Is Starfinder is too comedy oriented?


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Pretty much.


Ascalaphus wrote:
Ixal's problems with the Starfinder ecoonomy are old news. This horse has been beaten to death in several threads. Spoiler alert: you're not going to change their mind.

Ditto his claims of lawlessness.

Also it may be dozens of threads.

Also ideas and solutions have been given to him, which I believe he has chosen not to use.

I think Starfinder may not be the game for him.


My current game isn't silly. The group is visiting Ravenloft, some for the second time. What was silly was our first starship fight. It was between the PCs and a force from the Tiamat Sector. I had to use a dragon to represent them, but anyhow.

Playing the Tiamat Sector dragons was a hoot. I tried to introduce Manifest Destiny or the whole We Expand or Die thing. But no, I made them up to be adolescents.

Now the group is visiting Ravenloft, that would all me to make it gritty and dark again. But the whole campaign I'm running has a firefly feel to it.


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Xenobiologist wrote:

I think the character level is meant, at least in economic terms, to be an abstract representation of the character's social standing and connections with the SFS. In a more detailed and granular game like GURPS, this would be various Status, Ranks, Allies, Contacts, and licenses. While I don't like the way that characters suddenly get better all at once when they increase a level, I think level does seem to work as an abstract measurement of social standing.

Where I could agree is non-combat items, though. I think that anything which wouldn't be restricted by licenses (or perhaps artificial scarcity) might be better "restricted" by price rather than level. That probably still wouldn't make it a good idea for a 2nd level to save up 25,000 credits and blow them on a hair-styling bot... unless your GM runs scenarios in which hairstyle is extremely important ... somehow.

Or perhaps certain healthcare items get cheaper the higher your level... because at a higher level you can get some equivalent of health insurance?

Equating level with social standing breaks the instance you play a criminal or unsavoury character. It also doesn't explain why your social standing rises by killing things in the wilderness no one cares about.

Take Signal of Screams for example. Sure, if you save the planet at the end you are the hero. But before you do that you are considered a crackpot who no one believes. So how does shooting up office buildings or secret bases no one knows of increase your social standing?

Removing level restrictions in general and make everything limited by price makes the most sense (and add in a optional extra hurdle for things which would logically be forbidden). That would also be way more realistic than how SF portraits modern societies, although that is not hard at all.

SF as written "works" as long as you don't look or interact with the setting much. Thats the reason why all APs happen far away from any form of civilization. If you don't and the players don't follow the railroad and instead want to get creative and use all the tools they have in a modern/futuristic setting like extensive bribery, hacking, social engineering, exploiting the police (swating), etc. it becomes quickly apparent that the SF setting has massive cracks because the only goal during its design was to support typical D&D like fantasy adventures of 4 to 5 dudes going into a dungeon, murder things and emerge with loot.
Signal of Screams 2 is a very good example of this and is a constant facepalm when you think about what is happening (and what not) in the middle of a metropolis.

To come back to the original question of the topic playing serious isn't really an option in SF unless everyone follows a railroad. And with the whacky races introduced, comedy is a likely substitution.


Ixal wrote:
SF as written "works" as long as you don't look or interact with the setting much. Thats the reason why all APs happen far away from any form of civilization.
Wat.
Ixal wrote:
If you don't and the players don't follow the railroad and instead want to get creative and use all the tools they have in a modern/futuristic setting like extensive bribery, hacking, social engineering, exploiting the police (swating), etc. it becomes quickly apparent that the SF setting has massive cracks because the only goal during its design was to support typical D&D like fantasy adventures of 4 to 5 dudes going into a dungeon, murder things and emerge with loot.

... wat.


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Ixal wrote:
Equating level with social standing breaks the instance you play a criminal or unsavoury character. It also doesn't explain why your social standing rises by killing things in the wilderness no one cares about.

You say that like criminal underworlds don't also operate by reputation and trust. Also, again, it's a balancing guideline.

Killing things in the wilderness and getting better at it can still be measured. You can take trophies, record your activities, or come back and demonstrate you skills to interested parties.

Ixal wrote:

Take Signal of Screams for example. Sure, if you save the planet at the end you are the hero. But before you do that you are considered a crackpot who no one believes. So how does shooting up office buildings or secret bases no one knows of increase your social standing?

Removing level restrictions in general and make everything limited by price makes the most sense (and add in a optional extra hurdle for things which would logically be forbidden). That would also be way more realistic than how SF portraits modern societies, although that is not hard at all.

Ixal, buddy, we've literally been telling you that you are free to do this if you so choose this entire time. Item level is a guideline of effective power and is intended to be a useful shorthand to help establish when certain things are balanced for PCs to have.

