Feat Tax

Not all feats are created equal and—over time and the evolution of the Pathfinder system—some feats have proven less valuable or exist solely as a prerequisite for other feats (and don't necessarily deserve the distinction).  This system is colloquially known as paying a "feat tax," and it can exacerbate the already-considerable disparity between martial characters and their magically-inclined fellows.

 

Below are the modifications to existing feats or entire feat categories.  While this list attempts to be comprehensive, if you have any questions (or wish to make an argument for certain feats to be included), feel free to raise the issue with me.  This system was originally developed by Michael Ian Torno, whose work on the subject can be found on the following page: http://michaeliantorno.com/feat-taxes-in-pathfinder/

 

Contents
  1. Consolidated Feats
  2. Automatic Feats
  3. Style Feats
  4. Eliminated Feats
  5. New Feats

 

CONSOLIDATED FEATS

One method to counteract the presence of sub-standard feats, the benefits of some feats have been altered or combined to help make them more useful, valuable, or fun.  Modified feats serve to fulfill the prerequisites of any additional feat that requires one or more of the feats which have been combined into them.

 

 

Cleave
Prerequisite: Strength 13, BAB +1.
Combines: Cleave and Cleaving Finish.
Effect: If you make a melee attack, and your target drops to 0 or fewer hit points as a result of your attack, you can make another melee attack using your highest base attack bonus against another opponent within reach. You can make only one extra attack per round with this feat.  Alternately, as a standard action, you can make a single attack at your full base attack bonus against a foe within reach. If you hit, you deal damage normally and can make an additional attack (using your full base attack bonus) against a foe that is adjacent to the first and also within reach. You can only make one additional attack per round with this feat. When you use this feat as a standard action, you take a –2 penalty to your Armor Class until your next turn.


Deft Maneuvers
Prerequisite: None.
Combines: Improved Dirty Trick, Improved Disarm, Improved Feint, Improved Steal, and Improved Trip.
Effect: You do not provoke an attack of opportunity when performing a dirty trick, disarm, steal, or trip combat maneuver. In addition, you receive a +2 bonus on checks with these combat maneuvers.  Finally, you can make a Bluff check to feint in combat as a move action.

 

Dodge
Prerequisite: Dexterity 13.
Combines: Dodge and Mobility.
Effect: You gain a +1 dodge bonus to AC; increases to +4 against attacks of opportunity.


Great Cleave
Prerequisite: Strength 13, BAB +4.
Combines: Great Cleave and Improved Cleaving Finish.
Effect: When using Cleave to make an extra attack after killing a foe, you can make any number of free attacks per round, though you can still only make one additional attack per defeated enemy.  Alternately, as a standard action, you can make a single attack at your full base attack bonus against a foe within reach. If you hit, you deal damage normally and can make an additional attack (using your full base attack bonus) against a foe that is adjacent to the previous foe and also within reach. If you hit, you can continue to make attacks against foes adjacent to the previous foe, so long as they are within your reach. You cannot attack an individual foe more than once during this attack action.  When you use this feat as a standard action, you take a –2 penalty to your Armor Class until your next turn.


Greater Two-Weapon Fighting
Prerequisite: Dexterity 19, BAB +11.
Combines: Greater Two-Weapon Fighting and Perfect Two-Weapon Fighting.
Effect: You gain a third off-hand attack at a -10; when you reach BAB +16, you gain a fourth off-hand attack at -15.

 

Greater Vital Strike
Prerequisite: Vital Strike, BAB +11.
Combines: Improved Vital Strike and Greater Vital Strike.
Effect: When using Vital Strike, you now roll the weapon’s damage dice for the attack three times and add the results together.  When your BAB reaches +16, you roll the weapon's damage dice four times and add them together.  This extra damage behaves in all ways like the extra damage from the Vital Strike feat.

 

Powerful Maneuvers
Prerequisite: None.
Combines: Improved Bull Rush, Improved Drag, Improved Overrun, Improved Reposition, and Improved Sunder.
Effect: You do not provoke an attack of opportunity when performing a bull rush, drag, overrun, reposition, or sunder combat maneuver. In addition, you receive a +2 bonus on checks with these combat maneuvers.

 

Precise Shot
Prerequisite: None.
Combines: Point-Blank Shot and Precise Shot.
Effect: You can shoot or throw ranged weapons at an opponent engaged in melee without taking the standard –4 penalty on your attack roll.  Additionally, you get a +1 bonus on attack and damage rolls with ranged weapons at ranges of up to 30 feet.

 

Quickdraw
Prerequisite: BAB +1.
Effect: Allows you to draw or sheath your weapon as a free action.

 

Two-Weapon Defense
Prerequisite: Dexterity 15, Two-Weapon Fighting.
Effect: The shield bonus to AC granted by this feat increases to +2 when your BAB reaches +6 and to +3 at BAB +11.


Two-Weapon Feint
Prerequisite: Dexterity 15, Intelligence 13, Two-Weapon Fighting.
Combines: Two-Weapon Feint and Improved Two-Weapon Feint.
Effect: While using Two-Weapon Fighting to make melee attacks, you can forgo your first primary-hand melee attack to make a Bluff check to feint an opponent.  When you reach BAB +6, if you successfully feint, that opponent is denied his Dexterity bonus to AC until the end of your turn.

