PROPOSAL - Critical range enhancing fusions


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Pogiforce wrote:
BigNorseWolf wrote:
(MY abadaran spacebat has gotten a fair bit over WBL despite playing down just by wearing second skin till 9th level...)
Hoooooooooooow TF did you get away with level 1 armor for 8 levels? O.O

Starfinder armor really doesn't stop you from getting hit unless you buy into level +2 armor fairly frequently.

Justin is a mystic, he casts haste on the party, sends in the occasional summon spell. So he doesn't get into melee range, he has spell on the run so he can blip up tag the meat shield with a mystic cure 1 "here you can have all my hit points i'm not using them" and blip back behind a wall. Against ranged he usually has +4 from prone and +4 cover.

Jessica "Murdermouse" is a melee operative/soldier with a 12 starting dex. She went from level 2 to level 7 in level 2 armor on a calden cayden healing serum drinking problem, mirror image, and skinning the occasional opponent for their armor.

My Envoy Soldier is level 6 and still in second skin. She's a sharpshooter and just stands in the back, sucks up the -2 penalty and fires right through the vesks legs.


I mean I guess yo be fair nearly all my characters started with second skin, got graphite carbon skin on chronicle sheets,
And stuck with that for 4 or 5 levels. Except the soldier, don't remember what armor he's wearing right now. My operative is only wearing elite station wear because it was earned doing star sugar heartlove, and he's a fan of the band.my envoy is STILL in graphite carbon skin, and I don't really see modifying it any time soon.


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BigNorseWolf wrote:
Shinigami02 wrote:
Even when published materials sometimes fall well under WBL.

I think except for hells rebels every adventure path I've seen has left my characters horribly under WBL: kingmaker, dead suns, pirates, .. I think kingmaker was the worst. My character at 7th level had starting wealth and his spellbook which had increased in value from him scribing into it...

Funny thing: In my group (at least for Pathfinder APs) we quite often houserule sale price = full cost rather than the default 1/2. Despite that we still wind up under WBL (sometimes dramatically so) surprisingly often.


Shinigami02 wrote:
BigNorseWolf wrote:
Shinigami02 wrote:
Even when published materials sometimes fall well under WBL.

I think except for hells rebels every adventure path I've seen has left my characters horribly under WBL: kingmaker, dead suns, pirates, .. I think kingmaker was the worst. My character at 7th level had starting wealth and his spellbook which had increased in value from him scribing into it...

Funny thing: In my group (at least for Pathfinder APs) we quite often houserule sale price = full cost rather than the default 1/2. Despite that we still wind up under WBL (sometimes dramatically so) surprisingly often.

Default isn't half, it's 10% <.<

Edit: oh wait, you said pathfinder APs. My bad.

Sovereign Court

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So just to start out, the Claxon is doing it is pretty similar to what we do on our AP group. Saying "he's not the norm" is just guessing at what is normal. If a couple of people like me happen to be away from their computer for a few days your anecdotal evidence is totally skewed.

I suspect that quite a few groups reset all new PCs in the case of PC death/new player joining the group to WBL anyway.

We reset our to WBL at levelup. Partly it's to keep everyone at expected strength, partly it's because now we no longer need to bother tracking anything but premium loot (which you try out for a bit until the next reset, then decide if you want to budget for it). We don't want to spend the time on accounting all the stuff you'd be selling for 10% to keep up with the race. And we don't want to wring our hands in anguish at the difficulty of figuring out when to replace an armor or a gun.

We enjoy it, we get to have cool gear, armor that's within 1-2 levels above or below our level, big guns, cool implants. Our builds have also converged to the point where our abilities neatly work together, and it's become very effective.

---

That's a style of play, but there are competing ideologies. I'd say the big other idea is that Treasure is a big part of the D&D family of games. Fabulous dragon hoards with amazing weapons. Being neatly on track on WBL and pretty much certain that you'll keep coming back on track, does cut down on the excitement of big treasure.

I think Starfinder's 10% sell-back rule can facilitate that though. You can give someone an above-level item, which will temporarily boost their wealth, but it eventually grows obsolete and gets sold back for 10%.

The amount of loot you gain from a level's worth of encounters, should probably be considerably bigger than the difference in WBL of one level, to account for the losses due to using consumables, replacing stuff that gets sold at 10%, loot sold at 10% because it wasn't useful, and yeah, the odd expense for a prosthetic limb or a condition removal spell cast by NPC.

