Playtest in Starfinder Society


Starfinder Society

1/5 ⦵⦵⦵⦵

Starfinder Superscriber

I was expecting to see a lively discussion about Rob's big leak on yesterday's Starfinder Wednesday by now, but since nobody has asked yet..

Besides playing AP in campaign mode, will there be a way for SFS to participate?

Grand Lodge 5/5 ⦵⦵⦵ Venture-Captain, Online—PbP aka Hmm

I am betting that Thursty will have something up after the main December 3rd blog.

Hmm

1/5 ⦵⦵⦵⦵

Starfinder Superscriber

The Guild Guide has rules for playtest so I could see it being sanctioned, but we haven't seen an update to Additional Resources since August. Ie, nothing from Aeon Throne, Alien Archive 2, or Signal of Screams yet. We've been waiting 4 months for an updated RSP boon.

I'm assuming the playtest will have timely goals to meet prior to finalization. So the question is not just would it be sanctioned, but also does SFS team have the time?

Sczarni 5/5 ⦵⦵

Starfinder Charter Superscriber

I think we play with Pregens, and then apply the credit to our actual characters.

This is pretty much why the AR has been delayed.

2/5

Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Can someone summarise what this is about? I don't usually listen to Twitch videos.


Jhaeman wrote:
Can someone summarise what this is about? I don't usually listen to Twitch videos.

Near the end of the stream, Rob came on and "let slip" that on Dec 3 there'd be the release of a starfinder playtest for new classes.

Paizo Employee Starfinder Society Developer

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Tee hee, it's almost like there was a reason I couldn't announce for why the AR was taking a slight delay. :)

Let's all wait until Monday.

5/5 ⦵⦵⦵

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Jhaeman wrote:
Can someone summarise what this is about? I don't usually listen to Twitch videos.

"Starfinder Wednesday is the highlight of my week -- when I'm not watching reruns of my own shows, of course. But you want a summary? I live -- in a manner of speaking -- to please."

Zo! pauses for dramatic effect, then raises a bony finger. "One minute before the last show ended, the following bit of dialogue happened."

★--- ★ --- ★ --- ★

Rob McCreary [striding blithely in]:
Owen, we need to talk about the new playtest for the new classes on Monday.

Owen [feigning surprise]:
The Playtest that we're not announcing until December 3rd on Paizo.com for new classes for Starfinder? [points to camera] That we should not be discussing on live mikes in front of an active camera?

Rob McCreary:
Uh... Monday, December 3rd. Paizo.com. Starfinder Playtest. See you then!

Owen:
Yeah, everything's all ready!

Dan Tharp [grinning from ear to ear]:
Goodnight, everybody! B.B. Wolfe's up next!

1/5 ⦵⦵⦵⦵

Starfinder Superscriber
Nefreet wrote:
I think we play with Pregens, and then apply the credit to our actual characters.

That'd be really odd, wouldn't the point of the playtest be to ensure players can't make completely broken characters?

I would expect pregens after the playtest classes are more solid.

Paizo Employee Starfinder Society Developer

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As above, let's wait until Monday to see what's in store for Organized Play! :D

1/5 ⦵⦵⦵⦵

Starfinder Superscriber

But speculation is so much fun, Thurston!

I mean, we haven't even started discussing what the new classes might be...

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Starfinder Superscriber

Speculation is fun...

I'm not a betting man, so I wouldn't bet on this, but my guesses are...

1. Something like an alchemist that makes nano-tech based potions and grenades.
2. Something like a summoner that is a magic based pet-class with some spellcasting.
3. Something like a ranger or scout that has very limited spellcasting and some skills/combat abilities focused on nature.
4. Something like a gunslinger that focuses on small arms (though, honestly, this would probably be better as a soldier fighting style than a new class).
5. Tilting at windmills, but it'd be nice to have a full caster. (I know I'm in the minority on that one, though.)

Dark Archive 5/5 ⦵⦵ Venture-Captain, Germany—Rhein Main South aka schattenstern

My hope would be a REAL caster (That can be played just with casting and not needing weapons.)

