Full Attack while Flying?


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Samantha DeWinter wrote:

Fascinating discussion... and a huge headache. It doesn't seem that there's much disagreement at this point on what RAW actually IS. Just grumping about what it should be.

I'm just gonna houserule that full attacks don't burn your swift and sidestep the whole mess.

...not really. As far as I can tell, PCs don't ever get perfect maneuverability in the first place, only the hover drone.

Otherwise force soles mk II and haste make the discussion mostly irrelevant when the PCs get convenient access to those.


It's interesting to note, for this discussion, that given the prevalence of ranged weapons and the importance of cover, flight is actually a pretty high-risk play. This thread seems to have a lot of people coming in with lingering ill will towards flight in Pathfinder, acting like full attacking while flying would be somehow horribly unbalanced, which it really just... Isn't.

Flight basically just gets you out of reach of grounded melee attacks, which is certainly useful for casters (and a use which does not require a full attack to be useful), possibly having different shapes to your area effects (IE, what does a cone look like when fired vertically), and allowing you to get around enemy cover - but at the cost of having no cover yourself. That's actually a pretty significant tradeoff already in this system.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Maps, Pawns, Rulebook Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Claxon wrote:
DM_Blake wrote:


Maybe we glossed past that stuff because we had Pathfinder experience and didn't catch the difference there.

That was my groups problem.

We got so used to PF rules from years of playing, that taking a swift action to hover didn't raise any alarms in our heads. So you can't swift action while flying, most of the classes don't have swift action abilities. Doesn't come up too much, just watch for certain other abilities.

Until you learn that full actions require the use of your swift.

That was really the big change that we needed to learn and pay attention to.

This is an exact example of what I'm talking about - the reason your group didn't catch on probably had a lot more to do with the fact that it just didn't feel "wrong" or "overpowered" or "unreasonable" to play it the way you were playing. Because (and this is really really important for everyone to understand) we generally will go from our real life experiences to what we imagine in the game world, and then expect the rules to support that. Where we will stop and really examine the rules is when the game rules seem to spit out an unreasonable outcome, or when they fail to conform to our expectations of what should reasonably be possible.

In other words, when you incorrectly let any flying player make a 90 degree turn in one single round, or let the mechanic's repair-bot flavored hover drone actually do an engineering check while hovering, or when you didn't require the Barathu envoy to stop floating so it could concentrate on talking (IE use Get 'em and Demoralize actions in the same round, or something), you weren't playing WRONG, because those are all entirely reasonable things to do. It makes no sense that a Barathu should be unable to literally float and talk.

Here's a simple test of this hypothesis about how people would form expectations about the game world. Take any number of random people. Show them a picture of the Iconic hover drone. Then just ask "Would this be more effective at shooting if it was flying, or if it were landed?". I think we know where that is going to end up. In fact, I would be willing to bet that in many cases people's response would be "Can that even actually land at all?".

Here's another test: Imagine a situation where you wanted to send a hover drone through a narrow vent. It's not super-cramped - it's small enough that a small creature would have to squeeze and a medium creature probably just wouldn't fit, but it's not so small that the hover drone would really be restricted in its movement.
It's also not a very long vent (say 10 feet, so a squeezing small creature would plausibly pass through in a single round), but it has two 90 degree turns in it. How long does it take for the hover drone to actually make that trip? The answer is a minimum of three rounds, because it would have to enter the vent, get to the 90 degree turn, stop, wait a round, on the next round travel to the next 90 degree turn, stop, wait a round, and then finally it could leave. If you haven't been playing drone movement like that, then you are on my side, because you recognize that the rules as written simply don't work and don't make sense.

Those who are saying that it is unreasonable to expect otherwise are quite literally inverting how humans understand and process information. Especially for new players, they are not going to say "okay, let me read all the rules and understand what the internal physics of this game are, then imagine the world out from there and ignore my intuitions about what should/shouldn't be possible". Nobody actually thinks that way. Instead, we look at a hover drone, and think "I bet that flies like a helicopter, or a quad-copter drone. Thus, I bet it doesn't have any trouble hovering and being a stable gun platform. Indeed, that's what attack helicopters are FOR, and I can see in the art that it has a gun on the bottom so it seems clear it's going to primarily be an aerial combat platform"

Finally, with regards to the idea that it's unfair to be able to shoot without being vulnerable to melee (AKA the "flying is OP" argument), aside from the point made above about how melee isn't actually the assumption in Starfinder, it's also important to note that denying full attacks doesn't actually fix that problem. The outcome of the fight doesn't change, at all. You still have a shooter who is out of reach and able to shoot with impunity, so the outcome is a foregone conclusion. All you've done is at best make it take longer, which honestly sounds like the antithesis of fun.

Even in a case where it's really important to finish the fight ASAP, the odds that the hover drone (which, remember only has a strength of 6, so is limited to longarms at best) would have been the thing the hypothetical melee only encounter would have focused on are very, very low. Essentially, the balance complaint is that it's not fair to have a flier avoid melee attacks that likely weren't going to be directed at it anyway. I'm not buying it.

The nail in the coffin though is the assertion that you should just spring for the Mk 2 Force soles. That just makes the absurdity clear - far from being a more "limited" form of flight (which is what I think some people mistakenly think), they are objectively better on every axis than the Barathu's native fly speed of 30, for example. So, it cannot be that the issue is that being able to full attack or make engineering checks or use both a standard action attack and a move action class ability or make a 90 degree turn in one round while also being in the air is OP.

Now, you can say "Well, but it's a level thing. That's an 8th level item, so you can't really plausibly get it until around 6th level at the earliest...". Sure - when does a drone get the ability to really plausibly use the full attack action in an efficient way? 7TH, when they get the Expert AI ability so can make a full attack without direct control.

