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ACTIONFinder Species: MechaMorphs

ACTIONFinder is a modern action/adventure campaign for Starfinder, that I do NOT have time for right now. But it’s taking up space in my brain and I have to get it out to get anything else done, so:

ACTIONFinder Species
MechaMorph
6 HP
+2 STR, +2 CON, -2 WIS
30 foot land speed
Size and Type
MechaMorphs are humanoids with the android subtype. Their base form can be Small, Medium, Large, or Huge. Once this decision is made, it cannot be changed.
Constructed
For effects targeting creatures by type, MechaMorphs count as both humanoids and constructs (whichever allows an ability to affect them for abilities that affect only one of those types, and whichever is wore for abiliteis that affect both types)effect is worse). They receive a +2 racial bonus to saving throws against disease, mind-affecting effects, poison, and sleep, unless those effects specifically target constructs. In addition, androids do not breathe or suffer the normal environmental effects of being in a vacuum.

MechaMorph
VEHICLE FORM
A MechaMorph can change into a different physical form (or back again) as a swift action, or as part of a move action to move their speed. This form may be a vehicle (but not starship) of Small, Medium, Large, or Huge size, though it must be within one size category of their base form. the vehcile must be one with an item level no greater than the MechaMorph’s character level, and has the AC and HP/SP of the MechaMorph. this can change at each new character level.
The MechaMorph can pilot itself, or allow someone else to pilot it. Anything it carried in its base form is stowed within it in its vehicle form, and the MechaMorph may opt to allow it to be accessed by riders/passengers.
While in a vehicle form, the MechaMorph gains a +10 bonus to Disguise checks to appear to be that vehicle.
Alternatively, a MechaMorph can have a secondary form that is any object of the same size as the MechaMorph. The MechaMorph gains a +20 to Disguise checks to apepar to be that object, and gains +1 rank/level that must be put into a Profession skill appropriate to that form.
A MechaMorph has all the benefits of a suit of armor it wears in either form, and other creatures must make a Perception check (DC 15 + 1.5x mechamorph level, +Disguise bonus of the MechaMorph, if any) to realize the MechaMorph has armor and to be able to attempt to identify it.
MORPHIC
A MechaMorph can adjust its form to fit in spaces much smaller that normal for a creature it’s size. It can fit into spaces that a creature two sizes smaller could fit into. Its space does not change except as constrained by available space (for example, a Huge MechaMorph in a 5-foot wide corridor takes up a space 5 feet wide and 15 feet long)
DARKVISION
MechaMoprhs have Darkvision with a 60-foot range.

PATREON
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Developing to Spec: Part 14 – The Overrun Objective

This is the fourth section of Part Fourteen 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, and I have time over the holidays to update the list) here.

Our journey of adaptation has brought us to Greater Overrun. Which is a problem, because the PF overrun combat maneuver doesn’t exist in Starfinder. And we can’t just create a new ability and call it Greater Overrun, because we’re going to have to convert Improved Overrun later when we get to all the PF “Improved” feats.

It’s not hard to see why overrun doesn’t exist in Starfinder — it’s a hybrid charge/trip that has special rules that allow a foe to move out of the way when it’s not their turn. Given one of the design objectives of Starfinder was to be simpler than PF, it makes sense to cut a combat maneuver that’s rarely used and has to bear the weight of special rules used only for that one maneuver.

But it’s inconvenient for us now.

The “obvious” solution is to create a new combat maneuver-like option you access through the Improved Overrun feat, and make a better version of it for Greater Overrun, while keeping true to the original concept of overrun but not making things as complicated as that option was. Which is a lot to try to manage, but we’re professionals, right? 🙂

GREATER OVERRUN (Combat)
Your foes fall before you.
Prerequisites: Improved Overrun, Improved Unarmed Strike.
Benefit: When using Improved Overrun, you can make any melee attack as part of the charge rather than only unarmed strikes. If your attack roll exceed’s the target’s KAC +8, it is knocked prone and your movement does not provoke an attack of opportunity from that foe.

