Whats the "point" of the starknife?


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Furious Kender, Ultimate equipment sidestepped that issue by creating the Blinkback Belt. When combined with Quickdraw it is far more effective than a returning weapon.

Shadow Lodge

Starknife is a great weapon for caster clerics to use IMO. I mean, if you are invested in something like buff/debuff and have proficiency with a decent ranged weapon AND melee weapon, you may as well carry it. It being a light weapon also means that the caster-focused cleric can use it in the inescapable grapple. Of course, as a DPR weapon, it sucks. It just can't keep up with the nodachi, longsword, or kukri. But when you need a weapon and don't do dpr, its nice.


Gauss wrote:
Furious Kender, Ultimate equipment sidestepped that issue by creating the Blinkback Belt. When combined with Quickdraw it is far more effective than a returning weapon.

It also eats up your belt slot though.


Yup, which is why the rules include an option to combine it with another belt (unless playing PFS). :)


MrSin wrote:
Gauss wrote:
Furious Kender, Ultimate equipment sidestepped that issue by creating the Blinkback Belt. When combined with Quickdraw it is far more effective than a returning weapon.
It also eats up your belt slot though.

You really shouldn't be penalized for playing a Thrower. Paying 5000gp and losing the belt just to function is a penalty. It makes it so that throwing before level 6 is impossible. A 1000gp hand slot would be about right.


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Gauss wrote:
Yup, which is why the rules include an option to combine it with another belt (unless playing PFS). :)

Well its an option if you use custom magic items, some guys don't let you do that, even outside of PFS. Also still requires quickdraw... and it sucks that you need a magical item that cost 5k(+) to do something you probably wanted to do without, and your still not doing as hot as the guy who just used archery in the first place probably.


James Jacobs wrote:

(shrug)

Your mileage may vary, I guess.

Not every build needs to be a damage per round contender.

There is a very thick line between 'damage per round contender' and 'sucking horribly'. The starknife is in the latter category.

Me, I would just adopt the 4e rule that magical thrown weapons return immediately, enabling you to full-attack with them. That at least reduces the suck.


MrSin wrote:
Gauss wrote:
Yup, which is why the rules include an option to combine it with another belt (unless playing PFS). :)
Well its an option if you use custom magic items, some guys don't let you do that, even outside of PFS. Also still requires quickdraw... and it sucks that you need a magical item that cost 5k(+) to do something you probably wanted to do without, and your still not doing as hot as the guy who just used archery in the first place probably.

That's the biggest problem I have with throwing in general. I really like the image of a thrown weapon user but everytime I stat one up I just feel really let down by how bad it is compared to a bow user that needs half the feats and equipment.


MrSin,

It isn't really a custom item. There is no use of the custom item table. It is a set mechanic for how to combine two items. But, I can see why some people think it is custom.


Gauss wrote:

MrSin,

It isn't really a custom item. There is no use of the custom item table. It is a set mechanic for how to combine two items. But, I can see why some people think it is custom.

Anything not in the book already made is a custom magic item, at least by my definition.

Silver Crusade

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Create a magic item that applies any of the ranged weapon enhancements to thrown weapons, in glove form.

Argue with your DM that since a starknife has multiple points, at least two of those will hit during melee/ranged attacks. Bump up the damage to 2d4! (I'm not being serious)

There could be a thrown weapon magical enhancement or feat that allows you to hit multiple enemies with the same weapon. (akin to whirlwind attack, but for ranged thrown, and only uses 1 ammo) Limit to within first range increment for the weapon (scalable with distance enhancement). Limit to chakram, boomerangs and starknives. Have the item return to the user.

Become Xena, Profit.


Drannor Hawksley wrote:
Become Xena, Profit.

Even better, become midas, Profit!

Though your golden star knives won't be as awesome for combat, they'll look pretty awesome. Oh! and you can hire a bunch of adventurers to do the work for you.


I think the problem with throwing combat styles is that there is not love for them

Look how many feats they have for bows.

