Starfinder Character Operations Manual
This week I want to take a look at the long awaited Character Operations Manual.
Themes and Racial Traits,
Mechanic, the experimental armor or weapon prototype alternate class features are not unbalanced and make for a broader range of mechanic character concepts. The stress on move actions to access the capstone abilities bothers me. The new mechanic tricks are nice especially using engineering on SRO and androids instead of medicine. The drone sacrifice is premeditated awfulness but hey you can rebuild a drone. Adding starship uses to mechanic tricks is long overdue.
I’m not sure why lowering the PCU cost of a system would be worthwhile when PCU aren’t dynamically allocated. Speed boost is the same as divert power to engines and that doesn’t cost an Resolve Point to use?
Improved Sensors should say an extra piece of info, rolling higher already gives you one extra.
Targeted Sensors should be the default way that Scan works, people may want to know weapons or something specific, are there hostages onboard, but forcing them to go in order cuts any dramatic tension.
The upgrade node should be a standard engineer ability, but hey an extra check bonus is nice.
Soldier, the Aesthetic Warrior is a martial artist, the flavor text reads like a practitioner of soft styles. The “Beat down” ability says that’s a lie. Anyways the Aesthetic Warrior loses Heavy Weapons and Heavy Armor, but gets Feat Boosts which are kind of like the Improved version of Pathfinder feats in that they take away some drawback from some other feat the character has with the limitation you can’t take the feat and it’s corresponding boost in the same level. So this level we teach you how to trip people, next level we teach you how to attack people lying on the ground.
Multi-Weapon Strike helps multi wielders overcome DR.
Spinning Cleave, removes the adjacent target limitation.
Springing Onslaught and Springing Shot give you two spring attacks while moving.
Hunter grants Ranger like abilities that would be useful for a Bounty Hunter.
Qi Adept, adds Qi powers to Starfinder while still powering them with Resolve Points.
Wrathful Warrior, adds Rage powers to Starfinder, mostly bonuses to attack, damage and Will saves. Instead of bonus hit points you get DR or Energy Resistance at higher levels.
Gear Boosts, additional benefits for Finesse, Armored mobile characters and shield users.
Equipment, 46 new weapons, 14 shields, 12 medicines and 4 poisons.
Spells, new spell lists and 11 pages of new spells.
Chief Mate’s actions, the CM actions can fail to do anything and actually make the ship worse and other crew position’s jobs harder or impossible.
Hard Turn is nice against a more maneuverable opponent ship.
Maintenance panel access is kind of nice doubling the engineer’s divert action.
Manual realignment is cool if you like scanning ships.
Targeting Aid is nice removing penalties is often as good as granting a bonus.
Max Speed is a toss up whether it’s better to aid the engineer to do the same thing.
Magic Officer actions, the MO’s actions fail gracefully and don’t screw the other crew members chances.
Eldritch shot, extra range is more accurate or better if only short range weapons are in the proper arc.
Precognition use divination magic to add a +2 Piloting bonus for initiative is ok. I wonder why you can’t see the future enough to Evade damage, give enemy Gunners disadvantage or tell your own Gunners when to fire? (or give you clairvoyance enough to find the Rebels!)
Scrying lets you substitute Mysticism for Computers on a Scan check, that’s ok.
Mystic Haze, is kind of neat giving enemy science officers disadvantage, and a little bonus to AC.
Psychic Currents you warp spacetime around the ship to make a hard turn.
Open Crew actions, you don’t need to roll these, you just burn a character’s action that round. Characters only need 1 rank in a relevant crew skill and don’t need to roll so think of these as Aid Another checks that can’t fail.
None of these actions directly support the ship’s Engineer or the Captain role. Since the Captain mostly supports others anyway, the +1 should probably just go to the character the Captain is Encouraging or Demanding. The Engineer is normally boosting guns, engines or pounding the more shields button, but a damage control action to help the Engineer bring back damaged systems might not be bad. Only one of these actions has a bonus that scales with level. So just imagine your 6th or 12th level character spending their whole round to give another character a +1 bonus, I don’t know that a +2 or +3 would make it more compelling, but if you made your character even a little good at starship combat, they’d be doing something of their own and not trying to aid. If the enemies are too far outside “I only hit on a 20” range or your ship only has one turret weapon, then maybe boosting the other characters isn’t the worst thing you could do.
Erratic maneuvers +1 AC/TL vs flyby opponents that round.
Feign Disaster is classic genre stunt, it’s interesting that the ship’s defensive countermeasures don’t count towards this check, just the enemy Computers vs 10+1.5* your ship’s Tier. You get to use this once per combat.
Prioritize Calculation is a nifty extra +1 bonus to anyone using a ship’s computer bonus that round.
Range Finding is the classic 100 meters, 50 meters. By calling out the range you help the gunner, pilot or science officer with their action. Why this can’t be used to help the engineer stabilize the reactor at 2,000 degrees, 2,500 degrees, stable at 2,500 degrees or Angstroms, or Millirads, or Tachyons I don’t really know. Its a +1 bonus to a check, sprinkle that stuff all over the ship.
Ready Weapon system is a tiny bonus to damage, but it’s the only one of these actions that scales with level.
Minor Crew actions, new from the creators of Glide and Snap Shot!
Quick Rescan, it’s not a Scan action, it’s a status update on an previous scan, you can find out changes to enemy Hull Points or Shields and this status update has a same DC as the original scan, but it’s a minor action.
Visual ID, uses either Engineering or Perception to scan ships, but you can only learn one thing in normal Scan order. It’s in genre, but the in order implementation is too limiting, if you only get ONE thing, you should be able to ask pointed questions. I know it’s only a minor action so it shouldn’t be as good or better than the regular action, but it really puts a spotlight on how limiting the Scan action order of information is.
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