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View Full Version : D&D 3.x Other Variations on a Theme: Skill Focus



Zaydos
2015-10-08, 08:44 PM
Welcome warrior-princesses and sorcerer-kings to something new to try. What is this you ask? Variations on a Theme is where we take something already in existence, in this case the notoriously bad, or at best niche, feat Skill Focus. So we will be presenting variant forms of Skill Focus. New feats to fill a similar niche, or even replace it as a prerequisite like Midnight Dodge or Desert Wind Dodge does for Dodge. Why do I keep saying 'we'? Because I am inviting you to join in and provide your own examples as well. I will be avoiding direct 'fixes', I may provide feats which are better versions, but if so they will have a downside of some sort (have to sacrifice animals, must be Exalted in behavior) and/or increased prerequisites. Feel free to bring your own additions, I'll either link them in the OP, or if they are small enough (say a feat) add them to it. Let's get some community brew in the still. And since there's only so much Skill Focus-ing to do feel free to bring your old stuff as well as the new. And my seriousness with some of these feats may be in question.


Variations on a Theme: Skill Focus

Insert table here if needed.


Feats:

5e Skill Focus [General, Tongue-in-Cheek]
You may add your proficiency bonus to one skill.
Benefit: When you take this feat select one skill. You add your proficiency bonus to checks with this skill.
Special: This feat counts as Skill Focus for the purpose of prerequisites.
Special: You may take this feat multiple times, each time you must select a different skill.

Azure Skill Focus [Incarnum]:
You are able to focus yourself in certain aspects by investing essentia.
Prerequisites: Con 13+.
Benefit: Select a number of skills equal to your permanent essentia capacity for feats +2. Select one of these skills as 'primary'. When you invest essentia into this feat select a number of skills selected for this feat equal to the invested essentia, you must select your primary skill first, you gain a +3 bonus to each skill selected this way.
You gain 1 point of essentia.
Special: This feat counts as Skill Focus in your primary skill for the purpose of prerequisites.

Azure Terror [Incarnum]:
You can use incarnum to generate terror and dread in others.
Prerequisites: Con 13+, Intimidate 4 ranks.
Benefit: When essentia is invested in this feat you gain a bonus to Intimidate checks equal to 1 + the invested essentia.
In addition 1/day per point of essentia invested in this feat you may release a burst of fearful energy as a swift action. Enemies within 30 ft must make a Will save (DC 10 + your hit dice + invested essentia) or be shaken for 1d4+1 rounds.
You gain 1 point of essentia.
Special: Azure Terror may be used in place of Skill Focus (Intimidate) to qualify for feats, prestige classes, and other special abilities unless they require both Azure Terror and Skill Focus (Intimidate).

Bestial Skill Focus [Monstrous]:
I just finally checked Skill Focus's fluffy description and I've been trying way too hard on these. You have a knack for a skill based off of you monstrous nature.
Prerequisites: RHD or LA.
Benefit: When you take this feat select one skill. You gain a bonus to this skill equal to 2 plus your RHD and LA.
Special: This feat counts as Skill Focus for the purpose of prerequisites.
Special: You may take this feat multiple times, each time you must select a different skill.

Commander's Skill Focus [General]:
You are familiar enough with your chosen skill to teach as well as do.
Prerequisites: Cha 13+.
Benefits: When you take this feat select one skill. You and all allies within 30 ft which can hear you gain a +2 bonus to checks with this skill.
Special: This feat counts as Skill Focus for the purpose of prerequisites.
Special: You may take this feat multiple times, each time you must select a different skill.

Cytoplasmic Skill Focus [Simic]:
You are able to manifest a nodule of your accumulated skill in a single field.
Prerequisites: Ability to bestow cytoplasmic grafts (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?402250-Simic-Biomancer-%28M-tG-based-PEACH%29-SHOULD-I-MAKE-MORE-LIKE-THIS).
Benefit: When you take this feat select one skill. You gain a +3 bonus to checks with this skill. You may transfer the bonus granted by this feat to another creature as if it were a cytoplasmic graft and it counts against their maximum grafts born but is not a cytoplasmic graft.
Special: This feat counts as Skill Focus for the purpose of prerequisites.
Special: You may take this feat multiple times, each time you must select a different skill.

