In our group combats generally take 10 to 15 rounds. That's because we're running operative, envoy, mystic, technomancer. We don't generally use spells offensively because we usually have around a 50% hit rate and enemies have a 65% to 75% save rate.
The technomancer generally reloads once per combat when using the 1d12 electric rifle, twice or three times if using the 3d8 sonic gun. The envoy and mystic are melee and don't do ammmo. The operative usually reloads twice if using a 2d6 projectile pistol or not at all if using the 2d4 laser pistol.
Automatic fire expends all amunition in the weapon in exchange for making an attack against each creature in the first range increment of the weapon. You may make a maximum number of attacks equal to half of the current ammo in the weapon, but only one attack per target.
If you have a Mystic or TM with the spell, they can also just cast the spell on up to 4 people every 4 days and not worry about the armor protection at all. It's actually a spell I would consider taking at 4th because of how useful it is for this sort of scenario.
Careful, I had a DM nerf that spell down to only providing air after the third environmental/noxious gas thing it negated because "it wouldn't be in the adventure if you were meant to ignore it that easily"
Funny thing, our group's reaction to the whole "open the gate" thing was that it would probably be better to thrash the consoles and controls while leaving the AI to maintain the status quo. Then spend 1d6 days going back to Absolom station and tell someone so that the fate of the sun destroyer was in slightly more responsible hands than four kleptomanic mercenaries trying desperately to scrape together enough credits to buy level appropriate armor.
Then the urge to use it ourselves and extort money from everyone took over.
One of the reasons that I asked is because I know just how nasty radiation is in spaceship combat. I made a computer model one weekend. It resulted in a gentlemans agreement at our table to never use radiation weapons.
I had to assume that not every single npc on a 300 crew ship was cr 16 with appropriate armor and weapons. So I tried a scheme that doubled the number and halved the level. For example with 12 cr16 you had 24 cr8, 48 cr4, 96 cr2, and the rest cr1. Three hits from a high radiation weapon would cripple the ship through crew loss.
I happen to own an old civil defense geiger counter. Got it surplus for about $85 USD. Works fine, uses 2 D-cells, weighs about 3ish pounds, clicks at the smoke alarms when tuned right.
I has a DM say the same thing about the spell so I brought the counter over the next week. We played around with it and he agreed that the spell was crap.
You have 4 options:
Plus the medicine skill is weirdly ineffective in treating poison or disease. Antitoxin is the only preventative option and only works versus poisons. Medpatches cover all the treatment options (which is just +4 on the next save) except long term recovery, and have a better base 'skill' bonus until level 8. And long term care only treats stat loss in addition to starting at dc 30 and requiring bed rest in a medical facility (minimum 2400 cr and item level 5).
So in general low level parties can't treat poison or disease with any real hopr of success.
Part of the issue is that undead come with a decent chunk of real and useful immunities and the character generation setup is built around not penalizing any player choices. So you have the same issue that you get with many/no armed characters or large/small characters; for "balance" you can't let them be better or worse than the other core races.
So you won't get actual undead character options because "balance". You may get a faux-undead like the android race that still eats, drinks, gets poisoned and diseased, etc.
Steve Geddes wrote:
To me, the non-combat stuff is even more peculiar - a superior lock is 60,000 Cr (12,000 formal sets of clothing). It’s not that much better than a simple lock to be restricted to only the most elite, cutting edge, military uses.
To be almost sort of maybe fair it's the level 6, 3600 credit, lock that is the first lock a cr 1/3 space goblin (actually any NPC with the engineering skill) can't waltz through in less than 2 minutes.
So the locks just fail to have level appropriate DCs for their item levels which means that PCs can't use locks. NPCs can use locks because the DM/AP just sets a level appropriate DC, but PCs can't because any NPC the PCs come into conflict with that can disable any lock will walk though the locks that the PCs can buy.
At middle and higher levels you may also want to consider what effect the level of the crew has when radiation weapons are in play. While it's less of a concern with the 4 - 6 crew ships where ship level = crew level (radiation weapons will generally have little or no effect), any ship with larger crews may quickly be crippled if you decide that not all of the npcs are high enough leveled to be functionally immune to the radiation.
