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Author Topic: On Bonus Feats and Prerequisites  (Read 5961 times)
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JaronK
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« on: July 20, 2010, 07:44:04 PM »

This came up elsewhere, but to avoid derailing that thread...

There's an idea that came up a while back that bonus feats from class levels don't require prerequisites.  Usually this comes up with "Rogue 10 gives you any feat you want, even epic feats."  This is completely false, and relies on using a few quotes out of context and the assumption that examples overwrite written rules.  Here's why.

This first point frankly should just end any question.  The Player's Handbook is extremely clear in the feats section that all the kinds of feats it's talking about require prerequisites.  Specifically, there's two sections back to back, "Acquiring Feats" and "Prerequisites."  The first establishes the kinds of feat being discussed, and the section says how prerequisites apply to those feats.  Together, we get the following:

Quote from: PHB pg 87
Additionally, members of some classes get bonus feats as class features... Some feats have prerequisites.  The character must have the indicated ability score, class feature, feat, skill base attack bonus, or other quality designated in order to select or use that feat.

Pretty straight forward.  They're clearly talking about class bonus feats (they also mention level gained bonus feats and Fighter bonus feats), and then say they require prerequisites "to select or use that feat."

So why the confusion?  Well, two reasons.  First of all, there's a few classes that give a specific bonus feat without gaurenteeing that you have the prerequisites.  The easiest example is War Domain Clerics, who get Weapon Focus at level 1, despite the fact that they have 0 BAB (and thus lack the prerequisites).  Note that it's chosen for them, so they're not selecting it... as such, by RAW a War Cleric 1 has Weapon Focus but can't use it, and then gets to use it starting at level 2.  Still, this is obviously not the intent... it's very similar to the Monk Unarmed Strike proficiency issue.  But just because mentioning this was missed doesn't mean the general rule is suddenly removed for all classes.  Note that most classes that give a specific bonus feat like this do specifically mention that you can use it without the prerequisites (Monks and Rangers do this for example)... it's just that this line is missing for War Domain Clerics.  It's understandable, since War is a domain and most Clerics don't even deal with this issue.

Second, there are two references in the Monster Manual that can be taken out of context.  First, here they are out of context, so the confusion is understandable:

Quote from: Monster Manual pg. 301
Monsters must meet the prerequisites for feats, just as characters must.  If your creature begs for a feat for which the creature does not qualify, consider altering the creature so that it qualifies for the feat, or assign the feat as a bonus feat.  (It is acceptable for a creature to have a bonus feat for which it does not meet the prerequisites).

Quote from: Monster Manual pg. 7
Sometimes a creature has one or more bonus feats, marked with a superscript B.  Creatures often do not have the prerequisites for a bonus feat.  If this is so, the creature can still use the feat.

But that first quote is talking straight to the DM about making custom monsters and is found in the "Creating the Monster" section and the second is from the "Reading the Entries" section.  In context, we realize that they're talking about bonus feats inherent to the creature itself, i.e. racial bonus feats.  Looking back at the PHB quote, we can see that they never mention racial bonus feats there (they talk about the Human bonus feat, but not racial bonus feats in general).  In context it all becomes clear... racial bonus feats for creatures created by the DM or the WotC designers don't need prerequisites.  All other types of feats do, including class granted bonus feats.

In case there's any confusion, the primary source for feats is the book that introduced feats... namely, the PHB.  That's also the primary source for base class rules (though not PrCs) for the same reason.  The primary source for creatures (and specifically creature entries) is the Monster Manual.  Thus, while the Monster Manual trumps the PHB on creature entries, the PHB trumps the Monster Manual on feats in general and classes specifically.  Furthermore, the PHB is more specific, in that it states what kinds of bonus feats it's talking about more clearly.  Specific always trumps general. 

So no, Rogue 10 does not grant epic feats or any other such nonsense.  Yes, War Domain Clerics technically don't get to use Weapon Focus until level 2, just like Monks don't technically have proficiency with unarmed strikes... but I doubt anyone would enforce that anyhow. 

