SFS 2-12: The Colossus Heist Prep Question (Spoilers!)


GM Discussion

2/5 5/55/5

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The body of the text is in the spoiler tag.

Question:
In preparing for the scenario I noticed that a major component of the risk in Part 2, while the PCs are inside the Tekenki, is trying to safely retrieve the stolen relics. Now, I had the thought that psychokinetic hand might make this retrieval too easy, but I don't know if the relics can be moved by it or not. The only information I have to go by is that they are "roughly the size and shape of a human femur," but the scenario otherwise does not give them any bulk. From my own knowledge, a femur weighs less than 5-10 lbs, so it would fall under the 1 bulk or less category. Even if you were to treat the femur as a club, it would still be 1 bulk. Should psychokinetic hand be able to pick these things up?

Silver Crusade 5/5 Venture-Lieutenant, Pennsylvania—Pittsburgh aka Terminalmancer

Hi Kaushal! In the GM forum, you typically do not need to spoiler things so long as they pertain to the scenario in question, and that scenario is clearly described in the title of the thread. You've done both things, so you're safe! No spoilers required.

As far as an answer to the meat of your query (ha ha) the stolen relics don't have a material listed as far as I could tell, but unofficially, it's easy enough to rule that they're made of metal or some other slightly-more-dense-than-bone material that would bring their total weight above 1 bulk. After all, it did just say size, not mass.

It's worth noting that psychokinetic hand isn't the only potential "easy victory" here--invisibility, for example, lets you ignore damage from lasers so regaining the relic in B1 could be done simply with a 2nd-level spell (or similar equipment).

Overall, if an idea's clever enough I wouldn't feel like the PCs are cheating by bypassing the related hazard.

Scarab Sages 5/55/55/5 Venture-Agent, Netherlands aka CptJames

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Ok, so there is a major typo and I want clarification on what it should read.

Page 20 for 4 player adjustment: "Both Subtiers: Reduce the Perception DC, Disable DC, and attack bonus of the laser blast trap by 21"

I assume this means reduce it by 2 right? Because 21 is ridiculous.

Also, if B6 and B7 are the same, do the comm units say exactly the same thing as well?

5/5 Venture-Agent, Netherlands—Utrecht aka Quentin Coldwater

As a total aside, I'd like to ask: how realistic is it that characters can make a DC 37 Computers check (for low tier, even)? I managed to do it, but I was nearly maxed out on Computers. I might've gotten a +3 or +4 on it had I chosen different options, but still.
Racial +2 (Lashunta Student ability)
Skill Synergy +2
INT +4
9 ranks
Class skill +3
Accelerated Datajack +2
That's a total of +22. I haven't delved too deeply into all the options, so I might be wrong, but I think the obvious ways of getting that higher is if you take Skill Focus (which would up it by 1, as it doesn't stack with Skill Synergy), and maybe some stat boosts (maybe another 2?).
So I've spent a feat, a character creation choice, and an implant on boosting this skill. And because I was playing down I got the "easier" skill (I believe high tier is 4-5 higher?). I don't think getting that high would be even possible for most builds at level 7. I'd still need to roll a 15 to make it. That's 30% of success for a nearly maxed-out character. Sure, assists and retries are possible, but even those are limited. Hell, from the currently 10 available classes, half of them don't even have it as a class skill. With two assists, a whopping +26, a take 10 wouldn't be enough. That's just insane. It'd be still a 50/50 chance of making it, and that's with all the cheese I could find together. I think for many people with a more reasonable investment, the base chance of making it would be below 20%. I know sometimes you want to challenge the specialists, but that's not possible. If there isn't a specialist in the party, you're simply doomed. Hell, even with a specialist it's still a crapshoot. If you're a specialist, you shouldn't be having too much of a problem. A non-specialist (but still invested as can be reasonably expected) should have a 50% chance of making it. A dabbler would have a hard time, but not impossible (20%-ish?). All IMHO, of course. But with organised play, and SFS being accessible to everyone, putting numbers this high in your adventures isn't easily accessible.

EDIT: After looking through the pregens, the only characters with Computers are the Envoy (+14), Mechanic (+17), Operative (+16), and the Technomancer (+21). So yeah, only the Technomancer and the Mechanic have the ability to make that check, and the Mechanic only on a nat 20, unassisted. And yeah, I was wrong, apparently people can get higher than a +22 at level 9, because the pregen at level 8 comes darn close. But still, I thought most adventures were playtested with pregens in mind? If pregens have a hell of a time making these checks, how was this okayed (assuming it was actually playtested)?

EDIT: Also, where does the Technomancer get those bonuses from? She's at +21 with 8 ranks and INT +6. That leaves 4 unexplained. Maybe also the Lashunta Student ability, so finally an unexplained +2. No augments, no gear, nothing. But that's beside the point.

