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

dave2008

Legend
I just...then they aren't optional.

"Feats past first level are optional" is like saying "meat after breakfast is optional." That still means meat isn't optional!
Except that the 1st level feats are purposely not like other feats. They could be renamed "background traits" and then it would be 100% accurate to say feats are optional. I mean the 1st level feats =/= feats. They are lesser powered, will not have an ASI, and are only available at 1st level. They are feats in name only.
 

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jasper

Rotten DM
The power creep of a first level (its a nerfed feat) feat in your background?

I don’t think any update is needed for that. I mean have you played 5e? That makes next to no difference. Less than choosing the “right” class at least
383 Adventure league sessions as a DM. So yes, I have played with feats.
 

jasper

Rotten DM
I've never like it being associated with Backgrounds, but I hope they don't completely ditch them. They could provide a list of examples for various concepts for each, rather than trying to tie them to something else like they did previously with Backgrounds.
They sticking them to backgrounds because people were choosing a background and never using after the skills they got. So, it sounds like they are forcing people to take backgrounds.
 

Question: if they didn’t call the 1st level feat a “Feat” and called it a background trait, would that qualify as feats being optional?
No, because it is still a feat.

If they designed a completely new set of mechanics for it, which were clearly distinct from feats and could not be substituted for feats, and which could not be acquired any other way (except perhaps as a feat, loosely similar to 13th Age's "Further Backgrounding" feat), then yes, it could be that. But they aren't doing that, and it is extremely unlikely that they will take the time to draft a completely new system that clearly and specifically differentiates itself from feats in order to achieve that end.

Genuine question: why do you seem to think that literally just changing the name would alter the situation?
 


Dausuul

Legend
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 suspect the percentage of tables that allow feats has always been a substantial majority.

What Crawford said back in the day was that the majority of players did not use feats, which is quite different. In 5E, unless you're playing a variant human, feats are competing with maxing out your primary stat until at least 8th level (and 12th for most classes)... which is to say, if you want to max your primary stat, and your campaign ends at or before 12th level as most do, you will probably never take a feat, unless you a) roll stats or b) start with 17 in your primary stat and use a "half feat" that grants +1 to that stat.

Nowadays, that second option is quite appealing, as there are lots of amazing choices for "half feats." But at the time Crawford made that comment, the available "half feats" were mostly trash. If you were, say, a wizard looking to boost your Int, your options were... let's see... Keen Mind and Linguist. Whee. Moreover, you had to be playing a gnome or rolling stats to get that starting Int of 17 in the first place. The changes in Tasha's have made it possible for any class/race combo to start with a 17 in anything.

So, back in the day, I think it's not only possible but likely that most tables allowed feats and yet few players actually took any. You'll note that 1D&D is institutionalizing the "floating +2" from Tasha's, as well as making all feats above 1st level into half feats, both of which reduce the competition between feats and maxing your primary stat.
 

Because it works constantly for D&D?

Don't believe me, ask a balor or a halfling.
It works for legal things. Because in legal stuff, names really are that important.

I absolutely, positively guarantee you that changing only the name does not and will not work with most users. "Here's a list of Background Traits!" wouldn't convince anyone who dislikes feats, if the mechanics remain completely unchanged.
 

It works for legal things. Because in legal stuff, names really are that important.

I absolutely, positively guarantee you that changing only the name does not and will not work with most users. "Here's a list of Background Traits!" wouldn't convince anyone who dislikes feats, if the mechanics remain completely unchanged.

The old traits could als be seen as feats. Roleplaying feats, but feats. So if you agree, that the new backgrounds just give a feat, if you take a prebuilt one, thanen the difference is very small...
 

Delazar

Adventurer
What does it mean "Feats are Optional"? Optional for who? Everything is optional, if you decide to not use it. I never really understood this distinction. If the party says "we're not using clerics in this campaign", then Clerics are optional, I guess?
 

Pauln6

Adventurer
If feats become 'compulsory' but the rules expressly state that for campaigns that wish to operate without them simply allow level 1 feats as a background benefit and the ASI feat going forward? Qualitatively, the difference is a level 1 feat. I was disappointed when they removed the level 1 feats after the playtest. They are almost the only way to make two level 1 characters of the same class feel different. Are some people mad because they think level 1 characters are so awesome they don't need anything else?
 

Vaalingrade

Legend
It works for legal things. Because in legal stuff, names really are that important.

I absolutely, positively guarantee you that changing only the name does not and will not work with most users. "Here's a list of Background Traits!" wouldn't convince anyone who dislikes feats, if the mechanics remain completely unchanged.
What about calling all the rangers' exploits spells for 5e? That worked somehow.
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
What does it mean "Feats are Optional"? Optional for who? Everything is optional, if you decide to not use it. I never really understood this distinction. If the party says "we're not using clerics in this campaign", then Clerics are optional, I guess?
Just from a human psychology perspective, it's easier to decide opt into something(or not) than it is to opt out of something that the official default. Feats are optional in that they are not used unless you opt into them. Clerics are a default part of the game that you would have to take away from people in order to opt out.
 

