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I was wondering if there was a core pathfinder method to increase the size of the "aura" that the Holy Tactician 3rd level ability grants. I am not looking for a combat application, but a out of combat one as the only teamwork feats I plan on sharing are stealth and favored terrain based. Best option is a reasonably priced magic item (10k), but while feats are tight I could spend ONE for this. I might even consider a level dip into something.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Could you link or otherwise indicate the magic item you mention? I can’t find it. Since my answer relies on trying to guess at the intent of known-to-be-bad rules, other elements that reference and interact with those rules may provide evidence, perhaps. \$\endgroup\$
    – KRyan
    Feb 24, 2021 at 5:57
  • \$\begingroup\$ @KRyan I dont know of any item which is why Im asking the question \$\endgroup\$
    – Fering
    Feb 24, 2021 at 15:10
  • \$\begingroup\$ Oooooh, I misread that—I thought you were saying “best option [I have found so far] is a reasonably priced magic item, but [I am looking for more and] feats are tight.” Rereading, though, I have no idea where I came up with that extra context. \$\endgroup\$
    – KRyan
    Feb 24, 2021 at 15:16
  • \$\begingroup\$ @KRyan Fair is fair, I was the first to get extra context wrong since I thought they had to stay within that space \$\endgroup\$
    – Fering
    Feb 24, 2021 at 17:05

2 Answers 2

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I don’t think you need to

You need to be within 30 feet to grant the bonus feat to allies—nothing in the ability says they have to stay within 30 feet to continue to benefit from it. There are many abilities of this sort that do say the targets have to remain within range, so we know that Paizo knows how to write such abilities. They didn’t for battlefield presence.

That said, the ability really is poorly written. As it is, you use a standard action to give them a bonus feat, and then they just have it, forever, unless or until you use a swift action to change it to something else. There don’t appear to be any range or “see and hear” requirements on the swift action, either, which I would have expected considering the nature of the ability. And then we get to the flat-footed requirement, which makes no sense—if you are taking a standard action, you aren’t flat-footed. Maybe then it attaches to the bonus feat (though it isn’t written that way), which means maybe other requirements also do (though they aren’t written that way). Worse still, there’s nothing saying that if you use the standard-action ability again, the previous set of allies loses the feat—as written, they still have it, and then another feat is handed out to a second group. But worst of all is the fact that it also doesn’t say that someone can only benefit from it once—so someone can be in both the first and second groups, and get both feats. And a third, and a fourth, and so on, until you’ve given out all your teamwork feats.

Ultimately, this probably isn’t that big of a balance problem—you’re limited by your own teamwork feats, and teamwork feats are... not really that great. They can be nice when only one person needs to have them, as you have here, but they’re basically never worth two people spending feats on them, so really this “abuse” just makes the teamwork feats worthwhile, rather than overpowered. Rather than balance, this is a bigger problem with apparent intent not matching what the rules say—if you could just treat every ally ever as always have all of your teamwork feats, it would just say that, and not bother with the rules about the standard and swift actions and so on.

The problem here is, if we assume that they probably didn’t mean for every ally you ever got a chance to talk to for a little bit has all of your teamwork feats, that leaves us with an open question on what they did mean. I’m fairly comfortable with those feats lasting indefinitely, too—they know quite well how to write durations on things, I assume they would have if they intended one. The flat-footed requirement can’t apply solely to the standard and swift actions—since it makes no sense for those—which makes it really hard to guess what other requirements that are written as if they apply to the standard action ability are actually supposed to apply continuously. I would note, however, that the line about being flat-footed is written differently: being flat-footed or unconscious means “this ability” no longer functions, but being out of sight or hearing means the allies no longer get “this benefit.” “This ability” seems broader to me—I interpret “this ability” as everything, the ability to give it out as well as the continuing effect that may have already been given out. But “this benefit” could go either way—is that “the granting of the feat” (an event that took place when you use the standard action), or “the feat wholesale” (a continuous effect)? It is not clear. And whether the swift action needs the same requirements as the standard action, that’s a toss-up—I can’t guess what they meant here, it could go either way. Likewise people keeping the feats you gave out after you give another feat to some other group—maybe that was intended, maybe not; not clear. But I am quite confident that they didn’t intend for you to be able to give out all your feats to all your allies. That bit is really where the whole thing goes off the rails.

