Mercenary Healer

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Organized Play Member. 60 posts. No reviews. No lists. No wishlists. 7 Organized Play characters.


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On criticizing people who haven't played it:

I agree that people who have played the system have a more valid opinion of how things work, but I also think that the "initial read" is important.

It's worth pointing out that putting together an RPG session takes effort and buy-in from a group. I love to try new RPG systems. There are tons and tons of systems that I'd like to try but will probably never in my life play because most of the gamers I know are not this way, they find a system that works for them and then heavily resist trying anything new for even a single session unless they think it is very likely it will increase their fun.

I think 5e casting is a good example of how to tone down power while keeping things fun. Caster/martial balance was bothering some players. 5e nerfed casting overall but still gave casters some fun things that 3.5/PF casters couldn't do and even buffed some spells (like Prestidigitation!), so even the players who liked to play casters were intrigued and willing to give it a try.

So what can my PF2 wizard do that my PF1 wizard can't? It seems the main answer is "avoid overshadowing others". Which is all well and good, but it's not very sexy if you like to play wizards.

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I think the simple explanation is that a race represents having certain innate talents, but talent is nothing without training (i.e. experience). Just as being an Olympian requires both a certain level of talents/genetics and a lot of training. You might have the world's greatest swimmer's body, but if you seldom jump in a pool, it doesn't count for much.

Dwarves are taught to hate giants, and taught stories about the weaknesses of giants their whole lives, but to a growing dwarf, those are just stories. Once the dwarf starts to learn about the hack and slash of combat, and begins to see how justified those hatreds are, he finally understands the importance of those lessons and how they can be applied to the chaotic hack and slash of combat.

Many half-orcs have low-light vision, but developing this into darkvision is harder for them than pure-blooded orcs. It takes training, practice, focus, and discipline, and when they're among ordinary folk, they don't really feel the need to develop it. Only once they start adventuring do they appreciate how truly dark and full of terrors the night can be and find it within themselves to develop this latent talent.

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The point of Signature Skills is clearly to maintain some semblance of class vs. cross-class skills. You had to invest resources (e.g. a trait) to make a PF1 character proficient in a cross-class skill. The idea is that a typical Rogue has an easier time learning how to sneak or pickpocket than a typical Cleric, which I think most people would agree this is iconic to D&D as a system, even if we also celebrate having tools to break out of that mold. So maybe part of the problem is just not having those tools.

Now whether Signature Skills is the right way to implement this, I'm not sure. I can see the concerns.

Maybe one idea: you can spend a skill upgrade to make a non-Signature skill into a Signature skill.

I do agree with the complaint about imbalance of skill picks. As a frequent Cleric player, I'm ecstatic about finally having 5 skills and finally knowing more about my deity than the average man on the street, but I don't see why the Fighter can't have just as many.

With a lot of skill checks, including this one, it seems to be GM-specific. I wonder if Paizo intends to keep so many skills this way, or if they're just doing this for playtesting.

For a lot of skills, this could lead to a lot of table variation, even in Organized Play.

The one I was looking at is repairing a shield. Depending on where you set the DCs to fix it, frequent use of Shield Block with a level-appropriate shield may or may not be viable.

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Good catch. The book seems to be missing text somewhere that says "All characters are considered Trained in Unarmored Proficiency unless specified otherwise."

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Lay on Hands has a Somatic component, which gives it the Manipulate trait.

The Manipulate trait provokes attacks of opportunity (from the apparent minority of creatures that now have that ability).

So for practical purposes, Warded Touch reads "Lay on Hands no longer provokes attacks of opportunity".

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Agree that Colette is making some leaps in tone. I'd be more speculative right now.

But speaking of Fighters and archetypes, I wonder if Fighter Dedication might be borderline must-have for a lot of classes. For an investment of just 2 class feats, it seems a caster can become fairly competent at weapon-based fighting.

This might become a lot like Longarms proficiency + specialization in Starfinder, which were almost essential for casters to pull their weight in combat.

Fighter Dedication does seem to outstrip most of the caster Feats that improve their weapon. Abilities like the Cleric's Deadly Simplicity, Channel Smite, Align Armament. Or the Sorcerer/Wizard's Magical Striker.

The offset to this is that they'll have to invest some resources in their weapon to keep up with the Cantrip scaling. I don't have a sense of how big a tax on resources that is.

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I'm generally with Xenocrat.

I think it's a misnomer to call this linear/quadratic when really the "problem" seems to be that martials are better at fighting and casters are better at utility and support. The classic linear/quadratic problem was that late-game casters dominate both in and out of combat.

The classic problem that casting overpowers skill monkeying in the late game might still sort of be here, but maybe in a weaker form. But that problem is really tough to solve entirely without making magic feel weak.

