Technomancers are the Best Snipers


General Discussion


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Don't believe me? Take a look at the Spellshot Spell Hack that they can pick up at Level 8, which lets them fire a gun once as a part of casting a spell and use the weapon's range rather than the spell's range.

Shirren-Eye Rifles naturally have the best range out of any weapon. Imagine hitting an enemy with an Explosive Blast from 1,000 feet away. Or Dispelling an enemy groups buffs before they even get close to the party. Or, at high levels, terraforming the terrain around your enemy to make their escape all but impossible?

Liberty's Edge

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In addition, they can use empowered weapon to get +1 to +6 attack and +1d6 to +6d6 damage.


What is everyone's fascination with Sniper Rifles? You can't walk into a bar with one. It's likely not going to help you during a corridor fight. What if you are chasing door a mark through colony streets? Give me a Small arms laser rifle any day.


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JetSetRadio wrote:
What is everyone's fascination with Sniper Rifles? You can't walk into a bar with one. It's likely not going to help you during a corridor fight. What if you are chasing door a mark through colony streets? Give me a Small arms laser rifle any day.

It's not like you need to carry one around with you. If you have the fabricate Spell Hack, you can just create a Sniper Rifle whenever you get a chance to pick off someone at 500 feet.

Also, laser rifles aren't small arms. They're longarms.


Honestly the real flaw in Sniper Rifles is the fact that rarely is the extraordinary range required or even warned. Speaking from experiences most combat situations are going to be in alot more confined areas.

I am not arguing that Sniper Rifles and technomancers are really cool. Or that the idea of shooting some one from 1000ft away with a Explosive blast isn't awesome...i am just saying it is rarely the most feasible combat build.


Sniping is totally cool. Being able to rain death down on unsuspecting enemies too far to counterattack is rad as hell.

Unfortunately, it's a tactic that only works in specific situations. Being indoors is a sniper's kryptonite. Pathfinder, and thus Starfinder, tends to be about taking the fight to the enemy, so you're going to be indoors a lot.

Still a cool ability, though. Being able to have Arcing Surge start on an enemy and then go in any direction you want makes it *much* more useful.


Even when the enemies are 20' away, you've still got a reasonably big gun to shoot people if you have your sniper rifle out and ready. There may well be others which would be better, but it's not useless.


Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
avr wrote:
Even when the enemies are 20' away, you've still got a reasonably big gun to shoot people if you have your sniper rifle out and ready. There may well be others which would be better, but it's not useless.

I'm foreseeing where a character will be shooting a rifle, then when the enemy gets into range, runes glow along it and it techno-shapes into a sword, transformers style.


Which reminds me that I have not checked to see what the rules for attacking an unaware target are. Is there some penalty to KAC/EAC, at least?


-2 KAC & EAC if you're flat-footed, no more as I understand it.

Liberty's Edge

Ventnor wrote:
JetSetRadio wrote:
What is everyone's fascination with Sniper Rifles? You can't walk into a bar with one. It's likely not going to help you during a corridor fight. What if you are chasing door a mark through colony streets? Give me a Small arms laser rifle any day.

It's not like you need to carry one around with you. If you have the fabricate Spell Hack, you can just create a Sniper Rifle whenever you get a chance to pick off someone at 500 feet.

Also, laser rifles aren't small arms. They're longarms.

My comment on the attack and damage bonus applies to any weapon and seems odd given the general dearth of similar bonuses.

As for why sniper rifles, if I used one, it would be to hit a target reliably at a significant distance.


With vehicles and starships and plots possibly taking place on a entire planets, its much more likely that longer distances can be found in combat. Hallway crawling in a space station will still make up a large chunk of combat I'd imagine.

But if you need to sneak into/assault a secluded tech lab on an empty planet? Drop off sniper Technomancer on a ridgeline and let the operative sneak in with the support of spotting enemies at a distance and long range cover fire/spells in case of discovery.


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JetSetRadio wrote:
What is everyone's fascination with Sniper Rifles? You can't walk into a bar with one. It's likely not going to help you during a corridor fight. What if you are chasing door a mark through colony streets? Give me a Small arms laser rifle any day.

I'd like to see them stop me.


