Was a consesus ever reached on Solarians?


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Metaphysician wrote:
KLGChaos wrote:

The problem with the comparison with Pathfinder and Starfinder and the tank debate is that there were usually multiple classes in melee and far less ranged attackers (unless you were fighting an army of archers or spellcasters).

Many times, a Solarian ends up being the only melee while most of your party (and your enemies) are using ranged weapons, probably from being cover. This makes Mr. Stand-Out-in-the-Open a prime target for focus fire. After all, why go for the the hevaily armored Soldier who's got partial cover or spend time looking for the hidden sniper when there's an easy, lightly armored target right out in the open.

I would suggest part of the problem here is poor judgement on the part of the Solarian PC. If the terrain is such that they can be readily focus fired by all enemies, than he shouldn't dive out to melee yet.

When should he engage in melee? When the enemies are positioned such that he has cover from most of them, possibly from their own bodies obstructing some of them. When his allied party members provide him with covering fire or other defensive advantages. When there's a specific enemy that is worth killing right now. When the enemies are of questionable discipline and morale, and a solarian with a giant flaming weapon stands a good chance of breaking them. When the Solarian has initiative advantage, and exploits that to basically act at both the end of one turn and the beginning of the next.

And if nothing like this applies? Stay in cover, and do something else. Pull out your sidearm and use it. Use special abilities that don't depend on melee. Do *something* to prove your not a one-trick pony who would rather die than do something other than your one trick.

While it's true they can wait for a better chance to go into combat, it's definitely inefficient. While the Solarian is waiting for an opportunity and using his weak small arms fire, the other classes are already unloading on the enemies. The casters are launching their spells, the Envoy and Mechanic are using their abilities, the Soldier is unloading with his heavy weapons and feats... Or even already charging into melee with his baseline heavy armor to protect him.

The Solarian is sitting in back, waiting for his full attunement and wondering why he's even there if he doesn't take the heavy armor feat. Chances are you'll attuning to photon at this point. The only ranged options for that would be Hypnotic Glow (which I'm not sure if anyone really uses that) or Sunbolt at level 14.

At this point I think it might just be better to take Solar Armor and buy a big two-hander. You'd probably do the same damage as with your solar weapon and have better defense.


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Zoggy Grav wrote:

I usually tell the solarian to end up behind me, the vesk soldier tank. I can take the hits with bleeding edge heavy armor, DR, and energy resistances.

Honestly giving solarians some sort of early access to Spring Attack or something similar to allow them to end turns behind cover would solve a lot of their mortality issues.

Play with solar armor and use a reach weapon, stellar rush is a standard action that includes an attack, the reach weapon keeps you out of their threatened area and you have a move action leftover to get to cover with.

Dark Archive

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From what I am reading, there seem to be 4 viable combat builds for Solarians:


  • Soldier 1 / Solarian X
  • Solarian (Weapon) + Heavy Armor Proficiency
  • Solarian (Armor) + Reach Weapon + Stellar Rush
  • Solarian (Armor) + Longarm Proficiency + Versatile Specialization

There are probably other ways to build a viable Solarian, but they all require system mastery.

It's very easy to build an unoptimized Solarian. For instance, the class seems designed for a solar weapon and light armor, but that combination doesn't work well in practice.

If the above isn't difficult enough, the melee Solarian almost requires a 14/14/14 point spread to be relevant at anything other than the captain role in starship combat. If you don't want to be the captain and you don't like a 14/14/14 point spread, you just about have to take your first level in soldier (blitz) so that you can start with a lower charisma.

Basically, there seem to be ways to build effective Solarians, but there are far more ways to build ineffective Solarians. New players and players without much system mastery are at a real risk of building a character that doesn't perform as well as they might like.

I know that was the experience at our table. The player who chose a Solarian was unhappy with his PC after the first level. The character was too MAD, and the 1st level revelations took too long to activate. I would really like to see a well built Solarian, but I don't expect anybody at my table to play that class again.


Jasque, you make some strong points, ones that I've hinted at myself but hadn't put them all together as nicely.

I think the "most effective" Solarion from my opinion would:
Take 1 level in Blitz solider, this allows you to start with stats of:
16 str, 14 dex, 10 con, 12 int, 10 wis, and 10 cha (you should have one point remaining to place somewhere, probably con).
Goign this route you know to ignore any revelations with saves.
Blitz solider gives you proficiency in heavy armor and longarms, without needing to spend feats for them. We need a crystal that just generally gives reach to solar weapons.

Then you can really combine everything into one character that will be effective in melee and the int boost will give you enough skills, and you'll have engineering as a class skill already, and can pick up computers. Your resolve can be based on strength.

It's just a very intuitive thing to have to do build that way.


I will be surprised if there aren't any reach Crystals in the armory book.

Silver Crusade

The Chained fusion from Dead Suns #1 grants the attached weapon reach for its first attack each round, ideal for the stellar rush and retreat tactic.

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I wonder if the PF2 point-buy system will help make low-level solarians more straightforward to build.


Sober Caydenite wrote:
The Chained fusion from Dead Suns #1 grants the attached weapon reach for its first attack each round, ideal for the stellar rush and retreat tactic.

It's not really a good compromise if you wanted actual reach though.

You can't really use it to threaten an expanded area, you can't make multiple attacks with reach. It's good for that one tactic, but that one tactic doesn't represent what a Solarion should be doing most of the time.


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I'd like to note the Chain Fusion is a level 6 fusion, while any Solarian crystal that grants reach is likely to be level 5 or higher. While I also hope they have Reach Solarian crystals in the Armory, its probably not going to help people in the early levels of 1-4. Which when you think about it, is probably 33% of the game in SFS or the Dead Suns AP and generally when people decide they like a class or not.

Unfortunately, the easiest way at level 1 to get Reach on a Solar Weapon Solarian is pick up a Tactical pike or Taclash at level 1. If you do that, it does tend to make people question why they took the "laser sword" option at low levels.

As for "most effective" Solarian, skill and stat selection is going to depend heavily on the rest of the team composition. If the rest of your team is an Exocortex Mechanic, a Hacker Operative, and a Technomancer, Int skills on your Solarian may not be that useful, although a Charisma focused face might be. Especially if all the others are Androids dumping Charisma.

