OneDnD Feats still optional in 1D&D: and other notes from the survey results

dave2008

Legend
I didn't see this noted in the main thread about the Origins UA survey results so I thought I would start a new one to highlight something I thought was significant.

Within the first 5 minutes of the survey results video Crawford implies that, unlike a lot of speculation I have seen on these forums including my own, feats will still be optional in 2024 D&D. He mentions (and I am paraphrasing here) that he was concerned about the 1st level feat in the UA because feats are optional and he didn't know if including one in a background would upset those who do not use feats. They way he said this implied to me that the intent is for feats to remain optional and the 1st level feat is a one time feat/feature requirement.

EDIT: To clarify I mean feats past 1st level will continue to be optional

How did you interpret his statement?

Also, something else I thought was significant: The design team expects you t be use the Fizban and MotM race options (and presumably all extent race options) along side any options in the 2024 PHB. The 2024 PHB is not replacing those options (if it has them at all), it is just providing new options.
 
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Quickleaf

Legend
Well, that's not what I heard.

Starting at 3:00 (verbatim, emphasis mine) "Some groups prefer not to use feats, which is one of the reasons why we're very carefully threading this needle of: Alright, you get this free one. So we're not going to require you to engage with the feat system repeatedly unless you really want to. But we also want to give you that taste, so that you can then make an informed decision about whether you later engage with feats."

In the recent video, Jeremy Crawford describes the "background feat at 1st level" being wildly popular in their survey and that it scored the highest (almost 90% satisfaction) of their first One D&D Unearthed Arcana playtest survey. (As I note below, this may be flawed)

He explains that anything scoring this high is very likely to see further development in the actual game.

It's hard to not view this in light of something Jeremy said back in 2018: that a majority of D&D players don't use feats.
As @Alphastream said very well, this may be a flawed premise because there was no question asking "do you want bonus feats at 1st level?" (besides writing in your own comment in the text field at the end, which I did). There's a trend with these surveys to narrow the field of questioning to rating very specific features/feats/spells/races without asking the bigger question: do we even want this?

So, that "~90% satisfaction with background feats at 1st level" might be true – there certainly are a lot more players who are younger than me getting into D&D, and maybe they really connect with the power fantasy implied by a bonus background feat – but until they actually ask that question, we don't really know.

Honestly, I wish I'd been saving these surveys to look back at, but I just haven't had the wherewithal.

I want to believe that there's nothing but the best intentions behind this playtest – to improve the design and player experience. However, if WotC have a marketing objective of, say, getting players to use the feat system more (based on their internal data showing that most players aren't using feats), then steering the conversation by selectively presenting survey questions so as not to undermine WotC's premise (you want more feats) is an effective way to do that.
 


dave2008

Legend
@Quickleaf , if you just take the part you quoted above (see below), how do you interpret it differently than: it is suggesting feats are still optional, outside the 1st level feat?

"Some groups prefer not to use feats, which is one of the reasons why we're very carefully threading this needle of: Alright, you get this free one. So we're not going to require you to engage with the feat system repeatedly unless you really want to. But we also want to give you that taste, so that you can then make an informed decision about whether you later engage with feats."

He specifically says we are not going to require you to use them past 1st level. Also, first level feats are intentionally not like other feats, they are weaker. From one perspective they are not even feats, the are simply another background feature.
 
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DEFCON 1

Legend
Supporter
The 2014 Backgrounds already gave every player a free "Feat" that they just didn't call as such or had a specific dice mechanic tied to it. Every Background Feature was essentially a roleplaying feat-- some special character-driven thing the PC could do that no one else could.

But because there was no mechanic tied to the Feature, I suspect WotC found that most people didn't ever bother with it. Even the people who don't like Feats. So what's the point of having character options in the game that no one uses? It's why the Traits, Bonds, Ideals, and Flaws will probably all been gone from Backgrounds as well.

At least by specifically calling out the new 2024 Background "features" as Feats and adding a mechanic to them... all the people who love having additional mechanics to play with might actually finally use them. And the people who hate Background Feats can ignore them just like they did the 2014 Background Features. There won't be any difference for those people.
 

dave2008

Legend
The 2014 Backgrounds already gave every player a free "Feat" that they just didn't call as such or had a specific dice mechanic tied to it. Every Background Feature was essentially a roleplaying feat-- some special character-driven thing the PC could do that no one else could.

But because there was no mechanic tied to the Feature, I suspect WotC found that most people didn't ever bother with it. Even the people who don't like Feats. So what's the point of having character options in the game that no one uses? It's why the Traits, Bonds, Ideals, and Flaws will probably all been gone from Backgrounds as well.

