Search Results for genre feats

Genre Feats: Supers Edition

For lots of really good reasons, the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game is designed to emulate a specific flavor of fantasy. It then branches out from that flavor sometimes with specific options, but they (for good reason) feel like bolt-ons.

But it’s not hard to turn Pathfinder into nearly any flavor of fantasy game. Sometimes you need more extensive rules (ranging from Anachronistic Adventures to comprehensive rules for Spell Points). But sometimes you just need a few tweaks to bring in a new flavor without having to rewrite the whole game.

Enter Genre feats.

Genre feats are specifically designed to reskin the flavor of a game. Characters get 2 free genre feats at 1st level, one additional bonus genre feat at 5th and every 5 levels thereafter, and may use normal (but not class bonus) feat slots to take more.

Genre feats have low prerequisites, often allow a build to work well that doesn’t in standard Pathfinder, and make genre-specific tropes easy. It’s common for a few genre feats to be popular with many players, and that’s fine. It reinforces the genre!

Here are example Supers Genre Feats. For these each feat can be selected more than once increasing the feat by one step (the first time you take the feat you get the basic version. Each additional step moves you up to enhanced, superior, and then supreme). Supers can focus on one power tree for many levels, or build heroes with multiple, more minor powers.

Obviously many more could be created.

BRICK
Basic: You gain an armor bonus to AC equal to 6 +1/3 your character level.
Enhanced: You gain an armor bonus to AC equal to 6 +1/3 your character level, a natural armor bonus equal to 1 + 1/5 your character level. You have DR 1/– and resist energy (all) 5. These increase by +1 DR and +5 resist at 5th character level, and every 5 levels thereafter.
Superior: You gain an armor bonus to AC equal to 7 +1/3 your character level, a natural armor bonus equal to 2 + 1/5 your character level. You have DR 1/– and resist energy (all) 5. These increase by +1 DR and +5 resist at 5th character level, and every 5 levels thereafter. You begin every combat with temporary hit points equal to double your character level.
Supreme: You gain an armor bonus to AC equal to 8 +1/3 your character level, a natural armor bonus equal to 3 + 1/5 your character level. You have DR 1/– and resist energy (all) 5. These increase by +1 DR and +5 resist at 5th character level, and every 5 levels thereafter. You begin every combat with temporary hit points equal to double your character level. You have SR equal to your character level +10, but may choose to forgo it against any spell you are aware of as a free action.

MASTER OF ELDRITCH FORCES
Basic: Select one class spell list. You gain spells known and spells per day from that spell list as a bloodrager of your character level. Select Int, Wis, or Cha to determine your bonus spells, max spell level, and spell save DCs. You suffer ASF, except from armor gained as part of a power.
Enhanced: Select two class spell lists. You gain spells known and spells per day from as a bard of your character level, drawing all spells from the selected spell lists. You suffer ASF in medium or heavy armor, except from armor gained as part of a genre emulation feat.
Superior: Select three class spell lists. You gain spells known and spells per day as a sorcerer of your character level drawing all spells from the selected spell lists. You suffer ASF in heavy armor, except from armor gained as part of a genre emulation feat.
Supreme: Select four class spell lists. You learn and cast spells as an arcanist of your character level +2 (minimum 6 spells known per character level), drawing all spells from the selected spell lists. You do not suffer ASF.

SUPER-MOVEMENT
Basic: You have a fly speed equal to your base move rate, but must end each turn adjacent to an object strong enough to bear your weight.
Enhanced: You have a fly speed equal to your base move rate with good maneuverability.
Superior: You have a fly speed equal to double your base move rate.
Supreme: You can teleport as part of any of your movement, as the same type of action (including teleporting as a 5-foot step).

SUPER-PUNCH
Basic: You deal unarmed damage as a monk of your character level +4
Enhanced: You deal unarmed damage as a monk of your character level +8
Superior: Every unarmed attack you make calculates damage as is you were using a 2-handed weapons and hitting with Vital Strike. This stacks with actual Vital Strike.
Supreme: You are treated as having one of the following sets of feats:  Martial Arts Master – Improved Dirty Trick, Improved Disarm, Improved Grapple, Improved Reposition, Improved Steal, Improved Trip; or Powerhouse – Improved Bull Rush, Improved Drag, Improved Grapple, Improved Overrun, Improved Sunder, Improved Trip. When you make a successful melee attack, as a swift or immediate action you may perform a combat maneuver against that foe.

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Genre Feats

For lots of really good reasons, the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game is designed to emulate a specific flavor of fantasy. It then branches out from that flavor sometimes with specific options, but they (for good reason) feel like bolt-ons.

But it’s not hard to turn Pathfinder into nearly any flavor of fantasy game. Sometimes you need more extensive rules (ranging from Anachronistic Adventures to comprehensive rules for Spell Points). But sometimes you just need a few tweaks to bring in a new flavor without having to rewrite the whole game.

Enter Genre feats.

Genre feats are specifically designed to reskin the flavor of a game. Characters get 2 free genre feats at 1st level, one additional bonus genre feat at 5th and every 5 levels thereafter, and may use normal (but not class bonus) feat slots to take more.

Genre feats have low prerequisites, often allow a build to work well that doesn’t in standard Pathfinder, and make genre-specific tropes easy. It’s common for a few genre feats to be popular with many players, and that’s fine. It reinforces the genre!

Here are example Swashbuckling Genre Feats. Obviously many more could be created.

