Developing to Spec: Part 16b — Vital Choices

This is the second section of Part Sixteen 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 Vital Strike, which obviously has Vital Strike and Improved Vital Strike as prerequisites. So, we need to somehow create a new combat option that’s worth a three-feat investment, that doesn;t break the game’s combat math.

And, to be honest, I’l not 100% sure this succeeds.

The idea is to give an alternative to the Starfinder full attack option. With the base Vital Strike, you end up being able to take a move action, take the same penalty to attacks as with a full attack, and if you hit get increased damage (more than one attack hitting, less than two, which tracks with the average result of a full attack though it’s not perfectly equivalent, and whether it’s better of worse is going to depend on a lot of factors). This is likely fine.

Improved Vital Strike makes you 5% more likely to succeed, and is in keeping with the math from the solarian flashing strikes… but anyone can pick it up and it’s not limited to melee weapons. That might steal too much thunder from the solarian, or it might be fine. Greater Vital Strike works like the solarian and soldier onslaught abilities, but isn’t as good total, and comes into play later, but ALSO is available to anyone.

My best guess is that these are okay, and good for some character builds, but not too good. But I’d certainly want to playtest them before I was sure of that.

(Presented below in the order you can take them, rather than alphabetical order as they would be in a feat list. I went ahead and did all three now, rather than saving one for tomorrow’s post. 🙂 )

VITAL STRIKE (Combat)
You can make one carefully- placed attack to do tremendous damage.
Prerequisites: Base attack bonus +6.
Benefit: As a standard action you can make a single attack at a -4 penalty to the attack roll. The weapon must be on you could make a full attack with (it cannot be unwieldy, for example). If your attack succeeds, you double the base damage dice of the attack when determining damage (but do not double not any bonuses, such as your Strength bonus for melee attacks or any weapon specialization bonus).

IMPROVED VITAL STRIKE (Combat)
You are skilled art making one carefully- placed attack to do tremendous damage.
Prerequisites: Vital Strike, base attack bonus +11.
Benefit: The penalty you take to your attack roll when using Vital Strike is only -3.

GREATER VITAL STRIKE (Combat)
You are skilled art making one carefully- placed attack to do tremendous damage.
Prerequisites: Improved Vital Strike, Vital Strike, base attack bonus +16.
Benefit: When you make a Vital Strike, you may choose to take a -5 penalty to your attack roll, rather than -3. If your attack succeeds, you triple the base damage dice of the attack when determining damage (but do not triple not any bonuses, such as your Strength bonus for melee attacks or any weapon specialization bonus).

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About okcstephens

Owen K.C. Stephens Owen Kirker Clifford Stephens is the Starfinder Design Lead for Paizo Publishing, the Freeport and Pathfinder RPG developer for Green Ronin, a developer for Rite Publishing, and the publisher and lead genius of Rogue 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.

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

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