log in or register to remove this ad

 

5E Unarmored Defense as a Feat?


log in or register to remove this ad

Dragongrief

Explorer
It should be fine.

Mostly I see it being used as an option for characters that would otherwise have light armor, and would give them one or two AC higher than their non-magical options.

If you roll for attributes, its power could vary...
 



I'm going to make my usual argument that if it works at your table, go for it. Maybe you have a table without traditional unarmored classes - no barbarians, no monks, etc. Lets say a mage takes it - it doesn't stack with Mage Armor. As they've said before, all the various armor situations are kind of binary, yes-no ways to calculate. The cost of a feat slot means they won't be able to use that slot for a feat or an ASI, and since you only have a certain amount of them ever for your character, it's an interesting trade.

I do think an issue might be if this is something you were going to write up for a setting or additional material to be put into other's games. Personally, making someone take a feat to get part of another class' level 1 abilities seems alright. Even second edition had ways to build your class where you got to piecemeal a class together; I think even Greyhawk had it in their Adventures book when they talked about levelling up from zero- to first-level and keeping some learned abilities at an XP cost.

YMMV
 

TwoSix

Unserious gamer
Supporter
For a whole feat, certainly. I might even argue for it being a half-feat.
 

As written, monks could use that to apply three stats to AC. Monks are MAD, so it's unlikely to be a large bonus, but it could be. I heard barbarians can apply Con to AC, but I've not seen one in play, so I'm not sure.

4e had this same feat, but forgot to make it a bonus feat for monks and avengers (who essentially had this as a class ability), so you could double dip that way.

In general I don't like the idea, because the numerical bonus is too "soft". Max +5, minimum ??? I think monks should drop the Wisdom bonus to AC and just start with a higher bonus instead.
 


jmartkdr2

Adventurer
I would take it for every Hexblade I played, but even for that I doubt it'll be seen as a a must-have option.

So yeah, that's a well-balanced feat.

EDIT: upon further thought, I'm not sure I'd allow Dex + Str. That's both very good for barbarians and makes belts of giant strength way more powerful than they already are.
 

jmartkdr2

Adventurer
As written, monks could use that to apply three stats to AC. Monks are MAD, so it's unlikely to be a large bonus, but it could be. I heard barbarians can apply Con to AC, but I've not seen one in play, so I'm not sure.

4e had this same feat, but forgot to make it a bonus feat for monks and avengers (who essentially had this as a class ability), so you could double dip that way.

In general I don't like the idea, because the numerical bonus is too "soft". Max +5, minimum ??? I think monks should drop the Wisdom bonus to AC and just start with a higher bonus instead.
This feat, phrased as is, wouldn't stack with either a monk's or a barbarian's Unarmored Defense. It would give you the option of using this formula instead of the class feature's formula.

It would be interesting for a Strength-based monk since it would let them swap out str of wis to AC. It would be a very strong choice for a barbarian, although I'm not sure it's better than GWM overall.
 

Remathilis

Legend
Compare to lightly armored and the benefit becomes obvious.

Light armor gives a 12 AC (studded leather) base.

Assuming a standard array, no PC is going to have less than two plus 2s (15, 14) and realistically, it's possible to have to plus 3's with racial adjustment.

Assuming you can pick your stat and it will always be your primary stat, most PCs who would opt for this build would have a 15 AC (+3 primary, +2 secondary). That's better than Iight armor and on par with most mediums (esp after your first stat bump).

Effectivley, light armor would be only useful for levels 1-3 unless magical armor is found. Medium armor would stop being viable after level 8. Most builds would be either no armor dex builds or heavy armor (dex dumpstat).

Personally, I'd rather more subclasses add it with strict combos on it's use like the barbarian did. As a feat, it's too good in the midgame and weakens already weak armors to nothingness.
 

the Jester

Legend
I think it steps on the toes of barbarians and monks way too much for me to allow it. It's not about the feat's power- although I do think AC bonuses are a pretty big deal in 5e- so much as not making one of the main class abilities of two classes feel less special.
 

