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Starfinder Superscriber. Starfinder Society GM. 1,067 posts (1,349 including aliases). 6 reviews. No lists. 1 wishlist. 9 Organized Play characters. 2 aliases.


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Starfinder Superscriber
oldskool wrote:

4 Pages in, and it is pretty obvious that players cannot figure how this works since RAW is gospel and intent in language is apparently absolutely meaningless.

This thread is beyond absurd.

In SFS, we're required to use the gospel of RAW as GM's. The RAW here is unclear and while small groups of GM's are able to come to an arrangement (as it were) and individual GM's can make ad-hoc rulings, Organized Play as a whole has yet to. That causes problems for people that play SFS with multiple GM's (I.E. everyone that plays online, at large retailers, or conventions).

And before you say it, I tried having this conversation in the Organized Play forums first. I was told it needed to be in the rules forum. BNW started this thread as a response to that. This argument isn't absurd, for SFS it's necessary. It seems to be the only way to generate the un-Weydan-like amounts of attention needed to get a FAQ entry.

Starfinder Superscriber
breithauptclan wrote:
At least it is a different line of reasoning from the action wrapping logic proposed by pithica42.

You know, I did link an entire other thread from last year that had other arguments besides that one and the consensus of that thread was that the RAW was, at best, unclear, or at least conflicted with itself and needed a FAQ. (At one point it had something like 30 FAQ requests, but those seem to have gone away and we still don't have a FAQ.) The reasoning I used in this thread was a direct response to the arguments made in this thread.

I'm still of the opinion that it needs a FAQ, I'm just also of the opinion that until we get that FAQ, allowing it is a valid reading of the RAW, for multiple reasons. (So, by the way, is not allowing it.)

There have been multiple instances in this thread where people have implied that I can't read or am unintelligent or that I'm just wrong and am ruining the game. I'd appreciate it if you left me out of it, going forward.

Starfinder Superscriber
BigNorseWolf wrote:
If they don't work together, why do so many vesk buy one? I've never seen a game stop for the natural weapon fighter to ask if someone was using archaic armor so they could use a different weapon/macro.

The vast majority of the arguments I've witnessed/been in have not been at table. They've come up on Discord or Forums or Reddit every time some new player comes along and asks anything along the lines of "What's the best DPR class?" or "Is there a viable unarmed strike build?" or "I want to play a monk, how?"

I have seen a handful of arguments at table, but not many. That being said, the vast majority of players I interact with don't do much macroing or even using the sheet really. A lot of them still type in /r 1d20+x every time they want to do something. I have seen a few players, though, with weapon configs or macros in roll20 that assumed it was archaic and went ahead and took the -5 off, and others that assume it isn't and don't. The two arguments I remember over it at table were both at online cons last year and in both cases happened when the GM noticed it in the rolls and said 'no'.

I personally am of the opinion that the bickering over it doesn't do a good job of bringing in new players and I'd like it to stop. That's why I started the thread about it in the OP forums that this thread was in response to. Honestly, for a home game, you just go with whatever your GM says it is and call it a night. But in SFS, there isn't a consensus answer from the GMs/OP staff, and the RAW is (as has been made obvious by this 150 post thread) unclear.

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Starfinder Superscriber
BigNorseWolf wrote:
While not making a rules argument, every person but one I;ve seen using this item has used it under the paradigm that it either wasn't archaic or that it combined with a natural species ability to consider natural weapons not archaic (like a mormalaw's chompy tusks or a vesks.. whatever the heck it is vesk do)

Other than you, I've honestly only ever seen either the latter or that they don't work together at all (you either get Vesk non-archaic with 1.5x Spec Damage or the RoF as Archaic with 2x, never both).

(Again, though, I'm not attempting to imply anything about that. I have a limited sample size and even if you were literally the only one making that claim, it wouldn't mean you were wrong. I don't know, that's why I want a FAQ.)


Maybe that was pre armory but i have the ring winning out till about 8 and dropping off after 10.

Is there something in the build that makes the comparison shopping besides the average damage of the weapon necessary ?

Andis/Bumfuzzle from Cosmic Crit is the one that did the spreadsheet with all the math that I was referring to. It was well after Armory (because it includes Soulfire for all the Solarian calculations). But there have been a number of others floating on the various discords/reddit.

Average DPR certainly isn't an end-all/be-all for the 'power' or 'utility' of a build, but it's something to consider when comparing things. I always look at it as a datapoint and nothing more.

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Starfinder Superscriber

I agree. However, I can't count the number of times I've recommended using say, 'Rune of the Eldritch Knight' on unarmed attacks and been argued that, even though they're on the weapon chart, they aren't 'really' weapons.

There are any number of Rules and/or Logic based arguments that I've heard. They don't take fusions. They don't have an item level. They didn't count as weapons in other 3.x games (unless you were a monk). They are a body part. The entry is an abstraction. Et cetera ad nauseum.

I disagree with them, but that only continues the argument.

It would really help to have a FAQ that says,

"Unarmed Strikes count as melee weapons with an item level 0 for all class abilities, feats, spells, et cetera that work on weapons."


