John "Trace" Taylor wrote:
Yes. I would love to see more encounters like this where Sniper characters actually get to Snipe, and having a long ranged weapon actually matters.
Sebastian Hirsch wrote:
I think you may be misreading the Tier. The Tier is 1-12, not 11-12. That means you don't need to have any 12th level characters at all to play it. It's just like the Scoured Stars Invasion. You can play it with brand new first levels if you like. You just have to have enough people in the right level band(s) to make enough tables. I can see where you would be concerned otherwise, though.
Year of a Thousand Bites: So all of the Ysoki are going to get infested with space fleas that carry the plague? Got it!
Starfinder Society #2–01: Pact World Warriors Since this is a -01 I will assume it is going to be a 1-4. That's a shame since my Zo! loving, vid-gamer icon is level 8 now. But I suppose my Skittermander Slapdancer with the Rabid Fanbase boon could use a little publicity.
April 30th deadline Speaking of my 8th-level, Second Seeker, vid-gamer icon Envoy, I am 1 adventure away from having enough reputation to get the capstone boon. The bad news is it is hard to find people locally that can play high level SFS mods with. The good news is I am going to a Con in 2 weeks that is offering some. Here is hoping for the new Second Seeker PewPewFry!!!
Ditto on this. Even a high level character can go from healthy to disabled/incapacitated for the rest of the adventure, or even dead, in just a few rounds if attacked by multiple creatures with poison.
Fire Extinguisher L1 ¢15 SCRB: Removes one Burning condition.
Sure, that may seem like a complete waste when you are taking 1d4 fire damage every round from a laser pistol crit, but wait till you get hit with 4 incendiary grenades from mooks in one round and discover that the Burning condition stacks in Starfinder.
Called Weapon Fusion L1 ¢varies SCRB: Teleport a weapon up to 100 ft. away to you as a swift action.
Cheap way to make your weapons magic at low levels, don't need to worry about getting disarmed, stow a weapon in a nearby location to quickly arm yourself when you aren't supposed to be armed (a near-by vehicle, that crate you delivered, the party Ysoki's cheek pouch, etc), can re-use thrown weapons, and is great for action economy for mobile characters that often swap out weapons in combat.
Bob Jonquet wrote:
The problem is you are trying to decide how to adjudicate a rule that isn’t even published yet. We don’t know what changes, if any, the designers implemented after the Playtest so voicing our concerns at this point is wildly speculative and unproductive. There has already been extensive discussion about anathema in the Playtest feedback, especially how it will affect organized play and since we have not seen the campaign rules for PFS2 yet, we have no way of knowing what, if any, adjustments have been made. It is possible this concern has already been resolved either with custom rules for OPF or the designers modifying/clarifying how it is intended to work in the CRB. Seems like this topic is just headed towards arguments for arguments sake.
I am hoping that the arguments here are strong enough that, if sufficient changes have not already been made, they will be. Once the rules are released, it's too late.
ANY SUBJECTIVE, RIGID, BUT VAGUELY DEFINED PC BEHAVIORAL CODES ARE ANATHEMA TO ORGANIZED PLAY!!!
Seriously. I mean that. The Paladin's Code has been one of the biggest sources of Player/GM conflict I have ever seen in Organized Play in the nearly 2 decades I have been involved. In fact, many people either don't like playing Paladins or don't like playing with Paladins because of this. And now Paizo wants to expand this issue with Anathemas? We play this game to have fun. Not to have morality arguments. Why did anyone think this was a good idea?
Even outside of organized play I have seen it cause major table conflicts, much unfun, and a bias against the Paladin class. Does anyone seriously think anathemas actually add fun to the game? When GMs go from being rules and story adjudicators to morality adjudicators, everyone loses.
A long time ago, my wife hand made me something like this out of card stock and balsa wood, for the 3.0 campaign I was running at the time. It eventually fell apart and I have been looking for a good replacement ever since then. I have seen some similar products from other sources at various Cons over the years, but none of them were quite what I was looking for. The Falling Star has almost everything I could ask for. And now I want to try it out on my PFS players.
