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Related to this question: Can I take a feat at level 1 if I use my skill points to meet the prerequisite skill ranks?, and specifically this rule text:

Some feats have prerequisites. Your character must have the indicated ability score, class feature, feat, skill, base attack bonus, or other quality designated in order to select or use that feat. A character can gain a feat at the same level at which he or she gains the prerequisite.

We are allowed two flaws; that means we get 3 feats at level 1. Now, if I wanted to take 2 metamagic feats -- lets call them X and Y -- each with the prerequisite: any other metamagic feat.

Is it legal to take X and Y at first level, without taking any other metamagic feat?

After the character gained the level, both prerequisites are fulfilled. But one could reasonably argue that during the level-up process, they are not.

I say that, because 'A character can gain a feat at the same level at which he or she gains the prerequisite', this is OK.

Am I right or wrong?

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2 Answers 2

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No.

Character Advancement
When adding new levels of an existing class or adding levels of a new class (see Multiclassing, below), make sure to take the following steps in order. First, select your new class level. You must be able to qualify for this level before any of the following adjustments are made. Second, apply any ability score increases due to gaining a level. Third, integrate all of the level's class abilities and then roll for additional hit points. Finally, add new skills and feats.

The order of how you level matters. You're allowed take a feat the same level you gain the prerequisites only because gaining feats is the last thing you do. If the prerequisite is a skill, spell, or ability, you already have it by the time you take the feat.

Of course, if the prerequisite is another feat, you must already have the prerequisite feat before you can take the desired feat. However, since character advancement is an ordered process, if you gain multiple feats in a level1, you can choose to take the prerequisite feat first. You can now take the desired feat.

In your example, you can take neither feat first since neither feat has its prerequisite met.


1 Class abilities that give bonus feats give them at the time you normally add new feats (after skill points). It's unclear if you choose your standard feat before your bonus feat or vice versa, but I would generally allow players to select feats in any order if it matters.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ At first level, though, is at character creation. Wouldn't taking both feats then be allowed? \$\endgroup\$
    – okeefe
    Apr 19, 2012 at 19:29
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    \$\begingroup\$ @okeefe Character creation is also an ordered process. Note that the quote says "at the same level" and not "at the same time." \$\endgroup\$
    – dlras2
    Apr 19, 2012 at 19:31
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While the accepted answer may be correct for Pathfinder, the question is tagged as D&D 3.5e, so I'll answer it for that game. In the case of 3.5e:

Yes, you can.

As seen in this answer, in 3.5e you gain class features AFTER you choose your feats. Now, let us assume that this question's accepted answer is correct. That is:

You're allowed take a feat the same level you gain the prerequisites only because gaining feats is the last thing you do.

Having this in mind, let's look at some feat examples that have a special interaction with 1st-level characters:

  1. Tattoo Focus (PGtF): Can only be taken by a level 1 character, but requires you to be "Specialized in a school of magic", which is always a class feature (which are gained after feats). So this feat, as written, could never be taken by any character.
  2. Twin Sword Style (PGtF): Can only be taken by some races at level 1. If you are a human (one of the races specifically allowed), you would NOT be able to take this feat, because the only way you could gain Martial Weapon Proficiency is via a class feature, which you gain after you select your feats.
  3. All the [Bloodline] feats have clauses ruling what happens when you take them after first level. However, as written, they cannot be taken at first level at all, because they require spellcasting, which you only get after you select your first-level feats.

As you can see, these feats are either non-functional or weirdly-written with our current assumptions. Now, let us abandon our original assumption that the accepted answer is correct. Instead, we will take the following quote at face value:

A character can gain a feat at the same level at which he or she gains the prerequisite.

That is: effectively, feats only check for their prerequisites at the END of the leveling process, after you have finished choosing all your character options for that level.

Using this reading, the examples mentioned above pose no problem with the rules as written. Thus, as it is a reading that causes less conflicts, it should be preferred.

This reading DOES allow you to take the theoretical X and Y feats mentioned in the question at level 1.

However, it has one other consequence for the Sanctum Spell feat: its requirements are "Any metamagic feat", not "Any other metamagic feat". This means that it is self-qualifying, and since prerequisites are only checked at the end of the leveling process, you can always take this feat, even if you have no other metamagic feat, because you will have at least one metamagic feat (Sanctum Spell) at the end of the leveling process. This is also of consequence to Luck feats, many of which have a prerequisite of "any X luck feats" (where X is a number).

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  • \$\begingroup\$ I'm not sure how much of an impact it has on your answer, but answers to that other question cover advancing a level. Creating a new 1st level character—absurdly—follows slightly different rules (see PH 6). \$\endgroup\$ Sep 22, 2022 at 0:56
  • \$\begingroup\$ It changes a lot actually, as my main issue has always been those examples that are dysfunctional with the level advancement order. I did not know that character creation actually followed a different order! Since feats come last during character creation, those example feats actually become functional using the original answer's argument. Pathfinder was very wise to make both orders the same, I really don't understand why in 3.5e leveling they decided to make class features come after feats, it makes no sense. Now I don't know if I should edit my answer or delete it :s \$\endgroup\$
    – SonGuhun
    Sep 22, 2022 at 4:45
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    \$\begingroup\$ Yeah, it's weird. I just skimmed PH 58–9, and—correct me if I'm wrong—it doesn't actually say those need to be done in order. It says, "When your character attains a new level, make these changes," and those changes are enumerated, but does the game say they must actually be done in that order? Could they be numbered for, for example, easy reference instead being numbered to indicate steps in a process? \$\endgroup\$ Sep 22, 2022 at 7:54

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