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I'm not sure why the focus is on Thaumaturge damage rather than how the Thaumaturge can be good-to-great at nearly everything without much additional investment. That's the uniquely strong part of the Thaumaturge, as most other classes that "can do anything" have to pick and choose what to be good at a little bit more.

It's the best at Recall Knowledge with a single feat, hits incredibly hard, can be a utility caster with the scroll feats, is naturally great in social situations thanks to high CHA, etc.

It's only particularly unique weakness is being on the squishy end for martials, being both MAD and 8 base HP.

Comparing it to the Kineticist, Thaumaturge is definitely more concerning. Kineticist has a handful of really powerful utility/support options (Four Winds), but it has more peaks and valleys to it all and doesn't outshine a lot of preexisting options in their niches.

Finally, comparing it to the new playtest classes, Animist seems really strong, but mainly due to a few feats and having 4 slots per rank. Meanwhile, Exemplar is difficult to gauge but seems a tad on the weaker end due to having few "always on" options and some potential math issues.

Doing some pretty rudimentary calculations (this one assumes you "lock in" to Reap the Field before making the first attack, which is incorrect), Reap the Field becomes even with 2 Strikes when fighting APL-2 enemies and gets better the higher you boost your accuracy/the lower you debuff enemy AC.

EDIT: Did some more math

Assuming both attacks hit on a 6+, Reap is roughly even with 2 Strikes on a non-agile weapon. Any better accuracy and Reap starts outpacing it fairly hard, so if you have a buffed to-hit vs mobs of weaker enemies, you can massively increase your output relative to just two Strikes.

Also, on only an 8+ or higher, Reap is outperformed by a single Strike.

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While the Exemplar's Ikons have many flavorful abilities, quite a few are redundant with existing feats already available to the Exemplar, either by temporarily granting the feat or by granting a similar benefit to an existing feat. While class features/feats that grant other feats are nothing new, the fact that these other feats are granted temporarily changes things. Temporary feats don't count for prerequisites and taking the feats permanently results in "wasted" abilities, which never feel good.

Some of these effects, like the Gaze Sharp as Steel's Transcend ability (which grants AoO/Reactive Strike) are powerful, but the Exemplar already has native access, so if you take the Reactive Strike feat (which is pretty much a must-have for melee martials), it feels underwhelming to have one of the main benefits of your Ikon be completely pointless. Instead, these Ikons should either grant more unique effects or improve the effects of the feat if the Exemplar already has them.

An example where this could be applied would be Skybearer's Belt, which grants an effect similar to the Titan Wrestler feat. Unfortunately, any character already interested in using Athletics maneuvers is likely going to take the feat anyways, and the feat actually ends up better once you hit Legendary in Athletics. Rather than granting a redundant effect, the Ikon could grant the feat or give a +X to those Athletics maneuvers if the Exemplar already has the feat.

Making it only allow re-saves against effects that already allow it and making it only allow a single re-save against the same effect might address a lot of the narrative/structural concerns while still being incredibly strong. You could probably remove the bonus outright and it would still be incredibly good thanks to just how efficient it is (especially when most other Transcendance abilities are pretty standard in terms of action economy).

Although, if these changes are made, then there will be more instances where the ability doesn't do anything. The other Worn Ikons don't have this issue, since they're proactive rather than mitigative. Maybe have it grant a re-save and some temp HP? A re-save and a one-round bonus on subsequent saves? Just a bonus against future saves and no re-save?

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The ability not only seems incredibly powerful (re-save w/ +2 for all nearby allies for a single action), but allowing it to work against any condition/negative effect also has both powerful and uncertain implications.

Does re-saving against a spell like Synesthesia reset the duration? Is it the same saving throw with the same outcomes as the spell, or is it just pass/fail to end the effect?

In addition, the transcendence ability being infinitely repeatable just means that long-lasting conditions and negative effects just stop existing.

Finally, the narrative power it gives characters is kind of nuts, giving the Exemplar the ability to solve so many otherwise unsolvable or level-gated issues. Curing diseases, lifting curses, removing lasting injury, etc. While a GM can fiat that away or just give negative effects arbitrarily high DCs, doing that feels like a betrayal of the ability's premise and is dissatisfying because of it. As such, the premise itself should probably be altered instead of making promises that the system and GM cannot reasonably keep.

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With the nature of the Exemplar as "magic martial" that's not really a gish and really emphasizes raw physicality, I think it would be a neat opportunity to introduce the ability to cast spells with STR or DEX. This would be flavored much like Strike Rivers, Sieze Winds feat, representing the ability to perform the supernatural by wrestling it into submission.

Puna'chong wrote:

The Palisade Bangles seem like they're the "shield" ikon, but a specific weapon ikon that enhances shield bashing would be pretty cool.

OP says 'nough said, but what exactly do folks want from a shield hero? Shield bashing? Shielding allies? What's different from this concept than a shield specialized Fighter or Champion?

Conceptually, a Shield Ikon would separate itself from the feats of other martials in the same way that other Ikons separate themselves: utilize the supernatural, activities instead of single actions, and emphasize scale over efficiency.

If it's a Weapon Ikon, it should probably make Shield Bash competitive with other weapons as well as grant a unique, offense-oriented ability. Something that can't be replicated with the other Weapon Ikons or feats, and something that isn't an option for the Champion or Fighter to reduce redundancy. Potential ideas include:

- A charging shield bash like Barreling Charge, but with an additional Shove or Raise a Shield built-in
- A stunning shield bash that strikes a target and inflicts stupefied
- A shield toss that creates a lingering AoE

If it's used as a Worn Ikon, it could be used as an option for existing Ikons like the Palisade Bracers, or it could have other unique defensive abilities. Potential ideas include:

- Planting and growing a shield to create a wall or other persistent barrier
- Hurling a shield to give your Raise a Shield + Shield Block to a distant ally
- An enhanced Raise a Shield that grants a special Shield Block reaction that blinds the opponent, flings them far away, reflects projectiles, etc.

I've got two characters in mind, both Exemplars.

The first is a by-the-books DEX Exemplar using firearms and the Gunslinger archetype, designed with the intent of stress-testing the action economy of the class. Right now, that's my biggest concern with the Ikons, as the majority of the Transcendance abilities are two or three actions.

