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Agreed Hiruma, I am glad you did all this math. One of the things that really irks me about the game is that it's so heavily focused on ranged combat that almost all published material consistently awards range attacks at the expense of melee.

* Melee classes have problems with using cover, thus a lower potential AC.
* They get fewer gear choices which increase their chances to hit or removes hit penalties. (hitting an enemy is ALWAYS more important than maximizing damage. A miss = no damage at all.)
* Attacks of Opportunity are a joke. They can't interrupt spells being cast, there's no concentration in the game to end an ongoing effects, and you get at most, one per round.

It's quite clear that the publishers of the game designed it primarily for ranged combat and continue to fuel that goal. TBH, I am kinda glad we are wrapping up our campaign. I have a feeling that I will be moving on from Starfinder to other rule sets (glad I didn't sink too much money into the books). I've given the rules a fair shake (14 months of game play), and found them to be confining and inconsistent. You pick one path, you go down it, and the developers have confined your options very narrowly within that path. Maximizing (meta gaming) your character is a must for higher tier play or the curve quickly leaves you behind. After spending some time recently with 5e, the contrast in the rule sets and balance is glaring. I hope they do better with Pathfinder 2.0.

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.

Even for soldiers this is a 'meh' option. I have it and rarely ever use it as it's penalty applies cumulatively to the penalties from a full attack. I would rather make 3 attacks with a -6 penalty than 1 attack with a -2 penalty every single time. The extra damage is negligible considering that weapon specialization is much more damage. So, if you are ANY class firing a weapon, it's better to fire twice with a -4 penalty than once with a -2 penalty that does 1/2 BaB damage. If both shots land, then weapon specialization alone will do more damage than 1/2 BaB. Furthermore, the extra damage isn't going to make or break a fight at higher levels. 10 more damage for a 10% higher miss change (misses do no damage) is just a bad bargain. I think this was meant for cleaning up waves of lesser enemies with a ranged weapon that can hit multiple targets. That being said, just get your spell caster to nuke them and save you the feat. Skip it.. it's garbage.

I think they should have named this anything other than "Heavy Fire'. Maybe.. they meant it as sarcasm alluding to the fact only "heavy" weapons would gain much, if any, benefit from this. If you could fire more than once then it would merit the name.. but otherwise.. ridiculous concept. Glad I went with Blitz as my primary. Far more useful Soldier line.

I do wish Paizo, now that the material has been out 2 years, would revisit and clarify, or even modify, some of this original material to make it worth using.

Hmmm.. So let me see if I understand what you are both saying.

If I had a ranged weapon without any of those properties, I could use a full action to make a single attack against a single target that would add my Str modifier to the damage roll?

This seems incorrect to me. Why would I use a full action for a single attack just to add +7 to the damage when I could use a full action to make up to 3 attacks with the same weapon, potentially doing far more damage. Especially with weapon specialization?

Let's say my vesk has Laser Accuracy gear boost and a Null-grip gunner harness on an Artillary Laser, perihelion. If I understand you correctly, I could make a single attack adding my str modifier or 3 attacks with a full action. I feel like there is no point in time where making a single attack which adds your str bonus will ever be better than making 3 attacks, despite having a -4 (effectively -3) penalty.

Am I understanding what is being said correctly? If I am, I feel like this entire ability is a waste of text as it's never better, mathematically, to roll once as opposed to 3 times (even with slight penalties).

Having just hit lvl 13 and picking up the Heavy Fire style from Bombard I need a little help with clarifying some examples.

If I understand this trait, it basically adds your Str modifier to ranged attacks when you spend a full action to do so. You can use it with the automatic, explode, or unwieldy.

My concern is that it says you can make a single ranged attack against all targets. Does this mean that if I have 10 enemies, and enough ammunition in my weapon, I can make a single ranged attack against each of them?

How would this work with automatic? with Explode? with Unwieldy (see page 182)?

Does it work with Sniper weapons? Pistols? Cluster Launchers (the grenades themselves have the explode property)?

Could folks provide examples with the following criteria: I am in a hanger bay and there are 10 enemies arrayed in a semicircle in front of me at approximately 40 feet away. Could I use this ability to fire a shot at each one of those enemies provided I have ammunition enough to make each shot?

So if everything is being interpreted properly a detonator can be used to detonate 5 explosives or grenades primed to that detonator?


I think that you might be oversimplifying a bit. Grenades are prepackaged explosives with a detonator already part of the package. As a DM, I would definitely allow that you could duct tape 20 grenades together, and that you could string all the pins together. However, much like real life, pulling all 20 pins and throwing the package would be rather difficult and may not work as the player intended.

As far as the game handling it, I can't see how it doesn't handle it. It seems quite clear to me that it handles it rather easily.

There's a reason people don't tend to walk around with C-4 in a combat zone. It's easy stuff to set off. Where as something like a grenade isn't so prone to damage causing it to explode.

I think that if a GM wishes to allow such a thing, the results could be fun and interesting. Grenades don't always explode at the exact same time ;) Not all the pins are pulled simultaneously. Would be rather interesting to see this Ysoki bounced around the room as the grenades detonated one slightly after the other!

Per the CRB page 218:

Explosives have the same price, effect, and weight as grenades (see page 183).

I see no reason that a person couldn't buy 20 explosives that are lvl 1 and behave like a grenade and package them together with a detonator. Then they could explode them with the simple click of a button.

However if a grenade caused enough damage to another grenade within it's blast radius to sunder/destroy that grenade I might allow that to 'detonate' the grenade as opposed to just destroy it. A simple 50/50 on the dice sounds about right.

I so enjoy players who want to dive into the evil alignment sphere. Nothing is more enjoyable than watching that hash out at the table and end with the party turning on itself. I never restrict alignments, but always give my players a simple bit of encouragement. If you choose this alignment, I expect you to play it. Then I point them to some literature on characters who exemplify those alignments so that they know the expectation.

Good times.

