There is no good mechanical reason for an envoy not to have a level in soldier (blitz)


Advice


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(in the spirit of Colette Brunel's similar post about solarians.)

Every envoy should take a level in soldier and choose the blitz fighting style. Period. They lose practically nothing and get a ton. Consider:

1. The blitz fighting style gives you a big stackable Initiative bonus, arguably the envoy's most important stat.
Envoys are all about tactical support and control: setting up targets, hindering enemies, getting people into position, removing bad conditions. This makes Initiative arguably more important for them than for any other class. The higher the envoy's Initiative, the less likely everyone else in the party has to choose between delaying until after an enemy or acting without the benefit of the envoy's abilities. That's huge.

2. A level of soldier lets envoys use much better weapons at a greatly reduced feat cost.
Envoys stand to gain a lot from the ability to use heavy weapons or advanced melee weapons. However, this takes a lot (read: three) feats to get off the ground (assuming Heavy Armor Proficiency in the melee case): i.e. most if not all the feats you get in your character's early life. A level of soldier reduces this to a much more manageable Versatile Weapon Specialization. So, while you'll be short an improvisation at some levels, you'll have two extra feats to work with. Not a bad trade.

3. A level of soldier lets envoys put their highest ability score in Strength or Dexterity instead of Charisma, without losing resolve points.
Though Charisma is their key ability, envoys only really care about it for resolve points. They don't really need it for skill checks, since they can use Expertise, and they don't really need it for their special abilities, of which Charisma only effects two, and neither in a way that really matters to the effectiveness of the class. By using Strength or Dexterity for resolve points instead, envoys can be much better attackers while remaining equally good at support. (Note that some envoys--particularly in games that emphasize high-stakes social interactions much more than typical D&D or Pathfinder games do--may still want to put their highest stat in Charisma to reliably make the hardest Bluff and Diplomacy checks. Even so, the two previous benefits justify the trade.)

4. The envoy's wide-not-deep special ability progression means they lose very little effectiveness by being a level behind, and at high levels virtually none.
Few envoy abilities scale with level, and most are selectable pretty early. By character level 7th, you'll barely miss the envoy level you lost from the dip; by 13th, you'll basically have everything an envoy will ever get.

So, am I missing something? (If not, one might wonder about the design merits of a class that all but requires dipping for optimal play.)

Grand Lodge

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Ludovicus wrote:
They lose practically nothing and get a ton.

All depends on your definition of 'practically nothing' I guess.

Getting your Expertise dice/boosts a level later, getting the "At level X, this improves..." improvisation boosts a level later, trading 4 Skill Points for 1 BAB. You also state they don't really need Cha as an Envoy, which at least is arguable (as one example, losing the extra boost on Bluff checks for Clever Attack makes you less effective at something pretty core to most Envoy combat strategies)

I would see this as no different than saying "Every Bard should take a level of Fighter" in PF. Yea, for a lot of Bard builds/ideas it can help more than hurt, but it's not something that is appropriate 100% of the time for either mechanical builds or character concepts.


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I honestly am probably going to dip Blitz on every melee character I ever make.


You should do it for a melee envoy. Melee is really stat heavy so the extra resolve is helpful and you need more speed to engage and heavy armor to live.

But for a ranged envoy it's probably better to just spend feats on longarm proficiency and versatile specialization, start with str 11 and another feat at level 5 for heavy weapon proficiency.

Three feats also isn't that much, there's not really much competition, there are no crucial feats you need as an envoy so it's fine for them to spend 3 feats.


citricking wrote:

You should do it for a melee envoy. Melee is really stat heavy so the extra resolve is helpful and you need more speed to engage and heavy armor to live.

But for a ranged envoy it's probably better to just spend feats on longarm proficiency and versatile specialization, start with str 11 and another feat at level 5 for heavy weapon proficiency.

Three feats also isn't that much, there's not really much competition, there are no crucial feats you need as an envoy so it's fine for them to spend 3 feats.

Soldiers can get Dex to resolve so it would also help a ranged Envoy to dip Soldier.


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Peat wrote:
You also state they don't really need Cha as an Envoy, which at least is arguable (as one example, losing the extra boost on Bluff checks for Clever Attack makes you less effective at something pretty core to most Envoy combat strategies)

I probably should've said that you don't really need Charisma for combat as an envoy.

