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4E Proposal: Modify the Expertise House Rule (E.g., give bonus feat)

Luinnar

Villager
I propose changing the flat +1 bonus/tier house rule with a bonus feat at level 5 and allowing players to take expertise feats. This would still fix the feat tax/Math fix issue, but allow people to take the new weapon specific feats if they wish, take the feat at level 4, or take the feat later if +1 accuracy is not as important to their character build (Avengers/"Lazy" Warlords).

This would apply to existing characters, those in adventures would switch it out as soon as their DM approves.

Also, the new Hunter Ranger build in Heroes of the Forgotten Kingdoms gets their choice of a bow or crossbow expertise feat at level one. This proposal would eliminate the unintended "nerf" of the build by the house rule.
 
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stonegod

Spawn of Khyber/LEB Judge
Other proposals that deal with the Expertise issue should go here as well. (I'm changing the thread title to reflect that).
 

KarinsDad

Villager
Also, the new Hunter Ranger build in Heroes of the Forgotten Kingdoms gets their choice of a bow or crossbow expertise feat at level one. This proposal would eliminate the unintended "nerf" of the build by the house rule.
It would also nerf any player who has ranged weapons and/or melee weapons and/or implements.

The entire purpose of the Expertise feats and the entire purpose of the LEB house rule is because the straight out of the box math is broken. Forcing players to buy 2, 3, or more Expertise feats, just because they have a versatile PC and so that they have a reasonable chance to hit and to have their PCs be on par with other PCs is unreasonable. Some PCs are knocking at the door of Paragon level here and it will soon become more difficult for them.


I like the fact that LEB has an Expertise feat house rule. I do see where it has problems with the other Expertise feats from many sources now, so the only clean solution I see so far is to make the LEB house rule a feat bonus.

But, a feat tax just totally sucks to fix a flaw in the game design.


Ditto for NADs. LEB should probably have a game flaw fix house rule for low NADs as well, but I don't think we really need to think about that too much until PCs get to mid-Paragon levels.
 

Luinnar

Villager
I like the fact that LEB has an Expertise feat house rule. I do see where it has problems with the other Expertise feats from many sources now, so the only clean solution I see so far is to make the LEB house rule a feat bonus.
Do you mean changing the house rule to a feat bonus, and allowing people to take a expertise feats for the extra weapon specific abilities (but not an extra +1 to hit, since it would not stack)?
 

twilsemail

Villager
What if we allowed people the option of the LEB bonus or a feat at level 5? This way people who need a bonus to tons of weapons/implements can get that, while someone specialized might pick up light blade expertise/staff expertise/et al.

Edit: this option would include opening the Expertise feats at an earlier level and stating that they do not stack with the LEB bonus.
 

KarinsDad

Villager
Luinnar. Yes, that's what I'm saying. Change the LEB bonuses to feat bonuses.

[rant]
The LEB solution is what WotC should have done once they found out about the math problem instead of coming up with all of these crazy feats. Just like they added in a bunch of different masterwork armor types when they found out about the heavy armor math problems.


The problem is that WotC wants "solutions" that fit in with their original 4E framework without changing the framework. The heavy armor solution is one such solution. But, it becomes klunky because now instead of 18 different armor types (of which 12 should have never existed), we now have 46 different armor types of which 40 should have never existed. What exactly is Stalkerhide armor? Nobody knows without looking it up. Ditto for the rest of them.


So for the case of Expertise, the game designers created a ton of feats, most of which are like masterwork armor. You have to have them in your game in order to maintain game balance, but as a player, you really don't want to purchase them.

Feat taxes are a pain. The Expertise feats, the defense feats, and even the Unarmored Agility / Armor Proficiency: Leather feats are feat taxes.

You don't really want to purchase them. You'd rather purchase something else that is cool and exciting. But, just to maintain some level of survivability, you have to go purchase these types of feats.

Go play a Cleric without purchasing any armor or shield feats and see how many of your Healing Words you spend on yourself if the NPCs decide to gang up on the Cleric.

If we can have some LEB house rules that get rid of some of the feat taxes, I'm all for it.
[/rant]

Ok, rant over. Whew! ;)
 

KarinsDad

Villager
What if we allowed people the option of the LEB bonus or a feat at level 5?
I don't like handing out free feats that can be used for anything.

The only reason to have the LEB feat tax is to fix the broken math of the to hit framework. If the math wasn't broken, the house rule wouldn't be needed.

