D&D 5E Defensive Duelist fix?

I will also point out, it gives characters an additional option for their Reaction. What is the mathematical value of increasing one's Action Economy?
I guess that is the reason this feat isn't popular for rogues, who already have something they can do with their reaction under the same circumstance, but is popular for monks, who probably don't.
 

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doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
Yep. I think your proposal is balanced well. Removing the condition about not using your reaction is both for simplicity and because no other features in the game (that I can think of anyway) have similar restrictions. It is enough you are limited to one reaction per round.

My concern (and like I said I've never used the feat AS IS or seen anyone take it... so this could be completely unfounded) is that the Riposte won't see much use since most games only go to +4 prof bonus (9-12 levels). Up to 20% of the "first" hits you take become misses, and you get an extra attack when that happens.

If the feat offered a DEX +1 instead, the could get a PC to the next modifier, and give them a lot more benefits overall IMO. This would also make it simpler. Good thing or bad? Either way. I like the features to be as simple as possible. Nothing about your idea is overly complex of course.

I think there are many ways to make this a better feat and more appealing:
  • DEX +1.
  • Have the parry AC bonus extend for any additional attacks made by that target. (Similar to Multiattack Defense of Ranger Hunters.)
  • Targets have disadvantage on attempts to disarm you.
  • Riposte for a "counter-attack".
  • Disadvantage on further attacks by that creature.
  • Advantage on your next attack before the end of your next turn.
I'm sure there are others I forgot. Any combination or single additional feature could be enough, just depends on how much better you want to make the feat.
Interesting ideas. What do you think about something more like Deflect Missiles, where you always reduce damage, and have a chance to deal damage back?
Well, I wouldn't call it bad by any mean, but rather "limited in scope"? AC is so hard to come by once you reach a certain point, that the +1 is really nice, but I have seen MC rogues take it also for the Stealth feature.
Yeah it really should consume Moderately Armored, though, IMO. It’s too much to require 2 feats. Then again, I hate all the weapon/armor proficiency feats. Just so bad.
If Defensive Duelist gave double your proficiency bonus to AC would that be too much for people? I think it would be for most tables.
This gives me an idea. I don’t want to make the reaction be the same as deflect Missiles, but...maybe am opposed attack roll. If you hit, their attack misses. If you beat them by...5 or more, you hit them? Idk, I think there is something there.
 

DND_Reborn

Legend
I have seen the feat selected Three Times, by Three separate players over 5 years.
I have never seen the Magic Initiate nor Ritual Magic feats selected...should I infer that those feats are subpar?

I have seen the Great Weapon Master feat selected twice in 5 years. Dex builds are quite prevalent at my table, and as I mentioned before, one only needs a modest investment in Dex and a Finesse weapon to take advantage of the Defensive Duelist feat.

The type of argument of "I have never seen the feat in play" is akin to stating that since you have never seen or experienced racism, then racism must not exist. Many people choose not to travel to see a full eclipse of the sun, are full solar eclipses therefore Overrated?

First, you certainly could infer those are subpar. I wouldn't as I have seen both taken, Magic Initiate a few times and Ritual Magic twice. I consider them decent, but not fabulous.

LOL, don't be that way. Of course, the feat exists and I am sure some people have taken it (just have some have experienced racism and seen a solar eclipse...). There are several other feats I've never seen people play, but I'm sure people do. Do I think some of those are subpar as well? You bet!

That depends on how one interprets the math. A +5% general increase to AC is nice.
Adding a +10% to +30% increase to AC, after knowing that one's regular AC would be struck can be better.

An Aircraft Carrier about to be struck by a Surface to Ship Missile that will severely damage or sink the ship, is going to prefer the limited, but more effective, Defensive Duelist Feat over a flat +1 to AC.

In real game terms stopping a blow from landing, is often more important and more impactful, then a constant static bonus that sheer luck/swingyness will negate, ala a static +1 to AC.

If Defensive Duelist gave double your proficiency bonus to AC would that be too much for people? I think it would be for most tables.

I will also point out, it gives characters an additional option for their Reaction. What is the mathematical value of increasing one's Action Economy?

How good it is depends on what kind of combat you get into. We see casters use Shield often which fails to stop the attack that triggered it. Considering that Defensive Duelist has a bonus that is most often lower, it will help even less. Granted, it is free (no spell slots, etc.) but is only against a single attack. If it fails to help, the reaction is lost. A lot of classes don't have regular uses for reactions, but in combat OAs and other features do use them enough. So much so, that we added a new feat, Reactive, which allows a PC to take two reactions per round! Obviously our table sees reactions used a lot.

