Developing to Spec: Part 14b – Devils in the Details

This is the second section of Part Fourteen of a series of articles looking at creating a set of Starfinder feats under specific constraints.  You can read along as we convert every feat in the PF core rulebook to Starfinder (and  share my thoughts on that process, as a developer and writer)— or you can just look at the finished feats (as they are written, and I have time over the holidays to update the list) here.

So, having tackled Scorpion Style, now we can go back and grab Gorgon’s Fist. And, much like Scorpion Style, it doesn’t really need any major revisions. Because Starfinder generally has fewer feat prerequisites than PF, it makes sense to cut the Strength requirement and Power Attack from that list, and we want to use key ability rules, but otherwise the feat works as-is. Those tiny details matter, though, as they help make these feats feel and work like Starfinder feats, which can be an important part of the product being popular with fans and successful.

With one well-placed blow, you leave your target reeling.
Prerequisites: Improved Unarmed Strike, Scorpion Style, base attack bonus +6.
Benefit: As a standard action, make a single unarmed melee attack against a foe whose speed is reduced (such as from Scorpion Style). If the attack hits, you deal damage normally and the target is staggered until the end of your next turn unless it makes a Fortitude saving throw (DC 10 + 1/2 your character level + your key ability modifier). This feat has no effect on targets that are staggered.

Okay, so Greater Bull Rush is next. Greater Bull Rusk works perfectly as written… IF a bull rush doesn’t normally provoke attacks of opportunity in Starfinder. This is a matter of some debate among fans, based on whether there is a difference between a target moving out of your threatened area, and a target being moved out of your threatened area. And, for our purposes, it doesn’t matter which interpretation is right, because a chunk of the fanbase will disagree with that ruling regardless. So if we make a feat that depends on the rules being read one way or the other, even if we are right we lose part of our potential customer base.

We COULD just let you make a bull rush in place of a melee attack, since that’s a difference between many PF and Starfinder combat maneuvers, but we are going to have to do “improved” versions of all the combat maneuvers already, and that seems like something we could keep as an easy way to adapt those without interfering with Starfinder’s combat math.

But one tiny detail we discover when comparing PF bull rush and Starfinder bull rush is that in Starfinder, you don’t get to move with your target. And that can certainly become the basis for a new feat!

Your bull rush attacks can carry you across a battlefield.
Prerequisites: Improved Combat Maneuver (bull rush), base
attack bonus +6.
Benefit: When you make a successful bull rush maneuver, if you are able to move and have an appropriate movement speed, you can move with the target of your bull rush. Your total movement cannot exceed your speed. You do not have to travel the entire distance your target does, but you cannot go anywhere but toward your target along the path of the bull rush.

And that is going to define how we handle all the Greater and Improved combat maneuver feats.

Like all my blog posts, this is brought to you by the wonderful patrons of my Patreon! Want more of this content? Want to suggest specific game systems, topics, of kinds of articles? All of that is only possible if people join my Patreon, help me have the free time to write these things, and let me know what 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 December 4, 2019, in Game Design, Starfinder Development and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: