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.
I picked the prepainted ones up at my FLGS today. And while the the wait was still irritating, I can say I was pleasantly surprised. The paint job, while not as bright, is actually better than the ones you see in the pictures. The figs themselves also have a lot of fine detail, so they would be great for repainting is that's something you like to do. Finally, they are made of a more flexible plastic than the last few Pathfinder Battles sets from Wizkids, which means they are less fragile. Overall, I am very pleased with them.
Blake's Tiger wrote:
Another issue/benefit is an increased desire to improve reporting. In my own experience I would guess at least 20% of my convention GMing, including major conventions, was either reported incorrectly (usually wrong mod) or not reported at all. I got my boons at the Con so it wasn't worth tracking down the organizers to get them to fix things, but now I would have to do that. Or course, the upside of requiring more pressure on organizers to report faster and more accurately is that you get faster and more accurate reporting.
Reliability is definite problem, though. Paizo just had a serious reliability problem with their website recently, and they are hardly the only gaming company to suffer such problems when they move more things to an online basis.
"Dr." Cupi wrote:
That depends on how you look at it. Almost every volunteer I have met in various volunteer circles usually expects at least some from of appreciation for volunteering. While that appreciation can come in many forms, many of which may be intangible, to me, boons are one of the ways Paizo shows their appreciation. I don't view it as payment or entitlement, but if Paizo were to suddenly yank their rewards programs like Wizards did with LFR, you would see the same results I did then, i.e. a lot of GMs going, "Well, I guess Paizo doesn't appreciate what I am doing for them anymore. So why am I doing all this work for a company that doesn't seem to care whether I do or don't?"
I think the main issue here is having a reward other than just races. The more race boons you have, the less individual value they hold. So it would be nice to have either a choice of race or a choice of something else instead. Even the really unique race boons you can get for GMing PFS at GenCon usually come with an option other than the race boon.
This is starting to remind me of a lot of the 4E Character Builder. Initially Wizards had an independent downloadable version that everyone loved. You paid a subscription to have access to regular updates. But people started cheating the system by signing up, downloading all the updated content, then cancelling their subscription after a month. Thus they only paid for 1 or 2 months of the service a year rather than the whole year. So Wizards changed it to an online subscription service that has all the problems that Herolab online seems to have, i.e. doesn't work as good as the stand alone version, frequent crashes, can't use it if you don't have internet access, requires printing the character sheet to run off if you aren't sure about access, etc. It's hard for customers to get behind "I'm going to charge you the same amount (or more) for an inferior product." At least D&D Beyond has the advantage of not having a stand alone version of itself for people to compare it to.
Bob Jonquet wrote:
Unless/until the race unlock boons are directly tied to the seasonal or scenario content (which would be better IMHO) there’s really no reason not to simply go to a points-based system whereas a GM earns boon points for each table they run at a qualifying event. The there is a menu of restricted content, be it races, archetypes, themes, equipment, etc that have varying value that the GM can spend their boon points on. This would continue to provide incentive value to GMing at special events like Gen Con, Origins, regional/local conventions and charity events while also giving the GMs more control over the boons they earn matching the ones they want the most.
While I like the idea, it is pointless until Paizo themselves gets better at reporting events. GenCon, in particular, has a bad legacy of taking forever to complete reporting and I still have 1-2 events from each year I have GMed at GenCon that have never been reported. When all I had riding on the line was delays in getting my GM Stars, that was fine. But when my reward boons are tied to it, that is another thing entirely.
While I do like convention race boons, I do think it would be great to have a choice of Race or something else rather than just 2 races.
There is a chronicle boon out there that lets you substitute the Icon background 6th-level benefit for the benefit you would normally get for your background at 6th-level. Essentially sort of letting you 'multi-background.' I think offering these as one of the 2 choices rather than the choice of 2 races would be a good thing.
Arc Riley wrote:
Indeed, soon he may be nothing but stardust. Maybe he'll go out in a blaze of glory fighting those arachnoid Jinsul on Akiton.
The only complaint I've heard from other GMs primarily was the Dune worm car chase mission.
As a I player I really enjoyed this mission. I had a really good pilot who was able to use her high piloting to distract the worm so that the mediocre pilot in the second vehicle could get away. Of course, this could mean it might be frustrating if you don't have a good pilot in the group.
Regardless, I am curious as to why GMs didn't like this mission.
Gary Bush wrote:
Yes. We managed to talk them down too, before the Tholians could complete their Web.
Thurston Hillman wrote:
Most of my group doesn't normally care for Starship combat, but when I got a boon that allowed me to mount Nukes of the ship, we couldn't resist. We took every opportunity we could get to Nuke Jinsils into radioactive space dust.
I almost considered adding Death By Metagaming.
