Broken Feats?

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Broken Feats?

Post by Havard » Fri Aug 09, 2013 5:22 pm

I have never played a spellcaster in 3E, but someone mentioned that the Metamagical Feats were pretty useless. Also, I have read that some feats like Toughness (and maybe dodge?) were actually designed to be worse than the other feats to give a sort of benefit to more experienced players.

What other Feats from the official books have you found to be broken? Has anyone come up with fixes for them?

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Re: Broken Feats?

Post by CmdrCorsiken » Fri Aug 09, 2013 8:49 pm

In general, those feats that give a static bonus, such as Weapon Focus, Weapon Specialization, and the afore mentioned Toughness, are regarded as less useful. At the same time, those feats that scale with advancement, like Power Attack, are seen as much more useful. Solutions to this have been debated for a long time, but the challenge becomes developing an alternative that does not become too useful.

The Toughness feat was essentially, though not technically, replaced with the Improved Toughness feat. Despite being 'improved' this new feat did not require the other one. Improved Toughness provides 1 hp per hit die of the character/creature -- effectively 1 hp per level. This kind of solved the problem, but is 1 hp at level 1 worth a feat slot? In most cases, no. On the other hand, is 3 hp at level 1 worth a feat slot if that +3 is all there is? Again, in most cases, no. My solution was to combine the two. With my version of Toughness, the character gains +3 hp, +1 additional hp per hit die after 3. Essentially, the character gets the initial +3 hp early on, when it is most valuable, then continues to gain +1 more as levels are gained. Is it the best solution? I don't really know, but it works for my games and many PCs (but not a majority) take it.

On the metamagic feats, I've read many discussions that conclude that it is almost always better to cast a higher level spell, than to modify a lower level spell into a higher slot. I have very few caster characters in my games select the basic metamagic feats. However, most do like the 'Sudden' versions of them. When I play a caster, I typically take a couple basic metamagic feats as well as a couple 'Sudden' ones. Both types get extensive use by my own PCs. The challenge here is the added complexity in the preparation process. The additional casting time for spontaneous casters also turns most players away from them. I haven't thought much about a solution to this as it has not been a significant issue in my games.
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Re: Broken Feats?

Post by Cthulhudrew » Sat Aug 10, 2013 4:50 am

The Improved Toughness one- as you point out, not requiring Toughness as a Prereq- was always a head-scratcher to me. I'm trying to think of others offhand that were broken; it occurs to me that several were changed, if only slightly, with 3.5 (Power Attack comes to mind, but I might not be recalling correctly).

Once you get into the additional sourcebooks, there is a pretty definite disparity in some of the feats, but again, I don't recall specifics offhand.
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Re: Broken Feats?

Post by rabindranath72 » Tue Aug 13, 2013 8:58 am

Never had any problems sticking to the feats in the core 3.0 PHB, but I did notice a few problems in the later 3.5 framework. It doesn't make much sense to compare feats only amongst themselves; they should be compared conditionally on the classes which can benefit them most. So Toughness is not useless; to the contrary, a spellcaster like a Wizard or Sorcerer can benefit quite a lot from it, and in fact, in the templated starting characters in the 3.0 PHB, the Wizard has Toughness as his 1st level feat.
From my experience, the problems with the feats started with the splatbooks, and they were made worse with the 3.5 revision. The feats set provided in the 3.0 PHB is excellent and pretty self-consistent, whereas the aim was to make modular a lot of the character abilities in AD&D.

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Re: Broken Feats?