A Flirt in Every Port

Benefit: In every settlement you come across, you have at least one local (at neither the bottom nor top of the social ladder) who is helpful towards you, and acts in a romantic fashion. Even if you spurn these allies and reduce their attitude towards you, it goes back up one step (to a maximum of helpful) every time you gain a level.

Brio

Benefit: You never take penalties for using improvised weapons. If you are using an improvised weapon in combat, you gain a +4 bonus to Perform and Diplomacy checks.

Chandeliers and Rigging

Benefit: As long as there are hanging ropes, lights, sails, or similar dangling flexible objects, you have a fly speed of 30. If you end any turn not within 20 feet of a dangling flexible object, you must land or you fall.

Elan

Benefit: Rather than suffer frightened or panicked conditions, you simple double or triple the penalties for being shaken if you would normally have those other conditions. Even when confused or mind controlled, you never attack yourself or an ally unless you wish to.

Flamboyance

Benefit: You may use your Charisma modifier (rather than Strength or Dexterity) when making attack rolls with weapons, and add your Charisma modifier (in addition to any other ability score that applies) to damage rolls with weapons

Unarmored Hero.
Benefit: When unarmored (or wearing light armor, if you are proficient with heavy armor), you gain a dodge bonus to AC equal to 4 + your base attack bonus. At 10th level this increases to 6 + base attack bonus. You lose this if you lose your Dexterity bonus to AC.

Genre Emulation Feats – Noir, Fatale

Genre Emulation Feats are an idea I noodled with while running an Anachronistc Advenures campaign called “The Travellers,” where my players bravely agreed to make mundane modern day characters using the AnacrAdv rules knowing I was going to do SOMETHING with the game, but not what.

“What” turned out to be a series of world-hopping adventures that took them to different realities (Alterniverses) where different genres held sway, within which each PCs got a template giving them abilities appropriate to their role within that Alterniverse. Several of those had Genre Emulation Feats, which were designed to enforce specific tropes with that reality. GEF were more powerful than normal feats, but you only got a few, only to fit one role, and only within that Alterniverse.

each character never filled more than one role. If your roll changed, you could swap your old genre feats for new ones. I generally gave out a bonus GEF at 1st level, 3rd level, and every 3rd level after that.

These are examples of the ones the Fatale role could pick up, which certainly were not gender-specific.

A Paramour in Every Port
Prerequisites: Fatale role
Benefits: Each time you enter a settlement, you get a number of followers as if you had taken the Leadership feat (but no cohorts… ever). Your Leadership level for this is equal to your Charisma bonus, plus the bonuses you gain from Bluff or Diplomacy from feats (you add only the bonuses to one of those two skills, whichever are highest), plus the higher of the settlement’s Corruption or Society rating. For Leadership scores of Your effective Leadership has a minimum of 6 to 9, you still receive followers (1 follower for a 6, 2 for a 7, and so on). Your total followers in a given settlement never exceed your character level.
Your followers are Friendly, and their roles within the town are random. Their alignment is also random, but you know their alignment within one step (your GM tells you, and the answer will be correct or within one step). You do not need to pay for these followers gear or upkeep unless you give them full-time (40 hour/week) tasks.
Losing a follower lowers your leadership score in the same settlement by 1 until you gain your next level. each time you gain a level, you can recalculate your total followers (replacing lost ones and gaining new ones if needed).

Bushwack
Prerequisites: Fatale role
Benefits: When you lure a target into a secluded area where the target cannot see or hear any of its allies, any nonlethal damage the takes in a surprise round before the target acts is quadrupled. This only functions if you convince the target to move from the location where you encounter it. If any of these conditions end you cannot use this feat again on the same target until you have gotten an attitude or friendly with the target, or if the target does not realize you are the same person when you next lure it into seclusion.

Quid Pro Quo
Prerequisites: Fatale role
Benefits: You can make a Diplomacy check to ask favors of creatures that are not hostile to you, in return for you doing a favor of the same level of danger and/or cost for them first. The DC for this is 10 + x1.5 the CR of the target. This otherwise functions as a normal Diplomacy check asking for a favor.
Obviously you’d want more feats and different roles…

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Developing to Spec: Part 22d (The Last PF Core Feats)

This is the fourth section of Part 22 of a series of articles looking at creating a set of Starfinder feats under specific constraints.  You can go back and read previous entries where we converted every feat in the PF core rulebook to Starfinder (and  I shared my thoughts on that process, as a developer and writer)— or you can just look at the finished feats here.

This is it. The very last feats from the PF Core Rulebook that did not exist in Starfinder. This has been my longest ongoing blog series ever. I’m almost sad.

Almost.

But, let’s get to them, shall we? We begin with Unseat.

A confession. Having played hundreds (in all honesty, maybe thousands) of sessions of Pf and the games that came before it, I have never seen Unseat be used, or even taken by a character, even once.

It’s a super-specific jousting feat. Yo have to be mounted to use it. And attacking with a lance (and only with a lance). And your target has to be mounted. AND you have to charge to use it. And if you hit, you can TRY a bull rush to unseat the target.

That’s so many rules I’d be inclined to just add them to what a lance can do without needing a feat for it. Plus, does this mean that without this feat, I can’t use trip or bull rush to take a mounted foe out of their saddle? Or only that I can’t do it as part of a charge attack with a lance?

