This week we get another set of feats, this time centered around races.
This week we get twenty three feats that have race prerequisites. I don’t have a bad opinion about that. Before I start talking about them, I should note that it’s mentioned that this document assumes that multiclassing isn’t available and neither are last week’s feats.
Barbed Hide (Tiefling)
Flavor wise, you get spiky bits because you have a spiky ancestor. Tieflings are a race that can(and should) get a lot of variety, flavor and mechanic wise. Feats is a way to do that without having to create a lot of subraces which could possibly create more problems. This feat provides 3 benefits:
- Constitution or Charisma increase by 1. I guess these stats represent the extra resilience the barbs provide as well the extra fear they would impose.
- As a bonus action you can protrude or retract your barbs. If they’re out, they deal 1d6 piercing damage to a target you’re grappling or being grappled by. It’s a rather specific feature but I like it because it’s flavourful and I don’t believe it can break the game. Though I’d really like to see a Tiefling grappler build.
- This is a feature that every feat from last week had. You gain proficiency in the Intimidation skill or you double the proficiency if you are already proficient. This is one of the features that can break the game, because it can easily break the bounded accuracy mechanic.
Bountiful Luck (Halfling)
It’s a bit like the Lucky feat but this one lets your allies reroll 1s on a d20. These rolls can be attack rolls, skill checks, or saving throws. The ally has to be within 30 feet of you and you have to see them. Now, the reason I will tag this as possibly overpowered is because there is no limit to the amount of times your allies can use your feat. The only reason I don’t call it straight up crazy broken is because it requires your reaction.
Critter Friend (Forest Gnome)
This one follows last week’s template. You gain proficiency or double proficiency in Animal Handling and you learn the Speak with Animals and Animal Friendship spells. I guess this could be considered as a supplement to the Speak with Small Beasts trait the Forest Gnomes get. Flavor wise it’s fine, however I don’t really like this feat template.
Dragon Fear (Dragonborn)
- Strength or Charisma increase by 1. These are the ability scores that are increased by the Dragonborn trait so it’s not a surprise.
- That’s a mini Frightful Presence. I really like this because it adds variety. However, it can possibly turn the tides of battle, since it’s an area of effect ability.
Dragon Hide (Dragonborn)
I believe this feat can be easily used by Sorcerers and Barbarians. It provides some good benefits
- Strength or Charisma increase by 1. Again, nothing special but I’m starting to question if the stat increases are really necessary.
- Your unarmed strike is upgraded to 1d4 + Strength. Like the Tiefling’s Barbed Hide, you can protrude and retract your claws, which could be useful in situations that a hidden-ish weapon would help.
- A +1 bonus to AC if you’re not wearing armor.
Dragon Wings (Dragonborn)
I was wondering why this wasn’t a Dragonborn variant, but I guess this way it’s a bit better. You get wings that give you a flying speed of 20 feet but only if you’re not wearing heavy armor and you’re not over encumbered. I rarely see mechanics that deal with your carrying capacity but it does make sense. Personally, I just make sure the characters aren’t carrying a whole market with them. On another note, flight is a rather powerful ability so I don’t know if DMs are going to allow the use of this feat.
Drow High Magic (Drow Elf)
You learn three pretty useful spells that you can cast without spending any spell slots. You can cast Detect Magic at will and Levitate and Dispel Magic once per long rest. If my lore knowledge isn’t failing me, R.A. Salvatore’s Drow can indeed Levitate but I know nothing about the two other spells. These are some very good utility spells.
Dwarf Resilience (Dwarf)
There’s already a trait called Dwarven Resilience but I’m going to overlook that.
- Constitution increase by 1. We get it. Dwarves are quite resilient, to the point of having a trait and a feat with pretty much the same name. But I said I’ll overlook that so I’m not going to mention it again.
- That’s a quite interesting ability. Whenever you use the Dodge action, you can spend one Hit Die. I don’t really know how often players use the Dodge action but with this feat it definitely gets extra value.
Elven Accuracy (Elf or Half-Elf)
This is one of the broken ones.
- Dexterity increase by 1. Sure, everyone gets an ability score increase.
- This is advantage on steroids. If you have advantage on an attack roll, you get to reroll one of the dice. I don’t think I have to say how good this is and how possibly broken this can get. Off the top of my head, Assassins definitely gets a lot of value out of this.
Everybody’s Friend (Half-Elf)
- Charisma increase by 1. Half-Elves definitely need more Charisma. They just get a +2 from their racial trait.
- Proficiency or double proficiency with Deception and Persuasion. Again, this feature can break bounded accuracy, and this feat boosts two skills this way as well as the ability score that corresponds to them.
Fade Away (Gnome)
- Intelligence increase by 1. I see no reason for this to be in this feat.
- You become invisible for a turn or until you attack, deal damage, or force someone to make a saving throw. It’s somewhere between the Invisibility and Greater Invisibility spells. This ability lets you cast spells, as long as you don’t make an attack roll, deal damage or force a saving throw. This means you can cast utility spells without ending your invisibility. Pretty handy.
Fey Teleportation (High Elf)
- Intelligence increase by 1.
- You get to cast Misty Step for free once per long rest. More teleportation is never bad for players. As for the game in general, it’s probably bad. To be honest, I see no reason for not picking this feat.
