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Fighting feat starvation


Suggestions/House Rules/Homebrew

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Silver Crusade

Not only archers are feat starved... Actually every character is. And while there is a certain romance to having to pick what feats best suit your character, I feel that the extremely small amount of feats gained versus the enourmous amount of feats available, unnecessarily restricts characters to taking just the required feats to make your character function reasonably well.

Therefore, in my home group, we're discussing a feat boost. Of course, this should be rebalanced, because many classes gain bonus feats and that bonus should not be diminished too much. So... What do you people think of this list...? (please excuse me for the lack of formatting as this is a copy-paste of a word doc)

The feat boost house rule

All characters
- get 2 feats instead of 1 at first level
- get a feat at each character level instead of every odd level

Humans
- get an additional trait at first level

Alchemists
- may select the ‘brew potion’ feat at effective caster level 3, and use it with extracts, if their archetype loses brew potion.
Bloodragers
- gain a bloodline feat at level 3 in addition to their regular bloodline feats

Brawlers
- gain their bonus feats at every even level instead of at levels 2, 5, 8, 11, 14, 17, and 20

Cavaliers
- gain a bonus feat at every 3rd level, instead of every 6th

Fighters
- gain a bonus feat at every class level, instead of level 1, 2, and every even level thereafter
- waive the once per five levels restriction for advanced weapon mastery
- waive the once per three levels restriction for advanced armor mastery
- fighters with the weapon master archetype get an advanced weapon mastery option for free at every 4th level

Investigators
- gain an extra investigator talent at level 1 in addition to their regular talents
- may select the ‘brew potion’ feat at effective caster level 3, and use it with extracts

Kineticists
- may take the ‘extra wild talent’ feat from level 1 onwards, instead of from level 6 onwards.
- do not take into account the ‘2 levels lower’ aspect of ‘extra wild talent’ when they select wild talents from their primary element

Paladins
- gain the ‘divine weapon specialization’ class feature from the tempered champion archetype
- paladins with the tempered champion archetype gain the ‘divine weapon specialization’ class feature at level 2 instead of level 4, and they get its bonus feat at every 2nd level instead of every 4th

Rangers
- gain a combat style feat at every even level instead of at levels 2, 6, 10, 14, and 18

Rogues
- gain a rogue talent at every level instead of every 2nd level

Skalds
- may affect others with rage powers selected through ‘extra rage power’ as though the source were the skald class feature

Slayers
- gain an extra slayer talent at first level in addition to their regular talents. They may not pick a ranger combat style feat with this first level slayer talent.

Swashbucklers
- gain an extra bonus combat feat at first level in addition to their regular bonus feats
- may count swashbuckler weapon training as a legal prerequisite for the ‘advanced weapon training’ feat, when using the appropriate weapons, but do not waive the ‘once per five levels’ limit as fighters do.


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If PCs have access to all the feats they "need", wouldn't that make them all the same? Having to chose may suck - and indeed it does - but at least you end up with a character that is your choice.


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Instead of giving characters a little help, you've more than doubled the number of feats or feat-like options they get. This is too much. Do monsters get a feat at every level?


I aggree that there are some heavily feat dependent characters, but also there are characters that don't depend on feats so much.
1 feat each 2 levels, plus some extra feats for some classes that depend more on feats is fine. More than that would be the opposite of feat starvation: a feat bloat.

Grand Lodge

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My favourite way of dealing with this that I've seen, quite apart from doubling your feats, is to have Improved, Greater, etc feats and Style Feats be automatically gained when their prereqs are filled. So you only have to spend one feat slot on Blind-Fight or Overwatch Style, as well as things like TWF and Precise Shot.


Viondar wrote:
Not only archers are feat starved... Actually every character is. And while there is a certain romance to having to pick what feats best suit your character, I feel that the extremely small amount of feats gained versus the enourmous amount of feats available, unnecessarily restricts characters to taking just the required feats to make your character function reasonably well.

Looking through all the changes, I think some moderation might be in order. The proposed changes more than doubles the feats granted to PCs, and also buffs the classes with wildy varying power.

The problem is that certain combat routes needs many feats to come online. Archers/crossbowmen needs Point Blank Shot, Precise Shot, Deadly Aim and Rapid Shot to function, and that becomes a problem if you expect to have all those feats at level 2. So the classes without bonus feats aren't suited for such feat-intensive builds.

The bigger issue many have is that there are many obvious choices for feats for the different combat styles, so they feel pressured to take them. Power Attack for two-handers and Manyshot for archers are no-brainers, so you don't even feel as if there's a choice when you plan out your feat progression.
This is also why traits backfired so majestically: What started as a way to grant PCs flavour regressed into yet another pool of resources to min-max your combat potential.
PCs are driven to optimize their characters for battle, and feel that every resource not spent on this endeavor is wasted.

I propose you follow the house rules of many others, and do away with the feat-taxes which are inherent to the system. This will free up some feat slots.

But even if you give away Combat Expertise, Deadly Aim and Power Attack for free, that doesn't change the underlying feeling of wasting feats not spent optimally. Because even if you grant 3 feats per level, you can be sure the majority will be spent to further the combat potential of the PCs.

I'd grant your players extra feats (in addition to the feat-taxes) which can only be used on non-combat options. So that they can use them how they want without worrying if there's a better choice.


That's a lot of extra stuff, especially to implement all at once. And there are some builds that need almost no feats. Full casters for example. Or two-handed weapon builds that just need power attack. You may find more success by fixing the feat issue from the other direction. Then see if players still want extra feats. Some suggestions I've seen on these forums:

- free combat expertise for everyone
- spending one feat for a feat chain. As nitro stated, they unlock would you quality for them.
- let characters pick flaws or drawbacks to get bonus feats or traits
- let characters get a "campaign trait" from the campaign's player's guide for free on top of the usual two
- removing feat prerequisites that you don't like


I agree with the general vibe of "your idea probably isn't good".

