5E Starting Feat - new players vs. veteran players

5ekyu

Adventurer
Respectfully, the post was about getting feats at/near character creation. When you talk about getting subclasses before feats that's not the case in what is being discussed.

I in no way was advocating or not advocating retraining subclass. But that's a choice that a brand new player will make (again, baring exceptions) after they have some practical experience with their character under their belt. They will uniformly be in a better place to understand the mechanics of what are being offered (which don't always match with the vision the fluff promises) specifically as it applies to a character they have been playing for the last two levels.
So, several things...

Most characters do not get feats at 1st, but get them at 4th. Si if your issue isn't newbie players choosing feats but limited to newbie players playing variant humans picking feats, thats a much narrower slice of cases - ones frankly not needing a broad rule, imo.

Second, the cleric, warlock, sorcerer make up a quarter of the classes- and they all choose their sub-class at 1st. So, if you look at risk of bad first levrl choices - those will likely outnumber the variant human feats.

Again, in my own games, I allow the fntire 1st thru 4th as " intto" and reworking up to 5th.

But, if all this noise about newbie humans somehow turns into a prop for allowing higher level guys to swap out feats/ASI when all is said and done, then it seems... unusual.
 

5ekyu

Adventurer
AL seems to disagree with you. They have formal rules for changing the character around.

At the very least, would you put it in as advice?
AL is a set of common rules to apply to a wide variety of games - not one set of rules for one table or one GM.

My tables rule is that you can rework until 5th. The character at 5th is set. Before then its all intro.

But... it applies to everything, not just feats for certain humans.

Singling out feats as the only low level bad choice worth noticing... meh... seems to be something more behind this.
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
But that explicit permission is only for your game. Not every DM will do this.
Yep. I don't think all GMs would want to allow it. That's the point - this isn't a thing that we expect all tables will want, as it is only called for occasionally - that's why I place it among the advice for GM's, not in the core game rules.

I don't understand why something that you point out several times as something reasonable DMs do is suddenly not a reasonable rule if put out there so that newbies, both on the player and DM side, have it in front of them as an option.
If it is a rule, it isn't an option, it is a rule. In general, players expect that they will be allowed to play by the rules as written. That means that if we put this in rules, we will start to see builds that depend upon it, and I don't want GMs to have to fight over that. This is an optional advice thing, not a rules thing.
 
Expecting all new players to have read hundreds of pages before ever playing is not only a huge barrier to entry, it's not at all founded in real life.
Players can learn D&D without reading everything if everything is explained to them enough times and in enough detail that it sinks in. Players can continue to play D&D knowing only enough to play their ONE PC. More players is good and we should all game on and be happy. BUT, if a player wants to learn it faster, without other players opinions and house rules getting in the way, and if they want to learn the WHOLE game and not just enough to get by, then YES, they need to accept that they have to read hundreds of pages of rules and learn stuff about it that they may never need or care about. YES, this is a barrier to entry, but that is NOT going to change unless you're going to play 3 booklet OD&D or Holmes Basic. NO, I am not saying, "Thou Shalt Not Play Without Thou Hast Memorized the PH and DMG and Passed Master Level Exams to Earn Thy Geek Accreditation."
I'm sorry, I have to dismiss this out of hand. "Some" definitely will. "All" or "most" is a different story.
If you want to learn not just enough to get by, not just enough to run one PC, not just what the guy in the chair next to you tells you the rules are (whether he's right or wrong - and some percentage will invariably be wrong [again - hundreds of pages...]) then you read the rules (ALL the rules, even if you don't memorize them) if you want to learn THE GAME, and not just enough to play a session or three.
In some circumstances, sure. Someone getting invited into a home group. But a big place lowering the barrier to entry to new players is AL. If a new player shows up at a FLGS wanting to try this new game, you're saying in every case the experienced players will take time from the slot to instead critique the character, change it mechanically without alienating a new player who just made a character and may resent "oh don't play a beastmaster and you should have picked a race that gives you a bonus to dex and while you may want a high CHR it leaves you with odd numbers so you should redo you scores like this".
No DM worth gaming with will require a player to read all the rules and pass a test. AL participants would not expect to hand-hold someone through everything, but if they're decent people who are interested in getting a new player up to speed, then I WOULD expect them to take time from the slot to lend some assistance without being overbearing. But if that player takes a solid interest and wants to make D&D their new hobby, DANG TOOTIN that player better be buying a PH and reading the whole thing and learning the game, and that means reading hundreds of pages and investing more time than just at a table during a session.
So it's better to only have the option to trash a character, rather than the options to trash it OR fix it.
Not what I'm saying at all. If you have a DM who wants to be obnoxious about FORBIDDING the change of a feat early in a campaign because... whatever dumbarse reasons they have, then you can still get around that by simply creating a new PC. Is a DM going to forbid you from creating a new PC? If so there are FAR bigger issues involved. But if a DM WILL let you create a new PC, there's no sensible justification to deny changing your mind (in a reasonable time frame) about a choice of feats because you haven't yet "mastered" the game.