Sovereign Court 1/5

Techlore (Ex) - 3rd Level
You rewire your mind to give you greater insight into the nature of magic and technology. You gain a +1 insight bonus to Computers and Mysticism checks. This bonus increases by 1 at 6th level and every 3 levels thereafter.

8 Ranks + 3 Class Skill + 6 Int + 2 Student + 2 Techlore = +21

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

Kwinten Koëter wrote:
As a total aside, I'd like to ask: how realistic is it that characters can make a DC 37 Computers check (for low tier, even)

There’s a whole thread complaining about how high the skill checks are in Starfinder, and this particular check features prominently. Starfinder math (CRB page 392) places a “challenging” (typical) check at 15+ 1.5xAPL. Which would be 27 for a level 8 party. It’s worth looking at that thread, especially the delve into how screwed you are just because your class key score and insight bonuses don’t match up with a particular skill.

For these checks, I think it’s kinda assumed that most parties will have Luku with them (lowering the DC by 5). Three attempts at DC 32 is far more likely to have one success. My big gripe is that there’s no benefit for success (or penalty for failure). I like it when succeeding at really hard checks gives you a +1 or +2 on something later in the scenario.

Scarab Sages 5/55/55/5 Venture-Agent, Netherlands aka CptJames

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Kevin Willis wrote:
For these checks, I think it’s kinda assumed that most parties will have Luku with them (lowering the DC by 5). Three attempts at DC 32 is far more likely to have one success. My big gripe is that there’s no benefit for success (or penalty for failure). I like it when succeeding at really hard checks gives you a +1 or +2 on something later in the scenario.

But this is the issue, I ran it for Kwinten, and they all tried this check, and not enough of them made it to get Luku with them. So having it "kinda assumed" is rubbish, as in reality there is a big chance they just roll badly and don't make it, then they are stuck with DC37s.

5/5 Venture-Agent, Netherlands—Utrecht aka Quentin Coldwater

James Hargrave wrote:
Kevin Willis wrote:
For these checks, I think it’s kinda assumed that most parties will have Luku with them (lowering the DC by 5). Three attempts at DC 32 is far more likely to have one success. My big gripe is that there’s no benefit for success (or penalty for failure). I like it when succeeding at really hard checks gives you a +1 or +2 on something later in the scenario.
But this is the issue, I ran it for Kwinten, and they all tried this check, and not enough of them made it to get Luku with them. So having it "kinda assumed" is rubbish, as in reality there is a big chance they just roll badly and don't make it, then they are stuck with DC37s.

I mean, we just botched it. Convincing Luku is pretty easy, as he requests checks of all kinds of varieties, so a class should be competent at at least one of those (off the top of my head, Athletics for the brawny boys, Diplomacy for the face characters, or knowledgeable for the smarty pantses). We just happened to all roll terribly. Don't know what the DC of the task was (30+, right?), but in theory one of us four should have been able to make it. We just didn't. That's how the dice roll sometimes.

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

I dunno if it's really all that easy.

My level 7 soldier had a strength of 22 and maxed ranks in athletics, giving him a +16 as his best score for that check. To reach a DC 32 he needs to roll a 16.

Now, soldiers do get rather the short end of the stick but if maxed ranks and your best stat still only give you a 25% chance of success, that's pretty bad.

And yeah, you can say "but you get multiple checks, so surely someone will succeed". But if four people each with a +16 on this check try if, the chance that nobody succeeds is (1 - 0.25) ^ 4 = 0.316, so in almost a third of the cases the whole party fails.

5/5 Venture-Agent, Netherlands—Utrecht aka Quentin Coldwater

Fair enough. We also drew the short end of the stick by having four players and (I think) no four-player adjustment for that check. With six people attempting the check, our odds of failing would've been (1 - 0.25) ^ 6 = 0.1779. Still not great, but that's with minimum investment. If people have class features implants, Skill Focus or the like to improve skills, our odds might've been at least (1 - 0.30) ^ 6 = 0.117649. That's a reasonable 12% chance of failing.
Lowering the checks by 2 for a four-player adjustment (normally adjustments are four-ish, right?) already increases our chances to (1 - 0.35) ^ 4 = 0.1785, which is about the same as an equally skilled six-player party would have been.

I've just checked the scenario, there is a pseudo-four player adjustment in that we only needed one success, rather than two for a six-player party. I'm not 100% on my probability theory, but I think that would equate to ((1 - 0.25) ^ 6) + ((1 - 0.25) ^ 6) = 0.35595, so those odds are about equal. Still absurd, I agree, but again, I think it's pretty likely characters will have better scores than yours (don't mean to imply your score is bad, sorry if it came across as such).

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