Unearthed Arcana Unearthed Arcana: Feats for Races

I find this line mystifying: "These feats don’t assume that multiclassing is used in a campaign."

What are they trying to say here? Do these feats become unbalanced when combined with multiclassing?

Also, some of the feats significantly alter a character's body. Barbed Hide, for example, endows a Tiefling with a barbed hide. That's not the sort of thing that you can acquire through training. Which gives rise to the question, "Why couldn't the Tiefling do this at level 1?" It's not like Pole Arm Master, where you can explain the acquisition of the new ability through practice and training. Either you were born with a barbed hide or you weren't.

Same with Dragon Wings: "You sprout draconic wings." I'm not well-versed in Dragonborn lore, but is that really something that just... happens during their adult life?
 

Mistwell

Crusty Old Meatwad (he/him)
It's cartoonish no matter how you try to dress it up.

Why is the scuff of a shoe distracting attention ever so slightly that the foe glances in the split second they were going to raise their sword to defend "cartoonish"? Do professional basketball players like DeAndre Jordan think it's cartoonish when they get distracted slightly at the last second when shooting a free throw? Do professional golfers think it's cartoonish when a distraction causes their swing to go wide?

And why does potentially (but not necessarily) altering a die roll before the results are announced so bothersome to you in this instance but not the many others in the game like inspiration and bardic inspiration (the later of which also can use a reaction I seem to recall)?
 
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Colder

Explorer
Why is the scuff of a shoe distracting attention ever so slightly that the foe glances in the split second they were going to raise their sword to defend "cartoonish"?

Because it is? The fact this takes enough effort to be considered a reaction is slapstick. It's cutesy. It's taking halflings a step closer to Kender. Luck doesn't come from you (unless you're magic), it happens *to* you, which is why your real life examples don't really apply to the metaphor for Bountiful Luck. There's no "halfling" in those scenarios.

And why does potentially (but not necessarily) altering a die roll before the results are announced so bothersome to you in this instance but not the many others in the game like inspiration and bardic inspiration?

Because the mechanic doesn't match the metaphor. The mechanic is fine, but it doesn't match the image they're trying to provoke.

Let's look at Portent as another example. You'll be surprised to hear that Portent is one of my favorite features in the game. This is because of the way the mechanic and the metaphor interact. The character's involvement with the feature ends after the player makes the two Portent rolls. When the player decides to use one of the Portent die, the character isn't doing anything at all, which you can tell because there aren't any limits on when a roll can be replaced other than you need to be able to see it happen, nor is there any use of action economy. The character merely passively watches the event unfold as they foretold earlier that day when they caught a glimpse of their own future. It's exceptionally well-written in that regard.

Compare to wild magic sorcerer's Bend Luck feature, in which you use a reaction to subtly alter a roll, with the metaphor of actively manipulating luck. This is also a really good feature from a mechanic-matching-metaphor perspective.

Bountiful Luck is mechanically similar to Bend Luck and all other current uses of reactions. You might be able to ignore that, but it carries weight. Using a reaction heavily suggests not only that some sort of action is required from the Halfling, but that there is also something that the Halfling is reacting to.

That's where my problem with the feature is. It wants to be like Portent or Lucky, something passive and effortless, but it plays like Cutting Words or Bend Luck, which require the character to actively respond to an event. Like I said earlier, luck doesn't come from you (unless you're magic), it happens to you. That's the beginning and ending of my argument.
 
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OB1

Jedi Master
Because the mechanic doesn't match the metaphor. The mechanic is fine, but it doesn't match the image they're trying to provoke.

...

Compare to wild magic sorcerer's Bend Luck feature, in which you use a reaction to subtly alter a roll, with the metaphor of actively manipulating luck. This is also a really good feature from a mechanic-matching-metaphor perspective.

Bountiful Luck is mechanically similar to Bend Luck and all other current uses of reactions. You might be able to ignore that, but it carries weight. Using a reaction heavily suggests not only that some sort of action is required from the Halfling, but that there is also something that the Halfling is reacting to.

That's where my problem with the feature is. It wants to be like Portent or Lucky, something passive and effortless, but it plays like Cutting Words or Bend Luck, which require the character to actively respond to an event. Like I said earlier, luck doesn't come from you (unless you're magic), it happens to you. That's the beginning and ending of my argument.

Bountiful Luck - Your amazing luck allows you to help others avert certain disaster. When a companion you see within 30 feet rolls a 1, you can use your reaction to attempt to allow your companion to avoid certain failure. You kick a rock, scream something or take some other minor action that turns out to be just what was needed to give your companion another chance. They reroll the d20 and must keep the new result.

