The feat tax / trees.....observations of a long time player / DM


Pathfinder First Edition General Discussion

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I've been playing and DMing for the past 12 years. The past seven I've been the main DM for my group.

When I look at the feats that modify spell casting, it's a level requirement.

Now when I see a feat tree like the fighters weapon focus. That player has to burn four slots when one scaling feat would suffice.

I have read about the lack of flexibility to some martial characters. I think some of that could be addressed by streamlining feats to make out of combat feats more available. Streamlining could also open up a master of many styles type combatant.

Anyways, it's just a thought that been nagging me for a while. Thanks for taking time to read.


Some of them do have prereqs (greater spell focus, preferred spell, spell perfection etc) and Fighters get a new feat at basically every level. Its not really like the feats are a tax either when weapon focus is useful and I generally don't see fighters that need a golf bag of different weapons. They have one or two trusty weapons they get used to.


MattR1986 wrote:

Some of them do have prereqs (greater spell focus, preferred spell, spell perfection etc) and Fighters get a new feat at basically every level. Its not really like the feats are a tax either when weapon focus is useful and I generally don't see fighters that need a golf bag of different weapons. They have one or two trusty weapons they get used to.

Alright so what about the martials who aren't fighters or the fighters that want to branch out to more things?


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FanaticRat wrote:
MattR1986 wrote:

Some of them do have prereqs (greater spell focus, preferred spell, spell perfection etc) and Fighters get a new feat at basically every level. Its not really like the feats are a tax either when weapon focus is useful and I generally don't see fighters that need a golf bag of different weapons. They have one or two trusty weapons they get used to.

Alright so what about the martials who aren't fighters or the fighters that want to branch out to more things?

Or a fighter who will never ever EVER use combat expertise. And then there's the intelligence requirements. I don't see metamagic feats having strength requirement because can't have them needing more than one stat.


fighters need intelligence for skill points because they have so few, and skill points make up the bulk of the things they can do out of combat, so i never play a fighter on less than a 25 point buy because i need that 14 int, fast learner and open minded, because 7 skill points per level at the cost of a single point or two of attack bonus and a point or two of damage sure beats that extra point of attack and damage with the expense of having only one skill point per level. i don't need that 20 when i could start with a 17 after racial modifiers and have more options, both in combat and out of it.


He mentioned weapon focus so that was the one I was looking at. And the only Int one I can think of off the top is combat expertise. Ok so you pay a tax of one feat when you get one/level when a Wizard gets them every other. The int thing I think is kind of lame, especially when things require an odd number. That isn't something I really get but I'm sure its been discussed elsewhere.


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Some interesting ideas about feat taxes and chain feats can be found in this thread here.

Ascalaphus' suggestions on unifying feat chains into single scaling feats is a good one, as are various other suggestions such as making Weapon Finesse, Power Attack and Deadly Aim inherent abilities that any character can use. Changing the requirement of many feats to "Combat Expertise or Int 13" (and dropping the Int requirement from Combat Expertise) makes sense too - you either use your superior smarts or your combat training to qualify, not both.

There are also a bunch of other suggestions in the thread to level out full casters with mundanes. It's worth a read.

Sovereign Court

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Yeah, I really like scaling feats.

In essence, what I did was take all the Improved-Greater feat chains, and add a line to the first feat in the chain:

"When you meet the prerequisites for the follow-up feats, you gain them as bonus feats."

This has the advantage of preserving a sense of level progression. As a warrior gains levels, he unlocks newer powers. But the total investment in a chain becomes a lot less, allowing him to take multiple chains (which I like). Also, if he decides to start on a chain at level 12 or so, it doesn't take him six more levels before it starts to really work. It works immediately.

direct link to my implementation

I'm not the only one who made stuff like this; I'm studying the work of some other people, maybe I'll incorporate it.


Just bear in mind if you use scaling feats, everyone gets more feats. This in comparison to other classes hurts fighters. Sure fighters and everyone gets an increase, but fighters gain less then everyone else due to they were the ones who got the most feats and feats were a scarce commodity.