Dark Skill Focus [General]:
You have a special knack for using a skill in the dark.
Benefits: When you take this feat select one skill. You gain a +2 bonus to that skill as long as you are not in natural sunlight (a daylight spell does not disable this), this increase to +3 bonus as long as you are in shadowy illumination and +4 if you are in total darkness.
Special: This feat counts as Skill Focus for the purpose of prerequisites.
Special: You may take this feat multiple times, each time you must select a different skill.

Draconic Skill Focus [Draconic]:
You gain mastery in the skills of your draconic ancestor.
Prerequisites: Draconic Heritage.
Benefit: You gain a +3 bonus to the skills listed as Tutelary Skills (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?394552-Dragonsoul-Acolytye-%28Base-Class-Base-Class-Contest-XXIV-winner%29) for your draconic ancestor.
Special: This counts as skill focus in the associated skills.

Dwarven Skill Focus [Racial]:
You are able to turn your dwarven constitution to an asset in even the strangest of situations.
Prerequisites: Dwarf, Con 13+.
Benefit: When you take this feat select one skill. You gain a bonus to this skill equal to your Constitution modifier.
Special: This feat counts as Skill Focus for the purpose of prerequisites.
Special: You may take this feat multiple times, each time you must select a different skill.

Emergency Skill Focus [General]
When the stakes are high and the danger is real your real talent in a skill shows itself.
Benefits: When you take this feat select one skill. You gain a +5 bonus to checks with this skill as long as you have less than 1/3rd your maximum health and there is a clear and present danger which threatens you at this moment (as opposed to will do things to you in a day or two) beyond simply the consequences of a failed check (it does not apply to balancing across a tight wire over a lava pit... unless murderous dire bats are attacking you as you do so).
Special: This feat counts as Skill Focus for the purpose of prerequisites.
Special: You may take this feat multiple times, each time you must select a different skill.

Exalted Skill Focus [Exalted]
Your faithfulness and purity of spirit provide you with excellence in your chosen vocation.
Benefits: When you take this feat select one skill. You gain a bonus to checks with this skill equal to the number of Exalted feats you possess plus 1.
Special: This feat counts as Skill Focus for the purpose of prerequisites.
Special: You may take this feat multiple times, each time you must select a different skill.

Expansive Skill Focus [General]
Your focus is not limited to one skill but expands to all that share aspects with it.
Prerequisite: Skill Focus or a feat with Skill Focus in its name.
Benefit: You gain a +3 bonus to any skill which shares a key ability modifier with a skill that receives a bonus from a Skill Focus feat or feat with Skill Focus in its name and which does not already receive the bonus of a Skill Focus feat or feat with Skill Focus in its name. For example if you had Skill Focus (Bluff) and Skill Focus (Diplomacy) you'd gain a +3 bonus to all other Cha based skills besides Bluff and Diplomacy, if instead you had Skill Focus (Bluff) and Skill Focus (Spellcraft) you'd gain a +3 bonus to all Cha and Int based skills besides Bluff and Spellcraft... if you had Sublime Skill Focus you'd gain a +3 bonus to all Dex based skills besides Balance when in a Stone Dragon stance and to all Cha based skills besides Diplomacy when in a White Raven stance.

Familiar Skill Focus [General]
You gain increased benefits from your familiar.
Prerequisites: Ability to summon a familiar.
Benefit: If your familiar grants a bonus to a skill you gain an additional +3 bonus to that skill. If it does not you gain a +3 bonus to Concentration.
Special: This counts as Skill Focus in the affected skill for the purposes of prerequisites.

Fighter's Skill Focus [General, Fighter]
Your mastery of combat adds to your mastery of skills.
Benefit: When you take this feat select one skill. You gain a bonus to checks with this skill equal to 1 + the number of Fighter Bonus Feats, or Warblade Bonus Feats, you possess. This is not the number of feats from that list, but the number of Bonus Feat abilities you possess, and other bonus feats drawn from the Fighter bonus feat list may count for this purpose (such as Feat Rogue, Simic Initiate, or some PrCs and who knows what all else).
Special: This feat counts as Skill Focus for the purpose of prerequisites.
Special: You may take this feat multiple times, each time you must select a different skill.
Special: A fighter or warblade may select this feat as one of their bonus feats.

