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RPG Superstar 2015

Getting rid of feat bloat


Suggestions/House Rules/Homebrew

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Darkwing Duck wrote:
3.5 Loyalist wrote:

After experiencing the wonder of pathfinders bloat, at low to mid to high levels and after starting to hate a number of the classes. I am at present, trying to find a solution. This is what I came up with:

1) 3.5 classes (don't cry, read more)
2) one feat per level and one starting feat (high early customisation).
3) you can use those feats to buy into pathfinder class bonuses/abilities, if you wish. Levels and pre-reqs have to match up.
4) dodge made more useful and simplified. +1 dodge ac per feat, only lose when flat-footed. At level 9 all dodge bonuses are doubled.
5) the feat weapon finesse applies to one light weapon, and the dex mod now determines damage bonus with that weapon, not str.
6) Quick draw also allows the quick sheathing of weapons as well as their quick drawing.
7) the big one, on trial in this game for the first time. Weapons that you are proficient in, have special abilities. So axes damage shields and armour when they hit those instead of the target. Maces do small amounts of subdual damage when they hit armour or shields, swords allow you to easily adjust damage, ac and attack bonus on the fly, hammers and flails damage the enemies weapon as the fight goes on, polearms and spears have a variety of abilities concerning impalement and denying an opponent the ability to advance, and some special weapons ignore shield ac, give a bonus to sneak attack or give a boost to intimidate. Armour also has its own qualities, each type of armour has a merit (the party is favouring medium armour at present that is not breastplate).
8) breastplate armour is removed, lol.
9) weapon tech is tied to cultural regions/militias/the armies of kingdoms.

So to summarise it down, weapons and armour become more important and useful for specific situations, the classes are kept relatively simple, but you are given more feats and customisation options. so far, it is working a treat!

Have you been sneaking into my place late at night and ruffling through my design notes?...

Quick! To the lawyers!

Ha ha, that sounds all good man. A dm that knows what they want to do and initiate, can with care and time, make a better rules set for the games they want to run than anything that is provided.

The biggest mistake I've seen in other game designers, is to become either obsessed with their world and setting, and add so much to it and then bloat out the rules, that the inevitable flood of rules is a nuisance to navigate or even understand. "Okay okay, if you are playing that class, then you should consult the file I sent you". "This is thirty pages long?" "Indeed, I've made some changes to the class." The other flaw is similar, and also faced by world-builders. It is to make a gaming system that is so complex, needlessly so, that it is a pain to do anything. They consider their systems to be realistic, but the bloat is strong and it is never simple or quick to make even simple actions. So setting influenced bloat of your own creation or too much added complexity (for the realism lols) are common mistakes in rules alteration and creation I've seen.

I've also had a go at changing the lace and steel combat system, it uses cards and represents each cut or thrust, a good system; and made a very simple game system based around how shogun 2 does its combat, the models and checks behind it, and mixed it with fudge and a very simple skill system. Then I threw it into a viking game, it worked a treat.

What is the draft for? Something big coming or just new rules for the next game?

I've got some other ideas to change 3.5 too, and things are partly implemented. Playing a non-Tolkienian fantasy can also be a giant breath of fresh air, and allow a place for new ideas. I recommend you try it.

It is a shame we can't meet up and compare notes. I'm in Melbourne Australia. Ah well, we provide more ideas to the other forum goers here.


blahpers wrote:
Darkwing Duck wrote:
I disagree. I work in software. There is no greater "my ideas are better than yours" industry. But, at the end of the day, the customer is always right.

<berserkbutton>

FSM, if I never hear that phrase again, it'll still be too soon.

"The customer is always right" is, and always has been, a load of crap. It places the dollar on a pedestal and everything else be damned. Paizo has no obligation to satisfy you. They are not your client. They make what they want to make, and we buy it or don't as we like. The goal for both, at the end of the day, is to game and have fun. Otherwise, I'm sure they could make quite a bit more money doing something else.

If you aren't having fun with the system, there's a built-in method for fixing that--change the system! Nobody is stopping you from handing out feats like candy or rewriting Core from scratch. Ask <b>TriOmegaZero</b>; from what I can see, he's been pretty busy on that front, and more power to him. If you aren't in PFS, the sky's the limit!

