We stopped playing Starfinder yesterday, here's why.


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Palidian wrote:
You know what? Sure. Why not.

"I demand Paizo adopt a totally irrational business model" is not rational, constructive debate.

Quote:
It would beat the heck out of hundreds of people's SF rulebooks falling apart after a month.

And if you're bitter about the quality of the physical product that's a matter for customer support, isn't it?


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Let's dial down the aggression, shall we?


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

For the record I recently purchased a second printing Starfinder CRB at my FLGS and it is one of the sturdiest books I've gotten by Paizo.


CeeJay wrote:
What's less comprehensible is to have become so obsessed with bashing it in this short a time that you keep coming back to the forum for this game you've supposedly washed your hands of

There were like 80 posts about whether it is racist to not like undead. I had this thread bookmarked and checked it on the daily, that convo was better than anything on netflix.

You raise a lot of good points, honestly you do. And healthy debate sometimes involves scathing opinions. Just cuz I put a little spice in my post doesn't mean the forum has devolved into angry nonsense. I personally think that Paizo is a terrible company that puts out great product. When they put out something I consider to be a terrible product, I feel it's within my rights to take to a general discussion forum and seethe a bit.

Feel free to seethe right back at me, though. That's what makes us a community after all.


Rysky the Dark Solarion wrote:
Let's dial down the aggression, shall we?

Yeah alright fair enough. I always enjoy your posts, Rysky. So reasonable.


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Oh, I don't think the forum has devolved into angry nonsense. I just really worry for people who say things like "I shouldn't have to wait for new releases." I seethe because I love. :)

Rysky: Quite. I'll do my part.


Uh, this became weird.

Starfinder is a game that is less than a year old. Pathfinder is a game that is nearly a decade old. Comparing the two on an equal basis is not reasonable. And that's all I'll say to that.

Comparing the PF CRB to SF CRB though is reasonable and in that comparison Starfinder does pretty darn well.


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CeeJay wrote:
Oh, I don't think the forum has devolved into angry nonsense. I just really worry for people who say things like "I shouldn't have to wait for new releases." I seethe because I love. :)

Well darn my socks and call me loved.


Azih wrote:
Uh, this became weird.

Please see the entirety of page three.


Palidian wrote:
Azih wrote:
Uh, this became weird.
Please see the entirety of page three.

Nothing in there as weird as what you posted on page five to be quite honest.

Edit: But I'll stop. No good from contributing further to this thread.


Honestly I found the undead discussion pretty fun, but it admittedly got more than a touch off-topic. :)

But since we're all here and we have Palidian, there is actually something else I wanted to ask him about, if he doesn't mind my taking us off on another tangent for a bit. At least this one will be related to his thoughts on game design.

Palidian, you mentioned a ways back that you were working on a d20 hack. Are you comfortable telling us a little about it, or where we can find out more about it? What do you have in mind for it?


Starfinder Superscriber
CeeJay wrote:

Pathfinder has more content in terms of raw accretion but it is still possible that Starfinder has more interesting, durable and customisable characters out of the box.

Of course this is not readily visible to someone fixated on the number of classes, about which it already had to be pointed out to you upthread that you were making fallacious comparisons and didn't fully understand how customisation in Starfinder worked. And it's okay not to fully understand how a months-old game works.

I know you're not talking to me here, but this is the internet and I disagree. :-/

The number of classes and how that works with PrC's along with the extant choices within a class drastically affects how customizable characters are in PF (CRB) versus SF (CRB). And I don't think you're correct here.

To be candid, I haven't actually played the game, yet. I believe in my heart of hearts that the gameplay itself will be fun, and I'm looking forward to it.

I think that's kind of the point of game design, and all subject to opinion and table differences anyway, so I'm personally not trying to argue that SF sucks or that anyone should or shouldn't leave.

But I'm also a guy that spent the last couple decades (almost) making characters for various flavors of d20 (including PF and PF "core only"). I build every character to 20 before I ever play them, even if I'm starting at 1st level. I built dozens of characters for every one I actually played. Any time we're starting a new game, I generally build 5-10 characters and try to choose the one that best fits the rest of the group and the DM/Campaign.

In PF a Fighter 20, a Wizard 20, a Fighter 10/Wizard 10, a Fighter 2/Wizard 5/Eldritch Knight 10/Wizard +3 all play extremely differently from one another. And any one of those can play completely differently from the exact same class choice tree than another depending on feat selection, class feature selection, and spell/gear selection. It's the same with every class and potential combination of classes and PrC's in the PF CRB. Many of the base class choices in PF have class options similar to those in SF (Barbarians have Rage Powers, Sorcerers have bloodlines, et cetera) and each one has fixed class features that can be mixed and matched with other classes to build something that compliments and improves upon the whole or affects PrC entry/selection or access to spells or whatever. I will spend hours on a given build for level 20 tweaking not only what classes, PrCs, feats, and class feature options to take, but what order to take the levels in to maximize the benefit of each class feature for a concept I was going for. That's true even when I limit myself to just the options in the CRB. (it's drastically more for splat, but I'm trying to compare apples to apples).

