Feats! These abilities are a great addition to your D&D character, a way to push them further in combat and options to pass skill checks, or else enhance their skills in magic.
Perhaps you’ve been told that you can add a feat to your character by your DM, or maybe you’ve come across it on your character sheet and are looking to know what your options are. Whether you’re a min-maxer or a classic murder-hobo who doesn’t care all that much about the build of your character, you’re going to need to know a little more about feats as your character grows and flourishes.
But we know that the rules of 5e can be difficult to understand without a lot of research, particularly for a beginner. If you find yourself looking over feats and struggling to make sense of them, then don’t worry! you have come to the right place!
In this article, we are going to be taking you through everything you’ll need to know about feats. We will give you explanations of different ones, basic overviews, and a more in-depth guide if you’re already an experienced player.
So let’s begin! Grab your rule book, your pencils, and your character sheet, and let’s delve into the expansive world of D&D feats.
What Are Feats?
Okay, so let’s begin with the easiest questions. You’ve come across the term feats, and you need to know what it means. Feats are special abilities that characters can choose to take as part of their character creation process. They can be taken from any class, but they are often associated with certain classes such as fighters and rogues.
The most important thing to remember is that feats do not replace class features. Instead, they augment them. This means that a fighter can still use his bonus action to attack twice, even though he has chosen to take feats that allow him to do so.
Feats are divided into two categories: standard and advanced.
Standard feats are those that are available to all characters, while Advanced feats are only available to characters who meet specific requirements. These requirements include being proficient in one or more skills, having a high enough level, or having a particular ability score (such as Wisdom).
Standard feats are usually very simple. They are either passive or active. Passive feats simply grant your character bonuses when using certain abilities. For example, a rogue could take the Improved Sneak Attack feat, which gives him an advantage on attacks against prone targets.
Active feats require your character to perform actions to activate them. For example, a wizard could take Weapon Focus, which allows her to focus on a weapon she is holding.
Alternatively, a character may take multiple feats. Each feat grants your character a benefit, whether it is a bonus to hit, damage dealt, saving throws, etc. A good example of this would be the Fighter Archetype Rogue. The archetype rogue has access to both the Combat Expertise feat and the Evasion feat. Both of these feats provide benefits, but each does so in a slightly different way.
Combat Expertise provides a +1 bonus to AC, whereas Evasion provides a -5 penalty to AC. Because of this difference, it is possible to take both feats, allowing you to get the best of both worlds.
Advanced feats are where things get interesting. Some of these feats are extremely powerful, allowing players to become almost unstoppable in combat. Others are more subtle, adding new ways to interact with the rules of the game.
The best way to think of feats is as tools. A toolbox is a great concept for anyone who enjoys tinkering with objects. It helps us understand how to make something work better, by taking away parts that aren’t necessary and replacing them with other parts that are. In the same way, a feat allows you to add a new tool to your character.
For example, if you want to play a stealthy rogue, then you should look towards the Stealth feat. This feat allows you to hide in plain sight, making it harder to notice. If you want to play a sneaky rogue, then you should take the Stealth feat.
This is just an example of a single feat. There are many others out there, and they all have their unique uses. When choosing feats, it is always worth looking at what kind of character you’re trying to create. Are you playing a melee warrior? Then you might want to take the Great Weapon Master feat. Or maybe you’re playing a ranged assassin? You might want to take the Sniper feat instead.
How Do I Get Feats?
Feats can come from any number of sources.
Feat advancement isn’t a necessary part of character advancement but can be added to the optional rules section of a 5e campaign. When you level up a character to a point where he/she will be able to gain an ability score improvement (such as 4, 8, 12, 16, or 19) you can instead choose to skip the ability score improvement and select a feat instead.
Some feats require certain abilities, such as a sufficiently good ability score, or a knack for spellcasting. There are no feats for low-level characters, so you won’t be able to use them until you meet the requirements, and if you ever lose a feat’s prerequisites, you’ll also lose access to its benefits.
Other feats are gained through class features. For example, the barbarian gains Rage when using his rage feature. He can also choose to take the Improved Unarmed Strike feat, which gives him a chance to land a critical hit on every attack.
Finally, some feats are gained through prestige classes. These are usually very specialized, and offer additional options that don’t exist otherwise. They are often difficult to attain, however, and most characters only gain one per level.
Okay, so now that we’ve defined what we mean by feats, and explained the difference between Standard and Advanced Feats, we want to jump into a huge list of different feats, and how these can be used in different situations.
We are going to break this down by each of the main 5e classes at first so that you can scroll down to the character you play and get a glimpse into the kind of feats you’ll be able to select in the future.
So let’s start with barbarian, one of the classes that are more inclined to fight with fists and weapons in close combat. As a result, barbarians tend to focus on Strength related feats, since they need to be strong enough to wield weapons effectively.
Here are the feats that a barbarian can gain, up to level 20.
- Improved Critical: Gain a +1 bonus on your next weapon attack roll made with advantage.
- Greater Multiple Attack: Whenever you make two attacks with a heavy weapon, add your Strength modifier to both damage rolls.
