Scifi guilds often need handwavium reasons to be the monopolies they need to be to justify their existence.
In a mature/future commerce setup like presumably Starfinder has setup, why join the monopoly when you can interface directly with the pact world level administrative system? Ala, why follow "Guild rules" when you can make your own PMC and simply follow the larger Pact World setups. Especially when you consider things like the existence of Hellknights and other Star Knights stuff. They might have similar goals, but different approaches, so why would they agree to operate under one restrictive monopoloy umbrella when they can do it on their own?
I could see local guilds of varying power, but especially with a system involving multiple species and 'the gap' groups would be inclined to stay as independent as feasible. If on a larger scale you're think of 'loose coalition of groups that identify themselves as bounty hunters' vs large singular megacorp that rules all bounty hunters, I could see that working.
But that kinda rolls back to 'scrubs join up because they need the collective power to make up for their newbie/lack of influence'. Higher tier groups could just make their own private military company, even higher tier could do what they want on their own.
If reflecting back on Pathfinder/DnD, Thieves guild as in 'local to city' but not 'planetary thieves guild'.
In the simple sense, everything gets super complicated. As it stands, Starfinder is kinda taking the trope of 'single planet with more or less single philosophy, or maybe a couple semi-conflict ones'.
Golarion represents the same problem you see sci-fi turn Earth into some "united Earth government" for its use rather than the 195-ish nations it is today, and who knows how splintered it would get later. You'd basically have to take, ok take every pathfinder setting nation and then go, "Whats it like for spaaaaaaaaaaaaace?"
gamewise I can see why they did it, otherwise you just get "pathfinder adventurers continued, on Golarion, but with lasers and stuff." the only other way to get the same sort of narrative push away from Golarion planet adventures would be to have it post WW3 nuclear fallout land, but even then you'd have groups that'd just stay on Golarion. Which would be fine, but not really 'Starfinder'.
Personally I like it. It makes actual distance between planets less a factor, so its harder to keep 'star empire borders' because just because something is physically near you (in terms of light years) doesn't mean its closer for Drift travel, tho you still get incredible FTL speeds even on Vast 'distances'. You can basically be anywhere in (on average) around 2 weeks.
In a non-snark way, I kinda wish you got something virtual/abstract like 'treasure points' that you could put together for various things, sure it could turn into money, but it could turn into almost like the automatic progression stuff from Pathfinder optional stuff, put the boosts more on the character than the gear. Then you could turn guns and stuff into, "you take this one because its more accurate, or has a better crit range, or something' vs 'welp, i need to keep up with the power creep of tiers.'
I mean in the practical sense, it seems better to just use your slightly underpowered gear vs a CR appropriate challenge, and then use all THEIR gear instead of chasing after tier level with your own money.
Who's to say they don't also have security systems and countermeasures. At least in the higher rank/wealth/influence areas. Drones wizzing around, security bots, etc.
But yeah, I figure people are cool with open carry, but a higher tier place will tell you to check them or at very least no wandering around with 2 handed stuff and rifles and such.
Sort of. But using it via Profession as opposed to 'adventure challenge' results in much less returns, because the risks (and consequently the Challenge Rating) are less. In a narrative sense, I'd say using Profession Smuggle reflects a period of time (usually short) that you're move low risk, low return items that happen to be available during that time, vs "I'm taking my ship full of contraband and flying past border patrols, etc". And Profession Archeology as "help out in a museum/id something for a client" than "going to get the Ark from the Nazis"
I figured as magic changed ala the mystic and technomage, the notion of being that connected to your Deity that you get Paladin powers also diminished a bit into the archetypes and other stuff that posters above mentioned.
Plus it would remain that being a Paladin is hard, why take the life when you can get similar powers for less stringent codes/etc
I mean, if we wanted to go further into it, there's no reason that such an advanced society, especially one anchored in Abadar, and already possesses things like nigh-Megacorps, wouldn't have a system to make 'extra' money like we do irl.