If feats become 'compulsory' but the rules expressly state that for campaigns that wish to operate without them simply allow level 1 feats as a background benefit and the ASI feat going forward? Qualitatively, the difference is a level 1 feat. I was disappointed when they removed the level 1 feats after the playtest. They are almost the only way to make two level 1 characters of the same class feel different. Are some people mad because they think level 1 characters are so awesome they don't need anything else?

When did they remove the level 1 feats?
 

Pauln6

Adventurer
When did they remove the level 1 feats?
Not sure - 2012? But they were a bit more class-specific at the time - from the D&D Next playtest:

Feats: A specialty comprises a handful of feats, which provide special abilities to your character. You gain a feat at levels 1, 3, 6, and 9. Each feat’s entry describes the feat’s effect in the game world and includes a benefit, which explains how the feat works in the game rules. Some feats have prerequisites. For example, the Aura of Souls feat requires a character to be able to cast spells. You must meet a feat’s prerequisites to take that feat. You can take a feat only once, unless a feat says otherwise.
 

DEFCON 1

Legend
Supporter
Do the folks who say the one or two small game mechanics they might get from a background feat is too much, also not use Xanathar's and Tasha's splatbooks? I'd certainly hope so. Because it lessens their argument if they have no problem whatsoever using all the piles of new mechanics found in those books but get all indignant about the one from a background feat. Makes it harder to take their concerns about "too many mechanics" as seriously.
 

Not sure - 2012? But they were a bit more class-specific at the time - from the D&D Next playtest:

Feats: A specialty comprises a handful of feats, which provide special abilities to your character. You gain a feat at levels 1, 3, 6, and 9. Each feat’s entry describes the feat’s effect in the game world and includes a benefit, which explains how the feat works in the game rules. Some feats have prerequisites. For example, the Aura of Souls feat requires a character to be able to cast spells. You must meet a feat’s prerequisites to take that feat. You can take a feat only once, unless a feat says otherwise.

Ah. Ok, just wanted to make sure you are speaking of next. I think, what I actually miss most were the themes.
I really loved the Idea of class agnostic progression with a lot of flavour attached. Sadly that was split into subclasses and feats.
With unified subclass progression, we could see a return of themes if no class is dependent on thwir subclass to function properly.
 

TwoSix

Unserious gamer
What does it mean "Feats are Optional"? Optional for who? Everything is optional, if you decide to not use it. I never really understood this distinction. If the party says "we're not using clerics in this campaign", then Clerics are optional, I guess?
Optional means that, for players, you can't assume the presence of the feature. Rather, you need active approval from the DM saying that the feature will be included in this campaign.

As experienced players, we forget that removing classes, adding classes, or modifying classes to fit a desired setting is not something that novice players and DMs generally do, unless they've been exposed to the idea from other media. An experienced DM choosing to override the present rules (by banning clerics, say) isn't the same use case as choosing to use or not use a rule presented as optional from the PHB.
 

The old traits could als be seen as feats. Roleplaying feats, but feats. So if you agree, that the new backgrounds just give a feat, if you take a prebuilt one, thanen the difference is very small...
They obviously are not feats and hardly even compare to the weakest mechanical parts of the half-feats like Actor or Keen Mind. None of the background features resemble what feats (whether "half" or not) do. This is exactly what I mean; this is an obvious and rather tenuous stretching of the definitions of things in order to smooth away an obvious difference in order to deny that a change has occurred. I just don't understand why. The difference is really obvious.

What about calling all the rangers' exploits spells for 5e? That worked somehow.
Well, the big difference would be that they are, in fact, actually spells now. Like, they don't work in an antimagic field, they have casting times and defined areas of effect and spell schools, they can (at least in theory) be counterspelled, literally all but 5 (out of 71) spells have verbal components meaning they cannot be cast in a zone of silence or when gagged. In particular, Hunter's Mark has a verbal component.

So...yeah. They actually did change the mechanics so that these things are spells, and because they're spells, they're subject to all the frustrating characteristics that the neo-Vancian spellcasting system enforces on things.
 

Pauln6

Adventurer
I went for the lowest end healing option without batting an eyelid. I think some of the complaints I see on the forums I just don't experience in my game. If anything, I'd like to beef up cure wounds.
 

dave2008

Legend
Genuine question: why do you seem to think that literally just changing the name would alter the situation?
I can't answer for Uni, but I have asked the same question before and my reason is this: first level feats are specifically different. They are intended to be less powerful than general feats. Whether they can be taken later or not, they shouldn't be because they are intentionally not as good. They are specifically different. Enough so that I think the name "feat" is misleading for them and that they should be renamed. Unless they specifically prohibit 1st level feats from being taken at higher levels (which I doubt) it creates confusion because 1st lvl feat =/= feats.
 

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