Solarian photon / graviton balance


General Discussion


I've been playing a Solarian in the Dead Suns AP. I'm a front-line tankish character. We just hit 5th level yesterday. So far, in addition to the black hole and super nova revelations, I've chosen Stellar Rush (which has come in quite useful) and plasma sheath. Looking at building the 6th level character to have the main elements ready in case we level up during our next game session.

Looking at the revelations, I'm not seeing any graviton that are jumping at me. In truth, I have yet to go into graviton mode. So I'm looking at Corona for the next revelation which, if I understand correctly, puts me out of balance? And the penalty is one additional round to be fully attuned? If I have that correct, are there any other downsides? Is it that big of a deal? Just seems like picking a graviton revelation is a waste since I'll likely never use it with the build I've gone for and my role in the party.

Thoughts appreciated. Thank you.


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

Taking longer to be fully attuned is the only penalty. How big of a deal that is, depends on how much you care about using zenith revelations, which may be a lot less, if you're using corona, since you probably don't want to have to spend a standard action to restart that, after you lose attunement.

Exo-Guardians

This character has taken only graviton revelations. Balance is good for zenith revelations and flexibility in tactics (by using gravity in ranged situations for instance). Otherwise, it is not necessary to keep balanced.


Appreciate the input. I think the benefit of another photon revelation at the cost of 1 more round to fully attune will be worth it with the build I'm using.


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Keep in mind there is a ring that reduces the time to attune by 1 round. So you can make up for the imbalance.

Edit: Ring of Cosmic Alignment doesn't do quite what I remembered it doing. Please ignore.

Still, I think Zenith revelations are far enough away that most characters needn't worry about it.

For a melee Solarion there are very few attractive Graviton abilities. Photon mode has very straight forward uses. Graviton mode is much more situational. It doesn't mean it's not useful, it's harder to know when it will be useful compared to the very straight forward abilities in the Photon mode.


Decided to go the Photon route and take the 1-round penalty. Just makes sense for the character I've built (front-line DPS).

* Go Photon mode.
* Stellar Rush to get into melee.
* Plasma Sheath and attack.
* Have the option of Super Nova if needed, when applicable.

Next level (6th) I'll take Corona and work that into the above mix as appropriate, ideally before getting into melee.

Of course no plan survives first contact with the enemy, but it's a ballpark guideline to shoot for in combat.

Sovereign Court

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I play an android Soldier1/SolarianX:
* Use heavy armor (soldier)
* Use Strength for Resolve (soldier)
* Charisma 8, maxed Strength, high Dexterity, Constitution and Intelligence.
* Make full use of heavy armor with many upgrade slots as well as the android's extra slot.
* I took only Photon Revelations: Stellar Rush, Plasma Sheath, Corona, and some stuff I don't remember.
* I don't go Supernova, it's not worth it with the DC or the damage.
* With lots of defensive armor upgrades, high-level armor, Enhanced Resistance to gain DR, Corona, high Constitution; I'm the bulwark that stands in the middle of the battlefield and allows the gunners in the party to do their job without enemies getting to them.
* I hit for a good large amount in melee or thrown.


Ascalaphus wrote:

I play an android Soldier1/SolarianX:

* Use heavy armor (soldier)
* Use Strength for Resolve (soldier)
* Charisma 8, maxed Strength, high Dexterity, Constitution and Intelligence.
* Make full use of heavy armor with many upgrade slots as well as the android's extra slot.
* I took only Photon Revelations: Stellar Rush, Plasma Sheath, Corona, and some stuff I don't remember.
* I don't go Supernova, it's not worth it with the DC or the damage.
* With lots of defensive armor upgrades, high-level armor, Enhanced Resistance to gain DR, Corona, high Constitution; I'm the bulwark that stands in the middle of the battlefield and allows the gunners in the party to do their job without enemies getting to them.
* I hit for a good large amount in melee or thrown.

I've been talking with one of our group about taking a 1 or 2 level dip into soldier. Maybe. I'm at 5th level now so I want to maintain till the damage bump at 6th. I have a Muon crystal least with soul fusion right now so I'm hitting for 1-6+17+1-4. That takes a nice bump next level. I'll consider soldier, maybe, after that for the blitz (+10 foot to move and initiative bump). I'll have to look ahead and see what the delay will cost me down the line in revelations and such.

