap Initiative:
    Excellent Precog and Witchwarper flavor, and a nice tactical option to have once 1st level slots are no longer your premium slots.

    Temporal Bullets:
    Despite mentioning bullets, this doesn't seem to restrict you to responding to ranged attacks only. In any case, this spell is incredible simply due to the A+ action economy - dealing damage with a reaction is too good. When you have 4th and 5th level spells, you'll be able to use this to slap a bunch of free additional damage out while still casting all your normal spells.

    Temporal Flash:
    High level, but incredibly powerful by the twin virtues of always working as intended and requiring only a reaction. Pathfinder has a spell called Ether Step which plays a similar role (and has done serious work in Pathfinder games) but with may more restrictions. This puts Ether Step to shame by: letting you use it after you're hit by the attack, actually moving you to a safer position, and not messing up your following turn's actions. I'll always take this spell on casters that can use it.

    Time Crawl:
    The slow spell, but linked to an area, and also making the area difficult terrain. Slow is an all-star spell in Starfinder, as the staggered condition is backbreaking thanks to how its action economy works. This *does* have a relevant effect even on a successful save, but being anchored to an area is probably otherwise worse than slow. In a fight with exclusively melee ground-bound enemies where you can interpose a time crawl zone prior to engagement, time crawl may be better by virtue of ensuring none of the enemies can reach your team for a while (difficult terrain + 10ft penalty to speed = barely able to move through a region). Otherwise, slow just seems way more flexible. Precog has access to both.

    Time Loop:
    Nice debuff. Between 1 rd of confusion and many rounds of entangled, this goes a long way to neutering a creature. I particularly like entangled in Starfinder - half speed and a penalty to both offense and defense does a lot of work. Getting the creature off-target even if they successfully save is a cherry on top, making it a great spell to toss at bosses or other tough foes that are likely to save. Definitely won't want to miss this one on a precog.
    The Mass version is even better. Looking forward to casting this a lot.

    Time's Edge:
    120ft long sword slash? Very anime. Essentially the technomancer's arcing surge but slashing damage. I prefer bursts rather than lines personally, but otherwise there's little to complain about here. Seems like a nice addition.

    Tracking Mark:
    Seems unnecessarily high level, especially because "tracking device, but invisible" seems like pretty basic magic. The tracking bug technological item is a level 6 item (vs. level 10 when you get this spell) and works more or less just as well - it has a slightly lower follow range and you need to physically place it rather than do it from a distance. Other than being too high level, I like it. Good strategic option for games with any degree of intrigue or investigation.

    Uncanny Luck:
    Wow. Every 2nd level slot becomes a reroll on a failed save. By my standards this is just outright too good. By high level you have plenty of low level slots and as a result you should be getting rerolls this way any time you would fail a save.

    Undo Mistake:
    Expensive insurance against failed skill checks. For many applications, you can preemptively provide insurance by casting Empathic support and then rolling an aid another. The niche here is that it works even if they're on their own somewhere. The costs seem steep, but the benefit is real.

    Unmask:
    Another fun addition for investigations. Not particularly useful in most campaigns, but a great tool in the arsenal for campaigns that want it.

    Unravel Magic:
    I haven't found much of a need for turning magical items into non-magical ones yet. Maybe in a future AP, society game, or home campaign, it'll come up. But for the games I've played, this would be a big dud.

    Usurp Spell:
    Big upgrade on negate spell. Taking control of a spell and turning it back on someone else is incredibly good. Doing so as a reaction is bonkers. Even if the chances of success are somewhat low against higher level spells, the opportunity cost is only a spell slot.

    Vanishing Trick:
    Cute trick! Love this as a cantrip. Shame the unattended object restriction means you can't target items you're currently holding.

    Varied Veneer:
    Another cute trick that lets you get up to some fun hijinks. Nothing too powerful, but definitely sparks the imagination.

    Void Grasp:
    Low damage, but it gains you temp HP to help you brawl it out in melee for longer despite your puny HP and SP as a caster. How long does the temp HP last? It seems like it'd have to be separate from the sickened duration. Speaking of sickened, its a nice bonus here. Another solid spell for the melee caster. They've been getting a lot of toys.

    Wall of Earth:
    Great! Less HP and hardness than other walls, but still serves the purpose of cutting a fight into more manageable chunks. These types of spells *always* overperform. Nice to see it at 3rd level.

    Wall of Fog:
    An OK 1st level spell for splitting up certain fights. 20% miss chance for multiple ranged foes while you party focus fires a melee foe can be worth it, but sometimes might just have no real effect on the outcome. I think this is better once you have some higher levels under your belt and 1st level slots can be spent on lower value utility without feeling like a waste. For some reason this spell shows two schools, illusion and conjuration.

    Wall of Ice:
    A classic from Pathfinder. Less HP than the earthen version, but way more flexible in placement. You can use it to totally entrap creatures without a save. A CR6 combatant creature deals something like 14-18 damage per attack, so they'll break out in a round of full attacking. Still, its a potent control effect.

    Wall of Steam:
    Solid upgrade to wall of fog, making it a baby wall of fire. The fire damage is small but can add up thanks to not allowing a save.

