Space combat skill DC progression issue


Rules Questions


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One topic that has been discussed extensively is the issue of skill DCs for various tasks associated with space combat. The issue is that some of these skill DCs include a factor of "2 x tier" or even "3 x tier". This presents some possible problems:

1) To begin with, the math for skill bonuses makes it somewhere between very difficult and impossible to keep up with the scaling of the skill DCs. NPCs are assumed to have a bonus that uses a 1.5 x tier factor, and the pregenerated SFS NPCs can be clearly seen not to keep up with skill DC scaling beyond that rate of increase.

2) From a recent interview that I heard with Owen KC Stephens, it appears that one of the design goals of space combat was to enable characters to participate meaningfully even if they don't devote extensive resources to doing so. That makes the "2 x tier" scaling at best questionable and the "3 x tier" scaling downright impossible.

3) Finally, it punishes characters for upgrading their ships as they level. Was it really the intention that low level characters focus on difficult skill checks and simply rely on greater power at higher tiers, or for them to improve their ships up to just a certain point and then stop the improvements so that they can make their skill checks once again?

So -- Is there anything that can be done to make these skill DCs scale at a more reasonable rate?


Well, they might issue an errata.

But if they don't, the most natural option would be to introduce options -- whether magic items, hybrid items, cybertech or ship upgrades -- which give bonuses to the relevant skills, and which are priced so as to only become affordable as players hit the appropriate levels.

E.g., if they introduce a Helm of Piloting +X, which provides a +X enhancement bonus to Piloting skill checks, and allow these to go up to +10, then you'd effectively turn 3*tier skill checks into 2.5*tier skill checks (assuming the players are willing to pay the price). And so you'd get these skill DCs to effectively scale at a more reasonable rate.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Maps, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

And don't forget items that boost the Captain's skill checks -- then you would have a way to double up on those bonuses in cases where it matters. As things stand now, the captain of a shuttlecraft can give an inspiring speech to his crew, but the captain of a battleship? Forget it.


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Well, by order of operations:

DC= 10 + 2 x ship tier would be:

Tier 1= 12
Tier 2= 14
Tier 3= 16
etc,

If it's suppose to be DC= (10 + 2) x tier then that's a problem as a tier 3 ship would require a DC 36 just to put it in reverse (Back Off maneuver)


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Pax Rafkin wrote:

Well, by order of operations:

DC= 10 + 2 x ship tier would be:

Tier 1= 12
Tier 2= 14
Tier 3= 16
etc,

If it's suppose to be DC= (10 + 2) x tier then that's a problem as a tier 3 ship would require a DC 36 just to put it in reverse (Back Off maneuver)

I'm sorry, but that's false.

The equation is meant to be read as DC = 10 + (2 x Tier), not DC = (10 + 2) x Tier.

In either case, it is disastrous.

Allow me to show you an example using the first equation common:

DC scales 12(1), 14(2), 16(3), 18(4), 20(5), 22(6), 24(7), 26(8), 28(9), 30(10), and so on and so forth.

The issue being that the player does not scale this way to beat the DCs in any meaningful way.

A base assumption is that a PC maxes out the ranks in the respective skill, and that they (hopefully) have class training in it (allowing a +3). With even this basic equation of (DC = 10 (2xTier)) - Skill Bonus, the number to roll increases as such:

DC | Number on d20 Needed Minimum to Succeed
12(1) = 8
14(2) = 9
16(3) = 10
18(4) = 11
20(5) = 12
22(6) = 13
24(8) = 14
etc...

This will eventually hit the max level of 20, with 20 ranks in a skill with a natural +3 to class training, leaving a bonus of +23 against a DC of 70.

Not to mention this is just for the first equation, do not forget DC=15+(2xTier) and DC=20+(2xTier), and the occasional ridiculous DC=20+(3xTier).

Why, as the Character is trying to "master" a given role, is it harder and harder to achieve? Even with number crunching, it is only possible to leap over a DC70 hurdle by having Skill Focus, Class Training, Theme Bonus, Max Ranks, Class Ability Bonuses, Ship/Computer Bonuses, etc etc.

It should not take every mechanic you have at your disposal to achieve at LV10~20 what you could so easily achieve just a precious few levels before.

I'm sorry, but I disagree with your assessment.


