Instinctive vs. Studious scientific method


Biohacker


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Scientific Method wrote:

Thanks to your genius scientific mind, you have a specific way of approaching problems that surpasses the methods used by typical researchers and scholars. If your key ability score is Wisdom, you have an instinctive mind. If your key ability score is Intelligence, you have a studious mind. Your scientific method affects your spark of ingenuity class feature (see below).

Instinctive
You can innately see the connections between things and often act instinctively on those connections. Instead of your Intelligence modifier, you can add your Wisdom modifier to Life Science, Medicine, and Physical Science skill checks.

Studious
Your mind is a fortress of information that can only rarely be breached. Instead of your Wisdom modifier, you can add your Intelligence modifier to Perception and Sense Motive skill checks and to Will saving throws.

This makes you attribute agnostic for will saves, and the Life Science, Medicine, Physical Science, Perception, and Sense Motive skills. Which, of course, is horribly unbalanced in favor of Studious. Because an intelligence focus still gives you extra skill ranks, and applies to three of your class skills (Computer, Engineering, and Culture) that this ability won't help Instinctive with.

The only reason to choose Instinctive is flavor, and you are severely punished for the choice by having fewer skills and being worse at tech skills outside your biological focus than a Studious biohacker.

The only other reason to choose Instinctive vs. Studious is the Spark of Insight ability.

Spark of Insight wrote:

Possible permutations and offshoots of your formulas constantly run through your mind, and in a pinch you can effectively apply your favorite hypotheses to your injections in the field. Once per day, depending on your scientific method, you can alter the way one of your injections works. You can do this one additional time per day at 9th level and at 15th level.

If you are an instinctive biohacker, you can add the dazzled condition to the effects imposed by any of your counteragents, in addition to their normal effects. This effect lasts the length of the counteragent’s duration. Or, in addition to their normal effects, you can remove one of the following conditions with any of your restoratives: dazzled, fascinated, or shaken. If you are at least 9th level, you can instead add the flat-footed condition as one of the effects imposed by any of your counteragents. Or, you can remove any one of the following conditions with any of your restoratives: dazzled, deafened, fascinated, fatigued, off-target, shaken, or sickened.

If you are a studious biohacker, you can combine the effects of two injections into one, expending one use of your injection ability to create and deliver both injections at the same time. This takes no additional time and enables a creature to be under the effects of two different counteragents simultaneously. Both effects last for a number of rounds equal to your key ability score modifier.

First, you can't use this often, so Instinctive would have to have a really big advantage here to overcome the skills shortfall. But it's actually much worse than Studious!

Dazzled is an awful condition to add to your counteragent, -1 to attack and visual perception. A Studious biohacker can instead add a really good counteragent from his field of study to inflict off-target (-2 to attack), fatigued (-1 to attack, AC, reflex saves, and more!), confused (with no save?!), -2 to a given save, sickened (-2 to ALL saves, -2 to attacks, -2 to damage, -2 to all skill/ability checks).

But wait, that's not all! The Studious ability also doubles your counteragent duration, to your full ability score modifier. (This may not be intended, they may have meant that both combined effects last the normal duration, full attribute for restoratives, half for counteragents. But until they fix it...)

Restoratives aren't quite as bleak, but the disparity still exists. For levels 1-8 our Instinctive biohacker can only remove three conditions as a bonus, only one of which (Shaken) is both significant and common. At 9th level this gets sort of respectable with more conditions you can fix. But it's still reactive.

The Studious biohacker can proactively buff if he chooses the right field of study, rather than wait for conditions to remove. He can provide a save boost or blindsense or a -2 to melee attackers, plus some admittedly niche and limited status removal effects (bleeding, confusion).

The Studious biohacker pulls even further ahead at 7th level and 13th, when he gets his secondary and tertiary fields of study, providing more options to mix and match, dropping the basic counteragent and restorative from his double mix. Imagine being both confused and sickened at level 7 for multiple rounds.

So the Studious scientific method seems to dominate Intuitive mechanically. I'm not sure how Intuitive can really be repaired unless you just make wisdom count as intelligence for all purposes, which seems hard to justify with the class lore (and then makes it a meaningless flavor choice in any case). Can Spark of Ingenuity be fixed? Allowing the 9th level choices at 1st level seems pretty strong on the restorative front and slightly strong for the counteragent (but remembering only once per day, maybe not), but not outrageously so.

Maybe scientific method should just go away, have everyone get the studious benefits, since everyone should be choosing them anyway.


Intuitive seems to be a bit more restorative focused and being able to remove shaken in addition to what your restorative does. Having the option to remove those kinds of conditions on the fly is pretty handy.