I've discovered, Colder, that in a game of make-believe, there is ALWAYS a way to tie a mechanic to the world and ALWAYS a way to not tie a mechanic to the world. The choice is up to the author, but has nothing to do with the mechanic itself.

For example, I don't like mechanics that allow, say, Charisma to be used for attacking with a melee weapon and at one point argued that the mechanic didn't match the metaphor. I immediately got a dozen creative examples of how it could work. That doesn't mean that I can't still not like the mechanic, and still choose to ban it from my game, it just means that I can't logic it away. There is no objective truth as to why these mechanics do or do not work, they are all reliant on the author's decision.
 

Colder

Explorer
Bountiful Luck - Your amazing luck allows you to help others avert certain disaster. When a companion you see within 30 feet rolls a 1, you can use your reaction to attempt to allow your companion to avoid certain failure. You kick a rock, scream something or take some other minor action that turns out to be just what was needed to give your companion another chance. They reroll the d20 and must keep the new result.

That still seems more in line with increased reflexes than just being really lucky, to me.

For example, I don't like mechanics that allow, say, Charisma to be used for attacking with a melee weapon and at one point argued that the mechanic didn't match the metaphor. I immediately got a dozen creative examples of how it could work

There's only one that matters: magic. I don't like the idea of halflings being inherently magical.

But clearly I'm out of line and my standards are unreasonably high. I'm going to go away and rethink my life, now.
 
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OB1

Jedi Master
That still seems more in line with increased reflexes than just being really lucky, to me.

There's only one that matters: magic. I don't like the idea of halflings being inherently magical.

But clearly I'm out of line and my standards are unreasonably high. I'm going to go away and rethink my life, now.

Not at all. I'm simply saying that one point of view is just as correct as the other. There is no objectively correct answer. You can either want to find a reason to include it or not. If you don't there will always be a counter argument for any reason why it could work, if you do, there will always be a counter argument for any reason it wouldn't. Both are equally valid points of view.

The great thing about these boards is that when I come upon a mechanic that I like but can't quite see how it fits, I can always get a dozen creative ideas as to how to make it work.

If you want to find a way to bend this feat into your game, I'm happy to keep throwing ideas out and looking for ways to fit it into the reality of your world. If you don't want to find a way, that's cool too, I'll stop throwing out ideas.
 

Colder

Explorer
If you want to find a way to bend this feat into your game, I'm happy to keep throwing ideas out and looking for ways to fit it into the reality of your world. If you don't want to find a way, that's cool too, I'll stop throwing out ideas.

Oh, I already know what I'd do. Take out the reaction and the sight requirement, make it once per round. It's not as powerful as most people seem to think so I doubt making it into a completely passive effect will make it too powerful. I just don't want people to think that I'm saying that's how WotC should fix it.
 

OB1

Jedi Master
Oh, I already know what I'd do. Take out the reaction and the sight requirement, make it once per round. It's not as powerful as most people seem to think so I doubt making it into a completely passive effect will make it too powerful. I just don't want people to think that I'm saying that's how WotC should fix it.

Agreed that it would not be too powerful this way. I personally like the decision point that tying it to a reaction leads to in combat for the player.

Out of curiosity, how do you square the decision point the player has when using the Lucky feat? Even though it only takes a free action, it's still something that is willed by the player rather than being passive luck. Do you require that they use it on their first three d20 misses?
 

Colder

Explorer
Agreed that it would not be too powerful this way. I personally like the decision point that tying it to a reaction leads to in combat for the player.

Out of curiosity, how do you square the decision point the player has when using the Lucky feat? Even though it only takes a free action, it's still something that is willed by the player rather than being passive luck. Do you require that they use it on their first three d20 misses?

I don't mind the Lucky feat or Portent at all. They're strictly in the meta, the character isn't aware of what's happening at all, which is fine for me. If either required a reaction, then that would tie what's happening mechanically to what's happening in the game world and it would be a little weird. To me, there's totally a difference between the player and their character, and I don't think characters are aware of their capabilities in the same way we are. Characters with the Lucky feat just notice that sometimes things work out better than they thought they would. Characters with Portent are just foretelling moments from their own future each morning.
 
