Cayden Cailean

Sober Caydenite's page

********* Pathfinder Society GM. Starfinder Society GM. 216 posts. 1 review. No lists. No wishlists. 66 Organized Play characters.


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Silver Crusade 5/5 5/55/5 ***

I eventually found them. Not very intuitive, though.

Silver Crusade 5/5 5/55/5 ***

Where are the sanctioning documents for Fly Free or Die hiding? Previous APs had a link on the product page, but Devastation Ark and Fly Free or Die have new layouts. Or have they not yet dropped? This blog post from 5/20 says "next week," have they been posted somewhere?

Silver Crusade

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It would just be nice if, at some point before the book was finished, someone who had run a few games read through it as if they were prepping to run, and flagged the glaringly bad ideas, the 100% incorrect rules interpretations, and the utter nonsense for review. It would only take an hour or two. It's so disheartening to pay for material that the writers and editors just don't care enough about to actually read over.

Silver Crusade

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My issue isn't the story, or the believability of characters motivations, or anything like that. My problem is that an author decided to make a solo enemy who focused on tripping, despite the fact that tripping in Starfinder is only useful if you have allies to take advantage of it, and double down by specifically saying "if he has trouble hitting a character, he tries to trip them," even though even with Improved Trip it is 4 harder to hit with a trip than a regular strike.

Then an editor (I assume) read over the initial draft; a layout person arranged the text, and nowhere in the process did anyone say "tripping in Starfinder doesn't work like that." The same goes for recommending the enemy charge when they start in the same 3x3 box as the rest of the combatants. The same goes for saying that Driftdead rely on their incorporeality for defense, even though they don't have that quality in the Drift. Just basic, simple stuff that a slightly experience GM would pick up on right away. Several different people had to have seen this text, and not one of them seems to know how the game actually works. That is my complaint, that such blatantly incorrect material is released.

Silver Crusade

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I've been slogging through running the AP for 3 1/2 books now. If it weren't for the incredible hassle of getting it set up for VTT thanks to the terrible pdf compression that splits the images and text randomly, I'd think it was a middle-of-the-road AP. It has some things it is trying to do, and while they don't really work out well, I can see what they were trying to do.

Book 4, however, has really driven home how little the authors and editors seem to know about how the game actually works. Some examples:

Spoiler:

The "duel" with Kantir Sursa. A solo, level 9 Vanguard is supposed to take on a full team of PCs. He specifically says its fine to take him on all at once. The fight takes place in a 15' x 15' boxing ring. Sursa's suggested tactics are to use Entropic Charge to trip the strongest-looking opponent, then make full attacks "to maintain his entropic pool" (?). "If he has trouble hitting an opponent, he attempts to trip them." None of this makes sense: he's far too close to charge; tripping when you are the only combatant on your side effectively does nothing, as standing doesn't provoke; Energy (which he has) only gives 1 Entropy once per combat when making a full attack, hardly "maintaining his entropic pool" every round; even with Improved Trip, it is much harder to trip an enemy than it is just to hit them, and they'd just stand up before you could hit them on your next turn. I did the best I could, but this poor chump went down in round 2 after getting two hits in. I just don't know what rules the author thought they were writing toward, but it certainly isn't Starfinder.

The assassination of Severanna Pilos. Setting aside how dumb it is for a skilled assassin to decide to take out their target in a small room with 4(!) witnesses in addition to the target, why use a super rifle for a shot that is, at most, 40'? Elemar, the assassin, doesn't have the exploit to trick attack with a sniper rifle; he'd do a lot more damage with his pistol, and can't even throw a debilitation on with the rifle. His tactics are to "stay mobile to keep an escape route open," but he starts in a small room with no exits, the only escape is to go through the room with his victim and all the PCs.

