Encouraging Roleplay: Non-combat feats at even levels


Homebrew and House Rules

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Mechanics:
On every even character level, players may choose one non-combat feat that they qualify for (referred to later as a 'roleplay feat'). They gain this feat, but they lose the feat's benefits during combat (bolded for emphasis, if you're skimming the post). Further, roleplay feats do not count as prerequisites for any non-roleplay feats.

Why?
My players' characters are very combat-oriented, although by backstory, they really shouldn't be. I have a bowyer who can craft, and would use crafting feats if they didn't reduce his combat ability. I have a researcher who puts his feats into grappling and tripping.

...and the next story arc of my campaign would benefit greatly if they had used more non-combat feats to flesh out their characters. It's more of a mystery/sneaking/political arc, and shooting everything in the face could get them killed. They will be notified of this as the arc begins.

Anyway, rather than punishing them for their focus on combat ability, I would like to offer them a way to flesh out their characters in a roleplay capacity without giving them further combat advantage. I expect the bowyer to take Master Craftsman and a few magic item creation feats. The researcher would get some knowledge boosts for gathering info (but not for identifying monsters, as the boost doesn't work in combat), as well as possibly going into something that interests him as a player, but would lower his combat ability if he took it in place of a regular feat.

Why post it?
I think it's a good idea for getting your players to flesh out their characters more than "he shoots his bow really good" without punishing them. It somewhat serves the same purpose as traits, except that a lot of traits benefit you in combat, which skews what my players picked. (Almost all of them picked the +2 initiative trait)

Let me know if you see any problems with this mechanic as I've stated it, and I'll see about revising it.


I like your thinking on this, but I think a power gamer could still take advantage of the extra feats. A wizard could take the item creation feats and say they are non-combat while still gaining a powerful advantage. Or even a more minor level, I could play a rogue taking "skill focus: acrobatics" and get a bonus to something that helps me in combat. The craft skills are the only ones that could never come up in some kind of life or death situation.


KenB3 wrote:

I like your thinking on this, but I think a power gamer could still take advantage of the extra feats. A wizard could take the item creation feats and say they are non-combat while still gaining a powerful advantage. Or even a more minor level, I could play a rogue taking "skill focus: acrobatics" and get a bonus to something that helps me in combat. The craft skills are the only ones that could never come up in some kind of life or death situation.

He said that they would lose the benefits of these feats in combat, so the "skill focus acrobatics" thing wouldn't work.

Anyway, I think this is a good idea. You just may want to not allow them to take magic item creation feats (except for maybe master craftsman) because those can help in combat indirectly.


Matrix Dragon wrote:
KenB3 wrote:

I like your thinking on this, but I think a power gamer could still take advantage of the extra feats. A wizard could take the item creation feats and say they are non-combat while still gaining a powerful advantage. Or even a more minor level, I could play a rogue taking "skill focus: acrobatics" and get a bonus to something that helps me in combat. The craft skills are the only ones that could never come up in some kind of life or death situation.

He said that they would lose the benefits of these feats in combat, so the "skill focus acrobatics" thing wouldn't work.

Anyway, I think this is a good idea. You just may want to not allow them to take magic item creation feats (except for maybe master craftsman) because those can help in combat indirectly.

Hmm... Yeah, the magic item creation feats would definitely give a combat advantage. Those should probably be taken off the list.

I think that Master Craftsman should also be off the list, because its main point is allowing a character to qualify for magic item creation feats, but they wouldn't be able to take those at all, because the roleplay feats aren't allowed to be used to qualify for any non-roleplay feats. It would essentially just be a +2 to any craft or profession skill, which is worse than skill focus. Unless I remove the limitation that they can't use them to qualify for other feats... Maybe something like this:

Quote:
On every even character level, players may choose one non-combat, non-item creation feat that they qualify for (referred to later as a 'roleplay feat'). They gain this feat, but they lose the feat's benefits during combat.

About skill focus <acrobatics>, Matrix Dragon has it right. The acrobatics bonus would only apply when not attacking/being attacked, so it's only good if you're using it to make an out-of-combat jump or balance on something when there isn't any fighting going on.

I'd update the OP with this information, but it seems that I'm just over the editing time limit. =/


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I see what you are trying to do here, but I'm afraid that most of the powergamers I know would simply take these rules and wrap them around your throat by using "non-combat" feats in ways that end up impacting combat that you hadn't thought of. You'll end up with a never-ending reduction of the list of allowable "non-combat" feats as your players get more and more creative.

Also, I don't like the "role playing" impact of a character having particular abilities that somehow vanish during combat. "Hey, I'm the world's greatest acrobat! I can leap across chasms and tumble over tables and chairs with the greatest of ease! Um... unless I need to do it to save my skin..."

I greatly support the notion of doing something to increase role playing. I'm just not sure this is the right way to do that.


Hmmm, there are a few things that come to mind that could cause issues with this, but only for players who were specifically going out of their way to abuse them I think.

There are some feats that could allow players to get abilities which indirectly help with combat besides the item creation ones. For example, a paladin might take Extra Lay On Hands so that he can get extra heals out of combat. You may want to also ban feats which directly increase the uses of class abilities.

Some players may try to take feats which are useless prerequisites for other feats like combat expertise for improved feint, or Spell Focus (Necromancy) for Threnodic Spell Metamagic. You'll want to have these noncombat feats not be allowed for use for in combat feat chains or prestige class prerequisites.

I don't know if this one is as much of an issue, but out of combat skill monkey characters might focus heavily on getting skill focus stuff for sneaking and social skills such as disable device and diplomacy.

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I've actually advocated doing this for fighters as a way to make up for their low skill points. Sure, they may not have skills, but when you can take skill focus, affinity and training, maybe you don't need them so much...and it cements the fighter as the master of feats.

I actually suggest you just make a list of Skills, and give them two points per level free to put into your list of skills. If they want to further accentuate with feats, let them do so.

Perhaps - PERHAPS! - you might want to give the non-caster classes an extra apropriate feat or three that interacts with those skills to reflect they are better at mundane skills then classes that can spellcast. After all, the casters can use spells that interact with those skills, it's only fair to give the non-casters an edge as well.

==Aelryinth


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I am not remotely the best powergamer I know or play with. But I have a fairly good idea of how such players tend to think.

Anything that improves a character's mobility is effective in a combat sense even if used outside of combat. A clever player can use mobility to achieve a superior tactical position before combat starts, or can use mobility to bypass obstructions.

Anything that improves a character's diplomacy, bluff or social skill is effective in a combat sense even if used outside of combat. Convincing the local guard that you are a "good guy" will change the odds in combat if the guard engages.

Anything that improves a character's knowledge skills can be used outside of combat to gain tactical advantages in combat. Knowing an opponent's weakness is half the battle. Knowing the terrain is a huge tactical advantage.

