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5E D&D Beyond Revisits Popular Feats

The folks over at D&D Beyond have revisited the stats in the most popular feats used by class on the DDB platform.

It looks like the percentage of characters using feats has increased slightly.

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Here are the most popular feats in 2018 and now.

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And here are the top feats for each class in 2018 and now.

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Russ Morrissey

Comments

DEFCON 1

Legend
Supporter
The more I've run tables over these last 5+ years, the more I've found that the addition of all the class and subclass features plus additional character options like feats have greatly reduced the number of times magical item effects have been used or cared about by my players.

When you can do entire suites of special abilities just from your character itself, the stuff you get from magical items just no longer holds an interesting or ultimately useful place in the game. On the one hand that's good because you are now no longer beholden to the whims of the DM and can make your character the way you want to... but on the other, it does reduce the amount of "reward" a character can get for adventuring other than just strict XP. If the stuff you get from XP through the level-up process is just as good/useful as any item you might acquire... the narrative aspect of adventuring kind of gets lost. They adventure to get better at adventuring, not for any tangible rewards. But if you didn't use feats and instead put all the special features you could get from feats into various magical items... you could possibly get the best of both worlds.

Not insurmountable by any stretch, but it does affect the focus of the game and the way characters approach the world.
 

jmartkdr2

Explorer
I'm a bit surprised to see tough so high - it's good, but not really talked about. Great pick if you don't have a good ASI to go for.

I'm also wondering how many Warcasters picked it because they "need" it to carry shields rather than because they want to make spell opportunity attacks.
 

Zardnaar

Legend
I'm a bit surprised to see tough so high - it's good, but not really talked about. Great pick if you don't have a good ASI to go for.

I'm also wondering how many Warcasters picked it because they "need" it to carry shields rather than because they want to make spell opportunity attacks.
More for concentration rolls. Makes them sorta trivial without it you kinda want to blast or play support.
 


We finally know the difference between wizards and sorcerers. One have a keen mind, the other is just lucky. Wait a sec... 🤣

40% of rangers. 14% of rogues, and 16% of fighter have sharpshooter. But no crossbow experts in top 3. Interesting.
 



Phazonfish

B-Rank Agent
That was probably in reference to the warcaster prevalence at low levels.

I'm equally perplexed on the amount tough shows up.
Ahh, I assumed Tough was relevant since he left it in the quote, but that makes more sense.

Also, no wonder War Caster is so popular, all three of its bonuses matter!
 

Burnside

Explorer
Surprised Magic Initiate isn’t more popular. Can have really fun RP implications, and can add an interesting dimension and versatility to many characters.
 

Surprised Magic Initiate isn’t more popular. Can have really fun RP implications, and can add an interesting dimension and versatility to many characters.
Definitely top three at my table. The new aberrant dragonmark might still a little bit of its thunder but I reckon it will remain on top.
Sulker is absent as well. I wonder if that is caused by a lot of tables ignoring different levels of light.
 

TwoSix

The hero you deserve
Supporter
The more I've run tables over these last 5+ years, the more I've found that the addition of all the class and subclass features plus additional character options like feats have greatly reduced the number of times magical item effects have been used or cared about by my players.

When you can do entire suites of special abilities just from your character itself, the stuff you get from magical items just no longer holds an interesting or ultimately useful place in the game. On the one hand that's good because you are now no longer beholden to the whims of the DM and can make your character the way you want to... but on the other, it does reduce the amount of "reward" a character can get for adventuring other than just strict XP. If the stuff you get from XP through the level-up process is just as good/useful as any item you might acquire... the narrative aspect of adventuring kind of gets lost. They adventure to get better at adventuring, not for any tangible rewards. But if you didn't use feats and instead put all the special features you could get from feats into various magical items... you could possibly get the best of both worlds.

Not insurmountable by any stretch, but it does affect the focus of the game and the way characters approach the world.
That's an interesting observation; I'm actually designing my next campaign to address that exact dynamic. After about level 5, the PC's can only learn new class abilities from either studying and attuning with their magic items, or from learning techniques from NPCs (which is a boon in all but name). Essentially, class progression stops at 5, and magic items and boons give you access to mini prestige classes.
 


I continue to be baffled by why so many Monks take Mobile.

It just gives them their powers, again. I get that being Mobile is a Monk thing, but like, they already are.
They aren't tanky enough to stay in melee safely.

It costs them 2 attacks to disengage, (almost) half of their offence. 1 ki and the bonus action, which is the price of a flurry of blows.

So a feat that doubles your damage output seems pretty good.

A rogue loses half of her attacks to disengage, but they can get 80%+ of their damage from 1 hit, and are tankier thanks to reaction-halving a hit every round.
 