    Wave of Warning:
    This is a ranged attack with no score substitution and against KAC, so already I'm skeptical. As a 5th level spell, the damage is a bit low (but the targeting is quite flexible) and you get a common debuff in the form of shaken. I'm not a huge fan. Landing the initial attacks is somewhat unlikely, and even when you land them the effect is not great. Shaken is a good condition, but there are a lot of different ways to apply it more easily.

    Weight of Ages:
    Not many effects inflict encumbered, but then again, encumbered is a very mysterious debuff when applied to foes whose AC isn't directly calculated from their equipment. Otherwise, the damage here is a fairly low, but the targeting is flexible. If your targets are somehow already encumbered, the overburdened condition reduces the creature's speeds to 5ft - its a death sentence for a creature without a good ranged option. If you can reliably pull the combo off, it could be a good choice.

    X-Ray Vision:
    GMs are going to be challenged on the thickness of every wall and floor with this spell. Assuming a GM lets it see through a decent portion of the walls you come across, this is a wonderful tool to "scout ahead" and give you advance warning.

    Overall, the spells to let magic fight magic seem really potent this time around. Not sure if I like that, as I just see more times where spells don't do what people intend in the future. There's already enough of that with the existing lists! The new cantrips are mostly great, with Adhere and Misfire as the most universally useful, but plenty more are thematically excellent and promote some fun play. They definitely let the power level of cantrips inch up.

    Mystics seemed to get tons of blasting options this time around, solidly stealing the spotlight from the other classes. Precogs got a lot of reaction spells, and some extremely powerful ones among them. Technomancers got some thematic spells, but they missed out on a lot of the most exciting new offensive and control magic.

    Melee casters and casters willing to make attack rolls are better than ever, with SO many spells that I looked at and said "This'll be great for the Warmonger Mystic". Additionally, control casters got a lot to love, with several new wall spells and some nice spells combining damage and conditions. Even support-focused casters (something that really didn't exist before) got several ways to help their allies.


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    Pathfinder Starfinder Society Subscriber
    CorvusMask wrote:
    Don't flying creatures also get knocked back to ground in starfinder if they go prone while flying? Wouldn't make spell useful, but I'm not worried I'm mixing up editions once again x'D

    I also have trouble keeping the game rules from the different editions apart, so I went searching - seems like the trip maneuver has a special rule for it (you lose 10ft of elevation when you get tripped), but there isn't a generic rule for what happens when you go prone while flying. Might've missed it though.

    "Xenocrat: wrote:

    Radiation Ray doesn’t quite work that way, radiation isn’t a persistent poison without an ongoing source. One and done, no death spiral without casting it every round.

    Usurp Spell is the Negate Spell upgrade above spell level 4.

    The radiation poison ending immediately because there's no ongoing source would make the spell not only bad, but kind of "radiationless". You'd just take the fire damage and then never suffer any ongoing effects. I doubt that's what the designers intended.


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    Pathfinder Starfinder Society Subscriber

    Prone gets weaker at higher levels because more creatures can fly and therefore clear the condition automatically when repositioning. I think Fist of Damoritosh would be good either as a 5th level spell with its current damage (12d8 dmg vs 13d8 for heat leech and line instead of cone, but it has the force descriptor and knocks creatures prone) or as a 4th level spell with slightly lower damage. For a 6th level I'm looking for either exceptional damage, a particularly big or flexible area or some really valuable control effect, and the Fist doesn't do any of those.

    On a different note, there's a weird gap in Starfinder at 4th level for area damage spells. Technomancers have explosive blast at 3rd and then heat leech at 5th without any simple area attack in between. Mystics and Witchwarpers similarly get some A+ control effects at 4th, but their best AoE prior to this book was ectoplasmic eruption, which was a downgrade damage wise from 3rd levels. This book finally adds a spell or two to plug that gap, except none of them can be cast by technomancers!

    Another batch of spell thoughts incoming:

    Measure:
    The effect here is quite trivial, but being able to measure the dimensions of something from a distance is one of those effects that functions as "fish for a GM Hint". Seems a bit annoying to GM, as I don't have a good sense for what the dimensions of things actually should be - its rarely discussed in APs, so I'm left to adlib approximately how long this truck is, how tall this person is, etc.

    Misfire:
    Looks like it can target attended items! So this is going to be a relevant action-eating debuff up into the mid levels, until the DC drops too far relative to enemy saving throws to be useful. Compares to daze - ruining the foe's turn - but doesn't have the CR limit or the immunity period, in exchange for only working on weapon-wielding foes. I don't like that it doesn't work on items with item level higher than your caster level, as this information isn't provided in an NPCs stat block, so you'll have to do a lot of lookups if your PCs like this spell.
    Otherwise, I like this as a cantrip. 100% excellent filler spell for low level technomancers.

    Modulate Frequency:
    At tables I've played at, voice changers were considered either a computers or engineering check away, or were a 5 credit item (since they are available with real world modern-day technology). This spell doesn't add enough rules "teeth" to the concept of changing your voice to make it a favorable option over a mundane technological equivalent.

