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For the two questions, the answers I would give are:

1. Yep, pretty much. The First World is one giant infinite plane, sort of like a Minecraft map except bigger. Though strictly speaking its probably not exactly a *plane*, in that space is weird and different areas may connect in unexpected ways. Just because you go a thousand miles straight 'east' to go from one town to another, doesn't mean that you can't go back via a ten mile semi-circular hike.

2. I would suggest they aren't illusions, but they also aren't in an endless sky, either. If you look up at the moon, you probably can travel to it. . . but the moon you see is maybe only 10 miles up or so. It is not an astronomical body, and its very much still part of the world beneath you. For that matter, the moon likely descends to the surface of the First World every day.

Tengu Fertility Counselor wrote:

Before we start which one of you is the male?

Dragons in unison "HE IS"

"Facepalm. Half of my day I swear...

You know, thinking about it. . . given dragons are traditionally portrayed as few in numbers with an extremely long maturation cycle? It might actually make biological sense if their species were *hermaphroditic*. That way, you don't run into problems of sex mismatch in a small population, anyone can reproduce with anyone.

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UnArcaneElection wrote:

^I would also expect the existence of a subset of food synthesizers that is expensive for high capacity but not for quality, to churn out fast food in places where the management doesn't want to pay fair wages or in dangerous neighborhoods (although in the latter case, considerable expenditure would be needed for security, so that miscreants don't steal or trash the food synthesizer). A subset of such dangerous neighborhoods would be prisons (for which the management probably wouldn't want to spend money on real cooks anyway, unless they thought they could get the prisoners themselves to do the work).

For the more ethically-run prisons, kitchen privileges would be one of the carrots, both in terms of cooking and eating at them. Behave yourself, don't start fights, and take your work assignment and rehab sessions seriously? You get access to the block kitchen and can join the dinner cooking rotation, eating tastier food and doing a task that is probably more entertaining than the average prison chore. Use that kitchen access to grab a cooking knife and stab your cellmate? Well, in addition to everything else, enjoy eating synthesized meatloaf for the rest of your sentence.

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Milo v3 wrote:

I feel like the 10% resale value shouldn't really be making you dependant on useful equipment dropping from your foes, you still are meant to be getting your WBL with things you are likely to sell being assumed to be only worth that 10% when gms do their adventure planning. Are gms for some reason ignoring the WBL section and assuming most dropped gear is worth full price towards WBL or 0 if players are unlikely to pick it up to begin with?

From what I've seen it just does what it says in the book. Discourages players from trying to loot everything enemies have, because that's sort of weird in a sci-fi or modern setting.

If your gm is considering gear people aren't going to be using as big parts of their rewards.... then that's them screwing up, not the game.

This. I am fairly certain that most of the problems people have encountered with the "economy" are actually from GMs ( or adventure writers! ) ignoring how WBL and loot assignment is supposed to work. You simply can't treat all loot drops as full value, you *have* to adjust based on your specific group of PCs. If there is no Solarian in the party than any Solarian crystals are only worth 10% value. . . and if the adventure mostly drops Solarian crystals, then the GM needs to make up the difference elsewhere, or change the loot drops.

( Which, btw, is something adventure writers *should* take into account- as a matter of good practice, they *should* include specific points flagged as "Here is where to add optional treasure or pay if the players are lagging behind in loot, here are suggested ways to do it." A writer can't know what the classes and current gear and future desires of your specific party are, but they can recognize that this will be an issue. )

Hopefully some book includes a full list of NPC species subtypes so that Herolab can actually let me make NPC Nuar. :p

Something I discovered during my recent campaign: Jet Dash is more powerful than it seems. Especially when combined with the various other easily available ways to boost movement, it basically means enemy NPCs can *never* escape if the players don't wish them to escape. At least, not without some kind of much more extraordinary option than "Run away". The sheer amount of movement basically makes escaping pursuit impossible. Sure, if you are jet dashing you aren't attacking, but you now still have that dude right next to you ready to AoO if you continue fleeing.

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JiCi wrote:

It makes me wonder if culinary synthesizers can handle such a wide array of choices.

