I took 2 levels of monk for mainly to get at level 2 the alternative class feature invisible fist and the feat Improved Trip as a bonus feat from the monk fighting style Passive Way. However, at level 1 the monk fighting style Passive Way gave me the all but useless feat Combat Expertise.

Is there a way to replace the feat Combat Expertise with another feat? I know becoming a dragonborn allows replacing a feat with a Draconic feat, but the DM won't allow my PC to become one.

Is there another method of changing the Combat Expertise bonus feat to another feat?

Note: Official 3.5 material only. Dragon and other magazines are unacceptable. All other material is allowed except, for story reasons, the dragonborn.

  • \$\begingroup\$ "my DM does not let me" - what material your DM will actually let you use? What he agreed to? Without that info, providing answers you will actually be able to use is next to impossible. Are all templates off limits? What publications, in addition to Dragon Magazine he banned? And so on. \$\endgroup\$ – Mołot Jul 15 '19 at 10:20

You may not have to if the DM'll let you retcon just a little

Unearthed Arcana on Monk Variant: Fighting Styles, in part, says

A monk can abandon her fighting style by selecting a different bonus feat at 2nd or 6th level; however, if she does so, she loses the bonus on skill checks gained at 1st level and never gains the bonus ability of the fighting style (even if she meets the prerequisites). (52)

In other words, at level 1 the monk could've avoided the Combat Expertise feat by taking a bonus feat from a fighting style other than Passive way (like the Overwhelming Attack fighting style that at level 1 grants the bonus feat Power Attack). Then, at level 2, the monk could've gained the feat Improved Trip from the fighting style Passive Way. All that such a multi-styled monk gives up at level 2 is a +2 bonus on a specific skill. (The fighting style Passive Way, for example, grants a +2 bonus on Bluff skill checks.)

The rule's kind of buried, phrased poorly, and easily overlooked. Explaining to the DM that you were unaware of the rule might be enough for the DM to allow you to change the feat without the need for in-game explanation.

Note: This answer isn't meant as a comprehensive solution to the broader issues the question raises but is instead an effort to address the asker's specific problem.


The other answers offer some options, but I'd like to offer another option. Bear in mind that the below uses content from Fiendish Codex I and is to some considered cheese....

Dark Chaos Shuffle

This is considered a pretty simple way of getting rid of feats gained from class features or other sources that are unwanted.

The first is to find someone who can cast the Embrace the Dark Chaos spell on you, which has the following benefit:

The subject immediately gains one Abyssal heritor feat for which it qualifies, chosen by you at the time of casting. If the subject does not qualify for the designated feat, the spell fails. This Abyssal heritor feat replaces one feat of the subject's choice that it already possesses. The replaced feat need not have been an Abyssal heritor feat.... ....Once the subject has the Abyssal heritor feat, only a miracle, shun the dark chaos, or wish spell can reverse the change.

Which sounds like it doesn't really help because I'm guessing you are not looking to replace it with an Abyssal Heritor feat. That's where Shun the Dark Chaos comes in:

If the subject possesses any Abyssal heritor feats, one of them is immediately removed and replaced by any other feat for which the subject qualifies (except an Abyssal heritor feat). The subject chooses both the feat lost and its replacement.

This allows us to replace an Abyssal Heritor feat(like the one gained from Embrace the Dark Chaos) and replace it with ANY OTHER FEAT.

Combining the two: We go from wasted feat to wasted Abyssal feat to finally actually helpful feat that we select.


The are several methods of changing feats after the fact.

The Retraining rules from Players Handbook II allow you to replace feats after the fact.

The general Retraining rules start on p.191, the feat retraining rules are found on p.193.

The psionic power Psychic Reformation allows one to retroactively select anew feats, spells, skills, and powers taken at previous levels, for a modest XP cost.

Note that the Oriental Adventures book (and the 3.5 update) allow monks to take a large number of specified feats, and do not require that a monk had to stick to any one set of feats.

At 1st, 2nd, and 6th level, a monk can sacrifice a class ability (stunning attack at 1st, Deflect Arrows at 2nd, or Improved Trip at 6th) in order to gain a different bonus martial arts feat. The monk can choose any feat listed on Table 6–1: Martial Arts Feats, but she must meet all the prerequisites for the feat she selects.

This rule, along with the Unearthed Arcana rule mentioned elsewhere will allow you to pick totally different feats when using either retroactive method.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Any indication that retraining rules even work for this case? I was under impression that these can only change choices player made, and this particular feat was just given to OP from a class, without any choice. Could you please include quote that shows retraining actually helps? Pretty much the same for Psychic Reformation - these two can change fighting style choice, yes, but only one feat included in that choice? \$\endgroup\$ – Mołot Jul 15 '19 at 14:36
  • \$\begingroup\$ The rule in OA allows monks to pick any feat from table 6-1. Yes they have to qualify for it, however it does allow a monk to pick feats other than what is granted by the monk class. Therefore, when using retraining or Psy Ref, they can then pick any of the qualified feats in question, not just the two listed in the monk class. The rule gives a larger, though still finite, list to choose from. \$\endgroup\$ – nijineko Jul 15 '19 at 16:29

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.