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ShadowFinder Previews: Quirky Feats and the Cover WIP

Today, I am going to look at a new type of feat coming in the Starfinder Infinite ShadowFinder book.

Also, a peak at the W.I.P. cover for the Core Book.

Quirky Feats

Quirky feats are a special category of feats that represent something abnormal and strange, even when grading on the curve of exceptional heroes with extraordinary and magic powers. While combat and general feats can cover everything from having a bit of spellcasting ability (or enigma power), specialized training, or even a gaining a squox companion, Quirky feats are both more specialized and just plain stranger than that. Quirky feats like Branded By An Actual Artifact, Demon For A Hand, Doomed To A Horrific Fate, Literal Third Eye, and Skunk Stripe of Significance indicate some importance well beyond just the rule interactions they grant. A GM may well build cosmological details on Quirky Feats, such as having a door that can only be opened by a character who has the Demon for a Hand feat, or a creature that doesn’t get to use it’s DR and energy resistances against anyone with the Skunk Stripe of Significance.

Not all ShadowFinder games will have any Quirky feats. The GM and players should discuss if they want the kind of offbeat heroes these feats tend to create, and certainly don’t push the issue if a few players hate the idea. Try to make decisions that will help everyone enjoy the game. (In fact, always do that.)

Because Quirky feats are more attention-grabbing than normal feats, they follow some special rules.

First, a GM should feel free to give a character that doesn’t have a Quirky feat access to one as a bonus when it’s narratively appropriate. For example, if a PC tries to grapple the Shadowblastoi that is making off with the Amulet of Ra the entire campaign is built around, and fails, the GM might well tell the player their character can gain Branded By An Actual Artifact as a bonus feat, if the player wants. The GM should never force a Quirky feat on a PC without the player’s buy-in. They’re just too, well, quirky.

Second, a character that has a Quirky feat can’t select one using any of their normal feat choices. Once you are Doomed to a Horrific Fate, you already have plenty of weird, special things about your character. You don’t need to add a Frequent Heroic Breeze or Weird Eye That Means Something to such a character—leave some Quirky stuff for other people! Also, you can’t take a quirky feat another character in the same party has without GM approval, and the GM should get the other player’s approval. If everyone descended from the Witch Heather Spellgoode has a literal third eye, it makes sense for two characters that are siblings to both take it. But if one character ends up with a Demon For A Hand, it’s going to be weird if another character goes to Demon-For-A-Hand-R-Us and gets one for themselves.

In rare cases, a GM may have a plot point take away a Quirky feat that has previously been given as a bonus feat. If this is done, it’s polite to either replace it with another Quirky feat the player approves of (maybe being healed of the scar from being Branded By An Actual Artifact exposed you to energies that caused you to gain a Skunk Stripe of Significance), or grant a bonus feat slot the player can use to take anything their character qualifies for.

In even rarer cases, a GM might grant a character that already has a Quirky feat the opportunity to acquire another one, either as a bonus feat or as a feat they can select next time they gain a feat. This should only be done when it serves to drive the narrative forward, but GMs must use their best judgement on that.

(We’re still tweaking things, like I want my name on it, but the final version will look a LOT like this!)

Would You Like To Know More?

Want to ask questions about ShadowFinder? Would you enjoy access to a huge backlog of game stuff and articles? Simply want to support me creating more of these things? Check out my Patreon! This post has an Expanded Version on my Patreon as well, which talks a little about the design philosophy behind secret signs.

PF2 Hero Point Feats

I’ve been playing a lot with Hero points in d20 games recently, having looked at some alternate Hero point rules for PF1 and a whole set of Hero point rules for Starfinder. Now, I turn y gaze toward PF2.

PF2 already has a strong, integrated Hero point mechanic, and an extensive and flexible feat system. What it lacks, oddly, is any Hero point feats. Especially given PF1 had Hero point feats in the APG, this is an omission that calls out for a 3pp patch.

So, here are my conversions of the three PF1 Hero point feats to work with the PF2 game and Hero point mechanic.

BLOOD OF HEROES
[General]
Prerequisite: Hero’s Fortune, Luck of Heroes

You seem destined for success, even when the odds are against you. Whenever you spend a Hero point to reroll a d20 roll, of the result on the d20 is a 1-10, you gain a +10 bonus to the result (making it effectively an 11-20, though not a “natural” 20 for game mechanical purposes).

