Extraordinary Abilities and Feats


I've noticed that under the majority of Character Class features, descriptions usually end with the sentance "This is an extraordinary ability". Rules wise, what is an extraordinary ability and where can I read more on them? Are they different to feats? Or is this simply a descriptive term?

Also, on the subject of Feats, something has confused me slightly. Is it true you can gain Feats in 3 ways.
- By taking the class(es) favoured by your race
- Every third level
- By growing to higher levels in your class

Surely this means you usually gain one, if not more feats every single level?

Thanks in advance for any help. I'm somewhat of a D20 novice. :oops:


As I understand things:

Extraordinary ablilites are essentially class-exclusive "feats". Some classes share these abilites however.

On feat aquisition:

1) Yes, if take levels in your race's favoured class(es) you will gain bonus feats at the 1st, 5th and 10th levels you take in your favoured class. You add the numbers together if your race happens to have multiple favoured classes. So a Stygian 3rd level Noble/2nd level Scholar would qualify for the 5th level favoured class bonus feat since both the Noble and Scholar are favoured classes for Stygians.

Note that Hyborians have everything as a favoured class so any combination of classes results in bonus feats for them at the 1st, 5th and 10th levels. These bonus feats can be any feat from the main list.

2)I must've missed this part, I did not know about it previously. I'm admittedly new to the system as well. Well you do in fact get a feat at first level regardless so getting a feat every third level makes some sense. I'll have to check this out.

3)I think what is meant here is getting the Bonus Feats that some classes get as they go up in level. Taken from the main feat list, these may be specific feats you get for free or a choice of free feats from either a limited list or the entire list, depending on which class.

While you do get certain abilities and feats almost every single level because of class advancement, your choice in the matter is usually limited unless you utilize favoured classes. Although perhaps this is a bit different if you do in fact get free feats every third level, I'm not quite sure. So yes basically, multiple feats every level most of the time.


The designation of an ability as Extrodinary (Ex) Spell-like (Sp) or Supernatural (Su) refers to how the abiltiy functions which is important in the event that someone wants to try and disrupt your use of the ability. In the case of Ex abilities that isn't gonna happen as Ex abilities are natural abilities that you get for being so strong/fast/bad ass.

Here is the relevant passage from the SRD
SRD said:
Special Abilities: A special ability is either extraordinary (Ex), spell-like (Sp), or supernatural (Su).
Extraordinary: Extraordinary abilities are nonmagical, don’t become ineffective in an antimagic field, and are not subject to any effect that disrupts magic. Using an extraordinary ability is a free action unless otherwise noted.
Spell-Like: Spell-like abilities are magical and work just like spells (though they are not spells and so have no verbal, somatic, material, focus, or XP components). They go away in an antimagic field and are subject to spell resistance if the spell the ability resembles or duplicates would be subject to spell resistance.
A spell-like ability usually has a limit on how often it can be used. A spell-like ability that can be used at will has no use limit. Using a spell-like ability is a standard action unless noted otherwise, and doing so while threatened provokes attacks of opportunity. It is possible to make a Concentration check to use a spell-like ability defensively and avoid provoking an attack of opportunity, just as when casting a spell. A spell-like ability can be disrupted just as a spell can be. Spell-like abilities cannot be used to counterspell, nor can they be counterspelled.
For creatures with spell-like abilities, a designated caster level defines how difficult it is to dispel their spell-like effects and to define any level-dependent variables (such as range and duration) the abilities might have. The creature’s caster level never affects which spell-like abilities the creature has; sometimes the given caster level is lower than the level a spellcasting character would need to cast the spell of the same name. If no caster level is specified, the caster level is equal to the creature’s Hit Dice. The saving throw (if any) against a spell-like ability is 10 + the level of the spell the ability resembles or duplicates + the creature’s Cha modifier.
Some spell-like abilities duplicate spells that work differently when cast by characters of different classes. A monster’s spell-like abilities are presumed to be the sorcerer/wizard versions. If the spell in question is not a sorcerer/wizard spell, then default to cleric, druid, bard, paladin, and ranger, in that order.
Supernatural: Supernatural abilities are magical and go away in an antimagic field but are not subject to spell resistance. Supernatural abilities cannot be dispelled. Using a supernatural ability is a standard action unless noted otherwise. Supernatural abilities may have a use limit or be usable at will, just like spell-like abilities. However, supernatural abilities do not provoke attacks of opportunity and never require Concentration checks. Unless otherwise noted, a supernatural ability has an effective caster level equal to the creature’s Hit Dice. The saving throw (if any) against a supernatural ability is 10 + 1/2 the creature’s HD + the creature’s ability modifier (usually Charisma).

As for your question about feats: all characters get one feat at first level, another at third and every three levels thereafter (so 1,3,6,9,12,15,18 ) for these feats you may select any feat that you meet the prerequisites for. In addition to that if you take levels in your race's favored class then you get a bouns feat when you reach levels 1, 5 and 10 in that class these bonus feats may also be used to buy any feat you meet the prerequisite for. Finally some classes (Soldier!) offer bonus feast as you level, usually the class will specify which feats you may purchase with those bonus feats and you must still meet the prerequisites as normal. So yeah that can be a lot of feats depending on your race and class but hey, Conan characters are supposed to be bad ass anyway 8)

Hope that helps.


Thank you immensely. Do the other types of Special Abilities come into play in Conan then, or are they just used in the OGL, and this is simply left over from the "cut and paste" technique used for so much D20?

This information means I can happily continue reading the damned rules! My Conan Campaign has a chance yet! :wink:


It seemed pointless to begin a new thread on another question I have on the rules, therefore it's appearing here instead...

Class Skills during character creation. Do you gain all the listed Class Skills, or do they have to be bought with skill points. If this is in an obvious section of the rulebook, could someone direct me to it? I'm just plodding through the classes chapter, and it only just occured to me.

Thanks in advance for any help. This is all much appreciated.

Arkobla Conn

Did those explaining feats forget to add that if you are taking the first level in a favored class, you get an 'extra' feat as well?

or are my tired eyes not seeing that...



Arkobla Conn said:
Did those explaining feats forget to add that if you are taking the first level in a favored class, you get an 'extra' feat as well?

No, both Tristan and Argo above said that when you take levels in a favoured class, you get bonus feats at 1st, 5th and 10th level. This is what you get for taking favoured class levels, you do not on top of this get an 'extra' feat if you choose a favoured class as your first level. For example, a Cimmerian wouldn't loose a feat if he started out as a level 1 Soldier and then started taking Barbarian levels.

Hope that helps.

Lucius said:
Class Skills during character creation. Do you gain all the listed Class Skills, or do they have to be bought with skill points. If this is in an obvious section of the rulebook, could someone direct me to it?

No, you have to buy them with skill points. You get more skill points at first level though (4 times as many as any other level). Non-Class Skills have to be bought either at double cost (2 points/rank) or with the bonus skills points you get from having a high Int. Don't have the book in front of me, so I can't give you a page reference, but this information could probably be found in the beginning of either the Classes or the Skills chapter.

Hope that helps to. :)