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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Barbarian in the Playground
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    Default What would make you take Weapon Focus/Specialization?

    Well I know what would make you take them. Pre-reqs, and even then it would only be grudgingly.

    But what would a feat that added a flat bonus to attack or damage have to offer to be worthwhile? Or should it be something like a function of your level, say, half your level to damage rolls? That's a lot better (after fourth level), but it still doesn't feel like much when compared to Uberchargers or the Mailman.

    This is just a thought experiment, really. Assume that the feats are standing on their own merits and not serving as pre-reqs. That is, don't suggest something that works because some other feat or some prestige class requires it. I simply ask, how much more attack/damage do you expect in exchange for a feat? Or is such a bonus not even the domain of feats?
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    Colossus in the Playground
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    Default Re: What would make you take Weapon Focus/Specialization?

    Well, they'd need to be attached to a more worthwhile class for one. As Fighter doesn't really do anything, having to take a billion Fighter-levels to be able to invest feats in minor bonuses, it doesn't really make much sense.

    That said, it's all a matter of opportunity cost. How strong are the alternative feats I could take? And what else do I gain out of them?


    Half level would end up incredibly strong, as that's raw damage that can then be multiplied by charge multipliers for instance. It'd also be boring. AD&D 2E Player's Options gave stronger rewards for higher levels of weapon mastery; Grand Mastery gave half an extra attack, for instance, and there was a weapon die size increase too. Such rewards could be much more enticing, though ultimately numeric rewards are only so good in 3.5 without more work. And feats that only give numeric rewards are boring.

    I'd point out that it also depends on context; TWFer gets much more out of extra numbers than a THFer, and Archer even more so. That's why Ranged Weapon Mastery is a great archery feat while Melee Weapon Mastery is "well, if you have to invest in Weapon Focus, might as well". +2/+2 might be more than good enough in some builds.
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    Troll in the Playground
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    Default Re: What would make you take Weapon Focus/Specialization?

    Low-level games. If the game is expected to only reach level 4, there are worse capstones than Weapon Specialisation. Same with E6, although in that case there are a few more options, and Weapon Focus/Specialisation can grow obsolete. But even then, it can be worthwhile.

    Other than that, Weapon Mastery feats. That's about it, really.
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    Default Re: What would make you take Weapon Focus/Specialization?

    Only as a prerequisite, for example in Jack B. Quick.

    Without prerequisites?

    As a Warblade, perhaps but even then, only while clenching my teeth and if better feats are not allowed.

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    Bugbear in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: What would make you take Weapon Focus/Specialization?

    On an Archer, I totally would. It leads into Ranged Weapon Mastery, and +4 Damage is nothing to sneeze at on an Archer, especially if you grab some of those feats while also getting other cool stuff (Pious Templar grants Weapon Specialisation with your Deity's Favoured Weapon, and since Ehlonna is already giving your everythingbane Arrows that return to you and never break for taking levels in this class...).

    Even so, non-cleric (they have better options), non-psionic (they don't need it, they can already pump out ridiculous amounts of damage) archers can do pretty well with them.


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    Default Re: What would make you take Weapon Focus/Specialization?

    If Weapon Specialization comes as a part of a PrC that does other good things (like the aforementioned Pious Templar), I'll take it.
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    Barbarian in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: What would make you take Weapon Focus/Specialization?

    If I'm playing a Warblade who is really focused on std. action strikes, I'll seriously consider taking the entire weapon focus line up through Melee Weapon Mastery, and hope that I can get a wizard to heroics me into Weapon Supremacy.

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    Default Re: What would make you take Weapon Focus/Specialization?

    Low-op games.

    Alternatively, boost the bonuses a bit and have them apply to groups of weapons? Then it may be more tempting. Probably not a winner, but.

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    Default Re: What would make you take Weapon Focus/Specialization?

    If I know I will always use a particular weapon. If I'm always going to use a long sword with shield or I'm always going to use a greatsword, I'll consider it. Contrary to others, I do not find those feats to be worthless garbage. They're not the best feats EVAR! either, but they have value. As with all feats it depends on my mood at the time for that character.

