Developing to Spec: Part 15a – Penetrating Thoughts

This is the first section of Part Fifteen 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.

Our alphabetical rundown has brought us to Greater Penetrating Strike. Which, of course, has Penetrating Strike as a prerequisite. And while Starfinder has a Penetrating Attack feat, it doesn’t have Penetrating Strike. So we need to create a Starfinder version of a feat that has already been adapted under a slightly different name. And then create a greater version of it.

Since our feat is a Strike, rather than any Attack, we can start by having it only apply to melee attacks. That reduces its effectiveness so we can have it apply at lower levels. But we still don’t want to do the same thing as Penetrating Attack. That means we need to look for some other kind of defense it can penetrate.

Penetration suggests getting through barriers, and there are two basic forms of barrier in Starfinder — cover (including shields, now), and force fields.

Prerequisites: Base attack bonus +9, Penetrating Strike, Weapon Focus (any melee weapon).
Benefit: you can use the benefit of Penetrating Strike with any melee attack, regardless of the action you use, whether you have Weapon Focus with it, or how many RP you have.

Prerequisites: Base attack bonus +6, Weapon Focus (any melee weapon).
Benefit: As long as you have at least 1 Resolve Point remaining, when you make a single melee attack as a standard action (with an attack to which you can apply Weapon Focus), your target does not gain any AC bonus from cover (including shields) against that attack, and it ignores any HP and other effects from force fields and energy shields, and any other defensive effect of a shield.

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 10, 2019, in Game Design, Starfinder Development and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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