Dealing With Bloat - Feat Deprecation




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  1. #1
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    Dealing With Bloat - Feat Deprecation

    I'm getting ready to start on a pretty big project - namely, go through every 4e book, most DDI articles, and a few 3PP books and create a database/index of everything, with a UI. Basically, future-proof 4e for myself by making a Compendium of my own.

    One of the things I plan to do is to take into account houserules. I have a pretty extensive list of them - mostly minor tweaks and homebrew - but one thing I dislike about 4e is its option bloat, so I'd like to take that into account while creating this database. Namely, I'm looking at deprecating or collapsing as much as I can.

    In particular, I'm looking to deprecate feats. Powers are structured in such a way that there's usually about a dozen options at any particular juncture; monsters don't need to be deprecated because they aren't player options; Magic items I'm waffling on, but I don't think they need it anywhere near as much as feats do.

    So, I'd like your help; What feats do you think can be collapsed together? What feats do you think can be deprecated? What feats do you think don't contribute enough to the game, and thereby warrant removal or collapse? And, while we're here, are there any glaring holes in the feat list?

    As an aside, here are some threads I intend to use as resources; what from them do you agree or disagree with?

    Obsolete Feats

    Obsolete feats and deprecated content

    Initial Thoughts - Without looking too closely at the feat list, here's some of what I'm thinking;

    Most conditional feats (get this bonus if...), especially if there's a constant-bonus version.
    Most racial feats; in particular, racial feats that don't expand the race's "feel" or that are "race plus class" or "race plus weapon" feats.
    Damage-type focus feats, such as Astral Fire. These feats have always made little sense to me (Burning Blizzard? Really?), and are better covered by a generic "damage-type focus" feat, or the existing Implement Focus feat.
    Expertise feats - I'm not sure what to do with these. I'll definitely deprecate bog-standard expertise and its basic variants, but what of the essentials+ stuff? Is it necessary to have different expertise feats for every weapon and implement, and then for combinations thereof? Why not "Expertise bonus to anything + choose one of these options"? Well, besides the fact that that precludes getting multiples of the secondary option. Though there could be a feat specifically for that... Either way, I might set expertise to give its bonus to everything, regardless of which feat you take. Might even set it as an automatic bonus feat, I dunno.

    Thoughts?
    Will Thibault is a winged, feathered serpent rarely found anywhere except in warm, jungle-like regions or flying through the ether. Due to his intelligence and powers he is regarded with awe by the inhabitants of his homelands and is considered to be divine.

 

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    I don't have anything to add right now, but kudos to you for taking this on.
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    Just be aware that with every rule change you make, no matter how small the change seems, you are altering the game. For example, with your expertise feat re-write applying applying to all weapons/implements, you provide an advantage for multi-weapon/implement users. No big deal but it is a change. Likewise if you strip, say, Axe Expertise of it's brutal 1 perk (since you're adopting a universal expertise feat), then you are back to brutal axes being more desirable weapons for axe wielders.

    Personally I'd just nix the feats made redundant by Essentials. For example "human perseverance" was made redundant by "resilient focus".

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    I'm of the mind that Expertise feats are simply math fixes, and should not have been feats in the first place, so that first caveat doesn't worry me.

    What I was contemplating was stripping out all expertise feats, and putting the following two in;

    Expertise
    Benefit:
    You gain a +1 feat bonus to attack rolls. The bonus increases to +2 at 11th level and +3 at 21st. Additionally, choose one of the following options.
    Special: You gain this as a bonus feat at 1st level. You may not retrain it.

    Expertise Master
    Benefit:
    Choose one of the following options.
    Special: You may choose his feat multiple times. Its effects do not stack. Each time you take this feat, choose a different option.

    [[Options, namely the secondary effects of each Essentials+ Expertise feat]]

    This has the benefit of applying the bonus to all attacks, taking out weird corner cases where a power doesn't get a bonus due to being neither weapon nor implement. Of course, a lot of those - at least the newer stuff, anyways - has taken that into account. It might be easier to "errata" the older stuff to be +3/+6/+9 instead of +2/+4/+6.

    A good example of this is the Dragon Breath power of Dragonborn - that would be +3/+6/+9 if it were to keep proper pace with other attacks, which it would get if expertise feats could apply to it. But they don't, not as they currently are.