On the other hand, if the team is an Envoy, Mystic, and Spy Operative, then focusing on Diplomacy and Sense Motive might not be that useful. Although if everyone took Bluff and Disguise, that could make for an interesting campaign.

The class does seem to require the most system mastery at character creation. Which in turn makes it much harder to balance against the other classes with lower levels of required mastery (i.e. Operative or Soldier) for a variety of players and a variety of group compositions.

Edit: Just to throw out another crazy idea for people who think the class needs help, you could try giving Solar Weapons Solarians a changeable special on the Solar weapon with a move action, similar how Solar Armor Solarians can change their Fire/Cold resistance when they turn it on or when its already on. Say pick one from a list like Block, Bright, Disarm, Reach, Stun, Thrown (20 foot), and Trip. It would give the Solar Weapon a unique schtick that other normal weapons couldn't replicate.


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I don't really follow technical rules discussions very well, but are you analysis-minded folk factoring in that Solarions have a wealth advantage in that they don't need to buy weapons (or armor) so they are generally 'ahead of the curve' of a corresponding soldier?

I'm playing a solarion and we're noticing that's a definite benefit (we've just hit level ten) I can generally keep close to level+2 in armor whereas the soldier tends to oscillate from using under-levelled weapons to under-levelled armor as he decides which area to boost.


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Steve Geddes wrote:

I don't really follow technical rules discussions very well, but are you analysis-minded folk factoring in that Solarions have a wealth advantage in that they don't need to buy weapons (or armor) so they are generally 'ahead of the curve' of a corresponding soldier?

I'm playing a solarion and we're noticing that's a definite benefit (we've just hit level ten) I can generally keep close to level+2 in armor whereas the soldier tends to oscillate from using under-levelled weapons to under-levelled armor as he decides which area to boost.

Solar Armor Solarians always have to buy armor. Solar armor is a +1 or +2 enhancement bonus on top of light armor, not a light armor replacement.

While Solarians do have a scaling Solar Weapon, without Solarian crystals, it is a few levels behind in effectiveness.

Compare for example, the level 12 Solarian's Solar weapon with 4d6 damage to the 1-handed Comet Hammer (4d6) buyable at level 10. Similarly, at 16th level you can buy a Meteoric Hammer dealing 11d6, while the Solarian's Solar Weapon does 11d6 at 19th level. So if you're not buying crystals, you'll be doing the equivalent damage of level-2 or level-3 weapons at the higher end.

Admittedly, that level-2 or level-3 equivalent damage is at least usable (and probably expected to happen at least at some levels for other classes) and free. However, many Solarians are going to want the extra damage from Solarian Crystals, which while cheaper than most equivalent weapons, are a non-negligible amount of credits.

But you certainly can play a Solar Weapon Solarian on the cheap side and not buy a melee weapon.

Unfortunately, as most weapons don't really scale between levels 1 and 6 or so, means most characters will realize a savings of only 200-500 credits in that level range. The savings starts to become more significant at the mid-levels around 6-9, when most people would be buying their second primary weapon. This doesn't really help characters around level 3 much, for example.


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That makes sense. We only really noticed it when we got to level 9/10.

It does seem an advantage though (for a solar weapon wielder). Even including a crystal every few levels.


Steve Geddes wrote:

That makes sense. We only really noticed it when we got to level 9/10.

It does seem an advantage though (for a solar weapon wielder). Even including a crystal every few levels.

It definitely can be an advantage (or perhaps trade off of damage for credits). Let us assume an upgrade cycle is for a normal class is buy at level, use through level-2, then buy new at level-3 again.

Once your in the mid-levels, and you've bought armor at level 3 and 6, and just made it to 9.

Normally, you'd be buying a a weapon for about 12,000 credits and armor for 13,000-14,000 credits. A Solarian on the cheap could afford ~25,000 credits for armor, or about level 11 armor. They'd keep it until level 12. At which point they don't need to buy a 35,000 to 40,000 credit weapon, and can afford a level 14 armor (60-70,000) instead of a level 12 armor (35-45,000).

This seems to mesh with your described experience of being at armor level+2. In general, that puts you about 2 EAC/KAC ahead.

This is always a possible advantage in SFS play where everything is bought with credits. In a home campaign where the GM might just throw level appropriate armor and/or weapons at you and might value them at 10% or 100%, it maybe less clear of an advantage. Depends on how the GM handles the accounting. If you're handed a decent Solarian Crystal, better than your current one, but refuse to use it, does it count as 10% or 100% value? Does the GM need adjust rewards in the next fight then?

Out of curiosity, how is the Solar Weapon Solarian in the mid-levels working out for you? And if you don't mind, whats your party composition like?


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Our game is atypical as I rolled stats for my guy and got great numbers so he doesn’t suffer from the MAD problem (though I also always roll in order, so he’s probably not built perfectly). We also have a mechanic, a soldier and a mystic. I play the role of captain in starship combat. I also have a habit of spreading skills widely rather than specialising, so that skews things somewhat (I’m a bit good at lots of things, but not much use outside of combat).

I’m doing pretty well keeping up with the soldier damage wise. I have been kinda fragile but it took me a long while to realise that light armour didn’t really cut it. I got heavy armour at level eight or nine and the boost was significant.


Steve Geddes wrote:

Our game is atypical as I rolled stats for my guy and got great numbers so he doesn’t suffer from the MAD problem (though I also always roll in order, so he’s probably not built perfectly). We also have a mechanic, a soldier and a mystic. I play the role of captain in starship combat. I also have a habit of spreading skills widely rather than specialising, so that skews things somewhat (I’m a bit good at lots of things, but not much use outside of combat).

I’m doing pretty well keeping up with the soldier damage wise. I have been kinda fragile but it took me a long while to realise that light armour didn’t really cut it. I got heavy armour at level eight or nine and the boost was significant.

That fragility, on top of the MAD nature of the class, is what most people feel the biggest problem is and where the "feat tax" thing comes in.

That's why I'm puzzled as to why they didn't just have solarians have both solar weapon and solar armor as part of their kit. I'm assuming it's because they wanted people to have the option to go melee or ranged and having both would force a Solarian to be a melee combatant. But I don't feel they thought out the Solar Weapon part too well.

Heck, 5E Barbarians can run around naked and have more survivability.


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KLGChaos wrote:


Heck, 5E Barbarians can run around naked and have more survivability.

