Strafinder Philosophy


General Discussion


Based on the story of the Starfinder universe, I want to have a discussion regarding the society structure. Technology is designed to mimic magic allowing the product to become usable to all users. Where raw magic is taught and studied for years by select individuals.

- Since the magic of Golarion and the gods that helped create magical items have more so diminished, and/or, disappeared. How valuable would you as a GM or player value those older magical items.
- If you found an older magical item(s), should you be able to use it if your not a caster; or would it become valuable for its actual power rather than its historical purpose.
- From a role playing aspect, would magic casters with natural magical abilities be discriminated for not having to spend extra money to buy tech that can do the same thing or would they be glorified for being casters.
- Would casters not want to take the time to study the magical arts or take the quick route and purchase tech.


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I don't think it's as cut and dry as that... technology incorporates magic seamlessly, there does get to be a point where it's more magic than tech but even the most apparently tech based item could have a lot of magic theory powering it. And education is so much more common that just as anyone who grows up in the society knows basic computer use, they would also know basic magic interactions I would think. Historical value is lilely the main driver of cost for things from old golarion, a side from special artifacts that are functional beyond their significance, the relics from book 1 of the AP goes into this all somewhat doesn't it? It also seems to establish that they can easily replicate many of the functions of those purely magical relics with tech based fusions as well.

As common as the trope is in other settings, I don't think that "the past was greater" is a part of this one anymore.


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Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Indeed. Tech does not "mimic" magic in Starfinder, tech *uses* magic, just as much as it uses electricity or mechanics. And, again, there is absolutely zero evidence that magic is "weaker". Magic is literally used on industrial scale, if anything its vastly stronger than in Pathfinder. You just don't have 9-level casters running around so much. . . because there is no point. Anything you can do with 20+ years of education in advanced spellcasting, can be done far far more efficiently by a factory staffed with skilled arcanotechnicians. You don't cast Gate, you *buy* a Gate.


Torbyne wrote:

...It also seems to establish that they can easily replicate many of the functions of those purely magical relics with tech based fusions as well.

As common as the trope is in other settings, I don't think that "the past was greater" is a part of this one anymore.

Metaphysician wrote:
...Magic is literally used on industrial scale, if anything its vastly stronger than in Pathfinder. You just don't have 9-level casters running around so much. . . because there is no point. Anything you can do with 20+ years of education in advanced spellcasting, can be done far far more efficiently by a factory staffed with skilled arcanotechnicians. You don't cast Gate, you *buy* a Gate.

I agree with your analysis and it does make sense a society that was structured with magic has now learned to adapt technology seamlessly together. But as "Metaphysician" has established, there is no higher spell level above 6th, at this time. This making the higher level relics priceless if they cannot be assimilated or duplicated.


Starfinder philosophy is unkind to those who can't spell "star".

OK, OK, never mind. In a real reply, until and unless spells of 7th+ level are introduced you can't necessarily assume there will be relics with 9th level spells. Thousands of years is a very long time and they might all be worn out, or whatever caused the gap might have disabled or reduced in power those relics, or the few that exist might be hoarded by powerful organisations where the PCs will never see them.


In my headcanon I have it that Golarion-pathfinder-Era magic items are able to use things like the Pathfinder magic item slots (many) vs the Starfinder slots (2) because the Pathfinder era stuff reflects different craftsmanship. Modern tech/magic mix goes for quick and easy access, and a Pathfinder era crafter would find that while the Modern guys can churn stuff out, they do it as mass production junk.

Mass production junk that bleeds more interference than Golarion era, hence you can only wear less.

And on a meta level, the warping of reality associated with turning magic into a thing that is defined via tech has also weakened/perverted/changed the nature of current magic as well. I'd potentially say that even if you took a Golarion era magic item crafter and pulled him into the modern setting, any items HE tried to make would end up being weakened by the reality alterations, so even his (new) stuff would fall under the only-2 rule.


Let's take a direct comparison, shall we?

PF terraform:
CASTING

Casting Time 1 hour
Components V, S, M (10,000 gp worth of precious minerals, see text)
EFFECTS

Range 100 feet
Area 100-foot-radius emanation, centered on you
Duration 1 day/level (see text)
Saving Throw none; Spell Resistance no
DESCRIPTION

You alter the area’s terrain and climate to a new terrain and climate type appropriate to the planet or plane. For example, you might transform a desert to plains. To cast this spell, you must expend 10 uses of mythic power along with the material cost. This magically alters the area’s climate and normal plants to those appropriate to the new terrain, but doesn’t affect creatures or the configuration of the earth. Transforming rocky hills into forested areas converts grasses into shrubs and small trees, but doesn’t flatten the hills or change the animals to suit the new environment.

You can alter the climate by one step (warm, temperate, or cold). The maximum extent of the terrain change is up to the GM, but in general is to a similar terrain type or one step within that terrain type (such as from A typical forest to a forest with massive trees or light undergrowth, from a shallow bog to a deep bog, and so on). You might be able to shift the land to a similar terrain type, such as turning a sparse forest into a relatively dry swamp. Local creatures adversely affected by these alterations either flee the area or quickly die, depending on their mobility and awareness of the change.