- Power Attack: Add your Strength modifier to the damage dealt by your unarmed strikes.
- Two-Weapon Fighting: When you engage in two-weapon fighting, you can add your Strength modifier to the combined damage of the two attacks.
- War Caster: Your proficiency bonus applies to saving throws against spells and other magical effects.
As you can see, all of the barbarian feats are to do with adding power to their melee combat prowess. if you pick these feats alongside having inherently large strength modifiers, you are likely to be a wrecking ball during combat. A barbarian is a class that every party can have to rely on when things get heavy – so these feats will allow you to be that party member!
Is there anything more annoying than a bard? We’re just kidding! They’re a diverse and complex class to play! The bard has a lot of interesting feats available to them, especially considering they can multiclass into a fighter. The feats are split into three categories, depending on whether you want to specialize in song, performance, or utility.
Song Feat List
These feats are designed to help you improve your singing skills, and include things like increasing the maximum number of songs you can know, improving your ability to sing while drunk, and even making it easier to cast spells while singing.
Increase Song Knowledge: Increase your maximum number of known songs from 3 to 10.
Singing While Drunk: You can drink alcohol without suffering any penalties.
Casting Spells While Singing: You can cast cantrips while singing.
Performance Feat List
These are feats that are meant to help you perform better, including increasing your proficiency bonus, giving you an extra attack, and allowing you to use your Charisma instead of Intelligence for initiative checks. These feats will allow you to entertain NPCs during intense moments of RP, or else annoy your other party members when relaxing at your local tavern.
Proficiency Bonus: Increase your proficiency bonus from +0 to +2.
Extra Attack: Make an additional attack as part of your action.
Use Charisma Instead Of Intelligence For Initiative Checks: Use your charisma modifier instead of intelligence for initiative checks.
Utility Feat List
These are feats that don’t really fit into either category but still have some usefulness. One example would be the feat that allows you to throw objects out of range of enemies.
Throw Objects Out Of Range: You can throw objects out of reach of creatures within 60 feet of you.
In addition to this, some feats give you bonuses to saves, such as the feat that gives you a bonus to saving throws against poison.
Bonus Saves: Gain a bonus to saves equal to half your proficiency bonus (rounded down).
Poison Resistance: Reduce the save DCs required by poisons by 2 points.
What To Pick For Your Bard?
So, what does all this mean? Well, let’s take a look at how these feats work together.
A character who picks up the Song Feat List will gain access to 10 new songs. This means that they’ll be able to learn about 10 more songs than before. If you’ve already learned 3 songs, then you only need 7 more to learn. However, if you haven’t yet learned any songs, then you’ll need to spend time learning them.
Characters who select the Performance Feat list will get to add their proficiency bonus to their attacks. This is useful because it makes it easier to hit monsters with high AC values. It also increases the chance that you’ll hit multiple times per round.
Characters who pick up the Utility Feat list will get a few nice benefits. First, they’ll be able to throw items out of range of enemies, which could come in handy when fighting in tight spaces. Second, they’ll be able to increase their save DCs by half their proficiency bonus. Finally, they’ll be able to reduce the saved DCs needed by poisons by two points.
All in all, the bards are a fun class to play, and I hope you enjoy using them as much as we do!
The Rogue Class Guide has been updated to include information on the rogue subclass, the Assassin. The Assassin is a melee-focused class that uses sneak attacks to deal massive amounts of damage. They’re not very good at ranged combat, so they tend to stick close to their foes.
Assassin Subclass Features
As a subclass, assassins gain access to several features that make them even better at sneaking around.
- Sneak Attacks: Your Sneak check replaces your Dexterity (Stealth) check. When making a stealth check, you must choose whether to attempt to hide or move silently. You cannot attempt both simultaneously.
- Improved Unarmed Strike: Whenever you score a critical hit with an unarmed strike, you may roll one additional weapon damage die.
- Improved Critical: Once per turn, you can reroll a failed ability check, attack roll, or saving throw. On a success, the spell or effect deals double damage to the target.
- Deadly Reach: As a bonus action, you can extend your arm to grab a creature within 5 feet of you. Make a grapple check contested by the target’s Strength (Athletics) check. If you succeed, you pull the target towards you. You can use this feature several times equal to 1 + your Constitution modifier. You regain expended uses when you finish a long rest.
There aren’t many feats available to rogues. Most of the feats are utility feats that help you out in specific situations. Here are some of our favorites:
- Improved Initiative: Gain advantage on initiative checks.
- Rapid Shot: Add your Dexterity modifier to your next ranged attack.
- Deadly Aim: Add your Intelligence modifier to your next ranged critical hit.
The Druid Class Guide has been updated with information on the druid subclass, the Circle of Balance. Druids are nature lovers, but they don’t just sit back and watch the world go by. Instead, they try to keep a balance between the natural world and the people living in it.
Like other classes, druids have a variety of feats available to them. Some of these feats are more effective than others, but they all serve to give druids a bit of extra power. Let’s take a look at a list of these feats below.