Shain Edge wrote:
avr wrote:
Even when the enemies are 20' away, you've still got a reasonably big gun to shoot people if you have your sniper rifle out and ready. There may well be others which would be better, but it's not useless.
I'm foreseeing where a character will be shooting a rifle, then when the enemy gets into range, runes glow along it and it techno-shapes into a sword, transformers style.

With a good bayonet and a properly-designed buttstock, a sniper rifle is basically a weighted spear right out of the gate.


Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
Ouachitonian wrote:
Shain Edge wrote:
avr wrote:
Even when the enemies are 20' away, you've still got a reasonably big gun to shoot people if you have your sniper rifle out and ready. There may well be others which would be better, but it's not useless.
I'm foreseeing where a character will be shooting a rifle, then when the enemy gets into range, runes glow along it and it techno-shapes into a sword, transformers style.
With a good bayonet and a properly-designed buttstock, a sniper rifle is basically a weighted spear right out of the gate.

I'd hate to try to reuse it as a precision weapon again after the melee. That sort of action on a rifle like that is going to mess with all of the settings, and hopefully doesn't bend something out of place. At minimum, you are looking to re-sight the optics before you are going to be precise with that weapon again.


Shain Edge wrote:
Ouachitonian wrote:
Shain Edge wrote:
avr wrote:
Even when the enemies are 20' away, you've still got a reasonably big gun to shoot people if you have your sniper rifle out and ready. There may well be others which would be better, but it's not useless.
I'm foreseeing where a character will be shooting a rifle, then when the enemy gets into range, runes glow along it and it techno-shapes into a sword, transformers style.
With a good bayonet and a properly-designed buttstock, a sniper rifle is basically a weighted spear right out of the gate.
I'd hate to try to reuse it as a precision weapon again after the melee. That sort of action on a rifle like that is going to mess with all of the settings, and hopefully doesn't bend something out of place. At minimum, you are looking to re-sight the optics before you are going to be precise with that weapon again.

You could probably get away with it if you can use magic to fix said alignments.

Which technomancers can.


Fair enough IRL. Effectively thousands of years in the future, they might well have made rifles a lot more rugged. Especially if it's a laser weapon with few/no moving parts, that's probably easier than with the ballistic firearms we're dealing with.


I only skimmed equipment so far. How does the action economy work out for using a sniper rifle and casting a spell? I do recall an action is required to get the extended range, is it a move or is the entire aim/shoot a full round?

Ventnor wrote:

Don't believe me? Take a look at the Spellshot Spell Hack that they can pick up at Level 8, which lets them fire a gun once as a part of casting a spell and use the weapon's range rather than the spell's range.

Shirren-Eye Rifles naturally have the best range out of any weapon. Imagine hitting an enemy with an Explosive Blast from 1,000 feet away. Or Dispelling an enemy groups buffs before they even get close to the party. Or, at high levels, terraforming the terrain around your enemy to make their escape all but impossible?


Realistically lasers are delicate since the mirrors and such need to be properly aligned and very specific distances from one another. I'm also used to lasers that are the size of small dining room tables and release 1000 bursts a second. You could see when people walked around the room based on its performance.

Ouachitonian wrote:
Fair enough IRL. Effectively thousands of years in the future, they might well have made rifles a lot more rugged. Especially if it's a laser weapon with few/no moving parts, that's probably easier than with the ballistic firearms we're dealing with.


Richard Krebs wrote:

I only skimmed equipment so far. How does the action economy work out for using a sniper rifle and casting a spell? I do recall an action is required to get the extended range, is it a move or is the entire aim/shoot a full round?

Ventnor wrote:

Don't believe me? Take a look at the Spellshot Spell Hack that they can pick up at Level 8, which lets them fire a gun once as a part of casting a spell and use the weapon's range rather than the spell's range.

Shirren-Eye Rifles naturally have the best range out of any weapon. Imagine hitting an enemy with an Explosive Blast from 1,000 feet away. Or Dispelling an enemy groups buffs before they even get close to the party. Or, at high levels, terraforming the terrain around your enemy to make their escape all but impossible?

Using the Spellshot spell hack lets you do the ranged attack and cast the spell as a part of the same standard action. You can use a move action to use the Sniper Rifle's extended range. So it all works.


