Are bombard soldiers any decent at melee?


Advice


I am going to be playing in a new campaign in the short future, and I was excited to try out the hybrid grenades in it. However, I still wish to primarily be a melee fighter, preferably without using power armor since it would kill the feel of having a small lizard girl beat the crap out of people twice her size with her fists.

I don't know how long the campaign will be, but I do plan on getting blitz as the second fighting style. I just don't know if early game melee relies heavily on blitz to do work.


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

The 1st level blitz ability is handy, but not needed to melee effectively. Tue ability to charge as a standard action is a big help in making it hard to stay away from your reach, but again, you can function without it.

Bombard is actually not too shabby for a strong soldier early game, since you will sometimes need ranged weapons, even if melee is your Plan A, and the heavy fire ability gives you a way to use your strength to boost some ranged attacks. The fighting style doesn't give you anything to be better at melee, but you can be pretty good at it, anyway.


I suppose it wouldn't be perfectly optimal. It depends on the mentality of the people you are playing with whether that less-than-optimal will be an actual problem or not.

From your first paragraph it feels like you are more of a role-player type player. You want to put together an amusing and interesting character first, and make it effective at combat as a close second priority.

And what you have described - a melee focused soldier with bombard in order to get cool grenades to play with - should be fine for anything but the most hard core power gamer groups.


In my opinion, combat styles are not that important for a Soldier. Your attributes and weapons will have a bigger impact.
Your character should handle his role without issue. It won't be the most optimized character out there, but it should not have a sensitive impact.

Sovereign Court

I play three soldiers in SFS, two of which are mostly melee (with thrown weapons added in), the third is a Bombard mixed melee/ranged character.

I'd say that Bombard is a decent fighting style, but you have to build your ability scores a bit differently. A pure melee soldier just needs Strength and heavy armor. A Bombard soldier needs high Dex to hit at range, and high Strength to do well close by and to get a bit of extra value out of Heavy Fire. And Constitution is always good to have. So you're not going to have the points to become a genius as well.

Having natural weapons (vesk, formian) really really helps because you can have a big gun in your hands and still beat up people who foolishly think they can take out the gunner by closing with her in melee, all without having to go through weapon switch routines. Multiple arms (kasatha) can also do this but then you really wanna look at cestus/battleglove kind of weapons that are always at hand, so that if a fight breaks out you don't have to spend a lot of actions drawing all your weapons.

You're not going to be the very best possible ranged soldier, and not going to be the very best possible melee soldier. But you can be about 80% of both of them, and that's a very nice amount of flexibility to have.


Ascalaphus wrote:

I play three soldiers in SFS, two of which are mostly melee (with thrown weapons added in), the third is a Bombard mixed melee/ranged character.

I'd say that Bombard is a decent fighting style, but you have to build your ability scores a bit differently. A pure melee soldier just needs Strength and heavy armor. A Bombard soldier needs high Dex to hit at range, and high Strength to do well close by and to get a bit of extra value out of Heavy Fire. And Constitution is always good to have. So you're not going to have the points to become a genius as well.

Having natural weapons (vesk, formian) really really helps because you can have a big gun in your hands and still beat up people who foolishly think they can take out the gunner by closing with her in melee, all without having to go through weapon switch routines. Multiple arms (kasatha) can also do this but then you really wanna look at cestus/battleglove kind of weapons that are always at hand, so that if a fight breaks out you don't have to spend a lot of actions drawing all your weapons.

You're not going to be the very best possible ranged soldier, and not going to be the very best possible melee soldier. But you can be about 80% of both of them, and that's a very nice amount of flexibility to have.

you mentioned having having both a high Dex and a high Str. Would it be alright if Dex was one modifier less so I can purchase some con? I already got int and Dex increased from racial modifiers, so being smart isn't too much of a stretch ( though I'm not pushing int past 12 at lvl 1).


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Con isn't really as useful as you'd think in Starfinder, especially at character creation. I'd really rather have the +1 to hit (and damage if Str) over the 1 extra stamina point you'll get.

That said, it'll be nice for saves later, and totally deserves to be increased at your ability score boosting levels.

