So it turns out hirelings have changed a lot...


Starfinder Society

The Exchange 5/5 Venture-Lieutenant, Texas—Dallas & Ft. Worth aka Belafon

Executive summary: Is there any recourse for players who bought hireling boons under the 1.0 boon text?

Last weekend I was playing a scenario with my 8th-going-on-9th level character. I said that I would have my Master Hireling Reginald (all hirelings are named Reginald) make a diplomacy check. One of the other players asked “hasn’t he already made a diplomacy check?” “Yeah,” I replied “but that was with a different NPC.” “No, I mean your hireling can only make one check a scenario.” “What?”

We eventually discovered that between Guides 1.0 and 1.1, language was added to the hireling boon specifying that it could only attempt each type of check (bluff, diplomacy, and intimidate in my case) once per scenario. It wasn’t in a changelog and there were no mentions of the difference on the messageboards, so I totally missed it until someone who was newer and hadn’t seen Guide 1.0 pointed it out.

I know I’m a bigger consumer of purchased boons than 99% of players (probably the reason no one else pointed it out) but this is a really big deal for me. I’m now 9th level and made all my skill (and even ability score boost) choices knowing that I would always have Reginald along. All my characters are talky in some way and I certainly would have put points in at least one of those skills if it wasn’t for the hireling boon. It’s a double whammy because I also spent 9 Fame on the boons.

Is there and official recourse for this situation? I’d love to hear “grandfathering” as the reply, but any official guidance is appreciated.

3/5

I don't read the language in guide 1.1 as limiting the hireling to once per scenario. Which part are you reading that way?

5/5

I cannot see any change to hireling rules. They may have been thinking of field trainee which has always been once per scenario.

The Exchange 5/5 Venture-Lieutenant, Texas—Dallas & Ft. Worth aka Belafon

The change is the addition of

Quote:
The ally can attempt a given skill check only once, cannot retry a check, and cannot take 10 or 20 on a check.

I agree that “can attempt a given skill check only once” is ambiguous. It could mean “only once any time a check is called for in a scenario?” But that’s redundant with “cannot retry a check” so I have to agree with the player who pointed it out and assume it means “only attempt each skill once.”

Reading it as “can only roll once per called-for check” you get: “Cannot retry a check, cannot retry a check, and cannot take 10 or 20.

2/5 ⦵⦵

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Accessories, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber
Quote:
The ally can attempt a given skill check only once, cannot retry a check, and cannot take 10 or 20 on a check.

This does not mean your hireling can only use a given skill once per scenario. It means your hireling can only make a given skill check once per scenario. If your hireling tries to perform an autopsy with Medicine, they can still use Medicine to perform another autopsy on a different body later, or to patch up a party member outside of combat.

The Exchange 5/5 Venture-Lieutenant, Texas—Dallas & Ft. Worth aka Belafon

Poit wrote:
Quote:
The ally can attempt a given skill check only once, cannot retry a check, and cannot take 10 or 20 on a check.
This does not mean your hireling can only use a given skill once per scenario. It means your hireling can only make a given skill check once per scenario. If your hireling tries to perform an autopsy with Medicine, they can still use Medicine to perform another autopsy on a different body later, or to patch up a party member outside of combat.

See above. The player pointed out (and I agree) that would be redundant with “cannot retry a check.”

3/5

I don't find those clauses redundant.

Some skill challenges require you to succeed a skill check multiple times. Your hireling can only attempt one such check per scenario. This means you get a benefit from your investment, but the hireling does not overshadow your fellow Starfinders.

Basically, in addition to being unable to retry checks, they are limited in how much they can contribute to skill challenges.

2/5 ⦵⦵

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Accessories, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber
Kevin Willis wrote:
Poit wrote:
Quote:
The ally can attempt a given skill check only once, cannot retry a check, and cannot take 10 or 20 on a check.
This does not mean your hireling can only use a given skill once per scenario. It means your hireling can only make a given skill check once per scenario. If your hireling tries to perform an autopsy with Medicine, they can still use Medicine to perform another autopsy on a different body later, or to patch up a party member outside of combat.
See above. The player pointed out (and I agree) that would be redundant with “cannot retry a check.”

After reading it again, I see there is no "per scenario" clause included with "can attempt a given skill check only once". If we were to ignore the word "check" and interpret it as "can attempt a given skill only once", as you suggest, wouldn't that mean that a hireling can only use each of their three skills once ever?

Silver Crusade 5/5 ⦵⦵⦵⦵ Venture-Captain, Indiana—Southern aka CanisDirus

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Kevin Willis wrote:
Poit wrote:
Quote:
The ally can attempt a given skill check only once, cannot retry a check, and cannot take 10 or 20 on a check.
This does not mean your hireling can only use a given skill once per scenario. It means your hireling can only make a given skill check once per scenario. If your hireling tries to perform an autopsy with Medicine, they can still use Medicine to perform another autopsy on a different body later, or to patch up a party member outside of combat.
See above. The player pointed out (and I agree) that would be redundant with “cannot retry a check.”

It's not redundant. It means that your hireling loses the ability to "try again" on a skill check that they have attempted.

