Why play a melee soldier when you can just shoot?


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Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

So now that the game has had a few years I keep noticing, why are ranged
weapons getting so many toys?

From gunner harness to bipod, You don't have to invest in strength to use heavy weapons anymore wich was their only downside, and these are stupid cheap.

Heavy Gunner harnass combined with a bipod and sniper atack allow you to make your full attacks with no penalty to hit.

Melee needs to run into range and take fire and then when they get to full attack, they will do less damage than ranged just because they have less chance to hit?

If you just hunker down with a heavy weapon and a gunner harnass, you can pump all other stats, ending with better survivability and better damage.

'But you are bad in melee!'
Add an operative weapon bayonet and there you go, no longer defenseless.

Seriously? What gives?


melee does a LOT more damage than ranged, at least before higher levels when the dice on the weapon start to matter.

1) Pumping dex vs pumping strength will increase your accuracy, but won't do much to increase the damage.

2) the game has some pretty tight math on how much you can pump into any one thing and still get benefits out of it.

3) melee gets all the cool feats and tricks and stuff.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber

1. You will fight things that engage in melee. If no one holds them back, ragged full attacking doesn't work so well. Especially if they have reach.

1A. Getting on top of ranged enemies allows you to do the same to them.

2. Please provide some numbers, or at least build, weapon and level assumptions for the idea that the ranged character is dealing more damage than the full attacking melee character. This doesn't really match what happens, so it is a theory that requires some supporting data.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

That is up for debate. Bigger numbers are not always better.

Comparing a lvl 10 heavy weapon vs a level 10 advanced 2hander.

Heavy Reaction cannon : 3d10 16750 credits 100ft
Ultrathin Curve blade : 3d10 18100 credits melee

Also noticing that ranged weapons are cheaper.

Anyway, comparing the two in reasonable circumstance. This is assuming
that melee has melee striker and ranged is a sharpshooter with harness.
Also assuming max investment in appropriate attacking stat. No bipod here.

Full attack vs average CR 12 KAC : 27

Melee : +14/14(10bab)+7Str+1focus) 3d10+(10feat+10striker)
36 damage per hit on average : with a 35% chance to hit.

Ranged : +17/+17(10bab)+7Dex+1focus) 3d10+(10feat)
26 damage per hit on average : with a 50% chance to hit. 55% with bipod.

While Melee does more damage per hit, ranged has a much better chance to hit. From 3-10 to 5-10, thats almost a 66% increase in accuracy.

There is nearly no combat that starts with everyone within 10 feet of eachother, not even mentioning that the ranged soldier has high dex and therefore a much better initiative, making it more likely for him to full attack.

Sovereign Court

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I know Richter, he's one of my local players. When he says ranged can out-DPR melee I'll believe him :)

However, I'm a firm believer in the relevance of melee. This is constructed from a bunch of different parts;

- At very low level, ranged weapons lag noticeably behind melee weapons because of strength to damage. An 1d8+4 melee strike vs. an 1d8 laser rifle is noticeably different.

- Having a melee character in the party allows you to intercept enemies trying to close into melee with the party. If nobody plays a melee character, then enemies are free to chase the ranged characters over the map. This means that each ranged character now needs to invest in serious armor and stamina. That's suboptimal for the group as a whole, compared to when just one character needs to be really tough because he's getting most of the hits. Having one or two melee characters allows the other characters to get away with a much lower investment in armor.

- Melee characters benefit from abilities that punish enemies that hit, like Electrostatic Fields and Corona revelations. Those are at their best when you know that of all the PCs the monster might try to hit, he'll be coming at you because you're already in its face.

- Melee characters get to chase and dominate the movement of enemy squishies, with reach weapons and Step Up (And Strike).

- There's a certain thrill to playing a melee character that I just find enjoyable. It's mechanically strong enough and it's enjoyable. So I'll do it :)

TL;DR - I think a party that has a partnership between ranged and melee characters is going to be stronger than any mono party.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber

I also note that this example uses a sharpshooter soldier for the extra reduction to full attack penalty, but not a melee soldier using any fighting style benefit's (like wrathful warrior bonus damage, or armor storm smashing through for unarmed damage on a bullrush, followed by AoO), or a solarian who would more accurately represent the high end of melee damage.