So if you're having a particularly good run, losing fewer limbs than usual and as it happens the monster loot is particularly well tailored to your party composition, then you could end up above WBL. But because it's a more than linear scale, if the next level you're not so lucky, then by the end of it you should get close to the norm again.

So: if the AP has "done loot right", losing a couple of limbs isn't the end of the world because that inefficiency was budgeted for in the ratio of encounter loot target vs. WBL targets.

---

Of course, in practice most APs aren't that good at it because balancing all that out is really hard and writers get selected on the quality of their writing, not their advanced budgeting skills.

As a GM you have several options:

- Let the chips fall where they may. Don't pay attention to WBL. It's possible the players get under or over WBL, or nominally on WBL but laden down with circumstantial items that aren't really helping them. If the PCs are far off WBL, that might make the game less fun because it's problematically unbalanced.

- Occasionally audit the party's wealth and if it's lacking, be a bit more generous in loot piles. Switch out some animals without loot for a goon squad with a leader in good armor.

- Have the players reset to WBL occasionally. Narratively, it works well when they're returning to headquarters. In Dead Suns, presumably the Starfinder Society is slightly nervous about the bad guys getting hold of a superweapon and is willing to at least give the PCs some supplies to deal with it. Especially when the PCs work for an organization, you can explain that this is not just "money out of nothing". Elite employees get elite tools for the job.


Ascalaphus wrote:
So just to start out, the Claxon is doing it is pretty similar to what we do on our AP group. Saying "he's not the norm" is just guessing at what is normal.

Horsefeathers.

First off, that's at least the second conversation I've seen where the assumption that his loot system was the default resulted in -why is this an issue at all just reset the WBL- resulted in confusion from people using other loot systems.

Secondly, the books tell you how to do loot. That method isn't it. It would be completely random if some other loot system became the default...

... and in doing so managed to escape the notice of everyone else in the conversations, most of whom spend an inordinate amount of time discussing this sort of thing.

There are pros and cons to any method. This one has issues of abusability if the party goes nuts on consumables. If this method was the default all the munchkins would be advising tons of consumables all the time

There's also no reason to waste word count on treasure lists if you're using this method. The books spend a LOT of word count on treasure lists.

Wealth by level reset (Claxons method) (Pros: really easy, fair to everyone Con: requires social contract to not abuse. Finding treasure is a non issue )

Murdermart: A campaign system where you get most of your loot off of bodies. (Pros Feels the most organic/realistic Cons: Complicated (will literally require a spreadsheet), loot can be VERY unevenly distributed, loot can be jerky and uneven. If PCS use everything they wind up horribly over powered if they sell everything they wind up horribly underpowered

Cash and carry: a SFS style loot system where you get everything in cash and you're on your own. (Pros, fair, book keeping is only tracking numbers, Con: they don't actually give you the numbers to do this straight out, There's no joy in finding a +5 Schlesinger knife as opposed to a soulless pile of copper pieces)

Wealth by level reset has some additional problems in starfinder. If you were supposed to have level +2 weapons and level +2 armor all the time... that probably wouldn't be your item level +2 it would just be item level. It overpowers characters a bit. In pathfinder or starfinder it allows you to go bonkers with consumables. It needs to be watched for that. (just like other loot systems need you to check and see if they're working or not) Its mathematically easy but has a heavier social contract buy in.

edit: And i know you know that murdermart is a loot system because my abadaran rat is running the spreadsheet...


Ascalaphus wrote:

So just to start out, the Claxon is doing it is pretty similar to what we do on our AP group. Saying "he's not the norm" is just guessing at what is normal. If a couple of people like me happen to be away from their computer for a few days your anecdotal evidence is totally skewed.

I suspect that quite a few groups reset all new PCs in the case of PC death/new player joining the group to WBL anyway.

We reset our to WBL at levelup. Partly it's to keep everyone at expected strength, partly it's because now we no longer need to bother tracking anything but premium loot (which you try out for a bit until the next reset, then decide if you want to budget for it). We don't want to spend the time on accounting all the stuff you'd be selling for 10% to keep up with the race. And we don't want to wring our hands in anguish at the difficulty of figuring out when to replace an armor or a gun.