Ixal wrote:

SF as written "works" as long as you don't look or interact with the setting much. Thats the reason why all APs happen far away from any form of civilization. If you don't and the players don't follow the railroad and instead want to get creative and use all the tools they have in a modern/futuristic setting like extensive bribery, hacking, social engineering, exploiting the police (swating), etc. it becomes quickly apparent that the SF setting has massive cracks because the only goal during its design was to support typical D&D like fantasy adventures of 4 to 5 dudes going into a dungeon, murder things and emerge with loot.

Signal of Screams 2 is a very good example of this and is a constant facepalm when you think about what is happening (and what not) in the middle of a metropolis.

All of the problems you have described here can be handled with a skilled enough GM and players that ask for that level of granularity. You're assuming that pre-written adventure paths have to be followed beat by beat. There are plenty of opportunities for creative players to try interesting solutions to problems and a GM familiar with the rules can provide level-appropriate methods of achieving these goals.

APs are also more or less written as something of a railroad, they are meant to be pre-packaged stories that the players and the GM see through together. It's the difference between a homebrewed adventure and an AP. I like them because I don't have the time to write my own adventures.

Ixal wrote:
To come back to the original question of the topic playing serious isn't really an option in SF unless everyone follows a railroad. And with the whacky races introduced, comedy is a likely substitution.

I really hate how people seem to assume that humor and seriousness cannot coexist in a story. The late Sir Terry Pratchett wrote stories about grouchy witches, cowardly wizards, and trolls with silicon brains that operated more efficiently as they got colder. He also wrote about the cost of revolutions, why people need things to believe is, racism, and the march of technology.


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I've only played in Organized Play at conventions (as a Starfinder Society member character). It seemed to me that seriousness and silliness depended on character concepts and players' preferences. Even within the same scenario (Dreaming the Future) some adventures were played seriously, and another was semi-serious because one player decided to play the long-lost Icon daughter of the space pirate lord. Then I watched a game in which all the characers were completely incompetent and had turned their mission into an idiotic fiasco.

But I would like to see Hmm turn Signal of Screams into comedy.


Xenobiologist wrote:

<snip>

...I would like to see Hmm turn Signal of Screams into comedy.

Same!

:D

It's sure to be freaky!
;)

<ahem>

Carry on,

--C.

Dark Archive

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Umm, again, not including all possible options isn't railroading, railroading is stuff like saying "If you destroy Camera, the guy managed to films it anyway with secret one PCs can't notice" or "If PCs searched for bugs, bad guys still managed to bug and track their ship"

I'd say in modern or futuristic setting its actually really implausible to include all possible options on how to solve a problem because modern technology means if you wanted to write all of them, that would take way too much page count to list all of them :P You are supposed to allow PCs to be creative when they get ideas, you have never been supposed to only allow things written in adventures

(its debatable in case of organized play though since roleplaying guild rules for it says you are supposed to allow creativity, but rules also say you have to run scenarios as written so that is confusing :P)

Sovereign Court

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CorvusMask wrote:
(its debatable in case of organized play though since roleplaying guild rules for it says you are supposed to allow creativity, but rules also say you have to run scenarios as written so that is confusing :P)

The PFS/SFS rules then go on to explain what rules as written means. It's not about robotically doing the railroad and stifling creativity. It's about not getting to rewrite enemy stats because you want to make things easier/harder/cooler/deadlier. Because it turned out, random strangers editing scenarios for other random strangers didn't work all that well.

Dark Archive

Ascalaphus wrote:
CorvusMask wrote:
(its debatable in case of organized play though since roleplaying guild rules for it says you are supposed to allow creativity, but rules also say you have to run scenarios as written so that is confusing :P)
The PFS/SFS rules then go on to explain what rules as written means. It's not about robotically doing the railroad and stifling creativity. It's about not getting to rewrite enemy stats because you want to make things easier/harder/cooler/deadlier. Because it turned out, random strangers editing scenarios for other random strangers didn't work all that well.

Yeah yeah, but its bit hard in some cases where the adventure rewards depends on doing specific things during the adventure. So let's say you do allow creativity, but PCs don't do exactly things adventure rewards them for despite still somehow creatively solving the scenario, that results in stuff like GM not knowing whether to award pcs or not.

Like, its not even just about stiff and railroading, just that its bit ambiguous how much GM can bend the written word in scenario to affect players' success(whether helping them or otherwise) :p Since it would be unfair to other tables if table deviation makes things easier or harder than what the written version is.


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Rysky the Dark Solarion wrote:
Freehold DM wrote:
Rysky the Dark Solarion wrote:
Freehold DM wrote:
Rysky the Dark Solarion wrote:
Milo v3 wrote:
Ah yes, because Signal of Screams is totally a comedy campaign.
Laughing is a coping mechanism.
why do I envision you saying that *right* before the torture begins?

*ties a stack of lewd magazines to a drone and sets it to fly away just fast enough*

Oh hey look :3

hey, come back here drone! chases
*pilots drone into strip club*

is completely distracted


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Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Setting aside sidebars about the underlying philosophical basis of SFS, and presumptions about techno-authoritarian futures being the only "legitimate" futures. . .