CRB wrote:
The skill’s description contains an overview of the skill’s scope, followed by a number of entries that detail the tasks most commonly performed using that skill. The task entries also contain information about the type of action commonly required to achieve the task, whether or not you can try the task again if you fail, or special effects that occur if you fail a check. Typically, you can’t take 20 to accomplish a task that does not allow you to try it again after a failure, or that has special effects if you fail a skill check.

Emphasis mine.

A PC who fails to pick a non-trapped mechanical lock can simply try again (if the PCs are not under a time-crunch), but a Hireling, by the rules in the guide, cannot. Further, they cannot benefit from a reroll, nor take 10 or 20.

Hopefully by taking the "try again" language into account, that helps resolve your confusion.

Sczarni 5/5 ⦵⦵

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Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Gosh.

Every. One. Of. My. Characters. Uses a Hireling, and was planned with Hirelings in mind.

If it was only once per scenario... I don't know what I'd do.

Dataphiles 4/5 ⦵⦵

Aside from for Solarians, I am not a fan of hirelings. Characters are intended to have skills they are good at and ones they aren't. Hirelings disrupted that game balance. I would be more than happy if this new ruling were true

Sczarni 5/5 ⦵⦵

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Starfinder Charter Superscriber
"Dr." Cupi wrote:
Hirelings disrupted that game balance.

Did they? Honestly?

When I sit down with my Cha 08 Android, I'm not going to slot his Bluff/Diplomacy/Intimidate Hireling if there's a dedicated Envoy at the table.

When I sit down with my Int 10 Halfling, I'm not going to slot her Computers/Engineering Hireling if there's a dedicated Tech character at the table.

Why? Because a dedicated character will have a much higher skill bonus.

Hirelings only help shore up a party that is lacking in any one area.

Scarab Sages ⦵⦵⦵ Venture-Agent, Netherlands aka CptJames

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Nefreet wrote:
"Dr." Cupi wrote:
Hirelings disrupted that game balance.

Did they? Honestly?

When I sit down with my Cha 08 Android, I'm not going to slot his Bluff/Diplomacy/Intimidate Hireling if there's a dedicated Envoy at the table.

When I sit down with my Int 10 Halfling, I'm not going to slot her Computers/Engineering Hireling if there's a dedicated Tech character at the table.

Why? Because a dedicated character will have a much higher skill bonus.

Hirelings only help shore up a party that is lacking in any one area.

Like that one time we had 6 players and no-one had Computers...that Hireling was insanely useful.

Sovereign Court 4/5 Venture-Lieutenant, Netherlands—Leiden aka Ascalaphus

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Hirelings are great in Starfinder's "no class is mandatory to have in the party" design.

I hadn't noticed these changes in the Guide and I'm not sure why they're there, what problem they're intended to solve?

Dark Archive 4/5

Mike Bramnik wrote:
Kevin Willis wrote:
Poit wrote:
Quote:
The ally can attempt a given skill check only once, cannot retry a check, and cannot take 10 or 20 on a check.
This does not mean your hireling can only use a given skill once per scenario. It means your hireling can only make a given skill check once per scenario. If your hireling tries to perform an autopsy with Medicine, they can still use Medicine to perform another autopsy on a different body later, or to patch up a party member outside of combat.
See above. The player pointed out (and I agree) that would be redundant with “cannot retry a check.”

It's not redundant. It means that your hireling loses the ability to "try again" on a skill check that they have attempted.

CRB wrote:
The skill’s description contains an overview of the skill’s scope, followed by a number of entries that detail the tasks most commonly performed using that skill. The task entries also contain information about the type of action commonly required to achieve the task, whether or not you can try the task again if you fail, or special effects that occur if you fail a check. Typically, you can’t take 20 to accomplish a task that does not allow you to try it again after a failure, or that has special effects if you fail a skill check.

Emphasis mine.

A PC who fails to pick a non-trapped mechanical lock can simply try again (if the PCs are not under a time-crunch), but a Hireling, by the rules in the guide, cannot. Further, they cannot benefit from a reroll, nor take 10 or 20.

Hopefully by taking the "try again" language into account, that helps resolve your confusion.

Yeah, as long as rules, the skill or scenario itself doesn't say a PC can't retry the check, you can try again as much as you want. This rule just says hirelings can only try to pick specific lock once.

I presume this ruling is mostly because sometimes hirelings could actually have better skills than characters actually specialized in the said skill, so they would overshadow the character completely in that aspect. So in this case, if hireling fails to lock pick, the character with worse skill gets chance to do it instead.

(I might remember wrong, maybe it was more like character who is pretty good, but not +4 stat bonus in class skill specialized? I could swear it was specific levels and tiers were this happened more commonly)

Sczarni 5/5 ⦵⦵

Starfinder Charter Superscriber
CorvusMask wrote:
sometimes hirelings could actually have better skills than characters actually specialized in the said skill,

At low levels, Hireling bonuses are incredibly small, and at higher levels, while the gap may be smaller, they can't beat a specialist.

At my Level 10 table at the recent Con my social Hireling would have been just +18. The Envoy at the table was rolling +21+1d6.

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