The Starship Combat Rules Have Been Fixed


General Discussion

1 to 50 of 89 << first < prev | 1 | 2 | next > last >>
Liberty's Edge

3 people marked this as a favorite.

Just a general FYI, the FAQs in question can be found here.

It's now explicit that skill bonuses from Class apply, and the DCs cap at about 50 for the most difficult stuff, which is very doable.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Maps, Pawns, Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Or have they? ;-)

Any volunteers around to rerun the numbers using the new DC values? Just because they've been made easier doesn't mean they fall within the realm of easily accessible.

Do we still need skill gods, or is max ranks, a decent ability score, and skill focus (or equivalent) enough?

Also, would Skill Focus even apply? It's not a class ability. If not, then why would anyone ever take it for the Pilot skill?

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Ravingdork wrote:
Also, would Skill Focus even apply? It's not a class ability. If not, then why would anyone ever take it for the Pilot skill?

Feats were never excluded in the first place.

Liberty's Edge

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Yeah, Skill Focus has always been kosher.

As for check DCs, most stuff at Tier/Level 20 is DC 40 or 45, with a few DC 50s.

A person with no bonuses in skills beyond ranks and class skill and a 24 in the relevant stat has a +30, and can thus make those first two checks on a 10 or 15 without computer assistance, and pretty much can't manage the third. However, add a +10 computer, and that becomes auto-success on the first, needing a 5 on the second, and needing a 10 on the third. And that's about as unoptimized a character as should ever be performing a Starship role at 20th level. Adding Skill Focus makes it a 7, 12, 17 without computer assist, and auto-success, 2, 7 with such an assist.

A bog-standard Operative Pilot with Dex 28 (or Mechanic Science Officer or Engineer with Int 28) has a +38, and succeeds on a 2, 7, and 12 without computer assistance. Again, computer assistance is up to a +10. So a decently (but not hyper) optimized character can get to succeeding on a 2 on the most difficult checks.

So yeah, all that is very workable. It does necessitate computer assistance on more difficult checks at higher Tiers unless your crew are hyper optimized...but that's clearly intended, and even makes sense in-universe (more advanced systems require better computers).


Oh wow, that's some massive changes. I'm surprised that some actions that previously had different DCs now have the same DC (Lock On; Improve Countermeasures). And vice versa, actually (double shield recharge rate; Moving Speech).


Nobody plays at level 20

If the numbers are doable in the level 4 to 8 range then all is good.

I guess if you roll a natural 8 on your d20 you would want to succeed

Liberty's Edge

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Well, the rules were never a large problem at low levels, but let's do them at 1st, 4th, 8th, 12th, 16th, and 20th.

Note that these are all without computer assistance, which can be very relevant at higher levels. And ignore the Captain's buffing, which is always relevant.

1st: DC 12, 17, or 22. Reasonable Skill Bonus minimum of +6, maximum of +9 (absent being an Envoy, Theme, Race, or Skill Focus, which could get it to +14 or +14.5 if really specialized).

Success on a 6, 11, or 16 for minimum skill, 3, 8, or 13 for maximal one.

4th: DC 16, 21, or 26. Reasonable Skill Bonus minimum +9, maximum +14 (absent real specialty as above).

Success on a 7, 12, or 17 for minimum skill, 2, 7, or 12 for maximal (absent specialization).

8th: DC 22, 27, or 32. Reasonable Minimal Skill Bonus +15, maximum +21 (absent specialization).

Success still on 7, 12, 17 for minimum, but down to 1, 6, 11 for maximum. And at this level, a computer is very available.

12th: DC 28, 33, or 38. Reasonable minimum skill bonus +20, maximum +26 (without specialization).

Success goes down to 8, 13, 18 for minimal (though better computers or a Feat invested in Skill Focus, or both, fix this). Maximal goes back to 2, 7, 12 but can also benefit from computer assists.

16th: DC 34, 39, or 44. Reasonable minimum skill +25, maximum +32 (without specialization).

Success for minimal has gone down again to 9, 14, 19. Maximal has stayed at 2, 7, 12. Computer assists remain a thing.

20th: DC 40, 45, or 50. Minimal has gone to +30. Maximal has gone to +38 (without specialization).

Success for minimal has gone down to 10, 15, 20. Maximal has stuck at 2, 7, 12.
.
.
.
So most rolls are very doable, but if you have non-specialized people doing some jobs (or just want to come close to auto-succeeding on the hard stuff) you're gonna probably want a good Computer to provide those sweet assists (or the Captain's gonna be stuck boosting the less skilled all the time).

For the record 'reasonable minimums' assume a starting stat of 14, raising that stat as secondary (ie: it gets upped every 5 levels, it gets your +2 Upgrade when you have a +4 and your +4 when you have a +6), maxed ranks in a class skill, and nothing else.

The maximal ones assume Operative/Mechanic skill ups, maxed stat at all possible levels, and maxed ranks in a class skill, but (again) nothing else (above that is getting specialized).


Deadmanwalking wrote:
For the record 'reasonable minimums' assume a starting stat of 14, raising that stat as secondary (ie: it gets upped every 5 levels, it gets your +2 Upgrade when you have a +4 and your +4 when you have a +6), maxed ranks in a class skill, and nothing else.

That's not a reasonable minimum.

That's freaking borderline optimized for any non-operative non-envoy.

