Operative and Small Arms Specialization Bonus


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Hello guys!
I was wondering why melee weapons with Operative special feature and Small Arms give you only +1/2 level to damage as specialization bonus, while all other weapons add your level.
I mean, base damage from those weapons is already low and it appears to me that this nerf was not necessary, even considering the Trick Attack from Operative.
Trick Attack has its limitatons and its damage is a good boost, yeah, but not so good to make Operatives overpowered or to make a nerf to operative weapons necessary.
At last, in the Alien Archive I saw that usually NPC add their full bonus level (or HD) to damage with small arms. So, why it's not so for PCs?

I will be glad to hear your opinion about this!


I think a lot of it has to do with Dexterity being used as the primary stat for attacking with those weapons. Also, as you already mentioned, they are the only weapons that you can use with Trick Attack. Lastly... if you notice as well, that most other weapons like that are two-handed whereas Operative and Small Arms weapons can be duel-wielded more easily allowing additional attacks. These are probably all reasons that allowed Paizo to come to the conclusion they did.

Strength comes into play much less in Starfinder than it did in Pathfinder it seems, therefore, giving Strength-based characters more bang for their buck by investing into that over Dexterity with increases your Initiative, Reflex saves, AC, and several more skills than Strength.

Just my two creds.


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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

Dual wielding doesn’t give extra attacks.


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QuidEst wrote:
Dual wielding doesn’t give extra attacks.

True, but it does give you more versatile options. My operative runs with a knife in one hand and a pistol in the other. This way, if they ever get cornered or if I'm threatening an enemy that provokes an AoO... I'm always ready to go!


Faelyn wrote:
QuidEst wrote:
Dual wielding doesn’t give extra attacks.
True, but it does give you more versatile options. My operative runs with a knife in one hand and a pistol in the other. This way, if they ever get cornered or if I'm threatening an enemy that provokes an AoO... I'm always ready to go!

If you had 4 arms (or 2 arms and 2 cybernetic arm implants), you could do the same with a longarm or heavy weapon and a 2-handed advanced melee weapon.

No matter the situation, you would have on handy.


Faelyn wrote:


Strength comes into play much less in Starfinder than it did in Pathfinder it seems, therefore, giving Strength-based characters more bang for their buck by investing into that over Dexterity with increases your Initiative, Reflex saves, AC, and several more skills than Strength.

Just my two creds.

I may use an exocortex mechanic to make a Dex-based damage dealer with heavy weapons and obtain the same (or more) potential damage and attack bonus as an operative with less effort.

Operatives are not the only Dex-base characters: of course they get the best from Dexerity (resolve points in addiction to the rest) but it's an important ability for also mechanics soldiers and envoys.
So, why do this only to the operative, who is actually the only class binded to using small arms and melee basic weapons?


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I also asked a similar question in the Homebrew forums when I was looking to find the impact on adding full CL to Small Arms.

Looking through it now, well, I'm probably all over the place in that thread. The spirit of the post was in trying to make Small Arms more attractive for all classes. But let me summarize my thoughts from my findings:

1) Originally I went about my comparison the wrong way. I looked at average damage and made comparisons with the combat classes, Solarian and Soldier. This was a mistake.

2) After comparing the average expected damage based on weapon proficiency and hit probabilities with all classes, Operatives using Small Arms are actually pretty competitive in damage with other 3/4 BAB classes that elect to take up the Longarms Proficiency. They don't out damage classes that take the feat, but they do out damage Technomancers, Mystics, and Mechanics (for a while) if they only stick to the default sidearms. Envoys sticking only to the sidearm have variable damage potential when considering their party contribution. If the Envoy is granting the +2 hit and -2 EAC/KAC, then Envoy can potentially blow everyone out of the water in damage contribution. If they only leverage +2 hit and the Operative uses Debilitating Trick to grant Flat-Footed (-2 to Hit), then the Operative can have a lead but the Envoy is surprisingly not far off when speaking of equal weapon types, sidearms, and other like BAB classes using them.

3) Buff the Small Arms damage to full CL for Weapon Specialization still only helps the Operative. Longarms still remain the best option for improving damage for everyone else while dramatically closing the damage gap only for 1 class.

