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Developing to Spec: Part 20d – Lots of Healing Feats

This is the fourth section of Part Twenty of a series of articles looking at creating a set of Starfinder feats under specific constraints.  You can read along as we convert every feat in the PF core rulebook to Starfinder (and  share my thoughts on that process, as a developer and writer)— or you can just look at the finished feats (as they are written) here.

We’re well into the S feats, with Selective Channel, which requires us to examine one of the consistent differences between PF and Starfinder.

So in PF, when a cleric channels energy, they affect all creatures within range. This can set you up to heal your enemies, which is both both bad tactics and awkward to explain later at Thanksgiving dinner. The Selective Channel feat allows you to choose who you affect, so you can channel to heal allies and skip affecting foes, which is extremely useful.

However our closest analogue to channel energy in Starfinder is the healing channel ability of the mystic’s healer connection… and it already just affects your allies. Man, sometimes it’s like the designers of Starfinder decided to specifically simplify the game and make some of the most popular and common options baked-in to class design. ([MorganFreeman]”They did.”[/MorganFreeman]).

So that use of Selective Channel is out.

Luckily “selective” is a pretty broad term, so all we need is to create a new option for healing channel that involves someone making a choice of some kind.

SELECTIVE CHANNEL
Your allies can help fuel your healing powers.
Prerequisites: Healing channel class feature.
Benefit: When you use your healing channel ability, every ally you heal can choose to donate a Resolve Point to the effort. This decision is made in secret by each ally, then all revealed at once. For every ally that expends a Resolve Point, each healed all may choose to gain an additional 3 Hit Points per mystic level you possess, or 2 Stamina Points per healer level you possess.

That brings us to Self-Sufficient and, yeah, it’s another +2 to two skills feat we need to totally redesign. We can still apply the benefits to Medicine and Survival, but we need to take some liberties to make it a feat a player would consider taking.

SELF-SUFFICIENT
You are an expert at looking out for yourself.
Benefit: When you make a Medicine check with yourself as the only target, you gain a +2 circumstance bonus to your result. Additionally, anytime you spent Resolve Points to stay in the fight, you may make a Medicine check on yourself for first aid, treat deadly wounds, treat disease, or treat poison without taking an additional action to do so. Additionally, if you make a Survival check with yourself as the only target to endure severe weather or live off the land, you gain a +2 circumstance bonus to your result.

PATREON
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!

Developing to Spec: Part 20c – Ride and Run

This is the third section of Part Twenty of a series of articles looking at creating a set of Starfinder feats under specific constraints.  You can read along as we convert every feat in the PF core rulebook to Starfinder (and  share my thoughts on that process, as a developer and writer)— or you can just look at the finished feats (as they are written) here.

We are now at Ride-By Attack and Run. Ride-by Attack as written mostly isn’t needed in Starfinder (assuming you are using the creature companion rules in AA3), because when you ride a mount you gain its movement, which means Spring Attack works with your mounted speed. However, since there are companion riding rules, we can work with them to give some kind of mounted combat bonus.

This begins to push past the number of prerequisites I prefer to have on Starfiner feats given how rarer long prerequisite chains are, but since this is designed to directly work with Spring Attack, we have to list that feat and all its prerequisites.

RIDE-BY ATTACK (Combat)
You and your mount have mastered hit-and-run tactics.
Prerequisites: Dex 15, creature companion, Mobility, Spring Attack, base attack bonus +4.
Benefit: Any round you are riding your companion and make a melee attack, if your companion has only taken one action, it may additionally make a move action.

Run doesn’t do much by Starfinder standards, but we can read the Starfinder rules on running to see if we can punch it up a bit.

RUN
You are able to run quickly and under adverse conditions.
Benefit: When you run as a full action, you can move up to five times your speed in a straight line. You do not gain the flat-footed condition as a result of running, and you can run even if you must cross difficult terrain or can’t see where you’re going. You can run for a number of rounds equal to double your Constitution score.

PATREON
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!

Developing to Spec: Part 20a – Powerful and Precise

This is the first section of Part Twenty 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.

I got back from orcaCon at about 3am, thanks to snow and ice delays and a 2-hour drive from the airport to my apartment. Since I hadn’t managed to get ahead on these, that left me writing them after I collapsed into a dreamless slumber, a black hole of unconscious from which nothing, not even snoring, could escape.

