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Chapter 13: Pathfinder Legacy

Character Conversion

Source Starfinder Core Rulebook pg. 503
While the core Starfinder classes can simulate a great variety of different science fantasy character concepts, players are always thinking of ideas that can be a little more difficult to model. As the GM, you may decide you are interested in allowing Pathfinder RPG classes in your Starfinder campaign. This will require work on your part and the cooperation and patience of the players allowed to play such classes. The following guidelines will help you manage some of the more common factors, but be forewarned that complicated class features will require a more in-depth conversion than what can be presented here.

Keep in mind that legacy class conversions can only be used in your Starfinder game if you, the GM, allow them!

Key Ability Score

Source Starfinder Core Rulebook pg. 503
Each class in Starfinder denotes one of the six ability scores as that class’s key ability score, and certain calculations (such as DCs for abilities) are based on that score’s modifier. If you are using a Pathfinder RPG class, you will need to assign a key ability score for that class. In some cases, this will be obvious: a spellcasting class’s key ability score is often the same ability score that grants that class bonus spells. The following chart suggests the key ability score for the classes found in Pathfinder RPG Core Rulebook, Pathfinder RPG Advanced Player’s Guide, Pathfinder RPG Ultimate Combat, Pathfinder RPG Ultimate Intrigue, and Pathfinder RPG Ultimate Magic; classes that list several ability scores work much like the soldier, in that the player can choose the score that is the most important to him for both mechanical effects and for thematic concerns.  

Pathfinder RPG ClassKey Ability Score
CavalierStrength or Dexterity
FighterStrength or Dexterity
RangerDexterity or Wisdom

Health, Stamina, and Resolve

Source Starfinder Core Rulebook pg. 504
Starfinder characters don’t rely solely on Hit Points to stay alive: they also have pools of Stamina Points that they can quickly replenish using Resolve Points. These concepts are vital in Starfinder, so a converted Pathfinder RPG class needs both Stamina and Resolve Points. Additionally, Hit Points in Starfinder are calculated differently. Find the converted class’s Hit Die on the chart below to determine how many Hit Points and Stamina Points that class receives at each level.

Like all Starfinder characters, a character with levels in a converted Pathfinder RPG class receives a number of Resolve Points equal to half her level plus her key ability score modifier.

Pathfinder RPG Hit DieHit PointsStamina Points
d655 + Con modifier
d866 + Con modifier
d1077 + Con modifier
d1288 + Con modifier

Class Skills and Skill Ranks per Level

Source Starfinder Core Rulebook pg. 504
A Pathfinder RPG character’s list of class skills will necessarily be shorter when converted to Starfinder. Use the guidelines for skill conversions (see page 500) to determine a converted class’s appropriate class skills.

Find the converted class’s number of skill ranks per level on the chart below to determine the new number of skill ranks that class should receive at each level. Of course, you can decide to give the converted class fewer skill ranks if you wish, but you shouldn’t give that class more.

Pathfinder RPG Skill Ranks per LevelStarfinder Skill Ranks per Level
2 + Int modifier4 + Int modifier
4 + Int modifier4 + Int modifier
6 + Int modifier6 + Int modifier
8 + Int modifier8 + Int modifier

Armor Proficiency

Source Starfinder Core Rulebook pg. 504
There are only two types of armor in Starfinder—light and heavy armor—compared to the three types of armor found in the Pathfinder RPG. When bringing a legacy class into Starfinder, this conversion is fairly simple. If a class grants proficiency with light armor, then it functions the same way in Starfinder. The same holds true for heavy armor proficiency, and proficiency with medium armor can be ignored.

Shields don’t see much use in Starfinder, so proficiency with them can also be ignored when converting a Pathfinder RPG class.