An illustration to make sense of this. Lets say over years of hard work you aquired 1 Million dollars, while your friend had only aquired 500,000 dollars. Now the forces of good come along and decide everyone should be wealthy so they give everyone 1 BILLION DOLLARS in the name of ending income inequality. Instead of having twice what your friend have you now have less then 1 /1000 more then what he had... but everyone gained so you are better off right? Unfortunately due to the excess money in the system, and human nature being what it is we see the prices of everything raise 1000 fold and now everyone is broke because 1 BILLION dollars is almost enough to buy bread (Weimar Republic Inflation). Now the forces of good removes the mask revealing it is truly Dr. Evil and noone can save us because even the governments are broke so Austin Powers does not have enough capital to launch a mission to save the world.

Now in gaming system while everyone benefits from the INFLUX of 1 BILLION new feats... the fighter looses out in relation to other classes because his main sellig point (extra feats) has been watered down.

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
Ughbash wrote:

Just bear in mind if you use scaling feats, everyone gets more feats. This in comparison to other classes hurts fighters. Sure fighters and everyone gets an increase, but fighters gain less then everyone else due to they were the ones who got the most feats and feats were a scarce commodity.

An illustration to make sense of this. Lets say over years of hard work you aquired 1 Million dollars, while your friend had only aquired 500,000 dollars. Now the forces of good come along and decide everyone should be wealthy so they give everyone 1 BILLION DOLLARS in the name of ending income inequality. Instead of having twice what your friend have you now have less then 1 /1000 more then what he had... but everyone gained so you are better off right? Unfortunately due to the excess money in the system, and human nature being what it is we see the prices of everything raise 1000 fold and now everyone is broke because 1 BILLION dollars is almost enough to buy bread (Weimar Republic Inflation). Now the forces of good removes the mask revealing it is truly Dr. Evil and noone can save us because even the governments are broke so Austin Powers does not have enough capital to launch a mission to save the world.

Now in gaming system while everyone benefits from the INFLUX of 1 BILLION new feats... the fighter looses out in relation to other classes because his main sellig point (extra feats) has been watered down.

Simple solution - make the fighter's money (feats) more valuable. Perhaps there are certain feat chains that only scale with fighter levels, or fighters scale faster than other classes and cap out at a higher benefit.

For simplicity's sake, let's say we made the Two-Weapon Fighting chain a single scaling feat. You could have it grant the Improved and Greater versions at +8 and +13 BAB normally or when you reach Fighter Level 6 and 11, giving the fighter a faster progression. Alternatively you could have the feat grant the extra attacks at +6 and +11 like they usually do, but when you reach Fighter Level 6 and Level 11 you gain extra abilities, such as Two-Weapon Defense and Two-Weapon Rend, while other classes must take those feats normally.

Fighters can still be the king of feats if you change their true benefit from "quantity" to "quality".


Ughbash wrote:

Just bear in mind if you use scaling feats, everyone gets more feats. This in comparison to other classes hurts fighters. Sure fighters and everyone gets an increase, but fighters gain less then everyone else due to they were the ones who got the most feats and feats were a scarce commodity.

An illustration to make sense of this. Lets say over years of hard work you aquired 1 Million dollars, while your friend had only aquired 500,000 dollars. Now the forces of good come along and decide everyone should be wealthy so they give everyone 1 BILLION DOLLARS in the name of ending income inequality. Instead of having twice what your friend have you now have less then 1 /1000 more then what he had... but everyone gained so you are better off right? Unfortunately due to the excess money in the system, and human nature being what it is we see the prices of everything raise 1000 fold and now everyone is broke because 1 BILLION dollars is almost enough to buy bread (Weimar Republic Inflation). Now the forces of good removes the mask revealing it is truly Dr. Evil and noone can save us because even the governments are broke so Austin Powers does not have enough capital to launch a mission to save the world.

Hogwash.

The fighter has twice as many feats and no class features. The paladin has class features.

When you double the value of a feat by making them scale the fighter's capabilities double. The paladins go up by maybe half because they have fewer feats and are getting their power from things that aren't feats.

The wizard doesn't have many feat chains and gets huge amounts of power from spells. They may go up 10% for certain builds, but really aren't changing substantially.


