Underwhelming feats?
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  1. #1
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    Underwhelming feats?

    The Bad Axe guys updated 21 3rd edition feats. Some stinkers like Dodge and Toughness got worthy changes.

    Any feats still underwhelming stinkers that could get a look at? I've never seen someone choose improved overrun, but maybe that is the fault of the maneuver.

  2. #2
    I am now going to work on an Underwhelming Attack feat that isn't just a skin for Improved Feint.




    (I'll have a good look at Trailblazer and give a serious answer later.)

  3. #3
    OK. Serious reply time. This is a non-exhaustive list.

    Deadly Precision: It's not a real stinker, but it's pretty bad. My math says that it adds about .4 damage/die, and it has a time cost. It'd be simpler to add +1 for every two sneak attack dice.

    Diehard: Cool, but terribly situational. If I have my dying rules straight, this means that the ref has to decide to kill your character, rather than leaving it to the dice. (Which is a negative in my book.)

    Mobility: Rules changes have made this significantly weaker.

    Open-Minded: I don't know often people took this in 3.5. I never did. It's also suffered from the skill point inflation in Trailblazer.

    Rapid Reload: Confirmed the Crossbow's status as a second-class citizen. It's not so much a bad feat to take, as a bad feat to have in the game. Should probably be replaced or augmented with a precision shooting alternative to rapid shooting. (This means that the Longbow has the advantage of versatility, rather than being out-and-out better.)

    Weapon Focus: Don't get me wrong, it's not a bad feat at all. There's just a clarity problem. If I take Weapon Focus (piercing), do I get a +1 with piercing Crossbows and Longbows (and, in fact, almost all ranged weapons)? That seems to be a reasonable interpretation of the feat. The feat says it can be taken multiple times but "Its effects do not stack. Each time you take the feat, it applies to a new type of weapon." So I can definitely take Weapon Focus (ranged) - a different group. I think the intent is clear but the wording is vague. (If people get to double-Focus, Specialize, etc. in this way at Wulf's table, then I'm up for rolling an archer )

  4. #4
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    Another quirk of Weapon Focus is that the dagger isn't always Focused. It's a Piercing weapon or a Slashing weapon (but not both at the same time, like the Morning star is bludgeoning and piercing), meaning that your weapon focus (piercing) applies, until you fight zombies and use it to slash past their DR.

    I understand the design goal (and agree with it). But the implementation is ... off.

  5. #5
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    What sorts of fixes can you come up with for these that might make them attractive?

    I like the Deadly Precision fix of a flat +1 per 2 sneak ... but I'm math challenged and probably wouldn't complain about the feat as is because reroll 1 is maybe even easier to remember. What does the math come out with for rerolling 1 and 2?

    Mobility, at the least, how about change it to say, "You get a +4 dodge bonus to Armor Class against attacks of opportunity when you move into or out of a threatened area. ..." This would cover granting the benefit against moving into a threatened area of a foe with Hold the Line.

    Open-Minded, How about have it grant the character one or two additional class skills, in addition to gaining the extra skill points. It could be used to potentially open up a prestige classes easier/quicker.

    Rapid Reload. I dunno.

    Improved Overrun, How about with the feat the character cannot be avoided, is granted a +4 bonus, and can continue making overrun attempts against additional foes until his move is used up, but once a combat maneuver roll fails the character stops.

    Is it me, or did Trailblazer take away a charge from granting a +2 bonus to overrun? I swear the SRD granted a +2 bonus to a charging character making bull rushes and overruns. Trailblazer still has charge granting a +2 to bull rush. Did I miss something?

    Improved Feint, dunno. A +2 bonus on the skill check to feint, and penalties against nonhumanoids are halved?

    Weapon Focus, I'd hate to make a simple feat more complicated with extra clauses . . . I know the way I'd rule is that if your character had Weapon Focus (piercing), but wields a weapon with piercing/slashing, then the character gets the Weapon Focus bonus on attack rolls with that weapon when used either piercing attacks or slashing attacks.

