What's the point of environmental rules?


General Discussion

1 to 50 of 114 << first < prev | 1 | 2 | 3 | next > last >>

5 people marked this as a favorite.

Seriously. There's an entire section for it in the GM chapter, and yet any armor whatsoever gives you full environmental protection against all environmental hazards at all times apart from highly corrosive atmospheres (it says that acid resistance upgrade will fix that, but no such upgrade appears to exist). This functionality even applies if the item is broken.

This protection has a limited duration, but it's 24 hours per item level, meaning 1st level gear still gives you 24 hours of protection in 1 hour increments, and is recharged for free (more easily than batteries, even). It is implied that certain gear does not have these protections, but I've yet to find any. The only thing that shuts it off is hacking, which requires the owner to be helpless or the armor to be unattended (the latter of which I see as being more likely, but still very uncommon).

All classes are then given at least Light armor proficiency, and no classes receive benefits for not wearing armor. Similarly, no classes receive living pets, and summoning spells no longer exist.

Given that you are fully protected against all environmental hazards at all times, what's even the point of having such a long section on environmental rules with such intricate rules and specifications when they won't come up a vast majority of the time? I'm fine with saying "you take certain penalties in harsh environments", but the book is very specific about what happens in what environments under what conditions, only for that to not matter.

Similarly, why is there a "space suit" item when it is objectively worse in every single way? It can stop working very quickly after being hit, provides no armor, and only protects against vacuum/atmosphere. For only 70 credits more, you get all that, all the time, and more.

Best as I can see is that they're there for archaic characters that have yet received modern armor or for missions where you're stranded on a harsh planet for several days away from a functioning ship. But even then, this seems to imply that the game wants you to ignore all environmental rules a bulk part of the time. That just seems contradictory, especially when the environmental rules talk about "The harshness of space" (which you'll never have to experience...)

I'm sorta upset about this because I've been finding the environmental rules actually kinda cool, and the ability to just completely shut them down simply for the sake of wearing anything at all kinda ruins that.


These are all really good questions/points that I haven't seen raised anywhere. Wanted to comment to make sure if doesn't fall off the page.


3 people marked this as a favorite.

My personal ideas about this:

- Turn it around. What if they never implemented enviromental rules? Then your post would say: "Why doesn't Paizo include enviromental rules!? It's vital to the game! All different kind of planets and space occurences/gasses should be able to have hazard descriptions! Paizo is SO bad for leaving such a huge item in the universe out of their ruleset!"

- Also, not everybody and their grandmother wears armor all the time.
Example given, but not limited to: Slaves put to work in a camp, surrounded by hazardous gas. Easy for the enslavers to keep them in one spot.

As such in my eyes it's all good.
(please note, I am not in posession of the book, as such I am only able to talk about what you wrote.)


Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber

The main things I can think of are either situations where you're stuck on a hazardous planet for days or weeks without reliable access to a ship/civilization. The other reason is future proofing for if they come up with equipment that doesn't have those protections. Plus as someone said, if they hadn't included it there would've been complaints that they don't talk about environmental hazards.


4 people marked this as a favorite.

Environments and being exposed to them without protections is, while somewhat less likely than in Pathfinder, absolutely an important thing to have in a game revolving around visiting environments that could be extremely hazardous to most creatures. It might not always happen but when it does happen, you will want the rules to be there.

In Pathfinder, they aren't used that often either except for very specific games and locations. But you want them regardless for the simple fact that they are sometimes required and you need to know how to adjudicate that.


I would have liked to have seen environments be a bit harder to no-sell. Actually making upgrades for armour to protect against a given environment/it be a nice trait for a given armour.

The Exchange

Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Npcs

Liberty's Edge

Well, certainly, if you are aboard a damaged but functional startship, or are near an area where recharging stations are available, then I agree with you. But given that Starfinders may not always be aboard a functional starship, or near such a station, the threat of harm from environmental conditions is real, even if remote.


3 people marked this as a favorite.

Situations in which PCs may find themselves on planets without their protective gear can never happen in SF, so clearly these rules are just a waste of space.

Silver Crusade

Are the environmental rules as absurdly stupid as they are in Pathfinder, resulting in huge swathes of the planet being uninhabitable by normal commoners?


3 people marked this as a favorite.
bookrat wrote:
Situations in which PCs may find themselves on planets without their protective gear can never happen in SF, so clearly these rules are just a waste of space.

