Welcome to Guidance, Private Sanctuary’s source for tips and techniques for the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game, written by Everyman Gamer Alexander Augunas. Today, we’re going to be talking about teamwork feats.
Welcome to my first installment in a recurring series that I’m calling “Player’s Guide.” In Player’s Guide, we’ll be looking at a suit or theme of player options and discussing what they are and how they work. For our first topic, we’ll be looking at teamwork feats.
What are Teamwork Feats?
Teamwork feats were first introduced in Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Advanced Player’s Guide. Essentially, they are a special suit of feat that provides the feat taker with a benefit if both he and an ally possess a feat and both characters fulfill a specific set of position or action-based prerequisites. For example, a teamwork feat might give your ally a bonus on a specific type of attack roll if both of you are flanking the creature (a positioning requirement) and you make a successful attack against the creature (an action requirement).
How Do Teamwork Feats Stack Up?
Generally speaking, Teamwork Feats are poor options. They don’t possess significantly more power than a standard feat, but they essentially require the expenditure of two or more feats in order to gain their benefits (one per character involved). Taking teamwork feats is generally a poor idea in a setting like Pathfinder Society, where you have a better chance of having a stay dice pierce your left eye then grouping up with a PFS member who has taken a teamwork feat that compliments your own.
As a result, the only time teamwork feats are really worth having is when a class has a feature that allows you to break some of the usual teamwork feat rules. Here’s a short list of the abilities that will allow you to do this:
- Tactician: Class feature of the cavalier, can also be taken via archetypes by the fighter and slayer. Tactician allows the cavalier to share one specific teamwork feat with all allies within a small radius for a limited number of rounds. This class feature gains additional functionality from later-level upgrades that are unique to the cavalier.
- Hunter’s Tactics / Valet Archetype: The hunter’s tactics ability gives the hunter’s animal companion all of her teamwork feats for free. Hunters get this ability, as do inquisitors with a specific archetype. The valet familiar archetype has a similar ability.
- Solo Tactics: The solo tactics ability of the inquisitor allows the inquisitor to treat all allies as if they had her teamwork feats. She basically gains the ability to use teamwork feats on her own as long as all other requirements are met.
- Battlefield Presence: This ability is unique to the paladin’s holy tactician archetype. It allows the paladin to pick one of her teamwork feats and share it with all of her allies. Unlike tactician, this ability isn’t limited to what teamwork feats it can share, doesn’t have a duration, and doesn’t have uses per day.
Generally speaking, solo tactics is best because you don’t need to rely on anyone else taking your feat to benefit from it and solo tactics doesn’t need to be turned on. Hunter tactics is second best because it doesn’t need to be turned on and it interfaces with a character that you already control. Battlefield presence is third best because it has no daily limit and works with any teamwork feat that you want. Tactician is in last place. Even though it becomes faster to use than battlefield presence at higher levels and eventually allows for multiple feats, it suffers an innate restriction to what teamwork feats it can share until 17th level and is limited by daily uses that are not easily increased.
Analyzing Teamwork Feats
Here’s a quick overview of the game’s Teamwork Feats. For reference, here’s the system I’ll be using. Its partially based on the famous treantmonk color-coding system.
- (APG) — Advanced Player’s Guide
- (UM) — Ultimate Magic
- (UC) — Ultimate Combat
- (ARG) — Advanced Race Guide
- (ACG) — Advanced Class Guide
- (Words) — Campaign Setting / Player Companion name.
- Red Text — Horrible. Stay clear.
- Orange Text — Situationally useful.
- Green Text — Average.
- Blue Text — Good option.
- Purple Text — Excellent choice.
- Light Blue Text — Very powerful.
- Allied Spellcaster (APG): You get +2 to overcome spell resistance while adjacent to a caster with the feat, increases to +4 if you cast a spell that your ally also has/knows. This isn’t a terrible choice for inquisitors, but is not applicable for cavaliers and pointless for hunters and paladins. Hunter’s AC isn’t going to give you that tasty +4 bonus and paladins don’t really have spells that care much about the +4. This feat is best if you can somehow talk someone else into taking it with you.
