In D&D, especially in 5th edition, feats are often forgotten or under utilized. Many players skip them in favor an ability score improvement. If you haven’t already, remind your players to check out relevant feats when they level up. A feat isn’t just adding some new abilities to your players arsenal- it’s also giving them a little more room to role play. Let’s look at some great ways to use feats for your players in your campaign.
What Are Feats?
A feat is essentially a special talent that a character has attained through training or lifestyle. These can be combat proficiencies, magical enhancements, or in the case of one feat, just luck! The feats for 5e can all be found in the Player’s Hand Book under the customization options and each gives a good description, the SRD equivalent rules can be found here. If you haven’t read through these yet, we highly recommend it. They are all worth looking at and can add a lot of flair to any character.
Why Take a Feat Over an Ability Score Improvement?
Many players refuse to sacrifice and ability score improvement for a feat. They they feel that choosing a feat over a stat improvement will slow down the progress of their character. However, often a feat grants greater benefits than a single digit statistical improvement could. In fact, the feats Athlete, Actor, Durable, Keen Mind, Lightly Armored, Linguist, Observant, Resilient, Tavern Brawler, and Weapon Master all come with an ability score improvement baked in! So yes, if a player takes a feat they will miss out on 2 ability score increases, but each is only worth a 5% bonus to your odds anyway. Taking a feat that grants you advantage in a critical situation is far more likely to add to your success.
Role Playing and Feats
Feats aren’t just for improving combat. While the 5e feats definitely favor combat advantages, there are a few that stand out as great options for role playing. If you have a character that’s always on edge and takes every watch shift, why not encourage the player to take Alert? It grants them bonuses for the quirk and is beneficial for the whole team.
A sassy bard is always a good fit for Actor, but honestly it works even better when paired with a rouge assassin! Gaining the ability to mimic the speech of another person or creature makes for great role play opportunities. Impersonate the guard or distract the goblin lookout! These can be super fun and great for your story overall.
Have a players who’s always rolling ones? Well first off, buy them better dice. But after that, recommend the Lucky feat. There is so much you can do story wise with this. Why did their luck suddenly turn around? Perhaps a story element can be centered around this. You can even go ahead and add it to your narration in combat explaining the character sees the horrible outcome, but then is miraculously fine as if fate has rewritten itself just for them.
Every feat your players take is an opportunity for them to explore their characters more. It also allows you to set up encounters and challenges that play to their strengths. This can make the heroes seem more like heroes, but can also make your story more interesting.
Don’t Let Your Players Forget About Feats!
While your players often level up on their own, its a good idea to remind them to explore all the rules. Recommendations are more than fine; they are part of your job as a DM, especially for new players. While you should not flat out tell them what to pick, presenting them with a reminder to look at all their options make pay off by making your campaign just a bit more fun.