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From the description, I don't think you'd need to use a move action to simply immobilize the target, as long as your standard is spent on maintaining. The move action is just to move the target around.

Honestly, it seems like a reasonably powerful (if situational) crowd control ability to me. Primarily useful against targets that are stronger in melee than at range, sure, but spending a single party member's actions on nullifying a single enemy target (while the rest can fire away from range) would often be well worth it. Yeah, it can be negated by saves, but so can basically every detrimental effect.


They're a "use them if you loot them" weapon, I guess, since that's effectively 10% cost.


There is no official rule on combining clothing functionality, so by RAW I would say that it isn't legal. Beyond that, cost would be house-rule, but I'd make it custom work and probably add a hefty surcharge.


Awesome! Thanks, Joe!


Some idiot wizard opened simultaneous adjacent portals to the planes of positive and negative energy in an attempt to make a new power source and everything blew up spectacularly.


breithauptclan wrote:
Another way to increase the difficulty is by having multiple enemy starships. I don't have a good effective encounter level formula though. Three tier 20 starships is going to be a much more difficult battle than a single tier 20 starship (obviously). But three tier 16 starships is probably an easier battle than a single tier 20 starship. Not sure on that though since I haven't analyzed the math or run through multiple encounters with that scenario.

I remember reading a rule of thumb somewhere as "drop a tier, add a ship" for equivalent power. So two tier 20s could be an effective tier 21 encounter?


Tymin wrote:
This has been bothering me for a long time. In the corebook, the mechanic hover drone has only 6 STR (makes sense, it's tiny and light, unlike combat and stealth drone) and, for some weird reason, 8 Wisdom, as opposed to 10 of the other two types. Why? Why does the tiny drone have a worse wisdom than the other two drone types? The strength I understand, but the lower wisdom score is just wierd.

Smaller body, less internal space, less complexity for computation?


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I've been trying to put together an expanded list of starship frames to increase potential options for customization. I think I've got a decent start here, but I'd appreciate some input on balance.

Google Doc here

Some notes:

1. The mouseover rule change on the "turret" column header has an outsized importance to balance. It's my answer to the discussion here but should probably be addressed separately from the rest of the frames' stat balance.

2. Not all frames are optimized for combat. The fact that the by-the-numbers "best" starting ship is a Light Freighter, and not the Explorer always bothered me. Thus the expansion bay rules on freighters and dedicated passenger craft.

3. I did not list, or touch on at all, supercolossal ship frames. My outlook is that these are going to be plot devices anyway, not something players are likely to touch.

4. The Tramp Freighter is probably unbalanced. It was a plot ship that I included in the list for my players' reference. Feel free to comment on it anyway though.

Credit where it's due:

1. Below the main table, I have the unmodified stats for RAW frames (in green), followed by a list of homebrew frames (in red) by Alex Olson that I borrowed from shamelessly.

2. All example ship images, along with several custom ship concepts are taken from Endless Sky, which I cannot recommend highly enough.


I love it, and am now retconning a major NPC in my campaign into this class.


BigNorseWolf wrote:

By the time you have the cloaking field aren't you taking 10 to stealth things and thus auto succeed on any stealth check to trick attack against cr +7 or lower?

In this context, the cloaking field doesn't seem too terribly unbalancing. You can trick attack every round up to CR +7ish, or trick attack every other round in the ungodly unfair situation of your GM putting you up against CR +8 or higher (seriously, when would this happen? Attacking Cthulhu?).

*also, re: the last two posts, yes it's explicitly confirmed that skill mastery can be used to take 10 on trick attack.


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Metaphysician wrote:

Its possible that various forms of this kind of. . . I guess "voluntarily intersex"? . . . status might take over the word 'trans' in this setting or a similar one. After all, the medical technology and magic is such that the real world form of transgender should be readily identifiable and treatable with biological sex transformation indistinguishable from having been born with the "correct" body to match your neurological sex.

At which point. . . well, its also a setting with countless species, who don't only have radically different concepts of gender express and sexual dimorphism, but who quite often don't even have two genders. I kind of have a hard time imagining that "I was born with the wrong body, but it got fixed at age 6" being a thing that would bother anybody in nearly all cases.

And with linguistic differences on top of that, I suspect that you'd have a popularization of neutral pronoun usage as the widespread default with specific forms of address used on request.


Undraxis wrote:
True, thinking of it as not a feat and more a class/level feature does ease my brain.

