Free Batt. Recharging: Balance options for kinetic weapon ammo


Starfinder Society

4/5 5/55/5

So now that we have the official ruling: Batteries recharge for free in certain cases.

The counter argument we saw coming was from the users of weapons that have kinetic ammo. I have two policy proposals that I think work out well enough to maybe not be perfectly the same as free battery recharges, but will close to balance the wealth gap that will develop over time.

Option A: You can loot and KEEP any ammunition you find in a scenario, not to exceed the max you started with.
***Ex. I have 40 bullets for my sniper rifle, I fire 5 during a fight and find 7 more on the mercenary we defeated. I can take them with me, if I use 4 more during the scenario I am left with 3 extra bullets, which I am then allowed to keep as it does not exceed my starting number of 40. If I end the scenario with more than 40, the excess go to the Society like other found equipment.

Option B: Same as Option A, and additionally at the end of any scenario, your magazines are "topped off" by the Society, replacing any rounds you used during the scenario, not to exceed the max you started with. This restocking is made possible by the various contributions of excess ammo turned over after missions, and the usage of UPBs from broken down gear that was unnecessary.

With either option Special Ammunition (missiles and such) are never kept beyond the end of the scenario when found, and would not be replenished by the Society.

I like Option B because it is very simple and reduces the book keeping and tracking that goes with Option A. "how many rounds did I find, were they the right kind, I'm still under my max at the end so I need to buy X more to top off as an expense." It feels simpler and in the spirit of what the battery recharging rules are trying to accomplish. With the way UPB's work I don't think it's too much of a stretch for the setting either.

Thoughts?

Liberty's Edge 3/5 5/5 *** Venture-Captain, Nebraska—Omaha

I like the idea. I suggest making Tier 1 ammunition free to refill.

I also think that if a player wants to make use of found ammo they need to make a direct statement that they are doing so to the GM. They can't just simply stop using their own ammo and start using found ammo.

So this would mean that if they are in combat, they will need to take the actions necessary to switch out ammo.

I don't see how players can get away from tracking found ammo during the adventure however.

4/5 5/55/5

So the rules do a bit to gloss over the concept of "magazines" that hold the ammunition, and simply sell the ammunition in as a set quantity based on the type of cartridge.

The rules on them:
ROUNDS (HEAVY, LONGARM AND SNIPER, SMALL ARM)
Cased rounds are housed in magazines, which can be fitted into the appropriate weapon.

So if using a small arm weapon you buy 30 rounds for 40 credits, and my understanding is that it represents 1 magazine filled with 30 rounds. Unless I missed something, I don't see any way to buy less cartridges. There also shouldn't be anything restricting your ability to transfer cartridges from a partially filled magazine to another. So I don't think it would require any type of notification to the GM, but you would of course need to have looted the rounds and keep track of how they are being kept (are you crossloading the 12 bullets left in that 30 round small arm magazine into topping off the one you just fired 15 rounds from during the combat, or are you keeping them in that magazine for now).

From a real combat perspective, it's not really smart to have less than a full magazine in your weapon at all times when anticipating combat, so it should be common place for people to top off with what they find, and then if they're keeping everything anyways the rounds fired don't really matter if they are found or if they started with you. Once you loot them they are basically the same thing until the end of the scenario and you lose any rounds that you found and didn't use in excess of the number you started with.

Horizon Hunters 4/5 5/5 *

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Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

They just announced the new rule yesterday. Maybe we could wait a bit and see how it impacts this balance between kinetic and energy weapons before we decide there's an imbalance that needs to be adjusted.

4/5 5/55/5

Since Thursty recommended putting these points into another thread and not in the main blog post I decided to do so. I also don't see how time would have any bearing on the ruling, we can do the math with the data we already have on how many rounds people typically use and the cost comparison.

Liberty's Edge 3/5 5/5 *** Venture-Captain, Nebraska—Omaha

I don't see any need to track magazines. The purchase of the rounds is sufficient. I assume people will have lots of magazines to use in their weapons.

