We stopped playing Starfinder yesterday, here's why.


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The Exchange

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Systems where the rules of play are consistent for players and NPCs alike (that I've played)

Dragon Warriors (first roleplay I ever tried, back in the 80s and early 90s).
Earthdawn (1st edition, no idea about the other editions)
Shadow run (1st and second editions)
DnD 3.5 (and 3.0 before that actually)
Pathfinder
5th edition
Inquisitor (Warhammer 40k roleplay. We ran 1st edition)
Warhammer Fantasy roleplay (1st edition from the 90s)

All of those have creatures that have unique rules, which doesn't bother us. However all of them build and run NPCs off the same mechanics and guidelines as the players.

5th edition is a little looser in this regards with things getting pack tactics etc, but all of those abilities are easily emulated by player options.

Games where the rules for NPCs are significantly different than for PCs (That I've played)
- Fragged Empire
- DnD 4th edition
- Starfinder

None of those lasted for groups. All of those are easier to DM than the first list (except 5th edition DnD, which is very easy to design and run games for.) but ease of DMing does not mean the gameplay enjoyment for the players will be better.


Redelia wrote:
The biggest problem with NPCs and PCs being built differently is how to handle the situation when an NPC joins the party for a while. And players being the creatures of chaos that they are, you can't predict ahead of time which ones they will try to recruit. So you either build every NPC twice, once as NPC and once as PC, have weirdly unbalanced fights by having the NPC still use NPC stats, or have the game come to a screeching halt while you rebuild the NPC they've recruited. And this is not an infrequent thing in my games. The little bit of extra time to build every NPC like a PC is a far better solution than any of the above, but because of how the math works, it's not a good option in Starfinder.

The only reason for this to happen on a regular basis is if your running with only 2-3 players and didn’t have the foresight to tell them to each make 2 characters to play

Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

It happens on a regular basis because it's what my players like. And if you read adventure paths for Pathfinder, they rather assume it will happen often, also.

The Exchange

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Now, as for the Solarion thing mentioned so far.

None of us made it that far in the system to meet that NPC. It's completely irrelevant to my argument.

But, when the guys in the first encounter are rolling at +6 to hit and adding numbers to their gun damage when only my best player combatant can hope to hit with those numbers and still can't add damage to the guns.....well that doesn't fly with my players.

This disconnect doesn't make my players feel heroic, it actually makes them feel,constantly weaker than the standard enemies they face. "By the gods, even a lowly ganger is better at this than my operative with all his specialist training" is not a good way to make the players feel,connected to a system.

- also, someone mentioned above about NPCs going Nova etc, and felt that was what contributes to this. If your DM constantly Nova's your enemies and it bugs you, then that's the issue with the DM, not the game. If you consider the world in which a bad guy is plotting things that cause the players to come along then you should also,consider that the bad guy has probably spent some resources that day actually doing bad guy,things!

To put it another way - it makes sense for a bad guy to go totally deep end with damage and nova spells. They've just run into the fight of their lives where on misstep can see them dead because they are out classed and out gunned on action economy. My players have no problem with that, because it makes sense. In fact, when their characters get caught in the same situation they react the same way. Why wouldn't you? There no point worrying about possible further battles if the one your currently in is so dangerous you may not even survive.

The Exchange

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Robert Gooding wrote:
Redelia wrote:
The biggest problem with NPCs and PCs being built differently is how to handle the situation when an NPC joins the party for a while. And players being the creatures of chaos that they are, you can't predict ahead of time which ones they will try to recruit. So you either build every NPC twice, once as NPC and once as PC, have weirdly unbalanced fights by having the NPC still use NPC stats, or have the game come to a screeching halt while you rebuild the NPC they've recruited. And this is not an infrequent thing in my games. The little bit of extra time to build every NPC like a PC is a far better solution than any of the above, but because of how the math works, it's not a good option in Starfinder.
The only reason for this to happen on a regular basis is if your running with only 2-3 players and didn’t have the foresight to tell them to each make 2 characters to play

That's blatantly false, and provably so. Pathfinder and Starfinder have adventure paths where NPCs Jon the players all the time. They can become regular and recurring aspects of game play. Hells, in Pathfinder they can even become co-Horts if you take leadership.

Starfinder has space Goblins and a mercenary that can join you in the second act of the very first adventure path they wrote fo it!

In fact, there's another adventure path written for Starfinder called legendary planets. The second or third encounter sets up a recurring NPC who,travels with you for three character levels!


Wrath wrote:

Now, as for the Solarion thing mentioned so far.

None of us made it that far in the system to meet that NPC. It's completely irrelevant to my argument.

But, when the guys in the first encounter are rolling at +6 to hit and adding numbers to their gun damage when only my best player combatant can hope to hit with those numbers and still can't add damage to the guns.....well that doesn't fly with my players.