Look how many classes have advantages for bows.

How many throwign things is there?

If the devleopement pays so much attention to one section there should be no suprised the mostly ignored ones are under valued.


MrSin, ahhhh, I define it as creating items that did not exist before. Simply merging two items doesn't qualify as not existing in my book because they both exist. The book has several examples of this.

What makes custom items so problematic is properly pricing them. Merging items is not part of that problem.

But, it is up to the GM of course. :)


The best solution is probably something like getting rid of weapon enhancements and weakening monsters accordingly. (NPCs are probably fine since they're also losing offense out of the change)

Weapon enhancements hurt multi-weapon users in general, but throwers are the only PCs to use a dozen non-ammunition weapons over the course of a 3 round combat in an e6 game.


It's obviously house on whether you can or not, but in my game the Desnan uses a starknife with the enchantment from a Dagger of Doubling on it (plus Distance).

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The cost/action issue is one that belongs to all thrown weapons. There's practically no support for that fighting style, no fighter archetype or feats (as far as I know)

It may be that not every build needs to be a DPR contender, but with weapons that's kind of the point. If it doesn't do damage well, it should do something else at least.

Shadow Lodge

I personally like the weapons like the starknife and the punching dagger. I mean, yeah, they suck at damage and don't do much else, but they have awesome flavor. And light weapons in general are useful, as you can use them in a grapple (mind you, this is most useful for spellcasters with low CMD and no way of escaping other than waiting for it to die). Of course, this is more roleplay and less rollplay, because Nodachi, Scimitar, Falcata, and Kukri are the best weapons from rollplay.


Thrown weapons are sadly not of great use. Even with DMs that use terrain well there are so many ways to close distance from the mundane to cheap items (feather step slippers 2000gp) to spells and flight that closing distance is an irrelevance. Attacking and moving is precluded by the returning enchantment. Their easy to sunder. They do considerably less damage then melee as they need dex and str to use well no more is there a feat for str to hit when thrown or dex to damage when thrown. The combination makes thrown weapons quite useless.

Its a shame!

Visually it doesn't help that their piercing weapons yet the handle precludes straight piercing blows and the design looks like you'd break your wrist if going for piercing blows in melee.

The 'called' weapon enhancement makes it much better but relying on magic items is sort of contrived.

CALLED (ultimate equipment)
Price +1 bonus; Aura moderate conjuration; CL 9th; Weight —
A called weapon can be teleported to the wielder's hand as a swift action that does not provoke attacks of opportunity, even if the weapon is in the possession of another creature. This ability has a maximum range of 100 feet, and effects that block teleportation prevent the return of a called weapon. A called weapon must be in a creature's possession for at least 24 hours for this ability to function.

CONSTRUCTION REQUIREMENTS
Cost +1 bonus
Craft Magic Arms and Armor, teleport

Desna should give some sort of blessing to all star knives that allows them to do as much or at least a spell with a decent duration - sort of an endless ammo type spell for desna clerics with star knives (perhaps wis to hit and damage).

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you know, after a careful re-reading of the RAW, i think most thrown weapons are actually much worse than i thought...

SRD wrote:
Melee weapons are used for making melee attacks, though some of them can be thrown as well. Ranged weapons are thrown weapons or projectile weapons that are not effective in melee.

(equipment page, weapons section)

that means that, technically, a weapon like the starknife (that can be used in melee) cannot gain the benefits of point blank shot, precise shot, or any other feats or abilities that specify they work with "ranged weapons"... that completely negates the apparent benefit of being able to build a switch hitter with one weapon to focus on, and leaves thrown weapons severely short on useful feats. even as a flavor option, that is a tough pill to swallow for anyone who wants to be at useful in combat.

The Exchange

I just thought that meant they were both ranged and melee at the same time, using melee rules when holding them and ranged rules when throwing them.

Personally, my only problem is that there aren't any minis to my knowledge that use a starknife. That, and they cost about twice as much as they should.