As to the topping off after combat, I don't think it is a burden for the player to let the GM know they are doing it and with what ammo.

I would be ok with letting players top off ammo from found ammo as it is functionally the same time as have full ammo between scenarios.

To Mark's point, I agree. Let give it time. The cost of ammo is not large. Certainly not as large as recharging batteries was going to be.

The Exchange 1/5 5/55/55/55/5 Venture-Agent

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Mark Stratton wrote:
They just announced the new rule yesterday. Maybe we could wait a bit and see how it impacts this balance between kinetic and energy weapons before we decide there's an imbalance that needs to be adjusted.

Sure, but since I've decided to completely abandon kinetic weapons except for neccesary backup (resistance to weapon and all fusions) at least for me I can already tell how it's going to effect balance for me.

The Exchange

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I like option B. The main problem with option A is that the variety of ammo types means that you're not likely to see your rounds in a scenario unless the writers make a coordinated effort. And each time a pile of batteries is found to fill up the player's bags who are already getting free refills is just going to frustrate the guy using automatic fire to help his allies hit but hasn't seen a heavy round in three games. If the society is topping everyone off with common ammunition (battery charges and rounds) then there's both less bookkeeping, less pressure on the GMs to have counted every single shot made by the NPC's so the players can try and get one more round to use in that scenario, and no frustration at other people for getting free stuff, because so are that. The free stuff might seem minor, but some guns have large capacity and large usages, and that can equal hundreds of credits just to refill an empty gun. That's noticeable at any level.

Liberty's Edge 3/5 5/5 *** Venture-Captain, Nebraska—Omaha

My suggestion to allow tier 1 ammo to be refilled would cover automatic weapons.

Of course the player would need to make an initial investment of ammo but once that is done they would be ok.

The Exchange

Shaudius wrote:
Mark Stratton wrote:
They just announced the new rule yesterday. Maybe we could wait a bit and see how it impacts this balance between kinetic and energy weapons before we decide there's an imbalance that needs to be adjusted.
Sure, but since I've decided to completely abandon kinetic weapons except for neccesary backup (resistance to weapon and all fusions) at least for me I can already tell how it's going to effect balance for me.

I agree. I already have and was playing a heavy weapons soldier. I was going to get some automatics, suppressive fire and have fun. But while I'm ok with my choices costing me a bit more, spending thousands of credits every few levels more than someone else who already has other advantages is too much. Thats not a small advantage on credit that could be spent on personal upgrades or better armor sooner.

The Exchange

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Gary Bush wrote:

My suggestion to allow tier 1 ammo to be refilled would cover automatic weapons.

Of course the player would need to make an initial investment of ammo but once that is done they would be ok.

I presume you're including heavy rounds? They're item level two technically but for soldiers at least they're a common choice.

I'd be more than happy to make that initial investment. Honestly I'm even ok with paying as normal, if everyone else is paying too.

Liberty's Edge 3/5 5/5 *** Venture-Captain, Nebraska—Omaha

Looking at the ammo, my suggestion for tier 1 would not cover heavy weapons as their ammo is tier 2. Leadership could include tier 2 if they choose.

My point is to focus on the tier of the ammo as a basis for making the decision. That way, if they come out with special ammo on chronicles they can make it a higher tier that would fall under a "free reload" option.

The Exchange

Gary Bush wrote:

Looking at the ammo, my suggestion for tier 1 would not cover heavy weapons as their ammo is tier 2. Leadership could include tier 2 if they choose.

My point is to focus on the tier of the ammo as a basis for making the decision. That way, if they come out with special ammo on chronicles they can make it a higher tier that would fall under a "free reload" option.

I think it'd just be easier to specify what ammo in the rules. It's the basic ammo for a large class of weapons, and that way if piazo comes out with other level 1 ammo it can be excluded without changing anything. In fact there's already a candidate for this, special material doesn't change item level(good since it would otherwise be a heap way to fit more fusions than intended.) but you wouldn't want to automatically refill their adamantine small arm rounds, or the ones they put fusions on which are still item level 1 ammo.

