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It's almost as if "typical challenging DCs" were tuned to be 50% chance of success for reasonably focused characters.

I'd need to shuffle through APs again to focus specifically on skill DCs, but I'm wondering if half the grudge doesn't come from the fact that skill checks don't apply the equivalent design philosophy of "some battles should be fairly easy".

I, too, would like to know if RAI was to support exocortex mechanics summoning their own Titan shields (an idea that I found pleasing). FAQ'd !

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Dracomicron wrote:
Pantshandshake wrote:

Dracomicron: That’s your answer for everything.

Not true. Sometimes the answer is "chainsaw."

I find both answers to be perfectly fine, to be honest.

Tryn wrote:
I'm not a fan of the new NPC system at all. While it makes creating npcs/monsters easier, it's a complete different creation system, it dictates your enemies equipment or the players can't really use their knowledge to estimate the enemies power ("NPX X has a MK II. laser rifle, while the rest have MK I Pistols, so be careful X didn't hit you").

That's simply not true :

Alien Archive p.128 wrote:
If an NPC uses [...] weapons, you can give it a weapon with an item level equal to the creature’s CR

The magitech augs Force Soles and Gravitational Harness (Armory, p. 92) should work, I think.

Aside from this, it seems to me Power Armor not being able to fly easily is by design.

As for the Light Armor slots, I really don't know. Power armors have a low number of upgrade slots, I could see the argument where it's intended because you can benefit from the ones in your light armor underneath as well. But I can also see the counterpoint of "power armor are powerful enough they warrant a lower slot amount". I'd probably let it fly as long as it makes some sense.

Agreed in RAW being somewhat unclear. However, ruling that punching someone with a very costly, heavily armored, power-assisted armor is no more damaging (i.e. Archaic, non-lethal) than doing it bare-handed feels contrary to both the idea of game balance (expenditure of game ressources) and rules construction (archaic property is called-out every time it applies).

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You have line of effect, if you can punch through the obstacles. That's what line weapon do, by description : create a line of effect if you have the damage.
You do not, however, have line of sight, so you need to guess at squares (or fire blindly and hope someone is there), and targets have total concealment for 50% miss chance.

The tactic is a novelty past the surprise shot anyway. On top of the 50% miss chance, intelligent opponents would either move out of range at once, or at least drop prone + fight defensively for a total of +6 AC (which is a lot in Starfinder), then proceed to crawl out of range.
You could also make a very good case of said opponents having Improved Cover (so another +8 AC) against the line weapon fired through walls, which would further diminish any effects.

Firing through walls is fun, interesting and visually appealing, but I'm thoroughly unconvinced it's game breaking. At least, not anymore than massed sniper fire, and I haven't seen any complaints about that.

The FAQ'd post asks a question that I think is a bit different, but interesting nonetheless, I've thrown my vote in as well. ;)

Incidentally, if you have UPBs at hand (required to craft anyway), you can also have all the tools you need, you know ?

So far, everything I've seen in the rules that allows switching from two-handed ranged to melee is done through paying the price of a swift action to change grip or free a hand. I'd bet for it to be an internal guideline written somewhere in some general design document for Starfinder.

If you want a bayonet or anything in this spirit, I'd follow the same idea and ask for a swift action to change grip between ranged or melee. Keeps the rules consistent, doesn't change much, doesn't mess up with the tight game math.

Yep, if you're not planning to grab Spellbane, there's definitely very little reason not to take one of the minor spellcasting feat. The amount of utility you get out of that one feat slot is impressive.

And all this time, I thought "man portable" was a synonym for "not securely bolted to the ground" whenever PCs are around.

Besides, I don't think there's size penalty for carrying capacity in SF ? So a 16 Str Pixie could carry as much as any 16 Str Vesk.

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And I've attended a conference where researchers stabilized time measurement from atomic clocks (*) to enough precision to measure that the 3Om height difference between two of them actually yielded a time difference compatible with the one predicted by Einstein's relativity theory. (much to the researchers relief, I shall add. They were understandably a bit nervous when they made the first measurements)

I didn't even know about the electric universe before the thread on these forums. I can't even understand the blind willingness of some people to trust a few people (and in some case, one person) claims against the vast scientific consensus. Especially with the g~!&~%n internet making everything so easy to cross-review, re-analyze, reproduce, or whatever strikes your fancy with the available data and conclusions. Wrong results don't survive for very long, nowadays.