If you are commonly only getting attacked once per round it is certainly more useful than if you are getting attacked 4 times. If you are getting attacked more often, the +1 to AC is better.

At any rate, the point of this thread is improving a feat the OP (and others) find subpar and under used. Even you've still said you think making it a half-feat would be better.
 

DND_Reborn

Legend
What do you think about something more like Deflect Missiles, where you always reduce damage, and have a chance to deal damage back?
Sure. There are lots of ways and that could easily be another. Maybe:

You can use your reaction to reduce the damage from a melee attack. Roll your weapon damage including your ability score modifier and reduce the damage you take by that amount.

I wouldn't include a counter attack and this way it isn't proficiency bonus dependent nor might you use it without gaining any benefit.

I don't know, it might make it too good?

Yeah it really should consume Moderately Armored, though, IMO. It’s too much to require 2 feats. Then again, I hate all the weapon/armor proficiency feats. Just so bad.
Yeah, we've never had anyone take those feats (the "Armored" ones, that is) but that is because we use MCing. I like the Mastery feats and we see MAM and HAM both taken quite a bit.

I don’t want to make the reaction be the same as deflect Missiles, but...maybe am opposed attack roll. If you hit, their attack misses. If you beat them by...5 or more, you hit them? Idk, I think there is something there.

I certainly think you could do something along those lines, but (for me, mind you) again it gets too fiddly, especially with the beating them by 5 or more and such. If you like it cool, but not for me.

But in the effort of being of assistance... Maybe bump the bonus to AC equal to your attack modifier with the weapon? First, it would improve the chances of the feat actually helping. Then, you could do the part about making it miss by 5 or more, and roll damage (no attack roll?).

Thoughts?
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
Sure. There are lots of ways and that could easily be another. Maybe:

You can use your reaction to reduce the damage from a melee attack. Roll your weapon damage including your ability score modifier and reduce the damage you take by that amount.

I wouldn't include a counter attack and this way it isn't proficiency bonus dependent nor might you use it without gaining any benefit.

I don't know, it might make it too good?


Yeah, we've never had anyone take those feats (the "Armored" ones, that is) but that is because we use MCing. I like the Mastery feats and we see MAM and HAM both taken quite a bit.



I certainly think you could do something along those lines, but (for me, mind you) again it gets too fiddly, especially with the beating them by 5 or more and such. If you like it cool, but not for me.

But in the effort of being of assistance... Maybe bump the bonus to AC equal to your attack modifier with the weapon? First, it would improve the chances of the feat actually helping. Then, you could do the part about making it miss by 5 or more, and roll damage (no attack roll?).

Thoughts?
That might work. So, you'd increase your AC by a number equal to your melee weapon attack bonus with the weapon you're wielding, and if you make the attack miss by 5 or more, you deal damage as if you'd hit with an attack.

I think either that or deflect missiles but for melee are the simplest options for a Parry-Riposte.
 

Xeviat

Community Supporter
Supporter
I have seen the feat selected Three Times, by Three separate players over 5 years.
I have never seen the Magic Initiate nor Ritual Magic feats selected...should I infer that those feats are subpar?

I think they are, but I'm basing that just on my weighted assessments of the feats. I think Healer is OP, but it's only been selected by my players once since they don't like giving up personal power for group power.

I have seen the Great Weapon Master feat selected twice in 5 years. Dex builds are quite prevalent at my table, and as I mentioned before, one only needs a modest investment in Dex and a Finesse weapon to take advantage of the Defensive Duelist feat.

Different groups do definitely value different things.
 

TheSword

Legend
I like the idea of a riposte if the defensive parry causes the attack to miss.

however I would make sure that the ability can’t be used in conjunction with a shield.
 

DND_Reborn

Legend
That might work. So, you'd increase your AC by a number equal to your melee weapon attack bonus with the weapon you're wielding, and if you make the attack miss by 5 or more, you deal damage as if you'd hit with an attack.

I think either that or deflect missiles but for melee are the simplest options for a Parry-Riposte.
Well, the think about deflect missiles is if you reduce the damage to 0, you can spend a ki point to "attack" with the missile. There's no ki for this so you'd have to limit it some way IMO, maybe a number of times equal to your DEX modifier per short or long rest???

But yes, if your total attack bonus was say +7, your AC would improve by +7. If the roll was a 20, and your AC was an 18, the feat would boost it to 25, making the attack miss by 5 or more. You'd roll weapon damage (say d8+3 for example) to the target.

