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Witchwarper looks good, I still have no idea why they included the Technomancer in this.

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1. Slip 'N Slide maximum melee control: Use the Winter Sleet (water, 4th) stance aura to make melee enemies miserable. It does three things: (1) Creates uneven ground with a Balance DC of 15. This means any movement action stops when they reach your aura, then they have to take a separate Balance action to continue. Based on that result they might be able to move up to you, face difficult terrain, fail to move, or end their turn. (2) They are always off-target (remastered term for flat-footed). (3) If you critically hit with or they crit fail against an impulse inside the aura they are also Slowed 1 for one round.

At 10th level, when you have Safe Elements (4th) to exclude allies from your aura and Aura Shaping (10th) to expand it to 20', melee combatants face an appalling action sink (and constant flat-footed) to approach your party.

2. Ride the Blast - The 1st level ability of that name is gone, but we have several impulses that let you damage and move at the same time. Air has Lightning Dash (4th), Water has Ride the Tsunami (18th), Air/Fire composite has Ash Strider (6th). Related are the Earth/Fire Lava Leap (4th) and Water/Fire Steam Knight (6th, stance) which give damaging leaps.

3. Cage of Fire - Maximum persistent fire stacking is a pyrokineticist with impulse junction (+1 die size on 2-3 action fire impulses), aura junction (take at 5th, half damage fire weakness on enemies in aura), Flying Flame (2nd, two action no overflow), Thermal Nimbus (4th, stance) to inflict a no save half damage fire to enemies in aura, critical junction (take at 9th) to inflict d6 burning on crit, and the 8th level feat to grab the metal/fire composite, Molten Wire.

Someone hit by Molten Wire takes (NOT persistent) fire damage every round and is Clumsy 1 until they Escape or destroy the fairly beefy wires; that is increased by your weakness aura. Thermal Nimbus and your weakness aura are also putting full level (at even character levels) damage every level, and then you Flying Flame for more and blast for the hope of more and a crit for persistent damage that also gets boosted by your fire aura. Ideally you're inflicting five separate ticks of fire damage per turn if you critted at some point - once for Molten Wire (automatic), once for Thermal Nimbus (automatic), once for Flying Flame (anything but a crit success), once for blast (on hit), once for persistent damage (the most iffy and out of your control).

4. Granite Grappler: Attack deficit verse martials got you down at those awkward levels, but your athletics proficiency is putting you even or ahead? Earth kineticist with skill junction (athletics) for scaling 1-3 status bonus, strength secondary attribute, Assume Earth's Mantle (14th) for a +1 item bonus to strength. Grab once per round, use your other actions on a save impulse.

Separately, Sand Snatcher (6th) let's you do a ranged grapple using your impulse attack bonus rather than athletics. Starts 30' away, can move 20' per round as you sustain. Can also provide a flank.

One downside to adding on things like standard ship armor and ablative armor is that it lowers your turn distance, and that hit to manueverability may not be worth what you get. So I was interested to notice that Ports of Call has a way to permanently and relatively cheaply lower your turn distance and give you more turn "budget" for more armor, ablative armor, or a less manueverable but otherwise desirable base frame.

Magic Thrusters wrote:
Magic thrusters use arcane energy to move a starship and can provide improved handling. Magic thrusters are purchased and installed along with typical thrusters, at an additional cost equal to 1/5 of the starship frame’s BP cost (minimum 1). Magic thrusters grant an additional +1 Piloting modifier and reduce the distance between turns by 1 (minimum 0).

There's also now the the Racer archetype (2nd level ability lets you permanently lower your designated ship turn distance by 1), and three crew actions, listed below, that can lower turn radius in a single combat round.

1. Audacious Gambit (Pilot Action):


Audacious Gambit (Helm Phase)

If you have at least 12 ranks in Piloting, you can spend 1 Resolve Point and attempt a Piloting check (DC = 20 + 1-1/2 × your starship’s tier) to pull off complex maneuvers. You can move your starship up to its speed, treating its distance between turns as if it were 2 lower (minimum 0). You can also fly through hexes occupied by enemy vessels without provoking free attacks. At the end of your starship’s movement, you can rotate your starship to face in any direction. If you fail the check, you instead move as if you had taken the fly action (but still lose the Resolve Point).

[See also Telelith Matrix expansion bay which lets you skip the movement and just teleport directly to any hex.]

2. Psychic Currents (Magic Officer action):


Psychic Currents (Engineering Phase)

If you have at least 12 ranks in Mysticism, you can spend 1 Resolve Point and attempt a Mysticism check (DC = 20 + 1-1/2 × your starship’s tier) to manipulate mysterious, invisible forces in the void of space, expanding and contracting the
basic physics around your own vessel and altering how your starship can negotiate the confines of physical space-time. On a successful check, reduce your starship’s minimum distance between turns by 1 (to a minimum of 0) for that round.
3. Hard Turn (Chief Mate action):

Hard Turn (Helm Phase, Push)

You manually adjust additional thrusters and bypass safety systems, shouting for your fellow crew members to brace themselves for a stomach-turning tactical maneuver. This bit of risky co-piloting might overtax the starship’s turn radius, but it can also help the pilot get significantly more maneuverability out of the vessel when the crew finds itself in a lurch. Attempt an Acrobatics or Athletics check (DC = 10 + 1-1/2 × your starship’s tier). If you succeed, the pilot can make
one turn during the round as though the maneuverability of the starship were improved by one step. This has no effect on a ship with perfect maneuverability. If you fail your check by 10 or more, you overheat and temporarily degrade the effectiveness of the starship’s maneuvering thrusters, causing the ship’s maneuverability to worsen by one step for the rest of this round.

As far as effectiveness goes, Audacious Gambit is by far the most effective one, but hard and locks you out of another pilot action or stunt. Psychic Currents is just as hard and gives half the benefit (and doesn't get that final hex turn) but lets the pilot do something else. And Hard Turn is easy but Push and only effects a single turn rather than all of them.

Are there any other options I'm missing? It seems with Magic Thrusters and a Racer archetype pilot the age of well defended not-so-lumbering starships is upon us at high tier, and they can get downright agile with an appropriate crew action.

Some thoughts about what impacts should be from the new Drift lanes, which provide a maximum 7 day travel time from certain linked points.

General military implications: This makes it easier/more reliable to wage a war against a point at the other end from a logistical point of view. You know how long it will take for your forces/resupply to arrive. On the other hand, it makes it much easier to defend the choke point - the lanes themselves are quite narrow for tactical combat, making line and array weapons able to blast forces that have to be clumped up, and you can station fleets and defensive weapons at the exit point as well. Probably the best way to take it (as with wormholes in the Miles Vorkosigan books) is from both ends at once - a fleet arrives via normal Drift travel to attack from local space while a second is pushing through the lane so that the defender has to split his forces. Tough to coordinate the timing, though.

General political implications: Internal system politics will change due to one planet having a Drift lane that elevates it (or puts it risk) compared to system neighbors. They're still 1d6(+2) days away from the lane, but that's still faster than a direct trip to a Vast destination, and the same average but with less variance of a Near Space destination. This gives them a stake in the military, diplomatic, and economic decisions of their neighbor with the lane, who may not be party of a unified alliance or government.

For Drift Lane series, like Prosperiola, bookend systems are going to have strong reasons to form alliances against systems caught between them. Depending on whether the map or book is correct the Veskarium is between either Verces and Marixah or Marixah and Great Shadar- those pairs should have at least tacit understandings of what they'd do if a Vesk-3 fleet headed through the lane to attack the other. A show of force or counterattack could make the attacker return home to defend his planet caught in a Drift Lane pincer.

General economic implications: Synergestic economies are going to arise between linked pairs who have lower transport costs for interstellar shipping of compponent parts. An industrial system in the Vast who has used up their local resources but now has a drift lane to a system with lots of raw materials is going to start importing a highly disproportionate amount of materials rom that lane rather than old supplier shipping through the vast. (This depends on how much shipping costs make up material costs to the end user.)

Specific implications:

1. Xibion/Triaxus link: Greater trade links, and neither seems a threat to the other. Xibion might benefit from having the Skyfire Legion a short call away if they needed them.

2. Verces and Vesk-3: Verces shipbuilding gets a big advantage in selling to the Vesk. They also beef up their defenses and get some extra Steward ships assigned.

3. Marixah: Caught between two tough neighbors, they're in trouble if the Vesk and Great Shadar decide to divide and conquer. A quite alliance with the Pact Worlds against the Vesk (through the Verces lane) seems called for.

4. Pabaq/Triumph/Swarm Space: A demonstration of what happens when a drift lane introduces a threat and how people respond.

5. The Veskarium: They have three drift lane nexus that need defending which risks splitting their forces. Conquerer's Forge is linked to the prison planet of Daegox-4 (low threat but high vulnerability/important Veskarium asset). Vesk-4 links to the Kehtaria flashpoint with the Azlanti and 14 stable days from both a core Azlanti planet and Embri. This is faster for the Veskarium going to the Azlanti planet than regular Drift travel, slower to Embri and for either of those visiting Vesk-4. Seems moderate threat. Vesk-3 is double linked to either Marixah/Great Shadar or Verces/Marixah. The coordinated pincer attack makes this a considerably vulnerability regardless of who the neighbors are and how much you trust them.

6. Azlanti: So far there's not TOO much to get excited about. They have eight core system and I'm sure lots of them have Drift Lanes, but the only one we know of isn't the home system and connects to a minor colony with Veskarium influence/contact now. The Vesk have a guaranteed 14 day trip (if they seize Kehtaria en route) to Oyoya, and Oyoya is a variable but average 17.5 days from resupply from the other Azlanti systems. Probably this system gets some reinforcement. Probably the Azlanti don't take Embri seriously and don't know about its secret masters, so they aren't reinforcing enough.

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The text from Ports of Call reads:

The series of Drift lanes known as Prosperiola connects Verces in the Pact Worlds, Vesk-3 in the Veskarium, Marixah in Near Space, and Great Shadar in the Vast, in that order

So that would be:

1. Verces
2. Vesk-3
3. Marixah
4. Great Shadar

But the galaxy map shows a different order on this drift lane series:

1. Pact Worlds (Verces)
2. Marixah
3. Veskarium (Vesk-3)
4. Great Shadar

Which of these is correct?

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Glad to see Starfinder get some love on this marketing push.

1. The Terminator - mechanized niche evolutionist

2. Wolverine - vital niche evolutionist with melee slashing strike

3. Skitter hug grappler - take your best Skittermander grapple build, now add on Bear Hug feat to inflict your unarmed attack base damage (no strength or specialization, just roll dice) when you renew a grapple.

4. Screaming Mystic - Rallying Roar feat, then cast Fear or Confusion or Mass Suggestion.


You can roar as a move action, affecting all creatures within 60 feet.

Affected allies gain a +1 morale bonus to Will saves, and affected enemies
take a –1 penalty to Will saves.
These effects last until the start of your next turn. Once you roar in this way, you can’t do so again for 1d4 rounds. This is a sense-dependent, mind-affecting

5. Bloody rending slashy melee guy - add Rending Slash and Brutal Slash feats on top of your Improved Unarmed Strike plus slashing natural weapon build. Rending inflicts bleed damage (d4+half level) if you hit twice in one round, Brutal adds another half level damage and slightly boost the bleed die. We're approaching real weapon damage results even at high levels with enough feat investment and the right type of natural weapon.

6. Spellcasting replacement for the genetics biohacker - the Change of Seasons spell, 2nd level WW and Precog, lets you inflict cold/fire vulnerability on a target. Lasts 1 round even if the make their save, round/level otherwise. Party coordination around fire/cold weapons is back on the menu, boys! For extra hilarity pair with a genetic biohacker for the bonus damage they give that will stack with the vulnerability.

7. Raxilite barbarian - With Multitudinous LFAN feat you can use a two handed weapon, but penalties if you don't have 17 strength - go pick up a maul.

8. Raxilite Instagrab - Pincered LFAN feat gives you a piercing natural weapon (but regular not 1.5x weapon specialization), Grasping LFAN feat also grapples or pins on a critical hit if you exceed the KAC by 4/13 (if you don't with a nat 20 you have issues).

9. Loud and proud Pahtras - you don't have to be a Pahtra, but the sonic feats in their section let you do things like grant a +2 morale bonus to the party after landing a sonic crit, or use your sonic weapon to restore 3x level stamina to a friend who lands a critical hit. Annoyed with blindsight/sense sound/vibration guys ruining your invisibility? There's a feat to shoot them with a sonic weapon and disrupt that. Tired of having to actually fire your sonic weapon with Echolocation Attack to get blindsense? There's a feat chain to just keep it up all the time.

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Now that it's been out a while (but alas not on AoN yet) I wanted to share some thoughts and see what others think about this class.


1. The Eldritch niche just seems unaccountably bad. I don't care about any of these benefits, and the drawback is hugely punishing.

2. Mechanized is my second least favorite. The instinct to "reduce the damgage taken" (note: not damage resistance or energy resistance, so it stacks with everything) is trivial at first, but ok after 10th when you get full MP and can easily build 2 MP per turn (or 4 if you blow RP). Enhanced Resistance feat can cover the physical damage type you're weak to, and pick sonic for energy, c'mon.

Avenging burst seems to do too little damage to matter much, especially for a once per 10 minute ability. Rapid Reboot is bad action economy for decent but not earthshattering healing. Once per day limit is good, because you shouldn't use at all. Protect the foolish.

3. Sepulchral niche has the best augmentation type (everything can be a necrograft except magitech, and they're cheaper - just avoid undead control effects) and the most reliable damage (against living, no bonus against construct/undead).

The first drawback (attacking downed enemies) is manageable - you'll fail the save around half the time depending on your build and investment in will saves, and sometimes you'll be able to use Area Strikes to include the dead enemy in a blast or line attack without losing any accuracy or action. A ranged triple attacker can burn one his full attacks that way, if necessary, and just using the move action and 1 MP isn't the worst thing in the world.

The second drawback, the healing reduction, is pretty severe at higher levels with decent MP (which you increasingly want for your damage boost), but healing during combat isn't usually a go to strategy. You can always overboost something like Area Strikes to dump surplus MP if you really need to do some emergency healing, I guess. Grim Harvest is fine as some healing insurance before you get to that point.

Spectral Step is the best 10th level 1/day, easily. It's easy to keep this going two rounds (105' of incorporeal flight to escape or breeze deeper into a building) and three or four rounds is doable if you stack up some MP before activating it.

4. Vital niche scales into some really great healing at mid to high levels. At 17th level if you have your max 7 MP (6 with Controlled Transformation adaptation) and activate Biotic Invigoration you have four rounds of healing 38 stamina every round. If you're an android with Nanite Integration (Repairing Nanites) at that same level and MP you can reaction trigger fast healing that will provide 25 HP healing for...10 rounds. Come at me, bro.

Of course you're suffering a -3 or -4 penalty to your will saves at this point, so better invest in Improved Iron Will and a brain augmentation like a Psychic Shunt Graft or similar.

Adrenaline Rush is fine as a 1/day, whatever. It's at least not partially a negative like Mechanized.