So while it may look like the Operatives have a damage nerf, they are surprisingly well off when comparing other classes that have tendencies towards range combat *and* have small arms as a default option. Unlike these other classes, the Operative never has to take the Longarms Proficiency feat to deal competitive damage. Additionally, if you are lacking an Envoy in your group, don't discount the potential damage contribution from Debilitating Trick at 4th level. Adding Flat-footed or bleed to a target can improve the Operative's damage substantially. Just don't compare their single shot damage with Soldiers or Solarians.

**Edit, formatting and stuff


Thank you Oldskool you're surprisingly clear in your explanation.
I'm glade that someone faced the question before me and can propose a so good analysis.

Silver Crusade

Operatives are certainly NOT at least underpowered. If anything, they're overpowered, at least at low levels.

They have it all right now. Very good damage just from their class features, great skill list, boosts to ALL skills, and cool thematic abilities. They're very, very comparable to the full BAB classes let alone the 3/4 BAB clases

They can spend their feats on whatever takes their fancy.

They most certainly do NOT need any damage boost.

The game is set up so that small arms aren't very good. longarms are only 2 feats away, easily affordable if you want to go that route.


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Hmm

You can put it this way. The classes Soldier and Solarian outdamage the Operative greatly (between 2-3 times the DPR). The Mechanic also outdamages the Operative, doesn't matter which type they both do. The Drone does it surprisingly well if it takes the longarm feat (90 dpr vs Operatives 60).

So the classes left are the Casters and the Envoy. Assuming they use small arms the Operative is better. But if you add longarms its somewhat equal. However the casters shouldn't really be compared unless you include their spell-casting abilities. It becomes too much of a apples and oranges situation.

Make no mistake the Operative is a cool class. But if any class takes longarms/heavy arms (and they will) then the Operative will deal the least damage. Even if you add full spec you only increase the DPR by 10 or so. The classes that outdamage the Operative (assuming they use longarms) will still do it. Full spec or not.

Soldiers vs Sol

Operative damage


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The thing is, maining a pistol is thematic, but unless you're an Operative you are basically shooting yourself in the foot if you do so. And given that Small Arm base damage is already pretty bad, adding the 1/2 level specialization can honestly come across as adding insult to injury for anyone that doesn't want their, say, Space Cowboy Soldier to be packing an assault rifle but would rather have a pair of pistols.


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Shinigami02 wrote:
The thing is, maining a pistol is thematic, but unless you're an Operative you are basically shooting yourself in the foot if you do so.

On the plus side, shooting yourself in the foot with a pistol won't hurt much at least.


Erk Ander wrote:


So the classes left are the Casters and the Envoy. Assuming they use small arms the Operative is better. But if you add longarms its somewhat equal. However the casters shouldn't really be compared unless you include their spell-casting abilities. It becomes too much of a apples and oranges situation.

Yes, I agree with you. It's seems that Operative pays being extremely versatile in terms of skills ad being a relatively good debuffer as a caster pays his spell casting abilities.

But yeah, it becomes too much of apples and oranges.

Erk Ander wrote:


Make no mistake the Operative is a cool class. But if any class takes longarms/heavy arms (and they will) then the Operative will deal the least damage. Even if you add full spec you only increase the DPR by 10 or so. The classes that outdamage the Operative (assuming they use longarms) will still do it. Full spec or not.

Operative is cool, yes: you can do a lot of things in and out of combat and maybe you can tolerate a slightly low damage.


Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

*cough* The problem is that, in Starfinder, weapons *are not* a cosmetic choice. They have actual properties, based on their design. Just because you like the image of a pistol-wielding soldier, doesn't magically make them do more damage than a rifle would. Or even as much damage.

Gear in Starfinder has properties based on what they objectively "should" have, regardless of what image you have in mind. If you want to have a pistol-wielding character for stylistic reasons, you also have to accept that you will do less damage. Perhaps build your character around the ease of carrying multiple pistols ( for multiple types of damage ). Perhaps exploit the ease of concealment, so you can stay armed in various places. But your not going to get very far if your main goal is to increase your DPS.


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Metaphysician wrote:

*cough* The problem is that, in Starfinder, weapons *are not* a cosmetic choice. They have actual properties, based on their design. Just because you like the image of a pistol-wielding soldier, doesn't magically make them do more damage than a rifle would. Or even as much damage.

Gear in Starfinder has properties based on what they objectively "should" have, regardless of what image you have in mind. If you want to have a pistol-wielding character for stylistic reasons, you also have to accept that you will do less damage. Perhaps build your character around the ease of carrying multiple pistols ( for multiple types of damage ). Perhaps exploit the ease of concealment, so you can stay armed in various places. But your not going to get very far if your main goal is to increase your DPS.