But we HAVE to make a Starfinder version, so:

UNSEAT (Combat)
You can rip foes from the mounts and vehicles.
Benefit: When a foe that is mounted or in a vehicle provokes an attack of opportunity from you, you can make a bull rush or trip combat maneuver instead of a melee attack. If you succeed, you pull the target off their mount or out of their vehicle, and leave them prone in an adjacent space.

I’m still not sure how often that’ll come up, but at least knocking folks off their motorcycle has genre-emulation value.

Next up is Weapon Finesse. Which, like so many PF feats, requires things (like a definition of “light weapons”) that Starfinder doesn’t have to allow something (switching some melee weapons from Strength to Dexterity) Starfinder isn’t designed to allow. In fact Starfinder already essentially decided that light weapons are “operative weapons,” and anyone can use their Dexterity to attack with them, and no other weapons should be allowed to do that under any circumstances.

But there is one thing that Starfinder’s system could allow for — some way for operatives to make trick attacks with different weapons than normal. Not to be more effective (operatives are FINE on the power scale), but to support different character concepts and variable tactical styles.

WEAPON FINESSE (Combat)
You can use bulkier, slower weapons to place attacks with additional effects.
Prerequisites: Trick attack class feature.
Benefit: You can use any weapon to deliver a trick attack. When you do so with a non-operative melee weapon, you may choose to use your Dexterity modifier, rather than Strength modifier to add to your attack bonus. You can only apply the trick attack to a single creature, regardless of how many the attack affects, and must make the appropriate skill check. For that one trick attack, you deal either just your trick attack damage +1 per operative level (with its damage type determined by the weapon), or you do the weapon’s damage without any bonus from your trick attack. In either case, you can apply any other effect your trick attack imposes onto the target you trick attack.

There are things this does, and things it does not do. It won’t increase any character’s single-target damage-per round output, and that’s intentional. It also won’t allow a solarian (for example) to ignore all Strength in favor of Dexterity, and that’s intentional. It is of most use to operatives who want increased flexibility. You may not do any more damage to one target when you deliver a trick attack with a grenade, but you still get the rest of the effect of a grenade. making unarmed attacks as trick attacks won’t bust your damage curve, but it’s a lot better than normal trick attacks if you’ve been disarmed.

Okay, last one.

Whirlwind Attack

Whirlwind Attack is a PF feat that normally comes in at mid- to high-level play that has 7 prerequisites (though a fighter could theoretically meet them all by 4th level), that allows you to make one melee attack against every target within reach. Again, a chunk of that is balanced by the fact that in PF, a good chunk of your Damage Per Round (DPR) is based on making more attacks each round. In Starfinder, your DPR increase is much more strongly tied to each attack doing more damage, so getting to make a single attack against a large number of foes is much more powerful.

We could probably do something with forcing you to take the full attack -4 to your attack rolls, and then maybe another -2 or so… so it’s only useful against lower-level foes, and even then you won’t hit all of them, so if you connect with one or two your DPR is reasonable…

But wow that doesn’t sound like fun or satisfying as a player. Let’s try something else.

WHIRLWIND ATTACK (Combat)
You can surround yourself with lighting-fast, shallow strikes.
Benefit: When you use the full-attack action, you can give up all your other attacks and instead make one melee attack against each opponent within reach. Make a single attack roll, and apply it to the AC of every target in reach. Roll damage once, and apply half the value to every target you hit.

That’s easy to access, it lets you do a little damage to a lot of foes (which is closer to how Whirlwind Attack generally works in Pf anyway), has a much better change of doing SOME damage to multiple targets. If you want to lay about and put a hurt on a lot of people up close this works, even if you won’t be able to pile nearly as much on any one target.

AND THAT’S IT!

What comes next? Who knows! Let me know your thoughts, over at my Patreon, or as a comment here, or at my email, Twitter, or Facebook!

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Keepsakes and Baubles in Really Wild West (for Starfinder)

The Really Wild West intentionally doesn’t have as broad a range of consumables that are easily available to PCs. Unless someone takes the Mad Genius or Wonder Worker genre feats, most consumables beyond dynamite are available only as treasure. That reduces a PC’s ability to dip into a pool of resources when the going gets rough, and that can make life more difficult than the setting intends.

That’s where keepsakes and baubles come in.

In a world where magic is real, spiritualists can read minds, and Martians literally invaded from another world, when your grandmother tells you to keep hold of the holy symbol she had the day she outran a werewolf, or you narrowly avoid death right after finding a lucky penny on the sidewalk, or you discover feeling the weight of your book of proverbs from Ubar in your coat pocket keeps your calm, you take those things seriously.

Is it magic? Positive theosophic vibrations? Divine blessing? A boost to morale? Who knows, but you are holding on to your keepsakes just in case.

RWW Keepsakes

(art by Poltavska)

A keepsake gives a character a new way to spend Resolve Points. Unless it says otherwise, a keepsake’s use is triggered by a specific event, it never requires an action, it can only be done if the keepsake is on your person, it requires you expend 1 Resolve Point, and once you use a keepsake you cannot use any keepsake again until you spend a RP to regain Stamina Points following a 10-minute rest. Many keepsakes require conditions that may not be obvious to a player. If you attempt to use a keepsake when its conditions have not been met, you do not expend the Resolve Point (or loose the bauble, see below)

A bauble is works like a keepsake (including the limitation on how often you can use keepsakes), but using it does not require a Resolve Point. However, once used, a bauble breaks.

