View Full Version : Pathfinder Take a look at my prototype house rules? (Focus on feats and martials.)

2014-09-19, 09:00 PM
These rule changes are aimed at buffing melee in general, and high mobility melee in particular, while also fitting the general of my campaign setting (mostly focused on monster hunting and bounty hunting, magitech, partially inspired by anime, borrows a lot from European, Asian, and Native American sources). These are intended for use between levels 4 and 12. I included higher level content for scaling options to be consistent, but these rules aren't really meant to be used for high level play (or very low level play, for that matter).

Magic items that donít have to be frequently recharged are rare and special. I use Evil Lincolnís rules for replacing magic items, which you can find here , but with Purchase DC replaced by Enhancement Points, which mimic Wealth by Level on a 1 to 1 basis and are used to purchase the effects of magic items (no consumable items) . These effects become supernatural abilities of the character who purchased them. This is explained by the fact that, within the lore of my campaign setting, some people are a bit more magical than others, but not because of a Sorcerer bloodline or Oracle curse. These people generate stats with 25 point buy (10 or 15 is much more common) and get the benefits of this magical enhancement system, allowing them to be stronger, faster, smarter, and so on than the average person and use a touch of magic. This actually meshes pretty well with my settingís explanation of where magic comes from.


Combat Expertise is no longer a feat, it is the way fighting defensively works. If something had it as a prerequisite, it no longer does.

Itís not like anybody even uses the damn thing.

Improved Shield bash is not a feat. If you are proficient with a shield, you do not lose your shield bonus when bashing. If something had it as a prerequisite, it no longer does.

Sword and board needs a bit of a buff, and effective shield bashing isnít something the average sword and board warrior would skip during training, given that it was a very common technique.

Power Attack and Deadly Aim are no longer feats, it is something people of Str 13 (PA) or Dex 13 (DA) and BAB 1 can do. If something had it as a prerequisite, it no longer does so long as the character has the requisite ability score and BAB.

Almost every Str based melee character takes Power Attack anyway, so might as well just let them have it. Deadly Aim is the same basic mechanism and cost/benefit as Power Attack, so might as well give the ranged guys that.

The bonus from Point Blank Shot increases to +2 at 6 BAB, +3 at 11 BAB, and +4 at 16 BAB. If something had Point Blank Shot as a prerequisite, it no longer does.

As written, Point Blank Shot just plain sucked, and I canít find a rationale to keep it as a requirement for almost all other archery feats.

Vital Strike can be used in conjunction with Spring Attack or Shot on the Run. This does not make Vital Strike an attack action, and does not allow any other non-attack action to be used with Spring Attack or Shot on the Run.

I canít figure out if it is or is not an attack action to use Vital Strike, but my understanding is that it normally cannot be used with Shot on the Run or Spring Attack.

Weapon Finesse is not a feat, it is a weapon property that applies to all weapons that the feat could normally be applied to, plus shortspears, spears, and quarterstaffs. If something had it as a prerequisite, it no longer does

Because I think 5e had that one right, and because rapidly whirling spears and quarterstaffs is awesome and should totally be a thing for Dex builds.

Slashing Grace does not have Weapon Focus as a prerequisite.

Slashing Grace shouldn't need Weapon Focus. Thatís too steep a requirement for what it does.

A shortspear or spear can do slashing or piercing damage.

Iíve seen reports of Chinese spearmen using the weapons to both slash and stab. Regardless of whether this is true or not, it is cool, so it is incorporated into the rules.

Monks are proficient with the longspear. Shortspears and spears are considered monk weapons.

They are already proficient with shortspears and spears, and it seems thematically appropriate. Also, more whirling spears :D.

If something had Mounted Combat as a prerequisite, it no longer does.

Mounted Combat isnít necessarily weak as a feat, itís just not an ability that needs to be a basic prerequisite for mounted characters.

