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D&D 5E Can you share your experience with a featless/multiclassless game?

Ryuu Hayato

Explorer
The page 163 of the Player's handbook says:
The combination of ability scores, race, class, and background defines your character's capabilities in the game, and the personal details you create set your character apart from every other character. Even within your class and race, you have options to fine-tune what your character can do. But this chapter is for players who-with the DM's permission-want to go a step further.
This chapter defines two optional sets of rules for customizing your character: multiclassing and feats. Multiclassing lets you combine classes together, and feats are special options you can choose instead of increasing your ability scores as you gain levels. Your DM decides whether these options are available in a campaign.
However, even they are an optional rule, feats and multiclasses are allowed in the Adventure League's plays, and some claim they as a core part of the edition. Thus, I want to know how was your experiences without theses optional set of rules. This include gaming balance, martials against spellcasters, fighters without feats and so on.

Thanks in advance.
 

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vincegetorix

Jewel of the North
Agreed with @DEFCON 1 ,

I can say that the game and its attrition-based model work even better without feats. Multiclass isnt that much of a power bump, but it can create some monstrosities (sorcadin, sorlock).

And yeah, at least at my table, it removes the whole ''build'' thing. With 13 classes and 80-ish (?) archetypes, 40+ races etc, there's a lot of option to differentiate your characters, even before going into roleplaying differences.
 

mortwatcher

Explorer
it makes the MAD characters bit less stresful to play, as you remove the do I ASI or feat on those
makes fighters a tad worse, as you wont be able to use those extra ASI on anything else than more HP/+1 to wis save

would say multiclassing won't be that noticeable, a lot of players are more likely to shoot themselves in the foot with that then to actually improve their character
 


jsaving

Adventurer
We tried going without feats and multiclassing for a while. Character generation was easier, the level-up process was more straightforward, and there wasn't a sacrifice in overall character power (because 5e does a better job balancing feats/multiclassing than 3e did). However, about half the gaming group said they felt like they needed feats and multiclassing to have the character they truly wanted to play, even though a few players tried to "explain" that they ought not want that level of customization or could come pretty close to their intended character in other ways. Things might be different for other groups but we were very happy to end the experiment and bring feats and multiclassing back.
 

Nefermandias

Adventurer
Most of my 5e campaigns are without feats and multiclass. They play just fine and spare me a lot of trouble with idiotic combos and "dips".

Besides, feats doesn't really expand the character's options since the only ones that are really good are just too obvious, to the point they become mandatory whenever they are available.
 

pming

Legend
Hiya!

We tried feats and MC initially. After a while (maybe 6 to 8 months) of using them we dropped them both. MC'ing because it felt like you were never 'both' classes (or however many) because you'd go in as a Fighter, kicking butt and taking names, tanking, the whole shebang...then you'd wake up the next morning and POOF! You are now able to cast spells because you took a level of Wizard. Then you'd go into another adventure, fighting 99% of the time, cast a handful of your spells, and POOF! You wake up a better Wizard...even though almost all your adventuring time and actions were via using all your Fighter stuff. It just borked our suspension of disbelief.

Feats...oh man. Bottom line, it made characters MUCH more "same-y". Every Fighter took one of the "weapon mastery" Feats. Then resulted in all Fighters needing to also have it or they would 'suck in comparison', for example. It also made the Players feel like they "had" to take certain Feats or they would 'suck' or they would at least feel like they weren't a "real Fighter" (or Barbarian, Ranger, Cleric, etc). It just didn't work for us.

So...yeah. No Feats no MC in my game since that initial trial back when the PHB came out. Our games are better for it.

^_^

Paul L. Ming
 

GlassJaw

Hero
It would be fine. Multiclassing sucks in 5E anyway. In the vast majority of cases you are better off staying single-class. Because of that, the system encourages players to construct highly specific combos instead of multiclassing for the sake of their character (like warlock/paladin/bard dips, no thanks).

I would be more inclined to let a player swap class features (a la Tasha's) than have them multiclass. Multiclassing in 5E is so clunky.