The driftdead malefactors. To be clear, all of chapters 2 and 3 occur on a space station in the Drift. The author even acknowledges this in the description of where these creatures came from: they died on the station, and rose as driftdead (makes sense, as dying in the Drift is kinda the pre-requisite to become driftdead). Their tactics are to "engage their opponents in melee range, relying on their incorporeality to protect them" which would be great, except driftdead are only incorporeal when they are NOT in the Drift.


I know that as GM I am fully empowered to change things to suit my game, and to adjudicate rules, and all that, but the basic Starfinder rule set isn't that hard to grasp. Anyone who has GMed a few games knows that these tactics make no sense, so why are they presented at all? Is there nobody whose job it is to just, like, read the adventure as if they were going to GM it and point these things out? I know the writers have a lot to do on a short time frame, but it really makes me lose faith in a product line when those creating content for it just don't seem to know how the game works.

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The captain's diplomancy ended up shutting things down pretty quick, and since they all scattered to let the tank take the damage, not much harm was inflicted. It was a lot of fun playing the aglians, though.

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This Aglian collective has Retaliation: +2 bonus to attacks of opportunity; one additional reaction per round.

Swarms don't make attack rolls, nor do they have the ability to make Attacks of Opportunity. What is this trait supposed to do?

At least there is some actual cash in this book...

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Update: As I expected, my players cut a deal with Rygan Vuul, volunteering as lab rats in exchange for 50 tons of cargo. The exchange rate there just doesn't make sense at all (neither does a corpse lease granting such a big discount from Rishae; 5 corpse leases would equal 50 tons of necrografts!) So, they ended up taking none of his loot.

Just for the sake of moving the game forward, I've ended up instituting a limited BP-for-cash scheme, where the crew can sell a BP for 500 CR a number of times equal to their APL. So, my 3rd-level party got 1500 cr, without which they would not have been able to afford renting a single enercycle for the Great Defrex Drive, and almost certainly have failed almost all of the checks.They're trying to be good guys, so forging licenses and stealing vehicles was discussed and rejected.

I think allowing a few BPs to get turned into cash each level will at least keep them from falling behind so fast as they proceed. They, too, are swimming in BPs after a single side run, but once their ship is built out, it seems like the only BPs can be spent on are ways to get more BPs. Otherwise, everyone's having fun, but having just come off Extinction Curse, there's a lot of comparison between the two over how the min-games don't really mesh with the rest.

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I'm prepping book 2, Merchants of the Void, and am really starting to wonder where the money is? Chapter 2 has all these options to spend money getting ready for the defrex drive, with a required licensing fee of 150cr per PC.

If the party sells literally everything they could possibly recover in Book 2 up to his point, they'd have 2434; the only way to get all this stuff is to murder Rygan Vuul, plunder his place, and rip out his necrografts. Considering that there are multiple avenues where the party just makes a deal with him, either through blackmail, volunteering as guinea pigs, or just paying the BPs, there is a very great chance they'll have made 0 credits since the end of Book 1 by the time they need to gear up for the defrex rodeo. All the other rewards offered in the book are in BPs, thus non-fungible.

My players are flat broke after kitting themselves out for the raid on the Horse Eye Orbital Plate, as they didn't want to kill anyone (I ruled that nonlethal Electrical damage worked on anacites and needed to pick up nonlethal weapons. They felt (rightly, in my opinion) that the gewgaws they stole from the office supply room were back pay for having been screwed over so hard on their last few jobs, and spent it all on toolkits, halfway decent armor, and other basic supplies. They don't have anything left to drop 750 cr on wrangling licenses, much less all the other gear (400 cr to rent a defrex? Why would a level 2 character have that much sitting around when there is so much they still need to get for basic functionality?)

I have a sinking feeling that all of the players' rewards in this AP will be in BPs, but they will still be facing level-appropriate challenges lacking the wherewithal to keep their armor up to par, much less other gear. Can anyone who's further along the AP assuage my fears that my players will feel severely under-funded the entire time?