- Amplified Rage (Orcs of Golarion): One of those weird feats that is REALLY good for a class that normally isn’t good with teamwork feats. Raging orcs improve their morale bonuses from raging. This one is REALLY good for encounter design as a GM, but unless you have a barbarian cohort, stay away from this one.
- Back to Back (UC): Basically cancels out the flanking bonus against you if you’re adjacent to an ally with the feat. This one is great, except you might not always use it. This is a decent backup feat, especially if you’re a melee hunter (and thereby can be expected to have an animal companion around you somewhat frequently).
- Broken Wing Gambit (UC): Take an AC penalty and additional damage (+2) so an ally with the feat can get an attack of opportunity if an enemy you both threaten attacks you. This one is worthless for the inquisitor, as both players need to actually have the feat. Best for paladin (who can take the hit to allow her allies to provoke) and cavalier (as before). Broken Paw Gambit is a little better for hunters, as it can be used with ranged attacks.
- Calvary Formation (UC): Basically allows you to move through the space of the mounts of allies with the feat. Its actually pretty good for cavaliers. Not going to help or happen much because your party won’t want to ride horses, but for NPC cavaliers this one is phenomenal.
- Circling Offensive (Rival Guide): Sort of confusing. Basically improves your Mobility bonus against foes with reach if you’ve got an ally who is also within that foe’s reach, and the ally gets an attack of opportunity if against the foe if it makes an attack of opportunity against you and misses. Its okay, but has steep requirements (Dodge and Mobility) and doesn’t really work for the inquisitor. This is another one of the rare feats that works best for the mass-share classes.
- Collective Recollective (Pathfinder Society Primer): You can use aid another to help an ally’s Knowledge check if you also have a rank in that Knowledge. If you succeed, you automatically know the knowledge too. Not worth it for anyone but the inquisitor, and she already gets a fairly big bonus on Knowledge skills to identify monsters. This one could be neat if combined with Kirin Style, though.
- Combat Medic (UC): Heal checks don’t provoke attacks of opportunity on allies with the feat and you can take 10. Not strong. Best for inquisitor, as she treats all allies as though they had this feat. I don’t think its worth it, personally, but if you were an inquisitor with the Healing domain, then it might be cool.
- Coordinated Charge (UC): When an ally charges, you can charge the same creature as an immediate action. Some distance restrictions, but overall this is a really, really good choice for a melee character.
- Coordinated Defense (APG): Sort of goes against other, better feats that require you to be flanking. (This one wants you adjacent to creatures). This is one of the few ways to directly improve your CMD, though. Not great, but also not terrible.
- Coordinated Maneuvers (APG): A +2 on combat maneuvers is pretty powerful. This one is worth it for any melee hunters or inquisitors who find the feats to specialize in this type of combat. Also not bad for fighters who take the tactician ability through archetypes, as they’ll have the feats to burn.
- Coordinated Shot (ACG): This is a more flexible version of Enfilading Fire. You always have +1 to hit a target that is flanked by an ally with the feat, and the bonus goes up to +2 if your ally is flanking the target with another creature. The silly thing is that these bonuses stack. So yeah. If you’re a hunter or a ranged inquisitor, you’re taking these feats and you’re liking them for there delicious +1 to +4 bonus to hit with ranged attacks.
- Distracting Charge (ACG): If your ally with the feat charges at hits, you get a +2 bonus on your next attack roll made before the ally’s next turn. Let’s just slap this feat on our half-orc hunter / inquisitor along with the zillions of other awesome charging feats in the game.
- Duck and Cover (APG): One of the very best that you can share with others. As a paladin or cavalier, you will relish being able to use your ally’s Reflex result when it matters most. Especially if that ally is a rogue or anyone else with a high Reflex save. Being knocked prone is a small price to pay for half damage from a cone of cold spell.
