Observations from the Deep Ethereal
Feats and New Options
by, 03-06-2010 at 08:37 AM (910 Views)
There are many feats out there that give more vertical power--that is, they make you better at what you already do. For example, Weapon Focus makes you hit more often; Toughness gives you more HP; Spell Focus makes your spells harder to resist, and so on.
Lately though I've become a little more enamored with feats that give horizontal boosts in power--that is, ones that open up new possibilities. Unfortunately, there aren't many interesting ones out there. For example, Fiery Fist from PHB2 lets a monk sacrifice one of their daily stunning strikes to... add 1d6 damage to attacks. It's nice in that it opens up a new option, but with the BAB +8 prereq, it's a horribly underpowered feat. One would expect something closer to +1d6 damage per class level in Monk--and even then it's not all that interesting. All it does it give you more damage, which is as bland as getting more HP.
Because there are so few feats out there that are both interesting and viable, I turned to homebrew where the sky's the limit. For example, a common trope in fantasy tales is a warrior with so much strength that he can cut through magical effects, banishing them with a single swipe of his sword. Unfortunately, WotC has nothing that comes close to something like that... And so there's Spellcutting Strike. Or Spell Parry that lets you bat aside spells aimed at you with a flick of the sword.
Another problem that often comes up is that defenders are rarely "sticky" enough to get foes to attack them, so I created Gripping Vise to allow them to do so more easily. Similarly, tanks often do very poor damage when going sword-and-board, and are sorely in need of a boost to damage, as Power Attack is mostly useless to them. Enter Strong Grip--which is also usable by two-handed wielders for a vertical enhancement to power.
Or what if you want to create a sneak attack or skirmishing character who's great with AoOs? Startling Opportunist might be the thing you're looking for, especially in combination with Overwhelming Blow.
And ranged characters have always been able to attack specific foes... but what if you want to make sure that enemies lay low and to threaten them with covering fire so that they're constantly slipping up, forced to watch themselves lest they be hit by a stray arrow, making mistakes at every step? That's when we get to Covering Fire.
Finally, my latest feat, Furious Blow allows warlocks to operate in a completely new way, making fighter/warlock hybrids viable and making it possible for warlocks to wade into melee to assail their foes from close-up. It also opens up new possibilities with warlock/rogue hybrids, rather than simply hiding and making ranged attacks from afar.
As you can see, all of these open up new options, some of them allowing completely new paths to be open for characters. However, sometimes there are classes that need a boost. For example, let's look at the Paladin. His main shtick is, "I bash bad guys--for goodness!" However, his main awesome ability that allows him to smack around evil foes (Smite Evil) is usable very few times per day. In order to make it long-lasting, allowing him to use it for a whole encounter, I created Steadfast Zealousness. On the other hand, so that it isn't simply used, and then left to ignored for the rest of the fights during the day, I made Renewed Zealousness. Both in tandem allow the paladin to laugh as his foes crumble before his divine might, beating down evil enemies with swift strikes of his sword backed up by his faith in his deity. Both together also open up the possibility of two-weapon fighting paladins, since the smite damage is added to every attack made in a similar way to rogues when full-attacking from a flanking position.
Another example of a class that languishes is the ninja; once out of uses of Ki Pool, they're just about done for the day. So long. Goodbye, and thanks for all the fish. And so we bring in Way of the Hare which allows them to regenerate uses of their ki pool, giving them the ability to last throughout long encounters, and throughout the whole day while still making more levels of ninja viable, since one won't have to recharge as often.
I hope I've relayed and explained some of the reasons for why I write homebrew, work which is meant to be used by anyone who finds it interesting or useful