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Most GM's are, fairly, reasonable when it comes to early changes in characters. Usually, the goal in RPG's is to have fun and often times we don't get a lot of mileage out of some feats and abilities in Starfinder. (I'm looking at you Adaptive fighting.) I think a conversation with your GM would suffice to get you in to a place where you feel like your choices are more meaningful.

Yea.. That's why I was asking. Ahh well, I was hoping for a lil extra DR.

I would consider natural armor as something that is innate to the race or species. Not something acquired through feats, class abilities, equipment, or gear (unless those things specifically state so).

What are your thoughts?

OK. So an Astrazoad and Bantrid can't make an Unarmed attack at all as they don't have a free hand. Or any hand at all?

You can't logically say that the rules disallow an unarmed strike if you don't have a 'free hand' and then turn around and say that 'an equivalent appendage works' I have a free horn, or free leg, or free tentacle.. so I guess those work since those are appendages and they are available correct?

Dracomicron wrote:
Magyar5 wrote:
BigNorseWolf wrote:
they stack, buy the mk 1 and increase your dr by one
If I buy the Mk IV would it increase it by 4?
No. Whatever mark Dermal Plating you have, it increases your natural DR by 1. There's no reason to go over Mk. 1 because it only gives you +1 DR regardless.

So you are saying that Enhanced Resistance does in fact give natural DR to a creature who previously does not have it?

BigNorseWolf wrote:
they stack, buy the mk 1 and increase your dr by one

If I buy the Mk IV would it increase it by 4?

There is an option 4 which I think allows for RaW with some some application of RaI.

The text is describing a condition which must exist for you to make an unarmed attack. This conditions is that you have a free hand. This could easily be interpreted as free appendage, leg, tentacle, tail etc.. as not ever entity in Starfinder has a 'hand'.

While it's true that most player characters have an appendage that can be described as a hand, Paizo has released many subsequent publications that have playable races which don't possess hands. I'm looking at you Astrazoans and Bantrids!

If we accept that an unarmed attack would require a free appendage capable of making that attack, it seems to me that this allows for any subsequent races to make such an attack.

In this spirit, if a player has a leg or tail or horn or something else that can make an unarmed attack, then I don't see why this should be disallowed. An unarmed attack isn't a bonus action or free action. Attacks of Opportunity are quite clear on the conditions which allow them. See CRB 248 for AoO and CRB 255 for threatening a square. (You need a melee weapon or a natural weapon and unarmed strikes specifically are called out as not counting for threatening a square.)

Otherwise I don't see this as problematic or any scenario in which this could be abused.

Dracomicron wrote:
I'm not sure what else grants a PC "natural" DR. I currently have a vesk soldier with both Dermal Plating and Enhanced Resistance, so I guess I would be interested in the answer.

Hehe.. I have a melee vesk soldier and he's been taking quite a bit of punishment lately. I picked up Enhanced Resistance around level 4, but needs a little something extra to give him a little more durability. Now that he's level 12 I am considering Dermal Plating IV to make it DR 16 for kinetic damage. It's a good bit of creds, and I am a bit strapped of credits. 'There's not a lot of money in the revenge business.'

Nyerkh wrote:

Is Enhanced Resistance's DR "natural" in other words ?

Not sure, but I'd say yes.
I doubt natural is defined anywhere, but the wording is not "innate", so ... I'd allow it, at least.

The question would then be. Does a Vesk have innate damage reduction?

You could complicate it by saying it as follows. Does Enhanced Resistance confer natural DR to a creature who previously did not possess it?

I would say that it does not.

Ahhh.... Cover and Starfinder.

This has to be one of the most infamous and difficult things in Starfinder to rule.

Let's read the rules carefully as there is no updates in the FAQ and they can be, admittedly, confusing. We will break them down as instructional and then apply them to make a determination.

CRB 253-254.

Part 1). Determine whether your target has cover from your attack.
Step 1). Choose a corner of your square (any corner you wish).
Step 2). Draw a line from the corner you have chosen to every corner of the targets square (or possible rectangle).
Step 3). If any of these 4 lines passes through a square or border that blocks line of effect or provides cover, or through a square occupied by a creature, the target has cover.

Ok.. so this is confusing, very confusing, because we are defining cover and it says that if the square or border provides cover... OMG.. this is weird. But it's ok. We can overcome this. First of all we need to define some additional terms. What is 'line of effect?'

CRB 271: Line of Effect:
If a weapon, spell, ability, or item requires an attack roll and has a range measured in feet, it normally requires that you (or whoever or whatever is using the ability) have a line of effect to the target to be effective (subject to GM discretion). A line of effect is a straight, unblocked path that indicates what an attack or ability can affect. A line of effect is blocked by a solid barrier that can stop the effect in question (such as a wall, for most effects), but it is not blocked by purely visual restrictions (such as smoke or darkness). You cannot have line of effect that exceeds planetary range, unless otherwise indicated.
You must have a clear line of effect to any creature or object you wish to target or to any space in which you wish to create an effect without an area. For effects with an area, you must have a clear line of effect to the point of origin of the effect. An effect that is a burst, cone, cylinder, or emanation affects only an area, creature, or object within line of effect from its origin (a spherical burst’s center point, a cone-shaped burst’s starting point, the center point of a cylinder’s circle, or an emanation’s point of origin). For definitions of these specific terms, see Area on page 268.
If you have a line of effect to some of a target’s space but not all of it, the target has cover (see pages 253–254 for more information about cover). Additionally, an otherwise solid barrier with a hole of at least 1 square foot through it may grant cover rather than total cover against an effect, at the GM’s discretion.

Okie dokie.. That was long but had some important information in there especially as it relates to cover. Let me point to one sentence in particular that is very helpful. "If you have a line of effect to some of a target's space but not all of it, the target has cover."

This actually assists us in defining the previous discovery of what constitutes cover.

Back to the CRB description!
We have picked our square, and we have drawn our lines. Do any of the 4 lines have something that blocks them with a physical barrier? If any one of those 4 lines has something that blocks line of effect, then the target has cover.

Now looking at the examples offered there is obvious confusion with #2 due to the wording 'run along the border of a wall'. This phrase exists only in this example and nowhere else in the CRB. I would not use this example, as an example of what determines cover due to the fact that the determination of cover doesn't include the border of a wall in any text in the CRB.