"Unarmed Strikes do not count as weapons for any ability that works on weapons unless it specifies that it works on Unarmed Strikes."

Starfinder Superscriber
Nefreet wrote:
Thank you! I had not seen this before.

No problem. I've requested the full sheet so I can get a link and show all of the things he compared and show all the math.

Starfinder Superscriber
Nefreet wrote:
Two sentences really shouldn't cause this much of an argument.

For the most part, my experience has not been with arguments caused by the differences in those two sentences.

BNW is the only one I've seen make the argument he's making. I certainly don't think that even remotely implies he's wrong (or even, necessarily, in the minority, I could just have sample bias). There are things I believe are true based on my reading of the RAW that no one else seems to see and I still think I'm correct even though it feels like I'm the only one making my argument.

But it's not the usual argument I see players and GM's having. Most of the arguments I've seen relate to either...

A-Does "you can choose to have your unarmed attacks" mean it applies to all unarmed attacks?

or B

B-Do "unarmed attacks" count as weapons?

There's a lot of other questions that flow from that based on the answers to those questions. If the answers are binary (either Yes or No) then it completely invalidates certain combinations from working at all. If the answers are non-binary (sometimes yes but sometimes no) then we need explanations for all the possible combinations.

How GM's fall on those questions drastically impacts play-ability for unarmed characters.

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Starfinder Superscriber

There's a pretty solid spreadsheet running around the various discords that compares the DPR of several melee options/combos from 1-20. It includes things like Soldiers with big unwieldy weapons, 'standard' weapon solarians, weapon solarians + power armor, melee mechanics with overcharge + energy weapon, et cetera.

The combination of Vesk (or other natural attack race) + Soldier with Melee Striker + Max Strength + IUS + RoF is in the top tier of DPR from level ~4-12. Adding on Gloom Gunner (for magic attacks) and Raw Lethality (for the bleed) makes it worse. The output of the combo is very similar in output to a Unwieldy Melee Soldier with the best weapon for every level or max Cha weapon solarian in Power Armor. After level 12 it drops off pretty significantly, but for that level range it's between #1 and #3. This is, of course, assuming that all of them stack in a favorable way.

Now I, for one, don't think that's necessarily broken or even a problem, because you're combining multiple things to accomplish that. It's a build, and I like builds. I do wish that the ring was more expensive, higher level, and better worded, but that's opinion based on how valuable I think it is compare to say, solarian weapon crystals or big unwieldy weapons (which are all exponentially more expensive).

But going from one table in OP where that happens to another where the DM says you are suddenly only doing 1d3+x with nothing else added because they don't think any of it stacks *is* broken (or vice versa).

That's too much swing. That's why I keep saying, please, for the love of Talavet, stop arguing about how it works and FAQ this.

EDIT: I'm not sure this will work, but hopefully this link will show at least an image of part of the spreadsheet I was talking about.

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Starfinder Superscriber

Witness, ye, the return of yon argument that started me whining about needing this FAQ.

Starfinder Superscriber
Dracomicron wrote:

It's literally the first thing on the One Handed Basic Melee Weapon table.

It's a weapon. Rules funkiness aside, it's a weapon because it's on the table for weapons, same as Solarian crystals or ammo or grenades.

I'm aware. That's my position as well. I have had multiple parties argue for hours that it's not for various reasons related to the 'rules funkiness'.

Starfinder Superscriber

The online GM pool is much larger and more varied than it is at a typical lodge.

I run and play for 4 separate online lodges and between them there's probably 60 or 70 GM's. Every other week there's some new player in Discord asking "How do I make an Unarmed Strike character?" or "How useful is Unarmed Strike?" or some variant of that, and every single time it devolves into an argument, often about the definition of the word 'is'. Even the 'senior' GM's at the lodges don't agree 100% on a reading.

If you're running/playing at a local game store that has 1-4 GM's you can be fairly certain you know how it will work and it probably caused, at most 1 or 2 arguments and you all came to a consensus and called it a day.

If you're running/playing online or regularly going to cons or playing in multiple regions or whatever, that doesn't happen.

Starfinder Superscriber
breithauptclan wrote:

Urg. That one is even trickier than the other ones. The abilities all say that they target weapons. However, most of the abilities are doing nothing but changing weapon damage in some way.

So RAW, I probably wouldn't allow it. But same as Rune of Eldritch Knight, I don't like that answer (and would gladly houserule it as working in home games I was GM of).

The part that makes most people say Gloom Gunner definitely works is the one that doesn't target weapons. It says, "Your melee and ranged attacks count as magic for the purposes of bypassing damage reduction and other situations, such as attacking incorporeal creatures."

Whether or not an Unarmed Strike is a weapon has no bearing on that, because it most certainly is a melee attack.

((Now, I happen to be of the opinion that Unarmed Strike *is* a weapon, albeit one with some rules funkiness, but I'm still waiting on that FAQ.))


Starfinder Superscriber

I know the answer is probably still, soon™, but is there some sort of timeline on V2.0 guide?