Feats are a mixed bag. The biggest problem is that the feat system in 5E sucks. They compete with ASIs, they are grossly unbalanced, and since you get so few of them, players are disincentivized to pick cool ones that fit their character. It needs to be nuked form orbit.

Feats get substantially better if you ban or nerf the biggest offenders. Most feats are fine or even underpowered. A lot of abilities granted by feats I would let players do with a skill check or even for free.
 

I said no mc on one game because I was such of having the same one or two players playing the same totally different but identical in all the ways that matter sorlocks. Those players left and some of the other players pushed for the return with good reasons offered so I quickly had a different sorlock player. Playing the same totally different sorlock


In a different game I basically said no feats with the idea of using the individual bullet points as magic item attachments. Unfortunately it didn't really work any better because there are only one or two that any class/build needs(usually the same ones as other classes) & they provide such a night & day difference that it made the problem even more obvious.
 

Burnside

Space Jam Confirmed
Played an entire 2.5 year campaign of Tomb of Annihilation with no feats, no multi-classing, and standard array ability scores. Was totally fun and enjoyable. Nobody felt like anything important was missing.

For the record, the DM stipulated no feats and standard array. Multi-classing was probably allowed, but nobody did it.
 


You could take multiclassing out of most 5e games I've been in and nothing would change. It isn't really an issue other than removing sorcererdins and sorlocks - and good riddance.

I don't think I've ever played a No Feat game - but the first thing that would happen would be humans would disappear almost entirely (I've never seen a non-variant human because they are both weak and bland). Beyond that it wouldn't do much to most non-humans before level 12 (10 for rogues, 8 for fighters) as in at least 75% of cases the first two ASIs go into the primary stat. I'd feel bad for the two classes that get additional ASIs as improving your second choice stat is a lot less powerful than improving your first choice so those classes are nerfed harder.

The three fighter feats that feel between them like losing basically half a class out of the game to me are the "hordebreaker" heavy armour master, the "you will fight me" sentinel and the "let someone else try first" polearm master. (Great Weapon Fighter, for all it's a power feat, doesn't change much about what the fighter does).

I think, especially as they are basically the non-magic classes even in a featless game I'd let the fighter pick a feat at (or after*) 6th level, 14th level, and 18th level, and the rogue at (or after) 10th as that is where they get extra ASIs in a featless game - and the value of these is nerfed when you're filling out second and third choice stats rather than your first choice.

* If, for example, the fighter wants to pick an ASI at 6th they can take the feat at 8th instead. But a maximum of one feat until they get their second "extra" ASI at 14th level
 

Feats...oh man. Bottom line, it made characters MUCH more "same-y". Every Fighter took one of the "weapon mastery" Feats. Then resulted in all Fighters needing to also have it or they would 'suck in comparison', for example. It also made the Players feel like they "had" to take certain Feats or they would 'suck' or they would at least feel like they weren't a "real Fighter" (or Barbarian, Ranger, Cleric, etc). It just didn't work for us.
So wait a second here. Two fighters are more same-y when one's a great weapon master who can make mighty blows at low accuracy and the other's a polearm master who fights with both ends of the weapon than when they each have a +1 to rolls based on a different stat?

I just don't get it.
 

Gadget

Adventurer
I've always felt a-la cart multi-classing was somewhat half-backed to begin with, and leads to--for the most part--kludgy "build" type characters and dips for this or that. YMMV and all that. It may really work for some tables though, so YMMV. We have not used it much at all, but our campaigns rarely make it to high level. I can see players that are playing the same character for a long time wanting to change things up via multi-classing without abandoning a character altogether.

As for feats, the one great thing about them in 5 is that WOTC has exercised great restraint and not buried us in tide of new feats to make us feel we 'need' this or that to really be 'effective.' I like that 5e has more class specific options like martial maneuvers, meta-magic options, invocations and the like that help fill this niche. However, I have seen some feel like they lacked options when not using them.
 