Automatic feat chains tend to favor feat-heavy mundanes like Fighters and Rogues, and allows them a bit of leeway to take noncombat feats or more niche combat feats without being gimped. Given that these classes tend to be considered the underpowered ones, I like it.

Not every feat needs to be a chain. Two-Weapon Fighting pretty logically leads to Improved Two-Weapon Fighting, but Heighten Spell does not clearly upgrade to anything.


Atarlost wrote:
Ughbash wrote:

Just bear in mind if you use scaling feats, everyone gets more feats. This in comparison to other classes hurts fighters. Sure fighters and everyone gets an increase, but fighters gain less then everyone else due to they were the ones who got the most feats and feats were a scarce commodity.

An illustration to make sense of this. Lets say over years of hard work you aquired 1 Million dollars, while your friend had only aquired 500,000 dollars. Now the forces of good come along and decide everyone should be wealthy so they give everyone 1 BILLION DOLLARS in the name of ending income inequality. Instead of having twice what your friend have you now have less then 1 /1000 more then what he had... but everyone gained so you are better off right? Unfortunately due to the excess money in the system, and human nature being what it is we see the prices of everything raise 1000 fold and now everyone is broke because 1 BILLION dollars is almost enough to buy bread (Weimar Republic Inflation). Now the forces of good removes the mask revealing it is truly Dr. Evil and noone can save us because even the governments are broke so Austin Powers does not have enough capital to launch a mission to save the world.

Hogwash.

The fighter has twice as many feats and no class features. The paladin has class features.

When you double the value of a feat by making them scale the fighter's capabilities double. The paladins go up by maybe half because they have fewer feats and are getting their power from things that aren't feats.

The wizard doesn't have many feat chains and gets huge amounts of power from spells. They may go up 10% for certain builds, but really aren't changing substantially.

You assume every feat would be a chain. Most likley there would be a mix of "chain feats" and non chain feats. The paladin could pick up the key chains.

Silver Crusade

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Imagine we did this to a Wizard or Caster, and maybe something will click in those who say "oh, but a fighter gets them every level":

Spells have prerequisites.

Want to cast Fireball? You must have taken Burning Hands.

Want to cast Summon Monster IV? You need to have taken Summon Monster I, II & III; and a Charisma of 13, to apply the appropriate strength of personality over it.

Black Tentacles? You need to have taken Web and the Tentacles CMB is based on your STR.

Now, we do all that, and we put a hard limit on how many spells you can have in your book per level, because fighter's don't get to carry around a book that lets them change feats every day (well there is a magic item for 7500g that lets them, but it's only 1 feat).

Now, the Wizards aren't going to be real thrilled about this, and rightfully so, it's asking too much of their character, it's forcing them to be focused on a spell chain to get that one spell they really want.

Guess what, Fighter's have to do that all the time, but instead of fixing it, we get told "you have so many feats".


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Corvino wrote:
suggestions such as making Weapon Finesse, Power Attack and Deadly Aim inherent abilities that any character can use.

Any feat which says "trade x for y" should not be a feat but just a game option. Anything that has a "trade x for y" feat as a prereq would then just delete that prereq.


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P33J wrote:

Imagine we did this to a Wizard or Caster, and maybe something will click in those who say "oh, but a fighter gets them every level":

Spells have prerequisites.

Want to cast Fireball? You must have taken Burning Hands.

Want to cast Summon Monster IV? You need to have taken Summon Monster I, II & III; and a Charisma of 13, to apply the appropriate strength of personality over it.

Black Tentacles? You need to have taken Web and the Tentacles CMB is based on your STR.

Now, we do all that, and we put a hard limit on how many spells you can have in your book per level, because fighter's don't get to carry around a book that lets them change feats every day (well there is a magic item for 7500g that lets them, but it's only 1 feat).

Now, the Wizards aren't going to be real thrilled about this, and rightfully so, it's asking too much of their character, it's forcing them to be focused on a spell chain to get that one spell they really want.

Guess what, Fighter's have to do that all the time, but instead of fixing it, we get told "you have so many feats".