A real minimum is:

+1 Stat at 1, +2 at 5, +3 at 10, +4 at 15
+3 Class Skill
+Level Ranks

And nothing else. Anything above that is not "minimal"

My God, my nearly twinked Ace Pilot build barely gets about your minimum.

Starting stat +1 raised to +5 at 20 with PU
+2 from race
+1 from theme
+3 from class skill
+Level Ranks

Liberty's Edge

3 people marked this as a favorite.
HWalsh wrote:
That's not a reasonable minimum.

It's a reasonable minimum for the thing you do as your primary job in Starship Combat. Which is what I was aiming for.

Investing less than that in something that's as vital as Starship Combat is on par with investing less than that in your primary attack stat when you have no other combat abilities. It's not the norm for people who assume that role in Starship Combat or a good idea.

HWalsh wrote:
That's freaking borderline optimized for any non-operative non-envoy.

It means you picked a skill associated with a stat you were gonna raise a fair bit anyway and invested skill ranks. That's...really not that optimized.

HWalsh wrote:

A real minimum is:

+1 Stat at 1, +2 at 5, +3 at 10, +4 at 15
+3 Class Skill
+Level Ranks

And nothing else. Anything above that is not "minimal"

That's not a sufficient investment into something that's gonna be a major element of many games. Not normally, anyway.

That's like saying that a +19 Attack Bonus and a level equivalent Small Arm is the minimum to be effective in combat at 20th level. It's technically true, but needing a 15+ to hit enemies at all, for 5d12+10 damage or less (a DPR of about 14.875) is not a winning tactic at that level. It is simply not sufficient.

Nor is what you're suggesting here. My above is around the minimum necessary to be effective and requires no more than minimal focus for most characters (only some Soldiers and a few Solarians and Mystics even need to worry about this most times...Envoys can just do Captain or Engineer casually, Operative can casually do Pilot, and manage most others at need, Technomancers ace Science Officer, and Mechanics can do Engineer or Science Officer easily).

HWalsh wrote:

My God, my nearly twinked Ace Pilot build barely gets about your minimum.

Starting stat +1 raised to +5 at 20 with PU
+2 from race
+1 from theme
+3 from class skill
+Level Ranks

That's...really not a twinked Pilot, given the utter lack of Dex focus. It's using Lashunta and Ace Pilot to be a decent Pilot despite low Dex. Which is totally valid, but not the same thing.

It does bring up that even someone with actual minimum stats as you define them can bring themselves on par or above with Skill Focus alone, though. Which is neat. You can also get by with lower stats by investing significantly more in a ship's computer, but that's the party as a whole investing resources into shoring up a specific character's weakness in this arena (which is fine, but worth noting).

A few roles can also get by with a bit less. A Captain can manage with terrible stats using only Encourage, for example, and a Science Officer with somewhat less by having good sensors (which can give a +4). but Pilots and Engineers are gonna need to be pretty good to pull off the difficult stuff, and doing so is often gonna be pretty important.


Cool. So an 8 is about right
very good


Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
HWalsh wrote:
Deadmanwalking wrote:
For the record 'reasonable minimums' assume a starting stat of 14, raising that stat as secondary (ie: it gets upped every 5 levels, it gets your +2 Upgrade when you have a +4 and your +4 when you have a +6), maxed ranks in a class skill, and nothing else.

That's not a reasonable minimum.

That's freaking borderline optimized for any non-operative non-envoy.

A real minimum is:

+1 Stat at 1, +2 at 5, +3 at 10, +4 at 15
+3 Class Skill
+Level Ranks

And nothing else. Anything above that is not "minimal"

My God, my nearly twinked Ace Pilot build barely gets about your minimum.

Starting stat +1 raised to +5 at 20 with PU
+2 from race
+1 from theme
+3 from class skill
+Level Ranks

I have to agree with HWalsh on this one. The reasonable minimum should be lower. I would say that many will have something less than what he listed above.

For many characters, the starship role is going to be secondary.

Liberty's Edge

BretI wrote:

I have to agree with HWalsh on this one. The reasonable minimum should be lower. I would say that many will have something less than what he listed above.

For many characters, the starship role is going to be secondary.

The thing is, if you are one of the following classes, the following Roles you'll just sorta hit that point with skill points alone in the vast majority of cases:

Envoy: Captain. Yes, even with basically no investment.
Mechanic: Engineer AND Science Officer. Even a non Int-invested Mechanic will hit the minimal numbers here.
Operative: Just about anything you put ranks in, but especially Pilot.
Technomancer: Science Officer.
Solarian: Captain. You technically might be very slightly lower, I guess, but no more than a point or so and Captain's an easy role to half-ass via Encourage. Can also probably do a decent (though not great) Gunner. Unless Dex-based in which case, master gunner it is.

That leaves only Mystic and Soldier.

Any Dex-based Soldier will do better than the above minimum (or at least as well) as a Pilot if they invest ranks, and may well be the Gunner instead anyway (and will do fine as that with no investment at all, not even skill ranks). Str-based Soldiers will need to invest a Skill Focus Feat (or other boosters like the aforemnetioned 'being Lashunta') to be useful in Starship combat...but they have the Feats to burn and this is not news.

As for Mystic, that really depends a lot on Connection. Any Overlord can do Captain, any Star Shaman can do Pilot, and so on. Mystics whose Connection Skills don't help in Starship Combat are sorta in trouble, I admit...assuming they don't have pretty good Dex and a willingness to spend ranks in Pilot and go Gunner. They can do that fine. If that isn't their cup of tea they can go the same route as a Str-based Soldier and seek out other boosts.