In SF, yes, a Soldier 20 plays differently than a Technomancer 20. And the Class options within the class mean that an Exocortex Mechanic 20 plays differently than a Drone Mechanic 20. But there are very few combinations that mix and match well together, so there aren't a lot of options for mixing and matching classes. There are no prestige classes so there isnt' much reason to try. There are fewer classes to choose from in the first place. The only two archetypes suck. Other than the first couple builds when I was trying to figure out how it all worked and noting the differences, I've yet to have a single level 20 character take me more than 20 minutes to build. There aren't a lot of choices once you get past race, class, concept, and style of play. There's certainly pages of stuff in the book to choose from. In a lot of cases the "choice" is between 2 things that obviously suck for this concept or style of play (they were meant for something else), one thing that's neutral (meant for generic), and one thing that's awesome (meant for this style of play), so it isn't really a choice. You just write down the thing that fits and ignore the rest.

A lot of people would consider that a selling point for SF, and they have every right to feel that way. But for me, that's a huge problem. It takes away much of what I enjoy about the game.


A d20 hack? Not sure what you mean. I'm working on a d20-based RPG if that's what you're talking about :D


Palidian wrote:
A d20 hack? Not sure what you mean. I'm working on a d20-based RPG if that's what you're talking about :D

Yes, that's what I meant. :P


Ikiry0 wrote:

That...doesn't seem possible. In fact, that seems impossible and I have numbers to back it up.

Numbers!
Here is my sheets doing damage calculations against equal level monsters (According to the actual monster manual creature creation guidelines). Even a 3/4 BAB guy who put only a secondary focus into his attack stat is hitting very reliably against equal level AC. The worst it ever gets is a level 20 guy trying to attack a level 20 monster's KAC and that's a 13+ (11+ if he's hitting against EAC, generally a good idea if you are lower base accuracy).

Your spreadsheet refuses to load past a certain point, so I can't see what your numbers show, but my experience playing the game (in a Society group, no less) is that nobody can hit for s#%*. Our players mostly seem to roll close to 10, and I have no idea what the GM is rolling but he can't hit us either.


CeeJay wrote:
Palidian wrote:
A d20 hack? Not sure what you mean. I'm working on a d20-based RPG if that's what you're talking about :D
Yes, that's what I meant. :P

Lol I'll DM you

Liberty's Edge

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

I'll also state that starting Starfinder characters are more interesting, more durable, and have more customization than base PF characters, or even Level 1 characters with 5 years of fluff tacked on. It is unreasonable to expect a game that is less than a year old to stand up to a game that has been out for 5+.

Hang on, which is it? Does Starfinder have more content than current-day Pathfinder? Or does it not stack up because its an unreasonable comparison? Kinda conflicting statements here.

Also, at the risk of being replied to for the rest of my days, I'll say that I damn well BETTER compare the two. Paizo has spent over 15 years working with 3.5 and turning it into 3.75+++. So when they announce an entirely new game, I expect to see content that is better, richer, and more refined than 3.5 was at its peak. Because that's what they've been doing. They've been refining 3.5 for over a decade. And so for a system to come out with fewer base options, confusing mechanics, and an agonizingly tedious new combat system (starships), that tells me that they did nothing with all that experience. That's what Starfinder is to me. Sure, they listened to the community, but that's about all they did. None of the revolutions that happened in Pathfinder carried over. People keep saying that we should've expected this to be new from the ground up, but that's ludicrous. Paizo has had 15 solid years of messy trial and error that should have made this release show-stopping. Instead they seemed to have thrown out all that experience and wisdom and just started from scratch; which is why the best phrase I can think of to describe Starfinder is a beta. It is a game that is not done yet. It is a rough draft. There is so much potential and almost every iota of it is wasted in some way. And it drives me insane that I'm supposed to wait for more content to come out, because I shouldn't have to! I don't really care to pay additional money for add-ons that update the game into the product I...

just off the top of my head

i see stuff in pathfinder from
unchained
ultimate campaign
the summoners handbook

there more but thats just off of the top of my head.

my bindings fine
though there were some issues with the 1st print run


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Pathfinder Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Thanks Palidian for starting this debate and articulating your arguments so well throughout.

I don't agree with your assessment of Starfinder but I understand some of the points raised. So far, I have enjoyed SF but there are things in the system that I think PF does much better.