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The most important thing I've found on this, which I've yet to see mentioned, is that despite the DC's raising in difficulty, the actions remain exactly the same. Sure, for a Gunner that can be a big deal, since things like Broadsides can become tremendously more powerful as you upgrade your starship weapons or mount new ones. Moving Speech can be a major game-changer. Most of the actions that recover shields do so based on percentage.

But, giving a +4 to an ally? Giving a +2 bonus to AC for the ship? Giving science officers +2 to their checks? Removing a single critical damage?

These are all actions with static results (except removing more crit damage for a higher DC, which already increases DC anyway), and yet the DC continuously increases. This is also in conflict with the skill listings themselves, which demonstrate an ability to learn to do new things at higher DCs, and things you knew before give better results. Here, things you were already able to do get harder for the same results.

This doesn't apply to all actions, but the fact that it applies to any actions is a bit strange.


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gigyas6 wrote:

The most important thing I've found on this, which I've yet to see mentioned, is that despite the DC's raising in difficulty, the actions remain exactly the same. Sure, for a Gunner that can be a big deal, since things like Broadsides can become tremendously more powerful as you upgrade your starship weapons or mount new ones. Moving Speech can be a major game-changer. Most of the actions that recover shields do so based on percentage.

But, giving a +4 to an ally? Giving a +2 bonus to AC for the ship? Giving science officers +2 to their checks? Removing a single critical damage?

These are all actions with static results (except removing more crit damage for a higher DC, which already increases DC anyway), and yet the DC continuously increases. This is also in conflict with the skill listings themselves, which demonstrate an ability to learn to do new things at higher DCs, and things you knew before give better results. Here, things you were already able to do get harder for the same results.

This doesn't apply to all actions, but the fact that it applies to any actions is a bit strange.

I'm glad you brought that up, as that is exactly what I had posted I believe about a day ago. How does it make sense that my pilot, as an example, is perfectly capable of making, say, a Flip-n-Burn fairly reliably at early levels, yet somehow struggles if he rises even only one, or two levels? What changed? Assuming his ship remained the same, what is the explanation for the sudden and utter shift in skill? And in the opposite direction, no less?


th3razzer wrote:
Pax Rafkin wrote:

Well, by order of operations:

DC= 10 + 2 x ship tier would be:

Tier 1= 12
Tier 2= 14
Tier 3= 16
etc,

If it's suppose to be DC= (10 + 2) x tier then that's a problem as a tier 3 ship would require a DC 36 just to put it in reverse (Back Off maneuver)

I'm sorry, but that's false.

The equation is meant to be read as DC = 10 + (2 x Tier), not DC = (10 + 2) x Tier.

.

How is that false? I said "it's this or that".


I really hope this gets fixed fast, it's so ridiculous and looks like it'll make starship combat basically pointless after low levels.

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32

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Milo v3 wrote:
I really hope this gets fixed fast, it's so ridiculous and looks like it'll make starship combat basically pointless after low levels.

It's one of the things that would have benefitted from a broader playtest. :(


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It is also possible in the tech guide they are working on there is stuff that mitigates this equipment wise they expect your ship to be getting that we just don't have access to yet. But yes currently it seems okay at lower levels but the top tier stuff looks like it scales pretty crazy beyond what could be reasonably expected.

Dark Archive

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Ran some baseline numbers:

Baseline assumes the attribute starts at 10, increased every level (as it is at least a tertiary attribute), and is a class skill.

Focused is assuming a 16 starting in the relevant attribute, is increased every time, putting your strongest personal mod in it, skill is class and picking up skill focus (or possibly a class bonus) for the skill by level 5 but otherwise unassisted (IE no computers).

Most characters are probably going to be somewhere between the two.
Computers can help bridge some of the gaps, but are limited in how many nodes you have... and the higher bonuses cap out at 2 nodes for some reason.

Easy checks are DC 10 + Tier x 2. Medium checks are DC 15 + Tier x 2. Hard checks are DC 10 + Tier 3 2

At level 20 DC 50, 55, or 70 vs +27 baseline, +34 focused

At level 15 DC 40, 45, or 55 vs +22 baseline, +29 focused

At level 10 DC 30, 35, or 40 vs +16 baseline, +22 focused

At level 5 DC 20, 25, or 25 vs +9 baseline, +16 focused

At level 1 DC 12, 17, or 13 vs +4 baseline, +7 focused

For a Baseline you go from needing 8+ to being impossible without computer assistance for an EASY task. Focused goes from needing 5+ to 16+.

