Unearthed Arcana Unearthed Arcana: Get Better At Skills With These Feats

The latest Unearthed Arcana from Jeremy Crawford and again featuring guest writer Robert J. Schwalb introduces a number of feats which make you better at skills. Each increases the skill's primary ability score, doubles your proficiency bonus, and gives you a little bonus ability. "This week we introduce new feats to playtest. Each of these feats makes you better at one of the game’s eighteen skills. We invite you to read them, give them a try in play, and let us know what you think in the survey we release in the next installment of Unearthed Arcana."

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Russ Morrissey

Russ Morrissey

Corwin

Explorer
Well, as I've shared complaints about expertise at ENW before, in other threads, and been joined by others, all I can say is, around.
Well, to borrow a turn of phrase from someone you are familiar with...

"A few of us have complained about something" != There's a problem.
 

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Ovinomancer

No flips for you!
Well, to borrow a turn of phrase from someone you are familiar with...

"A few of us have complained about something" != There's a problem.

Actually, that's entirely wrong. If I say 'I have a problem with this" then there is, ipso facto (a nice to know Latin phrase that means 'by this very fact'), a problem. Maybe not for you or anyone else, but clearly a problem does exist. What you mean to say, in your snarky response, is:

"A few of us have complained about something" != everybody (or most or many people) has (have) a problem.

Unfortunately, I've never said or implied any such thing, so maybe just file that one away for a time where it's appropriate. You know, be prepared, just in case.
 

Corwin

Explorer
Actually, that's entirely wrong. If I say 'I have a problem with this" then there is, ipso facto (a nice to know Latin phrase that means 'by this very fact'), a problem. Maybe not for you or anyone else, but clearly a problem does exist. What you mean to say, in your snarky response, is:

"A few of us have complained about something" != everybody (or most or many people) has (have) a problem.

Unfortunately, I've never said or implied any such thing, so maybe just file that one away for a time where it's appropriate. You know, be prepared, just in case.
Whoa there. You may wanna go ahead and roll back for a sec, Tex. Maybe take a look at the context, to which Hussar was speaking, before gettin' all uppity such as you are. Or are you intentionally working to move the goalpost? If so, nevermind then. By all means proceed with caution.
 

Hussar

Legend
DC inflation in printed modules wasn't your argument before (we can just scroll back to the threads I responded to). If that's what you meant, instead of there being no complaints about expertise in general or grappling in specific, then, sure, there's no DC inflation in printed material.

It wasn't my arguement, just one that I saw in this or the other thread - that these feats will cause DC inflation. Since expertise hasn't, I'd say that's a pretty moot issue.

Look, I look at it like this. If I tell you that I'm having problems with CR system in 5e, no one will bat an eye. That's a known issue for people. Whether you or I particularly agree with the issue isn't the point. It's an issue and you can point to a dozen different threads where it is being discussed.

Or, if I say that I'm having a problem with the stealth rules in 5e. Again, finding a dozen or so threads about this isn't much of a challenge. It's a known issue with the system. Again, not my particular issue, but, it seems to cause consternation among some people.

Or, as another example, the Sharpshooter or Great Weapon Master feats. Hardly a week goes by without someone bringing those up as a problem in their game, and some potential fix. Fair enough. It's a known issue.

But expertise? I read the forums pretty often. To be honest, this is the first time I've ever seen anyone complain about expertise at all. Maybe I just missed things in the scrum, but, it certainly doesn't seem to be much of an issue for people. I mean, I just Googled Jeremy Crawford's Twitter feed using Expertise as a search keyword, and it came up with a few very recent tweets about this particular UA Article, and a bunch of stuff about Crossbow Expert.

Like I said, if this is an issue, where is the evidence of it being an issue at the table?
 

cbwjm

Legend
The only issue I've heard about expertise is that these feats grant it and some people would rather expertise stays (almost) exclusively with the bard and rogue.
 

Lanliss

Explorer
The only issue I've heard about expertise is that these feats grant it and some people would rather expertise stays (almost) exclusively with the bard and rogue.

Aye, and I am firmly against that particular Niche-protection. Everyone should be able to be an Expert at something, IMO.
 

cbwjm

Legend
Aye, and I am firmly against that particular Niche-protection. Everyone should be able to be an Expert at something, IMO.

I agree, I would love for my wizard characters to become experts in arcana without having to sip into another class to do it. These feats allow that and not without cost either since it takes up a feat slot. Rogues and bards will still be far ahead with their free expertise from their class.

I do wonder if we had just one or two feats in the PHB that granted expertise if there would be this much push back on these feats.
 

Lanliss

Explorer
I agree, I would love for my wizard characters to become experts in arcana without having to sip into another class to do it. These feats allow that and not without cost either since it takes up a feat slot. Rogues and bards will still be far ahead with their free expertise from their class.

