We stopped playing Starfinder yesterday, here's why.


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Been meaning to come back to this:

pithica42 wrote:
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 appreciate the candour, but I don't understand how you can evaluate abilities, traits or anything else in a game you haven't played with other people?

A large part of a game -- especially of a game that brings together all the diverse ideas Starfinder does -- is the human component. Notwithstanding all the tables, it's made clear that groups should feel to finesse or change things where appropriate. You can't plug Starfinder into a spreadsheet and figure out what's "optimal." It's just not designed that way.

I'm not denying your read of character customisation could be right. I kind of doubt it is, because I've seen enough debates here about, say, which ability is or isn't "lame" to know many of them are highly situational and dependent on GM calls or narrative design, or are just ambiguous. But I can't say for sure that you're wrong.

I can say for something-close-to-sure that you can't know without playing the game with actual player groups. I hope you get the opportunity soon and that you enjoy.


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

All I know is I'm totally making a Skittermander Soldier with the fusillade feat.


Because why wouldn't you? :D


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

I already made my SFS legal Human Envoy named Zap Branigan.

Just need to find where they play in our area.

And time, I can always use some extra spare time.


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captain yesterday wrote:

I already made my SFS legal Human Envoy named Zap Branigan.

Just need to find where they play in our area.

And time, I can always use some extra spare time.

Now, like all great plans, my strategy is so simple an idiot could have devised it.


captain yesterday wrote:

I already made my SFS legal Human Envoy named Zap Branigan.

Just need to find where they play in our area.

And time, I can always use some extra spare time.

Problem is you can’t give a pc a cha score of 1

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Society Subscriber
Robert Gooding wrote:
Problem is you can’t give a pc a cha score of 1

Actually, you can.

Page 19, Optional Rule: Character Flaws.

You just don't get any points back for it.


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Starfinder Superscriber

I'm not trying to convince you that you should think the same way I do, because this is, entirely, about how I feel about it. I know I'm 'right' because I know how I feel. Feeling otherwise is completely valid. You're just as right to feel differently, and I hope that, more than anything else, is clear. If it isn't, please just ignore me.

CeeJay wrote:

I appreciate the candour, but I don't understand how you can evaluate abilities, traits or anything else in a game you haven't played with other people?

A large part of a game -- especially of a game that brings together all the diverse ideas Starfinder does -- is the human component. Notwithstanding all the tables, it's made clear that groups should feel to finesse or change things where appropriate. You can't plug Starfinder into a spreadsheet and figure out what's "optimal." It's just not designed that way.

In RL, I'm an engineer/software developer/systems architect. Much of my job entails looking at a design for a system and making predictions about how that system will behave in the real world (before it's built/run). Not for nothing, but I'm pretty good at it, especially at finding edge cases or possible user interactions and how those will play out. I do that sort of evaluation on things that don't even exist, yet, for a living.

I've been playing pen and paper RPGs for something like 30 years now. I've always been a 'rules lawyer' and a 'munchkin' and a 'min-maxer' that entire time. I've always been that guy. Not only can I write a spreadsheet and figure out statistical variances, I'm also the kind of player that reads other people's guides and spends time on the message boards arguing about rules interpretations and listening/watching other peoples games and how they play out to find every advantage, loophole, or possible game-breaker to avoid/rule illegal.

Moreover, and most importantly, when I run this game, I'll be running for a group of people I've been playing with for over 20 years. If I get to play, it will probably be under one of the two DM's in that same group. If either run it, they'll probably use my houserules (or a variant of them) the same way they do in some other games they run that I play in.

While you're absolutely right that I can't predict how a rule will be interpreted in every group/game, I can predict how that rule will be interpreted in the vast majority of the games I play in, because I'm the one that's ultimately going to decide that.

But that isn't at all what I'm talking about.

Quote:
I can say for something-close-to-sure that you can't know without playing the game with actual player groups. I hope...

I'm not complaining about how customization/optimization will or won't play out in an actual game at actual game time. I freely admitted that I think play time will be fun and I don't know enough, at this moment, to make arguments about how the game plays. I expect that I'll be surprised by something in the game that I didn't notice on reading the rules. I hope that's a pleasant surprise when it happens, and I hope it happens often enough to keep me interested, so I don't feel like I wasted my money six months from now. It's not about whether or not my Solarian build will do the most damage ever (or whatever).

What I'm complaining about, right now, is how all the stuff I do outside of actually playing currently works. I can say, with certainty, that making characters in this system is a lot more like 5e than 3.5 or PF, because I've made a number of characters for all four systems, and SF is more like the former than the latter. It's a lot simpler to make a character in SF than 3.5/PF, there are a lot less choices (even when only making CRB characters in PF), because I've made both, and there are actually less choices to make.

I think it's pretty obvious from the class system that this was done intentionally on the part of the designers. It's easier to balance, for one, and it's a selling feature for a lot of players/DMs for another. 5e is pretty dang successful for a reason, and that's part of it.

