Math-driven rules changes


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Sczarni

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Mark Seifter, ask and you shall receive!

Paizo Employee Designer

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OK, so this thread is in response to an inquest of "How did math inspire you to change the rules of Starfinder from Pathfinder." There's too many ways that math inspired changes to cover them all. What parts of the game are you, and I guess Paul Jackson who asked the question, interested in hearing about?


I'm interested in combat, were number crunched there?
Also the gold income and item prices.


Pathfinder Companion, Maps, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

For me, it's the starship system math and balance I would like to hear more on. But, I know that is an original system and not necessarily taken from Pathfinder. Still, I'm curious.

Paizo Employee Designer

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Combat was built from the ground up based on a challenging series of constraints that it wasn't entirely clear from the outset could all be satisfied simultaneously (including backwards compatibility of PF monsters and a variety of other baked in assumptions and desires). One of the most exciting math moments for Starfinder was when Logan and I figured out that we could get all the numbers to work out to match all the constraints if we tinkered things just right! The best part was that we were able to simultaneously work with monster and PC numbers and work out expected damage per round, satisfying accuracy numbers, and more, whereas in Pathfinder, the ways those numbers interact weren't necessarily crunched out fully ahead of time so damage (especially PC DPR character damage) can easily reach a number drastically higher than the game intends, causing a GM to adjust from the baseline chart to make an interesting encounter that isn't instantly killed in one full attack.

There's enough components of combat math that it's hard to pull one out, but I'll give an interesting anecdote: When it comes to NPC/monster and PC d20 bonus numbers, there's a few ways you can do things that will balance a PC versus enemy encounter, assuming you want there to be a PC advantage (I'll use attack bonus and AC as an example). One thing you can do is try to have the numbers be almost the same but the PCs have a bit higher. Pathfinder does it another way: The PCs generally have way higher accuracy than the monsters do, as compared to AC (Pathfinder is very swingy so it isn't always true, but generally). Starfinder went with a third option: Monsters tend to have higher accuracy than the PCs and lower AC. Now all three of these, probabilistically and statistically, can come out with the same numbers. By which I mean, If the PC has +10 to hit and 20 AC and the monster has +9 to hit and 19 AC, the actual chance of hitting each other is the same as if the PC has +15 to hit and 15 AC and the monster has +4 to hit and 24 AC, or vice versa (both cases the PC hits on a 9 and the monster hits on an 11).

So why is this really useful? And how does it help gameplay compared to the way it worked in Pathfinder? Two big reasons: First and more importantly is mind-controlled PCs. If a PC DPR character gets mind-controlled in Pathfinder, unless someone can remove it, chances are another PC is annihilated that same round. In Starfinder, if you get mind-controlled, your accuracy against your buddies is going to be worse than it was against the monsters, so your buddies are much safer (this is also why people who tried to math out Obo's chance to hit herself ran into problems compared to when they mathed out Obo vs a troll). The other is PC minions: In Pathfinder summoning, for instance, summoning was generally extraordinarily powerful for weird utility summons or if you had a ton of ways to buff the creature, but otherwise you eventually started to reach the point at higher level where your summon (if not used for utility or spells) just couldn't hit and was mostly a meat distraction, taking up a lot of space but the monsters wouldn't even bother with them. But if your minions have higher accuracy and lower defense than a PC of their level, that makes them much more interesting: They can actually hit and damage their up-leveled foes (who also have lower AC) but are easy to take out and thus a foe might consider taking them out (which also serves the minion controller's ends nicely by diverting threat from the PCs to the minions). Note that this is more about expendable minions than about a major companion like the drone that has numbers more in the shape of a PC's.

Sczarni

Pathfinder Starfinder Society Subscriber

I'll go ahead and ask the math-related question that spurned this thread: how are Special Materials priced in Starfinder?