GlassJaw

Hero
As for feats, the one great thing about them in 5 is that WOTC has exercised great restraint and not buried us in tide of new feats to make us feel we 'need' this or that to really be 'effective.' I like that 5e has more class specific options like martial maneuvers, meta-magic options, invocations and the like that help fill this niche. However, I have seen some feel like they lacked options when not using them.
Both TCoE and XGtE had feats, and they are largely forgettable.

Again, the problems with 5E feats are that they complete with ASIs, you get so few of them, and the power distribution is way out of whack. So when a player is finally thinking about taking a feat, they are most likely going to gravitate towards a very small subset in order to maximize their choice.

Picking a feat is a huge deal in 5E. Sure, WotC exercised "restraint" in designing the system but they are also designed themselves into a corner.
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen
Pros:
Easier to make characters, easier to level up, lower skill mastery ceiling makes it easier to maintain inter-party balance.

Cons:
Greatly reduced ability to customize characters through build choices. Character creation and leveling are less exciting for players who like to make decisions about how their character improves.

Whether it’s worth the tradeoff will largely depend on how much you value balance and ease of play vs. character customization.
 

Burnside

Space Jam Confirmed
I agree that without feats, you do see far fewer human characters.

I often see the argument that feats help "differentiate" characters. I have found the opposite to be true. Since everyone tends to gravitate towards the same 4-6 amazing feats, the effect of having feats in the game actually creates more sameness among characters, not distinctiveness.

I always allow feats as a DM, but I also always require standard array or point buy for ability scores, so inter-party balance does tend to be maintained. Or at least, if it's not there, it's not because of feats. It's because someone is playing an overpowered subclass from either the Wildemount book or Tasha's.
 

vincegetorix

Jewel of the North
The three fighter feats that feel between them like losing basically half a class out of the game to me are the "hordebreaker" heavy armour master, the "you will fight me" sentinel and the "let someone else try first" polearm master. (Great Weapon Fighter, for all it's a power feat, doesn't change much about what the fighter does).

Just an idea that I'll try if I ever DM a game again:
Create new fighting styles using the different bullet points of said feats, Fighters can swap a Bonus ASI for another fighting style:

Sharpshooter: Ignore the penalty for long range and prone targets with ranged attacks. No penalty to perception in dim light.
Point-blank shot: No Disadvantage with ranged attacks when within 5 ft of an enemy, +1 damage when in normal range.
Quick hands: Can swap weapons as a free action, ignore the loading property.
Cleaving: When you drop an enemy to 0 hp, can make another attack as a bonus action with a heavy or versatile weapon.
Weapon Expertise: You can take a penalty equal to your proficiency bonus to deal double that amount when you make an attack.
Armor finesse: You can add your dexterity bonus to your AC when using medium armors (maximum +3) or heavy armors (maximum +1) and you ignore the Disadvantage on stealth rolls.
Bludgeon Weapon Focus: aka Crusher feat (minus the stat bump)
Piercing Weapon Focus: aka Piercer
Slashing Weapon Focus: aka slasher
Shield-wall: Creatures within 5ft provoke AoO if they make an attack against a target other than you (and that target doesn't have this FS) and you are holding a shield.
Defender: When you hit a creature with an opportunity attack, the creature's speed becomes 0 for the rest of the turn. Creatures provoke opportunity attacks from you even if they take the Disengage action before leaving your reach.
Shield fighter: If you take the Attack action on your turn, you can use a bonus action to try to shove a creature within 5 feet of you with your shield. You can deal 1d6 bludgeoning damage if you successfully shove the target.
Resolute Shield: If you aren't incapacitated, you can add your shield's AC bonus to any Constitution, Dexterity or Strength saving throw you make against a spell or other harmful effect that targets only you.

etc
 

I often see the argument that feats help "differentiate" characters. I have found the opposite to be true. Since everyone tends to gravitate towards the same 4-6 amazing feats, the effect of having feats in the game actually creates more sameness among characters, not distinctiveness.
???

4-6 > 1, which is how many variants you get if you don't have feats.

Two handed melee fighters alone have four to six textbook feats: Great Weapon Master, Heavy Armour Master, Martial Adept, Polearm Master, Sentinel, and Lucky. Of these precisely one (Lucky) gets taken by wizards.
 

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