1/5 ⦵⦵⦵⦵

Starfinder Superscriber

Mystic is already a pretty pure spell casting class being a combination of Cleric, Druid, Oracle, Psychic, and other occult classes. I'd think that instead of adding a Psychic class they'd be more likely to add a new mystic connection and mystic spells that focused on mental intrusion or shielding (where Mind Breaker already focuses on mental attacks).

Technomancer already combines aspects of Alchemist, Magus, Sorcerer, and Wizard. No they're not infusing beverages with nanotech, but if they wanted that effect they'd expand technomancer with more magic hacks and spell options rather than create a whole new class.

Personally I'd bet on either hybrid classes, or classes like a Kineticist and Barbarian/Shifter.

Dataphiles 4/5 ⦵⦵

pithica42 wrote:

4. Something like a gunslinger that focuses on small arms (though, honestly, this would probably be better as a soldier fighting style than a new class).

5. Tilting at windmills, but it'd be nice to have a full caster. (I know I'm in the minority on that one, though.)

4) Honestly, for a small arm based character you need only go sharpshoot soldier. With Weapon Focus and Multi-Weapon Fighting you can dual pistols and full-attack at effectively a -2 on each (-1 if you use laser pistols with the gear boost). Unfortunately, the way sharpshoot is worded, Focus Fire only jumps in if you are full-attacking with 1 ranged weapon. Therefore you are better off just keeping up to date with one small arm as it is cheaper than two and Focus Fire effectively takes the place of Multi-Weapon Fighting, so you save yourself a feat as well as money.

5) I don't think it is a minority that wants full casters. To me the question is : What do you mean by full caster?
*If you mean a 9th level caster, then I would disagree. Starfinder is just fine without 9th level magic. Right now magic and technology are about even, tipping the balance would be unfortunate.
*If you mean being able to not buy weapons and just rely on spells, then I would suggest you test out a technomancer that uses spell gems. It definitely has the feel of a full caster minus a little bit of power, which is a good thing. It is necessary to require the use of spell gems because other characters spend money to keep up with their weapons. It factors out such that the expenditures are pretty even. Though, I haven't had the chance to play the technomancer a whole lot so we'll see how consistent it is.

Personally, I am nervous about new classes. Right now the balance between classes feels appropriate and preferences to classes is not a power based preference, but a playstyle/flavor based preference. I think that Starfinder classes would be better served to create archetypes of each class that other classes can take. I feel confident saying that many would like to see a soldier archetype that they can take (if not purely for weapon and/or armor proficiencies). A kind of VMC concept I suppose. Such an addition would vastly expand the character variety without having to multiclass.

⦵⦵

Starfinder Superscriber

I'm not trying to engage in a debate here, I'm just trying to clarify what I mean.

In regards to 4, right now, for anyone other than operative, Small arms only do about 70% of the DPR of longarms and are way behind heavy and solarian damage. While I don't think they need to be the 'best weapons ever'™, there are a lot of tropes that are present in a lot of science fantasy that aren't being used now because of that. If we had a class other than operative (and honestly, I'd rather it be a soldier fighting style or an archetype or just some feats than a new class) that got boosts to small arm DPR (that didn't stack with trick attack to not make operatives OP), maybe getting them to 90% or something, more people would use small arms and I think that would be cool. I want the opportunity to play a more Malcom than Jeyne and not feel like I'm wasting ammo.

In regards to 5, I actually do mean full casters as in 9th level spells and all that goes with that. I think it's nowhere near as difficult to make those balanced as people act like it is and SF already fixed many of the underlying problems already. As someone that broke wizards in 3.5 every possible way they could be broken, and showed players and DM's how to break and fix them for almost 2 decades, I know where the problems are. If I weren't primarily running/playing SFS, I'd have probably already homebrewed a port of sorcerer and oracle for my home games. Again, though, I understand I'm in the minority there, I'm not hoping to convince anyone. I was simply stating what I would like to see in new classes. There isn't a class right now that feels anything like a full caster. None of them have the juice. It's something I miss, because it's what I like playing.

