Haven't seen this asked yet, but we're still in rapid-fire question zones, so I'm sorry if this has already been covered.
Some Starships have a minimum tier possible. This isn't a requirement, but larger starship frames in particular require an amount of BP that simply isn't available at lower tiers.
My question is this: is the base HP listed for Carriers, Battleships, and Dreadnoughts including pre-existing HP increases (that would be mandatory by that tier), or is it just the base? Do Carriers, Battleships, and Dreadnoughts even get HP increases for Tier 4?
While generally I'd agree with you, I've an issue:
Here, Natural Weapons aren't being separated as a weapon type, but rather the weapon provided by the ability. See the Natural Weapons ability:
Vesk gain a unique weapon specialization with their natural weapons
Implying that the Natural Weapons is a separate weapon as provided by this ability.
That said, the same ability block also says "they can deal 1d3 lethal damage with unarmed strikes and the attack doesn't count as archaic" So at the very least I think clarification is in order.
As I go into above, the damage is very unimpressive as a primary attack strategy in the long run. It's a fine backup for someone who focuses on ranged combat or has an alternative main weapon, but nothing you should rely on as a primary attack methodology.
I think the issue shown however is that the weapon your provide is 410,090 credits more expensive than the battleglove, can be disarmed, and doesn't allow you to grapple an opponent (presumably the goal of an unarmed fighter). Also, you can knockback and deal free damage with your hammer fist.
That said, frankly, I don't even really think you can focus on an "unarmed build", beyond taking up Improved Grapple. The Hammer Fist ability is just a good ability that you always have access to. I'd agree that if you're looking for a good melee weapon, you can just pick one up and start doing more damage (as is by design). But I wouldn't count the unarmed damage out for that. The great thing about Armor Storm is that you can have both, but I'd agree that you shouldn't necessarily "focus" on it.
Trick to quickly totaling large amounts of dice is to put them together in 10's put the 6 and 4 together the 3 3 3 and 1 etc. Makes it go super fast for me. then you can just go 10 20 30 and add up the remainder.
Isn't that what people just do in general? I don't think that's that much of a special technique, that's just how tables I've played at do that.
Even doing this method, when you're making multiple attacks it still can take a bit of time. It may go faster than adding it all up one-by-one, but it still takes time - and the more it happens with the larger the die pool, the more time it takes.
The difference between this and, say, spells, is that spells with large damage dice pools would usually only be used once per battle or a couple times per day. But these are weapons... This is happening every single time you hit for all players around your table for every hit they land. And then for all enemies for all their hits and attacks and ongoing effects. That adds up.
I love picking up a big handful of dice and chucking it. I pack about 50 dice in my bag to every game and use about 10 of them - and that's not even my whole collection. I love dice and I love using a lot of them. But I've got 5 players at my table, and three of those players possess a single set of dice (or at least that's all they bring), and two of those players don't like mathing things out all the time.
Improved Unarmed Strike explicitly does not work with Armor Storm. You're already getting the scaling damage - you don't get it again.
As far as the weapon specialization from Vesk, I'd say it wouldn't apply. You're treating your unarmed strike as a battleglove attack - not as an unarmed strike. On top of that, the bonus Vesk receive at 3rd level is not with unarmed attacks, but with their "Natural Weapon". This is an important distinction, although official clarification on this would be nice (although I believe such a thread has already come up at some point). You're already getting a pretty decent boost to damage at level 1, though, and get an even further boost at level 3 if you take the gear boost.
I think this shapes up pretty well compared to a lot of other melee builds. Provided you're armored, you always have a weapon, and your weapon scales with your level by a substantial amount. I wouldn't say it's the best, but it can certainly hold it's own, and if you feel you're falling behind you can always pick up a different weapon no problem.
If you have a Technomancer in your party, a Utility Scattergun is a decent choice to mix with Supercharge Weapon. That said, as a standard weapon, it's otherwise kinda "meh" unless you're fighting a lot of things at once.
I'd make a case for Flame Rifle. Range isn't outstanding, but it targets EAC, isn't inhibited by normal energy problems this early (laser, nonlethal, etc.) is decent damage for an energy weapon, has a good critical effect, and has the Line ability, making it good for AoE. I think it's a good weapon for close-quarters combat, or in areas with lots of cover (where enemies will tend to huddle up behind) - particularly with Sniper's Aim from Sharpshooter.
While it's Unwieldy, I feel like you're not going to make full-attacks as often at early levels anyway, given doing so not only leaves you out in the open but also drastically reduces your chance to hit (what, +2 at best with max stat and weapon focus at level 1? Even against EAC that's going to be a coin-flip in most cases). Plus the AoE I think makes up for its Unwieldy property.
I'd certainly replace it pretty soon, but the first chance you get to replace it opens up a lot of other weapon options anyway.
I think overall it depends on your situation, though. Weapons in Starfinder seem to be situational, with all options being good depending on circumstance, rather than there being a "best in class" weapon.
Crits are actually less rare than they use to be: now, it's a flat 5% chance. If a nat 20 doesn't crit an enemy, then you can't crit them at all. There's no confirmation roll or anything.
I actually do like the idea of having a big pool of dice and throwing them all at once - I love Shadowrun as a system for that very reason. My concern is less with the dice and more with the amount of time it'll take to run the numbers. I mean, my group has already had issues just with the barbarian getting 3 attacks per round with 2d6+20 per hit. Start throwing in a bunch of dice on top of that? I dunno...
Apps, as mentioned, are a good way around this, although most of my table swears by physical dice and don't trust virtual dice (for good reason).
It's one of those things that looks really fun on paper, but imagining it in play sounds like a nightmare.
I think I'll have to see - most of the issues do come up late level, so it may not even be a concern. I think at a point, tho, I'll start offering my players rolling or taking average on some dice. It's not the randomness that bugs me as much as the Mathfinding that would then take place. A lot of my players are excited about the math and mechanics being more simplified as compared to Pathfinder.