I'm saying you don't need rules for the player as leverage to force the DM's hand in this. You need advice to the DM to Not Be A Richard. Apparently you need that in the DMG if a DM can't figure out how on their own.
And "Sir Brandar the II, exactly the same as Sir Brandar but I changed a few mechanical things" is now a best practice.
Not sure why you need to try so hard to misread and misrepresent a fairly simple point. No - it's not a "best practice." It's a demonstration that re-choosing a feat early in a campaign because you don't yet have the working knowledge as a player to NOT choose lame feats should not be a problem. If it is a problem it's because a DM forbids making that change. That DM is a DM not worth gaming with - IN MY OPINION. This would be how a newb gets around a DM being an obstinate crank and driving new people away from the game.

No DM worth gaming with really wants to be the one who says, "Ha! You were stupid enough to pick a lame feat! Eat it! It doesn't matter if you spend the rest of the campaign feeling like your PC sucks. The rest of us get to wallow in your disappointment and ineffectiveness and laugh at you. Stupid newbs..." If there is a change to be made it is to simply add relevant advice along these lines prominently in the DMG.
This is a quote from this thread, today, where a DM is saying exactly what you said no DM would ever say:
If that were put into a book as a rule, I'd ban it at my table instantly. So what if your character takes a less than optimal path? Decisions have consequences.
I'll stand by my assertion - and I didn't say "no DM ever", I said "no DM worth gaming with". Do you think a new player, heck ANY player, is better served by a DM who will allow a change of feats because it is discovered too late that the feat sucks, or a DM whose invariable rule says, "You chose it. You eat it."? I might take the latter IF we were talking about a table of all experienced players who should know better. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I thought we were talking about the circumstance of a player new enough to the game to NOT inherently know better, who HASN'T yet read all the rules and passed The Sacred Tests of Advanced Gamer Knowledge.

We don't need rules that say, "Players are allowed to respec characters at points X, Y, or Z." We need DM's who know when not to be slaves to the rules, or force players to be slaves to rules. Rules don't run games of D&D. DM's run games of D&D. Therefore, if there is to be changes to the rule books, it would be advice to DM's about reasonable thresholds for respec'ing PC's while still learning the game.
 

Blue

Orcus on a bad hair day
So, several things...

Most characters do not get feats at 1st, but get them at 4th.
And this entire threat is about starting feats, and how to compromise so it's not a barrier of entry for new players. PLEASE reread the original post. You keep asserting things that are simply not true in the context of what is being discussed, regardless if would be in the unmodified rules.
 

Blue

Orcus on a bad hair day
AL is a set of common rules to apply to a wide variety of games - not one set of rules for one table or one GM.

My tables rule is that you can rework until 5th. The character at 5th is set. Before then its all intro.

But... it applies to everything, not just feats for certain humans.

Singling out feats as the only low level bad choice worth noticing... meh... seems to be something more behind this.
I'm discussing feats, so I talk about feats. I'm not denying changes for anything else, I'm just not talking about them because my curent scope is feats. Don't try to draw conclusions that I am against other changes.
 

Blue

Orcus on a bad hair day
Yep. I don't think all GMs would want to allow it. That's the point - this isn't a thing that we expect all tables will want, as it is only called for occasionally - that's why I place it among the advice for GM's, not in the core game rules.
And that's MY point - that it's a barrier for new players to get locked into choices before they have familiarity with their character, so if we do want to give early feats, we shoudl give an out for if the player discovers the feat doesn't deliver mechanically to what it seems on paper.

