Starfinder Humble Bundle playtest and Q&A, thoughts and opinions


General Discussion

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I'm going to put it out there, that was not what I was expecting. I thought they'd handle armor differently, but eac, kac, and the stamina/resolve mechanic seems to work well.

Overall, I like what I'm seeing. Can't wait to see the free right day booklet.


As someone who hasn't had a chance to watch it can you explain what you mean?


Well, during the playtest the pcs had an "eac" for energy weapons such as lasers, and a "kac" for kinetic weapons such as chainswords. On top of that, each pc had a pool of what boil down to temporary hit points called "stamina" which can be refilled with by taking a ten minute rest and expending a use of "resolve". It's a bit like the second wind mechanic from 4e, except not as mood breaking.


Cool, what is the booklet you speak of?


H2Osw wrote:
Cool, what is the booklet you speak of?

A small booklet that has some aliens and monsters in it. A preview of the full size Bestiary/alien races book coming out later.


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Steven "Troll" O'Neal wrote:
Well, during the playtest the pcs had an "eac" for energy weapons such as lasers, and a "kac" for kinetic weapons such as chainswords. On top of that, each pc had a pool of what boil down to temporary hit points called "stamina" which can be refilled with by taking a ten minute rest and expending a use of "resolve". It's a bit like the second wind mechanic from 4e, except not as mood breaking.

I don't think it is "use of resolve" so much as they are another pool of points. Note that Owen stated in the Q&A, "If you just watched the preview playtest we just did, we have hit points, stamina points, and resolve points, and those work together to make the experience work better for a science-fantasy game than a pure fantasy game."

Source


Ashanderai wrote:
Steven "Troll" O'Neal wrote:
Well, during the playtest the pcs had an "eac" for energy weapons such as lasers, and a "kac" for kinetic weapons such as chainswords. On top of that, each pc had a pool of what boil down to temporary hit points called "stamina" which can be refilled with by taking a ten minute rest and expending a use of "resolve". It's a bit like the second wind mechanic from 4e, except not as mood breaking.

I don't think it is "use of resolve" so much as they are another pool of points. Note that Owen stated in the Q&A, "If you just watched the preview playtest we just did, we have hit points, stamina points, and resolve points, and those work together to make the experience work better for a science-fantasy game than a pure fantasy game."

Source

Yeah, I could have been more clear.


No more crafting feats, this is interesting.

Sovereign Court RPG Superstar 2011 Top 32

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Most of the info is pretty exciting. The only concept I'm not really onboard with yet is the idea that mundane equipment is level restricted. I guess it really depends on how it's flavored. If it's really just your PC doesn't have enough reputation to shop at the better shops that's okay, but if a "level 6" weapon flat out doesn't work if a level 2 PC gets one, I have a problem there. That's a little too metagamey for me.

Level 1 goblins should be able to use rocket launchers. Mostly because that mental image is hilarious. Also scary.


I get the impression that it's more, "this costs more and is more powerful, your PCs can use it at lower levels, but that's the recommended level that they get ahold of it."


The Doomkitten wrote:
I get the impression that it's more, "this costs more and is more powerful, your PCs can use it at lower levels, but that's the recommended level that they get ahold of it."

That, and they can't craft it on their own.

Creative Director, Starfinder Team

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The Doomkitten wrote:
I get the impression that it's more, "this costs more and is more powerful, your PCs can use it at lower levels, but that's the recommended level that they get ahold of it."

This! You can totally ignore the level guidelines and economy to give your level 1 PC a level 6 hyperbazooka*, but don't be surprised when he mows through your CR 1 encounter.

*Not actually in the game.

*Yet.


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Not a fan of level requirements for equipment, especially non-magical equipment.