JaronK
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weenog
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« Reply #1 on: July 20, 2010, 07:48:55 PM »

Nice wall of text to claim RAI and RAW are the same thing.

What would you say are the differences between a creature, a monster, and a character, if any?
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JaronK
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« Reply #2 on: July 20, 2010, 07:53:29 PM »

Nice wall of text to claim RAI and RAW are the same thing.

Please read the text before claiming something like that.  If you read closely, you'll notice I said RAI and RAW are different.  See if you can spot where.

It's more of a wall of text using quotes to show the rules.

Quote
What would you say are the differences between a creature, a monster, and a character, if any?

The only differences are of implication... by RAW, they're the same.  A monster is a creature, with the implication that you're probably talking about NPCs.  A Character is a Creature, with the implication that you're probably talking about a PC.  A Race is also a creature, with the same implication that it's probably a PC.  But by RAW, all Characters are Creatures, all Characters are Monsters, all Monsters are Creatures, etc.  Dominate Monster works on all Creatures, after all.  Note that "Person" is a humanoid... see Charm Person.

An obvious example is that Kobolds are Creatures in Monster Manual but Races in Races of the Dragon.  Why?  Because the Monster Manual is describing them primarily for DM use as an NPC, while Races of the Dragon is describing them for the players to use.  They didn't change what they are between books... Kobolds were always both Monsters and Races (especially since there's a bit in the Monster Manual for how to play them as PCs), and Monsters and Races are the same as Creatures.  They're just referred to differently.

TL;DR:  Creatures and Monsters and Races and Characters are effectively the same for RAW purposes.

JaronK
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The_Mad_Linguist
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« Reply #3 on: July 20, 2010, 07:57:30 PM »

The only issue I've had is the phrase "select or use".  If had just been "select" I'd be behind you 100%.

As is, though, we're put into the very dumb position where, for example, clerics can't get weapon focus from the war domain, and soulknives can't use their Greater Weapon Focus (Mind Blade).
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JaronK
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« Reply #4 on: July 20, 2010, 08:02:25 PM »

Yeah, that's just crappy rules writing, which fits in with the Monks not being proficient.  But if the War Cleric and Soulknife issues gave everyone unrestricted bonus feats, then Monk unarmed strike issues would have to give everyone unarmed strike proficiency and that PrC that turns you into a Half Dragon would make it so you could never be disqualified from PrCs.  But I fully agree it's a dumb position, about as dumb as the Monk issue or the part where Genesis allows any manipulation of the environment you can visualize.

Really, for class bonus feats to lack prerequisites, two things must be true: either the Monster Manual has to be the primary source for feats and class features over the PHB or specific examples destroy overall rules (not just in their specific case, but completely), and context has to not matter.  That's just not right.

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« Reply #5 on: July 20, 2010, 08:07:06 PM »

This one was done to death ages ago Jaron.

Quote
What would you say are the differences between a creature, a monster, and a character, if any?

The only differences are of implication... by RAW, they're the same.

Glad you have finally seen the light that there are not special rules for each.

So the MM entry on bonus feats (which is the only one to mention prerequisites for bonus feats in general; you falsely omitted text from the PHB entry to try to build a bridge between unrelated ideas) applies.

Which means: "Creatures often do not have the prerequisites for a bonus feat.  If this is so, the creature can still use the feat."

So unless otherwise noted, a creature (of any type) can use bonus feats that it does not have the prerequisites for.

Case closed unless you want to go back to claiming that creatures and characters are somehow magically different.

And no, intent does not matter, so your whole "speaking to the DM" and "addressing X subject" garbage is just that. Because if intent mattered, we wouldn't be able to do half of what we do even in PO, and Dragonwrought Kobolds wouldn't get all the goodies of being True Dragons.  Wink
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weenog
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« Reply #6 on: July 20, 2010, 08:09:05 PM »

You repeatedly bring up what the books are talking about, or who they're talking to, and then using these to decide what's allowed and what's not.  But that's bullplop.  You can debate what the rules are talking about or who they're talking to till the cows come home, in the end it's all just disagreement about RAI.  The RAW, on the other hand, consists only of what they actually say... who they're saying it to or why don't really enter into it.