If you're complaining for PFS reasons, well, that's a shame, but in the end PFS is just another group--a really big one--with its own set of rules that (mostly) coincides with RAW. There are other groups. Go out and find one, or start one. Unless you live in Population: Tire, chances are there are half a dozen people in your area wondering why they can't find anybody that games.

Change the system until it's goodrightfun for you. But the sense of entitlement folks like you exhibit in these threads is not conducive to anybody having a good time. It's the reason people get fed up with a job (or a whole industry) and quit. In short, stop whining.

"The customer is always right." The hell with that.

</berserkbutton>

If Paizo doesn't meet customer requirements then it goes out of business. That's a fact. Arguing against it is like arguing against gravity. Its pollyanna at best.

I have no need to defend my position against you, nor do I feel any desire to. Your whining because I said there was something about the game I don't like is ridiculous.

Star Voter 2013, Star Voter 2014, Star Voter 2015

Talynonyx wrote:
Why aren't people who don't like the "feat bloat" playing the game they want to play instead? If you don't want more than the APG, don't use it! Nothing prevents you from playing without anything more. Don't come here telling us we can't have our options because you don't like it.

I have never, ever heard this before.


Pathfinder Modules Subscriber
Darkwing Duck wrote:

If Paizo doesn't meet customer requirements then it goes out of business. That's a fact. Arguing against it is like arguing against gravity. Its pollyanna at best.

I have no need to defend my position against you, nor do I feel any desire to. Your whining because I said there was something about the game I don't like is ridiculous.

Paizo does not have to tailor anything to your personal specifications. If it's good enough that people buy it--and it clearly is at the moment--they'll do just fine. I buy it, and I still have a few dozen house rules that have piled up in the short year that I've had the material. Their product certainly doesn't satisfy my ever desire. Except, it does, because I can choose to change it.

The fact is, you're whining. I'm whining (unabashedly) because I do not care for it when people whine, using strict and poorly-formed economic arguments, about something that I do to get away from the everyday drudgery of people whining, using strict and poorly-formed economic arguments, about everything else.

If you have feedback for Paizo, by all means, give them feedback. But there's no sense in being childish, rude, or demanding about it.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Modules Subscriber
bugleyman wrote:
Talynonyx wrote:
Why aren't people who don't like the "feat bloat" playing the game they want to play instead? If you don't want more than the APG, don't use it! Nothing prevents you from playing without anything more. Don't come here telling us we can't have our options because you don't like it.
I have never, ever heard this before.

Excellent! Enjoy the gift of perspective. : D


Thomas Gerlick wrote:
Darkwing Duck wrote:
Thomas Gerlick wrote:
it's still a tremendously useful feat for any full or half caster character with the ability to cast Dimension Door.
I'm not sure that's true. For one thing, they aren't going to be able to use it all that often. It seems very special purpose for casters.
I just played a bard who used it all the time. It's really useful for getting around terrain or attacking a creature higher up. Plus once you can d-door as a charge and get a full-round attack it gets pretty sweet.

The Bard class is not a class I commonly associate with having a lot of shine during combat. (allow me to clarify that 'shine' does not mean 'makes a contribution', instead, 'shine time' is an event (in this case, during combat) which, if we were discussing a book, would be least likely to end up on the editing room floor because it is just so cool).

That being the case, I have no problems giving the Bard a boost in combat in the way you're discussing.


bugleyman wrote:
Talynonyx wrote:
Why aren't people who don't like the "feat bloat" playing the game they want to play instead? If you don't want more than the APG, don't use it! Nothing prevents you from playing without anything more. Don't come here telling us we can't have our options because you don't like it.
I have never, ever heard this before.

By getting rid of feat bloat (that is, giving a lot of these current feats away for free or consolidating them with other feats (for example, adding bounding hammer to exotic weapon proficiency)), the net result would be actually increasing flexibility of character concept, not decreasing it.

I acknowledge you realize this, bugleyman. I'm just shocked that you and I are in agreement (because we so very rarely are) about a point that is so obvious, but so missed by several other posters.


From an economic perspective, developers would nearly always have to err on the side of more options, since it's generally much easier for people to discard the bits they don't like rather than invent the missing bits. And in fact, this seems to be what's happened repeatedly. Also repeatedly a vocal minority springs up that wants less "core" options.

