A Discussion on Envoys


General Discussion

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I thought I would open discussion on Envoys because I've noticed an odd trend, particularly in the playtest section of the forums. That trend is basically " be careful doing this, or you end up with another Envoy problem."

What exactly is "the envoy problem"? Maybe I'm just not seeing it, but from my experience an Envoy is both fun to play and useful to have. But at the same time, they're not overpowered. Is it the improvisations? The skill expertise? Weapon kit? What about Envoys makes them a problem?


The only issue I've seen raised with the envoy is that it basically runs out of useful class features past level 12.

Unless you're talking about the fact that most of their class features don't actually use their key ability score? At least outside of a demoralize/feint build.


Garretmander wrote:

The only issue I've seen raised with the envoy is that it basically runs out of useful class features past level 12.

Unless you're talking about the fact that most of their class features don't actually use their key ability score? At least outside of a demoralize/feint build.

I'd argue that they do use their key ability score, just not in combat. Of the 8 skills selectable for skill expertise, 4 of them are charisma based. Though the other 4 are all intelligence based... And the one you start with is wisdom based... That's kinda weird now that I think about it.

I wouldn't say that they run out of useful things past level 12, just that for the most part you aren't going to see anything on a super high level envoy that you can't see on a level 9 envoy. The high level one will just have more of them, with a higher expertise bonus.

Though now that I'm looking at it, the level cap ability is lackluster. In fact it's potentially detrimental, since 2d8 for expertise is minimum 2 vs 1d8+4 which is minimum 5. I mean being able to do the full effect of improved get em for a +2 to hit +2 to damage against all enemies in 60 feet without a resolve cost is nice, but then it takes a 20th level envoy to do in Starfinder what a5th level Bard could do in Pathfinder...

It's still an extremely useful kit though. Just not terribly exciting on it's face...

Sovereign Court

Disclaimer: I don't think envoys are useless. In fact, given the tight combat math in Starfinder, the to-hit bonus from (Improved) Get 'Em makes a big difference in boss fights. That said, these are things I find problematic:

* Very action-hungry. Between improvisations that eat up your standard and move actions, it's hard to "do the envoy" and also move around and/or attack. If you're not careful you spend most of the combat standing in place and yelling at people to do the same thing over and over.

* No cool weapons. You start with small arms but no ability to do anything special with them. Operatives get a lot more mileage out of them with trick attack. Mechanics have easy access to longarms. Technomancers can conjure fancy weapons and have spells. Mystics have some chunky spells too. Soldiers and Solarians have a variety of cool weapons to choose from. You start out a step behind everyone else.

* No higher level improvisations like other classes get.

* Key ability score that doesn't do all that much for you, but you gotta either have it for Resolve or dip some other class. To add insult to injury, quite a few improvisations can be fueled with Resolve so it's not like a big pool is an unnecessary luxury.


I guess for me I hadn't noticed how action hungry the improvisations were. The one envoy I played in campaign didn't get past level 3 because I ended up moving from player to GM. What's more I had built that envoy to be a military officer who oversaw tactical, so it made sense for him to be hands off and command his troops- er, party. We had a sniper team set up where we had a sharpshooter soldier with a sniper. I would indicate the target with get em, the party technomancer would supercharge the soldiers weapon, and the soldier would take the shot. I realize at higher levels and in large, focused combats that wouldn't work so well, but it was fun for us. As GM the party currently has a level 10 envoy skittermander with fuselade, with a full gallery of looted small arms to choose from, so he actively participates in combat and uses improved get em regularly. You practically have to beg him to inspiring boost. Which I just realized is part of the problem you mentioned, huh? He doesn't inspiring boost because then he can't shoot.

My envoy for society I wrote as a pacifist, lover of animals, seeker of knowledge. She's a shirren, and only uses weapons that can do, or are exclusively, non lethal. So for her the idea of not getting involved, but encouraging her friends to keep them safe (I intentionally avoid offensive improvisations for her like get em or clever attack) that kind of passive play suits her personality, so I hadn't really noticed how it limits her ability to directly engage.


The others have covered the main issues.

Get 'Em and its improved version are the main shtick of the Envoy. But performing those actions, uses up your action economy to do anything else.