I do wonder if we had just one or two feats in the PHB that granted expertise if there would be this much push back on these feats.

I doubt it. As a UA, these feats look like they are changing the "Rule", so to speak, that Rogue and Bard get Expertise. It is their class feature, that is one of the main reasons people will dip into them (For char-op reasons anyway.) . If there had been a few examples in the PHB of another way to get expertise, I don't think these would be much of a problem at all, except for the ones that sparked non-expertise related complaints like Menacing/Diplomat.
 

Gradine

Final Form (she/they)
I doubt it. As a UA, these feats look like they are changing the "Rule", so to speak, that Rogue and Bard get Expertise. It is their class feature, that is one of the main reasons people will dip into them (For char-op reasons anyway.) . If there had been a few examples in the PHB of another way to get expertise, I don't think these would be much of a problem at all, except for the ones that sparked non-expertise related complaints like Menacing/Diplomat.

Do you think folks would have complained if Ritual Caster had been a UA feat and not in the PHB? Or Martial Adept, for that matter?
 

Lanliss

Explorer
Do you think folks would have complained if Ritual Caster had been a UA feat and not in the PHB? Or Martial Adept, for that matter?

Quite possibly, yes. Not so much the Ritual caster, since that is largely "Magic" rather than a specific class ability. Martial Adept, I would say yes. So many discussion talk about how Battlemaster is the Best fighter, people would immediately cry foul of other classes getting his ability.

Imagine, a Barbarian Great Weapon master with Precise Strike!, Or Tripping strike, to get free advantage with his first swing of an axe! He would never need to use Reckless Attack again! That is blatant power creep, and we aren't even counting things like a Rogue in the mix. You won't even need a Battlemaster to let Rogues sneak attack off-turn!
 

Gradine

Final Form (she/they)
Quite possibly, yes. Not so much the Ritual caster, since that is largely "Magic" rather than a specific class ability. Martial Adept, I would say yes. So many discussion talk about how Battlemaster is the Best fighter, people would immediately cry foul of other classes getting his ability.

Imagine, a Barbarian Great Weapon master with Precise Strike!, Or Tripping strike, to get free advantage with his first swing of an axe! He would never need to use Reckless Attack again! That is blatant power creep, and we aren't even counting things like a Rogue in the mix. You won't even need a Battlemaster to let Rogues sneak attack off-turn!

That's kind of my point; nobody actually complains about Martial Adept. And Maneuvers and Superiority Dice are still way more niche than expertise is.

Complaining about something that would have been fine if it were initially included but now suddenly isn't as an add-on because... reasons, I guess?Seems completely silly to me.
This is a non issue.
 

Satyrn

First Post
I do wonder if we had just one or two feats in the PHB that granted expertise if there would be this much push back on these feats.
It wouldn't change what I dislike about some of these feats. I'm fine with the expertise bit.

What I don't like are some of the features, and I don't think the cantrips fit well for any but arcanist.

And personally, I just find them bland. I'd rather have feats that had a theme that was more focused on a story/character -like Tavern Brawler - and happened to offer expertise as a part of that theme.
 

Oofta

Legend
It wouldn't change what I dislike about some of these feats. I'm fine with the expertise bit.

What I don't like are some of the features, and I don't think the cantrips fit well for any but arcanist.

And personally, I just find them bland. I'd rather have feats that had a theme that was more focused on a story/character -like Tavern Brawler - and happened to offer expertise as a part of that theme.

I think that's part of my problem as well - the blandness. It seems lazy to just go through all the skills and say "let's make a feat for that" and attach some power to that feat that no on else has.

Some are not going to have any effect on my game - I currently allow people acrobatics checks to get through difficult terrain if it makes sense, you can currently distract someone with a performance check if it makes sense and no one is going to be undetected walking directly in front of someone who can clearly see them and is paying attention that no matter how stealthy they are. Some feel like their stepping on how I run the game. Others like Brawny's feature are just boring.

Since no one is ever going to ever going to get all the feats for one character it seemed like they could have come up with cool feats and had something along the lines of adding proficiency to skills X, Y or Z and you get bonus <fill in the blank>. Or just a +1 to a stat and proficiency in two skills based on that stat.
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
It wouldn't change what I dislike about some of these feats. I'm fine with the expertise bit.

What I don't like are some of the features, and I don't think the cantrips fit well for any but arcanist.

And personally, I just find them bland. I'd rather have feats that had a theme that was more focused on a story/character -like Tavern Brawler - and happened to offer expertise as a part of that theme.
Even arcanist would be better with expansion of what Arcana can do, than gaining cantrips, imo. Turn it into Soellcraft, 4e Arcana skill, and Use Magic Device skill, more or less.
 

cbwjm

Legend
It wouldn't change what I dislike about some of these feats. I'm fine with the expertise bit.

What I don't like are some of the features, and I don't think the cantrips fit well for any but arcanist.