In one session the PCs were up against some Wraiths and a Morhg. The paladin took on the Morhg while the rest of the players dealt with the Wraiths. The tactics for the Morhg said that it would attack a single target until it was dead so that it could could create a Fast Zombie spawn. The Morhg paralyzed the paladin on the first round of combat. The player's said, 'It's okay. The tactics will have it move on to another target now that it has paralyzed the Paladin. Two rounds later it had beat the Paladin down to unconscious. The player's said, "It's okay. The tactics will surely say he moves on to a different target after it has knocked the Paladin unconscious." The next round Morhg killed the Paladin. I let him roll the attacks for the Fast Zombie.
I think you are asking the wrong question. I think the real question should be, 'Is there an truly valid reason your character needs to engage in cannibalism?'
Given that I can't think of any PFS scenarios that would require you to engage in cannibalism for survival reasons, the only reason I can think for a PC to do this is for role-play flavor. In this regards, it is kind of like your character owning a slave in PFS. While it is logical your character may own one given the prevalence of slavery in PFS, is it necessary to potentially offend/disturb other players at the table simply for the sake of your own RP? "I'm just playing my character," is not a valid justification for inconsiderate play.
I just wanted to make a special shout out to Mike Bramnik for his extraordinary GMing of Starfinder Adventures at GenCon.
I had recommended my oldest daughter play Star, Sugar, Heartlove! at GenCon as I had played it and knew she would love it. I had just hoped she would get a half-way decent GM that wouldn’t ruin it for her. She didn’t get that. She got a fabulous GM who made it one of her most memorable GenCon experiences ever. Mike had gone the extra mile and made a 3D stage with lights and accurate minis for the final encounter and did a fabulous job with the role-playing, as well. He had my daughter in tears for most of the adventure for all the right reasons. Heck, just hearing her gush about how great an experience it was had my eyes tearing up, and I wasn’t even there.
Based on her comments, we specifically asked for Mike to GM us for “The Scoured Stars Invasion” and got him. Again, Mike came through with some special minis, props and aids that made the experience better and more visual. The Special, BTW, clearly benefited from 10 years of Paizo experience and was one of the best Specials they have ever released. Normally, most of my group doesn’t enjoy Starship combat in Starfinder as it tends to drag, and it was great that the Special makes it optional for players as they get a variety of missions to choose from that have tags, so your group can avoid types of missions your group doesn’t enjoy. But I had just acquired a Starship Boon earlier in the Con that let me mount Nukes on our Tier 4 Spaceship and let me just say that everything is better with Nukes! Mike ran the spaceship combats smoothly and everyone in our group enjoyed them for once. Mike also seemed to have a ball and that is a much a testament to his GMing as anything.
So, once again, thank you Mike Bramnik for helping to make our GenCon 2018 experience so memorable.
Getting close on mine, as well.
Big 'B' - Is a Solarian who wears a large 'B' on the front of his outfit. He is a professional Slapdancer (see below), and his Solarian weapon manifests as a large hand that he uses to slap people with, as well as, use in his performances.
Slapdancing: A traditional Skittermander rhythmic dance that relies heavily on hand movements and can include rhythmic slaps, claps, and snaps, as well as, various small finger-worn percussion instruments. Streamers are also sometimes used to accentuate the movements. Slapdancing has recently seen a resurgence in popularity due to several recent performer's modernization of it to a more Pop/Hip-hop form, that is sometimes referred to as 'Slap-Hop."
I started keeping track of my kills after my kill rate seemed kind of high, so I could determine why. Here are the stats I came up with though I know I am missing a few kills.
Monster with a huge DPR: 9
Note that several years ago I took a poll with my players to see if they prefer GMs that roll their dice behind a screen and possibly fudge the rolls (for good or ill), or if they prefered the dice rolled out in the open and let the dice fall where they may. They chose rolling out in the open and there was a coinciding increase in kills, especially at low levels.
The issue with balanced class isn't the actual power issue. 4E went out of its way to try to make all the classes balanced. The problem is, the only true way to do that is to have all the classes function the same way. But when all the classes are the same, what difference does it really make? You end up losing all the flavor for each class that truly makes it if feel unique, and unique is what people really want.
The problem here is that the more options you add, the more difficult it becomes to avoid unintended power combos. Eventually, it becomes effectively impossible.
How does that effect power creep caused by the addition of new options? If Weapon A works better in conjunction with Feat B than any other weapon, the fact that Weapon A has multiple tiering that requires you to purchase a new weapon every several levels doesn't change the fact that it still works better with Feat B than any other weapon.
Just for the record, that won't actually stop power creep, it will only slow it down:
1) Every new element you add to the game increases versatility and versatility is power.
2) Every new element you add to the game has the potential of combining with another element to create a gestalt that is greater than the sum of its parts. Most over-powered options I have seen aren't a single over-powered option, but rather an over-powered combo.