And, of course, the poor Barathu is left out in the cold. Imagine the player who, after struggling through 6 or 7 levels of putting up with cumbersome fly limitations and awkward, absurdly restrictive action economy nonsense, suddenly finds that everyone else in the party can suddenly just jog around in the air much more easily than he can, despite the fact that the GM insisted that it would break the game balance if aerial movement was that easy. Oh, and the Barathu can't take advantage of it, because the Barathu has a speed of 0, so unless/until the player pays off the DISADVANTAGE of being a natural born flyer by buying a high level speed suspension augmentation, Force Soles don't really do anything. Cool cool cool.

I mean, I cannot believe I feel like I have to explain this, but everyone understands why this is absurd, right? Like, try to imagine what using Force Soles would be like - imagine walking down through the air at that 45 degree angle. That would be like trying to walk down a steep set of invisible stairs with no handrails - yet somehow that's a more effective, more natural, easier and safer way to move through the air than a creature that is neutrally buoyant and evolved in an environment where land didn't even exist could ever do.


It's not a hover drone it's a hopping drone?

Sczarni

Starfinder Charter Superscriber
MrTsFloatinghead wrote:

Imagine a situation where you wanted to send a hover drone through a narrow vent. It's not super-cramped - it's small enough that a small creature would have to squeeze and a medium creature probably just wouldn't fit, but it's not so small that the hover drone would really be restricted in its movement.

It's also not a very long vent (say 10 feet, so a squeezing small creature would plausibly pass through in a single round), but it has two 90 degree turns in it. How long does it take for the hover drone to actually make that trip? The answer is a minimum of three rounds, because it would have to enter the vent, get to the 90 degree turn, stop, wait a round, on the next round travel to the next 90 degree turn, stop, wait a round, and then finally it could leave. If you haven't been playing drone movement like that, then you are on my side, because you recognize that the rules as written simply don't work and don't make sense.

Pathfinder had the rule about 90° turns. In Starfinder, it's in increments of 45°.

So for a 10 ft vent with two 90° turns, it takes 30 ft of movement to travass (a single move action for Scout).

Sczarni

Starfinder Charter Superscriber

I should also mention that people often didn't read the Fly rules in Pathfinder, either. That didn't stop me as a GM from asking the 10 Dex Paladin in Full Plate to make checks after drinking their potion of CL 5 Fly.

I received the same range of looks at every table that included either 1) yep, those are the rules, 2) oh, I didn't know about that, or 3) are you out of your freaking mind?

Which category would you have fallen in then, and which category do you fall under now?


Nefreet wrote:

I should also mention that people often didn't read the Fly rules in Pathfinder, either. That didn't stop me as a GM from asking the 10 Dex Paladin in Full Plate to make checks after drinking their potion of CL 5 Fly.

I received the same range of looks at every table that included either 1) yep, those are the rules, 2) oh, I didn't know about that, or 3) are you out of your freaking mind?

Which category would you have fallen in then, and which category do you fall under now?

Really didn't help that the rules contradicted the heck out of each other. Requires as much concentration as walking, but if you stop concentrating you drop like a rock.

And I thought my dex was bad...

Sovereign Court

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I was curious to see how true the claim is that flying doesn't offer such a big advantage in Starfinder as it does in Pathfinder. First I went through Alien Archive just counting monsters that have a ranged attack or flight capability, vs. the ones that can't hurt you if you're flying and they're stuck on the ground. Overwhelmingly, monsters have options against airborne opponents.

But then the question is: are these plausible ranged options? So I went counting whether (A) the monster's strongest attack is ranged or it can fly, or (B) it either can't attack airborne opponents, or its attack against them is notably worse than in ground melee.

Just going up through the monsters A-I, the balance is that against 14 out of 34 monsters, flying gives you a benefit. So while flight doesn't win fights against most monsters, it does give a benefit in about 40% of the fights.


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MrTsFloatinghead wrote:
Claxon wrote:
DM_Blake wrote:


Maybe we glossed past that stuff because we had Pathfinder experience and didn't catch the difference there.

That was my groups problem.

We got so used to PF rules from years of playing, that taking a swift action to hover didn't raise any alarms in our heads. So you can't swift action while flying, most of the classes don't have swift action abilities. Doesn't come up too much, just watch for certain other abilities.

Until you learn that full actions require the use of your swift.

That was really the big change that we needed to learn and pay attention to.

This is an exact example of what I'm talking about - the reason your group didn't catch on probably had a lot more to do with the fact that it just didn't feel "wrong" or "overpowered" or "unreasonable" to play it the way you were playing. Because (and this is really really important for everyone to understand) we generally will go from our real life experiences to what we imagine in the game world, and then expect the rules to support that. Where we will stop and really examine the rules is when the game rules seem to spit out an unreasonable outcome, or when they fail to conform to our expectations of what should reasonably be possible.

In other words, when you incorrectly let any flying player make a 90 degree turn in one single round, or let the mechanic's repair-bot flavored hover drone actually do an engineering check while hovering, or when you didn't require the Barathu envoy to stop floating so it could concentrate on talking (IE use Get 'em and Demoralize actions in the same round, or something), you weren't playing WRONG, because those are all entirely reasonable things to do. It makes no sense that a Barathu should be unable to literally float and talk.

Here's a simple test of this hypothesis about how people would form expectations about the game world. Take any number of random people. Show them a picture of the Iconic hover drone. Then just ask "Would this be...

Excuse me, sir, this is a rules forum drive thru.


Yeah, the rules are that you can't perform full actions while flying until you have haste or force soles mk II.

Whether that's a good rule or not would be general discussion.


Samantha DeWinter wrote:

Fascinating discussion... and a huge headache. It doesn't seem that there's much disagreement at this point on what RAW actually IS. Just grumping about what it should be.

