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I'm doing the same thing, and I basically just rip images from pinterest of cool looking gear. As long as it's for personal use, you won't have any problems.

I for one love the simplicity of the NPC creation rules. I can make whatever NPC/creature I want with very little prep time, and I can make simple mooks on the fly, without breaking the flow of the game. That is a huge plus for me, rather than having to design my plots around the limited selection of baddies in the Alien Archive, or having to wait for a proper bestiary.
So simple NPC rules is a huge plus in my book.

That being said, I agree that the disparity in PC/NPC To-hit/AC is terrible for the exact same reason that Wrath wrote.
We've been playing some D&D 5e, and while most of the players disliked it (because a: it wasn't as crunchy as Pathfinder, and b: The skill system is just too simplified), the general balance between PCs and NPCs works really well. Because NPCs are created by the same (simple) rules as PCs.

I firmly believe that Paizo could just as easily have created as simple an NPC creation system as what we got in AA, but using player progression as a guideline. Heck, I did it in a single afternoon, in order to balance things out, because all my players and I share Wrath's experience and sentiment.

I just think that Paizo's design goal is a bit too far off from what players want/expect. And how the balance feels during play. I think their goal sounds reasonable on paper, but in practice, it leads to the players not caring about armor, and spending all their money on maxing damage output and healing. (Which led to our mystic feeling useless, but I've written about that in another thread).

Thanks for all the feedback.
I've been talking with my mystic player, and while he understands the points you've given about how a healer is supposed to work within the rules, he still feels (as do I) that if the game doesn't support a primary healer, then why do they a) include it as a main feature for a class, and b) don't explain that feature better, as to how that role fits within the overall mechanics of the game.
My player took the priest mystic with healing connection because he wants to be a healer. He doesn't want to be a buff/debuff off-tank combat medic. He wants to be a healer.
And since I don't want to tell anyone that their character concept is useless, I'd much rather fix it, so it works.
So we've decided on the following house rule (feedback appreciated):

When characters take damage, they can decide wether or not to take it as stamina or hp, or a combination. That way, the healer will be able to apply healing sooner, and it won't mess with the resolve point economy.
An additional effect, is that non-lethaldamage only applies to stamina, and when you drop to 0 stamina, you are out cold or winded enough to be unable to fight, until you make a fort save, which restores 1d4 stamina.

(For those who know Fate Core, it's basically like deciding to take stress or consequences).

Just realised that post might be interpreted at bad-wrong-fun, which totally isn't my intention. So I'll just head myself off and clarify. :)

What we do, is once the grenade goes off, and you make a reflex save, you are free to move out of the smoke/danger on your turn (or act as normal). As the reflex save means - to us - you are quick to react, and can dodge/move out of the way. The grenade does not affect you this turn. However, if you are dumb enough to stay in the smoke, or unable to leave the area, because it's too big, you suffer conditions as normal next turn. Meaning you start by making a fort save because you start chocking.

So I guess in rules-speak, it would mean: On a succesful save, you are unaffected for your next turn. Any turn following, counts as if you had just entered the area, and suffer effects as normal.

Guess I've always been too good on my players then. I've always used reflex saves as "throw yourself out of harm's way". We're used to a theater of the mind approach. So making a reflex save -to us - means using your reflexes to throw yourself away from danger, and not just stay put. It's one of those "we're roleplaying, not board-gaming things" where mechanics that say they do one thing, but actually don't, are trumped by narrative description.
We're using minis for starfinder, but I make allowances baeed on what makes sense in the descriptive events. It's a preference thing. :)

My players haven't had too many problems. They usually succeed at the initial reflex save at dc 10-14 to avoid the smoke altogether. And even if they don't, they usually make the fort save in 1-2 rounds, unless one of their party members pull them out of it or activate their suit seal.

They get to save each round, so eventually they should make it. Smoke grenades are awesome, and the save is relatively easy. So I don't see a need to change them.
My players have discovered the joys and wonders of smoke grenades and sticky bombs. They even managed to shut down a minor boss fight with a single sticky bomb. It was awesome.