2/5

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens Subscriber

Out of curiosity, how many Mystics or Technomancers have you played with access to 5th or 6th level spells and for how many encounters?

Dataphiles 4/5 ⦵⦵

To be clear..

I understand you pistolero preference. I am working to make one of my own. I believe that there are already options in place to make one, albeit quite limited. I agree with your damage figures on small arms and think that it is how it should be. Again, a pistolero in SF is possible outside of an Operative, though singularly so.

I also understand your preference in full casters as I very often play them myself. My favorite character still remains my mystic theurge. My point, however, is that, for them to make a 9th level caster, they would either have to rework the spells that they have already put out. Or, they would just add more powerful spells. The former would be quite a fair bit of work. The latter would upset the balance of which I spoke in my previous post.

Now, to be more clear, I am not claiming that any 9th level caster they create would be broken, power-wise. I am claiming that it would upset the balance between the power of technology versus magic. As this is a sci-fantasy setting, it is important for there to be a semi balance of power between technology and magic. If one becomes blatantly more powerful/influential than the other, it causes the other to be obsolete. As an example, I would challenge you to make a viable anti-magic character in PF (i.e. one that never utilizes magic, ki counts as magic). It's next to impossible, magic runs everything. What I'm saying is that 9th level magic in SF would greatly threaten the relevance of technology, which would greatly threaten the setting in and of itself. Even now, magic begins to threaten technology's relevance.

It is a great concept. I'd love to wield 9th level spells in the SF setting. But, such a thing, I truly believe, would break the setting. So I resign myself to playing my soon-to-be 20th level early entry mystic theurge, wallowing in my phenomenal cosmic power of 9th level arcane spell and 8th level divine spells.

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Starfinder Superscriber
Blake's Tiger wrote:
Out of curiosity, how many Mystics or Technomancers have you played with access to 5th or 6th level spells and for how many encounters?

Zero. I mostly GM for SF and that entirely in SFS or in APs in campaign mode. When I get to play my highest level characters that I actually play are both 5th level (a mystic and a technomancer). Both spend almost every round shooting their rifles because it's more effective in combat than spellcasting (most of the time).

The mystic usually saves their spell slots for healing after combat and the TM for Magic Missile on things he can't hit with his rifle. Occasionally one of them will summon something or cast an AoE damage spell. They play nothing like my wizards or clerics or sorcerers at the same level. I get none of the strategic buffing/debuffing or tactical crowd control and nowhere near the juice to go 'all spell' for more than one combat in a scenario (or day in an AP). I think I have one or two utility spells (that actually get used) on both of them.

That may not be true at higher levels. However, as I only ever get to play in SFS, and those characters are effectively capped at around 12th level, what mystics or TM's can do at higher levels is immaterial, or at least will be for the foreseeable future.

I'm getting sidetracked out of the purpose of this thread though, and I've already had this discussion more times than is probably healthy. I understand other people's feelings about spellcasters and I have no interest in debating. I know I'm tilting at windmills. I'd just rather play a game with actual full casters than one without them. That's just my opinion. If the devs (or you, or anyone) disagree that's fine. I still find the game fun enough to play without them.

2/5

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens Subscriber

I'm just trying to understand where the assessment comes from. My mystic is only 3rd level, and I haven't built a Technomancer yet, let alone play one.

Dark Archive 5/5 ⦵⦵ Venture-Captain, Germany—Rhein Main South aka schattenstern

I played with and Gmed for "casters" in Starfinder and SFS up to level 9 and excluding level 1 they felt very... disapointing. In nearly every siutuation they were better while using their guns (mostly longarms as time progressed) and spells were only used rarely.

A big problem is that only your highest (maybe second highest) level of spell is relevant damagewise.

1/5 ⦵⦵⦵⦵

Starfinder Superscriber
Alexander Lenz wrote:

In nearly every siutuation they were better while using their guns (mostly longarms as time progressed) and spells were only used rarely.

A big problem is that only your highest (maybe second highest) level of spell is relevant damagewise.

