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D&D 5E Balancing Weapon Styles & Removing Power Attack

dmhelp

Explorer
Ok first off in regards to removing power attack I would like to avoid a 20 pager: D&D 5E - Nerfing Great Weapon Master
So I would say I can balance martial vs caster balance thru magic items (+3 sentient flame tongues that cast spells, belts of giant strength, non class restricted items that cast spells, having wands & staves not recharge, etc).

With that out of the way I was thinking of making GWM the AOE option. Also, I think SS is worthy of a feat without power attack. Your Fighting Style choice is basically like a broader 3E weapon specialization and picks when you get your +2 damage. With this proposal a hasted level 20 Fighter could get 12 attacks assuming each main action had at least one attack aimed at a second target (4+1, 4+1, 1 haste, and 1 bonus action cleave attack if at least 1 hit killed or critted) when using a heavy two handed weapon.

  • Everyone may add ability mod to offhand damage when two weapon fighting (no fighting style required)​
  • Weapon Fighting Styles changed to +2 damage: Archery (ranged weapons), Great Weapon Fighting (melee weapons with two hands, includes longswords used two handed, etc.), Two Weapon Fighting (dual melee weapons)​
  • Power attack (-5 hit/+10 damage) removed from Great Weapon Master & Sharpshooter​
  • Great Weapon Master - also when using the attack action to melee attack with a heavy weapon may make one additional melee attack per attack action (with the same weapon) as long as it is directed at a second target, lose any benefits from Polearm Master until the start of your next turn; cannot benefit from Great Weapon Master and Polearm Master on the same turn​
For completeness here are my other feat changes:
  • Linguist - learn 6 languages instead of 3​
  • Weapon Master - gives proficiency with shields and all simple/martial weapons​
  • Now included as half feats (with +1 to any physical ability score unless otherwise noted): Charger, Defensive Duelist, Dungeon Delver, Grappler, Martial Adept, Medium Armor Master, & Savage Attacker, or Skilled (with +1 to any ability score)​
 
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NotAYakk

Legend
So the baseline for a feat should be "how does it compare to +2 to your primary attack stat at level 4".

Using that metric, almost all 5e feats are underpowered.

PAM/XBE are strong. SS/GWM are marginal.

Most games don't hit 10. And classes like fighter and Rogue rely on ASI to spice them up. So the balance of feats against secondary stat bumps is less important.

The popularity of 3 level dips -- costing a feat -- indicates how feats are generally weaker than other levels past stat maximization.

Make feats stronger, don't nerf them.
 

dmhelp

Explorer
Players are using 17, 15, 13, 12, 10, 8 array so everyone is getting a 20 by level 4.
I’ve also started using multisubclassing for single classed characters.

So I don’t think feats are underpowered when you’ve already maxed out a stat (so I assume feats are picked up at 1 by vhuman/custom lineage or 8 for others unless they really wanted a feat early).

I also edited the original post to include my other feat changes for reference.
 
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So the baseline for a feat should be "how does it compare to +2 to your primary attack stat at level 4".

Using that metric, almost all 5e feats are underpowered.

PAM/XBE are strong. SS/GWM are marginal.

Most games don't hit 10. And classes like fighter and Rogue rely on ASI to spice them up. So the balance of feats against secondary stat bumps is less important.

The popularity of 3 level dips -- costing a feat -- indicates how feats are generally weaker than other levels past stat maximization.

Make feats stronger, don't nerf them.
This is my view as well, as most feats are criminally underpowered. Using either Point Buy or Array, even going to 20th level is going to give the average character 2-3 feats if they want to max out their primary ability score. Variant Humans and fighters get more, but they're exceptions, rather than the rule.

Given so few feats, it's unsurprising that so many characters take the same selection of feat. Those are the good feats worth taking, but so many people cry "broken" at them. I think SS is slightly stronger than it should be, and would recommend having it reduce cover by 2 and double the short range of weapons instead. PAM, GWM, Resilient, Lucky, and WC are all strong picks, with a handful being useful for specific builds.
 

DND_Reborn

I don't debate opinions.
FWIW, Alert and Observant are probably the two feats most selected in our games.

Combat feats, such as PAM, GWM, and SS aren't picked often as most builds are already good on the combat side of things.

Personally, feats aren't meant to be powerful to me, but more "defining and useful". YMMV of course.
 

loverdrive

Makin' cool stuff (She/Her)
So the baseline for a feat should be "how does it compare to +2 to your primary attack stat at level 4".

Using that metric, almost all 5e feats are underpowered.

PAM/XBE are strong. SS/GWM are marginal.

Most games don't hit 10. And classes like fighter and Rogue rely on ASI to spice them up. So the balance of feats against secondary stat bumps is less important.

The popularity of 3 level dips -- costing a feat -- indicates how feats are generally weaker than other levels past stat maximization.

Make feats stronger, don't nerf them.
As a sidenote, I've ran a game where at every ASI you get both, well, ASI and a feat and... Nothing changed in terms of combat power.

So, yeah, most of the feats are pretty underpowered.
 

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