Like every adventure could be so certain. You forget that these protections have time limits. They are not endless. There is a real possibility that, should tragedy strike, the PC's have a limited amount of time (the lowest leveled armor only lasting a day) in which they can survive in these environments. The threat isn't for when they are prepared. The threat is there for the sake of tension when they are not or they can't readily replenish their suit's environmental protections.

Also, you can hack suits to turn those off you know. That actually can happen to PC's and NPC's alike.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

I can think of a lot of ways the PCs might be caught off guard without wearing their armor. Saying they "can't happen" is inaccurate. They SHOULDN'T happen on a regular basis, because Players get pissed when separated from their precious equipment for long, but it would be very easy to place the characters in a situation where armor is inappropriate, and then having those situations exposed to environment.

Example: The PCs are in a gambling den where all equipment is forbidden to limit cheating. Space pirates attack, and the protective dome is damaged, exposing the room to vacuum.

Example: The PCs are aboard a luxury liner with their equipment in storage lockers (a requirement for transit) when the ship is pulled into atmosphere. It's ripped in half in the process of a crash landing and the PCs must survive a hostile alien environment with only their wits and what they can cobble together long enough to find the equipment locker and retrieve their gear.

See? Not hard at all. Like I said, you can't use hooks like that often, because people will get upset and shout "but mah gear!" but you can pull it off once or twice in a campaign, and that in itself adds more of the sci-fi experience.


5 people marked this as a favorite.
Garbage-Tier Waifu wrote:
bookrat wrote:
Situations in which PCs may find themselves on planets without their protective gear can never happen in SF, so clearly these rules are just a waste of space.

Like every adventure could be so certain. You forget that these protections have time limits. They are not endless. There is a real possibility that, should tragedy strike, the PC's have a limited amount of time (the lowest leveled armor only lasting a day) in which they can survive in these environments. The threat isn't for when they are prepared. The threat is there for the sake of tension when they are not or they can't readily replenish their suit's environmental protections.

Also, you can hack suits to turn those off you know. That actually can happen to PC's and NPC's alike.

I should have known that not everyone could read the sarcasm. Poe's Law strikes again. :(


bookrat wrote:
I should have known that not everyone could read the sarcasm. Poe's Law strikes again. :(

Srry, also guilty, I'm afraid. Can you state more plainly your intended outcome of that comment?


3 people marked this as a favorite.
bookrat wrote:
Garbage-Tier Waifu wrote:
bookrat wrote:
Situations in which PCs may find themselves on planets without their protective gear can never happen in SF, so clearly these rules are just a waste of space.

Like every adventure could be so certain. You forget that these protections have time limits. They are not endless. There is a real possibility that, should tragedy strike, the PC's have a limited amount of time (the lowest leveled armor only lasting a day) in which they can survive in these environments. The threat isn't for when they are prepared. The threat is there for the sake of tension when they are not or they can't readily replenish their suit's environmental protections.

Also, you can hack suits to turn those off you know. That actually can happen to PC's and NPC's alike.

I should have known that not everyone could read the sarcasm. Poe's Law strikes again. :(

Unfortunately, there are no sarcasm rules available by now...


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Valiant wrote:
Turn it around. What if they never implemented enviromental rules? Then your post would say: "Why doesn't Paizo include enviromental rules!? It's vital to the game! All different kind of planets and space occurences/gasses should be able to have hazard descriptions! Paizo is SO bad for leaving such a huge item in the universe out of their ruleset!"

I'm fine that the environment rules are there. My issue is that the environmental rules are extraordinarily intricate and detailed when more than half the time the rules will simply not come up. I feel like radiation could've been boiled down to "poison/disease" without needing its own set of rules, vacuum could've just been "they start suffocating", etc. Instead, the rules are very particular and spelled out over eleven pages when more than half are countered simply by "I activate my environmental protections." A lot of this information feels like it could've been boiled down or simplified for how little it otherwise appears.

I'm not mad that the environmental rules exist nearly as much as I am confused by the contrarian nature.
On top of that, in Pathfinder it was easy to negate environmental rules as well. Higher level wizards and clerics could change weather or completely ignore hazardous effects, and many other classes received similar access to feats, magic items, and class features to negate such things. However, with the exception of Endure Elements (which even then took a spell slot), most of these things came later on. It took time to eventually overcome all environmental hazards, which makes sense - a high level hero should not be stopped by a bit of bad weather.
Here, you get all the tools to deal with a majority of the most prevalent hazards as a free tack-on at level 1.

bookrat wrote:
Situations in which PCs may find themselves on planets without their protective gear can never happen in SF, so clearly these rules are just a waste of space.

