The solarian is dead, long live the solarian (COM complaint)


General Discussion

Scarab Sages

Anyone notice that the new Shield Solarian is just . . . straight up better than the armor OR weapon solarian? Like, in almost all ways? At least for SFS and most Adventure Paths.

Okay, so First off, with the shield, they get a straight +1 to AC which increases if you 'align' it, only it stacks with heavy armor if your solarian takes heavy armor prof. That's clearly just, better than the armor solarian, which is +1 with only light armor, and goes up to +2 at 10th level.

But wait, THERE'S MORE! You can also make unarmed attacks with it as if you had the improved unarmed strike feat (which does 1d6 at 1st level, same as a solar weapon) and can take solar crystals, same as a solar weapon. Solar weapons go to 2d6 at level 6 (unarmed strike goes to 2d6 at level 7). Dead suns ends at (I think) level 12 where the difference is solar weapon does 4d6 and unarmed strike does 3d6. And let's not forget, this also benefits from fusions like soulfire and strength to damage.

"But wait!" you say, "The shield is an unarmed strike, so it only does nonlethal damage, useless against drones and undead!" and to that I say "Ring of fangs." This ring makes your unarmed strikes deal lethal damage and adds DOUBLE your level to damage, so that more than makes up for any lost d6s until very high levels.

So yea, Solar shield is just, the BEST solar manifestation choice I guess. Almost completely outclasses armor, and is competitive with solar weapon until very late game.


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With the ring of fangs you are actually biting people with the big sharp pointy teeth you get. (this has been confirmed by developer post)

It's applicability to bashing someone with your lightshield seems.. unlikely.

Scarab Sages

BigNorseWolf wrote:

With the ring of fangs you are actually biting people with the big sharp pointy teeth you get. (this has been confirmed by developer post)

It's applicability to bashing someone with your lightshield seems.. unlikely.

Well, even without double level to damage, it is generally almost as strong. Non-archaic damage, almost on par with solar weapon, that also adds to AC. And can still benifit from the soulfire infusion.


VampByDay wrote:
But wait, THERE'S MORE! You can also make unarmed attacks with it as if you had the improved unarmed strike feat (which does 1d6 at 1st level, same as a solar weapon) and can take solar crystals, same as a solar weapon.

Improved unarmed strike does 1d6 at 4th level not 1st. Also, as already stated above, the ring of fangs won't affect your shield damage unless you are wielding the shield somehow with your mouth and simultaneously biting with it.


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SITZKRIEG! wrote:


Improved unarmed strike does 1d6 at 4th level not 1st. Also, as already stated above, the ring of fangs won't affect your shield damage unless you are somehow wielding the shield somehow with your mouth and simultaneously biting with it.

It's a mouthguard?


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BigNorseWolf wrote:
SITZKRIEG! wrote:


Improved unarmed strike does 1d6 at 4th level not 1st. Also, as already stated above, the ring of fangs won't affect your shield damage unless you are somehow wielding the shield somehow with your mouth and simultaneously biting with it.
It's a mouthguard?

I like to keep one on retainer.


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VampByDay wrote:
Okay, so First off, with the shield, they get a straight +1 to AC which increases if you 'align' it, only it stacks with heavy armor if your solarian takes heavy armor prof. That's clearly just, better than the armor solarian, which is +1 with only light armor, and goes up to +2 at 10th level.

This neglects the fact that shield bonuses don't stack with cover. Armor is always going to apply, in cover or out. As for align bonus, that costs a move action, only grants the benefit vs one target, and only lasts for 1 round and still doesn't stack with cover.


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And you can always buy a shield.


Minimight wrote:
VampByDay wrote:
Okay, so First off, with the shield, they get a straight +1 to AC which increases if you 'align' it, only it stacks with heavy armor if your solarian takes heavy armor prof. That's clearly just, better than the armor solarian, which is +1 with only light armor, and goes up to +2 at 10th level.

This neglects the fact that shield bonuses don't stack with cover. Armor is always going to apply, in cover or out. As for align bonus, that costs a move action, only grants the benefit vs one target, and only lasts for 1 round and still doesn't stack with cover.

Melee characters don't usually/whatneverhardlyever have cover against their attackers. Ranged characters drop prone for +4 and use a move action to stand up, much better than a shield and the ground goes with you almost everywhere.


Quote:
You can also make unarmed attacks with it as if you had the improved unarmed strike feat (which does 1d6 at 1st level, same as a solar weapon)

Where does it actually say that it uses Improved Unarmed Strike damage? As far as I can see, you can just make unarmed attacks with it, it threatens, it's not archaic, and things that apply to unarmed can apply to it.


Minimight wrote:
As for align bonus, that costs a move action, only grants the benefit vs one target, and only lasts for 1 round and still doesn't stack with cover.

I'm sorry, where does it say aligning bonuses only last for a round? From my reading of it it looked like align bonus lasted until that Target is neutralized, or until you align against a different target.


Pogiforce wrote:
Minimight wrote:
As for align bonus, that costs a move action, only grants the benefit vs one target, and only lasts for 1 round and still doesn't stack with cover.
I'm sorry, where does it say aligning bonuses only last for a round? From my reading of it it looked like align bonus lasted until that Target is neutralized, or until you align against a different target.

