Fencing & Firearms aims to give characters more options in combat without imposing a skill tax or feat tax. F&F effectively makes certain feats available to everyone. Here’s one section from the rules that explains what this post is talking about:
Every character has a Base Attack Bonus, or BAB. F&F expands the uses for BAB two ways. First, BAB is added to your Armor Class as a dodge bonus. BAB reflects a character’s general skill in combat This includes not only the ability to land a blow, but also the ability parry and dodge attacks. Furthermore, a character’s BAB affords a certain amount of flexibility in combat from round-to-round as well.
Each round on his turn, a character can “shift” his up to his BAB to provide a bonus to a specific facet of combat. The same value is applied as a penalty to another facet. This bonus/penalty combinations lasts until the beginning of the character’s next turn. A character can apply up to his BAB as a bonus to attack rolls, to damage rolls (for attacks that require an attack roll), or to AC (as a dodge bonus). He must apply the same value as a penalty to one of the two other facets.
For example, Horace Berkeley has a +1 BAB. He’s facing three goblins in melee combat. Being outnumbered, he decides to fight cautiously. Horace adds +1 to his AC and applies a -1 penalty to his attack rolls. These modifiers remain in play until the beginning of his next, at which time Horace can keep them or change them as desired. A few rounds later, Horace has defeated two of the goblins. He goes on the offensive, applying a +1 bonus to his attack rolls and a -1 penalty to his AC.
This variable use of BAB in combat replaces the Combat Expertise and Power Attack as feats. These two feats are simply removed from play. Feats for which they are prerequisites are treated as if they have one fewer prerequisites. Thus, a character qualifies for Improved Bull Rush as long as he has at least a 13 Strength.
Universal feats are feats that all characters gain. These feats give characters a greater range of options in combat. Two universal feats have a prerequisite. Characters gain these universal feats automatically once the prerequisite is met.
Aid Attack [Universal]
You may assist another character’s attack on his turn.
Benefit: If you’re in position to make a melee attack on an opponent that is engaging a friend in melee combat, you can aid your friend as an immediate action. Before your friend makes his attack, announce your intention to use Aid Attack. Your friend gains a +2 bonus on his attack roll. Multiple characters can aid the same friend, and the bonuses stack.
Aid Defense [Universal]
You may assist another character’s defense.
Benefit: If you’re in position to make a melee attack on an opponent that is engaging a friend in melee combat, you can aid your friend as an immediate action. On the opponent’s turn, before he makes his melee attack roll against your friend, announce your intention to use Aid Defense. Your friend gains a +2 bonus to his AC against that attack. Multiple characters can aid the same friend, and the bonuses stack.
Cleaving Strike [Universal]
You lash out again after dropping a foe.
Prerequisite: Base attack bonus +1.
Benefit: If you deal a creature enough damage to make it drop (typically by dropping it to below 0 hit points or killing it), you get an immediate, extra melee attack against another creature within reach. You cannot take a 5-foot step before making this extra attack. The extra attack is with the same weapon and at the same bonus as the attack that dropped the previous creature. You can use this ability once per round. This universal feat replaces Cleave. It counts as Cleave for purposes of meeting prerequisites of other feats.
Fight with Anything [Universal]
You are skilled in wielding any weapon.
Prerequisite: Base attack bonus +1.
Benefit: Reduce the attack roll penalty you face for nonproficiency by your base attack bonus. This applies to all weapons, including exotic weapons and improvised weapons. This feat never confers a bonus to attack roll penalty. For example, if your BAB is +5, you do not suffer an attack roll penalty with any weapon due to nonproficiency, but you do not also get a +1 attack roll bonus.
Special: Once you have a +4 BAB, you are considered proficient with all weapons for the purposes of acquiring other feats. Improvised weapons (melee) and improvised weapons (ranged) count as separate weapons for this purpose.