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Starfinder Superscriber

Yeah, the adventure lengths are perfect. But with fewer product lines, the AP volumes have thus far been the bulk of where we're getting new game material. I'd gladly pay the extra $2 (difference in price between SF and PF AP volumes) as a subscriber for the extra 32 pages.


Starfinder Superscriber

Same. The blue was getting a bit morose. The green/purple combo feels more energetic.

Starfinder Superscriber

Sorry to hear about that. But at least you have Grabthar's Hammer (and everyone is okay).

Starfinder Superscriber
GhostInTheMachine wrote:
pithica42 wrote:

It's not, Cast Spell > Make Ranged Attack > Covering Fire.

It's Covering Fire > Make Ranged Attack

Where in the second one is the standard action to cast the spell?

The exact same place the standard action normally needed to make a ranged attack with a weapon goes when you wrap it in Harrying/Covering Fire.

If you compare a weapon attack with a gun and an attack with a spell like TkP or Energy Ray, per the rules, both are Standard actions, both are attacks, and both are ranged attacks. Both inherit the rules of standard actions, attacks, and ranged attacks. Several people here keep arguing that Harrying Fire can get rid of one Standard Action but not the other, but not showing anywhere where that is explicitly said.

You can certainly say it's not meant to, and I'd probably agree with you. But, other abilities that are meant to be limited say they are and say how they are. The fact that the only caveat on H/C is that it's applied to a ranged attack, means, to me, that 'ranged attack' is the only caveat (unless and until a FAQ or Errata corrects this, or a dev comes by and says, "Yeah, this should say 'with a weapon'", or someone shows where it says this in the extant rules). These spells are ranged attacks. They have no extra properties that are incompatible with the listed requirements or behavior of H/C. To me, this means they work for H/C under RAW.

I don't know how else to word this.

Scrolling down, I see several other responses, and my 'internet argument' impulse is tingling, but I'm going to leave it at that. I've obviously said my peace more than once and people here disagree. That's fine. I debated even posting this, because continuing to argue just wastes everyone's time. I am in no way trying to upset anyone, and some of the responses feel like they were meant to be taken as personal attacks. I'm certainly not intending to ruin anyone's fun, and if I have, I'm genuinely sorry. So, I'm out.

Starfinder Superscriber
Garretmander wrote:
You have now spent your standard action to cast a spell.

What I'm saying, that you keep ignoring, is that the spellcasting action to make the ranged attack works the same way as any other attack, because it is an attack.

It's not, Cast Spell > Make Ranged Attack > Covering Fire.

It's Covering Fire > Make Ranged Attack

Make Ranged Attack is any action that is itself a ranged attack, which is under the 'Attack action', but also includes spells that make ranged attack. Per spellcasting, pg 331, "Anytime you would need to make an attack roll to determine whether your spell hits a target, you are considered to be making an attack."

Spells with attack rolls are attacks. They fall under the general rule of attack actions. They can be used with any ability that works with attacks that doesn't specify otherwise. Spells that say, 'make a ranged attack' are ranged attacks.


If I followed your interpretation I could, with a envoy 6/mechanic 2/mystic 1, with a single standard action: Edit - Envoy needs 6, whoops

Cast telekinetic projectile (a ranged attack)
Clever attack (an attack)
Improved get 'em (an attack)
Harrying fire (a ranged attack)
Covering fire (a ranged attack)
Overcharge (an attack)

All at the same time. Each of those is a standard action that involves an attack (just like harrying fire) Why can't I combine them all in the same action under your interpretation?

No, you couldn't. Let's see if I can break this down.

Attack is an action, of which Ranged Attack is a subtype.

Per the rules for spellcasting, a spell with an attack roll is, itself, an attack. They are equivalent. ((Cast Spell with Attack Roll))==((Attack))

Per the rules for the specific spells in question, those spells are further qualified as ranged attacks. ((Cast TkP))==((Attack))==((Ranged Attack))

So you have this thing ((Ranged Attack)) that's equivalent under the rules to casting a TpK spell. It's in it's own little box that normally requires a standard action.

Covering Fire lets you wrap that thing in a separate action that is, itself a standard action: Covering Fire((Ranged Attack)). That's a new thing. It is not the same thing as a ranged attack because it's defined by its own rules, has different target (DC) than normal for a ranged attack, and different results. Covering Fire((Ranged Attack))!=((Ranged Attack)) they are not the same thing.

Clever Attack lets you wrap an ((Attack)) in an action. But it doesn't let you wrap a Covering Fire((Ranged Attack)) in an action, so the two cannot be used together. Nor does it work with any of the other actions in your list for the same reason. I don't believe it is RAI for this to work with spells (most class abilities seem to be written assuming everyone is single classed), but I do think it's allowed by RAW, unless I missed a caveat in there somewhere about weapons. I don't see any under Clever Attack, Clever Feint, Feint, or any of the Feint feats.

Improved Get'Em lets you wrap an ((Attack)) in an action. But it doesn't let you wrap a Covering Fire((Ranged Attack)) in an action, so the two cannot be used together. Nor does it work with any of the other actions in your list for the same reason. As with Clever attack, I don't believe it's RAI for this to work with spells, but I likewise see no caveats about weapons in it or its parent abilities, so I'd probably go with that being allowed under RAW, too.

