Best Starting Longarm


Advice


So what is the best starting longarm for a sharpshooter soldier? Give me your reasoning for or against each.

I'm currently leaning toward the Acid Dart rifle as it basically has a fusion backed in, is level 2 so it can take more fusions later and is analog. Against it are cost, ammo cost, and it is a kinetic weapon.

Liberty's Edge

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Well, you've already listed the qualities of the Acid Dart Rifle, but let's do this formally:

Acid Dart Rifle:

-Pros: Does two damage types, can take more Fusions,
-Cons: Targets KAC, lowest range, highest price,

Hunting Rifle:

-Pros: Lowest price of any of the options by a lot.
-Cons: No critical effect, lowest ammo, targets KAC.

Azimuth Laser Rifle:

-Pros: Targets EAC, best critical effect, best range, best ammo, inherent laser advantages (forcefields don't apply),
-Cons: inherent laser disadvantages (smoke acting as cover, can't target invisible stuff, etc.)

The other available weapons at that level are either not rifles, or are very specialized (the needler rifle is a poison/drug dispenser, while the autotarget rifle is an automatic weapon...neither are as good as the above outside their special quality).

Personally, I'd argue that the azimuth laser rifle is best, but the acid dart rifle definitely has stuff to recommend it, and the Hunting Rifle is excellent if you're working on a budget (as, say, a real switch hitter).


What about the pulse caster rifle? It's super cheap to buy, but it also requires a very expensive battery if you want backup, and only does non lethal

Liberty's Edge

baggageboy wrote:
What about the pulse caster rifle? It's super cheap to buy, but it also requires a very expensive battery if you want backup, and only does non lethal

That'd fall under specialty weapons like the needler and autotarget rifles. They're each your only real choice for their special ability (nonlethal damage in the case of the pulsecaster), but all do only 1d6 damage, have worse range, and are generally inferior aside from that one thing.


a 1st level buy keep-until-about-12th-level weapon is the utility scattergun with a trailblazer fusion. Cost: 356 cr.

Pros damage die is less important that it being an affordable AoE for dealing with swarms and similar critters. When longarm weapon specialization is either selected or unlocked you add that additional damage in full to all targets in the cone. Deadly Aim works with it without issue, against all targets in the cone. Tack on a soldier's Brutal Blast gear boost and it gets messy in a hurry. Starts coming into its own at 3rd level for Soldiers, gets positively nasty at BAB +6 onward with Deadly Aim. Fires to full effect underwater and is effective in a variety of environmental conditions.

Cons only holds 4 shells; 1d4 damage die; cannot add further fusions.

Liberty's Edge

The scattergun is not a bad idea at all, but the terrible range and damage make it more likely to be a backup weapon than a primary one, especially before 3rd level.

It is, however, quite affordable as a backup by 2nd level or so.


Deadmanwalking wrote:

The scattergun is not a bad idea at all, but the terrible range and damage make it more likely to be a backup weapon than a primary one, especially before 3rd level.

It is, however, quite affordable as a backup by 2nd level or so.

I like it for just that purpose, especially in the hands of anyone sporting weapon specialization with longarms. Even moreso with Deadly Aim. Sometimes you gotta go scattergun fishin'. ;)


I have been pondering to myself the debate of dart ride vs laser ride and I think there's a couple of things to consider at level 1 and 2.

KAC:
The laser rifle has an advantage here, but I'm not sure how much of an advantage this is a lower levels. From what I remember at lower levels this translates to typically 1 AC difference. So 5% difference in hit chance.

Force Fields:
The laser rifle ignores these which is potentially a pretty big advantage. However I don't expect these to show up often if at all at these low levels.

Smoke:
This is detrimental to both, but really shuts down lasers pretty hard. I feel like this will be fairly prevalent at low levels.

Ammo:
The laser rifles advantage here is in capacity and economics. However darts can barely made with different materials to deal with incidental DR and fusions can be placed on ammo for cheaper then a gun. However the advantages of ammo in this regard and not likely to be needed at low levels.

Damage Type:
The dart rifle offers two types which allows for a lot of options once a fusion as added as either type can be replaced by a fusion's damage type. Also I expect fire from the laser to be a more common resistance. However I don't expect at low levels damage type resistance to be an issue.

I still haven't decided, but what do you guys think of my analysis? Did I miss anything?

Liberty's Edge

KAC varies by up to 2 points from EAC even at that level. The CR 1 Space Pirate has an 11/13 AC.