Several keepsakes allow you to make a “boosted reroll.” This is a reroll where if the d20 result on the second roll is 1-10, you add ten to the final value. You always take the second result of a boosted reroll.

Every PC starts with one keepsake of their choice. You can pick up other keepsakes and baubles as the campaign progresses, as they are fairly common and may be treasure, payment or loot.

There also exist relics, which work like keepsakes but are much more powerful. relics are generally the focus of entire adventures, and sought by numerous powerful groups.

These are the categories of keepsakes a PC may begin with, each with a few examples (though a PC may select another form). Other types may also exist.

RWW Scarab Coin

Emblem of Knowledge: [Book of Scientific Learning, medal of an appropriate saint, Science Agent badge, compass] Gain a boosted reroll on any failed skill check to recall knowledge.

Holy Symbol: [Symbol of any religion or faith] Gain a boosted reroll on any failed saving throw against an effect with the evil descriptor, or magic effect from a creature with the evil descriptor.

Icon of Health: -[Serpent medallion, Rod of Asclepius, red crescent, bottle of tonic] Gain a boosted reroll on a failed Fortitude save.

Icon of Rationality: [Book of Aristotle, scarab, class ring, mantra] Gain a boosted reroll on a failed Will save.

Icon of Safety: -[Eye of Horus, appropriate saint’s medal, the Yellow Sign, Seal of Solomon] Gain a boosted reroll on a failed Reflex save.

Lucky Charm: [4-leaf clover, lucky penny, rabbits foot, deck of cards, dice] Gain a boosted reroll on any attack, save, or skill check when you rolled a natural 1.

Icon of Grace: [Swam medallion, jaguar medallion, blue ribbon, bone pistol grips] Gain a boosted reroll on a failed Reflex save.

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Really Wild West Key Ability Scores and Resolve (for Starfinder)

Characters in the Really Wild West campaign have some drawbacks due the rules of the setting hack, when compared to standard Starfinder Roleplaying Game PCs. Some equipment is rarer. Weapon capacities are lower. Information has less accessibility. These are minor restrictions, but if the players are being asked to take on threats designed for the standard RPG rules and monsters using the normal Challenge Ratings, there needs to be some balancing factor to make up for the slight changes to PC power levels the campaign enforced.

Some of that can be done with the campaign’s genre feats, but those don’t work for everyone, and don’t quite make up the difference.

The rest is handled with a change to Key Ability Scores, and Resolve.

Key Ability Scores

Really Wild West is designed to allow for over-the-top, heroic characters common to the old pulp stories. These often include oddball characters with unexpected characteristics. Genius sharpshooters. Spellcasting card sharps. Singing cowboys with the gift of gab. Making characters like this should be encouraged in Really Wild West, but it can be difficult to focus on two disparate elements of a character without making them a little less effective. Normally that’s fine, the game doesn’t require optimized heroes, but since Really Wild West already restricts other options a bit and it encourages playing character concepts that are a bit wackier than normal, it’s best if players aren’t also put at any disadvantage for wanting to make characters outside the typical mold.

Thus, the first time you take a class level in Really Wild West, you may select any one ability to be your Key Ability Score. Dexterity-based mechanic? Sure, your nimble fingers let you build clockworks no one else can master. Constitution-based mystic? Your psychic powers draw directly from your physical endurance. Charisma-based soldier? Brilliant leader, dashing pugilist, or even a singing cowboy.

In addition to determining how you calculate your Resolve Points, your Key Ability score becomes the ability all your class features use for calculations. A Constitution-based mystic uses her Constitution modifier to determine bonus spells, spell DCs, and connection power DCs, for example. This doesn’t impact how you calculate skill points, or anything based on the general rules of the game (such as EAC, KAC, melee attack bonus, and so on). But for things listed under class features in the class’s 20-level table, switch from whatever ability score is listed to your chosen Key Ability Score.

If you take any additional character classes after your first, those use the normal key ability score options. You get to personalize how one class works, but after that you need to follow the same limitations everyone else does.

Resolve Points

The Really Wild West can be deadly and grueling, and its heroes need to be more resolute to survive. PCs gain +2 Resolve Points at 1st level, and an additional bonus Resolve Point at 3rd, 6th, and 9th level.

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Really Wild West (Weird West for Starfinder)

I am on vacation, so I may post a bit less for a couple of weeks than I have on average this month… so I thought I’d leave you with an entire microsetting. It even has an index page that lists and organizes all the articles that came after this one, the Really Weird West index.

This is Victoriana Pulp Weird West Adventure.

The year is 1891. The place is somewhere in North or South America, generally far from established law. In 1890, the War of the Worlds happened. That’s over, but wow has tech taken a leap forward.

This is a campaign played using the Starfinder Roleplaying Game with the following adjustments.

*The game’s top level is 10th, not 20th. After 10th you get +1 RP, +3 SP, +3 HP, +1 feat, and +2 skill points every 20,000 XP, and ability score upgrades every 100,000, but your class level doesn’t change.

*Humans are most common, with legacy races (many of whom look a lot like humans) and Starfinder core races second-most common (though with entirely terrestrial origins). Other races are rare and usually the result of accidents or experiments (such as Dr. Moreaux’s creation of catfolk and uplifted bears… )

*All magic is theosophy. But it still works just like in the rulebook. It’s been a round a long time, and is well-understood in many older cultures already, but is becoming more codified in the Western nations in recent years.

