Feat Taxes... Why this for that?


Pathfinder First Edition General Discussion

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Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32, RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

I just wish people would read which Improved Maneuver feats had which prereqs before complaining about the lack of relationship between them.


blue_the_wolf wrote:

I can understand Power Attack > cleave

but what about

Really? In 3.5 it made sense, but in Pathfinder, Power Attacking makes a Cleave less likely. :/

I hate hate hate mechanically irrelevant pre-reqs.

This is very near the top of my list for things that should be fixed in Hypothetical Future Edition.

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32, RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

If it were up to me, I'd change Combat Expertise to the following:

You gain a +1 competence bonus to attack rolls or armor class, chosen each round at the start of your turn. At BAB +4 and each +4 thereafter, this bonus increases by +1, but may never exceed your INT bonus.

Now it's relevant, there's no disconnect from the feat name and its function, and it'll help you get better at those maneuvers you were after in the first place.


Jiggy wrote:

If it were up to me, I'd change Combat Expertise to the following:

You gain a +1 competence bonus to attack rolls or armor class, chosen each round at the start of your turn. At BAB +4 and each +4 thereafter, this bonus increases by +1, but may never exceed your INT bonus.

Now it's relevant, there's no disconnect from the feat name and its function, and it'll help you get better at those maneuvers you were after in the first place.

I wish it worked like Canny Defense (add Int to AC). But I suppose it's good for "tanking" characters, although this is not WoW and it's much harder to taunt in DnD/Pathfinder.

Dark Archive

It's somewhat situational, but when it's good it is great. It's best use is with closing attack (trading hit on 1 prime attack when you expect many return attacks). Also, a manuever master (who is usually the one taking this) will often have such an advantage with their manuever that -3 for +3 AC for the round is a good deal.

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32, RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Thalin wrote:
It's somewhat situational, but when it's good it is great. It's best use is with closing attack (trading hit on 1 prime attack when you expect many return attacks). Also, a manuever master (who is usually the one taking this) will often have such an advantage with their manuever that -3 for +3 AC for the round is a good deal.

...Why are Maneuver Masters taking Combat Expertise? They get their feats without prereqs.


Evil Lincoln wrote:
blue_the_wolf wrote:

I can understand Power Attack > cleave

but what about

Really? In 3.5 it made sense, but in Pathfinder, Power Attacking makes a Cleave less likely. :/

I hate hate hate mechanically irrelevant pre-reqs.

This is very near the top of my list for things that should be fixed in Hypothetical Future Edition.

makes sense to me because it thematically represents a horizontal swing for the fences or heavy back swing. also remember the original cleave required you 'cut through' one opponent to hit the next one. The pathfinder version just tweaks it a bit to make it more useful but the idea remains that its thematically an attack based on power not accuracy.

@Staffan: I totally agree.

@Jiggy: good idea


I'm just going to pop in to say that endurance is arguably one of the most used feats in my games besides a straight up static booster like Iron Will or Weapon Focus. But then I have lots of times where con checks get made: enemies grappling underwater, forced marches, sprinting races, suffocation in sealed rooms, and so on.

To me, its always seemed a worthwhile and reasonable prerequisite for Diehard. But maybe its just how I run my games.

I have always disliked Combat Expertise and considered it a throw-away feat to get to the good stuff. Then again, I've always felt that Power Attack, Combat Expertise, and Vital Strike should be built in to the basic combat engine and accessible to all characters without need for feats. Again, maybe thats just me. Critical Focus also makes my jeans ride up uncomfortably.

One thing I've been toying with in regards to certain feat trees with "tax feats" in them is to make the "final feat" weaker if you don't have the "tax feats" ahead of it. So you could take Bleeding Critical (assuming you meet its other requirements) without Critical Focus, but you also only cause 1d6 bleed instead of 2d6.

Would take some work and likely wouldn't work for every feat chain with tax feats in it, but I like the idea at least.

Liberty's Edge RPG Superstar 2015 Top 16, RPG Superstar 2013 Top 16

TOZ wrote:
This is why my heavy infantry have chain shirt jammies.

In my group we refer to a mithral chain shirt as "adventurer pajamas."

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

I mentioned them to my wife and she is now stuck with the image of a dwarf in chain mail long johns with toothbrush and teddy.