Lets compare weapons vs spells of a level 10 a Mystic;

A level 10 Mystic (w/ max Wisdom 24) could cast up to 2 Mind Thrust 4, 5 Mind Thrust 3, and 6 Mind Thrust 2 per day. Mind Thrust 4 does 10d10 (avg 55) plus fatigue 1 round, the damage can be halved and the fatigue negated by a successful will save. Mind Thrust 3 does 7d10 (avg 38.5) and Mind Thrust 2 does 4d10 (avg 22).

The best small arms available are the elite semi-auto pistol (tier 10, 3d6 P) and the LFD Sonic Pistol (tier 11 , 2d8 So). Weapon specialization will add 5 damage at level 10, so 3d6+5 (avg 15.5) or 2d8+5 (avg 14), and especially by this level both are subject to either DR or resistance.

So at this level even Mind Thrust 2 will often do more damage than the best small arm available and Mind Thrust 4 will do 3.5x as much.

Dark Archive 5/5 ⦵⦵ Venture-Captain, Germany—Rhein Main South aka schattenstern

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The point is that in our area the only ones using small arms are operatives, everyone else is getting longarm acess as smallarms do no damage.

At level 10 you will most likely have a 2d10 (average 21 damage)Energy weapon. This deals as much damage per shot (fullattacks are a good option if you get even 1 debuff on the enemy)
Additionally the enemy saves seem to scale better than the AC so you will get your mind thrust damage halved more often than not.
For example a CR 10 Combatant (which is not the boss but part of an encoutner most of the time):

Both characters are assumed to have 20 or 22 in the main attribute (Dex/Wis -> a lot of players seem to favor Dex over their casting stat on their second caster), the "shooter" has Longarm Proficiency, versatile specialisation and weapon focus (longarm).

The caster has Spell focus and (for the ease of math) Spell penetration and Greater spell Penetration which lets him (for this example) ignore Spell resistance. The weapon I used is the LFD sonic rifle, a weapon which will rarely be resisted but there will be stronger options if you just want the damage.
You hit him on a (EAC 23) with a 7 (BAB)+ 2(weapon Focus) + 5/6 (Dex) so a 8 or 9, in most parties on a 6 or 7 as the enemy will be flatfooted by the operative or envoy. This will lead to a DPR (against not flatfooted) of 24.255 if you single attack or 30.87 for a fulltattack. (You will get problems with one type of energy resistance)

Compared to that the Mind Thrust will have a DC of: 10 (Base) + 5/6 (Wisdom) + 1 Spellfocus + 2/3/4 (Spellevel). This leads to a maximum DC of 21/20/19. This leads to an average damage of Mt4 (38.5 Slightly higher than a fulltattack), Mt3 (25.98 LESS than a fulltack), Mt2 (14.3 Less than even a single attack.) And you will be completely useless against anything immune to mind affecting damage.
And this is the best case for your mystic as the combatant is the enemy array with the lowest will save. So the spells are mostly used to finish of enemies that just need to be hit (As the have (barring immunities) no way to deal no damage.)
But as you see even the second highest level spell is worse than just attacking with a weapon.


How did you arrive to a DPR of 24.255 on a 2d10 damage weapon, that does on average 21 damage IF it hits? (2d10, avrg 11 + 10 specialization = 21)


Ade wrote:
How did you arrive to a DPR of 24.255 on a 2d10 damage weapon, that does on average 21 damage IF it hits? (2d10, avrg 11 + 10 specialization = 21)

I've been trying to figure that out for 20 minutes now. 3.255 is not an easy number to reach with RPG levels of numbers. My only guess is that its some form of attempt at converting probability into an average. i.e using the chance of a crit as a fractional multiplier to the additional damage. But the closest I can get in this case is DPR 22.05. Or 24 if I divide by 7 instead of 20.

the fraction 9702/400 satisfies the result in question. With 1/400 being (1/20)^2 [the chance of rolling two nat 20's in a row]. It's interesting but headscratching.

I refuse to believe his calculations unless I can see working out XD

2/5

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens Subscriber

Hmm. (21*0.55)+(42*0.05) = 12.6+2.1 = 14.7

I think he forgot to account for missing.