*Everything is analog, but all abilities that work on technology work on everything that isn’t exclusively magical.

*“Credits” is just shorthand for “credit on the bank,” meaning you have US dollars and lines of credit. Gold and silver coins get used too. All prices are the same, but represent a unifed currency exchange that exists because of the Babbage-Bell Grid, which allows room-sized computer “difference engines” in major cities to communicate over telegraph lines.

*Shock weapons are lightning guns, flame weapons are flamethrowers, lasers are heat rays (from Martian tech). They always have a maximum of 10 shots (adjust usage accordingly).

*Projectile weapons are pepperboxes (four shots, but add +2 damage to every die of damage), revolvers (six shots, but +1 to attacks), or tube-fed (eight shots).

Cryo, plasma, sonic, and untyped ranged weapons are rare and are often available only as weird loot from adventures (but see the mad genius feat, below). They are generally called Freeze Guns, Heaters, and Thunder Guns.

*No one much wears armor. You get a bonus to EAC equal to your level, and a bonus to KAC equal to your level +2. If you are proficient with heavy armor, you get an additional +1 bonus to EAC and KAC, and if you are proficient with powered armor, you get an *additional* +1 bonus to EAC and KAC. You can wear armor—light armor costs 100 credits and gives +1 to KAC, with a max Dex of +5 and an armor check penalty of -1, while heavy armor costs 150 and gives +2 to EAC and KAC, with an armor check of -3 and a -5 ft. speed adjustment.

*You can wear armor upgrades as “gizmos.” These are steampunky/theosophic devices that do weird stuff. Force fields are Etheric Shields.  Jump jets are Jack’s Spring-Heels. Jetpacks are DaVinci Wings. Get creative. But it takes skill to use more than one gizmo at a time. You can use at once one gizmo, plus one for every kind of armor you are proficient with, +1/3 character levels.

*Computers are too big and bulky to be of any use to anyone but people operating out of stationary huge houses and mad geniuses (see the Mad Genius feat), but there is a Babbage/Bell grid of difference engines using telecom wires to send and receive info. These work like Infospheres, but work on hard wires.

*Augmentations and upgrades exist, but are normally only available as treasure (but see the Mad Genius feat). These things are steampunk as heck.

*Technological items exist, and are steampunk/Martianpunk tech-but there’s no broadcast/receiving technology. You can have a comm unit… but it only works when hooked up to a Babbage/Bell telecom wire (some of which do cross various badlands, to keep cities in communication with each other). You can generally buy such things.

*Magic items and hybrid items exist, but are generally only available as treasure (but see the Psychic feat, below).

*Vehicles exist, they are just all steampunk. Big airships and sea ships also exist, and use the starship rules (but damage against characters from big airship weapons is x2, not x10).

*Other purchases exist, and can generally be purchased, they’re just more rustic and snake-oil sounding.

*UPBs are Ulysses’ Paraphernetic Bobimathings, a famous universal construction gizmo created a decade ago by the legendary (but never seen) inventor Ulysses S. Abernathy. Any number of them is a total of 2 bulk. They otherwise work like normal UPBs.

Genre Feats

You may select no more than one genre feat, from the list below. At 5th level you may select a second genre feat, if no one else in the campaign has taken it.

A Contact in Every Port
Benefit: In every settlement you come across, you have at least one local (at neither the bottom nor top of the social ladder) who is helpful towards you. These may be old flames, pen pals, admirers of your work, a spy network, the last citizens of the lost subterranean empire you were queen of, or whatever else you decide to define them as. Even if you abuse these allies and reduce their attitude towards you, it goes back up one step (to a maximum of helpful) every time you gain a level.

Bushwacker
Benefit: When you are adjacent to a target in a secluded area where the target cannot see or hear any of its allies or your allies, any nonlethal damage the target takes in a surprise round before the target acts is quadrupled. If any of these conditions end you cannot use this feat again on the same target until you have gotten an attitude or friendly with the target, or if the target does not realize you are the same person when you next are adjacent to it in seclusion.

Chandeliers and Rigging
Benefit: As long as there are hanging ropes, lights, sails, rafters, trees, or similar dangling objects nearby, you have a fly speed of 30. If you end any turn not within 20 feet of a dangling object, you must land or you fall.

Elan
Benefit: Rather than suffer frightened or panicked conditions, you simply take the penalties of the shaken condition. Additionally even when confused or mind controlled, you never attack yourself or an ally unless you wish to.

Flamboyant
Benefit: You may use your Charisma modifier (rather than Strength or Dexterity) when making attack rolls with weapons, and add your Charisma modifier (in addition to any other ability score that applies) to damage rolls with weapons.

Mad Genius
Prerequisite: Engineering as a class skill.
Benefit: Select one technology type: cryo, plasma, sonic, untyped ranged weapons, computers, or augmentations. You can create such items using the normal Starfinder item creation rules. You also get a pool of one item per character level of such things for your personal use (which no one else can make work), but your total item levels worth of such items cannot exceed double your ranks in Engineering. You can swap out what items you have each day, but new items don’t come with full loads of fuel, batteries, or ammunition.
You can select a second category if you are 5th level or higher, and a third at 10th.

