What is your definition of "Feat Tax"?


Pathfinder Second Edition General Discussion

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I hear this term bandied about a lot but it doesn't seem to have the same definition for everyone, so I'm looking to get your best shot at "The Dummy's Definition of a Feat Tax".

To start the discussion, here is my definition of a "Tax":


Something of value which must be paid, which provides no direct benefit to the payer, though it may provide indirect benefits, which may or may not be in proportion to the tax paid.


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Needing to take a feat I'll literally never use (Combat Expertise) or is obscenely boring (Point Blank Shot) in order to get to a feat I actually want that does something fun, interesting, or powerful.

Edit: Also in many cases those feats have absolutely nothing to do with each other as part of a chain. Combat Expertise doesn't interact with almost any of the feats it's a prerequisite to and Point Blank Shot has nothing to do with Precise Shot. At least Precise Shot does something significant. Power Attack gets away with a bit more slack only because it is taken by so many characters anyway.


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I would say a feat tax is a feat you take not for what it does, but for the other thing which has it as a prerequisite.

Like the standard example of a feat tax in PF1 was combat expertise- a thing which is very rarely used, but was required for all the combat maneuvers.


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I would define something as a feat tax if it meets one of these requirements:

A feat selected to bring a character up to baseline power level assumptions. (i.e. Precise Shot, which was mandatory for all ranged builds)

A feat where the direct benefit is not desired by the player, but is required as a prerequisite for other abilities. (i.e. Combat Expertise, which nobody ever used)

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A great example of this was the "Technologist" feat (Technology Guide, p. 7). It did very little on its own, but was needed for unlocking a large number of technological crafting feats.

Thebazilly wrote:

I would define something as a feat tax if it meets one of these requirements:

A feat selected to bring a character up to baseline power level assumptions. (i.e. Precise Shot, which was mandatory for all ranged builds)

A feat where the direct benefit is not desired by the player, but is required as a prerequisite for other abilities. (i.e. Combat Expertise, which nobody ever used)

This is a solid definition.


Thebazilly wrote:

I would define something as a feat tax if it meets one of these requirements:

A feat selected to bring a character up to baseline power level assumptions. (i.e. Precise Shot, which was mandatory for all ranged builds)

A feat where the direct benefit is not desired by the player, but is required as a prerequisite for other abilities. (i.e. Combat Expertise, which nobody ever used)

How would you rectify that? In this case, would you make Precise Shot an Archer Class Feature? If so, would they still get to choose an additional feat at whatever level they would have had to take Precise Shot? If so, would you foresee any balance issues that might cause?


I'd say something that is not directly useful to the character, but is required for something, or should have been built into the class.

One example of this in 1e, is that the alchemist's extracts could only be used by the alchemist. And they would have to take the infusion discovery, before anyone else could benefit from the alchemists extracts.


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That's not really true about the alchemist. You only need the infusion discovery if you want others to be able to the alchemist's job for them. A cure light wounds extract does not heal you for 1d8+level. It allows you to touch someone and heal THEM for that amount.

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PossibleCabbage wrote:

I would say a feat tax is a feat you take not for what it does, but for the other thing which has it as a prerequisite.

Like the standard example of a feat tax in PF1 was combat expertise- a thing which is very rarely used, but was required for all the combat maneuvers.

That's funny because my latest character is in some ways built around Combat Expertise. He has Bodyguard, Phalanx Formation, and a trait that increases his Aid Another to +4. So he gets 3 AoO to defend the party members, giving them +4 AC (or more) each time. It has saved people several times...


Rycke wrote:
That's not really true about the alchemist. You only need the infusion discovery if you want others to be able to the alchemist's job for them. A cure light wounds extract does not heal you for 1d8+level. It allows you to touch someone and heal THEM for that amount.

Sorry what? Infusion clearly says it allows a non-alchemist to benefit from an infused extract.

Infusion:

Benefit: When the alchemist creates an extract, he can infuse it with an extra bit of his own magical power. The extract created now persists even after the alchemist sets it down. As long as the extract exists, it continues to occupy one of the alchemist’s daily extract slots. An infused extract can be imbibed by a non-alchemist to gain its effects.

Grand Lodge

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Rycke wrote:
That's not really true about the alchemist. You only need the infusion discovery if you want others to be able to the alchemist's job for them. A cure light wounds extract does not heal you for 1d8+level. It allows you to touch someone and heal THEM for that amount.