"Objectively should have"? If it was the normal decreased damage dice but full Specialization... honestly I would agree with you. A pistol round is not going to punch through like a rifle bullet is, the same way a dagger won't hurt a guy in full plate the same way a Longsword will. But why Specialization? WHY does firing a pistol somehow make your training with said pistol only half as effective? How does that make sense, and how is that "objectively right"? Because that's exactly what Specialization Bonus is: your training with the weapon. That's why it's a feat, and gets stronger the more experience you have.


I believe the issue is that Small Arms, regardless of your feat and the strength of your experience, simply have less damage potential to give. It doesn't matter how much training you have, wielding a small arm with maximum proficiency and skill will never allow you to get as much out of it as you can say, with a shotgun, flamer, or explosive projectile weapon.
I would be all for an "Advanced Small Arms" weapons category. Just as Advanced Melee Weapons represent future-tech versions of basically medieval weaponry, and thus, have better damage.
Stuff like the Noisy Cricket from the MiB film franchise. Looks like a Small Arm, requires advanced training to use with accuracy and without injury; much better damage as a result.


Faelyn wrote:
I think a lot of it has to do with Dexterity being used as the primary stat for attacking with those weapons.

Dexterity is the primary stat for all ranged weapons though.

oldskool wrote:
Buff the Small Arms damage to full CL for Weapon Specialization still only helps the Operative.

Not sure I really agree. Obviously long arms are still better damage, but right now they're way better damage. To the point where longarm proficiency and versatile specialization are basically no brainer picks on anyone who ever wants to shoot a gun and doesn't get those proficiencies baseline.

Giving small arms full tier still leaves long arms in the lead, but perhaps makes picking them up slightly less mandatory.

The issue is less that Operatives need a buff and more that small arms are an entire category of weapon that should basically just be ignored outright if you aren't an operative.

And Operative weapons are even worse, since even Operatives should avoid using those.

Metaphysician wrote:
Gear in Starfinder has properties based on what they objectively "should" have

I'm sorry but 'objectively should have' is a nonsensical statement given the context here. We're talking about completely fantastical weaponry with little to no basis in reality. How can you possibly assert any sort of objective truth about that?

Even if you did want to try to reference reality, to borrow your own language rifles don't 'magically' do dramatically more damage purely by virtue of being a rifle.

Metaphysician wrote:
If you want to have a pistol-wielding character for stylistic reasons, you also have to accept that you will do less damage.

Yeah, sure, but you only have to do that because of essentially arbitrary design choices by the people who designed this game. You like them, other people don't, but there's nothing objective about it.


Metaphysician wrote:

*cough* The problem is that, in Starfinder, weapons *are not* a cosmetic choice. They have actual properties, based on their design. Just because you like the image of a pistol-wielding soldier, doesn't magically make them do more damage than a rifle would. Or even as much damage.

Gear in Starfinder has properties based on what they objectively "should" have, regardless of what image you have in mind.

Is that why the level 20 pistol does more damage than the level 1 artillery cannon? It doesn't really seem like it should be both 'You can't make pistols as good as rifles/heavy weapons' and 'There are pistols that outclass rifles/heavy weapons'.


Ikiry0 wrote:


Is that why the level 20 pistol does more damage than the level 1 artillery cannon? It doesn't really seem like it should be both 'You can't make pistols as good as rifles/heavy weapons' and 'There are pistols that outclass rifles/heavy weapons'.

Higher level guns are the kind of freak experimental guns that are cousins to Doom BFM or BLAME!'s Gravitational Beam Emitter.

The tech is the key. Handgun is the technology in small form, and then you upsize it for more drastic effect. Really, that comparison has nothing to do with the situation.


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Pathfinder Starfinder Society Subscriber

One thing I haven't seen mentioned above. Operatives are actually the highest ranged DPR class in the game from about level 5 through level 10. If you compare them to a Soldier full-attacking with a heavy reaction cannon:

