D&D 5E How They Should Do Feats

the Jester

Legend
Feats are fine as they are, at least for my tastes. Frankly, I'd prefer going back to the days when you didn't advance stats just by leveling, but having stat bumps as an alternative to feats is acceptable to me.
 

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Gadget

Adventurer
I must say I disagree with the OP. History shows that feats have been a major power creep in the two editions they have been included in. Not only that, they tend to get stuck with carrying any design weight that doesn't easily fit into the rest of the system, or 'fixes' wedged in after the fact (expertise feats anyone?). 5e needs some tweaking, but I think it is going in the right direction.
 

Falling Icicle

Adventurer
I must say I disagree with the OP. History shows that feats have been a major power creep in the two editions they have been included in. Not only that, they tend to get stuck with carrying any design weight that doesn't easily fit into the rest of the system, or 'fixes' wedged in after the fact (expertise feats anyone?). 5e needs some tweaking, but I think it is going in the right direction.

How does having smaller feats instead of bigger ones result in more power creep?
 

sidonunspa

First Post
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.


Oh please,

like this never happened in 3e/Pathfinder

everyone took the same feats if they wanted to be Archery Monkey.. or a Trip Money.. or so on..

players will build the same thing with smaller feats
 

Li Shenron

Legend
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.

As I wrote, I think overlapping proficiencies are an issue. Not a game-breaking issue, but nevertheless still an issue. It's the kind of thing that some gamers say don't care or worry about, until it happens to them, and then they start complaining. It just feels bad, like when you're a kid and get duplicate baseball cards. Those who genuinely don't care about overlapping are probably in many cases players who generally don't worry much about the rules behind their PC.

However, the proficiency problem cannot really be solved by a different list of feats IMO, unless you mean to have really a lot of feats, to create variants where e.g. Archery Master version 1 grants bow proficiency (so it's meant for those who don't already have it) and Archery Master version 2 doesn't grant bow proficiency but replaces it with something else (and is therefore meant for those who already have the proficiency). But you'd still get some players who would like that "something else" but also needed the proficiency.

Te best solution IMO is really to downsize feats back again, so that a feat's benefit is approximately as valuable as a proficiency, and proficiencies can be feats again.

One feat == one proficiency == +1 ability score.

And then obviously still have feats with unique benefits, balanced against this equation (it is of course a "reasonable" equivalency, it can't be perfectly equal).

This of course assumes that one proficiency = +1 ability score. Some people would disagree that this is the case. I say that roughly it feels like a reasonable trade-off to me, but it's tricky to compare them since the ability increase is worth the same at all levels, while proficiencies scale by level.

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)

Exactly!

Language is always very questionable, because in some campaigns languages are completely useless, so let's not focus on this one option too much.

But proficiencies, which now include skills, saving throws, weapons (if one is too few, weapon groups could be used), armors and tools, are really something that need support to be taken individually one-by-one.

While it is ok to have a Loremaster feat turning someone into an expert in many fields, this is not going to be ok for a lot of players, who are looking for expertise in one field. Granted, backgrounds are customizable, but they have one big limitation: you can only choose your background at the start of the game. Thus there is no way during the course of your PC's lifetime to add a specific proficiency, unless you take "the whole package" that turns you into an expert archer or a loremaster etc. There is a huge gap between the two options, having or not having that feat.

Now for those players who do want the whole packages, they should just notice that we already had them, and they were called "Specialties".

But if feats were smaller (as small as a proficiency and as a +1 ability score), it would solve so many problems at once. Furthermore there would be much more player's freedom, because in the current implementation you don't have to take feats if you don't like them, you don't have to take ability increases if you don't like them, but you have to take one of the two anyway. With smaller feats, you can also opt for proficiencies (which are themselves quite a range!) so you have an additional degree of freedom.

As I said, the only problem that small feats don't solve, is that they will have to be balanced against a +1 ability increase, which some people don't like and want +2 instead. But to me the benefits largely outweight this problem.
 

