Operative overtuned?


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Erk Ander wrote:

They are.The Mechanic, Mystic And Technomancer get the same insight bonus as the Operative to their areas of expertise (Computers, engineering, mysticism etc) and they are also Int/Wis-focused. Not to mention they get extra abilities to these very skills that the Operator cannot get. So if a Mechanic pushes increases Int the same manner as a Operative increases Dex, the Mechanic will always be better at Int skills such Computers and Engineering.

The Operative is second best at skills that are not Dex-focused. But is plainly beaten in other cases

This is not true at all.

Without looking at ability scores or any other outside factor look at their skills and base bonus.

Operative
lvl: 20
skill points per lvl: 8
20x8: 160
Insight: 6
Total: 166

Mechanic
lvl: 20
skill points per lvl: 4
20x4: 80
Insight: 6
Total: 86
exocortex you also get skill focus

Now which number is higher? 86 or 166? Now yes, the mechanic can get some abilities that boost his hacking abilities and remote hack but the operative can also boost their hacking skills too.

I have played some sessions and am now taking over as DM and I think I am going to drop the operatives skill to 6 and bonus the mechanic to 6. No reason why an Int based class only has 4 skills per level. Technomancer I think is fine since it gets spells.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Noodlemancer wrote:

1) Operative can only make four attacks using Small Arms or Operative Weapons, which deal roughly half the damage of Advanced Melee weapons or Longarms. Thus, those four attacks work out to the equivalent of two attacks with proper weapons, except at lower BAB meaning worse accuracy. It's far from overpowered.

2) Envoy gets a bigger bonus to fewer skills, it makes sense.

3) True.

4) Evasion is nice to have, but not really a game-breaking point. Solarian has a Reflex bonus, thus having stuff for all three saves. Soldier has an overabundance of feats to spend on things like Improved Iron Will, etc. Also, the only things I found on Operative for Fortitude and Will were very situational and minor - it's almost exclusively things like quicker recovery from diseases as far as I could see.

5) Yes, and? Ideally, all classes should be able to compete with spells in utility.

you can build a soldier to have better then -3 / -3 "maybe a solarian" but would need to double check.

and those weapons are better then small arms and op weapons,


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What I like about the operative is that while yes, if you optimize to a crazy degree, the class is powerful. But if you don't, and just want to make the character you want to make, you can. I wanted to make a kasatha detective. My Int is 9 due to my focus being on Dex and wisdom. Yet I can still have ranks in the skills I would need as a former cop-turned-bounty-hunter, shoot like I know what I'm doing, and not be useless socially. It's a very forgiving class if you try to pull off something that would normally make you stretch to the point of other classes breaking


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I think the issue is less that the Operative is overtuned and more that Pathfinder veterans are dealing with shell-shock over the game's rogue not being bottom of the barrel. Though it is kind of odd to see how strong the anti-operative sentiment here given how comparatively tight Starfinder's balance is.

The class is certainly strong and very effective at what it does, but pretty much everything in Starfinder is. The game actually does a pretty good job making most people feel powerful within their wheelhouse. There's a few hiccups of course, Cha-focus can sometimes feel punitive and melee builds have some issues, but those are more edge cases than general problems.


I've reviewed some other threads discussing this and it seems like that the operative is close to being overpowered at lower levels, but that this diminishes at higher levels. At low levels trick attack puts the operative on par with the fighting classes for dpr and when character don't required a maxed skill to complete the task the breadth of the operative is more valuable from a skill money standpoint.

Liberty's Edge

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JetSetRadio wrote:

This is not true at all.

Without looking at ability scores or any other outside factor look at their skills and base bonus.

Operative
lvl: 20
skill points per lvl: 8
20x8: 160
Insight: 6
Total: 166

Mechanic
lvl: 20
skill points per lvl: 4
20x4: 80
Insight: 6
Total: 86
exocortex you also get skill focus

Now which number is higher? 86 or 166? Now yes, the mechanic can get some abilities that boost his hacking abilities and remote hack but the operative can also boost their hacking skills too.

This is very much the wrong way to examine who's good at a particular skill. The Operative is a better skill generalist than anyone else, eventually having almost every skill in the game with max ranks (there's actually a Human build with Int 28 that has all of them at 20th)...but that basically does't matter in most games.

What matters is that, if there's a Mechanic, they're almost certainly better than the Operative at Computers and Engineering, if there's a Mystic they're almost certainly better at their Connection skills, and may well be better at Wis based ones in general, if there's an Envoy they're gonna be flat-out better at the skills they pick, especially the social ones. Heck, for anyone but a Spy or other Cha specialized Operative, a Solarian is likely better at Cha skills. And so on.

Nobody is gonna beat an Operative out on Dex skills for the most part, but aside from that they're usually second best in most individual skills as compared to classes that actually specialize in them. Which was the point of the post you responded to.

JetSetRadio wrote:
I have played some sessions and am now taking over as DM and I think I am going to drop the operatives skill to 6 and bonus the mechanic to 6. No reason why an Int based class only has 4 skills per level. Technomancer I think is fine since it gets spells.

This assumes equal Int, which is pretty much a mistake. Mechanic is highly incentivized to grab Int in a way Operative is not. Only Hacker Operatives are gonna have an Int anywhere near a Mechanic's, for the most part, and if you have a Mechanic in the party why are you playing a Hacker? That's just redundant and gonna result in weirdness.

Now, you could probably give Mechanics more skills without wrecking anything, but they hardly need them, and Operative certainly doesn't need less skills.


Deadmanwalking wrote:

This is very much the wrong way to examine who's good at a particular skill. The Operative is a better skill generalist than anyone else, eventually having almost every skill in the game with max ranks (there's actually a Human build with Int 28 that has all of them at 20th)...but that basically does't matter in most games.