@5 - Soldier = 12.5 DPR on a full attack, Operative = 15 DPR on a trick attack
@6 - Soldier = 13.5 DPR on a full attack, Operative = 20.6 DPR on a trick attack (Or 16.1 if enemy is immune to bleeds)
@7 - Soldier = 22.0 DPR on a full attack, Operative = 26.4 DPR on a trick attack (Or 21.0 if enemy is immune to bleeds)
@8 - Soldier = 24.2 DPR on a full attack, Operative = 28.0 DPR on a trick attack (Or 21.6 if enemy is immune to bleeds)
@9 - Soldier = 23.0 DPR on a full attack, Operative = 32.3 DPR on a trick attack (Or 25.5 if enemy is immune to bleeds)
@10 - Soldier = 32.5 DPR on a full attack, Operative = 36.0 DPR on a trick attack (Or 28.0 if enemy is immune to bleeds)

The math above assumes each class maxes out their attack/damage rolls via feats and features, plus taking the highest damage weapon (heavy reaction cannon for Soldier, laser pistol for Operative) available with an item level <= their class level. The way Operative pulls ahead is with the bleeding shot operative exploit, which selfishly adds your level in additional bleed damage when you trick attack (Usually making your enemies flatfooted for 1 round is more worthwhile, but bleeding shot better illustrates the damage disparity).

On top of being highly competitive DPR, the operative gets to position themselves with every trick attack, pulling out of danger, avoiding line-of-sight issues, etc. They get to do this while maintaining their maximum DPR. They don't need better weapon specialization scaling at these levels.

What they could use is better base weapon damage on small arms (or better trick attack bonus damage) at levels 10+. It doesn't need to be a huge bump up (it certainly shouldn't challenge the Soldier dominance at level 11+) but "small arm + trick attack" should at least keep up with "longarm full attack by a 3/4 BAB class".


Perhaps an operative exploit that boosts damage for operative weapons/small arms that is only accessible at high levels would address this well. However this does little for other classes that are stuck either paying the feat tax to use long arms or accepting very poor damage.

The Exchange

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baggageboy wrote:
Perhaps an operative exploit that boosts damage for operative weapons/small arms that is only accessible at high levels would address this well. However this does little for other classes that are stuck either paying the feat tax to use long arms or accepting very poor damage.

I don't think I'd call it a feat tax. It's certainly a valid use of a pair of feats and maybe one of the best uses until more options arrive but they're not what I'd consider mandatory. The classes without longarms just balance in other ways, so they have a lower sustained damage output than a rifle offers. A level 7 Technomancer without the feats only deals pistol damage on most rounds and thus much less than a heavy weapon soldier. But whenever they like they can toss a 9d6 fireball, which is several times more damage than even a specialist soldier with the nearest comparable gun, a 1d12 shock caster. They can't do it every round but it seems to even put that I've seen. Each of the classes has something that lets them balance out to some equivalence in combat from what I've seen. Taking Longarms is certainly a boost, but not strictly necessary. Just one of the best options at this, early and limited point.


Fair point Darkling


I wouldn’t mind a soldier specialization that focused on using small arms. I homebrewed one more self a while back that’s somewhere in the homebrew sub forum.


While you do bring up a good poitn Darkling consider this

Spells are limited compare to say ammo

and while they can do more aoe damage, technomancers have a very hard time doign sustained damage on their own for the cost of a small arm, when longarms are just overall better

that and longarms really help out with classes like the nevoy and mystic who dont have a lot of damage dealing options, still contribute to combat outside of improvisations and spells

The Exchange

That could be fun, and a gear boost for them would be a great idea in my opinion. I'd love to see one that granted you QuickDraw with small arms and if you had quickdraw let you draw a small arm as a free action once a turn.

The Exchange

MagicA wrote:

While you do bring up a good poitn Darkling consider this

Spells are limited compare to say ammo

and while they can do more aoe damage, technomancers have a very hard time doign sustained damage on their own for the cost of a small arm, when longarms are just overall better

that and longarms really help out with classes like the nevoy and mystic who dont have a lot of damage dealing options, still contribute to combat outside of improvisations and spells

You certainly can't do those every turn I agree. The point I was making it that in that instance the damage you deal in combat is spiked into a single attack instead of spread more evenly over the entire combat. They do noticeably less damage most turns but when they choose to they can pull out a massive jump. That single spell deals about 3 turns worth of damage from that soldier, and during the other two turns the Technomancer is still shooting their pistol, the soldier is also dealing with three times the energy resistance. Plus after the first time a soldier catches a bunch of people in their explosive the enemy will start spreading out to minimize his effects, the Technomancer doesn't work as much what they do after unless he really wants to repeat himself.

The mystic has some excellent combat spells like mind thrust and it's hard to ignore mind control effects. The Envoy can very well be the MVP of damage most fights. It's just that a large percentage of their damage is the 5, 10, or 20% damage boost the rest of the party is enjoying, which people may forget to credit back to them.