No need to make the house rule even more potent for PCs who do not quite need it. For example, Avengers often get two attack rolls. Such a PC doesn't need the house rule, especially before level 15. So, such a PC would almost never take LEB Expertise and would get a free feat over everyone else.
 

twilsemail

Villager
Just to make sure I'm reading that rant above correctly.

Section 1: Yes, change the current house rule to make a ton of flavorful feats useless.

Section 2: The expertise feats should have never existed. People should be allowed to take more flavorful feats.

Changing the LEB Expertise bonus to a Feat bonus doesn't get rid of the feat tax. That's already been done. Ranting about it isn't necessary. Someone before you was wise enough to see it was a problem and solve it outright with the house rule.

Changing the LEB Expertise bonus to a Feat bonus does eliminate flavorful options and I really don't think that's fair to people who might actually want to portray the characters that those options would make shine.
 

KarinsDad

Villager
Just to make sure I'm reading that rant above correctly.

Section 1: Yes, change the current house rule to make a ton of flavorful feats useless.

Section 2: The expertise feats should have never existed. People should be allowed to take more flavorful feats.

Changing the LEB Expertise bonus to a Feat bonus doesn't get rid of the feat tax. That's already been done. Ranting about it isn't necessary. Someone before you was wise enough to see it was a problem and solve it outright with the house rule.

Changing the LEB Expertise bonus to a Feat bonus does eliminate flavorful options and I really don't think that's fair to people who might actually want to portray the characters that those options would make shine.
There is nothing stopping them from taking the Essentials Expertise feats.

Your argument boils down to "Because the Essential Expertise feats exist, players are entitled to take them. Not only are they entitled to take them, but they are entitled to the extra bennies those feats give over the normal LEB Expertise rule.".


What's not fair is that WotC didn't analyze the math of their game system before putting it out on the market. What's not fair is that WotC is doing the "bigger, better, badder" expertise feats in Essentials because everyone complained that it was a feat tax in normal 4E.

If players get Expertise for free at LEB, they are already gaining more than someone who played strictly by the rules.

If they want the cool bells and whistles of the Essentials Expertise feats, that's great. Take the feat. At level 4, they'll even get a +1 to hit.


Your suggestion sounds like just another way to make PCs even more versatile and/or powerful than they already are.
 

twilsemail

Villager
Your argument boils down to "Because the Essential Expertise feats exist, players are entitled to take them. Not only are they entitled to take them, but they are entitled to the extra bennies those feats give over the normal LEB Expertise rule.".

Actually my argument boils down to "There were lots of spiffy feats supporting character concepts before Essentials came out. Making the LEB bonus a Feat Bonus elminates them."

I could care less about the new shiny expertise feats. WotC just release a new package of band-aids that happen to have Superman and Hello Kitty on them instead of the plain old flesh-tone.

We do need to sort out the interaction of the new feats with the LEB bonus (which I think should boil down to "no."). I'm not saying we shouldn't. But calling "Light blade expertise" flavorful is ludicrous.

Make the new shiny feats the same as the old bonus. Hell, say that they’re banned forever and ever. Don’t restrict people from taking something like “Feyborn Charm.”

This discussion doesn’t need to be your podium for ranting about WotC’s math error. We all hang out on gaming forums. We all know where the feats came from and recognize that they’re a tax. The community as a whole has officially recognized that and made a house rule to cover it. Several members of the community have now expressed interest in these new feats and their interaction with that house rule. That’s what this thread is about.

You really don’t need to convince us that the original expertise feats were a feat tax. Really. We got it. Move on. Alternately, the 4e forum is right over here.
 

KarinsDad

Villager
Actually my argument boils down to "There were lots of spiffy feats supporting character concepts before Essentials came out. Making the LEB bonus a Feat Bonus elminates them."
Yes. Making it a feat bonus will make Draconic Spellcaster, Feyborn Charm, and Gnome Phantasmist less attractive.

Course, for a Gnome who dedicates himself to illusion powers, Gnome Phantasmist was already Weapon Focus and Expertise rolled up into one. Making the LEB bonus a feat bonus means that such a Gnome taking Gnome Phantasmist is similar to a normal Fighter taking Weapon Focus. It's still about as attractive as it is for the Fighter. It's just not as potent as Gnome Phantasmist previously was.

One of the reasons to make the LEB bonus a feat bonus is so that the PC doesn't get the equivalent of +2 to hit and +1 damage with the Gnome Phantasmist feat here at LEB.