- Enfilading Fire (UC): Basically flanking for ranged characters. This one is great for everyone if you’re a ranged weapon user. Hunters and Inquisitors get the most out of it, followed by paladins. This is one of the easier feats to set up with tactician. Hunters likely get the most because they have an animal body that they can ensure that there will be at least 1 ally in melee with whatever they want to shoot at all times.
- Elemental Commixture (Blood of the Elements): I don’t like this one. It is very complicated, requires two decent-level spellcasters and the expenditure of two spells, and overall doesn’t give much for its effort. The mechanic is neat, but as mentioned: very unwieldly. Like Amplified Rage, this one is best for GMs wishing to do cool stuff with their encounters.
- Ensemble (UM): Characters can use aid another to help your performance from up to 20 feet away as an immediate action. Its basically the Rock Band feat. Not worth taking unless you’re a bard, as you can A) basically grant the feat to your allies for free whenever you want and B) use this in conjunction with the versatile performance class feature. Now all of your allies can use aid another on your versatile performance checks. Nifty.
- Escape Route (APG): You can move through the threatened area of an ally with the feat without provoking attacks of opportunity. Very handy.
- Extend the Bulwark (Magical Marketplace): You can nullify your own armor bonus to AC from your armor for 1 round to give a circumstance bonus equal to half your armor bonus to an ally with this feat as an immediate action. The thought of loosing my armor terrifies me, but as an inquisitor this might not be a bad feat in the right circumstances. This would make more sense if you were sharing your shield bonus, though.
- Feint Partner (APG): When an ally with the feat feints, you get the bonus on your next attack. Does nothing for the inquisitor because it requires your ally to actually have the feat, but is good for melee hunters, paladins, and even cavaliers. For the latter two classes, only worth it if you plan on doing the feinting, otherwise your allies will just shrug and ignore your bonus.
- Ferocious Loyalty (Blood of the Moon): You get a +1 morale bonus on attack and damage rolls against any foe that threatens an ally with the feat. Bonuses go up against an enemy who kills or renders your ally helpless. Very thematic choice for melee hunters, potentially ridiculous for inquisitors. Not bad for the “action-based sharing” classes. Note that the bonus is typed and will not stack with the millions of other morale bonuses to attack and damage out there.
- Focusing Blow (ARG): Hobgoblin only. An ally with the feat can deal damage to you to break a mind-affecting effect that allows a saving throw if it deals at least 5 damage. You reroll the save with a +1 for every 5 damage you took. This one is very flavorful. A little weird, but flavorful. Probably doesn’t deserve to be Hobgoblin only. Good for GMs making thematic encounters, but not worth it for PCs. VERY cool for the feat-sharing classes. I like the idea of a hobgoblin cavalier ordering his men to “beat some sense” into the new recruit.
- Improved Back to Back (ACG): Can spend a swift action to ignore the positioning requirements and bonus type. If you took Back to Back, you might as well take this one but its not amazing because it requires the use of an action. Not really worth sharing, as much allies would rather use one of their millions of swift action abilities.
- Improved Duck and Cover (ACG): When you use Duck and Cover and your ally has evasion or improved evasion and your ally succeeds on her saving throw, you can reduce whatever damage you take by half and deal it to your ally. This “damage share” is not reduced by half. This is perhaps the most jerkface teamwork feat I’ve ever seen. “Hey, so I helped you succeed on your saving throw so you’re okay ri–OH GODS MY FACE!” Its good for you, I guess, but if you’re an inquisitor and are forcing this on your ally, they’re going to hate you. If I was taking this feat, I’d take it exclusively on a hunter. At least its MY animal that’s getting hurt.
- Improved Feint Partner (UC): When an ally feints an opponent that you threaten, you get an attack of opportunity. Not worth it for the inquisitor, but pretty good for the hunter, if he uses the feint action. Very good for sharing as either a paladin or a cavalier. Better for a high-level cavalier because you could share both feats at the same time at 17th level, allowing you to give your allies both Feint Partner and Improved Feint Partner.