What matters is that, if there's a Mechanic, they're almost certainly better than the Operative at Computers and Engineering, if there's a Mystic they're almost certainly better at their Connection skills, and may well be better at Wis based ones in general, if there's an Envoy they're gonna be flat-out better at the skills they pick, especially the social ones. Heck, for anyone but a Spy or other Cha specialized Operative, a Solarian is likely better at Cha skills. And so on.

Come on. That's not cool to take what I said out of context. I was replying to this
Erk Ander wrote:
The Operative is second best at skills that are not Dex-focused. But is plainly beaten in other cases

This is not true. Now does the Mechanic get some pretty awesome hacking abilities? Yes. I love the mechanic! But if you are going merely on a mechanic and Hacker Operative sitting next to each other hacking the Operative has a higher chance of winning.

I have seen the Operative player make the others in the group feel obsolete and that isn't fun. Having 6 skill points would still make the Operative really good. If everyone thinks it is fine, that's cool. But it has been something complained about in my group after multiple sessions.

Liberty's Edge

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JetSetRadio wrote:
Come on. That's not cool to take what I said out of context. I was replying to this
Erk Ander wrote:
The Operative is second best at skills that are not Dex-focused. But is plainly beaten in other cases
This is not true.

Except that it is, and I didn't take you out of context at all. What Erik was saying is that if you, say, have a Mechanic they're probably gonna be a better hacker and engineer than an Operative. And an Envoy will be better at the skills they focus on, and so on. You responded by saying the Operatie gets more skills per level (true) and that this meant he was wrong (false). I was pointing out your argument's inapplicability in addressing the point you were responding to.

JetSetRadio wrote:
Now does the Mechanic get some pretty awesome hacking abilities? Yes. I love the mechanic! But if you are going merely on a mechanic and Hacker Operative sitting next to each other hacking the Operative has a higher chance of winning.

What? No he doesn't. The Mechanic and Hacker get the exact same bonus from class on Computers (at least from 7th level on), and the Mechanic likely has much better Int and several tricks Operative can't duplicate.

JetSetRadio wrote:
I have seen the Operative player make the others in the group feel obsolete and that isn't fun. Having 6 skill points would still make the Operative really good. If everyone thinks it is fine, that's cool. But it has been something complained about in my group after multiple sessions.

Are you sure you're using the rules correctly? Skill Focus, including that from Operative does not stack with Operative's Edge, and that makes a pretty big difference.

Also, party makeup and relative optimization levels can sometimes have a lot more to do with this sort of problem than any abilities of the Class in question, so I'd be interested to look at the sheets (or summaries thereof), to see if it's really a Class problem.


Do they skill decently? Yes, oh my god yes, they're amazing. However, they are absolutely piss-poor at combat to the point that it actually hurts.


Deranged Stabby-Man wrote:
Do they skill decently? Yes, oh my god yes, they're amazing. However, they are absolutely piss-poor at combat to the point that it actually hurts.

That seems like something you can math to show.

Others have shown, not just stated, quite the opposite. Are you playing at level 15 plus or something?


Deranged Stabby-Man wrote:
Do they skill decently? Yes, oh my god yes, they're amazing. However, they are absolutely piss-poor at combat to the point that it actually hurts.

I am curious about this as well, poor for accuracy or damage?

Comparing against a soldier:

Soldier maxes out at 20 (level)+mod+1 (weapon focus)+1 (laser insight)

An operative maxes out at 15 (level) +mod+2 (weapon focus) and then either an effective +2 from the trick attack or four attacks in a full attack that are at -4 vice the -6 of a soldier's full attack. The operative can get another effective +1 to hit with multi weapon fighting.

Soldier comes out to 22+mod, operative comes out to 20+ability mod.

So when I look at it the Operative is within a few points of the soldier for trick attack or full attack, but they get there by debuffing or reducing their penalties in other places. What am I missing?


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BigNorseWolf wrote:
Deranged Stabby-Man wrote:
Do they skill decently? Yes, oh my god yes, they're amazing. However, they are absolutely piss-poor at combat to the point that it actually hurts.

That seems like something you can math to show.

Others have shown, not just stated, quite the opposite. Are you playing at level 15 plus or something?

Out of curiosity, in your low level damage calculations/comparisons assuming the operative's trick attack is succeeding 100% of the time below 7th? If so, that assumption will skew what the damage output looks like.

Depending on circumstances, a Soldier or Solarian is going to be doing an additional 15% to 120% (yes, more than double) of the damage that a trick attacking Operative would be averaging at low levels.

I've been in SFS fights and watched a ghost operative roll low on their trick attack rolls and not get any bonus damage on their actual attack rolls the entire fight. In the same fights, the Soldier is rolling full attacks half or more of the time (why grab cover when the enemies are shooting the melee guy up front?). Up until the FAQ came out, that Ghost operative had voluntarily lowered her bonus from Ghost on stealth trick attacks to +0 (instead of +4), because of statements made by developers on the forums. Now they are using the +1 from the FAQ.

So lets get into that math.

Maximum bonus for a Ghost specialization at level 1 is going to be 1 Rank + 3 Class Skill + 3 Skill Focus + 4 Dex + 1 Ghost bonus with Stealth = +12 Trick attack. You need to roll 21 to affect a CR 1, or a roll of 9 or higher.

At 3rd, this changes by 1 in favor the Operative as they can get a Dex boost of +2, requiring a roll of 8 or higher. Guaranteed trick attacks don't kick in until 7th, and triple attacks don't kick in until 8th. At low levels (1-6), there's only a 60% to 65% chance of the trick attack bonus kicking in against equal CR, on top of the chance of hitting. Against hard boss type opponents, i.e. CR+3, that drops to 45% to 50% chance of working.

At 1st level, an optimized ghost using a laser pistol (+5 to hit) on a CR 1 combatant (EAC 11) averages with their trick (a move and attack combination):
0.6 (trick worked) * 0.85 * (2.5 + 2.5)
+ 0.4 (trick failed) * 0.75 * 2.5 = 3.3 average damage per round
Against targets in cover, its 2.5

Compared to an Artillery Laser using Sharpshooter Soldier, who with a move action and attack gets 1d10 with +6 to hit at 1st:
5.5 * 0.8 = 4.4
Against targets in cover, its 3.85 (effective +2 to hit against enemies in cover is great).

