Tom Kalbfus wrote:
That is hit points, but what about absolute size as far as regarding your chances to hit or miss with range? Lets take a real world example, lets suppose you are standing out in a parking lot with a baseball bat in your hands, and there is a car, can you do damage to that car with that baseball bat, or does the baseball bat just bounce off harmlessly because you are a person and the car is a vehicle? If you have two different combat scaled can a spacecraft just ignore someone shooting at it with a laser rifle?
I'm hoping it works like Alternity. In Alternity, A human with a baseball bat (Ordinary Firepower) can damage a car (Good Toughness), but it's going to take a while, or require some really well placed hits. Even then, most of the damage will be cosmetic. Actually "destroying" a car with a bat would take so long it's not even worth trying. Trying to destroy a Tank or Spaceship (Amazing Toughness) with a bat is futile.
If a laser pistol can damage a Starship, why invent a Laser Cannon? Why not just mount 50 laser pistols in a turret and call it a day.
And in Other News... Alternity is coming back! A few of the original design team (now working for Sasquatch Game Studio) have picked up the Copyright on the brand. They can't use the original setting's, but will instead make an All New Sci-Fi setting for a new, modernized game.
It will be very interesting to watch this develop!
I'll apologize in advance, this post might become a be a bit long-winded and technical. This is essentially just a "Wish List" of game mechanic's I'd like to see involving the combat system.
I have played most of the d20 systems that feature Firearms and other High Tech weapons at one point or another, so I thought it would be a good idea to highlight some of the Pro's and Con's of various design choices I have noticed over the years.
Thoughts on Base Weapon Damage:
I have touched on this a few times. We haven't gotten word on what the damage values will look like, but I am really hoping that weapon Base damage is significantly higher than we are used too seeing. In d20 Modern, a Pistol would deal between 2d4 and 2d8 damage, depending on caliber (with most dealing 2d6). In Spycraft d20, a Pistol would usually deal 1d10+1 or 1d12 damage. Rifles in d20 Modern dealt between 2d8 and 2d12, while Spycraft went with 4d4 and 3d6 (if memory serves).
d20 Future went even higher (unfortunately, d20 Future wasn't incredibly well balanced, but did have some really nice ideas on weapon modification, more on that later).
These damage values felt right to me then, and they still do now. A Laser/Plasma/Rail weapon dealing less damage than a Longbow is just very wrong.
Thoughts on Recoil as a Game Mechanic:
This is something that isn't reflected in rules very often, but I think it should be. Dexterity is a key stat, and it becomes even more impressive when the entire game is based around the idea of using ranged weapons almost entirely. With a point buy system, it would be tempting to "Dump" Strength in such a situation. But what if weapons had a recoil Stat? For those who are unaware of what recoil is, it is (in short) the force applied to the shooter of a weapon by discharging it (generally making follow-up shots more difficult).
Some weapons should have greater recoil, while others should have little or none. This can be used as an additional balancing factor when designing weapons of various power.
An example method of representing Recoil: Let's say, that weapons with a recoil rating suffer a penalty equal too that rating on any subsequent attacks beyond the first in a round. A user can negate this penalty by an amount equal too there Strength Modifier. Additionally, allowing a wielder to increase their STR modifier by +1 for using 2 hands would make logical sense.
Continuing this example, lets say we have two weapons. The first is a Laser Pistol with a base damage of 1d10+1 and a Recoil score of 0. The Laser Pistol can be used by anyone without taking any penalties on subsequent attacks after the first. Alternatively, a Plasma Pistol is more powerful, Dealing 2d8 damage, but with a Recoil score of 2. User's without a 14 Strength will find it difficult to control in one hand (although by using 2 hands someone with a 12 Strength can manage it).
This makes logical sense, and also allows for a wider variation in weapons. Instead of every hero choosing a weapon based on only it's damage value, other factors are taken into consideration.
A character who want's to wield a pair of pistols might be better off choosing lighter models with less recoil (instead of simply picking whatever has the highest damage die), while a character that intends too carry only a single pistol might prefer the extra damage.
Thoughts and Ideas for Shotgun style weapons:
This is an area that really bug's me. I would love for us to get some future-tech shotguns, like Autoflechette guns, but please no cone effects! A MUCH better way too represent Shotgun's would be too assign them a High Base Damage, lets say 5d4, and a low range increment, lets say 20ft. Instead of suffering a -2 penalty to attack rolls for each range increment beyond the first, shotguns suffer a -2 damage penalty. So attacking a Target 60 feet away suffers no penalty to the attack roll, but deals 5d4-4 damage.