Sovereign Court

BluLion wrote:
Ascalaphus wrote:
(...)
you mentioned having having both a high Dex and a high Str. Would it be alright if Dex was one modifier less so I can purchase some con? I already got int and Dex increased from racial modifiers, so being smart isn't too much of a stretch ( though I'm not pushing int past 12 at lvl 1).

Well I built from a Formian (+2 Str, +2 Con, -2 Wis), that's working pretty well. I started out 16/16/12/11/8/10 and got the personal upgrade to strength at level 2, took the Melee Striker gear boost at level 3. For my first two feats I took Weapon Focus and Versatile Focus so I get the bonus to all weapons without having to think about it twice.

At level 3 that gives me:

Melee natural attack +8 vs. KAC (1d3+10)
Thrown called sopranino singing disk +8 vs. EAC (1d4+9 So)
Ranged azimuth artillery laser +7 vs. EAC (1d10+3)

As you can see the laser although a big weapon is relatively unimpressive compared to the melee damage. But it's got a really really long range, so I can start out using that and switch to my natural weapons or the singing disk if enemies get closer. At higher levels the guns should scale nicely. As a "I'm ranged but I'll mess you up if you get close" build you can probably afford to spend a bit less on armor and put it in guns instead.

I would not recommend cutting corners with Dex on a Bombard soldier. It determines a couple of things that are important:
- To hit with guns. Hitting consistently is more important than getting a little bit more damage from Strength.
- To hit in starship combat. If you start with at least a 16 Dex then even though you're not swimming in skill points, you can be a plausible gunner.
- The save DC against your grenades. For some inane reason grenades have their to-hit based on Strength and save DC based on Dex. You get a free level-appropriate grenade per encounter, and a good range boost on them. Don't waste that signature ability by having the grenades be easy to resist.
- Oh, and of course Armor Class. You'll probably end up tending to take the lightest of the heavy armors so that you can exploit your Dex bonus and face minimal speed reduction.

Exo-Guardians

I'm assuming from your description that you're playing an Ikeshti (the rules assume that you are playing a male brood-minder, but I don't see why you can't be a female congregant). Good choice; that climb speed is incredibly useful, especially in zero-gee situations.

My suggestion is that you run Armor Storm instead of Bombard. Bombard is a great fighting style, but your stated objective is "having a small lizard girl beat the crap out of people twice her size with her fists." Armor Storm's 1st level power is literally beating the crap out of people with fists. You automatically get the benefit of Melee Striker, OR an additional +2 damage when you actually get Melee Striker (assuming starting with 16 strength and getting your level 3 Mk. 1 Augment in Strength, you're doing 1d4+11 damage with your Hammer Fists at 3rd level).

While you do get free power armor proficiency at 5th level, if you max out Strength, there is no reason to use it, because no armor you can get (until very high levels) can beat the regular Strength of your lizard girl. The extra armor slot you also get at 5th level is damn useful for a melee fighter, allowing you to build in more stuff like thrower arms, thermal capacitors, and static charge fields.

Look at the throwing weapons (and the Throwing fusion). Throwing weapons are based on Strength AND benefit from the Melee Striker gear boost if they are also melee weapons.

Now, if you really want Bombard, that is still cool... play what you want, but I have had a ton of fun with my Vesk Armor Storm soldier.

For stats, you could do:

Str 16
Dex 14
Con 12
Int 12
Wis 8
Cha 10

I would personally drop Con to 10 to buff Dex or go hog wild on Str, but when you need the extra stamina, it is nice to have, admittedly.


I just realized that almost everyone in the party was thinking about or wanted to go soldier too, but they wanted to go shooty.Can 3/4 soldiers, a solarion, and a operative (that was also considering soldier) cover all the bases, or should I just switch to mechanic or technomancer? Also, how good are summons at skill checks?


Get a ring of fangs, improved unarmed strike, and just reflavor it as a punch if you don't want to actually bite people.

Dataphiles

BluLion wrote:
I just realized that almost everyone in the party was thinking about or wanted to go soldier too, but they wanted to go shooty.Can 3/4 soldiers, a solarion, and a operative (that was also considering soldier) cover all the bases, or should I just switch to mechanic or technomancer? Also, how good are summons at skill checks?