    Mystical Aegis:
    This seems extremely powerful. Prebuff with Mystical Aegis on your frontliner (or eventually everyone in your party) and you massively improve their survivability against almost every non-weapon source of damage, while also giving a buff to saves that stacks with most other typical bonuses. The combination of bonus to saves, half damage from all damaging effects, AND a big pile of temp HP means that if you get hit by say, a heat leech for average damage (58.5 dmg) and make your save, your damage taken is reduced to 14, which gets fully absorbed by the aegis. Considering that an individual fight might not have more than two or three big aoe damage effects, this single spell ends up functioning almost as immunity to them. And on top of that you have the saving throw bonus to bolster you against other spells.

    The greater version is even more impressive by baking in death ward - granting the technomancer roundabout access to a spell that was previously mystic only.


    Negate Spell:
    Trades being a reaction (good!) for only working on 3rd level or lower spells (bad). Excellent when you get it, but gradually grows worse as more spells you want to counter are 4th level or higher. Eventually, you'll want to replace this. I think clever use of dampen spell might be better than this, but its hard to tell until I get some experience with both. I'm surprised there aren't higher level versions of this that counter higher level spells.

    Omnitool:
    Was kinda hoping this would be a non-cantrip that instantly created any toolkit, but this is OK too. I've never been caught without a toolkit on my technomancer, but there's probably some scenarios where that would come up. Quite niche.

    Orient:
    In general, there isn't too many orienteering needed in Starfinder - at least in the APs and scenarios I've played or run. I assume this was planted here to support Horizons of the Vast.

    Osmose:
    This one's odd to me. Is there a time where you want to get a general overview of a story, email, file, video or website, and can afford 1 minute (the casting time) to do so, but not the 1-5 minutes it would take to get the gist by just perusing it manually? I don't see what this spell is getting you that you can't do without magic in more or less the same amount of time.

    Physical Stability:
    This one is pretty narrow. Thinking back through Starfinder games I've played, I can't recall any offensive transmutation effects used against the PCs. Though of course, that's just based on my recollection and game experience. But given that it encompasses several APs and dozens of Society games, I think it's safe to say these effects are far from common (though this book does add a few, so they may be getting more common).

    Plasma Snare:
    For a 3rd level spell, this is very low damage. The mechanics are also quite cumbersome, requiring a melee attack (using strength!) and then entangling with an escape DC that scales too slow vs acrobatics bonuses, and then having a unique rule for detonating the snare afterward as a reaction. When all added together, it may be a niche option for a melee-based caster, but it has a lot of points of failure and individually underwhelming parts.

    Proximity Alert:
    Alarm from Pathfinder. What stands out is the CR restriction. Bosses and other dangerous foes can still sneak up on you just fine, its just the small fry that this spell will alert you to. This makes it far less of a security blanket than it was in other games. Alarm was already more a "for fun" spell than anything that broke games, so I'm not sure why it needed an extra limitation.

    Psychokinetic Shove:
    A cool cantrip, though very unreliable. Deals some trivial damage and then potentially bull rushes the target. The use of caster level + key ability modifier is pretty appealing, but the real benefit is in how bull rush's forced movement causes creatures to trigger AoOs. So the dream here is to push a foe away from your melee ally, getting a free AoO on them and leaving the foe to waste a move action getting back into melee. The problem here is that the initial damage grants a reflex save, and succeeding on that save means no bull rush. This leaves the spell really unreliable. A shame, but it makes sense for balance reasons.

    Quick Change:
    Love that this is a cantrip! It's missing a Saving Throw line, but the mechanics are clear enough. Looking fashionable has never been easier. (There's already a spell called Quick Change from Starfinder #27)

    Radiation Ray:
    There's a bit hidden here: radiation is a poison, so a creature will take damage equal to the save DC-10 automatically upon exposure. This means the spell's damage is at least 8d12+13 or so, and probably higher. Failing the first save against the radiation poison (a CON track poison) leads toward a death spiral of Fort penalties and an additional 13+ damage every round until successfully saved against. Ultimately, not bad, but not great. Ranged spell attacks are somewhat tricky unless you build specifically for them, and the damage isn't outrageously good even if you do land it. I'm very surprised this is a necromancy spell too.

    Realign:
    Starwalk (from the Galaxy Exploration Manual) does this for yourself as a swift action, and its a night and day difference from swift to standard. So if you're the only one getting knocked off-kilter in zero-g, starwalk is much better. Otherwise, this spell is merely OK. I see zero-g combat often relies on planting your feet and pinging away with ranged weapons, and the off-kilter condition comes up not all that often. If that matches your own experience, this is a definitely pass.

    Remembrance:
    I love spells like this because they give the PCs a way to gain perspective that they'd never get by going room to room and punching bad guys. The GM gets an avenue to provide peeks into the (often quite extensive) history of the situation, and the PCs can get potentially actionable or at least interesting information. A great partner to divination and a great addition overall!

