Mechanic and his shield...


General Discussion


Asking for clarifications/opinions on a scenario involving level 10 Mechanic using the following tricks (see below)
Your comments are much appreciated...

(the following information is quoted as presented in Starfinder Core Rules, Page 68)

Mechanic Tricks

Energy Shield (Ex)

As a standard action, you can use your custom rig to activate an energy shield around yourself. This shield provides you with a number of temporary Hit Points equal to your Intelligence modifier plus your mechanic level. The shield remains active for 1 minute per mechanic level or until all of its temporary Hit Points are depleted, whichever comes first. Once used, you cannot use this ability again until you spend 1 Resolve Point to regain Stamina Points after a 10-minute rest; your shield automatically shuts off during this period of rest.

Boost Shield (Ex)

Your energy shield grants you a number of temporary Hit Points equal to your Intelligence modifier + double your mechanic level. In addition, if you have already used your shield, you can spend 1 Resolve Point to use it again without having to regain Stamina Points first. This replenishes your shield’s temporary Hit Points to full. You must have the energy shield mechanic trick to learn this trick.

Additionally, listing the mechanics referenced above.

Regaining Stamina Points

You can spend 1 Resolve Point to regain lost Stamina Points, up to your normal maximum. Using this ability requires 10 minutes of uninterrupted rest—if you’re interrupted partway through this process, you neither regain your Stamina Points nor lose the Resolve Point. You must take 10 consecutive minutes of uninterrupted rest to use this ability and cannot simply rest in intervals that total 10 minutes.

My questions are as follows:

- Are "Shield" mechanics same as "Force Field" mechanics or is this a special case? (specifically things like immunities/vulnerabilities)
- How exacly does the Shield protects against attacks like Life Leech (see: Garaggakal)
- Does Boost Shield still require 10 minutes cool-down that does not meet Regain Stamina Points condition to be re-used or can it be basically used again and again without cool-down and in combat as long as the mechanic has Resolve Points left (this would give a level 10 Mechanic at least 200 temporary hit points)?
- Does Boost Shield require the Shield to be fully cycled through Hit Points before it is re-charged or can you re-charge the Shield while is is still active with partial pool of Hit Points left and therefore do so without action penalty since Boost Shield does not list any?

Your comments are much appreciated...


Kind Regards
Ebon Hawk

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Society Subscriber

- Are "Shield" mechanics same as "Force Field" mechanics or is this a special case? (specifically things like immunities/vulnerabilities)

It does exactly as it says: give you temporary hitpoints. It doesn't give you immunities or vulnerabilities as those are not spelled out in the ability.

- How exacly does the Shield protects against attacks like Life Leech (see: Garaggakal)

The same was as any other ability that grants you temporary hitpoints does. The quantumfluxstate of your imagination makes it so.

- Does Boost Shield still require 10 minutes cool-down that does not meet Regain Stamina Points condition to be re-used or can it be basically used again and again without cool-down and in combat as long as the mechanic has Resolve Points left (this would give a level 10 Mechanic at least 200 temporary hit points)?

If you don't want to wait for the 10 minute rest, then yes you can keep spending resolve points until you run out.

- Does Boost Shield require the Shield to be fully cycled through Hit Points before it is re-charged or can you re-charge the Shield while is is still active with partial pool of Hit Points left and therefore do so without action penalty since Boost Shield does not list any?

I'm fairly certain you can just use it again by spending the resolve point to refresh a partially depleted shield.


This is all quite reasonable though as someone who is not very proficient with practical play of all classes I am trying to find another class that can basically produce 200 hit points plus (more if your INT is high and you have extra RPs) at a moment's notice and without any kind of vulnerabilities...

I would like to think that things are balanced as well as they can be under the circumstances and avoid making comments about class A being overpowering when compared to class B because a role playing game challenges player characters in many different ways, not just combat... but I am struggling to see how 200+ hit points on top of your existing ones (CR 11 dragon has 183 HP and no RPs) is not an issue.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Society Subscriber

Going with the level 10 mechanic with 20 int (which gives her 10 Resolve Points, and a 25 point shield).