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Eric Anondson View Post
    I like the Deadly Precision fix of a flat +1 per 2 sneak ... but I'm math challenged and probably wouldn't complain about the feat as is because reroll 1 is maybe even easier to remember. What does the math come out with for rerolling 1 and 2?
    Rerolling 1s & 2s gives you an average of about 4.2, against the standard d6 roll average of 3.5. If +1/2 dice is too hard, my advice is to make it add +1 per die of sneak attack damage or turn the sneak attack dice into d8s. (Both options have the same average - 4.5 - but they give a different range.)

    Quote Originally Posted by Eric Anondson View Post
    Mobility, at the least, how about change it to say, "You get a +4 dodge bonus to Armor Class against attacks of opportunity when you move into or out of a threatened area. ..." This would cover granting the benefit against moving into a threatened area of a foe with Hold the Line.
    It's still very situational, which is the feat's main problem. An option would be to give the character a +2 dodge bonus if they move. Dictates certain combat options, makes the Lion haiku popular, probably slows down combat.

    Quote Originally Posted by Eric Anondson View Post
    Open-Minded, How about have it grant the character one or two additional class skills, in addition to gaining the extra skill points. It could be used to potentially open up a prestige classes easier/quicker.
    Bad Axe calculated that a feat was worth (at least) 1 skill point per level. Letting Open-Minded give a character skill points equal to their character level and one additional skill point each time they gain a new level would not be unbalanced.

    Quote Originally Posted by Eric Anondson View Post
    Rapid Reload. I dunno.
    It's not problematic in itself. What Trailblazer needs is "Deadlyshot" - a single big ranged attack feat as an answer to "Manyshot". It also needs an equivalent to "Rapid Shot".

    Quote Originally Posted by Eric Anondson View Post
    Improved Overrun, How about with the feat the character cannot be avoided, is granted a +4 bonus, and can continue making overrun attempts against additional foes until his move is used up, but once a combat maneuver roll fails the character stops.
    I haven't tried out the maneuver under Trailblazer and don't feel qualified to comment. (This isn't a mathematical or design philosophy type question and can't be answered a priori.)

    Quote Originally Posted by Eric Anondson View Post
    Improved Feint, dunno. A +2 bonus on the skill check to feint, and penalties against nonhumanoids are halved?
    Improved Feint is fine. My line about "Underwhelming Attack" was meant to imply a feat that allowed my character to attack in an apparently pitiful manner, leaving her opponents underwhelmed and vulnerable to more competent violence later. But that's basically what Improved Feint does.

    Quote Originally Posted by Eric Anondson View Post
    Weapon Focus, I'd hate to make a simple feat more complicated with extra clauses . . . I know the way I'd rule is that if your character had Weapon Focus (piercing), but wields a weapon with piercing/slashing, then the character gets the Weapon Focus bonus on attack rolls with that weapon when used either piercing attacks or slashing attacks.
    Ruling is pretty easy. We have a good idea of what the intent is, because we know what Weapon Focus was like in 3.5. But if Trailblazer is meant to be for people who haven't played 3.5 (i.e. when Bad Axe release a hardcover core rules set), this needs to be ironed out in the feat description.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vespucci View Post
    Rerolling 1s & 2s gives you an average of about 4.2, against the standard d6 roll average of 3.5. If +1/2 dice is too hard, my advice is to make it add +1 per die of sneak attack damage or turn the sneak attack dice into d8s. (Both options have the same average - 4.5 - but they give a different range.)
    I think I favor bumping the die. But it must be said that rerolling dice is very fulfilling.

    Quote Originally Posted by Vespucci View Post
    It's still very situational, which is the feat's main problem. An option would be to give the character a +2 dodge bonus if they move. Dictates certain combat options, makes the Lion haiku popular, probably slows down combat.
    Nice idea, feels like it is close to the skirmish ability of the Scout class. I like that. Maybe it could duplicate exactly the AC part of skirmish, or at the least improve a bit as the character levels?

    As it mimics part of the Scout's skirmish ability in concept, that seems to open up design space for a feat that accomplishes the rest of skirmish when moving.

    Quote Originally Posted by Vespucci View Post
    Bad Axe calculated that a feat was worth (at least) 1 skill point per level. Letting Open-Minded give a character skill points equal to their character level and one additional skill point each time they gain a new level would not be unbalanced.
    Good point on the worth of skill points vs. feats.

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