I agree that it's stupid to ignore RAI and try to work solely with the RAW.  I agree that context is important (though I will sometimes ignore it if it would be funny).  And I feel that it's extremely hypocritical to work solely in the RAW when it supports your point, and then run crying to apparent RAI when your point is shown to be meaningless.

Some poor word choice at first.
« Last Edit: July 20, 2010, 08:10:38 PM by weenog » Logged

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JaronK
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« Reply #7 on: July 20, 2010, 08:23:40 PM »

You repeatedly bring up what the books are talking about, or who they're talking to, and then using these to decide what's allowed and what's not.

Which part to you disagree with?  Do you disagree that the Creating New Monsters or Reading the Entries sections are for the DM?  Do you disagree that those sections are talking about monster entries?

Quote
 But that's bullplop.

No, that's context.  If I said "The PHB states I get a +30 to bluff checks" would you believe that's accurate, and I can always use it?  Of course not... because that line is found only in the text of the Glibness spell, and only applies when that spell is cast on me.  I can't just always have it.  Context matters. 

Quote
 You can debate what the rules are talking about or who they're talking to till the cows come home, in the end it's all just disagreement about RAI.  The RAW, on the other hand, consists only of what they actually say... who they're saying it to or why don't really enter into it.

As above, it matters.  Also, RAW says the PHB is the primary source on feats and classes.  Do you disagree with this?  Do you really think the Monster Manual is the primary source on those two areas?  Because if it's not, PHB trumps even without context (but context is still obvious).

Quote
I agree that it's stupid to ignore RAI and try to work solely with the RAW.  I agree that context is important (though I will sometimes ignore it if it would be funny).  And I feel that it's extremely hypocritical to work solely in the RAW when it supports your point, and then run crying to apparent RAI when your point is shown to be meaningless.

Show me where I am crying apparent RAI, or where the point is shown meaningless.  If you actually read the text, you'll notice I'm saying RAW is directly opposed to RAI.  RAW is that bonus feats from class levels need prerequisites unless specifically exempted.  RAI is that War Clerics get Weapon Focus at level 1.  So yeah, I don't know where you're getting this RAI/RAW stuff, but it's the opposite of what I'm saying.  I am NOT running to RAI. I'm noting that RAI seems to be the opposite of RAW.

And why bring up that creatures/monsters/characters thing?  I never said anything about that.  You keep bringing up things that have nothing to do with what I'm saying nor the topic at hand.  Are you arguing the point, or arguing against a strawman?

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weenog
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« Reply #8 on: July 20, 2010, 08:33:48 PM »

You run to RAI (and create a new thread trying to drum up sympathy) when it's pointed out that your perfect definition of true dragons which also includes kobolds ALSO includes a chihuahua.  You run to the RAI when you cut and paste separate sections of the rules together into single lines, and then decide they mean a thing they don't say.  You run to the RAI when you claim that the entry on bonus feats in the monster manual is only for DMs and WotC creating monsters, when you yourself admit there is no RAW functional difference between characters, creatures, and monsters.  Any of this sound familiar?
« Last Edit: July 20, 2010, 08:35:36 PM by weenog » Logged

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« Reply #9 on: July 20, 2010, 08:37:41 PM »

So far, I've seen JaronK using rules quotes to back up his statements.  He says that a chiuaua cannot be a True Dragon via the Dragonwrought method because the chiuaua cannot possibly take Dragonwrought: it doesn't meet the prerequisites and has no way of gaining the feat without needing to.  That second point is what he is addressing here.
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weenog
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« Reply #10 on: July 20, 2010, 08:43:40 PM »

The interesting thing about that to me is that he's admitted there's no functional difference between a character and a monster, relies on RAI to ignore a general rule that applies across the board unless an exception is explicitly made, and then edits the rules that don't make an explicit exception to pretend they do.
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« Reply #11 on: July 20, 2010, 09:26:02 PM »

You run to RAI (and create a new thread trying to drum up sympathy) when it's pointed out that your perfect definition of true dragons which also includes kobolds ALSO includes a chihuahua.
That's a strawman and you know it.