So...like...every time I hear Billy Joel sing
She's Always a Woman:
She's Always a Woman
She can kill with a smile, she can wound with her eyes
Oh, she takes care of herself, she can wait if she wants
And she'll promise you more than the garden of Eden
Oh, she takes care of herself, she can wait if she wants
She is frequently kind and she's suddenly cruel
I want my Bard to have an encounter with a charismatic medusa rogue/shadowdancer with bleeding attack so I can sing about it.
While I am currently running Dead Suns and am up to book 5, I decided I was having too much fun with my primary to power level her into retirement by applying AP boons to her. Unfortunately, there aren't a lot of high level SFS games that get run around here, so she has been stuck at 1 XP away from 8th for a while. I really only get to play her during Con season.
Gnoll Leader: What sort of strange creatures are you? We have never seen anything like you before. You are not the Ghost, you are not a Shaggy One, you are not a Watcher. Are you Orcs. We have heard of Orcs.
Party: No, we are not Orcs. (gives party introduction)
Party: (Explains need for Gnolls to cooperate with the party)
Gnoll Leader: You're words sound wise, but this is not a decision I can make alone. The entire community must discuss this. You will be taken to a local home and given food and a chance to rest while I gather everyone and discuss this.
(Party is given a place to rest and given food. Gnolls check on them periodically to make sure they are doing okay. Several hours pass. Another meal is brought. More hours pass. Finally the Gnoll leader shows back up.)
Gnoll Leader: We have come to a decision.
Gnoll Leader: You are not Orcs.
Unless, of course, there is another Lashunta Ace Pilot at the table and that's all you can do*. Then maybe you want the boon anyway.
*Okay, if you are an Ace Pilot then you would be a good Gunner also, but you get the idea. If you are only good at one starship combat position you might have to compete. I know that has happened to me more than once.
FYI, based on a boon from one of the APs, it appears Paizo is already planning on at least one solution for the Mystic starship combat issue. Namely, the introduction of Hybrid starship weapons, all of which appear to have the property of allowing Wisdom/Mysticism for Gunnery.
I am not sure I will ever fully understand why Paizo elected to not have spells, class abilities, and feats (with one exception) that could have at least some effect in starship combat. No Solarian Photon Revelation they could use to supercharge a beam weapon, or Graviton Revelation they could use to deflect an incoming torpedo; no Technomancer spell that could heal a small amount of hull damage or temporarily enhance the ship's computer; etc. I realize it would be a bit tough as no one would take those options unless they did other things like the Sky Jockey feat. But the lack of these greatly reduces options in starship combat that allow for effective use of characters (unlike normal combat). It drives me nuts that only your skills matter. I can only guess that the starship combat rules were new enough they didn't want to accidentally screw everything up without giving more time to understand potential repercussions, and/or would have made the core rules too big so they decided to save them for a supplement. Well, here's hoping for that supplement.
"Dr." Cupi wrote:
I seem to disagree with most people's sentiments. I can accept this. I clearly get enjoyment out of this game in a different way. I will crawl back into my hovel and disturb your rants no more.
Sorry if I came across as a bit harsh. But I do really believe that if the best tactical choice for a party member is to not participate in a battle, then there is a design flaw.
And to be clear, I am not trying to be too harsh on the designers either. Starship Combat is a completely new element to the system, one I really want to enjoy, and I think there are some true sparks of genius in its concept. But it doesn't have the 19 years of playtesting the standard combat system essentially has had.
"Dr." Cupi wrote:
Grossly inaccurate? How many characters in your play group have higher dex/int than their other stats? I can tell you that a majority of my personal characters do. That makes me fairly unimaginative. The statement of unimaginative is a non-opinion claim. Based on the limited information, I understand x to fall into the definition of.... You can be insulted by that I suppose. I'm not and I directed it at myself, so...
If being 'imaginative' means you have to create an ineffective character, how is that not a design flaw? Why should the players be faulted for choosing to make effective characters instead of imaginative ones? Shouldn't they be able to do both?
