What feats should be free options instead?


Homebrew and House Rules


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So far my list is Combat Expertise, Deadly Aim, Power Attack, Shadow Strike, Strike Back, and Weapon Finesse.


Vital Strike. The whole bloody tree.

Scarab Sages

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I'd support the option of being able to purchase weapon and armor proficiencies, as well as the various "Focus" feats (Weapon/Shield/Spell/Skill/etc), with skill points. This would also come with all classes getting more skill points per level.


All of them which aren't a generic +x to y, although a few of those could really be rolled into their pre-req (dodge and mobility would be fine as 1 feat for example).

Scarab Sages

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We...should be careful, here. This seems to be how "power creep" happens.

With the exception of being able to choose within reason what abilities certain skills and saving throws are based on, and "finesse weapon" rules like those in 5th Edition, the premise of this thread is setting itself up for asking too much.


Agile Maneuvers


I would say Weapon Finesse, Agile Maneuvers, and Combat Expertise should all be free (however, any feat with one of them as a Pre-req now has BAB +1 instead). Power Attack, Deadly Aim, Piranha Strike should be granted with BAB +1 (i.e. 1 stage of formal weapons training).

Shadow Strike should not necessarily be granted free, but instead the precision damage restriction should be relaxed if you have the proper vision for the lighting conditions (i.e. if you have darkvision or low light vision you ignore the restriction for those light levels). The feat should still be used to remove the restriction for things like blur, displacement, etc. where concealment is granted for something other than light levels.

Strike Back should be a valid condition of a readied attack against natural weapons, but should still take a feat for manufactured weapons, but I would remove the BAB req.


You could make lesser forms of power attack and deadly sin, where each -1 to attack nets a +1 to damage.

RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 16

I think lesser Power Attack and Deadly Aim should be a thing.

I always house rule Weapon Finesse as a free feat.


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I think more feats should be like two weapon fighting. I'm that you can do it regardless of feats. Feats just make you good at doing it. Like power attack. Make it something like -2 for +2 and power attack makes it -1 for +2


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

I agree with Combat Expertise, Power Attack, Deadly Aim, and Weapon Finesse. I agree with buying weapon and armor proficiencies with skill points. Maybe make Vital Strike a class feature for fighters? I agree with combining Dodge and Mobility.

I would add Point Blank Shot. It's just common sense that anyone is morel likely to hit up close. Or just drop it altogether and leave it up to range increment penalties.


Pretty much every feat that doesn't allow you to do anything new and includes a penalty or trade-off for using it...

e.g.: Power Attack, Combat Expertise, Bullseye Shot, etc...

Possibly Weapon Finesse as well.


Spring Attack and Shot on the Run. You should be able to partial move, attack, and complete the remainder of your movement; perhaps at a penalty, but you should be able to do so.


Natural Spell. Druids should be just allowed to Cast while in Wild Shape.


Actually...

Anything required for your character build. The things we look at and go "welp, gotta take power attack" and the stupid things we are all stuck doing for specific builds which are needed for all the other specific builds. Like Power Attack, two weapon fighting, spell focus, etc.


Quote:
Shadow Strike

I've been playing a rogue for years, and I never knew that you couldn't sneak attack something with concealment until just now after reading that feat.


While not something I think should be for free, I think it fits the topic: Point Blank Shot should just not exist. If everything that requires it instead required a BAB of +1 that would be reasonable.


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I'm Hiding In Your Closet wrote:

We...should be careful, here. This seems to be how "power creep" happens.

With the exception of being able to choose within reason what abilities certain skills and saving throws are based on, and "finesse weapon" rules like those in 5th Edition, the premise of this thread is setting itself up for asking too much.

I'd go further and say: The players don't need any such freebies. After years of new options, guides and playing experience many groups are difficult to challenge anyway. A free feat doesn't sound like much, but in some cases it's more than a small power upgrade. Looking at the individual proposals:

Combat Expertise: Competes with fighting defensively anyway, and offering both for free reduce the difference, making the decision trivial in more cases. And giving it away will motivate more players to play Int 7 morons - sometimes to their own disadvantage.