There may be legitimate arguments on both sides, but for the developers it comes down to:
- Side A is a large, diverse group of people that want a large, diverse set of options. Even if no one buys everything, more people buy something.
- Side B is happy with the first book or two and wants it to stop there. Even if everyone buys both books, that's still fewer sales.

If you want to talk economics, that is pretty much it and pretty much why the "bloat" will continue.


MagiMaster wrote:
From an economic perspective, developers would nearly always have to err on the side of more options, since it's generally much easier for people to discard the bits they don't like rather than invent the missing bits. .

That's actually not true.

What are the primary reasons given for customers wanting a new version (from 2.0 to 3.0, 3.0 to 3.5, 3.5 to 4.0)? Lack of game balance. Bloat. Complexity of Rules and the difficulty of a GM to take them all into consideration. These are the complaints I heard most often.

I do acknowledge what I call the "Rifts effect". Siembieda conclusively proved that there is a market for bloat, especially when combined with power creep. What he didn't prove, though, was that that market represented the majority of gamers. In fact, given that he also proved that a game couldn't be sustained on the "Rifts effect", I think he proved that the market for bloat does NOT represent the majority of gamers.


Darkwing Duck wrote:
blahpers wrote:
Darkwing Duck wrote:
I disagree. I work in software. There is no greater "my ideas are better than yours" industry. But, at the end of the day, the customer is always right.

<berserkbutton>

FSM, if I never hear that phrase again, it'll still be too soon.

"The customer is always right" is, and always has been, a load of crap. It places the dollar on a pedestal and everything else be damned. Paizo has no obligation to satisfy you. They are not your client. They make what they want to make, and we buy it or don't as we like. The goal for both, at the end of the day, is to game and have fun. Otherwise, I'm sure they could make quite a bit more money doing something else.

If you aren't having fun with the system, there's a built-in method for fixing that--change the system! Nobody is stopping you from handing out feats like candy or rewriting Core from scratch. Ask <b>TriOmegaZero</b>; from what I can see, he's been pretty busy on that front, and more power to him. If you aren't in PFS, the sky's the limit!

If you're complaining for PFS reasons, well, that's a shame, but in the end PFS is just another group--a really big one--with its own set of rules that (mostly) coincides with RAW. There are other groups. Go out and find one, or start one. Unless you live in Population: Tire, chances are there are half a dozen people in your area wondering why they can't find anybody that games.

Change the system until it's goodrightfun for you. But the sense of entitlement folks like you exhibit in these threads is not conducive to anybody having a good time. It's the reason people get fed up with a job (or a whole industry) and quit. In short, stop whining.

"The customer is always right." The hell with that.

</berserkbutton>

If Paizo doesn't meet customer requirements then it goes out of business. That's a fact. Arguing against it is like arguing against gravity. Its pollyanna at best.

I have no need to defend my position against you, nor do...

Well I am certainly on your side. I too have copped a lot of flack on these forums for not liking/using the always-up-to-date orthodox version of pathfinder that the critic is exactly using at the moment, with no modifications or house rules at all, because that is wrong. People get very defensive on here, defensive of what they love, respect and cherish, so I get that. The 3.5/home brewers, we take a lot of hits for our choices, for not agreeing with the vocal majority. It doesn't bother me though, because I've been a fanboy before, I get their need to shout me down.

Games can be simpler, and they have their supporters, but do these simpler games have better marketing and suffusion through the gaming sphere? Are they known about? I think lace and steel combat is great, ticks so many boxes, but it is actually a pretty simple attack and defend card game, with a few tricks and a low need for calculations/recording. Is it known about? Well probably not, since it was a small scale Australian release, which didn't have the bucks to push itself further, and its skill system was a bit messy, and the rulebook needed a lot of editing, etc etc.

As players and dms though, we can try to streamline anything we encounter, make it more simple, make it more complex, give, take etc etc. Maybe we take umbrage with certain classes, maybe we roll back to older versions while borrowing some of the new ideas that are out there. All with the purpose to have a good game, or change the rules to create what we think is a good game.

Dark Archive

Darkwing Duck wrote:
... at the end of the day, the customer is always right.

I want to adamantly disagree...

the customer just has to THINK they were right. I know from my line of work that if you give someone what they THINK they wanted, and it doesnt work like they thought it would, people b!*++moan till the cows come home...

effectively never give a customer the "RAW" they asked for but the "RAI" they wanted....