IMPROVED OVERRRUN (Combat)
You are skilled at running down your foes.
Prerequisites: Improved Unarmed Strike.
Benefit: When you charge a foe that is no more than one size larger than you (or one size larger than your mount or vehicle, if you are mounted or piloting a vehicle), and you make an unarmed melee attack (or your mount makes one if mounted, or you impact the target with your vehicle, if in one), you gain a +2 bonus to the attack roll. If the attack hits and damages the target, you may continue your movement through their space (though doing so provokes an attack of opportunity for doing so as normal if you leave their threatened space), and your movement after the attack need not be in a straight line.
Normal: A charge stops when you attack your target.

We can get away with the attack bonus on the charge because in Starfinder charge normally has a penalty to your attack, so we aren’t breaking the game’s combat math, just making that option less restrictive. This may actually mean some soldiers and solarians who take class features based on charge can end up with a bonus, but they’ll have spent significant character choices to do so, and will still be limited to unarmed attacks.

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 14c – More Greater

This is the third section of Part Fourteen 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, and I have time over the holidays to update the list) here.

For the most part these Greater feats work pretty well, but we need to consider their balance in Starfinder’s combat environment. For example, it’s more difficult to perform disarm on average in Starfinder than it is in PF, and there aren’t a lot of abilities that boost your chances (though that can change as more official rules are added). So while we don’t want to add bonuses to succeed, since Starfinder combat math is pretty tight, it might be worth making the benefit of success better than the 15 feet of distance you get in PF.

Grapple is just as difficult to achieve by base math, but there are many more ways to get better at it (being a skittermander one of the biggest boosts). So we don’t really need to add a great deal more benefit for taking the feat (it’ll appeal most to people who have found ways to maximize grapple bonuses already). But since grapple is simplified in Starfinder compared to PF, we can (and probably should) simplify the related Greater feat.

We’re also simplifying the prerequisites, because Starfinder has less complex and lengthy feat prerequisites on average than PF. So, with all that in mind, here are our two new Greater combat maneuver feats.

GREATER DISARM (Combat)
You can knock weapons far from an enemy’s grasp.
Prerequisites: Improved Combat Maneuver (disarm), base attack bonus +6.
Benefit: Whenever you successfully disarm an opponent, the weapon lands up to 1d4+2 squares away from its previous wielder, in a square you select.
Normal: Disarmed weapons and gear land at the feet of the disarmed creature.

GREATER GRAPPLE (Combat)
Maintaining a grapple is second nature to you.
Prerequisites: Improved Combat Maneuver (grapple), base attack bonus +6.
Benefit: When you already have a creature grappled, you can use the grapple combat maneuver on that creature as a move action.
Normal: Maintaining a grapple is a standard action.

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!

Developing to Spec: Part 14b – Devils in the Details

This is the second section of Part Fourteen 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, and I have time over the holidays to update the list) here.

So, having tackled Scorpion Style, now we can go back and grab Gorgon’s Fist. And, much like Scorpion Style, it doesn’t really need any major revisions. Because Starfinder generally has fewer feat prerequisites than PF, it makes sense to cut the Strength requirement and Power Attack from that list, and we want to use key ability rules, but otherwise the feat works as-is. Those tiny details matter, though, as they help make these feats feel and work like Starfinder feats, which can be an important part of the product being popular with fans and successful.

GORGON’S FIST (Combat)
With one well-placed blow, you leave your target reeling.
Prerequisites: Improved Unarmed Strike, Scorpion Style, base attack bonus +6.
Benefit: As a standard action, make a single unarmed melee attack against a foe whose speed is reduced (such as from Scorpion Style). If the attack hits, you deal damage normally and the target is staggered until the end of your next turn unless it makes a Fortitude saving throw (DC 10 + 1/2 your character level + your key ability modifier). This feat has no effect on targets that are staggered.

