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D&D 5E Feat at 1st Level: How To Go About It?

Hello, everyone.

I'm considering giving all the characters the option of having a feat at first level.

At first, I'd considered just letting all the characters have a feat for free. But, then I thought that I really didn't want to force all the players to pick a feat (as some wouldn't want to). Nor, did I want to really change the power level of the characters.

So, the options that I've come to are these:

• Give up two points from racial ability score increase(s) to gain either a feat or proficiency in a skill at first level.
• Use 6 points from the points used to by your scores to purchase either a feat or proficiency in a skill at first level.​

What do you think? Are either of these options good? Is there a better option?

Thank you,
 

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jodyjohnson

Adventurer
The Skilled feat gives 3 skills or tool proficiencies. So I'd just give everyone either a feat or 3 extra skill/tool proficiencies (the Skilled feat).

If not everyone wants it, I'd just skip changing anything. Losing ability points to fund an early feat is robbing Peter to pay Paul.
 

Corpsetaker

First Post
Hello, everyone.

I'm considering giving all the characters the option of having a feat at first level.

At first, I'd considered just letting all the characters have a feat for free. But, then I thought that I really didn't want to force all the players to pick a feat (as some wouldn't want to). Nor, did I want to really change the power level of the characters.

So, the options that I've come to are these:

• Give up two points from racial ability score increase(s) to gain either a feat or proficiency in a skill at first level.
• Use 6 points from the points used to by your scores to purchase either a feat or proficiency in a skill at first level.​

What do you think? Are either of these options good? Is there a better option?

Thank you,

Why would a player not want a free feat?

Just curious.
 

Nine Hands

Explorer
I don't think its that big of a deal to do but I would not let anyone take the Variant Human since everyone already has a feat at first level.
 
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Why would a player not want a free feat?

Just curious.

A couple of the players prefer very straight forward characters, without a lot of options to think about, especially options at character creation (which they don't enjoy as much as playing the game). Forcing them to pick a feat wouldn't be fun for them.
 

Nine Hands

Explorer
A couple of the players prefer very straight forward characters, without a lot of options to think about, especially options at character creation (which they don't enjoy as much as playing the game). Forcing them to pick a feat wouldn't be fun for them.

I've never met anyone who would balk at something free, but if you've met someone like that, I guess the best option is to give them an Ability Score Increase instead, then as per the normal rules for ASIs, they can trade it in for a feat.
 

Rhogar_Rarr

First Post
I let my player's have a free feat at 1st level and I even allowed the variant human double feat option. But they opted for other races, a halfing, a half-elf, a drow, and a tiefling. Anyway, the free option is simple and easy. If they don't want to rifle through all the complicated feats, I would recommend the skilled or tough feat. Those ones are super simple and easy to keep track of. In addition, they're not bad feats to have.

I find that my players enjoy the extra feeling of customization and uniqueness that comes with the feats. For example, you have two identical half-elf, sword-n-board paladins. But one decides to take inspiring leader, while the other takes tavern brawler. Suddenly, one paladin is the paragon of leadership, with a shiny aura and all. Meanwhile, the other paladin likes to punch first and ask questions later.

Those feat choices can have a big impact on not only the way your character is played, but how your character is perceived. Yes some of this does reach over into roleplay and background of the character, but that should be part of the feat as well. The feats should makes sense for that character and their experiences.
 


Sacrosanct

Legend
Publisher
I've never met anyone who would balk at something free, but if you've met someone like that, I guess the best option is to give them an Ability Score Increase instead, then as per the normal rules for ASIs, they can trade it in for a feat.

It's not about getting something for free, it's getting something you don't want. It would be like someone coming to my door and saying "Hey man! Would you like this squash I have? It's FREE! What do you mean you don't like squash. Did you not hear the FREE part?"

And yes, there are a lot of players out there who don't like feats. A lot.
 

FarBeyondC

Explorer
A couple of the players prefer very straight forward characters, without a lot of options to think about, especially options at character creation (which they don't enjoy as much as playing the game). Forcing them to pick a feat wouldn't be fun for them.

Personally (assuming the free feat wasn't an option to choose from among several), if they didn't want to choose a feat for whatever reason, I'd just let them not choose a feat. Depending on the significance of them having the feat at the beginning, I may or may not let them gain that feat at some reasonable point of their choosing.
 



dmnqwk

Explorer
To be honest why are you offering them free feats? If you feel strongly, start the players at level 4 when they get the option of a feat anyway!

But no, seriously, feats are not something to give out at low level without damaging the balance of play. The only thing I'd recommend doing is having a player give up their Background benefits to pay for the feat - that is 2 skills and languages/tool proficiencies which would balance things out. Just deny them the skilled feat in case a smart alec tries to make that trade.
 



Psikerlord#

Explorer
If you're worried about stat's getting too high, and only want them to have a free feat and not an ASI, I would just say that to them.

If none of the book feats suit, ask reluctant players to work with you to make a custom feat. Even if they dont normally like feats, there will be something they'll like if they have a hand in making it. It could of course be a "half feat", with a +1 stat and moderate other bonus. If the player dislikes complexity, the moderate bonus could have a static quality, like bonus HP, adv on a skill or a more nebulous benefit left to the DM to determine, such as knowledge of local safe houses or streetwise contacts who feed him interesting/useful info from time to time.
 




MindxKiller

Explorer
No it's not. It's even been confirmed by the survey results. One of the big reasons why 5e placed so much emphasis on feats being optional in the first place.

Link to the survey? I have a feeling you might be using what people feel about 3.x feats to fuel your argument against 5e feats, which are much different and more focused. I haven't seen any players dislike feats in general, only overpowered or underpowered feats, though that is also anecdotal. But most people I see talk in these forums, or comment on guides, don't express a dislike of feats in general. In fact I don't think I've ever played in a campaign that didn't use feats, and can't recall seeing a campaign recruiting that didn't use feats. Those two points are however also anecdotal.
 

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