Except the Soldier also has the option to full attack to increase their damage output:
2*0.6*5.5 = 6.6
Enemies in cover make it 5.5.

We're talking about anywhere from 33% more to 120% more expected damage per round between these builds, depending on circumstance. Is there something I am missing that bumps an Operative up to comparable? In fights with harder enemies (i.e. higher CR enemies) it shifts further in favor of the Soldier. Admittedly against lower CR enemies, it shifts further in favor of the Operative.

In SFS we've just recently hit 3rd level and the Soldier's expected damage output remains significantly higher. I'll use a combatant array CR 3 which has an EAC of 14 for comparison.

The level 3 Operative needs 8 to succeed on trick attack rolls against CR 3, and deals 1d6+1d8+1 on success (static arc pistol), with +8 to hit.
0.65*(3.5+4.5+1)*0.85
+ 0.35*(3.5+1)*0.75 = 6.15375 expected damage per round.

Soldier has +10 to hit and 1d10+3 damage (Laser accuracy with Artillery laser).
0.85*(5.5+3)= 7.225 expected damage per round.

So taking the exact same action, move and shoot, the soldier admittedly only does 17% more on average. On the other hand, the Soldier usually full attacks from the 2nd round onwards. Apparently with a melee character in the party, there's no need to look for cover for the ranged strikers until the melee goes down.

If the Soldier full attacks, its:
2*0.65*(5.5+3) = 11.05 average damage
Or 79% more damage.

So given equal optimization in the Operative and the ranged Soldier builds, I argue Soldier damage is significantly higher than Operative damage at low levels. Sure, if they hit all their trick attacks its comparable between the two, but statistically, that doesn't happen.

Also, my SFS melee Solarian, which is not optimized for damage (only 14 Str at 1st), also brings as much damage to the table as the Operative with a move and attack. +7 to hit with 1d8+7, vs KAC of 16. Averages to 0.6*11.5=6.9. Full attack bumps that to 9.2. That is a typical Solarian that is not really trying to win the DPR Olympics.

An actually optimized melee Solarian build (Str 18 at level 1) would be rolling +9 to hit vs 14 EAC (Flame Doshko) with 1d8+7, so 0.8*11.5= 9.2 with a attack and move (or move, charge). Full attacking once in melee gets 13.8 expected damage per round.

6.1 vs 7.2 and 11
6.1 vs 6.9 and 9.2
6.1 vs 9.2 and 13.8

In my view, those look like significant damage differences at level 3. Anywhere from 13% more using identical actions (move and shoot/attack) to 126% more when full attacking in melee.

Is there a particular thread I should be looking at which significantly differs from these numbers?

Edit: So in final commentary, its not a combat monster like the Soldiers and Solarians, but it does enough to contribute to combat, which is where I think you want the class to be. I'm curious what people think the damage output of the Operative should be, given their out of combat capabilities. In perhaps terms of percentage of Soldier and Solarian damage output.


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While that's true in a theorycrafted scenario, in my experience in the few combats we have played so far, the fact that the Operative can move and attack with trick attack makes a HUGE difference compared to full-attacking, because of cover.
Few players have used full attack in my games so far. Mainly because cover (and total cover that breaks line of sight) are a thing, and I use them a lot to make combats more dynamic and interesting and not just "I full attack until he dies". I agree however that Soldiers, Solarians, and Mechanics do a bit more damage.


I wish they would have made the class skills based off the theme and not the class. If everyone got skills based off their theme it would make the theme so much useful, and get out of the classes that have a billion skill points, especially when you have so few skills in this game.


So oddly enough the soldier designed to shoot through cover... does a good job when shooting through cover. An operative who isn't moving around the cover, oddly enough not doing nearly as well.

Dataphiles

I was running a game yesterday and it is not fun to have an operative in the PC party, they are way too powerful, I even decided to cut some stuff out of them to balance with the other classes, it is just ridiculous


What was the player doing, and what are you pulling to try and compensate?


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I would like to delete all my comments because I was completely wrong about what I wrote. I just want to point out I had no idea what I was talking about. Operative does get a lot of skills compared to other classes but that is fine because they are skill monkeys. After the first few levels they level out and are pretty balanced. I am man enough to admit I can be wrong.

Liberty's Edge

Deranged Stabby-Man wrote:
Do they skill decently? Yes, oh my god yes, they're amazing. However, they are absolutely piss-poor at combat to the point that it actually hurts.

Compared to what? I mean, a Soldier or Solarian does a lot more damage (by 20th level we're talking better than double, as has been mentioned)...but that's not the same as being bad at combat. It's being worse than people actively specialized in combat, which is not the same thing.

Lias kb22c wrote:
I was running a game yesterday and it is not fun to have an operative in the PC party, they are way too powerful, I even decided to cut some stuff out of them to balance with the other classes, it is just ridiculous

Like pantshandshake, I'm curious as to details of what you're talking about here.

JetSetRadio wrote:
I would like to delete all my comments because I was completely wrong about what I wrote. I just want to point out I had no idea what I was talking about. Operative does get a lot of skills compared to other classes but that is fine because they are skill monkeys. After the first few levels they level out and are pretty balanced. I am man enough to admit I can be wrong.

Kudos to you man, it's always hard to admit to being wrong.

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Starfinder Society Subscriber
Deadmanwalking wrote:

An Operative is an excellent skill generalist, and likely better at any skills they have than other people who only dabble in said skill, but real specialists tend to beat them out in non-Dex skills unless they utterly handicap themselves in their primary stat (which is, indeed, Dex).

