newbie SFGM question, weapon specialization


Rules Questions


I just recently bought Starfinder (primarily to use its gun rules in PF2e). There is something has been nagging my brain about the setting.

Weapon specialization gives +lvl to damage(half for small arms). Is it me or does that seem like a bit much to expect +x damage at certain levels per gun attack? Especially when comparing it to PFs usual +2 flat bonus to damage for base weapon specilization. It irks me even more when there isnt an equivalent for spells or other non-gun type attacks.

Now taking a step back I can rationalize it in a couple of ways. I can say it mimics gun lethality without using the TAC rules PF1 had and it compensates for stamina points which is basically doubling hit point for PCs.

But I still feel having a flat +lvl to damage seems like a bit much. If I ever get a dedicated SF game going I would probably revamp that particular feat to something more managable like +1 damage per 4 levels or something, or at least give other type of attacks an equivalent. I figure i would also have to adjust hp/stam points, maybe even get rid of stam pts entirely, I'm not sure.

Thoughts? Thanks for your time.


It works out fairly well. There's far fewer other bonuses to damage (like paladin smits or barbarian rages) and enemies have a lot more HP


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

Well, the first thing I would say is "Don't compare to PF." For all of the similarities they have, the math is sufficiently different that looking at abilities in one through the lens of the other tends to be a mistake.

Secondly, I would suggest taking a look at the cost and low resale value of weapons. One function you would lose, of having specialization be a large portion of weapon damage, is that affordable backup weapons (a necessity if your primary weapon deals damage that some monsters may be immune to) become much less effective.

You would also significantly impact the balance between operative weapons/small arms, which receive only 1/2 level, and other weapons. Without additional changes, you nay end up with a game where operatives are far too strong in combat, as well as out of it.

Obviously, you can make whatever changes you want in your game, but this does end up being a total system overhaul, if you account for everything that is affected. If you want to take on that project, you may end up with a version of the game that plays well for your group, but it's not needed, since you are foxing something that isn't a problem.


HammerJack wrote:

Well, the first thing I would say is "Don't compare to PF." For all of the similarities they have, the math is sufficiently different that looking at abilities in one through the lens of the other tends to be a mistake.

Secondly, I would suggest taking a look at the cost and low resale value of weapons. One function you would lose, of having specialization be a large portion of weapon damage, is that affordable backup weapons (a necessity if your primary weapon deals damage that some monsters may be immune to) become much less effective.

You would also significantly impact the balance between operative weapons/small arms, which receive only 1/2 level, and other weapons. Without additional changes, you nay end up with a game where operatives are far too strong in combat, as well as out of it.

Obviously, you can make whatever changes you want in your game, but this does end up being a total system overhaul, if you account for everything that is affected. If you want to take on that project, you may end up with a version of the game that plays well for your group, but it's not needed, since you are foxing something that isn't a problem.

Good point, i was just shocked the feat give such a large bonus. Just so used to rules being very conservative in later editions.


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

Part of the reason damage numbers get much larger is that the number of attacks a character can perform per round is much lower than what could end up happening in Pathfinder. Additionally, you'll see that to hit bonuses are much more conservative, and less stackable, so static damage modifiers will be applied fewer times.

Sovereign Court

It looks like it's a feat that's way out of line in power compared to other feats, but it really isn't like the other feats. There's no other feat that everyone gets at level 3.

It happens to be implemented as a feat so that there are nice clear rules on how to take the feat again to apply it to a weapon that's not standard for your class, but thinking about it too much as a feat is confusing.

Rather, it's function is saying "my deadliness is part of the gun I'm using, but it's a whole lot of me being the one using it". A high level badass with a gun can do a lot more with it than a beginner with the same gun. A high level badass doesn't need fancy toys to be dangerous, he can be dangerous with any cheap gun. (But the really big gun does help.)

Whenever someone picks up a game and looks at some of the rules and balks, I always say "try it first". You might like it more in practice than you thought just reading the theory.

Try it the way it's designed, you can always change it later if you don't like it :)


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Ascalaphus wrote:

It looks like it's a feat that's way out of line in power compared to other feats, but it really isn't like the other feats. There's no other feat that everyone gets at level 3.

It happens to be implemented as a feat so that there are nice clear rules on how to take the feat again to apply it to a weapon that's not standard for your class, but thinking about it too much as a feat is confusing.

Rather, it's function is saying "my deadliness is part of the gun I'm using, but it's a whole lot of me being the one using it". A high level badass with a gun can do a lot more with it than a beginner with the same gun. A high level badass doesn't need fancy toys to be dangerous, he can be dangerous with any cheap gun. (But the really big gun does help.)

Whenever someone picks up a game and looks at some of the rules and balks, I always say "try it first". You might like it more in practice than you thought just reading the theory.

Try it the way it's designed, you can always change it later if you don't like it :)

True, thinking of it as not a feat and more a class/level feature does ease my brain.


Literally everyone has weapon specialization; it's part of the system's basic math. If you started changing that, you'd have to start making changes across the entire system to accommodate for that.

Do not change it without really, really, really knowing the system well.


Undraxis wrote:
True, thinking of it as not a feat and more a class/level feature does ease my brain.

Yeah, it's best in terms of balance-with-other-feats to think of the actual *feat* as a versatility feature, letting you apply weapon specialization (class feature) to more weapons, rather than being the thing that provides the bonus itself.

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