The biggest (most obvious) difference is the absence of prestige classes, especially ones that mix and match features from two (or more classes). That has a huge effect on customization/optimization, overall. I've yet to have to worry about the order I take classes or feats or class features to try to meet some arbitrary PrC pre-req. I've yet to run into a valid 3 or 4 class/PrC combo. The most class mixing I've seen so far, is a single level dip in a class (usually Blitz Soldier) to pick up a free feat or proficiency.

For me (and for a number of people in my group), that will make the system a lot less attractive as a primary game. I find all that number crunching outside of gameplay a fun thing to do as a tangential activity. In 3.5/PF, that was its own hobby. I waste hours every week building/tweaking characters in those editions noone will ever play, because I find that exercise, in and of itself, to be fun and rewarding. It's a puzzle and the puzzle is fun to solve all by itself. I've made about a dozen SF characters, and it wasn't (the character background part was still fun, but once I pick my idea/concept, the rest of the "choices" all feel obvious, there's almost no puzzle to solve).

I still plan on running my group through the AP, because we really really need a break from the fantasy genre. But unless we get a lot of new classes in a splat book in the next year or so, I don't see us playing beyond that. The other primary DM in my group has said he definitely won't run (but he wants to play), because it's "5e in space" (his words). The other occasional DM has said he'd prefer to run something completely different, like Hero's Unlimited, old-school White Wolf, or Shadowrun and then go back to PF or just switch to 5e and be done with it.


Stop fueling, it’s all been said repeatedly, just let this thead die. There’s nothing new left to say

Also you don’t get to whine until you actually play


I have to agree with pithica that there is less mixing of classes to find an optimal character. This is something that Paizo doesn't seem to like people doing in general. While multiclassing is an option the classes are designed to discourage doing so. Also the way archetypes are setup there is little incentive to have an archetype and more than a single class. To me this is disappointing as I LOVE to multiclass, but I know for many others this is a joy. At the same time I really enjoy Starfinder on the whole, and so for fun have made my own multiclasses built as starfinder archetypes. They are still a work in progress, and I have yet to build the mystic and technomancer archetypes. I know I will never be able to use these outside of my own games, but that is ok for me. It may not be for some. This is one of those preference sort of items that some will love and others won't.


pithica42 wrote:
The biggest (most obvious) difference is the absence of prestige classes, especially ones that mix and match features from two (or more classes). That has a huge effect on customization/optimization, overall. I've yet to have to worry about the order I take classes or feats or class features to try to meet some arbitrary PrC pre-req. I've yet to run into a valid 3 or 4 class/PrC combo. The most class mixing I've seen so far, is a single level dip in a class (usually Blitz Soldier) to pick up a free feat or proficiency.

Aren't Prestige Classes already massively deemphasized in Pathfinder? They're still there, but not relied on nearly so heavily as in 3.5. The general approach has been to add base classes (or in some cases archetypes) to cover the PrC niches.

I don't find their absence in SF to be a big deal, since I've rarely seen the CRB PF PrCs used in recent years. Most of them are considered underpowered, rather than being the key to builds as they were in 3.5.


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Starfinder Superscriber
thejeff wrote:

Aren't Prestige Classes already massively deemphasized in Pathfinder? They're still there, but not relied on nearly so heavily as in 3.5. The general approach has been to add base classes (or in some cases archetypes) to cover the PrC niches.

I don't find their absence in SF to be a big deal, since I've rarely seen the CRB PF PrCs used in recent years. Most of them are considered underpowered, rather than being the key to builds as they were in 3.5.

A number of people were complaining that we weren't allowed (as if this were stalinist russia) to compare SF as it exists to PF as it exists and we should limit our comparisons to the PF CRB, since the CRB is the only rulebook for SF.

In the PF CRB, I have 11 Base classes (each with their own internal class options) and 10 prestige classes that I can mix and match to build something unique to how I want to play the game.

If I want to play something that, say, has some thiefy abilities and some wizardy abilities, I can can mix and match Rogue, Wizard, and Arcane Trickster, or Rogue/Assassin, or Rogue/Shadowdancer, or Rogue/Fighter/Wizard/Eldritch Knight, or... you get the idea. There are a LOT of ways I can do that. Some of them are statistically better or worse than others, generally, and some won't work for some games or require DM approval, but there is a breadth of options available from the way multi-class and PrC options and how they mix and match with each other. Playing with those options is, in and of itself, fun for me.

If I want to play something in SF that has some thiefy abilities and some wizardy abilities, I can play an Operative with either a few levels in technomancer or the technomantic dabbler feat, or I can play a Technomancer that picks up a few feats and thief skills.

The way this system is designed, with the focus on base classes over mix/matching, I expect that (if there is enough demand/desire) some splat book will have a Rogue/Techno base class. But it's the playing around with the pieces, outside of the game, that is no longer there, again, for me.


Again I’d like to emphasize that you don’t get an opinion until you actually play the game...we are all open to discussion and criticism from people who at least try it for a few sessions.

Which you have repeatedly told us you havent

Silver Crusade

Palidian wrote:


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.

I'm gonna disagree with this.