Since James has graced us with his presence I have a question. Since crafting is easier, will there be crafting info for robots as well as equipment? I ask because this could be potentially game breaking.


ryric wrote:

Most of the info is pretty exciting. The only concept I'm not really onboard with yet is the idea that mundane equipment is level restricted. I guess it really depends on how it's flavored. If it's really just your PC doesn't have enough reputation to shop at the better shops that's okay, but if a "level 6" weapon flat out doesn't work if a level 2 PC gets one, I have a problem there. That's a little too metagamey for me.

Level 1 goblins should be able to use rocket launchers. Mostly because that mental image is hilarious. Also scary.

Goblins should always be able to use rocket launchers!


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I loved the game sessions (both Starfinder and Worldscape). I honestly giggled when the foes were goblins. That's a huge plus for me. Honestly, the whole playtest seemed great.

I do see some players getting real hung up on economy issues, not just weapons (glad to see that softened a bit above) but also ships. Some RPG players just revolt against limitations like that. (I'm honestly not upset myself, but I do foresee having trouble selling it to one or two folks in my gaming groups.)

I wish there'd been some info on the AP. We already have an outline for the Azlanti campaign releasing around the same time. I know it's more complicated than that as this is a new IP but....<whine>

Super excited to hear about the Free RPG Day drop.

Loved everyone at the table. What a fun, pleasant vibe y'all have. Kudos also to the GMs.

Wish there had been some mention of tie-in products (minis, maps, novels, 3PP stuff).

Super psyched. Can't wait.

Sovereign Court RPG Superstar 2011 Top 32

If I can have my bazookagoblin, I'm satisfied. I'd also like a cybered-up ogre with a laser minigun, but that seems well within the range of doable. :)


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James Sutter wrote:
The Doomkitten wrote:
I get the impression that it's more, "this costs more and is more powerful, your PCs can use it at lower levels, but that's the recommended level that they get ahold of it."

This! You can totally ignore the level guidelines and economy to give your level 1 PC a level 6 hyperbazooka*, but don't be surprised when he mows through your CR 1 encounter.

*Not actually in the game.

*Yet.

Awesome.

It'd be weird to make it literally impossible for low level characters to use high level gadgets, but crazy, balance-wise to not generally have such restrictions. And getting away somewhat from the "magic item mart" feel of pathfinder --- it usually requiring more than money (and maybe sometimes not even requiring money --- accumulated favors being enough), but contacts and reputations and favors and high skill levels (if you're doing it yourself) --- sounds great.

This strikes me as just the right way to handle this.


Not able to go on twitch. Was my question on spell and feat bloat issues addressed? :).


I wanna say I'm hyped to play a Solarion.

and I'm glad the leveled item mechanics is NOT a hard restriction, because it would be super weird and immersion breaking if lower level characters were simply unable to use higher level equipment.


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Azih wrote:
Not able to go on twitch. Was my question on spell and feat bloat issues addressed? :).

Don't know about feats, but since all casters are spontaneous, I think there'd be a much higher bar a spell has to meet in order to be worth including. I.e., the bar isn't "this spell would sometimes be useful in some situations", but rather "this spell is useful enough to be one of the spells a character might reasonably choose". I would expect that to cut down on bloat a fair bit.

EDIT: Also, the fact that technology can now do a bunch of things for you (allow you to breathe underwater, allow you to see in the dark, etc) also removes the need for a lot of the variety of spells you need in pathfinder.


Well, since the Mystic isn't a divine caster since such distinctions are non-existent how do you think that we will get the feeling of divinity into a character. My guess is either the "themes" that were mentioned, or the new archetype concept.


I am too much of a fan of different kinds of magic, I like having arcane, divine, and psychic magic. I don't like the sound of them making magic the "force".


Agreed.

Liberty's Edge

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The way equipment level was described, it sounded to me more like an orthogonal means of delimiting kinds of equipment that is available in certain areas beyond simply "credit limits." A peaceful, heavily-patrolled metropolis under a despot who is really not interested in permitting any kind of uprising could have a very high credit limit for purchases, but only low-level gear for sale because high-level is too heavily restricted to be available.