    Remote Pilot:
    The hostile use of this spell intrigues me a lot more than the non-hostile version. Being able to mess up a chance by seizing control of a fleeing or pursuing vehicle is some cool stuff, and the only downside here is that the Piloting DC to retain control is set too low - most pilots will have no problems shrugging off your attempt. For example, a typical 7th level pilot in a chase scene has a piloting modifier of +14 to +19, while the DC they have to hit will be DC18. So... chances are exceedingly slim unless the enemy pilots are low level. Quite a shame.
    The non-hostile version of this spell seems extremely niche. It doesn't have you any actions and you still have to have the vehicle in line of sight... so you might as well be inside it yourself.

    Restore Consumable:
    Saves you absolutely no money, but its a reaction and it works on consumables of any item level. I actually really like this - not for low level characters, but for high level ones that no longer care as much about wasting 2nd level slots. Starfinder adventures often take you far away from civilization, and in the heat of the moment you find you wish you had more of something, be that the exact problem solving grenade during an encounter or a buffing serum. This helps solve that problem.

    Rewrite Time:
    Capstone spell, just like Wish or Warp Reality.

    Rhapsodic Aegis:
    Even if you don't benefit from the sonic resistance, temp HP is always good. Unfortunately, the short duration of this spell means its tricky to precast unless you know you're going into danger, and the temp HP isn't so high that it buys you much of a breather. Compare to resistant armor, lesser, which provides the same 5 points of resistance but to two flexible types of damage and lasts for an hour or more.

    Shared Gravity:
    Pretty interesting. Zero-g to low g for your whole team can be a big boon for people trying to move around, but it also affects any foes in the same way. Alternatively low-g to zero-g might mess up movement for foes, but it leaves you dealing with the same hazard. Ultimately, the effects here are not mind blowing, since being able to move gravity by only one step prevents shenanigans where you throw foes up to a ceiling, for example. But I can see creative people finding a use for this - especially because you can suppress and resume it as a swift or reaction!

    Sharpen Senses:
    Needs a range for the blindsight. Extra Sense from the Galaxy Exploration Manual also grants a long-duration blindsight (30ft) at this level of spell, but doesn't grant the insight bonus to perception. So if Sharpen Senses grants a longer range blindsight, that makes it a side grade, trading duration for better bonuses. Either way, blindsight is fantastic utility and +3 insight to perception is a solid bonus for everyone other than operatives.

    Sniper's Edge:
    Being very very high level and personal range make this a dubious proposition. When compared to the kind of powerful effects you can lay out with your 5th level slots, getting a little more accuracy on one attack is just far too weak.

    Social Reset:
    Some serious insurance against flubbed rolls, particularly good because its a reaction and therefore leaves the slot unused if you didn't end up flubbing your checks. Since it only works for yourself, and only on a narrow selection of skills, not everyone who is eligible for the spell can get much use out of it. Seems like a staple for the social Witchwarper though.

    Sonic Scream:
    Pretty solid damage option normally (20% more than explosive blast but a level higher), but a must have if you're going to spend at least a few encounters underwater. Nauseated is a back-breaking condition, and you get it for "free" along with a perfectly good amount of area damage. There are surprisingly few good aoe damage options at 4th level for ANY spellcaster, so this spell is actually in quite a good spot.

    Soul Surge:
    Oh my. That is a lot of damage. So, compared to mind thrust, this is more binary (mind thrust is save for half while this is hit or miss), but higher damage if it does hit. I did some math on this one and determined that for a vanilla mystic, this and mind thrust do more or less equivalent damage after accounting for accuracy differences. However, mind thrust at higher levels delivers some serious debuffs at the cost of being mind-affecting and therefore somewhat more narrow. OTOH, if you build around soul surge, you can get better results. If you build your mystic as a warmonger to get a higher bonus on attack rolls, soul surge wins the damage competition by a big margin. If you're looking to just be a magical blaster that does big damage to one target and rolls a lot of dice, warmonger mystic with soul surge is one of your best bets.

    Xenocrat's other suggestions upthread about tapping into the esotericist archetype for some once-or-twice-per-day "nova" options with this spell are also great.


    Spark:
    Pretty minor, considering the world has lighters that you can definitely throw 30ft if needed. Mentions "touch" in the description but the range is "close".


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    Pathfinder Starfinder Society Subscriber

    Looking at the spells I've read so far in this book and how they compare to already-printed spells, one thing that really stands out to me are the new 6th level spells. There's some options that feel like high level Pathfinder 1E magic - really super exciting open ended stuff. OTOH, there's some options that feel incredibly tame, to the extent that spells several levels lower are obviously superior. This was a weirdness all the way back in the Starfinder CRB, where we we have Sympathetic Vibration (very slowly damage a building or vehicle, something easily achieved by mundane weapons) next to Interplanetary Teleport (instantaneously travel between planets).

    Starfinder casters deserve some more punchy high level spells, and I'm happy they're getting some in this book (even if it comes with some duds too).

    Anyway, here's the next 28 spells.