Well everyone going "GAH!" and closing their eyes does make you rather hard to hit...


Steve Geddes wrote:

I don't really follow technical rules discussions very well, but are you analysis-minded folk factoring in that Solarions have a wealth advantage in that they don't need to buy weapons (or armor) so they are generally 'ahead of the curve' of a corresponding soldier?

I'm playing a solarion and we're noticing that's a definite benefit (we've just hit level ten) I can generally keep close to level+2 in armor whereas the soldier tends to oscillate from using under-levelled weapons to under-levelled armor as he decides which area to boost.

The problem is that they do though, if they want to keep up.

Solar weapon lags behind in damage, unless you buy the crystals, which costs as much as a weapon. So I guess if you wanted to be mediocre you could choose not buy it and save money.

And solar armor still needs to buy light armor.

So they're not really ahead of the curve by much by my estimation.


BigNorseWolf wrote:
KLGChaos wrote:


Heck, 5E Barbarians can run around naked and have more survivability.

Well everyone going "GAH!" and closing their eyes does make you rather hard to hit...

Not if you also pump up the Barbarian's Charisma. ;)


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Claxon wrote:
Steve Geddes wrote:

I don't really follow technical rules discussions very well, but are you analysis-minded folk factoring in that Solarions have a wealth advantage in that they don't need to buy weapons (or armor) so they are generally 'ahead of the curve' of a corresponding soldier?

I'm playing a solarion and we're noticing that's a definite benefit (we've just hit level ten) I can generally keep close to level+2 in armor whereas the soldier tends to oscillate from using under-levelled weapons to under-levelled armor as he decides which area to boost.

The problem is that they do though, if they want to keep up.

Solar weapon lags behind in damage, unless you buy the crystals, which costs as much as a weapon.

Really? We haven't noticed that. I guess it depends how often you buy and sell them (I tend to buy a level+2 crystal and sell it when it's level-2 I can afford armor upgrades more often than that.).


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Claxon wrote:
Steve Geddes wrote:

I don't really follow technical rules discussions very well, but are you analysis-minded folk factoring in that Solarions have a wealth advantage in that they don't need to buy weapons (or armor) so they are generally 'ahead of the curve' of a corresponding soldier?

I'm playing a solarion and we're noticing that's a definite benefit (we've just hit level ten) I can generally keep close to level+2 in armor whereas the soldier tends to oscillate from using under-levelled weapons to under-levelled armor as he decides which area to boost.

The problem is that they do though, if they want to keep up.

Solar weapon lags behind in damage, unless you buy the crystals, which costs as much as a weapon. So I guess if you wanted to be mediocre you could choose not buy it and save money.

And solar armor still needs to buy light armor.

So they're not really ahead of the curve by much by my estimation.

Okay, crazy idea.

Take a Solarian with 13 Intelligence (yes, I know, MAD, but just take an Intelligence race like Android and throw your extra point in there).

At 5th level upgrade Intelligence and get Technomantic Dabbler as a Feat, picking Junk Armor as your 1st level spell. Junk Armor gives you free light armor for 24 hours, or gives you heavy armor if you are already wearing light armor.

So if you're an armor Solarian, you don't need to buy armor at all, and if you're a weapon Solarian (with heavy armor proficiency), you can just buy the cheaper light armor and slap on the heavy stuff for free as required.

Junk Solarian!


Dracomicron wrote:
Claxon wrote:
Steve Geddes wrote:

I don't really follow technical rules discussions very well, but are you analysis-minded folk factoring in that Solarions have a wealth advantage in that they don't need to buy weapons (or armor) so they are generally 'ahead of the curve' of a corresponding soldier?

I'm playing a solarion and we're noticing that's a definite benefit (we've just hit level ten) I can generally keep close to level+2 in armor whereas the soldier tends to oscillate from using under-levelled weapons to under-levelled armor as he decides which area to boost.

The problem is that they do though, if they want to keep up.

Solar weapon lags behind in damage, unless you buy the crystals, which costs as much as a weapon. So I guess if you wanted to be mediocre you could choose not buy it and save money.

And solar armor still needs to buy light armor.

So they're not really ahead of the curve by much by my estimation.

Okay, crazy idea.

Take a Solarian with 13 Intelligence (yes, I know, MAD, but just take an Intelligence race like Android and throw your extra point in there).

At 5th level upgrade Intelligence and get Technomantic Dabbler as a Feat, picking Junk Armor as your 1st level spell. Junk Armor gives you free light armor for 24 hours, or gives you heavy armor if you are already wearing light armor.

So if you're an armor Solarian, you don't need to buy armor at all, and if you're a weapon Solarian (with heavy armor proficiency), you can just buy the cheaper light armor and slap on the heavy stuff for free as required.

Junk Solarian!

I really need to find the later books in a database, since it seems like my interest in strange builds might have something now.


Bonus style points if you flavor it like the various pieces of Voltron popping out of walls or piles of trash and attaching to you.


Not that the Junk Armor thing doesn't work at all...but the armor you will create will be behind.

I looked at 10th level just for comparison purposes.

Junk Armor from a 10th level caster would create light armor with:
EAC = 10
KAC = 12
Max Dex = 3

Heavy armor version would be:
EAC = 11
KAC = 14
Max Dex = 0

Level 10 Light Armor
EAC = 12
KAC = 13/14 (depends on which you purchase)
Max Dex = 5/6

Heavy Armor
EAC = 15
KAC = 18
Max Dex = 2

So, I mean I guess it works if you want to be very thrift, but it doesn't actually keep up.


Claxon wrote:

Not that the Junk Armor thing doesn't work at all...but the armor you will create will be behind.

I looked at 10th level just for comparison purposes.

Junk Armor from a 10th level caster would create light armor with:
EAC = 10
KAC = 12
Max Dex = 3

Heavy armor version would be:
EAC = 11
KAC = 14
Max Dex = 0

Level 10 Light Armor
EAC = 12
KAC = 13/14 (depends on which you purchase)
Max Dex = 5/6

Heavy Armor
EAC = 15
KAC = 18
Max Dex = 2

So, I mean I guess it works if you want to be very thrift, but it doesn't actually keep up.

Yes, I have also done the math and it isn't GREAT, but it is mostly FREE. It also has the advantage of having its own fresh environmental protection each time you cast it, which on long treks, for example through a steamy jungle, would be worth its weight in gold.