So maybe we aren't expected to always have a top tier ship. How far do we need to lag behind to maintain roughly the same chance of success?

Scale towards baseline:
Level 1 tier 1: baseline succeeds on an 8+, focused on 5+
Level 5 tier 3 or 4: baseline succeeds on a 7+ or a 9+, focused on 1+ or 2+
Level 10 tier 7: baseline succeeds on a 8+, focused on a 2+
Level 15 tier 10: baseline succeeds on a 8+, focused on a 1+
Level 20 tier 12 or 13: baseline succeeds on a 7+ or a 9+, focused on 1+ or 2+

Scale towards focused:
Level 1 tier 1: baseline succeeds on an 8+, focused on 5+
Level 5 tier 5: baseline succeeds on an 11+, focused on 4+
Level 10 tier 8: baseline succeeds on a 10+, focused on a 4+
Level 15 tier 12: baseline succeeds on a 12+, focused on a 5+
Level 20 tier 14: baseline succeeds on an 11+, focused on +4

Based on this analysis, it seems it would be most optimal to keep you ship tier at around 70-75% of your APL. Alternatively for a house rule, change the scaling to be 1.5 x tier for easy and medium checks, and 2 x tier for the hard checks.


gigyas6 wrote:
DC scales 12(1), 14(2), 16(3), 18(4), 20(5), 22(6), 24(7), 26(8), 28(9), 30(10), and so on and so forth.

I see the DCs increasing, but don't see a problem. I thought DCs were rather easy and hope they get tougher.

One skill rank per level takes care of half the increase. Ability boosts every 5th level. Mark 1, 2 and 3 ability augmentation by 9th level. Computer improvements in the ship every third level. Items and boons. Class features improving skills. Feats.

Don't see the problem. Same for many of the skill checks built into the game. A Ghost Operative can take 10 on Trick Attacks from seventh level on.


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Peter Halvorson wrote:
gigyas6 wrote:
DC scales 12(1), 14(2), 16(3), 18(4), 20(5), 22(6), 24(7), 26(8), 28(9), 30(10), and so on and so forth.

I see the DCs increasing, but don't see a problem. I thought DCs were rather easy and hope they get tougher.

One skill rank per level takes care of half the increase. Ability boosts every 5th level. Mark 1, 2 and 3 ability augmentation by 9th level. Computer improvements in the ship every third level. Items and boons. Class features improving skills. Feats.

Don't see the problem. Same for many of the skill checks built into the game. A Ghost Operative can take 10 on Trick Attacks from seventh level on.

Several people have carefully detailed out the math of how player bonuses do not grow at a rate that even comes close to keeping up with the DCs. How do you not see the problem?

Paizo Employee Starfinder Design Lead

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It is a problem. It'll get addressed.

Dark Archive

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Owen K. C. Stephens wrote:
It is a problem. It'll get addressed.

Excellent to hear!


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Using Mass for the Pilot Checks make much more sense.

Now the Captain Bluff is based on Tier of Foe ship is silly.

Or Demand a crew member is based on ship tier.

Is worse.

Engineering and Science works fine with Tier, but the rest not so much.

Really bad choice, no idea how it got through play test.


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The problem with using ship mass/size for skill DCs is that there is no real need to make your ship bigger at higher levels. You would generally have to be of higher level if you want to make your ship bigger, but if you don't want to make your ship bigger, there is no real reason to do so -- especially if all of your skill DCs are getting easier because your ship is staying the same size.

If the ship stat that controls skill DCs is in any way under player control, the players will have a strong incentive to keep that stat as low as possible, whatever it may be.


David knott 242 wrote:


If the ship stat that controls skill DCs is in any way under player control, the players will have a strong incentive to keep that stat as low as possible, whatever it may be.

I have no problem with that, but there are trade offs there as well.

You cant carry as much stuff on the Defiant.


Tali wrote:
You cant carry as much stuff on the Defiant.

I was thinking about the Defiant recently in this context. It might be a Tier 10 version of a shuttle that's normally Tier 5. I could certainly buy that a Tier 10 ship is more advanced than a Tier 5 (of the same frame) and therefore has higher DCs for repair, piloting, systems, etc. As someone else pointed out, I'm having a hard time reconciling that with a Captain struggling more to give someone an order, but aside from that type of incongruity, if the DCs just scaled effectively, the rest seems plausible to me.