That's actually part of how I explain why cooks and restaurants and grocery stores are still a thing: they by and large can't. Food synthesizer are effective, but the food they can generate is limited in variety and complexity. You can live on it, and even be reasonably content on it, but most people when given the choice will want at least some "real" food, at least some of the time. Someone uses it to produce utilitarian meals like lunch meat sandwiches or canned soup, while going to a restaurant to eat food for pleasure. Or they'll use it to generate base ingredients like pasta or ground protein cube, but then cook it up themselves into an actual meal using real vegetables and spices. Etc.

This would probably also be variable as effected by price, natch. A really top quality food synthesizer might produce food indistinguishable from the work of a top chef with authentic ingredients, but it probably costs about as much as hiring a top chef and supplying them with a fully stocked kitchen, too. Conversely, a bargain basement synthesizer might be unable to produce anything but the most basic survival food ( think 'nutrient bars, protein cubes, and gruel' ); great if its a survival situation and the cheap emergency food maker is the key to not starving, not so great if your a slave or serf or whatnot and your overlord is only doing the minimum to keep you from dying today.

"Its" is possessive, referring to the remote control of the junk drone. Implicitly, this means the junk drone comes *with* a remote control.

Its just, you can also build your own out of any computer that can have the Control module installed in it ( which is any computer, AFAIK ).

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Yeah, all else being equal you would expect a larger animal to be louder and lower, but nothing says male dragons have to be bigger. Hell, given that they are usually portrayed as egg-layers who keep and protect nests, I could see good arguments that *female* dragons would be the bigger ones, to better protect the nest and hatchlings. Which, IIRC, has precedent in at least some reptiles and birds.

That aside, I hadn't considered the interaction between breath weapons and vocalizations, and its a *really* cool idea. Literally, in the case of some species like white and silver dragons. *ahem* I could see it going two different ways, possibly at the same time: either a dragon species has vocalizations whose sound is influenced by the structures need to generate the breath weapon ( ex: resonance through a thick sac of compressed gas for a poison breather ); or vocalization that are in part generated *by* the breath weapon structure ( ex: low level combustion generating some of the tones in a fire breather ).

I wouldn't overly stress about the sheer number of playable species. Its not like Pathfinder and 3.x didn't have huge numbers, too. Best way to handle it? Simply tell your players "I would prefer to keep things from getting too complicated, so please stick to the more basic Pact Worlds species. If you have some very specific idea otherwise, talk with me about it."

As for stamina and healing, the most important takeaway is that combat healing is *not* a big important thing in Starfinder. Being able to recover some stamina or health in the middle of a fight can be useful, but its not obligatory, and you definitely don't need a Designated Healer, at least in the traditional D&D sense. You probably *do* want some means to clear certain statuses and afflictions ( and also to stabilize people at zero HP ), but between the Medicine skill and items, anyone can do that. For raw hit points, everyone is one ten minute breather away from getting half their total meter back, several times per day, that is more than enough under most circumstances.

I thought the rules somewhere said "You cannot sunder armor, period"?

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The precise rules for how drift beacons work and how many are needed to what are vague, deliberately so. The correct answer to questions like "How many drift beacons does it take to make a star system Near Space" is "How many do you, as the GM, decide it takes?"

That said, my interpretation is that drift beacons are *beacons*: they provide navigational aid. Which is to say, you don't need to go to or from a beacon, you just need beacons around so you can "see" your destination. Aside from special cases like Absalom Station, when a star system is labeled "Near" or "Vast", its the whole system that is so. You can lock in a course to anywhere in the system ( subject to the navigation checks anyway ). A system being part of 'Near Space' doesn't mean that it has a few beacon-labeled spots where you can head to at Near Space travel times while the rest of the system is Vast.

Oh, and re: space piracy, some things to consider-

1. Even in the present day, in-system ships that lack drift drives are probably going to be a thing. Especially since, for in-system travel, drift drive is only slightly faster than conventional engines ( and when not abstracting for drama and playability, there are probably tons of routes where the drift isn't faster at all ).

2. Space is big. Even with space opera drives, journeys from one part of a solar system to another take days. That makes it highly plausible that assistance to a pirate's latest victim is more than a few minutes away.