Psychic
Prerequisite: Mysticism as a class skill
Benefit: You can create magic items using the normal Starfinder item creation rules (and hybrid items, if you have enough ranks in engineering for them). You also get a pool of one item per character level of such things for your personal use (which no one else can make work), but your total item levels worth of such items cannot exceed double your ranks in Mysticism. You can swap out what items you have at each new character level, or with 30 days of downtime.

Resolute
Benefit: You gain 5 additional maximum Resolve Points.

Weapon Master
Benefit: Whether you are a gunsmith, or veteran soldier, or just weirdly lucky, you almost always have access to special weapons. If you have access to your normal equipment and have not lost that since you were in a typical town, you have access to one weapon of your level, one weapon of your level -2 (if the result is 1 or more), and one weapon of your level -4 (if the result is 1 or more). You may select weapon normally only available as treasure.
These special weapons may have double the normal usages, or reroll one damage roll per combat, or have one weapon fusion it qualifies for. If you wish, you may give up one of these special weapons to instead apply an additional benefit from this list to one of your remaining special weapons. You can swap out your special weapons at a major settlement or weapon cache.

The Setting

Nearly every time-period appropriate fiction works in this setting. The heroes are part of a worldwide tradition of larger-than-life figures, and after 1st level can generally expect to be accepted as noteworthy experts in the field of adventure, if nothing else.

This is a world where Sherlock Holmes is world famous and alive, secretly waging a war with Professor Moriarty and aided by Nick Carter and Inspector Donovan. Nikola Tesla and Thomas Edison publicly wage thought wars for scientific superiority, though Marie Curie is actually making more headway with Martian technology and Beatrix Potter has mastered the hybrid red weed the Martians brought with them. Dr. Moreau is busy with his experiments somewhere in the Pacific, Dr. Jekyll wanders the world looking for a cure, Old Shatterhand works to bring justice to the badlands, Sir Henry Curtis explores Africa (ignoring the fact people already live there), retired Otto Lidenbrock has established multiple routes to the center of the earth with his nephew Axel (though Gräuben Lidenbrock runs most of the expeditions, as her husband Axel is too afraid to make the journeys), and Professor Challenger just received his degree.

In Australia the age of the bushrangers has largely ended, though Ned Kelly still runs a group of armored outlaws seen by many as local heroes. The rapid industrialization of many of the nation’s major cities, and a growing depression, is also leading to rising nationalism, rising cries for independence, and sadly growing racism against Asian immigrants and the continent’s aborigines.

In Canada the Dominion of Canada is just a generation old, and still struggling to settle land disputes with the US and between its own provinces. The Mounties are less than 20 years old, the Yukon gold rush is strong, and there is not yes a single unified code of law for the nation.

In Mexico military hero Porfirio Díaz rules as president over a stable, growing, wealthy Mexico. He rules with the aid and advice of the científicos (“scientists”), who reject religious ideas and mysticism to focus on scientific method and the accumulation of knowledge… though the Maximillian monarchy was just a generation ago.

In Japan Emperor Meiji overseas the transition of a nation from feudal power to modern power, and though samurai have had many of their privileges removed they still exist and the last samurai conflict was within a generation.

In the United States, there are still unsettled territories, though not as many as their used to be, and while veterans of the civil war have grown rare and aged, veterans of the War of the Worlds are now common. While the Indian Wars are mostly over, the indigenous peoples have been conquered by force, smaller military conflict still occur. A Ghost Dance ritual on the Northern Lakota reservation at Wounded Knee, South Dakota, led to the Army’s attempt to subdue the Lakota but, for now, the Lakota remain present and in control of the reservation without federal interference within their borders.

Patreon and You

I can only take time to write microsettings and genre rules like this because of the support of my patrons. Please check out my Patreon, and consider baking me for a few bucks a month.

Really Wild West Index

Since it looks like I’m going to be working on Really Wild West campaign and setting hack for Starfinder on and off for the foreseeable future, in order to keep it usable I’m creating (and will maintain as new articles are written) an Index that lists and organizes the existing articles.

RWW Logo(Logo by Perram, pistol art by Jacob Blackmon)

SETTING ARTICLES

These are descriptive of the setting, though they may include rules elements.

Really Wild West
>Read This First. 🙂
The year is 1891. The place is somewhere in North or South America, generally far from established law. In 1890, the War of the Worlds happened. That’s over, but wow has tech taken a leap forward.
This is a Weird West setting hack for the Starfinder Roleplaying Game, with theosophy (magic), fantasy and sci-fi races, guns, and strangely advanced technology. Includes tips on how to hack the Starfinder Roleplaying Game rules to better suit the Weird West genre (like how to avoid everyone having to wear armor to be effective), as well as some feats unique to the setting.

Notes
After my first session actually running this game, I added some worldbuilding notes. I continue to add notes from each session, for those who want to see how the campaign world is being used by me, and how that expands the worldbuilding.
>Session One, Train Fight
>Session One, Part One, Part Two
>Session Two, Part One, Part Two
>Session Three
>Session Four
>Session Five, Part One, Part Two
>Session Six

Putting the “Steam” and “Punk” in Really Wild West
>I quite intentionally don’t describe RWW as a “steampunk” setting, but is it one? What is steampunk, anyway? A think piece about a popular genre and this setting’s place in it… or outside of it.
Inspirational Links
>Some examples of what the Really Wild West might be like by other great creatives!

Starfinder Species in Really Wild West
Shirren, lashunta, vesk… where are these new species from in a game about an 1891 Weird West? We start by looking at androids.
Part 2
Kasatha and lashunta.
Part 3
Shirren, vesk, and ysoki.

