My One Major Question About the Vanguard


Vanguard

Scarab Sages

Is why the class is called Vanguard? As far as I can tell the only reasons are because it is a CON based class and it uses shields. Every other class in the game has a very fitting class name, but Vanguard is so generic and just doesn't paint a picture of that the class does like all of the others.

I feel like Vanguard should get a name like Solarian has, where it is tied to the game universe in some way and more accurately describes what the class does.

Anyone have any suggestions for a better name than Vanguard?


There were a few suggestions in this thread but I didn't see any that stuck out as good ones.


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Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

It paints a pretty good image to me: the vanguard are the first in the fight. The ones charging the enemy, or taking the charge. And as a class, the Vanguard is exactly that, the hard bricky tank that can and does want to be first in the fight, because they can take the attacks, take the risks, better than others.

Sovereign Court

Yeah my experience from playing in the playtest is that you feel pretty good about diving right into melee. You know you're just about made out of stamina, have high armor class, and need to be up close to touch people. So you're definitely the vanguard of the party.


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The Vanguard does need some tweaking... they need some sort of movement ability to get into the fight faster, and either to scrap Entropy Points or heavily rework them to be something that I want to get and use.

But yes, they will THE vanguard of a Starfinder party. First in, last out. Oorah!

Sovereign Court

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I didn't really experience trouble getting into the fight (L8); the usual recipes apply.
* Jetpack so you don't get stumped by verticals
* A light armor vanguard makes total sense and isn't slow
* Heavy armor vanguards can get a mobility enhancer to offset that.
* Dwarves make a lot of sense as heavy armor vanguards too.
* Speed Suspension is an option too.
* There's various 40ft speed races.

There are plenty solutions available, but you do have to plan for it.


Ascalaphus wrote:

I didn't really experience trouble getting into the fight (L8); the usual recipes apply.

* Jetpack so you don't get stumped by verticals
* A light armor vanguard makes total sense and isn't slow
* Heavy armor vanguards can get a mobility enhancer to offset that.
* Dwarves make a lot of sense as heavy armor vanguards too.
* Speed Suspension is an option too.
* There's various 40ft speed races.

There are plenty solutions available, but you do have to plan for it.

Most of those aren't terribly useful for low-level play. Solarians can (and generally should) get Stellar Rush at 2nd level to get a standard action charge, which is incredible for getting into the fight.

Also something that could help with positioning... like an entropy-fueled way to avoid AoO, would be welcome. Maybe a teleport that costs EP? Vanguard is an incredibly tactical class where positioning matters a great deal.

Sovereign Court

Well, I didn't play vanguard at low level, only level 8. I imagine you can have trouble if you're a heavy armor vanguard, but I don't think it should be quite that bad? I've played characters with low speed and the main situation where it was really problematic was if other characters were rushing ahead at maximum speed. But you can just tell them "if you want to stay protected behind me, don't run out too far in front of me". Also, actually being in the vanguard of the party gives you a head start.

For a light armor vanguard I don't really see the problem. If 30ft speed is really insufficient there's the fleet feat, and the longstrider module.

I'm not against the vanguard gaining more mobility options, but I don't subscribe to the theory that they're currently crippled by low speed.


I didn't say "crippled." I said they needed help with positioning to round out their class features.

Vanguards are encouraged to go heavy armor for their role as tanks, though there is some debate on the subject, given that they have Stamina for days and need to get hit to gain EP. I think that overall it is better to not get hit at all with heavy armor than to have light armor and more EP to spend on questionably advantageous powers.

Everything may change by final draft, of course.


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Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

How many classes *aren't* heavily limited and suffering from numerous inefficiencies when at very low level? The whole point of low level is "you have not yet mastered all the skills that make your class work".

Sovereign Court

From a lot of theorycrafting I've come up with three base vanguard builds:

1) Maximized Dex, near-max Con, light armor. Milk the operative property of your entropic strike and light armor's high max dex value. I think this is the benchmark vanguard build.

2) High Dex, high Con, heavy armor, shields. Not getting full AC value for your Dex because it's constrained by the armor, but getting the highest AC possible at your level. Which is 1-2 points over the #1 option. You can't use some disciplines in heavy armor (evasion) but can use some others.

3) Very high strength, high Con, medium Dex, heavy armor. You might have a shield, or two-handed weapon. Your focus is on strength-based melee combat using a thrown and/or reach weapon with Entropic Weapon to have lots of damage type and range options. AC suffers a bit but you still have crazy stamina.

Most of the time, the difference between a maxed-dex light armor character and a heavy armor character in AC is quite small (1-2 points). And maxing Dex is quite doable if it's also your to-hit stat and Con is your damage stat.

It's one of the things I really like about the Vanguard: there are quite different builds available that all work.