Liberty's Edge 3/5 5/5 *** Venture-Captain, Nebraska—Omaha

I see your point. Could just exclude ammo made of special materials or that have had fusions put on them.

A concern would be if they added different types of ammo later on (like durable arrows in PFS).

The Exchange

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Simpler and more future proof to just name the particular ammo typesthe society is willing to provide. Then you don't have to specify that __ is particularly exempt from said rule or such. Much easier to specifically include than specifically exclude as new things are added to the game.

Dark Archive 4/5 5/55/5 *** Regional Venture-Coordinator, Midwest

To be honest, I don't think that it is an issue.

Special material ammo is likely going to be the reason that we won't care too much about DR or hardness in the long term.

I do think the balance will be an issue.., it even seems like dr and hardness are rare in creatures

The Exchange

Jack Brown wrote:

To be honest, I don't think that it is an issue.

Special material ammo is likely going to be the reason that we won't care too much about DR or hardness in the long term.

I do think the balance will be an issue.., it even seems like dr and hardness are rare in creatures

There's always been plenty of un-bypassable DR. I don't think we can say how common DR is until we see the alien archive. From the number of ways in the book to try and mitigate DR I'd say it'll be reasonably common. Though many of those are at higher levels. Maybe it shoots up later on, becomes common at high levels, but I do not know I'd bet on it too heavily.

5/5

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Balance is only an issue if a particular class or variation is actually impacted. Not if there is an imbalance between weapons. Everyone with the same weapon proficiencies is able to pick an energy weapon. There are no Wizards who can wield three things.

It would be like saying you had to balance a Scimitars and Rapiers with a Klar and Sword Cane. All are one handed Melee weapons, all do 1d6, but the Scimitar and Rapier are vastly superior in the vast majority of cases. Why do the sword cane and klar exist then? RP Flavor and edge cases.

This is the case with Energy Weapons vs. Projectile. At the end of the day, mechanically, a person using kinetic weapons who has the funding to do so will likely come out slightly ahead DPR wise vs a purely battery based character, but they pay the price to do so.

Which sounds about right. When you want to go "brazil nuts", you get out your rail gun and missile launcher and go to down. When you're just taking out the trash, stick with the stuff you can charge along side your aPad and aPhone.

4/5 5/5

Yes. What KapaaIan said above.

Why do the two need to be "balanced"? If one doesn't want to pay for expendable ammo, buy an energy weapon powered by a battery. No one is forced to use kinetic weapons, so no one is getting short-changed.

The Exchange

Automatic fire (a flexibility focused not DPR option, which is the basis for a feat) is only available in projectile weapons until level 9-10, after most of society play has passed. All single target heavy weapons, and most longarms are either projectile or with fewer examples, lasers which have their own limits. The longarms that are neither tend to be several levels behind the damage curve. Everything else is a blast, or line, or explode weapon. It's also the only weapon category that includes non-unwieldy blast weapons. Several of the soldier's class abilities are built for Projectile weapons or weapon options that are mostly found in that category. 3 out of 12 of their gear boost actually, so 25%. I'll admit that the soldier is the class most hurt by this disparity but it's also the class most reliant on weapons.

Also, all sniper weapons fire projectiles.

Those seem like classes or variations that are affected by having to spend credits others don't. They either have to pay, can't take an option, or can't make use of a class ability. That s isn't just about some people trying to get free extra damage(which I'm still not sure of, and likely won't be until we see if the extra 10%+ of damage from more hits holds true in the archives). I'm sure there are other examples, those are just the ones I though of off the top of my head.

3/5

As far as magazines and ammo.

I've viewed the 30 rds for 40cr as the cost of a box of ammo. Each weapon has a specific capacity magazine, 9 for tier 1 automatic pistol comes to mind. I figure spare magazines was hand-waved away like many other things.

I really only see automatic weapons being the real cost for ammo. As I mentioned on another thread, my 1 rank in profession and take 10 more than pays for all my ammo expenditures.