What would have been nice is if they eventually got an option that modified Get Em to be a swift or free action. Swift action use prevents full attacks, but being able to use Get Em, move, and fire your gun in one turn would be okay.


Claxon wrote:

The others have covered the main issues.

Get 'Em and its improved version are the main shtick of the Envoy. But performing those actions, uses up your action economy to do anything else.

What would have been nice is if they eventually got an option that modified Get Em to be a swift or free action. Swift action use prevents full attacks, but being able to use Get Em, move, and fire your gun in one turn would be okay.

improved get em already let's you use get em and shoot your get em target as one standard action. I actually hadn't noticed that swift actions prevent full attacks in Starfinder. That new to me.


I expect the Combat Operations Manual to introduce some higher level improvisations for Envoys in October.

Pogiforce wrote:
We had a sniper team set up where we had a sharpshooter soldier with a sniper. I would indicate the target with get em, the party technomancer would supercharge the soldiers weapon, and the soldier would take the shot.

Why a sniper? Get 'em has a range limitation of 60', increasable to 120'. A longarm or heavy weapon would do a lot more damage.


Pogiforce wrote:
Claxon wrote:

The others have covered the main issues.

Get 'Em and its improved version are the main shtick of the Envoy. But performing those actions, uses up your action economy to do anything else.

What would have been nice is if they eventually got an option that modified Get Em to be a swift or free action. Swift action use prevents full attacks, but being able to use Get Em, move, and fire your gun in one turn would be okay.

improved get em already let's you use get em and shoot your get em target as one standard action. I actually hadn't noticed that swift actions prevent full attacks in Starfinder. That new to me.

Yes, but that locks you into firing your weapon.

If you can Get Em as a swift action, you could do other things as a standard besides fire your weapon. That flexibility is what I'm after. I also don't think the ability to fire you weapon, and move, and use Get Em should be gated behind such a high level.


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The Envoy problem is that not every party has an Envoy. Where is my Envoy? I want some Get 'Em! on that guy RIGHT NOW!


Dracomicron wrote:
The Envoy problem is that not every party has an Envoy. Where is my Envoy? I want some Get 'Em! on that guy RIGHT NOW!

Mine doesn't use Get 'Em. She's a pacifist. C.C

A Shirren stumbles out awkwardly lugging a medkit

"But I will cheer you on and patch your wounds as best I can!"

Xenocrat wrote:
Why a sniper? Get 'em has a range limitation of 60', increasable to 120'. A longarm or heavy weapon would do a lot more damage.

We were taking our shots within 60 feet.He just really likes Snipers. He has his Soldier, an Operative, and a mechanic. The Operative took Debilitating Sniper and uses sniper rifles, the soldier is a sharpshooter sniper, and he'll probably find a way to make sniper rifles work on his mechanic somehow.

It's kinda like how a friend of ours was told earlier in "Starfinder primarily favors gunplay and ranged combat." And ever since has been determined to build all his characters with a melee focus just to be contrary.


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

Well. The statement that Starfinder favors ranged combat is pretty shaky. Well everyone should absolutely have a ranged weapon, and the addition of the Gunner Harness to heavy weapons has closed the gap up a lot, melee is where the real damage is.


To be fair, melee combat tends to be a high risk, high reward endeavor. Melee characters put out damage, but don't often get cover bonuses to AC and are big flashy targets.

Snipers on the other hand are mostly just unwieldy longarms. Useful situationally, but not great otherwise.


That's why you need a Tactical Scaffold and a level appropriate Coil Gun.


HammerJack wrote:
Well. The statement that Starfinder favors ranged combat is pretty shaky. Well everyone should absolutely have a ranged weapon, and the addition of the Gunner Harness to heavy weapons has closed the gap up a lot, melee is where the real damage is.

It's more the "getting into melee" aspect which has difficulties; unless you're starting all your combats at super close range (which doesn't make sense in a setting with firearms). Ranged combatants grab cover, melee combatants are stuck getting over to them without a lot of good options for how to protect themselves on the way there.


