Character death

Starfinder Society

5/55/5 *

Just curious if you've ever experienced or even witnessed a character death in SFS? I have never seen one. If you have, I'm curious as to what level the character was.

Yup. My first time GMing for a convention, and one of my first few for GMing for SFS in general, I was rolling openly and the table watched as the undead alien crit, causing Massive Damage to the poor level two character. I felt reeeeeeally bad about that one. Thankfully the guy was cool about it, and played a special that brought him right back to level 2 with a rebuild.


Sczarni 5/5 5/55/5 ***

I've been in one TPK. I can't recall killing any characters as a GM. I want to say I've been at a couple tables where a character died, but I couldn't tell you right now what they were.

Dark Archive 2/5 5/5

I have been at one table where it was players choice tpk, though I wont say which scenario it happened in. Everyone had enough fame to get a raise dead.

Sczarni 5/5 5/55/5 ***

Earlier, I wrote:
I can't recall killing any characters as a GM.

I think this comment must be what's jinxing my players in my current PbP =(

1/5 5/5

Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Nefreet wrote:
Earlier, I wrote:
I can't recall killing any characters as a GM.
I think this comment must be what's jinxing my players in my current PbP =(

Yep, we're well on course for both the first character death I'll see at an SFS table and potentially a TPK/mission fail.

The Exchange 4/5 5/5

My PCs have died a couple of times. I've come back both times.

Was GMing a Tier 1-4 scenario where a PC died to radiation disease. Fortunately he had the Fame to come back.

I do find making sure you have the reserves to come back in Starfinder to be a more delicate balancing act than PF1 was. (Granted, that's at least partly because I love buying all kinds of boons so I'm chronically short of Fame. I know there are plenty of people who never spend any Fame.) But the money/cost curve is also different. In a PF1 tier 3-4 scenario, a 6-player table would get enough money to bring back at least one PC who died. Not true in a SF Tier 3-4. And selling equipment is a very poor return.


Book 1 of a certain early Starfinder AP wiped the whole party with the last boss fight because playing by SFS rules everyone was level 1 and couldn't handle the boss abilities.

1/5 5/55/5 ** Venture-Agent, Online—VTT

In SFS I think I've seen a total of 3 deaths (not counting special occasions that I believe someone was referring to, above). The highest level of those was 7.


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Pathfinder Starfinder Society Subscriber

I've only seen one death, and that was at a table I was GM-ing where a PC heroically sacrificed themselves to trigger a trap so that it would catch the scenario's boss in its blast. The PCs player had ulterior motives though - they wanted their character to die because they had a boon that required it.

4/5 5/55/55/55/5 *** Regional Venture-Coordinator, Central Europe

So far I have seen 2 deaths in starfinder.
One was an unlucky critical hit on an already wounded level 1 Obozaya that triggered massive damage in an SFS scenario.
And the second one was in an AP when someone just failed all their saves against a poison and reached the death state.

1/5 5/55/5 ** Venture-Agent, Online—VTT

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Oh, if we count APs, the number of deaths goes up significantly.

5/55/5 *

RealAlchemy wrote:
Book 1 of a certain early Starfinder AP wiped the whole party with the last boss fight because playing by SFS rules everyone was level 1 and couldn't handle the boss abilities.

Yes I am pretty sure I know what you are talking about. Wildly unbalanced.

1/5 5/55/5 ** Venture-Agent, Online—VTT

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Honestly, there are several that could fit the bill. Throwing level 1 characters into the major end of book battle for an AP volume that is absolutely not written for them to still be level 1 just doesn't ever work well. The difference between the durability of level 1 and level 2 characters is too significant for playing an AP volume in Event Mode with level 1 characters to make any sense.

5/5 5/55/55/5

I've had one. The character was dropped, and proceeded to resolve tank against the big boss and heal the other characters.

As the DM I warned the player he could get ganked hard enough to die with a crit.

As the Boss (a teacher of sorts) in character I warned the character that his "possum style" needed work.. (and he would know what good possum style looked like) he may want to lie down, drool a bit, loll out his tongue oh yeah and stop shooting me.

-I'm fine I've got resolve....- The dice LOVE when you say things like that. It wasn't a critical hit but it was a boatload of D8s with nothing under a 5 Went from 1 HP to negative more than their HP in one hit. This was at level 11ish.

I've had a really close call with level 1's tripping a level draining trap. (They.. kinda had it coming) but picked the worst trap to have their luck go cold. Wound up scrambling for enough rerolls granted by the scenario to get the job done and didn't fight the final boss (a we had no time, were double checking rerolls, B, they would have masacred a party at 1/4 of its strength)

Level 1 its really easy to have a lucky crit or even a full attack put you at risk of being dead. I had a full attack drop a character on the first hit, the second hit would have killed them if they hadn't gone down (and the NPC had a good reason not to take the second swing)

As a player I've been REAALLY close from an explosive blast at zero HP. I think i was saved by the fact that you go to one HP when you get up and not 0 HP. around level 7ish.

I like how the system can make it SEEM like you're gonna die but let you get away seemingly by the skin of your teeth.

1/5 5/55/55/5 *

I have been in one TPK (everyone had Fame for body recovery and raise) and know of one other in the neighboring lodge (entire table was permakilled). There is one other character death that I can remember, but that one was raised with Fame as well.