 

Two-Weapon Fighting
Prerequisite: Dexterity 15.
Combines: Two-Weapon Fighting and Improved Two-Weapon Fighting.
Effect: Your penalties on attack rolls for fighting with two weapons are reduced. The penalty for your primary hand lessens by 2 and the one for your off hand lessens by 6.  When you reach BAB +6, you gain a second off-hand attack at a -5.


Two-Weapon Focus
Prerequisite: Dexterity 15, Two-Weapon Fighting.
Combines: Double Slice and Two-Weapon Rend.
Effect: Add your full Strength bonus to attacks made with your off-hand weapon.  When your BAB reaches +11, any time you hit with your primary weapon and off-hand weapon in the same round, you inflict extra damage equal to your off-hand weapon's base damage plus 1-½ times your Strength bonus.

 

AUTOMATIC FEATS

While certain feats have been improved, others have been eliminated entirely, simply becoming standard combat abilities that all characters get automatically or once they reach a certain BAB threshold.  Any feat for which the automatic feat was a prerequisite no longer requires it (though it still requires any other prerequisites it might have); you instead need to meet whatever "activation" prerequisite the ability now has, if it has one.

 

Agile Maneuvers
Any weapon with the Finesse weapon quality (including unarmed attacks) allows you to add your Dexterity to your CMB instead of your Strength, at the player’s discretion.

 

Combat Expertise
Automatic combat option for any character with a +1 BAB or higher.

 

Deadly Aim
Automatic combat option for any character with a +1 BAB or higher.

 

Martial Mastery
Weapon-specific feats (like Weapon Focus, Improved Critical, etc.) now apply to all weapons in a given Fighter Weapon Group, rather than one specific weapon type.

 

Power Attack
Automatic combat option for any character with a +1 BAB or higher.

 

Weapon Finesse
Any weapon with the Finesse quality (including unarmed attacks) can automatically use a characters Dex instead of their Str when calculating their attack bonus, at the player's discretion.

 

STYLE FEATS

A specific subset of feats requiring special consideration are Style feats, which are chains of separate feats that focus on using certain weapons (often unarmed attacks) or combat maneuvers.  For the purposes of our discussion, a Style feat can be identified by these criteria:

  • Has the "Style" designator in the feat description
  • Chain of 3 separate feats, with each feat in the chain requiring its predecessor as a prerequisite
  • You must activate the style to use it, and can only use one style at a time (barring certain feats or class abilities)

 

Due to the nature of this setting—with its focus on elements traditionally associated with Eastern settings—Style feats are much more prevalent and thematically important.  Unfortunately, the system of styles is, by its very nature, heavy on tax feats.  Not only do you need to select each feat in the chain, but they usually have their own, additional prerequisites.  Add to that the fact that (without even more feats) you cannot benefit from multiple styles at once, and their weaknesses become apparent.

 

To fix that, Style feat chains in this system have been eliminated.  Now, characters are free to purchase the base feat in any Style chain for which they meet the prerequisites.  From that point on, so long as the character meets every prerequisite for the subsequent two feats in the chain, they automatically gain the benefits of those two feats.

 

Qualifying for the benefits of the second and third feats in the Style chain are considered the same as having taken those feats for all purposes, such as qualifying for prerequisites for other feats or class abilities.  Though it should not be an issue due to how the chains are set up, characters must qualify for the second feat in the chain before they can qualify for the third feat.

 

ELIMINATED FEATS

These feats have been removed, being either rolled into the effects of another feat or gained automatically.  Any feat for which the eliminated feat was a prerequisite no longer requires it.  Instead, use either the feat into which it was added or the threshold to gain its effects as the prerequisite.

  • Cleaving Finish
  • Double Slice
  • Improved Bull Rush
  • Improved Cleaving Finish
  • Improved Dirty Trick
  • Improved Disarm
  • Improved Drag
  • Improved Feint
  • Improved Overrun
  • Improved Reposition
  • Improved Steal
  • Improved Sunder
  • Improved Trip
  • Improved Two-Weapon Feint
  • Improved Two-Weapon Fighting
  • Improved Vital Strike
  • Mobility
  • Point-Blank Shot
  • Two-Weapon Rend

 

NEW FEATS

This section presents new feats, balanced with the new feat tax dynamic taken into consideration.

 

Focused Defense
Prerequisite: BAB +6.
Effect: For every 5 points of BAB you have, you increase your AC bonus for fighting defensively by +1 and for taking a total defense by +2.

 

Off-Hand Defense
Effect: When fighting with a light or one-handed weapon with nothing in their off-hand, the character receives a +2 shield bonus to their AC.  This bonus increases to +3 when your BAB reaches +6, to +4 at BAB +11, and to +6 at BAB +16.

 

Overwhelming Strike
Prerequisite: BAB +6.
Effect: When making a full attack with a single weapon, you forgo your iterative attacks, including those granted by a weapon of speed or the spell haste.  For each attack sacrificed, you gain a +2 circumstance bonus on the attack roll for your primary attack.  If you are using a combat maneuver that can replace an attack (trip, bull rush, etc.), you gain the circumstance bonus on your combat maneuver check instead.