Pathfinder 2e Adoptee Considering Starfinder - Information Requested


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Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

Hey there Starfinders! Greeting from the PF2e neck of the forums! I was hoping some of you could help me with something. I'll happily take thoughts and opinions from anyone who'd like to give me them, but knowledge of Pathfinder 2e and Starfinder both would be a plus, and some of this involves comparing Pathfinder 1e to Starfinder as well.

I like to have one go to game system for different sorts of genres, for Fantasy Action stuff, that's Pathfinder 2e and I'm thrilled with that system. For contemporary paranormal stuff, it's Chronicles of Darkness, and for superheroes, even though this one is kind of limited to teen supers, we're happy with Masks: A New Generation.

But one thing I don't have, is a game for the sci-fi niche, to cover our Mass Effect/Star Wars/ Star Trek esque fantasies. Recently my physical subscription for the Lost Omens Ancestry Guide came in, and it came with this gorgeous foldout laminate promoting Starfinder and Starfinder society. The art (mass effect vibes!), and its kitchen sink elements (I can have Magic Space Knights, Mecha, Starship Combat, and etc all in the same game!?) have been gradually seducing me into maybe committing to it as our Sci Fi game (the fact that I recently discovered I had a little more Paizo credit than I realized is helping too.)

Now I keep flirting with the idea of adopting Starfinder, and I already own a bunch of the PDFs from a sale a while back. So me and some buddies are gonna do a deep dive ourselves, but to prep us, I want some questions answered that I feel like take actual experience in the game and community. I have a lot of experience, first with 4e, then with 5e, now with Pathfinder 2e, so what I really need is some comparisons by people who know what they're talking about. Also I know some of these might touch on sore points so keep it civil, I promise I'm not trolling, just take any seeming value judgements as assertions of preference.

1. Our biggest fear is that it's too close to PF1e, we love crunchy D20 stuff (Pathfinder 2e is completely satisfying) but our fears relate to the imbalances of ivory tower design that was endemic to 3.5e. Is this the sort of game where our optimizers will use obscure systems knowledge to outpace those who don't do the research unless they hold themselves way back?

We have generally negative views of linear fighters/quadratic Wizards and such (though I know Starfinder is half caster centric). We want some power variance, but I would like opinions on whether Starfinder has *too much* such that a group will irreconcilable needs in encounter design, and similarly, do the EXP guidelines function accurately to measure the amount of challenge a given encounter will provide? Take for granted that all of the players can follow simple optimization rules (like always boosting the primary stat in 2e) but not conduct extensive build research.

We expect to use Starbuilder for character building, given our great experiences with Pathbuilder 2e.

2. Similarly, we have fears about some clunkier mechanics, I understand Touch AC isn't a thing anymore but BAB is, can someone tell me about what's been streamlined compared to Pathfinder 1e? What are the big points of how the system has been made easier to grok and book keep?

3. Hows the resolve system? I mostly just want to hear about whether its enjoyable and your experiences with it.

4. Finally Starship Combat, is it fun? I've heard its a matter of if people know the things they can do, and plan to have something they can usefully do in this mode, which would be alright, as that's more or less how exploration mode and downtime mode work in 2e-- I like that dynamic where it encourages building for diverse areas in character building, but I know some people are down on it and good Starship stuff is a big selling point for me-- of all kinds, star wars fighter squadron play, capital ships, Star Trek scale, Gundam mecha in space (I know mechs are upcoming but that there was a playtest?)you name it.

5. I've already discussed it with my players, and they don't mind stream crossing so there's no need for 'hard sci fi' in the purity of the sci fi sense, with that in mind, can I do most kinds of action sci fi in this system? Stories about grand wars, intrepid explorers, interstellar politics, smugglers and bounty hunters, mysterious space creatures, first contact, droids, sci-fi cantinas, fighter pilots, sci fi horror, and so forth?


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Pathfinder Starfinder Society Subscriber

Welcome to Starfinder! :)

The-Magic-Sword wrote:
1. Stuff about balance

By and large, Starfinder's math is simple and balanced in comparison to 1E, taking a similar route to 2E by reducing runaway bonus stacking. There's enough character options for crunchy character designs, but the math has been kept fairly tight overall (not as tight as 2E). Optimizers won't run roughshod over newbies, though they will have a distinct advantage. There are only a few notable "trap concepts", and easily enough avoided by asking on these forums :)

Spellcasters are notably weaker than most other D&D3.5 derivatives. With technology often providing cheap and easy solutions to previously magic-only problems, non-magical classes are pretty independent. Spellcasters also have limited spell slots and generally weaker spells overall, and the very long adventuring days in Starfinder can leave them feeling underwhelming. However, my players have generally felt satisfied with their spellcasters, so I think they're not far behind.

All parties function fine, though often skill coverage (having one person good at piloting, one good at computers and engineering, one good at social skills) dictates variety in party members.

As far as challenge is concerned, I'd say that the base difficulty in Starfinder is much lower than PF2E. Characters getting knocked out or dying is extraordinarily rare, and the death and dying rules are very forgiving.

The-Magic-Sword wrote:
2. Stuff about mechanics

The underlying rules chassis is similar to PF1E, but distinct enough that you really need to dig in to the rulebook and learn the differences. How full attacking works, guarded steps, etc, are all unique to Starfinder. A lot of PF1E's clunkier and harder to remember mechanics have been updated or removed, but many others are still around.

There's enough that's new and different that I'm not going to list it all out. If you do some searches on the forums you may be able to find threads from around release itemizing differences.

The-Magic-Sword wrote:
3. Stuff about resolve

It works just fine. Helps to significantly extend adventuring days by letting you shrug off minor injuries. Keeping some resolve in the tank in case you're knocked unconscious is a significant concern at low levels, and later you get some neat equipment or abilities that are fueled by resolve. Its not a bad system, though I think many people have quibbles regarding certain aspects of it.

The-Magic-Sword wrote:
4. Stuff about starship combat

The playerbase is pretty split on it, at least on these forums. I fall on the side of disliking it, as I think it has mechanical overcomplexity, pretty boring gameplay, and some serious internal balance problems. Other folks will tell you that its a lot of fun.

Luckily its pretty modular, and you can include more starship combat or less as desired without affecting the rest of your adventure. Paizo have also been tweaking and expanding it over the years so a lot of the worst early issues have now been resolved. Its better than its ever been.

The-Magic-Sword wrote:
5. Stuff about story types

Yep all those story types would definitely work! Starfinder is inherently more on the pulpy side with how it handles its tech and its setting, so hard-sci fi ends up being a bad fit. But not only do many of those sci-fi stories work, but there's already APs catering for each of them! The setting detail is fantastic for exploring all this stuff.

Dataphiles

Potential qualifications
Fantasy systems I've played:
AD&D, 3.0, 3.5, Pathfinder 1e, Pathfinder 2e, Dungeon World, and a splash of Genesys

Sci-fi:
Shadowrun (a few editions), Fantasy Flight Star Wars, d20 Star Wars, a little Eclipse Phase, Warhammer Dark Heresy, and Starfinder

Super Hero:
Sentinel Comics RPG

Opinion
The story you want to tell really needs to match your system. Every system gives a different underlying feel to the story that the others are hard pressed to match. Starfinder gives a generally lighter feel to the story mainly because of the stamina/hp mechanics. I have found character death in Starfinder to be quite rare, which is fine. I appreciate that about the system. While Starfinder is a sci-fi fantasy, I'd be curious to see it played without the magic. I think it could be done, such a thought is now going to distract me for a while.

anywho...