I'm just gonna houserule that full attacks don't burn your swift and sidestep the whole mess.

I think it would be wiser to rule that with a successful fly check you can hover as a free action.

This has less broad affects on the game, and fixes the part that you have trouble with.

It's probably less wise to remove swift actions use from full attacks, as that will more broadly impact the game.


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MrTsFloatinghead wrote:
Claxon wrote:
DM_Blake wrote:


Maybe we glossed past that stuff because we had Pathfinder experience and didn't catch the difference there.

That was my groups problem.

We got so used to PF rules from years of playing, that taking a swift action to hover didn't raise any alarms in our heads. So you can't swift action while flying, most of the classes don't have swift action abilities. Doesn't come up too much, just watch for certain other abilities.

Until you learn that full actions require the use of your swift.

That was really the big change that we needed to learn and pay attention to.

This is an exact example of what I'm talking about - the reason your group didn't catch on probably had a lot more to do with the fact that it just didn't feel "wrong" or "overpowered" or "unreasonable" to play it the way you were playing. Because (and this is really really important for everyone to understand) we generally will go from our real life experiences to what we imagine in the game world, and then expect the rules to support that. Where we will stop and really examine the rules is when the game rules seem to spit out an unreasonable outcome, or when they fail to conform to our expectations of what should reasonably be possible.

I strongly disagree. The problem was on as a players porting over assumptions from two completely different set of game mechanics because they we're developed by the same company. We didn't do our due diligence.

Is it a serious problem to let people essentially hover for free? Probably not.

It is a serious problem to not let people full attack easily while flying? No, it's definitely not. It just requires different strategies.

Honestly, my solution to the problems exposed in this thread would be:
1) Barathu get a special racial ability to hover as a free action, possibly with a penalty. Maybe off-tagret.
2) Anything with perfect maneuverability can hover as a free action.
2a) If you implement 2 and change the Barathu's maneuverability to perfect it fixes problem 1.


Claxon wrote:
Samantha DeWinter wrote:

Fascinating discussion... and a huge headache. It doesn't seem that there's much disagreement at this point on what RAW actually IS. Just grumping about what it should be.

I'm just gonna houserule that full attacks don't burn your swift and sidestep the whole mess.

I think it would be wiser to rule that with a successful fly check you can hover as a free action.

This has less broad affects on the game, and fixes the part that you have trouble with.

It's probably less wise to remove swift actions use from full attacks, as they will more broadly impact the game.

If we're going to step away from rules and into house-rules, this is a good idea.

There are a lot of non-flying cases where swift actions conflict with full attacks or other full round actions, and broadly removing this conflict may have unintended consequences.

Claxon's suggestion keeps the fix limited to just fixing the flying/full action problem without all those other consequences.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Maps, Pawns, Rulebook Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Nefreet wrote:
MrTsFloatinghead wrote:

Imagine a situation where you wanted to send a hover drone through a narrow vent. It's not super-cramped - it's small enough that a small creature would have to squeeze and a medium creature probably just wouldn't fit, but it's not so small that the hover drone would really be restricted in its movement.

It's also not a very long vent (say 10 feet, so a squeezing small creature would plausibly pass through in a single round), but it has two 90 degree turns in it. How long does it take for the hover drone to actually make that trip? The answer is a minimum of three rounds, because it would have to enter the vent, get to the 90 degree turn, stop, wait a round, on the next round travel to the next 90 degree turn, stop, wait a round, and then finally it could leave. If you haven't been playing drone movement like that, then you are on my side, because you recognize that the rules as written simply don't work and don't make sense.

Pathfinder had the rule about 90° turns. In Starfinder, it's in increments of 45°.

So for a 10 ft vent with two 90° turns, it takes 30 ft of movement to travass (a single move action for Scout).

Incorrect, and exactly makes my point about how the rules are unworkable. The rules say you have to choose a primary direction for the round, and you can at most turn 45 degrees between squares. Unfortunately, this means that you would have to make that 45 degree (IE diagonal move) around a hard corner, which you cannot do. Thus, you have to go to the end of the first straight stretch, and you are stuck there. You can't even use a second move to change direction, because again, the limitation is a primary direction for the entire round. There is absolutely no way you can get through the vent in less than three turns.

Here, let me give you another example of what I'm talking about: Imagine a hovering/floating character taking cover in a doorway to shoot down a standard 5 foot wide hallway. Next turn, that character/drone/whatever wants to enter the hallway and then proceed down it. This cannot be done. If the flier declares the primary direction of travel to be "down the hallway", then it can't enter the hallway to begin with, as it could only turn 45 degrees and make a diagonal move - but you cannot make a diagonal move across a hard corner like a wall or a door frame. So, the primary direction of travel has to be out into the hallway, which gets the flyer out there, but then they can't turn far enough to actually head down the hallway.

I think you are thinking you can stack 45 degree turns in one square, but nothing in the rules indicates that is so. In fact, it's not even clear that you can turn more than 45 degrees once in a single round. This is on top of all the other obvious absurdities trying to actually use the fly rules as written brings up. I submit again that I don't think it is possible that anyone has ever actually followed the exact RAW on flying on any real Starfinder table, and I don't think anyone ever will. The fly rules are that bad.

I also think a big problem here is that people have some major misconceptions about how flight and flying works in the real world. For example, it's not "harder" in a mental sense to fly than it is to walk. Indeed, it's actually quite the opposite - it's much trickier to balance while walking on two legs than it is to stabilize as a flier. We just tend to think walking is easier because most of us are familiar with doing it, so it feels easy to us. Further, flying is not even one thing - The physics of a dragon, a helicopter, and a blimp are all totally different. Having one set of rules for all of them just doesn't work.


