Priest of Pharasma

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So, this might be an easy call because I'm not seeing something, but this week has been a long month and I'm trying to make sense of something I hope the group can help with.

Envoy Clever Feint and Operative Trick Attack: both apply the Flat Footed condition. If I have both an Envoy and Operative in the party, is it worth it to pursue the Envoy Clever Feint/ Clever Attack route since the Operative will already be applying the Flat Footed condition and these conditions won't stack?

It seems to make sense to me to yield to the Operative Trick/Debilitating Attack since it does a ton of damage, whereas the Envoy sort of "plink plinks" weapon damage.

But if the Envoy is in a support role, and part of that support role is applying the Flat Footed condition, but the conditions from the Operative and Envoy don't stack...well, I hope you see where I'm going LOL.

Of course, the problem assumes both the Envoy and Operative are successful, but it's rare that our Operative seems to miss the roll to make a trick attack considering the very high skill bonuses.

Thanks, and looking forward to hearing from more powerful minds than mine!

So, my players upgraded their Tier 3 ship with a Heavy Weapon Particle Beam turret. They have an Explorer frame with 2 light weapon mounts for the turret, but for only 6 BP you can upgrade a light weapon mount on a turret to a heavy weapon mount (CRB pg 305).

The Particle Beam heavy weapon does 8d6 damage with a range of Long. I didn't realize the implications of this upgrade until, well, I threw a Tier 3 pirate ship at them. Needless to say, they chewed the pirate ship to pieces in a few rounds. On average on a hit, that weapon is going to do 24 points of damage. Since it's a turret, it didn't matter what my positioning strategy was in the Helm Phase.

Did I miss something or does this kind of weapon power more or less negate Helm Phase strategy?

Collective thoughts and/or advice?


therealthom wrote:

Dorloran, it sounds like you handled those encounters just fine. I'd have no problem with either of those as a player.

How did your meta-discussion with the players go?

Ha! Thanks for asking. I'm always impressed with how smart and supportive this forum has been.

Well, yes, before we started the action, I just very bluntly told them what I had seen from my own perspective at their bristling at the notion of law enforcement and being inspected etc and their actions and reactions. I made sure to make it clear that I was speaking from what I had seen and asked what they were thinking and their perspective on the matter.

What they had to say was pretty clear: they thought I was setting them up for a trap of some sort but didn't know how to react in what might have been the face of superior force. For example, in the moment, they didn't think about the implications of flying off and running from station security--such as being wanted or banned from landing there in the future. And, the cargo inspection--they were certain that I had put some kind of contraband in the cargo that they would be blamed for, but again, didn't know how to respond to a direct command from station security.

We chatted for a bit about that and I told them that made sense, but also pointed out the obvious about security and law enforcement.

I DO think their uncertainty about both the situation I put them in and their suspicions and their reactions are born in fantasy role play, where the "law" is less organized and pervasive.

This situation will set up some interesting dynamics in the future. They are absolutely right about not trusting every call for inspection, for example. Later that evening, they encountered a pirate ship that was posing as Eox space inspection, so they are right to be suspicious. On the other hand, their dilemma is also that some of these stops are legal and legit.

I plan now to step back and think about the dilemma they are in and think about good role playing opportunities for them to interact with security: skill checks for Sense Motive, computer checks for legit transponder codes, and so on. So, I'll try to make their dilemma a feature and not a bug.

I especially like @thecursor's thoughts above about shifting their mindset from "kill the monsters and take their stuff" to "secure the area, call the cops." I don't think the answer lies in anything punitive, like banning them from Station services etc. I think their dilemma is real and will try to use it to make things more fun.

Thanks for all the good advice!!

Thanks for all the thoughtful feedback. These ideas are making me a little more comfortable.

I wanted to wait to describe two encounters with security that I GMed to see what some responses were. Here's what has happened in our game so far (of course, all the players are new to the system and I'm learning more and more as I go about GMing).