HERO’S FORTUNE
[General]

Even a miraculous escape from death doesn’t use up all your good luck. When you expend all your Hero points to avoid death, if you had 2 or more Hero points, you get to keep 1 or them rather than spend them all.

LUCK OF HEROES
[General]
Prerequisite: Hero’s Fortune

Luck never completely abandons you. Once per game session, if you end an encounter with no Hero points, you may choose to gain one Hero point.

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Mythic Stars: Mythic Feats for Starfinder (2)

More Mythic Feats for Mythic Starfinder.

Mythic Alien Herbalism (Mythic)
You can easily create life-saving medicines.
Prerequisites: Alien Herbalism, Life Science 5 ranks, Survival 5 ranks.
Benefit: You can use Alien Herbalism to create short-lived medicinals during the same time you recuperate*, and there is no limit to how many times per day you can do so, though it still costs a Resole Point each time.

Mythic All Hands on Deck (Mythic)
Many hands make light work.
Prerequisites: All hands on Deck, four or more arms.
Benefit: When performing labor, perhaps requiring a Strength check or an Athletics check, such as digging a hole, moving cargo, or hauling in a rope, you can complete the task in half the usual time. Tasks requiring other checks aren’t included. Alternatively, you can simultaneously perform two skill-based tasks that can be performed with two hands, such as making Computers checks on two different computers. This has no impact on combat, or tasks that require more than using your hands.

Mythic Ambuscade (Combat, Mythic)
You are particularly skilled at attacking targets who have not had a chance to prepare for combat.
Benefit: You gain the benefits from Ambuscade against any target you attack in a surprise round (whether or not they have acted), and any target you attack before they have had a chance to act in the first round of combat (even if the first round isn’t a surprise round).

Mythic Ambush Awareness (Combat, Mythic)
You are particularly skilled at fighting when surprised.
Benefit: If you are unable to act in the surprise round because you failed a Perception check, you can still act on your initiative count in the surprise round, but cannot take an action that requires an attack roll or forces targets to make a saving throw.

Mythic Amplified Glitch (Combat, Mythic)
You can create sudden distractions with technological devices.
Prerequisites: Amplified Glitch, Computers 3 ranks, Intimidate 3 ranks.
Benefit: You can use Amplified Glitch on all targets in a 30-foot radius, as long as there is a technological device able to make sound at the center of that radius. Creatures targeted by your Amplified Glitch do not gain immunity to it for 24 hours, but do gain a +1 cumulative bonus to their save against it for each time they have been exposed in the past 24 hours.

Mythic Antagonize (Mythic)
You know how to make foes quickly and repeatedly angry with you.
Prerequisites: Antagonize, Diplomacy 5 ranks, Intimidate 5 ranks.
Benefit: You can use Antagonize as a Move action. Additionally, creatures targeted by your Antagonize do not gain immunity to it for 24 hours, but do gain a +1 cumulative bonus to their save against it for each time they have been exposed in the past 24 hours.

Mythic Apt Mentor (Mythic)
Your aid is always useful in academic pursuits.
Prerequisites: Apt Mentor, Life Science or Physical Science 5 ranks.
Benefit: You automatically succeed at an attempt to aid another on an Intelligence-, Wisdom-, or Charisma-based check. Additionally, once per day you can make a Diplomacy check to gather information without taking any extra time to do so, and without your inquiries being obvious to others.

Mythic Arm Extensions (Mythic)
You have unique devices installed into your arms that allow you to extend them great distances.
Prerequisites: Arm Extensions, constructed racial trait or construct type.
Benefit: Your arm extensions extend your natural reach to 15 feet, and impose no penalty to attack rolls with weapons wielded in your hands and to Dexterity- and Strength-based ability checks and skill checks. When you use this ability to grab an object or surface and pull yourself to that item or surface as a full action, or you can anchor yourself where you are to lower yourself to another surface, you move 20 feet as if using a fly speed with perfect maneuverability, ending your movement in a square adjacent to the chosen object or surface.

