And… it’s here! Mechs are finally entering Starfinder!
Yesterday, Paizo announced the launch of the Starfinder Tech Revolution Playtest, which allows players to try out and offer feedback on two upcoming features: the mech combat subsystem and the nanocyte class. Although, I expect the majority of fans are excited for the mech subsystem, I’m most excited to check out the nanocyte! I’m a sucker for new classes.
According to the official announcement:
“The nanocyte is a cunning combatant who houses a host of nanites in their body. Using their nanite array, they can confound foes, spontaneously create equipment, and reinforce their own bodies, and specialized nanocytes can even stitch wounds, dissolve into nanite swarms, and shred foes with a cloud of microscopic assailants!”
“Mechs are specialized vehicles operated by one or more pilots, each of which contributes to the giant robot’s actions. Much like building a starship, you create your own mech (or mechs), allowing you to customize your frame, limbs, armaments, and more! Mechs operate on the familiar square grid maps, so although they’re bigger and more powerful than PCs usually are, many of the rules for using them are familiar, and many of the same foes are appropriate challenges.”
The Starfinder Tech Revolution Playtest begins on July 27th, 2020, and runs until September 18th, 2020. You can download the playtest from Paizo here. Full details on the playtest are available here, while information on playing the nanocyte in the Starfinder Society is available here. Once you’ve participated in the playtest, you can fill out surveys on both the nanocyte and mechs here. Be sure to get those surveys in by September 18th! Finally, if you’d like to chat with other fans and players about the playtest, or offer other feedback to the Starfinder team, you can post in the playtest forums, here.
Wednesday night on Starfinder Wednesday Dan and the gang over at Paizo talked about the Character Operations Manual Playtest, where you can take three new Starfinder classes for a test drive. This week was the final of three episodes streaming over the past month that took an in depth look at these three classes: the biohacker, the witchwarper, and the vanguard. So which was up last?
Host Dan Tharp welcomed special guests Owen K.C. Stephens and Joe Pasini to the show. Joe wrote the vanguard. Although this was his first time on the show he seemed comfortable and did a great job! Really enjoyable to watch!
To kick things off Dan asked Owen and Joe about the Starfinder Operations Manual Playtest. How has it been going? What sort of feedback have they been getting? What’s good and bad and so on. Owen admitted that it is both productive and frustrating. Obviously when you put creative content out there that you think is great and ask people to find it’s flaws and problem areas, they’re going to do that. And find flaws the playtesters have! Haha. But, in a good way. All these problems that have been identified are areas the team is excited to tackle and improve upon. Most exciting, Owen said that even the negative feedback has still been positive. Turns out fans really like the concepts of the three character classes — the biohacker, the witchwarper, and the vanguard — and are excited to see them in play. All in all, the folks at Paizo appreciate the time everyone has spent on this playtest and look forward to hearing more from us.
As an outsider, it sounds like they have some polishing and tweaking to do, but nothing too major.
For those of you who haven’t provided feedback to Paizo’s messageboards or surveys yet, you’ve still got time. The Starfinder Operations Manual Playtest closes on January 16th. Be sure to get your responses in by then!
From there the conversation shifted onto the vanguard. This was Joe Pasini’s first time developing a class, and I think he did a really great job. But, when asked his thoughts on writing classes he laughed and replied “Can’t say I recommend it.”
The gang clarified that writing classes is among the hardest things you can do in a d20 game, as this is the primary way in which the players are going to interact with your game. They have to be great, so your game can shine. Writing and developing them can be stressful.
The vanguard is mechanically different than anything they’ve done before, so they want it to play differently. It should feel different than a soldier and a solarian (which are the two nearest comparable classes), but it should still be as effective. Vanguard’s don’t do as much damage as those other full BAB combatants, but they target EAC, so they nearly always hit their enemies. But, at its core, its the vanguards resilience that makes them special.
Joe explained that when they were creating ideas for new classes, very early on they decided they wanted a constitution based tank type of character. It was Joe who suggested tying that to the idea of entropy. Further meetings helped focus the class down to its inspirations and final concept. And that’s when Joe got to step in, stare at some blank paper, and try to make it work.
In the end, vanguards became a class that stand strong on the front lines, protect their companions, take hits and become empowered because of them. They don’t mind getting hit, because it lets them use their abilities more effectively. They’re a class that’s just really cool and different. Both tactically and mechanically.