Alexander Lenz wrote:

I played with and Gmed for "casters" in Starfinder and SFS up to level 9 and excluding level 1 they felt very... disapointing. In nearly every siutuation they were better while using their guns (mostly longarms as time progressed) and spells were only used rarely.

A big problem is that only your highest (maybe second highest) level of spell is relevant damagewise.

Starfinder magic was a preview of Pathfinder Playtest magic - weak damage on blasts, no significant ways to boost that damage (like PF1's Empower and Maximize metamagic feats), and no way to optimize spell DCs and debuffs to make save or lose spells land reliably.

Of course if the Pathfinder 2 continues the playtest's low number of spells per day and reduced spell effects then Starfinder is going to be Paizo's high magic system a year from now. Neither system may be very great in combat, but at least Starfinder's magic will last more than minute and let your spells work they way they're supposed to more than 5-10% of the time.

Dark Archive 5/5 ⦵⦵ Venture-Captain, Germany—Rhein Main South aka schattenstern

Ok, to start off with: Yes I was wrong, the formula I used for weapon damage had a * instead of a + so there were some mistakes. Thanks Ade, AtlasSniperman and Blake´s Tiger for pointing that out.

But I will post the math here again (while not being sleepy) and include the way I got there so if there are any more mistakes we can pinpoint them.

Warning LOTS of Mathy Stuff:

Spoiler:

DPR Shooting:
21*12/20+42*1/20=14.7 (Hitting on a 8 will mean, that you have 12/20 chance to deal your average 21 damage and a 1/20 chance to deal 42)

DPR Fullattack:
(21*8/20+42*1/20)*2=21 (Same formula as above but you hit 4 worse but have 2 Shots)

DPR Mind Thrust 4:

DC: 21 (10 (Base)+6 (Wisdom) + 1 Spellfocus + 4 (Spellevel)
Will +9 (Enemy Combatant), makes its save on a 12.
55*11/20+55/2*9/20=42.625 (55 Damage if you do full damage, half that if the enemy makes the save.

DPR Mind Thrust 3:

DC: 20 (10 (Base)+6 (Wisdom) + 1 Spellfocus + 3 (Spellevel)
Will +9 (Enemy Combatant), makes its save on a 11.
38.5*10/20+38.5/2*10/20=28.875 (38.5 Damage if you do full damage, half that if the enemy makes the save.

DPR Mind Thrust 2:

DC: 19 (10 (Base)+6 (Wisdom) + 1 Spellfocus + 2 (Spellevel)
Will +9 (Enemy Combatant), makes its save on a 10.
22*9/20+22/2*11/20=15.95 (22 Damage if you do full damage, half that if the enemy makes the save.

Corrected Numbers:

Single Shot: 14.7 Damage
Fulltattack: 21 Damage
Mind Thrust 4: 42.625 Damage
Mind Thrust 3: 28.875 Damage
Mind Thrust 2: 15.95 Damage
This leads to a slight shift in the results as a Mind Thrust 4 and a Mind Thrust 3 now deals more damage than a Fullattack. This means (if you spend ALL your spells on mind thrust) you have 7 turns of combat in which you can do more damage than if you would shoot. This is still too few turns per day AND you sacrifice any utility you would gain from spells if you do this.
Also these numbers are comparing a longarm with less than the most damage with the only viable damage spell (excluding Magic Missile). If this was a comparison to the technomancer instead of the mystic it would seem FAR worse as the technomancer is severly lacking in single target spells.

Dataphiles 4/5 ⦵⦵

Alexander Lenz wrote:
This is still too few turns per day AND you sacrifice any utility you would gain from spells if you do this.

Opinion

(also as an additional note: neither are built or intended to be full casters)

Dark Archive 5/5 ⦵⦵ Venture-Captain, Germany—Rhein Main South aka schattenstern

@Dr Cupi:
Do you mean the example characters?
What should they build if they want to be full casters? Maximum casting stat+3 relevant casting feats? What else CAN they take to be better casters?

2/5

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens Subscriber
Quote:
Do you mean the example characters?

Fairly sure it's the classes.