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Dragon78 wrote:

I am too much of a fan of different kinds of magic, I like having arcane, divine, and psychic magic. I don't like the sound of them making magic the "force".

As much as i like the different types of magic, I have gotten myself to think of it this way:

Arcane users figure out his to do magic via learning the long way, or by having magic already within then. Basically through learning and practice.

Divine users are given this ability as a gift. They get sone different stuff as a result.

Psychic magic users get access through natural ability,by using the power of their minds.

But ultimately, they're all just using different methods to get to the same (or similar) results.

So now time goes on. People learn, and grow. Eventually, they figure out how to get access to certain, but not necessarily all, spells. Specifically, access to the most useful of spells in the current setting.

And then Golarion disappeared. Most access to the books for arcane likely went with it. Same for many psychic users, and the gods have changed, from what we've been told. So what's left? That's what we have in starfinder.


I've been hoping since the initial announcement that magic would be just "magic" and not arcane, divine, or psychic. I've happy for that bit of info.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Society Subscriber

I am very intrigued by the themes that sound like they're moving in to replace traits and to a small extent archtypes. With the new general archtypes on top, there sounds like there'll be a fair about of customization.

I'm sad to hear about the decrease in skills though, a lot of my favorite games are non-murdery and very skill savy. That said, what they were describing reminds me of the unchained skill variant which makes me think it'll just depend on the players creativity whether the smaller set is played well.


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Geez, level limits on mundane items? I figured there would be something I didn't like, but this is too much like video games. "Man, this is a sweet laser gun. Hey, why can't I pull the trigger? What do you mean my level isn't high to pull a trigger?!"


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McBugman wrote:

I am very intrigued by the themes that sound like they're moving in to replace traits and to a small extent archtypes. With the new general archtypes on top, there sounds like there'll be a fair about of customization.

I'm sad to hear about the decrease in skills though, a lot of my favorite games are non-murdery and very skill savy. That said, what they were describing reminds me of the unchained skill variant which makes me think it'll just depend on the players creativity whether the smaller set is played well.

Having fewer skills doesn't necessarily mean you can't solve all the same situations with skills in the same ways. For instance PF Acrobatics being a combination of 3.5's Tumble, Jump, and Balance skills still kept the ability to do all three things, you just spent fewer ranks for it.


Azten wrote:
Geez, level limits on mundane items? I figured there would be something I didn't like, but this is too much like video games. "Man, this is a sweet laser gun. Hey, why can't I pull the trigger? What do you mean my level isn't high to pull a trigger?!"

It is less "you can't use that yet" and more "sorry son, but we don't sell bazookas to every goon that walks in from the street", i.e. if you got your hands on a high tier weapon at low level you could use it to do some serious damage, but it would be like giving the level one paladin a Holy Avenger, overpowered for their level, and reducing the tension of fights due to them being over equipped.


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So instead of leaving such things in the hands of the GM, they make it a video game mechanic. Not a good move, since "video game-y" is why a lot of people didn't like 4E.

Paizo Employee Designer

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At least the last time I saw it, like Sutter said, it does indeed leave things in the hands of the GM. Listing an expected level for everything makes it a lot easier for the GM to make those decisions than not listing it, however, and it also makes it easier for the GM to design adventures around expectations as well.

For instance, imagine we did that in Pathfinder, listing all the expected levels for various stat items, weapons, and so on. It would then be much easier for a GM to figure out how to do an automatic bonus progression, or to track where her PCs were sitting compared to those expectations. I certainly wish I had been able to get my hands on something like that when my group first switched to 3.0.


Yeah from what it has been described, it's not a hard limit of "If you are 5th level, you can't get 6th level items" and more of a guideline of suggestions on what items would be acceptable for a character level. Much like CR, it seems more like a suggestion than a hard coded rule, leaving the decision up to the GM.