There should be some restriction in feat availability, part of the process is choosing and being restricted. It's why fighters have appeal, because they have the most feats.

If you wanted to add an extra feat at every level but said it can't be a feat that "improves your combat power", well now that could be interesting. Skill focus would probably come up quite a bit.

I'm not sure what else this could cover, but there are probably things.

In any event, your plan completely devalues bonus feats and classes that get them. I wouldn't want to play under your proposed system.


Claxon wrote:
If you wanted to add an extra feat at every level but said it can't be a feat that "improves your combat power", well now that could be interesting. Skill focus would probably come up quite a bit.

Well, every big change comes with strings attached. Handing out noncombat feats turns everyone into a partial skill monkey - making actual skill monkeys more redundant. Might be still worth it, though.

Either way, more feats would be good - should come at a price though. Right now you can pay them with class levels (fighter, monk etc.), with gold and item slots (some items provide feats while equipped) and with your race choice (human, but also half-elf's Skill Focus etc.).

Potential new payment options could be:

a) Lowered starting ability scores
b) CRs counting 1 point lower
c) Staying 1 level behind

Silver Crusade

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Thanks all for responding :)

Funny that I get more response to posts that can easily be perceived to be radically wrong :D You people have good ideas. I like the feat chain idea, for example, although I do wonder about its implementation. For example: when you take spell focus or spell penetration, you immediately qualify for their greater variants. When would you get them?

So... You think my solution is not such a great idea. That's fine. So let me try to explain what I see as "the problem". Wonderstell already had the gist of that.

Most classes, or builds, have a set of no-brainers that you shouldn't leave out. Archers are the best example, but honestly, the examples are legion. To name a few:

I tried to make a cool crafter psychic, and wasn't able to fit in forge ring before level 13. I hadn't even looked at metamagic or focus yet, and craft construct was still on the horizon.

When creating a melee mounted hunter (one of the strongest melees imho), sublime options like power attack, weapon, outflank (free), expertise (tax), pack flanking, planar focus, escape route, paired opportunists, combat reflexes, and bodyguard, make most attempts at personalization a conscious choice for the worse.

And don't even get me started on a halfling trying to make use of a double sling. Even if he is a fighter.

Even improved initiative hardly ever makes the cut, nowadays...

My simple solution of adding a lot of feats is an attempt to give people the breathing room to add those feats they like on top of the feats they simply should take. I had thought to tackle feat devaluation by enhancing the martials and their bonus feat gain more than the spellcasters. Because in the end, the spellcastets already are so far ahead.

Forcing people to get non-combat feats, as often suggested, would needlessly hurt martials, where the wizard happily picks up skill focus: spellcraft, toughness, and spell penetration. I do think combat feats also add flavour and personality, together with power.


Viondar wrote:

My simple solution of adding a lot of feats is an attempt to give people the breathing room to add those feats they like on top of the feats they simply should take. I had thought to tackle feat devaluation by enhancing the martials and their bonus feat gain more than the spellcasters. Because in the end, the spellcastets already are so far ahead.

Forcing people to get non-combat feats, as often suggested, would needlessly hurt martials, where the wizard happily picks up skill focus: spellcraft, toughness, and spell penetration. I do think combat feats also add flavour and personality, together with power.

Toughness and Spell Penetration are both feats which enhance your combat potential. By non-combat feats I didn't refer to the feat category "Combat", but all feats which would directly add to the PCs main fighting style. (Should have clarified that)

An archer Ranger could take the feat Respectful Prey to show his affinity for dealing with animals, but taking Weapon Focus (Longbow) would be in bad taste.


I like this idea, but Magus also gets bonus feats. Several classes that get bonus feats get buffs, but not Magus. If this system is to work, you should buff all bonus feats.


I feel like a better solution to resolving feat starvation is to simply eliminate the feats that frankly aren't very interesting that you have to take in order to do other things. Either roll them into other feats or give them out for free.

We generally combine Dodge & Mobility into a single feat granting both benefits, and let everyone choose one of some foundational combat feats like Weapon Finesse, Power Attack, Point Blank Shot, and Combat Expertise at BAB +1, +6, +11 etc. and combined the "Improved Maneuver" feats into 2 or 3 so you can do multiple maneuvers without provoking for the price of one feat.

I think it's better to make every feat someone selects something they're excited to have rather than something they're just taking to get something else.


Viondar wrote:

Most classes, or builds, have a set of no-brainers that you shouldn't leave out. Archers are the best example, but honestly, the examples are legion. To name a few:

I tried to make a cool crafter psychic, and wasn't able to fit in forge ring before level 13. I hadn't even looked at metamagic or focus yet, and craft construct was still on the horizon.

Personally crafting is a bad system in Pathfinder, it doesn't work correctly in my opinion without some very careful guidelines about how it should be used. I'm all for completely removing the feats and giving no discount for "making it yourself", but basically if you would otherwise meet the requirements to create the item and have the gold you can create it, effectively instantly. But that involves a lot of issues I have with the crafting system and how WBL is effectively a second power track to your character level.

Quote:
When creating a melee mounted hunter (one of the strongest melees imho), sublime options like power attack, weapon, outflank (free), expertise (tax), pack flanking, planar focus, escape route, paired opportunists, combat reflexes, and bodyguard, make most attempts at personalization a conscious choice for the worse.

Well, when talking of optimization there is usually one "best" path so of course if your goal is to optimize for combat, most builds end up looking quite similar. Giving more feats wont actually change this, you'll just end up with more characters with more combat power unless you were to restrict what they can do with these extra feats you're giving like "not feats that increase combat power". Your goal should not be to make characters more powerful, or even inadvertently do so. Characters are usually already powerful enough (if played my a skilled player). You want to make characters more unique and interesting, I do not think giving more feats is necessarily the way to do this. There is a lot of roleplaying you can do completely divorced from mechanics that can accomplish this.

I can get behind remove pointless prereq's though, specifically Combat Expertise gets added to a lot of feats where I don't think it belongs.

Quote:
And don't even get me started on a halfling trying to make use of a double sling. Even if he is a fighter.

Actually with Slipslinger Style this pretty easy, but you do need to be a Fighter or Warpriest. Other classes don't have enough feats to do it early enough. However, I'm okay with this. Really the only thing that is annoying is that the Warslinger Racial trait is restricted to halflings.

Quote:
Even improved initiative hardly ever makes the cut, nowadays...

You say this, but at my table every 9th level progression spell caster has this feat. Martial characters usually have something better to take for their build.

Quote:
My simple solution of adding a lot of feats is an attempt to give people the breathing room to add those feats they like on top of the feats they simply should take. I had thought to tackle feat devaluation by enhancing the martials and their bonus feat gain more than the spellcasters. Because in the end, the spellcastets already are so far ahead.

But you're removing choice here if they can just get everything they want. Sure, I'd like combat reflexes, and I'd like improved initiative, and even toughness. But if you're giving me unrestricted choices I'm just going to use it to min max even harder because there are probably still better feats than those. Rather than giving players feats they can choose, maybe just give them the benefits of certain feats (like the 3 I just mentioned) as they level up (maybe at levels 2, 4, 6, etc).

Quote:

Forcing people to get non-combat feats, as often suggested, would needlessly hurt martials, where the wizard happily picks up skill focus: spellcraft, toughness, and spell penetration. I do think combat feats also add flavour and personality, together with power.

Also, toughness and spell penetration would be considered combat oriented feats in my opinion. Please note I didn't say feats with the combat tag, I meant feats the obviously improve your abilities in combat. Including things like having more health or being able to beat something spell resistance (doesn't ever come up outside of combat).

Trying to add more feats to fix martials vs casters does really help. The caster martial disparity does not depend on feats. In fact, you can remove all feats from a wizard and he is still better than a fighter with all of his feats.

I understand your desire to fix the system, but your solution will not do what you want it to. All it will do is increase the power level of player characters, and then you will need to over compensate by increasing the power of NPCs to deal with the changes you make.


PossibleCabbage wrote:

I feel like a better solution to resolving feat starvation is to simply eliminate the feats that frankly aren't very interesting that you have to take in order to do other things. Either roll them into other feats or give them out for free.

We generally combine Dodge & Mobility into a single feat granting both benefits, and let everyone choose one of some foundational combat feats like Weapon Finesse, Power Attack, Point Blank Shot, and Combat Expertise at BAB +1, +6, +11 etc. and roll the Combined the "Improved Maneuver" feats into 2 or 3 so you can do multiple maneuvers without provoking for the price of one feat.

I think it's better to make every feat someone selects something they're excited to have rather than something they're just taking to get something else.

I can get behind this sort of system.

Where some feats are combined all into one.

All of the combat maneuvers feats combined into one is probably fine ( I mean all improved and greater versions of maneuvers feats), to do anything particularly interesting with them you still need other feats. And because there are so many maneuvers with prohibitive entry costs (such as combat expertise) you don't see many people pick them up unless they REALLY want to focus on it. This would be an acceptable thing. Such a feat basically just means maneuvers don't provoke and you get a +4 to perform them. It's good, but not overpowered.

Combining Dodge and Mobility into a single feat is probably pretty good too. Maybe even Spring Attack. You combine the benefits of those three things into 1 feat, I'm going to strongly consider taking it. But as three separate feats...their individual benefits just aren't worth it. Spring Attack is really the only feat worth it. Heck maybe just remove those prereqs and leave it at Dex 13 and BAB 4.

Things like this are a good way to overhaul the feat system.

Giving out a bunch of extra feats and even more powers to everyone just means the game becomes rocket-tag more quickly.


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I think what we did last time I played was make there be two "improved maneuver" feats: one for power-based maneuvers and one for technique-based maneuvers. The existing maneuvers sort of cleave nicely along these lines since you would Bull Rush/Overrun/Sunder/Drag/Grapple with strength and aggression whereas you would Disarm/Steal/Trip/Dirty Trick/Reposition with technique and timing.

This has the nice side effect of occasionally encouraging people to use maneuvers they haven't heavily specialized in, because a disarm would be really handy right now, or similar.


I'm not sure I agree with exactly how you split them up...but still I like the general idea.

I think I might have done just a catch-all improved maneuver feat, and a catch-all greater maneuver feat.

As all of the maneuvers innately use strength as part of their calculation, so saying some "use strength and aggression" while the others use "technique and timing" just don't jibe for me. But in any event, I think their is a superior method of trying to accomplish something like what the OP wants, without just giving everyone 10 more feats over the course of a character.


Claxon wrote:
As all of the maneuvers innately use strength as part of their calculation, so saying some "use strength and aggression" while the others use "technique and timing" just don't jibe for me.

Well, some require Combat Expertise (feint, disarm, &c) as a prerequisite, while others require Improved Unarmed Combat (grapple, style feats). If you don't like the phrasing, it's still a rule-enforced distinction somehow.

The Exchange

Maybe a Bonus feat for every x number of feats you have. This prevents the lessening of the value of bonus feats to characters that get them while also allowing a number of proportionate new feats to the characters that really need them.

If you really want to make a difference you could say for every 2 feats your character has (not counting these Special bonus feats) you gain 1 free feat. Something more moderate would be 3-4 Feats gains you 1 free.

You just have to decide exactly how many more feats you want people to get.

