Converting PF1 spells to Starfinder: The Shield Spell

So, back to converting Pf1 spells to Starfinder. (You can find an index of the spells that have been converted to-date here). A member of my Patreon asked I tackle the shield spell next, rather than wait until I got to it in alphabetical order, so here we go!

Shield is a fascinating example of a spell that is trickier to move from Pathfinder 1st edition to Starfinder that might first appear. Obviously the effects of the PF1 version can be translated directly–at least if you are using the Character Operations Manual, Starfinder has rules for shield bonuses to AC. But looking at the tighter math in Starfinder, and the fact that all spellcasters in that game have access to at least light armor, it becomes pretty clear a +4 bonus to AC as a 1st-level spell would be game-breakingly good.

So, some analysis is called for. Can we make a version of shield that is both true to the concept of the Pathfinder version (if not the exact numbers), and yet a viable option to add to Starfinder games without ruining anything? Well, let’s look at what shield does in Pathfinder, in a comparative context.

In Pathfinder 1st ed, the shield spell gives an advantage almost as great as a 1st-level character can get with the best shield (tower shield), but without any of the drawbacks (penalties to attack, weight, and so on) or as many options (no setting it down to gain total cover from weapon attacks). It also neutralizes magic missile, which is a minor point, but one worth remembering since we have magic missile in Starfinder.

So, seen in that light, it becomes clearer that a Starfinder-compatible version of shield needs to mimic what a a level 1 piece of equipment can do. Looking at 1st-level shields, that gives us a better idea of an appropriate power level for the spell. Of course, Starfinder also has tiered spells, so we can also make higher-spell-level versions of shield, if we are so inclined…

And I am.

(Art by Max_776)

Shield
Classes technomancer 1-6, witchwarper 1-6
School abjuration (force)
Casting Time 1 standard action
Range personal
Duration 1 min./level (D)
Shield creates an invisible shield of force that hovers in front of you. It grants you a shield bonus to AC, which may be higher if you align your shield against the foe as a move action (see aligning shields in Chapter 4 of the Character Operations Manual). Additionally, if you align a shield against an incorporeal or ethereal target the force effect of the shield grants you an additional +2 AC against that creature’s attacks.

Level 1: Shield bonus +0/+1. Additionally, you are immune to damage from magic missile while the shield spell is active.
Level 2: Shield bonus +1/+1. Additionally, you are immune to damage from all 1st level spells with the force descriptor.
Level 3: Shield bonus +1/+2. Additionally, you are immune to damage from all 2nd-level and lower spells with the force descriptor.
Level 4: Shield bonus +1/+3. Additionally, you are immune to damage from all 3rd-level and lower spells with the force descriptor.
Level 5: Shield bonus +1/+4. Additionally, you are immune to damage from all 4th-level and lower spells with the force descriptor.
Level 6: Shield bonus +2/+4. Additionally, you are immune to damage from all 5th-level and lower spells with the force descriptor.

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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 14, 2021, in Game Design, Starfinder Development and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

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