Post by Dryhad » Tue Aug 13, 2013 9:21 am

rabindranath72 wrote:Never had any problems sticking to the feats in the core 3.0 PHB, but I did notice a few problems in the later 3.5 framework. It doesn't make much sense to compare feats only amongst themselves; they should be compared conditionally on the classes which can benefit them most. So Toughness is not useless; to the contrary, a spellcaster like a Wizard or Sorcerer can benefit quite a lot from it, and in fact, in the templated starting characters in the 3.0 PHB, the Wizard has Toughness as his 1st level feat.
From my experience, the problems with the feats started with the splatbooks, and they were made worse with the 3.5 revision. The feats set provided in the 3.0 PHB is excellent and pretty self-consistent, whereas the aim was to make modular a lot of the character abilities in AD&D.
A d4 hit dice class only increases the utility of Toughness a little bit, it doesn't change the problem discussed here that at mid to high levels it becomes less and less useful. Even a 1st level Barbarian can use Toughness to increase his hp by 25% (Constitution notwithstanding). Wizards just get to enjoy it for longer, but it still stops being particularly helpful long before their adventuring career is over. If you're planning on playing much past level 5, you probably don't want to spend a feat on Toughness that you could spend on metamagic or something; just invest heavily in defensive spells/magic items and hide behind the meatshield. So I'd argue that even on the character that can benefit most from Toughness it still turns out to be an underwhelming choice.

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Re: Broken Feats?

Post by rabindranath72 » Tue Aug 13, 2013 5:00 pm

Dryhad wrote:
rabindranath72 wrote:Never had any problems sticking to the feats in the core 3.0 PHB, but I did notice a few problems in the later 3.5 framework. It doesn't make much sense to compare feats only amongst themselves; they should be compared conditionally on the classes which can benefit them most. So Toughness is not useless; to the contrary, a spellcaster like a Wizard or Sorcerer can benefit quite a lot from it, and in fact, in the templated starting characters in the 3.0 PHB, the Wizard has Toughness as his 1st level feat.
From my experience, the problems with the feats started with the splatbooks, and they were made worse with the 3.5 revision. The feats set provided in the 3.0 PHB is excellent and pretty self-consistent, whereas the aim was to make modular a lot of the character abilities in AD&D.
A d4 hit dice class only increases the utility of Toughness a little bit, it doesn't change the problem discussed here that at mid to high levels it becomes less and less useful. Even a 1st level Barbarian can use Toughness to increase his hp by 25% (Constitution notwithstanding). Wizards just get to enjoy it for longer, but it still stops being particularly helpful long before their adventuring career is over. If you're planning on playing much past level 5, you probably don't want to spend a feat on Toughness that you could spend on metamagic or something; just invest heavily in defensive spells/magic items and hide behind the meatshield. So I'd argue that even on the character that can benefit most from Toughness it still turns out to be an underwhelming choice.
Until those last 3 hit points spell the difference between life and death (it has happened more than once in my games.) Those 3 hit points CAN make the difference at low levels. And to get to mid levels, you HAVE to survive low levels. So if you have survived to see 6th level and get access and use metamagic feats, perhaps you have to thank your choice of the "useless" Toughness feat.
Nowhere it's written that a feat must be constantly useful at all level ranges; much like there are low-level spells which see less use at higher levels, but are fundamental at low levels.

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Re: Broken Feats?

Post by Havard » Tue Aug 13, 2013 5:14 pm

I think it is interesting to compare the Toughness Feat with the Dodge Feat. Dodge is probably even less useful on its own. However, it is a prerequisite for many other feats. I think I would have considered Toughness to be more useful if there had been other feats that you could build on from that one.



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Re: Broken Feats?

Post by Gecko » Tue Aug 13, 2013 10:19 pm

I rather like the feat point system. Your typical "average" feat is 10 points. Weak feats might only cost 5 points, Stronger feats might be 12-13 points.

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Re: Broken Feats?