True, Charisma does marginally increase your chances of succeeding with Clever Attack. However, Clever Attack (a) lets you treat your target as flat-footed for your attacks (just not those of your allies) even if your Bluff check fails, and (b) lets you spend a Resolve Point to succeed retroactively if you fail. This means all Charisma does is make the eventuality of your having to spend a Resolve Point to use the ability marginally less likely.

I probably should also have said: "Every envoy should take a level in soldier and choose the blitz fighting style, if they care about contributing in combat." Some envoys might not. They might want to maximize their social skills and other noncombat abilities at all costs, and indeed might specifically want to play a character who identifies as a noncombatant. This is a perfectly fine preference (though Starfinder may not be the best system or setting for people who want to play realistic, psychologically nuanced noncombatants). But while that is a good reason for an envoy not to take a level of soldier, it is not a good mechanical reason.

Peat wrote:
I would see this as no different than saying "Every Bard should take a level of Fighter" in PF. Yea, for a lot of Bard builds/ideas it can help more than hurt, but it's not something that is appropriate 100% of the time for either mechanical builds or character concepts.

Where did you get that idea? As far as I can tell, no bard should take a level of fighter. It would hurt their spellcasting too much.


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

Honestly you're probably right here, as far as I can tell the benefits outweigh the downsides in most cases. Of course there are a fair few good reasons not to do so, once of which you've mentioned above, but as you said they're not mechanical so that's a different debate. It seems like the Blitz Soldier is a good way to buff classes who don't have such a strong combat presence. This is both a good and a bad thing. On the plus side, it means classes that are currently weaker in combat have a way to prop themselves up, at least until more options are added to support the base class. As for the negatives, it causes stats to be focused more on combat stats so less points are given for skills and other out of combat abilities. Hopefully down the line there will be expanded class options or archetypes that give boosts in a more streamlined way to make classes more viable by themselves without forcing you to dedicate yourself to combat and forsake out of combat utility.


Luke Spencer wrote:
Hopefully down the line there will be expanded class options or archetypes that give boosts in a more streamlined way to make classes more viable by themselves without forcing you to dedicate yourself to combat and forsake out of combat utility.

Yes. Frankly, this is one reason why I think these discussions are worth having, even in the early stages. We know the devs sometimes read these boards, and if there's a strong consensus here that some Starfinder classes are flawed and why, it may increase the chances of improvement once rule expansions are released.


Maybe it is better to say that the Soldier is very front loaded and a very good class to splash for.

As most classes do not have heavy armor proficiency or the multitude of weapon proficiency, it is a good deal (3-5 feats worth). Plus you do not lose a BAB.

To top things off, you get a customizable fighting style that can fit many different builds (i.e. shooty Envoy or Blitzing Solarian, etc.).

Kind of reminds me of the Barbarian in the old days (common classes for L1 dips) for melee classes. I havn't played PF in a while so I am not sure if that is still common.

EDIT: and also pointed out by many, the extra resolve points as STR or DEX are so important for shootiy or melee builds


Dipping into soldier is going to be great for everyone who is not a caster.


How well does the dip work for a small-arms Operative?

Do the benefits outweigh the cost there?


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Ecliptic12 wrote:

How well does the dip work for a small-arms Operative?

Do the benefits outweigh the cost there?

My feeling is no. The operative is a great class, and taking a level of soldier delays your trick attack progression, your edge progression, the levels at which new ability options are unlocked (including increases in the number of attacks you can get off during full attacks), and so on. And you get relatively little in return, since you're unlikely to want longarm, advanced melee, heavy weapon or heavy armor proficiencies, given their conflicts with other abilities operatives get (trick attack, evasion, quick movement, triple and quad attacks, etc).

EDIT: In this sense, a dip into Soldier (Blitz) is actually a much stronger option for the Envoy than any other class. The Envoy gives up some progression stuff, which hurts. But they get so much that complements their class: all of their abilities still work while using heavy armor and heavy weapons, and using heavy armor and weapons complements the Envoy quite well. Indeed, as other people have noted, the many unwieldy heavy weapons are an excellent fit with the Envoy, who have lots of cool class abilities to use with their left over move action. And, as the OP noted, other benefits of the dip (different resolve stat, initiative bonus, etc) help the Envoy more than pretty much any other class.

So while the Blitz Soldier is so front-loaded that it's not a terrible dip for any class, it is (IMHO) only really an amazing dip for the Envoy.

Silver Crusade

Porridge wrote:

, it is (IMHO) only really an amazing dip for the Envoy.