The second is a STR Exemplar with the Wrestler archetype and a houserule that an Unarmed Strike can be used as a Weapon Ikon, since I wanted to test and see if that breaks anything. While I don't think there's anything particularly strong with this character, I could definitely see Flurry of Blows + Transcendance being pretty ridiculous on an Exemplar with the Monk archetype. Although, an Exemplar with the Ranger archetype can already do this with Twin Takedown.

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I like Eikon as well since it just looks cooler and feels less like a misspelling of Icon.

You can currently use Shield Spikes as a Barrow's Edge Weapon Ikon, but it's unfortunately underwhelming (d6 with no traits) and the Shield Boss is entirely unsupported.

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PossibleCabbage wrote:
Invictus Fatum wrote:
So, an ikon that gives the equivalent of medium armor that follows your light armor proficiency is my thought. More than just a feat and that is chosen in place of another ikon, so you have to really think about it.

The problem is that the ikons don't do anything if you haven't put your divine spark in them to get the immanence effect. So an ikon that gives medium armor would be one where you'd want to make sure you always have it active off turn. Which basically means you're ignoring one of your 3 ikons since you're going to want to have your weapon up when you're attacking then turn on your defense.

I wonder if Ikons shouldn't have some sort of passive effect that functions even when your divine spark is elsewhere, just because of lingering divine energy or something. That would let a worn or body icon give you medium armor.

I think something that would help this would be for Ikons to have a passive, non-Immanence effect as well that's just always on. So, an Ikon that emulates Medium Armor would grant typical medium armor AC as a passive without Immanence, and then it would add fast healing (or some other bonus) on top with Immanence.

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It definitely looks the most finished and well-put-together playtest class that's been put out for PF2e. I think a lot of the concerns are just in the balance department, especially balancing Sage vs Channeler and any feats that are too good not to take.

The extra bookkeeping is definitely going to be a little clunky, especially when bookkeeping is one of the pain points of Vancian casting in general.

At a glance, the closest cousin to the Exemplar seems to be the Barbarian.

The Barbarian chooses between boosting its damage with Rage or keeping baseline AC without Rage. In addition, when it Rages, it has access to many unique options, most of which can be used multiple times without needing to reactivate Rage. It also reaches baseline AC with only 14 DEX in Medium Armor, and has base 12 HP to help make up for its lowered AC in Rage.

The Exemplar, similarly, chooses between boosting its damage with its Weapon Ikon and (potentially) boosting defense with its other Ikons. If the Exemplar has only +2 DEX (to better accommodate +4 STR like the typical Barbarian), it also makes the choice between having a damage boost or having baseline AC. However, the Exemplar also has base 10 HP, so it also needs more CON to make up for it. Even if you have +3 DEX and +4 STR, that means having fewer attribute boosts to spend elsewhere.

It takes a lot of attribute investment to reach a similar baseline as other martials while also having more restrictions on various different features and feats. I don't really see a case for this class not wanting to archetype out for better armor for STR Exemplars.

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Sage's big payoff seems to be the Soul Synchronization Feat at 8th level. I couldn't see a Sage character that doesn't take that feat, so it seems like it should just be baked into the subclass.

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Since the spirits cover a range of Primal themes, making the core chassis Divine allows it to have a good spread of options.

Plus, it's a way to represent non-theistic faiths as equally divine as theistic ones rather than being "othered" by giving them a non-divine list.

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QuidEst wrote:
I wouldn't want to mess with the cycle element to this, or get rid of all items. The class makes plenty of sense for most human legends, but it really does feel like a gnoll legend should be able to have legendary teeth.

It's also weird when many of the mythical inspirations for this class often fight unarmored or unarmed like Herakles strangling the Nemean Lion or Gilgamesh wrestling with Enkidu.

Given the current list of Weapon Ikons, there are obviously some weapons that don't have support.

At a glance, I noticed that there wasn't support for bludgeoning weapons in the Brawling, Flail, or Shield groups.

There are likely other unsupported weapon types, so we should make a list of unsupported weapons that can be added in during the full release.

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Given how the Exemplar can switch from item to item with a bit of downtime, I don't see a reason for not being able to have item-less Exemplars provided the Ikons chosen meet the prerequisites. There could even be dedicated Ikons for item-less Exemplars, like an armorless-only Ikon.

breithauptclan wrote:
Staffan Johansson wrote:
I do not think Starfinder necessarily needs "generalist combat class". It needs the ability to make characters with a wide variety of combat styles without dipping into Pathfinder classes.

Where are people getting this idea that Starfinder2e is going to need the Pathfinder books in order to be playable?

Maybe the blog post announcing it wasn't clear enough. But everything that the developers are doing, as some very direct things that they have come onto these forums to say, has said very clearly that if all you want is Starfinder, getting just Starfinder2e books will result in a playable, fun, and complete-feeling game.

The concern comes from both the small amount of classes as well as the only class content known to the public being restricted to a pretty narrow fantasy of "Area weapon user focused on damage mitigation."

It's pretty valid to be cautious about the versatility of other classes to the point that the game feels a little barren without other classes under these circumstances.

I'd like Solarian to be a class that can do both cool martial stuff and cool spellcaster stuff, but it can't do both at the same time. Not that they're mutually exclusive across the same character, but that the attunement powers both up enough that there's decision-making on whether to slam down powerful Zenith Revelations or maintain the buff.

I would also like the cycle and balance aspects to be improved and emphasized rather than discarded. If the class is about the dichotomy between photon and graviton, then have those abilities come in pairs. Ideally, also encourage using a mixture of both photon and graviton states, either by making them strong for different reasons or by encouraging changing between the two via improved action economy or something.

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One of the more emphasized aspects of Starfinder is how much of a character's abilities come from gear and how those pieces of gear interact with the rest of the system. A lot of these different aspects can be pretty janky or unintuitive at times, but choosing gear generally has some interesting decisions even at the earliest levels.

In contrast, one of the weaker aspects of the Pathfinder Second Edition system is that low-level gearing, especially armor, isn't that interesting. Plenty of weapon traits feel inconsequential and mundane armor is largely an obvious decision determined by your other stats. While Armor Specialization does help differentiate armor within the same category, it's somewhat forgettable, low-impact, and doesn't come online until 7th level.

To help make low-level gearing more interesting in Starfinder Second Edition, I would be interested in more weapons and armor coming with traits that grant activities. For example, the Overcharge trait could grant a two-action activity that fires a single, enhanced shot like the Inventor's Megaton Strike. Another example would be a Lasso trait that grants an activity to yank a distant foe toward the wielder. The more weapons that have traits like these, the better.

