Combat Feat Categories


General Discussion


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Pathfinder 2.0 has innovated with the creation of the Arcane, Divine, Occult, and Primal spell lists. Each spell list is keyed to a core Class, with overlap existing between them. This is a welcome change and a defining quality of this edition. I propose that we do the same for martial characters, by taking some class-specific combat feats and dividing them into similar categories.

Assault feats are all about brutal, powerful attacks. They're primarily melee-oriented, but can work with thrown weapons as well. Assault feats include things like Brutal Critical, Cleave, Knockback, Swipe, and Whirlwind Strike. Barbarians are the key class that has access to Assault feats.

Finesse feats are all about precision and mobility. They tend to use ranged weapons, but can work with lighter melee weapons. Finesse feats include Defensive Roll, Favoured Aim, Skirmish Strike, and Stalker's Shot. Rangers and Rogues are the key classes that have access to Finesse feats (Arcane spell list pulls double duty so Finesse can too).

Tactical feats are all about enemy and battlefield control. These allow you to move your enemies, apply conditions, and otherwise dominate the battlefield. Tactical feats include things like Mountain Root Quake, Sleeper Hold, Stunning Fist, and Whirling Throw. Monks are the key class that has access to Tactical feats.

Warden feats are all about defence and support. Some require a shield while others do not; they also cover morale bonuses, inspiring others, and punishing enemy actions and movements. Warden feats include Attack of Opportunity, Duelling Parry, Holy Wall, and Shield Warden. Paladins are the key class that has access to Warden feats.

With most martial classes left, this leaves us with the humble fighter. With this change, the FIghter's claim to fame becomes twofold. First, they are the only class that has access to Assault, Finesse, Tactical, AND Warden feats. Since there is some overlap other martial classes have access to maybe 30% of the list, while the Fighter has access to 100%. Second, the Fighter gains Combat Flexibility at 3rd Level, and gains an additional flexible feat at 9th and 15th level. This lets them spread their combat feats a little wider a little earlier and then specialize into the role their party needs each day.

What this change would not do is remove the core features or unique feats each martial class gets. Only Barbarians get Rage and Totems, only Rogues get Sneak Attack and Debilitating Strike, and so on. What it may do is make some feats and abilities non-class-specific. For example, Shield of Reckoning requires Retributive Strike and Righteous Ally (shield). It could instead require Retributive Strike OR Attack of Opportunity, and not require the Righteous Ally at all, so that non-Paladins could take it.

What this change could also do is allow characters to spend general feats to gain access to low-level combat feats that are normally outside of their class list; a higher level Barbarian could, for example, learn Whirling Throw (a Tactical combat feat).

As a side point, I'd love to see combat feats (and maybe others) adjusted so that instead of the strict level requirements, they're divided into Level 1-6 feats, Level 8-12 feats, and Level 14+ feats.


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This is an awesome idea. I think this will pigeon whole a character alot, but currently the feat progression does a good job of pigeon holing a class already (at least with the current released set of feats).

Its important to notice that many of the spells cross spell lists, so I think the same idea can be applied to Fighter Paths with specific feats. It could even be more interesting to make these feats available to all Martial classes, with requirements limiting specific feat progressions and class features granting fight feats or powers.

I would say that for adding the monk feats, many of these would have to be very restrictive... like you cant do this feat in armor. I know the idea to have dragon stance full plated armor riding his animal companion into battle doing Power attacks sounds like a great idea conceptually... I think that might actually be non-viable.


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I'm not entirely sure I agree with this idea, but it is an interesting notion. I think I still prefer a modification to the current system that allows greater freedom for weapon or combat style specific abilities across classes, but keeps certain abilities class locked, such as Stunning Fist and skirmish strike, but I think this has some interesting implications for the design and distribution of feats.

Still, I'd rather see the fighter gain something other than just access to all combat feats or flexibility, since I think for most cases that won't be enough to pull its weight (i.e. focus mostly on assault feats? Why not just be a barbarian? ect. Flexible feats might provide more, but based on my experience with 1e, I don't think it's enough. I'd far rather the fighter get abilities no other class can get, just as the fighter can't get abilities that the ranger or barbarian can).


Not sure about the specifics, but as a mmechanic this would be a great solution to the issue with class feat and combat style siloing!


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Goldenfoxx wrote:

This is an awesome idea. I think this will pigeon whole a character alot, but currently the feat progression does a good job of pigeon holing a class already (at least with the current released set of feats).

Its important to notice that many of the spells cross spell lists, so I think the same idea can be applied to Fighter Paths with specific feats. It could even be more interesting to make these feats available to all Martial classes, with requirements limiting specific feat progressions and class features granting fight feats or powers.

I would say that for adding the monk feats, many of these would have to be very restrictive... like you cant do this feat in armor. I know the idea to have dragon stance full plated armor riding his animal companion into battle doing Power attacks sounds like a great idea conceptually... I think that might actually be non-viable.