I actually mentioned in my OP this exact scenario. My issue is that, even then, 1st level armor still gives you 24 hours and requires very little charge to get back up to 24 hours immediately. It can also be used in increments of an hour, meaning you can subvert harsher effects by simply turning it off when it's no longer a problem (like a desert planet at night).

3rd level armor could last you about a week if used right. Even 1st level armor could probably buy you a couple days.
Arguably, you can just use spare batteries to recharge it for a couple charges (no explicit rules on this, but considering a battery usually requires a larger ship to recharge or costs money at a recharge station and environmental protections cost nothing and can be recharged even on a tiny ship, I don't see how that'd be an issue).

Garbage-Tier Waifu wrote:
Also, you can hack suits to turn those off you know. That actually can happen to PC's and NPC's alike.

Mentioned in the OP - I can see this happening if the armor is unattended, and considering there's no real penalties for sleeping in armor (that I've found, and I've checked - you can even sleep in power armor with no penalty RAW, I would love to be corrected on this), there's no reason to take it off. Otherwise, the creature has to be helpless, at which point if you really wanted to kill them (which the intent of turning off their environmental protections would almost certainly be) you could always coup-de-grace them.

Yes, some characters would rather watch others suffocate or make it look like an accident, but is that something that requires 11 pages? We don't have rules for what happens when you fall down the stairs, though we can assume that is a method that gangsters could use to beat uncooperative "business associates" without rules for it.

rando1000 wrote:
The PCs are in a gambling den where all equipment is forbidden to limit cheating. Space pirates attack, and the protective dome is damaged, exposing the room to vacuum.

Much of the gear that provides the same full environmental protection is literally just clothing that also provides AC bonuses.

Ultimately, what irks me is the concept of comparing this to other sci-fi, or even trying to think of tense moments that could be ruined by "I turn on environmental protections." Like when Kirk lands on that deserted planet, just suddenly "oh no worries I'mma just click on this button and be perfectly fine for a few days at least". It's a bit strange.

I like the environmental rules. I want to use them. I can think of a number of ways that they can come up, but it feels like right now I have to bend over backwards to have those situations come up in which they apply - which seems really weird for a set of rules that's supposed to happen more or less passively.

Quick Edit: Ultimately, I'll have to wait and see how things actually play out in a full game to really see how well it works. On paper, however, it looks really befuddling, and tension breaking.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Doesn't almost every space movie have a scene revolving around tension created by a lack/need of environmental equipment?

- The final scene in Alien when Ripley has to put on the suit & blow the alien out the airlock

-Matt Damon getting his helmet cracked & his pod station eventually failing in The Martian

- The scene in 2001 when Dave doesn't have the proper equipment but has to make the leap from his pod to the airlock on the main ship

- The end of Total Recall when Arnie's eyes are bugging out before Mars is terraformed

- Guardians of the Galaxy: Quill makes the risky attempt to save Gamorra's life by giving her his faceplate, and then Michael Rooker shows up just in time to save them both

- WALL-E; when the bad robots try to jettison the boot plant and WALL-E and EVA have to go out to space with a fire extinguisher to save it

- Star Trek: First Contact; when Worf has to go fight outside the ship and his suit gets damaged, he needs to do a field repair with dead Borg parts

...and many more that

It would be a shame if we didn't get the opportunity to provide tense and dramatic scenarios for our players, and I'm glad that we have those chances.


TempusAvatar wrote:
It would be a shame if we didn't get the opportunity to provide tense and dramatic scenarios for our players, and I'm glad that we have those chances.

On the contrary, we don't. Remember: the environmental protections of any armor are functional at all times - even if the armor broken. The only thing that stops this is it running out of charge or being hacked - both of which being things that are actually fairly difficult to have happen reliably.

All those situations you mentioned are made completely null by the fact that this feature is an always available one at the use of a standard action, for an absolute minimum of 24 hours. Even clothing has this. It's not even a full suit - in some cases, it's a sciency/mystical field that encases the wearer.

-Ripley doesn't have to put on a suit because it's built into her clothes.
-Matt Damon's helmet can't get cracked, especially because he doesn't need one, and no physical force could stop the protections.
-Dave's clothes provide full protection from a vacuum.
-Arnie's eyes won't bug out because his clothes protect him from a vacuum.
-It's not a risk for Quill, and he can't even do that since it's a personal armor effect. Not that Gamorra would even need it since it's built into her armor, too.
-Worf's suit wouldn't get damaged.

WALL-E is about the only one that makes sense because many of those people were just wearing basic flight suits. And even then, based on flight suits providing full environmental protection in Starfinder, I'd still say they would be fine.