HammerJack wrote:
Well. The statement that Starfinder favors ranged combat is pretty shaky. Well everyone should absolutely have a ranged weapon, and the addition of the Gunner Harness to heavy weapons has closed the gap up a lot, melee is where the real damage is.

wasn't really so at launch, when he was told that. Sure, operatives have their own class of melee weapon, and soldiers had the blitz fighting style and armored storm and there were solarians, but people didn't really grasp solarians well back then, technomancers didn't have Junk Sword, operatives were better off using their small arms for safety, and generally every other class was better to keep their distance than get in close. Plus we had fewer cool melee options for weapons then than we do now. That's off topic though.


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Nerdy Canuck wrote:
HammerJack wrote:
Well. The statement that Starfinder favors ranged combat is pretty shaky. Well everyone should absolutely have a ranged weapon, and the addition of the Gunner Harness to heavy weapons has closed the gap up a lot, melee is where the real damage is.
It's more the "getting into melee" aspect which has difficulties; unless you're starting all your combats at super close range (which doesn't make sense in a setting with firearms). Ranged combatants grab cover, melee combatants are stuck getting over to them without a lot of good options for how to protect themselves on the way there.

I suppose it's possible to have a game where you don't ever have combat inside a building, cave system, space ship, or other place that would have walls to prevent people engaging from 100s of feet out, but it does also make a lot of envoy abilities difficult to use.

Sovereign Court

In my experience, you generally don't get the choice to be an all-range party. Lotta monsters try to close in melee with you. A party without melee competent characters spends a lot of time getting chased all over the map.

If you have one chunky character that can take the punishment though, the rest of the party has a much easier time finding a comfy place to stand and full attack shoot or whatever they want.


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Nerdy Canuck wrote:
HammerJack wrote:
Well. The statement that Starfinder favors ranged combat is pretty shaky. Well everyone should absolutely have a ranged weapon, and the addition of the Gunner Harness to heavy weapons has closed the gap up a lot, melee is where the real damage is.
It's more the "getting into melee" aspect which has difficulties; unless you're starting all your combats at super close range (which doesn't make sense in a setting with firearms). Ranged combatants grab cover, melee combatants are stuck getting over to them without a lot of good options for how to protect themselves on the way there.

Smoke grenades in front of their position, the same way real world infantry/armor screens movements when they have no cover or concealment.

Or just throw it in front of you and leap frog towards them on consecutive rounds if they're far away. All they can do is pick a square to shoot at random and hope you're there with a 50% miss chance. Or leave their cover to get line of sight on you.


Being just a little more than 30 feet out is generally enough. But also still off topic

Ive been seeing a lot of talk specifically in relation to Get 'Em/ Improved Get, 'Em, but not generally anything else. Is there any build diversity in Envoys? If not, wouldnt that make Envoys an ideal candidate for Archetypes? If you aren't using like 90% of your options you can pretty much get what you need and trade the rest of it away.


Pogiforce wrote:

Being just a little more than 30 feet out is generally enough. But also still off topic

Ive been seeing a lot of talk specifically in relation to Get 'Em/ Improved Get, 'Em, but not generally anything else. Is there any build diversity in Envoys? If not, wouldnt that make Envoys an ideal candidate for Archetypes? If you aren't using like 90% of your options you can pretty much get what you need and trade the rest of it away.

Unfortunately envoys want their limited options immediately, and archetypes tend to defer those options until later.

Typical envoy builds are probably:

Max charisma - party face, picks up clever feint, get 'em, and maybe improved demoralize for in combat buffing and debuffing.

Max Dex - focuses on long arms and/or unwieldy heavy weapons to get maximum use out of improved get 'em.

You can also focus on melee with STR, but you'll run into action economy issues even faster, and again, get 'em is probably your first choice.

There is also building for being the battlefield medic, but that build can slot into a melee or ranged combat build fairly well. You might prefer to balance INT and DEX to succeed at the skill checks easier and just leave CHA at 12 depending on how much RP you see yourself using.

get 'em is probably their best buff. Other tricks are useful, but I would say get 'em is typically the first choice.


I also thought Inspiring Boost would be first, since anyone can shoot things but battlefield healing is at a premium.