If it is a rule, it isn't an option, it is a rule. In general, players expect that they will be allowed to play by the rules as written. That means that if we put this in rules, we will start to see builds that depend upon it, and I don't want GMs to have to fight over that. This is an optional advice thing, not a rules thing.
Now this is a good counter-argument - that if it's a rule it can (and will) be abused.

If I need to make one side actual rules, and one side DM control, I'd rather the actual rules are as inclusive as possible for new players and putting control of abusers in the hands of DMs. But yeah, players are only new for a while, and jerks often stay jerks forever. sigh

This might be a good enough reason to ditch retraining in the rules.
 

jgsugden

Explorer
PCs roll stats in my games using 2d6+4 repeated 6 times (you can reorder). If you elect not to reorder, you can elect to reroll one con die and I give you a feat. It won't be power feat, but it will be something that fits your PC. Well, if your stats suck, it might just be a power feat. This gets a few of those unusual feats in play in my games... and allows me to help new players with a bit of guided develpoment.
 

Blue

Orcus on a bad hair day
Players can learn D&D without reading everything if everything is explained to them enough times and in enough detail that it sinks in. Players can continue to play D&D knowing only enough to play their ONE PC. More players is good and we should all game on and be happy. BUT, if a player wants to learn it faster, without other players opinions and house rules getting in the way, and if they want to learn the WHOLE game and not just enough to get by, then YES, they need to accept that they have to read hundreds of pages of rules and learn stuff about it that they may never need or care about. YES, this is a barrier to entry, but that is NOT going to change unless you're going to play 3 booklet OD&D or Holmes Basic.
AH, I get it, you don't know what a barrier to entry is.

Okay, pay close attention. A barrier to entry is a barrier to ... getting in.

It is NOT a "once I'm in, I want to learn more".

So basically, everything you were saying up there has nothing to do with a barrier to entry. It has to do with system mastery once you're in the game.

Unless you are talking about everyone doing it before they started, in which case we already discussed that's not reality. But I figured I'd remind you. Because you meander over both sides on that line in what you wrote after it.

I am all for once people have played a session or three and deciding that they do really want to take this up as a hobby graduating from the free Basic Rules, buying the Player's Handbook and learning all about it. Never said I wasn't.

I was talking about that first hook, trying to get someone into the hobby deep enough that they want to take it up.

I've gone fishing several times. Each time I borrowed what I needed. I didn't invest in a rod and reel before I knew if I liked the pasttime. And it wasn't for me. But it could have been. And I wouldn't have known if there were significant barrier to entry put in front of trying it.
 

5ekyu

Adventurer
And this entire threat is about starting feats, and how to compromise so it's not a barrier of entry for new players. PLEASE reread the original post. You keep asserting things that are simply not true in the context of what is being discussed, regardless if would be in the unmodified rules.
Ok, so, again, the only "starting feat" in the game as us is for variant humans. You have not in your OP put forth any house rule that adds them beyond that.

It's starting to sound like we are to assume there is dome other rule thst gives other characters starting feats? But it does not seem to be as of yet identified.

Really?

Second, with all the going on about "starting feat" and the hullabaloo about these novice players the first item on your proposal is actually reaching way beyond that - as I have pointed out several times now tho you keep trying to draw attention to the starting feat noise.

"Proposal: Let's take the lessons from the casters. First, put in a retraining method for ASIs and feats, so people do not feel like they are locked in. Second, learn from the half-casters - give the feat at 2nd (character level) instead of 1st so there is some practical experience with how their character plays at the table. "

Finally, you have not established that starting feats are a significant enough "barrier to entry" to warrant such a wide ranging rule - especially since out of the choices made at first level, the single starting feat is relatively small. You mention spells.

But class, subclass, trade, sub-race and background combined with of vourse the six attributes thrmselves are far more "daunting" than simply a fesa list is.

So, again, I keep coming back to why? Why is the claim made for feats without support? Why us it so pre-determined to be a feat-specific rule to be discussed and not a simpler "offer reworks until level abc"?