This could make humans a very popular race as it gets you to that first bonus feat that much sooner. For instance with the 1/2 ratio a Human Fighter would gain 4 Feats at level 1, and 2 more feats at level 2

You could even rank level feats separately from bonus feats. So maybe you get 1 bonus for every 2 level feats (so everyone gets a bonus feat at levels 3, 7, 11, 15, 19.) Then another bonus feat for every.... say 4 bonus feats (again normal bonus feats, not counting these extra ones you are giving).

Grand Lodge

Personally, I'd like to combine the feat-chains-with-one-slot as soon as prereqs are met, as well as splitting every other main-progression feat into two, one of which MUST be non-combative.

Although... hmm... maybe I wouldn't. Certainly the former, but the latter could make bookkeeping even more complex than it is.

Silver Crusade

Wow! A lot of responses. Cool. What I like best about all of your answers is that not one of you is mitigating the problem. We all agree that there is a problem with the current feat system. Our ideas of how to fix it are just, as of yet, different.

First. About those non-combat feats. Ok, so you didn't mean toughness or spell focus. But my point also was that non-combat is the specialty for some characters. Party face, party scout, party crafter, etc. I think it would be very hard to draw that line.

Second, about that magus not getting more bonus feats in my list. True. That was intentional. I believe magi are God-awfully strong. You'll notice that in my list I didn't give any level 6 or level 9 caster any bonus feats, except for the investigator. I didn't go at it mathematically. I empowered rogues and fighters way more than any others, for example. I gauged, and we'll playtest to find the correct balance.

Then, about those crafting feats. I like the notion of not having to take the feats, but at the same time I feel that it would be unbalanced if every item would become available at half price without any investment required, just because Joe the magus found a spellbook. Also: roleplay-wise, I'd find it strange if a born-and-bred battle cleric would have the same crafting skills as his scholarly inclined colleague.

There's a lot of talk about merging feats. I've talked this over with my group. We felt that this could easily lead to greater power disparity between choices. One choice to get all three dragon style feats, for example, is a lot more than the choice to get planar focus. For what would you combine planar focus with? Deciding which feats belong together with which other feats, over the thousands of available feats, would lead us to headaches and a house-rules document the size of the CRB, we thought. How did you gentlemen and gentle ladies tackle that?

Dropping feat-tax is also oft named and might be a good solution to some of the problems. I really like the increased freedom of this idea. It doesn't help my crafter psychic one bit, though. And I could think of more builds that wouldn't benefit. It is mostly a solution for archers and maneuver enthusiasts.

Lastly, there is the argument that my solution merely increases the optimum build, without diversifying it. I think that will be true, eventually, if/when more feats come out that are so strong that they're added to the list of no-brainers. At the moment, however, I think that with more feats, abovesaid hunter could, for example, already choose between a vital strike & intimidate build (hurtful feat), a mounted combat feat chain, perhaps with charge build, and a crowd control build, with great bonuses to CMB. I think that even though these are combat oriented feats, they also build the character for roleplay purposes. The above three hunters could be seen as the aggressive, quick to anger intimidator, the boastful and proud trick rider, and the quiet, alert, confident crowd controller. To put it poetically: where the tree is still lowly, most all is the same trunk, but once high and mighty, many branches reach.

Our group is going to play-test this. I hope this discussion will continue on for a while, and otherwise I'll necro this thread later to tell you guys how it turned out.


I'd like to see a specific list of feats that characters could pick from for their special bonus feats. Yes, many of those boring "feat taxes" could be on the list. Maybe the Craft Item feats should be, too. The point is, the list would have to be balanced to potentially benefit all of the classes. And, btw, I am willing to hotly argue that 9-level casters are, indeed, feat-starved!

In addition, some of the odd feats that no one ever takes precisely because they don't optimize a character should be on it. What feats? Sadly, I don't have a list handy.

But at that point, why all the rules for benefiting various classes in addition to the new feats? What's unbalanced about giving every character a feat every level, and various classes their mandated bonus feats without change?

I especially do not think humans need an extra trait because of additional feats. Either grant them the expected third feat at first, while everyone else gets two -- or give no one a "bonus feat" due to this rule at any odd levels, including first. Where I play, and from what I see on the boards, humans are far, far from an endangered species!


Viondar wrote:
Then, about those crafting feats. I like the notion of not having to take the feats, but at the same time I feel that it would be unbalanced if every item would become available at half price without any investment required, just because Joe the magus found a spellbook. Also: roleplay-wise, I'd find it strange if a born-and-bred battle cleric would have the same crafting skills as his scholarly inclined colleague.

My suggestion here wasn't that you get to craft at half price, it was that if you removed the crafting feats everyone can craft, but no price reduction. This works better if you actually enforce the rules about the availability of magic items in cities so that not every magic is available. But in this way, everyone with magic can craft, but the crafting feats don't save anyone any money.

Quote:
There's a lot of talk about merging feats. I've talked this over with my group. We felt that this could easily lead to greater power disparity between choices. One choice to get all three dragon style feats, for example, is a lot more than the choice to get planar focus. For what would you combine planar focus with? Deciding which feats belong together with which other feats, over the thousands of available feats, would lead us to headaches and a house-rules document the size of the CRB, we thought. How did you gentlemen and gentle ladies tackle that?

As far as combining feats, you would have to review this on a case by case basis. For instance, you wouldn't combine all the dragon style feats into one since the benefits of each is strong.

Silver Crusade

Ah, so I misunderstood your item creation thing. Well... That makes sense. You can craft it at full cost if you have the skills and the spells, and at half cost if you have the feats to boot. Great! :)

If you merge feats into one, but would decide which feats could be chosen together on a case by case basis, partly on basis of their power... How is that essentially different from giving double the amount of feats?