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As others have pointed out, melee drones tend to suffer but can be viable, for certain meanings of "viable". After all, they are still a body with a reasonable attack bonus that can carry a weapon. And if you have relatively few encounters per day, then even if they die every encounter, that's not so bad. It does suck if you have 4 encounters and they die on the first though.

The melee drone tends to suffer from four issues:

1. Lower AC than a proper tank, even with the Armor mod.

2. Less HP than even a 10-CON Technomancer (SP+HP).

3. They are extremely difficult to heal.

4. Drones suffer from action economy issues, and melee characters need to move + attack more often than ranged characters. Also, unlike Soldiers or Solarians, they never get options like a standard action charge.

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I second Porridge's idea giving flexibility on when to take Archetype powers (and what class powers to give up). Though my thought would be to maybe expand the list of class features that can be given up. So maybe an Envoy could give up an Expertise Talent instead of an Improvisation, for example, in exchange for gaining a 2nd level archetype power at level 3. But I guess that could make the balance challenge even greater.

Good observation on Cache Capacitor. I think this is by far the worst ability that can be swapped out with an Archetype, and practically every 6th-level Archetype feature is better. Cache Capacitor 1 (the only one relevant to SFS) is bad enough that you may never make use of it, as you have to weigh the feature against the opportunity cost: a 1st level spell slot (and spell known).

I think the understanding is that generally only weapons and power armor come with a removable battery. And maybe armor upgrades? You can't get 10-capacity batteries for 1 credit a piece. Right now there's no such thing as a 10-capacity removable battery.

The Level 1 Diasporan Rifle is a problem and probably ought to have 20 capacity and usage 2. Actually all those rifles should probably have usage 2 and twice the capacity. I'd actually argue for enforcing this in SFS, in the absence of any other coherent logic for these weapons. Alien Archive needs a whole bunch of errata, and we haven't seen any yet.

Someone else pointed out that there ought to be a separate category of "low-power battery" that costs 1 credit and can only be put into a limited selection of items (e.g. items in the "Technological Items" category). I like this idea, but obviously not currently SFS-legal.

I also strongly believe there should be an easy way to transfer charge between batteries without using MAGIC.

I'd agree with others that you do not gain Weapon Spec automatically with Technomantic Proficiency. The 3rd-level class ability grants bonus feats, you are only gaining proficiency temporarily and only for 1 weapon, and in any case there's no such feat as "Weapon Specialization: Hunting Rifle", for example.

This does make Technomantic Proficiency rather crappy. I think it would be pretty crappy even if it did grant WS, except maybe at high levels. So if I were the DM I'd go ahead and let Weapon Spec apply (assuming the adventure starts at Level 1), since I'm pretty tolerant of bending rules for underpowered builds.

RE: Versatile Spec + Technomantic Proficiency, that's sort of a complicated question.

Versatile Spec indicates that it grants spec to weapons that can be "selected with Weapon Specialization".

The pre-req for Weapon Spec is proficiency. So can you select a feat whose pre-reqs you only meet for minutes at a time when using a special ability? You're not technically doing that here, but that's the requirement to see if Versatile Spec applies to the weapon.

AFAIK this was only loosely resolved even in PF.

Here's the dev response for PF:

SKR's response there suggests allowing it if it's a 24-hour sort of bonus but not a short duration bonus like this. And obviously SF is not PF, but the language regarding feat pre-reqs is identical between PF and SF.

So my strictest reading of RAW, using the information available, is don't have Versatile Spec apply (and therefore it's impossible to get Specialization with Technomantic Proficiency). Which is probably the ruling I'd enforce for SFS, unless a SF dev says otherwise.

I’m sure you own a lot of things IRL with zero resale value. This is much less of a stretch than the 10% rule for valuable durable goods.

Wouldn't Technomancer be an option here?

Most Technomancer builds go with Longarms, but if you're using Spellshot, Empowered Weapon, etc., you're not giving up as much DPR with Small Arms as a soldier is. And you are saving two feats.

I personally like the 5e approach -- SR = Advantage on saves vs. spells. It's elegant, it speeds things up, and its shifts the balance a bit towards blasting and away from SoD. Of course, this does limit the designers' ability to put no-save spells into the game (but in practice a high-level PF character can take steps to make SR a non-issue anyway).

One big problem with SR as currently implemented in 3e/PF is that it blocks friendly spells unless you spend a standard action to lower your SR for 1 round. In my experience most tables are either oblivious to this rule or they hate it and don't implement it. Which means that when a GM does enforce it against a PC, it starts arguments.

All this said, is it really abusive if you allow this in a home game?

Multiclassing almost always burns casters in the end, but there might be some abusive combinations possible with classes like Soldier multiclassing with itself.