3. Pirates like soft targets, and soft targets likely can't afford to spend a minute spinning up their Drift Drive under fire. If the pirate ship gets within engagement range, that is pretty much that, the target can either surrender or get blasted.

4. Piracy doesn't need to be about "fair" fights to defeat and capture prey. Pirates are thieves, and thieves love inside men. Its a lot easier to do piracy if you have stolen itineraries, targets with sabotaged engines, or possibly a guy holding the bridge crew at gunpoint.

Honestly, it kind of feels like bandolier type items are designed as if reloading is a much more fraught action than the final rules actually make it. Like, if the rules said you could only reload as a move action with a "readied" magazine, and required various forms of specific gear to have even *one* "readied" magazine, then sure, a magic item that let you keep all your ammo "readied" all the time might be handy. Its just, Starfinder isn't that game, there aren't any hard restrictions on how many batteries and bullets you can keep in pouches on your clothing and armor. And given how easy it is to go through whole battles without needing to reload at all ( and how often actual games house rule away reloading, period )? It would be a bad rule idea anyway.

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In my campaign, the players pretty much could never have enough movement. There was always the desire to move a little farther to get a more favorable position ( better angle on enemy, more cover ), even aside from the full attack thing. I'd say Haste is still plenty useful, it just requires a little more thought than "Cast, attack twice, win everything".

That said, given how many anecdotes I've heard about Starfinder games where the players *don't* use movement and positioning wisely/at all, I'm not shocked that there are reports of Haste doing nothing. If your usual tactic is "stand in place, make full attacks until someone dies", Haste isn't going to help you.

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My own take on 'elder thing' cosmology for the Paizoverse. . . basically, not everything from the prior iteration of the universe was destroyed. Some things. . . well, 'survived' is a very strong and deceptive word for what they did, but they persisted. Being unconnected to this current universe and also having survived uncountable amounts of non-time in the non-space that is non-existence, these non-beings are at best alien and usually outright inimical to pretty much everything in the entire Planar Sphere. 'Qlippoth' is the term used to refer both the 'region' outside the Planar Sphere that is the home of these beings, and also to the beings themselves. This is distinct from the 'Dark Tapestry', which is basically the portion of the Planar Sphere where the barrier separating existence from the Qlippoth is thinnest: the distant darkness between stars, where neither matter nor thought has any presence.

Now, actual Qlippothic beings are extremely rare inside the universe, and with good reason. However, some fragments and pieces of Qlippothic forces 'learned' how to hide inside a shell of Planar Sphere substances, sustaining and shielding themselves. This is where Aberrations come from. An Aberration isn't just some life form with tentacles, its basically a tiny fragment of non-universe inside a meat suit. For added fun, they aren't connected to the River of Souls either, which is part of why most aberrations are so carelessly hostile- unless they are metaphysically expelled from the universe, they just reincarnate eventually.

( For the record, yes, this means a lot of critters that get labeled as 'Aberration' I recategorize. Bantrids and the like are just life forms with different anatomy than humanoids, and so are Magical Animals or Monstrous Humanoids or the like. 'Aberration' is restricted to metaphysically hostile species. Being descended from cephalopods doesn't make you an 'aberration' anymore than being descended from an insect does. )

Oh, and the most powerful Qlippothic entities are in the range of gods, which is where the Mythos deities come from. Also, yes, this does include Desna, because while being Qlippothic does make you incredibly alien, its not actually *impossible* to choose to embrace the new universe. Its just incredibly rare, hence why a big part of Desna's job is "Keep her kin out of the universe, because most of them suck".

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I'm not actually familiar with Quorlu off the top of my head, but my inclination is to go weird with exotic undead. A rock creature isn't going to spontaneously develop exposed bones or rotting flesh. Instead, it will have changes appropriate to how its own physiology works:

-Crystals go cloudy, change color, or gain fractures

-Solid mineral portions become brittle or sandy, while flexible portions lock up and go rigid

-Metallic portions undergo destructive allotrope transformation ( ala 'tin pest' ) or alloying ( like how gallium destroys aluminum )

-The creature goes 'cold', losing the heat, electricity, or radiation that they normally emanate from their life processes

All of which might not be recognizable as 'undeath' to the random untrained mammalian observer, but would be just as obviously wrong and unnatural in the 'eyes' of a silicon lifeform as desiccated flesh and the smell of rot would be to us.