Harrying Fire lets you wrap a ((Ranged Attack)) in an action. But it doesn't let you wrap a Covering Fire((Ranged Attack)) in an action, so the two cannot be used together. Nor does it work with any of the other actions in your list for the same reason. There is, however, under Envoy an ability called Fire Support that lets you do both at once as a single action. You could do Fire Support((Harrying Fire((Covering Fire((Ranged Attack)))))) as a single standard action if you have the Fire Support improvisation. And, if you go check that one out, it lets you do it twice as a full round action. Before anyone asks, I definitely don't think it's RAI for it to allow you to cast this (or any other spell) twice in the same round. I keep looking for a rule that says you can't cast more than one spell in a round or more than one spell that normally has a standard action or something, but can't find it. There were a bunch of action economy rules like that in other 3.x games though, so I'd say no to this on principle even though I think RAW might allow it under a very broad reading. That being said, the effect (in real terms) is identical to you using a weapon for this unless you're using a weapon with ammunition (and then it just saves you a couple credits).

Overcharge explicitly only works on ranged energy weapons or melee weapons with the Powered property, not all attacks, and certainly not spell attacks, so I'm not even sure why this is brought into the mix, except to try to pack on as many things as you could. Even if you could wrap any of the other actions in a Overcharge, which you can't because none of them are just attacks anymore, you can never use it with spells, at all. The same goes for any other action that says it only works on weapons or weapon attacks or says 'this has no effect on spellcasting' or when paired with any spell that has a casting time other than a standard action or doesn't have an attack roll because those spells are no longer attacks.

Pantshandshake wrote:
Pithica, is that basically a dumbed down version of how you see this working?

Maybe? I'm saying spells with attack rolls are themselves attacks under RAW because the rules say they are. They can be treated like attacks for other specific rules that work on attacks unless those specific rules say otherwise. At least, by RAW. I don't think this is RAI, and I don't know that I'd always allow it to work that way for everything out there that works on 'attacks', but at least in the case of Covering/Harrying Fire, I don't see what it could possibly hurt.

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Starfinder Superscriber
HammerJack wrote:
No one has a link, because that is not a thing that has been said. I think Lithia was just talking about how a lot of people have hyped COM as probably having solutions for any number of things, based on nothing but pure speculation.

That is what I was saying.

Though, I do have some hope for more unarmed stuff, since we know that Vanguards have some tie to unarmed strike and there is also a 'martial arts' archetype (battle flower?) in the book.

Starfinder Superscriber
Garretmander wrote:
You technically do need a weapon to perform a ranged attack.

As was already gone over in the other thread I linked, the specific text of the spells and the section on spellcasting both override that rule. You quoted that section from spellcasting yourself.

No. An attack roll is not an action.

I didn't say it was. I said an ATTACK was an action, which you yourself say in the next sentence.

Casting telekinetic projectile is a standard action to cast a spell targeting an object. The spell effect allows you to make an attack roll.

Correction, it allows you to make a ranged attack. It says so, right in the text I've already quoted. A ranged attack is it's own thing, defined under the rules, and is all that is required for Harrying Fire and/or Covering fire to be applicable.

Covering fire is a different standard action than the standard action to attack. They both include attack rolls, one action does not consist of the other. Casting the spell in question is a third, entirely different, standard action that also happens to involve a ranged attack roll.

I don't know why you're adding the word 'roll', here. The spells in question both say, 'make a ranged attack'. 'Ranged Attack' is a thing defined under the rules (which includes a roll, sure, but is its own thing). Harrying covering fire use exactly the same phrase as the spells, 'make a ranged attack'. They're therefore, the same thing.

GhostInTheMachine wrote:
The Overcharge mechanic trick specifically includes an attack with the weapon, you are not taking two standard actions, you are making an attack as part of the standard action.

And Harrying/Covering fire specifically includes 'making a ranged attack' as part of the standard action used to Cover/Harry. TkP and ER are both ranged attacks, so you aren't taking two standard actions, you are making the attack (with the spell) as a part of the standard action to harry.

Starfinder Superscriber

Full attack specifies that it only works on weapon attacks, so does shot on the run. They aren't good examples for comparing with Harrying/Covering fire, because in both cases, it's clear in the text that they only work on weapon attacks (and in both cases, only weapons with or without specific properties). I contend that if Harrying/Covering fire were meant to only work with weapon attacks, the word 'weapon' seems easy enough to add to 'make a ranged attack'.

Harrying/Covering fire is a standard action that includes the standard action normally required to make an attack. The standard spent to 'Harry' or 'Cover' includes the standard normally spent to attack. The standard action spent casting the spell is a standard action used to make a ranged attack, so it, too, would be consumed by the standard action you spend with harrying fire.

You aren't doing two standard actions, you have a specific rule about a type of standard action consuming another type of standard action to create a different result. Just like you do with a dozen other examples in the game of one action consuming/including another, some of which explicitly only work with spells (spellshot), others with weapons (overcharge), and some (like this) with both.

Starfinder Superscriber

I'm just shocked no one has said, 'this will be addressed in COM' yet.

