Boosting Less-Useful Options in PF1

Look, there are options in PF1 that, though not terrible, are simply and easily identified as less-potent than alternatives with the same cost *be that in gp, exp., feat slots, or whatever). These things aren’t bad, they’re just not as good. And, thus, players often don’t care much about them, and they do not interject any excitement into the game.

Which means there’s a lot of material that’s unlikely to get used in your game, and won’t spark excitement if it does.

But it can.

Here are four options to make players excited about gaining less-than-stellar options. Of course it does that by making them cheaper, more useful, or both. So, there are pure power-ups. I wouldn’t recommend using more than one of these options in a campaign, and even then only if you want some power-up and to see new toys get used more often.

Generally Competent: At each level, PCs gain a bonus feat. This must be a general feat, cannot also be any other type of feat, and cannot have any prerequisites. It must be a feat no other PC has taken. (If two players want the same feat at the same level, have them roll d20s with highest-roll going first. If someone wins such a rolloff, they automatically lose against a player who has won fewer rolloffs.)

No “I” In Adventurer: At each level after 1st, the PCs all gain a bonus teamwork feat. Only one of them has to meet its prerequisites. If the players can’t decide on a teamwork feat, they vote among the choices, with a rolloff deciding any tie.

The Magicker the Merrier: At each level, the PCs all gain a bonus feat for which they meet the prerequisites. This must be a feat of the Blood Hex, Conduit, Damnation, Item Creation, Item Mastery, Medatation, or Metamagic type.

The Useless Magic Item Tango: Once per day, a PC can have a magic item use their character level as its caster level, rather than its listed level. Alternatively, once a day they can have an item’s save DC be calculated as 1/2 character level + highest ability modifier.

If you are enjoying any of these, please consider adding a drop of support through my Patreon campaign!, or dropping a cup of coffee worth of support at my Ko-Fi (which is also filled with pics of my roommate’s cat).


About Owen K.C. Stephens

Owen K.C. Stephens Owen Kirker Clifford Stephens is a full-time ttRPG Writer, designer, developer, publisher, and consultant. He's the publisher for Rogue Genius Games, and has served as the Starfinder Design Lead for Paizo Publishing, the Freeport and Pathfinder RPG developer for Green Ronin, a developer for Rite Publishing, and the Editor-in-Chief for Evil Genius Games. Owen has written game material for numerous other companies, including Wizards of the Coast, Kobold Press, White Wolf, Steve Jackson Games and Upper Deck. He also consults, freelances, and in the off season, sleeps. He has a Pateon which supports his online work. You can find it at

Posted on February 9, 2022, in Game Design, Pathfinder Development and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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