View Full Version : Price of Survival [Feats]

2007-05-18, 08:44 AM
The Philosophy

What every survivor adventurer knows is that this world is a dangerous place for them. In pursuit of their career, they will face overwhelming odds, terrifying creatures, and deadly environments.
On a regular basis.
They not only expect – they know that life will throw them curveballs – they will have to deal with ambushes, strange magics, unorthodox tactics, loss of possessions, death of friends…

And yet, they'll still go out and do what they do best. Why? For some it's a matter of finding a challenge, a gut-knotting thrill ride along the edge of disaster. They are the people who'll tackle their opponent off a roof and laugh all the way down, and a room full of enemies just brings a smile to their face. For others, it may be a calling. They see a purpose in what they do, or a chance to do something that matters – putting their life in mortal peril focuses them, gives them an edge they didn't know they've had.

The Mechanic

Unlike most feats, the Survivor chain is, at best, a mixed blessing. Usually highly situational, their effects just barely outweigh the penalties – you may have caused the enemy to lose their weapon, but you've just lost yours too. To see your friends and allies fall may have inspired you to muster resources you didn't know you've had, but even if that proves enough for you to win, how many of them will still be alive at the end?

Why have most of the feats hinge just on Survivor and an attribute prerequisite?
Taking Survivor is an indication that the character subscribes to the philosophy outlined above. Sure, I could make a valid justification why, for example, Takedown would work with an Improved Trip and Improved Grapple as prerequisites. However, this would go against the spirit of the idea behind this feat chain. The situations this feat is triggered by cannot be planned for, or anticipated. They don't arise through methodic and meticulous training – they arise when the character is Bull Rushed over a ledge and at the last moment grabs his attacker to take him along for the ride. Or when he body tackles the opponent to save a friend.
On the other hand, the attribute prerequisite represents the fact that what a Survivor achieves is not by luck alone – he needs to be able to think on the fly, react quickly, or endure severe punishment to his body and mind.

These feats are broken! I could easily make Last Man Standing and Dance With Death stack for +11 to attacks and damage!
Of course. Did you look at the conditions under which those bonuses apply? If your entire party is down, you're fighting at the edge of a spike pit, and the room is rapidly filling up with toxic fumes, chances are, you're in deep enough trouble that you'll need those kinds of bonuses to make it out alive.

This is a waste of my precious feat slots. Who in their right mind would take three feats just to fall off a cliff?
I don't intend each and every of those feats to be taken by a single character. Feats are indeed a precious commodity, and indeed, taking more than three from the Survivor chain would be a waste. Furthermore, these are designed to be used by an experienced GM and players, in a high-maintenance campaign, where the characters frequently find themselves outnumbered, outmatched, hunted, desperate, or without sufficient equipment. They come up in situations where the character either makes a sacrifice to give the rest of his allies an opening or, conversely, puts the sacrifice of his friends to use.

Survivor Feats

Survivor [General]
Getting hurt means you can endure more.
Benefits: When your hit points drop below 50% of their maximum value, you gain +1 on all saves.

Last Man Standing [General]
To see their friends and allies fall in battle would dishearten most people. But you only feel inspired to try harder.
Prerequisites: Con 13, Survivor
Benefits: During an encounter, for every ally who's status changes to dead, dying, unconscious, paralyzed, or becomes otherwise unable to act (such as becoming subject to a Flesh to Stone or an Entangle spell), you gain +1d6 temporary HP and a cumulative +1 morale bonus to attacks, damage, saves, ability checks, and skill checks (up to +5d6 temporary HP and +5 maximum).
Special: In order to gain this benefit from a fallen ally, your ECL cannot exceed theirs by more than 2. If in the duration of a fight an ally recovers by, for example, being healed or disenchanted, you lose the bonus from them.
Animal companions, familiars, and mounts don't count towards receiving the benefits of the feat.

Dance With Death [General]
A crumbling walkway over a dark chasm. A flooding chamber. The edge of a pool of acid. In such situations most sane people try to avoid a fight. You're not one of those people. You thrive in places like these.
Prerequisites: Con 13, Dex 13, Survivor
Benefits: Whenever you're engaged in melee combat in a square adjacent to a potentially lethal environmental hazard, you gain a cumulative +2 circumstance bonus to your attacks, damage, saves, ability checks, and skill checks for every hazard present.
Special: This feat, perhaps more than any other, requires careful adjudication by the DM. A fight on a bridge over a river of lava arguably isn't any more lethal than that on a bridge over a chasm, and therefore shouldn't count as a second hazard. Also, this feat shouldn't apply in situations where the character can somehow avoid a triggered hazard (such as by having Boots of Levitation).

Outnumbered [General]
To you, it doesn't mean being outnumbered. It means a target rich environment.
Prerequisites: Wis 13, Improved Initiative, Survivor
Benefits: When rolling initiative at the start of an encounter, you gain a +1 cumulative morale bonus to your roll for every creature that puts enemy numbers above those of your allies (up to a maximum of +4).
Special: This bonus is only applied once, at the beginning of the encounter, and doesn't increase, nor decrease based on enemy killed, allies killed, reinforcements, etc.
Bystanders, non-combatants, mounts, familiars, or animal companions don't count towards receiving the benefits of the feat.