A Mystic 1 / Mystic 1 multiclass would be way better than a Mystic 2 thanks to having a bunch more spells, but I'm not sure if it's noticeably better than a Mystic 1 / Technomancer 1 multiclass. Sure, the M/M multiclass gets another connection power and is slightly less MAD, but you lose out on the M/T's wider variety of spells and class skills, plus Spell Cache.

It's just that Level 2 is kind of a dead level for the two casting classes, and it's worth even less to Mystics than it is to Technomancers. But whenever the multiclass falls behind a spell level, it hurts a lot.

I remember people discussing this a while ago. Have devs not commented on this exploit? As far as I can tell it's still SFS-legal.

The rule needs to read: To transfer a fusion, pay the full cost of the fusion on the new item minus half the cost of the fusion on the old item; fusions can't be transferred from higher-to-lower level weapons. There, problem solved. Works the same as the present system if the items are the same level.

Or, to make the rules simpler (for mostly the same effect): Fusions, unlike other items, can be removed and sold for half price. If you need an in-world reason...The Fusion Consortium (or whoever) is generous and wants to encourage the use and re-use of fusions.

Others are kind of exaggerating how complicated this exploit is. No shopkeepers are going to kneecap you. All you need for 1st-level fusions is a wooden club, a bag of "fusion-transferring ingredients", 1 rank in Mysticism, and 10 minutes. Congrats, for a 9th-level weapon you're paying 1,420 for your fusion instead of 2,600. That's a difference of 3.6% of your 8th-level WBL.

And the fact is you could still legitimately exploit this by accident. You buy a fusion for some old backup weapon of yours. You realize that weapon is no longer useful. You transfer it to a brand new weapon you buy. Bam, you might have just saved a bunch of credits vs. buying it for that new weapon in the first place.

Building a tanking Drone isn't really viable unless you only fight 1 combat per day, mainly because its HP is poor, healing the Drone is such a pain, and its AC lags a few points behind a proper tank, even with the AC mod. If you were to attempt it, I'd say you at least need to pick up the Repair Drone trick and the Armor mod. Also it's a plus if your party has a Technomancer that can toss in a Mending (but that's only 1x/day). Make Whole becomes an option later. But healing can be a big problem even for drones that try to stay in the back, let alone those putting themselves in the line of fire.

You might as well tank with a Mechanic before you tank with a drone. More SP/HP, much easier to heal, and higher AC potential.

As for actions in combat, no one has mentioned the Overcharge line of Mechanic Tricks. With the right positioning, you could take two move actions to power up the weapons of two combatants -- say, your party's Soldier and your own Drone. From a DPR standpoint, this option may not be much worse than firing your own weapon.

Agree with Ravingdork on skepticism on smoke grenades. In my experience whenever people start tossing these or spells like Fog Cloud, it's rare that it helps much more than it hurts. There are definitely situations where it can be clutch, but it might only be 1 battle out of 5 or 10.

As for challenge of fights in SFS, it's relative. We were challenged in a few of them (no deaths yet though), if only because I was playing with some new people and some experienced people adverse to optimization.

Though if you count Dead Suns 1 as part of SFS, the challenge is no joke (especially with a Level 1 party), and that's entirely because of the combats.

But the point is that even if you fail some key skill checks in an SFS scenario but handle yourself well in the combats, you're probably at least going to get your 1 XP and not end up dead, even if you miss out on some rewards. And those rewards are mostly going to be applied to buying better gear for combat.

At the end of the day, the game's design is such that skill checks generally support success in combat, not vice versa. And this is part of the balance behind having a class that dominates as a skill monkey but is mediocre in combat.

I think the design of the operative is good for SFS. Knowing that one character can handle most of the skill checks if necessary is a good thing, since they might be showing up to a table full of Vesk Soldiers that all took the same three skills.

In a home game where people would rather build the party around each member having a specialty, I can see how the math here might be annoying. But really it's probably just a difference between the Operative being 1-2 points behind the Specialists or 1-2 points ahead of them. If people have a problem with the Operative stealing the spotlight, particularly with Hacker builds, then for now I'd just discourage that build.

I personally don't place a high "fun value" on being able to make a lot of skill checks with my character. Maybe it would be more fun in a homebrew campaign where you're doing really interesting things with Computers. But in practice, in SFS, we come upon a computer-related obstacle, ask "Who has the highest computers?", that person rolls and everyone else (who can) assists. I don't notice any change in fun if my Technomancer has the highest Computers bonus or the second-highest. I'm playing the class for its non-skill abilities anyway.