Entromancer

Combiner entropy and -mancy


Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Claxon wrote:

Entromancer

Combiner entropy and -mancy

Implies the class is a spellcaster, when they are instead the exact opposite. In fact, it implies this much more strongly than it says anything about entropy, given that cutting off the "py" leaves the vague "entro-" which really doesn't mean or say much in context. You are left knowing that the character 'mances *something*, but without a good idea what that would be.

Also, rather awkward as a word to state.

Dark Archive

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I also think Vanguard is kind of a weird name for the class. I personally call it the "Space Science Monk".

Dracomicron wrote:
The Vanguard does need some tweaking... they need some sort of movement ability to get into the fight faster, and either to scrap Entropy Points or heavily rework them to be something that I want to get and use.
Dracomicron wrote:
Solarians can (and generally should) get Stellar Rush at 2nd level to get a standard action charge, which is incredible for getting into the fight.

I agree wholeheartedly and this is one of my biggest problems with Starfinder. Why is it that the Operative gets increasing bonuses to base speed as they level up, Soldiers can get +10ft at Level 1, but Solarian and Vanguard don't really get anything to help them with their speed.

Solarian has TWO dead levels, seems like they could've put something into those levels. If you go melee Solarian, the choice of Stellar Rush is almost mandatory. How someone who can apparently control gravity and "fly" can't make themselves like 10ft faster is beyond me. They could've gotten Quick Movement at 5th and 15th level, would've helped sell the Light Armor build.

Vanguard gets Uncanny Speed at 15, which is kinda late in the game. They also get a lot of things that lean on the concept of "speed". They have good Reflex, Entropic Strike is an operative weapon, they get Uncanny Agility and Uncanny Speed.

I'm not saying these classes should be as fast as the Operative, but give them something. As being presented as melee-focused, they need some simple boosts to their mobility. It shouldn't be up to feats and gear to just fill gaping holes in classes, they should help.


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Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Roleplaying Guild Subscriber

I really like the name Vanguard. For me, if a class is named after the flavor of its text, that class is stifling. Just about every Starfinder class is named flavor-independent of what it can do - the two exceptions being the Solarian (whose name can as easily be replaced with "pseudo-Jedi" - a broad archetype representing everything from sorcerers to blade wielders), and the Witchwarper, which is a slightly more niche class whose inspirations generally derive from witch or wizard-type characters who warp reality (Scarlet Witch, Dr Strange, etc). Every other class has great versatility - a Mechanic can be a starship engineer or a hacker or a Spartan 117 supersoldier with an AI in their head, or a Mystic can be anything from a psionic warrior to a cleric to a shaman or an eldritch cultist. A Technomancer can be anyone who uses both magic-like abilities and technology.

This versatility allows me create characters whose flavor can be designed around my own vision, and not the other way around. I can make a speedster with an Operative, I can make a time traveler with a Witchwarper, and I can make Reinhardt or All Might with a Vanguard. I personally want to make a Vanguard entirely divorced from the entropic magic element, whose charismatic bravado inspires fear in enemy combatants and uses a combination of superpowered might and knowledge of pressure points to deal critical damage.

What these class names do is give me a very general idea of what the class does and how they mechanically work. Operatives are skilful and sneaky, Soldiers shoot a lot, Mystics are the magic class, Mechanics the technology class, Envoys the people class, and Vanguards (whether I'm making Goku or Captain America or Bane) tell me I'm going to be playing a front line brawler. I can adapt the class easily afterwards to reflect the vision I had for the character. If the class is supposed to be narrowly defined as an entropic guru who channels x cosmic ability in their fist - it becomes a lot more difficult (and less legitimate) to create unique characters I want to play as. Not to mention, it doesn't tell me much at all about the class. What in the Pact Worlds is an Entromancer supposed to be?


Starfinder Superscriber

Yeah I had a very different idea in my head when I first read "Vanguard."

I started reading through and got into the whole "Entropy" stuff. That did not mesh well with my "flavor" ideas of the vanguard. To me vanguard has nothing to do with entropy. I was totally confused. Still am! But I'm not sure what to change the name to so that players get a sense of "Ohh, entropy points AND melee defensiveness. cool."


I feel like as a frontline fighter who's hard to take down the Vanguard does a good job living up to its name.

But I will say there's some dissonance in my head between my mental image of a big, powerful wall charging into the fray and the prototypical SF Vanguard which is essentially a lightly armored, highly agile battlemage instead.

that could just be me though.


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That could be somewhat solved if the final version includes anything to make heavy armor a decent alternative.
As of the playtest only light had specific incentive, and Dex is just more useful baseline, but if there's any way for heavy to compete, beefy vanguards will be a thing. It should't take much.

As for the name, I'd take Vanguard over anything more esoteric. It does the job without cornering the class into a specific flavor.
I know most seem to see the class as some other mystical fighter but the way it is set up I cannot see it as anything other than the exact opposite : a very rational, analytical, reasoned, pseudo-sciency counterpart to the solarian's mysticism.

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