Recharging Batteries should not be so expensive


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Fardragon wrote:
QuidEst wrote:
Fardragon wrote:
Rysky the Dark Solarion wrote:
Fardragon wrote:
lakobie wrote:

Battery Charge managment is a non issue. Many enemies are going to be carrying spare battery packs (as well as the battery packs in any energy rifle or weapons as they come with one), theres an armor mod that restores charges to batteries by walking, and casters can recharge batteries for spells.

You are assuming the players are going to be fighting intelligent foes using compatible technology. They may be fighting beasts and monsters, greys who attack with their mental powers, or aliens from another part of the galaxy who use an incompatible battery format.
Granted if you're fighting nothing but enemies that don't use equipment then the GM should keep an eye on loot so that it stays around recommended WBL.
This, combined with the need for credits, rather limits the freedom of the GM in the kinds of story they can tell.
Does it, though? There are weapons that don't require charges or ammunition. There are some limited ways to recharge batteries that can be included. It's easy to introduce ways to recharge the batteries, and trade goods can replace credits.
There are ways around it, true. But their does seem to be a lot of assumptions that the players aren't (for example) going to be stranded on an uninhabited planet where they have to survive against deadly native wildlife (not an uncommon space opera scenario). At least you would have to give players some hints, as some builds could be completely screwed over in those circumstances.

I think when the tech guide comes out we will probably see some more charging options for wild planet/non inhabited areas. But it also can make for a good story. Having to save your ammo and use melee weapons/and good tactics and creativity to survive. And they do have the armor mod that allows for some charging while moving. Also technowizards can in a pinch recharge batteries although doing so sounds like it has a chance of wrecking the battery. But in an emergency it is probably worth the risk.


How expensive are batteries? A fair bit of risk can be mitigated just by having enough backups. Stored in the shuttle you used to land on the planet, maybe, or even carried in your backpack.


It depends on the capacity, the biggest one costs over 500 credits.


GM Rednal wrote:
I feel like a sufficiently advanced station has better ways to generate power than slave labor...

Clearly, you are not a fan of 40k.

Liberty's Edge

Can you load a battery using your ship?


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I picture myself as not dwelling on the power mechanic very much. Heck I barely deal with money at all in any game.

Book keeping and finance in the game is boring.


HunterWulf wrote:

I picture myself as not dwelling on the power mechanic very much. Heck I barely deal with money at all in any game.

Book keeping and finance in the game is boring.

Same. I'm not going to rail on the game for including it, but I'll prefer to work around it should I run it.


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HunterWulf wrote:

I picture myself as not dwelling on the power mechanic very much. Heck I barely deal with money at all in any game.

Book keeping and finance in the game is boring.

The game is going to fight you at every step on that. There are abilities that use batteries and charges, and a lot of tech is heavily restricted in usability by charge usage.

Paizo is very intent on getting you on the heavy book-keeping ride this time around. If you were hoping for a game that's simpler or requires less number tracking than Pathfinder, Starfinder isn't it.


Spindown d20s might be a good choice, thinking about it.


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QuidEst wrote:
Spindown d20s might be a good choice, thinking about it.

I was thinking of using a pez dispenser and eating my charges as used.

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I personally will enjoy counting how many charges my enemies have used, so I can go in when they're out of ammo and need to switch out their batteries.

Tracking four different quivers of special material arrows is annoying. Switching to a single resource for my different plasma, cryo, shock, and laser weapons makes it much easier.


Aratrok wrote:
HunterWulf wrote:

I picture myself as not dwelling on the power mechanic very much. Heck I barely deal with money at all in any game.

Book keeping and finance in the game is boring.

The game is going to fight you at every step on that. There are abilities that use batteries and charges, and a lot of tech is heavily restricted in usability by charge usage.

Paizo is very intent on getting you on the heavy book-keeping ride this time around. If you were hoping for a game that's simpler or requires less number tracking than Pathfinder, Starfinder isn't it.

Well that's selling me off. (Though I thank you for informing me.)


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That necesity of book-keeping is certainly a really bad new, possibly the worst one I have heard until now, specially for how much it restrain the kinds of campaigns you can play. But I'm fairly confident that on the future there will be some alternative rules to play without it.
Please?