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    Default Re: What would make you take Weapon Focus/Specialization?

    Quote Originally Posted by navar100
    Contrary to others, I do not find those feats to be worthless garbage.
    I agree they're not garbage at all. The attack roll is the most important and most frequent roll a non-caster makes, and even a 5% increase can help. Still, I'd say there are many better feats.

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    Default Re: What would make you take Weapon Focus/Specialization?

    Quote Originally Posted by CTrees View Post
    Alternatively, boost the bonuses a bit and have them apply to groups of weapons? Then it may be more tempting. Probably not a winner, but.
    Same here. If Weapon Focus was combined with Weapon Specialization and gave a flat +2/+2, it might be more worthwhile. Still, most of its value would still stem from pre-reqs...
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    Default Re: What would make you take Weapon Focus/Specialization?

    Craven is well-regarded, and gives +level damage with a drawback. I'd look to that for comparison.
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    Default Re: What would make you take Weapon Focus/Specialization?

    An untyped +1 is always welcome. In core-only games, it's often a good option.

    At the moment, my paladin has Weapon Focus (Greatsword). Three reasons: One, we're playing a mid-power game, and the most powerful character is a moderately-optimized Factotum. Two, it's the deity's favored weapon. And three, as a paladin, I've got serious MAD and the +1 is equivalent to two more points of Strength, which in point buy are too expensive when I have to focus on Wisdom, Constitution, and Charisma as well.

    There's two sorts of optimization: Optimizing to create the most powerful character possible, and optimizing to create the character that'll be the most fun. Optimizing for power is a great puzzle and a nice intellectual challenge; but it's optimizing your fun that's the really practical skill. If you're optimizing for maximum fun, you will match your character to the party, match your character to the game's overall power level, and focus on abilities that let you do things that are interesting to the story and useful to the party. And it takes every bit as much skill as creating the character with the maximum possible power.

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    Default Re: What would make you take Weapon Focus/Specialization?

    All of the following being true:

    The feat line applies to a category of damage and not a specific weapon type.
    The feat automatically scales with HD, so that it costs 1 feat instead of 1-4.
    The feat is not class specific. Anyone can take it and get the scaling benefits.
    The character has multiple weapons that would benefit (spear + longbow > WF: Piercing).
    The character can't take something better, such as Knowledge Devotion.

    Which means in a RAW game, nothing could. There's not nearly enough feats to justify minor numbers stuff (major numbers stuff is another matter). Weapon Focus is a waste, and so is 4 Fighter levels for anything other than Dungeoncrasher. Warblade 6+s also have plenty of better things to do.

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    Ogre in the Playground
     
    GreataxeFighterGirl

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    Default Re: What would make you take Weapon Focus/Specialization?

    Quote Originally Posted by Clustered Chaos View Post
    Which means in a RAW game, nothing could. There's not nearly enough feats to justify minor numbers stuff (major numbers stuff is another matter). Weapon Focus is a waste, and so is 4 Fighter levels for anything other than Dungeoncrasher. Warblade 6+s also have plenty of better things to do.
    Who actually plays that kind of game, though? I mean--who plays a game where everybody has created the most powerful possible character with the most powerful possible options? There's more to it than that. We create characters who are interesting and can do interesting things, who fit into the party, who fit the concept we want to role-play. If I were going for power, I'd have stayed far, far away from paladins in the first place. Weapon Focus in your deity's favored weapon is a useful and flavorful choice for a paladin and that's really all I needed. You just have to survive and contribute to the party, that's all; and I'm doing that just fine. Choosing supposedly "sub-optimal" options doesn't need to mean that your enjoyment of the game becomes sub-optimal. It may mean the exact opposite--you create an uberpowered character, you end up unbalancing the party.

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    Default Re: What would make you take Weapon Focus/Specialization?

    Whenever I see new feats (or changes to existing feats) being suggested, I always ask myself if there's any reason characters wouldn't take that feat. If it's so good that its intended beneficiary would be silly not to take it (something like Natural Spell for Druids, Power Attack for most full-BAB characters, Weapon Finesse or Craven on most Rogues) then it's basically a Feat Tax. It really ought to be a class feature, not a feat.

