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.)

I'm still talking about feats this week, and I'd like to point out something that bothered me when I first read the 3rd edition rules, and recently came back to haunt me: feat templates.

Feat templates aren't templates in the sense of creature templates (the first class of d20 templates) or spell or weapon templates. Feat templates are all the feats that require you to choose something when you take the feat. Weapon Focus, which requires that you choose the weapon with which you have expertise, is the most basic example. The thing to which I take exception isn't the feats, or the rule structure, but how the explanatory text on these feats tends to be written.

Let me clear this up before we go any further: Weapon Focus is not a feat. Neither is Spell Focus. You can't select either one. Writing "Weapon Focus" on your character sheet doesn't mean anything without more information.

Weapon Focus (longsword), however, is a feat. So is Spell Focus (conjuration). You can select them for your character and have them mean something.

Looking at feats like this, the text that usually accompanies such feats suddenly seems somewhat inaccurate, requiring otherwise unnecessary explanation. Most such feats say something like, "You can gain this feat multiple times. Its effects do not stack. Each time you take the feat, it applies to a new type of weapon." The thing is, you're really not gaining the feat multiple times. It's not the same feat. Weapon Focus (longsword) and Weapon Focus (greatsword) are different feats, although as a shorthand we often write them on a character sheet together (like "Weapon Focus (longsword, greatsword)").

If you're writing a feat collection, consider writing the special text for such feats like this: "You can gain the Weapon Focus feats for multiple weapons, but you cannot take the Weapon Focus feat for a single weapon multiple times." (Actually, you can: more on that in a week or two.) If you really want to be clear, consider putting a template indicator in the feat title, like this: "Weapon Focus (weapon) [Martial]." This usually isn't strictly necessary, but it can't hurt.

The following feats from the System Reference Document (also found in the Player's Handbook) are actually feat templates, indicated here with their required choices.

  • Exotic Weapon Proficiency (exotic weapon) [Martial]
  • Greater Spell Focus (school of magic) [Arcane]
  • Greater Weapon Focus (weapon) [Martial]
  • Greater Weapon Specialization (weapon) [Martial]
  • Improved Critical (weapon) [Martial]
  • Martial Weapon Proficiency (martial weapon) [Martial]
  • Rapid Reload (type of crossbow) [Archery, Martial]
  • Skill Focus (skill)
  • Spell Focus (school of magic) [Arcane]
  • Spell Mastery (number of spells) [Arcane]
  • Weapon Focus (weapon) [Martial]
  • Weapon Specialization (weapon) [Martial]

A few feats from Metablades should also have been feat templates:

  • Bond Weapon (specific weapon) [Psionic]
  • Intense Energy (type of energy) [Arcane]