Genjitsu Games

September 28, 2007:
Simplified Gun Skills for Iron Kngdoms
October 10, 2005:
Blades of Purpose Sample Art
April 1, 2005:
Golems & Goldfish
February 26, 2005:
A Flock of Foes Sample Art
November 24, 2004:
Metablades art samples
October 29, 2004:
A Flock of Foes Hallowe'en preview
July 14, 2004:
Alternate multiclassing restrictions
March 15, 2004:
Self-charging staves
February 23, 2004:
Subrace racial levels
January 14, 2004:
Expanded Monk Class
January 9, 2004:
Turning Generalized
November 3, 2003:
Fighter Feat Prerequisites
October 20, 2003:
Artifacts of Martial Magic
October 20, 2003:
Metablade Spells for Arcana Unearthed
October 20, 2003:
Feat Templates
October 3, 2003:
Feat Descriptors
(The following discussion is Open Game Content, ©2003 Nevin Flanagan, based on material from the System Reference Document, Copyright 2000-2003 Wizards of the Coast, Inc.; Authors Jonathan Tweet, Monte Cook, Skip Williams, Rich baker, Andy Collins, David noonan, Rich Redman, Bruce R. Cordell, based on original material by E. Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson.)

For my first "musing" on the d20 system, I'd like to touch on a point that came up during the crafting of Metablades: feat categories.

With the way spell descriptors have clarified the functioning and interaction of spells in third edition, you'd have thought the same clarity would have become part of the feat system. It came close; feats were classified into categories so that someone could choose from, say, a list of item creation feats. However, there are a few hiccups; when a collection is divided into categories, each thing has to go into some category. So we have the "general" category of feats, a distinction that tells us nothing except that no other category was more appropriate. Similarly, things should not properly be placed into more than one category (although feats sometimes are).

I move that we consider these descriptors rather than categories. A feat does not have to have any descriptors, so the "general" heading can be abolished, since it doesn't provide any useful information or identify a common feature between all "general" feats. This also allows us to add some more useful descriptors:

  • "Martial" is a descriptor that identifies feats based in combat training and expertise. Rather than saying that a fighter's bonus feats can be chosen from "the following list," a fighter who receives a bonus class feat can choose any martial feat. Any feat that says, "Special: A fighter may select this feat as one of his fighter bonus feats," should be considered to be a martial feat.This also allows us to fix Weapon Specialization (more on that next week).
  • "Archery" feats are usually also martial feats. They relate to skill and insight with all sorts of ranged attacks.
  • "Chivalry" feats are usually also martial feats. They relate to the ability to function effectively while riding.
  • "Mighty"is a descriptor that identifies feats which are based in massive effort or phenomenal toughness. Most of these feats also have the [Martial] descriptor. A barbarian-style prestige class might allow a character to gain bonus mighty feats.
  • "Nimble" identifies feats that relate to skill and agility. DMs who want to make rogues a little more specific can say that a rogue who chooses a feat instead of a special ability at higher levels must choose a nimble feat. Several of these feats also have the [Martial] descriptor, but they almost never share the [Mighty] descriptor.
  • "Arcane" indicates a feat that relates to spellcasting finesse or power without necessarily being a metamagic feat. Wizards should be allowed to choose an arcane feat in place of a bonus metamagic or item creation feat.
  • "Divine" feats refer to the ability to channel divine energy, usually in the form of turning or rebuking undead or other creatures. They typically have prerequisites only available to divine spellcasters.
  • "Aptitude" groups together feats that grant a +2 bonus to two related skills. I'm sure what this descriptor does in game terms; perhaps rogues could choose bonus aptitude feats in addition to nimble feats, or some campaigns could allow every character to start with one bonus aptitude feat, or require that a human's bonus starting feat must be an aptitude feat.

Here are the feats from the Player's Handbook, listed with their new descriptor sets.

