Gnoll Warden

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**** Pathfinder Society GM. Starfinder Society GM. 199 posts (234 including aliases). No reviews. No lists. No wishlists. 36 Organized Play characters.


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Two questions.
Is there currently a way to remove feeblemind except by paying 30,000 credits for psychic surgery (in a settlement that has at least level 12 items available)? Level 6 psychic surgery is the only spell that definitely works and is sort of available. Level 5 break enchantment specifically does not work, so I would assume that a lower-level restoration doesn't work either.

Is there currently any method of bringing back a character who got disintegrated? As written, raise dead doesn't work on a pile of ash.

Sometimes irreversible character death happens. A couple of times one of the above was close, and I'd rather have a clear answer in case the next save fails.

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Not to mention that spell ampoule of share language is an illegal item. Divination spells cannot be made into spell amps.

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Running this in a couple of days. As wolaberry noted, the scale of map A has to be wrong. A2 states the crucible is 30 feet wide, so 1 square should be 10 feet. That way the magnet also wouldn't encompass half the room at once.

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I despise the "standard action at low level and move action at higher level" thing. You get only a few improvisations, and less if you took an archetype. You often need two improvisations to get to a decent action economy. And then GEM gives envoys wonderful stuff like Perfect Insult and Quick Perfect Insult. Waste your limited number of inspirations for a chance to use a standard action to make a skill check to maybe gain a tiny bonus to two actions that are about as easy as the action required for the bonus. Perfect insult indeed. Foams at mouth.

1/5 5/55/55/5 *

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I wouldn't say there is a complete lack of risk. Resolve rules just tend to give everyone a fairly good sense about how much beating they can take. If the boss flattens you with single blow, it's usually not a good idea to wake up next to it. Characters stay unconscious and wait for the others to pull the enemy away before expending Resolve to wake up. If the fight is already teetering on an edge, that's when you wake up immediately and hope for a chance to get a lucky shot, healing, or spell (after the boss expends his reaction on the resident hp-bucket dancing around its threat range), or just escape.

As Belafon said, there are fights and situations where you absolutely wonder if you are going to survive. Usually you do if main combatants leveled their weapon to something that actually deals damage or the boss is cursed by Roll5 for two rounds in a row.

Low-level fights are easy, with a couple of exceptions. Mid-tier fights are winnable with basic equipment, assuming a balanced party. High-tier fights are tough if bad luck exposes the party to a debuff effect or area damage, or the party doesn't have proper source of damage. High level enemies have so many hit points that a simple azimuth laser pistol's 1d4+5 is not going to cut it, unless you are an operative. To be honest, 2d4+5 isn't much better, so if you want to contribute, heavier weapons, spells, or boosting others are necessary.

PC survival is not the most reliable metric for Starfinder combat challenge. Thanks to the Resolve system, it's usually a TPK or not. Single-character deaths tend to happen because of massive damage (very rare) or ongoing or area damage in an otherwise tough fight.

1/5 5/55/55/5 *

I have been in one TPK (everyone had Fame for body recovery and raise) and know of one other in the neighboring lodge (entire table was permakilled). There is one other character death that I can remember, but that one was raised with Fame as well.

TPKs with season 1 scenario spoilers:
Norys in #1-19 slaughtered the team with her tricks and fast-recharge breath weapon.
The entire low-tier team was gunned down in the #1-18 ambush alley.

Other death with light season 2 spoilers:
Nanotech golem made rat pancake out of our operative grandma. At least it was quick (massive damage).

There have been cases when someone elected not to wake up because they had one resolve left and the battlefield was likely to take random area damage. But the listed ones are the only local deaths over 2.5 seasons of SFS that I an aware of.

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Biohacker might be a useful dip, but it's something I am unlikely to ever try myself. I cannot cope with the nature of a couple of its primary class abilities, namely that automatic 20 on identification rolls and the ability to inflict poison-like effects on things that are immune to poison. This is not criticism on those who play the class. It's just something that breaks the class for me. These things just happen, without any explanation "how". Many Starfinder rules are like that. I have no problem pulling an infinite amount of hygiene kits from my gadgeteer operative's utility belt. But a biohacker doing these two things gives me a brainfreeze.

