D&D 5E How They Should Do Feats

Falling Icicle

Adventurer
I really dislike the way they're doing feats now. While I like the idea of being able to trade in feats for ability score increases in principle, I dislike the current implementation. Since taking a feat means you miss out on ability score increases, many, if not most players will opt to at least max out their primary ability score first. That means most players won't even get a feat at all until level 8, if not even later. I also hate not getting a feat at 1st level. They seem to think that people will be overwhelmed by choices, but that is just not my experience (and I find it actually a bit insulting). Newer players can have a veteran player help them, or they can just opt to take an ability increase instead. That's not hard.

Here's how I think they should do feats:
* Characters get a +1 ability score increase at every 4 character levels (4, 8, 12, etc).
* Characters get a feat at 1st level, 3rd level and every 3 character levels thereafter, like 3e (1, 3, 6, 9, etc).
* A character can exhange a feat for a +1 ability score increase.

Breaking it down this way accomplishes several things:
* People aren't "punished" for taking feats. They still get precious ability score increases.
* By having smaller feats, players have a much greater ability to customize their characters compared to the bulk package feats they're using now.
* Feats are still entirely optional. People who hate feats can still trade them for ability score increases; feats are just worth 1 ability point instead of 2.
* A character who trades every feat for an ability increase would have +12 total ability points by level 20. That sounds like alot, but that's only a couple more than what most classes in the last playtest packet get. That's a +6 difference in ability modifiers (which is what actually matters) for the cost of taking no feats whatsoever. I think that's fair and not at all game breaking, especially with the ability score cap of 20.
 

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Zardnaar

Legend
Go back to 3rd and 4th ed type feats but eliminate the crap ones and pay more attention to feat design. Eliminate most of the +1/+2 rubbish. Feats as optional beocme +1 stat boosts.

Then again they could ditch feats entirely and have no stat boost and that would not bother me either.
 

KiloGex

First Post
You do realize that 5E is attempting to get rid of the power creep that was started in 3E and continued in 4E, right? After all, your character isn't even considered a true adventurer until 3rd level. By 20th level, they want your characters to be near super-human, but not god-like as it was in the previous 2 editions. This is why they offer you either an ability boost or a feat every 4th level.

However, to make sure that it's worthwhile for you to give up a +2 to an ability score, every feat is multiple feats in one. This gets rid of the need to take multiple prerequisite feats just to get to the one you actually like. After all, does anyone actually use Combat Expertise? I doubt it. And a +1 to your ranged attacks within 30' is nice, but ultimately you only take PBS for the Many, Rapid, and Precise Shot feats. So having to stack feats like that it made sense in 3E to give you a feat every 3 levels, or in 4E every other level (which is just insane, by the way).

With all of this, I'm happy in the way that they're doing it, and quite enjoy the slower ramp of power increase. For me, I'm going to choose Archery Master and Arcane Archer before I even think about increasing my Wisdom, and I'm also going to choose Alert, Dual Wielder, Fencing Master, Lucky, Mobile, and Stealthy instead of throwing a couple of points into Dexterity. That's the great thing about D&D in general: choice.
 

Atomo

First Post
Maybe is just here on my home campaign, but we started from 1st level, the players are currently at 8th and NO ONE of them even considered stat boosts. Everyone got feats.
 

Sadrik

First Post
This is something that I proposed months ago and it is a major stickler for me with the game.

They flipped what I think their target audiences want and basically are not accomplishing what they think they are.

They wanted feats that were simple and less fiddly so they made triple sized feats and balanced them against a stat boost.

For players/DMs looking for simplicity, stat boosts are the assumed thing.

The only problem is they have jam packed classes with class features at every level. Classes now have what amounts to all those little fiddly feats but they are static, offering no choice. So the only way to get them is to multi-class.

Feats are big eventful choices. They add a whole new feature to your character. Blah...

I want them to flip that. I want class features to be big eventful choices, something where the choice of multi-classing means something. I want feats to be smaller and less important choice that add to your character (split up the triple feats) paired with a +1 stat pump.

So the player who wants to really key into their character and fine tune it does not have the ability to do that in 5e. Most of their choices are made at character generation. The get a few feats and spell selections throughout their career.

The player who does not want to deal with many minute bonuses has to anyway because they receive a mini class feature every level. It does not seem to match the goals they set for themselves.