An envoy of the same level with 20 charisma can restore 25 stamina to an ally or 35 if they also spend a resolve point. Granted, this is once per 10 minute rest.

A healer mystic of the same level can spend a move/standard/full action and a resolve point to heal himself/an ally/all allies within 30 ft. for 8d8 (avg 36).

Yes it may seem powerful, but you are burning your standard actions (aka not contributing to the depleting of hitpoints of your enemies) and resolve points, which if the pacing of an adventure is set up propely get used two to four times between full rests to restore stamina.

Besides spending a resolve point to get 25 temp hp vs spending a resolve point with a 10 minute rest to possibly restore way more (60+con mod) stamina is not efficient.


It's basically the same as a pathfinder cleric standing on the front lines tanking via cure wounds.

Sure they can do that. It's just sub-optimal outside very specific situations.


First off, thanks for providing the full rule text here for easy reference.

- Are "Shield" mechanics same as "Force Field" mechanics or is this a special case? (specifically things like immunities/vulnerabilities)

I agree with Damanta - it grants you temporary hit points, exactly like it says. No more, no less.

- How exacly does the Shield protects against attacks like Life Leech (see: Garaggakal)

Because that's what the rules say it does.

- Does Boost Shield still require 10 minutes cool-down that does not meet Regain Stamina Points condition to be re-used or can it be basically used again and again without cool-down and in combat as long as the mechanic has Resolve Points left (this would give a level 10 Mechanic at least 200 temporary hit points)?

No. It doesn't say it needs 10 minutes. It says you can spent a resolve point to bring the shield to full.

- Does Boost Shield require the Shield to be fully cycled through Hit Points before it is re-charged or can you re-charge the Shield while is is still active with partial pool of Hit Points left and therefore do so without action penalty since Boost Shield does not list any?

No, it doesn't say anything like "it must be depleted". It says you can spend a resolve point to bring the shield to full.

"This is all quite reasonable though as someone who is not very proficient with practical play of all classes I am trying to find another class that can basically produce 200 hit points plus (more if your INT is high and you have extra RPs) at a moment's notice and without any kind of vulnerabilities..."

First off, you're ignoring the action economy. The shield takes a standard action to activate, which means you're not shooting that first round. I can tell you from personal experience that it's... painful to give up that action.

Second, resolve-point abilities are supposed to be powerful. They are a limited use thing and as such are intended to have substantial benefits. Aside from "not dying" and "recovering stamina", Mechanics do not have a lot of abilities that use resolve points.

Third, a mechanic optimized for it can be pretty tough. Energy and kinetic resistances, shield, and you can absorb a fair bit. If you want to tank, you can.

Fourth, let's consider context. Using my own mechanic, I'm seeing about 90 stamina and 64 hit points by level 10. So sure, 200 hp is a lot of staying in the fight, if you have time to get the shield up over and over again (as opposed to one massive attack that blows through it and into you) but I think that's a somewhat far-fetched example. If a player wants to blow all those resolve points and somehow has time, 25 hit points at a time, then I guess it's ok.

I guess my bottom line is I don't see an obvious problem here.


Ebon Hawk wrote:

My questions are as follows:

- Are "Shield" mechanics same as "Force Field" mechanics or is this a special case? (specifically things like immunities/vulnerabilities)
- How exacly does the Shield protects against attacks like Life Leech (see: Garaggakal)
- Does Boost Shield still require 10 minutes cool-down that does not meet Regain Stamina Points condition to be re-used or can it be basically used again and again without cool-down and in combat as long as the mechanic has Resolve Points left (this would give a level 10 Mechanic at least 200 temporary hit points)?
- Does Boost Shield require the Shield to be fully cycled through Hit Points before it is re-charged or can you re-charge the Shield while is is still active with partial pool of Hit Points left and therefore do so without action penalty since Boost Shield does not list any?

1) No. It's temporary HP, so it's kind of like a force field, but force fields recharge themselves at a set rate per round. Which your shield doesn't do. I'm not sure what mechanics of force fields you have in mind, but the shield ability pretty clearly explains how it works.