I really don't see anything about Starfinder as intrinsically comedic, to any greater extent than existing fantasy RPGs. Sure, there is a tendency for PCs to turn anything into a joke, but that is baseline for all RPGs, even the most po-faced ones desperately trying for seriousness. Granted, I don't run premade adventures, so my adventures are fitted specifically to my own balance of comedy, drama, and horror. However, the setting provides far more than enough material for me to make as much drama and horror as I want.

I admit, it may be just me, but I really tend to read the question itself as indicative of an underlying unconscious bias against comedy. Far too many people have absorbed the assumption that comedy is "lesser", while drama is "greater". As such, a story or setting simply not actively leaning away from comedy is read as "too comedic".

Grand Lodge

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Pathfinder Starfinder Maps Subscriber

That moment when you step into a thread, and start wondering... Are you missing a marketing opportunity by not doing a streamed Signal of Scooby Doo adventure for the world to see?

Then you go back to that freelance assignment you need to finish...

Hmm

Sovereign Court

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CorvusMask wrote:

Yeah yeah, but its bit hard in some cases where the adventure rewards depends on doing specific things during the adventure. So let's say you do allow creativity, but PCs don't do exactly things adventure rewards them for despite still somehow creatively solving the scenario, that results in stuff like GM not knowing whether to award pcs or not.

Like, its not even just about stiff and railroading, just that its bit ambiguous how much GM can bend the written word in scenario to affect players' success(whether helping them or otherwise) :p Since it would be unfair to other tables if table deviation makes things easier or harder than what the written version is.

I think the guild guide has your back on that:

SFS Guild Guide 2.0 p. 13 wrote:

CREATIVE SOLUTIONS

Sometimes during the course of a scenario, your players might surprise you with a creative solution to an encounter (or the entire scenario) that you didn’t see coming and that isn’t expressly covered in the scenario. If, for example, your players manage to roleplay their way through a combat and successfully accomplish the goal of that encounter without killing the antagonist, give the PCs the same reward they would have gained had they defeated their opponent in combat. If that scene specifically calls for the PCs to receive a credits reward based on the gear collected from the defeated combatants, instead allow the PCs to find a credstick (or something similar) that gives them the same rewards. Additionally, if the PCs miss an NPC who carries a specific weapon that the PCs might be granted access to on the scenario’s Chronicle sheet, don’t cross that item off the sheet— instead, allow the PCs to find the item elsewhere as a reward for creatively resolving the encounter without resorting to combat.

The Starfinder Society Roleplaying Guild never wants to give the impression that the only way to solve a problem is to kill it. Rewarding the creative use of skills and roleplaying not only make Society games more fun for the players, but it also gives the GM a level of flexibility in ensuring players receive the rewards they are due.

Now this mostly talks about nonviolent solutions to ostensible combat encounters, but I think it's reasonable to extrapolate to noncombat encounters that the PCs solve in unexpected ways.


Hmm wrote:

That moment when you step into a thread, and start wondering... Are you missing a marketing opportunity by not doing a streamed Signal of Scooby Doo adventure for the world to see?

Then you go back to that freelance assignment you need to finish...

Hmm

No joke, I've been considering a comedy Signal of Screams for ages now.

I don't think horror adventures really translate well into most D20 systems and my players were wanting to do something more more with their characters after finishing Dead Suns. Most of the comedy would be based around the fact that they are hilariously overleveled for the adventure but all of the enemies keep insisting they should be taken seriously.


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Our campaign is pretty comedic, a bit on the Guardians of the Galaxy style, but we just love it that way...


Wingblaze wrote:

Are you saying that Firefly doesn't have it's share of comedy?

well, it IS a joke...

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32

Freehold DM wrote:
Wingblaze wrote:
Are you saying that Firefly doesn't have it's share of comedy?
well, it IS a joke...

Not Quite. This is a joke.

Firefly itself was a brilliant Sci-Fi television seris.

Silver Crusade

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

Maybe. Doesn't make Joss Whedon and Adam Baldwin any less terrible.


The Drunken Dragon wrote:
Hold on, I’m confused. Doesn’t the CRB literally point out that item levels are a guideline rather than a hard restriction? As in, a low-level character could own level 20 items, it’ d just be a bad idea to allow that as a GM

That's the point just like in Traveller in most games having a FGMP 15 and the Power armour would unbalancing - even in the Military themed Striker games it would be OP.


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Lord Fyre wrote:
Freehold DM wrote:
Wingblaze wrote:
Are you saying that Firefly doesn't have it's share of comedy?
well, it IS a joke...

Not Quite. This is a joke.

Firefly itself was a brilliant Sci-Fi television seris.

I do laugh in the faces of its fans on a regular basis...

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