Friday, April 15, 2016

For A Change of Pace, Give Your Pathfinder PC Some Monster Feats

Anyone who's played Pathfinder knows that feats are often the key to an effective character build. Whether you want to smash through an enemy's spell resistance, cut foes in half with a single swing of your sword, or bullseye someone the wrong way through an arrow slit, feats are one of the biggest investments you're going to make.

Which is why it's so funny most players completely ignore the monster feats in the Bestiary.

The what feats, now?
If you've never been behind the screen, in the back of the Bestiary, there's a list of monster feats. These are feats that are typically available only to monsters; things like Awesome Blow, or Snatch which can give creatures the advantage in a fight. However, if you look at this list of monster feats, you'll notice something unique. Put simply, it isn't too hard for PCs to meet the prerequisites for a lot of these feats.

Who Needs Monster Feats?

Adventurers are a diverse lot, and some parties are made up entirely of characters who would be called monsters in most civilized places. The answer to the question, though, is that monster feats are often overlooked tools that can help you accomplish what you're trying to do with a little extra zing.

For example, say you were playing a half-orc with a bite attack (either through the Toothy trait, or by taking the feat Razortusk). You like being able to bite people, but you want more. So you decide to take the monster feat Improved Natural Attack to up your bite damage from 1d4 to 1d6. That's more like it. Then you decide to play a druid, and you take the feat Aspect of the Beast, which gives you 2 claw attacks. Now you have a 1d6 bite, and 2 claws that each do 1d4. But you want to beef them up, too, so you take Improved Natural Attack a second time, so all of them now do 1d6 damage. Now, if you want to fight with both weapons and natural attacks (something I covered in Natural Attacks Can Turn Your Pathfinder Character Into A Monster), you simply take Multiattack so that the penalty to your natural attacks is -2 instead of -5 per attack.

You now have an angry, orcish thresher. And we haven't even started statting out her bear.

Not pictured: The remains of the last encounter this smiling creature wiped.
But are monster feats good for more than just natural attacks? Well, what if your character gains a fly speed? Whether you have it as a racial benefit like a Wyveran, or you get it through a feat like the Bloodmarked Skinwalkers can, feats like Hover or Flyby Attack are great tricks to have up your sleeve if you want to keep the advantage against ground-borne targets. If you've ever said to yourself, "I want to build golems!" then you need to take the Craft Construct feat off the monster feats list.

It's not a small list, either, which is why I'd recommend giving it a long, hard look to see what tasty treats catch your eye, and open up entirely new concepts to you.

Some of My Favorite Monster Feats

I love the monster feats list, especially because it helps me create unique, unusual concepts. Some of my favorites off the list include:

- Scent of Fear: You automatically know the location of enemies within 30 feet of you, you gain bonuses to attacking creatures with a fear condition, and you gain a +2 on Will saves as long as someone shaken is nearby. Excellent feat for all those Intimidation lovers who have the Scent ability (Keen Scent feat will give it to a half-orc... just saying).
- Sow Terror: Anytime you win an opposed Stealth check by 5 or more, you can make subtle creakings and scratchings that worry away in someone's mind. If they fail a Will save, they're shaken for 1d4 rounds.
- Storm Soul: You gain immunity to electricity. This feat requires that you be considered a cloud or storm giant, both of which are humanoid races, and thus you could gain their subtype for prerequisites and effects with the feat Racial Heritage.
- Multiweapon Fighting: This is the feat that replaces two weapon fighting when you have more than two arms.

There are, of course, so many more monster feats that can supercharge a concept. Especially if your DM is allowing you a goblin, a tiefling, or other traditionally monstrous races like bugbears, hobgoblins, and even gnolls. There are no guarantees, but it can't hurt to look at some of those tools that occasionally slide to the back of your box, forgotten, but no less useful.

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1 comment:

  1. Most of those Monster Feats are impossible for PCs to qualify for or are sooo specific to a type of creature that they're not useful. The one that jumps out at me as particularly nasty is Flensing Strike. When you deal bleed damage with a sneak attack, the target is sickened AND its natural armor bonus is reduced by 1 point per die of sneak attack you have. Both of these last as long as the bleed effect lasts. The sickened can't be made worse with multiple sneak attacks, but the natural armor bonus decreases with each such hit. It can't drop the target's natural armor bonus to lower than 0, though.