This is not correct

PFSRD wrote:
An extract is “cast” by drinking it, as if imbibing a potion—the effects of an extract exactly duplicate the spell upon which its formula is based, save that the spell always affects only the drinking alchemist.

Back to topic.

As others have said Point Blank shot and Combat Expertise. But also Spell Focus(Conjuration) for augmented summoning.

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Rycke wrote:
That's not really true about the alchemist. You only need the infusion discovery if you want others to be able to the alchemist's job for them. A cure light wounds extract does not heal you for 1d8+level. It allows you to touch someone and heal THEM for that amount.

Where did you get that understanding?

I had believed that only by drinking the extract do you gain its benefits. Therefore drinking the extract DOES heal the alchemist - it does not enable him to cast the spell on someone else.


Azurespark wrote:
Rycke wrote:
That's not really true about the alchemist. You only need the infusion discovery if you want others to be able to the alchemist's job for them. A cure light wounds extract does not heal you for 1d8+level. It allows you to touch someone and heal THEM for that amount.

Sorry what? Infusion clearly says it allows a non-alchemist to benefit from an infused extract.

** spoiler omitted **

Yes, it would allow someone else to use the spell Cure Light Wounds; like the person said.

When laying your hand upon a living creature, you channel positive energy that cures 1d8 points of damage +1 point per caster level (maximum +5)

An alchemist would not need Infusion to make that extract useful.

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Pumpkinhead11 wrote:
Azurespark wrote:
Rycke wrote:
That's not really true about the alchemist. You only need the infusion discovery if you want others to be able to the alchemist's job for them. A cure light wounds extract does not heal you for 1d8+level. It allows you to touch someone and heal THEM for that amount.

Sorry what? Infusion clearly says it allows a non-alchemist to benefit from an infused extract.

** spoiler omitted **

Yes, it would allow someone else to use the spell Cure Light Wounds; like the person said.

When laying your hand upon a living creature, you channel positive energy that cures 1d8 points of damage +1 point per caster level (maximum +5)

Yes, the alchemist would - the class specific text "the spell always affects only the drinking alchemist" trumps the spell's text.

By the way, that is also how potions have always worked. A potion of Cure Light Wounds only helps the drinker.

Grand Lodge

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Pumpkinhead11 wrote:
Azurespark wrote:
Rycke wrote:
That's not really true about the alchemist. You only need the infusion discovery if you want others to be able to the alchemist's job for them. A cure light wounds extract does not heal you for 1d8+level. It allows you to touch someone and heal THEM for that amount.

Sorry what? Infusion clearly says it allows a non-alchemist to benefit from an infused extract.

** spoiler omitted **

Yes, it would allow someone else to use the spell Cure Light Wounds; like the person said.

When laying your hand upon a living creature, you channel positive energy that cures 1d8 points of damage +1 point per caster level (maximum +5)

An alchemist would not need Infusion to make that extract useful.

Yes they would see my above rules quote. Extracts always ONLY target the alchemist. All extracts change the target to you.

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32

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Nicolas Paradise wrote:
Pumpkinhead11 wrote:
Azurespark wrote:
Rycke wrote:
That's not really true about the alchemist. You only need the infusion discovery if you want others to be able to the alchemist's job for them. A cure light wounds extract does not heal you for 1d8+level. It allows you to touch someone and heal THEM for that amount.

Sorry what? Infusion clearly says it allows a non-alchemist to benefit from an infused extract.

** spoiler omitted **

Yes, it would allow someone else to use the spell Cure Light Wounds; like the person said.

When laying your hand upon a living creature, you channel positive energy that cures 1d8 points of damage +1 point per caster level (maximum +5)

An alchemist would not need Infusion to make that extract useful.

Yes they would see my above rules quote. Extracts always ONLY target the alchemist. All extracts change the target to you.

So do Potions, all the way back to 1st Edition D&D.

Grand Lodge

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Lord Fyre wrote:
Nicolas Paradise wrote:
Pumpkinhead11 wrote:
Azurespark wrote:
Rycke wrote:
That's not really true about the alchemist. You only need the infusion discovery if you want others to be able to the alchemist's job for them. A cure light wounds extract does not heal you for 1d8+level. It allows you to touch someone and heal THEM for that amount.

Sorry what? Infusion clearly says it allows a non-alchemist to benefit from an infused extract.

** spoiler omitted **

Yes, it would allow someone else to use the spell Cure Light Wounds; like the person said.

