Make feats grow as you do!

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Dear Wizards,
You've made great strides with Saga Edition, and I have high hopes for 4th edition. One aspect that I feel needs to be touched on a little more is feats.

In 3rd edition, you tried feat trees. You'd take Dodge then Mobility then Spring Attack then Whirlwind Attack, ect. Unfortunately this idea didn't work out too well since each feat in the chain usually wasn't very good in of itself and set a low precedence in usefulness of feats.

MAIN THREAD THAT INVENTED AND DISCUSSED THIS IDEA
Races of War

Example:
Originally Posted by K
Blind Fighting [Combat]
You don't have to see to kill.
Benefits: You may reroll your miss chances caused by concealment.
BAB +1: While impaired visually, you may move your normal speed without difficulty.
+6: You have Blindsense out to 60', this allows you to know the location of all creatures within 60'.
+11: You have Tremorsense out to 120', this allows you to "see" anything within 120' that is touching the earth.
+16: You cannot be caught flat footed.

Using this allows one to make feats which will help you in the short-term and that you won't kick yourself for taking in the long-run.
I like this idea. Give some of those disregarded feats a reason to be.

Run
Level 1: Extra multiplier to run speed.
Level 10: +10 to land speed.
Level 20: You can run over solid or liquid surfaces that normally could not support your weight.
Level 30: You can run on the air, effectively gaining a clumsy fly speed. You must keep running, or fall to the ground.
A good example of this can be found in "Complete Champions". There are Domain feats, at least some of them, which increase in power as you increase in level. Another example would be Improved Toughness.

An example of something similar is the luck feats. Each luck feat taken makes all luck feats more useful, because each grants a luck reroll that can be used for any other type of luck feat.
Ahem. *cough* Races of War *cough* scroll down a bit *cough*


Example:

Blind Fighting [Combat]
You don't have to see to kill.
Benefits: You may reroll your miss chances caused by concealment.
BAB +1: While impaired visually, you may move your normal speed without difficulty.
+6: You have Blindsense out to 60', this allows you to know the location of all creatures within 60'.
+11: You have Tremorsense out to 120', this allows you to "see" anything within 120' that is touching the earth.
+16: You cannot be caught flat footed.

Thank you NineInchNall. I couldn't find that thread. Original post edited to give credit.
I am against this idea, but for some few specific feats it could work.

In general, it is way easier to design feats the benefit of which is static but equally useful at all levels.

Weapon Focus, Skill Focus are good examples. The value of their flat bonus is basically equal at all levels, it doesn't matter if that +1 to attack adds to a BAB +1 or a BAB +20.

Toughness is a bad example. The extra 3 skill points are not equally valuable for a 1st level character and a 20th level one.

Many feats are more complicated of course. So Power Attack improves with level... but PA has a built-in "trade-off" system so the improvement to PA is actually increased versatility rather than sheer power (could be arguable). It's complicated tho, and the ultimate choice ("how much should I PA?") is given to the player's hands.

However I don't like your example. Such a feat definitely sort-of doubles, triples ectetera its uses, each of which is roughly equally useful at all levels. Therefore the feat value overall doubles, triples... It's not a bad idea per se, but it is a bad idea when you realize that such a feat is certainly better than those above whose benefit is always equally useful; the consequence is that in perspective such kind of feat renders the static feats unworthy at high levels... and you get the old problem in from the window, only that now it's those who were fine that aren't anymore :P

You could of course design ALL feats like yours. But in that case to achieve balance is certainly more difficult. And you get feats which are more complicated to learn. And you could achieve the same result by simply giving more feats to the characters
Weapon Focus, Skill Focus are good examples. The value of their flat bonus is basically equal at all levels, it doesn't matter if that +1 to attack adds to a BAB +1 or a BAB +20.

Toughness is a bad example. The extra 3 skill points are not equally valuable for a 1st level character and a 20th level one.

Explain this logic to me, please. I can follow it for Toughness: "(x + 3)/x approaches 1 as x increases, so the benefit disappears." Fine, that makes sense.

I can't follow it for Weapon Focus: "(x + 1)/x approaches 1 as x increases, so the benefit is always equally valuable." All right, everybody out of the pool.

You could of course design ALL feats like yours. But in that case to achieve balance is certainly more difficult. And you get feats which are more complicated to learn. And you could achieve the same result by simply giving more feats to the characters

Well, that is kind of the idea. Replace not just the stinker feats (Toughness, Weapon Focus, Dodge), but also every other feat with new versions that actually follow the same power curve as the monsters.