Probably could boost it a bit by removing something like off target right off the bat so basically really peps you up and focuses you.

I do strongly agree given that the int version can basically skip wis completly the wis option should let your Wis count as INT for number of skills. It keeps them balanced and really makes total sense that they are just intuitively good at a lot of skills.


Removing shaken remotely can be handy, but it's sharply limited use per day. I'd much rather have a debuff nuke option as studious ready for tough fights.

Giving wis to bonus skill ranks would still leave instinctive behind studious, as they would be relatively poor at computers, engineering, and culture. Studious would only trail Instinctive in nonclass skills both are unlikely to take, like Mysticism and Survival.


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

I mentioned this in the first impressions thread so with this thread being specifically about the Instinctive v Studious Scientific Method, I'll copy what I said there to make it easier to find:

Helvellyn wrote:

The Instinctive option under Scientific Method looks weaker than the Studious option. Instinctive allows you to use wisdom instead of intelligence on three skills (Life Sciences, Physical Sciences and Medicine); Studious allows you to use intelligence instead of wisdom on two skills (Perception and Sense Motive) and also allows you to use Intelligence for Wisdom saves.

This seems a little uneven and I don’t think the Instinctive Option for Spark of Ingenuity is significantly better (If at all) than the Studious one to make up for this. Not sure how to address it, maybe allow Instinctive Biohackers to use Wisdom to determine bonus skills per level? They require less time to study and learn activities, because there instincts are so keen they have a sixth sense when understanding how something works (Other Justifications are available).


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

I agree that, as is, Studious is substantially more attractive than Instinctive.

That said, I'm not a fan of the idea of using Wisdom to determine bonus skill points.

As a rule, I think it's nice to have all stats offer something of value to any build. This allows for a greater variety of viable builds, and thus a greater variety of viable kinds of characters. Thus I'm not a fan of the fact that Studious makes Wisdom of little value to those builds. And allowing Instinctive types to use Wisdom to determine bonus skill points would make Intelligence of little value to those builds as well. This makes things even worse, IMO, not better.

I'd prefer a re-balancing of Studious and Instinctive that replaced attribute swapping with something like a scaling insight bonus to the relevant skills. For example, something like this:

  • Instinctive: You can innately see the connections between things and often act instinctively on those connections. You gain a +lvl/4 bonus (rounded up) to Life Science, Medicine, and Physical Science skill checks.

  • Studious: Your mind is a fortress of information that can only rarely be breached. You gain a +lvl/4 bonus (rounded up) to Perception and Sense Motive skill checks and to Will saving throws.

    That leaves you with an incentive to still boost Wisdom and Intelligence, regardless of which specialty you adopt.

  • Scarab Sages

    True Int is certainly better than the wisdom option, but I disagree that there is ‘no’ reason to take wisdom over int. Off the top of my head, a Kasatha biohacker would be great at intuition. Penalty to Int, bonus to wisdom, and four hands so you you can have a needler loaded with healing serum in your off hand, A primary weapon in your main hand, and still two hands free for reloading/loading injections. Not a bad plan.


    The Kasatha could still consider a more versatile build by buying Int to 14, leaving Wis at 12, and putting the other four points into Dex. You get three more skill points per level, you're +3 on Engineering/Computers/Culture checks, and only down down 1-2 on injections per day and Will save. After level 10 you're only down a max of 1 and your extra skills and Engineering/Computers/Culture advantages keeps growing as you level.

    Scarab Sages

    Xenocrat wrote:
    The Kasatha could still consider a more versatile build by buying Int to 14, leaving Wis at 12, and putting the other four points into Dex. You get three more skill points per level, you're +3 on Engineering/Computers/Culture checks, and only down down 1-2 on injections per day and Will save. After level 10 you're only down a max of 1 and your extra skills and Engineering/Computers/Culture advantages keeps growing as you level.

    Sure, I’m just saying an arguement could be made is all. Also, my build would have 4-5 resolve at level 1, whereas yours would have 3. Seeing as level 1 is the diciest time to be low on resolve (low healing, no breath of life type spells, low stamina), I’d say mine is at least a contender.


    I really dislike the concept of moving attributes dedicated to saves, AC, attack and stuff like that. It allows for mono attributes builds, which are often overoptimized.
    In my opinion, using intelligence for will save is far too strong. Removing that should nearly put Intuitive on par with Studious.

    Also, Studious Spark of Ingenuity doesn't state that you can affect an ally with 2 Restoratives at a time. Is it on purpose?