During the interview, Joe explained that one of the things he’s most excited for about the vanguard is how it can create a lot of different kinds of characters. It’s inspiration was very broad — including Captain America, the Juggernaut, the Terminator, David Dunn (from the film Unbreakable), and many more. All these kinds of characters and more can be expressed as vanguards. Later in the episode, spurred on by viewer questions, they even chatted about barathu and contemplative vanguards. (Which are awesome!)
Now, like the other playtest classes, vanguard is not without its flaws. Owen has pointed out that from playtest feedback they’ve discovered that vanguards sometimes have trouble getting into combat and could use a method to speed themselves up. In addition, they have nothing to spend their entropy points on at first level. Owen and Joe mused about creating a way to use entropy points to gain a speed burst (either short or long term) in order to fill both design gaps.
Much to my surprise and excitement, a creation of my daughter’s was mentioned in the episode, as well as her desire for animal companions. While we were watching she squealed in glee so loud we had to rewatch the mention just to hear what they said about her. And then she asked us to rewatch it some more. Haha. It made her night! Scratch that. It made her month. Probably longer.
“I was reading through [Starfinder Wednesday Fan Club message board] and saw someone posted that their daughter has a rabbit companion that they have strapped to their hoverdrone that follows them around. I thought that was so cool,” said Joe Pasini.
“That’s so awesome,” Dan Tharp agreed.
“And they’re asking about animal companion rules and I think that that would be cool. Some kind of alien companion rules.”
Surprisingly, Owen lavished praise on the idea in a way that insinuated they might already have such a thing in the works — or at least planned for the future. Here’s hoping it comes out with the Player Operations Manual! Haha. But, alas! Owen would offer no further spoilers!
Right near the end Joe brought up my daughter’s drone-wearing rabbit again, saying he’d like to hear more about it. Not just the rabbit, but cool concepts and ideas that are different. He explained that he loves that all the new classes are Starfinder classes. They’re not Pathfinder classes ported over to the new game. They’re different and unique, and they allow players to tell new kinds of stories.
And he’s right.
They’re varied and wonderful, and adaptable. They allow us to make something cool, while forcing us to think a little deeper. Not just the new classes. All of the Starfinder classes.
I really enjoyed last night’s episode. If you haven’t watched it yet, I highly recommend you do. Joe and Owen were great guests, and they offered wonderful insight into making not only the vanguard, but classes as a whole. Just wonderful stuff! Starfinder Wednesday streams live on Paizo’s twitch channel every Wednesday at 4 p.m. PST. You can also watch already aired episodes on their Twitch stream, or watch partial episodes on their youtube channel. For more information on the Character Operations Manual Playest and to download the new classes check out StarfinderPlaytest.com.
Before we sign off, my seven year old daughter would like to share some information about her now famous (at least in her opinion) drone-wearing rabbit.
“Hugs is a skittermander with fluffy pink and brown fur and a happy smile. She loves people and animals, even if they are ugly or maybe mean bad guys. And she loves making friends. She’s a mechanic, and an ace pilot, and she has a pet rabbit named Bun-Bun. To keep Bun-Bun safe Hugs made a hoverdrone which Bun-Bun wears like a backpack! It looks like Bun-Bun is a tiny pilot flying the hoverdrone and firing its weapons! Haha! But, Hugs controls the hover drone with her own AI, like all drones, and Bun-Bun is just along for the ride. Luckily, Bun-Bun really likes flying. Right now Hugs is teaching Bun-Bun to be her co-pilot! She has trained her to click a button on command. Hugs shouts:
“Bun-Bun! Do the thing!”
And Bun-Bun clicks a button. But, Bun-Bun can’t tell the buttons apart or anything, so he never clicks the right one! He always messes it up and its always very funny! But, Hugs thinks he is a great co-pilot. He just needs some more practise!”
This past Wednesday brought us another great episode of Starfinder Wednesday! For those of you who haven’t seen it yet, you really should give it a watch. In it the loveable host Dan Tharp and special guests Owen K.C. Stephens and Robert G. McCreary discussed the newest Starfinder Playtest Classes, and answered questions from the fans. No idea what I’m talking about? All the more reason to watch it! Haha. You can also check out my previous blog post on the Starfinder Playtest Classes for the inside scoop on Biohackers, Witchwarpers, and Vanguards! For full details be sure to head over to StarfinderPlaytest.com where you can download the new classes and fill out surveys on how you feel about them.