(*) Using a technique akin to the one described here, but with optical landlines throughout the whole of Europe's GIANT research network, accross several physics labs installations. I can't exhume the paper on it though, and it drives me crazy !

quindraco wrote:
You're definitely right about the sidearms issue. I had a hilarious conversation in-game two sessions ago as my Skittermander spent half an hour trying to get the quartermaster to issue him a "sidearm" - she had no idea what that word meant and kept bringing him more and more powerful weapons in confusion. He eventually stormed out when she brought him a black hole grenade.

Sounds like great fun !

It seems to me the Artillery Lasers are shamelessly stolen from SWToR's Assault Cannons, and the name was picked up to suggest it was able to spew powerful bursts of high-powered lasers.

Regarding the very tough lightbulbs, in a world where anyone is allowed to carry weapons in the open, I'm pretty sure every g~@$#~n engineer would design things as very sturdy, "just in case" (especially on space stations, because being exposed to vacuum is bad).
Besides, it fits with the trope of highly advanced technology being able to function for millenias after being abandoned.

Ravingdork wrote:
armor is not something that could be "drawn easily by the target as a move action,"

You haven't seen what the space ladies in those less than reputable parts of Absalom Station can do. It's clearly only a swift action for them.

Joke aside, yes, as of current rules, there's a strong argument to be made for Armor not to be sunderable (and I don't find RAI easy to discern in that particular case).
This leaves the tensile reinforcement in a weird position, because I can't see lots of situations where an unattended suit of armor would take damage.

baggageboy wrote:

Imagine sending a rocket off with a 100,000lb payload, but once it gets to the destination it's now a 50,000,000lb rocket, and still moving at the same speed as it was with the 100,000lb payload.

If you mean as a kinetic weapon, damage will mostly come from velocity anyway (especially since given the time needed to convert UPB, you would get a lot of time to accelerate).

If you're thinking more about a colony/sleeper ship, well, that's exactly the kind of thing hyper-advanced hybrid nanotech/magic fabricator is supposed to do. I'm perfectly comfortable with the idea that devices able to manipulate matter both at the atomic scale and through magic can sometimes yield greater volume of goods than the generic base.

Ah, I see your point.

For some reason, I approached Starfinder as its own set of rules quite easily (maybe because I've dabbled in way too many other game systems), but I can understand how people really used to PF/D&D history could be thrown off by that kind of quiet change.

Which is more likely ?
1) Freeing a hand to reload a weapon is included in the "Reload" action.
2) Developers intended you to waste two Swift actions freeing a hand to reload any two-handed weapon, and neglected telling us in the rules.

I'd go with interpretation 1) without an hesitation.

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Off the top of my head, I can't remember a game system that I know of that requires you to add the weight/encumbrance of loaded ammo to that of the weapon. Values listed are always for a fully loaded gun, and you only take into account weight/encumbrance for extra clips/reloads.

Bulk is highly abstract and is a rough measure of how annoying it is to carry something. I'm perfectly okay with the system saying that it's more annoying to carry ammunition as extra reloads than already loaded in a weapon.

In Starfinder, skimming through the weapons table, to two worst offender I can find are flamethrowers and heavy projectile weapons.
A lot of Flamethrowers bulk is fuel, so I'm okay with the game implying that the bulk of the rest is somewhat negligible compared to that.
Heavy weapons ammo adds up for half a bulk for a full clip, but it's in the weapon, which likely comes with straps and is (hopefully) designed to be as practical as possible to lug around fully loaded, so again, I'm okay with the players getting a discount.

Enforcing bulk for loaded ammo is likely to end up, through rounding, as players being only 1 bulk higher at most than without. This could also encourage a focus on energy weapons, because batteries are light. Personally, I can't see any significant gameplay gain and wouldn't bother.

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Dark Midian wrote:

Fallout is what people think of for futuristic power armor? Really?