As to your session. Neither soldier has cover from the other by these rules. No corner of either soldier passes through any solid object.

I hope this helps.

1 person marked this as FAQ candidate.

Dermal Plating: (CRB 209-210)
You line your skin with hardened composite plates that deflect physical attacks. You gain an amount of damage reduction that depends on the model of your dermal plating. If you have natural damage reduction equal to or greater than your dermal plating, adding dermal plating increases the value of your natural DR
by 1. If you have natural DR of a value less than your dermal plating, the value of DR from your dermal plating increases by 1.

Enhanced Resistance: (CRB 157)
Choose either kinetic damage or one of acid, cold, electricity, fire, or sonic. If you choose kinetic damage, you gain damage reduction equal to your base attack bonus. If you choose acid, cold, electricity, fire, or sonic, you gain energy resistance against that type of energy equal to your base attack bonus.

Does the benefit of Enhanced Resistance (kinetic) cause Dermal plating to only supply a +1 bonus?

My read is that it does not and that Dermal Plating would add it's bonus to Enhanced Resistance as this feat does not give you natural DR.


Nimor Starseeker wrote:

Spellcasters would be severely weakened if you could ready an action to make a ranged attack to interrupt them when they cast spells with casting time 1full action or less.

Compared to Pathfinder 1, you got to take concentrate checks if you took damage to see if you still managed to hold onto the spell. In Starfinder, if your opponent deals 1 damage to you when you are casting, you lose the spell. Casters would be the target of ready ranged every round if you could interrupt spells, regardless of casting time.
Starfinder has a lot of guns and ranged combat is a big deal.
If you could interrupt casters casting Spells with readied ranged (full action or less) you weeken them in a while world full of ranged attacks.
I’m confident that it was the intent that you could not interrupt casters with readied ranged.

As I stated earlier, I think this is a side effect of an overall, weak implementation of spell casting. The impact is enhanced because spell casting is already in a rough place. If spell casting were in a stronger place, this wouldn't have the same impact.

I think the designers can lessen this impact in a variety of ways without crippling readied actions to the point of uselessness and without changing the wording of the CRB. I have a lot of ideas along this line.

HammerJack wrote:

This was a tangent speculating about intent.

If the rule on page 249 matters to the tactic in question, I can see how the rule came into being. Without it, spellcasters don't work very well in this world. The tactic of readying to shoot a spellcaster at range was definitely a common one in Pathfinder, and there are a number of reasons to expect it to become more common in Starfinder.

The question I was asking is, if you can subdivide actions into events, like starting to cast, what do you believe the purpose of the rule on page 249 was?

A rule was added, separating when purely readied defensive actions occur from when other readied actions occur. This rule change had some purpose. What do you believe that the rule was intended to do, that it can do with your definition of subdividing actions into events, to a level where nothing has happened mechanically, when the event occurs?

Because it fits thematically and helps decide when a readied action occurs. The idea behind a defensive action is that the defensive action would cause the player to avoid the upcoming attack or lessen the damage received by some enemy action. For that to work thematically, that action needs to occur the moment before the damaging action occurs. So if you take the move action to dive behind some cover or break line of effect to an enemy when that enemy 'aims his gun at me', then you are effectively negating or reducing that enemies damage to you. The enemy can choose another valid target, but you are no longer a valid target. The idea is that you are doing something to protect yourself the instant before you are harmed. This is mirrored by real life experiences in which, you prepare for incoming pain and damage.

Note, in readied actions it NEVER says offensive action. It is quite interesting to read. Either the action is a purely defensive action ... or.. it's not. Meaning, if the action has ANY way in which it can be considered as anything other than a purely defensive action, it will go after the triggering event. We have basically dumbed that down to an offensive action but the readied action never specifies that. It may be intentional.

Offensive actions are meant to respond to something in a way meant to bring harm or to hamper the enemy. I shoot him if he shoots me. I push him off a ledge if he gets close enough to the ledge. These are actions meant to interact with the opponent with a very specific timing. When he shoots, you shoot. When he casts, you shoot hoping to stop the casting. When he attempts a Bull rush you attempt a trip maneuver. When the enemy turns his back to flee, you cast a spell that creates rough terrain. All of these interactions have something in common and that is that you harming or hampering an opponent. You and the opponent are interacting in some way which hampers or harms the foe.

If you don't allow a defensive action to happen the moment before the triggering event, then you won't have the AC bonus from cover/Line of effect/whatever bonus you were aiming for WHEN the triggering event occurs. This way, when the triggering event occurs, your purely defensive action is ready to receive whatever was being done to you.

If I may offer some advice for this particular idea, please consider the following.

Enemy saving throws grow at a much faster pace than player saving throws. By CR 10, even the worst enemies have a Fort save of +9. The best you can buy or craft at this time is Ungol Dust. If your GM allowed that a crafted poison gave +2 to the save DC, even the enemies with the worst Fort saving throw would save 60% of the time.

My greatest concern for you as a player is the dissatisfaction you may feel when the GM saves against your poisons almost every roll. I've been down that road myself and my GM was kind enough to allow me to make some alterations.

I am not telling you that you shouldn't. Just be aware that static DC's are quite terrible in Starfinder and do not scale at all.

Be sure to have some fallback plans in case this one becomes unsatisfying. Personally, if I were your GM I would change the DC for your poisons to be 10 + Biohacker level + stat modifier (based on which track the modifier used). This way, you have a fair or better than fair chance of your poisons sticking around long enough to be meaningful.

HammerJack wrote:

I was referring specifically to this rule:

"If your readied action is purely defensive, such as choosing the total defense action if a foe you are facing shoots at you, it occurs just before the event that triggered it. If the readied action is not a purely defensive action, such as shooting a foe if he shoots at you, it takes place immediately after the triggering event. If you come to your next turn and have not yet performed your readied action, you don’t get to take the readied action (though you can ready the same action again)."