Kinak

First Post
However, the proficiency problem cannot really be solved by a different list of feats IMO, unless you mean to have really a lot of feats, to create variants where e.g. Archery Master version 1 grants bow proficiency (so it's meant for those who don't already have it) and Archery Master version 2 doesn't grant bow proficiency but replaces it with something else (and is therefore meant for those who already have the proficiency). But you'd still get some players who would like that "something else" but also needed the proficiency.
I don't know, I think there's a much simpler solution than that.

-Remove all incidental proficiency gains from feats
-Optionally, add those proficiencies as requirements
-Put in feats to gain proficiency in those things

Granted, the new feats have to be substantially broader than the 3.x equivalents, but spending a feat to get a bunch of weapon or armor proficiencies certainly doesn't seem too harsh.

Cheers!
Kinak
 

Li Shenron

Legend
-Remove all incidental proficiency gains from feats
-Optionally, add those proficiencies as requirements
-Put in feats to gain proficiency in those things

Ok, but with the current feats size, you still end up with feats granting multiple proficiencies in a bundle, so that those feats are balanced with feats granting other benefits.

If those bundles are fixed, then you still have the problem of overlapping. You might have a feat granting 3 weapons + one armor type + shield proficiency. This is great for someone who has none and wants them all, but sucks for someone who needs/want only part of these.

You can improve the situation by having a "customizable bundle", i.e. one feat saying "choose a combination of 4 proficiencies". At least in this case you won't have duplicates, but still you are forcing people to get 4 proficiencies when maybe they only needed/wanted 1.

The best solution is always reducing the size of feats, at the end... perhaps weapons would still need groups in a similar way as armors, so technically you might still have someone who wants to be proficient only in Full Plate and is forced to take all heavy armors, but at least the scale of the problem is significantly reduced, compared to having to get something very different.
 

Kinak

First Post
The best solution is always reducing the size of feats, at the end...
Well, that's certainly the best solution for this problem, but small feats cause problems as well. The trade out being only being +1 apparently bothers people, simple large abilities have to be subdivided into smaller more complex components, and the individual choices matter less.

Which isn't to say I disagree. I'd be fine with more smaller feats, but there are valid arguments on both sides.

perhaps weapons would still need groups in a similar way as armors, so technically you might still have someone who wants to be proficient only in Full Plate and is forced to take all heavy armors, but at least the scale of the problem is significantly reduced, compared to having to get something very different.
This is probably how I'd handle it. You get a broad weapon or armor group... or even just all armor or all weapons.

It sounds weird from a balance perspective, but players change weapons so rarely that granting all weapons is only slightly different than granting two or three. And it sounds awesome.

Cheers!
Kinak
 

Gadget

Adventurer
How does having smaller feats instead of bigger ones result in more power creep?

I give you...3E & 4E! It does. It becomes a catch all for implementing most concepts either through a feat or combination of feats, death by a thousand cuts. It leads to a slew of tic-tacky +/- 1 that seem to be less significant but through combinations and clever system mastery add up to power plays that change the game. Especially if smaller feats are combined with acquiring more of them. The bigger feats are slated to be optional, easily swapped out with a stat bonus, and a more significant choice. Will it work? I don't know, there may be problems. But I know what doesn't work well...the same old smaller feats.
 
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Blackwarder

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.

I don't think that this is how feats should work, I like the current scheme, going back to 3e/4e way would be the worst thing ever.

Warder
 

Mistwell

Crusty Old Meatwad (he/him)
I am liking how they chose to do it, just fine. I do think a few feats could use tightening up, but I like the system overall, and I do not want to go back to the 3e system as I think it did lead to power creep. I also want to discourage min/maxing where possible, and I think this system helps with that.
 

KiloGex

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

It's something I do like. I prefer telling the story of how/why someone has become an adventurer, rather than writing a backstory explaining all of these adventures that they've had before this new life.

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.

And a 20th level wizard in 3E is far more powerful than a 20th level wizard in 2E. And a 20th level fighter in 3E is more powerful than a 20th level fighter in 2E. And a 20th level wizard is more powerful than a 20th level fighter in nearly any edition. You can't compare apples and oranges here.

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.