This disconnect doesn't make my players feel heroic, it actually makes them feel,constantly weaker than the standard enemies they face. "By the gods, even a lowly ganger is better at this than my operative with all his specialist training" is not a good way to make the players feel,connected to a system.

- also, someone mentioned above about NPCs going Nova etc, and felt that was what contributes to this. If your DM constantly Nova's your enemies and it bugs you, then that's the issue with the DM, not the game. If you consider the world in which a bad guy is plotting things that cause the players to come along then you should also,consider that the bad guy has probably spent some resources that day actually doing bad guy,things!

To put it another way - it makes sense for a bad guy to go totally deep end with damage and nova spells. They've just run into the fight of their lives where on misstep can see them dead because they are out classed and out gunned on action economy. My players have no problem with that, because it makes sense. In fact, when their characters get caught in the same situation they react the same way. Why wouldn't you? There no point worrying about possible further battles if the one your currently in is so dangerous you may not even survive.

But there's still a difference. The PCs are certainly in for a slog, not just this one fight. The baddies are usually on the defensive, knowing this is all there is. Why not nova? Even before they realize how much trouble they're in.

Sure it makes sense for them to do so, but that mean with certain builds they'll be punching above their weight. Because they're balanced like PCs - for a string of encounters.

If NPCs are designed differently, they can be built to be balanced for a different role than PCs are. Not just that case, but you can also design in ways to improve action economy and the like.


Wrath wrote:
Robert Gooding wrote:
Redelia wrote:
The biggest problem with NPCs and PCs being built differently is how to handle the situation when an NPC joins the party for a while. And players being the creatures of chaos that they are, you can't predict ahead of time which ones they will try to recruit. So you either build every NPC twice, once as NPC and once as PC, have weirdly unbalanced fights by having the NPC still use NPC stats, or have the game come to a screeching halt while you rebuild the NPC they've recruited. And this is not an infrequent thing in my games. The little bit of extra time to build every NPC like a PC is a far better solution than any of the above, but because of how the math works, it's not a good option in Starfinder.
The only reason for this to happen on a regular basis is if your running with only 2-3 players and didn’t have the foresight to tell them to each make 2 characters to play

That's blatantly false, and provably so. Pathfinder and Starfinder have adventure paths where NPCs Jon the players all the time. They can become regular and recurring aspects of game play. Hells, in Pathfinder they can even become co-Horts if you take leadership.

Starfinder has space Goblins and a mercenary that can join you in the second act of the very first adventure path they wrote fo it!

In fact, there's another adventure path written for Starfinder called legendary planets. The second or third encounter sets up a recurring NPC who,travels with you for three character levels!

Right. And NPCs designed to travel with the party can be built for that purpose, whether that's with a full PC style build or not.

It still doesn't mean you need every single NPC to be built that way up front. The GM has at least some control over who accepts the PC's invitation and who going to try to kill you no matter what.


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Wrath wrote:
But, when the guys in the first encounter are rolling at +6 to hit and adding numbers to their gun damage when only my best player combatant can hope to hit with those numbers and still can't add damage to the guns.....well that doesn't fly with my players.

You let your players know what bonuses the enemies have?


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Farlanghn wrote:
Wrath wrote:
But, when the guys in the first encounter are rolling at +6 to hit and adding numbers to their gun damage when only my best player combatant can hope to hit with those numbers and still can't add damage to the guns.....well that doesn't fly with my players.
You let your players know what bonuses the enemies have?

If it hits AC 20 on a 14 but not on a 13, it's probably at +6.

The Exchange

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Absolutely, I fully understand the game design behind it. Especially for action economy. That doesn't stop the game from breaking immersion for players.

4th edition was a classic for this.
Encounter design and running games in that system was just pure joy as a DM. It was so cleverly thought out and so very streamlined. The mechanics for running the game were glorious as a DM. But my players hated it, because it completely broke their sense of connectedness when the humans they were fighting could do stuff completely outside the range of what the players had any chance of achieving.

As for the gong nova issue, try putting your players regularly against teams of enemies with as much power and action economy as the players have and watch how fast they begin to Nova. Or try breaking your game play up so that players have no idea how many encounters they have a day. It could be one, it could be ten! Or, try running encounters where the enemies are holding back because they actually have agendas and plans that run beyond dealing with the players today.

All of that is possible in systems where the rules are consistent between player and NPC, and they all add to immersion in the game world

The Exchange

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Farlanghn wrote:
Wrath wrote:
But, when the guys in the first encounter are rolling at +6 to hit and adding numbers to their gun damage when only my best player combatant can hope to hit with those numbers and still can't add damage to the guns.....well that doesn't fly with my players.
You let your players know what bonuses the enemies have?