Badlands City
>A city built by Hell and ruled by devils… and one of the safest places in the West.
Badlands Resident Theme
>A theme for people from Badlands City
Dread Templar Archetype
>Badlands City produces devil-trained officers of the law who focus on punishment and vengeance.

Easterner Theme
>Is your character from back East? Then this is your theme.

Hollow Worlds
>There is more than just a surface world in the Really Wild West. From a literally Hollow Earth to different planes of reality, there is a lot of terra incognita.

The Mexican Porfiriate and the Technopolitan Theme
>Mexico is a rising technological superpower, governed by war heroes and scientists. Includes the Technopolitan theme.
Science Agents
>Short fiction and an archetype for Mexico’s famed peacekeepers of rationality.

Organizations
>It’s a weird world, and there are groups trying to use that to their advantage one way or another.

Plot Hooks and Inspirational Media
> Want to know what kinds of adventures Really Weird West characters may have? Here’s a list of 20 plot hooks and a list of inspiration media that helped set the tone for the setting.

RULE ARTICLES

These are primarily about rules, though they are designed specifically for Really Weird West.

Playable Species
Notes on new species options in RWW.
>Centaurs — Notes on centaurs in the RWW setting at the end of the article.
>Fenrin — In the world of the Really Wild West, there are talking, telekinetic dogs who are an accepted part of society.

Really Western Class Features
>RWW-specific new class feature options, though obviously they’ll work for other Starfinder-compatible games!
Envoy — New improvisations, such as Put A Price on Their Heads, and expertise talents, such as “Look Harmless.”
OperativeA few new exploits.
A few exploits more.
Soldier— New gear boosts, and the Cavalry and Pugilist fighting styles.
Technomancers have numerous different traditions available, each with their own alternate class features and/or options, including CartogramancersEdisonadesLovelacersTelethurges, and Teslics.

Gunslinger
>Anyone can use a small arm. Gunslingers are legendary with them.
More Gunslinger Abilities
>A companion piece to the Gunslinger.

Sword Saint
>An alternate class for the solarian that is more on-genre for Really Wild West.

Dare Feats
>
For the characters are are at their best, when the situation is at its worst.
Wilderness Feats
>For characters who are more comfortable out in the wilds.

Key Ability Scores and Resolve
>Really Wild West is a cruel setting with pulpy characters. That takes a tweak of some core rules to support properly.

Theosophy and Psychic Powers
>While spells and magic are an established part of the 1891 of the Really Wild West, it’s also possible to gain psychic powers such as clouding minds and psychometry through the Practicing Psychic feat.

Renown and Gear
> Rules for using character renown to buy higher-level gear, allowing money rewards to remain the same regardless of character level.

Keepsakes and Baubles
>In a world where magic, theosophy, alien science, and spiritualism are all real, you take a lucky penny seriously! All PCs start with one, and may collect others.

Combo Weapons
>Sometimes you need a sword that is a rifle. Or a tetsubo that is a shotgun.

Dragon Guns
>Weapons that throw fire onto your foes have their origins in China and are 1,000 years old.

Kanabous
>Big iron clubs, for to smash thins with.

Lassos
>It’s not the west, really weird or otherwise, without lassos.

Lightning Guns
>One of the more common energy weapons available in the Really Wild West.

Shotguns
>Shotguns in Really Wild West work a little different than the big blast weapons of the Starfinder Roleplaying Game.

Whips
>Yep. Just plain-old whips.

Mare’s Leg
>Pistol-cut rifles never really existed in the Old West… but they’re iconic, and we have a LOT of things that never existed in the real Old West, so…

Oddities
These are just spitball sketches of ideas, but they have a lot of the RWW flavor in them!

New Critical Hit Effects
>Some ideas I came up with while workin on RW weapons.

Gizmos
>The setting doesn’t use armor upgrade rules, but all that cool equipment is still available, in the form of gizmos!

Technology and Equipment
>What is there, what’s the background for advanced tech in the 1890s, and some more Wild West themed gear.

Scorchers
>In the real-world 1890s, “scorchers”–bicycle riders (male and female) who sat-forward on the diamond-frame bikes–were considered a social menace.
In the Really Wild West, scorchers hold a different place in society.

Spells
>0 and 1st level

Bar Fights and Beatdowns
>The Brawl rules apply when there’s a lot of fighting, but no one is trying to kill anybody.

Gambling
>Gambling, and being a professional gambler, are important parts of many Western narratives, so they are also an important part of the Really Wild West, with their own rules subsystems.

Intimidation
>Two new tasks, to hold things at bay and dishearten entire towns.

Mounted Combat
>Horses are more common than self-powered vehicles in the Really Wild West.

Running a Train Fight
>Some notes on how I handled running a fight on a train.

Showdown Rules
>Two sides face off in the street, hands twitching near holstered guns…

BESTIARY
A (so far very short) list of Starfinder Roleplaying Game-compatible monsters to popular your Really Wild West adventures!

Cephalephants
>Smart as people, but with very different priorities, these tentacled pachaderms have their own concerns.

Grizzly Boar
>Massive alpha predators of North America. This article also gives some guidelines on how to create monsters in general for the Starfinder Roleplaying Game.

Gulchers
>These poor folks died in the harsh conditions of the frontier. They just don’t know it.