Can they enjoy a noticeable boost in damage from using longarms? Yes, but it's not something that they fail at doing significant and comparable damage without.

The Exchange

I just noticed that I didn't quite answer one point you brought up. I agree that Technomancers aren't great at single target damage, but I feel like that's part of the flavor of the class. If you want spells and to deal single target damage then the Mystic is much better. Spells and scorching large groups then the Technomancer. That's why I compared them to another AOE user, to get the closest comparison.


@Darkling

I agree with you on most points, however for the technomancer the first 1-7 levels are a slog because they dont get good aoe spells to fill out that role, and being stuck with small arms from the get go kinda hurts them. They really dont come online till level 8 when they can spell shot fireballs and lightning bolts

so there's htat to consider as well

The Exchange

MagicA wrote:

@Darkling

I agree with you on most points, however for the technomancer the first 1-7 levels are a slog because they dont get good aoe spells to fill out that role, and being stuck with small arms from the get go kinda hurts them. They really dont come online till level 8 when they can spell shot fireballs and lightning bolts

so there's htat to consider as well

Umm, I can't agree with you there. Overheat deals 4 times the damage of the scattergun. More since the accuracy lost is a 10% less damage for the weapon. The acid spells at level 2 are great and microbot is a very handy party boost. I'm enjoying the spells at all levels.


You'd think Operatives would at least be able to use full Specialization damage on the weapon type that shares their name...


Not sure if this has been answered elsewhere...

Does the 1/2 Level damage bonus from Weapon Specialization round up or down? I can't seem to find a reference in the rulebook.

Scarab Sages Starfinder Design Lead

Kalderaan wrote:

Not sure if this has been answered elsewhere...

Does the 1/2 Level damage bonus from Weapon Specialization round up or down? I can't seem to find a reference in the rulebook.

All calculations round down unless the specific rule states otherwise. That's covered in "Roundning" on page 243.


Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Darkling36 wrote:
baggageboy wrote:
Perhaps an operative exploit that boosts damage for operative weapons/small arms that is only accessible at high levels would address this well. However this does little for other classes that are stuck either paying the feat tax to use long arms or accepting very poor damage.
I don't think I'd call it a feat tax. It's certainly a valid use of a pair of feats and maybe one of the best uses until more options arrive but they're not what I'd consider mandatory. The classes without longarms just balance in other ways, so they have a lower sustained damage output than a rifle offers. A level 7 Technomancer without the feats only deals pistol damage on most rounds and thus much less than a heavy weapon soldier. But whenever they like they can toss a 9d6 fireball, which is several times more damage than even a specialist soldier with the nearest comparable gun, a 1d12 shock caster. They can't do it every round but it seems to even put that I've seen. Each of the classes has something that lets them balance out to some equivalence in combat from what I've seen. Taking Longarms is certainly a boost, but not strictly necessary. Just one of the best options at this, early and limited point.

Solarian doesn’t automatically get Longarms.

I really think some sort of boost for operative weapons and small arms would be nice, make them more practical for classes that don’t have trick attack.

Liberty's Edge

BretI wrote:
I really think some sort of boost for operative weapons and small arms would be nice, make them more practical for classes that don’t have trick attack.

The problem then is Operatives would be damage gods.


Smalls arms and basic melee weapons have to be kept in check because of how they relate to Operative trick attacks.

Operatives at high levels are only slightly behind soldiers in terms of damage, but also are the best class in terms of skills.

Yes, classes that don't inherently get Longarms or Advanced Melee weapons do essentially have to pay a feat tax if that want to keep up. And I think that's okay.

Small arms and basic melee weapons are exactly where they need to be, Operatives are fine, and other classes should invest in proficiency with better weapons if they want "firing a gun" to be a substantial part of their character.


Gary Bush wrote:
BretI wrote:
I really think some sort of boost for operative weapons and small arms would be nice, make them more practical for classes that don’t have trick attack.
The problem then is Operatives would be damage gods.

Thats not mathmetically correct. The Full BAB classes still outdamage them. Full spec. None of the classes of SF are UP or OP. Its just that a mystic will gimp him or herself by using a smallarm. Mostly due to half-spec.

Claxon wrote:


Operatives at high levels are only slightly behind soldiers in terms of damage, but also are the best class in terms of skills.