Sixth Sense [General]
Be it experience, innate ability, or your guardian angel, you simply know when things are about to go wrong.
Prerequisites: Character level 12, Dex 15, Wis 15, Improved Initiative, Survivor
Benefits: You can never be surprised. Outside of combat, whenever you would find yourself in danger from an unsuspected source, you force an initiative roll against the unknown attacker(s). If you win, you may act immediately, even taking steps to neutralize the imminent danger – as long as you can determine its source. This ability triggers whenever the character would be subject to an attack or spell from a hidden or invisible foe, OR upon any hostile event within a 30ft radius, such as a monster bursting from the ground, wizard teleporting in, invisible dragon about to breathe fire, etc.
Special: This feat overrides (contingent on the character winning the initiative roll) any and all abilities – short of divine intervention – that would result in the enemy gaining the element of surprise. This includes the effects of Hide, Hide in Plain Sight, invisibility, coup de grace attempts (as long as the character can react to them, such as by waking up just before the assassin strikes), and the effects of Quickened spells (for the purpose of the latter, the character counts as acting in the round "before" the one in which the spell is cast).

Tangle [General] [Fighter]
You may be going down, but you're damned well taking the opponent with you.
Prerequisites: Dex 13, Survivor
Benefits: Whenever you're subject to a successful Trip or Overrun attempt, you may immediately, as a free action, make an unarmed Trip attempt to render the attacker prone as well – he opposes the roll with a Strength or Dexterity check, whichever is higher. This roll does not provoke an Attack of Opportunity.
Special: Size modifiers and bonuses from feats such as Improved Trip still apply to both combatants.
A fighter may select Tangle as one of his bonus feats.

Great Tangle [General] [Fighter]
Your experience in tightly packed brawls made you adept at bringing down an entire group of combatants when you fall.
Prerequisites: Dex 15, Improved Trip, Tangle
Benefits: Whenever you make a Tangle attempt, every creature in the squares adjacent to you and your opponent are forced to make a Strength or Dexterity check, or be rendered prone as well.
Normal: You can use Tangle only against the opponent that attempted to Trip or Overrun you.
A fighter may select Great Tangle as one of his bonus feats.

Takedown [General] [Fighter]
If you ever find yourself falling off a cliff, you can at least bring an enemy along for the ride – and to possibly cushion you once you reach bottom.
Prerequisites: Dex 13, Survivor, Tangle
Benefits: Whenever you begin falling from a height sufficient to cause at least one die of falling damage (such as by being Bull Rushed off a balcony), you may immediately, as a free action that doesn't provoke an Attack of Opportunity, make a Grapple attempt against any creature in an adjacent square, followed by an opposed Strength check. If both are successful, the creature begins falling with you. Next, a successful grapple check (which needs to be repeated for each round you spend falling) determines who will end up on top. The winner takes only half damage from the fall, while the loser not only takes full damage, but must also succeed on a DC 10 + number of damage dice Fortitude save or be Dazed for 1d6 rounds from having the wind knocked out of him.
It is conceivable that if a creature subjected to a Takedown is capable of either natural or magical flight, it may either slow, or completely stop the fall. However, if upon the initial Grapple attempt its encumbrance exceeds its Light load, it still begins falling, albeit taking only half the damage from the fall (which can be further reduced to 1/4th by landing on top). If its encumbrance exceeds its Medium load, it still takes full damage.
Special: Falling is considered an environmental hazard for the purpose of obtaining a bonus from the Dance With Death feat.
A fighter may select Takedown as one of his bonus feats.

Locked Weapons [General] [Fighter]
Losing your weapon is now just an opportunity for the opponent to lose his as well.
Prerequisites: Int 13, Survivor
Benefits: Whenever you're subject to a successful Disarm attempt in melee, you may immediately, as a free action that doesn't provoke an Attack of Opportunity, may immediately make a Disarm attempt against that opponent. If successful, both you and your opponent are disarmed.
Special: All bonuses from size and special qualities of weapons used, as well as bonuses from feats such as Improved Disarm still apply.
A fighter may select Locked Weapons as one of his bonus feats.

Shattered Weapons [General] [Fighter]
You may not be able to protect your weapons and shields from being sundered, but you can still make the opponent's gear suffer the attempts.
Prerequisites: Str 13, Survivor
Benefits: Whenever you're subject to a successful Sunder attempt in melee, you may immediately, as a free action that doesn't provoke an Attack of Opportunity force another opposed attack roll against the attacker. If successful, both your shield or weapon, as well as his weapon take Sunder damage.
Special: All bonuses from weapon size and special qualities, as well as bonuses from feats such as Improved Sunder still apply.
A fighter may select Shattered Weapons as one of his bonus feats.

2007-05-18, 10:40 AM
These are awesome feats, especially Dance with Death and Outnumbered. I'm definitely yoinking these.

Fax Celestis
2007-05-18, 10:51 AM

Have you considered building a Survivor PrC?

2007-05-18, 05:16 PM

Have you considered building a Survivor PrC?


Hmm. I'll give it a try this weekend.

2007-07-07, 09:22 PM
For tangled, take down, locked weapons and shattered weapons, I would make them one feat, and have feats such as improved disarm be a prerequisite for using that portion of the feat.

2007-07-07, 10:28 PM
For tangled, take down, locked weapons and shattered weapons, I would make them one feat, and have feats such as improved disarm be a prerequisite for using that portion of the feat.

Possibly instead make it a Tactical Feat, with a requirement of Survivor and one other survival feat.

Also, you're missing an environmental hazard in your description of the stacking; standing next to a spiked pit isn't that much more dangerous than, say, standing next to a pit that is 20-30 feet deeper, and that pit is still one hazard.

Next to a spike pit, room filling with poison gas (not just smoke), while the building burns down, maybe?

2007-07-07, 10:37 PM
For Takedown, I would suggest just a melee touch attack and an opposed strength check instead of a whole grapple maneuver. The grapple process is kinda messy.

Just my 2cp. Other than that, great work! I like!