Ventnor wrote:
JetSetRadio wrote:
What is everyone's fascination with Sniper Rifles? You can't walk into a bar with one. It's likely not going to help you during a corridor fight. What if you are chasing door a mark through colony streets? Give me a Small arms laser rifle any day.

It's not like you need to carry one around with you. If you have the fabricate Spell Hack, you can just create a Sniper Rifle whenever you get a chance to pick off someone at 500 feet.

Also, laser rifles aren't small arms. They're longarms.

He might have meant small arms as the real world term? but that would include all rifles anyways.


Ouachitonian wrote:
Shain Edge wrote:
avr wrote:
Even when the enemies are 20' away, you've still got a reasonably big gun to shoot people if you have your sniper rifle out and ready. There may well be others which would be better, but it's not useless.
I'm foreseeing where a character will be shooting a rifle, then when the enemy gets into range, runes glow along it and it techno-shapes into a sword, transformers style.
With a good bayonet and a properly-designed buttstock, a sniper rifle is basically a weighted spear right out of the gate.

Ooh, thank you! i havent mentioned how upset i am that the game doesnt support bayonets in a good ling while. Bayonets when!?!


Mind you most modern militaries don't use bayonets. It's easier to just smash people with the butt of your gun than shoot them. Or just shoot them. They were most popular when firearms took a long time to reload so you didn't need to draw a sword if you were in a close quarters fight, but once we started having high capacity magazines their use waned.

That being said, wouldn't want to carry a sniper rifle into a CQC fight. Rather have a weapon that can quickly break down from a sniper rifle into an SMG due to a bit of magic and/or smart materials.


Grave Knight wrote:

Mind you most modern militaries don't use bayonets. It's easier to just smash people with the butt of your gun than shoot them. Or just shoot them. They were most popular when firearms took a long time to reload so you didn't need to draw a sword if you were in a close quarters fight, but once we started having high capacity magazines their use waned.

That being said, wouldn't want to carry a sniper rifle into a CQC fight. Rather have a weapon that can quickly break down from a sniper rifle into an SMG due to a bit of magic and/or smart materials.

Ehhh...from what I understand once people get into melee range it becomes relatively common to use your entrenching tool (shovel) or knife to fight, not using the butt of your gun.

Bayonets were use because it essentially turned your slow firing gun into a spear so you had a decent weapon to use after you fired one shot and the enemy charged you.


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JetSetRadio wrote:
What is everyone's fascination with Sniper Rifles? You can't walk into a bar with one. It's likely not going to help you during a corridor fight. What if you are chasing door a mark through colony streets? Give me a Small arms laser rifle any day.

Uhhh unless you're a Technomancer, in which case, add Phase Shot (or Seeking Shot) to your Spellshot, and now you don't need to chase the mark through colony streets, because your spells phase through (or around) buildings and walls for 1000 feet until they find their mark.

Technomancers are the best snipers.


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thunderbeard wrote:
JetSetRadio wrote:
What is everyone's fascination with Sniper Rifles? You can't walk into a bar with one. It's likely not going to help you during a corridor fight. What if you are chasing door a mark through colony streets? Give me a Small arms laser rifle any day.

Uhhh unless you're a Technomancer, in which case, add Phase Shot (or Seeking Shot) to your Spellshot, and now you don't need to chase the mark through colony streets, because your spells phase through (or around) buildings and walls for 1000 feet until they find their mark.

Technomancers are the best snipers.

You can't combo Phase/Seeking Shot with Spellshot, the former require a standard action, and the latter requires a standard action to cast the spell and gives a free shot to fire the weapon. But you can actually fire a Phase/Seeking Shot at a target "known to you within range" without the ability to actually see it or know its precise location, so LOL if you don't have a Technomancer bodyguard who can cast Resilient Sphere to protect you from (followup shots from) Technomancer sniper assassins. RIP BBEGs, get ready to dodge books from the GM.

Note that Phase/Seeking Shot do combo with Empowered Weapon (+spell level to attack, +d6 spell level to damage) and a Supercharged Weapon spell to maximize that first hit. Either carry a glamored sniper rifle around disguised as a long, thin object or just use Fabricate Arms to create one. Late game it might be worth the feats for proficiency and specialization. Heck, five feats on proficiency (long arms, sniper, heavy weapons) and specialization (versatile specialization) isn't that bad an idea. You get Spell Focus for free, you don't desperately need too many other feats right away.