1) Starfinder in about halfway between 1e and 2e overall. You can game the system to get a slightly more powerful character in Starfinder, but only slightly. This is tempered with the fact that the system as a whole is on the less dangerous side.

DCs is Starfinder are a little interesting. Some skills can be boosted with a feel closer to 1e such that having universal challenge can be tough, but I feel it is still doable...in the beginning of the game. Mid to late levels, the discrepancy between specialized and "I put ranks into it" can be quite wide.

Enemy saves, like 2e, can be discouraging for spellcasters and such. This causes more cringe with the fact that, unlike 2e, there are few spells/effects that still do things on save.

2) Touch AC was replaced with EAC. This shift, in my eyes, was a good move. Essentially, it keeps the greater concept of touch AC but ensures that touch AC isn't ridiculously low. Honestly, that is it to me.

3) The resolve system goes fairly hand-in-hand with the stamina system. Mechanically, it feels very weird to have two pools of hp. On the other hand, it is a great storytelling resource. The hits to stamina really signify that the fight happened, but the wounds sustained might not have been fatal. You spend a resolve to show that you couldn't do that all day. It also solves the issue of CLW wand from 1e. With enough of them, you could adventure all day. Resolve shows that fights take something out of you and mechanically allow for longer adventuring days, so you don't really have to worry about 15 minute adventuring days and the jarring effect that has on storytelling. I clearly really like how it affects storytelling, and find it to be an untapped storytelling resource.

4)....okay....so...Starship Combat (ssc) is...there. Ssc has great mechanics for interesting storytelling. Unfortunately it gets monotonous and tedious to some people. That said, the people that I see this effecting the most have zero affinity or interest in the feel of their character having one role on the ship. Also, I have seen consistent interest out of folks that adopt a hierarchic group dynamic (i.e. captain, first mate, etc..) in their rp as well. By itself, I can see ssc being quite boring. If you make it a part of the whole story experience, it is rich in value and excitement. Also, I highly discourage group decision making for each role's action...it causes the whole thing to take forever. Have the captain give orders and/or each role to do what they think they should. Do not encourage group decision making for each individual action. If you do, your ssc's will last FOREVER.

5)I think I answered this earlier in opinions. All-in-all, great for a space opera pulpy feel.


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1&2) SF is the prototype for PF2, and you can tell in a lot of ways. The GM side of the screen is practically identical. Characters get something every level. Stamina/resolve/10min rest abilities are an early draft of medicine and focus (imo, stamina/resolve is better than medicine as a short rest healing mechanic).

Of course some things are still there from PF1, BAB is one, but there are only medium and full, so the difference isn't quite so pronounced. Plus most medium classes have some method of acquiring an accuracy booster if they want to use weapons as their primary combat tactic.

The feats vs class feat(ures) is still closer to pf1, but unlike pf1 the regular feats aren't a significant source of power. The odd one here and there stands out, but there are few 'must have for this particular character.

Etc.

3) Resolve might be my favorite part of starfinder, but I suppose there are some situations where it can be annoying.

4) My biggest recommendation for starship combat is to not make challenging encounters common, or even at all. It can bog down hard, but a quick PC stomp or a chase where the PCs know they have to flee can both be a nice quick change of pace. I'd suggest the GM memorize the rules well, and then hurry the rounds along. However this all depends on your group.

5) You can probably run anything pulpy with ease. Blade runner, mass effect, shadow run, all the way to a Buck Rogers/Austin Powers kind of silly campaign.


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Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
The-Magic-Sword wrote:
1. Is this the sort of game where our optimizers will use obscure systems knowledge to outpace those who don't do the research unless they hold themselves way back?

Not *really* no. The main caveat is that if players fall into trap options, the ones who know about and avoid those will significantly out perform the others.

The-Magic-Sword wrote:
2. Similarly, we have fears about some clunkier mechanics, I understand Touch AC isn't a thing anymore but BAB is, can someone tell me about what's been streamlined compared to Pathfinder 1e? What are the big points of how the system has been made easier to grok and book keep?

Kind of a big question, that would take time to answer. To summarize, lots of ranged combat junk has been simplified to encourage firearm use, and lots of feat trees, prerequisites, and weird corner cases have been removed. However, there are still a lot of rules, some of which are frustrating or clunky. For example, making a combat maneuver target's an enemy's KAC+8, and therefore makes it nearly impossible to ever hope to achieve.

My recommendation is to give the rules a read, they're not too bad, and understanding what they say will help you make house rules to make them better.

The-Magic-Sword wrote:
3. Hows the resolve system? I mostly just want to hear about whether its enjoyable and your experiences with it.

The resolve system is great for handling health and health-adjacent abilities. It is ABSOLUTE TRASH for handling special class abilities, item abilities, and "cool extras" that burn resolve. Technically, you can find yourself in situations where you have the spare resolve to burn, but you WILL be aware that every time you do you're intentionally moving yourself closer to permadeath.

If you get downed and are in a hard-to-get-to spot, or are taking continual damage, or are being eaten, you won't be happy that you spent a resolve to put on a little light shower earlier that day.

I avoid all abilities and features that use resolve that aren't directly related to restoring HP/Stamina, or staying alive.

The-Magic-Sword wrote:
4. Finally Starship Combat, is it fun?

Short answer: no.

Long answer: It's as fun as the GM and party are willing to make it. If you vary fights, add interesting elements, ticking clocks, alternative win conditions, and ensure story is happening during combat, it can be a lot of fun. However, the vast majority of people running space combat don't want to put in that effort and therefore avoid space combat at all costs because it's boring. Almost none of the stuff that makes it fun are written anywhere in the books, so that reaction can be understandable.

The-Magic-Sword wrote:
5. Can I do most kinds of action sci fi in this system? Stories about grand wars, intrepid explorers, interstellar politics, smugglers and bounty hunters, mysterious space creatures, first contact, droids, sci-fi cantinas, fighter pilots, sci fi horror, and so forth?

Yes absolutely. Keep in mind however that:

1. The roots of the system are in Pathfinder, and the game does tend to lend itself to scifi themed dungeon crawls. For example, engagements at super long range aren't well supported, and any melee character is going to prefer fighting in close quarters, so you tend to gravitate toward "dungeon" scale rooms and corridors.

2. The level progression means certain stories are naturally level capped. For instance, a Star Trek game might lend itself more to lower levels, where Kirk couldn't eventually be able to single handedly fight the entire local population at once.


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1. There is of course some balance issues and system mastery but not as bad as in PF1, partly because there are less expansions for Starfinder yet.

Balance wise its mostly, in my opinion the Operative and the Envoy that are problematic (and by word of mouth the Witchwarper too). The Operative is a bit too good at skills without even trying while still rather good at combat while the Envoy does not bring that much to the table (especially when you also have an Operative to cover skills) and hampered by the action economy.
Still its workable.

System Mastery mainly consists out of knowing which things to avoid as they are bad choices although there is some must have equipment that give you a huge boost.