I was initially going to post this in questions, but was more curious as to the design choice behind this, and wanted to get opinions of other folks on this matter.
I feel like Starfinder uses waaaay too many dice for damage. Not necessarily at early levels, but especially so at late levels - and even mid-to-early levels.
Check this out: even at just level 10, an Operative using an Aphelion Laz. does 3d4+5d8+10 damage with trick attack. That's... A lot of dice to be rolling at once. That's 8 dice in and of itself.
And it gets worse on a Critical Hit: RAW, you roll all damage dice twice before adding ability mod twice, rather than multiplying the total (something I will be for-sure house ruling otherwise for). At this point, the Laz is doing 6d4+10d8+20 plus another 1d4 burn. At this point we're using 17 dice for damage! Some of my players don't even have that many dice, and even of those that do, it'll take a bit to add all that up. And that's not keeping in mind how much trouble physically rolling that would cause.
Now maybe that's not fair because it's Operative - but even long arms of comparable level start doing 3d6 and 3d8 damage, which can still be a hefty handful of 6d8 dice on a crit.
This problem gets worse at high levels where you're then having weapons that can deal upwards of 12d8. The best raw-damage Small-Arms an operative can use deals 5d12+10d8 - on a crit that's 10d12+20d8. Thirty dice!
Other games that use a lot of dice, like Shadowrun or Legend of the Five Rings, have methods around this. In Shadowrun, you just have a target number, and just use d6s with no other types of dice - meaning you just have to find dice of a certain number or higher, rather than adding everything up (a large problem here). In Legend of the Five Rings, dice condense into flat bonuses at higher dice pools, so that you're rolling less dice. Here, while, yes, it's certainly exciting to get a big pool of dice when you do a lot of damage, the trade of is that attacking then becomes a chore at high levels of counting every die you rolled of all dice types, and actually getting the dice to roll to begin with. It's not a big deal, but it's an extra time-consuming factor.
I'm thinking of homebrewing some stuff around this, but I wanted to see how other folks felt about the dice pools at higher levels. I understand not all games even reach that point, but this seems like implicit game design despite being physically clunky (higher level spells also gain large dice pools - looking at you Disintegrate! - and Solarion starts having its weapon scale very quickly at high level). Even in games that don't reach high levels, Starship weapons can start having their own larger dice pools as early as level 1, receiving 10d10 on a weapon that only costs 12 BP.
How's everyone else been seeing this? Honestly, as much as I disagree with parts of it, I'm on the fence between loving the fact that I get to use my whole dice collection, and dreading the amount of extra time and tedium a critical hit can cause.
Look at the professions. Both VidGamer and Video Personality (paraphrasing) are available, and are on the same list as things like accountant, lawyer, mathematician, etc.
This seems to imply that both e-sports and blogging are relevant in Starfinder entertainment.
A player in my game liked this so much that he's playing an Icon with VidGamer as his linked profession skill. He's also playing a Technomancer. I'm immediately thinking of e-sports tournaments in which all participants use magic to some degree to modify the game.
I'm not going to go into too much more detail because he's mentioned that he browses these forums, but it's something that has some potential as far as pop culture.
But Android counts as a humanoid or a construct - the worse of the two - for the sake of targeting. If constructs are nonliving, then no, they're not a living creature, and thus not a valid target for the sake of that spell, since it would be worse for them to not be targeted for it.
If the "take the worse effect" is supposed to be for things like dealing more damage or stunning certain specific creatures, and not for buff spells, then why wouldn't things like Mending or Make Whole then work, considering Make Whole in particular specifies it can target any construct creature?
The issue is that the they must choose the worst of construct or humanoid for effects. Would this apply with Mystic Cure? The worst would be that they were a construct, which are not living and thus not valid targets of Mystic Cure.
If it does not apply in the case of Mystic Cure, then why does it apply in the case of Mending?
Further, how much Bulk do characters take up? As far as I can tell, Bulk is not a measure of actual weight, but of difficulty to transport. How many full-on constructs would even be able to benefit from that - even in regards to the mechanic drones?
Even assuming Mending can't work because of Bulk, there are other spells that heal constructs and objects as well, besides just Mending - like Make Whole, which isn't all too different from a Mystic Cure spell of the same level (5d6 flat compared to 3d8 + however much the Mystic wants to give).
I'd definitely like to see some clarification here, officially. This isn't some minute rules-lawyer thing - I can see this coming up in a lot of games with a lot of different types of players, and can make or break class/race choice. Obviously Androids are meant to be affected by Cure - but why is that exception being made with no note, and why does the exception seem so specific? What other exceptions are there to this trait?
You know, this may be a bit off topic, but I've been seeing this a lot.
The "you can just use piloting" argument doesn't really work. There's exactly one role on the whole ship that requires Piloting, and unless you're planning on driving on vehicles a bunch - which is limited depending on if you're grounded and what terrain you're then on - it is the only time Piloting is used. Just for flying the ship.
So if you max your ranks in Piloting, you're the ship's pilot, not it's prime gunner. If somebody else is then maxing out Piloting, just for the sake of Gunning, they're then wasting skill ranks when a full-BAB class receives the same benefit for free. The only other times I can see that makes sense for somebody else to be gunning and then max their Piloting is
1) The character is flying a ship by themselves.
2) The character's party lacks a full-BAB class, like Solarion.
And that's it.
Piloting is used just in Starship Combat and not in normal combat (or at the very least, not NEARLY as much - even when vehicles are involved), while BAB is used in both.
BAB can also be used to stop combat before it starts or for other uses outside of initiative combat - such as grabbing somebody to quiet them or restrain them, tripping somebody to stop them from chasing somebody, or disarming someone. It can also be used to help break open doors or hit key targets from a distance (albeit doing so wouldn't be too hard even without full-BAB). Piloting does exactly none of that, and has almost no out-of-combat uses otherwise.
