Developing to Spec: Part 18b –Followers and Leadership

This is the second section of Part Eighteen 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.

And we’ve reached Leadership.

Leadership has always been a contentious feat. It brings with it some unanswered questions, such as whether the GM or player writers the cohort gained by taking it. There’s no question it is among the most powerful feats, based on action economy alone–even if your cohort is a few levels below you, having another character that can take a full set of actions every round is a huge boost to the effectiveness of a whole group. The feat has never been allowed in any official organized play program, and it’s easy to see why Starfinder’s designers chose not to include it. But now, we have to.

Of, at least, we have to create a feat called “Leadership.” No one said it had to include things like followers and cohorts. On the other hand, even if we decide cohorts are out of the picture (the Alien Archive 3 companion rules *could* be adapted if a group wanted to do so), there are going to be players who want followers, conceptually, even if we go a different route with the Leadership feat.

So, if a feat is too powerful and too flexible, maybe we need more than one feat to emulate it in a new game system.

You’ve got a lot of fans out there.
Prerequisites: Cha 15, Cha as key ability score, or a theme that grants +1 Cha.
Benefit: You have allies, fans, supporters, and boosters all over the galaxy. Each day you can call upon those supporters to assist you in one of the following minor ways.
Friendly Face. In any settlement, with 1d4 hours of inquiries, you can find a typical local who is one step friendlier toward you than the typical population. You can make Diplomacy checks to try to improve this attitude normally.
Reconnoiter. You can ask your supporters to gather information for you, anywhere you can communicate with them. This takes 1d4 hours, and the bonus used for the skill check is equal to your level + your Charisma modifier.

You have a knack for keeping a group together and on-task.
Prerequisites: Cha 15, Cha as key ability score, or a theme that grants +1 Cha.
Benefit: When ally determines if they are within range to affect a friendly target with beneficial abilities, you are within the range of the ally’s ability, and the friendly target is within that range to you, the ally can affect the friendly target. You can also act as a middleman for line of sight and sense-dependent abilities (as long as both ally and friendly target are within line of sight of you, the ally can affect the target even if they are not in line of sight of one another), and language-dependent abilities (as long as you are able and willing to communicate with ally and target the ability works,m even if te ally can’t communicate directly with the target).

Additionally in starship combat, you can take the role of Captain, even if the ship already has a captain. You take your action directly after the other captain, and cannot take the same action the other captain does in the same turn.

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 January 1, 2020, in Game Design, Starfinder Development and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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