Okay, so Greater Bull Rush is next. Greater Bull Rusk works perfectly as written… IF a bull rush doesn’t normally provoke attacks of opportunity in Starfinder. This is a matter of some debate among fans, based on whether there is a difference between a target moving out of your threatened area, and a target being moved out of your threatened area. And, for our purposes, it doesn’t matter which interpretation is right, because a chunk of the fanbase will disagree with that ruling regardless. So if we make a feat that depends on the rules being read one way or the other, even if we are right we lose part of our potential customer base.

We COULD just let you make a bull rush in place of a melee attack, since that’s a difference between many PF and Starfinder combat maneuvers, but we are going to have to do “improved” versions of all the combat maneuvers already, and that seems like something we could keep as an easy way to adapt those without interfering with Starfinder’s combat math.

But one tiny detail we discover when comparing PF bull rush and Starfinder bull rush is that in Starfinder, you don’t get to move with your target. And that can certainly become the basis for a new feat!

GREATER BULL RUSH (Combat)
Your bull rush attacks can carry you across a battlefield.
Prerequisites: Improved Combat Maneuver (bull rush), base
attack bonus +6.
Benefit: When you make a successful bull rush maneuver, if you are able to move and have an appropriate movement speed, you can move with the target of your bull rush. Your total movement cannot exceed your speed. You do not have to travel the entire distance your target does, but you cannot go anywhere but toward your target along the path of the bull rush.

And that is going to define how we handle all the Greater and Improved combat maneuver feats.

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!

Developing to Spec: Part 14a – Stay Up to Date

This is the first section of Part Fourteen 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, and I have time over the holidays to update the list) here.

One of the difficult parts of writing for a constantly-evolving game system is that you need to keep current. Every new book released that is considered “official” (such as those published by the game’s original publisher, rather than depending on some 3pp license) can bring new rules, clarifications, options, and styles of play that change how your project should be handled. This can even happen in the middle of a project, which may require you to go back and look at work you have done but not yet turned over.

For example, while there is no “rage” mechanic in the Starfinder Core Rulebook for our Extra Rage PF feat to be converted to work with, the Starfinder Character Operations Manual adds a wrathful warrior fighting style, which is clearly inspired by barbarians. Since Extra Rage was only usable by a small fraction of total characters in PF, it seems reasonable to make our Starfinder version similarly focused only on fighting classes with anger powers.

EXTRA RAGE (Combat)
You are filled with a fast reservoir of fury you can call upon in combat.
Prerequisites: Wrathful warrior fighting style.
Benefits: Once per day as part of any other action you can activate your frenzied fighting ability. You may do this even if you have already used the ability and have not yet rested for 10 minutes to regain Stamina Points since doing so.

This is in many ways simpler than the PF version, and it includes an action economy buff when using this once/day version, but those are intentional choices to try to keep it appealing to players who are, after all, playing soldiers with tons of other options (especially if they have COM options to play with).

That brings us to Gorgon’s Fist, but since it has Scorpion Style as a prerequisite, it makes more sense to do that PF feat first.

Weirdly, Scorpion Style… works FINE in Starfinder. It doesn’t reference rules that don’t exist, it doesn’t impact the game’s combat math, and it doesn’t interfere with any game setting themes or logic. Given how easy it is to make a Starfinder version, I spend a fair bit of time checking things other than feats (such as class features and archetypes) to see if it had been co-opted for those, and the only thing I found I didn’t know about was hampering inhibitor for the biohacker (again, in COM), so we want this to operate a bit differently.

But otherwise my one and only concern is that it doesn’t use key ability score language and seems underwhelming in a game that has jump jets available by 3rd level. Those, however, are easily fixed.

SCORPION STYLE (Combat)
You can perform an unarmed strike that greatly hampers your target’s movement.
Prerequisites: Improved Unarmed Strike.
Benefit: To use this feat, you must make a single unarmed attack as a standard action. If this unarmed attack hits, you deal damage normally, and the target’s burrow, climb, fly, land, and swim speed (if any) are reduced to 5 feet for a number of rounds equal to your key ability modifier unless it makes a Fortitude saving throw (DC 10 + 1/2 your character level + your key ability modifier). Multiple uses of this ability can reduce a target’s speed multiple times, to a minimum of 0.

