A Nitpick Regarding Solarians


General Discussion


Hey, new to Starfinder so this isn't one of the many apparent class debates regarding Solarians and their efficacy.

That said, their solar manifestations (both armor or weapon) state the following:

Once you’ve selected the general design,
you can’t change it until you gain a new solarian level.

To which I say, why?

Why is that even a thing? What possible benefit does that have on this role-playing game either mechanically or thematically?

This isn't a video game where such things might be considered part of the functionality/UI of the game.

At least with the solar weapon it makes a vague bit of sense since you can only change the weapons damage type when you level, but since the appearance of the weapon doesn't actually impact its functionality, it's still a largely superfluous rule.

I can't begin to comprehend why that was even specified as a restriction in the class ability. It seems like a completely meaningless bit of micromanaging fiddlyness.

Don't get me wrong, I'm generally excited about this game, but it does (IMHO) have some outright peculiarities and errors scattered throughout it making this thing a fine beauty as long as you look past the pimples.


I was puzzled by this at first, too. Mechanically, though, I can see the reason: this choice significantly affects character builds and removes a temptation to attempt jack-of-all-trades builds that might actually wind up screwing over a Solarian character. From the point of view of balance and scaling, most of Starfinder looks to have been exhaustively thought out.

Lore-wise there seems no obvious reason for it, though, any more than there's an obvious reason for CHA being the Solarian key stat.


Honestly it is a bit odd...

I get not being able to choose to swap armor to weapon, though I think they should be able to do this, but since the design has no mechanical impact gameplay wise (save for maybe the Solar Weapon since your damage type (Slashing, Blunt, Piercing) is tied to the form, though even that I think is a very odd restriction) and is completely cosmetic this decision can't be made to stop players from accidentally boning themselves.


How *could* one "bone oneself" via choice of the form of their weapon or armor? I was under the impression it had no mechanical effect at all, other than the damage type.

Anyway, I think the best answer would be "Your Solar Manifestation is a manifestation of your inner sense of enlightenment, it doesn't change at a whim". IOW, its a theme reason, not a mechanical reason. Which. . . I don't entirely like, because it even more narrowly defines what the class means than it already is ( and this is my biggest problem with the Solarian anyway! ).


Metaphysician wrote:

How *could* one "bone oneself" via choice of the form of their weapon or armor? I was under the impression it had no mechanical effect at all, other than the damage type.

Anyway, I think the best answer would be "Your Solar Manifestation is a manifestation of your inner sense of enlightenment, it doesn't change at a whim". IOW, its a theme reason, not a mechanical reason. Which. . . I don't entirely like, because it even more narrowly defines what the class means than it already is ( and this is my biggest problem with the Solarian anyway! ).

You can't bone yourself with this one, which is what I said. That's why there's no reason for this.


I think they did it because they didn't want the class to be like Green Lantern. Changing your Solar Weapon at will. Change it if you want but I assume most people who choose the class will choose one form and be content with it. Sword, Gauntlet, Spear, Hammer, etc, etc...


Pathfinder Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

....toothpick.

It doesn’t matter what form it is, still does the same damage.


Sorry, I misread the initial question and my first post wasn't on point. Doing too many things at once. Yeah, I really don't know why the armour design has to remain fixed unless you level.


I'll may house-rule it to be changeable when manifested. Though that brings up the question of weather the weapon function (B/S/P) should be able to be changed at will. That's a stickier question as it does have a game-play effect (though one I'm inclined to think should be a feature of Solarians).

May play it as written until someone complains. Then it can be discussed.

(sigh) This game has warts but I think I love her anyway (mystic bug-person healer = SQUUUEEEEE).

(I'm coming from D&D5, which I love and want to marry, so I do have certain prejudices regarding streamlining and not getting too bogged down in unnecessary minutia >I'm looking at you 3/3.5<)


Starfinder is a direct descendant of Pathfinder which is basically 3.5 (or started that way), so yeah, those prints are still visible.

I honestly think maybe the reason for the armour restriction is precisely that armour Solarians don't get a flexibility their counterparts are denied. A lot of these decisions seem to be about either mechanical or thematic balance.


CeeJay wrote:

Starfinder is a direct descendant of Pathfinder which is basically 3.5 (or started that way), so yeah, those prints are still visible.

I honestly think maybe the reason for the armour restriction is precisely that armour Solarians don't get a flexibility their counterparts are denied. A lot of these decisions seem to be about either mechanical or thematic balance.