But some people do like having a character that's great at skills, which is fine. If you like skill monkeys, this system finally gives you a great choice for one. More fun for those people, and it doesn't impact my fun. Works well for me. And you even have a second, rather different skill monkey class that's still viable: the Envoy. Great!

The Operative is mediocre at (non-space) combat, generally better only than the Envoy (situationally) and a caster that's not casting spells. But they're not THAT much worse than other classes at combat, which again is probably good design. No matter how many skill checks there are in a d20 campaign, if you can't handle yourself in combat you usually end up as a drag on the party.

I want to add that the Mystic and Technomancer are being conflated some in here. The TM is a significantly more powerful class than Mystic.

TMs have:
-- +2 Dex (assuming one of several good racial options were chosen)
-- +1 spell per day of highest level
-- Generally better class abilities, including free Spell Focus and options that eventually make them into solid sustained ranged damage dealers
-- Skills that translate to being MUCH better at starship combat

From level 1 on, TMs are solid ranged damage dealers, especially in clutch situations, and they are the best AOE damage dealers. Plus they offer the potential for a lot of utility.

In return, the Mystics get two niches:
-- Only Wis class and all Wis skills as class skills means they're usually best by far at certain skill checks (though sadly none of these checks have value in starship combat)

-- Healing HP. The problem is this often isn't needed. And they are VERY good at this if they pick the Healing connection, but now they've specialized in it further. If they don't pick Healing connection, they'll have to set aside already limited spells for it

That's not a rule, that was a proposed future rule (or house rule).

I really do hope they broaden things a bit. For a home game, I'd probably experiment with some house rules to give STR and WIS characters something they're good at, even if it's just one task at a given role. Or maybe try out house rules for boarding actions or attacks that directly injure crew members so the Mystic's healing abilities come up.

For SFS, my approach has been to not play a STR or WIS-based character if there's going to be a ship combat.

The problem is made sharper by the fact there are 2 core races that give DEX/INT but none of the STR or WIS-boosting races give INT or DEX. So you end up with DEX or INT-based characters who are still better at their secondary crew roles than a STR or WIS character is at their best role.

I mean, is there a balance reason why the Technomancer has to be so much more useful than the Mystic in space combat? Is the Mystic that much better at something else to compensate for it? It doesn't seem that way to me.

Michael7123 wrote:
First of all, I'd advise going for a DEX of 14 and a WIS of 18. While dexterity is important, as a mystic maxing your wisdom score really does a lot more for you. Remember your resolve points are tied to Wisdom, and you want a lot of those.

He's planning to be the party's pilot. If space combat will be reasonably frequent, a higher DEX might be worth it, combined with the other advantages it gives in combat. Also depending on the level the campaign goes to. They're already starting at 3. If most of the campaign is played at levels 5-9, then it's probably smart not to start with an 18.

And yes, unless you expect this to be a combat-light campaign, take Longarms, especially if you're going 16 DEX. But even if you're not.

Drow don't get a WIS bonus, but they do get a DEX bonus, so I've decided to pick Ace Pilot as my theme and Star Shaman for my Connection.

That's a non-sequitur though. Nothing necessarily wrong with those picks, but having +2 DEX or +2 WIS has nothing to do with whether you should have 16/16 or 18/14 in your stats.

I'm hoping that CON penalty won't be as painful as it would be in Pathfinder.

It won't be. A negative CON mod reduced a Cleric's HP by somewhere between 12.5% and 20% depending on level. Here it reduces your combined Stamina + HP pool by about 8%.

Or they could cut to the chase and BE the Technomancer. Though normally all this does is reduce the load on the Mystic for non-combat healing. Still, obviously great if you don't have a Mystic.

It seems like you could play an Android a long time before Constructed hurts you, unless the GM is actively looking for ways. The only way that I can think of is a hostile Technomancer with some anti-construct spell picks. Even then, there's an opportunity cost compared to casting another spell.

At least Constructed hurts you much less often than the way PF half-elves were both human and elf, since Paizo would print enemies with Bane weapons or Favored Enemy that target one of those two races. And using those abilities has no opportunity cost.

You give up very little by being good at both, especially at low levels.

You can have 18 in one stat and 16 in the other. I personally think 18 INT is generally better, if only for the skills (including Starship combat) and the ability to get to 20 INT at Level 2 for an extra spell per day.

For feats, there aren't many good pure casting feats for low levels. And you get Spell Focus free. So you don't give up much spending 2-3 feats on Longarms.

For spell hacks, a lot of them support both casting and shooting. E.g. Harmful Spells helps standalone spells and will eventually also help Spellshot. I think Selective Targeting has potential for both as well, though it's better for standard casting than Spellshotting Overheat.

Fabricate Arms is a conscious decision to favor shooting over casting, but I'm not convinced that the best Spellshot builds necessarily need it.