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Tirq wrote:
I just thought that meant they were both ranged and melee at the same time, using melee rules when holding them and ranged rules when throwing them.

that may very well be RAI, but the RAW clearly say that if you can effectively use it as a melee weapon it is not a ranged weapon.


The feat(s) need to be errata'd to say 'when you make a ranged attack' instead of specifying ranged weapons.


Pathfinder Maps, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
James Jacobs wrote:

(shrug)

Your mileage may vary, I guess.

Not every build needs to be a damage per round contender.

Bows SO outpace every other ranged weapon as to make them the obvious choice nearly every time.

Crossbows can be fired while prone and thrown weapons offer a variety of damage types. Aside from that, bows are literally better in every way to all other ranged weapons.

EDIT: I'm excluding firearms since not every group uses them.


Well I think it depends, I have seem swarms of +5 dancing shuriken tear apart parties. Whole bows outpace them and have vast feat support, nothing beats a bag of enchanted projectiles to ruin a groups day. Good grief was that an expensive two dozen shuriken...


Ravingdork wrote:
Crossbows can be fired while prone and thrown weapons offer a variety of damage types. Aside from that, bows are literally better in every way to all other ranged weapons.

Crossbows have easier proficiency, bigger damage dice, and don't suffer from strength penalties.


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I don't think dancing shuriken are legal since they're not melee weapons. Two dozen dancing +5 starknives would be pretty effective though, assuming you've got four million gp to spare.


Matthew Downie wrote:

I don't think dancing shuriken are legal since they're not melee weapons. Two dozen dancing +5 starknives would be pretty effective though, assuming you've got four million gp to spare.

Hey the DM played fast and loose with the rules. It was still great just because of the described scene you know. But yes you could do it with starknives, IIRC didn't a version of caltropes that was dancing make an appearance at one time. NVM that was the 3e thieves handbook.


James Jacobs wrote:

(shrug)

Your mileage may vary, I guess.

Not every build needs to be a damage per round contender.

It does if the build is built for damage.

Some builds are built for inflicting status effects (like people with the Critical Feats and stuff like Stunning Assault). Some are made to lock down the enemy (most Combat Maneuver builds).

Throwing Starknives doesn't do any of that. It's a damage dealing option. Unfortunately, it sucks at dealing damage.

Though most of the problems could be fixed with a new Feat that let you throw it and have it return to your hand (catching as a Free action).

Then you could finally let out your inner Xena. =)


Or my outer Xena! YAYAYAYAYA!


I thought it was AYIYIYIYIYIYI!

Sczarni

To the OP: If the character in question is a cleric of Desna, he's probably not the party damage dealer. He'll probably spend most of his time casting spells anyway-- the weapon in his hand is only there so he has a threatened area with which to flank.

For a cleric of Desna, the advantages to a starknife are:

1) Flavor!
2) You don't need to carry a back-up ranged weapon because your melee weapon is a ranged weapon. (Which is good, because you aren't proficient in bows anyway)
3) You can prepare the Returning Weapon spell if you feel the need to, so you don't even need to worry about the increased cost of enchanting additional starknives.
4) You have an option for when you get grappled and don't want to risk losing a spell to a botched concentration check.

Liberty's Edge

James Jacobs wrote:

(shrug)

Your mileage may vary, I guess.

Not every build needs to be a damage per round contender.

That is true.

But when comparing weapons and fighting styles, the DPR is a fair measure ;-)

Paizo Employee Creative Director

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Meh. Lost interest in the topic... not a big fan of DPR races.

Carry on! Just thought I'd drop in with a note earlier on to give my take on what the point of the weapon was.

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James Jacobs wrote:

Meh. Lost interest in the topic... not a big fan of DPR races.

Carry on! Just thought I'd drop in with a note earlier on to give my take on what the point of the weapon was.

Thanks for sharing that with us!

Honestly, I'd like to see more interesting weapons like the starknife. Your character's favorite weapon plays a large role in defining their flavor. It's part of why I like the magus class, whose mechanics rely on what kind of weapon they wield.