I mean... I don't think it's that hard to fix if it's a problem for you. Remove all class ability options and spells referencing charges. Remove all batteries and cheap ammunition. Ignore reloading, even for expensive ammunition. Done.


Alaryth wrote:

That necesity of book-keeping is certainly a really bad new, possibly the worst one I have heard until now, specially for how much it restrain the kinds of campaigns you can play. But I'm fairly confident that on the future there will be some alternative rules to play without it.

Please?

I'd expect something like that to make it into a splat book at some point, considering how divisive the issue is.

Like, I can live with it, but I have some friends who hate this level of book-keeping, and that's going to pretty heavily restrict what groups they can play with comfortably.


QuidEst wrote:
I mean... I don't think it's that hard to fix. Remove all class ability options and spells referencing charges. Remove all batteries and cheap ammunition. Ignore reloading, even for expensive ammunition. Done.

Maybe. But it means a big hit to whether I actually want to own the core book vs just stealing off the inevitable (making an assumption here) SRD.


Aratrok wrote:
Paizo is very intent on getting you on the heavy book-keeping ride this time around. If you were hoping for a game that's simpler or requires less number tracking than Pathfinder, Starfinder isn't it.

I'm not too worried. These issues can be resolved by simply ignoring limits on charges, or giving players a set amount for each session to use. Path of least resistance is the way I roll.


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I've borrowed a friend's pad to read through some of the rules.

Batteries cost half their base price to recharge, although they do state some ships may allow for recharging. Space suits on the other hand can have their life support completely recharged for free on any ship or station.

Batteries do not appear to have a readout for how many charges are left. Other forms of ammunition do not appear to have this restriction -- you can count bullets but not charges.

Evidently the storage capacity changes something about electricity since the cantrip to move charges from one battery to another only works with identical battery types.

This is the opposite of what I would expect in a science fiction game. I was expecting batteries to have a huge advantage in terms of flexibility and reuse over other forms of energy. I was expecting public recharging stations with minimal or no charge for the service.

I do not see how this improves the game. They should have just restructured their assumptions to be free normal ammo, with ways to prevent the recharge.

Liberty's Edge

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Paladinosaur wrote:
Can you load a battery using your ship?

I am going to restate your question. If I restated it incorrectly, please correct.

"Paladinosaur" question restated wrote:
Can you recharge a battery using your ship?

Right now, no. I know, it does not make sense.


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That just seems really weird. If your ship is capable of flying through space and powering engine one would thing adapters for charging clips would be a trivial thing to install.


Yes, large enough ships can build in battery recharging with GM approval. Yeah, it's weird that it's not all ships, but *shrugs*.

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BretI wrote:
Batteries do not appear to have a readout for how many charges are left. Other forms of ammunition do not appear to have this restriction -- you can count bullets but not charges.

This seems like a pretty common problem to have. If batteries don't have readouts, I'll probably make it an easy Engineering or Physical Science check to determine.


QuidEst wrote:
Yes, large enough ships can build in battery recharging with GM approval. Yeah, it's weird that it's not all ships, but *shrugs*.

Not having access to the book at this time I'm going to chalk this whole issue up to the fact that not only are charges ammo, they apparently are a resource for at least one class in some way. So for balance sake they have to be more trouble than they should be.

Liberty's Edge

Gary Bush wrote:
Paladinosaur wrote:
Can you load a battery using your ship?

I am going to restate your question. If I restated it incorrectly, please correct.

"Paladinosaur" question restated wrote:
Can you recharge a battery using your ship?
Right now, no. I know, it does not make sense.

That's what I meant. Thank you.


As others have mentioned before, if you don't like the battery rules, you can simply choose to not play with them - even if the game is balanced around them. Just like in the same way that even though Pathfinder has a lot of magic, some GMs run low or even no magic settings.

This actually seems like the exact same amount of bookeeping you had to do with class abilities and uses per day, albeit now it's written differently. If you're in a fight, check of a usage for your melee weapons for the fight (most don't last more than a minute, and if it does, your GM can clarify that for you).