1. It has the same number of base races

2. Themes replace traits with traits not being present in the CRB for Pathfinder but already offering additional level of complexity for Starfinder.

3. While there are 11 base classes in Pathfinder, with the exception of a small handful, each class really only has a small selection of options which end up with any (insert name of base class here) playing nearly identical to every other "unique build" of the same class to a great deal when limited to just the CRB. Starfinder has 7 base classes but

a. The Mystic arguably has the ability to play at least 3 to 4 complete different play styles of full caster depending on which connection they choose (see with the exception of a small handful when referencing Pathfinder earlier because I am aware the same can be said of many Pathfinder full casters)
b. The Mechanic plays pretty differently depending on taking an exocortex or a drone.
c. The soldier is pretty diverse and can gain a flavor similar several classes in Pathfinder depending on which combat style is chosen, which only further separates and makes unique the class based on what secondary you eventually choose.
d. I think all of the others have differences that can be made fairly distinguished pretty easy but they aren't as pronounced as the ones mentioned above. But if you consider that, then it isn't as limiting as "just 7 races and 7 base classes" really seems. I mean you effectively have 9 or 10 base classes really.

4. If you go through and eliminate about 90% of basically useless prerequisite feats from the Pathfinder CRB, the number of feats that remain really wouldn't be that different from what is present in the Starfinder CRB

5. I'm not sure what rules seem confusing to people (outside of starship combat, see below), although I have heard this argument a number of times which never seem to be well articulated or at least seem to be overly specific in nature. I've been playing in a home game and in organized play fairly regularly since release and I have yet to personally come across any rules that seemed to not make any sense or be counter intuitive.

6. Starship combat gets a lot of hate and I am not sure why. It has been causing a lot of problems in the organized play games in my area even after the math change. The original math was awful but since then, it seems pretty within an acceptable difficulty curve when I play or run it. I'm not speaking on the OP's games or play experiences as I haven't seen them first hand and any description would only be partially useful in my understanding but from what I have encountered in the local organized play, nearly all problems in starship combat come from one or more of the following sources:

a. The GM is not familiar enough with Starship rules and is confused about what they are able to do or what the party is able to do
b. The players are not familiar enough with Starship rules and are confused about what they can do or what each option available to their role does
c. The players do not communicate with each other enough and/or are working against each other instead of with each other.
d. Players have not let go of assumptions they had during therapy crafting that have proven to die when in actual use even after being shown a more effect tactic or approach.
e. Players have not realized through play that taking a defensive approach to combat hinders their effectiveness, prolonging combat and increasing frustration as a result.
f. Insist on attempting things not currently covered in the rules (if I could get through just one organized play game that has starship combat without someone wanting to ram another ship, I'd give everyone at the table $20 as a thank you)

My home group just hasn't been experiencing the same frustrations with starship combat. We have a firm grasp of the rules, don't attempt to do things outside of the rules present, meet consensus on what we need to do each round/phase with little argument but with any disagreements that do occur being ended quickly with options being presented and majority vote winning, and all efforts crew wide being made with the intent of putting down enemy ships unless shields are looking rough.

Silver Crusade

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Robert Gooding wrote:
thejeff wrote:
mswbear wrote:
It is mainly an inconvenience for GMs as designing an NPC requires understanding of a different creation system then creating a PC.

I'm pretty sure that if you really want there's nothing stopping you from building all your NPCs with the PC rules. The rules are there. No one's going to stop you.

I’d like the first quote here explained, I can make an npc in starfinder in 3-5 minutes or if I’m lazy just read the stat block and talk up flavour, how is that harder than making a pc for every npc?

The NPC creations rules are actually pretty quick at all CRs. They take a while to get the hang of but once they are grasped fairly firmly, you can bust out a handful of different NPC encounters in short order.

I've never been particularly quick at making PCs and when making NPCs in the pathfinder system (basically making a PC with reduced wealth and ability scores), I am only marginally faster. The reduced rules for making monsters in Pathfinder were always easier in some ways for me to go through.

I think that being forced to basically learn monster creation rules to make PCs is jarring for some GMs but as stated there is nothing really stopping a GM from using PC creation rules to make their NPCs if they so choose. I like that I can make a fairly effective CR 15 soldier NPC nearly as quickly as I could make a CR 2 soldier using the NPC creation rules. But if I was making the NPC from scratch, it would be a more significant disparity in time.

I'm good if the math works out the same way on the practical end which from the experiments I have run, is the case. The NPC Soldier using the NPC creation rules which are basically monster creation rules spits out a soldier of similar capability that one created using PC creation rules does for the target CR. Outside of "having to" learn the monster creation rules, it really isn't that immersion breaking. PCs aren't making monsters/NPCs (in general) and what I run as GM is all words on paper and personal presentation anyways.


Yknow, on the fun side, the less developed landscape of classes and stuff is excellent for theorycrafting/conversion. I don't get alot of time to play anymore, but its still enjoyable to go, "Hm, how would a Paladin work out in Starfinder" and spend a few days puttering with that.

Pathfinder and Starfinder have sort have become the car in the garage I fiddle with but will likely never fix to the point where I can drive it. Excellent down-time hobby though.