With that done we can hop back to Gorgon Style… tomorrow. 🙂

Patreon
Heya folks–I am back to being a full-time freelancer. Which means, every word I write has to justify itself in time taken vs. benefit to my freelance career and/or money made.
So if you found any of this useful and you’d like to support the creation of more such content, check out my Patreon!

Just a couple of dollars a month from each of you will make a huge difference, and has already resulted in me upping my blogging rate to be five days a week!

#VeskGods: Bhel

Bhel, Flame Tongue

Alignment: N
Portfolio: Betrayal, Fire, Knowledge, Magic
Worshipers: Vesk, firefighters, spellcasters, historians.
Favored Weapon: Flaming Taclash
Connections: Akashic, Flamewalker, Overlord
Bhel is a snake-headed vesk with flaming eyes and a long, flaming tongue. She was originally the deity of a race of serpentfolk that opposed the vesk, but betrayed the serpentfolk deities to become a vesk goddess when it became clear the vesk would crush the serpentfolk. She is considered a keeper of secrets, and while Ollothatyra is the writer of the scroll of every mortal’s life, Bhel burns the end of those scrolls to bring about every mortal’s death.
Worshipers of Bhel consider themselves to be students, rather than ethical faithful of her religion, and seek to learn hidden knowledge that she holds control over by following her dictates as rules of her metaphyscial school. While this is considered a reasonable deal in vesk society–obeying a powerful lady because she can reward you–worshipers of Bhel are often viewed with suspicion, given that betrayal is part of her portfolio.
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#VeskGods: Grumzati

Grumzati, the War Blood.

Alignment: CG
Portfolio: Freedom, Rage, Strength
Worshipers: Vesk, rebels, liberators, sailors (and thus starfarers), special forces, Pahtra, Ysoki.
Favored Weapon: Fist
Connections: Flamewalker, Geneturge, Star Shaman

Depicted as a dark blue vesk with prehensile, double-long tail, Grumzati lives in a sea of burning blood found where the Abyss overlaps with the Plane of Water.

While the Vesk god of War is the deity of battle, glory in combat, and victory, Grumzati is the god of conflict as a means to an end. Grumzati was a mortal vesk that fought to destroy a cult of slaver demons, and changed his form to adapt to water environment as a way to defeat the most powerful of those demons. As a result he is also seen as a god of change, evolution, and specialized tactics.

Worshipers of Grumzati believe as strict rule systems will, in time, become imbalanced and turn into tyrannies. They exist to prevent those tyrannies from damaging the rights of individual vesk. While the Vesk imperium might normally try to suppress the worship pf such a deity, as a conflict god Grumzati is too well-respected by other militant vesk gods for any direct action to ever be taken against his followers.

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Horrifically Overpowered Feats KlickStarter

Welcome to the “Horrifically Overpowered Feats” KlickStarter!
So, you may ask, what the heck is a KlickStarter?
It’s a way to use the power of social media to earn bonus content and stretch goals for a product that excites you… but that doesn’t ask you to take any risk! The pdf is for sale NOW, and you can buy it and have it in your hands NOW. You get what you paid for immediately, with ZERO chance of never seeing the project that excited you.
BUT
By helping spread the word, and pushing to give us a great first four weeks of sale, you can STILL drive stretch goals and earn bonus content. It’s the best of both worlds! You can participate and make the project bigger and better, with more and more content getting added for free, but you don’t have to wait to get the base reward!
So, we have the pdf of Starfarer’s Codex: Horrifically Overpowered Feats (the product we never should have made, and you should never use, but people have been demanding for over a year!) ready for sale NOW. Go buy it, download it, and it’s already yours!
But if you help us just a little more, the following stretch goals can get you EVEN MORE CONTENT!