And, again, they lack spells, do worse in combat than either Solarians or Soldiers, and lack the special abilities of either Envoys or Mechanics. They have a niche, which they are excellent at, but they don't actually tend to overshadow other people in their own areas.

While the above statement is true, that is also something of a potential problem from my point of view. (I have not played in a game with an operative yet, so I will preface this with the DISCLAIMER that I cannot say from experience based on an operative in action.)

If a single player can reasonably be better at 66% (or more) of the skills than any other single character in the party. (66% is based off the fact that [outside of certain Profession rolls, which come up semi-randomly, and thus worth 3%] the highest number of skills for any single stat [int] is 6/19 [just over 30%])

At the same time succeeding 60% (or more) of the skill checks that any other (non-envoy) chosen specialist does in their particular check. (60% if the Operative vs the specialist has a total bonus disparity of +5, including scaling +1 in that stat, which is less common in Starfinder from my experience due to the nature of the point buy). [The Envoy gets a special amount of math in it's Specialization skills, due to the extra die-roll, and eventually choice of re-roll or not, which is more complicated math than this "gut feeling" post covers.]

All of the above makes a single character very solid in combat (as mentioned in previous posts) and still managing to match or beat, almost every skill specialist in the party, in their chosen field, over half the time. All at the same time, without needing to specialize in the exact same way. Is pretty rough in my "on paper" assumptions... Of course, on paper and in-practice don't always line up. So again, just a gut feeling, but with math backing up said feeling.

(Envoy's are already skill monkey enough for my taste, and they are noticeably less capable of matching EVERY other specialist on the party at the same time. However, they are, admittedly, kings of their chosen specializations, with some pretty cool options in combat to boot.)

EDIT: For some spelling, grammar, and minor rewording for better clarification of what I'm saying.


Kitsune Kune wrote:
While the above statement is true, that is also something of a potential problem from my point of view. (I have not played in a game with an operative yet, so I will preface this with the DISCLAIMER that I cannot say from experience based on an operative in action.)

So if you look back at my posts I was heavily against the operative. I said a bunch of stuff that looked at the operative very narrowly. After actually seeing the operative in action at multiple levels I changed my opinion. Before judging the class and assuming I would challenge you to make an operative. Think of a theme, skills, and class features and post it here. Then we can break down what the operative is good at and if it consistently stays a top tier class at all levels.

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Starfinder Society Subscriber
JetSetRadio wrote:
So if you look back at my posts I was heavily against the operative. I said a bunch of stuff that looked at the operative very narrowly. After actually seeing the operative in action at multiple levels I changed my opinion. Before judging the class and assuming I would challenge you to make an operative. Think of a theme, skills, and class features and post it here. Then we can break down what the operative is good at and if it consistently stays a top tier class at all levels.

I noticed you back-pedaled on your opinion, and it gives me hope for that. If you want a sample Operative build, then at what level? Also, what shall we compare it to? Someone who built a character specifically to be better at one or two skills? Or characters people built without the Operative present, for a standard campaign (or even organized play)?

In the interest of truly pushing boundaries, perhaps we choose the levels before-hand, make a party of say, 4 other characters without an Operative, then see if an Operative can be built that can challenge all four of them. (Challenge will of course need to have an agreed upon definition.) Bonus points if said Operative can match or beat a specialist, and still provide a challenge to the others.

Outside of actually playing an Operative (which I sadly don't have time to play more than an occasional SFS game, and one never knows what classes they are going to get in those. I'm a tad too attached to my only character right now to play another.) this would truly be the only way to put a test for the Operative in my opinion. Anyone else up for this bit of communal pushing?

EDIT: Note, I am not flat out baring torch and pitchfork against the Operative. I am simply stating, that on paper, it seems a little too good at too many things for my taste. However this can also all easily change with feats/theme/equipment in the future, so it's not a deal breaker for me. even if I were to be found to be correct. (Which if I am not, I would happily embrace such.) It is also possible, that with things as smoothly balanced in general that they are. Being "75-80% of the best at everything" could still be well within the "swinginess" that can occur in play. At which point, it's completely fine.


So, I haven't seen operatives against other classes on the table yet but from sample builds it always looks like they are within two points of the other major skill classes (Envoy and Mechanic) in all their primary skills with little to no investment. Which seems to encroach a little too much into their design space. Mechanic has it worst since operatives seem to want that int for skill points anyways. I think it is a little problematic but not a major problem.


I made a hilarious "dumb operative," a kasatha Spacefarer-themed character with 8 intelligence. With the Jack of All Trades exploit and Jack of All Trades and Eager Dabbler theme powers, you can get a roll, even untrained, on *any* skill with a bonus of double your Operative's Edge bonus, plus 2. So a level 20 Operative who never increased its Intelligence past 8 would still get a base +20 in every skill, and then have nine skills with much higher bonuses.

Of course, by that point, a /smart/ Operative would likely have ranks in every skill and probably higher bonuses, and the DCs they are facing will be between 30 and 50, making that untrained +20 not so attractive.

But it is still funny.


Kitsune Kune wrote:
I noticed you back-pedaled on your opinion, and it gives me hope for that. If you want a sample Operative build, then at what level? Also, what shall we compare it to? Someone who built a character specifically to be better at one or two skills? Or characters people built without the Operative present, for a standard campaign (or even organized play)?

Think of a cool concept. Something fun you would like to play as. My buddy chose a lashunta/operative that is a streamer. If I would make one I would pick a shirren/assassin that has little respect for life.

Make it at the key levels of 1, 5, 10, 15, 20?

Kitsune Kune wrote:
In the interest of truly pushing boundaries, perhaps we choose the levels before-hand, make a party of say, 4 other characters without an Operative, then see if an Operative can be built that can challenge all four of them. (Challenge will of course need to have an agreed upon definition.) Bonus points if said Operative can match or beat a specialist, and still provide a challenge to the others.

We could do either. I think the first one would be slightly funnier because you are making a character you would play instead of just comparing numbers.