Just adding more feat slots for sucky feats means the character has more sucky feats. That won't really solve the problem.
Just adding more feat slots for sucky feats means the character has more sucky feats. That won't really solve the problem.

In my book it would. Feat should not grow with the character. The character should grow by having more feats.
Reasoning? Or is this just a preference issue, like instead of having one Blind-fight feat that works as above, you have a series of five feats that can be taken in order to achieve the same ends, with the character having proportionally more feat slots?
I generally agree that any feat, taken at any level, should be equally useful for the taker (all other things being equal).
Explain this logic to me, please. I can follow it for Toughness: "(x + 3)/x approaches x as x increases, so the benefit disappears." Fine, that makes sense.

I can't follow it for Weapon Focus: "(x + 1)/x approaches x as x increases, so the benefit is always equally valuable." All right, everybody out of the pool.

As I see it, Toughness adds a flat bonus that decreases in significance as level increases, due to its proportion. Your formula shows that well. The percent of hit points it has added to the total decreases each level.

Now, although Weapon Focus adds a flat bonus, it always represents a 5% increase in the chance to hit an opponent. So, even though its percentage of the total attack bonus goes down, its percentage of chance to hit remains a constant additional 5%. This applies to Dodge as well, as it always provides an additional 5% miss chance for your opponent.
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Explain this logic to me, please. I can follow it for Toughness: "(x + 3)/x approaches x as x increases, so the benefit disappears." Fine, that makes sense.

I can't follow it for Weapon Focus: "(x + 1)/x approaches x as x increases, so the benefit is always equally valuable." All right, everybody out of the pool.

Just adding to Hugin's post (hopefully I add something a bit unique).

Toughness is about total hit points. So the percentage increase does matter. You lose points from the total until it goes down to zero. The entire span of your hit points is important. So a +3 when you have 10 hit points is very different from +3 when you have 300.

With attack rolls, you are adding +1 over a 1 through 20 span. The range of variability is 20 then, so the +1 is always just as significant (unless you are fighting something you can only hit on a 20 anyway or only miss on a 1, which is basically never).
Reasoning? Or is this just a preference issue, like instead of having one Blind-fight feat that works as above, you have a series of five feats that can be taken in order to achieve the same ends, with the character having proportionally more feat slots?

Yes it is a preference issue (many things are, doesn't is?). By spending feats the character focuses on a given talent/ability. so it is a conscious effort on the character's part. On the other hand if he has fewer feats, but they scale up, then he has to make most of his choices early on. This is a problem that 4th edition would like to address, you do not need to make choices that would adversely effect your choices at 20th level.

This is why I think it is better to have many feats, than few with scaling.
If it is like Star Wars SE you will have any racial feats (like human bonus feat), 1st level starting feats (such as weapon proficiencies), a feat every other level and then a feat as per normal 3.5 progression.

So in addition to starting feats you should have 17 more on top of that to choose from. That is a lot more room for customization using the feat system. In addition SW:SE already addresses a few of the "stinker" feats like toughness. In that system it gives +1 HP per level. Not great, but not as terrible as +3 HP either.

Some feats that scale with level wouldn't be that bad to have, nor would some of the tactical feats that have more than just a static functionality.

However, with 17 + Starting feats to choose from between 1-20 (it would be more 1-30) that gives a lot more room for those weak feats to add up to something significant, where as now, out of your 7 feats available you have to be much much more selective making a lot of options lackluster.
I agree Scion9x, there are a variety of ways to solve this problem. Historically, Wizards has made very many and very weak feats. If feats were more useful, feat trees would be less of an issue.

As is, feats are made to do little nice things, unfortunately most of those little nice things severely hurt you in the future.

Another option is to make all feats the equivalent of Blind-Fight and thus we can all stink together :D
Yes it is a preference issue (many things are, doesn't is?). By spending feats the character focuses on a given talent/ability. so it is a conscious effort on the character's part. On the other hand if he has fewer feats, but they scale up, then he has to make most of his choices early on. This is a problem that 4th edition would like to address, you do not need to make choices that would adversely effect your choices at 20th level.

This is why I think it is better to have many feats, than few with scaling.