Starfarer's Codex Horrifically Overpowered Feats Cover 300dpi
So what are our stretch goals?

“EVEN MORE HORRIFIC” STRETCH GOALS!
Overpowered feats not enough to main, kill, and totally wreck all game balance in your campaign? Okay then, we’ll add Horrifically Overpowered Spells!
If Horrifically Overpowered Feats is one of the Top Three Sellers on the Open Gaming Store in one of the next four weeks (2/1 to 2/7, 2/8 to 2/14, 2/15 to 2/21, or 2/22 to 2/28), we’ll create Starfarer’s Codex: Horrifically Overpowered Spells pdf of at least 6 pages for sale in March, and everyone who bought Horrifically Overpowered Feats (on any site) by Feb 25th will get a pdf of it FREE!
(OGS is going to be kind enough to make official posts each week, to let us everyone publicly know if we’ve hit these goal!)
For each additional week it’s one of the Top Three sellers on the OGS, we’ll add two pages to the minimum length!
For any week it’s the number one seller on the OGS, we’ll instead add FOUR pages to the minimum size!
So if you get your pdfs on the Open Gaming Store, go pick the pdf up now!
https://www.opengamingstore.com/collections/rogue-genius-games/products/starfarers-codex-horrifically-overpowered-feats

“EVEN MORE OVERPOWERED” STRETCH GOALS!
These feats not stupidly overpowered enough for you? Fine, we’ll make them MORE INSANELY UNUSABLE!
If Horrifically Overpowered Feats is one of the Top Three Hottest Titles for Starfinder on DriveThruRPG in one of the next four weeks (2/1 to 2/7, 2/8 to 2/14, 2/15 to 2/21, or 2/22 to 2/28), we’ll add the EVEN MORE OVERPOWERED INDEX, a page of Horrifically Overpowered Feats we crank up to all to be even more overpowered! We’ll add this directly to the Starfarer’s Codex: Horrifically Overpowered Feats pdf, so everyone who bought or ever buys it will get this additional content FREE!
For each additional week it’s one of the Top Three Hottest Titles for Starfinder on DriveThruRPG, we’ll add two pages to the minimum length!
For any of those weeks it’s the number one Hottest Titles for Starfinder on DriveThruRPG, we’ll instead add TWO pages to the minimum size!
So if you get your pdfs at DriveThruRPG, go pick the pdf up now! (https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/265369/Starfarers-Codex-Horrifically-Overpowered-Feats)

“EVEN MORE FEATS” STRETCH GOALS
What, 18 pages of Horrifically Overpowered Feats not enough for you? You REALLY want to ignore our warning not to use this product in any way, don’t you?!
Okay, fine. We’ll give you more. If you give us more!
(More exposure, that is.)
We’ll add pages of content to a revised Starfarer’s Codex: Horrifically Overpowered Feats to be updated in March, based on how many SHARES we get by 2/28. Every person who marks themselves GOING to this event, and every person who SHARES this event (plus every like and retweet of our announcement on Twitter, plus every like of our blog post announcement, plus every new person who comments on the Paizo.com product page) counts as a share.
So if you want to get extras without even spending money, join, like, and comment on the page at https://paizo.com/products/btq01x53/discuss?Starfarers-Codex-Horrifically-Overpowered-Feats#tabs
Shares Total Extra Pages
50+ 5
75+ 8
100+ 10
150+ ???

KlickStarter
Like crowdfunding… but better!

Really Wild West Class Features: Envoys

We covered why it’s a good idea to offer some campaign-specific class features for the Really Wild West (index of articles here) Campaign Hack for Starfinder in our first such article, which went over soldier class features. We continue to explore the classes with new class features for the envoy.

There are numerous Western and pulp-adventure tropes that work for an envoy character in the Really Wild West, including merchants, cattle barons, carpetbaggers, snake-oil salesmen, reporters, tourists and vacationers from Back East (be they sightseers, big game hunters, or displaced nobles struggling to carve out a new empire), diplomats, traders, and activists, to name just a few!

