So Just How Bad Is This Feat?


Homebrew and House Rules


This stems from a discussion up the forum a ways about adding INT to AC. I couldn't find a feat that did this, so I made up one. So PEACH this and let me know what you think. And even if you don't like it, be kind. I'm not great at actually designing game rules and such.

Insightful Defense

Your experience in combat has given you the ability to second guess an opponent's moves and to better defend yourself against them.

Prerequisites: INT 13, Base Attack +5

Benefit: This feat allows you to add your INT bonus to your AC when fighting. By studying your opponent, you learn his signature moves and his style of fighting, giving you an insight bonus into his attacks. Any situation that causes you to lose your DEX bonus in combat also applies to the INT bonus.


This is a nice boon for Wizards, Arcanists, Psychics, and other INT-based casters (who honestly don't need that much help). I feel like Magi, Investigators, and Alchemists benefit most from this, since they have the highest BAB of any INT caster-types and are more frequently in the thick of combat than fullcasters. Also note that, as written, it stacks with the Kensai Magus ability INT to AC ability, since that one provides a Dodge bonus and this provides an Insight bonus. It seems pretty far on the powerful side, since it's a single feat that increases AC by at least 1 (at worst, equal to Dodge), but more likely 3 to 5. 1 feat for +3 to +5 AC at level 7 is much more powerful than the equivalent options, especially since it works in all armor types, not just unarmored or in light armor. The closest comparison I can make is the Deific Boon feat, which can give you CHA as an Armor bonus to AC (doesn't stack with bracers), at a fairly high level, so long as you don't actually wear armor. Perhaps if there were more restrictions, such as the enemy needing to be in reach or in sight, only one enemy at a time, or needing a specific class feature (such as studied target, or weapon/armor training), or capping the INT bonus at 1/2 or 1/3 BAB or something. Other somewhat similar abilities, such as adding a different stat (such as WIS) to hit, are often trapped behind feat chains.

In short, it's a bit too strong.


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I would so strongly recommend saying you replace dex to ac with int, not in addition. Waaay too much


I agree with Weables. I think BAB is kind of a weird requirement, though.


It's interesting as a replacement effect - as an addition effect it's insane.

Even as a replacement effect, I'd expect to see virtually every Int-based character pick it up. Wizards prioritize Dex as a secondary stat, but frequently end up with an Int mod 4 higher than their Dex mod (or more.)

A +4 or higher AC bump at the cost of a single feat says to me that it's probably much too good.

Put Dodge and Combat Expertise in as prerequisites, and it may be alright. Combat Expertise almost certainly belongs there.


Very poorly thought out justification to give bonus to AC.

So by the fluff, the LEAST LIKELY to get into melee (INT bases PC's of any stripe) get a bonus to AC for their comprehensive melee experience.


Yeah, My Self pretty much explained the problem with the feat as it is.

You'd do well to place some kind of restriction on the feat. Either nerf the effect or place another feat as a prerequisite.

I found Weables' idea really good, so maybe something like this?

*****

Insightful Defense

Your experience in combat has given you the ability to second guess an opponent's moves and to better defend yourself against them.

Prerequisites: INT 15, Artful Dodge, BAB X?

Benefit: This feat allows you to add your Intelligence modifier instead of your Dexterity modifier to AC. Any situation that normally causes you to lose your DEX bonus in combat will now make you lose your INT bonus.

*****


Thanks, guys!


Wonderstell wrote:

Insightful Defense

Your experience in combat has given you the ability to second guess an opponent's moves and to better defend yourself against them.

Prerequisites: INT 15, Artful Dodge, BAB X?

Benefit: This feat allows you to add your Intelligence modifier instead of your Dexterity modifier to AC. Any situation that normally causes you to lose your DEX bonus in combat will now make you lose your INT bonus.

Ugh, still too good. Gulthor has the right idea about adding Combat Expertise to the prerequisites.

The sweetspot for balanced feats is

"This feat would be really nice on my character. But do I really want to waste 2 feats on prerequisites?"

*****

Insightful Defense

Your experience in combat has given you the ability to second guess an opponent's moves and to better defend yourself against them.

Prerequisites: INT 15, Artful Dodge, Combat Expertise

Benefit: This feat allows you to add your Intelligence modifier instead of your Dexterity modifier to AC. Any situation that normally causes you to lose your DEX bonus in combat will now make you lose your INT bonus. Armor maximum DEX bonus applies to the INT bonus.

*****

Now you'll probably never see this feat on any full caster, since they have metamagic feats to take instead of feat taxes.

But maybe, just maybe, we'll see some fighters who won't dump int.


Wonderstell wrote:
Wonderstell wrote:

Insightful Defense

Your experience in combat has given you the ability to second guess an opponent's moves and to better defend yourself against them.

Prerequisites: INT 15, Artful Dodge, BAB X?

Benefit: This feat allows you to add your Intelligence modifier instead of your Dexterity modifier to AC. Any situation that normally causes you to lose your DEX bonus in combat will now make you lose your INT bonus.

Ugh, still too good. Gulthor has the right idea about adding Combat Expertise to the prerequisites.

The sweetspot for balanced feats is

"This feat would be really nice on my character. But do I really want to waste 2 feats on prerequisites?"

*****

Insightful Defense

Your experience in combat has given you the ability to second guess an opponent's moves and to better defend yourself against them.

Prerequisites: INT 15, Artful Dodge, Combat Expertise

Benefit: This feat allows you to add your Intelligence modifier instead of your Dexterity modifier to AC. Any situation that normally causes you to lose your DEX bonus in combat will now make you lose your INT bonus. Armor maximum DEX bonus applies to the INT bonus.

