Last time we visited the Pathfinder Playtest they were working on skills and skill feats. That was only the beginning of the rabbit hole. Hold on to your butts, we’re about to dive in.
Skill feats are one of my favorite new concepts in Pathfinder 2.0–when we talked about them last time, they were revealed to be add-ons for your skills that let you do even more focused, powerful things. And since every class has access to skill feats (on top of and in addition to regular feats), there’s even greater emphasis on what skills you actually take, beyond just what hoops did you jump through to get perception as a class skill like every single other character ever.
Today though we’re talking exclusively about what you can do with these skill feats. It’s shaping up to be a pretty cool set of rules/abilities. For one, there are shared feats–feats that you can use with a suite of skills. So things like Lore, Arcana, and Nature, for instance all have access to the Trick Magic Item skilled feat which lets any character with one of these skills pull the ol’ Use Magic Device trick.
But there’s also Assurance, which lets you effectively take 10, 15, 20, or 30, depending on your mastery of the skill–which sets the trend of skill feats that scale as you level up and achieve greater degrees of proficiency in a skill.
And here’s where the rules start to feel like they could be needlessly complex. On the one hand–this is a great way to make sure your character is unique. A character who takes cat fall will definitely be doing things different from a character who takes a different Acrobatics feat. But. This seems like something that could just easily be filed in under the skill itself. Make a check, if you succeed, here’s how you reduce falling damage. That’s the way it is now–I’m not sure why this gets its own feat, and what that leaves Acrobatics to do mechanically, besides handling balance or the like.
It’s an interesting place to be, because I like the idea behind this separation. You want the abilities that you use with each skill feat to feel like they’re doing something. But at what point do the feats impinge on the skills themselves? It feels like it could be limiting the scope of skills, especially since the list has been trimmed down to nearly half of what it was in Pathfinder, in order to make these feats (which would be normal skill uses in the old system) seem worth it. But then there are feats like Legendary Thief:
Which seem like they get it right. This is just a cool extra ability that you can use to make your character feel like a legendary thief. It’s active, it layers something extra on top of the skill–lets you use it in an unexpected way. Fortunately the game is only launching a Playtest, so you can check it out and see what the hubbub’s about–if you’ve got feedback, that’ll be your chance to get to Paizo.