The Envoy, Whats with all the spoony bards?


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SuperBidi wrote:
BigNorseWolf wrote:
It seems really weird to me that people are justifying worse mechanics with something they could just role play.

There are lots of people considering that the character sheet is there to represent the character the closest possible, and that no mechanics would replace what is there.

At my gaming group, if you don't have the Steward archetype, you're no steward at all.

That seems especially limiting.

Like it's great to have a mechanical option, but I don't think anything about the lore of the Stewards implies you have to take the archetype to be a Steward.

You're basically saying that you can't consider yourself a rogue (in PF1) unless you have levels in the rogue class. Even though there are a lot of ways to play a rogue, and lots of classes that replicate their abilities.


Claxon wrote:
You're basically saying that you can't consider yourself a rogue (in PF1) unless you have levels in the rogue class. Even though there are a lot of ways to play a rogue, and lots of classes that replicate their abilities.

The thing is: It depends on your DM.

I once made a Bard. He was an ex-soldier who left the army because he was bad at it. I got a DM telling me my background was not in line with my character sheet because I had no martial class levels or points in profession (soldier).
So, clearly, this guy is going too far away (in my opinion at least). But you have people considering that if your character sheet doesn't represent your character closely, it's invalid.

So, there is a steward archetype, why would you play a steward without taking the archetype?
Optimization is no reason for some people. They don't care about optimization, and I know a few DM who would not invite at their table someone who considers optimization too highly.
And I understand them. People who think too much about optimization generate rules issue during games.

I'm on the middle ground. As a player, I think both at my character sheet and at the role I'm playing. I want my character sheet to closely represent the role I'm playing, but I want also my character to be at least average efficient.
So, if I play a steward, I take the Steward archetype, if I play a celebrity, he'll have at least 16 in Charisma (and certainly 18). I don't want a DM to refuse what I consider part of my character because he disregards a specific rule and find another one more suitable.


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Pathfinder Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

That's honestly the saddest thing. A GM forbidding a flavorful backstory because you didn't spend your precious few skill points on a neigh useless profession?

It should be the GM's job to help your character sheet express what your backstory is, not to edit your backstory based on the mechanical choices you were forced to make on your sheet.

Even as someone who jumps back and forth between building characters based on interesting mechanics and building them based on interesting stories, I find the thought of straight up being told "No, your plausible backstory is wrong. Your character has to be more generic" horrific.

It's one thing to try to pull of something of extreme value, like saying your backstory is being the rich son of a trillionaire, but saying you can't be an ex-cop because you don't have Profession(beat cop) is table-flipping bad.


WatersLethe wrote:
That's honestly the saddest thing. A GM forbidding a flavorful backstory because you didn't spend your precious few skill points on a neigh useless profession?

I disagree with you.

It was an organized play, so I was unable to comply. But in a home game, if he had asked me, I would have put a point in Profession(Soldier). After all, his argument is legitimate: I get an advantage of being an ex-soldier (he would have played the fact that I have the contacts, and things like that), it's logical to ask for a cost.

For me, all the question about the spoony bard is a question of DMs. Some don't care about this kind of things, others care a lot.
I got a discussion with another player about a Paladin accepting the raging song from a Skald. Some people consider the Paladin breaks his vow by accepting the song, as he voluntarily surrender part of his self control, and others don't care. Role over rolls or rolls over role.

Sovereign Court

How much more is 18 than 16?
* How much more does an 18 do? (what is the difference in power?)
* How much rarer is an 18 in the population?

Napkin math warning

Let's start with the second question. Under the stat generation of Starfinder we really have no idea what the relative frequencies are, because Starfinder is point-buy and an 18 doesn't have a higher marginal cost than a 16. We know that "average" in the population is 10 (a +0 modifier), while most races have either a +2/+2/-2 or a +2 modifier spread. So the average civilian builds with -2 points. Typical adventurers are 12 points above the norm.

So what can we guess for average stats in the NPC population? We hearken back to the days of roll-for-stats, specifically 2nd edition and it's 3d6 in order stat generation. That generates an average ability score of 10.5 which would result in a +0 modifier. If you plot the probabilities of going from -4 to +4 modifiers (a 3 to 18) it falls fairly nicely to a normal distribution with standard deviation of '1', so that's pretty nice.

Being a bit more precise, an NPC rolling 3d6 in order has 6 ways of rolling a 16 and 4 ways of rolling a 17, which amount to the same modifier, and could be blamed on the +1 for theme. That's (6+4)/(6^3) = 10/216. To get an 18 there's only one roll so 1/216. So on randomly rolled NPCs, you expect 18 to be about 10 times rarer than a 16. That's a big difference, but they're both rare, and also not that rare. In a high school of a 1000 kids all rolling 3d6 for stars you'd get on average 4 18s and a bit more than 40 16+17s.

===

How much does an 18 do compared to a 16?

Well that rather depends on what you're looking at. On Resolve it's 1/2 your level plus Charisma modifier, so it starts out at the main thing and in the very long run fades in significance. On Inspiring Boost it's 2*Level + Cha, so by level 3 your Charisma is the smaller modifier and it quickly dwindles in importance. On a Soulfire fusion it's [Level-scaling weapon damage]+=[WBL-scaling crystal bonus damage]+[Level-scaling weapon specialization]+[Str]+[Cha], so again by level 3 or so its impact begins to be overshadowed by other factors.