Xenocrat wrote:
It wouldn’t without a stealth action and check. You see people in (not total) cover or concealment just fine.

Unless you are talking about the AC bonus or miss chance, in which case it would take effect "whenever a relevant attack is made".

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JiCi wrote:
Metaphysician wrote:
Eh, in humans the difference in voice register between men and women is a secondary sexual characteristic itself, not an inevitable side effect of physics ( men and women with similar size and mass will still have different vocal ranges ). Even if dragons have no size difference between the sexes, vocal properties could still be a dimorphic characteristic. It doesn't *have* to be, sure, but it requires no special effort to justify. Admittedly, it probably shouldn't coincidentally match human assumptions about voice and sex, either, save for audience convenience.
Don't female dogs have higher-pitched barks than males, given the same size and breed?

I think so, but note that dogs are fellow mammals who also use testosterone and estrogen as their primary sex hormones. How sexual dimorphism works for a closely related species is not how it works for more distantly related species. And while fantasy space genetics means that a mammal is probably a mammal even if it evolved on a completely different planet. . . dragons and dragonkin are potentially various things, but definitely *not* mammals. ;)

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QuidEst wrote:

When you use the spell to wish for more avatars, be very careful to specify that you mean the word in the sense of "small square images used to represent a person on a forum".

This is a case where you really don't want it to get the wrong definition.

I don't know, I think everyone would appreciate the forum getting a copy of Shelyn's holy text slash coffee table artbook "Avatars of the Universe: A Divine Compendium". :p

Honestly, while holodeck actors aren't supposed to be sentient beings, I would entirely believe that the main computer core on top of the line Starfleet ships have been low key sentient for a long time. . .

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BigNorseWolf wrote:
Waterhammer wrote:

Prisoner has friend rendezvous with prison ship. Prisoner let’s self out of cell; leaves with friend.

Easiest escape ever.

Other ship blown away by automated defenses and or both ships explode from "accidental drift engine malfunction"

Thank you for volunteering for the position of ___Scapegoat___ at the Humane Prisoncorp Luxury cell facitlities (An Eoxian LLC). But our company is experiencing a recent downsizing due to an unforseeable __act of god__or other liability limiting occurance____ . I will forward your resume to Jailcorp Luxry cell facilities, a new startup launching next week.

Yep. Its not an easy path to rescue because you need to actually get confederates into position to retrieve you from your "suicide attempt". Its a space ship, it can easily be surrounded by nothing but vacuum for hundreds of kilometers around or more, and on an unpredictable route at that. The hard part of the rescue would still be "Actually getting to the prison ship without being spotted and captured/killed", and that wouldn't be much if any easier by the evil airlock of jerkiness.

Impossible? Not in the slightest, you would "just" need to do stuff like "compromise the intended route of the prison ship" and "smuggle certain gear and info to the rescue target" and "arrange some magic or supertech means of avoiding notice". I see this as a plus, because "Not impossible, just complex and risky" is otherwise called "An adventure premise". ;)

On the matter of population, I would still argue that Verces probably has population fully equal to modern day Earth, if not higher. Yes, it has only a limited habitable zone, but its not like modern day Earth is one giant megalopolis either. . . whereas Verces actually *does* lean into the "giant supertech megalopolis" direction. I think its a wash overall.

On the matter of species recognizability, I think the better comparison is not to what animals modern day humans can recognize, but how much we know about other nations and societies ( or states, in the case of the US ). Sentient species in Starfinder doesn't map directly to society, but there is a lot of overlap ( most species have their own societies where they are dominant, after all ). So, how much does the average human on Akiton know about the Vesk or the Kasatha? Probably as much as the average Australian knows about the Russians or the French, more or less. A more obscure sentient race would be more analogous to knowing about Macedonians or Minnesotans; somewhat might conceivably not have heard of them, and if they have there's a good chance they only know the name.

