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Out of combat options are certainly lacking, especially due to 0 EP out of combat. Seems like the classes main out of combat niche should be scouting/sneaking. They've got stealth, disguise, perception as class skills, and some abilities for traversing environments others can't (swim/climb speed), resistances/immunities. If adaptations like extraordinary sense could be used to find enemies before combat starts, there might be something there. I'd like to see some improvements to augmentation and packmaster focus too. Packmaster maybe just needs good buffs to share with allies. Augmentation needs to do more than give discounts. Maybe ways to re-use augmentations without spending resolve?

The effect on XP is interesting. If your PCs manage to pull some shenanigans and use a mech where they weren't intended to, they will fall behind in level, making things harder down the line. Conversely, a party that manages to win a mech battle without a mech could wind up being greatly rewarded for it.

Alternate class feature: Wondrous Transformation
(originally named “hideous transformation, perhaps it should be different for people who like this mechanic but don't want to be "hideous")

This one's a doozy. It might be overpowered I don't know, but I had fun writing this up.

Rather than focusing on the specific benefits of unique fields of study, you develop a biohack tailored to your own physiology, capable of creating a unique transformation. The cosmetic effects of this transformation vary wildly between biohackers. Your body may sprout additional limbs, gain new organs, and even change size and shape completely, though you have the sense to modify your equipment so that it remains useable in both forms. You may transform yourself as a standard action, granting the following benefits:
You gain temporary hit points equal to your biohacker level
You gain a natural weapon that deals either slashing, bludgeoning, or piercing damage, per the racial trait. When attacking with this natural weapon, apply the bonus from injection expert to your attack rolls.

You select additional benefits for your transformation at each odd level, including first.

Transforming takes a standard action and consumes all remaining uses of your biohack class feature. You cannot use the hideous transformation if you have no uses of the biohack class feature remaining. The transformation lasts 3 rounds +1 for each biohack consumed.
This ability replaces primary, secondary, and tertiary fields of study, breakthroughs, spark of ingenuity, and resolve analysis. (note: you still have basic biohacks!)

Alleles: select an allele at each odd biohacker level. These are abilities available to you only while transformed into your hideous transformation.

1st Level: these alleles can be selected at first level onward
Locomotion: Gain a fly speed, burrow speed, or swim speed of 30 feet while transformed. at 10th level, increase this speed to 40 feet.
Heightened senses: Gain blindsense(sound, scent, or vibration) of 60 feet. At 10th level, this becomes blindsight (sound, scent, or vibration) 60 feet.

Resistant skin: gain energy resistance 5 to 2 types of energy that stack with up to 1 other source
Durable skin: gain damage reduction 5/-. This stacks with up to one other source

Survival instinct: Once per day, When you are reduced to 0 hit points, continue acting normally until the end of your next turn, then fall unconscious. If you take additional damage before this, fall unconscious immediately.

Sticky ooze: As a standard action, target a 5 foot radius within 30 feet. That area becomes difficult terrain. At 10th level, this becomes a 10 foot radius.

7th level: these genes are available from 7th level onward

Pheremone cloud: As a standard action, you can release a cloud of pheremones within a 30 foot radius around you. All enemy creatures within the radius must move toward you to the extent they are able if they fail a will saving throw. Once a creature has been exposed to the pheremone, it is immune to this ability for 24 hours.

Breath weapon: gain a breath weapon that deals 1d8 damage per 2 biohacker levels in a 15 ft cone. (reflex save half) Select the type of energy damage it deals when you transform. You may use this ability once every 1d4 rounds.

Extreme adaptation: As long as you are transformed, you are immune to environmental effects of extreme cold, extreme heat, radiation, and vacuum

Heightened awareness: gain +1 to reflex saves and become unflankable.
Extra arms: Gain 2 additoinal arm-like appendages, with enough fine motor control to wield weapons.
11th level:

Radioactive: You emit an aura of low-level radiation while transformed. Creaturese within 10 feet of you must succeed at a fortitude save or become sickened. this condition ends once they are more than 10 ft from you.