I originally thought the same as you did. After some more thought on the matter, I no longer do. Making the LEB bonus a feat bonus does not destroy any PC concepts and does not wipe out a ton of feats. It does water down a few feats, but affecting about a dozen feats out of the 3000+ feats in the game system, that's hardly restricting people like you claim. The player is still able to take Feyborn Charm and he still gains something for doing so. This rule merely prevents someone from double dipping on the bonus to hit. Feyborn Charm is still a viable feat on its own, it's just not as potent as it was here.

Were players handcuffed and unable to create good PC concepts for their Feyborn PCs before the Arcane Power book came out because they didn't have access to Feyborn Charm? Is Feyborn Charm and similar feats so crucial to the game that handing out half of their power for free makes the game undesirable to play? I hardly think so.
 

twilsemail

Villager
One of the reasons to make the LEB bonus a feat bonus is so that the PC doesn't get the equivalent of +2 to hit and +1 damage with the Gnome Phantasmist feat here at LEB.
You can't argue from both sides of the "Math Error" argument and expect to be taken seriously. You either rant that PCs are at an inherent -1 due to the math error or all of a sudden they're at a +1 due to the LEB fix. You can't have both.

There is an error in the games math. It's been fixed. The math went from -1 to +0. A PC with Gnome Phantasmist is at a +1 to Hit and +1 damage after taking that feat.
 

KarinsDad

Villager
You can't argue from both sides of the "Math Error" argument and expect to be taken seriously. You either rant that PCs are at an inherent -1 due to the math error or all of a sudden they're at a +1 due to the LEB fix. You can't have both.

There is an error in the games math. It's been fixed. The math went from -1 to +0. A PC with Gnome Phantasmist is at a +1 to Hit and +1 damage after taking that feat.
The reason Gnome Phantasmist is even in the game system at all is because WotC wanted some feats to both fix the math bug AND give the players something for their feat. They did the same with the Essentials feats. Both of these types of feats came out after PHB 2 when they tried to fix the math bug with just the Expertise feats and they immediately got complaints that the Expertise feats were a feat tax.

I'm not arguing from both sides of the "Math Error" argument, that's just your spin on what I wrote. Do you honestly think it is fair and balanced for a Gnome Phantasmist PC to have +1 to hit and +1 damage over everyone else with a single feat? Or was the original intent of this feat just a way to have someone get more than just the Expertise feat by WotC? Heck, WotC even got rid of Weapon Focus for many spellcasters because it was too easy to stack too many different bonuses for damage. That's the same problem with to hit and the LEB house rule.

You not considering the fact the the normal WotC rules do not have the free LEB feat. Here at LEB, we have that. Here at LEB, the math bug is fixed. Because it is fixed here, it interfers with some of the WotC feats where it is not fixed. Gnome Expertise is balanced if one does not have a house rule fix (i.e. like the core rules), especially against other feats like the new Essentials feats. Gnome Expertise is overly potent, almost to the point of being broken, if you have a house rule fix.

That's why we are even discussing this. We have a fix that the normal rules do not and hence, it interfers with some of those feats, especially the new Essentials feats. The LEB fix now has an interference problem in that WotC is now introducing Expertise+ feats: Expertise feats that have an additional benefit that makes Expertise+ feats less useful here.

As stewards of balance here at LEB, the judges shouldn't allow the LEB house rule to stack with Gnome Phantasmist although technically today, it does. Nor should we allow it to stack with the Expertise+ feats.

WotC doesn't have this issue. By creating Expertise+ feats, they have found their solution. Give out Expertise to everyone AND give everyone a little extra bennie so that it is perceived as not so much a feat tax. Problem solved for WotC.

I am not married to the "make the LEB bonus a feat bonus" solution. If you have a better solution, I am willing to hear it. I just see nothing better yet. The suggestion to give everyone a free feat and they can use it for whatever they want, though, is a power creep. The purpose of such a suggestion is not solely to fix the math bug.

And the only reason to make the LEB bonus a feat bonus is so that we do not have to modify the house rule, every single time an Expertise-like rule comes out.

If WotC had a lot of Expertise+ feats floating around, we might even be able to get rid of the LEB house rule. But for now, I don't think they have enough of those, it's still a feat tax, and so I think we still need the LEB house rule. But if we could find a more elegant solution that just fixes the math, I'd vote to get rid of the LEB house rule.

In the meantime, I think we need to do something so that the LEB house rule does not stack with the Expertise+ feats.
 

