Iconic Design: Woe to the Armored Solarian

Hello, and welcome to Iconic Design! Two weeks ago in Know Direction: Beyond, I mentioned this idea for an armored solarian build that uses light weapons, taking advantage of flashing strikes and the Multi-Weapon Fighting feat. Since today marks the end of PaizoCon (and although I’m typing this out WELL before the end of the show for once, I’m sure that there is lots of interesting content for you all to sift through still) I thought that this might be a fun, easy article for you guys to digest.

And then I decided to add a lot of mathematics to see whether this build holds any weight.

So, without further delay, my Armored Dervish Solarian build. Enjoy!

Build Concept

Any information important to understanding the build or its roots goes here.

  • Classes: solarian 12
  • Feats: Multi-Weapon Fighting (1st), Weapon Specialization (Bonus), Fleet (3rd), Nimble Moves (5th), Lunge (7th), Deadly Aim (9th), Weapon Focus: basic melee weapons (11th)
  • Abilities: flashing strikes, skill adept, solar manifestation (armor, +2 AC and resist 10), stellar mode, sidereal influence (4 skills)
  • Stellar Revelations: black hole (1st), supernova (1st), plasma sheath (2nd), gravity boost (4th), corona (6th), crush (8th), blazing orbit (10th), defy gravity (12th)
  • Zenith Revelations: solar acceleration (9th), wormholes (9th)

This build looks pretty cool on paper, but before I go ahead and pat myself on the back for coming up with it, we should probably check it out the math to see if it holds up. We’ll take three builds (an armor solarian with basic melee weapons, an armor solarian with longarms, and a weapon solarian) with all the same damage bonuses were applicable and see how they do against one another!

Playing the Build … MATHEMATICALLY!

So we have the build all nice and stated out, but does it hold its own against the more traditional “longarm solarian” or “solar weapon solarian?” Let’s see!

Ability Scores (Starting)

  • 16, 14, 12, 11, 10, 10
  • Includes 2 boosts (5th, 10th), a mk 2 personal upgrade (+2), and a mk 4 personal upgrade (+4)
  • Armor Melee: Str 18, Dex, 23, Con 15, Int 10, Wis 10, Cha 18
  • Amor Ranged: Str 10, Dex, 23, Con 16, Int 15, Wis 10, Cha 20
  • Weapon: Str 23, Dex, 17, Con 16, Int 10, Wis 10, Cha 18

Weapons

  • Armor — Ultrathin Dagger (Item Level 12, 4d4 S), average 10 damage
  • Armor — Impact Scattergun (Item Level 12, 12d6 P), average 42 damage
  • Weapon — Solarian Blade (4d6) plus lesser gluon crystal (Item Level 12, +2d6) for a total of 6d6, average 35 damage

Attack Bonuses

  • Armor, Ranged: +1 Weapon Focus
  • Armor, Melee: +1 Weapon Focus, penalty to full attacks reduced by ­–2 from flashing strikes and Multi-Weapon Fighting
  • Weapon: +1 Weapon Focus, penalty to full attacks reduced by –1 from flashing strikes

Damage Bonuses

  • Weapon Specialization (+12 to the scattergun and solarian blade, +6 to each Ultrathin Dagger)
  • Deadly Aim (+12 to the scatter gun, the solarian blade, and each Ultrathin Dagger)
  • Plasma Sheath (Melee Only): +6 fire

Putting it Together (Full Attack w/ Deadly Aim)

  • Armor, Melee: ultrathin dagger +15/+15 or +13/+13/+13 (4d4+20 plus 6 fire), average 36 damage per hit
  • Armor, Ranged: impact scattergun +13/+13 or +11/+11/+11 (12d6 + 24), average 66 damage per hit
  • Weapon: solarian sword + lesser gluon crystal +14/+14 or +12/+12/+12 (10d6 + 24 plus 6 fire), average 65 damage per hit

So far it looks like the weapon solarion blows the two-weapon armor solarian out of the water when it comes to damage, likely because they’re using operative melee weapons without any ability to increase the damage done by those weapons. Before we completely close the book on this build, however, let’s take a peak at what the numbers look like if we account for hits and misses.