Starfinder Superscriber
breithauptclan wrote:
C: Firing a weapon is not actually the action taken. It is an event that is caused by an action that is taken. A standard action attack allows you to make an attack roll with your weapon. Harrying fire also allows you to make an attack roll with your weapon. So don't make the equivalence that firing a weapon is the same as making a ranged attack.

No where in Harrying or Covering fire does it say, "with your weapon".

Here are the appropriate lines:

Covering Fire wrote:
You can use your standard action to make a ranged attack that provides covering fire for an ally.
Harrying Fire wrote:
You can use your standard action to make a ranged attack that distracts a foe in your line of effect.
Telekinetic Projectile wrote:
You fling an object weighing up to 5 pounds (less than 1 bulk) at the target, making a ranged attack against its KAC.
Energy Ray wrote:
You fire a ray at the target, and you must make a ranged attack against its EAC.

TkP and Energy Ray (and honestly, yes, several other spells) are ranged attacks. They say so right in the description, and can therefore be treated as such for things that include 'making a ranged attack' unless that thing explicitly says 'with weapons' or indicates in some other way that spells can't be used.

For point and click weapons like pistols, that works fine. But for a spell that has a bit more preparation time, that wouldn't work.

Pistols are not 'point and click' weapons. There's a reason you can normally only fire them once or twice (with a massive penalty) in a 6 second round. Casting a spell requires no more preparation (in game terms, they're both standard actions) than firing a pistol accurately.

Starfinder Superscriber
Garretmander wrote:

Performing a ranged attack with a weapon is a small part of many other actions (attack, full attack, harrying/covering fire, mechanics overcharge iirc).

Casting a spell that then allows you to make a ranged attack can't be combined with those actions. Mostly because casting takes a standard action, and harrying takes a standard action, you don't get two of those in a turn.

Except that,

A- There are plenty of Ranged Attacks with weapons that cannot be part of full attacks or other actions but can be used for Harrying Fire. (See unwieldy weapons)

B- There are ways to combine standard action spell casting into weapon attacks even though both require a standard action. (See Spell Shot)

C- Firing a weapon (making a Ranged attack) and using Harrying Fire both take a standard action, and by your own ruling this would mean you can't do both because you don't get two standards.

Starfinder Superscriber
Hawk Kriegsman wrote:
And to muddy the waters a bit would you allow a caster to do this with magic missile?

As explained in the thread I linked. No.

Magic Missile isn't a ranged attack and therefore in no way could work for harrying/covering fire.

Ranged Attack has a definition in the rules. Spells like TkP qualify. Spells like Magic Missile do not. Covering/Harrying Fire require ranged attacks.

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Starfinder Superscriber

Okay, then here are my answers to my own questions...

1 Is the attack from Ring of Fangs, by itself, archaic or not?

Yes, it's Archaic because it's an unarmed strike, and it doesn't say that it removes the archaic tag in the item description.

2 Does the Ring of Fangs, by itself, make you 'always armed' with a natural attack?

No, because it doesn't say you are always armed, and that is the default state with an unarmed strike.

3 Does the Ring of Fangs stack with Improved Unarmed Strike, and if so, how?

Improved Unarmed Strike makes you count as always armed (per the feat description) and increases the base damage for all unarmed strikes, of which this is one. So they stack.

4 Does the Ring of Fangs affect the natural attacks from the racial features of Vesk (and other races)? If so, How?

The racial description says all your unarmed strikes count as lethal and non-archaic, of which this is one, so they stack in that way. This removes the archaic tag from RoF.

5 How, if at all, does the Ring of Fangs interact with things like Hammer Fist or Power Armor punches?

It does not, nor does it impact unarmed strikes made with a shield (under playtest rules, anyway). ((I'd also prefer if shields had fixed damage rather than being considered unarmed strikes. I feel the same way about pistol whip, and think that is likely at least part of why it wasn't SFS legal.)

6 Do Unarmed Strikes count as weapons for the purpose of Rune of the Eldritch Knight and other class features (like Raw Lethality, Melee Striker, or Attractive Force all listed) that affect weapons you wield?

Yes. Unarmed Strikes count as weapons.

You'll see that I disagree with both BNW and Nefreet on at least one question. I'd go over all my reasons for why, but I seriously don't want to.

Starfinder Superscriber

I disagree, for reasons I've already been over in that other thread.

Starfinder Superscriber

There have been valid arguments against it, discussed in This Thread, but I am of the opinion that it works.

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Starfinder Superscriber

See, the thing is, I think I know the answers to all of my questions too.

And, yet every time I say what I think the answers are, I get told by at least two different people that I'm wrong. They may say I'm wrong about one of them or three of them or all of them, and the two of them (and it's a different two people every time) may each say I'm wrong about different answers (and right about others), but it never fails to cause an argument.

I see this happen to other people that also think they know the answers to those questions. It feels like a constant.

I'm purposely not posting what I think my answers are, because I am sick of going through this turkeybowl.

The only other thing that comes up anywhere near as often is how Drone Mechanics with the Riding Saddle work, but at least I know mount rules are supposedly coming in AA3 so I hope that will get resolved shortly.