    Chrono Leap:
    Very cool spell. Combines a moment of "haste" for a party frontliner with some damage and potentially knocking foes prone at the destination. At this level, I'd expect haste to be quite common, whether it comes from the solarian or a spellcaster, and this spell may just be redundant. However, if you don't have haste up, this gives your ally the ability to full attack after moving 60ft, while also potentially debuffing the foes against that full attack.
    Alternatively, you can use this to forcibly move an enemy, though Reflex negating this use makes it a bit unreliable. I like the idea of pulling an enemy spellcaster right into position to be dogpiled, or throwing a troublesome melee monster 60ft away to be dealt with a round later.
    Neither use of this spell seems particularly overpowered, but I expect the flexibility will make it quite desirable in practice. 5th level does seem a bit steep though.

    Climate Adaptation:
    Armor already protects you quite well from the elements (heat and cold dangers are basically trivial in Starfinder so long as your environmental protections are functioning), so this cantrip is a bit redundant. That said, it's very good at what it does - a full hour duration and spammable to cover the whole party.

    Day's Weariness:
    Pretty comparable to mind thrust, but you trade lower damage for a potential fatigue condition. It's even mind-affecting, just like mind thrust. Fatigue is a small but solid debuff that I'm happy to have, so I might choose this, especially on a non-Mystic.

    Death's Door:
    A precog exclusive single target blast. Really, its more of a debuff with a damage rider. Overall I'm not impressed with the lower level versions - the damage is just so low in comparison to other spells thrown around at this level, and the ability damage is very minor. At high levels, an effective -3 to attacks and AC if they fail the save is a lot more solid, and I'm happy to have that plus a good bit of damage on the side. I still think 6th level mind thrust blows 6th level death's door out of the water (much more damage and 1 round of stunned is A+). Unfortunately (though probably for the best) you can't stack the ability damage from this spell by using it more than once on a creature.

    Dissonance Strike:
    An alternative to jolting surge that's accessible for more classes. 4d4 is a lot less than 4d6 (~35% or so), but the alternate damage type and small benefit of preventing reactions seems like it'll likely be worth the trade sometimes. Other than the obvious use of preventing AoOs, there's a few high level monsters with very powerful reactions, so this miiiight have a niche use later in preventing those.

    Distant Speech:
    I have a hard time envisioning how this works if your voice isn't louder. Does it just seem to people that your normal speaking voice is coming from somewhere closer by? If intervening obstacles still block your voice, what is the benefit?

    Distract:
    Flat-footed is just not that hard to apply in Starfinder, so a 2nd (!?) level spell that gives you a ranged feint that still requires feat support seems like an egregious waste of a spell slot. There's also a Will save here, and I have no idea how it plays a role - the feint action already has a chance of failure baked in, so there's no need to also grant a Will save.

    Dream of Home:
    Fascinated is a weird condition that seems to have a lot of table variation, from breaking immediately with almost any actions the PCs take, to staying in place as the PCs rush at the foe with weapons drawn. I think being fascinated for 1 round even if they succeed means that you'll be able to squeeze some value out of it - be that just to buy time for allies to pre-position in a fight or as a distraction so part of a group can slip by a guard.

    Duplicate Data:
    The computer usage rules are a weak point in Starfinder. They generally lack specificity in what is or isn't possible to be done on any individual computer. That said, copying a secure data module tends to require root access - something that is usually prohibitively difficult to achieve on any relevant computer. So in that sense, this is a cool way to bypass a restriction in the heat of an infiltration. OTOH, adventures aren't usually written such that that kind of specialized data hacking is necessary. Usually there's a pretty easy DC and you get access to the data and you can freely copy it. So... this ends up being an OP spell for certain home campaigns and mostly unnecessary in prewritten APs.

    Elemental Convergence:
    Oooof. Since its a burst centered on you rather than an emanation, it hits you as well. The damage is super low for a 4th level spell. The only positive is the difficult terrain, but when you consider how hard this spell is to pull off without hurting yourself and your allies, that's not much of a consolation.

    Empathic Communication:
    A pretty minor effect, but very flavorful for characters trying to exude big HUGS FOR ALL energy.

    Empathic Support:
    I love the way this replaces small flat bonuses with "advantage" and "disadvantage" on rolls, but the spell's duration is painfully short, which I suspect will make this too awkward to use for anything other than the aid another version. A good thing to grant to your 2nd string skill user so they can all but guarantee success at high-stakes hacking situations. That said, I think the awkwardness of timing this spell will mean I never end up using it.

    Fist of Damoritosh:
    Force is good, but OOF at that mediocre damage and bonus effect. Could have easily been a 5th level spell (see Heat Leech as a comparison). Line shaped bursts are hard to line up to hit multiple targets and should deal better damage than burst effects at the same level.

    Fluid Morphism:
    Lasts a good duration and makes you better at a whole category of skill checks. Considering its a 1st level spell available to most casters, I suspect this is going to become a mainstay at higher levels. Another great spell for creatures that want to demoralize in combat, as you get a net +4 between this and command icon. Though there are some enhancement bonuses for skill checks available through gear, this is a flexible alternative that all future enhancement bonuses will be competing against. Feels a bit like power creep.