The end result of the Tier model, I'll note, is that I'm designing ships backwards - I give them the equipment that I want them to have, and then back-calculate what Tier that makes the ship (i.e., how difficult is this ship to crew). In turn, that gives me knowledge on what level the PCs need to be in order to fly one (or fight one).


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David knott 242 wrote:

The problem with using ship mass/size for skill DCs is that there is no real need to make your ship bigger at higher levels. You would generally have to be of higher level if you want to make your ship bigger, but if you don't want to make your ship bigger, there is no real reason to do so -- especially if all of your skill DCs are getting easier because your ship is staying the same size.

If the ship stat that controls skill DCs is in any way under player control, the players will have a strong incentive to keep that stat as low as possible, whatever it may be.

I really don't see that as a problem. If the players don't want a larger ship I don't think they should be railroaded into having one. And really I doubt any of my players are going to want to go too large anyway with the logistic considerations that come with it. The point of characters progressing is that they get better at doing things. And the heart of the original discussion I believe was why characters are being penalized for making their ship better.


Regarding speculation as to what kinds of things will and won't change:

Starfinder generally seems to prioritize what will be fun over what seems to make sense from a world-building perspective (thus we have incommensurable credits and BPs to keep things fun, even if it doesn't make sense from a world-building perspective).

So the kinds of things they're going to have in mind, I think, are concerns like:

--Ensuring play is fun for a variety of classes, races and themes, at levels 1-20 (so DCs don't get so high that certain class/race/theme combos become largely ineffective at high levels, even with substantial resource investment).

The kinds of things I suspect they'll care less about are concerns largely motivated by what does or doesn't seem to make sense. So, for example, some have expressed the concern that:

--Crew actions shouldn't scale with the tier level of the ship, because it doesn't make sense that more sophisticated ships are much harder to do anything with.

But since auto-failing checks at low levels and auto-succeeding checks at high levels isn't very fun, I suspect this is the kind of concern they're not going to pay much attention to.


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Two cents...

-The Millenium Falcon should get more maneuverable with upgrades, not less. The Death Star shouldn't. So maybe tie maximum rolls to bulk, much like with Armor max Dex & ACP. Or add some stat derived from a ratio? I can't help but think that bulk should be the core stat re: maneuverability, not technological advancement (at least not as a hindrance).

-More advanced crews should be more cooperative/amicable to moral support, not less. Picard's job was hardest before his crew synced & leveled up, not after. Of course, the choices for captains are pretty bland, so maybe have more push options or ones that scale with success level. Or even have such foes as cosmic horrors require rolls just to keep the crew sane!

-Easy maneuvers should be easy. Anybody with Piloting as a class skill should reliably do these. With a little helpful advice from the captain, this should include a rookie in an advanced ship or a tough situation. Some of the most advanced aircraft carriers get docked by average crewmen.

-Average combat maneuvers should be unreliable for green rookies, but reliable for veterans, and second nature to actual aces. On the flip side, tougher encounters should require this.

-The toughest maneuvers should be tough. Maybe the hotshot rookie Ace Pilot might pull this off with luck & a good ship, but it shouldn't be easier for her in a worse ship. And for amazing pilots, these should be the norm they attempt. They may even be famous for trick maneuvers they can routinely pull off or even invented. Again, giving them a better ship should amplify their ability, not hinder. And the highest CR encounters should maybe need these maneuvers to hold one's own.

-Enemies should (maybe) form a bigger portion of the DC; more pressure, more enemies to track, harder foes to fool or rattle, etc. In this way, it's not the Falcon getting tougher to maneuver, it's Darth Vader being harder to outmaneuver than a Tie pilot. "I can't shake him!" Heck, even his presence in the battle altered conditions for all, not counting that people with the force shift fate for their peers.

-More on that last point of enemies. Players & PCs want to feel not just like they're progressing, but that their ship's getting cooler. The same players & ship, one level higher, should feel like they can do more. Pitted against the same encounter they've faced before, they should see the difference (unless overshadowed by dice rolls) not just in firepower, but as pilots, captains, etc. Imagine a really tough encounter being faced again 3 levels later in a finer ship. Sure the enemy's weaker at this point, but the tactics used before shouldn't be harder!

-Maybe add more stats to enemy ships, i.e. a ship of zombies should be impossible for the captain to rattle, but easier for the pilot to outmaneuver. Maybe some enemies impose penalties on PCs' DCs, maybe some similarly powered ones don't, but have other perks or alter different DCs. "Yes, you maneuvered fine, but they predicted it."

