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SF Starfinder: First Impressions

Calithorne

Explorer
It was with eager hands that I unwrapped the Starfinder Core Rulebook, and at this juncture, I've played it three times, once as a GM and twice as a player in someone else's world.

All I can is, there's a lot of rules, over 500 pages of rules, and there are many, many charts and indexes.

And my initial impression was that Paizo borrowed some ideas from 5e, but it didn't borrow the main idea of 5e, which was: MAKE IT SIMPLER!!!

There must be at least 30 "conditions" to memorize.

There are gobs and gobs and gobs of feats.

Every class has a branching tree of numerous options, each with its own class options.

Now, it's not so hard to make a first level character. But I can already see that SF, like PF, is really going to bog down at higher levels as players are trying to decide which of their feats, skills, spells and special abilities they should choose from each round.

There are three kinds of combat, regular combat, vehicle combat, and starship combat.

Regular combat uses squares, vehicle combat uses zones, and starship combat uses hexes.

It took me many, many hours of getting up early in the morning to read this book, and I'm STILL not finished.

I'm just wondering, why didn't Paizo simplify things a bit.
 

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gamerprinter

First Post
While Paizo's goal was to streamline Starfinder compared to Pathfinder, it wasn't trying to emulate 5e, though it certainly got some ideas from there. To each their own, I guess, since having played (and still playing) Pathfinder since Beta - I haven't yet got bogged down by higher level play. It's the sweet spot for me. Though I certainly like the streamlining they did do. It's simplied to me...?

The main point in have player combat versus starship combat is pretty clear though, starships cannot target players or groups - so a fighter flying over an adventure party cannot wipe them out with missiles nor machine gun fire. They can shoot around them, but cannot target them. I don't think too many adventure parties would be happy, if the passing fighter overhead causes a TPK. So the rules explicitly prevents starships from doing that. Starships can only target other starships. If you combined player and starship combat, that would get confusing trying to separate the two - it has to be separate methodologies (its for balance reasons). Some vehicles can target PCs, but many cannot, hence the different combat system for vehicles, though I haven't use the vehicle rules yet in my home game.
 
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Calithorne

Explorer
While Paizo's goal was to streamline Starfinder compared to Pathfinder, it wasn't trying to emulate 5e, though it certainly got some ideas from there. To each their own, I guess, since having played (and still playing) Pathfinder since Beta - I haven't yet got bogged down by higher level play. It's the sweet spot for me. Though I certainly like the streamlining they did do. It's simplied to me...?

The main point in have player combat versus starship combat is pretty clear though, starships cannot target players or groups - so a fighter flying over an adventure party cannot wipe them out with missiles nor machine gun fire. They can shoot around them, but cannot target them. I don't think too many adventure parties would be happy, if the passing fighter overhead causes a TPK. So the rules explicitly prevents starships from doing that. Starships can only target other starships. If you combined player and starship combat, that would get confusing trying to separate the two - it has to be separate methodologies (its for balance reasons). Some vehicles can target PCs, but many cannot, hence the different combat system for vehicles, though I haven't use the vehicle rules yet in my home game.
It's a jury-rig, saying starships can't target individuals. In the real world, large weapons mounted on battleships or helicopters or fighter planes can do devastating damage to individuals.
 

gamerprinter

First Post
Oh, I don't disagree with you that it's "jury-rigged", and not like the real world - thank goodness for that, makes starships as support gear for PCs rather than dragons that they can't even hurt themselves, or with extreme difficulty. 1 ship HP = 10 HP, and if their shield is intact, you cannot even hit them. So I am glad Paizo "gamed the system" so that couldn't happen. Starfinder is in no way simulationist, it's not like real war, rather starships fighting starships and PCs being heroes.
 
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jimtillman

First Post
It was with eager hands that I unwrapped the Starfinder Core Rulebook, and at this juncture, I've played it three times, once as a GM and twice as a player in someone else's world.

All I can is, there's a lot of rules, over 500 pages of rules, and there are many, many charts and indexes.

And my initial impression was that Paizo borrowed some ideas from 5e, but it didn't borrow the main idea of 5e, which was: MAKE IT SIMPLER!!!

There must be at least 30 "conditions" to memorize.

There are gobs and gobs and gobs of feats.

Every class has a branching tree of numerous options, each with its own class options.

Now, it's not so hard to make a first level character. But I can already see that SF, like PF, is really going to bog down at higher levels as players are trying to decide which of their feats, skills, spells and special abilities they should choose from each round.

There are three kinds of combat, regular combat, vehicle combat, and starship combat.

Regular combat uses squares, vehicle combat uses zones, and starship combat uses hexes.