    The second bit is so people can continue to get the side benefits if they so choose.

    That way, to continue with the Axe example, I'm not actually changing how that character works, really - they still spend 1 feat to get the Axe benefit, and they still have the bonus to attacks that they need. It's just that, now, that attack bonus applies to anything, not just axes.
    Will Thibault is a winged, feathered serpent rarely found anywhere except in warm, jungle-like regions or flying through the ether. Due to his intelligence and powers he is regarded with awe by the inhabitants of his homelands and is considered to be divine.

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    This is an interesting and epic project. I'm not suggesting that you make it commercially available, as that would likely get you sued, but I would be interested in a final version of it and would be willing to put my money where my mouth is, should DDi stop serving up 4e content.

    I would be even more keenly interested if this database were easily user-augmentable without a degree in computer science or XML (the biggest drawback to CBloader).

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    No, I was gonna do this as a personal project. For one, I don't wanna get hit for copyright infringement, as you noted, and for another it'd be filled with my houserules and homebrew. Which would be cool, but I don't know if a more general userbase would be so keen on that.

    I was considering having the framework open for registration, maybe for a fee, that would let someone else fill in their own personal compendium as they liked without providing them with any material, but I haven't decided yet. I would only make the full index public if 4e was OGLified.

    I was going to make it user-augmentable, though I was going to rely heavily on HTML and CSS code for formatting things - web design/development is both my job and my secondary hobby, so I'm neck deep in this stuff all the time. If I ever made it available I'd probably put a series of templates and tutorials up for formatting the various rules elements.
    Will Thibault is a winged, feathered serpent rarely found anywhere except in warm, jungle-like regions or flying through the ether. Due to his intelligence and powers he is regarded with awe by the inhabitants of his homelands and is considered to be divine.

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    I always thought it would be neat to create a living survey. Just upload every feat into a database and let people vote on them. You could have two metrics. The first would be "Have you taken this feat" with some measurement to accommodate people with multiple characters. The second measurement could be "How powerful is this feat" on maybe a scale of +5 to -5 with 0 being average.

    You could then have four outputs.

    • If people are taking it but it is underpowered, then it must be a gateway feat. Perhaps consider collapsing if you dislike feat taxes.
    • If people are taking it and it is over powered, then it is over powered. Perhaps reduce its power.
    • If people are not taking and it is underpowered, then perhaps remove it or buff it up.
    • If people are not taking it and it is overpowered, conduct an investigation because that makes no sense. Too many pre-reqs? Only belong to a lame class? Something else?


    I think that might be a really neat first step that provides more accurate information than any single thread ever could.
    Always headed for rune.

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    This is a good idea, there are so many feats that are simply worthless nowadays.

    I suggest using the character builder (just pay for 1 month if you don't have an account). You will be able to see every feat from every book laid out, and you will be able to more quickly go through them.
    Is your game having issues with Grind? Check out Stalker0's Guide to Anti-Grind

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    Like the core 4e system, but prefer a more balanced system with additional options? Try my Alternate Core Skill Challenge System

  • #9
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    Well, this project is moving along very nicely!

    I've set up the UI and the search-and-display functionality. I decided to table the functionality where it would display the full rules text, though, for a number of reasons;

    Now I don't have to develop a Content Management System for the thing. :P
    Data entry - even with just a few cells for each rules element - is going to take a long time. It'd take even longer if I had to format the rules text for each element too!
    With the system I have set up, I think I can put this online for anyone to use. At most, it will be the name of an element, a couple of columns useful for sorting through the stuff (Level, superrole, and role for monsters, for example), and a source reference so you know in which book to check for it. That all falls under fair use, I think - you'd still need the book to get the full usefulness out of it, anyways. If I did the full rules-text look up, I'd have to drop it behind a log-in wall and I'd be the only one able to use it.

    So now comes phase two - data entry. I'd like to ask the community for volunteers to help with this; I'll be able to do it myself, but it may take a while. With some people helping, I could have this fully functional that much sooner.

    If you're interested, PM me and I'll send you instructions.

    Thanks!
    Will Thibault is a winged, feathered serpent rarely found anywhere except in warm, jungle-like regions or flying through the ether. Due to his intelligence and powers he is regarded with awe by the inhabitants of his homelands and is considered to be divine.

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