Its pretty darn good for a Mystic too. If you're using buffing/healing type spells then you pretty much can start a Mystic with 12 Wisdom (the stat boost at L5 and a stat boosting item at L8 or so means that you get the sweet bonus spell a level) leaving enough points to make a quite decent combat person (not excellent, but a LOT better than a straight Mystic would be).


gustavo iglesias wrote:
Dipping into soldier is going to be great for everyone who is not a caster.

I am working on an Android Soldier/Technomage that would beg to differ.

With a decent Int and high Dex, one level of soldier for the Guard style for the heavy armor seems worth it. Seriously looking to burning a feat for power armor.

Irradiate, Explosive Blast or Corrosive Haze through my Sniper rifle with Spellshot is nice.

At 11th level Seeking Shot with a IMDS missile launcher with a tactical missle.

At 14th level Rain of Fire with X-gen gun, elite or Reaction cannon, advanced is looking really good. I might have to use the NIL grenade launcher, squad with some sweet grenades for that special occasion.

Depending on how the general vs specific rules work, if you can use Unwieldy weapons with Rain of Fire it gets nuts. But that is just me wanting to do this with Plasma cannon, yellow star.

"You can’t use an unwieldy weapon as part of a full attack (or any other action in which you could make multiple attacks), you can’t attack with it more than once per round," vs "to shoot a ranged weapon at multiple targets within range; the maximum number of targets is equal to half your technomancer level or the number of shots in your weapon,whichever is lower."


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It would be a specific rule that overrides the general rule if it specifically mentioned working with unwieldy weapons.

Shadow Lodge

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

Yeah, no dice on using an unwieldy weapon with Rain of Fire.


Really, Blitz should be changed to a +1/5 or +1/4 level boost to initiative. IMO.


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Ludovicus wrote:
Though Charisma is their key ability, envoys only really care about it for resolve points. They don't really need it for skill checks, since they can use Expertise, and they don't really need it for their special abilities, of which Charisma only effects two, and neither in a way that really matters to the effectiveness of the class.

In theory, I see your point.

In practice I see our group's 18 Cha envoy utterly dominate the social game, in part because she's got that extra +1 to +3 compared to what she'd have as a blitz ignoring Cha. It helps her make those checks that much more consistently.

Sure she's putting out less damage than yours would, but ours has repeatedly swung whole narratives in our favour. In the long run, I'd say that's more useful than "Oh look, isn't she so very optimized for killing things?"


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Blitz is the only fighting style whose 1st level ability is equal to 2 feats: fleet and improved initiative. In fact, its a little better because its bonus to initiative stacks with improved initiative and any intuition bonus, like rogue's edge, and its bonus to speed is not reduced by encumbrance like the bonus from fleet is.

Blitz soldier is a ripe, glowing red cherry.


Tervola wrote:
gustavo iglesias wrote:
Dipping into soldier is going to be great for everyone who is not a caster.

I am working on an Android Soldier/Technomage that would beg to differ.

With a decent Int and high Dex, one level of soldier for the Guard style for the heavy armor seems worth it. Seriously looking to burning a feat for power armor.

Irradiate, Explosive Blast or Corrosive Haze through my Sniper rifle with Spellshot is nice.

At 11th level Seeking Shot with a IMDS missile launcher with a tactical missle.

At 14th level Rain of Fire with X-gen gun, elite or Reaction cannon, advanced is looking really good. I might have to use the NIL grenade launcher, squad with some sweet grenades for that special occasion.

Depending on how the general vs specific rules work, if you can use Unwieldy weapons with Rain of Fire it gets nuts. But that is just me wanting to do this with Plasma cannon, yellow star.

"You can’t use an unwieldy weapon as part of a full attack (or any other action in which you could make multiple attacks), you can’t attack with it more than once per round," vs "to shoot a ranged weapon at multiple targets within range; the maximum number of targets is equal to half your technomancer level or the number of shots in your weapon,whichever is lower."

So.. you've basically managed to make a tactical sorcerist from strait jacket. I salute you sir, that is pretty f#*#ing metal.

(for those who don't know that anime... This. )


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Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

People are aware that classes only grant weapon specialization for the weapons that a given class gives you right? You would need to spend feats or dip three levels to make longarms better.


Looking at the discussion from many of these similar threads, it seems they probably do.

I think the argument is that you get 6 feats (longarms, heavy weapons, advanced melee, heavy armor, grenades, and sniper weapons), arguably about three of which youd use on any given build, but still.

You get all 6, plus a neat initiative bonus and move speed bonus (bc blitz).

