Gnoll Warden

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*** Pathfinder Society GM. Starfinder Society GM. 181 posts (185 including aliases). No reviews. No lists. No wishlists. 17 Organized Play characters.


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I'm trying to parse the daze cantrip's stun effect when you critically fail the Will save. On one paw, it says 'stunned 1' in the text, which means you lose one action on your next turn. On the other paw, it has a duration of 1 round, which means you lose all actions on your next turn. Which one is it?

Stunned condition is supposed to have either a condition value or a duration, but daze has both, and its duration can't realistically apply for anything but stunning. Can it?

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Great. I wonder how many other things like this I have been getting wrong over 50 scenarios.

HammerJack wrote:

Unfortunately, blast includes this line:

"Attacks with blast weapons ignore concealment. A blast weapon doesn’t benefit from feats or abilities that increase the damage of a single attack (such as the operative’s trick attack)."
Nimor Starseeker wrote:
Dont forget you too add weapon specialization damage. As long as you are hitting 2 or more enemies, you will almost always deal more damage than single target weapons. And that is despite the fact that the weapon die is usually about half that of a single target weapon.

Aren't these two in conflict? Weapon Specialization is a feat that increases the damage of an attack. As far as I understand, blast weapons (and line weapons) do not benefit from Weapon Specialization.

I'd love to be wrong about this, since their damage sucks without Specialization.


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Part of the issue is that players want to flesh out their characters. They have their 4-6 skill points per level or so, and don't want to have 4-6 skills maximized. They think their characters are moderately athletic, somewhat versed in various sciences, can handle themselves in the wilderness, and so on, since Starfinders are supposed to be multitalented. They divide their skill points, because having 0 ranks in certain skills makes them think the character is deficient or just inept.

For the early levels, this works, and people happy as their characters can contribute to mission success. But at tier 5-6 this wider distribution of skill points starts eating their chances of success, and at first they don't know why they are failing. "Whoa, that's a high DC." And then they realize the DCs are not going down.

Most of the players come from PF1 and were more familiar with how skills behaved there. New players are going to use their +5 skill to attempt Tier 5-6 checks that experienced players are slowly learning to leave to a specialized character.

Ability scores are not something that can be relied upon. 18 is probable only in a key ability score (rarely for envoys and solarians, unlikely for mechanics), Dexterity (hit stuff, not get hit haha) or Strength (hit stuff hard). Constitution is rarely more than 12 and Charisma rarely gets even a level boost from the original 10. Intelligence is secondary for characters who aren't mechanics or technomancers. Wisdom is secondary for non-mystics.

Tools are an option for a few specialized tasks, but scenario skill checks are often generic "DC 24 Survival or Life Science". Insight and race bonuses are nice, but assuming them for every DC is harsh. As for boons...

Spoiler for #2-06:

Playing Sangoro's Lament gave us a boon for the second part. But for some that boon was completely useless. You can't slot two personal boons, such as your race.

Spoiler for #1-37:

We entered this scenario at high tier with our -701s, with all the habits of PF1 still visible. We were somewhat aware that this was going to be difficult. We just couldn't do it. Computers and Engineering were ok since they build on class key abilities and insight bonuses, but most of the other things failed. We tried using our higher skills blindly to fish for successes. I think we only got the Legate.
We got 1 fame for defeating the Gideron team and exposing the spy.

tl;dr Skill DCs follow the formula too tightly.


A question about Player Basics/Table 4 (Sword Items) items.

A level 3 character can select "mistform elixir". Should this be a lesser mistform elixir (level 4 item), or possibly infiltrator's elixir (level 2 item), or something else?

Automatic weapon property has the following text regarding range.
When you make a full attack with a weapon in automatic mode, you can attack in a cone with a range of half the weapon's range increment. snip Roll one attack against each target in the cone, snip

Assuming I have a squad machine gun (range increment 60 ft.) and decide to hose a critter horde with bullets, which of these happens?
1) attack at -4 against critters within 30 ft., critters beyond 30 feet are not attacked.
2) attack at -4 against critters within 30 ft., attack at -6 against critters within 60 ft., attack at -8 against critters within 90 ft., ...

In other words, can the automatic weapon affect targets beyond half its normal range increment?

Based on the text description of area A1, the scale appears to be correct.

The entrance bunker is said to be 30 feet wide, which matches up with six 5-foot squares. The base is big. Unless the text description is flawed.


Page 7 encounter scaling box contains this sentence: "If there are only four PCs, instead of two heavy laser cannons, both jinsul ships have two light particle beams (3d6 damage) in the forward arc."

Supplicant-class vessels have a maser and a coilgun on their forward arc on both subtiers. Should a 5-6 player Supplicant be armed with two heavy lasers at one or both subtiers, or is the scaling box reference to them a leftover from an earlier draft?

Regarding the comment above this one; Kraaton has see invisibility.