Grasping tentacle: Your natural weapon gains the reach and grab properties.
Regeneration: gain fast healing 5.
Evolved mind: Take 10 on intelligence-based and wisdom-based checks even when threatened or distracted. Additionally, gain telepathy (60 ft).
Extraordinary senses: You gain sense through 30 feet with any one sense available to you.

15th level:
Null-Magic adaptation: gain spell resistance 20

Evolve biotech: As long as you are transformed, gain one biotech augmentation with item level equal to or less than your biohacker level in any system you do not have an augmentation installed. You may select this augmentation again each time you transform.

Quantum Tunneling: You can phase through up to 15 feet of solid material as a full action. As a reaction, you can gain concealment against any nonmagical attack that does not have the force descriptor

Terrifying Visage: Gain the frightful presence ability with a range of 30 feet and a will save DC equal to your class ability DC. (10 + ½ biohacker level + KAS modifier).
Flawless Beauty: Allies within 30 feet of you gain a +1 circumstance bonus on saving throws.

Improved Biotechnology: Once per day, when you would use a biotech augmentation that has a limited number of uses, do not count that use towards this limit.
(possibly weak, but I think biohacker should have at least one class feature that interacts with biotech)

Gene splicing(2nd level +): If you have a creature companion, you can perform a surgery to grant it one of the following abilities: blindsense (any) 60 ft, +10 ft land speed, 30 ft fly speed, 30 ft swim speed, 30 ft burrowing speed. This surgery requires at least 4 hours uninterrupted work and at least 8 hours rest for the creature modified. This ability can be swapped for another if the surgery is performed again. A given creature companion cannot have more than one of these benefits at a time.

Chemical reactions(2nd level +):The compounds used to create biohacks can also be mixed so as to create volatile reactions. You can use one of your uses of the biohacks as a standard action to instead create and throw a special grenade that deals 1d8 acid or fire damage per 2 biohacker levels in a radius of 15 feet. The save DC for this grenade is as the DC for theorems.
(feedback on damage scaling. The DC will, overall, be higher than that of avg grenade)

Advanced Gene splicing (8th level +): If you have an animal companion, you can perform a surgery to grant it one special ability as if it were another species of animal companion, in addition to its normal abilities. This surgery requires at least 4 hours of uninterrupted work and at least 8 hours rest for the creature modified following. The ability granted can be swapped for another if the surgery is performed again. A given creature cannot have more than one of these benefits at a time. You must have the gene splicing theorem to select this feature.

Poison mastery (14th Level+):
You can quickly turn the compounds an catalysts in your custom microlab into poisons. You create a special poison based on the same principals as your biohacks. The save DC is as determined by your biohacks. Once the poison is applied to the target, it is immune to this poison for 24 hours. You may use this ability a number of times per day equal to your intelligence modifier.
Biohacker poison
Type: poison (injury) Save: Fortitude (DC varies)
Track: Choose strength, dexterity, constitution, intelligence, wisdom, or chariasma (special)
Frequency: 1/round for 3 rounds
Effect The target cannot progress beyond impaired/stiffened
Cure 1 save
(not sure if this is too powerful. Copied the stat block from a vanguard finale.)

Cambrian Explosion:
(I had to give something this name)
Once per day, you create a colony of flesh-eating bacteria that can be used as a weapon against your foes. The bacteria are highly adaptive, and once exposed to a host target, will adapt to eat whatever it is made of, including even nonliving and undead targets. This ability acts as a thrown grenade with a 15 ft explosion radius. All creatures within the radius take damage equal to your biohacker level each round at the end of your turn for a number of turns equal to your intelligence modifier.

Since COM was released, all the new stuff for the core classes can't help but make the new classes feel a little thin by comparison. I've been brainstorming how the COM treatment would look for the 3 newer classes, specifically the biohacker, and thought I would share what I have so far here for the enjoyment and input of this forum. Just an exercise for me having fun, but I've got new theorems, new fields of study, and even an alternate class feature mapped out. I'll split them up into multiple posts.