- Improved Swap Places (ACG): The ally is allowed to be one size bigger or smaller than you and you can attempt to bull rush a creature that occupies a space that your ally would occupy if it is too big. This is a weird one, but I guess it works okay. It would be pretty funny to use this as a hunter and move your tyrannasaurus around, bull rushing people as you guys swap places. Otherwise, this really is pretty lackluster.
- Improved Underhanded Teamwork (Pathfinder Society Primer): Basically, when your ally with the feat uses dirty trick, you can also use dirty trick as an immediate action, but if one condition is removed they both are. This is actually really good, but again, for encounter building. Its not worth it for PCs because PCs will almost never focus on the same combat maneuvers simultaneously.
- Intercept Charge (ACG): If an ally with the feat is charged, you can spend an immediate action to move into the path of the charge and take the attack yourself. Thematic and cool, but works best for the hunter or the inquisitor because it needs to be active during a surprise round and the like.
- Horde Charge (ARG): Half-Orc or Orc only. You get a +2 bonus on attack rolls and damage rolls if you charge during the same round as an ally with this feat. Very good for orc and half-orc hunters and inquisitors, especially if they take Coordinated Charge at higher levels.
- Look Out (APG): You can act in the surprise round at Init –1 if your ally could act. If you both can act, you both may take a move and a standard action during the round. Not worth it for cavaliers, but excellent for anyone who can either use the feat without a buddy or who can share the feat without a duration.
- Overwhelm (Dragonslayer’s Handbook): You and your ally with the feat ignore normal flanking positioning rules when threatening an enemy that is at least two size categories larger than you. Depends on your campaign; could be great if you fight a lot of big stuff, could also be worthless. It is worth noting that most end-game monsters are two size categories larger than you.
- Outflank (APG): Boosts your flanking bonus by +2 when you flank with an ally with the feat. Also, if an opponent both of you are flanking is critically hit by either of you, you get an attack of opportunity. One of the best.
- Pack Attack (UC): Can take a 5-foot move after hitting a target with a melee attack if you are adjacent to an ally with the feat. Works even if you’ve already moved or taken a 5-foot step. Okay for an inquisitor or a melee hunter. Not really worth it for the cavalier because of tactician’s limited duration.
- Pack Flanking (ACG): You and your animal companion are considered flanking a foe that you both threaten no matter your position. This isn’t a “share me!” feat since it only works for animal companions, but a cavalier and his mount, a paladin and her mount, and a hunter and her animal companion could all benefit from this feat. It is basically a selective version of Gang Up. There is even an inquisitor archetype that would do well with this feat (or an inquisitor with the Animal Domain). If you have an animal buddy, this feat is pretty darn awesome, but I really like this one for mounts because while you’re riding your mount, you’re always going to be threatening the same creature. This essentially transforms the feat into super Gang Up while you’re mounted. This is one of the best for hunters. I’m not entirely sure how this feat would work with the cavalier’s tactician, but if it allowed the whole party to flank however they like, then this would be the absolute best feat that the cavalier could possibly take for tactician.
- Paired Opportunist (APG): When an ally gets an attack of opportunity, you get one too if you’re threatening the target when the attack of opportunity is threatened. Also, you get a +4 bonus on your attack of opportunity. This is a very nice one if you’re an inquisitor or hunter who focuses on maximizing the number of attacks of opportunity that you get. Not so good for the cavalier or paladin, as maximizing the benefits of AoO requires some effort.
- Phalanx Fighter (Champions of Purity): +1 sacred bonus to AC and on saving throws against evil outsider attacks per ally with this feat that is adjacent to you. This one is dumb in Wrath of the Righteous. Very, very situational, but excellent to share as a paladin or cavalier if you’re playing in that one, specific game. Otherwise Shake it Off is better.