(I also have a Technomancer that uses Junksword as his main spell)


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KLGChaos wrote:
Metaphysician wrote:
KLGChaos wrote:

The problem with the comparison with Pathfinder and Starfinder and the tank debate is that there were usually multiple classes in melee and far less ranged attackers (unless you were fighting an army of archers or spellcasters).

Many times, a Solarian ends up being the only melee while most of your party (and your enemies) are using ranged weapons, probably from being cover. This makes Mr. Stand-Out-in-the-Open a prime target for focus fire. After all, why go for the the hevaily armored Soldier who's got partial cover or spend time looking for the hidden sniper when there's an easy, lightly armored target right out in the open.

I would suggest part of the problem here is poor judgement on the part of the Solarian PC. If the terrain is such that they can be readily focus fired by all enemies, than he shouldn't dive out to melee yet.

When should he engage in melee? When the enemies are positioned such that he has cover from most of them, possibly from their own bodies obstructing some of them. When his allied party members provide him with covering fire or other defensive advantages. When there's a specific enemy that is worth killing right now. When the enemies are of questionable discipline and morale, and a solarian with a giant flaming weapon stands a good chance of breaking them. When the Solarian has initiative advantage, and exploits that to basically act at both the end of one turn and the beginning of the next.

And if nothing like this applies? Stay in cover, and do something else. Pull out your sidearm and use it. Use special abilities that don't depend on melee. Do *something* to prove your not a one-trick pony who would rather die than do something other than your one trick.

While it's true they can wait for a better chance to go into combat, it's definitely inefficient. While the Solarian is waiting for an opportunity and using his weak small arms fire, the other classes are already unloading on the enemies....

You are assuming that this would be the norm for all fights, as opposed to being one scenario amongst many. The Solarian would only be holding to cover when the fight involves numerous enemies with clear lines of fire and threatening ranged attacks, where the other PCs can't/won't provide any support.

I would propose that, unless both the GM and the other players are doing a lot very wrong, this would not in fact be the norm. First, you have every fight that is against a limit number of foes; you can't focus fire if there's only one of you. Second, you have ever fight against melee-focused opponents; you can't be focus fired if the enemies don't shoot anything ( and you probably don't care about it too much if the focus fire is comparatively weak and inaccurate ). Third, even in the set of fights against numerous foes with threatening ranged attacks, if the fight is in terrain with available cover, you can skirmish, you just need to pick your movements carefully. Lastly, and most importantly. . . if you are a glass cannon and you have a team, why are the team not doing anything to assist you? Covering fire exists, so do smoke grenades, so do Envoy buffs, so do various beneficial spells.

To sum up, I really am forced to ask: Why is there the expectation that *any* class in the game should be able to rush the enemy, solo and exposed, and have this work out well all the time? Starfinder is a game built around teams, and there is more to teamwork than just fighting simultaneously on the same battlefield.

Exo-Guardians

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Metaphysician wrote:
To sum up, I really am forced to ask: Why is there the expectation that *any* class in the game should be able to rush the enemy, solo and exposed, and have this work out well all the time?

I do! I crash into people and they fall over!

I haven't been knocked down since my very first adventure!

Okay there was that time against the walruses... I probably would have died if there weren't three technomancers spamming magic missile.

Okay there's that other time against the burning guy who ate my hand and I almost died because Raia was messing around with a computer instead of helping.

Okay yeah I need a team.


So the more I read here, the more it looks to me like every single one of a Solarian's problems are a symptom of their MADness. This MADness comes pretty much entirely from the fact that they use Cha as their resolve stat, but it does basically nothing else for them. So it seems the best option, that requires the least amount of system tinkering, is to make Cha do more by allowing a Solarian to substitute their cha bonus for one other stats they would otherwise want.

So how about this little tweak to solar weapon/solar armor.

Solar Weapon: The solar weapon allows the Solarian to use their Cha bonus to melee damage rolls in place of their Str bonus.

Solar Armor: While solar armor is active, the Solarian may use their Cha bonus in place of their Dex bonus to calculate AC. It is still limited by their max dex bonus.

BOOM! No mandatory feats, and all of the proficiency see some action! A solar weapon solarian doesn't need str as long as they stick to their solar weapon, letting them invest in enough dex to make use of light armor to have, perhaps not tank-like AC, at least enough to survive in melee with good positioning. And solar armor solarian doesn't need dex, letting them invest in enough str to make that advanced melee proficiency worth something. Either way, it mantains the vision of a lightly armored melee warrior (they were clearly never intended to be ranged - such builds were simply a byproduct of dealing with their MADness), with the weapon solarians getting to be melee damage dealers without having to pick and chose which automatically gained class abilities they can make use of, and the armor solarians being able to do the same with their AC.


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Personally, I think the better way to handle it is to simply allow Solarions to choose between Str, Dex, or Charisma to determine resolve.

I think that has all the effects we want, without really causing anything else to be "fiddly".


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martinaj wrote:
So the more I read here, the more it looks to me like every single one of a Solarian's problems are a symptom of their MADness. This MADness comes pretty much entirely from the fact that they use Cha as their resolve stat, but it does basically nothing else for them. So it seems the best option, that requires the least amount of system tinkering, is to make Cha do more by allowing a Solarian to substitute their cha bonus for one other stats they would otherwise want.

Again, and no one seems to agree, but the MAD problem is only that at levels 1-3, or at the latest, 5. And only if you don't consider the having a team part.

Level 3 your first Personal Upgrade will supplement either of Str or Dex, whichever you feel is more important, and by 5, let's do some math.

If we consider a max stat character, a 16 stat character (the latter of which it is possible for a Solarian to be dependent on racial choice), and a 14.

First we'll look without upgrades, the 18 at level 5 will become 19, maintaining a +4, the 16 becomes 18 at +4, and the 14 becomes 16 at +3. Even if they started the +2 lower (18 compared to 14), by level 5 it is reduced to +1, plus the additional advantage of more diverse other stats all recieving similar boosts.

By level 10, that 18 started is now 20 for +5, 16 becomes 19 if they're still interested for +4, and that 14 is 18 for also +4. Literally closing the gap further.