Closest analog is the sorcerer/oracle with a delay in spell-casting progression.

If you could blast all day with your spells, you'd never need a gun. So think of everybody as a gun fighter and these two classes can also cast spells.

Another way to think of it is that your gun frees you up to use other spells: confusion, hold monster, resistant armor, summon monster, etc. You use your spell slots for big boom spells when you're facing something that needs to take a big hit fast (you could argue that is everything in SF with the way NPC design is).

What we don't have is a flexible, memorization-based caster. All magic is spontaneous and limited number of spells know. But recharging spell chips is possible, if costly.

I'm a little nervous at this announcement, myself. I know they've got to make new things to sell, but new classes seems a lot trickier to the ecology of the game than publishing new archetypes on a regular basis.

1/5 ⦵⦵⦵⦵

Starfinder Superscriber
Blake's Tiger wrote:
I'm a little nervous at this announcement, myself.

Ditto.

I'd much rather be waiting for an announcement of a larger assortment of Mystic connections, spells, class options (eg a new soldier fighting style, new technomancer magic hacks, etc), etc.

.. but lets see what they publish today.

5/5 ⦵⦵⦵

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I think archetypes with the starfinder system have flopped so far. Most of them currently take away so many of your class features that they're pretty much unplayable for non soldiers. I very rarely if ever see anyone using them.

Its doubly painful for classes where you need to take ability x to get ability Y (like clever feint/improved clever feint) and you don't have nearly enough class features left to do so.


Alexander Lenz wrote:


Warning LOTS of Mathy Stuff:
** spoiler omitted **

Corrected Numbers:

Single Shot: 14.7 Damage
Fulltattack: 21 Damage
Mind Thrust 4: 42.625 Damage
Mind Thrust 3: 28.875 Damage
Mind Thrust 2: 15.95 Damage

Minor qualm, sorry, but if you hit on an 8 you have a 13/20 chance to hit. Making single attack 15.75 and full attack 23.1

Yes you are limited to only a couple hits per day, but those hits do more damage so you have to do less of them. Others have already pointed out that your not suppose to use your spells as your primary battle style, but I think it bears mentioning that your statement that the second level of spell isn't worth it here is incorrect.

Sorry for redirecting the thread so much. I will likely be at work for the announcement, lucky me I miss out :P .

Dataphiles 4/5 ⦵⦵

Alexander Lenz wrote:

@Dr Cupi:

Do you mean the example characters?
What should they build if they want to be full casters? Maximum casting stat+3 relevant casting feats? What else CAN they take to be better casters?

First of all, again, the classes were not intended to be full casters. So, any choices you make to make it feel like a full caster should be made with that overarching knowledge. With my Arcanimarium Sage Technomancer, I went 18 Int and have bought several spell gems. At level 2/3 you can pick up the personal upgrade so that you can have an effective 20, thus getting another bonus spell. At level 3 I picked up a level 4 weapon so that I could attach the spell thrower weapon fusion to allow him to pick up and use 1st level Mystic spells spell gems (as a side note: I also put glamered on it because it's purpose is not for shooting). At level 6/7 I plan to pick up a level 8 weapon to attach the fusions to cast 2nd level non-technomancer spells. And so on and so forth..

I still haven't decided if I will pick up grenade proficiency so that I can save some money on the above process, as I haven't read anything to say that you can't put a weapon fusion on a grenade (I could be wrong).

Basically, buy a bunch of spell gems to give it the full caster feel. I would suggest picking the combat oriented spells for spells known as those will likely be used with the most frequency. Supplement all others with spell gems.

Quote:
I think archetypes with the starfinder system have flopped so far.

I have seen a couple in use. I agree that looking at them, it feels like you're giving up a bunch, but sometimes they are made worth it. And often, one doesn't realize how decent they can be without actually doing it.

Dataphiles 4/5 ⦵⦵⦵⦵

BigNorseWolf wrote:

I think archetypes with the starfinder system have flopped so far. Most of them currently take away so many of your class features that they're pretty much unplayable for non soldiers. I very rarely if ever see anyone using them.

Some characters have multiple Archetypes.

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