Aye, but again we're talking about a rule affecting a purely narrative element of the class.

That potential flexibility in no way affects a solar armor users mechanical benefits (which are tied to his/her/its level).

(My pondering of house-ruled weapon damage tweakability notwithstanding.)

It's just one of those little things that makes me wonder what the writer who invented it was thinking.


Deathseed wrote:

(sigh) This game has warts but I think I love her anyway (mystic bug-person healer = SQUUUEEEEE).

(I'm coming from D&D5, which I love and want to marry, so I do have certain prejudices regarding streamlining and not getting too bogged down in unnecessary minutia >I'm looking at you 3/3.5<)

What are the warts? Other than a few errors in the text the rules seem pretty solid. Have you ever played pathfinder?


Deathseed wrote:
CeeJay wrote:

Starfinder is a direct descendant of Pathfinder which is basically 3.5 (or started that way), so yeah, those prints are still visible.

I honestly think maybe the reason for the armour restriction is precisely that armour Solarians don't get a flexibility their counterparts are denied. A lot of these decisions seem to be about either mechanical or thematic balance.

Aye, but again we're talking about a rule affecting a purely narrative element of the class.

I get you. And not something I'd have overly much compunction about changing if there was a demand for it.


CeeJay wrote:
Deathseed wrote:
CeeJay wrote:

Starfinder is a direct descendant of Pathfinder which is basically 3.5 (or started that way), so yeah, those prints are still visible.

I honestly think maybe the reason for the armour restriction is precisely that armour Solarians don't get a flexibility their counterparts are denied. A lot of these decisions seem to be about either mechanical or thematic balance.

Aye, but again we're talking about a rule affecting a purely narrative element of the class.
I get you. And not something I'd have overly much compunction about changing if there was a demand for it.

Aye. I'm an old school "everything is subject to GM house-ruling" RPG hand (been GMing this hobby since the original D&D red box), so it's not as much a concern as it is a minor criticism.

That said, most of what I see with Solarians (and Starfinder in general) makes me giggle with glee.


JetSetRadio wrote:
Deathseed wrote:

(sigh) This game has warts but I think I love her anyway (mystic bug-person healer = SQUUUEEEEE).

(I'm coming from D&D5, which I love and want to marry, so I do have certain prejudices regarding streamlining and not getting too bogged down in unnecessary minutia >I'm looking at you 3/3.5<)

What are the warts? Other than a few errors in the text the rules seem pretty solid. Have you ever played pathfinder?

No.

I own and did a metric buttload of D&D 3/3.5 stuff, but sidestepped Pathfinder for D&D5.

I'm not going to list every quibble, editing error, inconsistency, and annoyance I've encountered so far. I'd write a review if I wanted to do that. Besides, I've not completed my read-through, so it'd be premature even if I were so inclined.

But I digress, this sort of thing is just part and parcel of RPGs. There are always things that could be "fixed", and I have a healthy respect for what Paizo has done with their games nonetheless.

All told, I'm a fan of this one, and quickly becoming somewhat obsessed with the ideas I have for running it.

Let's just say the Mi-Go will probably make an appearance, and they're up to something unpleasant :)


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Deathseed wrote:
Let's just say the Mi-Go will probably make an appearance, and they're up to something unpleasant :)

We reach. :D


1 person marked this as a favorite.

I would argue that the appearance of the armor is not entirely narrative. Or rather, it's an example of why "narrative" and "mechanics" are interwoven. I can think of a couple ways that a set armor (or weapon) form can cause issues or provide benefits for characters. Big ones involve reputation ("the mysterious hero always has golden armor with massive shoulder plates") or law enforcement ("the embassy was robbed by a solarian with purple armor with spikes here, here, and here.").

That being said, if someone wants to change it, I would, as a GM, say that if they intend to change their armor style at their next level up, then it makes sense that before then they are making a conscious effort to make the change. So they can summon their armor, but if they want to change its appearance, the summoning is a standard or full round action, rather than a move action, to reflect the concentration (cognitive restructuring, in a sense).

BTW, charisma as a stat for their abilities makes sense, since they are all about forcing their will on the fabric of the universe. I've been saying since 3.0 released that charisma should be considered "offensive willpower," no more and no less (usually in arguments about appearance being in stats, but that's neither here nor there).

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