The divide between mundane and magic is much less as in PF1 as there are no real full casters in Starfinder with a maximum spell level of 6 while also lots of upgrades for mundane weapons (basically every few levels a new weapon with more damage becomes available).

There are tons of races already for Starfinder, maybe more than for Pathfinder 1, but race matters a lot less because of the way characters are generated.

Skill checks in SF are hard so you either you are an expert with hopefully maxed or close to max ability score and preferable a way to reroll this skill or rather useless. Dabbling only works in the first few levels. But as far as I am informed PF2 is not all that different in that regard?

4. It suffers the usual problems when you force a group of players to control one entity. Someone gets to do the fun stuff while the others are stuck with the boring tasks.
There has been a splatbook for space combat which introduces individual starships, although I have not seen many reports from actual games if this works or not.
Generally, starship combat can be fun when you throw the books about encounter design away.

5. Starfinder is combat heavy so you won't be able to run noncombat adventures as well as in, for example, Traveller. There are only a few skills and as I said above you are either an expert build for that skill or don't have much of a chance of succeeding. That also means the skill classes steal all the spotlight in such scenarios.

Vehicles and starships are also rather cluncky as they are not supposed to interact with each other. So when you encounter some big kaju monster then you are not supposed to have your starship shoot it and instead fight it on foot, even when its 200ft tall. Unless of course it is designed to be fought with a starship in which case attacking it on foot is impossible. Some monsters have two modes, one for starships, one for character combat, but you can't switch between them in combat and they are basically two different monsters. Later books introduced some weapons which can fire on creatures which they normally are not supposed to.

Vehicles are also usually not supposed to be fought. Although later books introduced vehicles as monster. Still, having a tank battle in Starfinder would require a lot of modifications to make interesting.

Starships also miss a lot of utility. Their only use so far is being a base for crafting, a plot device to get from A to B and for combat. No mining, salvaging, or otherwise earning a living through your ship like in Traveller.


WatersLethe wrote:
The resolve system is great for handling health and health-adjacent abilities. It is ABSOLUTE TRASH for handling special class abilities, item abilities, and "cool extras" that burn resolve. Technically, you can find yourself in situations where you have the spare resolve to burn, but you WILL be aware that every time you do you're intentionally moving yourself closer to permadeath.

I will say that I don't have this problem because we use the old 'death at -hp = CON' houserule, with no way to use resolve to stop this.

I will note, with that rule in a level 1-12 campaign, and a campaign that's currently at level 7, I have only managed to fully kill a character three times, once at level 2, once at level 5, and once at level 12. Everytime except the first they had enough credits to afford the 13,000 to buy an expensive material component and hire 5th level spellcasting services. The first one they had an ally willing to split the cost of raising their dead party member.

It might still cost 5,000 Cr to raise the dead compared to the 5,000 gp that was in PF1, but inflation has made that a lot more affordable.


Follow up on something Ixal said, in case you're curious; there are currently 117 official playable races(unless any have been added in the latest AP) spread out over a number of sources, primarily in the Alien Archives books.

I don't know how you & your group feels about using 3rd party & homebrew material but in the Homebrew forum here there have been great efforts made at converting races from Mass Effect, Star Wars, & Star Trek, and the setting is very well geared towards dropping homebrewed or converted material into it, what with being a whole galaxy & all.


FormerFiend wrote:

Follow up on something Ixal said, in case you're curious; there are currently 117 official playable races(unless any have been added in the latest AP) spread out over a number of sources, primarily in the Alien Archives books.

I don't know how you & your group feels about using 3rd party & homebrew material but in the Homebrew forum here there have been great efforts made at converting races from Mass Effect, Star Wars, & Star Trek, and the setting is very well geared towards dropping homebrewed or converted material into it, what with being a whole galaxy & all.

To make what I said a bit more clear, there are of course races with better special abilities compared to others, but at least the stat distribution doesn't matter much as the abilities are capped the same for everyone and you can freely put points into abilities even without increasing costs the higher the ability goes like in point buy systems. So you are usually able to get every common stat distribution with every race.

Also size is much less a factor in Starfinder than in PF1 (not sure how PF2 handles size) as it has no impact on grappling or carrying capacity.
Being large gives you reach, but as cover is more important in SF with all its ranged weapons, being large is often also a hindrance.

Dark Archive

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1) My experience so far(in dead sun's final book) is that both starfinder and 2e are balanced games while 1e wasn't. I do think 2e's exp/encounter building guidelines are better, but in Starfinder adding lot of mooks does actually make encounter much harder rather than just lasting longer and even at high levels, higher CR creature than party is really deadly.

2) overall less clunkier than 1e, but if you ask me, I do think nature of how economy works is weird.

3) Works great, though unless you are using lot of really hard encounters, it can lead to players feeling like they are basically invincible. As long players don't run out of HP, they won't end up spending much resolve, so they can pretty safely take rest to restore stamina or use other abilities, but once encounter is actually hard enough to make pcs lose all their hp, the resolve starts being spent fast.

4) Depends on the party, but if you ask me, best starship combat is the one built around a scene rather than "one starship vs other starship". Like, starship vs starship(especially if enemy is tanky ac or hp or shield wise) can feel frustrating when your gunner has bad luck and enemy just keeps repairing their shields because you miss several times in row. There is also that if you don't use guidelines from Starship Operation Manual for Player's Ship, the players might end up just building one big huge damage canon in turret and ignore positioning in game completely which makes it less interesting.

But yeah best starship combat either have multiple enemies, interesting terrain or interesting objective rather than just "fight one on one until enemy ship is disabled".

5) Yup. Starfinder works on same premise as Pathfinder really, its built to handle any sort of story in the genre.


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

A lot of great responses, and I agree with most of what’s been said. One addendum:

Ixal wrote:

5. Starfinder is combat heavy so you won't be able to run noncombat adventures as well as in, for example, Traveller. ...

Starships also miss a lot of utility. Their only use so far is being a base for crafting, a plot device to get from A to B and for combat. No mining, salvaging, or otherwise earning a living through your ship like in Traveller.

This is true if you’re just using the CRB. But it’s worth flagging that the Fly Free or Die AP introduces detailed rules regarding finding, buying and selling goods, building a mercantile company, and using starships to transport cargo. And I could easily see someone running a merchant-based campaign using these rules!


Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

Very cool, I sppreciate all the responses! Some of you mentioned traps, would someone mind discussing the big ones and why so I can get a feel for the balance?


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Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

Here's a recent list I made:

1. All critical effects are almost entirely worthless. They have so many requirements to come into effect 9.75 times out of 10 they don't come up. Don't go out of your way to get items or abilities with critical effects.

2. Unless you're a melee character, starting with low Dex is straight up a mistake. Even casters are strongly encouraged to shoot guns, and sucking at that doesn't feel good at all.

3. Don't try to multiclass unless you know what you're doing precisely. The multiclassing system is essentially vestigial, unless you're very sure about what the tradeoffs are, and even then it's mostly a 1 level dip type thing.

4. Even the heaviest armor and shield combo will not keep you safe in melee. You will always get hit reliably. Enemies are tuned to easily hit players, and abandoning cover and possibly getting flanked means melee are going to be taking tons of damage, even if you try to build around having high AC.