Agreed, which is why they've gotten rid of all of the bad ones and just kept the good ones in Next. They don't have the meaningless feats that just give you a minuscule bonus or that get rid of an unnecessary penalty; it's all meat.

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.

And every archer in 3.x takes Point-Blank Shot, Precise Shot, Rapid Shot, and Manyshot. Just because you have more choices, doesn't mean that you aren't going to take every staple feat.

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.


We also don't know if there are any ways to do this though. Since we haven't seen the final version, we aren't sure if you can obtain further skills or languages. Therefore, I'm reserving my final judgement for this with the official release.
 

KiloGex

First Post
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...You want 3.x and 4E? Then go ahead and play those; nobody is forcing you to move.
 

Sadrik

First Post
So...You want 3.x and 4E? Then go ahead and play those; nobody is forcing you to move.

Nope. I already have 3.x I am good with that.

I want a game that caters to the simple gamer. I want a game that caters to the more complex gamer. I think making class features come at less frequent levels but at a programmed interval for all classes would be better. For example, levels 1/3/6/9/12/15/18. Make those features significant to both the class and the subclass (not every level mini abilities). Then offer feats at all other levels. You could remove a feat for gaining access to a new spell level if you wanted too.

This provides enough variability for those who want it and enough simplicity for those who don't.

I realize you won't agree with my assessment and that is ok. If you give it some thought though I think you will agree that this is a superior method regardless of which edition it was initially developed in.
 

bogmad

First Post
I really do like how feats are being implemented in this edition, but I do wish that there could be a feat at level 1 perhaps.

I remember it mentioned before by Mearls that a possible way to address the dislike of human ability scores would be to maybe give humans a feat at level 1? I wouldn't mind, but then why is a human suddenly better able to be an arcane archer than an elf?

I like the idea of trading even the ability scores for feats. Why not let players trade character creation bonuses for feats as well? Perhaps certain races would only have certain feats available while humans could select everything? Giving them two feats and other races only one is obvious overkill, but not letting other races have one at all while humans do seems to limit character types.
Probably the argument would be that this complicates character creation too much?

As much as I like how feats let you define your character, it's a little frustrating you have to wait several levels to be able to do so.
 

KiloGex

First Post
Make those features significant to both the class and the subclass (not every level mini abilities). Then offer feats at all other levels.

You're correct; I don't agree with you. So you want to give less class features, yet then give 12 feats to every character? At this point, you're basically creating small variables between classes, with the majority of differential depending primarily on the feats that a character chooses. I am perfectly okay with having only a small handful of chances for feats - choosing out of a pool of maybe 25 to 30 - and have the vast majority of specialty come from the class and subclass itself.

I don't think that having the ability to select a dozen feats from a list of 100 "caters to the more complex gamer"; I think it just makes a game more complex, which isn't always a good thing. Anybody can create an enormous list of selections, give players hundreds of points and numbers to play with, and make a 400 page rulebook that you have to read over a few times just to get the gist of.

What WotC is doing with this edition is making the leveling easy for both the person who wants to simply get a template to level by and the person who likes crunching numbers. Where the complexity of the system is going to come in is how you use those numbers, abilities, and feats that you have in gameplay. You can't always judge a system by what the words are; sometimes you need to judge it by how it plays at the table.
 

Sadrik

First Post
So you want to give less class features, yet then give 12 feats to every character? At this point, you're basically creating small variables between classes, with the majority of differential depending primarily on the feats that a character chooses.
Yes I think right now there is not enough character variability.

I understand your position. You want a programmed progression of small cookie cut abilities each level for all classes and add in a couple of big choices every now and then from feats. Literally I want the opposite of that. I want big programmed class features that really matter and smaller feats. This offers greater character customization, which only apparently was a feature. Now it is a bug?

Remember the smaller feats are paired against a +1 stat boost. So if characters got 8 class features and 12 feats over 20 levels a novice player would only have to deal with 8 class features and 12 stat pumps. I think that is a lot easier than 13-15 mini class features and 5-7 stat pumps. It is in my mind the worst scenario for both groups, people who want the simplicity don't have as much and people who want the complexity don't have as much either.