Mark Seifter wrote:
For instance, imagine we did that in Pathfinder, listing all the expected levels for various stat items, weapons, and so on. It would then be much easier for a GM to figure out how to do an automatic bonus progression, or to track where her PCs were sitting compared to those expectations. I certainly wish I had been able to get my hands on something like that when my group first switched to 3.0.

Ideally caster level would put you in the ballpark of a suggested minimum level but in practice it doesn't work out that way.

I'm in favor of the suggested levels. You can easily format it to not add space to the book and I think putting in the word "suggestion" makes it a win-win for those who want the info and those who don't care for it. The potential issue comes into play when you think of PFS (SFS?) but that's a bridge you can cross when you get there.


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Sutter did post something of an explanation. Unfortunately, all I heard was: "...something something something HYPERBAZOOKA something something something..."

Creative Director, Starfinder Team

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Yeah, as noted before, it's not "you can't pull the trigger," it's "GMs, consider whether you really want to give this to your players at this level."

Grand Lodge

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Those of you who've played Shadowrun before, I imagine it works very similar to the different grades of cyberware in that system.

You've got your basic level cyberware, then the more expensive though still readily available Alphaware, the very expensive and rarer Betaware, and finally the military grade, ultra-expensive, super rare Deltaware.

It's not that you can't use or purchase that equipment before a certain level, its that you don't have the funds or possibly the connections to even get access to it yet.

Silver Crusade

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Mark Seifter wrote:

At least the last time I saw it, like Sutter said, it does indeed leave things in the hands of the GM. Listing an expected level for everything makes it a lot easier for the GM to make those decisions than not listing it, however, and it also makes it easier for the GM to design adventures around expectations as well.

For instance, imagine we did that in Pathfinder, listing all the expected levels for various stat items, weapons, and so on. It would then be much easier for a GM to figure out how to do an automatic bonus progression, or to track where her PCs were sitting compared to those expectations. I certainly wish I had been able to get my hands on something like that when my group first switched to 3.0.

This table would be more useful to me as a GM than a WBL table, because as a GM it's so painful to reverse engineer appropriate gear.


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I am also a little displeased about the various forms of magic being combined into one thing. It's not a dealbreaker, but it's a bit less flavourful.


andygal wrote:
I am also a little displeased about the various forms of magic being combined into one thing. It's not a dealbreaker, but it's a bit less flavourful.

Perhaps, or just a different flavor. Not to mention, and this is mere speculation, no more arcane spell failure. Hello power armored technomancer!


What would be the best class to make a surgeon/medic/pharmacology expert?


Lemartes wrote:
What would be the best class to make a surgeon/medic/pharmacology expert?

Operative probably, or a Mystic.


Which raises a question:

How viable is mundane healing? I say mundane to exclude class-exclusive options (such as mystic/technomancer spells and the mechanic's bio-repair ray or whatever if there is such a thing.)


Steven "Troll" O'Neal wrote:
Lemartes wrote:
What would be the best class to make a surgeon/medic/pharmacology expert?
Operative probably, or a Mystic.

I should have said a non-magical healer. So I guess operative, which was what I guessed just thought maybe there was another angle.

I suppose a mechanic could have a medical droid.

I wonder if there are any archetypes that help with healing?


Good question. Just judging from what was seen from the playtest I'd say moderate at best. It would likely be resource heavy, what with med kits and what not.


Lemartes wrote:
Steven "Troll" O'Neal wrote:
Lemartes wrote:
What would be the best class to make a surgeon/medic/pharmacology expert?
Operative probably, or a Mystic.

I should have said a non-magical healer. So I guess operative, which was what I guessed just thought maybe there was another angle.

I suppose a mechanic could have a medical droid.

I wonder if there are any archetypes that help with healing?

Envoy is a possibility, but probably not the best.


Yeah looks like the operative would work the best.

Silver Crusade

Will psychic magic be a part of this Campaign?


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
Bennybeck Wabbittracks wrote:
Will psychic magic be a part of this Campaign?

No. There is no arcane, divine, or psychic magic, just magic in different spell lists.

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