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Goblinworks Executive Founder. Organized Play Member. 8,863 posts (8,873 including aliases). No reviews. No lists. No wishlists. 3 aliases.


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An airplane cannot pivot in one space while flying (maybe planes can while taking off or landing but not while flying at speed). Doing so would probably rip them apart (depending on their speed).

For an airplane to turn, or a bird, some forward progress is required while it turns. A rule like only turning 45 degrees for every X squares forward would be sensible. The faster it goes, the larger X is.

Helicopters can rotate much more easily but again, that's only really possible while hovering, not while moving forward at speed. Same rule, 45 degrees for every X squares.

Really, anything with on set of wings (fixed, flapping, rotating) must not be able to turn in place unless it's also capable of hovering. So, perhaps, allowing greater rotation when successfully hovering would be sensible.

Drones with multiple sets of tiltable wings (rotors) have much greater maneuverability and no longer depend on "front" or "forward" while moving at speed. For drones, X could be so small that it's possibly 0.

None of which is in the rules.

But if I had to resolve ambiguity of a rule, I would try to make that rule conform to common sense or real physics. The 45 degree rule doesn't permit nor restrict making multiple turns in a single square. But both common sense and physics tell me what I need to know: only if hovering, not if moving forward.

Applying that to Starfinder, which has rules for hovering, which themselves also connect to rules for flight maneuverability, I can extrapolate some possible common-sense rules to cover this.

Unfortunately, those are all house-rules because Starfinder rules don't do an adequate job of covering all this. Given how many pages this game and all other RPGs devote to moving and positioning and terrain and obstacles and what can and cannot be done during such moves, this seems to be a fairly important topic - not one to be "Oh, well, they covered some of it and each GM should decide on how to play it."

It would be nice if we got better rules for flying. Rules simulate sensible physics for turning and hovering. Rules that allow creatures and machines with innate flying ability to actually fight and use skills sensibly.

For now, we have what's there.

Claxon wrote:
Samantha DeWinter wrote:

Fascinating discussion... and a huge headache. It doesn't seem that there's much disagreement at this point on what RAW actually IS. Just grumping about what it should be.

I'm just gonna houserule that full attacks don't burn your swift and sidestep the whole mess.

I think it would be wiser to rule that with a successful fly check you can hover as a free action.

This has less broad affects on the game, and fixes the part that you have trouble with.

It's probably less wise to remove swift actions use from full attacks, as they will more broadly impact the game.

If we're going to step away from rules and into house-rules, this is a good idea.

There are a lot of non-flying cases where swift actions conflict with full attacks or other full round actions, and broadly removing this conflict may have unintended consequences.

Claxon's suggestion keeps the fix limited to just fixing the flying/full action problem without all those other consequences.

In Pathfinder, being able to fly meant that most encounters couldn't hurt you. You were out of reach. Sure, there are flying encounters in the Bestiaries, of course, but there are more non-flying encounters. So a flying wizard is out of melee dangers, puts up a windwall or entropy shield or protection from arrows, etc., and now archers can't do much. He's very hard to kill.

Of course, I did that to the players as often as they did it to me.

Maybe I can call that balance, but balancing "heavily advantaged" vs. "other heavily advantaged in a different encounter" isn't really balance.

In Starfinder, EVERYBODY has ranged attacks and I haven't see too much that negates them. So being able to fly can defeat a few Alien Archive enemies but, unlike Pathfinder, these are a minority of encounters.

I don't see how a system that worked for a decade in Pathfinder that gave advantage in most encounters needs to be changed to a silly "attack and fall" mechanic to prevent advantage in a minority of Starfinder encounters.

I won't defend the system just because I like it, or just because I play it, or just because the developers wrote it.

I needs to make sense for me to defend it.

The Starfinder "fight-and-fall or land-and-fight" mechanic is silly. Under these rules, a manticore cannot even fire a barrage of tail spikes. Or a million other examples.

It doesn't solve a real problem. It just creates new ones.

Not a good mechanic.

I do like this game and we've played it since release and continue to play it. But I can't defend this rule.

I'd like to see it changed. Even if that is only to add feats to make hovering and full attacking become possible for things that should obviously be able to do it.

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Nerdy Canuck wrote:
Ixal wrote:
Nerdy Canuck wrote:

There is a difference between rules literacy and rules mastery. If you think players can be reasonably expected to know about this expectation because they chose a race with a fly speed, we've apparently been playing at very different tables.

Imo players can be expected to look up "Flying" under additional movement modes of the movement chapter when thy have a fly speed.

How much simpler can it get?

You're not just expecting that they read a block. You're expecting that they accurately mentally cross-reference multiple blocks in very different areas of the text with the combined meaning hinging upon single words.

That's actually a pretty high bar.


Don't forget, part of choosing a character is understanding ALL of them so you can make the right choice. That's a lot of rules to know before rolling your first character.

My table has 6 people who are all intelligent, mature, experienced gamers. Despite that, none of us managed to initially cross-reference the idea of no full attacks in the air before we created characters.

Maybe we glossed past that stuff because we had Pathfinder experience and didn't catch the difference there.

Or maybe we just suck.

Maybe we suck so bad that we're actually atypical and everybody else simply reads the rulebook cover to cover, remembers it all, makes mental cross-checks to figure out all the rules interactions, and reads a few thousand forum posts to fill in any gaps, all before they make a character.

We didn't do that, or maybe we just didn't do it as well as everybody else, and we discovered things like this later in the game after we'd played for a few levels.

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Funny thing about games like this. You can re-skin and re-flavor each and every rule in the book. Call it what you want. Describe it however you like. As long as you don't change the mechanics, the actual numbers, the game will behave exactly the same.

But now you have put your personal spin on things. Made it yours. Integrated your imagination with the game system.

Hopefully, if you're doing it well, you've made the game more appealing to you and your gaming group.

So go for it. Make your barathu armor out of crushed snails layered together with the failed dreams of your ancestors. Or whatever you like. Then give it the stats of an actual suit of armor in the book and enjoy game with your own personal flavor.

The following is my take on this. I don't think I can cite any rules to support anything I say below. Some of it is logical (like not making the portal two-way, or how gasses work), the rest is just assumption.

Ebon Hawk wrote:
- how does the rift looks like? Stargate like event horizon or black hole like black space?

I don't know that this is mandated by the rules. So it's up to you. Me, I assume it's like looking through a door at lightless space. So dark, that stuff floating in space won't be illuminated. If you're holding a light, you might see some stuff near the door illuminated by your light, but other stuff may not be.

Ebon Hawk wrote:

- air enters on its own, but does not seem to exit on its own, does it mean the pressure inside builds up? or is it equalised?

No. Air is a gas. As such, it only expands to fill an area if that area has lower pressure. Therefore pressure cannot build up unless you're forcing air into it with some kind of pump. Therefore, opening the portal allows air from your side to enter the null space only if the null-space has lower pressure.

If you're asking whether the portal is a one-way opening so that stuff, even air, can ONLY flow one way, that's another point that is not clarified. I assume it is a two-way portal, kind-of like opening a refrigerator. If you tip it upside down while it's open, stuff can fall out. If you put a living creature in there and leave the portal open, they can step out whenever they want. Gasses like air can flow both ways, from high pressure to low.

That is clearly an assumption, but if you assume the opposite point, that it's a one-way portal with limited air, you get shenanigans where PCs try to win encounters by trapping enemies in the null-space and letting them suffocate - either by trickery or by forcing them into it. I prefer to nip that in the bud by assuming the portal is two-way and it cannot be closed while any part of the creature (or object) is sticking out of it, or while you're sticking your arms into it to hold that creature down, which makes it hard to put conscious unwilling enemies fully into the null space.

Ebon Hawk wrote:

- if the air enters, is the process of interaction similar to Stargate, that is once you touch the surface you are "sucked in"?,

Probably not. I still think of it like a dark refrigerator, except with no shelves and no gravity - everything is just jumbled in there, floating around. You can reach in and reach out, step in and step out.

Ebon Hawk wrote:

- is there a gravity inside?

No. Null-space must be null-gravity or else the space would need to contain a source of gravity (which would mean the space is not actually NULL after all).

Ebon Hawk wrote:

- are objects inside visible to an observer located inside?

Only if the observer brings a light source. If he did, then he can see the stuff. He can even interact with that stuff to use it or take it. If somebody outside opens the portal and shines a light into it then stuff will be visible.