Want even more details? Fear not! Over the next month Starfinder Wednesday will dedicate an episode to each of the three new classes with their lead developers as special guests. Be sure to tune in to Paizo’s Twitch Stream to check it out!
December 12th: Jason Keeley and Owen K.C. Stephens discuss the Biohacker.
December 19th: Amanda Hamon Kunz and Owen K.C. Stephens discuss the Witchwarper.
December 26th: They’ll be airing a pre-recorded show about the beginnings of Starfinder. Colour me intrigued! Because this is pre-recorded there won’t be a Q&A session afterwards.
January 2nd: Joe Pasini and Owen K.C. Stephens discuss the Vanguard.
I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait! I think the new Starfinder Classes are awesome.
But, I’ll have to bid you farewell for now. Tonight’s Pathfinder Friday! In just a few hours Dan Tharp and special guest James Jacobs discuss the Runelords! (Pardon me while I squeal in glee). It’s sure to be a great show.
This past Wednesday it was announced on Paizo’s Twitch stream that the Starfinder Roleplaying Game would welcome new classes to its ranks and you, the fans, would get to take them for a test drive. Playtesting new classes is nothing new to Paizo. Even if we don’t count the massive Pathfinder Second Edition Playtest that’s occurring as we speak, they’ve still done plenty in the past. Playtesting new classes gives developers a chance to see how their creations work in the hands of players, how players can exploit them, and what weaknesses they’ve found. It also lets them discover if any abilities don’t work they way they were intended to, or were too under or over powered. All in all, it leads to more balanced, polished classes.
So what exactly is this playtest?
In late 2019 Paizo will release the Starfinder Operations Manual, a hardcover sourcebook packed full of new character options. This book will introduce three new classes, and its these classes that you’ll get to test out.
“This is our first opportunity to add new classes to Starfinder since the game’s release in August 2017, and we need your help to do it! Try out these new classes in Starfinder Society scenarios, Starfinder Adventure Paths, or your own adventures. Then tell us what you and your friends thought of the experience. Paizo needs your feedback to make the classes in the Character Operations Manual the best they can be,” said Starfinder Creative Director Robert G. McCreary.
To get your hands on the playtest head over to StarfinderPlaytest.com, download the free Character Operations Manual Playtest PDF and give it a read. Roll up some new characters and try them out. You can play them in Starfinder Adventure Paths or in home-brew campaigns. Want to play the in Starfinder Society organized play? Go for it! It’ll work much like pregenerated characters do during the playtest. For full details check out Paizo’s blog post on the topic: here.
When you’ve had a chance to try them out, head back to StarfinderPlaytest.com and fill out some surveys on your experience. You can also give them your feedback on the the Character Operations Manual Playtest forums, on Paizo’s website. While Paizo wants to focus on actual play feedback, they are interested in hearing all ideas about the classes. Let’s be sure to give them some constructive criticism guys. And some compliments of course! The playtest will run until January 16, 2019, and the feedback surveys will be available throughout the playtest.
So what are these classes?
First up we have the biohacker! This class is the one that my son is the most excited for! The biohacker is a scientist who can run off of either Intelligence (because they’re incredibly smart and analytical) or Wisdom (because they’re instinctive and impulsive). Biohackers can create injections which they can inject into allies to grant them benefits, or enemies to hinder them. These can be used as a consumable melee weapon (literally injecting someone with a syringe) or loaded into an injection weapon. Injection weapons shot at your allies don’t harm them if you don’t want them to. In addition, each biohacker selects a type of science as their main field of study. There’s a lot to choose from, and each gives you some nifty new types of injections you can create. Biohackers also have a medical scanner, can make injections with their science skills instead of Mysticism, and can learn ‘theorems,’ which are a wide array of special abilities that fit the scientist theme. This class looks like a lot of fun to play! I think it’s going to be the first one I playtest, actually.