Paizo Employee Designer

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Starfinder doesn't have to worry about that issue (and not just because it can avoid the inherent imbalances in Pathfinder from the design problems with armor non-proficiency and mithral, and the way they interact) because it has a huge number of armor, rather than a small number of armor that then are customized by special material from a vast array of options that really boils down to always mithral for armor because it's ridiculously strong past a certain level to get +2 AC for a flat cost when the rest of the system charges quadratically for more AC. So an armor made of a special space material? That has its own entry, and it's balanced meticulously for that entry. Basically the removal of the static cost increase for a special material makes the issue no longer a thing (and also unrelatedly, non-proficiency is now a thing that makes you worse with the armor, like with weapons, rather than a weird non-penalty if you can find a way to reduce the ACP to 0).


i want to know all of the maths, the re-balancing of weapon dice progressions, static bonuses and altered number of attacks per round, the balance of attack to AC, how did you factor in DR/resistances... I know the Kineticist was your brain child and you put a lot of thought into not just its core progression of numbers but also all of the ways it could interact with known feats and conditions, i can only imagine what happened when they gave you free reign to re-math a full game. i imagine a lot of cork boards, post it notes, thumbtacks and colored twine by the way.


With all the thought towards balancing the numbers, how much room was baked in for PCs to optimize or fall into a bad numbers build? It sounds like there is a set assumption, at level X PCs will have Y to hit, W for average damage and Z for ACs, what wiggle room is there for someone who wants enjoys the optimization aspects of the last 17 years?

Paizo Employee Designer

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Torbyne wrote:
With all the thought towards balancing the numbers, how much room was baked in for PCs to optimize or fall into a bad numbers build? It sounds like there is a set assumption, at level X PCs will have Y to hit, W for average damage and Z for ACs, what wiggle room is there for someone who wants enjoys the optimization aspects of the last 17 years?

The goal as much as possible is to not make it opaque how to do well compared to benchmarks in the math, which should make the optimization floor significantly higher. More of the ceiling should hopefully come from finding fun ability combos than it does from finding a feat or magic item buried amongst the others that randomly gave you a +4 to all attack rolls. Not that I don't personally enjoy doing a little archaeology to find things, but I'm a guide writer, so I'm weird; most people would rather not have to do that.


Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Was there a certain subsystem or bit of math that you were certain you were going to change and ended up leaving basically the same as in Pathfinder?

Alternatively, was there some feature that you assumed would stay constant but actually evolved into something new by the end of the project?

What new bit of Starfinder are you the most excited about, from a design perspective?

Thanks for taking the time to chat about some of the more arcane bits of the game, I find it really interesting.


Mark Seifter wrote:
Torbyne wrote:
With all the thought towards balancing the numbers, how much room was baked in for PCs to optimize or fall into a bad numbers build? It sounds like there is a set assumption, at level X PCs will have Y to hit, W for average damage and Z for ACs, what wiggle room is there for someone who wants enjoys the optimization aspects of the last 17 years?
The goal as much as possible is to not make it opaque how to do well compared to benchmarks in the math, which should make the optimization floor significantly higher. More of the ceiling should hopefully come from finding fun ability combos than it does from finding a feat or magic item buried amongst the others that randomly gave you a +4 to all attack rolls. Not that I don't personally enjoy doing a little archaeology to find things, but I'm a guide writer, so I'm weird; most people would rather not have to do that.

That sounds pretty sweet. I really want to see the entire system to see how this works in practice. Though the practice of apparently showing only the dullest and least exciting options in blog posts is pretty off-putting and excruciating.

Dark Archive

From a homebrew standpoint or future rules expansion, where is the math the tightest or most likely to get messed up?


Mark Seifter wrote:

Combat was built from the ground up based on a challenging series of constraints that it wasn't entirely clear from the outset could all be satisfied simultaneously (including backwards compatibility of PF monsters and a variety of other baked in assumptions and desires). One of the most exciting math moments for Starfinder was when Logan and I figured out that we could get all the numbers to work out to match all the constraints if we tinkered things just right! The best part was that we were able to simultaneously work with monster and PC numbers and work out expected damage per round, satisfying accuracy numbers, and more, whereas in Pathfinder, the ways those numbers interact weren't necessarily crunched out fully ahead of time so damage (especially PC DPR character damage) can easily reach a number drastically higher than the game intends, causing a GM to adjust from the baseline chart to make an interesting encounter that isn't instantly killed in one full attack.

