feats as rewards?


Pathfinder First Edition General Discussion


so i asked my fellow players what kinda things they would like in a game.and one of them stated he wanted feats as a reward.can a dm give give feats as quest rewards? i would say no for most. the only feats i could see as quest rewards is teamwork feats and only if the team did work together well over several encounters. and those Achievement Feats. what are your opinions on this?


A DM can do anything he/she wants really , all that trully matters is that the game remain fun to the table.

Personally i already play sometimes for example giving at level one 1 bonus story feat for each player...

What i would take care with is making sure to give feat rewards to all the players and of equal value (making sure every other player gain something of such value to their PC) , so nobody feels like they are losing out and so on.


Feats - nah. PF already suffers from power-creep without giving even more feats to the players.

Try hero points as rewards. Award them for intelligent roleplay in game, or critical successes that turned the tide; we tend to encourage cinematic hijinx to get the best visuals we can describe, so when someone makes a great action and succeeds, I award points. Nobody ever has more than two points at a time though.

I limit them to cashing in a point to re-roll ANYTHING one time. A crit confirm, or fumble, skill or ability check.

Or to force the DM to reroll...


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I do it all the time. Works out well, tends to be better if you already have the feat reward pre-selected or from a select list that you let the players pick from. Far less game-breaking than its made out to be.


It would be interesting if these reward traits were selected directly from the GM, based on what the players have done to earn the feat. Perhaps the GM could choose among situational feats one wouldn't never take.


Well, just taking a look at the Hell's Rebels AP (just look up the player's guide- its free), they do that exactly.

With the whole faction and leadership mechanic thing, they give you various benefits as you collect up followers. And at certain ranks, they give you feats. Always from a small pool of feats, preset by the AP.

Note that these are usually not 'good' feats. Or at least not 'great' ones. Not ones to make an entire build around (like ranger combat feats). No, it starts off with 'useful but meh' ones, like alertness and stealthy (a minor boost to a single skill), get progressively better (improved initiative, the save boosting feats), and then has the open bonus feat of your choice (that you qualify for) as a high end reward (which you might never get- haven't played the AP, but it implies that there might not be enough people to get that many followers if you play poorly).

So mostly? Give them those flavorful minor feats that are 'I suppose it helps, but I can live without it'. Essentially, if its effect could be replicated with a fairly minor magical item (ie- the ones that give +5 or less to a skill), then it is probably fine.


I looked at it. Yep, there are the reward feats gained as the rebellion "gains ranks." The rest of it seems to look like adventuring with a spreadsheet. You get feats for being bored to death with paperwork. I thought boons were the reward mechanism for successful interactions. Boons are about 1/4 feat if they are permanent OR extremely variable temporary limited or single use boons.


parsimony wrote:
I looked at it. Yep, there are the reward feats gained as the rebellion "gains ranks." The rest of it seems to look like adventuring with a spreadsheet. You get feats for being bored to death with paperwork. I thought boons were the reward mechanism for successful interactions. Boons are about 1/4 feat if they are permanent OR extremely variable temporary limited or single use boons.

While I'll agree- might be a bit much for the tabletop, concept and mechanics themselves look interesting. I might say that it seems better for computer based play, where a program would take care of 'spread sheets' automatically, rahter than handling paperwork yourself. That way, you could get straight to the squard management mechanics with minimal delays.

Making a multimedia AP for this concept would actually be interesting. Making some simple text based thing for computers and iphones to be used in conjuncture with the tabletop experience. It could work well since the squads seem like they have a 'seperateness' from the party in action during the actual fights. So going along with that 'separateness' by placing it in a different medium would be cool.

Also including spreadsheets so you aren't inconvenienced by the lack of electronics would be good as an additional option.

Sczarni

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure, Companion, Lost Omens Subscriber

This was also tested out in the players guide to Legacy of Fire where you got 'achievement' type traits for free for things like 'deal the killing blow on 100 gnolls' or 'heal 10,000 HP of damage'


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I've done this. It doesn't break the game.

I give free skill ranks when the campaign has the players do something for a long time. For example, I had some PCs once go on a long exploration by ship, mapping a new land. They were on that ship for many weeks so I gave them all a free rank in Profession (Sailor) and a free rank in Use Rope (it was a 3.5 game). In another campaign they ended up doing a lot of digging underground so they all got to choose one free rank in Profession (Mining) or Knowledge (Dungeoneering).

I've given free traits to PCs based on writing a good background story but don't recall giving them traits during the campaign.