Automatic/Area weapons already do a fantastic job of introducing similarly high-impact activities, and I would love to see these types of ideas applied to more weapons and armor in the future.

WatersLethe wrote:

Spitballing here, but:

I want the Technomancer to be the equivalent of the Druid of technology. They should be considered kinda weird compared to most everyone, and be a little *too* into the mysticism of technology, with a strong bent toward *software* specifically. I think Mechanic can handle the hardware side of things quite well, and so giving narrative control of software to Technomancers could be a good way to give the two classes some space.

I'd like Technomancers to be able to influence, duplicate, or generate AI helpers that can do things as diverse as doing research automatically in the background to providing useful combat HUD info or targeting assistance.

I'd like Technomancers to be able to champion Matrix style modes of play, including things like allowing the party to physically enter artificial environments, computer systems, or data pads (if only to hide for a bit from real world threats).

I feel like Technomancers should be able to blur the line between virtual reality and reality, perhaps allowing AI helpers or software threats to take physical form to assist in combat or skill challenges, or create illusory effects.

I think Technomancers should be able to act as essentially a living matrix node, allowing them to project an aura of technological effects even in the wilderness.

Overcoming security systems and cameras should be second nature to Technomancers.

I don't think Technomancers necessarily need to be able to throw fireballs (though I think they should have a high damage potential). So I would like to put forth, looking at the sheer number and variety of effects the Kineticist can gain access to, that the Technomancer should be something more akin to a kineticist who channels only technological effects.

While I can see the Technomancer focusing on the software side of things to better differentiate it from the Mechanic, I'd instead like to see those sorts of distinctions broken up via subclass.

So, the Technomancer as a whole would focus on the broader integration of magic and technology, but each subclass would focus on different types of technology. You'd have a subclass for software, one for hardware, one for wetware, "animaware" (soul-based technology), etc.

These could also flavor the Spell Cache mechanic if that returns or even grant different ways of spending/refilling the Spell Cache.

They could just create new traditions for SF2e that can poach spells from PF2e traditions while still developing new identities. If the SF2e classes are supposed to feel truly distinct from PF2e classes, then giving them new traditions defined by their unique fantasy seems logical. Just like how the Wizard's fictional identity was used to define the Arcane tradition, the Mystic's fictional identity can be used to define the Mysticism tradition.

Now, for compatibility purposes, the Mysticism tradition could also poach spells from the PF2e Divine and Primal lists, but it doesn't need to be restricted by those same lists.

Condensing the magical traditions can also help accommodate for more space-fantasy skills beyond Piloting/Computers such Physical Science, Engineering, etc.

Eh, while the SF1e classes definitely had some elements of PF classes in them, be they thematic (like the Operative) or mechanical (like the Mystic), I wouldn't call most of the classes just "X in space."

While the Operative certainly resembles "Space Rogue," Trick Attack and Sneak Attack are wildly different mechanics despite having similar fiction. Trick Attack doesn't need any setup and doesn't feel any different from most other attacks, while Sneak Attack actively rewards specific tactics like flanking and combines more organically with combat maneuvers.

I also would like to see Technomancer and Mystic get new spell traditions, even if they pull a bit from PF2e traditions. Being restricted to the PF2e spell traditions pushes a "Wizard in SPAAACE" vibe.

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I don't think any of the casters in SF2e core should be wave casters.

Instead, make them 2 slot casters like the Psychic and give them strong class features/feats. You could easily have Technomancer eat some parts of Mechanic with those restrictions, and Operative could get some of the other elements.

Of course, I'd rather have all 7 instead, but Mechanic has always stood out to me as being a little redundant at times. Its constituent parts would make for great archetypes though.

I'd also like weapon damage upgrades to be "standardized" like PF2e fundamental runes, but I would like to see SF2e weapons have a more unique upgrade system that helps discourage the "Neapolitan Sword" idea. Specific attachment slots for physical upgrades and then a property rune/1e weapon fusion system on top would be fun.

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PossibleCabbage wrote:

I think the Soldier from the playtest works well as like "the heavy" from XCOM. The abilities for like "blowing up cover" and "cracking open tanks etc." are just higher level feats.

I think that's a valid role for a core class. Though you would prefer that the "run and gun" stuff and the "long range fire support" stuff doesn't both go to the Operative.

Ideally both classes can do elements of both. Just like how Barbarian, Fighter, Champion, and even Ranger support 2H melee combat, any sort of weapon fantasy should probably have 2-3 classes that comfortably support it for a healthy amount of varied playstyles.

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I think the Soldier is neat as a class for PF2e, but it's really narrow as one of 6 starting classes for a new game.

That and even with the narrow niche, the core mechanic isn't super interesting since it doesn't necessarily change how you use the new AoE Weapons. It's not really a payoff for a setup (the same way Sneak Attack is the payoff for setting up Off-Guard/Flat-footed), and it doesn't set up other things in turn without feat investment/specific subclasses.

QuidEst wrote:
As far as Intimidation is concerned, I actually disagree that it should be something you have to take as feat. Strength only has one skill too, and the features seem to be making sure that just because you're using Constitution, you're not left out in the cold. It's got a feature to take care of the class's AC, and it's got a feature to take care of its lack of skills.

It still feels pretty unnecessary given how the class doesn't really need any stat other than CON (for Area Weapons), CON+DEX (for Automatic Weapons), or CON+STR (for Close Quarters Soldier). The class is pretty SAD already.

However, the "Zen Archer Syndrome" caused by it being a 3rd level feature is the main issue.

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ThePuppyTurtle wrote:
YuriP wrote:
ThePuppyTurtle wrote:
However, I still think people are reasonably annoyed by what has turned out to be SF1's relatively short lifespan. 3.0 and its successors represented a unique situation where what was basically a single system was playable and actively worked on by either WotC or Paizo for more than twenty years. A lot of us who came into the hobby during that period aren't used to edition changes being an inescapable reality.
I agree but you know this was an exception and that normally a TTRPG system doesn't survive for so long time without a new edition.

Right, but the reason this situation is so uncommon is corporate sleaze. All your TTRPG books become outdated after five years for the same reason your phone is deliberately designed to break after two years. No product can ever be allowed to endure in its usefulness because that would eliminate the need to buy another one.

