Homebrew Rebalancing Feats - input appreciated
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  1. #1

    Rebalancing Feats - input appreciated

    I've attempted to rebalance the feats in the Player's Handbook. Some of them were too strong, some too weak, and others inappropriately interpreted. I've tried to keep the changes as simple as possible, as to not complicate the rules more than possible. I've included notes under each feat and written a rating (after my change) that I think is appropriate - bear in mind, though, that some feats are situational (ie. worthless in some builds, key in others). I think this is a start in rebalancing the feats - but there's still some lacking. Any input and suggestions are appreciated.

    Complete feats PDF attached.
    Feats.pdf

    CHANGELOG- VERSION 1.0 - Blue is correction - Green is improvement - Red is nerfed


    Alert
    No changes. Already decently strong.

    Athlete
    Added advantage against exhaustion caused by strenous activity, because this needed some improvement,

    Actor
    No changes. Still weak, I feel. Input appreciated.

    Charger
    Added scaling damage to the attack, or knock prone to the shove. Feels this makes this feat more worthwhile.

    Crossbow Expert
    Added 'made with a crossbow' to second feature, to avoid abuse (applying it to spell attacks or other ranged attacks).


    Defensive Duelist
    Added a riposte attack, if the bonus causes your foe to miss you. This makes the feat more worthwhile, in my opinion.


    Dual Wielder
    You now make your off-hand attack as a part of your attack action. You are still limited to one off-hand attack per round (unless you use Action surge, in which case you can now make two). This makes TWF more viable at higher levels (which it needed), and even better for a rogue (possibly an issue).

    Dungeon Delver
    No change, already strong.

    Durable
    Added advantage on death saving throws. Still weakish, but this brings it up a nudge.


    Elemental Adept
    Added a reactionary damage resistance. I hate doing this, because I think that the way 5E is doing it (vulnerability/resistance) is really good, and this adds unnecessary complexity. But straight resistance is too strong, I think.

    Grappler
    Second feature removed as per the errata, but added an opportunity to grapple larger foes at a disadvantage. This makes the feat worth a grab, for the dedicated grappler.

    Great Weapon Master
    Changed -5/+10 to -3/+6. This reigns in the feats power level slightly, while not completely devaluing it. I feel this is a needed balancing act.

    Healer
    No changes, but could use a buff, I think. Input appreciated.

    Heavily Armored
    No changes, but could use a buff, I think. Input appreciated.

    Heavy Armor Master
    No changes, already strong.

    Inspiring Leader
    No changes, already strong.

    Keen Mind
    Added advantage on Intelligence (Investigation) checks that require attention to detail. Slight improvement, but probably still a weak feat.


    Lightly Armored
    No changes, but still kinda weak.

    Linguist
    Added advantage on Insight checks to understand unknown languages. Still kinda weak though.

    Lucky
    No changes, already really good.

    Mage Slayer
    No changes, decent for a specific build, I think.

    Magic Initiate
    No changes, already strong.

    Martial Adept
    Increased the number of dice from 1 to 2, to make this more worthwhile.


    Medium Armor Master
    No changes, already decent.

    Mobile
    No changes, already decent.

    Moderately Armored
    No changes, but still kinda weak. Input appreciated.

    Mounted Combatant
    No changes, situational but good.

    Observant
    No changes, already good.

    Polearm Master
    Now includes spears as well (because if you include quarterstaves, you really should include spears!) Also fixed in accordance with Crawford ruling, to only allow OA's from the polearm.

    Resilient
    No changes, already strong.

    Ritual Caster
    No changes, already strong.

    Savage Attacker
    Added a Strength bonus. This makes the feat more par for the course.

    Sentinel
    Added check if the creature is larger than you. Please, no more stopping dragons with ease.


    Sharpshooter
    Changed -5/+10 to -3/+6 proficiency. Same reasoning as GWM.


    Shield Master
    No changes, already decent.