J4RH34D wrote:
Let him heal stamina looks like it would resolve your issues possibly.

That's the house rule we've been thinking about. But I'm worried that doing so messes with the whole resolve point/stamina/hp and encounter balance issue. At first glance, it should be fine, but I'm not math savvy enough to discern any unintended complications.

...And just realized this should probably have been posted under either rules or advice, but darn Space Goblins must have messed with my clicky-pointy-computer-thing.

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I need some advice guys.
I have a mystic healer in my party who is having the worst time playing. He basically feels completely superflous and useless, and I really can't find any way to fix it.

So what seems to be the problem?
He's a Priest themed mystic healer, and basically wants to serve as the party healer as we know them from other games, so he took the healing connection. They are currently level 2, so any advice about high level play and what feats to take on level 7 etc. is not going to help. This guy needs help NOW.

Basically he feels that his healing is useless, as he has to wait for everyone to drop below stamina, and even then, they have to drop to almost dead before his healing has any worthwhile effect (paying a resolve point to heal 1-2 hp is not a good deal). And even then, he can only heal them to "half" health. We know and understand how stamina works, and that it's basically a way to not require healers in the party. But it feels like that design decision made the healer redundant.

He currently has 3 spells per day (one of them a heal) so any sort of magic dependence is weak at best. 2 rounds of combat casting spells, and he's out for the day, while the others keep on trucking.

He has a laser pistol and no interest in diving into combat feats to boost his weapons going forward. He want's to be a healer. Not a fighter who is a backup combat medic.

So he has almost no combat ability, and no spells. Healing - his main focus - requires him to wait for most of the combat before everyone is through their stamina before he can do anything, and even then, he needs to wait for them to almost die, and can only heal them to half power. And it only got worse when they leveled from 1 to 2. As now they have twice the amount of stamina, so now he needs to wait even longer before his healing is required.

How do I help this player? He really likes the game, but is darn near to quitting, and just make another character. And I don't think anyone should be forced to make a new character because the character they want to play - as presented in the rules - is useless.

So.. What are we missing? How do we make him the best healer in the galaxy?

We have some house rule ideas, but I'd like to use that as a last resort, so I won't present them here unless we hit a dead end.


MrTsFloatinghead wrote:
Honestly there is no balance issue here at all. Math doesn't lie - once you take into account only getting half specialization damage, the inability to combine trick attack with a full attack, and (at low levels especially) the chance that it simply won't succeed, it simply is not true that operatives average out to doing more damage than the "combat classes". To be clear, this is not something that anyone is allowed to have an opinion on, anymore than anyone is allowed to have an opinion on whether or not 4 is larger than 5. I don't care how annoyed you are that 4 doesn't have to role-play to your liking - it's still a smaller number than 5.

I see your points, and while I agree (as I said, I don't care what the ruling is, I just want an official ruling other than Mark's comment) that we don't get to have an opinion about it, is a bad attitude as far as I'm concerned.

If math doesn't lie, then everything should behave as expected at the table. But the fact is, it doesn't.

Let's run by the situation at my table coupled with the math that doesn't lie.

We've got a Solarian with solar weapon, a mystic, a sharpshooter soldier and a ghost operative.

First combat the Solarian charges into melee and deals 1d6+3 (Str) damage. As he isn't a dex build and has light armor, he proceeds to take two hits from an npc with full attack. It dropped him to just below stamina.
The mystic couldn't heal him, as he had only taken 1 hp damage. So the mystic stays in cover.
The soldier didn't want to full attack, as -4/-4 is almost his entire to hit bonus, and in his mind, a +1 or +0 to hit equals "not gonna hit". So he takes a single shot, dealing 1d8 damage.
The operative takes a trick attack action, moving into melee. His Stealth bonus is +15 (1 rank + 3 class + 4 dex + 3 skill focus + 4 ghost). Hitting a CR ½ is DC 20. Meaning he succeeds on a 5+. He then gets an opponent with KAC 10 (-2 for being flat-footed), and with a +4 (dex) to hit, he hits on a 6+, dealing 2d4+2 damage (STR 14). And he doesn't get hit in return due to his high dex and armor.

