Selecting Feats More Than Once - Rules Cite


Rules Discussion


Where, exactly, do the PF2 rules say that you can only take a feat once?

Here, just I'm looking for a specific book, presumably the CRB, and page number, not a general philosophical persuasive strategy or design theory.

You could certainly make an argument that the existence of the "Special" sections imply that in general you can't take feats more than once. But that's an assumption based on an implication, not a rule. Starfinder has text that explicitly says not. PF 1e used to work that way -- sort of. 1e CRB p113 says "If a character has the same feat more than once, its benefits do not stack unless indicated otherwise in the description" -- which isn't the same thing as "can't take more than once", as opposed to "it would be pointless and thus silly to take the same feat more than once".

However, that phrase doesn't occur in the 2e CRB, as far as I've been able to tell. "feat more than once" only shows up in the Special sections, which can be read as telling you what does happen when you take them more than once. My searches for similar phrases have come up empty.

If it matters exactly why I'm interested, there are some feats that seem like they're intended to be taken more than once (e.g., Canny Acumen, boosting one of Fort, Reflex, Will, or Per; or Ancestral Paragon, adding back all the little racial features that used to come bundled with the ancestry. These feats require "specialization" in that they have sub-choices. These do not have "Special" paragraphs. Even if there were a rule against taking the same feat more than once, it's not obvious that Canny Acumen (Fort) is meant to be the "same feat" as Canny Acumen (Will), as opposed to a way to save word count by repeating "the same" feat for every trait. And there's a certain famous automated tool that takes the strict view...

So, it'd be nice to have a clear statement for the general, baseline case (You can; you can't; "same" means fully specialized with all the choices, or "same" means the top-level overall feat name, even for the ones with sub-categories) And assuming it needs and gets an errata, it probably wouldn't be bad to bring back the loophole plug of "if you do somehow get the same feat more than once, the benefits don't stack". (The word "stack" appears twice in the CRB, once for bonus types, once in a sidebar mentioned a "stack of dice or tokens".)

But before I suggest an errata, I want to be clear on exactly what the rules do currently say. And so far, I haven't found a prohibition against taking a feat more than once. And that failure is bugging me -- hence my plea for your Aid.


In my humble opinion the CRB does so only indirectly, i.e. feats that can be chosen multiple times have the appropriate entry clearly stated within the feat itself. Just compare Natural Ambition and General Training of the human ancestry.


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I searched through the PF2 Core Rulebook on the pages mentioned in the index under "Feat" and I performed a word search for the word "once." I did not perform a word search on "feat," because that has thousands of hits.

The rule of taking a feat only once is mentioned in passing on page 18 in the very last sentence of the explanation of a description of an action or feat.

PF2 Core Rulebook, Introduction chapter, Reading Rules section, page 18 wrote:

ACTION OR FEAT NAME [one-action] LEVEL

TRAITS
Prerequisites Any minimum ability scores, feats, proficiency ranks, or other prerequisites you must have before you can access this rule element are listed here. Feats also have a level prerequisite, which appears above.
Frequency This is the limit on how many times you can use the ability within a given time.
Trigger Reactions and some free actions have triggers that must be met before they can be used.
Requirements Sometimes you must have a certain item or be in a certain circumstance to use an ability. If so, it’s listed in this section.
------------------------------------------------------------------------
This section describes the effects or benefits of a rule element. If the rule is an action, it explains what the effect is or what you must roll to determine the effect. If it’s a feat that modifies an existing action or grants a constant effect, the benefit is explained here.
Special Any special qualities of the rule are explained in this section. Usually this section appears in feats you can select more than once, explaining what happens when you do.

Sczarni

Pathfinder Starfinder Society Subscriber

Good find! Thank you for your time!


Thanks for the searching. (I ran into the same problem with finding "feat" all over, including the pretty sidebars and many times on every image of a character sheet...)

I did find the text you mention. It's almost the opposite of a general prohibition, though. "Usually this section appears" -- which is to say not always, the opposite of something like "Feats that you can take more than once always have this section".

Also that description points out that the purpose of "Special" paragraphs is not to note that the feat can be taken multiple times -- it's to spell out exactly what happens in that event, because that varies per feat. (E.g., Weapon Proficiency moves up the set of weapon classes, various skill feats call for skill specialization each time, etc. They rarely -- if ever -- do exactly the same thing twice. Hence the question about Canny Acumen, Ancestral Paragon, and others that call for specialization, yet lack "Special" paragraphs. They might, for instance, avoid stacking by specifying that each pick has to be for a different option, like the skill feats.) Feats with "obvious" effects from multiple picks might not be considered to need a Special paragraph.

I suppose I can console myself that I'm not completely blind in not finding the rule, at least. Guess I'll just submit the errata suggestion, and Paizo can decide how it should read.

Sovereign Court

@Anaraxes: you're not wrong in finding it less than easy.

But to invoke these woolly "philosophy" ideas: one of the underlying aims for Pathfinder 2 was that "choices matter". So I don't find it hard to believe that if a feat like Canny Acumen doesn't have a 'special' line explicitly letting you take it multiple times, you can't.


Anaraxes wrote:

Thanks for the searching. (I ran into the same problem with finding "feat" all over, including the pretty sidebars and many times on every image of a character sheet...)

I did find the text you mention. It's almost the opposite of a general prohibition, though. "Usually this section appears" -- which is to say not always, the opposite of something like "Feats that you can take more than once always have this section".

I interpret the line, "Usually this section appears in feats you can select more than once, explaining what happens when you do," as, "The most common use of this section is telling when the feat can be selected more than once and the details of what happens when you do."

Anaraxes wrote:

Also that description points out that the purpose of "Special" paragraphs is not to note that the feat can be taken multiple times -- it's to spell out exactly what happens in that event, because that varies per feat. (E.g., Weapon Proficiency moves up the set of weapon classes, various skill feats call for skill specialization each time, etc. They rarely -- if ever -- do exactly the same thing twice. Hence the question about Canny Acumen, Ancestral Paragon, and others that call for specialization, yet lack "Special" paragraphs. They might, for instance, avoid stacking by specifying that each pick has to be for a different option, like the skill feats.) Feats with "obvious" effects from multiple picks might not be considered to need a Special paragraph.

I suppose I can console myself that I'm not completely blind in not finding the rule, at least. Guess I'll just submit the errata suggestion, and Paizo can decide how it should read.

That is the annoying part. That line is not a rule that feats cannot be selected more than once without a special exception. It is a line that assumes that the rule is written somewhere else in the rulebook.


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^ Sure, and Errata to more accurately and clearly convey that restriction is certainly justified... Although obviously that's much more likely to actually happen if it's possible to rephrase it without bumping into layout/character-count issues. While tightening up surrounding text can also free up space (if new text would be too big for layout constraints), I doubt Paizo would do that in this case... although if not issuing Errata for that reason, an official FAQ would be justified.

One thing: Developer Mark Seifter confirmed here in forum that the same "can't take more than once" assumption for Feats also applies to "Familiar/Master Abilities" from the Familiar class feature/feat.


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It deserves errata but the intent is pretty consistent and obvious imo.

Every single time it lists special it also lists "You can select this feat more than once." or "You can select this feat multiple times."

And coupling it with "Usually this section appears in feats you can select more than once, explaining what happens when you do."

Again, it deserves a small errata but anyone reaching for a different conclusion is asking for something that won't happen imo.


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Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Certainly there would be no point in calling out feats that can be selected more than once if any feat could be selected more than once.

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