Things you wish you knew / thought of when you started SF?


General Discussion


As title says!

New player to SF, it's piqued my interest, and I have to say that the artwork and the blending of tech and PF content is pretty inspiring.

I'm curious what tips and tricks people might have for new players. It could be something as simple as "Invest in Medicine and a medi-kit" or fancier. What would you differently with your first character if you went back knowing what you know now?


At Level 5 you get to increase four stats; if the stat is already 17 or over, it is a +1, if it is 16 or under, it is a +2. Arguably makes starting with an 18 from day one less a no-brainer.


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The simplest thing I can say is to read the CRB. This is not Pathfinder in space.


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Pantshandshake wrote:
The simplest thing I can say is to read the CRB. This is not Pathfinder in space.

I don't think this counts as helpful or fun. "Read the core book." applies to any and every game pretty much. At least an attempt was made, even if misguided.


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Starfinder Superscriber

The 16 trick for level 5 is a BIG one.

Depending on your class/theme/race, make a point to be good at either shooting or melee. Pick one to follow and stick with it, as trying to be everything for everyone for every situation does not seem to work as well.

Biggest rule? Have fun!


If your starting Dex isn't 16, you should ask yourself why. Only two acceptable answers:
1. My Dex is 18
2. I've taken heavy armor proficiency (and I have a STRONK HAMMER)

Exo-Guardians

I'd say be prepared for highly unusual party compositions, not every party will be A Vesk Soldier, Shiren Mystic, Human Envoy, with an Android Operative, and honestly it's the unusual parties that are the most fun.


By the 16 Dex I assume it's to get it to 18 on level 5?
Which probably applies to every main stat, or do people tend to start with 18 off the bat?

It's gonna be weird getting used to focus on ranged weapons. I keep hearing melee is very dangerous.

Odd parties can be fun. We had a run on Eclipse Phase and Star Wars before, so the oddest characters kept popping up. Keeps it interesting.


You don't ACTUALLY need Dex 16 at 1st level. Plenty of builds don't rely on Dex, but it is the most powerful stat in the game.

Just be sure you can do your schtick, whatever it is, and sink your remaining points into Dex after you are confident that you have your main thing covered.

Spellcasters can't JUST be spellcasters; be sure you have other stuff you can be doing, because you don't get that many spells per day. I like to specialize in either attack roll spells (with that high Dex) or saving throw spells (with a high caster stat), but not both.

Don't multiclass or grab a class archetype without considering what you'll lose in the bargain, unless roleplay is your only consideration.

For the love of life, watch out for poison and disease. It's nastier in Starfinder than practically any other game.


I don't know that I would change anything for my character - I've been happy with her so far. Things to know:

1. The stamina mechanic is nice, and people need to remember to take short rests and refill it.
2. The party should plan ahead for starship combat and roles.
3. Selling gear is somewhat worthless so make good use of what you find along the way.
4. Check the FAQ


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Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Corvo Spiritwind wrote:
Pantshandshake wrote:
The simplest thing I can say is to read the CRB. This is not Pathfinder in space.
I don't think this counts as helpful or fun. "Read the core book." applies to any and every game pretty much. At least an attempt was made, even if misguided.

It may not be fun, but going on the empirical evidence, its definitely helpful. . .


Dracomicron wrote:

You don't ACTUALLY need Dex 16 at 1st level. Plenty of builds don't rely on Dex, but it is the most powerful stat in the game.

Just be sure you can do your schtick, whatever it is, and sink your remaining points into Dex after you are confident that you have your main thing covered.

Spellcasters can't JUST be spellcasters; be sure you have other stuff you can be doing, because you don't get that many spells per day. I like to specialize in either attack roll spells (with that high Dex) or saving throw spells (with a high caster stat), but not both.

Don't multiclass or grab a class archetype without considering what you'll lose in the bargain, unless roleplay is your only consideration.

For the love of life, watch out for poison and disease. It's nastier in Starfinder than practically any other game.

Could you elaborate more on the poison and disease? I felt they were a bit lacking in PF unless you really went for +DC increases and such. Though it was a fun build to test with a fetchling alchemist.

So far, what caught my interest the most is an [Android Robotocist Mechanic with Exocortex. Did consider the Bioaugmentist theme for more augments but alas, faster ship repairs seems more fitting.