Kitsune Kune wrote:


In the interest of truly pushing boundaries, perhaps we choose the levels before-hand, make a party of say, 4 other characters without an Operative, then see if an Operative can be built that can challenge all four of them. (Challenge will of course need to have an agreed upon definition.) Bonus points if said Operative can match or beat a specialist, and still provide a challenge to the others.

I actually have a party of 4 Soldiers I've been playing around with, seeing what one can do with a mono-class team, and how well one can differentiate them.

So here's a team of four coordinated 7th level Soldiers. A military commando squad effectively. Bear in mind, this is a group made up of the class worst at skills in the game. On the other hand, swapping an Operative for one of these Soldiers effectively means a drop in combat capability. Note the Bombard has 1 flash grenade per fight (AoE Blindness 1d4 rounds = AoE flat footed 1d4 rounds) and Sonic Resonance (sonic damage causes 1 target per hit to be flat footed for a turn).

Their starship skills are: Piloting +22, Diplomacy +19, Computers +18, Engineering +18 or +14, Intimidate +14, Gunnery +11 to +13

Full skill list:

Acrobatics +16
Athletics +14 (16 out of heavy armor)
Bluff +14
Computers +18
Culture +15
Diplomacy +19
Engineering +18
Intimidate +14
Life Science +15
Medicine +15
Mysticism +13
Perception +16
Piloting +22
Physical Science +15
Profession (Bounty Hunter) +13
Sense Motive +13
Stealth +16
Survival +15

They are missing Sleight of Hand and Disguise, but in my head I had been writing them up as some kind of military commandos and those skills didn't seem to make sense for such a group. Could be easily tweaked to add them.

Anyways, here are the stat blocks in spoiler tags:

The Face (Pilot):

Korasha Ace Pilot Sharpshooter Soldier 7th

Medium Humanoid (Lashunta)
Init +6; Senses Darkvision 60 feet ; Perception +0

Defense ST/HP/RP: 49/53/9
EAC: 23; KAC 24
Fort: +5; Ref +8; Wil +5;
Defensive Abilities: DR 3/-; +4 AC vs AoO due to movement

Offense
Speed: Land 30 ft; Fly 30 ft
Melee: Survival Knife +13, 1d4+3
Ranged: Corona Artillery Laser +15, 2d8+7 F; crit Burn 1d6, 120 ft
Offensive Abilities: Anchoring Arcana (save DC 19 or no move 1d4 turns), Focused Fire (Full attack same target only -3 to hit), Sniper's Aim (cover provides 2 less AC)

Statistics
Str 13(+1);Dex 23(+6); Con 10(+0); Int 10 (+0); Wis 10 (+0); Cha 18 (+4)

Skills: Diplomacy +19; Intimidate +14; Bluff +14; Piloting +22

Special Abilities: Sharpshooter Fighting Style, Sniper's Aim, Focus Fire, Laser Accuracy, Anchoring Arcana, Daze (at will, DC 13), Psychokinetic Hand (at will), Detect Thoughts (1/day, DC 14), Limited Telepathy (30 ft), Student (Diplomacy, Piloting), Theme Knowledge, Lone Wolf

Feats: Skill Syndery (Diplomacy and Bluff), Skill Focus (Diplomacy), Enhanced Resistance (Physical), Skill Focus (Piloting)
Bonus Feats: Weapon Focus: Heavy Weapons, Mobility, Shot on the Run

Equipment: D-suit II (6,900),Corona Artillery Laser (4,650), Survival Knife (95), Personal Upgrade +4 Dex (6,500), Personal Upgrade +2 Cha (1,400), Jetpack (3,100), Infrared Sensors (200)
Spent:22,845/23,000

The Tech Specialist (Science Officer/Engineer/Gunner):

Android Scholar Sharpshooter Soldier 7th

Medium Humanoid (Android)
Init +6; Senses Darkvision 60 feet and Low-light vision ; Perception +1

Defense ST/HP/RP: 49/53/9
EAC: 23; KAC 24
Fort: +5; Ref +8; Wil +6;
Defensive Abilities: Barricade, Kip Up

Offense
Speed: Land 30 ft
Melee: Survival Knife +13, 1d4+3
Ranged: Tactical X-gen Gun +14, 2d10+9 P, 90 ft
Offensive Abilities: Anchoring Arcana (save DC 19 or no move 1d4 turns), Focused Fire (Full attack same target only -3 to hit), Sniper's Aim (cover provides 2 less AC)

Statistics
Str 13(+1);Dex 23(+6); Con 10 (+0); Int 20 (+5); Wis 12 (+1); Cha 8 (-1)

Skills: +16 Acrobatics, +11 Athletics, +15 Physical Science, +15 Life Science, +18 Computers, +18 Engineering, +15 Medicine, +15 Culture, +16 Stealth

Special Abilities: Sharpshooter Fighting Style, Sniper's Aim, Focus Fire, Bullet Barrage, Anchoring Arcana, Constructed, Exceptional Vision, Flat Affect, Upgrade Slot , Theme Knowledge (Physical Science), Tip of the Tongue

Feats: Skill Syndery (Life Science and Computers), Skill Synergy (Culture and Stealth), Skill Focus (Computers), Skill Focus (Engineering)
Bonus Feats: Weapon Focus: Heavy Weapons, Barricade, Kip Up

Equipment: D-suit II (6,900),Tactical Reaction Cannon (6,100), Survival Knife (95), Personal Upgrade +4 Dex (6,500), Personal Upgrade +2 Int (1,400), Advanced Medkit (Group Purchase - 2,005 + 155 + 500 + 40 )
Spent:20,995/23,000

Mystical Monster Hunter and Demolitions (Engineer/Gunner):

Human Bounty Hunter Bombard Soldier 7th

Medium Humanoid (Human)
Init +5;Senses Normal ; Perception +16

Defense ST/HP/RP: 49/53/9
EAC: 22; KAC 24
Fort: +5; Ref +8; Wil +6;
Defensive Abilities: DR 3/-;