Adaptations, 2nd level

1. Dazzling Outburst - I wouldn't spend MP on this if it was unlimited use and given to me for free. (And how often do I have 2 MP spent and also a reaction availabe at low level? I'm not popping climb speed every comnbat, and I can't it use with Invert Form, that's also a reaction.) Thank you for putting a 10 minute cooldown on it to protect the foolish.

2. Distant Strikes - This seems necessary on ranged adaptive strike, 45' instead of 30' increment is big. Spending MP to 60' and losing your full attack is probably not as good. Same for spending to get reach on melee - I'd find another way, or wait until Area Strikes at 6th when reach becomes ofensively obsolete. I guess you can spend MP and a swift to get reach for anticipated AoO if you're not able to full attack.

3. Invert Form - I think a reaction to negate these conditions is fine, and negating 5' of movement can prevent a bull rush/reposition attack of opportunity trigger, but spending 2 MP is a bit steep.

4. Ocular Advantage - Permanently gives your choice of darkvision, low light, or unflankable - spend a move action and 1 MP to get all for 1 minute in combat. Or you could just get darkvision via race, armor upgrade, or augmentation. If you need unflankable regularly you need to invest in tactics not adaptation selections. To some extent Evolutionist is the "use class abilities to save money on lots of basic stuff, allowing you to spend it all on fun things" so maybe this is worth it to you to have that augmentation/armor slot free and play a human or similar race.

5. Resistant Form - This seems fine but not fantastic. Worth it you're fighting a bunch of scrubs who use the same common energy type, but 3 rounds duration will sometimes be one or two rounds short of what you wanted. Better with Enhanced Resistance (definitely will last the whole combat without reactivation, reaction activation option, and some extra resistance) but not that much. I might take this as mechanized niche to help cover my elemental weakness, but how often are you really getting hit with sonic, and relative to the extra damage you take this still isn't doing much mitigation. Taking this twice to cover all five rather than just three energy types seems like overkill in almost all builds.

6. Versatile Strike - The obvious and eventually necessary choice for an energy adaptive strike. Skippable on physical damage strikes, I think.

Overall which two of these you take probably depends on whether you're melee/ranged and physical/energy on your adapative strike. If you're ranged and energy I think it's hard to pick anything but Distant Strikes and Versatile Strike.

I suppose a melee/physical strike with nothing else to do with his MP could go defensive and just take Invert Form and Resistant Form. And, ok, unflankable could help during a melee career and is relatively hard to get from other sources; I think there's a mid level armor upgrade or magic item.

Adaptations, 6th level

1. Area Strike - Everyone's taking this, right? It's clear from the first sentence that they intend this to provide blast/line even to melee adaptive strikes. That's huge! You'd still have your strength bonus to damage! "I punch the swarm." This is also very nice on ranged strike who went augmentation or packmaster for their evolutionary focus and don't have accurate/boosted full attacks - standard attacks that hit multiple foes are great for you.

2. Enhanced Mobility - Permanent flight here is tempting, but there's still always Force Soles Mk 2 if you don't have your foot augmentation slot budgeted for something more interesting. (There are those Tremor Soles vibration/sense through feet from Tech Rev at level 12.) I've seen the question raised on whether this is Ex or Su flight for vacuum purposes. C'mon, man, you're an evolutionist changing your physical body, I think we can safely assume Ex.

3. Extraordinary Sense - You took Area Strike for blast on your weapon, now you have blindsense to tell you where to aim it.

4. Fearsome Outburst - With Area Strikes it's easy to spend 2 MP to get your one activation of this per 10 minute rest. But Intimidate isn't an option for your skill boost bonus, and charisma is maybe not your preferred tertiary/quaternary attribute. On the other hand, if you're Sepulchral niche a vampire voice is cheap or even free and tempting. So maybe, I think this one is defensible but less tempting than the other three.

I have a hard time imaging a build without Area Strike no matter what kind of adaptive strike you have. Mobility or Sense really depends on your race and what you plan to do with your available money and armor/augmentation slots. Fearsome Outburst does give you a unique ability you can't buy elsewhere if you want to invest build resources in intimidate. Don't forget a Cruel fusion on your weapon.

Adaptations, 10th level

1. Augmented Potential - Once per day, with sufficient investment in the right augmentations, you can move action your first round of combat to nearly max out your MP. (At level 12 you can start with 2, then activate this to get 3 more, now you have 5 and qualify for +6 bonus damage on your first attack and have your +1 AC active.) I like it, none of the competitors clearly shame it at this level.

2. Enhanced Resistance - Your resistant form gets +2 to resistance, lasts the whole combat instead of 3 rounds (but which was already often most of the combat), and can be activated as a reaction isntead of a move action but then costs 2 MP instead of 1. It seems fine if you went this way.

3. Extreme Mobility - The ability to buy a short term burrow is nice. I don't understand the "you can" language that upgrades swim and fly. Obviously I would, so is this permanent or only when I spend the 2 MP to activate other short duration movement modes? I'm going to assume it's permanent and always on without activation. It's fine, just like the others.

4. Forceful Outburst - It's a real shame this doesn't provoke AoO from moved enemies, I'm not sure what the obvious, repetitive use case is here. If you have reach somehow and are melee, sure, knock them back I guess. (Maybe you're ranged but carry a reach basic melee weapon?) I guess if you're ranged and surrounded you can trigger this with some 2 MP expenditure that doesn't provoke (trigger movement mode, boost blindsense, everything else uses a reaction already or would trigger an AOO I think?) then shoot. The usual 10 minute cooldown is still hard to justify.

I don't think any of these are must have or avoids.

Adaptations, 14th level

1. Controlled Transformation - I think this is pretty good for getting your passive MP instinct abilities up sooner (if you spend 1 RP in round one you start with 4 MP and this makes you count as 5, qualifying for the damage bonus right away) with a marginal but respectable boost to your niche instinct abilities (some extra damage reduction from mechanized, damage from sepulchral, or healing from vital). The reduction in MP for drawback purposes is more circumstancial, because of halving and rounding on some of them you won't always benefit.

2. Explosive Strike - Easier targeting than the blast/line option from Area Strikes if you have tightly clustered enemies and allies in the way, but takes a damage penalty in return for the guaranteed 1/2 damage on save. Worth noting that physical beats energy here, since the DC is the same but it does more damage than the energy version. Don't forget your bad range increment when calculating DCs. May be worth spending MP for the 60' incremement before letting this fly.

3. Pinpoint Sense - I read this as doing nothing without activating your extraordinary sense. You still have passive 20' blindsense, and when you activate it it still goes to 60', you just now have a 20' "donut" of blindsight within that. Fine, I guess, if I'm trying to triple full attack an invisible guy at close range, but I could always just single action blast attack him, too. It has a use case, not sure it's a compelling one.

4. Violent Outburst - Ok, this one justifies the once per stamina rest limitation. If you spent 2 MP on something, get a reaction -2 accuracy free attack this round. Spend 5 MP on something (big blast/line/explosion?), get the attack at no penalty, or get two -4 bonus attacks against two diferent enemies. I don't think there's a way to spend MP as part of a full attack (except for versatile strike that doesn't use enough to qualify), so you can't effectively quad attack someone here, it just lets you layer on a second attack on 1-2 enemies if you attacked a bunch with Area Strikes or Explosive Strike.

Explosive Strike is tempting on a ranged physical strike build (maybe you are combat evolution focus and doing full attacks on single targets instead of Area Strikes so this is your first area option), Controlled Transformation is helpful to everyone all the time, and Violent Outburst is a good DPR boost to unload early on mooks to put them down. Pinpoint Senses is a thing that doesn't suck, but there's a feat in COM that does some of it (convert blindsense to shorter range blindsight), albeit at a high move action every turn cost.

Adaptations, 18th level

1. Fission Form - Ok, this is nuts. Build up enough MP to get your passive instincts where you want them, then trigger this and use the 1 MP every turn option to get full actions on both. Now you're tossing out two blasts or explodes per round (with a Violent Outburst the first time) or putting out 6 full attacks per round to focus on single target if you're a combat evolution focus.

2. Regenerative Form - This is good on Vital (up to 34 HP regained at level 20 with full MP), bad on Sepulchral (if you have 4+ MP it doesn't do anything for you, 3 MP and you only get a single 1 HP and can at least wake up from unconscious), an emergency pick me up on everyone else - it's not worth the MP for just the healing unless you're Vital. I think it's worth noting that it lets you play more recklessly with your RP at this point in the game - you can spend them on MP and not worry too much that you're going to die later in the day if you go down without sufficient RP saved.

Take Fission Form first.

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Cyclic Blast feat, 6th level, dual or universal gate wrote:
Two elements dance in quick succession. In either order, you can make an Elemental Blast and Gather an Element; you must gather a different element than the one you currently have gathered

Let's talk two action abilities, without overflow, that work with this to let you put together a full round of element blast plus an activity, then you're in a different element in the next round and use one of those combos, then cycle back (or to a third option). You get one full attack without MAP, one supplementary utility/defense/mobility ability (and some rare damaging ones).

For the 1st round, you're often going to want to activate an aura. If you've got the wrong energy gathered when combat starts then you Cycling Blast first, if not then you do it last to swap to the element you want in round 2.

Fair Winds: Aura activation, then don't use this again.
Flinging Updraft: Yeet allies or enemies into favorable/unfavorable locations.
Wings of air: Initiate flight. But this has a 10 minute duration, outside of extremely obsessive exploration mode control you should always have this up tbh.

Geologic Attunement: Aura activation, then don't use this again.
Dust Storm: Aura activation, then don't use this again.
Restoring Mud: Heal.
Igneogenesis: Create cover/block corridor
Spike Skin: Buff
Swim Through Earth: Movement
Rock Rampart: Uh, wall of stone. This will get changed to cost more actions like all the walls, though.
Stone Guardian: Create "summon" that strikes with reach from stationary spot.

Burning Jet: Movement that avoids AOO.
Warming Nimbus: Aura activation, then don't use this again.
Desert Shimmer: Aura activation, then don't use this again.
Kindle Inner Flames: Group buff, the damage part can be reapplied in later rounds
Furnace Form: Personal buff
Horrid Ignition: The only damaging two action ability that isn't overflow and isn't an aura. This is the hotness.

Water Dance: Mobility
Winter's Clutch: Aura activation, then don't use this again.
Torrent in the Blood: Group heal
Sea Glass Guardian: Aura activation, then don't use this again.

Horrid Ignition plus an elemental blast on half your turns and some form of aura activation, movement, buff, or control on your other turns (upgraded Flinging Updraft to reposition five enemies is sure a thing) plus a blast seems good.

At 14th level Flowing Kinetics feat will give you a free step or half speed stride if you're using a two action air/water/fire ability.

The Oscillating Wave conscious mind option for psychics requires that you to alternate using cold and fire energy with your spells. This is obviously a problem if you're fighting something immune to one or the other, as half your core spells are going to be wasted or you have to do backup options.

Conservation of Energy, the ability that allows you to shift fire/cold and requires you to alternate, speaks only of "spells" (your granted spells and psi cantrips) being bound by this reversal requirement. But it separately states how choosing fire/cold affects the underlying ability. Then it states that mindshift abilities, which are feat abilities that either inflict physical or mental damage, at your choice, can also inflict cold/fire if you choose.

I think it's clear from the language that mindshift abilities can freely choose fire/cold regardless of what your spells are locked into, and they don't reverse it for your spells. Since one of the mindshift actions is a free action and another a single action, if it were otherwise this would be a cheap way to cheat on this.

Anyone see it differently and think mindshift abilties are both bound by your current fire/cold cycle and flip it after used?

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Infinite Tech, pg 38, Tech Revolution wrote:
As part of conjuring an armor or weapon, you can install one or more armor upgrades or weapon fusions into the conjured gear, up to the maximum allowed by the armor’s upgrade slots or weapon’s item level. For each upgrade or fusion applied in this way, you must spend 1 Resolve Point.

How do people run this? Do you assume you can pull such fusions/upgrades out of thin air, or do you simply install existing objects you have paid for an possess as the plain language suggests? And if the latter (which I think is correct, if quite bad), how do you deal with the mechanics/logistics of it?

I originally read this as allowing you to create/summon such fusions or armor upgrades out of thin air. Which is awesome, and would finally give the Witchwarper something good out of this gaping void of a feature. I know some people still believe this interpretation and follow it.

But then I realized (1) they use the word install, not create/summon, and when I have someone install a thing I have to separately purchase or have the thing being installed (but you're a Witchwarper, so maybe you "install" it from an existing one in the multiverse, this isn't as clear as I'd like, but see the next point), (2) unlike fusions, which have two forms of level cap to control both what would be available and how many you could put on, there is no inherent limiting principle for armor upgrade levels from their own rules or what is provided in Infinite Tech (if you can summon an armor upgrade, you can summon any one of any level, apparently, at level 1). I therefore think my first interpretation can't be right, this ability isn't as good as I thought because you both have to invest money in fusions/ugprades and are limited to the menu of what you actually have. (But then why would I spend so much on RP for this, big yikes Paizo.)

So I assume this lets you carry around uninstalled armor upgrades on your person or perhaps in a backpack, and when you summon armor it gets put in it at the quite steep costs of 1 RP per upgrade. At higher levels, where the AC from Infinite Tech falls well behind on at level armors and they have more armor slots, it might be better to just to pay for some cheaper stuff and save your RP and spell slots.

But what about fusions? Fusions are a "small preckagaged add on" you can put on a weapon, but there's no provision for removing one once it's attached, only paying to transfer it. So RAW I think you'd lose the fusion when your weapon goes poof (and those lasting only 10 minutes, combined with armor having so few slots and relatively bad AC at high levels, is why I do think installing one that exists on an alternate reality might be intended).

So my two questions, which I think deserve a FAQ and can't really be resolved by collectively reasoning this out:

1. Does "install" here mean you can pick any fusion (within normal item level limits) or armor upgrade (maybe subject to armor item level limits, but this would require an errata or houserule to impose this limit) that is published, or do you have to have paid for or looted such a fusion or armor upgrade and have it on yourself to install it?

2. If the latter, how do fusions (as opposed to fusion seals) work? Is this an exception to the implied rules that you can't remove and then reinstall it without spending the money on a transfer?

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1. The new propel weapon property says "These weapons move affected targets the listed distance away from the origin point of the effect." None of the propel weapons in this book list any distance. As published they don't do anything. Need either a flat distance that applies to all weapons with this property or a list for the individual Thasteron blunderbuss (the only gun) and each mark of the Thasteron grenade.

2. The new Witchwarper options continue to be bad and make me sad. Need to be republished to be good and make me happy.

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1. A level 20 Precog who maxes RP can convert all 21 (not counting theme refresh) and take a certain temporal anomoly to have 14 paradoxes in one day. If you're Fragmented Past you can use the paradoxes to stabilize and get back in the fight in one round, making them better than the 3 RP you spent on them. You can heal stamina via spells.

You shouldn't do this and convert all your RP, but you can. 14 paradoxes all rolled at once gives you a 51% chance of at least one of them being a 20, although of course you don't have to commit to converting if your first 5, then 7, then each individual one after that are sufficient.

2. A Precog is the only class that can safely use Contact Other Plane with the +5 bonus to your results. As long as you have a 13 paradox you won't lose spellcasting for a week.