2) There is no special interaction. The shield acts as temporary HP, and the Garaggakal would regain HP normal and deal damage normally.
3) Boost Shield has two effects. The first increases the amount of temp HP you receive. The second says you can use it a second time by spending a resolve point without regaining stamina, which means no you don't need to spend 10 minutes. If you spent 10 minutes you could regain stamina and have a free use of the Energy Shield ability again. Basically by spending an resolve point you can use Energy Shield twice in between stamina rests.
4) It is presumably a standard action to produce an Energy Shield. Boost Shield doesn't change the activation type, it just increases the temp hp that energy shield provides and says you can use it multiple times, it's still a standard action to activate. I believe yes, you could activate it again before your temp hp is completely used up, but sources of temp HP wont stack so your old pool would disappear and you'd just have the fresh pool.


I want to point out separately, that when I read the Boost Shield trick that it came off as only allowing you to use shield 1 extra time between rests.

However, the wording is a bit ambiguous.

The original Energy Shield trick is limited to once, and then you have to rest to regain stamina to use it again.

After Boost Shield it's unclear if you can use it so long as you're willing to spend RP or if you can only use it one additional time between rests.

Looking at the estimated damage by CR it looks like one attack from a creature of equal level will completely deplete the Energy Shield, even after the Boost Trick (or at least very close to it). So even if you can use it multiple times, it would basically mean you have to use your standard action and a Resolve Point each round to do this.

If we compare to the Deflect Projectiles feat (which has some limitation on what kind of attacks can be deflected) you can deflect a ranged attack every round and negate even more damage than the shield would protect from. Though you do take a risk for rolling.

It's probably reasonable to think you can use it an unlimited number of times between rests, as long as you have the RP to spend.


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It's a neat ability, to be sure. But as others have pointed out, it removes your ability to do damage, and is very cost-intensive.

Burning your RP like to get 25 temp HP is pretty dangerous when RP is your lifeline when you get downed, especially since you won't be helping to take down that baddie nearly as much.

At a certain point it's much better to take the stamina hits, use your RP a lot more efficiently by resting later, while actually shooting it.

And as for the other aspects of the force field, I'm currently having a specifics argument with a player I have as well about what a force field does and doesn't do.

I told him straight up all it is is temporary HP. It's no different than any other kind of vitality value, like stamina or HP. I've made a ruling that makes sense to me that if the field is not penetrated it can prevent certain things (Like bleed, getting diseased/poisoned) as the shield fully blocked the attack and didn't really hit him.

But in a similar topic and idea, Stamina Points are also supposed to represent 'not really getting hit' in a meaningful way. I made sure to make it clear to him that the shield protecting him from certain things is as far as I'll go with this 'mechanics vs sense' back and forth.


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Nothing in the description of temporary HP actually says that rider effects of attacks, like poison, need to damage HP (or stamina) specifically vs temporary HP. Temporary HP doesn't block effects from harming you. And most all "force fields" and "shields" are just temporary HP effects.

Really you're being generous if you allow such things to block rider effects from happening, though I do feel it's a very sensible house rule.


Thank you for your comments so far guys/girls...

I appreciate your examples of how this stacks up against other classes, I am just wondering how applicable it is to compare a non healer class to a healer class, but I guess given the variety of builds available in the game itself it just might be possible to customise a build in a way that does something like that.

The next thing that I find interesting is the whole balancing the session in order to provide a sufficient number of encounters to test the character and to drain his resources as the session moves forward, all done in order for him to consider economy of it all long term wise. My sessions tend to run for 6 hours and they include a lot of role playing and generally no more than one, sometimes two combats (meaningful and connected to players' actions and not included for the sake of it). This style (which has served me well and I am not looking to change it) imposes much less taxing of character's abilities and resources. This in turn does lead to everything being used when it can be used approach. There are some ways I can mitigate it and I will certainly look into that, but I will admit that I can taking only so far...

Finally where comments about temporary HP are concerned, my own take on it is always the rule of escalation (if you can do it to someone, someone can do it to you) and fairness at the table where GM will generally favour the player character but balance the game to be challenging rather than to be all the time in player characters favour...