The big thing where Charisma matters is save DCs and opposed skill checks. These are things where the increase in your power from levels is matched by a rise in enemy stats as they go up in CR. A high charisma will never become less relevant if you're making enemies roll saves based on 10+[1/2 Level]+[Cha].

Both Diplomacy and Bluff DCs in Starfinder also scale with CR of enemies, so that's also something where higher Charisma really matters for more than a few levels.

===

Finally, there's the question: can other people tell? If one person has Charisma 16 and the other Charisma 18, how could an NPC tell? Can the NPC directly look at numbers on your character sheet, or can he only observe the outcome of die rolls you make? Can he see the numbers on the die and think "oh that was a lucky 20, she's not actually that good but she rolled well"?

My personal take is that NPCs cannot directly observe your character sheet or dice. When they observe you doing Diplomacy they can't see that you have a +5 or a +10 modifier. But they can see you persuading someone powerful by getting a 30, and realize that you must be no slouch in the talking department to be talking that smoothly.

As a consequence, NPCs have a hard time determining your Charisma. A level 4 envoy with Charisma 16 and a level 2 envoy with Charisma 18 have the same save DC on their exploits. They have the same amount of Resolve. The level 4 envoy probably has a higher Diplomacy because he is two skill ranks ahead. The outside observer would probably conclude the level 4 character is slightly better, but have a tough time saying which of the two has more "skill" (class levels, skill ranks) and which one has more raw talent (charisma).

So my take is: you don't need Charisma 18 to be a celebrity. It helps. So do class levels. You can be a celebrity with Charisma 8 if you like, just by liberating the president from a kidnapping on prime time TV, or just by becoming a level 6 envoy.


Ascalaphus wrote:
Finally, there's the question: can other people tell?

Yes. Attributes are extremely easy to determine, in opposition to skills.

For example, from your post, I know you are quite intelligent. Even with this slight bit of information, if I take another bell curve stat, namely IQ, I know you're far closer to 140 than 100. I can very safely say you're over 120.
But I have absolutely no information about your skills. Are you more into Computers, Engineering or Physical Science? You can even be in a completely different job, or have failed getting a single degree. There's no information about that unless I see you in action.

If you see someone interacting, you'll know very quickly if he has high or low Charisma. But you'll not know at all if he's good at bluffing or if he can convince people unless you see him in action. The only thing you know is if he has a magnetic personality or the lack of it.


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SuperBidi wrote:
Claxon wrote:
You're basically saying that you can't consider yourself a rogue (in PF1) unless you have levels in the rogue class. Even though there are a lot of ways to play a rogue, and lots of classes that replicate their abilities.

The thing is: It depends on your DM.

I once made a Bard. He was an ex-soldier who left the army because he was bad at it. I got a DM telling me my background was not in line with my character sheet because I had no martial class levels or points in profession (soldier).
So, clearly, this guy is going too far away (in my opinion at least). But you have people considering that if your character sheet doesn't represent your character closely, it's invalid.

So, there is a steward archetype, why would you play a steward without taking the archetype?
Optimization is no reason for some people. They don't care about optimization, and I know a few DM who would not invite at their table someone who considers optimization too highly.
And I understand them. People who think too much about optimization generate rules issue during games.

I'm on the middle ground. As a player, I think both at my character sheet and at the role I'm playing. I want my character sheet to closely represent the role I'm playing, but I want also my character to be at least average efficient.
So, if I play a steward, I take the Steward archetype, if I play a celebrity, he'll have at least 16 in Charisma (and certainly 18). I don't want a DM to refuse what I consider part of my character because he disregards a specific rule and find another one more suitable.

Your initial story here is really sad. Personally I think describing your character as an ex-solider who was bad at soldiering matches with playing a bard just fine.

Overly optimizing a character is one thing, especially in PF1. In Starfinder I haven't had an experience with an "overly" optimized character. Even the highest level of optimization isn't overwhelming like it could be in PF1. Personally I prefer to let players build their characters as they see fit, and as a GM I will adjudicate how their back story fits with the rest of the world.

Sure, your character might be a Steward. But other Stewards will probably all be a higher rank than you, and wont take orders from you or anything like that (unless you take the archtype). For the most part a GM should find a way to say 'yes, but...'. As long as players aren't trying to derive a big mechanical benefit from something not represented on their character sheet it's fine, in my opinion.

As far as 'celebrity' goes I have a character who would be consider a live streaming celebrity. Because he's a gladiator background who literally lives streams his adventures. He has 10 charisma. But I've done this to represent the background ability that says people can recognize me out of context with a check. I don't need charisma to be a celebrity.


Pathfinder Maps, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
WatersLethe wrote:

That's honestly the saddest thing. A GM forbidding a flavorful backstory because you didn't spend your precious few skill points on a neigh useless profession?

It should be the GM's job to help your character sheet express what your backstory is, not to edit your backstory based on the mechanical choices you were forced to make on your sheet.

