Does anyone else find it odd you don't get escape pods as standard?


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Scarab Sages

I've been looking at the ship building and the fact you need to dedicate an expansion bay for 6 escape pods seems odd to me. On the larger ships even if you dedicated every single expansion bay you'd only have enough for the minimum crew compliment, put in anything else and not even that.

I'm just wondering if I'm the only person bothered by this or if others think escape pods should be standard on a ship sufficient to meet maximum potential crew and you only need to assign a bay for them if you also put in guest quarters?


Well, if your spaceship is damaged badly enough to need to abandon ship, there's going to be a percentage of that maximum crew, probably a significant percentage, that's already dead.

It's also not like a life boat on an ocean-going ship. It needs to do more than just float. If it doesn't have the capability to get away from whatever just killed your much more robust spaceship, then why bother?

Then there's the fact that several races don't need anything to survive in space, some races probably don't care if anyone on one of their ships survives an engagement they lost, and its really easy to just 'live in space' for weeks with things like armor, maybe an appropriate necrograft, or other things you might have in your handy backpack.


Technically escape pods are very situational.
Space is vast, so the chance that someone finding you before you die is pretty slim. Habitable planets are very rare and most of the time you are not close to a planet anyway.

And even if sustaining critical damage its very likely that you can find some intact compartment inside a spaceship (they usually don't hollywood explode) which offers you more life support that a tiny pod (which also have to survive any damage the ship sustains).


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

They are more situational than some other optional purchases. Like decent locks.


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Space thieves stole my escape pods!

Scarab Sages

Hmmm odd i guess its just me then. I figured escape pods provide a standard in case of emergency option like life jackets or boats on ships today. Lifeboats are the luxury VIP option and shuttles are to allow transport for larger ships.


For years cars didn't come standard with airbags. For years before that they didn't come standard with seat belts.


Senko wrote:
Hmmm odd i guess its just me then. I figured escape pods provide a standard in case of emergency option like life jackets or boats on ships today. Lifeboats are the luxury VIP option and shuttles are to allow transport for larger ships.

Thing is that spaceships don't sink. There are not many reasons why you would need to leave a even crippled spaceship and sit inside a tiny pod instead of using the space of escape pods for an additional life support system for the case that the damage to the ship is so crippling that its normal life support fails.

And the situations in which escape pods will actually save you are very rare. If you are in deep space you will be dead before anyone finds you considering the distances in space. Even inside the pact system help will likely only arrive in a few days when you are away from the main planets.

The only situations where life pods would save you is when you are very close to rescue in the first place (but in that case you could also wait on the crippled ship) or when you happen to be in orbit of a habitable planet, a rather rare occurrence.
In all other situations escape pods are wasted space and serve, at best, a psychological function.

Scarab Sages

I see. I guess too many sci fi stories of fleet engagements where the victor gathered up survivors after the battle e.g. honor of the queen.


Senko wrote:
I see. I guess too many sci fi stories of fleet engagements where the victor gathered up survivors after the battle e.g. honor of the queen.

That can still happen, the victor just has to go through all the hulks of ships.


The only other case I can immediately think of for escape pods being more useful than armor of a decent tier is if the ship is about to blow up.

However, I'm pretty sure critical reactor failure is typically less explosive than Hollywood portrays, more like the power goes out and there's a major radiation hazard, which again, armor helps deal with.


The escape pods are astonishingly useless for adventurers, anyone capable of casting life bubble, any large creatures, and anyone capable of aquiring level 7 armors. They fit medium or smaller creatures only, have seven days life support, and a re-entry heat shield.

Lacking is any propulsion, survival equipment, radiation protection, or significant space for gear/food/water. It is quite possible for normal humans to die half way through that 7 days simply from lack of water.

Scarab Sages

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I assumed 7 day's life support included food and water . . .


They are not saved though. They are still in their cannisters, unable to communicate, and probably being packed in the next ship heading towards a system where slavery is legal.

You may have saved their lives, but they pay for it with their freedom. vidmate vlc


when they said this spaceship was unsinkable they were technically right...

Acquisitives

I thought the same and als find it very strange, from a game design point if view, that players have to pay BP, sacrifice a exp. bay and loose their ship (which is a BIGGGGG lost if you roleplay and not only rollplay^^) to be able to use the escape pods as intent.

