Feats - yes or no? Jun 9, 2018 23:39:01 GMT -6
Post by hamurai on Jun 9, 2018 23:39:01 GMT -6
My old online group is reforming and the DM and I were talking about feats, which are, by the book, an optional rule. So far I haven't had a group who played without feats, though. I was re-reading the rules this weekend and thinking a lot about the impact of feats in the game.
Disclaimer 1: The following thoughts are purely mechanical in nature. Of course one should play the character most desired and not care about game mechanics. To me, mechanical balance is an issue, though.
Disclaimer 2: I don't think the "basic" human is a good choice. +1 to every ability sounds good, but the effect is weak. Classes rely on 3 abilities at most and you only get a +1 to a modifier every two ability points, which means that most of the time at least 50% of these bonus points are wasted. This may be a more valuable option if you roll for ability scores and manage to get a bad result. 4d6 drop lowest tends to produce results above what you can point-buy, though.
So here are my thoughts:
TL;DR: My conclusion was that feats should be pretty much mandatory at least at first level as the variant human's bonus feat, and for fighters.
Why is that?
1) Let's have a look at the variant Human race and compare it to some other races from the PHB.
|variant Human ||Mountain Dwarf||High Elf||Halfling||Half-Elf||Half-Orc|
|Ability Points||2x +1||CON +2|
Stealthy / Resilience
We can see that the variant Human gets at least 1 ability point less than every other race. The number of skill proficiencies and languages is pretty much the minimum for other races. Looking at the other races' special abilities and reading through the feat descriptions it's clear that no single feat could ever reproduce the bonuses the other races get. For example, to get the effect of the Dwarf's Combat and Armor Training, a human would have to get 2 feats (and therefore forego +4 stat points when leveling). The Savage Attacks feature of the Half-Orc is exactly what a feat does. Plus they get Darkvision and Relentless. The Elf's Weapon Training equals the Weapon Master feat, but they get 3 more abilities at the beginning.
Therefore I argue that at least at first level, humans should get a feat to balance their abilities a little.
2.) Fighters get an Ability Score Improvement (ASI) on 4th, 6th, 8th, 12th, 14th, 16th and 19th level. Assuming they brutally maxed their abilities with point-buy at the beginning, they might start with STR 16, DEX 16, CON16, INT 9, WIS 9, CHA 9 if basic Human, or STR 16, DEX 15, CON 16, INT 8, WIS 8, CHA 8 if variant Human. They'd need to get to level 12 to max out STR and CON which is what their class relies on. What to do with the rest of the ASIs? Assuming they rolled their stats, they begin with even better scores and are in less need of ASIs. Feats would help to make the Fighter more interesting and varied.
(I rolled a 17 when rolling my stats. With a +1 from Human I start with a score of 18, meaning I could get to 20 by 4th level already. A feat might tempt me away from that. Just an example. I'm not playing a fighter, I think.)
That second argument is less important, though, in my opinion. ASIs are never wasted and being able to max out 2 abilities by 12th level is in itself a merit.
So... What are your thoughts? Does your group include feats in the game? All? Only a few? And what about the additional feats added by other books? (Our DM only allows PHB and SCAG)
Edit: typo fixed