Even as someone who jumps back and forth between building characters based on interesting mechanics and building them based on interesting stories, I find the thought of straight up being told "No, your plausible backstory is wrong. Your character has to be more generic" horrific.

It's one thing to try to pull of something of extreme value, like saying your backstory is being the rich son of a trillionaire, but saying you can't be an ex-cop because you don't have Profession(beat cop) is table-flipping bad.

I agree, the playstyle SuperBidi describes sounds super limiting, and strikes me as somewhat antithetical for a roleplaying game.


Ravingdork wrote:
I agree, the playstyle SuperBidi describes sounds super limiting, and strikes me as somewhat antithetical for a roleplaying game.

Yes, it looks like I'm on the minority here. It happens :)


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

Yeah, if I was making a character who was supposed to be a steward, I would do some things mechanically to reflect that which may noy be optimal. I'd probably have at least some investment in a profession skill, maybe some things like Skill Focus: Sense Motive on a soldier. The archetype would not necessarily be part of the mechanical depiction, though. It could be, but I certainly wouldn't consider it a requirement.


SuperBidi wrote:
Ravingdork wrote:
I agree, the playstyle SuperBidi describes sounds super limiting, and strikes me as somewhat antithetical for a roleplaying game.
Yes, it looks like I'm on the minority here. It happens :)

This is an important thing to understand.

No one gaming style is absolutely correct, but understanding what a sort of "average" or "composite" of gaming styles are helps provide frame of reference for others when they're asking questions.

You're group seems a bit more hardline on mechanics and RP being in lockstep with one another that the average group.

Most people would agree that describing your character as Hercules when he has 10 strength is bad, but most people would be fine with you describing your character as "strong" regardless of whether they have 16 or 18 strength.


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It's a matter of being reasonable for me, when I create my characters, do I wanted my envoy to be an ex-steward because I wanted a lot of contacts in the force that would circumvent a lot of challenges? No. I wanted it because it would enrich my character's story and would help set his story inside the setting we would be playing. It's a huge difference, for me at least, in trying to get vast mechanical benefit without investment through your backstory, and using something of the setting in your backstory that would add a new layer to it.

The same thing goes for the ex-Soldier bard. He quit because he was bad, which means he must not have a lot of physical prowess to keep doing the job, so having a multiclass in fighter/etc wouldn't fit. Lacking the skill Profession (Soldier) definitely was a far fetched stretch on the player's part. It's not like you're playing a 2+Int class that doesn't invest in it, like Clerics, it was a bard, so the skill point in the profession would certainly be something I would do as part of my backstory. I would never not put my skill points in it for the sake of Perception/Stealth because the latter give me mechanical benefit. In fact, my Urban Barbarian(32 year old) had Profession(Innkeeper) at level 1 and zero stealth, because not only he was an innkeeper, but he also fought in arenas as a slave when he was younger.

To me, players and GM's should be focusing more on creating interesting characters and stories, rather than shooting down each other to avoid exploitation. As far as I know, the whole point is creating a story that everyone will enjoy, right? Having a fun character to play is also a part of the process (which is the source of my gripe with Envoys, I was thoroughly disappointed on how it played out in combat, on other hand the PF2e bard was a blast despite sharing a similar action economy investment).


Claxon wrote:
Most people would agree that describing your character as Hercules when he has 10 strength is bad, but most people would be fine with you describing your character as "strong" regardless of whether they have 16 or 18 strength.

That's also my point of view. The example with the bard was an extreme one. My bard had 14 in Strength, Constitution and Dexterity, which was enough in my opinion to justify the fact he made a small military carrier.

The origin of the discussion was about a 14 or 18 Charisma Icon. I think, if you play an Icon, that 14 in Charisma is really low. It's like playing a weightlifter athlete with 14 in Strength.
But I realize I'm more on the hardline side of the mechanics :)


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When I read the icon theme, which I believe is what you're referring to, nothing says you have to be charismatic.

Icon wrote:


+1 CHA
You are a popular and respected celebrity within the bounds of colonized space.

Thanks to interstellar transmissions and Hyperspace travel, the galaxy is smaller than ever, and this connectivity has facilitated your ascension to celebrity status. You might be a famous performer or a celebrated scientist, but either way, you are often recognized. Your reason for traveling to unknown worlds might be to further spread your acclaim or to escape the limelight.

Theme Knowledge (1st)

Choose a Profession skill. You are hooked deeply into the culture of your iconic profession. When attempting a Profession or Culture check to recall knowledge about other icons of your profession or details about your profession’s cultural aspects, decrease the DC by 5. You gain a +1 bonus to checks with your chosen Profession skill. Culture also becomes a class skill for you, though if it is a class skill from the class you take at 1st level, you instead gain a +1 bonus to Culture checks. In addition, you gain an ability adjustment of +1 to Charisma at character creation.

Celebrity (6th)

You are famous enough that pretty much everyone has either heard of you or can quickly find information about you (it’s a DC 10 Culture check to recognize your name and a DC 20 Culture check for someone to recognize you out of context from your appearance alone). Among those who follow your iconic profession, you’ve built up both fans and detractors due to your celebrity. If you’re looking for a generic person like “a doctor who can treat this disease,” you can almost always find one who’s a fan and whose attitude starts as friendly or helpful to you; this takes 2d4 hours. At the GM’s discretion, fans might give you services (although not goods) for a discount or even for free.