As for other weapons, just keep a notecard on you. Write how many times you can fire a weapon (not how many charges it has because some weapons use more than one charge) on a single reload. Every time you fire it, make a tally, and when you're full, spend a single move-action to reload it (less if the weapon has Quick Reload). At that point, you're only keeping track of full batteries, which isn't all that different than keeping track of arrows, reagents, or other special ammunition in Pathfinder - or uses per day, which applied even to classes like Barbarian. Tracking, at that point, becomes a simple errand.

Not trying to be rude (it's hard to convey tone over text), but I really don't understand how people are finding that much issue with this. I see it like food - unless you're in a situation where you're really limited on resources, it's probably not going to be that big of an issue apart from reloading (which for some weapons is a non-issue). Most of the antagonistic factions in the back of the book are described as using weapons that run on charges (including greys), and I could very feasibly see being able to salvage the Power Core from enemy ships for batteries. You can also just craft batteries.

Honestly, I can think of worse bookkeeping exercises from Pathfinder: spell preparation, rage tracking, bardic inspiration tracking, wand charge tracking, weight tracking, plat/gold/silver/copper tracking, and the far more complicated crafting rules that give progress per day/week based on an arbitrary "total" number, just to name a few. And that's all from Core alone, and are things all players will have to deal with at some point. Here, it's basically just keeping track of ammo - everything else is either used once per hour/day, based on Resolve, or based on spell slots. There's far less to manage considering ammo just requires you to just make a check mark every attack (less for melee weapons and armor).


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It's a straw: it's one-too-many things. It means I don't feel like paying for those rules when I can steal from the Starfinder SRD.

I only speak for myself. Whether that matters to anyone else is up to them.


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gigyas6 wrote:
Not trying to be rude (it's hard to convey tone over text), but I really don't understand how people are finding that much issue with this. I see it like food - unless you're in a situation where you're really limited on resources, it's probably not going to be that big of an issue apart from reloading (which for some weapons is a non-issue).

For me, it breaks verisimilitude.

I have a laptop computer, phone and tablet. All of these run off batteries. All of them have indicators telling me how much charge is left. I also have an external USB battery that I can recharge the phone or tablet off. I have never tried using it to recharge the laptop, there are some minor issues that could be a problem there.

I can go into the local library and plug any of these devices in to recharge them for free. A local mall has a recharging area with seats and USB power connectors. They also don't charge for it.

So when they talk of rechargeable batteries in a game that features space ships, laser guns, biotechnical augmentations such as cardiac accelerations and other things I expect that batteries for devices to be at least as convenient as todays products, if not more.

If instead of batteries they had called them anti-matter containment capsules with the recharge being a refill, that may have worked better. Break out the weapons and vehicles that would use huge amounts of energy from other things and have them use a much higher density storage that is not rechargeable but can be refilled if you bring the container back.

If instead of having one battery type they had two different types and the rechargeable were more expensive that would have also worked. That is the tact that GURPS takes with their tech devices.

The description of the batteries make them feel more primitive in some ways than what we have today.

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BretI wrote:
I can go into the local library and plug any of these devices in to recharge them for free. A local mall has a recharging area with seats and USB power connectors. They also don't charge for it.

There are a lot of underlying economic reasons that incentivize and allow for those places to offer free energy, not all of which apply to Starfinder.

Anyone staying on Absalom Station can get by on free Starstone energy. It's the people who need to leave who must to pay for more portable energy. Life support recharge is the free service to get you in the door, paid energy is how they make their money.


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BretI wrote:
gigyas6 wrote:
Not trying to be rude (it's hard to convey tone over text), but I really don't understand how people are finding that much issue with this. I see it like food - unless you're in a situation where you're really limited on resources, it's probably not going to be that big of an issue apart from reloading (which for some weapons is a non-issue).

For me, it breaks verisimilitude.

I have a laptop computer, phone and tablet. All of these run off batteries. All of them have indicators telling me how much charge is left. I also have an external USB battery that I can recharge the phone or tablet off. I have never tried using it to recharge the laptop, there are some minor issues that could be a problem there.

I can go into the local library and plug any of these devices in to recharge them for free. A local mall has a recharging area with seats and USB power connectors. They also don't charge for it.