Forsaker's Skill Focus [General]
You are a master at doing things the hard way gaining a benefit to a skill as long as you accept no aid from magic upon it.
Benefit: When you take this feat select one skill. You gain a bonus to checks with this skill equal to 2 + 1/2 your character level as long as you receive no bonus to this skill from spell effects or magic items.
Special: This feat counts as Skill Focus for the purpose of prerequisites.
Special: You may take this feat multiple times, each time you must select a different skill.

Gnostic Skill Focus [Gnostic (www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?439108-Gnostic-What-use-is-your-fixation-on-Good-or-Evil-It-is-not-a-matter-of-or-but-and)]
You are more thoroughly attuned to the ways that your alignment guides your skills.
Prerequisites: Gnostic Skills.
Benefits: You gain a +3 to checks made with your (current) Gnostic Skills. For example if you are Lawful Good you gain a +3 to Heal and Sense Motive, and if you are Chaotic Neutral you gain a +3 to Bluff and Survival. If you are LG and change to NE you'd lose the +3 to Heal and Sense Motive and gain +3 to Diplomacy and Intimidate.

Gnostic Skill Mastery [Gnostic (www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?439108-Gnostic-What-use-is-your-fixation-on-Good-or-Evil-It-is-not-a-matter-of-or-but-and)]
You are capable of performing your Gnostic Skills with near perfect precision even when stressed or otherwise distracted.
Prerequisites: Gnostic Skill Focus, Gnostic Level 7+.
Benefits: You may take 10 on your (current) Gnostic Skills even if distracted or threatened.

Knowledge Skill Focus [General]
You are knowledgeable gaining proficiency in all fields of knowledge.
Benefit: You gain a +1 bonus to Knowledge checks (including Bardic Music/Lore) and can make use all Knowledge skills untrained.
Special: This feat counts as Skill Focus in any Knowledge skill for the purpose of prerequisites, but only 1 knowledge skill for any given set of prerequisites (if something requires Skill Focus Knowledge Arcana and Skill Focus Knowledge Religion you can count is as either but not both).

Nude Skill Focus [General, Tongue-in-Cheek]
You are adept at using a skill when unadorned with magic items or chakra binds.
Prerequisites: 12+ ranks in the selected skill.
Benefit: When you take this feat select one skill. You gain a +1 bonus to checks with this skill for each body slot you have that is not occupied by a magic item or chakra bind.
Special: This feat counts as Skill Focus for the purpose of prerequisites.
Special: You may take this feat multiple times, each time you must select a different skill.

Oaf's Skill Focus [General, Tongue-in-Cheek]
You do not learn many skills, but in this thing you are a master.
Benefit: When you take this feat select one skill. You gain a +2 bonus to checks with this skill +2 more for every point of Intelligence penalty you suffer.
Special: This feat counts as Skill Focus for the purpose of prerequisites.
Special: You may take this feat multiple times, each time you must select a different skill.

Peaceful Skill Focus [General]
Your a master of a skill... as long as there is no clear or present danger.
Benefit: When you take this feat select one skill. You gain a +4 bonus to checks with this skill as long as there is no clear and present danger which threatens you at this moment (as opposed to will do things to you in a day or two).
Special: This feat counts as Skill Focus for the purpose of prerequisites.
Special: You may take this feat multiple times, each time you must select a different skill.

Practiced Skill Focus [General]
You have studied a chosen skill to perfection and are at your best when luck is against you.
Benefit: When you take this feat select one skill. You gain a +1 bonus to checks with this skill if you roll a 17 or higher, a +2 if you roll an 13 to 16, a +3 if you roll a 9 to 12, a +4 if you roll a 5 to 8, a +5 if you roll a 2 to 4, and a +8 if you roll a 1.
Special: This feat counts as Skill Focus for the purpose of prerequisites.
Special: You may take this feat multiple times, each time you must select a different skill.

Psionic Skill Focus [Psionic]
You have taught yourself to use your psionic focus to sharpen your skill.
Benefit: When you take this feat select one skill. You gain a +4 bonus to checks with this skill as long as you are psionically focused.
Special: This feat counts as Skill Focus for the purpose of prerequisites.
Special: You may take this feat multiple times, each time you must select a different skill.