Liberty's Edge RPG Superstar 2015 Top 16, RPG Superstar 2013 Top 16

Oh man that's getting circulated around the table tomorrow.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

I need to commission an art piece of it.


OMG REALLY?!?!?!?

So i am building this character. Two handed fighter type. I want to be offensive but I want him to be able to go on the defensive.

so I see the shield of swings feat.

when I take a full attack action, I can chose to deal 1/2 damage in exchange for a +4 shield bonus.

better up my int to 13 in order to take combat expertise right?

NOPE!!! its POWER ATTACK!!!!

WTF?!?!?

the prereq for the increase your defense feat is NOT the one that says you fight smarter for more defense. its the one that says you swing wildly for more damage. how the hell does that lead you to dealing less damage to fight more defensively?

what kind of sense does that make?

I mean I can make up reasons why that makes sense. but that does not mean it actually makes sense.


Because if you have Combat Expertise, you can already reduce your offensive output in order to get an AC bonus, although you do it via attack bonus instead of damage. Shield of Swings is there as an alternative for two-handed fighters instead, and two-handers generally have Power Attack already.


ok. but it does not make thematic or mechanical sense. if you want to be defensive why do you have to take a offensive option.

look at it like this.

If i want to take a defensive option it makes sense that I need a defensive prereq

If i want to take an offensive option it makes sense that I need an offensive prereq.

If i want to have both defensive and offensive options I have to limit my ability to max out on damage or defense by taking a little of this and a little of that.

they should not say 'well we are rewarding those who took an offensive feat with a defensive option'. Because they are essentially punishing those who want to fight defensively by forcing them to take a useless feat.

yes I know... some one will say if i want to fight defensively play a sword and board and take defensive feats.

but that's not the point. the point is the progression of needing an offensive skill in order to get a defensive option does not make any sense.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber
blue_the_wolf wrote:
ok. but it does not make thematic or mechanical sense. if you want to be defensive why do you have to take a offensive option.

You don't, you can just take Combat Expertise and never have to take Power Attack to get a defensive option. (Int requirements are a separate issue.)

Or you can take Power Attack and Shield of Swings to have offensive AND defensive options. But you spend more on it.


The Black Bard wrote:

Then again, I've always felt that Power Attack, Combat Expertise, and Vital Strike should be built in to the basic combat engine and accessible to all characters without need for feats.

Ooh, I like that.

Technically Combat expertise is built in (fighting defensively), but PA isn't and neither is Vital Strike.

Power attack: attack/full attack, -2 hit, +2 dam (+3 is handed).
Feat changes it to -1 hit, +2/+3, and increases.

Vital Strike: attack (only feat reduces to standard) action, -2 penalty to hit, doubles damage die.
Feat: no penalty, +1 die, standard action.
Keep improved Vital: No penalty, up to 2 Die.

Nice house rule idea.


TriOmegaZero wrote:
blue_the_wolf wrote:
ok. but it does not make thematic or mechanical sense. if you want to be defensive why do you have to take a offensive option.

You don't, you can just take Combat Expertise and never have to take Power Attack to get a defensive option. (Int requirements are a separate issue.)

Or you can take Power Attack and Shield of Swings to have offensive AND defensive options. But you spend more on it.

how does your comment address the mechanical or thematic issues raised?

I want to have combat expertise AND Shield of swings in order to be able to take a strong defense, my character does not care about power attacking. other than because the rules say so.... why would my character practice wild power full attacks in order to reach an ultimately defensive conclusion?

Yes. I can talk to the GM ad maybe he will allow me to base shield of swings on combat expertise. But why cant the RAW make sense?


blue_the_wolf wrote:
Yes. I can talk to the GM ad maybe he will allow me to base shield of swings on combat expertise. But why cant the RAW make sense?

Because classes that rely on feats for versatility can't have nice things.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber
Quote:
why would my character practice wild power full attacks in order to reach an ultimately defensive conclusion?

Because you're using a rapid, wild offense as a defense.

In modern military terms it is known as 'suppressive fire'.


Power attack and combat expertise have been prerequisites for as long as 3.0 for basically the same stuff... all for very little reason - except to restrain characters who DON'T have bonus feats from getting the goodies fighters can get by taking the chains.