Cyrad wrote:
Honestly, I'd like to see more interesting weapons like the starknife. Your character's favorite weapon plays a large role in defining their flavor. It's part of why I like the magus class, whose mechanics rely on what kind of weapon they wield.

I love interesting things! I just want them to be mechanically viable too.

Btw, what about the magus changes based on his weapon? I thought he was actually steered to use specific weapons because of his mechanics, rather than opening more options.


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber

Sorry for the thread necro, but I've been considering tinkering with the Spherewalker prestige class with a houserule to make the starknife more attractive. At second level, the Spherewalker gets "Starslinger" which lets her treat a starknife as if it had the "returning" special ability. I noticed one of the new classes from the Advanced Class Guide allows a character with multiple attacks to make those attacks with a ranged weapon in one throw (or did I dream that up?). I imagine it working like Xena's chakram where it hits one foe then bounces to the next (requiring a new attack roll).

As cheesy as it sounds, what about adding this to the "Starslinger" ability and also saying the weapon returns to the character even if she has moved? (Should I start a new thread for this?) I don't think this would be overpowered and it would give Clerics of Desna the love they deserve.

ETA: I might also add an ability so that, at some point, the Spherewalker treats starknives as if they had the "Agile" special ability.

Scarab Sages

Kelvar: Returning is terrible, as it stops you form using iterative attacks or making AoOs. You would need to treat starknives as if you were using a blinkback belt to make it attractive.


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber
Imbicatus wrote:
Kelvar: Returning is terrible, as it stops you form using iterative attacks or making AoOs. You would need to treat starknives as if you were using a blinkback belt to make it attractive.

I probably didn't explain it very well. Here is what I'm thinking:

1) In qualifying for the class, we can assume the character has multiple attacks by the time she's a 2nd Level Spherewalker. Let's say she gets two attacks per round. My houserule would allow her to throw the starknife one time and roll to hit twice (maybe I'd say she can't attack the same person more than once per round unless there's something for it to bounce off of).
2) After the starknife has ricocheted and hit or missed the maximum number of attacks per round, *then* it returns.

So, throw--stab--bounce--stab--return.

Like I said, it is very cheesy, but I don't know if it is much cheesier than having a supernatural ability that makes it return on its own.


One narrow benefit to throwing weapons is Crusader's Flurry should technically work with them. It's narrow, but being able to use both flurry of blows and rapid shot seems neat and could make for some sort of weird switch hitter. Really feat intensive, though, and still needs blinkback belt to function. Hurts even more since Monks are so MAD and need that belt slot even more than the martials.


I see a lot of people saying that it is just flavor, and that the only mechanics is as a knife that its only real benefit is as throwing.

Lets look at the engineering, and then the game mechanics.

Central ring, with a handle in the center, that has four blades protruding in an "N S E W" fashion.

1) It is technically a punching dagger, that can be utilized quickly in all kinds of close quarter situations.

2) It is great for an acrobatic or quick reflex character. If used correctly (and conceptually) it can hit on the jab and the pullback if in the GM and player consider the implications of a punching dagger with blades protruding from its sides in close quarter fighting.

3)It is a heavier throwing weapon, allowing it to do damage (and potentially more damage) at a distance.

Carry four of these instead of 6 regular daggers, and you have an arsenal worthy of any blade master, assassin or bard. Not to mention a cleric/monk of Desna.

The blade in itself, if considered carefully in a campaign, as the potential of having the same "double" capabilities of a quarterstaff in the hands of the proficient.

This means that the basic game mechanics don't quite do the engineering of the weapon justice.

Dark Archive

James Jacobs wrote:
The "design niche" the starknife fills is that it's a light throwing weapon that does x3 damage on a crit. No other light weapon in the core rules does this.

Oh wow, I'd totally misread p. 141 about thrown weapons and thought that all thrown weapons were limited to crit 20/x2, even if they had a better crit range or multiplier when used in melee! (Turns out that's only for weapons not normally able to be thrown, being thrown!)