Recitation of Skill Focus [Recitation]
This recitation heightens your skill.
Prerequisites: Truespeak 4 ranks, ability to speak utterances, must know your own personal true name.
Benefit: When you utter this recitation select a skill and you gain a +3 bonus to checks with that skill for 1 minute.

Skill Adept [General]
You are capable of drawing out even greater heights of potency from those skills you have chosen to specialize in.
Prerequisites: Skill Focus or other feat with Skill Focus in its name.
Benefit: You gain an additional +3 bonus to any skill for which you have Skill Focus or gain a bonus to from [insert description] Skill Focus.

Skill Adept, Exaggerated [General]:
You are capable of performing Exaggerated feats with those skills you have chosen to focus in.
Prerequisites: Skill Adept.
Benefit: You gain the ability to further activate Skill Focus feats you possess and/or [insert description] Skill Focus feats each once per day as a free action (if you have 3 instances of Skill Focus you can activate each one separately once per day). When you activate a feat this way you gain the associated Least Exaggerated Skill of the skill that feat grants a bonus to if you did not already have it, maintaining that benefit for 1 minute; if you have at least 16 ranks in the associated skill you gain the benefits of the Lesser Exaggerated Skill associated with it as well. Your Tall Tale level for the purpose of Exaggerated Skills granted to you by this feat is your Tall Tale level or 1/2 your Character level (whichever is higher). If you use this ability to activate Sublime Skill Focus and switch stances (thus switching the skill benefiting from Sublime Skill Focus) the granted Exaggerated Skill switches as well.

Sublime Skill Focus [General]
Entering a martial stance you put your mind into the methods of that discipline, gaining an aptitude for its associated skill.
Prerequisite: 1 Martial Stance.
Benefit: While in a martial stance you gain a +3 bonus to the skill associated with that stance's discipline.

Universal Skill Focus [General]
You are adept at skills.
Prerequisites: 3 or more feats which counts as Skill Focus or has Skill Focus in its name.
Benefit: You gain a +3 bonus to all skills; this bonus does not stack with Skill Focus, any feat with Skill Focus in its name, any feat which counts as Skill Focus.
Special: This feat counts as all Skill Focus feats for the purposes of prerequisites.

Vile Skill Focus [Vile]
Who needs dedication and training to an art when dark pacts and sold souls can grant a fast road to power?
Benefit: When you take this feat select a skill. You gain a +2 profane bonus to that skill. By sacrificing an animal to the dark powers you may increase this to a +3 bonus for 1 day. By sacrificing a sapient creature you can increase this to a +4 bonus for 1 day. By sacrificing a humanoid you can increase this to a +5 bonus for 1 day. By ritualistically sacrificing an Outsider with the Good subtype or a humanoid child you can increase this to a +6 bonus for 1 day. A creature whose alignment is evil and whose species is Always [insert] Evil does not count as a valid sacrifice. A creature which it is in your interest to kill for reasons other than as part of a vile feat is grants a bonus 2 less than it would otherwise (if you kill an animal and plan to eat it you get no bonus, if you sacrifice a defeated enemy you only get a +3 total). A ritualistic sacrifice for this feat takes 1 minute and involves reciting an incantation to the dark powers which grant it to you. If you select Craft or Profession with this feat all bonuses last 1 week instead of 1 day.
Special: This feat counts as Skill Focus for the purposes of prerequisites.
Special: You may take this feat multiple times, each time you must select a different skill, however a single sacrifice functions for all instances of Vile Skill Focus as long as the dark beings with which you made a pact are the same for all instances.


Flaws:

Skill Focused:
You are overly focused on one type of skill causing you to suffer in other regards.
Effect: Select one skill. You suffer a -1 penalty on skills which do not share a key ability score with the selected skill unless it is a Knowledge skill, in which case you suffer a -1 penalty on non-Knowledge skills.
Special: You must select a feat which counts as Skill Focus for your selected skill as the bonus feat granted by this flaw.


House Rules and Fixes:

My personal house rule with Skill Focus is that it adds the selected skill to your Class Skills list for all classes. I would apply this to any of the above feats which require you to select 1 specific skill (such as Exalted Skill Focus or Commander's Skill Focus) even to Azure Skill Focus's 'primary skill' but not to those which have a fixed skill you do not select (Azure Terror) or which function equally for multiple skills (Draconic Skill Focus, Gnostic Skill Focus, or Sublime Skill Focus).