    Skilled
    Changed a lot. You now get a bonus to an ability score, and proficiency/expertise in a single skill, instead of proficiency in three skills. I feel that people would very rarely feel the need for 3 proficiencies, so this feat gets overlooked because people feel parts of it is a waste ("eh.. I want stealth, and I guess I'll take acrobatics and.. uh.. Persuasion too.."). This way, I think it's less wasteful.


    Skulker
    No changes, already good.

    Spell Sniper
    No changes, already decent.

    Tavern Brawl
    No changes, good for the dedicated grappler, if not much else.

    Tough
    No changes, already strong.

    War Caster
    No changes, already decent.

    Weapons Master
    Increased to all martial weapons, because this feature needs less restrictions, not more. In an ideal world, I think this should be combined with the armor feats in a way that would make them more useful. I'll think on it.
    Last edited by JValeur; Tuesday, 13th October, 2015 at 03:01 PM.
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  2. #2
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    Spellbinder (Lvl 16)



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    I'll digest at home. I'm very interested in helping. My first thought is that skill feats could be removed and added into the proficiency progression, allowing everyone to learn new tricks with their skills. But that's only if you want a big change.

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by Xeviat View Post
    I'll digest at home. I'm very interested in helping. My first thought is that skill feats could be removed and added into the proficiency progression, allowing everyone to learn new tricks with their skills. But that's only if you want a big change.
    Great! I'm going for small changes initially, because I actually want (and have, to a degree) to implement these feats as houserules in my campaign. I feel that 5E is a great ruleset, but it has some balance issues on items and feats in particular (where some items/feats are either must-haves or completely obsolete), so I'm trying to fix those, in the least invasive way I can. I'm excited to see your ideas though - even if they include a complete overhaul

  4. #4
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    Stopped at Actor. How can you rate a stat bump feat only 1/5?

    What I would do is use a more rational rating system:

    Each stat bump ("half feat") is rated at 2,5 stars. This way, a feat that is neither weaker nor stronger than taking no feat at all is 5 stars. The few feats that are consistently rated better than taking a +2 bonus will then get higher ratings than 5. Only feats with no ability increase that also provide worthless other stuff can and will be rated lower than 2,5 stars (*cough* savage attacker *cough*).

    By this system, Actor is at least 2,5 stars. You might rate the deception and mimicry only half a star, but I've seen it in action and would rate it at 1 star. This places Actor at 3,5 stars; a much more reasonable rating.

    Likewise, Tavern Brawler is essential to any grappling build. Rating it 1 star only means "I have no idea how to optimize grappling". Rate it 2,5 stars if you will, but never lower since you do get a +1 stat bump. Myself, I'd add half a star for the flexibility (the feat works both for Strength builds and Con builds), and then a full star to the rating, since I know how valuable the feat is to those builds that need it: 4 stars. The fact it is worthless (meaning 2,5 stars; you do get the stat bump) to people not interested in grappling is irrelevant.

    Great Weapon Master (and Sharpshooter) on the other hand is probably a 6 star feat, to make a comparison. While is it grating to see +10 damage at low levels, it is actually with higher level it truly becomes unbalanced. (At low levels you gain the impressive and frankly verisimilitude-shattering ability to deal twice as much damage as anyone else; but it is at higher levels the actual game becomes unbalanced, since it is only here your actual DPR shoots through the roof. At low levels, you miss too often for GWM to break your DPR compared to others).

    As regards to Skilled, you have made changes, but you either never wrote why or that part has gotten lost by now. I can't provide meaningful feedback unless you tell us why you're not happy with a particular feat; why you make the changes you make.

    Regards,

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by CapnZapp View Post
    Stopped at Actor. How can you rate a stat bump feat only 1/5?