On the matter of education? Yeah, its probably a giant mess of kludges, at least in any significantly multi-species society. There probably isn't one single solution, so much as a whole list of different solutions across different societies, which work to widely varying extents. Not all these 'solutions' are necessarily going to be thrilling from a Doylist perspective, either; I'd bet that "species segregation in schooling" is not exactly uncommon where there is a major difference in intelligence and/or development rate, and "the majority race sets the educational standards and everyone else has to just deal with it" is probably pretty common, too. In societies that actively do want to support the education of everyone, I suspect that "integrated secondary education" is probably a typical compromise: species-specific primary education that includes a framework for preparing kids to join cross-species 'high school'.

I wouldn't even say that damage avoidance isn't important, its just that the standards and benchmarks have changed. Achieving 90% avoidance via AC is *intentionally* not possible anymore ( and almost certainly shouldn't have ever been possible in Pathfinder 1e, either ). 40% to 60% avoidance via AC is to be expected, and that is still 40-60% less damage than if you just stood there and let everything hit you.

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Writing off a loss doesn't eliminate a loss, it at best reduces it. Yes, it sucks that shipping costs went up. You know what also sucks? Millions of people dying in a pandemic that also happened to kick the s#~* out of the global supply chain.

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Sure, but if you are using prisoners as labor, you probably aren't storing them on ships. ;)

Beyond just "the setting is huge, any stupid idea is probably going to be done once" combined with "people are terrible"? I'm actually imagining something vaguely similar to the POW camp from the Bujold story "Borders of Infinity"- a prison designed to maliciously comply with the letter of the law, and only just. What the people running the prison *want* to do is to abuse their prisoners and perhaps kill a certain percentage, but they aren't legally allowed to do so. However, they are allowed, required even, to provide "safety equipment", and these prisoner-accessible airlocks meet the letter of the law as safety equipment. It turns the prisoners themselves into instruments of their own torment without technically violating any laws or treaty obligations or such.

Garretmander wrote:
CorvusMask wrote:
JiCi wrote:
True dragons don't have visual sexual dimorphism, aside from females being able to lay eggs. I assume dragonkins are the same, with the only noticeable gender trait being their voices.
Tbf, are we sure dragons have canonically different sounding voices in first place?
Mass media says yes. Physics says probably not.

Eh, in humans the difference in voice register between men and women is a secondary sexual characteristic itself, not an inevitable side effect of physics ( men and women with similar size and mass will still have different vocal ranges ). Even if dragons have no size difference between the sexes, vocal properties could still be a dimorphic characteristic. It doesn't *have* to be, sure, but it requires no special effort to justify. Admittedly, it probably shouldn't coincidentally match human assumptions about voice and sex, either, save for audience convenience.

I mean, I would generally assume that unless otherwise specified, "publication order = timeline order" as a canon default. However, there is no obligation that a given GM has to follow that. *Especially* for an event like the Drift Crisis where variation is built into the event.

BigNorseWolf wrote:

Only they know the difference

One of the mentioned but overlooked species with little sexual dimorphism is ysoki. My envoy wears a giant pink bow on her tail because humans care for some reason but are really bad at telling.

Ysoki are an interesting case, since if you take the various art seriously, they aren't a species that *lacks* morphism entirely ( ie, every member looks largely the same ). They have extremely divergent forms, just not in ways that are discernibly linked to sex.

I tend to imagine that this is at least partially the result of the Ysoki being descended from multiple independent races of "rat folk", that developed on different planets but because Fantasy Cosmic Genetics, were still interfertile. Only, instead of "averaging out" their phenotypes, the result was greater variety. Presumably something about Ysoki genetics favors traits being 'competitively dominant', so now you have modern Ysoki kids born with a random draw of the most extreme anatomical traits of their past ten generations of ancestors.

BigNorseWolf wrote:
Dracomicron wrote:

Have a prison ship with one airlock to prevent escapes.

Space OSHA has words with the Warden.

Prison ship sky cell with easy open airlocks...

That would be a thought: prison ship has airlock on cell, with prisoner accessible controls on the inside. Legally, this is to allow for emergency evacuation, and so the controls have proper safeties to prevent accidental usage.