5. Small arms are worthless for anyone but an Operative. Not only are they significantly behind in base damage, and typically have lower range, their damage from Weapon Specialization is halved. You can spend feats to make them slightly decent, or you could spend feats to go into longarms to get their better range, damage, and more frequent cool effects like Line which are useful for characters who only make one attack a round.

6. Most archetypes are absolute trash. They trade out really, really important parts of your class for really mediocre and often super niche abilities. Basically only the Soldier can take many of them because they mostly lose bonus combat feats, which aren't hyper valuable.

7. Many feats sound good but when you realize what it takes to use them, they rapidly lose value, to the point that some feats don't even see use over many many levels. Pick generally useful feats before rare-use feats.

8. Skills are balanced around having your class grant bonuses to them. If you're thinking about focusing on a skill that doesn't get boosted by your class in some way, see if you can change things up. At some point as you level you'll notice the DCs start scaling past your ability to reliable perform the tasks, or players who have bonuses to those skills from their class will just start running laps around you.

9. Resolve is very valuable. Check that you're not leaving your resolve stat low. This is especially tricky because a "tanky" melee Mystic might be tempted to leave their Wisdom low and boost their Strength and Con, then find out that they don't have enough resolve to survive getting dropped once.

10. Starships benefit from having one big gun on a turret, guns on inactive firing arcs are wasted BP.

11. Witchwarper sucks, their class features eat each other rather than complement each other. Using spells to power your mediocre class features means you end up either not having class features and having normal spells, or having mediocre class features and no spells. Other classes don't have to make this kind of choice.

12. Some GMs don't let feats like Technomantic Dabbler allow you to use spell gems. Based on our group's reading of the feat and the intent, we allow it, but from what I've seen on forums others don't agree. A player who takes Technomantic Dabbler for spell gem access might be disappointed.

13. Always have a backup weapon or way to deal different damage types, elemental resistances will murder you. It might seem like a no brainer to just start with lasers, since it's sci-fi and you don't know what to expect so just go with what seems cool, yeah? Well Akatas are a common low level enemy that have resistance to fire so they'll absolutely crush a party that only has lasers.


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The biggest one: If you aren't an operative and you plan on shooting a weapon in combat, you should figure on taking longarm proficiency and versatile spec by level 5 or so. Small arms and operative melee weapons just lag behind way too much. There are alternatives to just grabbing longarms, but it depends on the specific class and build. Dragonglands and specific class feature + spellgems of magic missile or mind thrust come to mind.

The dedicated healer can be replaced with a ten minute rest and a six pack of serums of healing. Having healing is great, building a character that only heals will lead to you twiddling your thumbs in combat.

Edit: reply

WatersLethe wrote:
4. Even the heaviest armor and shield combo will not keep you safe in melee. You will always get hit reliably. Enemies are tuned to easily hit players, and abandoning cover and possibly getting flanked means melee are going to be taking tons of damage, even if you try to build around having high AC.

This is not to say 'don't get into melee'. A melee character is A) Likely to have the highest damage output of any one character, and B) Good at attracting the attention of opposing melee characters and hitting them with an attack of opportunity if they run after your backline. You're just also going to take the most damage.


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Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
Garretmander wrote:
This is not to say 'don't get into melee'. A melee character is A) Likely to have the highest damage output of any one character, and B) Good at attracting the attention of opposing melee characters and hitting them with an attack of opportunity if they run after your backline. You're just also going to take the most damage.

Yes absolutely. To the point that we should warn people not to get upset when they finally see a melee character in action compared to their own damage. At low levels especially, the difference is jaw dropping.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
WatersLethe wrote:
Here's a recent list I made:...

Nice list! Of the dozen or so house rules we play with, at least half are aimed at addressing things on this list.

One note:

WatersLethe wrote:

10. Starships benefit from having one big gun on a turret, guns on inactive firing arcs are wasted BP.

To this one might add:

10b. Shields are very cheap and do a lot to boost survivability. You should generally try to make your shields as strong as you reasonably can.

PC ships that do these two things (put some big weapon on turrets and max out shields) make standard starship encounters trivial.

Happily (as CorvusMask noted earlier) the Starship Operations Manual introduces an optional "BP-budget" rule which helps a lot here. It imposes hard constraints on how much of a ship's BP can be spent on turret weapons and shields (among other things). This does a lot to keep starship combat more reasonably balanced.


Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
WatersLethe wrote:

Here's a recent list I made:

1. All critical effects are almost entirely worthless. They have so many requirements to come into effect 9.75 times out of 10 they don't come up. Don't go out of your way to get items or abilities with critical effects.

2. Unless you're a melee character, starting with low Dex is straight up a mistake. Even casters are strongly encouraged to shoot guns, and sucking at that doesn't feel good at all.

3. Don't try to multiclass unless you know what you're doing precisely. The multiclassing system is essentially vestigial, unless you're very sure about what the tradeoffs are, and even then it's mostly a 1 level dip type thing.

4. Even the heaviest armor and shield combo will not keep you safe in melee. You will always get hit reliably. Enemies are tuned to easily hit players, and abandoning cover and possibly getting flanked means melee are going to be taking tons of damage, even if you try to build around having high AC.

5. Small arms are worthless for anyone but an Operative. Not only are they significantly behind in base damage, and typically have lower range, their damage from Weapon Specialization is halved. You can spend feats to make them slightly decent, or you could spend feats to go into longarms to get their better range, damage, and more frequent cool effects like Line which are useful for characters who only make one attack a round.

6. Most archetypes are absolute trash. They trade out really, really important parts of your class for really mediocre and often super niche abilities. Basically only the Soldier can take many of them because they mostly lose bonus combat feats, which aren't hyper valuable.

7. Many feats sound good but when you realize what it takes to use them, they rapidly lose value, to the point that some feats don't even see use over many many levels. Pick generally useful feats before rare-use feats.

8. Skills are balanced around having your class grant bonuses to them. If you're thinking about focusing on a skill that doesn't...

oh jeez, some of this might be a dealbreaker, especially the parts about archetypes and skills. Also the disparity in feat power, I might just wind up waiting for the fan 'Starfinder 2e' to get further along (or help.)


Archetypes are unfortunately true, but I find the skills easy to houserule. Especially if you adopt a PF2 system backwards into SF.


The-Magic-Sword wrote:
oh jeez, some of this might be a dealbreaker, especially the parts about archetypes and skills. Also the disparity in feat power, I might just wind up waiting for the fan 'Starfinder 2e' to get further along (or help.)

Not playing Starfinder because of archetypes would be an hilarious reason. And, as mentioned, soldiers can make almost any archetype work - other classes usually don't need archetypes, they have plenty of options.

The stuff about skills is so overblown. Skill monkeys dominate skills, that's that - they lack spells or robots to make up for it.


Also, SF archetypes are typically some mild flavor. They are nothing at all like PF2 archetypes - those don't really exist.

Not that they need to, you can typically build any class into any role (with varying degrees of success) with just their class options. That's really where system mastery is a thing - building a class to do something that's not their default forte.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Garretmander wrote:
Archetypes are unfortunately true, but I find the skills easy to houserule. Especially if you adopt a PF2 system backwards into SF.

I’ll add that the archetype issue is one of the easiest things to fix with a house rule.

