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sabata00 wrote:

I’m super nervous about running the prison break in.

My party consists of an uplifted bear, a goblin, a kasatha, and a phentomite. Passing with a disguise plan is not likely to work. I don’t want to force them through and endless and deadly series of repetitive combats, but I’m worried it will work out that way.

Assuming they do make it in without getting found out, I’m still unsure of many ways the security actually functions. How do the players disable cameras without said cameras seeing them?

I second holoskins, although they don't negate size penalties to disguise I believe. When I played through this book, my party had a Human, a Vlaka, a Tiefling (Human stock), and an Astrazoan.

We pulled the Wookiee gambit, and had the Astrazoan shapeshift into a Vesk, and had used a glamour fusion to make a laser pistol look like heavy manacles. The other 3 were disguised as Azlanti soldiers (either full face helmet heavy azlanti armor from a previous book or holoskins).

We also had a mechanic trained in stealth which seemed to help with hacking cameras.

You could alway pretend the large bear and the small goblin are prisoners, with two medium sized "Azlanti" guards (using holoskins or the like). Announce yourself as prisoner transfer from Cell Block 1138.

I know a Solar Weapon Solarian in a home campaign that grabbed heavy armor proficiency at 1st, and then power armor at 5th. They started 14 Str/14 Con/14 Cha, and bumped Con/Int/Wis/Cha at 5th, and got a personal upgrade to charisma.

Interestingly in that case, a 1 level dip in Blitz isn't that good, as the only thing you get is +4 initiative (plus weapon proficiencies, but being low dex means thrown is generally better for them anyways). Soulfire plus maxed Charisma and power armor strength hits for quite a bit. I think when everything is up and running at 5th level (Photon mode + plasma sheath) its like 1d6+4+1+2+4+5+1=1d6+17? Bumps to 2d6+4+2+2+4+6+1=2d6+19 at 6th level, still with a 1st level solarian crystal.

They've gone Stellar Rush + Plasma sheath (move action activate shealth, standard charge). I believe they're planning on going balanced again at 6th by grabbing Defy Gravity, to provide mobility while using power armor, since as far as we can tell, it makes you fly the power armor speed (and then you fall if not on the ground, but still).

Here's my related question:

Does a character using a move action to move need to see the destination square before they move at all? Or a variant: Does a character need to know their destination square exists before they move at all?

In other words, is a move action a single, monolithic action with all decisions made at the start, or is it a series of sub-decisions made after each 5 feet traveled which we generally handle loosely, but occasionally interspersed with a GM's "Stop in that square! Suddenly a ..."

Anyone gots some rules pages to reference for that?

It seems to me its a very similar question to the trick attack question. Is a trick attack a single monolithic action with all decisions made at the start, or is it a series of sub-decisions made sequentially.

If you don't let an operative choose their target of their attack in a trick attack after they move, do you not let them change which squares they move along as new information pops up, such as spotting enemies present who could take AoOs as they pass by the cover they are stealthed behind?

Hawk Kriegsman wrote:

Interesting idea here. To be honest my players usually blow through a caster without resorting to using an offensive ready action.

Its more like this:

Player 1: I shoot the guy in the back who is protected by the guards.
Player 2: I trick attack the same guy with a sword cane.

Me (At Best): The caster blasts the entire party for 32 points of fire damage Ref 17 for half. The 4 mooks move up to each one of you and strike for 15 points of damage each.

Player 3: "Ha it is a caster" I take a guarded step back and shoot the caster.

Player 4: Casters dead?
Me: Sigh.....yes.
Player 4: Great I take a guarded step back and blast the mooks with fire I will spend a resolve point to un-target friendlies.

Me (If any mooks left): ok round 2...

That strikes me as a bit of an exaggeration. 32 fire damage sounds like Explosive Blast (3rd level spell) at the very least, although the reflex save seems a tad low for an NPC spellcaster (unless you're using the combatant or expert arrays - but then their hit points would be even higher?). In any case, at CR 7, a typical spell caster array enemy would have around 90 hit points.

Assuming the party is 4 level 7s, what you've just described was a single shot, a melee +4d8 trick attack, and a single shot that took out the caster. Assuming it was two Soldiers with heavy weapons and an operative, and they all hit (not a given), that's maybe 2d8+7, 2d4+4d8, and 2d8+7. That is like 55 damage on average assuming they hit every shot against something like EAC 18 plus soft cover from the mooks. Even if they rolled max damage (but no crits), that is only 86 damage. Also, if mooks are acting as body guards, how is the operative getting in close to the caster without suffering AoOs?

An equal CR caster "boss" shouldn't go down until round 2, round 3 more typically with average to hit rolls and saving throws. Crits can change that, and perhaps multiple optimized melee attackers (an optimized 7th level Solar weapon Solarian can dish out 3d6+22 fire damage 1st turn with plasma sheath + stellar rush). I suppose your players might be very lucky every session, or I'm somehow under estimating their optimization.

Also, if the players are focusing fire, then intelligent enemies should do the same. If you focus all 4 of those mooks on the operative who went up solo into melee range, they should be getting flanking bonuses and potentially dealing that 60 damage to a single target, while still giving soft cover to their caster ally. ~92 damage at level 7 should put the hurt on an operative who might have a total of 49 stamina (12 Con) and 46 hit points.

In terms of savings of solar weapon vs solar armor, while you can get away with not buying a weapon, you still need to invest in fusions and solarian weapon crystals if you want to keep up in terms of damage. In addition, solar armor means saving on the credits needed for a thermal capacitor armor upgrade at levels 5, 10, 15.

Are you going to grab heavy armor with solar weapon? If you do, then you're implicitly trading away mobility. Now you may or may not notice if you take stellar rush (it is that good).

I have run a Solar Armor Solarian in SFS up to level 5 so far, and it wasn't a max Dex ranged, or a natural weapon fighter. 14 Str/14 Dex/14 Cha starting stats. What it did do was Weapon Focus and Fleet at 1st level using a tactical pike.

That is a 50 foot threat range at level 1 (move and still attack), and 130 foot threat range at level 2. The reach also means forcing enemies to either take an AoO or stop ranged attacking. Compared to a heavy armor solarian which might threaten 30 or 35 feet at level 1. Or 65 to 80 feet at level 2. The enemy is also still free to guarded step and shoot if their ranged or spell options are better. The extra 2-3 squares on a move action also sometimes matters for getting to that unobstructed charge lane for stellar rush.

Throw on climbing suckers at level 2, and you've got some silly 3-D maneuvers you can pull off at low level. At higher level, equipment can even the speed difference out, but thats still trading credits for movement which the solar armor build doesn't necessarily need to spend.

I'll also note the Constructive Interference revelation from the armory and the enhanced resistance feat means at level 5 you have the option of 5 fire or cold resistance combined with 5 (or 10) electric or sonic resistance, combined with DR 5. It is a surprisingly tanky combination, even without any armor equipped at all.

Edit: I guess in summary what I'm saying is Solar Armor can lend itself to a more mobile, acrobatic Solarian combat style even without focusing on how exactly you maximize damage. Still focusing on photon mode usually, but 10 electric/sonic resistance in Gravition mode is handy to have in your back pocket at low level, making some enemies unable to damage you.

There's always the option for the player (given the character in game isn't asking questions - it is a metagame interaction between player and DM) to ask for what the DM thinks the most important piece of information the character should know about a given monster. If they get another question, ask for what the DM thinks the second most important piece of information is and so on.

Or mix and match. Ask what the GM thinks the most important thing is first, then ask about your particular tactic (Soldier asking does it have DR?)

As noted earlier, the character isn't asking a question, they're simply recalling information. Exactly which piece is determined by the DM and the player in any way they are both comfortable with.

Declaration happens before the actual action. You don't need to declare all your actions at the beginning of your turn, but you must declare the action before you do anything associated with it.

So before you can even move out of your square, you must already have declared the action that is letting you move out of the square, because in some circumstances that matters. And if it matters in some circumstances, then to be consistent, you must treat all situations the same and make the declaration at the same point.

Imagine the GM has an invisible enemy adjacent threatening you, without you or your character being aware of it. You move away to the next square. It matters as soon as you move that first 5 feet (which could equally be a guarded step, a normal move, a run, or a class specific action).

So you must declare the type of action that moved you. In that situation, a guarded step is going to behave different from a normal move action, which is going to differ from a 10th level operative trick attack with improved uncanny mobility, which is going to differ from a Solarian using Blazing Orbit to move. And thats on the very first square.

So in essence, because the trick attack movement potentially has benefits a standard move lacks, they cannot be assumed to be the same up to the point where you've simply moved your speed. They have different rules associated (like avoiding AoOs).

As I noted earlier, I personally have no problem with an operative declaring they are making a trick attack and then just move up to their speed without attacking if nothing presents itself. I also have no problem with a character declaring they will always use trick attack to move unless otherwise stated. Same as if a Solarian declares they always use blazing orbit when moving.

I do have an issue with moving a mini, the GM advancing game state (i.e. telling you the invisible enemy takes their AoO), and then after the fact determining what actual action was used. If you wouldn't let a Solarian suddenly change their move to blazing orbit after the first square of movement (for 20% miss chance), then I wouldn't let an operative change a move action to a trick attack after moving to a corner.

