View Full Version : A little Brainstorm about Feats...[3.5]

2010-07-09, 07:25 AM
I'm not normally one for deriding feats; i'm not an optimiser in the least at heart and I prefer scheming and planning to anything my powergaming friends can do with spell or item combos.

Djinn-in-Tonic voiced an interesting opinion that feats shouldn't just be bonuses but should create new options for the character. I have to say that I agree with that whole heartedly, even if I don't agree with the context it was spoken in.

I'm a rapacious homebrewer with a preference for stuff around "tier 4" such as I understand these things: i like slightly beefed up fighters and barbarians and rogues a lot more than mages or TOB classes. Therefore, I decided that as opposed to making some massively fiddly changes to anything and everything, I'd start small and ensure that lower end feats actually ADD something to the game and the character they're added to.

Here's an example of what I mean:

Weapon Focus [Fighter]:
You have trained more extensively with your weapon of choice, learning readiness and how to respond to threats quickly.
Prerequisites: Proficiency with chosen weapon
Description: You gain a +1 bonus on attack rolls with your chosen weapon. In addition, you gain a further +2 bonus to attack and damage rolls with your chosen weapon when making Attacks of Opportunity and Readied Actions.

Comments: This takes the normal, admittedly a bit pointless feat and adds another option to it; in this case, an incentive to actually USE the Readied Action rules. I tend to think of it more like the pistol/flashlight thing of police officers in my games, though it could just as easily be a constant raised stance with a sword...

In a similar vein:

Weapon Specialisation [Fighter]:
You have mastered striking in the right places, a skill that allows you to pin others down nicely.
Prerequisites: Int 11, Weapon Focus with chosen weapon, BAB +4
Description: You deal +2 additional damage with your chosen weapon. Additionally, any time you hit an opponent with a Readied Action or Attack of Opportunity, they must make a Concentration check, DC 10 + damage dealt, or lose their action. If they would have to take a Concentration check anyway, increase the DC by your BAB.

Comments: It might not seem like much, but this increases the ability of a martial character to pin others down a lot; being forced to make a Concentration check to actually move off is pretty paralysing when you think about it. The changed prerequisites are motivated by the idea that anyone should be able to use it with training and skill, but Barbarians might not be able to actually use it while raging...

Combat Expertise and Power Attack are options in themselves, so they're fine, as is Intimidating Strike. Personally, I adapt the latter two to allow them to be used with ranged weapons out to 30ft.

I'm not sure if this one is too silly seeming; it makes sense from my "i've got a gun" point of view, and seems a reasonable effect for thrown weapons:

Point Blank Shot [Fighter]:
You have mastered the art of fighting with ranged weapons up close. Foes instinctively back away from you.
Prerequisites: Dex 13
Description: When within 30ft of you target, you add a +1 bonus to attack and damage rolls with ranged weapons. If you are within 15ft of your target and successfully hit your opponent, compare you attack roll to his Strength score. If you beat this score, the opponent moves 5ft directly away from you, if able. This movement does not provoke an attack of opportunity.

Comments: Drive your opponents back with ranged attacks? Sounds useful, especially when they're close enough to be spitting at you. I didn't include size modifiers on this because size already increases strength.

These were just idle musings so I'm hoping folks have some constructive suggestions for me. I'm probably going to use the Focus and Specialisation versions in my games anyway.

Floor is open, please comment!

2010-07-16, 08:05 AM
Just briefly raise this out of obscurity to ask if these ideas were too weak, too boring or just not the kind of thing that you were after?

If there are no responses, I'll let this thread lie...

2010-07-16, 09:01 AM
They're...different from the original feats, but they don't seriously address any of the fundamental issues or disparities in the game.

Moreover, the new abilities you've created are considerably stronger than the original ability, and have a markedly different effect. Thus, each feat feels like a completely new feat with the old feat's name and benefit nailed onto the side. Seeing the old name on a new feat that's essentially unrelated to the original creates some...cognitive dissonance I guess.

To make matters worse, none of the new feats occupy a very new design space - there are already feats and magic items that improve your damage with opportunity attacks, hinder foes who are attempting to move or cast in your threatened space, or inflict knockback on a successful hit. It's like taking all the leftovers from the back of the fridge and making stew out of them - it's a little different than the first time you ate it, but you've still tasted all this stuff before.

2010-07-16, 09:53 AM
Fair enough.

It really wasn't my intention to do anything grand or life changing, so much as compact a selection of stuff down into something more useable. Most of the disparities you mention are a combination of GM's allowing the purchase of magic items and the seeming fact that the D&D rules were tested without them at first and then not at all on later releases...

I've decided to use these versions in my games to see if it messes anything up: i doubt it will, though i'm not happy with the specialisation effect in the least. Thanks for your input.