Deadly Aim: Archery is powerful already, the only thing holding it back is the feat demand. This feat is especially valuable since it's one of the few options to increase damage per attack.

Point Blank Shot: A (only slightly) situational +1 AB and +1 damage is already good for a feat. Else see Deadly Aim.

Power Attack: Given how strong two-handed martials start, they really don't need a further boost. Such a strong start not only makes contributing more difficult for others, but also leads to the unrealistic expectation that the player has the natural right to dominate all future battles.

Shadow Strike: Rogues might need more power or not, but giving them even more reason to overspecialize on sneak attack is questionable.

Strike Back: Bigger foes are supposed to be scary, and you should need to invest resources to handle them well. Further, Strike Back encourages martials to stick with their usual fighting style, instead of asking for Enlarge Person or using reach weapons when fitting.

Weapon Finesse: Dex is superior to Str, when it comes to skills, initiative and reflex saves. So paying a feat is fair. If you have some feat intense build which starts slow (Dex based, two weapons etc.), then consider playing standard stuff (e.g. sword and board) for the very first levels.

Agile Maneuvers: Pretty much the same case as Weapon Finesse.

Vital Strike: That's a situational bonus of roughly level to damage (longsword: 4.5, greatsword: 7, etc., multiply with 2 and 3 later on), unlimited times per day. People complain about rocket tag - free Vital Strike would make it worse.

Finally, giving feats away for free makes classes with bonus feats less interesting. If you can access the remaining desired feats fast anyway, why bother with fighter, ranger etc.? Yes, you could get even more feats that way - but the additional feats are less valuable for you, else you have taken them before.

Well, at your table you can do what you want, and it's good that way. But I thought it was necessary to add another critical view here.


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
SheepishEidolon wrote:
Finally, giving feats away for free makes classes with bonus feats less interesting. If you can access the remaining desired feats fast anyway, why bother with fighter, ranger etc.? Yes, you could get even more feats that way - but the additional feats are less valuable for you, else you have taken them before.

I disagree. Giving characters options that are common sense frees up the high-feat classes to actually make interesting feat choices. If every fighter didn't have to go in for Power Attack and Vital Strike just to continue being considered a deadly combatant instead of pests buzzing around the field then they could use their feats on styles and role playing options instead. You'd have unique fighters with cool shticks instead of just Power Attack bots.


@WildeBob and @SheepishEidolon

You're both right. Really, it depends on the player behind the character sheet. Some players will use these free feats to expand options, and some will focus even more on their specialty.

I'm one of the former. I want more options. I've a martial build I'm working on and I'm struggling to be good enough at my job while having something else to when my job isn't needed. I enforce upon myself a "no more than 4 feats to do/improve a thing" rule.

I wonder how much it would help to keep some of these feats, and just change some prereqs? Maybe Improved Bull Rush could be BAB +1, Str 13+ (note the lack of Power Attack).


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One thing to remember is that while this sort of thing may seem like a buff to martials, it's arguably even more of a buff to casters, and most importantly a buff to half-casters like Bards, Magus, etc. In particular, Bards would get a very nice buff if you eliminate Point Blank Shot, Weapon Finesse, considering their only real weakness (besides the 3/4 BAB that all such classes have) is the lack of feat slots to really settle into a combat style.

Basically, martials get room to take some niche options they normally wouldn't bother with. Casters have their alternate strategies strengthened, especially when using Polymorph spells. And Gish type characters get a rather large weakness solved- enough feats to strengthen both sides of their character equally.

This isn't necessarily a problem, if the reason you're giving away free feats is just to make it easier to have fun builds (which is perfectly valid!). But if you are doing it to try to balance the classes, then without other system-wide balancing you'll actually create more problems than you'll solve.

See Sheepish Eidolon's excellent post for other examples of unintentional consequences to be careful of here.


For now, my list contains: Strike Back, Power Attack, Combat Expertise and Rhino Charge.PA is a no-brainer for most characters anyway. The others are just there because I really think everyone should be able to do that anyway.