And again, the sudden removal of fundamental character role playing attributes whenever combat starts would, frankly, be a game ender for me. The idea that I have awesome skills in multiple areas until I enter combat, when I somehow forget how to jump, just beggars verisimilitude for me. I speak ten languages until combat starts when I can now only speak common. etc. I'd rather just not have the skill boost outside of combat than lose it during combat.


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If your players aren't roleplaying, giving them all Skill Focus (Basketweaving) isn't going to magically make them roleplayers.

In fact, feats are so limited and largely combat-focused that if you imply something can't be roleplayed without an appropriate feat, it might actually make people roleplay less when they don't see a feat that matches them perfectly.

A thousand character sheets with out-of-combat feats are still worth less in terms of roleplaying than a single character with an interesting personality, backstory, and interaction with other characters.

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Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Make them take non combat feats as it makes sense for their characters but not as bonus feats. You control the difficulty so it should be the same with less in game issues.


BetaSprite wrote:

Mechanics:

On every even character level, players may choose one non-combat feat that they qualify for (referred to later as a 'roleplay feat'). They gain this feat, but they lose the feat's benefits during combat (bolded for emphasis, if you're skimming the post). Further, roleplay feats do not count as prerequisites for any non-roleplay feats.

Why?
My players' characters are very combat-oriented, although by backstory, they really shouldn't be. I have a bowyer who can craft, and would use crafting feats if they didn't reduce his combat ability. I have a researcher who puts his feats into grappling and tripping.

...and the next story arc of my campaign would benefit greatly if they had used more non-combat feats to flesh out their characters. It's more of a mystery/sneaking/political arc, and shooting everything in the face could get them killed. They will be notified of this as the arc begins.

Anyway, rather than punishing them for their focus on combat ability, I would like to offer them a way to flesh out their characters in a roleplay capacity without giving them further combat advantage. I expect the bowyer to take Master Craftsman and a few magic item creation feats. The researcher would get some knowledge boosts for gathering info (but not for identifying monsters, as the boost doesn't work in combat), as well as possibly going into something that interests him as a player, but would lower his combat ability if he took it in place of a regular feat.

Why post it?
I think it's a good idea for getting your players to flesh out their characters more than "he shoots his bow really good" without punishing them. It somewhat serves the same purpose as traits, except that a lot of traits benefit you in combat, which skews what my players picked. (Almost all of them picked the +2 initiative trait)

Let me know if you see any problems with this mechanic as I've stated it, and I'll see about revising it.

Unless your players have a reputation for min-maxing, I'd say that you can trust them to put these kind of feats to actual use.

I sure as hell would if I were playing in your table. There are so few chances to actually gain feats that I'd want when playing anyway.

( One good example being the Kitsune's tail feats, because a nine-tailed Kitsune Samurai sounds pretty darn awesome to me as a character )


Matrix Dragon wrote:

Hmmm, there are a few things that come to mind that could cause issues with this, but only for players who were specifically going out of their way to abuse them I think.

There are some feats that could allow players to get abilities which indirectly help with combat besides the item creation ones. For example, a paladin might take Extra Lay On Hands so that he can get extra heals out of combat. You may want to also ban feats which directly increase the uses of class abilities.

Some players may try to take feats which are useless prerequisites for other feats like combat expertise for improved feint, or Spell Focus (Necromancy) for Threnodic Spell Metamagic. You'll want to have these noncombat feats not be allowed for use for in combat feat chains or prestige class prerequisites.

I don't know if this one is as much of an issue, but out of combat skill monkey characters might focus heavily on getting skill focus stuff for sneaking and social skills such as disable device and diplomacy.

I'm actually okay with skill monkeys focusing into their non-combat abilities. I feel that it makes the characters more interesting, and makes them more likely to seek other ways out of situations rather than 'stab everything'. If they talk their way out of a cell or pick the lock, I like that more than if they try to attack the guards while they're being transported.

I haven't played spellcasters that much, so I was assuming that Spell Focus was a combat feat. I'd have to outlaw metamagic feats as well, which I hadn't taken into account...

Increasing the use of class abilities would also be not what I intended. Perhaps rather than outlawing a bunch of things, I should be more specific about what can be taken?

Quote:
On every even character level, players may choose one general feat that they qualify for. This feat cannot require or improve a class ability. The player may choose a racial feat, but only non-combat ones, and at the GM's discretion. They gain this feat, but they lose the feat's benefits during combat.

@Aelryinth - Those are some interesting ideas. I haven't given them much thought as of yet, so I don't really have a response or an idea of how to implement it effectively, but I'll keep it in mind.

@Adamantine Dragon - I'm fine with them using their skills to improve the situation for themselves. That still involves more than 'roll initiative and start cleaving/grappling/etc'. As for losing the benefit during combat, this is already a bonus to begin with. It should be considered as "I get +3 to diplomacy when I'm not stabbing them in the face" rather than "I get tongue-tied when people attack me". Not sure why bonus feats would be a game ender for you when it shouldn't affect your regular combat prowess.

@Roberta - They are roleplaying fairly well, but they aren't taking any non-combat feats that fit their characters, and that's my problem with the system as a whole. All of their feats are of the 'kill something better' variety, so I'm trying to open them up to making other things possible. You make a good point, though, in that just giving these feats isn't going to change someone who is dead set on just attacking everything. Luckily, the players in my campaign aren't completely min/maxers.


I like that you are trying to broaden their horizons but you are doing it by letting them have their cake and then eat it too.

Or pie, either way.

I think you should be more specific, up front, about what they will be encountering in the campaign. Be straightforward that they are going to need to be more well-rounded in order to succeed.

Or just stock up on plenty of pie.


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This is an interesting discussion in that it is making me think about how to encourage role playing as part of the fundamental game design.

In spite of D&D, PF and other game systems being defined as "Role Playing" games, I find that the focus of the game mechanics is almost wholly dedicated to combat or logistical issues of the game. There is very little in the game rules that seem to be designed to enhance or even encourage role playing.

It feels as though "role playing" is sort of assumed by the game designers. The expectation seems to be that people will figure out how to role play based on the very sketchy role playing content in the rules, things like "build a backstory" or "develop social skills" etc.

So this is making me think about what sort of rules would actually encourage and enhance role playing? And the answer that immediately jumps to mind is that if you want to encourage something, you have to provide incentives for it. What sort of incentives would encourage people to actually role play their characters?

Lots of GMs have their own house-ruled role playing encouragement system. Most GMs have some concept of bonuses handed out for "good role playing" during the game. Those bonuses range from extra XP to minor circumstance bonuses applied to combat or skill checks.

