Unearthed Arcana UA feats, are they trying to allow people to not have to multiclass to get class abilities?

Azzy

KMF DM
I like these style of feats, personally. It gives you a taste of another class without the commitment of multicassing—which I view as a Good Thing™.

Though multiclassing has been an available option in all the campaigns my group has played since 5e was released, nobody has chosen to do so. A few people have contemplated it, but nothing ever came of it. 🤷‍♀️

In retrospect, I would have much preferred if 5e had gone with AD&D-style multiclassing instead of the 3e-style but that ship has sailed.
 

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Azzy

KMF DM
I think the Barbarian, Monk and Paladin are really the ones without any feat representation. Magic Initiate can shoulder a lot of MC flavor (same with Ritual Caster).

Unarmored Defence Feat
There's always the option to combine Monk and Barbarian in an unarmored defense feat that lets you do the CON or WIS to AC (based on what stat you bump?)

A feat that gives Unarmored defense, and +5 speed would work as both a Monk and Barbarian feat, tbh.

+1 dex, Str, or con?

I was thinking it would be +1 CON or +1 WIS and let you pick which one to add to your unarmored AC. Of course, WIS would be less popular...

I do like the idea of a feat that gives you either 1 CON or +1 WIS, gives you unarmored defence (using the ability score you chose), and +5 ft. movement. I don't know, but the last may make it too good.

Monk Feat
But for Monk I could see you getting 2 ki points and the ability to use Dash, Disengage or Dodge as a bonus action by spending them. It would, in turn, give more Ki to the Monk. Maybe throw in an extra 5 feet of movement?

The Monk one [...] addtion to the WIS to AC and speed gives you +2 dmg to your unarmed attacks? If you're not a monk this gives you a stable 3 dmg when punching, but as a Monk it's a nice boost?

What if it gave you an unarmed damage die, and upgrades you unarmed damage die or natural weapon damage die if you already have one?

I guess... but it'd be easier if there was an established hierarchy, otherwise you'll have to explain what it means to 'go up 1 dice size' with probably listing all the upgrade possible like...

"Your unarmed strikes not inflict d4 damage, or d6 if it already inflicts d4, d8 if it already inflicts d6," and so forth and so on until d12 instead of d10.

Personally, I'd go witha feat that gives you +1 Wis, 1d6 unarmed strike damage, +2 ki points that allow you to increase your unarmed strike damage by one die size (as described above) and the choice of one of the following ki features: Flurry of Blows, Patient Defence, or Step of the Wind.

Barbarian Feat
For Barbarian you could even include 'durable' as a Barb featsince it boosts HP :p But I think something that improves Crits is probably the best bet, as you say. Or maybe a way to generate Temp HP on yourself? It would sorta simulate the damage reduction of Rage and stack with the Barbarian themselves to make them more solid?

Maybe a feat that gives you +1 Str, gives a rage once or twice per day with all the requirements and bonuses of a regular rage. Barbarians would benefit from extra rages and +1 Str.

Paladin Feat
Paladin, I think a generic Channel Divinity would be good. Gives you an extra use that works for both Paladin and Cleric, and the option to spend your Channel Divinity on... I dunno, a 1 turn buff to your AC or something like that? Something that evokes the heavy plate armor of a paladin?

While I think that a feat that gives you Channel Divinity would be awesome, I think that a pally feat should instead give you a +1 Cha and the choice of either the searing smite or wrathful smite spell (1/day), and allow you to perform a Divine Smite ( for +2d8 damage) instead of casting the spell.

Channel Divinity Feat
I think that the biggest obsacle to creating such a feat is that the only example of Channel Divinity that isn't linked to a subclass is Turn Undead.
 


Azzy

KMF DM
I love 2E -- first edition I played -- but multiclassing there was horrendously broken.

It wasn't designed well as it just threw things on top of each other. However, if it was designed from the ground up to just take certain features of each class or such them I'm sure that it could be done in a way that didn't break things.
 


Weiley31

Legend
Do you remove the +1 ASI a lot of feat give? Otherwise, a feat and ASI +1 seems a bit strong.
Technically, doing it that way is basically taking the +2 ASI as per normal in those cases, but ya also gaining a feat too!