Adventurers take their stash of whatever they're willing to put down (Credit wise) into some money market account or something, or something really safe if they want and get a flat annual return. But since the focus of money in SF remains "to buy stuff" as opposed to real life concepts of "retire + good life", how PCs obtain money is wonky compared to how everyone else would to try to live normal lives.
I always assumed when PCs use profession checks the wonkiness comes in because they're not really doing a conventional work period. Basically they're jumping in as temp work, rustling something up associated with their skills but well below 'adventuring' tier. Super safe but then super low in rewards relatively.
On the other hand, in a narrative sense if they actually got a long term job and became functionally an NPC working for a group/etc, they could have salaries or whatever. I just figured the rules were intentionally weak so even they have 'off time' its not a real replacement for being a PC adventurer.
Referring back to the OP< I'd also suggest that the community at large within the setting is less focused on time in the way that we are in real life. Nowadays we expect things in a certain timely manner because we have a decent handle on how long things should take, you can track your packages through amazon, whatever.
But on the larger scale of Starfinder civilization, I'd think it'd be appropriate that people are ok with longer timelines if interstellar travel is expected.
I dunno, realistically if you're already in a suit, there's not reason not to flip it on if you're expecting combat. So maybe if there's the equivalent of a surprise round.
Houserule wise tho, I'd say something about 'multiple nukes on the same target can raise effective radiation level beyond listed', like, 1 big nuke does medium radiation. get hit again? That radiation level might become heavy, etc. Or some sorta sliding scale. But the problem I could see with that would be "well, then we just throw 4 nukes at someone and they'll all just be stuck at deadly."
Creating a 'plausible' planetary environment that prevents starship or capital grade weapon 'solutions'
I'm also considering a Scarif type approach. In this case a world otherwise locked behind a major artifact+ quality planetary shield with the only entrance being the shield-ring facility of a lost race. Unlike the Scarif ring, it can't be closed, so there will always be an opening, unless you physically block it with ships or something.
Otherwise it acts as an impressive (and kinda scary) chokepoint of planetary access. Basically anyone that controls the ring controls the planet access. And the existence is a little unnerving, I mean, how safe would you feel living on a planet that only had one exit and that exit was made by some powerful alien beings for god knows what reason. What if the owners show up one day to cap that open mason jar?
Capital ships could sit in orbit and bomb it all they like and not make a dent in the shield.
For further stuff I'd go, "it seems the shield is there to act as the magnetotype atmosphere shield of the planet, since it doesn't seem to have one of its own', oh, and giant monsters and stuff.
Alternately we can also maybe look at ship complements on a scale of the Colonial Marines (aliens) or like...I dunno Deathwatch Space Marines.
You can have these huge ass ships that have relatively small crews, to ridiculously small crews, to practically automated. While the general expectation is a PC sized group of eh...6 on the high end, runs around in an explorer that it becomes totally ok if they run around in a Destroyer or larger
Still I wouldn't mind, maybe when the Ships book comes out, of a rough estimate of how many ships are in various fleets and stuff. Like Corpse fleet has "each admiral has several dozen ships" and 'rear admirals and commodores have fleets of 4 to 8 ships" and a general restriction of "task forces rarely work with each other to hide their numbers" but we don't have an idea of "how many admirals/thus larger task force fleets' or 'how many smaller 4-8 fleets"
Again, in the practical sense it doesn't really matter since you shouldn't be throwing "task forces" level stuff at PCs anyway unless they're also part of a 'task force' level size feet for your adventure narrative.
I like it. Gets a little wonky on the metaphysical though. Like unlike 'conventional life' in the AC setting where the whole "Does the Soul really exist?" it does in Starfinder.
So if you die, but your stack remains...but what happens to your soul, do you go get judged and the copy is just a copy? Is the stack like a 'magic jar' for your soul? meaning you don't actually die until the stack is destroyed too?