You don't get other benefits to your Piloting check on a gunnery check, either, meaning that feats or class features that boost your Piloting are lost.
When compared to things like Computers and Engineering, on the other hand, those are skills you end up maxing for other reasons outside of the ship, have multiple uses, and a lot of classes get decent benefits to them, compared to the few classes that increase Piloting.
This puts Solarion and Soldier both as useful members of a starship crew as primary gunners, since they're not spending resources to get good at doing it. Solarion's in a particularly good situation considering they can also get good at social skills, making them a decent fit for Captain as well - and potentially even both at the same time, depending on the scenario. The rank you're wasting maxing Piloting with an existing pilot on the team could better be used developing a new skill or specializing in something else.
Replying to the OP:
The danger of the Drift is actually an excellent plot point. I think the % chance of encounter is for the sake of abstraction for random encounters for the players, and one could assume general use may be lower.
That said, it could be this very danger which would be why adventurers are hired to begin with: as couriers across dangerous space, both in what's there and the risk of the Drift. This would also mean that trying to sell products across different systems (or even within the same system, considering) may be more expensive, as the cost of transportation would be increased, making certain items less expensive if produced domestically.
Also, there may be other methods of FTL - the Drift is just considered efficient in the sake of time, and primary for the sake of traveling to other systems. Warp and Wormhole travel, in particular, may be simpler methods of travel for things like trade.
Shain Edge wrote:
Recall, too, that legacy spells are also converted over, and would follow similar rules. I am incorrect about spell failure for legacy classes (as per the Spells section, converted Legacy spells don't have components beyond costly components), but it remains the same that a full spellcaster converted from Pathfinder would have more potent spells.
I'm not comparing Starfinder classes to Pathfinder classes in this regard. I'm comparing Starfinder classes to Legacy classes. If we see non-Legacy classes in the future with full spellcasting, they'll likely overshadow these two in terms of power scaling.
Honestly, I'd just use a different system for that. I'm sure Starfinder works without all the magic and such, but it's a backbone to the flavor and balance of the system. Other d20 sci-fi systems, like Star Wars even, would likely fair better (a system where force usage is more balanced around the whole party having it, or nobody having it).
Traveller may also be a good call but I've no experience.
That said, if you just wanted to focus on Starship combat, that has little involvement with magic anyway (I'm sure there's some, but it's not as key as general combat). I'm sure that'd work fine if you were planning on scraping magic out, and even in encounters where you're just using those 4 classes, I would think those would happen with such infrequency compared to space combat that it'd be less problematic.
I think the reason people play D&D games in settings with no or low magic is because D&D and Pathfinder really are the major lead on medieval and fantasy RPGs. I can't think of another system off the top of my head, at all, that is designed explicitly for a medieval or fantasy setting and has no magic. It's easier, in that regard, to remove magic for a setting than to find a new system. Pathfinder/D&D also automatically lends itself well to playing in a wide variety of different scenarios and settings.
Meanwhile, magic + space is basically the point of Starfinder, and there's plenty of existing sci-fi systems that don't have such a key element.
From what I can understand, if you port over a Legacy class, they may still face spell failure - I don't see anything under converting spells that mentions spell failure one way or another, so I'd assume it'd be the same.
That said, no armor provides a base spell failure.
Current spellcasters do have a drawback with casting right now, however: the 1st-6th scale of spells in Starfinder is almost identical to the 1st-6th scale of spells in Pathfinder for full-casters. It's not equivalent in power to the 1st-9th scale. That means 6th level spells you've seen before (namely disintegrate) you still get at 6th level here, and still uses the same slot. Gate, Wish, Meteor Swarm, True Resurrection and things like that a Technomancer and Mystic can't cast. They're consistent casters without all the universe-altering, phenomenal-cosmic-power stuff.
If it helps, based on some descriptions, I'd assume that Technomancer is a psychic-arcane mix and Mystic is a psychic-divine mix, where the psychic bit is the more important part. In Pathfinder, Psychic spellcasting never had spell failure, but could still be interrupted and provoke (as it does here).
A usagi can stand from prone as a swift action.
This is basically Kip Up. I know this is the same as the Moxie presented for Ysoki, but the key difference, here, is that Usagi already have a bonus feat. This would essentially make them a race with two bonus feats starting at first level.
The premise has merit (albeit not to my taste), but the big issue is that this really doesn't seem different enough from Ysoki to merit a new race.
Instead, why not make it a subrace, or make the options you presented alternative race options (such as presented in Pathfinder)?
If you do want it to still be distinct, I'd focus on what makes this race unique and really stand on its own.
Think, too, of cultural differences. Ysoki are ratfolk, and are similar to humans as far as their appearance throughout the universe. A distinct difference to mere ratfolk, tho, is that Ysoki enforce their place in space. Their small size makes them overlooked, but Ysoki demand respect. This is where Moxie comes from.
On top of that, the more common ethnicity of Ysoki (at least for the base system of Starfinder) are going to hail from Akiton, which has essentially become a craftworld. This is where Scrounger comes from.
Think of such details for the Usagi besides just "rabbit people". Breath life into their culture, homeworld, and broad personality traits, and then see what sort've racial traits you can come up with from there.
It's amazing to me how much time people will spend to figure out how to play less at the table. It's not a video game - you don't get an award for speed-running an encounter, you just run your GM out of prepared materials faster. Focusing on damage and builds is fine - trying to squeeze all the damage out of a system like you're wringing out a wet towel on the other hand... You might as well just play a board or card game. You'll probably have a better time.
I've had quite an appreciation for the Solar Armor. It seems to me that, at level one, that can allow you to have the highest AC - particularly as a Vesk. I personally see more use out of ranged weapons with Solar Armor tho - Dexterity also benefits your AC, and a lot of enemies thus far seem to be designed around having ranged options, even if that's not what they're good at. Being able to stay in the front line, but still not needlessly take damage before engaging, seems like a good middle-ground.