Yeah, it's best in terms of balance-with-other-feats to think of the actual *feat* as a versatility feature, letting you apply weapon specialization (class feature) to more weapons, rather than being the thing that provides the bonus itself.


Ravingdork wrote:
I'm reminded of early 4E dragonborn that could fly, but only as NPCs. Precluding my dragonborn character from ever having that as an option sure made my character feel far less heroic.

Ran into a very similar issue with Sarcesians, where NPCs can fly twice as fast and stay in the void (CR) times as long as a player. I just homebrewed a custom racial feat, but in the rules, NPCs can just be better than a player ever can be.

I understand that separating the systems makes balancing easier, but that should be things like CR-based statblocks for quick creation, not unique abilities that PCs of the supposedly same race can never get. See how the Drow Magic racial entry works, adding a character build option from a high level NPC class, rather than locking it away - that's closer to what I see as ideal.


If you're piloting a Colossal or Supercolossal ship, I think your strategy generally has to become "pound the enemy into paste with your turrets". You don't dogfight in a Dreadnaught.


Ascalaphus wrote:
It's not about reversing how language works, just about accepting that not every time you see the word observation/observed/observing, they mean the state Observed. There's just a limited number of synonyms for it that don't sound really awkward.

"A creature currently being observed can’t attempt a Stealth check which would result in breaking Observed without first breaking that observation."

Even IF you accept that somehow those words mean different things (which I am highly skeptical of), it doesn't change the "A before B" requirements of that sentence. "-without first breaking that observation" means something has to happen before the stealth check.


Ascalaphus wrote:
In the Observed section: "A creature currently being observed can’t attempt a Stealth check which would result in breaking Observed without first breaking that observation." This sounds circular if you think that the state Observed and "observation" are the same thing. But they're not; Observed is a keyword state, while "observation" is not a keyword but just a synonym for perceiving or witnessing.

That... sure is some linguistic interpretation. "can't attempt a stealth check" is pretty explicit. If A must precede B, you can't have B be the solution to A.

Ascalaphus wrote:

"To break observation, the creature must either

* mask itself from your precise senses (with darkness, fog, invisibility, or the like, but not with effects such as displacement that still leave a clear visual indicator of its location),
* move somewhere it can’t be observed (a place with cover, for example),
* or use Bluff to create a distraction to momentarily break your observation of it."

The examples of things that can mask you from precise senses are all things that can make it impossible to see you. Darkness makes you impossible to see (assuming nobody has Darkvision). 10ft of fog completely blocks vision. Invisibility also blocks vision.

It says you can't be observed in cover, but this rule applies to people who have the Observed state and want to make a check to end it. Clearly Observed and this observation that you're trying to break can't be exactly the same thing.

Or the text is self-contradictory. This isn't a divine text, the game designers can make mistakes. If the text conflicts with itself, the answer really shouldn't be reversing how language works to make it fit.


Different writers on different chapters?


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BigNorseWolf wrote:
breithauptclan wrote:


I have also noticed what he does to my name when he is quoting things by hand. Mostly I am amused, but if I ever change my avatar picture it isn't going to make sense any more.
Look, i've met 4 people online and 2 in person who asked me if i was the same person as that "big nosed wolf" guy from the forums and I've made it EASY....")

Easy. It's "Puppy".

BigNorseWolf wrote:
Claxon wrote:
does everyone agree that being unobserved and having some type of cover/concealment are two separate requirements for stealth?
No actually, it's the main point of contention. According to the easy stealth folks cover or concealment breaks observation enough to try a stealth check.

The problem is, it's stated in multiple places that cover is an example of something that can break observation. It's actually the go-to example almost every time it comes up in the rules. Which means the argument here is really that the game designers badly overlooked the consequences of what they were writing. I come down solidly on the "require some kind of active breaking of observation" for actual playablility reasons, but I think the reason I don't get any pushback on that from players is that they're all so used to Pathfinder working that way that it's never questioned (and I am blessed with a lack of rules lawyers in the group).


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Hit that update button, then head home for the weekend!


Ravingdork wrote:

What inertia? Ships come to a cold stop without a pilot to spend actions; missiles run out of fuel and stop. There's no inertia in "Starfinder space."

;P

I've decided to chalk this up to "emergency brakes" that kick in when ships are unpiloted. If someone wants to get hacky with the ship's systems and figure out how to coast, they're more than welcome to. "Continuing moving" isn't the primary benefit of having a pilot, "not having jack squat for defense" is.


