Starfinder Unchained – Punch List
In the IT world a punch list is just a checklist of things you need to do to finish a project. Using the Starfinder chapters as a guideline I created a basic one. I’ll start including links to writeups as things get updated.
A notice to readers, I’m aware of at least two efforts to make a Starfinder flavored game with Pathfinder 2e mechanics.
- Create Pathfinder 2e game elements that cover the themes of Starfinder with Alien Archive creatures remade to PF2e Bestiary rules with full PF2e compatibility and crossplay maximized.
- Create a version of the Starfinder game that maximizes compatibility with existing Starfinder material but takes advantage of the new mechanics in PF2e.
Character Creation — in addition to talking about how to make characters, PF2e has the ABCs:
- Ancestry — Ancestries have feats you can take after level 1, a new PF2e Advanced Player’s guide is supposed to break up some of the Ancestry things to be more mix and match than they were before.
- Background — Backgrounds aren’t Themes and BGs grant +2 stat bonus, Themes only grant +1 stat bonus, Owen says the Themes were made deliberately +1 so that people would choose their theme for RP reasons and not min/max reasons. Other folks have a very strong preference for that +2.
- Classes — get their own chapter below.
Classes — classes should be rebuilt using the PF2e framework with everything as proficiencies, Jason Buhlmann and Stephen Radney-MacFarland were on some podcast or official blog talking about how Skills, Saves, Attacks, AC all had different progressions and how it would be easier to streamline them such that everything worked the same way:
- Envoy —
- Mechanic —
- Mystic —
- Soldier —
- Solarian —
- Technomancer —
- Animal Companions — Animals and Drones for everybody from Alien Archive maybe converted to align with but not be as powerful as creatures from class features.
- Archetypes — if I want to take dedications from a Class instead of multiclassing into that class, we need to support that blending.
Skills — there are a lot of overlapping skills and I have covered:
- Acrobatics — I wrote an article on this one already, still in draft.
- Athletics — I wrote an article on this one already, still in draft.
- Medicine — Alex Agunas wrote a good article on using PF2e Medicine instead of the Starfinder version.
- Piloting — I wrote an article on this one already, still in draft.
Feats — we are going to need skill feats for each of the skills in the final version. In the Starfinder style is might be easier to compress similar feats into a generic where possible.
Equipment — I’d like to see more use of item levels in between tiers so 4th level characters aren’t walking around with 1st level gear. I don’t want a gear treadmill, like a video game but if scaling damage is built into the system players should be able to buy weapons that allow them to do the damage the system says they are supposed to be able to do.
- Technological Items
- Magic Items
- Hybrid Items
- Vehicles — anyone watching this blog knows I am working on bringing more real world vehicles and aerial combat into Starfinder and expanding that into degree of success and the three action system.
Tactical rules — combat, movement, what provokes, all the standard things, we’ll break them out later.
- Energy Armor Class — Assumptions: We believe that energy attacks should be easier to hit, lasers move at the speed of light and it’s easier to hit as in laser tag or paintball than it is necessarily to penetrate armor. As lasers don’t throw heavy slugs, they don’t kick, they don’t have recoil. Weapons with no recoil should be easier to keep on target during repeated firing. Plasma, Cryo and Flame weapons do launch gasses, coolants and combustibles which means they might just have to paint the target, but would have some sort of recoil. For playability we probably want all energy weapons to behave the same.
- Mechanics: EAC was usually 2 lower than KAC, which is also what flat-footed became. PF2e gives up touch attacks for spell attacks which Wizards start as Trained (Level+Stat+2) and get to be Expert (Level+Stat+4) in spell attacks at level 7. Fighters begin play as Experts with simple and martial weapons at 1st level and can improve (simple and martial weapons) in one weapon group to Master (Level+Stat+6) at level 5. The casters will always be 2-4 points behind the martials. Anything we do to energy attacks to make them easier for squishy characters makes them just as good for martials.
- The damage for energy weapons is weaker because it is assumed they will hit more often. If we leave this in place the martials are just as likely to avoid energy weapons in favor of more damaging weapons since they already hit often enough. Heavy weapons in Starfinder have minimum strength requirements which is not dependent on them being energy or kinetic.
- Kinetic Armor Class
starships — Starship Operations Manual is supposed to cover some of this ground. That will change some things that we will likely want to include any improvements into the conversion.
- Starships statistics by Tier similar to Monsters would allow GMs to have predictable challenges for PCs and apply templates to starships on the fly to create lesser, advanced, version of different starships without a lot of extra math.
- Item levels for weapons, armor and shields to make ships more predictable.
- Luxury items shouldn’t count towards a ship’s Tier, the gold plated bathrooms on the noble’s private vessel don’t make it harder to beat in combat, the military grade systems they bought for it do.
magic and spells — we should create a framework for conversion because:
- some people will want 0-6 level spells
- some people will want 0-10 level spells
- some people will want 3 action conversions for spells where it makes sense
- some people will want heightening conversions for spells where it makes sense
- we could very easily check the overlap between spells in both systems and then break down the differences between them one at a time, as I have started doing with the skills.
- Is the action economy a straightforward conversion?
- Do Starfinder spells which are supposed to accommodate everything from psychic powers to magic suddenly gain VSM components that they didn’t need before?
- Are the VSM components in PF2e actual mechanical balance factors and if so, what should the conversions do to replicate that balance without them?
game mastering — Galaxy Exploration Manual is supposed to cover some of this ground. That will change some things that we will likely want to include any improvements into the conversion.
setting — once we have a toolkit for converting everything mechanically, the setting you choose isn’t as important.
legacy — not really applicable.
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