Developing to Spec (Part 6): Applying Development Consistently (with Starfinder Missing Legacy Feats)

This is Part Six of a series of articles looking at creating a set of Starfinder feats under specific constraints. The point of these is to offer practical examples of how I approach developing and writing supplemental rules for tabletop RPGs. Rather than just blather on about things as I think of them, I go over issues as I encounter them in a real-world example.

The goal of this project is to create the “Missing Starfinder Legacy Feats,” a Starfinder-compatible version of every feat in the PF core rulebook that doesn’t have an SF match. (We discussed the impact of having to do that, whether that’s a good idea or not, in Part One.)

You can find previous entries here — Part One , Part TwoPart Three, Part Four, Part Five — or just the finished feats (as they are written) here.

Having tackled a lot of different feats with a lot of different kinds of issues to make them fun and useful parts of Starfinder, we now have a run of feats that need the same kind of solution as feats we’ve already converted. This is a good lesson on development as well — if you have a working solution for multiple issues, applying it consistently can be a big part of creating a fun, easily-learned, intuitive set of game rules.

So, we look at two new Missing Legacy feats today, and see how we can use ideas from earlier in the series to come up with Starfinder versions.

So, for Athletic we used the same development techniques as for Acrobatic in Part One.

You possess inherent physical prowess.
Benefit: When using Athletics to climb you do not need any hands free and are not flat-footed. When using it to jump you are always considered to have a running start and never fall prone at the end of your jump as long as you are conscious and not suffering  condition that would prevent you from taking move actions. When using it to swim you must fail the check by 10 before you are forced to sink beneath the surface or singk deeper, and you are not required to make Athletics check to avoid nonlethal damage when swimming for an hour or more.

For Augment Summoning, we just had to adjust the feat to work with Starfinder rules and assumptions, similar to Arcane Strike in Part Five.

Your summoned creatures are more powerful and robust.
Prerequisite: Able to cast the summon creature spell.
Benefit: Each creature you conjure with any summon spell gains a +2 enhancement bonus to attack rolls and damage, and 1 extra HP per HD for the duration of the spell that summoned it.

While there’s no guarantee we won’t run into brand-new kinds of problems in future feats (the XX Critical line of PF feats is about to hit us…), this is a good sign that we have reached a milestone in this project — we’re running into more and more things that we can apply existing solutions to. As we keep going through these feats next week, chances are it’ll be possible to keep these articles shorter and snappier.

Got questions about specific kinds of development or game rule issues? Want to suggest some other topic for me to tackle in-depth? Join my Patreon for just a few dollars a month, and give me feedback on the kind of content you want to see!


About Owen K.C. Stephens

Owen K.C. Stephens Owen Kirker Clifford Stephens is a full-time ttRPG Writer, designer, developer, publisher, and consultant. He's the publisher for Rogue Genius Games, and has served as the Starfinder Design Lead for Paizo Publishing, the Freeport and Pathfinder RPG developer for Green Ronin, a developer for Rite Publishing, and the Editor-in-Chief for Evil Genius Games. Owen has written game material for numerous other companies, including Wizards of the Coast, Kobold Press, White Wolf, Steve Jackson Games and Upper Deck. He also consults, freelances, and in the off season, sleeps. He has a Pateon which supports his online work. You can find it at

Posted on October 18, 2019, in Game Design, Starfinder Development and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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