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Using Acrobat, I drag the images out as .tiff files (you have to rename them, since they always get called by the main file name). Then run those through a .tiff to .jpg convertor. I use this site: https://tiff2jpg.com:

At least for Extinction Curse, I've found that the maps in the main adventure .pdf are much higher resolution than the ones in the map packs.

Silver Crusade 5/5 5/55/5 ***

Thanks, found it! I was prepping high tier, and the reference to where it is located in the low tier tactics.

Silver Crusade 5/5 5/55/5 ***

Prepping to run this and I can't find one of the exploits an NPC is supposed to have.

Spoiler:

What is Pinpoint Weakness, the exploit that Fang is supposed to have? No joy searching for it on Archives of Nethys, or a manual search of the Core Rulebook and Character Operations Manual.

Also, Breeze the Thief operative doesn't have the Sleight of Hand skill. I assume it should be +22 like her other Hex-based skills.

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Ascalaphus wrote:
Sober Caydenite wrote:
Airborne magically-active microbes that drift between the Ethereal and Prime Material Planes. Force effects (like force fields) can hedge them out or otherwise affect them, but they can phase inside normal environmental suits.
This made me think of really small phase spiders that get inside your armor

Swarm of tiny phase spiders came to me just after I hit Submit Post : )

How about gas-based traps that incorporate a magical suggestion to disable environmental seals? Since there is still air pressure and no toxins (yet) the suit's automatic confirmation process shouldn't be engaged.

Conversely, you can have scent- or temperature-based cues that the PCs would miss by having their environmental seals activated. I ran an SFS adventure once in a frozen lab, in which the players used environmental seals to avoid the cold and didn't notice the temperature gradually rising until the torpid BBEG got warm enough to activate and start a murder spree.

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Airborne magically-active microbes that drift between the Ethereal and Prime Material Planes. Force effects (like force fields) can hedge them out or otherwise affect them, but they can phase inside normal environmental suits.

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On a similar, but somewhat tangential note, what about Dragon Instinct barbarians? Their Rage ability gains the Arcane trait when they use it for extra energy damage, so it's magical. Would a cold-type Dragon barbarian do extra damage to a clay golem, slow a flesh golem, and deal no cold damage to an iron golem?

Silver Crusade 5/5 5/55/5 ***

A muscular goblin laden down with a variety of gear steps up to the mic.

"You all know me, my name is Stitchen Thyme!
When you get bitten I be spittin’ out a b**!&in rhyme
Always ready with a knife when life is on the line
I’m a doctor and a chef so either way is fine!"

Proud member of the Envoy's Alliance, ready to help kill, cook, cut up, patch up, carry, lift, or fetch whatever will make Our Particular Gang of Pathfinders happier, safer, and more successful.

Silver Crusade

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This is an important question to get an answer from, as a computer can also fire weapons using a bonus equal to double its tier. Not great for a direct fire weapon, but a grenade launcher or other explosion weapon only needs an attack roll of +4 to only miss on a 1, so a Tier 2 computer would do it.

Control modules are relatively cheap, so a computer could also activate things like force fields or haste circuits if it had an action.

Silver Crusade

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Kineticist seems like it could work well in 2E, with kinetic blasts scaling like cantrips do, and the various utility and defensive abilities as class feats. The burn mechanic would probably need some fiddling, though.

Silver Crusade

If spellcasters don't have a class DC, what happens if one scores a critical hit with a weapon in the Brawling group and trigger its critical specialization ability (whether through an Owlbear Claw talisman or some other means of accessing critical specialization effects)?

Brawling: the target must make a Fortitude save against your class DC or be slowed 1 until the end of your next turn.

Would a sorcerer who got a lucky critical with a spiked gauntlet with an Owlbear Claw bolted on be out of luck?

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You are missing a Monk feat at level 1, so you could take a ki feat there.

Silver Crusade

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P34, Half-orc Professional Focus. Making Profession a class skill is meaningless, as there are no classes that do not gain Profession as a class skill, and no way to make it not a class skill. Maybe some attempt at future-proofing, although I can't think of a reason a Starfinder class wouldn't have Profession as a class skill.