While the solarIan obviously departs from the original question, the melee soldier also has has options more interesting than that curveblade, like using a mature xenolash, which deals slightly less damage, but threatens reach, for some extra attacks at full bonus, and entabgles on every successful hit.


Richter Harding wrote:

.

Heavy Reaction cannon : 3d10 16750 credits 100ft
Ultrathin Curve blade : 3d10 18100 credits melee

Also noticing that ranged weapons are cheaper.

I don't think that's a degree of savings that really matters. You're still going to buy the same weapon level at the same character level.

You're also assuming "oh I'm level 10 i have a level 10 weapon..." actual purchasing patterns say that's not a given. You can't upgrade your weapons every level.

Quote:
While Melee does more damage per hit, ranged has a much better chance to hit. From 3-10 to 5-10, thats almost a 66% increase in accuracy.

30% chance to hit 5% chance to crit= 14.4 avg

50% chance to hit 5 chance to crit = 15.6 avg (i think)

Quote:
There is nearly no combat that starts with everyone within 10 feet of eachother, not even mentioning that the ranged soldier has high dex and therefore a much better initiative, making it more likely for him to full attack.

The melee soldier needs to spend their first round turning on the haste circuit, moving up to their foe, and whacking once.

The ranged need to spend a move action setting up that bipod and then firing (the party NEVER gets to be the ambushers...)

10 is also a higher level for the game. It favors the sniper because thats when weapon damage starts to matter, and the sniper isn't shooting through cover anymore.

Even then, melee has some advantages. Reach weapons give extra damage, its easier for melee to switch to do damage to avoid a resistance or take advantage of a weakness.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber
HammerJack wrote:
I also note that this example uses a sharpshooter soldier for the extra reduction to full attack penalty, but not a melee soldier using any fighting style benefit's (like wrathful warrior bonus damage, or armor storm smashing through for unarmed damage on a bullrush, followed by AoO), or a solarian who would more accurately represent the high end of melee damage.

I completely agree on wrathful warrior adding damage but that would not solve the accuracy discrepancy. The Style is also Banned in society play.

It would increase damage per hit by +4 for a total of 40.
Close enough to kill would also help but this requires spending resolve PER attack, a finite resource in combat.

Solarians have reduced penalty on full attacks so their hit chance would increase to 40%.
Their damage per hit would probably go like this, assuming they forgo any suvivability at all to pump their charisma as well and assuming they have full attunement

3d6base solar weapon,2d6 lesser graviton crystal
10specialization, +7 from strength, +5 from soulfire, +5 from plasma sheath, +2 from photon mode, for a total of ;

5d6(17avarage)+29 for 46 damage total.

Lot more damage and better hit chance so better right?
Well they need 3 rounds to enter full attunement. So yes solarions are probably better if the fight lasts longer than 3 rounds and they are still needed at that point, you do not have a good initiative with this route so it might already be over when you go even further beyond.

Heck with light armor and low Dex you might already be dead.

Armor storm is another good point, but the AOO only goes off if you hit the bull rush and you beat it by enough to reach 10 feet, with the innate bonus you chance to hit a 10 feet bullrush is the same as a full attack hit.

But Contrary to a full attack, if you miss the bullrush you lose any chance to do damage at all, so it is not really a rebuttal to this.

---------------------

The soldier needs a turn to setup haste circuit to full attack properly, and until then they can move up and whack once.

The ranged does not need to use biped at all to still have a significant advantage over melee, I applied this in the calculations and they can still full attack from the getgo.

BigNorseWolf said wrote:

30% chance to hit 5% chance to crit= 14.4 avg

50% chance to hit 5 chance to crit = 15.6 avg (i think)

Please show the math for this,


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber

One other note, though definitely a footnote in the larger optimization question, batteries for special use fusions (like keeping Axiomatic on hand) do last a lot longer for powered melee weapons than for guns.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber
Ascalaphus wrote:

I know Richter, he's one of my local players. When he says ranged can out-DPR melee I'll believe him :)----

TL;DR - I think a party that has a partnership between ranged and melee characters is going to be stronger than any mono party.