Weapon Modification, Accessories and Aiming
Thoughts on Weapon Modifications and Accessories:
d20 Future had a nice assortment of weapon modification's that could be applied too various guns, and I found this to be a great idea. Do you want a Laser Pistol that can be charged up for a more powerful shot? How about one that can be used as an Automatic Weapon? Clear rules for things like that are super valuable, and a great way too save page count in the long run. We don't need 5 different entries for various laser rifles and pistols if we can just modify the base weapon with a flexible "plug in" system.
I would also Like to see some rules for spending a Move Action to Aim (granting a bonus on the attack roll, but limiting you're rate of fire). This is NOT something that should be locked behind a feat, but should instead be written into the new rules (A Feat that makes you better at it would be fine).
Weapon Accessories are something else we could use. A few suggestions would be.
I would be interested in hearing what people think?
I've seen word that the PF classes will be at least as compatible as 3.5 was to PF.
I have mentioned this before. Yes, but really, how compatible IS 3.5 with Pathfinder? Is it technically possible to play a 3.5 character in Pathfinder, yes (after all, BAB, Saves and Skills are all things). Does it ever really end well? Not really (why would you play a 3.5 Wizard/Sorc or Fighter Instead of the Pathfinder equivalent?), you still need to convert all you're feats/skills/spells (which might make you're build work completely differently).
All in All, I don't put much stock in the whole "Compatible" idea with a book that's being billed as a stand alone system. I'm sure that's the plan, but at the end of the day if they have to choose between Backwards Compatible and Balanced Design I'm sure they are going to pick Balanced Design. Using monsters from the Bestiary is one thing, using full Player Characters is something else.
I don't expect to see more than 1 type of magic. Remember, there is only so much room in this book and a LOT that needs to be crammed in (unlike the "Ultimate" books for Pathfinder this book will need an entire "how to play" chapter, as well as entirety new equipment, and space ship rules.)
We might see a psychic magic update in the future, but I think it might be best if people keep in mind that the physical size of the book is going to limit what they can cover.
Arturius Fischer wrote:
I'm not sure how hard it would be to find, but there is a d20 Stargate game. It's amazingly well written and filled with great information on the Stargate universe.
Edit : Just saw someone else pointed this out (it is the Spy craft system, close to d20 modern)
I expect we will see damage significantly different from the Technology Guide. I honestly won't be surprised if they go with damage values closer too what d20 Modern /Future had.
Vic Wertz wrote:
If we think there's sufficient demand, it's certainly a possibility.
Are you kidding? Quality Sci-Fi pawns with Good art and stable bases are few and far between. In fact, I haven't found ANY that are close too the quality of Pathfinder pawns. I bet they would sell even without your own product line.
Also, as has been pointed out, a bow in a vacuum won't actually be much more powerful (you will gain a bit from the lack of air resistance against the limbs, and you won't lose any for air resistance or friction against the arrow, but I'd be really surprised if you got more than a 5% increase). Your also going to lose accuracy with a traditional bow because your effectively shooting arrows without fletching.
Now, a center-shot design, firing ridged arrows from a whisker-bisquit might work well.
I might have over thought this
Given how many classes In Pathfinder use some Form of resource pool (Ki, Grit, Inspiration even Stamina from Unchained.) I wonder if we might see some type of Universal Resource Pool that is used for class abilities, but isn't tied to a specific class? Something like Stamina, that is built in and use able by everyone. Each class gains new ways too use it. It would make multiclassing less painful.
Aziraya Zhwan wrote:
It wouldn't surprise me to see many of the armors in Starfinder to be treated to protect against laser damage as well as kinetic damage, with maybe a give/take between them. I could see higher base damage for laser weapons but many armors simply subtracting some of the base damage kind of like Energy Resistance but for lasers. An enemy may have a lot of laser resistance but not much kinetic resistance. This means that weapons that have more physical "oomph" to them such as arrows fired from futuristic bows may very well be advantageous to use over laser weaponry in some situations.
You should pop over and read my About Armor thread. We have been talking about that (among other things )
Well, they have mentioned that you are likely to see magic runes etched into the magazine of a plasma rifle... which kinda makes a lot of sense. Think how much electrical energy is in a wand of shocking grasp.. it would make our Li-Ion batteries look pathetic.