Design goals:
Add variety to the class
New abilities on similar power level to existing ones (meaningful choice)
Abilities that interact with creature companions
Abilities that interact with biotech
New abilities consistent with class Identity

SURGEON GENERAL'S WARNING: This Homebrew has not been tested in game. It may be hazardous to the balance of your game. Please consult your GM to see if the following homebrew is right for you.

Let's start with the fields of study. I have 3

Fields of Study:

Performance Enhancement:
You apply your biohacks to augment physical abilities, using the fast-acting nature of biohacks as a means of doping.
Booster: you deliver a steroid to augment your ally's natural strength, giving it + 1 to melee attack and damage rolls.
Inhibitor: you deliver a compound that interferes with a living creatures metabolic processes, imposing the fatigued condition.
Breakthrough: You deliver a fast acting stimulant that enables the target living creature to move and think quickly. The target gains the benefits of the haste spell for a number of turns equal to your Key Ability Score Modifier.

You use biohacks to disrupt and improve mental processes.
Booster: With the assistance of a psychoactive compound, the target living creature acquires heightened awareness, gaining blindsense (life) 60 feet.
Inhibitor: You cause hallucinations within a living target. When making attack rolls, it treats all targets as if they had concealment. This is a mind affecting effect.
Breakthrough: You deliver an antipsychotic biohack to a living target. If it is under the effect of an illusion spell or effect, it immediately disbelieves the illusion. In addition, the next time within 1 minute it is a target of a mind-affecting affect that allows a will save, roll twice and use the higher result.

You use biohacks to cause spontaneous mutations in your targets, for both good and ill.
Booster: The target undergoes a rapid evolutionary response to danger. The next time it takes energy damage, gain energy resistance of the same type as the damage equal to half of its character level/CR.
Inhibitor: Target living creature begins to mutate as foreign dna sequences are introduced into its system. It suffers the effects of a level 1 baleful polymorph spell for the duration of the inhibitor. This is a nonmagical transmutation effect.
Breakthrough: You can administer this biohack as a polymorphic serum of item level equal to or less than your biohacker level. The details of the polymorph form must be determined when you prepare your biohacks.
(polymorph ability may need to be restricted. thoughts?)

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I would add for races that any with a racial bonus to medicine is worth considering when starting at level 1, as dc 25 medicine checks can be difficult to make then. This includes shirren with individual obsession, ramiyels, and ghorans.

Also, I'm not sure about the statement that crafted poisons gain +2 DC. I suspect this came from the core rulebooks statement that crafted items treat their level as higher for saving throws. I believe this refers to instances where an ability targets a piece of equipment (i.e. mechanic's overcharge ability), not saves made against the equipment. At any rate, this would be shaky for poison DCs anyway since their DC is not determined by item level but the poisons own stat block.

I'd actually be kind of interested in seeing a one-arm race. We have contemplatives already, who can't wield 2-handed weapons very well, but they still have 2 arms. Hopefully they'd have some other powerful abilities to balance it out, since cybernetic arms aren't cheap. Then again, if you were building a level 20 character you could cheaply (for level 20) go from one arm to 3 and the limitation would be meaningless. It's probably best for starfinder if character species remains mostly a flavor choice with a few cool abilities.

I think the issue here is not can I have the biotech/cybernetic, but how it would function if I do. In the case of vlaka, for example, their racial trait essentially gives them the blinded condition. A blind vlaka with a wide spectrum ocular implant would be in the same situation as a human with the same augment that got temporarily blinded by an environmental/enemy effect, the only difference being their blindness is permanent.

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Thought I'd list out the spells mystics can increase duration to 24 hours using the lingering spell epiphany by connection to see which connections benefit the most from this ability. hour/level spells don't really make much difference (actually worse than doubling duration after level 12), so they are excluded. I'm including concentration up to 1 minute/level spells, assuming the duration could be expended if concentration could be maintained. Your mileage (and your GM's) may vary.

