Is Tier 20 max for both spaceships and space monsters?


Rules Questions

Dark Archive

So I was thinking about how PC Tier 20 ship vs NPC Tier 20 ship is "hard" difficulty level encounter, while hypothetical Tier 20 vs Tier 21 would be "Epic" level encounter and so hypothetical Tier 20 vs Tier 22 would be basically impossible to defeat option.

So as result, it makes sense that Tier 20(unless in future PCs get ability to go past level 20 I guess) is absolutely max tier for starships, but I realized I don't know if Spaceship monsters follow space ship building rules as exactly <_<

So yeah, is tier 20 max for spaceship monsters too?


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

Depends. What do you mean by "max"? Do you mean the highest tier that ship building rules show a point budget for? That's 20. The highest tier that we've seen in a published adventure? Also 20.

The highest tier you can make something in your own adventure? I don't see any reason to believe that "max" is a valid designation, there.

Dark Archive

Yeah, but I'm not sure if spaceship monsters use spaceship rules, so I'm not sure if by the corebook tier 20 is also max for them


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Space monsters are reskinned starships with a few differences, sometimes.

Yes, 20 is the highest, and it will probably remain the highest since increasing it doesn't really do anything for the game.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Couple thoughts:

The effectiveness of a starship depends on its equipment - which is based on the tier of the starship; but it also depends on the modifiers to the skill checks of the crew - which could be of level higher than 20. So putting a level 22 crew into a tier 20 starship would be a bit more challenging than just the level 20 crew in the same starship.

Another way to increase the difficulty is by having multiple enemy starships. I don't have a good effective encounter level formula though. Three tier 20 starships is going to be a much more difficult battle than a single tier 20 starship (obviously). But three tier 16 starships is probably an easier battle than a single tier 20 starship. Not sure on that though since I haven't analyzed the math or run through multiple encounters with that scenario.


breithauptclan wrote:
Another way to increase the difficulty is by having multiple enemy starships. I don't have a good effective encounter level formula though. Three tier 20 starships is going to be a much more difficult battle than a single tier 20 starship (obviously). But three tier 16 starships is probably an easier battle than a single tier 20 starship. Not sure on that though since I haven't analyzed the math or run through multiple encounters with that scenario.

I remember reading a rule of thumb somewhere as "drop a tier, add a ship" for equivalent power. So two tier 20s could be an effective tier 21 encounter?


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Starship tier is really really a rough guideline.

If your players optimize their starship, they can blow away things a few tiers above them (in 1v1). But that's because most NPC starships are built very poorly as well.

That said, action economy is a huge deal. If the NPCs have 3 ships and get to make 3 attacks, and if the PCs try to split damage against the ships, it could very easily go poorly. So I doubt you can lower the CR by 1 and a ship and have that work in all circumstance.

I think a CR 10 PC ship vs 3 CR 8 enemy ships is going to cause trouble. Particularly if the enemy ships can focus on one side of the PC ship to wear down their shield prematurely.


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

Leaving aside the fact that you could always build an 1100 BP ship if you need there to be a tier 21, you can also make a tier 20 NPC ship much more dangerous by giving the crew resolve.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Claxon wrote:

Starship tier is really really a rough guideline.

If your players optimize their starship, they can blow away things a few tiers above them (in 1v1). But that's because most NPC starships are built very poorly as well.

That said, action economy is a huge deal. If the NPCs have 3 ships and get to make 3 attacks, and if the PCs try to split damage against the ships, it could very easily go poorly. So I doubt you can lower the CR by 1 and a ship and have that work in all circumstance.

I think a CR 10 PC ship vs 3 CR 8 enemy ships is going to cause trouble. Particularly if the enemy ships can focus on one side of the PC ship to wear down their shield prematurely.

I have run our group's tier 4 starship against a three ship fleet: a tier 3, a tier 2, and a tier 1. Custom built ships too (not pre-built ones). The PC ship still took them out rather well. Partially that was due to the fancy flying of the PC pilot staying in the weapon blind spots of the enemies as much as possible. Winning piloting initiative practically every round made that possible (pilot has ace pilot theme and max ranks in piloting vs. enemy pilots with CR levels lower than their own by a noticeable amount).

That result may not hold up at higher tiers of ships though. I wouldn't suggest generalizing the trend based on my one data point.

Community / Forums / Starfinder / Rules Questions / Is Tier 20 max for both spaceships and space monsters? All Messageboards

Want to post a reply? Sign in.