I suggest in the meantime we keep bringing up wonky realizations of existing stuff, so they know what they can focus on :)
Like, if we use Sample ships, lets go large. So Vesk Dreadnought with 2 Hangar bays and 16 ships. Tier 16 dreadnought. Then they have the Tier 2 Mauler listing, which presumably is a common model. But if Tier 16 dready has 16 fighters, are they all Tier 2 Maulers? Are they Tier 16 Maulers? Tier 16 maulers that are flown by Level 16 pilots (each) and have the same 600 build points each that the Dreadnought they fly out of has? Their size Tiny gives them a max of 200 power, so they won't be running around with Dreadnought grade shields, but pretty ridiculous AC and TL numbers.
And then from a CR standpoint, is encountering a single Tier 16 Vesk Dreaddy at CR 24 encounter because of those 16 extra ships?
But also, you can run into some hard limits with Tiny ships due to size restrictions and their light weapons. 16 Tier 16 Fighter craft might be murder to shoot down, but if you're taking those 16 Fighters and have them attack their own Dreadnought, due to the DR Threshold of the dreddy, even with shields down, they'll tend to do no damage to the dreddy unless they roll higher than average.
Btw, do people also use our irl inspired Ranking systems? I can't tell if there really is an 'active' military other than Stewards and combination of other more paramilitary forces like the Knights.
I mean we don't see anything about United Pact Navy, or army or whatever.
I see the Corpse fleet sorta has ranks, but that's more titles for the higher end leaders.
Creating a 'plausible' planetary environment that prevents starship or capital grade weapon 'solutions'
It occurs to me it could also be a "sure you can use capital weapons, but that tends to destroy the core/lewt you were looking for." Hm and then maybe mix in, "Since the macguffin core is very useful in power generation tech and boosting weapons tech, when you shoot a really big macguffin core with capital grade weapons....bad things happen."
Creating a 'plausible' planetary environment that prevents starship or capital grade weapon 'solutions'
For my macguffin cores reasoning, I'm thinking, "Cores are valuable for harvesting because even small cores result in particle material of a quality that allows other stuff to work better (guns get zappier, reactors get more potent) but also rather than just some sorta NOS like boost to an engine, the effects can linger quite long, making it a very helpful additive to power generation or the like. Not enough to replace conventional stuff and just run it on pure 'core dust' but still valuable enough.
Bigger mobs = higher quality core material and more quantity.
While such material can be artificially/mechanically collected, the 'spawn' nature of small to large to omfg-giant mobs happens in a much quicker and efficient fashion that you're better off hunting mobs.
I wouldn't necessarily say no, but I would say that you'd have to adapt the way BP and stuff gets figured. Like...I have to wonder how they stat the 'carrier' type ships. I mean I know they're tier equal to their level, but then does a Tier 15 carrier mean it also carries Tier 15 fighters? Or do they use the same fighter stats as the 1/2 to low ones we see in examples.
I'm curious as how others look at this scenario. While I don't anticipate it really happening on the PC level (aside for Starfinder equivalent of Kingdom Building...whatever that would look like), I'm wondering what the general narrative rules would be so I could do some world building.
From what we know via books, before the Zerg/Tyranids/Swarm showed up, the pact and the Vesk were doing their own Imperialism runs to acquire resources and build more pylons for their fight vs each other.
Pact law in general says, "unless you're a protectorate of ours, we're basically hands off". Snippets of narrative of the station talk about explorers fighting each other in the politco-government deck to put in their claims on new worlds and stuff in before each other.
But what would be reasonable rules?
If you can take it and hold it, its yours?
Explorer Betsy can claim an entire star system because she found it?
Explorer Betsy can't really claim a star system but if she's done enough recon, she can stake a claim on its data and sell that stuff for phat lewt?
I file a claim for Earth of behalf of Supermegacorp and we start colonizing it, but Ultramegaincorporated decides to jump our claim on the other side of the planet?
I kinda feel its a combination of first come first served mixed with 'only if you can hold it'.
Which potentially means if you're an independent mining group on a backwater planet that suddenly finds itself between 2 megacorps, you could end badly.
Maybe some scenario of "If you're a Pact Worlder, and want to continue to benefit from protection of Pact World stuff, you have to follow a set of rules when it comes to claiming stuff'
kinda like how in real life we've got sorta international agreements on space and solar-system resources ownership....even if we can't really use any of those solar-system resources yet.