I've given free feats as rewards. I gave Endurance to someone once because during recent events he was running everywhere, a lot. I've given Skill Focus feats to people as rewards for heavily using their skills, but usually only the non-critical skills - perceiving an ambush or detecting a secret door or safely climbing a cliff or successfully not drowning in a flood, etc., are their own rewards and don't need extra rewards.

But using lots of social skills and crafting skills to help restore a town after it was destroyed by raiding monsters might deserve rewards that reflect what the PCs did rather than just giving them XP: "Oh, joy, I've built three barns, replaced a half dozen roofs, treated wounds and planted crops, and now I went up a level. I guess all that domestic stuff taught me how to swing my sword better. Somehow. Not really sure how. But it did..."

To the OP, yes, you CAN do this. You can do whatever you want. Your PCs kill an orc, you can let them pick 10 new feats as a reward. It's your game. Run what you want and have fun.

But I do suggest that keeping balance is a good idea. Once a game gets too easy (no challenges) everyone gets bored and the game becomes no fun. Sure, it's cool to play invincible gods of doom for a while, but it gets stale fast. So the best way to handle this is to use it sparingly and only when justified, and especially to reward them with new fringe abilities (skills, traits, feats, etc.) that do NOT make them more powerful: don't give Power Attack or Toughness or Metamagic feats, etc., because this is free power creep, but instead give them fringe abilities that are fun or cool without making them more powerful. If those relate to what they're doing already then they will feel rewarded without feeling ripped off. Don't rip them off by giving them some junk feat nobody wants and nobody has been using (for example, don't give them a skill focus in profession blacksmithing if nobody is using blacksmithing and nobody wants to use blacksmithing).

Scarab Sages

I think it's a great idea all around - especially at higher levels, where material wealth either loses value, or has to start appearing in absurdly high quantities.


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There are also story feats in Ultimate Campaign that I think are pretty nifty. They give you an example questline, and an example reward feat to give you ideas, but then you build on that. The rewards are often very situational as well, which means they typically don't end up altering the power level of the game. I worked nation under into one of my campaigns and we had a lot of fun with it.


Cpt_kirstov wrote:
This was also tested out in the players guide to Legacy of Fire where you got 'achievement' type traits for free for things like 'deal the killing blow on 100 gnolls' or 'heal 10,000 HP of damage'

Wait? Those are free? Oh, cool- I thought they were just regular flavor feats with weird prerequisites. If there is no actual cost (other than meeting the prereqs), that makes those a lot better.


I'm running Skull and Shackles and have made a list of pirate feats - Exotic Weapon (Cannon), Skill Focus Profession (Sailor), Storm Tossed Gunnery etc. The PCs get these for free as they increase disrepute.

I also like the idea of giving Trait-like bonuses for achieving certain tasks/killing certain creatures.


I do this for my group, but tend to lean towards feats they wouldn't necessarily take themselves but that could still be pretty thematic or useful for the character. The Story feats work well for this as the characters usually meet the prerequisites of at least one or two. Also, since I limit the players in the books they can pull from I will occasionally throw out an NPC that can teach them a feat from one of the books outside of their usual selection.


As a player I had a GM do this (along with some other immaterial rewards). It was really nice - you got a few cool things you probably wouldn't have otherwise - but not really gamebreaking.

But I must echo those above and say that it is probably better to hand out stuff like Endurance or Storm Lashed then Power Attack or Spell Focus.

Another thing to look into is the Unchained Background skills - it may be a nice system to adopt or simply an convenient way to gauge which skills that are suitable to hand out.

Lore (Frequently fought foe) for example. It makes sense if the party spent 3 levels fighting goblins they would learn a bit about them right?


i just might thanks,mardaddy. i was already thinking of allowing them one free feat at level one.


Teamwork feats! :D


they could with the free feat i would encourage it in fact but or one of the heroic feats. the guy who asked me this basically wanted his craft magic feats for free.


zainale wrote:
they could with the free feat i would encourage it in fact but or one of the heroic feats. the guy who asked me this basically wanted his craft magic feats for free.

Certainly not. There are some questions whether you should allow crafting at all (since it can bloat Wealth by level, devalues found magic items, and means you have less control over the party's relative power). Giving them for free would just be madness. He has to have at least some cost for getting to halve the costs of his various items.

That is an example of what not to give with these reward feats. Just a step down from giving leadership.


Leadership for free to the whole party at once is normal in some of my games. But then again I do feat taxing free feats. Also If I was to consider what you are talking about i would limit it to teamwork feats and what I call skill feats. (Skill focus, Alterness, persuasion...)

Or I give everyone at the table a signature skill. That can be a great piece of candy better than alot of loot in my group.


If I were to hand out free feats then it would either be feats with no prerequisites or maybe race feats.