HammerJack wrote:
Nerdy Canuck wrote:
HammerJack wrote:
Well. The statement that Starfinder favors ranged combat is pretty shaky. Well everyone should absolutely have a ranged weapon, and the addition of the Gunner Harness to heavy weapons has closed the gap up a lot, melee is where the real damage is.
It's more the "getting into melee" aspect which has difficulties; unless you're starting all your combats at super close range (which doesn't make sense in a setting with firearms). Ranged combatants grab cover, melee combatants are stuck getting over to them without a lot of good options for how to protect themselves on the way there.
I suppose it's possible to have a game where you don't ever have combat inside a building, cave system, space ship, or other place that would have walls to prevent people engaging from 100s of feet out, but it does also make a lot of envoy abilities difficult to use.

I'm more saying that those scenarios are more of an exception than a norm - making melee more prominent as a variation from the standard rhythm of combat.


Pogiforce wrote:
I also thought Inspiring Boost would be first, since anyone can shoot things but battlefield healing is at a premium.

It's at best a once per combat per person heal.

I can tell you that my experience for my melee soldier is that it would basically negate one attack that I took. Which isn't bad, but also isn't as useful generally, as the attack bonus. And denying everyone the attack bonus that round to do it, is the real problem. Although, I guess you could regular Get 'Em and do Inspiring Boost. It's still on the lack luster side, in my opinion.

The only problem with limiting it to once per person per combat is that usually damage is not evenly distributed. My melee solider takes a majority of the damage most of the time (unless I'm not doing my job or we get rushed by lots of melee enemies at once).


Pogiforce wrote:
I also thought Inspiring Boost would be first, since anyone can shoot things but battlefield healing is at a premium.

at 1st it's nice, by 3rd staying in SP until a 10 min rest is more reliable.


Eh. I'm still more partial to inspiring boost. Though you guys are making me feel guilty about my design choices for my envoy, like people are gonna get mad at me if I play her anywhere other than locally for intentionally not taking get em.

Also, if Get em is all that matters any archtype that does not replace the 6th level improv is fine, since that's the earliest you can take Improved get em anyway.


Claxon wrote:
Pogiforce wrote:
I also thought Inspiring Boost would be first, since anyone can shoot things but battlefield healing is at a premium.

It's at best a once per combat per person heal.

I can tell you that my experience for my melee soldier is that it would basically negate one attack that I took. Which isn't bad, but also isn't as useful generally, as the attack bonus. And denying everyone the attack bonus that round to do it, is the real problem. Although, I guess you could regular Get 'Em and do Inspiring Boost. It's still on the lack luster side, in my opinion.

Note that regular (move action) Get 'Em is still a +2 if you have Improved Get 'Em and choose not to shoot/IG'E as a standard action. Or maybe you know that and still think a stamina heal instead of a single shot plus some other move action is lackluster, I guess there's some ambiguity in your response.

Improved Get 'Em wrote:
Your morale bonus from get ’em increases to +2. As a standard action, you can make a single attack against a target within 60 feet. You and your allies within 60 feet gain the benefits of get ’em against that target (applying these effects before making the attack roll). As with get ’em, you can spend 1 Resolve Point to grant the benefits against all enemies within 60 feet. You must have the get ’em envoy improvisation to choose this improvisation.

The first sentence is true even if you don't use the standard action shooting option.


Pogiforce wrote:


Also, if Get em is all that matters any archtype that does not replace the 6th level improv is fine, since that's the earliest you can take Improved get em anyway.

If you traded away your 2nd and 4th level improvs then you'll only be able to take Get 'Em, not Improved Get 'Em, at 6th. There are no archetypes that take only one of your 2/4/6 improvs, so at best you can take Get 'Em at 2, 4, or 6 and Improved Get 'Em at 8.

Sovereign Court

From the perspective of playing melee types, inspiring boost kinda feels like someone casting false life on me. It's a bit more SP to work with in a combat, I can last a bit longer before I need to rest and heal up. Depending on how difficult a part of the adventure we're going through, I'll need to rest every other encounter or so. Generally the amount of encounters is lower than my Resolve so I could rest every encounter if needed. If inspiring boost gives me enough extra false stamina that I can squeeze two encounters into a resolve point, that does mean I can keep going for longer. But most of the time if we have to stop, it's because the casters are running low, not me.