It's logical to assume light works in null-space because air works in null-space (the rules account for living creatures being able to breathe the limited air inside it). If air molecules work, then photon particles should too. Probably. Also, if a creature can interact with air, then he can interact with the other stuff in there.

Ebon Hawk wrote:

- are objects inside visible to an outside observer (this would depend on what the rift looks like)?

Assuming you have available light, but like any other pile of stuff, you might not see everything at once. This pile is mostly floating in zero-G but still, only the front floaters are visible. Stuff in the back might be hard to see through all the floating clutter.

Ebon Hawk wrote:

- if you use Null Space somewhere where atmosphere is corrosive or contaminated do you need to purge it afterwards?

Probably. If you open it in a vacuum, all gas inside comes out. (Probably - see above about two-way portal). Then if you open it in an acidic atmosphere, that acidic gas flows in. Now if you store stuff in it, yeah, that acid is still there and it might corrode the stuff.

Arguably, one property of null-space might be that things in it don't interact with other things, but if that's true, then a creature put into it can't breathe any air and would suffocate immediately. The rules contradict this, so that means stuff inside interacts with the atmosphere inside so an acidic atmosphere can corrode stuff in the null-space.

Ebon Hawk wrote:

- the readout catalogues what is inside, to what extend? particles count? objects? objects known to it? objects by bulk/dimensions?

Up to you. I would assume it's not a readout of particles because that would make the readout inconceivably long and useless. I assume the readout is meaningful or there is no point in providing one, so listing "23 bulk 1 items, 7 bulk 2 items, etc." is useless.

But it might list things like:
1 tactical knife
2 fragmentation grenades
1 Dalmatian dog
17 cubic feet of breathable air

Ebon Hawk wrote:
- you can "call out" object from it, so is this where "magic" kicks and ejects it?, why can you not simply reach inside and take it out yourself?

I think you can do both. But larger null-spaces might require you to have very long arms or you would need to walk into it. You could reach in and get things near the open portal but you cannot easily see what's floating at the back of the space unless the space is nearly empty, and you might not be able to easily reach that stuff anyway.

Using the magic to call anything that is listed, or even known to you so you don't need to read the list, is much more convenient.

Rules Questions answer: divide it like all other XP rewards. This is easily confirmed by adding all the XP rewards in the whole book and dividing it, then comparing with the adventure guidelines that say what level the PCs should be at the end of the book. Try it the other way, no dividing all story rewards, and you'll see that their level is too high.

The rest of this isn't a "Rules Questions" kind of answer, but it may help some GMs.

Years ago, while playing Pathfinder and other related games, my group all decided to stop tracking XP. I simply tell them when it's time to level up.

Everybody loves it.

I've gone through different groups, adding and replacing players as needed, and they all love it.

It's important as a GM to get the timing right on it. Level too slowly and they feel punished, too quickly and they feel rushed. Usually my cue is to notice when they start asking about how soon they'll level. That makes it easy enough.

Another cue is the adventure itself, especially if you're buying a pre-made adventure like Dead Suns. For one thing, as mentioned above, the adventure tells you what level they should be at the start and end of each book. For another, at any given point in Dead Suns, you can see that most encounters are the same CR as other encounters in the same location. Sure, bosses can be higher, but the majority are all the same CR. When you see that the next area all has encounters that are 1 CR higher than the current area, that tells you when to level them up.

It is so much easier to do it this way. I love it. My players love it. You never have to worry about them skipping an area and falling behind in XP - in fact, they might be encouraged to do so by the simple fact that it's expedient. The whole adventure just seems so much more unrestricted when the actions and rewards are not linked to a numerical scoring system.

Give it a try and see how it goes - but of course, discuss it with your players first and get them to buy into the idea. It should be a shared decision for your whole group.

Hawk Kriegsman wrote:



As for the ship "creating" them automatically; where is this stated in the rulebook?

It's not explicitly stated in those words.

However, tracking ammo for these weapons is very different than tracking bullets for a kinetic projectile firearm (e.g. most sniper rifles):

a) We have rules for the price of bullets.
b) PCs need to buy bullets before they leave town (etc.) to make sure they have ammo on their adventure.
c) PCs need to track their bullets and cannot use their weapon when they have no bullets.

None of this exists for ships missiles (tracking weapons). The only rule we have is that after a number of shots (five for the ones I've used), there is a reload time that must be observed.

We could assume that the ship has a bunch of missiles or torpedoes that the PCs pre-purchased and stored in their ship somewhere, but there are no prices for such things and no rules for it.

So the assumption is that the weapon has infinite ammo but needs reload and recharge.

I suppose an alternative assumption is that each time we go to a space port we reload our supply of these ordinances and it costs nothing (just like upgrading the ship costs nothing), but even that assumption would need more rules to support it. Rules like:

a) How many missiles do we actually have on hand?
b) How many times can we reload before we actually run out of supply and cannot reload at all without visiting another space port?
c) What happens if we dismantle a missile and carry it around to open doors or blow up our enemies?

If if someone held a gun to my head and made me choose between kinetic or energy, I would say force is kinetic. It doesn't damage by discharging energy into the target; it damages by slicing or piercing or impacting something solid into their flesh.

Sure, that solid is generated by an energy field or by magic, but it's still solid at the time it damages the flesh.

That sounds an awful lot like kinetic damage.

Of course, that's not how the rules are written and currently DR doesn't apply to force damage. But I hold that it's a reasonable argument, in my mind anyway, to lean away from calling it energy or trying to apply any kind of ER to it.

Also note that while force damage seems to be its own category with no applicable resistance, it is also usually dished out in smaller amounts (most energy spells do more damage, roll more or bigger dice, than force spells of the same level, etc.). So it seems the devs offset the unpreventable nature of force damage by making it generally do less damage in the first place.

Nice info, Hawk.

There is a glaring issue with that. Remember that the ship "creates" these torpedoes automatically. The US Navy must buy their torpedoes in advance and stockpile a supply of them on each ship that uses them. PCs are not required to do this at all.

The problem is that this results in an infinite supply of these torpedoes on the PC's starship.

The minute I tell my players that they have an infinite supply of weapons that cost 3.8 million credits each, they will happily open shop and start selling them. Even at the game's staggering 1/10 selling penalty, they can still unload theoretically infinite torpedoes for 380,000 credits.

If I tell them "No, because every other ship has an infinite supply too." their inevitable response is "Infinite supply equals zero demand. Zero demand equals zero value. Zero value does not equal 3,800,000 credits, it equals zero credits."

Which means pirates won't take them and ship owners won't frown on wasting a zero-value infinite resource, etc.

Or my PCs just become overnight millionaires.

But I do like the weight limitations, as well as the difficulty of trying to sneak around with that big heavy thing hidden from police and other officials and from their enemies too.

DM_Blake wrote:
That would make it hard to gain access to the warhead if there never is a warhead until the weapon is fired.

But then, of course, it's Turtles All The Way Down.

As soon as I tell the PCs that the weapon is spontaneously generated at the moment it is fired, my PCs would immediately want to take the entire weapon on their planetside adventures.

And when I say that's too big, they'll say they don't really need the aiming, launching, and frame of the weapon. They only need the tiny little bit of the weapon that actually generates the warhead. They'll be more than happy to scrap their ship's weapon (or that of some other ship parked nearby in the hanger) to remove that component and take it with them, spontaneously generating armed warheads all over the ensuing adventure.

And when I say that the range would be zero without the firing mechanism, they'll offer to reprogram the unit with a simple computers check to include a delay so they can reach minimum safe distance prior to detonation.

And when I say that this takes a lot of power, they'll gleefully patch into the various power sources found throughout the adventure with a simple engineering check.

Etc. And so on. Ad infinitum.

Until I just say no.

(Or until I say OK, and watch them gleefully blow up encounter after encounter, until they encounter an enemy who brings his own cannibalized and modified ship's weapon to the fight and then proceeds to win initiative.)

All of this discussion assumes there is a fully functional missile sitting there, waiting for the PCs to dismantle it cannibalize it and trivialize their encounters with its ordinance.


The ship's weapon is never "loaded" at all. It sits there, empty, until it's fired. Firing the ship's weapon causes the missile to be instantly created with its explosive payload already armed and set to detonate at a designated target.

Sort of a Schrodinger's Missile - it only exists at the moment it's fired.

That would make it hard to gain access to the warhead if there never is a warhead until the weapon is fired.