Weapon Proficiency and Specialization

Source Starfinder Core Rulebook pg. 504
Ranged weapons are an important part of Starfinder, and most converted classes should have some familiarity with them. A Pathfinder RPG class proficient with simple weapons should be proficient with basic melee weapons and small arms in Starfinder. A class proficient with martial weapons should be proficient with basic and advanced melee weapons and longarms in Starfinder; if that class has a base attack bonus equal to its class level and class features that increase accuracy or damage with weapons, it should also gain proficiency with heavy weapons. For classes with very tight restrictions on the types of weapons with which they are proficient (such as druids and wizards), you will have to curate a similar list, allowing such characters proficiency with only certain types of small arms. If a class already offers proficiency with firearms (such as the gunslinger), you might want to consider giving that class proficiency with sniper rifles (or another special type of ranged weapon).

Remember that at 3rd level, all classes grant the Weapon Specialization feat for every weapon type with which that class is proficient.

Base Attack Bonus and Iterative Attacks

Source Starfinder Core Rulebook pg. 504
The progression of base attack bonuses for classes is unchanged from the Pathfinder RPG to Starfinder, but you should remember that iterative attacks (extra attacks a character receives for having a high base attack bonus) aren’t used in Starfinder. For classes that receive the first iterative attack at 6th level (such as barbarians and fighters), you might consider granting new class features that either reduce the penalty when taking the full attack action or allow extra attacks when taking the full attack action (similar to the solarian’s flashing strikes class feature or the soldier’s onslaught class feature, respectively).


Source Starfinder Core Rulebook pg. 504
Converting a Pathfinder RPG spellcasting class to Starfinder will require the most amount of work. You will need to decide which Starfinder spells are available to that class. In addition, the highest-level spell that can be cast by a mystic or a technomancer is 6th level, but a great deal of Pathfinder RPG spellcasting classes can cast 7th-, 8th-, and 9th-level spells! It will be up to you to provide spells of those levels, either by creating your own or converting Pathfinder RPG spells. For an idea of how to convert a spell, look at how acid arrow became caustic conversion. Remember that spells in Starfinder don’t require components of any kind, though some very powerful ones do require an expenditure of credits or another costly component.

Class Features

Source Starfinder Core Rulebook pg. 504
The most important thing to remember about converting class features is that those granting a bonus to attack rolls or AC should be replaced. Look to abilities of a similar level from the envoy, operative, and soldier classes for options to replace those abilities.

Certain class features of Pathfinder RPG classes are only effective when the character isn’t carrying a medium or heavy load. These concepts aren’t found in Starfinder, though how much a character can carry is still relevant. When converting a class, these features should be lost if the character has the encumbered or overburdened condition (in addition to any other factors listed in the class feature).

Some Pathfinder RPG classes grant specific bonus feats as part of their class features. If possible, a converted class should grant a Starfinder feat with the same name. If no such feat exists, choose a Starfinder feat that is as similar to the granted bonus feat as you can find. Failing that, you should convert the feat as best as you can; see the Diehard feat for an example of how to convert a Pathfinder RPG feat to Starfinder.

Guidelines on how to convert specific class features that might present the most trouble are presented below.

Animal Companions, Eidolons, And Mounts

While it is possible to simply use animal companions, eidolons, or mounts from Pathfinder as written, they might not function as effectively in battle at higher levels as their Starfinder analogue: the mechanic’s drone.

As such, you might want to allow a character playing a druid, a ranger, a summoner, or any other class or archetype that receives an animal companion or eidolon to construct such a class feature using the drone rules found starting on page 74, altering one of the base chassis as needed to make sense (most likely replacing all of its weapon mounts with melee weapon arms). For example, if a druid player wants to use the stealth drone chassis to emulate a small dinosaur, you should remove its climb speed (by not giving it the climbing claws mod) and increase its land speed to 60 feet. For a Large animal companion or eidolon, you can use the combat drone chassis and simply state that it is Large or build your own starting Large chassis.

A class that grants a mount as a class feature can work in a similar fashion, but the drone must have some way for the character to ride it, and it should probably be Large (for Medium characters, of course). To simulate this, you can take the combat drone chassis, make it Large, and replace one weapon mount with the riding saddle mod.