I roll open dice, and my players can do math.

The Exchange

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@thejeff - I suggest you look at the modules I listed. The NPCs are not designed any differently. In fact, this occurs because your players could in fact just attack and kill them rather than bring them along. As such, they are built using the guidelines for all NPCs and not PC guidelines.

As a DM, you could redesign these NPCs to follow player builds, but then that's time and energy that you wouldn't need to bother with if the system used the same rules.


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Wrath wrote:
Farlanghn wrote:
Wrath wrote:
But, when the guys in the first encounter are rolling at +6 to hit and adding numbers to their gun damage when only my best player combatant can hope to hit with those numbers and still can't add damage to the guns.....well that doesn't fly with my players.
You let your players know what bonuses the enemies have?
I roll open dice, and my players can do math.

For someone who mentions immersion as much as you do, it seems like rolling out in the open is a pretty big immersion breaker. But that's just me. Do you also let your players role their own Stealth checks too?

The Exchange

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Farlanghn wrote:
Wrath wrote:
Farlanghn wrote:
Wrath wrote:
But, when the guys in the first encounter are rolling at +6 to hit and adding numbers to their gun damage when only my best player combatant can hope to hit with those numbers and still can't add damage to the guns.....well that doesn't fly with my players.
You let your players know what bonuses the enemies have?
I roll open dice, and my players can do math.
For someone who mentions immersion as much as you do, it seems like rolling out in the open is a pretty big immersion breaker. But that's just me. Do you also let your players role their own Stealth checks too?

Yes. and I roll perception for enemies in the open as well. This can go any number of ways. The enemy obviously fails, players get to,do,sneaky stuff. The enemy obviously passes, the enemies respond to the players trying to,do sneaky stuff. The enemy rolls close, but players don't know if they've been spotted or not until the enemy acts.

None of that breaks immersion.

Immersion comes from consistency in how the game world works. No matter what happens, there's always a mechanical aspect to a rolplay game (dice rolling). That's not what I'm discussing when I discuss players feeling connected to a game world

I also let my players roll,perception too. But I don't tell them the DC thy need. Because despite your hyperbole, I do roll in secret occasionally when the situation requires it for suspense. I don't roll secretly in combat though, again unless it's for something the players just won't know about.


Honestly I have made the occasional Starfinder NPC by PC rules, there's nothing to stop you. But it's a prohibitive amount of work. If Pathfinder really expects you to do this for major NPCs that's definitely not a selling point for me.

(One hardly needs to do this in Pathfinder though, surely? Like, Pathfinder does have its own monster builder that lets you speed up this work much like Starfinder does, pretty sure I have seen tables to that effect although the specific maths are different. I am pretty sure you could build something comparably unique to that Temple of the Twelve encounter someone complained about upthread using Pathfinder's monster ruless.)

Shadowrun really did make you work out all the NPC gear and abilities from scratch, though, didn't it? I remember it took f&@*ing forever to build adventures in that system... eh. Don't miss it. Okay, though, I get what you mean.


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NPC exclusive rules also fix the "loot piñata" issue, specially after defeating bosses.


Wrath wrote:

Absolutely, I fully understand the game design behind it. Especially for action economy. That doesn't stop the game from breaking immersion for players.

4th edition was a classic for this.
Encounter design and running games in that system was just pure joy as a DM. It was so cleverly thought out and so very streamlined. The mechanics for running the game were glorious as a DM. But my players hated it, because it completely broke their sense of connectedness when the humans they were fighting could do stuff completely outside the range of what the players had any chance of achieving.

As for the gong nova issue, try putting your players regularly against teams of enemies with as much power and action economy as the players have and watch how fast they begin to Nova. Or try breaking your game play up so that players have no idea how many encounters they have a day. It could be one, it could be ten! Or, try running encounters where the enemies are holding back because they actually have agendas and plans that run beyond dealing with the players today.

All of that is possible in systems where the rules are consistent between player and NPC, and they all add to immersion in the game world

If PCs went up against enemies with as much of an advantage as the PCs have, of course they'd nova. Then they'd die. :)

As for immersion, what breaks it is very player dependent. Other creatures in the world using mechanics my character doesn't know anything about because he doesn't know he's in a game and hasn't read the rulebooks doesn't break my immersion at all. :)

The Exchange

CeeJay wrote:

Honestly I have made the occasional Starfinder NPC by PC rules, there's nothing to stop you. But it's a prohibitive amount of work. If Pathfinder really expects you to do this for major NPCs that's definitely not a selling point for me.