Megacelebrity (12th)

Your reputation grows to the point that your name is ubiquitous. The DC of Culture checks to recognize you is reduced to 5 (or 10 to recognize you out of context from your appearance alone) and it takes only 1d4 hours to find a fan who meets a generic description. In addition, fans give you a 10% discount on purchased goods.

Master Icon (18th)

Up to twice per day, you can interact with the public about your profession (usually during a performance, such as a concert, but sometimes in a press conference afterward if your profession requires no audience) for a total of at least 10 minutes to recover 1 Resolve Point.

It's helpful if you're charismatic at times, but if you're a professor of xenolinguisitcs you might be extremely bookish and actually very bad at interacting with others, but people are so enamored with your brilliance they don't care.


Claxon wrote:
It's helpful if you're charismatic at times, but if you're a professor of xenolinguisitcs you might be extremely bookish and actually very bad at interacting with others, but people are so enamored with your brilliance they don't care.

Clearly.

But I'm speaking of a Charisma based Icon: Singer, actor... In general, this is the first kind of character you imagine when reading the Icon description (also because Icon gives a +1 to Charisma).


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SuperBidi wrote:


The origin of the discussion was about a 14 or 18 Charisma Icon. I think, if you play an Icon, that 14 in Charisma is really low. It's like playing a weightlifter athlete with 14 in Strength.
But I realize I'm more on the hardline side of the mechanics :)

Not every famous person has an 18. Your icon doesn't have to be Zo. You could be "internet famous", have a podcast instead of a sector wide syndicated show, have your real talent elsewhere (Jean Claude Vesk damn: 8 charisma but looks REALLY good when he's tailwhacking people), Or have some combination of personality and another talent (Steve Irwin, maxed out survival and grapple with a good charisma).

Quote:
The origin of the discussion was about a 14 or 18 Charisma Icon. I think, if you play an Icon, that 14 in Charisma is really low. It's like playing a weightlifter athlete with 14 in Strength.

No, It's like playing an athelete with a 14 strength. Thats a perfectly reasonable strength score for a burnsball player, or spacejam player, or even a space football quarterback.

I don't think it even gets remotely iffy until you try to say you're the greatest weightlifter ever. Your character MIGHT be a 5 foot 4 by 5 foot 4 weightlifter and.. that's what their frame supports.

It's also possible to have an envoy that's NOT an Icon doesn't have a maxed out charisma. They're still real Envoys, despite your claims otherwise. The classes mechanics can just as easily lend it towards a drill sergeant (hurry hurry hurry hurry SHOOT IT SHOOT IT SHOOT IT It's just a flesh wound, you don't listen to that parasite sitting on your head soldier you put that gun down NOW), coach, personal trainer, lifestyle guru, advice columnist, medic, Business consultant... anyone that makes someone better at what they do matches the mechanics.

Getting hung up on what an envoy has to be is missing out on a lot of character options. Insisting that the name has to match a class is limiting characters to a menu. I get requiring some justification to match what you can do with your place in the world but this best or nothing mentality isn't realistic, and using it as a basis for good roleplay doesn't help roleplay or realism.


SuperBidi wrote:
Claxon wrote:
It's helpful if you're charismatic at times, but if you're a professor of xenolinguisitcs you might be extremely bookish and actually very bad at interacting with others, but people are so enamored with your brilliance they don't care.

Clearly.

But I'm speaking of a Charisma based Icon: Singer, actor... In general, this is the first kind of character you imagine when reading the Icon description (also because Icon gives a +1 to Charisma).

But my point is you don't have to be a charismatic Icon.

You can be iconic without being charismatic, which gets at the heart of what everyone else is arguing.

If you can be Int 18 Charisma 11 Marie Curie (I'm not sure how charismatic Marie Curie was, it's just an iconic scientist that came to mind) and be an Icon, it personally makes me think that the Int 14 Cha 14 Icon scientist is just as valid an icon.

But sure, charisma based icons will have a high charisma. But that's tautologically true. It's like saying the strength based person will have a high strength.

The thing that makes you iconic, in Starfinder, is having the icon theme. Not your ability scores.


BigNorseWolf wrote:
You could... have your real talent elsewhere (Jean Claude Vesk damn: 8 charisma but looks REALLY good when he's tailwhacking people)

I do think it's worth noting that if you are playing an Icon background, unless you are specifically using the "reduce your stats for no benefit" rules (which you might be, but I tend to assume that's not going to be an average thing) your Charisma cannot go below... I don't think anything reduces by more than 2, so 9. And it won't be below 11 on a Vesk, since Int is their reduced stat. Icons do tend to be more charismatic than average for their race, but it doesn't have to be by a lot.


A note, the iconic envoy is a 14/14/14 DEX/INT/CHA. Suboptimal? probably. In line with the character? definitely.


Garretmander wrote:
A note, the iconic envoy is a 14/14/14 DEX/INT/CHA. Suboptimal? probably. In line with the character? definitely.

Practical application of optimization should take into account the environment being optimized for.