Hmmm...I like how that option sounds alot. Unless you rolled you stats super well, don't see how much issues it would cause.

Heck, I'm all for making all the feats in 5E be half feats technically.
 
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BlivetWidget

Explorer
A little bit tangential to the direction this thread went off in, but regarding some of the comments at the top of the thread, I think one of the angles to consider is the user accessibility and game design sides. If we're discussing significant rules changes, I'm assuming a theoretical 6E or 5.5E because you probably can't maintain backwards compatibility with this kind of fundamental change.

Whatever it ends up being, we know that one of the ideas on the table is removing bonus actions. It's not that bonus actions are particularly bad in theory, most of them are fine, but they have caused the game designers no end of headache and have caused a lot of rules confusion among players (just have a look through Crawford's twitter feed to see the number of questions about bonus actions, and the mental gymnastics he goes through to explain what actions are allowed and in what order - and yes, sometimes the answers change with time).

Similarly, we know from various rounds of Unearthed Arcana that one of the major hurdles they face in designing new classes/subclasses is pinning down the multiclass behavior. (There are also no end of questions online about multiclassing - particularly regarding spells and spell slots). A significant issue is that in 5E, there is explicitly no attempt to balance classes at any given level (rather, the stated goal is to balance them over the array of levels). Classes have totally different growth rates, even within the same class (for example, various Wizards subclasses: the Evocation wizard gets their best ability at level 2, the Transmutation wizard gets their worst ability at level 2).

So, whether or not anyone likes multiclassing, we know that in its current iteration, multiclassing causes the game designers problems and we know that it is a source of confusion for players. In this light, and given the explicit goal of "appealing to the masses" it would not particularly surprise me if the game designers left it out of the next iteration. To me, feats seem like a decent alternative worth testing out because they are much simpler to tack on to a character than requiring detailed knowledge of multiple classes on top of special rules on how to combine them (in my experience, a lot of people don't fully understand their own class even on a single class build).
 

Undrave

Hero
Whatever it ends up being, we know that one of the ideas on the table is removing bonus actions. It's not that bonus actions are particularly bad in theory, most of them are fine, but they have caused the game designers no end of headache and have caused a lot of rules confusion among players (just have a look through Crawford's twitter feed to see the number of questions about bonus actions, and the mental gymnastics he goes through to explain what actions are allowed and in what order - and yes, sometimes the answers change with time).

They probably shouldn't have called it 'Bonus Action' and just called it a Minor Actor or Swift Action or whatever. It's way easier to explain 'you have a move, a standard and a minor action every turn' than 'some features LET you take a bonus action, but you can only take 1 bonus action per turn'. It feels needlessly wordy of a system. Otherwise I don't find it particularly difficult to grasp...

Similarly, we know from various rounds of Unearthed Arcana that one of the major hurdles they face in designing new classes/subclasses is pinning down the multiclass behavior. (There are also no end of questions online about multiclassing - particularly regarding spells and spell slots). A significant issue is that in 5E, there is explicitly no attempt to balance classes at any given level (rather, the stated goal is to balance them over the array of levels). Classes have totally different growth rates, even within the same class (for example, various Wizards subclasses: the Evocation wizard gets their best ability at level 2, the Transmutation wizard gets their worst ability at level 2).

It doesn't help that for some players (especially Wizard players :p) the word 'Balance' is almost a swear word... A lot of early 5e was clearly designed with a FEAR of players catching even a single WHIFF of 4e designs in the game. It's why the Fighter gets more ASI instead of class features, so they can go "SEE! It's like 3.X! The Fighter gets more attacks and more feats! That's what a Fighter is right?". I feel like they've grown more confident in 5e due to its success, but now they're stuck with those defences against knee-jerk 4e hate reactions they put in place.

So, whether or not anyone likes multiclassing, we know that in its current iteration, multiclassing causes the game designers problems and we know that it is a source of confusion for players. In this light, and given the explicit goal of "appealing to the masses" it would not particularly surprise me if the game designers left it out of the next iteration. To me, feats seem like a decent alternative worth testing out because they are much simpler to tack on to a character than requiring detailed knowledge of multiple classes on top of special rules on how to combine them (in my experience, a lot of people don't fully understand their own class even on a single class build).