You can literally exist outside a spaceship and just sorta hang out and float around and pretend you're a spaceship for several days on end depending on the level of your armor. You need no further protections than the clothes on your back - literally. That's my issue - it's not that the rules are a waste of space or dumb or anything, it's that it's a lot of rules that get countered in a way that's really anticlimatic and not very interesting.


Pathfinder Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Accessories, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

This makes the discharge spell, also potentially the transfer charge spell, very interesting actually.

Scarab Sages

1 person marked this as a favorite.

There is a great scene in season one of The Expanse. A young belter kid is on his uncles asteroid hauler when the uncle decides to use his cargo as an improvised mass cannon. He know his ship will be destroyed so he takes the kid, throws his helmet on, and throws him out the airlock. The kid is drifting alone for a few days until someone picks him up from his distress beacon.

This is super-science. Technology has the ability to fix these problems. If you're equipment is damaged or sabotaged, things can go badly. But it's no different than jumping out of a plane with a parachute.


Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Maps, Pathfinder Accessories, PF Special Edition Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Superscriber

I wonder if some kind of "armour degradation in the face of environmental damage" house rule would be a quick and easy fix to restore tension? With my group, if I threaten their equipment, it's instant panic.

Alternatively, perhaps light armour shouldn't offer as much protection (halving environmental effects or something) - providing a reason to change into space suits from time to time - trading off combat effectiveness for environmental protection.

I'm interested to hear a developer chime in if there's any insight to be given reconciling the intricate (and desirable, if I read the OP correctly) environment rules with the ease of avoiding all consequences.


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Imbicatus wrote:

There is a great scene in season one of The Expanse. A young belter kid is on his uncles asteroid hauler when the uncle decides to use his cargo as an improvised mass cannon. He know his ship will be destroyed so he takes the kid, throws his helmet on, and throws him out the airlock. The kid is drifting alone for a few days until someone picks him up from his distress beacon.

This is super-science. Technology has the ability to fix these problems. If you're equipment is damaged or sabotaged, things can go badly. But it's no different than jumping out of a plane with a parachute.

I'm going to sound like a broken record, but the environmental protection is built into basic sets of clothing. Not military-issued armor, not super-tech armor - standard station-wear for as low as 95 credits, which are described as being basically just protective clothing. Even if we were to assume credit-to-dollar or euro transfer on a 1-to-1 basis, that's still incredibly cheap (for a full outfit, shirt pants shoes and even jacket, of brand new clothing that forever protects you from the dangers of space and also helps against getting shot).

That event you describe? Both the kid and the uncle can both make it out alive because their rudimentary clothing perfectly protects the both of them from space.

It's not like jumping out of a plane without a parachute, it's like having a parachute in your t-shirt you picked up from the mall - and all t-shirts available at the mall. This isn't some unique feature, it's standardized.

I don't mind that there are ways around the dangers of space environments. I mind the dismissive ease at which they are dealt with. It's these very tense and dramatic moments that I want most to see, and are what make the environmental rules interesting - and it's these exact sort of scenes that wearing armor (or, as we mentioned, basic clothing) completely negates.


3 people marked this as a favorite.

Huh, definitely did not expect to see someone getting worked up over the INCLUSION of rules, especially when said rules do not hinder their game experience. But I get it, why waste the pages? Well why are we assuming that EVERY single campaign is going to start in Absalom station with fully equipped players. What about people who want to tell a story of players on a lower-tech world with lots of dangers and they have to fight to get off-world and access to said equipment? Any GM would love the opportunity to tell stories like this and be able to have the thorough rules to include in their game and make their player's experiences interesting. There is no such thing as "Only going to happen in a small percentage of games" when you have no clear-cut definite way a story must be told. SF games do not have to give the players their own starship. SF games do not have to primarily take place in space. As a particularly devious GM I look forward to stranding my players when they use escape pods and have limited access to recharges for their suits, or having other creative ways to take away their comfort zones (read: environment suits).

At the end of the day, the entire reason those rules are included is for the same reason they include hundreds of monsters (many of which will not been seen in a majority of games) in the bestiaries: so they can be used. If you never use them then that's ok, but they are there in case they are relevant, which is dictated by the particular campaign you are playing.


Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Maps, Pathfinder Accessories, PF Special Edition Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Superscriber
Cuttlefist wrote:

Huh, definitely did not expect to see someone getting worked up over the INCLUSION of rules, especially when said rules do not hinder their game experience. But I get it, why waste the pages? Well why are we assuming that EVERY single campaign is going to start in Absalom station with fully equipped players. What about people who want to tell a story of players on a lower-tech world with lots of dangers and they have to fight to get off-world and access to said equipment? Any GM would love the opportunity to tell stories like this and be able to have the thorough rules to include in their game and make their player's experiences interesting. There is no such thing as "Only going to happen in a small percentage of games" when you have no clear-cut definite way a story must be told. SF games do not have to give the players their own starship. SF games do not have to primarily take place in space. As a particularly devious GM I look forward to stranding my players when they use escape pods and have limited access to recharges for their suits, or having other creative ways to take away their comfort zones (read: environment suits).

At the end of the day, the entire reason those rules are included is for the same reason they include hundreds of monsters (many of which will not been seen in a majority of games) in the bestiaries: so they can be used. If you never use them then that's ok, but they are there in case they are relevant, which is dictated by the particular campaign you are playing.

There aren't any suits of armour for such a primitive campaign though, so it's not really set up for those kinds of stories, even with the inclusion of environmental damage rules.


Cuttlefist wrote:
Huh, definitely did not expect to see someone getting worked up over the INCLUSION of rules, especially when said rules do not hinder their game experience.

If you sincerely believe that I am upset at the inclusion of environmental rules, than you have clearly not read any post in this thread, much less the OP.

Edit: Also, in regards to the ships... a large portion of the backbone of SF is starships. It has its own chapter, and there are multiple points in the book where it suggests or flat-out tells the GM to either let the players build and start with a starship, or eventually give them one (and early on at that).

Can you do it without starships? Yes, in the same way you can play Pathfinder without magic. But the system is inherently designed for such play, and saying "Well this rule works when you remove these other rules!" doesn't really work. I could change a lot to fancy my own games - the issue is that the RAW seems to be cutting a section of its own book out.


2 people marked this as a favorite.

The basic set of clothes mentioned in the rule book is station wear, which includes environmental protection. But any other clothing would not.

So if the PCs find clothing that isn't station wear, such as planet side clothing, native clothing, relics from the past, or other items made up by the GM, it wouldn't have such environmental protection.

In addition, it's not difficult to simply state that a crack in the face plate no longer seals or that strong acid rain ruins the environmental protection provided by the armor, despite the fact that it isn't specifically mentioned in the rules. Sometimes, a GM Ruling (different from a House Rule) is necessary.

It's not something that would work for SFS, unless the SFS Rules gave the gm leeway to provide rulings as such, but it can work for home games easily enough.

And lastly, for a long term survival challenge, the PCs can run out of batteries. With no working ship, their environmental protection will go away.


Stationwear isn't "basic clothing." Basic clothing options are listed under "Other Purchases," later in the book. Weirdly, they cover cold weather gear, even though you 100% are better off just wearing stationwear. It feels like environmental protections should be an armor add-on or something. I don't know.


4 people marked this as a favorite.
bookrat wrote:

The basic set of clothes mentioned in the rule book is station wear, which includes environmental protection. But any other clothing would not.

So if the PCs find clothing that isn't station wear, such as planet side clothing, native clothing, relics from the past, or other items made up by the GM, it wouldn't have such environmental protection.

In addition, it's not difficult to simply state that a crack in the face plate no longer seals or that strong acid rain ruins the environmental protection provided by the armor, despite the fact that it isn't specifically mentioned in the rules. Sometimes, a GM Ruling (different from a House Rule) is necessary.

It's not something that would work for SFS, unless the SFS Rules gave the gm leeway to provide rulings as such, but it can work for home games easily enough.

And lastly, for a long term survival challenge, the PCs can run out of batteries. With no working ship, their environmental protection will go away.

I agree with much of this (and have changed my mind a bit since originally posting with how little use it will see). I do think there are ways to go about using the environmental rules, but it almost feels like I have to fight against the players to do so. If all it takes to circumnavigate my literally destroying their armor is for them to just pull out another set at bulk 1, that just seems weird.

Yeah, GMing I can see a lot of ways to use environmental rules. My issue is that there is this one-size-fits-all always usable magic wand that says otherwise, and in order to use those rules, I have to take the wand away first, which feels almost antagonistic. If they get stranded on a desert planet, I then also have to break their ship, and also drain their armor batteries, and also say "no you can't" when the players ask if they can use their batteries to recharge their suits, all that before I set up story hooks there. I want to set a nice scene of being stranded in a desert, a common storytelling scenario, and to do so I feel like I need to kick my players in the face first.

