D&D (2024) Human Resourceful needs to be beefier − compare the Lucky feat


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Yaarel

He Mage
Problem is that level 0 feats are all over the place in power level.
Yes, but like spells of a same slot, feats shouldnt be all over the place. Designers should make a point to calibrate them appropriate to their tier.

Because feats (and spells) can have any kind of mechanic, comparing one feat to an other can sometimes feel like comparing apples to oranges. Nevertheless, even apples and oranges can have prices with a specific cost. All feats at level 0 should be comparable in desirability, since they all "cost" the same amount.

The Lucky feat raises eyebrows, but I cant decide if it is too powerful or if that is what feats should look like at level 0. Lucky is only two Advantages per Long Rest. (Or instead Disadvantages.) That doesnt seem too imbalancing. Probably where the standard feat is "good" and solid, the Lucky feat is tolerably "excellent".
 

Mephista

Adventurer
Note, a level-4 feat is worth two level-0 feats.

In other words, a level-4 feat can choose a level-0 feat plus gain a +1 ability score improvement.

The species design space is worth three level-0 feats.
My entire argument is based around the level 1 feats in the UA Character Origin playtest package.

I think its also worth noting that, because the level 4 feats are better than the level 1 feats, there's a hidden advantage to humans you're overlooking - opportunity cost. I can snag both Magic Initiate and Musician as a human bard easily. Anyone else would need to sacrifice the equivalent of +2 attributes for it.

Any time you REALLY want two starting level feats? Human will be the best option. That opportunity cost is not something to be ignored.
 

Mephista

Adventurer
Yes, but like spells of a same slot, feats shouldnt be all over the place. Designers should make a point to calibrate them appropriate to their tier.
The problem is that they're not. And you're using the best options to set the benchmark instead of the average, which lends itself to skewed results.
 

Yaarel

He Mage
The problem is that they're not. And you're using the best options to set the benchmark instead of the average, which lends itself to skewed results.
What for you is an "average" for a level 0 feat?

For me, the test of a level 0 feat is whether I myself would swap a +1 ability score improvement for it. For some feats, I would never make the swap because the feat is subpar. After my own personal reaction (which represents what is true at my table), I also look at how other optimizers feel about each feat, to get a sense of what each feat is worth in the aggregate.

Even Lucky is touch and go. I probably would swap for it. The easier it is to swap an ability score improvement, the more likely the feat is overpowered. The choice between a feat or an ability should be a tough choice − the toughness means the feat is balanced.


With regard to the 2014 Players Handbook, I wouldnt swap a +2 ability score improvement for most of its feats. I consider most of the 2014 to be subpar. But as designers became more familiar with the 5e game engine, the feats that came later in Xanathars and Tashas became more exactly worth the design space of a level 4 feat. The later feats tend to be solid.


Like the level 0 feats themselves, the design space for a species needs to fill up with traits that make each species comparable to each other.


My entire argument is based around the level 1 feats in the UA Character Origin playtest package.

I think its also worth noting that, because the level 4 feats are better than the level 1 feats, there's a hidden advantage to humans you're overlooking - opportunity cost. I can snag both Magic Initiate and Musician as a human bard easily. Anyone else would need to sacrifice the equivalent of +2 attributes for it.

Any time you REALLY want two starting level feats? Human will be the best option. That opportunity cost is not something to be ignored.
In the example of the Elf, the three feats of design space are worth three level 0 feats. Compare the slot-1 and slot-2 spells that the Elf gains at level 0 with the similar that the Fey Touched feat in Tashas grants at level 4. Likewise to grant both Darkvision and Perception proficiency is worth a level 0 feat.


The challenge of the Human offering a free choice is the possibility of an unexpected combo. But these combos require system mastery to identify, often require planning and investment around them, and opportunity costs, and because they are unexpected are difficult to quantify ahead of time. Moreover, any combo that is truly broken must be nerfed anyway. In sum, it is necessary for the Human species to fill out the design space with the appropriate amount of traits, just like it is for the other species.
 
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Mephista

Adventurer
What for you is an "average" for a level 0 feat?
I am of the belief that you can't balance the level 1 feats against anything but another 1st level feat. Unlike the level 4+ feats, these feats are unlinked to attribute bumps. Yes, you technically can take a level 1 feat at level 4, but that's generally regarded as a Bad Idea - its not really intended, but there's no reason to forbid it either.

On the one end, we have things like Crafter, Savage Attacker while on the other we have Magic Initiate, Medium Armor and Lucky; these three have been reported to have immediate and potentially overpowered effects in game. Abilities like Healer or Alert are probably more closer to an "average" 1st level feat.

In the example of the Elf,
Elf is one of the stronger options. It effectively has SIX traits. Darkvision, Elven lineage grants magic AND a small secondary bonus, charm resistance, the universally great Perception skill, and Trance (sleep immunity + effectively long-rest-interruption resistance) - tieflings, halflngs, orcs, gnomes, Origins UA dragonborn have four traits, goliath and humans have three, dwarves and Cleric UA dragonborn have five. Elves get more bonuses that are consistantly useful than any other species.