Viondar wrote:

Ah, so I misunderstood your item creation thing. Well... That makes sense. You can craft it at full cost if you have the skills and the spells, and at half cost if you have the feats to boot. Great! :)

If you merge feats into one, but would decide which feats could be chosen together on a case by case basis, partly on basis of their power... How is that essentially different from giving double the amount of feats?

Because certain feats would be grouped together, but not all feats. So you wouldn't end up with double feats necessarily. And the feats that would be grouped would be feats that are normally weak choices.

It would also be a case by case basis in the sense that you would need to go through all the feats and decide which ones should be grouped (or have prereqs removed).

You wouldn't randomly just decide feats are together as you go. Ideally you would group them all before you start play and let your players know which ones are grouped.

Also, with my idea for crafting feats there is no half price ever. The feats don't exist, but you can craft the items (for no reduced cost). As I mentioned, this works when you have more limited access to magic items, such as if you enforce the rules for how many magic items are available based on the size of a city (there are rules for this).

Grand Lodge

Viondar wrote:

Ah, so I misunderstood your item creation thing. Well... That makes sense. You can craft it at full cost if you have the skills and the spells, and at half cost if you have the feats to boot. Great! :)

If you merge feats into one, but would decide which feats could be chosen together on a case by case basis, partly on basis of their power... How is that essentially different from giving double the amount of feats?

I'd advise against dropping the Craft feat thing. Crafting in PF can be very powerful, and I think you should pay a feat for the ability. However, I would also say that the Master Craftsman feat should give you Craft Wondrous Item or Craft Magical Arms and Armour for free, and you should be able to take it twice.

I think that all style feats should be treated the same for this, as well as all the Improved/Greater feats. The trick would be in increasing the prereqs for the later levels, since in this system you still need to qualify for the later feats to get their benefits.


Viondar,
I assume you are the DM. What books are you using?

I already do a few feat consolidations and bypasses (ex. "Improved Maneuver" feats upgrade immediately upon meeting pre-requisites, TWF and Improved TWF and Greater TWF are all a single feat, Sneak Attack counts as Point-Blank Shot for pre-requisite purposes, other tweaks).

But this thread got me thinking about an idea that may help you. Maybe at certain BAB unlocks (like 6, 11, 16; or maybe some other sequence) a character may "upgrade" a single feat for free by choosing another feat "up the chain" to unlock so long as they meet the prerequisites. Basing it on BAB would help the characters that need it most and be a general boost for everybody.

Ex. An 8th level rogue improving to BAB 6 who already has the Mobility feat may choose to unlock Spring Attack without spending a precious feat slot.

Good luck with your house rules in any case. Cheers!


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Viondar wrote:

Not only archers are feat starved... Actually every character is. And while there is a certain romance to having to pick what feats best suit your character, I feel that the extremely small amount of feats gained versus the enourmous amount of feats available, unnecessarily restricts characters to taking just the required feats to make your character function reasonably well.

I have this feeling that no matter how many feats Paizo gives characters, which is a heck of a lot more than we had in 3.0, someone like you will still post on how characters are "feat-starved".

One feat per two levels, or the one feat per level that fighters get is not "feat-starved".


Drahliana Moonrunner wrote:
Viondar wrote:

Not only archers are feat starved... Actually every character is. And while there is a certain romance to having to pick what feats best suit your character, I feel that the extremely small amount of feats gained versus the enourmous amount of feats available, unnecessarily restricts characters to taking just the required feats to make your character function reasonably well.

I have this feeling that no matter how many feats Paizo gives characters, which is a heck of a lot more than we had in 3.0, someone like you will still post on how characters are "feat-starved".

One feat per two levels, or the one feat per level that fighters get is not "feat-starved".

I think it can still very often feel this way. I really don't like being constrained into "gotta pick my combat stuff. Anything interesting has to be last" and by then the point is moot because it's past like 8th level. As someone who prefers to be able to realize a concept build as early as possible (and really doesn't play any 9th level casters), the ILLUSION of being feat starved still exists. It's not nearly as bad, but sometimes it would be really nice to pick up weird builds on classes to try them out without having to wait until the game is half over or even further before it comes 'online' due to taxes.


Honestly, the vigilante talent method is a way better way to do feats. You take a talent, its either 1 feat now 1 feat later, or a feat and a twist to the standard use of the feat.

Think of if you could spend like 3 feats and get the archery tree at appropriate level. Fighters could reliably master multiple fighting styles.


Ryan Freire wrote:

Honestly, the vigilante talent method is a way better way to do feats. You take a talent, its either 1 feat now 1 feat later, or a feat and a twist to the standard use of the feat.

Think of if you could spend like 3 feats and get the archery tree at appropriate level. Fighters could reliably master multiple fighting styles.

I really should take a look at that class, it seemed a bit involved and described itself as roleplay primarily so I've been waiting to take a dive at it for the right game.


Naoki00 wrote:
Ryan Freire wrote:

Honestly, the vigilante talent method is a way better way to do feats. You take a talent, its either 1 feat now 1 feat later, or a feat and a twist to the standard use of the feat.

Think of if you could spend like 3 feats and get the archery tree at appropriate level. Fighters could reliably master multiple fighting styles.

I really should take a look at that class, it seemed a bit involved and described itself as roleplay primarily so I've been waiting to take a dive at it for the right game.

Honestly, avenger is basically as good as fighter for feat access and better with certain fighting styles.

I don't think stalker is as good as urogue in combat though. It would probably make a pretty amazing sap master with the whole d8's when hidden striking from stealth thing though


Ryan Freire wrote:
I don't think stalker is as good as urogue in combat though. It would probably make a pretty amazing sap master with the whole d8's when hidden striking from stealth thing though

Unfortunately hidden strike doesn't count as sneak attack for prerequisites, so you can't take sapmaster without the Serial Killer vigilante archetype.