Manticore
>A specific manticore, with shoulder-mounted artillery.

Rattle-Cat
>Venomous ambush-predator common to North America, as well as an article discussing how to best utilize the Expert array when creating monsters for the Starfinder Roleplaying Game.

Western Rakshasa
>Long a major threat to South Asian, natural born western rakshasa are now also one of the greatest dangers adventurers may encounter in North America. This is also an article discussing how to best utilize the Spellcaster array when creating monsters for the Stafinder Roleplaying Game.

Whistlers
>Undead who are both immune to, and fear and hate, the damage type that killed them.

BESTIARY RULES
Special rules for foes in Really Wild West.

Rowdies
>A way to have an evil posse, or other band or gang, to pose a significant but easily-put-down threat for your PCs to face in large numbers.

PATREON
If you are enjoying any of these, please consider adding a drop of support through my Patreon campaign!

Concept Feat: Wings!

There are lots of different ways to pick a character concept to play in a roleplaying game. For class-and-level games like Pathfinder, I generally flip through the various core options and customizable choices, and those will spark a character concept. (If I’ve made characters in a specific game system many times, my process may be a little different). The advantage of this system is that my concept is inspired by mechanics, so I am unlikely to try to make a character the system doesn’t handle well.

But in my experience with players, it’s actually more common to be inspired by a character from fiction, or video games, or even other RPGS, and try to find a way to build that concept using whatever rules are available. That can cause issues, because not every RPG is designed to support every character concept. Extreme cases of this issue are fairly intuitive—no one seems surprised that Pathfinder is the wrong RPG to try to play Superman—but if the inspirational character is in a genre anywhere near the RPG’s genre, players get more annoyed. There’s no good way to play a rich princess with hundreds of servants and loyal knights as a 1st level character in Pathfinder except for the GM to decide the campaign being run will give you that position outside of anything on your character sheet.

Some people accept level limitations to character concepts (as soon as you can take Leadership that princess becomes easier, and most people understand in-his-prime Batman isn’t a 1st level character), but it chafes for people who just want to make something they think would be fun and run with it. And ideas that don’t integrate well with the rules at any level are even more disappointing.

In general, it’s up to a GM and players to ensure PC concepts are appropriate to a campaign, and no RPG handles every concept as attempted by any player, but some common difficult trops can be tackled in an effort to show how a GM CAN accommodate some character concepts with house rules, if the GM wants to.

One way to do that is “concept feats,” feats that do more than a typical feat but are taken only at character creation and only with GM approval to create a specific concept for a character. Such feats need to scale carefully, so they aren’t overpowering at low levels, and players just need to accept that the trappings of the idea may not come in at full power early on. Such feats aren’t designed for general use as available options for any character at any level, but as special options granted only at character creation when a GM and player want to stretch the rules a bit. To be most useful a GM needs to be able to create concept feats to match each PC concept the GM likes and wants to allow, but the rules don’t currently exist for. Most likely charatcers should be limited to one concept feat and they such have a notation to indicate their special nature, such as an explanation point in their title. Here’s an example concept feat, Wings!

Wings! (Concept)

Whether a result of a storied lineage or a strange mutation or special blessing, you have innate wings.

Prerequisites: Taken at character creation with GM permission to allow an otherwise-impossible character concept.

Benefit: You have wings. While they don’t weigh you down or cause problems with your gear, you can only use them when you are not suffering any penalties to your movement rate or mobility (such as from armor or encumbrance or slowing magic, or grappling), and only if you have enough room for a creature one size larger than you (though your actual space does not increase). If any effect disables one of your limbs, there is a 25% chance it instead disables a wing.

Fly is always a class skill for you, and you can make Fly checks in place of Acrobatics checks whenever you are able to use your wings, and for any Acrobatics-based prerequisites. At 1st level, your wings allow you to treat all jumps as running jumps, and to jump down a number of feet equal to double a Fly check result without taking damage or falling prone. At 3rd level you can fly downward with a fly speed equal to double your movement rate. At 5th level you double all Fly checks made as Acrobatics checks to jump. At 7th level you can fly with a fly speed equal to double your movement rate for a number of minutes per day equal to your level. At 9th level, you wings grant you a normal fly speed equal to double your movement rate.

Patreon Exclusive Content

I realized I never tackled the idea of the 1st level PC who is royalty, or something similar, so I created the Upper Class! concept feat, which is currently a patron-exclusive post over at my Patreon.

Check it out!

 

The Never Miss Feat

This feat is adapted from an edge designed for a Champions/Hero character, run by my friend Carl. It exists to allow the concept of “the character who never misses,” a popular fiction trope, without boosting accuracy to a degree that breaks the game. It can be considered a Genre Feat for some pulp campaigns.

Never Miss

If your attack roll does not connect, you didn’t shoot.
Prerequisites: Far Shot, Point Blank Shot, Precise Shot
Benefit: When making a ranged weapon attack (but not any other kind of ranged attack), if your attack roll fails to hit your foe’s AC, or hits your foe’s AC but misses as a result of a percentile miss chance,  you actually didn’t make the attack (though you can’t take some other action instead), and do not expend the ammunition. If you used some ability in connection with the ranged attack (such as making an attack with true strike), that ability is still considered expended.
If you fail to hit or effect your target for any other reason (such as DR, energy resistance, invisible walls, your target being an illusion, and so on), you don’t get to invoke this feat and expend your ammunition normally.

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