There's enough components of combat math that it's hard to pull one out, but I'll give an interesting anecdote: When it comes to NPC/monster and PC d20 bonus numbers, there's a few ways you can do things that will balance a PC versus enemy encounter, assuming you want there to be a PC advantage (I'll use attack bonus and AC as an example). One thing you can do is try to have the numbers be almost the same but the PCs have a bit higher. Pathfinder does it another way: The PCs generally have way higher accuracy than the monsters do, as compared to AC (Pathfinder is very swingy so it isn't always true, but generally). Starfinder went with a third option: Monsters tend to have higher accuracy than the PCs and lower AC. Now all three of these, probabilistically and statistically, can come out with the same numbers. By which I mean, If the PC has +10 to hit and 20 AC and the monster has +9 to hit and 19 AC, the actual chance of hitting each other is the same as if the PC has +15 to hit and 15 AC and the monster has +4 to hit and 24 AC, or vice...

This seems like it would put those of us fond of PC-built rivals at a disadvantage, since combat in that situation would take much longer than usual.


PC built rivals would act as great boss enemies. It might take a little tweaking of what gear and level to put them at but a Soldier a few levels higher than the party with a couple low level minions sounds like a fun encounter


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens Subscriber

Very nice!, I love threads like these and very much look forward to learning more. In regards to challenge ratings. I found that Pathfinder scaled very poorly in regards to what is supposed to be a challenging encounter. In my case I almost always have to scale up to get them to break a sweat.

Was anything tweaked to hopefully better manage this system in Starfinder?

Paizo Employee Designer

Torbyne wrote:
i want to know all of the maths, the re-balancing of weapon dice progressions, static bonuses and altered number of attacks per round, the balance of attack to AC, how did you factor in DR/resistances... I know the Kineticist was your brain child and you put a lot of thought into not just its core progression of numbers but also all of the ways it could interact with known feats and conditions, i can only imagine what happened when they gave you free reign to re-math a full game. i imagine a lot of cork boards, post it notes, thumbtacks and colored twine by the way.

There were a lot of people working on this game, and I'm an add-on resource on loan from the Design Team. That doesn't mean I didn't do a lot on this book, but it does mean that this isn't really a situation where one person has "free rein." I helped do math proofs a lot and worked on various subsystem, but all of us ran everything past the Star Council first, and then a lot more changes happened during the time when Logan and I were back on the Design Team, trying to catch up on Wilderness and such.

Paizo Employee Designer

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Jimbles the Mediocre wrote:

Was there a certain subsystem or bit of math that you were certain you were going to change and ended up leaving basically the same as in Pathfinder?

Alternatively, was there some feature that you assumed would stay constant but actually evolved into something new by the end of the project?

What new bit of Starfinder are you the most excited about, from a design perspective?

Thanks for taking the time to chat about some of the more arcane bits of the game, I find it really interesting.

I think the only thing that stayed the same that I thought was likely to be changed was the BAB and save progression. There's some mathwork propping those up (for instance, Weapon Focus eventually gives you a slightly larger bonus if you have a low-enough BAB), but they still create too wide of a divergence on their own.

There's a lot of cool design things in there and it's too hard for me to think of just one. Also, unfortunately, I'm more the type to obsess over every small typo or misprint (part of what helps me be the one who collates potential errata for new printings from the threads you guys make on them). That's why I like responding to you guys when someone mentions something and I remember something cool that's related.

I guess someone on Facebook recently reminded me of the "Ghost in the Machine" consolidation of senses into a particularly elegant form, which was pretty cool. In Starfinder, low-light vision means you can see normally in dim light, no doubling and stuff. Blindsense and blindsight are catchalls for imprecise and precise senses (a la intrigue's definitions) that aren't vision and you just describe how it comes about so you know how to beat it, so echolocation of bats would be blindsense (auditory) and tremorsense would be blindsense (vibrations). But why is it a "Ghost in the Machine?"