I am flattered by your good faith and I also completly agree that melee and ranged combined arms is the way it should be.

I just dislike the fact that ranged keeps getting new toys that just flatout improve their numbers while melee get's no such thing.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber

A level 10 armor storm soldier who wants to bull rush will probably have, off the top of my head:

+4 from smash through
+4 from Improved Combat Maneuver
+2 from juggernaut boosters (and an extract 5 feet of distance)
+1 from a knight shield (or +2 from a riot shield)
The option if using Add Leverage for guaranteed extra distance. Or the massive Momentum gear boost.

That means they've got at least a +29 to their bull rush, and an 75% chance of shoving at least 10 feet. (As a minor nite, only the Smash Through damage requires 10 ft off push, the AoO would be triggered off of 5).

There is also some more niche stuff, like a Ferran soldier adding their level as additional damage to their 1st melee attack if they have to move at least 10 feat first, but I don't think that's entirely fair game for this general question.

I'm also not sure where you're getting the need for the solarian to reach full attunement for melee use?


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber
Richter Harding wrote:
Ascalaphus wrote:

I know Richter, he's one of my local players. When he says ranged can out-DPR melee I'll believe him :)----

TL;DR - I think a party that has a partnership between ranged and melee characters is going to be stronger than any mono party.

I am flattered by your good faith and I also completly agree that melee and ranged combined arms is the way it should be.

I just dislike the fact that ranged keeps getting new toys that just flatout improve their numbers while melee get's no such thing.

I won't argue that creating the gunner harness was a good idea. Only that melee options still have the ability to make up the difference.


Richter Harding wrote:


I just dislike the fact that ranged keeps getting new toys that just flatout improve their numbers while melee get's no such thing.

Melees toys are feats and combat styles and stuff. Ranged weapon damage is BORING.

Note that in your calculations you needed one of those toys (the bipod) otherwise ranged is at a distinct mathematical advantage.

Quote:

30% chance to hit 5% chance to crit= 14.4 avg

50% chance to hit 5 chance to crit = 15.6 avg (i think)

Please show the math for this,

Please note, a large part of the small part of my small brain that handles math is going OW right now.

Melee: (.30 * 36) + (.05 * 72) = 10.8 + 3.6 =14.4
Range: ( .50 * 26) + (.05 * 52)= 13+ 2.6= 15.6

The crit helps out the low hit higher reward damage a fair bit and narrows the gap some.

Without the bipod the ranged loses
___

And again, 10 is where ranged starts to take off. At level 3 plunking away for 1d8+3 while the melee is doing 1d8 +9 kinda sucks.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber
HammerJack wrote:

A level 10 armor storm soldier who wants to bull rush will probably have, off the top of my head:---

I'm also not sure where you're getting the need for the solarian to reach full attunement for melee use?

I was not aware this feat existed, thank you for showing it to me. This would indeed be very strong, But juggernaut boosters need you to move at least 20 feet toward the target in a straight line.

Add leverage is legit good though.

Full attunement is required for plasma sheath to add additional damage.

Second Seekers (Jadnura)

Ascalaphus wrote:

. Having one or two melee characters allows the other characters to get away with a much lower investment in armor.

Armor? You mean a movement speed


Richter Harding wrote:


Full attunement is required for plasma sheath to add additional damage.

When you are attuned or fully attuned, your attacks with plasma sheath deal additional fire damage equal to half your level.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber
BigNorseWolf wrote:
Richter Harding wrote:

------

I just dislike the fact that ranged keeps getting new toys that just flatout improve their numbers while melee get's no such thing.

-----

Actually the full calculation was made without the bipod, reaching 50%, adding the bipod would remove the penalty completely, resulting in 55%.

So you only need the Gunner harness for that calculation.

-----
Ah my mistake, omit the part about solarian needing full attunement then.

----

And I'm sorry, but what part about melee toys being feats and combat styles do you mean? The entire point I made was that from a numbers perspective, ranged has an advantage, Figure of speech aside.