We enjoy it, we get to have cool gear, armor that's within 1-2 levels above or below our level, big guns, cool implants. Our builds have also converged to the point where our abilities neatly work together, and it's become very effective.

---

That's a style of play, but there are competing ideologies. I'd say the big other idea is that Treasure is a big part of the D&D family of games. Fabulous dragon hoards with amazing weapons. Being neatly on track on WBL and pretty much certain that you'll keep coming back on track, does cut down on the excitement of big treasure.

I think Starfinder's 10% sell-back rule can facilitate that though. You can give someone an above-level item, which will temporarily boost their wealth, but it eventually grows obsolete and gets sold back for 10%.

The amount of loot you gain from a level's worth of encounters, should probably be considerably bigger than the difference in WBL of one level, to account for the losses due to using consumables, replacing stuff that gets sold at 10%, loot sold at 10% because it wasn't useful, and yeah, the odd expense for a prosthetic limb or a condition...

This is what I was trying to get at the whole way.

Thanks for conveying it better than I was able.


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@BNW, you keep talking about my system but I think we just keep missing each others points.

If you adhere to WBL (±15%) then it works out about the same as my groups wealth reset. It doesn't matter how you get to WBL, but if you maintain it, it works out approximately the same.

I guess the difference is, I think that if you loose gear, sell gear, etc that it's up to the GM to ensure that they get you back up to WBL over a reasonable time frame.

I guess I just don't understand how you can't arrive at that same point.

Basically to me it just sounds like the way you run things you just don't adjust the game to get people back to WBL. Which is fine if that's how your group does it, but just admit that you don't use WBL.

Mudermart and Cash and Carry as you describe them are just different narrative means of getting the wealth to players. Either your characters are at wealth by level or they're not. It's that simple.


There is a vast difference between wealth by level as a goal and guideline and wealth by level as a method. The books tell you to have characters near wealth by level (as a goal) but they tell you to do so through adjusting income when gross disparities happen, NOT resetting everyones gear at every level.


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Right, but I was never advocating that wealth reset is what everyone does or should do.

I was advocating that you should maintain WBL (±15%) and that its up the GM to make sure that happens. In a system where WBL is roughly maintained, losing an item like a leg augment because your legs were chopped off isn't a permanent loss. The GM, overtime, should find a way to compensate that character for their loss (to maintain player parity).


Quote:
I was advocating that you should maintain WBL (±15%) and that its up the GM to make sure that happens.

Under other loot systems it is also up to the player to ensure that that happens. Putting it all on the DM will change the game. This is doubly true in starfinder where upgrade rates affect your WBL even more than consumables. In other loot systems (Income-spending= wealth) and you HAVE to account for that spending.

You have three players. Bob Bill and Jim.

Bob gets his credits for saving the princess, runs out and buys a brand new melee weapon a brand new ranged weapon

Bill gets his credits goes out and buys a new gun. He's fine with his survival knife it still has the price tag on it.

Jims playing a mystic. he has nothing to buy except a staff of mystic healinig that he'll have for the rest of his life. He saves his money and rolls around on it like a dragon.

With the same income those three characters will wind up with vastly different Wealths. (Bobs going to run at about half, I think my cheapskate mystic was at like 20% over last time i looked)

Figuring out how much of the disparity is the DMs fault and how much is Bills is kinda hard. Should he reward bobs behavior with more stuff for bob? Punish Jim and give him less loot?

If you get your arms hacked off or (at higher levels) Deadified most I don't think most are going to drop an extra treasure bath just for you. If your group keeps getting deadified they might up the income to your group.


BigNorseWolf wrote:
With the same income those three characters will wind up with vastly different Wealths.

This is the part I don't accept, at all. That's not Wealth By Level.

You're advocating income by level, which is different.

Either a character has (in useful items) a value of gear at or near WBL or they don't. How the characters spend isn't a factor on making sure characters maintain WBL.


Claxon wrote:
This is the part I don't accept, at all. That's not Wealth By Level.

Wealth By Level

Table: Character Wealth by Level lists the amount of treasure each PC is expected to have at a specific level. In addition to providing benchmarks to make sure existing characters remain balanced, it can also be used to budget gear for characters starting above 1st level, such as a new character created to replace a dead one.

