5E Is my DM being fair?

I recently joined a beginning 5e campaign where I am playing a human charisma rogue(charlatan background.) I was unable to take the "lucky" feat since the DM deemed it broken, so I took "Alert."

We are all now third level and I have been informed by the DM that I can no longer use the Alert feat. He feels, now, that this feat is broken as well because I can't be surprised, and that I have had crazy high initiative rolls due to the +5 added to initiative rolls, and he finds it hard to come up with a reason to explain why I'm not surprised, so he pulled it from my character.

For those DM's out there, is this fair? As a player do I try to fight it, or just suck it up and take the nerf? I'm assuming I get to pick another feat to replace it, any suggestions?

I'd love to hear your comments!
 
I recently joined a beginning 5e campaign where I am playing a human charisma rogue(charlatan background.) I was unable to take the "lucky" feat since the DM deemed it broken, so I took "Alert."

We are all now third level and I have been informed by the DM that I can no longer use the Alert feat. He feels, now, that this feat is broken as well because I can't be surprised, and that I have had crazy high initiative rolls due to the +5 added to initiative rolls, and he finds it hard to come up with a reason to explain why I'm not surprised, so he pulled it from my character.

For those DM's out there, is this fair? As a player do I try to fight it, or just suck it up and take the nerf? I'm assuming I get to pick another feat to replace it, any suggestions?

I'd love to hear your comments!
I didn't think feats were available before 4th level, which is also when you could optionally, instead, raise attributes. Am I wrong on this?


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I ask the above because in my mind having any feat level 1 & 2 especially would make it seem "broken".


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iserith

Magic Wordsmith
I recently joined a beginning 5e campaign where I am playing a human charisma rogue(charlatan background.) I was unable to take the "lucky" feat since the DM deemed it broken, so I took "Alert."

We are all now third level and I have been informed by the DM that I can no longer use the Alert feat. He feels, now, that this feat is broken as well because I can't be surprised, and that I have had crazy high initiative rolls due to the +5 added to initiative rolls, and he finds it hard to come up with a reason to explain why I'm not surprised, so he pulled it from my character.

For those DM's out there, is this fair? As a player do I try to fight it, or just suck it up and take the nerf? I'm assuming I get to pick another feat to replace it, any suggestions?

I'd love to hear your comments!
Feats are an optional part of the game. But once the DM decides on their inclusion, I think the responsibility is then on him or her to adjust the difficulty of the challenges according to taste in a way that makes the feats useful, but not overpowered. You might even have some suggestions for the DM on this score, if he is receptive to input.

However, for the sake of table harmony, it's probably a good idea in general to be understanding of the DM if he or she is acting in good faith and offer to take something else, especially if the DM is new to the role. Perhaps asking your DM what he thinks wouldn't be "broken" will save you some time.
 
Hi, MichaelArkAngel,

One of my players actually suggested to me that the Lucky feat is too powerful. Personally, I disagree. He thought everyone would take it. I agreed with him that if every one did, then I'd move to ban new characters from taking it. So far, only two or three of his characters have taken it. No other players want it. And, in play, it doesn't come up all that often, so I really don't think it is broken.

Alert is powerful for the reasons that you give, but not being surprised and winning initiative most of the time are good, but not really broken, in my opinion.

All that said, I'd recommend working with your DM until he gets comfortable with feats in the game. It's unfortunate, but different DM's have differing ideas of what belongs in their game.
 
I recently joined a beginning 5e campaign where I am playing a human charisma rogue(charlatan background.) I was unable to take the "lucky" feat since the DM deemed it broken, so I took "Alert."

We are all now third level and I have been informed by the DM that I can no longer use the Alert feat. He feels, now, that this feat is broken as well because I can't be surprised, and that I have had crazy high initiative rolls due to the +5 added to initiative rolls, and he finds it hard to come up with a reason to explain why I'm not surprised, so he pulled it from my character.

