D&D 5E How weak is Athlete Feat?

DEFCON 1

Legend
Supporter
If there any good reason why the Athlete Feat shouldn't include Proficiency in Athletics?
This seems like a no-brainer & a really weird omission. Typo?
No, not a typo. I just think that at the time they were playtesting the game before it was released, there wasn't this huge swathe of players all bum-rushing Great Weapon Fighter / Sharpshooter / Polearm Master / Lucky along with maxing out primary stats... which completely skewed the view of what feats could / should / would be used for.

And I don't think it's that shocking, as I suspect this is extremely difficult to figure out prior to a game's release into the wild. When you're in playtesting, your large set of playtester groups are asked to test a lot of different stuff, not just "make what you want as often as you want"... and thus they probably had no idea of the the shear number of players who went straight to the massive utility and power of the super-combat feats and completely tossed away all of these more fluffy, story-and-character-defining feats. Then they saw for the first years after release, conventional wisdom determined that ASIs and the super-feats were the only things worthwhile in the system, everything else was "under-powered". Had the designers felt which way this wind was going to blow, I wouldn't be surprised if they HAD added Athletics as a proficiency and/or double-prof bonus to the feat to give it more oomph.

But this is why we all are free to house-rule the game... our 20/20 hindsight tells us what our tables need to have to make things like feats important and we can edit, amend, or create anew the feats we are going to need to make our players happy.
 

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Mistwell

Crusty Old Meatwad (he/him)
When you read a thread and find you replied to it previously but cannot recall the thread or reply at all.






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TwoSix

Unserious gamer
If there any good reason why the Athlete Feat shouldn't include Proficiency in Athletics?
This seems like a no-brainer & a really weird omission. Typo?
Nah, not a typo, just the development a game goes through between its infancy and its middle age. The thinking around the game has changed over the last 6 years.
 

Its ok. As most +1 feats it is mostly flavour.
If your DM allows you to make use of it, it is also fun.
Imagine a wood elf rogue (thief). If you are fighting in an ally, you can go up and down as you wish, possibly gaining a big advantage.
 

NotAYakk

Legend
Athlete (doesn't suck);
You gain a +1 bonus to both dexterity and strength.

  • Climbing speed doesn't require extra movement.
  • Standing up from prone only costs 5 feet of movement.
  • You can make a running long or high jump with only 5 feet of running room, instead of 10.
  • Your speed increases by 5'.
  • You add your proficiency bonus to your strength to determine how far you can jump and how much you can carry.
  • When making a strength, dexterity or constitution saving throw and you don't already add your proficiency modifier, add 1/2 of your proficiency modifier. If you already add your proficiency modifier, add +1.

Why:
  • Dex/Str has very weak synergy. A +1 to both is both flavorful and not that strong.
  • 5' of extra speed is good, and makes sense for someone with athletic training.
  • Extra bonus jumping distance is always good; jumping with less distance is great, but longer is more key. Carrying capacity as well if people track it.
  • Half-proficiency in every single physical save is nice; the stacking +1 is so that people who already have 2 good saves aren't punished. It is on saves, and not checks, to not compete with "remarkable athlete" from fighter.

The intention is to make something as tempting as +2 to an attack stat or PAM/XBE/GWM/SS at level 4 for a character.
 

DND_Reborn

Legend
You gain a +1 bonus to both dexterity and strength.
And???

So, it is better than a normal ASI +2???

Dex/Str has very weak synergy. A +1 to both is both flavorful and not that strong.
LOL, try telling that to our half-orc fighter/rogue. ;)

In all seriousness, I get your point, but it went from being a ho-hum feat to nearly a god-feat with your additions. If it works for you, great but MAN that is a way too much for a feat!
 

Horwath

Hero
Athlete (doesn't suck);
You gain a +1 bonus to both dexterity and strength.

  • Climbing speed doesn't require extra movement.
  • Standing up from prone only costs 5 feet of movement.
  • You can make a running long or high jump with only 5 feet of running room, instead of 10.
  • Your speed increases by 5'.
  • You add your proficiency bonus to your strength to determine how far you can jump and how much you can carry.
  • When making a strength, dexterity or constitution saving throw and you don't already add your proficiency modifier, add 1/2 of your proficiency modifier. If you already add your proficiency modifier, add +1.