Crucially, I agree with others that building NPCs differently from PCs can break immersion in the game. It hasn't so far in SF but I played 4E for a while and the deal breaker there was that NPCs were completely different from PCs. My key test with that was whether you could build a rival NPC party at the same level as the PCs at the same encounter level. In 4E that was impossible by RAW but I haven't reached a point in SF yet where that might become an issue.

I would say, in case there are plans for a PF 2E based on SF, that I would not buy that. PF stands very effectively on its own as a fantasy system and turning it into a Starfinder clone would put me off it (and I have enough PF material to run / play games for the next 200-300 years anyway).

Anyway, I agree that SF is not for everyone so best of luck with your Pathfinder AP. There are so many and they are all brilliant (a seperate debate I'm sure) so I'm sure you'll have a blast.


That's a fair assessment Medriev.

Personally I mainly enjoy the NPC/PC equivalence from a GM standpoint mainly because players don't often see it/notice. I've been writing an adventure of my own for a while and it's been a blast looking for spells and items to help the villain enact their plan, and it's been even more fun trying to figure out how to counter the party's attempts to stop her.

I would wholeheartedly agree with the Pathfinder 2.0 point. D&D didn't really have a system goal in mind throughout their updates, and so they were free to play with mechanics based on community feedback and creator ideas. Pathfinder was created to keep the crunch in the game, and so if they were to update the system with more streamlining and less crunch, it would arguably go against the entire point of Pathfinder to begin with.

Thanks for the wishes! We've opted to play Ironfang Invasion and for the first time ever I get to play a Monk; a class I've been obsessed with since I first played 5 years ago!


Medriev wrote:
My key test with that was whether you could build a rival NPC party at the same level as the PCs at the same encounter level. In 4E that was impossible by RAW but I haven't reached a point in SF yet where that might become an issue.

Incidentally, I'm running an adventure right now where I did just this, using the class arrays in the NPC builder. So far they seem pretty well-matched, although if I want to make them long-term antagonists I might just rebuild them as full PCs.


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After reading the whole thread I come to the conclusion that the main reason for some to hate Starfinder is that it is not Pathfinder but a compeltely new D20 based system.

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32

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Barbarossa Rotbart wrote:
After reading the whole thread I come to the conclusion that the main reason for some to hate Starfinder is that it is not Pathfinder but a compeltely new D20 based system.

This is largely true.

(And, there are on the other side, many hope that Pathfinder II takes its base frame from Starfinder.)

There are a couple legitimate complaints.

  • The gear progression has been a little difficult to get my head wrapped around. The price jumps are, obviously, to restrict the minimum level a piece of equipment will be purchasable, but the jumps in effectiveness don't quite keep up.
  • The PC vs NPC balance also seems a little wonky. The idea that NPCs would have high offense but low defense (counterwise the PCs have high defense but low offense), seems to work out in play, but I am not sure I like the resulting balance.
  • The Alien Archive was, IMHO, too small. Its 159 pages (including the monster building rules) just doesn't stand up well to the 315-320 pages if a Pathfinder Bestiary, for what is the same price.
You will note that I used personal pronouns for these three issues, because a lot of it is personal impression. I do not claim to have done enough play-testing or theory-crafting to back these up with hard fact.

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Rysky the Dark Solarion wrote:
Let's dial down the aggression, shall we?

NO! :p


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Lord Fyre wrote:
Rysky the Dark Solarion wrote:
Let's dial down the aggression, shall we?
NO! :p

*takes away cheesecake, replaces with asparagus*

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32

Rysky the Dark Solarion wrote:
Lord Fyre wrote:
Rysky the Dark Solarion wrote:
Let's dial down the aggression, shall we?
NO! :p
*takes away cheesecake, replaces with asparagus*

The lack of "cheesecake" in Starfinder was a different discussion. ;)

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

looks like the new pact world book in a month is adding
from there new blog on the pact worlds book

The Pact Worlds are the beating heart of the Starfinder campaign setting, a solar system full of citizens both familiar and bizarre. From the cosmopolitan corridors of Absalom Station to the carnivorous jungles of Castrovel or the floating cloud-cities of the gas giant Bretheda, this hardcover rulebook is your guide to Starfinder's core worlds and civilizations, and the perfect place to launch any adventure.Inside, you'll find:

In-depth gazetteers of the system's 14 major worlds, from high-tech Verces and the draconic empires of Triaxus to the necromantic wastleands of Eox or magical bubble cities floating on the surface of the sun. Each gazetteer features a detailed world map, residents and cultures, settlements and adventure locations, a unique theme to customize characters from that world, and more.
New playable alien races, from undead Eoxians to Castrovellian plant-people.
New starships, from the living vessels of the Xenowardens to sinister Hellknight dreadnoughts.
A codex of themed NPC stat blocks to help Game Masters create vivid encounters.
New archetypes for every class, including the Star Knight, Skyfire Centurion, and Divine Champion.
Tons of new weapons, armors, spells, feats, magic items, technological gadgets, and more to help outfit your adventurers.