Crusader: reflecting armor (still ends when dismissed), Death Ward, Resistant Aegis, Resistant Armor, greater

Devastator: Carnivorous

Empath: Detect thoughts, Zone of Truth, Clairaudience/Clairvoyance (remote stakeout!), Telepathy, True Seeing

Geneturge: detect augmentation, Spider Climb

Hive Mind: Share language, Status

Melophile: Clairaudience/Clairvoyance

Shadow: Shadow Body

Shaper: grease

Star Shaman: Darkvision

Warmonger: resistant armor, resistant aegis

Xenodruid: Fog Cloud

Empath can do some very interesting things with this epiphany. 24 hour remote stakeouts with clairvoyance, True seeing/telepathy all day. Detect thoughts could be good if concentration spells are allowed, and zone of truth could let you enforce a "no lying on the ship" policy by recasting every day.

The only other one jumping out at me is shadow for shadow body. Cast once and reap the benefits all day. Crusader isn't bad either, but there are other ways to get energy resistance.

That being said, there are some other options. There could be interesting uses for a day-long fog or grease puddle. Though the fog could still be blown away.

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Weapons of war seems like a good secondary connection power for anyone using high-level attack-roll spells like dominate person, feeblemind, and flesh to stone. Use your move and standard action, burn a 1st level spell slot, (which don't have much use in combat at that point), and substantially reduce the risk of wasting a high level spell slot from a wasted attack roll.

If I'm not mistaken, a Devastator mystic could achieve the highest bonus to hit by combining weapons of war with blood mark and greater blood mark, capping out at +23 before ability score modifiers, weapon focus, etc. You could even stack destructive frenzy on top of this for up to +4 more using a 6th level spell slot, but this locks you out of using that attack for spells or weapons other than small arms and basic melee. Unfortunately, since weapons of war is an insight bonus, it does not stack with the +4 insight bonus to attack rolls from mystics' level 20 ability.

Witchwarper's 2nd level spell slot infinite worlds damage per round option doesn't do a whole lot of damage, but... It provides a safe, reliable way for shimreen allies (or a shimreen witchwarper, I guess?) to use their amplify racial ability. With the base racial electrical resistance of 5/, they take 2 + 1d4 damage each round, doing no damage except on a roll of 4, and add the d4 to their next melee attack. Additional infinite worlds effects can help keep the target confined to this electrified area.

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Nym Moondown wrote:
RiverMesa wrote:
On an adjacent note, The Four Pilots of the Apocalypse?

Good idea!

Maybe a little reworked, for example:

- Death -> Decay (in the sense of matter dosgregation, for the universe expansion)

- Pestilence -> Radiation

- Famine -> Exhaustion (of energy)

- War -> War?

War. War never changes.

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There is a general rule, though it took until alien archive 2 for it to be written, it seems.

P. 4 of Alien archive 2 under "Racial Traits and Alien PCs"

"While there is a preponderance of nonhumanoid aliens with strange morphology, all playable alien races are considered to have two hands for the purposes of holding or wielding weapons and other equipment (unless otherwise noted)."

It goes against the way people usually build these characters, but the fouling reposition feat works well with the Duck Under envoy improvisation, which lets you reposition at +8 as a reaction on a missed melee attack.

This requires total defense, but total defense is only a standard action (could have sworn it was a full action) This frees your move action for get 'em, brace yourselves, etc.

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On the subject of caster's that don't use spell slots, I've always looked for ways to build a solarian more focused on revelations than tanking/melee damage, and they tend to look weaker. A counterpart class to the solarian that loses solarians high BAB for stronger revelation like abilities would be neat.

If anyone else played star wars knights of the old republic, I'm talking about a "Jedi Consular"(focus on training force powers) to the solarian's "Jedi Guardian"(focus on lightsaber mastery).

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With COM's addition of alternate class features, it's difficult to think of character types that couldn't be tooled as an alternate class feature, archetype, or other additional build option.