The Exchange

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Robert Gooding wrote:

Again I’d like to emphasize that you don’t get an opinion until you actually play the game...we are all open to discussion and criticism from people who at least try it for a few sessions.

Which you have repeatedly told us you havent

His complaint is about the aspect of the system that happens outside of playing the game.

That is, the building of characters and how he loves complexity and problem solving in that aspect. You can do thatnall,day every day and never roll a dice in your life.

As such, he has every right to make a statement on why he doesn't like this system. He even went through the comparison for purely CRB in Pathfinder vs Starfinder and still finds it lacking.

I'm going to agree with his findings too. Starfinder is far more like 5e in that regard (and in quite a few others as well).

For me though, that's a positive in favour of Starfinder over Pathfinder. For the very reason it really helps prevent rules lawyers and munchkins from trying to break the system.

The problem of course comes down to this. My group has played quite a bit of 5e now and the players have seen or played through nearly every class combination possible. The shine is wearing off. At least Starfinder is going to continue growing the races and classes options at a faster rate than 5e.


pithica42 wrote:
In RL, I'm an engineer/software developer/systems architect. Much of my job entails looking at a design for a system and making predictions about how that system will behave in the real world (before it's built/run). Not for nothing, but I'm pretty good at it, especially at finding edge cases or possible user interactions and how those will play out.

I believe you.

My point is that you are not analysing how users will interact with a CRPG or a mapping tool or a piece of hardware. There are limits to how far you can predict things will function in a system where rules themselves can be discarded, adapted and finessed according to the needs of a table and just the general human X-factor, to say nothing of the radical differences that things like choice of story and narrative structure make to a game. Your analysis makes judgements about the usefulness and uselessness of certain builds and thus the range of actual variation available in the system without any exposure to that crucial X-factor. It is surely not rocket science to see the flaw in this reasoning*.

It's okay to be "that guy" as long as you keep being "that guy" in perspective. Number-crunching can provide interesting perspectives but it only ever be part of a picture which plays out very differently for varied takes on the ruleset and varied play styles. It's in mistaking the number-crunching for the whole that you get into the territory of making falsely-universal or flatly-wrong statements that don't accord with the reality at the table for many of your fellow humans.

I believe your analysis might be a correct prediction for the 20-year gaming group you're familiar with and other groups closely similar to it. But I can't know how useful it will be beyond that. Be interesting to see how it plays out for you, though. Good luck with it.

(* FWIW I don't take any issue with the general contention that Starfinder puts a lot less emphasis on multi-classing. I'm just leery of analysis that ventures into judging the relatively "usefulness" of this or that class ability without access to knowledge of the context of use for those things.)


Starfinder Superscriber
CeeJay wrote:
Your analysis makes judgements about the usefulness and uselessness of certain builds and thus the range of actual variation available in the system without any exposure to that crucial X-factor. It is surely not rocket science to see the flaw in this reasoning.

I think, at this point, we're talking across purposes. Because I keep emphasizing how I'm essentially doing theortical work, outside of ever picking up a dice. Work that I enjoy doing in 3.5/PF (and a few other systems), on its own. But I don't enjoy doing in SF, because of the limits inherent in the design and the lack of realistic options for playing with that design as the game exists. You're talking about how that theory plays out in practice, which I agree is certainly more important for playing the game, but has no bearing on how much or little I enjoy the theory-crafting nor how complex it is, as it's own thing.

I can't think of another way to word this, though, so I'ma drop it. I was just trying to offer a counterpoint to a statement you made about character complexity. From my perspective, there is adequate complexity for playing a single character (well group) in a single game, but not for theory building "100 ways to do X" the way there is in PF (core).


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pithica42 wrote:
CeeJay wrote:
Your analysis makes judgements about the usefulness and uselessness of certain builds and thus the range of actual variation available in the system without any exposure to that crucial X-factor. It is surely not rocket science to see the flaw in this reasoning.
I think, at this point, we're talking across purposes. Because I keep emphasizing how I'm essentially doing theortical work, outside of ever picking up a dice. Work that I enjoy doing in 3.5/PF (and a few other systems), on its own. But I don't enjoy doing in SF, because of the limits inherent in the design and the lack of realistic options for playing with that design as the game exists.

I'm not trying to deny you the pleasure of theoretical work. It's cool if that's your bag, and I've no doubt that there are genuinely useful insights that might derive from it. I'm not hostile to it.

But I'm not the one who keeps bringing practice up; you are, because you keep using phrases like: "lack of realistic options." I think you simply do not know what the "realistic" options are without actual play to base those judgements on. Assuming otherwise can lead theory, which within bounds is otherwise perfectly fine, down blind alleys and into irrelevancies and fallacies. In the worst-case scenario, which hopefully will not happen to you, it could in point of fact needlessly warp your approach to the game itself before you even start.

So I guess all I'm doing is urging you to keep it in perspective for that reason. These forums are a living testament to the vastly different results people can extract from the same ruleset and even the "same" adventure scenarios, which in turn makes them a living testament to the limitations of theory. The more you're mindful of that, the more useful your theoretical work will be.