Post by CmdrCorsiken » Tue Aug 13, 2013 11:49 pm

Gecko wrote:I rather like the feat point system. Your typical "average" feat is 10 points. Weak feats might only cost 5 points, Stronger feats might be 12-13 points.
That's an interesting thought.
Havard wrote:I think it is interesting to compare the Toughness Feat with the Dodge Feat. Dodge is probably even less useful on its own. However, it is a prerequisite for many other feats. I think I would have considered Toughness to be more useful if there had been other feats that you could build on from that one.
Dodge is one of those feats that is rarely taken for itself. In theory, a +1 to AC should be equally valuable at level 1 as it is at level 20; is essentially represents a 5% better chance at avoiding damage from a hit. Now, whether that is worth a feat slot is a debate I've seen a few times on those other old forums. For most players I've been around, Dodge is only taken as a means of getting later feats. The original Toughness feat has never been taken by anyone I have every played with (while my revision has been taken a few times). The original Toughness feat would have to open a very good chain of feats for it to be perceived as valuable the way Dodge is.
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Re: Broken Feats?

Post by Dryhad » Wed Aug 14, 2013 3:03 am

rabindranath72 wrote:Until those last 3 hit points spell the difference between life and death (it has happened more than once in my games.) Those 3 hit points CAN make the difference at low levels. And to get to mid levels, you HAVE to survive low levels. So if you have survived to see 6th level and get access and use metamagic feats, perhaps you have to thank your choice of the "useless" Toughness feat.
Nowhere it's written that a feat must be constantly useful at all level ranges; much like there are low-level spells which see less use at higher levels, but are fundamental at low levels.
It's written right here. You may not like reading it but it is. I don't know, when I choose my first level feats, whether I'm going to be in a situation where exactly three hit points are going to be vital to my character's survival before I reach the point where I naturally have so many hit points that three is not even relevant in this kind of ridiculously narrow hypothetical. I do know, however, that I'm playing a spellcaster and therefore am going to want feats that support that. It doesn't matter if you can dream up a situation where Toughness is going to save a spellcaster's life, until that situation becomes inevitable Toughness is going to take a back seat to options that remain useful throughout the character's career. The same does apply to low level spells, incidentally, which is why Sorcerers are far less powerful than Wizards. Fortunately most low level spells scale with caster level!

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Re: Broken Feats?

Post by rabindranath72 » Wed Aug 14, 2013 8:19 am

Dryhad wrote:
rabindranath72 wrote:Until those last 3 hit points spell the difference between life and death (it has happened more than once in my games.) Those 3 hit points CAN make the difference at low levels. And to get to mid levels, you HAVE to survive low levels. So if you have survived to see 6th level and get access and use metamagic feats, perhaps you have to thank your choice of the "useless" Toughness feat.
Nowhere it's written that a feat must be constantly useful at all level ranges; much like there are low-level spells which see less use at higher levels, but are fundamental at low levels.
It's written right here. You may not like reading it but it is. I don't know, when I choose my first level feats, whether I'm going to be in a situation where exactly three hit points are going to be vital to my character's survival before I reach the point where I naturally have so many hit points that three is not even relevant in this kind of ridiculously narrow hypothetical. I do know, however, that I'm playing a spellcaster and therefore am going to want feats that support that. It doesn't matter if you can dream up a situation where Toughness is going to save a spellcaster's life, until that situation becomes inevitable Toughness is going to take a back seat to options that remain useful throughout the character's career. The same does apply to low level spells, incidentally, which is why Sorcerers are far less powerful than Wizards. Fortunately most low level spells scale with caster level!
First of all, there is no need to be aggressive or using words like "ridiculous." I told you it happens in my games, and that should be enough. 3 hit points are always 3 hit points more at all levels. When you are close to 0, it doesn't matter whether you are 1st level or 20th level. My players value the feat because I am not the type of DM to pamper their PCs, or give spellcasters the luxury of always having cover or standing behind fighters. I strictly follow the guidelines in the 3.0 DMG for encounter design (which means that some encounters will be far above the PCs ability) and use of random encounters (which means that spellcasters don't always have a full allotment of spells.) If you are easy with your players, I can see why the feat would seem less useful. It simply doesn't happen at my table; my players have to sweat the last hit point.