I'm most excited about the possibility for alternate/additional features for biohacker, though I'm not sure what you could replace. If you replace biohacks, most other class features don't work. Still, a biohacker equivalent to the exocortex and drone mechanic options could be really cool flavor-wise if nothing else, focusing on personal biotech type augments or a custom chimera creature companion. I suppose there's room to support this somewhat through theorem choices. For example, a theorem that lets you DNA splice a creature companion to give it the abilities of a different creature companion. As it is, I feel like biohacker could be so much more than "guy who shoots people with needles"

Not sure what you would replace them with, but alternate features for vanguard and witchwarper would be easier to do. Replacing entropic strike and infinite worlds with some other mechanic still fitting the flavor of the class would be a big enough difference while still letting the character fundamentally feel like the base class.

In many combats, I've found that after the first round most players and npcs tend to stay put behind cover and shoot their ranged weapons. For most classes, this frees up their move action and lets them full attack. Spellcasters, however, have very few spells that have full actions to cast. Assuming we want to cast a spell as a standard action, what are we to do with our move action if we are already in a good position? COM and Alien archive 3 have added some new options. Most will need to be thought of in building and leveling a character, however, as they require feats or skills.

As a move action, our spellcaster could

-Align a shield (requires shield proficiency)
-Demoralize (requires improved demoralize feat and good intimidate skill)
-Spell feint ( requires improved feint and spell feint feats and good bluff)
-Grant an action to a creature companion (requires creature companion feats and ranks in survival)
-use the focused sense feat to locate an enemy (requires blindsense and the feat)

There are some class-specific abilities that can be performed as a move action, too, but what else did I miss?

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Regarding naming conventions, the contemplative in Dead suns 2 had a name like Ailabiens 21:32, (probably not quite right) which was explained to be a citation by his favorite author, and that this was the typical naming convention for contemplatives.

Taking that in a slightly different direction, I always wanted to make a contemplative character obsessed with mathematics that had an equation for a name.

"hello stranger, what's your name"

*telepathically beams a bunch of math into person's brain*

"but you can call me "cauchy-schwarz inequality" for short."

Megavitamin actually seems better than I thought at first. I would assume (the spell doesn't really outline it) that it could be used as a similiar action to trickling a serum on a downed ally, allowing them to get back up without spending resolve. They last 24 hours, so you could hand them out to your party at the start of the day and anyone could help a downed ally back up. Healing serums do the same, but you don't always have time to buy/craft more when you run out. Heck, give one to your half orc friend and he can just eat a vitamin the first time he goes down and be back at 1 hp.

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Xenocrat wrote:

The most obvious that comes to mind is the Dragon Gland, which combos well with the genetics inhibitor that inflicts energy vulnerability (full attack into a crowd, hoping to tag 1-2 people, next round move up and breath on them, spend resolve to repeat 1-2 times if prudent). This also fills an AOE attack space that they can otherwise only cover with grenades.

Don't forget dragon gland requires the enemy make a reflex save, which can be reduced through the pharmacology school (encumber, entangled condition) and coagulant medicinals.

I think it's more justifiable in cases where only one or two esotericist features are taken. That mystic who chooses to swap a 9th level feat for spell shaping can always explain it as " a trick I learned from a loony colleague of mine."

The existence of the goblin junk cycle vehicle points to a possibility for space goblin biker gangs if you want a slightly more organized goblin menace.

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Regarding energy vulnerability from genetics: the dart weapons could fire explosive darts to do piercing/fire damage, which would still benefit from the vulnerability. The rest of your party may not use acid weapons, but some of them probably have lasers.

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Mentioned this on another thread talking about a specific envoy grappler build, but shirrens qualify not only for the helpful telepath feat listed in their section, but also the spot of luck feat listed in the gnome section (requires a d20 reroll feat or racial ability and 5th level). This allows them to, once per 10 min rest, with a successful harrying fire attempt (trivial at high levels), allow the next ally attack to roll 3 times and take the best result. Particularly useful if you have a grappler who wants to go for broke on trying to pin a target, or a spellcaster casting a big spell that requires an attack roll, such as dominate person or disintegrate.