I think it should be on the player to make sure the GM understands what their intentions are. A good GM will check when unsure, but GMs tend to have the most to keep track of so spreading the responsibility around is helpful.

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Claxon wrote:
Strongly disagree. If you read the ability the way you suggest it's a full action to do nothing.

If the player chooses to do nothing with the declared action, then yes, I suppose you might interpret it as nothing. However, I argue there is nothing inconsistent with my reading of the rules and the game doesn't break if you use my interpretation.

However, I view it as a full action which lets you move up to your speed (which includes 0 feet as an option), and then gives you the option to make a special kind of attack, and when combined with feats and exploits adds additional effects, like ignoring attacks of opportunity. In my book that is a full action that potentially could do nothing, but generally does do something.

However, that is just like declaring a move action, and choosing to move 0 feet. Consider the situation where you decide draw a weapon while moving, do the weapon drawing first, then an adjacent invisible enemy has a readied action to disarm you if you draw a weapon, they become visible after attacking with the disarm, and then you now realize moving from your square will provoke an attack of opportunity.

I mean, you don't need to get that convoluted as the above, but I feel not moving after declaring a move action is a valid choice. Zero feet is equal to or less than your move speed in all cases.

Do you have an issue with a player declaring a move action and then not moving out of their square?

You can trick or startle a foe and then attack when she drops her guard. As a full action, you can move up to your speed. Whether or not you moved, you can then make an attack with a melee weapon with the operative special property or with any small arm. Just before making your attack, attempt a Bluff, Intimidate, or Stealth check (or a check associated with your specialization) with a DC equal to 20 + your target’s CR. If you succeed at the check, you deal 1d4 additional damage and the target is flat-footed. This damage increases to 1d8 at 3rd level, to 3d8 at 5th level, and by an additional 1d8 every 2 levels thereafter. You can’t use this ability with a weapon that has the unwieldy special property or that requires a full action to make a single attack.
Claxon wrote:
Both the movement and attack say can. So if I follow what you're saying, it's a full action to do do nothing, but you can move and can attack.

Yes. Just like the run action, or the move action or any number of other actions which include the "can" phrasing. Similarly, you can declare a valid charge, and then not make the attack at the end of the movement at that time (like say, you realize the illusion of the bad guy is hiding a bomb that will explode once hit).

Claxon wrote:
So you can't say it's a full action to move anymore than I can say it's a full action to attack, and allows the other action to also be done. Except, I lean towards saying it's an attack because it's in the name. Not strong evidence, I admit, but more than you have. It's not called Trick Moving.

My apologies, I'm having a little difficulty parsing the above statement.

I'm not saying its a full action to move only. I'm saying its a full action which then gives you the option to move, and then the option to attack (or with feats a whole host of other combinations, like attack then move, or move without provoking attacks of opportunity). If a player wants their character to use it just for the movement portion, that is fine.

As far as my evidence, I present the fact that use word can for both the move and the attack, and then explicitly reference the case where you do not move: "Whether or not you moved,"

So, my question is, why is the "can" in "you can move up to your speed" different from the "can" in "you can then make an attack"?

As for name implying rules, perhaps the question is why isn't it called "trick moving and attack"? Clearly, the name by itself does not tell you the rules associated with it. The reason they call it trick attack and not "trick moving" or "trick moving and attack" is it sounds cooler and is a short hand for the rules text themselves.

Claxon wrote:
I'm not saying you have to select a target in advance, I'm saying you need to be capable of selecting a target, which you can't do if there are no enemies.

We'll probably just have to disagree then. I read the rules and find no support for a requirement that there be a valid enemy around to declare the full action trick attack.

For a bit of philosophy beyond this debate, I'd also probably go farther and let character's declare attack actions (which probably automatically fail) even when enemies are not around, even the trick attack's attack option. That is a classic illusion, mentally affecting curse, or invisibility situation. I feel it would be even more metagame-y if you did not let characters make attacks when enemies are not around in cases like that.

As far as I'm concerned, any action you can take in combat, you should be able to take outside of combat. Otherwise, somehow, the characters know when hostiles are around (not players), irregardless of the perceptions or mental states of the characters, which really throws me out of the narrative. For example, I'm not a big fan of the Solarian stellar mode rules from a game design perspective.

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Claxon wrote:
SuperBidi wrote:
Claxon wrote:

It is metaknowledge, but not based on something that you and your character don't know / wouldn't be aware of.

And what do you mean moves around every corner like that?
Do you mean by just deciding to declare a trick attack for every round to move?

My response would be that you're not allowed to declare a trick attack without a target. I understand that the rules are written saying "you can attack". So you could make a pedantic argument that it's not required. And my response will be "It's called Trick Attack, if you're not attacking you're not making a Trick Attack. And if you don't have a target to attack, you can't attempt to make a trick attack."

In my opinion, you are going too far away, Claxon. For example, if I full attack, I will just declare my first target, and declare the second one after the result of my first attack. So, stating the action at its beginning is necessary, but stating all the variables of an action at its beginning is too much. You can declare a trick attack, and move to the corner. You may end up not doing your attack, but it means your character is moving to the corner in a "trick attack style" (stealthy, bluffy, sense motivy or whatever type of trick attack he's doing).
I'm not asking people to declare every target of an attack in a full attack when the initially declare a full attack. But I am saying you can't make an attack if you have no one to target, and thus can't make a trick attack.

The trick attack action explicitly does not require an attack and thus does not require a target. A trick attack action at its base is use a full action to move your speed. That is the core of the action. It happens to have clauses that let you do other stuff if you want (can versus must), and those other clauses can include targets, but at the end of the day, it is "As a full action, you can move up to your speed." In order to use certain exploits, like Uncanny Mobility, you do need to declare your target before hand.

Uncanny Mobility wrote:

When you make a trick attack, if you choose the target of your attack before you move...

However, that exploit also makes clear it must be possible not to choose the target of your attack before you move using a trick attack.

I agree with BNW at least this far. If a player wants to describe their operative as going around a corner ready to trick attack, I let them. It is just the same as a soldier deciding to single move instead of double moving or using the run action around the corner so they can stop and shoot if they want.

I mean, I feel it is completely out of line for the GM to tell a player that no, their character has chosen to run, guarded step twice, or double move instead of a single move to go around that corner. If they want to play a cautious character, that is completely up to them. If the operative has their weapon out, then in my mind that is sufficient justification that the character can choose to be cautious when turning corners, since by my definition having a weapon out is an unusual situation.

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How to have a "spoony bard" armed with a spoon in SFS:

1) Start with high charisma.
2) Take at least one level of solar weapon solarian.
3) Declare the general shape of your solar weapon manifestation is that of a spoon.
4) Proceed to defeat enemies with a spoon.

SFS approved and rules legal. No re-skinning necessary.

Sorry, I'm used to seeing inclines sufficient to change your elevation by 5 feet labeled as difficult terrain, but you are correct they are two separate rules definitions and you could have an incline that isn't difficult terrain.

For a closer reading of the force sole rules, I'll note:

Force Soles,Armory,page 92 wrote:

The maximum upward angle possible is 45 degrees, and you move at a rate equal to half your normal land

CRB, page 248 wrote:

If any line from

your starting space to the ending space passes through a square
that blocks movement, slows movement (such as difficult
terrain), or contains a creature (even an ally), you can’t charge.

I interpret "move at a rate equal to half your normal land speed" as slowing movement. So even though you might be able to charge up a non-difficult terrain incline (say a gentle 5 degree slope or something), the explicit rules for force soles make you slow down as long as the angle is greater than 0 degrees.

Given in a single move action you could move up at an angle of 45 degrees, moving 5 feet forward and 5 feet up (diagonal) costing 10 feet of movement. Then forward 10 feet, and then back down at angle of -45 degrees costing another 5 feet of movement for a total of 25 feet.

That is the equivalent of simply moving in a straight line over a small 5 foot tall hill on a battle map I think.

In SFS play I'm having fun with a Str 14/Dex 14/Cha 14 starting solar armor solarian (created before the armory came out and thus before soulfire was a thing).

Recently made it to 5th level, and have become surprisingly tanky with DR 5 (Enhanced Resistance feat), Fire or Cold Resistance 5, and Electrical or Sonic resistance 5/10 and reasonable AC in light armor. Fleet + Stellar Rush + reach weapon makes for a highly maneuverable melee striker with a bit of area control at low levels. Bought Climbing suckers at level 2 for some extra fun before jet packs become common.

Damage is less than an armory enabled Solar Weapon Solarian, but still does melee damage. Plan to transition to an Icestar Staff around 7th with Multi-weapon fighting feat combined with Flashing strikes for EAC targeting full attacks at only -2 to hit. The full attacks at least should put out close to expected damage to a Solar weapon Solarian using soulfire, depending on enemy AC.

In a campaign I'm playing in, there's another player focusing on charisma first, then constitution, then strength to be a "tougher" solarian (more resolve + more stamina + power armor eventually). It is working out well (certainly they were standing in situations where the more traditional 14 Dex would have been taking a dirt nap). Although we have a Mystic the party, we just brewed up a batch of 20 Mk I healing potions just for him.