I'm seeing that it could possibly work, but requires very specific ambush setup, plus luck, and the enemy gets at bare minimum a turn or two to run and try to stay ahead of the missiles (so it's not viable for smaller/faster enemies). Add that to the need to keep making TL rolls for every missile, and it gets relegated to "if the players can actually pull this off, they deserve to have it work"


BigNorseWolf wrote:

Is there something in the build that makes the comparison shopping besides the average damage of the weapon necessary ?

I think the special version of the Weapon Specialization feat is unique? Or is there some other way to get 2X level added to damage on other weapons


Nefreet wrote:
pithica42 wrote:
Do "unarmed attacks" count as weapons?

And see this is the question I don't understand.

If someone told me they weren't, I'd literally just point to the chart in the Core Rulebook that lists them as weapons.

That's like asking, "Do curve blades count as weapons?"

Of course they do.

This is actually a minor point of interpretation I wanted to pull out. If you ignore the fluff sentence, this means that hand and foot attacks can be used in place of bites with nothing changed. - which is how I let my group's soldier run it, with her having long fingertip claws instead of Sharp Pointy Teeth. I do lean towards requiring the feat/ability tax on the build though. With imp. unarmed, raw lethality, and arcane assault, she's by far the heaviest hitter in the group.

... item level of your hands isn't an issue that's come up yet. Permissively, I could just make it character level, but I'll have to think it over.


Ravingdork wrote:
For those of you who have to keep scanning, how on earth do you and your gm keep accurate track of so many variables without turning starship combat into a slow quagmire?

Running it on a framework that tracks the numbers for me, mostly.


Pantshandshake wrote:
So the ‘scan’ is less of a ‘push a button and hope your scan gets you a return’ and more of ‘we sit in the middle of a sensor bubble, and as long as your science person is good enough to (either beat the opponent’s… anti…scan... mechanism or interpret the data the computer gives him) then you get to know about the enemy ship. So you’d always know however much you learned from the check, with the potential to know more (or less) on your next check. But whatever was learned becomes real time information as the battle progresses, rather than a snapshot from 10 minutes ago.

And the Enterprise has a larger bridge crew, so yeah, if you want that feel, your science officer needs to be able to "fire and forget" on the sensors and do other things. Or toss in some NPC crew and have more than one science officer. Or have the captain give commands for extra actions ("Power to forward shields, Mr. Scienceofficer!"). Basically, I'm saying you've got options.

I just had my crew upgraded to a larger ship, which they can barely run by themselves, so they're working on finding trustworthy crewmembers. It's a nice way to go back to NPCs they liked earlier in the campaign and bring them back into the story.


Pantshandshake wrote:
I've always been under the impression that once you succeed a scan, you know whatever information you gained from the scan for the rest of the battle.

It mostly comes down to how you want the tactics to run. Do you want scans to basically be one and done (because it's not terribly difficult for a science officer to exceed the DC by 10; computers is a heavily tweakable skill), or have it be a choice to keep yourself tactically up to date at the cost of balancing/targeting/etc?


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BigNorseWolf wrote:

Option D, by absolute RAAAAW since you learn things further down the list and shields are up the list you can only ever learn them once, EVER!

ow ow ow the sunday edition really? OW OW OW... why didn't we OW OW recycle that.. OW OW OW...

Next time it's the hose!

Could combine A and C, meaning you only get the snapshot, but each subsequent scan reveals everything again. So (assuming each turn you just meet the DC, or exceed by less than 5), turn 1 you get info "a", turn 2 you get info "a+b" turn 3, you get "a+b+c" etc. I think defenses ("b") are the only ones that are likely to change from turn to turn, but this covers if there's some weird re-configuring ship options in later supplements.


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Rules for scanning only say you get "current" value, so I don't see any way to interpret that as anything but a snapshot. You don't get it going forward at all.
- edit: dangit, "subsequent checks reveal new pieces of information, continuing down the list" could imply you just... know the defenses now. Okay, that does look ambiguous. I'm still going to run it as a snapshot at my table, because I really don't like the tactical implications otherwise, but helloooo FAQ request.


For an in-universe explanation, I think other weapons have functionally taken up the general role of "realistic" shotgun. Plasma and Sonic weapons would cover the narrow spread single target weapon niche nicely. Rulewise, we also have breach guns now, which still have unrealistically short range, but are single target shotgun-shell weapons.

Edit: For those houseruling shotguns, I've seen people add damage depending on how much an attack roll exceeds target AC by. (effectively more pellets getting past defenses)


Fascinating discussion... and a huge headache. It doesn't seem that there's much disagreement at this point on what RAW actually IS. Just grumping about what it should be.