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Deranged Stabby-Man wrote:

Bigger numbers ain't even what I'm after at this point. In that regard, everything is balanced. I just mean more STUFF to grab. Technomancer gets a mere 7 Magic hacks, 2 of which are so important and borderline mandatory that they might as well be class features (the two Fabrication hacks)so technically 5 hacks.

Whoa, calling the Fabricate hacks "borderline mandatory" is pretty strong. I don't think they're necessarily even optimal, though they're certainly viable.

Much of the time a TM should be able to do better things in combat than spend a round and a top-tier spell creating a short-lived weapon. As for Fabricate Tech, its viability probably depends on the GM and the campaign. I wouldn't expect it to be very good in SFS. OTOH in a more open-ended campaign, it can be be pretty handy. Some GMs might even be lenient enough to allow some broken abuses, since it is pretty open-ended.

Overall, I think the Spell Hacks support a few different viable approaches, which is really the best we can hope for at this stage.

QuidEst wrote:
I'd recommend against full casters. Even at low levels, the spontaneous casters are tossing out a lot more spells without any real drawbacks (since the BAB difference is pretty small at that point, Mystic/Technomancer don't have a lot of front-loaded features, and cantrips/knacks substitute for weapons until third level). Prepared casters get comparable spells to the 6/9 casters with more flexibility, and again, no real drawbacks.

On the Technomancer/Sorcerer comparison:

At level 1, counting Spell Cache, the TM and Sorcerer have the same number of slots and spells known. TM's casting stat is INT, which is generally better than Sorcerer's CHA. Leaving Sorcerer skills at 2+INT is debatable but certainly an option. Sorcerer is not proficient in armor. Do you allow them to cast in armor? I'd probably say yes, but I probably wouldn't give them armor proficiency for free. You have the option of denying them armor usage though, requiring them to use Mirror Image to protect themselves. I'd also give Sorcerer 5 Stamina/HP vs. TM's 6.

At level 5, including Spell Cache and assuming 20 INT, the TM's spell slots are 6/4 compared to the Sorcerer's 8/4. TM has 6/4/3 spells known compared to Sorcerer's 6/4/2. At that point, Sorcerer has picked up 2 bloodline abilities. TM has picked up a Spell Hack (which is probably better than most bloodline powers, but perhaps not as good as the very best), Spell Focus, and a +1 skill boost.

So for level 1-5, I think the balance between the two is pretty close. Once the Sorcerer pulls ahead of TM in spell level though, it starts to pull strongly ahead of TM as a caster. Still, if the campaign only goes to 10 or 11, the Sorcerer is never more than 1 spell level ahead of the TM, and the TM does have a lot of other features to try to balance that out. Sorcerer is probably still more powerful, but not overwhelmingly so.

I'm not entirely sure about your question. Are you asking how to balance a 9-level caster that you homebrew/import into SF? Or are you asking if there are choices you can take with a Technomancer or Mystic to make them more like a Witch?

For the latter, I'd think you could flavor a Mystic as a Witch, maybe even a Psychic. And you could obviously flavor one as a Cleric, Oracle, or Druid.

For the former, you could make it happen with some homebrew.

When it comes to balancing 9-level casters for SF, note that Sorcerers don't pull strongly ahead of Technomancers at casting until Level 6, when they get 3rd level spells. So for a low-level campaign, I think a 9-level caster could probably be balanced against SF casters without too big a stretch. At high levels though, it would be tough.

Bringing in the full list of PF spells would be a bit much though. I'd consider either casting off the existing SF lists or allowing PF core-only spells, and maybe eliminate a few of the most powerful low-level spells like Color Spray and Sleep (and apply the already-existing nerf to Haste).

The Technomancer is closer in power to the Sorcerer than the Mystic is to the Oracle though. The Oracle is a much better spellcaster than the Mystic, gets better class abilities, and has the same BAB.

@Zahir: Don't feed.

When it comes to the "tank" role, the Blitz Soldier is in some ways better than the Guard.

As for tank abilities in the relevant level range, Blitz gets a self-heal while Guard gets a point of AC if their DEX is high enough and the ability to take damage for an adjacent ally. I expect that last ability to be useful very rarely; those times that you actually want to take damage for an ally, they will rarely be adjacent to you.

Blitz soldier's speed (both in movement and initiative) also helps ensure that he's where he needs to be, placing himself between enemies and the squishies. Remember that any Soldier wearing heavy armor who isn't Blitz will probably be the slowest member of the party.

Note that the Blitz soldier's self-heal is a bit behind the Mechanic's energy shield if the Mechanic invests twice into it, but combined with the fact that soldier is already ahead of Mechanic on Stamina/HP, I don't see the Mechanic really being tankier than a Blitz soldier.