MrTsFloatinghead wrote:
I also think a big problem here is that people have some major misconceptions about how flight and flying works in the real world. For example, it's not "harder" in a mental sense to fly than it is to walk. Indeed, it's actually quite the opposite - it's much trickier to balance while walking on two legs than it is to stabilize as a flier.

How easy is it to hover in place while throwing as many punches as possible at someone. I value your personal experience on this.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Maps, Pawns, Rulebook Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Ascalaphus wrote:

I was curious to see how true the claim is that flying doesn't offer such a big advantage in Starfinder as it does in Pathfinder. First I went through Alien Archive just counting monsters that have a ranged attack or flight capability, vs. the ones that can't hurt you if you're flying and they're stuck on the ground. Overwhelmingly, monsters have options against airborne opponents.

But then the question is: are these plausible ranged options? So I went counting whether (A) the monster's strongest attack is ranged or it can fly, or (B) it either can't attack airborne opponents, or its attack against them is notably worse than in ground melee.

Just going up through the monsters A-I, the balance is that against 14 out of 34 monsters, flying gives you a benefit. So while flight doesn't win fights against most monsters, it does give a benefit in about 40% of the fights.

That's questionable, actually - first, it's only a benefit AT ALL in a situation where the flyer would have been the target of the melee attack, but couldn't be. Second, even in those situations, I don't think that on balance the disadvantages of being in the air (unable to full attack or do an attack/standard action or make engineering/computer skill checks, unable to be in cover) are overcome by the advantage of "can only be attacked by a maybe less optimal attack"


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

Could you please cite the rule you're referring to that would indicate that you can't make more than one 45 degree turn? I do not see any such rule in the Acrobatics skill, or the Flying rules on page 259.

I only see the following, which does not indicate any limit on number of turns, only a movement cost:
"If you want to change direction while flying, it costs you an additional 5 feet of movement to turn 45 degrees. If you want to ascend, it costs you an additional 5 feet of movement for each square that you move upward. For example, suppose you have a fly speed of 60 feet. As a single move action, you can fly forward 20 feet, turn 45 degrees to the left, and fly one square diagonally (all of which costs 30 feet of your movement). You can then ascend 15 feet, which costs another 30 feet of movement. At this point, you have used your full 60 feet of flying movement, so your move action is over. "


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Maps, Pawns, Rulebook Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Xenocrat wrote:
MrTsFloatinghead wrote:
I also think a big problem here is that people have some major misconceptions about how flight and flying works in the real world. For example, it's not "harder" in a mental sense to fly than it is to walk. Indeed, it's actually quite the opposite - it's much trickier to balance while walking on two legs than it is to stabilize as a flier.
How easy is it to hover in place while throwing as many punches as possible at someone. I value your personal experience on this.

Depends - for a human, with human physiology and evolved for walking? Pretty hard, which is why Force Soles should basically not work at all, let alone not let you easily full attack from the air. For something that is designed/evolved for flight, pretty easy, especially if they are something like an auto-stabilizing quad rotor system, or are neutrally buoyant.

Again, if FEELS like walking is easy to most of us because we are used to it. Ask someone who builds bipedal robots how easy it actually is to make a robot that can walk down the stairs, though. Then ask someone who builds quad drones how easy it is to make a drone that can quickly right itself automatically, and can slide sideways without changing facing, etc.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Maps, Pawns, Rulebook Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
HammerJack wrote:

Could you please cite the rule you're referring to that would indicate that you can't make more than one 45 degree turn? I do not see any such rule in the Acrobatics skill, or the Flying rules on page 259.

I only see the following, which does not indicate any limit on number of turns, only a movement cost:
"If you want to change direction while flying, it costs you an additional 5 feet of movement to turn 45 degrees. If you want to ascend, it costs you an additional 5 feet of movement for each square that you move upward. For example, suppose you have a fly speed of 60 feet. As a single move action, you can fly forward 20 feet, turn 45 degrees to the left, and fly one square diagonally (all of which costs 30 feet of your movement). You can then ascend 15 feet, which costs another 30 feet of movement. At this point, you have used your full 60 feet of flying movement, so your move action is over. "

Can you please site the section in there where it says you can make more than one turn? As many of the people in this very thread have argued in the past, Starfinder is a permissive rules set, not a restrictive one. If the rules don't say you can do something, you can't. Currently the rules do not actually say you can make more than one turn. You may assume that you should be able to turn more often, but grammatically that is not actually what the rules say.

I mean, why is it reasonable to assume you should be able to actually turn? I've never seen a rocket or an airplane turn that sharply before! Why should you get all the advantages of flying AND be able to turn as sharply as someone who is walking?!


Regarding PCs having access to perfect maneuverability flight, please note that Polymorph 6 can grant it.

MrTsFloatinghead wrote:
Xenocrat wrote:
MrTsFloatinghead wrote:
I also think a big problem here is that people have some major misconceptions about how flight and flying works in the real world. For example, it's not "harder" in a mental sense to fly than it is to walk. Indeed, it's actually quite the opposite - it's much trickier to balance while walking on two legs than it is to stabilize as a flier.
How easy is it to hover in place while throwing as many punches as possible at someone. I value your personal experience on this.

Depends - for a human, with human physiology and evolved for walking? Pretty hard, which is why Force Soles should basically not work at all, let alone not let you easily full attack from the air. For something that is designed/evolved for flight, pretty easy, especially if they are something like an auto-stabilizing quad rotor system, or are neutrally buoyant.

Again, if FEELS like walking is easy to most of us because we are used to it. Ask someone who builds bipedal robots how easy it actually is to make a robot that can walk down the stairs, though. Then ask someone who builds quad drones how easy it is to make a drone that can quickly right itself automatically, and can slide sideways without changing facing, etc.

