SF Economy not suitable for a SciFi game


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Hi,

some month passed by since the release and I already DMed quite some rounds of Starfinder.

While the system and setting is very intresting (even if the system still has some old DnD flaws^^), what really bothers me is the economy in the game.

Maybe it's because I played Shadowrun before but a basic trope of Scifi games are the gadgets and tools of the players.

First: Starfinder doesn't have much of these tools and some basic things are missing (e.g. bugs). But maybe they will come with the Armory book.

Second: The prices. A simple tiny drone costs more then a level 3 character has for his complete equipment. For the weapons and armors it get's even more off, when the best small arms costs 2750 times as much as a standard pistol.

I would really see Paizo getting a new turn on this and revise the complete economy/equipment system, so it feels more believable and comprehensible.

What do you guys think?
How do you handle requests from your players about normal tech items/solutions we already have today (e.g. mini cameras, bugs or starting your ship remotely via a handheld device)


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

I've come to the view that the economy/tier system is useful for weapons and armor - by sticking to around the expected WBL for each level I find PCs have a certain tension - they can grab some cool stuff but have to compromise (generally with us we find ourselves choosing between prioritising defense/offence and there's this kind of oscillation between each as we advance in levels. We buy whiz-bang armor and feel unhittable for a level or two but get jealous of other PCs damage output. Then we upgrade our guns and begin feeling vulnerable again). We're finding just enough coolness factor when we get new gear without having periods of just breezing through encounters.

Like you I find level restrictions on equipment strains believability a little when extended to more utility items (like computers, cars, radio devices, etcetera, etcetera). The astronomical price increases also start to drag me out of the game.

The other DMs in our group are just sticking to the rules and shrugging it off as a side-effect of such an abstract wealth-management system.

I've taken to just handwaving the other stuff and treating it more like build points (as a kind of third track of wealth, one I haven't bothered quantifying) - if your character wants to have bugs/tracking devices/remote control cars/etcetera and you don't go silly with it, then I'm fine if you just write it on your character sheet and tell me what it does. So far, we haven't run into any problems but my PCs are happy with the admittedly loose guideline of "you can have story stuff, but you have to pay credits for anything that might be useful in combat".


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I don't see it as a problem. You're looking at things through an economic filter, but you're overlooking the reason it's there.

Gear progression is a thing you have to manage in a game. Starfinder does that with the item levels. The economics and credits are kind of a side effect and used to create an amount of scarcity. Without scarcity, it's hard to motivate things to move forward, at least in the way most players and GMs are used to.

Sure you could spin things a bit, go to a Star Trek style, post-scarcity economy. But unless you artificially enforce the item level restrictions, you'll end up with a big combat imbalance. Another, smaller, risk is you start replacing class abilities with cheap gear. Mechanics can create small recon drones. If those are cheap, it makes the class weaker. You could alter the environment; you'd just have to be mindful of the potential side-effects and mitigate them.


After seeing a lot of starfinder (mostly as a GM) i must say the economy works surprisingly good, at least in regard to combat gear.

People are really happy if they find some item that is 1 or 2 levels above their level and even if i would wave the level restrictions available funds limit the ability to buy higher level items anyway.

This leads to PCs whose abilities are very close to the level they are supposed to be which makes encounter design and balance far easier.


Basically it's a result of blindly following the d&d and pf hit point/ac inflation model combined with putting basic character abilities in the gear table. If character ac and damage scaled like npcs, or the hit points and attack bonuses didn't incease so much, you could have more beliveable price and equipment lists instead of the current video game gear treadmill.


The decision in Starfinder to abstract a lot of stuff that can otherwise consume immense amounts of time and detail (cf. Shadowrun and "contacts") into Item Levels is smart, provided the GM treats it as the abstraction that it is and takes the opportunity to provide some in-game flavour for it. I like it.

The gaps in the gear table haven't vexed me too much, either; I'm looking forward to having a bigger selection of vehicles but in the meantime, extrapolating from what's there to create a fast-and-dirty level-appropriate vehicle for a recent chase scene wasn't that hard. I'm looking forward to Armory, that said.