Ascalaphus wrote:
Yeah so you guys are basically in agreement with me that it's too burdensome to do it by the book. You're saying that's not such a problem because you don't do it by the book.

I didn't say that.

I specifically said that the rules could (and probably should) be streamlined so this wouldn't be necessary.

I think what Hammerjack meant to say is:

"No, because Mirror Image does not create any Concealment. Instead, it creates illusions that look like you so your attackers have a hard time knowing which one is really you, while Targeting Computer only assists you by eliminating the normal Miss Chance for Concealment."

I could easily envision this game taking a Star Trek approach.

It would almost eliminate the need for skills, most of the time. After all, that's why Captain Kirk (with an "i", not a "u") had a crew of 430 people. All of them were experts in a field. If he needed a biologist there was one on his crew. If he needed an archaeologist, there was one on his crew. If he needed a diplomat, he was the one - that was his primary field of expertise (though he was a bit of a "superman" character who seemed to be an expert at just about everything).

But sure. Hop on board your Constitution class starship and explore the Vast, to seek out new life and new civilizations, and to boldly go where noone has gone before. Bring you crew of highly skilled experts, including a bunch of soldiers (a.k.a. "security red shirts") and off you go. Each Saturday you and your group of friends can violate the Prime Directive and, of course, take their stuff.

Claxon wrote:
If PCs can only purchase large size ships, how are you ever supposed to deal with the largest class of ships? Will you ever even encounter those as part of an AP? If not why even bother to write them up and give them rules. Just make them a hazard to avoid.

They are hazards and need to be avoided.

I know of one that is statted in one AP. They players have stuff to do that involves that ship, but they don't get to own it and they are not encouraged to fight it.

Why is it statted up then? Despite not fighting it, they do need to fly near it. Some shots may be fired. Not all the shots may be fired at the little PC ship, but a couple hits will definitely get their attention!

I personally like having stats for stuff even if the PCs won't engage it in any way that requires me to use all those stats.

Besides, who knows, some GM might happily let their PCs get control of a capital ship and crew and fight a battle. Maybe a bit like Luke, Han and Chewie taking over the bridge of a star destroyer for a while and using it to cause destruction to other nearby destroyers. Could be fun!

yukongil wrote:
DM_Blake wrote:
a bunch of stuff
you know all those wants directly conflict with your last point? You can't give more options and expect things to take less time. Does. Not. Compute.

Actually, it computes just fine if you think about.

Combats are too long now. As in, they require too many minutes of real life time to resolve them.

The main reason is that damage can be ignored for a long time. At first, it only affects a shield. So we rotate our facing to present an undamaged field.

Then, we restore some shield strength and/or re-balance shield points from strong shields to weak ones.

We keep rotating our best shield toward the enemy.

If any damage gets through, it's just a few HP of damage. If a system gets damaged, we patch it.

Eventually, after quite a few rounds, our shields are so battered on all sides that we finally start taking hull damage consistently now.

But, even so, we keep working on those shields so we always have some shield reducing the incoming damage, and we're patching any glitching systems.

Finally, by the end of the battle, our shields are pretty close to 0 and our hull reaches 0 and we're disabled.

This is happening on the enemy ship too. Whoever wins that looooong war of attrition is the victor.

Some of the things I suggested, like shields not preventing all damage and like not being able to fiddle with the shields as much and like not always getting to choose our facing all time will mean reaching 0 hull points much faster.

Fewer rounds. Fewer minutes of real life time.

The other suggestions I made were to get additional players involved with the game rather than spending the whole long battle on their cell phones. Giving them more to do will, obviously, add minutes to the battle, but I also suggested that the things they do should MATTER far more than they do now. Some examples included providing firing solutions to do extra damage or disable enemy systems. Those kinds of things would actually shorten the battle too.

So, yeah, it all does compute just fine.

Other than that, it looks like your responses and my points are headed in similar directions.


I prefer Starfinder COMBAT to be medium sized ships like Millennium Falcon, Serenity, Prometheus, or Rocinante. Some of these are bigger than others but they all function well with a handful of crew.

I prefer that a medium ship can wipe out a small flight of fighters, like the Millennium Falcon vs. those 4 TIE Fighters, but will always lose to larger flights of fighters (like what SHOULD have happened if the Death Star sent 50 fighters instead of 4 - assuming they weren't tracking the Falcon and preferred to just destroy it).

I prefer that a medium ship will ALWAYS run from a capital ship because it's just too outgunned - even if it does have ordinance that can defeat a capital ship (see my previous post), it also knows that the price is way too high to risk it - assuming running is an option.

I prefer that building turrets and maximum guns is not the easy "I WIN" button for all ship designs. Other systems like engines, power, non-turret weapons, shields, armor, etc., need to be viable options so that ships BP spent on these things are still useful.

I prefer each crew member to be useful with real things to do. Things that matter. Decisions to make and options that actually affect the combat more than just giving a buff or adding a few points to a shield. Watching the pilot and gunner take up 90% of the 90-minute battle while the captain, science officer, and engineer play on their cell phones and roll a few dice for that other 10% is not ideal.

I prefer combat not be in short rounds where each PC can only do one thing. Pilot, scan, shoot, etc. Make each round represent a longer amount of time. Let people who aren't flying or shooting make multiple checks to help the pilots and gunners as well as do other things too.

I prefer the battle to not be win/lose based on the piloting/initiative check. Nothing matters nearly as much as that one check. Nothing is even close.

I prefer to use smaller numbers of hexes. Ships don't need to move 12 hexes, guns don't need ranges of 20 hexes. I don't have hex mats big enough for that. Nobody does. Let's have ships move something like 4 hexes each turn with a bonus or penalty for good or bad pilot checks. Gun ranges adjusted accordingly. Etc. Let's try to fit this battle into a big hex map instead of needing to lay out 9 of them like a tic-tac-toe board on the floor.


Ideally, I want a fight to be like this:

1. PCs detect an incoming ship. They scan it. Good sensors and computers can make this scanning more successful. High success can mean permanent bonuses during the fight so it's worthwhile to invest in these systems and have a PC with a good skill for it.

2. Raise shields. They should not be always-on. Somebody needs to divert power and maintain the shields. Having shields up should reduce the ship's firepower. Bolstering the shields to deflect damage should reduce firepower even more. Risking a high-firepower-low-shields fight should be a risk.

3. Pilot. No pilot should have to complete his entire move without seeing at least part of the other pilots' moves. Initiative should matter. Pilot skill should determine move order and maybe number of hexes moved. But each pilot should move 1/4 of their ship's full move, then the next pilot, then the next, until we get back to the top where the first pilot moves another 1/4, etc. This way no one ship gets fully screwed by having to go first while the enemy ship gets a game-winning advantage because they made that one piloting check the best.

4. Gunnery. Always important, but really, no ship should just be a giant turret with engines. Choosing which weapon to fire, and how much power we want to draw from shields, and maybe even finding firing solutions to deliberately disable things like engines, or enemy turrets, should be part of this job. Firing solutions might come from other crew members so they can be part of the gunnery, even if they are not gunners.

5. Captains should matter. Not in the stupid Star Trek way where nobody defends the ship, fires the guns, or does any of their job expertise before the captain tells them to, even AFTER the fight has started (I love the shows but they have some really dumb ideas about bridge crews in combat). But in a better way that could be modeled by meaningful buffs to different crew members rather than the tiny insignificant ones (my PCs don't even bother with a captain). One easy way to do this is to make everything else really matter so when the captain buffs a crew member, that buff matters because the crew member matters.

6. Everyone else. Make engineers really need to fix things - have shields only partially deflect damage and have ship systems actually get impacted and need immediate repairs. Make science officers really need to constantly scan so they can bolster the right shields against the right kind of attack type or predict the enemy pilot's maneuvers or find the firing solution to disable an enemy system.

7. And do all this while shortening the combat. I don't need 10 rounds of moving, positioning, firing, shield-balancing, other checks. The easiest way to do this would be:
a) Shields are harder to balance. Shield damage is harder to restore. It doesn't need to take 6 hits to finally get through shields because the enemy keeps re-balancing and restoring them.
b) Shields only partially absorb damage. Even if we keep those shields up, systems are failing from all the damage that keeps getting through with all those hits.

Maybe that way the combat would only take 4-6 rounds instead to 10-12.

I personally believe even a small number of fighters should be able to carry enough firepower to disable a capital ship. If they can't, then they shouldn't be deployed to fight capital ships - no pilot wants to die needlessly on a suicide mission that cannot succeed, and no commander would order them to die for nothing.