So for my games I houseruled that a ship comes with escape pods equal it's minimum crew and player can upgrade them for the standard BP (no expansion bay cost) to get a number in total equal the maximum crew size + guests quaters.


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Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I would argue that this entire chain of logic, that escape pods are only minimally useful? Is precisely why they should be *free*. You shouldn't charge for a feature that is unlikely to matter.

Also, I can think of at least one other circumstance where escape pods could be quite useful: if your ship gets boarded/infiltrated by something nasty, that you can't actually fight off. Sure, PCs probably won't want to run or need to run, but your average crew of space truckers? Might want to get off their transport if a bunch of xenomorph just burst out of a cargo crate.


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Metaphysician wrote:

I would argue that this entire chain of logic, that escape pods are only minimally useful? Is precisely why they should be *free*. You shouldn't charge for a feature that is unlikely to matter.

Also, I can think of at least one other circumstance where escape pods could be quite useful: if your ship gets boarded/infiltrated by something nasty, that you can't actually fight off. Sure, PCs probably won't want to run or need to run, but your average crew of space truckers? Might want to get off their transport if a bunch of xenomorph just burst out of a cargo crate.

From a game perspective sure, they should be free. From a simulationist perspective? Wasted credits and wasted space that could go to better uses.

Sovereign Court

Yeah we threw them out of our Sunrise Maiden immediately. Escape pods are a defeatist thing.


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Lack of escape pods makes crews fight harder to survive!


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Personally, I would much rather die in an exploding ship than slowly running out of air while drifting in a tiny space coffin.

Second Seekers (Jadnura)

Master Han Del of the Web wrote:
Personally, I would much rather die in an exploding ship than slowly running out of air while drifting in a tiny space coffin.

Thats what the kegs of alchohol in the escape pod are for

Sovereign Court

There's very little guarantee that whatever thing or enemy blows up your ship, won't also kill the defenseless life pods.

Perhaps more cynically, do you really think the GM is going to blow up your ship if you lose a battle, and would life pods make a difference? If you don't have life pods, odds are that the GM just runs a boarding sequence in which you either turn the tables, or you go on to a jailbreak story or an "offer you can't refuse" story.

Yeah that's rather cynical. But I think making life pods a build point choice just isn't a good idea, it's kinda letting the players play brinkmanship with the GM.

One of the strengths of class/level based character creation is that you can't sell off class features you don't care for to create a minmaxed monster. But ship building doesn't really have those limits built into it.

Scarab Sages

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I would rather they just came standard with a ship for the maximum crew compliment as part of a legally mandated minimum requirement that every spacer know's is rubbish but the policy makers insist on. Then upgrade the lifeboats so they can take 2 large creatures, 4 medium or 8 small and allow the player to buy the option that might do some good if they wish or go for a full shuttle bay if their in a huge starship.

Exo-Guardians

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ESCAPE PODS?

YOU MEAN COWARD COFFINS!


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Ascalaphus wrote:

There's very little guarantee that whatever thing or enemy blows up your ship, won't also kill the defenseless life pods.

Perhaps more cynically, do you really think the GM is going to blow up your ship if you lose a battle, and would life pods make a difference? If you don't have life pods, odds are that the GM just runs a boarding sequence in which you either turn the tables, or you go on to a jailbreak story or an "offer you can't refuse" story.

Yeah that's rather cynical. But I think making life pods a build point choice just isn't a good idea, it's kinda letting the players play brinkmanship with the GM.

One of the strengths of class/level based character creation is that you can't sell off class features you don't care for to create a minmaxed monster. But ship building doesn't really have those limits built into it.

Just look at the published adventures. How often does your ship really explode when you are defeated instead of just being crippled and most likely getting boarded?


For the people who think escape pods are a necessity, you have created a problem for which you can sell them the solution: escape pods. For those who don't believe escape pods are a necessity, you've saved yourself the cost of manufacturing them and left space open in the ship for something else you can sell them.


An escape pod has heat shields that allow it to crash-land on a planet with an atmosphere, but no means of propulsion.

