Lots of maneuvers call for a DC of [some number]+2×[the ship's tier]. Yet as your character levels up (and your ship's tier with it), your max ranks in a given skill only increase by 1/level.

Thus, as you gain experience and get to know your ship better and modify it to suit you, it actually becomes harder to get it to do anything not in the base specs.

Coming off of 5e's bounded accuracy, this is a bit of a shock. Am I reading this right? Am I missing something? I know there are ASIs, but those don't happen that often — is there an assumption of assistive gear that would make maneuvers easier over time, or at least not harder?

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    \$\begingroup\$ Han Solo also is interested in a good answer to this problem... His ship's DC are crazy high. \$\endgroup\$ – Mindwin Aug 25 '17 at 13:33

Vehicle upgrades increase in quality as well as 'size' (for lack of a more encompassing term). For instance, your starship can get a Short-Range Scanner (range 5) that is Budget, Basic, or Advanced. Basic adds +2 and Advanced adds +4 to all related checks. Each range has a similar suite of options. Computers are a little more straightforward; they start at Basic (no bonus) then can be upgraded to Mk 1 (+1) and go up to Mk 8 (+8). Thrusters only provide 0, +1 or +2 bonus. You could of course get some of this early, but the higher your Tier, the more BP you have to use so you're more likely to meet the demand.

Does this offset the difficulty increase? Let's look at a difficult Computers check, assuming linear Mk increase over levels. I'm also assuming full skill ranks and that ability scores are allocated appropriately but not min/maxed.

  • Tier/Level 1 DC 10+2*Tier = DC 12
    • 4 (skill+ class skill) + 3 (ability) + 0 (ship) = Estimated +7 (80% chance of success)
  • Tier/level 5 (DC 20)
    • 8 (skill) + 4 (ability) + 2 (ship) = Estimated +14 (75% chance)
  • Tier/Level 10 (DC 30)
    • 13 (skill) + 5 (ability) + 4 (ship) = +22 (60% chance)
  • Tier/level 15 (DC 40)
    • 18 (skill) + 5 (ability) + 6 (ship) = +29 (45% chance)
  • Tier/level 20 (DC 50)
    • 23 (skill) + 6 (ability) + 8 (ship) = +37 (35% chance)

So it's true, as you observed, that the relative chance to succeed at skill checks decrease as level increases. Cross referencing the example NPC ships from p. 306-315 of the Player's Guide, my numbers are actually a little higher than the NPC ships. It never becomes unreasonable/impossible to perform checks (except possibly the 15+2*Tier DC's) but it does become a good idea to have Skill Focus in the applicable skill if you expect significant amounts of high-level vehicle combat.

Piloting's numbers would be similar, but shifted to be a bit more difficult, but Pilots also get bonuses from Ship size and maneuverability that would be hard to summarize into bullets. There is also the Ace Pilot theme to help do their job.

Ways to Increase your Vehicle Capability

  • Skill Focus Feat (+3 Insight to chosen skill)1
  • Skill Synergy Feat (Change to Class Skill or +2 Insight to 2 skills)1
  • Personal Upgrade (+1 to +3 from increased ability scores)
  • Other Equipment (IE Data Jack, Tool Kit/Specialized) (+2 to +6 Competence for Engineering or Computers)
  • Higher Quality Parts (Varies)
  • Smaller Ship (Pilot only)
  • Better Maneuverability (Pilot only)
  • Captain Encouragement (+2 one job per round, as Aid Another)
  • Lashunta Race (+2 Racial to any 2 skills)
  • Ysoki Race (+2 Racial to Engineering only)
  • Envoy Class (+1d6 to 1d8+4 Insight; Diplomacy, Computers, and/or Engineering only; average +3.5-8.5)1
  • Engineer Class* (7th level, ability to repair Starship Hull)
  • Mystic Class Connection: Star Shaman (Piloting +1 to +7 Insight)1
  • Operative Class (+1 to +6 Insight, all skills)1
  • Operative Class Exploit: Uncanny Pilot (Reduce penalty when you're piloting and attacking simultaneously, situational +2 Circumstance to Piloting)2
  • Technomancer Class (+1 to +6 Insight, Computers only)1

1Insight bonuses do not stack, only the largest of these applies.
2Circumstance bonuses generally stack unless a GM indicates they don't.

For semantics, a Operative acting as your Science Officer, as above (Ranks [inc. Class Skill bonus] + Ability Mod + Equipment Bonus + Operative Bonus):

  • Tier/Level 1 DC 10+2*Tier = DC 12
    • 4 + 3 + 0 + 1 = Estimated +8 (85% chance)
  • Tier/level 5 (DC 20)
    • 8 + 4 + 2 + 2 = Estimated +16 (85% chance)
  • Tier/Level 10 (DC 30)
    • 13 + 5 + 4 + 3 = +27 (80% chance)
  • Tier/level 15 (DC 40)
    • 18 + 5 + 6 + 5 = +36 (75% chance)
  • Tier/level 20 (DC 50)
    • 23 + 6 + 8 + 6 = +45 (70% chance)

Lashunta's have the ability to add another 10% to each of these.
It would seem the answer is to pick an appropriate Class, such as Operative.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Thanks for the sanity check. I'll leave this open for a while in case someone else has something to add. \$\endgroup\$ – SirTechSpec Aug 21 '17 at 16:21
  • \$\begingroup\$ One other thing to consider is the Operative and Envoy - both can boost skill check results. They will be naturally better at doing this stuff. Also...thrusters can actually also give a penalty to Piloting, not just a bonus. \$\endgroup\$ – YogoZuno Aug 21 '17 at 21:11
  • \$\begingroup\$ @YogoZuno I would welcome an answer that builds on the above, incorporating the increasing Expertise over time. My hunch is that it affects the starting point, but not really the progression. \$\endgroup\$ – SirTechSpec Aug 22 '17 at 3:52
  • \$\begingroup\$ @SirTechSpec I actually started an answer yesterday, and found lfusaso's answer this morning actually covered most of the ground I had looked at, and in more detail. \$\endgroup\$ – YogoZuno Aug 22 '17 at 4:22
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    \$\begingroup\$ Thanks - your updated answer significantly reduces the WTF factor; specialists and/or Operatives can just about keep up. For the benefit of those of us who aren't used to typed bonuses, though, you might add that none of Skill Focus, Skill Synergy, Envoy Expertise, and Operative's Edge stack with each other. \$\endgroup\$ – SirTechSpec Aug 23 '17 at 18:34

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