The reason the Soldier is in a good place to take archetypes is that they trade out free combat feats for archetype abilities, which is generally a fair trade. Other classes generally trade out key class features for archetype abilities, which is not. You can make archetypes for every class viable by allowing every class to trade feats for archetype features just like the Soldier does. Namely:

“Every time a class trades out a class ability for an archetype, they can spend a feat to buy back that ability.” So for example, the Solarian gives up a stellar revelation for a 2nd level archetype ability. This house rule allows them to trade one of their later feats to get their 2nd-level stellar revelation choice back.

So while the default archetype rules are a reasonable thing to complain about, I hope these rules don’t dissuade anyone from trying the game. After all, this is one of the easiest things to fix. And even with these issues, I think Starfinder is a very fun game!

Dark Archive

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The-Magic-Sword wrote:
WatersLethe wrote:

Here's a recent list I made:

1. All critical effects are almost entirely worthless. They have so many requirements to come into effect 9.75 times out of 10 they don't come up. Don't go out of your way to get items or abilities with critical effects.

2. Unless you're a melee character, starting with low Dex is straight up a mistake. Even casters are strongly encouraged to shoot guns, and sucking at that doesn't feel good at all.

3. Don't try to multiclass unless you know what you're doing precisely. The multiclassing system is essentially vestigial, unless you're very sure about what the tradeoffs are, and even then it's mostly a 1 level dip type thing.

4. Even the heaviest armor and shield combo will not keep you safe in melee. You will always get hit reliably. Enemies are tuned to easily hit players, and abandoning cover and possibly getting flanked means melee are going to be taking tons of damage, even if you try to build around having high AC.

5. Small arms are worthless for anyone but an Operative. Not only are they significantly behind in base damage, and typically have lower range, their damage from Weapon Specialization is halved. You can spend feats to make them slightly decent, or you could spend feats to go into longarms to get their better range, damage, and more frequent cool effects like Line which are useful for characters who only make one attack a round.

6. Most archetypes are absolute trash. They trade out really, really important parts of your class for really mediocre and often super niche abilities. Basically only the Soldier can take many of them because they mostly lose bonus combat feats, which aren't hyper valuable.

7. Many feats sound good but when you realize what it takes to use them, they rapidly lose value, to the point that some feats don't even see use over many many levels. Pick generally useful feats before rare-use feats.

8. Skills are balanced around having your class grant bonuses to them. If you're thinking about

...

As someone who does prefer 2e to Starfinder and as result doesn't have super big stakes on this, please don't do that thing where plenty of people say something positive then single person says something really negative and you believe that opinion over any of other ones :p It makes it feel like you don't trust what people say if they sound positive and its disheartening. I don't disagree with most of stated stuff completely, but I don't think any of them are as deal breaker so you should just try out the system.

...Ah man I really don't want to do the "point by point response to a list" thing, but I kinda have to because that list is so long that if I want to point out what stuff I agree/disagree with, it would get confusing otherwise.

1) stunned critical hit effect is pretty stronk x'D no save, just stunned for one round. But yeah agreed on most of them being just "little nice extra", but there are couple of really nasty ones.

4) I don't think outside of society its completely true: In dead suns' finale, the most of PCs had AC of 29-31 and enemies with strongest attack bonuses had it in range of 19-22 (so if they do full attack, 16-20. Even lower attack because several of them had multiattacks, so 14 or 16). So what it means is that each enemy if they decided to attack only once had about 50% chance to hit or not hit while their ac was with exception of final boss about 22-25 for the mooks. And none of enemies had any healing abilities so at this point you should realize what I mean: Its not case of "You will get hit always" its case of "You can't just leeroy jenkins into room without tactics because its still risky enough" and this is game where taking one resolve and 10 minute rests gives you all stamina back so... Yeah, if you could easily get 25% hit chance, the game would be pretty easy.

5) I think that is more of optimization thing than "worthless", my observation is that character who use them still deal enough damage to keep up and usually aren't being main damage dealers anyway. Plus some characters might want to have backup weapon in other hand or have low strength so not much bulk carrying capacity. Still though it is true that math wise, longarms just do more damage so if they want to deal with damage, there is no strong reason to not just take feat to get profiency in longarms.

6) I do agree that soldier is most benefited by archetypes since they only change feats for it and that some classes change more important stuff for them than others, but I object with language "only soldier really can" because you absolutely can take them with any of your characters and its not like your character will be useless. And again, I think the language on "really important parts of your class" kinda ignores that for most classes what you switch out are equivalent of 1e rogue tricks or 2e class feats: Aka sometimes you might be like "Yeah sure instead of picking up this mechanic trick, I could take that archetype instead"

So again, if you for whatever reason don't for example really care about Solarian's solar revelations and really want one specific archetype for flavor or whatever, you can do so. But on otherhand technomancer shouldn't take most archetypes since they trade amount of spells known for them :p So pretty mixed bag on this, some classes trade out WAY too important things for archetypes.

(and again, some of archetype abilities are really neat ones :p So I wouldn't write them off without checking them out)

7) Hard to comment out on that since I don't remember most of them, but I saw players using plenty of odd feats and in my general experience has been that feats aren't super important anyway so you can for most part pick what you want. The starfinder feat list isn't that big so eh.

8) This is really issue only in Starfinder Society. Plus obtaining class skills isn't hard in the system. But yes, there is problem that skill dcs kinda assume that you always max out ranks.

11) I think that is harsh on witchwarper. Only like one paradim shift uses spellslot so I assume they are talking about infinite worlds, which is more like "okay so you have spells you picked out and spell effects all witchwarper have that you can use with spellslots". And again, its single class feature that does this, so I think it sounds oddly harsh to say witchwarper sucks hards because of it.

13) I nitpick here just on akatas being "common enemy type" unless lot of gms really want to run "Aliens, but on level 1" x'D Which I could actually see being case. But I otherwise agree that yeah, having back up damage types is important because there is greater variance of weirder resistances with starfinder.


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Porridge wrote:

A lot of great responses, and I agree with most of what’s been said. One addendum:

Ixal wrote:

5. Starfinder is combat heavy so you won't be able to run noncombat adventures as well as in, for example, Traveller. ...

Starships also miss a lot of utility. Their only use so far is being a base for crafting, a plot device to get from A to B and for combat. No mining, salvaging, or otherwise earning a living through your ship like in Traveller.

This is true if you’re just using the CRB. But it’s worth flagging that the Fly Free or Die AP introduces detailed rules regarding finding, buying and selling goods, building a mercantile company, and using starships to transport cargo. And I could easily see someone running a merchant-based campaign using these rules!

Traveller is a lot more than just the starships. Its skill system is a lot more detailed which results in more players having the spotlight.

In Starfinder there are too few skills and some classes are simply too good at them. The operative will dominate non combat adventures and be in the spotlight for most of the session, simply because he is the best at everything non combat, only stepping aside for the envoy for social interactions (and all social interactions, be it arguing in court, making trade deals or seducing someone is the same skill. In Traveller a good lawyer is not automatically a good trader).

And as for starships, even with the AP Starfinder suffers from the disconnect of starships to everything else.
I probably should have mentioned that sooner @OP. Another problem (in my eyes) is that starships have no interaction with the characters wealth. You can't spend money on starships or use starships to earn money. The starship just gets better when you level for <insert reason>. Even with the optional trading system you can only earn more build points for the starship but no money. That just increases the disconnect between starships and the rest of the setting as there is no interaction between them.


