Starship roles as free archetypes

Playtest General Discussion

Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Imagine that every SF2E character gets to choose a Free Archetype that represents their starship role, and then can choose feats from that Archetype that only relate to starship combat. For example, the "Captain" Archetype would include feats that would enable or alter the Demand, Encourage, and Taunt actions, and higher level feats that would enable Orders and Moving Speech, and additional cool captain stuff that the designers think of.

Not a fan. At least not of this current iteration of the idea.

The thing is that it locks characters into those roles. They can't switch around to different roles on the ship as needed. They can't fill in for characters that fall in battle or who miss a gaming session.

It also becomes part of the core of the character's identity. Everyone would have to have a starship role. And that isn't necessarily part of each character created.

As an iteration of the idea, I would propose having the feats and abilities be part of the role itself. Becoming the Captain gives the character a few abilities to choose between that they can then use for the duration of the time that they are the captain of the ship and its current flight.

Your ship role should be a whole class separate from your character class.

Corrik wrote:
Your ship role should be a whole class separate from your character class.

While I think that sounds cool in theory, in practice it might be more trouble than it's worth, and present another barrier to anyone trying to pick up and play the system. Folks can struggle understanding how their class works already; telling them they have to learn not one, but two classes, and that one of those classes will only be important for about 10%/20% of gameplay is going to turn many away.

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I think an issue with making a Starship role a free archetype by default is that it's entirely valid to play Starfinder where the Party's ship is just their home base/how they get from place to place. Since "how much Starship Combat is right" is a matter of taste, there are certainly games where starship roles as archetypes makes sense, but this is a thing a GM can do on a case by case basis. If you're doing a SF2 game with absolutely no starship stuff, it's better to not have extraneous rules on the character sheet.

Certainly "having archetypes that give you something useful to do on a Starship if you don't already have one" would be welcome though.


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Currently, the only option available in character creation that gives your character some identity related to starships is ace pilot, and some mechanics just choosing to identify as the ship's engineer, which just comes down to using skills you already have for other things.

In regular combat, players use options they picked for their character from hundreds of pages of options. In Starship Combat, my character has nothing on their character sheet. When the battle starts, I get out my Starship Combat reference cards and find the 4 or 5 cards for my role that list a few choices I can pick from. It's the first and only time I think of starship combat for my character. Can you imagine the community outcry if regular combat was done that way.

Personally, I think we should just scrap the current Starship combat and use a modified version of normal combat. I had already started another thread on starship combat, sharing some of my ideas and things learned from other games with starship combat, but I have not gotten to the part on crew actions yet, except for some of the pilot ideas, which is the only role not to change much.

I think Starship combat should have backgrounds, feats, and archetypes. If a character doesn't what to use them, that's fine, there's nothing forcing characters to buy weapons for regular combat, either.

Ship stations and the rolls they play don't have to go away. Having feats or archetypes in one area of ship combat shouldn't mean you can't go to other stations to fill a role, but it might mean you are better at one than another. Also, in regular combat, everyone is expected to fight even mystics might have a gun. That shouldn't be any different on a ship. Sure, some classes will be better at it than others, but that's fine.

Currently, Starship combat only focuses on ship combat. That's all you can do. If we had rules closer to normal combat, some of the crew might not even be in the starship to ship combat part of the fighting. For example, the pilot might be trying to run a blockade while the rest of the crew is defending the bridge from a boarding party. That's not really an option currently. What if the pilot is injured in the fight and no one else can fly the ship, now the crew's healer gets to be a healer.

Another good use of Starship archetypes is it would be a good way to get those skills at a high level if they don't need them at first or if they are coming from Pathfinder, where it would not make sense to start with them.

Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Driftbourne, everything you say is absolutely music to my ears. Please tell me you are actually Thurston Hillman in disguise.


Dimity wrote:
Driftbourne, everything you say is absolutely music to my ears. Please tell me you are actually Thurston Hillman in disguise.

I would try, but here is the dice roll for it

Decpetion: 1d20 - 2000 ⇒ (19) - 2000 = -1981

If you're interested, here is the Starship thread I've started. At this point, it's mostly talking about ideas and experiences from playing other starship combat games. I'll keep adding to it over time. It's open for anyone to share ideas or experiences with other games.

Starship Combat, the pre-fieldtest session zero conversation .

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