(One hardly needs to do this in Pathfinder though, surely? Like, Pathfinder does have its own monster builder that lets you speed up this work much like Starfinder does, pretty sure I have seen tables to that effect although the specific maths are different. I am pretty sure you could build something comparably unique to that Temple of the Twelve encounter someone complained about upthread using Pathfinder's monster ruless.)

Shadowrun really did make you work out all the NPC gear and abilities from scratch, though, didn't it? I remember it took f~&&ing forever to build adventures in that system... eh. Don't miss it. Okay, though, I get what you mean.

Prohibitive time is why I buy published modules. Two kids, a house and a full time job have taken away the time I used to have to write my own campaigns. Luckily there's an amazing amount of published material out there though!

Pathfinder eventually released NPC codex and various other books that pretty much did all the hard work for me as a DM.

I'm sure Starfinder will overcome many of the issues players see with it at the moment. It's only a new system after all. But for now, my group is doing other things.


CeeJay wrote:

Honestly I have made the occasional Starfinder NPC by PC rules, there's nothing to stop you. But it's a prohibitive amount of work. If Pathfinder really expects you to do this for major NPCs that's definitely not a selling point for me.

(One hardly needs to do this in Pathfinder though, surely? Like, Pathfinder does have its own monster builder that lets you speed up this work much like Starfinder does, pretty sure I have seen tables to that effect although the specific maths are different. I am pretty sure you could build something comparably unique to that Temple of the Twelve encounter someone complained about upthread using Pathfinder's monster ruless.)

Standard PF does. For classed NPCs at least. Monsters have their own stats and abilities.

There was an NPC builder in Ultimate Campaign apparently. I'm not familiar with it.

The Exchange

thejeff wrote:
Wrath wrote:

Absolutely, I fully understand the game design behind it. Especially for action economy. That doesn't stop the game from breaking immersion for players.

4th edition was a classic for this.
Encounter design and running games in that system was just pure joy as a DM. It was so cleverly thought out and so very streamlined. The mechanics for running the game were glorious as a DM. But my players hated it, because it completely broke their sense of connectedness when the humans they were fighting could do stuff completely outside the range of what the players had any chance of achieving.

As for the gong nova issue, try putting your players regularly against teams of enemies with as much power and action economy as the players have and watch how fast they begin to Nova. Or try breaking your game play up so that players have no idea how many encounters they have a day. It could be one, it could be ten! Or, try running encounters where the enemies are holding back because they actually have agendas and plans that run beyond dealing with the players today.

All of that is possible in systems where the rules are consistent between player and NPC, and they all add to immersion in the game world

If PCs went up against enemies with as much of an advantage as the PCs have, of course they'd nova. Then they'd die. :)

As for immersion, what breaks it is very player dependent. Other creatures in the world using mechanics my character doesn't know anything about because he doesn't know he's in a game and hasn't read the rulebooks doesn't break my immersion at all. :)

Yep, it's completely down to players perspective. I personally have no issues with Starfinder nor 4th edition. But both groups of players I run with didn't like either of them. Oh well.


Wrath wrote:


Yep, it's completely down to players perspective. I personally have no issues with Starfinder nor 4th edition. But both groups of players I run with didn't like either of them. Oh well.

Obviously a different system, but this discussion reminds me of the GM's notes for an NPC in Call of Cthulhu:

Name: Cannon fodder
Shotgun: 45%
Hit points: 12

Nothing else needed for that role. :)


Wrath wrote:

As for the gong nova issue, try putting your players regularly against teams of enemies with as much power and action economy as the players have and watch how fast they begin to Nova. Or try breaking your game play up so that players have no idea how many encounters they have a day. It could be one, it could be ten! Or, try running encounters where the enemies are holding back because they actually have agendas and plans that run beyond dealing with the players today.

All of that is possible in systems where the rules are consistent between player and NPC, and they all add to immersion in the game world

Well, just for the sake of argument now: I don't see why any of that wouldn't be possible in Starfinder. The flow of action is entirely up to the GM and has nowt to do with the NPC mechanics. If your enemies are CR-appropriate their damage and abilities will scale to be appopriate to players at a certain Average Party Level anyway.

If you want NPCs to have class-appropriate abilities you can just build them using class arrays, which do in fact give them a perfectly recognisable set of class abilities for that level that work by the same rules as the players'. If you want them to have recognisable weapons and bonuses you can just substitute gear that's appropriate for the range of damage the rules recommend for a certain CR. Or you can just adapt a comparable adversary with relatively few tweaks from Pathfinder using the Pathfinder Legacy rules. If you want them to have something to do with their day other than fighting the PCs to the death you adjust their tactics and morale threshold appropriately.