Silver Crusade

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Rainzax,

We take turns on being DM, because none of us have that much spare time. The group had been playing for 10 years when I joined them a year ago, which put me in the position of most experienced player. We use all books that aren't campaign specific, but only original Paizo (and the 'open minded' feat from dreamscarred, so far)

I really like your idea, as it is simple to implement, and doesn't require a lot of house ruling. It's elegant in that. However, the ruling doubles the value of BAB, which is already valuable. A sorcerer might want to go eldritch knight or dragon disciple for the sole reason of getting feats more quickly. Also, druids and clerics (level 9 powerhouses) would benefit greatly. I'm actually looking for a similarly elegant solution that would favour characters more the less spellcasting they have. Perhaps a division in feat bonuses according to non-caster, level 4 caster, level 6 caster, level 9 caster?

Drahliana Moonrunner,

I guess "someone like you" had to show up and deny the problem eventually. (see what I did, there?)

Your viewpoint is very valid from a static 'just deal with it' attitude. That's a commendable attitude which gets you through a lot of crap in life. But... I choose not to assume it with a fantasy game where the rules of life are subject to our thinking.

I view this game as evolving. Let me take you through it.

I started with 2nd edition. We had no feats, no skills. We had proficiency slots. And we were slot starved. because we all thought our characters should have fire building and swimming, we were two slots down to start with. Also, nonhumans had level limits and multiclassing and dual classing was a mess.

Then came the player's option series. We lost slots and got character points. This got us a whole lot of freedom, but since the same character points were to be used for racial abilities, class abilities, weapon proficiencies, and nonweapon proficiencies, the freedom quickly turned to abuse and power gaming.

So... 3.0 came out (with shiny books and better art). Suddenly we were all assumed to be able to build a fire and cook. 3.0 was more game mechanicly focused. It introduced skill points (which worked fine, if a little unwieldy concerning class skills) and feats. Cool! The feats took some of the weapon proficiency aspects, but a lot more. Suddenly casters could specialise too, and personalization didn't need the 'kit system' of second edition anymore. However, multiclassing was suddenly a great idea!

3.5 vamped the whole thing a little. Adjusted some spells, some feats, some classes, but honestly didn't do all that much. It did add a ton of prestige classes, though, and obsoleted the fighter by entering sword saints and crusaders. Multiclassing went rampant.

Then came Pathfinder. Pathfinder picked and chose what worked from 3.5, finally made the skill system work without problem, and increased the amount of feats a character could take. Pathfinder also did a great job of diminishing multiclassing, not in the least by adding tons of base classes. However, because people, when they don't multiclass, still want to add a lot of personality, over the years many many feats came out.

But... Some of those feats are just really good and simply cannot be passed by. Even though we get 50% more feats than in 3.0, we're starting to have trouble to get past the 'must haves' into the 'want haves'.

So... I hope you get what I'm saying. Pathfinder, in its own way, is now as clogged as 3.5 once was. Its better frame allows us to not notice it so badly, but it certainly is time for a Pathfinder 2.0. And one of the things 2.0 should do, is using a system more like the vigilante class has and what people suggest here: combine feats. But... Until that time, the simplest solution might just be to add more feats for everyone.

However, I do hope that the devs follow duscussions like these, for playing a game that doesn't require many adjustments is a lot nicer :)


Viondar wrote:

Wow! A lot of responses. Cool. What I like best about all of your answers is that not one of you is mitigating the problem. We all agree that there is a problem with the current feat system. Our ideas of how to fix it are just, as of yet, different.

First. About those non-combat feats. Ok, so you didn't mean toughness or spell focus. But my point also was that non-combat is the specialty for some characters. Party face, party scout, party crafter, etc. I think it would be very hard to draw that line.

Second, about that magus not getting more bonus feats in my list. True. That was intentional. I believe magi are God-awfully strong. You'll notice that in my list I didn't give any level 6 or level 9 caster any bonus feats, except for the investigator. I didn't go at it mathematically. I empowered rogues and fighters way more than any others, for example. I gauged, and we'll playtest to find the correct balance.

Then, about those crafting feats. I like the notion of not having to take the feats, but at the same time I feel that it would be unbalanced if every item would become available at half price without any investment required, just because Joe the magus found a spellbook. Also: roleplay-wise, I'd find it strange if a born-and-bred battle cleric would have the same crafting skills as his scholarly inclined colleague.

There's a lot of talk about merging feats. I've talked this over with my group. We felt that this could easily lead to greater power disparity between choices. One choice to get all three dragon style feats, for example, is a lot more than the choice to get planar focus. For what would you combine planar focus with? Deciding which feats belong together with which other feats, over the thousands of available feats, would lead us to headaches and a house-rules document the size of the CRB, we thought. How did you gentlemen and gentle ladies tackle that?

Dropping feat-tax is also oft named and might be a good solution to some of the problems. I really like the increased freedom of...

If your group is playtesting this more power to you but "the problem" as you call it isn't so much of a problem imo.

Some builds are feat intensive, and some feat trees need pruning because they use feats as prerequisites that you need to get the good stuff but feel unnecessary while feat should always add something significant to the character. But giving access to everything to everyone so players don't need to make choices and get whatever they "need" is a good way to destroy diversity in the game.
As it is you have several ways to build different characters as archers in different ways and that's awesome. This is possible BECAUSE each build cannot get everything another build has. An archer inquisitor and an archer fighter are both very competitive as ranged damage dealers but bring different advantages to the party and "feel" different because they are.
There's no need for "perfect builds" at all, the game just needs a good hard look at certain specific feats (and feat trees) that need to be made significant.

Silver Crusade

Ok, so let's go with your two examples.