Xenocrat wrote:
Claxon wrote:
Pogiforce wrote:
I also thought Inspiring Boost would be first, since anyone can shoot things but battlefield healing is at a premium.

It's at best a once per combat per person heal.

I can tell you that my experience for my melee soldier is that it would basically negate one attack that I took. Which isn't bad, but also isn't as useful generally, as the attack bonus. And denying everyone the attack bonus that round to do it, is the real problem. Although, I guess you could regular Get 'Em and do Inspiring Boost. It's still on the lack luster side, in my opinion.

Note that regular (move action) Get 'Em is still a +2 if you have Improved Get 'Em and choose not to shoot/IG'E as a standard action. Or maybe you know that and still think a stamina heal instead of a single shot plus some other move action is lackluster, I guess there's some ambiguity in your response.

Improved Get 'Em wrote:
Your morale bonus from get ’em increases to +2. As a standard action, you can make a single attack against a target within 60 feet. You and your allies within 60 feet gain the benefits of get ’em against that target (applying these effects before making the attack roll). As with get ’em, you can spend 1 Resolve Point to grant the benefits against all enemies within 60 feet. You must have the get ’em envoy improvisation to choose this improvisation.
The first sentence is true even if you don't use the standard action shooting option.

I think you misunderstood. He never called IGE lackluster, just said Inspiring Boost was lackluster by comparison.

I never said IGE was lackluster, just that IMO Inspiring Boost is more useful at first level. My envoy isn't taking GE/IGE for character reasons, not that I think the ability is lackluster. It's an offensive action, and she's a pacifist.


Xenocrat wrote:
Pogiforce wrote:


Also, if Get em is all that matters any archtype that does not replace the 6th level improv is fine, since that's the earliest you can take Improved get em anyway.

If you traded away your 2nd and 4th level improvs then you'll only be able to take Get 'Em, not Improved Get 'Em, at 6th. There are no archetypes that take only one of your 2/4/6 improvs, so at best you can take Get 'Em at 2, 4, or 6 and Improved Get 'Em at 8.

You do know you get an improv at first level too, right? Get em at first, improved get em at sixth.


Xenocrat wrote:
Pogiforce wrote:


Also, if Get em is all that matters any archtype that does not replace the 6th level improv is fine, since that's the earliest you can take Improved get em anyway.

If you traded away your 2nd and 4th level improvs then you'll only be able to take Get 'Em, not Improved Get 'Em, at 6th. There are no archetypes that take only one of your 2/4/6 improvs, so at best you can take Get 'Em at 2, 4, or 6 and Improved Get 'Em at 8.

You get a 1st level improv. If there is an archetype that doesn't replace the 6th level ability, then get 'em at 1st and improved get 'em at 6th are worth it over inspiring boost.


Garretmander wrote:
Xenocrat wrote:
Pogiforce wrote:


Also, if Get em is all that matters any archtype that does not replace the 6th level improv is fine, since that's the earliest you can take Improved get em anyway.

If you traded away your 2nd and 4th level improvs then you'll only be able to take Get 'Em, not Improved Get 'Em, at 6th. There are no archetypes that take only one of your 2/4/6 improvs, so at best you can take Get 'Em at 2, 4, or 6 and Improved Get 'Em at 8.
You get a 1st level improv. If there is an archetype that doesn't replace the 6th level ability, then get 'em at 1st and improved get 'em at 6th are worth it over inspiring boost.

Ah. There's only one archetype that doesn't take your 6th level improvisation - Steward Officer.


Garretmander wrote:
Xenocrat wrote:
Pogiforce wrote:


Also, if Get em is all that matters any archtype that does not replace the 6th level improv is fine, since that's the earliest you can take Improved get em anyway.

If you traded away your 2nd and 4th level improvs then you'll only be able to take Get 'Em, not Improved Get 'Em, at 6th. There are no archetypes that take only one of your 2/4/6 improvs, so at best you can take Get 'Em at 2, 4, or 6 and Improved Get 'Em at 8.
You get a 1st level improv. If there is an archetype that doesn't replace the 6th level ability, then get 'em at 1st and improved get 'em at 6th are worth it over inspiring boost.