Etc etc etc...

Then you dont need a feat specific barrier of entry rule.

I mean, you keep pushing back to only wanting to talk about dome mystery starting feat rule you have hidden away and also your choice yto because of thst offer a retraining option for both feats and ASI...

But why us it not valid to ask if the "barrier for entry problem" is not better to be addressed not by separate rules for each barrier but by z simpler more comprehensive one thst doesnt lead to later game minmaxing by rechosing ASI/feat choices after you get a ogre power gauntlet?

It's just curious.
 

Blue

Orcus on a bad hair day
Ok, so, again, the only "starting feat" in the game as us is for variant humans. You have not in your OP put forth any house rule that adds them beyond that.
Since you quote me saying it later in this same email, I really have no idea how to respond to you. You've very effectively proven yourself incorrect in the thing I kept calling you out on.

"Proposal: Let's take the lessons from the casters. First, put in a retraining method for ASIs and feats, so people do not feel like they are locked in. Second, learn from the half-casters - give the feat at 2nd (character level) instead of 1st so there is some practical experience with how their character plays at the table. "
Yes, that's my quote. Where I proposed that if the game was going to give out an early feat, 2nd level would be the time to do it, not 1st.

I mean, you keep pushing back to only wanting to talk about dome mystery starting feat rule you have hidden away and also your choice yto because of thst offer a retraining option for both feats and ASI...
It is so "hidden" that it is in both the title of the threat and specifically called out as what I was proposing in the OP.
 

5ekyu

Adventurer
Since you quote me saying it later in this same email, I really have no idea how to respond to you. You've very effectively proven yourself incorrect in the thing I kept calling you out on.



Yes, that's my quote. Where I proposed that if the game was going to give out an early feat, 2nd level would be the time to do it, not 1st.



It is so "hidden" that it is in both the title of the threat and specifically called out as what I was proposing in the OP.
So, all a rule needs to be a rule to be considered is to know when it is giving its bennies, at what level? We know a rule might give a feat st 2nd level, not first. The feat is given at 2nd level? So variant humans still get their original feat too, at first level - so they get one at 1st snd another st 2nd? Or does their fest get lost and they get one st 2nd like everyone else?

Or does that not matter cuz it's more about getting the ability to redo gears way later?



But again you chose yo edit and respond in a way yo avoid the question that keeps getting evaded..

"But why us it not valid to ask if the "barrier for entry problem" is not better to be addressed not by separate rules for each barrier but by z simpler more comprehensive one thst doesnt lead to later game minmaxing by rechosing ASI/feat choices after you get a ogre power gauntlet?"

Why not use a general rework rule for low levels instead of one specifically aimed at feats? I mean if we acknowledge there are a number of other "barrier choices" at those early levels, or first level, why do it piecemeal?

Or, also, if you are in fact considering similar rules for domains, origins, patrons etc wouldn't it be good to consider them together, trying for a good approach for all of them, not individual mechanics for each ?
 
Last edited:

Blue

Orcus on a bad hair day
So, all a rule needs to be a rule to be considered is to know when it is giving its bennies, at what level? We know a rule might give a feat st 2nd level, not first. The feat is given at 2nd level? So variant humans still get their original feat too, at first level - so they get one at 1st snd another st 2nd? Or does their fest get lost and they get one st 2nd like everyone else?

...

But again you chose yo edit and respond in a way yo avoid the question that keeps getting evaded..
Heh, all I was trying to tell you was that you were missing the thrust of the early feat. The first was even "Respectfully,..." just trying to get us on the same page, but it didn't take.

I was focused on trying to get us on the same page - the early feat - because you were trying to discuss only the support half of the context and missing the entire reason that part of the rule was there.

I had no idea how your views would change when discussing the retraining as a support for the early feat to make sure new payers don't get locked it since you had missed that part.

Or does that not matter cuz it's more about getting the ability to redo gears way later?
I did post my rationalization about why in the original post. There is no need for insinuations that are contrary to what has been posted.

The short of it was to lower to allow flexibility for new players so they wouldn't be penalized for the life of their character for any misunderstanding of the mechanical impact due to lack of familiarity.