In a weird, round about way, the feat prerequisites made being a high level fighter more worthwhile because you just couldn't afford to get whirlwind attack as a ranger until level 6 or so for humans in 3.x ed. Or at least, I think that was the idea...

If you don't like (like I don't like it) then house-rule it until it becomes obvious to everyone that these taxes often suck some of the fun out of the game, which is unfortunate. As it is, prerequisites like that make fighters (and other classes) a bit less "special" to play.

At my table combat expertise and power attack are special combat maneuvers useable as written in the feat's text. The only prerequisite for them is that a character has a +1 base attack bonus, sort of like drawing a weapon as part of a move.

I've also thrown around the idea that bonus fighter feats should transcend all prerequisites except for base attack bonus or level (which I feel are understandable prerequisites), like ranger/monk bonus feats...


I hear where your coming from.

But I still dont think it fits.

without arguing imagination I fell that at worst it should be a Power Attack OR Combat Expertise prereq.

hell even give it a STR requirement. But making Power attack the only option is too restrictive.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

I can see it being the deft rapid fencing of a rapier just as well as the frenzied sweeps of a greatsword myself, but they chose to stick with the second interpretation, so there it stands. I just think both have merit.


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I think that a broader implication of this whole thread is why certain things are feats at all. Many of the feats available to low level characters are fairly normal, mundane techniques that any fighter should be able to use, which has been mentioned a couple times here already;

Power Attack: ever played golf, or baseball for that matter? Regardless of your skill you can decide to put everything you can into your swing, and smash that ball lightyears away if you hit it. In baseball, maybe you have a harder time connecting with the pitch this way, while in golf you may just end up on the next fairway over from yours. Either way, power vs. accuracy is a pretty basic.

Point Blank Shot: Anyone else notice that targets that are closer to you are easier to hit? You need a feat for that?

Deadly Aim: Should I aim for the vitals or the main body? If I aim for the head, I inflict a greater injury, but I might miss altogether. Ask any hunter if they don't consider this before taking their shot (though they often prioritize saving as much meat as possible, so they are adding even another factor).

This line of though has led to a series of house rules I am trying out, and I've seen a few other similar set ups in the recruitment threads for PbP games. The one concern I see is that while allowing fighter-types of skip these non-feats makes sense, and in the long run, might allow them to compete with the casters better at higher levels, at the lower levels it may make the those first 4 levels even more tedious for the mage types.

My House Rules:

Non-Feats:
Some stratigies listed as Feats in the game should be abilities that any warrior can use, regardless of whether he has a specific feat.
Weapon Finesse: Applies to all finesseable weapons.
Agile Maneuvers: Applies to all finesseable weapons.
Power Attack: Can be performed by any character with a BAB of +1 or more.
Lunge: Can be performed by any character with a BAB of +6 or more.
Deadly Aim: Can be performed by any character with a BAB of +1 or more.
Combat Expertise: Can be performed by any character.

Modified-Feats:
These abilities still require a feat expenditure, but have modified effects from the original description.
Dervish Dance: Can be applied to any finesseable weapon.
Vital Strike: Scales automatically, gaining the effect of Improved Vital Strike when the character achieves a BAB of +11, and Greater Vital Strike when he achieves a BAB of +16.
Two Weapon Fighting: Scales automatically, gaining the effect of Improved Two Weapon Fighting when the character achieves a BAB of +6, and Greater Two Weapon Fighting when he achieves a BAB of +11.
Simple Weapon Proficiency:
Prerequites: None
Benefit: The character gains proficiency with all simple weapons.
Martial Weapon Proficiency:
Prerequisites: All simple weapon proficiencies.
Benefit: The character gains proficiency with all martial weapons.

Weapons:
Finesse Weapons: Staves, Spears, and Katana’s are considered finesse weapons when wielded with two hands.
Bastard Sword/Dwarven War Axe: Any character proficient in the use of a Longsword may use a Bastard sword one handed if he has a strength of 13 or greater; the same applies for those proficient with a Battle Axe using a Dwarven War Axe. Any character that is proficient with the use of a great sword, and with a Strength of 13 or greater, may treat the Bastard Sword or Dwarven War Axe as a Finesse Weapon when wielding it two handed.
Spear: Spears are one handed weapons when used with a shield in the off hand. A character with Martial Weapon proficiencies may always treat a spear as a one handed weapon.
Long Spear: A character with Martial Weapon proficiencies may treat a long spear as a one handed weapon when used with a shield in the off hand.