What I've seen happen with scaling feats is this:

[indent]First let's look at the spellcaster. Let's say we have a spellcasting character. He spends most of his early levels focusing on illusions. Then suddenly at 17th level he decides to do some shape-shifting magic. He picks up shapechange and is doing things with shape-shifting that a 17th level character is expected to do. [/indent]

The same sort of thing happens whenone has truly scaling feats.

[indent]A character focuses early in his career wielding a small weapon in each hand. Then at 15th level he picks up the "Whomp With Big Stick" feat, and suddenly he's doing things with a big stick that a 15th level character is expected to do.[/indent]

That's how I've seen the mechanics work out, at least.

However, with 17 + Starting feats to choose from between 1-20 (it would be more 1-30) that gives a lot more room for those weak feats to add up to something significant, where as now, out of your 7 feats available you have to be much much more selective making a lot of options lackluster.

This still puts the onus on the player to choose his feats wisely, and while I'm sure that some of us in this thread can do that, there are many players who can't, and it would be unfair to lessen their enjoyment of the game simply to make ourselves feel more |337. Scaling feats bypass that, since each of your seven feats is super-awesome-cool, giving options that are appropriate to your level. If feats scale well, then it totally just doesn't matter that you picked (scaling) TWF at first level, because at 18th level it's giving you options on its own that are appropriate for an 18th level character.

The idea is to have each feat be sufficient to realize a tactical or strategic option, so that the player isn't required to plan his feats in order to get respectable performance.

With attack rolls, you are adding +1 over a 1 through 20 span. The range of variability is 20 then, so the +1 is always just as significant (unless you are fighting something you can only hit on a 20 anyway or only miss on a 1, which is basically never).

At level 20, though, a +1 to hit is just ... a +1 to hit. The problem is that the game goes through several strategic and tactical changes over the levels that require additional options.

A +1 to hit with your greatsword just doesn't matter when your allies are dropping call avalanche + blood snow + dimensional anchor on entire armies. High levels in D&D are not just adding bigger numbers to the early level game.




To sum up*:

[size=5]The Failure of Feats[/size]
"How about instead of being able to travel anywhere in the multiverse, transform yourself into anything you can think of, stop time, and slay everyone you can see, we just give a nice +1 to hit with your secondary weapon? Deal?"

Feats were an interesting idea when they were ported to 3rd edition D&D. But let's face it; they don't go nearly far enough. Feats were made extremely conservative in their effects on the game because the authors didn't want to offend people with too radical a change. Well, now we've had third edition for 6 years, and we're offended. Feats are an interesting and tangible way to get unique abilities onto a character, but they have fallen prey to two key fallacies that has ended up turning the entire concept to ashes in our mouths. The first is the idea that if you think of something kind of cool for a character to do, you should make it a feat. That sounds compelling, but you only get 7 feats in your whole life. If you have to spend a feat for every cool thing you ever do, you're not going to do very many cool things in the approximately 260 encounters you'll have on your way from 1st to 20th level. The second is the idea that a feat should be equivalent to a cantrip or two. This one is even less excusable, and just makes us cry. A +1 bonus is something that you seriously might forget that you even have. Having one more +1 bonus doesn't make your character unique, it makes you a sucker for spending one of the half dozen feats you'll ever see on a bonus the other players won't even mention when discussing your character.

We all understand this problem, what do we do about it? Well, for starters, Feats have to do more things. Many characters are 5th level or so and they only have 2 feats. Those feats should describe their character in a much more salient way than "I'm no worse shooting into melee than I am shooting at people with cover that isn't my friends." This was begun with the tactical feats, but it didn't go far enough. It's not enough to add additional feats that do something halfway interesting for high level characters to have – we actually have to replace the stupid one dimensional feats in the PHB with feats that rational people would care about in any way. Spending a single feat should be enough to make you a "sniper character" because for a substantial portion of your life you only get one feat. Secondly, we have to clear away feats that don't provide numeric bonuses large enough to care about. The minimum bonus you'll ever notice is +3, because that's actually larger than the difference between having rolled well and having rolled poorly on your starting stats. Numeric bonuses smaller than that are actually insulting and need to be removed from the feats altogether. 3.5 Skill Focus was a nice start, but that's all it was – a start.