I think you already figured out your answer -- it's a pretty sub-optimal weapon choice, unless you're able to pick up petrol. Which I don't think I've seen written into an SFS scenario yet. Even then, with that 25 ft. range, I'd expect to often be in situations where you can't use it until you spend a turn or two moving. Compared to the 120 ft. range of the laser rifle, and the fact you're dealing a d6 instead of d8, I'd expect the laser rifle to beat out flame rifle in both DPR and cost most of the time.

I admit it is pretty cool and thematic, but you're definitely paying for that. So I guess the question is how much the theme is worth to you.

I'd agree with MagicA: Technomancers are #1 for AOE damage. It's still tough for Soldiers and others to deal good AOE damage: grenades are expensive, and the AOE heavy weapons have relatively low damage and radii. Selective Targeting is also very valuable for Technomancers.

Magic Missile at Levels 1-2 deals as much damage (10.5) as the hardest-hitting Soldier's melee attack, and it hits 100% of the time at range. At low levels, Technomancers are often the damage MVPs if they take this spell.

At level 1, Technomancers have as many spells per day as PF Sorcerers. They don't start to fall behind Sorcs in spells in a big way until Level 6. And all the while their non-spell options are much stronger than Sorcs.

Some people are suggesting more encounters per day than PF, though SFS modules so far haven't been written that way. We'll have to see.

A lot of the value of the utility spells is dependent on you not already having a Mystic or Technomancer who can cast those utility spells.

As for combat spells available here, I really think the best is Mystic Cure. If someone is at 0, even 1 HP of healing can be huge. Though as noted above, you can potentially heal for much more if you want to burn your own HP.

In PF, healing someone who is at negatives for 1d8+1 wasn't great (other than stabilizing them); if they're at -3 and you roll a 1 on the d8, they're still down. Let alone if they're at -12. Plus having single-digit HP was perilous; your odds of dying from a single attack at that point were pretty high at higher levels.

But in SF, like D&D 5e, healing someone for even 1 HP is pretty good if they're at 0. It's tougher to die from one hit, and that healing is guaranteed to bring them back into the fight. The enemy will likely have to spend at least one action to negate your action (unless they're lobbing AOEs). And if the person you brought up is the party healer and they're able to heal themselves before they take any more damage, you might have saved the party.

While you can use Serums of Healing instead of Mystic Cure, it might take you two turns to be able to do it unless you're either right next to them or you can pull out the serum as a swift (e.g. Ysoki or Glove of Storing). And since the whole purpose here is to save actions (since they could always burn RP to stand back up with 1 HP if they spent 2 actions of their own), that's not nearly as useful as being able to Mystic Cure as a single standard, which saves the party an action.

On Identify, its utility is probably entirely GM dependent.

If your GM says that most/all computers have passwords that are discoverable with a Computers check equal to, say, DC 15 + 1.5x the computer's level, then someone having Identify (whether a Technomancer or a Technomantic Dabbler) is practically essential for hacking. Especially since hacking is generally a skill check you do not want to fail if you attempt it.

I don't think that SFS modules or Dead Suns 1 ever say anything about hacking to find a password though. My assumption is that this spell will be basically useless in SFS.

In practice, if it could be disarmed but that dismisses it and you could draw it again, that would probably be fine. It's still better than a regular melee weapon would be in that situation. But the text here seems unambiguous.

But if you have to spend a move action to dismiss it, then it certain situations it will be worse than a regular melee weapon. Which might be RAI, but it's worth noting.

2 people marked this as FAQ candidate.

This seems pretty basic, but I couldn't find anyone calling it out.

Are Solarians able to drop their solar weapons as a means of dismissing them as a free action (since it auto-dismisses whenever leaving your hand)?

I would think you could, except that dismissing them is called out as a move action. If you could dismiss as a free action with no conceivable downside, why bother including an option to dismiss as a move action?

My inclination is to think this was just an oversight. But I want to make sure I'm not missing something.

The root of this question is that the rules set the drone up as having power that is tied to the skill level of the Mechanic, and even though it seems like it should be an expensive piece of equipment, the Mechanic can rebuild it for free if it's destroyed. They do this because the root assumption of d20 games, SF included, is that characters gain huge increases in power from leveling up.

Overall, I think it's pretty clear the design intent is that the only upgrade you buy for your drone with credits is weaponry, and the rest of the upgrades come from leveling up. If they wanted you to upgrade your drone with cash, the obvious solution would be to just assign a cash value to every mod. I mean, installing a cargo rack makes way more sense than putting a backpack on your drone.

Any in-game explanation for why you can't buy an expensive combat drone, or why you can't use cash to make big upgrades to your drone, is going to sound contrived. Incompatibility issues! Good drones are unusable unless you build them yourself for 0 credits! I don't know.

