Starfinder: Early Impressions


General Discussion

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Colette Brunel wrote:

Here is a neat little tactic with an operative. An operative's trick attack flat-foots the target if successful. A flat-footed creature cannot take reactions. Attacks of opportunity are reactions.

I have called the operative "space John Wick" previously, but this seals it: an operative can avoid an attack of opportunity for making a ranged attack while threatened this way. There is a chance it might fail, and it obviously will not work when threatened by multiple opponents, but it could very well be handy in a pinch.

Actually, since at a certain level they can take 10, eventually there is no chance of failure.


Paizo Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

I understand exactly what you are saying, and I stand by my point. The entire reason of existence of a trap is to catch people unanaware. If people can detect traps by simply walking by, standing around or doing nothing, why would you even bother creating one in the first place.


Zaister wrote:
I understand exactly what you are saying, and I stand by my point. The entire reason of existence of a trap is to catch people unanaware. If people can detect traps by simply walking by, standing around or doing nothing, why would you even bother creating one in the first place.

At the same time, it probably gets pretty dull saying "I check for traps" every time you enter a new room, hallway, spaceship, or wide open plain.

Grand Lodge

Colette Brunel wrote:

Here is a neat little tactic with an operative. An operative's trick attack flat-foots the target if successful. A flat-footed creature cannot take reactions. Attacks of opportunity are reactions.

I have called the operative "space John Wick" previously, but this seals it: an operative can avoid an attack of opportunity for making a ranged attack while threatened this way. There is a chance it might fail, and it obviously will not work when threatened by multiple opponents, but it could very well be handy in a pinch.

I am pretty sure that the flat-footed status is added is AFTER the AOO..?


Zaister wrote:
I understand exactly what you are saying, and I stand by my point. The entire reason of existence of a trap is to catch people unanaware. If people can detect traps by simply walking by, standing around or doing nothing, why would you even bother creating one in the first place.

Because people will fail their Notice checks sometimes. All assigning it to manual searches accomplishes is turning your missions into grinds where the party moves a few feet every 2 minutes and notices every single trap forever, or they get caught by traps regularly. That's not fun, interesting, or cool.

Dark Archive

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Aratrok wrote:
Zaister wrote:
I understand exactly what you are saying, and I stand by my point. The entire reason of existence of a trap is to catch people unanaware. If people can detect traps by simply walking by, standing around or doing nothing, why would you even bother creating one in the first place.
Because people will fail their Notice checks sometimes. All assigning it to manual searches accomplishes is turning your missions into grinds where the party moves a few feet every 2 minutes and notices every single trap forever, or they get caught by traps regularly. That's not fun, interesting, or cool.

Thats what happens only if GM is trying to frustrate players into stop searching traps and walk into one :P

Like, I personally handle that "Okay, you are spending more time to go through the room so your buffs will shorten by amount you spend, roll just one perception in case you find something". There is no real need to force them to roll for every single square.


This is what the rules do. We're talking about the game that got published, not anyone's mind-caulked alternatives- it's impossible to criticize those, and I frankly don't care about what your house rules are. I'm not frustrated with what you decide to do in your home game, you can do whatever is fun for everyone involved, I'm irritated that this problem from 3.0, published almost two decades ago, still exists in the text. It's ridiculous.

Dark Archive

You are talking about system where even its developers probably don't run it as written :D

I mean, seriously, I'm pretty sure most of published D&D 3.x based variant systems are based on developer house rules <_<


Okay? That's not a good thing. If a developer thinks there's a better rule than what's in the book, publish that rule instead.


There's an unpleasantly large amount of contradictions in the book.
One chapter says X, another chapter says Y, a third chapter says Z, all on the same subject.
It's annoying to try to understand how the rules work when the book says different things wherever you look.


Paizo Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Multiple developers can have multiple viewpoints on that, though.


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Zaister wrote:
Multiple developers can have multiple viewpoints on that, though.