Could you give me some examples here?


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber

One other thing worth noting is that any improvement to accuracy (target is made flat-footed (Star for most common!), get em is invoked, harrying fire is used, target gets entangled by a xenolash hit or weapon with an Entangling fusion, etc.) will provide a greater bonus to the expected damage output with the larger individual melee hits.


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Richter Harding wrote:


Actually the full calculation was made without the bipod, reaching 50%, adding the bipod would remove the penalty completely, resulting in 55%.

The math was done with 55%.

Quote:


And I'm sorry, but what part about melee toys being feats and combat styles do you mean? The entire point I made was that from a numbers perspective, ranged has an advantage, Figure of speech aside.

Could you give me some examples here?

Ranged combat is I shoot or I double shoot.

Melee has interesting fiddly bits that can't always be mathed

A simple example would be reach. Not only do you sometimes get more damage out of it, but it controls everything from whether the goblins run up to you and attack

Another would be improved step up and strike: sometimes you get a third attack, someones you futz with someones spellcasting, sometimes you're now a distraction to your party.

Flank is another biggie. Do I full attack at -4.. or instead run around this guy and gank him from behind at +2.. and give my vesk a +2 as well?

Melee gets feats like extra leverage, where your skitterguard can pinball someone 35 feet accross the board drawing aoo from all your melee and boop them into the lava too.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

So I can smack you from over here instead of over there?

If you walk away I can smack you.

IF I have someone else that goes into melee combat in my party, I have a better chance of smacking you. I can count the amount of times this happened to me on one hand.

And if you do something incredibly cheesy you can have your augmented 6 armed skittermander smack someone into next week.

Sorry but no, making the argument that melee is more 'fun' than ranged may work for you, but not for me.

The fluff that I am running up to someone with an entire armory taped to their back and just punch them in the face is the only melee fantasy I can relate to at least.

Great for you if you can find more fun in it though.


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Richter Harding wrote:

So I can smack you from over here instead of over there?

If you walk away I can smack you.

IF I have someone else that goes into melee combat in my party, I have a better chance of smacking you. I can count the amount of times this happened to me on one hand.

And if you do something incredibly cheesy you can have your augmented 6 armed skittermander smack someone into next week.

Sorry but no, making the argument that melee is more 'fun' than ranged may work for you, but not for me.

The fluff that I am running up to someone with an entire armory taped to their back and just punch them in the face is the only melee fantasy I can relate to at least.

Great for you if you can find more fun in it though.

Well there's two separate questions here

1) poor melee don't get any damage

2) poor melee don't have any toys

Melee don't get toys in terms of cheap gear, they get them in other places, so they have toys.

In terms of damage, I don't think it's a fair comparison to only look at level 10. Before that zone, the static damage matters a LOT more than the dice. In low level sfs scenarios i see things ripping stuff apart its almost always the melee.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber

With Multi weapon strike and Multi weapon Versatility, a level 10 soldier could also double attack at -3 with respectable 1 handed melee weapons, while leaving a move action free not onky for movement, but to use things like Improved Demoralize (to pair with Cruel weapons) or improved feint. So the melee soldier has some additional option's to do interesting things in addition to their attacks that are difficult to duplicate with a ranged soldier, if they're willing to live with needing to upgrade weapons less often (which isn't a huge problem until weapon damage dice start taking off after level 12 or 13).

That is something I would add under the category of "toys".

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

Poor melee get plenty of damage wich is why it hurts more when it is very hard to do so more than once per round, even more painful when not at all.

Poor melee don't have any toys, part figure of speech. What I really liked about Starfinder is that there was a much lower amount of numbers.

Heavy weapons required investment into strength so you could wield them, so to deal more damage you were less accurate, this was fair.

Introduce Gunner Harness and bipod, no strength required, that 8 str ysoki, he can use a gun the size of a golden retriever with no effort, he has a leather strap so it's K.

Let's not forget things like parting shot, fussilade, shot on the run.
Ranged get plenty of non gear toys.