Using that as a guide and assuming a reasonable amount of upgrades is what it's intended to be used for. The player going nuts on upgrades or consumables will break that assumption. The DM compensating for the player going nuts on upgrades and consumables changes the game.

Quote:
Either a character has (in useful items) a value of gear at or near WBL or they don't. How the characters spend isn't a factor on making sure characters maintain WBL.

It absolutely, 100% , mathematically is if the DM is handing the party income. Most DM's hand the party income, in the form of looted bodies and or cash.

Anything else is your wealth by level reset system or some variation thereof. How else are you going to deal with Bob Bill and Jim?

Quote:
You're advocating income by level, which is different.

I'm not advocating it I'm saying that it's by far the more common type. Both murdermart and cash and cary are income based systems that aim to produce adventurers within the WBL guidelines.


I would definitely agree that it isn't the GMs job to keep careful track of player losses due to raise dead, regenerate, or replacing potentially lost augments.

It is their job to check at/after level up if any of their players are significantly behind, and understand the reasons behind that. If the mystic is taking the dregs and donating all their loot to the soldier because they don't need nice things, that's very different from no one being able to afford an augment or armor upgrade because they're worried about keeping their armor halfway relevant.

If the GM knows they've incurred significant losses and not just spent poorly, yes they should increase income to compensate.

Making sure a specific player finds exactly 3,050 extra credits after cutting off his quickdraw limb is micromanaging the situation. I wouldn't expect any GM to do something like that.

Sovereign Court

BigNorseWolf wrote:
There is a vast difference between wealth by level as a goal and guideline and wealth by level as a method. The books tell you to have characters near wealth by level (as a goal) but they tell you to do so through adjusting income when gross disparities happen, NOT resetting everyones gear at every level.

The book spends less than 2 pages on wealth, with no advice on troubleshooting disparities inside the group, and it doesn't really discuss consumables or expenses. Even the basic idea that the party as a whole should not be grossly off-WBL is something you have to pry out from between the lines. I don't think the book is enough of a help to us to just go by that.

There are conflicting things we want from the game when it comes to loot and wealth.

On the one hand, we want to reward success. If you accomplish something hard, you should get something more than if you only did a mediocre job. Not getting your leg bitten off should feel better than getting it bitten off and refunded. Finding the hidden treasure should make you richer than not finding it.

On the other hand, we want a balanced and fair game. If Bob is the guy taking point, getting jumped by all the monsters, he needs constant armor upgrades and the occasional replacement leg. He's carrying a bigger share of the costs of adventuring than Jim who's hiding in the back.

If Bob gets the same payout but ends up poorer because he's got more expenses, that's not fun for him. But if Jim's fiscal responsibility is negated because he doesn't get the equalizer payouts that Bob somehow gets, that's also annoying.

The players could institute some redistribution scheme, where Bob gets a bigger payout share because he's got higher costs. Now Jim has a choice. Either he basically pays protection money to Bob, or he starts spending more money. Hopefully, if he spends more money then he buys some heavy gun that helps him kill monsters faster and so there's less time to chew on Bob.

The easiest way to do that is if everyone puts their possessions in a spreadsheet and you compare values. If someone is notably behind, they get a larger share of payouts until they pull back up along. If someone is way ahead, they get a smaller cut.

Then, if you find for example the BBEG's expensive armor and add it to your assets, you're suddenly ahead of the rest. But you could pass on your previous armor to another character, thus leveling the balance a bit.

This way, you remain "immersed": no external money resets. It still matters whether the party finds the secret hoard, because their overall treasure is determined by that. But among each others, the situation is more fair. If Bob loses a leg to a crit and has to replace it, the price is ultimately shared among the party because Bob lost a leg while tanking for them.


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Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Nerdy Canuck wrote:
Metaphysician wrote:
Nerdy Canuck wrote:
Xenocrat wrote:
Nerdy Canuck wrote:
Xenocrat wrote:
I understand that you don’t understand it to work that way.
And I understand that you don't seem to get that "Wealth By Level" doesn't mean "credits".
I definitely understand your desire to retreat into these irrelevant nonsequitors.
The fact that losing a limb that has a valuable augmentation in it, and may not get it back easily if your Wealth By Level is coming in the form of items more than in the form of credits, is fairly relevant.
Point of order: it should make zero difference, because either those items are useful ( and thus are replacing other things which you'd be spending credits on, freeing up said credits ), or they are not. And if they are not, they should only be counted as 10% towards wealth ( ie, you'd better be getting ten times as many of them ).
But as everyone who has spent any significant amount of time on a character build knows, not all items are actually equal. Not even all useful items are equal.