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Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

The very short note before heading to work:

If you're comparing to Traveller or MegaTraveller, you don't have to worry about dying during character creation.

:>

Will try to come up with more when I get home from work.


Look at the good side: even though they complain, they still play the game (or at least hang around the forum... to complain).


Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
CorvusMask wrote:
The-Magic-Sword wrote:
WatersLethe wrote:

Here's a recent list I made:

1. All critical effects are almost entirely worthless. They have so many requirements to come into effect 9.75 times out of 10 they don't come up. Don't go out of your way to get items or abilities with critical effects.

2. Unless you're a melee character, starting with low Dex is straight up a mistake. Even casters are strongly encouraged to shoot guns, and sucking at that doesn't feel good at all.

3. Don't try to multiclass unless you know what you're doing precisely. The multiclassing system is essentially vestigial, unless you're very sure about what the tradeoffs are, and even then it's mostly a 1 level dip type thing.

4. Even the heaviest armor and shield combo will not keep you safe in melee. You will always get hit reliably. Enemies are tuned to easily hit players, and abandoning cover and possibly getting flanked means melee are going to be taking tons of damage, even if you try to build around having high AC.

5. Small arms are worthless for anyone but an Operative. Not only are they significantly behind in base damage, and typically have lower range, their damage from Weapon Specialization is halved. You can spend feats to make them slightly decent, or you could spend feats to go into longarms to get their better range, damage, and more frequent cool effects like Line which are useful for characters who only make one attack a round.

6. Most archetypes are absolute trash. They trade out really, really important parts of your class for really mediocre and often super niche abilities. Basically only the Soldier can take many of them because they mostly lose bonus combat feats, which aren't hyper valuable.

7. Many feats sound good but when you realize what it takes to use them, they rapidly lose value, to the point that some feats don't even see use over many many levels. Pick generally useful feats before rare-use feats.

8. Skills are balanced around having your class grant bonuses to

...

I'm not, I promise, I hate those threads too-- its just I love the idea of the customization offered by archetypes and I'm not crazy about having an entire category of what are functionally trap options. I'm still considering it for the good things people are saying, and my material interest in it-- I'm already framing starship stuff in my head as something that good prep can make more fun by making sure everyone has a role in the engagement and treats as a mode to build for. I'm looking forward to the mech rules and etc.

Basically, I want to make sure I'm getting into a game that functions well, and I know my players do too-- we don't want a game with a lot of traps and dead options and such, or with super wonky difficulty that never works.


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The-Magic-Sword wrote:

I'm not, I promise, I hate those threads too-- its just I love the idea of the customization offered by archetypes and I'm not crazy about having an entire category of what are functionally trap options. I'm still considering it for the good things people are saying, and my material interest in it-- I'm already framing starship stuff in my head as something that good prep can make more fun by making sure everyone has a role in the engagement and treats as a mode to build for. I'm looking forward to the mech rules and etc.

Basically, I want to make sure I'm getting into a game that functions well, and I know my players do too-- we don't want a game with a lot of traps and dead options and such, or with super wonky difficulty that never works

Then I'd suggest the houserule mentioned uptrend where you can buy back lost class features with general feats.

Most archetypes have one key ability you want, then several flavor abilities that are less powerful than the class features they replace. Buying the feature back tends to take the sting out of being forced to take the whole archetype.

Dataphiles

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Despite the framework being a little odd in places, I think that there are easy tweaks to make it better.

*Instead of classes establishing the key stat, allow each character to establish that character's key stat at character creation. This opens up creativity for players to make interesting version of classes.

*With archetypes, allow the character to choose whether or not they want the option at that specific level. This way they lose a class option when they do want the archetype option and don't lose class options when they do not want the archetype option.


Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

I'll also point out that your posts aren't what I'm using to determine whether I'll play, they're things me and my group are going to be be prepped to look out for while we go through the pdfs I bought on sale a while ago. So I'm going to be looking directly at the rules in question before I decide.

On that note, what are some things we really *love* about Starfinder as a system for us to look out for?


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The-Magic-Sword wrote:
On that note, what are some things we really *love* about Starfinder as a system for us to look out for?

The oodles of augmentations that do all kinds of neat stuff. The massive list of playable aliens. The tiered buying list that means even if you give your players way too much money they can't go completely overboard, and even if they do the problem will sort itself out in a few levels. The artwork. The enemies having low AC and high to hit means summons and undead can be useful for a few levels, but their low hp and AC means they can't replace party members the way pf1 summons could.


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Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

The setting is an absolute BLAST. You can flex a significant portion of your Pathfinder knowledge because for the most part deities, planes, magic, and the universe are fundamentally the same. That's the main thing I enjoy about the system, which is why I'm pretty hopeful about the Starfinder 2e conversion. It takes the setting and uses the better system.

Some other things I like about the system:

1. Quick Pick Ability Arrays. Embrace them. They let you play an species you want without too much trouble.

2. Augmentations. There are some really cool augmentations you can add to your character that you can't really do in Pathfinder. It can feel more permanent and impactful than a typical item purchase.

3. Uplifted Bears. nuff said.

4. Controversial, but Starship Build Points. They're a nebulous game construct that separates personal wealth from ship power, and you're assumed to progress in BP as you level, but it also can make for a fantastic reward. A few extra BP beyond what the game expects can be really useful for squeezing out more from your ship.

5. Stamina and Resolve. The 10 minute rest to regain all of your stamina at the cost of a resolve point plays buttery smooth at the table. It really feels like Stamina is a renewable resource, and HP damage is more serious. You can end up with satisfyingly long adventuring days with the system. Pathfinder 2e doesn't need it, because of how easy they made it to regain HP, but with Starfinder built around it, you can fully enjoy it in its natural environment.

6. Solarian. The class is distinct, and with the right build plays in a unique manner. I loved being able to pull out a "lightsaber" at first level and absolutely demolish a bunch of weak enemies with my attack of opportunity and strength damage.


Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

Oh also, really quick, I know mech rules were being play tested, do we know if they're intended to be compatible with the Starship Rules? I'm a big Gundam fan.


The-Magic-Sword wrote:
Oh also, really quick, I know mech rules were being play tested, do we know if they're intended to be compatible with the Starship Rules? I'm a big Gundam fan.

Not in the playtest.

Playtest mechs were a way to punch above your weight class against tougher enemies or opposing mechanics.

Now, there's little reason not to build a tiny starship stat block for your mechs as their stats in a starship fight. You can go a step further and use the squadron rules from the starship manual as your players pilot their mechs in space then go back to land at the squadron HQ ship later.


Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
Garretmander wrote:
The-Magic-Sword wrote:
Oh also, really quick, I know mech rules were being play tested, do we know if they're intended to be compatible with the Starship Rules? I'm a big Gundam fan.

Not in the playtest.

Playtest mechs were a way to punch above your weight class against tougher enemies or opposing mechanics.

Now, there's little reason not to build a tiny starship stat block for your mechs as their stats in a starship fight. You can go a step further and use the squadron rules from the starship manual as your players pilot their mechs in space then go back to land at the squadron HQ ship later.

I was thinking something like that, so long as the 'starship' side stats wouldn't be too hard to produce, that would work fine, in the abstract they aren't too different from fighters after all (in the context of a space battle)


Quote:
1. . Is this the sort of game where our optimizers will use obscure systems knowledge to outpace those who don't do the research unless they hold themselves way back?