That's why I think a steward officer Envoy might be good. Gives you longarm proficiency and specialization without spending feats, extra things for the envoy in social situations, and you can still take improved get'em at 6 level.


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

Get 'Em is absolutely not the only worthwhile improvisation, or the only thing envoys do. But, it stackKS with anything, works in any party composition, and has a nice place in the action economy once you have the improved version. Clever Attack is similar, and can be quite good, but it loses some appeal for 3 reasons:
1. There's more likely to be someone else in the party that can make a target flat-footed.
2. Clever feint/attack only make a target flat-footed against attacks, instead of applying the full confition, which prevents reactions. This makes every other way of applying the condition better.
3. The prerequisite improvisation is a standard action.

Once you have those improved cersions, though, you can do quite a bit on turns where you don't need to move. Quick dispiriting taunt/improved demoralize followed by improved get 'em/clever attack with a cruel weapon (preferably a big, unwieldy one), for example is excellenthe if any of your allies use anything with saving throws. Or you can use greater feint as the move action, for a full flat footed condition, and improved get em with a net, to make a single target all but unmissable until they have a chance to disentangle.

If you find yourself action starved, there are a few reaction abilities that come in handy, though they aren't things you likely use every round.

The only action economy problem envoys really have is that improved action economy is a main scaling method for improvisations. Being unable to progress in that way with improved improvs, due to an archetype, would be a huge cost.

Personally, I see the envoy as one of the worst classes to try to use an archetype on.


That's a valid point. All the other classes, their abilities scale naturally. Maybe what Paizo should do is errata so that the improved versions either don't need the prerequisites, or have the prerequisite improv scale up naturally at the level that the higher one would normally become available. They already have a little of that, just needed to take it a step further.


Garretmander wrote:
Pogiforce wrote:
I also thought Inspiring Boost would be first, since anyone can shoot things but battlefield healing is at a premium.
at 1st it's nice, by 3rd staying in SP until a 10 min rest is more reliable.

I've saved my team hundreds of credits in healing serums with well-timed Inspiring Boosts, but if I had it to do over again I might drop it in favor of getting the Improved Get 'Em!/Clever Attack combo sooner (allowing me to attack and swing my team's attack rolls by 4 points).


Dracomicron wrote:
Garretmander wrote:
Pogiforce wrote:
I also thought Inspiring Boost would be first, since anyone can shoot things but battlefield healing is at a premium.
at 1st it's nice, by 3rd staying in SP until a 10 min rest is more reliable.
I've saved my team hundreds of credits in healing serums with well-timed Inspiring Boosts, but if I had it to do over again I might drop it in favor of getting the Improved Get 'Em!/Clever Attack combo sooner (allowing me to attack and swing my team's attack rolls by 4 points).

Hundreds of credits isn't a lot as you level


As an envoy you can also burn feats rather than talents to make people flat footed.

Improved feint +greater feint and improved get em

Move action: Look a monkey! *feint*

Standard action: get em, blast someone with an unwieldy heavy weapon or longarm.


Which sounds like fair criticism. Seems if a feat can make something available to all classes, the classes with their unique tricks need to be able to at least match it, if not do something more.


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

Well, the advantage of Clever Feint is still having an effect when you fail the skill check to feint. And the advantage of Clever Attack is doing it as part of an attack. Both are also available much earlier than Greater Feint. But they both have the disadvantage of not shutting down reactions, and only the feat approach uses a move action, which may be better, depending on your other abilities.

Wayfinders

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Envoy Love

I have had no complaints as an envoy at Level 8. I am not the most powerful combatant in the universe. But I have been amazing on every Starfinder Society mission that I've been on. Essential out of combat and very useful in combat. In ship combat as gunner I've been amazing -- though I built originally for the Captain role, I usually flex out of that one after the first taunt and go off to take the guns.

I have noticed a huge difference in nasty combats as a GM between groups that had an inspiring boost envoy and those that don't. There's a lot more struggling in the few nasty combats that SFS turns out. I don't use inspiring boost every round -- that's boring -- but when I use it, it's been critical to keeping a frontliner in the frontline and doing damage. Most of the time, I shoot. I am starting to look for powerful weapons with limited charges, so that when I do shoot, everyone will notice.