The big downside is the attack bonus, especially with magic weapons and spells, and get crazy high at later levels... so it might be too much. Is +14 to your AC too much? Likely, by then it means you can almost count an an attack missing you once per round by using your reaction. For PCs with high AC to start with, it also will almost guarantee you'd beat it by 5 and get the extra damage as well. :(
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
Well, the think about deflect missiles is if you reduce the damage to 0, you can spend a ki point to "attack" with the missile. There's no ki for this so you'd have to limit it some way IMO, maybe a number of times equal to your DEX modifier per short or long rest???

But yes, if your total attack bonus was say +7, your AC would improve by +7. If the roll was a 20, and your AC was an 18, the feat would boost it to 25, making the attack miss by 5 or more. You'd roll weapon damage (say d8+3 for example) to the target.

The big downside is the attack bonus, especially with magic weapons and spells, and get crazy high at later levels... so it might be too much. Is +14 to your AC too much? Likely, by then it means you can almost count an an attack missing you once per round by using your reaction. For PCs with high AC to start with, it also will almost guarantee you'd beat it by 5 and get the extra damage as well. :(
Yeah, I think at the end I prefer my earlier take. OTOH, the enemy's attacks also get higher, but really at that point we're just throwing away bounded accuracy.

Damage could still work, though, but it is just more powerful than my proposal at the top of the thread, so it needs, as you said, some sort of limiter.

By the way, the whole "cant use this again until you go without using a reaction" thing is inspired by the Tabaxi sprinting ability, which works much the same way.
 

DND_Reborn

Legend
Yeah, I think at the end I prefer my earlier take. OTOH, the enemy's attacks also get higher, but really at that point we're just throwing away bounded accuracy.

Damage could still work, though, but it is just more powerful than my proposal at the top of the thread, so it needs, as you said, some sort of limiter.

By the way, the whole "cant use this again until you go without using a reaction" thing is inspired by the Tabaxi sprinting ability, which works much the same way.
It's all good.

For the limitation, yes, I know the Tabaxi does that, but that is also because there is no action economy cost associated with it. It isn't just when your Dash or anything else. So, the limit is added so you can't do it each round for free.

In Defensive Duelist, the cost is your reaction, which is why I would simply remove it myself. shrug
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
It's all good.

For the limitation, yes, I know the Tabaxi does that, but that is also because there is no action economy cost associated with it. It isn't just when your Dash or anything else. So, the limit is added so you can't do it each round for free.

In Defensive Duelist, the cost is your reaction, which is why I would simply remove it myself. shrug
That's fair.
 

This gives me an idea. I don’t want to make the reaction be the same as deflect Missiles, but...maybe am opposed attack roll. If you hit, their attack misses. If you beat them by...5 or more, you hit them? Idk, I think there is something there.
I like that the Defensive Duelist feat can simulate a main gauche, and does not require a high Dex score to be useful.

Your proposed version of the feat, doc, is going to favor characters that specialize in melee attacks. It also will synergize nicely with the Shadowblade spell. Might as well change the Feat name to Arcane Trickster's Defensive Duelist Feat. 😄

This is not to say, I don't like your proposed changes as a design space.
Granted, it is free (no spell slots, etc.) but is only against a single attack. If it fails to help, the reaction is lost.
dnd4v, I think we differ in weighing the value of an at will Reaction via the Defensive Duelist feat versus the use of a spell slot and Reaction through the Shield spell.

A Shield spell that fails to foil a hit, costs a 1st level spell slot, and expenditure of one's Reaction.

The Defensive Duelist feat just costs you the Reaction. Opponents not triggering Opportunity Attacks is not uncommon, in my experience. When a 4th level character will be brought to 0 HP by 4 successful attacks from a giant spider, negating any hit is more impactful then an Opportunity Attack with a dagger for 1d4 + 4 damage.

I guess that is the reason this feat isn't popular for rogues, who already have something they can do with their reaction under the same circumstance,

The difference is between the likelihood of the AC bonus from DD negating the hit or not.
Having the option to either use Defensive Duelist or Uncanny Dodge is not a bad place to be in. Uncanny Dodge is more generally applicable, but the DD feat, especially in conjunction with spells like Blur, Mirror Image, or Greater Invisibility is no slouch.

+6 to AC while the opponent has Disadvantage on a melee attack roll, is very effective on a high level Arcane Trickster.
 