One thing I've considered as a way of dealing with item levels is something like "adaptive" technology: giving the characters gear that has some kind of onboard AI that upgrades it, or guides upgrades, based on the threats they encounter, like a self-upgrading version of the talking weapons in *Rogue Trooper.* That way the progression might feel a bit more natural, for those concerned about that.


I don't disagree there are things missing, though I am in the camp of hoping Armory fills some of the gaps.

Biotech for me is the big one. There's a handful of Biotech upgrades, yet a theme in Pact Worlds that wants you to go crazy on them. Looking at armor upgrades there's a handful of things, the majority of which seem niche or uninteresting. The final three are all just enormous price inflations of the same shield generator, doubling or more the price between upgrades. And then casual armors themselves, all the high level one lack upgrade slots but with so much emphasis on shield generators you'd figure they'd have one slot for that.

That said, I haven't found much issue yet in actual play. I like the level requirement so that the same four weapons don't get bought. Pathfinder had a few distinctive "best" items you'd always see. With the level caps it's a slow rise for everyone with occassional swapping weapon type if they wanna keep raw damage at max.


Some of the teething pains is just that we have not gotten the first big equipment book. Given how neat the necro tech stuff was from the adventure path I assume a lot of interesting stuff is coming with the armory.

For now if your player wants something special like bugs that is not listed just make up a price they do this for the cheap every day items for now.

Also a lot of the costs for upgrades are abstractions of contacts/licenses/bribes and what not you need to gain access to that tech. So your huge price for the max level small arms is not how much the weapon itself costs but the cost for everything you need to do to gain access to that weapon.

I think it is assumed you probably are not replacing your weapons and armor every single level so it works out well enough if you osscilate back and forth upgrading whatever has fallen behind the curve. Also a if you are not doing SFS play weapon drops in adventures largely can help keep you up to snuff unless you are particular about wanting some specific flavor of weapon.


kaid wrote:


Also a if you are not doing SFS play weapon drops in adventures largely can help keep you up to snuff unless you are particular about wanting some specific flavor of weapon.

Even there, As my two characters aren't front liners I'm not sold on the usefulness of armor as anything but a place to store armor upgrades. Hopefully the armory will have a lighter version of the extex suit with a lot of upgrade slots with no ACP.

Sovereign Court

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Also, there is a handy bit that says if you want tech items similar to current day items, it costs 5 credits. So you want a bug to put on someone, that's 5 credits etc.


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The absurd range between basic and top of the line weapons and armor does not seem so crazy to me. The model makes a lot more sense when you assume a much greater range in product quality than seen in other settings. The explanations for this could vary from artificial scarcity to bleeding edge manufacturing processes.

I think we can also assume a wider range of personal wealth and effective character level for NPCs as well meaning there is an active market for a wide range of weapons and armor at various power levels.


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The economy works fine as long as you reduce the item need to combat oriented stuff (aka play a "space dungeon crawler").
But as soon as you want to add non-combat encounter and the player want equipment for this as well it breaks.

If you take a look in the tech item lists from CRB and PW, you will find prices that are way off.
A good example is the "Tracking Bug" which costs as much as 17 semi automatic pistols (and is probably a one-time-use item).

I understand where this problems came from:
D&D was a dungeon crawler with a strong focus on player abilities & levels.
But I think by going into a scifi setting another part becomes important and that is "the right gear at the right time".
Unfortunatly the economy system didn't support this. While SF is a nice system and I really like to play it, besides the character class progression, the other (gear, social etc.) progressions really sucks.

I think Paizo should have been more bold here and modernize/rework the system instead of copy-paste the PF base system.


I agree with the OP.

The problem is not weapons and armor. Its everything else. The cool spy gadgets a party would want to buy tend to be incredibly expensive or not included in the equipment list.


Is everyone forgetting that a new shirt can run as much as a new laser pistol

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Dox of the ParaDox twins wrote:
Is everyone forgetting that a new shirt can run as much as a new laser pistol

How do you figure that? An entire set of everyday clothing costs 1 credit. The cheapest laser pistol costs 350 credits.


Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
BigNorseWolf wrote:
kaid wrote:


Also a if you are not doing SFS play weapon drops in adventures largely can help keep you up to snuff unless you are particular about wanting some specific flavor of weapon.
Even there, As my two characters aren't front liners I'm not sold on the usefulness of armor as anything but a place to store armor upgrades. Hopefully the armory will have a lighter version of the extex suit with a lot of upgrade slots with no ACP.