Analogously for the Dodge feat. When you are facing more than one adversary, reducing the chance of being hit by one opponent can make the difference. Plus, it's just cool since it makes fights more dynamic, and allows some nice roleplaying descriptions and character types (e.g. swashbucklers.)

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Re: Broken Feats?

Post by Dryhad » Wed Aug 14, 2013 10:37 am

rabindranath72 wrote:First of all, there is no need to be aggressive or using words like "ridiculous." I told you it happens in my games, and that should be enough. 3 hit points are always 3 hit points more at all levels. When you are close to 0, it doesn't matter whether you are 1st level or 20th level. My players value the feat because I am not the type of DM to pamper their PCs, or give spellcasters the luxury of always having cover or standing behind fighters. I strictly follow the guidelines in the 3.0 DMG for encounter design (which means that some encounters will be far above the PCs ability) and use of random encounters (which means that spellcasters don't always have a full allotment of spells.) If you are easy with your players, I can see why the feat would seem less useful. It simply doesn't happen at my table; my players have to sweat the last hit point.

Analogously for the Dodge feat. When you are facing more than one adversary, reducing the chance of being hit by one opponent can make the difference. Plus, it's just cool since it makes fights more dynamic, and allows some nice roleplaying descriptions and character types (e.g. swashbucklers.)
The fact that it has come up at your table does not make it any less narrow of a hypothetical, and I don't mean to be aggressive by referring to it as such. The fact is that for any character option you could imagine a scenario in which it would be useful. With an extensive gaming experience you might even be able to point to actual games in which they occurred. The ability to do so does not prove the utility of the feat, however. It's anecdotal evidence. Your analogy to Dodge can possibly illustrate this. It's undeniable that a +1 to AC is useful to anyone, and dodge bonuses stack so it doesn't displace anything but a feat. But as CmdrCorsiken said it's not worth a feat by itself. There are other things you can do with that slot that are better than +1 AC. It's only when you open up the longer feat tree that it tips into a must-have, and even then the dodge bonus is really more of an added bonus on top of the actual benefit: unlocking Mobility and the rest of the tree.

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Re: Broken Feats?

Post by rabindranath72 » Wed Aug 14, 2013 12:37 pm

All I know is that our games would have been worse in many respects without those feats. Survived PCs do "not prove the utility of the feat"? :roll: What proves the "utility of a feat" then, if not actual game play?

And what about "There are other things you can do with that slot that are better"? Better according to what objective function? If you start flaunting terms like "better" you had better have some way of providing a formal proof, or hard data. I am a statistician by profession, so if you have any of these, I would be more than glad to look at them with an expert's eye. Your "opinion" of what is "better" is just that, an opinion, which has no value at my table if it's not backed by data.

Speaking of data, "anecdotal" or not (you use the word in a demeaning way) if the feats are there, it's because the designers looked at a lot of ANECDOTAL playtest reports (a.k.a. DATA in statistical jargon) not some "theoretical" analysis which you seem to advocate, and which is simply not possible given the complexity of the game and the variety of situations. I can craft a boatload of scenarios in which ALL feats are useful, and when you lack one of them you are much worse (or dead) than if you have it. This is what matters: that all feats can be made useful if the DM designs scenarios in which having them makes a difference.

And considering that 3.0 was playtested far more extensively than 3.5, I'd take any solutions adopted in that game as good unless given EVIDENCE (proof or data; not opinion) to the contrary. Whatever you may think it's theoretically good or bad, the hard data for me is that those feats work as intended. No more, no less. And probably that's what the designers got back when they wrote 3e.

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Re: Broken Feats?

Post by TBeholder » Wed Aug 14, 2013 7:35 pm

There's math. If feat A reduces average damage more than feat B adds HP, then B is useless in massive damage scenario and even more useless against whittling down - as simple as this. Yeah, it's conditional, but characters are not spherical horses in vacuum, they are always optimized for something specific.
Also, "teh Trained Proffessionals made the arcanely divined Game Balance" is a stupid pipe-dream, nothing more. Even when there is any playtesting at all, it cannot be comprehensive, and there are always editorial errors, etc.