BTW, a chair qualifies for beholder mage as well. 

Just cast animate objects + PAO into a beholder + PAO into a beholder with different eyecolors.

Don't even need the animate objects.


Now, the way I'd phrase that would be "anyone with PAO can become a beholder and qualify that way"
Your argument (that taking the feat would transform you into a kobold) would be better stated as "anybody with the feat is inherently a true dragon because having the feat makes you a kobold".

Which, well, doesn't really help your argument at all.  "HEY GUYS HE CAN BE A TRUE DRAGON IF HE TURNS HIMSELF INTO A KOBOLD". 
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weenog
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« Reply #12 on: July 20, 2010, 09:36:00 PM »

With the differences that my way doesn't rely on polymorph (sidestepping magic being broken which comes up eleventy hojillion times a day,  as well as not requiring a permanent magic effect which an antimagic field or disjunction says no to), and adds an extra step of ridiculousness for illustrative purposes as the thing is clearly not a dragon, nor even a kobold, despite the feat saying he is.  Kobolds have been linked thematically with dragons more and more over time, and folks may gloss over what the rules actually say to let them have it because of that.  A chihuahua, not so much.

He's still using circular reasoning in his description and support of kobolds being true dragons, a dog can still fit in under his definition, and it's still running to RAI to say no it can't.

I don't think the RAI allows either one of them to be true dragons, but I'm still waiting for RAW support for one working and the other not, which doesn't require RAI help.
« Last Edit: July 20, 2010, 09:37:31 PM by weenog » Logged

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« Reply #13 on: July 20, 2010, 09:40:55 PM »

weenog disprove him if you wish, otherwise stop embarrassing yourself by only making ad hominem attacks.
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weenog
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« Reply #14 on: July 20, 2010, 10:25:54 PM »

The point I originally took issue with was this
TL;DR:  "A True Dragon is a creature of the Dragon type with twelve age categories that gets more powerful and gains more abilities as it gets older" is the only definition of True Dragons that actually uses the book definitions and actually applies to all known True Dragons.  Any other definition either isn't using what the books describe as a True Dragon or doesn't actually apply to all (or usually even to most) True Dragons.
being used to support kobolds having special status as true dragons.

Relying on Reductio ad absurdum and an awakened dog, I pointed out that this definition of a true dragon, whether or not it's correct (I don't actually have a position on that), is a poor qualifier to use for granting kobolds access to that exclusive subset of creatures, because it actually grants virtually everything access to that exclusive subset of creatures, which is clearly absurd.

There was an objection on the grounds that, RAW, the feat arrangement doesn't work, and eventually this thread was spun off to go over whether or not the feat arrangement does work.  So far, I still haven't seen any unedited RAW indicating the feat arrangement doesn't work, only RAI claiming it shouldn't (which I agree with, but that doesn't matter).

Unless it can be shot down conclusively by the RAW that an awakened dog rogue 10 can't grab Dragonwrought with his rogue bonus feat, the dog still "is a creature of the Dragon type with twelve age categories that gets more powerful and gains more abilities as it gets older", after a bit of work in the right direction.  A kobold, also, does not fit that definition out of the box, but "is a creature of the Dragon type with twelve age categories that gets more powerful and gains more abilities as it gets older" after a bit of work in the right direction.

I suggest that one of three things is true:
1. That definition of True Dragon is wrong and needs to be revised,
2. a creature's potential to modify themself to match the definition criteria for the True Dragon group does not grant them inclusion in that group and the privileges that come with it, or
3. being a True Dragon is meaningless because everyone and their dog can be one.
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« Reply #15 on: July 20, 2010, 10:30:30 PM »

The point I originally took issue with was this
TL;DR:  "A True Dragon is a creature of the Dragon type with twelve age categories that gets more powerful and gains more abilities as it gets older" is the only definition of True Dragons that actually uses the book definitions and actually applies to all known True Dragons.  Any other definition either isn't using what the books describe as a True Dragon or doesn't actually apply to all (or usually even to most) True Dragons.
being used to support kobolds having special status as true dragons.

