the nerve-eater of Zur-en-Aarh wrote:It seems to me that "reward system mastery" and "avoid trap options" should not be mutually exclusive goals.
Agreed. I personally would like to see NO trap options intentionally in the system, but I think once a game gets enough options you'll get them unintentionally.....
I kind of worry a bit about the No Trap options concept, because that could come to mean that someone is going to be gatekeeping insuring all feats are 'powerful' enough to make muster in their singular view.
Although I try to make characters that can pull their weight in general, it is equally, or even more important for there to be something special to their story. Quite honestly, it is normally something a little counter intuitive, and unexpected. [sometimes it can involve a potentially surprising synergy that might be really effective, but in some cases it might not be that effective]
I would consider it a distinct negative if they do away with flavorful feats just because they can't make it attractive enough for a power gamer. So, if there is concern about people falling into 'traps' by choosing a cool sounding ability that may not be as effective as it might sound from the fluff, maybe they could add a Fluff trait, as a warning not to build a character across several such Fluff traits. [or at least when playing a game where keeping up with the Jones' is an expectation] But I hope that not all feats have to be exactly the same power, just in a different direction.
A desert based Feat is going to be much better in a desert campaign, as a general rule. A maritime feat better in a seafaring campaign. A combat feat, in a high-combat game. Intrigue related feats much more valuable in a social campaign with lots of downtime than a chain of dungeon crawls type of campaign. The thing being... all of these types of feats should absolutely be able to exist. If someone builds a desert based character for an underwater campaign, expect someone to accuse them of having made trap choices. But on the other hand, as long as it doesn't cause the death of the other PCs, and they player enjoys playing the non-fish in the middle of the water, it should be able to happen.
I hope the can't have trap options kills the potential variety that one would hopefully be able to explore in both mechanical value, as well as fluff.
Sure, try to make feats of the same type and level as generally equivalent as you can afford to, but don't stop it from making specialized options that are truly impactful for a character concept even if it can't be called a first tier choice in most general circumstances.