As you all probably know by now, I started playing D&D back in the early 80’s. ASI was the only way to go since there was no such thing as a feat. So when I started back up in 5e, I looked at feats with some skepticism. Why wouldn’t I want to increase my stats and leave it at that?
Now that I have more experience in 5th edition, I realize how naive I was. Had I taken the time to really read through them I would have seen that many of them allow you to increase one stat, which is pretty nice. But to get a one-point increase in a stat of your choice plus proficiency in saving throw in the chosen ability (Resilient) is pretty freaking sweet. This made me want to create some homebrew feats, but more on that later.
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At first, I skimmed over the feats and picked one because I thought it looked neat. I found out the hard way that is not that way to go about picking a feat. You need to take into consideration what your current and future needs are and what your character build plan is. If you’re a rogue, you may not want to take Dungeon Delver, but if you’re playing a Paladin, I highly recommend taking the Shield Master feat.
Of course, not every feat is equal. People have very strong opinions on which feats are the best and which you should never take. Scouring the internet for opinions, a couple feats were always in the “it’s broken” tier and a couple in the “fuck no” tier. This goes without saying, but Reddit has a large number of threads on the subject. For your sanity, don’t go down that rabbit hole.
Lucky - Everyone seems to agree that this is a completely broken feat. Who doesn’t want advantage or disadvantage after you roll? If you’re making an important role and your dice screw you, reroll it. If an enemy gets a natural 20 and the DM starts to pick up a shit ton of dice, say nope and try not to laugh when he rolls an 8.
Great Weapon Master - A limited extra melee attack is nice but the one that gets the most attention is -5 to hit in exchange for +10 damage. The minus 5 maybe a little rough early, but with the right builds, especially later in the game, you can deal a stupid amount of damage.
Sharpshooter - No long-range disadvantage is nice, ignore 1/2 cover is helpful, but -5 to hit in exchange for +10 damage is the key. See above.
Bottom of the Barrel
Keen Mind - Really don’t care what time it is.
Linguist - I care even less about learning three languages
Weapon Master was probably the one with the most debate. People either love it or hate it. Not sure I’m a be fan of it myself, but I’d rather have the weapon proficiency than the ability to write secret codes letters.
As I said earlier, this made me want to create a couple of feats I think could bridge the gap between what exists and what’s missing from the existing list. These are the ones I came up with that made the most sense. I have others in mind, but they need to be worked through a bit more. Hopefully, I will be able to share them soon.
For those times when the cleric just can’t get there in time, taking the damage for your fellow party member could be the difference between one more fireball or the player rolling a new character.
Improvised Weapon Master & Dirty Fighter
Tavern Brawler gets a fair amount of hate from players. What I decided to do was split it up into two separate feats, one specializing in improvised weapons and the other in unarmed strikes. Improvised Weapons Master lets you hit a creature with just about anything you can grab. I know characters rarely get disarmed, but this can help out in certain situations for sure. As far as Dirty Fighter…well, sometimes a knee to the groin is what you have to do to (looking at all the ladies).
I adapted this one from Pathfinder 2e. A little but monk, a splash of the feather fall spell and a decent acrobatics score and no more dying when you fall off the cliff. Don’t look at me like that…we all know players do stupid shit all the time.
The old saying goes “There is no such thing as a dirty fight” and for anyone that’s ever been in a fight knows this to absolutely true. Eye gouging…sure no problem. Fish hook…yep. Knee to the groin…I’m fine with that too. Your sole purpose when you are in a fight isn’t necessarily to win but to not get the everloving shit kicked out of you. Winning is nice, but if you can’t stand afterward what’s the point. You do what you need to, and there’s no shame in that.
Seriously, who doesn’t want their character to be able to this, or maybe this? We all have visions of our character gracefully leaping into battle and swing their swords. This feat allows you to do it. Just be careful when the DM asked you “How do you want to do it”
While it took me a while to come around to the concept of feats, I now fully embrace them. With a little planning, foresight, and the right combinations, they can make your character into the hero you always dreamed they were.
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