Why are the enemies only attacking your "frontliners"?


Metaphysician wrote:
BigNorseWolf wrote:
kaid wrote:


Also a if you are not doing SFS play weapon drops in adventures largely can help keep you up to snuff unless you are particular about wanting some specific flavor of weapon.
Even there, As my two characters aren't front liners I'm not sold on the usefulness of armor as anything but a place to store armor upgrades. Hopefully the armory will have a lighter version of the extex suit with a lot of upgrade slots with no ACP.
Why are the enemies only attacking your "frontliners"?

I just used an Exo-Guardian boon to buy level 7 heavy armor for my 5th level Armor Storm vesk soldier. Doing the math from Alien Archive, appropriate-CR enemies will only hit me about 50% of the time (more or less, depending on if my Close Combat feat pops). The ratio will be much worse for my fellow party members.

If at least a substantial portion of the enemies aren't shooting me, I'm not really doing my job as a tank.

That being said, most GMs like to spread the pain around; getting shot 75% of the time is still five times better than getting shot 95% of the time (which is what will happen if you don't ever upgrade your armor).


Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

That still doesn't explain why the enemies are never attacking anybody but you. Yes, you can threaten them, but if shooting you does nothing, why are they not shooting at your allies instead? Instead of wasting turns futilely pinging off the heavy plate of a great big Vesk warrior, try to flank and threaten the squishies who've apparently decided to forgo actually wearing armor.


Metaphysician wrote:
That still doesn't explain why the enemies are never attacking anybody but you. Yes, you can threaten them, but if shooting you does nothing, why are they not shooting at your allies instead? Instead of wasting turns futilely pinging off the heavy plate of a great big Vesk warrior, try to flank and threaten the squishies who've apparently decided to forgo actually wearing armor.

You're right. I should really invest in the Antagonize feat.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Starfinder has the most realistic economic system of any tabletop roleplaying game I've ever played.


Ravingdork wrote:
Starfinder has the most realistic economic system of any tabletop roleplaying game I've ever played.

So you didn't played much different game systems? ;)


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The technology doesn't feel like a pervasive fact of the setting. In a fantasy world, not everyone can have magical arms and armour and rings and capes because these things are individually handcrafted works, but a sci fi setting has industrialization as a given. This feels like Ross rifles are still coming off the assembly line when people can get M16s, because for some reason a single M16 costs the entire GDP of a small nation. It makes the tech level feel really janky, because having them sitting right next to each other on the gear list suggests that they somehow occupy the same sphere.

It also makes low levels feel kind of crap, because you look at the gear list and realise your pistol is basically a water gun. And then you play a bit and oh boy you've got water gun lv 2, and it just sort of feels like you're stuck at the kids table and the gear you have isn't relevant, because one tick down the list is water gun lv 3. Conversely, weapon enhancement in Pathfinder is a thing separate from the gear chart and exists in its own sphere, so when I start play with a basic scimitar, I still feel like I'm playing my dervish using a scimitar, not just some putz with a foam toy weapon. Sure, I'm gonna throw my basic scimitar away as soon as I find a +1 one, but that feels like a bonus, not like I was being needlessly held down.


Metaphysician wrote:
That still doesn't explain why the enemies are never attacking anybody but you. Yes, you can threaten them, but if shooting you does nothing, why are they not shooting at your allies instead? Instead of wasting turns futilely pinging off the heavy plate of a great big Vesk warrior, try to flank and threaten the squishies who've apparently decided to forgo actually wearing armor.

That sounds like more like a problem with how the GM runs the encounter. Even simple minded enemies can address basic tactical questions like: Who is my biggest problem? Who is the most vulnerable? Are my current tactics working? etc...


Tryn wrote:

I would really see Paizo getting a new turn on this and revise the complete economy/equipment system, so it feels more believable and comprehensible.

What do you guys think?
How do you handle requests from your players about normal tech items/solutions we already have today (e.g. mini cameras, bugs or starting your ship remotely via a handheld device)

In regard to pricing...