Offense
Speed: Land 30 ft
Melee: LFD Pulse Gauntlet +12, 2d6+12 B & So; Crit Knockdown
Ranged: Thunderstrike Screamer +13-2, 1d10+10 So, 30 ft, Crit Deafen, Blast, Unwieldy
Flash Grenade II, +12, DC 18 Reflex Save or be blinded 1d4 turns, 10 foot radius, 40 ft thrown
Offensive Abilities: Sonic Resonance (Closest target damaged by sonic flat-footed 1 round, no save)

Statistics
Str 18(+4);Dex 20(+5); Con 11 (+0); Int 12 (+1); Wis 16 (+3); Cha 10 (+0)

Skills: +14 Engineering, +13 Mysticism, +16 Perception, +13 Sense Motive, +15 Survival, +13 Profession (Bounty Hunter)

Special Abilities: Bombard Fighting Style, Grenade Expert, Heavy Fire, Brutal Blast, Sonic Resonance

Feats: Skill Synergy (Perception and Sense Motive), Skill Synergy (Mysticism and Survival), Skill Focus: Engineering, Skill Focus: Engineering Enhanced Resistance (Physical), Skill Focus: Perception
Bonus Feats: Quick Draw, Weapon Focus: Heavy Weapons, Versatile Weapon Focus

Equipment: Vesk Overplate I (3,910), Thunderstrike Screamer (3,350), LFD Pulse Gauntlet (7,340), Flash Grenade II (Free), Personal Upgrade +4 Dex (6,500), Personal Upgrade +2 Str (1,400)
Spent:22,500/23,000

Melee Monster (Gunner):

Vesk Mercenary Blitz Soldier

Medium Humanoid (Vesk)
Init +8;Senses Low-light ; Perception +0

Defense ST/HP/RP: 49/53/9
EAC: 24; KAC 27
Fort: +5; Ref +8; Wil +6;
Defensive Abilities: DR 3/-;

Offense
Speed: Land 35 ft, Flight 25 ft
Melee: Wrack Devastation Blade +14 2d8+16 S
Ranged: Called Starknife +14, 1d4+13, 20 ft thrown
Offensive Abilities: Charge Attack

Statistics
Str 23(+6);Dex 18(+4); Con 15 (+2); Int 10 (+0); Wis 10 (+0); Cha 10 (+0)

Skills: +15 Athletics, +14 Acrobatics, +10 Perception, +10 Profession (Mercenary)

Special Abilities: Blitz Fighting Style, Rapid Response, Charge Attack

Feats: Skill Synergy (Acrobatics and Perception), Weapon Focus: Advanced Melee, Enhanced Resistance, Mobility
Bonus Feats: Coordinated Shot, Step Up, Step Up and Strike

Equipment: Golemforged Plating III (5,500), Wrack Devastation Blade (5,500), Called Starknife (230), Personal Upgrade +4 Str (6,500), Personal Upgrade +2 Dex (1,400), Jetpack (3,100)
Spent:22,230/23,000

Edit: I guess the challenge would be equal to the Face character's Piloting and Diplomacy (highest specialist), while maintaining damage output similar to a Soldier, and keeping your starship skills up to snuff (+18 Computers/Engineering).


Hiruma Kai wrote:


So here's a team of four coordinated 7th level Soldiers.

Cool idea, though I notice that a few of your squad members have too many non-combat feats. Unfortunately you can't take Skill Synergy or Skill Focus with your bonus Soldier feats.


3 bonus feats for the soldier
Lvl 1 feat
Lvl 3 feat
Lvl 5 feat
Lvl 7 feat.

Seems like they are all accounted for.


JetSetRadio wrote:

3 bonus feats for the soldier

Lvl 1 feat
Lvl 3 feat
Lvl 5 feat
Lvl 7 feat.

Seems like they are all accounted for.

The Tech Specialist has Skill Synergy twice, Skill Focus twice, and...

Er, wait, 1/3/5/7? Did the feat progression change from 1 per 3 levels (3.5E legacy) to 1 per 2 levels?

I swear, if I missed that... I'm going to have to re-do a ton of progression charts...


JetSetRadio wrote:

3 bonus feats for the soldier

Lvl 1 feat
Lvl 3 feat
Lvl 5 feat
Lvl 7 feat.

Seems like they are all accounted for.

He's right, I made an editing mistake (copy and paste fail) on Mystical Monster hunter. I should have dropped Enhanced Resistance, and Skill Focus Engineering shouldn't have been listed twice:

Skill Synergy (Perception and Sense Motive), Skill Synergy (Mysticism and Survival), Skill Focus: Engineering, Skill Focus: Engineering Enhanced Resistance (Physical), Skill Focus: Perception

Should have been:
Skill Synergy (Perception and Sense Motive), Skill Synergy (Mysticism and Survival), Skill Focus: Engineering, Skill Focus: Perception

and the DR 3/- dropped from the sheet. This doesn't actually change the skill bonuses.

Edit: On second thought, the character sheet was right other than the duplicate Skill Focus Engineering. Human + level 7 = 5 normal feats. So it should be:

Skill Synergy (Perception and Sense Motive), Skill Synergy (Mysticism and Survival), Skill Focus: Engineering, Enhanced Resistance (Physical), Skill Focus: Perception

Looks like I also messed up the saving throws and hit points on the last two.

Should have been Fort +5/ Ref +7/ Wil +8 and Fort +7/Ref +6/Wil +5. Similarly ST/HP/RP should have been 49/53/8 and 63/55/9.

This is what I get for throwing up what I happened to have written down without an editing pass.

Dracomicron wrote:

The Tech Specialist has Skill Synergy twice, Skill Focus twice, and...

Er, wait, 1/3/5/7? Did the feat progression change from 1 per 3 levels (3.5E legacy) to 1 per 2 levels?