Your analysis of Paizo's motives later in your comment gives them a lot of benefit of the doubt. It's entirely possible they've simply realized that the edition treadmill is a way to maximize profits at the expense of the consumer, and have decided they'll switch to it now because it will make them more money. That's why everyone else does it. How likely is it, really, that Paizo is a special exception?

Edition changes come with unacceptable financial risk due to higher investment costs if the goal is just to ensure people repurchase books. Especially when players can still play with old books and the material is freely available online.

The financial incentive is instead to gather a new audience. The PF2e playerbase is massive relative to the SF playerbase and thus can provide an influx of new players.

Concluding Thoughts
More than anything else, I want Starfinder Second Edition to be able to stand on its own and not have to worry about stepping on the toes of PF2e classes and ideas. It's okay if the Soldier feels a bit closer to "Fighter in SPAAAAACE" if that makes it more fun and varied overall.

For other system elements to add, ways for classes to spend Hero Points to ape class-specific Resolve spenders would be quite fun. Other elements such as damage from property runes being baked into standard weapon damage while weapon fusions and attachments focus on utility would also be preferable.

Finally, for the remaining 3 classes that we know of, I hope to see:

  • The Mystic adopting the same 2 slots per rank model as the Psychic in order to emphasize more unique and powerful class features/feats
  • The Solarian emphasizing the stellar cycle and duality elements with Photon/Graviton revelations that come in pairs
  • The Envoy supporting the party primarily via action economy rather than bonuses to not overlap with existing bonus-based support

As for the two classes that we do not know about, I am not sure whether one could exclude any of the remaining three SF1e Core classes without the game feeling incomplete.

Overall, I'm excited about Starfinder Second Edition, and I want it to improve upon both SF1e and PF2e.

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New Equipment and Creatures
The new equipment seems interesting and fun outside of two particular issues: Capacity's name and Area Fire's limitations.

Capacity and Usage
If there’s anything to take away from this document it is that TRAITS WITH THE SAME NAME BUT DIFFERENT EFFECTS SHOULD NOT EXIST. Furthermore, Capacity and Usage being two separate statistics instead of a single value for total shots per reload is a little awkward.

By far the most important change is to rename Capacity to something like Magazine to avoid overlap with the PF2e trait of the same name. In addition, if there are no effects that alter the Capacity and Usage stats independently from one another, they should be combined into a singular statistic.

Area Weapons
While they appear to function well balance-wise, the current implementation of Area Weapons does not seem terribly fun or interesting due to the action cost to switch between weapons. A weapon only being able to use a single, two-action activity to fire evokes the same pain points as spellcasters primarily using two-action spells, but without any of the flexibility of spellcasting.

For comparison, imagine if a Wizard cast Fireball for two actions, then had to spend a third action to unequip Fireball, then a fourth action to equip Fear, and then spend a fifth and sixth action to cast Fear.

Beyond the action economy, Area Weapons keying off of Class DCs means that they are actively better in the hands of classes like the Kineticist or spellcasters compared to martials. This feels pretty dissonant with the fiction of the game.

To help with the action economy, I would like to see Area Weapons have some form of modality, where the user can choose one of multiple different effects/blast shapes as they fire the weapon.

As for the issue with DCs, I would like to see Area/Automatic Fire could have their own scaling Item DC so that class features are the determining factor for effectiveness. This way, the Soldier would be the best Area Weapon user through action economy and bonus effects rather than raw numbers and neither the Fighter nor casters would have better to-hit with them.

Ammo and Batteries
For as long as I have played post-2000 d20 TTRPGs, I have rarely, if ever, seen groups bother to track mundane supplies such as rations, arrows, and torches. As such, it has always struck me as weird when games continue to have these represented via distinct items rather than further abstracted.

This is on the weirder side, but I would like for mundane ammo and batteries to be abstracted into pools of points. Rather than having distinct ammo cartridges and different types of batteries, a pool such as "Supply Points" or "Battery Charges" that are just spent to reload/recharge would be preferable to reduce bookkeeping and encourage groups to actually engage in these elements

The two previewed creatures are both interesting and fun, though there will of course be a little bit of awkwardness when utilizing technologically-focused creatures in PF2e.

If some creatures called back to the KAC/EAC mechanics, I would be delighted. Allowing martials to engage in the same weakness-evaluation elements that casters can do would be fun, and it better sells the fantasy of ballistic vs energy weaponry.

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Soldier Class Feats
I think the Soldier has a good spread of class feats for what the class's current focus is, but the specifics of individual feats leave much to be desired. In addition, the general trend of spending even more actions in conjunction with the two-action Area Fire activity is fairly concerning. The action cost of switching weapons is pretty high, and these three-action "routines" may encourage repetitive gameplay too much.

Generally speaking, I like that the feats focus on supporting new ideas rather than aping Fighter and Gunslinger feats, but a few feats here and there to support other combat styles would be appreciated.

Pin Down
The first of many feats that spends a third action to enhance an Area Weapon activity, Pin Down seems a little underwhelming.

I would like to see this either replaced by a tweaked Punishing Salvo or given an additional effect, like allowing the Soldier to Stride or Step.

Quick Swap
This feat seems like a must-have for Close Quarters Soldiers, though as a reaction it competes with it's AoO-like ability.

Something like this should be a class feature for the Soldier to make it easier to use a variety of different weapons for different situations. Even weapons of the same category need to be swapped out on occasion if they deal different damage types or have different secondary effects.

Ready Reload
As there are no weapons in the Field Test that have Reload 2, it is difficult to evaluate this feat.

The requirement for this feat might be too strict given the already rigid action economy that Area Weapons demand.

Warning Shot
An excellent feat overall, but a little awkward for melee-focused Close Quarters Soldiers.

If grenades don't use the Area Fire activity, letting this feat support grenades as well would be nice.

Menacing Laughter
My personal favorite feat. It's fantastic, but it further highlights the Zen Archer Syndrome caused by Fearsome Bulwark being a 3rd-level feature since this feat is available at 2nd-level.

This feat is quite fun, but an Intimidation-focused subclass would also be an interesting alternative

Relentless Endurance
Useful, but quite bland. The most tanking-oriented feat for the class.

This could reasonably be a class feature, and then feats could upgrade it to be able to remove certain conditions.