They aren't tanky enough to stay in melee safely.

It costs them 2 attacks to disengage, (almost) half of their offence. 1 ki and the bonus action, which is the price of a flurry of blows.

So a feat that doubles your damage output seems pretty good.

A rogue loses half of her attacks to disengage, but they can get 80%+ of their damage from 1 hit, and are tankier thanks to reaction-halving a hit every round.
depends on tier of play. at low level they are fairly soft but by the end they are as tough as any other front line PC. mid levels it comes down to how SS roles at your table to determine mobility needs
 

That's an interesting observation; I'm actually designing my next campaign to address that exact dynamic. After about level 5, the PC's can only learn new class abilities from either studying and attuning with their magic items, or from learning techniques from NPCs (which is a boon in all but name). Essentially, class progression stops at 5, and magic items and boons give you access to mini prestige classes.
I am going another direction.

XP slows down exponentially with levels, and gritty rests, means that it takes a long calendar and play time to gain levels. The McGuffins grant a substantial boost to 1 PC, and grant everyone in the party a level, when acquired (this effect, which works on NPCs too, is part of the reason there is a race to get the McGuffins).

The model I have is 1 long rest for level 2 (so 2 weeks), x2 for each level afterwards; so level X takes 2^(X)-2 weeks of adventuring give or take.

Level 6 is just over a year. Level 11 is 30 years of adventuring or intense training. Level 16 is 1000 years of adventuring or intense training.

Which then provides limits on world building (the elves are higher level by a tad). Rare external ways to "cheat" become how you can break this limit (becoming a lich, for example), and the PC party in phase 1 is offered a trail of 13 things that each give a +1 level to a party-ish-sized group and a ridiculous boost to one person (max 1 per person).

If they pull off most of them (phase 2) they'll become the most powerful mortals in the world. Which leads to phase 3; what the 13 omens unlock.
 

ad_hoc

Hero
They aren't tanky enough to stay in melee safely.

It costs them 2 attacks to disengage, (almost) half of their offence. 1 ki and the bonus action, which is the price of a flurry of blows.

So a feat that doubles your damage output seems pretty good.

A rogue loses half of her attacks to disengage, but they can get 80%+ of their damage from 1 hit, and are tankier thanks to reaction-halving a hit every round.
Maybe it comes down to styles of play that I'm unfamiliar with. It's got to be something.

What you're saying doesn't make sense to me.

Disengage as a bonus action is usually a bad choice for a Monk.

But...just walking out of melee doesn't actually help them. It is super easy for creatures in 5e to move around the battlefield. They will just walk up to the Monk and keep attacking. And if not the Monk then another vulnerable PC.

The Monk is better off Dodging here if they want to be defensive.

Mobile requires the Monk to attack each creature they want to walk past too. The Monk really wants to be hitting the important enemies with Stunning Strike. They can't do that if they're using up their attacks on the weaker creatures. Attacks which are not as helpful as a magic user's AoE attacks against those same creatures.

And if the Monk stuns a creature that creature can't OA anyway.

Movement gain is diminishing returns too. The Monk already gets a lot of movement so the added distance for Mobile is not as impactful as it would be for another character.

Moving away from a creature without taking an OA after you attack them is just not worth a feat. A feat is a big deal. +2 to Dex or Wis for a Monk is a huge deal.

At most Mobile is worth half a feat for a Monk. It mostly just duplicates what they can already do, just gives them more ways to do it.

I will never understand it I guess. If I had to take a feat for a Monk I would rather take Tough.
 

ninjayeti

Explorer
I'm surprised that Healer and Inspiring Leader didn't make the top 20. Both provide far more overall benefit for a group than any of the others on the list. My 8th level bard can give the party 13 THP each with inspiring leader - which is almost as good as if everyone in the party had had the Toughness feat (16 HP); plus the THP recharge every short rest without burning HD or healing. The Healer feat essentially gives up to TWELVE (!) free Cure Wounds per day (assuming a party of 4 characters and a standard "adventuring day" with two short rests - for larger parties it just gets more OP).

I guess it just demonstrates that even players obsessed with optimizing their characters often never think about optimizing the group.
 

ad_hoc

Hero
I guess it just demonstrates that even players obsessed with optimizing their characters often never think about optimizing the group.
I think this is completely true.

The group is far more important than any individual character. I think this is why I'm often at odds with 'optimizers'.

Damage is a big one. It should be calculated as a group not per character. Going from 10 to 12 damage is a huge deal for an optimizer. But it isn't actually that much if you see that it is actually going from a group damage of 48 to 50.
 


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