Magyar5 wrote:

While your numbers in theory look convincing, in practice it's a much different story. At lvl 13, I have a +21 chance to hit. A CR13 enemy will have a 27-30 AC. With the null harness grip, I can drop the penalty to -4, and if I am using a laser weapon, I can add an additional +1 to hit which effectively gives me a -3 to hit. All I need to do for average odds is roll a 10 or higher. If you roll 3 dice, the probability of getting a 10 or higher on one of them is roughly 7/8. That's an 87.5% chance of a hit. For 2 dice it's 75% chance that one of them will be a hit. If you are looking for 2 hits, it's a 50% chance with 3 dice and a 25% chance with 2 dice. Even odds for 2 hits IMO is much better than adding less than a d6 to a single attack although that attack has a 15-20% greater chance to hit.

As far as DR goes, any soldier worth his salt has, at this point, a way to reduce the DR of enemies. I have both Unstoppable strike and Penetrating attack. While it may be decent at low levels, by this stage, I don't see much use for it. If it actually did what it's namesake implied (firing a single ranged attack at all targets), this would be a worthwhile ability although it would deplete your ammo quite quickly.

I had been considering boss like enemies at level 13, so CR 15 or 16 enemy, and potentially in cover to get the 50/50 to hit odds. But you are quite correct, a null-space harness does change the math quite a bit, and makes full attack against a single target come out ahead in almost any reasonable comparison. I concede the point.

Personally, I consider the gunner harness and weapon stocks a bit too strong, considering they push ranged ahead of melee in terms of full attack damage, while melee didn't get anything like that out of the armory. I suppose they're intended to be balanced by the action economy to get them ready (move action for stocks, full round actions for harness).

I believe the AoE argument still stands though. Its one of the few ways to get a significant damage bonus to AoE weapons, that by itself is useful for a build focusing on AoE weapons which is what the bombard specialty does.

I'd like to take Hammerjack's approach, and note your suggestion strikes me as too strong, not only at 5th level, but especially at 13th.

A gunner harness plus your revised Heavy Fire would put ranged heavy weapon full attack damage significantly higher than melee.

Lets compare 2 soldiers at 13th. A sharpshooter primary/bombard secondary at 13th, and a melee Blitz primary at 13th.

Lets assume laser accuracy for the ranged attacker, and melee striker for the Blitz. And lets throw all that gear optimization on. Your strength modifier is +6? Dex +7 combined with weapon focus to get +21 to hit on ranged weapons? We'll assume +7 strength for the blitz melee though.

Inferno Flame Doshko (5d8) vs Perihelion Artillery laser (4d8) against a single target
+21-6=+15 to hit, 5d8+13+7+3=45.5 for the melee striker Blitz soldier
+21+1-3=+19 to hit, 4d8+13+6+2d6=44 for the laser accurate Sharpshooter/Bombard

Lets say 27 EAC for your target since you've proposed a CR 13 enemy.
3*0.45*45.5=61.425 for the melee build
3*0.65*44=85.8 for the ranged build
That is almost 40% more damage for the ranged attacker. The sharpshooter/bombard build could also potentially take melee striker and only be be down +1 to hit and +1 damage compared to the melee build once an enemy engages them in melee.

Now lets consider 3 multiple targets.
The sharpshooter drops to:
+21-3=+18 to hit, 4d8+13+6=37
The soldier stays at 61.425 (assuming 3 targets are in melee range).

That is still 8% higher using a normal heavy weapon.

Using an actual AoE weapon hitting multiple targets would just push the sharpshooter/bombard further ahead.

So in all situations, the sharshooter/bombard would do more damage than a melee soldier when making a ranged full attack. Significantly so against a single target.

Your suggested 5th level bombard ability strikes me as too broad. In all situations, it becomes better to full attack ranged than full attack melee, plus leads to unintended stacking, completely overtaking any melee damage advantage. The sharpshooter at least is specialized in single target range. The bombard as designed is specialized to boost AoE and unwieldy attacks, not be generically better at 5th level and above.

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Generally against a single target, you are in fact better off doing a full attack rather than Heavy fire. It does have some niche application to any weapon in the case of really high enemy AC as well as punching through DR or Hardness (line weapons come to mind). So boss fights.

To see how DR and AC affects this, consider at 13th level, assuming your choice between 4d12+13 (39 expected) damage three times at -6 to hit against DR 5 target, or 4d12+19 (45 expected) damage at -0 to hit single shot.

Assuming 50/50 odds to hit, -6 drops it to 20/80. So (39-5) * 0.2 * 3 =20.4 expected damage for the full attack.

Heavy fire at 50/50 odds is (45-5) * 0.5 = 20.

Pretty comparable for 1/3 the ammo usage. If the DR is even a little higher (like 10 at 13th level), or the AC is a little bit better, heavy fire comes out ahead. So against really high AC bosses, heavy fire isn't a bad choice. Statistically speaking.

On the other hand, it is also one of the strongest buffs to AoE damage I know of (the other being Mechanic overcharge on Explode weapons).

At the level you get Heavy Fire, if bombard is your primary, and assuming a 16/16 initial stat split between strength and dexterity, that might be a +5 damage bonus on basically any AoE attack (assuming 20 Str/18 Dex at 5th). As noted earlier, that includes the free grenade you get every 10 minute rest for example.

That bumps the level 4 grenade damage from say 2d6 (2 minimum, 7 avg) to 2d6+5 (7 minimum, 12 avg). Thats a 70% expected damage buff around that level. Even at level 12 (say 23 Str/21 Dex), its still 4d10 (22 avg) vs 4d10+6 (28 avg), roughly a 25% damage buff on that grenade AoE attack.

Bombard overall I consider one of the better soldier specializations. The Bombard can always drop the heavy weapon and pull out a melee weapon and do as much damage as the Blitz if the enemy closes on them (at least before 17th level). Switch hitting bombards in power armor are really good as well (heavy weapon mounted, melee weapon in hand plus reach on some models, and the power armor strength boosts their ranged damage).

SuperBidi wrote:

Not exactly.

Let's say you have to take over a building. If you manage to hack the cameras, you can shoot everyone inside with your Adamantine Rounds Railguns without any chance of retaliation (you can even jam the entrance door so noone can get out while you kill them).
If you're in a room no more than 100ft long, you can cast Wall of Force: no save, no SR, autowin spell.

Unprepared answer anyone can do: I shoot the camera.

If you're relying on cameras, then a simple level 1 signal jammer will buy you 10 rounds guaranteed preventing communication of the camera images to the guy with the rail cannon, and ion tape will permanently defeat a camera you can't destroy for some reason. Alternatively counter hack the cameras.

Edit: I seriously recommend the 100 credit level 1 signal jammer to every adventuring party. The DC doesn't matter as it always takes 1 minute to try to get around the jamming. By which time nearly any fight is going to be finished. Really handy when ambushing enemy patrols.

As for wall of force, it lasts between 13 and 20 rounds depending on caster with hardness of 30. No point in adamantine rounds in that case since they don't ignore it. However, at 13th and above level, many classes have options to get around it. If you're in a large building, simply moving to another floor will work. Or exiting out a window. Or the back door (doesn't the Pactworlds have fire codes?)

If there's a techomancer in the party they can just teleport away.

A ghost operative might just walk through a different wall to outside.

A solarian on turn 3 can just wormhole everyone through.

Thats not even including high level consumables and magic items. Any high level party without a technomancer really should buy a tiara of translocation or two.

Any crazy high level plan you come up with, there's generally a reasonable set of precautions for the other side to take at around that level.

Also, does anyone who is remotely serious about security not air gap their internal security systems from the outside world?

Edit: I just realized something. How much do adamantine bullets cost? Is it 50+4.5 for each individual adamantine heavy round? Thats like 272.5 credits per shot on the level 3 tactical rail cannon. That is not remotely economically reasonable for a primary weapon until like 10th level and above if I'm understanding this right.

Edit 2:

BigNorseWolf wrote:
If character C drops a 20 foot radius explosion at X, it can hit enemies at positions 1,2,3,4,5,6 no problem. There's no line of effect to 1,2,3,5,6.
That's incorrect. Both 3 and 4 have line of effect back at you, albeit with cover if they're shooting. 3 can shoot from his southeast corner and 4 can shoot from his south west corner. (the alternative is that everyone has cover in a 5 foot hallway)

Just wanted to say thanks for pointing this out and that I had missed that distinction. You're right, 3 should have cover, not total cover. I now realize that means 5 foot wide pillars can never provide total cover, which is good to know.

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BigNorseWolf wrote:
Hiruma Kai wrote:
, explode weapons can potentially do all that.

You are REALLY. really reaching with these.

You can take a level 1 pistol walk around the corner and shoot. Thats an argument for ANY weapon ignoring cover.

Except I don't have to actually move to go around their cover with an explosive weapon. Which is basically the same as a line weapon.