How good are you at fixing your own car 100%? How about your electronics? How about your plumbing? How about your....I could go on. No I don't believe it should be all of them. All classes have things that they are good at and things that are unrelated to things they are good at.
If I were 100% effective at real life I wouldn't be playing an escapest Science-Fantasy TTRPG. Real life should not be the issue here. I am talking about player enjoyment, i.e. the reason most people play the game.
Let's look at it this way. If I had a character that sucked at standard combat, I can still shoot a laser for 1d4 or aid another a player. Even though I sucked I would be contributing and participating without hindering the combat effectiveness of the remaining players. But Starship Combat doesn't work quite the same way. Both Enginner and Science Officer require being trained in the skill to even be a secondary Engineer or Science Officer who could aid the primary (assuming you had spare crewmen). And while anyone CAN pilot a ship or shoot a ship's weapon, the positions are too critical to allow someone who can't do them well to do them. So while in standard combat, there is always something the player can do to be helpful, it is actually possible that the best tactical choice in Starship combat is for a player with poor starship skills to do nothing while those that can, do. You can say that's how real life works as much as you want, but that isn't going to make the player who sits out an entire combat twiddling their thumbs any happier. This is, from a game design perspective, why every class should be capable of building an effective starship combat character without having to make large sacrifices.
As another example, I recently played a mod with starship combat with an all first level party of 5. I was playing my Solarian who I purpose built to be good at the one position he could be good at, Captain. But the Envoy was better at it even though I had been purpose built for it. And since you can have only 1 Captain, I got bumped out of the one thing I could do well. Science Officer and Engineer were out because I didn't want to put any of my piddling skill points in non-class skills that I would have sucked at anyway. And with only a +1 to piloting from Dex, that left me out as Pilot, as well. The only reason I even got to take a gunner position was because my chance to hit with a single weapon was the same as the primary gunner's chance to hit firing 2 weapons. Had that not been the case, the most effective thing I could have done with my character would have been NOTHING. Could that sort of thing happen in real life? Absolutely! Does that make for a fun game? Nope.
"Dr." Cupi wrote:
Your statement exemplifies the point you seem to be completely missing. Yes. Almost every SF class can be effective in Starship combat without even trying. The ‘almost’ is the problem. Mystics and Weapon Solarians actually HAVE to try and they usually have to try more than just a little.
All of that said, I would venture to say that, though starship combat plays a part, it is unimaginative optimizers that causes the similarity in builds.
I find this statement to be grossly inaccurate and insulting.
Players whose desire to "win" supersedes their desire for a creative or unique character.
You say “desire to win.” I say, “desire to be an effective contributor to the party.”
"Solarian's are cool in concept but because Cha is a key stat and Cha means nothing in combat, they are just too MAD." Those players.
Have you ever built a Solarian? They get 4 skill points per level, have no use for Int outside of skills, and the only class skills they have that can be used in starship combat are Diplomacy & Intimidate, i.e. Captain only. This means, at the very least, they would have to take a Background that gave them a more useful starship combat class skill to be even useful in a non-Captain position. Sure, if I tried, I COULD build a Solarian that could be useful in starship combat. But he will never be as useful an Engineer as a Mechanic that didn’t try; never as useful a Science Officer as a Technomancer that didn’t try; never as useful a Pilot, Engineer, Science Officer or Gunner as an Operative that didn’t try; never as good a Gunner as a ranged based Soldier that didn’t try; and only on par as Captain with an Envoy that didn’t try. And all this would come at the cost of effectiveness in standard combat so that he would never be as useful as a Soldier, Mechanic or Operative that didn’t try. So, sure, I could build a character that would NEVER get a chance to shine at the table because every other class could outshine him, but why? Just so I can live up to some notion of being ‘more imaginative?’As an aside, thanks to the Soulfire Weapon Fusion, Charisma does actually matter for weapon Solarians in combat now.
To be clear, I am not saying that such players are playing incorrectly.
You may not be saying it, but you are definitely implying it.