Thanks, this was sufficiently clueless and ignorant of the relevant issues to tell me what I need to know. I appreciate it.


Xeno, not that I don't disagree with his line of reasoning, but you probably ought to dial back the grrr a bit.


An airplane cannot pivot in one space while flying (maybe planes can while taking off or landing but not while flying at speed). Doing so would probably rip them apart (depending on their speed).

For an airplane to turn, or a bird, some forward progress is required while it turns. A rule like only turning 45 degrees for every X squares forward would be sensible. The faster it goes, the larger X is.

Helicopters can rotate much more easily but again, that's only really possible while hovering, not while moving forward at speed. Same rule, 45 degrees for every X squares.

Really, anything with on set of wings (fixed, flapping, rotating) must not be able to turn in place unless it's also capable of hovering. So, perhaps, allowing greater rotation when successfully hovering would be sensible.

Drones with multiple sets of tiltable wings (rotors) have much greater maneuverability and no longer depend on "front" or "forward" while moving at speed. For drones, X could be so small that it's possibly 0.

None of which is in the rules.

But if I had to resolve ambiguity of a rule, I would try to make that rule conform to common sense or real physics. The 45 degree rule doesn't permit nor restrict making multiple turns in a single square. But both common sense and physics tell me what I need to know: only if hovering, not if moving forward.

Applying that to Starfinder, which has rules for hovering, which themselves also connect to rules for flight maneuverability, I can extrapolate some possible common-sense rules to cover this.

Unfortunately, those are all house-rules because Starfinder rules don't do an adequate job of covering all this. Given how many pages this game and all other RPGs devote to moving and positioning and terrain and obstacles and what can and cannot be done during such moves, this seems to be a fairly important topic - not one to be "Oh, well, they covered some of it and each GM should decide on how to play it."

It would be nice if we got better rules for flying. Rules simulate sensible physics for turning and hovering. Rules that allow creatures and machines with innate flying ability to actually fight and use skills sensibly.

For now, we have what's there.


HammerJack wrote:

Could you please cite the rule you're referring to that would indicate that you can't make more than one 45 degree turn? I do not see any such rule in the Acrobatics skill, or the Flying rules on page 259.

I only see the following, which does not indicate any limit on number of turns, only a movement cost:
"If you want to change direction while flying, it costs you an additional 5 feet of movement to turn 45 degrees. If you want to ascend, it costs you an additional 5 feet of movement for each square that you move upward. For example, suppose you have a fly speed of 60 feet. As a single move action, you can fly forward 20 feet, turn 45 degrees to the left, and fly one square diagonally (all of which costs 30 feet of your movement). You can then ascend 15 feet, which costs another 30 feet of movement. At this point, you have used your full 60 feet of flying movement, so your move action is over. "

I see no reason why you couldn't change direction multiple times a flight move. There is no language stating you are limited to one turn a move action, nor any about 45 degrees per 5' of movement. I'm not even sure that rules block prevents you from pulling a 180. It would cost 20' of movement to flip over backwards and go back the way you came. Something to keep in mind when employing spring attack and shot on the run during flight.

Flying wrote:

If you want to change direction while flying, it costs you an

additional 5 feet of movement to turn 45 degrees.

Is the rule for turning while flying. As I read that, you can pivot in place, you don't need to move 5' per 45 turn or any additional rules.

Though, the listed example does appear to be wrong. They wouldn't be able to fly straight up because they would have to spend 10' of movement to turn 90 degrees up. They could move 5' up at an angle of 45 degrees, in the diagonal direction they were already going.

Sczarni

Starfinder Charter Superscriber
MrTsFloatinghead wrote:
Nefreet wrote:
MrTsFloatinghead wrote:

Imagine a situation where you wanted to send a hover drone through a narrow vent. It's not super-cramped - it's small enough that a small creature would have to squeeze and a medium creature probably just wouldn't fit, but it's not so small that the hover drone would really be restricted in its movement.

It's also not a very long vent (say 10 feet, so a squeezing small creature would plausibly pass through in a single round), but it has two 90 degree turns in it. How long does it take for the hover drone to actually make that trip? The answer is a minimum of three rounds, because it would have to enter the vent, get to the 90 degree turn, stop, wait a round, on the next round travel to the next 90 degree turn, stop, wait a round, and then finally it could leave. If you haven't been playing drone movement like that, then you are on my side, because you recognize that the rules as written simply don't work and don't make sense.

Pathfinder had the rule about 90° turns. In Starfinder, it's in increments of 45°.

So for a 10 ft vent with two 90° turns, it takes 30 ft of movement to travass (a single move action for Scout).

Incorrect, and exactly makes my point about how the rules are unworkable. The rules say you have to choose a primary direction for the round, and you can at most turn 45 degrees between squares. Unfortunately, this means that you would have to make that 45 degree (IE diagonal move) around a hard corner, which you cannot do. Thus, you have to go to the end of the first straight stretch, and you are stuck there. You can't even use a second move to change direction, because again, the limitation is a primary direction for the entire round. There is absolutely no way you can get through the vent in less than three turns.

Reading is an interpretive activity.

While we can certainly read the same text and come to two entirely different conclusions, which one sounds more reasonable to you?


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Maps, Pawns, Rulebook Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Xenocrat wrote:


Thanks, this was sufficiently clueless and ignorant of the relevant issues to tell me what I need to know. I appreciate it.

