Content of the article: "Devlin’s Distillery – Part 2 – A Fair Footing for every Feat"
Welcome to Devlin's Distillery, the second part in an ongoing series. I have spent a long time scouring D&D forums to find house rules that are simple and effective. I've taken what I believe to be the best parts of these rules and blended them with my own ideas, and now I'm posting them here, just for you!
This time I'll be looking at some tweaks to feats. Some are powerful enough to be "must picks", and some are hard to justify taking.
TL;DR: A pdf of these rules that fits on less than 1 page is here. Please don't just comment "I think feat X is fine", that doesn't progress the conversation. Debate and constructive criticism is much appreciated though.
The Main FEATure
Charger – instead take the attack action as a bonus action (but only get damage bonus to 1st attack)
- Charger is a decent feat at low levels, but the characters it fits best on (barbarians, fighters etc.) get Extra Attack at 5th level. This change makes it easier to gain the benefits of charger without losing out on attacks. This encourages tactical positioning and repositioning, allowing martial types more flexibility (enabling them to better keep up with spellcasters).
Durable – also grants advantage on death saving throws
- Durable isn't very exciting, and is hard to justify against just a +2 con or Resilient (Con). This change really gives the feeling that a character is hard to kill.
Heavy Armor Master – instead reduce the damage by your proficiency bonus, you can also reduce magical bludgeoning piercing and slashing damage if your armor is magical
- RAW, Heavy Armor Master is very powerful at low levels, where many sources deal single figure damage, and almost useless at high levels, where sources can deal upwards of 30 damage per hit. This change balances out the feat's impact. It has the added bonus of allowing high level fighters to wade through hordes of goblins, which is exactly how badass they should be.
Reducing magical damage if your armor is magical just makes sense.
Martial Adept – instead gain 2 superiority dice
- Only getting to use one of your two tricks per short rest makes this feat feel weak. Why shouldn't every martial type strongly consider having a couple of tricks in their back pocket?
Savage Attacker – also increase Strength or Dexterity by 1
- Savage Attacker isn't very strong on its own, this change makes it easier to take to also round of an odd ability score
Sentinel – remove "and that target doesn't have this feat"
- I'm aware this is probably the most controversial change.
Two adjacent characters with sentinel can now always get the retaliation attack as a reaction.
But why shouldn't two highly trained warriors, experienced at fighting alongside each other, constantly be protecting each other and exploiting enemies? Yes its very powerful for two people in the party to have this feat, but it encourages teamwork and smart positioning. RAW, the two highly trained warriors ARE WORSE WHEN THEY WORK TOGETHER. That makes no sense.
Sharpshooter – only one of the three abilities can be used on each attack
- Sharpshooter RAW is obnoxious. This reduces the power of the feat, making it so the archer has to choose between accuracy (ignoring cover), range, and shooting at weak spots (-5 +10). This actually empowers the player, as their tactical decisions matter. It also gives DMs more options to counterplay by giving creatures cover (TIP: other creatures count as half cover).
Shield Master – Clarification – bonus action shove can be at the start of the attack action (before attacks), but the attack action must still be taken, or the action it lost.
- This goes against Sage Advice, but makes shield master more interesting, and more powerful (shields are really good, there's a reason they were used so much throughout history). This change allows the fighter to knock someone down and then hit them, which makes logical sense.
Weapon Master – instead gain proficiency in all simple and martial weapons
- Why limit it to 4 weapons, that seems a bit rubbish? This change simplifies the feat and makes it easier to justify taking.
You might have noticed a theme here, which is that my changes give martial types more tactical options, helping them to keep up with spellcasters who get loads of different options in the form of their spells.
Why haven't I fixed Grappler? Arguably one of the worst feats, I've bypassed fixing grappler to fix the grappling rules themselves. Tune in next time to see how I make grappling feel epic!
Part 1 of Devlin's Distillery can be found here.
- I home brewed a judo monk subclass for 5E. What do you think?
- Zealot Barbarian / Echo Knight Fighter echo damage calculation
- Polearm Master + Crusher (UA) might make Quarterstaffs… decent?
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