But I’ll be honest—my analysis is probably biased. I’m making assumptions about how they would rule, based on how I would rule—which is always a dubious choice. Speculation about intent is off-topic here for a reason; I cannot back up most of my claims about what I think they meant, because ultimately I’m just guessing. The lack of rules about staying in sight or within 30 feet, the lack of duration, those are possibly conspicuous absences, so that’s a little bit of evidence, but it’s all circumstantial.

So let’s be more honest: we can’t really be sure what they meant, because the ability isn’t well written and once we’re pretty sure they didn’t mean what they wrote, what they did mean is near impossible to divine. Instead, let me offer you my own ruling:

  • Battlefield presence requires allies be within 30 feet, and able to see and hear you, when you use the standard action to give out feats, and when you use the swift action to change them.

  • If you use battlefield presence’s standard-action ability to give out a teamwork feat, any previous group of allies who had gotten a teamwork feat from a previous usage of that ability lose that bonus feat.

  • Outside of that, and the swift-action ability to change the feat, the allies keep the bonus teamwork feat indefinitely, but it is suppressed if you are flat-footed or unconscious.

This is a fairly conservative analysis of the rules laid before us—we’re applying the range and “see and hear” requirements to the swift-action ability even though it’s never really attached to them, we’re not allowing separate groups to be given separate bonus feats, and so on. I think you can make a case for those things, but it’s a dubious stretch. I might be inclined to actually allow those things, but I’d lean towards calling that a houserule rather than an interpretation of the official rules.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ I dont know why I thought they had to stay within 30 feet. Must have been remembering something else. \$\endgroup\$
    – Fering
    Feb 24, 2021 at 15:14
  • \$\begingroup\$ I strongly disagree with this interpretation, it's like a 30 feet aura giving 1 teamwork feat to all allies in range, as the precision that doesn't work when flatfooted make it clear that once you chosen the feat it is always on, unless unaware. The fact that you need to see or hear the tactician make it clear that is not a fire & forget feat; paladin dies, you lose the feat \$\endgroup\$
    – Alkano
    Feb 25, 2021 at 10:09
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Alkano “Strong disagreement” suggests you should write your own answer—as a comment on my answer, you are not going to get a lot of visibility on your opinion and comments are ephemeral anyway, so it may be swept away in clean-up. But if you do write your own answer, I think you have an uphill battle to back up your claim that it is “like a 30 feet aura,” since the actual rules text says nothing of the sort that I can see. The not-flat-footed requirement is more interesting—I forgot about that. It makes no sense as a restriction solely on the standard action. But not convincing by itself, IMO \$\endgroup\$
    – KRyan
    Feb 25, 2021 at 15:58
  • \$\begingroup\$ @KRyan a debate on the mechanics of the RAI/RAW of the ability is not what the OP asked, and I have no answer to the original question so an answer would be off topic \$\endgroup\$
    – Alkano
    Feb 26, 2021 at 16:49
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Alkano It seems to me that your answer would be “you can’t,” since I’m fairly confident that there is no way to do this if it is, in fact, necessary. Backing up “you can’t” can include information on why it’s necessary to do so, and can reference the fact that Pathfinder has not reprinted analogues to the Tome of Magic feats indicated by Mołot. If you don’t wish to do so, that’s fine, but don’t feel as though the site itself is stopping you—this is certainly the kind of situation where Stack Exchange shines with competing viewpoints. \$\endgroup\$
    – KRyan
    Feb 26, 2021 at 18:27
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While I agree with the accepted answer, ley me answer the direct question. The only way I found only works if your DM allows you to import feats from D&D 3.5. In my experience it was common when Pathfinder 1 started and is much less common, but still not unheard of, now.

If that's the case for you, you want to look at the Tome of Magic feats: Empower Supernatural Ability, Enlarge Supernatural Ability, Extend Supernatural Ability, and especially Widen Supernatural Ability. The last one allows you to double the radius of any supernatural ability you have, once per day.

Personally I would not advise my players to take them as they seem rather weak, especially in more high-power Pathfinder environment, but they are mechanically compatible and would do the job.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ I like the answer, but 3.5 stuff isnt allowed in the game \$\endgroup\$
    – Fering
    Feb 25, 2021 at 4:07
  • \$\begingroup\$ I hope it'll be useful for some of the future readers, then :) \$\endgroup\$
    – Mołot
    Feb 25, 2021 at 9:04

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