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I recently asked whether it's possible to count as evil to qualify for feats. The only answer so far is that having the [Evil] subtype makes you count as evil (in addition to your normal alignment) for "effects" that depend on alignment.

Does a feat count as an effect?

I'm inclined to say "yes", because they are ultimately not that different from spells and similar (especially spells like polymorph any object/baleful polymorph which create a permanent physical change). Are there differences? Of course, but there are also differences between spell effects, supernatural ability effects, and environmental effects like being on fire. The differences are mostly in duration and end conditions (and trigger conditions, but those vary wildly). Feats are permanent (as are many effects) and are ended if the character with the feat no longer meats the prerequisites (rather like how Inspire Courage, for example, ends if you're no longer within 30ft of the Bard, or how Smite Evil fails if the target isn't Evil).

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The word effect is used a lot in D&D 3.5e, but is rarely ever defined—and when it is, it is defined in a particular narrow scope that clearly does not encompass its entire meaning. For example, the rules explaining how spell descriptions work discuss the “Effect” entry in some spells, but simulataneously use the word “effect” for various other aspects of the spell—most importantly, what the spell overall does, whether it uses an “Effect” entry or not. And magic items apply “effects,” as do conditions, and so on and so forth.

The one time we got “official” word on the subject is from the notorious CustServ response to a question regarding what, exactly, iron heart surge actually does. That response is notorious because it’s absurd and leads to preposterous situations like a warblade being able to turn off the sun if it’s making it hard for him to see. That particular episode is one of the strongest reasons I put “official” in scare quotes when discussing CustServ... But anyway, going by that answer, which uses an incredibly broad definition, then feats are probably effects because just about anything at all is.

So ultimately, no one knows; everyone has to just decide for themselves. Which obviously causes problems when two people decide differently at the same table—sure, the DM gets the final say, but that doesn’t stop the other player from feeling frustrated by the situation, which isn’t great. When in doubt, discuss it with your DM.

I have never had a problem with evil-subtype-but-not-evil-alignment creatures qualifying for feats and prestige classes that require being evil.

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