I hand out feats for a few reasons:

1) If someone's roleplaying a concept well, not annoying the party, no fishmalkery, etc., but they're flagging behind everyone else, I'll add a feat to tweak. You'd be amazed what Gang Up did to a newbie dwarf rogue player's enjoyment, especially since they put stuff into Dwarfy and Socially things. I may need to push a couple of encounters, but since my version of caveat emptor is "all monsters are individuals" I haven't had a lot of complaints about the bodaks with +2 to attacks, saves, and ACs, since the party support is done well.

2) If I want to push a plotline, like "YOU ARE THE CHOSEN ONE!" and there are feats I want to represent that, even if it's down level, Also discoveries, talents, etc. - if I'm pushing things a certain way, I don't want my players feeling like they have to pay for it. I'll also tweak their effects-- had a witch PC once with a cat familiar who liked the familiar benefits; when an Empyreal Lord rewarded the party, she got Improved Familiar and a silvanshee, but it still granted her the cat bennies of a standard familiar.

For 1 & 2 these are always feats -I- choose. Occasionally, if there's good RP, I might surprise someone with "you got an achievement/story/etc. feat you didn't know you had!" but I think of that as just rewarding good roleplay.

The biggest issue I've had is my "be a fair dude" GM on #2 means I may sometimes overfeat. #1 isn't a problem; nobody in about 6 of 7 groups objected to a newbie getting a nice little feat that made them fit the party and their ideas a bit better, and by that point, they knew what to do better next time. But if I'm giving out an award feat, especially a PLOT award feat, I feel obligated to get one to all the players. That being said, if it's a reward already, that's easy; if it's plot threads I'm making up in the background, sometimes, searching for feats or equivalents has been very helpful in coming up with storylines and weaving the characters in.

3) Finally, occasionally, I will offer a choice of feats (with my veto) as a story reward. IE, YOU PLEASED THE GODS! YOU BATHED IN THE LAMBENT LIGHT OF AN EXPLODING DEVA AND SURVIVED! The fires of the dragon's blood have changed you...

If I do that, though, I'll already be tweaking up the game to match. I believe in trying to ensure player survival whenever possible and not breaking the mutual arc of the player and my creation, but I also don't believe that the players are armored riding lawnmowers with frontmounted pushmower cattle "catchers" and the enemies should always be the zombies.

Of course, I flat double skills and certain other things in the first place. It may not be too hard to tell that I came to PF from GMing Exalted (the GURPS heritage is more subtle)

Sczarni

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure, Companion, Lost Omens Subscriber
lemeres wrote:
Cpt_kirstov wrote:
This was also tested out in the players guide to Legacy of Fire where you got 'achievement' type traits for free for things like 'deal the killing blow on 100 gnolls' or 'heal 10,000 HP of damage'
Wait? Those are free? Oh, cool- I thought they were just regular flavor feats with weird prerequisites. If there is no actual cost (other than meeting the prereqs), that makes those a lot better.

I believe that Xbox awards and PlayStation trophies were the inspiration. It was suggested that you didn't even have to tell the players about them and just give a 'pop-up alert' of "you just gained an ability!"


"School of Hard Knocks" is a concept a DM I rolled with employed when the campaign goes PVP (in a friendly contest) or if a PC just gets drummed by the opposition.

As in, where a PC would get horribly rocked, and be gifted with a feat as a consolation measure. You can roleplay it as a key moment where a PC gets back up more determined than ever.

It kinda worked. The Veteran/more survivable PCs that knew how to survive encounters better didn't profit from it because they wouldn't wipe in the first place and it gave the newer players a leg up.

Just keep in mind the more benefits the PCs get for free, unless the goal is a cruise-control tour of your Magical Realm, the threat level of the opposition is gonna have to rise to challenge them. Feats are one of the most powerful assets a PC can acquire.


One method I would suggest, is cone up with feats that the players can get for joining organizations, or great accomplishments.

For the player who wants a cost cut on magic item creation, maybe give them the chance to join a mages guild, which grants them a great which allows them to count the item as 5% less value.


In our previous campaign we had a book with infinite and completely random information (we trade it with a Djin).

Sometimes the PC who take the time to read the book learned usefull things (skill points or feat) but it was quite rare and nearly never fit to the build of the PC :) (we had a wizzard with polearm proficiency :D)
It was also used for the plot once.

Great idea in overall.


I have handed out feats as extra rewards. I pick three feats that are somewhat in theme for the character and their recent encounters, and the player picks one of them. Every character gets different options. Overshadowed characters tend to get slightly better choices*, but most of the feats are of the type the players would rarely take themselves. I haven't done this often, but thus far there have not been accusations of favoritism. Retraining for these feats is not allowed, though.