Next round, the solarian doesn't want to full attack for the same reasons as the soldier. He doesn't want to risk missing twice rather than hit once, so he strikes again and misses. (Bad rolls happen).
But then he takes another two hits of full attack and drops to 0 hp. The mystic runs up and stabilizes him. The soldier misses again, and the operative keeps trick attacking with stealth in melee, hitting and dealing damage consistently. And not taking anything in return.

This has led to every fight going like this.
Mystic hides, and complains that as a healer, he can do nothing to keep the party in the fight.
The solarian hides until he is fully attuned, then proceeds to run out and explode.
The soldier takes pot shots from cover.
And the ghost operative consistently kills everything in melee with trick attack, without getting too many scratches.

No one is having fun, except the operative.
And everyone is complaining about why can the operative be so competent in combat, when the others can barely get a shot in without dying?
Which led to the question...from the players, I might add... "Can he even stealth when engaged in melee? Shouldn't he use bluff or something, so he doesn't necessarily hit every round? Or is Trick attack just an automatic crit damage every turn? In that case, I want to make one too, since I'm only hitting around 50% of the time, and he is dealing double his damage every turn almost automatically?!?"

My answer to them was... Let me hit the forums to get some clarification. And what I've gotten so far is: The operative is right, the other players can't have any fun and We're all wrong for thinking that way. Which really isn't productive.

If the operative was forced due to circumstance to change tactics, applying different skills for different situations (which he is really good at with his 10+ skill ranks per level) and that is the factor that keeps him from almost auto succeeding in dealing damage every turn, then that would be the balancing factor. So no... It's not just about roleplaying. It's about understanding how we balance things between classes. And if one of the thing that causes imbalance is based on a "just because" reasoning, then that is all the more baffling. Because why can't the soldier hit reliably "just because"? Why can't the mystic heal stamina "just because"? Why can't the solarian both have a solar weapon and armor "just beacuse"?
So I don't care if it's just an extra d4 damage. If you get to deal damage every turn, and almost not taking any damage due to high AC from the same stat that allows you to deal damage every turn, while other classes deal damage around 50% of the time. That all adds up.

If math doesn't lie, then it should be reliable. But it isn't. I don't care if operatives get to trick attack each round. However, I do care that they get to deal reliable damage each round, when no other class can. Having a bigger damage die is worthless if you don't hit. Have a smaller damage die is powerful, if you deal damage each round.

If there is an official ruling/errata, I'd love to see it. It's not like I desperately want to be right. But without any official clarification, I'm just trying to argue what I think makes the most sense for the exact reasons baggageboy stated.
Starfinder is an awesome game, but it seems half baked in execution, and desperately needs an errata/clarifications. I really just want to sit down and play this awesome game. But there are so many issues (trick attack being one of the major sinners) that causes way too much trouble and balancing issues at the table.

That's what I mean by breaking the 'reason' of the game. Everything in the game is possible because there is an in-world explanation. The solarians can make star-lightsabers because they are in tune with the cosmic powers, and carry around a mini sun. Everything follows a reason as to why things are possible. Except trick attack... it's just mechanics. How can an operative stand locked in melee combat, blades crossed and suddenly just stealth? Doesn't matter. The mechanics say he can.
So if we have no in game explanation as to how they do it, there is no reason not to always take the mechanically optimal path. Thus making the addition of multiple skill options redundant.

That makes so much sense, and actually kinda proves my point.
Terrain attack sets up a certain situational conditions that must be met for a certain type of skill check (bluff) to auto succeed for trick attack.
If situational conditions did not limit the skill check for trick attack, then why give an ability that suddenly allows for it to auto succeed in certain conditions? It's kinda the same thing with cloaking field. Why grant a hide in plain sight ability to something that wouldn't need it?
It breaks the 'reason' of the game. If conditions don't apply, why grant abilities that expand on those conditions?
Why wouldn't Terrain Attack simply be; "You auto succeed with Trick Attack"?