I'm aware that Solarion benefits melee more, but if you were looking at something tankier, having a shooty-Solarion might not be too bad, and may limit your MAD issues - particularly if you mix with an operative weapon, and then take Opening Volley at some point.
That said, overall glad to see people focusing on more aspects of Solarion besides just their lightsaber. I think flavor-wise the Solar Blade is pretty cool, but there's a lot going on with Solarion besides just "hit guys" - even in combat.
Given Perception is a skill governing your ability to process information using all your senses beyond simply sight and hearing, I would think it would be important to be mentioned if they can't smell, since logically that would affect their Perception - just like their difficulty with emotions has an effect on their Sense Motive. At the very least, it would effect which sort of Perception checks they can make, as per Perception rules for scent.
Given there is no such mention, that means they have full olfactory capabilities. That said, that doesn't necessarily mean they smell in the same way - their sense of smell may be binary, or have a greater or lesser scope, without quite effecting how they perceive things. This could even be something that changes from android to android, given their mechanical nature and their unique condition.
I think they'll be fine. All I need a full BAB class to do is kill an enemy of CR equal to their level in two rounds solo on average if they push it, while in turn being able to take 4 rounds of damage from such a creature before going down. One shotting stuff is overkill.
Yeah, that's probably not going to happen. Starfinder overall has an increase to hit points with damage output staying more or less the same as Pathfinder. Fights are meant to last longer, here.
Matthew Downie wrote:
Right, but as far as I can tell that's not what's supposed to be happening. It's you using up your stamina to avoid getting a shotgun blast to your face, perhaps turning it into a minor graze by moving aside at the last moment.
Which, from a scenic standpoint, sorta defeats the thrill and tenseness of critical hits - and also faces the exact same problem that the original premise of Hit Points did.
Again, totally cool, now, with the way HP/SP works, mechanically. It's that the explanation, then, of how it works from a flavor and setting standpoint seems a tad silly.
Edit: Part of my sentiment here comes from a quote from Paizo, as well. From their Wounds and Vigor forward -
Each loss of hit points, in this case, suggests that he is becoming progressively less nimble over the course of combat—in other words, that the decreasing hit points are a marker for his overall endurance and condition. It's not quite as satisfying, however, to roll a critical hit and then tell a player that his opponent ducked out of the way, but that the sword's slash made the enemy a little less lucky.
So Stamina seems to double back over onto the same issue, especially given Stamina does not entirely function like Vigor does. It works for Starfinder, and I concede it's a functioning mechanic, but thematically runs into the same issues HP did.
Wow. I already pointed out I was wrong and there's still several posts after the fact trying to argue against me when I already agree with them.
In regards to realism - the Wounds and Vigor system of Pathfinder was an attempt to better explain Hit Points. It was still very game-y, but said "Here is you actually, really getting hurt, and here is you shrugging something off." The two concepts were much more separated than Stamina, here, but the similarities made me think that they were more similar than they are.
That all said, Stamina mentions how it is your ability to shrug off damage - not necessarily in a way of not caring about wounds (which is what HP is for) but in regards to just taking bruises, small cuts, dings, that sort've thing. To me, the design looks as if they added Stamina as a point of "realism" (as much as you can get in a game) to say "Look, yes, people can't take several dozen shotgun blasts to the chest and be A-okay, here's the reason why that's not happening." It seemed like it was trying to separate itself from HP. Basically, the way it is explained in the book, HP is an abstraction of physical wounds, and Stamina is an abstraction of smaller, less important injuries.
To then take a blast to the head, like from a critical hit, and be like "Nope, am fine, just gotta catch my breath a bit from that" with no actual damage at all seems weird.
To be hit by a motorcycle going at max speed and colliding with you directly in the chest to then get up and not be more than a bit bruised, starting from as early as 1st level, feels a bit weird.
It seems gimicky. It just seems like a second pool of hit points, acting like hit points, in regards to the abstracted nature of these two concepts in a thematic scene as compared to its gameplay mechanics.
If Stamina was defined differently (and yes, maybe even renamed) I might be able to take that better - mechanically, it functions as bonus hit points to protect your main hit points, but thematically, it's supposed to be... Well, your stamina. Your fatigue, how tired you are, how much pain you're in.
That's my criticism in regards to "realism" - I'm aware HP is also not realistic, but it seemed like the reason they even added Stamina was to help tailor the abstraction of HP and give more realism, only for it to have just the same issue.
Explosive decompression in space is a complete myth. Though trying to hold your breath is a good way to pop your lungs, so there is that.
That may be, but is not the case in Starfinder space, as per its rules.
In Starfinder, if you're in space, you start suffocating unless you hold your breath.
In space, you take bludgeoning damage just for being out in space.
If you enter space after being in a pressurized area, you take additional damage for the pressure change.
Sure, real space may not work just like that, but that seems to be what happens here when you're exposed to a vacuum. If that's incorrect, I'm not the guy to talk to.
You know, I guess my issue was I was expecting more something akin to Wounds and Vigor from Pathfinder, and during my first read-through that's sorta what it looked like. On second glance, it seemed like they had simplified that mechanic so much, however, that they defeated the purpose of having it to begin with.
That said, I think John's explanation along with seeing a few more HP/SP interactions helps cement it as a bit different (although I'll still be house ruling in regards to crits and logical wounds...). That said, I do still fail to see how, at high levels, PC's won't be going into fights at 100% anyway (in fact, now it seems easier, since you only need to heal half your hitpoints, as the other half heals to full instantly, and even then Cure spells increase in power dramatically starting at 4th spell level...). But, even though I understood a bit before, I can understand the intent more soundly now.
I do want to see more HP and SP exclusive interactions in the future, however. As-is, the options still seem fairly limited.