The only reason to deploy fighter craft against a capital ship is if the fighters are actually capable of disabling it. Further, the number of fighters I have in my fleet should be sufficient to disable any ship I send them against (if it takes 20 fighters to have a real chance, then I MUST have 20 and use all 20 or I will use ZERO instead).

The USS Hornet was destroyed beyond salvation by 6 hits from Japanese fighters plus two fighters crashing into her (the crashes did less damage than the bombs and torpedoes). She was fully disabled with no power and no ability to move, no ability to fight, and couldn't even land or launch her aircraft.

On the other hand, these 6 fighters were not the only ones to attack the Hornet; she was attacked by more than 30 fighters. Many of them spent their payloads without scoring any hits and more than a dozen Japanese fighters were shot down in that battle by the guns of the Hornet or her escorts. So the attacking fighters paid a heavy price to sink the Hornet, but in the end, only 6 hits took her out.

That seems like a reasonable number for Starfinder too. Or around that number, anyway.

Note: They didn't actually sink the Hornet but they did thoroughly disable her. She was being towed back for repairs by another ship when the Japanese fleet got too close, so she was scuttled deliberately to keep her from being captured.

Note: I'm defining "fighters" as small one-man or two-man craft. I know that the "fighters" that disabled the Hornet were actually dive-bombers and torpedo planes that carried ordinance designed to destroy capital ships. They were not actual "fighters" by earthly definition of the term, but they were (basically) the same size and shape and crew-size as other "fighters", the main difference being that they carried bombs and torpedoes rather than carrying weapons designed to shoot down other fighters. By Starfinder designations, they would all just be "fighters" with different weapon configurations.

Ascalaphus wrote:
yukongil wrote:
Ascalaphus wrote:

I think the NPC side of ship combat is needlessly complex - why is the GM simulating a whole crew with captain encouraging other crew members and all that? Monsters are simplified and use other rules than PC building; why would NPC starships be built exactly the same way as PCs?

Rather I'd like to see NPC ships being designed in such a way that a GM can easily without a lot of bookkeeping run a swarm of them. That would probably mean weedwhacking at NPC officer roles, shield quadrants, and critical hits to things like NPC sensors - all kinds of bookkeeping you don't want when running 5 enemy ships.

I've never encountered this problem and like I've previously mentioned, I've only run large multi-ship combats (biggest so far were 15 enemy swarm fighters). The crews are built off of the NPC charts, so I assume all that stuff is taken into account, as no 2nd Tier PC ship has a +12 gunnery check

So suppose I had five NPC ships (not just single person fighters). That would mean:

* Five captains rolling to see if they assist 5 other people in their ship.
* Five ships that could each be taunted by the PCs once for 1d4 rounds.
* Five captains that could each taunt the PCs once for 1d4 rounds. That could be different roles on the ship being taunted for different time spans simultaneously.
* Five pilots rolling initiative.
* Five pilots succeeding or failing to Evade.
* Five engineers diverting power to things.
* Five science officers fiddling with shields or target-locking.
* 5x4 shield ratings to track.
* 5 sets of hull points to track
* 5 ships that can each have critical hits in 4 main ship sections and 4 weapon acts in 3 degrees of severity.
* 5 ships each expending limited fire weapons at different amounts per turn

That's quite an increase in bookkeeping. I wouldn't want to run that. The lack of abstraction makes it unattractive to have the PCs fight against multiple proper ships just because it's too much fuss for the GM to track.

You could keep track of all that. If you're a rules lawyer, you should keep track of all that.

Me, in the one multi-ship battle I've run, I already abstracted a bunch of that stuff.

I did roll initiative separately. It's too important not to. I made assumptions about captain assists or science officer fiddling with shields or other crew skills - mostly I just assumed they made the rolls because the PCs almost never fail so I figure the NPCs should be similar. Then I treated it like a permanent buff unless in some round I felt they should change that to a different buff. I combined shield and hull into an abstract single number and treated shield balancing like I treat regeneration in a Pathfinder game. Critical hits I treated like any other debuff and removed the debuff after a round or two (assuming a crew member fixed it).

My players had no idea I did that. They thought I actually was tracking all that stuff and they were suitably impressed that I kept it all straight without slowing the game.

Saved me all kinds of headache, kept the game running smoothly, and the player experience was unchanged, so it was a win/win/win.

On a side note:

If a GM can abstract 2/3 of a complex system with no outward indication that he's doing that, then the system is probably overly-complex in the first place - it suggests that the actual game could have the rules rewritten to abstract all of that in the first place.

I agree with previous posters that PCs who aren't flying or shooting need more to do. Sure, they have stuff to do, but it has little or no impact and feels like busy-work. "Here, lemme roll this die to give you a small bonus to your roll. I'm done."

I also agree that it's far, FAR too easy to optimize a flying death ray of doom that can wipe out every ship in the APs, but yet the APs never include a ship encounter with even remotely the same level of optimization. We might not even want that much NPC optimization - could be too easy to disable/destroy the PCs' ship too often. Which means we probably need to restrict the opportunity for massive over-optimization. Raise the cost of turrets and guns compared to the cost of other systems. Make it advantageous, or better yet on par, to add things like armor, shields, computers, scanners, engines, drift engines, etc.

Balance those things and combat might be much more interesting, especially with AP under-optimized ships.

To put that last post into context of this thread, we haven't encountered even one ship in the Dead Suns AP where the enemy pilot was even close to the PC pilot. The PCs win about 70-80% of the initiative rolls, only failing when their pilot rolls badly and the enemy simultaneously rolls well.

Which means the PCs are routinely blowing away the enemy's weakest shield and then hull points while the enemy is frantically trying to rebalance shields each round, just to stay alive.

I think the "I go last so you lose" system is bad. It puts way too much advantage on the best piloting skill.

I would prefer to alternate moves: Lowest initiative moves one hex, next ship moves one hex, next ship moves one hex, etc. Might be slower, but just about anything has to be better than having the fastest ship always shooting the enemy's weakest shield while keeping its best shield toward the enemy.

There's probably a reason we don't handle personal combat that way in Pathfinder or Starfinder. Imagine characters having facing in combat and armor can be damaged and broken but only in one facing at a time, and then the elf always hits the orc in the weakest armor while keeping his own best armor facing the orc...

Probably gives the most advantage to ships with the fastest engines, but that might be reasonably fair. That's like giving a personal combat advantage to the character with the item that gives him Haste - if you invest in the item, it should be beneficial. (Note: my PCs often choose not to fly their full speed - they only need enough to get a firing solution to the enemy's weakest shield anyway.)

Piloting would still be useful, especially if we made more interesting maneuvers for pilots and more reason to use them.

If it's too slow, then let them each move 1/3 or 1/4 of their total hexes on their turn for 3 or 4 turns.

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breithauptclan wrote:

For well built systems, the designers should have learned the lessons of Therac-25 and would have hardware interlocks that prevent hackers from venting atmosphere - even with root access.

For cut-rate budget systems though...

Greetings, fellow QA Engineer!

thecursor wrote:
He's correct with one added detail: You'd want to make "root access" or even "admin level" access a higher computers roll than "user level".

It already is a higher roll. +20 to the DC to gain root access. So to hack a user workstation might be DC 15 but to get root access from that station is DC 35.

As for other safeguards, it's very plausible that the system to shut off the air and suffocate people on the ship is not even accessible from any general workstation. Maybe that's a separate system that can only be accessed from a special terminal which has additional physical defenses (turrets, locked doors, mechanical traps, etc.) or software defenses (countermeasures that are not on the main computer network).

It's almost certain that self-destruct terminals cannot be accessed by your average disgruntled crewman from his own workstation with a good hacking skill.

Assuming you're on a ship or station or whatever, and the designer did put these kinds of system on the general network, he's probably hoping that the root access to them is so hard that nobody hacks them. But he probably also put additional firewalls or other countermeasures including alarms, security response robots, fake shells, etc., all in place to keep you out and/or slow you down until security can come to arrest you.

A better way might just be to find the guy, usually the captain (or whatever his "boss" title might be) and get his access card and password - then you don't even need root access and you won't trip any alarms because he has been granted full security access to that module. Suffocate to your heart's content!