For those DM's out there, is this fair? As a player do I try to fight it, or just suck it up and take the nerf? I'm assuming I get to pick another feat to replace it, any suggestions?

I'd love to hear your comments!
It's totally the DM's call about which feats, if any, are allowed. However, nerfing things mid-game is usually considered bad etiquette to be avoided in all but the most extreme situations.

I'd encourage you to have a friendly conversation with your DM, starting with "Hey, I need some clarity on what feats and other game elements you allow or don't allow. I really felt like I don't have as much control over my character when you nixed my Alert feat. Would you be willing to, in advance, let me know exactly what's legit for your game and what is not, so I am making character decisions fully informed?"

On a personal note, if a DM is worried about a feat making you un-surpriseable...well...that sort of implies a DM who is wedded to a certain type of "antagonistic DM vs. players" style. That style can be fun, but it's not for everyone.
 

robus

Lowcountry Low Roller
This DM seems to be on a bit of a power trip. The game is designed for the PCs to be awesome (perhaps not during the first couple of levels though!) why did you get a feat off the bat? And if the DM is worried about feats why did they allow them in the first place?

First time DMing perhaps? Hope you can sort it out!
 

UnknownDyson

Explorer
Wow, if your dm thinks those two feats are broken, wait until he/she encounters a martial character with sharpshooter or great weapon master. The DM sounds like someone particularly new to 5e or d&d. If I was in your shoes, I would ask the DM what feats he/she didn't consider to be game breaking. Barring that I would ask to reroll my character.
 
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hafrogman

Visitor
Is your DM being fair? If he allows you to take another feat, or something of equal value in exchange, sure.
That doesn't mean I agree with him, just that as long as he's not taking it away and replacing it with nothing it's 'fair'.

As far as 'Alert', I think that as been suggested, the DM's issues probably stem a little more from unfamiliarity with the system.
High initiatives are okay, but hardly game breaking, due to the cyclical nature.
And not being able to be surprised is a mechanical thing, not a storytelling thing. You can still be shocked, astonished or baffled, but you still get to act regardless. That's all.
 
This DM seems to be on a bit of a power trip. The game is designed for the PCs to be awesome (perhaps not during the first couple of levels though!) why did you get a feat off the bat? And if the DM is worried about feats why did they allow them in the first place?

First time DMing perhaps? Hope you can sort it out!
PHB of 31 Variant human traits.


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Thanks all for the PHB reference. I guess I read but forgot all about it!

It does sound like the DM is new, though. I say this because you all agreed to use this variant, which reduces the ability score adds but compensates with a feat. That's fine, but the DM should understand what having a feat at first level implies.

Feats are intended for campaigns where super awesome characters do super awesome stuff. If the flavor is supposed to be grittier than that (not saying default options are gritty, just grittier than feats), this variant doesn't belong.

I think a friendly conversation is needed, including whether the use of feats in general fits in with the goals of the campaign (and those goals should be agreed upon by all).


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Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
It can be tough for some DMs to draw the line between what's broken and what's good. Personally I try to come up with compromises with my players (I think Heat Metal is overpowered as written for example) rather than just use the ban hammer.

So I'm not sure what to say because I can see it both ways. He certain can ban feats as he sees fit, whether he should or not is kind of a different issue. I don't think the two feats you mention are particularly overpowered. Lucky is only 3 times per day and not being surprised really isn't all that powerful. They certainly don't seem ban worthy. If he thinks he has a hard time winning initiative, I wonder what he would say to a 7th level barbarian (advantage on initiative) with the alert feat. She's annoying, but I married the player so I can't say too much. :)

High dex characters are going to win initiative on a pretty regular basis no matter what he does.

It is totally up to the DM what to allow and what to ban, but it can be tough to not seem adversarial. Maybe you could ask your DM if you could modify the alert feat - what specifically do they have a problem with? Could you get a +1 to dex and drop the +5 to initiative but retain the other benefits?