Which doesn't really matter in this situation, because there's only really one test that applies: "Do the players use it, or sell it?" If the players judge it to be only worth selling ( or throwing into the pile of "stuff to sell eventually" )? Then its "not useful", period, and only worth the 10% vendor trash rate towards WBL. It doesn't matter what you, as the GM, judged its utility.


Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Shinigami02 wrote:
WatersLethe wrote:

Also, consumable items would literally never be used if it meant each one sets you further and further back from your expected WBL.

Same goes for recouping lost items/limbs.

GM: "Oohh, I'm sorry, since you spent too much on consumables you're now permanently behind in wealth. All the math surrounding encounter design is going to go out the window from here on out, good luck and make sure you roll up a more miserly character just in case."

Just for point of note, this is literally exactly why my group almost never uses consumables except the occasional healing item in emergencies. Because our GMs don't tend to adjust things like this, they tend to run things by the book. Even when published materials sometimes fall well under WBL. Some GMs hesitate to even change Pathfinder item drops to the slightly-less-common things the party is specced into instead of five hundred longswords or greatswords.

Honestly, that sounds to me like you have a GM problem. If your GMs are unwilling to deviate from the book ever, then it is them making the mistake.


Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

And lastly: how exactly *can* it be the player's responsibility to maintain WBL, when it is the GM who controls everything about their income? Its the GM who determines what quest awards are available, what loot is found in adventures. The GM has 100% power over income.

Wealth By Level is a guideline, not a hard and fast rule. Nonetheless, it is a guideline the *GM* has a responsibility to maintain. It will remain that way so long as the GM has 100% authority over all income sources ( and considerable, if not completely absolute, authority over all possible income sinks ).


Metaphysician wrote:
And lastly: how exactly *can* it be the player's responsibility to maintain WBL, when it is the GM who controls everything about their income?

Wealth= Income- spending

The DM controls income the players control spending. Starfinders disposable item economy means it's very easy for players/characters getting a reasonable level of income to go dirt broke upgrading too often even if they never touch a consumable.

Sovereign Court

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Garretmander wrote:
If the GM knows they've incurred significant losses and not just spent poorly, yes they should increase income to compensate.

So what if they've spent poorly? WBL is about what you should have, not about how much you should have got and how fiscally responsible you should have been three levels ago.

Imagine a party about to start Signal of Screams. Two PCs are brand new and start with full WBL at level 7. The other two just played Against the Aeon Throne, didn't get any useful loot and had to spend money on level 1, 3 and 5 gear just to stand a chance. Maybe that's what they thought because they were new players and Starfinder's equipment purchasing system is rather hard to budget in for anyone who's not a hardened accountant. Anyway, they have a lot less money left.

Is that fair? Is that enjoyable? I don't think so.

As a GM, I think you absolutely should keep an eye on what's going on. Not too heavy-handed, not too transparently. But if some characters fall far behind, you should consider giving them ways to catch back up. Maybe the characters out of AtAT get paid to speak at a congress about what they found, and a weapons company wants to sponsor them with some branded gear, because they're getting a lot of media attention about their previous adventure.


Ascalaphus wrote:


So what if they've spent poorly? WBL is about what you should have, not about how much you should have got and how fiscally responsible you should have been three levels ago.

In starfinder it kinda is. The rules give you an assumption on income AND wealth and from that you can extrapolate how much the game assumes you're supposed to be spending.

You can go outside of any of those assumptions but it will change the game a bit.

The good news is that because your income is near exponential (multiplicative? I dunno), messing up will only hurt you for a level or two before it evens out. 100 credits to get a new arm to a new players is NOOOOOOO my next upgrade! for a level 7 character it's a bar bill.


Guys this has been fascinating, but this stopped being about crit seeking fusions a long time ago. We're on page 3 now. Do you think it might be appropriate to start a new topic discussing pros and cons of differing wealth management systems?


You are absolutely correct on this Pogiforce.

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