So I came up with this idea based on something my current DM does. He has a rule that if he makes a check with an NPC and they crit on their first time ever making that check, they gain proficiency in it. I'm running my first campaign now, and decided to try and expand that to feats. I love feats, and to me it seemed a little bit… unfair? Not fun? that players could only take them at the standard levels for feat/ability score increase.
Basically, what I've come up with is this:
If you crit five times in a specific scenario, you gain a feat you're working towards. Any crit fails remove one of the crits counting towards getting the feat. The scenario, conditions, and feats have to be decided upon before you start counting crits.
A player wants the warcaster feat. I would let them work towards that by casting spells within melee range. Even though it's at disadvantage, if one of the rolls is a crit, that counts towards the feat. If one is a fumble, it counts against the feat. Eventually they could get this feat, and the reasoning is that they've practiced and practiced to become an expert at this feat.
Another player would like to take the "Keen Mind" feat. I'm allowing them to count nat 20s on survival rolls towards that feat, so long as the survival roll is related to navigation. Nat 20s on history checks will also count.
Another player would like to take the "Tavern Brawler" feat. I would allow them to use nat 20s on improvised weapons and/or unarmed attacks to count towards getting that feat.
Here's where it gets a bit more interesting, though. Let's say there's a PC who wants to get the shield master feat, or heavy armor master? You can't exactly roll for those.
So if a player wants to take a "defensive" feat, I allow them to count rolls that would be directly impacted by that feat.
For a player who wants shield master, I count any rolls made against them that would hit if the character wasn't using a shield (or did hit because they didn't have one).
For the player that wants to take the heavy armor master feat, I allow them to count any hits that match their current AC, or any hits that are crits (if they're already wearing heavy armor) towards that feat.
I've told my players that I would discourage them from starting fights or making checks all the time just to try and get the feats as quickly as possible, and they're on board with that. They know that gaining a feat outside of the normal opportunities is supposed to be something truly exceptional.
I'm debating if I want them to have to remember to say something after gaining a point towards their feat… i.e. "As I look at the joint in the armor where I just got hit, I have an idea of how I could reinforce it later" so that remembering to track it is in their control entirely.
Now, I haven't figured this out for all feats yet. But I'm wondering if anyone's done anything like this in a game, and if so, how did it go? Is there a significant chance that I'm going to break the game with feats?
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