We offer four new envoy improvisations, and two new envoy expertise talents.

rgg-westernkasathagentleman-color-01

Envoy Improvisations [Any level]

Factor (Ex): You have a factor, a CR 0 NPC that helps make arrangements for you. The factor doesn’t even go adventuring for you, and generally doesn’t even travel with you, preferring to handle your affairs by telephone, telegraph, Babbage-Bell message, and courier. You can only communicate with your factor when you have access to a settlement or the Babbage-Bell Grid.

Your factor can handle one request at a time, and all requests take at least 24 hours. A factor can research a question (taking time to take 20, with a +1 bonus, thus answering anything a DC 21 check can find), make travel arrangements or housing (ensuring you get the needed number of seats or rooms at a location, at the normal cost), keep your funds secure (and wiring them to banks and stores as you direct), make inquiries about location conditions and agents (making a Diplomacy check to gather information with a bonus equal to 5 + your level), and do such minor tasks as receiving and sending mail, looking after objects you end to them, and whatever else the GM considers appropriate. They are not a spellcaster, crafter, famous personage, or combatant in any way.

In some cases when dealing with officials or members of high society, the GM may grant you a circumstance bonus to Diplomacy checks to do things such as ask for an audience or open negotiations if you do so through your factor.

Have Thing, Will Travel (Ex): (Sense-dependent) You possess one weapon that you are well-known for carrying, or that is itself recognizable (either as a unique weapon, or as one of a class of renowned weapons). You can choose what weapon this is each time you gain a new level, and if lost you can replace it with another weapon with 24 hours of adjustments and spreading rumors.

You can draw this weapon without taking an action as part of any move action or full action, and as part of rolling for initiative. When you draw the weapon in this way outside of combat or in the surprise round of combat, you may make an Intimidate check to demoralize a single creature within 30 feet of you also without taking an action. Any creature within 60 feet of you when you do this is immune to this ability of yours for 24 hours.

Put A Price on their Head (Ex): You can put a bounty on a foe, dead or alive, to encourage bounty hunters, law agents, allies, sellswords, and gunslingers to make their best effort against that target. You can only do this in a settlement with a Babbage-Bell station, and you must either make a Successful DC 15 Diplomacy check to accuse the target of a crime you reasonably believe they have committed, or have the GM make a Bluff check in secret (DC 15 + 1-1/2 target’s CR, +10 if viewed as friendly by the settlement, +20 if viewed as helpful) to accuse them of something believable, with the ability only working on a successful check.

You must offer at least 100 credits for the target, to be brought to justice dead or alive. You must pay ¼ of this amount in advance. The GM then makes a secret Diplomacy check for you (DC 15 + 1-1/2 target’s CR). If it is successful, within 24 hours everyone who could reasonably have heard about the bounty gains the benefit of your Get ‘Em improvisation when attacking the target, even if you are not present. On a failed check there is no benefit, but you do not know if the check succeeded until you witness someone attack the target.

The bonus lasts 30 days, and you can then renew it by doubling the bounty (and paying 25% of the new amount in advance). If you learn the check failed, you can make a new check my doubling the bounty. If you do not renew a bounty, you cannot set a new bounty on the same target for 30 days.

If someone brings in the target and claims the bounty, you must pay it, or you cannot use this ability again in the same territory (generally an area the size of a US state) until you do so.

You must have Get ‘Em to select this improvisation.

References (Ex): You have a series of references you can use as your bona fides in certain segments of society. These may be names of people who will vouch for you (and who you can describe well enough to convince others such vouchsafing is likely), passwords and phrases, physical letters of recommendation or letters of credit, secret handshakes, or any combination of similar methods. You know exactly which references to call on in what circumstances, allowing you to benefit from these to a degree other characters can’t match.