The Exchange

That's the price for a small arm round, those are half the cost of most other ammunition, and contain more rounds per than the others. And really aside from Operatives, anyone using small arms as their primary attack is almost certainly doing things other than attacking. To buy a box of ammo with a day job roll you'd have to roll a 25 for arrows, 28 for scattergun shells, a 30 for petrol, 37 for longarms, a 45 for heavy weapons. I don't know about you, but regularly getting that is outside the realm of possibility for most characters I build, and that's presuming I only fire enough to need a single box per mission, which seems unlikely. Nor can most characters dedicate a skill point every level to try and one day do it.

Plus, that money would still be there if they didn't have to buy ammo, and the people getting ammo for free thus use it for other things.


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Matthew Hudson wrote:


The counter argument we saw coming was from the users of weapons that have kinetic ammo. I have two policy proposals that I think work out well enough to maybe not be perfectly the same as free battery recharges, but will close to balance the wealth gap that will develop over time.

I would say that there is no balance gap here in the real sense of that term. Energy weapons that use batteries and weapons that use kinetic ammunition are not differentiated by proficiencies and every character has option of using one or another or both types of weapons. And recharging of batteries was in the CRB from the beginning. You would not ask for free ammo because you saw a guy smashing with his sword which uses no ammo. Batteries are not free, they are just free to recharge under certain conditions. I would also vote for keeping all items found during the adventure (if not all then all consumables or at least all ammo).

Silver Crusade 5/5 5/55/5 **** Venture-Captain, Germany—Bavaria

I agree with Mark, the suggestions are sound but give it time to see how this actually affects play, chances are that players can already find enemy weapons using both types of ammunition, so it would interesting to track what is actually being used.

Also throwing starknives is pretty damn viable and I am happy about it ^^

3/5

From what I've seen SFS you're doing something wrong if you're using that much ammo.

My main char has 1 rank in profession. I've used almost 50 rounds in 5 scenarios between the mechanic and his drone both shooting. 1 rank + stat (0, for argument sake.) + class skill + profession kit = 8. Take 10 is 36cr per scenario. That covers a most ammo costs.

My main point was, ammo is not a huge cost unless you're doing automatic fire a lot.

Darkling36 wrote:

That's the price for a small arm round, those are half the cost of most other ammunition, and contain more rounds per than the others. And really aside from Operatives, anyone using small arms as their primary attack is almost certainly doing things other than attacking. To buy a box of ammo with a day job roll you'd have to roll a 25 for arrows, 28 for scattergun shells, a 30 for petrol, 37 for longarms, a 45 for heavy weapons. I don't know about you, but regularly getting that is outside the realm of possibility for most characters I build, and that's presuming I only fire enough to need a single box per mission, which seems unlikely. Nor can most characters dedicate a skill point every level to try and one day do it.

Plus, that money would still be there if they didn't have to buy ammo, and the people getting ammo for free thus use it for other things.

The Exchange

EC Gamer Guy wrote:

From what I've seen SFS you're doing something wrong if you're using that much ammo.

My main char has 1 rank in profession. I've used almost 50 rounds in 5 scenarios between the mechanic and his drone both shooting. 1 rank + stat (0, for argument sake.) + class skill + profession kit = 8. Take 10 is 36cr per scenario. That covers a most ammo costs.

My main point was, ammo is not a huge cost unless you're doing automatic fire a lot.

Darkling36 wrote:

That's the price for a small arm round, those are half the cost of most other ammunition, and contain more rounds per than the others. And really aside from Operatives, anyone using small arms as their primary attack is almost certainly doing things other than attacking. To buy a box of ammo with a day job roll you'd have to roll a 25 for arrows, 28 for scattergun shells, a 30 for petrol, 37 for longarms, a 45 for heavy weapons. I don't know about you, but regularly getting that is outside the realm of possibility for most characters I build, and that's presuming I only fire enough to need a single box per mission, which seems unlikely. Nor can most characters dedicate a skill point every level to try and one day do it.

Plus, that money would still be there if they didn't have to buy ammo, and the people getting ammo for free thus use it for other things.