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Thurmas

Explorer
I think changing to ability for the halfling to go from improving your ally to impairing your enemy would make more sense from a story telling point of view. I find it harder to justify turning a botch into a potential massive success then to say, making the Feat go "When an enemy you can see within 30 feet of you scores a critical hit against an ally you can see, you can use your reaction to force that opponent to reroll the dice and take the new result." To me, that makes more sense for a reaction, as the halfing does some small distraction that may just slightly affects the enemy, reducing their effectiveness. Could be a big sucess, where the crit now misses, could be a minor success where it just means they have a normal hit, or it could end up still being a crit after a good roll.
 

EvanNave55

Explorer
A fan of this UA overall but what I really came here to say since it doesn't appear anyone else has mentioned/noticed it is that for some reason the URL for this PDF says SkillFeats instead of RacialFeats.
 

OB1

Jedi Master
I don't mind the Lucky feat or Portent at all. They're strictly in the meta, the character isn't aware of what's happening at all, which is fine for me. If either required a reaction, then that would tie what's happening mechanically to what's happening in the game world and it would be a little weird. To me, there's totally a difference between the player and their character, and I don't think characters are aware of their capabilities in the same way we are. Characters with the Lucky feat just notice that sometimes things work out better than they thought they would. Characters with Portent are just foretelling moments from their own future each morning.

Interesting, I'd never thought of Lucky that way. Very cool, thanks!
 

Mistwell

Crusty Old Meatwad (he/him)
Because it is? The fact this takes enough effort to be considered a reaction is slapstick. It's cutesy. It's taking halflings a step closer to Kender. Luck doesn't come from you (unless you're magic), it happens *to* you, which is why your real life examples don't really apply to the metaphor for Bountiful Luck. There's no "halfling" in those scenarios.



Because the mechanic doesn't match the metaphor. The mechanic is fine, but it doesn't match the image they're trying to provoke.

Let's look at Portent as another example. You'll be surprised to hear that Portent is one of my favorite features in the game. This is because of the way the mechanic and the metaphor interact. The character's involvement with the feature ends after the player makes the two Portent rolls. When the player decides to use one of the Portent die, the character isn't doing anything at all, which you can tell because there aren't any limits on when a roll can be replaced other than you need to be able to see it happen, nor is there any use of action economy. The character merely passively watches the event unfold as they foretold earlier that day when they caught a glimpse of their own future. It's exceptionally well-written in that regard.

Compare to wild magic sorcerer's Bend Luck feature, in which you use a reaction to subtly alter a roll, with the metaphor of actively manipulating luck. This is also a really good feature from a mechanic-matching-metaphor perspective.

Bountiful Luck is mechanically similar to Bend Luck and all other current uses of reactions. You might be able to ignore that, but it carries weight. Using a reaction heavily suggests not only that some sort of action is required from the Halfling, but that there is also something that the Halfling is reacting to.

That's where my problem with the feature is. It wants to be like Portent or Lucky, something passive and effortless, but it plays like Cutting Words or Bend Luck, which require the character to actively respond to an event. Like I said earlier, luck doesn't come from you (unless you're magic), it happens to you. That's the beginning and ending of my argument.

But in real life there are many examples of people who think luck comes from you rather than happening to you. A lot of sports teams and players believe in a team curse or a lucky player. Las Vegas employed people WITH YOUR HANDLE because of the luck they brought with them. Well OK they were called Coolers rather than Colders but pretty close (though some gamblers called them Mocks). Just because you personally do not believe people bring luck with them, that doesn't mean there are not many people who do genuinely believe that some people bring luck with them. And it's not a cartoonish belief. Many soldiers did believe one other soldier was lucky for them for example, and there was nothing funny about it. And this feat represents that belief that people can bring luck with them as opposed to merely having luck happen to them.

If it's something that doesn't match your personal belief system, so what? I don't believe in many Gods but I have no trouble playing a Cleric. In this fantasy world, the concept that people can bring luck with them exists. And given that matches a strong subset of people in real life, I am not sure I see any problem with that.

But really we were talking about how it is impossible to portray this concept in the game, and I think that's been well addressed at this point. You don't like it, apparently because you don't personally believe people can bring luck with them. OK fair enough. I don't need my fantasy game to match my personal belief system, but if you do, I guess don't use those elements of the game which represent that belief in the fantasy world.
 