"Have you thought about swapping out the charge core on your Gauss Rifle for a class 5 cell (Cl5)? You'll get a hell of a lot more punch."
"Maybe after we get paid for this job... I've been reluctant to upgrade until I know our Technomage can recharge the more powerful cell."
Getting back to the point of the thread, I do have a question.
Will the Development Team be watching the Threads on this board too get an idea of what players are looking for in the Game? What elements are generating discussion and what ones we don't seem to feel strongly about?
I only ask because the prospect no public playtest, frankly, kinda terrifies me. Most of the recent major releases have benefited hugely from them (just look at pre-playtest Vigilante and post-playtest Vigilante ).
That is essentially the way I would like to see it work. Armor As DR + Energy resistance, with the option of a Force Shield that grants a pool of Temp HP that Re-Gen between encounters OR a Deflection Shield that provides a sizable Deflection bonus to AC but doesn't reduce damage directly at all. Having some weapons that By-Pass the shields would be interesting.
The degree of backwards compatibility is still a bit fuzzy. They have mentioned "Some conversation " being needed. While it's likely true that you CAN move any Pathfinder class into the new system, that doesn't mean that you should. For example, Pathfinder is, technically. Backwards compatible with 3.5, but good luck getting any sane GM to allow a huge chunk of 3.5's Prestige Classes, or even Feats.
In the end, I would say it's unreasonable to expect the design team too make everything work with existing products flawlessly. Making it so that we can use monsters with minimal effort is one thing, expecting to port every class/feat/spell combination from the core line without causing terribly broken combinations is another.
You know what would be amazing, is if every class was designed to be MAD, and the games "math" wasn't designed in such a way that the easiest path to being effective wasn't "Pump Stat X as high as possible".
It would be great too see two characters of the same class focused in totally different ability scores, but both effective in their own way.
I also strongly suspect we are going to see the base damage on weapons change dramatically from what we see in the Technology Guide. Base damage of 1d6 for pistol and 2d6 for rifles is well below the norm for just about every modern /future d20 game (d20 modern had rifles dealing between 2d8 and 2d12).
I agree Malwing. Armor as DR and built in energy resistance would be ideal. That also allows for a much wider range of armor properties (a quick example would be that you could have 3 separate light armors, one with improved physical protection but very little energy resistance, one with balanced protection, and one with weaker physical protection but improved energy resistance (much like the Issuit from the Technology guide).
Jack of Dust wrote:
I really hope they don't lock dogfighting behind a feat. Feat taxes are a huge issue in Pathfinder and one that hopefully will not be translated into Starfinder.
How would you feel about it if the Feat simply made you better/more effective at it than someone without?
For example, Someone without the feat could:
Make a Full Attack with Ships Weapons (Full Round Action)
For example, someone with the Feat could:
Make a Full Attack with ships weapons (Standard Action)
Plus, there are other actions you might need to be taking, such as damage control, active defenses or sensors checks.
The guy who spends character resources on being a better space fighter is better at the dogfight, but the guy who didn't isn't locked out. Is the untrained guy at a disadvantage? Yes! Should he be? Yeah. Is it hopeless? Not really.
This also makes Multi-Pilot small craft a thing that actually makes sense game wise... A Heavy Fighter with a Pilot and Gunner (or a pilot and a droid, wink wink) starts to seem like a good idea.
I would much rather see something like this, than have everything locked behind something like a "Ace Pilot" prestige class.
A few more ideas along these lines without making a new thread.
Armor as DR has been brought up in a few places, and I really like the idea. A d20 game that did "Armor as DR" really well was the Stargate SG1 RPG. Characters received a static bonus to Defense (Ac) based on Class/Level, Armor on the other hand granted decent DR (Light/Medium armor was generally around 4-5 DR, while Heavy was 8-12!).. But heavy armor came at the expense of LOWERING you're Defense score, making you easier to hit. Of course ranged weapons in that game did significantly more base damage than the weapons in the technology guide. A .45 Pistol did something like 1d12 damage, and an assault Rifle did 4d4 (The Alien energy weapons did something like 4d6, but couldn't use auto-fire and burst attacks).
All in all, it made armor feel more important than just tacking on another +4 to you're Ac. Instead, you looked for cover, or dodged.
Speaking of Defenses, Another thing I would like to see: Deflection Field and Force Shield (or Energy Screen).
Pathfinder has a lot of different sub-systems already built in that will work great as passive defenses that can be easily converted too "Sci-Fantasy", and these two deserve too be called out.