Mythic Barricade (Combat, Mythic)
You are adept at creating quick cover.
Prerequisites: Barricade, Engineering 1 rank.
Benefit: When determining the hardness and Hit Points of your temporary barricade created with the Barricade feat, treat it as a piece of equipment with an item level equal to your total ranks in Engineering. Additionally, the most recent barricade you built with that feat does not collapse at the beginning of your turn 1d4 rounds after it is hit by an attack.

Mythic Basic Melee Weapon Proficiency (Combat, Mythic )
You are a master of attacks with basic melee weapons.
Prerequisites: Proficiency with basic melee weapons.
Benefit: When attacking with a basic weapon, you do not apply the penalty from the dazzled, fatigued, off-kilter, off-target, prone, or shaken conditions to your attack rolls.

*Recuperate is my proposed game term to represent when a character spends 1 Resolve Point to regain Stamina Points following a 10-minute rest. That would be defined in any product I used it in.

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Mythic Stars: Mythic Feats for Starfinder (1)

I took an initial stab at some mythic material for Starfinder in this post, from Feb 2020. And then I got… distracted.

It’s been a rough 17 months.

But I’m playing in my friend Carl’s mythic Starfinder game now, and THOSE rules are looking promising, and much more complete than the ones I I started.

But, they still need Mythic Feats.

You’d gain Mythic Feats in Mythic Stars the same way you would in the Pathfinder 1st edition Mythic rules, but that’s not the focus here. The focus of this article is to show how I would have Mythic Feats work in Starfinder, in a way that works with the math of that game system (so nothing should be just a big boost to bonuses or totals), but are still a significant increase over the non-mythic versions of the feats. Getting a Mythic Feat should give you a distinct advantage, but not cause you to be able to simply ignore challenges designed for non-mythic characters of your level.

As a sampler, I’m just going to do the first ten official feats for the game, in alphabetical order.

Mythic Accelerated Recovery (Mythic)
Your body knits back together even when you just rest briefly.
Prerequisites: Con 13, Accelerated Recovery.
Benefit: When you recuperate*, you also regain your level in Hit Points.

Mythic Adaptive Casting (Mythic)
You often have a few extra eldritch tricks up your sleeve.
Prerequisites: Key ability score 19, Adaptive Casting, caster level 7.
Benefit: When you recuperate, you regain your daily uses of spell-like abilities gained from Adaptive Casting.

Mythic Adaptive Fighting (Combat, Mythic)
You can frequently adjust your fighting style to match specific conditions during combat.
Prerequisites: Adaptive Fighting, three or more other combat feats.
Benefit: When you recuperate, you regain your daily use of the Adaptive Fighting feat.

Mythic Adaptive Resistance (Mythic)
Your training enables you to adapt and evolve formidable defenses.
Prerequisites: Adaptive Resistance, Enhanced Resistance, base attack bonus +4, early stage adaptation racial trait.
Benefit: When you change the damage type your Enhanced Resistance applies to, the change lasts until you choose to change it again.

Mythic Adaptive Upgrade (Mythic)
You have adjusted one of your armor upgrades to give yourself a additional options.
Prerequisites: Int 19, Adaptive Upgrade, Engineering 10 ranks.
Benefit: When you adapt an upgrade to function as one of your three upgrades selected with Adaptive Upgrade, it can function as any of the three, rather than just one of them. When activated, it acts as both the actual upgrade the whichever of your selected upgrades you wish, and does so for 10 minutes. It otherwise follows the rules from Adaptive Upgrade.

Mythic Add Leverage (Combat, Mythic)
With the right grip, you can push and penalize your foes.
Prerequisites: Str 15, Add Leverage.
Benefit: When you successfully perform a bull rush, reposition, or trip combat maneuver while using 1 or more hands to wield your weapon beyond the minimum required to wield that weapon, you can also choose to make the target flat-footed or off-target for 1 round (+1 round for every 5 your attack exceeded the AC needed to perform the maneuver), or knock them prone (or off-kilter, if in 0-G).

Mythic Advance Warning (Combat, Mythic)
You easily shout warnings to your allies, focusing their attention on the threats around them.
Prerequisites: Cha 15.
Benefit: As part of any other action you take, you can shout a warning to your allies, ending the flat-footed condition for any ally within 60 feet (including yourself). Once you’ve used this ability, doing so again before you next recuperate requires you to expend 1 Resolve Point. This is a sense-dependent ability.