Yeah but when one chapter says you add DEX to damage with operative weapons while another chapter says you don't and one chapter says you add STR to attack with thrown weapons while another chapter says you add DEX to attack with thrown weapons, what do you even do?

Dark Archive

Aratrok wrote:
Okay? That's not a good thing. If a developer thinks there's a better rule than what's in the book, publish that rule instead.

Well yeah, but at this points its some sort of weird 3.x tradition. Kind of tradition were people stop and ask "Wait, should we really continue this? I mean its tradition, but its kinda dumb" and then just shrug and continue doing it anyway.

Like, I'm not sure why thats the case, maybe the idea is that all gms should/will adjust the game to their table anyway, so it doesn't need to say things like "Don't annoy your players by making them roll for every square"?

Or maybe there is some completely other arcane eldritch reason. I don't know why after four reprints core book's wall of thorns is still badly written spell that requires lots of time to interpret how it works. There are lot of weird things like that in Pathfinder, so I'm assuming Starfinder will inherit some of them even if it fixes some stuff.


I really like how Haste effectively lets you full attack as a standard action. It gives all the martial classes quite a bit of action economy surplus.


I don't like the way blasting spells are handled.
As far as I can tell, blasting has been nerfed compared to Pathfinder. Why? I just can't comprehend any reason for this. Blasting has already been the weakest style of spellcasting in Pathfinder, nerfing it further is just ridiculous.
And by nerfing I mean that blasting is now the only form of spellcasting that doesn't scale - other spells get stuff like increased duration or whatever from increased caster level, but the equivalent of Fireball simply doesn't scale on caster level at all.

Paizo Employee Designer

Generally, damage spells have actually been buffed; you do the max damage right away when the spell is your top level spell instead of needing to wait until later for the full damage (which led to situations in Pathfinder where both your fireball and your cone of cold do 9d6 right when you get cone of cold). Damage being up is why people have been so impressed with supercharge weapon in other threads.


Mark Seifter wrote:
Generally, damage spells have actually been buffed; you do the max damage right away when the spell is your top level spell instead of needing to wait until later for the full damage (which led to situations in Pathfinder where both your fireball and your cone of cold do 9d6 right when you get cone of cold). Damage being up is why people have been so impressed with supercharge weapon in other threads.

Right now, the Fireball-equivalent (Explosive Blast) deals 9d6 damage, never gets better, no way to make it better.

A Pathfinder Fireball could realistically be tricked out to deal (14d6+42)*1.5 by Level 10 (a build I actually posted in DPR Olympics once).
The difference is quite staggering.


To clarify: the (14d6+42)*1.5 would still use 3rd level spell slots for the Fireball, not any higher.


Aratrok wrote:
Okay? That's not a good thing. If a developer thinks there's a better rule than what's in the book, publish that rule instead.

What you are specifically referring to is how to notice traps. In Pathfinder the rogue has the ability to take the talent Trapspotter which specifically allows for an automatic check to notice the trap. So, because it is a class ability, anyone else that does not have trapspotter should never get an automatic check to notice a trap. Therefore the only way to notice a trap without trapspotter is to specifically state that you are searching for one. There is no confusion or strange ruling.

Now if a gm decides to go against these RAW to streamline the play experience that is their prerogative.

The developers have provided sufficient and concise rules. If you do not like them I encourage you to speak to your gm. The purpose of tabletop games is to provide a solid framework for gamepley which will inevitably be augmented by each unique group. Catering to minor alterations of RAW is minutia and a waste of a developer's time.

OR

pick up trap spotter

Mashallah wrote:

I don't like the way blasting spells are handled.

As far as I can tell, blasting has been nerfed compared to Pathfinder. Why? I just can't comprehend any reason for this. Blasting has already been the weakest style of spellcasting in Pathfinder, nerfing it further is just ridiculous.
And by nerfing I mean that blasting is now the only form of spellcasting that doesn't scale - other spells get stuff like increased duration or whatever from increased caster level, but the equivalent of Fireball simply doesn't scale on caster level at all.