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Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

Even if we decide Starfinder has less theoretical variation in character options this is almost always evaluated in a "dungeon like" scenario. How good are the hacking abilities? Lets only evaluate it in terms of dealing with security systems and doors!

Meanwhile the amount of out of dungeon things you can do in Starfinder is almost paralyzingly huge. Like my groups characters defeated the BBEG with a 2 session long media attack.


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The problem with that, from a theorizing perspective, is that the extent of what can and cannot be done out of dungeon is less specified. As such, it becomes much harder to evaluate whether a given avenue is reasonable in the frictionless plane of uniform density that theory takes place in.


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Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
The Sideromancer wrote:
The problem with that, from a theorizing perspective, is that the extent of what can and cannot be done out of dungeon is less specified. As such, it becomes much harder to evaluate whether a given avenue is reasonable in the frictionless plane of uniform density that theory takes place in.

Which is my whole point, theory falls far short in Starfinder, because the technology/culture of sci-fi worlds drastically increases the amount of interactions possible, even to a level 1 party compared to your typical Pathfinder setting.


Malk_Content wrote:
The Sideromancer wrote:
The problem with that, from a theorizing perspective, is that the extent of what can and cannot be done out of dungeon is less specified. As such, it becomes much harder to evaluate whether a given avenue is reasonable in the frictionless plane of uniform density that theory takes place in.
Which is my whole point, theory falls far short in Starfinder, because the technology/culture of sci-fi worlds drastically increases the amount of interactions possible, even to a level 1 party compared to your typical Pathfinder setting.

And for those of us who rather like theory, this can be a problem.


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Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
Haywire build generator wrote:
Malk_Content wrote:
The Sideromancer wrote:
The problem with that, from a theorizing perspective, is that the extent of what can and cannot be done out of dungeon is less specified. As such, it becomes much harder to evaluate whether a given avenue is reasonable in the frictionless plane of uniform density that theory takes place in.
Which is my whole point, theory falls far short in Starfinder, because the technology/culture of sci-fi worlds drastically increases the amount of interactions possible, even to a level 1 party compared to your typical Pathfinder setting.
And for those of us who rather like theory, this can be a problem.

Its only a problem if you can't broaden your own scope. It is totally reasonable to say "Pathfinder has more variation in what happens in this very constrained idea of what happens in a game [even though I disagree with this, but the argument can be made]" it is totally unreasonable to extrapolate that to "Pathfinder has more variation." If you only deal with the tactical combat rules and class descriptions, you aren't giving either game a fair representation.

Hell most of the theory crafting here ignores almost all actual gameplay situation. Whether x class is better than y class is mostly debated on the level of "well they are in a room within charging distance of each other, this class has x DPR and this one y."


I don't theorize for effectiveness: cheese is its own reward. I thrive on making ideas for things that shouldn't work. The fewer rules there are, the more its likely to be ruled by common sense. To me, common sense is extremely stifling. It makes decisions based on what is reasonable, but I'm not here to make reasonable things. The question I want to ask is not "does this make sense to do?" it is "can this be done?" More rules is not a limitation, those rules form the foundation of what can be done.

Yes, it's a roleplaying setup, but its also a game, and I want to play it like any other game: digging through the rules, amassing knowledge of mechanics, and being creative with how to implement those mechanics. When outside the scope of the mechanics, what we are doing pertains less to the game itself, and I enjoy playing the game and thinking about how to most interestingly play it. Sure, I can debate setting points and like it, but to me that's not theorizing about the game, it's theorizing about the setting. Starfinder as a setting may have more options than pathfinder as a setting, but pathfinder as a game has many more than Starfinder.


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Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
Haywire build generator wrote:

I don't theorize for effectiveness: cheese is its own reward. I thrive on making ideas for things that shouldn't work. The fewer rules there are, the more its likely to be ruled by common sense. To me, common sense is extremely stifling. It makes decisions based on what is reasonable, but I'm not here to make reasonable things. The question I want to ask is not "does this make sense to do?" it is "can this be done?" More rules is not a limitation, those rules form the foundation of what can be done.

Yes, it's a roleplaying setup, but its also a game, and I want to play it like any other game: digging through the rules, amassing knowledge of mechanics, and being creative with how to implement those mechanics. When outside the scope of the mechanics, what we are doing pertains less to the game itself, and I enjoy playing the game and thinking about how to most interestingly play it. Sure, I can debate setting points and like it, but to me that's not theorizing about the game, it's theorizing about the setting. Starfinder as a setting may have more options than pathfinder as a setting, but pathfinder as a game has many more than Starfinder.

But a lot of the setting is reflected quite happily in mechanics. There is plenty of crunch to back up the setting. The previously mentioned media campaign to take out the BBEG had large amounts of mechanics involved, in fact very little fluff indeed. The computers and hacking rules alone gave them plenty to do completely in the bounds of actual mechanics without me as a GM needing to make stuff up via common sense. The also paid close attention to and manipulated to their benefit things drift travel times and the dissemination of information rules in order to sync the timings of "ad bombs" so the BBEG couldn't react in time before he was exposed to the entire Pact Worlds. This type of stuff has plenty of crunch to back it up.