Kind Regards


Well remember that RP powers a lot of different abilities.

If the players wants to dump it all on temporary HP they certainly can do so, but it's going to cost them.

That said, I do agree that Starfinder APs generally seem to have less fights per day written into them so far. But the tank to the action economy of the character (he can't do anything but energy shield) is a big enough hit that this probably isn't something to worry about.

If he starts to spam it, just focus on other characters instead.

Really, if two or three enemies focus on him at once his ability to spam it wont make much of a difference. His shield blocks approximately 1 attack from an equivalent level NPC. If he takes two or three attacks in a row his shield will be down and will take damage to stamina/hp.


One thing I think is worth noting is that the Energy Shield is considered a Force Field as far as Solarian's Particle Field ability (in the Armory) is concerned, as having an Energy Shield up prevents you from using Particle Field same as a normal Force Field does, as is specifically stated in Particle Field's description.


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I think that the energy shield favors melee play. You get into a scrap and face-tank until your Stamina is low or gone. At that point your team is in position to finish the enemy off and you can afford to use your Standard action to charge up your shield to stall the enemy one or two more rounds.


Yeah, Energy Shield spam is at best a stalling tactic.


Shinigami02 wrote:
One thing I think is worth noting is that the Energy Shield is considered a Force Field as far as Solarian's Particle Field ability (in the Armory) is concerned, as having an Energy Shield up prevents you from using Particle Field same as a normal Force Field does, as is specifically stated in Particle Field's description.

Interesting train of thought. Here is the wording for references (as per Armoury):

Particle Field (Su)

As a move action, you surround yourself with a swirling sheath of charged particles that absorb some damage from attacks made against you. This constantly renewing field of particles acts as a force field that grants 25 temporary Hit Points and has fast healing 4. This lasts for 1 round or until you leave photon mode. This force field does not function if you also have a force field from an armour upgrade, mechanic’s energy shield, or another similar effect. When you are attuned or fully attuned, the fast healing of your particle field increases to 6.

If you suggest that Mechanic's Energy Shield is considered a Force Field then the following (see third party link below) would apply and that would change the above discussed situation a lot.

https://paizo.com/threads/rzs2ujsk?Lasers-and-Force-FieldsShields

The above listed forum reference contains details about Force Field mechanics and its vulnerabilities (as mentioned in the original post).

In the end I somewhat agree that Energy Shield is Force Field due to... science... After all, personal shields as a technology is pretty important defence field and the technology itself would serve as a design principle for further versions of it. To consider them different is to suggest that Energy Shield is not being improved and mass produced for the defence market but Force Field is.

It should be noted that I like internal logic and consistency in my games, though I do acknowledge that others (some of my players included) may have different preferences.

Kind Regards

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Society Subscriber

That's not how it works.

It only means that those two abilities cannot be used together and doesn't mean that suddenly the entry for Energy Shield gets altered to act like a Force Field.

Energy shield gives you temporary hitpoints. Nothing more, nothing less.


Damanta wrote:

That's not how it works.

It only means that those two abilities cannot be used together and doesn't mean that suddenly the entry for Energy Shield gets altered to act like a Force Field.

Energy shield gives you temporary hitpoints. Nothing more, nothing less.

Thank you for your comments...

That being said I actually disagree and for a number of reasons. I am not suggesting that I am right and anyone else is wrong though, I am simply saying that I intend to interpret the situation differently (unless official clarification is provided) ... and here is why.

I believe the problem here is consistency and wording and it is the principal problem in many similar arguments.

There are two technologies in the use: force fields and shields. Force fields give you temporary hit points and work on personal scale, Shields give you shield points (see Core Rules page 292) and work on macro (vehicle) scale.

In my opinion (or if I was asked to rule on it in absence of the official ruling) use of terms like Energy Shield (where person scale is concerned) is no different to the use of term like Fighter, denoting a fighting person or a fighter craft and not necessary a character with Fighter class levels. More to the point, Corporate Agent does not necessary mean a character with that type of Background, it can also mean a person working for or on behalf of a corporation. Interpretation of language and context is the key...