Does that make sense? It's that it's so easy to just wash it away that I basically need to railroad to get it to do something interesting involving the environment. It's not that there are tools to deal with the environment, it's that those tools are an all-in-one that are equipped to all players at any given time accessible literally at the press of a button. It's weird to then put 11 pages of rules regarding that which are then side-stepped by pressing that button.

I guess ultimately I'm more questioning the decision of having it like that, rather than it being armor upgrades or small portable upgrades. Even it were able to give players the ability to ignore environmental hazards all the time anyway, I could much more easily swallow the idea of a space suit (which is in the game, albeit a bit useless, as mentioned), or a portable breathing mask, or anti-radiation pills - even if that was all kept in an "emergency kit" or something for the sake of simplifying bookkeeping.

But otherwise having a standardize, almost always available option for all players of all classes in just about any given scenario to just ignore hazards feels weird, especially when there's 11 pages on those hazards. They had to sit down and have discussions on the nature of those environmental rules, and what they meant, and spend a few days discussing and designing them and editing them, and then they hand all players a magic wand that says "don't worry about it". I question the design philosophy from that standpoint. So much of Starfinder is simplified from Pathfinder (arguably for the better), and yet Environmental rules are far more complex despite being easier to overcome. I could boil down a good half of the rules to "exposure for 1d6 damage", "diseases", or "suffocation" for about how impactful they would end up being.

Let me get more direct. Heat, cold, and vacuum all do more or less the same thing - they all deal 1d6 damage over time due to exposure (albeit vacuum more rapidly, and with suffocation). And yet, the way they're written implies that they each require different forms of protection. That's why they're different forms of environmental hazards. There's even multiple forms of environmental protection in the equipment section that you can buy to protect against different types of environment.
And yet, here comes a one-size-fits-all fix, and everyone just has it. It's nothing special, it's nothing unique, you just get it. Why did we then need three separate sets of rules for that?

Me, personally, in my campaign, I can already see a way to throw in environmental rules. I'm glad that environmental rules are there. It just seems odd and a bit contrarian.

Sorry for the wall of text. I feel like a lot of folks aren't quite getting what I'm trying to lay down - I'm not angry or upset or anything. I'm confused by the ability to circumnavigate a large block of rules, that somebody evidently cared quite a lot about because they put a lot of time into it, simply by pressing a button. I'm a bit disappointed as a it seems to kill a lot of thematic moments (all the examples I've seen seem to get killed or shut down by this ruling). Ultimately, I'd at least like to know why, from a RAI standpoint, this was set up in this way. If they didn't want players to worry about environmental rules most the time for simplicity sake (environmental rules in Pathfinder could sometimes be tedious to keep track of over longer periods of time for some groups), why have the environmental rules then turn around and be so complex and varied?

That all said, I've yet to sit down a proper game with it, so we'll see - maybe it works out just fine in the context of actual play, and I would be thrilled to be wrong. There's only so much you can perceive when looking at things from RAW.


gigyas6 wrote:
What's the point of environmental rules?

Sunder.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
bookrat wrote:
Garbage-Tier Waifu wrote:
bookrat wrote:
Situations in which PCs may find themselves on planets without their protective gear can never happen in SF, so clearly these rules are just a waste of space.

Like every adventure could be so certain. You forget that these protections have time limits. They are not endless. There is a real possibility that, should tragedy strike, the PC's have a limited amount of time (the lowest leveled armor only lasting a day) in which they can survive in these environments. The threat isn't for when they are prepared. The threat is there for the sake of tension when they are not or they can't readily replenish their suit's environmental protections.

Also, you can hack suits to turn those off you know. That actually can happen to PC's and NPC's alike.

I should have known that not everyone could read the sarcasm. Poe's Law strikes again. :(

If it makes you feel better I knew it was sarcasm.


not the main question but exactly the same feeling:

Why do i need knowledge skills to reveal monsters abilities and such?
I meant, mechanicaly talking


Juda de Kerioth wrote:

not the main question but exactly the same feeling:

Why do i need knowledge skills to reveal monsters abilities and such?
I meant, mechanicaly talking

I'm hoping this is sarcasm?

"What can this weird alien do?"
"Have you ever seen it, or even read about it?"
"No."
"Then why the heck would you know?"


Juda de Kerioth wrote:

not the main question but exactly the same feeling:

Why do i need knowledge skills to reveal monsters abilities and such?
I meant, mechanicaly talking

Engineering, Life Science, and Mysticism are the monster identification skills in Starfinder.


bookrat wrote:
Garbage-Tier Waifu wrote:
bookrat wrote:
Situations in which PCs may find themselves on planets without their protective gear can never happen in SF, so clearly these rules are just a waste of space.

