D&D 5E Does Your DM Let Everyone Start With A Feat?

Does your DM let everyone start with a feat?

  • Yes, any feat we want.

    Votes: 21 18.1%
  • Yes, but only from a DM-curated short list of starting feats.

    Votes: 21 18.1%
  • No, only certain races (like the variant human) get to start with a feat.

    Votes: 66 56.9%
  • No, nobody gets to start with a feat/we don't use feats.

    Votes: 8 6.9%

CleverNickName

Limit Break Dancing
It's a simple question, with a simple poll: Does your DM let every character in the campaign (regardless of their race, class, or background) start with a free feat at 1st level? Can it be any feat the player wants, or do they have to choose from a list of DM-approved feats? Do you not use feats at all? Vote for the option that best fits your experience.

I'm kicking around the idea of allowing this little house-rule to my upcoming campaign. I just like the extra layer of customization that a 1st level feat brings to the character, especially if the players find a way to work it into their character backstory. But what sounds good in my head might not play well on the tabletop, so I thought I'd solicit input from my fellow gamers. Anybody have any horror stories to tell? Are there any pitfalls I should watch out for?
 

log in or register to remove this ad

UngainlyTitan

Legend
Supporter
This needs an entry for "Thinking about it". I am not currently running a campaign and the one I am playing in started before this became a consideration. (It really started nearly 40 year ago, with a long slow period because we did not live close enough for a regular game. Online is sure useful)
My nephew is thinking about a new campaign and in considering allowing a free feat.
I would if I was starting a new campaign but from as curated list.
 


Hussar

Legend
I did this in my current campaign. The only limitations I placed were that the feats were to be non-combat. So, no Sharpshooter or Warcaster, stuff like that. A few of the players kinda, sorta danced around the edges - one player took a feat (the name of which I forget) that allows Mage Hand to push 5 feet in combat as a bonus action, for example. But, not a huge deal. I'm running the Candlekeep Mysteries and I didn't mind the players having a bit of extra out of combat goodies from the outset.

IMO, it worked pretty well and it certainly made the players happy. Got a few Ritual Casters in there, but, considering all 5 PC's are casters, that's not a big deal either. Overall I'd say it was a pretty solid success.
 

pukunui

Legend
I do not give out free feats at 1st level, nor do any of the other 5e DMs I play with.

I am not opposed to the idea, however. In fact, back when 5e was new, I had a house rule allowing players to trade in their racial +2 ASI for a free feat at chargen, but I don't think people anyone ever made that trade. Maybe once? I stopped offering it some years ago as I was keen to reduce the number of house rules I play with.

That said, I like the idea they're introducing with DragonLance where you get feats via your background. I expect that will become the default for all backgrounds as part of the 50th anniversary revision.
 

Stormonu

Legend
I'm about to use a bonus free feat in my campaign. In the past nothing I saw nothing that would indicate it have caused a problem - but my players are far from optimizers, and in the games I've been a player many times I wished I had that first-level bonus feat to further flesh out my character.
 

CleverNickName

Limit Break Dancing
I have found that the “extra level of customization” of the “starter feat” actually leads to an extra level of sameness as I see the same 5 or 6 clearly superior feats selected over and over in any campaign that does this.
See, this is what I'm worried about.

I might avoid this by forcing the players to choose this first-level "bonus feat" from a short list of options. Feats that I have carefully selected for build options and storytelling potential. I'm thinking stuff like Light Armor Master, Ritual Magic, Skilled...the feats that are nobody's first choice, and probably aren't worth a +2 ASI, but would still pretty good to have for certain builds, or to fill in gaps. It's free, after all, so there'd be nothing to complain about.

If I let them pick any feat at 1st level, it would be the only feat they would ever get...and I don't think that would be very popular with my players.
 
Last edited:



DND_Reborn

Legend
Yes, as our primary DM (and when others in our group DM), we have always allowed PCs to begin with a feat and variant humans can begin with two OR get a further ASI +2 (in addition to the two ASI +1s).

