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Giving out More Feats

Xeviat

Adventurer
Hi everyone.

One of the things I appreciated about 5E was their attempt to balance the (combat feats) around Feat = +2 to your primary stat. This is a really nice balance point (whether or not this was achieved is up to opinion; I think there are some real stinkers amongst the feats). But since ability scores are capped at 20th level, I've noticed players rushing to get their 20 in their primary stat before they pick up feats; incidentally, this has made human a little more popular in my games.

I kind of miss feats being part of character progression. From the beginning, I've wanted to split the feats in half and give out feats in addition to ASIs (cut feats in half, remove the +1 stat portion of feats).

Now, if I keep ASIs where they are (due to them being part of level progressions, and removing them would really mess with multiclassing), and gave out feats as part of a level progression (on the 3's or 2's perhaps), this would be a pure boost in power for characters.

But how much of a boost do you feel like this would be? Which feats do you think would get picked above and beyond others? What would you watch out for?

Just some homebrewing thoughts.
 

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Fenris-77

Small God of the Dozens
Supporter
Probably the standard cluster of combat feats, GW, Polearm, Sharpshooter, Xbow, Elven Accuracy, plus Resilient and Warcaster. Mmm, and probably Alert. I feel like I'm forgetting one. Those are most of the really high impact feats though.
 

77IM

Explorer!!!
Certain feats work well in combination, and with certain class features. The one that immediately jumped into my mind is sorlock or sorcadin, with booming blade, Polearm Master, and War Caster; or for that matter, just Polearm Master and Sentinel is also a powerful combo. (Both combos allow you to halt someone in their tracks as they approach, by getting an Opportunity Attack at reach.) And there are other power combos out there too.

Now, if you wait until level 16 to realize your 2-feat combo, that's not so bad, because by level 16 you're fighting balors and stuff, which have their own nasty tricks. Plus your teammates have meteor swarm and +8d6 Sneak Attack and so forth. But if you give that stuff out on a progression, you could get those combos much earlier.

I think if I were to try something like this, I would come up with a list of allowed feats and call them "Personality Feats" or something. Like, "Actor" and "Observant" are underpowered, but they also say a lot more about your character than that you are a "Great Weapon Master."
 

Fenris-77

Small God of the Dozens
Supporter
I quite like the idea of keeping the high powered feats off that list. Some of the less commonly taken feats are still cool and, as mentioned, they are pretty characterful too.
 

Xeviat

Adventurer
I'm not sure if everyone is noticing that I'm saying breaking the feats in half (removing the +1 stat portion of those feats). So a 2 feat combo wouldn't fully come online until 8th or 12th level, depending on if I give out feats on the 2's or 3's. 8th is earlier than 16th, though. As it stands now, someone could have a 2 feat combo at 4th level if they were a human and they gave up their first ASI, but I've never seen anyone do that; I did see a Goliath Barbarian give up his first ASI for Great Weapon Master, but that player was convinced it was needed to give his Barbarian a damage boost.
 

ccs

40th lv DM
I agree with Fenris. You'd see the usual suspects of feats being chosen. Because now there'd be no reason to have to choose between +2 ASI vs say GWM. And those who'd rejoice at being able to get both of those were already not likely to ever choose something like Actor etc.

You could try leaving the ASI/Feat gains at the current lvs. But change the options a bit:
Option #1: Gain 1 of the following Feats (xyz etc)
Option #2: ASI increase as printed + 1 Feat NOT listed in option #1 above.
 

Raith5

Adventurer
I would prefer to give out an additional feat at first level rather than splitting feats up. I agree they very dramatically in power and utility, but I like the idea of allowing characters to be more customized earlier.
 

Xeviat

Adventurer
I agree with Fenris. You'd see the usual suspects of feats being chosen. Because now there'd be no reason to have to choose between +2 ASI vs say GWM. And those who'd rejoice at being able to get both of those were already not likely to ever choose something like Actor etc.

You could try leaving the ASI/Feat gains at the current lvs. But change the options a bit:
Option #1: Gain 1 of the following Feats (xyz etc)
Option #2: ASI increase as printed + 1 Feat NOT listed in option #1 above.
I'm not terribly worried about getting players to take the fun non-combat feats. I think those are likely to be used when a game focuses on that style of play. I think the way to have gotten feats like Actor chosen is if feats were all about increasing options rather than power. Feats like learning a new cantrip (increases versatility, not really power), or learning maneuvers with legitimate drawbacks (if the "power attack" portion of GWM was -5 to hit for +5 damage maybe?), then feats could have been optional and not a vertical power increase. But that would be a completely different system.