The inquisitor archer would want point blank shot, precise shot, rapid shot, clustered shots, and manyshot.
This takes feats 1,3,5,9, and 11, leaving only 7 for diversity. But honestly, that would probably be for weapon focus or deadly aim. This is what works best in conjunction with bane.
Does an inquisitor archer have to become level 13 before it starts getting a unique feat build?

A fighter archer would want point blank shot, precise shot, rapid shot, weapon focus, weapon specialisation, point blank master, deadly aim, clustered shots, manyshot, warrior spirit and armed bravery.
This would fill feats 1,1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9, and 9 (weapon training).
It would then immediately choose whether to go with the snap shot, greater snap shot, and combat reflexes, or with the overwatch style feat tree. All the while wondering where greater weapon focus and greater weapon specialisation went.
Does a fighter archer have to become level 13 before it starts getting a unique feat build?

I think your viewpoint is idealised in that it assumes that players would favour their flavour feats or even their personal combat favourites over the most optimal feat chain.

Even if you'd 'only' see point blank shot, precise shot, and rapid shot as necessities, that's still a level 5 inquisitor before it starts thinking. And that's a shame, I think.

That is what I mean by 'the problem'.


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The archer Inquisitor is unique because it is an archer Inquisitor, not a twf shield bashing inquisitor, or a two-handed weapon user. Etc. Each type of "build" is always going to have an optimum. That is the problem you're not coming to terms with.

If you give the archer Inquisitor 5 more feats over normal they're just going to pick up more feats that make them better at archery, and while at first you might see a little diversity in builds it only exists until everyone comes on here and start optimizing what to do with those extra feats that now have.

The problem is one of optimization vs options.

You want build diversity. This doesn't exist if you want an optimized character. What exactly is optimal may vary a little depending on who you ask, but it's still going to be pretty narrow.

You solution doesn't fix the problem you think it does. It only makes characters more powerful without actually making them unique. It's only "unique" in the sense that other groups don't play this way. But if everyone did play using your method, even with 20 extra feats you would end up with virtually identical builds because most people have an innate desire to optimize their builds.

You want build diversity? Tell your players that mechanically enemies are going to be weaker than normal. Tell your players to choose options that aren't necessarily optimal. If they do so, then you might actually get some build diversity.

But again, your solution doesn't actually fix the problem unless you're only comparing it to builds that wouldn't get to use your "fix".

As long as a player wants to optimize their character, there is not build diversity.


4MSS hasn't stopped legends yet.

RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 16

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I think it's worth examining exactly what you perceive as a problem with the feat system. Players feeling like there's not enough feats doesn't necessarily mean they get too few feats.


bitter lily wrote:
And, btw, I am willing to hotly argue that 9-level casters are, indeed, feat-starved!

No kidding. You're choosing between upping spell DC's, upping ranged touch to hit, spell penetration, adding metamagic, improving your familiar, or just adding things like toughness, dodge, combat casting. ...or other cool things!


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Cyrad wrote:
I think it's worth examining exactly what you perceive as a problem with the feat system. Players feeling like there's not enough feats doesn't necessarily mean they get too few feats.

A lot of aspects of the feat system are a problem.

First, to be good at a single combat maneuver requires on average a 4 feat investment Expertise/powerattack, improved, greater, quick Thats almost half the standard feat allotment for any class.

Fighters and classes that get as many feats as them are really the only classes that have the ability to be even passable at multiple combat styles. Even then certain combat styles have a feat investment so rigorous that to be good at them means to neglect everything else. Thrown and archery are the worst offenders here though two weapon fighting isn't that far off.

Second, feats aren't remotely balanced against each other which makes it so that when a feat that provides any kind of parity to spellcasting shows up its generally treated as unbalanced and kept out of PFS. Example being Hurtful. Its really a great feat, but its not like its comparable to having spells. Its a highly conditional extra attack.

At the end of the day, classes with as many feats as fighter should be able to reach near mastery of more than one fighting style, and feats, especially those that require a chain of 3 or 4 to get to should have effects comparable to a spell that someone could cast at that level.


I gave my players a bonus feat per level, and all races get a bonus feat. Some characters have many more feats than they normally would. But it's a low level game, and so far I have no regrets.

Gives my players' characters more versatility with decreased level growth.


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Viondar wrote:

Ok, so let's go with your two examples.

The inquisitor archer would want point blank shot, precise shot, rapid shot, clustered shots, and manyshot.
This takes feats 1,3,5,9, and 11, leaving only 7 for diversity. But honestly, that would probably be for weapon focus or deadly aim. This is what works best in conjunction with bane.
Does an inquisitor archer have to become level 13 before it starts getting a unique feat build?

A fighter archer would want point blank shot, precise shot, rapid shot, weapon focus, weapon specialisation, point blank master, deadly aim, clustered shots, manyshot, warrior spirit and armed bravery.
This would fill feats 1,1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9, and 9 (weapon training).
It would then immediately choose whether to go with the snap shot, greater snap shot, and combat reflexes, or with the overwatch style feat tree. All the while wondering where greater weapon focus and greater weapon specialisation went.
Does a fighter archer have to become level 13 before it starts getting a unique feat build?

I think your viewpoint is idealised in that it assumes that players would favour their flavour feats or even their personal combat favourites over the most optimal feat chain.

Even if you'd 'only' see point blank shot, precise shot, and rapid shot as necessities, that's still a level 5 inquisitor before it starts thinking. And that's a shame, I think.

That is what I mean by 'the problem'.

The inquisitor, being an inquisitor brings different things on the table. Depending on the game you play there are different ways to "optimize" a character and there's no such thing as a perfect build that is the best all of the time (simple example: you play a campaign with a lot of demons, then investing in specific feats against them is usually going to be better than spending all of your feats on archer only feats. You play a dwarf martial then you should pretty much always consider Dwarven Hatred Style because it improves you greatly even if you are not facing that many orcs and goblins and so on).