Yeah. Our first response to the place was 'blow up a planet'. Followed shortly by 'crash a captured starship into a control/power building' and 'they hacked a path through the jungle with hand tools when their ships have plasma weapons and we're supposed to believe these guys are competent enough to blow up the universe?'
Basically it's a result of blindly following the d&d and pf hit point/ac inflation model combined with putting basic character abilities in the gear table. If character ac and damage scaled like npcs, or the hit points and attack bonuses didn't incease so much, you could have more beliveable price and equipment lists instead of the current video game gear treadmill.
That's an interesting thought that I had not considered, reversing the rule that equipment for larger creatures costs double. I can see the logic behind it, you're assuming that things have a "standard size" and it's the deviation from that standard that increases costs.
I wonder what other effects such an assumption might cause.
Background: we ganked and looted two sarcesian snipers a couple levels ago and got their rifles. They mouldered in the loot bag until we got to a place we could sell them. Then we hit a snag.
They're the level 7ish? rifles with a listed value of 17k. Now if this is the price for a medium sized rifle then each of these sells for 3400 each because sarcesians are large and thus use large equipment. Which in turn means that large enemies have effectively x2 value loot. If the 17k is the value of a large rifle then pcs can buy a 2d8 gun for 8500 credits.
So double value loot or half price gear?
Playing a technomancer in space combat is pretty boring. On the first round you scan the enemy ship, then it's all either diverting power to shields or balancing shields. I may end up writing an app to take over for me while I read or something.
Although I did realize something interesting. Because the starship stuff is so divorced from everything else you could drop the current system completely and put in a lightly refluffed Spelljammer ship combat system with almost no modifications required. At least then people would have more to do than just roll one skill every round.
What's the reason behind the decision to make Combat Maneuver Defense so outrageously difficult to hit?
Not really, no rifles or advanced melee of our level, no light armors of our level, we have about three haste circuits but those are pretty useless. We've seen decent heavy armor, a couple or three sniper rifles, and a few grenades. I think there's been two useless fusion seals too. I don't think there has been any loot worth anything that wasn't an armor, weapon, credstick, or an add-on to them.
Part of it is that we don't have either full BAB class or a mechanic, nobody can use the heavy armor or weapons, and the grenades are weak jokes. So we can't really use what drops but it's counted against our wbl and we only get to buy/sell about once every other level.
My group has been playing the dead sun AP and we were typically 1 to 3 levels behind WBL. When we switched GMs at 7th level we did an audit and the new GM gave us each a 12000 cr 'bonus' to bring us up to WBL. Unfortunately over the two levels since then we haven't gotten any at-level gear we can really use so now we're running around with 6th & 7th level gear at 9th level. The APL+2 fights are a weird mix of deadly but boring as we struggle to do enough damage before we all go down.
Don't forget also that ship combat does not occur on the same time scale as personal combat.
Yeah, I'm considering that. Sometime this week I'll sit down and hammer out the complex crew input (actually simpler from the coding pov because it makes the user input everything) and a csv file format and upload. After that I'll consider adding a gui and variable time scale if there's any interest.
But having starship rounds be longer than one combat round means that the lingering radiation lasts longer and kills 'faster' in starship time.
It's just... I mean... three grazer hits frag half the crew and risk dropping a dreadnought below minimum crew without ever breaching the shields. You could pay an extra 5500 cr. per crew member for the minimum armor to make them immune to medium radiation but that won't help when the capital ship heavy rad weapons fire. You can't model the spells that remove radiation because they affect areas and there's no info on areas of the ship or anything like useful ship sections. I don't have the pact worlds book yet, in there any info in there?
So I was looking at radiation weapons and starship combat this week, and I decided that rolling all the dice myself was going to be tedious. My solution was to spend an evening writing a simple program to do all the heavy lifting. It's working now but I've run into a problem: there is no information on starship crew stats beyond the number and bonuses of the officers.
The simple input option on the program assumes that people have armor equal to their level, that the officers are all of a level equal to the ship's tier, and that the crew doubles the number of people while halving their levels untill the roster is filled. For example, a level 10 ship with 3 science officers and 20 crew has the officers at level 10, 6 level 5 crew, 12 level 2 crew, and 2 level 1 crew. This seemed fine untill a few trial runs with the tier 16 ship in the main book showed that they lost about half their crew to thee medium radiation hits.
