Unearthed Arcana - Feats


5th Edition (And Beyond)


Link to the Unearthed Arcana article.

So, this month's Unearthed Arcana deals with feats & feat design. All the feats in this article deal with either weapon mastery or increased tool usage.

I'll be honest, I wasn't as happy with these feats as I was with the feats in the Player's Handbook. They felt a little too restrictive for my taste. Which, I guess, was the point, but still.

It was still good overall, I felt.

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I didn't really like them either. Fairly bloat-ish. Max Str? Now get the weapon feat for another+1.

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I like those feats. They give a bonus to attack rolls, which you can usually only get from bless and magic weapons. I really like the Flail Master, because I'm planning on an NPC that uses a flail, and I really like the Spear Master, because SPARTA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


I'm not upset with a feat that grants a melee weapon a +1 when a bow can get +2 without one.


Didn't really care about the weapon mastery feats, but the ones that upgrade tool usage such as Alchemist and Gourmand were really interesting.


HenshinFanatic wrote:
Didn't really care about the weapon mastery feats, but the ones that upgrade tool usage such as Alchemist and Gourmand were really interesting.

Agreed

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I think the weapon feats are pretty neat because they give you some extra options in combat. Sometimes, martial attack routines can be a bit monotonous, so these feats help add variety to the martial PC's actions.

I found the tool feats a bit lackluster, but they're good options if you have an odd stat and want some zest.


I like them. They provide a bit more tactical depth and the +1 is a nice touch. And this isn't "bloat". Bloat is when we have nearly identical options but one is better, usually created later to fox things.


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I really liked that Perkins explained his design philosophy for feats and showed good and bad examples, with explanations for each. Helpful for those homebrewing their own.


SmiloDan wrote:
I think the weapon feats are pretty neat because they give you some extra options in combat. Sometimes, martial attack routines can be a bit monotonous, so these feats help add variety to the martial PC's actions.

This is why I allow all the additional actions in combat given in the DMG.

But I still think the Weapon mastery feats are a nice addition. I do feel like the Fell-Handed feat blows the other ones out of the water while Blade Mastery seems the weakest out of these options though.

The tool feats are really nice, just there are too few of them. I would have liked the core rules to elaborate a little more on using tools and how they could benefit a party.

Proficiency with cooking utensils should honestly be a much more important ability for an adventuring party. A provisioner who can serve up properly cooked food would be vital to keep the party healthy on a wilderness trek.

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I'll try to elaborate my distaste for them (as I'm on my phone). These are specialization feats. Now if you want to be a swordmaster or a master chef, you'd be expected to have these feats. A feat is a high opportunity cost in 5e. My cooking characters can't afford to take gourmand.

I like the tool feats in theory (+1 to a stat) but not the rest of the execution (expertise raises the standard for concepts, the other abilities aren't big enough or they are useful very rarely but too big when they are).

For the weapon feats, I'd prefer a +1 to choice of dex or str than a straight up +1 and more generally useful things (like polearm master) rather than shield hate.

For me, these feats aren't ones I'd want to take, but would feel pressured to take for a "master of ______" concept.

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Threeshades wrote:
SmiloDan wrote:
I think the weapon feats are pretty neat because they give you some extra options in combat. Sometimes, martial attack routines can be a bit monotonous, so these feats help add variety to the martial PC's actions.

This is why I allow all the additional actions in combat given in the DMG.

But I still think the Weapon mastery feats are a nice addition. I do feel like the Fell-Handed feat blows the other ones out of the water while Blade Mastery seems the weakest out of these options though.

The tool feats are really nice, just there are too few of them. I would have liked the core rules to elaborate a little more on using tools and how they could benefit a party.

Proficiency with cooking utensils should honestly be a much more important ability for an adventuring party. A provisioner who can serve up properly cooked food would be vital to keep the party healthy on a wilderness trek.

In 2nd Edition, I DMed for a ranger that put 3 proficiency slots in Cooking. In PF terms, that's the equivalent of 5 or 6 feats.


Petty Alchemy wrote:

I'll try to elaborate my distaste for them (as I'm on my phone). These are specialization feats. Now if you want to be a swordmaster or a master chef, you'd be expected to have these feats. A feat is a high opportunity cost in 5e. My cooking characters can't afford to take gourmand.

I like the tool feats in theory (+1 to a stat) but not the rest of the execution (expertise raises the standard for concepts, the other abilities aren't big enough or they are useful very rarely but too big when they are).

For the weapon feats, I'd prefer a +1 to choice of dex or str than a straight up +1 and more generally useful things (like polearm master) rather than shield hate.

For me, these feats aren't ones I'd want to take, but would feel pressured to take for a "master of ______" concept.

Well, as written you pretty much need a feat to use rapier and dagger or long sword and short sword as a two weapon combatant - using anything other than a light weapon prevents two weapon combat without the feat.

5E DMG wrote:
When you use the attack action and attack with a light melee weapon that you're holding in one hand, you can use a bonus action to attack with a different light melee weapon that you're holding in the other hand

Emphasis mine.

Grand Lodge

Petty Alchemy wrote:

I'll try to elaborate my distaste for them (as I'm on my phone). These are specialization feats. Now if you want to be a swordmaster or a master chef, you'd be expected to have these feats. A feat is a high opportunity cost in 5e. My cooking characters can't afford to take gourmand.

I like the tool feats in theory (+1 to a stat) but not the rest of the execution (expertise raises the standard for concepts, the other abilities aren't big enough or they are useful very rarely but too big when they are).

For the weapon feats, I'd prefer a +1 to choice of dex or str than a straight up +1 and more generally useful things (like polearm master) rather than shield hate.

For me, these feats aren't ones I'd want to take, but would feel pressured to take for a "master of ______" concept.

Your sentiment was reflected in an article on Tribality analyzing the weapon mastery feats. I agree, though the more I think about it, the more I feel that Matt Colville had it right in just not using feats, but rather allow special abilities (basically feats) as an additional character award.


Good to see some free fifth feat-y stuff. ;)


I already homebrew feats, and there are weapon specialization gaps - bringing bonus damage to one hand and dual wielding builds, giving monks some help, things to synergize a little more, making throwing weapon fighters not stuck in a RAW unsheathing hell.

These I am less impressed with, but they are actually really close to being great. I think making a "polearm mastery" with spears and a little different approach means classes with only simple weapons have more offensive feat options. Things like that.

Grand Lodge

At first, I was all on-board with feats, but after hearing how Matt Colville feels about feats, I prefer to deal with it like he does. Eschew the feat system, but give out special abilities that are like feats as gameplay rewards.

Right now, though, all of my campaigns are in full swing and I have already let feats go, but my next campaign... ;)

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