Power Attack, Combat Expertise... Free Feats?


Homebrew


Hey guys, just wondering how many [if any] of you have experimented with making certain feats like Power Attack, Deadly Aim, Combat Expertise, etc. default character abilities that anyone with a certain strength score, BAB, or whatever can just do. I'm considering going this route for an upcoming e8 Mythic campaign just to sort of get the action going sooner and allow for a bit more flexibility, though I also don't want to fall into a trap. A lot of people see these feats as taxes, others don't, but any opinions or experiences are welcomed!

I'm currently about 60/40 in favor of printing this with my other house rules, but it's a tough call.

Thanks!


What I would do is give the players a list of bonus feats and they can pick 1 for free. Usually include stuff like: Power Attack, Deadly Aim, Combat Expertise, Scribe Scroll, Skill Focus. If you want a slightly higher level include Spell Penetration, Spell Focus, and Precise Shot. I don't think I'd give them all away. Would it break the game if you did, probably not, but I think its unnecessary, especially for an E8, as they get loads of bonus feats, assuming your running it traditionally.


Right. I've considered that that may be one way to do it, and I think it'd probably turn out to be pretty similar. And I will be running e8 pretty traditionally, so they will be getting a ton of feats. I just want to see if anyone's got experience with having a whole bunch of these feats be basic mechanics. Since they're capped off I thought it might be a way for these characters to have a bit more versatility without using up feats, but then again the cautious part of me hidden in the back of my brain says there's a reason for feat trees...


I have a number of "BAB Feats" in my houserules.

Quote:

All characters gain a BAB/Weapon feat, chosen from the following list, at BAB +1, and BAB +10.

Combat Expertise, Back-To-Back, Point-Blank Shot, Manyshot, Two-Weapon Fighting, and Martial Proficiency (any armor or any weapon group).


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Power Attack and its relatives are all free in my campaigns, as is Heighten Spell, which simply applies automatically when appropriate.


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I give the bonus of Combat Expertise for free, then I modified the combat Expertise feat to something different.

Combat Expertise - Req. Int 13, Add half of you intelligence bonus to you CMB/CMD, minimum of 1.


blahpers wrote:
Power Attack and its relatives are all free in my campaigns, as is Heighten Spell, which simply applies automatically when appropriate.

How has that worked out for you? Do players take advantage of it or just take it in stride? It's been looking to me like it would open up options more quickly, so players are getting into certain builds a bit quicker. There might be some potential for abuse, but I don't really see any. It seems natural to be able to do what Power Attack, Deadly Aim, etc. do so long as you've got the BAB and ability scores for it, and Heighten Spell also seems like something you should just be able to do.

I'd love to hear how it's received at your table(s)!


Resurrecting a dead thread because I share the OP’s curiosity: what harm would result from just giving Power Attack away for free to everyone?

Who has tried this? What was the result?


I'd say a GM who wants to should go for it. Make Natural Spell and that talk-while-you're in Wildshape Feat free while you're at it.

Back in the old days, I remember everybody had Spring Attack and Mounted Combat, too.

For d20, though, I'd say that Combat Expertise and Power Attack are both good enough Feats to justify taking them out of choice: they're not just a Feat Tax.

But making Expertise and Power Attack Free (to all Fighters?) seems like a reasonable way to make your campaign more high-powered.


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The Elephant in the Room Feat Tax Rules are a pretty common house rule that incorporates most of what's talked about in this thread. I've played with them, and they don't really break the game. Mostly they just give melee combatants more options in combat. Rarely is it a flat out bonus.


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Andostre wrote:
The Elephant in the Room Feat Tax Rules are a pretty common house rule that incorporates most of what's talked about in this thread. I've played with them, and they don't really break the game. Mostly they just give melee combatants more options in combat. Rarely is it a flat out bonus.

Yes - one of my players flipped me this a few weeks ago.

Also, I appreciate your observations on how it played out...

Silver Crusade

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These are rules our group has been using for years and have caused no issues

The three feats, Power Attack, Deadly Aim and Combat Expertise are no longer feats but combat 'options' that any character, NPC or monster may use at any time they choose. Characters count as having these feats for the purpose of qualifying for other feats and abilities.

The feats Weapon Finesse and Piranha Strike no longer exists and any character, NPC or monster may use their dexterity modifier in place of their strength modifier with any 'finessable' weapon. Characters count as having these feats for the purpose of qualifying for other feats and abilities.

The feats Two-Weapon Fighting and Vital Strike automatically upgrade into their Improved and Greater versions when the requisite BAB and DEX score is reached, they count as themselves AND the Improved and Greater versions once the requisite BAB is reached for the purpose of qualifying for other feats and abilities.

ANY Improved Combat Maneuver feat now automatically scales into it's Greater version when the BAB prerequisites are reached and counts as both feats for other prerequisites. Performing combat maneuvers now only provoke AoO's from a failed combat maneuver attempt.


My group has been playing with very similar rules to Tin Foil Yamakah. We have also 'bundled' up some of the item crafting feats.

The result is that non Fighter martial characters have been able to pursue a fighting style and have some space for general feats or to sink into a combat maneuver.

Item crafters have been able to put feats into crafting (which benefits the whole party) and still some left over for their own fun.

We have seen a few more diverse ideas and characters able to adapt to different situations in combat. Over all it has been more fun and we have seen feats come into play that otherwise no one would normally bother taking.

For me it has mainly benefited Fighters by increasing their ability to diversify which I think is a good thing


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Some good ideas here. Too dang bad I already have my house rules for my new campaign printed and bound professionally (one of my players works part time for Troll Lord Games).


David Wallace 583 428 wrote:
We have also 'bundled' up some of the item crafting feats.

Which ones have you bundled?


You say you don't want to fall into a trap, but I can't really see how that would happen.
I am a supporter of feats like Power Attack and Combat Expertise being inherit abilities, as well as attempts to bundle feat chains like Vital Strike or Improved Disarm, along with a host of other house rules with the common goals of giving players more options and making different choices equally viable. With all that said, any changes like this will make a character more versatile and more potent.
So if you have to crank up the heat a little to challenge such characters, so what? Do it.

I guess you might run into a situation where one player takes significant advantage of such rules and other players do not.
But if you have one player who's making the game less enjoyable for the other players, there's no reason you shouldn't be able to sit down and talk with them about pulling it back a notch or two.


We run with the following bundled crafting feats:
Craft arms and armor
Craft staff, wand and rod
Craft wondrous item, forge ring
Having both craft arms/armor AND craft wondrous means you can craft constructs.

Scribe scroll and brew potion are now just something every caster can do. Classes that get those feats for free instead get a bonus feat.

We don't really make use of the other crafting options like tattoos and magical plants.

In all honesty it may be worth just dumping item creation feats entirely and just making it something casters can do.

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