Looking back at the Starship combats I have enjoyed, these mostly revolved around the GM having a different mindset for Starship combat than from normal combat. In normal SFS & PFS combat, GMs tend to focus on making the combat challenging the letting the challenge be a large amount of the fun. There are ways of making them more fun and sometimes the authors can include things that just make them more fun, but for the most part, it is a straight forward run.
When it comes to Starship combat, however, this style creates the typical combat drag we have been experiencing. The Starship combats I have enjoyed the most were where the GM focused more on other elements of entertainment than simply beating the challenge.
Cries from the Drift:
The GM we played this under is tactically smart and we initially were playing this out normally, with both ships jockeying around and avoiding the explosive asteroids. When we reached the point where the combat was starting to drag, the opposing captain made a 'tactical error' and placed himself too closed to several asteroids. We took advantage of that and fired multiple weapons arcs to detonate as many asteroids as we could, crippling the enemy ship in a classic movie style.
The above example points out one of the issues with Starship combat compared to regular combat. In regular combat, individual character powers, equipment and tactics usually have a wide variety of ways of changing the course of the combat, and thus allowing each individual to shine in their own way, keeping the experience enjoyable. But in Starship combat, individual options are limited to small subset based on your crew position with you character build only effecting the possibility of success with those limited options. You cannot build a character that, for example, has more or different choices of options. It’s like playing an RPG with only 5 character classes, with no options choices in a class when leveling up, i.e. with the exception of stats, every character of a given class has exactly the same abilities and equipment.
You can earn 1 XP for your character by playing an SFS Adventure with that character.
I really want Starship Combat to work, but our groups is having problems with it too. One of the big issues is that it can take twice as long as a normal combat. Part of this has to do with typical RPG power structure. Because TTRPGs are supposed to be about group enjoyment and group participation, most groups do not have a true 'party leader' that calls all the shots and everyone just does their job. What this results in in Starship Combat is several of the party members having long discussions on where the ship should be maneuvered to and how to get it there, rather then the Captain barking out, 'Get us into it's rear' and the Pilot doing its best to follow that order. The best Starship Combat I have seen was one where everyone took the rolls and did what their rolls would do in a real starship situation, i.e. doing their best to follow the Captain's orders, rather than trying to run the combat as a group consensus.
Another thing I think might help is to have a more graded success system. With the exception of the Science Officer's Scanning, all of the checks are a Yes or No situation. Things like how good the Engineer gets determines how much shields he repairs could go a long way to making individual rolls feel more important.
Ship Combat also suffers from the typical Starfinder situation of a PC's chance to hit with an attack can frequently be less than 50%. This is okay when the whole party is attacking the monster. But when you only have 1 party member making 1 or 2 attacks a round, Starship Combat can take forever.
Andrew Hoskins wrote:
Well, this one I played with my 4th level Daredevil Ace Pilot Operative but you still did it:
Save the Renkrodas:
When you can use your Uncanny Pilot ability to drive your vehicle up next to Vossi, then use your high acrobatics check and Uncanny Mobility to safely jump on her back and help subdue her, then use your high Survival skill to ride her into battle where she promptly eats the lead ecoterrorist...yeah...the mod seems written for you.
Special thanks to Andrew for realizing that having a poisonous swarm in the first encounter has a decent chance of taking a character out for the entire rest of the adventure and putting in solutions for that.
I had a similar idea for a Barathu Mystic. I would put points in WS and ST. I would get proficiency with Advanced Melee Weapons to give me access to a Pike so I could fly 10-feet above the battlefield and threaten a 15' diameter area and extend that with Early Stage Adaptation occasionally to 20' when needed. This would be great with Coordinated Shot. I decided to go with a Life Mystic so I could channel heal myself as a move action in combat and help out others as needed. But then I ran the numbers. The first problem I discovered was that with only Light Armor Proficiency and an 8 Dex, I was way too easy a target even hovering 10' above everyone with a reach weapon. So Heavy Armor Proficiency was a must. This meant I needed a minimum of 3 feats, Advanced Melee Weapon Proficiency, Advanced Melee Weapon Specialization and Heavy Armor Proficiency (4 if I want Coordinated Shot). In other words, the build wouldn’t jell until 5th or 7th level. So, I sucked it up and decided to start with a first level of Soldier. Blitz Soldier only helped my initiative as I don’t have a ground speed. Armor Storm and Bombard looked interesting, but neither of them scaled as I was only taking 1 level of Soldier. So, I went with Arcane Assailant.
Theme-wise I chose Bioengineer mostly for RP reasons. He’s supposed to be a doctor, but with only an 11 IN he got his diploma from the cheapest online medical school he could find. He mostly fakes his doctor skills with various forms of Mystic healing. Which doesn’t mean he isn’t a good healer. He just isn’t quite the doctor he claims to be.