So when they talk of rechargeable batteries in a game that features space ships, laser guns, biotechnical augmentations such as cardiac accelerations and other things I expect that batteries for devices to be at least as convenient as todays products, if not more.

If instead of batteries they had called them anti-matter containment capsules with the recharge being a refill, that may have worked better. Break out the weapons and vehicles that would use huge amounts of energy from other things and have them use a much higher density storage that is not rechargeable but can be refilled if you bring the container back.

If instead of having one battery type they had two different types and the rechargeable were more expensive that would have also worked. That is the tact that GURPS takes with their tech devices.

The description of the batteries make them feel more primitive in some ways than what we have today.

Not to mention that based off of the discussion found here batteries are expensive unless they come with a gun cheaper than the battery itself.


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It might be worth noting that on page 429, it does say that most forms of technology utilize at least a little magic, whether in regards to how it's made or how it's work. Perhaps this might help to explain why, in-universe, there are a few things that are different? It might also mean batteries can contain more energy than ours would, which they take for granted, but perhaps at the cost of easy recharging. Just a thought.


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Looking at some batteries now, High-Capacity Batteries are the most expensive batteries in the game for no real discernible reason.

I know they're technically less expensive than Super- and Ultra-Capacity, but when you calculate price-per-charge, they come up to a whopping 8.25. They're the most expensive ammo in the game (not including Mini-Rockets or Special Ammunition) at that price. What's more is that it seems like the majority of items that use High-Capacity batteries use 2 charges at a time, raising them to 16.5 price-per-charge.

Other batteries can be more expensive depending on what they're used in, but the other batteries are mostly (certainly not always) used on a 1-to-1 basis. I think I would've preferred batteries to just have names, not charge counts, with items then telling me how much usage I get out of an item using that battery, because this makes the second lowest energy ammo and one of the most required pieces of ammo (for items, too) be one of the most expensive.

Looking at some other items, the Blue Star Plasma Caster can't even be fully reloaded... Ever. It's capacity is 200 and the highest battery gives 100 energy. Even if you decided to load it with a battery, you're then spending about 44 credits per shot, and that's if you don't Boost it.

Overall, this seems to me like the intent is that you have a ship that allows you freely recharge all gear and batteries (which would be a part of what makes them so expensive - once rounds are used, they're just gone). This makes me assume that they want you to start with a Medium size ship, which makes sense - tier 1 ships start with 55 BP, which would be easily met by building a Medium size.

Meanwhile, the batteries that come pre-charged in your weapons and gear doesn't seem to be the same type of battery, but rather a battery meant for that weapon. RAW they're any old battery, but it looks like if you had a battery in your laptop vs buying a battery backup or external power-source.

I definitely think clarification should be in order, but mixing this info with the Absalom Station, it seems like the intention is that batteries are reusable and that you're meant to have places (not necessarily everywhere, but at least your HQ) where you can fully recharge with no problem. Bigger deal is bringing enough individual batteries on an away mission.


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Fardragon wrote:
QuidEst wrote:
Fardragon wrote:
Rysky the Dark Solarion wrote:
Fardragon wrote:
lakobie wrote:

Battery Charge managment is a non issue. Many enemies are going to be carrying spare battery packs (as well as the battery packs in any energy rifle or weapons as they come with one), theres an armor mod that restores charges to batteries by walking, and casters can recharge batteries for spells.

You are assuming the players are going to be fighting intelligent foes using compatible technology. They may be fighting beasts and monsters, greys who attack with their mental powers, or aliens from another part of the galaxy who use an incompatible battery format.
Granted if you're fighting nothing but enemies that don't use equipment then the GM should keep an eye on loot so that it stays around recommended WBL.
This, combined with the need for credits, rather limits the freedom of the GM in the kinds of story they can tell.
Does it, though? There are weapons that don't require charges or ammunition. There are some limited ways to recharge batteries that can be included. It's easy to introduce ways to recharge the batteries, and trade goods can replace credits.
There are ways around it, true. But their does seem to be a lot of assumptions that the players aren't (for example) going to be stranded on an uninhabited planet where they have to survive against deadly native wildlife (not an uncommon space opera scenario). At least you would have to give players some hints, as some builds could be completely screwed over in those circumstances.