Nah. The system is set up the way it is specifically for balance purposes. No it's not realistic. No there's not a good compromise.

Some items might need to have prices adjusted some, but for the most part they should remain as they are.

As for missing items...give it time. They will be added. Starfinder isn't on the same production timeline as Pathfinder.

Sovereign Court

Don't forget there is an easily missable line in Equipment:

In general, any minor piece of equipment with a real-world equivalent
(alarm clock, camera, digital keys for vehicles you own, timer, watch, and so on) can be purchased with GM approval, costs 5 credits and has light bulk.

You are given a pretty wide net of things you can get for 5 credits.

You could for example, purchase a comm unit 7, RC car 5, and camera 5, and have a remote control drone for 17 credits and maybe an engineering check to get it all working together well. Granted if you wanted to actually make it secure you'd need to upgrade the comm unit with fully functional computer and security so would probably run closer to 300 credits.


@Claxon: I have to disagree with you. With some work the equipment system could be unbound from the D&D heritage and with it could be more believable (the weapon specialization is already a step into this direction).
Moving Armor from AC to Damage Reduction would be another step which would allow to reduce the "equipment death spiral" and with it improving the economy.

The main problem aren't the many equipment options, but the prices, which raise in a exponential way and aren't really tied to the weapons/armor stats (I still don't see why they did this, it looks like a relict from old D&D times).
This then also affects the non armor/weapon items, which then creates the imbalanced economy.

This could have be averted by flaten out the costs and reduce the weapon/armor upgrade levels and instead create real alternatives (like weapon class (Pistol, SMG, LMG, Assault Rifle etc.) which not only differs in name but also in relevant gameplay.

I still don't see why this kind of exponential economy is needed for game balance (no other system then DnD has this kind of economy, not even a computer game (which are heavily balanced)).

ThainStar:
The "5 credit rule" only make the problem even worse.
So for 17 credits I can build a small spy drone, why does the spy drone from the CRB costs 4550 credits?

For 12 credits (and some tape) I can add a camera to my drone, why should I use a drone module slot for it?

Starfinder is a nice game, but for me it feels like the equipment rules aren't really though out and were a last minute copy-paste from PF/D&D


Tryn: I mean, it's extremely easy to toss out phrases like "these rules weren't thought out" and "last-minute copy-paste" but in all honesty, looking at the problem from every angle:

A) unless you really want to rip progression out of the game entirely (in which case probably just go play something else) or
B) unless you really want it to be impossible to buy advanced gear and have everything in the equipment list do largely the same damage (a no-go for most of the people playing a system like this) or
C) unless you really want to abstract money out of the picture entirely and just build gear with Build Points...

... then what Starfinder has done seems like the way I'd go, basically, with some differences in detail.

Options A and B mostly certainly do not interest me in the least, personally. As it happens, I'd be fine going with option C, and I think that's a genuine alternative... but I feel like it would be a bridge too far for many players.

Having an "unrealistic" money economy -- for whatever that's supposed to mean in a setting built from equal parts Skiffy Trope, Magitech and Rule of Cool -- is something more players are likely to tolerate than basically taking money out of the equation altogether. Most of the people running Starfinder still want at least a little bit of that loot and money-management gaming. I think someone who tried reinventing the gear system might well find the solution in Starfinder to be a lot more thought out than you're crediting it for. So to speak.


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Personally, I'm fine with either B or C.
C especially if Build Points are shared between gear and other abilities, so you can balance the character who's all teched up and the one who's focused on personal skill.

C is essentially what we have now, except that gear points and character points are separated. The economy pretends to be a separate in world thing, but it's really just a parallel experience point track used as build points for gear. You get regular experience points and wealth for beating enemies and overcoming challenges. There's really no good reason for separating them.


I think a version of C could be made to work. I've toyed with some ideas for it, even. Mainly because tracking Build Points would be easier for my bookkeeping.

But for instance: the player running an Envoy at my table, one of the things he's specifically there for is to be the face man who negotiates for the party and drives hard bargains in space merchant bazaars. The Mercenary Soldier in our group is there specifically to be a mercenary Soldier. They're the kind of players who'd feel immensely cheated if I tried to wave my hands and say *poof* no more money, just abstract Build Points. So I wouldn't really bother to pursue it, personally.