{/off topic}


Darkwing Duck wrote:
"Rifts effect".

I love the Rifts Effect, and the thirty odd books I bought (mostly at full price and inflated by living at the arse end of the world) for a system I never actually played....

While I'd like to say the economic model should not be copied, it works well for the first 10-15 years. Though the weekly email I get from Palladium Books telling me to buy more books so they don't go under suggests that they did indeed stick to it for too long.

I guess it comes down to whether or not Paizo wants to be a one trick pony they beats everything on bloat and power creep. Most of the evidence seems to suggest they don't (as they aren't - they seem to have a reasonably sensible approach to diversifying product) and are generally just doing an all around better job. And I hope that I'm right in that and they never end up in a position where they are emailing people asking for pity purchases.

Hmmmm, I think I may be mean when it is past one in the morning. Sorry to fans of Kevin Siembieda...


Mighty Squash wrote:
it comes down to whether or not Paizo wants to be a one trick pony they beats everything on bloat and power creep..

It comes down to how carefully they ward against bloat and power creep. They've done a bad job warding against it in feats.


I always thought they missed something with the Hero Point system they set-up in the APG. I don't mind all the feats and enjoy Pathfinder quite heavily. I can see how people could feel constrained by them. I think that in the next campaign I play I would allow someone to spend a hero point to use a feat for a round that they meet the pre-reqs towards. This would allow people to have access to those feats that they might need every so often, tie it to a resource, while still giving an advantage to those classes, ala fighter, who rely on feats rather than powers for their build.

(I do also agree that the combat manuevers and Vital Strike should be scaling. It would lend to people seeing that more of an option and lead to better teamwork then stand a smash.)


2 people marked this as a favorite.
3.5 Loyalist wrote:
The biggest mistake I've seen in other game designers, is to become either obsessed with their world and setting, and add so much to it and then bloat out the rules, that the inevitable flood of rules is a nuisance to navigate or even understand. "Okay okay, if you are playing that class, then you should consult the file I sent you". "This is thirty pages long?" "Indeed, I've made some changes to the class." The other flaw is similar, and also faced by world-builders. It is to make a gaming system that is so complex, needlessly so, that it is a pain to do anything. They consider their systems to be realistic, but the bloat is strong and it is never simple or quick to make even simple actions. So setting influenced bloat of your own creation or too much added complexity (for the realism lols) are common mistakes in rules alteration and creation I've seen.

What you view as a bug, others may see as a feature. You would do well to go through your post and replace every instance of the term "mistake" or "flaw" with "difference of opinion," and replace "never" with "usually not," and your post might have some value. Barring that, it smacks of One True Way-ism and can be safely ignored.

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32 , Star Voter 2014

I removed a post and the replies to it. Don't be a jerk.


Darkwing Duck wrote:
MagiMaster wrote:
From an economic perspective, developers would nearly always have to err on the side of more options, since it's generally much easier for people to discard the bits they don't like rather than invent the missing bits. .

That's actually not true.

What are the primary reasons given for customers wanting a new version (from 2.0 to 3.0, 3.0 to 3.5, 3.5 to 4.0)? Lack of game balance. Bloat. Complexity of Rules and the difficulty of a GM to take them all into consideration. These are the complaints I heard most often.

I do acknowledge what I call the "Rifts effect". Siembieda conclusively proved that there is a market for bloat, especially when combined with power creep. What he didn't prove, though, was that that market represented the majority of gamers. In fact, given that he also proved that a game couldn't be sustained on the "Rifts effect", I think he proved that the market for bloat does NOT represent the majority of gamers.

I never said it was sustainable. I don't know enough about economics and the market to argue that. What I said was that the opposite (no bloat) is not as profitable.

If you want a different model, possibly closer to your "no bloat" ideal, try GURPS. In 4th edition, they came out with (roughly) three core books, and then nearly everything else they've published is genre info and different ways to interpret those core rules. But the system was built with that in mind, whereas Pathfinder was built with nostalgia in mind. Is either sustainable or profitable? In the long run, I have no idea, but both seem to be working for now.


This thread confuses the heck out of me. It seems like Darkwing Duck and supporters are saying they want fewer feats, but characters should get more feats than they do now.