Oh? Interesting. I was under the impression that fundamentally human walking was a complex system that essentially requires pulling the center of mass forward, out of balance, and then dynamically re-establishing balance through a combination of free swinging pendulum motion as well as muscle power, and that its a complex enough problem that bipedal human-like walking is something that is currently extraordinarily difficult to replicate. Indeed, as of the state of the literature in like 2017 I recall it being argued that nobody had yet been able to build a robot that could truly be called a successful human-style walker (let alone running). If you know otherwise, please, what resources would you suggest? A lot of my understanding is admittedly quite old, since it started from this paper (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1129077/), so I would love to see any updated resources you have.

In the meantime, if the question is "how hard is it to walk like a human" vs "how hard is it to fly with absurd agility and stability", it seems pretty convincing to me that I can buy a flying drone with the agility of a particularly skilled hummingbird for like $100 on Amazon, whereas getting a robot that can walk like a human would take something like 3 TED talks and a DARPA grant.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Maps, Pawns, Rulebook Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Nefreet wrote:

Reading is an interpretive activity.

While we can certainly read the same text and come to two entirely different conclusions, which one sounds more reasonable to you?

I'm glad you asked! The interpretation that sounds reasonable to me is the one that follows the logic of the real world as well as the internal logic of the fictional setting as well - IE the one in which things that are observably true in the real world (IE it's not actually that hard to fly, certainly not compared to something as difficult to do as walking) and we can see in the intent of the game world (IE that Barathu aren't completely unable to make engineering checks or computer checks while in their native environment, since they would just fall through the atmosphere and die).

But see, I've been told repeatedly that that is unreasonable - that's not how we do things, right? We should expect players to abandon those expectations and instead DO WHAT THE RULES SAY - Indeed, it seems to be the express stance by many that the concern that there is a massive disconnect between what someone who only knows the real world and/or the art/fiction of the game might reasonably expect and what the rules actually enforce is completely nonsense, as is the concern that said disconnect might cause a bad play experience.

So, yeah, I actually agree with you - the fly rules, as they are written, are dumb, and unreasonable. Which is why we should not be arguing that it is a good idea to use them as they are.


MrTsFloatinghead wrote:
I'm glad you asked! The interpretation that sounds reasonable to me is the one that follows the logic of the real world as well as the internal logic of the fictional setting as well - IE the one in which things that are observably true in the real world (IE it's not actually that hard to fly, certainly not compared to something as difficult to do as walking) and we can see in the intent of the game world (IE that Barathu aren't completely unable to make engineering checks or computer checks while in their native environment, since they would just fall through the atmosphere and die).

I have no idea whatsoever how you think it's easier to fly than walk in the real world.

About the only real world creature that manages to fly and do just about anything else, is the hummingbird. Insects land to collect pollen, eat, bite or sting. Birds other than the hummingbird do basically nothing mid air. When they do something mid-air, like mating, they do so while falling.

Besides when a barathu makes a computers or engineering check on their homeworld, they most likely don't do so floating by themselves. They probably land on a larger combined barathu and either plug in, or access the biotech from there.

MrTsFloatinghead wrote:
But see, I've been told repeatedly that that is unreasonable - that's not how we do things, right? We should expect players to abandon those expectations and instead DO WHAT THE RULES SAY - Indeed, it seems to be the express stance by many that the concern that there is a massive disconnect between what someone who only knows the real world and/or the art/fiction of the game might reasonably expect and what the rules actually enforce is completely nonsense, as is the concern that said disconnect might cause a bad play experience.

At SFS tables I do expect players to follow the rules even when they're a bit silly. This rule is not a bit silly, it's just simple simulated tactical movement applied to flight speeds. It's not an accurate representation of how flight works in the same way land speeds, 5' squares, and spacing are not an accurate way that movement on the ground works in the real world, or how turn taking in combat is not how real life fights work. It's sort of close, but simplified for ease of play.

The 'disconnect' between art and the game table experience seems to come from bad assumptions. We see characters casting in mid air - this works just fine as long as it isn't a full action spell. We see characters shooting in mid air - this works too, as long as it's not a full attack.

Art also shows a barathu of some sort 'landed' on a trailing tentacle. The assumption that barathu can't land also appears to be a bad one.


Garretmander wrote:
MrTsFloatinghead wrote:
I'm glad you asked! The interpretation that sounds reasonable to me is the one that follows the logic of the real world as well as the internal logic of the fictional setting as well - IE the one in which things that are observably true in the real world (IE it's not actually that hard to fly, certainly not compared to something as difficult to do as walking) and we can see in the intent of the game world (IE that Barathu aren't completely unable to make engineering checks or computer checks while in their native environment, since they would just fall through the atmosphere and die).
I have no idea whatsoever how you think it's easier to fly than walk in the real world.

They appear to be coming from a robotics standpoint, where what they're saying is actually completely true.

Now, whether that's a *useful* standpoint is an entirely different question - it's obviously highly relevant to the drones, for example, though the relevancy to the Strix is a different question.


True, though flying a drone is still much harder than walking is for a human. Possibly still true in the far future with constructs than can near perfectly imitate the movement of organic creatures (androids, SROs).

I even see the argument for allowing hover for perfect maneuverability creatures (drones) as a free action. I think it makes them a slightly too attractive option at lower levels, but I don't think it will break the game wide open.

I don't see the argument for allowing free, easy, no consequences movement for creatures with only average maneuverability (contemplatives, early stage barathu, jet pack/forcepack/flight spell using creatures).

I also don't understand the argument that the movement and turning rules are too complicated to work at a table.


Personally, regardless of complexity, I continue to think that there are fundamental design problems to these rules, and I'm not sure there would be much wrong with adding some kind of a glide that could be turned into a free action.

Also, it's important to distinguish a person remote controlling a drone from any sort of software written to control that drone - in terms of a piece of software created to perform the task without human intervention, a drone hovering is actually a pretty easy thing.

And, frankly, flight's not really that safe in Starfinder - basically everything can hit you in the air. I wouldn't say it's any more consequence free than moving on the ground is.


