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The solarian's Corona revelation states:

As a standard action, you can surround your body with an envelope of fiery plasma. You gain cold resistance 10, and any adjacent creature that hits you with a natural weapon or a melee weapon takes 2d6 fire damage.

Does this mean they actually have to hit you or "hit" you? I assumed they just have to attempt since AC is subjective as to how it works (i.e. failing to meet or beat AC = I dodged or my armor absorbed the attack).

Also, for reference I used the Electrostatic Field armor upgrade, which is worded differently and states:

This field over your armor grants you electricity resistance, and any creature that touches you or deals damage to you with a melee weapon takes electricity damage.

Also when does this damage actually happen before or after they deal damage or simultaneously?

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Can you add some clarification as what you mean by "hit you or 'hit' you"? I'm assuming you're meaning the difference between dealing damage, versus some breakdown of AC as narrative or as another mechanic. I'm not familiar enough with Starfinder to know exactly what you mean. \$\endgroup\$ – UrhoKarila Nov 27 '18 at 2:20
  • \$\begingroup\$ I made an edit to change the title to reflect the question that I think is being asked by the body text. Feel free to revert if you disagree. \$\endgroup\$ – Tim C Nov 27 '18 at 3:29
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Yes, an adjacent creature must beat your armor class in order to take the damage from Corona.

It's unclear from the question whether you're playing Starjammer (abilities) or Starfinder (tags), or some hybrid of the two, but the answer is the same in any case.

Starfinder:

If your result equals or exceeds the target’s Armor Class, you hit and deal damage.

Starjammer:

Your Armor Class (AC) is the minimum attack roll result that an opponent needs to hit you and deal damage

Conversely (though it is not stated outright) if an attack roll does not equal or exceed the target's armor class, they do not hit and do not deal damage. Under the rules, this is only one kind of "hit." If there was another, there would be a rule for it and a name for it.

Sometimes, the GM may narrate that a "missed" attack bounced off your armor, but the rules do not distinguish between that and any other kind of miss. It would still not trigger the Corona.

Electrostatic Field behaves similarly, but will also trigger when anyone touches you for any reason, even if that touch does not require an attack roll (such is often the case with beneficial spells).

The order of operations on the damage is not specified by the rules, but at my table, I would rule that the two happen as independent events that do not affect each other. They still take the damage even if their attack somehow shuts off your Corona, and you still take the damage from the triggering attack even if your Corona kills them or otherwise stops them from taking (further) attacks.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Actually, electrostatic field IS different in one very important way. If a spellcaster touches you to apply a spell (such as Mystic Cure), then it will trigger the electrostatic field, even though no attack was made. \$\endgroup\$ – YogoZuno Nov 28 '18 at 2:45
  • \$\begingroup\$ @YogoZuno Ah- good catch! I've added that. Thanks. \$\endgroup\$ – Tim C Nov 28 '18 at 2:54
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    \$\begingroup\$ Note that the spellcaster thing was simply a common example - any touch will trigger the field. So, a grappling attempt, or picking up the body of the wearer, or even bumping into them, would trigger the field. \$\endgroup\$ – YogoZuno Nov 28 '18 at 5:08
  • \$\begingroup\$ I am confused by the implication that Starjammer and Starfinder are different things - Starjammer is just the name that starjammersrd.com uses to refer to the open rules of Starfinder, right? (Noting that your two links - apparently meant to be for the different systems - point to two sections on the same page of the Starjammer site which are a couple of paragraphs away from each other...) \$\endgroup\$ – Carcer Nov 28 '18 at 15:02
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Carcer Starjammer existed before Starfinder; since then, d20srd has altered most (but not all) of their Starjammer side to be Starfinder "SRD". Starfinder is generally thought of as space Pathfinder combined with Starjammer srd with a little Paizo mystery sauce added in to make it unique from either other system \$\endgroup\$ – Ifusaso Nov 29 '18 at 1:24

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