OK. So those books of feats for the new classes in the Advanced Player's Guide that you, like me, have been collecting have just been bundled up to make a new product that we don't really need... WRONG! Well, maybe if you only want to play an Oracle, say, you might be better off with just that subset. Even apart from those who clamoured for a print version, this is an advantage to most people and in particular GMs trying to keep track. True, nearly everything here, apart from a few corrections and improvements, is available in the previous products. But it's all laid out in an easy-to-use form, with all the feats ordered in the first section, and then all the 'builds' collected together afterwards.
The Introduction explains some of the background to the work, including the author's long-time fascination with feats and the way in which he approaches them. The preference is for feats that are widely available but which can be used to customise, hone or otherwise fine-tune a character to be just what you want. Advice for both gamemasters and players about thoughtful and balanced use of feats is also included.
So, on to the feats themselves, listed alphabetically. Possibly the best part of each feat description is the 'commentary' giving the author's thoughts on that feat - a real delight both for those who fancy doing a bit of game design themselves and those curious as to how game designers come up with things. For those who don't want to plough through pages and pages of feats in the first instance, there is a summary table that gives feat name, prerequisites if any, and a brief outline of what it enables you to do. There are also sidebar comments of wider interest, some historical anecdotes and overarching commentary covering feat combinations or the approach to an entire group of feats. The historical asides are fascinating, demonstrating how wide-ranging research can become at times - I'm glad I'm not the only one to delve into obscure matters to improve my game!
This is followed by the 'Builds' grouped by each class in turn. Some may deride the entire concept as a very cold and calculating way in which to view your character - yet how many students visit a careers counsellor and plan course combinations to maximise their chances for getting the college place or job that they fancy? Of late, players applying to my games often include a 'build' profile in their submission, even if they don't stick to it once I call for a level-up; and it doesn't hurt to have some idea of where you think you are going, even if it changes with time. (The character planning development as an open-handed combatant has suddenly wondered just how she'll incorporate the intelligent magic dagger she's just bonded with...) It is certainly an interesting approach, and there is nothing more infuriating as hearing about a neat feat and then finding at your next levelling point that you have nowhere the right prerequisites for it, and yet if only you'd... Most GMs are not too happy at a retrofit, so you are stuck, whereas with a bit of forethought you'd have the feat you want. Also, as you read through these 'Builds' plenty of role-playing possibilities are presented, some are so full of concept ideas that whole character backgrounds can be spawned from merely reading them.
If you didn't get the earlier class-by-class products, this is a better work to go for: even if you did the value of the compilation outweighs the sneaking feeling that you've already paid for this material!
Return to The Complete Advanced Feats page.
Reviewed: 13 June 2011