Good to know!


ShadoShryke wrote:

I see a lot of people saying that it is just flavor, and that the only mechanics is as a knife that its only real benefit is as throwing.

Lets look at the engineering, and then the game mechanics.

Central ring, with a handle in the center, that has four blades protruding in an "N S E W" fashion.

1) It is technically a punching dagger, that can be utilized quickly in all kinds of close quarter situations.

2) It is great for an acrobatic or quick reflex character. If used correctly (and conceptually) it can hit on the jab and the pullback if in the GM and player consider the implications of a punching dagger with blades protruding from its sides in close quarter fighting.

3)It is a heavier throwing weapon, allowing it to do damage (and potentially more damage) at a distance.

Carry four of these instead of 6 regular daggers, and you have an arsenal worthy of any blade master, assassin or bard. Not to mention a cleric/monk of Desna.

The blade in itself, if considered carefully in a campaign, as the potential of having the same "double" capabilities of a quarterstaff in the hands of the proficient.

This means that the basic game mechanics don't quite do the engineering of the weapon justice.

Let me ask you this.

If there are so many good things about it, why did the design never emerge as a serious weapon in real life?

I can see a few problems with the design immediately
1. The weapon has a blade facing *towards* the wielder. A force applied to the weapon can send it back into the wielder, injuring them. This is terrible in close quarters, where there won't be much room to position the weapon in a way to prevent this.
2. The design of the weapon makes for a bad application of force. What I mean by this is that for punching daggers the arm pushes straight into the dagger. The dagger and the arm form a line, making it easy to put a lot of body movement into the blow and apply a lot of force. You probably can't do this with a starknife, because lining up the stabbing blade with your arm is impossible due to other blades blocking the arm. Even trying to get close is liable to get your arm stabbed. This makes it awkward and difficult to put a lot of force into the blow.

Oh yeah, and FYI everyone this is a necro.


Snowblind wrote:


Let me ask you this.

If there are so many good things about it, why did the design never emerge as a serious weapon in real life?

I can see a few problems with the design immediately
1. The weapon has a blade facing *towards* the wielder. A force applied to the weapon can send it back into the wielder, injuring them. This is terrible in close quarters, where there won't be much room to position the weapon in a way to prevent this.
2. The design of the weapon makes for a bad application of force. What I mean by this is that for punching daggers the arm pushes straight into the dagger. The dagger and the arm form a line, making it easy to put a lot of body movement into the blow and apply a lot of force. You probably can't do this with a starknife,...

Actually, you would be surprised at some of the really odd and weird weapons have shown up around the world. Honestly, the chakram is an weapon that showed up in India and Pakistan, though it was slightly different from what was in Xena. The starknife is actually similar to an alternative form of the chakram that showed up at one point.

The grip of the starknife goes between the blade centers, this means that, if you hold it with your fist forward, in a punching motion, two blades are pointing at each side of the opponent and two on either side of your arm. None are pointing straight back at you. This calls for different approach than normal knife fighting, but it can be done. Yet, like the chakram, would be very limited in scope and trained people to use it.

This design also makes it a pretty decent choice for a blocking "dagger" for a Swashbuckler character.


ShadoShryke wrote:
Snowblind wrote:


Let me ask you this.

If there are so many good things about it, why did the design never emerge as a serious weapon in real life?

I can see a few problems with the design immediately
1. The weapon has a blade facing *towards* the wielder. A force applied to the weapon can send it back into the wielder, injuring them. This is terrible in close quarters, where there won't be much room to position the weapon in a way to prevent this.
2. The design of the weapon makes for a bad application of force. What I mean by this is that for punching daggers the arm pushes straight into the dagger. The dagger and the arm form a line, making it easy to put a lot of body movement into the blow and apply a lot of force. You probably can't do this with a starknife,...