Even if later you spend A feat to get specialization, youre still coming out ahead.

Most classes dont have much that will offset all of that in one level, even casters.

Personally, I think they should have mimicked 5th ed in that multi classing only gives you X benefit for profs and skills, limiting the gain.

Silver Crusade RPG Superstar 2014 Top 16

Mahtobedis wrote:
People are aware that classes only grant weapon specialization for the weapons that a given class gives you right? You would need to spend feats or dip three levels to make longarms better.

No, just one Feat, Versatile Specialization.


simplygnome wrote:
Most classes dont have much that will offset all of that in one level, even casters.

That is not even remotely true.

A lot of these 1-4 level builds gain some benefit, but the dip hurts pretty badly at 9+

Really good class features early > feats you could have grabbed anyways.

The Exchange

Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
MR. H wrote:

That is not even remotely true.

A lot of these 1-4 level builds gain some benefit, but the dip hurts pretty badly at 9+

Really good class features early > feats you could have grabbed anyways.

Except for the fact that blitz soldier's abilities, that are distinct from the stuff all soldiers get, aren't feats and they stack with feats. So if you would have gotten improved init anyway now you've got improved init and another +4, if you would have gotten fleet anyway now you've got fleet and another 10 feet of movement.


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

Not everything starts with blitz soldier.


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Shaudius wrote:
MR. H wrote:

That is not even remotely true.

A lot of these 1-4 level builds gain some benefit, but the dip hurts pretty badly at 9+

Really good class features early > feats you could have grabbed anyways.

Except for the fact that blitz soldier's abilities, that are distinct from the stuff all soldiers get, aren't feats and they stack with feats. So if you would have gotten improved init anyway now you've got improved init and another +4, if you would have gotten fleet anyway now you've got fleet and another 10 feet of movement.

You have that instead of getting the ability one level earlier to attack AND make a target flat footed or giving everyone a +2 to hit, or a myriad of utility skill boost abilities.

Even at low levels, you are delaying specialization until level 4 or 5 (since you need a feat for non main class weapons).

That's just envoys. Going 10ft faster pales in comparison to a solarian casting haste or creating wormholes a level earlier.

Technomancers are delaying undead creation, microbot swarm, conjure technology and a host of abilities one level later.

Mystics may not be able to save you for one whole level, create undead, dominate persons, and greater command.

Operators give up serious amounts of damage, extra attacks, true sight, and other abilities for a level.

Mechanics suffer a weaker drone and delay key upgrades for a whole level.

In general dipping will be bad for your character. You can make a functional character, but it is not optimal.


My envoy is going to use longarms and inspirational boost. So he doesn't need to win initiative or extra movement or heavy armor. Dipping would only make him weaker.

Silver Crusade

If my envoy goes soldier (and it very may well) she will absolutely NOT be a blitz soldier.

Envoys (especially combat focussed ones) have better things to do with their move action than actually move :-). I expect my envoy to move at most once in most combats, find themself some cover, and drop prone. Getting up when we've won or lost :-).

The init is nice but its only a feat. Instead, I really like going heavy armor and having (essentially) +1 to my AC be increasing the max Dex penalty.


pauljathome wrote:

If my envoy goes soldier (and it very may well) she will absolutely NOT be a blitz soldier.

Envoys (especially combat focussed ones) have better things to do with their move action than actually move :-). I expect my envoy to move at most once in most combats, find themself some cover, and drop prone. Getting up when we've won or lost :-).

The init is nice but its only a feat. Instead, I really like going heavy armor and having (essentially) +1 to my AC be increasing the max Dex penalty.

I agree. Bonus movement is great for melee characters and not so great for envoys. Sharpshooter is better for the reduced cover bonus for ranged characters who can better use movement for get em and attacking without moving.

I was thinking that envoy isn't a bad class to do split level multiclassing instead of a dip - like if you went to level 20, soldier 11, envoy 9.

The Exchange

Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
MR. H wrote:

You have that instead of getting the ability one level earlier to attack AND make a target flat footed or giving everyone a +2 to hit, or a myriad of utility skill boost abilities.

Even at low levels, you are delaying specialization until level 4 or 5 (since you need a feat for non main class weapons).

That's just envoys. Going 10ft faster pales in comparison to a solarian casting haste or creating wormholes a level earlier.

Technomancers are delaying undead creation, microbot swarm, conjure technology and a host of abilities one level later.

Mystics may not be able to save you for one whole level, create undead, dominate persons, and greater command.