I do all of this routinely. Well, I haven't fully exploited unexpected narrative flow and unknown numbers of encounters yet -- I guess this is one thing dungeon-delving style of play is useful for -- but I have a feeling I'll have occasion to. ;)

Really, there's nothing in the Starfinder ruleset that prohibits any of that. (Except that they embedded their NPC builder in the Alien Archive and outside the Core Rulebook, which I personally find a bit cheesy. But then apparently Pathfinder did something similar, I guess?)


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thejeff wrote:
Wrath wrote:


Yep, it's completely down to players perspective. I personally have no issues with Starfinder nor 4th edition. But both groups of players I run with didn't like either of them. Oh well.

Obviously a different system, but this discussion reminds me of the GM's notes for an NPC in Call of Cthulhu:

Name: Cannon fodder
Shotgun: 45%
Hit points: 12

Nothing else needed for that role. :)

Cain from World of Darkness had a classic one too:

"You lose"

The Exchange

@ CeeJay - yeah, that's part of the argument the Jeff was making about why he thinks Starfinders system is better. Combat is balanced differently so it doesn't need enemies to go Nova really.

Having said that, Going Nova is a term originally associated with Magic users. Not something that's as likely to apply in Starfinder given the lower power threshold of Magic in the game.

I had a discussion on these threads years ago about how people were designing their encounters and why it was leading to some perceived issues with Pathfinder. It was particularly to do with caster martial disparity and the fact that in a fight against PCs, a single high power caster could be a total fight on its own. This upset folks who thought that was too powerful.

Myself and a few others noted that this power only existed because effectively all the DM was expecting the enemy caters to do all day was hold on to their power and fight PCs who happened to rock on past. I suggested that you should maybe start designing them so that spell slots had utility spells for daily use in their plans and maybe even (shock and horror) have spent some, if not the majority of the their Magic doing the evil things they do prior to the PCs coming into contact with them.

In my campaigns, I ran a concept where enemy power tended to dwindle through time in a day cycle (I would randomly determine this if it was necessary ). My players though it was great that night they spent time scouting an area, they could get a read on how effective an enemy might be at any one time and choose their battles a little better.

I didn't do it all the time, but certainly enough that it impacted game play style.

I also do things with travel scenarios where I run random encounters. I'll vary how many the players will have in a day so they don't get into the mind set of "well, there's our random encounter over, all good" . Mixing things up like that makes the game more exciting for us.


As to that last, I'm planning on that very thing as I launch my party on their first big wilderness adventure in Starfinder. I think it's a fine idea. :)

Sovereign Court RPG Superstar 2011 Top 32

The Starfinder NPC creation rules bug me as well. The fact that NPCs will generally have better attack rolls and skills (but fewer special abilities) would still make some players rather play an NPC.

I play a lot of Savage Worlds, and it takes a different approach to NPC creation. NPCs from player races still pick stuff from player options, but they don't have to be legal as if built as a PC. So you could theoretically have the equivalent of someone with 2nd level attacks and hp, but an 8th level class ability. The analogy isn't perfect as SW doesn't use classes, but hopefully you get the idea.


I generally don't let the players know what the NPCs specific stats, skills and abilities are. I do this for entirely unrelated reasons (rolling "behind the screen" reduces clutter in chat on Roll20, though I never fudge rolls) but it may be a reason I've never yet run into this complaint.

Of course, a couple of my players own Alien Archive but they still don't know what specific choices I've made about adversary abilities.


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Ick, so starfinder uses the "npcs are different from players" shortcut? That's a turn off for me both as a player and a gm, though I can understand why people would be alright with it. For me, it is really immersion breaking.


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ryric wrote:
The Starfinder NPC creation rules bug me as well. The fact that NPCs will generally have better attack rolls and skills (but fewer special abilities) would still make some players rather play an NPC.

How many special abilities should a grunt have when you are going to kill it in 1-4 rounds? You could give an NPC any amount of abilities you want but that doesn't mean they are going to use them all.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Wrath wrote:

The mechanics of the game have similar connotations as 4th edition, we found. The arbitrary nature of level caps on gear and the fact enemies are built and function differently to players. While I thought those rules were great as a DM (they make running a balanced game far easier), the rest of the group hated it.

Resource tracking - the seriously tedious math is why our group eventually quit Pathfinder as well. It just became no fun to run combats with all the buffs and de buffs flying around, especially at high level. We all felt that this was going to be true in Starfinder as well.

I imagine plenty of folks will have fun with this system, but I fully understand why others are leaving it or not getting into it at all.

what arbitrary level cap on gear?

there are suggested levels and they advise that a gm keep gear only 2 or maybe 3 levels higher.
its not hard
i will be glad when the gear book comes out this summer because there is a lack of gear at the moment


I can 100% understand why NPCs/PCs use different rules and get behind it. The core of it is that NPCs will only exist on screen for a few rounds, if they are a fight.