You can't use the species with the most traits (and mostly really good ones) and expect it to be a good benchmark for comparison to "number of 1st level feats." I'd say Orc or Halfling would be a better pick. Or the new Goliath
 

Yaarel

He Mage
Yes, you technically can take a level 1 feat at level 4, but that's generally regarded as a Bad Idea - its not really intended, but there's no reason to forbid it either.
We havent seen what playtest level-4 tier feats look like yet.

Generally, using a level-4 feat to pick both a level-0 feat and +1 ability score improvement, is sound.

We will see if using a level-8 feat can pick up both a level-0 feat and a +2 ability score improvement?


On the one end, we have things like Crafter, Savage Attacker while on the other we have Magic Initiate, Medium Armor and Lucky; these three have been reported to have immediate and potentially overpowered effects in game. Abilities like Healer or Alert are probably more closer to an "average" 1st level feat.
Yeah, the current level-0 feats are uneven in power.

With regard to the three notably powerful ones that you mention, Magic Initiate, Medium Armor, and Luck, whether they are balanced or not depends on whether choosing one or an additional +1 ability score improvement is a tough choice.


Elf is one of the stronger options. It effectively has SIX traits. Darkvision, Elven lineage grants magic AND a small secondary bonus, charm resistance, the universally great Perception skill, and Trance (sleep immunity + effectively long-rest-interruption resistance) - tieflings, halflngs, orcs, gnomes, Origins UA dragonborn have four traits, goliath and humans have three, dwarves and Cleric UA dragonborn have five. Elves get more bonuses that are consistantly useful than any other species.

You can't use the species with the most traits (and mostly really good ones) and expect it to be a good benchmark for comparison to "number of 1st level feats." I'd say Orc or Halfling would be a better pick. Or the new Goliath
It doesnt matter how many traits there. What matters is how powerful each trait is, and their accumulative power.

Example the Elf species. Trance is a ribbon. A feat space that combines Trance, Charm Resistance, and a choice of cantrip is a weak feat. However, because some cantrips are better than others, the careful choice of an excellent cantrip can make it a solid feat. The feat space of the slot-1 and slot-2 spells are weak because they delay until later levels. Having Darkvision and Perception proficiency as a feat is solid in power but ubiquitous. Perception proficiency is easy to obtain via background and class, making the expense of a feat to obtain it less wise. The benefit of Darkvision lessens when more creatures have it. In sum, the Elf is fine, possibly even slightly weak for its three-feat design space.
 
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Mephista

Adventurer
We havent seen what playtest level-4 tier feats look like yet.
Uhhh.... ? What? We've seen them since the UA Expert playtest...

It doesnt matter how many traits there. What matters is how powerful each trait is, and their accumulative power.

Example the Elf species. Trance is a ribbon. A feat space that combines Trance, Charm Resistance, and a choice of cantrip is a weak feat. However, because some cantrips are better than others, the careful choice of an excellent cantrip can make it a solid feat. The feat space of the slot-1 and slot-2 spells are weak because they delay until later levels. Having Darkvision and Perception proficiency as a feat is solid in power but ubiquitous. Perception proficiency is easy to obtain via background and class, making the expense of a feat to obtain it less wise. The benefit of Darkvision lessens when more creatures have it. In sum, the Elf is fine, possibly even slightly weak for its three-feat design space.
While you're correct that quality matters, the elf traits are all relatively high in quality. Yes, that includes Trance. Certainly, I wouldn't put the same value you do.

Which is another reason why this "three feat" thing doesn't work. Its way too subjective.
 

Yaarel

He Mage
Uhhh.... ? What? We've seen them since the UA Expert playtest...
You are correct the UA2022-ExpertClasses lists updates of some level-4 feats. All of these updates include the additional +1 ability score improvement.

It remains unclear how these level-4 feats with an ability score improvement relate to the level-0 feats without it.

While you're correct that quality matters, the elf traits are all relatively high in quality. Yes, that includes Trance. Certainly, I wouldn't put the same value you do.
Which is another reason why this "three feat" thing doesn't work. Its way too subjective.
It is easy for character optimizers to spot a subpar feat. They usually color code them Red for convenience to avoid them. Typically there is a consensus in the aggregate.
 
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Mephista

Adventurer
If you're going to bring up consensus, then I'm going to have to point out that the consensus on elf traits is, afaik, as follows:
Trance - in games where DMs don't interrupt sleep and have wave it away, its worthless, but it very much DOES have a use in games where rests are more by the book. Its VERY useful when assigning watch shifts. It also allows resting in medium / heavy armor without penalty (elves don't sleep, and those penalties only apply to sleep).
Charm is generally more dangerous and used more often than Frightened against the party, which makes it a good thing to be defended against.
Perception is a god-tier skill.
Darkvision - most DMs tend to just handwave the ability to see in darkness with it, making it stronger than it should be. Even when run by the book, its excellent for scouts.
The spells the elves get are generally rated highly in guides
The extra bonuses listed with the cantrips are universally good, even if they're not very powerful.
 

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