My experience with a Level 4 Vanguard in playing 1-26: Truth of the Seeker


Vanguard

Grand Lodge

I went into this week at my scheduled SFS game knowing I was going to play the Vanguard. I had high hopes for the character, based on the write up and discussions prior to playing the character. But, it did not meet up with the excitement I initially had.

That's not to say the class is bad. It was a combination of things - my build when putting points into attributes, as well as spreading out my skill points (which I also tend to do) vs. dumping points only into specific skills. I did not get to try out a shield, but, having read through how they benefit a player, that was not an option I found particularly exciting. The other problem during my game was my dice were cold, so my rolls left me disappointed with what my character was able to do. The other piece of this is that we played 1-26: Truth of the Seeker. Due to the "boss fight" at the end, the Entropic Strike (plus my melee weapon having Fusions on it to then make it count as magic for purposes of DR) made me one of the few characters able to damage the BBEG, even though the amount of damage was extremely limited.

As for feedback on the character class and my thoughts on shields, in general, here's what I came up with:

1 - Limiting the Entropy pool to the attribute bonus makes it less likely to be able to be effective. Going to either Level + bonus or 1/2 Level + bonus would make more sense to me (since I did not max out the Con score, I had an Entropy pool of 2 maximum, which was completely on me).

2 - The saving throws leave the class very vulnerable to anything but FORT saves. At low level, or if you do max out CON, FORT is your only good save, meaning you'll have to burn Feats in Iron Will and Lightning Reflexes, or to purchase magic items to bolster your saves in order to not have the most pathetic saving throws possible.

3 - Entropic Strike could be better, whether by doing better damage at lower level. Solarians start out at 1d6 with theirs. If the low damage is kept, thought may want to be put into that damage being on top of melee damage dealt instead of being so low, as that may make it less likely to use either the class or the ability, even if that becomes a special choice the player can make at higher levels for the damage to be in addition to their melee damage. Or, a different option could be that specific weapons may need to be created for the Vanguard class where the damage stacks by design.

4 - The Entropic Strike may also benefit from being able to do full damage against enemies that would traditionally take half or no damage from melee. Based on the "boss fight" mentioned above, I could do a maximum of 3 points of damage on any Entropic Strike. When I ran through my Entropy Pool, since there were two of the BBEG's favored targets in the combat, making me not its chosen target, I ended up just going to my melee weapon (a Tactical Greataxe with both a Thrown and a Returning fusion on it), where I could do more damage, even though it was also halved, by rule.

5 - As previously mentioned, I opted not to try out the shields. Having read through the mechanics, although it makes more sense, in a way, than an automatic bonus against all enemies, even if you are not facing them, I would personally rather see something akin to the shield option becoming a feature the class gets whereby they tweak their armor in such a way as to gain a shield on one arm and then having the bonus apply, or, it being a specific kind of force field. The shield functionality taking up a hand makes using a shield a better choice if you're playing a Witchwyrd, Skittermander, Kasaatha, an augmentation for additional arms, or an augmentation for a prehensile tail. That was why I opted not to use a shield, since I wanted to use a two-handed melee weapon with the character.

Overall, I like the potential the class has. I just believe there are some tweaks that would make it even better.


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From what you said it looks like you ran a Strength based vanguard. Asides from running with a Shobhad for the reach 40 foot speed, strength and extra arms it looks really hard to make a Strength vanguard work at low levels. (Hell, I don't think you *can* get a returning spear, riot shield and anything more than the cheapest heavy armor at character creation, which negates the point of the shield as spending even half of its cost on better armor yields better permanent results.

A dex build looks to take care of any reflex issues, though I agree they are susceptible to will based effects.

Personally i'm OK with entropic strikes doing less damage compared to solar weapons, mainly due to hitting TAC vs KAC. I'd actually wouldn't mind seeing the math DPR wise of full attacking using your weapon for the primary strike and entropic strikes for the others using TAC to offset the penalties.

Grand Lodge

Inkfist wrote:

From what you said it looks like you ran a Strength based vanguard. Asides from running with a Shobhad for the reach 40 foot speed, strength and extra arms it looks really hard to make a Strength vanguard work at low levels. (Hell, I don't think you *can* get a returning spear, riot shield and anything more than the cheapest heavy armor at character creation, which negates the point of the shield as spending even half of its cost on better armor yields better permanent results.