Why:
  • Dex/Str has very weak synergy. A +1 to both is both flavorful and not that strong.
  • 5' of extra speed is good, and makes sense for someone with athletic training.
  • Extra bonus jumping distance is always good; jumping with less distance is great, but longer is more key. Carrying capacity as well if people track it.
  • Half-proficiency in every single physical save is nice; the stacking +1 is so that people who already have 2 good saves aren't punished. It is on saves, and not checks, to not compete with "remarkable athlete" from fighter.

The intention is to make something as tempting as +2 to an attack stat or PAM/XBE/GWM/SS at level 4 for a character.

As much as I love overpowered feats and as much Athlete sucks as written, this is a little too much.
But you have some things working nice:

so, a slight tweak;

feat:
agile athlete; requires proficiency in Athletics or Acrobatics.
  1. +1 str or dex
  2. +5ft base speed
  3. all jumps count as running jumps
  4. stand up with only 5ft of movement spent.
  5. gain proficiency in Athletics or Acrobatics, if you are proficient in both, gain expertise in one of them.
 

TwoSix

Unserious gamer
And???

So, it is better than a normal ASI +2???
Certainly not. Not all +2s are created equal. If you can find a concept that benefits from both a +1 Dex AND +1 Str, other than unarmored barbarian, I'd be very surprised. And I'm fine with an Athlete feat being very good for unarmored barbarians. Your fighter/rogue isn't really going to benefit from this outside of some very odd build combinations.
LOL, try telling that to our half-orc fighter/rogue. ;)

In all seriousness, I get your point, but it went from being a ho-hum feat to nearly a god-feat with your additions. If it works for you, great but MAN that is a way too much for a feat!
Honestly, this where feats have to be to compete with SS/GWM/PAM/XBE/Lucky. The bonuses to saves elevate it from being "OK" to actual strong contender to be taken on Str or Dex builds.
 

DND_Reborn

Legend
Your fighter/rogue isn't really going to benefit from this outside of some very odd build combinations.
I disagree. I see this potentially helping any PC really unless you had both even scores, in which case (for now) the +1's won't help because neither would bump your modifier. shrug

Honestly, this where feats have to be to compete with SS/GWM/PAM/XBE/Lucky. The bonuses to saves elevate it from being "OK" to actual strong contender to be taken on Str or Dex builds.
Not really. If you see those feats as being too strong, it is easier to nerf those to a more common level with all the other feats. Because this "fix" to Athlete is only elevating the problem.

However, IME, none of those feats (SS/GWM/PAM/XBE/Lucky) get taken often. Heck, we see Alert, Dual Wielder, Healer, HAM, Magic Initiate, MAM, Observant, Resilient, Sentinel, Shield Master, Spell Sniper, and War Caster ALL taken more often than SS, GWM, PAM, XBE, or Lucky. I would guess our most commonly taken feats are Alert, Observant, Resilient, and War Caster.

While I agree Athlete is lack-luster, several simpler and more balanced fixes would make it more enticing IMO. I mean, after all, with the +1 to STR or DEX, the other features aren't supposed to be crazy good. Giving +1 to two scores and a bunch of extra stuff would makes it overkill.
 

CleverNickName

Limit Break Dancing
Change the name to Parkour and add a note about DM's might give you a little latitude in stunts and I think more people would take it.
A simple way to make it a little more comparable to the other feats, and to make it a little more tempting for players, would be to add proficiency with Athletics or Acrobatics (player's choice). Maybe a blurb about "if you're already proficient, you add double your proficiency bonus" would be nice as well.
 

TwoSix

Unserious gamer
I disagree. I see this potentially helping any PC really unless you had both even scores, in which case (for now) the +1's won't help because neither would bump your modifier. shrug
Sure, but any feat comparison is fundamentally about opportunity cost. Of course it helps, especially if you set your Str and Dex at odd numbers during character creation. The question is does it help more than a different choice would.

