D&D 5E Feats at first level (i.e. generalising Theros' idea)

log in or register to remove this ad


I had one DM allow me to take it with my Leonin in Storm King's Thunder. It was fine as it gave a small boost every long rest. Think of it as a trinket with oomph.


Mind Mage
I liked this idea of customizing characters by getting a feat related to a deity at first level. How do folks feel about them and has anyone introduced them to their (non-theros) campaign setting? Spitballing as am about to start DMing again.....
I feel these optional level 1 feats are "setting feats" and need to help the player character plug into the themes and mood of the setting.

Theros Supernatural Gift
Ravenloft Dark Gift
(Presumably) Dark Sun Psionic Talent
(Alternatively) Eberron Dragon Mark

And so on.

If a DM adds level 1 feats, the DM might want to think about where these feats come from, what they mean, and how to flavor them to resonate the themes and moods of the wider setting.

Because 5e level 1 can be fragile, a setting feat is a reasonable buff. It is an opportunity to encourage players to invest in the setting.
Last edited:


Great Old One
As long as the feats really reflect the deities and are not the usual super-powerful feat that get exploited by builds. The main difficulty is balance, making sure that gods are chose for story and flavor, not technical benefits...


...has anyone introduced them to their (non-theros) campaign setting? Spitballing as am about to start DMing again.....
Yes, I have. But not tied to the gods. In my campaings I always give my players a free racial feat (from Xanathar's) at 1st-level. If their race is not in Xanathar's, or they don't like them, we create new ones. I usually don't allow other feats to choose from unless the player makes a good explanation (for example, my personality trait is "To me, a tavern brawl is a nice way to get to know a new city", so I want to choose 'Tavern Brawler').
I think these feats give enough versatility or flavor to the characters; one of my players love to wreathe himself in flames when casting fire spells (Tiefling; Flames of Phlegethos) :LOL:


Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal
My group just allows a bonus feat at level 1, and has for years. It adds a little more room for customization, and it’s fun.
Hmm, maybe it's time to try this again. Previously, because of half feats making it possible to get a +3 to start, I felt that it encouraged only the optimal match ups of racial ability score +2s and class. Even a +1 from a race to get the +3 mod to start was no longer enough since now people could be going for the +4 mod. So among optimizers (many of the people I've played with) it reduced variety in class/race combos. But now that's not a function anymore since that +2 could go anywhere.


1. Give out a "baseline" HD of d8 for medium, d6 for small, and d10 for "large build" races.
2. Give out a feat.
3. Ban vhuman (you already have the feat above) and similar.
4. Give out +1 to your save proficiency stats in your class.
5. Cap all modifiers from class/heritage/feats to +2 in a given stat at level 1.

Either keep or not keep the "flex stats by race". +1 to save proficiency stats makes it not really needed.

Balance wise, this makes level 1 PCs at a level 1 and a half to 2 power level. The size of the boost shrinks as you approach T2.

Casimir Liber

I've decided to restrict feats so that none that increase an ability score can be got at first level (and have linked all potential ones to deities in game). Makes sense to ditch varuant human too


Foggy Bottom Campaign Setting Fan
I generally do that not with feat per se but "setting appropriate list of buff", that players can take one of if they intertwine the setting element granting the buff with their backstory. So I actually get a backstory I can work with to integrate the character.


Mind Mage
@Casimir Liber

For your setting, it seems more helpful if the setting feat relates to a specific "cosmic force" rather than a specific deity.

Each Cleric domain is a "cosmic force", that the Cleric strives to attune.

In the Forgotten Realms setting, a deity is an astral creature that can have one or more cosmic forces in their "portfolio".

The astral plane is immaterial made out of thoughts. An astral creature is literally a thought construct, a paradigm, a symbolic archetype. The astral creatures tend to cluster ethically by alignment. But an individual astral creature might form ones own astral domain.

A cosmic force can be almost anything that seems fundamental: light, love, order, freedom, fire, energy, sun, water, earth, air, rain, storm, war, magic, etcetera. Different cultures will favor different cosmic forces. It is probably ok to refer to a cosmic force as a "domain", as long as it is understood to include domains that are not yet mentioned officially.

If the setting feat refers directly to a domain, then its context is a more personal and more cultural relationship with force itself. It is more vivid.

The relationship with one or more "portfolios" that might correspond to the domain, becomes more indirect.

This gives the players freedom to decide how their character feels about the deities who have a corresponding portfolio. The player character might view these astral creatures as misundertood, or objects of worship, charlatans, allies in a common cause, rivals, or irrelevant.

A player character that has a certain domain as a setting feat might be interesting to one or more astral creatures, but the player can decide what the relationship is, if any. Compare the player freedom to decide the relationship between a Warlock and patron. But in the case of a setting feat, the character may not even want a relationship.


Pretty much I've done this with the last couple of campaigns I DMed. Of course for those ones I pretty much had the players start off with a Racial Feat. So a Drow player started off with the Drow High Magic and I'd had a Half-Elf have a pick of both the Human OR the Elven Racial feats since he's technically both. And I even try to extend this rule to "all" the potential races, as far as I can, in regards to the other race options in 5E. Consequently, while doing the whole Racial Feat at level one, I allow all the Xanathar Racial Feats as well as the UA Racial Feats, such as Grudge-Bearer. And then I take this concept even further if there is a "link" or connection between races with one another in regards to Racial Feats.

For example: Dwarven Racial Feats can be taken by both Dwarves AND "Giant-Kin" type characters, such as the Firbolg, and ala the Races of Stone book, Gnomes(rock) and Goliaths.

Half-Orc Racials Feats can be taken by both Half-Orcs as well as Orc pcs.

Elven Racial Feats can be taken by Elves, Gnomes, or any race option that is typed as Fey. (The Shadar-Kai get a bit murky in this regard following this rule, but since they were Fey in 3.0, Humanish in 4E, and now Elves in 5E, then they would follow the Half-Elf Racial Feat selection choice when going this route. That or you just give them their UA Cantrips as a Racial Feat/Blessing from the Raven Queen and call it a day.)

Dragonborn Racial Feats can be taken by both Dragonborn and Kobold pcs. (Since Kobolds pretty much are/were related to Dragons and could become "True Dragons" via the Dragonwought feat in 3.5.) Hmmm, by that logic, would that also include Lizardfolk as well being able to nab a Dragonborn Racial Feat? Hmmm. (And since Half-Dragons are just refluffed Dragonborn, that's a given.)

If it gets to a point where I can't "figure out" something as close as possible, then that's where the Supernatural Feats/ala a Feat at level 1 comes in. But that's only if I'm going by the "Racial Feats only" at level 1 mindset. If not, then any feats are pretty much available to be chosen.
Last edited:

An Advertisement