IMO the whole idea of Feats was bad in the first place.
But as to Toughness, it's fairly useless. Still, it's a prerequisite for others - like Remain Conscious, which... effectively sometimes gives 10 HP. Um, yeah, bad example. ;) "Roll with it" is really good, but it requires Con 20, which means the character have a lot of HP already (+5 just from Con bonus!), and probably not of a low-HP class, so Toughness is a nearly useless load taken purely as a long-shot sacrifice. Same goes for two "Toughness + Con 20" feats enhancing Str - characters for whom this bonus really matters don't significantly benefit from 3 HP. At least, "Arcane Toughness" is good.
Endurance is better, as it allows to avoid taking damage in the first place in several different - and reasonably common - cases, has other perks and is a prerequisite for much more useful things.
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Re: Broken Feats?

Post by CmdrCorsiken » Wed Aug 14, 2013 9:32 pm

The static numeric bonus of the original Toughness feat means that whatever degree of utility it has early on dimiishes as the overall game scales upward. The same can be said for the skill bonus feats (Stealthy, etc.) and the Weapon Focus line. Of course, not all PC statistics scale at the same rate, so additional factors have to be considered.

Many have advanced the idea that the Weapon Focus/Specialization feats should also scale, essentially negating the need for the Greater versions of those feats. I haven't seen a need to change these in my games yet (as opposed to making my previously mentioned minor change to the Toughness feat).

So overall, I do see some feats that can seem 'broken' in the sense of being of less use. This can be caused by 'static' bonuses in a scaling game or by too much specificity in its application (aka too situational). On the other side of that coin, I cannot think of feats that are broken due to being too good.

As with everything we're discussing here, one group's experience will vary from another's.
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Re: Broken Feats?

Post by rabindranath72 » Thu Aug 15, 2013 10:01 am

TBeholder wrote:There's math. If feat A reduces average damage more than feat B adds HP, then B is useless in massive damage scenario and even more useless against whittling down - as simple as this. Yeah, it's conditional, but characters are not spherical horses in vacuum, they are always optimized for something specific.
Also, "teh Trained Proffessionals made the arcanely divined Game Balance" is a stupid pipe-dream, nothing more. Even when there is any playtesting at all, it cannot be comprehensive, and there are always editorial errors, etc.
Yes sure. But the fact that it is conditional, means that the impact of the feat in the different situations WILL change, so you cannot easily (if at all) establish an order relationship between the utilities of the different feats.
If there were another Toughness feat which granted +5 hit points, then the original Toughness feat could be considered broken. As it stands, it's simply not, as it's the only feat which grants hit points.
You might argue perhaps about the opportunity of introducing a feat which increases hit points, but then again, having a feat seems better to me than not having it. Simply leave the choice to the player.
What you can say is that it might not be desirable at the same degree by all classes, and that it might not be desirable at all levels. The diminishing returns idea can be invoked up to a point; all characters will approach zero hit points at some point, and zero hit points have the same impact for ALL characters and classes. When you are down to 1 hit point, whether you are a wizard or fighter, having 3 more CAN make the difference. It might actually be argued that when you are near 0 hit points, 3 more hit points become more important for fighters than for wizards, as the former tend to be in the front lines.
But then again, the design of the game as far as I can see doesn't seem to imply that all choices must be equally valid at all levels. In fact, the Forgotten Realms campaign setting book introduced Background Feats which can only be taken at 1st level. They ARE explicitly more powerful, but that's because you are trading that power with flexibility.
Monte Cook explicitly mentioned that the Toughness feat was designed explicitly for wizards and sorcerers; hence it is the default feat in the template wizard character in the 3.0 PHB.
Note I don't use books beyond the 3.0 PHB, DMG and MM, so the set of feats I consider is very limited, and extremely specific. There is nothing else which grants additional hit points in that game, so in the spirit of the augmentative nature of feats, having a feat which grants additional hit points is fine.