3. Fragmented Past greater anchor burst damage: Bank 1-2 "20" paradoxes, use your three attacks in one round to attempt 2-3 crits in one turn, delivering 4x, 5x, or 6x the average damage of your (heavy or advanced melee) weapon in one round. For best results use a heavy weapon in a gunners harness for -2 to attack on your first pair of atacks.

First, cast probability prediction in advance, use that to take two rolls on your first attack. If miss on both, use a reaction (with appropriate 14th level temporal anomal) to replace with a hit. If you have two 20s banked, used one here. If not, use a high number to guarantee a hit.

(Alternatively, when fighting a boss if you've got two 20 paradoxes banked just wait for a natural crit to come up before committing to this course of action, then spend 1-2 of them to keep the chain going and splat them with no fuss or worry. If the second shot finishes him, you've still got your daily triple attack and one more 20 to try this again later.)

Second, roll normally. If it's a miss, you can either try Uncanny Luck for a reroll and hope for a crit, or just buy a hit with your high but not-20 paradox.

Third, pay for a crit on your bonus third attack with a 20 paradox, don't worry about whether the -6 is reduced by your gunner's harness.

With the highest level reaction cannon you average 344 (you can use 10+ paradox to get some maximum damage die rolls instead of rolling, if you have them to spare) with one crit. With two crits, 430 points of damage. If you're lucky enough to be banking three 20s or to have rolled one naturally to get triple crits, that's 516 points of damage.

4. I cannot tell you that the Dimension of Time improved anchor ability to make things not be subject to time is useful. But perhaps it can be cool? It has to be in your possession when you first effect it, but seems to be permanently maintained thereafter. Perhaps wear the eternally fresh decapitated head of your enemes on your belt as a warning to others? Carry around exotic flowers that never wilt? An amazing, exotic steak, prepared to perfection and eternally ready for that first perfectly warm bite, kept as a gift for negotiations with anyone you find in the wilderness?

Yes, you can keep your favorite dead pet permanently preserved on your mantel piece at home without turning to taxidermy, you weirdo.

5. As a Timewarped anchor precog you join the Akashic mystic as someone with a hideaway where no one can reach you. Yours comes with a "buy one item of any kind" clause, which saves you the trouble of investing in engineering ranks or worrying about having crafting facilities while in the wild. And get one of those +20% drow batteries so you can regenerate 120 charges per day.

6. Between Advanced Preparation temporal anomaly and the Restore Consumable spell you can once per day buy a consumable out of thin air, then spam 2nd level spell slots to replenish every use of it. You still have to pay, but you don't have to anticipate your needs in advance. Great if you need a spell gem, a custom polymorph form via polymorphic serum, or a nanite hypopen.

7. Prescient Casting temporal anomaly, unlike the feat and the Esoterocist archetype ability that also protect spellcasting from an AOO hit, works against all hits, so if you like to cast in melee while surrounded pick this up. Just have the HP/SP to survive the actual damage.

8. Instance Analysis temporal anomaly is potentially a useful replacement for all the important monster identification skills (engineering, life science) you don't get and the lack of insight bonuses on culture and mysticism, especially after 8th level.

9. The 6th level (no ally temporal agression) and 18th level (chronomatic max defense stays +4 instead of going to +5) archetype trade outs are things you really don't care about, so strongly consider going Esoterocist to trade those out for the better ala carte options from that archetype. Starwright is also an option.

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Anyone have any thoughts on these?

Accelsys (N, change, energy, motion) seems to have been created as a god of Vanguards. It certainly can provide an origin story for your powers - they gave them to you, maybe. It's also a new take on a travler god, where the movement, not the experiences at your destiation or en route, are the point. I also see it as a more abstract/systematic deity of change vs Oras as personal/biological.

Cavrabon (NG, food, hospitality, spycraft!!) fills a food/domestic niche often missing from RPGs that would be important in real life. Mixing a good alignment with a spycraft element of listening for secrets overheard at the pub/restaurant is a cool and interesting spin. I definitely see Cavrabon worshippers passing on news of wrongdoers or those in need to others willing to take action on the information.

Kadrical (LN, collections, order, preservation) seems to have a lot of overlap with the historical aspects of Eloritu, but I appreciate the effort to develop this SFS plot point into an ongoing deity. I do like the idea of a LN deity who offers sanctuary and forgiviness to those who want a fresh start. You don't have to be good or repent of your past, just show up and follow the local rules and don't get in any more trouble. A more reasonable goal for many formerly evil people than going full Sarenrae.

Lambatuin (CN, infospheres, pop culture, social systems) gives us what I never realized I need, the god of K-pop stans, trolls, Facebook boomer memes, and social mob pile ons. I also like the allusions tying this into the previous god of the ancient infosphere discussed in Tech Revolution. And of course it's amazing that your god can show up to poast and trash talk on your favorite forum. Plenty of great PC ideas and adventure seeds, including the CG guy trying to help all the go fund mes out there for the needy and the CE guy trying to improve the infosphere by removing particularly annoying to him participants in it via violent means.

The shorter bits on the new ancestral deities did less for me than the bigger ones above but are interesting. The dragonkin bonded pair god is a cool concept without much broad reach for me, Flux the shapeshifter/disguise god has lots of PC concept applicability if you don't want the science/genetics aspects of Oras. Isvith the nuar goddess who disppeared in a maze is fine, I guess, and Jalvari the osharu who accidentally apotheoized via a screwed up experiment as the god of not rejecting the null hypothesis is hilarious. I love the idea of Meyel, the artistic dancer pahtra deity who went psycho artistic cult killer after the Vesk invaded, Romgul the dromada coward god is a great twist on the Lao Shu Po concept of self preservation at all costs, and Uvonn the telia memory god fills a great place for mental spellcasters, mental monks, and immortals editing their psyche as they go along.

Good job, writers.

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Let's talk about spells here. I'm going to go through them in order alphabetically.

Accelerate Step - I'm not sure you want to invest in this with the plan to run around enemies and get attacked so often that it will probably negate a hit or two. Would be ok if it lasted an entire round when you moved rather than just the movement. And why is step on here, since you can't be attacked while stepping, some weird readied action aside?

Acid Puddle - Persistent Explosive Blast, but with acid. Effectivley does 8d6 to start (6d6 on cast, 2d6 when targets start their turn), so you only need them to spend one more turn in the area to push the damage ahead of Explosive Blast, and the area denial is worthwhile as well. Plus acid is less resisted than fire. Good spell, I think.

Adamantine Shot - Like Ectoplasmic Barrage, but you can hit up to three targets instead of two and you can't hit one target with more than one projectile (which you probably can with EB). AS does more damage overall if you have three targets, EB does more if you have 1-2 targets, but AS also can try to force doors or break things. It's fine, not great. I wouldn't take it given all the other Techno/WW damaging spells. I don't know why SFS banned it.

Adhere: This seems like it can adhere a door to a door frame, so that's nice to slow down pursuers. The entangle trap feature is nice, too. I'd pick this up with Reality Glimmer or Techmantic Dabbler for sure.

Akashic Investigation: It's fine as an investigation spell, I guess, with decent limitations on being too usful (i.e. identifying people who did the things or hearing exactly what they said). Is it enough different from Retrocognition to exist?

Anchor: You can, uh, tie something to an immovable object or terrain feature at medium spell range for a long time. Cool? But it as a spell gem mid career than shock yourself at actually finding a use for it late campaign, maybe.

Antimagic Burst: It's PF1 disjunction, sort of, but still with a CL check, and effects supernatural effects, short duration on magic/hybrid items, and no artifact destruction. Greater Dispel Magic will usually do enough, but this is nice for just messing up all magic of all types.

Autopilot: It should exist in the world, it might be useful on a spell gem, but unless you're running magical uber without investing real autopilots in your cars or you have a bunch of cheap car bombs to send out you aren't learning this.

Battle Sonata: Decent sonic damage for Mystics, but very short range cone. The stagger round on failed save makes it decent, I guess. It's no competition to TM/WW blasting spells, though.

Biome Adaptation: Ignoring nonmagical difficult terrain in a given biome is pretty good, but you'll train out of this later and there's already plenty of ways to avoid or mitigate difficult terrain at all levels.

Blessing of Youth: Heals stamina at range at the same dice progression of Mystic Cure (but without ability score added or the ability to transfer your own health, and no big dice boost option at higher levels). The speed bonus is negligible and covered by a very common augmentation, but if you want to spam healing as soon as someone gets injured, rather than after they're in HP and close to going down, this exists and is a nice Precog niche ability.

Broadcast Message: I feel like a bullhorn with recorder could probably do most of this cheaply, but can those receiving the message tell where it came from? Good for social campaigns where you need to use proganda. Definitely a spell gem or for a prepared caster, though, not something you learn.

Bypass Password: I don't understand how this works. Identify is (maybe) supposed to give you passwords that then give you a bonus on hacking. This just lets you bypass any feature that incorporates a password? Is this an autohack spell if they have a password, useless if they don't have a password (but do have a keycard or neither but you still have to hack for access?)? What "the DC of the computer password"? Do they mean the hacking DC of an item that has a password? I think I'd use that DC and then let it give you the "I know the password" bonus for three separate hacking checks. Identify learning passwords easily was too cheap.

Calm the Storm: It's weaker than Mind of Three (AP spell) but at least it's higher level and shorter duration. Also available to PC and WW, which Mind of Three isn't even if allowed. But with all the reroll save abilities out there I don't think this spell is worth it. Maybe at level 3. (Compare to Probability Prediction, which doesn't last longer but give broader reroll options without the +2 bonus to mind affecting saves.)

More to come.

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What are people's thoughts on these?


1st Reactive Spray - At 2nd level this is competing with Defensive Dispersal. I think I'd rather reduce my damage now rather than create a one round cloud that gives me some minor concealment against future attacks. Better at the level 9 upgrade, but that's two nanite surges to active both, expensive.

5th Slithering Shape - I would only use this to squeeze through 1" holes (which a laser drill can make in softer materials, mind you) or help escape a grapple/pin. So I would rarely use it.

9th Fluid Form - The immunity to wound effects is pretty fringe (COM gave us a cheap way to regrow limbs in 24 hours and the rest of the effects are minor), but activation of Reactive Spray and Defensive Dispersal off the same reaction can be good.

13 Nanosmoke - I guess I can "speed" run through 1" gaps, but I'm not sure how often that is going to come up. Would be nice if it automatically ended the effects it gives you immunity to.

17 Swarm Shadow - I don't know why I'd want to lose all my actions to buff an ally with my sheath all day, and forming weapons to shoot ends it and it can't be reenacted until the next day.

I don't see really any appeal in this one.

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1. The Lightning Flash - an Electrical Attunement solarian who uses Energy Mode speed boost, Plasma (Electricity) Sheath and Solar Rush to zoom around giving lightning strikes that knock back and fry his opponents. Robots beware.

2. Solarian Hacker - use Photon Circuits relevation to hack with Mysticism skill, which benefits from Sidereal Influence

3. Dex/cha thrown weapon armor Solarian - use Weapon Orbit to throw your melee weapon - ranged dex attack, charisma to damage, 30' range, when not using DC solarian powers. If you're in energy mode you're also fast, and can use Shot on the Run when throwing your melee weapon. Probably doesn't work with wepaon solarian, but if it does it's fantastic for lunar weapon. Cha to damage in place of strength, plus soulfire?

4. Indestructible Solarian - electrical attunement resistance mode (for DR), Dark Matter revelation (for stacking DR/-), if you start to take some damage use Energy Sink zenith boosted by Grounding Sink to fatigue enemies around you and get some temp HP. Repeat.

5. Juggernaught Biohacker - Anesthesiology field of study, take Auto-Injector alternate class feature to set up a contingency booster on yourself, use spark of ingenuity to to combine your anesthesiology booster (DR/- that stacks with one other source, like the armor upgrade) with your breakthrough (double level temporary HP, plus ferocity effect at 0 HP), trigger on start of combat. Or if you're generous put this on a melee ally with more HP.

6. Healer Biohacker - take Cybermedicine field of study, booster adds your key attribute to any healing received, boost those serums, your field medicine theorem, or Medical Expert treat deadly wounds. With an auto-injector set to the right contingency you can also use this with Treat Deadly wounds (which takes longer than your booster duration) to have it kick in at right moment if your GM allows. Add First Aid Expert theorem and you get double your attribute (rather than intelligence) to treat deadly wounds when you exceed the DC by 5.

7. Hacker Biohacker - Microlab Jack theorem gets you a free, upgradeable datajack that doesn't take up your brain slot, take Skill focus computers, with a booster to help you're only 1-2 points behind an optimized operative, technomancer, or mechanic.

8. Biohack Sniper - Longarm injection weapon, the triple range theorem from COM, and now the Bleeding Biohacks theorem which adds 1d10 plus attribute bleed damage to an inhibitor. Fire and forget on things that don't have healing. Oh, and use the Poison Extraction theorem when you're hit by a poison to extract the poison (alas, you must fail the first save, but the second gets a bonus) and save the poison used on you for your own use within 1 hour! Go forth and dare poisonous things to bite you, maybe keep one as a pet.

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Ancestral Mind - This seems fine if innate spells are important to your build and you're an Int caster and want to apply your occult spell proficiency. If you're Cha and/or they're already Occult this is less useful.

Counter Thought - This is a cool spin on Counter Spell. You've very limited in that you can only counter mental spells, but you're very unlimited in that you can counter, without penalty, with any mental spell. For mental spells high level Wizards with two feats invested in Counter Spell and Clever Counterspell will envy you.

Mental Buffer - Mental damage isn't super common, but resistance to it can be useful in an occult or psychic themed campaign where it might show up more. I like the buff when in unleashed psyche.

Psychic Rapport - Good for Cha builds that use Heroism on themselves, get an additional +1 circumstance bonus on your social skills.

Unleash Self-Defense (PSYCHE) - If you're a buffer or debuffer this is strictly better in every way than the default Psyche option. The defense benefit is helpful, and the drawback doesn't matter if you're not trying to do damage.

Verdict: These are great! I don't hate any of them, very strange for a collection of 1st level feats.


Cantrip Expansion - You know it, you don't love it, you'd take an archetype feat if you wanted it.

Mental Balm (AMP) - +1 (untyped?!) bonus to emotion affects will sometimes be useful, even if it only lasts for 1 round, and occasionally a counteract on fear or (rarely) stupefy will be something you wish you could do, but often enough to invest a feat and forego the regular amp effect that is probably why you're casting a buffing cantrip in the first place? Probably not. But it works better than the current Guidance amp, I guess. And self Guidancing yourself to try to remove Stupefy so you can cast a real spell might not be the worst in the world. Hmmm. I award it 3.6 roentgens.

Warp Space (AMP) - Do you want to cast one of the damaging cantrips that is too weak when amped, and not amp it to instead avoid cover? Pass.

Verdict: I'd probably take a 1st level feat or an archetype dedication.


Psychic Beacon (AMP) - If you tag an enemy with a spell despite its invisibililty/concealment, you can downgrade it to concealment/unconcealed for 1 full minute. This can be helpful to allies, more so than a damage boost. Maybe. But shouldn't it work against hidden rather than specifically invisible foes?