To me, being unable to recharge and having to hoard energy and make every battery charge count would be an incredibly important aspect of that situation.


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I didn't realize my 2012 Ford Escape was more advanced than a spaceship. It can charge all kinds of things.


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So does this means that I will be 3rd level before I can afford replacement batteries since if this is such a big deal then we must not be getting much for doing missions? I am being serious and not sarcastic as I don't know how much adventuring is going to cost or how much we will be paid.


I am amused by all the comparison and assumptions that things like today's smart phones have the exact same battery of a Plasma Cannon from the future and could attempt to power one just fine.


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Sadly, the Eveready Bunny apparently disappeared along with Golarion . . .


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Rysky the Dark Solarion wrote:
I am amused by all the comparison and assumptions that things like today's smart phones have the exact same battery of a Plasma Cannon from the future and could attempt to power one just fine.

I am not assuming it is the exact same battery. In fact, I assume it must have a much higher energy density than today's batteries since they are so light and can power some very heavy energy weapons.

I am annoyed that these extremely advanced batteries are not as convenient to use as the batteries of today. What sort of society doesn't include a charge indicator when almost everything they have uses that to power items?

Starships have huge power plants, yet recharging a level 1 battery is a problem?

I really think that it would have been a more interesting system if they had rethought their assumptions and built out batteries as something that takes time to recharge, not credits.

That or given some sort of fluff that explains why the batteries we know are nothing like the batteries in Starfinder.


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Personally, I would prefer ammunition had been pretty much dropped from the game. Tracking ammo is a dull chore that detracts from having fun.


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BretI wrote:
I really think that it would have been a more interesting system if they had rethought their assumptions and built out batteries as something that takes time to recharge, not credits.

You can hook it up to a generator; one minute per charge, no cost. The cost comes in when you use a quick charge station and try to get it recharged at one round per charge.


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Rysky the Dark Solarion wrote:
I am amused by all the comparison and assumptions that things like today's smart phones have the exact same battery of a Plasma Cannon from the future and could attempt to power one just fine.

Except that 10 minutes of walking around with one of those portable Kinetic Generators nets you a charge, so it's not really /that/ much energy you're pumping into it.


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Rysky the Dark Solarion wrote:
I am amused by all the comparison and assumptions that things like today's smart phones have the exact same battery of a Plasma Cannon from the future and could attempt to power one just fine.

Nah, but it would be cool if the battery in your flashlight could work at least as well as a current flashlight battery


gustavo iglesias wrote:
Rysky the Dark Solarion wrote:
I am amused by all the comparison and assumptions that things like today's smart phones have the exact same battery of a Plasma Cannon from the future and could attempt to power one just fine.
Nah, but it would be cool if the battery in your flashlight could work at least as well as a current flashlight battery

They greatly improved on video game flashlight technology.


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Fardragon wrote:


There are ways around it, true. But their does seem to be a lot of assumptions that the players aren't (for example) going to be stranded on an uninhabited planet where they have to survive against deadly native wildlife (not an uncommon space opera scenario). At least you would have to give players some hints, as some builds could be completely screwed over in those circumstances.

And if your GM wants to tell a story that depends on lack of access to resources, they have the game ability to do so. You seem to be implying that the GM, if the story requires it, has no ability to give players a way to power their items. What you should be looking at is if the GM wants they should have the narrative to withhold that ability for the sake of the story.

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Zombie Lord wrote:

I don't think it should cost so much to charge batteries. Sure it should cost something if hiring that service from an NPC, but I don't think it should cost anything if you have a source of power.

Power plants of larger ships (may) be able to have stations to charge batteries. That limit seems absurd to me. Crafting a small charger unit should be easier imho, or diverting power from even the smallest power plant during periods of low demand should be easier for someone with the Engineer skill.

The Recharge spell having a 20% chance to destroy a battery also sounds silly to me. Who is going to risk throwing away the money spent on batteries?

I thought the same thing. I saw Flashlight. It has a capacity of 10. You can buy it for 1 credit. Recharging is half the capacity, so it takes 5 credits to charge a 1 credit flashlight. Odd indeed.