I didn't have to wing very much at all, no more so than when a player tries to do something unconventional in combat (something that happens every other combat in my groups.)

Hell even comparing rules systems, there isn't anything I can think off in Pathfinder that requires more or less common sense rulings than anything in Starfinder, excepting things that physically don't exist in Pathfinder, but as above I think the rules included make that simple to handle without needing much GM fiat.


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Haywire build generator wrote:
Malk_Content wrote:
The Sideromancer wrote:
The problem with that, from a theorizing perspective, is that the extent of what can and cannot be done out of dungeon is less specified. As such, it becomes much harder to evaluate whether a given avenue is reasonable in the frictionless plane of uniform density that theory takes place in.
Which is my whole point, theory falls far short in Starfinder, because the technology/culture of sci-fi worlds drastically increases the amount of interactions possible, even to a level 1 party compared to your typical Pathfinder setting.
And for those of us who rather like theory, this can be a problem.

The larger range of possible stories is a basic part of the appeal of the game. The game mechanics are built specifically for this. "People who rather like theory" should be able to adjust to take this into account, and temper their conclusions accordingly.

But they all too rarely do. In way too many cases I find that when people denounce this or that class ability in Starfinder as "useless" it's because their frame of reference is dungeon combat on a hundred-fifty-foot grid and virtually nothing else. It's why I'm immediately sceptical when someone tells me they've been a D&D/Pathfinder munchkin for [x] number of years and haven't played Starfinder yet, but they just know the only possible way to build a viable melee Solarian is to multiclass them with a level of Blitz Soldier [or whatever other "definitive" conclusions they've come up with].

(Not that I'm indicting pithica for this, just to clarify, because I don't know what their assumptions are. I just doubt that they can have accounted for all the relevant possibilities without experience.)


Another way of putting this is that out of combat utility is highly dependant on the situation at hand. To use the public campaign example above, It's possible that the villain is already widely known and infamous, at which point throwing more publicity on them isn't helpful. About the only thing that can be said for most skills is that you want the ones that matter right now. Without context, skills a wild guess and a pure numbers game: two things I dislike trying to build for. Sure, in a game this can be a puzzle with a creative solution, but this is about out of game theorizing. I will almost never have enough context to make those kinds of play when theorycrafting, so I lean towards combat because it isn't getting a certain number as high as possible like skills in a vacuum are.


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Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
Haywire build generator wrote:
Another way of putting this is that out of combat utility is highly dependant on the situation at hand. To use the public campaign example above, It's possible that the villain is already widely known and infamous, at which point throwing more publicity on them isn't helpful. About the only thing that can be said for most skills is that you want the ones that matter right now. Without context, skills a wild guess and a pure numbers game: two things I dislike trying to build for. Sure, in a game this can be a puzzle with a creative solution, but this is about out of game theorizing. I will almost never have enough context to make those kinds of play when theorycrafting, so I lean towards combat because it isn't getting a certain number as high as possible like skills in a vacuum are.

Thats a really poor way to look at skills and not ones that reflects the reality of most games. As a player my skills come up because more often than not I make them come up. It isn't a matter of "I think this situation will happen therefore I want x skill." Its a matter of "I have this skill, so I'm going to try and apply it." Same as a GM, yeah I don't hand out skills checks willynilly, but I am going to use them to shine a light on certain characters. You don't even need to push your skills to the max and try to munchkin them, unless you are playing a game where skill challenges aren't representative of the actual situation and are just there to make you fail on an 11.

And that is the problem with trying to evaluate everything through what is possible as theory. You might as well theory crafting on a board game, because you've reduced all the role-playing out of the role-playing game in order to make your comparisons.


Malk_Content wrote:
You might as well theory crafting on a board game,

What makes you think I don't? I've played some board games where its a really good idea to have a plan for the first half of the game before it even starts. (standard ones that vary abilities between players, such as Terra Mystica)


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Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
Haywire build generator wrote:
Malk_Content wrote:
You might as well theory crafting on a board game,
What makes you think I don't? I've played some board games where its a really good idea to have a plan for the first half of the game before it even starts. (standard ones that vary abilities between players, such as Terra Mystica)

Nothing wrong with that. I do the same. But if all you consider in a rpg is its combat system, you've taken out everything that really seperates them from a boardgame. There are some fantastic Dungeon trudge boardgames out there.


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Starfinder Superscriber

I know I'm contradicting myself, cause I said I would drop this. The internet got me like...

CeeJay wrote:
(Not that I'm indicting pithica for this, just to clarify, because I don't know what their assumptions are. I just doubt that they can have accounted for all the relevant possibilities without experience.)

You are absolutely, totally, 1100%, completely, and utterly correct. I cannot possibly account for all the relevant possibilities available in this game without a massive tonne of experience actually playing it. Heck, even with literal decades of experience in 3.x, I can't account for all the relevant possibilities in that system either. I hope I never gave the impression that I thought I could do that. I know I'm good at this and I'm arrogant enough to say that at every opportunity, mind you, but I don't think I'm some sort of rules 'god'.