And personally, I just find them bland. I'd rather have feats that had a theme that was more focused on a story/character -like Tavern Brawler - and happened to offer expertise as a part of that theme.

The bonus powers are different, I can understand people not liking some of them, it's expertise that I think no one would be complaining about had we had some expertise granting feats right out the door. I do think that some of the bonus powers should be possible with just a skill check, Acrobatics feat stood out to me as needing a different bonus ability since I would allow anyone who made an acrobatics check the ability to ignore difficult terrain.
 

User_Undefined

First Post
The bonus powers are different, I can understand people not liking some of them, it's expertise that I think no one would be complaining about had we had some expertise granting feats right out the door. I do think that some of the bonus powers should be possible with just a skill check, Acrobatics feat stood out to me as needing a different bonus ability since I would allow anyone who made an acrobatics check the ability to ignore difficult terrain.

Acrobat

You become more nimble, gaining the following benefits:

• Increase your Dexterity score by 1, to a maximum of 20.

• You gain proficiency in the Acrobatics skill. If you are already proficient in the skill, you add double your proficiency bonus to checks you make with it.

As a bonus action, you can make a DC 15 Dexterity (Acrobatics) check. If you succeed, difficult terrain doesn’t cost you extra movement until the end of the current turn.

Do you allow anyone to make the check as a bonus action? Or does it take their full action to ignore difficult terrain? Or is it a check that's made as part of their movement? If the answer is the first or third choice, then yes, I can see how the feat wouldn't seem that great for your table. Otherwise, all the feat does is allow a character to do what they already could, but faster.
 

cbwjm

Legend
Do you allow anyone to make the check as a bonus action? Or does it take their full action to ignore difficult terrain? Or is it a check that's made as part of their movement? If the answer is the first or third choice, then yes, I can see how the feat wouldn't seem that great for your table. Otherwise, all the feat does is allow a character to do what they already could, but faster.

I would allow it as part of the movement although I could see using a bonus action as a cost of doing it.
 

Oofta

Legend
Do you allow anyone to make the check as a bonus action? Or does it take their full action to ignore difficult terrain? Or is it a check that's made as part of their movement? If the answer is the first or third choice, then yes, I can see how the feat wouldn't seem that great for your table. Otherwise, all the feat does is allow a character to do what they already could, but faster.

I do it the same as [MENTION=6788732]cbwjm[/MENTION] if I think it makes sense, it's just part of the movement. A lot of times I'll also allow athletics. So either dive dextrously through the thick brush or muscle your way through.

There are times when it doesn't make sense. If the difficult terrain is a supernatural effect of a monster warping space for example.

So just another feat I don't need.
 

Hussar

Legend
I think that's part of my problem as well - the blandness. It seems lazy to just go through all the skills and say "let's make a feat for that" and attach some power to that feat that no on else has.

/snip

Since no one is ever going to ever going to get all the feats for one character it seemed like they could have come up with cool feats and had something along the lines of adding proficiency to skills X, Y or Z and you get bonus <fill in the blank>. Or just a +1 to a stat and proficiency in two skills based on that stat.

Umm, you can't really complain about blandness and then come up with a feat that is even more bland. :D +1 to stat and 2 proficiencies. And this is different from the existing Skill feat how? Oh, right, 3 proficiencies and no stat bump. Not exactly rocking the boat.

Isn't the point of a feat to do something no one else can? Isn't that how most of the feats work? Sharpshooter and GWF. Alert (cannot be surprised), and others. I mean, let's compare to a standard PHB feat shall we:

Athlete feat said:
Athlete
You have undergone extensive physical training to gain the following benefits:

Increase your Strength or Dexterity score by 1, to a maximum of 20.
When you are prone, standing up uses only 5 feet of your movement.
Climbing doesn’t cost you extra movement.
You can make a running long jump or a running high jump after moving only 5 feet on foot, rather than 10 feet.

Now, you're telling me that the acrobatics feat, where you can cross difficult terrain is going to have an impact on your game, but, the fact that anyone with this feat can jump their strength, as part of their movement, anytime they want. Kinda negates most difficult terrain penalties when I can simply jump 15 feet. And I would think that climbing thing would come up rather often.

I'm thinking that the Athlete feat is likely the baseline for skill feats that they are looking at.
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
I do it the same as [MENTION=6788732]cbwjm[/MENTION] if I think it makes sense, it's just part of the movement. A lot of times I'll also allow athletics. So either dive dextrously through the thick brush or muscle your way through.

There are times when it doesn't make sense. If the difficult terrain is a supernatural effect of a monster warping space for example.

So just another feat I don't need.

Doesn't that seem counter to how the skill system and action economy work, in general, though?

Special movement normally requires an Action.

The unwritten rule seems to be that skill checks which are an active thing you do, and which give you a direct benefit on a success, are an Action unless specificied otherwise or unless you've a feature that says otherwise.
 

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