I only mention this because there really is an impact from real-world events on writing projects, especially longer ones. I’ve been doing these posts since early October–three months now, normally 4 times a week. In that time I have had to accommodate delays from illness, travel (three out-of-state trips longer than a weekend), major holidays, and more than one bout of depression so serious I needed professional help. I’ve tried writing all my posts early, writing them each morning with my coffee, even combining them all into a single post with a week’s content.

So far, it looks like a combination of doing batches early, and doing it day-of, as energy and timing dictate, is my best plan.

But these kinds of interruptions are absolutely the sorts of things that can derail a project. We are well past the halfway point for this task, and I’m doing it much more slowly than i would if I’d actually been hired to do this as freelance. But as a personal project, it’s exactly the kind of thing that can get dropped “just for a bit,” and never picked up. Sometimes, the difference between success and failure (and, separately, between being a professional and just being a hobbyist) is making sure you get all the way to the end.

So, as tempting as it was today to do something faster, easier, or smaller, i instead forced myself to tackle the next set of feats, AND writing the lengthier-than-necessary explanation of how real life interference can be the death of a project just as much as bad design.

So, let’s get to it. Power Attack.

In PF, Power Attack is the melee equivalent of Deadly Aim. Sf converted Deadly Aim, but has it apply to both melee and ranged attacks. That removes the obvious design space for the feat, and once again puts us in a position to have to create an apples-to-oranges adaptation.

However, we can likely still make this a combat feat that plays with the combat rules for a damage bonus. We just move away from penalties, and instead look at options for adjusting the action economy in a way that allows a character to spend more time on an attack to get more damage, much in the way the boost weapons special quality does.

POWER ATTACK (Combat)
You can focus all your power into a single mighty attack.
Benefit: When you take the full attack action with weapons (including a solarian’s solar manifestation, but not spells or other special abilities of any kind), you can choose to make only a single attack. If you do, that attack deals additional damage equal to half your base attack bonus (minimum 1).

Next is Precise Shot, which in PF allows you to negate a penalty when making ranged attacks into melee that doesn’t exist in Starfinder. But we can likely adjust the mechanism to do something similar.

PRECISE SHOT (Combat)
You are adept at firing ranged attacks into melee.
Benefit: Your allies do not give targets cover from your ranged attacks unless they give total cover.

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Developing to Spec: Part 19–Martial Weapons to Pinpoint Targeting

This is the all of Part Nineteen 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.

I have a lot going on this week (I hop on a plane at 6am Thursday to fly to OrcaCon… and the airport is 2 hours away, so I’m getting up at 3am or so…), so rather than do two feats a day for four days, I just did eight feats all today! Same content for the week, you just don’t have to wait for it.

We start with maetial Weapon Proficiency, and… dang it, Starfinder doesn’t HAVE “martial weapons” to be proficient in! So we just need to find something warlike a character might like to be better at, without exceeding the highest possible bonus *some* character could have. We don’t want someone investing in this unless it’s going to be an important part of the game they play in, so let’s delay access until they’ve played through the lower levels.

MARTIAL WEAPON PROFICIENCY (Combat)
You have learned to master the most martial of weapons–starship weapons.
Prerequisites: Character level 6+.
Benefit: You have special training not only in how starship weapons work, but how to use your class experience to attack with them more accurately. When you fire a starship weapon, you attack bonus is equal to your level +your key ability score modifier. You are also considered proficient with any vehicular-mounted weapon, and gain Weapon Specialization with it if appropriate.

All of Starfinder’s crafting rules fit in one column in the core rulebook. reading through them, we can find some ways we can let someone spending a feat on it be a little better.

MASTER CRAFTSMAN
Your crafting expertise exceeds mere training.
Benefit: You can craft items with an item level equal to your ranks in the appropriate skill +1. You craft items in half the time it would normally take you. When determining the hardness, Hit Points, and saves of an item you have crafted, you treat its item level as 5 higher than its true level.

Rather than find some weird other combat benefit, Medusa’s Wrath is a place we can just limit the circumstances where you can use the feat, and just hand out an actual numeric bonus.

MEDUSA’S WRATH (Combat)
Those who are unable to react in combat are vulnerable to your fists.
Prerequisites: Improved Unarmed Strike, base attack bonus +11
Benefit: If you take a full attack action against a foe that is dazed, helpless, staggered, or stunned, and all your attacks are melee attacks, you get a +1 bonus to the attack roll of any unarmed attacks you make against that target.

Mounted archery is SUPER-specific as a science-fantasy concept, but that makes it pretty easy to find extra options we can give a character that would want this feat, without them being unbalancingly powerful.