    The Weapon Focus/Specialization Line runs a big risk of doing something like that for Fighter. The feats, as written, are not very good except in low-op or core-only games. But if you make them too much better then they don't really work as feats either. I hesitate to open it up to everybody. It's really Fighters' schtick - only Fighters are supposed to get Specialization anyway. Personally if I were making any changes to that line of feats, it would only be in combination with fixing the Fighter class generally.

  17. - Top - End - #17
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    Default Re: What would make you take Weapon Focus/Specialization?

    I usually combine weapon focus and weapon specialization into one feat that gives +1 hit and +2 damage for every 4 BAB you have (min +1 hit and +2 damage) to a maximum of +5 hit and +10 damage at 20.

    I also lump the weapons into groups (one handed: slashing, two handed: slashing, one handed piercing and so forth and ranged: bow and ranged: thrown) and when you select the feat you select one of these groups.

    The greater version increases the damage bonus to +3 per 4 BAB and lets you full attack with a standard action.

    Also I let levels in classes with medium or full BAB count as 1/2 fighter level for determining pre requisites for fighter feats.
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    Default Re: What would make you take Weapon Focus/Specialization?

    @Callista This forum has plenty of people who's first thoughts are optimization. Warblade 20 is perfectly viable btw!(and still very fun. althought a dip into unarmed spirit totem whirling frenzy barbar sounds cool, its not required to have fun)

    I don't expect a lot out of a feat. I know there's alot of broken ones, but character concept comes before optimization in my book, and feats are great for building character! I think that a +1 to attack can mean alot sometimes though, but that +2 to damage tends to seem lacking to me. I also think it would be cool if weapon specializaton and focus were one thing. I'm already devouting myself to one weapon! Don't make me feel feat taxed about it.

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    Default Re: What would make you take Weapon Focus/Specialization?

    Quote Originally Posted by Callista View Post
    Who actually plays that kind of game, though?
    People that want their characters to survive so that they can continue to enjoy playing them. Especially since Weapon Focus modifies melee mechanics, meaning we're talking about a character who is, at best average and therefore needs all the help they can get to be good.

    I mean--who plays a game where everybody has created the most powerful possible character with the most powerful possible options?
    Not someone who the Weapon Focus line is relevant to obviously.

    You just have to survive and contribute to the party, that's all
    Which Paladin + Weapon Focus moves you well away from.

    you create an uberpowered character, you end up unbalancing the party.
    The enemies are over there.

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    Default Re: What would make you take Weapon Focus/Specialization?

    Quote Originally Posted by Callista View Post
    There's two sorts of optimization: Optimizing to create the most powerful character possible, and optimizing to create the character that'll be the most fun.
    I suspect it's the latter where weapon focus/specialization really fall down. Adding 1 just isn't fun.

    A nifty fix might be that the feat gets you +1 atk, +2 dmg and the ability to perform a weapon-specific special move. Even if a lot of the moves are pretty situational, that would make it more interesting. It would also give many of the less popular weapons a reason to exist. On the other hand, it would require coming up with interesting techniques for all the weapons, of which there are many.

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    Colossus in the Playground
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    Default Re: What would make you take Weapon Focus/Specialization?

    Quote Originally Posted by dspeyer View Post
    I suspect it's the latter where weapon focus/specialization really fall down. Adding 1 just isn't fun.

    A nifty fix might be that the feat gets you +1 atk, +2 dmg and the ability to perform a weapon-specific special move. Even if a lot of the moves are pretty situational, that would make it more interesting. It would also give many of the less popular weapons a reason to exist. On the other hand, it would require coming up with interesting techniques for all the weapons, of which there are many.
    Just using Weapon Focus-line means you only get bonuses with one weapon so they should be substantial; it should capture the "master of X"-feel (unless we wanna make a PRC for that). Things like eventually gaining an extra attack and increasing weapon damage die size should all be the kinds of things you could do with it, too. If the chain is going to contain multiple feats, the feat effects should at least be interesting instead of "Divine Favor in 3 feats".
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    Barbarian in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: What would make you take Weapon Focus/Specialization?