The hp buffer is a big deal for gameplay though. I ran a space campaign using Pathfinder rules all last year and free force fields became a free staple because damage had a purpose and a danger but going for more than two battles wasn't certain death. If we instead had easy healing the danger and purpose is gone.
For one, you still have easy healing in Starfinder. This is part of my point. You literally bounce back to heal half+ your total hit points in 10 minutes for a resource you'll likely have at least 4 uses per day for, and Mystic Cure and Medicine can then cover the other half.
For two, Pathfinder Force Fields function entirely different from Stamina. Force Fields have fast healing, ignore critical hits, and are gone for a full day after they hit 0. Also, Force Fields are still in this game, albeit working differently.
For three, the HP buffer can still exist and be called, you know, "HP" without requiring extra fluctuating-stat tracking. If HP was based on twice the current values, and you're recovering half your HP at the cost of Resolve, that'd be more or less the same as recovering Stamina at the cost of Resolve.
As for exposure to vaccum damage applying to stamina first, 8:41 on this video is a great reason to allow it.
We're talking full-on exposure in which you need to hold your breath and start experiencing explosive decompression (bludgeoning damage). Starfinder doesn't seem to have rules in regards to this scene.
If a hull leakage would use the same rules, then that means, mechanically, being in an area with a cracked hull is the exact same as being in the middle of space completely naked.
Looking over it again, Poisons seem to actually do damage to HP directly and not Stamina. This, and cure spells, seem to be the only things which interact with HP directly - which is a bit strange, as well, as this means that this makes monsters benefit from HP and Poisons much more than PCs do (since poison would deal less damage, percentage-wise, to a monster, and since a monster's large HP pool with a lack of stamina allows it to better take advantage of cure spells).
The vacuum of space deals damage?
The environmental hazard does. Page 394, under "Vacuum": "A creature introduced to a vacuum immediately begins to suffocate [...] and takes 1d6 bludgeoning damage per round (no saving throw)."
Since it's just damage, it applies to Stamina first.
Yes, you, too, can experience explosive decompression and just be a little winded after.
In regards to damage bypassing stamina for flavor, 0 rules RAW support that, so if that was their intent, they did the opposite by writing that as a thing that doesn't happen. All damage in the game, unless otherwise stated - which I haven't seen as otherwise stated anywhere - always deals damage to your Stamina first, no matter the source, as per RAW. By the book, you can't bypass it at all. (Edit: Hell, on top of that, Nonlethal damage also damages HP in the same way that it damages Stamina, so it doesn't even have that going for it.)
I understand the HP buffer, and do see that point in stamina, as I mentioned in my OP. But from that standpoint, being able to recover half HP + con mod/level with just HP and no stamina would work identically, and I think require less bookkeeping overall (since the number you recover would only change every level and not require you to track two separate numbers frequently).
Otherwise I've yet to see abilities that really interact that much with Stamina. I can't even find a spell that recovers Stamina.
This isn't a rules questions as much as me questioning the design philosophy present in the game.
Before I get into this, a preface: From my understanding, many of the rule changes from Pathfinder to Starfinder were made either for the sake of the larger system (with it being space-based and all), or were to simplify rules (in the case of full-attacks). When I question the rules, here, I question their point in regards to that principal.
So, in essence, why is Stamina simplified, more convenient, or more logical than just regular ol' Hit Points?
I only ask because the Stamina and Hit Point system has one glaring flaw as per RAW - any and all damage dealt to a character (with no exceptions that I've noticed thus far) deal damage to Stamina first, in all given scenarios.
Damage from a vacuum? Stamina damage.
Critical hits? Stamina damage.
Disintegrate? Stamina damage.
How does this make this different from just normal Hit Points then? Mechanically, Stamina is no different than HP, and is used in the exact same way, albeit recovered differently (see below). Why not just provide a character with twice as much HP per level if fights are meant to last longer?
Now, you may say "well, Stamina is there to quickly recover after a fight" which is all well and good. But, if all damage was HP, those healing rules could read as "Spend 10 minutes and 1 Resolve to recover up to half your Hit Points". Similarly, long rests could have a ruling of something like "Recover up to half your Hit Points, plus a number of additional Hit Points equal to your character level".
For most characters, Stamina will make up very nearly half of their total damage pool, and this only really changes if you're really Con-focused - which would otherwise not really benefit you since Con is only the Key Ability Score for Barbarians (a Legacy class), holding your breath, and Fort saves. No other class uses it for class features, and it benefits no skills. It would only otherwise change notably if the character's Con was similarly low. In this regard, healing could instead be noted as "Recover up to half your Hit Points, plus an additional number of Hit Points equal to your con mod per character level".
In fact, similar terminology could be used in other places - instant death could occur at damage into negatives of half your total hit points minus con mod per level, for instance.
A human soldier with 20 con has 144 HP and 240 Stamina, for a total pool of 384.
A human soldier with 20 con who received no stamina points, but double HP from class + con mod, would have 384 HP.
The only thing I've found that specifically deals with Hit Points, in particular, is Mystic Cure. That's it. Mystic Cure says it just recovers Hit Points. Is the entire game's Hit Point mechanics really being balanced around a single spell? Even so, why can't Mystic Cure just say it has no effect on creatures with more than half their hit points, or can't heal past half their hit points, or something similar?
Otherwise, this just seems like needless extra ruling. Even for the purposes of thematics, if anything, this sorta downplays mechanics (Stamina is described as the ability to shrug off damage. So I can shrug off the vacuum of space!?)
In my games, I will be house-ruling that critical hits and some other logical things (like space) will deal at least some damage to Hit Points regardless of stamina (certainly not all, but some) to make HP in and of itself feel more meaningful, and more pressing. That said, RAW, Stamina is just basically half your total hit points separated from the rest of your hit point pool for, from my perspective, no discernible reason.