- Precise Strike (APG): Basically gives you +1d6 precision damage when you flank with an ally with the feat. Another great one.
- Seize the Moment (UC): When an ally confirms a critical hit against an opponent you threaten, it provokes an attack of opportunity from you. Less restrictive than Outflank’s crit, but this one has some major prerequisites. Best for melee hunters and inquisitors, maybe paladins if they can afford to take Combat Reflexes. Not worth it for cavaliers.
- Share Healing (ACG): If you or your animal companion/familiar/mount/eidolon are healed, you can split the healing with your buddy as you see fit. This one is okay, I guess. Its not amazing but its not terrible. This feat shines, however, for the cavalier and paladin (both of whom meet its animal companion prerequisites). They can actually use their class features to share this ability with their allies, so ALL allies share their healing around. This is a very, very cool tactic, one of the very best options for cavaliers because it effectively allows your party cleric to smart heal your party when you activate tactician.
- Shake it Off (APG): You’re not likely to get more than a +1 bonus on saves out of this one unless you try. This is a great example of a feat that is excellent for sharing as a paladin or cavalier, as you give the party an incentive to group up and share in on the benefits.
- Shielded Caster (APG): Excellent for paladins and inquisitors, decent for melee hunters. This one is VERY helpful if you are a paladin or inquisitor with an ally who regularly uses a shield of some kind to boost your bonus.
- Stealth Synergy (APG): Ridiculously good for the paladin, who can basically allow all of his allies to use the rogue’s Stealth result at all times. Decent for the cavalier, but the limited duration hurts it. Only useful for the inquisitor and hunter if they have a terrible Stealth skill, and as 6 + Int skill classes, they probably don’t.
- Swap Places (APG): You’re not likely to use this feat more than once per combat anyway, as its best use is getting the squishies away from monsters. Best for paladins and cavaliers, although its not bad for inquisitors that are looking to escape from a melee threat. Hunters might feel bad about putting their animal companions in a tough spot.
- Swarm Scatter (Blood of the Moon): You and your allies are immune to swarm damage (and swarm’s distract ability) and gain a +1 circumstance bonus to AC if at least one ally with the feat is adjacent to you. Other feats do the AC bonus better, but immunity to swarm damage could be VERY awesome, especially if you share this feat as a paladin or cavalier. There’s not much in the game that can make you immune to swarm damage. At least, that’s what I WOULD be saying if this feat didn’t only apply to rat swarms. Ignore it.
- Swarm Strike (Blood of the Moon): +1 bonus on attacks of opportunity per ally with this feat that is adjacent to you. So, its basically Paired Opportunists, but worse in every possible way. Ignore it.
- Tandem Evasion (Dragonslayer’s Handbook): You and your ally gain evasion against a dragon’s breath attack and tail swipe attack while you’re adjacent to each other. So basically, if you make yourself more enticing to be attacked, you gain a defense against it? That is either the most brilliant or most stupid battle tactic I have ever heard: I haven’t decided which. Either way, this isn’t a great feat because it only works against dragons. Pass.
- Tandem Trip (UC): Not bad if you’re an inquisitor who focuses on tripping people, or you are a melee hunter with a wolf companion. (Wolves can trip with their bite attacks, so your wolf could roll twice and use the better result if you’re next to it.)
- Target of Opportunity (UC): This one is basically the opportunist rogue talent, but for ranged weapons only. This one is very, very good if you have an ally who can make ranged attacks. If you’re a paladin or a cavalier, thrown weapon attacks technically count, making this one EXTREMELY sharable in the right parties.
- Team Pickpocketing (UC): If an ally with the feat fails to pick pocket, you can try with a +4 bonus as an immediate action. Not worth it.