16 starts cannot make it past 21, so basically from level 5 onward, even if you started 2 under, the only characters you're not even with on boosts is the 18 max characters with their one hyper-specialized stat.

And that's not touching on Personal Upgrades, which aren't capped the same way, meaning they're an extra +1, +2, and +3 to whatever 3 stats you want, whatever suits your build, but it doesn't make any difference to the whopping 1 difference that abilities represent.

If a Solarian wants to hyper optimize, whether with with 16s or an 18, yes. The build should probably supplement what they're choosing to give up. Again though, the biggest difference this will make is levels 1-5.

Complaining they can't use Light Armor because they won't hit the +8 of the highest level armor is dumb. I understand their need for AC as a melee fighter, but you now what else Dex gives them? Reflex saves, the one save they don't get as a good save. And if they want to, as pointed above, they will cap 1-2 points behind max, 14 ending at 20 if they boost all for, finishing at +5, with up to +3 from Personal Upgrades. (Not including the possibility of being Solar Armor, which would add to it, allowing for less investment to keep par)

Complaining they lose out on their damage because they don't have the strength? Strength is attack rolls and damage. Early levels, yeah. 2 less damage a hit may feel impactful. Photon exists though, almost like it was making up for it a little. Huh. But then as you rise and it's a 1 difference, which is negligible. Even if you consider a full attack, 3 damage is a drop in the bucket to high CR creatures. As for the attack rolls, literally every other class than the Soldier has 3/4 BAB, so +5 over the course of 20 levels puts them above the bar compared to an ability difference of 1. And early CR creatures are still more than hit-able by a 12 Str Envoy with a dueling sword (except on days I can't roll higher than 5. We all have them).

Charisma is their resolve and DCs. This one can feel a little more impactful. 3 resolve at character creation is about as low as I'd be willing to go. My team has yet to use more than about 2 resolve in the early levels between rests, but I can't account for everyone there.

Int and Con are their danger skills. If you're going to be captain of your ship you probably want the Int for skills like Piloting and Engineering. If you're your team's tank, the Con is nice. I can agree they should have more base skill points, considering their kit and intended role, however, they start ahead of the curve on hit points and stamina points already, so while these are the largest impacted areas: Soldiers get along fine with 4+int points, and every other class deals with fewer HP/SP.

Whoo... Alright, TLDR version: MAD is not really an issue here. Complaining about it comes down to whining that Min-Maxing a Solarian means actually having a Min that will impact the character.


Solarians have the same problem they have always had.

They require more work, for less effect. They will be behind other classes by a small amount (1-3) in Saves with no real benefit for it. They are one of the highest damage dealers, but not high enough to justify the weaknesses.

They really just need something to help with the saves to catch them up and it isn't much. Typically a 1 in one and a 2 in another.


HWalsh wrote:

Solarians have the same problem they have always had.

They require more work, for less effect. They will be behind other classes by a small amount (1-3) in Saves with no real benefit for it. They are one of the highest damage dealers, but not high enough to justify the weaknesses.

They really just need something to help with the saves to catch them up and it isn't much. Typically a 1 in one and a 2 in another.

It'll be interesting to see how scaling power armor affects how people build Solarians.

Depending on how Battle Harness scales, a Solarian might simply start with 14 Strength and never increase it, relying on the Power Armor strength from level 5 onwards. That drops the stats one needs to increase for combat and saves down to Dex, Con, Wis, Cha for a melee Solarian, for example.

If such a upgraded Battle Harness gets to Jarlslayer strength by 15th level then it might actually even be the optimal melee build path.


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I think the problem with simply eliminating the MAD aspect of the Solarian is that the class gets a lot of class features specifically to make up for being MAD. Solar Armor and Graviton Mode offsets having a lower dex, Photon Mode (and plasma sheath) offsets having a lower str, Sidereal Influence and free class skills offsets having no real points to invest in INT.

If you redesign the Solarian so that it can be built in the same way as a soldier (pump str&dex and ignore charisma at level 1, boost str/dex/con/wis every level boost) then you're making it a class that gets essentially everything melee soldiers get with free damage/save/skill boosts on top.

I'd rather go the other way by making charisma a more interesting stat for Solarians. Right now it feels like a tax since the most popular revelations are charisma agnostic and apart from resolve there's not many things really encouraging you to invest in charisma.


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Kudaku wrote:

I think the problem with simply eliminating the MAD aspect of the Solarian is that the class gets a lot of class features specifically to make up for being MAD. Solar Armor and Graviton Mode offsets having a lower dex, Photon Mode (and plasma sheath) offsets having a lower str, Sidereal Influence and free class skills offsets having no real points to invest in INT.

If you redesign the Solarian so that it can be built in the same way as a soldier (pump str&dex and ignore charisma at level 1, boost str/dex/con/wis every level boost) then you're making it a class that gets essentially everything melee soldiers get with free damage/save/skill boosts on top.

I'd rather go the other way by making charisma a more interesting stat for Solarians. Right now it feels like a tax since the most popular revelations are charisma agnostic and apart from resolve there's not many things really encouraging you to invest in charisma.

Someone who gets it.

On the last point though, depending on build, you can really do a lot more with Cha using feats. The two in particular that come to mind are Antagonize and Unfriendly Fire. Skill feats for Diplomacy, Intimidate and Bluff with a level 5 (5 skill ranks) restriction.

While some would argue that falls under "feat tax for X", really they're more gravy as you don't need either. They're just really fun for a Cha-based character.


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Kudaku wrote:

I think the problem with simply eliminating the MAD aspect of the Solarian is that the class gets a lot of class features specifically to make up for being MAD. Solar Armor and Graviton Mode offsets having a lower dex, Photon Mode (and plasma sheath) offsets having a lower str, Sidereal Influence and free class skills offsets having no real points to invest in INT.

If you redesign the Solarian so that it can be built in the same way as a soldier (pump str&dex and ignore charisma at level 1, boost str/dex/con/wis every level boost) then you're making it a class that gets essentially everything melee soldiers get with free damage/save/skill boosts on top.

I'd rather go the other way by making charisma a more interesting stat for Solarians. Right now it feels like a tax since the most popular revelations are charisma agnostic and apart from resolve there's not many things really encouraging you to invest in charisma.

This is misinformed.

Those things that "make up for it" don't.

Photon Attune and Plasma Sheath don't help with attack bonus.