So, if you remove the language confusion that I believe exists here, because rules are written by multiple people calling things differently for a flavour and/or not necessary remembering or not knowing how something was called before by someone else, you can easily reconcile the rules by saying that if it is personal it is a force field and if it is vehicle based it is a shield. In such case rules regarding those two different technologies apply accordingly and some consistency is established.

Furthermore, shields are designed to stop particles in space or upon atmospheric re-entry, so that your ship does not get blown up by atoms travelling at fast speeds or by super heated, corrosive, hostile atmospheres. Force fields however allow you to breath while having them active which means they do not stop particles in the same fashion shields do, this suggest different technology in application.

In the end I am content with this being RAW versus RAI situation :)
Kind Regards

Grand Lodge

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Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Society Subscriber

I'm unsure how to react to this, mostly because there are non-vehicle shields outside the Mechanic's Energy Shield.

Look at the Phase Shield: a personal, onehanded EAC booster.
Or the Titan Shield: a personal projector of an energy shield that provides cover against all types of attack.
Or the Absorbtion Shield: a device that allows you to draw in an explosion to protect others.
Or the Adaptive Energy Shield: a polymer weave that transforms to protect you from energy attacks.
Or the Life Shield: runes on an armor plate that give the effect of a Death Ward Spell.
Or the Privacy Shield: a talisman that protects against divination magic and surveillance technology.

All of them shields, and all of them functioning completely different from starship shields.

Vehicles actually don't have shields (at least, none that I could find in the CRB or Armory), they have hitpoints and hardness.

To me pulling in shield-mechanics from the Starship section to try and justify some kind of perceived language confusion is not the correct way of going about it.

A Mechanic's Energy Shield is a barrier that protects against hitpoint removing effects, by providing temporary hitpoints. That's the only similarity they have with Force Fields. They do not allow light/laser sources to pass through to Stamina, nor do they regenerate like a Force Field.

Grand Lodge

Agreed. If the point of your question is not to find out the limits of the Mechanic's 'Energy Shield' I cannot help but think that has been answered. It absorbs damage via temp hit points, be it from laser, life leashes etc, the end result is the same unless there is something that states differently.

There is nothing in the books that state that a particular damage circumvents it, nor is there anything that makes it particularly overpowered when compared to other classes skills, Tricks, Exploits or Improvisations etc.

If you feel this Mechanic skill is too 'Over Powered' for your game, you need to follow the age old advise and actually 'Talk to the player'.

Let them know that this particular class feature is by your estimates too over powered for you campaign, and if possible let them know what else in this game may be 'Over Powered' so they do not make the same mistake again, after all, having 2 mechanic tricks out of 5 rendered un-usable is kinda of a big thing, but having that occur again with the same character is cause for reasonable irritation on the player's side.


Damanta wrote:

A Mechanic's Energy Shield is a barrier that protects against hitpoint removing effects, by providing temporary hitpoints. That's the only similarity they have with Force Fields. They do not allow light/laser sources to pass through to Stamina, nor do they regenerate like a Force Field.

By that logic the mechanic is in the dark because the shield is blocking laser therefore it is blocking light (as you have noted in your comment as well)... so, is that the case here or is this an exception to the rule which makes the system excessively heavy on exceptions that are not written anywhere anyway (which frankly, with no offence intended to anyone, is far from ideal situation).

Please keep in mind I am not the one who wrote the rules, I am simply trying to interpret them with two things in mind: Consistency and Precedents.

Things need to be consistent for rules to be clear and playable on the fly without excessive resource surfing every time someone reads a word and interprets it as something different and once a precedent is set one cannot simply excuse it (it does not work in the law and it should not work in a system or rules).

In a perfect world everyone around the table (players especially) would know the rules that govern their characters, often enough it is not the case and I am simply not in a business of my role playing sessions being heavy on learning the rules and full of interruptions needed to do so...

As for how to react to this? We could simply agree to disagree :)

You have provided examples of other rules discussing shields that work in yet again different way, that is very valuable input as far as I am concern as it underlines just how diverse the use of the word and how varying mechanics associated with it are.