At least by specifically calling out the new 2024 Background "features" as Feats and adding a mechanic to them... all the people who love having additional mechanics to play with might actually finally use them. And the people who hate Background Feats can ignore them just like they did the 2014 Background Features. There won't be any difference for those people.
While I agree, this discussion was more about whether or not feats would be required at higher levels. Some people were speculating that ASI would disappear and '24 D&D would be feat only or '24 would be ASI + feats. Basically the fear was that feats would be required past lvl 1.
 


DEFCON 1

Legend
Supporter
While I agree, this discussion was more about whether or not feats would be required at higher levels. Some people were speculating that ASI would disappear and '24 D&D would be feat only or '24 would be ASI + feats. Basically the fear was that feats would be required past lvl 1.
If the Ability Score Increase "feat" remains in the game... then the people who don't like Feats will be able to do what they've always done... take ASIs at 4th, 8th, 12th, 16th, and 19th levels instead of getting some other game mechanic. They'll just need to accept the fact that it's no longer called just an 'Ability Score Increase'... it's now called an 'Ability Score Increase' feat.

If they can't accept that slightest alteration to merely its nomenclature... then I don't think WotC or anyone else can help them.
 

dave2008

Legend
If the Ability Score Increase "feat" remains in the game... then the people who don't like Feats will be able to do what they've always done... take ASIs at 4th, 8th, 12th, 16th, and 19th levels instead of getting some other game mechanic. They'll just need to accept the fact that it's no longer called just an 'Ability Score Increase'... it's now called an 'Ability Score Increase' feat.

If they can't accept that slightest alteration to merely its nomenclature... then I don't think WotC or anyone else can help them.
I completely forgot they had made the ASI a feat - which makes 100% sense. Thank you for reminding me and I agree with your assessment.
 


Oofta

Legend
Feats are just a way to add a bit of customization to PCs without creating ever more subclasses. They make the background actually mean something, first level feats are just a way of saying "here's something unique you get" while using an established mechanic. It doesn't mean you have to use that mechanic later on, just that it's also not something to be afraid of.

If they fix the handful of feats that cause the most issues, feats become less defining and less of a must have. Add in the ASI as a feat, they're just consolidating rules a bit.
 



Amrûnril

Adventurer
I think that, at a table level, it'll still be easy to play a featless game in OneD&D. It would even be possible to drop the background feat at first level without too much trouble.

It may be a bit harder, though, for a player who doesn't want to use feats to be on par mechanically with players who do. Since the opportunity cost for taking a feat over an ASI has been effectively cut in half , I suspect that doing so will be the optimal choice in most cases.
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
In the recent video, Jeremy Crawford describes the "background feat at 1st level" being wildly popular in their survey and that it scored the highest (almost 90% satisfaction) of their first One D&D Unearthed Arcana playtest survey. (As I note below, this may be flawed)

He explains that anything scoring this high is very likely to see further development in the actual game.

It's hard to not view this in light of something Jeremy said back in 2018: that a majority of D&D players don't use feats.
It actually makes a lot of sense and is not a contradiction.

The vast majority of people love feats. And... The vast majority of people view ASI's to be better than feats, so they don't take them, especially the first two at 4th and 8th level since they want to bump those stats early. However, since most tables never go past 8th or 9th level, they never see the third ASI where they might take a feat.

That means that a free feat at 1st level that isn't sucking up an ASI is going to be viewed very, very favorably.
 


Quickleaf

Legend
@Quickleaf , if you just take the part you quoted above (see below), how do you interpret it differently than: it is suggesting feats are still optional, outside the 1st level feat?

"Some groups prefer not to use feats, which is one of the reasons why we're very carefully threading this needle of: Alright, you get this free one. So we're not going to require you to engage with the feat system repeatedly unless you really want to. But we also want to give you that taste, so that you can then make an informed decision about whether you later engage with feats."

He specifically says we are not going to require you to use them past 1st level. Also, first level feats are intentionally not like other feats, they are weaker. From one perspective they are not even feats, the are simply another background feature.
Well, if you're willing to move the goal posts of your argument from "feats are optional in One D&D" to "background feats in One D&D are not feats because +2 Charisma or +2 hp/level isn't the same as XYZ", well, that's your perogative.

I don't play moving goal posts.
 

Clint_L

Hero
I'd be interested to know what percentage of tables use feats in 2022. I suspect that it would no longer be a minority, but I would love to see data. Certainly every group that I know uses them, as does every actual play show that I've seen. Often extensively (Critical Role), and I imagine that would influence quite a few people.
 

dave2008

Legend
I knew it was too good to be true. We just can't' commit to good game design. Or even consistent game design. Instead, every game is just a giant game of telephone.
What does that even mean? Can you clarify what you think is good game design? It seems to me that giving people the option to take a feat or an ASI is good game design. What about that is bad design IYO?
 

Scribe

Legend
What if I opt for it not to be? :unsure:
mind blow wow GIF
 

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