It took me many, many hours of getting up early in the morning to read this book, and I'm STILL not finished.

I'm just wondering, why didn't Paizo simplify things a bit.
i personally find 5th to be to simple
pathfinder is great but has some issues
starfinder seems to be in a good place for my tastes both in fluff and ruleset
i
 

And my initial impression was that Paizo borrowed some ideas from 5e, but it didn't borrow the main idea of 5e, which was: MAKE IT SIMPLER!!!

...

I'm just wondering, why didn't Paizo simplify things a bit.
That was my take away. In my review I teased that Starfinder was the best RPG 2010 has to offer.

With all the stuff they could have pulled from Pathfinder Unchained or done to simplify the game or tweak the math they did virtually nothing. It continues to use the framework created for 3.0, arguably being closer to Pathfinder than any of the three Star Wars games WotC did were to 3rd Edition.

While I understand some of the reasoning - they want to keep their fans who are to some degree resistant to change - while appealing to an audience that likes complexity and building characters. It doesn't feel like it takes any inspiration from any game created in the last decade. Like Fate or Numenera or 13th Age. Let alone 5e.
And, like PF, I imagine it will big down for a lot of players at high levels. Half my table certainly got weary of the large "hand size" of their characters and just stopped using talents or powers gained at high levels. (Plus, in mid-teens, advancement does tend to become choosing from powers you already passed over multiple times.)

I'm posting this because, after just watching a little Critical Role, it occurs to me that the biggest loss is in streamers.
Online games - both virtual tables and streamed games - are an increasing market. And those games work so much better with simpler systems. The ability to just listen and fast paced gameplay really make a good streaming show. But that's not Pathfinder, which is slower to play and requires a grid. And isn't Starfinder either. That really hurts the game in terms of long term visibility.
After all, the most noteworthy Pathfinder online game was HarmonQuest, which dumped a lot of the rules and was heavily edited. And the other was probably the Mercer goblin's one shot that was great for the first half and just became a slog for the last hour... and only featured low level characters.
D&D and WotC really seems to be embracing Twitch, with their multiple shows and big event reveals, but Paizo has barely done any serious streaming.
 

Aldarc

Legend
It's amusing how what seems to be the #1 criticism of Starfinder by 5E fans is that Starfinder is not 5E. I do think that Starfinder simplified, but as a genre science-fiction RPGs frequently require more rules complexity than with standard fantasy games. Imagine, for example, how much slimmer Starfinder would likely look if one converted a fantasy RPG from Starfinder rather than playing Pathfinder.
 

jimtillman

First Post
its not for everyone, but I really like starfinder , running my 1st game of it wendsday really hoping to knock it out of the park so that my players have a great 1st time experience :)
 

jimtillman

First Post
got in 20 hours of starfinder this weekend at reapercon
the 1st 4 socity missions with my vesk solarian /icon gor-rok
who is based of of rick castle

had a blast he was the most consistent solid damage dealer and had the highest ac at a whopping 16/18 , sucked at every skill but author and diplomacy .
after the 3rd mission and leveling up along side a boon that allows implants at 1 level lower he really stepped up his game with a dragon gland implant as well as getting stellar rush " i believe thats the name" that lets him charge with no penalties and add 2d6 fire damage"save for 1/2"
all of the players had a good time but with only 1 table for starfinder several players had to miss out.
ended up caving and buying some last parsec plastics so that we all had minis since only a few players had any pawns or sci fi minis.

was a great weekend, got in 2 pathfinder games also..most gaming i have done in years.
 

Ancalagon

Dusty Dragon
We've just finished doing a "one shot" that took 3 sessions to complete. 6 players, PCs at level 3

We were a bit... underwhelmed. It isn't bad, but the characters didn't feel very competent. Maybe it's different at higher level, but the technomancer (that I played) felt uninspired. After I realized that it's essential that you create a character that isn't "just" a technomancer, because it's not enough to sustain the character.

Spaceship combat was strange. Because of facing and because winning the piloting role means you go after the opponent, the piloting role is *super important* - the most important role in the round. A few bad piloting rolls in a row means doom. Because spaceships will circle each other trying to get at the vulnerable spot (usually the rear), once a fight is really engaged it's almost impossible to run away effectively because if you do the other guy will chase you and repeatedly shoot you in the rear arc. This means that spaceship combat should be avoided unless victory is almost certain.
 

jimtillman

First Post
We've just finished doing a "one shot" that took 3 sessions to complete. 6 players, PCs at level 3

We were a bit... underwhelmed. It isn't bad, but the characters didn't feel very competent. Maybe it's different at higher level, but the technomancer (that I played) felt uninspired. After I realized that it's essential that you create a character that isn't "just" a technomancer, because it's not enough to sustain the character.