First, upon their return to Absalom after an initial outing but following a "shoot out" on one of the Arms, station security were waiting on the PCs at their dock. The security head showed them a holo-recording of the shootout, and wanted to hear the PCs' side of the story.

The first reaction of the players/PCs was to run back to their ship and try to escape, which struck me as an entirely unwise move. It was an interesting instinctual response, no doubt a mindset from years of fantasy role play scenarios. They could not escape in their ship, as it was "locked down" till they addressed the security questions. In deference to their reptilian brain stem reaction (one player IS a Vesk, LOL) I let the run away matter slide.

It was obvious that the PCs were attacked first, so I just let things run their course in their answering questions from security. Security seemed satisfied and the holo did backup the PCs' story of self-defense.

What bothered me though: the players (not the PCs) REALLY obviously bristled at the notion of being stopped and interrogated by security, even though they were completely in the right as far as self-defense. It was an interesting reaction from the players and made me wonder if I had done something wrong as GM. I had security remind them that there are laws etc. Still, the players seemed really perturbed. I have not yet asked them about it meta-game, which I'll probably do when we play tonight. I have asked them generally about how they wanted security issues to play out, but their reaction was mostly, You're the GM. I'll try again.

A second encounter was when they left Absalom to deliver some cargo. On their out, they were hailed by a Sentinel ship to stop for a routine inspection. Again, their reaction was nothing short of passive (?) aggressive. They kept slowing the ship to a crawl, and when told to stop, they went slower, and when told to stop they slowed down further. It's obvious there's some dynamic at play that I'm not sure I entirely understand.

Again, I know as a good GM I need to ask them meta game what's going on. But, I just wondered if I had messed up and what others were doing, so again, thanks for the responses. The stakes are a -little- high since we're just starting out and what we do will set precedent (though of course we can always make a group decision to change or retcon things) but I'm afraid I can't retcon a disrespect for the law. And, I wonder if to some extent I have disrespected the players judging from their reactions.

Feedback and ideas still appreciated! We love SF BTW, despite the learning curve and sudden shift from fantasy to science fiction.

Just curious as to how are addressing, if at all, the issue of security forces on Absalom Station and basic law enforcement.

For instance, I don't really want my players to bring their "see a monster and kill it and take its stuff" dungeon mentality to the Station. I know of course that most of this issue can be handled by my adventure set up, but at some point there's going to be shoot out on the docks or in a bar or even in the corridors. Do my players just need to hide the bodies, or do the bodies "disappear" like they do in a dungeon LOL?

There should be Station security--who are they and have you used them to play a role in your game? Do you have the Sentinels as an Absalom presence? Some corps have their own security forces--have you introduced any of those yet? And, there's apparently gang activity; any danger or law enforcement consequences of getting involved in that as a PC?

There could/should also be lots of monitoring on the Station, but too much of that is, well, too much.

So, have you addressed the issue of law and order and security forces, and if so, what have done??

Thanks in advance for any experience or advice you can share!

whew wrote:

Calculator is one of the four apps I downloaded onto my real-life android phone. What's so silly about that?

I think maybe some people are missing my point. I don’t harbor a burning hatred for calculators. I downloaded a calculator onto my iPad, too. But then, we’re also not characters in a fictional game in which the only limits are one’s imagination. (And maybe the rules.) I’m fully aware of the value of calculators IRL. I was just personally disappointed at the mundanity of the book pointing out the inclusion of a calculator on a futuristic device.

I must say this thread has evolved into some very good ideas. I think what I might do is make a Datapad Chart for my players and take all the really good ideas here and list them separately as available upgrade modules for their datapads, then price them out so they can pick from the “App Store” to customize their pads for their character concept. They’d be limited to a certain number of apps maybe based on pad tier or something but could swap them out under the right circumstances.

Many good ideas here! Any more good App ideas??

Also, I’d just like to say that I’ve never had such a lengthy discussion about the virtues of calculators LOL.