Take a hallway between two rooms. Or a tunnel between caverns.
Apologies for the terrible map:




If character C drops a 20 foot radius explosion at X, it can hit enemies at positions 1,2,3,4,5,6 no problem. There's no line of effect to 1,2,3,5,6. 4 Benefits from cover, except in this case, the explosion goes around it and doesn't provide the +2 to reflex saves. A line weapon can in principle hit 1 target (maybe 2 depending on how the line is drawn).

Isn't this what we're talking about? You know someone is over there, but don't have line of effect, and also don't want to move to where you have line of effect, because you don't want to get shot by 6 enemies without cover?

BigNorseWolf wrote:
If someone is around a corner you somehow have to have an idea they're standing there (and not next to any valuable loot)

How does that not also apply to firing line weapons blindly? If you have no idea they're standing there, why are you firing your line weapon? A line weapon isn't guaranteed to avoid hitting valuable loot either when fired blind.

BigNorseWolf wrote:
Explode weapons allow a saving throw for half (or no) damage against their effects.

Yes, which is approximately as good as having to roll to hit them. Better for 3/4 BAB classes, worse for a Soldier. The only time explode weapons that deal damage do nothing is when the target has evasion.

A typical 3/4 BAB class at 10th level is going to have +7 to hit, and if maxed for ranged combat, 24 Dex for +7 to hit from Dex. +14 to hit vs 25 KAC with a railgun. 50% miss, 45% hit, 5% crit for double. So on average 55% effective damage.

Now take a 10th level explode weapon, and that 24 Dex to get a DC 22 save against +12 reflex save. 40/60 odds for full damage or half. That is 70% effective damage on average.

Soldiers can in principle hit 85% effective damage with EAC targeting weapons and weapon focus. 75% if they're using a railgun targeting KAC.

So in terms of applying damage, they're pretty close on average. And the worst case is much better in the case of explode weapons (I've literally seen an operative not roll higher than a 3 on their attacks for an entire combat).

BigNorseWolf wrote:

Blast hits everything in a cone, which is harder to aim.

A line weapon being slightly worse than blast isn't that far out of line: something is going to be the worst line weapon.

If I've got 8 enemy mooks, I'd much rather have the blast weapon than the line weapon. I'm much more likely to catch 3 or 4 (or even 8 of them), where as that is highly unlikely with a line weapon.

BigNorseWolf wrote:

But ignore cover? Thats a very frequent +4 to hit.

You can also shoot at people through walls and they can't shoot back at you: you're not usually doing enough damage to make a hole, especially on the thick walls. As people are reading it a line weapon deals 11 points of damage zips through 30 feet of stone and takes off 1 of its 270ish hit points every 10 feet. Turn any wall into an unbeatable gunport.

At the beginning, you pointed out anyone could just walk around the cover and shoot. Why can't your targets do this? Go down the hall to where you are, or simply walk away from the room they are in? Get 110 feet away or something. Are they trapped for some reason in their room?

(you at least have to pick the right square in a line)
Nope. You make an attack against everyone in the line. Doesn't matter if you see them.

My apologies, I meant to say if someone has total concealment, you have to somehow know where they are to have the line go over their square. Make a perception check or something against a +20 DC since they're unseen and presumably moved. +40 DC if they aren't moving. If they're in a giant cement box 100 feet away through a mountain than I'd argue have 0% chance of success of locating them with a perception check.

Generally when a target has total concealment, you don't automatically know which square they're in. So you say I'm shooting a line between squares A and B. And you have to hope the enemy is somewhere between A and B, and not 10 feet over from the line.

In which case, hitting more squares matters, as you get more chances to get lucky. Which is a point in favor of exploding weapons.

Perhaps it just me, but I tend to see the ideal situation for a line weapon happens much less than the ideal situation for an explode weapon, and they basically roll the same number of damage dice.

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BigNorseWolf wrote:
But they're situational. What other ability is nearly as powerful as ignore cover, ignore concealment, shoot at someone through a 30 foot wall and hit multiple targets all at once? What people are reading as the rules makes line way out of line for other abilities paizo has put on the guns.

I don't actually believe line weapons get to ignore total concealment to be honest (you at least have to pick the right square in a line), but to do a straight up comparison, explode weapons can potentially do all that.

1) Explode weapons ignore cover between the attacker and the target if
A) The target intersection doesn't have cover to the target
B) There is no total cover to that particular intersection chosen.

Throwing a grenade or a shock caster projectile through a door or window into a room is a classic opening action to hit enemies you don't have line of effect to from outside the room.

It also far more likely to hit multiple targets than picking a single line through the room. (20' burst hits like 44 squares, where as a 80 foot line hits at most 16, less if the room isn't 16 squares wide).

2) Explode weapons ignore concealment

3) Explode weapons hit multiple targets

4) They can't go directly through 30 feet of cover, but they potentially can go around something like 400 feet (Shock Caster) to 1000 feet (Plasma Cannon) of cover, if there's a corridor or open space adjacent to the wall or mountain. Throw the grenade or projectile down the corridor and hit targets 5 to 20 feet to the side. They'll be making the save almost automatically (ranged penalties apply to saving throw DC) but as long as they don't have evasion, it'll be doing more than most other weapons.

Lets compare against Blast while we're at it:

1) Blast explicitly ignores concealment.
2) Blast hits multiple targets
3) Blast does not ignore cover, nor does it go around cover.

On the other hand, blast weapons at higher levels hit many more squares. A 60 foot blast weapon hits a 60 foot cone, which is 96 squares. There's a level 5 Divergent laser heavy weapon that can do that (1d8+specialization damage).

Compare that to the 8 squares of the level 7 Burner Salamander class heavy weapon (2d10+specialization damage).

To be honest, the line weapon kinda needs something like going through cover to be competitive compared to the other AoE weapons. You'll be hitting multiple targets with the other AoE weapons much more often than a line weapon will.

A question came up during a campaign session, where we have an operative with the uncanny mobility operative exploit. People were wondering if uncanny mobility activates only when you succeed on the trick attack roll (i.e. the stealth, bluff, intimidate, etc checks) or if it always work, irregardless of any rolls.

CRB, page 93 wrote:

You can trick or startle a foe and then attack when she drops

her guard. As a full action, you can move up to your speed. Whether
or not you moved, you can then make an attack with a melee
weapon with the operative special property or with any small
arm. Just before making your attack, attempt a Bluff, Intimidate, or
Stealth check (or a check associated with your specialization; see
page 94) with a DC equal to 20 + your target’s CR. If you succeed
at the check, you deal 1d4 additional damage and the target is
flat-footed. This damage increases to 1d8 at 3rd level, to 3d8 at
5th level, and by an additional 1d8 every 2 levels thereafter. You
can’t use this ability with a weapon that has the unwieldy special
property or that requires a full action to make a single attack.
CRB, page 95 wrote:

Uncanny Mobility (Ex)

When you make a trick attack, if you choose the target of
your attack before you move, your movement doesn’t provoke
attacks of opportunity from that target. When you use your
standard action to move, you can choose one creature; you
don’t provoke attacks of opportunity from that creature for
this movement.

My interpretation is that the "trick attack" referred to in Uncanny Mobility is the full round action, and that as soon as you declare you are taking the trick attack action, you gain the benefit of uncanny mobility irregardless of any the success or failure of a part of that action. The rolling of a skill check is part of the overall trick attack action, not the entire trick attack.

Others were wondering if "make a trick attack" refers to succeeding on the skill check versus the 20 + CR difficulty or perhaps even hitting after making that skill check.

During the game we decided to go with Uncanny mobility always activates as soon as you declare the action and the target, but wanted to poll the forums afterwards to confirm.

I believe blindsight lets you target spells, even if you can't see the target with vision.

I derive the developer's intention from the following rules:

CRB page 263 wrote:

If you have blindsight and succeed at a Perception check

to notice a hidden creature, you are observing the creature.
Blindsight negates concealment, displacement, invisibility,
magical darkness, and similar effects, though a creature with
blindsight still can’t perceive ethereal creatures (see the ethereal
jaunt spell on page 354). A creature with blindsight cannot be
blinded (see page 273) and is not subject to gaze attacks (see
the Starfinder Alien Archive).
CRB page 273, Blinded condition wrote:
Creatures that become blinded but that have a precise sense (see page 260) other than vision still automatically fail all checks and activities relying on vision, but they suffer none of the other effects.

Blindsight negates the effects of invisibility or magical darkness, letting you target a creature with a spell that you cannot see with vision. You still can't read anything on them or tell what color clothes they're wearing. It should be the same for a permanently blind character.

From a balance point of view, blind + blindsight should let a character function normally, except in a few corner cases. It shouldn't be something that prevents certain races from even being able to cast half the spell list except at point blank range. The fact you're limited to a 30' or 60' bubble of vision that doesn't work in space is already a huge penalty for vlaka, for example.

Sauce987654321 wrote:
Fweeba wrote:
While that may be the case, that still doesn't really solve my problem of existing huge+ vehicles/powered armours being underwhelming for what they are, and it's not really within the remit of what I set out to do here to solve that.
I guess since there isn't any on going discussion, I'll ask. What makes huge+ size power armor/vehicles particularly underwhelming? I understand power armor, since it has no HP pool, but what about vehicles?