I don't envy you your task of upgrading a flawed system so late, as who knows how deep the cracks run, but I hope this aided.
Cheers, JMK


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Porridge wrote:

Regarding speculation as to what kinds of things will and won't change:

Starfinder generally seems to prioritize what will be fun over what seems to make sense from a world-building perspective (thus we have incommensurable credits and BPs to keep things fun, even if it doesn't make sense from a world-building perspective).

So the kinds of things they're going to have in mind, I think, are concerns like:

--Ensuring play is fun for a variety of classes, races and themes, at levels 1-20 (so DCs don't get so high that certain class/race/theme combos become largely ineffective at high levels, even with substantial resource investment).

The kinds of things I suspect they'll care less about are concerns largely motivated by what does or doesn't seem to make sense. So, for example, some have expressed the concern that:

--Crew actions shouldn't scale with the tier level of the ship, because it doesn't make sense that more sophisticated ships are much harder to do anything with.

But since auto-failing checks at low levels and auto-succeeding checks at high levels isn't very fun, I suspect this is the kind of concern they're not going to pay much attention to.

Agreed. Even the Captain's role should involve some element of gameplay, and therefore a lack of both auto-failing and auto-succeeding at all levels. But that should not be introduced via the mechanism of "what ship do you happen to be standing on?"

Giving the Captain a wider range of things to do at fixed or relatively fixed DCs, such that while any given task may range from failable to auto-success or from unachievable to possible, the role as a whole keeps having things to roll, might be a solution.

Or maybe having it be determined by the CR of the space creature or situation being Captained against, or the level of the opposing captains.

There are plenty of external criterion to base the skill checks of the Captain's role off of; it's just that how advanced his own ship is should NEVER be one of them.

Paizo Employee Customer Service Manager

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Removed a post and reply. Critique is fine, but you need to be civil about it.


Sara Marie wrote:
Removed a post and reply. Critique is fine, but you need to be civil about it.

Um, the vast majority of my reply had little to nothing to do with the post it replied to and was entirely civil. Was editing not an option?


Tectorman wrote:
Sara Marie wrote:
Removed a post and reply. Critique is fine, but you need to be civil about it.
Um, the vast majority of my reply had little to nothing to do with the post it replied to and was entirely civil. Was editing not an option?

I believe they've said elsewhere that to avoid tricky questions regarding what and to what extent to edit things, they just make decisions regarding posts as a whole.

But they've also said that people are welcome to repost unproblematic parts of posts that were removed, and you can ask them to send you the text of your post so you can edit it yourself.


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And here's where you can send an email to get a copy of a deleted post:

Chris Lambertz wrote:
If a user would like to have some text recovered from a removed post in this case, they can make a request at our community@paizo.com account.


Porridge wrote:

And here's where you can send an email to get a copy of a deleted post:

Chris Lambertz wrote:
If a user would like to have some text recovered from a removed post in this case, they can make a request at our community@paizo.com account.

Thanks. Will do.

Grand Lodge

I find it weird that they put in scaling DCs here, but left in fixed DCs for Medicine, even thought the effect scales with level, creating the opposite problem.


One point of order here... a ship's tier doesn't necessarily reflect anything about it's "advancedness" - rather it reflects the APL (Average Player Level) of the crew. (p. 294 core rules).

That means, if the same crew flies the same beat up ship for 10 levels but for whatever reason never gets to a place where they can upgrade or refit the ship (but somehow keep it in perfect repair otherwise), it means the only real change is that they've gotten MUCH better at whatever it is they do. However, at the same time, the ship has gotten twice has hard to manage as they've gotten good at managing it.

So, in fun terms (per the above post about Paizo prioritizing fun over "realism" - which I agree with, by the way, at least for the most part), this is a real downer. My character is progressing, my crew is progressing, and if those pirates come on board, we're going to bust them into next Tuesday, but man, is it just me or did those same carbon-copy pirate ships get twice as hard to Evade (p. 319)? And, captain, you SEEM to be more Diplomatic, and I know I think you're way more inspiring than you were a few weeks ago but man, just not feeling Moved the same way (p.323)

IMO, mostly it should be able the size class of the ship. There are times when it shouldn't be... I'd propose a couple changes in broad strokes:

DC = 15 + (4 x Size) + skill differential if applicable. So, if a pilot of skill 10 in a medium sized ship (size = 3 - p. 296) is Evading an enemy who's pilot has a skill of 8, the DC would be: 15 + (4x3) - 2 = 25. A hard roll for the level 2 or 3 pilot with a 10 piloting score, but a no-roll-needed for the level 20 ace pilot operator with a 30 piloting skill, which is totally appropriate because that guys should be able to flip e-brake doughnuts in the snow with his eyes closed... he's freakin' level 20.