It sorta has to though.
In the drift description is also includes stuff about how you can use complex calculations to figure stuff out. It also notes a point in the Drift corresponds to another point in real space.
So there's going to be a way to jump to other systems that have no beacons, otherwise no one can ever explore without doing blind jumps and never being able to return to a space unless there's a beacon.
so there has to be some sort of correspondence between 'real world location' and 'drift exit location' that can be done with math (and sensors, I mean, otherwise how can you as a pilot 'make corrections' within your travel if you can't 'see outside to where you're going'.
And I dunno, it doesn't seem like you have to do a short drift jump pop out reorient jump back into drift, rinse repeat. it seems like you can do it one shot while remaining in the drift.
Yeah numbers get a bit wonky if we take the numbers we already have in sources as starting point. Personally I feel like most population sizes listed (planetary and crew) should be x5- to x10 their listed values. Like the populations provided in the books/pact world, seem like they would fit as individual nations on Golarion, but not really as 'independent worlds' in Starfinder.
But even then my numbers would be wonky because not every population listed should be multiplied either.
I mean I realize in the practical sense we don't NEED to have a planet with billions of people on it, since it'll never really be practical in a PC involvement sense and really even in sci-fi media you rarely see hard implementation of size considerations. Stories tend to focus on the handfew of 'player chars' and then the support/antagonists around them which maybe have a hundred of so named types, and a thousand+ nameless.
Right, and there's nothing saying that Angels with lasguns didn't show up to those species in their neck of the galaxy/etc. But Golarion, for the most part, wasn't lasguns and supertech, even if small sections did have stuff (ala the Adventure paths).
So what I mean by 'prime material' was more 'local area where such outsiders show up'. Generally speaking, on Golarion, the sum total of beings that believed in shit had tech levels of the 'fantasy era'. Thus the outsiders that showed up reflected those beliefs.
So even if Angel with lasgun wanted to show up, he'd manifest as "angel with fire longbow' or something. Unless the region he showed up in had high enough belief in higher tech.
But again, its just my headcanon, that the armories of heaven and hell have all the crazy ass things real and imagined beyond mundane current level of understanding, and during planar conflicts they use whatever they want, but when they try to show up on the material, even if called, they get subjected to 'local rules'.
So taking some loose IRL examples, on rough average you have about 20 cops/law enforcement per 10000 people or so.
USA has about 1.5 million active military to its population of roughly 325 million. For a place like Hawaii, with about 1.5 million people, active military comes in around 100k people.
As such, what sort of force sizes might we see with various Starfinder groups?
Absolom station has about 2.5 mil people. And its kind of the "New York City" in terms of UN/Pact World diplomacy location. Would it be fair to use the 20 to 10000 numbers for 'security/etc' forces on station, so what...5000 'cops' of various levels.
Then when you take Stewards and local military forces maybe 150,000 total or so?
How big is the rest of the Pact World forces? I mean, I can't imagine there being hundreds of thousands of Hellknights...what were the totals back in Pathfinder days?
If we took the total population of the Golarion system are we looking at billions (like modern Earth, but spread across planets), or millions?
Are the Azlanti Empire dudes billions? Was the swarm an invasion of billions? etc etc.
NE becomes potentially an equation breaker since NE generally only concerns what humans IRL would consider possibility of life formation. But since star type and planet-type in SF doesn't really restrict life, even intelligent humanoid, much less non-humanoid intelligent, the number can be much higher.
Yeah, "Vast" could include a system 50 lightyears from Golarion. It could include a system 100 THOUSAND lightyears away. But at the same time a system 100 Thousand LY away could be considered 'close' for Drift purposes if it has enough buoys.
Theoretically if the Triune's clergy are inclined enough, a "Vast" system could become 'close' in mere days if they dumped enough buoys there. Or they could repo some from a 'close' system and make it 'vast' again.
Well we've seen introduction to several outsider variants that reflect the 'modern' Starfinder setting. Holy angels toting lasguns, Nanite cloud defenders of Law, Demon/Devil spaceship.