And you add another conundrum... If the daredevil gets to add acrobatics as a trick attack skill, and everything else is for fluff flavor... why grant them an ability that auto succeeds with bluff? It's like saying, hey all that training you put into trick attacking with acrobatics? Nevermind, npw you can auto succeed with 1 rank in bluff, so why bother with acrobatics anymore?

First off, my apologies for reviving this thread. But since there still is no official errata from Paizo, this remains an issue (among a whole host of other things). So much so, that our Ghost Operative is dominating combat to the point where it is less fun for everyone.

Second, this turned out to be a long post, so here's the TL;DR:
- We need to apply reason. Does allowing trick attack without conditions applying break reason? Yes.

And now on to your regularly scheduled post...

I'm not sure I follow your post, Losobal. There is something conceptually about your post, that I just can't wrap my brain around (english isn't my native language). So I can't quite figure out if you are arguing against or for. But let me try to reply as best I can.

Losobal wrote:

So...using a Daredevil example again/question.

If you have 2 level 11 Daredevils, and both are flying, both have pistols does that mean that essentially they murder each other in a few rounds?

1) Comparing 2 PC level daredevils is a moot point, as the game just wasn't designed that way. Nothing appears in a vacuum. So unless you run PC vs PC arena games, it's really not a helpful example.

2) You use level 11 characters as an example. And most of the examples I see around the forums are usually based on level 10+ characters. Since most campaigns are usually from level 1-13'ish, the arguments made are really not doing anything to adress the problems where they arise: namely level 1-7. Who cares if the Operative falls behind the soldier and solarian at level 13? The campaign is over by then. And the entire time, the solarian and soldier are considering killing their character and make a ghost operative.
Besides, at level 5, the ghost oeprative can hide in plain sight, so even with the 'conditions of skill checks applying' the ghost will be able to negate that with his cloaking field from level 5.

Losobal wrote:
So two guys with 'auto bluff succeed' since both are flying, does that equal the first guy does base dmg + 11 + trick dmg to guy #2, who next action does base dmg + 11 + trick dmg to guy #1, because neither can resist the automatic bluff, and the fact they are immune to being flat-footed doesn't seem to prevent trick dmg from working in the first place(...)


Losobal wrote:

So in this case the only real option would be one or both have to stop flying, thus removing the auto-bluff success and then forcing a conventional trick attack (with rolled skill rather than auto success)?

Assuming the debilitating trick doesn't keep the guy going 2nd from acting to do their own trick attack?

3) My original post about stickybombs and daredevils still stand (but could probably do with some elaboration). Shoot him with a stickybomb (or anything else that causes entangle) and he'll drop like a rock (due to how flying and move actions work). IF the 'conditions of skill checks apply'.

Otherwise he wouldn't care at all, since entangle doesn't prevent him from taking a full round action, thus allowing him to make a trick attack with acrobatics (if conditions don't apply).
But with conditions applying, I could totally see Bluff working. The operative pretending to struggle with the entangling goo, while preparing to shoot with his free hand.

4) You specifically chose flying daredevils using bluff. Why? The Daredevil would most likely use acrobatics, the ghost use stealth etc. The argument being made is not about flying bluff'ers, but wether or not conditions can prevent the use of certain skills when trick attacking.

Some really good points have already been made in this thread.

a) If operatives can use their specialization skill all the time, no conditions. Then why explicitly add several skills to trick attack, rather than write "make a trick attack check with your specialization skill"? And the "it's for fluff" argument doesn't hold up. No where in the rules are there any other explicit rules that do not have some sort of mechanical effect. That's why they are rules, and not just fluff descriptions.

b) If all operatives can use their specialization skill all the time, no conditions. Then why oh why would you ever play a Hacker, which is the only one who does have conditions, and thus can be shut down by circumstance?