    Fluidity of Form:
    Gets you a lot of different stuff, but for only one round at a time, which makes some of these options quite awkward. How valuable is DR5/- if you can only have it half the rounds, and how valuable is reach when you lose it the following round? Compared to Resistant Armor, Lesser (3rd level spell), this provides a shorter duration defensive buff and somewhat awkward mechanics, but more flexibility in picking the exact benefit that helps on a round to round basis. As Xenocrat noted, additional arms doesn't work particularly well.

    Forcecage:
    What does "reflex partial" mean for this spell? What's the partial effect if you dodge the cage? Also, by the current wording, it seems as though the only creatures that get a Reflex throw are those who are partially within the area. If that's true, this spell is incredibly powerful (I would probably rule as GM that every creature in the area gets the save to dodge out of it as the cage forms). The wall of force that composes the cage is really hard to destroy except for the highest level creatures, so this lets you cut combats into bitesize chunks that are much easier to handle. A great spell back during Pathfinder, and a great spell for Starfinder too.

    Furious Shriek:
    Does this affect you as well? Probably no, but there's no special mention of it not doing so, and by default you're within the spread. Otherwise, I see this as a mostly NPC spell. 30-ft radius is big, and unless you're willing to hit your allies, it demands you be quite deep into the enemy back line in order to not hurt your team. Not a great place for a caster to be. I could see a flying caster getting away with it since they have more positioning flexibility. The "less than half your hit points remaining" clause is tricky because that's often <20% of your total HP+SP. Alternatively, damage that bypasses SP can get you to the threshold (see poisons). If you're getting d8s out of this spell, its pretty good damage at the cost of difficult positioning. The 6th level version is good damage, and potentially staggering a whole enemy group for 1 round is a nice cherry on top.

    Glowing Wall:
    Since this is a cantrip, there's no way the wall of light actually blocks line of sight, right? Otherwise, what an awesome spell. Move over dancing lights... I'm making every space dungeon into a disco as I explore it! The only downside is the short range.

    Gravity Tether:
    Everything other than the name seems to be shouting "magnetic tether" rather than gravity. This spell is trying to do a lot and as a result it's written in a tricky-to-parse way. As far as I can tell, you get to attack one or two creatures, dealing 5d8 electric damage. If they take damage they make a save. If they fail, they get magnetized and then the second half of the spell kicks in - everything from the difficult terrain onwards. Unfortunately, a spellcaster's melee attack against KAC+8 is going to miss most of the time, so everything in the second paragraph ends up being a bit "pie in the sky". The first half of the spell is a bit better, but it spreads itself thin by doing kind of low damage to make up for the other effects. I like the concept, but it seems to have too many points of failure.

    Grim Insight:
    Its interesting how *this* spell lets you substitute your key ability score in place of strength for the attack roll, while most spells don't. It speaks to the different experience bases of the designers contributing spells for this section.
    Otherwise, a solid melee mind-thrust, trading some damage for at least one round's worth of shaken, and possibly getting it to last the whole fight. For a melee-focused spellcaster, this would be high on my list.

    Harness Lightning:
    I've been waiting for a spell like this, as it seemed like low hanging fruit for the technomancer list. Cover against all electricity attacks and effects is excellent, as is the "free" lightning ball attack. Fairly niche, but an A+ spell the moment you come up against a squad of foes using shock weapons. Really happy this exists.

    Helping Hands:
    I saw "Helping" and immediately knew it was a skittermander spell! This spell is huge - two bonus arms, a circumstance bonus to engineering that'll stack with everything, and even an additional move action (restricted to manipulating items) and it lasts for minutes at a time. This is WAY more than I would expect for a 1st level spell. Nothing here seems outright busted, but its way way above curve. Give it to all your party members to aid with action economy (lets you draw a weapon and full attack? reload and full attack? open a door and full attack?). I played a skittermander soldier in an AP and can confirm that having four extra hands was a huge benefit - you save a lot of actions that might be spent switching to more optimal weapons or going from melee to ranged. Protip: Cast it on your skittermander to help them help helpier than ever!

    Holographic Interface:
    This spell is weird to me. Its kind of assumed that a computer will have an interface. And if a computer doesn't have an interface, that's never stopped the tables I've played in from having characters plug in their datapad or hacking hit to hack things, depending on how people are running things. OTOH, this seems super powerful because it seems to let you hack or just operate from a distance so long as you can observe the computer? Its a cantrip that gives you basically the mechanic's "remote hack" class feature? See also: The Remote Operation spell from the Character Operations Manual - a 1st level spell that has a similar role.

    Ice Prison:
    A reimagining of icy prison from pathfinder - an outrageously powerful spell. This prison is a lot more subdued in comparison. This is hold monster + a bunch of potential damage, which is quite a nice upgrade, though maybe not nice enough to make it a spell a full two levels higher. Locking a creature out of a fight long term seems better done with forcecage or resilient sphere, but if your goal is instead to delay and whittle them down a bit, this spell seems pretty OK. Interestingly, unlike hold person, this spell doesn't stop spellcasting, so a fully paralyzed spellcaster can continue casting with impunity while ice-blocked, though I assume they wouldn't have line of effect to the outside world while doing so.