I could see traditional multi classing being relegated to an 'expert' book and the base game only having MC feats like they did in 4e. The 4e Paladin MC feat was great, letting anyone (in this case my Cleric) do a Divine Challenge once per encounter. Great way to off-tank!
 

BlivetWidget

Explorer
They probably shouldn't have called it 'Bonus Action' and just called it a Minor Actor or Swift Action or whatever. It's way easier to explain 'you have a move, a standard and a minor action every turn' than 'some features LET you take a bonus action, but you can only take 1 bonus action per turn'. It feels needlessly wordy of a system. Otherwise I don't find it particularly difficult to grasp...

Most of the time, I agree that bonus actions are fine, but a quick internet search will reveal a plethora of questions about them. I would say for myself, it definitely took a few furrowed brows and page flips to understand the intended interplay between bonus action spells, action spells, and reaction spells (there also, needing to make a very careful distinction between round and turn). Things could definitely have been worded more clearly.

There were a lot of things I liked about 4e class design, FWIW. In particular, the division of abilities into at-will, encounter, daily, etc. So I agree, I don't think 4e ideas should simply be rejected out of hand as they have been.

But anyway, I'm not saying I think bonus actions need to be removed, I was just saying we've seen it mentioned as a problem area by the developers (or Mearls, at least). By way of analogy, I'm speculating that they might be on a path towards simplification on the next iteration.
 

Undrave

Hero
But anyway, I'm not saying I think bonus actions need to be removed, I was just saying we've seen it mentioned as a problem area by the developers (or Mearls, at least). By way of analogy, I'm speculating that they might be on a path towards simplification on the next iteration.

Augh... I hope they don't remove them. Clearly the problem is in the explanation, not the mechanic itself. They've already simplified the action economy by taking away most reactions (which, yes, did slow down the game) but cutting us down to one action a turn with cut off a lot of potential options and gameplay depth.

There's such a thing as too simple... at least when it come to tastes.
 

EscherEnigma

Explorer
Response before reading all posts in thread:
Yeah, it feels like they're trying to bring back 4e-style multi-class feats. Not quite there yet (especially with respect to deeper multi-classing), but it's clearly that sort of mind-set: get a few abilities from another class without sacrificing progression in your main class.

As for how I feel about it... meh. Multi-classing, for me, has always been about trying to re-capture that feel from 2e of "I'm not top-tier in any class, but I'm second best in two", and that feeling has been pretty elusive since then. These feats (and the "multi-class sub-classes", and multi-classing rules in 5e) both miss it for me.

So while I'm not against them (at least in theory, I haven't done a thorough examination to rule-out specific ones) they don't excite me either.
 

BlivetWidget

Explorer
Augh... I hope they don't remove them. Clearly the problem is in the explanation, not the mechanic itself. They've already simplified the action economy by taking away most reactions (which, yes, did slow down the game) but cutting us down to one action a turn with cut off a lot of potential options and gameplay depth.

There's such a thing as too simple... at least when it come to tastes.

I wouldn't fret too much, I think the proposed method of removing them would only remove them as a general rule. So, rather than having a general rule that "some characters get to make use of bonus actions at certain stages in their development and if they do that then they can't do this other thing yadda yadda" the ability would get rolled into specific instances.

So, for example, instead of a spell having a casting time of bonus action, the spell would have a casting time of 1 action but would say something like, "when you cast this spell, you can also cast a cantrip on the same turn." I feel like that's pretty clean.
 

EscherEnigma

Explorer
Re: Thread conversation
My own table uses feats and allows multi-classing, but while we consistently see feats in all our campaigns, the only time we saw multi-classing the player ended up just re-working the character after a few levels because, mechanically, it just wasn't working out. That said, we're mostly older players who have been playing since at least 3.X (and some going back to AD&D), so the idea isn't new, and the 5e mechanics are simple enough. I could see how a group who was first exposed to 5e might not touch them at all.