    What I would do is use a more rational rating system:

    Each stat bump ("half feat") is rated at 2,5 stars. This way, a feat that is neither weaker nor stronger than taking no feat at all is 5 stars. The few feats that are consistently rated better than taking a +2 bonus will then get higher ratings than 5. Only feats with no ability increase that also provide worthless other stuff can and will be rated lower than 2,5 stars (*cough* savage attacker *cough*).

    By this system, Actor is at least 2,5 stars. You might rate the deception and mimicry only half a star, but I've seen it in action and would rate it at 1 star. This places Actor at 3,5 stars; a much more reasonable rating.

    Likewise, Tavern Brawler is essential to any grappling build. Rating it 1 star only means "I have no idea how to optimize grappling". Rate it 2,5 stars if you will, but never lower since you do get a +1 stat bump. Myself, I'd add half a star for the flexibility (the feat works both for Strength builds and Con builds), and then a full star to the rating, since I know how valuable the feat is to those builds that need it: 4 stars. The fact it is worthless (meaning 2,5 stars; you do get the stat bump) to people not interested in grappling is irrelevant.
    Good points, and I can see that some of my ratings might be off. But they are only guidemarks - it's the changes that are the point here, not putting a rating on the feats. I'm not trying to create a rating system, I'm trying to look at the feats and ask myself - is this feat worth taking? And in that regard, I don't really think actor is a valuable feat. I could be wrong though - I haven't seen it in action. I wasn't aware of the grapple build with Tavern Brawler, so of course, that would change things.

    But, I would value your input more on the changes - or suggestion to changes - than at the ratings. You can ignore the ratings, if you wish .

    Quote Originally Posted by CapnZapp View Post
    Great Weapon Master (and Sharpshooter) on the other hand is probably a 6 star feat, to make a comparison. While is it grating to see +10 damage at low levels, it is actually with higher level it truly becomes unbalanced. (At low levels you gain the impressive and frankly verisimilitude-shattering ability to deal twice as much damage as anyone else; but it is at higher levels the actual game becomes unbalanced, since it is only here your actual DPR shoots through the roof. At low levels, you miss too often for GWM to break your DPR compared to others).

    As regards to Skilled, you have made changes, but you either never wrote why or that part has gotten lost by now. I can't provide meaningful feedback unless you tell us why you're not happy with a particular feat; why you make the changes you make.

    Regards,
    I still think GWM and Sharpshooter are really strong (and must-haves for some builds), but I think the change I've made is a step towards making them a little less so.

    Skilled was changed, because while I can see players want to get another one or two proficiencies, I don't think many players will feel the need for 3 new skills. An ability bonus, a skill proficiency (or expertise) makes more sense to me, both in a gamesense and narratively.

    I'll make sure to update my reasoning on each feat, for easier reading.

    Thanks for your input.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by JValeur View Post
    I'm not trying to create a rating system, I'm trying to look at the feats and ask myself - is this feat worth taking? And in that regard, I don't really think actor is a valuable feat. I could be wrong though - I haven't seen it in action.
    I think you are missing something here though. How can you (or more importantly someone reading your analysis/changes), properly determine how to balance something if you do not have it correctly rated. If you rate something a (1) and you do x,y, & z to make it a (3) that sounds good. However, if it should have been initially rated a (4), you have just made it a (6), which is not so good. Thus, I agree with CapnZapp, a more thought rating system can be vary valuable when your trying to balance something and your soliciting input from others.

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by dave2008 View Post
    I think you are missing something here though. How can you (or more importantly someone reading your analysis/changes), properly determine how to balance something if you do not have it correctly rated. If you rate something a (1) and you do x,y, & z to make it a (3) that sounds good. However, if it should have been initially rated a (4), you have just made it a (6), which is not so good. Thus, I agree with CapnZapp, a more thought rating system can be vary valuable when your trying to balance something and your soliciting input from others.
    I can see the point you're making and I do appreciate comments on the current balance of the feats. I've also taken CapnZapps comments into account. But, since my goal is not to rate everything correctly, but to balance it correctly, I would appreciate input on not only my (subjective) ratings (that were also based on ratings from others, who had evaluated the feats) but on the changes I've made