There is no reason for NPCs to ever hold back on the few uses/day abilities, like how in Pathfinder Spellcaster Opponents were even more powerful than martial opponents (On top of full spellcasters being very powerful) because they had little reason not to use their top tier spells while the 'Based around all-day being equally powerful' classes got kinda gypped as opposition. This way allows NPCs of all sorts to be equally threatening rather than 'Ok, he's X level but he's also Y class so that makes him more/less threatening on a one-off encounter' needing to be a factor.


mmm why not approach starfinder from pathfinder?

Make your pathfinder character and use feats and spells or some items in your space trip. My players and I decided to buy the book and give it a read, but did´t make it for us. So, we take what we need from it and keep playing 3.X

And by the abuse of current material for pathfinder we have capped it to CRB, APG, ACG, Bestiary 1-4, all codex (wich are bestiaries), UCombat, UM, Unchainned, and UE. We don´t need more than that for our campaigns.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Palidian wrote:

A lot of people have mentioned the fact that theme/class combinations lead to a lot of character customization potential. This is true, and I will admit that simply saying "there's only 7 classes" is misleading.

However, in my post I mentioned archetypes for this reason. Archetypes seemed to have been replaced by themes in Starfinder, and I was pretty disheartened to see it. Archetypes offer a theme-like take on each class, but they are tailored to each individual class, allowing for less vaguely-useful bonuses, and more flavorful replacements for traditional class abilities.

Along with this, I do realize that there is a great amount of character customization in Starfinder with class-centric choices. Operatives choose a specialization, Soldiers choose fighting styles, etc. However I wish to also point out that we have similar things in Pathfinder, but we still are able to add on top of it. Rogues choose talents, Clerics domains, Barbarians rage powers, etc.

Now, I realize that Starfinder has only been out for a short period, and more content will add more choices. But themes were disheartening to me simply because they appeared to be vague, non-class-specific replacements for archetypes. And the character options inside classes themselves seemed to be small bonuses and minor edits meant to reinforce flavor, rather than the unique abilities and major changes of archetypes.

In all honesty, if future books add new classes and class-modifying options of similar rigor as archetypes, then we will likely come back for a second look at the game. However for now, it is our deal breaker.

Keep in mind that much of this is simply the opinion of my group. The fact that you can make a Solarion fit the same slot as an Envoy may be exciting to some, but for us it has the opposite effect.

archetypes are still around though there are only 2 in the core rule book

more will be coming out down the line.
as for the comparisons made, i would argue that most of the classes in starfinder have more range in options then the core characters in pathfinder have.


Ikiry0 wrote:

I can 100% understand why NPCs/PCs use different rules and get behind it. The core of it is that NPCs will only exist on screen for a few rounds, if they are a fight.

There is no reason for NPCs to ever hold back on the few uses/day abilities,

How in the name of all that's unholy are the NPCs supposed to know this ?

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Something called 'archetypes' still exist, but they are a totally different thing.


the nerve-eater of Zur-en-Aarh wrote:
Ikiry0 wrote:

I can 100% understand why NPCs/PCs use different rules and get behind it. The core of it is that NPCs will only exist on screen for a few rounds, if they are a fight.

There is no reason for NPCs to ever hold back on the few uses/day abilities,

How in the name of all that's unholy are the NPCs supposed to know this ?

Sometimes they wouldn't - if they're bandits raiding a village or some such, they won't realize right off that the PCs are the main threat.

More often though, the PCs are invading the NPCs territory, which probably doesn't happen multiple times a day. It's a fair assumption that there's little reason to hold back.

Liberty's Edge

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Wrath wrote:
thejeff wrote:
Wrath wrote:

Absolutely, I fully understand the game design behind it. Especially for action economy. That doesn't stop the game from breaking immersion for players.

4th edition was a classic for this.
Encounter design and running games in that system was just pure joy as a DM. It was so cleverly thought out and so very streamlined. The mechanics for running the game were glorious as a DM. But my players hated it, because it completely broke their sense of connectedness when the humans they were fighting could do stuff completely outside the range of what the players had any chance of achieving.

As for the gong nova issue, try putting your players regularly against teams of enemies with as much power and action economy as the players have and watch how fast they begin to Nova. Or try breaking your game play up so that players have no idea how many encounters they have a day. It could be one, it could be ten! Or, try running encounters where the enemies are holding back because they actually have agendas and plans that run beyond dealing with the players today.