*which their players tend to ignore in favor of oddball options.


Naal wrote:

I have handed out feats as extra rewards. I pick three feats that are somewhat in theme for the character and their recent encounters, and the player picks one of them. Every character gets different options. Overshadowed characters tend to get slightly better choices*, but most of the feats are of the type the players would rarely take themselves. I haven't done this often, but thus far there have not been accusations of favoritism. Retraining for these feats is not allowed, though.

*which their players tend to ignore in favor of oddball options.

They wouldn't be Players then would they?


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I've mixed feat rewards into the Relationship system before, so that if players interact with specific NPCs, they get rewards. (A skill rank in something at Friendship, a trait at Fellowship, and a feat at Devotion.) It takes long enough for them to hit Devotion that it's not game-breaking, and the feat always relates to the NPC in question and falls in the "nice but not super powerful" category. I tend to pick the sort of feats that people usually pass up in favor of flashier options for this, like the skill-focused or very situational ones.


Avaricious wrote:
They wouldn't be Players then would they?

Quoted for truth. Herding cats is easier than comprehending player decisions.

Unexpected things are among the greatest things in a game, of course. Some of our best games happened because someone derailed something. To be honest, the reverse is also true.


I'd like to try this. What's a good rule of thumb for the feats you give out? Right off the bat I'm thinking they must be either General or MAYBE Teamwork. Any other suggestions? Does anyone have a "Feat pool" they'd be willing to share?

Silver Crusade

As long as they meet the pre-reqs for a feat, any feat could do. I like to treat them along the lines of the tomes that increase a stat, rare reward, but they can choose any one feat of their choice.


Mark Hoover wrote:
I'd like to try this. What's a good rule of thumb for the feats you give out? Right off the bat I'm thinking they must be either General or MAYBE Teamwork. Any other suggestions? Does anyone have a "Feat pool" they'd be willing to share?

I think anything that gives bonuses to skills (especially in specific circumstances) would likely be fine.

Also, generally, the more it leans towards flavor and less on the mechanics, the more likely it will be fine. Essentially, anything that make optimizers cringe in horror would probably be ok.


lemeres wrote:
Mark Hoover wrote:
I'd like to try this. What's a good rule of thumb for the feats you give out? Right off the bat I'm thinking they must be either General or MAYBE Teamwork. Any other suggestions? Does anyone have a "Feat pool" they'd be willing to share?

I think anything that gives bonuses to skills (especially in specific circumstances) would likely be fine.

Also, generally, the more it leans towards flavor and less on the mechanics, the more likely it will be fine. Essentially, anything that make optimizers cringe in horror would probably be ok.

Excellent suggestions!

I would do this:

Weapon Focus, Skill Focus, Toughness, Dodge, Teamwork Feats

My first choice would be Toughness, tbh, because it benefits everyone equally without adding new options to the game.

I would advise choosing feats that don't have a huge impact (unless Teamwork Feats), and for sure steer clear of class specific stuff (metamagic for example).


I sometimes give Access to 3rd party feats as a reward, they still have to use their normal feat slots for them but they gain access to things nother people in the world won't.

For example in my current campaign there is a player who want to do a wizard specializing in Tattoo magic. So I've been putting various different Tattoo and Ink magic feats and spells scattered around the campaign. A few weeks back they discovered a journal that gies hints to the location of a dungeon where an Azlanti Ink Wizard was doing research. If they get around to exploring it there are some pretty niffty things for him to get his hands on. (right now they are hunting some Razmirians who robbed them, hopefully they remember it once they are done)

On at least one occasion I gave my Players a chance to learn a Feat from RGG's book of Horrifically Overpowered Feats.

It's just a matter of understanding what giving new toys out will do to your game and adapt accordingly.


I'd second the idea of teamwork feats. I think giving them as party feats would be a great idea, and something I've been toying with doing for some time. Either just as rewards, such as you are inquiring about, or as a progression at every couple of levels (like level feats, but for the party).


I don't have a feat pool, and the stuff I offer one day is probably unavailable the next time. I haven't offered Toughness or Dodge, but Weapon Focus, Skill Focus, other skill feats, many racial feats, and teamwork feats don't feel too problematic.

Some examples of what I have offered or considered offering are Bounding Hammer, Canny Tumbler, Cut Your Losses, Death from Above, Distance Thrower, Edge Runner, Low Profile, Run, Stoic.

The last time I did this the choices were Deadly Aim, Weapon Focus, or Death from Above. The player glomped on the last one like it was made of gold.

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