When laying your hand upon a living creature, you channel positive energy that cures 1d8 points of damage +1 point per caster level (maximum +5)

An alchemist would not need Infusion to make that extract useful.

Yes they would see my above rules quote. Extracts always ONLY target the alchemist. All extracts change the target to you.
So do Potions, all the way back to 1st Edition D&D.

Also true.

So another one that maybe isn't a feat tax but feels like in now that 2e rolled it onto weapons is weapon finesse.


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in this edition, if an Alchemist HAS to get increased bulk feat to be able to carry just his bare necessities, then it's a feat tax.

if the same feat is used not for the bare minimum of items, but actually because someone wants to play the professor gadget with 5 different kits on him as well as ladders, ropes, and etc shenanigans, then it's not a tax, since then it's picked for it's actual benefit (i.e. carry more stuff than necessary)

for previous editions, Combat expertise is often used as the perfect example because 99% of the time you didn't even get to use the feat not one time in your characters career, but only picked it up to move along the feat chain.
Point blank shot is much less of a feat tax, since it actually provided SOME benefits, but it's just a plain boring feat that should burn in flames alongside every single "get +1 to x" feat.

so:

feat tax can either be:
a feat that's required to function at a base level
OR
a feat that is just required in order to get other feats.


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I think the most generic way to define feat tax is, "a feat chosen out of necessity to build a particular character, without being enjoyable by itself."


Combat expertise

Jokes aside, the discription of a feat that you have to take but has little to no advantage fits like an ass on a bucket (german proverb :P)

And I think Combat expertise is the most notorious because it:
1) is rarely, if ever, used
2) is totally bland and boring
3) is needed for a sh*tload of feats


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I agree with a lot of the posts here, but also wanted to offer another possible definition of a feat tax.

If a feat is so ubiquitous as to have every character of certain parameters/archetypes always have them, then I would think it's a feat tax.

Example: In PF1, nearly every strength based melee took Power Attack. Our group considered this a feat tax, in essence. (We actually played with the White Elephant rules)

Just as added thought

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Tallyn wrote:

I agree with a lot of the posts here, but also wanted to offer another possible definition of a feat tax.

If a feat is so ubiquitous as to have every character of certain parameters/archetypes always have them, then I would think it's a feat tax.

That is functionally the same as the reasoning given for "Point Blank Shot" and "Precise Shot" above.


mrspaghetti wrote:
Thebazilly wrote:

I would define something as a feat tax if it meets one of these requirements:

A feat selected to bring a character up to baseline power level assumptions. (i.e. Precise Shot, which was mandatory for all ranged builds)

A feat where the direct benefit is not desired by the player, but is required as a prerequisite for other abilities. (i.e. Combat Expertise, which nobody ever used)

How would you rectify that? In this case, would you make Precise Shot an Archer Class Feature? If so, would they still get to choose an additional feat at whatever level they would have had to take Precise Shot? If so, would you foresee any balance issues that might cause?

You drop the 'firing into melee penalty' from the game.

For combat expertise, you point people to the defensive fighting rules that already exist and drop the feat.

----
Whats the context of needing a definition for feat tax in pf2? A lot of them went away

For the playtest, I found several feats to be broadly mandatory (depending slightly on class), partly because general feats were broadly fairly bad and you aren't sacrificing anything particularly of note (which is not true of class feats, or feats in PF1):

Armor proficiency for spellcasters. There isn't any point in running around without armor, and bracers of armor are strictly worse option than even leather. (Being a level higher).

Fleet- movement is massively more important in the new action economy, since being slower than your opponent means they can kite you and make you take 2 moves and attack when they're attacking twice and moving once. All things being equal, that means you always lose, unless the dice fluke out.

Weapon proficiency (varies by class) So many weapons were just strictly worse non-options. If you're going to be making weapon attacks, have something decent to wave around.


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Tallyn wrote:

I agree with a lot of the posts here, but also wanted to offer another possible definition of a feat tax.

If a feat is so ubiquitous as to have every character of certain parameters/archetypes always have them, then I would think it's a feat tax.