I don't understand how creating that rule could be a change intended to allow spell interruption, when just using the same system as PF, where all readied actions go before would do the trick.

Are you associating an event with an action? This could be the confusion. If you subscribe that the developers meant action instead of event, then yes, the spell would complete. If you subscribe to the idea that event means an occurrence such as 'begins to cast' then the readied action can interrupt a spell as it's being cast and has a casting time of a standard action.

If it were not meant this way, why bother referencing it in the spell casting section as a way for a spell to be interrupted. In that section it specifically calls out 3 ways in which a player is most likely to take damage while casting a spell and have it interrupted.
a). casting when a spell’s casting time is 1 round or longer.
b). you have provoked an attack of opportunity.
c). a foe readied an action to attack you when you began to cast.

Those are 3 distinct ways you can take damage while casting a spell. If it were the developers intent that spells with a casting time of a standard action not be interruptable, why bother with (c) when (a) covers every other spell.

The reason that the rule for PF would not work in Starfinder is that if you allow the readied action to go before the spell cast, there would be no spell to interrupt. It wouldn't have been cast or begun to cast, so you would potentially do damage to the player or foe but that damage wouldn't interrupt anything. There wouldn't be anything to interrupt.

Anyways, that's only my opinion when I have taken everything together in totality. It's what I have penciled together from reading almost all of the literature. Yet, an opinion is like a bellybutton, everyone has one. I may be correct. I may be completely wrong. Either way my intent is to gain clarification from the developers and hold meaningful discussion to learn other points of view.

Garretmander wrote:

It seems obvious based on Owen's post that readied actions are not intended to disrupt spellcasting, except for counterspelling. Whether the actual RAW written support that, RAI seems obvious.

Maygar5 wrote:
(see Owen's original post)

Owens post was a reply to Attacks of Opportunity. Which is a Reaction. His post was not specifically in response to readied actions and any reference was ancillary to his point about Attacks of Opportunity.

I quoted and linked his post in a previous response,

HammerJack wrote:
yukongil wrote:
Pantshandshake wrote:

The only thing made useless is the concept of doing something offensive to a target before it does something offensive.

Everyone seems to be ignoring the array of defensive actions you could be taking before your target acts.

And I’ve yet to see anyone mention the overwatch possibilities, where you ready an action to shoot if a hostile opens that door over there, or comes around the corner from a direction your team hasn’t looked in on yet.

Or even super specific niche things. “If I come under laser fire, I drop this smoke grenade at my feet.” “I activate my environmental protection if (insert action that changes the environment here.)”

It truly boggles my mind that anyone would call readied actions useless because of 2 things you can’t do with them while not giving any thought to the many things that can be done.

probably because those "2" things are pretty big deals, and are pretty standard in any other roleplaying game, or any other form of media.

or nobody is bringing up defensive actions, because defensive actions take place before hand, whereas offensive do not for some arcane reason, so there is not a problem to discuss.

I have suspected since I got my hands on the CRB, and do still suspect, that the "arcane reason" for that rule change was to make casters playable in a world where everyone has a ranged attack, and single attacks have very high accuracy. I think that all of the other things that you can't do with a readied action in Starfinder are collateral damage of a rule made to prevent frequent spell interruption.

I think the rule was written to ALLOW spell interruption. Not prevent it.

The reasoning is as follows:

1). If readied actions didn't exist at all, no spell with a casting time of a standard action or reaction could be interrupted. Not even with an AoO (see Owen's original post). The only way to interrupt a spell with a standard action casting time would be with a Dispel Magic spell.

2). If the developers did not intend for players to be able to act on another players turn, the reaction action would have MANY more entries with corresponding rules and examples. (Reactions open the possibility to act on another creatures turn well enough.)

3). Additional game entries allude to this being the intent due to their wording.

The reason I think that the players have interpreted this readied action improperly is that there is a general consensus among experienced players that spell casting in this game is poorly implemented and suffers from quite a few problems. (Ridiculously high opponent saves, compressed spell lists, fewer spell choices, homogenized casting methodologies across classes, spell selection is weak, no way to recover a defining resource without resting for a long time, etc..) By allowing foes to interrupt a standard action cast time spell simply makes spell casting worse for the player experience.

It's a sad day when a soldier can just pick up a weapon that has the same effect as a lightning bolt.. and can 'cast' it every turn. And reload it without waiting till the next day. (Notice how the designers limited this by making every blast, explode, and line weapon unwieldy... they knew what was up!!)

I sympathize with all players in this regard. I really do. However, I believe it was the intent of the developers to allow such spells to be interrupted and simply didn't realize the additional negative impact it would have to spell casting in the game.

As I stated earlier, if they introduced a way to alleviate the deepest problem of losing the spell slot, or allowed a way for the caster to overcome the damage, it would be far more balanced.

BigNorseWolf wrote:

A few reasons.


a certain trigger occurs by using a standard action.

Decide on a .. trigger.

when the trigger happens.

the event that triggered it

The action you're going to take in response is regularly called an action. The triggering event is NOT. So why would the game use a completely different term if the triggering event were supposed to be the completion of a [game term action] ?


So what constitutes a legitimate triggering event?

If you cannot declare a triggering event to act on ANY sub actions offensive readies become completely useless, and thus probably aren't RAI.

If you can declare a triggering event to act on ANY sub action you can think of then the very important distinction between an offenseive and defensive reaction goes away completely, probably not raw either.

Movement is also the only action we have that we even know IS subdivided. Spellcasting doesnt have "reach for mana, do the calculus, visualize the manifestation, actualize the manifestation" phases or anything similar as far as divisible phases. There's casting, there's not casting.

Movement not only has those subdivisions (square 1 through 6 in order), but movement is regularly interrupted on those subdivisions with attacks of opportunity. You get a whack of opportunity to the face on a particular square, not just at some generic point during your move.

So the counter question is, why do you think that something needs to be an action to be a triggering event?

Well stated BNW.

It's entirely possible that a standard action is divisible, we simply have more concrete examples for movement from the CRB.

This is my suggestions to players and GM's.