I am in total agreement here. I absolutely have not caught every (or even most, doubtful even a plurality) of the 'tricks' yet. I won't have caught them after I've played. I hopefully never will.

What I've been trying to do here is make a comparison about how two games feel when playing with them (as opposed to actually playing them).

Before I ever played a single game of 3.5, or 5e, or PF, or well almost every game (there are a couple of games that I played once or twice first), I sat down and read the rules for that game. I went out and read forum posts or message boards or guide books about that game, whatever was available. I asked questions of people that had played the game. I re-read the rules and made notes of possible loopholes or weird things I would change. If I had the chance to watch a game being played (either in person or later online), I did so. I analyzed the game in every way I could.

Then I sat down and made some characters, at least a handful, sometimes dozens. Sometimes I ran those characters through mock combat or statistical models. Sometimes I just compared them to other peoples builds on the boards or to the builds the other players I knew made. Sometimes I just compared them to the advice in the available handbooks. I'm sometimes trying to 'break' the system (working out ways to prevent it as GM). I'm sometimes seeing how far the system can go without breaking (so I can find the edges). I'm generally just trying to come up with as many ways as I can find to do a thing that look like they might work. Sometimes I optimize, as much as I can, for that thing, but not always.

All of this is just mental masturbation, it's not generally important in actual game play. Most of it never gets used directly, and when it does, it's usually as an NPC or as an answer to another player that says, "I want to build an X, does anyone have any ideas."

There were about 6 months between when I bought my copy of the PF CRB and me actually playing a character in that game. We were in the middle of a 3.5 campaign at the time and didn't want to switch (we ran a couple of test games during the open beta, but otherwise didn't switch). In that 6 months I was ecstatic. I made hundreds of characters (build skeletons, mostly). As many variations on every theme that I could think of. I read guides and tweaked them. I compared them to what I could find. I made ports of 3.5 builds to see how they were different after conversion. While my group never fully switched (we went back to 3.5 with a bunch of stolen "houserules" from PF), I never felt like the investment buying the books was a waste, because I found all of that immensely fun, as its own thing. $60 is dirt cheap for a couple hundred hours of entertainment, to me.

I had similar experiences with 2e, 3.0, 3.5, VtM, MtA, GURPS, and a few others.

I bought my copy of SF in November (or October, I'm getting old). I'm probably not going to get to run the game until April or May, because we're in the middle of another campaign, and my group doesn't have time two run two at once. (We'll sometimes throw pickup games in the mix for a single night as palette cleansers). I have no idea if I'll ever get to play, unless I catch it at a con. I've made 12-ish characters so far (quite a few of them are only half finished). Coming up with the concepts and backstories has been just as fun as always, but I've yet to see much (by comparison) complexity on any build. They look about as complicated as every Barbarian 20 build I did for PF.

I can't find a puzzle for me to waste the next 4 months trying to solve. It might be there, but I can't see it, so it hasn't grabbed me. I've noticed some oddities (like that Empath or Star Shaman Mystics are probably better 'trapfinders' than Operatives), but the game is so broad and everything is so well balanced that it seems like no option is ever going to be that much better or worse than any other (unless you actively try to suck at something). It feels like you can make almost anything work for almost anything if you take 20 levels of a class and the obvious feats/class features/theme/skills/gear.

This is only a feeling. An impression. And it's only based on what I, personally, have seen so far. I think it was an intentional design choice, and they have no intention of changing it.

I honestly hope I'm wrong, but right now I feel like I'm sitting on my thumb waiting for the next book to drop and hoping for something really crunchy in it to play with. That's my one and only complaint. I probably shouldn't have started this the way I did. I think I mistakenly inferred that you were 'wrong' when I only meant to provide an alternate perspective from the side of the people that think that 7 (generalist) classes isn't enough to play around with (as opposed to play).


Quick question....how is that in any way relevant in a forum about actually playing the game?

It seams like you’re just trying in inflame a response for your own trolling enjoyment


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Robert Gooding wrote:

Quick question....how is that in any way relevant in a forum about actually playing the game?

It seams like you’re just trying in inflame a response for your own trolling enjoyment

In what way is this a forum specifically about playing the game? This is the General Discussion forum for the game. It's about, well, discussing the game. The individual thread is about one person's issues with the game. Yes in that particular person's experience it made their group stop playing, but different people have different kinds of issues and not all of them are purely from gameplay.

Personally, I can relate with Pithica. I'm no engineer, but I am still waiting for a chance to play. I too got a copy of the CRB about as soon as it came out, and have been combing through both it and the forum here since then, toying with as many possible rules interactions, rule oddities, and sometimes downright nonsensible aspects (still not sure how I feel about the idea that having a better ship inherently makes you worse at every role on the ship for instance) but for me the wait hasn't killed any of the enthusiasm.