Not really. If you see those feats as being too strong, it is easier to nerf those to a more common level with all the other feats. Because this "fix" to Athlete is only elevating the problem.
Yes but I don't think those feats are too strong. I think most other feats are too weak, with the exception of a few of the half feats that can bump your initial 17 to an 18.
However, IME, none of those feats (SS/GWM/PAM/XBE/Lucky) get taken often. Heck, we see Alert, Dual Wielder, Healer, HAM, Magic Initiate, MAM, Observant, Resilient, Sentinel, Shield Master, Spell Sniper, and War Caster ALL taken more often than SS, GWM, PAM, XBE, or Lucky. I would guess our most commonly taken feats are Alert, Observant, Resilient, and War Caster.
We usually have a few players per game that take GWM/SS, just because they're common concepts and people have learned that they're strong feats. The others don't get taken as much, just because how good they are isn't quite as obvious. +2 ASI is way more common, though (sadly, as I would rather see feats taken at low levels than +2 ASI).
While I agree Athlete is lack-luster, several simpler and more balanced fixes would make it more enticing IMO. I mean, after all, with the +1 to STR or DEX, the other features aren't supposed to be crazy good. Giving +1 to two scores and a bunch of extra stuff would makes it overkill.
I think the difference here is that I see +1 to two different stats as not that great for most character builds, compared to +2 to one. Outside of +Con/attack stat, or +attack/+casting stat, it's pretty much a ribbon. Having a +1 to two non-synergy stats plus some actual bonuses means I might actually build my character slightly different to benefit from that.
 

DND_Reborn

Legend
Sure, but any feat comparison is fundamentally about opportunity cost. Of course it helps, especially if you set your Str and Dex at odd numbers during character creation. The question is does it help more than a different choice would.
I agree in that sense, my point is more that with everything else that variant throws in, boosting two scores +1 is too strong. Most PCs who would take this most likely already focus on STR or DEX, so the +1 to their main score is the meat and everything else is gravy, but another +1 ASI is like extra gravy IMO.

Yes but I don't think those feats are too strong. I think most other feats are too weak, with the exception of a few of the half feats that can bump your initial 17 to an 18.
Here we simply disagree on what feats should do in the game, I think. I think many feats are about right. A few are strong or "good", several are a tad on the weaker side and a +1 ASI boosts them up nicely to me. But, with Athlete, there are so many other things that could be done, giving a +1 ASI to another physical stat isn't a good idea IMO. I would have rather seen the +1 to STR, DEX, or CON and throw that in as an option.

The others don't get taken as much, just because how good they are isn't quite as obvious. +2 ASI is way more common, though (sadly, as I would rather see feats taken at low levels than +2 ASI).
Again, just different styles I suppose. We see a lot of half feats taken. Many players would rather take a bit longer to get +2 through two feats with +1 each and get all the extra goodies that come along with them. We don't often see a +2 ASI (maybe one player out of 4-5 per "feat selection time").

I think the difference here is that I see +1 to two different stats as not that great for most character builds, compared to +2 to one. Outside of +Con/attack stat, or +attack/+casting stat, it's pretty much a ribbon. Having a +1 to two non-synergy stats plus some actual bonuses means I might actually build my character slightly different to benefit from that.
Sure, I see the biggest benefit depending on the build. If I have an female elven wizard with STR 9 and DEX 17, getting a +1 to STR and DEX is great for me! Sure, the DEX is probably more important, but removing that -1 penalty from STR saves (to avoid knock downs, etc.) and Athletics checks for climbing or swimming is really good! Tack on the idea of getting to add half proficiency to that STR save and it is over the top to me. shrug

However, if that same PC has STR 8 and DEX 16... the boosts don't help me really and I am taking the feat for the other features (all more than good enough without the ASIs IMO) and planning on another half-feat for DEX later most likely (like Resilient, for instance).
 

NotAYakk

Legend
And???

So, it is better than a normal ASI +2???
Strength and Dexterity are opposed stats in 5e.

Strength governs strength-based attacks (most melee and thrown ranged), and lets you use certain kinds of heavy armor.

Dexterity governs dexterity-based attacks (finesss, some thrown, most ranged), and makes light and medium armor viable.

Strength is pretty much useless for non-melee weapon users. Dex isn't.

About the only reason you'd want, in a charop, +1 to both from an ASI is if you have 13 starting dex and are a strength build and are wearing medium armor.

But then, in a point-buy situation, you'd probably be better off raising your dex by 1, lowering your strength by 1, and using both ASIs on strength, because 1 point of strength is more expensive than 14 in dex.