And we have no idea how common Fire Resistance is gonna be since we lack a Bestiary.

Other than that, yeah, I think what you said covers it.

Liberty's Edge

Pulsecaster Rifle. Cheap and does enough for level 1.


Noven wrote:
Pulsecaster Rifle. Cheap and does enough for level 1.

But that only deals nonlethal damage.


That's not even the real problem with the pluses caster for a level 1 or 2 character is the reloading cost. An extra battery is 330 crazy and a charge (if you don't have a ship yet) is 185cr! For a level 1 character the that is crazy. If you have a ship this is bearable, but is still pretty expensive as anything but a backup or specialty gun because of battery costs. You can't afford more than 1 backup...


If you have a Technomancer in your party, a Utility Scattergun is a decent choice to mix with Supercharge Weapon. That said, as a standard weapon, it's otherwise kinda "meh" unless you're fighting a lot of things at once.

I'd make a case for Flame Rifle. Range isn't outstanding, but it targets EAC, isn't inhibited by normal energy problems this early (laser, nonlethal, etc.) is decent damage for an energy weapon, has a good critical effect, and has the Line ability, making it good for AoE. I think it's a good weapon for close-quarters combat, or in areas with lots of cover (where enemies will tend to huddle up behind) - particularly with Sniper's Aim from Sharpshooter.

While it's Unwieldy, I feel like you're not going to make full-attacks as often at early levels anyway, given doing so not only leaves you out in the open but also drastically reduces your chance to hit (what, +2 at best with max stat and weapon focus at level 1? Even against EAC that's going to be a coin-flip in most cases). Plus the AoE I think makes up for its Unwieldy property.

I'd certainly replace it pretty soon, but the first chance you get to replace it opens up a lot of other weapon options anyway.

I think overall it depends on your situation, though. Weapons in Starfinder seem to be situational, with all options being good depending on circumstance, rather than there being a "best in class" weapon.

Liberty's Edge

baggageboy wrote:
That's not even the real problem with the pluses caster for a level 1 or 2 character is the reloading cost. An extra battery is 330 crazy and a charge (if you don't have a ship yet) is 185cr! For a level 1 character the that is crazy. If you have a ship this is bearable, but is still pretty expensive as anything but a backup or specialty gun because of battery costs. You can't afford more than 1 backup...

You can use a cheaper battery in the gun.

As for it only doing non-lethal, that is good enough for level 1, especially if you don't want to murder hobo everything.


The pulsecaster rifle has a typo - it should have a capacity of 20.


That is a good point regarding the pulse caster being able to use the cheaper batteries. I hadn't realized that was possible. It definitely makes it a contender based mostly on cost as it becomes pretty much the cheapest starting longarm then.

I looked at the flame rifle, but I feel that it's ammo usage would be pretty tough to manage at level 1 or 2. Also in my guy's case in particular the extra bulk is prohibitive. Still it is an option I hadn't considered and it does have merit.


Here's a question relating specifically to the pulse caster. Are constructs immune to non-lethal damage? I can see in the starfinder setting constructs being a lot more common and if your gun is shut down hard by a common threat that would be problematic.


One imagines that anything without a Con score is not subject to non-lethal damage. We won't know until sometime in October.

Scarab Sages

With the change to nonlethal damage I don't see any reason why a construct would be immune to it. Nonlethal damage is exactly the same as lethal damage, but it will never kill you if it drops you to 0 hp.


Ventnor wrote:
Noven wrote:
Pulsecaster Rifle. Cheap and does enough for level 1.
But that only deals nonlethal damage.

Honestly in starfinder nonlethal is not bad at all. It basically works just like all other damage normally except for the final killing point. If the enemy is lying on the ground ko'ed you can kill them or not as you want. And anybody else shooting at them finishes them off basically.


As for non lethal vs constructs damage I did not see anything in my first read through of the rules that would indicate constructs are immune to non lethal damage. It seems like they are kinda like the stun weapons in starwars effective for both living people and droids.

This may change with the alien book but for now there does not seem to be anything I have seen that calls out constructs and robots as being immune to it.


kaid wrote:

As for non lethal vs constructs damage I did not see anything in my first read through of the rules that would indicate constructs are immune to non lethal damage. It seems like they are kinda like the stun weapons in starwars effective for both living people and droids.

This may change with the alien book but for now there does not seem to be anything I have seen that calls out constructs and robots as being immune to it.

Maybe technological subtype constructs are susceptible but magic subtype constructs are not?