Well, as it stands each class's combat feat list more or less falls into the categories I suggest. Some feats would be in more than one list, for example Sudden Charge fits into both Assault and Finesse. My hope would be for each category to include (at game's release) 30 feats, and for there to be about 100 feats in total: 20 feats unique to each of four categories and 20 feats each present in two categories (like Sudden Charge).

Tholomyes wrote:

I'm not entirely sure I agree with this idea, but it is an interesting notion. I think I still prefer a modification to the current system that allows greater freedom for weapon or combat style specific abilities across classes, but keeps certain abilities class locked, such as Stunning Fist and skirmish strike, but I think this has some interesting implications for the design and distribution of feats.

Still, I'd rather see the fighter gain something other than just access to all combat feats or flexibility, since I think for most cases that won't be enough to pull its weight (i.e. focus mostly on assault feats? Why not just be a barbarian? ect. Flexible feats might provide more, but based on my experience with 1e, I don't think it's enough. I'd far rather the fighter get abilities no other class can get, just as the fighter can't get abilities that the ranger or barbarian can).

In my opinion, I think that Class-unique feats should be limited to ones that directly improve your core class features, like Rage or Totems for a Barbarian. I don't see why a feat like, for example, Cleave should be unique to the Barbarian and not something a Fighter could access, or something a high level Ranger couldn't spend a General Feat to learn.

Aside from universal feat access and flexible feats, the Fighter still gets the best and fastest training with weapons, as well as Bravery and Battlefield Surveyor. I could see them getting more stuff if they underperform compared to other warriors; perhaps treat all of their Fighter feats as Flexible feats but only let them swap one or two out every day, since they have to practice their new fighting style a bit before they get the hang of it.

ChibiNyan wrote:
Not sure about the specifics, but as a mmechanic this would be a great solution to the issue with class feat and combat style siloing!

Thank you! I'm trying to present this idea in broad strokes since I know the devs have a much better handle on balance and fairness than I do.


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That idea has an elegant symmetry to it. To exaggerate the symmetry even more, I would arrange it as:

Spellcasting Classes
Bard - Occult Caster, Bard Song Powers
Cleric - Divine Caster, Domain Powers
Druid - Primal Caster, Druidic Order Powers
Wizard - Arcane Caster, School Powers
Sorcerer - One Spell Family of Choice, Bloodline Powers

Martial Classes
Barbarian - Assault Tactics, Rage Powers
Monk - Stance Tactics, Ki Powers
Paladin - Warden Tactics, Champion Powers
Ranger - Nimble Tactics, Hunt Powers
Fighter - One Tactical Family of Choice, Military Powers

I renamed them as tactics rather than feat, since every class gains feats, so Tactical Feats became Stance Tactics. I renamed Finesse Tactics to Nimble Tactics to aviod naming a family of tactics after a weapon trait that the ranger might not use. Alchemist and Rogue would count as neither a spellcasting nor martial class, but the rogue's feat list will often say that the class can chose feat X from Y Tactics.

The main advantage of this system is that we would save a list of feats for the Fighter. Anything that should be reserved for the fighter would go under military powers, which might be feats or proficiencies or class features. They could even be actual Powers, costing one Stamina Point gained from a feat that gives the fighter a Stamina Pool. If the fighter choses Stance Tactics, he applies them to his Signature Weapon Group rather than to the Unarmed Weapon Group like the monk.


Pathfinder Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Conceptually, I like it with a few caveats. First, combat feats need to be accessible via general feats or we'll end up trading out class flavor for combat effectiveness. That, or we need more class feats. Second, there should be some means of getting access to other lists to various degrees. For example, race or background options that add feats to one list or another could be appropriate, or class archetypes that change your associated list.

Overall, it's an improvement over where we stand now, but it doesn't go far enough to unlock character concepts for me, so I would hesitate to get fully behind it.


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Mathmuse wrote:

Spellcasting Classes
Bard - Occult Caster, Bard Song Powers
Cleric - Divine Caster, Domain Powers
Druid - Primal Caster, Druidic Order Powers
Wizard - Arcane Caster, School Powers
Sorcerer - One Spell Family of Choice, Bloodline Powers

Martial Classes
Barbarian - Assault Tactics, Rage Powers
Monk - Stance Tactics, Ki Powers
Paladin - Warden Tactics, Champion Powers
Ranger - Nimble Tactics, Hunt Powers
Fighter - One Tactical Family of Choice, Military Powers

Spellcasting Classes

Bard - Occult Caster, Bard Song Powers
Cleric - Divine Caster, Domain Powers
Druid - Primal Caster, Druidic Order Powers
Wizard - Arcane Caster, School Powers
Sorcerer - One Spell Family of Choice, Bloodline Powers
Alchemist - Alchemy Caster, Infusion Powers

Martial Classes
Barbarian - Assault Tactics, Rage Powers
Monk - Stance Tactics, Ki Powers
Paladin - Warden Tactics, Champion Powers
Ranger - Nimble Tactics, Hunt Powers
Fighter - One Tactical Family of Choice, Military Powers
Rogue - Skill Tactics, Mischief Powers

FTFY ;)

Personally I see the Martials falling into the following "roles" or core concepts for combat contribution:

Barbarian - Aggression Drawing Combat (deal with me or else). Rage renews HP and Criticals can become a problem if left unchecked. You have to deal with this person.