Apply the rules as written. For all action types: movement, standard, full, and swift (even reactions). Allow that all actions are divisible in some way (composed of many events which qualify as possible triggers). It can be in general terms such as 'begins to cast', 'is casting', 'has cast'. Or you can require very specifically worded triggers such as 'touches the trigger', aims at an ally', 'hops on one leg' etc.. If you feel, as a GM, the intended readied action would in some way disrupt, or unbalance, the turn of your NPC's or monsters. Rule in a creative way so that the triggering event doesn't occur in a recognizable way to your player.

If my Vesk soldier decided to ready an action to shoot an enemy he feels could be a potential spell caster, and my GM had a spell lined up which required the players to fail the roll (my GM just did this last session with a Silver Dragon's paralyzing breath) and Brosni set the readied action as "begins to cast". It would be entirely feasible that you could ask.. well.. how would he know the caster is casting a spell? What would happen if my GM simply said on the Dragons' turn. Roll a Mysticism check Brosni. The GM would use this roll to determine if Brosni recognizes that the trigger has occurred. If Brosni rolls a natural 20, good!! EXCELLENT. He was able to intuit in some gut soldier feeling that he was casting. Since he set the DC to 25, and my character has an 8 intelligence.. well.. you see where I am going.

This, to me, seems the fairest way to apply the rules as written without the pitfall of making exceptions so that the readied action works in some instances and not in others.


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Robert Gooding wrote:
Magyar5, what are you smoking and are you planning to share with the rest of the class?

Always. Sharing is caring man!

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Nimor Starseeker wrote:
Guns’n’roses for the win

Winner Winner!! Well done.

Nimor Starseeker wrote:

We do not need to add triggering events that are not actions from the action list.

I respectfully disagree. I think that if you don't specify an appropriate event, readied actions become useless, and in my short and very limited game developing experience, developers don't devote time, energy, and resources to something that doesn't add to the gaming experience.

I think it's safe to say that the developers assuredly had something in mind with readied actions and that something is different than a reaction action.

Hopefully they give us a few minutes of their time and elaborate. Of course, they could be sitting around the table discussing the same things we are and making some decisions in how to clarify our discussion.

Xenocrat wrote:
Nimor Starseeker wrote:

I think it was the intent of the developers to almost guarantee casters casting spells with casting times of full action or less slot succeed. The only things that can potentially stop them are opportunity attacks and dispell magic.

In PF1 you could ready attacks against spell casters potentially disrupting their spelll casting regardless the casting time. In SF a single point of damage will disrupt spellcasting, but at least casters do not have to put up with ready attack action shenanigans against their spell casting.

I think this was a good choice for the development team to make.

I don't think "the developers" had a unified intent for a lot of the things that need FAQs in the CRB. Someone wrote one rule, someone else wrote another, no one noticed the discrepancy, and no one has forged a unanimous consensus on what the rule should be.

Xeno's not wrong here. I work in a business which use the agile business model for completing our work. Teams need top communication skills in order for this model to work effectively and efficiently. You basically have to entrust that the piece of work done by someone else, integrates properly with your work. If you don't possess excellent communication skills (and often even when you do) things can get missed and misunderstood rather easily. Let's say BNW and I were working for Paizo. And he was tasked to work on the Reaction Action for a sprint. And I was tasked to work on the Readied Action for a sprint. And he had a clear view of how that action works and I have a clear view for mine. If we don't coordinate and communicate very, very, effectively, then we get what you have here last week.. (which is the way HE wants it.. well.... HE gets it! Anyone get this musical reference?)

Even if we are both given the same guidelines by our boss, those guidelines are open to our own personal interpretation.

Fun times!

Super Zero wrote:

I think the actual confusion here is that the rules for readied actions specifically says it doesn’t work (readied attacks go after the trigger), but the rule for interrupting spells specifically says it does work (it’s on the list of things most likely to interrupt you).

My resolution as a GM, short of a clarification of intent, would just be to ask the players what they prefer and employ it equally against them and enemy spellcasters.
I’m not sure how likely it is to come up; Starfinder spellcasters aren’t expected to cast spells every round, so betting that they’re going to do so is gonna be a miss pretty often—and that’s assuming the enemy can’t tell what you’re doing and choose not to cast for that reason.

(I don’t believe there’s a rule one way or the other about how obvious is, but at the most opaque it’s hard to miss that they didn’t take their standard action yet.)

It depends on how you read the wording. If you read event in the context that it's a specific occurrence during the turn of an individual which you, the player, has described, then the readied action could occur during the action of the player's whose turn it is. You could simultaneously shoot a player as he casts a spell if the trigger is 'begins to cast'.

If you read that event is synonymous with action then the previous example wouldn't work. The problem with this reading is that it doesn't work for almost anything. You can't combat maneuver an enemy during their movement. You can't grapple someone who is attempting to fly away. You can't knock someone prone who is attempting to cast a spell. You can't trigger a trap or demolition charge at any time during an opponents turn and have an effect unless they end their movement or action in the area of the charge.. etc.. etc..

I think the entire idea behind a readied action is that you get to act on another players turn. However when the rubber meets the road, you start to realize.. hmmm.. readied actions kinda suck if you subscribe to the 1st hypothesis. They are fine when you subscribe to the 2nd, but can put the GM in a pickle when used creatively. I mean.. bull rushing an enemy off a catwalk, say, into some lava would be brutal. It could end an combat encounter almost immediately.

I don't think it will be resolved because, as I previously stated, both readings could be valid.

That being said.. Nimor you offered an interesting idea earlier. What if we relocated the condition of the offensive/defensive action to the triggering action itself instead of the readied action. What effect would that have on things if any?

These contributors are quite correct. The discussion is entirely based on the confusion around when a readied action occurs.

We've pinpointed spell casting as it's something specifically discussed in the CRB with an example.

I think we can summarize the entirety of the confusion in this manner.

Does a readied action (standard, move, swift) occur before/after (depending on if the readied action is offensive or defensive) the action that triggered it (standard, move, swift, or full, poossibly even a reaction) or does it occur immediately before/after the specific event (specified by the player while declaring his readied action) which triggered it?