Dodge gives you +1 to AC and +1 to reflex saves. At level 10 it goes up to 2/2. If something had it as a prerequisite, it no longer does

Dodge sucks as written, and doesn't need to be a prerequisite for anything.

The following feat chains scale with level, meaning that if you have the first feat in the chain, you get the subsequent ones at no cost when you meet the prerequisites.
*Two Weapon Fighting/Improved Two Weapon Fighting/Greater Two Weapon Fighting
*Vital Strike/Improved Vital Strike/Greater Vital Strike
*Improved Dirty Trick/Greater Dirty Trick
*Improved Disarm/ Greater Disarm
*Improved Feint/Greater Feint
*Improved Reposition/Greater Reposition
*Improved Steal/Greater Steal
*Improved Trip/Greater Trip
*Improved Bull Rush/Greater Bull Rush
*Improved Drag/Greater Drag
*Improved Overrun/Greater Overrun
*Improved Sunder/Greater Sunder
*Iron Will/Improved Iron Will
*Great Fortitude/Improved Great Fortitude
*Lighting Reflexes/Improved Lightning Reflexes
*Weapon Focus/Greater Weapon Focus
*Weapon Specialization/Greater Weapon Specialization

All of these chains are too expensive for what you get.

Greater Weapon Focus is not restricted to Fighters, but does have a BAB 6 requirement.

With Weapon Focus scaling with level and being a common enough prerequisite for feats non-Fighters take, this one had to go.

All those +2/+2 to skill feats improve to +4/+4 at 10th level. These feats and Skill Focus both allow rerolling one failed skill check related to the feat once per day at 10th level.

Those feats weren't worth the cost.

Jump heights listed for Acrobatics checks are quadrupled and distances doubled.

Why yes, I am a fan of anime. Why do you ask?

Characters that have a shield apply itís full AC bonus to reflex saves against area of effect attacks or rays that deal elemental damage. Mage Armor can also apply it's full AC bonus in these situations.

How often do you see a knight blocking a dragonís breath attack with his shield in fantasy art? All the time, and it is cool. I feel the same about when spellcasters throw up a force field to block fireballs and stuff.

No Summoners, Dimension Door, Teleport, or resurrection magic.

Just booting things I particularly dislike from the game.

Generally, I prefer something similar to E6, but terminating at either 8th or 12th level.

Higher level play be crazy.

I use Golarion, but much of the game takes place on a heavily explored and settled version of Arcadia, mostly the western portion. Avistan, Tien, and Arcadian people are all present in large numbers and are considered thematically appropriate for the game, and mixed ethnicity characters arenít at all uncommon. The common language is Taldane, but Tien is almost as heavily used. The Dragon Empires character options can most certainly be used (though any Samurai are probably ronin immigrants), and I have quite the affection for catfolk.I do allow planetouched. CRB, APG, UM, UC, ACG are allowed, ARG options for already allowed races are allowed, other ARG options or races not specifically mentioned as allowed can be discussed with me.

The standard Fighter, Rogue, Monk, and Cavalier are not banned, but I prefer to use the talented versions from Super Genius Games instead.

I consider them to be somewhat better.

Members of the Machinesmith class are not particularly uncommon in my setting.

I run a high magitech version of Golarion, so Machinesmiths fit in well and fill a character role the increased tech level opens up. It is also available on the D20PFSRD, which makes it easily accessible to players.

I like spell points as written by Super Genius Games, but their use is negotiable. They will either be applied to everybody or nobody.

I double check 3PP before saying yes as a precaution (I consider both balance and the theme of the game when deciding), but I own and view favorably the following items:

*Alchemistís Discoveries (Super Genius Games)
*Beyond Bloodlines (Super Genius Games)
*All of the talented PDFs for the Fighter, Rogue, Monk, and Cavalier (Super Genius Games)
*Fey Archetypes (Rite Publishing)
*Secrets of the Masquerade Reveler (Rite Publishing)
*Grit and Gunslingers (Super Genius Games)
*Heroes of the Jade Oath (Rite Publishing)
*Heroes of the West (Little Red Goblin Games)
*Kitsune Compendium (Everyman Gaming)
*Classes of NeoExodus: Machinesmith (Louis Porter Jr. Design)
*Gothic Campaign Compendium (Legendary Games)

I use all of the above to varying degrees, and donít be surprised to see content from 3PP monster books. How much I use the Gothic Campaign Compendium or allow it to be used by players heavily depends on whether the party as a whole is going towards games with optimistic or pessimistic leanings. Itís a book I reserve for more pessimistic games.