Also, I was not talking about game balance or any oracular power of the designers; only about a thoroughly tested game, like original 3e was (hundreds of players over at least 2 years of testing.) Obviously there can be errors, but considering the limited number of feats in the 3.0 PHB, and the large number of players, I trust that most if not all of the options were evaluated at playtesting.

Now, whether feats were a good idea or not...I partially agree with you; I can totally live with a game without feats. Their original intent and implementation was quite good, though. But then the idea was pushed too far; just look at all the feat chains and feat proliferation introduced in 3.5 and later stuff.

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Re: Broken Feats?

Post by rabindranath72 » Thu Aug 15, 2013 10:04 am

CmdrCorsiken wrote: As with everything we're discussing here, one group's experience will vary from another's.
Eh. This fact alone makes statements like "this feat is clearly broken" hard to quantify/qualify if not utterly wrong (unless faced with a clear alternative, e.g. two feats which grant hit points, and one of them grants more hit points than the other.)
As I mentioned, I only use the 3.0 PHB feats. Toughness being the only hit points augmentation feat, it's OK for what it does. Whether gaining more hit points is useful or not, is left as a strategic consideration for the player.

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Re: Broken Feats?

Post by Dryhad » Thu Aug 15, 2013 12:58 pm

rabindranath72 wrote:
CmdrCorsiken wrote: As with everything we're discussing here, one group's experience will vary from another's.
Eh. This fact alone makes statements like "this feat is clearly broken" hard to quantify/qualify if not utterly wrong (unless faced with a clear alternative, e.g. two feats which grant hit points, and one of them grants more hit points than the other.)
As I mentioned, I only use the 3.0 PHB feats. Toughness being the only hit points augmentation feat, it's OK for what it does. Whether gaining more hit points is useful or not, is left as a strategic consideration for the player.
That sounds to me like you're saying 'It is utterly impossible to determine the superior of these two [for the sake of argument] things. Now go figure out which is superior, players'. Just because you can't tell which is better doesn't mean it is impossible to do so, and I find it difficult to believe you think a strategic consideration made by a player doesn't count in that respect. I'm not sure you understand what is being proposed in this thread, because you seem to be arguing against the nonexistent proposition of removing Toughness and replacing it with nothing. All I can see are suggestions to make Toughness scale to level. If you believe that it is utterly impossible to compare two things that are not identical (despite being a statistician by profession?) then I wonder what you expect to gain from this thread. It's rather important to the premise.

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Re: Broken Feats?