Medriev wrote:
Crucially, I agree with others that building NPCs differently from PCs can break immersion in the game. It hasn't so far in SF but I played 4E for a while and the deal breaker there was that NPCs were completely different from PCs. My key test with that was whether you could build a rival NPC party at the same level as the PCs at the same encounter level. In 4E that was impossible by RAW but I haven't reached a point in SF yet where that might become an issue.

It's not clear to me what you mean by this.

It seems obvious to me that you could build a NPC party of the same level in any game. Is the question whether that party would be an appropriate encounter for the PC party?

In PF, a party of equal level PC classed people would be an epic encounter, only because they're built by NPC rules. By PC rules, specifically with PC wealth, they'd be beyond that and thus not appropriate for an encounter.

The Exchange

thejeff wrote:
Medriev wrote:
Crucially, I agree with others that building NPCs differently from PCs can break immersion in the game. It hasn't so far in SF but I played 4E for a while and the deal breaker there was that NPCs were completely different from PCs. My key test with that was whether you could build a rival NPC party at the same level as the PCs at the same encounter level. In 4E that was impossible by RAW but I haven't reached a point in SF yet where that might become an issue.

It's not clear to me what you mean by this.

It seems obvious to me that you could build a NPC party of the same level in any game. Is the question whether that party would be an appropriate encounter for the PC party?

In PF, a party of equal level PC classed people would be an epic encounter, only because they're built by NPC rules. By PC rules, specifically with PC wealth, they'd be beyond that and thus not appropriate for an encounter.

I've run a number of battles like this in Pathfinder and they work out as really good encounters in fact. The reason being that the challenge rating system in Pathfinder breaks hard at Level ten and beyond. At that point player characters can take on exponentially more challenging encounters and win. An encounter where the action economy and the available power of the enemies matches what the PCs can do is an awesome battle ......used in moderation.

As for the NPC issue folks are really talking about - it's the numbers themselves. NPCs have very high to hit and really crappy armour values. It made the players in my groups (plural) wonder why they bothered with expensive armour, and wonder why you'd bother with things that increase hit chance.

Those perceptions came from actual game play. For them, it really did feel like, no matter what I do as a player, I'm going to get hit, and I'm likely to hit them too. So combats came down to who had the biggest pool of damage sponge rather than who had the better skills.

Both groups I ran the game for in face to face play got through about four sessions but decided it wasn't worth pursuing any further. They just really didn't enjoy it for the reason combat didn't feel dynamic and varied enough. And that's with me running two different Adventure paths published by two different companies specifically designed to use the rules in Starfinder.

These are seasoned veterans of multiple game systems too, so I fully trust their reasoning for why they made their decisions.

As DM, the only part I didn't enjoy runninf was space combat. I only ran the one from the Paizo AP, but it was just a boring encounter for me as DM. Everything else I found pretty cool, especially since my NPCs could seriously challenge players.

But, as I stated earlier in this thread, it's hard to run a game if no one wants to pay. So we just went back to a system we all enjoyed instead.


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Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Wrath wrote:
As DM, the only part I didn't enjoy runninf was space combat. I only ran the one from the Paizo AP, but it was just a boring encounter for me as DM. Everything else I found pretty cool, especially since my NPCs could seriously challenge players.

I agree that the space combat in Book 1 of Dead Suns isn't really all that much fun. I've run it several times and still it just doesn't pop for me.

In my opinion Cries from the Drift contains the best Space Combat so far. The ones in Into the Unknown (the quests) aren't bad either.

People are still finding their own way to run Space Combat. I have handouts for each ship position that I hand out, plus table tents for each phase. I make notes of the NPC skills by phase which also helped.

Even with all that, I find he space combat systems of Babylon 5 Wars and Star Fleet Battles a lot more fun. Those systems also handle multiple ships quite a bit better. The advantage of Starfinder is it has the crew actions, creating a feeling for the PCs that each of those ship positions are an important part of the combat.


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Pathfinder Starfinder Society Subscriber
Wrath wrote:
As for the NPC issue folks are really talking about - it's the numbers themselves. NPCs have very high to hit and really crappy armour values. It made the players in my groups (plural) wonder why they bothered with expensive armour, and wonder why you'd bother with things that increase hit chance.