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I have always wanted to run a planar game where both the proteans and the slaad keep appearing. But never at the same time. And never acknowledging the existence of each other. So when, for example, the players ask the proteans about the slaad, the answer can be condensed to just "I don't know what you are talking about. You are delusional/funny. We are the embodiment/caretakers of chaos/Maelstorm." Then the protean leaves, they open the next door, and it's frog surprise time again.


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Ran this on monday; low tier. It's tough but fun to run, and has a lot of things that need to be kept in mind (with a couple of failures on my part). We have a 3.5 hour timeslot, and it was barely adequate for this scenario. High tier would have been too long. The players seemed to like it a lot.

Personal notes and ramblings:

The +2 per phase increase in the investigation phase may be a bit heavy. The players split between every skill, but not evenly. Most of them stuck to their teams through all seven phases of the investigation (6 for travel, +1 for following the tracks). They managed to get 1 success in Culture, 4 in Engineering/Physical Science, 2 in Mysticism, and 4 in Perception/Stealth.

Tracks were followed. Encounter A was avoided. Encounter B was brief but set the mood very well with the jinsuls torching each other along with everything in sight. Then it was time for the main event.

I'm still not confident that even half the players understood the chase mechanics, and there was no time to go through them in detail in our timeslot. Since they knew how to drive, they took the crawler. As they didn't have to use a move action, they could make full attacks at alarming rate. The swarm managed to engage twice. The first time it was rebuffed easily, but things got really interesting when one solarian got engaged. Another solarian readied black hole to pull the engaged solarian. The engaged solarian then jumped straight up, supernovaed, and was pulled back to the crawler. Essentially the PCs were covered in crabs, and then one of them punches clear of the vehicle, dragging with her a ball of jinsuls which explodes all over the landscape.

The swarm managed to replenish their numbers in the pits, and the PCs were caught by surprise by the rooftop RPGs which blew out the vehicle. They were engaged for the third time, but easily exceeded the 100-hp limit and the swarm fell upon itself and the chase was over.

The scenario might have benefitted from short note about how weapon properties like blast, line, or explode affect the swarm.

Ekkerah was a surprise to the players. They were even more surprised by the loot being incredibly useful in this scenario.

Kohkleim managed to summon fog, a buddy, and some lightning, but by then four flight-capable characters were on the top level and in melee. AoOs denied SLAs, and after a couple of vicious melee rounds, the players were victorious.

Funny you should mention Mad Max. After chitin-built cars and flamethrower-wielding lunatics the players were fully in Fury Road mode, with a mandatory "Witness Me!" when the solarians did their thing. They also got a kick out of comparing local jinsuls to goblins. Both have pets that certainly are not dogs, build things from scrap, like fire, burn written things, and seem to be both cannibalistic and crazy-stupid.

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Well, Blitz ability probably is the best general dip.

Incidentally, that deluded envoy is nominally the party medic as well. Medic high-five. We have no mystics at higher tiers yet. It's basically Medicine once per character and then you can track our team by following the empty serum flasks.


Thank you for the answers. The increasing difficulty really is likely to be more relevant than reduced time in this case.

Player reactions in the chase part are going to be interesting. Any gear of the captured players is probably best placed somewhere near the sacrificial area (as trophies or whatever) so it can be recovered and used. (Unless Ekkerah can deliver it straight to them.)

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Dracomicron wrote:
Surprised you didn't go Blitz, though, if you are a swordsman...

There were plenty of others blitz soldiers at the time, and I figured that sharpshooter style could help him bypass some attack penalties. With that Dex/BAB he needs some help in ranged combat.

And just because the character thinks he's hot stuff with sword doesn't mean it's true. :-)

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Let me tell you about my envoy... The starting array for my -701 icon (doctor) envoy* was Str 11, Dex 10, Con 10, Int 18, Wis 10, Cha 14, so I have absolutely no right to talk about the right and wrong ways of building envoys. He's currently one scenario away from level 8, and his current array is Str 17, Dex 14, Con 12, Int 18, Wis 10, Cha 16. Avor Stelek considers himself a proud Akitonian warrior-scientist who relies on his shining intellect to defeat mysteries and his swordplay skills to vanquish any curs encountered.

Basically I wanted skills but didn't want an Operative. I also couldn't decide if I wanted to play a red martian swordfighter more than Ming the Merciless, so I gestalted them into one, and haven't looked back since. For Akiton! For Society! And for Science!**

With 13 skill points per level he has been useful, and can learn a frightening amount of skills at level-ups to fill any holes from other regular teammates. Now that the ability boosts are coming online, he can hold his own in melee. He's still barely adequate at ranged combat, but one can't have everything.

Feats in level order: Great Fortitude, Iron Will, Spellbane, Versatile Specialization, Enhanced Resistance (kinetic).
Envoy improvisations in level order: don't quit, inspiring boost, hurry, get 'em.

*One level of Soldier (sharpshooter) and 6 levels of Envoy, to be honest. The Soldier dip is just too useful.
**Of course, sciences and mysticism are the only skills that are not class skills for him...