Without a FAQ or a full writeup of Unarmed Combat rules in COM, this argument is just going to repeat itself ad nauseum.


Starfinder Superscriber

Computers do have an item level. The item level is twice the tier of the computer. The only place this is explained, that I know of, is a blog-post, but based on when it came out and who wrote it (Owen), I'm assuming they intended to have the line, "In general, a computer has an item level equal to double its tier." somewhere in the final book but it got lost in editing at some point. It is implied (but never stated) in the section on crafting as well.

The thing I primarily use my Tier 3 Computer for with my character is making Diplomacy and other social skill checks. My android TM doesn't have those skills and, in fact, has a penalty to most of them, so he lets his pocket AI do all the talking for him. Also, having library chips loaded into that computer and the computer attached to his brain via datajack means he can do the recall knowledge trick hands free. (That's probably unnecessary, but fits the character, so I go with that.)

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Starfinder Superscriber

62 if you count that that 30 people also FAQ'd my set of questions a couple posts up.

I'm glad I'm not the only one tired of having this argument. It came up again yesterday and I was like, "Please, for the love of Weydan, go and FAQ this thread."


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Starfinder Superscriber

This is where I need a gif of Kermit going crazy and saying, YAAAAAAAAAYYYYY!!!!!

Starfinder Superscriber

That's how I've always interpreted it.

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Starfinder Superscriber

I'm not going to waste time arguing for any particular interpretation, because I've already had this argument about 30 times and I'm pretty sick of it. I just want a FAQ for this so we can call it a day and move on, because the table variation is crazy.

For reference, here are the rules for each piece in this puzzle:

The SRD-Ring of Fangs wrote:
When you wear this ring, your teeth become long and sharp, giving you a powerful bite attack. You can choose to have your unarmed attacks deal lethal piercing damage, and if you are 3rd level or higher, you automatically gain a special version of the Weapon Specialization feat that adds double your level to the damage of these unarmed attacks (rather than adding your level).
The SRD-Improved Unarmed Strike wrote:

Your unarmed attack damage increases to 1d6 at 4th level, 2d6 at 8th level, 3d6 at 12th level, 5d6 at 15th level, and 7d6 at 20th level. You threaten squares within your natural reach with your unarmed strikes even when you do not have a hand free for an unarmed strike. If you are immobilized, entangled, or unable to use both legs (or whatever appendages you have in place of legs, where appropriate), you lose the ability to make unarmed strikes without your hands. When making an unarmed strike without your hands, you can’t use such attacks for combat maneuvers or similar abilities—only to deal damage.

You don’t threaten any squares with unarmed attacks, and you must have a hand free to make an unarmed attack.

The SRD-Vesk Natural Attack wrote:
Vesk are always considered armed. They can deal 1d3 lethal damage with unarmed strikes and the attack doesn’t count as archaic. Vesk gain a unique weapon specialization with their natural weapons at 3rd level, allowing them to add 1–1/2 × their character level to their damage rolls for their natural weapons (instead of just adding their character level, as usual).

(Note, other PC races with natural attacks have very similar wordings)

The SRD-Unarmed Strike wrote:
An unarmed strike can be dealt with any limb or appendage. Unarmed strikes deal nonlethal damage, and the damage from an unarmed strike is considered weapon damage for the purposes of effects that give you a bonus to weapon damage rolls.
The SRD-Rune of the Eldritch Knight wrote:
You can imbue a weapon with a magic sigil, the rune of the eldritch knight, allowing the weapon to act as a magic weapon for the purposes of bypassing DR and affecting incorporeal creatures. This takes 10 minutes, and you can imbue only a single weapon at a time. If you imbue a new weapon with the rune of the eldritch knight, any previously imbued weapon loses this benefit. When calculating the Hit Points and hardness of a weapon imbued with the rune of the eldritch knight, treat its item level as 5 higher.
The SRD-Raw Lethality wrote:
When wielding weapons with the archaic weapon special property, the damage you deal is never reduced as a result of that property. Archaic weapons you wield gain bleed 1d8 as a critical hit effect (Core Rulebook 182). If the weapon already has a critical hit effect, when you score a critical hit, you can apply either the weapon’s normal critical hit effect or this bleed effect. The bleed damage increases by 1d8 at 11th level and every 4 soldier levels you have beyond 11th (maximum bleed 4d8 at 19th level).
The SRD-Melee Striker wrote:
Add an additional bonus equal to half your Strength bonus to damage rolls with melee weapons.
The SRD-Attractive Force wrote:
Your weapon exerts a pull that makes objects cling to it and can even stymie opponents with strands of force. As a move action, you can grant a weapon you wield, including your solar weapon, the disarm weapon special property. This benefit lasts for 1 round or until you leave graviton mode.