Coming in from Pathfinder, I think this is a very common impression for players. A sense of getting hit no matter what. This is because for combatant type NPCs (with CR equal to character level) against mostly optimized characters with good EAC/KAC, the player characters are getting hit something like 70% of the time and are hitting enemies 70% of the time or slightly less. There's a certain consistency at all levels of Starfinder around how likely you are to hit an enemy and how an enemy hits you.

In Pathfinder, these ratios varied wildly. When you make a character in Pathfinder you might have 14-16 AC with your leather armor, dex and other features. Enemies have a +2 to +4 modifier, hitting you 40-50% of the time maybe. But you could hit them way more often! If you were a barb you'd be hitting their 12 AC with 75% consistency due to your +7 attack roll. And then once you hit level 2 if you were a heavy armor type that could get full plate you might be rocking AC20 while enemies still had only +4 or +5 to hit and you got to feel like a sweet tank! At higher levels your first iterative hits might land 95% of the time, making you feel like you've made some real progress, even if your followup attacks are far less likely to land.

The ratios of how likely enemies are to hit you vs. how likely you are to hit them in Pathfinder are all over the place from level to level, build to build. In Starfinder they're far more rigid and constrained. I can see how people feel that's less fun.


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I do sort of compare Starfinder against Pathfinder, not content-wise, but because everyone only has a limited amount of time and generally cannot play. So why should someone invest in a new RPG over RPGs they already have?

Every new RPG which comes out is competing with the other RPGs I own for my spare time. It doesn't matter that a game only just came out, I'm still going to compare it to other games so that I don't waste my time.


Lord Fyre wrote:
  • The Alien Archive was, IMHO, too small. Its 159 pages (including the monster building rules) just doesn't stand up well to the 315-320 pages if a Pathfinder Bestiary, for what is the same price.
  • For those comparing Core Pathfinder content with Core Starfinder content: remember that most things in Pathfinder (Barbarians, Owlbears, etc.) had undergone literally decades of testing and refinement before Paizo got to them.

    Creating new classes and new monsters and new gameplay mechanics simultaneously is a lot harder than revising familiar stuff.


    Milo v3 wrote:
    Every new RPG which comes out is competing with the other RPGs I own for my spare time. It doesn't matter that a game only just came out, I'm still going to compare it to other games so that I don't waste my time.

    Fair is fair. After all, those old games are often getting unfairly compared to the freshness and energy of new games with more interesting ideas at the same time. Luckily, Paizo makes out either way, the clever so-and-sos. ;D


    I for one love the simplicity of the NPC creation rules. I can make whatever NPC/creature I want with very little prep time, and I can make simple mooks on the fly, without breaking the flow of the game. That is a huge plus for me, rather than having to design my plots around the limited selection of baddies in the Alien Archive, or having to wait for a proper bestiary.
    So simple NPC rules is a huge plus in my book.

    That being said, I agree that the disparity in PC/NPC To-hit/AC is terrible for the exact same reason that Wrath wrote.
    We've been playing some D&D 5e, and while most of the players disliked it (because a: it wasn't as crunchy as Pathfinder, and b: The skill system is just too simplified), the general balance between PCs and NPCs works really well. Because NPCs are created by the same (simple) rules as PCs.

    I firmly believe that Paizo could just as easily have created as simple an NPC creation system as what we got in AA, but using player progression as a guideline. Heck, I did it in a single afternoon, in order to balance things out, because all my players and I share Wrath's experience and sentiment.

    I just think that Paizo's design goal is a bit too far off from what players want/expect. And how the balance feels during play. I think their goal sounds reasonable on paper, but in practice, it leads to the players not caring about armor, and spending all their money on maxing damage output and healing. (Which led to our mystic feeling useless, but I've written about that in another thread).


    Far as NPC creation stats go, when you're building enemies I feel like the base EAC/KAC values in the Alien Archive are there with the assumption that for the kinds of enemies who would use it, you are also equipping them with roughly level-appropriate actual gear, not just using the base values. Or if they're a form of critter that wouldn't use gear and you want them to be durable, they have some other defensive abilities or buffs.

    Using custom-built NPCs on those assumptions, I certainly haven't had anything like Wrath's experience. Pre-built adversaries from the Alien Archive haven't felt that way either. If the system inherently encourages people to be indifferent to armour my players haven't got the memo and I've yet to feel it as a player myself (and I've spent equal amounts of time both sides of the screen at this point).

    This is not to discount Wrath's experiences... but it does make me wonder if there's another explanation for them. The quality of adventure design can be a big factor, and Starfinder introduces so many different kinds of adventure hooks that it can be tricky to design scenarios for. I personally think Paizo's AP content is great for resources and ideas but there's not a ton of it that has tempted me to pick up and run as-is (and I would love to be able to do so... maybe I'll get to it with A Night in Nightarch). I also hear extremely varied things about third-party content claiming to be "Starfinder-compatible," though I can't speak directly to much of that.

    RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32

    Necrodemus wrote:

    That being said, I agree that the disparity in PC/NPC To-hit/AC is terrible for the exact same reason that Wrath wrote.

    We've been playing some D&D 5e, and while most of the players disliked it (because a: it wasn't as crunchy as Pathfinder, and b: The skill system is just too simplified), the general balance between PCs and NPCs works really well. Because NPCs are created by the same (simple) rules as PCs.

    Paizo did something very similar in Pathfinder Unchained (pages 194 to 253), and it works quite well.

    The Exchange

    CeeJay wrote:

    Far as NPC creation stats go, when you're building enemies I feel like the base EAC/KAC values in the Alien Archive are there with the assumption that for the kinds of enemies who would use it, you are also equipping them with roughly level-appropriate actual gear, not just using the base values. Or if they're a form of critter that wouldn't use gear and you want them to be durable, they have some other defensive abilities or buffs.

    Using custom-built NPCs on those assumptions, I certainly haven't had anything like Wrath's experience. Pre-built adversaries from the Alien Archive haven't felt that way either. If the system inherently encourages people to be indifferent to armour my players haven't got the memo and I've yet to feel it as a player myself (and I've spent equal amounts of time both sides of the screen at this point).

    This is not to discount Wrath's experiences... but it does make me wonder if there's another explanation for them. The quality of adventure design can be a big factor, and Starfinder introduces so many different kinds of adventure hooks that it can be tricky to design scenarios for. I personally think Paizo's AP content is great for resources and ideas but there's not a ton of it that has tempted me to pick up and run as-is (and I would love to be able to do so... maybe I'll get to it with A Night in Nightarch). I also hear extremely varied things about third-party content claiming to be "Starfinder-compatible," though I can't speak directly to much of that.

    So you're saying the game works well when you homebrew and add extras based off assumptions you've made that aren't outlined in the rules.

    I mean, any game system will work well if you just change it to suit your style. But then it's not the same game system.

    Honestly, if the game doesn't run particularly well using the content designed to be used with it by the expert game designers who,helped write the rules then I call that bad design.

    So I shall reciprocate your own statements. I wonder if your experi nice differs because you're not actually running the game as written but rather homebrew it to gloss over some of the problems?

    Which is fine to do, because it makes your game more fun for you.

    But my time is too limited to be rewriting and redesigning systems, nor indeed homebrewing content. I need a system to work out of the box and be effective for the material written to use it, since that's all I have time for now.

    Sczarni

    Palidian wrote:

    Hello hello all!

    When Starfinder came out, my friends group was rather excited to play. Most of us prefer fantasy, but we enjoy some good Sci-Fi and a space-themed Pathfinder game seemed like the perfect route to go! We asked the resident Sci-Fi fan to GM, and he took to it with relish. He put 10+ hours of work into each session, and the characters were fun and had good chemistry. However, as of yesterday we stopped playing and are planning the switch back over to a Pathfinder AP. I thought I would share some of the reasons we stopped, as almost all of them are actual issues we had with the game, for anyone who's interested.

    1.) Customization
    This is the big one, and by far the most jarring difference between Pathfinder and Starfinder. In PF, there are a staggering number of options that help players tailor their character and gameplay to exactly what they have in mind. I realize that PF has been out much longer and has tons of material added later, however we found that it seemed like even the PF core rulebook just had more stuff in it. Starting off in vanilla PF, there are 11 classes to choose from, each with its own unique abilities. In SF, there are 7 classes. This trend continued throughout SF, with a shorter spell list, a replacement of archetypes with "themes" that offer little in the way of actual use and are more or less simple flavor. My group grew frustrated with the simple lack of choices to pick from.

    2.) Mechanics
    In SF, my group found that mechanics seemed to often fall into one of two categories: confusing or arbitrary. Many rules were written in strange ways that required several minutes of cross-referencing to figure out; for example, reading that grenades are thrown weapons, but they do not have the "thrown" special property, meaning that the section on "thrown weapons" does not apply to them but the section on "thrown ranged attacks" does. We got confused and cross-eyed many times trying to figure out simple things, and we are all experienced in PF, so we're no strangers to...

    I noticed quite a few things wrong with this, like you saying that there's no archetypes... There are still archetypes... though not really lacklustre they're still there, and Themes replace traits not archetypes.

    You're complaining about customisation? True it has less customisation than Pathfinder but Pathfinder has been out for at least a decade and has hundreds of books while Starfinder has been out for 6 months and has 2 books so of course Pathfinder has more customisation. Though the classes in Starfinder has much more customisation than classes in Pathfinder.