Sovereign Court

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Don't get dazzled by blitz. I mean, if you're going to take a soldier dip then it's probably the best style for most solarians, but the blitz effects in themselves are not a strong reason to dip.

The real reasons are heavy armor proficiency + using Strength for resolve. Using Strength for Resolve makes you a lot less MAD. Heavy armor also reduces your need for a really high Dexterity, making it possible to put those points in Strength, and secondary Con/Dex. High strength then gives you both Resolve and To Hit/damage.

It does come at a price. You're a level behind for Solarian stuff, and ditching Charisma also means that any Revelation with a saving throw attached to it is no longer worthwhile.

An alternative build is to spend a feat on Heavy Armor and go Strength+Charisma based. You get to use the Soulfire infusion as well as Strength so you'll do a lot of damage. You can still use revelations with saving throws like Supernova to clear out mooks that are trying to set up flanking for the boss.


I did take heavy armor as my first feat. Made sense since I'm on the front line. So basically I was a strength/charisma split build, which is working out nicely.

And yes, that soulfire fusion gave a nice bump!

So really, the only reason to dip would be resolve, increased movement and initiative. Something to ponder but I'll really have to look ahead and see what would be delayed and how useful it would be to my primary-photon build. Like I said, I wouldn't even consider it till after 6th to get the solar weapon bump.

Having a blast with this character build. Very different from the usual ranged build I normally used in PF (like Ranger or Hunter).


I know a Solar Weapon Solarian in a home campaign that grabbed heavy armor proficiency at 1st, and then power armor at 5th. They started 14 Str/14 Con/14 Cha, and bumped Con/Int/Wis/Cha at 5th, and got a personal upgrade to charisma.

Interestingly in that case, a 1 level dip in Blitz isn't that good, as the only thing you get is +4 initiative (plus weapon proficiencies, but being low dex means thrown is generally better for them anyways). Soulfire plus maxed Charisma and power armor strength hits for quite a bit. I think when everything is up and running at 5th level (Photon mode + plasma sheath) its like 1d6+4+1+2+4+5+1=1d6+17? Bumps to 2d6+4+2+2+4+6+1=2d6+19 at 6th level, still with a 1st level solarian crystal.

They've gone Stellar Rush + Plasma sheath (move action activate shealth, standard charge). I believe they're planning on going balanced again at 6th by grabbing Defy Gravity, to provide mobility while using power armor, since as far as we can tell, it makes you fly the power armor speed (and then you fall if not on the ground, but still).


Hiruma Kai wrote:

I know a Solar Weapon Solarian in a home campaign that grabbed heavy armor proficiency at 1st, and then power armor at 5th. They started 14 Str/14 Con/14 Cha, and bumped Con/Int/Wis/Cha at 5th, and got a personal upgrade to charisma.

Interestingly in that case, a 1 level dip in Blitz isn't that good, as the only thing you get is +4 initiative (plus weapon proficiencies, but being low dex means thrown is generally better for them anyways). Soulfire plus maxed Charisma and power armor strength hits for quite a bit. I think when everything is up and running at 5th level (Photon mode + plasma sheath) its like 1d6+4+1+2+4+5+1=1d6+17? Bumps to 2d6+4+2+2+4+6+1=2d6+19 at 6th level, still with a 1st level solarian crystal.

They've gone Stellar Rush + Plasma sheath (move action activate shealth, standard charge). I believe they're planning on going balanced again at 6th by grabbing Defy Gravity, to provide mobility while using power armor, since as far as we can tell, it makes you fly the power armor speed (and then you fall if not on the ground, but still).

After looking at it, I don't think a 1 or 2 level dip is going to benefit me as much. Between now (5th level) and 9th level I've got 2 stellar revelations, flashing strikes and 2 Zenith revelations not to mention going from 1d6 to 3d6 for the solar weapon and other pluses. I don't think I want to delay any of that. Too many useful options are coming up.

Right now, with the solar fushion and Muon crystal least, my guy is 1d6+17+1d4 which is quite decent.


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Pathfinder Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Yeah, a soldier dip is only really worth it if you want to dump Charisma.