My players modified the Sunrise Maiden to have two turrets with the best guns they can mount. They keep upgrading those turret-mounted guns as they level up the ship. Other systems like engines and shields are still fairly low. They quickly destroy all enemies in the AP. Piloting doesn't matter much because they can aim everywhere and balance their shields, but their pilot usually wins initiative so they rarely get hit in the same shield twice - that's why they can afford to have weak shields.

Even so, it still seems to take an hour or two and most of the players spend that time looking at their cell phones rather than at the Starfinder game.

In book 5, I added extra copies of the enemy ships just to challenge them and I finally managed to inflict hull point damage on them before they won, and half of the challenge was that their gunner rolled a ridiculous number of terrible attack rolls. It was the only time that space combat even woke them up and got their eyes off their cell phones for a few minutes, but it also extended the fight to well over two hours.

I'm not a fan of how most players have so little to do. "I balance the shields. Rolled a 21. Done." 5 or 6 times in a 90 minute battle is not at all engaging.

I'm not a fan of how easy it is to "game the system". Have turrets? Yay, auto-win. Don't have turrets? Bummer, I sure hope your enemy is just a clueless or else, boo, auto-lose. Or, have a very high pilot skill? Yay, auto win. Else, boo...

Have both? OK, let's save ourselves 90 minutes or so and I'll narrate: "It's a short battle, over in just a minute or two of your characters' lives. A few heavy salvos from your turrets disable all the enemy ships who never really had a chance with their poorly designed ships (no turret weapons) and their poorly-trained pilots."

I'm not a fan of how it's all-or-nothing. I don't dare try too hard to win (which hasn't mattered as the fights have never even been close, even with me trying). Especially when they got out far away from the pact worlds. No help in sight, better win the fight. Sure, I can save them if they lose, but they'll know I saved them. Maybe once or twice I could get away with it (enemy doesn't blow them up but boards them and now they capture the enemy ship, or they escape to a nearby planet and find and repair a derelict ship, or whatever). Too often and it's just silly/obvious. How many times did Kirk or Picard lose their ship? A couple, which was actually cool, but only a tiny fraction of their encounters.

I'm not a fan of how the players are encouraged to blow up or ignore the enemy ships (try to rescue/salvage/board and that's when really bad things happen like self-destruct, for example) but then in one fight in one AP, a fairly significant amount of treasure can only be had by boarding - my players blew it all up without even trying.

I'm not a fan of how the whole thing seems to be reduced down to, "If you're close enough to fight, you too close to run away, so now it's a fight to the death." My villains can't escape, the PCs couldn't escape if they needed to. By the time it's going so badly that a ship decides to run away, it takes too many rounds to actually break off combat - they'll certainly be destroyed before they escape. That may also be true for ground combat, but at least enemies have lairs with traps, secret doors, hidden allies just down the hall, or any number of other diversion and distraction that help them get away, none of which work very well in space. Or they can just teleport out or use lots of other magic to break off and escape, none of which seems plausible in space.

None of my players are fans of it either. I guarantee if I ask them "OK, space combat time. Want to just skip it?" that they would unanimously agree, instantly, without reservation. They are definitely enjoying the campaigns and their characters are having fun exploring worlds and fighting bad guys on the ground, but nobody is having fun in space.

SuperBidi wrote:
Space is not square, space is a bunch of squares.


I'll give you a counter source:

Starfinder Wiki, Combat Basics wrote:
Combat normally takes place on a battle map with a grid of 1-inch squares, each representing a 5-foot-by-5-foot area, with miniature figures representing characters and monsters. Most player characters and many monsters occupy a single 5-foot square, though some bigger creatures occupy multiple squares. The space a character occupies is usually referred to as her square, though the terms “space” and “square” can be used interchangeably. See Size and Space for more information.

That should end the whole debate right there. "Space" and "Square" are considered interchangeable by the developers. "Space" and "Threatened Area" are not considered interchangeable.

SuperBidi wrote:
It's the meaning of the word in english,

Actually, it's not. Not according to Merriam or OED. I can't find "a bunch of squares" listed as the definition of space in any English dictionary I checked.

SuperBidi wrote:
and there is nowhere in the rules where they say that space is not space but square.

I disagree, and so do the Starfinder developers. See the quote above.

SuperBidi wrote:
There is no ambiguity, space = area, not square.

You're half-right. There is no ambiguity if you consider all the rulebook. However, "Space" = "Square", not area.

But there is ambiguity in the Tumble rule because the developers did use their words interchangeably when they probably should not have.

I'm still sure that my edited version of the Tumble rules in my previous post is the clear RAI (and RAW when considering the rulebook quote in this post) for Tumbling.

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Actually, it's fairly clear that here, in the quoted Tumble rules, "space" = "square".


"You can also tumble directly through an opponent’s space; the DC is 20 + 1-1/2 × the opponent’s CR. If you fail this check, you stop moving adjacent to your opponent and provoke an attack of opportunity."

An opponent's "space" is NOT the entire area that he threatens unless he's Tiny or smaller. An opponent's "space" is the square or square's he occupies.

Further, the Alien Archive stat blocks are pretty clear on the use of "Space":

"Space and Reach: The creature’s space and reach are noted here if they are other than a 5-foot square and 5 feet (those values are the default). Any special reach (from weapons or the like) is listed in parentheses."

(note: it's "Space and Reach" not "Square and Space")

Also in the Tumble rule, they clearly used "threatened area" in the correct context:

"The DC to move through an opponent’s threatened area is 15 + 1-1/2 × the opponent’s CR."

So it seems they know what a "threatened area" is and would continue using this term throughout the rule in places where it would be needed.

Therefore we can assume that terms like "Threatened area" and "Space" are clearly defined.

But in the Tumble rule, they have also misused the word space. The developers wrote this badly. They used "space" to mean two different things:
(1) the space a creature occupies and
(2) a space a creature threatens.

Clearly this is ambiguous. I'm assuming the ambiguity is that the author used "space" and "square" interchangeably. I can understand if the developers meant it to be as SuperBidi described it, where "space" means "threatened area" but since they actually used "threatened area" correctly in this rule I would assume they would keep using that term if that's what they meant. But, I can't rule out that they misused TWO terms in the same rule.

So, I've restated the previously quoted rule here for clarity. I replaced "space" with "square" except when it's reference to an opponent's occupied space.

Tumble (edited for clarity):
As long as you do not have the encumbered or overburdened condition (see pages 275–276), you can use Acrobatics to move through a square threatened by an enemy or enemies without provoking attacks of opportunity from them. Tumbling is a move action, and you move at half speed. The DC to move through an opponent’s threatened area is 15 + 1-1/2 × the opponent’s CR. If multiple opponents are threatening the same square, you attempt one check with a DC based on the opponent with the highest CR, and the DC increases by 2 for each additional opponent beyond the first.
You can also tumble directly through an opponent’s space; the DC is 20 + 1-1/2 × the opponent’s CR. If you fail this check, you stop moving adjacent to your opponent and provoke an attack of opportunity.

If you attempt to move through multiple threatened squares or opponents’ spaces during the same round, you must succeed at a check for each square, and the DC of each check beyond the first increases by 2. For example, if you tumble through a square threatened by two CR 1 creatures and a CR 2 creature, the DC = 15 + 3 + 2 + 2 = 22. If you then tumble through the space of the CR 2 creature, the DC = 20 + 3 + 2 = 25.

In all of these cases, the DC is modified by the same environmental circumstances that apply to the balance task of Acrobatics (see page 135). If you fail the check, you provoke attacks of opportunity as normal. If you want to move at full speed while tumbling, you take a –10 penalty to the check. You can use Acrobatics to tumble while prone, but you can move only 5 feet as a full action and take a –5 penalty to the check.

Use the following base DCs for Acrobatics checks to tumble.

Situation : DC*
Move through a threatened square : 15 + 1-1/2 × opponent’s CR
Move through an enemy’s space : 20 + 1-1/2 × opponent’s CR

* The DC increases by 2 for each additional threatened square or opponent’s space you move through in 1 round.

Felix the Rat wrote:
I can't help but think of this as a knife with a flamethrower for a handle. That sounds like a unwieldy weapon to me at least.

A truncheon is a club, not a blade.

To inject a bit of plausibility, bayonets are intended to be used as a spear. Replacing a blade bayonet with a club (truncheon) bayonet sounds like a perfect way to bend/damage the barrel of the weapon. Modern weapons don't fare well when applying lateral force at the end of the barrel* so why should space weapons.