Operators give up serious amounts of damage, extra attacks, true sight, and other abilities for a level.

Mechanics suffer a weaker drone and delay key upgrades for a whole level.

In general dipping will be bad for your character. You can make a functional character, but it is not optimal.

Sure, I wasn't commenting on the fact that the dip(or even specifically blitz) is the right thing to do, I was merely commenting that calling them feats isn't accurate, the feature doesn't grant you feats(of which you could only take once) it grants you abilities that offer the same benefit as feats which may or not be relevant to your calculation to take the dip(or choose blitz when you decide to take the dip) or not.


Pathfinder Companion, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

This reminds me of a dilemma I'm having right now. I'm working on a Human Mystic with the Mindbreaker connection. I'm envisioning something like a psionic warrior who breaks his enemy's will with mental attacks and then wades in for the kill.

I have two alternatives:
-Pick up Heavy Armor Proficiency and Heavy Melee Weapons (whichever is the upgrade for Basic).
-Or dip Soldier.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Maybe dip to get those proficiencies early and then retrain when you have the feats available?


Porridge wrote:
Maybe dip to get those proficiencies early and then retrain when you have the feats available?

Retraining isn't quite that easy. You need to use a Mnemonic Editor, which only retrains the last two levels you took. (You can also only use 4 in your lifetime, at exponentially increasing price each time)


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Renata Maclean wrote:
Porridge wrote:
Maybe dip to get those proficiencies early and then retrain when you have the feats available?
Retraining isn't quite that easy. You need to use a Mnemonic Editor, which only retrains the last two levels you took. (You can also only use 4 in your lifetime, at exponentially increasing price each time)

Yeah, you don't need a mnemonic editor to retrain. And the inclusion of mnemonic editors in the book doesn't mean that you *can* retrain. Whether you can retrain, to what extent you can retrain, and whether it costs anything to do so, is purely a GM decision:

CRB, p227 wrote:

REWORKING YOUR CHARACTER

A GM has the final decision on whether or not you may rework your character, changing decisions you previously made, and whether you are required to use a mnemonic editor to do so. A GM can decide that mnemonic editors are not available and cannot be crafted, created, or accessed through any means. A GM might also let a player to change a feat or class level if the player and GM agree it makes sense to do so, without resorting to such a device. The mnemonic editor provides an in-world explanation for mechanical changes made to a character. For example, it gives a character who started as an envoy but decided to study the ways of mysticism (and was seen casting spells) a plausible way to suddenly lose that spellcasting ability if the player decides that multicasting as an envoy/mystic isn't as fun as expected.

EDIT: Shorter version: My comment was intended to be understood as having an implicit "Assuming your GM allows retraining..." in front of it. But since that was implicit, I can see why it wasn't clear!


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

As a side note, let me just say that I think that of the many things Paizo has introduced to make Pathfinder more fun, the retraining options from Ultimate Campaign are one of the best. There are a lot of options/builds in Pathfinder that come together at level X, but are painful before then. And as both a player and a GM, I strongly dislike making people face the dilemma of "you can get a cool build that does X... but only if you suffer through X-1 levels of suckiness first". Retraining is the perfect panacea for that: you can actually have fun from levels 1 through 1-X, and then retrain at level X.

Anyway, I'm really glad that they recognized this, and that they introduced retraining options in the core rulebook of Starfinder. So here's a shout-out to whoever was responsible for getting retraining options into the Starfinder CRB:

Thanks!


(cross posting from another thread)
It seems like you could do:

Char level 1: Soldier/1
(dex for more resolve points, heavy armor prof, advanced melee prof, long arm prof, heavy armor prof, sniper weapon prof)
Sharpshooter for bonus vs covered enemies or blitz for bonus initiative, negate heavy armor move penalty
Feat: ??

Char level 2: Envoy/1
Get 'Em for improv talent

Char level 3: Envoy/2
Inspiring Boost
Feat: ?? (you could delay choosing this one until level 4 to pick up versatile weapon specialization since you don't gain weapon specialization until level 3 with a class)

Char level 4: Envoy/3

Char level 5: Envoy/4
+1 Str (heavy weapon), +Dex, +Dex, +Int, +Cha
Feat: Versatile Weapon Specialization (if not delayed level 3 feat)

From this point forward, build out as a normal Envoy, wearing heavy armor with specialization in heavy weapons, long arms or sniper if you so desire. Alternatively, take Envoy @ level 1, soldier level 2, but you're less combat effective for those first three scenarios since you have no long arm weapon prof.

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