Silver Crusade 5/5 5/55/5 ***

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It would be nice if the Legacy Background Thassilonian Delver gave Thassilon Lore, rather than Thassilonian History, so it would mesh better with the Runescarred archetype from Lost Omens World Guide. Otherwise characters who are really into Thassilon stuff would end up with two basically identical Lore skills rather than improving one.

Silver Crusade 5/5 5/55/5 ***

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I really like the philosophy behind the new sanctioning procedure. For me, the attraction of applying AP credit to PFS characters was the access to neat new items and boons, not the gold and XP that I could pick up anywhere. Since feats, spells and other class abilities are now in the mix for rewards, it makes a lot of sense to have the chronicle be level-agnostic, so my character with the most interest in a unique ability or item can get access to it when I like.

Silver Crusade

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AsmodeusDM wrote:

-Being prone doesn't grant you any bonus to your AC vs. ranged (it just makes you flat-footed)

However, while prone you may use the Take Cover action to gain a +4 circumstance bonus to AC against ranged attacks, even without an actual object to hide behind. Still flat-footed, but a net +2 (or better if you have Deny Advantage from rogue or barbarian).

Silver Crusade

Generally, PFS makes hard rules like the one I mentioned to clarify issues that are intended to be up to GM discretion. Sorry I wasn’t clearer in drawing that connection, which Vlorax made more cogently than I did. The rarity system for such issues just means you need to have a conversation with your GM, not that you can’t be a Lastwall Sentry who undertakes the path of Magic Warrior to better oppose the Whispering Tyrant.

Silver Crusade

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In PFS you can spend Fame for a boon that allows you to be “from” an additional region, thus allowing a character from the Saga Lands who had taken the Runescarred archetype to also be able to take the Pathfinder Agent archetype, for instance.

Once the Lost Omens World Guide is added to additional resources, of course...

Silver Crusade

You also don't have to spend time or effort looking for a job, just start scouring the flea markets.

Silver Crusade 5/5 5/55/5 ***

Another item to note is that the Assurance skill feat has the Fortune tag, so you can't use it for Earn Income or other downtime activities like Crafting. Everybody rolls! This does make Crafting a bit more risky than I'd originally thought since you can't just Assurance your way to a predictable result.

This strikes me as a little odd, as Assurance seems like the opposite of a Fortune effect (I will take a guaranteed mediocre result instead of trusting to the whims of chance) but seems to be intended.

Silver Crusade 5/5 5/55/5 ***

3 people marked this as FAQ candidate. 10 people marked this as a favorite.

Fortune effects (like Hero Points, per p. 467) can't modify downtime activities. Mentioned under Rituals on p. 408 of the Core Rulebook, Downtime (Checks) on p. 500,

Silver Crusade 5/5 5/55/5 ***

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Bob Jonquet wrote:

Please! Please! Please! so something about the formatting of the boon listings. It is a laundry list of enteries and the title of each boon is formatted the same as the entry text, while the "prerequisite" and "cost" are bold. It makes it very difficult to scan through the list in order to find the boon you are looking for. Maybe use larger font and italics/bold or something so the title of each boon is obvious to the eye.

Perhaps it would also be possible to hyperlink the boon name in the chart lists at the top to the listing lower in the page to allow for quick location of the rules you are looking for. This would be especially helpful for some common items like "promotional" boons. Thx

Second these thoughts (as well as Kevin Willis' earlier). Also, please think about how people will actually use these resources. Having a giant alphabetical list of the boons doesn't help people who are looking at what a faction has to offer; it is a big headache looking at the faction's list, finding the boon, going back to the list, finding the next one. Please organize the boons by faction, and by tier within the faction, the way that players will actually be looking them up.

Silver Crusade

Good stuff! A really enjoyable read, especially with the dearth of Starfinder fiction. Thanks for writing and sharing it!