See the calculations above, its not that way. At lvl 20 the average damage against a lvl-appropirate foe is 62 for a Operative...and 121 for a Soldier. But yes Operatives are amazing in the skill-department. Really well-made and cool class.


These type of posts always make me scratch my head. Operatives are not supposed to dish out the same damage as a soldier. That's why you have a party. Who is playing Starfinder by themselves? That is the only way you can effectively compare is if the characters tackle a problem by themselves. I am glad the Operative can output the damage a Soldier/Solarian can because it would be dumb.

Does a Soldier/Solarian have Uncanny shooter? Nope.

Can a Soldier/Solarian hack like an Operative can? Nope.

Can a Soldier/Solarian make an enemy flat-footed like an Operative can? Nope.


Erk Ander wrote:
See the calculations above, its not that way. At lvl 20 the average damage against a lvl-appropirate foe is 62 for a Operative...and 121 for a Soldier. But yes Operatives are amazing in the skill-department. Really well-made and cool class.

How are you getting a soldier's damage up that high? Highest I can push the Soldier (by assuming he can mitigate his opponent's DR fully, which is only usually true - against DR 20/- he can only bypass 15 of it, dropping him to 112.8) is 118.8, on average. That's single target, since it uses the Sharpshooter abilities for improved full attack accuracy and damage against one target. I could maybe push it higher with a Dimensional Blade Doshko or a Frag Grenade 8 build, but they'll be pretty niche, since the first will have trouble reaching the enemy and the latter can't afford more than maybe 1 fight without blowing its L20 WBL budget.

By contrast, I can get an Operative up to 79.225, assuming the target has no resistances to Acid or Bleed (using a Disintegrator pistol, and assuming the target makes the first reflex save to end the Corrosion, so it never stacks).


quindraco wrote:
Erk Ander wrote:
See the calculations above, its not that way. At lvl 20 the average damage against a lvl-appropirate foe is 62 for a Operative...and 121 for a Soldier. But yes Operatives are amazing in the skill-department. Really well-made and cool class.

How are you getting a soldier's damage up that high? Highest I can push the Soldier (by assuming he can mitigate his opponent's DR fully, which is only usually true - against DR 20/- he can only bypass 15 of it, dropping him to 112.8) is 118.8, on average. That's single target, since it uses the Sharpshooter abilities for improved full attack accuracy and damage against one target. I could maybe push it higher with a Dimensional Blade Doshko or a Frag Grenade 8 build, but they'll be pretty niche, since the first will have trouble reaching the enemy and the latter can't afford more than maybe 1 fight without blowing its L20 WBL budget.

By contrast, I can get an Operative up to 79.225, assuming the target has no resistances to Acid or Bleed (using a Disintegrator pistol, and assuming the target makes the first reflex save to end the Corrosion, so it never stacks).

Well for one I am not including any DR (that would still favour the soldier due to it being using the feat Penetrative attack much better) nor am I including any failed save stuff like disintegration-pistol (Crit damage is included of course). That psitol wasn't even out when I did the calculation.

In my first post in this thread I included two links one of the applies to ranged Operatives (62 DPR for Quad attack and 55 for TA), the other applies to melee Soldiers. You can easily change the values to get roughly 120 DPR for a Soldier (Heavy ballistic weapons).

Of course Operatives are not supposed to be deal more damage than Soldiers/Solarians. And they don't by any means. Even Mechanics outdamage at max lvl. They are skillmonkeys and damn fine ones at that.


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Claxon wrote:
And I think that's okay.

An entire category of weapon (and a special quality) is pretty much a complete no-go unless you're one specific class.

I can't agree that's okay. It's frankly silly as all hell to design them this way.


I don't mind that non firearm oriented classes have to pay two feats to keep up with shooter classes, but it would be nice if pistols could become a viable choice for non-operatives if they choose to spend two feats on small arms instead of longarms. Creating two feats that let pistols compete with longarms shouldn't be impossible, and including language that stops operatives from taking them should be fairly easy.

I suspect the Starfinder design team are already cued into this, I'd be surprised if there wasn't support for non-operative pistolers in Starfinder this time next year.


Squiggit wrote:


An entire category of weapon (and a special quality) is pretty much a complete no-go unless you're one specific class.

I can't agree that's okay. It's frankly silly as all hell to design them this way.

Side arms are side arms, they are not primary weapons.

Of course, side arms might still be your own weapon, but that is obviously case of role and situation.