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Yes! Yes! Now we’re getting somewhere! Machine learning and expert systems—now THOSE are the future of comm units (and smartphones).

Great ideas S.J. Digriz and John Napier 698! Mind if I yoink these and use them without attribution LOL?

Very imaginative and inspiring.

Edit: Also addresses my OP about what a datapad is/could/should be.

Metaphysician wrote:

What exactly is a future smartphone supposed to be able to do, other than "smartphone stuff but better"? Its a portable comm device that doubles as a computer, that's. . . pretty much covered. Its like complaining that future clothing doesn't also shapeshift into tools and have an AI to keep you company. Yes, you *could* get that stuff, but its not the baseline of what "clothing" or "portable comm" means.

Which is to say, even thousands of years in the future, people will still use a smartphone for the same things, because those things are useful.

Good points and I think you hit it when you said, but better. I mean, excuse me but including a calculator is useless, unimaginative, and uninspiring. I hate to harp on the calculator thing LOL but I think it’s an exemplar of the inanity of this piece of gear. If someone can give me a (serious) example of why I’d need a calculator I’ll concede the point. Plus, this is a game. That means fun. A calculator is not fun. And is anyone seriously going to argue that science fiction comms should be essentially the smartphone of today? We’re at the end of the smartphone as it’s own device era now.

Aerotan’s holographic suggestion is way better and more of what I anyway would expect. A nifty calculator and a flashlight sounds like my grandma’s clamshell phone features. Admittedly even these are too advanced for her to use, LOL, but she doesn’t live in a universe with a Triune either. Holographic tech on a comm unit or data pad is way more cool and inspirational. Maybe I’ll add a holographic calculator to the comm and be way more satisfied.

Not sure the clothing analogy works. Most people don’t think tech when they think clothing. Although—clothes that shift color or appearance depending on your mood or location would be neat. Anybody interested in a Kickstarter for development of a Mood Shirt??

d'Eon wrote:
And are you really complaining that Starfinder comms are basically modern smartphones?

Well, I guess I am LOL. I think my issue is identified in your question: I’d expect a science fiction comm unit to have more cool features and functions than a modern (ie what we have today) anything. Sorry if I can’t get excited about waiting for the Drift Drive to spin up while adding stuff on my calculator. I suppose I expected more cool, imaginative features that would actually be useful for exploring the Vast unknown.

I know I can build computer modules for my players’ comms to make them more imaginative and interesting and exciting using the rules. I’ll probably also look at other game systems for inspiration, like Coriolis or something.

I mean, even the iPhone X would let me wander around the Spire using AR to find a good weapons dealer! Maybe the One More Thing will be a supplement for cool comm apps LOL.

SF Society module Into the Unknown mentions a device called a Datapad. I know of course what the name implies, but what the heck is it re: rules and equipment? I looked under Computers but might have missed it. Are they a type of miniaturized computer? If so are there functions and Tiers?

Related, I see the entry for Comm device and thought it a bit lame. It has a calculator? Really? What for? “Hey! See if you can hold off these space goblins long enough for me calculate how much all our load out is gonna cost!” Hardly seems necessary much less unimaginative. Ooh. And a flashlight too? I’ll take it!

Thanks in advance for any insight and apologies if I overlooked Datapads.

Apologies in advance if this question has been addressed, or if I just can't read LOL.

Does a ship's Power Core PCU figure into ship combat? For example, when an Engineer diverts power, is that power drawn or subtracted from the Core's PCU?

What is the purpose of the Power Core's PCU?


Sorry in advance if threads like this are a pain in the arse, but I would really appreciate your help.

Looking for an adventure in Dungeon that had a pretty neat map; near the entrance were doors with wolf heads on them, a mosaic in the floor showing wolf-creatures in battle, and nearby a room through an archway with a floating hand, etc. I've looked and looked through my Dungeons and know I'm missing it somehow.

Sound familiar to anyone?

Many thanks. Cheers.