    I take them as-is when I'm playing a character who's concept is mastery of a particular type of weapon. Then again, I tend to play fairly low-optimization games.
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    Griffon

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    Default Re: What would make you take Weapon Focus/Specialization?

    Quote Originally Posted by Telonius View Post
    Whenever I see new feats (or changes to existing feats) being suggested, I always ask myself if there's any reason characters wouldn't take that feat. If it's so good that its intended beneficiary would be silly not to take it (something like Natural Spell for Druids, Power Attack for most full-BAB characters, Weapon Finesse or Craven on most Rogues) then it's basically a Feat Tax. It really ought to be a class feature, not a feat.

    The Weapon Focus/Specialization Line runs a big risk of doing something like that for Fighter. The feats, as written, are not very good except in low-op or core-only games. But if you make them too much better then they don't really work as feats either. I hesitate to open it up to everybody. It's really Fighters' schtick - only Fighters are supposed to get Specialization anyway. Personally if I were making any changes to that line of feats, it would only be in combination with fixing the Fighter class generally.
    Pathfinder did that for Fighters. They get built-in pluses to hit and damage with weapon groups that increase as the levels progress - similar mechanic to ranger favored enemies. Weapon Focus/Specialization still exist which stacks, but even without them you still get combat pluses for a combat class. Nice.

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    Default Re: What would make you take Weapon Focus/Specialization?

    UA Sneak Fighter and Feat Rogue equate a feat to +1d6(average 3.5) points of situational damage. These feeats both equate to +2 points (assuming you convert the +1 to hit to +2 damage with Power Attack) which is also situational unless you only ever use 1 weapon.
    So if you only ever use 1 type of weapon and get lots of attacks then they almost break even with sneak attack, maybe.
    So for TWF and Archery then yes, if no better feats are available.

    The real problem is that they are boring and give no further options.
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    Default Re: What would make you take Weapon Focus/Specialization?

    Actually, UA also comes with groups for specific feats, and create your own. and you can get two feats in the TOB that add up to 2 sneak attack dice I think.

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    Default Re: What would make you take Weapon Focus/Specialization?

    Out of curiosity: is Weapon Specialization a pre-req for anything other than Greater Weapon Spec.?
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    Default Re: What would make you take Weapon Focus/Specialization?

    Quote Originally Posted by Larkas View Post
    Out of curiosity: is Weapon Specialization a pre-req for anything other than Greater Weapon Spec.?
    Weapon Mastery <insert type here> and Weapon Supremacy come to mind. Necropotent maybe? plenty of things though!

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    Default Re: What would make you take Weapon Focus/Specialization?

    I personally like the Tomes idea of scaling feats; they make every feat seem like a genuine, worthwhile investment.

    In keeping with this line of thinking, I would roll Focus, Specialization, Improved Critical, etc. into one feat that scales with BAB and call it 'Weapon Devotion' or something.

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    Default Re: What would make you take Weapon Focus/Specialization?

    Quote Originally Posted by Callista View Post
    We create characters who are interesting and can do interesting things
    Pro tip: +1 to hit is not "interesting things". +2 to damage is not "interesting things".
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    Default Re: What would make you take Weapon Focus/Specialization?

    Quote Originally Posted by Righteous Doggy View Post
    Weapon Mastery <insert type here> and Weapon Supremacy come to mind. Necropotent maybe? plenty of things though!
    Oooooh, just checked PHB2, and there are LOTS of things. Should totally be class features instead of feats, IMHO, though Aside from the Fighter and the Favored Soul, is there any other class that offers a shot at Weapon Spec.?

    Please, bear with the stupid questions Under the point-of-view of an old AD&D player, anything that does so is invading the Fighter's turf
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    True Ferocity - a simple fix for Orcs and Half-Orcs.
    Monastic Magus - a spiritual successor to the Unarmed Swordsage.
    Pathfinder-ish Synthesist - a simple fix making Synthesist Summoners follow polymorph rules.
    Sword & Sorcery for Sneaky Scoundrels - rogue archetypes/fixes that aim to turn the rogue into a warrior/caster.

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