Size in and of itself doesn't get you anything in Starfinder innately. It doesn't get you more HP, damage, slots, strength, or anything like that. All that is controlled by item level. On the other hand, it doesn't make you harder to hit either.

Basically, all it does is make it harder to move around and easier to provide cover to others.

Its actually worse than a full action if the chamber is not already open.

I note it describes pressing a button on the chamber to open or close it. It doesn't describe the action it takes to press said button. Activating a magic item defaults to a standard action.

So its actually:

Backpack: At the speed of drawing a weapon (move, or free during a move at BAB 1+)

Chamber: Standard action to open the space.
Full action to get any object you want.
(Optional) Standard action to close the space.

Claxon wrote:

Because the activity to out maneuver an enemy is the pilot action to perform stunts of various kinds.

As you say, the captain is basically a cheerleader.

I really wish the ship's captain was renamed as ship's Councilor and that the captain was a separate non-combat role that determined the overall course of action the ship and its crew would take, separate from any mechanical concerns for space combat.

The overall course of action the ship and its crew take is simply coordination and action choices as determined by the players. If you want an actual hierarchical structure, have the player whose character is captain simply actually give orders for the turn, (i.e. science officer, report on which side of the cruiser's shield is weakest; pilot, bring us around to the cruiser's port side, facing towards them; gunner, fire all front weapons at that cruiser), and expect the other players to execute the orders to the best of their ability.

If you want some mechanical effect, have the GM provide a +1 or +2 circumstance bonus to rolls if the other players actually do what the captain says (on top of the usual encourage action), representing the fact the ship is executing a coordinated plan as opposed to everyone just doing whatever they want randomly.

I've also seen suggestions that the captain controls who gets the computer bonuses, as he's assigning priorities to tasks.

My guess is they wouldn't want to put something like that in officially, since some players are not going to like being told what to do by another player. Adventuring parties I feel tended to not have a central commander.

Garretmander wrote:
Obviously this would require GM approval and smoothing of edges. Improving the level 6 brawler frame to level 17 would be something like 1.3 million Cr, because, well, math. Taking a fe examples at random, it seems like this method breaks down at roughly 6 levels of upgrades at once.

I'll note brawler frames are level 9, not 6. Its a typo in the book. Also, their stats are way out of line for level 6 as well. Lastly, their cost is of a level 9 armor. So going to 17 is 8 improvements. 14,500 * (1.5^8) = 371,619, which is only about 100,000 credits more than typical level 17 armors. When expected wealth is around 1.1 million at that level, its not an unreasonable cost.

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Its unclear if it needs to be worn to function. I think its fairly clear everything doesn't spill out if you take it off, so even if you can only use one bag at a time in terms of access, you clearly can carry multiple on you, which is like 99% of the functionality of the item.

My guess is the volume consideration. A 3 foot cube might have issues holding a 6 foot long tactical pike for example. Similarly, a 3 foot by 3 foot by 3 foot cube is 27 cubic feet. A 6 foot by 6 foot by 6 foot cube is a 216 cubic feet (and fits a medium creature). And so on.

A GM is well within his rights from saying you can't put a medium sized power armor in a MK 1 null-space chamber, but a MK 4 potentially could hold a huge flight frame, depending the exact dimensions. Certainly a large armor is guaranteed to fit in a MK 4.

Given it doesn't say one way or the other, if I were GMing I'd probably rule the bigger chambers have bigger openings, just so you can efficiently get stuff into that 1,728 cubic foot MK 4 null space chamber.

If your GM is the type to say you can't wear a walking tank with the equivalent of multiple cannons attached around town without attracting the wrong kind of attention, the higher null-space chambers could be handy for power armor storage. Full round to get it out, full round to get in isn't terrible to go from unarmored to military mecha.

Garretmander wrote:
Hiruma Kai wrote:
Although, maybe if you have overlapping fields of radiation you do?
Pretty sure that would just increase the strength/area of the radiation.

It's up to the GM as there are no rules for what happens when you overlap areas of radiation. Perhaps only the strongest apply. Perhaps the severity increases. Or perhaps you roll saving throws for both. What happens when you cast Irradiate in an area where a Solarian is using the Radiation solar revelation while the entire planet is considered a low-level radiation area. I don't know without asking my GM.

BigNorseWolf wrote:
Hiruma Kai wrote:
Its a poison on the constitution track. Which means its doing small amounts of guaranteed damage at the same time
Your level in damage. Which is worse than a grenade. For a 4th level spell.

Given the damage isn't the primary point, I'm kinda okay with that. But as Xenocrat said, its a 3rd level spell and the damage is DC-10. A starting 16 Int Technomancer is looking at DC 10 + 3 + 1 (Spell Focus) + 6 (Int) = 20 at level 7. So 10 damage per application at 7th level.

On the low end, we have a 6th level cryo grenade does 1d8, save for half. Assuming a 50/50 save odds, that is 3.375 expected cold damage. On the high end, a 8th level frag grenade is 4d6, so again assuming 50/50 save odds, that is an expected 10.5 damage, for half a point higher.

So that looks like it'd be in the ballpark of 7th level grenades if they existed, at least at the level you get the spell.

BigNorseWolf wrote:
Hiruma Kai wrote:
applying penalties to saving throws and abilities, and eventually is a win condition independent of hit points (that doesn't necessarily kill them if you stop when they drop).
IF people keep missing their save.

That is true. Just like needing to actually hit the enemy's KAC before dealing damage.

BigNorseWolf wrote:
Hiruma Kai wrote:
Its admittedly a bit slow, but thats because we're talking about a single caster. If you only have a single character in a party doing damage, its going to be slow going as well.
Most spell damage works perfectly fine with the Vesks bashy stick thingy damage. If I mind blast someone with a spell the vesk can do the more literal version with their sharp pointy object.

I agree its generally much easier to stack damage than constitution poisons. At least for PCs. Its easier to design an encounter that leverages NPCs using poison effects.

BigNorseWolf wrote:
Hiruma Kai wrote:
Imagine having a party of 4-6 characters capable of inflicting constitution track poison. Bosses better have good fortitude saves or be immune to poison in that case.
If you need to be that ludicrously niche ... and that level of niche has gone to plaid, you're making my point.

Sometimes at a table of 6, you might actually have 4 casters. Its not any crazier than some Pathfinder society party compositions I've seen. Even having 2 casters capable of casting it starting putting it in the realm of 3 rounds until down.

Anyways, I'm curious what level of strength would you like to see in the spell? Would you like to see enemies drop after 3 failed saves? Two? What errata were you asking for?

I'll also note, Irradiate has a couple tricks up its sleeve that many other spells lack.

1) Radiation is non-visible. You need a special technological device or a 1st level spell to detect it.
2) Radiation penetrates into solid objects (page 403).

Combined, this means you can cast irradiate at a typical building or ship's wall at up to medium range and affect people on the other side that you lack normal line of effect or sight to. Without them realizing what is exactly happening. Depending on circumstances, multiple casting might be possible before the targets (players or NPCs) realize what is happening.

Ravingdork wrote:

I could have sworn I saw several threads on these forums about how often one was to check for radiation exposure. After all, the power and effectiveness of radiation would vary widely on whether you needed to save once per round, once per minute, hour, or day.

Then I found these rules on AoN and am now totally confused as to what all the confusion was about in the first place. I just assumed the rules hadn't previously existed, and that I missed an errata release or something.

You mean like: How frequently do you save against environmental radiation.

I think some people had some confusion of multiple exposures versus saving once versus initial application. Normally, when you get exposed to poison, and fail your save on initial exposure you are forced to continue making saving throws until you reach a cure state. There's a line on page 404 noting if you leave the area of radiation, you're cured of the poison effect, meaning you don't continue needing to make saving throws against radiation.

Developer intent was you roll once per round while in radiation to determine if you move down the track, not to become compounding multiple exposures where if you're in the area for 3 rounds, you're now making 3 saving throws per round because you failed your initial exposure saving throw 3 times.

Look at this way, a creature attacks you with a constitution track poison 3 times, and applies a dose each time. Now you're making 3 saving throws a turn (assuming a frequency of 1/round). Radiation doesn't do that. Although, maybe if you have overlapping fields of radiation you do?

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BigNorseWolf wrote:

The level of nesting rules here is a little ridiculous. I keep finding more matuska dolls every time i try this.

But as written the irradiate spell needs some serious erratta. It functionally doesn't do anything unless you hit people with it 4 times.

I agree there's possibly too much rules nesting, but I disagree that it functionally doesn't do anything. Its a poison on the constitution track. Which means its doing small amounts of guaranteed damage at the same time, applying penalties to saving throws and abilities, and eventually is a win condition independent of hit points (that doesn't necessarily kill them if you stop when they drop).

Its admittedly a bit slow, but thats because we're talking about a single caster. If you only have a single character in a party doing damage, its going to be slow going as well. Imagine having a party of 4-6 characters capable of inflicting constitution track poison. Bosses better have good fortitude saves or be immune to poison in that case.

Isn't what you quoted just on page 404 of the core rulebook?