Furthermore, the fundamental structure of feats has been a disaster. The system of prerequisites often ensures that characters won't get an ability before it would be level appropriate for them to do so, but actually does nothing to ensure that such characters are in fact getting level appropriate abilities. Indeed, if a 12th level character decides that they want to pursue a career in shooting people in the face, they have to start all over gaining an ability that is supposed to be level appropriate for a 1st level character. Meanwhile, when a wizard of 12th level decides to pursue some new direction in spellcasting – he learns a new 6th level spell right off – and gets an ability that's level appropriate for a 12th level character.

...

[size=5]The (Proposed) New Feat System:[/size]

So where are we going with this? First of all, feat chains are gone. They seemed like a good idea, but they just weren't. Secondly, the vast majority of feats don't have prerequisites at all, they scale. A [Combat] feat scales to your Base Attack Bonus, a [Skill] feat scales to your ranks in a skill, and a [Metamagic] feat scales to the highest level spell you can cast. And that's because those are the only things in the game that actually have anything to do with the level your character is in any way that we feel good about.





*This is from Races of War
Secondly, we have to clear away feats that don't provide numeric bonuses large enough to care about. The minimum bonus you'll ever notice is +3, because that's actually larger than the difference between having rolled well and having rolled poorly on your starting stats. Numeric bonuses smaller than that are actually insulting and need to be removed from the feats altogether. 3.5 Skill Focus was a nice start, but that's all it was – a start.

Do you propose a weapon focus that gives +3 to attack? That would be overpowered. That would turn a 1st level wizard into a 3rd level fighter. The +3 to saves were powerful enough to change to +2 in 3.5. The +3 to skill feels right.
Please note that making such a geaganeral statement will fail in most of the cases. Giving +4 to a very specific save (vs poison for example) is OK, giving +4 to attack or to caster level is not OK.

Do you really roll your abilities? Why not point buy and then your problem is solved.
As I see it, Toughness adds a flat bonus that decreases in significance as level increases, due to its proportion. Your formula shows that well. The percent of hit points it has added to the total decreases each level.

Now, although Weapon Focus adds a flat bonus, it always represents a 5% increase in the chance to hit an opponent. So, even though its percentage of the total attack bonus goes down, its percentage of chance to hit remains a constant additional 5%. This applies to Dodge as well, as it always provides an additional 5% miss chance for your opponent.

Yeah, exactly.

There's a difference between a d20 roll against a fixed DC and a damage roll. Mainly because damage rolls are a fixed number and d20 rolls represent a chance of success.

Inflicting 40 damage instead of 20 is actually double damage, but going from a +20 attack bonus to a +40 attack bonus isn't twice the chance to hit.

The problem with weapon focus being weak isn't because it doesn't scale, but rather because a +1 bonus is weak to begin with. But otherwise bonuses to d20 rolls don't have to scale, and shouldn't scale, not unless you're replacing a magic item bonus or something that scales already.

As far as Races of War style scaling, I'm not sure. I like the basic concept to a degree, but it's a lot of book-keeping. It's rather problematic, because you're getting so many new abilities at higher levels. If everything was tied to BaB, it wouldn't be so bad, but some of the RoW feats were based on ranks in skills and other stuff. That's a bit too complex if you ask me and by the end of it, you're left feeling like an overtaxed accountant, cross-referencing to get all your abilities.

While the basic concept that feats are a failure is true, I'd rather see a simpler solution. Maybe simply every 10 character levels a feat gets a new ability. So at level 10, 20 and 30, every feat can do something new. That way at the very least, it's easy to see what new abilities you get.
I want to explain a concept that everybody will understand.

+1 Attack from a feat at level 1 is not equal to +1 Attack from a feat at level 20

At level 20 there are many more bonuses and the +1 from Weapon focus is less significant. For Weapon Focus to be as effective at level 20, it requires a higher bonus.

The same applies to economics $20 from 1920 does not equal $20 in 2007.

Time Value of Money
Level Value of Feats
I want to explain a concept that everybody will understand.

+1 Attack from a feat at level 1 is not equal to +1 Attack from a feat at level 20

At level 20 there are many more bonuses and the +1 from Weapon focus is less significant. For Weapon Focus to be as effective at level 20, it requires a higher bonus.

The same applies to economics $20 from 1920 does not equal $20 in 2007.

Time Value of Money
Level Value of Feats

Uh,, maybe a better analogy would be:

Having $20 when your broke is different than having $20 when your a millionaire.
I want to explain a concept that everybody will understand.