    And I have an issue with the balance between Intuitive Spark of Ingenuity and Treat Condition line of Theorems.
    First, they overlap on Shaken and Sickened, which is a bit ugly.
    Second, Treat Condition line allows you to remove very heavy conditions (Stunned, Paralysed, Nauseated, Panicked) when Spark of Ingenuity only remove manageable ones.
    I find that unbalanced, as Scientific Method (and Spark of Ingenuity) should have the biggest impact, and theorems should just add nice bonuses.
    Something that could be done is to allow Intuitive Biohackers to use Treat Condition with a Restorative. Or to limit Treat Condition theorems to Intuitive Biohackers. That way, Studious Biohackers would be offensive ones, and Intuitive Biohackers would be "defensive" ones.


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    SuperBidi wrote:


    Also, Studious Spark of Ingenuity doesn't state that you can affect an ally with 2 Restoratives at a time.

    It does. "If you are a studious biohacker, you can combine the effects of two injections into one." Injections are the term that captures both restoratives and counteragents.


    Rereading everything, I made a mistake. I thought you could not affect someone with multiple Restorative, like it's the case with Counteragents. I was wrong, so there is no need to specify it in Spark of Ingenuity's description.
    My bad.

    Dataphiles

    After having played and seen played a few biohackers, as well as talked to those that have played, I have come to a roundabout conclusion on the balance of Studious vs Instinctive.

    1) Level 1 benefits
    One of the reasons that Studious stands so much higher, mechanically, is that so few things are based on Wisdom while so many skills are based in Intelligence. While I do appreciate shifting the stat skills are based in, giving Studious Int based will saves is too much. This is also for the sake of not front-loading the biohacker, which would cause an unbeatable level 1 dip (like blitz soldier for fighting based characters).
    A balance, if your open to it, would be to remove the Int to will saves. On top of that, I think removing Culture as a class skill and Computers (and/or Engineering, but there are arguments against that) too. These slight changes would balance the desirability of each Studious and Instinctive at level 1.

    2) Spark of Ingenuity
    I think everything is fine balance-wise here. I think Instinctive barely wins the 'more powerful' in this department, but I have no problems with that.

    Maybe give the opportunity to add off-target as well at level 9. This would cause some overlap with Endocrinology, but would be solidly relevant around level 9. Also, for Studious, make the double injection last the normal counteragent amount of time.


    Yeah looking at an average ranged based, Studious, biohacker build. It is funny how, in general, when it comes to it's saving scores in later levels their worst saves, like will and reflex actually succeed their fort.


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    The change should be either make Instinctive gain skill ranks with Wis or remove the Int modifier on will saves for Studious.

    I prefer more the ladder but either one would be a healthy change.

    Also only enable the ability to benefit from either one until you gain 3 levels in biohacker, because like someone mentioned earlier the level dip is real for that to be a level one passive. Unless your design standpoint is we want to enable multiclassing, that is fine and all. If that is the case, then you should focus on releasing books which include capstone options for characters that multiclass. (I'll stop ranting)

    On the Spark of Ingenuity for Instinctive it isn't that bad, yes dazzled is a weak condition by itself but you are adding it, KEYWORD adding it, to a counteragent. Yes, the double duration on injections is strong but the average goon lifespan is like 3-5 rounds so if anything that would be good if you are playing the altruistic biohacker, someone would be really getting those gains on the restoratives.


    Definitely put my vote to studious currently being the go to option. You wind up with the same skills either way but with more skill points on studious. you pick up the ability to remove many of the same conditions as you branch through the sciences.


    I just played in a 4th level SFS session as a Biohacker (along with 2 Vanguards, another Biohacker, and a Witchwarper - so a 100% playtest session).

    Both Biohackers were Studious, as both the other player and I just didn't see any significant reason to pump wisdom over intelligence. We couldn't actually imagine wanting to make an instinctive one as currently presented.

    Of course, I missed my Spark of Ingenuity shot for the day (rolled a 3 on the d20), so its not like it matters whether I was Studious or Instinctive for that, but having an extra 4 maxed Int skills did matter outside of combat, and made far more difference.

    Personally, I think not making Int give a bonus to will saves, but instead give it both high Fort and high wills saves (instead of high fort base saves). This means high wisdom Biohackers have a niche of extra high will saves, while Int biohackers have merely good (from base high will save + incidental wisdom).


    Hiruma Kai wrote:
    I just played in a 4th level SFS session as a Biohacker (along with 2 Vanguards, another Biohacker, and a Witchwarper - so a 100% playtest session).

    (Offtopic) Do you remember what scenario # was just curious?


    I'm currently writing up a report post, but the scenario was 1-26: Truth of the Seeker.

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