That might be something. Separating things into "feats" and "talents"? Feats would be chosen with ASIs. Talents could be given out at certain levels and be balanced against proficiencies. Gaining additional proficiencies, levels of expertise, new uses for skills, combat maneuvers with drawbacks, and other non-combat things, could fit in here while big character defining power upgrades would be in the feats.
 


DEFCON 1

Legend
Supporter
Combat for groups that are 5 players or more already is unwieldy, this will only make it worse. How many PCs are in your group?

The more PCs you have, the more total hit points and total available healing is available for the group. Which means to generate suitable threats for them you need to use larger monsters and larger numbers of monsters with larger pools of HP, otherwise they get blown through in half a round. But larger numbers of monsters means more abilities that you have to run, which makes combat rounds take much longer when both you and all the players have to decide what you want to do.

When you add in more feats, that just means more power and more damage capability for the PCs, and more options the players have to think through. Thus their turns get longer, and your turns for the monsters get longer as you need to provide many more monsters in the fight and then have to deal with them and make decisions for them. Which means combat length will just grow and grow and grow. Now if that's okay with you and the players, then fine... but personally, I find fights that require an hour at a time grow tiresome very quickly. Before you know it, 5E fights start approaching 4E fights in length, and I don't know many people who actually want that.

I'm one for whom character variety comes out of player roleplay decisions, not extra numbers on the character sheet. I mean, if you are already a hefty barbarian with an 18 STR wielding a two-handed greatsword... do you need a feat that grants you an extra +10 damage on your attack to help illustrate it? What does that feat get you for characterization that you don't already have? It's just more numbers on a character sheet that you as the DM have to work your way through by needing to throw out more monsters on the table to generate a suitable threat. Not worth it in my opinion.
 
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GlassJaw

Adventurer
I'd love to give out more feats, or at least offer players more choice and customization.

That said, the feat system would need an overhaul first. I would basically chop all the feats in "half" and then recost/rebalance them so the bigger offenders are brought back in line.

It's certainly doable, and I think would make a great addition to 5E.
 

77IM

Explorer!!!
I'm not sure if everyone is noticing that I'm saying breaking the feats in half (removing the +1 stat portion of those feats). So a 2 feat combo wouldn't fully come online until 8th or 12th level, depending on if I give out feats on the 2's or 3's. 8th is earlier than 16th, though. As it stands now, someone could have a 2 feat combo at 4th level if they were a human and they gave up their first ASI, but I've never seen anyone do that; I did see a Goliath Barbarian give up his first ASI for Great Weapon Master, but that player was convinced it was needed to give his Barbarian a damage boost.
Are you limiting this to only those feats that give +1 to a score? Those feats tend to be the weakest, so I think it'll be fine.

In fact it leaves you with this list:
  • Athlete
  • Actor
  • Durable
  • Heavily Armored
  • Heavy Armor Master -- This one is actually really amazing at low levels
  • Keen Mind
  • Lightly Armored
  • Linguist
  • Moderately Armored
  • Observant
  • Resilient -- Also a popular feat and often considered very powerful (I disagree; I think it's extremely well-balanced against +2 ability score)
  • Tavern Brawler
  • Weapon Master

Now, if you are thinking of breaking existing feats in half, that's tantamount to just creating a whole new feat system; you can probably find something like this done already.
 

Fenris-77

Small God of the Dozens
Supporter
I'd add skilled to that list. I'm all for making the additon of skills easier to do.
 

Xaelvaen

Stuck in the 90s
We've toyed around with this idea in our groups a time or two. Typically, I break -all- the feats down into smaller, bite-sized portions (that we've come to call talents). In example, Sentinel is broken into 3 talents, since it vaguely gives 3 effects, each about as important as the last. Then, I give a 'talent' slot at every odd level. So by level 5, they can have Sentinel without sacrificing an ASI.

The table seemed to love it, and I didn't have to really adjust combat difficulty per encounter (moreso than I already do with 5E).
 

A little off topic, but I still felt like posting:

In one campaign where my players were very much into character development (meaning they went off my railroad all the time), I cooked up customized feats for all 3 characters. They were minor feats in terms of combat prowess, but quite major in roleplay. One character could shed dim light of one color of his choice in 10 ft around himself. Useless for adventuring but the player loved it. Another player could improve rations such that once per day the ration would grant a +1 hp, with the sidenote that the ration took 10 actions to eat (i.e. not during combat) and could not be safely fed to someone who is unconscious. So, again not very useful during combat, but this player was into helping others and this gave him a roleplaying feat that was much appreciated.

I just printed the feats and gave it to them when they leveled up one time. It was in addition to the regular rules.

Just an idea.
 

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