One of the most common bonus types in Pathfinder for AC is the Deflection Bonus. It would seem wrong if we don't get a Technological Item that generates a Deflection Field, this would be something that is worn with Armor, perhaps a harness that is worn over it, and generates a Field that deflect's incoming attacks away from the wearer and provides a bonus to you're Defense Score (or AC).
A Force Shield (or Energy Screen) on the other hand could be a separate item that creates a more traditional "Shield" that has to be penetrated before an attack can effect the user (Mass effect style). Fortunately we already have rules for this... the Force Ward ability of the Kineticist. In effect, a Force Shield would provide a pool of Temporary HP that represent the Shield's remaining strength. Just like Force Ward, attacks that fail to deplete the shields hp never reach the user. The shield can even recharge at a different rates, or have different max HP based on model.
An interesting design choice would be to make these two items interfere with each other... you can have a Deflection Field, OR a Force Shield, but not both (This would be the "fluff" explanation of them effectively using the same item slot). Hero's would decide between being more difficult to hit (Defection Screen) or being able to "Soak" a greater amount of damage (Force Shield).
This also open's up class feature options for Soldiers or Technicians, the ability to optimize the use of these items (increasing the Deflection bonus, or the Max Hp/Regeneration rate of Shields).
James Sutter wrote:
This is good to hear, something for us to keep in mind while speculating.
I'm holding out hope for Armor as DR and Technological weapons dealing larger base damage (along the lines of Spy craft d20 or the Stargate d20 game).
When a pistol deals 3d4 or 3d6 base damage, you start seriously considering wearing armor instead of just depending on Ac from things like Dex/Class.
About Piloting: I think a general Skill is the best way too go, with a Feat (and or class feature) for specific vehicles (mech, fighter, large vessel, capital vessel) allowing additional options.
As an example. The pilot skill allows you to pilot land vehicles and small craft (shuttles and whatnot) with no penalty. You can still pilot things like Walkers/mecha, large ships and capital ships, but at -4 non-proficiency penalty (a feat or class feature can eliminate this, if Traits are a thing, perhaps a Natural Pilot trait reduces it too -2).
In addition, taking the feat also gives a second bonus. It allows you to perform a second action while piloting the vessel (makes piloting rolls a move action instead of a standard perhaps). So now you can fly while also firing a weapons system or something (very important for someone who wants to dogfight).
Something that I feel can't be stressed enough... If we get a few deck plans, I want ships that feel like you're heroes can actually live on them. Water Closets, bunkrooms, a common area, mess hall. And hopefully a hanger for a shuttle or two (or maybe fighters). Seriously, shuttles would be the equivalent of Lifeboats. Every decent sized ship should have enough to evacuate the crew.
I remember a Scifi book from a long time ago, I think it was called "A Call to Arms ".. When aliens finally make contact with humans they are shocked at the strength, speed and ferocity of the human they take to study.
Turns out, they picked up a Musician with no combat training and a generally pacifist outlook. (He's just scared). He crippled one of they aliens when they tried to capture him.
I would love to see a Revised Armor as DR (Ideally with some armor providing a better AC bonus and others providing more DR, more choices is better). Combined with armor granting some Elemental resistances (like some of the ones in the Technology Guide), that would be amazing.
Automatic Bonus Progression is a must. Fraction BAB and Saves should be baked in as well.
Scrap alignment (or shove it into the background and separate it from game mechanics).
Something has always bugged me about the way armor is portrayed in most d20 modern/future/sci-fi systems that I really hope paizo takes the opportunity to correct.
So, your a space marine decked out in the latest combat armor, protecting a diplomat wearing nothing but a fancy suit. A thermal grenade goes off, dealing 8d6 fire damage... perhaps allowing a reflex save... and for some reason your armor provides no protection. You might as well have gone to work in your PJ''s for all the good your armor did too protect you from the blast!
It's the future. People are running about with laser/plasma/arc/gravity guns... give our armored hero's a built in defense against these types of attack. In addition to providing a Defence/Ac bonus, I hope that we see elemental resistance built into the suits ("So, my space rated armor provides no protection from Ray of Frost? You're joking right?")
This also opens up a lot more options to make different armors viable. One medium armor might provide better protection against physical attacks (perhaps it's made to protect against the natural attacks of hostile lifeforms found while exploring), while another armor is optimized against Fire and Electricity attacks, making it ideal against energy weapon using foes.