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Do weapons with the Grapple quality deal their damage when grappling with them? I had assumed that yes, they did, as it seems odd to have red-hot gauntlets that don't deal damage when grappling with them.

Silver Crusade

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For Dex characters, a light bayonet mount with a tactical,sword cane. Gives you something to threaten and flank with, and operatives can switch hit while keeping a free hand for opening doors and such.

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You also get to fire your choice of weapon, regardless of final facing, so it is worthwhile if you lose initiative and have to move first.

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As a move action, you can use Life Science or Physical Science to identify a creature. Is this considered a check to recall knowledge, eligible for the +4 bonus from an appropriate library chip? Should the DC be reduced by a relevant theme's knowledge ability?

I'm inclined to say yes to both, anyone have reasons they shouldn't work?

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That was not at all clear to me in the class write-up.

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You have the vibrogarrote dealing 1d6+8 damage; I assume from Weapon Specialization for 5 and Con for 3. Does the Entropic Strike's special Weapon Specialization somehow override the Operative quality's limit of only 1/2 character level to damage?

Silver Crusade

There is literally one weapon that fusion can be applied to: swoop hammer.

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It has been very difficult making a fair assessment of the barbarian as a class when it's class features are so inscrutable. I don't know whether these issues are simple typos, the result of too many cooks, or due to multiple iterations of the class being kludged together, but some clarity and consistency of terms would be greatly appreciated.

Silver Crusade

I've found a corner case where it actually has some utility: The rogue feat that lets you count Thievery as a rank higher for disarming traps. Take 30 at level 9 lets me crush most traps. There may be some other feats out there that let you pretend to be a rank higher, I just haven't looked too hard for them.

Silver Crusade

Do computers/comm units have their own actions? Initiative? If you put a control module on an armor-mounted weapon, does the computer just fire it on your turn, or at some other time? What is the computer's ability modifier for save DCs, as for a critical effect or a weapon with the Explode property? How many actions can a computer take in a round; for instance, can a computer turn on a flashlight, fire a weapon, make an Intimidate check, and activate a motion sensor simultaneously?

There are a lot of interesting items and armor upgrades that I'd like to use if they didn't take an action to activate, so being able to have a voice-controlled computer run them with control modules would be nice. There just doesn't seem to be much clarity about what, exactly, computers are able to do.

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HammerJack wrote:
Dragonblood theme just adds one round. You want to buy a Ferocity Blazon to double the duration, if you're trying to stack up intimidation.

That's right, I knew I was forgetting something. Leveraging Intimidate has gotten quite viable. Don't forget the improvisation that lets you demoralize when you toss a grenade, also.

Silver Crusade

This combo works well with all the Intimidate-boosting items, themes and such that are available out there, thanks to Knight's Challenge. Grim Trophies armor upgrade to apply a -2 damage penalty to shaken creatures, Cruel weapon fusion to apply sickened, Dragonblood theme double duration of shaken. With the Envoy's ability to get a big bonus to Intimidate, you can pretty reliably throw a pretty solid package of debuffs for several rounds.

Silver Crusade

Perhaps Natural Medicine could provide a buff to the base Treat Wounds mechanic? Reduce the time to treat wounds, add the d8+Wis to the total, or remove some conditions. I think there should be some design space for skills complementing one another, as breadth of knowledge and varied approaches to a problem can lead to more efficiency.

Silver Crusade

Regarding 1+Int splash, I wasn't playing the alchemist, so I assumed the feat they were using added their Int mod to the splash damage, rather than replacing it.

In all my years of gaming, through many editions of D&D, including Pathfinder, I have never seen "creatures within 5' of the target" to mean "including the target". In fact, the standard language is usually "the target and creatures within 5' of it" if the intent is to include the target in the effect. Combined with the "on a failure the target also takes the splash damage" part of the bomb description, it is much more reasonable to assume that the target does not take splash damage, except on a miss. That is the way bombs worked in PF1, and the language is pretty much the same in PF2.