Looking forward to the Ravindork 14th level Technomancer build who hides in buildings, under illusions, behind wall spells, or in fog while he pumps rounds into targets who can't find him and may not even know he exists.


Xenocrat wrote:
thunderbeard wrote:
JetSetRadio wrote:
What is everyone's fascination with Sniper Rifles? You can't walk into a bar with one. It's likely not going to help you during a corridor fight. What if you are chasing door a mark through colony streets? Give me a Small arms laser rifle any day.

Uhhh unless you're a Technomancer, in which case, add Phase Shot (or Seeking Shot) to your Spellshot, and now you don't need to chase the mark through colony streets, because your spells phase through (or around) buildings and walls for 1000 feet until they find their mark.

Technomancers are the best snipers.

You can't combo Phase/Seeking Shot with Spellshot, the former require a standard action, and the latter requires a standard action to cast the spell and gives a free shot to fire the weapon.

... Which is why you hang out with an Envoy. If they're willing to spend the Resolve, you can get an extra Standard action.

In any case... I'm probably not going Sniper straight away... Mostly because I'm going to grab proficiency with Heavy Weapons first at 5th level.

Maybe for 7th level though. Never know when I'll need to play some weird part in a master plan.

Also thinking I should get Power Armour and Advanced Melee Weapon proficiency... Just in case things get insane.


D4rtagnan wrote:

Honestly the real flaw in Sniper Rifles is the fact that rarely is the extraordinary range required or even warned. Speaking from experiences most combat situations are going to be in alot more confined areas.

I am not arguing that Sniper Rifles and technomancers are really cool. Or that the idea of shooting some one from 1000ft away with a Explosive blast isn't awesome...i am just saying it is rarely the most feasible combat build.

Is that Pathfinder or Starfinder experience you're speaking from there? Pathfinder definitely doesn't get to that kind of range very often, but having been on an SF binge and playing every day for nearly a week now, we've had tons of outdoor and long-range combat (if anything, I wish I'd followed my gut and splurged on a shirren-eye rifle for my operative right away, rather than assuming "Nah, combat's probably mostly going to be in dungeons most of the time").

It's very much been a game of range for us with sniping opportunities abound. Shooting down from catwalks in starship hangars, windows and rooftops to streets below, from a mountain ridge to the enercycle race track passing beneath, from a floating chunk of rock in space to a battle happening upside down on another bit of rock passing by above, to hanging out of an airlock and trying to get that extra bit of action economy to keep up with a swarm of enemy fighters.

We've had, like, one fight that was in someone's office and entirely limited to close-quarters.


Xenocrat wrote:
But you can actually fire a Phase/Seeking Shot at a target "known to you within range" without the ability to actually see it or know its precise location

Oh! This is better than I thought, I had assumed there was some amount of scrying/mechanic with a stealth drone necessary for spotting the target (or just hacking local security cams). I might still rule when I GM that the "approximate location" of the target is necessary.

Luna Protege wrote:


... Which is why you hang out with an Envoy. If they're willing to spend the Resolve, you can get an extra Standard action.

Yep, shoulda mentioned. This also works realllly well with AoE spells at high levels where you can pull that off.

LittleMissNaga wrote:
Is that Pathfinder or Starfinder experience you're speaking from there? Pathfinder definitely doesn't get to that kind of range very often

It can, if your GM's not careful. I played an archery ranger in Mummy's Mask, for instance (1000' effective attack range, paired with a long-distance-happy wizard), and while most of the AP was resolved underground, every single desert combat encounter ended before the enemies could reach us.


thunderbeard wrote:
It can, if your GM's not careful. I played an archery ranger in Mummy's Mask, for instance (1000' effective attack range, paired with a long-distance-happy wizard), and while most of the AP was resolved underground, every single desert combat encounter ended before the enemies could reach us.

SF enemies should have it a little easier, what with ranged weaponry being more ubiquitous. I'll be interested in seeing what sort of ranged options alien critters have, from long-range beams, to more nifty unique powers.

Grand Lodge

Dot for future cheese


D4rtagnan wrote:

Honestly the real flaw in Sniper Rifles is the fact that rarely is the extraordinary range required or even warned. Speaking from experiences most combat situations are going to be in alot more confined areas.