    I'm very curious why this ice prison has hardness 21 and 51 hit points - that's either a typo or an interesting story.


    Injury Echo:
    One of the strongest damage cantrips, but still just a damage cantrip. Simple and decent.

    Locate Hive:
    Usually "getting back to your ship" isn't posed as a challenge, but in some survival campaigns, I could see this getting use. If you have a really good 3d model or hologram of a place you've never been to before, and you spend time familiarizing yourself with it, can this spell navigate you there?

    Magic Mark:
    A classic cantrip with a new name. There's been a few times when I've made good use of this in Pathfinder, and I'm sure I'll find good uses for this in Starfinder. Glad to have it!

    Magic Seal:
    Blocking Su abilities in addition to spells and SLAs is a key feature. From my experience, Su abilities are a lot more common than either of the other two. This seems very powerful at locking down tricky spellcasters and ability-users, but the challenge will be getting it to stick in the first place - Will is often a caster creature's best save. If you can stick it, it can be a death sentence for some creatures.

    The greater version actually seems worse since the victim can just leave the sealed area and no longer by affected. Though if you use a melee ally as the focal point of the sealed area, they can chase your victim down afterward.


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    A bunch of these come off as looking sort of goofy or silly, with odd poses, especially Besmara, Damoritosh (and his goofy grin), Hylax (gives me UWU anime character vibes), Lao Shu Po (disney villain vibes), and Urgathoa (Buzz Lightyear helmet).

    I absolutely LOVE the arts for Desna, the Devourer, Oras, Pharasma, and Triune. Really sweet designs and slick arts!

    Poor Iomedae... That lady must have gone through a lot to become a deity of rage and awkward stances. And Sarenrae... why did she get a swimsuit and creepy techno-tubes?

    Talavet and Weydan end up just kinda boring and ordinary.


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    Woo more spells! It's been a while since there was a solid influx of new magic to talk about, and now we've gotten a veritable bounty. Here's some of my thoughts on the first quarter or so, with spoilers to organize by spell. I think I mostly came to similar conclusions as you did Xenocrat.

    Accelerate Step:
    Exceedingly bad. Low duration means its limited to in-combat casting only. Only functions vs AoOs, more or less, and only grants 20% concealment. Even in the rare situations where you'd benefit, its not even close to a reliable defense.

    Acid Puddle:
    Agreed with Xenocrat's comments. Very solid alternative to explosive blast. Avoids SR. Sometimes deals way more damage due to foes not being able to leave it. Does the Reflex save apply to the ongoing damage each time? I'm guessing you save again every round. Note that damage amping class features like harmful spells don't work with it because its not instantaneous.

    Adamantine Shot:
    Somewhat unclearly written. The way I'm reading it, when you target only one creature, you still get three projectiles and you could send them all at that one creature. If this is right, the spell does very good single-target damage. However, the spell doesn't specify if this is a normal ranged attack or something else. If its a normal ranged attack, you'll fall far behind in accuracy at higher levels, so the effective damage ends up dropping off hard. I like it overall - piercing hardness and DR (even if they're uncommon) is good, and it has some utility to it as well. A particularly inflexible GM might point out that the breach property and "target: up to three creatures" don't work with one another.

    Adhere:
    A+ cantrip. Utility, trap making, and solid flavor. I assume the entangled creature is anchored to the adhered square, though it isn't stated specifically. Not excessively powerful, but I will definitely want to pick this up.

    Akashic Investigation:
    Seems very tame for a 6th level spell. Not being able to see specific people or hear what's spoken is rather restrictive. Also being limited to the past day narrows how often you'll make use of this. I'm surprised it isn't a couple levels lower.

    Anchor:
    Maybe I'm just not creative right now, but I don't see a good use for this beyond setting up cables to climb? Seems like cheap mundane equipment like a grappler + cable line should be just as effective, if not more so.

    Antimagic Burst:
    Super Dispel Magic! Not much to say here except that its an excellent upgrade to greater dispel and a really good "high level magic" example. Would be happy to have this in every campaign.

    Autopilot:
    A fixed piloting bonus means this spell won't be winning you any chase scenes. Seems like a fine narrative spell, but not one I'd be looking to pick up. Most campaigns will never get a chance to use this.

    Battle Sonata:
    In a system where AoOs hit often and easily disrupt spellcasting, being up close is a big risk. 15ft cone is really close. I can't imagine catching more than one or two foes in it most of the time. Thankfully, the damage, damage type, and bonus debuff here are all very solid. Definitely a neat thematic spell, at least.

    Biome Adaptation:
    I haven't encountered too much difficult terrain in adventures, but this low level spell does wonders to mitigate it while also granting some nice bonuses. I like the long duration as well. Seems like a good spell for a spell gem or four.

    Blessing of Youth:
    Healing stamina doesn't end encounters, but if you like this kind of support role, this spell does the job. That said, I think envoy or medic mystic are still far better for this kind of thing.