From these rules, the list of contentious questions I've seen come up are:

  • 1 Is the attack from Ring of Fangs, by itself, archaic or not?
  • 2 Does the Ring of Fangs, by itself, make you 'always armed' with a natural attack?
  • 3 Does the Ring of Fangs stack with Improved Unarmed Strike, and if so, how?
  • 4 Does the Ring of Fangs affect the natural attacks from the racial features of Vesk (and other races)? If so, How?
  • 5 How, if at all, does the Ring of Fangs interact with things like Hammer Fist or Power Armor punches?
  • 6 Do Unarmed Strikes count as weapons for the purpose of Rune of the Eldritch Knight and other class features (like Raw Lethality, Melee Striker, or Attractive Force all listed) that affect weapons you wield?

So far, in my experience, if you ask those questions of any GM, you'll get a different set of answers. Under the most permissive set, the combination of Racial Natural Attack + IUS + RoF is one of (if not the) highest DPR options in the game from ~4-12. Before Soulfire and Armory, it was the highest DPR in that range. Under the least permissive set of answers, it's probably one of (if not the) weakest strength based melee option in the game. It's a pretty big swing to go from Magic attacks that deal an average of ~35 damage and have a crit effect or two at level 8 to non-magic attacks with no crit effect that deal maybe 18 (and you can't even AOO with them).

My opinion, that's too much variation. It's been almost 2 years and there has yet to be a consensus formed. We need one master interpretation, and preferably a FAQ.


Starfinder Superscriber
BigNorseWolf wrote:
How is it supposed to be magical? Rune of the eldritch knight? Mystic strikes?

Some GM's count 'unarmed strikes' as a weapon for the purpose of Rune of the Eldritch Knight and others do not. It's one of the many interactions that drastically affect how viable the RoF+IUS 'trick' is.


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Starfinder Superscriber

I appreciate that you're trying to help, but after almost 2 years and multiple threads in the rules forum, I'm at the point where I refuse to believe a real honest to god FAQ for the general rules is going to happen. That explanation from John doesn't really help, here, because I've already done the research of looking at it on the forums, and every single thread is an argument of 3-7 people all saying different things with nothing resembling an official answer.

What I need is for something specific to how we're supposed to interpret it for SFS. I'm in a lodge with about a dozen other 'senior GM's' and probably 3 dozen other GM's. Questions about how this works pop up pretty regularly, and no one can agree on how to interpret it. It just turns into an argument about the definition of the word 'is' every time it comes up.

That's not just frustrating, it's unhealthy. It turns players off. It makes me dread the subject. Peoples characters are getting invalidated by the answer, depending on how strict an individual DM interpets it. A character can go from doing 2d6+24 (counts as magical) at 8th level to 1d3+16-5 (does not count as magical) depending on how it gets interpreted. That's a pretty major swing for someone relying on this as their primary weapon.


Starfinder Superscriber

There have already been like 4 or 5 threads in the Rules forum about this. None of them have an official answer. None of them have resulted in an update to the FAQ.

I seriously didn't come here looking for an argument or any given GM's interpretation about how it works, because at this point, I don't actually care. I just want an official answer, or something remotely close to official, that I can point to for SFS, because this argument comes up at least once a month for me. I mostly play and GM online, so I tend to interact with a lot more GM's than most players, and the table variation in the online region is really high.

There is contention on how this stacks with Vesk (or other Races) unarmed attacks. How it stacks with Improved Unarmed Strike. Whether or not it lets you count as 'always armed'. Whether or not it has the archaic property. How it interacts with solarian or soldier abilities (Arcane Assailant, and the Solarian abilities that boost weapons you're weilding). That's a lot of trouble for a 315cr level 3 item to cause, but it drastically affects how powerful it is and how a character gets used from table to table.

There are already 3 different interpretations from three different very experienced GMs in this thread in the first 3 posts. That's unhealthy. FAQ entries for AP volumes are obviously too slow, so I think we need a (even remotely) official ruling on how it works in SFS.


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Starfinder Superscriber

I have had more arguments over this darn item than anything else in the game. Everything from, "It removes Archaic even though it doesn't say it does" to "It adds Archaic to Vesk unarmed strikes that take the 2x level specialization because the RoF biting isn't the same as the Vesk Natural Attack."

Every GM seems to have a different interpretation and every single time it comes up it devolves into a looped rules argument about what rule overrides what other rule. I think the RAW is very clear on how it works, but every other week I have a conversation with someone else that also thinks the RAW is very clear but entirely different. I'd really like to not have to spend the next 10 years re-hashing this.

EDIT: Just to be clear, here, I'm not going to argue for any particular interpretation, here. I just want an official one I can point to and say, "this is what it is." I honestly no longer care what that official rule looks like.

Starfinder Superscriber
David knott 242 wrote:

For example, if you want to buy an Imperial Conquest game, it is most likely that your local vendor does not have it in stock. If he trusts you and has evidence that you can afford it, he will special order it for you. If he doesn't trust you, you might have to lay down the money in advance before he will order it for you, and odds are that a really low level character simply won't have the money.

This is pretty close to the mark, I think. Virtually everything in SF is made with UPB and it's often custom made for the user. It isn't necessarily that noone would trust you with a level 4 video camera, it's that noone trusts you to come back to the store and pay for it after they custom make it with the UPB printers in the local mini-factory and have it air dropped.

You can buy higher level stuff in big cities in part because if you didn't show up to pick it up, there's less risk that someone else won't want one too at some point in the near future.

