Developing to Spec: Part 17d – Captain Akiton

This is the third section of Part Seventeen 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) here.

We’re nearly through the long list of “Improved” feats, and have come to Improved Shield Bash. That would have been tricky as heck before the Character Operations Manual, but since that book added shields, and they have rules for making unarmed attacks using a shield, all we need is to find an option that is shield-specific, slam related, combat-useful, interesting, fun, and doesn’t upset any of the game’s combat math by increasing max bonuses.

Easy, right?

You are skilled at mixing offensive and defensive shield tactics in combat.
Prerequisites: Proficiency with shields.
Benefit: When you successfully hit a target with an unarmed strike from a shield, until the beginning of your next turn any increased bonus to AC the shield grants when you align it against a target apply to attacks made from the target you hit.

That brings us to Improvised Weapon Mastery, which has Catch-Off Guard and Throw Anything as prerequisites. We aren’t obligated to have them as prerequisites for our Starfinder version of Improvised Weapon Mastery, but it’s still a good idea to have them written up first and to remind ourselves what they do) We did Catch Off-Guard already, so that just leaves Throw Anything.

We COULD just copy-and-paste our Catch Off-Guard and make it for improvised thrown weapons rather than improvised melee… but no one would ever take that feat. It’s dull and corner-case at best. Besides, we JUST wrote a feat that deals with using shields in combat, so…

You are adept at turning anything into a ranged weapon.
Prerequisites: Dex 13, proficiency with Advanced Melee Weapons.
Benefit: Anything held you can use to make a melee attack with, you can use as a thrown weapon without taking additional penalties for throwing it. Items you can use 1-handed have a range increment of 20 feet, those that require 2 or more hands have a range increment of 10 feet.
Additionally, items you throw in combat bounce back to you and are caught ready-for-use by you, unless something happens to them to interrupt their journey. A foe can ready an action to attempt to sunder a thrown weapon you use this feat with, and after your attack is resolved if the readied action hits, the thrown item ends up in a random space somewhere between you and your target.
If you have this feat and are proficient with shields, you can throw a shield you are wielding, and are considered to be wielding it again when it returns.

Okay, so maybe I’ve been watching too many Avengers movies, but at least this feat feels fun. 🙂  And, given the more common nature of ranged combat in Starfinder, making it easier to be a melee-weapon-using character is likely fine.

This series of posts about my specific game writing and development process (along with concrete examples and Starfinder feats) is — like all my blog posts — 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 27, 2019, in Game Design, Starfinder Development and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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