Either way, treat the character’s class level in the appropriate class as an effective mechanic level to determine when the “drone” receives and qualifies for new upgrades. For classes that grant companions at later levels (such as the ranger), use the same formula for determining that character’s effective mechanic level.

If you use these drone conversion rules, you should also make sure that the converted class uses the same kind of actions to control the new companion as the mechanic uses to control his drone.

Finally, once the converted “drone” has been built, you can change its type from construct to a creature type appropriate to the class feature (animal, magical beast, outsider, etc.). Of course, you can always skip this part of a conversion if you are comfortable with rangers befriending cyberapes and paladins riding robosteeds. In such a case, it makes sense for these companions to have guns instead of claws!

Bardic Performance

Most of a bard’s bardic performance abilities can be used as written, with appropriate Profession skill checks substituting for Perform skill checks. For instance, Profession (musician) replaces any Perform skill that requires a musical instrument, and Profession (actor) replaces Perform (act).

As written, starting a bardic performance is a standard action, but maintaining a bardic performance each round after that should require a swift action. At 7th and 13th levels, a bard must spend 1 Resolve Point to start a bardic performance as a move action or swift action, respectively.

Any competence bonuses or dodge bonuses granted by a bardic performance should be insight bonuses. In addition, once a bard stops maintaining a bardic performance with the word “inspire” in its name, an ally that gained the benefits from that inspiring bardic performance can’t do so again until she takes a 10-minute rest to recover Stamina Points.

While all of the bard’s allies should receive the morale bonus to saving throws against charm and fear effects from inspire courage, the bonus to attack and damage rolls should apply only to one ally (or the bard himself) at 1st level. At 5th level, and every 6 levels thereafter, the bard can inspire an additional ally. The bonus to attack rolls doesn’t increase as the bard gains levels, but at 5th level, the bonus to damage rolls should change to equal half of the inspired ally’s bonus from weapon specialization.

An ally affected by the inspire greatness bardic performance should regain a number of Stamina Points equal to twice the bard’s class level + the bard’s Charisma modifier, instead of gaining bonus Hit Dice.


While it might seem possible to create a familiar that a character (such as a wizard) receives from a Pathfinder RPG class using the same guidelines as an animal companion above, the realities are a bit more complicated, as familiars don’t usually have same combat capabilities as a drone. However, modifying the Tiny hover drone chassis is a good place to begin.

First, alter the drone’s speed as appropriate for the converted familiar. For example, a lizard familiar should have a climb speed instead of a fly speed. Next, increase the drone’s AC by the amount listed under natural armor adjustment in the table on page 83 of the Pathfinder RPG Core Rulebook, depending on the level of the wizard. Then, give the drone a good Fortitude saving throw bonus (instead of a poor one). Remember that the familiar’s Intelligence score increases as the wizard gains more levels, also as noted in the table mentioned above. Finally, ignore the drone’s bonus skill unit and starting mods, and make sure that the converted familiar receives the special abilities listed in the table mentioned above.

The converted familiar should follow all the normal rules for familiars (number of Hit Points, attacks, etc.), though the ability it grants its master may need to be altered to match the Starfinder list of skills.

Monk Unarmed Damage And Flurry Of Blows

A Pathfinder RPG monk is going to have trouble matching the damage output of other classes at higher levels.

One way to convert such a character is to have the converted monk’s unarmed strikes deal an amount of damage equal to that dealt by a one-handed operative melee weapon with an item level no greater than the monk’s level. In addition, the unarmed strikes deal an extra amount of damage equal to that dealt by the trick attack class feature (see page 93) of an operative of a level equal to the monk’s level. Unlike an operative, the monk doesn’t need to succeed at a skill check to deal this extra damage, but he can deal it only with his unarmed strikes. The monk is proficient with his unarmed strikes and thus receives the Weapon Specialization feat with them at 3rd level.