The problem is that such systems are extremely subjective. What qualifies as "good roleplaying" to one GM is sometimes seen as the opposite by other GMs. Is it "good roleplaying" for a half-orc with a 5 charisma to "role play" charming the pants off the local saloon girl? Or is that an incident of a player exploiting the "role play exception" to avoid the obvious penalties of playing a presumably repulsive character?

For the rules to emphasize the role playing aspect of the game, the entire concept of "role playing" needs to be more consistently defined. Is the goal of role playing to strictly act in accordance with the character's actual statistics as listed on the character sheet, or is the goal of role playing to allow the player to overcome those limitations through sheer game-enhancing theatrics?

I am more of the former, but I see plenty of people promoting the latter. I think each GM as they start a campaign needs to address exactly how they view role playing so they can set the expectations for the group.

This approach of providing some "non-combat" feats at alternate levels might encourage some players to role play, but I also think it will create feat exploitation problems for the GM if the group includes the sorts of serious power gamers I am familiar with.

I personally wouldn't take this approach. I have other ways to encourage role playing with my players. Here are a few of them:

1. I ask each player to provide at least a one-page backstory for their character, including their family background (parents, siblings, where they grew up, what their parents did, etc), their educational status, their circle of friends, the events of their childhood that had the most impact on their lives, etc. Then I ask them to tell me exactly what motivates their character. Why are they adventuring? What are they seeking? Fame? Fortune? Revenge? Entertainment? Self-improvement? At what point would their character consider retiring? What will they do after they retire? I want a fully fleshed out character that I have hooks I can appeal to as a GM.

2. I email each player between sessions and ask about the current status of those goals and desires listed in #1. Are they still valid? Has something changed?

3. After each session I also ask each player about the current party dynamics. Who does their character identify with? What do they find appealing or off-putting from the other characters? Do they want to begin any sort of specific intra-party character dynamic? Do they want to play practical jokes on the dour dwarf paladin? Do they find the sneaky rogue a bit creepy and worry about sleeping while he's on watch?

4. During each session I deliberately set up situations which require in-character interaction between the characters. When a player addresses me with something that I feel should be an interactive dialog with another character, I just come right out and tell the player to have an in-character conversation with the other character. This is one of the most effective ways to get role playing to occur. "I want that ring the rogue just picked up." "Oh, really? Well, he's right there. Tell him, not me."

5. I ask each player what "style" of combat their characters have. Are they strong, silent types who just batter away? Are they Spiderman style combat quippers who want to provide witty repartee? Do they dance around and taunt their opponents? Do they have a signature phrase or slogan ("It's clobberin' time!")? Many players never even think about stuff like this, but once they are prompted, some of them love it. I had one sorcerer who would use quickened prestidigitation in the middle of combat to clean themselves off. This really helps instill a sense of personality in a character.

To me that's what role playing is all about. It's about the player "getting in the head" of their character and rolling around in it for a while. Some players can create entirely unique characters, while others tend to prefer adopting a known literary, TV or movie character's personality. I'm fine with that. If a player wants to be Ahnold and gets a kick out of saying "Ah'll be bock!" that's fine with me. At least it's something that makes the encounter memorable.

Sovereign Court

I don't think your idea will really work all that well.

First, the problem; are the players RPing? You write that they've got backstories and do the RP. So I don't see a huge problem there. They don't seem to need the feats to roleplay, so why do you want them to take it? Will having a +3 to a skill really change the roleplay?

If your players prefer to spend feats on combat, maybe that's what they think is where they'll be most valuable. This could be for several possible reasons:

a) combat is hard, and they need every feat to survive?

b) out-of-combat stuff is easy, they don't need any more bonuses because they're already regularly succeeding at relevant checks?

c) the players want to complete expensive feat-chains?

d) out-of-combat stuff is low-stakes; failing a couple of checks doesn't hurt them all that much? In combat, they can lose their lives; what are the possible losses or gains out of combat? Will failing a diplomacy check really hurt them, or be just an inconvenience?


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I don't really see a complicated RP issue or 'think this through' kind of problem where "Hold on, I'll just roll for crafting a bow" is going to be the awesome answer.


BetaSprite wrote:
@Adamantine Dragon - I'm fine with them using their skills to improve the situation for themselves. That still involves more than 'roll initiative and start cleaving/grappling/etc'. As for losing the benefit during combat, this is already a bonus to begin with. It should be considered as "I get +3 to diplomacy when I'm not stabbing them in the face" rather than "I get tongue-tied when people attack me". Not sure why bonus feats would be a game ender for you when it shouldn't affect your regular combat prowess.

Beta, I don't know anything about your GM style or what sort of campaigns you run. I don't know if you run highly intense potential TPK campaigns or if you tend more towards story telling and low risk. But that is a factor in this. If a GM runs highly lethal campaigns, the players are going to react by seeking every combat advantage possible in order to survive. That means they will seek ways to exploit this "non-combat feat" approach to their advantage. And the really good ones will succeed. Since those are also most likely the same players that are already playing the most powerful characters, that will only serve to increase the gap between their characters and the rest of the party.

Losing the benefit of feats during combat is, as I said before, a major verisimilitude problem for me. Yes, I know this is just a game and that there is no real "Yleris, the drylf druid nature protector". But that's how I play it. It is important for me in the game to have a consistent feel for my character, including their abilities and powers. Especially since that has a major influence on their actions. So if I have a character who has invested in a lot of skill-based "non-combat feats" such as acrobatics, languages, swimming, flying, riding, whatever... that will become integral to my self-identification with that character. It would totally wreck my sense of immersion into my character for me to suddenly take my bareback riding specialist into combat and forget how to ride a horse. Or to have my linguist suddenly forget how to speak goblin. Or to have my acrobat suddenly jump 1/3 as far. I would not want to play such a character. I invest too much of my psyche in "wearing their skin" for me to appreciate that they have two different skins depending on whether they are in combat or not. That is just far too meta-gamey to me. It beggars belief that such a thing could happen. And the irony here is that it bothers me precisely because of the negative role playing impact that your changes are having, when they are supposedly being introduced to improve role playing.

I don't stop role playing my character when I go into combat. That's where some of the best role playing happens.


Ascalaphus wrote:

a) combat is hard, and they need every feat to survive?

b) out-of-combat stuff is easy, they don't need any more bonuses because they're already regularly succeeding at relevant checks?

c) the players want to complete expensive feat-chains?

d) out-of-combat stuff is low-stakes; failing a couple of checks doesn't hurt them all that much? In combat, they can lose their lives; what are the possible losses or gains out of combat? Will failing a diplomacy check really hurt them, or be just an inconvenience?

a) Nope. They've never been anywhere near dying. Although, I believe their previous campaigns may have given them this idea.

b) I've given them situations where it would be better to use their skills to get around something, but they run in and attack everything if it looks like they can get into combat. If the situation could resolve into combat, they make sure that it does.

c) I don't think so. I haven't seen any evidence of it, other than the archer taking all archery feats, but I think that's a given for archers to be most effective.

d) This might be part of it. I should start including situations where combat isn't the answer and could get them in trouble. I have an evil character who won't care, but I also have a chaotic good and a lawful neutral who care about their reputations. Perhaps I will run my next arc where the combat is greatly diminished, and the right way to do it is diplomacy, sneaking, bluffing, etc. I think I will try that before giving them these non-combat feats.