Multiple castings of the spell in the same area can create an area with radically different terrain and climate than the surrounding land. The GM can decide that certain terrain shifts are unsustainable and shorten the duration, or that some are suitable for the area and extend the duration.

This spell could have many secondary effects based on the nature of the change, the type of bordering terrain, and so on; these should be determined by the GM on a case-by-case basis.

For example, transforming A desert requires drawing water up from underground to sustain the plants, which could deplete the water table in nearby areas. Creating a warm desert in the middle of a snowy tundra will create a bordering area of mud and frequent storms from the clash of hot and cold air fronts.

If you’re at least 8th tier, you can expend 20 uses of mythic power instead of 10 to increase the range to 1 mile, the area to a 1-mile-radius emanation centered on you, and the duration to 1 month per caster level.


SF terraform:
[PFS Legal] Terraform
Source Starfinder Core Rulebook pg. 382
Classes Technomancer 6
School transmutation
Casting Time 1 hour
Range 100 ft.
Area 100-ft.-radius emanation centered on you
Duration 1 day/level; see text
Saving Throw none; Spell Resistance no
Description
You alter the area’s terrain and climate to a new terrain and climate type appropriate to the planet or plane. For example, you might transform a desert into plains. To cast this spell, you must spend 10 Resolve Points along with technological gear worth 30,000 credits (which is magically augmented to do much of the terraforming, then consumed by the spell). A xenodruid mystic instead uses crystals and incenses worth 30,000 credits. This magically alters the area’s climate and normal plants to those appropriate to the new terrain, but it doesn’t affect creatures or the configuration of the ground. Transforming rocky hills into forested areas converts grasses into shrubs and small trees, but it doesn’t flatten the hills or change the animals to suit the new environment.

You can alter the climate by one step (cold, temperate, or warm). The maximum extent of the terrain change is up to the GM, but in general it changes to a similar terrain type or by one step within that terrain type (such as from a typical forest to a forest with massive trees or light undergrowth, from a shallow bog to a deep bog, and so on).

Multiple castings of the spell in the same area can create an area with radically different terrain and climate than the surrounding land. The GM can decide that certain terrain shifts are unsustainable and shorten the duration or that some are suitable for the area and extend the duration. This spell could have many secondary effects based on the nature of the change, the type of bordering terrain, and so on; these should be determined by the GM on a case-by-case basis. For example, transforming a desert requires drawing water up from underground to sustain the plants, which could deplete the water table in nearby areas.


Starfinder terraform is a spell level lower if you equate technomancers to wizards, contains no costly compnents, and doesn't require 10 mythic power to cast. At least some applied metaphysics hasn't slowed down much.


The Sideromancer wrote:
Starfinder terraform is a spell level lower if you equate technomancers to wizards, contains no costly compnents, and doesn't require 10 mythic power to cast. At least some applied metaphysics hasn't slowed down much.

Read it again, it costs 30,000 credits!

Second Seekers (Luwazi Elsbo)

"Wait.. you mean all that hopping around and finger waving and components actually DOES something? Huh. We're all casting silent stilled spells no wonder its harder...


Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I still tend to think the best option for introducing "higher level" spells to Starfinder is via a ritual casting mechanic. After all, basically the only 7th-9th level spells actually producing distinct, useful effects are the ones that either already have extended casting, or could readily have such conceptually. So, you either introduce ritual casting as a class feature for the Esotericist, or if you want to be *really* subversive? Make ritual casting an aspect of the Mysticism *skill*, where anybody with the correct supplies and formulae can "create" ritual effects, just like anyone with Engineering can build items.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Anybody ever see the movie, Idiocracy? The society of the future is incredibly unintelligent due to all of the educated too-busy-to-have-kids-right-now people not breeding as much as the uneducated got-nopthing-better-to-do-so-lets-bone-like-rabbits poor people.

Intelligence literally got breed out of humanity. Maybe something similar happened with magic? I mean, spellcasters have always been a small percentage of the population right? What if it just got smaller and smaller, and by extension, the knowledge of high-end spells got rarer and rarer? Then the Gap happens and it's like the coup de grace on an already severely weakened magical lineage/knowledge?


avr wrote:

Starfinder philosophy is unkind to those who can't spell "star".

Careful, poking at the fact that I didn’t take the time to check my spelling, and the way you presented that is boarderline bullying...I could have dislexia or any other issue, so please don’t be that a-hole who feels they are above others and that you “have” to point out these kinds of issue...be better than that.

Scarab Sages Starfinder Design Lead

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LittleFIsh wrote:
But as "Metaphysician" has established, there is no higher spell level above 6th, at this time. This making the higher level relics priceless if they cannot be assimilated or duplicated.

Both miracle and wish count as either 7th or 9th level spells, depending on what the question is. Regardless, they are both in the game, and both clearly higher than 6th level.

Further, no spell of any kind is required to make magic items in Starfinder. If you have ranks in Mysticism equal to the item level of a magic item, and the GM considers it to count as an item that can be created, you can create it. Your race, class, spells known, and even spell casting ability do not matter.

There's no reason to think anything is unrecreateable.

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