Spontaneous Ignition (AMP) - Instead of the regular amp on your damaging cantrip that increases the damage, this increases the damage with bonus fire damage and converts half the regular damage to fire. Helpful if fighting things weak to fire, pointless otherwise. Pass.

Strain Mind - Once per hour amp a cantrip without spending focus, but take double the spell level in damage. Good early, but retrain out of it later.

Verdict: Straing Mind is ok at early levels but the damage isn't worth it later. Continue your archetype or even take a 1st level feat again.


Inertial Barrier (AMP) - Provide some resistance to physical damage that last one round to yourself or an allied target. Potentially useful on an ally who is threatened by multiple physical attacks in one round, consider Guidance because the normal amp is pretty bad, Message if they want to Step or Stride rather than an attack, Future Path if you enjoy casting bad spells, or Arrest Trajectory if you'd rather ensure protection rather than possibly retaliate. I like it.

Parallel Breakthrough - Grap the unique psi cantrip of another Conscious Mind. I would use this to pick up Mental Scan if I didn't have it, and one of the others if they are sufficiently buffed in the final release.

Sixth Sense - You get a free secret check to notice haunts, fiends/celestial/monitors, spirits, and Ethereal creatures without having to seek for them. Find that invisible Imp lurking around or the haunt about to manifest and shred your party's sanity. More useful in some campaigns than others, but good in the right one.

Thoughtform Summoning - Want to give some trivial damage resistance to your summons that are too weak to be very effective? This is a cool way to do it. The ability to pass through enemy spaces without tumbling is actually maybe useful if you need to reposition it to set up a flank post-summoning. A meh feat for a bad playstyle, but definitely cool.

Unleash Calculated Reasoning (PSYCHE) - If you're a logical/INT caster this lets you do slightly less than average damage but you'll know exactly what you're getting, and it has no drawbacks. If you're planning to just spam 3-5 Telekinetic Rends (post buff, one hopes) after the opening rounds of combat then maybe this is for you to ensure consistency.

Unleash Soaring Passions (PSYCHE) - If you're a Cha caster you can simply do a pair of Demoralizes in the first two rounds to trigger this, then start casting slot spells - a success on one makes the next more likely to trigger (+2 status on attack roll, -2 status penalty on save spell), but failing imposes a penalty equal to half that on your next spell. I want to like this more than I do, but you can't actually benefit until round 4 (two rounds to activate this, then one round to cast a spell without a bonus to try to earn the bonus for next round), so press X.

Verdict: I'd take one of the first two for powergaming, but maybe one of the middle two for build flavor/customization. Thoughtform could use a boost. Maybe spell level rather than monster level resistance? It's still going to die at a sneeze, throw us a bone, Paizo. I personally don't think I'd take either Psyche feat, but I can imagine someone else doing so. At least their drawbacks are less severe than your default psyche.


Deeper Breakthrough - You get your deeper psi cantrip, which can be good, bad, or indifferent. I like Arrest Trajectory, find Future Path to be an excellent joke, and Shatter Mind can be decent AOE damage and debuff if you need that.

Lingering Psyche - Your psyche lasts 5 rounds, if you think you either need a whole lot of amp spam or the other benefits of your psyche. I think this is a respectable pick if you have a custom psyche feat that you like or tend to longer combats. It's unfortunate that it competes with your Deeper Breakthrough.

Mental Static - No. The damage isn't that much, the number of times you can attempt it won't be that common, and you're not legendary in will saves until 17th level, so how often are you going to crit save anyway? Double the damage and I still wouldn't take it, make it trigger on a normal save and I wouldn't laugh at people who do take it, do both and I'd consider taking it in a campaign with lots of mental threats. More realistically, consider giving a +1 circumstance bonus on the save and keeping the damage and crit save requirements as they are.

Mesmerizing Gaze - No action is good, status penalty is not helpful, and only -1 status penalty means it won't be helping if the enemy has already been debuffed by almost anything or anyone else. Being fascinated with your target can be real debuff to yourself if they fail their save, because unless someone attacks you before your next round you won't be able to cast another spell except against the target who already failed against your last one. Do you still need to? I hope so. Despite all this I like it, but it's not as good most commentary seems to think. Potentially just having it get rid of the targets reaction and not having the penalty at all may be good, but you'll need a really good GM not to metagame this. I'd prefer to see a -2 penalty so that it's more generally useful and the target has a stronger incentive to use their reaction.

Verdict: Deeper Breakthrough or Lingering Psyche are the easy picks, I would consider Mesmerizing Gaze if I have Conceal Spell (as a future class feat or MC) and go around casting Charm/Suggestion in social situations plus the occasional combat application where my GM doesn't play games with me.

Taking a break before the higher level feats.

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Several posts here, the discord, and reddit have noted that the class is too weak compared to Bard, occult Witch (not that equaling the Witch would be ok!), or occult Sorcerer given the fewer spell slots (vs Witch and Bard and especially Sorcerer) and spells known (vs Sorcerer, with more limited choice of spells vs Witch and Bard). It suffers even further against the Bard because of the chassis (HP, weapon/armor proficiencies).

But most of the discussion has been on how the cantrips/amps/psyche interactions need to be improved to make up this shortfall. I agree, but I'm not sure that's enough.

Do we need three spells per level as well as a boost to amped cantrips? I think so, or in the alternative we boost the chassis, with 8 HP, light armor, and eventually Master perception (which fits well with the inner eye revealing things to you).

Another option (that could coexist with either of the preceding improvements) is expanding spells known. At a minimum, I think they should have access to a class feat that grants additional spells known, such as the Loremaster Bard and Occult/Arcane Sorcerer have.

But a more interesting option might be to grant universal signature spells rather than increase the spell slots. When I saw the spell slot chart I had a moment of joy thinking it was going to be a spontaneous version of the flexible preparation archetype from SOM - it has the same spell slots, so surely it had either full heightening of all spells or the same spell collection mechanic.

Alas, no. (At least not yet.) But I think maximum flexibility of using your slots combined with your very few available might be a way to distinguish this class from its competitors, especially if more slots are off the table due to other improvements to the chassis and/or amps/cantrips.

If this is too much as a base ability, making it a feat in place of the similar but weaker Signature Spell Expansion (which sorcers also have access to in addition to a straight increase in spells known) would be an alternate approach.

Spells known are in a weird place for this class, because a lot of traditional psychic spells like Detect Thoughts and Mind Probe are not only uncommon and not necessarily available, they're almost unthinkable as an option given how few spells know you have. An ability or feat to grant access or knowledge of some of these specific spells (much like the Magus Studious Spells) would be another intersting option, especially as the class itself is already uncommon. Given that, why not give access to the mind reading/memory altering spells that are so thematic? If the GM doesn't like them he can not allow the entire class.

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Each Conscious Mind gets a unique surface psi cantrip, and each can acquire one and onely one from a different Conscious Mind with the 6th level feat Parallel Breakthrough. Using these, with an amp, is probably going to be a major part of your combat routine throughout your career, so knowing which you want as part of your whole Conscious Mind package and which extra one you may want to spend a feat on is important.

Let's discuss/compare.

Distant Grasp provides you with the Telekinetic Rend cantrip. This is a an AOE with modest damage, and you also have an amped Telekinetic Projectile cantrip for slightly higher single target damage. In fact, this Conscious Mind has both of the significant damaging options (LMAO, Daze) until Silent Whisper has a choice to purchase one with an 8th level feat. I don't love Telekinetic Rend, but it seems like a good pickup with Parallel Breakthrough if you're one of the others and want some physical damage.

Infinite Eye is fairly terrible as a Conscious Mind (you are unlikely to ever use Detect Magic and Guidance amps), but the unique Mental Scan has an excellent amp effect and party boost. For one action you can Seek in a 30' cone, pick a target, and automatically, no check required, know the highest and lowest saves (something that those crit succeeding on a Recall Knowledge usually have to bet their GM to give them half of!). But wait, that's not all! Everyone in your party gets a +1 circumstance (not status!) bonus to attacks and damage against it. There's also an aid reaction option to boost one ally's attack by +2, but it's unclear exactly how you do this aid. A spell attack roll? Good luck, it might happen. Overall excellent, and definitely something I could see using multiple times in a combat to help focus spells and attacks on tough targets. I'd take this as a Parallel Breakthrough from either of the other Conscious Minds.

Silent Whisper has the strongest overall package (good bonus spells, great Message single action cantrip amp effect, and situationally useful Daze amp for some party builds), and Nudge Intent is a decent but somewhat fiddly unique cantrip. Tell a target to either cast a spell, strike, or use a skill action, and if they choose not to do it (potentially wasting an action or doing something suboptimal) they basically suffer from Fear with an amp rider of stunned 1 on a fail or crit fail. Pretty great debuff and potential action denial/limitation (few spellcasters want to make a strike, and few anythings want to take a skill action in combat).

I honestly feel that all three of these are pretty useful and defensible. Telekinetic Rend is probably the weakest, but if you have a bunch of scrubs you need to deal out consistent chip damage to without blowing spell slots it has its place, and not everything is a single tough foe to be debuffed and let your allies do all the work.

It is weird, though, that two of the three conscious minds have no real 1st level boosted damage cantrip (again, I don't take amped Daze seriously as a common option), so I imagine Telekinetic Rend does get taken more than I expect.

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Between your focus and psyche you can effectively cast five amped psi cantrips in a fight without investing any feats in getting more duration. So let's assume you're always amping your damaging cantrips and take a look at their performance.

1. Telekinetic Projectile: Your damage is d8 (4.5dmg per level) vs 2d6 (7 dmg) per level for a top flight focus spell like Fire Ray. You also have a pushback effect on a critical hit.

So you're doing 64% of Fire Ray damage, with a rarely seen crit rider, in return for being able to cast it a lot more often. I don't know that this is a great tradeoff. d10, 78% of Fire Ray damage, would feel better.

The bigger problem is that you also have the below spell, which is straight up better if 2+ enemies are in range and not too closely entwined with allies.

I just don't see using this amp unless I'm using True Strike and a Shadow Signet to hope for the big push back effect. And I'm only doing that if I'm in the pigeon holed Staff of Divination play style.

2. Telekinetic Rend: Your damage is 2d6 (+2d6 +2 levels) in two 5' bursts. Let's compare to Fireball damage, which is 2d6 per spell level.

Level 1: 7 avg damage
Level 3: 14 avg damage (vs 21 avg, 66%)
Level 5: 21 avg damage (vs 35 avg 60%)
Level 7: 28 avg damage (vs. 49 avg 57%)
Level 9: 35 avg damgage (vs. 63 avg 55.5%)

It doesn't take a spell slot, of course, and it can hit 2-3+ enemies pretty consistently, so maybe this isn't terrible. But it's not good. Perhaps for a 1st level cantrip we shouldn't expect more.

But we also shouldn't expect to use Telekinetic Projectile much since we have this.

3. Daze: The weakness to mental damage here is a bit hard to adjudicate. It's a very minor damage boost to your casting of Daze, but also inflicts the weakness until the end of your next round and applies a -1 status penalty to will saves, helping any follow up spells you or allies cast. It obviously combos well with Phantom Pain or similar stuff, but status penalties aren't that hard to come by, and the damage boost is small stuff. I can't see this getting used except in weird party compositions that have lots of mental damage options and aren't otherwise debuffing the target.

4. Shatter Mind: This is the only spell that seems to actually apply the ability to apply both the regul and amp heightening effects (which is explicitly allowed on page 6, then written out of the telekinetic spells with their specific amp heightening wording), but it's janky, as the regular heightening is +2 spell levels, and the amp is +1. Effectively you have +3d6/2 spell levels.

At spell level 10 this does 12d6 mental damage (42 avg) in a 30 or 60 foot cone (why is this even a choice when it only effects enemies?) plus stupefies targets that fail. That's slightly ahead of Telekinetic Rend on damage, in a much bigger area, with no friendly fire risk and a debuff. If Telekinetic Rend is balanced, then I guess maybe that makes this worth spending an 8th level feat on.

Overall I'm not sure that spamming these damage options (for the 2/3 paths that have them) are worth it, but you don't have enough spell slots not to do it a bunch.

I'm intrigued by the ally with the spider legs(?) coming out of her back. A jorogumo?

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The Envoy Polymorphic Disguise ability isn't very beloved by the player base online. You give up your expertise bonus to every skill except Disguise (and then only to appear as your polymorphed form, not for disguise skills in general).

This starts as a single Polymorph 1 form, which upgrades to Polymorph 2 at 5th level (vs 4th for the spell), Polymorph 3 at 9th level (vs 7th for the spell), Polymorph 4 at 13th level (10th for the spell), Polymorph 5 at 17th level (vs 13th for the spell), and Polymorph 6 at 20th level (vs 16th for the spell). You only get the single form unless you invest expertise talents in additional forms, which you can do at levels 3, 7, 11, 15, and 19.

So at first glance this seems pretty bad compared to a spell caster. They can get better forms earlier, and each spell level provides four forms. So a 10th level caster can cast Polymorph 4 and has a total of 16 forms to choose from (four of the highest level), while an envoy at 10th level can only use Polymorph 3 and up to three forms if you forgo any expertise talents.

Bad right? Well, maybe not. You can hold your form permanently (the spell lasts minute/round, except for certain technomancers who can get a spell cache that provides Polymorph 1/2/3 permanently at levels 6/12/18), which may provide some benefits with the right choices, and you can change your alternate form as a standard action (available to spellcasters with a feat).

Can we come up with enough combat/utility/skills capability from polymorph forms to overcome the loss of your expertise bonuses and probably expertise talents? Maybe. Below are a list of abilities that I can see making it potentially worthwile.

1. Power Armor. If your form is a subtype other than your base form, your armor and (held) weapons merge into your form, but still activate. This means power armor still gives you AC, still gives you a strength bonus, and still provides environmental protections and armor upgrade abilities, but it can't be seen, doesn't limit your speed (VERY important), and doesn't impose armor check penalties. And no one will know you're wearing it. Pick one that uses one charge per hour, drop your gear you want to use in your new form, then transform and pick up your gear.

2. Speed/movement. Each polymorph form gets a free movement mode, and if you're in absorbed power armor that speed still applies. At 5th level your base speed can always be 40 (plus leg augmentations and fleet feat), at 13th level you can pick up a burrow speed, and if you make it to 20th level your base speed can be 60', or 100' with fleet and augmentation. You can also have a swim or climb speed at lower levels, if you want them, or even a fly, if for some reason you don't have Force Soles Mk2. Check out the Cephalume Symbiote adaptation (airjet Kirkik) racial trait for an additional +10 to speed and once per day double speed option.

3. Skill/ability check boosts. Medium and bigger forms get a bonus of 1-3 to strength checks/skills, small and smaller forms get a bonus of 1-3 to dex checks/skills. Make a tiny form for sneaking, piloting(!), slight of hand, or acrobatics, a big form for kicking down doors with a breaching weapon.

4. Reach/size blocking. As you advance you can be large or even huge as long as you want, and you can slap Compression (or Spathinae's swarm flexibility racial trait) on as an ability to avoid the downsides. Be a flesh wall to protect squishies behind you. The Cephalume has an option for extra reach as a racial trait, btw.