Adamantine Dragon wrote:
BetaSprite wrote:
@Adamantine Dragon - I'm fine with them using their skills to improve the situation for themselves. That still involves more than 'roll initiative and start cleaving/grappling/etc'. As for losing the benefit during combat, this is already a bonus to begin with. It should be considered as "I get +3 to diplomacy when I'm not stabbing them in the face" rather than "I get tongue-tied when people attack me". Not sure why bonus feats would be a game ender for you when it shouldn't affect your regular combat prowess.

Beta, I don't know anything about your GM style or what sort of campaigns you run. I don't know if you run highly intense potential TPK campaigns or if you tend more towards story telling and low risk. But that is a factor in this. If a GM runs highly lethal campaigns, the players are going to react by seeking every combat advantage possible in order to survive. That means they will seek ways to exploit this "non-combat feat" approach to their advantage. And the really good ones will succeed. Since those are also most likely the same players that are already playing the most powerful characters, that will only serve to increase the gap between their characters and the rest of the party.

Losing the benefit of feats during combat is, as I said before, a major verisimilitude problem for me. Yes, I know this is just a game and that there is no real "Yleris, the drylf druid nature protector". But that's how I play it. It is important for me in the game to have a consistent feel for my character, including their abilities and powers. Especially since that has a major influence on their actions. So if I have a character who has invested in a lot of skill-based "non-combat feats" such as acrobatics, languages, swimming, flying, riding, whatever... that will become integral to my self-identification with that character. It would totally wreck my sense of immersion into my character for me to suddenly take my bareback riding specialist into combat and forget how to ride a horse....

That's fair. My campaign is one that I've been writing myself that mainly deals with keeping rogue (adjective, not class) mechanical creatures (mekken) from causing trouble in a metropolitan city. It's loosely based on the Megaman X universe (with some Megaman Zero thrown in for alternate planes of reality), and I haven't made combat a large focus. There are good mekken who are decent members of society, and some of them are going crazy. As a result, we've got some biological citizens talking about wiping them out, because they could potentially be dangerous, and some mekken who see the biological races as outdated and purge-able without being detrimental to society. Since some of my players read these forums, I can't go into detail, but there's mystery and intrigue here that they haven't taken into account for their builds.

Their feats are all set up to compete with each other in combat, and I've had to react to that by upping the difficulty of encounters, rather than vice versa. They have so far stomped through 4 arcs of my campaign (one per level from 4-7) with only a few brief moments of difficulty (no one has even gotten below 0), despite increasing the difficulty higher than the CR that they should be facing.

Combat-wise, they are all effectively on the same level, and they tear through enemies of their CR without breaking a sweat. None of them are ever outstripped by the others, but monsters that should give them difficulty just... aren't.

Also, I still don't see it as that you've "invested" into these non-combat feats, seeing as how you aren't picking them for your regular feats. If you are a tight-rope walker that takes Skill Focus <acrobatics> as one of these bonus feats, you can balance well, but that doesn't mean that you can dive through an enemy's space without provoking. I guess I'm just not designing to your playstyle, and I can just say that hopefully your GM doesn't listen to what I'm laying out here. Still, I can respect your opinion, so I would like you to post any other problems that you see with the idea. As it is, I think I'm going to just try something new in the next arc (like I mentioned in response to Ascalaphus) to see what will happen first.

Oh, and I really like the requirements that you laid out for your players' roleplaying in the post that I'm not quoting here. I think I can use something like that to encourage the roleplay for their characters as well.


BetaSprite wrote:
Ascalaphus wrote:

a) combat is hard, and they need every feat to survive?

b) out-of-combat stuff is easy, they don't need any more bonuses because they're already regularly succeeding at relevant checks?

c) the players want to complete expensive feat-chains?

d) out-of-combat stuff is low-stakes; failing a couple of checks doesn't hurt them all that much? In combat, they can lose their lives; what are the possible losses or gains out of combat? Will failing a diplomacy check really hurt them, or be just an inconvenience?

a) Nope. They've never been anywhere near dying. Although, I believe their previous campaigns may have given them this idea.

b) I've given them situations where it would be better to use their skills to get around something, but they run in and attack everything if it looks like they can get into combat. If the situation could resolve into combat, they make sure that it does.

c) I don't think so. I haven't seen any evidence of it, other than the archer taking all archery feats, but I think that's a given for archers to be most effective.

d) This might be part of it. I should start including situations where combat isn't the answer and could get them in trouble. I have an evil character who won't care, but I also have a chaotic good and a lawful neutral who care about their reputations. Perhaps I will run my next arc where the combat is greatly diminished, and the right way to do it is diplomacy, sneaking, bluffing, etc. I think I will try that before giving them these non-combat feats.

Adamantine Dragon wrote:
BetaSprite wrote:
@Adamantine Dragon - I'm fine with them using their skills to improve the situation for themselves. That still involves more than 'roll initiative and start cleaving/grappling/etc'. As for losing the benefit during combat, this is already a bonus to begin with. It should be considered as "I get +3 to diplomacy when I'm not stabbing them in the face" rather than "I get tongue-tied when people attack me". Not
...

It sounds like they like to engage in combat over using skills. I recommend against forcing them to go for alternate routes when they don't want to.


johnlocke90 wrote:
It sounds like they like to engage in combat over using skills. I recommend against forcing them to go for alternate routes when they don't want to.

Three of them have mentioned to me that the campaign is interesting, so I don't think that they would be against using alternative methods. I just haven't really offered it.

You make a good point, though, and I'll make sure that they can get through either by diplomacy/sneaking or through combat. I think that with just a little indication that they can maneuver and achieve their goals (and find loot) more easily if they don't alert everyone in the building by starting a fight.


Beta, I actually don't have a problem with defining a set of feats as "non-combat" and allowing them to be chosen for "role playing purposes" on alternate levels. I think it is far less game-changing than, for example, gestalt characters. I think the resulting characters will be a bit overpowered compared to regular characters, but not necessarily game-breakingly so.

I only have two issues with this approach:

1. I believe that it will simply increase the gap between any true power gamer's characters and the rest of the party.

2. I just don't like the entire concept that my character has skills or feats that turn on or off based on whether they are in combat or not.