    Broadcast Message:
    This seems like it'd be extremely annoying in universe. The caster keeps telepathically repeating a message to everyone in range for up to several minutes, and there's no save or way to avoid it short of running away. Otherwise, a fine variant on telepathic message, but of pretty niche use. Probably a spell gem candidate.

    Bypass Password:
    Like Xenocrat mentioned, I have no idea how this interfaces with the normal rules for hacking.

    Calm the Storm:
    Fantastic self-buff. Lasts for a long time and stacks with most everything, plus lets you do a reroll. I can think of some APs where this would be very useful.

    Channel the Outer Sphere:
    As a 6th level spell, it deals damage that tickles, provides relatively minor debuffs, and hits only one target a round. Just very very underwhelming. Reminds me of call lightning storm from pathfinder - low damage and persistent.

    Cheat Time:
    Time stop, more or less. Being able to buff and prepare with 5 standard actions before letting loose a final offensive spell seems incredible. I can't imagine playing a high level precog that doesn't use this.

    Command Icon:
    +2 stackable bonus to intimidate? Don't mind if I do. Lots of classes and characters have neat builds that spend time demoralizing, and this makes them better at it. Everything else here is just gravy.

    Communal Bond:
    These are pretty minor bonuses, maybe too minor, but by higher levels the opportunity cost of this spell is very low and the duration is very long. It becomes a "you might as well add it" kind of buff. I'm not a big fan of these kinds of buffs, where they just stack with most everything else and there's little reason not to use them.

    Companion Bond:
    Really neat. Though not a particularly powerful spell for combat or adventuring, the roleplaying value is high for me. And if you have an intelligent enough creature, they can scout around and give you real-time information.

    Dampen Spell:
    I'm not sure if I would call it busted, but this seems incredibly good. It's natively a reaction, so you can use it without readying a dispel magic (note that technomancers DO have a magic hack that lets them dispel as a reaction, and its probably one of their best hacks) and the options can generally neuter the spell's effects quite severely if you're smart about it. Taking up 1st and 2nd level slots at higher levels means you'll almost always have a handful of these at the ready. The only downside is that enemy spellcasters are both relatively rare in Starfinder, and usually not the hardest of encounters to begin with. I'm looking forward to grabbing this on my next caster.


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    Dracomicron wrote:
    There needs to be a feat boost that lets you deflect attacks to a new target. That would be worthwhile.

    There is (sort of)! It's a feat rather than a feat boost, and it's just so high level that I've never seen it in action.


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    Yeah, deflective reinforcement is by far the better DR source over dermal plating - much cheaper and available much earlier with a higher DR value. Well worth the armor slot.

    I found Deflect Projectiles pretty bad when I had it on a Soldier and would probably not pick it up again unless I ran out of desirable feats. It felt expensive and unreliable the handful of times I used it. To be specific:

    - The 1 RP felt like a significant cost because I had other things I wanted to spend my RP on.
    - The reaction felt like a significant cost because I often wanted to have it available to make AoOs.
    - The attack roll to successfully deflect was hardly a freebie. I failed about half or so of my deflection attempts. In retrospect, my luck wasn't great.
    - I was usually more afraid of melee attackers or saving throw spells/effects anyway.
    - Soldier survivability is pretty good and this felt like overkill


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    Wonderful guide! I had - some years ago - started something similar to this guide before realizing that I just didn't have enough experience yet with all the APs out there and setting it aside. It's fantastic to see a single reference that talks about all these different APs.

    Of course, my own opinions are quite different than what's listed in both the poll and your ratings Tarondor (I was bored to death by Kingmaker by the end of Book 2 for example, and think its probably one of the worst APs they've made), but the summaries and discussion on each rating are quite a good reference for GMs looking for their next game. Having GM'd Iron Gods for example, your comments there are spot on and I think very helpful to a prospective GM.


    Yes, I'm dumb! No Maiden, so you'd only be leaving the Corpse Fleet ship behind. I managed to confuse myself because when I played through this as a PC, we managed to get through with the Maiden.


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    Thirding or fourthing the criticism about character unconsciousness. As soon as fights get a little bit harder, characters seem to get dropped on the regular. Even though they don't usually die, its frequent enough - and the ways back up from unconscious easy enough - that there's not a whole lot of tension around it. Now give them even 1 point of persistent damage, and its a different story... which is its own criticism.


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    Thanks Joe!


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    Good question. I'd agree that its either character level or maybe mysticism ranks. Surprised I've never tried to pick up this feat, so I never came across the problem.


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    Very cool concept! I'll have to take a look.


    That's exciting news, and I totally missed it.

    I don't currently have any plans to publish. Also, it looks like the benefit of the infinite license over just OGL is the use of paizo setting and flavor IP. I've always erred on the side of not being setting specific when I make homebrew, so I think there isn't much advantage? Not sure if I'm missing something.

    Would love to see your stuff out there if you've got something in the works though!


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    Interestingly, they upgraded how it affects the primary target, significantly changing its role from an AoO producer to a hard CC that sometimes confuses other creatures nearby. Before, it used up a move action only, now it locks the victim entirely out of acting.


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    You don't drop anything when knocked prone, unless what's knocking you prone specifically says you do.

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