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Could you point me to where that is stated, please? I've looked several times and haven't found anything clearly stating that is the case.

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On more than one occasion, the alchemist in our party did more damage on a miss because 1+Int was more than the dice rolled.

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There are a lot of Barbarian feats marked with the Action symbol, but which have text implying they should be free actions attached to another action.

L2 Internal Fortitude: 1 action, no keywords: "When you attempt a Fortitude save to recover from being sick..." If Internal Fortitude is its own action, shouldn't it say "Attempt a Fortitude save to recover from being sick?" As currently written, it seems like it should have the Free Action symbol, and the trigger "You attempt a Fortitude save to recover from being sick." Otherwise, as currently presented, it seems like you have to use an action to attempt the Fortitude save, then use the Internal Fortitude save action to gain the improved effect. Is that the intent?

L2 Raging Courage: 1 action; Barbarian, Concentrate, Rage: "When you Rage, reduce your frightened condition by 1." Again, if Raging Courage is supposed to be its own action, shouldn't it just say "Reduce your frightened condition by 1?" As written, it seems like it should be a free action with the trigger "You take the Rage action" and the effect "Reduce your frightened condition by 1". Otherwise, it seems like this power isn't useable at all; it has the Rage keyword, so it is only useable while raging, but the effect only comes into being "when you Rage," so the feat basically does nothing, except maybe in a few rounds when your current rage expires and you enter the next?

Many of the Totem feats have the same conflict between the Action symbol being present, and the actual text which usually says "while you are raging" or "when you Rage". Compare Animal Skin and Animal Rage. Both say "when you Rage" gain the following benefit, but Animal Skin does not have an Action icon, while Animal Rage does. Is it intended that totem powers take up even more of the barbarian's limited rage rounds? As it stands, if you want to use Animal Rage or most of the other totem feats, you pretty much waste a whole round between using the Rage action, activating a totem feat, and moving into position. You're even locked out of using Sudden Charge.

This is the only thread I've found discussing fundamental issues with the barbarian as its stands, rather than proposing various fixes, so if these issues have been addressed elsewhere, I'd appreciate a pointer, thanks!

Silver Crusade

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Good point regarding the Minion trait, I'd misread that as the minion having two actions total, each of which had to be triggered individually. That being said, anyone on a regular horse does have the problem I'd mentioned.

Regarding the Charge trait, my point was that given the choice between a magic weapon that is generally useful, like a longsword, or one that is provisionally useful, like a lance, it makes more sense to go with the former. Thus, a character with a +1 longsword and a mundane lance has no reason at all to use the lance, since 2d8 is better than 1d8+1, and as the rules currently stand, a mounted PC with a lance can't use a shield, and still only has 5' reach (granted, a Small character on a Medium mount does seem able to benefit from the lance's reach).

Silver Crusade

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I would also like to see this corrected. Unless the new standard for the Golarion lance is a two-handed overhand stab like the Sioux used to take down bison, I don't see how the traditionally European-style heavy cavalry of Mendev, or the Hellknights, or the Knights of Ozzem, function with a two-handed lance. Mounted combat is already an uphill battle for even marginal effectiveness, with the actions required to control a mount and the Charge ability's unexciting benefit, why deprive the character of the ability to spend yet another action on raising a shield?

Until a paladin takes Imposing Destrier at level 10, she can't even do a regular ride-by attack without giving up the ability to raise a shield. Assuming the Ride feat (without it, using a lance is pretty much impossible), she can Command her mount to Stride, then make a single lance attack, then Command the mount to Stride again. Its not exactly game-breaking to give the rider the option to raise a shield if they actually decide to stay put.

Considering that a lance is such a specialized weapon already, in the likely event that a cavalry-type character picks up a magical weapon, they will always be better of using a +! longsword, or even a +1 dagger, or a mundane lance because the Charge ability offers absolutely nothing to recommend a lance over literally any other weapon on horseback. Even a mundane glaive is better, as Forceful is probably going to be more generally useful than Charge.

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