Buffing Starship Weapons?


Rules Questions


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Are the Starship's weapons considered weapons for the purposes of spells, class abilities and Fusions?

Obviously, the ability in question would need to specify that it applied to weapons, and not just certain weapons. Weapon Specialization, in example, only applies to weapons where the character has proficiency, so it certainly doesn't apply to Starship weapons as those do not have any proficiency feats.

For example, the Soldier's Arcane Sigil can be applied to any weapon, even one they are not wielding or even holding. It counts as magic at 1st, and gains fusion effects at 5th.

Supercharge Weapon, the spell, requires touching of the targeted weapon. For that, the caster may need to be outside the ship, or would being the gunner be sufficient?

Is this covered somewhere?

Liberty's Edge

The general consensus is that if something says it affects a starship weapon or is usable in starship combat, it does.

In most cases, they don't say this so not usable on starship weapons.

This has been asked before but no official response has been provided that I am aware of.

This would be good topic as a FAQ if you wanted to make it into that. I would certainly click the button.


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Pax Miles wrote:

Are the Starship's weapons considered weapons for the purposes of spells, class abilities and Fusions?

...

Is this covered somewhere?

Yes it is covered. The rules specifically state on page 322 under Crew Actions that:

Quote:
Class features and items affect crew actions only if specifically noted in the class feature or item.

Crew actions are anything a player does in Starship combat under the Starship Roles.

So no Mechanic overcharging a Laser Cannon, for example, since the class ability does not specifically note it can be used on Starships.

Liberty's Edge

Oh forgot about that page! Thanks Gilfalas!


Gilfalas wrote:
Pax Miles wrote:

Are the Starship's weapons considered weapons for the purposes of spells, class abilities and Fusions?

Quote:
Class features and items affect crew actions only if specifically noted in the class feature or item.

Crew actions. I'm not really talking about crew actions.

I'm talking about the weapons of the starship. Can I buff them? Doesn't affect the use of the Gunner action, just affects the weapon's profile.

Maybe I'm misunderstanding how starship combat works, perhaps someone could explain why I have this wrong, if it is wrong. Certainly looks right to me, but I'm not so arrogant as to assume always being correct.


Pax Miles wrote:
Maybe I'm misunderstanding how starship combat works, perhaps someone could explain why I have this wrong, if it is wrong. Certainly looks right to me, but I'm not so arrogant as to assume always being correct.

If your in Starship combat, you use the Starship combat rules to resolve what your character is doing. Which means what you can do in Starship Combat are selected from the Crew Actions, not the Tactical Character level combat system.

What your asking to do is also use the character tactical rules during Starship combat, which is not covered. What is covered is the intent that Character skills and abilities do not affect Starship combat unless those skills and abilities specifically say so. Some do. Not a whole lot but some do.

The rest don't. So no you cannot use spells and abilities on Starship Guns. Why? Because the rules say you cannot.


Gilfalas wrote:

If your in Starship combat, you use the Starship combat rules to resolve what your character is doing. Which means what you can do in Starship Combat are selected from the Crew Actions, not the Tactical Character level combat system.

What your asking to do is also use the character tactical rules during Starship combat, which is not covered. What is covered is the intent that Character skills and abilities do not affect Starship combat unless those skills and abilities specifically say so. Some do. Not a whole lot but some do.

The rest don't. So no you cannot use spells and abilities on Starship Guns. Why? Because the rules say you cannot.

Read the book. You are ignoring the bit on Page 322 in the top left, titled "other actions in starship combat." Specifically, you can cast spells or use class features (and are considered having a move or standard action to do so).

What you are thinking of is also page 322, but the lower left paragraph regarding crew actions. It's true, I can't use spells or class features to modify CREW ACTIONS unless it specificially says so in the spell or class feature.

Additionally, one does not need to be in starship combat to buff weapons. For example, an arcane assailiant soldier can use their Eldritch rune on a weapon they imbue it on. Takes 10 minutes, so hardly something to do in combat, but it has no range once imbued, affects any weapon, and has no duration (lasts until a new rune is applied to another weapon). So, before you take off on a long voyage, the soldier should imbue their rune on one of the ship's weapons. At 5th, they can add the flaming fusion, for example, to their imbued weapon.

Modifying a weapon doesn't affect the Gunner action. See page 324 for a list of gunner actions. Note how a starship weapon being flaming or having +1 to hit or gaining bonus damage really has no bearing on the action itself. The Gunner actions just require selecting weapons and attacking with them...if the weapon does something special it doesn't alter the gunner action.


Mechanically, a "starship weapon" is distinct from a "weapon" on the personal scale. This is most obvious when considering inherent properties such as proficiency - "starship weapon" is not a valid proficiency - and type - a "starship weapon" is untyped, at least in terms of things like laser or plasma.

There are also further differences. Beyond things that can be dubiously hand-waved - you might argue that BP cost is equivalent to Price, for example - starship weapons lack two crucial components of normal weapons mechanically, plus a bonus third. They lack an item level, bulk, and also a critical effect. True, that last one isn't universal on personal weapons either, but they list it as "-" rather than not having the critical effect column at all.

Yes, conceptually, a starship weapon is a weapon. Mechanically, I believe they are two largely unrelated categories, at least so far as the thread's question is concerned. The answer is thus that no, you can't do that.

There is room to argue since the RAW does not explicitly clarify this, but I find it very unlikely that this is intended.


I think it's pretty common sense that anything that doesn't explicitly say it can be used on Starships/Starship Weapons/ETC., can't be used on them. I'm not saying there is no room for thought on the matter, and some people certainly will allow/disallow anything not explicitly spelled out, but I really think the developers intention is clear. Same goes for the 'Does Far Shot Apply' thread, seems obvious to me that it's not intended to.


So the answer is basically no, but not based on any hard rules, just a consensus on the book's intentions. I guess that will have to do for now. Thanks for the help.

Grand Lodge

The only way you can technically 'buff' a spaceship weapon is via the Divert Engineer action in the Engineering phase of starship combat and certain Chronicle sheet. Considering the scale of these weapons and the application of character class abilities to them, it doesn't really make sense to allow Rune of the Eldritch Knight to be applied to, say, a light plasma cannon; is there DR that the weapon needs to ignore, or incorporeal targets? Is the amount of damage necessary to penetrate a starship hull made of incredibly advanced materials enhanced in any meaningful fashion by an ability meant to be used on a hand-held weapon that's at about a tenth of the scale? By that logic, my Starfinder group should be able to hijack an Oma and make it speed through space by casting Haste on it repeatedly and use Mystic Channelling to continually repair starship combat damage to it. Why is there no listing for adamantine shot for flak throwers, considering how useful it would theoretically be in breaching a starship hull? The idea that there's a 1:1 translation between augmenting an object that weighs 5-20 lbs and weapons that can potentially weigh hundreds or thousands of pounds is a REAL stretch.

To put it another way, if even the most powerful spells don't have discernible effects on starships (and they don't), character class abilities certainly shouldn't. Considering starship weapons don't have levels, you shouldn't even technically be able to apply the effects of a fusion to them. As karlbadmannersv2 stated, if it doesn't say it can be used on it, it typically can't.

Liberty's Edge

1 person marked this as a favorite.

So this thread has a slow beginning of a FAQ. I encourage everyone to click the button on the first message so we can put this question to rest as soon as possible.

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