Graviton only helps really if you are ranged, which, if you are you have a high dex.

Sidreal Influence is sort of good. As my level 11 Solarian learned last night:

"Well, I have Diplomacy and Intimidate... I... Huh... I have no other skills on this list at max rank."

Meaning... Useless.

So no, you don't get to act like the issues there aren't there.


Hwalsh, I choose not to engage with you. :)


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Kudaku wrote:
Hwalsh, I choose not to engage with you. :)

Instead you post with a cute smile to taunt.

You don't have to engage. I'll call you out regardless when you're wrong. Others can decide if they agree with you or not.


HWalsh wrote:
Others can decide if they agree with you or not.

That's fine, I'm happy to explain my positions and my view on the state of the Solarian to anyone else who asks. :)

Isaac Zephyr wrote:

On the last point though, depending on build, you can really do a lot more with Cha using feats. The two in particular that come to mind are Antagonize and Unfriendly Fire. Skill feats for Diplomacy, Intimidate and Bluff with a level 5 (5 skill ranks) restriction.

While some would argue that falls under "feat tax for X", really they're more gravy as you don't need either. They're just really fun for a Cha-based character.

That's an interesting point. I'm not a huge fan of Antagonize for a solarian since the DC is rough (especially since Sidereal Influence doesn't work in combat) and you normally have better things to do with your standard action, but I hadn't considered Unfriendly Fire. Again I'm a little concerned about the skill DC scaling (15 +1.5 CR) but it's definitely an interesting option! A few more things like these for the Solarian and I think we can make the charisma a boon rather than a penalty. :)


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HWalsh wrote:

This is misinformed.

Those things that "make up for it" don't.

Photon Attune and Plasma Sheath don't help with attack bonus.

I'll try to engage with math, although I certainly have done this number crunching before.

While the statement that those two abilities don't help attack bonus is literally true, attack bonus isn't the point of combat. Taking the enemy down to zero hit points is, which is a multiplication of both to-hit and damage, the latter of which those two powers do provide. Strength helps you take enemies down faster in melee. Photon Attunement and Plasma sheath also help you take enemies down faster in melee.

Say at 6th level (not an unreasonable level to take Plasma Sheath if you're staying balanced in graviton/photon powers), Photon mode and Plasma sheath add 5 points of damage. Assume 14 starting strength for a Solarian and compare to a strength 16 or 18 Soldier, so +4 mod for the Solarian and +5 mod for the Soldier at level 6 (with personal upgrade +2). Assume weapon focus. So +11 to-hit for Solarian and +12 for Soldier. Assume melee striker for the Soldier, so the Solarian has a +2 point damage advantage. A level 6 advanced melee weapon example is the Plasma Doshko, which does base 1d10 damage at that level.

So we're talking +12, 1d10+13 (avg 18.5) versus +11, 1d10+15 (avg 20.5).

Against CR 6 enemy with EAC 18, the expect damage per round from a single attack is: 13.875 for the Soldier and 14.35 for the Solarian.

Full attack: 20.35 expected for Soldier, 20.5 expected for the Solarian.

So the Solarian is coming out ahead or essentially tied at a typical level they'd take Plasma sheath, when compared to an 18 Strength Soldier.

And the next level, 7th, the Solarian has the same odds of hitting as the Soldier in a full attack since Solarians get Flashing Strikes at which does help with to-hit.

HWalsh wrote:

Graviton only helps really if you are ranged, which, if you are you have a high dex.

Sidreal Influence is sort of good. As my level 11 Solarian learned last night:

"Well, I have Diplomacy and Intimidate... I... Huh... I have no other skills on this list at max rank."

If it matters alot to a player, they can use their 4 skill ranks per level in 4 of the 10 skills which are covered by Sidereal Influence.

Or they can do as you have done if those skills don't match their character concept.

The list of 10 skills is half of the total 20 skills in the game, so its the 2nd largest skill list to pick from (Operatives are ahead since they get insight to all skills). Even envoys can only pick from 8 skill plus sense motive. Its quite possible to build an Envoy that has no ranks in two of the skills they've picked for Expertise by level 11 as well, without having to put ranks in non-class skills. Does that mean Envoys need more skill ranks?

HWalsh wrote:
Meaning... Useless.

I have a Solarian with Diplomacy, Intimidate, Mysticism and Sense Motive (plus Athletics as a Human). Its not useless to me until 19th level, which in SFS, isn't going to happen. And even then I'll probably have dumped 4 points into Int if I did go to level 20.

HWalsh wrote:
So no, you don't get to act like the issues there aren't there.

While the class might have issues, definitely some of the numbers come out as if the developers knew MAD was an issue, and tried to bump some stuff up. If Solarians are behind other classes, its not by much. The balance overall is much better I find than in Pathfinder classes or 3.5 D&D.

Solarians biggest flaw is they are complicated, which to some players is probably its attraction.

I tend to agree with the group of forum goers who feel Charisma simply needs to provide a little bit more to character, rather than tweak the Solarian class key stat. That would result in a more diverse set of classes and builds rather than allowing the Solarian to be like all the other classes which pump Dex for combat and Int for skills.


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I'd like to point out, unless I'm forgetting something ,that Solar Weapons don't target EAC, they target KAC. Which is generally 2 points higher on NPCs, than their EAC. It also doesn't use the same damage dice, but yeah..

Which changes those math calculation you did if the Solarion chose the Solar Weapon. Which is actually an even bigger argument for not taking the Solar Weapon, like we were discussing in the other thread.

Yeah, it's totally unintuitive that choosing the weapon class feature actually would make you worse than just buying a weapon.

But yeah, assuming you take solar armor and purchase melee weapons you will slightly out damage a melee soldier because you get more damage bonuses. Though you are also more at risk of having your damage negated by fire resistance, which seems to be the most common energy to be resisted. Where a soldier can choose weapons that deal other damage.

So...yeah. Don't get the solar weapon is the actual take away here I think.

Also, be prepared for you AC to be not quite as good until around level 10, but then you'll be alright.


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Claxon wrote:

I'd like to point out, unless I'm forgetting something ,that Solar Weapons don't target EAC, they target KAC. Which is generally 2 points higher on NPCs, than their EAC. It also doesn't use the same damage dice, but yeah..