Page 6 notes it will take the players 8 hours to reach the city, with hourly Survival checks to reduce the travel time by 1 hour, to a minimum of 4 hours. This time also tracks how many lightning bolts hit, how much ash there is on an armor's faceplate, and how many hourly investigation checks to make. Once they reach the city, encounter B triggers.

If the players fail at the Survival checks, they each have eight opportunities to reach the investigation goals. A talented survivalist can cut these opportunities to half. Am I missing something, or should there be an upside at reaching the target area faster than anticipated? The only benefit for succeeding at the Survival checks seems to be avoiding lightning bolts and ash on your faceplate, and the Mysticism goals can provide cover from the lightning bolts.

I'm probably going to have the players preroll their eight faceplate Survival checks before the game starts. That way I can consult the results quickly when needed and avoid a situation where six people are yelling numbers at me.


Ran this for five players at low tier. My biggest problem was how to imply the importance of the data guardians without explicitly saying they should be dragged back home (the party botched the second office firewall). The players considered the constructs as just one more monster encounter. They expected to find an arcane laboratory or something, and only grabbed the remains because I asked what they were bringing back as they were leaving. Maybe I should have kept my mouth shut and docked them 1 fame. But they succeeded at both the interrogation and the creature knowledge checks, so I figured punishing them without any sort of clue would have been too nasty.

Players' biggest issue was the Core Defender robot. They unanimously agreed it was too easy. It only took a few hits before keeling over despite its fearsome appearance. 40 hp without any sort of DR or energy resistance and vulnerability to criticals made it feel like a piñata.


Running this on monday, and I can already anticipate this.
Me: I'll need a check for navigation.
Half the players: Yay! Our characters have been carrying navigator's tools in our backpacks, null-space chambers, and cheek pouches since day 1, and now we finally have a chance to use them!
Me: They apparently only work if you walk.

Edit: And in the tradition of PFS, there is an illegal item in the scenario and the chronicle. By rules, Reflecting Armor cannot be made into a spell amp: it only targets the spellcaster. The chronicle grants unrestricted access to this at Tier 3-4.

BigNorseWolf already asked for them twice, but could we please get some lower-level armors with more than 0 or 1 upgrade slots? Preferably more than 3 slots, even if it costs AC. There are tons of nice upgrades that you will never use.


Lau Bannenberg wrote:
That's an interesting observation; I'm not sure it's true?

You could be right. But at that moment we were in a hurry* and I made a snap judgment that mental damage went entirely through. If that is not the case, mea culpa.

*aftermath when the creature went down was like this: "There's our guy he's alive you carry him back to the ship and fly back to Absalom Station and lets gather our dice and papers since the store owners are approaching with torches and pitchforks right now I'll hand you the chronicle sheets when we have escaped them."


Ran this at low tier with four regular characters and playtest vanguard and biohacker (both GMs themselves, but had not ran this scenario). The investigation part had some decent roleplaying opportunities. Some players love those more than combat victories, so that's a plus.

The first fight was easy, and mostly seemed to be a test of character (as in "do we kill these guys or just knock them around"). The optional encounter was pretty much a race to kill the thing before it engulfed someone. I should have skipped it despite the written instructions about remaining time. The party walked past most of the temple (the technomancer had maxed Sleight of Hand and was overjoyed at getting to use it) and went straight for the last encounter, and there they got to be on the receiving end.

While I admit it felt nice to be on the "winning" side, the void hantu would have slaughtered the party if it concentrated on one target at a time. Fortunately the tactics and player actions allowed me to run it as an arrogant little dominator who spent half its rounds pulling characters close and going after characters who tried to flee, drawing AoOs that mostly missed. The players knew terror that day. I don't know if the tactics were intentionally ambiguous, but they allowed me to spread the hurt.

Most characters had a fusion-equipped weapon for half damage, but some of the newer ones didn't (frantic weapon exchanges were made). In the end, they won. Mental damage from mind thrust and share pain were not halved. Mindbreaker mystic and the vanguard were dropped as a reward for inflicting most of the damage, and everyone else was hurt (except for the operative who just fired ineffectively for most of the combat until delivering the killing blow).

It's a running joke now to yell at the technomancer for not taking magic missile. The shirren mystic has Profession (psychiatrist) and tends to get a new regular patient every scenario. Devour sentience combined with effectively 252 hp is a nasty combination. Thankfully the hantu had a low Will save.


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I entirely forgot about the first ship encounter in Into the Unknown. That one we won, of course.

About the ships. Our defeat in the second part of Into the Unknown made us wary of the Drake, as it ran out of ammo and turned like a brick. We used Pegasus for most missions, only shifting to Drake for On the Trail of History, where it coincidentally lost again. The Drake refit 1.1 seems to have fixed the most glaring problem. It still turns poorly, and Vesk Power Steering doesn't remedy that (a couple of players suggested/tried piloting with Strength).

