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

the elephant in the room logo, featuring a foiled pachyderm face on a green faux-leather background

The Elephant in the Room v3.0 (Download)

In 2018, my brother and I published a PDF version of our Pathfinder feat tree, designed to encapsulate and expand upon the modifications suggested in our original blog post. Entitled The Elephant in the Room: Feat Taxes in Pathfinder, the document features a re-imagined version of the entire feat section found in the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Core Rulebook plus some appendices to aid with usability. To our bewilderment, the document has now been downloaded tens of thousands of times and has proven to be one of the most popular Pathfinder homebrew rulesets in the world.

Three years later, we are releasing a small update to the document that is centered around a trio of key changes.

  • First, we have corrected numerous errors in the document, mostly related to typos and layout.
  • Second, we have updated the back page ad-sheet to include some projects that we are particularly excited about.
  • Finally, we have shifted the hosting of the document from this website to the Mammoth Island page as a pay-what-you-want download.

This is intended to be the final iteration of The Elephant in the Room, and we currently don’t plan on implementing further changes beyond correcting glaring mistakes. However, we may have some news regarding a vanity run of print copies, which we felt would be a nice way to cap off nearly ten years of pachyderm-inspired Pathfinder.


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  • One of the abilities from the original blog post (the one regarding martial mastery…and the concept of feats affecting entire weapon groups instead of individual weapons)…is missing. Any particular reason for that change? I liked that clause from the original…

    • I think we did adjust some feats to adopt the idea of weapon groups. If we missed a few, you can generally assume that weapon feats apply to rules.

  • You do not provoke an attack of opportunity when performing a trip or disarm combat maneuver. In addition, you receive a +2 bonus on checks with trip and disarm combat maneuvers, and you can make a Bluff check to feint in combat as a move action. You also receive a +2 bonus to your Combat Maneuver Defense whenever an opponent tries to trip or disarm you… deft maneuvers only trip or disarm bonus. where steal and dirty trick?

  • Why does Defensive Stance only apply its penalty to melee attacks? I understand that it’s supposed to be a replacement for Combat Expertise, which only applied to melee attacks, but it’s also supposed to be a replacement for Fighting Defensively, which worked with both melee and ranged attacks.

By Michael