So we had files with some notes in them that we wrote before tackling any section, and since I was on a roll, I had finished several sections and Owen asked me to tackle senses. I saw a cryptically worded note at the top of the file, that when I deciphered it, seemed to be the most beautiful Gordian Knot solution to different kinds of senses I had ever seen, a seeming holy grail to fix the problems plaguing the senses in Pathfinder for a decade. What I derived from those notes, after I fleshed it out, was essentially what I just wrote here. So we got to a meeting where people had read it, and everyone was saying things like "This is an awesome idea, Mark" or "Hmm, I have to consider this, where is this new paradigm coming from?" And I deduced something from the fact that, after a few minutes, everyone on the team had made such a comment: Nobody had written the beautiful maddeningly-difficult-to-decipher notes that had started me on my path to this solution. Because they ALL asked me about it. And when I said, "I was just deciphering and working out somebody's notes. Whoever you are, you're the real hero" everyone agreed that they hadn't written those notes. Woooo, spooky! Ghost in the machine.

Silver Crusade

Thanks for all the information you're sharing. Greatly appreciated.

I apologize in advance if the following is already well known. I haven't been following the Starfinder discussion.

One way that perception is fundamentally broken in Pathfinder is that linear adjustments for distance just can NOT be made to work outside the dungeon. The only possible solution is linear adjustments for geometric increases for distance. Does Starfinder do this?


pauljathome wrote:

Thanks for all the information you're sharing. Greatly appreciated.

I apologize in advance if the following is already well known. I haven't been following the Starfinder discussion.

One way that perception is fundamentally broken in Pathfinder is that linear adjustments for distance just can NOT be made to work outside the dungeon. The only possible solution is linear adjustments for geometric increases for distance. Does Starfinder do this?

While that's definitely a flaw with Pathfinder-style Perception, geometric DC scaling isn't the only solution. You could totally handle something like that with distance bands and/or conditional modifiers, for instance. You still have lots of serious problems like small creatures being really good at hiding from each other and big creatures being terrible at hiding from each other, but you at least reduce the amount of math and space counting players have to do at the table on each roll.

Of course, Pathfinder-style Perception (and Stealth) is so broken and unplayable as written you really ought to just toss the whole thing out and start over, rather than try to hack together something that can shamble across the finish line.

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

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I've given this thread a more relevant title.

Silver Crusade

Aratrok wrote:
[geometric DC scaling isn't the only solution. You could totally handle something like that with distance bands and/or conditional modifiers, for instance.

I've never seen any such system that isn't geometric scaling in disguise.

The fundamental issue is that different characters are noticeably better at perceiving things both close up and at great distances. A linear scale just can't handle all the points on the spectrum.

A problem that only gets worse when suddenly "great distances" are thousands and millions of miles, if not light years

Paizo Employee Designer

Linda has a houseruled scale that is vaguely geometric in both distance and the size of the object you are observing that has worked when it's necessary to see if you could notice a giant building at a great distance, but in general the default Pathfinder Perception skill has some serious problems at dealing with non-hidden things that are just really really far away.


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1d20 ⇒ 10

Did I see the sun?

Edit: Ow! My eyes!!


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Mark Seifter wrote:
Combat was built from the ground up based on a challenging series of constraints that it wasn't entirely clear from the outset could all be satisfied simultaneously (including backwards compatibility of PF monsters and a variety of other baked in assumptions and desires). One of the most exciting math moments for Starfinder was when Logan and I figured out that we could get all the numbers to work out to match all the constraints if we tinkered things just right!

Whey you all sat down to cook up Starfinder, what were some of your mechanical goals? Aside from thematic differences, what are some of the changes you hope players will appriciate (whether or not they notice them)?