Misroi wrote:
2. Multiple adds can quickly break down the action economy. I think one of the reasons players are ignoring certain starship roles is that the only way out of starship combat is gunnery. Perhaps giving alternate victory conditions, other than shooting, would be a way to encourage players to have a balanced starship team - maybe the science officer needs to decode the ancient Precursor ship Maguffin to go into the Drift, and once the ship is away, the enemy ship peels off, since there's nothing left to fight for. Maybe the ship captain needs to convince a neutral ship to engage in combat for the PCs, or discourage a hostile, third-party ship from attacking the PCs as well.

This is important. Fiction is full of scenes where the purpose of one ship is not to pummel the other into a wreck, but to complete a mission or just escape unwinnable fights. The second one is probably difficult to translate into a starship combat scene and is probably better left as a narrative section, though. Or a series of skill checks that determine how beat-up the ship is in the next scenario.

I don't hate starship combat. To speed it up I made separate player sheets for every crew position and ship tier, just to cut down on the cross-reference and DC-calculations. It was a chore and killed a couple of trees, but the scenarios run faster (assuming the poor players can decipher the sheets, since my tendency to cram information can be distracting). I have also tried to make a cheat sheet for each NPC ship, but that requires more experimentation.

The most interesting battles are those where something other than pewpewpewblam happens. I was blessed with a batch of players who were appropriately flabbergasted by the Besmara's Spawn and that wacky ship with ramming prow. While the Spawn wasn't that dangerous, the fight wasn't one-sided and I got to enjoy the player's antics as they tried to avoid it hugging them to pieces. The ram ship was even more entertaining after a couple of hits. "Must go faster. Must go faster."

Back to the topic. The fights do not need to become harder. The players still groan slightly when they see the star map, but they are starting to develop a routine. that I think about it, part of their dislike for ship combat could come from the feeling that they don't get to play their characters. Instead they need to concentrate on a rule subsystem that's still not entirely natural to them, and has on a couple of occasions turned into a slog. So most of them just want it quickly and efficiently out of the way so they can go back to playing their characters.


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Haven't played or ran Xeros yet, so can't say anything about that.

What I have to say is about local meta. We have about ten active players, including the three or so GMs, and at this point most have two or three active characters.

First characters were almost all soldiers, mechanics, and solarians. There was one envoy, and one latecomer technomancer. Out of higher-level characters we have one ranged soldier who can be called a decent gunner. The mechanics and technomancers are good at their jobs, but they can only prolong the battle, not win it. Solarians are melee due to solar weapon being much more interesting than solar armor (+1 AC with light armor only, bleh), and the envoy has a Dex 14 (after raises and boosts) at level 7. The envoy is currently the ranking pilot with this bunch with +12 skill. Nobody else wants the job, since in our experience it is so damned difficult to win any piloting checks against NPC ships.

Second bunch of characters was more varied. More mystics than expected, and even one or two operatives. No new envoys or technomancers, if I recall correctly. (I should take a census, actually.) But the operative players are the least active, and again there are few other characters who can win piloting checks against NPC ships. I think the best pilot here is level 5 ace pilot soldier with +14. Next fight we'll try the cult of the gunner technique and just try to vape the enemy.

Third bunch is still forming. Too early to say anything about it.

What bothers me is since nobody is specialized in ship combat, the PC ship skills tend to vary at 60%-80% at the expected values-per-level. But NPC ships are always crewed by experts.

PC skills are lower than expected for two reasons. Few characters have insight bonuses to piloting (no insight bonus or class skill bonus is available for gunnery). Few Dexterity-focused characters with lots of skill points. While Dexterity is an important ability score, people do not max it for one simple reason; Resolve.

Starfinder combat system tends to either result in cakewalks or people dropping to 0 hp at alarming rates. Due to hair-raising early experiences many players focus on their resolve ability scores to stay alive and regain stamina. This leaves Dexterity often lower than they would like. Only recently some have started investing in Piloting despite feeling they are bad at it due to their poor stats.

Starship fights this far:

Claim to Salvation: Victory. No real challenge.
Into the Unknown: Loss. We were pummeled into submission. We were noobs.
Yesteryear's Truth: Victory. We figured out the drone carrier and killed it before being caught in the infamous slog.
Cries from the Drift: Victory. We didn't even exploit the duel rules. Easy.
Solar Sortie: Victory. No challenge, but took a long time.
Ashes of Discovery: Victory. Unusual opponent.
On the Trail of History: Loss. We were absolutely demolished in about 4 rounds of combat. I'm not certain we even pierced enemy shields.
Dreaming of Future: Victory. Not too challenging.
To Conquer the Dragon: Victory. Barely. We won by expending resolve and had hull points in single digits.
Siege of Enlightenment: Victory. Hard start for PCs, the ram made them sweat. Lost about half of hull points.
Skitter Shot: fun fun fun -> hey guys there's a starship combat -> *four groans* -> we'll skip it since the other ship flees when it sees you in monitors -> yay x 4.

Sidenote: While the DCs have been toned down in ship combat, success is not guaranteed (nor should it, tbh). I still feel like many other DCs in the game are intended to be challenging to a maxed-out character, while being frustratingly unattainable for nonspecialists. Low-tier scenarios are fine. At tier 5-7 CR x 1.5 starts affecting things.


