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Charisma In Combat


Popular fiction is full of characters who use their wits to catch their opponents off-guard, or whose mere presence can terrify foes into submission. These feats represent an attempt to boost the role of Charisma-based skills in combat.

These feats are still untested, and they are my first attempts at designing feats for d20, so I'm not making any promises as to their quality just yet. I'm basically putting them up here so others can review them and send me feedback.

3.5 Update: I wrote these rules before version 3.5 or the rules was released. I think they'll need modifcation for 3.5, especially since rendering an opponent "Shaken" is now a standard usage of the Intimidate skill.

Trick[General]
You are adept at turning an opponent's confusion to your advantage.
Prerequisites: Cha 13+, Dodge
Benefit: When you successfully feint in combat* against an opponent you are currently dodging (via the Dodge feat), you get a +2 circumstance bonus to your next single attack roll against that opponent, provided it is made before the end of the next round.
Special: Fighters may take this as a bonus feat.
Taunt[General]
Your antics cause your opponent's attacks to become sloppy.
Prerequisites: Cha 13+, Dodge, Trick
Benefit: When you successfully feint in combat* against an opponent you are currently dodging (via the Dodge feat), the next single attack, spell or ability with which the opponent targets your character (or with which the opponent includes your character in the area of effect) suffers a -2 morale penalty to any applicable attack roll and a -2 morale penalty to any applicable save DC, provided that the attack, spell, or ability is used before the end of the next round.
Special: Fighters may take this as a bonus feat.
Provoke[General]
You can provoke weak-willed opponents into attacking you.
Prerequisites: Cha 13+, Dodge, Trick, Taunt
Benefit: When you successfully feint in combat* against an opponent you are currently dodging (via the Dodge feat), the opponent must make a Will save (DC 10 + your Charisma modifier) or attempt to attack you on his or her next available action. If the opponent cannot attack you because you are out of range, he or she must move in your direction on his or her next action, provided that such an action will not, in and of itself, endanger the opponent (for example, the opponent will not run through a Wall of Fire, or try to leap over a dangerous chasm). If the opponent is unable to move, or cannot attack you in their next action, even after moving in your direction, the opponent is free to continue pursuit or give up, as appropriate. For the purposes of this feat, an "attack" includes targeting you with a spell or ability, or including you in the area of effect of a spell or ability.
Special: Fighters may take this as a bonus feat.
Improved Intimidate[General]
You can shake opponents' resolve.
Prerequisites: Cha 13+, 5 or more ranks in the Intimidate skill
Benefit: Make an Intimidate check vs. all opponents with fewer Hit Dice than you have, and who can see or hear you. If successful, the Intimidated opponents are Shaken** for one round. Using Improved Intimidate is a standard action. You may not use Improved Intimidate against any opponent more than once per encounter, regardless of whether or not that opponent was Intimidated.
Special: Fighters may take this as a bonus feat. The effect of this feat is considered a "fear effect".
Send Them Running[General]
Your mere presence can cause weak opponents to flee.
Prerequisites: Cha 13+, 5 or more ranks in the Intimidate skill, Improved Intimidate
Benefit: Any opponents you successfully Intimidate with Improved Intimidate, if they have half as many or fewer Hit Dice than you have, are Frightened*** for one round.
Special: Fighters may take this as a bonus feat. The effect of this feat is considered a "fear effect".
Staredown[General]
Your steely gaze can drive an opponent to act rashly.
Prerequisites: Cha 13+, 5 or more ranks in the Intimidate skill, Improved Intimidate
Benefit: Make an Intimidate check against a single opponent that has not yet "attacked" during a "Regular Round" (as opposed to a "Surprise Round") of combat. If successful, the target is Shaken* for one round, and must make a Will save (DC 10 + your Charisma modifier) or be forced to either attack, flee, or drop what he or she is holding (DM's choice, as appropriate). Creatures with more Hit Dice than you have are immune to Staredown. Using Staredown is a full-round action. You may retry Staredown more than once per opponent per encounter, provided that the opponent has not yet attacked during a "Regular Round" and has not yet failed a Will save due to your use of Staredown during this encounter.
Special: Fighters may take this as a bonus feat. The effect of this feat is considered a "fear effect".
* Feinting in Combat: The character can also use Bluff to mislead an opponent in combat so that he can't dodge the character's attack effectively. Doing so is a miscellaneous standard action that does not draw an attack of opportunity. If the character is successful, the next attack the character makes against the target does not allow him to use his Dexterity bonus to Armor Class (if any). This attack must be made on or before your next turn. Feinting in this way against a nonhumanoid is difficult because it's harder to read a strange creature's body language; the character suffers a 4 penalty. Against a creature of animal Intelligence (1 or 2) it's even harder; the character suffers a 8 penalty. Against a nonintelligent creature, it's impossible.

** Shaken: A shaken character suffers a -2 morale penalty on attack rolls, checks, and saving throws. Shaken is a less severe fear condition than frightened or panicked.

*** Frightened: A creature that is frightened flees as well as it can. If unable to flee, the creature may fight. It suffers a -2 morale penalty on attack rolls, checks, and saving throws. A frightened creature can use special abilities, including spells, to flee; indeed, the creature must use such means if they are the only way to escape.
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