Found my old postings:
Everything still makes sense.
http://www.enworld.org/forum/showthread.php?340520-LL-Subclasses-and-Complexity/page9
 
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S

Sunseeker

Guest
I still think that players should earn feat points. This way there would be a mathematical value for each feat, also eliminating the long-chain prerequisites(or offering a route to bypass them), and that way all feats would be balanced against each other, instead of one feat offering a +1 to X, and another offering a +1 to X, and +1 to Y and +1 to Z for the same slot.
 

Falling Icicle

Adventurer
You do realize that 5E is attempting to get rid of the power creep that was started in 3E and continued in 4E, right?

Feats do not have to = "power creep." While I prefer 3e/4e type feats, I want them to be well designed and balanced.

After all, your character isn't even considered a true adventurer until 3rd level.

That's something that's new to this edition, and one of the few things about it I don't like.

By 20th level, they want your characters to be near super-human, but not god-like as it was in the previous 2 editions. This is why they offer you either an ability boost or a feat every 4th level.

Feats are not what made characters overpowered at high level. A 2nd edition 20th level wizard is far more powerful than a 3e 20th level fighter, even with its 18 or so feats.

However, to make sure that it's worthwhile for you to give up a +2 to an ability score, every feat is multiple feats in one. This gets rid of the need to take multiple prerequisite feats just to get to the one you actually like. After all, does anyone actually use Combat Expertise? I doubt it. And a +1 to your ranged attacks within 30' is nice, but ultimately you only take PBS for the Many, Rapid, and Precise Shot feats. So having to stack feats like that it made sense in 3E to give you a feat every 3 levels, or in 4E every other level (which is just insane, by the way).

Crap feats are crap feats, and don't have to exist - period. Just because there were some bad feats in 3rd and 4th editions doesn't mean there would have to be any in Next.

And getting a feat every other level (which isn't what I proposed, btw) isn't "insane." Both 4e and Pathfinder do that, and I never heard anyone complain that they were getting too many feats in those games.

With all of this, I'm happy in the way that they're doing it, and quite enjoy the slower ramp of power increase. For me, I'm going to choose Archery Master and Arcane Archer before I even think about increasing my Wisdom, and I'm also going to choose Alert, Dual Wielder, Fencing Master, Lucky, Mobile, and Stealthy instead of throwing a couple of points into Dexterity. That's the great thing about D&D in general: choice.

Having fewer feats means people get fewer choices, not more. People would have far more choices if the feats were broken down and people could pick the individual parts rather than being forced to take a package deal, whether they want all that other stuff or not.

The problem I have with the "super feats" is that they make characters very same-y and cookie cutter. Everyone who wants to be an archer is going to take Archery Master, and that's that. I also dislike the feats like Loremaster, which I feel just give too much stuff at once. There isn't any way to gain one skill or language at a time, as you'd think people would, instead BAM! you suddenly get 3 langauges and skills instantly. That just doesn't sit right with me at all.
 


Sadras

Hero
Feats are great as they are.

This! and

Maybe is just here on my home campaign, but we started from 1st level, the players are currently at 8th and NO ONE of them even considered stat boosts. Everyone got feats.

This. I'm finding the same - I believe a player's choices are influence strongly (not exclusively) by the DMing style within the campaign.

Feats are not what made characters overpowered at high level. A 2nd edition 20th level wizard is far more powerful than a 3e 20th level fighter, even with its 18 or so feats.

That is not a fair comparison at all. Firstly you are comparing two VERY different classes and secondly you are comparing them across editions.

And getting a feat every other level (which isn't what I proposed, btw) isn't "insane." Both 4e and Pathfinder do that, and I never heard anyone complain that they were getting too many feats in those games.

D&DN is striving for a simpler system hence less feats and that makes sense in its evolution given what has come before. It is much better to create a simple system that encourages DMs in a creative way or supplements books to build on said simpler system. And I would expect players of 4E and Pathfinder to enjoy the feat system, hence their lack of complaints ;)

Having fewer feats means people get fewer choices, not more. People would have far more choices if the feats were broken down and people could pick the individual parts rather than being forced to take a package deal, whether they want all that other stuff or not.

Simpler base system allows for innovation and creativity to mold it into your perfect system. If you do not like the feats as package deals, break them up and allow the characters to gain a mini-feat benefit every second level. It is all there and easy to do, no biggie. The simple core system allows for that and that way you don't create the cookie cutter characters you dislike. Hell, add your own mini-feats that you want from previous editions.