I agree with Kevin Willis. We had six players: Drone mechanic 5, Technomancer 5, Solarian/Soldier 5, Soldier 5, Soldier 5, Envoy/Soldier 6. We have had no previous deaths at all, since it is fairly difficult to die in Starfinder as long as at least one character is ambulatory.

Post-Operation Report:

This one was a TPK. We didn't stand a chance. The Mechanic and the Technomancer had barely any time to act before dropping. The melee-optimized characters were unable to consistently hit. The ranged characters were exposed to the breath weapon and dropped. Most of us had purchased fire- or plasma-based longarms or heavy weapons prior to the scenario, and at least two with holy fusions.

We had no flight capability. While a jetpack is available, most of the people had previously used their money to upgrade their armor since otherwise Starfinder critters hit us with frightening regularity. The rest of the money was used to upgrade weapons and stock up with healing serums (which are useless in combat, but otherwise necessary). Starfinder economy is also built in a way that you are always saving money for the next item. I am unsure of the design specifications, but it felt like the assumption here was that the party should have had tier-equivalent armor, weapons, and mobility. We simply don't have the money to fine-tune our equipment for a single scenario.

I have not seen the stats for the dragon, but it had little trouble hitting our soldiers who were wearing the high-level armors discovered at the top of the wreck.

Some of us were stocked with mk 1 adaptive serums. Thermal capacitor upgrade is too expensive for a measly resist 5 considering most low-tier armors have only one upgrade slot; while it would be nice, there are other upgrades that are consistently more useful.

Unless there was significant mess-up in the battlefield description, I don't know how we were supposed to avoid the breath weapon. The top of the hanging bridge is flat, with a hole in the center leading down to the bottom. Both areas are coverable by a single breath weapon blast, and splitting the party between them means defeat in detail as the thing fades in to slaughter someone and then fades out again.

The dice also matter. The dragon managed to use its breath weapon almost every other round. This also created a death spiral for those dropped by the breath weapon. The lure of full attacks made people use them when the dragon wasn't faded out, and that -4 was hard on us.

The deaths happened for the usual reasons: we could not hit the creature often enough, we could not get into melee reach without one of us as a sacrificial goat, we could not take the damage (since Constitution is a tricky stat to invest in, and there was no meaningful way to mitigate the breath weapon damage), there was no place to avoid the breath weapon without sacrificing team members, the dice hated us, and there was nowhere to run.

The dragon was like a many-faceted diamond revealing new beautiful and horrible aspects on every round. It is effectively invisible between its attacks. It has evasion. It has trick attack. It had 50+ hit points remaining when it coup de graced the last of us.

Deaths happen. But TPK Fame costs are horrendous due to body recovery and negative level issues. And paying for negative levels with money is difficult at this tier.


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Tangentially related, I still don't know what a Nova is supposed to look like. In the desktop view (Firefox) all I can see is a box with four numbers/letters (29BS?). Mobile view (Chrome) just shows a crossed box.
I have never seen the Nova symbol.


PC 1: *identify check* "Look, dragon turtles! You know they can capsize ships, right"
PC 2: "Bah, this ship is far bigger than them."
PC 3: *experienced character knows that you don't tempt fate, and drinks her potion of touch of the sea*
The first dragon turtle didn't capsize the ship. The second one did. I was almost as surprised as the (other four) players.

High-tier five-player game: sensei monk, alchemist/gunslinger, Shelynite paladin, tengu skald, and pregen Ezren. The first fight was absolutely the toughest. Fatalities were only avoided thanks to first aid gloves. The nagas' spells could not significantly threaten a high-tier party even when focused, and releasing the undines made swift work of their mirror images. The three elementals made the players sweat, but negotiations were easy and combat was avoided. Then it was time to enter the school, where the reach paladin skewered a bunch of undead.

Party composition matters a lot.


My players reacted in various ways. The technomancer took cover in the ruins and started scanning for enemy snipers. When he found them, there was a little "yes!", and he happily started counterfire against them with a sniper rifle of his own, with very few hits at the beginning. The blitz dwarf took one look at his called starknife, grunted, and began running towards opposite canyon, trusting his armor. The others pretty much went "hey the dwarf is running, let's follow". The bombardier and the mystic took a detour at the bodies, triggering the mines. The wrestler faithfully followed the dwarf's every step. The sharpshooter got tired of running in the middle of the canyon and started using his artillery laser.

The snipers scored various hits on various characters but couldn't drop the dwarf, who eventually got to throwing range with the starknife. At that point, everyone's dice turned. The dwarf got critted and hit, both snipers were struck, and in the next round they were dropped by a sniper crit and combined damage from the artillery laser and other weapons.

A couple of players were ambivalent toward the encounter. A couple of them liked the chance to shine. I don't think anyone disliked it. The bombardier soldier is getting infamous for attracting traps and explosions (mostly his own), though.


Thank you. I am still fairly new to PFS, and probably will ask stupid questions for a while.