Scarab Sages Developer, Starfinder Team

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Jimbles the Mediocre wrote:
Mark Seifter wrote:
Combat was built from the ground up based on a challenging series of constraints that it wasn't entirely clear from the outset could all be satisfied simultaneously (including backwards compatibility of PF monsters and a variety of other baked in assumptions and desires). One of the most exciting math moments for Starfinder was when Logan and I figured out that we could get all the numbers to work out to match all the constraints if we tinkered things just right!
Whey you all sat down to cook up Starfinder, what were some of your mechanical goals? Aside from thematic differences, what are some of the changes you hope players will appriciate (whether or not they notice them)?

We wanted it to be simpler to learn, and faster and simpler to play, especially above the lowest levels.

HOW MUCH we wanted to simplify was a much more complicated question, but some simpler was a design goal.

We wanted to make lots of room for science fiction concepts and gear, without losing magic as a noteworthy force.

We wanted Pathfinder monsters to be easily adapted to Starfinder games.

We wanted people familiar with Pathfinder to find picking up Starfinder pretty easy.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Owen K. C. Stephens wrote:
HOW MUCH we wanted to simplify was a much more complicated question, but some simpler was a design goal.

So, here's the obvious follow up...

How much simpler are we talking about? Personally, I've been hoping for something simpler than Pathfinder, but with more user tweakable knobs (and thus more complexity) than 5e. Am I going to be happy or sad?


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Mark Seifter wrote:


TNot that I don't personally enjoy doing a little archaeology to find things, but I'm a guide writer, so I'm weird; most people would rather not have to do that.

But that's why the guide writers exist.

Scarab Sages Developer, Starfinder Team

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rooneg wrote:
Owen K. C. Stephens wrote:
HOW MUCH we wanted to simplify was a much more complicated question, but some simpler was a design goal.

So, here's the obvious follow up...

How much simpler are we talking about? Personally, I've been hoping for something simpler than Pathfinder, but with more user tweakable knobs (and thus more complexity) than 5e. Am I going to be happy or sad?

I hope so... but obviously I do. I mean, we did the best design we could, and we wanted that to be easier, and still have lots of customization options.

But only you can really determine how much you like the end result.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Owen K. C. Stephens wrote:
rooneg wrote:
Owen K. C. Stephens wrote:
HOW MUCH we wanted to simplify was a much more complicated question, but some simpler was a design goal.

So, here's the obvious follow up...

How much simpler are we talking about? Personally, I've been hoping for something simpler than Pathfinder, but with more user tweakable knobs (and thus more complexity) than 5e. Am I going to be happy or sad?

I hope so... but obviously I do. I mean, we did the best design we could, and we wanted that to be easier, and still have lots of customization options.

But only you can really determine how much you like the end result.

I suppose part of the problem with this sort of comparison is that any new game is going to be simpler (in some sense) than Pathfinder is today, with its giant pile of sourcebooks that have expanded the scope of what the game is. Almost any new game will be simpler than that, the more important question is if Starfinder has been built in such a way that as it expands over time it remains more approachable.


Owen K. C. Stephens wrote:
rooneg wrote:
Owen K. C. Stephens wrote:
HOW MUCH we wanted to simplify was a much more complicated question, but some simpler was a design goal.

So, here's the obvious follow up...

How much simpler are we talking about? Personally, I've been hoping for something simpler than Pathfinder, but with more user tweakable knobs (and thus more complexity) than 5e. Am I going to be happy or sad?

I hope so... but obviously I do. I mean, we did the best design we could, and we wanted that to be easier, and still have lots of customization options.

But only you can really determine how much you like the end result.

I suppose my only real concern is how well you eliminated a lot of the small mth problems. Mainly thinking of things like high ground advantages, soft cover, basically how much of the easily forgotten or mostly annoying stuff got eliminated and just how the math for doing meaningful combat things other than "roll to hit and also maybe to hurt" came out.


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I like my giant pile of sourcebooks...