So we cut the list down to 20 feats, then each character gets 20 feat choices and somehow that will create more customization?

Personally I think the real problem is that you're playing the wrong game. Pathfinder is a level based game, you really want a point based game like GURPS or Hero.

Shadow Lodge Marathon Voter 2013, Marathon Voter 2014

Jodokai wrote:
This thread confuses the heck out of me. It seems like Darkwing Duck and supporters are saying they want fewer feats, but characters should get more feats than they do now.

It's more they want certain feats to be granted as free abilities once you meet the prereqs - for example, anyone with X Dexterity automatically gets Weapon Finesse - rather than having to spend a feat.


Orthos wrote:
Jodokai wrote:
This thread confuses the heck out of me. It seems like Darkwing Duck and supporters are saying they want fewer feats, but characters should get more feats than they do now.
It's more they want certain feats to be granted as free abilities once you meet the prereqs - for example, anyone with X Dexterity automatically gets Weapon Finesse - rather than having to spend a feat.

This approach makes level 1 more complicated if X dex gave you weapon finnese I really would not want to fight goblin npcs it presumeably will be less than 17 so 1st level goblins warriors if they put highest in dex and 12 in strength for a total of ten get a +5 to hit +1 bab +3 dex +1 soze and maybe dogslicer or shortsword instead of a +2 now. This gets even scarier on goblin rouges if they flank you the sneak attack most likely will hit. 2 of them is Cr 1. Goblins get +4 dex.


Jodokai wrote:

This thread confuses the heck out of me. It seems like Darkwing Duck and supporters are saying they want fewer feats, but characters should get more feats than they do now.

So we cut the list down to 20 feats, then each character gets 20 feat choices and somehow that will create more customization?

Personally I think the real problem is that you're playing the wrong game. Pathfinder is a level based game, you really want a point based game like GURPS or Hero.

Not quite Orthos and Jodokai, what I was suggesting and what I have implemented, is to counter ability bloat, not feat bloat. Feats I like, and you can do so much, but I prefer the classes to be simpler and to simply give less. So roll that back, but allow extra abilities to be purchased, paizo abilities if you want them, but they are taken out of the feat pool. Break it back to 3.5 basics, and then you build up on top, with what you want. If you just want to play 3.5 with more feats, it works too, you don't have to buy back the pathfinder abilities.

So Jodokai, I am for more feats but less abilities, based around simpler models of classes.

Orthos, I wasn't suggesting the granting of free abilities to classes, no, instead all weapons and armours have their own perks, as it were. So maces can wear down an opponent, even if you are just missing getting through to do the full damage, and are hitting the armour. To get these perks, you need proficiency, so proficiency comes to actual mean more, and you can in some cases use specific weapons you are proficient in instead of taking the hard choice of feat trees. Lose the weapon, lose the capabilities though.

In sum, more feats, the chance to buy abilities (then you have less feats), simpler classes, and the choice of weapons and armour really being about choices because they have their own perks. A sword becomes truly different to axe, and both are quite different to a spear or a flail. Feat bloat hasn't been a problem in the groups I've been in, special ability bloat has. I trust I explained it well enough? The verdict in so far is that it works. The players really like gathering an assortment of weapons, because they will alternate them around for different situations.

To the doctor, yep, not all goblins will have the new version of weapon finesse, there is a specific type of training needed for that feat (the goblin braavos dance) but low str high dex foes don't have to weak, I don't think they should be weak and ineffective and yes, rogues and swashbucklers can do great damage, relying on skill and timing, not brawn. Dark Souls gave me the idea for this. A dex build may then seem truly attractive, but without brawn you can get thrown around, grappled, and your encumberance/loot hauling isn't great. I look forward to testing it with some future builds.

Kirth, you are a funny guy. You make me laugh. I like you.


Jodokai wrote:

This thread confuses the heck out of me. It seems like Darkwing Duck and supporters are saying they want fewer feats, but characters should get more feats than they do now.

So we cut the list down to 20 feats, then each character gets 20 feat choices and somehow that will create more customization?

Personally I think the real problem is that you're playing the wrong game. Pathfinder is a level based game, you really want a point based game like GURPS or Hero.

A points guy talked to me about this, and I didn't like his idea of entirely getting rid of classes. My suggestions still make it a level based game, not getting rid of levels.

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