How I would change Biohacker


Biohacker

Scarab Sages

So I've read over the biohacker bit a few times, talked with some friends, statted up a couple concept characters, and talked it over on the boards. And you know what? I think I have a list of things I would change. So Paizo, I know I'm not a professional game developer, but here are the things I would change and I'll try to put forth my reasoning.

1) Even up studious vs. intuitive biohacker. This one is very well documented on the boards, but just to reiterate, the two are not equal and studious is soooo much better than intuitive. So much so that people say Kasatha, who get a racial penalty to int and bonus to wisdom should still be studious biohackers. I think a decent way to even them up would be to give wisdom as extra skill ranks (instead of Int) for levels in biohacker, and add int to will saves at like, level 5 (to prevent mechanics one-level diping into biohacker just for the will saves.) Some others have suggested other ways of doing it. I like the concept of Int-to-will, it's just way too strong compared to what intuitive biohackers get.

2) Add more healing options. In base pathfinder, there were options if you didn't want to play a cleric to still have healing. Bard, Paladin, Druid, Use magic device and scrolls and wands. In Starfinder, unless you have someone regularly capable of making DC 25+ medicine checks, the ONLY class that can heal is the Mystic. Look, I'm not asking for a BETTER healer than the mystic, just more than 3-4 HP per boop for the first few levels. Something like healer's touch or the ability to speed up healing over night would be nice.

3) An actual Biohacker. Maybe it's just me, but when I hear the term 'biohacker' I think of some radical to the max 90s street kid who is super good at science but doesn't play by the rules, jumping turnstiles with his dad's briefcase of cobbled together injectables, not some drab gradstudent who is working on his theorem about increasing the range of a dart gun. Maybe an 'experimental drugs' branch of study or something . . . I want to play a escapist sci-fi-fantasy, not relive taking o-chem in college.

4) Skill bonuses. So biohackers are supposed to be the top dogs on their field when it comes to biochemistry, medicine, etc. So why are they behind almost everyone else? Every other class gets a bonus to some skills except soldiers. Heck, envoys, ENVOYS make better doctors than Biohackers because they can get their skill expertise bonus to medicine checks, can take an expertise talent to treat deadly wounds one more time a day (surgeon), and can take an improvisation that lets them add their charisma bonus to HP healed AND makes a successful save count as two successful saves vs. a poison or disease. (Bedside manner)

Maybe just have the bioscanner give them skill focus in one of a list of skills (medicine, life science, physical science, Engineering, computers) and the improved and master bioscanners just give skill focus in another skill? I dunno, but it just seems weird to give every other class a bonus to skills except the biohacker (soldier aside.)


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[b]3) An actual Biohacker.

What mechanically does an "Actual" biohacker look like? This isn't very specific.

Whether your character is a respected scientist, a discredited hack tossed out of the university, some fringe lunatic working out of their garage, a traditionalist herbalist with a blowgun or even a pharmaceutical rep taking pushing their product to the next level that's up to the character.
I don't think you should expect the mechanics of the class to force a very specific concept.

Definitely agree with the rest, especially the skill bonuses. Why is a biohacker a WORSE biologist than an operative?

Scarab Sages

BigNorseWolf wrote:

3) An actual Biohacker.

What mechanically does an "Actual" biohacker look like? This isn't very specific.

Whether your character is a respected scientist, a discredited hack tossed out of the university, some fringe lunatic working out of their garage, a traditionalist herbalist with a blowgun or even a pharmaceutical rep taking pushing their product to the next level that's up to the character.
I don't think you should expect the mechanics of the class to force a very specific concept.

I dunno how to explain it. I guess the labeling of the class features feels very dry and clinical, which is at odds with the almost fringe, DIY feel of the into blurb and name. I certainly don’t want to limit people from playing a specific concept. . .

When I hear the into blurb and name I think: fringe psudeoscience kid who challenges the establishment while riding his hoverboard and is who is radical to the Max!

When I hear the names of the class features I think grad student taking advanced organic chemistry.

Two feel incongruous, all I’m saying.


so what would that look like?