Not Doomguy or Master Chief? :v

Fallout 1 was published in 1997. Halo 1 in 2001. Half-Life in 1998. Doom goes way back to 1993, but back then, Doom Guy didn't really have anything resembling the (admittedly awesome) Praetor Armor.

Fallout is probably the earliest appearance of power armor in PC games I can think of. (outside PC, only Metroid comes to my mind as being earlier).

Fallout 4 seriously retconned fusion cells lifetime for power armor. In older games, they've always been supposed to be powered by a nuclear source able to last for decades, if not centuries.
It's a change pushed by game design, and I'm not sure I like the results of said game design compared to previous installations in the franchise.

Given the frequent requests for more power armor options, I'm pretty sure Paizo noticed the demand is there. I'm not sure if publication planning will allow them to make it come faster than the Armory book, however.

I just hope when they do that they'll also flesh out the good-for-everyday-use approach of the battle harness rather than focus only on situational mechsuits.

Let's not forget that WBL is also "self-replenishing" by nature. If you blow up 20k credits in spell gems in a very tough fight, you're supposed to regain these credits over time through your next encounters, with some of that regained wealth in hard credits, and the rest in the form of other consumables.

pithica42 wrote:
There is probably a sweet spot around every 2-4 levels where you should make the effort if you haven't seen a better item drop organically.

I'm pretty sure this is how it's meant to be used in actual play.

Kevin Boyer 646 wrote:

1) forcing the landing - the PC's didn't really check for bugs on the car so this is easy. One of the technomancers can force the thing down or I can just say the thing has a remote override switch that the jiang-shi vampire kicks in (can't remember her name). Boom, instant forced landing.

I'd say this is the perfect use case for the classic man-portable missile launcher. Just shoot the car down, action-movie-villain style !

2) I'm torn between having Gretal switch sides or try to stay out of it. She's currently on quite friendly terms with the PC's and her former squad mates were willing to attack her. I'm leaning toward having her hunker down behind the hover car and try to aid the PC's

Hard to tell what would work best with your group. As written, I think this NPC would stay true to its engagement with the players, especially if they took steps to befriend her. Have her focus on mooks and let the PCs take on the bigger threat.

By default, trick attack allows you to "move, then trick attack". Standard attack allows you to "move, then shoot" OR "shoot, then move"

Shot on the run allows you to split your movement. So you can now "move 20', shoot, move last 20'". As worded, I think Shot on the run don't expand Trick Attack the same way, but only allows the additional option of "trick attack, then move". Whatever the correct intepretation is, it's poorly worded either way. :/

quindraco wrote:

This had me curious, as I could have sworn I had different numbers.

Unfortunately, I noticed halfway through that the spreadsheet I was using behaved wonkily on my workstation. Though I reran most calculations to discard clearly impossible results, I didn't have time to search for the underlying cause, so some values could definitely be a bit off.

However, these values should never be so far off that the comparison between the different weapon classes becomes irrelevant.

Re: Shot on the Run. As worded, I also parse the feat as allowing you to move either before or after Trick Attack, instead of only before. I believe they would've worded it differently if the intent was more on the line of "if you have Trick Attack, you can make your attack at any point during your movement granted by the trick attack action".

Abraham spalding wrote:
What you dirty heathens call "the drift" is simply the warp, and your "starstone" beacon simply yet another cheap heretical chaos copy of the true Emporer!

Close enough I guess, except for the "rampant demon attack" of the former, and "let's sacrifice hundreds of psykers every day" of the latter.

(We're also missing a couple rules for proper Imperium supremacy, like Space Marines Power Armor and Bolters.)

More seriously, I can't wait for the pdf to be available as well, more details for the Drift are really needed.