The 2 hypothesis earlier formed were put to some examples to see how they played out.

If we subscribe to hypothesis 1, then BNW's claim that readied actions are almost entirely useless is spot on. No arguments about that. Readying an action to interrupt a spell when an opponent begins to cast the spell would be utterly useless 95% of the time in the game, as most spells are a standard action, and would complete before the readied action occurs. Further, there's no point in readying an action to interrupt a spell that has a casting time longer than a standard action as you will have a chance to interrupt it during the normal course of the round or next round. So.. what would be the point. Either the readied action fails or you don't need to do it at all.

If we subscribe to hypothesis 2, then we require a little more work at our tables in forcing players to describe the triggering event very specifically and run the risk of creating an action which could potentially be exploited (we haven't fully explored this arena yet) to give players some unforeseen and powerful advantages. Otherwise hypothesis 2 seems to work in almost all cases.

What we have asked for, is some additional clarification from the developers about which of these 2 are most accurate.

There is precedent in the CRB for both understandings. You could draw precedent for hypothesis 1 from the reading of the Reaction action. It specifies actions, however, instead of triggering events. That could easily be an oversight by the developers or intended. We don't know.

Hypothesis 2 has precedent in a few places as well, most notably the Combat casting feat and the description under spell casting.

Either way I do hope we can get some clarification from the developers on this topic as it is debatable. Let me go on the record again if anyone missed this. If Hypothesis 2 is correct, I think this further hampers the spell casting system and makes it potentially worse. I don't like it. Spell casting is weak enough in Starfinder and suffers enormously under the rules. IF it is correct, I do have some ideas on some things which could be implemented by the developers OR some house rules which would shore up this difficulty.

My specific gripe is that if a foe/player can use a readied action to interrupt a spell, this is a powerful ability. It's a gamble, vs a loss. However I think the loss is greater than the risk because the caster loses the spell slot in addition to the spell failing. Yes, you have to ready an action with a specific triggering event. Yes you have to hit the foes AC. All a roll of the dice. But the spell being cast faces, often times, the exact same gamble. Do you hit a foe and can that foe save? Then you could read that you are evened up. With one specific problem. The caster loses a finite resource which can only be regained after resting for a long time. The interrupter simply loses some ammo.

Anyways.. that's just an aside to the discussion and I do hope that they sound off about what we have discussed.

Samantha DeWinter wrote:

I have to imagine that Magyar's game sessions tend to look more like WH40k tabletop than D&D, with more time spent arguing over rules and details and edge cases than actually progressing the game.

Don't get me wrong, I spent many hours in high school enjoying that style of play, but now... I have trouble seeing the point.

Another person who would rather cast dispersion at someone they don't know, doing so while under the veil of anonymity, instead of furthering a discussion.

It is precisely the opposite. We tend to more theater of the mind in our game sessions than rule mongering. It's only when someone attempts to rig the rules in a way that is patently absurd or outside of the spirit of the games intent that we have any discussion at all about the rules. (This case bears discussion as hypothesis 1 breaks the readied action completely and makes it utterly useless. If a player or GM uses this method of resolving readied actions then the game doesn't work well in practice.) As I stated earlier, most players at our table, aren't even aware of the actions they can take in a turn. It rarely comes up, as we tend towards reasonable interaction.

That being said, this discussion IS about understanding the interactions of the readied action and spell casting and if you would like to contribute, I, along with many others, would be interested in your point of view.

Nimor Starseeker wrote:
Magyar5 wrote:

Another contextual misrepresentation would be; a spell caster who readied the teleport spell on his melee soldier ally with the trigger that 'an enemy begins to cast Y spell at ally Z'

This could easily be considered a defensive action to move the target out of the path of the spell. However, the player doesn't tell you that he's teleporting the melee soldier adjacent to the spell caster.

So the spell caster begins to cast his spell. The readied action triggers right before the event. So the soldier is teleported beside the spell caster who then begins to cast a spell, provoking an attack of opportunity.

This is an indirect way of making a defensive action into an offensive action in conjunction with the readied action.

What a sneaky player that would be, not telling you his cunning littloe secret plan! Fortunetly my players are still new to SF, and are not trying this sort of thing... yet!

This is not a purely defensive action when deliberately used to put the beat-stick soldier next to the caster in an attempt to trigger an AoO. Personally, I would rule this as an offensive. If the caster was just going to teleport the soldier away into safety, it would be defensive.
I am judging how the teleport spell is being used, and I will go either way depending on the intent.

I agree 100%. The responsibility would be on the GM to arbitrate if it's offensive or defensive, but unless they dive down a little deeper, it's an entirely reasonable reading of the rules.

If the GM failed to garner the intent of the gamer, then technically this causes hypothesis 2 to do MORE than what I think the game masters intended, despite it being very creative. In this case, as I said before, the GM must arbitrate. I don't know if it breaks the game but it's definitely not how the developers intended the offensive/defensive action interpretation to be abused. It's not like they are getting more than a single reaction per round. But they are doing something dastardly to your enemies. (If I were the GM for such a thing.. I would allow it once or twice.. then I would use it against them.. only with more devastating consequences).

GM: "You walk into the room. You see 8 men in robes along a dais turning towards you. Roll initiative."
GM: "Ohh.. looks like my side goes first. THey each fan out from one another 10 feet... and watch you intently." hehe.. good luck players!!

Nimor Starseeker wrote:

Magyar5 wrote,

This is why I use the definition of an occurrence for an event. Let's do a few more examples. See where things land.

And I don't disagree with you about those details. In the case of a readied action, I think those details matter. And matter a lot.

My response:
What do you mean by the following statement: This is why I use the definition of an occurrence for an event.

Since the CRB doesn't define an event, nor an action (as it relates to the game) specifically we are called upon to turn to the dictionary to see which of the different definitions are most accurately plausible in the context of the game.