Classes:
Cleric/Inquisitor: Classes that receive proficiency with their deity's favoured weapon receive Weapon Focus instead if that weapon is a Simple Weapon. In cases where a deity favours unarmed attacks, the character receives Improved Unarmed Strike.

This discussion has also bring to mind a few other feats that might be worth tidying up in order to make more useful. I think I will beef up Endurance somehow, Run, change the Prereqs on Diehard, etc. I suppose the danger becomes that by the end of all these changes, is it still Pathfinder? I'd say it still is, and the changes are mostly semantic and logical, but I could see other opinions differing on the point.

Thoughts


Combat Expertise has the double problem that it's redundant with fight defensively. Fight defensively gives a slightly worse ratio (assuming 3 ranks in acrobatics) but a much larger magnitude, making it more effective than combat expertise until BAB 8. That's pretty terrible for Combat Expertise. It's hardly even worth having as a mechanic right now. Below level 3 fight defensively still gives twice as much AC as combat expertise, it just pays at a worse ratio.

If you can give a feat out free and it won't be worth using there's a problem.

If Combat Expertise is going to be anything like it currently is in concept it needs to do something better than fight defensively.


Atarlost wrote:

Combat Expertise has the double problem that it's redundant with fight defensively. Fight defensively gives a slightly worse ratio (assuming 3 ranks in acrobatics) but a much larger magnitude, making it more effective than combat expertise until BAB 8. That's pretty terrible for Combat Expertise. It's hardly even worth having as a mechanic right now. Below level 3 fight defensively still gives twice as much AC as combat expertise, it just pays at a worse ratio.

If you can give a feat out free and it won't be worth using there's a problem.

If Combat Expertise is going to be anything like it currently is in concept it needs to do something better than fight defensively.

you did take into account that they stack right? combat expertise is an awesome feat. adding dodge to your ac is never a bad thing.


@LastNameOnEarth, I feel the same about step up.

its something full BAB classes should get free or be some kind of universal skill that any one can use but some can use better than others, like the ability to grapple or dirty trick or recognize some kind of magic.

currently

step up > following step > step up and strike.

in addition to being 3 weak feats that can arguably be replicated by a ready action.

the following step strike is insultingly useless.

step up says that in order to use it you have to be adjacent to the opponent and they make a 5 foot step.

following step says its basically the same thing but you can move up to 10 feet.

how are you supposed to follow a guy 10 feet when he makes a 5 foot step?


Quote:
how are you supposed to follow a guy 10 feet when he makes a 5 foot step?

Supposedly you use it to move around them (provoking an attack no less!).

I have no idea why you'd want to.

Silver Crusade

I think high level fighters should be able to drop Critical Focus while still being able to use their other critical feats. At high level you auto crit so Crit Focus becomes useless.


TriOmegaZero wrote:
I mentioned them to my wife and she is now stuck with the image of a dwarf in chain mail long johns with toothbrush and teddy.

Even better: Micromail.

It doesn't chafe.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
symphara wrote:


I wish it worked like Canny Defense (add Int to AC). But I suppose it's good for "tanking" characters, although this is not WoW and it's much harder to taunt in DnD/Pathfinder.

Then again your enemies simply can't walk THROUGH you the way they can in computer MMORGS.


LazarX wrote:
symphara wrote:


I wish it worked like Canny Defense (add Int to AC). But I suppose it's good for "tanking" characters, although this is not WoW and it's much harder to taunt in DnD/Pathfinder.
Then again your enemies simply can't walk THROUGH you the way they can in computer MMORGS.

Right, they can just take a 50' walk in a big circle around you while you remain frozen until your next turn.


Well, despite the fact that I hate Combat Expertise, there is one good situation to use it in- against oozes. Stack it with fighting defensively, and suddenly oozes become a lot less terrifying while you lose basically nothing in return.

Shadow Lodge

Or just have a high Acrobatics check.

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