Michael Iantorno PhD Candidate, Game Designer, and Writer

The Elephant in the Room: Feat Taxes in Pathfinder (Second Printing)

Earlier in the year, my brother and I published an updated and expanded version of our Pathfinder feat tree. Entitled The Elephant in the Room: Feat Taxes in Pathfinder, the document featured a re-imagined version of the entire feat section found in the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Core Rulebook. We had hoped to create an expansive resource for fans of the original blog post.

However, the document had its fair share of grammatical errors and rules ambiguities. In order to correct and clarify these mistakes we’ve released a new version of The Elephant in the Room, which also includes a single heavily-requested rule change. A full list of updates can be found below:

Rules Changes

  • Weapon Proficiency now grants proficiency in Fighter Weapon Groups, not just single weapons.


  • Risky Strike now includes text for off-hand and two-handed weapons.
  • Whirling Cleave and Powerful Stride have been reworded to emphasize that the 5-foot steps they provide are free.
  • The full verbiage for Finesse Weapons, specifically the description for Agile weapons, was cut off in the original printing. It should be present in this document.
  • Hamstring‘s interaction with certain monster types (oozes, elementals, flying creatures) has been clarified and reworded.
  • Savage Charge now explicitly applies to all Vital Strike feats.
  • Deft Maneuvers and Powerful Maneuvers are now properly classified as Combat Feats on the feat table.


  • About a million spelling and layout mistakes have been corrected.
  • The cover has been updated to emerald green to differentiate printings.

One of the more popular requests we’ve received for this rule-set is a more condensed errata. Essentially, “what does this rule-set change from the Core game?” Luckily, the community has stepped up and created a shared Google Doc that does just that. I will be suggesting changes to that document over the next 24 hours, sourced from the above list, so it is fully up-to-date.

Barring the discovery of some catastrophic mistake, this will be the final iteration of The Elephant in the Room. It’s been a lot of fun putting together these rules, but my brother and I would like to shift our focus away from the rule-set in favour of other projects. Plus, I’m not quite sure if there is an appetite for additional changes to the document anyways.

As always, we hope you enjoy the The Elephant in the Room! Let us know if you’re using the rules in your campaign and how you feel about them. We’re also going to be creating a short run of print editions (via the Asquith Press) for friends-and-family use, so I may post some photos of the finished product once they’re ready.


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  • So in your blog post, you make mention that point blank shot is gone and has been replaced by precise shot for the purposes of feat prereqs, however, in the Ranger class rewrite, it is point blank shot is mentioned as a selection for combat style bonus feat.

    So which is it? Gone or not gone for the purposes of observing the feat tax rules?

    • In the rules document, Point Blank Shot still exists. However, it is no longer a prerequisite for Precise Shot. Instead, it is a standalone feat (although it still serves as prerequisite for Point Blank Master).

  • Hey, I’m part of a Westmarches game that’s using Elephant in the Room 2.0 for feat taxes, and I’m trying to make a Gunslinger. I noticed that Rapid Reload’s feat taxes were actually increased over the original version, going by text.

    The original Rapid Reload feat simply required proficiency with the ranged weapon you were applying it for. As such, it was the go-to 1st-level feat for any crossbow or firearm user. But the feat description in Elephant in the Room 2.0 states that it now requires Weapon Focus with the specified fighter group, be that crossbows or slings or anything else.

    But the feat tree table doesn’t reflect this. Instead it says that it only requires Weapon Proficiency (crossbow or sling). As such, I strongly suspect this is a typo of some kind, but since it never came up in errata I figured it hasn’t been caught yet.

    I’d like to ask, however, since text trumps table by RAW, is this intentional?

  • So I’m playing a campaign with these feat tax relievers and I have a question about the extra maneuvers introduced in Advanced Player’s Guide Combat (drag, dirty trick, steal, reposition).

    Is there a reason as to why they seem to be missing mention from certain feats, like Scorpion Style (drag, reposition), and don’t have a mention as no longer having an “Improved X” feat in their chain? They seem slightly forgotten.

    • They were intentionally omitted in this guide, as we focused on Core content almost exclusively. We felt it was too big of an undertaking to include feats from across the entire Pathfinder canon.

  • Hey, what’s up with Improved Dirty Trick and Greater Dirty Trick? The original blog post had Improved as part of Deft Maneuvers, but the PDF omits it and doesn’t mention it at all, aside from the references to the original blog post. Does this mean that Improved Dirty Trick retains the 13 intelligence prerequisite? Is it the same with Steal and Reposition, which are not mentioned in the PDF either, again aside from referring to the original blog post? Seems like an oversight, or needless limitation on Combat Maneuvers that are rarely used to begin with.

    • This rules document heavily focuses on core rules, and dirty trick is part of the Advanced Players Guide. You could certainly home-rule it into your campaign, perhaps as part of Deft Maneuvers.

  • So, a quick question in regards to Rapid Reload in the document:

    The table lists it as requiring proficiency with the weapon you pick RR for, but the entry and explanation states that it for some reason requires weapon focus with the weapon instead?

    I assume that the former of the two is correct because the heck would it be the latter?

By Michael
Michael Iantorno PhD Candidate, Game Designer, and Writer