No. The math between an uber optimized and moderately optimized character has been tightened a LOT. Stacking 11nty billion bonuses from buffs skills magic items class abilities feats etc. has been drastically toned down.

There are a few character options that don't work very well, and as long as you avoid those you should be in the same ballpark as everyone else.

-Pistol users besides operatives
-Two gun kid
-Non magical medic Doctor (healing in general is less powerful/necessary)
-Buff only envoys

The only rare thing i've seen that really effects the game is a mounted bipod for longarms. And I think that was a deliberate boost.

Quote:
Take for granted that all of the players can follow simple optimization rules (like always boosting the primary stat in 2e) but not conduct extensive build research.

Not necessarily. Solarions get more out of str. than charisma, envoys don't need an uber charisma (I prioritized dex/int on mine) , biohackers need more/as much dex as int/wis ,.. if a classes main ability isn't a hit stat somehow (either landing lasers or landing spells through someones save) double check that you're getting what you pay for.

From what I recall of adventure paths the XP is pretty close but the treasure levels are more than a little low.

Quote:
2. Similarly, we have fears about some clunkier mechanics, I understand Touch AC isn't a thing anymore but BAB is, can someone tell me about what's been streamlined compared to Pathfinder 1e? What are the big points of how the system has been made easier to grok and book keep?

Characters have two armor classes, EAC and KAC. Energy armor class is against touch attacks, lasers, globs of acid spit, etc, KAC is against guns knives sharp pointy teeth and space snakes trying to cuddle you.

You no longer get one attack per hand. This makes your attack routine either attack, or full attack at -4 -4 (which you can do from level 1)

Most skill bonuses are insight bonuses so won't stack with each other.

When you get KOd 0 is the only HP total you need to worry about. You can spend 1 resolve to not die, and then on the next round spend 1 resolve to cue Chumbawamba get knocked down and get up again.

Quote:
3. Hows the resolve system? I mostly just want to hear about whether its enjoyable and your experiences with it.

Its pretty good for giving players a lot of resiliancy while making it feel like they're in reala danger.

4. Finally Starship Combat, is it fun?

I am not a fan.

Quote:
I've heard its a matter of if people know the things they can do, and plan to have something they can usefully do in this mode, which would be alright

The problem is that once you know what you can/should be doing in starship combat it turns out you can/should be doing the same thing nearly every time. This is just a pass/fail skill check.

The pilot has interesting meaningful and tactical choices that matter bot in moving and which stunts they pick. The pilot has by far the most agency. The pilot needs to balance

1) Pointing the ships big guns at the other ship
2) Staying away from the other ships big guns
3) Keeping the ships damage shields out of the line of fire.
4) aiming at the opponents damaged shields.

The gunners have most of the effect, because if they miss then nothing anyone did that round really manners.

If you let players optimize/build their ship they make whats known as a death sphere with a huge turret/s that don't care which way they're facing that blow enemy ships away before you can say "Nuclear launch detected"

Low level starship combat has a problem where if the dice are a little cold a ship can regen their shields as fast as an unoptimize ship can burn them off.

Starship combat rules breakdown, advice, and semi foaming rant all in one

Quote:
Starship stuff is a big selling point for me-- of all kinds, star wars fighter squadron play, capital ships, Star Trek scale, Gundam mecha in space (I know mechs are upcoming but that there was a playtest?)you name it.

You should look at the starship operations manual, they have rules for squadron ships.

Quote:
5. I've already discussed it with my players, and they don't mind stream crossing so there's no need for 'hard sci fi' in the purity of the sci fi sense, with that in mind, can I do most kinds of action sci fi in this system? Stories about grand wars, intrepid explorers, interstellar politics, smugglers and bounty hunters, mysterious space creatures, first contact, droids, sci-fi cantinas, fighter pilots, sci fi horror, and so forth?

Eyup. If i want to be really snarky i can describe a lot of the sfs scenarios as "even horizon the adventure" "Big Alien in little tokyo" or " The scariest words in the galaxy We're from the starfinders and we're here to help!"

Welcome to the galaxy!


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
The-Magic-Sword wrote:
Very cool, I sppreciate all the responses! Some of you mentioned traps, would someone mind discussing the big ones and why so I can get a feel for the balance?

At character creation, I think there's just three things to keep in mind to avoid the main "traps":

1. You want at least a 14 in your weapon attack stat (Dex or Str), and in your class's key ability score.
2. You want proficiency in either Longarms, Heavy Weapons, or Advanced Melee Weapons. (Exception: You can ignore this if you're an Operative.)
3. You want to be very good (=max skill ranks and either a high stat bonus, a class bonus, or both) at the skill(s) related to one of the starship combat roles (Diplomacy/Intimidate/Bluff, Piloting, Computers, Engineering, Athletics, Mysticism). (Exception: You can ignore this if you have a full BAB class.)

And to avoid traps when leveling up, I'd add:

4. Don't multi-class, take an archetype, or take less than max ranks in a skill, unless you've thought about it carefully and know what you're doing.

The-Magic-Sword wrote:
On that note, what are some things we really *love* about Starfinder as a system for us to look out for?

Lots of things, but the highlights for me are:

1. Setting: The setting is *fantastic*. The Pact Worlds book entry on Akiton alone gave me ideas for a half-dozen campaigns. The entry on Verces gave me another half-dozen. The whole setting is just crammed with plot hooks and potential adventure threads of every flavor one could imagine. And that’s not even touching on all the potential plot threads one could tie to ancient Golarion or the Gap. (In the vein, I highly recommend the Pact Worlds and Near Space source books.)

2. Adventure Paths: The AP quality is really good right now. There are lots of top-notch APs to choose from, like Against the Aeon Throne, The Threefold Conspiracy, Fly Free or Die, etc, and ones which offer very different themes and angles, making it easy to find something that fits the kind of game you’d like to run.

3. Races: The variety of races and character concepts you can play is staggering. Want to play a robot? An undead corpse? A four armed giant? A floating brain? A shapeshifting star fish? A living organic unicycle? Starfinder’s got you covered!

4. Balance: Mechanically, the game is tightly balanced. You don’t have to worry about players min-maxing their way into game-wrecking powerhouses. You don’t have to worry much about players creating characters that are severely under-powered compared to the rest of the party (assuming they avoid a few traps, see above). And as a GM, you don’t have to spend as nearly as much time revamping encounters to be challenging as you did in (say) PF1.

Dark Archive

The-Magic-Sword wrote:
CorvusMask wrote:
The-Magic-Sword wrote:
WatersLethe wrote:

Here's a recent list I made:

1. All critical effects are almost entirely worthless. They have so many requirements to come into effect 9.75 times out of 10 they don't come up. Don't go out of your way to get items or abilities with critical effects.

2. Unless you're a melee character, starting with low Dex is straight up a mistake. Even casters are strongly encouraged to shoot guns, and sucking at that doesn't feel good at all.

3. Don't try to multiclass unless you know what you're doing precisely. The multiclassing system is essentially vestigial, unless you're very sure about what the tradeoffs are, and even then it's mostly a 1 level dip type thing.