We are all role playing enthusiasts here and I am pretty sure the hobby is diverse enough to accommodate all of us :)

4-RD Ford wrote:

If you feel this Mechanic skill is too 'Over Powered' for your game, you need to follow the age old advise and actually 'Talk to the player'.

My suggestion to you is to read the posts above because it appears to me that you have conveniently failed to read the part when I say that none of it is a problem... should I quote that for you again?

As for talking to the player, the advice goes both ways, perhaps you should learn to talk to your game master and not air your dissatisfaction on forums while the matter is under review and you are yet to do any due diligence and provide alternative interpretation as invited to do so.

Kind Regards

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Society Subscriber

It doesn't need to be opaque to block lasers.
It could be a red field around yourself. This blocks red lasers pretty effectively. Or maybe it's more purple, to block both red and blue?
Maybe the AI in your custom rig measures the incoming wavelength and adapts accordingly?

Force Fields are specifically written as being invisible and allowing lasers to bypass them. The Energy Shield is not. It has more in common with the Titan Shield in that respect, which is actually also called an energy shield.

The common denominator in Force Fields and the Energy Shield is the fact that both give Temporary Hitpoints. The Energy Shield doesn't prevent eating or drinking.

The common denominator in Titan Shield and the Energy Shield is that both protect against incoming attacks and both use energy shield in their description.

Seems to me that the Energy Shield works more akin the Titan Shield than Force Fields in terms of consistency.
Precedent is furthermore set by the Titan Shield to be an energy shield that protects against lasers.


wouldn't a red force field be letting red light through and blocking everything else ?

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Society Subscriber

Err, yes you're right. I was thinking the wrong way around for cancelling out light.


Damanta wrote:

It doesn't need to be opaque to block lasers.
It could be a red field around yourself. This blocks red lasers pretty effectively. Or maybe it's more purple, to block both red and blue?
Maybe the AI in your custom rig measures the incoming wavelength and adapts accordingly?

This makes perfect sense but I think it also introduces additional logic and possibly rules behind the process that explains the way it all works (and does so outside of Core Rules). By doing so we are walking away from RAW (which is fine with me) and introducing clarifications that would need to be clearly communicated to the group as house rules or interpretation (because they are not in a book).

You will note that I am not too keen to touch on laser colours as that is yet another can of worms :)

Alternatively, and with my previous post in mind, I think there is a much simpler solution. If we were to acknowledge that the language is a problem and simply rename a trick to something else (example: Reinforcement) we would be removing shield/force field terminology from the discussion all together and achieving what we want, which is to grant some temporary hit points to a user.

This is why I strongly believe that anyone writing rules (official or house) should be very careful when using terminology. After all, we are discussing "a shield that does not act like any other shield, it acts like a force field, but it does not have same properties as other force fields have...". You and I may be able to follow that but an average player might be confused by it and isn't it our job (as Game Masters) to make sure that the rules are clear and consistent for our players?

Kind Regards

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Society Subscriber

I actually don't see the language problem, maybe because english isn't my primary language and I'm used to translating anyway.

Why is the shield/force field terminology such a problem?

To me force fields are a form of barrier used as shield or armor and thus linked to another. However not all shields or armor are force fields thus can function differently without any need for changes in naming conventions.

If you start with renaming the trick wouldn't you need to rename all the other various shields as well?


English is my second language as well...

Where use of language is concerned, the way I see is that the cultural and referenced ideas come first. When someone says energy shield I believe people assuming that it is "an energy shield that envelops an object and protects it from damage" with all that is included from common points of reference (like Star Wars or Star Trek). I think that is important.

I play with some very creative people who are not rules heavy, I would rather encourage their creativity rather than confuse them with complex rules for the sake of "doing it RAW", so I tend to drift towards common meanings and understandable point of reference so that we can get on with what is important, that being role playing, and ignore what is not, that would be pausing the game and re-inventing/trying to explain terms and their contexts if those fall outside of common space opera and terminology references.

I am aware that this kind of experiences and preference may wary from group to group and I am not seeking validation of anything, I am just interested in people's opinions as they do contribute to those common references :)

Kind Regards

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