But that's a pretty small minority of characters who even need to invest at all in Starship Combat to be good in it in at least one role.

Starfinder Society has a specific issue where you may have four people all good at one role and nobody good at any others...but that's, again, not new.


Let's say your party is Envoy, Solarion, Mystic, Soldier. What sort of role skills would you expect there?

Liberty's Edge

Matthew Downie wrote:
Let's say your party is Envoy, Solarion, Mystic, Soldier. What sort of role skills would you expect there?

Depends on if they've built carefully...if they have you can easily have the following, with all having at least the 'minimal' level I note above (actually, the Pilot and Engineer in this example will be way above that):

Captain: Solarian
Pilot: Mystic (went Star Shaman)
Engineer: Envoy (bought Engineering as an Envoy skill, probably with Additional Skill Expertise...has decent Int and will sub in as Science Officer when necessary, grabbing Computers as an Envoy skill later on)
Gunner: Soldier

If they've screwed up they're in trouble, but that's true of any PC group who build in a poorly coordinated manner.

And that's only one configuration, I can think of a few others. For example, any Ysoki can, with Int 10 and raising it at 5 level marks, make a decent Engineer. Ditto a Lashunta and any role if they use their skill bonuses strategically.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Edit: Damnit, sniped =p

Hm... tricky. Envoy is the skillmonkey-est of the lot, so you could have them take care of engineering / science officer, switching roles as needed. Solarian takes captain, mystic goes star shaman and pilots, soldier goes gunner

Alternatively, envoy goes captian, mystic invests in science/engineer, solarian and soldier both max pilot and determine between themselves who flies the ship

Or overlord mystic captains, envoy skillmonkeys, solarian and soldier determine who flies and who shoots between themselves.

decidedly sub-optimal, but as a GM it should be perfectly do-able to adapt to that I'd think.


Deadmanwalking wrote:


Engineer: Envoy (bought Engineering as an Envoy skill, probably with Additional Skill Expertise...has decent Int and will sub in as Science Officer when necessary, grabbing Computers as an Envoy skill later on)

Not sure what you mean by "bought" or "grabbing".

Envoys have both Engineering and Computers as class skills without a need to add them to the list.

They do need to select them for Skill Expertise which you appropriately point out, but they are both on the list.

Also worth noting, the Soldier could potentially be an engineer if they build for it (but the Envoy should be better due to Skill Expertise). It isn't outside the realm of possibility to be a ranged Soldier with a secondary focus on intelligence.

But otherwise agreed on that potential road map.


Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Deadmanwalking wrote:
For the record 'reasonable minimums' assume a starting stat of 14, raising that stat as secondary (ie: it gets upped every 5 levels, it gets your +2 Upgrade when you have a +4 and your +4 when you have a +6), maxed ranks in a class skill, and nothing else.

Let's look at the SFS Pre-gens and see how they hold up with your 'reasonable minimum'.

Navasi (Envoy)

1st level (Need +6, +3 Gunner)
Meets it for Captain (Diplomacy and Bluff).
Meets it for Pilot.
Meets it for Science Officer.
Meets it for Gunner.

4th level (Need +9, +6 Gunner)
Meets it for Captain (Diplomacy and Bluff)
Meets it for Pilot.
Meets it for Science Officer.
Meets it for Gunner.

8th level (Needs +14 or +15 depending on when Secondary PU comes in, +11 Gunner)
Has +14 for Captain (Diplomacy and Bluff)
Meets it for Pilot.
Has +14 for Science Officer.
Meets it for Gunner.

Quig (Mechanic)

1st level (Need +6, +3 Gunner)
Meets it for Science Officer.
Meets it for Engineering.

4th level (Need +9, +6 Gunner)
Meets it for Science Officer.
Meets it for Engineering.

8th level (Needs +14 or +15, +11 Gunner)
Meets it for Science Officer.
Meets it for Engineering.
Meets it for Pilot.
Meets it for Gunner.

Keskodai (Mystic)

1st level (Need +6, +3 Gunner)
Doesn't meet it for any position.

4th level (Need +9, +6 Gunner)
Has +8 for Captain (Diplomacy) plus some ability to Aid Another.

8th level (Needs +14 or +15, +11 Gunner)
Doesn't meet it for any position.

Iseph (Operative)

1st level (Need +6, +3 Gunner)
Meets it for Science Officer.
Meets it for Engineering.
Meets it for Pilot.
Meets it for Gunner.

4th level (Need +9, +6 Gunner)
Makes it for Captain (Bluff, Intimidate)
Meets it for Science Officer.
Meets it for Engineering.
Meets it for Pilot.
Meets it for Gunner.

8th level (Needs +14 or +15, +11 Gunner)
Has +14 for Captain (Bluff, Intimidate)
Meets it for Science Officer.
Meets it for Engineering.
Meets it for Pilot.
Meets it for Gunner.

Altronus (Solarian)

1st level (Need +6, +3 Gunner)
Has +5 for Captain (Diplomacy)

4th level (Need +9, +6 Gunner)
Has +8 for Captain (Diplomacy)

8th level (Needs +14 or +15, +11 Gunner)
Has +13 for Captain (Diplomacy)
Has it for Gunner.

Obozaya (Soldier)

1st level (Need +6, +3 Gunner)
Has it for Gunner.

4th level (Need +9, +6 Gunner)
Has +8 for Captain (Intimidate)
Has it for Gunner.