Remember the dumb craze at the start? Every melee soldier had to take blitz, every solarion had to take 1 level in blitz soldier because otherwise you would lose initiative almost all the time due to having low dex, because you need some con to survive in melee, you get a static boost yea, but so does the enemy leopard that is eating your face.

--------------

It's not a fair comparison to only look at level 10. In low level SFS scenarios I see things ripping stuff apart and it's almost always those swarms of magic missiles because I am still standing still because of my low initiative. Nevermind, the operative one shot the only enemy I could attack next turn. /S

Sounds a lot like the old martial vs caster debate to me.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber
HammerJack wrote:

With Multi weapon strike and Multi weapon Versatility, a level 10 soldier could also double attack at -3 with respectable 1 handed melee weapons, while leaving a move action free not onky for movement, but to use things like Improved Demoralize (to pair with Cruel weapons) or improved feint. So the melee soldier has some additional option's to do interesting things in addition to their attacks that are difficult to duplicate with a ranged soldier, if they're willing to live with needing to upgrade weapons less often (which isn't a huge problem until weapon damage dice start taking off after level 12 or 13).

That is something I would add under the category of "toys".

This is a good one, nice find. requires a lot of investment though, 1 feat and 1 gear boost to reduce the penalty by 1, and it's soldier exclusive.

Does not seem fair compared to 2000 credits


The more cover there is, the better melee becomes.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber
Richter Harding wrote:
HammerJack wrote:

With Multi weapon strike and Multi weapon Versatility, a level 10 soldier could also double attack at -3 with respectable 1 handed melee weapons, while leaving a move action free not onky for movement, but to use things like Improved Demoralize (to pair with Cruel weapons) or improved feint. So the melee soldier has some additional option's to do interesting things in addition to their attacks that are difficult to duplicate with a ranged soldier, if they're willing to live with needing to upgrade weapons less often (which isn't a huge problem until weapon damage dice start taking off after level 12 or 13).

That is something I would add under the category of "toys".

This is a good one, nice find. requires a lot of investment though, 1 feat and 1 gear boost to reduce the penalty by 1, and it's soldier exclusive.

Does not seem fair compared to 2000 credits

I don't think anyone is arguing that mistakes weren't made with the publication of the Gunner harness.

2 gear boosts for new action economy on top of the penalty reduction was the bigger part of what I wanted to point at there, though, since at range you can only unlock the same option with Small Arms which isn't worth much.


Richter Harding wrote:

Poor melee get plenty of damage wich is why it hurts more when it is very hard to do so more than once per round, even more painful when not at all.

If that's happening to your melee they are doing something wrong. By level 10 they should have a haste circuit and a jetpack, and they probably have charge as a standard action. It is VERY hard to set up a situation where you can shoot someone, but a flying lizard with a doshko and a jetpack can't move 70 feet in one direction and then move 70 feet in a different direction and wind up next to someone.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber
BigNorseWolf wrote:
Richter Harding wrote:

Poor melee get plenty of damage wich is why it hurts more when it is very hard to do so more than once per round, even more painful when not at all.

If that's happening to your melee they are doing something wrong. By level 10 they should have a haste circuit and a jetpack, and they probably have charge as a standard action. It is VERY hard to set up a situation where you can shoot someone, but a flying lizard with a doshko and a jetpack can't move 70 feet in one direction and then move 70 feet in a different direction and wind up next to someone.

Only Blitz Soldiers can Charge as a standard action.

That flying lizard needs to spend a full round activation his jetpack and his haste circuit, Ranged person can just stand there and shoot something else when the first falls over.

Edit : Just saw your reply, noticed when typing, sorry about that.


Richter Harding wrote:


Only Blitz Soldiers can Charge as a standard action.

So can solarions with stellar rush. If you're melee You should probably have one of those levels.

Quote:

It is very hard to find a situation where you can shoot someone?

Don't want to sound snarky but you may want to rephrase that.

I did not mistype. Try reading the entire sentence.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

What you are basically saying is : If you want to melee properly : play either a blitz soldier or a solarion.

The aforementioned harness and bipod are available to anyone, regardless of class.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber
Richter Harding wrote:

What you are basically saying is : If you want to melee properly : play either a blitz soldier or a solarion.