There are clearly times the role should be relative to the CR of the opponent ship, like the captain's Taunt (p 322), but mostly using the tier of your ship as the variable means you're in competition with your own ship, and your ship gets better at defeating you twice as fast as you get at defeating it, and that's not really that fun.

Engineering checks need some consideration... perhaps in that case the differential value is the Engineer's skill level and the ship's tier. So, a typical Engineer check, say, Hold it Together (p. 323) on a tier 12 small ship with an Engineer with an 18 skill would be something like:

15 + (2x2) + (-6) = 13
BUT on a bigger ship, say a t12 cruiser (huge) (p. 295):
15 + (2x5) + (-6) = 19

Those feel too easy to me, so maybe 1/2 the difference or something (make it 16 and 22 which feel more right). Again, the idea being that it's hard for a noob grease monkey but a breeze by the time you've been around the multiverse a few hundred times.

Basically, doing basic stuff with your ship should be pretty easy at high levels, the GM can apply any circumstantial modifiers he wants to make the challenge appropriate, but the core rules shouldn't penalize players for sticking with a character until level 20...


This is a repeat of my earlier post. For anyone wondering when in the conversation it had first appeared, I'll also include the post that came immediately after, so readers can see when what was really being said, despite being out of order now.


Tectorman wrote:

My real concern is this: moving forward and getting addressed, what are the core precepts of said addressing going to be? What assumptions will the Starfinder Design Team be making and do they hold up? For example, I'll list what I believe are reasonable assumptions on both the "character improvement side" and the "skill DC side".

  • Players should reasonably be able to expect to use any ability score array to play a character fulfilling any ship role and not steadily get worse as they go up in level; i.e., it may be ill-advised to try being the Science Officer with a low Int score, but it shouldn't become increasingly ill-advised to the point of never succeeding just because your ship got better. 

  • Players should reasonably expect to play a character fulfilling any ship role using any theme; using the Ace Pilot theme should make you better, not be the exclusive theme choice for bare competency. 

  • Players should reasonably expect to play a character fulfilling any ship role regardless of race choice (or Lashunta skill bonus choice); such things should help, not be essential for bare competency. 

  • Players should reasonably expect to play a character fulfilling any ship role regardless of class choice; ship combat and ship encounters should not, at 1st level, 20th level, or anywhere in between, be the exclusive province of the Envoy class. 

  • If players are able to perform certain tasks without expending resources, they should reasonably expect the same odds of success at higher levels similarly without expending resources. Those additional resources coming into play should supplement what the players have already built upon, not replace the increasingly shaky foundation of what they were doing at 1st level. This also includes limited time-per-day class-, theme-, race-, etc. abilities, as well as skill- or ability-score-boosting equipment; such things should help in their presence, not hurt in their absence. 

  • Players should be reasonably be expected to keep the pertinent skill ranks updated as they level up; the most a player can put into Pilot is 1 skill rank at 1st level, but he should not reasonably expect this to suffice at 20th level. Note that this expectation does not extend beyond skill ranks; again, class skill bonuses, higher ability scores, skill bonus boosting equipment, theme bonuses, race and class choices should help in their presence, not hurt in their absence. 

  • Related to that last point, it is reasonable to base that regularly increasing expectation of skill rank allotment on the item level of the equipment in use; it should be more difficult to operate Voyager's astrometric sensors than Galileo's telescope.  Under no circumstances should said increase be as high as "10 + tier x3".
  • Related to THAT last point, said increase should only be subject to the complexity of the equipment in use if said equipment is actually being used; Captain Janeway should face the same difficulty commanding her crew whether they're on Voyager or in the lunar lander of Apollo 13 (well, something bigger but you get the idea) or stranded on the surface of a planet with no ship of any kind within lightyears.

Obviously, I think those are all reasonable assumptions any given player should be able to make. But I'd love to hear how they stack up to what we're actually getting instead, and if any of them are somehow not reasonable expectations or otherwise don't match what the Design Team is going to do, the reasons why not.