In the end, you have to either have to accept it as being part of the game's balance, join a group that's prepared to modify the game's balance, or go play a game like Shadowrun, which is much more focused on gearing up and much less focused on leveling up. Some people like Shadowrun, and it probably does make more sense on a lot of points than SF, but I can't seem to have fun with it.

Ravingdork wrote:

A Steward and three pirates walk into a jungle. The Steward casts summon monster, but nothing appears to happen. The pirates laugh. The Steward laughs. The sneaky whelps attached to the pirates' backs laugh...


Yep, that's that "fun factor" I was referring to! They are cool little creatures.

Corwynn Maelstrom wrote:

As an aside, your full speed while prone is 5' because the only move you can make is a crawl. I can see how you could interpret the rule differently, but I hope you can see how it's possible to also interpret the rules as limiting prone movement to a crawl.

Right, that's clearly and obviously RAI, but it's worth noting that they've never spelled it out, in a rules-heavy system that bothers to define a lot of different things. After searching, I'm finding now that the prone discussion was largely copy-pasted from PF, and really from 3.5.

The difference is that prone seems to be coming up a lot more in SF, thanks to its benefits in ranged combat and the existence of the Ysoki.

Curiously, 5e, a more rules-light system, leads off its description of prone by saying: "A prone creature's only movement option is to crawl, unless it stands up and thereby ends the condition." PF/SF take the approach of listing crawl as an option, but the description of prone never says what the movement-related consequences are, and the description of crawl is very odd.

For all that, on my original point, I guess your opinion would be that RAI is you can crawl as part of a Trick Attack (Option #5 above)? Or that you are stuck in place if you're prone (Option #1)?

Actually, I guess Aid Another is no longer a melee combat option, and I forgot about Harrying Fire and Covering Fire.

Using 1st level ranged summons to do these things might not be a bad idea at higher levels -- they'll succeed half the time. And it's probably better than trying to position your Skittermander to flank, which will probably work out less than half the time.

So TLDR, Xenocrat is right, Skittermander whelp is probably useless, move along.

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MatthewHudson wrote:

If the Swift action wasn't consumed by the Full Action, it would make so much more sense and offer so many more possibilities to work in concert as real benefits when they "speed up" an action like drawing a weapon or standing up as a swift action.

I think you hit the nail on the head here. Full Actions consuming your Swift is seeming more and more like a bad rule change. Is there some specific abuse that it's meant to prevent?

A lot of swift actions are investments of resources to reduce a move to a swift (examples are Kip Up / Ysoki and various methods of quick drawing). Is it fun to say, "Actually, in this situation where you want to do that thing quickly that you built your character to be able to do quickly, it will not actually help you do it more quickly in any practical way?"

OK, so RAW you can move full speed while prone, got it. I hadn't caught that part because I was just focused on it regarding Trick Attack. Probably not how we're going to play SFS though.

I suppose the errata needs to start with fixing the description of Prone and Crawl and make sure the solution unambiguously covers Trick Attack. The way Trick Attack works now, I think you should be able to crawl and that's it (that's my Option #5 above)

I'd just eliminate crawl and say that your speed is reduced to 5 (if higher than 5) for all purposes while prone.

MatthewHudson wrote:

I think it would fix things to just make the "trick" component require a swift action or move action. Swift Action: skill Check, Move Action: Move up to your speed, Standard Action: Attack against flat footed AC if Trick skill check succeeded. You could then instead just use the move action to draw your weapon, or with a +1 BAB you'd be taking the move action so it would allow the draw during that move. Alternatively you could use that move action to not move up to your speed, but instead steady the sniper weapon for the sniper shot with the move action.

I like this idea -- I'd opt for it in a home game. Though obviously doesn't resolve the issues in SFS.

So here's another RAW problem: using Trick Attack when you're prone. Technically being prone doesn't change your speed. So what can I do with the "move up to your speed" part of Trick Attack in this situation?

I can come up with at least 6 possible ideas:

1. Nothing -- no movement allowed.
2. You're not even allowed to Trick Attack while prone.
3. Stand up and that's it?
4. Stand up and move your speed?
5. Move 5 feet while staying prone?
6. Move my full speed while staying prone (perhaps in the form of stand up, move, and drop prone again)?

RAW, #6 seems to be the answer, though it's also the most ridiculous.

Of course, your proposed rule would fix all of this, but it's a real issue in SFS play where the Ysoki Operative is a natural pairing, and Ysoki love going prone.

Thanks, this is helpful.