I think the 6e thread is what triggered this, as many experienced player bemoan a lack of an early feat and I wanted to discuss how to do it while still considering new players to our game.

"But why us it not valid to ask if the "barrier for entry problem" is not better to be addressed not by separate rules for each barrier but by z simpler more comprehensive one thst doesnt lead to later game minmaxing by rechosing ASI/feat choices after you get a ogre power gauntlet?"

Why not use a general rework rule for low levels instead of one specifically aimed at feats? I mean if we acknowledge there are a number of other "barrier choices" at those early levels, or first level, why do it piecemeal?
That would be fine. I hadn't gone into details about rework and was looking for people's thoughts on the whole thing.

@dnd4vr earlier was talking about doing the same thing - allowing just early changes and then locking in, and that met the goals of what I was looking for.

Or, also, if you are in fact considering similar rules for domains, origins, patrons etc wouldn't it be good to consider them together, trying for a good approach for all of them, not individual mechanics for each ?
I actually had not been considering it, but not in a "I don't want it way" but more in a "my scope is an early feat". Retraining isn't the goal of this thread, retraining is merely support for the early feat without it becoming a system mastery burden to new players.

If someone wants to make a thread and talk about general retraining options I'd be glad to contribute and to take lessons learned from there to here.
 

5ekyu

Adventurer
Heh, all I was trying to tell you was that you were missing the thrust of the early feat. The first was even "Respectfully,..." just trying to get us on the same page, but it didn't take.

I was focused on trying to get us on the same page - the early feat - because you were trying to discuss only the support half of the context and missing the entire reason that part of the rule was there.

I had no idea how your views would change when discussing the retraining as a support for the early feat to make sure new payers don't get locked it since you had missed that part.



I did post my rationalization about why in the original post. There is no need for insinuations that are contrary to what has been posted.

The short of it was to lower to allow flexibility for new players so they wouldn't be penalized for the life of their character for any misunderstanding of the mechanical impact due to lack of familiarity.

I think the 6e thread is what triggered this, as many experienced player bemoan a lack of an early feat and I wanted to discuss how to do it while still considering new players to our game.



That would be fine. I hadn't gone into details about rework and was looking for people's thoughts on the whole thing.

@dnd4vr earlier was talking about doing the same thing - allowing just early changes and then locking in, and that met the goals of what I was looking for.



I actually had not been considering it, but not in a "I don't want it way" but more in a "my scope is an early feat". Retraining isn't the goal of this thread, retraining is merely support for the early feat without it becoming a system mastery burden to new players.

If someone wants to make a thread and talk about general retraining options I'd be glad to contribute and to take lessons learned from there to here.
Well, see, it's less important for me what's on the wrapper as to what's inside.

It's about the early feat... that's fine and dandy but when the first rule is feats and ASI get to be retrained ( general, not restricted to one feat or even to feats in general but ASI as well) that is the "milky way" inside even if the wrapper says "Snickers".

If you goal is actually about the barrier of entry for new players*and you somehow see your house rule for an extra early feat as somehow being a bridge to far even given the other major character long choices being made at the same time, then the *much broader in scope general ASI/feat retrain you bring in as item #1 is a rule that has impact way beyond that claimed scope.

Generally speaking, a rule which is supposed to be about "barrier of entry for new players thats starting with features thst play into character tweaks and optimizations much much later is a pretty good example of going way out of the advertised scope.

So, yeah, as I have said, and others have also passed along, a better way to deal with the problem within the scope would be to allow early levrl reworks - whether its @dnd4vr levels 2-3, cost so etc or my "changes allowed until 5th or the others - these focus it in on the scope you keep wanting to say it's about - those early decisions - instead of what you posted - something with impacts way beyond that.

Or let me ask another way...

How does a rule allowing a 9th level character deciding to respond his 8th level ASI from +2 strength to say Polearm Master after the party finds gauntlets if Ogre power serve the goal of easing the barrier for entry goal, stay closer to the intent of "my scope is an early feat" as opposed to say a simpler more straight-up "rework until level x" rule?

What is the key bit about adding a rule to allow that which shows "yep, this is dead on about early feats"?