Like every adventure could be so certain. You forget that these protections have time limits. They are not endless. There is a real possibility that, should tragedy strike, the PC's have a limited amount of time (the lowest leveled armor only lasting a day) in which they can survive in these environments. The threat isn't for when they are prepared. The threat is there for the sake of tension when they are not or they can't readily replenish their suit's environmental protections.

Also, you can hack suits to turn those off you know. That actually can happen to PC's and NPC's alike.

I should have known that not everyone could read the sarcasm. Poe's Law strikes again. :(

Eurgh...sorry...I guess this is why '/s' exists...


2 people marked this as a favorite.

*is that whats that for?*


3 people marked this as a favorite.
TempusAvatar wrote:

Doesn't almost every space movie have a scene revolving around tension created by a lack/need of environmental equipment?

...

...and many more that I didn't list.

Don't forget the iconic scene in Prometheus where the characters decide to take off their helmets for no particular reason!

Dark Archive

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Here's a simple idea: Bad guys capture the PCs and in a typically fiendish manner strip them of space suits and maroon them on a hostile planet to die. So now the PCs have to survive the elements without all their usual protective gear. And that idea only took me 1 minute to formulate.

If the environmental rules are too complex, you can always simplify a bit.


2 people marked this as a favorite.
John Picot wrote:
Here's a simple idea: Bad guys capture the PCs and in a typically fiendish manner strip them of space suits and maroon them on a hostile planet to die. So now the PCs have to survive the elements without all their usual protective gear. And that idea only took me 1 minute to formulate.

Fortunately the fiendish bad guys were kind enough to leave compressed air canisters, breather masks, full body protection against the cold so frostbite won't get them and some way to recharge those so they'd last long enough for the PCs to reach some form of shelter. Fiendish, but sporting.


gigyas6 wrote:


I don't mind that there are ways around the dangers of space environments. I mind the dismissive ease at which they are dealt with. It's these very tense and dramatic moments that I want most to see, and are what make the environmental rules interesting - and it's these exact sort of scenes that wearing armor (or, as we mentioned, basic clothing) completely negates.

I think it's pretty much necessary to negate it, for a cooperative D&D-like game. Instant death environments don't make for tense and engaging gameplay, they make for rezzing, rerolling or TPKs. Which are either game enders or trivial difficulties.

Or there is a convenient stash/escape hatch by the door, and they if they don't bollix a die-roll they'll be fine. And the game turns into a laughable comedy or errors where people get murdered by the environment at least 5% of the time- so default protection has to be assumed.

John Picot wrote:
Here's a simple idea: Bad guys capture the PCs and in a typically fiendish manner strip them of space suits and maroon them on a hostile planet to die. So now the PCs have to survive the elements without all their usual protective gear. And that idea only took me 1 minute to formulate.

Sounds like a typical star trek writer solution. Oh no, <tech> gets in the way of the story I want to write. Randomly the characters have no access to <tech>... because reasons. The drama! With added railroad that the PCs are captured... because reasons.


rando1000 wrote:

I can think of a lot of ways the PCs might be caught off guard without wearing their armor. Saying they "can't happen" is inaccurate. They SHOULDN'T happen on a regular basis, because Players get pissed when separated from their precious equipment for long, but it would be very easy to place the characters in a situation where armor is inappropriate, and then having those situations exposed to environment.

Example: The PCs are in a gambling den where all equipment is forbidden to limit cheating. Space pirates attack, and the protective dome is damaged, exposing the room to vacuum.

Example: The PCs are aboard a luxury liner with their equipment in storage lockers (a requirement for transit) when the ship is pulled into atmosphere. It's ripped in half in the process of a crash landing and the PCs must survive a hostile alien environment with only their wits and what they can cobble together long enough to find the equipment locker and retrieve their gear.

See? Not hard at all. Like I said, you can't use hooks like that often, because people will get upset and shout "but mah gear!" but you can pull it off once or twice in a campaign, and that in itself adds more of the sci-fi experience.

The armor Second Skin is designed for this. It is impossible to detect you are wearing armor since it matches your skin tone. Always wear one when you can't wear other armor.


Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Starbuck_II wrote:
The armor Second Skin is designed for this. It is impossible to detect you are wearing armor since it matches your skin tone. Always wear one when you can't wear other armor.

It is not impossible to detect. It just doesn't stand out.