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My brother runs his campaigns like that. When we level we can reequip at our expected WBL as we are rebuilding our starship to a BP budget. We gloss over getting paid, looting, upgrading and so forth and treat those details as background stuff.

It's not really my style but it doesn't take much mental squinting to accomodate it.


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I would say, the problem is not that Options A, B, or C are bad and unworkable. Rather, that if you go for any of those, you very rapidly land in territory of "So why are you even using Starfinder, or any other close D&Derivative?"

For instance, you could do a sci-fi game that lacks in particular gear progression, and which abstracts away money entirely. It would totally work. Of course, I know this because this is how Mutants & Masterminds handles its gear economy. At which point, if you want to do that... you go play Mutants & Masterminds.


Pretty much.

I mean, C would not be quite so radical a change for Starfinder in that there's already a whole part of the rules with a non-monetary BP system. But it would still be tied to progression, anyway.

To a point, I do get Tryn's annoyance with the non-combat equipment. I'm far from thinking it "breaks" anything (we run plenty of non-combat encounters and the equipment hasn't caused an issue), but that's not to say that it's particularly logical. Starfinder's being built largely out of tropes rather than extrapolated from real-life things is a strength, but it can also be a weakness.

I'm not sure I get Saffron's "water pistol" complaint though. I don't see how equipment progression is all that different from any other form of power progression you could find in either Starfinder or Pathfinder.

The Exchange

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Steve Geddes wrote:

My brother runs his campaigns like that. When we level we can reequip at our expected WBL as we are rebuilding our starship to a BP budget. We gloss over getting paid, looting, upgrading and so forth and treat those details as background stuff.

It's not really my style but it doesn't take much mental squinting to accomodate it.

I tried that in PF1 and my players hated it. I guess people want the satisfaction of looting and in character rewards.


I feel like not a few tables wouldn't care for it, yeah.


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GeneticDrift wrote:
Steve Geddes wrote:

My brother runs his campaigns like that. When we level we can reequip at our expected WBL as we are rebuilding our starship to a BP budget. We gloss over getting paid, looting, upgrading and so forth and treat those details as background stuff.

It's not really my style but it doesn't take much mental squinting to accomodate it.

I tried that in PF1 and my players hated it. I guess people want the satisfaction of looting and in character rewards.

Yeah, it isn’t my favourite element. It does make things easy in some regards, but it’s hard to “drive a hard bargain” with employers (since it basically makes no difference to your actual wealth). There are also problems if the DM gives the opponents expensive loot the players choose to keep..


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You have definitly some good points Ceejay.
Your option C is total out for me, because this would make SF to simply another "action board game".
I also thing you missed option D:
Flat out the power curve a little bit (e.g. reduce the stamina/hp per level) and then adapt the weapon damage to it. This way the differences aren't that big and players aren't forced to have always the latest weapon from the list.
Also you can add other ways of scaling the damage (like they already did with the weapon specialisation).
Next would be the removal of the exponential cost system and make it a linear one (I still don't see why we need an exponential one in SF).
Last go away from the "more dice equal more power" trope of DnD. Instead you could add flat damage to the weapons or give them abilities which allows different attack modes.

Example:

A Basic Pistol does 1d6 damage an Advanced Pistol does 1d6+4 damage. But for a similar price (and level) you could also get a automatic pistol (1d6+2) which reduce the penalty for a full attack by 2 and have more ammo or a "Hand Canon" (1d6+6) which allows only one attack per round and have a low ammo capacity.
This would allow the player to adapt his equipment to his character and playstyle.
I think weapons are far more interesting if you have the choice and then decide by abilities, not by pure damage.

I think DnD5 went this road with the new feats, which don't give flat boni but instead give you new abilities to play with.
Why not using this system for equipment in SF?


Tryn wrote:

@Claxon: I have to disagree with you. With some work the equipment system could be unbound from the D&D heritage and with it could be more believable (the weapon specialization is already a step into this direction).

Moving Armor from AC to Damage Reduction would be another step which would allow to reduce the "equipment death spiral" and with it improving the economy.