Privately, its to provide an easy method for prisoners to kill themselves, if they really want.

IIRC, the corebook is clear on the matter: Triune only formed *after* the Gap ( though very shortly after ). If the Drift existed before then, it predated Triune.

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I mean, I'm pretty sure people will complain if your prison ship puts one airlock on every cell, too. ;)

Well, these would certainly give a strong incentive to play an aasimar. *ahem*

I feel like Undying Hope might potentially be a little broken, though. Yes, it costs 2 Resolve, and yes, it only triggers on those who've been fairly badly injured, but giving everyone a minimum of +3 to armor, when the math in Starfinder is kept fairly tight? My gut instinct is that this would completely turn around a fight, even one hard enough to reduce multiple party members to zero Stamina. And there are enough really nice entries in your feat list that anyone aiming for this feat is probably going to have more than just three celestial feats, so the +AC is going to be even higher.

Eh, I've never been a fan of power inflation for Shoggoth ( and other Lovecraft critters ). Like, shoggoth aren't weak, but they are ultimately just a particular big untended servitor ooze, they shouldn't be on the same power scale as top tier fiends. A shoggoth is an unbeatable terrifying OCP for a bunch of relatively normal explorers in a realistic Earth setting, but not for fantasy or sci-fi adventurers where dragons and giant robots are things you don't just expect, but expect to be able to kill and loot.

Seems fairly clear to me. Incorporeal grants immunity to a few things, and 50% resistance to a few things. If a damaging attack doesn't fit into any of those categories, then it does full damage. Mind Thrust isn't a non-magical kinetic attack, its not a magical kinetic attack, its not an energy attack. So, its not effected by either of those effects, and operates normally. The fact that the rules call out "force effects" and "attacks by incorporeal beings" as doing full damage, doesn't mean that *only* those things do full damage. It only means that those things, even though they might otherwise seem to be subject to the resistances/immunities, actually are not.

The "non-damaging effects have a 50% chance to not work" thing might seem to muddy the waters, but not if you are sticking to strict reading of the rules. It applies to non-damaging effects, so a spell that does damage is never going to be subject to it. If you want to go "But the implicit theming and logic", that's fine, but at that point you should be interpreting the whole thing more broadly on "How does the incorporeality actually work, versus how are the sentences written" grounds. Which is to say, Mind Thrust should still do full damage, because "being intangible" has no logical reason to stop a telepathic attack.

( My own takeaway is that the "50% failure chance" is supposed to represent the difficulty in effecting an intangible being with non-damaging *physical* effects, like webs or poisons. So, a non-damaging spell that has no physical component should ignore the matter just like a damaging spell with no physical component... and there are a lot of non-damaging spells that work through pure magical influence. )

While I do agree that Powered Armor in the corebook has a bunch of practicality problems, I don't think swapping it out for mecha would improve things. Mecha have the same "These are not usable for everyday wear" issues that Powered Armor do, only they also are much more complex, requiring as much added effort as building a second character. You would pretty much have to build all your adventures around two different play scales, Mecha and Dismounted, and chargen would be twice the hassle for the players.

While I *like* Xenogears, I'm pretty sure most game groups would not want to have to deal with the added complexity, and in practice you'd get tons of games going "Just ignore the mecha rules, we won't use them". Which, in this scenario, would mean game groups gaining no usefulness out of a sizable chunk of the *core rules*, because its better to turn a dozen or more pages into a wasted chapter then to deal with the hassle. That's not great, especially when people already are side eyeing the starship chapter on similar grounds.

( So what would I do, in my hypothetical perfect world? One, I'd combine together Heavy and Powered Armor into one category, since thematically most of the heavy armor is what we would call powered armor IRL anyway. Two, I'd rework the starship and mecha rules so that they are effectively the *same* rules, operating on the same scale. Mecha would effectively be "starship combat on the ground", at least for when mecha don't have flight capacity. That way, mecha might still be a distinct play style, but at least its not a third distinct playstyle. )

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I'm glad I'm not the only one who locks onto the word "mega" in "mega dungeon" when thinking sci-fi.