Starfinder CRB, pg. 202 wrote:
If a second skin matches the wearer's skin tone, this type of light armor can be difficult to detect.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

So I talked to my players about this, and also about the whole idea of not knowing how many charges are remaining in a battery.

I told them that I'm allowed to dictate if their armor is too damaged to provide environmental protection, and in trade they can always know the number of charges in a battery. They liked the trade and all agreed to it.

I also brought up the idea of weapons and armor being damaged over time, and they all like that idea. So we're going to come up with a system for tracking equipment failure over time.


(Houserule) Every 1 on an attack roll (for weapons), and every critical hit taken or 1 on a reflex save (for armor) reduces the max hitpoints of the item by 1.


Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
kadance wrote:
(Houserule) Every 1 on an attack roll (for weapons), and every critical hit taken or 1 on a reflex save (for armor) reduces the max hitpoints of the item by 1.

So dice hate will rule how long things last in your games? No thank you.


BretI wrote:
kadance wrote:
(Houserule) Every 1 on an attack roll (for weapons), and every critical hit taken or 1 on a reflex save (for armor) reduces the max hitpoints of the item by 1.
So dice hate will rule how long things last in your games? No thank you.

Not you, but your equipment. Which just means you have to purchase equipment more often, which justifies giving out a lot more credits and having PCs regularly changing out equipment.

Also, do note that this is something my players all want - they want their equipment to go bad over time. It makes it more realistic.

However, 1 HP per crit seems a little low. We're going to play test 5 HP each and adjust from there.


bookrat wrote:


However, 1 HP per crit seems a little low. We're going to play test 5 HP each and adjust from there.

At 5hp your level 1 weapon would break in 4 Nat 1s, although if your players like it more power to you.


sunderedhero wrote:
bookrat wrote:


However, 1 HP per crit seems a little low. We're going to play test 5 HP each and adjust from there.
At 5hp your level 1 weapon would break in 4 Nat 1s, although if your players like it more power to you.

I mentioned that to my players, and now they like it even more. :)

Dark Archive

Bluenose wrote:
John Picot wrote:
Here's a simple idea: Bad guys capture the PCs and in a typically fiendish manner strip them of space suits and maroon them on a hostile planet to die. So now the PCs have to survive the elements without all their usual protective gear. And that idea only took me 1 minute to formulate.
Fortunately the fiendish bad guys were kind enough to leave compressed air canisters, breather masks, full body protection against the cold so frostbite won't get them and some way to recharge those so they'd last long enough for the PCs to reach some form of shelter. Fiendish, but sporting.

Nah that would be James Bond villain level stupid. But the PCs might remember a downed probe or something they have to reach to call for help, or some experimental base that's difficult to reach but will cost them precious time. As long as the environment isn't "LOLINSTADEATH" lethal, and PCs have a reasonable chance to survive it, its doable. Like for instance you don't want to try that scenario with the planet composed entirely of magma, ice, or desert...Ala George "Kessel Run" Lucas...

Dark Archive

Voss wrote:
gigyas6 wrote:


I don't mind that there are ways around the dangers of space environments. I mind the dismissive ease at which they are dealt with. It's these very tense and dramatic moments that I want most to see, and are what make the environmental rules interesting - and it's these exact sort of scenes that wearing armor (or, as we mentioned, basic clothing) completely negates.

I think it's pretty much necessary to negate it, for a cooperative D&D-like game. Instant death environments don't make for tense and engaging gameplay, they make for rezzing, rerolling or TPKs. Which are either game enders or trivial difficulties.

Or there is a convenient stash/escape hatch by the door, and they if they don't bollix a die-roll they'll be fine. And the game turns into a laughable comedy or errors where people get murdered by the environment at least 5% of the time- so default protection has to be assumed.

John Picot wrote:
Here's a simple idea: Bad guys capture the PCs and in a typically fiendish manner strip them of space suits and maroon them on a hostile planet to die. So now the PCs have to survive the elements without all their usual protective gear. And that idea only took me 1 minute to formulate.
Sounds like a typical star trek writer solution. Oh no, <tech> gets in the way of the story I want to write. Randomly the characters have no access to <tech>... because reasons. The drama! With added railroad that the PCs are captured... because reasons.

Been working for screenwriters, science fiction authors and all manner of films, successfully for years. Actually with as difficult as it can be to actually kill characters (RPS), getting them knocked out and marooned, isn't as ludicrous as it seems.

1 to 50 of 114 << first < prev | 1 | 2 | 3 | next > last >>
Community / Forums / Starfinder / Starfinder General Discussion / What's the point of environmental rules? All Messageboards

Want to post a reply? Sign in.