PK the Dragon wrote:
One thing to remember is that while this sort of thing may seem like a buff to martials, it's arguably even more of a buff to casters

It could be class based. IE - everybody with 1/1 BAB gets Power Attack & Weapon Finesse; fighters also get Deadly Aim. Rogues get Shadow Strike and Weapon Finesse.


I've only made it through D on the list of combat feats. These are also first passes of mine and may be horrendously imbalanced. Most were written at like 3 in the morning or scribbled on a train. Also some of these are not quite free, but free with other feats:

Large change first. All improved "combat maneuvers" are free. Combat maneuvers no longer provoke if the initiator is armed. Feint is a move action. It should not take a feat to make maneuvers usable. These are supposed to be skilled adventurers.

Adder strike: This could probably be accomplished by use of slight of hand (failure being you waste the poison application as you drop / spill / whatever it)

Agile Maneuvers: Needless feat tax*

Arcane Armor Training / Mastery: Could be one feat that scales with BAB / CL instead of two

Binding Throw: Could just be an extra ability if you posses the prerequisites rather than an entire new feat itself

Improved / Greater blindfight: Now granted with blindfight & meeting the other prerequisites

Blinding Flash: Could be rolled in to combat expertise and be a swift action instead of its own feat

Brutal Grappler: Really? Helping an ally grapple a target gives them a +2 at the expense of your turn? May as well have the person helping the grapple actually help

Great Cleave: Better to make cleave scale with bab than have another feat that just increases its numbers.

Clinging Climber: Really specific behavior. Just let players do it with a climb check and set the DC appropriately

Concentrated Splash: Let this be decided at splash weapon creation time. If you want to do more damage sacrificing splash, you make the weapon that way.

Death from Above: Really specific behavior, but cool mechanic. No need for it to be a feat though

Destructive Persuasion: Why can only specific people scare others by smashing nearby objects? Innate ability, circumstance bonus to intimidate.

And a few from scattered areas:

Weapon Finesse*: Annoying feat tax on a combat style. Make it go away.

Improved / Greater two-weapon fighting: Now free with met prerequisites if you have two-weapon fighting

Improved / Greater Vital Strike: Also free with met prerequisites if you have Vital Strike

Intimidating Prowess: Seems like character behavior would determine whether you're intimidating with str or cha

*I'm giving the "finesse" feats for free, but I'm also removing dex to damage in its entirety from the game. Dex classes no longer have to pay a feat tax to function, but if you want damage you take strength. It means dex classes won't feel powerless (because they can hit) but the str class will have its main advantage.

Also reading through that list I'm surprised at the number of feats I've marked to remove from the game...Call Out, Chair Breaker, Charge of the Righteous, Claw Pounce (what is the point of this feat!?), the status effect critical feats (exhausting, deafening, etc, with the assumption that I'll eventually put in a way to do similar things involving player choice rather than crit fishing)...most are for the sake of getting rid of chaff feats that have too specific of niches (some of which are to be rolled into singular feats), others for balancing purposes (point-blank master, crossbow mastery with changes to crossbow mechanics).


Ranishe wrote:
the status effect critical feats (exhausting, deafening, etc, with the assumption that I'll eventually put in a way to do similar things involving player choice rather than crit fishing)..

There was a 3E third-party book that had a system like this, where you could take penalties to your attack roll to apply effects if you hit.


KtA wrote:
PK the Dragon wrote:
One thing to remember is that while this sort of thing may seem like a buff to martials, it's arguably even more of a buff to casters
It could be class based. IE - everybody with 1/1 BAB gets Power Attack & Weapon Finesse; fighters also get Deadly Aim. Rogues get Shadow Strike and Weapon Finesse.

Yeah, this sort of thing helps significantly, and would be how I would do it, if I were to do it. There's still the problem of dipping classes, but any caster that dips pure martial is at least making some sacrifices. (I wouldn't give out PA and Deadly Aim for free tho, they're just really strong feats)

Ranishe wrote:
Improved / Greater two-weapon fighting: Now free with met prerequisites if you have two-weapon fighting

I don't agree with all of your changes (especially giving away Finesse and removing Dex to Damage), but I really do like this one. I mean, in theory I absolutely believe that a complicated style should require a certain amount of investment. In reality, two weapon fighting is still pretty bad even if you reduce the feat cost. I can't even think of casters and gishes benefiting from this fix, really, though I'm sure they could find a way.