Good catches above re: nonlethal damage. Ingrained habits are hard to break. :)


whew wrote:
The pulsecaster rifle has a typo - it should have a capacity of 20.

Has this been confirmed? my group pretty much assumed this was a typo. Is it still 2 charges/use?


Noven wrote:
baggageboy wrote:
That's not even the real problem with the pluses caster for a level 1 or 2 character is the reloading cost. An extra battery is 330 crazy and a charge (if you don't have a ship yet) is 185cr! For a level 1 character the that is crazy. If you have a ship this is bearable, but is still pretty expensive as anything but a backup or specialty gun because of battery costs. You can't afford more than 1 backup...

You can use a cheaper battery in the gun.

As for it only doing non-lethal, that is good enough for level 1, especially if you don't want to murder hobo everything.

Undead creatures are immune to non-lethal damage (according to this clarification thread), and I'm guessing that they won't be the only kinds of creature that can't be hurt by non-lethal damage.

So there are entire groups of enemies that can be present from level 1 that you won't be able to do anything about.


I suppose that could can still take the -4 penalty to hit and deal lethal damage, but it would still be crippling.


Ventnor wrote:
Noven wrote:
baggageboy wrote:
That's not even the real problem with the pluses caster for a level 1 or 2 character is the reloading cost. An extra battery is 330 crazy and a charge (if you don't have a ship yet) is 185cr! For a level 1 character the that is crazy. If you have a ship this is bearable, but is still pretty expensive as anything but a backup or specialty gun because of battery costs. You can't afford more than 1 backup...

You can use a cheaper battery in the gun.

As for it only doing non-lethal, that is good enough for level 1, especially if you don't want to murder hobo everything.

Undead creatures are immune to non-lethal damage (according to this clarification thread), and I'm guessing that they won't be the only kinds of creature that can't be hurt by non-lethal damage.

So there are entire groups of enemies that can be present from level 1 that you won't be able to do anything about.

Ah I had not seen that errata so yes that would make it a bit less useful although at level 1 not a bad weapon to chose and a decent backup weapon for when you don't want to /need to murder hobo.


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

For starting out, probably the Azimuth Laser Rifle (120 ft range, targets EAC) or Tactical Acid Dart Rifle (2 damage types, more expansion for fusions).

Although the Needler Rifle also has a lot of potential with doses of Tier 1 Analgesic (flat-footed for 1 round) and/or Sedative (+1d4 non-lethal damage). More expensive over time (150 cr per dose), however.


Needlers are nice vs bosses when you can plan ahead and spike a few rounds with some special stuff. It's expensive so you don't want to waste it on mooks but nice when you highly suspect you are about to encounter something nasty.

Scarab Sages

I can see needlers filling the same niche as crossbows with blessed bolts against rakashas. It's largely subpar against most enemies, but if you can load a dart with a specific dose designed for your target, it can turn the battle.


rook1138 wrote:
whew wrote:
The pulsecaster rifle has a typo - it should have a capacity of 20.
Has this been confirmed? my group pretty much assumed this was a typo. Is it still 2 charges/use?

That's just my guess as to what the eventual errata will say. I think the odds of an errata are good, as that rifle features prominently in multiple Paizo-forum threads about how the pricing of battery recharging is broken.


Azimuth Rifle looks good.

On the topic of Pulsecaster rifle, I think the price for that battery is wrong. It seems like 230cr, not 330, would fall in line with the cost/charge of other batteries.


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EC Gamer Guy wrote:
On the topic of Pulsecaster rifle, I think the price for that battery is wrong. It seems like 230cr, not 330, would fall in line with the cost/charge of other batteries.

Maybe. But then, the price of the rifle would still need to be increased. A rifle that comes with a removable battery shouldn't be cheaper than its battery.

Edit: just noticed that the pulsecaster pistol is more expensive than the pulsecaster rifle. So maybe the typo is that the rifle is supposed to 400 credits (or more).


I'm sure that was completely intentional given the cost of miniaturization!!! Feature, not a BUG!!

whew wrote:
EC Gamer Guy wrote:
On the topic of Pulsecaster rifle, I think the price for that battery is wrong. It seems like 230cr, not 330, would fall in line with the cost/charge of other batteries.

Maybe. But then, the price of the rifle would still need to be increased. A rifle that comes with a removable battery shouldn't be cheaper than its battery.

Edit: just noticed that the pulsecaster pistol is more expensive than the pulsecaster rifle. So maybe the typo is that the rifle is supposed to 400 credits (or more).

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