The Operative can handle most of every skill check.

If the soldiers diversify their skill choices so they don't overlap much they can fill in the odd gaps left by the Operative. Skill Synergy is your friend.

Summons don't last long enough to be that useful for skill checks.

If you do go Technomancer but still want to do punchdicuffs, you could get the Junksword spell from Pact Worlds and just flavor it as a Junkfist. I am a melee Technomancer with the Steward Officer archetype, and I do plenty well in melee with the Junksword.


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BigNorseWolf wrote:

Get a ring of fangs, improved unarmed strike, and just reflavor it as a punch if you don't want to actually bite people.

Oh damn, I never even thought about magic items when trying to make my character. I was originally going to use those power glove/fist weapons, but this sounds so much cooler. Thank you so much!

Gronnigan Conroy wrote:

The Operative can handle most of every skill check.

If the soldiers diversify their skill choices so they don't overlap much they can fill in the odd gaps left by the Operative. Skill Synergy is your friend.

Summons don't last long enough to be that useful for skill checks.

If you do go Technomancer but still want to do punchdicuffs, you could get the Junksword spell from Pact Worlds and just flavor it as a Junkfist. I am a melee Technomancer with the Steward Officer archetype, and I do plenty well in melee with the Junksword.

I was actually thinking about getting skill synergy (and maybe skill focus) for some skills as I got more intelligence from ability score increases.

As for technomancer, I heard about melee builds that centered around junksword. I was tempted to try that, but the low hp/stamina per lvl has me concerned.

Dataphiles

BluLion wrote:
BigNorseWolf wrote:
Get a ring of fangs, improved unarmed strike, and just reflavor it as a punch if you don't want to actually bite people.
Oh damn, I never even thought about magic items when trying to make my character. I was originally going to use those power glove/fist weapons, but this sounds so much cooler. Thank you so much!

There is still some debate over if Ring of Fangs actually makes your unarmed attacks non-archaic (BNW and I disagree on this subject). You may want to run it by your GM first.

As I ascribe to a strict reading of the rules (and a belief that 315 credits to get non-Archaic with an attack that already gets double Specialization is overpowered), I ended up taking the Raw Lethality Gear Boost with my SRO soldier in order to make the Ring of Fangs bite attack non-Archaic.

Quote:
Gronnigan Conroy wrote:

The Operative can handle most of every skill check.

If the soldiers diversify their skill choices so they don't overlap much they can fill in the odd gaps left by the Operative. Skill Synergy is your friend.

Summons don't last long enough to be that useful for skill checks.

If you do go Technomancer but still want to do punchdicuffs, you could get the Junksword spell from Pact Worlds and just flavor it as a Junkfist. I am a melee Technomancer with the Steward Officer archetype, and I do plenty well in melee with the Junksword.

I was actually thinking about getting skill synergy (and maybe skill focus) for some skills as I got more intelligence from ability score increases.

As for technomancer, I heard about melee builds that centered around junksword. I was tempted to try that, but the low hp/stamina per lvl has me concerned.

I won't lie, Technomancer melee can be harrowing, because you have the lowest hit points and stamina on the team. You basically need to buy Heavy Armor Proficiency and keep up on the armor treadmill to avoid some hits, and probably grab up Toughness and/or Enhanced Resistance when it comes available as well.

That said, the benefits are pretty slick: it is 1-handed and cannot be disarmed, you can get Reach immediately, you get a 1.5xLevel damage bonus from 1st level on, on top of the other miscellaneous benefits (such as being able to do nonlethal without penalty or the Merciful fusion).

At 6th level I do 1d8+14 damage vs KAC; next level I'll do 2d4+15 damage vs. EAC. Not shabby, but not quite what I could be doing with BNW's Ring of Fangs melee Soldier (7th level with the stats Zoggy posted above you're looking at 1d6+23 damage vs. KAC).

The Exchange

Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Yes, all soldiers can be good at melee. you don't need to but,If you plan on using summoning grenades it won't matter what your Dex is.

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