People can play how they want to. But if there is a complaint that builds are bland, or too common. You need only look to the builders.
Sorry, but I 100% disagree. This is a design problem. Five out of the seven classes can be effective at starship combat without trying very hard. But why only five? Shouldn't that be true for all of them?
P.S. Maybe it is just my play group that noticed this, but the penalty of losing starship combat is never death. There have been a couple times when the players just said, "We surrender, let's move on."
I don’t disagree with this point, but PFS players have been programmed with the idea that all combats SHOULD be winnable, so if they lose, it is a failing on their part. And in most cases, it would be incorrect to make your assumption from an RP stand point. This discourages the type of metagame thinking you are suggesting. As a case in point:
On the Trail of History:
Our group was good, but not great, at starship combat. But we were totally outclassed by the enemy here. This appeared to be by design and the author no doubt fully expected a fair number of people to lose and gave an out for it if they did and the only penalty was not getting a boon on the chronicle sheet. Fair enough. Except that we, as players, didn’t understand that until afterwards. As a result, we tried our darndist to win, because we thought we were supposed to. So, we burned several boons to fight a 3+ hour grueling and ultimately depressing starship combat that, had we understood the pointlessness of it, we could have ended in ½ an hour without the pain, suffering and resource expenditure.
I was seriously flummoxed that my Ysoki Soldier could not use one of these. His cheek pouches are already full of grenades.
Or maybe they were just making up for the fact that Core sniper weapons were underpowered.
We created some fliers for our FLGS to hand out to anyone asking about Pathfinder or Starfinder games. We have a Facebook Group and post our events on Warhorn and, of course, the Paizo site.
As an aside, I agree PFS participation was diminishing even before the announcement of 2.0. I attribute this to two things:
1) An increasingly high entry level bar caused by an intimidating amount of rule books and other material. (Hopefully, 2.0 should solve this problem).
2) The publishing of D&D 5E which has the advantages of a much lower entry level bar, better name recognition, and free advertising in the form of popular online shows such as Critical Role (a show which originally promoted Pathfinder but switched to 5E when it came out).
Tonya Woldridge wrote:
Woot! Cool! And, yeah, I wouldn't have really expected anything until 2.0 was ready for release.
Nils Janson wrote:
I submit one of the reasons you might see more dex/int builds is because of the existence of starship combat. Which would lead credence to the idea that the existence of starship combat actually has a detrimental effect of the diversity of builds.
Mike Bramnik wrote:
I have always tried to make my characters capable in starship combat. I have succeeded with most but my Mystic and Solarian would have had to sacrifice too much of their non-starship combat effectiveness to this. This is because both use Strength instead of Dex for their attack stat and both have relatively low skill points and a poor selection of Starship combat skills.
The more I think about it, the more it seems the primary problem is that what class you are just doesn’t make ANY difference in Starship combat outside of how it effects your skills. There are no spells, Solarian revelations, or class abilities that would help you with Starship combat. I understand part of the problem with this is that an ability that would be useful in Starship combat would normally be useless outside of that, and since Starship combats are uncommon, this would be a waste. But, again, I will point to one of my favorite feats, Sky Jockey, as a way to go. This feat gives you usable benefits in standard, vehicle, AND starship combat. Giving players a choice of feats, spells and class abilities that did this sort of double (triple) duty should have been a core element of the game, but sadly isn’t.
If the majority is happy with no challenge combats keep them as they are and since I'm one of the only ones who views things different then who really cares. I drop out and it doesn't matter.
It's not that we don't want a challenge. It's that those starship combats I have been in that were challenging took up 3+ hours out of a 5-hour slot and were a stressful slog fest that essentially had us waiting for a 2-round lucky streak. The first round to take down the enemy shields, the second to do serious damage to the unshielded arc. Given that experience, "challenging" starship combat translates to "unfun time-sink" starship combat. I think what most people want is "challenging fun". But until things change, people are going to choose easy fun over challenging unfun.