Which changes those math calculation you did if the Solarion chose the Solar Weapon. Which is actually an even bigger argument for not taking the Solar Weapon, like we were discussing in the other thread.

Yeah, it's totally unintuitive that choosing the weapon class feature actually would make you worse than just buying a weapon.

I will note that by choosing Solar Weapon, you don't actually lose anything. So you can still spend exactly the same number of credits as the Soldier and pickup a Plasma Doshko as a Solar Weapon Solarian. And then have a free kinetic weapon as backup against those fire immune enemies we just mentioned, while the Soldier still needs to pay for a backup weapon as the Plasma Doshko is electric and fire.

I picked the Plasma Doshko for the comparison since its the best to-hit/damage combination at 6th level (ignoring resistances, since it gets hit by both electrical and fire resistances/immunities). If you go to level 7, then the Solar Weapon (2d6) plus 5th level crystal (1d4), plus flashing strikes actually edges out ahead the level 6 or 7 weapons in a Soldier's hands (depending on the target's exact AC).

I also totally understand how you are feeling and why you are disappointed in the feature. What many consider to be the cool and iconic feature drawing people to the class is sometimes relegated to backup weapon status when comparing maximum damage output.

Claxon wrote:
But yeah, assuming you take solar armor and purchase melee weapons you will slightly out damage a melee soldier because you get more damage bonuses. Though you are also more at risk of having your damage negated by fire resistance, which seems to be the most common energy to be resisted. Where a soldier can choose weapons that deal other damage.

The cute thing Solarians can do is pick an EAC weapon which is not fire (like Electric or Cold), and still have the choice of Fire or that damage type. And if they are Solar Weapon, kinetic as well as backup for free. All for the same cost as the Soldier's single damage type weapon.

But you are right, Solarians damage output does drop against fire resistant/immune enemies because of Plasma sheath (also because of Supernova doing less to groups). Same way that a Laser rifle using character needs to switch to a backup weapon.

Claxon wrote:

So...yeah. Don't get the solar weapon is the actual take away here I think.

Also, be prepared for you AC to be not quite as good until around level 10, but then you'll be alright.

In some sense, AC is what it comes down to. If you do take Heavy Armor Proficiency to have identical AC to the Soldier at low levels, Solar Weapon is the only choice that gets you something when you are wearing heavy armor. At some levels, Solar Weapon plus crystal will do well in raw damage comparisons and some it will fall slightly behind.

On the brights side, the math is much closer in Starfinder than in Pathfinder. Between classes expected to deal damage in melee, you might see wildly different numbers (like +6 to hit differences at level 6, or 10 to 20 damage per round differences). We're only discussing +1 or +2 to-hit and like 2 or 3 points of expected damage per round at level 6 or 7 here.


Hiruma Kai wrote:
Claxon wrote:

I'd like to point out, unless I'm forgetting something ,that Solar Weapons don't target EAC, they target KAC. Which is generally 2 points higher on NPCs, than their EAC. It also doesn't use the same damage dice, but yeah..

Which changes those math calculation you did if the Solarion chose the Solar Weapon. Which is actually an even bigger argument for not taking the Solar Weapon, like we were discussing in the other thread.

Yeah, it's totally unintuitive that choosing the weapon class feature actually would make you worse than just buying a weapon.

I will note that by choosing Solar Weapon, you don't actually lose anything. So you can still spend exactly the same number of credits as the Soldier and pickup a Plasma Doshko as a Solar Weapon Solarian. And then have a free kinetic weapon as backup against those fire immune enemies we just mentioned, while the Soldier still needs to pay for a backup weapon as the Plasma Doshko is electric and fire.

I picked the Plasma Doshko for the comparison since its the best to-hit/damage combination at 6th level (ignoring resistances, since it gets hit by both electrical and fire resistances/immunities). If you go to level 7, then the Solar Weapon (2d6) plus 5th level crystal (1d4), plus flashing strikes actually edges out ahead the level 6 or 7 weapons in a Soldier's hands (depending on the target's exact AC).

I also totally understand how you are feeling and why you are disappointed in the feature. What many consider to be the cool and iconic feature drawing people to the class is sometimes relegated to backup weapon status when comparing maximum damage output.

Claxon wrote:
But yeah, assuming you take solar armor and purchase melee weapons you will slightly out damage a melee soldier because you get more damage bonuses. Though you are also more at risk of having your damage negated by fire resistance, which seems to be the most common energy to be resisted. Where a soldier can choose weapons that deal other damage.
...

To be honest, one of the things they should have done with the Solar Weapon was make it a Kinetic weapon damage, but target EAC. Then, oddly, the strength issue wouldn't matter so much as you'd effectively get +to hit (from targeting EAC) and you'd get damage (from Photon/Plasma Sheath)


HWalsh wrote:
Hiruma Kai wrote:
Claxon wrote:

I'd like to point out, unless I'm forgetting something ,that Solar Weapons don't target EAC, they target KAC. Which is generally 2 points higher on NPCs, than their EAC. It also doesn't use the same damage dice, but yeah..

Which changes those math calculation you did if the Solarion chose the Solar Weapon. Which is actually an even bigger argument for not taking the Solar Weapon, like we were discussing in the other thread.

Yeah, it's totally unintuitive that choosing the weapon class feature actually would make you worse than just buying a weapon.

I will note that by choosing Solar Weapon, you don't actually lose anything. So you can still spend exactly the same number of credits as the Soldier and pickup a Plasma Doshko as a Solar Weapon Solarian. And then have a free kinetic weapon as backup against those fire immune enemies we just mentioned, while the Soldier still needs to pay for a backup weapon as the Plasma Doshko is electric and fire.

I picked the Plasma Doshko for the comparison since its the best to-hit/damage combination at 6th level (ignoring resistances, since it gets hit by both electrical and fire resistances/immunities). If you go to level 7, then the Solar Weapon (2d6) plus 5th level crystal (1d4), plus flashing strikes actually edges out ahead the level 6 or 7 weapons in a Soldier's hands (depending on the target's exact AC).

I also totally understand how you are feeling and why you are disappointed in the feature. What many consider to be the cool and iconic feature drawing people to the class is sometimes relegated to backup weapon status when comparing maximum damage output.

Claxon wrote:
But yeah, assuming you take solar armor and purchase melee weapons you will slightly out damage a melee soldier because you get more damage bonuses. Though you are also more at risk of having your damage negated by fire resistance, which seems to be the most common energy to be resisted. Where a soldier can choose
...

