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4th Edition Feats

Wizards have posted an article about Feats in 4th edition on their website, including four examples. Seems like some feats will become class abilities for relevant classes:

One of the most useful and popular additions to Dungeons & Dragons that appeared in 3rd Edition was the concept of feats: special bonuses, benefits, or actions that characters could acquire outside their normal class features. Throughout the lifespan of the edition (and even between the covers of the Player’s Handbook), the potency, utility, effect, and coolness of feats have varied widely.

Some feats offer utilitarian but unexciting benefits, while others grant characters entire new options in combat. It’s hard to argue with the utility of Alertness, Improved Initiative, Weapon Focus, or even (for 1st-level wizards and sorcerers) Toughness, but that same feat slot could purchase Power Attack, Rapid Shot, Spring Attack, or Empower Spell.

When we started talking about feats for 4th Edition, we already knew that we wanted the bulk of a character’s powers—the exciting actions he performs in combat—to come from his class. Even character classes that hadn’t traditionally offered class-based power options (that is, non-spellcasters) would now acquire these special attacks, defenses, maneuvers, and so on directly from their class’s list of such abilities.

Once that decision was made, a lot of the most exciting feats suddenly looked more like class-based powers. Spring Attack, for example, now looked an awful lot like a power for the rogue or melee-based ranger, rather than a feat that just anybody could pick up. Manyshot, Whirlwind Attack, Two-Weapon Fighting, Shot on the Run—these were specialized powers appropriate for particular character archetypes.

So what design space did that leave for feats? After some discussion, we came to see feats as the “fine-tuning” that your character performed after defining his role (via your choice of class) and his build (via your power selections). Feats would let characters further specialize in their roles and builds, as well as to differentiate themselves from other characters with similar power selections.

They would accomplish these goals with simple, basic functionality, rather than complicated conditional benefits or entirely new powers that you’d have to track alongside those of your class.

Here are four examples of feats taken from the latest draft of the 4th Edition Player’s Handbook. The first two demonstrate the minor evolution of familiar favorites from 3rd Edition, while the other two show off some new tricks. As always, nothing’s final until you read it in the printed book, so take these with a grain of salt.

Tier: Heroic
Benefit: When you take this feat, you gain additional hit points equal to your level + 3. You also gain 1 additional hit point every time you gain a level.

Tier: Heroic
Benefit: You don’t grant enemies combat advantage in surprise rounds.
You also gain a +2 feat bonus to Perception checks.

First Reaction
Tier: Paragon
Benefit: If you are surprised, you may spend an action point to act during the surprise round.

Golden Wyvern Adept
Tier: Paragon
Benefit: You can omit a number of squares from the effects of any of your area or close wizard powers. This number can’t exceed your Wisdom modifier.

What do you think?



( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
Nov. 30th, 2007 06:06 pm (UTC)
Hmmm Feats are one of the most popular features of 3.5 and they are 'fine tuning them'? dangerous ground.

Whats this about action points? sounds a good way to divid a round of action.

Dec. 1st, 2007 09:36 am (UTC)
The more of these articles I read, the bigger I think the changes from 3.x will be. Not necessarily a bad thing but we're all going to have to learn a new game!
It's interesting that some feats are becoming class features - depending on how multi-classing works you might get more people taking a level or two of x class to get the benefits they want to reflect their character concept.
I'm guessing that action points might well be like the ones in Eberron and/or Unearthed Arcana. Check out this link
Dec. 2nd, 2007 09:00 am (UTC)
Action points
Ah I thought they may have been refering to a new point based system for actions/movements.

I think action points as described could be fun in campaigns where there wasnt a lot of magic items flying around. I played around with a similar system called Hero Points in Ver2, but the players preferred having 'tangible' magic items!

With regards feats, I'm not sure why they are so keen to tie them to classes. As you say, people will just create even more bizzare class combinatin characters to get the feats they want. I still find it strange the way players seem to focus on creating characters as a set of skills/powers they want and then simply plop a background story on top to make sense of the weird combinations. Still, whatever floats your boat I suppose!

( 3 comments — Leave a comment )

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