Phrenology how you add int to sense motive.

Lamarkian Evolution : adapt to something that just damaged you

Epigenics: affect your other abilities

Homeopathy: use a medicinal without expending it

Scarab Sages

BigNorseWolf wrote:

so what would that look like?

Phrenology how you add int to sense motive.

Lamarkian Evolution : adapt to something that just damaged you

Epigenics: affect your other abilities

Homeopathy: use a medicinal without expending it

Maybe change the phrase 'theorem' to 'radical new discovery,' or 'experimental science,' or something. Just . . . adjust some flavor.


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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
VampByDay wrote:
BigNorseWolf wrote:

3) An actual Biohacker.

What mechanically does an "Actual" biohacker look like? This isn't very specific.

Whether your character is a respected scientist, a discredited hack tossed out of the university, some fringe lunatic working out of their garage, a traditionalist herbalist with a blowgun or even a pharmaceutical rep taking pushing their product to the next level that's up to the character.
I don't think you should expect the mechanics of the class to force a very specific concept.

I dunno how to explain it. I guess the labeling of the class features feels very dry and clinical, which is at odds with the almost fringe, DIY feel of the into blurb and name. I certainly don’t want to limit people from playing a specific concept. . .

When I hear the into blurb and name I think: fringe psudeoscience kid who challenges the establishment while riding his hoverboard and is who is radical to the Max!

When I hear the names of the class features I think grad student taking advanced organic chemistry.

Two feel incongruous, all I’m saying.

I'm on the same page as you regarding the need for some more "radical" biohacking. I think a good way to represent that would be more permanent mutation theorems.

The real world Biohacker movement is about using biotech to push the limits of biology, and is coupled with the hacker ethos that that kind of power belongs to everyone. It shouldn't just be something for The Man to dole out to his fat-cat yes men! A Biohacker should have access to the kind of upgrades that Big Genetics think are too powerful or too unstable for the common man to be trusted with. Sure your grafted chitin composite exoskeleton draws some strange looks from other humanoids, and there are some serious concerns about your self-experimental search for the "Telepathy Gene", but those squares don't understand! Biohacking's not about breaking the rules, it's about the freedom to make the most out of the only thing a person can ever truly own, their own body!

Sovereign Court

VampByDay wrote:
1) Even up studious vs. intuitive biohacker. This one is very well documented on the boards, but just to reiterate, the two are not equal and studious is soooo much better than intuitive. So much so that people say Kasatha, who get a racial penalty to int and bonus to wisdom should still be studious biohackers. I think a decent way to even them up would be to give wisdom as extra skill ranks (instead of Int) for levels in biohacker, and add int to will saves at like, level 5 (to prevent mechanics one-level diping into biohacker just for the will saves.) Some others have suggested other ways of doing it. I like the concept of Int-to-will, it's just way too strong compared to what intuitive biohackers get.

Agree, both on skill ranks from wisdom, and delaying int to Will to a later level. With the biohacker as-is, it's looking like a delicious dip for my Nuar soldier. A big boost to Perception, Sense Motive and Will.

VampByDay wrote:
2) Add more healing options. In base pathfinder, there were options if you didn't want to play a cleric to still have healing. Bard, Paladin, Druid, Use magic device and scrolls and wands. In Starfinder, unless you have someone regularly capable of making DC 25+ medicine checks, the ONLY class that can heal is the Mystic. Look, I'm not asking for a BETTER healer than the mystic, just more than 3-4 HP per boop for the first few levels. Something like healer's touch or the ability to speed up healing over night would be nice.

I'd be fine if biohackers were on par with regular mystics for healing, but behind healing connection mystics.

VampByDay wrote:
3) An actual Biohacker. Maybe it's just me, but when I hear the term 'biohacker' I think of some radical to the max 90s street kid who is super good at science but doesn't play by the rules, jumping turnstiles with his dad's briefcase of cobbled together injectables, not some drab gradstudent who is working on his theorem about increasing the range of a dart gun. Maybe an 'experimental drugs' branch of study or something . . . I want to play a escapist sci-fi-fantasy, not relive taking o-chem in college.