Post by TBeholder » Fri Aug 16, 2013 12:14 am

CmdrCorsiken wrote:Many have advanced the idea that the Weapon Focus/Specialization feats should also scale, essentially negating the need for the Greater versions of those feats. I haven't seen a need to change these in my games yet (as opposed to making my previously mentioned minor change to the Toughness feat).
In other words, more sensible solutions would be either throwing it into "everything grows with level on its own" bucket or... replacing the feat with skill and old good mastery levels. Which demonstrates part of the reason for my very low opinion on the feat system in general.
rabindranath72 wrote:
TBeholder wrote:There's math. If feat A reduces average damage more than feat B adds HP, then B is useless in massive damage scenario and even more useless against whittling down - as simple as this. Yeah, it's conditional, but characters are not spherical horses in vacuum, they are always optimized for something specific.
Yes sure. But the fact that it is conditional, means that the impact of the feat in the different situations WILL change, so you cannot easily (if at all) establish an order relationship between the utilities of the different feats.
That's exactly an attempt to use a spherical horse in vacuum as an argument. Character classes themselves are not equally useful in different situations, and attempt to make them "equal" invariably reduces everything to tasteless cud. Thus, the situations really worthy of a consideration are minmax and maximin.
rabindranath72 wrote: If there were another Toughness feat which granted +5 hit points, then the original Toughness feat could be considered broken. As it stands, it's simply not, as it's the only feat which grants hit points.
I repeat, there's such thing as math. For example, "(X+3)-Y = X-(Y-3)" in this case means that if there was a feat giving 3/- DR, the original Toughness feat could be considered completely broken.
Now, if there was a feat giving 2/- DR... the original Toughness feat could be still considered broken, because generally it's better only against a single attack reducing HP to 0, which isn't a probable case but rather is likely to mean "TPK anyway". There also are Wounding and other exotics, but they are also improbable.
Then if there was a feat allowing to reduce average damage expectable at this level (because that's how d20 works) by 3 points due to more likely save for half damage, or reduce this much average damage due to improvement of AC, the original Toughness feat also could be considered broken. Because those are typical cases.
And so on. It's context-dependent, yes - but in the end, everything is. Probable cases are the ones that really matter. So, e.g. Endurance covers multiple reasonably common cases.
rabindranath72 wrote: You might argue perhaps about the opportunity of introducing a feat which increases hit points, but then again, having a feat seems better to me than not having it.
It's a complete substitution of arguments. The question is not whether Toughness is worse than nothing, it's whether it's worse than just about anything else. Because it's not given out of nowhere, it's taken instead of something else.
rabindranath72 wrote: Simply leave the choice to the player.
To think, and we wanted to steal Toughness from Christmas. :lol:
rabindranath72 wrote: But then again, the design of the game as far as I can see doesn't seem to imply that all choices must be equally valid at all levels. In fact, the Forgotten Realms campaign setting book introduced Background Feats which can only be taken at 1st level.
Both "only at 1st level" and "only one" made a bad implementation. The former doesn't make any sense (at least, without postulating that after 1st level everyone runs from home into MUD), the latter makes regional feats "local colour, however!" rather than rounded up packages.
rabindranath72 wrote: They ARE explicitly more powerful, but that's because you are trading that power with flexibility.
They aren't all that much more powerful. Also, they all are dead-end (as in, prerequisites for nothing) almost by definition.
rabindranath72 wrote: Monte Cook explicitly mentioned that the Toughness feat was designed explicitly for wizards and sorcerers; hence it is the default feat in the template wizard character in the 3.0 PHB.
Exactly. It's mostly useless for anyone but low-level arcanists. Now, how frequently those descendant feats requiring Con 20+ are available for wizards and sorcerers, and how useful are their Str bonuses?..
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CmdrCorsiken
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Re: Broken Feats?

Post by CmdrCorsiken » Fri Aug 16, 2013 4:17 am

TBeholder wrote:
CmdrCorsiken wrote:Many have advanced the idea that the Weapon Focus/Specialization feats should also scale, essentially negating the need for the Greater versions of those feats. I haven't seen a need to change these in my games yet (as opposed to making my previously mentioned minor change to the Toughness feat).
In other words, more sensible solutions would be either throwing it into "everything grows with level on its own" bucket or... replacing the feat with skill and old good mastery levels.
This has been the debate for a long time, and it remains unsettled to this day. As with every edition, each GM and gaming group solve the problem as best satisfies them.
TBeholder wrote:Which demonstrates part of the reason for my very low opinion on the feat system in general.
Whereas for me, I find the feat system quite enjoyable. In particular, I like the customization that can be accomplished.
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Re: Broken Feats?