I want to favorite this post like 87 times.

Sovereign Court

P33J wrote:

Imagine we did this to a Wizard or Caster, and maybe something will click in those who say "oh, but a fighter gets them every level":

Spells have prerequisites.

Want to cast Fireball? You must have taken Burning Hands.

Want to cast Summon Monster IV? You need to have taken Summon Monster I, II & III; and a Charisma of 13, to apply the appropriate strength of personality over it.

Black Tentacles? You need to have taken Web and the Tentacles CMB is based on your STR.

Now, we do all that, and we put a hard limit on how many spells you can have in your book per level, because fighter's don't get to carry around a book that lets them change feats every day (well there is a magic item for 7500g that lets them, but it's only 1 feat).

Now, the Wizards aren't going to be real thrilled about this, and rightfully so, it's asking too much of their character, it's forcing them to be focused on a spell chain to get that one spell they really want.

Guess what, Fighter's have to do that all the time, but instead of fixing it, we get told "you have so many feats".

I had a GM try out something like this. It's quite un-fun. Also, extremely awkward because not all spells fall into near chains. So you'd have endless arguments about which spells lead to which other spells.

If your goal is to level the playing field by making everyone miserable, that works. Otherwise, stay away from this.

Silver Crusade

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Ascalaphus wrote:
Stuff

Exactly, it sucks. Now imagine doing that without powers that bend the laws of reality.

Sovereign Court

P33J wrote:
Ascalaphus wrote:
Stuff
Exactly, it sucks. Now imagine doing that without powers that bend the laws of reality.

That's why my writeup focuses on trying to alleviate the feat chain problems. I don't want to drag other people down into the misery, I want to life the fighter and rogue up and out of it.

Silver Crusade

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I wasn't suggesting it as a fix, it was my way of building empathy for people who say fighters don't need to have the feat chain progression fixed.


Ughbash wrote:
You assume every feat would be a chain. Most likley there would be a mix of "chain feats" and non chain feats. The paladin could pick up the key chains.

I assume that players are not stupid and those who want to play combat based characters will select the better scaling feats rather than nonscaling garbage.

The paladin can't pick up all the chains.

1) power attack
3) trip
5) precise shot
7) great reflexes
9) critical focus
11-19) other members of the critical focus tree, dazing strike, and then the game's over

Fighter
1) power attack, trip
2) precise shot
3) rapid shot/manyshot
4) weapon spec
5) iron will
6) another weapon spec
7) dirty trick
8) critical focus
9) great reflexes
10-20) late game feats

If you start the game at 15 or so the fighter is running out of good choices, but most people are ending their games then.


I wonder about the lack of flexibility with fighters. I played rolemaster for many years, and their balance was that the same points that paid for spells were used to pay for skills. Each skill has a cost based on the character class, but generally for non-academic skills, non spell users were skill machines and could do tons of stuff, and in many ways were more flexible than spell casters. Points also came from 5 of 10 stats instead of just intelligence. I can not for the life of me figure out why pathfinder wizards are likely to be better at climbing and riding than fighters. Sure you get the + for class skills, but at mid to high levels this seems weak. I just dont get why they went this route. That being said, as a GM, if I dont like it, I can change it.


Regardless of whether you meant it as a negative to prove a point, the idea of spell chains/trees is pretty intriguing.

Sovereign Court

@Reitif: theoretically a wizard can be better at Climb than a fighter, but they rarely are, because they tend to value their own class skills more. And Knowledges actually have DCs that scale up with the DR of enemies.

@Atarlost: I don't think fighters run out of choices even under my system; there are a LOT of feats nowaways, but 90% never get picked because people are stuck in feat chains.


Ascalaphus: yeah, i can understand that, but still seems odd. If you have a fighter with average Int. he/she has 2 skill points and really cant do much at all. You don't need to be academically smart to ride a horse, swim or climb a rope. It seems very limiting especially because the DC of skill checks go up. Said fighter can either learn to climb a rope and ride a horse, or swim and climb, or ride and swim, and maybe even all three, but not much else. I guess in the end it is what it is, but I would consider sub categorizing some skills for non-spell classes (possibly others, I am a NEWB to this system) and charging a half point per rank.) Has anyone experimented with this concept?