That spread is better in PFS bag of mixed nuts, especially a small party where you're more likely to have a pregen. You need dex to hit things and do some damage, int for more skills to cover something the party might be missing and of course the charisma skills the party is bringing her along for. I went with 16 14 14 (yay spacerats) and have been both the computers and engineering point person a fair bit.

It also gets better as you level. There is a back door diminishing returns in starfinder because your level 5 10 and 15 bumps matter more the lower your score started.

1-5: An 18 starts 2 ahead of a 14
5-10: An 18-->19 is only 1 ahead of a 14-->16
15-20:A 20 is only 1 ahead of 14-->16--18

1-5 an 18 starts 1 ahead of a 16
5-10 an 19 is even with a 16-->18
15 the 20 is now 1 ahead of the 16 18 19
20 the 21 is even with the 16--->20


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Pathfinder Maps, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

I find it kind of funny that people put so much importance on Charisma scores. Meanwhile, I'm taking the option to dump my Charisma to 5, then taking the icon theme to still be famous anyways.

Grand Lodge

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Pathfinder Starfinder Maps Subscriber

@ Ravingdork... I think that part of it is that Starfinder stats are quantifiable, while real-life abilities are considerably less so. I'm not sure where someone put my charisma in game terms. I'm not even what BNW would call 'internet-famous' but at GenCon there were folks who treated me like a Rock Star. Maybe I'm the equivalent of a Level 1 or 2 icon known primarly for Organized Play or filking or something equally silly.

I think we have to accept that real-life stats are far messier than the simplified version presented in game, and that there is more than one way to play a character. Theme really adds a lot to the mix. Indeed, in some ways I feel like my themes have determined more about how my character plays, personality-wise, than the initial class would have.

One of my icon characters, Magical Mu, is a charisma 11 melee technomancer who's an icon for her gladiatorial prowess. Yes, she was built initially before the gladiator theme came out, but the icon fits her style better anyway. She's not just about the bashing, but also about charity work.

For me, some of the fun in character building comes when you build against type and expectation for a class. I have a priest gadgeteer operative skittermander named Aba Calling who is all about being a ship-to-ship sales creature for Abadar Corp, which is the best thing in the entire universe! Just look at the catalog!

The moment we start mandating that envoys must all be self-centered pretty people, that's when I'll rebel and build something different with the class. Part of the joy in SFS is making something a bit different and unique to you!

Hmm


BigNorseWolf wrote:
Your icon doesn't have to be Zo.

Man, you're awesome!!!! In real life, it must be deadly efficient. But we're on a forum, so I can make a little bit of time travel, and I will as it will close this discussion.

BigNorseWolf wrote:
Whats with all the spoony bards?
SuperBidi wrote:
If I want to play an 18 Charisma Icon, what build do you advise me, BNW?
BigNorseWolf wrote:
So since the difference between an 18 and a 16 or even a 14 won't affect the way people see your character as role played the question is what will the 18 get them mechanically?
SuperBidi wrote:
To me, there's a difference between 14 and 18 Charisma. The mechanics are not important, I speak of what the numbers describe.
BigNorseWolf wrote:
Quote:
It's like playing a weightlifter athlete with 14 in Strength.
No, It's like playing an athelete with a 14 strength.

So, thanks for agreeing with me.

I can now answer to your question with your very own words:

BigNorseWolf wrote:
Whats with all the spoony bards?
BigNorseWolf wrote:
Your icon doesn't have to be Zo.

But some people want... hence the spoony bards.

Yes, I'm a little bit angry but I think it's quite understandable when you see your words distorted. And yes, I'll calm down.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Starfinder Maps Subscriber

SuperBidi, if we all agreed on stuff these forums would be super boring.

It's cool. Build what you want, but find some way to contribute. That's my takeaway from all of this.

Hmm


Yeah, I lost my temper and can't remove or edit my post. Anyway, the content is what I think, I just badly rolled at Diplomacy.

Exo-Guardians

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"You know, when it comes to being a proper Envoy, there's just one thing you need to make sure you have. No matter what anyone else says, I know the one thing that really matters."

She pulls a few unmarked pouches out of her backpack. "The trick is to make sure you brought enough Hyperleaf to share with the team!"

Grand Lodge

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Pathfinder Starfinder Maps Subscriber

Hmm reads that, snorts, thinks, I bet that's one of Rosc's characters!

Then she peeks behind the curtain, and whistles in a satisfied manner.

Shadow Lodge

An envoy would have made last night (1-31) a lot less of a nailbiter. Not having access to inspiring boost is scary.


Pathfinder Maps, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
thistledown wrote:
An envoy would have made last night (1-31) a lot less of a nailbiter. Not having access to inspiring boost is scary.

Care to elaborate? (Perhaps with spoiler tags.)

Shadow Lodge

A level 5 (me), a level 6, and two level 4 pregens (Keskodai & Raia) played tier 5-6. The typical monsters hit the pregens on a 3 for really solid damage. Because of the map layout the pregens wound up as frequent targets and took a LOT of damage every fight, and were often in danger of dropping. Keskodai can only heal the back-half of the damage, which was often taken away again the same round, so in any given fight they played on with very low hp.

Doesn't help that Raia is extremely squishy. I've got more stamina than her stam+hp combined.

