Spells and Mechs - Interactions and Other Questions


Rules Questions


Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Now that Tech Revolution is out and we've had a chance to take a look at mechs, I have some questions regarding mechs and their interactions with spell casters and magic.

1. Can a spellcaster cast a spell while operating a mech? Can that spell affect an enemy mech or another target outside the mech's space? Can that spell affect the mech the spellcaster is operating?

2. We know that a mech is not considered an object. Is a mech considered a construct for the purposes of spells and effects? What about an unattended, inactive mech?

3. Can a mech be remotely controlled, or does the operator have to be physically present in the mech's space?


Maester Jun Ixnar wrote:

Now that Tech Revolution is out and we've had a chance to take a look at mechs, I have some questions regarding mechs and their interactions with spell casters and magic.

1. Can a spellcaster cast a spell while operating a mech? Can that spell affect an enemy mech or another target outside the mech's space? Can that spell affect the mech the spellcaster is operating?

2. We know that a mech is not considered an object. Is a mech considered a construct for the purposes of spells and effects? What about an unattended, inactive mech?

3. Can a mech be remotely controlled, or does the operator have to be physically present in the mech's space?

1) Yes you can spend actions inside a mech to do other things besides pilot, including spells. If you're inside the mech you don't have line of effect outside the mech, so you can't affect targets outside. It can affect the mech from inside though.

2) A mech is considered a construct for the purpose of spells and effects. An inactive mech is treated the same as an inactive construct - not an object.

3) There are currently no ways to remote control a mech. The operator must be not only in the mech's space, but inside the mech and piloting it.

Acquisitives

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Garretmander wrote:
2) A mech is considered a construct for the purpose of spells and effects. An inactive mech is treated the same as an inactive construct - not an object.

How does that work for something like OVERLOAD?

A mech isn't a creature - it has no Will Save.


Assuming that's the mechanic's class feature of the same name. Overload doesn't affect androids, cybernetics, drones, power armor, or robots because they all have built in shielding against that sort of attack. I would say that mechs also have the same built in safeties.

Acquisitives

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Garretmander wrote:
Assuming that's the mechanic's class feature of the same name. Overload doesn't affect androids, cybernetics, drones, power armor, or robots because they all have built in shielding against that sort of attack. I would say that mechs also have the same built in safeties.

sorry, i meant OVERRIDE, the improved version of OVERLOAD.


I would say no because mechs aren't on the list...

But, I also wouldn't have an NPC use that class feature on a PC mech in combat. However, if I had a mech fighting the PCs I'd probably build it as an NPC creature rather than a full mech, and at that point I'd probably let it work.

Rules as written override doesn't work because it doesn't mention mechs.


Mechs aren't objects, but they're constructs with the technological subtype. Construct is a creature type. They are never explicity called creatures, though, and the example blocks are written with the frame name (Gargantuan blinkstriker, etc.), so it's vaguely ambiguous.

A reading of them implicitly not being creatures and explicitly not being objects would mean they are untargetable by a vast number of abilities (including plain damage spells like explosive blast or ones that have effect on tech constructs but target creatures or objects).

My personal reading is they are creatures.

They don't have a Will save in the example blocks, but they have a 'base save bonus'. Nothing explicitly says they do not have a Will save, only that components may increase fort and ref. Also, even objects have will saves, so them not having one at all is weird.

Override can be used on 'creatures with the technological subtype'. As can ghost in the machine. Unless mechs are ruled explicitly not creatures (by GM or Paizo), then GitM opens up questions about what 'dictating its actions' entails. I'd probably just let them reuse it for the daze to start.

A small number of similar weird interactions exist if they're creatures, but far less than I expected (eg staggered is rough on 2+ operator mechs, I gave them polymorph immunity for baleful 3+ and poly 6, and I added a will save increase method). And none of it seemed as bad as making people cry when they can't use any effect that isn't at a 'target' or 'enemy'.

Acquisitives

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Kamyr wrote:

Mechs aren't objects, but they're constructs with the technological subtype. Construct is a creature type. They are never explicity called creatures, though, and the example blocks are written with the frame name (Gargantuan blinkstriker, etc.), so it's vaguely ambiguous.

A reading of them implicitly not being creatures and explicitly not being objects would mean they are untargetable by a vast number of abilities (including plain damage spells like explosive blast or ones that have effect on tech constructs but target creatures or objects).

My personal reading is they are creatures.

They don't have a Will save in the example blocks, but they have a 'base save bonus'. Nothing explicitly says they do not have a Will save, only that components may increase fort and ref. Also, even objects have will saves, so them not having one at all is weird.

Override can be used on 'creatures with the technological subtype'. As can ghost in the machine. Unless mechs are ruled explicitly not creatures (by GM or Paizo), then GitM opens up questions about what 'dictating its actions' entails. I'd probably just let them reuse it for the daze to start.

A small number of similar weird interactions exist if they're creatures, but far less than I expected (eg staggered is rough on 2+ operator mechs, I gave them polymorph immunity for baleful 3+ and poly 6, and I added a will save increase method). And none of it seemed as bad as making people cry when they can't use any effect that isn't at a 'target' or 'enemy'.

The 2+ mecha operators is also confusing...

I used to run a mystic who used demoralize in combat. Could she do that to a mecha? Does it work on one or more of the operators or on the mecha itself? She used mind thrust as well. Does that do damage to the operator or to the mecha?

I honestly dunno. I'd really like to include mecha in my next AP, but it would be nice to have clarification to the rules, so I'm not adjudicating them on the fly and my players can know what they should and should not do when they are fighting against or in mechas.


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Pretty sure you can't directly target the pilots since there is no line of effect

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