4E Variant: Pairing Feats

One the complaints I see now and again in 4th Edition Dungeons and Dragons discussions is the existence of “feat taxes”. For those not familiar with the term, “feat taxes” are essentially feats the player feels they must by simply to keep the character from becoming ineffective.

The biggest culprits are usually the “math fix” feats such as Expertise, Weapon/Implement Focus, and Improved Defenses. For some classes this can also include armor proficiency (ex. Constitution heavy shamans) or melee training (ex. many defenders which don’t specialize in strength).

A common answer to this is to simply give those feats away for free as a house rule. However, if you’re doing that anyway, why not kill two birds with one stone?

Rules Change

If a character selects a “flavor” feat, they gain a “tax” feat at the next level where they wouldn’t normally gain a feat. For example, if a character took a flavor feat at level 4, they would gain a tax feat at level 5. If they did this again at level 11, they’d gain another tax feat at level 13 (level 12 already grants a feat).

The list of possible flavor and tax feats is determined by the DM. Prime candidates for flavor feats include Linguist and teamwork feats. Bloodlines may also make acceptable flavor feats. Prime candidates for tax feats include Weapon/Implement Focus, Improved Defenses, and the various expertise feats. Melee Training and proficiency feats may also be reasonable tax feats.

Behind the Scenes

The purpose of this change is to make feat taxes less onerous by linking them to free feats. It also serves to bring underused feats into play by reducing their cost. After all, rather than making you loss on a higher utility feat to gain them, you simply delay when the addition of a “boring but practical” feat by 1 to 2 levels.

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Published in: on November 26, 2011 at 10:11 am  Leave a Comment  
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