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The Genius Guide to More Horrifically Overpowered Feats (PFRPG) PDF

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When the first book of Horrifically Overpowered feats was released on April 1st, 2012, we expected to hear a lot of cries of "What were you thinking?!" Instead we mostly heard "When will you release more?!"

The obvious answers should have been either "Never!" or "Not until we can sneak them in on April 1st, 2013!" But to some extent, that's cheating. Either we want to release more Horrifically Overpowered feats, or we don't—hiding behind a Fool's Day would show a lack of conviction on our part. And, it turns out, we do want to release more. But if we're going to do that, and we're not going to claim it's a joke, some defense of the idea is in order.

Horrifically Overpowered feats, as the name might suggest, are not balanced. They are, in fact, imbalanced in three ways. First, each one represents an uptick in power larger than a typical feat (and in most cases, larger than the most powerful feats). Second, each one has the potential for being combined with class features, spells, tactics, and other feats to create an even-stronger effect than normal, causing them to skew how big a boost in power depending on the circumstances. Third, conceptually many of them bend the logic of the core rules, allowing warriors to cast spells, spellcasters to become weaponmasters, and well-designed characters to be much, much more effective than characters that have not been optimized.

Given the long list of sins placed at Horrifically Overpowered Feat's, er, feet, it may sound as if these rules are unusable. That's not strictly speaking true. Each feat is designed to give all the rules needed to use it in a campaign, and to be consistent and logical within the frame of reference of being Horrifically Overpowered. It's just that the feats themselves are intentionally too much to reasonably be added to a typical game.

So, why produce more of them?

The fact of the matter is that no two gaming groups are the same, and no two campaigns have exactly the same needs. After The Genius Guide to Horrifically Overpowered Feats came out, numerous customers gushed about the ways they had found to use these feats in their games. These ranged from only giving them to monsters, to using them to allow 3-man adventuring parties to survive encounters designed for 4 heroes, and even as special temporary divine blessings or for powers of artifacts. We didn't want to tell our customers they were doing it wrong, and since there seems to be a real enjoyment of such things, we began work on the second volume in what is scheduled to eventually be a 32-part line.

(Okay, probably not. But if the sales are good enough...)

However, we aren't kidding when we say these things do not meet the normal rules of good feat design. Such feats can badly unbalance a game, and shouldn't be used by anyone, at any time, without a really good reason. GMs who feel they know what they are doing are, of course, welcomed to find interesting ways to add horrifically overpowered feats to a game (we made some suggestions in The Genius Guide to Horrifically Overpowered Feats).

But we warned you.

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Meta-attack feats are a great concept...many of these feats are not that HO

*****

This pdf is 12 pages long, 2/3 of a page front cover, 1 page editorial/SRD, leaving us with 10 1/3 pages of content for even more horrifically overpowered feats that no one should use.

Wait. Actually, they should be used. The success of the first genius guide that introduced these feats speaks that there in fact IS a kind of balance with these feats - yes, their power is off the charts, but as equalizers for powerful bosses, mini-templates or just plain super-powered gaming, these feats actually work! Hence it was only a matter of time before we get more of these extremely strong options - but can they maintain their very precarious balance?

Beyond guidelines on how (if you choose to do so) to use these feats, the pdf introduces us to a subtype of feat-descriptor, the meta-attack feat: These allow regular attacks to be modified similar to metamagic as a swift action and a per-day guideline for meta-attack progression is provided for them before we get to a cohesive table of the feats and then delve into the madness!

Well, turns out that the first feat, animated leap, essentially lets you make super-jumps - sans making acrobatics checks. Ignoring, completely, spell failure is a feat that is sure to resurface as a PrC/class capstone sooner or later, so yeah - another one I would never call broken in concept, but only in designation as a feat. In a horrifically overpowered context, though, it works. Backswing Attack lets you reroll 3/day a missed attack when you would hit the target's touch attack and use it to damage another target. The sad thing is, I've seen non-HO-declared class abilities doing this and not realize they are broken. One of the tamer ones, as is brow cut, which dazzles foes by cutting them and having the blood color their vision. More clearly in the HO-territory would be a feat that lest you simultaneously heal and damage with your channel energy attempts or one that lets your channel affect all beings of a given alignment selected with the alignment channel feat, not just outsiders, or one that allows you to make your cohort your familiar or one that lets you completely ignore one AoO per round.