Mythic Advanced Melee Weapon Proficiency (Combat, Mythic )
You are a master of attacks with advanced melee weapons.
Prerequisites: Proficiency with advanced and basic melee weapons.
Benefit: When attacking with an advanced melee weapon, you do not apply the penalty from the dazzled, fatigued, off-kilter, off-target, prone, or shaken conditions to your attack rolls.

Mythic Agile Casting (Mythic)
You can move, cast a spell, and move again before foes react.
Prerequisites: Key ability score 15, Dex 15, Agile Casting, Mobility, caster level 4th.
Benefit: As a standard action, you can move up to your speed and cast a single spell with a casting time of one standard action or less at any point during your movement. If you have a supernatural ability that can be activated as a standard action or less, you can instead use that ability at any point during your movement.

Mythic Agile Swimmer
You can dart around underwater even more nimbly than a fish.
Prerequisites: Agile Swimmer, racial swim speed.
Benefit: You never have to make an Athletics check to successfully swim, even under hazardous conditions.

*Recuperate is my proposed game term to represent when a character spends 1 Resolve Point to regain Stamina Points following a 10-minute rest. That would be defined in any product I used it in.

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Combat Effects on Missed Attacks for Starfinder

As discussed in the articles Greater Combat Maneuvers for Starfinder, and Greater Partial Effects for Starfinder “Save Negates” Spells, there’s very little as frustrating for a player than to take their whole turn and have absolutely no impact on a conflict. We’ve talked about how to possibly mitigate that frustration for combat maneuvers and spells, but what about characters focusing on just making attacks? Certainly, constantly missing a target is no less frustrating that failed maneuvers and resisted spells, even if it is theoretically easier to accomplish and doesn’t have as high a resource cost. So, should we create minor secondary effects on failed attacks for the combatant characters?

I personally think the answer is “yes…. but.”

On the one hand, it makes sense that exactly the same factors that make failed attempts unfun for maneuvers and spells makes it unfun for attacks. On the other hand, the very fact that attacks are more likely to succeed and easy to keep trying means they need to not have all the advantages of other combat options. While we made combat maneuvers and spells more appealing by giving them minor conditions that could apply even when they failed, we can’t use the same solution for standard attacks. First, it doesn’t make sense for a failed standard attack to impose a condition when a successful one doesn’t. Secondly, if failed attacks impose conditions, even minor ones, they’ll overshadow the hard-won advances in failed combat maneuver and spells feeling impactful.

We can, however, have missed attacks still have SOME impact in combat. But it shouldn’t be a condition, and it shouldn’t be damage (not because that couldn’t be balanced with some small amount of damage, but because a large segment of d20 game players rebel at the idea of doing damage on a miss, and because the tiny amount of damage we’d have to make it be for balance would likely not feel satisfying).

So, instead, we can play with accuracy. As with all these “effects on a failure” rules this could be made a general rule, or even a general rule for characters with base attack bonuses equal to their character level, but I think it makes the most sense to present it as a feat.

Zero In

As your foes evade your attacks, you manage to zero in on their defenses, increasing your accuracy for your next attack.
Prerequisites: Base attack bonus +1.
Benefit: When you make an attack against a target’s EAC or KAC (or a starship’s AC, but not TL), and your attack misses, and the attack has no effect on any target, you gain a +1 insight bonus to your next attack against that target using the same weapon. If you attack a target with this insight bonus and miss again, the insight bonuses increases by 1, to a maximum equal to your Strength modifier (for most melee attacks) or Dexterity modifier (for ranged attacks and melee attacks with operative weapons if you used your Dexterity bonus as part of your attack bonus). If you attack another target, damage the target you used Zero In to gain an insight bonus for, or the encounter ends, your insight bonus resets to +0.

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Greater Partial Effects for Starfinder “Save Negates” Spells

As discussed yesterday in the article “Greater Combat Maneuvers for Starfinder,” there’s very little as frustrating for a player than to take their whole turn and have absolutely no impact on a conflict. Obviously in addition to combat maneuvers, which are much more difficult to succeed with than other attacks, the same frustration can be felt by spellscasters using spells that have no effect if their target succeeds at a saving throw. In many ways that is additionally frustration, because a limited resource has been expended.