So, you can point to the wrapper where it says "new and improved for more early feats snickery goodness" but as long as your number one rule goes way way way outside of that scope, you are likely gonna get a lot of folks wondering why the more basic "early levels redo" is not considered and all those other cases are out of scope.

To me, in my experience, and frankly already seen in play with results for years... the "redo until 5th" is what o have used in multiple campaigns specifically to address the "new players getting actual play under their belt before locked down" issue.

I went with 1-4 because I did not figure enough play eith rnough features would occur by 2nd or 3rd. If I set it as " locked at 3rd" then dome folks would not have even seen the sub-class in play at all. But if you allow the play until level 5th yo be your intro and learning curve, all those key "barrier choices" including ASI/feat have had a chance to be made and see play.

However, let me tell you where that fails...

In my game, it seemed to me that by 5th level it was obvious that several of the PCs had made "conflicting choices" in their chsracters which were already showing as sort of "one will retire the other".

But, even though levels 1-4 were "intro" and it was stated level by level "reworks are fine at this level-up" and those conflicts were even discussed - the players were already attached to what had gone before so they were averse to making those changes.

So,really, the character-player combos which need the rework options turned out to be the ones less likely to use it.

Those who value the optimal choices tend to not get scared away by a coiple dozen feats, dive right in etc.

Those who dont value that, may choose off the cuff, get s fest that mechanically fdoesnt deliver but then are also the ones more likely to not want to retro their previous choices because that goes against where their focus lies.

....

Which still drives me back to noticing that here, the number one rule of this this proposal, really offers more of what they value to the one who knows what they are doing by means of higher level redo than its likely to do for the wrapper's barrier of entry scope folks.


...

Perhaps a better focus might be on how to make sure the choices matter more in play, whether they are optimal or not, so that you font end up running a game where players feel bad about their choices. .
,
 
Last edited:

Undrave

Adventurer
You could always offer an ASI instead of a Feat as an option for new players? I mean, the math might get a bit wonky early on but should balance out overall, if feats are indeed worth ASIs. Plus, better stat could also act as a crutch to new players who are learning the system.

Whats the w-word?
Maybe it's Warlord?
 
I give up. Again. I've been at this point before because I've been playing every version of D&D except 4E for 40 years. Conversing about it anymore these days is like trying to speak an alien language being invented by Forge hipsters on the fly and I'm tired of trying to sort out just what kind of game it is people think they're playing. I'll just go back to my stone knives and bearskins.
 

5ekyu

Adventurer
I give up. Again. I've been at this point before because I've been playing every version of D&D except 4E for 40 years. Conversing about it anymore these days is like trying to speak an alien language being invented by Forge hipsters on the fly and I'm tired of trying to sort out just what kind of game it is people think they're playing. I'll just go back to my stone knives and bearskins.
Well, regardless of how long we have been playing - you and I seem contemporaries - I would say that a possible stumbling block in communication would be "what kind of game it is people think they're playing."

Cuz, jargon or Fotgd or not, whether one has played DnD or rider varieties, from my ecperience ftom AD&D on each table defined the kind of game they were playing at the table during play - in fact I would say that was even more true in AD&D thsn 3,5 or even 5e, since there was a lot less rule structure at all for many situations.

It's not what we "think" we are playing, never has been, but what we choose to do with what we are playing.
 

clearstream

Explorer
Designers can test a rule, catch problematic cases, look at how the rule plays out over many levels and campaign types, and explore ways to make the rule more satisfying or exciting. I welcome rules into my game provided they are expertly crafted.

Just as much as a DM can say "sure, change your feat choice" they can say "we're not using that rule". In 3e edition I added a rule for fighters which was simply a "Retraining" class feature that they received every several levels. The rule finessed the mechanics of removing a feat and gaining a different one in ways that a DM hand-waving might not think of - for instance dealing with prerequisites (which were a thing in 3e) and identifying the new feat as a "fighter bonus feat".

Rules can be inspiring for a DM, suggesting things one might not have thought of. For instance, I wouldn't have thought of requiring the character stop using the feat for a level @dnd4vr - and were that crafted as a core rule it would be tested and the value in it, and any issues, worked out.
 

Advertisement

Top