All of that is possible in systems where the rules are consistent between player and NPC, and they all add to immersion in the game world

If PCs went up against enemies with as much of an advantage as the PCs have, of course they'd nova. Then they'd die. :)

As for immersion, what breaks it is very player dependent. Other creatures in the world using mechanics my character doesn't know anything about because he doesn't know he's in a game and hasn't read the rulebooks doesn't break my immersion at all. :)

Yep, it's completely down to players perspective. I personally have no issues with Starfinder nor 4th edition. But both groups of players I run with didn't like either of them. Oh well.

i love how you keep mentioning 4th ed

while i actually like 4th it i a well known fact that a ton of pathfinder players hate it.
my guess is that your trying to goad people by repeated mentioning at and trying to tie 4th edition and starfinder together as a dig on starfinder,

not that starfinder has much in common with 4th edition other the envoy which seems pretty inspired by the warlord class.


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I don't know thing one about 4th edition D&D and care still less. If that's really an attempt to goad PF players it's unfortunate, though. I hope that's not true.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

thing with giving a player a item that greatly exceeds there level in starfinder is yes it could cause game issues "paticularly weapons and armor"
but the same is true in pathfinder, give a low character a magic item that is to powerful and your asking for issues,


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the nerve-eater of Zur-en-Aarh wrote:


How in the name of all that's unholy are the NPCs supposed to know this ?

Generally because most NPCs don't really expect to have multiple life or death encounters a day. PCs do and that's an unusual situation.


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CeeJay wrote:
I don't know thing one about 4th edition D&D and care still less. If that's really an attempt to goad PF players it's unfortunate, though. I hope that's not true.

Eh, it's not entirely wrong. Though the Envoy is more the 4e 'Lazylord' build than a normal Warlord (Who were very, very competent warriors rather than mostly there for the team support). Honestly, I was hoping the Envoy would be a bit more Warlord than it is.

The Exchange

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@jimthegray - I didn't even mention other editions until someone asked me to bring them up. Please don't push your agenda onto me.

If you think it's a well known fact that pathfinder players hate 4th ed, please point me to the evidence supporting this.

I, for example, played Pathfinder and 4th edition concurrently for quite some time. I still play Pathfinder occasionally. I don't play 4th ed at all.

I also don't play Starfinder at all.

You'll note I also don't play Dragon Warriors, Earthdawn, Fragged Empire, inquisitor or Any of the other games I listed early, despite some of them being amazing games.

Starfinder has similar mechanical changes to both 5th edition and 4th edition. It also has similar mechanical changes to Fragged empire.

The ones similar to fifth ed I don't mind at all. The ones resembling Fragged Empire and 4th edition I also don't mind, but my players really disliked.

Now, if you have a problem with someone mentioning other game systems in a comparative manner, the problem lies with you, not me.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Wrath wrote:

@jimthegray - I didn't even mention other editions until someone asked me to bring them up. Please don't push your agenda onto me.

If you think it's a well known fact that pathfinder players hate 4th ed, please point me to the evidence supporting this.

I, for example, played Pathfinder and 4th edition concurrently for quite some time. I still play Pathfinder occasionally. I don't play 4th ed at all.

I also don't play Starfinder at all.

You'll note I also don't play Dragon Warriors, Earthdawn, Fragged Empire, inquisitor or Any of the other games I listed early, despite some of them being amazing games.

Starfinder has similar mechanical changes to both 5th edition and 4th edition. It also has similar mechanical changes to Fragged empire.

The ones similar to fifth ed I don't mind at all. The ones resembling Fragged Empire and 4th edition I also don't mind, but my players really disliked.

Now, if you have a problem with someone mentioning other game systems in a comparative manner, the problem lies with you, not me.

maybe im wrong that your trying to stir the pot,

but you sure like comparing 4th to starfinder, a tactic that is constantly used in 3.5, pathfinder and 5th edition threads when people are trying to edition war.
and yes its a well known fact that a huge # of pathfinder players hate 4th, its why pathfinder exists with its large number of followers.
, me personally i like 4th and pathfinder both.

If im wrong about your intentions I apologize.

The Exchange

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Ikiry0 wrote:
the nerve-eater of Zur-en-Aarh wrote:


How in the name of all that's unholy are the NPCs supposed to know this ?
Generally because most NPCs don't really expect to have multiple life or death encounters a day. PCs do and that's an unusual situation.

See, now this is where I think people have it wrong.

Why are the PCs in a fight with the baddies? Because the baddies do bad things, probably regularly enough that they have more than one shootout or rumble in short amount of time.

Why do the bad guys think the PCs are the only ones coming in the attack? Would it not be just as logical for them to think that maybe this is the first wave? Maybe reinforcements are coming, or multiple squads have infiltrated the base.

The players and the DM know that it's likely to be their one and only encounter, but the NPCs have no idea about this.

In actuality, the players shouldn't either. Why would they think there's going to be more than one nasty thing inside the floating space ship, if anything at all? Unless they've done scouting to know what's in an enemy base, why would they think there's more than one group of enemies to fight?