I did my best to get in there and tank, but sometimes the agro just doesn't pull. On the other hand, my cathode cannon was lovely.


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Real talk though. I actually agree with BNF on the raw mechanics, at least to a point. Envoy is in the odd position where it doesn't have great weapon proficiency, it doesn't have the Operative's ability to make the smol weapons shine, can't drink the Exocortex kool-aid, and doesn't have spells to fall back on. If you're concerned with damage, kneeling down to the alter of the Holy Longarms Meta is your best bet.

Damoritosh knows I've spent my sunday mornings at mass.

But one thing I've noticed about Envoy is because it's slightly lacking in that prime, directing mechanic (Soldier's fighting style, spellcasting, trick attack, etc) it means you have a more open canvas for directing your build. Between that and a class with Improvisations that open up the door to a lot of style in addition to substance, and you're going to have a class that attracts different people for different reasons.

Your ideal Envoy most likely incorporates heavy weapons to make the most of their damage potential while doing Envoy things. Mine rushes recklessly into battle while buffing allies and singing to encouraging their violent urges. Someone else might play the 'spoony' style with emphasis on noncombat skills, taking pride in the fact that their characters will be more enjoyable and memorable for breaking the mold and standing out. I can definitely relate to wanting to stand out.

I could go on about the approach to character building, how some people start with a personality and figure out how to build it while some people create a build and then generate an interesting personality within those guidelines, but we've all got our own desires and I'm sure this post length is starting to hurt your eyeballs.

Thanks for reading. Have some kittens.


Pathfinder Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I think, if the spoony bard build has a problem, it's that they don't have adequate weapon options.

Let's look at a couple random levels.

Level 4 Laser Small Arm
Lens Pistol, Cylindrical: 1d8+2 dmg, 1d4 burn, unwieldy

Level 4 Laser Longarm
Excavation Laser, Light: 1d10+4 dmg, penetration, professional

Level 4 Laser Heavy Weapon
Convergent Laser, Single-Wave: 1d12+4, 1d6 burn, unwieldy

Level 12 Laser Small Arm
Laser Pistol, Perihelion: 4d4+6 dmg, 2d4 burn

Level 12 Laser Longarm
Excavation Laser, Medium: 3d10+12 dmg, penetration, professional

Level 12 Laser Heavy Weapon
Divergent Laser, Multiwave: 4d8+12 dmg, blast, unwieldy

That's an average of 6.5 vs 9.5 vs 10.5 at level 4, and 16 versus 28.5 versus 30.

As a "spoony" envoy your attack is more likely to miss and approaches half the effectiveness of a larger weapon in the hands of another class, and this with the significant credit cost of upgrading your weapon. At what point does it make more sense to stick to a level 1 laser pistol and only provide harrying fire, using your free hand to hold serums of healing?

Also notice that the unwieldy small arm actually does appreciable damage for its level. Almost like Envoys could use more of those.


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

The point where that makes sense is likely the point where the envoy chooses to take Fire Support as an improvisation, and to forego Improved Get 'Em (standard action usage, thd move action still works) and Clever Attack, since they aren't compatible with harrying/covering fire without a small houserule.


SuperBidi wrote:
But some people want... hence the spoony bards.

Except NO ONE is Zo! at first level. It's a level based game, experience matters a lot more than talent. Anyone that says that they're Zo! level famous is either delusional or has dispensation from the DM or a homebrew feat or something... and its regardless of whether the number on their sheet says 16 or 18.

Anyone everyone that wants to be Zo! has to start as someone that wants to be Zo! and isn't there yet. Anyone can claim that. All of us are equally implausible as Zo! because we are all infinitely less cool than Zo!.... :)

It is really weird to me that the justification for worse mechanics is better "role playing" that consists entirely of mechanics. A character that grows, evolves, and adapts to the adventuring life is eventually going to notice "Hey, this pea shooter doesn't really hurt the giant space worms we keep running into " and it's really hard to envision a character that can't justify " hey, one of you guys want to set up some bottles in the cargo bay and teach me how to shoot something bigger?"


Waters Lethe

It would seem to me the solution there is to put out another line of hand cannons that do a little more damage but DON"T lose the unweildy property when two handed. That would keep it from powering up the Operative.


Having a class that is better of not to max its prime stat is not very well designed. But saying that you have to multiclass is a bit too much min-maxing as it completely ignores the character concept.

And honestly, instead of finding (and demanding) ways to make Envoys better at combat, you could also alter your game to be a bit less combat focused (although I admit the Starfinder adventures and general design does not really invoke an image of it supporting non combat very well as even their futuristic cities feel like dungeons).


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Ixal wrote:

Having a class that is better of not to max its prime stat is not very well designed. But saying that you have to multiclass is a bit too much min-maxing as it completely ignores the character concept.

And honestly, instead of finding (and demanding) ways to make Envoys better at combat, you could also alter your game to be a bit less combat focused (although I admit the Starfinder adventures and general design does not really invoke an image of it supporting non combat very well as even their futuristic cities feel like dungeons).

I would actually argue that all of the classes in Starfinder are generally design around starting with an 16 in their "primary" stat rather than an 18. And this is mostly because how ability score bonuses work. When you get that increase your primary goes up 18, while the person at 18 just goes to 19.