Ascalaphus wrote:

@Reitif: theoretically a wizard can be better at Climb than a fighter, but they rarely are, because they tend to value their own class skills more. And Knowledges actually have DCs that scale up with the DR of enemies.

Realistically a wizard would be terrible at climbing. Go ahead and try to climb a wall in a Standard Issue Wizard's Bathrobe™. Go ahead, try it...comedy will ensue!


Scaling combat feats aren't a new thing. Frank and K put them into the 3.5 Tomes stuff years ago, and I've been using them in "Kirthfinder" since the PF Beta playtest or so. And, yes, they work.

But it would still be nice if the fighter got some actual class features that give him some narrative influence.

Liberty's Edge

There is an entire section on Scaling Combat Feats in the New Paths Compendium from Kobold Press.

Might well be worth a look :)


Marc Radle wrote:

There is an entire section on Scaling Combat Feats in the New Paths Compendium from Kobold Press.

Might well be worth a look :)

I started using this. Its really just a few combat feat chains that really wreck the party so just having those become scaling feats solve a lot of problems rather than having to scale every feat in the game.


Ascalaphus wrote:
@Atarlost: I don't think fighters run out of choices even under my system; there are a LOT of feats nowaways, but 90% never get picked because people are stuck in feat chains.

I've experimented with a Fighter Fix who got 2 bonus Combat Feats per level, and that class never ran out of useful things to take. There were certain points where certain styles got fairly 'fleshed out' and the character had to choose between branching into a new style or going for those obscure minor feats to continue training in their default style, but never once did said fighter run out of feats they wanted.

The d20pfsrd is an excellent resource for such feat-heavy characters.


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BigDTBone wrote:
P33J wrote:

Imagine we did this to a Wizard or Caster, and maybe something will click in those who say "oh, but a fighter gets them every level":

Spells have prerequisites.

Want to cast Fireball? You must have taken Burning Hands.

Want to cast Summon Monster IV? You need to have taken Summon Monster I, II & III; and a Charisma of 13, to apply the appropriate strength of personality over it.

Black Tentacles? You need to have taken Web and the Tentacles CMB is based on your STR.

Now, we do all that, and we put a hard limit on how many spells you can have in your book per level, because fighter's don't get to carry around a book that lets them change feats every day (well there is a magic item for 7500g that lets them, but it's only 1 feat).

Now, the Wizards aren't going to be real thrilled about this, and rightfully so, it's asking too much of their character, it's forcing them to be focused on a spell chain to get that one spell they really want.

Guess what, Fighter's have to do that all the time, but instead of fixing it, we get told "you have so many feats".

I want to favorite this post like 87 times.

There's a feat which allows you to favorite a post multiple times. It has 26 prerequisites, none of which synergize with it, however. But that's okay, you get feats for every level of Forum Poster, so stop complaining!


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137ben wrote:
BigDTBone wrote:
P33J wrote:

Imagine we did this to a Wizard or Caster, and maybe something will click in those who say "oh, but a fighter gets them every level":

Spells have prerequisites.

Want to cast Fireball? You must have taken Burning Hands.

Want to cast Summon Monster IV? You need to have taken Summon Monster I, II & III; and a Charisma of 13, to apply the appropriate strength of personality over it.

Black Tentacles? You need to have taken Web and the Tentacles CMB is based on your STR.

Now, we do all that, and we put a hard limit on how many spells you can have in your book per level, because fighter's don't get to carry around a book that lets them change feats every day (well there is a magic item for 7500g that lets them, but it's only 1 feat).

Now, the Wizards aren't going to be real thrilled about this, and rightfully so, it's asking too much of their character, it's forcing them to be focused on a spell chain to get that one spell they really want.

Guess what, Fighter's have to do that all the time, but instead of fixing it, we get told "you have so many feats".

I want to favorite this post like 87 times.
There's a feat which allows you to favorite a post multiple times. It has 26 prerequisites, none of which synergize with it, however. But that's okay, you get feats for every level of Forum Poster, so stop complaining!