On the other hand, boosting the power of spellcasters is an extremely tricky balancing act. Numerous “save: negates” spell can incapacitate a target with a single bad saving throw, and making them more effective (and thus less of a gamble for the spellcaster using them) can easily swing them from underpowered to overpowered. Further, we need to make sure that we don’t boost the power of lower-level and large-area spells by too much on a failed save, since if they retain a high degree of utility higher-level spellcasters end up with both high-level spells that work as originally designed, and a backup of more-useful low-level spells.

So, the following feat is designed to allow spellcasters to get SOME utility from save: negates spells, while carefully costing them some of their other options when casting them, and ensuring lower-level spells don’t become overpowered in higher-level games. If a GM finds spellcasters are simply all underpowered in their games, they could just make this a universal rule that applies to all spellcasters.

And again, if anyone has questions about the why of the design choices for spellcasters in Starfinder, that’s the sort of thing I am happy to discuss when patrons ask about it on my Patreon.

Greater Partial Effect

You can take time to weave more complex spells, which have a partial effect even on targets that resist them.
Prerequisites: Caster level 1
Benefit: When you cast a spell with a casting time of 1 standard action that affects only one target, and the spell is listed as having no effect if the target makes its saving throw, you can choose to cast the spell as a full-round action. If you do so, and the target succeeds at its saving throw and the spell would normally thus have no effect, the spell instead as a minor partial effect for 1 round. The partial effect is based on the target’s CR compared to the spell level of the spell you cast, as noted below.

Target CR is Equal To or Lower Than Spell Level: Target is Sickened for 1 round.

Target CR is Above Spell Level, Below x2 Spell Level: Target is Flat-Footed for 1 round.

Target CR is Above x2 Spell Level, Below x3 Spell Level: Target is Off-Target for 1 round.

Target CR is x3 Spell Level or Greater: Target is Dazzled for 1 round.

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Greater Combat Maneuvers for Starfinder

Okay, let’s get back to doing some ttRPG rules you can bring to the table, shell we?

Combat maneuvers in Starfinder are specifically designed to be difficult to pull off against a significant foe without having a fair number of bonuses in place. You have to hit an opponent’s KAC +8, which is a difficult task, and if you fail you have no effect on them at all. This is an intentional design choice rather than some accident of not playtesting (indeed, it was originally KAC +10, and after playtesting we decided that was exactly 10% too hard to achoice, which is why the weird “+8” value is used).

(If you want to know WHY we made that intentional design choice, I recommend joining my Patreon for as little as the cost of a cup of coffee a month, and ask in the comments there!)

The biggest problem with having an appealing-looking effect available but unlikely to work, is that there is very little as frustrating for players than taking a round to accomplish absolutely nothing. In a game with soft limits designed to keep a character from ever being able to specialize in a tactic to the point it nearly never fails, this frustration is worse for players who are trying to create a certain kind of “build” focused on trying a difficult maneuver over and over. The end result may be effective (if you have to try to disarm someone three times before you succeed, but disarming them makes them nearly useless and you couldn’t knock them out that fast, it’s an effective tactic), but still not be any fun.

(And yes, there are things like “save: negates” spells that have the same issue. But that’s a different article.)

However, just making it easier to perform the difficult-but-extremely-effective maneuver can break the balance of different options in the game, especially if other soft limits are kept in place.

But you can alleviate some of the unfun “wasted by whole turn” feeling by having a midpoint between spectacular success and total failure.

You COULD just add this as an alternate rule that applies to all combat maneuvers performed by everyone, or make it a built-in part of the Improved Combat Maneuver feat. However, you’ll have the least impact on game balance if this becomes a new feat option, allowing additional specialization for characters who want a better chance to impact combat with their preferred maneuvers, without making the maneuvers universally more effective.