As humans we expect the world to behave in a certain way. That way we can learn how things behave, and develop reason, which can help us make choices and take actions based on how we expect the world to behave. The same goes for roleplaying games. We expect the world to behave in a certain way, and with reason. This reason is modelled after our own experiences in real life, when applied to imaginary game worlds. If the imaginary game world breaks what we expect from reason, it should be called out and explained. We do this with magic. We accept that magic exists in the game world. There are rules and explanations for it, which in term help us deal with magic based on reason.
The same applies to skills. If the trick attack is an ability that works regardless of the choice of skill used, it lacks an explanation as to how that works. Otherwise it breaks the 'reason' of the game.
The rules for stealth are based on real world reason about needing to make something disappear and how perception works. If trick attack breaks that reason, it needs to explain why, for us to suspend disbelief.
If the trick attack entry had said that operatives have special light bending supernatural powers (ie. magic) that allowed them to stealth while engaged in close combat, then I would totally buy it. It gives reason. But since the cloaking field does just that, how are we then to explain how all other operatives without claoking field manage to do it?
It breaks reason. And if one thing is allowed to break reason, then it's a steep rabbit hole of why shouldn't every class/race and goblin's grandma be allowed to break reason? There's a precedent for it with trick attack, so unless the rules state something definitively, go right ahead and break reason all you want, and we can throw the rules out the window. Everyone will start looking for all the loop holes, and argue that it can be done. GM discretion be damned, cause trick attack is the rules precedent for breaking reason.

We ran a cross desert vehicle chase in our first session (to get a feel for the rules), and thought the rules were a big let down.
Basically the party were on a hover skiff while being chased by 4 hoverbikes. What should gave been an awesome action packed chase became a 2 turn let down.
All because of the Speed Up action.
Badically the players used speed up two turns in a row, leaving the first 3 bikes in the dust on turn one, and the second one on turn two.
Why would you ever do anything other than take the speed up action?
Chances are we totally didn't get the vehicle chase rules, but based on our experience, we probably won't use chases. Which I think is a terrible shame. Cause vehicle chases are awesome.

So I can totally understand why you think Keep up is a bit useless.
If the PC with the highest Piloting skill jumps into the driver's seat, you can pretty much outrun most NPCs with the Speed up action.
Or is the chase system only designed for PCs chasing down NPCs?

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Coming from D&D and their short rest/long rest, I consider the 10 minute break as any short moment of safety where the PCs can catch their breath and discuss how to proceed.
It's a standard trope of many tv and movie fictions as well. Usually accompanied by the comment "we should be safe here for a moment".
The same goes for long rests/ 8 hour rest. It requires safety. Standing in the middle of a dungeon/evil lair or whatever, is not a place where you can get a good night's rest.

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Jofo wrote:
My favorite ways to get my players over losing SP include comparing Stamina Points as "shield points" for their real HP. Players savvy to that mechanic from a bajillion other games don't sweat it so much of they're not "at full health". Also, explain that your SP is more like how tough you FEEL. Would you go to the ER if you feel run down? No, you go there so they can address damage to your bodily health (hp). You call up your buddy, the Envoy to psych you up when you feel down! Now your feeling like your old self again, and while you're at it, GET EM!! :)

That's actually a good perspective. I think that will jive with my players.

Rysky the Dark Solarion wrote:

And the Daredevil is the only one that can use Acrobatics for its Trick Attack and it has no specific call out or restrictions.

The Hacker Specialization is unique in that it has a restriction on it. There’s a “general restriction” on the Computer skill of... needing to have a computer. But the Hacker Specialization is the only one that calls out that restriction. The vanilla Operative doesn’t. The Daredevil doesn’t.

If situational restrictions to skills apply, the daredevil is actually quite easy to shut down. Stickybombs.

Or would you allow a daredevil caught in an entangled condition to perform trick attack with acrobatics? The rules say that he can, but it just doesn't make sense within the logic of the game world.