The aforementioned harness and bipod are available to anyone, regardless of class.

Or a hit and run soldier with high move speed. Or any variant that has a standard action ability worth using (2 weapon, combat envoy dipped debuff master, strangler with finesse striker, etc).

By the way, where is the full round to activate haste circuit and jet pack coming from?

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber
HammerJack wrote:
Richter Harding wrote:

What you are basically saying is : If you want to melee properly : play either a blitz soldier or a solarion.

The aforementioned harness and bipod are available to anyone, regardless of class.

Or a hit and run soldier with high move speed. Or any variant that has a standard action ability worth using (2 weapon, combat envoy dipped debuff master, strangler with finesse striker, etc).

By the way, where is the full round to activate haste circuit and jet pack coming from?

Figure of speech, standard for jetpack, swift for circuit, move action to move into position for a charge.

Playing a hit and run soldier myself, pretty ok but let me tell you how awful it feels to just have opening volley sitting in my feat slots while I barely do anything with it.

I assume you mean soldier with finesse striker rather than strangler.

Also : Debuff Master?


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber
BigNorseWolf wrote:
Richter Harding wrote:

Poor melee get plenty of damage wich is why it hurts more when it is very hard to do so more than once per round, even more painful when not at all.

If that's happening to your melee they are doing something wrong. By level 10 they should have a haste circuit and a jetpack, and they probably have charge as a standard action. It is VERY hard to set up a situation where you can shoot someone, but a flying lizard with a doshko and a jetpack can't move 70 feet in one direction and then move 70 feet in a different direction and wind up next to someone.

Well, not hard to set up... but if you set up sniper fights and fortresses with gunports and the like that often, it's a deliberate campaign choice to favor ranged combat, not something inherent to the system.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber
Richter Harding wrote:
HammerJack wrote:
Richter Harding wrote:

What you are basically saying is : If you want to melee properly : play either a blitz soldier or a solarion.

The aforementioned harness and bipod are available to anyone, regardless of class.

Or a hit and run soldier with high move speed. Or any variant that has a standard action ability worth using (2 weapon, combat envoy dipped debuff master, strangler with finesse striker, etc).

By the way, where is the full round to activate haste circuit and jet pack coming from?

Figure of speech, standard for jetpack, swift for circuit, move action to move into position for a charge.

Playing a hit and run soldier myself, pretty ok but let me tell you how awful it feels to just have opening volley sitting in my feat slots while I barely do anything with it.

I assume you mean soldier with finesse striker rather than strangler.

Also : Debuff Master?

Oh, no, I absolutely meant strangler. Garrottes are operative weapons, so you want finesse striker with them.

As for debuff master, if you use Combat expertise, a sonic weapon with Cruel and Illuminating fusions, Blazing Strike and Sonic Resonance, you can easily move up to some then spend a standard action to deal slightly over noral damage, and inflict shaken, sickened, dazzled and flat-footed on your poor victim.

With a vibrogarrotte, you could even combine the 2, and throw grappled or pinned on the pile. Debuff master soldiers are fairly easy to do. Especially with multiclass dips. The Star Knight Challenge feature can fill a similar role to Combat Expertise in that example, though.


Richter Harding wrote:

What you are basically saying is : If you want to melee properly : play either a blitz soldier or a solarion.

The aforementioned harness and bipod are available to anyone, regardless of class.

This might be something with considering too.

The focus has been pretty strongly on melee-buffing Solarian and Soldier combat options, but how do those numbers shake out when you're looking at melee vs ranged for operatives? Technomancers? Mechanics? Mystics? Biohackers?

Sorry OP I guess that's kind of off topic but that seems like a natural follow up to so much of the debate being centered on buffs provided by specific fighting styles vs options open to everyone.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber

Well, melee operatives can range from "I'm totally DEX based an rely on trick attack, so I don't know why I'm not just using a pistol" to "I'm a vesk with Death Strike, Improved Unarmed Strike, a single level of solarian for a solar shirld, and quad attack, so I'm gamebreakingly overpowered."