2 things:

1)
Mashallah wrote:
As far as I can tell, blasting has been nerfed compared to Pathfinder. Why? I just can't comprehend any reason for this.

It is obvious (to me at least) that spell casting has been limited in general in SF as the hghest level spells are 6th level.

2)

Mashalloah wrote:
Blasting has already been the weakest style of spellcasting in Pathfinder

What!? Seriously? A focused blaster can Maximize, Empower a Fireball while the enemy is vulnerable to fire. But your right. That sounds weak to me.

A quickened lightning bolt followed by a chain lightning does really bad damage.
I personally have done a flame strike, chain lightning, and fireball in one round. The complaints from my table were definitely that I did too little damage.


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SeaBreeze wrote:
Stuff on blasting

I have submitted blasting builds to DPR Olympics. I'm fully aware how damaging it can be. That doesn't change the fact it's still the least effective thing you can do as a spellcaster.

Liberty's Edge

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Elorebaen wrote:
JRutterbush wrote:
TheGoofyGE3K wrote:
Never what you want to hear, though with hundreds of pages, kind of hard to avoid.
These mistakes have been found by a small handful of people reading the book in about a day. Sounds like they'd have been pretty easy to avoid to me.
So sayeth those that have never made a living writing a book.

They literally could have just hired the same 10 people for one day to look through the book. Making the mistakes in the first place might be unavoidable, but the fact that it took so few people so little time to find so many means that they easily could have caught those mistakes in one final round of editing. All they had to do was bring on people who hadn't worked on the project to give it a once-over.

Liberty's Edge

Mashallah wrote:
Mark Seifter wrote:
Generally, damage spells have actually been buffed; you do the max damage right away when the spell is your top level spell instead of needing to wait until later for the full damage (which led to situations in Pathfinder where both your fireball and your cone of cold do 9d6 right when you get cone of cold). Damage being up is why people have been so impressed with supercharge weapon in other threads.

Right now, the Fireball-equivalent (Explosive Blast) deals 9d6 damage, never gets better, no way to make it better.

A Pathfinder Fireball could realistically be tricked out to deal (14d6+42)*1.5 by Level 10 (a build I actually posted in DPR Olympics once).
The difference is quite staggering.

Could you do that with the core rulebook? The fact that you don't have as many options from a system with one book as you did with one that has dozens doesn't mean things are weaker in this game, it just means that it hasn't been around as long.


JRutterbush wrote:
Mashallah wrote:
Mark Seifter wrote:
Generally, damage spells have actually been buffed; you do the max damage right away when the spell is your top level spell instead of needing to wait until later for the full damage (which led to situations in Pathfinder where both your fireball and your cone of cold do 9d6 right when you get cone of cold). Damage being up is why people have been so impressed with supercharge weapon in other threads.

Right now, the Fireball-equivalent (Explosive Blast) deals 9d6 damage, never gets better, no way to make it better.

A Pathfinder Fireball could realistically be tricked out to deal (14d6+42)*1.5 by Level 10 (a build I actually posted in DPR Olympics once).
The difference is quite staggering.
Could you do that with the core rulebook? The fact that you don't have as many options from a system with one book as you did with one that has dozens doesn't mean things are weaker in this game, it just means that it hasn't been around as long.

No caster level scaling means no space for feats like intensified spell, which are necessary for blasting.


And even then, Draconic Bloodline existed in the CRB and allowed you to significantly improve blasting.


But really my problem is more this:
Even in current Pathfinder, with all of the myriads of options to trick out blasting, it's the least effective form of spellcasting. Starfinder then makes blasting even weaker than in core-only Pathfinder.
I don't get it.