And the drone can hover without human intervention in starfinder.

Flying vs. melee combatants and forcing them to use their weaker attack can be between +2 - +4 AC. Partial cover up to cover. Gaining cover and the equivalent of a few points of DR sounds pretty good to me. Especially as a spellcaster or an envoy or an operative who doesn't need a full action (trick attack includes movement, so operatives are safe).

Issues with some creatures that can fly effortlessly plummeting to the ground if they try to remote-hack a system? maybe.

Fundamental design problems? That's a step too far. The system allows you to fly from point A to point B and perform some simple actions along the way. It works just fine. Maybe taking full actions in the air isn't unbalanced, but it doesn't have fundamental problems in the way it works at the table.


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Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Claxon wrote:

It's pretty reasonable(IMO) to expect a player that has a flight speed to go and look at what rules govern flight.

They might miss the part about how full actions use up move, standard and swift actions. Especially if they came from Pathfinder. I think that's the main problem though, is people coming form Pathfinder that have specific expectations about how things should work, and not verify how they work.

I would go further, and that part of the problem is people further being offended that things *don't* work like they do in Pathfinder. Its not just that they unthinkingly assume that flight allows full attacks, its that some thinkingly believe they are *owed* the ability to make full attacks in flight.

If I had to postulate? Some people look upon a rules change that negates the way they traditionally played, as some kind of personal attack. Maybe not consciously, but the vehemence seems to be there.

Sczarni

Starfinder Charter Superscriber
MrTsFloatinghead wrote:
I actually agree with you - the fly rules, as they are written I express to interpret them, are dumb, and unreasonable.

Fixed that for you.

I disagree that they are "dumb and unreasonable" because I don't read them the same way you do.

So I ask, again, which of our two interpretations is more reasonable? Yours, where hover drones don't function, or mine, where they do?

If you're interested in playing Starfinder, you might want to take a look at your own method of reading and analyzing written text.


Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Nerdy Canuck wrote:

It's interesting to note, for this discussion, that given the prevalence of ranged weapons and the importance of cover, flight is actually a pretty high-risk play. This thread seems to have a lot of people coming in with lingering ill will towards flight in Pathfinder, acting like full attacking while flying would be somehow horribly unbalanced, which it really just... Isn't.

Flight basically just gets you out of reach of grounded melee attacks, which is certainly useful for casters (and a use which does not require a full attack to be useful), possibly having different shapes to your area effects (IE, what does a cone look like when fired vertically), and allowing you to get around enemy cover - but at the cost of having no cover yourself. That's actually a pretty significant tradeoff already in this system.

I think its less about invulnerability, and more about the idea that anything but a full attack is the Wrong Decision. I certainly see that mindset show up in a lot of other topics involving tactics.


Garretmander wrote:
Fundamental design problems? That's a step too far. The system allows you to fly from point A to point B and perform some simple actions along the way. It works just fine. Maybe taking full actions in the air isn't unbalanced, but it doesn't have fundamental problems in the way it works at the table.

I can pretty much guarantee you that the player fantasy around flight (and I'm referring, at this point, to the term "fantasy" as it's used in game design terms, which is actually something extremely fundamental) is not "fly from point A to point B and perform some simple actions along the way". Think more... Falcon.

Metaphysician wrote:
Nerdy Canuck wrote:

It's interesting to note, for this discussion, that given the prevalence of ranged weapons and the importance of cover, flight is actually a pretty high-risk play. This thread seems to have a lot of people coming in with lingering ill will towards flight in Pathfinder, acting like full attacking while flying would be somehow horribly unbalanced, which it really just... Isn't.

Flight basically just gets you out of reach of grounded melee attacks, which is certainly useful for casters (and a use which does not require a full attack to be useful), possibly having different shapes to your area effects (IE, what does a cone look like when fired vertically), and allowing you to get around enemy cover - but at the cost of having no cover yourself. That's actually a pretty significant tradeoff already in this system.

I think its less about invulnerability, and more about the idea that anything but a full attack is the Wrong Decision. I certainly see that mindset show up in a lot of other topics involving tactics.

Which is interesting, given that there's actually a pretty firm mathematical point regarding where full attacks do and don't make sense thinking solely in terms of damage output.


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Players (who have no TTRPG experience) expecting to be able to fly and make attacks will find Starfinder suitable. They can do that exactly.

Players (who might be influence by Pathfinder) might expect to be able to fly and full attack....and they will be sorely disappointed in Starfinder.

I think the second expectation isn't necessarily reasonable. It's based on experience with other RPGS and doesn't need to be true in Starfinder (IMO) for suitable science fantasy to be achieved.


Claxon wrote:
Players (who have no TTRPG experience) expecting to be able to fly and make attacks will find Starfinder suitable. They can do that exactly.

Players expecting to fly and attack as normal will not, however.

When dealing with player-centered elements of the design, you 100% do not get to decide how those elements are defined - you're gonna have to pay attention. Aggressively applying definitions to match what you already think/want is one of the fastest ways to land on horrible designs.

But also, you don't get to design a game and simply assume players haven't played other games - much less your games. If their knowledge of those games creates a problem, it is absolutely a problem designers need to deal with.


Nerdy Canuck wrote:
Claxon wrote:
Players (who have no TTRPG experience) expecting to be able to fly and make attacks will find Starfinder suitable. They can do that exactly.

Players expecting to fly and attack as normal will not, however.

When dealing with player-centered elements of the design, you 100% do not get to decide how those elements are defined - you're gonna have to pay attention. Aggressively applying definitions to match what you already think/want is one of the fastest ways to land on horrible designs.

But also, you don't get to design a game and simply assume players haven't played other games - much less your games. If their knowledge of those games creates a problem, it is absolutely a problem designers need to deal with.