Mystics making best use of Wrecking Fists or the solar weapon epiphany can also get a leg up on the baseline.

On the whole, though, there is not a class in this game that you can't make a melee build work with, but the 3/4 BAB classes are not going to reach solarian/soldier levels of melee capability.


Range is most likely to be used in Starfinder campains, but Melee has stronger damage. You have a Dragonkin Blitz(2nd) & Wrathful Warrior(1st) Soldier at max level with Melee Striker and a Dimensional Blade Doshko. Sure the Doshko has Unwieldy, but a single attack: 13d12P+20+11+5+6(Weapon + PC Level + STR Mod + Frenzy)= Min:55P Max:198P; Crit Min:211P Crit Max:354P. Melee sure isn't the best way to fight in Starfinder but it is decent. But ranged weapons sure are stronger.
A Full Attack with a Paragon Reaction Cannon would deal:
2(12d10P +20)= Min:64P, Max:280P; 1x Crit Min:184P, 1x Crit Max:400P; 2x Crit Min:304P, 2x Crit Max:520P. Now that's a lot of damage

Sovereign Court

My melee characters actually got an amazing toy with COM: Advanced Coordination. The ability to stand anywhere I want without hindering my party.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber
Outatime1985 wrote:

Range is most likely to be used in Starfinder campains, but Melee has stronger damage. You have a Dragonkin Blitz(2nd) & Wrathful Warrior(1st) Soldier at max level with Melee Striker and a Dimensional Blade Doshko. Sure the Doshko has Unwieldy, but a single attack: 13d12P+20+11+5+6(Weapon + PC Level + STR Mod + Frenzy)= Min:55P Max:198P; Crit Min:211P Crit Max:354P. Melee sure isn't the best way to fight in Starfinder but it is decent. But ranged weapons sure are stronger.

A Full Attack with a Paragon Reaction Cannon would deal:
2(12d10P +20)= Min:64P, Max:280P; 1x Crit Min:184P, 1x Crit Max:400P; 2x Crit Min:304P, 2x Crit Max:520P. Now that's a lot of damage

I don't understand why you're throwing out these numbers.

First, especially since your results give you more of a bell curve when more dice are involved, it would make more sense to list something like 12d10+20 by its average result of 86, than to talk about minimum, maximum, and crit values.

Second, using only damage values without accuracy is not a good comparison. That's the accurate point at the root of thus whole discussion, though I disagree with the conclusions drawn in the original post, because the comparison was too narrow.

Third, if you're trying to compare maximum damage output, comparing an unwieldy weapon in one category to a full attack in the other category will not give you an honest comparison between categories.

Finally, only comparing level 20 is an incredibly silly way to compare things systemwide.


Don't forget that Vanguard is a Full BAB class that literall has the best melee damage roll: 12d6+STR+DEX+CON+Weapon Specialization(special). Let's say that this vanguard has 26 STR, 26 STR, and 30 CON. The damage is 12d6+8+8+10+20.

Normal attack:
Min=58, Max=118; Crit Min=130, Crit Max=190

Full Attack(3 attacks):
Min=174, Max=354; 1x Crit Min=246, 1x Crit Max=306; 2x Crit Min=318, 2x Crit Max=498; 3x Crit Min=390, 3x Crit Max=570

The Vanguard is seriously, hands down, the MOST POWERFUL melee class in the game


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber
Outatime1985 wrote:

Don't forget that Vanguard is a Full BAB class that literall has the best melee damage roll: 12d6+STR+DEX+CON+Weapon Specialization(special). Let's say that this vanguard has 26 STR, 26 STR, and 30 CON. The damage is 12d6+8+8+10+20.

Normal attack:
Min=58, Max=118; Crit Min=130, Crit Max=190

Full Attack(3 attacks):
Min=174, Max=354; 1x Crit Min=246, 1x Crit Max=306; 2x Crit Min=318, 2x Crit Max=498; 3x Crit Min=390, 3x Crit Max=570

The Vanguard is seriously, hands down, the MOST POWERFUL melee class in the game

How do you figure that an average hit of 88 damage is the strongest in the game when a fairly basic weapon solarian would do more like 111? Also, why are you adding DEX to damage to get that 88? And why are you assuming 30 CON when no PC will ever exceed 28?