I can just as easily say that you're doing something wrong using that little ammo. Most scenarios have 3 or 4 fights, each lasting multiple rounds.

Arrows, come in a pack of 20, and only 1 weapon that uses them has a usage of less than 2, (one of those two is something no one is proficient with by the way). So you get maybe 10 shots each. Pretty reasonable to say you'll shoot at least that much in a scenario. 50-100 credits a game.

Scattergun shells, pack of 25. Nice deal since most of the guns that use it only fire a single shell at a time. You'll probably be firing as a full attack and most builds will only use this as a situational/backup weapon, but still reasonably priced. 28+ credits a game. Unless using the HW version, that cost 6x as much.

Petrol, comes in batches of 20, every gun has a usage of at least 4. So expect to go through at least 2 batches a game, probably more. 120-240 a game

Longarms rounds, packs of 25 and most guns only have a usage of 1. The damage and use bargain of the game. Probably only need 3/4 of a pack of ammo a game. About 50 a game.

Heavy weapons rounds, batches of 20 and virtually all guns have a usage of at least 2. So 10 shots and you're done. 90-180 a game.

Honestly as long as most fights I've seen go, and with full action attacks an option from the guy go I'd consider most of these estimates to be well below what you'd actually spend, but I was trying to be conservative.

The Exchange

If people really think that it's no big deal that one class of weapons are free to use and free of extra paperwork, then I suggest the following. Use only non batteriy powered weapons, or willingly tithe the recharge fees for the ones you use in weapons at the end of each game. Once you've done that for a few levels if you still feel that way come back and explain how you don't mind the extra paperwork, or the extra time tracking that info, and note the total you've spent. Bet that once it's totaled it's more than you expected, and that you or others can think of a few things you could have otherwise bought. Plus there's the fact that others aren't having to do any of this.

Edit: please note, I don't mean to attack anyone with this. But I think most people are underestimating things like how much of an imbalance of credits this could be or the trouble of constantly figuring out how much ammo or by when no one else at the game does. If it's truly an insignificant cost with minimal effort, why do we make if free of both for some but not others.

3/5

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Don't full attack, you waste ammo and time by missing more than you hit. Full attack is dropping your estimated hit rate from 50% to 30%. No wonder you're worried, you're shooting about 50% more times.

Darkling36 wrote:
EC Gamer Guy wrote:

From what I've seen SFS you're doing something wrong if you're using that much ammo.

My main char has 1 rank in profession. I've used almost 50 rounds in 5 scenarios between the mechanic and his drone both shooting. 1 rank + stat (0, for argument sake.) + class skill + profession kit = 8. Take 10 is 36cr per scenario. That covers a most ammo costs.

My main point was, ammo is not a huge cost unless you're doing automatic fire a lot.

Darkling36 wrote:

That's the price for a small arm round, those are half the cost of most other ammunition, and contain more rounds per than the others. And really aside from Operatives, anyone using small arms as their primary attack is almost certainly doing things other than attacking. To buy a box of ammo with a day job roll you'd have to roll a 25 for arrows, 28 for scattergun shells, a 30 for petrol, 37 for longarms, a 45 for heavy weapons. I don't know about you, but regularly getting that is outside the realm of possibility for most characters I build, and that's presuming I only fire enough to need a single box per mission, which seems unlikely. Nor can most characters dedicate a skill point every level to try and one day do it.

Plus, that money would still be there if they didn't have to buy ammo, and the people getting ammo for free thus use it for other things.

I can just as easily say that you're doing something wrong using that little ammo. Most scenarios have 3 or 4 fights, each lasting multiple rounds.

Arrows, come in a pack of 20, and only 1 weapon that uses them has a usage of less than 2, (one of those two is something no one is proficient with by the way). So you get maybe 10 shots each. Pretty reasonable to say you'll shoot at least that much in a scenario. 50-100 credits a game.

Scattergun shells, pack of 25. Nice deal since most of the guns that use it only fire a single shell at a time. You'll probably be firing as a full attack and most builds will only use this as a...