Select a “reference alignment” within one step of your own alignment. When dealing with official members of an organization with an alignment within one step of your reference alignment, or officials or people with influence in a settlement with an alignment within one step of your reference alignment, you can make a Diplomacy check to change the attitude of that character as a move action by calling on your references. This only works once (ever) per character, and only if the character is unfriendly or indifferent toward you. (Hostile creatures don’t care what your references are, and friendly or helpful creatures already like you well enough not to care either).

Additionally, in a settlement with an alignment within one step of your reference alignment, treat your character level as 1 higher for purposes of determining what you can buy.

Expertise Talents

Interlocutor (Ex; Culture): You know a number of languages, and can often work out how to communicate with someone who only knows a language related to yours. You gain a number of bonus languages equal to your ranks in Culture (increasing whenever you put an additional rank in Culture).

When you meet someone who speaks a language, but with whom you do not share a common language, you may roll your expertise die (by itself). On a result of 1-5 you have no special advantage communicating with the target. On a result of 6 or 7, you have found a related language and can convey very simple concepts with a minute of work. On a result of 8 or more, you find a common language similar enough to easily communicate basic concepts.

Look Harmless (Ex; Bluff): If you do not have a weapon or obviously dangerous item or spell readied for use, and a creature has never seen you make an attack, rather than add your expertise die to a Bluff check, you can make a Bluff check as a standard action to convince the target you are no threat. This is a Bluff check to lie, but it does not take a modifier for the target being hostile or unfriendly. If the check succeeds, and there is any other target in line of sight making attacks against the target or the target’s allies, the target does not attack you, favoring attacking more dangerous-looking foes.

This immediately ends if you are witnessed take any action that works against the target’s best interests, or aiding the target’s foes. If you target gives you instructions (such as “don’t move!”) and you do not follow them, you must make another check with a cumulative -5 penalty for every instruction you have not followed.

If you attack the target while it believes you are harmless, it is treated as flat-footed against your first attack.

In the coming weeks, we’ll look at class features for the rest of the Starfinder core classes, to give them Really Wild West-specific options!

PATREON
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Really Wild West Class Features: Soldiers

A big part of the point of making the Really Wild West (index of articles here) a Starfinder Campaign Hack is that it means most of the rules we need for weird-science-and-fantasy-infused-western stories already exist. While the RWW Index has lots of special rules subsets for things like high noon showdowns, renown, gambling, and so on, the majority of the game’s basic rules, including classes, skills, feats, and even most equipment, are largely unchanged.

However, as with any campaign setting, there are good reasons to add some new class options to a Really Wild West campaign, to allow players to make Western-themed characters that are appropriate in the Weird West of a Martian-invaded Earth of 1891, which might not fit in a more traditional (or official) science-fantasy setting. We already touched on a few campaign-specific themes and rules for theosophy and psychic powers, but it’s also worthwhile to create some class-specific new options to help players make some iconic weird-west concepts.

We start with soldier class features, focusing on some new gear boosts and two new fighting styles.

(And, of course, the other advantage of making this setting Starfinder-compatible is that you can take new material like this, and use it in other settings if you want to. 🙂 )

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Soldier

Gear Boosts

Shootist (Ex) You add your level to damage done with small arms, in addition to any other bonuses you get (including your Weapon Specialization bonus). You cannot add this damage at the same time you are adding any other ability that only works with a subcategory of weapons that includes small arms or operative weapons.

Shotgun Fit (Ex) You can custom-fit a shotgun so it’s trigger pull, balance, but plate, and position match your frame and shooting style perfectly. This precise a fit requires you to do maintenance on a shotgun, so it must be in your possession for 24 hours before this ability applies, and you can only keep a maximum of two shotguns adjusted to use this ability on at a time.

When using a custom-fit shotgun firing shot, you halve the damage penalty it takes for range.

THAT’s a Knife! (Ex) You add your level to damage done with operative weapons, in addition to any other bonuses you get (including your Weapon Specialization bonus). You cannot add this damage at the same time you are adding any other ability that only works with a subcategory of weapons that includes small arms or operative weapons.