Apparently third-party dependencies are now gone again. Which is nice!


Page 5; Melipdra says she has potions of water breathing, and if those are not needed, potions of cure serious wounds. Would it be correct to assume that Melipdra is willing to give one free potion to each character? (Instead of selling them, since that would probably not be worth noting.)

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The overseas deliveries have not even shipped yet despite first notifications given in the first half or July, and we are either looking at "9-36 business days in transit" or hoping that Amazon is going to expedite things? I'm not holding my breath on the latter.

I am also not certain if I understood correctly. Was there an option to order the books via Amazon directly, and did those books ship on schedule? Because that smells like "nice little shop you have there, it would be a shame if anyone ordering through it instead of us would get their stuff weeks later" from Amazon's part.


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My players took a bit over three hours, and had plenty of time for roleplaying.

They bypassed the first crabs, fought the swarm (constantly missing with alchemical weapons), and saved Kelp and Nalu without a fight. They refused to bow before the dragon. Thanks partially to abyssmal initiative on my part the fight was over in two rounds. The face of the party stabilized the dragon, put it on a leash, and flew it like a kite above the boat. He kept scolding the dragon like it was a naughty child whenever it would ask if there was someone it could lord over. Nobody even tried to fight with the cultists, since they were unarmed.

I can't speak for the players, but I had fun.


The wand of air bubble (5 charges) on the chronicle sheet costs 400 gp on both subtiers.
This is probably an error, since a regular level 1 wand with 5 charges should be just 75 gp.


Tyranius wrote:
The hellknights ifrit class flamethrower has the blast mechanic that incorporates a -2 modifier to hit. Is that already incorporated into their stats? It is difficult to tell.

This is the reason I intensely dislike Starfinder's NPC and creature generation. It can be impossible to determine whether they are built right, or whether there a lurking typo that will kill a PC or two.


Thank you for the answers, and apologies for the lateness. I got sick, and had to cancel the game, so they are still useful to me.


I am running this scenario on monday, and would like to ask a couple of clarifications.

1) Is it permissible to change the tactics of the living topiaries, especially on four-player low tier? With the young template they have 32 hp, and start using their assimilate ability after taking 2 hp damage, which pretty much guarantees they appear, self-heal for 1-2 rounds, then escape or die. Or should they use assimilate for one round only?

2) Do the high-tier assassin topiaries have the move through hedges and sculpt shape abilities? They are not included in their SQ line, but their tactics imply they have them.

3) Is it permissible to just give Nayeli a Will save bonus? Or is there a Tier-dependent bonus that should be used? She has no statistics, and enchantment magic is stated to be a valid solution against her.

Minor statblock notes:
Advanced Necrophidiuses on low tier are missing their increased Dex bonus to AC and CMD, and their melee damage bonus is slightly too low.
Blackjacket guards on low tier have a weird stat array and too few hp despite having too high hp bonus.

I am somewhat worried that the PCs will try to just fly to the rear entrance, bypassing guard/topiary encounters. It may be possible to dissuade them by stating that the compound guards are likely to see them, but I'm not sure I should do so. Creative solutions and all that, plus they are likely to trip an alarm that way.

Reminder to whoever happens to be reading this:
Product thread has a correction regarding the appearance of Amynta Irel and her entourage.


After-action report from Tier 1-2 game with six characters ranging from levels 1 to 3.
Players were leery of the betting mechanic, but eventually three of them agreed to bet against Falbin. One player wanted to bet against both (in character), but I had Jamila and Falbin agree for once and just look aghast at him like he had suggested clubbing baby seals or something.

Fights were fairly easy with the help of a couple of higher-level characters. The assassin vine was troubling considering the number of first-level characters in the party, but the druid made his Knowledge (nature) check and identified it from afar, so it wasn't a surprise. Wild Hunt had a team-building excercise, and the party skedaddled before they recovered. All in all, a nice scenario. The most complicated thing was understanding Azure.

The loot (I rerolled doubles and a couple of duds):
An arrow that giggles and coos.
A coin that cries if left behind.
A pine-scented rope.
A bedroll covered in purple hair (purrs when petted).
A candle that emits a stream of bubbles when lit.
A hat made from a frog's head that repeats everything its wearer says in a singsong voice.

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A lot of what I had in mind are already spoken for. The following ones would be welcome for conceptual reasons.
Cleric: Cardinal. A priest who actually knows something.
Cleric: Varisian Pilgrim. Love this, had to mention it.
Fighter: Tactician or Drill Sergeant. Assist your buddies by shouting a lot. After playing an Envoy in SF I like the idea of a martial support class.
Monk: Martial Artist. Not every monk has to be a bald ascetic with a rigid worldview.
Rogue: Eldritch Scoundrel. Already mentioned a lot, but still a favorite.

Tangentially class-related things:
Honorary mention outside core classes: Magaambyan Arcanist for arcanist. Finally got to play one, and I'm pretty pleased by the flavor.

I'm with the people who say that rogue archetypes that replace trapfinding are undesirable.