You can sit him down and try to have a conversation with him outside of game time, but I'm not sure it will make a difference. At a certain point you're going to have to decide whether his game style meshes with your play style.

Good luck!
 

Negflar2099

Explorer
I agree with what's already been said. DMs are free to decide what is and isn't allowed in their games but once they've opened a door (which she/he did twice, once by allowing you to play a variant human and once letting feats be part of the game) it's really bad form to try to close it again. I get the DMs frustration (I've seen lucky and alert both be, not abused necessarily, but lets say used very well) and it's frustrating, but the truth is that all feats pretty strong and thus variant human is pretty strong race choice.

And as a DM I like that a lot. I get sometimes frustrated when nobody is playing a human just because I like to think of my games as stories and movies and tv shows and no book, show or movie would have an entire ensemble cast without a single human (well if there is one I haven't seen it). It feels strange, but that's my hang up. In any case I like that there's an incentive for taking human. And I like that choosing between boosting an attribute or taking a feat is a hard choice. I like those sort of hard choices. If feats were weak (or not allowed) then that choice disappears.

Plus, as others have pointed out, being frustrated that you can't beat the players (however you phrase that) represents a very DM vs Player attitude, which is a problem. Look at fictional characters. Nothing can confuse or surprise Sherlock Holmes. That's his whole thing. If you want to play that character (by taking the Observant feat and the Alert feat maybe) who am I as a DM to say no? Plus why would that frustrate me that I can't surprise him? That's what makes him a great character. Trying to take that away because I can't think of a challenging encounter that doesn't involve surprise wouldn't speak well for my abilities as a DM. I have a player with the Observant feat right now. He has a 21 passive perception. I know that barring a crazy well hidden trap or stealthy character he's going to be able to figure out every puzzle, find every trap, and spot every enemy and that's fine. That means I just have to build encounters that play off of his Sherlock Holmes-ness by dropping hints and observations that I wouldn't otherwise drop and if I want to challenge him (or the other players) I have to have harder puzzles or more straightforward enemies (I'll be taking lots of inspiration from the BBC Sherlock show).

It took me a long time as a DM to realize that it's not me versus my players. It's all of us versus boredom. As long as everybody's having fun we're all winning.
 

GameOgre

Explorer
Sounds unfair and a crappy move.

That said, as long as the rest of the game is going ok I would just shrug it off and pick another feat. There are plenty of great feats left for him to ban later!

DMing is hard in strange and weird ways that can catch the best of us right in the gonads when we are not looking. It's easy to fall pray to any one of the hundred thousand ways to suck as a DM but in general we mean well.

I myself would have a talk with the DM and just chew the fat on the whole feat issue and what he is looking for and what he sees the role of the feat yo be ect... Just find out the skinny.

Then I would keep his thoughts in mind when picking my replacement feat.
 

Henry

Autoexreginated
I'd encourage you to have a friendly conversation with your DM, starting with "Hey, I need some clarity on what feats and other game elements you allow or don't allow. I really felt like I don't have as much control over my character when you nixed my Alert feat. Would you be willing to, in advance, let me know exactly what's legit for your game and what is not, so I am making character decisions fully informed?"

On a personal note, if a DM is worried about a feat making you un-surpriseable...well...that sort of implies a DM who is wedded to a certain type of "antagonistic DM vs. players" style. That style can be fun, but it's not for everyone.
Great advice, and I'll add that if it were me, after the second time he backtracked I would have just said "screw it" and taken the +2 ability score increase. (Or in your case, the boatloads of +1s all over your scores). Then, when you make it to 4th level, you'll have two scores raised by +2 overall for a nice boost. That is, of course, assuming he didn't start claiming that your higher ability score was unfair, also. :)

Feats aren't meant for everyone, and maybe this DM should just shift the whole game to remove them, and give everyone a chance to re-adjust.
 
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