Luinnar

Villager
What about making it so the bonus feat has to be used to take a +1 to hit/tier feat? That would stop a power creep for those who don't need it, but allow people to take the feat that they want.

The Man at Arms feat (+1/tier for all weapons, minor to sheath/draw weapons) would help those who use various weapons. The only ones who would be left out would be builds that use multiple weapons and implements (I don't know how common those would be).
 

Antithetist

Villager
Any character who is trying to maintain a good hit chance with melee powers and ranged powers and implement powers is surely already gimping themselves with MAD? I don't think we need to bend over backwards to avoid discriminating against character concepts which are already so left-field and mechanically awkward that nobody is using them.

A bonus +1 hit/tier feat of the player's choice seems like the neatest solution to me.
 

KarinsDad

Villager
Any character who is trying to maintain a good hit chance with melee powers and ranged powers and implement powers is surely already gimping themselves with MAD? I don't think we need to bend over backwards to avoid discriminating against character concepts which are already so left-field and mechanically awkward that nobody is using them.

A bonus +1 hit/tier feat of the player's choice seems like the neatest solution to me.
You mean like a melee/ranged Ranger straight out of the Players Handbook?

Or, a Cleric who has both Strength and Wisdom and does both weapon and implement attacks?

You don't need all 3 before it becomes an issue. I do think all 3 is rare, but 2 out of 3 is not so rare.

There are a couple of V shaped PC classes in the PHB who rely on two different types of weapons/implements. Not everyone is a Fighter whose ranged weapon is a Javelin or plays a specialized PC with one weapon or implement.

Hybrid PCs can also run into this.

The house rule today allows for these two of the three types of classes. This proposed free + per tier feat would discourage those types of classes.
 

drothgery

Community Supporter
Any character who is trying to maintain a good hit chance with melee powers and ranged powers and implement powers is surely already gimping themselves with MAD? I don't think we need to bend over backwards to avoid discriminating against character concepts which are already so left-field and mechanically awkward that nobody is using them.

A bonus +1 hit/tier feat of the player's choice seems like the neatest solution to me.
There's not really good feats for non-staff weapliment users, though. I mean, without the LEB House Rule, a swordmage almost always takes Versatile Expertise (Heavy Blades, Light Blades), but all that's doing is giving the Expertise to-hit bonus to all of his attacks; it's not adding any nice side effects.
 
Any character who is trying to maintain a good hit chance with melee powers and ranged powers and implement powers is surely already gimping themselves with MAD? I don't think we need to bend over backwards to avoid discriminating against character concepts which are already so left-field and mechanically awkward that nobody is using them.
Right, those crazy artificers. Nobody plays them, especially not in an Eberron setting.

Anyway, I think the LEB bonus should become a feat bonus, and then the expertise style feats should be unbanned. If you want the extra stuff, spend the feat, but you don't need it if all you want is to maintain your accuracy.
 

KarinsDad

Villager
There's not really good feats for non-staff weapliment users, though. I mean, without the LEB House Rule, a swordmage almost always takes Versatile Expertise (Heavy Blades, Light Blades), but all that's doing is giving the Expertise to-hit bonus to all of his attacks; it's not adding any nice side effects.
Agreed.

This most recent proposal seems to be a case of giving some classes the additional benefits of the Expertise+ feats for free (e.g. the gain of Wand Expertise where the PC ignores partial cover and superior cover on implement attacks he makes with a wand) at the expense of some other classes (like a melee/ranged Ranger) who only gets the Expertise for free on one of his two different types of attacks.

The purpose of the LEB house rule is to fix the math bug for every class, not to give additional benefits to a few select builds and take away the math bug fix for half of the attacks of some other builds.


The "a bonus +1 hit/tier feat of the player's choice" suggestion is a terrible idea when looked at for the big picture.

And the more generous "a bonus feat that can be used for anything" is even worse since it is more power creep than bonus +1 hit/tier feat suggestion.


So far, the "LEB house rule becomes a feat bonus" suggestion is the only good suggestion since it gives Expertise to every class for every type of attack, it prevents stacking, and it doesn't introduce minor power creep by giving extra bennies to a select few classes just to fix the math bug.
 

KarinsDad

Villager
Right, those crazy artificers. Nobody plays them, especially not in an Eberron setting.

Anyway, I think the LEB bonus should become a feat bonus, and then the expertise style feats should be unbanned. If you want the extra stuff, spend the feat, but you don't need it if all you want is to maintain your accuracy.
I vote YES on this. ;)
 

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