Saturday, April 25, 2009

Arcane Power: Is the Bardic Ritualist feat too good?

Like Martial Power before it, Arcane Power provides a number of additional multiclass feats for the arcane classes.  Some of these have prerequisites requiring you to already have a multiclass feat before picking them up, but other ones can be the first multiclass feat you take.  Bardic Ritualist is one of these.  The only prerequisite for taking it is that the character have an Int 13 and Cha 13.  For a heroic tier feat, it certainly gives a lot.

To illustrate this, I am going to use my eladrin warlord Almirith as an example.   When Almirith reaches 4th level, I have been considering giving him the Ritual Caster feat.  This would allow me to play up the magical nature of the fey without going the multiclass or hybrid route.  Of course if I went the ritual caster route, I might have to consider taking Skill Training: Arcana down the road, just to make sure I could hit some of those ritual DCs.

On the other hand, I suppose I could just take Bardic Ritualist and get it over with in one shot!  Not only will Bardic Ritualist grant the Arcana skill, duplicating the Skill Training feat, but it grants the Bardic Training class feature as well.  Bardic Training grants the Ritual Training feat, a ritual book with two free rituals, and the ability to perform one bard ritual per day per tier without expending any components.

On top of that, since it is a multiclass feat, you are considered a bard for purposes of qualifying for feats, paragon paths, and epic destinies.  This may not seem like much, but in Almirith’s case it will open up the Feyliege epic destiny.

Now, I am not trying to say that any of this breaks the game.  After all, not everyone wants the Arcana skill or the ability to cast rituals.  So unlike Weapon Expertise or Implement Expertise, this is not the case of a feat that is “too good to pass up”.    However, it does make me wonder why anyone who qualifies for this feat would ever pick up Skill Training: Arcana or Ritual Caster!


Anonymous said...

Wow. I can't believe I didn't notice that feat before. Definitely a bent feat, though not quite broken, I think.

Dennis N. Santana said...

It's an attempt by Wizard's to patch up rituals, I feel. They should have given bardic-style ritual casting to everybody – cheap, strong, and can be cast component-free a certain amount of times. But they didn't.

It's an incredibly strong feat. It doesn't break the game, sure, but it never could. It is unbalanced though.

Dave The Game said...

I think that's one of the weird part of the multiclass feats. Any of them are better than Skill Training as long as you qualify for the requirements, and give an extra bump too. There are probably other multiclass feats that also take the place of an additional feat.

Scott said...

It's strong, but it also closes off other paths.

You can only take multiclass feats from one other class, so if you take this, you're limited to bard multiclass feats.

The one exception to this is the bard class itself, which already has those features.

Ritual Caster is a little weak in comparison, though. I houseruled it in my game to provide the daily component-free ritual. (This also provides that benefit to clerics and wizards automatically, since they start with Ritual Caster.)

Also, I never considered that the feat would automatically grant a ritual book. I figured that was only for starting bards, and have been playing the feat that way -- anyone who takes it gets the ability, but still needs to acquire the rituals, just like with Ritual Caster.

It makes some sense to include a ritual book and a ritual or two as part of the feat -- but I'd add the same to Ritual Caster, in that case.

Scafloc said...

In a word: yes.

Or perhaps I should say that the feat is only slightly too good, and that everyone else who uses rituals got the shaft.