A retroactive (and oft-repeated) introduction: After an actual-play hiatus where I was mostly writing and playtesting for GURPS. I was invited to play in a Pathfinder game, and after a few sessions, it was time to buy the book and learn the rules! I decided to try and read the Pathfinder rules cover-to-cover and see what inspiration strikes, for good or ill!
This is a compilation of the links to read-throughs of Pathfinder-related material
So: we continue!
A “Feat” is basically a little rules tweak that enables you to take advantage of skill and training to do something cool. They’re categorizied, and all classes get a new Feat every other level at minimum, and Fighters in particular get one every level. This is the fighter’s thing, and with 20 or so Feats by the time you get to the top of the food chain, there is room for serious butt-kicking.
Some of the feats are nested, tiered, sequential, have prerequisites – however you want to put it. So if you find a Feat that is particularly juicy, it might take some advanced planning.
I’m new to Pathfinder, still, but from reading around, there seem to be some Feat combinations that are seen to provide an “I Win” button in certain circumstances – or at least an overwhelming degree of smackdown. Some players familiar with the system clearly have their Feat progressions mapped out during character design – I’m not saying that’s a bad thing, but it would appear that what Feats you choose is really important.
I’m not going to do a Feat-by-Feat breakdown here. That would be roughly insane, since the table for Feats goes on for four tightly laid-out pages, and the descriptions rather more.
Most Feats, as I said earlier, tweak a rule. Normally damage bonuses are based on STR . . . but the Weapon Finesse Feat lets you take advantage of your DEX instead.
So let’s look around at some types of feats, basically making up a structure as I go along. This isn’t meant to be all-inclusive.
The first Feat listed is Acrobatic, which gives a +2 bonus to Acrobatics and Fly checks. There are other feats like this one, that provide a bonus (often this scales with level in some way) to a small set of skills. Such Feats include Alertness (Perception and Sense Motive), Athletic (Climb and Swim), Deceitful (Bluff and Disguise), Deft Hands (Disable Device and Sleight of Hand), Magical Aptitude (Spellcraft and Use Magic Device), Persuasive (Diplomacy and Intimidate), Self-Sufficient (Heal and Survival), and Stealthy (Escape Artist and Stealth).That’s nine feats, covering a +10% boost to 18 skills. It’s like leveling up twice in something you’re already maxed out on, but it doesn’t count against the ranks you put in the skill.
Saving Throw Boosts
Some Feats help you when you make saving throws. These are a small family, with basically obvious names. Iron Will, Lightning Reflexes, and Great Fortitude. There are improved versions that allow a reroll of a failed saving throw.
A lot of these have to do with mounted combat, and those are based off the obviously-named Mounted Combat Feat. This has a cascade three levels deep in places: Mounted Combat, Ride-By Attack, followed by Spirited Charge, which gives double damage on a mounted charge. Go grab your lance.
The Dodge cascade starts with bonuses to AC, but also includes concealment when moving, as well as moving before and after attacks, allowing you to start at a distance, get close and pound someone, and then move again. Paired with Nimble Moves cascade to ignore difficult terrain, Fleet to get a slight boost to your base move, you might be able to harass people and stay out of harm’s way.
Class Feature Feats
A bunch of Feats exist to get better at things your class is already good at. Channeling energy vs. outsiders (Alignment Channel), channel energy through an attack (Channel Smite), and a few other helping hands to channeling. There’s also boosts to Ki, Lay on Hands, Mercy, Rage, and Bardic Performance through the Extra X set of feats.
Armor and Shield Feats
These feats enable you to use certain types of armor and shield (surprised ya, eh?). The basic Armor Proficiency feats are pretty cool, and are a cascade for Light, Medium, and Heavy armor (no attack penalties while wearing them). One bit of coolness is Arcane Armor Training/Mastery, which reduce your chance of spell failure while wearing armor by 10 or 20%, which enables you to wear armor with an AC bonus of up to +4 and not start risking spell failure. It’s not AC +9 Full Plate, but if you had the right Feats, you would have the same chance to cast spells in full plate as you do in studded leather.
The various shield feats increase AC bonuses, allow you to strike with the shield without suffering two-weapon penalties, use the big tower shields, or do various forms of shield bash with improved effects.
Magical Enhancements and Item Creation
Gotta start with the cool one: there’s a whole list of feats to make magical items yourself. There are also metamagic feats that allow you to enhance spells – no components, higher level, longer range, that sort of thing.
One cool one is Arcane Strike, which allows you to treat your mundane weapons as magical – and get a bonus – if you can use arcane spells. Nifty.
There are various other feats for spells to enhance defensive casting, beat your foe’s resistance roll vs. your own spells, cast better counterspells, or increase your own saving throws.
“Combat Feat” is a term of art in Pathfinder, so I’ll avoid using it for this broad category of cool stuff. There are lots of these. Everything with an asterisk is considered a Combat Feat.