5. Defensive abilities/immunities. You can pick DR, energy resistance, and at the highest levels some immunities as part of you form. To some extent these can be done with armor upgrades, but you may want a form to fill one one gap if you don't have enough money or slots. And at 17th level (Polymorph 5) you can take fire elemental form and be immune to fire at the cost of cold vulnerability, not something available via any other method.

6. Permanent/swappable racial traits. At 5th level you can start having racial traits from other PC races, and you can have a second alternate form, allowing you to start swapping between set ups. If your form is designed to focus solely on a particular race/creature, you get a bonus ability, so if you're a Lashunta, you can have both the skill boost racial trait and limited telepathy at 5th level (and if you're non-humanoid, you can hide your power armor and have your 40' speed, as well). Here are some useful always on powers to use as utility/combat options:

a. Disguise shapeshifting. The Endiffian has the Simulacrum racial trait that allows you to appear as any humanoid in 1 minute and receive a +10 disguise bonus. You can mimic specific creatures.

b. Blindsight. Several races have 60' blindsight as a racial trait. They're also blind, but you don't have to be. Slap this on a combat form and use smoke, fog clouds, or other environmental concealment for an advantage.

c. Skill synergy. Lots of racial traits give bonuses to skills, and if they're dex they stack with your small/tiny/dimunitive size bonuses. Use the Lashunta racial trait to get racial bonuses to your favorite dex skills (piloting and stealth come to mind), and add in a Skill Focus to beat or equal the operative. Oh, and for Stealth don't overlook the Draelik ability to get a +4 in dim light, untyped. At 20th level you can get +9 to stealth just from your polymorph form, not counting insight bonuses. There may be other non-racial skill boosters out there.

d. Immunities/resistances. Generally racial traits can provide better protection than the defensive abilities granted by the spell's general rule. If your GM is insane you can get all the SRO or Shakalta immunities as a racial trait (or wait until 20th level to get one of those immunities via the spell defensive abilities). If he's not, you can still do things like the Android's constructed or Quorlo lithic traits to get racial bonuses to saves. If he's slightly bent he'll let you have the Suli resistance 45 to acid, cold, electricity, and fire.

e. Luck. Need an insurance policy against disaster in combat? Check out Worlanisi racial traits that turn your first natural 1 every day into a natural 20, or that as a reaction let you or an ally within 15' reroll something. (Same race, so both available at 5th level with a Polymorph 2 form.) Or perhaps you'd like to combo the latter with a +2 racial bonus on your reroll? Check out the Jububnan's ability called wanderer's pluck. The Worlanisi stuff is once per day (so switch forms when used up), but the Jububnan ability works with rerolls from those hybrid glasses, the dreamer theme (at 12th level), the feat save rerolls, or anything else.

f. Damage. You have incentives to be big, fast, and in power armor to be strong. So melee. Perhaps you'd like to add half your level in damage when you move and attack via the Ferran momentum ability? Or is something immune to your damage type or vulnerable to a type you don't do? Take the suli Elemental Assault and convert half of your damage into an energy form of your choice as a swift action.

g. Arms. Forget the expensive augmentation to add two arms. Just pick the skittermander racial trait for six arms, carry everything you need in combat without worry.

h. Grapple master. Ok, you're not full BAB. But you can get +6 to grapples by combining the skittermander +2 racial and the wrikreechee untyped when attacking smaller creatures (remember, you can eventually be large and even huge late career). Take the feat, get a grapple weapon.

i. Damage avoidance. Gray phase for a few reactions per day to have a 20% miss chance? Kayal/fetchling shadow blending to have a 50% miss chance in dim light (hey, some creatures don't have low light vision, and you're not always in range of darkvision, I guess)? (Remind me to build a shadow mystic who uses this on a polymorph form.)

To be continued.

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Some things I noted in the udpated FAQ for COM nerf quite a few options as well as some clarifications.

1. Biohacker toxicology inhibitor now grants a save to negate.

2. Vanguard accelerate reduces the damage boost to allies.

3. Witchwarper auto-stagger paradigm shift now grants a Fort save.

4. Modify Memory epiphany had its duration cut from "life altering/destroying" to "narratively useful."

5. Quick Cover for operatives requires a move action to grab the upgraded cover, you don't just get it for standing next to something. Since you can't combine this with Quick Trick and you don't want to use a standard action this is a dead ability, I suspect.

6. Quick Trick for operatives now makes it clear you can't move as part of the same standard action trick attack. Still way overpowered.

7. Audacity operative exploit just staggers, doesn't daze. Since an auto succeed move action intimidate is not hard to build even without a take 10, this is still pretty strong.

8. Glitch Step lost the object phasing upgrade that let you walk through things more than 1' thick.

9. Starwright inubrix similarly can't pass through doors and walls, just other(?) solid objects, whatever those might be.

10. Brain Hacker bumped the intelligence target requirement from 1+ to...12+. This is odd.

11. Know Coordinates only gives general, not specific location, but they didn't change the ability of google maps to take you there, so I guess it just takes you to the city center or the park ranger station in the middle of the forest preserve?

12. Optimize Technology doesn't effect constructs, so now it just protects and auto heals equipment and vehicles.

There's other stuff, including a shield rewrite that I need to dig into to see if it's a material change or just a clarification.

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Since some FAQ answers have been flowing somewhat freely lately, I thought I'd reup this recurring question.

Can a biohack or a medication mastery theorem medicinal be added to a piece of injection ammo that is already filled with a serum, poison, or similar substance?

In favor: Biohack rules state "You can deliver any biohack you create with any attack from an injection weapon," and Medication Mastery states "You can add one of these medicinals to any attack you make with an injection weapon as part of the action to make the attack or attacks, but you can’t add a biohack of any kind to the same attack." On its face "any attack" means any attack, and nothing prevents this attack from being with a preloaded serum, poison, medicinal (normal bought/crafted one), etc.

Against: It strikes a bunch of people as intuitively wrong, and they can't get over it to accept the obvious language of the rules without this specific interaction being made more explicit.

Please FAQ if you'd like this spelled out, as it is recurring debate.

1. Gravity Generator (Light) and Gravity Well Generator (Heavy) have the exact same mechanical effects (short range and identical effects) because unlike the Hacking and Nav-Scram ECM weapons, the Gravity Well property does not list any special perks or effect upgrades for using a heavy or capital version of this weapon type. The Black Hole Generator (capital) has medium range which does distinguish it from the other two.

But as of now there is zero reason to pay the increased costs for the heavy Gravity Well Generator instead of installing the light weapon version to save BP and PCU.

2. The Array weapon upgrade cost on pg 17 is probably wrong at x1. It allows much better weapons (higher damage, long range) to be converted to array weapons at a very similar BP and PCU cost as the CRB array weapons.

3. Deployed might cost slightly too much at x2 - it does worse damage than a x1 cost weapon being fired six times by a gunner every round over the full six rounds and three gunner actions that a deployed version of the weapon would take to be fully deployed and then exhausted. Not sure all those limitations (higher cost, inferior damage, low endurance) are worth saving some gunner actions in rounds 4-6.

4. Atech Resolute, pg 98: It has fortified hull (steel composite), which should add 4 to the critical threshold of a large ship, but the HP 160 and CT 32 do not reflect those bonus CT. Should be CT 36.

5. Erroneous linked tracking weapons: Only direct fire weapons can be linked (this is still true in CRB 3rd printing, pg 301), and three ships in this book purport to have linked tracking weapons. These are the Sov-El Korinath (pg 99) with "linked tactical nuclear missile launchers," Compent Those Who Are (pg 116) with "linked light torpedo launchers," and the Inheritorworks Redeemer (pg 118) with "linked magic torpedo units." All of these can be fixed by simply removing the linked aspect, which means there should be a some free BP to add some other features to these ships if they were built on a strict BP budget.

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I don't know if people have had enough time to digest the new SOM options, but I thought it might be time to discuss some of the new options and how they make starship combat different.

1. Mines: These provide an advantage to a maneuverable ship that loses initiative and has to go first. Average maneuverability will make it pretty easy to lay three adjacent mines on a ship in your forward arc, and four is possible if you are very maneuverable. Getting 3-4 attacks from one gunnery action potentially concentrated on one arc is...good. That leaves aside the options to repeatedly apply things like Vortex or Irradiate (if that wasn't already completely busted) in the same round.

If you expect to win initiative and have to go last you may want the smart mines upgrade to ensure all of your mines attack at the end of the helm phase after you've dropped them adjacent to enemies.

2. ECM Modules:

Hacking modules are in a weird place where they're better to use against higher tier ships that likely have better computers than against scrubs. It's a very big debuff against an opponent with big computer bonuses.

Nav-scram is potentially a very good debuff against piloting, and I like that the short range encourages knife fighting maneuver tactics rather than standoff turret battles.

Gravity Well has some overlap with Nav-scram in that both make the pilots job harder, but the flat speed/maneuverability hit from Grav Well is probably worse in most cases. But requiring power diversion and effectively two crew actions to activate it probably too steep a price once you've taken some damage and the engineer has better things to do.

Warp Puck (transposition) mines present an interesting tactical option: drop 1-2(heavy version) mines during your helm movement, then be able to teleport back 4-8(heavy) hexes back to it next helm phase, potentially setting you up behind or flanking enemies who are chasing you before your pilot even maneuvers. But that requires a gunner action to set up (no damage) and a science action that can fail to complete, plus the weapons aren't cheap. This probably falls more into the realm of cool gimmick than cost effective, but maybe there's a weapon loadout and tactic that makes it better than I think.

3. Automated weapon property: This can be added to anything, and combined with the new broad arc options it might make sense to stick some of these on your port/starboard arcs to always have free shots, even if they aren't very accurate and relatively low damage. Wait, did I say not very accurate? The magic torpedo units have the quantum trait and get to roll twice. Worth considering if your GM is putting on turret limits and you've got the BP.

More tomorrow on defensive options and expansion bays. I welcome any feedback or other ideas for new combat tactics/synergies people have seen in SOM.

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Post APG I'm beginning to think that familiars might actually be mechanically good and worth more than we think as part of the Witch kit due to the Familiar Master archetype and Witch feats allowing 6-10 abilities on a familiar (more if you select a specific familiar with a feat that reduces their cost) and some new spells and familiar abilities.

Let us count the ways.

1. Remote observation drone. There is now a master familiar ability (share senses, 1 minute of every 10), spell (familiar's face, level 3, duration sustained), and Witch feat (Familiar's Eyes, level 12, indefinite once activated) that allow you to see through your familiar's eyes. The spell and the Witch feat allow you to control the familiar, not just passively observe, so you can direct it and even talk (through mental relay with the feat, directly with the spell) or act through it.

2. Remote offensive drone. The familiar master archetype has the Familiar Conduit metamagic, which allows you to cast a spell and use the familiar as the point of origin as long as you have line of effect to it. Combine with the sense abilities and you can use this to attack things in a room or down a cross corridor that you can't see directly, or outside you can have your familiar fly over enemies who are screened from you by terrain features and spell bomb them from the air. It might draw fire, but you have more durable familiar features than before and if you're a Witch you get it back the next day. (Edit: Familiar's Face has to be sustained and the metamagic requires its own action, so the Witch is the only one who can do this pretty easily and then only at level 12+, although Familiar's Face plus Cackle will let them pull it off as well. That's probably for the best.)

3. Trap trigger/reaction trigger/HP sponge/decoy. Between tough (extra 2 HP per level, a 40% increase!), damage avoidance (evasion on a save), Resistance (pick two energy types), and Lifelink (take a damaging blow that would reduce your familiar to 0 HP) your familiar can be made pretty survivable if you send it into danger to deliberately draw fire. Combine these with flight and speed for the drone options if you expect it to take fire. Focused Rejuvenation also allows your familiar to heal a bit every time you refocus if you don't have enough resources to otherwise heal it. Master's Form and some obfuscation can make the familiar look like a legitimate target on the field if you want to divide enemy attention.

4. Remote delivery/negotiation. With Familiar's Face or Familiar's Eyes you can continuously see and talk through your familiar, allowing you to negotiate with dangerous foes without putting yourself at risk. With the above damage mitigation options, your familiar might be able to escape if things go wrong. For delivery, there's the Thoughtful Gift spell, which when heightened allows you to teleport an item of L bulk to the hands of someone you know well a mile away. Master's Form can help provide the illusion that someone is negotiating directly with you if you apply some disguise or magic to the problem.

5. Scroll/wand/potion/bomb/elixir feeder. The Valet ability allows a familiar in your space to twice draw and place in your hand items that you're wearing. If you give it Valet and Independent I believe it can do this one per round without a command from you, although your GM might reasonably expect you to give it speech and provide guidance ahead of time on what you want when. So drink two potions per round with only one of your actions to draw them, drop a used wand to have a new one placed in it, move and have a scroll placed in your hands just when you need it without drawing it, effectively quickdraw two daggers, darts, or bombs, etc.

6. Touch spell delivery. This standby from the CRB is safer now with enhanced familiar toughness and healing capability, as well as a next day replacement for Witches.

7. Skills. You can give it skills equal to level + casting attribute, allowing some reasonable attempts at things that don't require training. A +5 intimidate check, twice, at 1st level? Why not. A situational Lore for the day? It should be able to recall the basics of whatever the problem is you're currently facing. A rune witch wanting to use the second target of Discern Secrets to give the familiar a free knowledge check? It might know something about a weaker opponent facing you while you recall knowledge about something more dangerous. Partner in Crime also gives it a special reaction to auto succeed on Deception/Thievery aid checks for you.

8. Spellcasting booster. All the old CRB options of a cantrip, extra spell, and extra focus point are still there, plus there's an option to have it replenish an innate ancestry spell or cast itself one spell per day 5 levels below your max. If you're only using it for this sort of passive boosting there's the 1st level Pet Cache spell to stick it in to keep it safe and forget about it for 8 hours.

9. Party spellcasting booster. The Familiar Mascot ability from Familiar Master archetype allows your familiar to share out the master abilities, like focus replenishment, spell replenishment, bonus slot, extra reagents, etc. A martial who picks up an ancestral familiar and dabbles a bit in the FM archetype can share out these abilities that he doesn't need but may be more useful than some extra movement or durability.

10. Specific Familiar options. With enough feat investment these are a way to get extra abilities, most of which are fine, in a package deal and also 1-2 unique ones. The faerie dragon gives a debuff breath weapon once per hour, the imp a reroll one per day (and self invisibility once per hour), and the spellslime can smell your tradition of magic (sorry, illusionist tradition buddies), double focus rejuvenation healing, and immunity to precision/crit damage at the cost of low AC, which I think is a pretty good tradeoff.

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Some thoughts on new spells in the APG. More to follow in later posts.

Occult blasting options: Blister (acid) and Blistering Invective (fire) give the occult list something to inflict other than sonic and mental for purposes of blasting. Vomit Swarm is only d8 piercing in a cone, but it's one of the few Reflex targeting options Occult has.

Divine combat options: Blood Vendetta (reaction persistent bleeding), Agonizing Despair (baby Phantasmal Killer, no death tag), Enervation (whoah), and Vampiric Maiden all flesh out the lower level (2-4) damage options available to the divine list. Still no elemental stuff here, though. Animate Dead gives this list a low level summon it was sorely lacking, as well.