Using the examples that Paizo gave for some triggering events, it looks like the definition most applicable in the game for an event is a very specific occurrence in the game. ie.. begins to cast a spell is a VERY specific occurrence which happens during the Cast a Spell action. Since casting a spell can be very variable in length, the begins to cast terminology denotes a very specific occurrence in that sequence. The meaningful events for a Cast a Spell action are Begins to cast, is casting, has cast(s).

Garretmander wrote:
Magyar5 wrote:
Garretmander wrote:
Regarding that second example, traps and environmental changes should almost always work on their own initiative count anyway,
Could you please explain? I am unclear what you mean by this.

If during combat, a GM wants something environmental to happen, that should be on a set initiative count.

If the bridge collapses after 1d4 rounds of fighting, typically a GM would have it happen at the top or bottom of the initiative order. If a player readied for it, their initiative count should change to match. Many delayed traps in pre-written adventures have an initiative modifier. That's good writing, it lets the GM know when during a round it happens.

Super Zero wrote:

You don't have to ready level 1 flight--it can already be cast as a reaction.
I should have been clearer. The situation where you would cast flight as a reaction (you or someone else starts falling), should be a perfectly good trigger for a readied action, such as reaching out to catch them, or casting some sort telekinesis to shove them away so they can't grab on.

If these types of traps require player interaction, how would you allow for the player using the trap against an enemy if the player and trap are on a different initiative count from the enemy they want to trap?

So, in the above example, if Walkin and the trap share the same initiative, how could the trap effectively be used to capture the Ksarik? It's feasible that, based on initiative count and movement, the Ksarik will either be before or after the trap. How could that be resolved in a meaningful manner for the players?

Garretmander wrote:
Regarding that second example, traps and environmental changes should almost always work on their own initiative count anyway,

Could you please explain? I am unclear what you mean by this.

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Another contextual misrepresentation would be; a spell caster who readied the teleport spell on his melee soldier ally with the trigger that 'an enemy begins to cast Y spell at ally Z'

This could easily be considered a defensive action to move the target out of the path of the spell. However, the player doesn't tell you that he's teleporting the melee soldier adjacent to the spell caster.

So the spell caster begins to cast his spell. The readied action triggers right before the event. So the soldier is teleported beside the spell caster who then begins to cast a spell, provoking an attack of opportunity.

This is an indirect way of making a defensive action into an offensive action in conjunction with the readied action.

Super Zero wrote:
Magyar5 wrote:
When a player, in attempting to define a trigger, is able to take what most would be a considered an offensive action and word it in a way as to make it a defensive action (or vice versa).

So your interpretation is that the RAW distinction between defensive and offensive readied actions/reactions should be ignored, despite how very intentionally it's obviously spelled out?

Uh... what's it there for, then?

Well, there's no list of offensive and defensive actions. A creative player could glibly disguise an offensive action as a defensive action.

For example, you could assume that a Combat Maneuver is an offensive action (however this isn't stated in the rules). If a player said, I ready an action to re-position my ally when a target X shoots at them.

This is clearly an attempt deny a foe an attack against an ally with a ready action. If you say I am doing this to defend my ally, then it's reasonable to say this is a defensive action and would resolve before the event that triggers it.

So if a foe shoots at your ally, your readied action would resolve before the shot, and you could move the ally behind a wall, or into a safer position.

BigNorseWolf wrote:
Nimor Starseeker wrote:

If this is the case, and I hope it is- then it clears things up pretty well.

If you can read the rules in such a way that they make everything work perfectly well enough for state work its VERY rarely like that on accident...

Yes. I agree. That's why hypothesis 2 needs to be pushed to the breaking point. It's a reading that allows a readied action to work in most cases.

I think the first place I want to start is the idea context.

When I say context I mean the context of whatever game is currently happening. When a player, in attempting to define a trigger, is able to take what most would be a considered an offensive action and word it in a way as to make it a defensive action (or vice versa).

In an earlier post I glibly stated 'I want to ready an action to defend myself by firing at anyone when they fire at me.' This is an example of what I mean.

Let me see what I can come up with.

After I go down this line I think I will start looking down the line of spell casting, with the idea of readying a spell to deny a player the remainder of a turn. (Going down this line later is of more benefit if I explore my first line as misused context could be at play with this line in readying the action).

Nimor Starseeker wrote:
BigNorseWolf wrote:
Nimor Starseeker wrote:

I think BNW had an example where the readied action was to shoot when the target got closer to you so to avoid a -2 penalty to the range increment but also before the target reached you to avoid getting an AoO against yourself.

Eyup. I believe that movement is divisible most other actions are not. Going from square 1 to square 2 to square 3 is something we have a lot of rules for and doesn't break anything else. Something like an attack doesn't have that sort of granularity.

If this is the case, and I hope it is- then it clears things up pretty well.

It could. If that were the rules as written. I fully agree that movement has granularity that is recognized by fiat in the CRB. However the readied action doesn't recognize that granularity.

Of course, Hypothesis 2 wouldn't require that sort of recognition. It allows for that granularity with the rules as written.

Let's see if we can break hypothesis 2. I think we can all agree that hypothesis 1 doesn't work with the context of the game. It basically makes readied actions unusable for anything that is a meaningful action. The window of opportunity slips past or never occurs when the readied action would be triggered if we allow that the developers meant 'action' instead of event.

So now it remains to see how far we can push hypothesis 2? At what point does this 'break' the game? If we can break the game easily then we can evaluate which of the 2 hypothesis is better to use.

Is it better to amend what is written and stultify the ready action to the point it's unusable in normal game play (hypothesis 1) in order to keep the game from experiencing an action that breaks the spirit and fairness of the game (hypothesis 2 if we can push it that far). Or is it better to apply the rules as written (hypothesis 2) and let the GM's arbitrate what triggers are suitable for the readied action so that it doesn't break the game (again, assuming we can push hypothesis 2 to the breaking point).

I think we have some very intelligent folks here. This is a tough challenge. I think we can do it! So, Nimor, BNW let's break hypothesis 2!

How about another scenario?