Now, in a standard array or rolled build that 13 dex is more common in a strength-build. But it is still a bit niche.

That is how antagonistic strength and dexterity is.

It is sort of like int/cha or int/wis; there aren't really much of a reason to bump both, charop wise. So a feat that offers +1 to both isn't as good as an ASI.
feat:
agile athlete; requires proficiency in Athletics or Acrobatics.
  1. +1 str or dex
  2. +5ft base speed
  3. all jumps count as running jumps
  4. stand up with only 5ft of movement spent.
  5. gain proficiency in Athletics or Acrobatics, if you are proficient in both, gain expertise in one of them.
Well, you could build a grappler around this feat; expertise athletics. Everything else is just there to make that option a bit cheaper than a 1 level rogue dip or the nearly full feat cost of prodigy.

If you aren't a grappler, I'd say go elsewhere for a feat option.
 

TwoSix

Unserious gamer
Sure, I see the biggest benefit depending on the build. If I have an female elven wizard with STR 9 and DEX 17, getting a +1 to STR and DEX is great for me! Sure, the DEX is probably more important, but removing that -1 penalty from STR saves (to avoid knock downs, etc.) and Athletics checks for climbing or swimming is really good! Tack on the idea of getting to add half proficiency to that STR save and it is over the top to me. shrug

However, if that same PC has STR 8 and DEX 16... the boosts don't help me really and I am taking the feat for the other features (all more than good enough without the ASIs IMO) and planning on another half-feat for DEX later most likely (like Resilient, for instance).
Yea, we'll just have to chalk that up to differing views on good. Getting a +1 bonus on a stat I don't use for attacks or spellcasting (or Con) would barely enter my mental calculus for evaluating a feat. In the Str 9 Dex 17 wizard case, I'd take (suggested modification) Athlete over Resilient (Dex) simply because it also gives me a bonus to Con saves; bumping Str to 10 is aesthetically pleasing but barely worth anything. In the Str 8 Dex 16 case, I would just never take Athlete. If I wanted to play a wizard with Athlete, they wouldn't have Str 8 Dex 16. :)
 

Pauln6

Explorer
I like the half bonus to saves but a bonus to both stats is too much.

I let PCS jump beyond their maximum distance with athletics checks. A formula should be easy to work out, just halve the distances if the PC is armoured or encumbered.

I recall in 1e that thief acrobat could obtain further bonuses if they used a pole or staff. Could add that option too I suppose.
 

NotAYakk

Legend
Sure, I see the biggest benefit depending on the build. If I have an female elven wizard with STR 9 and DEX 17, getting a +1 to STR and DEX is great for me! Sure, the DEX is probably more important, but removing that -1 penalty from STR saves (to avoid knock downs, etc.) and Athletics checks for climbing or swimming is really good! Tack on the idea of getting to add half proficiency to that STR save and it is over the top to me. shrug

However, if that same PC has STR 8 and DEX 16... the boosts don't help me really and I am taking the feat for the other features (all more than good enough without the ASIs IMO) and planning on another half-feat for DEX later most likely (like Resilient, for instance).
Except the Elven Wizard probably wants max int before either of those.

If they started with 16-17 intelligence and 15 dex, they burned 2 ASIs on getting int to 20. Then they burned another ASI to get 17 dex.

So they are level 16 before they take Athlete.

If this feat is "so good" that a level 16 character picks it as their 4th ASI, it isn't OP at all.

To show it is "too strong", start looking at builds that would take it at level 1 (vhuman), level 4 or even level 6/8. Any feat that someone doing charop would wait until level 12+ isn't a super strong feat.

Feats that, for someone doing charop, rival a +1 to all attacks/save DCs.

PAM and XBE qualify. Lucky qualifies. Warcaster can qualify. Elven Accuracy is a half-feat that qualifies. The double scimitar feat even qualfiies, if more niche.

"Fixing" a feat so that it becomes an ok pick at level 12 seems like patching holes in a boat on the bottom of the ocean. I want people to agonize over taking a feat, or getting an 18 or 20 in their prime state.
 

DND_Reborn

Legend
Strength and Dexterity are opposed stats in 5e.

Strength governs strength-based attacks (most melee and thrown ranged), and lets you use certain kinds of heavy armor.

Dexterity governs dexterity-based attacks (finesss, some thrown, most ranged), and makes light and medium armor viable.

