Starfinder: Early Impressions


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Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Funnily enough, I am running Hell's Rebels, I have a player with a Mysterious Stranger Swashbuckler (alongside a Teisatsu Vigilante, a Great Old Ones Shaman, a Grenadier Alchemist and a Castellan Cavalier). He's having a blast, his damage output and defences are fine, his out-of-combat contributions are solid.

Anybody is free to come over and tell my group that they fail at basic or math, or just generally fail at existing, or that the kind of fun they're having is wrong, that they ignore COLD HARD FACTS ABOUT BALANCE, that they turn a blind eye to malice or incompetence or whatever. No, really, you can physically come over, I can give the address and all, sadly our snacks and drinks budget won't be able to cover travel, but we'll gladly listen to anybody who wants to explain us where do we go wrong with our gaming.


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Zaister wrote:
Mashallah wrote:
Fully agreed. I feel like most of the arguing in this thread stems from people not understanding this.

Or maybe some people don't understand that the game is about more than just numbers and math. It's not Diablo. I think it's not unreasonable to assume that, for most people, the game is primarily about role-playing and having fun. And no amount of armchair data analysis can factor that in.

I know you're going to say "but how can I have fun if my character is mechanically crippled etc etc". Well, you said earlier, for example, that the "entirety of the swashbuckler class" was a "trap" and its existence could only be explained by "malice or incompetence" on the side of the designers. Aside from the fact, once again, that this is highly disrespectful, it also entirely your own impression, even if you present it as an objective fact.

For my part, I've been playing a swashbuckler for 11 levels now in our Hell's Rebels campaign, and I'm having a lot of fun playing the character, and that means both role-playing and the mechanics. I don't feel underpowered at all.

Swashbuckler is a trap because every single archetype for other classes that poaches Opportune Parry & Riposte (as a quick example, the Virtuous Bravo) is strictly better than Swashbuckler itself.

Swashbuckler has truly awful action economy where every single class features drains your swift actions, making them unusable together, and not a single redeeming feature compensating for it.
Moreover, instead of ever buffing or trying to fix Swashbuckler to give actual reasons to play as one, Paizo is just constantly nerfing similar options that completely invalidate it, such as the Daring Champion Cavalier.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Mashallah wrote:

The Interfering Shot talent for Operatives is... pointless - it doesn't do anything.

The effect is that it prevents the target from taking reactions if you choose it to be the effect of your debilitating trick (you have to choose - can't combine with something else). However, the flat-footed condition already explicitly prevents creatures from taking reactions, and you get the ability to apply the flat-footed condition out of the box two levels earlier than you can take Interfering Shot.
Interfering Shot is a strict downgrade from what you can do two levels earlier without it.
This seems like an oversight.

Almost. Instead of the beginning of your next turn, it lasts until the end of your next turn. This allows you to do something your next turn without provoking from the enemy. Very minor benefit.

Scarab Sages

Cyrad wrote:
Mashallah wrote:
Cyrad wrote:

How easy is it to be an unarmed combat specialist?

Does the technomancer get cool abilities to control tech? I hoped they be like technomancers from Shadowrun.

Vesk with Improved Unarmed Strike get some decent damage, though they seem to lag behind armed options at higher levels without other boosts.

I think unarmed combat can work with Armour Storm Soldier, but I haven't crunched the numbers on whether you'll lag behind armed options in that case.
I see. What about power gauntlets or something? I'm interested a playing a monk that breaks tech with his mind and punches people

I think the best "unarmed" option in SF is a solarion with a solar weapon in the form of a gauntlet or brass knuckles. It's easy to fluff as iron fist or "the glow" if you're a fan of the last dragon.

And while there is a lot of complaining about the solarion damage, it's does have the advantage of being unpowered and completely analog. Granted, other melee weapons are unpowered, but they tend to be more expensive or do less damage.


Zaister wrote:
Mashallah wrote:
Fully agreed. I feel like most of the arguing in this thread stems from people not understanding this.
Or maybe some people don't understand that the game is about more than just numbers and math. It's not Diablo

Did we play different Diablos?

RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 16

Mashallah wrote:
Cyrad wrote:
Mashallah wrote:
Cyrad wrote:

How easy is it to be an unarmed combat specialist?

Does the technomancer get cool abilities to control tech? I hoped they be like technomancers from Shadowrun.

Vesk with Improved Unarmed Strike get some decent damage, though they seem to lag behind armed options at higher levels without other boosts.