Winding up as one being on a planet makes you signifigantly harder to obliterate than being on a very explody spaceship

Kinda niche but not useless


BigNorseWolf wrote:

An escape pod has heat shields that allow it to crash-land on a planet with an atmosphere, but no means of propulsion.

Winding up as one being on a planet makes you signifigantly harder to obliterate than being on a very explody spaceship

Kinda niche but not useless

Very niche to the point of uselessness.

Without propulsion the only way a pod can land on a planet is when the ship it launched from already was in a decaying orbit to begin with (and happened to be in the orbit of a habitable planet to begin with).

Although if ships don't orbit in Starfinder but keep their position with anti gravity and constant course corrections it might work, even though that is very inefficient.


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Ixal wrote:


Very niche to the point of uselessness.
Without propulsion the only way a pod can land on a planet is when the ship it launched from already was in a decaying orbit to begin with (and happened to be in the orbit of a habitable planet to begin with).

Starfinder runs far more on movie plot than orbital mechanics. If you're near a planet, you have an item that lets you crash land on the planet, then you crash land on the planet. That's what the item says it does. The physics that says it doesn't have been locked in the corner since the first chapter.


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BigNorseWolf wrote:
Ixal wrote:


Very niche to the point of uselessness.
Without propulsion the only way a pod can land on a planet is when the ship it launched from already was in a decaying orbit to begin with (and happened to be in the orbit of a habitable planet to begin with).
Starfinder runs far more on movie plot than orbital mechanics. If you're near a planet, you have an item that lets you crash land on the planet, then you crash land on the planet. That's what the item says it does. The physics that says it doesn't have been locked in the corner since the first chapter.

This approach is why they should be the default. They basically function as plot devices. Practically speaking no one would buy them as a matter of optimization, but having them opens up stories that aren't there otherwise, so they should be there.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

not including them in our ship led to a TPK for us in Dead Suns.

we always bring them now.


BigNorseWolf wrote:

An escape pod has heat shields that allow it to crash-land on a planet with an atmosphere, but no means of propulsion.

Winding up as one being on a planet makes you signifigantly harder to obliterate than being on a very explody spaceship

Kinda niche but not useless

While there is explicitly no propulsion there is also no inclusion of control or guidance. No rolls or checks covering where to come down or how hard. A group of pods could easily scatter across half a continent (or half on land and half in the sea, we'll assume they float).

That's another pproblem after the "must be within a couple of day duration decaying orbit of a habitable planet" requirement, and the opponents let the pods get away, and there wasn't a boarding action, and the ship didn't explode, and nobody is large size (time for a new character if they are), and you assume that spaceship sensors/computers can't track an object doing atmospherix reentry.

For Dead Suns where was a space fight that wasn't deep or interplanetary space? I don't recall any space combats near planets. The closest I remember was in the asteroid belt.


Yakman wrote:

not including them in our ship led to a TPK for us in Dead Suns.

we always bring them now.

If they kept shooting your ship after it was disabled and dead in space, why would they not also shoot the escape pods?


Garretmander wrote:
If they kept shooting your ship after it was disabled and dead in space, why would they not also shoot the escape pods?

I don't know if they can? Its kind of like why don't people orbitally bombard a PC. There's no ship to chip AC to aim for


BigNorseWolf wrote:
Garretmander wrote:
If they kept shooting your ship after it was disabled and dead in space, why would they not also shoot the escape pods?
I don't know if they can? Its kind of like why don't people orbitally bombard a PC. There's no ship to chip AC to aim for

There's a part of me who wants to break down the pros/cons of escape pods and lifeboats in a game setting, but given that I'm still too green in the Starfinder system, I'll abstain.

However, to address this aspect:
Not all escape pods are created equal. It stands to reason that escape pods made specifically for combat craft (those expected to be in the proverbial fecal storm of confrontations) would have a flak system to launch detritus along with the emergency payload.

Disguise your escape pods like wreckage and flotsam, in the hopes that some of them survive. Probably have transmitters to call for recovery, or at least act as a tracking beacon thereby, when the coast was judged clear.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Garretmander wrote:
Yakman wrote:

not including them in our ship led to a TPK for us in Dead Suns.

we always bring them now.