Ran some numbers :

Level 6 Operative, 20 Dex, CR6 Opponent

Laser DPR - Standard/Full :
Small Arms (Laser pistol, corona) - 20.425/8.8 (16.125/5.6)
Sniper Rifles (Diasporan rifle, advanced) - 14.25/NA
Heavy Weapons (Artillery laser, corona) - 11.25/16.25

Projectiles DPR :
Small Arms (Semi-auto pistol, advanced - 19.975/9 (15.275/7.5)
Sniper Rifle (Shirren-eye sniper rifle, tactical) - 9.775/NA
Heavy Weapons (Reaction cannon, tactical) - 11.05/15.3

Level 10 Operative, 24 Dex, CR10 Opponent

Laser DPR - Standard/Full :
Small Arms (Laser pistol, aphelion) - 35/24.375 (29.75/11.25)
Sniper Rifles (Diasporan rifle, elite) - 28/NA
Heavy Weapons DPR (Artillery laser, aphelion) - 19.975/30.55

Projectiles DPR :
Small Arms (Semi-auto pistol, elite - 36.1/25.575 (28.5/16.275)
Sniper Rifles (Shirren-eye sniper rifle, elite) - 30.4/NA
Heavy Weapons (Reaction cannon, heavy) - 19.875/29.15

Level 15 Operative, 26 Dex, CR15 Opponent

Laser DPR - Standard/Full :
Small Arms (Laser pistol, parallax) - 56/48 (44.8/32)
Sniper Rifles (Diasporan rifle, ultra) - 42/NA
Heavy Weapons DPR (Artillery laser, perihelion) - 26.4/39.6

Projectiles DPR :
Small Arms (Semi-auto pistol, paragon) - 51.75/43 (40.25/25.8)
Sniper Rifles (Shirren-eye sniper rifle, paragon) - 43.2/NA
Heavy Weapons (Reaction cannon, heavy) - 37.8/54

Second DPR value (in parens) for small arms is for the second range increment (-2 to hit).

Assuming I made no mistakes :
- Heavy weapons are actually decent as long as you stay in the first range increment, but only if you can full attack consistently
- Short range really favors small arms.
- Sniper weapons are roughly equivalent to small arms starting at the second range increment of said small arms. (They also, unsurprisingly, get better the farther your target is)
- Far Shot seems to be a good feat for Operative willing to use mainly small arms.

dragonhunterq wrote:
The point is more that unless you need a 13/15 to meet a prereq it doesn't make much of a material difference.

Exactly this. Unless aiming for a specific Feat with an odd score requirement, it doesn't matter.

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I'm willing to bet that Paizo will never answer your inquiries directly, because a) a lot of your posts feel like you're crusading for balance, MMO-style, and developers know exactly what to do in those situations, b) even if it weren't the case, Paizo still would be in a no-win situation from a PR standpoint (of paramount importance since this is the internet) by commenting on these subjects, and c) a pen & paper RPGs, even in our increasingly digital world, is very different from video games when it comes to publishing changes.

Situational/Utility talents have always been hard to value properly, since they tend to be either incredibly awesome or unexpectedly disappointing, but I think no one really disagrees with you on Solarian being mechanically weaker than Soldier, because even with all else being equal, consistency always beats potentiality in any analysis.

If Paizo really deem the Solarian a tad too weak, they'll probably use future materials to either (or both) :
- Pillage 3.5e "Force of Personality" and "Steadfast Determination" to design a feat that let's you swap Charisma with either Con or Wis for saves. This is your fix to the problem, this is mine as well, except that we can make it baseline instead of a feat tax because home games.
- Design a feat that lets Solarians shorten attunement time to increase rate of usage on utility talents, probably through Resolve spending.

HWalsh" wrote:
I know many players who know systems better than the designers do.

This is both true and false, as I'm sure you're aware of. Building a system from the ground up is not exactly the same as analysing/improving one. I know many people that are incredibly good at improving an existing design, but that would be utterly incapable of creating one from the ground up. Both are valuable skills, but they often don't give insights on the same parts of a system. (which is why you often put these two different kind of designers, engineers or researchers in the same office)

Wrath wrote:
I’m sure it gets even muddier when you consider many folks accessing and putting things up on sights hosted overseas from countries not bound by US law.

As a general rule, anyone using bulletproof hosting is usually well aware that he's breaking various existing laws anyway.

For normal people, thankfully, laws on fair use and intellectual property tend to be fairly similar in quite a lot of countries, so the boundaries are usually relatively clear.

