On Your Feat, Soldier: Preview of Feats in Path of Iron

Feats are one of the features that ties all of the classes on Pathfinder together. It doesn't matter if you're a scholarly wizard or a brutish barbarian, every class needs feats in order to succeed, though some need them more than others.

The feats in Path of Iron will focus primarily around combat application, rather than magical classes. Feats such as Double Strike, which lets a two-weapon fighter hit with both weapons as a standard action, or Powerful Throwing, which lets a character use Strength for both attack and damage rolls with weapons, are just a few feats that will help combat characters have more flexibility when building their characters. That's not to say there aren't a few feats for the more magical types. Improved Bound Object will make bound objects a much more enticing choice for those with arcane bonds, and the Metal Focus feat will improve the DC of any spells with the new "metal" descriptor by +1.

But these aren't the most important part of the feat chapter. The big addition that Path of Iron brings are the new Technique feats.

Technique feats are much like style feats. Each technique comes in a series of three feats that build upon the last and work around a central idea and fighting style. You can only benefit from one technique at a time, though you can switch between multiple techniques if you have them much like you can with a style feat.

Whereas style feats were all built around unarmed strikes, techniques use manufactured weapons. Also, where style feats found their inspiration in nature and animals, techniques are based around the numerous Outsiders of the Great Beyond. Some of these techniques use specific weapons, where others are more general fighting techniques. The Demon Technique, for example, emulates a balor's signature of a melee weapon plus a whip in the off-hand, while the Inevitable Technique has a more general focus of consistent, even-handed attacks.

To top it all off, there will be archetypes for existing classes that utilize these techniques. The most prominent one will the Master of Many Styles equivalent that will go to fighters, which will allow the fighter to combine multiple techniques at once.

Talk is easy, though. What really counts are examples, right? Here's two of the current technique feat chains: the Archon Technique, which emulates a Shield Archon in its mastery of the tower shield, and the Asura Technique, which learns its own form of the dance of disaster from the Adhukait Asura:


Archon Technique (Technique)

You protect yourself from harm, your shield an extension of your body.
Prerequisite: Tower Shield proficiency, Improved Shield Bash
Benefit: The penalties to attack rolls for using a tower shield are reduced by 1, and you receive a +4 bonus to your CMD against attempts to sunder or disarm your tower shield. In addition, you can use a tower shield to make a shield bash as if it were a heavy shield, though it deals 1d6 damage for a medium sized creature on a hit.
Normal: You can’t make a shield bash with a tower shield.

Archon Defense (Technique)

Your strikes are as powerful as your defense.
Prerequisite: Archon Technique, Improved Shield Bash, base attack bonus +4
Benefit: The penalty to attack rolls for wielding a tower shield is reduced by an additional 1 (this stacks with the reduction from Archon Technique) and you always add your full strength bonus to damage rolls when making a shield bash with a tower shield. Using your tower shield to grant yourself total cover on an edge of your space becomes a move action, and you can spend an immediate action to change which side of your space you are defending.
Special: This feat counts as Double Slice for the purpose of meeting feat prerequisites, but only when using a tower shield.
Normal: Using a tower shield to create total cover on one edge of your space is a standard action.

Archon Bulwark (Technique)

Your mastery of the tower shield makes it impossible to catch you off guard.
Prerequisite: Archon Defense, Archon Technique, base attack bonus +6
Benefit: If you successfully hit at least one shield bash attack with your tower shield when making a full-attack action, you can use a swift action to grant yourself total cover on one edge of your space. If you spend a move action to place your tower shield (with the Archon Defense feat), you can choose two contiguous sides of your space to defend, rather than just one. Changing which side you are defending using the Archon Defense feat changes both sides with the same action.


Asura Technique (Technique)

You fight with a flowing dance, striking in multiple directions at once.
Prerequisite: Dodge, Mobility, base attack bonus +6
Benefit: Whenever you take the full-attack action with a manufactured weapon, each consecutive hit you make against a different target than the last deals an additional 1d6 damage per previous target hit. For example, if there are three different creatures that you strike, the first successful hit deals no additional damage, the second target hit takes 1d6 extra damage, and the third target hit takes 2d6 extra damage. This damage bonus cannot increase beyond 2d6 damage and is not multiplied on a critical hit. The additional damage is only added once per target on the first attack you hit them with that turn.

Asura Motion (Technique)

Your flowing movement makes it difficult to catch you off guard, and even more difficult to escape your reach.
Prerequisite: Asura Technique, Dodge, Mobility, Combat Reflexes, base attack bonus +9
Benefit: The bonus creatures receive to attack rolls when flanking you is reduced by 1, and you gain a +2 bonus to dodge AC to avoid attacks of opportunity from moving through a threatened square (this bonus stacks with the bonus granted by Mobility). Whenever you make an attack of opportunity against an opponent, you can move up to 10 feet in any direction, so long as your movement ends in a space adjacent to that opponent. Your total movement each round from this feat can’t exceed your normal speed.

Asura Dance (Technique)

You slash with grace and speed, dancing around the battlefield to harry your foes.
Prerequisite: Asura Motion, Asura Technique, Dodge, Mobility, Combat Reflexes, base attack bonus +11
Benefit: Creatures do not gain an attack roll benefit when flanking you (though they can still gain other benefits of flanking, such as sneak attack). Whenever you take the full-attack action using a manufactured weapon and strike with a melee attack, you can move up to 10 feet before making your next attack. You must have another attack to make in order to move in this manner, and cannot move a greater distance than your normal speed in a single turn.


Keep an eye out for the next teaser for Path of Iron, where I'll go into the next base class, the vanguard!