Example: In PF1, nearly every strength based melee took Power Attack. Our group considered this a feat tax, in essence. (We actually played with the White Elephant rules)

Just as added thought

I saw an article or forum post titled “Weapon Focus - the true feat tax” - and that meets your point on ubiquitous above

Same applies to precise shot. It is why both those things are now gone

I was quite sad when a player sent me a level 10 Brawler backup character very recently and it is purely “chasing the numbers”. They have opened up the benchmarking spreadsheet and done their best to hit the numbers. They are also playing a Kineticist so are desperately trying to hit the same raw baseline numbers for things like AC and HP (and will fail because Kineticist only needs two stats really and is more like a second edition class in first )

I digress. My point was their feats are iron will, weapon focus, greater weapon focus, armour focus , dodge, improved initiative , toughness and power attack (and a few others). Not only are they all maths enhancers but they are considered vital because most of them are on two current characters in my game including his one. And it misses that brawler needs to focus on feats that act as pre requisites for many others . Some of those do and others really do not

There is every chance that this is just a quick draft in case a back up is needed

But the point remains that arguably all the maths enhancers spoken about are just as much of a feat tax as those that are relatively useless pre requisites ...


Samurai wrote:
PossibleCabbage wrote:

I would say a feat tax is a feat you take not for what it does, but for the other thing which has it as a prerequisite.

Like the standard example of a feat tax in PF1 was combat expertise- a thing which is very rarely used, but was required for all the combat maneuvers.

That's funny because my latest character is in some ways built around Combat Expertise. He has Bodyguard, Phalanx Formation, and a trait that increases his Aid Another to +4. So he gets 3 AoO to defend the party members, giving them +4 AC (or more) each time. It has saved people several times...

How does it go to more than +4 AC?

And where is combat expertise needed here? Can this build not be achieved without it? Or is it just you can drop your melee attack as you only need to be hitting 10?


My definition of a "feat tax" includes:

1) Something that gives a numerical bonus to put your expected number mathematically where it is supposed to be for a certain level.

2) Something required for another feat you want for your character build but does little else for your build.

So while technically speaking, every feat gives something to a character, there are some that are used so infrequently that the bonus they give is worthless.


Lanathar wrote:
Samurai wrote:
PossibleCabbage wrote:

I would say a feat tax is a feat you take not for what it does, but for the other thing which has it as a prerequisite.

Like the standard example of a feat tax in PF1 was combat expertise- a thing which is very rarely used, but was required for all the combat maneuvers.

That's funny because my latest character is in some ways built around Combat Expertise. He has Bodyguard, Phalanx Formation, and a trait that increases his Aid Another to +4. So he gets 3 AoO to defend the party members, giving them +4 AC (or more) each time. It has saved people several times...

How does it go to more than +4 AC?

And where is combat expertise needed here? Can this build not be achieved without it? Or is it just you can drop your melee attack as you only need to be hitting 10?

Yeah, none of those feats actually interact with combat expertise, but I guess I can see how it might help the bodyguard have more AC himself?


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Let's be honest, Combat Expertise was the AC equivalent of Power Attack. There are 2 reasons its worse: 1) Most vocal forum users and minmaxers valued DPR and to-hit over anything else; 2) It was way over used as a pre-req, which is honestly Paizo's fault for using only it; it's hard to fight 10 years worth of bad press and attacks.

Another really bad feat/lv tax was Improved Unarmed Strike. That feat is worse than Combat Expertise and the only way around it was dipping into an unarmed class (a bump to the damage and usually some other benefit).

*************
For me the definition of a feat tax is this: Any feat that is required to get access to the feat you actually want, or that is so important that almost everyone wants to gets it at some point.

For PF1e::
weapon focus, power attack, combat expertise, point blank shot, precise shot (all ranged characters effectively need it), improved initiative, improved unarmed strike, two-weapon fighting feat (to a degree), and iron will.

For PF2e as far as I know::
improved carry capacity, based on the other threads dedication or adopted(insert race) to get access to a SINGLE weapon, dedications if you want only 1 feat, dedications and dedication feat limit if you want to use multiple classes/archetypes, some proficiency increases (trained to expert for non class things).

Each has their pros and cons. And neither one is better than the other, just different expectations and needs.


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No, not having many (or any) feat taxes IS better.

A level appropriate actionable ability that does what players envision and want to do is better than taking multiple levels to unlock something mediocre with feats that aren't wanted or needed.

[And that's without getting into the egregiously bad feat taxes that are just stealth fixes to bad system math]


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I don't know if is 100% accurate, but any feat that has an "Improved" version down the line fall in this category.

Unless the previous version is already pretty cool and the improved version makes it meaningfully better, I think these types of feat chains just remove character options.