Steady Up
The purpose of this feat is largely unclear. Theoretically, it could be used to enable Area Fire/Automatic Fire via the Ready activity, but all of the weapons with the Area Fire activity have the Unwieldy trait. This is probably also to be used with weapons with forced movement recoil.

If this did enable Readied Area Fire, this would be an amazing feat. If that does end up being the case, adjust the language to make this a clear possibility.

Overwhelming Assault
This feat seems to be providing additional melee support, weapon attachment support, and Automatic Fire > Ranged Strike support. Unfortunately, there are no weapon attachments in the Field Test and the only Automatic weapon has the Unwieldy trait, so this just appears to be for melee weapons at the moment. In addition, there appears to be an error regarding how the feat (and the agile trait) works with third and subsequent strikes. Overall, however, it's on the boring side.

I am unsure what I'd like to see changed about this feat beyond fixing the apparent error.

Punishing Salvo
This feat largely appears to be a better version of Pin Down, but with an ammo cost. It does help ease some of the issues with Area Weapons not having a single-action use case, but it does not play nicely against single creatures that the Soldier may struggle to hit due to below-average accuracy.

I would like this to replace Pin Down, though if Area Weapons can get an attachment that mimics having a sidearm, this might not be necessary.

Widen Area
A fun feat for making your explosions even bigger. However, it's yet another feat that turns Area Fire into a possibly repetitive 3-action activity.

Rather than spending more actions to widen the area of effect, I'd like to see it spend more ammo. This would delay the action cost of the feat in exchange for smoother play, much like how the Magus gets to split its Spellstrike into a 2 action activity and 1 action recharge.

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Soldier Fighting Styles
The Soldier’s subclasses are more similar to the early subclass designs of PF2e where the subclasses provide significantly different effects and don’t inherently change how the core class feature (Suppressing Fire) is used. They remind me of the Rogue subclasses, where they might provide additional benefits to using the core feature, might make it easier to use the core feature, or just directly improve the core feature.

If Suppressing Fire is opened up to work with all weapons by default, I would like to see each subclass provide additional effects to the Suppressed condition that synergize with different tactical styles. For example, the Close Quarters Fighting Style would improve Athletics maneuvers used against Suppressed targets. This way, Suppressing targets always opens up better opportunities for the Soldier, further encouraging proactive play.

Armor Storm
The tankiest of the Soldier subclasses, Armor Storm allows a Soldier to absorb significantly more punishment. However, being able to take extra damage does not necessarily help the Soldier be a better team player. In fact, being tankier encourages enemies to attack the Soldier's allies instead, denying them the satisfaction of being able to just shrug off attacks.

Rather than just increasing the Soldier's damage resistance, Armor Storm could also impose a greater accuracy penalty for enemies attacking the Soldier's allies. That way, more enemies actually attack the Soldier, giving the Soldier the satisfaction of having those attacks harmlessly plink off. Alternatively, Armor Storm could allow the Soldier to directly intercept enemy fire from Suppressed enemies.

With the current direction of the class as an Area weapons specialist, Bombard feels like the “default subclass” that the majority of Soldiers will want to take. Its unique ability directly improves upon the core concept of the class. Its simplicity is its strength, but it also encourages focusing on doing the same thing every round. In addition, it has some nasty anti-synergy with Primary Target. Overall, it reminds me of the Thief Rogue, where it may be overcentralizing.

What I'd like to see changed for this subclass heavily depends on whether Suppressing Fire is changed. If Suppressing Fire is opened up for all weapon attacks, then Bombardier could instead be the source of Primary Target. Overall, though, I do not like this subclass since it just seems to be Soldier+, rather than opening up new ideas.

Close Quarters
This subclass is, to me, a patch that allows the class to be more than just an Area weapon specialist. While I appreciate it broadening the option spread available to the class, it hammers home that the core of the class is too narrowly focused. This subclass is probably intended to work with bayonetted firearms, but there are none in the rest of the Field Test to confirm that. Finally, the flavor text references utilizing melee weapons as a backup, but the mechanics don't make switching to the melee weapon any easier (that is instead relegated to a separate feat).

If Suppressing Fire is not changed, this subclass should probably grant Quick-Swap and turn Punitive Strike into a subclass-exclusive feat. If Suppressing Fire is opened up to work with any weapon, then instead give the subclass improved Athletics maneuvers vs Suppressed targets.

Concluding Thoughts
Overall, it seems that the subclasses are meant to test the waters of what Soldier subclasses people like and why they like them before settling on a design direction for the subclasses as a whole.

Personally, I prefer the direction of Armor Storm, as it turns Suppressing Fire into a stepping stone for future benefits rather than being the end goal.

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While we have seen little of the new edition, I would like to provide as much feedback as I can early into the design process so that Starfinder 2e can be the best it can possibly be. As such, I've prepared a thorough analysis of the entire Field Test. Sections in italics are subjective changes that I would like to see.

This analysis is to break down the designs shown in Field Test 1 under the following assumptions:

  • Full Compatibility means that creatures, classes, and gear from PF2e and SF2e work in the other system, but are not wholly balanced and may need small adjustments (such as adding/removing the Computers skill).
  • SF2e is "feature complete" and covers a wide array of possible fantasies without the addition of PF2e content
  • The expectation is that most SF2e groups will only use SF2e content.
  • SF2e may have system changes to better sell the space fantasy genre, and those changes do not break PF2e if backported or can easily be removed

Soldier Class Features
The Soldier is a class designed around two main ideas: tanking hits via HP and laying down covering fire with heavy weapons to reduce enemy accuracy. Most of the class features and feats accentuate these ideas rather well.

Importantly, the Soldier is deliberately designed to be significantly different than a PF2e Fighter. While this makes sense for players who wish to use either class in either system, the deliberate avoidance of overlap results in the Soldier being fairly narrow.

I would like to see the Soldier opened up to a more weapons-agnostic class. While the area weapon support is appreciated, supporting a wider array of playstyles is generally preferable. This could be done by tweaking its existing mechanics, or by overhauling them entirely. One suggestion I have seen that I would enjoy would be to shift Solider to being a Ready Action specialist, with different subclasses being able to Ready different, more complex activities.

Base Statistics
Constitution as the Soldier’s Key Ability Score accentuates the class’s nature as a defender, though it does result in some weirdness with weapon accuracy, which can betray the class fantasy. In addition, the saving throws do not suggest a defense-oriented class, which is somewhat concerning. Finally, the small snippet of the class we received doesn’t show how the Soldier’s class DC scales with level, so it’s impossible to know how well the class scales with Area weapons (more on those later).