Greater Combat Maneuver (Combat)

With one specific combat maneuver, even when you fail you often inconvenience your target.
Prerequisites: Base attack bonus +1.
Benefit: Choose one combat maneuver (bull rush, dirty trick, disarm, grapple, reposition, sunder, or trip). If your attack roll for this combat maneuver fails to hit your target’s KAC +8, but does hit their KAC +4, you manage a :near miss,” and impose a minor, temporary condition on the target. This is not considered succeeding at the combat maneuver for purposes of any other effects of yours that are triggered by succeeding at a combat maneuver.
The effect you have on a near-miss depends on the combat maneuver you have selected, as noted below.
Bull Rush: Although you didn’t move the target, you did shove them off-balance for a moment, forcing them to regain their footing. They are dazed until the beginning of their turn. (The target can act normally on their next turn, but can’t take reactions prior to that.)
Dirty Trick: The target had to twist away from you, or shield its eyes, to avoid the impact of your dirty trick. The subject is dazzled for 1 round.
Disarm: You didn’t knock the item out of the target’s hand, but you did give it a good whack, impacting their aim. They are Off-Target for 1 round, or until they take a move action to negate this condition.
Grapple: While you haven’t managed to get a solid grip on your target, your attempt to get a grip and subsequently being in-their-face makes it a bit more difficult for them to pay attention to anything else. They are dazzled for 1 round.
Reposition: Although you didn’t move the target, you did shove them off-balance for a moment, forcing them to regain their footing. They are dazed until the beginning of their turn. (The target can act normally on their next turn, but can’t take reactions prior to that.)
Sunder: You didn’t damage the item, but you did give it a good whack, impacting the target’s aim. They are Off-Target for 1 round, or until they take a move action to negate this condition.
Trip: Although you didn’t trip the target, you did shove them off-balance for a moment, forcing them to regain their footing. They are dazed until the beginning of their turn. (The target can act normally on their next turn, but can’t take reactions prior to that.)
Special: You can take Greater Combat Maneuver multiple times. The effects don’t stack. Each time you take the feat, it applies to a new combat maneuver.

While this feat doesn’t require Improved Combat Maneuver (in keeping with Starfinder’s tendency to keep feat chains to a minimum), it has obvious synergy with that feat. A character with Improved Combat maneuver (disarm) gains a +4 bonus to their disarm attempts. That means if their attack roll would normally hit the target’s AC, with the +4 from the Improved feat it’ll hit KAC +4, which is enough to trigger Greater Combat Maneuver. So on any roll that would have been good enough to damage the target that character could get some impact from attempting a combat maneuver, even if it doesn’t get the full maneuver effect.

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More Bennenite Staff Mastery Feats for PF1

I’ve dipped into my old campaign files to post lore about the holy warriors known as Bennenites, and converted some of their concepts from previous game editions to PF1, including Staff Mastery feats.

So, here are more.

Defensive Bennenite Training
You are as good at defending with an attack as you are attacking.
Prerequisites: Bennenite Training, base attack bonus +1 or 1 rank Knowledge (religion)
Benefit: When equipped with a quarterstaff, as part of any other action that is not any kind of attack, you can choose rather than treating it as a quarterstaff or longsword and shortsword, to treat it as a longsword and a light wooden shield, or a longsword and a heavy wooden shield. You can stop treating it as a longsword and shield at the beginning of your turn, or as part of any standard action, move action, or full action.

Holy Staff
You can channel the grace of St. Bennen through a staff.
Prerequisites: Bennenite Training, good alignment, base attack bonus +1 or 1 rank Knowledge (religion)
Benefit: When using a quarterstaff, your attacks bypass any DR that has “good” as one of the elements to bypass it. For example, you could bypass “DR 5/good and cold iron,” even if your staff was not cold iron. (The exception to this is if an attack normally also has to be mythic to bypass the DR, in which case you only bypass it if you are 15th level or higher.) Against targets with the evil descriptor, you gain a +4 bonus to staff attack rolls made to confirm a critical threat.
Additionally, you can use a staff as a holy symbol, and fullfil somatic spell components with a hand holding a staff.

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Bennenite Staff Mastery Feats for PF1

In my longest-running fantasy RPG group campaign, The Sovereign Kingdoms, there was a famous religious order who revered Saint Bennen. Known as “Bennenites,” they were warrior-priests who were considered masters of quarterstaff fighting. They were a popular piece of lore for the world, and anytime a character was described as wearing heavy armor and carrying a wooden staff, shod in cold iron at one end and silver at the other, players knew to take them seriously because they obviously had received Bennenite training.