+1 Attack from a feat at level 1 is not equal to +1 Attack from a feat at level 20

At level 20 there are many more bonuses and the +1 from Weapon focus is less significant. For Weapon Focus to be as effective at level 20, it requires a higher bonus.

That's not true. D20 bonuses do not go on a linear scale. It is success or failure. So long as that +1 bonus stacks with everything else, it remains as significant at any level.

If I'm rolling 1d20+ 30 against an AC of 40. That's the same as rolling 1d20 + 10 against an AC of 20. Similarly, the change in odds is exactly the same for 1d20 + 31 vs AC 40 as it is for 1d20 + 11 against AC 20.

On a d20 roll D20 + X + 1 is 5% more likely to succeed than D20 +X, And that's regardless of what X is.



The same applies to economics $20 from 1920 does not equal $20 in 2007.

Money is an additive commodity, like damage. It isn't a matter of success or failure.

You don't add attack rolls, attack rolls are binary; either they succeed or they fail. Missing by 1 produces the same result as missing 10. With that +1, anytime you would normally miss by 1, you actually succeed instead of fail.

I'm not sure why this is so hard for some people to grasp.

The problem you have with weapon focus isn't that it's too small at high levels, it's just that it's too small period. A +1 bonus isn't very noticeable at any level as 95% of the time you attack, you won't notice the effect of the feat.
That's not true. D20 bonuses do not go on a linear scale. It is success or failure. So long as that +1 bonus stacks with everything else, it remains as significant at any level.

Yes, having a plus 1 bonus always helps, but the significance of a 1 point bonus decreases.

If I'm rolling 1d20+ 30 against an AC of 40. That's the same as rolling 1d20 + 10 against an AC of 20. Similarly, the change in odds is exactly the same for 1d20 + 31 vs AC 40 as it is for 1d20 + 11 against AC 20.

On a d20 roll D20 + X + 1 is 5% more likely to succeed than D20 +X, And that's regardless of what X is.

You're mostly correct. If I have a +10 to attack vs. an AC of 40, an additional +1 for a total of +11 to attack doesn't do anything for me. I still have a 5% chance of hitting.

What I'm trying to get at is that attack and AC do not scale linearly and thus the practical value of the +1 bonus changes.

For example in Star Wars Saga, A Noble at level 1 has 14 Str and Weapon Focus. He has a total of +3 to attack ( +2 Str,+1 feat) vs. a Soldier with Improved Defenses and Dex 12( +1 level +1 feat +1 Dex) for a 13 Defense

+3 Attack versus 13 Defense = 55% of hitting at level 1.

Level these guys up to 20 without changing stats or feats and the noble has +18 to attack (+2 Str, +1 feat, +15 level) and the soldier has 22 Defense (+20 level, +1 feat, +1 Dex +10 Base)

+18 Attack versus 32 Defense = 35% of hitting at level 20. All numbers being equal this is what can happen. At 1st level Weapon focus could make up for the lack of the base attack bonus, but at level 20 it cannot account for all of it, and the Noble suffers.

However, a Soldier would not suffer the attack dissonance.

Money is an additive commodity, like damage. It isn't a matter of success or failure.

You don't add attack rolls, attack rolls are binary; either they succeed or they fail. Missing by 1 produces the same result as missing 10. With that +1, anytime you would normally miss by 1, you actually succeed instead of fail.

I'm not sure why this is so hard for some people to grasp.

The problem you have with weapon focus isn't that it's too small at high levels, it's just that it's too small period. A +1 bonus isn't very noticeable at any level as 95% of the time you attack, you won't notice the effect of the feat.

Despite all of what I just said I am beginning to see your point. In my example the problem is the increasing difference in Base Attack Bonus and not Weapon Focus.

I agree that a +1 bonus is too small. However, if Weapon Focus got better at level 10 and increased to +2 and at level 20 to increase to +3, it could ease Dms into letting it matter more over time without affecting the early game much
Despite all of what I just said I am beginning to see your point. In my example the problem is the increasing difference in Base Attack Bonus and not Weapon Focus.

Yeah, the divergence inherent in BaB is actually a different problem unto itself.

Saves (pre-saga) used to have this problem too. You'd have reflex saves, fort saves, and will saves with different progressions. The difference at 1st level was a 2 point gap, and the difference at 20th ended up being a 6 point gap (assuming no multiclassing). Saga fixed this by making all save bonuses equal to character level with a minor class modifier for various classes.