Colder

Explorer
But in real life there are many examples of people who think luck comes from you rather than happening to you. A lot of sports teams and players believe in a team curse or a lucky player. Las Vegas employed people WITH YOUR HANDLE because of the luck they brought with them. Well OK they were called Coolers rather than Colders but pretty close (though some gamblers called them Mocks). Just because you personally do not believe people bring luck with them, that doesn't mean there are not many people who do genuinely believe that some people bring luck with them. And it's not a cartoonish belief. Many soldiers did believe one other soldier was lucky for them for example, and there was nothing funny about it. And this feat represents that belief that people can bring luck with them as opposed to merely having luck happen to them.

If it's something that doesn't match your personal belief system, so what? I don't believe in many Gods but I have no trouble playing a Cleric. In this fantasy world, the concept that people can bring luck with them exists. And given that matches a strong subset of people in real life, I am not sure I see any problem with that.

But really we were talking about how it is impossible to portray this concept in the game, and I think that's been well addressed at this point. You don't like it, apparently because you don't personally believe people can bring luck with them. OK fair enough. I don't need my fantasy game to match my personal belief system, but if you do, I guess don't use those elements of the game which represent that belief in the fantasy world.

At this point I don't think you really get most of what I've been trying to say. I'm not saying that people can't be lucky and that that luck can't transfer to other people, I'm saying that making it so the character, instead of only the player, choose how and when that luck transfers on a case by case basis is the realm of magic, just like if an individual decided when, where, and how it rains. The concept of luck is inherently passive, unless you're the superstitious type that wears his special jersey for every game, but Bountiful Luck doesn't even capture that trope properly.
 

Mistwell

Crusty Old Meatwad (he/him)
At this point I don't think you really get most of what I've been trying to say. I'm not saying that people can't be lucky and that that luck can't transfer to other people, I'm saying that making it so the character, instead of only the player, choose how and when that luck transfers on a case by case basis is the realm of magic

And I am saying it's not.

Coolers in casinos are intentionally trying to cause bad luck to other players. They do it with intent. Some do it on specific plays, or with a specific movement or action. They're paid $60,000 to $100,000 a year for this job. It's not magic. It's real life. You can not believe in that, but a meaningful number of people do. So I get what you're saying, and I am merely disagreeing with what your saying.
 

Colder

Explorer
And I am saying it's not.

Coolers in casinos are intentionally trying to cause bad luck to other players. They do it with intent. Some do it on specific plays, or with a specific movement or action. They're paid $60,000 to $100,000 a year for this job. It's not magic. It's real life. You can not believe in that, but a meaningful number of people do. So I get what you're saying, and I am merely disagreeing with what your saying.

How do coolers do their job?
 

Mistwell

Crusty Old Meatwad (he/him)
How do coolers do their job?

Depends on the cooler, but a lot of how they operate is kept confidential by Casinos (they don't even want you to know who they are or that they exist). If you look around though you can see some current or former coolers talk about it. Some just stand there near the game and watch. Some just play the game with the players they're trying to cool. Some play next to them. Some will do something that they feel causes the bad luck, like betting odd, some will do things like chew gum loudly or other minor nuisances. Some will engage in chat with the player, or the dealer, or other players. There doesn't seem to be a single method.

But the bottom line is, they all believe they bring bad luck to players, with something they're doing to bring that bad luck.

And then they have to keep an accounting of losses at that table relative to the losses prior to their arrival.
 

Corwin

Explorer
It's just silly so it doesn't fit in many campaigns because it shifts the tone.
<shrug> Okay. I'll defend your right to say that. It's definitely a more reasonable position to take at least. Rather than how I should interpret the feat as working.
 

Colder

Explorer
Depends on the cooler, but a lot of how they operate is kept confidential by Casinos (they don't even want you to know who they are or that they exist).

Oh, sounds like an urban myth to me, but let's ignore that.

If you look around though you can see some current or former coolers talk about it. Some just stand near the game and watch. Some just play the game with the players they're trying to cool. Some play next to them.

In mechanical terms, that's a passive effect. No reaction needed.

Some will do something that they feel causes the bad luck, like betting odd, some will do things like chew gum loudly or other minor nuisances. Some will engage in chat with the player, or the dealer, or other players. There doesn't seem to be a single method.

Distracting someone hasn't got anything to do with how lucky that person is, and the things you mentioned that could do something to a person's mojo aren't reactionary.

The reaction is what's wrong with the feat, not the transference of luck itself, because reactions are tied to the metaphor in a specific way that dictates how the feature needs to play out mechanically and narratively, and that has implications on the nature of luck and halflings in the game world that go counter to the standards set by all previous mechanics dealing with luck and halflings.

I'm tired of talking about this and I'd rather let you have the last word than continue this conversation. Byeeeee~
 
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