Otherwise, go for it, and let us know how it works.


Similar to Matrix Dragon, I'd suggest against the item creation feats (except for Master Craftsman, or skill focus (craft) feats).

I'd strongly encourage Skill Foci.

One thing I do that you might like is include "free" skills for my players: they two bonus skill points that must be craft, perform, or profession. That frees up not-those-skills for your players to use, too.

EDIT: so, badly ninja'd. I'll read more later.


Roberta Yang wrote:

If your players aren't roleplaying, giving them all Skill Focus (Basketweaving) isn't going to magically make them roleplayers.

In fact, feats are so limited and largely combat-focused that if you imply something can't be roleplayed without an appropriate feat, it might actually make people roleplay less when they don't see a feat that matches them perfectly.

A thousand character sheets with out-of-combat feats are still worth less in terms of roleplaying than a single character with an interesting personality, backstory, and interaction with other characters.

I agree.

I fail to see the relation between feats and a good roleplay.


Nicos wrote:
Roberta Yang wrote:

If your players aren't roleplaying, giving them all Skill Focus (Basketweaving) isn't going to magically make them roleplayers.

In fact, feats are so limited and largely combat-focused that if you imply something can't be roleplayed without an appropriate feat, it might actually make people roleplay less when they don't see a feat that matches them perfectly.

A thousand character sheets with out-of-combat feats are still worth less in terms of roleplaying than a single character with an interesting personality, backstory, and interaction with other characters.

I agree.

I fail to see the relation between feats and a good roleplay.

That wasn't my point. My point was that they are only taking combat feats, not feats that fit their character. Their characters are acting right, but their feats don't expand upon it. I've sent them this as the version to work with, just to see what comes through in playtesting:

Quote:
At 4th level and ever four levels after, players may choose one general feat that they qualify for. This feat cannot require or improve a class ability. The player may choose a racial feat, but only non-combat ones, and at the GM's discretion. They gain this feat, but they lose the feat's benefits during combat.

They are level 8, so they will have two bonus feats, and I'm requiring that they send them to me before taking them. If it becomes obvious that it isn't going to work without power gaming, I'll pull it.


Is there any actual way in which the lack of Skill Focus (Basketweaving) is making the game worse? Is nobody able to enjoy roleplaying because they're too busy staring at the gaping hole in each other's character sheets where Improved Stonecutting could be?

Most feats people take are combat feats because most feats in the game are combat feats and the non-combat feat options are actually quite narrow. Exactly which feats are people refusing to take that you think their characters desperately need?

And conversely, what combat feats are people taking that you insist don't fit their characters?


Beta, if we take you at your word that your players are willing and able to role play, but that they choose to take combat oriented feats instead of non-combat feats, and that reduces their role playing options, then what you are doing is attempting to address the symptoms of a deeper issue without addressing the issue itself. At least that's how it seems to me.

Why do you equate taking combat feats instead of non-combat feats as somehow discouraging role-play?

I am generally considered by my playing partners to be a role player first and a mechanics player second. And yet most of my characters focus on combat feats. How is it that my characters are so role play focused if they don't take non-combat feats?

I don't believe that taking combat feats discourages role play.

Let's look at my half-elf, half-dryad ninth level druid. She is one of the most interesting characters I've ever played. She is a role-playing cornucopia. Of course she is a custom race, but that's really just backstory.

She is a role playing cornucopia because she has very specific motivations, history, experiences and goals. As an archer druid she more or less has to focus her feat selection on archery feats or else give up the bow. So she does.

Archery, therefore, is a central aspect of her character concept, and therefore it is also a central aspect of her role playing. She has pumped skill ranks into making bows and arrows. She studies the art and visits bowmakers in any town she passes through. She "talks shop" with other archers about their favorite bows, arrows, strings and techniques.

When in camp she uses downtime to craft bows and arrows. She is constantly searching for suitable materials for making bows and arrows and keeps her bow and arrow making supplies in her efficient quiver or bag of holding. She trades materials with crafters in town. Her bow-making prowess has gained the attention of weapon collectors.

She also is a druid with ranks in handle animal. That means she is constantly interacting with animals, both wild and domestic. She will befriend dogs, cats, horses or other domestic animals in town. She bonds with wild animals as she travels. If we encounter a wagon on the road, while the rest of the party chats up the humanoids, she is checking out the oxen, horses or mules to make sure they are healthy and reasonably happy. She trains animals as a hobby, when she has time. She knows just about every single animal and most plants in her chosen forest. When she is in town she will visit the local stables and even the local slaughterhouse. As a druid she's got nothing against eating meat, but she does not like animal abuse.

She also happens to be a spellcaster with ranks in UMD and spellcraft. As such she seeks out other spellcasters to learn tips and tricks about spells and magic items. Given time she will volunteer to help magic crafters to create items, especially magic bows or arrows. She regrets that she has not had time or opportunity to invest in learning magic item crafting herself, but she tells herself that time will come. Until then she will do what she can with what she has.

There's plenty more.

As you can see, there is a veritable ocean of role playing opportunity and I've only covered four skills.

Role playing isn't about what feats your character has, it's about what your character's motivations, history, expectations, goals and desires are. I see what you are trying to do, but giving your players more oceans to play in doesn't really seem like the way to improve their role playing when they already have oceans aplenty to swim in.

They need to learn to swim.


so you got a Craftsman and a Researcher?

ok, how about say they both got a free Secondary Skill. Bowyer and Research.

this skill never needs to have skill points invested into it, but has a rank equal to half their character level. it gets the +3 'class skill' bonus.


I mean, if you're going to toss free feats, why not (instead) let them have Dual Feats?

If you feel that a player is not taking non-combat feats because they're useless when in combat, why not tie two feats together so that the combat feats are not useless outside of combat?

I personally don't like it, but that's me. I don't really have much argument to it from my side other than, it's just a crap ton of feats for everyone. Feats almost become like skills. Tons of skills.

It sounds complicated :\. If your players are willing to ascertain that if they're a ranger they're most likely skilled in bows and take some sort of bowcrafting feat on the side sure yeah. But if they get like.. magic staff crafting and start making really out of character things or if they choose the intimidate feat when their character is known for being very lighthearted and happy, then I think you're just throwing free feats in the bucket of desire.


rainzax wrote:

so you got a Craftsman and a Researcher?

ok, how about say they both got a free Secondary Skill. Bowyer and Research.

this skill never needs to have skill points invested into it, but has a rank equal to half their character level. it gets the +3 'class skill' bonus.

Rain, assuming that you are addressing my post above, I don't see the point of what you are suggesting.