Tight Grouping (Ex) When you make multiple ranged attacks at the same target in a single round, you gain a +1 bonus to the ranged attack rolls after the first one. If you attack a different target or make a melee attack, you don’t receive the tight grouping bonus for the rest of the round.

Fighting Styles

Cavalry

You may have been formally trained in cavalry tactics, or grown up on a ranch or in a culture where being mounted s a way of life, or be a skilled scorcher who learned to fight from a seat while running scouting missions against Martian Tripods.

Ready to Ride (Ex) [1st Level] You begin play with a light or heavy horse (or with the GM’s approval a similar creature using the same statistics, such as a bison,camel, or moose), or a safety bicycle. If it is lost, you may replace it at no chare at a major settlement, or when you gain a level.

If you begin play with a mount, you gain Expert Rider as a bonus feat, without needing to meet its prerequisites. If you begin play with a safety bicycle, you instead gain the Scorcher feat as a bonus feat, without needing to meet its prerequisites.

Mounted Combat (Ex) [5th] You gain a +10 ft. bonus to speed when using the mount of bike from the ready to ride ability.  Additionally, once per round when your mount or bike is hit by an attack or fails a saving throw, without taking an action you may make a Survival check (for a mount) of Pilot check (for a bike). If your check meets or exceeds the total of the attack roll against your mount or the DC of the saving throw, the mount is missed or considered to have made its saving throw.

Fight From the Saddle (Ex) [9th] You gain Mobility as a bonus feat, but only when using the mount or bike gained from the ready to ride ability. If you already have Mobility, you instead gain your choice of Shot on the Run or Spring Attack (only when using your mount or bike) as a bonus feat without having to meet its prerequisites.

Like the Wind (Ex) [13th] You bonus to speed when using the mount of bike from the ready to ride ability increases to +20 feet. Additionally, you can take 10 for Survival checks and Pilot checks regarding mounted combat and bicycles, even in combat or when stress or distraction would normally prevent you from doing so.

Cavalry Charge (Ex) [17th] When you are on a mount or using a bike, you take no attack penalty to attacks made when charging, and add a +4 bonus to damage done on a successful attack when charging.

Pugilist

Whether it’s street brawling, a formal martial art, boxing, Bartitsu, or a knack picked up from years of literally punching cows, you are particularly skilled at fisticuffs.

Improved Unarmed Strike (Ex) [1st Level] You gain Improved Unarmed Strike as a bonus feat, and when you gain this ability choose to either have your unarmed attacks not count as archaic weapons, or gain a +1 bonus to damage with unarmed attacks. You can make an unarmed attack without having a hand free as long as you are not immobilized and have one limb or your head free to move about.

Additionally you can make unarmed strikes using melee or ranged weapons, by using the weapon to smash a pommel or other blunt part of the weapon into your target. If the weapon has a fusion or weapons special property that is appropriate to apply to an unarmed attack, or is made of a special material, you add those effects to your unarmed attack.

Keep Your Guard Up (Ex) [5th] Your KAC against combat maneuvers is increased by +4.

Stunning Blow (Ex) [9th] You can hit a foe so hard they are briefly disabled. You take no penalty to your attack roll to do nonlethal damage to a target with an unarmed attack. Additionally, you can declare a unarmed attack to be a stunning blow in advance of your attack roll. If the attack hits, the target must make a Fortitude save (DC 10 +1/2 your soldier level + your key ability score modifier) or be stunned for 1 round. Once you attempt a stunning blow, you cannot do so again until you regain Stamina Points during a 10-minutes rest.

Sucker Punch (Ex) [13th] Once per turn you can make an attack of opportunity with an unarmed attack without taking a reaction. You can still only make attacks of opportunity when a target provokes one from you.

Flurry of Blows (Ex) [17th] When you take a full attack, you may make one additional attack at -8 to the attack roll, which must be an unarmed attack.

In the coming weeks, we’ll look at class features for all the Starfinder core classes, to give them Really Wild West-specific options!

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