I hadn't thought about the fact that Level 1 base summons lack 5 ft. reach. I guess that's the only reason Skittermander whelp exists as an option (besides fun factor). But note that this means it can provide a flank, unlike the other options. So yes, it's generally terrible, but at high levels it will be the only 1st level summon that can do anything in a fight (besides Aid Another). The Whelp can both flank AND Aid Another.

Hopefully the enemy won't have AOEs, in which case it will either provide some bonuses or at least eat an attack. Summon it before the fight though, not during.

Xenocrat wrote:

I think that’s just an error, the melee damage on the CR 11 is wrong, I think they also messed up by replacing the meleeline with multi attack.

Away from the book, but you mean the base stats (which apply to all outsiders adding a graft), not the specific elemental grafts, right?


There's definitely AN error in the multiattack line; the question is whether the error is replacing Melee with Multiattack or in failing to spell out the multiattack. Though I don't expect to be playing any Level 16 characters any time soon, so I'm not too worried about it at the moment.

One advantage of this spell relative to PF that I haven't seen anyone call out: it's medium range. Which is probably there since the changes to Concentration mean that casting this anywhere near the front lines is a bad idea. But the change to medium definitely favors melee summons.

Overall, melee seems to be the better option in most combat situations. The Air elemental's movement is greater than the range increment of nearly all of the ranged attackers. And unlike PF where the Air Elemental's slams were pathetic (and flying summons in general were weak), here it hits as hard as anything else. Plus it still has Whirlwind.

And melee summons with reach will be great for harassing casters and ranged attackers. Especially if it's a Protean who risks grabbing them if they provoke an AOO by trying to move away.

I think the biggest advantage of the ranged summons is not range itself but the variety of damage types (and by extension, more attacks that target EAC).

I also think the Earth Elemental deserves a space in the "melee" category. It's true that its +1 bonus will likely benefit it less than in PF, but since maximizing DPR will very often be the top priority in summon choice, and no other graft gives any kind of bonus to melee damage or attacks, they probably deserve recognition.

As for the Agathion's multiattack, the high level elementals also have multiattack, though its benefit is unclear. My guess is the intent is for them to make 3 slam attacks.

Captain Zoom wrote:
Deadmanwalking wrote:
Looking at it, I'm not sure I disagree all that much, though I will note one factor you seem to be ignoring is Perception.
Frankly, by RAW, I think the skill "Perception" is meaningless in relation to determining which is better. If you follow the rules on "building" a summoned creature, it appears the creature has the same Perception bonus regardless of whether it has the Perception skill.

This is a good catch. And good suggestion on Master skills.

I will say that the Summon's ability to use Perception may also have some out-of-combat utility, especially at higher levels. At that point, the Summon will ideally be cast before combat, and/or linger a bit after combat. This means that they can be used to scout, to look for traps, and to search the battlefield. Also if you enter a new combat, the Perception may come up in a surprise round, depending on how your GM adjudicates it.

If your party doesn't have a Mystic or Operative, a Summon probably has a better Perception than anyone in your party (even without allowing for "Master" skills). And at lower levels, their Perception is about even with a 10-WIS Operative.

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Alright, so you walk into a hospital where a crimelord is being treated. Everywhere you see large vesks in suits carrying tubas, surfboards, and stop signs.

I love it.

The backpack is the model here; properly worn, it counts for negative bulk, but carried in the hands, it adds to bulk.

So there's a handwave that says for a mount properly trained and equipped to carry a rider of a given size, that rider doesn't count against bulk. Makes sense enough, and I expect that's the rule that will eventually come out.

This probably also includes all of the rider's gear, as long as the gear is still held on the rider's person.

It's a good rule; games always grind to a halt when people start getting on horses and then someone asks, "Wait, how encumbered is the horse now?" Then we look up the horse's strength, and we have to remember the multiplier for large quadrupeds, and someone never wrote down a weight for their character, or the weight for their character is absurdly high/low, and we start debating that and maybe decide to roll randomly, pretty soon 15 minutes have gone by due to a decision to get on a horse.

I'm happy to sacrifice that bit of realism.

Mounts will need to get some bonus to their carry capacity, or else they'll need a STR of like 40 to comfortably carry a medium-sized creature. While PF is a different system, it's supposed to be translatable enough, and PF's light riding horse (STR 16) can't physically carry a PF male human of average weight (120+2d10*5 = 175 lbs.), by Starfinder rules (based on 1 bulk = 10 lbs). Even a heavy warhorse (STR 18) would require that human to be naked.

That said, it's true that a GM might come in with the strictest possible reading (especially for SFS). In that case, you could still make this work with a Ysoki and a longarm-using Combat Drone. And Longarms are OK for a Combat Drone at low levels; by the time you're high enough level that Heavy Weapons are called for, hopefully more rules will be out.

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