Thursday, May 26, 2011

All feats are not created equal

Love 'em or hate 'em, feats are probably the most prominent feature of D&D 3.x/Pathfinder as compared to previous incarnations of the beloved game. They have changed the whole concept of character generation. In the past, you chose your race and class and you were pretty much done making decisions about your character. From that point on, character development was story-driven. With the introduction of feats, the powergamers could go crazy. It's not uncommon for players like me who enjoy us some hardcore min/maxing from time to time to generate a character with 15 or 20 levels of character advancement already mapped out before we ever get to the gaming table. Heck, I've been known to spend a few hours of leisure time generating characters I have no intention of playing just to see what combination of feats I can come up with.

Spend any amount of time generating characters like this, you will soon realize some feats are way better than others. Some, like Iron Will and Toughness are just plain good, no matter what class you choose. Others like Point Blank Shot, Power Attack or Spell Penetration are indispensible for certain types of characters. Still others, like Intimidating Prowess or Catch Off-Guard are so lame, nobody would ever think of wasting a precious feat slot on them. Rarely, however, does a feat come along that is so good, it literally dictates character design decisions. In Ultimate Magic, there is such a feat. It is called Versatile Channeler. It allows neutral clerics of neutral dieties to use both positive and negative energy in their channeling. Without this feat, a player must decide at the time the character is generated which type of channeling he will use. With this feat, he can use both. He still has to choose which type will be the dominant one, but he can channel the other energy type as a cleric two levels lower (i.e. -1d6). This is huge and it means playing a good cleric has suddenly become a really bad choice. Expect to start seeing a lot more clerics of Gozreh and Pharasma showing up in your Pathfinder games.



Obiri said...

Pharasma's Repose domain has a pretty decent domain power.

Intimidating Prowess is actually pretty good if you build around it. There is a feat that allows you do make an intimidation check as a free action on every power attack. With that, Skill Focus: Intimidate, and Shatter defenses it actually is quite decent.

Blowing a standard action to possibly add the Shaken effect to a couple enemies is not.

Derobane-bane said...

I may need to rebuild the 17th level cleric that I made in 20 minutes last game.

My old cleric (the one that was shot through the face... twice) was a cleric of Pharasma. I may need to reprise that character concept for next time using the new feat you outlined.

Obiri said...

The Madness domain is much better then it looks. At 18th level you can add -9 to all saves for 3 rounds with only a touch attack. No Save.

Rognar said...

To be honest, I don't pay much attention to any class abilities beyond 15th level. If I am not blown away by then, I will probably be retiring my character.