*shrug* Standard internet hyperbole. Due to str+cha reliance, Solarian has slightly lower saves than a class that can afford (and chose to) focus in main stat + Dex/Con/Wis. At most tables, it's likely to be a non-issue.

Player agency is still opposed by other characters actions. The whole point of rules is to resolve these conflicts of interest when it's of importance. We're not playing FATE (you have "Toughest guy in the universe" aspect ? Sure, you don't scream), so we need to abide by Starfinder's mechanics. General case for effects targeting a player is "save or suffer consequences", so in that case, I find it perfectly normal to ask for a save.

pithica42 wrote:
In Starfinder, I'd probably let them spend a Resolve point (or two) to avoid the save

Starfinder indeed provides the perfect mechanic to preserve character agency in a case like that. Failed save ? Spend resolve instead (FATE would be a fate point), don't scream.

Kudaku wrote:
Slight sidetrack, but just in case this is for a future game session and not just a theoretical exercise, make sure you talk to your players about the themes you're getting into and that they're comfortable with it before spinning a detailed torture scene. There's nothing wrong with running a "grim" game, just make sure your players are on board with it first. :)

Also, this. Table expectation is an important thing.

Well, they kinda have no choice, given their beginnings. It must sometimes be a heavy burden for them, 3.x being a system originally designed with deliberate trap options. :s
I'm still surprised they divided SF so far from PF, to be honest.

Also, while I'm definitely on the side of the fence that do like what they did with the rules, from a pure setting standpoint, I can't wait for Paizo to release more material as well.

The Ragi wrote:
As it is written, it's kinda RAI more than RAW.
rook1138 wrote:
if you have holy fusion seal (lvl 10) as in the example, it can be added to any weapon between levels 2 and 10 (the minimum needed for holy, and the maximum level of the seal).

It may not be quite inarguably RAW, but it's also the only interpretation that makes sense (as in, "actually likely to see decent use in actual play"), and is my reading of the rules as well.

When I read the CRB for the first time, it became quickly clear that while sharing some common genes with Pathfinder, the game design was quite different and aimed for different objectives - namely, better balance, simpler rules, and, indeed, less powerful casters.
If you try to fight these differences, I fear you can only be dissatisfied with Starfinder.

I wonder if Paizo having time for a last good editing/proofreading pass before hitting printing deadlines would've helped the initial perception of the ruleset for some people, particularly regarding some of the finer differences with PF.

Alas, I'm pretty sure all Armor Storm lovers (including myself) will have to wait until this summer for the Starfinder Armory book, which can't come soon enough.

Right now, only the Battle Harness seems worth it, trading flying options for staying power.

I definitely agree that it makes lower levels the roughest, but this holds true for other specs as well : an 18 Dex Daredevil has the same bonus on trick attack rolls than a 10 Cha Spy, after all. Of course, that 18 Dex brings other advantages as well...

Spy feeling the weakest spec for trick attack is probably more a side effect of Charisma being the weakest stat rather than anything else, if I had to guess. (although for picky DMs that would insist on plausible application of Trick Attack skills, I'd say Spy is tied with Detective on being the hardest to shut down)

Anyway, I merely wanted to emphasize the fact that all specs are perfectly viable, even with modest or even low investment.

You don't really need a high investment in "secondary" stats as an Operative when it comes to trick attack. To continue with the current example, assuming you can't encounter anything higher than CR+2, you don't need higher than a 14 Cha for your entire career as a Spy to trigger a trick attack 100% of the time after level 7 (and succeed on a roll of 10+ before that), as long as you put a rank in the relevant skill every level.

The Trick Attack mechanic is very forgiving. It's designed to succeed quite easily.

Starfinder doesn't care about the oddness of ability scores when it comes to damaging them : (p. 252 of the CRB) "For every 2 damage you take to an ability score, reduce your ability modifier by 1 for skills and other statistics affected by that ability."

The only edge case is draining a monster ability score all the way to zero.

Actually, from DPR calculations run here and here, Sniper Operative is absolutely viable compared to Small Arms.

Also, afaik, we have no designer input to confirm that Small Arms are weak because of Operative. It could be a global design choice. If it's for balance, it's not only because of the Operative anyway : an Envoy using "Get'em" while plinking at enemy with a laser pistol generates almost as much DPR than anyone else.