I also dislike the feats like Loremaster, which I feel just give too much stuff at once. There isn't any way to gain one skill or language at a time, as you'd think people would, instead BAM! you suddenly get 3 langauges and skills instantly. That just doesn't sit right with me at all.

Perhaps for Loremaster, the character needs downtime to learn these additional languages or skills - throw that in as a requirement for PCs if you do not like it. If I started a campaign at 10th level, and one of the characters chose Loremaster - I would let him choose his languages/skills immediately (such a feat is required/valuable) however if a character was leveling up and selected that feat out of the blue without expressing any interest early about languages/skills, well I would impose the requirement of downtime before he could benefit, other DMs might be more lenient and that is great to. But certainly I see the value of such feat.
 

delericho

Legend
Here's how I think they should do feats:
* Characters get a +1 ability score increase at every 4 character levels (4, 8, 12, etc).
* Characters get a feat at 1st level, 3rd level and every 3 character levels thereafter, like 3e (1, 3, 6, 9, etc).

Those two are fine, if that's the way that they want to go. It wouldn't be my preference, but it's not particularly problematic.

* A character can exhange a feat for a +1 ability score increase.

This, however, means you're still left with exactly the problem you've decried, except that that prime ability will be maxed that bit sooner. If, as you assert, the ability boosts are just that much more powerful that people must have them, then they'll just swap out their feats at 1st and 3rd to get them.

If you want to prevent people from doing that, or you want to ensure that they have actual feats, you really have to remove the ability to trade them out.

I also hate not getting a feat at 1st level. They seem to think that people will be overwhelmed by choices, but that is just not my experience (and I find it actually a bit insulting).

I disagree - I think that's exactly the right decision. At 1st level you already have plenty of choices to make. Better to leave feats for later, IMO.
 

Falling Icicle

Adventurer
That is not a fair comparison at all. Firstly you are comparing two VERY different classes and secondly you are comparing them across editions.

The person I was responding to was doing just that, speaking of "power creep" across editions. If 3rd and 4th edition characters really are more powerful than 2e ones (which is debatable), I don't think feats are to blame. In any case, power is relative. A 3.x character may seem superior to a 2e one on paper, but what matters is the power the characters have relative to the monsters and NPCs they face.

D&DN is striving for a simpler system hence less feats and that makes sense in its evolution given what has come before. It is much better to create a simple system that encourages DMs in a creative way or supplements books to build on said simpler system. And I would expect players of 4E and Pathfinder to enjoy the feat system, hence their lack of complaints ;)

A system can be simple and still offer lots of options. The two are in not mutually exclusive. Besides, those who want a simple game already have the option to ignore feats and take ability score increases instead.

Simpler base system allows for innovation and creativity to mold it into your perfect system. If you do not like the feats as package deals, break them up and allow the characters to gain a mini-feat benefit every second level. It is all there and easy to do, no biggie. The simple core system allows for that and that way you don't create the cookie cutter characters you dislike. Hell, add your own mini-feats that you want from previous editions.

That would be quite a bit of work.

Perhaps for Loremaster, the character needs downtime to learn these additional languages or skills - throw that in as a requirement for PCs if you do not like it. If I started a campaign at 10th level, and one of the characters chose Loremaster - I would let him choose his languages/skills immediately (such a feat is required/valuable) however if a character was leveling up and selected that feat out of the blue without expressing any interest early about languages/skills, well I would impose the requirement of downtime before he could benefit, other DMs might be more lenient and that is great to. But certainly I see the value of such feat.

I think the biggest reason Loremaster bothers me is that it's currently the only way to gain additional skills and languages, aside from multiclassing. I'd rather they just have some other means of learning new skills and languages as part of the core rules that doesn't require feats. It seems like a major oversight to not have a way to learn new skills and languages, and making it a feat seems like a copout to me.
 
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Falling Icicle

Adventurer
This, however, means you're still left with exactly the problem you've decried, except that that prime ability will be maxed that bit sooner. If, as you assert, the ability boosts are just that much more powerful that people must have them, then they'll just swap out their feats at 1st and 3rd to get them.

If you want to prevent people from doing that, or you want to ensure that they have actual feats, you really have to remove the ability to trade them out.

I don't think you quite understand what I am proposing. Everyone would get an ability increase at certain levels. Those ability score increases are on top of feats. So even if you take every feat you can get, you're still getting some ability score improvements. The way it is now, if you take all 4 or 5 or however many feats your class lets you get, you don't any ability score increases at all.
 