One thing I would note is that science fiction gives a very different scale context for a mega-dungeon. The typical fantasy dungeon is awkward even for just horses, but a sci-fi dungeon? Could entirely be big enough that you need to bring your entire *starship* into it. Even on a smaller scale, a mega-dungeon could have primary transit routes large enough to allow for some nice sci-fi trucks as mobility aid/pack mule. It doesn't have to be all five foot corridors.

Eh, only relatively compared to editions that didn't even pretend at game balance. Casters are actually balanced against non-casters this time, that's a good thing.

Anyway, note that there are versions of the level 5 minor caster feat for all three mental stats. If your character wouldn't logically have at least one of them hitting 15 by level 5 ( note, that's when you get your first attribute increase ), then I really kind of question the logic of them having magic at all.

Its only really an issue if you try and use it for purposes not intended, is the thing. Starfinder isn't a game that concerns itself with precise measurement of weight capacity ( because no actual D&D game ever bothers to do so ), so it uses a vaguer and more practical Bulk system to measure inventory capacity of a given character. The intent is almost certainly that, if your trying to lift something for purposes *other* than "putting it in your inventory", that is supposed to be handled via Athletics skill checks, not comparisons against a weight chart.

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I mean. . . mecha are not just an optional rule, but they are a thing that wouldn't even make sense in every campaign in the first place. Why would you expect them to receive heavy support, compared to rules covering stuff that would logically fit into any and every game?

Keep in mind that there are a *lot* of sentient races in the Pact Worlds system. Not even all the common ones are in the corebook, there are certainly at least as many Verthani and Anacites and Barathu as there are Lashunta or Ysoki. The term 'Legacy Race' really has more to do with out-of-setting issues with them being the most commonly chosen PC races in Pathfinder, than with their modern population count.

I do tend to think that orcs and half-orcs have actually *benefited* from this, in terms of public reputation. While the average Pacter doesn't think of orcs that often, when they *do*? It tends to be less "those barbarians raiders who loot and pillage our borderlands", and more "the oppressed underclass of those drow corporate a+%%#~+s".

On the matter of bulk, I would say the answer is "applying a conversion of 1 Bulk = 5 to 10 pounds is inappropriate". Basically, that isn't a hard and fast rule and never was, it was a guideline for estimating the Bulk of small objects. For large objects that go well past what an ordinary character could be expected to throw in their backpack, the weight equivalent is probably logarithmic.

Fundamentally, the issue with using AbadarCorp as antagonists is that Abadar is very specifically *not* the traditional Lawful Stupid version of LN. Most of the reasons why megacorps tend to be evil on a larger scale simply aren't applicable, not because Abadar is good, but because Abadar is intelligent and thinks long term. Thus you don't generally get the usual kind of petty or vindictive greed out of AbadarCorp, since the "Boss" cares about the bottom line two centuries down the road, not just next quarter. Making money today is bad if it means you lose more money in the future, and a bad reputation is a good way to lose that future money.

( Plus, while AbadarCorp the business is a business, Abadar the god is the God of Civilization, not the God of Making Money. Economics and business are very favored tools of his, but ultimately tools towards an end, not the end itself. His end is more like 'Create a web of laws and relationships that engenders order across the universe'. )

This doesn't mean you can't use AbadarCorp as antagonists. Just, it would hinge on either corrupt *portions* of the Corp ( even a god doesn't have perfect internal affairs success ), or else a more nuanced ideological conflict then "Evil corporate exec likes shooting poor people for fun". Like, maybe someone discovers a particularly lush new planet. AbadarCorp wants to colonize it and turn it into a beautiful new civilized world where sentient life can live among and enjoy its beauty and bounty; while the Xenowardens want to maintain it as a nature preserve, so that its rare natural splendor can remain untouched and unharmed for study and for its own worth. Who is right? Well, it mostly depends on which things you decide to value more, rather than which faction happens to be wearing a black hat and twirling a mustache.

Leon Aquilla wrote:

From what I have read, Starfinder lacks a starship to function as a dropship for the PC party

There's literally a ship called the Norkikama Dropship though.