What the OP is suggesting seems alot like using a guitar as a club. Sure, it works, but you might not be able to make music with that guitar when you're done. Likewise, you may not be able to make fire with your flamethrower when you're done.

None of which is stipulated in the rules.

* Modern rifle barrels are often bent by dropping them from a small height, like a tree blind. Slings are never attached to barrels, only to stocks, mainly for the possibility of bending the barrel. Especially if the barrel is hot from firing.

Ironic side note: flamethrower barrels never get hot from being "fired".

Side note:

My favorite object for this spell is the battery on my opponent's gun! I then fling it at one of his allies, effectively disarming one enemy and bludgeoning another.

(j/k, I pretend the spell requires the object to be unattended, but it would be fun).

This boils down to realism vs. gamism. Luckily, they are both on the same side in this debate.

Gamism: It seems to lack game balance. Everybody can throw a grenade and do blast damage, but somebody with this cantrip can also do impact damage and have a better range without range increment penalties. Seems a little unfair, though it's not so far out of balance that it's game-breaking.

Realism: Grenade pins are not attached loosely to grenades. They are very tight. Cotter pins that are bent back and require a lot of force to yank them out of the grenade. That takes two hands. Not, as Hollywood has suggested, one hand and your teeth (you will lose teeth trying this). It takes about 10 pounds of force to yank the pin, already more than the cantrip can manage. Sure, sure, you can un-bend those pins to reduce the force, but then you can't "hang" the grenade by a string from your vest - just walking around would tend to drop them at your own feet!

I think it should be easy enough to present either or both of these reasons to a player who wants this and get them to understand that it's unfair and unrealistic to create house rules for this idea.

BigNorseWolf wrote:
DM Blake wrote:
But then I deleted that post because the sentence right before the one you quoted says that Quick Draw is a Swift action.

General: Drawing a weapon is a move action

Slightly specific: drawing a weapon can be done as part of a move action if your BAB is +1 or higher. (you know, 99% of the time)

Rather specific: if you have quickdraw you can draw a weapon as a swift action instead of the other methods (mind you, you don't have to, a ysoki for example may want to move and draw a weapon, shoot, and then quickdraw a healing serum out of their cheekpouch)

really really really specific: If you have quickdraw you can draw a thrown weapon to throw it as part of an atack action or part of the attack in a full attack action then drawing the weapon is part of the attack.

Fits the raw and the rai.

That's not really how language works though. Specifically, that's not how the word "Additionally" works.

The word "Additionally" means "In addition to the thing I previously said". It does not mean "Instead of the thing I previously said.

I might say "This glass is full of water. Additionally, you may drink its contents." If you drink it, you would expect water. If it's milk, you would (at the very least) wonder why I said "Additionally".

When Paizo used "Additionally", they're literally saying "it's a swift action AND you can use it as part of an attack action in this special case."

I don't think they meant it that way. Neither do you. But they said it that way.

It seems clear that Hover takes a Move action for everyone that can hover. A check will be required.

If you have Perfect maneuverability, you don't need to roll the check but it's still a Move action. However, in this case, you can optionally hover with a Swift action but doing so requires the usual check (which you only avoid if you use a Move action, not a Swift action).

If you have Perfect maneuverability want to actually use a move action for something useful like drawing a weapon or opening a door or picking something up or any other kind of Move action while hovering AND attacking, then you would choose to use your Swift action to hover, roll the check, and now you can use a Move action and a Standard action while hovering.

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I never saw that. That's a pretty big change from Pathfinder to Starfinder and I didn't know that existed.


(Now I can house-rule that right into non-existence, which is pretty much what I've been unknowingly doing all along).

On a side note, I seem to remember this same argument with Pathfinder a few years ago, covering lots of users and posts, until a dev made a formal clarification that it does allow multiple throwing attacks.

BigNorseWolf wrote:
DM_Blake wrote:
BigNorseWolf wrote:
As part of my full attack action, i draw dagger one and throw it, as part of my full attack action i draw dagger 2 and throw it and if a high level operative as part of my full attack action i draw dagger 3 and throw it...

Has this been errata'd?

Otherwise, QuickDraw is a Swift Action and you normally only get one Swift Action per round.

Quickdraw is not a swift action when used to draw a thrown weapon to throw it. It is part of the attack action

"Additionally, when making an attack using a thrown weapon as an attack or full attack action, you can draw a weapon as part of the action of making a thrown attack with it." CRB p. 160-161

So my full attack action is

Attack One
Attack two

With quickdraw and a bunch of starknives

Attack 1 [draw weapon Attack one]
Attack 2 [draw a weapon Attack two]

Maybe. Personally, I think that's what it should mean and I almost made the same post you did. But then I deleted that post because the sentence right before the one you quoted says that Quick Draw is a Swift action.

This makes me interpret the entire rule as: Quick Draw is a Swift action that you may use as part of an attack action when throwing a weapon.

(The alternative would be that you would need to use a Swift Action to quickdraw a throwing weapon and then could be disarmed before you make your separate attack action to throw it).

If they intend it to stop being a Swift action when used with throwing weapons, then it should say that. It doesn't. So it seems the rule about using Quick Draw as part of the attack action is in addition to the rule that it's a Swift action, which is substantiated by the first word of that sentence: "Additionally".

Like this:

"Alternatively, when making an attack using a thrown weapon as an attack or full attack action, you can draw a weapon as part of the action of making a thrown attack with it instead of using a Swift action."

Sure, hover usually takes a move action that auto-succeeds if you have perfect maneuverability.

But, those with perfect maneuverability can use a Swift action to hover, which still allows them to full attack.

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FunkamusPrime wrote:

Follow-up question: How do Fake Shells work?

The rules say anyone who "fails to bypass this countermeasure" faces the Fake Shell. I feel like there's a lot of room for interpretation into the intent of failing to "bypass".

So say we have a computer with super top secret information on it and they install a Fake Shell.

1) Quig has both the password and security key of a user with permissions past the Fake Shell and logs onto the real system without problem.

2) Quig does not have the password or security key and attempts to hack into it. He fails, but is told he was successful. If he suspects he is in a Fake Shell, perhaps because he rolled horribly and there's no way a computer this Tier would be so easy to Hack, he can attempt to detect the Fake Shell by making another Hacking attempt, time required equal to Tier number of turns, and a DC equal to the Hacking DC plus 5. If he fails, he automatically tries again after every minute of using the computer with a cumulative +2 bonus.

Everything above seems correct except:

I don't think detecting the Fake Shell is a hacking attempt. I think it's a normal Standard Action computers check with the DC+5. Likewise with the automatic checks being Free Actions (I assume because they are automatic so the hacker doesn't have to give up his action to make the roll).

FunkamusPrime wrote:
If he succeeds he knows he is in a Fake Shell. But to actually get past the Fake Shell he needs to make another Computers Check to disable the countermeasure, time required is 1 standard action and the DC is equal to the hacking DC.


Which makes almost no sense. For a 50% price increase, you can have fake data that will slow down a skilled hacker for 6-12 seconds. That's a prohibitively expensive countermeasure that basically accomplishes nothing.

To make this really work, it should start by being less expensive but that's a house rule. To stay within the rules, put the Fake Shell behind its own firewall so it will take 3 full rounds to hack that firewall plus another standard action to disable it. Also make sure the original failure (the failed hack that put them into the Fake Shell) triggered a SILENT alarm countermeasure and that alarm alerted guards, robots, etc., who will respond in a few rounds - that way there is a penalty for wasting time in the Fake Shell.

Silent alarm because noisy alarms are supposed to scare the criminals away. The alarm goes off and they run away before they get caught. Noisy alarms keep you safe because the criminals leave before they cause any real harm. But you just spent a 50% price upgrade to make them stay where they are and waste time. Why pay for that if you're just going to scare them away? So, the plan must be to keep them there, lost in the Fake Shell, long enough for something important to happen, such as giving you time to get a security team to show up and capture them, or giving you time to get away through the back door, or whatever.

FunkamusPrime wrote:
3) Here is where I get confused. If Quig does not have the password and security key and succeeds at hacking into the system, does that mean he also got past the Fake Shell? Or does it mean he unlocked and opened the front door, but walked into the illusion?

Definitely gets fully authorized access to whichever parts of the system his card/password unlock without getting stuck in the Fake Shell.

Always remember why this computer exists and what the authorized people are supposed to do with it. Somewhere there is a guy, or lots of guys, who use this computer to do their job. Their employer doesn't expect these guys to have to disable countermeasures by hacking their work computer. So, when they log in with the proper key card and password, they simply get to do their real job without any further hassles.