Laffite5150 wrote:
I thought the same thing. I saw Flashlight. It has a capacity of 10. You can buy it for 1 credit. Recharging is half the capacity, so it takes 5 credits to charge a 1 credit flashlight. Odd indeed.

As per p.234 recharging is half the price of the battery. Since a flashlight comes with a 10 capacity battery, which is not listed in the price listings for batteries, we don't actually know by RAW how much charging a flashlight battery costs. Personally I'd either go for half the cost of a 20 charge battery (so 15 credits) or just simply free (like armor's environmental protection), because it's just a flashlight.

For this reason I think it's odd that p.218 points the reader to Table 7–9: Ammunition for battery prices, when so many technological items use batteries that don't fit those capacity categories (there's no price details for 5, 10 or 12 charge batteries).


Unless I missed something, the kinetic energy of a 50,000 ton starship is considerable over a 10 minute period.

Plausible Pseudonym wrote:
Gary Bush wrote:

Ok I did find something. On page 206.

Starfinder Core Rulebook page 206 wrote:
"BACKUP GENERATOR: You can connect charged electric items such as batteries to this miniature generator to recharge them. The electricity comes from the kinetic energy of your movement, which generates 1 charge every 10 minutes of movement. No more than one item can be plugged in at a time, and the generator doesn’t produce charges when you’re resting or otherwise stationary."
Someone do the math and figure out how laughably little power this is and how expensive this makes the average US electric bill in Starfinder credits.


Keeping looking.

Without my book in front of me I'm guessing that the Ammo Batteries entry covers all the weapons and the oddballs are "Accessories."

Mackanstein wrote:
Laffite5150 wrote:
I thought the same thing. I saw Flashlight. It has a capacity of 10. You can buy it for 1 credit. Recharging is half the capacity, so it takes 5 credits to charge a 1 credit flashlight. Odd indeed.

As per p.234 recharging is half the price of the battery. Since a flashlight comes with a 10 capacity battery, which is not listed in the price listings for batteries, we don't actually know by RAW how much charging a flashlight battery costs. Personally I'd either go for half the cost of a 20 charge battery (so 15 credits) or just simply free (like armor's environmental protection), because it's just a flashlight.

For this reason I think it's odd that p.218 points the reader to Table 7–9: Ammunition for battery prices, when so many technological items use batteries that don't fit those capacity categories (there's no price details for 5, 10 or 12 charge batteries).


Laffite5150 wrote:
Zombie Lord wrote:

I don't think it should cost so much to charge batteries. Sure it should cost something if hiring that service from an NPC, but I don't think it should cost anything if you have a source of power.

Power plants of larger ships (may) be able to have stations to charge batteries. That limit seems absurd to me. Crafting a small charger unit should be easier imho, or diverting power from even the smallest power plant during periods of low demand should be easier for someone with the Engineer skill.

The Recharge spell having a 20% chance to destroy a battery also sounds silly to me. Who is going to risk throwing away the money spent on batteries?

I thought the same thing. I saw Flashlight. It has a capacity of 10. You can buy it for 1 credit. Recharging is half the capacity, so it takes 5 credits to charge a 1 credit flashlight. Odd indeed.

My assumption is that the battery shouldn't cost more than its item, so a 1-credit flashlight costs 0.5 credits to recharge (round to 0?), and a 7-credit personal comm costs 3 credits to recharge.

It's also possible that flashlights are meant to be disposable and never recharged. For comms on the other hand, I don't think people would want to have to replace them every week.


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Finally Intimidate has a use in a game outside combat.

"Citizen, Is that your power outlet?"
"Y-yes?"
*roll Intimidate*
"Step aside, Citizen! I need to charge my lazer rifle, Comm, plasma sword, and force field for couple of minutes. You got no problem with that...RIGHT?!"

Bam. No charge fer power charge :D


I am actually kindof annoyed at the cost of mundane ammo vs batteries. Looking only at heavy weapons, they both average ~4 credits per cartrage/charge. However, you can recharge batteries for free on your starship, and at half price in stations.

Yet I don't see that kinetic weapons are really any better. They even target a worse AC.

To add insult to injury, melee weapons cost less then ranged weapons :(

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