Problem Feats in 5E?

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Havard
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Problem Feats in 5E?

Post by Havard » Thu Aug 01, 2019 8:00 am

In my first 5E campaign, I disallowed feats and multiclassing simply because I wanted to keep things simple for myself while learning how the new edition works. Since the I have played in a campaign that did allow Feats and it seemed to work fine so I've caved in to allowing them for my next campaign.

I just came across this youtube episode from Web DM which mentions 3 feats they consider problematic:

Sharpshooter, Great Weapon Fighter and Crossbow Expert.

Do you guys agree that these are problematic? Are there any other feats from any 5E books that you dislike, have banned or made changes to?

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Re: Problem Feats in 5E?

Post by finarvyn » Fri Aug 02, 2019 2:12 pm

Havard wrote:
Thu Aug 01, 2019 8:00 am
3 feats they consider problematic: Sharpshooter, Great Weapon Fighter and Crossbow Expert.
Okay, so here's my story...

I playtested D&D Next and evolved from there to 5E because that happens to be the game that they run at my local store. If I wanted to play D&D (as opposed to running something myself) then 5E was my only option. When I started playing I had a highly negative view towards feats. To me, they added a needless layer of depth and encouraged powergaming. For my first several characters, I never chose a feat but instead only picked the stat improvement option. As time passed I saw other players making use of feats and my dislike wavered. Some of these options were actually kind of neat. And when you realize that a character only gets a feat every four levels or so, and that some of those may be substituted for stat improvements, it's not a huge deal in my campaign. Of course, when I run campaigns it's with a more "OD&D philosophy" whereby characters retire somewhere around level 8-10. That also tends to minimize the impact of feats.

I also think that cantrips are the secret weapon of spellslingers in 5E, so the feat that gets you a couple cantrips and a (one-use per long rest) spell from another class is really a cool thing. When I run spellcasters I always look for more ways to acquire cantrips.

So what about the three feats you cited? Well, Sharpshooter and Great Weapon Fighter do the same thing, only one is missile and one is melee. You take a -5 to hit and gain a +10 damage. I haven't found this to be terribly unbalanced with the exception of the barbarian, who can "reckless" attack at advantage all of the time. For other characters, hitting NPCs with decent armor or monsters with a decent AC is hard with a -5. The crossbow expert feat is used in our game mostly to allow missile attacks at point blank range to happen without suffering disadvantage. While that seems like a pretty big perk, one is sacrificing the stat improvement or a different feat in order to gain this. It doesn't seem to be a game breaker, either.

I guess overall I have feats are pretty well balanced and give players the chance to have KEWL POWERZ without really breaking the game. Now, having said all that I suppose that when characters reach upper levels (say, 15+?) they may have so many abilities that they are no longer fun -- but that may be a function of 5E in general and not feats in specific. When I play 5E at the game store (and when I run it at home) my favorite level range is tier-1 (1-4) and tier-2 (5-10) but I have very little interest in playing or running games in tier-3 (11-16) or tier-4 (17-20).

Maybe this helps. I sense that we probably have similar likes in our D&D. :)
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Re: Problem Feats in 5E?

Post by willpell » Fri Aug 02, 2019 4:15 pm

The only broken feat I've noticed is Lucky, which basically lets you gain "super-Advantage" three times per game, if I remember correctly (it's been half a year since I had any Actual Play, and another half a year since the game where I saw Lucky actually being used to borken effect). Otherwise, the stat improvement you're giving up would probably be more useful than the feat, just less interesting.

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Re: Problem Feats in 5E?

Post by zontoxira » Fri Aug 02, 2019 11:02 pm

The Lucky feat allows to you spend a luck point (you have three each day) to roll an extra d20. Could be attack, check, save, I believe even an opponent's roll could be altered by your luck. A player of mine used to have this feat, she believed she was really bad at rolling dice and needed an extra bump.
Finarvyn is right; sacrificing a two-point ability improvement for a feat is a big deal. You're actually dropping a +1 to get a neat trait that may often come handy.
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Re: Problem Feats in 5E?

Post by talsine » Fri Aug 02, 2019 11:33 pm

I don't think there are really any broken feats, but there are a lot of Powerful class warping ones. I know Crossbow expert is used a lot with dual hand xbow rogue builds but I've only seen them theory crafted, never actually played. No, the ones I am tired of are Polearm Expert and Sentinel which pretty much every martial character i see (palys, fighters, barbarians) has on their sheet. With so few options for the various classes already, this just makes everything even more samey.

YMMV of course,

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Re: Problem Feats in 5E?

Post by pawsplay » Sun Aug 04, 2019 6:09 pm

I don't believe there are any broken feats. "Lucky" clashes with certain play expectations, but I personally don't have a problem with it.

In general, Feats are not as the powerful as the Ability Score Increases they replace. They are a specialty, and you are probably leaning on another character or a trait you have to cover for the deficiency you are leaving. There are a few I would consider a net gain for certain characters because they close an inherent weakness of certain concepts; eg. Medium Armor Mastery for Dex rangers, War Caster for melee casters who want to use offensive magics.

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Re: Problem Feats in 5E?

Post by Dragon Turtle » Tue Aug 06, 2019 9:44 pm

I've split the discussion about Bear Totem Barbarians into a separate thread here.

Enjoy two threads! :)

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