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Let's say my Fighter takes Sudden Charge at level 1, and at level 8 I want to learn Sudden Leap and replace Sudden Charge with something else. Can I rearrange which feats are in which level slots, to accommodate this, and would the act of rearranging feats require additional retraining?

For example, let's say all my class feats have lower level requirement than the level I learned them at. I retrain Sudden Charge. Could I slide each of my class feats down one slot, in order to replace Sudden Charge with a higher-level feat? I know that replacing Sudden Charge would require retraining, but would rearranging which slot each feat is in also require additional retraining?

Here's a concrete example, to illustrate:

Before:

  • Lv1: Sudden Charge
  • lv2: Combat Assessment (requires level 1)
  • Lv4: Aggressive Block (requires level 2)
  • Lv6: Powerful Shove (requires level 4)
  • Lv8: Sudden Leap (requires level 8)

After:

  • Lv1: Combat Assessment
  • Lv2: Aggressive Block
  • Lv4: Powerful Shove
  • Lv6: Shield Warden
  • Lv8: Sudden Leap

Bottom line: Can I freely rearrange which slots each feat is in, and make these changes with just a single retraining? Or alternatively, does rearranging a slot require additional retraining time?

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Are feats in Pathfinder actually stored in 'slots' for a character? When you gain a new feat, don't you just have a total number of feats known, and the new (or retrained) feat's prerequisites determine whether you can take it at that time? \$\endgroup\$ Apr 16 at 20:23
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    \$\begingroup\$ The retraining rules in player core p.440 mention "you generally can't make choices you couldn't make when you selected the original option". So it does care about which slot each feat is in, since you can't put a feat with a level 20 requirement in a level 1 feat slot. It doesn't mention anything about what to do if level requirement is not an issue however. It's just ambiguous enough that I'm not sure if swapping slots is allowed or not. \$\endgroup\$
    – Strill
    Apr 16 at 20:35
  • \$\begingroup\$ Is there any particular reason you would need Powerful Shove (for example) to move "slots?" \$\endgroup\$
    – Jason_c_o
    Apr 16 at 22:34
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Jason_c_o because Shield Warden is a level 6 feat, and needs the level 6 slot. \$\endgroup\$
    – Strill
    Apr 16 at 22:37

2 Answers 2

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Each feat is retrained separately.

The main restriction to retraining (without getting into the weeds of extreme retraining) is previous prerequisites. You mention this in the comments as clarification:

When retraining, you generally can't make choices you couldn't make when you selected the original option. For instance, you can't replace a skill feat you chose at 2nd level for a 4th-level one, or for one that requires prerequisites you didn't meet at the time you took the original feat. (Player Core pg.440 - Retraining, Emphasis mine)

You couldn't retrain Aggressive Block into Powerful Shove, because you did not qualify for Powerful Shove at level 4, which was when you first took Aggressive Block. This trickles all the way down (or up).

If you cease to meet the prerequisites for an ability due to retraining, you can't use that ability. You might need to retrain several abilities in sequence in order to get all the abilities you want.

Your GM can choose to lessen the time commitment, if they so choose:

A character might need to retrain several options at once. For instance, retraining a skill increase might mean they have skill feats they can no longer use, and so they'll need to retrain those as well. You can add all this retraining time together, then reduce the total a bit to represent the cohesive nature of the retraining. (Gm Core pg.50 - Time)

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  • \$\begingroup\$ I figured it would be something ridiculous and convoluted. Never anything straightforward in Pathfinder. \$\endgroup\$
    – Strill
    Apr 17 at 0:22
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    \$\begingroup\$ You're suggesting that a character can be in a situation where they need to spend weeks "retraining" to accomplish absolutely nothing, and ending up with the same set of abilities before retraining as after. The character in the story is "Retraining", purely in order to satisfy the game's meta-bookkeeping system even though they are learning absolutely nothing new. You seriously don't think there's anything convoluted about such a complicated arbitrary layer of abstraction? \$\endgroup\$
    – Strill
    Apr 17 at 0:59
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Strill Retraining doesn't really take into account the player that didn't plan ahead. It's meant to replace one or two things to something different. Also, you're trying to game the system by retraining later feats earlier in the character build. Of course it's not meant for that. \$\endgroup\$
    – Jason_c_o
    Apr 17 at 2:11
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    \$\begingroup\$ @I'd suggest re-reading, then. If you want to replace a feat with another you qualified for at the time, you can. If you want to replace it with a feat of a higher level that you didn't qualify for, you can't. To move them around, each replacement has to have had its prereqs met, and the whole process takes in-game time proportional to the number of changes. \$\endgroup\$
    – Jason_c_o
    Apr 17 at 17:01
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    \$\begingroup\$ @If you believe the rules work differently, submit an answer. It's not convoluted because it's quite easy to grasp. You're just not happy with the result. I'm not interested in arguing in comments. If you disagree, submit an answer. \$\endgroup\$
    – Jason_c_o
    Apr 17 at 19:17
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No, and the process for switching is complex and difficult