I would like to see the Soldier be more reliable with a wider array of weapons, either by moving away from Constitution or by improving its weapon proficiency. The latter solution would also make the Soldier rather unique as a Legendary martial with a non-accuracy KAS.

Suppressing Fire
Suppressing Fire is the core, defining mechanic of the Soldier class that cements it as the Area weapons specialist. As-is, it does not change how Area weapons are used, but instead adds a rider effect via the Suppressed Condition (more on that later). This is somewhat bland as it does not necessarily change the player's decision-making other than what weapons the class wants to use.

In order to support a wider variety of playstyles, I would like to see Suppressing Fire work with any weapon. Meanwhile, the subclasses would bolster specific fighting styles by providing additional effects against suppressed targets, much like the current version of Armor Storm

Suppressed Condition
Suppressed is an interesting new condition that hinders both accuracy and movement. Few conditions have two distinct, unrelated effects outside of nested conditions. Interestingly, the accuracy penalty is circumstance while the movement penalty is status. With all of these different elements, it's somewhat on the clunky side.

Rather than Suppressed being a single condition, it is instead split into a separate accuracy penalty and movement penalty. This makes it a little less kludgy and more in line with the majority of conditions.

Primary Target
This feature allows the Soldier to use a weapon attack roll instead of forcing a saving throw against a single enemy when attacking with Area weapons. Unfortunately, with how saving throw effects are generally more reliable than attack rolls and how the Soldier has a higher class DC than they do weapon accuracy at various levels, the feature brings some nasty anti-synergy. This is particularly noticeable with the Bombard subclass. As it stands, this only seems to be useful for triggering on-crit effects and the Punishing Salvo feat.

How this ability would be changed heavily depends on how Area Weapons and the Soldier work in general. If both were changed to emphasize weapon accuracy, then this could be the default for Area Weapons, but it's overall a weird feature that I expect will get ironed out.

Walking Armory
This feature is fantastic for reducing potential "STR Tax" for Soldiers uninterested in melee combat.

Using STR+CON for carrying capacity might feel better for hybrid melee/ranged Soldiers who need to carry additional weapons.

Fearsome Bulwark
While CON instead of CHA to Intimidate is useful, the specific flavor of this feature makes it feel more like a class feat. In addition, ability bonus replacer features, especially for secondary/tertiary class features, seem like a 1e-ism. Finally it being a 3rd-level feature causes what I like to call “Zen Archer Syndrome,” where the value of a stat (CHA, in this case) drops dramatically after a few levels thanks to a new feature.

Since the class already has another ability bonus replacement feature in Walking Armory, I don't think this feature is necessary. Soldiers who wish to specialize in Intimidate should have room to invest in CHA, especially with how an Area Weapon-only Soldier needs neither STR nor DEX.

Concluding Thoughts
Overall, I think the class features are both a bit too narrow when it comes to weapon choice and playstyle while also being a bit kludgy. They also do not address what appears to be the biggest issue with Area Weapons: a rigid action economy.

In addition to seeing the weapon choices opened up, I would like to see the Soldier receive a class feature to make switching weapons less costly. This should make the class both more versatile and ease some of the pain points of relying on Area Weapons.

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Staffan Johansson wrote:

Come to think of it, the vibe I'm getting from the SF2 soldier reminds me a little of D&D 4e. Not in the specifics, but the vibe.

Back in 3e, the Fighter was a generalist whose main class abilities were (a) generally good fighting numbers and (b) a whole lot of bonus feats you could use to specialize in various directions. You could use the Fighter class to make an archer, a sword & board defender, a greatweapon wielder focusing on hitting hard, a dual-wielder, a fencer doing various weapon tricks, and so on. This tradition was more or less carried through to the SF1 Soldier, where it was also channeled through Fighting Styles making you better at fighting in a particular manner.

But in D&D 4e, the Fighter got pigeon-holed into the Defender role. Their abilities would tend to revolve around defending their allies (primarily through punisher-style abilities where they get to hit you if you attack their buddies), enduring damage, and controlling the flow of battle. You still had a variety of weapon styles you could choose, but you would never be particularly good at ranged combat and other more subtle things. The response to "How do I convert my archer fighter from 3e to 4e?" was "Make them a ranger."

That's the vibe I'm getting from the SF2 Soldier. It only represents a subset of possible SF1 Soldiers. Since we're only getting a snapshot of a small part of the system, it's possible that other Soldier types get absorbed into other classes (e.g. Operative snipers), but it's still setting off warning bells.

I don't think the issue is that it's being pigeon-holed into a Defender role, but that it's specifically a Defender with Area Weapons. A more generalist ranged Defender (say, Suppressing Fire works with any weapon attack or it gets an entirely different class feature) would still be able to fulfill a wide array of fantasies, but just sticking with Area Weapons seems pretty rough. It's doubly weird when two of the subclasses focus on weapon types, with one being even more Area focused and another being melee focused.

Flavor-wise, the melee one is supposed to be a switch-hitter, but mechanically, it seems to mainly be just normal melee shenanigans that lets you ignore Area Weapons outright.

Teridax wrote:
IvoMG wrote:

1) I think these weapons should work just fine with Fighters or Gunslingers, the only difference should be your feats to squeeze the most out of the weapon. Let's say, fighters have a Power atk, that lets you increase your damage, but other classes don't. As a Soldier, you could have similar feats for Area weapons while the fighter should not.
Skabb wrote:
I personally see no real problem here. If you are mixing PF2e and SF2e (which should not be the default assumption during design imo), then fighters and gunslingers would be the type to be able to pick up and learn these AOE weapons. And, if these weapons are available, you are in a setting where this kind of thing is more balanced around.
When I first pointed this out on the Pathfinder subreddit, I initially had the same opinion, but after a heated exchange with Michael Sayre, he made it clear that the implementation was specifically to avoid interacting with the Fighter and Gunslinger's legendary weapon proficiency. His reasoning, which I agree with, is that these classes are single-target damage specialists, and that being able to make great use of at-will AoE damage would cause them to breach niche protection and disrupt balance. I therefore do believe that whichever implementation is final should result in Fighters and Gunslingers not making the greatest use of AoE weapons. Personally, though, I feel the answer should be to nerf these AoE weapons as a baseline, so that they're weaker to the average class than a single-target weapon even with legendary proficiency, but then give the Soldier features and feats that guarantee the best use of those weapons as you mention, IvoMG. Already, this is somewhat the case, given how the Soldier gets to apply suppression with those weapons and gets dedicated feats, so I think that could be developed upon further (for example, with expert-to-legendary proficiency specifically for those weapons).

