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D&D (2024) Feats still optional in 1D&D: and other notes from the survey results


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.

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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.


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 , 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.


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.


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?


What if I opt for it not to be? :unsure:
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