I swear, if I missed that... I'm going to have to re-do a ton of progression charts...

Page 26 of the core rule book. :)


Hiruma Kai wrote:


Dracomicron wrote:

The Tech Specialist has Skill Synergy twice, Skill Focus twice, and...

Er, wait, 1/3/5/7? Did the feat progression change from 1 per 3 levels (3.5E legacy) to 1 per 2 levels?

I swear, if I missed that... I'm going to have to re-do a ton of progression charts...

Page 26 of the core rule book. :)

Serves me right for making assumptions. *facepalm* At least my highest level character is only 3rd and wasn't affected by my foolishness yet.

Well, it's Friday, I'll have time to revisit all my progression charts this weekend...


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In the interest of testing the challenge, the following is the best operative I can come up with to face off against the "Face" Pilot. In order to keep up, the Operative needs the +2 racial skill bonuses, and thus needs to be Lashunta (or some as yet uncreated race that has a racial bonus to Piloting and Diplomacy and appropriate stat bonuses).

Lashunta (Damaya) Ace Pilot Ghost Operative:
Lashunta (Damaya) Ace Pilot Ghost Operative

Starting stats:
Str 10 Dex 18 Con 10 Int 12 Wis 8 Cha 14
Upgrades Dex>Cha>Int>Wis/Con

Student -> Diplomacy, Piloting

Starting Skills:
Acrobatics
Bluff
Computers
Culture
*Diplomacy
Engineering
Intimidate
Medicine
Perception
Piloting
Stealth

Level 1 Feat: Skill Synergy (Diplomacy and Physical Science)
Level 2 Exploit: Combat Trick: Weapon Focus
Level 3 Feat: Skill Focus (Diplomacy)
Level 5 Feat: Skill Focus (Piloting)
Level 7 Feat: Now start taking other combat feats

So comparing the fundamental skills leveling up, in this case Piloting, Diplomacy, Computers and Engineering between the Pilot as well as the rest of the team, with an eye to beat the Face Pilot.

Skill comparison:
Operative vs Soldiers
Level 1: Piloting +12 (O) vs +11 (S), Diplomacy +9 vs +8, Int Skills +6 vs +7
Level 2: Piloting +13 vs +12, Diplomacy +10 vs +9, Int Skills +7 vs +8
Level 3: Piloting +16 vs +14, Diplomacy +13 vs +13, Int Skills +9 vs +9
Level 4: Piloting +17 vs +15, Diplomacy +14 vs +14, Int Skills +10 vs +10
Level 5: Piloting +19 vs +19, Diplomacy +16 vs +16, Int Skills +12 vs +12/+15
Level 6: Piloting +20 vs +20, Diplomacy +17 vs +17, Int Skills +13 vs +13/+16
Level 7: Piloting +22 vs +22, Diplomacy +19 vs +19, Int Skills +15 vs +18
Level 8: Piloting +23 vs +23, Diplomacy +20 vs +20, Int Skills +16 vs +19
Level 9: Piloting +24 vs +24, Diplomacy +21 vs +21, Int Skills +17 vs +20
Level 10: Piloting +26 vs +26, Diplomacy +23 vs +23, Int Skills +19 vs +21
Level 11: Piloting +28 vs +27, Diplomacy +25 vs +24, Int Skills +21 vs +22
Level 12: Piloting +29 vs +28, Diplomacy +26 vs +25, Int Skills +22 vs +23
Level 13: Piloting +30 vs +29, Diplomacy +27 vs +26, Int Skills +23 vs +24
Level 14: Piloting +32 vs +31, Diplomacy +29 vs +28, Int Skills +25 vs +26
Level 15: Piloting +34 vs +32, Diplomacy +31 vs +29, Int Skills +28 vs +28
Level 16: Piloting +35 vs +33, Diplomacy +32 vs +30, Int Skills +29 vs +29
Level 17: Piloting +36 vs +34, Diplomacy +33 vs +31, Int Skills +30 vs +30
Level 18: Piloting +37 vs +35, Diplomacy +34 vs +32, Int Skills +31 vs +31
Level 19: Piloting +39 vs +36, Diplomacy +36 vs +33, Int Skills +33 vs +32
Level 20: Piloting +41 vs +38, Diplomacy +38 vs +35, Int Skills +34 vs +33

So looking at Piloting:
Operative on average has a +0.6 piloting advantage levels 1-10
Operative on average has a +1.2 piloting advantage levels 1-20

Looking at Diplomacy:
Operative on average has a +0.2 diplomacy advantage levels 1-10
Operative on average has a +1.0 diplomacy advantage levels 1-20

In terms of computers (thus a different specialist):
Operative on average has a -1.9 computers levels 1-10
Operative on average has a -1.05 computers levels 1-20

In terms of Engineering (again a different specialist):
Operative on average has a -1.2 engineering levels 1-10
Operative on average has a -0.7 engineering levels 1-20

In summary, when averaged overall levels 1-10, the Operative has less than a 0.2 or 0.6 bonus over the Soldier in terms of the specialized skills. Even if you average over the entire carreers of players from level 1-20, the Operative has about a +1 point advantage. And in order to do so, he can't actually keep up with the Int specialized Soldier for Computers and Engineering.

So the Operative can meet or beat the face Soldier, but only by the thinest of margins. And that's comparing an Operative, a skills specialist, to a Soldier. The Soldier is going to outdo them in combat.

They can't actually meet the bonus part of the challenge, namely beating all the specialties of the other Soldiers.

In the computer/engineering comparison, levels 1-10, the Operative is behind by 1-2 points. Going all the way from 1-20 helps, but still puts the Operative behind by 0.7 to 1.0 points. Choices which beef up the Int skills will necessarily cause the Diplomacy or Piloting to fall behind and lose out to Face Pilot (I.e. prioritizing Int over Cha for example).