Porridge wrote:

Regarding speculation as to what kinds of things will and won't change:

Starfinder generally seems to prioritize what will be fun over what seems to make sense from a world-building perspective (thus we have incommensurable credits and BPs to keep things fun, even if it doesn't make sense from a world-building perspective).

So the kinds of things they're going to have in mind, I think, are concerns like:

--Ensuring play is fun for a variety of classes, races and themes, at levels 1-20 (so DCs don't get so high that certain class/race/theme combos become largely ineffective at high levels, even with substantial resource investment).

The kinds of things I suspect they'll care less about are concerns largely motivated by what does or doesn't seem to make sense. So, for example, some have expressed the concern that:

--Crew actions shouldn't scale with the tier level of the ship, because it doesn't make sense that more sophisticated ships are much harder to do anything with.

But since auto-failing checks at low levels and auto-succeeding checks at high levels isn't very fun, I suspect this is the kind of concern they're not going to pay much attention to.

Then the thread continued as we see it now. Hopefully, it makes sense.


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Until tihs is fixed, I'm going with the following fix that I found on reddit with some minor tweaking:

- DC "Base" + "Tier" => DC "Base"-5 + 1.5*"Tier"
- DC "Base" + 2*"Tier" => DC "Base" + 1.5*"Tier"
- DC "Base" + 3*"Tier" => DC "Base"+10 + 1.5*"Tier"

Also, the DC to hack computers is adjusted to 15 + 3*"Computer Tier" (since those vary from 1 to 10)

So, an easy DC of 10+tier becomes 5+1.5*tier, a hard DC of 15+2*tier becomes 15+1.5*tier and a nigh impossible DC of 10+3*tier becomes a difficult 20+1.5*tier. Since both actions that require this high DC also expend a resolve point, lowering it to a still difficult one makes more sense.

By the way, I'm retconning all skill DC's in the game to follow this pattern.


Glad this will be addressed. I'm gonna be playing in a game starting this weekend, hopefully by the time it becomes a problem they'll be errata. Kinda surprised this made it through, especially the x3 stuff. A 70 DC check at lvl 20 should have raised some flags.


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In our game made it simple replace + 2(3)x Tier with just DC + tier. It makes it harder as you go up in level of ship and takes care of the multiply problem with the DCs going up way too high at higher levels.

Liberty's Edge

FYI, there is a FAQ effective Nov. 18, on this topic.

Thank you David for beginning the discussion that lead to the FAQ.


Huzzah! They have rejiggered the numbers down to casually reachable levels like the other skill DCs of the game. The tier scaling is still 1.5 x level, which runs the risk of outpacing the standard 1/level skill point increase without other factors coming into play (some combination of race bonuses and/or theme bonuses and/or class bonuses and/or equipment expenditures and/or ability score increases, which I maintain should be happy bonuses on top of what you need to maintain competency, not what you need to maintain competency, but at least this makes it fall under the same issue as all the skill DCs in the game, rather than its own extra mess.

Not happy about the Demand, Orders, or Moving Speech Captain actions being dependent on where the Captain is. I don't think Captain Janeway should be having a more difficult time ordering her crew around just because they upgraded the weapons and engines, and I would love to know the thinking behind the contrary.

Liberty's Edge Contributor

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In case anyone would like to use them, I created a packet of starship combat "role sheets." Each sheet includes everything the character in that role can do and has blank boxes the player can fill in as a reminder of the DCs for the various actions. I got the idea from another GM as something to hand out to players during Starfinder Society games, but they're useful in my home game, too.

The sheets are up to date with the current DCs, as well as the other changes from the starship combat section of the FAQ.

You can find the sheets here: Starship Role Sheets.pdf

Enjoy!

Sovereign Court

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Stephen McClain 955 wrote:
In our game made it simple replace + 2(3)x Tier with just DC + tier. It makes it harder as you go up in level of ship and takes care of the multiply problem with the DCs going up way too high at higher levels.

After looking at the new FAQ, I think your method is still better.

The problem with even a X1.5 multiplier is that it still scales faster than a PC can keep up with (even with full investment), while the new DCs are more attainable at higher levels, the problem persists that they are still harder at higher levels than they are at level 1.

The old DCs went from challenging to nearly impossible.
The new DCs go from trivial to hard.
I can't call that "fixed".

In my home game I'll be using the original pre-FAQ baseDC + Tier.

I would much rather my PCs go from challenging to trivial with full skill investment, than trivial to challenging with that same investment.

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