As for the Photon/Graviton revelation balance, it's 100% fine to take the 1 round full attunement penalty. The rounds spent getting your buffs back up after using Supernova are incredibly frustrating, and unless you hit a lot of key enemies with that Supernova you're at a severe damage penalty on average.

Generally, it seems most valuable to keep your zenith revelations in your pocket in case they're useful, in which case it doesn't matter if you got fully attuned in 3 rounds or 6+.

I personally use Supernova if I'm about to go down, and a bit of guaranteed damage might clear an enemy or two.

I use the haste one that I forget the name of if things are getting hairy and I need to reshape where everyone is positioned in a fight.

I roleplay that I don't have Graviton mode or powers at all.


At 6th lvl now. Bumped up the armor to the Lashunta Ringwear III and the crystal to the Gluon minor. Decided to go fully photon (for now) and take the penalty. With Enhanced Resistance for DR 6 plus Corona plus my armor has a haste circuit plus 2d6+20+1d6 for damage, I'm feeling pretty comfortable wading into the enemy. Not cocky or overly berzerker or anything, but the tankish/DPS role I'm building is shaping up nicely.

Having a blast. We're about halfway through AP #3. On Eox, gearing up for the next leg of the adventure.


Just something you might want to look at but a lot of those Gavition powers can be used on your allies. Nothing in the powers say they have to be used on enemies.


I could definitely see Graviton powers being useful to buff the party here and there if my build was different. Perhaps a second line guy that focused on buffing/debuffing. For front line DPS I just haven't entered Graviton mode even once.

Something to consider for the future.


@ Q Vos

at lvl 5 you said that your dmg is 1d6+17+1d4

1d6-I assume is the basic solar weapon
17 breaks down as follows?
5- str
4-cra
5-weapon spec at lvl 5
2-Plasma Sheath
1-Solar Crystal
1d4-??

Where does the d4 extra dmg come from?


jim reynolds 283 wrote:

@ Q Vos

at lvl 5 you said that your dmg is 1d6+17+1d4

1d6-I assume is the basic solar weapon
17 breaks down as follows?
5- str
4-cra
5-weapon spec at lvl 5
2-Plasma Sheath
1-Solar Crystal
1d4-??

Where does the d4 extra dmg come from?

A Least Gluon or W-Boson Crystal, presumably.


Something I've been looking at with my solarian concept (forever dm tho) has been minimum strength for power armor, then doing power armor and charisma.

The curve is a little harsh for wealth but it's less MAD without sacrificing saves. I believe some graviton revelations also help mitigate check penalties from armor.

If you have the cash to burn adding an explosive weapon to a control module and computer interface could come in handy. Every space Paladin needs a shoulder mounted plasma cannon.


I feel like power armor is really kind of a bad idea for primary melee characters. I guess saving a few points from needing a high strength might even out when you can't increase your land speed, maybe?

As far as an explosive weapon goes, unless you're going to dump all the points you saved from strength into dex, you're just throwing away money on a weapon that's going to be doing half damage (since everything will beat the low DC to save) or zero (anything that has Evasion won't even care that you're shooting.)


The computer interface should allow the weapon to fire automatically. It'd be a way to boost damage while already engaged.


SirShua wrote:
The computer interface should allow the weapon to fire automatically. It'd be a way to boost damage while already engaged.

I am more interested by this than the rest of the thread to be honest .. does anybody else know how this what exactly work? Because I don't know.

EDIT MODE
*would not what


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The Artificer wrote:
SirShua wrote:
The computer interface should allow the weapon to fire automatically. It'd be a way to boost damage while already engaged.

I am more interested by this than the rest of the thread to be honest .. does anybody else know how this what exactly work? Because I don't know.

EDIT MODE
*would not what

It technically works, but probably won't hit anything, and would just be a waste of credits.

You'd need to buy a computer of some tier, it's attack roll is equal to it's tier, then you need to spend 10% of the weapon's price for a complex control unit. On top of that, the GM is within their rights to shut the whole idea down. You can build a turret, but nothing says it can or cannot be mounted in a power armor's weapon slot. Definitely nothing says it doesn't provoke an AoO in your quoted post.