That said, yeah, the game design of 5e sure appears to have included multi-classing as a technical option, but discouraging it through class design, and trying to re-capture (poorly, in my opinion) the "feel" of multi-classing through sub-classes. It's conspicuous that in the PHB the "multi-class sub-classes" are part of the core rules, but multi-classing itself is listed as an optional rule.
 

Li Shenron

Legend
They probably shouldn't have called it 'Bonus Action' and just called it a Minor Actor or Swift Action or whatever. It's way easier to explain 'you have a move, a standard and a minor action every turn' than 'some features LET you take a bonus action, but you can only take 1 bonus action per turn'. It feels needlessly wordy of a system. Otherwise I don't find it particularly difficult to grasp...

It is certainly NOT difficult. When we started out our family game our youngest was 6 and had zeroes problem understanding bonus actions.

However, establishing an explicit action economy of action+move+bonus (or whatever it is called) has a problem: that it encourages players to constantly look for ways to use all their actions budget, or feel they aren't effective / playing right when they don't. It slows the game down and can be depressing for many players.

The good thing of 5e is that most bonus actions are for scarce resources: a few spells, some maneuvers, special abilities... So most players are in fact not encouraged to think in terms of "I haven't used my bonus action yet this turn, what should I do?" but rather "I want to use this now, I also get an attack, good", they feel happy and move on.

The main exceptions are Monks and 2WFers (and to a much lesser extent Rogues) who really are using a bonus action almost every round because they are using it for an unlimited resource (the additional unarmed or off-hand attack).

So if anything, the game does not really need to get rid of bonus actions, but only change martial arts and 2WFing so that they don't use bonus actions. Make them be their own specific Actions, with indication on how they interact with Extra Attacks.
 
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Micah Sweet

Legend
A little bit tangential to the direction this thread went off in, but regarding some of the comments at the top of the thread, I think one of the angles to consider is the user accessibility and game design sides. If we're discussing significant rules changes, I'm assuming a theoretical 6E or 5.5E because you probably can't maintain backwards compatibility with this kind of fundamental change.

Whatever it ends up being, we know that one of the ideas on the table is removing bonus actions. It's not that bonus actions are particularly bad in theory, most of them are fine, but they have caused the game designers no end of headache and have caused a lot of rules confusion among players (just have a look through Crawford's twitter feed to see the number of questions about bonus actions, and the mental gymnastics he goes through to explain what actions are allowed and in what order - and yes, sometimes the answers change with time).

Similarly, we know from various rounds of Unearthed Arcana that one of the major hurdles they face in designing new classes/subclasses is pinning down the multiclass behavior. (There are also no end of questions online about multiclassing - particularly regarding spells and spell slots). A significant issue is that in 5E, there is explicitly no attempt to balance classes at any given level (rather, the stated goal is to balance them over the array of levels). Classes have totally different growth rates, even within the same class (for example, various Wizards subclasses: the Evocation wizard gets their best ability at level 2, the Transmutation wizard gets their worst ability at level 2).

So, whether or not anyone likes multiclassing, we know that in its current iteration, multiclassing causes the game designers problems and we know that it is a source of confusion for players. In this light, and given the explicit goal of "appealing to the masses" it would not particularly surprise me if the game designers left it out of the next iteration. To me, feats seem like a decent alternative worth testing out because they are much simpler to tack on to a character than requiring detailed knowledge of multiple classes on top of special rules on how to combine them (in my experience, a lot of people don't fully understand their own class even on a single class build).
That's a good point. However, if we were to replace multiclassing with feats we would need greater access to them, and probably a stronger balance pass. Alternately, you could separate access to combat and noncombat feats.
 

BlivetWidget

Explorer
Alternately, you could separate access to combat and noncombat feats.

I like this idea. Honestly I would prefer to have subclasses entirely handled with class-specific feats, instead of all this subclass proliferation. It's not what you were trying to say, but that's one way it could be done.

General feats separated into combat and non-combat. Class feats separated into combat and non-combat (though I suspect most of these would be combat).

Every 3 levels you take a non-combat feat. Every 4 levels you take a combat feat. Something like that.
 


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