This reasoning feels weird, since by keying off of Class DC, casters and the Kineticist become really strong with these weapons. And, unlike martials, they don't have to worry about an action cost for switching between these and their main tools (spells and impulses).

Skabb wrote:
Milo v3 wrote:

That is why the Soldier isn't allowed to "The martial class" anymore, because Fighter & Gunslinger already cover those. So for mechanical identity, they needed to find a new spot for it and realized they could lean into having assault weapons and other big weapons be area based attacks.
This is a very limited slice of very early development, they are using pathfinder stuff for now to help identify how things interact with the system, and my guess is it will let them identify how things like melee need to change to better fit the system. I also think this area and automatic stuff is pretty new for the system, whereas melee is a more well known quantity, so they likely chose more stuff focused on that to show along with the soldier, but that doesn't indicate that this is ALL the soldier will be able to do.

With the core feature of the class (Suppressing Fire) being all-in on Area/Automatic weaponry, that doesn't necessarily seem to be the case. It'd be one thing if all the feats shown focused on them, but the class features being so heavily focused on them is telling.

It's important to the designers know if people are unsatisfied with the Soldier being an area weapon specialist.

Rysky the Dark Solarion wrote:

“When a creature has 5 or 6 resistances, it's easier to miss or forget one of them.”

I don’t think that’s even a thing?

There are several creatures with laundry lists of immunities and resistances, particularly constructs, undead, and outsiders.


“Even without crits, different AC values create multiplicative damage differences due to accuracy. If you hit on a 15 instead of a 17, you're dealing, on average, 40% more damage.”

No, we’re not doing the armchair statistic crafting, the damage isn’t multiplicative.

This isn't "armchair statistic crafting," it's literally just how damage and accuracy work and players don't even need to do extra work to understand that more accuracy == more damage.


“It's simple and elegant because it: A) Is easy to understand and B) Builds off of the core resolution mechanic of the game.”

1) “it’s simple because it’s simple” is not a compelling answer
2) One AC is MUCH simpler and elegant than two different ACs for different weapons/traits.
3) what does B even mean here?

The simplicity comparison was between KAC/EAC split and damage reduction, the former of which is much simpler since its handled up front. B refers to how KAC/EAC interact with the d20 roll, with the d20 roll and degrees of success being the core resolution mechanic of the entire system. Something small and simple that interacts with the core systems to produce a wide array of novel behaviors is a textbook definition of elegance in game design.


“I'm still not sure how you got the feeling that having a higher one of the two ACs makes the corresponding weapons worthless.”

You’re stance is that weapon swapping is outright required because of the two ACs, at least that’s the impression I’m getting. That isn’t true.

That was never the case? You're reading text that just wasn't there. My stance was that weapon swapping was encouraged and added a level of risk vs reward and target evaluation.


“ The idea is that having two separate ACs encourages using multiple weapons, and carries some unique risk/reward when it comes to switching between weapons.”

Yeah that didn’t end up happening though.

It did, but it tapered off with level and had a flawed implementation that can be improved upon.


“the premise carries significant value both thematically and mechanically.”

It doesn’t though, there’s no thematics to it that can’t be done equivalently or even better with the use of traits and weaknesses/resistances, and mechanically it didn’t pan out. When mechanics don’t work out you fix them. Not keep throwing it at the wall and expecting a different outcome.

All the AC divide does is require extra bookkeeping with little reward to justify itself, in addition to one more step away from being compatible with P2.

This is just flat-out incorrect. Using weaknesses/resistance is effective for individual damage types, but not for entire categories of attacks. That's like saying you can use weaknesses/resistances in place of different types of saving throws.

And yes, I agree that mechanics should be fixed, not discarded entirely. That's like if 3e threw out rolling a d20 to hit because THAC0 was unintuitive.

The AC divide is not just extra bookkeeping, it's extra decision-making. Again, compare it to targeting different saves. In a mixed target environment, it poses a question to the player of what weapon they should use for both the current situation and to potentially save on action costs in the future.

Rysky the Dark Solarion wrote:

"A clearly legible, singular number that's always in the same spot is just objectively easier to find than picking out a weakness or resistance"

... what do you think Weakness/Resistance is?

"In addition, AC differences naturally create multiplicative damage increases, which is why KAC and EAC as separate statistics would work well."

They don't though? Unless you're talking about crits, which is another reason to not carry forward with separate ACs, since that's two different crit tracks to keep track of.

"These can then be used in conjunction with the weakness/resistances for an ultimately simpler, more elegant solution."

You keep saying Simpler and elegant, you haven't actually provided anything that proves that.

"Also having EAC/KAC doesn't make a creature immune to the other, and on some creatures could even be indistinguishable."

Just pointing out that having a high of the two ACs in SF doesn't actually make the character immune/those weapons worthless, which was a feeling in the conversation.

As I stated and Corvus spelled out more after a certain point you stop using Kinetic weapons.

Again, weaknesses and resistances often appear in lists, so it's easier to gloss over any individual weakness or resistance. When a creature has 5 or 6 resistances, it's easier to miss or forget one of them.

Even without crits, different AC values create multiplicative damage differences due to accuracy. If you hit on a 15 instead of a 17, you're dealing, on average, 40% more damage.

It's simple and elegant because it: A) Is easy to understand and B) Builds off of the core resolution mechanic of the game.

I'm still not sure how you got the feeling that having a higher one of the two ACs makes the corresponding weapons worthless. The idea is that having two separate ACs encourages using multiple weapons, and carries some unique risk/reward when it comes to switching between weapons.

While the implementation in SF1e was flawed (EAC being generally easier to hit but energy weapons dealing less damage instead of an equal distribution of high KAC and EAC monsters with equally damaging weapons), the premise carries significant value both thematically and mechanically.

Rysky the Dark Solarion wrote:

"Energy Shields are stronger than physical armor" is much faster than listing out separate damage types and prescribes a much different flavor than being specifically weak or resistant to a given damage type."