4. Even the heaviest armor and shield combo will not keep you safe in melee. You will always get hit reliably. Enemies are tuned to easily hit players, and abandoning cover and possibly getting flanked means melee are going to be taking tons of damage, even if you try to build around having high AC.

5. Small arms are worthless for anyone but an Operative. Not only are they significantly behind in base damage, and typically have lower range, their damage from Weapon Specialization is halved. You can spend feats to make them slightly decent, or you could spend feats to go into longarms to get their better range, damage, and more frequent cool effects like Line which are useful for characters who only make one attack a round.

6. Most archetypes are absolute trash. They trade out really, really important parts of your class for really mediocre and often super niche abilities. Basically only the Soldier can take many of them because they mostly lose bonus combat feats, which aren't hyper valuable.

7. Many feats sound good but when you realize what it takes to use them, they rapidly lose value, to the point that some feats don't even see use over many many levels. Pick generally useful feats before rare-use feats.

8. Skills are balanced around having

...

Thats the thing though, I don't think there are trap options in sense of "Abilities which if you pick make the character unplayable" because balance of game means that you are able to keep up even if you aren't most optimal character. There are straight up more optimal options yes, but you don't HAVE to be optimal to keep up with the math.

(Though again, even then I'd never recommend picking archetype with class where you exchange spells known for them)


Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
CorvusMask wrote:
The-Magic-Sword wrote:
CorvusMask wrote:
The-Magic-Sword wrote:
WatersLethe wrote:

Here's a recent list I made:

1. All critical effects are almost entirely worthless. They have so many requirements to come into effect 9.75 times out of 10 they don't come up. Don't go out of your way to get items or abilities with critical effects.

2. Unless you're a melee character, starting with low Dex is straight up a mistake. Even casters are strongly encouraged to shoot guns, and sucking at that doesn't feel good at all.

3. Don't try to multiclass unless you know what you're doing precisely. The multiclassing system is essentially vestigial, unless you're very sure about what the tradeoffs are, and even then it's mostly a 1 level dip type thing.

4. Even the heaviest armor and shield combo will not keep you safe in melee. You will always get hit reliably. Enemies are tuned to easily hit players, and abandoning cover and possibly getting flanked means melee are going to be taking tons of damage, even if you try to build around having high AC.

5. Small arms are worthless for anyone but an Operative. Not only are they significantly behind in base damage, and typically have lower range, their damage from Weapon Specialization is halved. You can spend feats to make them slightly decent, or you could spend feats to go into longarms to get their better range, damage, and more frequent cool effects like Line which are useful for characters who only make one attack a round.

6. Most archetypes are absolute trash. They trade out really, really important parts of your class for really mediocre and often super niche abilities. Basically only the Soldier can take many of them because they mostly lose bonus combat feats, which aren't hyper valuable.

7. Many feats sound good but when you realize what it takes to use them, they rapidly lose value, to the point that some feats don't even see use over many many levels. Pick generally useful feats before rare-use feats.

8.

...

That's good then, its what I'm here to find out from you guys : ) because I like that Pathfinder 2e works that way as well.


Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Unlike some systems, taking a second class should be weighed against the benefits one gets from the first class.

My nuar fashion-designer Soldier took a brief dip into Envoy to better reflect her social awareness. This sort of rp-driven concept hasn't been too horrible.

In fact, I made a pure Envoy's player giddy at a table because I could handle directing the party (via 'Get 'em') while they got to do other cool Envoy stuff.

Something important to consider is that one can purchase ability augmentation as their character levels, in addition to ability raises much like PF2.

It may not feel like much...at first.


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Wei ji the learner wrote:
Something important to consider is that one can purchase ability augmentation as their character levels, in addition to ability raises much like PF2.

I'd consider the personal upgrades/ability augments mandatory equipment in the same vein as PF2's armor runes. Possibly more so.


Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Garretmander wrote:
Wei ji the learner wrote:
Something important to consider is that one can purchase ability augmentation as their character levels, in addition to ability raises much like PF2.
I'd consider the personal upgrades/ability augments mandatory equipment in the same vein as PF2's armor runes. Possibly more so.

Haven't played enough PFS2 to even really look at armor runes yet, so I don't have a baseline of comparison in that regard.


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Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

So I am pleased to announce that I settled on Starfinder, and have since ordered my pocket edition of the Core Rulebook!

Thank you everyone for your help.


The-Magic-Sword wrote:

So I am pleased to announce that I settled on Starfinder, and have since ordered my pocket edition of the Core Rulebook!

Thank you everyone for your help.

Have fun with it. Any idea what you want to run first (One shot, own creation, AP)?


Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
The-Magic-Sword wrote:

So I am pleased to announce that I settled on Starfinder, and have since ordered my pocket edition of the Core Rulebook!

Thank you everyone for your help.

Cool.

Don't hesitate to ask for advice or if you have further questions. It's how we all learn. :>


Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
Ixal wrote:
The-Magic-Sword wrote:

So I am pleased to announce that I settled on Starfinder, and have since ordered my pocket edition of the Core Rulebook!

Thank you everyone for your help.

Have fun with it. Any idea what you want to run first (One shot, own creation, AP)?

probably gonna be a bit, but we primarily run homebrew. Next step for us is to decide what to do setting wise, I know the core Starfinder setting is great, but we're thinking about doing something connected to our homebrew pathfinder setting.


The-Magic-Sword wrote:


probably gonna be a bit, but we primarily run homebrew. Next step for us is to decide what to do setting wise, I know the core Starfinder setting is great, but we're thinking about doing something connected to our homebrew pathfinder setting.

As long as it is not too "hard scifi" (meaning at all). Starfinder is not good with that sadly.

Many people seem to have problems accepting how FTL travel in Starfinder works, simply because its different from the normal tropes. The main thing is that in Starfinder physical distances do not matter and you do not have coherent star empires.


I love the drift as an FTL system just because it is so different. When you're telling a space fleet vs space fleet story you really have to sit down and think about how it is going to affect the battle.

An important bit to remember is that if you're drifting within a system, you aren't going faster than light. Only when you go system to system.


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Local travel= Impulse power= taking the side streets

Interstellar travel= taking the highway. Cue up the radio and floor it.


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Well you're technically never moving FTL unless you're using a Constellation Orrery, as all the other Interstellar drives operate on the principle of planeshifting; move to another plane where locations correlate to locations in the prime material but the distances are compressed/foreshortened, travel through that plane at sub-light speeds, reach a location in that plane that correlates to your destination in the Prime Material, shift back. A lot of sci fi settings use this idea to get around the speed of light.

Or use a Fold Gate which makes a worm hole, so again you're technically never reaching ftl speeds, it's just that the distances are being altered & shortcuts are being made.

The Drift does certainly have it's unique/unusual selling points & I really like it, but as a general concept it's not breaking new ground.


FormerFiend wrote:
Well you're technically never moving FTL

What I was saying is that if you're in orbit of triaxus and send a radio message to Castrovel, that message will take some amount of minutes to hours to get there at the speed of light. If you drift there with a basic drift engine it will take you a few days most likely.

Normally in scifi where they use another plane to get around the laws of physics they can still go FTL relative to the material plane when hopping about in system. You're only barely beating sublights with drift engines.

The only time drift engines are FTL relative to the material plane are if you get lucky (roll a one), have at least a x3 drift engine, and even then you probably need to be going from the edge of a system to the opposite edge.

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