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by JValeur View Post
    I can see the point you're making and I do appreciate comments on the current balance of the feats. I've also taken CapnZapps comments into account. But, since my goal is not to rate everything correctly, but to balance it correctly, I would appreciate input on not only my (subjective) ratings (that were also based on ratings from others, who had evaluated the feats) but on the changes I've made
    Understood, but it makes it a lot harder to balance something if your ratings are not well thought out and balanced. I'm suggesting you will get better results if you do spend the time get a decent rating system.

    Now regarding Great Weapon Master and Sharpshooter. I like your adjustment thematically; however, I think you misunderstand when it is unbalanced. Because of bounded accuracy this feat is much more unbalanced at higher levels, when the -5 to hit is not much of a penalty, but the +10 damage is huge when you multiply it X4 (or X8 w/ action surge). Yours is an improvement (-6 vs -5), but you have also upped the damage by 8/16.

    I guess the bigger questions is what is the balancing point. Do you want all feats to be a rank 5 or are you trying to make then a rank 3? Do we bring the low ones up or the strong ones down? Of course these should be balanced around ability score bonuses, so each each should be as good as +1 to hit and +1 to damage. If that is the metric (it is by default, but it is unclear in your post as you completely discount the +1 feats), then the weak ones need a buff and the strong ones a nerf.

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by dave2008 View Post
    Understood, but it makes it a lot harder to balance something if your ratings are not well thought out and balanced. I'm suggesting you will get better results if you do spend the time get a decent rating system.

    Now regarding Great Weapon Master and Sharpshooter. I like your adjustment thematically; however, I think you misunderstand when it is unbalanced. Because of bounded accuracy this feat is much more unbalanced at higher levels, when the -5 to hit is not much of a penalty, but the +10 damage is huge when you multiply it X4 (or X8 w/ action surge). Yours is an improvement (-6 vs -5), but you have also upped the damage by 8/16.

    I guess the bigger questions is what is the balancing point. Do you want all feats to be a rank 5 or are you trying to make then a rank 3? Do we bring the low ones up or the strong ones down? Of course these should be balanced around ability score bonuses, so each each should be as good as +1 to hit and +1 to damage. If that is the metric (it is by default, but it is unclear in your post as you completely discount the +1 feats), then the weak ones need a buff and the strong ones a nerf.
    I agree. I shouldn't have posted those ratings - they weren't well enough thought out, and took attention from the real purpose.

    You are right about GWM and Sharpshooter. I had not witnessed them at high level play, and was seeing only the consequences at low-mid level play. I've changed it from proficiency to -3/+6, which seems to be a more appropriate fix.

    My intention is to make all feats worthwhile, have no feats that are must-haves or abusable, and to put a stop to the too powerful ones. I think this list I've posted is closer, although I can see some feats very rarely being picked up.

    I've uploaded my work so far as a color-coded PDF, with a changelog below.

  10. #10
    Firstly, I have a problem that you altered Crossbow Expert. Even the Sage Advice said that it was supposed to work with any ranged attack roll, even spells. Second, Great Weapon Master and Sharpshooter are meant to feel strong. It's a high-risk/high-reward mechanic for a reason. Even with Advantage, you're virtually removing your attack roll modifiers. That's why it's so lethal. They want to hit hard when they connect in exchange for hitting less often. That's their choice. Thirdly, Martial Adept is meant to have only one Superiority Die because a Fighter only has 6 at level 15 and starts with 4. The feat is meant to let other characters feel stronger without making the Fighter feel inadequate. I can say for sure I don't want a Battle Master Fighter getting another two Superiority Dice each day. Especially when they get them all back after a Short or Long Rest. I thoroughly agree that Grappler needs some modifications, since it can currently be completely negated by just grappling the target, and then knocking them prone. The rest I'm okay with.

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