- Topple Foe (Rival Guide): +1 to trip foes when you’re flanking with an ally with the feat. You get an extra +2 for every other set of flankers that is flanking the target. This can go up to four pairs, for a total of +7 on your trip attempt. Plus if you keep trying in multiple rounds, the bonus further increases by +1 PER ALLY per round, up to another +4 PER ALLY. That’s like, a +29 bonus. That sounds awesome, but keep in mind that you’d need at least 8 allies to pull it off and the minute you succeed, the bonus resets. If it took you four rounds to trip the foe, that might not be acceptable. This one is better for NPCs who can actually utilize those numbers.
- Tribe Mentality (Kobolds of Golarion): When you and an ally are targeted by the same enchantment (compulsion) or enchantment [emotion] effect, both roll twice but use either result. This one is VERY good for NPCs, especially if your players use many compulsion or emotion effects. For PCs, its a little too situational.
- Underhanded Teamwork (Pathfinder Society Primer): If an ally with the feat successfully uses a dirty trick combat maneuver, you can spend an immediate action to increase the duration by 1 round. This is effectively worth a +5 bonus, but you would need an ally who is invested in dirty tricks AND you would need to invest in them yourself. That sounds like stepping on players’ niches to me. I think this one is better for NPCs.
- Unusual Origin (Bastards of Golarion): Changeling version only. +2 bonus on concentration checks if there are at least 2 changelings within 20 feet of you. Bonus increases to +4 if there are at least 2 changelings with this feat within 20 feet of you. This is a GREAT feat for GMs to build encounters from, but it isn’t worth it for players except in the most preplanned groups possible.
- Wall of Flesh (Kobolds of Golarion): You’re one size category larger for all combat maneuvers (including CMD) while adjacent to an ally with the feat. You need to be Small to take this one, but if you’re a hunter this one is stupid. Your animal companion doesn’t need to meet that prerequisite as per hunter tactics, so you can take this one as a halfling, grab a Large animal companion, and treat it as a Huge one with the feat. Very, very good for Small-sized melee hunters.
- Wounded Paw Gambit (ACG): Upgrades Broken Wing Gambit to work with ranged attacks. This one is good if you’re a hunter who focuses on ranged attacks. Enfilading Fire and Coordinated Shot are more valuable to you early on, though.
Final Verdict: More teamwork feats work well for the hunter and inquisitor than any other class because they always have those teamwork feats “on” so to speak. This is due to the fact that hunters give their feats to their animal companions for free and inquisitors treat all allies as though they always had their teamwork feats.
Looking over the ratings, Teamwork feats either tend towards being too situational (orange) or ridiculously good (purple / light blue) when analyzed for classes designed to make use of them. But if you don’t have a way to reliably activate them (or have a buddy who is willing to spend one or more of his precious feat slots for your character concept), then they’re all RED. In order to make teamwork feats more viable, more classes need to be given these special Teamwork feat enhancing abilities, either as class features or by selecting a feat. As a matter of fact, you can see this in some places. There is a feat in Champions of Balance called Practiced Leadership that basically allows you to treat your cohort as though he had your teamwork feats when determining their benefits. It is a cohort-specific solo tactics. Likewise, in my product, Psychological Combat, rogues can take solo tactics as a rogue talent. I would also like to see a cavalier feat that allows the cavalier to use more Teamwork feats with his tactician ability, personally. It needs a boost.
Well, that’s all I’ve got for my article on Teamwork feats. What did you think of my first player’s guide? Did I hit all of the relevant points that you were dying to see, or is something missing from my article? Let me know in the comments below and I’ll see you next Wednesday for another action-packed article!
Alexander “Alex” Augunas has been playing roleplaying games since 2007, which isn’t nearly as long as 90% of his colleagues. Alexander is an active freelancer for the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game and is best known as the author of the Pact Magic Unbound series by Radiance House. Alex is the owner of Everyman Gaming, LLC and is often stylized as the Everyman Gamer in honor of Guidance’s original home. Alex’s favorite color is blue, his favorite Pathfinder Race/Class combination is kitsune gendarme because he can trade tactician for something practical. Like Power Attack.