This is amazing.

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When I first heard there would be a fringe science article in the latest AP I had hoped it would be new biohacker theorems. Alas, we got equipment.

But not really, because they're all really good, and come with interesting backstory that you can use to flesh out an adventure hook. I highly recommend picking up the volume if you're a GM looking for cool gadgets to give to or use against your PCs. One interesting thing is that because it's fringe science, everything is technological rather than hybrid while still doing some extremely wild stuff.

For example: behold, the new frontier of character optimization!

Eyes of the Seer biotech augmentation, level 11, price 26000 wrote:

A set of translucent nictitating membranes is implanted

within your visual sensors. When the membranes are
open, they can be spotted as small, lavender, triangular
muscles just inside the corner of your visual sensors with
a successful DC 21 Perception check. When the membranes
are closed, you see the world through a dark-purple haze
that softens the edges of the figures you see but outlines
them with a series of complex equations and algorithmic
formulae that define their relationships with the world. In
essence, you see the world almost as if you were viewing
it as lines upon lines of computer code, allowing you some
small insight into the way the future may resolve.

You can open or close these membranes as a swift
action, and all must open or close simultaneously. When
the membranes are closed and your eyes are open, you can
scan your surroundings using your newfound sight as a
move action. Roll a d20 and record the result; as a reaction
until the start of your next turn, you can spend 1 Resolve
Point to use this result for any attack roll, skill check, saving
throw, or ability check attempted by a creature you can see
(enemies and allies alike) as if they had rolled this value
themself. This reaction must be declared before the creature
rolls the check, and all normal modifiers apply to the roll
that uses the substituted value.

While the membranes are closed and your eyes are
open, you take a –2 penalty to Perception checks and
initiative checks and can’t take any reactions other than the
one described above. If you fail a saving throw against a
mind‑affecting effect while the membranes are closed, you
become confused until the end of your next turn (in addition
to any other normal results of the mind-affecting effect).

This is pretty nuts for save or lose spellcasters.

1. Activate (close) membranes as a swift action.
2. Scan surroundings as a move action, rolling a d20.
3. If it's a low roll, cast a spell against an enemy and force them to use it as their save against your killer spell. If it's a high roll, save it for an ally's attack or saving throw and do whatever seems best with your standard action.
4. Return to step 2 on each subsequent turn. Deactivate (open) you membranes after combat.

The second item, Voidhammer advanced weapons, are also kind of cool. They utilize black hole technology to knock prone and pin a target on a crit. Reach and unwieldy, so it's a remarkably good combo for a spellcaster who wants advanced weapons and has a Eyes of the Seer - use those low numbers for an enemy's save, use those 20s, when they show up, to guarantee your own crit and huge debuff on an enemy within reach.

The third item, the analeptic tablet, is based on cloning technologies. It heals all ability damage or shifts you one step towards healthy on an affliction track. Takes one hour and makes you sickened until you rest 8 hours (although that condition can be removed after the one hour is up), but only costs 600 credits, which is a bargain at mid levels.

The fourth item, the Multiverse Mirror, is big but cheap, level 3 and 1300 credits. Everyone should probably keep one in their ship quarters after a certain point (it's unclear if multiple people can use the same one in a day). You pick a skill you don't have and once per day you can make a skill check as if you had ranks=level. The downside here is that the first 20 you roll on any trained skill check has to be rerolled and take the lower. Good if you need to set up a disguise or prepare for a clutch bluff check or similar eventuality.

The fifth item, the Voice Encoder, is a cybernetic throat implant that lets you use a nonmagical(!) Command or Suggestion effect tied to a spoken phrase in common. You have to preprogram a specific Command/Suggestion out of combat and with a fixed phrase, so no improvising on the fly, but this is an amazing way to try to influence people without getting caught. No spell residue, and you said "sure is warm today," not "kill your boss," if people are trying to figure out why the made a saving through or acted erratically.

The sixth and final bonkers item is the Time Ripper, a ship augmentation. For the expensive but totally worth it cost of 35 BP and 50 PCU, your engineer can attempt a difficult check to capture temporal energy and charge your Time Ripper when entering or exiting the drift. There's a 25% chance of something unfortunate happening to your crew, ship, or gear every time you use it whether you're successful or not.

And what do you get for all this cost, risk, and difficulty to capture a single charge of temporal energy? A ship's engineer can release it during the engineering phase of starship combat, with no further check needed, to GIVE EVERY OTHER CREW MEMBER THAT ROUND AN EXTRA ACTION IN THEIR ROLE AND THEY CAN TAKE THE SAME ACTION TWICE. Your pilot can do two different stunts with full movement on each. Your gunner can do two different broadsides using the same weapons against the same target (twelve antimatter missiles in one round on one target will do a lot of harm, if you build that way). The captain can try twice at an inspiring speech. And so on.

Obviously this stuff isn't just freely available because it was printed in this book. But it's all cool and not all horribly overpowered (and even the stuff that is comes with downsides, at least), so maybe your GM will work with you if you make him aware of it.

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From Near Space in the Damai options.

Enshrouding Gloom paradigm shift wrote:

As a standard action, you can target a creature within 100 feet and plunge it into darkness. This creates an area of magical darkness that affects only the targeted creature and occupies its space. This darkness does not affect the creature’s visibility to other creatures, nor its ability to attempt Stealth checks to hide. The darkness overcomes all nonmagical light and is itself overcome by any magical light source.

At 8th level, each time the creature takes an action that lets it move while the darkness persists, it must succeed at a Reflex saving throw or the area of darkness moves with it. Once the creature has failed a saving throw and the darkness has moved with it, the darkness remains stationary for the remaining duration of this effect.

I don't understand the second paragraph. Do you have to save each time you take a move action, or does a single failure obsolete this? And what does "the darkness remains stationary" mean? It remains in your square and doesn't follow you anymore? It remains stationary with respect to the target forever, notwithstanding the "each time you move you save" language?

Something went wrong in editing here, enough that I can't really guess as to a plausible intent. Anyone have a suggestion?

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Could they reliable fire a pistol to kill the victim with one shot?

"What do we know so far?"

"Well, the killer had to be an operative at least 12 levels higher than the victim and he used a small arm of an equivalent item level."

Animus Mine spell, Gods & Magic wrote:

You implant a mental mine within your

psyche that detonates against anyone attempting to manipulate your thoughts. You can use a single action, which has the concentrate trait, to suppress the effects of the mine for 1 round to allow someone to safely use a mental effect on you. You can Dismiss the spell.
The first creature that uses a mental effect against you triggers the animus mine, causing the spell to end. The animus mine deals 4d8 mental damage to
the triggering creature, which must attempt a Will save.
Critical Success The creature is unaffected.
Success The creature takes half damage.
Failure The creature takes full damage and
is stunned 1.
Critical Failure The creature takes double damage and is stunned 1. You are unaffected by the triggering mental effect.
Heightened (+1) The damage increases by 2d8.

Lie, Demoralize, Coerce, Make and Impression, Feint, Request, and maybe a couple of other things are skill uses with the mental trait. Are they "mental effects" that would trigger your head blowing up if you lie to, yell at, or flirt with someone?

Effects, CRB 453 wrote:

Anything you do in the game has an effect. Many of these outcomes are easy to adjudicate during the game. If you tell the GM that you draw your sword, no check is needed, and the result is that your character is now holding a sword. Other times, the specific effect requires more detailed rules governing how your choice is resolved. Many spells, magic items, and feats create specific effects, and your character will be subject to effects caused by monsters, hazards, the environment, and other characters.

While a check might determine the overall impact or strength of an effect, a check is not always part of creating an effect. Casting a fly spell on yourself creates an effect that allows you to soar through the air, but casting the spell does not require a check. Conversely, using the Intimidate skill to Demoralize a foe does require a check, and your result on that check determines the effect’s outcome.

Alas, that seems to settle it, use of Intimidate skill to demoralize (which has the mental trait) does result in an effect, so it seems like it would be a "mental effect" for purposes of Animus Mine, as would Lie, Feint, and all the rest.

I can't think this was intended, but I'm not sure how to get out of the box or what language change would fix it.

The link to add a pdf of the Bestiary is missing from the 2e Bestiary product page. Are you expecting a shipment of bytes soon?

Mental Mark wrote:
When an enemy fails a Will save against one of your technomancer spells, it takes a –2 penalty to saving throws and AC for 1 round. When an enemy succeeds at a Will save against one of your technomancer spells, it takes a –1 penalty to saving throws against your spells for 1 round. A creature can take only one penalty from a mental mark at a time.

Note that it specifies "a save" not "the" save or the first save. So for spells that can lead to additional saves on subsequent rounds, this can be a somewhat lasting debuff on top of those spell effects.

So far I can only find three spells this interaction applies to, but that may grow.

1. (Mass) Baleful Polymorph (1-6/4-6): forces at least a few saves regardless of success/failure, and if they keep making their saves (after the first failure) it can go on indefinitely. Definitely the strongest one to combo with (and it imposes its own penalties to AC and reflex saves) but has a 1 round casting time.

2. Inject Nanobots (2): Not good. Requires first a touch attack then a fort save to be failed before you get to subsequent round will saves. As soon as it makes one of those the spell ends.

3. Mental Block (3): Medium range, multitarget, the only downside is that subsequent saves do end the effect. Compare to Slow at the same level, which is one and done. This is pretty good synergy if you can't afford the spell level or casting time of Mass Baleful Polymorph.

After three Alien Archives and plenty of APs it occurred to me we might have a decent enough stable of outsiders to see what Planar Binding can get you these days.

I assume given the level discrepancies between what you can summon and what you are fighting they aren't of any use in direct combat (certainly not for more than one fight), so you're after messengers, guards, scouts, or spells. As far as I can tell, there is no restriction in Starfinder to prevent teleportation or cost (credits or resolve) spells being used by summoned creatures. If I'm wrong, let me know!

I've omitted outsiders who have no meaningful special abilities or who have a restriction like no speech/language (looking at you, juvenile solar wisp) that prevent them from being useful with the abilities they do have. I've also omitted drift native outsiders, since they shouldn't be summonable with interplanar magic.

Here's what's in the Alien Archives 1-3. I may do some APs later.

PLANAR BINDING 4TH (CR 4 and below)

Elemental, Tiny/Small/Medium (AA 46): Suitable as a long term scout or guard perhaps.

Velstrac, Anchorite (AA2 128): It's a low level combatant with a gaze attack (DC 13, shaken 1 round), no meaningful powers. But it does have telepathy and regeneration, so it can serve as a creepy translator, punching bag that is very unlikely to be killed (or, as a velstrac, object to being hurt as part of its service), and sometimes debuff enemies before you cast a spell on them.

PLANAR BINDING 5TH (CR 7 and below)

Angel, Barrachius (AA 12): This has 3/day microbot assaults and 1/day arcing surge plus 100 ft flight, makes a decent scout and support in combat if you convince/hire one to follow you on a mission or series of missions. 1/day interplanetary teleport (self only) also allows you to send messages, maybe, if you can wait a day for a response.

Devil, Warmonger (AA2 36): At will teleport plus 5 bulk gear, put your part in null-space chambers and have it carry you. But that risk of a miss is going to be high, since you're presumably just showing it pictures or mindlinks of where you want to go. This also has a whole lot of immunities (fire plus construct stuff) if you somehow can exploit that without it getting killed by damage.

Elemental, Large/Huge (AA 46): Too big to be convenient following you around all the time, too weak to be of much use for long in a combat.

Hound of Tindalos (AA3 52): I doubt your GM will count them as a legit summon option, but if they do you have a 1/day slow/haste, and plenty of dimensional anchor, fog cloud, and invisibility to make them useful as they tag along. Learn Aklo.

PLANAR BINDING 6TH (CR 10 and below)

Aeon, Tekhoinos (AA2 6): At will invisibility, stealth skill, perfect flight - it's a long term scout. Also has self only plane shift, maybe it can be a messenger in somewhat contrived plot circumstances. Offensively, you could ask it to dive into a mob and activate its synaptic pulse uses, maybe it'll get lucky and stun one or two enemies. Finally, it has some strong recall knowledge checks if you want a portable library following you around.

Azata, Tritidair (AA2 14): Starlight Form gives it inexhaustible instant travel in a solar system, or to other systems on drift travel timelines. So you can summon one as a messenger if you need long distance help. Also has 3/day lesser restoration and some minor mystic cures, as well as 1/day remove affliction with a weak CL, but it might get lucky.

Elemental, Greater (AA 46): Too big to be convenient following you around all the time, too weak to be of much use for long in a combat.

Inevitable, Anhamut (AA 66): Interplanetary Teleport 1/day (self plus 50 lbs). It's a LN inevitable bound by your agreement, put your party in some Null-Space Chambers and have it carry you wherever you want to go in the solar system. Good for Mystics who can't learn that spell.

The biohacker Immunology and Toxicology inhibitors (-2 to Fort saves and Sickened condition, respectively) have added two reliable debuffs for trying to make poisons viable. A studious biohacker can combine them both with Spark of Ingenuity, or two biohackers can double team. Combined with demoralize (which is increasingly easy with all the feat and item support) from a biohacker or a party member, it's not too hard to plan for inflicting a -6 to Fort saves on a tough enemy before loading him up with poison. (And consider the Malediction weapon fusion at higher levels to cast bestow curse as a reaction for another -4.)

And after you, possibly with support from the party, have heavily debuffed the enemies fort save, you don't have to be the only one shooting them with cheap poisons. The COM needler rifle and the COM/Armory injection pistols do very respectable damage in their categories, making it entirely reasonable for a soldier or operative to be attacking 3-4 times to support dumping a lot of poisons saves on a debuffed foe.

Does this make poisons practical? Yes to kind of maybe?

Injury Poisons

The following are ranked by cost. The first three come from COM, so you know they were thinking about this. We're looking for cheap, decent DC, preferably 2 cures for save, and preferably constitution track.