When something is pre-requisite to another, I find it miles better if the new option enhances the playstyle the play is going for, rather than just making the first version less bad (since often the problem is screwing over your action economy or simply level appropriate bonuses).


Samurai wrote:
PossibleCabbage wrote:

I would say a feat tax is a feat you take not for what it does, but for the other thing which has it as a prerequisite.

Like the standard example of a feat tax in PF1 was combat expertise- a thing which is very rarely used, but was required for all the combat maneuvers.

That's funny because my latest character is in some ways built around Combat Expertise. He has Bodyguard, Phalanx Formation, and a trait that increases his Aid Another to +4. So he gets 3 AoO to defend the party members, giving them +4 AC (or more) each time. It has saved people several times...

That's Combat Reflexes Samurai, not Combat Expertise.


Combat Reflexes was a strong choice on many characters.

Combat Expertise was a feat almost no one used, since "taking a to-hit penalty for more AC" has the unfortunate side effect of "making combat take longer". Even builds that wanted to do that sort of thing (e.g. halfling aldori swordlords with crane style) were better off fighting defensively instead of using combat expertise, since more things interacted with "fighting defensively."


(You could always do both, just fyi but that's an extra penalty)

Also, I meant they both have pros and cons overall. I will admit, that PF1e had lots of taxes, but it also had lots of ways to get around them. Similarly, what few taxes PF2e has, there is no way to get around them; At least yet, but who knows given how they kind of class locked combat styles, and some really dont want other to have some access to them.


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Nicolas Paradise wrote:
Pumpkinhead11 wrote:
Azurespark wrote:
Rycke wrote:
That's not really true about the alchemist. You only need the infusion discovery if you want others to be able to the alchemist's job for them. A cure light wounds extract does not heal you for 1d8+level. It allows you to touch someone and heal THEM for that amount.

Sorry what? Infusion clearly says it allows a non-alchemist to benefit from an infused extract.

** spoiler omitted **

Yes, it would allow someone else to use the spell Cure Light Wounds; like the person said.

When laying your hand upon a living creature, you channel positive energy that cures 1d8 points of damage +1 point per caster level (maximum +5)

An alchemist would not need Infusion to make that extract useful.

Yes they would see my above rules quote. Extracts always ONLY target the alchemist. All extracts change the target to you.

That reading makes no sense when you consider spells like deathwine or empower holy water , which can only affect specific objects, making it pointless for them to even be on the alchemists list if you use that interpretation.


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sherlock1701 wrote:
Nicolas Paradise wrote:
Pumpkinhead11 wrote:
Azurespark wrote:
Rycke wrote:
That's not really true about the alchemist. You only need the infusion discovery if you want others to be able to the alchemist's job for them. A cure light wounds extract does not heal you for 1d8+level. It allows you to touch someone and heal THEM for that amount.

Sorry what? Infusion clearly says it allows a non-alchemist to benefit from an infused extract.

** spoiler omitted **

Yes, it would allow someone else to use the spell Cure Light Wounds; like the person said.

When laying your hand upon a living creature, you channel positive energy that cures 1d8 points of damage +1 point per caster level (maximum +5)

An alchemist would not need Infusion to make that extract useful.

Yes they would see my above rules quote. Extracts always ONLY target the alchemist. All extracts change the target to you.
That reading makes no sense when you consider spells like deathwine or empower holy water , which can only affect specific objects, making it pointless for them to even be on the alchemists list if you use that interpretation.

Yes, there are some rather pointless spells on the alchemist's spell list. I don't know what paizo was thinking when they added those spells. Because as others have pointed out, the class write up contradicts the notion of allowing the drinker to cast the spell on another target.


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sherlock1701 wrote:
Nicolas Paradise wrote:
Pumpkinhead11 wrote:
Azurespark wrote:
Rycke wrote:
That's not really true about the alchemist. You only need the infusion discovery if you want others to be able to the alchemist's job for them. A cure light wounds extract does not heal you for 1d8+level. It allows you to touch someone and heal THEM for that amount.

Sorry what? Infusion clearly says it allows a non-alchemist to benefit from an infused extract.

** spoiler omitted **

Yes, it would allow someone else to use the spell Cure Light Wounds; like the person said.

When laying your hand upon a living creature, you channel positive energy that cures 1d8 points of damage +1 point per caster level (maximum +5)

An alchemist would not need Infusion to make that extract useful.