TPKs with season 1 scenario spoilers:
Norys in #1-19 slaughtered the team with her tricks and fast-recharge breath weapon.
The entire low-tier team was gunned down in the #1-18 ambush alley.

Other death with light season 2 spoilers:
Nanotech golem made rat pancake out of our operative grandma. At least it was quick (massive damage).

There have been cases when someone elected not to wake up because they had one resolve left and the battlefield was likely to take random area damage. But the listed ones are the only local deaths over 2.5 seasons of SFS that I an aware of.

Grand Lodge 4/5 5/55/5 ***

This is actually what sort of turned me off of SFS. I admit to not having played a ton, but I do have a level 6 and a level 3 toon and the complete lack of risk I've experienced made the game feel unchallenging. I know that's not everyone's experience, but its mine. When the end result feels like a foregone conclusion, I lose interest pretty quickly. The grandness of the yearly special's story is about the only thing I look forward to theses days. Otherwise, my SFS PCs just sit in the folder. YMMV.

The Exchange 4/5 5/5

You may want re-evaluate once you get to higher-level scenarios, Bob. Although it might not be to your liking for different reasons.

I've felt like some of the Tier 5-8 and above scenarios, particularly 7-10, have really teetered on a knife's edge. Where a couple of bad rolls could result in a cascade effect that ends in a TPK. When you get in a situation where only 3 PCs are available in a fight that would be a challenge for 5.

Possible Reasons:
1. The fight has more enemies than there are PCs. A moderate CR enemy in Starfinder rarely goes down in one round of focused attacks. Some good rolls by the bad guys and now one PC is down and the odds have swung further against the PCs. It is going to take a couple of rounds for that PC to stabilize and then stay in the fight, then more rounds to safely recover weapons and get to a point where they aren't going to be dropped by the (nearly-always-hitting) AoO.
2. The bad guy (or the environment) has a way of possibly taking two or more PCs out of the fight quickly. Whether it's a big breath weapon or a radiation effect, bad saves can either knock unconscious multiple PCs or have them scrambling to stay alive rather than fighting.
3. There have been several scenarios that feature a "wave" mechanic with more enemies coming in every X rounds. If you don't realize how to stop the waves (if possible) or have one or two PCs unconscious from good enemy rolls, it can start the cascade.

I know that some of my GMs have softballed some of these encounters to avoid the potential wipe. Which in turn makes it feel like not a challenge.

Of course that's not true all the time. If you have a group that just matches up great with the encounter or if the dice are running your way, then the fight is going to be a pushover. And some scenarios are not as challenging.

1/5 5/55/55/5 *

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I wouldn't say there is a complete lack of risk. Resolve rules just tend to give everyone a fairly good sense about how much beating they can take. If the boss flattens you with single blow, it's usually not a good idea to wake up next to it. Characters stay unconscious and wait for the others to pull the enemy away before expending Resolve to wake up. If the fight is already teetering on an edge, that's when you wake up immediately and hope for a chance to get a lucky shot, healing, or spell (after the boss expends his reaction on the resident hp-bucket dancing around its threat range), or just escape.

As Belafon said, there are fights and situations where you absolutely wonder if you are going to survive. Usually you do if main combatants leveled their weapon to something that actually deals damage or the boss is cursed by Roll5 for two rounds in a row.

Low-level fights are easy, with a couple of exceptions. Mid-tier fights are winnable with basic equipment, assuming a balanced party. High-tier fights are tough if bad luck exposes the party to a debuff effect or area damage, or the party doesn't have proper source of damage. High level enemies have so many hit points that a simple azimuth laser pistol's 1d4+5 is not going to cut it, unless you are an operative. To be honest, 2d4+5 isn't much better, so if you want to contribute, heavier weapons, spells, or boosting others are necessary.

PC survival is not the most reliable metric for Starfinder combat challenge. Thanks to the Resolve system, it's usually a TPK or not. Single-character deaths tend to happen because of massive damage (very rare) or ongoing or area damage in an otherwise tough fight.

Dark Archive 4/5 ** Venture-Agent, Finland—Tampere

Yeah, if in Pathfinder difficult fight is any fight where character gets temporarely KO'd, in Starfinder its when you start to lose HP even if you don't lose resolve.

I've seen lot of encounter that kick PC but in higher tier scenarios and few ones that are very insane "well this enemy is capable of alone knocking out 4 characters to unconscious in couple turns with multi attacks" <_<

Grand Lodge 4/5 5/55/5 ***

Belafon wrote:
You may want re-evaluate once you get to higher-level scenarios

Perhaps. As I get into more 5-8/7-10 tiers in specials with my -1 maybe my impression will change. I'm the kinda of person willing to start any book, but it has 50 pages to grab my attention. If not, I'm done. Life is too short to not be entertained. So, if I have to wait until the mid-point of the "book" level 8+ before I feel challenged (re:interested), then SFS is just not the game for me. By contrast, my first few experiences with 2E saw multiple PCs pushing the Dying conditions such that the characters had their hand on the door knob to the afterlife. This is just my experience and YMMV.

Second Seekers (Jadnura) 1/5 5/55/5

Pathfinder Starfinder Society Subscriber

Having played or GM'd most of the currently available "high tier" stuff (basically everything Tier 7-10, 9-12, but not yet the lone 11-14) I will also add that my experience agrees; it gets more deadly. Season 3's Fleeting Truth arc in particular has some real TPK possibility!

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