Amblaree, Level 2, 175cr
Type poison (injury); Save Fortitude DC 13
Track Wisdom (special); Frequency 1/round for 3 rounds
Effect Progression track is Weakened—Impaired—Blinded; no end state. When at the blinded stage, the victim gains the blinded condition.
Cure 1 save

Turbocurarine, Level 3, 260cr
Type poison (injury); Save Fortitude DC 14
Track Dexterity (special); Frequency 1/round for 4 rounds
Effect Progression track is Sluggish—Stiffened—Staggered—Immobile; no end state. Immobile victims can continue to attempt a saving throw each round as a full-round action to revert to stiffened.
Cure 1 save

Biocide, Level 4, 340cr
Type poison (injury); Save Fortitude DC 11
Track Constitution; Frequency 1/round for 4 rounds
Effect Select one living creature subtype when crafting biocide.
Creatures of that subtype take a –4 penalty to saving throws against the poison, and the frequency is extended for 2 rounds.
Cure 2 saves

Mindhaze, Level 7, 1000cr
Type poison (injury); Save Fortitude DC 17
Track Wisdom; Frequency 1/round for 4 rounds
Effect Upon reaching the weakened state, the victim can’t use telepathy or limited telepathy for 1d4 hours. Subsequent failed saving throws don’t extend
this duration.
Cure 1 save

Blue Whinnis, Level 8, 1400cr
Type poison (injury); Save Fortitude DC 14
Track Constitution (special); Frequency 1/round for 2 rounds
Effect progression track is Healthy—Weakened—Unconscious;
no end state.
Cure 1 save

Circuit Melter, Level 12, 8000cr
Type poison (injury); Save Fortitude DC 19
Track Strength; Frequency 1/round for 6 rounds
Effect This acidic poison is specifically formulated to also be effective against constructs.
Cure 2 consecutive saves

Docilant, Level 15, 20250cr
Type poison (injury); Save Fortitude DC 21
Track Charisma; Frequency 1/round for 6 rounds
Effect At the impaired state, the penalties from the weakened state become permanent until the victim benefits from a restoration spell.
Cure 2 consecutive saves

Strychnine, Level 18, 188000cr
Type poison (injury); Save Fortitude DC 20
Track Dexterity (special); Frequency 1/round for 4 rounds
Effect Progression track is Healthy—Stiffened—Immobile—Dead.
Cure 2 consecutive saves

Deathblade, Level 20, 132500cr
Type poison (injury); Save Fortitude DC 20
Track Constitution; Frequency 1/round for 6 rounds
Cure 2 consecutive saves

Biocide is the standout, provided you match it to the right subtype. Not too difficult in some scenarios (e.g. drow on Apostae, laushunta in a Castrovelan city), but Turbocurarine is an acceptable general purpose poison if you're planning to hit them several times and force them down the track even if they only ever fail one consecutive save.

Monster Comparisons

Let's see the odds of some monsters vs these low level poisons.

CR7 Aeon Guard Specialist, Fort +9
What's more natural than human opponents when you're up against the Azlanti Empire? Load up on that biocide. Debuff this fellow with shaken/sicken/-2 Fort and he's got an effective +3 against an effective DC 15, for a 55% chance to fail. Two or three hits and he's very likely to be really hurting, and this is well within the means of a lower level party.

CR 10 Void Hag, Fort +9
She's down to a +3 if you land all the debuffs, a 50% chance to fail against Turbocurarine, even a 35% chance against mismatched biocide. RIP, hag lady, if you focus fire her with a couple of characters.

CR 10 Stridermander Tyrant, Fort +12 (+2 vs poison).
It has the skittermander subtype, so you can craft a custom biocide, although it's not likely you would, certainly not in bulk. And it's got a decent Fort plus a specific poison resistance. But if you stack sicken/shaken/-2 fort on it you bring its save down to +8 vs poison, or a 25% chance to fail against Turbocurarine. The first stage of dex poison is a nasty debuff, so it's potentially still worth trying it at this cost and level. At least you get an extra 4 points of damage per hit.

CR 18 Contemplative Mentor, Fort +15
A full -6 debuff gets you only a 20% chance of turbocuraire succeeding on each hit, but at this level the cost is negligible so you should can be firing it indiscriminately at anything that isn't a high Fort bruiser. I include this one because its mental defenses are insanely high, showing that Starfinder is maturing to give save targeting abilities worth using to non-spellcasters. A biohacker build who focuses on fort save abilities (poisons, tranq dart theorem) and fort debuffs can pull some stuff off with preparation and a little luck against the right foes.

Final Notes

Get the Potency weapon fusion on your injection weapons for a +1 DC to those poisons.

Get the Conserving weapon fusion to save both your biohacks and your expensive poisons on a miss. Makes full attacking much less nerve wracking.

If your biohacker or an ally is a reliable demoralizer, consider skipping the sicken inhibitor from Toxicology and just investing in a cruel fusion, but that's starting to be a lot of weapon fusions and introduces another potential failure point and duration issue to screw up your debuff chain.

Don't forget you can administer a poison and a biohack at the same time, you don't have to wait, although depending on how much poison you can afford and how your GM handles order of operations on debuffs and saves you may want to.

The high level poisons are mostly awful for their cost that doesn't justify the boost to DC and the 2 save cures, but I do wonder if the Circuit Melter is potentially worth stocking a couple of doses for use against tough constructs. Definitely have a conserving fusion, though.

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The latest AP has some great rules options in the Psychic magic chapter. Let's review.

Drug - Synaptic Sugar: Adds a +2 to mind-affecting spell DCs, will saves, and mind-affecting spell caster checks! When you use a mind-affecting effect, DC 15 will save or be confused for one round. Only 500 credits, this is a great late game for mystics who rely on mind-affecting and can pass the save reliably.

Mystic Connection - Shaper: Six associated deities (Ibra gets his third connection), connection skills chosen from several options (computers, engineering, life science, physical science, mysticism, or a crafting profession). The spells are a couple of the new ectoplasmic attack spells in this same chapter, slow, grease, rapid repair, and make whole. Ah, the connection powers!

1st Matter Field - get 3xlevel rounds per day of a free force field of an item level equal or lower than your mystic level. Doesn't come into its own until level 6/8 (and technically the first force field is level 3 so this shouldn't work when you get it), but quite nice at later levels.

3rd Matter Sense - Blindsense (vibration) 30' and the blindfight feat.

6th Shape Matter - This is my favorite connection power ever. You can craft in the field without any tools or worshop, and it only takes 10 minutes, not 4 hours. (With 5 extra ranks 1 minute, and 10 extra ranks a full round action!!!) You can craft using either UPBs or converting found things at 10% value. Charged items like batteries and magic items need to be charged or wait a day, but serums and other consumables work immediately. This is crazy good.

9th Apportation - Teleport items of bulk 2 or less to/from your hand as long as the destination or origination point is within 500'. I can think of some tricks with this.

12th Phasing - As a move action you can walk through walls, take allies with you (it burns lots of rounds of duration), and you get some modest defensive abilities while phasing. At level 12 you can burn 1 RP to phase four others who are within 30' of you, so this is a great escape or infiltration tool for an entire party.

15th Molecular Wall - 2/day Wall of Force that costs 1 RP. It's fine, I guess, but I could see trading this away.

18th Translocation - 1/day either spend 1 RP to use Interplanetary Teleport, or 2 RP to cast Plane Shift.

Technomancer Magic Hacks

2nd level

Aura Reading: Standard action scan gives an insight bonus to identify creatures/objects, plus one extra bit of information about them. Scan an injured person or damaged object for an insight bonus to medicine/repair checks. Nah, unless you really like getting lots of information on identify checks more than you like attacking things that are nearly in your face.

Psylore: Add your techlore insight bonus to Sense Motive. This is flavor for a Sherlock Holmes techno who isn't a mystic for some reason.

8th level

Spell Static: Extend the Spell Countermeasures hack (2nd level, CRB, +2 to saves against magic) to all allies within 30'. Costs 1 RP and a standard action, but lasts round/level. I'd check and see if it stacks with the spell bane feat and your ally's feat choices before building towards this, though.

11th level

Mind Virus: Anyone who hits you with a mind-affecting effect must also make save. On a failure, nauseated for 1d4 rounds. On a success, sickened for 1 round. I like this. Come at me, mind bending bro!


They're good!

1 Akashic Download - +4 bonus to recall knowledge out of combat. All casters have access.

6 Akashic Revival - One hour cast to save a backup of yourself that pops up if you die. Very nice, mystic and witchwarper only.

6 Bilocation - Create a second body for rounds/level. One body gets full actions, the other gets a standard or move, you both have full gear but share ammo/consumables, and you can't cast two spells in a round. Techno/witchwarper, this could be fun on a techno who has a big heavy blast, automatic, or explode weapon and wants to fire it twice per turn without any penalties. The duration is too short and the abilities too limited for it to be very efficient for other uses, I think.

1-6 Ectoplasmic Barrage: Attack two creatures in short range against KAC. Knockdown critical effect, and at 5th/6th level they are automatically entangled when hit. I don't think the damage is enough to aggressively beat a longarms build given the limitations on high level slots, but the entangle might be worth at at high levels. Note that you attack with Dex, never your key attribute. Mystic/Witchwarper.

4 Ectoplasmic Eruption: Weak AOE damage, plus entangled for rounds/level on a failed reflex save. Also debuffs incorporeal creatures. Mystic/Witchwarper.

2 Ectoplasmic Snare: Ranged attack against EAC, then they get a save. Save, they're entangled. Fail, they're grappled, take some damage every round, and you can move them 15' every round. Concentration duration, but this is pretty good. Mystic/Witchwarper.

2 Ego Whip: -2 to mental score checks, will saves, and spell DCs, plus staggered. Rounds per level, but even if they save they suffer the effects for one round! A 2nd level slot for a guaranteed 1 round stagger and -2 to will saves is not bad at all, hoping for 4 rounds is just icing. Mystic/Witchwarper.

3 Etheric Shards: This bonkers PF1 Psychic spell comes to Starfinder. Huge area, long duration, slows creatures (and stacks with difficult terrain), inflicts minor damage and stacking bleed. Look for abilities to force movement through the shards, like, say, an Ectoplasmic Snare to drag someone around 15' per turn and keep stacking on an extra 3 bleed per round. All casters.

3 Id Insinuation: 1+ creatures are confused, and have to roll twice and you pick the result on the confusion table. Only short range and concentration+1 duration keep this from being straight better than Confusion in most circumstances. Mystic/Witchwarper.

3 Intellect Fortress: Reaction spell, protects everything within 20' for one round against mind-affecting. They take half damage against damaging spells, and completely negate emotion/fear effects on a save even if there would be partial effect. Not sure it's worth a spell known unless you're getting mind-thrusted or feared regularly. Mystic/Techno.

Theme - Esper:

1st: +1 Cha, Mysticism class skill, -5 DC to all checks to identify creatures/opponents with any psychic or magical abilities. That's...pretty good.

6th: Limited Telepathy 30', or add 30' range if you already have it. That's...pretty good.

12th: Blindsense (hostile thought) 30' (anyone with hostile thoughts, not just aimed at you, so you can see allies in combat, too). That's...pretty good, extremely so if your GM applies it in social situations where people are about to start combat.

18th: Recover resolve 1/day by reviewing a battle plan with a team member, recover 1/day by carrying out such a plan successfully. Not a gimme, not too hard.


Adaptive Casting Feat, COM pg 112 wrote:
Select three spells from class spell lists you can cast spells from. They must be at least 1 level lower than the highest spell level you can cast. Once per day, you can cast one of these spells as a spell-like ability. Each time you gain a caster level, you can change which three spells you have selected with this feat.
Spell-Like Abilities, CRB pg 262 wrote:

If a spell requires an expenditure of credits or Resolve Points as part of its casting, a creature that can cast the spell as a spell-like ability does not need to pay such costs. Creatures with spell-like abilities that can be made permanent still must pay any costs and take

the listed amount of time to do so.

The most commonly used credit costing spells, of course, are instantaneous and would be free. That includes Animate Dead, Reincarnation, and Raise Dead.

The "can be made permanent" spells are things like Implant Data and Planar Barrier.

Creating undead armies just became feasible for 13th level Technomancers/Mystics, and elite special forces or mercenaries can keep their guys around through high risk missions relatively cheaply if they've got a 16th level Mystic/Witchwarper on staff. It's a real shame that Terraform is 6th level and can't qualify for this feat, it's such a cool yet entirely useless spell.

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Infinite Worlds wrote:
You can instead create multiple, milder effects in place of a single, more powerful effect. When you do this, you select two effects available to any version of this ability created by expending a lower-level spell slot than that you actually expend. For calculations based on spell level, use the level of the spell slot you expend.

I saw it suggested on the Discord yesterday that you can apply the same damaging effect twice by using a higher level slot, since the second sentence above doesn't say the two effects must be different.

I think this is self evidently insane and not intended. Let's consider this choice.

4th (Instantaneous): You create a burst of damage affecting everything in the area. You select the type of damage each time you use this ability (acid, bludgeoning, cold, electricity, fire, piercing, slashing, or sonic), and it deals 2d6 damage per level of the spell expended (Reflex half).

To me, the intent clearly seems to be that if you spend a 5th level spell, you do 10d6 damage. But if we accept that you can apply the same effect twice, you actually do 20d6 - you apply the fourth level effect x 2, and each is based on the level you actually expended. That's more average damage (70) than the 5th level technomancer spell Leach Heat (58.5), albeit in a smaller AOE (but at range and not requiring a spell known or a single damage type).

Note that even if your GM disallows doubling effects, like a sane person, a PC should never use a 5th or 6th level just to do damage - you can always add a second effect different effect without sacrificing damage.

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Is the biohacker dip the new Soldier dip, except on the Soldier?

Consider: a one level dip gets you nine(!) new class skills, your choice of Int/Wis to base several of those skills on, a +1 insight bonus to two skills of your choice if you go instinctive, a +1 will bonus if you go studious. And 1+Int or Wis biohacks between every 10 minute rest, plus one field of study (sickened or energy vulnerability is no joke when you don't want the basic -2 to AC). You do lose a point of BAB.

If you go to 2nd level you get your point of BAB back when shooting injection weapons (note the injection rifle is just as damaging as the standard projectile longarms, just with less range and eventually ammo) and one theorem. Hampering Inhibitor is probably the obvious choice, but Painful Injection and Treat Condition work without biohacker levels.

I could also see this on an Envoy who wants to boost his debuffing rather than just direct damage with a Soldier dip.

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There are a bunch! Some are good! Some are really, really bad.


Calculate Trajectory: As a move action, forgo your spell attack roll to instead have it make a Reflex negates saving throw. The math on this is complex and depends on your target, your character build, and whether your party is helping you debuff AC (flat-footed) or saves (sicken/shaken).


Direct Denial of Shapechanging: Amazingly pointlessly niche! Are you often casting Baleful Polymorph on Reptoids, Oni, Emotivores, Aztrazoans, or some shapechanger subtype published in the back of an AP? (If so, why?) Then this is the hack for you.

I respect the hustle to publish something like this that is theoretically possible to be of use but practically insane to choose.

Magic Trajectories: For tech blast, line, and explode weapons you can as a move action grant your or an adjacent ally's weapon the ability to exclude some targets for 5 rounds. It also supposedly applies to powered melee weapons, but, uh, have you considered just not attacking targets you wish to exclude? (Help me out to think why this would ever be relevant.)

I could see a build using that plasma damage blast longarm or a line weapon to shoot at things from the back row without worrying about my allies or toast groups surrounding my party with an explode weapon. Especially good for a heavy explode weapons build, as you're not going to benefit from the Empower Weapon hack at this same level very much. Just get a 20' radius high level explode weapon, run into crowds or let them swarm the entire party, and shoot it at your feet. Limited one use per 10 minute rest, though.


Adaptable Spell Knowledge: Insanely powerful! Choose three new spells known up to your max level. They aren't on your list of spells known, but you can take a move action to put one on there for 1 minute. Spend 1 RP for subsequent uses. A great way to expand your top level spell flexibility with utility stuff that you don't need to spam every day.

Cache Concentration: Do you realize how powerful Microbot Swarm is, but hate spending your standard actions maintaining it? Spend 1 RP and let your cache capacitor maintain it for you. I'm not sure what other good concentration duration spells there are for the Technomancer, but there may be others. Doesn't work if you took the Cache Augmentation or Hack Capacitor alternate class features that replace cache capacitor, maybe works if you took Cache Hacks and modified cache capacitor, ask your GM.