And while the hacker is the only specialization that explicitly calls out a restriction, why would you ever play a hacker? The Ghost gets a +4 and would always be allowed to use stealth, making him almost auto succed from level 1 (so why even require a skill check?), while the hacker is easy to shut down?

As I see trick attack, stealth is for operatives that want to duck and weave behind cover and make ranged trick attacks with small arms. It kinda defeats the idea of a ghost to wail away at opponents in melee. That's the daredevil's approach. Rushing in and doing some matrix style parkour combat.

Abraham spalding wrote:

Resolve returns SP but has more critical uses. HP can be replenished in a lot of ways, many of which are cheap. This cheapens HP and makes SP more "valuable" from a resource perspective.

I agree, and that was sort of the sentiment that my players expressed. They would much rather have SP be something that could go up and down during combat due to heals and whatever. But once they dug into HP, it would hurt a bit more in the long run, and be a measure of the number of encounters they could tolerate in a day's work.

As it is now, the mystic sits on his hands (not quite, but I hope you get the picture) until they are well into HP damage, before be can do anything. And then it barely feels like he is keeping them one step from death. And once the fight is over, everyone spends a RP and is up to full health. So now RP is the true measure of encounters per day, which again keeps them from spending RP on abilities.

But alas, maybe it's just a matter of gett8ng used to the system. But yeah, we didn't get the feel of SP and HP that they describe in the rules. In was more the other way around.

We've just had our first session, and one of the major feedback points was damage and healing. My players had some of the same fears based on the argument that there was little to no combat healing.
The mystic in the party basically had to wait until everyone was near death before he could heal with any effectiveness. And even then he could only heal them to half strength, as mystic cure doesn't heal stamina.
Coming from Pathfinder, the mystic's argument was: "I can't heal before they are under half hp, and I can only heal them up to half hp." (As they regard stamina + hp as total hp from a pathfinder perspective.
The result was pretty much that no one took fulll attack actions, as tney didn't think they could afford to miss any attacks, and thus risk taking damage without dealing any back.
For a party that usually solves all problems in any game with liberal amounts of violence, regardless of the game system, they sure were very conservative, and spent way more rounds in total cover than they did attacking.

I'd say it depends on the situation. Remote controlling another ship during a space combat encounter? No.
Remote controlling a small shuttle on a planet to use as a getaway? Sure.
It's almost a stsndard trope of sci fi movies to hack and remotely pilot a small shuttle to get the heroes out of a tight spot. And I'd just run that as a skill challenge.
The hacker accesses the BBEG's systems, to hijack a shuttle and bring it to 206th floor. All the while the rest of the party are having a shootout with the generic BBEG storm troopers. Can he do it before they are overrun? Can they blow out the window and jump to the shuttle and escspe with the secret plans? Sounds like a cool encounter, and I'd allow it.

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I'm working on a d100 table for random encounters to throw in once in a while during our upcoming campaign. These are some of my ideas so far:

1) Drift wraiths.
The undead spirits of hapless creatures sucked into the drift as a result of ships jumping through the drift, assault the PC's ship.

2) Derelict.
The PCs come across a massive lifeless spaceship, drifting powerless through the drift. What potential secrets does the derelict hold of its horrible fate?

3) Fire storms.
The PCs pass through the wild and uncontrollable remnants of a shattered piece of the Fire Plane, that was drawn into the drift. Can they navigate the fire storms safely.

4) Lost city.
A broken piece of some planet contains a domed city with a marooned population. Can the PCs help save the people of the lost city, or does the domed city contain some dark secret?

5) Drift raiders.
A group of pirates have made a base on a large piece of drifting planetoid debris within the drift. From there they launch raids on innocent drift teavellers.

6) Drive malfunction.
A sudden burst of strange energy rips through the ship, overloading systems, and disabling the drift drive, tearing the ship from the drift. The PCs are now stranded somewhere in unknown space without a drift drive. Where are they, and what is that strange planet off the starboard window?