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Metaphysician wrote:
Corvo Spiritwind wrote:
Pantshandshake wrote:
The simplest thing I can say is to read the CRB. This is not Pathfinder in space.
I don't think this counts as helpful or fun. "Read the core book." applies to any and every game pretty much. At least an attempt was made, even if misguided.
It may not be fun, but going on the empirical evidence, its definitely helpful. . .

Not really, no. It's about the same as heading to a forum where people can ask and discuss stuff and you reply with "Google it."

Generally, everyone knows they can google the question, but it's more fun to hear from people directly and potentially engage.

"Any tips on starting this new game, and what you learned so far?"
"Read the core book."


Another suggestion, if you plan on running the game for friends, you may want to try playing the game with your local Starfinder Society first. Not only is it a good learning method for the system, but the exposure to the universe and plot possibilities of Starfinder is excellent.

Corvo Spiritwind wrote:


Could you elaborate more on the poison and disease? I felt they were a bit lacking in PF unless you really went for +DC increases and such. Though it was a fun build to test with a fetchling alchemist.

The Starfinder system of disease and poisons is that exposure requires a saving throw. If you fail, you start down various tracks where your condition worsens at each failed save. For example, you fail your save and go to Fatigued. You fail another save and go to Exhausted. Fail a couple more and you're dead.

For poisons, it can take days to recover (if you don't die) from a poison that's in your system for a few rounds. For diseases, it takes multiple saves on successive days to climb back out from even a brief exposure, and any failure sends you further down the track.

There is an exceptionally deadly disease in the first Dead Suns AP book. The remarkable thing is how nasty the conditions are, compared to how much leeway in survivability the PCs get otherwise, with the Stamina/HP system and Resolve stabilization when brought to zero HP.

Quote:
So far, what caught my interest the most is an [Android Robotocist Mechanic with Exocortex. Did consider the Bioaugmentist theme for more augments but alas, faster ship repairs seems more fitting.

The Roboticist is a great theme, as at level 6 it lets you build your own gear at your level +1, which guarantees you some sturdier stuff (and, in Starfinder Society, lets you get Infamy and still have access to close to the same level of gear as everyone else). Just remember that, per RAW, you can only buy UPBs at 1000 credits for 1000 UPBs; you can't currently buy smaller lots unless the GM rules otherwise.

I also find the Cyberborn and Xenoarchaeologist to be good Mechanic themes. Cyberborn gives you some self-healing based on your implants, and Xenoarchaeologist gives you a great trap detection ability that can save your hide.

Exocortex Mechanic is the class I keep wanting to play, but end up bouncing off of because I get some other crazy idea (my Nuar Soldier/Mechanic idea eventually evolved into a Nuar Technomancer Steward Officer). The access to tracking, heavy armor, and longarms makes Exo Mechanics practically as good as Soldiers in a fight, and tricks like Overcharge, Energy Shield, and Overclocking can give you some pretty impressive battlefield presence.

Protip: Overcharge can go on your ally's (powered or energy) weapon with a single Move action. If you have a teammate that is a designated striker with a very high attack bonus, it can be beneficial to buff them instead of your own shot.


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Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Corvo Spiritwind wrote:
Metaphysician wrote:
Corvo Spiritwind wrote:
Pantshandshake wrote:
The simplest thing I can say is to read the CRB. This is not Pathfinder in space.
I don't think this counts as helpful or fun. "Read the core book." applies to any and every game pretty much. At least an attempt was made, even if misguided.
It may not be fun, but going on the empirical evidence, its definitely helpful. . .

Not really, no. It's about the same as heading to a forum where people can ask and discuss stuff and you reply with "Google it."

Generally, everyone knows they can google the question, but it's more fun to hear from people directly and potentially engage.

"Any tips on starting this new game, and what you learned so far?"
"Read the core book."

Okay, let me slightly elaborate:

From my reading of these forums, about half of all the problems people have with Starfinder, turn out to be the result of people not even knowing the rules to Starfinder. They instead go off a half-assumed version of how the Pathfinder rules should "of course" apply, and then get into trouble.

So, no, seriously. My best bet of advice would be "No, really, read the core rules. Starfinder is *not* Pathfinder. Assuming it is will cause nothing but sorrow."


Exactly this.

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32

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Metaphysician wrote:

From my reading of these forums, about half of all the problems people have with Starfinder, turn out to be the result of people not even knowing the rules to Starfinder. They instead go off a half-assumed version of how the Pathfinder rules should "of course" apply, and then get into trouble.

So, no, seriously. My best bet of advice would be "No, really, read the core rules. Starfinder is *not* Pathfinder. Assuming it is will cause nothing but sorrow."