8th level (Needs +14 or +15, +11 Gunner)
Has it for Gunner.

Raia (Technomancer)

1st level (Need +6, +3 Gunner)
Has it for Science Officer.
Has it for Engineering.
Has it for Pilot.
Has it for Gunner.

4th level (Need +9, +6 Gunner)
Has it for Science Officer.
Has it for Engineering.
Has it for Pilot.
Has it for Gunner.

8th level (Needs +14 or +15, +11 Gunner)
Has it for Science Officer.
Has it for Engineering.
Has it for Pilot.
Has it for Gunner.

So the Mystic, Solarian and Soldier pre-gens all have problems making your benchmark.


5 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Maps, Pawns, Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Many pregens aren't good examples of minimums insomuch as they are great examples of how NOT to build characters.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Ravingdork wrote:
Many pregens aren't good examples of minimums insomuch as they are great examples of how NOT to build characters.

Pregens get played at conventions.

They are most people's first introduction to Starfinder. A lot of people use them as a guide to creating their first character.

If they can't do the tasks a character is expected to be able to handle, then there is a problem that needs to be fixed.


8 people marked this as a favorite.

Let there be a moment of silence for anybody who has played Harsk.


Ravingdork wrote:
Many pregens aren't good examples of minimums insomuch as they are great examples of how NOT to build characters.

Sorry Ravingdork, but I have to disagree at this point. You're seeing things through the optimizer's lens and pushing it as fact. That is a bad thing. That is the kind of thing that causes real problems in gaming.

That's the thing that leads to people in games to demand that people, "Pull their weight!" That's the kind of thing that lead to the problems with WBL in Pathfinder that created the myth that you're expected to have VERY specific items that are mechanically superior to all others and literally renders 90% of all items useless because "you can't hit your benchmarks if you buy an item outside this narrow scope."

Sadly, this causes a small (very vocal) extreme minority to make enough noise that it convinces the devs of this too.

Just look at Pathfinder.

We're told a single CR 7 enemy is s challenge for 4 level 7 characters. 1 level 7 character who hits the optimizer's benchmark can often burn a CR 8 down on it's own in 1 round.

Here we see similar.

Using my "minimum" we see the following:

+5 (+1+3+1) at level 1

Pilot DCs are: +12/+17

They succeed on a 7 or a 12. That's perfectly acceptable.

+10 (+2+3+5) at level 5

Pilot DCs are: +18/+23

Needing an 8 commonly or a 13 for harder maneuvers isn't unreasonable. A hard maneuver has a 50% chance of success with +2 from the Captain. This is without computer aid.

+16 (+3+3+10) at level 10

Pilot DCs are: +25/+30

You need a 9 and a 14, again this is fine. You're going to succeed more than 50% of the time on normal maneuvers and harder maneuvers you've got ship and Captain bonuses to help with.

+22 (+4+3+15) at level 15

Pilot DCs are: +33/+38

This is where it starts to break down. This is also passed SFS levels where high level play never works right. Even here though you need an 11 or a 16. Which is a 50% to succeed standard, or a 25% to succeed unaided on difficult maneuvers. Succeeding on a 10 is the actual benchmark in all d20 based games.

+28 (+5+3+20)

Pilot DCs are: +40/+45

You need a 12 to 17. You need a +2 from systems to hit the 10/15 actual benchmark. Which, if you have a +10 from computers, you easily can get. Or the captain can give it to you. Which is useful because part of the Captain's job is to give people +2's to things.

-----

That is minimum and it's completely functional. Yes optimizers will want better chances, but that doesn't make them right.

My "above the minimum" hits:

01: +8
05: +13
10: +19
15: +25
20: +31

And does all the normal moves on a 9 or less, and all of the difficult moves on a 14 or less.

If we assume I am getting a +1/+2/+3/+4/+5 at each tier from alternative sources (captain, ship computer, etc) then I succeed at a 3 and an 8, a 3 and an 8, a 3 and an 8, a 4 and a 9, and a 4 and a 9.

Note that in all such instances, since ship bonuses are going to be split primarily between Pilot and Gunner even without the captain or science officers, who both can do things, you'll have those bonuses as I outlined.

Typically at 20 a Pilot will actually have +7 and a Gunner will have +7 (+5 from the ship's +10, +2 from Captain/Science officer) so even the "Minimum" will pass on a 5 and a 10.

The "Pushed" build I use will pass on a 2 and a 7. If you're passing your checks when you roll a 2 under most circumstances... You're BEYOND the minimum. Way beyond.

The Exchange

I think it's excellent that so many pregens meet reasonable space combat goals.

A + 6 to be decent at something is fairly minimal and easily reached with any attention paid. The vast majority of builds can reach that in at least one of the categories with little more investment than a skill point. And the few that aren't are still within a point or two.

BretI wrote:
Ravingdork wrote:
Many pregens aren't good examples of minimums insomuch as they are great examples of how NOT to build characters.

Pregens get played at conventions.

They are most people's first introduction to Starfinder. A lot of people use them as a guide to creating their first character.

If they can't do the tasks a character is expected to be able to handle, then there is a problem that needs to be fixed.

I'm glad the SF pregens are better than most, and they do seem to be. But I've seen enough Paizo produced pregens that don't even spend all their attribute points, and then make even worse build choices to consider them good builds. It's true that they're many peoples first exposure to the system and that new people base their own characters off their designs, but that doesn't make them even decent. The goal here would be for generally better pregen design, not for the system to be reworked to match their abilities.