My character will do what she does because it's part of her character concept. Her character concept is all about archery, spellcasting, nature and using magical stuff. Even if there were no skill system in place in the game at all, her in game behavior would be more or less the same. Giving her additional skill points in those things might mean she has a better chance when she rolls the dice, but that's not what drives her. So it's really not going to affect her role playing much, if at all, to adopt your suggestion. She will still seek out bowmakers, spellcasters, crafters and befriend animals.

If you are suggesting that having the free secondary skills means she could pump more skill points in other skills, that could potentially open up other areas for her to role play, but at some point she only has enough hours in the day to pursue a limited number of interests anyway. And quite frankly with the current concept she has, she stays quite busy already.


My character has a nephew, what feat do I take to make our relationship officially represented on my character sheet? It just doesn't feel like proper roleplaying unless I have a +2 to nephew-related die rolls.


Roberta Yang wrote:
My character has a nephew, what feat do I take to make our relationship officially represented on my character sheet? It just doesn't feel like proper roleplaying unless I have a +2 to nephew-related die rolls.

Heh. :)

There have been some who have suggested that the explosion of feats and skills has led to players believing that role playing requires some character sheet entry or the character can't do it. I don't subscribe to that notion and in fact I think it is detrimental to true role playing.

My druid has other interests that have nothing to do with skills or feats. She is an orphan, and unique of her kind. As such she feels a great affection for children of any race since she apparently cannot conceive children herself. In classic overcompensation she is over-protective of children and the fastest way to get her attention is to threaten a child.

I have this and other things written on her character sheet as part of her backstory and concept. Those things come into play during game play. As a young adventurer fresh from her forest upbringing, she found little use for coins or jewels, considering them to be rather pretty rocks. Over time she has learned to appreciate the humanoid economic model, but she still finds it somewhat bewildering and incomprehensible, especially concepts like loaning or investing cash. She talks to trees. She sleeps in trees. She writes songs and sings to them, to the total consternation of her party. When it rains she stands in the downpour reveling in the sensation of water running down her body.

I would say the most interesting things about her are those things which have no in-game mechanics associated with them.


Roberta Yang wrote:
My character has a nephew, what feat do I take to make our relationship officially represented on my character sheet? It just doesn't feel like proper roleplaying unless I have a +2 to nephew-related die rolls.

I honestly can't tell if you are trying to antagonize me, or if you are just not seeing my point of view. I will assume the second, so let me try to explain.

It is not that they are not roleplaying, nor that they are dissatisfied with roleplay, but when considering the feats that are not combat-oriented that they would like to take, they won't. They will not take those feats on the off-chance that somehow they would end up dead because they didn't take a combat feat instead.

Now, I might be trying to patch a hole that isn't there, but I thought I would do something nice and let them pick up something and specifically disallow it from being combat-oriented so that they don't feel like they are missing out on potential survivability.

I don't know what feats they are going to ask for. I have requested that they take a look and send me what they want, and then I will see if this is a viable way to expand on their characters.

To reflect back on the first character that I made in the first DnD game I played (in 3.5), I wanted him to be incredibly athletic and acrobatic and mobile. When I was originally creating him, I gave him the Run feat, because it fit him, it made him jump further, and I had no idea how to build a character. I was persuaded to instead take some other feats, which ended up keeping him alive in combat. I always felt like he really should have had the Run feat to fit him, but I never had the feat economy for it. That campaign is long over, but that's how I'm seeing this. What would you take if you could have a feat that had no impact on your fighting capabilities?


Do all the characters in the group have like INTs of 7, is that why they need feats instead of just spending skill points on skills to do skillified things?


Lamontius wrote:


Do all the characters in the group have like INTs of 7, is that why they need feats instead of just spending skill points on skills to do skillified things?

They have ranks in what they want to have ranks in. They roleplay their characters' personalities just fine. They don't have to take a feat that improves their skills alone.

I have a wayang in my campaign. He mentioned the following as feats that he might like to take if combat wasn't the focus of it (with very little time to go over the list, so I'm sure he'll find more):
Cooperative Crafting
Rugged Northerner
Stealthy
Shadowy Dash

These all fit his character and his backstory, and would provide a benefit to him also. None of them would break the game, and they're not there to make up for a lack of skill points.

EDIT: I'm beginning to wonder if I had just called them "character expansion feats" or something instead of "roleplay feats", would this whole conversation be different? I didn't mean for it to look like I thought they were required for roleplay. I meant for them to be a way for players to get non-combat feats without sacrificing their combat ability.


BetaSprite wrote:


It is not that they are not roleplaying, nor that they are dissatisfied with roleplay, but when considering the feats that are not combat-oriented that they would like to take, they won't. They will not take those feats on the off-chance that somehow they would end up dead because they didn't take a combat feat instead.

This goes back to one of my first comments. Why do your players feel they have to choose combat feats? You have said that they have more or less breezed through your campaign so far, so it must not be a case of them fearing for their lives. Since that's not what is driving it, something else must be. For some reason they feel their characters have to have combat feats. Is it peer pressure? Message board pressure? Are they worried that if their DPR drops below a certain point they will be laughed at? This seems to me to be the real issue with your situation. They don't need the feats they are taking, but they feel compelled to do so. Why is that? I would sit down and ask them, if I were the GM and cared about this enough to be making house rules around it.

BetaSprite wrote:
Now, I might be trying to patch a hole that isn't there, but I thought I would do something nice and let them pick up something and specifically disallow it from being combat-oriented so that they don't feel like they are missing out on potential survivability.

I have already pointed out that I think this "on - off" mechanic where feats appear and disappear as you roll initiative or finish off the last bad guy is just bad for role playing. If you're dead set on giving them non-combat feats, just give them to them. Don't introduce this bizarre concept of abilities that appear or disappear for no logical or rational reason outside of pure meta-gaming. Of course I think the whole idea is pointless, but if you're going to do it, just do it, don't dance around it.

BetaSprite wrote:
I don't know what feats they are going to ask for. I have requested that they take a look and send me what they want, and then I will see if this is a viable way to expand on their characters.

Heh, I'd be interested in what feats they pick too. I suspect most of them will be feats that give them some sneaky advantage in combat anyway.

BetaSprite wrote:
To reflect back on the first character that I made in the first DnD game I played (in 3.5), I wanted him to be incredibly athletic and acrobatic and mobile. When I was originally creating him, I gave him the Run feat, because it fit him, it made him jump further, and I had no idea how to build a character. I was persuaded to instead take some other feats, which ended up keeping him alive in combat. I always felt like he really should have had the Run feat to fit him, but I never had the feat economy for it. That campaign is long over, but that's how I'm seeing this.