Compared to that, a +1 bonus to atk and CMB for -1 to AC for every 4 points of BAB you possess doesn't feel HO to me and actually on par with a completely regular feat.

3/day imposing penalties of foes hit by the attack you designate also doesn't feel that strong - if you added a DC to save against it, it would work as a regular feat as well. Ignoring difficult terrain and gaining full movement as a climb speed is more in line with what I'd call horrifically overpowered, as is lingering elemental damage that does the same amount of damage you inflicted first time upon the next round -sans save. Ouch! You may now also use endless cleaving (nomen est omen) and a rather iconic action: When having a flexible weapon like bladed scarfs, whips etc., you can prevent foes from escaping by being carried along without either you or your foe counting as grappled. Dragon-slaying, brutal tyrants - this feat is MADE for these! That's actually one that has a very good chance of being made available to my players - with the caveat that in contrast to the feat's RAW-text, escape will be possible from the toned down version of the feat. Still: A great one indeed!

Intimidating all in sight by flexing muscles and dazing foes by flaying their skin again are at the lower end of the HO-power-scale.
There’s also a feat that allows (slightly) limited application of metamagic to a chosen spell sans raising the level of it, one that allows you to apply metamagic feats in a limited way on supernatural abilities.
Among the more combat-centric feats, using ridiculously oversized weapons à la Berserk (the manga is far superior to the anime, btw.!), ignore 4/day 10 points hardness or DR and one that allows you to grapple a foe onto your piercing weapons, impaling them or one that allows you do twist the blade in your foe a limited amount of times per day – again – not exactly ones I’d consider broken with a modicum of additional balancing.

There are feats, though, that completely work the anything-goes angle: Take “Ready for Anything”, which allows you to ready actions without specifying what you’re readying them for. Or adding splash-damage to spells. There also are feats, while perhaps not suitable for most PCs (mighty godling, anyone?) that allow you to grapple smaller foes with one arm and even prevent them from casting while so grappled.

The final 4 feats pull no stops: 1+Str or Dex modifier times, when you miss, you can make the attack automatically hit. Or 1+ Int, Wis or Cha mod, you may automatically make an attack miss. Or you can make spells with durations that fail to affect the target automatically affect it, but only for one round. Or this feat that allows you to treat ALL of your crits as vorpal hits…

The pdf also has an extensive sidebox that explains what happens when unstoppable forces meet immovable objects (i.e. the autohit/automiss-feats) and provides some interesting accompanying rules.

Conclusion:
Editing and formatting are very good, though not perfect – I encountered some minor glitches like letters that should be capital but are lower case etc. Layout adheres to SGG’s 3-column landscape-standard and the cover artwork is gorgeous, the interior art ok stock. The pdf comes with no bookmarks, which is a slight bummer.

Wow! While there indeed are some feats herein that are only suitable for the most insane of high-power groups, there actually is a valid balancing going on here – more so, imho, than in the previous HO-book. There is no superduper power-gain à la Gestalt to be found herein apart from some scarce few examples and some feats obviously are not meant for the hands of players, but honestly – quite an array of them and especially the concept and balancing of meta-attack feats can easily be toned down to special fighting styles and see use in regularly-powered games – though without modification you may want to take heed…these are HO, after all! All in all, at least for me personally, the concept of meta-attack feats will be reskinned for fighting styles of e.g. PrCs/fighting school and design-wise, this concept alone, if you’re even remotely interested in rpg-design, might make tis purchase worthwhile. If you’re a DM and look for some way to level the field versus a group of min-maxing elite power-gamers, this might also come handy. And, of course, if you want to go the horrifically overpowered or extreme high-to-epic-level route. When all is said and done, a great offering and fully worth my 5 stars, though I’ll omit my seal of approval due to the lack of bookmarks and minor glitches – the concepts still are too good to be rated down to 4.

Endzeitgeist out.


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