I've heard not great things about Altronus the Solarian. But I've played Iseph and he's really awesome.


Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Azih wrote:
I've heard not great things about Altronus the Solarian. But I've played Iseph and he's really awesome.

I saw Altronus in play at GenCon (1st level). He's just awful.

Liberty's Edge

Well this is good news!


2 people marked this as a favorite.

I like these new DC scalings a lot. Specialists can get very high odds on the hard tasks with ship and encourage bonuses through most levels, while low investment characters look to have 50/50 odds on easy stuff in the mid-levels.

However, I'll point out that this has not changed the NPC skill bonuses. Which means NPC success chance go up as well.

Instead of comparing against the DCs, compare against the opposing team who is also rolling against those DCs to understand good minimums.

At level 8, minimum suggestions are +13-14 (Hwalsh) or +15 (Deadmanwalking).

Take a Tier 8 ship, the Norikama Dropship. Innately it has +3 to two checks per round, and +2 to Computers for sensors. -1 to piloting.

It has a captain with +16 across the board, an engineer with +16, gunner with +16, a science officer with +16+2=+18, and a master pilot with +21-1=+20. These are good skills with one master skill (the pilot with 9+1.5x8 = 21).

Deadmanwalking's minimum is basically 1 behind the opposing ship. Hwalsh's is 2-3 points behind. Except for the pilot, which is 6 or 7-8 behind, which is a serious problem.

Arguably, the most important roll is the ship's initiative, determining who gets to move last. A 7 point pilot difference is going to mean the NPC ship moves last 4 out of 5 rounds.

Against non-master skill pilots (i.e. a +16), you're still going to be behind about 3 points, which is losing the initiative fight 2 out of 3 rounds.

If I had a "minimum" skill pilot, I'd probably customize my ship with the idea that'll we'd be moving first most of the time, and ensure you don't have a front heavy loadout.

The Exchange

Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Yeah can we not use Altronus as an example of anything, this character literally has 1 14, 4 12s, and a 10(effectively since it's where the extra point was put). Why would anyone in the world build a character like that.


Shaudius wrote:
Yeah can we not use Altronus as an example of anything, this character literally has 1 14, 4 12s, and a 10(effectively since it's where the extra point was put). Why would anyone in the world build a character like that.

Altronus isn't completely terrible, if you were starting at level 10...

12/12/12/11/12/14 - For example can become
14/14/14/11/14/14
16/14/14/13/16/16
18/16/16/15/16/16
18/18/18/15/18/18

PUs can bring him to 24/20/18/14/22/18

I mean, granted... I wouldn't want to play Altronus, or a Solarian, if he was the first thing that showed me the system, but it looks like someone built him with the long haul in mind and while not bad, just feels poor in comparison.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Maps, Pawns, Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Shaudius wrote:
Yeah can we not use Altronus as an example of anything, this character literally has 1 14, 4 12s, and a 10(effectively since it's where the extra point was put). Why would anyone in the world build a character like that.

I've seen people do exactly that intentionally, and while they weren't great at--well, anything--they got along okay until they were basically able to become what HWalsh presented.

Silver Crusade RPG Superstar 2013 Top 8

Starfinder CRB p. 321, Critical Damage wrote:

Critical damage is scored whenever a gunnery check results in a natural 20 on the die and damage is dealt to the target ship’s hull. The critical range is expanded to a natural 19 or 20 on the die if the target starship was the subject of a successful target system science officer action (see page 325).

Critical damage is also scored whenever the target starship’s hull takes damage that causes its total amount of damage to exceed its Critical Threshold (see page 292) or a multiple of that threshold.

Starfinder CRB p. 325, Target System wrote:
If you succeed, choose one system (core, engines, life support, sensors, or weapons). The next attack made by your starship that hits the enemy ship scores a critical hit on a natural roll of 19 or 20. If that attack deals critical damage, it affects the chosen system. For any further critical damage resulting from the attack, determine which system is affected randomly as normal.

If an attack benefiting from Target System inflicts critical damage not from a critical hit but through some other method (e.g. exceeding a ship's Critical Threshold) does that critical damage affect the targeted system or a random system?

I read it as affecting the targeted system, but that seems counter-intuitive to me.

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Starfinder Accessories, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
GreySector wrote:


If an attack benefiting from Target System inflicts critical damage not from a critical hit but through some other method (e.g. exceeding a ship's Critical Threshold) does that critical damage affect the targeted system or a random system?

I read it as affecting the targeted system, but that seems counter-intuitive to me.

I think you're reading it correctly, and that's what's nice about the Target System option. Even if you don't crit on the keen attack, if you do enough damage, you STILL can glitch out one specific system.

I read it like: "The next attack is keen. Also, if *that next attack* deals critical damage..."

So, it specifically keens the next attack, and refers to that attack doing damage to a specific system, if you do enough damage to pass a critical threshold. Even if you don't hit a 19 or 20.

The other way would mean you have to pass a high skill check to get a 10% chance of anything important happening, which would make it worthless, just about.

Liberty's Edge

2 people marked this as a favorite.
BretI wrote:
So the Mystic, Solarian and Soldier pre-gens all have problems making your benchmark.

Huh? Obozaya makes it easily as Gunner.

And Altronus is both notably poorly built (no, really) and a vaguely adequate Captain (he's within a couple of points and can manage Encourage). At 1st and 4th he's better as a Captain in Starship Combat than as an actual combatant, IMO.