Sure, you cannot be Han Solo and one-shot stormtroopers, but I am okay with disallowing that idea.


Squiggit wrote:
Claxon wrote:
And I think that's okay.

An entire category of weapon (and a special quality) is pretty much a complete no-go unless you're one specific class.

I can't agree that's okay. It's frankly silly as all hell to design them this way.

I mean, that's what happens in Pathfinder as well.

No one really uses simple weapons. Especially since an ioun stone can give you weapon proficiency.

Something has to be "the worst" in game.

But I do agree with the poster who noted that you should probably have some option that by spending two feats it's puts them in the same weight class as longamrs (while also not allowing operatives to use trick attack or out damage soldiers).


I recently read an article about the game developer Insomniac. Basically, over listening to vocal minorities on forums/online caused many of Resistance 2's problems. Here's a video to it if anyone is interesting.


Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Kudaku wrote:
I don't mind that non firearm oriented classes have to pay two feats to keep up with shooter classes, but it would be nice if pistols could become a viable choice for non-operatives if they choose to spend two feats on small arms instead of longarms. Creating two feats that let pistols compete with longarms shouldn't be impossible, and including language that stops operatives from taking them should be fairly easy.

There already is one feat that helps, but right now I'm not sure it is quite enough to make small arms viable. Multi-Weapon Fighting reduces the penalty for a full attack with small arms or operative weapons. Since you can't do Trick Attack with a full attack, this does not impact the Operative.

Making some Advanced Melee Weapons with the Operative property would also help make some builds more viable.


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Envall wrote:
Sure, you cannot be Han Solo and one-shot stormtroopers, but I am okay with disallowing that idea.

I, however, am not okay with disallowing that idea. It's a space game. You've gotta have (feasible) blaster guns. And I don't mean blaster rifles.


Envall wrote:
Squiggit wrote:


An entire category of weapon (and a special quality) is pretty much a complete no-go unless you're one specific class.

I can't agree that's okay. It's frankly silly as all hell to design them this way.

Side arms are side arms, they are not primary weapons.

Of course, side arms might still be your own weapon, but that is obviously case of role and situation.

Sure, you cannot be Han Solo and one-shot stormtroopers, but I am okay with disallowing that idea.

As the old saying goes, "A handgun is merely a weapon used to fight your way back to your rifle - which you shouldn't have left behind..." All things being equal, a longarm being more powerful than a small arm is the more "believable" concept - it's that way in real life.

Admittedly, there is room in the game for a fighter spec or an archetype for getting more out of small arms for style purposes. If you are willing to expend the character resources (class/level/feats), there's no reason not to allow it.


Claxon wrote:

Smalls arms and basic melee weapons have to be kept in check because of how they relate to Operative trick attacks.

Operatives at high levels are only slightly behind soldiers in terms of damage, but also are the best class in terms of skills.

Yes, classes that don't inherently get Longarms or Advanced Melee weapons do essentially have to pay a feat tax if that want to keep up. And I think that's okay.

Small arms and basic melee weapons are exactly where they need to be, Operatives are fine, and other classes should invest in proficiency with better weapons if they want "firing a gun" to be a substantial part of their character.

Also the major differences in damage between longarms/advanced weapons and their small arms/operative stuff does not really start hitting until mid/late levels. Early on you are a few damage points down but not a huge margin it is not until the damage starts really boosting that small arms for non operatives falls off. By that time the character can make the choice if they want to do their primary damage with guns then pick up the feat to use them. So characters would get a fair bit of time playing to see if they want to jump to the longarms/advanced melee track before having to make that investment.


Pathfinder Starfinder Society Subscriber
kaid wrote:
Also the major differences in damage between longarms/advanced weapons and their small arms/operative stuff does not really start hitting until mid/late levels. Early on you are a few damage points down but not a huge margin it is not until the damage starts really boosting that small arms for non operatives falls off. By that time the character can make the choice if they want to do their primary damage with guns then pick up the feat to use them. So characters would get a fair bit of time playing to see if they want to jump to the longarms/advanced melee track before having to make that investment.

Small arms are equivalently bad for non-operatives from early to late levels, dealing about 55-65% of the damage of an equivalent long arm. Those few points at low levels are a big portion of the total damage! Here's a spreadsheet showing the differences with specialization bonuses baked in. Its small arms when used by operatives that start to fall off dramatically from about 11th level onwards, since the trick attack bonus damage doesn't grow at the same rate as weapon damage.

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