You're using gamist thinking to justify NPC actions. Try running your NPCs the way the players run their characters. I mean how unrealistic is it for the enemy to fall back,and come at them another time?

And so far all the nay Sayers seem to believe this conflict be teen players and NPCs is only happening in the home base of the enemy as a last stand. What an amazingly limited way of thinking that encounters occur.

As an example, let's look at the first encounter in the AP. two groups of gangsters shooting it out with the PCs caught between. The gangsters aren't in their home base, and for all they know they may have to conduct a running battle to retreat back to their safe havens. Why on earth would they go full psycho any more than the players would?

What about when the players are at the base of the gangsters. Suddenly there's a shootout, why are the gangsters thinking "This is my last shootout, better go gangbusters and expend everything I have?" After all, they are embroiled in a minor gang war at the moment and presumably have other gang related activities occurring which means they might be expecting more trouble to come knocking.


Wrath wrote:
Ikiry0 wrote:
the nerve-eater of Zur-en-Aarh wrote:


How in the name of all that's unholy are the NPCs supposed to know this ?
Generally because most NPCs don't really expect to have multiple life or death encounters a day. PCs do and that's an unusual situation.

See, now this is where I think people have it wrong.

Why are the PCs in a fight with the baddies? Because the baddies do bad things, probably regularly enough that they have more than one shootout or rumble in short amount of time.

Um. That sounds huuugely situational to me. It's been more often the case in my games that the baddies don't think of themselves as "baddies" at all and are often enough pretty established, with a routine or mindset commensurate with it. Every adversary isn't, say, the Corpse Fleet or the Cult of the Devourer (whence I'm kind of sensing most of your complaints derive, correct me if I'm wrong).

This is leaving aside the question of whether NPC's have to treat every fight as their last one, which is absolutely not systematically built into Starfinder. Though it may well factor in scenarios in the current pre-published AP (I do notice the phrase "[such-and-such] fights to the death" coming up a lot).

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I’m finding an issue for me is the changes to how actions fit together and their economy. I feel like people were supposed to make a big stink about the guarded step, but I find it more disruptive that full round actions eat swift actions. I really can’t see any reason for losing that swift action besides making it somewhat simpler, but even newer players seem to get frustrated that they can’t do anything besides fire their gun on full auto for their turn


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*shrug* Personally I find Starfinder's action economy liberating. Playing Pathfinder afterwards it was jarring to find I couldn't use a full action to take two attacks. :D And swift actions were a quite confusing feature of PF for me, much like the incredibly baroque set of situations that could provoke AAOs.


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Matrix Dragon wrote:
Ick, so starfinder uses the "npcs are different from players" shortcut? That's a turn off for me both as a player and a gm, though I can understand why people would be alright with it. For me, it is really immersion breaking.

You gotta admit that coming to the realization that you can't be anything you want to be is probably the most immersive thing about this game. Sometimes the cards are against you. Do the players rise against the problem or do they say, "Man this ain't fair! How is that Solarian shooting a ranged energy blast at my EAC!? When do I get to unlock that? ...What??? Only he gets that? Alright man I quit. Take over the planet and keep this ship. I don't care."

Meta-Thinking is the definition of "immersion breaking".


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Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I like the new full attack. I like the lack of free actions. I like that changing grips is a swift. To many people abuse the fre actions. Yes I know you can limit them.

Also to me if you are making a FULL ATTACK, this makes more sense that it consumes all your actions. I still am not a fan of the BAB method. I also feel the whole can’t draw a weapon till you have a +1 BAB to be complete an utter crap and a rule that should have never been a thing.

I like the concept of Archtypes in SF, still not sold on them yet. Can’t wait to see more options. I dislike the amount of classes compared to PF CRB. But I understand the reasons and not a big deal. Resource management I feel like is a part of everything. I don’t see it a a big deal. I see people all the time in PF NOT track arrows and just treat them as unlimited. If I don’t have Hero lab then I use dice to track resources. I usually have an index card that states which is which.

I have come to the consensus that people are spoiled with Pathfinder and other Systems that have ALOT of content. So with SF being a baby and little content. I really find the fact that arectypes are lacking as even a choice to stop playing a system. That seems petty.

I right now and not a fan of PF. To much bloat and to many people building these SUPER GOD builds. In Society, its gotten to a point where combat, in all tiers, usually last 1 round. People super build and usually solo fights. This is at all levels I play anymore. Then we get the characters that get 40+ on all skill checks like its nothing.

I miss the days when we had to figure out what the creatures needed. And fights took a good 6-9 rounds and it was a edge of the seat scene.

I found most of reasons for this person and their group to stop playing SF due to a lack of knowledge of the system, and a bunch of petty reasons. But that is my view.

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