I agree, I want radical changes, not numeric and logistic improvements.

VampByDay wrote:

4) Skill bonuses. So biohackers are supposed to be the top dogs on their field when it comes to biochemistry, medicine, etc. So why are they behind almost everyone else? Every other class gets a bonus to some skills except soldiers. Heck, envoys, ENVOYS make better doctors than Biohackers because they can get their skill expertise bonus to medicine checks, can take an expertise talent to treat deadly wounds one more time a day (surgeon), and can take an improvisation that lets them add their charisma bonus to HP healed AND makes a successful save count as two successful saves vs. a poison or disease. (Bedside manner)

Maybe just have the bioscanner give them skill focus in one of a list of skills (medicine, life science, physical science, Engineering, computers) and the improved and master bioscanners just give skill focus in another skill? I dunno, but it just seems weird to give every other class a bonus to skills except the biohacker (soldier aside.)

Also agree. Though I think sooo many of these problems would have been avoided if operative's edge skill bonus had only applied to skills they had skill focus in (i.e. grow deeper over time), instead of the way that right now they outclass everyone in their thematic class skills.


The thing is, the things you're talking about as mad science (attaching gills or a thorax or running a USB cable into your tail) are consumer level augmentations available from reputable doctors in this setting. You need to go really out there (like into mystic type stuff) to get crazy.


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
BigNorseWolf wrote:
The thing is, the things you're talking about as mad science (attaching gills or a thorax or running a USB cable into your tail) are consumer level augmentations available from reputable doctors in this setting. You need to go really out there (like into mystic type stuff) to get crazy.

So then the Biohacker should go really far out there. If the mainstream biotech looks like mad science, then what does the cutting edge tech look like?


I really wish Biohackers had a separate from Injections per day ability to make healing serums per day.

Like.. that Field Dressing theorom? that is pretty great.

I wish there was a theorom that gave Ability per day use of Serums. That I can shoot.

I don't want them to come from the same pool as Injections-as you already get so few of those that if you add in healing. that pool is too limited. and would really mute the ability. just a low level one that scales as you level the same way Field Dressing does.

You could also have it heal Stamina instead of HP. Which would make those potions more valuable as their own resource

Sovereign Court

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BigNorseWolf wrote:
The thing is, the things you're talking about as mad science (attaching gills or a thorax or running a USB cable into your tail) are consumer level augmentations available from reputable doctors in this setting. You need to go really out there (like into mystic type stuff) to get crazy.

Augmentations are permanent, dependable, but you have to anticipate what you need, and commit money to it.

A biohacker could come up with such modifications in the field, lasting only temporarily. But he could make the party a lot more adaptive. There's an underwater section in this dungeon? Let me give you flippers and a native swim speed. Stealth mission? I'll hook you up with darkvision. Your eyes will look normal again tomorrow, promise.

It should also be set up differently: instead of gaining one singular ability every level (might as well just buy the augmentation!), a biohacker should have access to a lot of versatility on the fly, but perhaps with some semi-predicable side effects. He should be the guy trying out new things every time, and every morning brings its own unique hangovers.


So it needs more things like the ability to put gills on people.

Sovereign Court

BigNorseWolf wrote:
So it needs more things like the ability to put gills on people.

Yeah, but not like "this level I took the theorem that only lets me put gills on people", more like "this level I learned how to put these five mutations on people".


What if Biohackers could science death itself?

It just occurred to me that Keifer Sutherland was a Biohacker in Flatliners. He used injectables in coordination with CPR and electric stabilization to explore death.

Then of course there's Herbert West, the Reanimator.

One of the theorems could be putting people in a coma and letting them briefly become Incorporeal spirits to scout past walls or fight ghosts on equal footing.

Not likely, but a fun thought I had.

More seriously, I think that Biohackers need a healing option for Restoratives (you know, ACTUALLY being a "Restorative" instead of a glorified booster shot), or at least the ability to add their Restorative ability to a healing serum.

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