Dark Archive

I'm honestly bit confused that if you think its weakest form of casting, then doesn't that just mean the other spells are too strong? O-o

I mean, I've seen some really horrifyingly effective blasting in games' I've run xD Sooo yeaaah, maybe its least effective, but spell casting in general is really strong already so weak spell is still pretty strong


I really wish the book sorted spells by level instead of alphabetically.
It's hard to look through them right now.


Planar Binding got a well-deserved nerf. This is good.

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Starfinder Society Subscriber
Mashallah wrote:

But really my problem is more this:

Even in current Pathfinder, with all of the myriads of options to trick out blasting, it's the least effective form of spellcasting. Starfinder then makes blasting even weaker than in core-only Pathfinder.
I don't get it.

The only response that I can think of to try to explain why as I think I understand it is that Starfinder isn't Pathfinder. It is enough of a different system that they have chosen to try and change the universe such that magic doesn't completely rule it. As a predominantly caster oriented player I find it refreshing.

All the way back casters dominated mid to late game because they could change realty with just one action. With one Word they could kill swathes of people.

My impression of magic in this new system is that they envision a different universe. A universe where skills can outweigh magic sometimes if not regularly. Where magic can't get you anything you could ever want. I mean, if they have a new system with the introduction of technology but magic is still leagues better than the technology, what was the point in introducing technology?


Saashaa wrote:
Mashallah wrote:

But really my problem is more this:

Even in current Pathfinder, with all of the myriads of options to trick out blasting, it's the least effective form of spellcasting. Starfinder then makes blasting even weaker than in core-only Pathfinder.
I don't get it.

The only response that I can think of to try to explain why as I think I understand it is that Starfinder isn't Pathfinder. It is enough of a different system that they have chosen to try and change the universe such that magic doesn't completely rule it. As a predominantly caster oriented player I find it refreshing.

All the way back casters dominated mid to late game because they could change realty with just one action. With one Word they could kill swathes of people.

My impression of magic in this new system is that they envision a different universe. A universe where skills can outweigh magic sometimes if not regularly. Where magic can't get you anything you could ever want. I mean, if they have a new system with the introduction of technology but magic is still leagues better than the technology, what was the point in introducing technology?

Magic seems to be still just as powerful, in some things even more than before. I don't see an overall nerf of magic, even though a few select things (like Planar Binding) got curbed.

However, on the other hand, contrary to those nerfs in some places, Overlord Mystic is now truly absurd and universe-bending from level 1 onwards as an example.
Or, say, Variel calculated a Technomancer could realistically control 241 CR 20 undead at the same time.

Grand Lodge

Mashallah wrote:
To clarify: the (14d6+42)*1.5 would still use 3rd level spell slots for the Fireball, not any higher.

Which is bad game design itself imho. I'm glad with the new system.


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Starfinder Charter Superscriber

I'm personally not too fussed about the back-and-forth about whether certain class options are better than others, or some classes better than others. All of that will take months of experimentation to shake out, and in the end the game will (and should be) judged by one thing: is it fun to play or not? I have my first session scheduled on the 19th, and I can't wait to try it out.

My first impressions of the Core Rulebook are: wow, gorgeous artwork! So many fantastic visuals that keep a consistent aesthetic but that are super cool. The setting information near the back of the book looks fantastic. I'm a bit nervous about trying to figure out the vehicle and starship rules, but that will come in time. Like most people, there are a few legacy rules from Pathfinder that I wish had been addressed, but for the most part I'm really happy with what I see here and am looking forward to getting my game on.

This thread has had a lot of negative stuff that can skew perceptions, but I think people who keep an open mind will be rewarded. There's a large difference between reading about a game and playing a game.

Scarab Sages

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Pathfinder Starfinder Society Subscriber

I'm out of this discussion. Without a copy of my own and the desire to spend the time referencing every little thing.

Though you have some good points throughout Mashallah, you seem more interested in nitpicking this book apart. I don't even remember the last positive thing you've written about this book (that wasn't admitting that you misunderstood). And when that is your goal it makes this less of a discussion and more of a debate. Of which serves little purpose at this point (or likely in the future).