What do you mean, as normal?

Normal for what?

You mean normal like flying is as easy as walking (or standing) so you can just do a standing fly maneuver and do all the same things you could otherwise do while standing?

Nah. I don't agree. A player should ask, what kind of actions does it take for me to fly, and who does that impact what I can do.

You can fly (move action) and make an attack standard action without a problem. You just can't make multiple attacks.

Personally I think your idea of "normal" is "I came from Pathfinder and I expect flying to work exactly the same and be super awesome like it always was".

And yes, the onus is the players. Just because it's made by the same developer doesn't mean you should assume things are the same. I did previously, because it's human nature, but there's not much a company can do about that unless they want to make a guide book that says "Hey pay attention veterans of our other game where we purposefully made this different".


Claxon wrote:
Nerdy Canuck wrote:
Claxon wrote:
Players (who have no TTRPG experience) expecting to be able to fly and make attacks will find Starfinder suitable. They can do that exactly.

Players expecting to fly and attack as normal will not, however.

When dealing with player-centered elements of the design, you 100% do not get to decide how those elements are defined - you're gonna have to pay attention. Aggressively applying definitions to match what you already think/want is one of the fastest ways to land on horrible designs.

But also, you don't get to design a game and simply assume players haven't played other games - much less your games. If their knowledge of those games creates a problem, it is absolutely a problem designers need to deal with.

What do you mean, as normal?

Normal for what?

You mean normal like flying is as easy as walking (or standing) so you can just do a standing fly maneuver and do all the same things you could otherwise do while standing?

Nah. I don't agree. A player should ask, what kind of actions does it take for me to fly, and who does that impact what I can do.

You can fly (move action) and make an attack standard action without a problem. You just can't make multiple attacks.

Personally I think your idea of "normal" is "I came from Pathfinder and I expect flying to work exactly the same and be super awesome like it always was".

And yes, the onus is the players. Just because it's made by the same developer doesn't mean you should assume things are the same. I did previously, because it's human nature, but there's not much a company can do about that unless they want to make a guide book that says "Hey pay attention veterans of our other game where we purposefully made this different".

See, here's the problem: It doesn't matter in this context what you think players should or shouldn't expect/do. It matters what they will do.

Game design would be so much easier if these things could just be about what players should expect.


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Game experience causing distress because it doesn’t match a player’s head-concept isn’t really any different than a game experience causing distress because a player thought they knew the rules based on a different game.

The reality is, neither of these would be an issue if the people involved read the rules. On that topic, when did we get to the point where not knowing the rules was a good excuse? How have these people been playing any new games, tabletop or digital? How do you cook your food, or change the oil in your car? Are they just wildly throwing haymakers at everything as they go through life, and just hoping it all works out?

To that end, “But also, you don't get to design a game and simply assume players haven't played other games - much less your games. If their knowledge of those games creates a problem, it is absolutely a problem designers need to deal with.”

I don’t follow this. Are you saying that Paizo should have anticipated the confusion having two games in the same system with different rulesets would have caused? Or are you saying that, upon a rising tide of complaints Paizo should have released something to sooth the anger? If the former, then maybe. Maybe Paizo could have done… something… different. The latter? No, I don’t expect a company to spend time or money fixing an issue that arose because people didn’t read the rule book.


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And they should not expect to do anything they want midair because they could in pathfinder with a free action fly check.

Flying takes effort in starfinder. Players should understand that as soon as they read the acrobatics skill entry.

Expecting to do full actions without effort midair in starfinder is like expecting to craft golems in 5e. It's not how the system works.


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Nerdy Canuck wrote:
Game design would be so much easier if these things could just be about what players should expect.

Players should expect to read the rules and understand them, and if something isn't clear to ask their GM who is the ultimate arbiter of the rules (for their game).

If you read the relevant rules section their is nothing ambiguous or difficult to understand about flying denying full attacks.

[Full attacks are full actions which require standard, move, and swift actions. Flying requires you to move or hover (to stay aloft) which requires the expenditure of a move action or a swift action. There is currently no ability to hover as a free action.]

Your argument (from my perspective) basically amounts to "the players want to be able to do this thing" and the rules pretty clearly say no. And you don't care for that.


Claxon wrote:
Nerdy Canuck wrote:
Game design would be so much easier if these things could just be about what players should expect.

Players should expect to read the rules and understand them, and if something isn't clear to ask their GM who is the ultimate arbiter of the rules (for their game).

If you read the relevant rules section their is nothing ambiguous or difficult to understand about flying denying full attacks.

[Full attacks are full actions which require standard, move, and swift actions. Flying requires you to move or hover (to stay aloft) which requires the expenditure of a move action or a swift action. There is currently no ability to hover as a free action.]

Your argument (from my perspective) basically amounts to "the players want to be able to do this thing" and the rules pretty clearly say no. And you don't care for that.

See, that's the thing: I'm talking about the ruleset as a thing that was designed, and the things that such a design needs to consider.


A full attack is something you probably want to prevent but should a barathu really not be able to tighten a bolt without falling?


BigNorseWolf wrote:
A full attack is something you probably want to prevent but should a barathu really not be able to tighten a bolt without falling?

if there is a handhold I don't think there's a problem. If there isn't it should be reasonable to spend multiple turns tightening a bolt slowly.

Besides, early stage barathu fly on organic
gas bladder jet packs, they don't just float about without effort like their larger cousins.

Sczarni

Starfinder Charter Superscriber
BigNorseWolf wrote:
A full attack is something you probably want to prevent but should a barathu really not be able to tighten a bolt without falling?

Are you talking about the baby? Or a full grown one?

Because the full grown ones would recognize their weakness and modify their DNA to adapt.

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