That leaves only Keskodai as not very good in ship combat...which is objectively true, not the fault of my standards. Heck, he fails HWalsh's standards in most regards, too.

Though I'll note that with max ranks in Pilot he's actually a halfway decent Gunner, with a +2, +5, +10 at his various levels which is only 1 point behind the minimums you list for Gunner (which, in fairness, are probably close to what I'd list as well).

HWalsh wrote:
Ravingdork wrote:
Many pregens aren't good examples of minimums insomuch as they are great examples of how NOT to build characters.

Sorry Ravingdork, but I have to disagree at this point. You're seeing things through the optimizer's lens and pushing it as fact. That is a bad thing. That is the kind of thing that causes real problems in gaming.

That's the thing that leads to people in games to demand that people, "Pull their weight!" That's the kind of thing that lead to the problems with WBL in Pathfinder that created the myth that you're expected to have VERY specific items that are mechanically superior to all others and literally renders 90% of all items useless because "you can't hit your benchmarks if you buy an item outside this narrow scope."

The thing about this is that Ravingdork and the people who want characters to 'pull their weight' are objectively correct inasmuch as actually achieving game objectives are concerned. That's just the way the math works.

Are some people dicks about it? Absolutely. Do some people hold others to absurd and unnecessary standards? Oh yes. But there is an objective standard of how good characters need to be to be effective. It exists (for Pathfinder it's been codified pretty well here).

HWalsh wrote:

Sadly, this causes a small (very vocal) extreme minority to make enough noise that it convinces the devs of this too.

Just look at Pathfinder.

We're told a single CR 7 enemy is s challenge for 4 level 7 characters. 1 level 7 character who hits the optimizer's benchmark can often burn a CR 8 down on it's own in 1 round.

Here we see similar.

That's actually not what the CR system says. The CR system says that about four CR 7 encounters will wear away a 7th level party's resources to the point that they should stop for the day, without being too dangerous.

For an encounter to be only a 50% shot of winning you need APL+4 (ie: CR 11 at 7th level)...which neatly maps to four CR 7 creatures for a part of APL 7. A CR 7 is thus supposed to be a 'fair' fight for a single 7th level PC.

PCs who can nuke a CR 8 personally in a turn are thus a bit overtuned, but not nearly to the degree you're implying.

HWalsh wrote:
Using my "minimum" we see the following:

The issue with this list is it ignores 20+1.5xCR checks. That's doable for some roles some of the time, but definitely not for, say, the Engineer.

But yes, bonuses from the Computer can absolutely compensate for one sub-par character. But a sub par Captain or Science Officer isn't giving such bonuses out very much (or only +2 from the Captain, anyway), and if everyone is sub par you wind up without the bonuses to go around.

And, as Hiruma Kai notes below, NPCs get all those bonuses too, and have slightly better stats than my minimums to start with, never mind yours.

Hiruma Kai wrote:
I like these new DC scalings a lot. Specialists can get very high odds on the hard tasks with ship and encourage bonuses through most levels, while low investment characters look to have 50/50 odds on easy stuff in the mid-levels.

Yep. I too, am a fan.

Hiruma Kai wrote:

However, I'll point out that this has not changed the NPC skill bonuses. Which means NPC success chance go up as well.

Instead of comparing against the DCs, compare against the opposing team who is also rolling against those DCs to understand good minimums.

That's an excellent idea!

Hiruma Kai wrote:
At level 8, minimum suggestions are +13-14 (Hwalsh) or +15 (Deadmanwalking).

I'd like to note, for the record, that this is very much a minimum. It being behind NPCs of equivalent CR is both expected and intended.

Indeed, if your ship is crewed entirely by people in the 'minimum' category you're gonna be in real trouble in any remotely equal starship fight. One or two is fine, and workable, but the whole crew? Not so much.

Hiruma Kai wrote:

Take a Tier 8 ship, the Norikama Dropship. Innately it has +3 to two checks per round, and +2 to Computers for sensors. -1 to piloting.

It has a captain with +16 across the board, an engineer with +16, gunner with +16, a science officer with +16+2=+18, and a master pilot with +21-1=+20. These are good skills with one master skill (the pilot with 9+1.5x8 = 21).

Deadmanwalking's minimum is basically 1 behind the opposing ship. Hwalsh's is 2-3 points behind. Except for the pilot, which is 6 or 7-8 behind, which is a serious problem.

Going up against a Master Pilot when you have an adequate one is a not great situation, yeah.

I'll note that my maximal non-specialist has a +21 and exactly the same as the Master Pilot at this level. An actual specialist can do better.

Hiruma Kai wrote:

Arguably, the most important roll is the ship's initiative, determining who gets to move last. A 7 point pilot difference is going to mean the NPC ship moves last 4 out of 5 rounds.

Against non-master skill pilots (i.e. a +16), you're still going to be behind about 3 points, which is losing the initiative fight 2 out of 3 rounds.

If I had a "minimum" skill pilot, I'd probably customize my ship with the idea that'll we'd be moving first most of the time, and ensure you don't have a front heavy loadout.

Definitely a solid plan, yeah.


Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Deadmanwalking wrote:
BretI wrote:
So the Mystic, Solarian and Soldier pre-gens all have problems making your benchmark.
Huh? Obozaya makes it easily as Gunner.

Obozaya is a good gunner. He can't do a reasonable job at a second position. He has Intimidate skill, but not enough to use as a Captain.