Relying on Reductio ad absurdum and an awakened dog, I pointed out that this definition of a true dragon, whether or not it's correct (I don't actually have a position on that), is a poor qualifier to use for granting kobolds access to that exclusive subset of creatures, because it actually grants virtually everything access to that exclusive subset of creatures, which is clearly absurd.

There was an objection on the grounds that, RAW, the feat arrangement doesn't work, and eventually this thread was spun off to go over whether or not the feat arrangement does work.  So far, I still haven't seen any unedited RAW indicating the feat arrangement doesn't work, only RAI claiming it shouldn't (which I agree with, but that doesn't matter).

Unless it can be shot down conclusively by the RAW that an awakened dog rogue 10 can't grab Dragonwrought with his rogue bonus feat, the dog still "is a creature of the Dragon type with twelve age categories that gets more powerful and gains more abilities as it gets older", after a bit of work in the right direction.  A kobold, also, does not fit that definition out of the box, but "is a creature of the Dragon type with twelve age categories that gets more powerful and gains more abilities as it gets older" after a bit of work in the right direction.

I suggest that one of three things is true:
1. That definition of True Dragon is wrong and needs to be revised,
2. a creature's potential to modify themself to match the definition criteria for the True Dragon group does not grant them inclusion in that group and the privileges that come with it, or
3. being a True Dragon is meaningless because everyone and their dog can be one.
If the awakened dog takes the feat it either literally becomes a kobold or it doesn't have 12 age categories by RAW, you can't have it half way. Thus its not that everything can become a True Dragon, it's that it's ridiculously easy to become a Dragonwrought Kobold which is a True Dragon (assuming it can ignore the prerequisites which is what this topic is supposed to be about).
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weenog
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« Reply #16 on: July 20, 2010, 10:42:26 PM »

Well, suppose that the dog becomes a kobold completely, gets the 12 age categories, and is in the True Dragon club.  That doesn't really solve the problem.  It only changes one of the options to

3. being a True Dragonkobold is meaningless because everyone and their dog can be one.
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« Reply #17 on: July 20, 2010, 10:52:31 PM »

Well, suppose that the dog becomes a kobold completely, gets the 12 age categories, and is in the True Dragon club.  That doesn't really solve the problem.  It only changes one of the options to

3. being a True Dragonkobold is meaningless because everyone and their dog can be one.
So? That was already possible with PaO and rebuilding. The point is not to be spe-shul (sic), the point is for the rules advantage. If others want the same thing, good for them and if everyone in the setting is a Dragonwrought Kobold then the game you are playing is likely crazy awesome.
« Last Edit: July 20, 2010, 10:54:33 PM by Bastian » Logged

JaronK
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« Reply #18 on: July 21, 2010, 12:03:02 AM »

So, your argument is that if Kobolds have an ability, and if you're allowed to violate the rules by taking a feat you don't qualify for in direct violation of the feat rules in the PHB, then it's possible to gain that ability by becoming a Kobold, and that means Kobolds can't have that ability?

What part of that makes logical sense?  And why aren't you arguing that in the Kobold thread, instead of here?  This is the place to argue about whether bonus feats from classes require prerequisites.  It was made so we didn't derail the other thread.  All you're doing is trying to derail two threads with your ridiculous claim that Awakened Dogs can take Dragonwrought.  Reductio ad absurdum only applies if you take someone's logic and prove it leads to an absurd conclusion, but you took the opposite of my argument (I'm saying awakened dogs can't take Dragonwrought, you're saying they can)  and leading that to absurdity.  You're disproving your own claim, not mine.

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The_Mad_Linguist
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« Reply #19 on: July 21, 2010, 12:08:42 AM »

And you can't even do it, anyway, since the "first level only" isn't just a prerequisite.  It's listed in the feat text itself.

Quote
Special: Unlike most feats, this feat must be taken at 1st level, during character creation. Having this feat allows you to take the Dragon Wings feat at 3rd level.

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