PK the Dragon wrote:
Ranishe wrote:
Improved / Greater two-weapon fighting: Now free with met prerequisites if you have two-weapon fighting
I don't agree with all of your changes (especially giving away Finesse and removing Dex to Damage), but I really do like this one. I mean, in theory I absolutely believe that a complicated style should require a certain amount of investment. In reality, two weapon fighting is still pretty bad even if you reduce the feat cost. I can't even think of casters and gishes benefiting from this fix, really, though I'm sure they could find a way.

I'd do that one differently - still require feat slots for Improved TWF and Greater TWF, but I'd give you Double Slice for free with Improved and Two-Weapon Rend for free with Greater. I'd also reduce the base attack penalty from -2 to -1 at Improved and -0 at Greater.


PK the Dragon wrote:
There's still the problem of dipping classes, but any caster that dips pure martial is at least making some sacrifices.

True.

Quote:
(I wouldn't give out PA and Deadly Aim for free tho, they're just really strong feats)

Well, arguably if they're good enough to be automatic choices they could just be class features ;)


I guess I prefer the philosophy of giving weaker feats for free so you have more room to buy the strong, fun feats, as opposed to giving stronger feats for free so you have room to buy the weaker feats.

(It also would be a buff to the two martial combat styles that need it least- 2 handed weapons and bows. I'm much more interested in buffing 2 weapon combat, maneuvers, etc.)

Though I wouldn't be opposed to giving Precise Shot for free for martial bow users, because it's a strong automatic choice, but not in a fun rewarding power spike way, just in a "i have to take this to not be awful at my job even though I'm supposedly proficient in my weapon" sort of way. I'd rather get rid of that than Deadly Aim, which is a great feat but you don't get a large, visible penalty for not having it.

Dark Archive

I offer Power Attack, Deadly Aim, Piranha Strike, and Combat Expertise to anyone who qualifies for them (Combat Expertise has no INT 13 prerequisite because it kills character concepts and forces MAD issues, plus there's at least 2 workarounds now anyway). I've considered Weapon Finesse, but only for light weapons - 1-handed and 2-handed ones need the feat (except for maybe the rapier). Vital Strike, Improved maneuvers, and Two-Weapon Fighting scale by BAB rather than feats.

My current GM gives the party teamwork feats with an alternate system I plan on stealing and adapting. Teamwork feats are strong but nobody ever wants to delay their own build for them.


Why not just give your PCs free feats or feat chains. Like allowing Vital Strike as a swap for the standard progression of attacks, or Power Attack as a bonus feat, or one Improved/Greater combat maneuver set, or just the Improved for 2-4 combat maneuvers


In one of my games, I've given Combat Expertise, Deadly Aim, Power Attack, Improved Unarmed Strike, and Weapon Finesse as free options, with the caveat that players must meet all normal requirements (STR 13 and BAB +1 for Power Attack, for example) before they have access to it. I don't want to make EVERY option in the game free, but the characters are all from a strongly martial society, and I figured that techniques like this would be a part of their training. XD


TGMaxMaxer wrote:

I would say Weapon Finesse, Agile Maneuvers, and Combat Expertise should all be free (however, any feat with one of them as a Pre-req now has BAB +1 instead). Power Attack, Deadly Aim, Piranha Strike should be granted with BAB +1 (i.e. 1 stage of formal weapons training).

Shadow Strike should not necessarily be granted free, but instead the precision damage restriction should be relaxed if you have the proper vision for the lighting conditions (i.e. if you have darkvision or low light vision you ignore the restriction for those light levels). The feat should still be used to remove the restriction for things like blur, displacement, etc. where concealment is granted for something other than light levels.

Strike Back should be a valid condition of a readied attack against natural weapons, but should still take a feat for manufactured weapons, but I would remove the BAB req.

Not that it's a big issue, but I don't think there's any reason to give them Piranha Strike if you're already giving Power Attack, Piranha Strike is just Power Attack that only works with light weapons, right?

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