That said, I can also relate to some of the issues people have brought up in this game. Especially coming from Pathfinder, even for those that know on a conscious level that they are in fact different games with different design ideologies, after years of having games go one way it can be jarring to suddenly have drastically rebalanced mechanics. I felt the same thing the first time I played 5e after years of Pathfinder. Personally I think it takes time to adjust. But not every group feels up to that adjustment period (which is alright and not intended as a slight against them, I just can't actually come up with any better way to phrase that) especially when the system they already have can probably tell many of the same kind of stories with systems it already has. So the only thing I can suggest is maybe give it some time, see how things develop, and maybe give it another try down the line. Maybe using the starfinderSRD (at least at first, and assuming it updates regularly) for the first few games if you don't want to spend all that money on something you might not like again.

Sovereign Court RPG Superstar 2011 Top 32

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Shinigami02 wrote:
(still not sure how I feel about the idea that having a better ship inherently makes you worse at every role on the ship for instance)

This is why so many ships in SF are beat up pieces of junk - it's so much easier for Han to fly the Falcon because it's way under-tier for him.

A state-of-the-art star yacht might look impressive, but it's a real pain to get it to do anything. If you want fancy flying, I recommend Discount Xorthrax's Used Clunker Emporium and Toxic Waste Dispensary.

/rationalization


ryric wrote:
Shinigami02 wrote:
(still not sure how I feel about the idea that having a better ship inherently makes you worse at every role on the ship for instance)

This is why so many ships in SF are beat up pieces of junk - it's so much easier for Han to fly the Falcon because it's way under-tier for him.

A state-of-the-art star yacht might look impressive, but it's a real pain to get it to do anything. If you want fancy flying, I recommend Discount Xorthrax's Used Clunker Emporium and Toxic Waste Dispensary.

/rationalization

The freighter frame may not be cost-intensive, but the best drive around and military-grade turrets sure are.

Paizo Employee Customer Service Manager

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Assume fellow posters are here as part of the community and coming to discuss things in good faith. Do not accuse people of trolling. If you feel an account is acting in bad faith, please flag or email community@paizo.com.


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Pathfinder Maps, Pathfinder Accessories, Pawns, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Why are you arguing with staff about how to handle a troll?

Sara Marie gave very clear instructions on what to do if someone meets the definition of troll.

Do Not
accuse them of trolling

Do
Flag the post
Email commuinty@paizo.com


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Starfinder Superscriber

Okay. I tried just ignoring you, but obviously that isn't going to work and you're now just going to put words in my mouth. I stated in my very first post in this thread that I haven't played yet, that I was "still looking forward to playing it," and my critique was about stuff outside of play. I never said the game was bad. I'm also not the one that stated I was 'quiting' the game, I'm still planning on running a group through at least the first AP as soon as we're done with our current campaign.

In fact, I've gone out of my way to defend the game multiple times in this thread (and others). There's a lot of stuff I love about this game. That's why I'm a subscriber. I have one critique about a single issue I see with the design (the number and generality of classes), and I've tried my best to be honest (with myself) and reinforce that what I'm saying is purely my opinion.

That isn't trolling. It's discussing. That's the point of this entire forum.


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

If it helps I haven't been able to play yet either. :-)


Yeah, there's no need to go calling pithica a troll. I certainly don't think that's the case.


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I'm a huge fan of starfinder - yeah choices are limited but there's only 1 book out. The new classes are unique and the new system is really well balanced. Lots of quality of life improvements.

Keep up the good work Paizo! Looking forward to the Advanced Player Guide!


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Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Honestly, fewer choices is *better*, in my eyes. Partly because the sheer bulk of accumulated choices available makes it much harder to do anything with Pathfinder. Partly because a good chunk of those 'choices' are not really choices at all, because they aren't especially balanced with each other.

Its why I'd prefer that Paizo add few or no new classes to Starfinder, and instead focus on providing additional options via the existing classes, and perhaps via archetypes. Classes should represent only the broadest, most intrinsic heroic concepts for the setting, rather than being used to cover distinctions that mostly exist at the theme or specialty level.

The only new classes I'd actually want to see:

-Phrenic Master, which takes the Phrenic Adept premise and builds it out into a full class of psychic warriors. Mostly because I don't actually like the Solarian class, and would prefer to have a more flexible class to fill my Jedi needs.

-Sage, a nine level caster class that is also so utterly lacking in adventuring skills and flexibility that only an NPC would ever take it. Mostly for the sidebar explaining that, yes, nine levels of spells do exist, and people do cast them, just not field adventurers. :p


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

I'd like to see some sort of Medic/Scientist type of class.


captain yesterday wrote:
I'd like to see some sort of Medic/Scientist type of class.

Would that not be better handled as a theme?


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

I think it would be better as a class.


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Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
captain yesterday wrote:
I think it would be better as a class.

Agree on that. We don't have a pure technology based class that isn't based on magic or an AI. A super-scientist class could have a broad set of specialties working similar to the Mystic connections.


It's beginning to be hard for me to justify trying to rally a group to play Starfinder since there is very little chance of my groups playing Adventure Paths so the system might just feel like it's already dead in regards to new content coming out.

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