This also works the same for the other uses of helpful telepath (skill check reroll on aid another, attack reroll and take worse on enemy for covering fire).

This works well for any shirren character using a ranged weapon regardless of class. Envoys taking the fire support or superior covering fire options could potentially do slightly better at high levels since they can harry/cover two targets.

Ambusher fighting style only make sense if you want to play a soldier using a sniper rifle. Snipers have the best chance of taking advantage of the stealth abilities, and sniper weapons are unwieldy, and hence cannot full attack.

Xenocrat wrote:

I wonder if the language on Spell Shaping (9th) and Greater Spell Shaping (18th) concerning multiple schools chosen implies you can choose to swap an otherwise dead 12th level archetype class ability to rechoose Spell Shaping, otherwise there's some nonsensical language in Greater Spell Shaping since you couldn't rechoose Spell Shaping until 18th.

That seems to be the intent. However, "The esotericist grants alternate class features at 2nd, 6th, 9th and 18th levels. These alternate class features are optional. at each of these levels, you can either choose an esotericist alternate class feature...." {COM 99}

So, even though you can take the spellshaper feature multiple times, you can't take any esotericist feature at 12th level. You can take it again at 18th, but of course then you cannot take greater spell shaping. If you take greater spell shaping, effectively it just adds 1 use to spell shaping. (since you could only use it with 1 school at most anyway).

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So, the esotericist 9th level ability spell shaping seems like a very powerful ability, well worth the trade of a single feat (or healing touch) for a 9th level mystic. The ability to make a single target spell hit two creatures within 15 feet of one another in particular is very strong in terms of getting 2 spells for one action and using only one spell slot. The range condition is particularly easy to meet for harmless spells (just tell your allies to group up before casting). It does, however, restrict its usage to a single spell school of the player's choice. Let's compare the school choices for a mystic based on the most appealing spells to use the ability with:

Divination: it's not just mind thrust, but mostly for mind thrust

Mind Thrust (extra target): an obvious choice at any level for the double targeting option. Realizing mind thrust is actually a divination spell made me want to see what other options the school provides, though, given that most of the other immediately appealing options are enchantment spells.
Battlemind Link (extra target, duration could be helpful)
Clairvoyance (increased range, duration)
Predict foe (2 targets): if nothing else, helpful at low levels if you want to stretch a spell slot to not run out but still get to do something magical every turn.
Mind Probe? (target, duration could be useful)

Baleful Polymorph (extra target)
Polymorph (extra target)
Psychokinetic strangulation? (extra target) : see predict foe.
Flesh to stone (extra target)
Control Gravity: area

Conjuration:don't overlook this one
Mystic cure (extra target): Double heal! And only the first target needs to be at touch range!
Remove condition (extra target)
Miasma (expand radius) : 40 ft radius means many creatures will not be able to move out in a single turn, if centered on them.

Enchantment:Probably the most versatile options
Hold Person/Monster (extra target)
Charm Person/Monster (extra target)
Inflict Pain (extra target)
Mental block (extra target)
Synaptic pulse (increased radius, duration) : potential for 8 round stun to multiple targets? actually makes one reconsider divination. Dream big.
Dominate Person (extra target)
Suggestion (extra target)
Confusion (range, radius)

Necromancy:Not a ton of spells, but the options here are fairly solid
Ray of Exhaustion (extra target)
Crush skull (extra target): not mind thrust, but I guess it'll do.
Bestow Curse (extra target): again, only first target needs to be in touch range.
Command Undead (extra target) : reminder that mindless undead get no save
Enervation (extra target)

Abjuration:not the best pick of the lot, but if you like buffs, it's okay.
Dispel magic: the archetype can provide other ways to do this
Resistant armor(extra target)

Illusion:I guess if you are already shadow connection, you might pick this
Paranoia (extra target)
Umbral Tendrils (area increase)

Evocation: Not a mystics strong suit, but could be good at low levels for connection spells in particular.
Call cosmos (range, area)
Star storm (range, area)
Wall of fire (area)
Caustic conversion (duration)

So it's not just a toss up between divination and enchantment. Transmutation and Necromancy, even conjuration have some appealing possibilities.