You're talking about a completely different game than what we have at this point. You would have to build the game from the ground up with those sorts of changes in mind. PF1 tried an optional rule set for AC as damage reduction, it's pretty awful. At low levels it could reduce too much damage, and at higher levels DR 10 wasn't meaningful enough, when the enemy had 4 attacks that did 30 damage each. Sure, you avoided 40 damage, but you still took 80, because you couldn't avoid those last two iterative attacks and "negate" all the potential damage.

I'm not saying you can't make a system where armor functions as DR, but the way it's been implemented in D&D or Pathfinder has always had bad results. And it's not something that you could tack onto Starfinder without equally bad results. As for the gear treadmill...I admit that it's annoying, but it's also a necessity to control the power level of PCs. Compared to Pathfinder there just aren't many ways to increase your bonuses to hit or damage in Starfinder. This is good, but it also means you have to create a source to get damage up to useful levels based on CR. It's a meta-construct. They could have done it differently, but they didn't. And now the system is pretty set, and there's really no way to do what you want without starting from the ground up.

Quote:


The main problem aren't the many equipment options, but the prices, which raise in a exponential way and aren't really tied to the weapons/armor stats (I still don't see why they did this, it looks like a relict from old D&D times).
This then also affects the non armor/weapon items, which then creates the imbalanced economy.

I do agree with you that some items, especially items which don't have a "combat purpose" have been overpriced. We should look at those items on a case by case basis and reduce their cost. But we need to keep in mind that things like sentry bots and scouting drones do actually have a lot of combat usefulness, and are going to get priced higher because of it.

Ultimately, I feel the problem is you want a realistic simulation that makes sense and I've accepted that Starfinder just isn't that kind of game.


Biggest problem I have with the economy system is that players feel like they need to spend all the money on gear. And thus won't happily spend money on roleplay stuff.

They dislike spending money on for example: bribing guards, buying apartments to live in, fancy stuff for their space ship which doesn't have any stats etc.


I've found it depends on class. The Soldier and Operative in my group are very gear-dependent and always chasing the latest gadget. Our Envoy will go whole levels at a time barely spending anything, precisely because he wants to be able to come through in a clutch to bribe guards or pick up the right formal wear or (in one memorable case) buy shares in a bad-guy company to try to influence their policy. (Long story.) Our technomancer and mechanic fall somewhere in the middle.


The way I justified it is that the economy in Starfinder focuses on needs. Food, clothing, and shelter are all absurdly cheap. But a knife is 95 credits? There's got to be some wicked subsidies or taxes going on.


Just a comment on armor as damage reduction. A game that uses that kind of a system is and of the White Wolf games. It can work, I enjoyed it in Scion, however then dodging becomes it's own thing, divorcing the concept from armor and making two systems. This created a rift between dexterity characters and body (equivalent constitution) characters, which unless the game was built around (like Scion) is difficult to balance. A D20 system has a hard time when everyone has dodging and soaking, you can see it in Palladium games like Rifts where each combat action has something like ten steps which slows the game significantly.


ThisWeeksSponsor wrote:
The way I justified it is that the economy in Starfinder focuses on needs. Food, clothing, and shelter are all absurdly cheap. But a knife is 95 credits? There's got to be some wicked subsidies or taxes going on.

Remember: this is a knife capable of piercing the protections offered by environmentally accomodating armor. Unarmed Strikes and Clubs have the archaic quality proving the big difference between say, a kitchen type knife and a capable of rending space armor tactical knife.


@Claxon:
I know that such a changes would mean a complete system overhaul. I just wonder why Paizo decided to not go this route, but instead add a system which to a game which obviously doesn't fit the game itself, for me this is bad game design.

@Isaac
I know that such a Armor = DR system could add a lot of "table actions" to the game, but there are also systems which work like this without adding these additional table actions.

My main problem with SF economy isn't the AC system (hey it's DnD in it's core, so we know how it works), but more the pricing and the equipment progress.
In PF the exponential pricing wasn't that big problem, because you normally craft/loot items above a specific price.
But in SF you have a normal commercial infrastructure, this means most likely players will buy their equipment and didn't get it from the corpses of their enemies.
And then the price/economy system simply didn't work anymore, because the relations between improved items of the same type, the price and the
effectivity is totally off.
(e.g. freebooter armor IV costs 60k, Carbon Skin diamond 126k, stat difference: KAC +1).
I really hope that either Paizo also see this as a problem and revise the economy/loot system or that a 3rd party publisher take a look into this, because for me such things really break the "this is a SciFi World" feeling and move SF back to "Dungeoncrawler in Space" (which it doesn't deserve to be).