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Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Mark Seifter wrote:
Torbyne wrote:
With all the thought towards balancing the numbers, how much room was baked in for PCs to optimize or fall into a bad numbers build? It sounds like there is a set assumption, at level X PCs will have Y to hit, W for average damage and Z for ACs, what wiggle room is there for someone who wants enjoys the optimization aspects of the last 17 years?
The goal as much as possible is to not make it opaque how to do well compared to benchmarks in the math, which should make the optimization floor significantly higher. More of the ceiling should hopefully come from finding fun ability combos than it does from finding a feat or magic item buried amongst the others that randomly gave you a +4 to all attack rolls. Not that I don't personally enjoy doing a little archaeology to find things, but I'm a guide writer, so I'm weird; most people would rather not have to do that.

For those people like me who enjoy digging through the books and understanding the details of how the math fits together for some mechanic, where would you suggest we look for new things? (or: What areas of Starfinder's underlying math are different enough to be worth spending some time puzzling out why it works?)

Paizo Employee Designer

Zedarflight wrote:
Mark Seifter wrote:
Torbyne wrote:
With all the thought towards balancing the numbers, how much room was baked in for PCs to optimize or fall into a bad numbers build? It sounds like there is a set assumption, at level X PCs will have Y to hit, W for average damage and Z for ACs, what wiggle room is there for someone who wants enjoys the optimization aspects of the last 17 years?
The goal as much as possible is to not make it opaque how to do well compared to benchmarks in the math, which should make the optimization floor significantly higher. More of the ceiling should hopefully come from finding fun ability combos than it does from finding a feat or magic item buried amongst the others that randomly gave you a +4 to all attack rolls. Not that I don't personally enjoy doing a little archaeology to find things, but I'm a guide writer, so I'm weird; most people would rather not have to do that.
For those people like me who enjoy digging through the books and understanding the details of how the math fits together for some mechanic, where would you suggest we look for new things? (or: What areas of Starfinder's underlying math are different enough to be worth spending some time puzzling out why it works?)

If you want to do a lot of new math analysis, I think it could be interesting to compare and contrast Starfinder accuracy, AC, DC, save, and skill bonus math vis-a-vis Starfinder monsters, Pathfinder monsters, and expected challenges, with a cross-reference for damage. You might be able to uncover some of the interesting constraints we found between the forward design and backwards compatibility, and see how we solved it!

Paizo Employee Designer

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Vexies wrote:

Very nice!, I love threads like these and very much look forward to learning more. In regards to challenge ratings. I found that Pathfinder scaled very poorly in regards to what is supposed to be a challenging encounter. In my case I almost always have to scale up to get them to break a sweat.

Was anything tweaked to hopefully better manage this system in Starfinder?

Playtests suggest that challenges in Starfinder do a much better job at engaging the PCs and breaking some sweats, though the greater total health from a full-health party (when counting stamina and hit points) means easy fights are still pretty unlikely to swing too wildly and kill all the PCs, especially if they are fresh. An encounter with a single enemy of equal level to one of the PCs (formerly CR=APL) remains trivial, but that's what you'd expect in a one against many if the one isn't a lot stronger; the fights that were supposed to be nail-biters but were still too easy in Pathfinder for many groups (formerly CR=APL+2 or 3) are now more appropriately interesting encounters for most groups, without being overwhelming for the weaker groups.

Sczarni

Pathfinder Starfinder Society Subscriber
Earlier, I wrote:
how are Special Materials priced in Starfinder?

I guess I should have expanded on my question earlier. You answered with items, but after the recent FAQ I'm more thinking of the materials themselves.

So, obviously, in Pathfinder we run into the problem that some materials are both priced by weight and by item, whereas some are only priced by item, and some are only priced by weight.

Mithral and Adamantine presumably still exist in Starfinder. Will we have the same problem as in Pathfinder, where a 1 pound Adamantine Dagger is virtually the same price as a 15 pound Adamantine Greatsword, when the same items in Mithral are drastically different prices?


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The explanation given covers that. In Starfinder an "Adamantine Dagger" and an "Adamantine Greatsword" are completely separate items, so each would be individually priced.

Although I doubt Adamantine will actually be used, having been rendered obsolete by more advanced materials.