  • Acrobatic [Aptitude, Nimble]
  • Agile [Aptitude, Nimble]
  • Alertness [Aptitude]
  • Animal Affinity [Aptitude]
  • Armor Proficiency (Heavy) [Martial]
  • Armor Proficiency (Light) [Martial]
  • Armor Proficiency (Medium) [Martial]
  • Athletic [Aptitude]
  • Augment Summoning [Arcane]
  • Blind-Fight [Martial]
  • Brew Potion [Item Creation]
  • Cleave [Martial, Mighty]
  • Combat Casting [Arcane]
  • Combat Expertise [Martial]
  • Combat Reflexes [Martial, Nimble]
  • Craft Magic Arms And Armor [Item Creation]
  • Craft Rod [Item Creation]
  • Craft Staff [Item Creation]
  • Craft Wand [Item Creation]
  • Craft Wondrous Item [Item Creation]
  • Deceitful [Aptitude]
  • Deflect Arrows [Martial, Nimble]
  • Deft Hands [Aptitude, Nimble]
  • Diehard [Mighty]
  • Diligent [Aptitude]
  • Dodge [Martial, Nimble]
  • Empower Spell [Metamagic]
  • Endurance [Mighty]
  • Enlarge Spell [Metamagic]
  • Eschew Materials [Arcane]
  • Exotic Weapon Proficiency [Martial]
  • Extend Spell [Metamagic]
  • Extra Turning [Divine]
  • Far Shot [Martial, Archery]
  • Forge Ring [Item Creation]
  • Great Cleave [Martial, Mighty]
  • Great Fortitude [Mighty]
  • Greater Spell Focus [Arcane]
  • Greater Spell Penetration [Arcane]
  • Greater Two-Weapon Fighting [Martial]
  • Greater Weapon Focus [Martial]
  • Greater Weapon Specialization [Martial]
  • Heighten Spell [Metamagic]
  • Improved Bull Rush [Martial, Mighty]
  • Improved Counterspell [Arcane]
  • Improved Critical [Martial]
  • Improved Disarm [Martial]
  • Improved Familiar [Arcane]
  • Improved Feint [Martial, Nimble]
  • Improved Grapple [Martial]
  • Improved Initiative [Nimble]
  • Improved Overrun [Martial, Mighty]
  • Improved Precise Shot [Martial, Archery]
  • Improved Shield Bash [Martial]
  • Improved Sunder [Martial, Mighty]
  • Improved Trip [Martial, Nimble]
  • Improved Turning [Divine]
  • Improved Two-Weapon Fighting [Martial]
  • Improved Unarmed Strike [Martial]
  • Investigator [Aptitude]
  • Iron Will
  • Leadership
  • Lightning Reflexes [Nimble]
  • Magical Aptitude [Arcane, Aptitude]
  • Manyshot [Archery, Martial, Nimble]
  • Martial Weapon Proficiency [Martial]
  • Maximize Spell [Metamagic]
  • Mobility [Martial, Nimble]
  • Mounted Archery [Archery, Chivalry, Martial]
  • Mounted Combat [Chivalry, Martial]
  • Natural Spell [Arcane]
  • Negotiator [Aptitude]
  • Nimble Fingers [Aptitude, Nimble]
  • Persuasive [Aptitude]
  • Point Blank Shot [Archery, Martial]
  • Power Attack [Martial, Mighty]
  • Precise Shot [Archery, Martial]
  • Quick Draw [Martial, Nimble]
  • Quicken Spell [Metamagic]
  • Rapid Reload [Archery, Martial]
  • Rapid Shot [Archery, Martial, Nimble]
  • Ride-By Attack [Chivalry, Martial]
  • Run
  • Scribe Scroll [Item Creation]
  • Self-Sufficient [Aptitude]
  • Shield Proficiency [Martial]
  • Shot On The Run [Archery, Martial, Nimble]
  • Simple Weapon Proficiency [Martial]
  • Skill Focus
  • Snatch Arrows [Martial, Nimble]
  • Spell Focus [Arcane]
  • Spell Mastery [Arcane]
  • Spell Penetration [Arcane]
  • Spirited Charge [Chivalry, Martial]
  • Spring Attack [Martial, Nimble]
  • Stealthy [Aptitude, Nimble]
  • Still Spell [Metamagic]
  • Stunning Fist [Martial, Mighty]
  • Toughness [Mighty]
  • Tower Shield Proficiency [Martial]
  • Track
  • Trample [Chivalry, Martial]
  • Two-Weapon Defense [Martial]
  • Two-Weapon Fighting [Martial]
  • Weapon Finesse [Martial, Nimble]
  • Weapon Focus [Martial]
  • Weapon Specialization [Martial]
  • Whirlwind Attack [Martial, Nimble]
  • Widen Spell [Metamagic]