Falling Icicle

Adventurer
Just to clarify, while I would prefer to get smaller feats more often, I'm not terribly against the bigger feats they're using now. At least, it's far from a deal-breaker for me. Getting a feats at levels 1, 4, 8, 12, 16 and 20 is good enough. The most important things for me are getting a feat at level 1, having feats based on character level and not class level, and having a way in the basic rules to gain skills and languages without having to spend feats. If they can at least do those three things, I'll be content.
 

Paraxis

Explorer
Make the feats do less, back to the better 3e/4e feats.

All characters get the same number of feats at the same rate, regardless of class or multi-classing.

Each feat gives you a +1 to either a physical or mental ability score based on the feat.

Introduce a new feat that gives +1 to two different ability scores. If your DM chooses not to use feats this is the default, you should still get this every X levels.
 

Paraxis

Explorer
Make the feats do less, back to the better 3e/4e feats.

All characters get the same number of feats at the same rate, regardless of class or multi-classing.

Each feat gives you a +1 to either a physical or mental ability score based on the feat.

Introduce a new feat that gives +1 to two different ability scores. If your DM chooses not to use feats this is the default, you should still get this every X levels.
 

delericho

Legend
I don't think you quite understand what I am proposing. Everyone would get an ability increase at certain levels. Those ability score increases are on top of feats.

No, I understand that.

So even if you take every feat you can get, you're still getting some ability score improvements. The way it is now, if you take all 4 or 5 or however many feats your class lets you get, you don't any ability score increases at all.

Ah, now that's something different from your complaint in the OP. In the OP, your objection was that people would trade away their feats to get ability score increases, and thus not get a feat at all until 8th level. Here, on the other hand, you're objecting to people not taking in the ability score increases.

What you're suggesting does indeed fix the latter problem (if it is indeed a problem), since you're now not allowed to trade away the ability score increases to get more feats. But it does little for the former problem, since players can still choose to give up all their feats.
 

Li Shenron

Legend
Here's how I think they should do feats:
* Characters get a +1 ability score increase at every 4 character levels (4, 8, 12, etc).
* Characters get a feat at 1st level, 3rd level and every 3 character levels thereafter, like 3e (1, 3, 6, 9, etc).
* A character can exhange a feat for a +1 ability score increase.

Breaking it down this way accomplishes several things:
1* People aren't "punished" for taking feats. They still get precious ability score increases.
2* By having smaller feats, players have a much greater ability to customize their characters compared to the bulk package feats they're using now.
3* Feats are still entirely optional. People who hate feats can still trade them for ability score increases; feats are just worth 1 ability point instead of 2.
*4 A character who trades every feat for an ability increase would have +12 total ability points by level 20. That sounds like alot, but that's only a couple more than what most classes in the last playtest packet get. That's a +6 difference in ability modifiers (which is what actually matters) for the cost of taking no feats whatsoever. I think that's fair and not at all game breaking, especially with the ability score cap of 20.

Feats are a more complicated matter than it may seem.

You are suggesting to have feats and ability score increases to be like in 3e, with the additional option of giving up feats for more ability scores (but not viceversa).

I liked how feats worked in 3e, thus I would have no problem with going back to the same system (which was also the case in 5e until summer 2013).

For the general idea of allowing swapping between a feat and a + to ability scores (whether it's one-way like you suggest, or two-ways like the current 5e rules), all that really matters is that in general the two choices are balanced with each other. Obviously for a specific PC there is always going to be more and less convenient choices, but in general terms feats should really be made worth as much the ability score increase. IIRC the current 5e rules grant 2 ability points, thus feats should be designed to be that worth, while in your suggestion they should be worth 1 ability point. Because of this, I think your remark 1* is a bit off: if you feel that people are "punished" when taking feats, to me it simply means feats should just become bigger.

Then size (of both feats and ability increases together, once it's clear that they have to "match") is a design choice. I agree with your point 2*, the current design choice of "big feats" has removed (or decreased) the option of one playstyle element, that of fine-tuning PCs, from the game. This is some sort of flaw, because if feats were small (to the point that each feat always carries ONE benefit only) then the game would be more inclusive. If designers want to preserve the option of feat vs ab.increase swapping (which IMO is a good thing because that too makes the game more inclusive, since nobody HAS to take feats, and nobody HAS to take ability increases), they could still pull this off by using smaller feats that are equivalent to a +1, and then just give them out more often if needed.