Stormonu

Legend
I don't think I'd let it use ANY ability score, that is to me a bit too liberal (I have a hard time envisioning how Cha would work - "Not the Face!" ? ), but overall I think it's a good feat.

I'd probably limit it to Int, Wis or possibly Con myself.
 

Stormonu

Legend
Moreover, I'd like to see Proficiency somehow add into AC - make AC calculation 8 + proficiency mod + dexterity mod for regular AC and Unarmored Defenses. The various armors would have to be reconfigured, but I think if you simply drop them by 2 points and allow adding Proficiency modifier, that'd work. Spell ACs (such as Mage Armor, Barkskin) would likewise have to be reconfigured - probably granting AC of 8 + proficiency modifier + 3 + spell level (or some otherwise fixed bonus).
 

MatthewJHanson

Registered Ninja
Publisher
I think it's probably fine. The only real issue I can think of is that it let's bladesingers add their Int twice to AC (since bladesong gives a bonus).
 

Personally, Lightly Armored is such a bad feat it physically pains me when someone takes it. I would much rather see:
Moderately Armored: +1 Str or Dex. Light and Medium Armor proficiency.
Heavily Armored: +1 Str. Shield and Heavy Armor proficiency.

As for the OP's feat, it's perfectly fine. The only issue would be Bladesingers and niche protection, like a Barbarian or Monk who might be upset. Mostly just the Monk though, because the Barbarian can pick between several options already.
 

Asisreo

Archdevil's Advocate
So, say this feat existed, is it too good?

Unarmored Defense
Choose an ability other than Dexterity. When not wearing armor and not using a shield, your AC is equal to 10 + Dexterity modifier + the chosen ability modifier.
I think this might be very valuable for midlevel dex-fighters and rogues who are probably focusing on 2 AS', dex and con.

Barb's unarmored defense is pretty strong since it incentivizes boosting HP and AC using the same ASI score, even if their dex is tertiary.
 

Dausuul

Legend
I like this feat. It's solid without being brokenly powerful. As for "niche protection"--seriously? If having a good AC without armor steps on a class's toes, that class needs tougher toes.

(Yes, it is more powerful than Lightly Armored. Every feat should be more powerful than Lightly Armored, including Lightly Armored. LA is a crap feat.)
 

Dausuul

Legend
I think this might be very valuable for midlevel dex-fighters and rogues who are probably focusing on 2 AS', dex and con.
Unless you roll for stats and get quite good rolls, your Con isn't going to be higher than 16 until very late in your career, so you're investing an entire feat to get +1 AC.

Barb's unarmored defense is pretty strong since it incentivizes boosting HP and AC using the same ASI score, even if their dex is tertiary.
Again, it seems a lot better than it is, unless you roll stats and do very well. The opportunity cost of investing heavily in not one but two non-primary stats is enormous. You are almost always better off to just strap on a breastplate.
 

Asisreo

Archdevil's Advocate
Unless you roll for stats and get quite good rolls, your Con isn't going to be higher than 16 until very late in your career, so you're investing an entire feat to get +1 AC.


Again, it seems a lot better than it is, unless you roll stats and do very well. The opportunity cost of investing heavily in not one but two non-primary stats is enormous. You are almost always better off to just strap on a breastplate.
What I'm saying is that dex and con are the primary stats for those builds. It's strong but not overpowered on a barbarian because dex is a tertiary stat but with fighters and rogues who have extra ASI's to spend anyways, it's quite good with dex and con being their 2 best ability scores to upgrade anyways. Playing these builds means you were going to try maxing dex and con early anyways.

At roughly level 10, a dex fighter would have 20 AC and about 114 HP without a fighting style which is ahead of the curve defensively. It isn't hard to get 20 con by level 8 as a fighter, and I'm excluding variant humans which can afford a feat for free.

I didn't say it was too powerful or anything, though. It's valuable for those 2 classes, like how sharpshooter is powerful for bow-users.
 

COMING SOON: 5 Plug-In Settlements for your 5E Game

Advertisement2

Advertisement4

Top