Unfortunately, starship combat is even more party makeup dependent that normal combat. Which makes balancing it in SFS nearly impossible. My Envoy was purposely built to be good at any ship position and great as captain or pilot, plus she has a boon that lets her mount nukes on ships. If she's at the table, starship combat is usually a breeze. On the other hand, even though I have purposefully built my Solarian to be good at the one job he could be good at, i.e. captain, since that is the least important job on the ship (the opposite of real life) it really only works with tables of 5+ where everyone else has the other positions covered.
This highlights the difference between characters optimized for Starship Combat and those that aren't. But since this is SFS, you never know what you are going to get at the table. It also highlights another problem. I built an Operative exactly like this and added the Sky Jockey feat as gravy. But an Operative is Dex based, has tons of skill points and is effective enough in non-Startship combat it can afford to split focus. Classes like Solarian and Mystic don't work that way.
Simple. The vast majority of the current player base is heavily invested players. They will not like any dumbing down of the system that may be necessary to attract new players to the system. But Paizo can't survive on a dwindling heavily invested player base that seldom gets new blood. So in order to survive, Paizo is going to have to attract new players. And the need to do that is going to make for rule changes that may be unpopular with the current dedicated based. Losing part of your dedicated base is par for the course with a new edition.
Obsidian Blade wrote:
A company that balances the needs of the business and the consumer to create an amazing product.
Ironically, I think that is exactly what Paizo is trying to do and why there appears to be a schism. To be successful, a system must be accessible enough to appeal to newbs and casual players, and sophisticated enough to appeal to invested players. And you need both. Newbs and casuals to grow the player base, and invested players to ensure longevity. And that is a difficult balance to master. 4E had great initial success with newbs and casuals when it first came out, but eventually failed due to a lack of appeal to invested players. 5E seems to be doing better along these lines, but is only slightly less generic than 4E. Pathfinder 1.0 is failing, in my opinion, as it has become too complicated under the weight of 10 years of supplements, expansions and errata's to the point that it is nearly impossible to get new players into the system. Paizo is currently losing this new blood in mass to 5E. And they won't have a successful product unless they reverse that trend.
Don't get me wrong. I get where you are coming from. As an invested player myself, I usually don't like any 'dumbing down' of a system for the sake of newbs and casuals. But if I have to choose between a system that is somewhat dumbed down that everyone will play vs. a robustly sophisticated system that I can't find anyone else willing to play, I will take the former.
Also, bear in mind that NO system reboot will be as sophisticated as a previous system that has been around for 10 years simply because it will not have all of the available options and refinements the previous system has accumulated over the years.
Here is the issue I am seeing currently. Several issues combined initially to create a situation where Starship combats became irritating slog-fests:
1) Learning curve: When the game first came out, players, GMs and authors were all learning how a mechanic with no PFS equivalent worked. Naturally, this alone sometimes meant Starship combat took twice as long as normal combats. While this situation has improved, there are always new people that need to learn.
2) GM Requirements: In a normal PFS/SFS combat, the players all have a variety of tactics available to them while the monsters usually only have one boss with a similar number of choices while the mooks only have a few. This makes running the encounter easier on the GM as they don’t have to put a lot of thought into most creature tactics. This is not true in Starship combat. The NPCs have all the same options as the PCs with the possible exception of choices that require Resolve (and then, only at levels 6+). This makes more work for the GM and slows the game down.
3) Building for 2 combat systems: In PFS, you only had to build for combat effectiveness in a single combat system. But SFS has two systems: normal combat and starship combat. This means that, while there is some crossover, you will often be faced with making a choice between the two in a build. And since Starship combat occurs with considerably less frequency in SFS that regular combat, then your starship combat expertise is often what is sacrificed. As a side note, I would love to see more Feats like Sky Jockey that give you worthwhile benefits in normal, vehicle, AND starship combat.
4) Accuracy vs. Shields: The low rate of accuracy for most PC ship weapon attacks (often less than 50%) combined with the relatively easy ability to repair shields means that many Starship combats can turn into battles of slow attrition.