DND_Reborn

Legend
dnd4v, I think we differ in weighing the value of an at will Reaction via the Defensive Duelist feat versus the use of a spell slot and Reaction through the Shield spell.

A Shield spell that fails to foil a hit, costs a 1st level spell slot, and expenditure of one's Reaction.

The Defensive Duelist feat just costs you the Reaction. Opponents not triggering Opportunity Attacks is not uncommon, in my experience. When a 4th level character will be brought to 0 HP by 4 successful attacks from a giant spider, negating any hit is more impactful then an Opportunity Attack with a dagger for 1d4 + 4 damage.
I certainly agree we do, which is perfectly fine of course.

Yet Shield boosts your AC until the start of your next turn, which can be extremely useful. Shield is also good against ranged attacks. It also begins at +5, compared to only +2, and you won't reach +5 with Defensive Duelist until 13th level, and you won't pass it until 17th. Most games IME don't make it to 13th, let alone 17th.

Otherwise, as I said earlier, it depends entirely on the PC and what sort of combat you see.

Either way, you agreed making it a half-feat would be better. I am sure there are a lot of feats that you don't think need to also be made half-feats to rise above the "subpar" level? I think it has its niche uses as is, but not enough for anyone I've played with to bother with it yet... Even a +2 DEX is better, giving you all sorts of benefits beyond AC +1, including attack/damage with finesse weapons, saves, Initiative, and skills.
 

The Shield spell is great, of course. That greatness is balanced by most casters being able to use it up to 4 times a day. An Abjurer Wizard with a Staff of Defense, might push that number up to 11 times per adventuring day, presuming the player is not casting the spell by expending spell slots higher then level 1 in casting the Shield spell.

11 rounds of Shield is roughly 3 to 4 encounters. So even the most robust user/abuser of the Shield spell is going to cover about half of the Adventuring Day.

If Defensive Duelist was a half feat, with a +1 to any ability, my Dragonmark of Shadow, elf cleric of Trickery, might have selected Defensive Duelist as my 4th level feat, instead of Elven Accuracy.

My opinion is that all Feats, should give a +1 increase to an ability score.
 

DND_Reborn

Legend
The Shield spell is great, of course. That greatness is balanced by most casters being able to use it up to 4 times a day. An Abjurer Wizard with a Staff of Defense, might push that number up to 11 times per adventuring day, presuming the player is not casting the spell by expending spell slots higher then level 1 in casting the Shield spell.

11 rounds of Shield is roughly 3 to 4 encounters. So even the most robust user/abuser of the Shield spell is going to cover about half of the Adventuring Day.

If Defensive Duelist was a half feat, with a +1 to any ability, my Dragonmark of Shadow, elf cleric of Trickery, might have selected Defensive Duelist as my 4th level feat, instead of Elven Accuracy.

My opinion is that all Feats, should give a +1 increase to an ability score.
Well, we agree at least that if DD was a half-feat it would be better and might get more use in general. :)

In absence of the +1 ASI, I think @doctorbadwolf 's ideas would also improve it.
 

Ultimately you wind up with something like this:
DEFENSIVE DUELIST
Prerequisite: Dexterity 13 or higher
• Increase your Dexterity score by 1, to a maximum of 20.
When you are wielding a finesse weapon with which you are proficient and another creature hits you with a melee attack, you can use your reaction to add your proficiency bonus to your AC for that attack, potentially causing the attack to miss you. If the triggering attack still hits you, as part of this same Reaction, you may take a single Melee Weapon attack, with a finesse weapon you are wielding.

This is a Parry or Riposte feat, that is going to have all Rogue's slavering with anticipation.
 

DND_Reborn

Legend
This is a Parry or Riposte feat, that is going to have all Rogue's slavering with anticipation.

LOL yeah, I've been saying that since my first post:

I could see just about every rogue taking your version. "What? He missed me? Cool! Sneak Attack time b'atch!" ;)

Especially now that you're also adding the DEX +1 benefit??? :eek: What rogue would not take this feat. Way too OP. No thank you. It should be either add the DEX +1 OR the Riposte--not both. ;)
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
LOL yeah, I've been saying that since my first post:



Especially now that you're also adding the DEX +1 benefit??? :eek: What rogue would not take this feat. Way too OP. No thank you. It should be either add the DEX +1 OR the Riposte--not both. ;)
Agreed. I’m all for the riposte, though only on a miss not “if they still hit you” and I get the value of +1, but both is just way too much. Feat and a half territory.
 

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