I'd love to see an explanation for this or something else that justifies Stamina over just more Hit Points, RAW. As-is, it's just more bookkeeping for the same results.
The most important thing I've found on this, which I've yet to see mentioned, is that despite the DC's raising in difficulty, the actions remain exactly the same. Sure, for a Gunner that can be a big deal, since things like Broadsides can become tremendously more powerful as you upgrade your starship weapons or mount new ones. Moving Speech can be a major game-changer. Most of the actions that recover shields do so based on percentage.
But, giving a +4 to an ally? Giving a +2 bonus to AC for the ship? Giving science officers +2 to their checks? Removing a single critical damage?
These are all actions with static results (except removing more crit damage for a higher DC, which already increases DC anyway), and yet the DC continuously increases. This is also in conflict with the skill listings themselves, which demonstrate an ability to learn to do new things at higher DCs, and things you knew before give better results. Here, things you were already able to do get harder for the same results.
This doesn't apply to all actions, but the fact that it applies to any actions is a bit strange.
Sniper weapons do more damage than Small Arms per item level. This roughly cancels out the damage you receive from Sneak Attack.
In this case, this is an additional option for operatives wanting to use Sniper weapons more often. They are one of only two classes that receive Weapon Specialization by default in Sniper weapons, where Operatives act as more supportive snipers compared to Soldiers who act more offensively as snipers.
The limited range seems to be to prevent Operatives from just sitting back and applying debuffs on everybody. In this way, they need to be a bit closer to the fight.
With 270 BP, I can have a Transport with two heavy forward-mounted long-range weapons (particularly a Heavy Antimatter Missile Launcher and a Maser), a chaingun and heavy laser net on turrets, a light plasma cannon on the aft, M10 thrusters, Nova Ultra power core, a Mk 4 Trinode computer, Advanced Long-Range sensors, a drift engine, and Mk 4 armor and defenses, 480 shields, and 85 HP. In fact, I have all of this with BP to spare.
Armor causes penalties to maneuverability and TL at higher levels. Defenses only really provide a good defense against sensor locks - otherwise, missiles can be countered by with decent success from point-defense - the fastest missile currently is a DC 26 to shoot down with a +12 point, meaning basically a 35% miss chance on top of existing TL.
Oh and with a level 20 party my AC and TL is 34, my gunnery is +29, and I can perform most of my DC's with relative ease (the hardest being 10+3* tier, which at worst is a coin-flip). And according to Tier Challenge, I'm supposed to be fighting ships of Tier 9 with "average" difficulty, since, as per RAW, having a high level crew at most adjusts your effective Tier Challenge by 1, ever.
Accordingly, against a Tier 9 enemy as listed in the book (Hivonyx Titan Hauler), my ship can only be hit on a 17+, meaning there's only a 20% chance to hit me with then a further base 35% miss chance if firing a missile, and within short range I can broadside the ship from the front for an average of 135.5 damage, only missing on 1s. From that, on the ship in question, I've depleted its arc shields and dealt an additional 125 damage, making it hit 3 critical thresholds in a single attack, and being able to completely disable the ship in the following round.
And this encounter is an average, typical encounter to be facing. Not "easy" or "mundane" or whatever.
Even against much higher tier ships, my crew still has the advantage of being able to make the DCs for key actions far, far more often (or at all, in some cases).
The issue is that even encounters with other ships, RAW, scales almost exclusively with your ship tier, only partially modified by level.
Even then, why shouldn't I just grab 5 ships with full crews for each of my party members at a "lower tier" to tackle harder problems? Let's not forget - you're punished for upgrading your ship tier, and get very little back. My weapons might be able to be upgraded a bit in the picture above, maybe do a bit more damage, but as-is it's able to tackle encounters "meant" for it just fine.
The GM could also say you don't fly ships, but instead giant space whales, with a completely different system for building and advancement that they homebrewed.
The entire book is guidelines. This is asking for advice on those guidelines based on information given as per RAW.
Your choice of weapons, armor, defenses, and shields (the most important of starship qualities for combat purposes) is not hindered in the slightest by your Tier (at least, not explicitly so). You can be Tier 1 and buy a Maser, arguably one of the best heavy weapons, with no penalties. You can be Tier 1 and even buy Mk 15 armor. The largest BP purchases which would be gated out from tier 1 ships would be the computers or the frame, since larger frames can't be purchased at tier 1 - but it's implied you're not supposed to have a frame larger than large, anyway (or at least the game's not designed around PCs have such ships). Because of this, it's easy to see a ship capable of reaching peak performance relatively quickly, probably around Tier 9 or 10, with future upgrades merely being conveniences or minor adjustments.
Since a bulk portion of the ships statistics are based on the party members and their levels, that means that you'll still gain in power overtime. The ship, on the other hand, just loses out on gaining maybe an extra weapon and maybe an extra bit of armor - the latter of which is solved easily by Pilot ranks rising as level does, potentially overcoming the bonus the armor could provide while taking no penalties.
What you then gain in exchange for not upgrading is the ability to make all your DCs at an easier rate, potentially being auto-succeed the higher level you get.
Some upgrades don't even really get that much better - armor actually causes problems, particularly with mobility, at higher ACs, thrusters at top-speed cause penalties to piloting, sensors get at best a +4 and only increase in range, and even most weapons feel more like options and choices with their own pros and cons until you reach Capital weapons - which, as mentioned before, probably aren't meant for players to use anyway, since you can only mount them on Huge or larger ships.
The most critical of upgrades are shields and computers, with computers draining more on BP and shields draining more on PCU. The best shields cost only 40 BP, where the best computer costs 200.