At CR 12, the KAC of an enemy creature is going to be 28. With this in mind, we know the following:

  • Armor, Melee: The solarian hits on a 13 or higher with two attacks (8 numbers times 5% per number is 40%), or 15 or higher with three attacks (6 numbers times 5% per number is 30%).
  • Armor, Ranged: The solarian hits on a 15 or higher with two attacks (6 numbers times 5% per number is 30%), or a 17 or higher with three attacks (4 numbers times 5% per number is 20%)
  • Weapon: The solarian hits on a 15 or higher with two attacks (6 numbers times 5% per number is 30%), or a 17 or higher with three attacks (4 numbers times 5% per number is 20%)

With this COH percentage in mind, the “average damage per round” of our solarians is as follows:

  • Armor, Melee: 14.4 damage with two attacks (36 average damage per hit times 40% C2H), 10.8 damage with three attacks (36 average damage per hit times 30% C2H).
  • Armor, Ranged: 19.8 damage with two attacks (66 average damage per hit times 30% C2H), 13.2 damage with three attacks (66 average damage per hit times 20% C2H).
  • Weapon: 19.5 damage with two attacks (65 average damage per hit times 30% C2H), 13 damage with three attacks (65 average damage per hit times 20% C2H).

So, there you have it. Sticking with operative melee weapons as a solarian is going to lead to disappointment. Even if you’re hitting more, your numbers will be lower then that of a solarian of any other build, and your damage is going to be significantly lower by about 40% at all times. This is definitely within the range of “fixing,” however, and if we look at the operative, providing some bonus to other classes to keep operative weapons a viable choice for them is probably a good idea for the game’s long-term design. This actually echoes what I believe to be one of the core problems with the Starfinder system right now—mathematically the system pigeonholds itself hardcore, so that weird, quirky little builds like this doesn’t work. Based on this article and the one I wrote a few months back comparing soldier, operative, and solarian damage, I’m of the opinion that this game is in serious need of some “loosey goosey” –ness. I find it annoying that you gotta play a specific class to be good at a given role—in this regard Starfinder is more specialized than Pathfinder despite the clear design intention to reduce hyper specialization.

But that’s it for this week’s topic. Next week I’m going to be talking about anthropomorphic animal races and why most players don’t seem to respect them. I’m sure you’re already thinking up some ideas based around the preferences of a particular fandom, but I’ve got plenty to say and none of it involves taking pot shots at people’s interests. Until next time, I’m Alex Augunas and I’m always here for YOU when you need a little bit of Guidance. Take care!

Alexander “Alex” Augunas has been playing roleplaying games since 2007, which isn’t nearly as long as 90% of his colleagues. Alexander is an active freelancer for the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game and is best known as the author of the Pact Magic Unbound series by Radiance House. Alex is the owner of Everyman Gaming, LLC and is often stylized as the Everyman Gamer in honor of Guidance’s original home. Alex also cohosts the Private Sanctuary Podcast, along with fellow blogger Anthony Li, and you can follow their exploits on Facebook in the 3.5 Private Sanctuary Group, or on Alexs Twitter, @AlJAug.

 

Alex Augunas

Alexander Augunas lives outside of Philadelphia, USA where he tries to make a living as an educator. When he's not shaping the future leaders of tomorrow, Alex is a freelance writer for esteemed Pathfinder Roleplaying Game publishers such as Paizo, Inc, Radiance House, Raging Swan Press, and more, and also acts as a co-host and blogger on the Know Direction Network, where he has earned the nickname, "The Everyman Gamer." Recently, Alex has forayed into the realm of self-publishing through his company, Everyman Gaming, LLC. If you like Alex's writing and are interested in supporting him while getting professional-quality material for the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game while doing so, check out the Everyman Gaming, LLC catalog, which is listed under Rogue Genius Games at the following locations: http://drivethrurpg.com/browse/pub/6101/Rogue-Genius-Games/subcategory/19574_25289/Everyman-Gaming-Catalog

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