Actually, you would be surprised at some of the really odd and weird weapons have shown up around the world. Honestly, the chakram is an weapon that showed up in India and Pakistan, though it was slightly different from what was in Xena. The starknife is actually similar to an alternative form of the chakram that showed up at one point.

The grip of the starknife goes between the blade centers, this means that, if you hold it with your fist forward, in a punching motion, two blades are pointing at each side of the opponent and two on either side of your arm. None are pointing straight back at you. This calls for different approach than normal knife fighting, but it can be done. Yet, like the chakram, would be very limited in scope and trained people to use it.

This design also makes it a pretty decent choice for a blocking "dagger" for a Swashbuckler character.

Main-gauche is a thing that needs to happen.

Anyway, I tried making a swashbuckler knife-thrower a while back. It was cool, except I found out that she wound up sucky in melee and squarely under-whelming at range.

They're cool for low levels though, if you happen to have both a high strength and a high dexterity. If I don't see the campaign going much higher than 6th level, I'll sometimes pick up two-handed thrower and the Primal hunter archetype on a barbarian. That rocks, and you can really screw with expectations by being having a workable ranged attack availible on a melee character.

Right up until the point it starts sucking due to need for specialization. In my experience, that's about at level 6.


Isn't this weapon with four points? It would make sense that each point might have a different enchantment with DM's discretion of course. That way the weapon becomes more versatile per situation without digging for a second weapon.


Pathfinder Maps Subscriber
nate lange wrote:
you know, after a careful re-reading of the RAW, i think most thrown weapons are actually much worse than i thought...
SRD wrote:
Melee weapons are used for making melee attacks, though some of them can be thrown as well. Ranged weapons are thrown weapons or projectile weapons that are not effective in melee.

(equipment page, weapons section)

that means that, technically, a weapon like the starknife (that can be used in melee) cannot gain the benefits of point blank shot, precise shot, or any other feats or abilities that specify they work with "ranged weapons"... that completely negates the apparent benefit of being able to build a switch hitter with one weapon to focus on, and leaves thrown weapons severely short on useful feats. even as a flavor option, that is a tough pill to swallow for anyone who wants to be at useful in combat.

You're parsing that wrong.

Ranged weapons include thrown weapons.
Ranged weapons include projectile weapons that are not effective in melee.

The "that are not effective in melee" clause modifies ONLY the "projectile weapons" and not both "thown weapons and projectile weapons".

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
SlimGauge wrote:
nate lange wrote:
you know, after a careful re-reading of the RAW, i think most thrown weapons are actually much worse than i thought...
SRD wrote:
Melee weapons are used for making melee attacks, though some of them can be thrown as well. Ranged weapons are thrown weapons or projectile weapons that are not effective in melee.

(equipment page, weapons section)

that means that, technically, a weapon like the starknife (that can be used in melee) cannot gain the benefits of point blank shot, precise shot, or any other feats or abilities that specify they work with "ranged weapons"... that completely negates the apparent benefit of being able to build a switch hitter with one weapon to focus on, and leaves thrown weapons severely short on useful feats. even as a flavor option, that is a tough pill to swallow for anyone who wants to be at useful in combat.

You're parsing that wrong.

Ranged weapons include thrown weapons.
Ranged weapons include projectile weapons that are not effective in melee.

The "that are not effective in melee" clause modifies ONLY the "projectile weapons" and not both "thown weapons and projectile weapons".

And there are weapons that live in both worlds... such as the dagger.


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I actually like the mechanics. I just can't stand the presented image. Every piece of art I see displaying a star knife makes me cringe in the same way dire flails do. The thing is unusable.

I can see it if it was about half the size it is usually presented as, but they all look like they're about two and a half feet across. They weigh three frickin' pounds. That's the weight of hefty hatchet.

Make them about half overall length and about a quarter the weight and i can see them being realistically usable. They'd be kinda like Katars you can throw.

Personally, if I was going to give them a visual redesign I'd describe them like oversized batarangs that looked like stylized butterflies instead of bats.


It has four points, not one ;)

(sorry I had to make this joke)

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