I'd actually like to try running a 5e game without feats just to see how it goes.
I've considered that myself... but feats are just "too cool" so I doubt the players would want to do it long term.
 

BookTenTiger

He / Him
If I were starting up a new campaign, I would have bonus feats at 1st Level, but curated by some kind of extra background... Region, Training, Alliance, something like that.

I like the idea of choosing a bonus feat for each faction. Everyone from X faction gets the Ritual Caster feat, while everyone from Y faction gets Chef. It would be a fun way to bring some rarely-taken feats into the game while creating more connections, or differences, between characters.
 


doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
It's a simple question, with a simple poll: Does your DM let every character in the campaign (regardless of their race, class, or background) start with a free feat at 1st level? Can it be any feat the player wants, or do they have to choose from a list of DM-approved feats? Do you not use feats at all? Vote for the option that best fits your experience.

I'm kicking around the idea of allowing this little house-rule to my upcoming campaign. I just like the extra layer of customization that a 1st level feat brings to the character, especially if the players find a way to work it into their character backstory. But what sounds good in my head might not play well on the tabletop, so I thought I'd solicit input from my fellow gamers. Anybody have any horror stories to tell? Are there any pitfalls I should watch out for?
I started the practice in my group, and now we never make PCs without it unless introducing new players, in which case the extra feat comes in at level 2, usually.
 

I don't have a consistent 5e DM, but if I did, I would certainly hope they'd do this. Feats are among the only actually interesting mechanical bits in 5e. As is the case for most games, some feats suck, other feats rock, and most are middling.

Of course, part of my desire for that is that some homebrew I've written, which I would still like to playtest, includes a feat and it'd be nice to have that without having to wait until 4th level to see the feat in action.
 

tetrasodium

Legend
Supporter
The poll options didn't seem to fit

Back in the 3.x days I allowed it & would often use it as a way to bait players into anchoring their PC into the world I was running by giving them a bit of early customization. When I first started running 5e I tried lots of ways to give quarter (or better)feats & such I created or chose hoping to do the same but players only ever looked at it as free stuff & immediately ignored any anchoring pretty much any way I did it. Made worse is that there was no wiggle room where I could give magic items that buff something else if a particular PC was too optimized or something as a result because of the simplicity. Because the PCs were all assumed to have no feats no magic items they were already over budget as soon as I gave them anyways but I was still expected to give magic items & such because it's d&d,

I would like to but feats are too powerful after condensing the feat chains & the system assumes no feats in the math. The system being so simplified while also assuming magic items in the math means I don't have any way to massage power imbalance between players with magic items since any magic item is too good & a magic item is either a direct improvement in a PC's main thing or useless trash with no in between..

I'd actually like to try running a 5e game without feats just to see how it goes.
I've done it once figuring I could break up feats to make magic items using one bullet point but there was really only one or two that mattered and everything else was trash.
the characters themselves were less interesting & in retrospect we all decided that it was generally considered a pure negative by both me & the players.

editL I've long banned variant human
 



Ogre Mage

Adventurer
A small handful of games I played in did this, but for the large majority only the variant human, custom lineage and their ilk start with a feat.
 

Vaalingrade

Legend
I have found that the “extra level of customization” of the “starter feat” actually leads to an extra level of sameness as I see the same 5 or 6 clearly superior feats selected over and over in any campaign that does this.
Solution: We need more feats.

Like forget releasing 50 settings a year and give us a book of feats and magic items. No new spells. No new weird thing for the druid to be. No new, desperate attempt to salvage the ranger. Only the good stuff.
 

iserith

Magic Wordsmith
I don't give out extra feats, if I'm using feats at all in my game. Sometimes I've gated feat access behind faction membership so, if you wanted to get certain feats, you had to join particular factions.
 

Dungeon Delver's Guide

An Advertisement

Advertisement4

Top