With all that information in mind, with a level 20 crew, what's stopping a Tier 10 ship from being able to absolutely demolish a Tier 15 ship? Keep in mind, that fights as a Tier 14 combatant for the sake of determining difficulty, and even then, according to the difficulty chart, that's well beyond an Epic challenge encounter. And maybe that's an exaggeration, but even then, it's not hard to see how a ship of much lower tier with a high-level party can completely trash a ship many tiers higher than them with the right upgrades.
So there's very little reason to upgrade a starship beyond a certain point, and there's a big reason as to why you wouldn't (skill DCs). Yet, currently, it appears that you're forced to upgrade as you level.
Blitz is designed explicitly with the melee soldier in mind.
If you want to do a silly build, you can alternatively take Armor Storm and just punch people to start getting strength-and-a-half damage from level one, with it being damage that will always scale with your character level. This also allows you to deal damage with bull rush at later levels, and gives you better armor, including power armor training for free.
gustavo iglesias wrote:
Given the dice odds of both the d20 and the envoy ability, you still have a 60% chance to fail on that once-per-day ability to do something you can do readily at only a 37.5% chance of failure when you get the ability without having to use any once-per-day abilities or the ships computer (you can get around +15+1d6+1 as a level 6 envoy).
It may be possible, even readily so, but it's almost twice as easy to do the same exact same thing at level 6, while spending no resources beyond the Resolve necessary to use the action to begin with.
Honestly just give them a larger ship, or at least one large enough to house a hanger bay so that other players can fly racers/interceptors/fighters.
If they're building their own ship, point out "max crew" sections.
For something like the Shuttle, which has a "max crew" of 4, if you were running a party of 5 I don't see why you can't then fill all role. Starship entries showing shuttles or other low-crew ships having all roles but captain - does captain really need their own console to yell at people?
Ultimately, I'd settle with handing out additional, far weaker ships for players not in the main crew to dogfight with. You can then build encounters accordingly.
RAW a drone cannot be repaired as it is not identified as an object (
Based on the wording of the mechanic trick that says it increases the amount of HP you recover for your drone, I assume the method is supposed to be that you can spend 10 minutes and perform a DC 15 Engineering check (as per the Engineering skill), and then it recovers an amount of HP equal to 10% of the result. This would be increased to 25% with the trick.
I've no idea if that is how it's supposed to work, but there are no concrete rules for repairing a drone - it otherwise doesn't happen, and drone damage is currently permanent RAW.
Quick edit: It may recover hit points based on natural HP recovery, at a rate of 1 per Mechanic level during 8 hours rest, but again, this is unclear and not defined anywhere.
Page 74-75: Drones mention to use their level in regards to determining their Hit Dice, but Hit Dice don't exist in Starfinder.
Similarly, no mention is made
Edit: Creature type is defined in the "Drone" section on Page 74. Hit points question still remains.
As long as we're posting suggestions, considering I would think actions would grow harder based on the enemies, due to stress and urgency, I'd see scaling as so:
10+3* or 20+2* = 20 + 5 * HP increment stage of highest tier enemy, +2 for every additional significant enemy.
15+2* = 15 + 5 * HP increment stage of highest tier enemy, +1 for every additional significant enemy.
10+2* = 10 + 5 * HP increment stage of highest tier enemy, +1 for every additional significant enemy.
This makes fights against multiple enemies have clear goals and additional tactics in combat, while still being easy to keep track of, and is something more hidden (which I personally like about DCs - they're a bit of a surprise, and checks are called for, not given). It's something I plan on using. DCs will still be high for some things at high levels, but not achievable. This makes 10+3*'s highest DC be 45, not 70. If they have a bunch of dog fighters, the DC could reach something as high as 70 potentially, but this is a problem that can then be rectified by intelligent use of tactics.
DC's as a base against a tier 20 enemy are at a rate of 45, 40, and 35, with the highest DC increasing harder with more enemies, but still only having a rough estimated difference of a 5 increase in difficulty between checks - similar to other d20 system's "easy, normal, and hard" DCs.
This also means that if you're fighting a bunch of weaker enemies, you're not crippled for having a better ship.
I think that the method IonutRO has shown would also work fine in the meantime as well, but still has the core problem of "things are getting harder because my ship is getting better". That said, these DCs are more dynamic and change more frequently - something not everyone's a fan of.
Keep in mind the monsters you've mentioned here are more or less "solo-encounters" - they're meant to challenge a whole party of characters with levels similar to their CR by themselves. If the DCs were then easy to save from constantly, that wouldn't make challenging fights (I know from experience creating my own NPC's/Monsters).
DCs from Pathfinder monsters weren't too different - the difference there was that you could easily stack on things like Cloak of Resistance, or had immunities, or a paladin, or similar such things.
The design philosophy for monsters so far (and, indeed, for Unchained Monsters) seems to be "Easier to hit, more HP" and "Deal their damage more consistently". Having relatively difficult DCs for difficult enemies makes sense in that regard.
That said, it's something for sure we'll have to check out when the Alien Archive arrives. I agree it shouldn't just be a coin-flip - that's not interesting. But even while specializing, these things are meant to be challenging.
"it's OK to write something that's technically wrong because it's obvious what they meant".
Everyone's been trying to tell you this, but... It's not technically wrong. It's correct for the region in which it comes from. You not liking it doesn't make it "technically wrong".
In some places in Europe, decimal notation uses commas instead of full-stops, and for longer numbers, it uses full-stops instead of commas. This makes "one-thousand" be written as "1.000", and "zero-point-three" be written as "0,3". Many books are written with such notation, and this is about as "wrong" as pronouncing the letter "z" by itself as "zed".
In some parts North America, particularly in the western parts, this is an accepted alternative form of notation to write out "1.5" without the inclusion of decimals - particularly in the context of a sentence (where the period may then look like it's separating the 5 into a sentence of its own). Using "1½" is also appropriate, but they're both correct.
If you have a problem with that, build a time machine and stop it from ever being taught that way in the first place, because it's larger than just Paizo.