I am also one of the people who loved Occult Adventures. Its classes revitalized my interest in the game. Running an occultist and a spiritualist has been a joy, and I may soon have a chance to play a psychic investigator. This is one of the primary reasons I am not too enthusiastic about PF2. It feels like a step back after basking in many choices available in PF1. Time will tell how it is. It's too early to praise or condemn it.

I'm willing to sacrifice Dhampirs to the great fusion reactor in the sky if I can save Wayangs, Kitsune, and Tengu. But I'm also really interested in Halflings. How are they faring now that the shadow of slavery is no longer looming over them? How have they changed? Are their starships built to have cozy 4-ft. high corridors and rooms, which incidentally makes customs inspections for Vesk and other biggies a pain?


andreww wrote:
Page 5 provides the table for different skill and saving throw DCs across the tiers. Is it really intended that skills and saves use the same DCs?

I believe the DCs are correct. There aren't that many saves required by the scenario itself, and most of those are used to halve damage or avoid a minor penalty. The only one that might be really dangerous is the Average Reflex save on A7 due to the possibility of Constitution drain.

That reminds me of one possible permadeath combo in low tier Raising the Dead. Constitution poisons combined with mummy rot have a small chance of dusting an unlucky player character beyond the reach of raise dead. It's unlikely someone runs to hug a mummy at Con 6 or lower, though.


Tineke Bolleman wrote:
Naal wrote:
Beginner question here... *snip*
I took it to be total.

Thank you. The die roll was 1, so I didn't have to worry about it this time.

High-tier drow raiders, five characters (one of them a pregen) with two pets. Seasoned and prepared players who found and correctly interpreted every clue and throughly spanked the dark elves. Scenario timeslot management is a skill I have still not learned (too much time spent describing strolling around Kaer Maga), and I had to ditch the finer aspects of roleplaying at the end. But the players seemed to be happy with the end results.

keras_terune wrote:
Antother question: in the Shining Deeps Option 1 it says to "apply the implement" somehow i seem to miss, what this is doing.

Editing or formating problems. Correct lines should probably be these.

RECOVERING IMPLEMENTS: Tier 3-4 four players: Linked threat: Abrelin & Drixel with sickened condition.
RECOVERING IMPLEMENTS: Tier 6-7 four players: Linked threat: Abrelin & Drixel with sickened condition.

Arglüe Coppertongüe wrote:
Do you read the emotional scarring from emotion oozes, as just like the spell, where the target can save for half damage?

I wouldn't give a save. But I have been wrong in the past, and I shall be wrong in the future.


Beginner question here. How do I use the pickpocket guide? If the PCs fail their Perception check, does she steal 20gp/75gp from each player character, just one player character randomly determined, or is she an equal opporturnity thief who steals evenly from every character to a total of 20gp/75gp. There are players who can shrug taking 30 hp from an random ambush damage based on "I can heal it", but touch their stuff and they yell murder.

I'd rather do this right than guess, in case the guide die rolls a 4.

The only thing I want from Azlanti ships is that the bigger ships have some of their components orbiting them, like aeon stones circling around the wearer's head.
"Fools. Now witness the power of our AEON MODULES."


Zareen's statblocks (both tiers) are slightly faulty. Her negative channeling is listed as having its own daily uses (antipaladins usually expend two uses of touch of corruption per channel instead).

I am considering giving the players a chance to tell what enemies they do not want to see (none have played this yet). That way, players can "vote out" certain concepts (undead, immunity to mind-affecting) without knowing what they are actually going to face. Whether this is a good idea or not, I have no idea.

I have the urge to use the drow, but I am slightly worried about saturating the player characters with sleep poison. The DC is not that bad, but low rolls happen.


Played this recently. The driftdead fight was terryfingly close to TPK since we had no casters (soldier-2, soldier-?, solarian-2, drone mechanic-?, and an envoy-2), and a total of two force batons plus one semiautomatic pistol with a called fusion. Four characters got confused. Two shot each other while confused (one critted). The driftdead made about 16-18 attacks, and only missed twice. Both soldiers and the solarian were dropped to 0 hp twice, and the mechanic, his drone, and the envoy were dropped once. The only things that saved us were the resolve mechanic that allowed us to get back to the fight, one use of welcome to Starfinder boon, and that one soldier pulled back to the corridor, forcing the driftdead briefly to single attacks instead of that deadly full-attack combo. Action economy prevented us from recovering the batons or energy weapons once their users dropped, since anyone who moved to pick them up was knocked out by the driftdead before the weapon could be used. The envoy was the last person standing, and had one bullet left in the pistol.

The confusion effect combined with small quarters meant most of us were dropped within a step or two of each other. The thing had incredible attack bonus compared to our AC.

I agree with Arutema about low Strength scores. IIRC we had two characters with Strength 12+.