CRB: Computers, Control Module wrote:

When

operating a device that requires a skill check or attack roll (such
as a computer hooked to a med-bed or weapon), the controlling
computer can either allow a creature with authorized access to
attempt a skill check or attack roll, or attempt the skill check
or attack roll itself. When making its own check, the computer
is assumed to have an attack bonus equal to its tier, proficiency
with any weapon it controls, and a total skill bonus equal to
2-1/2 × its tier. Such controlled objects are normally mounted
to a specific location (such as a controlled longarm placed in a
turret with line of sight to the computer’s terminal), in which
case the mount and related components are included in the
control unit price.


Yeah, at that point you're ending up buying a max tier computer repeatedly for any shot of doing full damage, and spending quite a pretty penny to do so.

On top of the expense for the power armor itself.

On top of the 4 feats (unless you dipped a soldier level) to use heavy armor, powered armor, longarms, and heavy weapons.


Nevermind that a tier 10 computer, a level 20 item with a price tag of 320,000 Cr, only has a 55% chance of hitting a CR 8 combatant's EAC.

That said, depending on your GM, a ranged combatant carrying around a portable turret heavy weapon could make for an interesting way to keep yourself in cover and still attack... this is all a tangent to the original post however.


jim reynolds 283 wrote:

@ Q Vos

at lvl 5 you said that your dmg is 1d6+17+1d4

1d6-I assume is the basic solar weapon
17 breaks down as follows?
5- str
4-cra
5-weapon spec at lvl 5
2-Plasma Sheath
1-Solar Crystal
1d4-??

Where does the d4 extra dmg come from?

From the crystal damage. IIRC I had a Muon crystal least at that level. I have a different crystal now, Gluon minor that offers a 1d6. At lvl 7 my damage is 3d6 + 21.


Garretmander wrote:

Nevermind that a tier 10 computer, a level 20 item with a price tag of 320,000 Cr, only has a 55% chance of hitting a CR 8 combatant's EAC.

That said, depending on your GM, a ranged combatant carrying around a portable turret heavy weapon could make for an interesting way to keep yourself in cover and still attack... this is all a tangent to the original post however.

Except he's talking about an explosive weapon (likely because of the much easier chance to hit the floor.) So the hitting the target isn't an issue, it's going to be the low reflex DC needed to only take half damage.


A computer interface (armory, page 82) comes with a t1 computer, Artificial personality and control module. It can activate a single armor system once per turn after a condition is triggered. It can be linked to tools or weapons attached to the armor with-in the limits of a control module. The main gripe is if a GM would let me order the AI to fire as a trigger condition.

The total cost of this set-up (minimum) is: 3450 for battle harness, 6000 for interface, 2400 for tactical energy converter (cheapest explode weapon i could find besides grenade launchers)
Totals: 13,850. Over 80% of a level 6 character's wealth, just over half a level 7 character.

I would only need 2 feats, heavy and power armor. The control module covers proficiency already.

Keep in mind I'd be aiming to have the power armor already for strength, letting me focus on cha, con and something else. The mounted weapon set-up is extra.


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So, regarding your setup: I'm not 100% that the computer interface can run a weapon. I'd allow, so I'm not going to argue it, but I'd clear it with your GM first just to be safe.

My point is that, the save DC for half damage from your setup is going to be incredibly low. Like... 13, I think? 10+ half weapon level+computer tier? Basically, unless your opponents get horribly unlucky, you're spending almost 14,000 credits to do 1 or 2 damage to everything in a ten foot radius. That's the part that doesn't seem worth it to me.


Hard no on an AI letting you take a shot with a heavy weapon. Even at 50% of your WBL you're getting another character worth of combat actions.

And it won't stay 50% of WBL. That same setup will be cheap for a level 9 or 10 to pick up.


BigNorseWolf wrote:

Hard no on an AI letting you take a shot with a heavy weapon. Even at 50% of your WBL you're getting another character worth of combat actions.

And it won't stay 50% of WBL. That same setup will be cheap for a level 9 or 10 to pick up.

I dunno about hard no, at least a standard action to set up the turret at the start of combat. Whether it's a standard turret or a pokeball launcher that becomes an explosive weapon later.

Equipped on the power armor? no. Deployable? yes.

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