Sadly, the real reason for the current choice is really that there are gamers who hate not getting all benefits immediately when increasing even-valued scores, and thus complain about getting +1 only (although IIRC there weren't many complaints during 3e...).

Still, balancing feats against a +1 ability increase instead of a +2 would have plenty of good design benefits:

- it would re-introduce the fine-tuning playstyle for those who want (while those who don't want, will choose ab.increases)
- it would encourage increasing other ability scores instead of your highest one when this is an even number
- it would make a feat (or ab.score increase) more balanced with class/subclass features gained at other levels (currently, IMO they are not... the "feat bump" is typically bigger)
- it would avoid overlapping of feats benefit (e.g. there will be several feats granting you the same proficiency in order to make the real benefit work as intended, but then if you want two archery feats you'll get bow proficiency twice OR you might already have it even when taking the 1st feat; smaller feats as in 3e would have allowed proficiency to be a feat of its own, thus avoiding overlapping i.e. "wasting" part of a feat)
- it would immediately increase the number of feats available, just because we could split e.g. 10 big feats into 20 small feats

[The last point is complicated for me to explain why it makes a difference... let's just say that when I read the current list of feats, almost all of them either make you an expert at a certain combat style or carve a special niche for you, such as dabbling in spells. Either way, they strongly characterize your PC. When writing my playtest feedback (which included the question "are there enough feats for class X", for each class) I realized that except for the Fighter who obviously is naturally drawn towards more combat capabilities, I just had no idea of which feats I could choose for anybody else, unless I wanted it to be a specialist in a fighting style or an oddball. Number of feats available would likely make it easier, but also by splitting them up the choice wouldn't be that dramatic... I wouldn't have to choose to be an bit archery expert or a big 2WF expert, so the choice would also be more relaxed since I'm not so concerned about regretting it later]

But anyway the previous points are more than enough for me to largely overtake the problem of even-numbered ability scores! And it does bother me to realize that is the sole reason that spawned the mega-feats design decision.
 

Falling Icicle

Adventurer
Ah, now that's something different from your complaint in the OP. In the OP, your objection was that people would trade away their feats to get ability score increases, and thus not get a feat at all until 8th level. Here, on the other hand, you're objecting to people not taking in the ability score increases.

What you're suggesting does indeed fix the latter problem (if it is indeed a problem), since you're now not allowed to trade away the ability score increases to get more feats. But it does little for the former problem, since players can still choose to give up all their feats.

I don't have a problem with people trading away their feats for ability score increases if that's what they want to do. I only have a problem with it if people feel like they have to or will have an inferior character. Considering the importance of ability scores in Next, not getting any ability increases is quite a big sacrifice to make.
 

Sadras

Hero
Just to clarify, while I would prefer to get smaller feats more often, I'm not terribly against the bigger feats they're using now. At least, it's far from a deal-breaker for me. Getting a feats at levels 1, 4, 8, 12, 16 and 20 is good enough. The most important things for me are getting a feat at level 1, having feats based on character level and not class level, and having a way in the basic rules to gain skills and languages without having to spend feats. If they can at least do those three things, I'll be content.

Why don't you allow the players at every 2nd character level to either up the ability by +1 or gain a mini-feat as I suggested earlier. That would be a better balance between the two and it is not as much admin as you might believe. And if you must just allow a mini-feat at level 1. Also along with a choice of a mini-feat or a +1 to an ability why don't you throw in the option of language or skill so all the options are on the table (a mini-Loremaster feat if you will)

Also you would not be breaking the balance of the system so you would not have to adjust monsters for the possible "power-creep". What I have suggested solves all your problems - from my point of view.
 
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Kinak

First Post
I really like the way that 5e handles feats, but I really dislike most of the actual feats.

The ability to take an attribute increase if you don't want the complexity, just want a math boost, or run out of feats you want to take is a great design.

But feats that grant multiple abilities, even abilities that build off each other, always feel cobbled together for me. Their big feats that grant one big ability are cool, even when they're not good. Their big feats built out of little feats never hit the cool point for me.

It also feels bad with so many feats granting proficiencies that the people the feats are "for" already have. Even if it's optimal, it still feels like you've screwed up somehow and are wasting resources.

But, really, I think the system could be redeemed very easily with a different list of feats.

Cheers!
Kinak
 

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