I think unarmed combat can work with Armour Storm Soldier, but I haven't crunched the numbers on whether you'll lag behind armed options in that case.
I see. What about power gauntlets or something? I'm interested a playing a monk that breaks tech with his mind and punches people
Powered Gauntlets are represented by Battlegloves, but there are very few of those published, and they are simple weapons, meaning they have relatively poor scaling.

in that case do the mages get good abilities for buffing weapons?


Cyrad wrote:
Mashallah wrote:
Cyrad wrote:
Mashallah wrote:
Cyrad wrote:

How easy is it to be an unarmed combat specialist?

Does the technomancer get cool abilities to control tech? I hoped they be like technomancers from Shadowrun.

Vesk with Improved Unarmed Strike get some decent damage, though they seem to lag behind armed options at higher levels without other boosts.

I think unarmed combat can work with Armour Storm Soldier, but I haven't crunched the numbers on whether you'll lag behind armed options in that case.
I see. What about power gauntlets or something? I'm interested a playing a monk that breaks tech with his mind and punches people
Powered Gauntlets are represented by Battlegloves, but there are very few of those published, and they are simple weapons, meaning they have relatively poor scaling.

in that case do the mages get good abilities for buffing weapons?

Technomancer gets several abilities that significantly buff weapons.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber
Gorbacz wrote:

Funnily enough, I am running Hell's Rebels, I have a player with a Mysterious Stranger Swashbuckler (alongside a Teisatsu Vigilante, a Great Old Ones Shaman, a Grenadier Alchemist and a Castellan Cavalier). He's having a blast, his damage output and defences are fine, his out-of-combat contributions are solid.

Anybody is free to come over and tell my group that they fail at basic or math, or just generally fail at existing, or that the kind of fun they're having is wrong, that they ignore COLD HARD FACTS ABOUT BALANCE, that they turn a blind eye to malice or incompetence or whatever. No, really, you can physically come over, I can give the address and all, sadly our snacks and drinks budget won't be able to cover travel, but we'll gladly listen to anybody who wants to explain us where do we go wrong with our gaming.

Road trip!!!!

Forewarning, I'm not going to do all that other stuff, with the yelling and the incompetence telling.

I can bring my own wildly incompetent Swashbuckler though and we can see who dies first. :-)


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Paizo Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Mashallah wrote:

Swashbuckler is a trap because every single archetype for other classes that poaches Opportune Parry & Riposte (as a quick example, the Virtuous Bravo) is strictly better than Swashbuckler itself.

Swashbuckler has truly awful action economy where every single class features drains your swift actions, making them unusable together, and not a single redeeming feature compensating for it.

Once again, you are presenting your own personal impression as objective truth.

Mashallah wrote:
Moreover, instead of ever buffing or trying to fix Swashbuckler to give actual reasons to play as one, Paizo is just constantly nerfing similar options that completely invalidate it, such as the Daring Champion Cavalier.

And maybe I just wat to play a swashbuckler archetype (in the traditional non-rules sense of the word), and not a cavalier/paladin/gunslinger/whatever who can also parry and riposte. Maybe I even like precise strike. But possibly I'm doing it all wrong having fun playing this?

Well, maybe a class is really useless if at level 20 it can't solo one-shot demon lords before they even get a turn, but who cares?


Zaister wrote:
Mashallah wrote:

Swashbuckler is a trap because every single archetype for other classes that poaches Opportune Parry & Riposte (as a quick example, the Virtuous Bravo) is strictly better than Swashbuckler itself.

Swashbuckler has truly awful action economy where every single class features drains your swift actions, making them unusable together, and not a single redeeming feature compensating for it.

Once again, you are presenting your own personal impression as objective truth.

Mashallah wrote:
Moreover, instead of ever buffing or trying to fix Swashbuckler to give actual reasons to play as one, Paizo is just constantly nerfing similar options that completely invalidate it, such as the Daring Champion Cavalier.

And maybe I just wat to play a swashbuckler archetype (in the traditional non-rules sense of the word), and not a cavalier/paladin/gunslinger/whatever who can also parry and riposte. Maybe I even like precise strike. But possibly I'm doing it all wrong having fun playing this?

Well, maybe a class is really useless if at level 20 it can't solo one-shot demon lords before they even get a turn, but who cares?

You are missing my point entirely. It is entirely possible that you can have fun as playing the class, sure. Your own experience even tells as much.

That doesn't deny the fact that the class is poorly-designed and a strictly worse mechanical option than virtually any alternative.


Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Card Game, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

So, reading this thread was sort of a bummer for me. Since I'm doing Gen Con pickup, I don't have my PDF yet; hopefully it drops today or tomorrow. I'd been planning to create an Envoy based on my homegame character (We're playing Dark Heresy 2nd Ed at the moment) and play him in a couple of Gen Con SFS sessions. The opinions here seemed to indicate it was weak to the point of needed to go back to the drawing board. That sentiment actually made pretty disheartened.

I was glad to see Mark here defending the class, and explaining that because of math/system differences between PF and SF, it was still a solid choice. So I expect to continue with said plan and actually make and play an Envoy. (Or at the very least, play some tables with the iconic, Nevasi.

The bit about envoy exploits only going up to 8th level does seem a little weird, but I'm not going to sweat that just yet. I've been playing PFS on and off since 2013, and I've only got 2 characters above 8th level; my -1 is still only 5th. I expect that by the time I actually get him to 10th level or so, some more options will have been released. Who knows, maybe it's something they could put in volume ~5 of Dead Suns; it sounds like they want to use the AP line to develop the game more so than in Pathfinder.

Grand Lodge

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Mashallah wrote:


Swashbuckler has truly awful action economy where every single class features drains your swift actions, making them unusable together, and not a single redeeming feature compensating for it.
Moreover, instead of ever buffing or trying to fix Swashbuckler to give actual reasons to play as one, Paizo is just constantly nerfing similar options that completely invalidate it, such as the Daring Champion Cavalier.

I disagree, because I believe that giving players choices in what exactly to do each round, (instead of "I hit with my sword") is actually good game design. And giving a basic ability to a different class doesn't invalidate the base class, it just gives another build option with a totally different flavor.

I believe we have different opinions on game design, and that is A-OK. :)


It's probably reasonable to say that whether all of the criticisms are true or not you probably won't notice any major flaws within a couple sessions. It's usually taken till sixth or seventh level in Pathfinder for me to go "Oh yeah the internet is right this class/archetype/whatever kind of sucks" or "Wow it really IS overpowered".

I'll wait for my copy to confirm anything, but none of the criticisms surprise me because things like that existed in Pathfinder and every supplement.

I'm sure a number of houserules will eventually be put in place but I'm pretty determined to run Dead Suns as-is (extremely tedious mechanics withstanding, *cough*ammo*cough*) to make sure I know the systems I think sound bad are actually bad and I'll have a gaggle of players to back me up. The ability to houserule something absolutely does not make up for a bad rule/wording in the book, however.


Swashbucklers are meant to be incompetent, haven't you read The Three Musketeers? What about Jack Sparrow?

More seriously, I don't think is fair to call something a trap on the basis that it's not as good as overpowered options added in later books.


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

Bringing Path of War stuff into this discussion isn't helpful.

Liberty's Edge

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Pathfinder Companion Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
First World Bard wrote:
So, reading this thread was sort of a bummer for me. ..

The Envoy seems to me like an eminently playable class. Envoys are the best doctors in the game. They mix some of the class features of bards(bardic performance), investigators(inspirations), and unchained rogues(skill unlocks). Their skill game is second to none, despite what may have been said here. Combat-wise, if they stick to buffing and healing exploits, they'll be their team's favorite. Lots of reasons to play an Envoy, from my personal armchair review.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Zaister wrote:
Bringing Path of War stuff into this discussion isn't helpful.

I'm not sure being helpful is a design goal of this thread. If so, the designer may have to go back to the drawing board, because most of the opinions here are of the trap variety.

Grand Lodge

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Pathfinder Starfinder Maps Subscriber
First World Bard wrote:

So, reading this thread was sort of a bummer for me. Since I'm doing Gen Con pickup, I don't have my PDF yet; hopefully it drops today or tomorrow. I'd been planning to create an Envoy based on my homegame character (We're playing Dark Heresy 2nd Ed at the moment) and play him in a couple of Gen Con SFS sessions. The opinions here seemed to indicate it was weak to the point of needed to go back to the drawing board. That sentiment actually made pretty disheartened.

I was glad to see Mark here defending the class, and explaining that because of math/system differences between PF and SF, it was still a solid choice. So I expect to continue with said plan and actually make and play an Envoy. (Or at the very least, play some tables with the iconic, Nevasi.

Please, do not be disheartened. My -701 SFS character will be an Envoy. I love the class. I am psyched for both it and Starfinder!