★ --- ★ --- ★ --- ★

Now Thinking About my Second Envoy

I have enjoyed this so much that I want to build another envoy now that Charli's level 8. My biggest concern is that I don't want to build another Charli. I want to do something else, and I'm trying to figure out what would be effective and fun. I know that Get 'Em has to be part of the package... But I'm trying to consider what other improvisations might be fun and worth it if I eschew Inspiring Boost.

Inspiring Boost makes sense for Charli, as she discovered the need for advanced medical training on one of her missions. But I'm looking to have my next envoy feel different. A melee envoy might be interesting, but I'm wary of stuffing myself in the Captain niche in Starship Combat.

Thoughts? Ideas?


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Being the ships engineer works.

Engineering is a class skill, envoys can snag a D6 in it, and int is a good stat for envoys. And Since you only recharge shields (trying to overpower everything at once is a terrible option) you don't need an uber engineering score.

And you can stylize your weapon as a giant honking wrench.


HammerJack wrote:
Well. The statement that Starfinder favors ranged combat is pretty shaky. Well everyone should absolutely have a ranged weapon, and the addition of the Gunner Harness to heavy weapons has closed the gap up a lot, melee is where the real damage is.

That's... honestly news to me. While I haven't been able to play Starfinder myself yet, the sheer prevalence of firearms makes it seem like melee attacks are best left on the wayside. If every goon has a gun (which, if they're non-kasatha humanoids, they're going to), then you'll probably get turned into Swiss cheese on the way up to them.

As far as envoys... well, again, haven't been able to play SF myself (in my experience with PFS, Society almost removes the roleplay, which is the best part), but the envoy I made is a tiefling. Already less-than-optimal, especially if heritages from PF aren't an option, but most of what he'd do is RP-based; scaring the bujeezus out of people who talk smack about his friends, talking at length about the importance of equality because he follows Weydan, things like that.

Level-one characters are kinda starved for gear and stats, though; 1,000c is not as much as it sounds like, it's almost impossible to build a good character with a penalty to a key ability score, and I always have Dex and Con at a minimum of 12, so his stats are spread kind of thin and his equipment isn't great.


Voyd211 wrote:


That's... honestly news to me. While I haven't been able to play Starfinder myself yet, the sheer prevalence of firearms makes it seem like melee attacks are best left on the wayside. If every goon has a gun (which, if they're non-kasatha humanoids, they're going to), then you'll probably get turned into Swiss cheese on the way up to them.

There's a reason a lot of melee soldiers take blitz. +4 init and +10 feet of move do a lot to get you up in someone's business. Enhanced legs are cheap for another +10, and after that you're zooming accross most maps and in melee within 1 move action. Melee solarions can charge as a standard action right out of the bat so its zip zip whack.

I've run 60ish games and played at least that many. The only fight where melee had trouble closing was so big any non sniper had the same trouble closing.

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As far as envoys... well, again, haven't been able to play SF myself (in my experience with PFS, Society almost removes the roleplay,

Thats really more of a DM and scenario type thing. Most of my society games have involved a fair bit of role playing.

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it's almost impossible to build a good character with a penalty to a key ability score

It's far , far easier than in pathfinder. I jacked my ysoki operatives strength up to 18 and barely noticed. As long as your race has other points you want to put somewhere you're fine.


Voyd211 wrote:
HammerJack wrote:
Well. The statement that Starfinder favors ranged combat is pretty shaky. Well everyone should absolutely have a ranged weapon, and the addition of the Gunner Harness to heavy weapons has closed the gap up a lot, melee is where the real damage is.

That's... honestly news to me. While I haven't been able to play Starfinder myself yet, the sheer prevalence of firearms makes it seem like melee attacks are best left on the wayside. If every goon has a gun (which, if they're non-kasatha humanoids, they're going to), then you'll probably get turned into Swiss cheese on the way up to them.