Unfortunately I didn't plan my build around that feat (it was released in a later supplement) and I already have 1400 post xp. Too bad Paizo won't let me reroll.


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BigDTBone wrote:
137ben wrote:
BigDTBone wrote:
P33J wrote:

Imagine we did this to a Wizard or Caster, and maybe something will click in those who say "oh, but a fighter gets them every level":

Spells have prerequisites.

Want to cast Fireball? You must have taken Burning Hands.

Want to cast Summon Monster IV? You need to have taken Summon Monster I, II & III; and a Charisma of 13, to apply the appropriate strength of personality over it.

Black Tentacles? You need to have taken Web and the Tentacles CMB is based on your STR.

Now, we do all that, and we put a hard limit on how many spells you can have in your book per level, because fighter's don't get to carry around a book that lets them change feats every day (well there is a magic item for 7500g that lets them, but it's only 1 feat).

Now, the Wizards aren't going to be real thrilled about this, and rightfully so, it's asking too much of their character, it's forcing them to be focused on a spell chain to get that one spell they really want.

Guess what, Fighter's have to do that all the time, but instead of fixing it, we get told "you have so many feats".

I want to favorite this post like 87 times.
There's a feat which allows you to favorite a post multiple times. It has 26 prerequisites, none of which synergize with it, however. But that's okay, you get feats for every level of Forum Poster, so stop complaining!
Unfortunately I didn't plan my build around that feat (it was released in a later supplement) and I already have 1400 post xp. Too bad Paizo won't let me reroll.

Linear Posters, Quadratic Admins.

The Exchange

Those of you interested in designing a fighter who uses "chain feats", and/or can shift feats based on his current needs, should check out Mike Mearls' Iron Heroes and its Man-At-Arms class. (I warn you in advance that these classes are designed for a really low-magic kind of setting, and that mixing Pathfinder-type loot with these classes is not recommended.)


Sorry, I've been out of pocket catching everything up for finals next
week.

One of the things that has caught my attention is the normal spell casting feats. Metamagic feats have a caster level. Imp. Initiative is stat req.

Why can't improved and greater fighter feats that scale be automatic at a certain level and/or stat req.

Metamagic requires sacrificing spell slots to get a greater effect. What if you sacrificed iterative attacks to do a combat maneuver. Like you sac two attacks to gain a trip chance.

So if you had 3 attacks per round you would get your first attack at normal damage and if you sacked two attacks then you could check against CMD for a trip.


krevon wrote:

Sorry, I've been out of pocket catching everything up for finals next

week.

One of the things that has caught my attention is the normal spell casting feats. Metamagic feats have a caster level. Imp. Initiative is stat req.

Why can't improved and greater fighter feats that scale be automatic at a certain level and/or stat req.

Metamagic requires sacrificing spell slots to get a greater effect. What if you sacrificed iterative attacks to do a combat maneuver. Like you sac two attacks to gain a trip chance.

So if you had 3 attacks per round you would get your first attack at normal damage and if you sacked two attacks then you could check against CMD for a trip.

Can't you do that anyway? Without giving up extra attacks?


Ughbash wrote:

Just bear in mind if you use scaling feats, everyone gets more feats. This in comparison to other classes hurts fighters. Sure fighters and everyone gets an increase, but fighters gain less then everyone else due to they were the ones who got the most feats and feats were a scarce commodity.

Scaling feats boost everyone equally. The fighter now free to pick up other feats. I mean if say weapon focus scaled I'd be able to take weapon focus in a melee and ranged weapon. Something I find difficult to do even with all the fighters feats.


BigDTBone wrote:
krevon wrote:

Sorry, I've been out of pocket catching everything up for finals next

week.

One of the things that has caught my attention is the normal spell casting feats. Metamagic feats have a caster level. Imp. Initiative is stat req.

Why can't improved and greater fighter feats that scale be automatic at a certain level and/or stat req.

Metamagic requires sacrificing spell slots to get a greater effect. What if you sacrificed iterative attacks to do a combat maneuver. Like you sac two attacks to gain a trip chance.