As a GenCon GM, I believe that you will have a great time playing Starfinder there. I have read 80% of the core rule book (my preview copy is missing the settings section) and I've looked at a few of the early adventures. Being still under a partial NDA and prepping frantically for GenCon means that I cannot go into more detailed responses here.

Speaking of prep, I need to get back to it!

Hmm

PS For those of you looking for an alternate source of Starfinder previews, may I recommend visiting with the All-Seeing Orb?

Liberty's Edge

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Mashallah wrote:

Expanding a bit on Operative, math edition:

The bonuses you get to skills as long as you aren't Thief or Daredevil (both of which get screwed for no apparent reasons) are absolutely mindblowing.
Here's a level 1 Ghost Operative who didn't invest anything into Stealth and just has 16 DEX:
First of all, you get +3 to Stealth from Dexterity. Nothing surprising here yet.
Then, you get your class level to ranks in Stealth and it's a class skill, so you're at +7 now.
Then, you get free Skill Focus, and you're already at +10.
Then, you remember Operative gives +1 to all skills at level 11. Wow, +11 without any investment other than having 16 DEX.
Then you try to Trick Attack and remember you have +4 to Stealth on Trick Attacks. Suddenly, you're looking at +15. And thus, with 0 investment other than just having 16 DEX, you hit the DC 21 (to trick attack a CR 1 monster) on a roll of 6.

There is 1 more investment, while minor. You have to put a skill point into the Stealth skill.


Zaister wrote:
Bringing Path of War stuff into this discussion isn't helpful.

If you insist on 1pp references only, the most fun I ever had playing Pathfinder was as a high level Shadowcasting specialist, where I could spontaneously access the entire Evocation/Conjuration spell lists and did so to the fullest possible extent, finding the most appropriate spell to emulate in most situations, even often willingly failing saving throws against my own spells whenever it was more beneficial or doing creative tricks like Shadow Evoking Deeper Darkness and helping my entire party disbelieve it to get more versatility mileage out of the Shadow spell chain. Options definitely aren't something that intimidates me. Especially the very few Swashbuckler gets.


Gary Bush wrote:
Mashallah wrote:

Expanding a bit on Operative, math edition:

The bonuses you get to skills as long as you aren't Thief or Daredevil (both of which get screwed for no apparent reasons) are absolutely mindblowing.
Here's a level 1 Ghost Operative who didn't invest anything into Stealth and just has 16 DEX:
First of all, you get +3 to Stealth from Dexterity. Nothing surprising here yet.
Then, you get your class level to ranks in Stealth and it's a class skill, so you're at +7 now.
Then, you get free Skill Focus, and you're already at +10.
Then, you remember Operative gives +1 to all skills at level 11. Wow, +11 without any investment other than having 16 DEX.
Then you try to Trick Attack and remember you have +4 to Stealth on Trick Attacks. Suddenly, you're looking at +15. And thus, with 0 investment other than just having 16 DEX, you hit the DC 21 (to trick attack a CR 1 monster) on a roll of 6.
There is 1 more investment, while minor. You have to put a skill point into the Stealth skill.

You get that skill point in Stealth for free by being a Ghost Operative. It's not even a choice - just handed to you as a class feature.


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

I don't mind third party sources, but comparing a book that consistently has an increased power level with default options makes no sense to me.

By the way, I can relate to your shadowcaster. In D&D times, I played a gnome beguiler/mindbender/shadowcraft mage/nightmare spinner until early epic levels, probably the most complex character I have ever had.


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Finally caught up with this thread. I think it's interesting you have Mark answer most questions and defending the OP and their impressions. All the while, OP is calling him and his coworkers either malicious or stupid. You have more patience than I do.

Grand Lodge

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Pathfinder Starfinder Maps Subscriber

Mashallah, I apologize if my last statement was seen as bullying. I usually do the opposite, in fact, trying to bring people together on their common ground and stopping all personal attacks. Personal attacks never forward debate or discussion. They just make these forums unpleasant, and drive away different voices.

However, I am honestly grateful that I don't see the Paizo Development Team in that manner. They are incredibly hard working, and have made every effort to recreate Starfinder into something that will be friendly to newcomers and something that will lack trap options. I think they've done a pretty good job of it.

Knowing where you come from now, I think this is going to have to be a case where we simply agree to disagree. I also think now that it is best if I take myself out of this thread, as I am doing no good here.

Yours,
Hmm


To break away from this nonsense, let's do this: ask me anything about magic/spells. I'll look through the relevant chapters for the answer.

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