If they kept shooting your ship after it was disabled and dead in space, why would they not also shoot the escape pods?

well... we kinda got our ship captured and hoped to use them to escape from the ship... but they weren't there and we got TPK'd by our captors.

it was fun.


Umbra-Arcturus wrote:
Disguise your escape pods like wreckage and flotsam, in the hopes that some of them survive. Probably have transmitters to call for recovery, or at least act as a tracking beacon thereby, when the coast was judged clear.

And at the dreadnought level that makes some sense.

The average group of PCs are flying about on a ship slightly larger than the millennium falcon.

Obviously the scales are different between watercraft and spacecraft, but I'd peg that as adding life boats to a cabin cruiser.

What you really want are life jackets (armor), not life boats (escape pods).

Scarab Sages

Garretmander wrote:
Umbra-Arcturus wrote:
Disguise your escape pods like wreckage and flotsam, in the hopes that some of them survive. Probably have transmitters to call for recovery, or at least act as a tracking beacon thereby, when the coast was judged clear.

And at the dreadnought level that makes some sense.

The average group of PCs are flying about on a ship slightly larger than the millennium falcon.

Obviously the scales are different between watercraft and spacecraft, but I'd peg that as adding life boats to a cabin cruiser.

What you really want are life jackets (armor), not life boats (escape pods).

Didn't one of the storm troopers tell Vader the falcon's escape pods were jetisoned in a new hope as the reason it as empty?

I know the Naboo royal yacht which is only a bit larger canonically had them.


Senko wrote:
Garretmander wrote:
Umbra-Arcturus wrote:
Disguise your escape pods like wreckage and flotsam, in the hopes that some of them survive. Probably have transmitters to call for recovery, or at least act as a tracking beacon thereby, when the coast was judged clear.

And at the dreadnought level that makes some sense.

The average group of PCs are flying about on a ship slightly larger than the millennium falcon.

Obviously the scales are different between watercraft and spacecraft, but I'd peg that as adding life boats to a cabin cruiser.

What you really want are life jackets (armor), not life boats (escape pods).

Didn't one of the storm troopers tell Vader the falcon's escape pods were jetisoned in a new hope as the reason it as empty?

I know the Naboo royal yacht which is only a bit larger canonically had them.

Falcon canonically had escape pods yes, but they also didn't walk around in armor capable of sustaining life for days in star wars. If they had, would that space have been allocated to more cargo? The falcon was technically a light freighter after all.

The biggest argument for escape pods on smaller ships is if they have problems on re-entry or in lower orbits. Where armor wearing humanoids have a hard time catching themselves without magic or more battery charges than a force pack or jetpack can hold.


My Star Shaman (with Walk the Void power) would love to have an escape pod to be able to reach the surface of a planet.
Depending on how much g that planet has a heatshield is very useful. Life bubble has it's limits when it comes to heat only up to 140°F that's not enough to enter a standard atmosphere with standard gravity...


Tigerkralle wrote:

My Star Shaman (with Walk the Void power) would love to have an escape pod to be able to reach the surface of a planet.

Depending on how much g that planet has a heatshield is very useful. Life bubble has it's limits when it comes to heat only up to 140°F that's not enough to enter a standard atmosphere with standard gravity...

I dunno, I feel like there are better way to protect yourself from reentry than spending a whole expansion bay on some things you might get to use if your ship is near a planet.


BigNorseWolf wrote:

An escape pod has heat shields that allow it to crash-land on a planet with an atmosphere, but no means of propulsion.

Winding up as one being on a planet makes you signifigantly harder to obliterate than being on a very explody spaceship

Kinda niche but not useless

If we want escape pods to really function, we should give them some sort of emergency escape system. Like, maybe they have a micro-Drift Drive that sends them to the nearest habitable planet and emergency transponders to call for help.

Even just a stealth system and transponder could justify why you don't get blown up immediately and have a few days for a nearby ship to rescue you.


johnlocke90 wrote:


Even just a stealth system and transponder could justify why you don't get blown up immediately

Obviously they block scanning for life signs, and no one blows up a pod that doesn't scan for life signs.

Scarab Sages

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Garretmander wrote:
Tigerkralle wrote:

My Star Shaman (with Walk the Void power) would love to have an escape pod to be able to reach the surface of a planet.