So if you had 3 attacks per round you would get your first attack at normal damage and if you sacked two attacks then you could check against CMD for a trip.

Can't you do that anyway? Without giving up extra attacks?

Yes, but only for Disarm, Trip, or Sunder. Everything else requires a Standard Action to use, unless you have a special ability (like the Shield Slam feat or the Grab special ability) that allows you to use it in other ways.

The Exchange

I do love Quick Dirty Trick. You blind 'em with your good attack, which makes your secondaries a lot more likely to hit. Much more satisfying than doing the hard part and then standing there while your buddies take advantage of the situation. ;) They still get to do it, but you get to go first!


krevon wrote:

I've been playing and DMing for the past 12 years. The past seven I've been the main DM for my group.

When I look at the feats that modify spell casting, it's a level requirement.

Now when I see a feat tree like the fighters weapon focus. That player has to burn four slots when one scaling feat would suffice.

I have read about the lack of flexibility to some martial characters. I think some of that could be addressed by streamlining feats to make out of combat feats more available. Streamlining could also open up a master of many styles type combatant.

Anyways, it's just a thought that been nagging me for a while. Thanks for taking time to read.

I don't inherently object to the nature of scaling feats; some may or may not agree, but I tend to think feat trees are an issue of maintaining some semblance of mechanical balance more than anything else. Likewise, feats in the original 3.5 set of rules that were the foundation for Pathfinder had a lot more importance than they do now, in terms of power. "Great Cleave" in 3.5 meant something radically different than the top of the "Cleave" tree now.

I have one person in my group whose primary complaint with Pathfinder (and 3.5) is what he feels is the "necessity" of character planning. He doesn't like the notion that you should be looking up to the late teens (or even as far as 20th level) so you can plan feat trees to do the things you want. He'd rather just take a feat 'cause it looks neat and gives him power/ability he wants vs. having to plan it out. I see his perspective, though I don't necessarily share it (I'm honestly apathetic about it; I just see it as the nature of the d20 System, much like hit points and Armor Class are).

I don't think martial characters are quite as gimped as some think they are. One important thing to realize is a lot of the discussions on these forums skew towards the optimization end of the spectrum, and players not as interested in optimization tend to represent a smaller (though not non-existent) number of regular posters. Casters have a lot more utility and versatility by nature of their abilities; martial characters are generally improving on their ability to hit things, to survive (or avoid) things hitting them, and dealing as much damage per hit as they can manage. Skills not related to those goals, as well as stuff specifically oriented towards "fluff" (or RP) tend to be secondary to them.

A caster often isn't worried about hitting things (they're more worried about minimizing things' ability to resist their spells), and they don't worry as much about being hit (it isn't always the case, but casters tend towards being ranged, and will often just place themselves out of harm's way as much as they can manage, often by just making sure martial types can stay alive long enough to keep foes focused on them instead of the caster, whether by healing or buffing or both). They have to balance utility with damage output. There are players who come up with creative uses of spells (for which those players ought to be lauded), and then there are players who rules-lawyer their way into near-unassailable characters. If it isn't too blatant I don't worry about it; if it's too in-your-face, I have no problems at all wielding Rule Zero when I'm the GM.


Dot.

Sovereign Court

I don't like the necessity of planning, but it's definitely there. I think it's something that can be remedied though, and I'm working on doing that in a systematic manner, through:

1) scaling combat feats, so that you can actually do more than one chain

2) abbreviating some prerequisites so that you don't have to plan so far ahead to obtain all of them

3) making retraining available so you can do mid-course correction on your build.

The thing I like about my solution (earlier post) is that it requires little re-learning for players. The feats still do the same, you just get more of them for free. So you only need to do a bit more bookkeeping when leveling up, but after that you can mostly use the feats as written in the books.


Ascalaphus wrote:

I don't like the necessity of planning, but it's definitely there. I think it's something that can be remedied though, and I'm working on doing that in a systematic manner, through:

1) scaling combat feats, so that you can actually do more than one chain

2) abbreviating some prerequisites so that you don't have to plan so far ahead to obtain all of them

3) making retraining available so you can do mid-course correction on your build.