Yes they would see my above rules quote. Extracts always ONLY target the alchemist. All extracts change the target to you.
That reading makes no sense when you consider spells like deathwine or empower holy water , which can only affect specific objects, making it pointless for them to even be on the alchemists list if you use that interpretation.

And Tears to Wine, Imbue with Addiction, Languid Venom. If the caster is the default target i’m honestly curious what the original use behind these Extracts were? o3o


What players like to call "feat taxes" are often a game balancing mechanism. Players just want to power tune their characters and choices up to eleven. That's fine, if that's how they want to play and the table can opt to drop requirements and various penalties to allow this to happen.

Some players like to have a gradual progression that helps separate their character from others who do not have those abilities hidden behind so-called taxes.


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PFRPGrognard wrote:
What players like to call "feat taxes" are often a game balancing mechanism.

Except that many of the most egregious examples of feat taxes and unnecessarily heavy investment are also tied to some of the least efficient playstyles in the game.

While incredibly overbearing and popular ones tend to require very little.

Your statement here is fundamentally at odds with the reality of Pathfinder.

Quote:
Some players like to have a gradual progression that helps separate their character from others who do not have those abilities hidden behind so-called taxes.

You can have a gradual progression without also having bad feats, nonfunctional or disinteresting feat walls.


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PFRPGrognard wrote:
Some players like to have a gradual progression that helps separate their character from others who do not have those abilities hidden behind so-called taxes.

Not sure what you're saying there.

Feat taxes cause gradual progression, but they also prevent characters being separated from one another. People who want to be good at disarming or tripping all start out as martials with an Int of 13 and Combat Expertise. PF1 Archers tend to be pretty samey because they all want Point Blank Shot, Precise Shot...


(After those 2 feats they can be very different, if they dont follow "the one true DPR build" to a T. To me the problem is always "the one true DPR build", that get the job done but are meh (they are useful for benchmarks and theory crafting thou.)

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PFRPGrognard wrote:

What players like to call "feat taxes" are often a game balancing mechanism. Players just want to power tune their characters and choices up to eleven. That's fine, if that's how they want to play and the table can opt to drop requirements and various penalties to allow this to happen.

Some players like to have a gradual progression that helps separate their character from others who do not have those abilities hidden behind so-called taxes.

I think incrementally gaining powers as a balancing mechanism is fine. Where it goes wrong is when:

- Stuff is just mandatory for even basic playing the character. Like Precise Shot to play a plausible archer. It causes a bad experience for every new player in PF1 who wants to make a level 1 elven ranger, because for most of level 1 you can't hit anything.

- When the in-between powers don't do anything cool in themselves. Combat Expertise does something; but since it's something you rarely use and it's not relevant to someone taking it to get to maneuver feats, it's not a cool prerequisite.


Why are math enhancers considered a tax, unless you don’t plan on using them for the build concept?

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Pumpkinhead11 wrote:
Why are math enhancers considered a tax, unless you don’t plan on using them for the build concept?

Because they contribute nothing to the character as a character more or less, bonuses to attack and HP and the like are metagame concepts.


Rysky wrote:
Pumpkinhead11 wrote:
Why are math enhancers considered a tax, unless you don’t plan on using them for the build concept?
Because they contribute nothing to the character as a character more or less, bonuses to attack and HP and the like are metagame concepts.

If i’m not forced to take it; combat expertise and point blank shot; I don’t see it as a tax. Skill focus shows my character set time aside to dedicate towards a skill; iron will shows they have, well, an iron will; toughness shows they can take a hit, weather through training or body build.

That’s how i always view them at least

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Pumpkinhead11 wrote:
Why are math enhancers considered a tax, unless you don’t plan on using them for the build concept?

(All of this in PF1 terms)

I think not all math enhancers are feat taxes, but some of the big ones are.

Lightning Reflexes is a math enhancer, but you can live with or without it. Stuff that kills you on one failed reflex save is pretty rare.

Iron Will is much closer to a feat tax, because the consequences of a failed Will save tend to be much worse, such as losing control of your character for 7+ rounds if you fail a save against Confusion, and potentially killing/getting killed by your party members.

The consequences are so bad, that you almost have to pay the feat tax. (Just like real taxes, you can choose not to pay, but bad things may happen.)

Point Blank Shot is also a feat enhancer, but it's a feat tax mostly because it blocks the path to Precise Shot. People rarely take it for its own merits, even though it's actually not a bad feat. A lot of fights do take place at that range after all.