I donít like evil or evil-leaning Neutral PCs.

Maxximilius archetypes (http://paizo.com/threads/rzs2n9uc?Maxximiliuss-Archetypes-20-More-grey-matter#1) and multiclass archetypes (http://paizo.com/threads/rzs2rb2x?Multiclass-Archetypes-VIII-MCAs-Unlimited) are considered on a case by case basis.

Changing rules: Given the amount of 3PP content and house ruling, there will be a balance issue eventually. Rules will not be changed during play, but balance issues will be resolved in between sessions. If itís a PbP, the rule will be modified after the encounter is resolved. Players will always be informed of any rules changes.

I understand that changing the rules on the players in the middle of play is massively irritating, but I will still have to resolve balance issues.

So, what balance issues did I open up and not notice? I'm sure I did something, somewhere. Do my rules come off as reasonable?

2014-09-20, 01:02 AM
Just added Paths of War to my 3PP collection. I'll have to flip through and see how I feel about it, but based on reviews and the SRD I am optimistic.

2014-09-20, 09:23 AM
As someone not particularly familiar with SGG or some of the other things you brought up, I'm going to focus mostly on your restructuring here. I've been doing a similar thing (albeit primarily focused on core rules) and I'm intrigued to compare notes.

first order of business:

All those +2/+2 to skill feats improve to +4/+4 at 10th level. These feats and Skill Focus both allow rerolling one failed skill check related to the feat once per day at 10th level.

Already a thing, although it's ten ranks and not 10th level. You may have already known that and changed it deliberately, but I thought I'd mention it. Skill Focus too.

The reroll idea wouldn't have occured to me but I suppose it works. These are feats I'd be liable to just remove in a substantial rewrite, though.

-snip- These effects become supernatural abilities of the character who purchased them. -snip-

An interesting approach.

Regarding the following things that you made generally accessible:

Combat Expertise
Power Attack
Deadly Aim
Improved Shield Bash
Weapon Finesse

I agree entirely and my own work does something similar (basically, several feats are given out as second level bonus feats for fighting-type classes). I also included Point-Blank Shot (giving it out seemed more sensible than trying to buff it) but I didn't think to distribute Improved Shield Bash. I'll have to make note of that.

Vital Strike is one I actually gave out for free to everyone who reached the benchmarks, and I'll tell you why: It's really important for a lot of different situations (barring spellcaster intervention). Let me paint a picture for you.

You're in a melee combat situation. Your opponent hurts you when you attack it at melee range because of a cold aura. You could kill it this round, but you need to minimize the damage you're taking.
You nock your arrow and steady your aim. The target is unaware of you. At this range, you have a decent chance of going undetected... if you can take them out in one shot, instead of several.
You're in a melee combat situation. Your opponent moves fifteen feet away from you. Ho hum.

point being: for all the faults of how Pathfinder handles non-magical combat overall, Vital Strike is a really big improvement on it, and it's something I feel like fightery-classes deserve. If the odd bard or cleric or whatever gets some use out of it too, so be it.

Slashing Grace is a feat I didn't know about until today but I think your suggestion is adequate.

The "slashing spear flurry" thing kinda works for me, though admittedly

Some other things I did that you might be interested in:

I reworked the Deflect/Snatch Arrows feats (a bit lengthy to go into here)

I gave out Improved Unarmed Strike with proficiency in all martial weapons

I did a lot of stuff to monks you may or may not agree with.