MOUNTED ARCHERY (Combat)
You have trained in the ancient art of mounted bow use.
Prerequisites: Proficiency with a weapon that uses arrows as ammunition.
Benefit: When you are riding a mount, making ranged attacks with a weapon that fires arrows does not provoke attacks of opportunity. If using the creature companion rules, any round you are riding your companion and make a ranged attack with a weapon that fires arrows, if your companion has only taken one action, it may additionally make a move action.

Natural Spell is another case where the rules in question from PF just don’t apply to Starfinder (which doesn’t require verbal or somatic components anyway). So, time for another apples-to-oranges conversion that just tries to make an interesting option that would appeal to a player who likes the sound of a “Natural Spell” feat.

NATURAL SPELL
You have received xenowarden-like training in using magic to deal with
Benefit: Any spell you cast that could affect a humanoid, can also affect a creature of the animal, plant, or vermin type.

Starfinder DOES have a “Nimble Moves,” but not a “Nimble Steps,” so we need to adapt a feat that’s already been adapted (just renamed in the process). But the difference in the names gives us a potential direction, as well. We can make the prerequisites less strenuous, limit the benefit to just land speed, and even create a synergy

NIMBLE STEPS
Benefit: When using your land speed, you can move through up to 30 feet of difficult terrain each round as if it were normal terrain. This feat allows you to take a guarded step into difficult terrain.
Special: If you have this and Nimble Moves, you ignore difficult terrain when using your land speed.

Persuasive is just like all our other +2-to-2-skills feats, we need to find some other benefit since we can’t use just bonuses.

PERSUASIVE
Somehow, you can convince others that your actions aren’t as threatening as they seem.
Benefit: The first time you attack a helpful, friendly, or indifferent creature, it’s attitude does not automatically worsen by one step. The first time you use Intimidate to bully a creature, its attitude does not automatically worsen when the bully ends. These abilities doesn’t reset with a given creature until you gain a new level.

Pinpoint Targeting is, by Starfinder standards, broken at any level. So, we need a different benefit… and we had a similar problem with Penetrating Strike. maybe a similar solution will work?

PINPOINT TARGETING (Combat)
Prerequisites: Base attack bonus +6, Weapon Focus (any ranged weapon).
Benefit: As long as you have at least 1 Resolve Point remaining, when you make a single ranged attack as a standard action (with an attack to which you can apply Weapon Focus, and targets only a single creature) against a target in your first range increment, your target does not gain any AC bonus from cover (including shields) against that attack, and it ignores any HP and other effects from force fields and energy shields, and any other defensive effect of a shield.

PATREON
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!

 

Developing to Spec: Part 18d — Magic and Automatic Mode

This is the fourth 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.

We now come to Magical Aptitude and Manyshot. Neither is going to work for Starfinder, as they work with mathematical assumptions about how skill bonuses work and the value of multiple attacks that are very different in PF. So, again, we need to do what one reader has referred to as an apples-to-oranges conversion. The end result won’t be the same as the PF versions, but as long as they are interesting and useful options, that’s fine. (Better, in fact, than doing a conversion that works the same way as the original if doing so would create boring, unhelpful, or overpowered options).

MAGICAL APTITUDE
You’ve learned how to apply your nonmagical experiences to increase the effectiveness of your magical abilities.
Prerequisites: Ability to cast a spell.
Benefit: Your caster level is equal to your character level, rather than the combination of just your spellcasting classes. This does not impact your spells known or spells per day, just calculations that directly involve your caster level.

MANYSHOT (Combat)
You are expert at maximizing the effect of having ranged attacks fly in high numbers.
Prerequisites: Proficiency with heavy weapons.
Benefit: When you make an attack in fully automatic mode (using the automatic weapons special property), you can choose what order to attack targets (rather than attacking closest foes first). Additionally, your attacks in fully automatic mode, your attacks can score critical hits as normal.

PATREON
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!

Developing to Spec: Part 18c — Fight like Wind and Lighting

This is the third 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.

We’ve come to Lightning Stance, which has Wind Stance as a prerequisite. In Pf, Wind Stance rewards you for staying mobile and not taking full-attack actions (which is why they don’t kick in until you have a +6 BAB, so you have a full attack you *could* be making). Not as it happens full attacks in Starfinder are available earlier, and still have a strong upward push on the amount of damage you can do in a round, so that’s a fair tradeoff. On the other hand, a number of things are already playing with that tradeoff in Starfinder so we likely don’t want to give as big a boost as a 20% miss chance (especially since ranged attacks are more common in Starfinder). OTOH, a way for melee-focused Starfinder characters to get in and out of the fight without getting plastered because they left cover would be nice.