Starfinder's game design may not please everyone, but combat game balance is actually very tight between classes.

Agreed. Things like scratch-building a grenade (Soldier) or quick-fixing a drone (Mechanic) are meant to be part of a 10-minute rest, so can't qualify as strenuous activities.
If those are okay, walking, driving or shuttling from a place to another shouldn't be a problem either.

An interesting concept !

I'd ask your GM if he'd let you use the "ability quick pick" optional method. It's equivalent to the 10-point method, but ignores racial adjustments, which could help in your case. (split or versatile could both work I think)

If you're dead set on melee, I'd try begging for free "racial" proficiency in Dragonglaive. You'd suck at anything ranged, but wouldn't have to burn feats on using the emblematic Dragonkin weapon (a melee technomancer is already quite wonky, it's a tiny gain). If you want melee/thrown, you need adv. melee for starknives, so you're looking at a 2-3 feats investment.

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You all are clearly overthinking it !

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An operative will be at +1 over the mechanic, at best, on computer skill checks, and can hack in half the usual time. (and take 10 at some point)

Meanwhile, a mechanic can hack things remotely, and if exocortex, while shooting things in the face. I'll definitely take that over a +1.

Tarik Blackhands wrote:
the Rogue Trader special

Beautiful. I will definitely use this term from now on.

Indeed, "nuke it from orbit" will solve most problems through overwhelming firepower (after all, most starship weapons don't have limited ammo as written. They WILL destroy any ground target eventually). It just has the slight inconvenient of :
- Making useful things disappear at the same time, which may or may not be a problem in the given situation.
- Have hefty political consequences (see : SFS infamy idea) once the Pact Worlds beging to know about the PCs preferred way of problem-solving.

If players are intent on using this method often regardless, they have to deal with the long term consequences. It becomes a table problem regarding campaign expectations between players and DM, not a rules problem.

Outstanding work ! Tremendous help in trying to answer simple questions like "Bullet Barrage or Laser Accuracy ?", for example.

I admit I haven't played with every level/weapon combination yet, but it's also quite interesting to see Deadly Aim being more often than not close in DPR with regular attack mode. You basically trade accuracy for a chance of higher damage, which would mean the Feat is aimed more toward punching unexpected DR (or high risk/high reward gambits) rather than straight DPR increase.

What if I told you Starfinder expects only two good saves out of three ?
What if I told you Starfinder considers (at 20) +15 good enough (i.e. expected baseline), +18 high save, +20 exceptional ?
What if I told you Paizo knows about the Solarian having overall lower saves, and based on their design goals, doesn't care in the least ?

The gravity of the total bonus to saves situation highly depends on the expected save rate the designers had in mind when setting up NPCs DCs, a number that is currently unknown. What is the baseline expected in typical play ? Are save feats supposed to boost you higher than standard ? What are the Con/Wis score investment the game expects from random players ? Are characters supposed to be good at all three saves, or only two ?

The only thing about which we can be fairly sure regarding saves is that designers probably expects most player will grab at least one Ring of Resistance as one of their two worn magic items (Two rings ? I won't bet on that). Everything else, we don't know, so we can't say if Solarian is notably far from expected target numbers for saves or not.

For an exemple of what I'm talking about, see for example this excellent post. (Also, I fully admit DPR/DPS misuse is a pet peeve of mine. If you already grok all of the implications of these tools, don't mind me too much. :) )

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Being aware/prepared outside of combat is already taken into account in the ruleset : you don't get to be on the wrong end of a surprise round.

Ikiry0 wrote:
Valfen wrote:
Current DPR comparisons are nice to have, but most I've seen lack indirect party contribution (DPR increase for allies from an Envoy Get'Em or an Operative making a target Flat-Footed should be included in Envoy/Operative DPR)
Oh, I did. The Operative got an effective +2 to it's attack bonus to account for hitting flat footed guys.

What I meant was, if an Operative makes a target flat-footed for a Soldier, the Soldier's DPR increase from that -2 AC should be counted in the Operative's DPR, not the Soldier's. Same for an Envoy Get'Em ability, for example.

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