COM: Powered Armor Jockey and Partial BAB classes


Rules Questions


Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

One of the new archetypes in Character Operations Manual is the Powered Armor Jockey.

COM pg. 106 wrote:
Most powered armor jockeys are soldiers or vanguards. Powered armor jockeys of other classed exist, such as mechanics who appreciate powered armor's technical sophistication.

The problem is that the archetype starts at 6th level and requires Powered Armor Proficiency. The Powered Armor Proficiency feat requires a BAB of +5, which Mechanics and other 3/4 BAB classes do not get until 7th level -- the level after they are supposed to start with the archetype.

There is one Mechanic Alternate Class Feature in COM -- Experimental Prototype with Armor -- that does give proficiency, but any existing Mechanics have no way to switch to that.

I don't see a way to gain access to this archetype with a partial BAB class without multiclassing.

Am I missing an option somewhere?


Nope, you’re correct.

Dataphiles

That is the nature of new books coming out. Existing characters are sometimes locked out of options from the new books. However, depending on what level your character is, mnemonic editors exist.

They do explicitly state that most are soldiers or vanguards.


Solarians would make a great fit too. Power armor on a solar weapon solarian is a potent combo from what I've heard.


"Dr." Cupi wrote:
That is the nature of new books coming out. Existing characters are sometimes locked out of options from the new books. However, depending on what level your character is, mnemonic editors exist.

This isn't "existing characters" though, this is any character that isn't full BAB. A mnemonic editor isn't going to fix it without changing what classes you took....

Grand Lodge

Is this any different from certain classes not able to fulfill prestige class requirements in PF1?


Arutema wrote:
Is this any different from certain classes not able to fulfill prestige class requirements in PF1?

Sorta. Since with prestige class requirements you could just wait until you do meet the prerequisites before you take a level in it, while archetypes swap out specific levels of your progression.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Starfinder Maps Subscriber

So... if you are partial BAB, you have to take a level of soldier/solarian/vanguard to do this archetype?


I think it's more the weird interaction of taking the archetype then retroactively losing your 6th level feature.


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I think how it'd work is that you get the archetype (including the feat), never get the 6th feature, but can't take any of the benefit of the feat as you don't meet it's separate prerequisites until you reach 7th level... upon which time you get the benefits. Rather than you getting the archetype retroactively?

But that is assuming the archetype doesn't have prerequisites separate to the feat having it's own isolated prerequisites.


I'm quite fine with the idea that not everyone can access every single archetype, but I believe it's a first for Starfinder.
Still, not a big issue as far as I'm concerned.


Hmm wrote:
So... if you are partial BAB, you have to take a level of soldier/solarian/vanguard to do this archetype?

You have to take two levels of a full BAB class plus four levels of a 3/4 BAB class to have BAB +5 at level 6. But you don't have a feat at level 6 to take Powered Armor proficiency, so that doesn't work, either.

There is no way to get +5 BAB at level 5 with any mix of 3/4 BAB levels and full BAB levels, so I think there's no way for a 3/4 BAB class to qualify for Powered Armor Jockey unless you have a special class feature (which the mechanical apparently has in COM) granting Powered Armor proficiency without using a general feat.

Milo v3 wrote:

I think how it'd work is that you get the archetype (including the feat), never get the 6th feature, but can't take any of the benefit of the feat as you don't meet it's separate prerequisites until you reach 7th level... upon which time you get the benefits. Rather than you getting the archetype retroactively?

But that is assuming the archetype doesn't have prerequisites separate to the feat having it's own isolated prerequisites.

Does the archetype not actually require you to already have PA proficiency in order to select it? Then yeah, it sounds like you could select the archetype at level 6 and just not have it do anything until you later qualify for the feat. Or get the archetype benefits while suffering the terrible penalties for using PA without proficiency.


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

There are two exceptions: the experimental armor mechanic (who gains PA proficiency from their class, and doesn't care about feat requirements and who would be the worst cgaracter, thrmatically, to be unable to use this archetype) and the Warmonger mystic (who treats their mystic level as their BAB for fest requirements).


I missed that you must select an archetype at the first available level.

While I doubt there's a GM that would allow it who wouldn't also just house rule away the issue, technically a technomancer with fabricate arms can be temporarily proficient with power armor. Which might let them select the archetype... technically, sort of, for six minutes, at which point they have the archetype, but don't meet pre-reqs anymore...

Of course there aren't any level 6 or less power armors that are 10 bulk or less, so it wouldn't work yet anyway.

I suppose a two level full-BAB dip, and a mnemonic editor at 6 would get you there.


Garretmander wrote:

I missed that you must select an archetype at the first available level.