CRB, page 404 wrote:


Type poison, emanation (see above); Save Fortitude (see chart)
Track Constitution; Frequency 1/round
Effect At each state of impaired and beyond, the victim must
succeed at a DC 18 Fortitude saving throw or contract the
radiation sickness disease (see below).
Cure none

Type disease; Save Fortitude (same DC as the level of radiation
that caused the radiation sickness)
Track physical; Frequency 1/day
Effect Radiation sickness isn’t contagious.
Cure 3 consecutive saves

I remember there being a lot of arguments about the Solarian stellar revelation also called Radiation, but the above rules are just about the environmental hazard.

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WatersLethe wrote:
Q1: It specifically says "when you intentionally step into thin air", do these not work in a vacuum?

These should work in vacuum. Given the most common zero-g environment tends to also be in vacuum, I feel like they would have called out if it doesn't work where there is no atmosphere.

They're listed as magitech, and their fluff is force fields, so they really should work anywhere.

WatersLethe wrote:
Q2: If you activate these in zero gravity, does it essentially give you a fly speed? Does orientation (ascend/descend at 45 degrees) matter in zero gravity?

Given there is no up or down in zero gravity, my guess is it gives you something better than a fly speed, since flying means you have to spend movement turning or spend actions hovering. If you're walking on the ground, you're free to direction as you see fit. Orientation shouldn't matter in zero gravity. Every direction essentially becomes forward.

WatersLethe wrote:
Q3: If you activate Force Soles in a region with gravity, could you walk perpendicular to gravity in the air upside down? Or are the force fields not "attached" to your foot?

Unclear. Given there are no rules related to being upside down or sideways within a "square", its totally up to your GM. Core rulebook wise, it doesn't matter, as there is nothing that interacts with orientation (other than prone, which doesn't matter here).

I'll note, ascending and descending is relative to gravity, not where your feet are. Just because a character with a jetpack is flying upside down, doesn't make ascending higher any easier.

WatersLethe wrote:
Q4: Mark 2 Force Soles appear to let you stand in air indefinitely, is that true?

Yes. Given you can walk as if on the ground, and you can stand in one place on the ground, I don't see a problem.

WatersLethe wrote:
Q5: Can you run/charge through the air using Force Soles?

Given it lets you move your full land speed, I don't see why not. Since you can't charge up an incline, I don't think you can charge while ascending.

Given if there was no entropy, there would be no stellar radiation, it makes sense to me.

In fact, without entropy things simply do not change. Thus, in order for a cycle of birth and death to exist, entropy needs to exist.

kaid wrote:
When trying to compare operatives and mechanics and the other classes skill this kind of thing is something very important. Two bonuses of the same type don't stack.

Agreed. With circumstance bonuses being the only exception on page 266 of the core rule book.

In my case, since I do not think the custom rig provides a generic +2 circumstance bonus in SFS play (until such a tool kit is in print with a level of 6 or lower), the stacking I was considering was the datajack, coordinated assault, and the thieves' tools (depending on your reading, the rig counts as thieves' tools) when hacking the biometric locked doors on a starship for example.

On the other hand, I could see some GMs interpreting the hacking kit as your method of access rather than the data jack, so their might be some difference in interpretation on exactly which ones stack.

kaid wrote:
Mechanics especially exocortex ones are the best in combat hackers being able to wirelessly hack stuff while you are not in physical contact with the device is a huge plus. It allows for stealthy hacking of personal computers at bars or other social gatherings that would not be possible for others.

To be honest, places I wouldn't want to fight a high level mechanic include anything with a lot of automated heavy machinery. Or a high tech parking lot. Every single vehicle with an autopilot becomes a potential battering ram. Especially the one you're using for cover.

I'm playing a Tiefling Mechanic in Against the Aeon Throne, and eventually hope to play in Signal of Screams with the same character.

Tiefling Fiendish gloom (basically Pathfinder Darkness for 1 minute at a time, 1 + half level times a day) plus even just the first Shadow Infusion feat seems good.

"Dr." Cupi wrote:
It explicitly states that all of the bonuses for the tool kits are circumstance bonuses in the paragraph describing general tool kits (pg. 221).

Ah, good catch. I'm used to the bonuses being listed explicitly next to the bonus, but you're absolutely right. On the bright side, circumstance bonuses generally stack unless from essentially the same source, so its not too different.

The Ragi wrote:

Sure, but nothing encouraging them either.

Anyway, I'm fine with the mechanic not being the computers guy. At least he's the best/only pet class at the moment, and can also get good results in computer checks.

Although neither has anything with to do with the image of a sci-fi mechanic.

I'm curious what abilities do you associate with a sci-fi mechanic? Do you have an example from literature or film your thinking of? Perhaps we should suggest them to the developers for future supplements.

I'll note there are a couple mechanic tricks that interact with vehicles in the armory:

1) Combat maintenance lets you add hardness to your vehicle (or other item) as a move action. If it comes with autopilot, you can still shoot with your standard action, or alternatively pilot it with your standard.

2) Recalibrate engine lets you give an enhancement speed bonus to a vehicle. That plus the Sky Jockey feat I believe are the only way to increase vehicle speeds.

In the core rulebook there's some tangentially related abilities:

3) Quick Repair + vehicle you crafted yourself can be repaired fully in 15 minutes, irregardless of the amount of damage, which is arguably better than a Technomancer's Make Whole's 10 minutes and 5d6 roll.

4) Techmaster lets you build vehicles in a few minutes at level 20.

I expect as more books come out, more mechanic abilities will be related to starships, vehicles, technological equipment and computers. By their nature, operatives and envoy abilities have to span a much broader skill set, where as mechanics really do focus on computers, technological items, and starships.

I'll also note of the core mechanic's class abilities which all mechanics get, bypass, custom rig, remote hack, expert rig, advanced rig, and superior rig all are related to computers in some way. So saying that a mechanic isn't a computer person feels like you're selling a bunch of abilities short.

The Ragi wrote:
BigNorseWolf wrote:

Look at it the other way.

I want to play the computers guy. What class should I play?

If you line up the classes, the Technomancer actually comes across more as the computer guy than the mechanic.

I'm kinda shocked the mechanic doesn't ride into battle using a car or at least a motorcycle - ideally, a mecha.

A drone doesn't quite fit the flavor of a sci-fi mechanic, at least to me.

I'm considering a power armored exocortex mechanic (possible at 7th with just 1 feat). Flight Frame power armor is basically a mecha. Its huge, it flies, and can mount multiple heavy weapons and punch things. Throw in a computer interface armor upgrade, and you can get free actions to fire off weapons which are mounted to it. Like heavy weapon explosives. Macross missile massacre is totally doable. :)

And there is absolutely nothing preventing a mechanic from buying a vehicle. And driving it, or alternatively, having their drone pilot it at high level (an 11th level Mechanic can have a drone with up to +17 in the piloting skill, which they can use by themselves as a standard action) while they shoot things or jump off or already there and want it to come by and pick them up.

Now consider that 11th level Mechanic, with their drone with the piloting skill left on the bridge of the ship say, 5 miles away. That's what I would call starship class "fire support".

Mechanics basically get a bunch of random rules interacting with technology and skills that let them do things that a raw skill bonus doesn't let you do (or at least, not without a bunch of credits thrown at the problem or leaving gaping holes in your computer system for NPC hackers to exploit). Like be in two places at once.

Ascalaphus wrote:
"Dr." Cupi wrote:
and the expert rig counts as a specialty hacking kit (so +2 circumstance).
I'm trying to find this rule, but all I see is that if you don't have a hacking kit, you take penalties. The custom rig class feature just ensures that a mechanic doesn't randomly get those penalties because he forgot to pick up a 20 credit item.

He's probably thinking of this line from the 7th level Expert Rig class ability:

"CRB, page70 wrote:

In addition, your custom rig can now be used as any engineering

or hacking specialty kit of item level 6th or lower, and it has
the features of a computer with a tier equal to half your level
with the artificial personality, hardened, or security I upgrade

Although you're right, I don't see any hacking kits that give +2. Probably thinking of the old Pathfinder masterwork tools.

On the other hand, there is:
Weaponsmithing/Armorsmithing tookit (+2 circumstance bonus to Engineering for making weapons or armor)
Trapsmith's tools (+4 to Engineering/Mysticism to arm or disarm traps)
Thieves’ tools (+4 bonus to Computers checks to hack a computer system
that controls a door and a +4 bonus to Engineering checks
to disable a mechanical or technological lock)

Thieves' tools, depending on how a build or ship is wired, are potentially very powerful for hacking into computers in a more general sense. Also its an untyped bonus so stacks with circumstance. So I hack in to open the door, but while I'm there, I also control the lights, AC, and maybe access their mainframe if they've got poor IT security and wired it all together to save on credits. I mean, does your ship have more than computer? Or does it have many small computers controlling each individual door?

It does mean with any of the cybernetic implant versions of the custom rig you've always got a set of really good lockpicks, even in prison. Or can hack the flying police car from the backseat. You might actually need caster level security measures when trying to keep such a mechanic prisoner.