Not really, Weak to penetrating, weak to fire, weak to concussive, ect, plus there's only two things, energy stronger than physticla, physical stronger than energy, there's more variety in the realm of traits and Resis/Weak

"In addition, weaknesses are pretty uncommonly used and listing a bunch of separate weaknesses/resistances makes stat blocks harder to read. This is why EAC vs KAC is faster."

1) They don't actually 2) they're no harder to read than the EAC/KAc entry, or the Saves entry

"Finally, they still don't distinguish Energy vs Physical as well as separate AC does, since it interacts with the degrees of success system less effectively and weaknesses don't care about how much damage of the triggering type you deal. As such, a physical weapon that deals a pip of fire damage does just as much damage as the equivalent energy weapon that does only fire damage, since the weakness is strictly additive."

They do if the target has Resistances, also that comparison isn't all that damning, this creature weak to fire takes more fire damage from fire. Star/Pathfinder doesn't do exponential/multiplicative increases with anything to my knowledge.

Also having EAC/KAC doesn't make a creature immune to the other, and on some creatures could even be indistinguishable.

A clearly legible, singular number that's always in the same spot is just objectively easier to find than picking out a weakness or resistance in a large list meant to emulate that number.

In addition, AC differences naturally create multiplicative damage increases, which is why KAC and EAC as separate statistics would work well. These can then be used in conjunction with the weakness/resistances for an ultimately simpler, more elegant solution.

Not sure what you're trying to say with the immunity bit.

Rysky the Dark Solarion wrote:
Golurkcanfly wrote:
Rysky the Dark Solarion wrote:
Golurkcanfly wrote:
The distinction is too important for the flavor of Starfinder to exclude

Is it?

I figure this would be covered by things like Weakness/Resistance and maybe bonuses/minuses on the Traits of the weapons.

Weaknesses/Resistances are less elegant, don't scale as well, and are generally less applicable, while separate EAC/KAC is fast and gives more significant differences between armor choices and different enemies.

It's also just a lot easier to automate, and saying "this enemy's energy shields are more powerful than their armor" is more specific scifi flavor than "this enemy is weaker to XYZ damage types."

Yeah you just flavored Resistance/weaknesses in that last line, not make a difference of it. Of course adding flavor is gonna be better. That applies to everything.

And Weaknesses/Resistance are VERy applicable, going into S2 I can see them all over the place.

"Eac/KAC is fast" Yes? No? It's an Ac Difference you have to check on what weapons you're using.

"Energy Shields are stronger than physical armor" is much faster than listing out separate damage types and prescribes a much different flavor than being specifically weak or resistant to a given damage type.

In addition, weaknesses are pretty uncommonly used and listing a bunch of separate weaknesses/resistances makes stat blocks harder to read. This is why EAC vs KAC is faster.

Finally, they still don't distinguish Energy vs Physical as well as separate AC does, since it interacts with the degrees of success system less effectively and weaknesses don't care about how much damage of the triggering type you deal. As such, a physical weapon that deals a pip of fire damage does just as much damage as the equivalent energy weapon that does only fire damage, since the weakness is strictly additive.

Rysky the Dark Solarion wrote:
Golurkcanfly wrote:
The distinction is too important for the flavor of Starfinder to exclude

Is it?

I figure this would be covered by things like Weakness/Resistance and maybe bonuses/minuses on the Traits of the weapons.

Weaknesses/Resistances are less elegant, don't scale as well, and are generally less applicable, while separate EAC/KAC is fast and gives more significant differences between armor choices and different enemies.

It's also just a lot easier to automate, and saying "this enemy's energy shields are more powerful than their armor" is more specific scifi flavor than "this enemy is weaker to XYZ damage types."

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As the title says, there are some Starfinder-exclusive mechanics that aren't in the preview for 2e that we've seen. What elements would you like to return?

Personally, I would like KAC and EAC to return to really emphasize the fantasy of ballistic vs energy weapons. For compatibility purposes, you'd average the two for calculating "regular AC," and they'd never be more than +/-2 apart. The distinction is too important for the flavor of Starfinder to exclude, even if it means a smidge of extra work when converting from PF to SF.

In addition, I would like class-exclusive ways to spend Hero Points to replace some of the Resolve spenders.

Finally, I'd love the looser "hand economy" of Starfinder to return to better encourage using multiple weapons.

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I also think that the Soldier is a bit too wonky and narrowly focused at the moment as a result of trying too hard to not be "Fighter in Space."

A more generalist defender approach would be nice. The last thing I want is for SF to feel incomplete without the PF classes added.

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Right now, I think the Soldier's focus on area weapons is a bit too narrow, especially with how poorly they interact with the hands economy. While it shouldn't just be Fighter In Space, it should definitely be broader than that.

Some other core, defense-oriented mechanic, like an Overwatch ability or improved Readied Actions would be a cool alternative.

In addition, CON to Intimidate feels more like a class feat rather than a feature.

I also hope that the "fully compatible" bit is more "simple conversion" rather than just 1:1 transplants of content from one system.to another. I'd love SF2e to keep some of the extra scifi flavor of KAC vs EAC.

In addition, I do hope the team doesn't try and avoid SF classes stepping on the toes of PF ones too much. I'd much rather have Soldier be "Fighter in Space" and have a good breadth of options than be a bit too focused and make adding PF options to SF feel necessary to round things out.

With the Soldier in particular, I do find the current focus on area weapons to be a bit too narrow. While it would make an excellent subclass, I'd rather it emphasize a more generalist approach to defensive combat. For instance, it could be a Readied Action specialist, defending allies through in a more diverse manner, such as by getting a discount on Readied actions or by being able to ready activities instead of just singular actions.

Only 6 classes is also concerning, since I'm not sure you could cut any of the original 7 without the game feeling like it's missing a particular role. Maybe Technomancer and Mechanic could be fused.

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Xenocrat wrote:
Squiggit wrote:

I do wonder how much they're going to use compatibility to 'solve' gaps in both systems. People have been asking for a while for a defensive character that tangled up in divine baggage in PF2 ... I wonder how much Paizo considers the tankier Soldier to be a potential solution to that.

Hard to see how the soldier's extreme offensive focus on AOE tech weapons can really be an answer to what PF2 players want.

I second this. It feels like it's trying too hard to distinguish itself from Fighter, but in so doing it's making it *less* compatible with PF2e while also being more narrow in SF2e.

I'd rather SF2e not feel like it needs PF2e classes to be complete.

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