Precise Shot is also a math enhancer and is also a sort of feat tax because a classic fantasy playstyle ("archer") is borderline unplayable without it.

Power Attack is sort of a math enhancer, in that it's not a static bonus, you can make attacks without it, but people who take it usually leave it always on. It can be considered a tax when you get the feeling that scenario writers assume the sort of damage output you get with power attack and beef up enemies accordingly. At that point you need power attack to actually get the normal play experience.

Weapon Focus is a math enhancer that's also a prerequisite for lots of stuff, so that already makes it a bit of a feat tax. Just like with Power Attack, enemy AC might go up if a lot of people use Weapon Focus and complain that enemies are too easy to hit. Then, the people not using Weapon Focus will need to take it just to keep up.

Improved Initiative is a math enhancer, but I would say is not normally a feat tax. Most monsters aren't written with the sort of initiative bonuses players have in mind.


Pumpkinhead11 wrote:

If i’m not forced to take it; combat expertise and point blank shot; I don’t see it as a tax. Skill focus shows my character set time aside to dedicate towards a skill; iron will shows they have, well, an iron will; toughness shows they can take a hit, weather through training or body build.

That’s how i always view them at least

Toughness is, by itself, frankly pointless. Yes, you get 3 more hp. But above 3rd level or so, those 3 hp vanish into irrelevance. The odds that you end up at a positive hp score below 4 is increasingly vanishingly small, but you need the feast to access other things.

I almost think you're thinking of Improved Toughness, which is 1 hp per level....and requires Toughness. Mechanical benefit? About +2 CON (less because of Fort saves) for 2 feats.

Silver Crusade

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Draco18s wrote:
Pumpkinhead11 wrote:

If i’m not forced to take it; combat expertise and point blank shot; I don’t see it as a tax. Skill focus shows my character set time aside to dedicate towards a skill; iron will shows they have, well, an iron will; toughness shows they can take a hit, weather through training or body build.

That’s how i always view them at least

Toughness is, by itself, frankly pointless. Yes, you get 3 more hp. But above 3rd level or so, those 3 hp vanish into irrelevance. The odds that you end up at a positive hp score below 4 is increasingly vanishingly small, but you need the feast to access other things.

I almost think you're thinking of Improved Toughness, which is 1 hp per level....and requires Toughness. Mechanical benefit? About +2 CON (less because of Fort saves) for 2 feats.

Uh, Toughness and Improved Toughness got combined in Pathfinder. You get 3 HP immediately and then at 4th level and every level after you get an extra HP

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Pumpkinhead11 wrote:
Rysky wrote:
Pumpkinhead11 wrote:
Why are math enhancers considered a tax, unless you don’t plan on using them for the build concept?
Because they contribute nothing to the character as a character more or less, bonuses to attack and HP and the like are metagame concepts.

If i’m not forced to take it; combat expertise and point blank shot; I don’t see it as a tax. Skill focus shows my character set time aside to dedicate towards a skill; iron will shows they have, well, an iron will; toughness shows they can take a hit, weather through training or body build.

That’s how i always view them at least

Just because it's irrelevant to your build doesn't make it not be a Feat Tax.

I'm playing a Wizard focused on Transmutation. Combat Expertise is still a Feat Tax.


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Rysky wrote:
Pumpkinhead11 wrote:
Rysky wrote:
Pumpkinhead11 wrote:
Why are math enhancers considered a tax, unless you don’t plan on using them for the build concept?
Because they contribute nothing to the character as a character more or less, bonuses to attack and HP and the like are metagame concepts.

If i’m not forced to take it; combat expertise and point blank shot; I don’t see it as a tax. Skill focus shows my character set time aside to dedicate towards a skill; iron will shows they have, well, an iron will; toughness shows they can take a hit, weather through training or body build.

That’s how i always view them at least

Just because it's irrelevant to your build doesn't make it not be a Feat Tax.

I'm playing a Wizard focused on Transmutation. Combat Expertise is still a Feat Tax.

Wait, sorry, i said that wrong. I meant that i agree with Combat Expertise and Point Blank Shot being a tax, but not as much with Toughness and Power Attack. Even Iron Will; just because something is more detrimental if it happens doesn’t mean you’re forced to take it. On the flip side of that, investment should feel rewarding rather than just ‘chasing the numbers.’

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Ah, I gotcha.

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