The problem is generally true of the classes listed, not just the PreGen. An operative can be built that can fill any position on the ship, the Soldier has trouble being anything other than Gunner.

Liberty's Edge

3 people marked this as a favorite.
BretI wrote:
Deadmanwalking wrote:
BretI wrote:
So the Mystic, Solarian and Soldier pre-gens all have problems making your benchmark.
Huh? Obozaya makes it easily as Gunner.
Obozaya is a good gunner. He can't do a reasonable job at a second position. He has Intimidate skill, but not enough to use as a Captain.

She, actually. Obozaya is female.

And, uh, so? Nowhere did I say or even imply you need to be competent at multiple roles. She's competent at one, so she's fine. She could be built to be competent at others as well, but she wasn't and it's not an absolute requirement to be so.

BretI wrote:
The problem is generally true of the classes listed, not just the PreGen. An operative can be built that can fill any position on the ship, the Soldier has trouble being anything other than Gunner.

Uh...no, it isn't.

Any Soldier can pretty easily afford a Skill Focus and be pretty good at Pilot. Any with decent Int can do the same as an Engineer. And Soldiers have plenty of Feats to burn, so spending one in this fashion is no hardship at all. Heck, even sans Feat a dedicated ranged Soldier can just put ranks in Pilot and manage a +32 by 20th (since they'll have Dex 28 by then), which is well within acceptable amounts, and above the minimum by a few points.

As for Solarian...the Solarian in question started with Cha 12 and Dex 12. His problems are not related to his Class. He could easily hit the Captain benchmarks if he started with Cha 14...or the Pilot and Gunner ones with starting Dex 14. He just didn't do either of those things.

And Mystic, as specified, can do all sorts of things easily depending on Connection. Keskodai just doesn't. His problem, again, is unrelated to his Class. And he'd hit Gunner benchmarks even under current build with a Dex of 14. Again, he just didn't actually do the necessary things to achieve that.

You absolutely can make a character who fails to hit any benchmarks. Heck, you can easily make an Operative who fails to hit any of them. You just shouldn't, and also could easily make a character who meets them in their area.

Just as an example, let's show that Operative:

Spoiler:
Str 11 Dex 14 Con 8 Int 14 Wis 12 Cha 14

Damaya Lashunta Xenoseeker Detective.

Feat: Skill Synergy (Mysticism, Physical Science)

Skills: Acrobatics +7, Athletics +5, Bluff +7, Culture +11, Life Science +7, Mysticism +6, Physical Science +7, Sense Motive +10, Sleight of Hand +8, Stealth +8, Survival +6

And raising all those skills at every level. Buys up Int at 5th and gets Disguise as an additional skill.

That character has +2 Gunnery at 1st, +5 at 4th, and maybe +10 at 8th. Their bonuses in other skills relevant in starship combat are +3 at 1st, +4 at 4th, and at 8th a total of +8 at most.

Is that a really suboptimal Operative? Yes, but not a lot more than Altronus is a suboptimal Solarian. But mostly only because of the low Dex. Raise that to 18 and it's suddenly a very competent character...and barely manages at Gunnery in Starship Combat and nothing else.

I nevertheless am not gonna use it as an example of Operatives being bad at Starship Combat because that's ridiculous.


A character who was optimised to be able to handle the old starship combat DCs is some serious overkill with the new ones BTW. In a PbP game to test the system my level 10 character has a +27 computers skill, which with the sensors on our ship becomes +31. I'm... not going to fail much.

This guy, BTW.

Liberty's Edge

avr wrote:

A character who was optimised to be able to handle the old starship combat DCs is some serious overkill with the new ones BTW. In a PbP game to test the system my level 10 character has a +27 computers skill, which with the sensors on our ship becomes +31. I'm... not going to fail much.

This guy, BTW.

Yup.

This is a bit more true of Science Officers than others because of the +4 and the availability of Datajacks...but a +26 on Piloting at 10th (very achievable) is dealing with most checks at DC 30 at most, with an occasional DC 35...and succeeding pretty easily most of the time.

True specialists in Starship Combat now succeed really often, given that I think I can manage a +41 pretty readily and DCs rarely go over 45 and never over 50.


Deadmanwalking wrote:
avr wrote:

A character who was optimised to be able to handle the old starship combat DCs is some serious overkill with the new ones BTW. In a PbP game to test the system my level 10 character has a +27 computers skill, which with the sensors on our ship becomes +31. I'm... not going to fail much.

This guy, BTW.

Yup.

This is a bit more true of Science Officers than others because of the +4 and the availability of Datajacks...but a +26 on Piloting at 10th (very achievable) is dealing with most checks at DC 30 at most, with an occasional DC 35...and succeeding pretty easily most of the time.

True specialists in Starship Combat now succeed really often, given that I think I can manage a +41 pretty readily and DCs rarely go over 45 and never over 50.

There is a very odd Solarian build that makes a fantastic Gunner or pilot. It's kind of gimpy but the light armored two handed full bore melee Solarian can pull off...

Dex 24 (+7)
Pilot +10
Ace Pilot +1
Student +2
Skill Focus Piloting +3
Class Skill +3

+26 at 10... It's Overkill but...

You can do the same with the Gunner Solarian.

DCs are like 25 and 30 at that level...


Im on my phone or id check myself but how do the numbers look for npc crew members/ships?


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Maps, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
TarkXT wrote:
Im on my phone or id check myself but how do the numbers look for npc crew members/ships?