Actually, at 7th, you potentially get free rolls on Bluff, Diplomacy, Intimidate, and Sense Motive checks with a bonus approximately equal to your level from the scaling computer and AI personality. Since its got an audio/visual recorder, it can also make perception checks. You could for instance run a trap spotting script in the background.

Its not great, but it is Aid another fodder. Certainly a +10 Diplomacy check at 10th is another +2 in the aid another department and is certainly worth more than my expected -1 Diplomacy roll from my current Mechanic. Presumably, a low charisma Mechanic lets his AI personality talk for him.

Interestingly, +10 is likely what a typical Operative might have in Diplomacy if they put ranks into it but didn't have operative's edge apply.

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BigNorseWolf wrote:
James bond is a solo hero. This is a group game. It changes the dynamics a fair bit

Depends a lot on the group. Which probably explains the different points of view expressed in this thread.

There are apparently groups which have no problems with an operative in the party as well as some that do have interal conflicts.

If you don't have internal conflict in the group, the operative is fine and fills a niche that no other class does. Namely, keeping up with NPC scaling DCs in skills no one wants to specialize or spend resources on. It doesn't break the game or let a group accomplish something any other class couldn't fundamentally do.

Unlike say a Mystic or Technomancer with spells. Or Mechanic with some the technology item swapping tricks. Or having an expendable drone perform suicidal skill tasks at a long distance.

Going back to the OP's initial point, everyone gets more skill ranks, and there are fewer skills. Being able to have every skill at max rank is isn't worth as much in Starfinder as it is in Pathfinder, when in Starfinder any 4 classes can have every skill at max rank for the party. So what if an Operative has 10 skill ranks + Int. 4 Soldiers or Solarians have 16 + Int x4. There's only 20 skills (ignoring Profession's multiple types). If in a typical party of 4 no matter the class composition you have enough skill points to cover everything, then more is just backup or a +2 here and there from aid another.

Which is partly why I think the developers wrote operative's edge the way they did. A skill focused class needs more than just skill ranks to stand out in the Starfinder system.

Skills aren't the only place you might have party conflict. You can have parties where a single melee character literally does more damage than the rest of the party combined. Solar weapon solarians versus small arm wielding classes springs to mind. Certainly in the level 1-4 range, they can do twice as much damage as an operative with just a single attack.

Which is where house rules come in. If its not working for your group, changing it is a good idea. Its just if not all groups are finding the same problem, that problem may not in some sense be fundamental or universal in the system.

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I'll note, because of the exponential nature of wealth hand outs, you can't get too far behind even assuming non-optimal purchasing in the cash and carry method.

Simply because when you achieve a new level, in getting from the previous level to that level, you've earned roughly half (or more) of your expected WBL.

1st level -> 2nd level, earn 1,495, ~75% of WBL of 2nd level
2nd level -> 3rd level, earn 2,518, ~63% of WBL of 3rd level
9th level -> 10th level, earn 32,500, ~49% of WBL of 10th level
14th level -> 15th level, earn 250,250, ~50% of WBL at 15th level
19th level -> 20th level, earn 2,541,500, ~67% of WBL at 20th level

Worst case assuming you literally threw out your equipment every level (didn't even sell it), would put you only 1 to 2 levels behind in terms of gear. Since its not quite 2 levels to double your expected WBL. To be that inefficient, you'd really have to actively be working at it.

And the game can be played with gear that is 1 level out of date without a significant problem. And at the end of the day, if a gear purchasing optimizer has more credits than a non-optimizer, but they both can meet the challenges and have fun in the adventure, does it matter all that much?

Simply upgrading your oldest piece of gear when you have the cash, and buying personal upgrades when available, will leave you in a perfectly fine position without too much future planning.

In any case, "mistakes" in purchasing will generally patched over by more wealth by the time you gain your next level.

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I'm not sure about such a change (Operative's Edge only to skills with skill focus). Since for most APs, that means a Soldier with two skill focus feats is just as good as the Operative at skills checks.

What would you expect such an Operative to have in terms of skills at say, level 5 or level 10, where someone might be 90% done with Against the Aeon Throne or Dead Suns? How might that compare to say, just a Soldier that spent some of their spare feats on skill focus and has similar base stats?

I guess I'm asking, take a 4 to 6 person team with one playing an Operative, and replace them with a Soldier with skill focus in the same skills, what has the team lost in terms of making skill checks in a typical AP?

I feel the default Operative lets a party have capability in those skills no one wants to spend resources on since they come up infrequently (sleight of hand comes to mind, or disguise, or perhaps survival for certain types of campaigns).

BigNorseWolf wrote:
Claxon wrote:

I agree with Ascalaphus, and my experience is much the same.

My group uses WBL at each level up. So essentially every level you get to reset what gear you have, like purchasing gear if you had made the character originally at that level.

THAT changes the math on whether or not to buy armor a LOT

Not as much as you might think. Remember, WBL is how much wealth a character at that level is supposed to have. Your GM should be aiming for characters to have that amount at each level. They're simply cutting out the part of tracking loot, payments and going straight to making sure it all balances out right.

In any case, the calculations for buying every 3 levels doesn't matter if its at level or level+1, so generally you'll buy at level+1. Its the same amount of lost credits in the long run when you sell it. So generally you buy at level+1.

A stingy character that never uses expendables and buys at level and uses for 3 levels can probably beat WBL at level 10 for example. Say level 1, 4, 7, 10 armors, and level 1, 6, 9 weapons. So at level 10, they'll have lost about 10,000 on armors being sold, and 5,000 on weapons being sold. Given earnings are about 100,000 at level 10 vs expected WBL of 66,000, such a character is up around 19,000 credits (i.e. 85,000 credits), probably a little more.

It does lead to being a bit more free with expendable usage that you find, but perhaps that is not a bad thing.

BigNorseWolf wrote:

Armor in particular is of questionable use.

If you buy armor every 3 levels

1/3rd of the time it's your level
1/3rd of the time it's 1 level below you
1/3rd of the time it's 2 levels below you

Which translates to 3, 4 and 5 levels lowers than the boss. Which means they're going to hit you on a 3 for most of your career.

This is quite true. Level+3 bosses will hit you most of the time. But if we look at it from the other way, the equivalent of a boss 3 levels higher than you, is eight creatures at level - 3 than the party. Or even four creatures at level-1. All are supposed to be equally difficult.

Take level 7. Say you're wearing 2nd level heavy armor, and maxed dex for the armor (EAC/KAC 15/18). A single CR 10 boss is at +22 to hit and 4d6+10 damage vs KAC. A full attack still hits on 2s. Expected damage is either 22.8 or 45.6.

Compare that to a group of 4 CR 6s. +16, 2d6+6. Expected damage for all 4 on a single target with either standard or full attacks are 49.4 or 78. Even level 5 armor (EAC 20/KAC 22) will drop that down to 39 or 57.2. On a typical level 7 character, that buys you another round or two of standing. Up to date level 7 armor does even better (EAC/KAC 23/25), dropping expected to 31.2 and 41.6.

So in this analysis, ignoring armor results in lower level enemies dealing around 33% to 100% more damage than they should. Armor isn't necessarily for the CR 8 boss, its for their three CR 5 minions next to them who will do more damage than the boss to low armor characters.

Q.o.b. wrote:
Something I have always wondered about starfinder. Why are all the items in the game so expensive? By the time you are able to afford the armor and weapons you need, those armor and weapons are no longer worth getting due to how OUT OF TIER (turn of phrase there) they are when compared to the encounters you are fighting through. I wuld play this system more if it wasn't for that alone. The abilities your characters get don't compensate enough for the lack of armor and weapons of the appropriate tier.

The game is built around equipment as character advancement. Loot becomes power, and so the wealth gains are a lot like experience gains. Its been that way since 3rd edition D&D. Thus, to keep high level equipment out of reach of low levels, it costs huge sums. I'm sure an entire discussion can be had on the merits of the system, but its due to Starfinder growing out of Pathfinder.

However, I'm wondering if you're receiving wealth as expected. The game is designed around a certain rate of wealth gain/experience gain. Typically you can afford new weapons/armor of your own tier every 2-3 levels or so. Alternatively, creating a character at the expect WBL should allow you to purchase armor and at least one weapon whose item levels match your level.

To take a level at random, lets look at 10th level. You should have around 66,000 credits worth of equipment. That could be in the form of a level 10 armor at around 17,000 credits (light or heavy), a level 10 heavy weapon at around 20,000 credits, two personal upgrades (1,400 + 6,500), and still leave about 21,000 credits (about 1/3) left over for weapon fusions, armor upgrades, cybernetics, etc.

On your way from 1st to 10th level, you should have earned about 100,000 credits, with about 34,000 lost to selling old equipment for only 10% of its value or expendables use. In just going from level 9 to 10, you should have earned about 32,500 credits, which is enough to buy that level 10 armor plus some other stuff. In going from level 10 to 11, it should give you enough credits to buy a level 11 weapon plus some other stuff. And so on.

I agree you can't level up all your gear every level, but generally you can keep it within 2 levels or so. To be honest, I think the fundamental combat math assuming appropriate equipment you should be able to afford has been worked out pretty well. At least from the society games I've played.