FunkamusPrime wrote:
It kinda seems like if Fake Shells are limited to just when people fail the computers check, they'll be real easy to spot (on a meta level by the players), unless the GM is rolling for them in secret.

This is true too, especially if the players have looked at/remembered the DCs for their actions.

This could be a good time to say "Hey, this computer may or may not have countermeasures. You don't know, so I should roll your computers check and tell you the results based on your character's knowledge without you knowing how well or poorly the die roll was."

And of course, you should probably also do that when there are no countermeasures, just so the players never know.

If nothing else, it builds tension as the players try to hurry in case guards are on the way.

BigNorseWolf wrote:
As part of my full attack action, i draw dagger one and throw it, as part of my full attack action i draw dagger 2 and throw it and if a high level operative as part of my full attack action i draw dagger 3 and throw it...

Has this been errata'd?

Otherwise, QuickDraw is a Swift Action and you normally only get one Swift Action per round.

Also remember that a full attack does not need to be taken with the same weapon, nor do they all have to be melee or ranged attacks.

It's perfectly fine to stab somebody once or twice with your sword, then QuickDraw a dagger to throw it, even using a different hand (or dropping your sword if you need a free hand). Or shoot somebody with your laser pistol then QuickDraw a grenade to throw at him (or any target you want). Etc.

Nimor Starseeker wrote:
Ah, the age old question: how do you do your passive perception checks and your active perception checks?

Easy. I know their perception modifiers. I roll dice. I tell them if they see something. Or I tell them nothing. Sometimes, I roll dice for no reason at all. Actually, I make a habit of doing that from time to time. Just so they never know when dice hitting the table on my side of the screen actually mean something or not.

Lately, I haven't even needed to do that. I just tell them to roll perception. If they all fail, I say "Nothing to see here, move along" and they do. They could metagame it and start searching for random stuff, but they're good players. They play what their characters know, not what they know.

Claxon wrote:
If nothing else, it seems like a check (whether perception or perhaps medicine) to notice a creature has stabilized and is alive is appropriate, even if done in secret from the party and with penalties to notice unless they are actually next to the enemy when/after they stabilize.

I would agree, but I'd only give them that if they were still paying attention to the enemy in some way. Looting it, searching it, stabbing it to make sure it's really dead.

Perception to see it DO something, Medicine to see if it's alive or dead. As long as it doesn't stand up or make noise or start crawling away, this would be an active Medicine check.

If the PCs just leave, they get no checks. If they're standing around talking about their next move, they get a passive Perception check if the creature actually does something. If a PC states he's making a Medicine check, then he gets one. If some PC says he's watching the fallen enemies to make sure they're dead, I may give the enemy a Bluff vs. Sense Motive check to fool that PC.

As for storytelling, I really don't mind doing the recovery off-camera. You know, like in every Friday the 13th movie when you think Jason is dead but then Jamie Lee Curtis (or literally everybody else in all of the movies) looks away for a moment, then looks back, and Jason isn't there now...

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In my previous reply I explained the rules as I understand them. Now I'd like to walk through the time frame of what Quig does:

(Note: 1 Standard Action is basically a full round since hacker cannot use his Move Action for any hacking purposes so it is just wasted)

FunkamusPrime wrote:

Quig is lacking the password to access the system, so he attempts to hack it. Quig’s bonus to Computers is +11, and is increased by another +5 for having the officer’s security key card to a total +16 bonus. This will take three full rounds. If he wished to hack it faster, he could declare so before rolling the dice and increase the DC to 31. He decides not to risk it and takes the full three rounds.

We’ll say Quig’s player rolls a 12 on the die for a total of 28, enough to gain Access to the computer.

Access: Basic access to the computer (B)

Time: 3 rounds
Total: 3 rounds

FunkamusPrime wrote:
Now Quig’s player wants to know what’s behind the two firewalls. He decides to breach Firewall #1. Unknown to Quig, the DC for this check is 28 (the computer’s Hacking DC plus 2). He gets lucky and rolls a total of 29!

Access: Basic access to the computer (B) and Module 1 (M1:sd)

Time: 3 rounds
Total: 6 rounds

FunkamusPrime wrote:
He now has Access, but not Root Access, to whatever is hiding behind Door #1 – in this case it’s a Secure Data Module. He examines the data

Access: Basic access to the computer (B) and Module 1 (M1:sd)

Time: 1 standard action
Total: 7 rounds

FunkamusPrime wrote:
and discovers it is a log of all ships entering and leaving the hanger, their cargo manifests and destinations. He copies the data

Access: Basic access to the computer (B) and Module 1 (M1:sd)

Time: 1 standard action to insert his recording device and 1 standard action to start the copying
Total: 9 rounds

The copying will take 3 minutes (per my assumption in the previous reply) or will take 1 round (possible rule interpretation that I'm not personally fond of). Either way, it's reasonable to assume he doesn't need to wait for it and can do other things while it copies.

FunkamusPrime wrote:
and moves to Firewall #2. Again, we’ll say he got a lucky roll and breached the second Firewall.

Access: Basic access to the computer (B) and Module 1 (M1:sd) and Module 2 (M2:c1, c2, c3)

Time: 3 rounds
Total: 12 rounds

FunkamusPrime wrote:
Behind it he finds three Control Modules. One controls the large, exterior hanger door to space, the second controls a Cargo Loading Robot, and the third controls cameras in the hanger.

Access: Basic access to the computer (B) and Module 1 (M1:sd) and Module 2 (M2:c1, c2, c3)

Time: 1 round to examine each module to find out what it does (3 rounds total)
Total: 15 rounds

FunkamusPrime wrote:
He now has access to these three functions… he can open/close the exterior hanger door, can view what’s on the cameras and issue commands to the Cargo Loading Robot from this terminal – he does not have direct control over the robot, but can issue commands.

Access: Basic access to everything except Root (R)

Total: 15 rounds

Note that the copying is probably not yet finished (still 24 rounds to go).

Also note that copying probably requires inserting a thumb drive (or whatever recording device he's using) and then disconnecting it when done, which should be standard actions. So the copying will be done on round 39 and he'll have his thumb drive in hand by round 40.

I guess he can play around with that robot for 24 rounds while he waits. Maybe turn off the lights and make the robot sneak up and scare the bajeebies our of his friends who are all standing around bored while Quig does all the hacking work...

Pantshandshake wrote:

That does make sense, for cinematic reasons, but it starts tossing rules out of the window immediately. If there’s no initiative count, then you’re not in combat. If you’re not in combat, there’s no turns. If there’s no turns, you can’t do something that happens on your turn, like spending a resolve to get back into the fight.

If you're not in combat rounds, then it's always your turn. It's everybody's turn all the time. Nobody needs to "take turns" like we do in combat, but we're still taking an infinite number of undelimited turns and can do anything in our out-of-combat turns that we could do in any combat turn. Anything except attacking someone - for that, we need to roll initiative again.

If this concept is not true, then it's impossible for me to do other things out of combat like shoot my rifle up into the sky, or to pick up my rifle from the ground, or reload my rifle, or any number of other things because I'm not in in combat, there's no turns, and I can't do something that happens on my turn. Which also makes no sense.

So if I CAN fire my rifle into the sky, or reload it, or pick it up, even when out of combat, then I CAN use a resolve point to recover.

That said, recovering from the brink of death with resolve points is risky and time-sensitive. Waiting too long means you (or the NPC) could die. It should be done immediately to be safe. But that doesn't mean the enemy needs to jump up and announce its successful recovery right away. Because of the time sensitivity here, it makes sense to stay in rounds until the enemy successfully recovers.

But that doesn't mean the PCs need to also stay in rounds unless they're doing something that is also time sensitive and/or could interfere with the enemy's recovery (like searching or stabbing fallen enemies). Also, it doesn't mean the players need to know whether or not they're really in rounds since their characters wouldn't know.

So I just tell them the fight is over and let them decide what to do. Leave? OK, then there are no more rounds and the enemy uses its resolve point. Stand around talking about stuff? OK, then there are no more rounds and the enemy uses its resolve point. Search bodies? OK, the enemy uses its resolve point and then I'll roll a bluff check to see if it can play dead while they're searching it - if it succeeds then OK, then there are no more rounds and the enemy plays dead, otherwise, I say "Surprise, this one is still alive and it attacks on its initiative and, oh yeah, we're still in rounds!".