3/5 5/5

Darkling36 wrote:
EC Gamer Guy wrote:

From what I've seen SFS you're doing something wrong if you're using that much ammo.

My main char has 1 rank in profession. I've used almost 50 rounds in 5 scenarios between the mechanic and his drone both shooting. 1 rank + stat (0, for argument sake.) + class skill + profession kit = 8. Take 10 is 36cr per scenario. That covers a most ammo costs.

My main point was, ammo is not a huge cost unless you're doing automatic fire a lot.

Darkling36 wrote:

That's the price for a small arm round, those are half the cost of most other ammunition, and contain more rounds per than the others. And really aside from Operatives, anyone using small arms as their primary attack is almost certainly doing things other than attacking. To buy a box of ammo with a day job roll you'd have to roll a 25 for arrows, 28 for scattergun shells, a 30 for petrol, 37 for longarms, a 45 for heavy weapons. I don't know about you, but regularly getting that is outside the realm of possibility for most characters I build, and that's presuming I only fire enough to need a single box per mission, which seems unlikely. Nor can most characters dedicate a skill point every level to try and one day do it.

Plus, that money would still be there if they didn't have to buy ammo, and the people getting ammo for free thus use it for other things.

I can just as easily say that you're doing something wrong using that little ammo. Most scenarios have 3 or 4 fights, each lasting multiple rounds.

Arrows, come in a pack of 20, and only 1 weapon that uses them has a usage of less than 2, (one of those two is something no one is proficient with by the way). So you get maybe 10 shots each. Pretty reasonable to say you'll shoot at least that much in a scenario. 50-100 credits a game.

Scattergun shells, pack of 25. Nice deal since most of the guns that use it only fire a single shell at a time. You'll probably be firing as a full attack and most builds will only use this as a...

Meanwhile, the battery user would be spending 30 credits to recharge a battery. So even if we were using the old rules, battery weapons would still be way cheaper to refill.

3/5 5/5

Darkling36 wrote:

If people really think that it's no big deal that one class of weapons are free to use and free of extra paperwork, then I suggest the following. Use only non batteriy powered weapons, or willingly tithe the recharge fees for the ones you use in weapons at the end of each game. Once you've done that for a few levels if you still feel that way come back and explain how you don't mind the extra paperwork, or the extra time tracking that info, and note the total you've spent. Bet that once it's totaled it's more than you expected, and that you or others can think of a few things you could have otherwise bought. Plus there's the fact that others aren't having to do any of this.

Edit: please note, I don't mean to attack anyone with this. But I think most people are underestimating things like how much of an imbalance of credits this could be or the trouble of constantly figuring out how much ammo or by when no one else at the game does. If it's truly an insignificant cost with minimal effort, why do we make if free of both for some but not others.

The cost of batteries is insignificant. The cost of non-battery ammo can be a lot higher, so not counting it is a bigger deal.

You have to track your ammo anyway, for bulk and when to reload. Resource management is part of D&D-like games - better options should cost more.

I've played archers and consumable-using spellcasters in PFS, so I'm confidant that I have a very good idea about how muchlittle paperwork is involved.

Dark Archive 4/5 5/55/5 *** Regional Venture-Coordinator, Midwest

Darkling36 wrote:

If people really think that it's no big deal that one class of weapons are free to use and free of extra paperwork, then I suggest the following. Use only non batteriy powered weapons, or willingly tithe the recharge fees for the ones you use in weapons at the end of each game. Once you've done that for a few levels if you still feel that way come back and explain how you don't mind the extra paperwork, or the extra time tracking that info, and note the total you've spent. Bet that once it's totaled it's more than you expected, and that you or others can think of a few things you could have otherwise bought. Plus there's the fact that others aren't having to do any of this.

One point here... if you are using an energy weapon, you still have to track charges during a scenario. A given battery only holds so many charges, and they get expended as you use them. So, the need to track ammo is still there.

And, having run multiple spellcasters, archers, and gunslingers in a PFS, I don't see this as a burden at all myself.... just part of the game.

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