5) Organized play unpredictability: Even more so that standard PFS/SFS combat, Starship combat requires teamwork that assumes people will be able to do effective jobs in each position. This seldom works out well, especially for those builds that are not Dex-focused, have few skill points, or not a good selection of Starship combat skills. Solarians and Mystics especially fall into this category, making them less desirable to play in SFS. While anyone CAN fire a ship’s weapon, the accuracy issue mean you don’t just want anyone doing it. When, if given the choice of having a Science Officer and a Gunner with a +2 to hit, or no Science Officer and a gunner with +5 to hit while someone just sits out the battle, and the latter is the best combat tactic, then there is a mechanical problem.
All of these issues combined early in SFS to make players and GMs dread Starship Combat. I can recall more than one that took over 3 hours for a single Starship Combat. This has caused many GMs to take shortcuts that effect the challenge of the combat. One of the most common I have seen is GMs that simply never attempt to recharge shields. Doing deliberately poor tactics like this speeds up combat, makes less work for the GM and, sadly, often improves the enjoyment of the combat, but it means the combat is easier than intended.
Thurston Hillman wrote:
Any way you could at least breakdown the embedded PDFs of the maps to they could be printed more easily as multiple parts on a standard 36" plotter?
Also, you could have the cartographers do a primary grid of 1"=10' with a faded subgrid of 1/2"=5'. This would be of some help to me, but even more help to people who use a projector or inlayed table screen.
As a note, I do like occasional long range combats in SFS. A recent one that involved a very long range sniper battle I found very entertaining and a different sort of challenge as players tried to maneuver with cover to close on the enemy position.
My biggest issue with this is that I print the maps out from a 36" plotter, which has never had a problem with 5' scale maps. There are a couple of Dead Suns maps, though, that would be difficult to expand and wouldn't fit on our play table even if I did. I have been forced to print them at 1" equals 10 feet scale so the map would fit on the table, but then we have to use tiny dice to represent minis and can no longer use our nice hand painted minis.
Bob Jonquet wrote:
Exactly! There are absolutely no materials supplied by Paizo to assist organizers in promoting PFS or SFS. No posters, no flyers, no brochures. Not everyone has the talent and/or wherewithal to make their own materials and it shouldn't be their responsibility as volunteers to do so, anyway. The only thing we really have is word-of-mouth and that doesn't go very far for recruiting people new to the hobby. So we lose many new recruits to the better known (to newbies) Adventurer’s League. I do what I can to recruit new players, but as with any job, the right tools can often do wonders.
A) A “Join the Society” poster, diagonally split with PFS on the top right and SFS on the bottom left.
Absolutely. Our player base is way down and if it weren't for Starfinder, we might not even have the few players we do have. We are basically down to scheduling only 4 tables a month and sometimes as many as half of those don't make. Most player's aren't interested in the playtest as they don't want to keep having to relearn the rules all the time as they change. Things might pick up again when 2.0 comes out. Especially if Paizo actually gets off their butts and provides organizers with the promotional materials necessary to do this.
Which one? Black Markateer or Politician?
701: pewpewfry (Female Lashunta Envoy) Vidgamer
702: Boom-Boom (Male Ysoki Bombard Soldier) Mercenary
703: Blaze Lightspeed (Male Human Operative) Smuggler
704: 51957-704 (Non-binary Android Mechanic) Coroner
705: Dr. Vox (Non-binary Barathu Mystic) Doctor
706: Big 'B' (Male Skittermander Solarian) Slap Dancer
In my experience it is Obozaya. Despite Starfinder's greater emphasis on ranged combat, there is still a need for a strong front line meleer. Out of the pregens, only Obozaya and Alrtonis fit that bill. Out of those two, Obozaya is both a better meleer and a simpler character to run. Considering pregens are mostly used either for those players who are new to the game or for those running them as a table buddy in addition to either running the game or their own character, simple is a good plus. Unlike PFS, a healer, while simple, is no longer necessary due to the Stamina system, so the Mystic is not as appealing a choice as the Cleric in PFS. Finally, Soldier isn't one of the more popular builds in my region, so taking one as the table buddy is usually a good fill-out.