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When you create your character, you can choose a specialty. You may take the specialty suggested by your class or choose a different one.
A specialty represents specialized knowledge and training that helps define your character's approach to adventuring. A typical specialty represents knowledge of certain tricks of the trade frequently used by adventurers, such as training in special magical techniques or mastering particular combat tactics.
Two characters might both be fighters, for example, yet behave in different ways based on their specialties. One is an ambush specialist, making use of cover and striking from hiding, while the other is an endurance specialist, shielding his or her allies from harm. Your character's specialty helps define your play style and preferred techniques.
A specialty comprises a handful of feats, which provide special abilities to your character. Your character gains a feat at levels 1, 3, 6, and 9. Each feat's entry describes the feat's effect in the game world and includes a benefit, which explains how the feat works in the game rules. Some feats have prerequisites. For example, the Ambusher feat requires a Dexterity of 11 or higher. A character must meet a feat's prerequisites to take that feat. If the character ever loses a feat's prerequisites, he or she cannot use that feat until the prerequisites are regained.
A feat can be taken only once, unless it says otherwise.
Customizing a Specialty
After you select a specialty, you can deviate from the feats it provides by choosing any feat for which your character qualifies. You aren't required to take the next feat in a specialty, and you can even skip to a feat that is listed at a higher level, as long as your character meets its prerequisites.
Your DM might customize specialties to represent different organizations and cultures within the campaign setting.
Choosing Feats on Your Own
At your DM's discretion, you can ignore the provided specialties altogether. If you do so, simply choose a feat each time your character gains one, regardless of specialty. Your character must meet the feat's prerequisites as normal. It's also a good idea to think about what the feats you choose say about your character. How did he or she pick up these abilities? You can also take feats that reflect your character's experiences. If your rogue witnesses a miracle and becomes a devotee of a deity, the Initiate of the Faith feat can represent that change.
Optional Rule: Retraining
Sometimes a feat isn't as useful in your campaign as you expected, or the feat doesn't quite fit the concept you have for your character. This optional rule is designed for such cases. With your DM's approval, you can swap one of your character's feats for a new one when the character gains a level, but not if the old feat is a prerequisite for one of the character's other feats or abilities. The main reason for limiting how many feats you can change at once is to help preserve your character's identity and the believability of his or her development.