But those two points can enable you to start with more con, or int, or wis, or whatever stats might not be your primary one. And you can choose something that will make your character more well rounded, and generally a superior character to play.

Personally I like to drop points on int for extra skills. About the only class I would start at an 18 with is Operatives, because so much of their everything revolves around dex, especially if you choose a specialization with a dex based skill.


Ixal wrote:

Having a class that is better of not to max its prime stat is not very well designed. But saying that you have to multiclass is a bit too much min-maxing as it completely ignores the character concept.

And honestly, instead of finding (and demanding) ways to make Envoys better at combat, you could also alter your game to be a bit less combat focused (although I admit the Starfinder adventures and general design does not really invoke an image of it supporting non combat very well as even their futuristic cities feel like dungeons).

While I see your point and kinda agree, I think the Envoys SHOULD definitely get better at it, they're subpar on it and even as skill monkeys, they're below Operatives except in the handful of skills they can apply expertise on. The problem with the class, for me at least, is not exactly in being ineffective in combat, but how it plays out, because unlike other class (even if they just are attacking), Envoys are forced to pick a lane and basically be forced to do that and only that in order to meaningfully contribute in your combat. I've tried to fight once only using Get'em sporadically and unlike having a combat play style, it felt more like I had to spam my thingy otherwise I wasn't doing what I was supposed to be doing, despite buying my way to Longarms (a whooping unnecessary feat tax for a class that could use the proficiency and doesn't have spellcasting to justify its absence from the base chassis) I still was thoroughly outclassed by everyone else, but it wasn't as bad as when I used pistols. I think if the class worked a little bit more like Bards from PF2e, in which you have means of extending the duration of your buff (btw a buff that's hundreds of times better than Get'em, and it's inherent to the class) in order to free up your action economy, that would feel so much better, because you'll be using your stuff and having options next rounds. The same would also be true if Clever Feint was never a thing and there was only Clever Attack, but without the guarantee of success, granted, that would be just like trick attack... But it already is like trick attack, ain't it?

It would also be nice if the other option, Dispiriting taunt, didn't exclude potential synergies within the class itself! As if the


Lightning Raven wrote:


While I see your point and kinda agree, I think the Envoys SHOULD definitely get better at it, they're subpar on it and even as skill monkeys, they're below Operatives except in the handful of skills they can apply expertise on.

To be honest, in my opinion this is more a problem with Operatives than Envoys. They too are badly designed but in the other direction and are way OP, both awesome with skills and strong combatants.


I little bit with Operatives, yes. But I wouldn't mind raising everyone else's to the Operatives level rather than nerfing them. Everyone else gets to also have cool options and be cool, rather than everyone having choices that don't excite you.


Pathfinder Maps, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
BigNorseWolf wrote:
Except NO ONE is Zo! at first level. It's a level based game, experience matters a lot more than talent. Anyone that says that they're Zo! level famous is either delusional or has dispensation from the DM or a homebrew feat or something... and its regardless of whether the number on their sheet says 16 or 18.

Be careful. Some people might misconstrue your post as gatekeeping. I can think of a number of ways someone could have a rich background full of accomplishments, but still be 1st-level.

Take my shockboxer, for example. He was one punch away from becoming THE Pact Worlds shockboxing champion, a feat some might argue could only really be accomplished by a high level character. Due to a violent betrayal, however, he nearly died and instead suffered brain damage. The debilitating nature of his injury is represented by being many levels lower in power than he was. I started playing him at level 1 and built him up to 9, roughly 2/3 of where I imagine he was when he stood in the championship ring.

Fame is a fickle thing. I could imagine a character who was similarly debilitated and/or physically disfigured beyond recognition having to start again. Such a character could easily have a grandiose background and a low level.

Some might not want to play it out that way, as it doesn't "feel right" for their play style, but to disregard such possibilities entirely is being disingenuous I think.


BigNorseWolf wrote:
Except NO ONE is Zo! at first level.

You understood my sentence literally?

Claxon wrote:
I would actually argue that all of the classes in Starfinder are generally design around starting with an 16 in their "primary" stat rather than an 18.

This is not exactly true. There are diminishing returns as soon as you go over 10.

A 12 is better than a 10 at levels 1-19 but not 20 (95% of the time).
A 14 is better than a 12 at levels 1-14 and 20 (75% of the time).
A 16 is better than a 14 at levels 1-9 and 15-19 (75% of the time).
An 18 is better than a 16 at levels 1-4, 10-14 and 20 (50% of the time).
So, if you have two 16 instead of a 14 and an 18 on a level 1 character, you actually don't gain that much out of it, you exchange a +0.5 in your main attribute for a +0.75 in your secondary attribute.
It also greatly depends on the level you start playing your character and the level you will stop playing it. If you start at level 5, having an 18 as a starting attribute is clearly a bad idea as you'll get a bonus out of it later and for 30% of your level progression (if we consider you go up to 20). If you start at level 1, you immediately get an advantage out of it, and will certainly have more than half of your character progression with a bonus.