I pose a question to those who consider the Operative overtuned because of skill rolls: If a party of 4 Operatives is overtuned because of skills, what does that make a party of 4 soldiers that is competitive (within 1-2 points) with that party of Operatives in terms of skills?

Dataphiles

Kitsune Kune wrote:
Deadmanwalking wrote:

An Operative is an excellent skill generalist, and likely better at any skills they have than other people who only dabble in said skill, but real specialists tend to beat them out in non-Dex skills unless they utterly handicap themselves in their primary stat (which is, indeed, Dex).

And, again, they lack spells, do worse in combat than either Solarians or Soldiers, and lack the special abilities of either Envoys or Mechanics. They have a niche, which they are excellent at, but they don't actually tend to overshadow other people in their own areas.

While the above statement is true, that is also something of a potential problem from my point of view. (I have not played in a game with an operative yet, so I will preface this with the DISCLAIMER that I cannot say from experience based on an operative in action.)

If a single player can reasonably be better at 66% (or more) of the skills than any other single character in the party. (66% is based off the fact that [outside of certain Profession rolls, which come up semi-randomly, and thus worth 3%] the highest number of skills for any single stat [int] is 6/19 [just over 30%])

At the same time succeeding 60% (or more) of the skill checks that any other (non-envoy) chosen specialist does in their particular check. (60% if the Operative vs the specialist has a total bonus disparity of +5, including scaling +1 in that stat, which is less common in Starfinder from my experience due to the nature of the point buy). [The Envoy gets a special amount of math in it's Specialization skills, due to the extra die-roll, and eventually choice of re-roll or not, which is more complicated math than this "gut feeling" post covers.]

All of the above makes a single character very solid in combat (as mentioned in previous posts) and still managing to match or beat, almost every skill specialist in the party, in their chosen field, over half the time. All at the same time, without needing to specialize in the exact same way. Is...

Sorry didn't log for a few weeks, so operative ghost speciality has a +15 on trick attack on level 1 (1 rank, dex +4, operative skill focus +2, class skill +3, Operative edge +1, +4 on trick attack skill check) It means that without any experience you get +15 a(75% chance) every rounds. I find it very unbalance.

Maybe it is just me, as I play on my adventure, the other class takes a shadow role ecept in nego and combat.

It is just my point of view ( i took out the +4 on trick attack check)


If you look at the FAQ from Paizo, they changed the ghost specialty so stealth only gets a +1 for trick attack

Also, Skill Focus and Operative's Edge are both insight bonuses, so they do not stack... though you calculated skill focus at +2, whereas it's +3, so those things balanced out.

So with the changes to Ghost Specialization, your bonus to trick attack would be +12, not +15... so a 60% chance. Seems fair to me.

Keep in mind an operative with a regular attack is doing only 1d4 or 1d6 (using small arms) of damage. Compare that to say... a soldier with a heavy weapon doing 1d10. Even with the trick attack, the operative is doing 2d4 or 1d6 + 1d4... total maximum possible is 10, the same as the soldier, who has a higher BaB than the operative.

So, the operative has to roll to see if the trick attack works, and then roll again to see if the attack hits (at a lower chance than the soldier if not for the fact that the target is flat-footed for the attack). If BOTH hit, they can potentially do the same damage as the soldier with the heavy weapon, who needs to only roll once and has a higher chance to hit if there is an envoy who can make the target flat-footed. If only the trick attack succeeds, the operative does nothing. If the trick attack fails, but the attack succeeds, the operative does 1d4 or 1d6 - not that impressive.

Eventually, the operative gets debilitating effects that he can add to the trick attack to make it more fun and diverse, but before that, the soldier is definitely ahead in terms of combat. Thus, it is most certainly not "very unbalanced".

Melee soldiers and solarians are even further ahead, in terms of damage, since they add their strength modifiers. Technomancers have the capability of doing like 5d6 damage in one attack, if they choose to utilize supercharge weapon.

Overall, I think Starfinder is fairly balanced. Operatives are certainly skill-monkies, but they aren't leaps and bounds ahead of everyone else, falling behind specialized characters in certain roles, and they are only in the middle in terms of combat damage. *shrug*


Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Ecliptic12 wrote:

If you look at the FAQ from Paizo, they changed the ghost specialty so stealth only gets a +1 for trick attack

Also, Skill Focus and Operative's Edge are both insight bonuses, so they do not stack... though you calculated skill focus at +2, whereas it's +3, so those things balanced out.

So with the changes to Ghost Specialization, your bonus to trick attack would be +12, not +15... so a 60% chance. Seems fair to me.

Keep in mind an operative with a regular attack is doing only 1d4 or 1d6 (using small arms) of damage. Compare that to say... a soldier with a heavy weapon doing 1d10. Even with the trick attack, the operative is doing 2d4 or 1d6 + 1d4... total maximum possible is 10, the same as the soldier, who has a higher BaB than the operative.

So, the operative has to roll to see if the trick attack works, and then roll again to see if the attack hits (at a lower chance than the soldier if not for the fact that the target is flat-footed for the attack). If BOTH hit, they can potentially do the same damage as the soldier with the heavy weapon, who needs to only roll once and has a higher chance to hit if there is an envoy who can make the target flat-footed. If only the trick attack succeeds, the operative does nothing. If the trick attack fails, but the attack succeeds, the operative does 1d4 or 1d6 - not that impressive.

Eventually, the operative gets debilitating effects that he can add to the trick attack to make it more fun and diverse, but before that, the soldier is definitely ahead in terms of combat. Thus, it is most certainly not "very unbalanced".

Melee soldiers and solarians are even further ahead, in terms of damage, since they add their strength modifiers. Technomancers have the capability of doing like 5d6 damage in one attack, if they choose to utilize supercharge weapon.

Overall, I think Starfinder is fairly balanced. Operatives are certainly skill-monkies, but they aren't leaps and bounds ahead of everyone else,...

I did not see the FAQ at +12 with an 18 on dex ,it makes way more sense, thanks

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