Corollary to above:

If you are GMing, make sure your players also understand that Starfinder is not "Pathfinder in space," the rules are different, but the similarities can trip up even the best prepaired.


Fortitude is very important.


Metaphysician wrote:
Corvo Spiritwind wrote:
Metaphysician wrote:
Corvo Spiritwind wrote:
Pantshandshake wrote:
The simplest thing I can say is to read the CRB. This is not Pathfinder in space.
I don't think this counts as helpful or fun. "Read the core book." applies to any and every game pretty much. At least an attempt was made, even if misguided.
It may not be fun, but going on the empirical evidence, its definitely helpful. . .

Not really, no. It's about the same as heading to a forum where people can ask and discuss stuff and you reply with "Google it."

Generally, everyone knows they can google the question, but it's more fun to hear from people directly and potentially engage.

"Any tips on starting this new game, and what you learned so far?"
"Read the core book."

Okay, let me slightly elaborate:

From my reading of these forums, about half of all the problems people have with Starfinder, turn out to be the result of people not even knowing the rules to Starfinder. They instead go off a half-assumed version of how the Pathfinder rules should "of course" apply, and then get into trouble.

So, no, seriously. My best bet of advice would be "No, really, read the core rules. Starfinder is *not* Pathfinder. Assuming it is will cause nothing but sorrow."

Noted. Even if I sounded snappy, I still took the advice. I suppose I could have been clearer that when I meant Pathfinder in Space, I meant the lore and fluff and paizo's take on the typical races and monsters.


Combat is lethal if you fight like a fighter with a shield. Get behind cover and stay behind cover.


Brother Willi wrote:
Combat is lethal if you fight like a fighter with a shield. Get behind cover and stay behind cover.

On the contrary, the Melee Soldier or Solarian can ascribe to the ABCs:

Always
Be
Charging

...but you have to spec for it. Damage resistance, energy resistances if you can swing them, feats like Close Combat and Coordinated Shot, hopefully at least some Constitution bonus to Stamina, good saves, the best armor, etc. Most people like the Blitz specialization, but I like Armor Storm for the more reliable Hammer Fist damage and the extra armor mod slot.

Combat can quite deadly if you're not behind cover, but a melee fighter can easily swing the balance through high damage, clever positioning, and good character building.


Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I'm not even sure melee experts need to be super heavily specialized. They just need to *not* stand out in the open exposed to a ton of enemy gunmen. High optimization just shifts the definition of "too many" or "too exposed".

Which does suggest one of the other big pieces of advice: don't try to be a one trick pony. If you do, you and your party will die, or at least have a much less fun time. Hyper specialization is impossible, at least to the degree that Pathfinder allows, so doing Just One Thing simply means your leaving capability on the table.


Grenades are not worth it - unless you found them. With some detonators laying around.


By 10th level skill ranks alone aren't enough. You need stat bonuses and class bonuses to be relevant. While this applies only loosely in general it applies strictly in spaceship combat.

Exo-Guardians

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The Ragi wrote:
Grenades are not worth it - unless you found them. With some detonators laying around.

Smoke Grenade are actually pretty awesome. Even if you make the saves the miss chance helps

Also, suppressing fire and harrying fire are always and option and picking up longarms might be a worthwhile consideration.


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Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Maps, Pathfinder Accessories, PF Special Edition Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Superscriber

If you’re not terribly good at combat it can be useful to harrying fire/suppressing fire in aid of those who are - especially given you don’t need a particularly good weapon to do so.


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Read the full descriptions of feats, they may be better/worse than you think from their summaries.

For me in particular, I wished I figured out sooner you can pair antagonaize with the envoy's not in the face.

Quote:
As a standard action, you can antagonize a foe that can see and hear you by attempting a Diplomacy or Intimidate check (DC = 10 + your opponent’s total Sense Motive skill bonus, or 15 + 1-1/2 × the opponent’s CR, whichever is higher). If you succeed, the foe is off-target and takes a –2 penalty to all skill checks for 1 round plus 1 additional round for every 5 by which your result exceeds the DC, or until it makes an attack against you, forces you to attempt a saving throw, or damages you (whichever comes first). Once you have attempted to antagonize a foe, that foe is immune to this ability for 24 hours. This is a language-dependent ability.
Quote:
As a move action, you can choose one enemy within 60 feet. That enemy must succeed at a Will save or take a –4 penalty to all attacks it makes against you until the end of your next turn. At 6th level, you can spend 1 Resolve Point to make the enemy take the penalty with no saving throw allowed.