One of the most common fallacies that human beings suffer from is the idea that if I don't like something, everyone else feels the same way. Maybe they do, maybe they don't. Now, I would not consider the "run" feat to be a non-combat feat. It has some very useful combat impacts. Especially if you ever have to, you know, run away. Or jump across a hole. Or leap over a table. That's exactly the sort of feat my characters would take just because they can make combat so much more awesome. Now, if you had wanted to take "basket weaving" so you could have more interesting conversations with the white-haired ladies outside of the general store, then your whole issue here might make more sense. You are right, you should have taken the run feat.

BetaSprite wrote:
What would you take if you could have a feat that had no impact on your fighting capabilities?

Well, in all honesty most of my characters are adventurers and as such they are going to be hard pressed to take feats that don't give them some "staying alive" advantage. Even feats that boost diplomatic skills are generally assumed to have the potential to improve the character and party's survivability. I am not aware of any feats that truly have no "combat impact". There are no feats I know of like "Sand Painter: You can create paintings out of different colored sand." And even if there were, people would use it to make gold to buy stuff to bash people's heads in with.


One every 2 levels is to much. If you feal you should do something about it, just give them one free (non-combat) feat at charcter creation that they choose and you approve, or just more skill points.

Sovereign Court

I think in general feats were just designed as combat stuff. There's a handful of exceptions, but really, combat and "power" is what feats are for. Those skill-boosting feats are for unusual things;

* A character needs to be REALLY good at some skill; note that many of the skill-boosting feats are for skills where there's a big price for failure, like Stealth (getting caught), Perception (not seeing an enemy, surprise), not succeeding at creating a magic item (Spellcraft).

* They're recommended for building NPCs. They're simple for NPC stat sheets; just add the bonus and forget about them. That's more convenient than something like Power Attack, where you need to remember to decide from round to round whether you want to use it.

If players describe a character as being good at X, and their stats show that they're good at X, then all is well, isn't it? If I play a stealthy character, and I've got a high Stealth score, then why should I take a feat for it too? If I'm already stealthy through skill points, why take a feat?

---

Anyway, about non-combat high-stake challenges;

I had this same issue in my Vampire campaign. I felt that my players were focusing too much on combat, spending all their stuff on it, because combat threatens to kill you, while other things aren't quite as dangerous.

So I saw an opportunity when one of the players accidentally caused his minions to cause the death of the deputy vampire sheriff. A trial ensued, with legal research and social checks deciding the outcome.

I set it up so that several social strategies were possible - argue the law, appeal to influential members of the court, seek the favor of the audience and so forth.

It takes much more planning to set this up as a GM than combat, I can tell you that; but it's also very rewarding. You should try to:

- Make the stakes obvious; have an NPC lawyer/advisor/counselor/superior/secretary explain to them what they stand to gain or lose depending on the outcome in some social confrontation.

- Tell them (IC) what they need to accomplish to win. If it's a trial, have an NPC explain the court's procedures to them; what they need to prove or disprove, and how proof can be rendered. For example, they could call witnesses; let them wonder which witnesses they need.

- Explain OOC the game mechanics for non-combat contests, since players may not be familiar with them. I had to write game mechanics for winning a trial for example, and I explained them to my players.

- Good drama wants a Confrontation or Showdown. Far too often a social encounter consists of just one Diplomacy check, while combat is cut into dozens of moves and countermoves. You need to chop up non-combat challenges into enough little parts.

All in all, Pathfinder is a good combat game system, but only mediocre in non-combat stuff.


How about something that requires a little bookeeping? As a GM record number of times the PC uses a skill more than they have ranks in the skill (or trust them to do it). Then give them either an accumulated one time bonus or a chance to gain an extra rank in one skill used with a bonus to the roll.

Ex: my player's barbarian between level 1 and 2 used Acrobatics 8 times. I can either offer him a +7 when he really needs it or maybe a roll against a DC with a +7 to that roll to gain an extra rank in it.

Its unwieldy, doesn't necessarily encourage roleplaying per se, but it gets your players using their skills versus just beating everyone up. I'd also offer rewards, called out specifically for non-combat solutions.

Ex: the skeletal champion has its crossbow at the temple of the NPC. I'll hand out double XP if you can get this done w/out a single weapon being used.


I have to say that I would love to see a rule for non-combat feats simply because I always find myself wanting to take racial feats for a character, but they are often too weak mechanically for them to be worth taking instead of a 'real' combat feat.

Kitsunes are the worst offenders in this regard. They have around twelve racial feats, and personally I would love to have almost all of them for the character that I'm currently playing. However, they are mostly non-combat feats, and I'm not going to spend *all* of my feats on non-combat feats.

Luckily, I convinced my GM to let my kitsune's number of tails be based on the highest spell level he can cast, so that eliminated eight of them. He can cast almost any spell those tail feats would have granted anyway, and with a much higher save DC due to his favored class bonus.

...So there, maybe that will give you guys a better idea of why some people like the idea of 'non-combat feats'. They're simply things that give a character flavor (like kitsune tails, fox form, and such) without giving him a real combat boost.

Edit: After double checking, I guess I will admit that the Magical Tail feats do have some minor combat uses, but I think you get my point about why I want the feats themselves, lol.

Sovereign Court

We have a tradition in my friends' groups, that during downtime characters can train by spending money on teachers. What exactly can be trained under Pathfinder is in development, but currently we're leaning towards the Skill +3 and +2/+2 feats, and teamwork feats. Teamwork feats are intrinsically resistant to unbalance between PCs, because multiple PCs need to take the same feat to make it work :)


Matrix Dragon wrote:

I have to say that I would love to see a rule for non-combat feats simply because I always find myself wanting to take racial feats for a character, but they are often too weak mechanically for them to be worth taking instead of a 'real' combat feat.

Kitsunes are the worst offenders in this regard. They have around twelve racial feats, and personally I would love to have almost all of them for the character that I'm currently playing. However, they are mostly non-combat feats, and I'm not going to spend *all* of my feats on non-combat feats.

Luckily, I convinced my GM to let my kitsune's number of tails be based on the highest spell level he can cast, so that eliminated eight of them. He can cast almost any spell those tail feats would have granted anyway, and with a much higher save DC due to his favored class bonus.

...So there, maybe that will give you guys a better idea of why some people like the idea of 'non-combat feats'. They're simply things that give a character flavor (like kitsune tails, fox form, and such) without giving him a real combat boost.

Edit: After double checking, I guess I will admit that the Magical Tail feats do have some minor combat uses, but I think you get my point about why I want the feats themselves, lol.

I'll have to keep this in mind. Also, leaving my dot on this thread.


If there is a problem at all, it isn't because there is a problem with how the game works, but may be with how you are running the game.

If you sessions are focused entirely on fighting or finding/defeating enemies, the characters will want to take all their feats in those areas. If you introduce non-combat based
"encounters" and have tangible rewards for roleplaying, players will feel their option open up.

