Vanguard Playtest Results


Vanguard


I played a level 8 Vanguard in Society play over the weekend ("Return to Sender"). Here's what I found:

Unless you're fighting a boss, any significant DR (such as Enhanced Resistance) means that you will never get EP from kinetic attacks.

Similarly, I was wearing Spellcaster's Aegis power armor, and almost nothing could even hit me. I did get 1 EP per fight from Boundary because nothing could reliably hit my 30 KAC (31 after gaining that point because of the +1 AC).

The most damage I took was 25 points from an ally's Explosive Blast. Allies are not considered significant enemies, so I did not gain EP.

Other than Energize, the damage-reducing Disciplines are useless at the start of combat, and the start of combat is generally when you need Dampen to protect your allies from the enemy's opening breath weapon or Explosive Blast.

The difficulty of Society games is such that I didn't even need to spend one Resolve point. Out of my 120 stamina, I lost 61 points, INCLUDING the ally's Explosive Blast.

I did get a crit, but I forgot that I could gain an EP by foregoing damage. The thing is, with the crit I took the enemy out in one round, so it wouldn't have been worth gaining the EP anyway. Damage is king; the only way it would be worth gaining EP instead of putting points on the board would be if the base damage was enough to take the enemy out.

Similarly, I had no interest in spending a Move action and a Resolve to gain 1 EP. The powers I could use my points on were mostly devoted to preventing damage anyway. If I had the ability to use my points offensively, i might have been more interested in gaining them, but as it stands the choice between full attacking or move to flank > attack vs. spending an RP to get an EP with a move action that I could better use somewhere else is not really a good choice at all.

All that said, the Entropic Strike feels great. Originally I had been intending to use a Sonic Fist and a shield, but when I realized that the shield would prevent me from taking even more damage, I went with Called Throwing Shadow Chains instead. Having Reach with Entropic Strike is very good, being able to throw them is borderline ridiculous.

Overall, I like the class, but felt like my Entropy Pool did not fill up fast enough to use my abilities, nor did I ultimately have a sufficient reason to use the defensive abilities I took because my Stamina was so high. I think we need to a) start with points and b) power offensive abilities with them.


Dracomicron wrote:
Unless you're fighting a boss, any significant DR (such as Enhanced Resistance) means that you will never get EP from kinetic attacks.
Yeah, a tanking class that advises against defensive abilties is maybe not a good thing.
Quote:
The most damage I took was 25 points from an ally's Explosive Blast. Allies are not considered significant enemies, so I did not gain EP.
The SE line does need to be removed.
Quote:
I did get a crit, but I forgot that I could gain an EP by foregoing damage. The thing is, with the crit I took the enemy out in one round, so it wouldn't have been worth gaining the EP anyway. Damage is king; the only way it would be worth gaining EP instead of putting points on the board would be if the base damage was enough to take the enemy out.

This is also bad, gaining an EP when you get a Crit would be better, no foregoing damage.


Pathfinder Starfinder Society Subscriber

My experience has been that higher level SFS scenarios feel under tuned in general, mostly because various class mechanics come online to provide multiplicative benefits (Operative auto-flatfooted on attack and Envoy +2 get em being the big culprits since they're available consistently every combat) without enemy stats and strategies being adjusted to compensate.

With the Vanguard being so focused around defense, protection of allies, and getting benefits after taking damage, I'm not sure how effective testing with SFS will be.


Yeah, that was my biggest fear-- being a tank actually negating your EP gain. And spending a move action and a RP or a crit to gain an EP really isn't worth it, especially when the abilites to spend them on are fairly lackluster. Accumulating 4 to use your Catalyst seems like it would be a chore and very hard to actually plan out or control, given the only other ways to activate it are a random crit against you or sp/hp reaching zero.

Entropic Strike sounds like its really good, though, with how versatile it is.


There are other ways to gain EP besides crits or taking damage, each style gives an additional way to gain EP.


Pathfinder Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Jack Rift wrote:
There are other ways to gain EP besides crits or taking damage, each style gives an additional way to gain EP.
Dracomicron wrote:
I did get 1 EP per fight from Boundary because nothing could reliably hit my 30 KAC (31 after gaining that point because of the +1 AC).


Jack Rift wrote:
There are other ways to gain EP besides crits or taking damage, each style gives an additional way to gain EP.

Yeah. My favorite is the one for Exergy: gain one point for a charge action. It is something that is useful to do. You can do it at the start of combat. It is something that is completely under your control.

The problem with all of these though is that they can only be used once per combat. So one EP only.

All of the other styles have some downsides.

Momentum: double move or run - isn't always useful. It means that you don't do damage that round.

Reaction: inflict a condition - Might be difficult to pull off. Critical hits with some weapons would do it. If you build for it with spells or other multiclass abilities that would work too. The style itself suggests Dirty Trick, which would do the trick (heh) if you can manage to get it to work.

Inversion: get healed - you have to take damage first, so you likely can't do it immediately. Also, unless you have some healing ability or use a serum, you are relying on someone else to heal you in order to use your own ability.

Cascade: make attack rolls against multiple enemies. This one is actually fairly good too. You just need to be using a blast, automatic, or line weapon. I don't think that grenades or explode weapons would work since you don't make attack rolls against multiple targets.

Adiabatic: don't move for two rounds - Really limits your mobility. You can't take the fight to the enemies.

Boundary: someone misses you - Will almost certainly happen at least once during the combat, but it is not under your control. If the enemies avoid swinging at you for a bit then it won't work. Also won't work on your first round if you won initiative.

Inevitable: move an enemy - combat manouvers are hard to pull off. It is very possible that you could go an entire fight without getting an EP from this one. And repeatedly trying is going to cost you the opportunity do do something more useful.


We're testing the Vanguard this Thursday. That's when my regular Starfinder game happens and I'm either going to use a crocodile or four orcs as the encounter. Depends on how the PCs are going to react to the croc and four orcs.


Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Why would the "significant enemy" requirement be a problem? If you are facing enemies that fall below the threshold, you really shouldn't be taking enough damage to gain EP anyway. And gaining points from being hurt by allies really should be discouraged, as a general rule.


Metaphysician wrote:
Why would the "significant enemy" requirement be a problem? If you are facing enemies that fall below the threshold, you really shouldn't be taking enough damage to gain EP anyway. And gaining points from being hurt by allies really should be discouraged, as a general rule.

The Vanguard has at least one ability that encourages them to be in the radius of damaging effects. Accelerate gives +1 damage/die to any area effect that they are within... it seems pretty clear to me that this is intended to buff companion AoE damage.

An argument could be made that they are doing their job; why should they get penalized by not getting the EP that they earned through taking damage while fighting significant enemies?


Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Dracomicron wrote:
Metaphysician wrote:
Why would the "significant enemy" requirement be a problem? If you are facing enemies that fall below the threshold, you really shouldn't be taking enough damage to gain EP anyway. And gaining points from being hurt by allies really should be discouraged, as a general rule.

The Vanguard has at least one ability that encourages them to be in the radius of damaging effects. Accelerate gives +1 damage/die to any area effect that they are within... it seems pretty clear to me that this is intended to buff companion AoE damage.

An argument could be made that they are doing their job; why should they get penalized by not getting the EP that they earned through taking damage while fighting significant enemies?

*nods* I see your logic. Perhaps a middle ground: friendly fire contributes to EP, but *only* when facing 'significant enemies'? So, You can't store up EP by letting your friends shoot you before taking a nap, or while fighting a bunch of irrelevantly-weak mooks.


You can’t store EP outside of a fight. And outside of certain Disciplines you can’t even gain any when not fighting.

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