Monk - Disruptive Combat (I stop you from doing your job). I can trip you, disarm you, stun you, etc. I can navigate the battlefield quickly to cause you problems.

Paladin - Defensive Combat (I protect my team and myself). I protect my team with Retributive strikes (at least in theory) and operate shields and armor.

Ranger - Battlefield Control (I limit your ability to move and attack). Snares give me a battlefield I can work with and limit you from. Terrain is my friend.

Rogue - Debuff Combat (I make you weaker), my glass cannon approach with debuffs stacked on means when I do hit it sucks for the opponent.

Fighter - Assault Combat (I ruin your face). I can do just about anything in combat to effectiveness, especially a lot of damage and consistent hits.

At least that's how I felt when the previews released, definitely haven't seen all of these in play yet but the design seemed oriented that way.


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Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

So basically section feats off into sort of schools? It feels kind of similar to how Bo9S did it. I guess I don't disagree with it completely, as long as it's still possible to poach from other lists in some way or swap out one list for another, but it might be adding an additional level of complexity that doesn't really need to be there? If you start picking feats you don't want to have to worry about picking a perfect feat and then finding out it's the wrong KIND of feat, so you can't use it. Or having cool and unique feats effectively shackled to one of those groups, limiting the potential creative space.


Mathmuse wrote:
That idea has an elegant symmetry to it. To exaggerate the symmetry even more, I would arrange it as: SNIP

I like most of these ideas. However I think that Stances Tactics implies that, well, all of those abilities are Stances. Monks do have a lot of stances, but they also have a lot of special attacks that inflict status effects or force enemy movement, which is an aspect of battlefield control.

Midnightoker wrote:

Sorcerer - One Spell Family of Choice, Bloodline Powers

Alchemist - Alchemy Caster, Infusion Powers
Fighter - One Tactical Family of Choice, Military Powers
Rogue - Skill Tactics, Mischief Powers

Good ideas here. I think it would be fair to make Sorcerers limited to one spell family, but I think Fighters should still get access to all Tactics in lieu of class-specific powers. Really reinforce the idea that they're the 'jack of all trades' warrior, the person who can adapt to any situation and bust out any fighting style imaginable. I'd love something like the ability to spend an Action to gain the benefits of a Tactic you don't have but have the prerequisites for, so long as it's at least 4 levels below your level. Maybe it lasts one minute, further uses change the Tactic you get instead of getting another one.

I like the roles laid out for the classes. I'd redefine the Fighter as Adaptive Combat, otherwise it's a great analysis.

Alchemaic wrote:
So basically section feats off into sort of schools? It feels kind of similar to how Bo9S did it. I guess I don't disagree with it completely, as long as it's still possible to poach from other lists in some way or swap out one list for another, but it might be adding an additional level of complexity that doesn't really need to be there? If you start picking feats you don't want to have to worry about picking a perfect feat and then finding out it's the wrong KIND of feat, so you can't use it. Or having cool and unique feats effectively shackled to one of those groups, limiting the potential creative space.

Well, Bo9S essentially gave martials spells chosen from nine small lists, with spell slots recharging during the encounter. This is just taking the existing combat feats and changing how characters access them. They do exactly the same thing they did before, they're just not Barbarian-specific or Paladin-specific feats. The Barbarian will still get access to all the same combat tricks, but now a Fighter might learn them too, or a Ranger who spends a General Feat.

I don't think dividing combat feats/tactics into four or five categories limits the potential creative space. In fact, I think it expands it. Instead of saying "What's a Barbarian combat tactic?" you can say "In general, what does this tactic bring to the fight?" After that, a class' Tactics selection tells you what they're all about. Barbarians have Assault Tactics, they're brutal melee warriors. Rangers have Nimble Tactics, they can control the battlefield and limit enemy actions. Class identity becomes easier to understand, in the same way that the role of a Cleric is easy to understand when you look at the Divine spell list.

I also think this change would be great since future books could list Tactics not by what class it belongs to, but instead by what category it falls under. This means that if they (for example) release a Ninja class someday, it could have access to Skill Tactics instead of having to list every individual ability in the class description. Then later, when new Rogue options come out, they can be listed as Skill Tactics and thus the Ninja would be able to learn them. It's much cleaner design space for the future.

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