The item level system is an abstraction that covers a lot of scenarios. Licenses to own it, credit scores, doctor's prescriptions, connections with vendors, connections with criminals, access to commercial or military grade equipment, et cetera. It is by no means perfect but as an abstraction for all of that, it works pretty well. I'd much rather have that than any of the alternatives I've seen in other games. (But that's just my personal opinion and anyone is certainly free to disagree.)

Starfinder Superscriber

I can't wait to play all the 'Big Potion' stuff coming soon.

Starfinder Superscriber

My understanding is that if the DM has the 'unlimited' license, or whatever it's called, FG is completely free to the players. I've never run a game in FG before, but I have played one, and it worked pretty well. My only reason for never attempting to run in it was the price (it's base price is higher) and that if you want to take full advantage of the features for the game, you have to buy the book you probably already own a second time through Fantasy Grounds. That's a pretty steep lead in point. However, I will say it does save you some work, so it could end up being a pro rather than a con.

I currently run games through Roll20 fairly regularly. It was fairly easy for me to get everything working the way I wanted in the free version. I used it so much I paid for the upgrades. I use the simple sheet in my home tables, and I was able to mostly automate starship combat and full automate everything my NPC's do with a few minutes of work and some macros.

I have not considered purchasing the in-game compendiums for Roll20, as I really dislike the official sheet and I am loathe to buy yet another copy of a book I've already bought (twice or more, in a few cases).

For rules references in game for my players, I just provide links to THT or AoN. That's free and generally just as effective.

Though, again, my understanding is that if you buy the compendiums from them, it could save you some work, so that may be worth the money for you.

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Starfinder Superscriber

Do you even need cameras in a world where Object Reading exists? Or Detect Thoughts? Or Zone of Truth? Does it even make sense to buy one in a world where Invisibility exists? Or serums of appearance change? Or disguise self?

Cameras in that world would be like doors or windows without locks, security theater.

While I would like a little more Shadowrun in my starfinder, in places. For example, I'd love an AP or SFS modules set around Dragon corps on Triaxus or weapons manufacturers on Apostae or the like. A lot of what's 'true' in Shadowrun wouldn't be 'true' in this universe for a number of reasons.

Starfinder Superscriber

Good luck in all your future endeavors.

Starfinder Superscriber

Now I want to play it even more.


Starfinder Superscriber

^ That.

Though, I think Perseverance may also have a demon possessing them.

Starfinder Superscriber

You're in this system's military.

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Starfinder Superscriber

What has been your favorite surprise from the reporting data on Season 1 so far? ((Like, what thing came out in the data that players did that you didn't expect but are happy about and/or most surprised by.))

Starfinder Superscriber

The world being invaded...

Spoiler for the AP, possibly:
Is in an unaffiliated independent system in Near Space. It has been toying with becoming a Pact World Protectorate, but never bought the bullet. It trades goods with both the Pact Worlds and the Veskarium and many members of both factions have immigrated to it, even joining their military. They mentioned the name of the system/world at Paizocon, but I can't remember it at the moment. Your commander is a Vesk soldier that left the Veskarium and came to this system specifically because he wanted to keep fighting the swarm.

Starfinder Superscriber

I haven't seen that build that I know of, but that sounds like a solid argument for a 'reach-larian'. Of course, you pretty much have to play a (blerg) human, or a Kish for that to work out the gate at level 1. I suppose Bantrid or Dragonkin might also work, since the former gives you the effect of Fleet and the later gives you an extra 5ft of reach. If I decide to make another Armor solarian at some point, I might try that.

Starfinder Superscriber

I think there are a couple options for armor solarian that work pretty well.

The first is the shot-larian, or range-focused solarian. Basically, you ignore strength, max dex, and take longarm prof at level 1. From there, you basically take feats and stat boosts like a ranged soldier (though, maintaining a minimum charisma of at least 14 with possible stat boosts later). You may or may not consider switching to heavy weapons at some point. Revelations should be picked that enhance your armor effect, add useful effects to your weapons, or give you ranged or utility options. A 1-3 level dip in either Sharpshooter Soldier or Operative doesn't hurt this style if you time it right, but isn't necessary.

The second is the claw-larian, or natural attack focused solarian. For this, you're going to start out with a race that has an inate natural attack, like Vesk. For this build, you'll max out strength (16+) and *try* for a 14 Cha and, if possible, a 12-14 dex. You'll basically leave Charisma alone as you advance and focus on Dex/Str/Con for ability boosts. For levels 1-3, you'll probably rely on big ole unwieldy advanced weapon like a Doshko. However, around level 3 or 4, you're going to switch after taking the Improved Unarmed Strike feat and buying a Ring of Fangs. From there, you're all claws, all the time. You take revelations that add effects to your attacks or your armor. DPR wise, this build is competitive with a melee (weapon) solarian all the way up to level 12 or so. After that, you'd need to switch to a big ole unwieldy again to stay competitive, but most campaigns don't go past that anyway. A 1 level dip in Blitz Soldier (mostly for Strength to resolve and the init/speed bonus) doesn't hurt, but isn't necessary.

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