To make a long story short, I think you're on the right track here. There are some things I may incorporate in future work of mine and there are some things I'm on the fence about, but I definitely understand the sentiment.

2014-09-20, 02:01 PM
Thanks. I was on the fence with Vital Strike. I may look at it again to see what happens if I put it into the combat system.

Time to talk about Paladins. I went and killed off the gods, so Paladins need another power source. I wrote that Divine casters tap into the energy of the world itself, so we'll start with that, but this is, for all Divine casters, something you have to be born with the ability to do. You can't learn it from studying or by trying. Paladins, however, weren't born with this ability. Their power comes from the sheer strength of their convictions. When you have beliefs so unshakable, that itself can open a conduit to the energy of the world, but not intentionally.

The big thing is that Paladins have to be unshakable. It's not enough to just be Lawful Good, you have to have faith this is the true way, and be unwavering in the desire to carry it out. The same applies to a Paladin who is Chaotic Good (yes, we have those). They aren't just non-lawful, they honestly and truly believe that the lawful side is wrong. They have the same strength of conviction that a Lawful Good Paladin has, and their code of honor is just as strict, but they hold that freedom triumphs over all. Neutral Good Paladins? Their conviction is that the whole idea that law or chaos is always right is downright foolhardy. They support the idea that there is a spectrum of law and chaos, and the best solution lies in finding the right combination. Neutral Good Paladins are the most common, and are a bit easier to roleplay since they only have one alignment axis to hold to, rather than two. This provides one option where Paladins are relatively easy to roleplay for players who just want to be a badass holy warrior, and two options for the players who want a much bigger roleplay challenge where it takes a lot of effort to hold up the code. Because conviction is so important, Antipaladins tend to embody the Well Intentioned Extremist trope very well. Paladins usually fall when they stop holding to their convictions or when they descend into unacceptable actions in the name of "necessity" and become Antipaladins, though a Paladin can sometimes shift from one Good alignment to another without falling (such as a Lawful Good Paladin coming to the realization that Law isn't always the right solution but maintaining absolute conviction that Good is correct, and therefore becoming a Neutral Good Paladin. This only works if their belief and dedication to the path of Good remains absolute. If they stop holding their belief in that, they fall.).

2014-09-20, 10:11 PM
I greatly simplified Vital Strike's wording to make it more usable in a variety of situations, including a full-attack action.
Your first attack during your turn deals the extra damage.
This makes it work with charges, full-attacks, spring attack, and a few other situations. Alternatively, you could have it be a swift action to grant the benefits to your next attack. I'm debating that change as part of a larger overhaul to give mundanes more options for their swifties.
Another perk I threw in is that when full attacking, if you possess the later feats in the VS tree, you apply their benefits to iterative attacks, but losing one step of effectiveness each time.
Lets say you're a 20th level fighter, with VS, IVS, and GVS. Your full attack would be +20/+15/+10/+5 for 4x/3x/2x/1x damage.
This requires that the fighter spend feats on IVS and GVS, however, because giving a player that much damage for 1 feat is too good.

I also buffed Weapon Specialization to scale with weapon dice (+1 dmg, +1/die). Something to consider.

But overall, I like your feat changes and such. Well done.

2014-09-20, 11:44 PM
A thought on Paladins (and Bards):

So, suppose Bards aren't just spellcasters, but that their power is on some level based on converting people's ideals and beliefs into magic, and a bard taps into that power on some level using something akin to wizardry. They are the embodiment of cultural trickster-gods and infused with the power of the ancient ballad.

What I'm suggesting is that Paladins would be on the other side of that coin. If Bards are trying to be tricksters and artists, Paladins are trying to live the lives of a legendary hero, and their power comes from their strength of conviction, yes, but also the desperate hopes and wishes of the people to be saved from the evils of the world. Paladins are a magical quasi-divine representation of the kind of tales a Bard tells to inspire great acts of heroism.

it's a thought.