Now having that tier 16 ship have almost 400 16th level crew seems off, and having them be lower level but with high end armor ignores all the level based assumptions in the npc rules plus it doesn't actually solve the problem. So how do I figure the levels and armor of starship crews so that I can figure out the effects of radiation weapons?
The starship radiation weapon rules are clearly intended to be used against PCs, not by them. NPC ships would need statted crews (at least levels, armor, saves, and hp) if the PCs were supposed to use radiation weapons.
I was considering a grazer weapon load out for the game I'm in untill I realized how much complication it would add for the DM. The fact that radiation poisoning does damage to the crew every hit and that failed poison saves for radiation get brutal fast make them great weapons for killing crew with minimum damage to the ship. But having the PCs use them doesn't work with the rules as presented.
"Sure, let one player start with a man portable fusion cannon and battle dress, you'll figure out how to handle that when the rest of the group is composed of knife fighters and paraplegics. Also, you are several million in debt from character creation."
While it did leave inter-character ideas of balance to the GM it did also successfully integrate the starship economy into the core game. Individual GMs deciding to allow some PCs to access high end military equipment while denying it to others was not part of the rules.
I don't see why this has to be an issue. Traveller dealt with it in 1980, Spelljammer in the mid '80s, and every version of the Star Wars games has found solutions. It really is a solved problem if you do a little research.
Creating a 'plausible' planetary environment that prevents starship or capital grade weapon 'solutions'
Metallic dust clouds, nonferrous. Interferes with radar, lidar, vision, IR, etc. Link the monsters and dust storms, make the metal a valuable high-purity rare earth. The metal is renewed through volcanic outgassing interacting with some plankton thing in the oceans. Regular flooding/drought in large and heavily radioactive salt pans produces the dust.
You want big air traps/filters to catch the metal. They need to be away from the heavy rads to be economical and safe. Unfortunately with the dust comes the monsters.
The only good standard action to take in starship combat is to cast Remove Radiation as a hedge against an Irradiate weapon rolling a 3 or 4 for duration, especially if you have low CR passengers or allies. (I assume that radiation that penetrated starship shields and hulls penetrates personal armor.)
Problem: Radiation poisoning works on the same regular combat turns as magic does. If you follow the line of logic that you can't have magic with a duration because space combat rounds are undefined time then you can't have radiation poisoning saves for the same reason, you don't know when to roll a save.
Given that in Starfinder an asteroid just a couple miles in diameter can have an atmosphere, normal liquids, and apex predators (although no plants or herbivores) I'd have to say that the number is higher than the number of star systems with rocky orbital bodies in the range of 0.1 to 10 Earth masses.
Well the DM is a little inexperienced so I'm inclined to be forgiving. While I'm pretty sure that the ap mostly moves at the speed of plot the DM is having the npcs act like there's a big hurry-up and we need to catch up the cultists. So we're being good little rail followers and hurrying.
He did complain that we ran away from the Azzy-whatsit ship but they blew almost completely through our front shields in the surprise round and more than half way through the aft shields the following round. We really didn't see any choice but blowing a bunch of resolve to keep speed boosting away.
What is the official method of calculating the time required to upgrade a starship?
I ask because my DM has interpreted the "1d4 days per system" to mean 1d4 days per part change. So if we want to upgrade power, shields, add a flak thrower to the aft arc, then add and twin link a laser to the turret it takes 7d4 days assuming you don't have to add or replace any weapon mounts. That's 1d4 to remove an item and another 1d4 to install the new one, repeated in sequence for each item. The result has been that a level worth of upgrades takes about a month of down time. Since we're doing the Dead Suns ap and the DM is emphasizing that there's some time critical thing going on we've ended up flying around the level 7/8 parts of the ap in a tier 4 ship.
The cost to acquire weapons and armor is also taking into account all the behind the scenes licensing fees/security authorizations and what not to acquire/build them.
Per page 235 you can just build the stuff from UPBs. No behind the scenes anything. Even NPC services are just 2*bonus per day, amazingly cheap compared to buying stuff.
Starfinder doesn't have an economy. It has PC equipment rules. And never the twain shall meet.