    I've notcied alot of your complaints is that you dislike the fact that Starfinder is not Pathfinder in space and you lack the ability to grasp that they're two different games not the same game. An example is the thrown weapon complaint, of course it's not going to be the same as in Pathfinder as it is two seperate games, sure the two games share alot of similarities but they're still separate games.

    My last rebutal is about resource tracking, in all honesty I've done more resource tracking in Pathfinder than Starfinder because in Pathfinder you're going to have a few wands, if you're a Ranger you're going to have at least a couple different types of arrows, if you're a Gunslinger you'll have many different types of bullets and then you have black powder and alchemical cartridges and that's just to name a couple of builds. In Starfinder there isn't that much resource tracking because of rechargeable batteries which makes resource tracking a whole lot easier.

    I respect that you may not like Starfinder and prefer Pathfinder, but I had to point many flaws in your arguments. Make it easier on yourself and before complaining understand your complaints to be able to correctly defend your postition.

    The Exchange

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    @ Sid de Squid - that's a needlessly aggressive response to something that's now been discussed for nearly 300 posts.

    There's nothing you've said that hasn't already been discussed, without the arrogant and aggressive overtones.


    Wrath wrote:
    So you're saying the game works well when you homebrew and add extras based off assumptions you've made that aren't outlined in the rules.

    The assumption about gear is not my own. It's mentioned in the rules, p. 137 of the Alien Archive. (In fairness, it's easy to miss. We've talked upthread about how information in these books could be better-organised, maybe this is an example.) And AFAICT it's also reflected in most of the content I've used from that book.

    (EDIT: The rules don't particularly tell you to give other defensive abilities or damage resistance to critters that don't have gear because they can't predict what your creature concept is going to be, but it does seem the logical course and it turns up often in creature designs in places like the Alien Archive or the Dead Suns AP.)

    In view of which I am suggesting that imperfect Adventure Path content is possible. "Expert game designers" are human too, especially when trying to figuring out what works for a new game design, and if one is using third-party APs claiming to be Starfinder-compatible I would suggest the possibility of design errors multiplies considerably.

    We've seen in this thread that certain third-party content has a mixed reputation that way. This phrasing certainly calls one of them to mind, though I don't want to assume anything:

    Quote:
    Honestly, if the game doesn't run particularly well using the content designed to be used with it by the expert game designers who,helped write the rules then I call that bad design

    Now, my experience does suggest, granted, that such problems are actually fairly easily fixable in rules-consistent fashion where they arise. I'm comfortable with not calling that "bad design," I think you're kind of contorting there.

    (Not that I'm claiming my sessions run without flaws or hiccups, you understand. Far from it. But we're certainly not running into mass player-quits or some of these mechanical problems you claim are endemic to Starfinder as a system, and barring a couple of minor rules-widgets we are basically running the system RAW.)

    Of course all of this may be of little use to you if you've shelled out for a couple of different published adventures and couldn't get them to work, I get the frustration. I'm just putting the implications of this for the system per se in perspective.


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    Pathfinder Maps, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
    Farlanghn wrote:
    Redelia wrote:
    4. The grey moral tone of the world. Sorry, but Eox should not be a Pact World, it should be the main enemy. Undead are evil, except in extraordinary circumstances, and then only for individual undead. Any character worth playing is going to smite undead on sight.
    Ummm, That's racist.

    Wow. Just...wow.

    Probably the only thing I hate about Starfinder is how it strongly kowtows to liberal ideology and emboldens liberals to call others bigots over a simple game.

    Can't we all just recognize it for what it is (a game) and acknowledge that we're all here to have fun, and not accuse others of being awful?

    Sovereign Court

    Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

    I agree with pretty much all of the original poster's complaints. And don't get me started on ship combat, either. I'm still playing, but mostly 'cuz the writing and the story lines are so good.


    3 people marked this as a favorite.

    Ravingdork: Nobody called anyone a "bigot" in the passage you're quoting and larding your response with an incendiary phrase about "kowtowing to liberal ideology" is the opposite of a contribution. Don't be awful.

    (EDIT: Oh, I see you fixed the citation. That's an improvement, except you're still insisting on wading back into an argument that was already over.)

    The Exchange

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    @ceeJay - I'll absolutely concede you point about third party content. The one I ran was the first part of legendary planets . It's basically an AP that's been designed for fantasy based systems (Pathfinder and fifth edition) but they've shoe horned Starfinder into it.

    It's more pulp sci fantasy than the setting in the core book, so some of the base skills are not overly useful already. I actually wrote a review on the module.