I feel in a way such planes reflect the general tone of the prime material. What prevented Devil Spaceship from showing up earlier? Or Angel with lasgun? I'd say general level of belief.
I'd be inclined to say that Devil Spaceship existed during Pathfinder era too, but constraints on manifesting within the Prime AS a devil spaceship prevented such, so it would take a different form.
Kind of like a Ghostbusters 'pick the form of the Destroyer'. Until the general mortal mindset shifted to 'guns and spaceships and shit' the outsider forces, even if they had such knowledge and possibility couldn't manifest it in the prime.
I'm just sorta spitballing theorycrafting stuff. I won't probably have a chance to play it out myself with a group, but I was looking for feedback/number crunching from forum-readers that would be so inclined.
So my thought was 'what if I tried to get rid of the super spread of 1-20 combat gear (and some of the associated mechanics), and do away with some of the aspects of 'wealth by level'. How broken could things get?
First, I wanted two stages of gear, basically boiled down to 'standard' and 'elite'. Functionally weapons/armor would have two 'levels' roughly level 10 and level 15.
By level 10 I mean, take the listing of the gear at roughly level 10, that's the new standard that nearly everyone uses. So even if you have a brand new level "1" character? They use level 10 gear. (10-ish).
"Elite" gear would be the level 15 (roughly) stats. Characters level 1-12 or so can only usually get 'standard' (level 10) gear. At 13 and above (or so) you can get Elite gear. At high end you're still only looking at 100-something thousand credits for a gun/armor/etc.
Now to avoid kiddos getting pasted at level 1 even if wearing level 10 armor, all chars, npcs or otherwise, get base hitpoints/stamina as if level 10. This number doesn't increase until they hit level 11, and then increases as normal. Roughly everyone starts at a 100 something hitpoints/stamina total, with martial classes having more.
If they have a class function that gives them damage, that also gets calculated at base level 10. Solarion weapons, caster level, etc. However, a class retains its normal progression in terms of ability/etc unlocks. So while you can cast your level 1 spell zapper and it does level 10 damage, you don't get access to higher level spells until you actually reach that level. Damage increases as level increases for these abilities. This also applies to heal spells/etc.
Weapon specialization dmg if applicable remains level based as normal. So A level 5 guy does +5 dmg to his base-level-10 weapon/etc.
Otherwise I envision CR being as normal, since they have the same damage output and capacity to resist relative to PC values.
Generally the cost factor difference between a level 10 and level 15 piece is x5. So the level 15 piece of same time generally costs 5x as much as the level 10 piece.
At the same time I don't see too big of an issue with PCs maybe getting elite gear early since the difference between 10 gear and 15 gear isn't as significant. Its an increase sure, but not usually a 1-hit kill scenario at any point. Things get a little wonky with some weapon classes scaling, but otherwise the level 10 and level 15 stuff is usually like +6 to 10 dmg max compared.
Some things I haven't crunched yet:
1) If I don't increase BAB can level 1 guys in level 10 gear even hit each other? Would that require the new BAB to be also based at Level 10 to even it out?
2)If you basically have gear that costs 25k and gear that cost 125k or so, and you start everyone at Level 10 wealth, do you still need a wealth cap? In terms of gear you might have millions of creds of stuff, but you only get mechanical benefits of gear level 15 or so.
Something of a mini-necro, but I was wondering, would there be any real consequence, other than the loss of the space/item, if you took a ticking timebomb/nuke/whatever and stuffed it into a nullspace chamber?
How would people play it? That the boom still happens but just basically has no external world effect? Like the nuke ruins the NSC but that's it?
I mean its not likely to come up often in PC activities, but imagine if a nullspace chamber would be a tool of the trade for a Bomb Squad? Assuming the bomb didn't have motion sensors, it could be safer to just chuck it into the NSC.
Thanks for the responses.