NPC crewed ships have skill bonuses that scale to 1-1/2 time ship tier, so they exactly keep up with the new skill DCs that scale by the same factor.

Liberty's Edge Contributor

6 people marked this as a favorite.

In case anyone would like to use them, I created a packet of starship combat "role sheets." Each sheet includes everything the character in that role can do and has blank boxes the player can fill in as a reminder of the DCs for the various actions. I got the idea from another GM as something to hand out to players during Starfinder Society games, but they're useful in my home game, too.

The sheets are up to date with the current DCs, as well as the other changes from the starship combat section of the FAQ.

You can find the sheets here: Starship Role Sheets.pdf

Enjoy!

Liberty's Edge

Paris Crenshaw wrote:
You can find the sheets here: Starship Role Sheets.pdf {link removed}

Your link didn't work for me.

Thank you in advance!

Liberty's Edge Contributor

4 people marked this as a favorite.
Gary Bush wrote:
Paris Crenshaw wrote:
You can find the sheets here: Starship Role Sheets.pdf {link removed}

Your link didn't work for me.

Thank you in advance!

Oops! Sorry! I should've known better than to link to the one in the Starfinder Society Facebook group.

Try this one from Google Drive.

Liberty's Edge

David knott 242 wrote:
TarkXT wrote:
Im on my phone or id check myself but how do the numbers look for npc crew members/ships?

NPC crewed ships have skill bonuses that scale to 1-1/2 time ship tier, so they exactly keep up with the new skill DCs that scale by the same factor.

Indeed, specifically, normally skilled crew will always succeed on a 6+ on easy stuff, an 11+ on challenging stuff, and a 16+ on the hard stuff.

Master skilled NPCs auto-succeed on easy stuff, need a 6+ on challenging stuff, and need an 11+ on hard stuff.

Both of those seem reasonable.


So why does my Captain still have a more difficult time with certain actions just because the ship got upgraded?


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Maps, Pawns, Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Tectorman wrote:
So why does my Captain still have a more difficult time with certain actions just because the ship got upgraded?

Because he did't know he had to double click the icon to open the proper comm channel, and that everything is context sensitive so that if you click using the wrong button or device, you get the wrong menu.

Captain: These newfangled apps-im-a-whachits aren't like the simple computers of yesteryear! Why did we have to go and upgrade again!? ...Hello? I said hello!

Ship's AI: Welcome to the FilthBeGone app. Your bath will be ready in a moment. Would you like a bubble bath, mud cleanse, or acid scourge dip?

Captain: Dagnabbit! *shouting down to the lower bridge* That's a minefield ahead you foo...


Higher level characters have more self-importance and are harder to push around. At first level in a falling-apart shuttle you're all in it together, in a shining tier 10 explorer you're someone that matters.

I could almost believe that.

Liberty's Edge

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Tectorman wrote:
So why does my Captain still have a more difficult time with certain actions just because the ship got upgraded?

Actually, since Tier is entirely tied to Level, it's more like his job gets more difficult as he's dealing with higher level people.

Which actually makes sense, given that it doesn't even apply to all actions. Encourage is now equally easy for ever (actually, it gets easier since your skill goes up).

As for the rest:

Demand is an Intimidate check opposing your own crew. Characters getting more difficult to Intimidate as they go up in level is standard, and applies in all other situations. Why not this one?

Taunt involves the enemy's Tier (and thus level) and thus makes perfect sense. Higher level enemies being harder to effect with social skills is, again, standard.

Orders involves actual technical skills (using the same check as the person you're giving orders to), so that one makes good sense, too. Precisely as much sense as the other Roles checks going up with Tier, in fact,

With Moving Speech you might actually have a point thematically, but it's powerful enough that I understand the mechanical need for a raising DC and am willing to suspend disbelief.


avr wrote:

Higher level characters have more self-importance and are harder to push around. At first level in a falling-apart shuttle you're all in it together, in a shining tier 10 explorer you're someone that matters.

I could almost believe that.

I could get behind that if they put in something to the effect of "The Captain isn't doing anything that involves the ship he's standing on, but his actions get more difficult to do to reflect the general assumption that his crew is higher level as well (and is as high level as the ship)." That would also allow for the corner case of a bunch of 20th level narcissists on a falling-apart shuttle.

Liberty's Edge

Paris Crenshaw wrote:
Gary Bush wrote:
Paris Crenshaw wrote:
You can find the sheets here: Starship Role Sheets.pdf {link removed}

Your link didn't work for me.

Thank you in advance!

Oops! Sorry! I should've known better than to link to the one in the Starfinder Society Facebook group.

Try this one from Google Drive.

Have you also updated this to pfsprep.com site?

Liberty's Edge Contributor

Gary Bush wrote:
Paris Crenshaw wrote:
Gary Bush wrote:
Paris Crenshaw wrote:
You can find the sheets here: Starship Role Sheets.pdf {link removed}

Your link didn't work for me.

Thank you in advance!

Oops! Sorry! I should've known better than to link to the one in the Starfinder Society Facebook group.

Try this one from Google Drive.

Have you also updated this to pfsprep.com site?

Not yet. I didn't get to it, last night, and I can't access the site from work. I'll try to do it this evening.

1 to 50 of 89 << first < prev | 1 | 2 | next > last >>
Community / Forums / Starfinder / Starfinder General Discussion / The Starship Combat Rules Have Been Fixed All Messageboards

Want to post a reply? Sign in.