Spaceship combat was strange. Because of facing and because winning the piloting role means you go after the opponent, the piloting role is *super important* - the most important role in the round. A few bad piloting rolls in a row means doom. Because spaceships will circle each other trying to get at the vulnerable spot (usually the rear), once a fight is really engaged it's almost impossible to run away effectively because if you do the other guy will chase you and repeatedly shoot you in the rear arc. This means that spaceship combat should be avoided unless victory is almost certain.
in what way could the technomage not sustain you>?
what areas slowed you down, i am running 2 different games with different players and we are getting through the the deadsuns aps in about 2 to 3 sessions each . figuring out what weapons to get and what ways to imrove damage is a small learning curve and space ship combat can take a little getting used to if you use it, though the faq changes help with the rolls which have speed up ship .
fights a bit.
so far my groups have both been having a good time , hopefully this will keep happening, its been a long time since i have had a game let alone 2 that has not derailed in a few weeks :)
 

Ancalagon

Dusty Dragon
in what way could the technomage not sustain you>?
Let me elaborate. It's a 2/3 caster. There are a fair amount of 2/3 casters in pathfinder

The bard is a 2/3 spellcaster, but he can also do bardy things
The alchemist is a 2/3 spellcaster, but she too can also do alchemisty things - throw bombs, drink mutagens
The Magus is also a 2/3 spellcaster, but he also can do other things - ok he really needs to combine his spells with his fighting, but I think you get what I'm getting at.

The technomancer is a 2/3 caster and ... that's it. You need to build the character to have something to go with that. I'm going to try to build a technomancer sniper if we return to the game, for example.
 

Lwaxy

Cute but dangerous
I'm not yet done adapting Starfinder and Pathfinder into one, as 2 of my groups are going to play crossovers in any case and most of the others might. So we end up with Starpathfinder eventually.

for my taste, rules could have been closer to PF to make it easier to combine:hmm:
 

jimtillman

First Post
Let me elaborate. It's a 2/3 caster. There are a fair amount of 2/3 casters in pathfinder

The bard is a 2/3 spellcaster, but he can also do bardy things
The alchemist is a 2/3 spellcaster, but she too can also do alchemisty things - throw bombs, drink mutagens
The Magus is also a 2/3 spellcaster, but he also can do other things - ok he really needs to combine his spells with his fighting, but I think you get what I'm getting at.

The technomancer is a 2/3 caster and ... that's it. You need to build the character to have something to go with that. I'm going to try to build a technomancer sniper if we return to the game, for example.
oh i see , yeah there not wizards who just use magic, you do want to give them some non spell way to fight also
 

KahlessNestor

Explorer
I'm not yet done adapting Starfinder and Pathfinder into one, as 2 of my groups are going to play crossovers in any case and most of the others might. So we end up with Starpathfinder eventually.

for my taste, rules could have been closer to PF to make it easier to combine:hmm:
Why should Starfinder be closer to Pathfinder? They're completely different games. Space opera and fantasy. Why would you combine them and then complain it doesn't work?

Sent from my SM-G900P using EN World mobile app
 

jimtillman

First Post
I'm not yet done adapting Starfinder and Pathfinder into one, as 2 of my groups are going to play crossovers in any case and most of the others might. So we end up with Starpathfinder eventually.

for my taste, rules could have been closer to PF to make it easier to combine:hmm:
you could always get the starfarers companion and user there examples of pathfinder classes for starfinder..or just take the time to covert them over yourself.
i would not make starfinder more like pathfinder though,
 

Lwaxy

Cute but dangerous
Uh, it does work, it just takes time. Which I don't have over Xmas.

And in case you haven't noticed, they exist in the same setting, even if they did away with Golarion (which will not likely happen in our version). So yeah, we need to combine. The Starfarer's Companion is helpful of course.

I need to houserule several things in Starfinder anyway, so it's all in one go.

If I use the rules for another setting, which is likely to happen, I can use the rules as they are for the most part, save the insane character advancements and minus the magic.
 

jimtillman

First Post
Uh, it does work, it just takes time. Which I don't have over Xmas.

And in case you haven't noticed, they exist in the same setting, even if they did away with Golarion (which will not likely happen in our version). So yeah, we need to combine. The Starfarer's Companion is helpful of course.

I need to houserule several things in Starfinder anyway, so it's all in one go.

If I use the rules for another setting, which is likely to happen, I can use the rules as they are for the most part, save the insane character advancements and minus the magic.
what do you need to house rule and why?
so far the games i have been running and the 1 i played in worked great/
what weakness do you perceive ?
what do you feel would work better if changed?
 

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