Really, we could do the same to BaB to fix that gap. In fact, we may have to if reflex defense becomes touch AC, as that will make high level wizards have virtually no chance of hitting with rays.

The idea is to remove divergence of bonuses, not to try to simulate the problem in feats. Keep in mind that a warrior BaB character is more likely to have weapon focus than a guy with cleric BaB, so if anything it may increase the gap. The idea would be to tie BaB to level similar to how saga does it and grant people minor bonuses for being a fighter. Other class abilities or feats, like weapon focus, could further enhance this.
I agree that a +1 bonus is too small. However, if Weapon Focus got better at level 10 and increased to +2 and at level 20 to increase to +3, it could ease Dms into letting it matter more over time without affecting the early game much

Greater weapon focus and Weapon Mastery does that to you already. So again why not have a feat every level and have feat trees?
Yes, having a plus 1 bonus always helps, but the significance of a 1 point bonus decreases.


You're mostly correct. If I have a +10 to attack vs. an AC of 40, an additional +1 for a total of +11 to attack doesn't do anything for me. I still have a 5% chance of hitting.

What I'm trying to get at is that attack and AC do not scale linearly and thus the practical value of the +1 bonus changes.

For example in Star Wars Saga, A Noble at level 1 has 14 Str and Weapon Focus. He has a total of +3 to attack ( +2 Str,+1 feat) vs. a Soldier with Improved Defenses and Dex 12( +1 level +1 feat +1 Dex) for a 13 Defense

+3 Attack versus 13 Defense = 55% of hitting at level 1.

Level these guys up to 20 without changing stats or feats and the noble has +18 to attack (+2 Str, +1 feat, +15 level) and the soldier has 22 Defense (+20 level, +1 feat, +1 Dex +10 Base)

+18 Attack versus 32 Defense = 35% of hitting at level 20. All numbers being equal this is what can happen. At 1st level Weapon focus could make up for the lack of the base attack bonus, but at level 20 it cannot account for all of it, and the Noble suffers.

However, a Soldier would not suffer the attack dissonance.



Despite all of what I just said I am beginning to see your point. In my example the problem is the increasing difference in Base Attack Bonus and not Weapon Focus.

I agree that a +1 bonus is too small. However, if Weapon Focus got better at level 10 and increased to +2 and at level 20 to increase to +3, it could ease Dms into letting it matter more over time without affecting the early game much

While your reason makes sense, it is partial.

Try doing exactly the same example, but this time consider the soldier attacking the noble.

You will find out that a scaling Weapon Focus helps the worse guy "keep up a bit" when attacking, but also makes the better guy "even better" when it's his turn.
Saves (pre-saga) used to have this problem too. You'd have reflex saves, fort saves, and will saves with different progressions. The difference at 1st level was a 2 point gap, and the difference at 20th ended up being a 6 point gap (assuming no multiclassing). Saga fixed this by making all save bonuses equal to character level with a minor class modifier for various classes.

Well that problem was affected by the idea that spells DC should be designed to match* the "best guy" in the party, which is not a very good idea since the characters cannot choose which spells are cast against them. When the best guy has a "fair chance" of saving, it's obvious that the others have an "unfair chance" and hence having low ST becomes indeed a problem.

*in a vague sense, I mean potentially to decide what % of success is "fair"

The idea is instead good for (most) skills, since usually you get to choose what skill you're going to use. So designing DC to match the best guy is indeed a good choice: the others can simply choose not to use the skill.

But with ST they could have instead designed DC to match the worst guy. This way, the worst guy would have a fair chance of success, the best guy would have success almost guaranteed. While the latter could still be seen as "unfair", it is certainly much less a problem than its opposite...
Greater weapon focus and Weapon Mastery does that to you already. So again why not have a feat every level and have feat trees?

Well, because, in my opinion, weapon focus should give you more at the beginning, but that would seem too much for low level games. I'm not a fan of creating a long string of near-similar feats.

However kunadam, you are also correct. Feat trees can be viable if designed well. And, I don't think a feat every level is a bad thing. If they're going the SAGA route it should be a talent then a feat then a talent then a feat when gaining levels.

Alternatively, if they just made all talents become feats that'd work fine too. Simply said, in my opinion I'd like the designers to consider alternatives to the feat tree design. And, it is possible to have a decent feat tree system.
There are a couple of issues with scaling feats, both for and against.