I find it way too funny that you can smack talk an enemy and then immediately backpedal to give the baddie a -2 to hit everyone else, or a -4 to hit me. It's just like that scene from super android 13 abridged.

Kid Gohan: Hey, why don't you pick on someone your own size!
*Giant hulked-out blue android turns around and growls angerly*
Kid Gohan: Euuhhh, well, clearly not me...


Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I don't have any math to support this, but compared to Pathfinder it feels like NPCs/aliens/monsters hit more often when they attack. Additionally, even with level 15 PCs the players at my table tremble when I ask them to roll a save, as they fail often enough for saving throws to evoke dread. I like this, as most saves become seemingly trivial in Pathfinder at high level. In hindsight, I would have designed a few of the encounters in my homebrew campaign slightly differently between levels 3-6 due to those two factors. For the most part, combat has remained competitive and scary, even at high level play, which is great.

On the other hand, it feels like Starfinder characters nail every skill check. By level 15 the Operative at my table can theoretically trick attack CR 30+ enemies which means she is almost always adding +8d8 to each successful attack, the Pilot and Engineer can get into the upper 40s on their checks, and the Mystic PC in my game has a +30 to Perception. So the skill checks feel on par or better than Pathfinder.


Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Maps, Pathfinder Accessories, PF Special Edition Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Superscriber
The Goat Lord wrote:
On the other hand, it feels like Starfinder characters nail every skill check. By level 15 the Operative at my table can theoretically trick attack CR 30+ enemies which means she is almost always adding +8d8 to each successful attack, the Pilot and Engineer can get into the upper 40s on their checks, and the Mystic PC in my game has a +30 to Perception. So the skill checks feel on par or better than Pathfinder.

This is our experience too. We have a couple of people who comb through books looking for ways to stack every possible bonus and choose every synergistic class feature/feat/item, but even without doing that we find ourselves often in the range where PCs are either "near certainty" or "don't bother trying".

We're playing at level nine now and don't find it daunting to attempt DCs in the 25-30 range. For things like perception or knowledge checks and so on that multiple people can try it's leading to some pretty serious DC escalation (and the occasional moment of "Oh, I accidentally made that impossible, I thought one of you was good at that?").


There's a spell on the run feat, pick up mobility sooner.


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Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Steve Geddes wrote:
The Goat Lord wrote:
On the other hand, it feels like Starfinder characters nail every skill check. By level 15 the Operative at my table can theoretically trick attack CR 30+ enemies which means she is almost always adding +8d8 to each successful attack, the Pilot and Engineer can get into the upper 40s on their checks, and the Mystic PC in my game has a +30 to Perception. So the skill checks feel on par or better than Pathfinder.

This is our experience too. We have a couple of people who comb through books looking for ways to stack every possible bonus and choose every synergistic class feature/feat/item, but even without doing that we find ourselves often in the range where PCs are either "near certainty" or "don't bother trying".

We're playing at level nine now and don't find it daunting to attempt DCs in the 25-30 range. For things like perception or knowledge checks and so on that multiple people can try it's leading to some pretty serious DC escalation (and the occasional moment of "Oh, I accidentally made that impossible, I thought one of you was good at that?").

Instead of inflating the DCs, the best trick I've been able to pull to keep the tension during critical skill checks is to create situations where a task can't be overcome in one round with one check. For example, there was a situation in my homebrew where the PCs were riding on the outside of a stealth bomber, trying to disable it before it dropped what they thought would be a nuclear payload on a city in Castrovel (turns out it was only dishsoap). The Mechanic wanted to hack the on board computer system to disable the bomber. I knew the chance for success was nearly 100%, so I asked for a d4 roll to determine how many rounds it would take to hack. Meanwhile, the pilot of the bomber tried to shake the PCs loose with aerial maneuvers, requiring the PCs to cling for dear life with Athletics checks while also continuing to hack.

There have been other situations I've constructed where the PCs needed several consecutive successful skill checks over the course of several rounds. It helps maintain the tension and keeps them on the edge of their seat in dramatic moments. And it's always fun when the computer they're trying to hack transforms into an Ahav and literally hacks them back.

Sometimes I ask for checks with DCs so low they can't be failed, which is good for those checks that would help the PCs learn something or recall a bit of knowledge that keeps the plot moving. The players didn't know when they picked up the dice that they were rolling an auto success, so they feel good in the end and that's all that matters.

Skills, they're something to think about.

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