Kiln Norn wrote:
Also tier is equivalent to character level so long as characters are equal level.
My point is that a spaceship of Tier 20 =/= power of a 20th level character. The tier to level comparison is only to determine when players reach new tiers and to create equivalent danger - it does not represent the same level of power. It's like comparing level to CR - sure, they're similar, but they don't function in the same way. Combat encounters are even built differently to accommodate.
As a result, I could very feasibly see 5 tier 15 starships for 5 level 20 players working out a bit better (still not great, but better). Starship challenge rules even support this concept.
It's not a good solution, but it may work as a band-aid in the meantime, until the convention is over and a dev can comment on this.
Summoning spells have also been removed, and spellcasting still scales to roughly the same level of power (you still receive spells like Disintegrate at 6th level, for instance).
My theory is that these sorts of all-powerful or fully arcane types of magic are simply not available to the classes at hand, since they don't work well the the themes of the classes (Mystic is presented as more psychic based, while Technomancer is a hybridization of magic and technology as well as a mix of arcane and psychic power). Very few spells like transformation, summon monster, and Gate made it through, and the few that did I'm actually surprised by (Animate Dead and Planar Binding spring to mind).
When classes arrive that make sense to transform, I imagine we'll see those spells again in those books (or the spells will otherwise come out later), and I imagine they'll even be available to the current spellcasters. In the meantime, if you really want to play a shapeshifter, you could always port a Pathfinder class over.
In the meantime, best way I can see around this is to give players multiple, weaker ships - like dogfighters or even their own fleet - as they get to much higher levels. Overall, Tier isn't quite equivalent to player level, and with players having enough ships up and about they should do just fine against harder starship threats. This may even be the intent, although I don't necessarily agree with said potential intent.
Either way, it should work as a minor patch.
Is there any good mechanical reason for a solarian to *not* have their first level be in soldier (blitz)?
Yes. One good reason in particular is that they would take all their levels as Soldier.
On serious note, Soldier also grants strength-and-a-half at level 3, along with weapon specialization, and full weapon proficiencies. You could simply use advanced melee weapons in the meantime while waiting for your solar weapon to scale up - if you use one.
Otherwise, you really are slowing down Solarion progression, and on levels more than just Weapon Specialization. It's rare that a campaign that starts at 1st level will reach 20th level (it does happen, but is less common), so when thinking of a character build, progression is important to keep in mind. A starting level of soldier means you'll be more soldier than solarion, even with solarion levels, for several sessions at least - possibly months real-life time depending on how frequently exp is divvied out and how frequently you play.
If there's anything further you would then want from soldier (like gear boost), you're delaying even more on solarion features.
Other than that? You're loosing a die of damage or 5 points of resistance, a revelation, and Stellar Paragon. Not a lot overall, but it may make your Zenith harder to achieve at level 20.
Nonsense right back at you. The Starfinder Society is not a military organization.
What about the innumerable number of adventurers and types of stories that can be told using this system that don't involve the Starfinder Society whatsoever? The identical set of rules apply to them, too. Even long-term friends that have known each other for years and have adventured together from level 1 to 20.
Nah, it is literally, actually impossible for them to coordinate with one another.
Keep in mind that this is how these rules work no matter your AP or if it's your own setting or if it's your own adventure in the same setting or anything else. Unless you change the rules, this is how it works RAW.
We are talking about a game in which you can have literally magical laser guns being wielded by an actual space wizard flying a ship built from adamantine firing weapons forged of cold iron using computer parts with mithral wiring that is about to travel at FTL speeds by opening a portal to another plane of existence and tunneling through, and we are really concerned that the weight isn't up to standard.
That said, spaceships, by design, need to be lighter weight. If a capital ship weighs several hundred thousand tons, it's going to be a nightmare to fly. I imagine they're deliberately designed to be lightweight in order to properly navigate in a vacuum, and considering the notes above, I don't imagine they'd have difficulty doing so. Starship parts are apparently ungodly expensive, based on both the book and the developers, which is why you buy them with BP instead of credits. Part of that expense may have something to do with using exotic metals.
But also as mentioned, starship weight (and even area, to an extent) plays no role in anything mechanically. You could say it weighs a hundred million tons and that would have no bearing on play. Weigh it what you like, the weights provided are examples.
Considering Soldier is one of two classes that is a good sniper by default without needing a lot of feats, and considering Soldier seems to feel more like a blend of Fighter and Ranger, it is a bit odd that their training doesn't then allow them to see good.
That said, it is pretty easy to work around this - as Alfray mentioned, feats and themes can give you class skills for free.
This has been one of the biggest points of contingency for this game. I'm assuming many people came from Pathfinder, and yet 1-1/2 notation is also used in that game.
It's used for the same reason that Pathfinder's encumbrance rules were on a chart instead of being presented as an algorithm. It's the same reason you round off decimals instead of just adding them together. RPGs already requires quite a bit of (albeit basic) math, and new players are going to be turned when they open a book and see equations, decimals, and formulas. It's pretty standard practice to simplify any math as much as possible in RPG's. Pathfinder and Starfinder are not the first to do so - they're just one of the ones that still wants to have that math without it being a big deal (the 1-1/2).
Note, too, that for equations written in standard text, spaces indicate separation of symbols and numbers. 1-1/2 is "one and one-half", 1 - 1/2 is "one minus one-half". Multiplication is written as 10 + 2 x 1, not 10+2x1 (which reads more like "ten plus two x one", which implies multiplying 2 and 1 by a variable).
As far as "[The notation] in text context", so is the 1-1/2 you see frequently in the book. As far as I've seen, no equations in the book are set apart from the text.
Quick edit: Also, that was probably easier to write it like that than using "½" for editing, formatting, and printing purposes (you'd have to insert that symbol as a symbol every time and make sure the program you and all your coworkers are using can recognize it instead of just writing 1-1/2), which I imagine is why they didn't just use that.