The Character Operations Manual had similar ideas when it introduced new rules for shields, which are basically mobile bits of cover. So…

LIGHTNING STANCE (Combat)
The speed at which you move makes it nearly impossible for opponents to strike you.
Prerequisites: Dex 17, Wind Stance, base attack bonus +11.
Benefit: If you take two Move Your Speed actions in a turn, and take no other actions of any kind, you gain a +4 shield bonus to AC until the beginning of your next turn.

WIND STANCE (Combat)
Your erratic movements make it difficult for enemies to pinpoint your location.
Prerequisites: Dex 15, base attack bonus +6.
Benefit: If you move more than 5 feet this turn, you gain a +2 shield bonus to AC against ranged attacks until the beginning of your next turn.

While these feats have Dodge in the PF versions, it really has a different utility the way we’ve adapted it, and Starfinder tends to have fewer and shorter prerequisite chains, so we omitted it.

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Developing to Spec: Part 18a –Scary Improv

This is the first 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.

We’re finally through the Improvised feats, and that brings us to Improvised Weapon mastery. Looking at it we see the core PF mechanic works, but we also see that Starfinder has a special rule about treating most improvised weapons as clubs. It seems most likely that this feat will be primarily used by operatives who want their spies to be able to grab a coffee mug off an interrogator’s desk and use it to kill someone, so we should look for ways to make this appealing to such characters without being overpowered. Also, even though we wrote up Catch-Off-Guard and Throw Anything, which the PF Improvised Weapon mastery uses as prerequisites, we really don’t need them here.

IMPROVISED WEAPON MASTERY (Combat)
You are a master of using unexpected weapon.
Prerequisites: Base attack +3.
Benefit: When you use an improvised weapon, you may add your Weapon Specialization damage to it. If it is a weapon you treat as a club, you may also either treat it as not being archaic, or you may treat it as an operative weapon. If it is an improvised weapon the GM determines functions as something other than a club, you do not take the normal -4 to attack rolls for it being an improvised weapon.

That brings us to Intimidating Prowess, which in PF is designed to specifically make it easier for bulky half-orcs to intimidate someone by bending a bar in half. that’s cool, but Starfinder doesn’t generally allow you to add two ability score modifiers to one check, and it has a key ability score system. Why can you only intimidate by being strong? Why not by spinning a dagger on a fingertip, or using Sherlock-like deduction to ask someone how they liked their roast slarn lunch, making them think you have had them under surveillance. Also, if you want to be good at Intimidate in Starfinder, where everyone has at least 4 skill points/level, you ought to make sure it’s a class skill before anything else.

But we can build all that into one fairly simple feat.

INTIMIDATING PROWESS
You are scary good at being scary.
Prerequisites: Intimidate as a class skill, trained in Intimidate.
Benefits: You may use your key ability score bonus to add to your Intimidate checks, in place of you Charisma bonus. Additionally, if you have fewer ranks in Intimidate than half your character level, use half your character level rather than your ranks to determine your bonus.

Tomorrow?

Leadership.

PATREON
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!

 

Developing to Spec: Part 17b – Cut, Paste, Repeat

This is the second section of Part Seventeen of a series of articles looking at creating a set of Starfinder feats under specific constraints.  You can read along as we convert every feat in the PF core rulebook to Starfinder (and  share my thoughts on that process, as a developer and writer)— or you can just look at the finished feats (as they are written) here.

We’re into the long list of “Improved” feats and have come upon the Improved combat maneuver feats, which can use exactly the solution Improved Bull Rush did. Obviously to save time we’ll cut-and-paste the Improved Bull Rush feat… but it’s important when doing that to make sure you check ALL the places you need to make changes, like replacing “bull rush” with “sunder.”

IMPROVED SUNDER (Combat)
You are expert at making foes’ stuff break.
Prerequisites: Str 13, base attack bonus +1.
Benefit: When you take a full attack action, you can make a sunder combat maneuver in place of one or more of your attacks. The combat maneuver does not take penalties to its attack roll from being part of a full attack, though any other penalties apply normally.
Special: If you have Agile maneuvers and Improved Sunder, you can replace any melee attack you are normally allowed to make (such as an attack of opportunity) with a sunder combat maneuver.