Walkin and his team are in an old ruin. They have come down a hallway which has a floor pit with a lever which drops the floor away into the pit. The team decide it could be helpful to them if this trap were reset and used against a ksarik that their operative detected in a room further down the hallway (they hope that if they can drop it into the put, they can easily destroy it with ranged attacks while it is trapped). They reset the trap and Walkin is tasked with pulling the lever when the Ksarik is directly over the floor trap.

The operative sneaks up to the Ksarik, while it is unaware, and throws a furtive ice needle into the flank of the unaware creature. The ksarik roars to life and gives chase.

The operative has a good lead and crosses the trap. Walkin has his action readied (swift action) to pull the lever with the trigger of the Ksarik is directly over the trap. What happens?

We can apply both hypothesis to the scenario.

Hypothesis 1: A CM is an offensive action and would therefore occur after the triggering event/action. (Agreed?)

Gerard gets ready (I am gonna amend the scenario slightly by saying that on his turn Gerard moved 5 feet closer to the t-intersection but not into it. That way the enemy will be in melee range as he moves into the intersection). The enemy takes his turn, flips off Gerard, and moves into the T-intersection, through it, and into the doorway. Since the trigger occurred. Gerard may now take his readied action since the foe triggered the readied action by moving into the t-intersection. Unfortunately, the CM is wasted as there's no valid target in range.

Hypothesis 2:
Gerard gets ready (see above). The enemy takes his turn, flips off Gerard, and moves into the t-intersection. Since the triggering event has occurred, the readied action now resolves. Gerard makes his Bull Rush Combat maneuver and rolls a 1 (oooops). The enemy completes his movement as he moves through the doorway.

Nimor Starseeker wrote:
Magyar5 wrote:
Nimor Starseeker wrote:
Hypotheses 2, I am not sure I understand what you mean by this phrase: That the triggering event is an event which is the occurrence of any steps necessary to complete an action. I read it like you are breaking an action into parts - are you?

Here's an example. When you attack with a weapon, say a laser rifle, how do you do it? Do you simply 'attack'. Or do you perform a series of smaller actions which constitute the entirety of the action of attacking with a weapon. In the definition for an action, it states (1b) the accomplishment of a thing usually over a period of time, in stages, or with the possibility of repetition. This definition seems most applicable for understanding how actions work in Starfinder. When you move, you don't just appear at your location. You perform a series of smaller actions to get you where you go. You could jump, hop, skip, or dance to your location. If you attack with a laser rifle, do you bring the weapon to your shoulder, aim carefully down the sights, then pull the trigger to discharge the weapon?

It seems quite clear that in Starfinder, the actions allowed in a turn (standard, move, swift) are composed of smaller actions. This is further evidenced by quite a bit of the language in the book. Paizo themselves use the term 'begins to cast'. This indicates a subset of the casting action. They didn't say 'begins the Cast a spell action'.

So in short, as far as describing a ready action trigger, then yes. A triggering event could be a subset of the actions needed to perform a standard, move, or swift action.

If I am reading the book within context, it could be easily argued that this is the case. There is further evidence that this is the case when reading the Combat Casting feat. If a spell with a casting time of a standard action couldn't be interrupted by a readied action, why would Combat casting specifically call out this possibility? We have already determined that you don't need to ready


This is why I use the definition of an occurrence for an event. Let's do a few more examples. See where things land.

And I don't disagree with you about those details. In the case of a readied action, I think those details matter. And matter a lot.

A few more examples, casting and non casting, should help us see where the readied action is within the context of these 2 hypothesis.

Malk_Content wrote:
"Preparing Dispel Magic is a defensive action."

I apologize, I don't quite understand what you mean. Spells aren't prepared in Starfinder. Classes choose spells from a list and have those spells available to them at all times. The counter section of Dispel magic specifies how it works in relation to the ready action specifically because of Hypothesis 2. If the Dispel Magic was used to counter a spell and it was an offensive action (which is debatable and I am sure WAS debated as the rules were written) according to hypothesis 2 it would be useless as it would occur after the spell has been cast and would be pointless. The spell and it's possible effect (instantaneous) would have occurred.

I will use an example I used earlier because I liked it and it involves a Combat Maneuver.

Gerard the Soldier is on a series of catwalks. His enemy is on a catwalk approximately 20 feet away. To reach his enemy, Gerard would have to travel 10 feet to a Tee-intersection turn left and travel 10 more feet. The railing of the catwalk at the t-intersection has been destroyed. Gerard decides to allow his enemy to enter the intersection and then he will try and Bull rush the enemy off the catwalk. Gerard readies his action (Standard action; CM Bull Rush) with the trigger of, my enemy enters the t-intersection of the catwalk. The foe decides that he's had enough and sees a doorway on the opposite end of the catwalk he is on. He decides to travel through the t-intersection, past his enemy, and through the doorway which is 15 feet further down the catwalk from the t-intersection.

What happens?

Nimor Starseeker wrote:

Franky the Shirren Technomancers readies a standard action to cast Dispel Magic as a counter spell if his chosen target casts a spell. When casting Dispel magic this way, it is a defensive action so it occurs before the action that triggers it, which in this case is the chosen target casts a spell.

Let's apply Hypothesis 1.

Franky readies a standard action to (Cast a Spell: Dispel Magic, standard action) when his target casts a spell.

In this case, by Hypothesis 1, the Dispel magic would have no effect. Since this purely defensive readied action occurs before the event(action) that triggered it, then it would resolve before the casting of the spell occurs. So the order of operations would be as follows.

Enemy uses his standard action to cast a spell. The purely defensive readied action triggers, occurs directly before the event(action) that triggered it. The event(action) that triggered it is the standard action (Cast a Spell). So if the readied action occurs before the spell is cast, it would have no effect as the spell hasn't cast or is in the process of being cast.

Hypothesis 2.

Franky readies a standard action to (Cast a Spell: Dispel Magic, standard action) when his target casts a spell.

In this case, by Hypothesis 2, the actions would happen simultaneously. The event is Casts a spell. This means the spell has been cast. Ergo, the moment that the standard action completes, the triggering event has been met and the defensive action goes off immediately before the spell is complete and occurs while the spell is being cast. Thus the possibility exists that the spell could be Dispelled.

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