Feat Continuum

Do you like this idea and think there's some merit to making it work?

  • Yes.

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • No.

    Votes: 0 0.0%

  • Total voters


This is a general topic intended mostly for the writers at large, but I've been consideing the main issue I have with d20, which is Feats. I like the idea that Feats are there, to act as "powers" and innate capabilities that are symbolic of a multitude of talents and traits coming together to form a single ability. I understand the mechanic of arranging the progressively more powerful Feats into a self regulating tree, subsequent Feats requiring earlier ones, until the character has either reached a maximum level of experience or has reached the end of the branch he started on.

What I started thinking was that this is, basically, an unrealistic progression, although it works in the confines of the d20 system. Skill progression is tied directly to level increase and it is restricted by it as well (max ranks). Feats are do not exist in the ballanced realm and this becomes evident when trying to size up Great Cleave next to Sleep Mastery. There's just no comparison, but if I want both I have to sacrifice progression along one branch. In other words, to continue the example, Great Cleave requires Power Attack and Cleave. But at what stage is Sleep Mastery astoundingly more palatable than Great Cleave that I'd "burn a slot" getting it instead?

Now this is not in any way to suggest that the concept of Feats is flawed, but that there might be a way to add a progressive nature to Feats without making each Feat so self contained.

What I'm considering is a self altering series of Feats called Continuum Feats taht, by taking the next in the series, increase the effect of the earlier ones. I suppose these might be considered Meta-Feats, because they dont' directly create a Feat like ability, but they are clearly not Skills. Here's an example I was rolling around:

  • Grip: Any time the character hold something tightly in one hand and some effect or attack creates a situation where he might be force to release his hold, he may re-roll if necessary to maintain his hold at the expense of a Fate Point.
  • Stone Grip: As above but no Fate Point expendature is required.
  • Iron Grip: As above but his Str Bonus may be added to any re-roll. If Str Bonus was already a factor, then double the Bonus may be applied. May now weild all weapons as if they were one size category smaller (2Handed Wpns still require two hands, however). This does not alter the penalties incured for fighting with two weapons unless one weapon sis now considered Light.
  • Steel Grip: As above but now even 2Handed Wpns may be wielded one handed. This does not alter the penalties incured for fighting with two weapons unless one weapon sis now considered Light.
  • Grip of the Constrictor: As above but now the character can add his WILL bonus to any roll as well.

This is just an idea and the intent is to really make a set of Feats that (A) alter each other the more one progresses along the series as well as (B) create Feats that alter more than jsut one aspect of the game or one specific situation at a time (like Cleave or Sleep). For instance, in the above examples, they coul dby utilized in Disarm attempts, Climb attempts, fighting while climbing, Grapples, etc.

Any thoughts?
There's absolutely merit to this, IMHO. It's not to say that it has to be done with every feat, but there is a definite frustrating progression, at times, to making some feats work. In your example, needing Power Attack in order to gain Cleave, I need to take a feat I never use in order to get a feat that is nearly unrelated to its prerequisite.

While this holds merit, certainly, as a balancing mechanic, perhaps there could be alternate prerequisites to a 'higher' feat. Perhaps having a BaB of +5 or more would be sufficient as a prerequisite for Cleave in lieu of Power Attack, for example.

I tweak rules constantly, sometimes for good, sometimes for ill (I developed a spell pont system that replaces memorizing lists of spells, for example. It's free-form, but it also takes some math prowess to work. Good for some, ill for others).

Perhaps another way to look at the "have it or don't" mechanic for feats is to make them skills that require prerequisite skills in order to function.

One of the (many) problems I have with D20 games is exactly what makes them playable. The rules are simple and abstract, often not making a whole lot of sense (hit points and AC, 'forgetting' spells and others, to name a few).

Anyway, yes. I believe, as a perpetual rules-tweaker/changer, your idea has much merit, and I think if you wrote up a few examples of this type of feat, I'd love to see what you come up with. :)

I think you understand my intent here. I'm basically going for the same building progression that Class Abilities have as characters go up levels, but I'm taking it out of the Class restriction and making it optional (as a Feat buy) besides.

One idea I've kicked around for some time has been the idea of a Feat Buy system. I think I settled on (300 x the number of feats x the character level) in XP that a player coul ddole out to get any feat as long as he had the prereqs. What's difficult to recconcile is that I'm attempting to come up with sort of a "Minor Feats" classification where each one has a more blanket effect in game mechanics terms.

Come to think of it, this is really a "rules" forum topic. If Mod could oblige... :)
I think that someone would have to be fairly closed-minded to state that this has no merit.

Is it a superior system to the current one? That would depend entirely on the context in which it was employed, what an individual wants from the system, and whether they have identified problems with the current incarnation of feats.

Were I to pick up a d20 game that exclusively used the system you presented, I would have no problem whatsoever. On the other hand, I would have no interest in converting Conan (frex) to this kind of system for my own use -- simply because the system as it stands has worked fine for us to this point.

On the third hand, if I were to consider running a new D&D game, and could insert your sort of system wholesale, without having to do much work myself, I would certainly consider the option, in discussion with my players.

In short: I certainly consider this a good and worthwhile idea. I'd like to see where you take it.