I think part of the disparity comes from the Doshko being a two-handed weapon and the solarian weapon being ostensibly one-handed. How does the solarian weapon compare to other one-handed weapons? (There are some advantages to having a free hand in terms of action economy and versatility, though admittedly less than what Pathfinder had with starfinder not having extra attacks for multiple weapons).


Tender Tendrils wrote:
I think part of the disparity comes from the Doshko being a two-handed weapon and the solarian weapon being ostensibly one-handed. How does the solarian weapon compare to other one-handed weapons? (There are some advantages to having a free hand in terms of action economy and versatility, though admittedly less than what Pathfinder had with starfinder not having extra attacks for multiple weapons).

With the introduction of Pact worlds, the 1st level tauon crystal which does +1 E damage for 235 credits makes the Solar Weapon save about 95-140 credits versus 1-handed melee (Assault Hammer, 1d6, 95 credits or Longsword, 1d8, 375 credits). On average, 1d6+1 is the same as 1d8.

So it has a very slight advantage there. As we move up in levels, the Solar Weapon is typically better than the KAC based 1-handed weapons.

At 5th you can upgrade the Solar weapon to 1d6+1d4, which is better than any 1-handed KAC weapon. At 7th, 2d6+1d4 > 1d12 or 2d8, using that 5th level crystal still.

2d6+1d6 > 4d4 at 8th
3d6+1d6 > 2d10 at 9th
3d6+1d6 = 4d6 at 10th
3d6+2d6 < 4d8 at 11th
4d6+2d6 > 4d8 at 12th
5d6+2d6 > 4d10 at 13th
6d6+3d6 > 7d8 at 14th
7d6+3d6 > 7d8 at 15th
8d6+3d6 = 11d6 at 16th
9d6+4d6 > 10d8 at 17th
10d6+4d6 > 8d10 at 18th
11d6+4d6 = 15d6 at 19th
12d6+6d6 = 14d8 at 20th

So its half a point low around 11th level for expected damage, and generally either equal or slightly higher (0.5 to 4 points or so) the rest of the time. It also might be due to the not filled out nature of the weapons table. I imagine the armory is going to present options that fill in at some levels, and that the Solar Weapon plus Crystal raw damage will basically be equivalent to the 1-handed hammer class of weapons (i.e. Assault Hammer, Comet Hammer, Meteoric Hammer, Gravity Well Hammer) in terms of raw damage.

Now this analysis is ignoring all the critical effects which crystal adds, and which most (but not all) of the 1-handed melee weapons are lacking (at least the ones that are keeping up in damage). Those hammers for example don't get crit effects.

For example, the Dimensional Slice Longsword is just 14d8 damage, no bonus on a crit, while the Solar Weapon is 18d6 plus 5d6 Burn or 6d6 Bleed on a crit. An extra 6d6 on a crit will push the damage in favor of the Solar Weapon at 20.

So Solar Weapons with crystals are probably the equivalent of a same level 1-handed weapon with all its "design points" in raw damage, then the Solar Weapon adds a bonus critical effect on top. So slightly better. Then it also gets the can't be disarmed, destroyed, or taken away, which are very situational and will depend on your GM a lot if they matter.

The Exchange

Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

From Armory:

Soulfire, Level 1 Weapon Fusion: Only on Solarian Weapon Crystals. Add CHA to DAMAGE in addition to strength.

/thread

But in seriousness, this likely more than makes up for the issue with at the end of the day amounted to about a 1-2 pt negative to one save.

I would have preferred they went with +cha to hit and damage instead of strength which would have straight up solved the MAD issue but this works, I think.


That certainly makes charisma more attractive! It's an interesting option - ability mod to damage is at its most powerful at low levels, exactly when Solarians struggle a bit. Depending on the price (and it's a level 1 item, I assume it can't be that expensive) it's a significant power boost to Solar Weapons. I hope there's something nice for Solar Armor users too.


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

It would be nice if there were solar armor crystals to effectively make solar armor help fill the mod slot gap between light and heavy armor, as well as the AC gap.

The customizable mod gap, that is, since there is the ER.


Kudaku wrote:
That certainly makes charisma more attractive! It's an interesting option - ability mod to damage is at its most powerful at low levels, exactly when Solarians struggle a bit. Depending on the price (and it's a level 1 item, I assume it can't be that expensive) it's a significant power boost to Solar Weapons. I hope there's something nice for Solar Armor users too.

Level 1 fusion would be 120 on a level 1 item, such as the Tauon crystal.


Shaudius wrote:

From Armory:

Soulfire, Level 1 Weapon Fusion: Only on Solarian Weapon Crystals. Add CHA to DAMAGE in addition to strength.

/thread

But in seriousness, this likely more than makes up for the issue with at the end of the day amounted to about a 1-2 pt negative to one save.

I would have preferred they went with +cha to hit and damage instead of strength which would have straight up solved the MAD issue but this works, I think.

This is absolutely a good thing.

What it does do, is (combined with Flashing Strikes) bring the average Melee weapon Solarian into the same (full attack) range as a Soldier (currently Soldiers tended to be +1 attack ahead) and allows them to pull clearly ahead in damage (by about 5 damage per hit) at levels. This is especially good at low levels where it jumps the typical 16 str, 14 cha, Solarian (with the +1E crystal) to 1d6+3(Str)+1E(Crystal)+1(Photon)+2(Cha) or 1d6+7


Actually, a potentially interesting build is a Lashunta, heavy armor, Solar Weapon, Tauon Crystal /w Soulfire.

14 Str/12 Dex/8 Wis/18 Cha.

+3 to hit, but 1d6+8 to damage. Without the fusion that would have only been 1d6+4. Roughly the same to hit of your typical Envoy, Mystic, Drone Mechanic, but about triple the damage. Plus Diplomacy and one other charisma skill could be sitting at +10 (and thats without insight bonuses). Hidden Soldier armor puts you at EAC/KAC 14/16 at level 1.

Supernova DC at level 1 is 14, dealing 2d6+1 damage.

All that together doesn't sound terrible for a Solarian aiming to focus on save DCs while still making enemies think twice about AoOs or engaging in melee.

That fusion is definitely a nice buff at the lower levels.

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