What WotC is doing with this edition is making the leveling easy for both the person who wants to simply get a template to level by and the person who likes crunching numbers.
There are a lot of interesting things in character customization with background and sub-class choices. But feats, to me, are looking like a blunder. A real missed opportunity.
 

Majoru Oakheart

Adventurer
There are a lot of interesting things in character customization with background and sub-class choices. But feats, to me, are looking like a blunder. A real missed opportunity.
The key here is that at its simplest form, the game needs to be like 2e: Choose a race and class, never pick anything again.

Plus, I'm fairly certain they are trying to get rid of remembering "fiddly bits" and creating "builds". Small feats tend to encourage people to mix and match feats to create extremely niche characters with powerful mixes of abilities. For new players especially this can be daunting. Heck, I'm a rules lawyer who spends his time reading D&D message boards and the idea of picking feats in both 4e and 3.5e gives me nightmares. So many feats...so many combinations....have to read them all to make sure I'm not missing one that would fit my build better. I really like the major themed feats from 5e because it allows me to look at the feats and say "Do I want to be offensive or defensive? I'll take the offensive feat. That makes me good at two handed weapons and at doing damage." Which is much easier to remember and deal with than "Alright, I have this feat that gives me +5 damage against prone targets. This feat that knocks people prone when I do 15+ damage in a single hit and this feat that gives me +5 to save against fire spells."
 

Sadras

Hero
There are a lot of interesting things in character customization with background and sub-class choices. But feats, to me, are looking like a blunder. A real missed opportunity.

It is much easier to introduce though the playtest a simple game with a "fat feats" mechanic and then once the rule book comes out reflect a modular system which can be adopted, with a possible feat module which allows for the fragmentation of the "fat feats" to mini-feats, allowing the players who prefer detailed custom-made characters to design them through the feat module.
 

Sadrik

First Post
The key here is that at its simplest form, the game needs to be like 2e: Choose a race and class, never pick anything again.
2e also had weapon proficiencies, non-weapon proficiencies, and kits. 5e encompasses these under background and sub-class. 5e also has feats and/or stat boosts. Like I said before, players looking for the simple game would look no further than stat boosts. 8 class features and 12 stat boosts over all 20 levels, that is a lot simpler than they have right now.

Plus, I'm fairly certain they are trying to get rid of remembering "fiddly bits" and creating "builds". Small feats tend to encourage people to mix and match feats to create extremely niche characters with powerful mixes of abilities. For new players especially this can be daunting. Heck, I'm a rules lawyer who spends his time reading D&D message boards and the idea of picking feats in both 4e and 3.5e gives me nightmares. So many feats...so many combinations....have to read them all to make sure I'm not missing one that would fit my build better. I really like the major themed feats from 5e because it allows me to look at the feats and say "Do I want to be offensive or defensive? I'll take the offensive feat. That makes me good at two handed weapons and at doing damage." Which is much easier to remember and deal with than "Alright, I have this feat that gives me +5 damage against prone targets. This feat that knocks people prone when I do 15+ damage in a single hit and this feat that gives me +5 to save against fire spells."
I think creating builds is now a major piece of D&D, whether old timers like me like it or not. If the rug was pulled out, I think many would not see the game as something they would want to play and continue on with PF, 3.x or 4e even. Character customization should not be eschewed as a bug.

It is much easier to introduce though the playtest a simple game with a "fat feats" mechanic and then once the rule book comes out reflect a modular system which can be adopted, with a possible feat module which allows for the fragmentation of the "fat feats" to mini-feats, allowing the players who prefer detailed custom-made characters to design them through the feat module.
That only fixes 1/2 the problem. You still wind up with a bunch of class features that are fiddly for players not interested in that.


One other aspect to class features and feats is multi-classing. Right now if you think there is a neat fiddly ability that is only attainable as a Class X at Level X you have to multi-class to get it, even though that ability may have only been placed there to fill in an empty level for the character class and could be a neat ability for more than just that one class. To me class features should be more than just a neat ability that gets arbitrarily assigned to a class, it has to really be tied to the concept of that class. Spell casting, spell book, divine channeling, sneak attack/backstab, rage, etc. everything else is fluff.
 

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