While I doubt there's a GM that would allow it who wouldn't also just house rule away the issue, technically a technomancer with fabricate arms can be temporarily proficient with power armor.

Fabricate Arms only grants proficiency with weapons, not armor, that you create. They thought of the free power armor over your standard light armor loophole.


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Why not just take whatever 3/4 BAB class you like for 4 levels, then soldier for 2 levels? You end up with your BAB of 5 and a combat feat at level 6 to take PA Proficiency.

Or am I missing something? (fair warning; I may be missing something, I didn't refresh my knowledge of how archetypes work for this post.)

Or, even easier, resign yourself to taking 5 levels of Soldier, take the Armor Storm or Guard fighting style, get free PA Prof. at level 5, along with 5 feats of varying kinds to do whatever you'd like with.

Levels 6 through however high you're going, be whatever class you like?


Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Xenocrat wrote:
Hmm wrote:
So... if you are partial BAB, you have to take a level of soldier/solarian/vanguard to do this archetype?

You have to take two levels of a full BAB class plus four levels of a 3/4 BAB class to have BAB +5 at level 6. But you don't have a feat at level 6 to take Powered Armor proficiency, so that doesn't work, either.

There is no way to get +5 BAB at level 5 with any mix of 3/4 BAB levels and full BAB levels, so I think there's no way for a 3/4 BAB class to qualify for Powered Armor Jockey unless you have a special class feature (which the mechanical apparently has in COM) granting Powered Armor proficiency without using a general feat.

Incorrect.

Multiclassing and archetypes work different in Starfinder. The archetype is only against the single class, so as long as you don’t take the 6th level in a partial BAB class until you have Power Armor Proficiency you can still qualify.

So any partial BAB class for 5 levels gives BAB +3. You now need to take two levels of a full BAB class or three of a Partial BAB class. Somewhere in those levels you will get a feat, so that isn’t a problem.

You are now at least level 7, the same level that a pure mechanic could qualify for Power Armor proficiency.

At 8th level you could take the Power Armor Jockey. You could adjust when you get Power Armor proficiency, but you still need to take the 6th level in the Partial BAB class to gain the archetype.


Ugh, that's even worse from the standpoint of speed, but better in that you can at least qualify at level 6 in your base class, character level 8. Too bad for pure Technomancers, though.


Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Yeah, there is currently no way for a pure Technomancer, Envoy or Witchwarper to qualify. You must multiclass.

As Hammerjack pointed out, there is a way to do it in Mechanic or Mystic. With Mechanic you must take Experimental Prototype alternate class and choose Experimental Armor. With Mystic, you must choose the Warmonger Connection, but it doesn’t require an alternate class.

I have a character in play for which I was planning to take Power Armor proficiency. It is a Mechanic with a Combat drone, so Multiclassing would cost the drone 20 hit points, 1.5 BAB, about 2 AC, 1 mod and probably a feat.

For that character, it just isn’t worth it.

If your concept already included Multiclassing it will work alright. Otherwise it probably isn’t worth looking at.

The Exchange

At first I was all grumbly about the “forced multiclassing” aspect of this. Then I started thinking about how some PF1 prestige classes require multiclassing with even narrower options.

examples:
Champion of Irori has to have smite evil and still mind. Rage Prophet requires oracle’s curse and moment of clarity rage power.

At least with this archetype anyone can qualify via multiclassing. So I’m OK with it. If you’re willing to give up some “power” you can make an unusual character. Or play one of the full BAB classes that is more traditionally associated with the archetype.


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You get a class feature you don't qualify for and thus can't use till you meet the qualifications seems to be the fairest and rawist answer.

The Exchange

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BigNorseWolf wrote:
You get a class feature you don't qualify for and thus can't use till you meet the qualifications seems to be the fairest and rawist answer.

Fairest? Maybe.

RAWest? Not so much.

The prerequisite for Powered Armor Jockey is "Powered Armor Proficiency." Which itself has a prerequisite of "base attack bonus +5." So the earliest a single-classed 3/4 BAB class can take Powered Armor Proficiency (without a specific class ability) is Level 7. Which means they can't qualify to take the Powered Armor Jockey archetype until 7th level. That's a problem because of the rule in the CRB regarding archetypes.

page 126 wrote:
You can gain an archetype when you achieve a new class level in an eligible class matching the earliest level for which the archetype offers an alternate class feature.

Since Powered Armor Jockey replaces a 6th level class feature, you would have to take it at 6th level. But you can't do that if you don't have the prerequisite of Powered Armor Proficiency.

I'm really hoping a designer will chime in with "yep, that's how it's supposed to work" or "whoops, we didn't mean to exclude single-classed 3/4 BAB characters. We'll take a look at that and get back to you."