Yeah, but its just a standard starship, its not a "dropship" in the common sci-fi parlance of "A vehicle to transport people or cargo from an orbiting space ship to the surface of a planet". Which is the whole issue, the rules as they originally existed had a gap in functionality, with no way to get people from space to ground without actually landing the whole ship. Probably because the writers were assuming ( consciously or not ) that PCs would be using one of the smaller ships where "just land the ship" makes perfect sense.

Technically, I don't think there is anything in the rules that says a mecha necessarily even *has* a Computer, in the capital C sense. Sure, most logically should, but in Starfinder, conventional space opera tech is not the only option. A mecha might be built out of analog electronics, magical crystals, or steam powered gears for all it matters.

Beyond that, yeah. No sane mecha designer is going to include open wifi ports. To even try and hack the computers in a hostile mecha, you'd need Remote Hack or a similar ability, or else *maybe* if you had the right frequencies/access codes to interface with its communications systems. Note that the former has range limits that mean your hacking effort might have to be occurring "within mecha melee range", and the latter would be something you'd almost certainly have to acquire elsewhere before battle. All just to attempt a hack that would still be against fairly high DCs ( from the standard "Computer Tier = Item Level /2" rule of thumb ), and where anything short of successful Root Access would probably just be a temporary impediment.

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I would say, when it comes to loot? Pay more attention to item level then total credit value, because the former is much more important. An excess of credits will mostly just mean the players have more options, and more fun, as long as they still have to follow the level limits on what gear is available. It is extremely hard to break the game while staying within those level limits, whereas its very easy to render the game un-fun if the players don't have adequate equipment.

Related to this: if you provide loot drops in the form of actual gear rather than credits or UPBs? Be very careful to distinguish between gear the players are likely to actually use, versus vendor trash. A 1000 credit gun that nobody in the party wants to use is not actually worth 1000 credits worth of wealth-by-level, its worth the 100 credit resale price.

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I lean towards "anything that isn't a Computer can't be hacked unless you have an ability that lets you do so". A drone is not a Computer, so it can't be hacked by default, just like a Robot Guard can't be hacked. Etc.

I *would*, however, allow someone to hack the Computer that is *controlling* an NPC like a drone or robot. . . and note that the Personal Rig *is* a Computer. And in practice, any robotic NPC that isn't an independent AI? Probably should have a Computer controlling it somewhere.

Hmm. If you allow harrying fire to stack endlessly, that certainly would explain how vast hoards of enemies could be threatening. 30 arbitrarily weak enemies vs one target, 29 of them use Harrying Fire, the 30th of them benefits from something north of +30 to hit. Which will run out first, the target's HP or the hoard's numbers?

( Admittedly, if its thirty CR 1/2 conscript mooks vs one level 10 PC, the answer is probably "the hoard dies first", but still. )

Maybe bandolier items get poor mechanics because even the developers know that 90% of campaigns are going to just ignore ammo for most purposes? *ahem*

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Leon Aquilla wrote:

I did read the Pahtran Revolution sub-plot with great interest, though I'm concerned about running it if the developers have any intentions to give it a "canon" solution.

I'd hate to create a carefully brokered agreement where say, the High Despot of Vesk-6 always has to be a Pahtra but Vesk-6 stays in the Veskarium only for a splat to come out next year (Drift Solution? Drift Fixing?) that says "....and then the Council appointed a Skittermander as emperor of the Veskarium and he said that Vesk-6 is unconditionally independent"

How is that different from *any* campaign one runs? When you choose to run a campaign involving large scale events, this intrinsically means you run the risk of diverging from canon, since players are the ones who get to make the most important decisions. This just means that your own personal campaign is just that, personal. Which it always was.

I'm not sure there *are* any discernable benchmarks. *cough* That said, Mind Thrust probably works as a high end benchmark, of sorts. Most spells should do less damage, because Mind Thrust is:

1. Single target only

2. Subject to a fairly common immunity ( Mind Affecting )

So, if your custom spell is single target, save for half, it either needs a similarly common defense or it needs to do a little less damage ( maybe 20% less? ).

If its an area spell without an obvious weakness, then cutting the damage of Mind Thrust in half seems about right. Maybe a little higher if it lacks a secondary effect, or significantly higher if its save-for-nothing.

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