As far as envoys... well, again, haven't been able to play SF myself (in my experience with PFS, Society almost removes the roleplay, which is the best part), but the envoy I made is a tiefling. Already less-than-optimal, especially if heritages from PF aren't an option, but most of what he'd do is RP-based; scaring the bujeezus out of people who talk smack about his friends, talking at length about the importance of equality because he follows Weydan, things like that.

Level-one characters are kinda starved for gear and stats, though; 1,000c is not as much as it sounds like, it's almost impossible to build a good character with a penalty to a key ability score, and I always have Dex and Con at a minimum of 12, so his stats are spread kind of thin and his equipment isn't great.

That is a problem my Shirren Envoy has been having, and with her low Dex I had been strongly considering upping her strength to 13 so she could take heavy armor proficiency. But now that I'm planning to take medical expert, skill focus medicine, and increased telepathy as her feats up to level 12, I simply don't have room for heavy armor.

I do think Shirrens can be good Envoys though. Though they have a -2 charisma, they get a +2 diplomacy which more than makes up for it in that skill. A free reroll from communalism is never a bad thing, plus limited telepathy works through walls, so you can be heard as an envoy even when cut off. And often times, being heard is enough. Plus their racial HP is fairly high.


Voyd211 wrote:
HammerJack wrote:
Well. The statement that Starfinder favors ranged combat is pretty shaky. Well everyone should absolutely have a ranged weapon, and the addition of the Gunner Harness to heavy weapons has closed the gap up a lot, melee is where the real damage is.

That's... honestly news to me. While I haven't been able to play Starfinder myself yet, the sheer prevalence of firearms makes it seem like melee attacks are best left on the wayside. If every goon has a gun (which, if they're non-kasatha humanoids, they're going to), then you'll probably get turned into Swiss cheese on the way up to them.

In addition to the options BNW mentioned, you can also pick up Jet Dash as a feat and run at 6x speed up to (or preferably past) them to at least set up an AOO.

Melee damage > ranged damage because the dice are generally higher for equivalent level/damage type weapons, you get to add strength, soldiers can add 1.5 strength, Solarions can add fire damage, Ring of Fangs shenanigans, and natural weapon races can add 1.5 level weapon specialization. Plus melee can reliably trigger extra attacks via AOOs with proper placement, feat selection, and reach.

Ranged weapons have no way to generate extra attacks or bonus damage options, although they do now have full attack accuracy boosters that melee weapons lack. The other downside to melee is that you can become the focus of every ranged combatant on the battlefield and the guy you're engaging can't provide cover from everyone. But there is the Close Combat feat to boost your AC and help with that.


Melee attacks are also mostly against KAC, whereas most guns are against EAC. Combine that with accuracy boosters, and ranged attacks are generally safer and more likely to hit. But melee attacks do more damage. As was said earlier, it's a risk/reward thing.

I'm not sure how melee would work as an Envoy.


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Pogiforce wrote:
Melee attacks are also mostly against KAC, whereas most guns are against EAC.

I'm wary of too much generalization about KAC vs. EAC. On the player front it's entirely a choice and there's no "mostly." Which is better is highly level, weapon category, damage type, and circumstance dependent. At many levels and weapon categorizes the best KAC options have higher DPR than the best EAC option - the extra damage more than compensates for the decreased likelihood to hit.

And note that while +2 KAC is the most common gap, not only do a lot of Alien Archive entries have a KAC only 1 higher than EAC, there are a few with equal or even lower KAC where the KAC targeting DPR advantage grows. (If you're Hallajin hunting bring a KAC weapon with a ghost touch fusion for best results.) Don't get tied up in general rules if you have the time, resources, and cognitive capacity to adapt to the situation at hand.


Pogiforce wrote:
I'm not sure how melee would work as an Envoy.

If the person playing an Envoy in my SF game, before he quit, was here, he would say 'Really, really bad.'

Not a generalization, but for the specific case that I've seen, our melee envoy got the tar beat out of him pretty consistently. He was actually the first player in my group to get brought to zero HP during combat (a lucky crit and lucky damage rolls actually one shot him from a Gatecrasher boss during our tour on Eox.)

If I had to go out on a limb, a combination of not really knowing Starfinder vs Pathfinder, not really liking the system, and his Pathfinder character being a barbarian in our concurrently-run Kingmaker game all probably ganged up on him.

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