Post by rabindranath72 » Fri Aug 16, 2013 10:22 am

TBeholder wrote: Both "only at 1st level" and "only one" made a bad implementation. The former doesn't make any sense (at least, without postulating that after 1st level everyone runs from home into MUD), the latter makes regional feats "local colour, however!" rather than rounded up packages.
We take a very "local view" of a character's needs and abilities (i.e., what's useful FOR ME NOW as a 1st level character?) Those few extra hps are considered vital by some players, who prefer a more "active" role for their characters in combat (berserker wizard! My life loves playing this type of character; note to self: tell her she is wrong!) or for danger averting ones who want the extra bit to save their bacon. The usual feats chosen at my table by a 1st level wizard are Toughness, Skill Focus, Iron Will, Combat Casting, Spell Mastery (not that there's much else given we use the 3.0 PHB only.)

But I suppose we had "badwrongfun" all these years. Oh well. :lol:

EDIT: additional comments removed by me; it's not worth it

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Re: Broken Feats?

Post by TBeholder » Fri Aug 16, 2013 2:41 pm

CmdrCorsiken wrote:
TBeholder wrote:Which demonstrates part of the reason for my very low opinion on the feat system in general.
Whereas for me, I find the feat system quite enjoyable. In particular, I like the customization that can be accomplished.
But it doesn't introduce customization into darkness of BD&D. More limits customization with its clumsiness.
rabindranath72 wrote: Now, whether feats were a good idea or not...I partially agree with you; I can totally live with a game without feats. Their original intent and implementation was quite good, though. But then the idea was pushed too far; just look at all the feat chains and feat proliferation introduced in 3.5 and later stuff.
No, it wasn't. Feats are a separate progression under a banner of "game balance", but this only makes more inconvenience.
  • Feats are taken rarely enough that they are big and unwieldy - which brought to life e.g. Skill Tricks system, which basically splits a feat into smaller, easily chewable bits and integrates these better with other parts of model.
  • Some of feats opening options instead of giving bonuses / removing penalties (including many combat maneuvers) re-introduce a slightly less obvious variation of BD&D "no, the character can't figure out which end of the spear should be pointed toward the enemy" thing. Which was widely mocked - e.g. in "Portable Hole" series.
  • What feats actually do is: keep some part of character advancement flexible, while keeping it mostly unaffected by skill-rank inflation. Because feats that give +2 to two skill checks or one saving throw would have no reason to exist if the part of the model by its nature obviously better suited for this purpose was not badly broken in implementation. And there's no reason to negate various non-proficiency penalties and add specialization bonuses in all-or-nothing way instead of point-by-point... except, again, the broken system for improvement of checks point-by-point. I.e. a big part of it consists of clumsy fixes for failure in a different place.
  • This side of "customization" also adds ambiguity to the model. I.e. what exactly is the difference in-universe between a character picking up 2 more ranks in A and B and a feat that gives +2 to skills C and D vs. a character with feat giving +2 to A and B and 2 more ranks in C and D? And if they are the same, then what the bleep these two having prerequisites for different things is even supposed to mean?
All in all, the whole feat system rather strongly resembles a rough ugly patch that allows to pretend the ship does not have a huge hole below the waterline, but is so massive it not only messes up hydrodynamics, but visibly affects displacement and even noticeably shifts the center of mass. :lol:
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Re: Broken Feats?

Post by rabindranath72 » Fri Aug 16, 2013 4:16 pm

We liked the feat system for what it was originally (and how it was implemented): provide small, controlled ways to create localised exceptions in the rules; and modularise what where static special/class abilities of AD&D characters. I vastly prefer the original 3.0 system, because you can exactly pinpoint which part of the rules each feat addresses: want more hit points above what the class would grant you? Take Toughness; want to improve your chance to avoid surprise? Take Alertness; want to be better at a skill than everybody else AT YOUR LEVEL (again, locality)? Take Skill Focus. And so on. When the feats started to multiply uncontrollably, and each of them was split into finer and finer parts, we lost interest in the whole apparatus; we never updated to 3.5. Now when we want to play 3e, it's just 3.0 PHB, DMG and MM; considering the combinatorial nature of all the options, there's enough stuff to cover many lifetimes! :lol:

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