Feats of Strength
By Thilo Graf
All right, you know the Bullet Point format from Abandoned Arts: 3 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page SRD, leaving 1 page of content for 8 feats, so let’s check these out!
- Break Bonds: +4 to str-check to break free from restraints, also allows you to demoralize foes witnessing the event.
- Crushing Disarm: When disarming a weapon when unarmed, you may also sunder it.
- Gentle Giant: Needs to be large or larger,+4 to diplomacy-rolls and a reroll for every size category they are smaller than you. Cool idea!
- Headlong Charge: Combine Vital Strike (and its derivative feats) with a charge, but incur a -4 penalty instead of -2. I’m not sure I like the possibility to combine these two attack options and until I’ve done some extensive field tests, would be wary of this feat’s potential for power gaming.
- Master of Disaster: Now this is where I’m SURE I don’t like the feat: Whenever you miss an opponent with a melee attack, you may instead launch an attack against an unattended object with the same attack modifiers. I get what this feat tries to do, but honestly, fighting smart by e.g. destroying environments should be a conscious option, not the by-product of a failed attack, much less as a free action. Two thumbs down – not gonna happen in my campaign.
- Sap Strength: When dealing str-damage via spells or spell-like abilities, you may convert one point of said damage to drain and heal a corresponding amount of str-damage you suffered or alternatively heal 1 HP for every point of str-damage or drain you inflicted. Ok feat, though I would have preferred a general type of feat for this type à la “Choose one attribute…”[…] “This feat can be taken multiple times…”
- Sucker Punch: You are a gorgeous woman in a 13-year-old’s fan fiction gone big screen. All men are rapists and evil and your game has lost any semblance of narrative cohesion. Wait, no, sorry, drifted off there. When making an unarmed attack vs. a foe that is denied his/her/its dex-bonus, roll damage twice and take the better result. Also increase crit multiplier by one. Cool feat!
- Smashing Blow: As a standard action, make a melee attack with your two-handed bludgeoning weapon against a single five-foot square within your reach. You hit all enemies therein and if there’s a swarm, you deal normal damage to it. HALLELUJAH! This feat is genius and awesome and something that should have been done ages ago to counteract the dependence on casters and flasks of alchemist’s fire to combat swarms effectively at lower levels. Also rather cool: While you automatically hit on a natural 20, the attack is too imprecise for a critical hit, ensuring there’s at least a modicum of tactical choice involved when using this feat.
Editing and formatting are top-notch, I didn’t notice any glitches. Layout adheres to Abandoned Art’s no-frills two-column standard and the pdf comes with no bookmarks, but needs none at this length.
8 feats of strength and how are they? Well, at least for me, differing in quality: Where crushing disarm is a godsend for the type of character that is on a pacifist bent (Monks disarming foes, then destroying their weapons) and smashing blow is almost a necessity design-wise, there also are feats herein that are less impressive: Master of Disaster leaves a shallow taste in my mouth and the combination of charges and vital strikes also is something I personally am wary of design-wise. Gentle Giant is a godsend for players or NPCs playing a large race that also happens to be the party’s social monkey and Break Bonds on the other hand is oddly specific in its benefits. While cool, how many times do you actually get to break bonds? Capturing player characters alive ONCE without the players feeling railroaded is hard enough. For this feat to makes sense you would have to do so multiple times. Not sold. Sucker Punch on the other hand is a neat feat. So where does this leave us? With some good feats, some very specific mediocre ones and some I personally would advise against using in your campaign, making this the epitome of a mixed bag for me and thus a prime candidate for a final rating of 3 stars.
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