Up next? The vanguard! This is definitely an interesting class. They’re a melee based character who can channel entropic forces to make their blows either crush or dissolve the enemy. This can be done through unarmed strikes, or through their melee weapons or shields. Yes! Shields are finally being introduced to Starfinder! Awesome! Similar to solarians and their ‘attunement,’ vanguards function off of a varying number of ‘entropy points’ which begin at 0 each battle and can rise through various methods. These entropy points can also increase your AC. Vanguards also get to choose an ‘aspect’ of entropy to focus on, which gives them different abilities as they level up from other vanguards. As they level up they gain ways to make themselves more durable in combat, or to further enhance their entropic strikes. They also gain a variety of abilities chosen from a large list that are known as ‘disciplines.’
Finally, there’s the witchwarper. This is a charisma-based spellcaster which uses alternate dimensions to power their magic. Cool! Basically, they can alter the world around them by drawing upon other realities. At low levels this power can make a small region into difficult terrain (thematically described depending upon the type of terrain), which at higher levels the area is larger, and the effects more powerful. You can also alter reality to cancel enemy’s critical hits, or allow you to reroll, and learn new skills. Witchwarpers also get to learn ‘paradigm shifts,’ which are unique new ways that you can alter reality. There’s a lot of options here, which is awesome to see. Their spell list includes a really nice array of spells, as well as some brand new ones, which are included in the playtest.
All in all the classes look wonderfully unique and inventive. They have a great array of abilities and options which are sure to make them just as adaptable as the current Starfinder Classes. I’m very intrigued! Definitely looking forward to seeing how they function in play!
Want to learn more? Download your own copy of the Character Operations Manual Playtest PDF on Paizo’s website right now! You can also tune into Paizo’s twitch channel on Wednesday at 4:00 p.m. PST for ‘Starfinder Wednesday.’ This week is sure to be a great show!
Let us know what you think of the new Starfinder classes in the comments below!
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got some playtesting to do!
This week brings us some exciting news in the world of Starfinder and Pathfinder. We’ve talked a lot about the changes coming to the Pathfinder Society when Pathfinder Second Edition gets released next year. Paizo has released multiple blog posts and surveys on the subject, and has some threads on their message boards where you can put forth your ideas and opinions. Which is great! Your opinions can help shape the future of the Pathfinder Society. This week brings us to the last of these blog posts.
So what did they talk about?
Although, most of the information amounted to a sort of… we’re changing this, but we haven’t quite decided how. A fair point when the rules for Pathfinder Second Edition are still in flux.
Fame and Prestige will likely follow Starfinders lead and be called Reputation and Fame. In addition, you’ll be allowed to earn fame in multiple factions if you so choose. Another nice improvement inspired by Starfinder Society play. ‘Prestige’, whatever it comes to be called, will also be more useful. You’ll be able to acquire special boons — some general and some faction specific — for your characters.
How we gain access to magical items is also going to change. Likely, this will involve item rarity and item level, but the details will depend on how Pathfinder 2 shakes out.
Infamy, much like that used in the Starfinder Society, is also going to be introduced.
One of my favourite changes? Schools. Nearly all Pathfinders undergo training at the Grand Lodge and specialize in one of three schools: Scrolls, Spells, or Swords. Scrolls is taught by Kreighton Shane and focuses on learning and diplomacy. Spells is taught by Sorrina Westyr and focuses on magical prowess. Swords is taught by Marcos Farabellus and focuses on martial might and physical fitness. Deciding which of the schools your character favours most is now going to be a choice you can make at character creation. For what? Well, they’re not sure yet. We’ll have to wait and see.
Which brings us to the most exciting aspect of this week’s Pathfinder Society changes: factions. Factions are getting a major shake-up! Some factions will be retired as their goals have been accomplished. Some will find their stories come to a close during Season 10. Others will remain but have changes of leadership. So what’s changing exactly? Unknown! That’s why they’d like your input! They’ve compiled a list of general concepts for factions and want you to let them know which ones you like best. Got an idea for another major character motivation for Pathfinders? Share them! Also, they want to know your opinions on which faction leaders should stay an go. Help them out by heading over to their survey and filling it out: Faction Survey.
In other news, Starfinder Wednesday put out another awesome episode. And this one dropped a BOMB! Starfinder will soon be putting out a playtest for NEW CLASSES!
Want more details?
So do I! More information will be coming out on the Paizo Blog on Monday, December 3rd. Be sure to check it out! I know I will!