The thing I like about my solution (earlier post) is that it requires little re-learning for players. The feats still do the same, you just get more of them for free. So you only need to do a bit more bookkeeping when leveling up, but after that you can mostly use the feats as written in the books.

i like that idea, i hate having to plan a character throughout the course of the whole campaign, from every class level and feat equivlaent ability to every skill and magic item. it sounds like a highly unrealistic, immersion breaking amount of planning around items you may not even get unless you have a lenient dungeon master whom isn't out to screw you over. i have also seen characters that would rather die than lose their signature weapon they invested a mountain of resources in, because the cost of a raising, or the party windfall of bringing in a new character while the old one got looted, were generally cheaper than the cost of losing a +2 or better weapon.


P33J wrote:

Black Tentacles? You need to have taken Web and the Tentacles CMB is based on your STR".

No offense, but this is one of worst ideas I have heard of. Tentacles CMB based on wizard str? Then damage for a fighter must be based off his INT right? (Yep, I didn't think you would like that)

Every wizard spell that emulates a combat maneuver has its cmb/cmd based off caster level + int mod. You would have to change all of them as a result of this suggestion.

Use common sense please.

Sovereign Court

A major reason why I don't like the rigidity of builds: suppose that you find a magic weapon you fall in love with for some reason, but your build was actually aimed at a different weapon style.

Or suppose a new book features a feat that is PERFECT for your character, except that to meet the prerequisites you should've chosen two different feats, and an archetype that doesn't trade out a now-required class feature.

I'm happy we now have retraining rules.

Liberty's Edge

Marc Radle wrote:

There is an entire section on Scaling Combat Feats in the New Paths Compendium from Kobold Press.

Might well be worth a look :)

Many of these balance issues and concerns are exactly why the above Scaling Combat feats are nice. Implimenting them allows you to give martial classes a boost without doing the same for other, less combat otiented classes.

Scarab Sages

P33J wrote:
Imagine we did this to a Wizard or Caster, and maybe something will click in those who say "oh, but a fighter gets them every level":

Want to use Spell Perfection?

Meta Magic -> Metamagic -> Metamagic -> Spell Perfection

Want Shadow Grasp?

Tenebrous Spell -> Umbral Spell -> Shadow Grasp

Want Superior Summoning?

Spell focus(conjuration) -> Augment Summoning -> Superior Summoning.

Casters have just as many feat chains as fighters, with fewer feats available to purchase them.


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Artanthos wrote:
P33J wrote:
Imagine we did this to a Wizard or Caster, and maybe something will click in those who say "oh, but a fighter gets them every level":

Want to use Spell Perfection?

Meta Magic -> Metamagic -> Metamagic -> Spell Perfection

Want Shadow Grasp?

Tenebrous Spell -> Umbral Spell -> Shadow Grasp

Want Superior Summoning?

Spell focus(conjuration) -> Augment Summoning -> Superior Summoning.

Casters have just as many feat chains as fighters, with fewer feats available to purchase them.

Note the difference in the feat chains, though. How much trash does a fighter have to wade through to get to Whirlwind Attack? How about tripping? Whereas the Spell Perfection chain gets you features you can apply to any spell you like, and it's not like the other two chains don't modify tons and tons of things you're already using or want to invest in. Casters have feat chains, yes - better feat chains. Useful feat chains. Martials wade through garbage to get to something they want, only to discover that they were force to pick it up too late for it to remain relevant.


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Stupid thread Troll wrote:
P33J wrote:

Black Tentacles? You need to have taken Web and the Tentacles CMB is based on your STR".

No offense, but this is one of worst ideas I have heard of. Tentacles CMB based on wizard str? Then damage for a fighter must be based off his INT right? (Yep, I didn't think you would like that)

Every wizard spell that emulates a combat maneuver has its cmb/cmd based off caster level + int mod. You would have to change all of them as a result of this suggestion.

Use common sense please.

I'll let Phillip J. Fry say it for me.


3 people marked this as a favorite.

Is it just me or are the links in those chains and the rewards for completion all really good?

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