Belafon wrote:
]You can gain an archetype when you achieve a new class level in an eligible class matching the earliest level for which the archetype offers an alternate class feature.

Right

(earliest level for which the archtype offers an alternative class feature)

Not the earliest at which you qualify for, can make use of, or can take said class feature. You gain the archtype when its offered and then you gain the armor proficiency when you qualify.

So if the Trash Junker Archetype starts at 2nd level, and has a 4 6 and 8th level ability 2nd level is when you decide to become a trash junker or not. If the game warden archtype has things at 4th and 12th level you decide to take it at 4th. There's no connection at all between whether the ability is legal or usable, just when its Offered.

All it says is you can't hop onto an archtype later than the first thing it offers.


That’s the general rule, but PAJ apparently has a specific prerequisite of PA proficiency to take it. In the CRB and other hardcovers until now no archetype had such special requirements.

Paizo Employee Starfinder Lead Designer

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BretI wrote:

One of the new archetypes in Character Operations Manual is the Powered Armor Jockey.

...

I don't see a way to gain access to this archetype with a partial BAB class without multiclassing.

That is correct!


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It's a new era for Starfinder, guys. Sometimes what gets written was meant to be written that way!

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Starfinder Maps Subscriber

Well, at least we know that is how it is supposed to work. Thanks for responding, Joe!

So Bret's level 5 Vesk Mechanic, Mika, won't be taking this archetype. On the other hand, Bret's Dragonkin mechanic is still level one, and can change over to that new mechanic option with experimental prototypes. So we'll eventually get there, assuming that these options get sanctioned for SFS.

Hmm


Hmm wrote:

Well, at least we know that is how it is supposed to work. Thanks for responding, Joe!

So Bret's level 5 Vesk Mechanic, Mika, won't be taking this archetype. On the other hand, Bret's Dragonkin mechanic is still level one, and can change over to that new mechanic option with experimental prototypes. So we'll eventually get there, assuming that these options get sanctioned for SFS.

Hmm

Well, technically, Mika could still get it by grabbing a couple levels in Soldier (often a good idea for fighty mechanics anyway, but it then delays the build until character level 8.

But it would probably be more satisfying to do it with the dragonkin and do some slick experimental armor.

I half want my own Dragonbot to get Power Armor Jockey or multiclass over to Armor Mechanic so he can achieve his dream of getting huge dragon-shaped power armor, but he unfortunately already has the Augmented archetype as a soldier.


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Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Dracomicron wrote:
Well, technically, Mika could still get it by grabbing a couple levels in Soldier (often a good idea for fighty mechanics anyway, but it then delays the build until character level 8.

It isn’t that big a deal. I had looked at it because I had intended to take Power Armor Proficiency on the character anyways. The character isn’t set up to Multiclass, so she will not be taking the archetype.

I think it is a good archetype, but Power Armor should be a central part of the character concept.


BretI wrote:

One of the new archetypes in Character Operations Manual is the Powered Armor Jockey.

COM pg. 106 wrote:
Most powered armor jockeys are soldiers or vanguards. Powered armor jockeys of other classed exist, such as mechanics who appreciate powered armor's technical sophistication.

The problem is that the archetype starts at 6th level and requires Powered Armor Proficiency. The Powered Armor Proficiency feat requires a BAB of +5, which Mechanics and other 3/4 BAB classes do not get until 7th level -- the level after they are supposed to start with the archetype.

There is one Mechanic Alternate Class Feature in COM -- Experimental Prototype with Armor -- that does give proficiency, but any existing Mechanics have no way to switch to that.

I don't see a way to gain access to this archetype with a partial BAB class without multiclassing.

Am I missing an option somewhere?

I believe the new experimental armor option for mechanics grants you power armor prof pretty early bypassing the +5 bab issue. And they would be the most obvious candidates from the mechanics for this archetype anyway.


Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
kaid wrote:
BretI wrote:


There is one Mechanic Alternate Class Feature in COM -- Experimental Prototype with Armor -- that does give proficiency, but any existing Mechanics have no way to switch to that.
I believe the new experimental armor option for mechanics grants you power armor prof pretty early bypassing the +5 bab issue. And they would be the most obvious candidates from the mechanics for this archetype anyway.

Yes, that and the Warmonger Mystic Connection have things that allow those specific options to work. With the Mechanic, you need to take an Alternate Class and give up the AI, with the Mystic you need to take a specific connection.


Given how expensive power armor is it kinda makes sense that if you want to be a power armor jockey you are a person who has put a LOT of time and a LOT of resources to do it.

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