First off, scaling feats assumes power growth on a non-linear scale. Right now that seems like a good change, because casters get it and melee doesn't. Personally, I wouldn't mind shifting everything down to linear growth though -- it strikes me as easier to design for because trends are a bit more intuitive. Either way, not knowing 4E mechanics, it's more a matter of ensuring growth is uniform than what order it goes on.

On the other side of the coin, scaling feats might mean that more "intro level" feats get taken. For example, maybe Weapon Finesse, TWF, Combat Reflexes, Blind-Fighting, and Iron Will fit my Rogue nicely... but if I'm taking feats that I qualified for at 1st level (as is the case for Blind-Fighting and Iron Will) at 12th level, then I'm pretty clearly not anywhere near the top of the power scale, as there are feats I could be taking designed to be too powerful for a character to have below 12th level. And that's annoying, because often, a lot of introductory feats suit characters well.

But at the same time, much of the "scaling feat" idea presumes that characters have had the feat and gradually develop it, which simply isn't the case. Using K's Blind-Fighting example... 120' Tremorsense might make a certain amount of sense for someone who's been playing with Blind-Fighting since 1st level. It makes less sense when the character picks up the feat at 12th level and gets that ability and all of its parents in one fell swoop. Yeah, suspension of disbelief and all, but you've now provided mechanics to model the gradual growth of the talent and then summarily ignored them. If you want to get by level ups Jedi Mind Trick style, you can't first draw attention to the droids that they're looking for.

Frankly, I think there's a better alternative. The concept of "Feat Points" has been addressed before -- so Toughness doesn't have the same cost as Quicken Spell -- but assigning strict numerical values is just asking to screw things up. On the other hand, if the game is now being developed with 3 separate tiers of power in mind as far as character levels go, why not do the same with feats? That is, broaden feat prerequisites from very specific ability score, skill rank, and BAB requirements to Heroic, Paragon, and Epic feats with a few token prereqs to round it out. The result could be something like Astral Construct rules, allowing a 12th level character to pick up either a Paragon feat or two Heroic ones. This mirrors the rest of the design well and further stratifies the game, making it a little easier to decide "Should Leap Attack require 6 ranks of Jump or 9 ranks of Jump?", in turn striking another potential victory for game balance while at the same time letting characters choose between specialization and generalization a bit more.
... allowing a 12th level character to pick up either a Paragon feat or two Heroic ones. This mirrors the rest of the design well and further stratifies the game,

Any experience with such a rule? It does sound a great idea.
I also fear that it is not worthwhile for a character to get a lower level feat at higher level to be more generalist, instead of to be more specialized. On the other hand making 10 and 20 level as an artificial threshold makes a power bumb in development. It takes one feat at 9 level but would worth 1/2 at 10. level. That should be worked out a bit more.
Well, because, in my opinion, weapon focus should give you more at the beginning, but that would seem too much for low level games. I'm not a fan of creating a long string of near-similar feats.

"Seem too much" is the important wording there. A lot of things seemed too good at the time before we got to play with them. True strike was probably the best example. A lot of people were just overwhelmed with awesome when they saw that +20 bonus. Not because it was really that good, but just because it was a +20, and that seemed awesome enough, regardless of the fact that you had to lose an action to get it.

Weapon focus could be the same way. If it were a +2 or +3, people might be up in arms at first, but eventually they'd forgive themselves.

Feat trees can be viable if designed well. And, I don't think a feat every level is a bad thing. If they're going the SAGA route it should be a talent then a feat then a talent then a feat when gaining levels.

I personally dislike the feat per level thing, mainly because it produces a lot of ability clutter, especially with chooseable talents and class abilities mixed in. I'd rather see more meaningful feats, similar to Races of War (but less complicated), rather than a bunch of lesser ones.
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"Seem too much" is the important wording there. A lot of things seemed too good at the time before we got to play with them. True strike was probably the best example. A lot of people were just overwhelmed with awesome when they saw that +20 bonus. Not because it was really that good, but just because it was a +20, and that seemed awesome enough, regardless of the fact that you had to lose an action to get it.

Weapon focus could be the same way. If it were a +2 or +3, people might be up in arms at first, but eventually they'd forgive themselves.

I personally dislike the feat per level thing, mainly because it produces a lot of ability clutter, especially with chooseable talents and class abilities mixed in. I'd rather see more meaningful feats, similar to Races of War (but less complicated), rather than a bunch of lesser ones.



Quoted for high concentration of truthiness.