I am not arguing that Sniper Rifles and technomancers are really cool. Or that the idea of shooting some one from 1000ft away with a Explosive blast isn't awesome...i am just saying it is rarely the most feasible combat build.

The thing of it is though... It doesn't require much. You say 'build', but the investment for a sniper technomancer is just two feats (prof and specialization: sniper) Everything else is built into the class, and it combos with a ridiculous number of spells and magic hacks even before you get to spell shot. Plus sniper rifles are on par or slightly better than equivalent level long arms (on par being the crossbolter, which is also unwieldy), which can't be said for small arms (which are rubbish AND penalized heavily by weapon specialization.

You can happily blaze away in the short range firefights, knowing you've got some extra utility, range if the opportunity comes up and a huge toolbox for actually getting in and out of places if things go south.

You'll need a better gun anyway. Why not go sniper?


Guyyys I just realized I've been reading the "Sniper" ability wrong. The best Shirren-eye rifle has a range increment of 1000 ft, meaning you can snipe from.... 10 km away. That's kinda neat.


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Pathfinder Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Why was the word snipers included in this title? Clearly the intent was, "Technomancers are the Best." No? ;)

(Also, 1000' is not 1000m, so you can only snipe from like 3 kilometers away.)

Dark Archive

Why stick with just snipers? With Fabricate Arms you can create any weapon up to your level using a spell slot and are automatically proficient in it. Versatile Specialization gives you specialization damage in any weapon you are proficient in. Get the strength to wield heavy weapons and you can have whatever gun you need, when you need it. High KAC but low EAC, laser rifle; need the range, sniper; swarm of enemies, plasma cannon; damage vulnerability, whatever weapon shoots it.


And now find something to counter this strategy, or NPC Technomancers will have a great time with the characters :)


Because at the end of the day, a soldier with quickdraw and onslaught can get the same weapons out a lot faster, and deal more damage with them, while sniper is where the Technomancer has a real advantage?

Dark Archive

thunderbeard wrote:
Because at the end of the day, a soldier with quickdraw and onslaught can get the same weapons out a lot faster, and deal more damage with them, while sniper is where the Technomancer has a real advantage?

But to cover this level of versatility, the soldier would need to purchase an up-to-level laser rifle and plasma cannon and sniper rifle and a weapon of each other damage type. The soldier will likely be better with any given weapon but the flexibility of having the perfect weapon for whatever your fighting without having to triple your wealth by level could be a huge advantage, especially if monsters have pronounced vulnerabilities and resistances. Plus if it's really that big of a difference you can always hand the gun off to the soldier.


Ouachitonian wrote:
JetSetRadio wrote:
What is everyone's fascination with Sniper Rifles? You can't walk into a bar with one. It's likely not going to help you during a corridor fight. What if you are chasing door a mark through colony streets? Give me a Small arms laser rifle any day.
I'd like to see them stop me.

In which case, the game changes to:

"Instead of the planned adventure, we are playing a running firefight with law enforcement. Again."


Luna Protege wrote:
Xenocrat wrote:
thunderbeard wrote:
JetSetRadio wrote:
What is everyone's fascination with Sniper Rifles? You can't walk into a bar with one. It's likely not going to help you during a corridor fight. What if you are chasing door a mark through colony streets? Give me a Small arms laser rifle any day.

Uhhh unless you're a Technomancer, in which case, add Phase Shot (or Seeking Shot) to your Spellshot, and now you don't need to chase the mark through colony streets, because your spells phase through (or around) buildings and walls for 1000 feet until they find their mark.

Technomancers are the best snipers.

You can't combo Phase/Seeking Shot with Spellshot, the former require a standard action, and the latter requires a standard action to cast the spell and gives a free shot to fire the weapon.
... Which is why you hang out with an Envoy. If they're willing to spend the Resolve, you can get an extra Standard action.

That gives you two separate shots with two separate effects, one phasing, one spell shot. It doesn't allow you to combine the two. Spellshot casts a spell as a standard action and adds the free shot to carry the spell. Phasing Shot fires as a standard action and adds a phasing effect. Doing both separately in the same round doesn't let you combine the effects into a single action.

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