It's in the rules for the solar shield itself:

COM wrote:
As a move action you can align the shield to grant you greater protection against one opponent you are observing (Core Rulebook 260), which increases your shield bonus to AC to +2 against attacks from that opponent until the beginning of your next turn.

Emphasis mine.


Yeah, shields are only a powerful defense if you’re standing in one place in the open, happy with a single standard action and never full attacking, and only super worried about one enemy. I can see them being quite useful on a Kasatha using unwieldy heavy/melee weapons. I have my doubts otherwise.


Minimight wrote:
Pogiforce wrote:
Minimight wrote:
As for align bonus, that costs a move action, only grants the benefit vs one target, and only lasts for 1 round and still doesn't stack with cover.
I'm sorry, where does it say aligning bonuses only last for a round? From my reading of it it looked like align bonus lasted until that Target is neutralized, or until you align against a different target.

It's in the rules for the solar shield itself:

COM wrote:
As a move action you can align the shield to grant you greater protection against one opponent you are observing (Core Rulebook 260), which increases your shield bonus to AC to +2 against attacks from that opponent until the beginning of your next turn.
Emphasis mine.

So is that all shields, or just solar shield? The shield section of the book didn't make the distinction.


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

Knight shield reads "When you wield a basic knight’s shield, as a move action you can align the shield to grant you greater protection against one opponent you are observing (Core Rulebook 260), which grants you a +2 shield bonus to AC against attacks from that opponent until the beginning of your next turn. The field, advanced, and elite knight’s shields grant you a +1 shield bonus to AC when wielded, and their listed increased bonus when aligned against a specific opponent."

Tactical shield reads "When you wield a basic tactical shield, as a move action you can align the shield to grant you greater protection against one opponent you are observing (Core Rulebook 260), which grants you a +1 shield bonus to AC against attacks from that opponent until the beginning of your next turn. The field and advanced tactical shields grant you a +1 shield bonus to AC when wielded, though this does not increase when aligned against a target. The elite tactical shield increases the shield bonus when aligned against a target to +2, and the paragon tactical shield increases this to +3."

Riot shield reads "When you wield a basic riot shield, it grants you a +1 shield bonus to AC. If you are proficient with a riot shield, as a move action you can align the shield against a specific foe, which does not increase your AC but does allow certain armor upgrades you may have in your shield to function. The field and advanced riot shields increase the shield bonus you receive when aligned against a target to +2, the elite riot shield increases it to +3, and the paragon riot shield increases the bonus to +4."

So each shield type except riot states that duration individually. I suspect that the riot shield not having the same language is a copy/paste error.

That's why I created this thread for the faq button.


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Solar Armor is also still one of the best options for tanking damage. It is very easy to end up with DR and some energy resistances. The only one you can't get from solarian class features is resistance to acid but you can pick up a feat for that. The only real downside is that you have activate your DR and have to pick between fire/cold and sonic/elec but changing on the fly is relatively easy.


Solar Armor just saves you money/space on armor upgrades that provide the same or similar resistances. Solar Weapon and Solar Flare actually give you something mechanically superior to other weapon alternatives in their category. No matter how much money you spend on a one handed advanced melee or a small arm it won't do what they do.


Milo v3 wrote:
Quote:
You can also make unarmed attacks with it as if you had the improved unarmed strike feat (which does 1d6 at 1st level, same as a solar weapon)
Where does it actually say that it uses Improved Unarmed Strike damage?

You can also make unarmed attacks with it as if you had the improved unarmed strike feat

If I had the improved unarmed strike feat Captain absolom would be whapping you upside the head for 1d6 instead of 1d3


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BigNorseWolf wrote:
Milo v3 wrote:
Quote:
You can also make unarmed attacks with it as if you had the improved unarmed strike feat (which does 1d6 at 1st level, same as a solar weapon)
Where does it actually say that it uses Improved Unarmed Strike damage?

You can also make unarmed attacks with it as if you had the improved unarmed strike feat

If I had the improved unarmed strike feat Captain absolom would be whapping you upside the head for 1d6 instead of 1d3

There's a difference between the OP's claim that you can make unarmed attacks "as if you had" the improved unarmed strike feat (full stop) and the reality that you can do so only if you actually take and have the feat from another source. The OP was implying that the feat effects come with the shield, which is not the case.

If you do take the feat, the solar shield does the same damage as the solar weapon only at levels 4-5 and 8, with the solar weapon's advantage growing at higher levels. The OP is wrong that you get 1d6 at 1st level with the feat, that doesn't kick in until 4th level; you also don't get 2d6 at 7th level.

Improved Unarmed Strike feat wrote:
Your unarmed attack damage increases to 1d6 at 4th level, 2d6 at 8th level, 3d6 at 12th level, 5d6 at 15th level, and 7d6 at 20th level.


Xenocrat wrote:
Solar Armor just saves you money/space on armor upgrades that provide the same or similar resistances. Solar Weapon and Solar Flare actually give you something mechanically superior to other weapon alternatives in their category. No matter how much money you spend on a one handed advanced melee or a small arm it won't do what they do.

