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So we recently encountered a spider swarm in a game and there was argument over what the basic reflex save is actually saving against.

"Each enemy in the spider swarm’s space takes 1d4 piercing damage with a DC 14 basic Reflex save. A creature that fails its save is exposed to spider swarm venom"

I think that the basic reflex save is for the damage because the CRB says basic saves halve the damage on success and negate the damage on a crit.

Most of the people think that the basic save is just to avoid the poison. But this would mean that you'd make two saves to just avoid the poison and swarms get to make 3 of these in a round with unmitigated damage.

Which is the correct interpretation? And please the more input the better.

Secret Wizard wrote:

DEX to damage is wrong for this game. STR only justifies itself as a stat in this game because:

- Operative weapons get half damage from spec.

- Only STR can be added to melee damage.

The Operative doesn't even get to add DEX to damage, because it's wrong in this game. Most weapons don't add any modifier to damage.

The reason operative doesn't get dex and half level to damage is because the do more damage on average with a trick attack melee attack than a normal attack at a similar level. (trick DCs should not be a problem to make since skills go up pretty quickly and will be higher than attack rolls). They will also be able to make one more attack on a full attack than a solarian (though the solarian does have a slightly smaller penalty). Operatives also only need Dex to be effective in combat so the need to reduce its effectiveness is needed. Using Dex on a solarian would still need to be balanced out with Cha to use with abilities and RP. So Dex isn't the super stat like it is for operatives.

I mean in Pathfinder you can get dex to damage through various means and it is basically identical as far as other uses in Starfinder. Other systems do something similar to my suggestion and it still balances well. 5e Monks can use dex to hit and damage and the need for Wis as well for ki and other powers do help balance out the class.

You could just do Dex to hit but then you would have to change the damage dice so that it lines up with Str weapon damage or have it target EAC instead of KAC. That way the smaller damage would be worth it by targeting the lower AC similar to how energy weapons differ from kinetic weapons. Otherwise you'd still need to invest points in Str (negating the whole purpose) and even then would do less damage than a Soldier.

So here are some ideas that I had for helping with the Solarian MAD problem.
1. Solarians get Dex to hit and damage when using a solar weapon. Effectively making them a Dex/Cha class. Which is similar to what most mechanics builds will look like with Dex/Int.
2. They get both solar armor and solar weapon. Solar armor actually does a good job of balancing out light armor and heavy armor. With 18 Dex KAC of light and heavy are roughly equal and EAC is about the same. Some examples figuring 18 Dex light armor with solar armor and 14 Dex Heavy.

Lvl 1 - Second Skin - KAC = 10+2+4+1=17, EAC = 10+1+4+1=16
Lashunta Ringwear 1 - KAC = 10+4+2=16, EAC = 10+2+2=14
So It comes out ahead with purely lvl 1 armor. This can change if second lvl armor like the Hidden Soldier Armor can be purchased. Then you have equal KAC and light armor lead EAC by 1.

Lvl 5 - D-suit 1 - KAC = 10+6+4+1=21, EAC = 10+5+4+1=20
Lashunta ringwear 2 - KAC = 10+10+2=22, EAC = 10+8+2=20
So now at level 5 we have equal EAC by Heavy pulls ahead in KAC by 1.

Lvl 10 (by now Dex of Light armor is at 20 and Heavy armor is at 18)
White Carbon Skin - KAC = 10+14+5+2=31, EAC = 10+12+5+2=29
Specialist Defiant Series - KAC = 10+18+2=30, EAC = 10+15+2=27
While it looks like Light armor leads taking in a lvl 11 Lashunta Ringwear would put EAC equal and KAC of heavy ahead by one.

Jumping ahead to 20 figuring max dex for both armors we get
Specialist Hardlight Series - KAC and EAC = 10+22+8+2=42
Vesk Monolith - KAC = 10+27+5=42, EAC = 10+26+5=41.
So Light armor has higher EAC but they have equal KAC. With such small variations it would be easy enough for a GM to hold back on certain armors if one got too far ahead.

3. Current solar weapon Damage is actually fairly consistent with one-handed advanced melee weapons when you consider the solarian crystals. One-hand weapon damage doesn't increase until lvl 7 weapon so the increase at lvl 6 actually fits normal weapons. Now the fix i propose is to allow solarians to choose between a One-handed and a Two-handed solar weapon. One-handed behaves as the current RAW but for the Two-handed change all d6s to d8s. Still allow dex to hit and damage. This would put the two-handed in line with the tactical pike at 1 and with the crystals added in it comes out fairly close to the average damage of the Dimensional Slice Curve Blade. In fact it actually pulls ahead by 9 damage on average. You could decide on which weapon type you use either at lvl 1 and set it then or allow the solarian to change it at each level up like damage type. Both styles have advantages and disadvantages. One-hand will do less damage but will allow versatility by having a gun in the offhand to make quick ranged attacks as needed. Two-handed does more damage but switching to ranged would take more actions. But with Quick Draw you could draw and throw a thrown weapon quickly for ranged with the downsides that entails.

4. As far side effects of being a Dex based class. Initiative will be higher this should help make taking a level in blitz soldier unnecessary since you will have a good move speed and a good initiative already. Solarians have bad Reflex saves so a high Dex will just make the save in line with a good save and an average stat (good save 2+2 stat is equal to bad save 0+4 stat at lvl 1). And for skills Solarians get Acrobatics and Stealth base and can pick up others if they wish. With a high Dex and Acrobatics this just makes the solarian what it was meant to be...a mobile melee fighter.