Depending on how much g that planet has a heatshield is very useful. Life bubble has it's limits when it comes to heat only up to 140°F that's not enough to enter a standard atmosphere with standard gravity...
I dunno, I feel like there are better way to protect yourself from reentry than spending a whole expansion bay on some things you might get to use if your ship is near a planet.

Which is why I feel the basic escape pod should come with the ship rather than costing an expansion bay. Sure it may have limited functionality but that's precisely why it shouldn't cost such a limited resource especially with things like hydroponics costing multiple bays.


Senko wrote:
Garretmander wrote:
Tigerkralle wrote:

My Star Shaman (with Walk the Void power) would love to have an escape pod to be able to reach the surface of a planet.

Depending on how much g that planet has a heatshield is very useful. Life bubble has it's limits when it comes to heat only up to 140°F that's not enough to enter a standard atmosphere with standard gravity...
I dunno, I feel like there are better way to protect yourself from reentry than spending a whole expansion bay on some things you might get to use if your ship is near a planet.
Which is why I feel the basic escape pod should come with the ship rather than costing an expansion bay. Sure it may have limited functionality but that's precisely why it shouldn't cost such a limited resource especially with things like hydroponics costing multiple bays.

And I agree, game mechanics-wise escape pods should be free. Not even mentioning the weirdness where if you fill a dreadnought's expansion bays with escape pods there's still going to be five guys SOL, even at the minimum of crew requirements.

But, from the perspective of someone buying a small freighter in universe, is having questionably useful escape pods worth it over a few more tons of cargo? Or is it worth it to buy some better armor for your crew?

Same for the dreadnought. Is it worth installing hundreds of escape pods, or more armor? Especially if you can build your ship such that when it breaks up, the mostly undamaged compartments retain air and life support for days?


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Escape pods would be an acceptable purchase if they were purchased without using an expansion bay (as Senko said above), and automatically had enough for the entire crew. Life boats should take no more than one expansion for the entire crew (or just cost more than escape pods).

There are problems with the ship construction system. But the expansion bay system just might be the worst logical offender. A carrier frame can have either capacity to carry fighters OR the capacity to evacuate some of its crew. Pact Worlds equivalents for maritime safety practices are apparently built on the assumption that each ship has no more than 4-6 persons who matter.


Naal wrote:

Escape pods would be an acceptable purchase if they were purchased without using an expansion bay (as Senko said above), and automatically had enough for the entire crew. Life boats should take no more than one expansion for the entire crew (or just cost more than escape pods).

There are problems with the ship construction system. But the expansion bay system just might be the worst logical offender. A carrier frame can have either capacity to carry fighters OR the capacity to evacuate some of its crew. Pact Worlds equivalents for maritime safety practices are apparently built on the assumption that each ship has no more than 4-6 persons who matter.

Putting a starship into another starship is very inefficient, no matter how you look at it.


Naal wrote:
Pact Worlds equivalents for maritime safety practices are apparently built on the assumption that each ship has no more than 4-6 persons who matter.

Or, you know, being in an inoperable 'sinking' spaceship is much less deadly than being in an actually sinking watership.

Which is how things probably work.

Scarab Sages

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Garretmander wrote:
Naal wrote:
Pact Worlds equivalents for maritime safety practices are apparently built on the assumption that each ship has no more than 4-6 persons who matter.

Or, you know, being in an inoperable 'sinking' spaceship is much less deadly than being in an actually sinking watership.

Which is how things probably work.

Then we shouldn't have gotten the escape pod/lifeboat expansion bay issue to begin with. Instead we get 1 expansion slot =

1) A fully operation arcane laboratory.
2) A fully operational medbay.
3) 6 escape pods for 1 medium creature each.
4) 2 lifeboats for 1 large or 2 medium or less creatures (can't fit in 4 small).
5) In a huge or bigger ship 1/2 a fully operational smaller ship (so fighters are bigger than a lifeboat even though some of them are literally lie down in this coffin).
6) Enough food for 5 people (but you need to use a second bay to get the minimum of 10).
7) A powerplant.

Something is off here. This is without really delving into questions like why an explorer with 1 crew can't have a 1 slot hydroponics bay that feeds 5 people or even 1 person but instead must spend 2 slots for 10 times the food they'll use.

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