I'm just gonna houserule that full attacks don't burn your swift and sidestep the whole mess.


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Fusions being "worth it" is something I've had trouble with. Some do add useful bonuses, but the majority of them seem to just add critical effects. Considering that we're now hard-locked at nat 20 for criticals, the fact that so many rules are piled onto that 5% chance is just... baffling to me. The rules treat it like this thing that won't even happen in half your fights is some big tactical option.


If we're talking balance, I don't see any reason the railgun in question would ignore concealment, so even generously, you can shoot, but you've got 50% miss chance baked in too. No different than firing at an invisible target.


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Yeah, "single attack" is the key here. Specialization applies to full attacks just fine.


BigNorseWolf wrote:
Starfinders cantina has eliminated just about every mechanical effect of size besides physically fitting your fluffy butt in a ventalation shaft. Including the damage dice.

The fact that a skittermander and a grizzly bear have the same modifier for stealth just seems wrong. I guess it's worth the cost to have a notably wider spread of racial options without breaking the game.


Neil77 wrote:
I have made no comments on their ability to threaten squares with their natural attacks, because that's not in question. The developer's clarificaton (while good for the ruling) is also not relevant to RAW. RAW means "rules as written," not "rules as clarified."

Dev eratta, FAQs, and clarifications always count as part of RAW discussions.


Xenocrat wrote:
Nice try. What about a Vesk who has had both arms amputated?

I choose to believe it's more a statement of attitude than physiology. Vesk can and will go Black Knight on your ass. HAVE AT YOU!


BigNorseWolf wrote:
I do not get the idea that people think it's fudging with raw. If rules said "your space minotaur needs a free hand to gore people" -snip-

Yeah, that's fair. I should have said "not explicit in RAW" instead. It's a reasonable assumption.


Isaac Zephyr wrote:

From experience: Starfinder focuses more on having a balanced game system than realism. It is option 3 whether we like it or not, because to do otherwise strikes an imbalance between PCs on multiple levels.

The major one: Confusion/balance between multiple instances of the same ability. Reptoids, the Minotaur guys, Formians, Vesk, etc. all have the same Natural Weapons ability applying by the same rules. As it stands it works both ways, a Minotaur's may thematically be a Gore, and a Vesk's a claw, but without Improved Unarmed neither can use them with hands occupied, but both are also not limited by taking it. A vesk can still technically apply Natural Weapons with a kick and their hands full with Imoroved Unarmed, if the game was going to focus on specific limbs like Pathfinder did, then it would limit Vesks and other "claw" users while suddenly boosting the power of non-claws.

Noting to avoid confusion, since I thought you were making a different argument at first. That's still "option 2" with Improved Unarmed allowing attacks with hands full.


In favor of Option 2 here. It's a lot easier to throw an effective punch untrained than an effective kick. I'd personally rule natural weapons as a specific exception to the general rule, but that's admittedly fudging RAW. Proper headbutts can take training too I guess.


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

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


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Garretmander wrote:
I thought we were specifically discussing magic missile with it's optional full action casting time. Which is distinct from a 1 round casting time.

Technically the thread is on interruptions with readied actions, so this entire tangent is technically off-topic. Though probably more productive.


BigNorseWolf wrote:
Magic missile: You can cast this spell as a full action. If you do, you fire three missiles instead of two.
BigNorseWolf wrote:
1 round: Casting a spell with a casting time of 1 round is a full action.
BigNorseWolf wrote:
Full round and one round aren't the same thing. Its something you're used to if you play pathfinder.

In this case, it seems like they might be? Since "Full action" spell casting isn't a thing defined in the rules, and the only full action cast is 1 round. Unlike the readied action wording (which is pretty dang clear-cut if you're not trying to weirdly redefine english), there might be some actual ambiguity to clear up here.


The rules as they stand are sorely lacking on zero-G rules, so you'll have to make a judgement call. Personally, I have no problem letting PCs rebound with just their feet, but if you want, you could require a basic acrobatics check to orient themselves the right way to push off again and not collide with the wall shoulder-first or something.


I don't see why you couldn't manufacture the contents of a dart, as long as it was under the 400cr cost limit. You're not getting a discount or anything, just "buying" the ammo on the fly. Besides, with that cost, all you could use is tier 1 medicinals, Hyperleaf drug, or Id moss poison. Hardly game-breaking.


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You can find the swarm rules linked from the swarm template page on Aon SRD


Felix the Rat wrote:

Up until about 10 minutes ago, I fully agreed that the times should be shorter, but then I thought about this scenario.