Strength is pretty much useless for non-melee weapon users. Dex isn't.

About the only reason you'd want, in a charop, +1 to both from an ASI is if you have 13 starting dex and are a strength build and are wearing medium armor.

But then, in a point-buy situation, you'd probably be better off raising your dex by 1, lowering your strength by 1, and using both ASIs on strength, because 1 point of strength is more expensive than 14 in dex.

Now, in a standard array or rolled build that 13 dex is more common in a strength-build. But it is still a bit niche.

That is how antagonistic strength and dexterity is.

It is sort of like int/cha or int/wis; there aren't really much of a reason to bump both, charop wise. So a feat that offers +1 to both isn't as good as an ASI.
I already went through much of this with @TwoSix so I'll simply say again I think your variant is too strong, offering too much.

Except the Elven Wizard probably wants max int before either of those.

If they started with 16-17 intelligence and 15 dex, they burned 2 ASIs on getting int to 20. Then they burned another ASI to get 17 dex.

So they are level 16 before they take Athlete.

If this feat is "so good" that a level 16 character picks it as their 4th ASI, it isn't OP at all.

To show it is "too strong", start looking at builds that would take it at level 1 (vhuman), level 4 or even level 6/8. Any feat that someone doing charop would wait until level 12+ isn't a super strong feat.

Feats that, for someone doing charop, rival a +1 to all attacks/save DCs.

PAM and XBE qualify. Lucky qualifies. Warcaster can qualify. Elven Accuracy is a half-feat that qualifies. The double scimitar feat even qualfiies, if more niche.

"Fixing" a feat so that it becomes an ok pick at level 12 seems like patching holes in a boat on the bottom of the ocean. I want people to agonize over taking a feat, or getting an 18 or 20 in their prime state.
You're making a lot of assumptions on what players do with their ASIs. In our groups, 16 is good enough and 18 is great. Unless we roll scores, we rarely see a 20 even by tier 4. Other things are just more important to the players I play with and/or DM.

I'll not be engaging further on this. I've said and shown why I think your variant is much too strong. If it suits your table and style of play, enjoy! :)
 

NotAYakk

Legend
You're making a lot of assumptions on what players do with their ASIs. In our groups, 16 is good enough and 18 is great. Unless we roll scores, we rarely see a 20 even by tier 4. Other things are just more important to the players I play with and/or DM.
I'd sum this up as "it looks strong, and isn't mechanically weak". Which is what I was aiming for.

I'll agree, I did try to make it attractive and interesting.

You haven't given a single example of an actual character where it would be an overpoweringly good choice. The most concrete you've gone is an elf wizard bumping dex to 18, which (as noted) seems a strange thing to do before bumping int to 18 or 20.

If the most abusive thing you can do with the feat is to tempt an elf wizard to spend a bunch of time doing physical fitness at the cost of a lower save DC, I think that feat is at a good balance point.

---

The only Str+Dex builds, where you'd want a 14+ in both, I know of are, in rough order of how common/high the stats are:

Barbarian, who wants Str to attack (reckless and rage), and Dex+Con for AC.
Paladins/Fighters who use heavy armor and/or two-handed weapons and want Dex for initiative/saving throws.
Melee Clerics
Two-handed-weapon-Ranger (which is a strange build, just go ranged; GWM+PAM is roughly equal to SS+XBE).

I cannot think of another PC who would ever consider buying an ASI to put 1 point in both Strength and Dexterity, and the above aren't all that likely to do it either.

In short: I get why it looks strong to offer +1 str AND dex, but it is way weaker than it looks. Actual cases where it is strong are a good argument why it is too strong, but "that is better than an ASI" looks mostly like it is falling for the appearance of strength not actual strength. And, in my opinion, encouraging people to have str and dex increased has verisimilitude advantages.

Oh yes: and feel free not to reply if you have nothing to add.
 

I think I would make it give Expertise in Athletics and maybe drop +1 attribute. (or maybe make it either or).

This would probably put it about the same level as Prodigy.
 

FXR

Explorer
I don't know. One PC in my game as the Athlete Feat and did use a lot. Of course, our game feature a lot of terrain, hence much climbing is involved.

The feat is obviously not as powerful as Sharpshooter, but I don't see it underpowered.
 

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