Luckily, we have GMs who can make these kinds of calls and decide just how much verisimilitude and/or superheroism they want in their campaign.

Can you punch a car in the hood and make it stop in place? Not likely. Could the Hulk do it? Sure. Can you reach into a speeding car and yank the driver out as it goes by? Not likely. Could Wolverine do it? Sure, why not? What about yanking the driver out of a tank driving by? Not me, but I bet Superman could do it.

What kind of game are we playing? Are the players on the same page as the GM?

These questions should be answered before you all start playing on the first day. Get on the same page.

If you do that, then it's pretty easy for a GM to make a judgment call about whether your Ysoki soldier can stop a speeding vehicle with a reaction and a feat. And when you do allow it or disallow it, your player will probably be on board since you already got on the same page before the adventure began.

Pantshandshake wrote:
To me, it seems like if a monster has RP left to get back up after stabilizing, combat can't really end. If everything in sight is dead but the initiative count is still going, I'd suggest everyone readying an action to shoot the first hostile you see.

I would disagree.

This leads to meta-gaming. The PCs should never act like they know they are still in rounds. The players should never make decisions like their PCs know they are in rounds. Otherwise you get this:

Ysoki: OK, it's dead. Let's go
Vesk: I, uh, I can't move.
Shirren: Why not?
Vesk: I dunno. I just can't.
Android: It is simple. Just put one foot in front of the other.
Vesk: I seem to be stuck here.
Shirren: Oooooh, I see now. You can't move because it's not your turn.
Vesk: Turn? I thought the monster was dead. Aren't we out of combat?
Ysoki: Maybe it's not dead after all.
Android: It appears to be thoroughly deceased.
Vesk: Yep, we're in combat. I just tried to shoot it but I can't shoot, either.
Ysoki: Then how are we talking so much?
Android: Logical. We speak because combat banter is a free action that can be taken out of turn.
Ysoki: Oooooh, OK.
Vesk: Well, who's turn is it anyway?
Shirren: I think Ysoki killed it. Who was after Ysoki?
Android: It is I. Therefore, I conclude that it must be my turn.
Vesk: Can you shoot it?
Android: Yes, it seems that I can. (fires gun at stable monster)

At least for me, I'd prefer the PCs and the Players be equally surprised when that monster stands up and attacks them again. Or comes back in a later scene in the story. Or bites them when they try to loot it's body.

Or shows up on the witness stand when they're on trial for "murder hobo crimes"...

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Nimor Starseeker wrote:
That sounds great! I can’t wait to pull this one on my group!

I suggest only using this with thematically appropriate bad guys. Not everybody. Just bosses or fun recurring villains. Not even all of those. Only when it makes the story more fun for everybody.

Bring them back so when the players say "I thought that guy was dead" you can say "I got better" or "The rumors of my demise were greatly exaggerated" or "It was just a flesh wound".

If you do it often enough that those lines aren't funny anymore, then you've done it too often...

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That's a lot to unpack. This is gonna be long...

I think it helps to map out the computer system. Draw it on paper.

Yours isn't very complex. It's hard to draw it in text on the forum, but I'll try.

Like this:

R (46)
B (26) - F1 (28) - M1:sd
F2 (28)
M2:c1, c2, c3

B: Basic Access. You need to log in with the password and can only do basic, unsecured functions (doors, lights, PA, etc.). DC 26 (13 + 3x4 + 1). 3 Rounds to hack.
R: Root Access. You need to already have Basic access and then Hack the computer again to reach this level of access. This is the level that programmers and network admins use to do their jobs, but uers never use this. DC 46 (26 + 20). 3 Rounds to hack.
F: Firewall DC 28 (26 + 2). 3 Rounds to hack each one.
M1: Module 1 - Secure Data (sd)
M2: Module 2 - 3 control modules (c1, c2, c3)

They can get to B with just a simple login. If they have the card and know the password, it's automatic. Without it, they need to hack it.

Getting to R requires another computers check and is very difficult, probably beyond this hacker's ability, but if he could do it then he would have access to everything at this computer system, including F1, F2, M1 and M2, and he can even turn off the firewalls, alarms, passwords, etc.

Getting through one firewall (without Root access) requires a computers check and 3 rounds. Each firewall must be hacked separately. Once hacked, the PC can do whatever is allowed in the module behind that firewall.

Accessing any module (B, R, M1, M2, sd, c1, c2, c3) takes a standard action.

The Security 1 upgrade applies to every hack attempt (B, R, and firewalls).
You, the designer, can put the alarm wherever you want. Just on B, or just on M1, or everywhere. It's up to you. Buy it once for 10 credits and assign it to whatever you think should have it.

Accessing M1, M2, sd, c1, c2, or c3 takes one standard action after they get past the appropriate firewall. I see no rules telling how long it takes to copy data so this may be up to GM fiat, or assume the technology is so fast that it can all be copied in that same standard action that "manipulates" the module, though it's easy enough to assume that "copy" takes the same time as "remove" (1 minute per tier). GM's call, but I like that assumption since it matches real world computers (copying is actually slower than deleting but I'll settle for the same speed).

Answers to your questions:

1. Whatever you want (see above)
2. Yes. "Characters who are authorized, have the security object, and know the password can access a computer and use it for its intended purpose without needing to hack into it." If that card and password belonged to a person who had Root access, then you get root access. Congratulations, you got the best card! Otherwise, you only get Basic access. Maybe that user also had access to some or all of the Modules (maybe he was a manager or an engineer who uses those modules as part of his job duties). In that case, your card and password automatically access the authorized modules but not the Root or any other unauthorized modules. This is all up to the GM to decide how much access is granted to which users and whether or not the card your hacker is using belonged to a user with limited or unlimited authorization.
3. It's not a module so it's not manipulated, which means it needs to be hacked. Thsi takes 3 rounds, based on the tier, just like all hacking attempts. "Accessing the hidden modules requires another successful Computers check, usually with a DC equal to the original DC + 2."
3a. It's up to you if the security card works. Somebody has access to M1 and M2, right? Managers or advanced users might have access to some or all of the modules while basic users would not. If your hacker has already hacked in with a user's card and password, that login should also get them through any firewalls that user could normally access. So your hacker would just ignore the firewall and access the module, but only if the card he acquired belonged to a person who had "authorization" to that module. If that user did NOT have authorization, then his card won't help you get through the firewall because this specific card never had authorization to bypass that firewall.
3b. The alarm is up to you (see above)
4. Yes. Sounds exactly like the "Create Forgery" section of the Computers skill since he's forging a fake version of that data.
5. No. See my explanation above. If you have Root access, you can get anywhere in THIS computer system but if you want to access another computer system (like station's central computer) you would need to hack that computer system separately. If the data module is on this computer system, then Root access let's you manipulate that module. M1 and M2 are on this computer system, so Root access to this computer grants you full access to M1 and M2. The sentence you quoted applies to authorized users with their key cards and passwords. A general user has access to only basic functions. Other users might also have authorized access to some modules if they were granted that access by a Root user (a system admin, for example). A system admin has root access and can grant root access and/or specific firewall and module access to any other user. Hackers don't need "autorhized" access because they're hacking. Once they pass the computers check to get Root access they have everything. If not, they make individual computers checks for basic access (B) as well as each firewall (F). Once your player has hacked a firewall, he gets access to everything behind that firewall.

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Yep, yep.

I've done it once, and I'm about to do it again.

Until they learn to dismember or disintegrate or incinerate or atomize or otherwise utterly destroy their fallen foes.

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Nah, vehicles are not foes.

Make the foe stand still all you want, but you won't make the vehicle stand still. If you make a foe stand still inside the vehicle as it passes you, the vehicle will still keep moving and the foe will be in the vehicle moving with it (which means the feat did nothing).

Sure, maybe, if the foe is exposed (e.g. his vehicle is a motorcycle), you can probably use this feat to yank him out/off of the vehicle and make him stand still as the feat. Meanwhile, his vehicle continues forward without him.

If the vehicle fully contains the foe so you can't get him out of it, then there is no way to make him stand still which means the feat is unusable in this instance. In effect, that foe has full cover against you so you couldn't attack or AoO him anyway. You can attack or AoO the vehicle which, not being a foe, cannot be made to stand still.

This is not harsh for the player. Many (most) feats are applicable sometimes and inapplicable other times. You use them when you can and you do something else when you can't.

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