In other words not all players always choose the same feats even while building thematically similar characters. For example check out PFS characters and you'll rarely see the exact same builds repeated over and over again.
The "problem" with feats is that there's a huge amount of them that are so specific no one will consider them unless he has a very specific build in mind (or not enough system mastery to recognize a trap).
You want more diversity? Then keep the number of feats as it is and IMPROVE the existing feats, so people are forced to make different choices. Increasing the number of feats one can get does absolutely nothing to make PCs more diverse.

P.S.

Another change to feats I support is making them more scalable: you get vital strike, you should not be forced to spend another feat 5 lvls later to get improved vital strike and then greater vital strike. Same with most combat feats that "improve" al later levels.


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Yes, I agree feats that are just upgraded versions of the previous shouldn't be a separate feat, but rather something that happens when you reach the appropriate requirements.

Heck, give fighters weapon focus that grows into greater weapon focus as a feat. Give them weapon spec that grows into greater weapon spec.

Turn vital strike line into a single feat, it might actually be worth considering then.

Turn dodge, and mobility into a single feat. That's almost good enough for a single feat, and then allows access to Spring Attack, which would be decent if it weren't for the prereqs.


Claxon, I wonder if you feel the same way about caster feats - Spell Specialization, Spell Penetration, etc.
The prereq for Greater Spell Focus is Spell Focus.. becomes two for one.

Silver Crusade

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I wholeheartedly support automatic chain feats and feat improvements. I honestly think that you people are right and that this is what the game needs. My solution of more feats is not a solid repair of a flawed system. It is a quick fix to it.

I think working out a proper review and fix to faulty feats and their chains is enough work to fill a proper game book. My fix, on the other hand, took me about 25 minutes.

Is there anyone among you who has such automatic feat chains worked out? Or who has a list of feat revisions? If so, would you post it?


Viondar wrote:

I wholeheartedly support automatic chain feats and feat improvements. I honestly think that you people are right and that this is what the game needs. My solution of more feats is not a solid repair of a flawed system. It is a quick fix to it.

I think working out a proper review and fix to faulty feats and their chains is enough work to fill a proper game book. My fix, on the other hand, took me about 25 minutes.

Is there anyone among you who has such automatic feat chains worked out? Or who has a list of feat revisions? If so, would you post it?

I really don't want to toot my own horn like this, but on this same board I have a fighter 'fix' I'm trying to trim and balance out for the group that replaces feat gain with fighter only talents, most of which are such "you gain a feat. At level blank you get this as well". I was attempting to do something similar, so if you'd like to take a look I wouldn't disapprove, after all our goals seem to be aligned to your own woes so might give you some ideas of your own, and if you like what you see or not I would love to know how you feel about it after seeing your thoughts on this topic.


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Claxon wrote:

If you give the archer Inquisitor 5 more feats over normal they're just going to pick up more feats that make them better at archery, and while at first you might see a little diversity in builds it only exists until everyone comes on here and start optimizing what to do with those extra feats that now have.

The problem is one of optimization vs options.

You want build diversity. This doesn't exist if you want an optimized character. What exactly is optimal may vary a little depending on who you ask, but it's still going to be pretty narrow. [...]

As long as a player wants to optimize their character, there is not build diversity.

This is where I come in, asking for a specific list of feats that would be options for the "extras." Feats that would lead to the next -- put the first on the list, but not the second (or third). Mostly, I'd like to see feats that add color rather than optimization on this list. But what feats?

And since no one answered me, I'll ask again: Why give some classes (and humans, of all things) an extra bennie to "balance" them when the variant applies to all classes & races equally?

Silver Crusade

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bitter lily wrote:
Claxon wrote:

If you give the archer Inquisitor 5 more feats over normal they're just going to pick up more feats that make them better at archery, and while at first you might see a little diversity in builds it only exists until everyone comes on here and start optimizing what to do with those extra feats that now have.

The problem is one of optimization vs options.

You want build diversity. This doesn't exist if you want an optimized character. What exactly is optimal may vary a little depending on who you ask, but it's still going to be pretty narrow. [...]

As long as a player wants to optimize their character, there is not build diversity.

This is where I come in, asking for a specific list of feats that would be options for the "extras." Feats that would lead to the next -- put the first on the list, but not the second (or third). Mostly, I'd like to see feats that add color rather than optimization on this list. But what feats?

And since no one answered me, I'll ask again: Why give some classes (and humans, of all things) an extra bennie to "balance" them when the variant applies to all classes & races equally?

Regarding your question, it's because "10 more feats for everyone" is not an equal application. The fighter's bonus feats now only increase his total feats by 50% instead of 100%. A human doesn't have 10% more feats, he has 5% more. by doubling the total number of feats everyone else gets, you have lowered the overall value of bonus feats by half. The reduction may even be more if the bonus feats were needed to make a build work, and now they are just extra bells and whistles.

In terms of proportional increase and effective power boost, it is not equal. At risk of being tangential, here's an example:

Everyone makes $50 a week. A certain number of people make an extra $50 a week in addition. So while some people make $50, some others make $100, double the amount. If everyone then is given another $50 a week, some will make $100, while some others make $150, which is less of an overall wealth divide than it was before. By increasing the total currency available the value of each unit of currency is reduced, making any single currency increase less valuable by comparison.


More feats just kind of cloaks the problem that feats, particularly the feats integral to working fighting styles, need to be condensed and feats giving static bonuses to skills need to have some sort of minor technique attached to them. Something like combining skill focus with unchained skills. Making maneuver feats be a single choice that improves as you level rather than opening chains, etc etc.

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