*****

Now you'll probably never see this feat on any full caster, since they have metamagic feats to take instead of feat taxes.

But maybe, just maybe, we'll see some fighters who won't dump int.

That's more like what I was thinking, yeah - Artful Dodge is another really flavorful prereq - much better than plain ol' dodge.

On the fighter note, should the Int-to-AC still be limited by Max Dex on armor as well?

On the one hand, it probably *should*. On the other hand, it opens up some really interesting possibilities if it isn't.


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mardaddy wrote:

Very poorly thought out justification to give bonus to AC.

So by the fluff, the LEAST LIKELY to get into melee (INT bases PC's of any stripe) get a bonus to AC for their comprehensive melee experience.

Okay, I don't like this either, but 95% of the magus class is gonna go up close and personal and there's plenty of alchemists and investigators that like to dance in melee. And then there's wizards -> eldritch knights too. Saying INT based classes don't do melee is a lie that I will not stand for.


Wonderstell wrote:


Ugh, still too good. Gulthor has the right idea about adding Combat Expertise to the prerequisites.

The sweetspot for balanced feats is

"This feat would be really nice on my character. But do I really want to waste 2 feats on prerequisites?"

No no no. Adding horrible pre-requisites no one wants to take is the worst possible way to balance a feat.

Think about it this way: Going from 14 dex 8 int, which is a pretty reasonable starting PB for a strong martial, to 8 dex 14 int gives you 3 3 extra skill points at the cost of -3 to initiative, reflex and ranged attack rolls.

Most people I know would be hesitant to make that trade for free, much less at the cost of three feats.

Ultimately if you're worried about Wizards abusing it you need to find some way to make the feat intrinsically unappealing to wizards without making it less appealing for martials.

This is sort of a fundamental problem with stats in Pathfinder. Int is legitimately pretty bad for the vast majority of classes, fueling literally nothing but skill points and checks, but it also happens to be the core attribute for some of the strongest classes in the entire game, which makes it hard for my fighter or barbarian to want int without powering up wizards even more.


Squiggit wrote:
Wonderstell wrote:


Ugh, still too good. Gulthor has the right idea about adding Combat Expertise to the prerequisites.

The sweetspot for balanced feats is

"This feat would be really nice on my character. But do I really want to waste 2 feats on prerequisites?"

No no no. Adding horrible pre-requisites no one wants to take is the worst possible way to balance a feat.

Think about it this way: Going from 14 dex 8 int, which is a pretty reasonable starting PB for a strong martial, to 8 dex 14 int gives you 3 3 extra skill points at the cost of -3 to initiative, reflex and ranged attack rolls.

Most people I know would be hesitant to make that trade for free, much less at the cost of three feats.

Ultimately if you're worried about Wizards abusing it you need to find some way to make the feat intrinsically unappealing to wizards without making it less appealing for martials.

This is sort of a fundamental problem with stats in Pathfinder. Int is legitimately pretty bad for the vast majority of classes, fueling literally nothing but skill points and checks, but it also happens to be the core attribute for some of the strongest classes in the entire game, which makes it hard for my fighter or barbarian to want int without powering up wizards even more.

Yeah, good point. The only actual benefit is more skill ranks. The loss is greater than the gain.

What about making the feat scale with BAB and be directly dependant on combat instead? Make the full casters shy away from the feat because they'll probably die faster with it.

*****

Insightful Defence

Prerequisite: Int 13, Artful Dodge

You gain a +1 dodge bonus to AC against attacks made by enemies you threaten or have threatened/attacked in the previous round.

This dodge bonus increases by 1 for every four points of BAB you have, up to a maximum of your Intelligence modifier.

Special: The Insightful Defence feat acts as the Combat Expertise feat for the purpose of satisfying prerequisites that require Combat Expertise.

The Exchange

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Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

You need to list what action is needed to study an opponent.
You should limit the bonus to a maximum of your fighter level
Add: this counts as combat expertise for meeting the prerequisites of combat feats.


This is how I'd balance it.

Artful Defense
Prerequisites: Int 15, Artful dodge

Benefit: As a swift action, You may use your intelligence in place of your dexterity modifier for AC. Because this requires your full attention to perform, This bonus persists until you lose your dexterity modifier to AC, or you make a concentration check.

You may then reapply it as a swift action provided you haven't made a concentration check in the same turn.

A bit more complicated but not too much so.


Int 13, fighter 3

Replace Dex AC modifier with Int modifier.

There. Good for elven fighters (who need it) and lore wardens...as well as strangely intelligent brawlers. Also good for fighters who take Int so they aren't stuck with 2 skill points a level, and they should be rewarded for it, especially as they lose initiative and reflex saves.

Wizards don't need this. They have mirror image, stoneskin, etc. why make a feat which covers up one of their few weaknesses? Do you dislike Meele classes that much?

New feats should either be for helping classes that need it, or they should be "that's cool, maybe I'll take it." They should never be "damn! I want that feat. I want it enough to spend two to three feats on."

Plus I dislike the idea that a class like wizard gets one stat that they need to max. A feat like this makes their other stats completely superfluous.

20pt buy. Int20 Con12 Str11 (for carrying). Every stat increase goes to Int.

Student of Philosphy and Bruising Intellect let's you get Int for Diplomacy, Bluff and Intimidate.

Insightful Defense gives you +5 (at least) AC.

What other stat do you need? For a class that doesn't need any help I find this to be unnecessary and overpowered regardless of feat tax (which just helps human mages...who never need more help)

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