Also the potential mess with auto-id-20 when dealing with shapechangers and disguises, as you have noted elsewhere (don't remember if that was resolved or not).

Somewhat off-topic; this thread might have very few answers because it's in the Starfinder Playtest subforum General Discussion instead of Starfinder General Discussion. It's out of sight to most people, and should perhaps be moved?

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Jump under Athletics is also a part of the move action.

Tumble under Acrobatics says "Tumbling is a move action, and you move at half speed," so I am not sure if that should be included the permissible options. Other than that I'm in the same boat as BNW with this ruling.

Whenever the local population reaches a certain point, some passing faction of the Dominion of the Black comes for the harvest and makes sure the ones left behind don't remember too much. Perhaps they slightly overdid it this time with the Gap and all, and Transparent Motivations Between Silent Moments accidentally took 100% of Golarion, but usually the squishy warm humanoids get over these problems in a few generations.

1/5 5/55/55/5 *

You could say the excavation would take too long for their suit life support to hold. Someone will probably bring up the suit recharge rules after that. By the book, page 198, suits can be recharged at either a functioning starship, an environment recharge station (publicly available in most technologically advaned or average settlements), or a recharging station (noted on page 234 as existing on most settlements of any significant size). No other methods (such as batteries) are mentioned.

There's a scenario where a transfer charge or an Engineering check allows you to transfer environmental protections from one suit to another. They do not mention batteries either.

In any case, the severity of the cave-in is unspecified, and without that you can just say it's too difficult, and push them to search for help. Mathus is basically a deus ex machina for the cave-in.

About the Kevolari Venture; I'm just going to state that the nose damage is insufficient for entering. Otherwise the PCs would bypass a third of the scenario and lose money without knowing the reason for it. And yes, the port/starboard parts feel confusing. It is possible that the beam wall trap fires on the starboard side of the corridor, since it attacks in a line. The entry point doesn't really matter as long as the PCs walk down B1 and trigger the traps. Dolain probably sealed the rest of the doors on the starboard side or they are completely inoperable after decades of neglect.

Which brings this question. How does Jularaz benefit from the information stored in this ship's computers? Dolain has been living here for a "few decades". How long have Jularaz's political enemies been in power on Vesk-5 and Vesk-6 for the information to still be useful? It's irrelevant for the scenario, just interesting.

Running this tomorrow. The mimic is going to be interesting.

1/5 5/55/55/5 *

The probe landing site is going to be funny to describe. The "large standing ring structure" and a "tall ring-shaped monument" is noted as being 18 feet in circumference. Unless my math is seriously rusty, this impressive golden artifact has a radius of about 2.8 feet and fits snugly in a 5-foot square.

And now I'm thinking about Spinal Tap.

Firefox user, can confirm. Trying to access the store from Store->Pathfinder or Store->Starfinder apparently puts the system in a reload loop. The only things that appear during this reload are the ongoing subscription options or free downloads.

Accessing individual product pages through forum product threads is possible, though somewhat onerous. Some shop subsections can be reached through individual product pages. For example, if I pick a PF2E scenario, I can get to the PF2E scenario list through the link at the top of the page. I cannot reach the main "Pathfinder Society" page except for the free products and the subscription option.

Additionally, after selecting the scenario I wanted and going to the cart, I noticed the store had added Pathfinder Adventure Ongoing Subscription and Pathfinder Adventure Path Ongoing Subscription to my cart without any actions from my part. I was able to remove them and finish my transactions, though.

It's also worth noting that chill touch no longer has the Attack trait. Errata removed it from it and many other spells.

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I stated an opinion, which is what this thread is for. Some people don't like goblins or tengu. Others hate the kitsune. One crew I regularly play with allows gnolls, drow, and strix, but has absolutely zero tolerance for gnomes. Not every change in the game is going to please everyone. Feel free to allow or disallow any ancestry in your home games.