    The content as far as story goes is perfectly fine. It would be a really good Pathfinder adventure actually. But it wasn't working overly well for me as DM for Starfinder.

    However, despite those flaws the encounters were designed using the system in Starfinder, so our issue with combat wouldn't change really.

    But it's a very fair point you make about using third party stuff to judge a system.

    Sadly we found the official content ran the same.

    Meh. It's a game. Plenty of people are finding it really awesome for them, so I think that's great.

    I believe for my group, we're planning on using some of the design theories of Starfinder and putting them to the chassis of Fragged Empire. Fragged is a really robust game mechanically, but suffers from really poor layout and explanations on how things work in the book. Having read all the Starfinder stuff, I have a far better idea in how to effectively use Fragged.

    So for me, none of my money was wasted in all honesty. It just didn't pan out for the group the way I'd hoped.


    I get you. In due fairness, I've experienced the frustration of Pathfinder-style adventures basically re-skinned for Starfinder firsthand. It sounds cool as an idea but in practice, unless done in a very specific way, it's frustrating because Starfinder is designed for a much different palette of concepts, abilities and encounters.

    First Starfinder campaign I ever played was with a GM trying to re-skin Jade Regent for SF; his players didn't quit on him, he quit first, but I was considering quitting by the time he bailed. Not because of mechanics, so much, but because the adventure he was running totally ignored large tracts of Starfinder character concepts and abilities. It really wasn't fun, or at least it wasn't a form of fun that lived up to the system and setting's promise. It was just a dungeon crawl with lasers.

    I think there's just a learning curve for everyone, even the designers, about the full potential of what a Starfinder adventure means. I have some the published Starfinder modules but there's a reason I just raid them for content and haven't been tempted to run them as-is. If you fell foul of something like that, I completely understand the feeling.

    Fortunately for me I happen to have the time and inclination to make my own adventures and content. My first experience reminded me of issues I experienced way back in the days of 1st-edition Shadowrun and its published adventures, which was one reason I wasn't tempted to throw the system over. Back then I just made my own stuff, too. I thus became a long-time fan of that system and I feel the same thing happening with SF.

    But if one didn't have the time to do that? Yeah, I get it. It may be that there's some time, at least, before published adventure content really hits its stride. (I had also been wondering whether I should shell out for Legendary Planet and it's looking like maybe no, so that's some useful insight there and I thank you.)


    3 people marked this as a favorite.

    My biggest takeaways from following this thread are not every game system is for every player/GM, and that many people were hoping for more than they got so far. My suggestion to those who feel disappointed is hold on. The game is evolving still. I know space combat by itself changed a great deal actually just with the update of how divert works and the DCs. I expect that there will be more updates in the future.

    When comparing to Pathfiner, Starfinder as a base system seems better to me with some rough edges. Pathfinder was basically a re-skinning of 3.5 when it first came out. While there were many improvements and the setting was new and nice, it's not like Pathfinder really changed 3.5 all that drastically. Over time that changed, as more options were added, but the first few books weren't really all that groundbreaking from a game system standpoint. So it made sense to expect more polished design as little had to really be redesigned, mostly it was tweaks.

    Starfinder (for me) sets up a new and better framework. There is less number crunching, though there is still enough to satisfy. There is a more sensible adventuring day built in rather than the I bought a heal stick, now where'd that bard get to... I like that a team can really be built out of a large variety of characters, you don't have nearly the same level of predefined roles. I have seem teams of a varying compositions be successful.

    For those that were wanting more content, well if you were to come back to the system in a year you will have what 5 books available? Each will add more to the setting and player options. If you don't want to buy all of them I completely understand. I can't afford to either, but I can't afford to with Pathfinder either. That's what the srd is for. There's no way I'd go out and buy all of even the "core" of Pathfinder. If you already have it well, you've done the investing, and for you that means you may not want to change course, but that doesn't mean that Starfinder is a bad product.

    As to the numerous FAQ/rules ambiguities, well I've run into those with every game system I've played with. Pathfinder has a LOT of these as well, they've just been addressing them for 10+ years, and so have fixed a lot by now.

    So yeah, don't write off Starfinder yet, come back to it if you aren't happy. You may find that after a few more books have been released you like it more. Don't want to spend money yet? Don't. But please don't complain that a new system is bad just because well, it is new.


    In addition to what baggageboy says, I'd say the biggest takeaways from this thread and my own experience are:

    a) Do try to take full advantage of what Starfinder is designed to do;
    b) Don't try to run or engage with Starfinder like it's Pathfinder (it isn't);
    c) Have some healthy caution about third-party companies purporting to sell "Starfinder-compatible" content, and be aware that designers from any company, even Paizo, are feeling their way with all of this much as you are.

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