@Tryn, it's the gear treadmill effect. It's annoying and unrealistic, but does make controlling the expected power level of PCs much easier.

I wouldn't call it bad design, its a specific design choice that has no basis in simulating reality. And that's fine. It's just not what you wanted, which I can understand. That being said...Starfinder just might not be the right game for you.


Crafting is actually easier and faster in Starfinder than it was in Pathfinder. Having the option to make high-level equipment commercially available means you have more options for how you handle high-level equipment as a GM, not fewer; it doesn't limit you to always explaining how they're buying stuff at the store. It is fairly counterintuitive to expect Paizo to "see that as a problem."

People keep saying in Starfinder you have a "normal commercial infrastructure." No you don't. Normal commercial infrastructures as we know them don't have to deal with magic weapons, teleportation circlets and plasma cannons, and if they did have access to such things probably would not sell them at convenience stores. You have the power in your hands as GM to regulate things on the item lists that you don't feel should be commercially available, if that's what you want to do.


Pathfinder Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

As others have said, they went for game balance over realism. The system makes it really easy to balance where combat should be at certain levels with to hit and damage output vs AC and HP.

The only thing I would add is, as with anything Paizo does, they say if the RAW are not your thing just do your own thing. If you want to do a system where you say: divide the cost of everything above level 1 by 10 and add an artificial "reputation/connections" points they have to get to get access to higher level weapons, then feel free.

They went for a system that is easy for them to balance player power vs enemies to keep things in a certain range. If you dont like it, I would try to figure out a way to adjust it to make it more realistic to your liking while trying to keep the same sense of balance. Of course changing the way the economy, weapon damage/unique weapons, and other things you described is largely rewriting the entire combat/economy systems so if you go there then godspeed.


Who doesn't love shopping for new gear in a post-scarcity future?

And after level 10 the WBL gets quite crazy.

Isaac Zephyr wrote:
Remember: this is a knife capable of piercing the protections offered by environmentally accomodating armor. Unarmed Strikes and Clubs have the archaic quality proving the big difference between say, a kitchen type knife and a capable of rending space armor tactical knife.

Yeah, don't use these to cut cheesecake:

CRB page 185

Quote:

Knife (Survival, Tactical)

These light blades can be used for both mundane tasks and
combat. A typical survival knife has a fixed, single-edged,
carbonsteel or ceramic blade and is treated against corrosion.

Tactical knives have large, double-edged blades, often with a section of
serrated blade near the haft, and they come in both fixed- and
folding-blade designs; users may prefer one style or the other, but
the two are identical in terms of price, weight, and damage dealt.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
The Ragi wrote:

Who doesn't love shopping for new gear in a post-scarcity future?

And after level 10 the WBL gets quite crazy.

Isaac Zephyr wrote:
Remember: this is a knife capable of piercing the protections offered by environmentally accomodating armor. Unarmed Strikes and Clubs have the archaic quality proving the big difference between say, a kitchen type knife and a capable of rending space armor tactical knife.

Yeah, don't use these to cut cheesecake:

CRB page 185

Quote:

Knife (Survival, Tactical)

These light blades can be used for both mundane tasks and
combat. A typical survival knife has a fixed, single-edged,
carbonsteel or ceramic blade and is treated against corrosion.

Tactical knives have large, double-edged blades, often with a section of
serrated blade near the haft, and they come in both fixed- and
folding-blade designs; users may prefer one style or the other, but
the two are identical in terms of price, weight, and damage dealt.

LOL. I'll just leave this here.


It's not so much 'don't use the survival knife to cut the cheesecake' as it is 'don't use the table knife to try and hack through that armor'.


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The game needs more gear options for sure as what is provided in the CRB is pretty bare bones. That's what armory is for.

But I like the pricing for weapons and armors. You're going from consumer grade gear to commercial grade, to military grade to truly bleeding edge/experimental/artifact level gear. The leaps in price make complete sense when you look at it that way.

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