A shout out to Mark Seifter for defending Starfinder from the hailstorm of this thread for 10 pages now. I'm excited for Starfinder and thank you for everything that you do.


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Saashaa wrote:

I'm out of this discussion. Without a copy of my own and the desire to spend the time referencing every little thing.

Though you have some good points throughout Mashallah, you seem more interested in nitpicking this book apart. I don't even remember the last positive thing you've written about this book (that wasn't admitting that you misunderstood). And when that is your goal it makes this less of a discussion and more of a debate. Of which serves little purpose at this point (or likely in the future).

A shout out to Mark Seifter for defending Starfinder from the hailstorm of this thread for 10 pages now. I'm excited for Starfinder and thank you for everything that you do.

Right on this page I praised the Haste spell and said that I like the nerfs to Planar Binding. You don't even need to look at previous pages.


Logic Bomb seems to be the Starfinder version of Explosive Runes.
I love the fluff on it and it got a MUCH needed fix - in Pathfinder, you could use Explosive Runes offensively for billions of free damage, and now this loophole is closed.


Higher levels of the Fear spell seem to be "press button to end encounter" if enemies are not immune to fear, or useless otherwise.
Not a fan.


Oh wow... I just now noticed disintegrate.
This is the first time I ever see a tabletop use d20's for damage. Impressive.


I had pointed out the discrepancy concerning operative weapons and Dexterity to damage earlier; *do* they receive Dexterity to damage? This is crucial to know.

I have to agree that Fear's higher-level versions are too encounter-ending for my liking.


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Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
Ikiry0 wrote:

Saying 'MMO' is basically a rallying cry to an internet argument but I'll admit I'm having a hard time working out how to describe the equipment system otherwise. It gets a little comical when a late game pistol punches through stuff an early-game rocket launcher can't touch so you need to keep constantly upgrading weapons and armour to the newest tier of gear. It does hurt the heroic feel when so very, very much of your function is defined by having a purple gun or armour.

It feels like, rather than having weapons scale basically...not at all, a better system would have been to build more inherent scaling into the base system. If you got +level to your armour values for example, the amount needed to go between various gears gets a LOT smaller rather than having a mid-range light armour provide more protection than early-game power armour.

That sort of inherent scaling worked well in Star War Saga (Another thing Owen K. C. Stephens worked on) and was also demonstrated (on the weapon front) pretty well with 4e's X[W] system. Where a 1d8 sword could do 7d6 before too long because the person personally using it is better at swording.

It reminds me of this moment portrayed by the eminent actor, Willard Carroll Smith Jr.

Hello cricket.


Mashallah wrote:
Or, say, Variel calculated a Technomancer could realistically control 241 CR 20 undead at the same time.

How?

Animated Dead allows you to create no more than your CL worth of undead no matter how many times you cast it, so at most 1 CR 20 undead.

Command Undead allows you to make a CR 20 intelligent undead friendly towards you, as it can only outright control mindless undead, and I doubt there's many of those who are CR 20.

And control undead only allows up to caster level * 2 worth of undead under your control at a time, meaning it allows you to, at most, control 2 CR 20 undead for 20 minutes.


Can you still 5-foot step to position yourself out of AoO range in starfinder?


Nord wrote:
Can you still 5-foot step to position yourself out of AoO range in starfinder?

5 foot step is now called Guarded Step and it's a move action instead of a free action.

IonutRO wrote:
How?

I believe Variel gave the best case scenario numbers for Command Undead and hordes of unintelligent undead when he told me that. It's a bit white-room, yeah.


Other then mention of the Overlord bending reality I have seen almost no mention of the Mystic. Are they just healbot ver 2.0? Pathfinder Clerics with different names for the abilities and less reliance on charisma?