The process for swapping a feat to a different slot is pretty comparable to a puzzle you might find in a computer RPG, like the Tower of Hanoi puzzle. What you want to do conceptually is very simple, but the steps to do so are far more complicated.

To summarize the rules of the puzzle:

  1. You have to retrain each feat slot separately.
  2. You cannot have a feat in a slot that does not meet its level requirements.
  3. You cannot learn a feat if you do not meet its prerequisites.
  4. You cannot at any point have duplicate feats, unless those feats explicitly say you can take the feat multiple times.

This means that you cannot just replace Sudden Charge (level 1 slot) with Shield Warden (level 6 slot) because these two feats need to go in different slots, and you can only replace feats that go in the same slot.

Nor can you replace Sudden Charge (level 1 slot) with Combat Assessment because you already know Combat Assessment in your level 2 slot. You instead must replace Combat Assessment (level 2 slot) with some other feat you don't want, so that you no longer know Combat Assessment, just so you can then re-learn Combat Assessment again in the level 1 feat slot, replacing Sudden Charge. The game does not care that you never wanted to unlearn Combat Assessment in the first place.

You must then repeat this process for each other feat you want to transfer to a different slot.

In total, at a cost of 1 week per swap, this will require SIX WEEKS of retraining to perform, with the following sequence of unlearning and retraining. Less optimal solutions to this puzzle will require even more weeks, so players less skilled at puzzle games will have a harder time.

  1. Replace Combat Assessment (level 2 slot) with Double Slice (an irrelevant feat you don't want)
  2. Replace Sudden Charge (level 1 slot) with Combat Assessment
  3. Replace Aggressive Block (level 4 slot) with Exacting Strike (an irrelevant feat you don't want)
  4. Replace Double Slice (Level 2 slot) with Aggressive Block
  5. Replace Powerful Shove (level 6 slot) with Shield Warden
  6. Replace Exacting Strike (level 4 slot) with Powerful Shove

You might ask, wouldn't it be a more optimal solution to this puzzle to replace feats going from high level to low level, as that would eliminate the need for intermediate placeholder feats, thereby reducing the number of swaps to equal the number of feats shifted, rather than twice the number of feats shifted. The problem with that is that if there are any feats which have another feat as a prerequisite, and that prerequisite is in an adjacent slot, you cannot relearn the high-level feat without relearning its low-level prerequisite first. You therefore must relearn the feats from low level slot to high level slot, rather than high level slot to low level slot, thereby doubling the number of required swaps.

In the worst-case scenario, where you wanted to replace a level 1 feat with a level 20 feat, and shift all the other feats down one slot, it would require at least 20 weeks of retraining, assuming you performed the swaps correctly.

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    \$\begingroup\$ -1. Interesting thought, but step 6 is invalid. You can't retrain Powerful Shove into your level 4 slot, because you didn't qualify for it when you originally selected a feat for that slot. You would have needed to select Aggressive Block (or Brutish Shove) earlier. \$\endgroup\$ Apr 18 at 2:10
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    \$\begingroup\$ Retraining doesn't help. You need to have qualified for it when you first gained that feat slot. When you first gained the level 4 slot, you did not qualify for Powerful Shove. No matter what retraining you do, you can never put Powerful Shove there. \$\endgroup\$ Apr 18 at 12:51
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    \$\begingroup\$ No, that's silly. You're essentially arguing that it's impossible to retrain feat chains. There's nothing in the rules to suggest that. Please, don't be disingenuous. \$\endgroup\$
    – Strill
    Apr 18 at 17:09
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    \$\begingroup\$ It's in the Core Rulebook on page 481. "...you generally can't make choices you couldn't make when you selected the original option..." You may run your game any way you like, but RAW are that you are restricted to what was available when you first got the feat slot. \$\endgroup\$ Apr 18 at 18:44
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    \$\begingroup\$ @indigochild Yes, and by retraining you are reselecting that option, which changes what you can pick down the line. \$\endgroup\$
    – Strill
    Apr 18 at 18:49

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