You're adrift in space, but you've managed to get a distress signal out into the drift. In a few days, it'll make it back to Absalom Station. A few days later, your rescue awaits. Even if you're in the same system as Absalom, this takes up to 6 days.

I think this is a fair scenario to compare the time to. Heck, it seems like a good scenario to balance the times to. Before level 8 or so, you're going to have scrounge to stay alive if you're relying on your suit to live. At higher levels, being stranded in space is an inconvenience but you're likely to live through it. Seems about right, and the rescue times can always be stretched out by a GM who wants to.

Sorry, missed this because of post timing. That is something to keep in mind. And as player survival time increases with armor level, so too are they more likely to be traveling deeper into the Vast for more dangerous missions. This is exactly the kind of overlooked consequence I was hoping to have mentioned here, thanks!


I'd say it's a reasonable house-rule to make. Although I suspect the only reason that the stealth bonus wasn't removed entirely was to toss a bone to people who made ghost operatives exclusively for the bonus.


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Tryn wrote:

For my games I would change the EPS so that it only provides protection like the old endure elements spell (against cold/heat).

But I would add the option to upgrade it to a Full protection system (like the one from the CRB) which provides complete protection for 1/2 itemlevel hours (min 1) and need one upgrade slot.

Additional I would give some armors (like the EVAC suite) this upgrade for free.

You could also create different levels of this Environment Protection Module which need battery power and consumes charges at different levels and so restrict the time it can be used.
Example:
EPS Blue: 20 charges, one charge per minute
EPS Green: 60 charges, one charge per minute
EPS Red: 20 charges, two charges per hour
EPS Black: 20 charges, one charge per hour

This would allow for some interesting player dilemmas have to decide how to use their batteries or how to distribute the remaining power.
Of course this would be another resource the players have to track in these circumstances.

On a side note: With all the focus on batteries/charges in SF I wonder why there is no specific "batteries" area on the character sheet to track it...

This seems like a decent jumping-off point for a set of survival rules, since the numbers for drain rates can be tweaked as desired. I think I'll play with this a bit and see if I can put together. I'd been putting off going through all the armor tables to define different built-in survival components, but I should probably at least make the attempt.

Claxon wrote:

Please remember, Starfinder is Science Fantasy, not SciFi. They are similar, but not the same.

The devs never really planned for "survival" to be the focus of the stories told. Just like they didn't intend it for PF1 either.

You can tell those sorts of stories. It requires extra work, and it simply isn't what the game was designed to be about.

Oh, I know. I'm not in any way saying that the current rules should be universally changed. What I really want is for my game to have "hull breach" to be an actual threat players have to care about. Maybe have a damaged life-support system be something more worrying than a minor penalty on captain actions.

Garretmander wrote:
Also, from a player perspective in pathfinder, and from my players in starfinder. A story based on survival against the elements tends to be two things, a) boring, and b) deadly. The worst combination.

Definitely something I want to watch out for. I want the threat of vacuum to be a background concern, not a constant focus. I.e. Star Trek, not 21st century spacecraft. It doesn't need to come in most sessions, but a hull breach can be an occasional tool for dramatic set-piece.

Garretmander wrote:
If you want to force players to buy special vacuum protection for your sci-fi game you can, but you had better be prepared to re-write pre-written modules and keep in mind the added deadliness when making your own stories because it's not the default setting.

Thankfully not an issue. I'm not running in the Pact World setting right now as it is, so I don't need to worry about modules.

Edit: To clarify, it's less about forcing them to purchase more gear (not interesting), and more about making it an actual choice of whether or not to use that gear. Picard does not sit on the bridge of the Enterprise in a vac suit. Also, if a race can survive naturally in space (I have a Sarcesian player), it should at least have some small meaning.


I mean, if your ship can freely manufacture missiles given a bit of downtime, then atmosphere should be no problem at all.


Pantshandshake wrote:

Honestly, it would seem weird to me if, in a setting with multiple interplanetary sentient species and several interstellar ones, nobody developed something you can wear to effectively deal with space.

I mean, we, as humans on Earth, have done pretty well with that sort of thing. It didn’t take particularly long to go from not-so-good gasmasks to full on NBC suits. If we had magic and super future tech, I have no doubt we’d have some kind of somewhat comfortable super protective space attire.

And that's fine for a lot of games, but it nullifies a major component of sci-fi drama. Any comments on the rest of the post beyond the first two sentences?

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