Flames of Phlegethos (Tiefling)
- Intelligence increase by 1.
- You get to reroll fire damage rolls that are 1s, but you must keep the new roll. This can be easily exploited if you pick the right spells.
- When you cast a fire spell you radiate light and also have a fire shield that deals 1d4 damage to anyone who makes a melee attack on you and hits you. This last until the end of your next turn. It’s a handy ability, and it’s also affected by the reroll ability.
It’s like the Ranger’s Favored Enemy feature, but a bit enhanced in my opinion. The drawback is that the feat doesn’t scale with level so you don’t get to pick more enemies. This means that the players should have a talk with the DM before picking this feat, or they may potentially waste a feat.
Human Determination (Human)
Yeah. Could this be more generic? I doubt it. An ability score increase by 1 and advantage to a attack roll, skill check, or saving throw. Personally, I wouldn’t pick this up.
Infernal Constitution (Tiefling)
- Constitution increase by 1. I actually accept this increase in this feat. After all these feats that shouldn’t necessarily have an ability score increase, it would be weird if this one didn’t. It’s even on the name.
- Resistance on cold and poison damage. These two types of damage are kinda common.
- Mechanically, it’s not bad. Flavor wise, I kinda like it.
Orcish Aggression (Half-Orc)
That’s pretty much the Aggressive trait of the Orcs. However, you must get closer to the enemy. For its purpose it’s not bad.
Orcish Fury (Half-Orc)
- Strength or Constitution increase by 1.
- Once per short or long rest and when you hit with an attack with a simple or martial weapon, you can add an extra damage die to the weapon’s damage. You can do it whenever you like so you could keep it until you roll a critical hit.
- This is an upgraded Restless Endurance. When you activate it, you can also spend your reaction to make a weapon attack.
Prodigy (Half-Elf or Human)
That’s a Skilled feat variant for Half-Elves and Humans. Instead of gaining proficiency with any combination of three skills or tools, you get an ability score increase by 1, proficiency with a skill and a tool, and fluency with a language. You could say it offers a bit more versatility because of the variety it offers.
Second Chance (Halfling)
- Dexterity, Constitution, or Charisma increase by 1.
- That’s the second part of the Lucky feat. You get to force an enemy to reroll their attack roll. The good part is that you get to know if the attack hits you before you choose to make the enemy reroll. The fact that you need to use your reaction and that you can use this only once per short or long rest make it a little less broken than Bountiful Luck.
Squat Nimbleness (Dwarf, Gnome, or Halfling)
- Strength or Dexterity increase by 1.
- Speed increase by 5 feet. Oh, all the races that have less than the usual speed of 30 feet can pretty much remove this drawback.
- Acrobatics or Athletics proficiency or double proficiency.
- I don’t like this. Mechanics wise, the speed increase isn’t that good as the Mobile feat, which is also much better than this feat in general. The proficiency thing is bad. Flavor wise, I don’t like it either.
Wonder Maker (Rock Gnome)
- I accept this ability score increase.
- Double proficiency with Tinker’s tools. Seems fine.
- Your Tinker trait allows you to make more devices:
- Alarm. It’s an alarm. I guess it’s fine. It can be useful.
- Calculator. Sure.
- Lifter. It can be handy.
- Timekeeper. It’s a pocket watch. I like pocket watches.
- Weather Sensor. It lets you predict the weather in a small area. I like this one. I’d like to see a campaign where weather would play a big role and this would be useful.
Wood Elf Magic (Wood Elf)
You get one Druid cantrip and also can cast Longstrider and Pass without a trace once per long rest. It’s not bad. Flavor wise it’s fine. Pass without a trace can be quite good as well.
And that’s all of them. Again, designing feats is hard. In general, I believe these feats are better than last week’s. Of course, there are some overpowered ones in here but I prefer them over the “double your proficiency” thing. I’m disappointed Humans didn’t get anything good but oh well.
You can read the full article here and download the PDF here. And don’t forget, the survey about last week’s feats can be found here.
4 thoughts on “Unearthed Arcana: Feats for Races Analysis”
Yeah, I like these better than the last batch. More flavorful, better balanced in general. I’m less bothered by the Expertise-mechanic than you are (statistically I think BA is less of a thing when you actually crunch the numbers – even more so with DC’s for skills), but a selection just overall seems better – though humans did get the short straw for some reason.
Of course humans are pretty generic in the RAW, I’d love see something like what is found in the 5E One Ring where most Feats are either racially or (human) culturally-bound. It adds a fair amount of flavor for humans and brings them back into the “fold” when it comes picking them as a race.
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I wouldn’t call myself bothered. It’s just that when I do this analysis I try to be very strict and see things from a design perspective. BA is a thing in 5e and should be kept in mind when creating new things that try to test its limits. However that doesn’t mean that players and DMs don’t like rolling ridiculous numbers. It just seems that BA will break sooner or later and there will be an errata in the future updating it.
Humans are generic indeed. That’s their thing, they let you do whatever you want with them. But there has to be something that makes them unique at some point. Feats could be a possible solution. However, Human Determination and Prodigy don’t do that.
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I will say that despite the name I like what Dwarven Resilience is trying to do. Adding the Hit Die to Dodge makes that a much more useful tactic. Future feats should look to that mechanic of making a lesser usered ability or option more meaningful without destroying balance.
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