I mean, you're technically correct, but the price involved is not exactly feasible and armor with enough slots for all of that is distinctly rare and that is likely to be all of your upgrade slots. I could have scaling resistance and DR to the most common damage types by level 5.

This is essentially the exact build I'm currently using in SFS and it has been working pretty amazingly so far, granted I'm only at level 3.


Ok, Solar Shield. It does have better scaling defense when you align it on an enemy than purchased shields.

1: +1/2
5: +1/3
10: +1/4
15: +1/5
20: +1/6

This is 1-2 points of aligned AC better than available from purchased shields. One downside compared to bought shields is that you can't install upgrades in a solar shield.

You can attack with it, but the downside here is that to do so you need to invest a feat in Improved Unarmed Strike and you'll slightly trail Solar Weapon base damage at most levels (moderately so at high levels) and you're forgoing full attacks for single attacks, a BIG hit to your DPR in return for high armor against one enemy. Alternatively, you invest in an advanced melee weapon instead of a weapon crystal and get better damage that way and save a feat. This is the path I'd take with 3+ arms to hold a two handed melee weapon.

But if we're going to fight with our shield, let's look at revelations that specifically boost it. (There are lots of general/melee revelations that would also apply, but many of them mess with the action economy of aligning your shield in the same round and there are more than I care to review.)

Shield Specific Revelations

10: Forceful Shield - Full action align and attack at solar weapon damage. A slight upgrade on Improved Unarmed Strike damage at most levels, a considerable boost at high levels. You could swap to this as your main offense at high levels, but you have to get there, and it locks you into photon mode.

10: Stalwart Shield - Move action gets you resist 5 against cold or fire, resist 10 at level 20, extra 5 resistance against an enemy you're aligned against as a separate move action. Only lasts if you're in graviton mode. Why aren't you just buying a Thermal Capacitor Mk1 (level 5) or eventually Mk2 (level 12) and saving your actions? This isn't a serious ability.

14: Binary Shield System - Good news: you can align your shield against two enemies as a move action. Bad news: you can't combine this with the Forceful Shield full action attack, so you're back to a weaker shield attack or an expensive advanced weapon.

14: Gallant Rebuttal - Did your huge investment in this defensive fighting style and crippling of your action economy just fail, and your aligned enemy hit you? Congrats, you can burn your reaction to deal, uh, Cha attribute fire damage. This is insulting at this level.

It seems bad to me for most solarions, folks. Take it as an extra manifestation at 9th, maybe, for situational defensive use when you want to tank rather than kill things. Otherwise take the weapon or flare and carry a cheap always on +1 shield, maybe with the phase shield armor upgrade if you really want to boost your AC.

I could see it as a reactive tank build on race with 3+ arms. Take the shield, get heavy armor, wield a two handed reach weapon. Rush into crowds, try for an AoO, hit something once, align your shield against something and try to survive while the rest of your party takes over some extra DPR responsibility.

Or take it on a "caster" solarion who plans to use all their stndard actions for ranged revelation attacks/debuff/buffs. Move action align against the most dangerous enemy, standard action revelations, don't use weapons.

Or you could just take cover most of the time and have a solar flare for backup damage option.

Edit: I checked for feat support for shields and there's just this so far.

Shield Block feat wrote:
As a reaction when you would take damage from an effect that allows a Reflex save, you can spend a Resolve Point to reduce the damage you take from that effect by an amount equal to your shield’s item level.

It's not nothing, and it's additional survivability when attacked by things that your enhanced AC doesn't help with.


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BigNorseWolf wrote:
Milo v3 wrote:
Where does it actually say that it uses Improved Unarmed Strike damage?
You can also make unarmed attacks with it as if you had the improved unarmed strike feat

It doesn't say that anywhere in the text, it appears you and VampByDay are reading a completely different thing. It says "You can make unarmed attacks with your solar shield; these attacks are not archaic, and you threaten squares within your reach while it is formed."


Milo v3 wrote:
BigNorseWolf wrote:
Milo v3 wrote:
Where does it actually say that it uses Improved Unarmed Strike damage?
You can also make unarmed attacks with it as if you had the improved unarmed strike feat
It doesn't say that anywhere in the text, it appears you and VampByDay are reading a completely different thing. It says "You can make unarmed attacks with your solar shield; these attacks are not archaic, and you threaten squares within your reach while it is formed."

You can make unarmed attacks with your solar shield

Benefit: Your unarmed attack damage increases to 1d6 at 4th level

Since the solar shield is an unarmed attack, the feat increases its damage.


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BigNorseWolf wrote:

You can make unarmed attacks with your solar shield

Benefit: Your unarmed attack damage increases to 1d6 at 4th level

Since the solar shield is an unarmed attack, the feat increases its damage.

That's only if you already separately have Improved Unarmed Strike, not that you make unarmed attacks with it as if you had improved unarmed strike. Completely different things.


Right, the OP seems to be erroneously assuming that the solar shield automatically gets the advantage of improved unarmed strike (it doesn't) and slightly misstating the benefits of that feat.


My bad, i think i thought someone was quoting something when they weren't

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