A dex build looks to take care of any reflex issues, though I agree they are susceptible to will based effects.

Personally i'm OK with entropic strikes doing less damage compared to solar weapons, mainly due to hitting TAC vs KAC. I'd actually wouldn't mind seeing the math DPR wise of full attacking using your weapon for the primary strike and entropic strikes for the others using TAC to offset the penalties.

Stat-wise, I went 14, 13, 14, 12, 10, 10. The 1 point difference between STR and DEX, at low level, should not have made any difference. The only difference in his attack rolls was I went Weapon Specialization in Melee Weapons, which was on purpose due to using the axe (which I took as the "free" L3 weapon after putting a "free" L4 set of armor on the character, per Thursty's responses on the blog). So that left me with the funds to put the two fusions on the axe.

I'm just thinking about it from either a new player or a new class option being less effective than a Solarian with that damage, and the survivability based on the saving throws vs. the additional hit points. The character class seemingly was built to be a front line melee based option, given that everything about the Entropic Strike is built around making a melee attack.

Grand Lodge

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The more Str vanguards I see, the more I think vanguards really cannot ignore that entropic strike is an operative weapon without the usual specialization penalty. Your Con is youy damage stat with it. Make Dex your hit stat and start with only whatever Str your race gives you.


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Arutema wrote:
The more Str vanguards I see, the more I think vanguards really cannot ignore that entropic strike is an operative weapon without the usual specialization penalty. Your Con is youy damage stat with it. Make Dex your hit stat and start with only whatever Str your race gives you.

Even as a ysoki if you start with a 9 (which doesn't cost you anything as long as you put one point in your themes point SOMEWHERE) then at level 5 up it to 11 and at 10 up to to 13 and BOOOM. Power armor is your strength score.

Sovereign Court

loki.the.mischievous wrote:
Stat-wise, I went 14, 13, 14, 12, 10, 10.

That's after applying racial bonuses right? It seems really diluted, like you tried to prevent weak spots everywhere instead of making strong spots where you need them.

My scores for a heavy armor strength vanguard would look something like this (on a vesk):
Str 17, Dex 12, Con 16, Int 8, Wis 10, Cha 10.

or if I want to go brute, ignoring defense a bit:
Str 18, Dex 10, Con 16, Int 8, Wis 11, Cha 10.

On a light armor dexterity vanguard (android) I'd go with:
Str 11, Dex 16, Con 16, Int 12, Wis 10, Cha 8

And on a heavy armor dexterity vanguard (ysoki) I might go with:
Str 9, Dex 16, Con 16, Int 12, Wis 10, Cha 8

Notice how even on the heavy armor ysoki I'm still raising my Dexterity, because it governs to-hit, and there's really no substitute for hitting.

Grand Lodge

I normally try to build a balanced character rather than going heavy in one area, applying that same idea to both skills and abilities. Yes, at L4, those stats are after racial bonuses are applied.

DEX has zero to do with my to hit. I used an axe, and even with thrown, it’s a STR based attack. Mel characters such as the Vanguard are normally STR based, at least that’s been my experience since I started gaming nearly 40 years ago.


loki.the.mischievous wrote:

I normally try to build a balanced character rather than going heavy in one area, applying that same idea to both skills and abilities. Yes, at L4, those stats are after racial bonuses are applied.

DEX has zero to do with my to hit. I used an axe, and even with thrown, it’s a STR based attack. Mel characters such as the Vanguard are normally STR based, at least that’s been my experience since I started gaming nearly 40 years ago.

The vanguard has an ability for dex to hit with any weapon on a tank class. Its clearly meant to have a high dex and high con, both of which aid in survivability.

There's nothing wrong with building off model (i live in the botanical gardens and can't throw THAT rock) but if it doesn't work well thats not necessarily on the class.


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If you're trying to build a combatant, 14 isn't balanced, it's low. I think that might be where your issue is coming from. You built a combatant, and then forgot to make it actually good at combat. I wouldn't consider a blitz soldier with 14 STR good at it's job, so I wouldn't consider a vanguard with only 14 in it's to hit stat good at it's job either.

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