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Lightning Raven wrote:
I little bit with Operatives, yes. But I wouldn't mind raising everyone else's to the Operatives level rather than nerfing them. Everyone else gets to also have cool options and be cool, rather than everyone having choices that don't excite you.

If everyone is cool, no one is.

Or to be specific, when everyone is as universally capable as the Operative, the classes get less and less distinct. Also the increased powerlevel would invalidate much of the existing content.

Its not the most popular move, but nerfing the Operative would make much more sense than powering up everyone else.


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SuperBidi wrote:
BigNorseWolf wrote:
Except NO ONE is Zo! at first level.

You understood my sentence literally?

Claxon wrote:
I would actually argue that all of the classes in Starfinder are generally design around starting with an 16 in their "primary" stat rather than an 18.

This is not exactly true. There are diminishing returns as soon as you go over 10.

A 12 is better than a 10 at levels 1-19 but not 20 (95% of the time).
A 14 is better than a 12 at levels 1-14 and 20 (75% of the time).
A 16 is better than a 14 at levels 1-9 and 15-19 (75% of the time).
An 18 is better than a 16 at levels 1-4, 10-14 and 20 (50% of the time).
So, if you have two 16 instead of a 14 and an 18 on a level 1 character, you actually don't gain that much out of it, you exchange a +0.5 in your main attribute for a +0.75 in your secondary attribute.
It also greatly depends on the level you start playing your character and the level you will stop playing it. If you start at level 5, having an 18 as a starting attribute is clearly a bad idea as you'll get a bonus out of it later and for 30% of your level progression (if we consider you go up to 20). If you start at level 1, you immediately get an advantage out of it, and will certainly have more than half of your character progression with a bonus.

Kind of, but your math doesn't show the full story.

If your primary attribute is strength, it does little for your overall character to have an 18 in strength vs a 16. it makes you hit 5% more often and deal 1 more point of damage (sometimes slightly more with the soldier boost that lets you deal 1.5 strength). While these are useful, I argue that they are less significant that adding +2 to int and giving you a full extra skill point per level. That can really make your character more capable of contribution.

Conversely, a technomancer having 18 int vs 16 has slightly higher DCs and slightly more skill points (on a class with a lot already) and so adding those points to dex can make you better at firing your guns and give you slightly better AC.

It's not about that at 50% of the levels you have an advantage. It's about that starting with an 18 means 50% of levels you don't have an advantage and you have the disadvantage of being less well rounded and less capable overall for what is typically a small increase in your specialty.


Pathfinder Maps, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Claxton has it right.


Claxon wrote:
Kind of, but your math doesn't show the full story.

Maths never tell stories :)

To me, it really depends on character types. Operatives, pure casters and range soldiers have no issue starting with an 18 in their primary stats and have absolutely no point in not doing it.
Multi attribute characters will have harder time. It's the choice of having a quite unbalanced character at low levels which goes more and more balanced by taking levels or having a balanced character from startup with a glass ceiling at some point.


SuperBidi wrote:
BigNorseWolf wrote:
Except NO ONE is Zo! at first level.
You understood my sentence literally?

Only as literally as you understood the response.

A first level character has room to grow. By definition, a level 1 being as cool and well known as Zo! is such a juxtaposition between the rules and the crunch that doing it with a 16 or an 18 charisma is like pouring a cup into an olympic pool. The number on the page doesn't really justify what you want as a background, you're still going to have to show it.

The 18 charisma isn't justification for getting you what you want because it doesn't get you what you want.


Does well with an 18

Soldiers: because hitting is such an important part of their jobs that +1 at half the levels actually matters

Operatives: see soldier, also dex goes on a lot of their skills. Also, debilitating trick doesn't work if it doesn't land, so hitting is arguably even more important than on the soldier.

Technomancer: enemy saves are functionally your hit. Especially for the technomancer. Int gives you more skills making you more well rounded. Int increases your skills makes you better at them.

Overlord mystic/Brain blaster: Starfinder NPCs have some good saves. you need all the difficulty boosters you can get.

Should really spend the points around.

Healy mystics: You can easily fill out your spell list healing spells, buffs, a couple of summons and condition removers without having a single offensive spell. You can start with a 12 and still not only cast everything, but still get your bonus spell at every level.

Envoys. dear gods envoys. On the skills the operative doesn't dominate at I have a d6+1 and a reroll. A +1 or +2 over that is more often overkill. If you don't take inspiring boost your charisma score is completely irrelevant to your buffs. If you do take it it's a tiny boost to one buff that doesn't scale well on a buff that itself doesn't scale well.


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

Should consiser whether to spread around a little, based on party makeup: All mystics who don't have access to starship weapons that are fired with mysticism.


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Starfinder Superscriber

If you're going the 'gun magus' route with TM, starting with an 18 Dex/16 Int or 16/16 is functionally better than an 18 Int. In fact, I'd be willing to go as low as 14 on starting Int in order to get Dex as high as possible for the shooty TM.

I'd argue similarly with the 'punchcaster' style TM and strength (though, not as hard) and possibly the 'summoner' style TM (with Dex so you can hit from range and avoid AOOs from casting).

Frankly, I don't think 'most' TM builds really benefit from the 18 starting Int compared to putting more in Dex or Dex/Str (for punchasters).

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