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I'm considering building a controller bard, as described in Treatmonk's Guide.

Given that Weapon Focus is a requirement for Dazzling Display, and that you can't take Weapon Focus until you have at least a +1 BAB, it seems that by default these will (at earliest) be the character's 3rd and 5th level feats. I'm curious about ways for a Bard to get faster access to Dazzling Display.

The Human alternate race trait Adoptive Parentage says:

Choose one humanoid race without the human subtype...If the race does not have weapon familiarity, you gain either Skill Focus or Weapon Focus as a bonus feat that is appropriate for that race instead.

This sounds promising: It could actually grant Dazzling Display at 1st level...but it requires being raised by a reasonable humanoid race. Any ideas? Bonus points if it might make sense for a Rise of the Runelords character.

The only other things I can think of involve multiclassing, which I haven't rules out but which really changes my vision for the character. Specifically, starting with:

  • 2 levels of Cavalier (Order of the Cockatrice) gets (an improved version of) Dazzling Display, without ever needing to take Weapon Focus...but it's 2 levels away from Bard
  • 1 level of Oracle (Battle Mystery) lets one take the Weapon Mastery revelation, which could grant Weapon Focus at first level, or
  • 1 level of any full BAB class, e.g. Fighter, can get Dazzling Display at 1st level. Fighter can even get it for a race other than human, due to the Fighter bonus feat.

What am I missing? Any other ways worth considering? Any suggestions for a reasonable adoptive parentage, especially given a character who should fit thematically in a Good party playing the Rise of the Rulelords AP?

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Convince your DM that the BAB +1 requirement on Weapon Focus is exceedingly stupid (as is the feat tax on Dazzling Display in the first place) and ask him to houserule you something? –  KRyan Jan 23 at 20:09
    
From a fluff perspective (rather than balance) the feat tax does make sense! - BAB+1 and Weapon Focus together mean that you're really familiar with that weapon, the weight of it, and the handling. So much so that you can show off your skill, perhaps throw it up and catch it or slash it through the air in such a way that people know they're in biiiig trouble. You're getting them scared rather than laughing at you for playing around with the weapon, that's actually quite a feat (no pun intended). -- Still if you have other sources of weapon skill you should be able to do without weapon focus. –  Julix Jan 24 at 0:25

1 Answer 1

up vote 3 down vote accepted

Retraining

If I understand correctly, your problem is that any feats on Bard level 1 can't go towards Dazzling Display, because you need Weapon Focus first, and to get that you need 1 BAB. However once you're level two, you could, but you already spent the 1st level feats on other things.

According to the official FAQ, retraining is a great option for you:

Retraining: Can I retrain a feat to replace it with a feat I didn't qualify for at the level I originally gained that feat?

Yes. As long as the new feat is a valid feat for your current character, you can retrain the old feat and replace it with the new feat.

For example, if you are a 3rd-level rogue who took Improved Initiative at 1st level, you can retrain that feat and replace it with Weapon Focus. Even though Weapon Focus has a prerequisite of "base attack bonus +1" (which means you couldn't take it as a 1st-level rogue), it is a valid feat for your current level (3rd), and is therefore a valid choice for retraining.

(Note: Likewise, the fighter class ability to retrain fighter bonus feats does not require you to meet all of the new feat's prerequisites at the level you originally gained the feat.)

Here's how that would look for a 2nd level human Bard:

Costs 10 × your level × the number of days required to retrain = 10 gp/lvl/day x 2 lvl x 5 days/feat x 2 feats

Total cost: 10 days @ 8h/day and 200 gp / 2 feats

Note also that

Some retraining options require you to work with a trainer. If no suitable trainer is available, the GM might allow you to retrain yourself by spending twice the normal time. Even if you train yourself, you must still pay the cost for training (though you don't double the cost as you do the time). Any option that requires a trainer also requires some kind of training facility for that activity.

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I don't know if using a whip (or scaring people real good with dazzling display) is something you can figure out on your own, or if it requires facilities. If you're still in the character creation part of things and starting at lvl 2 make this part of his back story; otherwise (if you're starting at lvl 1) be creative with your training role-play and perhaps start it before you even reach level 2. Buy candles and whip out the flame over and over every night before you go to bed? Let the loud snap of the whip roar near party member's faces, just out of reach to practice scaring people? Enjoy! –  Julix Jan 24 at 0:20

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