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I like the direction they took the skills. Playing a 2 + Int fighter in Pathfinder meant you basically didn't participate mechanically outside of combat.

I mean, if you read through some of the threads in this forum, there are many posts which suggest that Solarians, for example, don't get enough skill points at 4 per level. I didn't hear anyone complaining about 6 skill points per level for Vanguards in the playtest.

I also like the fact they don't tie concepts like Best at Hacking, or Best at piloting to any single class. It allows freedom in how to approach it rather than you must always play X to do Y.

In turn it means playing multiple copies of the same class isn't a terrible idea. A party of 4 Soldiers can actually be effective outside of combat. They aren't all forced to do the same thing and can have different specializations. Where the specialization is determined by investments beyond just skill points. Themes, feats, racials, class options, augmentations and equipment all matter.

I'm curious how people would GM a Blind Vlaka Starshaman Mystic of Desna. Would people tend to let them use their class abilities when outside and under the stars, or would they simply say those class features won't ever work for the character.

Walk the Void, Stargazer, Starry Bond, and Meteor Shower all have effects dependent upon your ability to "see" the stars, and in two of the cases potentially might not do anything at all. I'm assuming "see" in this case means line of sight seeing, rather than being able to see them on your portable computer's screen from a satellite video feed while outside during a completely cloudy day.

Is line of sight to the stars sufficient to activate the powers?

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Yes. They are untyped bonuses and thus stack.

Technically, the order you'd want to do it move action first to boost, then standard action to overcharge and fire. Assuming you wanted the boost on this current attack and not next round.

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SuperBidi wrote:
Hiruma Kai wrote:
At the end of the day, the damage numbers seem to come out reasonably close.
Not at all if you want my opinion.

At 8th level, making the trick attack is basically automatic, which means the target counts as flat-footed, and if the operative wants, flat-footed for the entire party if they hit. Assuming the party includes no other way to make target flat-footed (i.e. Envoy), you can associate any misses that are turned into hits due to flat-footed as coming from the Operative. They've increased the party's damage output.

If they're not making them flat-footed, you should give them the benefit of their trick attack exploit replacements, such as bleeding shot. I mean, if the Mechanic is using overcharge, why can't the operative use bleeding shot, which adds 8 (or more if it lasts round to round) bleed damage?

In addition, the Operative can wield a ranged weapon in one hand, and a melee weapon in other, allowing for AoOs while basically doing identical damage.

As far as I can tell, for 3d12 damage, your mechanic example must be using the level 9 White Star Conqueror plasma weapon (only weapon that does 3d12 anywhere near level 8), so for a fair comparison we should use a level 9 small arm, say the level 9 laser pistol.

3d4 (laser pistol, level 9) +4d8 (trick)+4 (spec) + 8 (bleeding shot exploit) = 37.5 avg (after 1 round)

or if there's no other source of flat-footed

3d4 (laser pistol) +4d8 (trick)+4 (spec) = 29.5 avg
2.25 to 3.75 from other players increased chance to hit
for 31.75 to 33.25

I get that from a 50% chance to be flat footed (i.e. you hit), 10% more chance to-hit for 3-5 other players. Assuming a laser rifle for everyone else, that is 0.5 times 3 to 5 times 2d6+8 (15 avg) times 0.1, so an extra 2.25 to 3.75 expected damage, although its really much more bursty than that. Actual combat capable characters will increase that number. That of course assumes everyone shoots at the same target. In actual play, the benefits will vary alot based on situation, but it will happen, and will turn some misses into hits.

So now we compare to the Mechanic with the White Star Conquerer plasma weapon.

3d12 + 2d6 + 8 = 34.5

Now if the stars align, and there is an ally next to you, you can use your move action to overcharge their weapon as well, for another 2d6, but again effectiveness will very there.

Anyways, those look to be in the ballpark of each other to me. Especially when compared to say, a Technomancer or Mystic just firing a rifle at 15 average damage (with -2 to hit comparatively speaking).

ViConstantine wrote:

1 exocortex mechanics dont have heavy weapon proficiency.....2......they dont have full bab without the aid of an ability that costs a movement action. No, we clearly arent playing the same game.

At 7th level, Exocortex mechanics can gain a drone mod which gives them either Heavy Weapon or Advanced Melee proficiency. A single feat then gets them specialization damage to heavy weapons (which they could take at 3rd, 5th or 7th level). So a 8th level Exocortex mechanic with heavy weapon proficiency is totally reasonable, in my opinion.

At the end of the day, the damage numbers seem to come out reasonably close. Operatives lend themselves naturally to a more mobile playstyle. Because of its tracking, a Mechanic will tend to be more static. They'll either move to track, standard attack (or Overcharge), or prefer to full attack. These are different play styles and people are going to have different preferences.

Personally I'm considering an Exocortex Mechanic going power armor and heavy weapons, with multiple weapon types looted from his enemies, hopefully including unwieldy and wieldy weapons to use the better depending on action economy. Throw in a computer interface from the armory and have the computer toss some explosive rounds (admittedly low save DC, and thus low damage) at no action cost.

Operatives are also very good at their play style as well.

Nyerkh wrote:

You do not count as any specific type of armor, so it would make sense that only the most generic ones can be used.

Well, if you don't count as any specific type of armor, then logically, you can't use armor mods that can be used by the any armor type. :)

More seriously, limiting it to the any type of armor is the most conservative, and least likely to cause problems.

Although I admit clarification from the developers would be nice, as the intent is hard to determine. I can see arguments made either way. "Your drone gains an armor upgrade slot for an armor upgrade (see page 204)."

It just says armor upgrade, even though normally you can't install armor upgrades into non-armor. So clearly, its breaking the rule that armor upgrades can only be installed in armor at some level. Does that mean it also breaks the armor type rule given it doesn't make sense to apply it? Was "any" in the table intended as short hand for light, heavy or powered, or is it intended explicitly to cover these other armor slots given to non-armor? I have no clue what the developer intent was there.

WingMaster91 wrote:
3 levels of solarian utilizing a soulfire fusion on a witchwarper seems super legit, take plasma sheath to boost your damage as it is worded to be based on your regular level and not solarian level. You can get a super versatile toolbox build if you do it right and can just focus on increasing your charisma for spells/save dcs/damage.

I'll point out plasma sheath only adds half your solarian level to damage when photon attuned.

If you read the intro section on classes and class features it says:

CRB, page 59 wrote:
If you decide to take multiple classes, when a class feature has an effect or prerequisite based on your level, it always means your level in that class, not your total character level (which is the sum of all your different class levels).

So for reference, plasma sheath says:

CRB,Plasma sheath rules on page 104 wrote:
When you are attuned or fully attuned, your attacks with plasma sheath deal additional fire damage equal to half your level.

So when Plasma sheath says your level, it means your solarian class level. If it had said total character level, then it would work as you describe, but it doesn't.

Isaac Zephyr wrote:
I am not saying that. I think as mentioned, I cannot apply those rules to a monster because they do not play by the same rules as players. They receive full specialization on all attacks, even pre-level 3, they do not have feats listed, and their versions of attacks generally have different values than PC versions if they are available.

Sorry, I was probably bit too flippant with that comment. I didn't think people actually thought that way, but was trying to illustrate the point that natural weapons are not the same as unarmed strikes. Which you're agreeing with. Natural weapons threaten. Unarmed strikes do not threaten. So what happens when you have a melee natural weapon which is also an unarmed strike? They are completely unrelated rule definitions, by how I read RAW.

Isaac Zephyr wrote:
PCs Natural Weapons are called out specifically as Unarmed Strikes, regardless of what they are, and thus unarmed strike rules apply except where otherwise specifically stated, such as their ability to threaten.

I guess that is where we disagree. I don't see their ability to threaten being called out as different. If I read the CRB in a RAW way for myself, I find no explicit line that says, "natural weapon unarmed strikes" are the exception to unarmed strikes not threatening.

Imagine there's an NPC melee natural weapon out there that has the special rules text that this particular natural weapon does not threaten. We would assume that specific rule overrides the general rule that natural weapons threaten, and that particular natural weapon does indeed not threaten?

I'm merely sticking the natural weapon and unarmed strike rules together. And so the specific rule of unarmed strikes trumps the general rule of natural weapons threatening.

Isaac Zephyr wrote:
For balance context

I was merely making a semantic argument about how I read RAW. I don't even agree with what I'm arguing in terms of how I actually play the game, because of Owen's clarifications and what I believe was developer's intent.

Although, if we are going to comment on balance, I will note I consider 4 arms a stronger racial than natural weapon in most cases. Mostly because EAC targeting advanced operative weapons on a high dex character/mid strength character typically do more damage on average. Even if you're using a cheap weapon a few levels out of date, since at 10th level, 14 Str vs KAC compared to 22/24 Dex vs EAC is like a +6 or +7 to-hit difference. At 10th level, an epics boss (CR 13) is likely to have a KAC of 29 versus your +12 to hit (assuming Soldier or Solarian - a 3/4 BAB class needs 20s to hit).

So the cost of natural weapons is the opportunity cost of not having a better racial trait.

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