The Feat System
The strength of Pathfinder has always been its breath of options for players. Obviously, after 10 years of 1st Edition Paizo, the publisher of Pathfinder, amassed a treasure trove of content. Now with the launch of 2nd Edition, it’s fair to say that the team will need some time to build up their catalog. With this in mind, it’s more important to me that the bones of the system have the flexibility to support this future content and was the reason why I was excited reading the Feats section in the core rule-book. Pathfinder 2nd Edition is taking a Silo approach to feats in the hopes that players will take a more diverse spread of options.
1st Editions Core Problem
If you have played any Pathfinder 1st Edition, I am sure you either were or partied with a martial character that had the feat; power attack. This is because power attack was such a strong feat, and unlocked other powerful feats once selected. So, more role-play style feats were simply left in the dust. Even through Pathfinder had tons of options, in reality, it felt a lot fewer due to the combat strength of some abilities. Now, no one wants to take away power attack or any cool combat feats, but how does a system allow the player to choose lesser more flavorful abilities with feeling like they are missing out?
Pathfinder 2nd Edition tackles this problem by breaking up feats into the categories: Ancestry, Skill, and Class. Ancestry feats are exclusive to your race and play-up your heritage. A Dwarf may take things like Dwarven Lore if he/she is attuned with their culture or Rock Runner to showcase their ease of movement in mountainous terrain. Classes come with their own set of core abilities, but you also get to choose a number of class feats. Does your ranger specialize with a bow? Or does he or she like to stab monsters with dueling short-swords? By making these abilities player choices, you increase the variability and replay-ability of each class. Add on top of this the option of skill feats, which are free for everyone to select from, and you just have a wealth of player options to bring fantastical hero concepts to life. The beauty of this system is that it allows room to take more flavorful abilities without missing out. A majority of your heavy hitters will come from your Class Feats, and maybe a Skill Feat or two, but you also have to choose an Ancestry Feat and a few additional Skill Feats to round out your character. This allows that room for unique choices that could be less combat focused. Jason Bulmahn, Game Designer for Pathfinder, said in a recent podcast that at level 1 there are 42,000 combinations. Just think, this is all baked into the based game, and Paizo has already announced an Advanced Players Guide with even more options!
It’s this feat system with character customization at the heart and an eye of future expansion that makes this one reason to be excited for Pathfinder 2nd Edition.