Bennenites were one of the major Good Guy organizations, and included clerics, fighters, priests, and “Kirks” (which were a form of religious order given roughly the same authority and respect as Knights, but only where that religion was acknowledged). However, Bennenite training was made available to anyone not known to be of foul character, and young peasants, squires, mercenaries, and craftsmen often trained at Bennenite Chapterhouses. If those trainees later turned evil, that did not somehow take away the benefits of their training. (One major villain was a mage with Bennenite Training, and a magic staff).

I had begun to work on Bennenite training feats for 3.0 and 3.5 fantasy RPG rules, but never finished them. Here is a new take on the ideas, at least to start, for Pathfinder 1st edition.

Bennenite Training
You have been trained in the fighting style of St. Bennen, who said “Let none who can pick up a stick see themselves as unarmed against adversity.”
Prerequisite: Proficiency with quarterstaff, base attack bonus +1 or 1 rank Knowledge (religion)
Benefit: When equipped with a quarterstaff, you can use it as if it was a longsword, shortsword, or one of each, except the weapon damage type is bludgeoning. You are still considered proficient with the weapons when you use the quarterstaff as a longsword and shortsword, even if you aren’t proficient with longsword and/or shortsword. You can use this as proficiency for feats (such as Weapon Focus: Longsword), but if you only meet the proficiency as a result of Bennenite Training you can only use those feats with a quarterstaff. Any feat, ability, or action you have access to you can apply to a quarterstaff you can continue to use even when treating the quarterstaff as a longsword, short sword, or both. You cannot gain the same benefit twice by using one version for quarterstaff and one for another weapons (for example if you have Weapon Focus with both longsword and quarterstaff, you cannot apply both to the same attack).

If you take an action that normally requires two weapons (such as attacking with two weapons), you must treat the two ends of your quarterstaff as the two weapons.

If you are proficient with quarterstaff, longsword, and short sword, this feat acts as Weapon Focus for any attack you make with a quarterstaff.

Bennenite Training Specialization
You have learned advanced teachings of St. Bennen.
Prerequisites: Bennenite Training, base attack bonus +4 or 4 ranks Knowledge (religion).
Benefit: When you make an attack with a quarterstaff, regardless of what weapon you treat it as, you gain a +2 bonus to damage dealt. This counts as Weapon Specialization, and does not stack with other forms of Weapon Specialization.

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Genre Conventions as Game Rules

Years ago when I ran an RPG campaign called “the Masked Alliance,” (an alternate-history pulp masked-men campaign set in the 1930s on the cusp of the arrival of true powered superheroes), I borrowed from a lot of different game systems to create Detective! as a feat. (The core system was a no-Jedi Star Wars Saga kludge).

With Detective!, if you made an investigation check the worst result you could be stuck with was to figure out a location of another encounter that would give you more clues. No matter how badly you rolled, you got that at minimum.

So, if you rolled well, you might figure the whole thing out, and know where the main encounter was that would end that part of the plot. “This isn’t a typical stain. This is a splatter of Falernian wine, also known as “Cult Wine.” No one makes this anymore, except members of the Pantheon crime family. The pottery shards are new, made from clay available to the north of the city. A movie producer with suspected mob ties built a huge Greek temple out there he claimed was for an upcoming movie, but clearly it’s a Pantheon front. That’s where we’ll find the hostages.”

If you rolled badly, you at least figured out enough to get to another encounter (possibly just with thugs – masked pulp heroes do well with thugs).

“This is ‘Old Meadow” tobacco, which isn’t sold here. There’s only one importer in 200 miles that handles it, and they went out of business last month. They DO have a warehouse in receivership down on the docks… “

Only one player took that feat, for the Great Detective Vigilante character, but all the players loved it. The plot always moved forward, and no one complained if I had to come up with another colorful pulp-era encounter on the fly.

Last last bit it the rub, of course. Since I was kitbashing a game and I am comfortable with extemporaneous creation of new ttRPG scenes for my players, I was okay creating a system that depended on me being able to do that at the drop of a hat. But it does put a lot more work on the GM, and in a polished, professional release of the same idea I would feel the need to have a lot more guidance on how to do that (likely with tons of examples).

But it worked well in the game I used it, and it continues to be a thing I keep in the back of my mind.

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