I have one players who loves fighting just as much as the next person, but she can (and does) have just as much fun working her character's day job as an herbalist to keep the party fed as they travel because she still get to interact with interesting creatures, finds herself in situation that require her to think, and gets to make plenty of dice rolls, only instead of trying to hit a goblin fighter, she's trying to calm down Mrs. Goblin while simultaneously trying to cure Mr. Goblin's poison-filled wound. I have another character in the game who makes potions and then finds adventurer-filled areas to sell them. The interactions can get pretty funny, and all these improvised NPCs can make for great storylines later on if I reintroduce them as allies, enemies, or quest-givers.

Long story short: If you want them to do non-combat things and feel like non-combat things are more important, make them more important in your game.

It's also important to note that the purpose of Feats is to represent things that AREN'T covered by class features, race, and skill points. Taking Skill Focus means the character is exceptional at that skill, above average. An average crafter/researcher/merchant would only have the skill ranks, I think.

Sovereign Court

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Personally I approach skill feats as a "last resort" kind of thing; if my character concept dictates that I'm X good at skill Y, but skill points won't take me to X, I might take the feat. For example, a rogue who deals in stolen magical goods, taking Skill Focus(Spellcraft) to identify magic.

But it's an exception; in general, training in a skill is represented by ranks in the skill. It always strikes me as weird to have skill focus in a skill with (almost) no skill ranks in that skill.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Maybe give out bonus traits instead?

Or use another reward system than level-dependent bonus feats. For example, if the scholar succeeds on 10 DC 15 Knowledge checks, give him a bonus Skill Focus feat in the appropriate Knowledge skill. If the archer scores 3 natural 20s on Craft arrow checks, give him Master Craftsman. I think there are Achievement feats in the SRD. Use them as inspiration.

Also, I wouldn't give feats or abilities that work in some situations and not others. Experienced adventures shouldn't choke at something they're good at just because there is some combat going on. Also, combat can be a bit of slippery slope. Is an arguement combat? Hacking down a door with an axe? A trap? What about a magical trap that summons monsters? A chase? What if your friends are fighting, but they're protecting you so you can focus on unlocking the door or healing a wounded companion? A spellcasting duel, such as who can make the best illusion?


For reference, I have received which feats that 4 of my 5 players are going to take. For the most part, I don't feel that any of them are trying to pull anything ridiculous, although going forward, I think that I would just give them some opportunities to get permanent increases to skills when they use them cleverly, or very often, or to great effect, or something like that.

Aasimar soulknife (maverick hunter):
Angelic blood (pre-req for Angelic Wings, which he wouldn't have taken otherwise)
Alertness

Elf alchemist (researcher):
Master alchemist (He's actually going to try making consumables now that it's reasonable to do so)
Breadth of knowledge

Human monk (researcher and private investigator):
Run
Skill focus <private investigator> (I've been letting him use this for information gathering at times, and he already has max ranks in it)

Wayang dragonrider (bowyer):
Master craftsman
Skill focus <craft(bows)>


But see, I feel that this would deter people from ever taking a social route to solve problems.

Example:

Our group was tasked with finding a 'maiden' who had been 'kidnapped' by a band of individuals who broke out of jail. We went into the woods to find them and was guided to this tower which lays on the border of two neighboring provinces... the stipulation being that if she crossed over to this other province her need of rescue is invalidated.

We get to the tower and using stealthy means we hear that she is in there, laughing and can hear her 'captor' telling her to drink... something. Who knows what.

As a very high CHR based character, I see an opportunity to talk to this guy and maybe weasel him out of doing it without killing anyone, maybe even convincing him to either do good or find out more of the story or something. There's got to at least be some reason for this.

I think this, OOC, and I feel that my character wants to, he's certainly not the best at killing anything that moves. But then he realized that he is in companion with an elf ranger whose favored enemy is Orc and there 'just so happens' to be a lot of orcs in this tower (or so we're led to believe).

As such, without even thinking, I know this is going to turn into a bloodbath (and it did).

I dunno. It just feels like you're giving a lot more when there could be craftier solutions to the situations. Maybe they can become brawlers or mercenaries for hire to get gold to buy these things that the want. Or intimidate instead of persuade to get the information they need. Or ... something. Anything. Rather than just throwing them a bone.

------------

If the ranger is truly a good Bowyer, he would have taken the feat and skills to be so. If combat is so intense that they do not get to spec this way, then take a look at how you're handling combat.

Right now, I see him as a regular old joe who knows how to string and craft a bow. I don't expect him to craft like the crafters, unless his feats and skills indicate that he can. Just as much as I do not expect the crafters to be as accurate and as strong as this guy.


Not that it's a hard and fast rule or anything, or that I am suggesting that it is the "right" way to play, but in my own gaming I have usually used feats to address combat issues and skills to address role playing issues, where "role playing" includes things like "I climb the tower and listen at the top window" as opposed to "I kick in the door and start great cleaving the orcs!"

Shadow Lodge

Nicos wrote:
I fail to see the relation between feats and a good roleplay.

I don't think there's much relationship between ANY gameplay mechanics and good roleplayin. I wish I could say the same about bad (or rather minimal) roleplaying. The feat system, while a good idea, has gotten taken way overboard, to the point where it actually inhibits player choices rather than providing them. A character is more defined by ineptitude of being upable to competently perform tasks that require feats that he lacks than he is defined by the things he can do with the small handful of feats he does have. An exageration, but in another thread I said that at first level a character has to choose between the ability to pick his one nose or wipe his own ass. (I personally chose feat: Ass Wiping every time.)


Put me in the baffled camp.

The last thing I would consider to enhance role-playing was adding more feats.

Non-combat feats tend to get passed over not because they're bad but because the non-combat parts of the game don't have an elaborate framework of rules with interesting knobs to twist like combat does.

If the game calls for more social rules, or conflicts of any different type than combat, then that will be what people reinforce with feats.

In a sense, that IS role-playing. The PCs are in a combat-heavy world, learning the skills they need to survive.

If you want less combat-oriented characters, change the source of the conflict to something besides combat. But most players /don't/ want that, because swords are cool.


Evil Lincoln wrote:

Put me in the baffled camp.

The last thing I would consider to enhance role-playing was adding more feats.

Non-combat feats tend to get passed over not because they're bad but because the non-combat parts of the game don't have an elaborate framework of rules with interesting knobs to twist like combat does.

If the game calls for more social rules, or conflicts of any different type than combat, then that will be what people reinforce with feats.

In a sense, that IS role-playing. The PCs are in a combat-heavy world, learning the skills they need to survive.

If you want less combat-oriented characters, change the source of the conflict to something besides combat. But most players /don't/ want that, because swords are cool.

Agreed. Where would we be without the wisdom of Evil Lincoln, 16th president of the Evil United State?

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