IMPROVED TRIP (Combat)
You are expert at knocking foes down.
Prerequisites: Str 13, base attack bonus +1.
Benefit: When you take a full attack action, you can make a trip combat maneuver in place of one or more of your attacks. The combat maneuver does not take penalties to its attack roll from being part of a full attack, though any other penalties apply normally.
Special: If you have Agile maneuvers and Improved Trip, you can replace any melee attack you are normally allowed to make (such as an attack of opportunity) with a trip combat maneuver.

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Developing to Spec: Part 17a – Cut-And-Paste Solutions

This is the first section of Part Seventeen of a series of articles looking at creating a set of Starfinder feats under specific constraints.  You can read along as we convert every feat in the PF core rulebook to Starfinder (and  share my thoughts on that process, as a developer and writer)— or you can just look at the finished feats (as they are written) here.

We’re into the long list of “Improved” feats and have come upon Improved Disarm, which can use exactly the solution Improved Bull Rush did. Obviously to save time we’ll cut-and-paste the Improved Bull Rush feat… but it’s important when doing that to make sure you check ALL the places you need to make changes, like replacing “bull rush” with “disarm.”

IMPROVED DISARM (Combat)
You are expert at making foes lose their stuff.
Prerequisites: Str 13, base attack bonus +1.
Benefit: When you take a full attack action, you can make a disarm combat maneuver in place of one or more of your attacks. The combat maneuver does not take penalties to its attack roll from being part of a full attack, though any other penalties apply normally.
Special: If you have Agile maneuvers and Improved Disarm, you can replace any melee attack you are normally allowed to make (such as an attack of opportunity) with a disarm combat maneuver.

In fact, while we are here, let’s tackle another of the cut-and-paste Improved feats based off a combat maneuver, Improved Grapple. Doing things like this all at once can help you note what changes need to get made so you don’t miss one.

IMPROVED GRAPPLE (Combat)
You are expert at locking foes down.
Prerequisites: Str 13, base attack bonus +1.
Benefit: When you take a full attack action, you can make a grapple combat maneuver in place of one or more of your attacks. The combat maneuver does not take penalties to its attack roll from being part of a full attack, though any other penalties apply normally.
Special: If you have Agile maneuvers and Improved Grapple, you can replace any melee attack you are normally allowed to make (such as an attack of opportunity) with a grapple combat maneuver.

We can do Improved Sunder and Improved Trip tomorrow. 🙂

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Developing to Spec: Part 16c – Tweaking Design Concepts

This is the third section of Part Sixteen 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.

Wrapping up the “Greater” line of feats we have Greater Weapon Specialization (having already done Greater Weapon Focus when we first ran into it as a prerequisite). Since there aren’t nearly as many conditions that affect weapon damage (compared to those that affect attack rolls), we can’t just mimic Great Weapons Focus. However, we can tweak that design concept to make a condition-related combat feat, it’s just going to have to work differently.

GREATER WEAPON SPECIALIZATION (Combat)
You can attack with specific weapons even when other characters would be unable to do so.
Prerequisites: Proficiency, Greater Weapon Focus, Weapon Focus, and Weapon Specialization with selected weapon type, +12 base attack bonus.
Benefit: Chose one weapon type (small arms, longarms, heavy weapons, etc.) with which you have Weapon Focus, Greater Weapon Focus, and Weapon Specialization. When you are confused, cowering, dazed, frightened, nauseated, panicked, or stunned, on your turn as a full action you can still make a single attack with a weapon from the selected type, even if that condition would normally prevent you from doing so. This attack is at a -4 penalty to the attack roll, and you still take any other penalty the condition normally applies.

That brings us to Improved Bull Rush. We already decided when doing Greater Bull Rush that we were going to have these Improved combat maneuver feats impact how and when you can make the combat maneuver. However, we’ve already done something like that with our Agile maneuver feat. But if we tweak how that applies for this maneuver, and make sure there is a benefit to taking both, we can still use that design idea.

IMPROVED BULL RUSH (Combat)
You are expert at pushing foes around.
Prerequisites: Str 13, base attack bonus +1.
Benefit: When you take a full attack action, you can make a bull rush combat maneuver in place of one or more of your attacks. The combat maneuver does not take penalties to its attack roll from being part of a full attack, though any other penalties apply normally.
Special: If you have Agile maneuvers and Improved Bull Rush, you can replace any melee attack you are normally allowed to make (such as an attack of opportunity) with a bull rush combat maneuver.

PATREON
Like all my blog posts, this is brought to you by the wonderful patrons of my Patreon! Want more of this content? Want to suggest specific game systems, topics, of kinds of articles? All of that 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!