I'm also thinking maybe a 'Monster Hunter" approach where even massive monsters have weakpoints that can be exploited by small groups, (man sized) that can reach them and not as easily reached with higher order direct fire weapons (like vehicle+)
So while maybe missiles and cannon fire can weaken/slow a creature, you'll still need 'people' to go in and deal with it.
alternately I was thinking, 'maybe I can make this a 'sponge' world. where the layer that we would consider normal 'surface' of say our planet Earth is actually a big porous other layer that allows a non-direct-linear approach from outer space to 'ground level' You have this layer covering the whole planet which still allows fairly easy access to the ground but winding,hm....
might have to change how the ecosystem works if its mostly blocked from its star.
This would allow 'sanctuary cities' to have starship grade wall defenses to keep a perimeter but they lack the line of sight/effect to do more.
Hmm maybe a terraced layer kinda thing. There's the 'surface' visible from space but it has the least valuable resources, with all the good stuff being below, where all the nasties are.
Sorry for the long title.
But I was wondering how you might go about building a world where you want to have things like kaiju that remain a threat to the populace, requiring 'adventurer' hunting and the like, but not just otherwise easily solved by having a cruiser in orbit shooting godzilla in the head with a capital grade railgun shot, or sanctuary wall mounted heavy-class turrets.
or 'nuke it from orbit' (nukes or not).
I don't want to do some sort of large scale orbital reason, like 'magical planetary shield' or 'sensor readings are fuzzy from orbit' because that wouldn't solve, "Well, why not just send some fighter craft with nukes?" to fly in closer.
A bit more background, I'm thinking of a world that sorta generates monsters/mobs ala Anime trope of "semi-traditional seeming fantasy creatures and giant mobs, but not really sentient." The 'these monsters leaves cores when they die, otherwise poofing into smoke'. kind of thing.
Higher concentrations and letting the mobs exist leads to bigger and more powerful ones (Dragons+) will spawn. Which also tends to mean that closer to 'homebase city' spawns tend to be weaker because they get culled more often, but sometimes get push-ins by higher powered mobs seeking to consume the weaker ones/etc.
Additionally I'm trying to find a reason why PCs/NPcs would bother, some sorta special resource, in addition to the cores that makes the planet attractive enough despite risks.
But again I want to avoid a solution of, "Well, hell, we just take our fighter and launch a plasma torpedo. x10 damage and at best we'll need 2 of them."
I don't think anyone in their right mind would manufacture an android, given the headaches. Especially with the hippie talk of "obligation? what obligation?! I didn't ask to be born, DAD."
I mean, who would bother? Better to make a robot that doesn't piss and moan about rights and have to worry about terrorists coming to mess you up because Android-Lives-Matter.
So when looking at things like Security Robots, or Ahavs, are they like golems in that they have functionally endless operation times? Do they have their own reactors or other form of long term battery storage? I mean apparently for things like Sec bots, they can have things like infinite breath weapons (jolt arc every 1d4 rounds) and assuming they aren't destroyed 'fast slow healing of CR per hour' for hitpoints.
Statbox wise they then get listed with things like 'weapon + 2 batteries" but their own 'jolt' not taking any battery requirement. The AHAV listed has ammo using weapons but we don't see any 'lasgun' variants to compare with.
The question i'd draw would then be, "if they can do this otherwise with no real time limit or power draw, can they recharge their own weapon batteries?"
But if you can have bots that do it..I could see a problem in that there's no reason people in power-armor couldn't do it too. Attach a bot-level power pack to your power armor and it now recovers more charge per round or unit time that it expends and can recharge its own weapons.
In my headcanon I have it that Golarion-pathfinder-Era magic items are able to use things like the Pathfinder magic item slots (many) vs the Starfinder slots (2) because the Pathfinder era stuff reflects different craftsmanship. Modern tech/magic mix goes for quick and easy access, and a Pathfinder era crafter would find that while the Modern guys can churn stuff out, they do it as mass production junk.
Mass production junk that bleeds more interference than Golarion era, hence you can only wear less.
And on a meta level, the warping of reality associated with turning magic into a thing that is defined via tech has also weakened/perverted/changed the nature of current magic as well. I'd potentially say that even if you took a Golarion era magic item crafter and pulled him into the modern setting, any items HE tried to make would end up being weakened by the reality alterations, so even his (new) stuff would fall under the only-2 rule.