Other than that, the scenario is fine. The fight with Honorbound wasn't tough. We took the Pegasus, played according to the rules given (took about 15-20 minutes real time) and departed with everyone's honor unsullied. Searching the wreck was fun/creepy, and I hope there would have been even more time to devote to playing that. After the driftdead, the last fight was almost a cakewalk. One soldier bravely (accidentally) engaged the Xill in close combat and got paralyzed and implanted while everyone else riddled it with bullets and lasers and the solarian did his stuff.

Robert Brandenburg wrote:
Is this problem still happening? It looks as though someone fixed it in the last day or two, but we'll be sure to look into it further if anyone is still having trouble reporting these sessions.

The scrambled information has been fixed.

Could someone please explain how to complete reporting a session? I have been poking this for a month now, and I'm no closer to enlightenment.

When looking at the GM Sessions tab of My Pathfinder Society, the "Reporting Completed" part of the filter list only gives "No" as an option for Event 157283 session 1. That implies to me that the reporting is not finished, and it probably should be. The filter list also only shows "No" under the "Scenario Mission Accomplished" section, but the scenario succeeded. Everyone got 2 prestige and the Dark Archive player got his special perks.

Am I misunderstanding the reporting system, or is this report still in limbo?

The same happened to me. I ran #9-05 on October 7th, and saved the data. Recently, the scenario started appearing as #9-09: Beyond the Halflight Path in the GM sessions tab, but the hovertext still displays the intro text for #9-05.

Looking more closely at the GM sessions tab, the scenario is still listed as #9-05 in the left-hand checkbox list. Apparantly the scenario's reporting is also not completed (there is a checkbox that says "no" at the Reporting Completed part of the checkbox list), and I have absolutely no idea how to complete it, nor do I dare to meddle with the system now that #9-05 does not appear in any dropdown. Did I miss a "complete reporting" buttom somewhere earlier, or is the site just ornery at me?

This is the first PFS scenario I have ran, so I don't know how these things should normally work.

Until we get a sourcebook that expands the available combat postures (Pact World Kneelers or something), we are pretty much officially stuck either prone or standing.

Kneeling might be missing due to action granularity. If dropping prone is a swift action and standing up is a move action, what sort of actions would kneeling take? If it doesn't take actions, either it will generate automatic benefits (and every firefight will be fought from the kneeling position) or the benefits generated are too small to matter (and can be treated as flavor text with combatants dashing here and there, kneeling to fire for their standard action and moving again next round).

Nothing seems to state that cover and prone condition do not stack, so why not fluff prone condition adjacent to low cover as kneeling? The character seeks tactical advantage (swift action) but sacrifices mobility (melee penalties, need to expend a move action to regain ability to move freely). I would probably allow characters to treat low obstacles as regular cover if they are willing to drop prone next to them, even if the obstacle would not typically provide more than partial cover (or turn no cover to partial cover in some cases). If you want to kneel without cover, I'd still make you choose between prone and standing postures, however.

The original question; I would not allow cover from a prone character. Unless the second character would go prone as well, and then first character would block the second character. As for case 2 in that post; go for it if someone volunteers as the meat shield! Use tactics to confound your enemy. And hope they don't surround you or bring plasma rifles if you take too much time leapfrogging. :-)

There are games and then there are games:
Some things are best abstracted or treated as subcases of other rules, or we might as well play GURPS or Phoenix Command.


I don't see why darts or arrows could not be made of special materials. While the first paragraph of page 191 talks about cartridges, table 7-12 is about ammunition, if someone wants to lawyer it out.

Pretty much everything in table 7-9 should be fair game for special materials, except batteries, flares, grenade arrows, and petrol tanks. And a lenient GM could let you buy a mithral petrol tank. (So you could bonk foes in the head with it when they get too close.)

Frag grenades should also be legal.

For the record, I believe C is the way to go as well.

Dart fun:

Not relevant to topic, but darts are funny.
Buy a box of darts. Use them to load a needler rifle and a dual acid dart rifle. Look at the damage. Where does the acid go/come from? Does the needler rifle have a DRM system that deactivates the acid reservoirs, or what? :-)


From the department of small questions.
When purchasing ammunition made of special materials (adamantine alloy, cold iron, silver), can I convert individual cartridges into special materials by paying the per-cartridge cost, or do I pay the special material cost per magazine or per purchase lot of ammunition?

I have an autotarget rifle (capacity 10 rounds) and a box of longarm ammunition (75 credits for 25 cartridges). I need adamantine alloy cartridges. Do I...
A) pay +50 credits per adamantium alloy cartridge, and keep the remainder of the box as regular cartridges.
B) pay +500 credits to convert one magazine (10 cartridges) to adamantine alloy, and keep the remaining 15 as regular ammunition.
C) pay +1250 credits because adamantine alloy cartidges are only sold in regular ammunition box lots.

A would be simple. B is kind of weird. C is not ruled out, since ammo is sold in specific quantities.


Page 8 has a slight oddity.
Inner Sea Monster Codex states "the magic items on page 41 are legal to play". There are no magic items on that page, only spells (which are noted as legal to play in the Spells section).
Should the magic items part refer to page 29, or should it be removed entirely?

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