Sczarni

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Pathfinder Starfinder Society Subscriber

You're missing the point.


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No, I think you are. "Special materials" aren't really a thing, apart from the fluff text. Items are priced based on their effectiveness, not what they are made out of.

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion Subscriber

Celestial armor is probably the best analogy, if I understand Mr. Seifter's post correctly.

Sczarni

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Pathfinder Starfinder Society Subscriber

If you're saying that there is no monetary value per unit of weight measurement, then that answers my question.

I find such a system hard to contemplate, since economics still seems to be a driving motivation for characters (see: Profit).

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion Subscriber

That's not what we're saying, no.

We're saying that price per pound will probably not directly equivocate to price of equipment, and that special material will no longer be a "template" that you can add to items.

We're not saying that raw mithral will have no monetary value. I have no idea where you got that.

Sczarni

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Pathfinder Starfinder Society Subscriber

Excellent.

I kept asking about materials, and was being answered with items. It's frustrating when you have to defend the very question you're asking.

So if Mithral was solely priced at 500gp/lb, for example, then that answers my question, and I am happy.

Thank you.


Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

It seems the new system tried to control the maximum attribute a character would have at a given level and how many were pumped. The most obvious demonstration of this was the mention of only three attribute enhancers ever: one +2, one +4 and one +6. It also seemed you wanted to control how low any attribute was.

Could you please explain more about how this played into the math? Especially any differences that might surprise us.

Scarab Sages

Well, a five pound hunk of adamantine is going to be worth about five times as much as a one pound hunk of adamantine if you're talking about raw materials. However, when you process those raw materials into a item, then the materials it's made of is irrelevant to the price of the finished item. There seems to be no mechanical difference between two "combat knives" made of different materials. If there was a difference, then it would be one "combat knife" and one "hyperdense combat knife" but special materials as we know them from pathfinder seem to be gone.


Imbicatus wrote:
Well, a five pound hunk of adamantine is going to be worth about five times as much as a one pound hunk of adamantine if you're talking about raw materials. However, when you process those raw materials into a item, then the materials it's made of is irrelevant to the price of the finished item. There seems to be no mechanical difference between two "combat knives" made of different materials. If there was a difference, then it would be one "combat knife" and one "hyperdense combat knife" but special materials as we know them from pathfinder seem to be gone.

Some items will very likely mention special materials in their fluff descriptions (e.g. "The Hyperdense combat knife Mk 2 is an adamantine knife produced by AbadarCorp..."), but that won't directly translate into the mechanics of those items.


He's not asking about how it relates to items at all, be they combat knives or codpieces, he's asking about the per pound value of the "trade good", which are a form of loot.

For example, in PF 1 lb. of raw adamantine costs 300 gp, 1 lb. of raw mithral costs 500 gp, and 1 lb. of raw cold iron costs 50 gp, etc.

Sovereign Court

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion Subscriber

I got that (eventually). It's just confusing, since 98% of the discussion of most special materials is "how can I make this into an item to improve my stats?" So when someone's like "but how much is it worth?", it tends to confuse people. Especially in the wake of a major FAQ discussion related to special material and item pricing.


Does it matter? Loot is worth its value in lootieness.

Maybe there are whole asteroids made of adamantine and it's practically worthless, but there is a galaxy wide copper shortage.

But the only point where it intersects with game mechanics is the about of loot the players are expected to earn per level, and how that is converted into gear. But it makes no difference if the loot is in the form of copper ore or space goblin eyeballs.

Sczarni

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But it would matter if on page 60 the trade price of Copper was 50gp/pound, when on page 62 an item that contains ten pounds of Copper is valued at 400gp, and over on page 63 there's a general rule that boots made of Copper always cost +100gp (regardless of weight), but back on page 61 Aluminum is only priced as an add-on to laser pistols (and lacks a per pound price).

That's basically the current system in Pathfinder, and the premise of my question was to determine if Materials themselves were being handled more uniformly in Starfinder.

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