The reason why I talk about Minimum and Maximum values is because It is easier to tell the average damage per normal attack, normal critical attack, normal full attack, and critical full attack. The average damage of a normal attack=88, crit normal attack=160, normal full attack=264, 1x crit=276, 2x crit=408, and 3x crit=480. By getting the minimum and maximum values, you can find the average by adding the minimum and maximum together and dividing it by 2. That is how I do it. When I do the critical damage, I also incorporate the chances of critting once, twice, or more.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber

That doesn't account for accuracy at all, which skews the (already high) value of full attack even higher. This is not a good way to try to do damage comparison.


A solarian with +9 STR has a total damage of this: 12d6+STR+CHA+Level+Crystal w/ Soulfire(optional)=12d6+9+10+20+6d6

Normal Attack w/ crystal:
Min=57, Max=147; Crit Min=129; Crit Max=219

Full Attack w/ crystal:
Min=171, Max=441; 1x Crit Min=243, 1x Crit Max=513; 2x Crit Min=315, 2x Crit Max=585; 3x Crit Min=387; 3x Crit Max=657

So you are right about the Solarian with the higher damage, but that is with a crystal. Let's see what happens when he doen't have it. Damage equals 12d6+STR+Level=12d6+9+20

Normal Attack:
Min=41, Max=101; Crit Min=113, Crit Max=173

Full Attack:
Min=123, Max=303; 1x Crit Min=195, 1x Crit Max=315; 2x Crit Min=267, 2x Crit Max=447; 3x Crit Min=339, 3x Crit Max=519

So as you can see, the Solarian does have the higher damage output, but that is with the crystal & Soulfire fusion.

The crystal statistics:
Normal attack average=117, normal crit attack=174, normal full attack=306, 1x crit=378, 2x crit=450, and 3x crit=522.

No crystal statistics:
Normal attack average=71, normal crit attack=143, normal full attack=213, 1x crit=255, 2x crit=357, and 3x crit=429.

You asked me why I used DEX. Here is the reason: The entropic strike is a magical one-handed operative melee weapon and you dont add STR yet until 10th level. It is an operative weapon so you add DEX, your level, and CON, and later STR. It works in that way.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber

1. A crystal is a safe assumption. There is absolutely no reason to ever think that a level 20 solarian wouldn't have one.

2. Operative weapons do NOT add dexterity to damage.


Sometimes, people have crazy critical attack rolls. Trust me, my DM who has game mastered campaigns for 5-10+ years have had crazy critical hits with his official Starfinder dice. He crit multiple times in a row with them. I am in his campaign right now and in one of the sessions, he crit 2-3 times in a row.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber

Yes. Lucky things happen. And unlucky streaks happen. The odds of that are the same for everyone here.

If you're comparing different numbers of attacks (say, single attack against full attack), it is worth accounting for possibility of critical by adding 5% to your expected damage against a level appropriate AC.

If you're comparing the same number of attacks, you can omit the critual from both and still have a valid comparison.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

Also, unless something changed, vanguard don't get a triple full attack, only soldiers and solarians do.


HammerJack wrote:
Well, melee operatives can range from "I'm totally DEX based an rely on trick attack, so I don't know why I'm not just using a pistol"

With a Snowgarden melee weapon (Armory), an operative can freely deal lethal or non-lethal damage with no penalty and without having to spend a trick-attack-preventing action to switch modes. Dance-Fu!

It gives the GM an excuse to not have all of the bad guys gang up on the technomancer.

If they miss with their trick attack, they still can provide a flanking bonus. At levels 1-6, they can sometimes benefit from flanking.

With quick movement and uncanny agility, the operative can easily leave melee if it's starting to get scary.

Dragon glands are awesome. They're even more awesome for characters who aren't melee-phobic.

It's trivially easy for an operative to simultaneously wield both a melee weapon and a ranged weapon. Seriously, a competent operative should be able and ready to switch between melee and ranged as fits the moment.

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