Developing to Spec: Part 15d — Attacks of Opportunity and To-Weapon Fighting

This is the fourth 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.

So we bring ourselves to Greater Trip, which like the earlier Greater combat maneuver feats is fairly easily adapted… if we are willing to add a new way a character can provoke an attack of opportunity to Starfinder.

In general as a d20 game mechanic, Attacks of Opportunity (AoOs) are contentious among some groups. Many players (including GMs) feel they are too complicated, and it can be difficult to remember and understand what provokes one. On the opposite hand, there are tactically-minded players (and GMs) who want to have rules that force characters to think about where they are when they take certain actions–so you can’t just run past a line of spearbearers, for example and standing in the middle of a group of foes is a bad place to shoot at the main villain on his throne.

Starfinder tries to thread this needle by boiling down all the various options so three, and only three, things can potentially provoke an AoO (cast a spell, make a ranged attack, or leave a square threatened by a foe). There are ways to avoid provoking those AoO, but so far nothing else adds ways. So, does that mean we shouldn’t have Greater Trip do so?

No, not at all.

I would never have some new universal option, such as a new skill use, provoke AoOs when nothing else like it does. But a feat that adds a new consequence to a successful combat maneuver is a very different thing. It isn’t something people need to remember, because it’ll only come up when an attacker wants to use it. Similarly I’d have no issue with a spell you could cast that would force a creature to provoke an AoO.

But there ARE some action economy issues. If you take a standard action to trip a foe, and then get to attack it because it provoked from you, you can attack it twice. Sure, you might not succeed at the trip, but when you do it’s always better than just making a melee attack. This has been an issue over nearly 20 years of d20 games including Greater Trip.

But it’s easily fixed.

When you trip a foe, they briefly lose focus on their defenses.
Prerequisites: Improved Combat Maneuver (trip), base attack bonus +6.
Benefit: When you successfully trip a foe using the trip combat maneuver, they provoke attacks of opportunity from creatures threatening them other than you.


Okay, next is Greater Two Weapon Fighting. Which has Improved Two-Weapon Fighting as a prerequisite. Which itself has Two-Weapon Fighting as prerequisite. That means we need to come up with three, scaling, interesting combat benefits without boosting the maximum bonuses or damage a character gets (and we certainly can’t add more attacks to the Starfinder combat rules). As is generally the case with feats with prerequisites, we’ll start with the lowest-level of these feats.

You can maximize the benefit of fighting with two or more weapons.
Prerequisites: Dexterity 15+, base attack bonus +1.
Benefit: When you are wielding two or more weapons, and you attack a target that could be attacked with either of them, you may choose to attack the target with two of the weapons (expending charges or ammunition normally) as part of the same attack. If the weapons are identical, if your attack hits you roll damage normally for one weapon, but reroll any damage die that results in a “1”. If the two weapons are not identical, you may reroll a single damage die that results in a ‘1″.

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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 13, 2019, in Game Design, Starfinder Development and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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