Not stellar, but I can see some feasible/cool builds around this if you're allowed to use the Hack Capacitor.

Energy Alteration: Full round casting time to alter the damage on the spell you're casting to any kinetic or energy type. Avoid immunity, exploit vulnerability. Note that this works on stuff like Magic Missile and Disintegrate if you stumble across something with an energy vulnerability at that level. Can also spend 1 RP to not increase your casting time.

A must for dedicated blasters who took Harmful Spells at 2nd. You're picking your offensive spells for the range/duration/shape characteristics at this point and not worrying about damage types anymore.

Glitch Step: Whoa! A fantastic mobility enhancer. As part of a withdraw action or a move action to move your speed, expend a spell slot for one of several benefits. (1) Ignore 20-60' of difficult terrain, depending on the level of spell slot. (2) Move 10/20/30' (depending on spell level) that only consumes 5' of your movement speed and doesn't provoke attacks of opportunity. (3) Pass through 1/5/10' (spell slot, natch) of doors/walls as part of your movement as if you were incorporeal.

This is stupid good if you can afford the slots to fuel it as your get out of jail (walk away from AoO then dimension door at high levels) or wall hack ability. Combine with X-ray vision to see what's on the other side of the door/wall you're about to step through. Obsoletes the Flash Teleport 8th level hack unless you really prefer those limits in return for RP expenditure rather than spell slots.

Shadow Grenade: Burn a spell slot and a standard action to duplicate a grenade in your possession and throw it. Two drawbacks: (1) The spell level must equal half the grenade's item level, which scaled poorly at higher levels where you're throwing underleveled grenades (a 6th level slot for an item level 12 grenade at character level 16 is no bargain), and (2) a successful save negates all damage/effects.

This is worse than the 8th level hack Fabricate Explosives, except that one requires a full action and can only be used once per 10 minute rest. But if you want a grenademancer, maybe take both. Unlike Fabricate Explosives, Shadow Grenade probably benefits from the two grenade DC increasing feats in COM.


Brain Hacker: Insane in the artificial membrane.

Drone Summoner: Give some weak feats or utility mechanic drone options to a single robot you summon with Summon Creature. No interaction with the junkbot line of spells.

There are way too many great 8th level hacks for me to pick this personally, but it could go with a robot summoning gimmick, especially with the Holographic Artist's Cache for a permanent/refreshable low level summon.

Extend Runtime: Either cast from a higher level slot or spend 1 RP to make 10 min/level spells on yourself last 24 hours. You can have more than one extended at a time. Applicable spells are: Comprehend Languages, Detect Radiation, Disguise Self, Flight 4, See Invisibility, Spider Climb, Resistant Armor (Lesser, Greater), and Tongues.

If you have the slots/RP to spare, I can see having See Invisibility, Tongues, and one of the resistance spells up all day being useful, and Flight 4 saves you the expense of Force Soles Mk2 and the leg speed augmentations if you're willing to forgo full attacks from the air and live a little dangerously for your high speed 3D mobility needs.

Translocational Recall: Create as a standard action a beacon to leave somewhere, as a swift action teleport back to it if you're within levelx10 feet. Better than Flash Teleport on range, not having an RP cost, being able to go through walls to escape, and action economy in combat, but requires preparation and leaving your beacon somewhere an enemy won't interfere with it successfully.

Good for a technomancer NPC villain you want to have an escape route, a solid choice for PC scouts or paranoids who constantly create a beacon to leave behind them in rooms already cleared/secured. Spam it constantly, always have an escape ready to an adjacent or more distant room. I like this one.


Still the best level to dip down and take a good 8th or even 5th level hack you missed. But there is one really solid option.

Diminish Spell Runtime: Touch range make a Mysticism check to try to cut the duration of a spell effect in half. Uh, or I could use the 5th level Magic Negation hack to suppress it for sure, or try to dispel it? No.

Reactive Counter: As a reaction, cast dispel magic or greater dispel magic to counter a spell you're aware of, no ready action required. Quite nice as a defensive option against enemy spellcasters.

FYI, the Armory line of Injector Pistols are often better than the Needler Pistols introduced in COM. The Injector Pistols' ranges scale from 40-80 (longer than the 70 range on all injector rifles), and their ammo capacity from 10-20 darts (14 on longarm injector rifles). The COM Needler Pistols all have range 40 and ammo 8. The high levels the Needler Pistol variant usually comes in one item level higher and has a bit more damage than the Injector Pistol option just below it, but the range and especially the ammo capacity make that marginal unless you're trying to squeeze every bit of DPR out of your weapon for short, close-range fights.

Note that the 20 round Injector Pistols can take that Armory manufacture upgrade for more ammo capacity to get 24 in a magazine, which is quite nice.

The drow injector pistols from Pact Worlds are entirely obsolete compared to both of these, and the original injector pistol from the CRB has been replaced by a better model in COM.

For longarms the injector options in COM are the only game in town, especially if you want damage. But ironically the best injector pistols beat them on range and ammo.

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There is no rule other than common sense to say you can't load more than one substance in a dart before firing it out of an injection weapon. There's also no rule supporting it, so I don't think anyone has tried to push it past their GM.


Biohacks wrote:
You can deliver any biohack you create with any attack from an injection weapon.

An attack with an injection weapon that already has a poison, serum, or medicinal in the dart or injection reservoir is "any" attack from an injection weapon.

1. Can you do this?
2. If you can, what is the order of operations for resolving effects, such as when your inhibitor lowers saves and the shot also includes a poison?
3. If you combine a booster with a serum or medicinal, can you still autohit an ally?

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Anyone have any archetypes they like in this book? I think some of them are one of cool, situationally powerful, or fill interesting niches for some classes that can't ordinarily do things like that.

Battleflower and Esotericist

Both are noteworthy for having some useful/powerful abilities that you can pick ala carte and not commit to the entire chain. Melee and spellcaster attacks should take a look at the one appropriate to their class/build.

Espionage Specialist

Good flavor for a Shadowrun style campaign.

2nd: Bluff, Disguise, and Stealth as class skills are particularly useful to Technos and Mechanics trying to add social/physical infiltration to their tech skills or Soldiers and Vanguards stretching out, and the double roll to these skills (unlimited per day with RP expenditure) is useful to everyone, both non-charisma dabblers who want to be reliable and specialists who want to be almost perfect.

Lots of archetypes give two class skills, but I think this is the first to give three, and the reroll is a lot more powerful skill boost than I can recall for similar features.

9th: A full round action cover identify complete with credentials and some infosphere backup is nice, and the Computers check to replace your disguise roll is very nice indeed for hacker operatives, technomancers, studious biohackers, and mechanics who aren't fully funding their disguise skill ranks and/or charisma modifier. Also saves player time having to describe and set up elaborate cover stories as part of play.

12th: The bonus feats are all fine, but I like Fast Talker for getting a surprise round on a guard when bluff or negotiation fails and a party member has to pull a gun.

The d8 bonus damage on all attacks on flat-footed is very nice, much better than the disappoinging Divine Blessing for Lao Shu Po worshippers. I forsee an infiltrator/assassin biohacker build who uses his medicinals to inflict flat-footed and enjoy this damage that is better than the the Painful Injection theorem.

Information Fixer

Great flavor for a Shadowrun style campaign, but unlike the Espionage Agent your GM is going to have to build around it to make its abilities really work, they aren't generally portable to standard AP-style social challenges that will come up.

Free Trader

Another one for a Shadowrun campaign (or straight smuggling), this is notable in that it only costs you your 2nd level ability, and the three skill rerolls per day can be more generally applicable to normal campaigns for things like recalling info on corporations or negotiating services/goods purchases.


Skill fu option if you're not an operative, but only in one skill. An operative could still benefit from some of this, though.

9th: Twice per day you can take 10 even when you normally can't. If you can take 10 (via this ability) or 20 (normally), you can instead or also expend a use to reduce the DC by 5! This stacks with one other DC reducing effect, like your theme! You get an additional daily use 12th and 18th.

So. Consider taking this on an Intimidate build to reduce the DC and/or take 10 to ensure you land that shakened effect (as a move action) before casting your spell. Or do it with Bluff and the Deadly Boast feat to reduce an entire encounter's saves by -2 against a named spell the next round. Like to hack really difficult computers or try for root access? A reduction to the DC will help, and you can ordinarily take 10 anyway or use many of the skill reroll options. And so on.

12th: Aid Another faster. If you take the usual time, you instead give a +4 bonus. At 18th both fast and normal bonuses rise by an additional +2.

18th: Take 20 twice per day even if you normally can't. I'm a little vague about how the language regarding hazards like computer countermeasures works here, anyone else understand what this means?


2nd: Lots. What PCs care about is that healing to HP spills over to SP once they hit their maximum.

9th: Lots. (1) Add level in addition to Int when you Treat Deadly wounds and beat the DC by 5. (2) If you treat disease/poison and the patient still fails their save, you can spend 1 RP to ignore the failure and not advance on the track. (3) You can treat non-fatal endstates for poison/disease and allow an additional saving throw to recover.

18th: Raise dead, but most better if you're quick. Treat a dead character within 1 minute of death for 1 minute and they're alive again. The single negative level goes away after 24 hours.

Power Armor Jockey

This one really takes off at level 12+ with the strength boosts and eventually damage mitigation, but it can make a really dangerous (extra +1-3 to your PA strength bonus?!) and tough character.


Only trade 6th level for a very flexible 1/day all day gear boost. You can choose to buy additional uses at 12th and 18th. You can reduce the usage of armor/ugrades with usage values higher than 1 (I can only thin of 1-2 upgrades off hand, but it may grow), get all day spell resistance, get a free stackable Spell Penetration feat, bump a hybrid/tech item's level (might get you a DC bump at odd levels), and walk through all doors and walls up to 5' thick all day stand out to me as particularly useful.

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What are people's thoughts on their favorite fields of study? You get three out of five, so it's important to decide which you want as well as which to prioritize, as the second and third come at 7th and 13th level, respectively.


Booster: 60 minutes of blindsense or Blind Fight feat is pretty great. This is literally the only booster of any kind that last more than key attribute rounds.

Inhibitor: Impose an energy vulnerability, remove an immunity, or reduce energy resistance (but fixed and your basic inhibitor eventually scales higher at 17th level). Also great for focusing down a tough enemy if your party has a shared energy type that is rarely resisted. Studious biohackers should use Spark of Ingenuity to combine this with the -2 AC basic inhibitor.

Breakthrough: Suppress all ability damage/drain, for an impressive duration at higher levels. You don't need this often, but when you do it'll be huge. Not very easy (possible?) to replicate outside of a Mystic who knows the right spells.

Assessment: This is pretty much a must have, everything is useful. A contender for my first or second pick on every biohacker. Although I can also see focusing on toxicology (see below) and letting this one pass if my party doesn't want to coordinate energy to burn things down.


Booster: +2 enhancement to Fortitude seems great at lower levels, but the very short duration means it's eating up a round in combat, and might be obsolete once most of the party has a Ring of Resistance or Black Heart. There are certainly situations where I'd use a standard action to give an ally a 10% boost on fortitude saves for the remainder of the combat, but lots of those are poisons where a biohacker has other options.

Inhibitor: Impose a -2 to Fortitude saves. Strong as a set up for an ally spell or your own Tranq Dart, Superserum, or poison attack, but much more limited than the Sicken effect of the Toxicology field of study (see below). But if you're studious it's a hell of a combo with that inhibitor to place both via Spark of Ingenuity for an effective -4.

Breakthrough: Allows someone to ignore the effects of the highest disease stage for a good duration. COM gave lots of boosts to avoiding disease, but this is still a good final insurance policy.

Assessment: Everything is solid, but nothing is great in comparison to other options. I'd consider taking this as a second or third option on a studious biohacker who wanted to combo the Inhibitor with toxicology's.


Booster: Allow an ally to ignore confused/staggered effects. You will definitely be happy to spend a standard action to strip one of these away from an ally mid-combat, it will more than pay for itself if they're suffering a multiround effect.

Inhibitor: Impose a -2 to will saves. You have zero abilities that rely on a will saving throw, so this is purely useful to caster allies, mostly Mystics and Witchwarpers. If you're in a party with one and studious, consider this for the combo with toxicology for the -4 to will saves.

Breakthrough: Grants a +4 enhancement to mind affecting for 1 minute. Duration is not meaningfully longer than the immunology fort booster for most purposes, but it is stronger and being a breakthrough means that while you only have one available it doesn't compete with biohack uses. But what you're really here for is the option to grant a new save with a +2 bonus to someone currently suffering a mind-affecting effect. Getting rid of that dominate, suggestion, or hold person effect can be a life saver.

Assessment: A great booster and breakthrough when faced with mental attacks (note that all the COM classes and the mechanic are the weak will save classes) and a good inhibitor if you're playing with a spellcaster. Probably not my first field of study, but a decent second or third choice.


Booster: Immunity to or end bleed effects. Meh. Particularly marginal if you are studious and have the medicinals theorem to get coagulants (which you really should), even if those come with some penalties. But it's there if you want the rest of the package.

Inhibitor: Inflict encumbered, and fort save or become entangled. Encumbered is a nothing condition on NPCs unless your GM makes up an AC penalty to apply, and the save makes entangled less of an issue. If it lands it's good, though.

Breakthrough: It's the neurochemistry booster, but instead of mind-affecting it boosts saves against or gives a reroll on pain, sicken, and nausea effects. Less important effects, but the bonus does scale. Note that an intuitive biohacker can already remove sickened with his Spark of Ingenuity and the 2nd level Treat Condition theorem does as well. It's ok? Nauseated is certainly a bad condition when it comes up, but 8th level Improved Treat Condition takes care of that.

Assessment: This is my least favorite field of study that I would never take. Bleed isn't that bad of a condition (and coagulants downsides are ok if I really need to stop a bleed), encumbered is useless and entangled is too uncertain, and the breakthrough is too easy to replace with the wider capability of the treat condition line of theorems.


Booster: Natural attackers take a -2 penalty to hit you. Poison effect. This is stronger than the +1 AC booster if your melee dude is mixing it up with some animals trying to bite or claw him. I don't love booster as a class, but this is one of the better ones.

Inhibitor: Inflict the sickened condition. -2 to attacks, all saves, all skill/ability checks, and damage. This is by far the best inhibitor, held back only by the poison tag.

Breakthrough: This suppresses a poison's highest stage the way immunology's breakthrough suppresses a poison, although naturally for less duration. This is going to be more urgent and more frequently needed in combat than disease mitigation, making this an excellent breakthrough.

Assessment: This gives genetics competition for best field of study, everything else is second tier. At the same time, I wouldn't necessarily take both. Toxicology combined with both Immunology and Neurochemistry is very strong for condition mitigation and allows you with studious Spark of Ingenuity to inflict a -4 to Fort or Will. If you're a spellcaster save or lose heavy party instead of blasters and energy shooters that might be best. And relying on this inhibitor as your bread and butter and not worrying about genetics one is very defensible, too.

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