Did I miss any cool spells to shape? What are the best schools for Technomancer and witchwarper? Gut says transmutation for disintegrating 2 targets.

Cellion wrote:

Am I way off base in seeing Double Tap as terrible?

+1 to hit and +1/2 level for damage, but only when making a single attack each round? It doesn't work with basically any other ability that helps to narrow the DPR gap for non-full-BAB classes (No overcharge, empower weapon, get'em, etc). Its damage is worse than single attacking with a longarm 100% of the time. The only thing you're getting is not having to spend two feats on proficiency and versatile specialization (instead spending one), and having a hand free.

I know multiple people that REALLY wanted to have a viable way to use pistols on their soldier, and this definitely isn't it.

I agree. I don't know why it would be broken to eliminate those restrictions while keeping it a single attack standard action. That makes it especially appealing for lower BAB classes that might not want to full attack. (and can do other things with move actions).

A lot of the good's been mentioned here already. Few people talking about biohacker. Yes, instinctive biohackers don't seem strictly worse now, and that's great, but some of the class's other options from the playtest are just gone. Hopefully we'll get new theorems/fields in the future. There are 19 theorems and 5 fields of study. A pure biohacker who doesn't multiclass or take archetypes will, by level 20, have access to 10 theorems and 3 fields of study, meaning they will experience over half what the class has to offer. I see a lot of particular theorems getting neglected (speedy serums, stable biohacks) so, aside from instinctive vs. studious, most biohackers will probably build the same.

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I find the new maneuver expertise option interesting. It technically provides an envoy with a way to have the single highest bonus to a grapple attempt. There's also the coordinated maneuvers improvisation, which grants a different bonus to an allies maneuver attempt roll.

Imagine a pair of tag team wrestlers classed as envoys. A shirren with the new helpful telepath and spot of luck feats, plus the coordinated maneuvers improvisation, and a trox with maneuver expertise to do the actual grabbing.(Bugs that hug!) After the appropriate setup, you could get the best of three rolls with a 1d4 + 1 + expertise on top of other bonuses.

At 8th level, when coordinated maneuvers is available, the trox could make a grapple attempt of

6 (base attack) + (5) (20 str) + 1d4+1 (coord maneuvers) + 1d6 + 1 (expertise) + 2 (racial bonus) + 2 (grapple weapon) + 4 (improved combat maneuver) = 20 + 1d4 + 1d6

For comparison, a CR8 combatant has a KAC of 22, meaning a result of 30 is needed to grapple, 35 for a pin. For simplicity's sake, take the average result from the d4 and d6 and combine them (2+3 = 5) for a total bonus of 25. This means a successful grapple on a 5, and a pin on a 10! Lest we forget, we get three rolls to choose from. Rolling under 10 3 times in a row is less than a 12.5% chance. This without applying any debuffs to AC, say from the shaken condition due to combat expertise. For added hilarity, assume we have a biohacker pharmacologist on the team who manages to inflict encumbered and entangled with his biohack. The combined penalty to acrobatics checks is so severe that, once pinned, they will likely never escape.

Edit: any corrections to this calculation graciously and humbly accepted.

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David knott 242 wrote:

Does taking one of these archetypes block you off from taking any other archetype? Obviously it prevents you from taking options at the same level that the other archetype grants you a feature -- but I can't recall whether there is a general "only one archetype per class" or "only one archetype per character" rule.

Core Rule book page 126 "You also cannot add more than one archetype to a specific class."...."If you multiclass and gain a level in a new class, you can add a new archetype to that class when you reach the appropriate level."