Varun Creed wrote:
Throne wrote:

*EDIT:* Turns out I was being too generous due to misreading.

It's even worse.
You get 0 benefit if comboing pistol and sword. All attacks have to be melee.
I'm pretty sure that you can do all your attacks with your single handed sword. (And not use your pistol in your Full Attack. You just keep it at the ready for easy shooting when someone runs away.)

Also, keep in mind that an untyped +1 to hit may be worth more in SF due to more careful control of attack progression; by comparison, an added +1 attack bonus in 5e D&D is worth quite a lot due to its strong control on attack bonuses.


Bigguyinblack wrote:
Other then mention of the Overlord bending reality I have seen almost no mention of the Mystic. Are they just healbot ver 2.0? Pathfinder Clerics with different names for the abilities and less reliance on charisma?

They're far from healbots, overlord is just the most impressive by far. As another example mentioned earlier, mindkiller mystic gets at-will phantasmal killer.

There's a bunch of cool stuff for different mystics.


Mashallah wrote:
Saashaa wrote:
Mashallah wrote:

But really my problem is more this:

Even in current Pathfinder, with all of the myriads of options to trick out blasting, it's the least effective form of spellcasting. Starfinder then makes blasting even weaker than in core-only Pathfinder.
I don't get it.

The only response that I can think of to try to explain why as I think I understand it is that Starfinder isn't Pathfinder. It is enough of a different system that they have chosen to try and change the universe such that magic doesn't completely rule it. As a predominantly caster oriented player I find it refreshing.

All the way back casters dominated mid to late game because they could change realty with just one action. With one Word they could kill swathes of people.

My impression of magic in this new system is that they envision a different universe. A universe where skills can outweigh magic sometimes if not regularly. Where magic can't get you anything you could ever want. I mean, if they have a new system with the introduction of technology but magic is still leagues better than the technology, what was the point in introducing technology?

Magic seems to be still just as powerful, in some things even more than before. I don't see an overall nerf of magic, even though a few select things (like Planar Binding) got curbed.

However, on the other hand, contrary to those nerfs in some places, Overlord Mystic is now truly absurd and universe-bending from level 1 onwards as an example.
Or, say, Variel calculated a Technomancer could realistically control 241 CR 20 undead at the same time.

It sounds to me that tech is better for some things (e.g. blowing stuff up) and magic is better for others (e.g. healing).

Which doesn't seem unreasonable.


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To clarify why I'm completely blown away by Overlord Mystic:
At level 1, it gets an ability that says pretty much "when you mind control people, even by means such as dominate, they don't realise they have been mind controlled and believe all their actions were of their own free will".
That is insanely powerful and is almost worth being a capstone alone.
No other level 1 ability of any class comes even close in power to that monstrosity as far as I can tell.


I could easily see Wis/Cha Mystic build around Charming everyone around and forcing them to do stuff by winning Charisma checks.


Mark Seifter wrote:
Generally, damage spells have actually been buffed; you do the max damage right away when the spell is your top level spell instead of needing to wait until later for the full damage (which led to situations in Pathfinder where both your fireball and your cone of cold do 9d6 right when you get cone of cold). Damage being up is why people have been so impressed with supercharge weapon in other threads.

On the other hand, they don't scale at all. So only really your top level spells are worth blasting with. Other damage spells can be safely ignored.

Some scaling (Or gear to improve spells like the endless gun improvements) would have made blasting keep some bite as you level.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber
Ikiry0 wrote:
captain yesterday wrote:
Has anyone even tried playing the game, or is this all fun with numbers. :-)

The lovely thing about numbers is that they are very easy to compare with other numbers and run statistical analysis on.

I must admit, I do find 'You have not played yet' as an argument for discarding people's opinions rather annoying. Play is only a single tool for evaluation, as is data analysis.

So, that would be a no.

And the funny thing about numbers, you can simulate a million super bowls, but you still gotta run out that tunnel and play the game. :-)

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