Suspension of disbelief breaks at different points for different people. For me, serpentfolk have always been cold-blooded monsters known for their millenia-spanning subjugation, devouring, and sacrificing of those they considered lesser creatures. Creatures who had impenetrable minds, great magical talents, and absolutely no mercy for the weak. The moment they would become legal, PFS would be elbow-deep in funny snakes named Hissssssteria, Slytherin, and that one wrestler Monty Python-Haul with 'arms as thick as anacondas'. It is inevitable. And due to game balance issues, they would have the same hp and baseline abilities as other player ancestries.

It's all right to have fun. But funny serpentfolk would shatter my immersion like a Rovagug-worshiper in a porcelain factory. I would rather have the otyugh as a playable ancestry. I would welcome playable otyughs, even (and especially) because they would be funny.

As for specific issues, drow are still disallowed in organized play. And comparisons between real-world cultures and fantasy creatures are inevitable since it is very difficult to create something entirely new. For myself, I have only seen serpentfolk as vaguely mesoamerican due to Aztec blood sacrifices. The only asian elements I can think of are the long silken robes.

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Having read serpentfolk's game backstory and much of the literature that inspired them, I have difficulties in seeing how one could be played as a functional member of an average adventuring group without completely divorcing it from the backstory. Stats are irrelevant. If they were allowed in their full glory, they would be completely unbalanced. If they were allowed in a diluted form, their mysterious and threatening nature becomes a joke.

I know everyone has their favorite monster race(s) they want to play as. I am equally guilty. But playable goblins or hobgoblins are nothing compared to playable serpentfolk in Pathfinder (or Starfinder).

Mnemonic editor valid part wrote:
If you use a mnemonic editor, you can undo 2 character levels’ worth of decisions about which class levels you took, which feats you selected, how you applied any level-based increases to ability scores, how you assigned new skill ranks, and so on. All decisions you made as a result of advancing over the previous 2 character levels you gained are undone. You then make new selections, including new class levels, feats, skills, and the like, as if you had regained the 2 missing character levels. Go through the normal process of advancing your character through each of these 2 levels.
Copaxi racial ability Regenerative Evolution wrote:
A copaxi gradually reshapes its body and neural networks to overcome new challenges. Each time a copaxi gains a level, it can retrain all the choices of one previous character level, as though it had used a mnemonic editor. They must have qualified for any new selections at the retrained level.

Mnemonic editor retraining is known to be restricted to the previous two character levels.

Is the Copaxi racial ability retraining also limited to the previous level, or can I use it to retrain any level I have previously taken?

Example: 4th-level Copaxi has taken levels in 1) Solarian 2) Envoy 3) Mystic 4) Soldier. Can the character retrain any one of those when he reaches level 5, or just the soldier level?

My own reading of the rules would lean on the side of "any previous level" on the basis that the ability allows me to retrain "one previous character level" instead of "the previous character level", and the part about "as a mnemonic editor" refers to what can be retrained. I have been wrong before and I shall be wrong again, however.

Assume that bookkeeping is not the issue; in case of mnemonic editors we should already track the order in which levels are taken for a multiclass character, and including detailed information about the level-up process is a few extra words.

While houserules are a decent solution to everything, I would prefer an answer that would be valid for Starfinder Society play. If the question should be made on those boards, please flag the thread for moving.

PF1 Core rules specifically state that the remains from disintegrate are sufficient for resurrection (page 334), and since resurrection and reincarnate use the same wording, then both should work for the dust pile. Raise dead is useless in this case.

PF1 rules should be irrelevant for Starfinder, of course. In any case, Starfinder's raise dead does not work on a disintegrated person.

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Escape pods would be an acceptable purchase if they were purchased without using an expansion bay (as Senko said above), and automatically had enough for the entire crew. Life boats should take no more than one expansion for the entire crew (or just cost more than escape pods).

There are problems with the ship construction system. But the expansion bay system just might be the worst logical offender. A carrier frame can have either capacity to carry fighters OR the capacity to evacuate some of its crew. Pact Worlds equivalents for maritime safety practices are apparently built on the assumption that each ship has no more than 4-6 persons who matter.

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.

1/5 5/55/55/5 *

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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.

1/5 5/55/55/5 *

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.

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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.

1/5 5/55/55/5 *

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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.

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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...

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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."

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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