Circle Of Balance Feat List
- Greater Spell Focus: Increase your caster level for spells from the chosen school by 2 levels.
- Spell Penetration: When you cast a spell that affects a creature, you can add your Wisdom modifier to its saving throws against the spell.
- Improved Animal Companion: Add your Wisdom modifier to the AC of your animal companion.
- Animal Companion: Your animal companion gains a new special ability. It also gains a new size category.
- Mental Fortitude: While you are wearing no armor, your Armor Check Penalty equals twice your proficiency bonus.
- Improved Pact Magic: Increase your caster level by 2. This does not increase the maximum level of spells you can prepare.
- Pact Boon: At the 3rd level, you learn how to create a pact boon. A pact boon is like a magic item, except it doesn’t require attunement and it lasts until dispelled. The DM determines what properties the boon possesses. To create a pact boon, you expend a spell slot as if you were casting the spell slot’s associated enchantment spell.
For example, if you expend a 3rd-level spell slot to create a pact boon, then the DM might determine that the boon has a duration of 10 minutes, that it causes a disadvantage on saves against charm effects, and so forth.
As a druid, you have one of the most versatile kits in all of 5e to play around with. With this, you should try and make sure you are picking feats that benefit your party and yourself. Druids are some of the most useful members of a party and you want to make sure you’re building your character to be flexible in battles.
Feats are important for a ranger because they will offer you unique abilities that will allow you to prepare your party for moments of conflict. Rangers are usually very good at finding their foes and striking when they least expect it. They are often used in stealthy situations where they can strike before their enemies know they are there.
- Sneak Attack: You gain a +2 bonus to attack rolls made while sneaking.
- Stealthy Movement: Whenever you move at half speed or less, you gain an advantage on Stealth checks.
- Survival Instincts: When you aren’t incapacitated, you have an advantage on Survival checks.
- Wilderness Awareness: You always have an advantage on Perception checks made to notice secret doors or hidden passageways.
There are extra feats within ranger subclasses, but the ones listed above give you an idea of what a ranger can do. They rely on perception, survival, and stealth. If you don’t already have a rogue in your party, you can rely on these feats to get yourself into good positions to attack or to track enemy units before engaging them.
It also helps you find secret passageways and good routes through treacherous dungeons.
The artificer is a master of crafting magic items. They are masters of their craft and can create magical items that rival those crafted by wizards. Artificers are often found working with wizards, though some prefer to work alone.
The best feats for an artificer include:
- Craft Wondrous Item, which lets you make a new wondrous item every day.
- Craft Magic Arms & Armor, which lets you add magical properties to mundane arms and armor, such as fireproofing.
- Create Magical Items, which let you combine two non-magical objects to create a single magical object.
An artificer is a great, unique addition to any party who will be able to greatly enhance the gear and abilities of its other members. We highly recommend making good use of Craft Wondrous Items.
You might not be able to support your party on the battlefield as well as a barbarian, fighter, monk, or wizard, but you will be able to give your friends the tools they need to slay mighty dragons and mind flayers!
A paladin is a holy warrior dedicated to serving a deity. Paladins are known for being extremely loyal to their god and often serve as protectors of their faith. As a result, they are often sent out to fight evil wherever they may find it.
Paladins are typically armed with swords and shields, often using heavy armor. Their weapons are imbued with divine energy, allowing them to channel that power to increase their strength and damage.
Paladins have access to many different feats, including:
- Divine Sense: Gain advantage on Wisdom (Perception) checks to detect creatures or objects that are blessed by a cleric or paladin of your deity.
- Faithful Defender: While wearing light armor, you gain resistance to bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing damage from melee attacks.
- Faithful Weapon: Your weapon gains a special property when you wield it in battle. The DM determines the type of property based on the weapon’s material. The weapon must be wielded in one hand only. If the weapon has more than one type of property, choose one type.
- Holy Aura: You and friendly creatures within 10 feet of you gain temporary hit points equal to 1/4th your paladin level whenever you take radiant damage.
- Protector: Friendly creatures within 30 feet of you have resistance to all damage until the start of your next turn.
A cleric is a member of the clergy and is dedicated to serving others through prayer and divine power. Clerics have usually ordained priests, monks, or nuns. Some clerics follow the path of the paladin, while others follow the path of the bard. Regardless of their particular path, clerics are known for their devotion to the gods.
The best feats available to a cleric include:
- Divine Sense: Gain advantage on Wisdom (Perception) checks made to detect secret doors and hidden traps.
- Channel Divinity: Choose one of your Channel Divinity options. You gain additional uses per short rest.
- Holy Weapon: As a standard action, choose one weapon within reach. That weapon becomes holy, granting a +1 bonus to attack rolls made with it. It also deals with radiant damage instead of normal damage. This effect lasts until the end of your next turn.
- Holy Symbol: Your symbol allows you to cast spells without using components. You must have at least 1 minute of concentration to maintain this ability. If you lose concentration, roll a d20. On a 20, you regain concentration immediately.
If you are trying to play a traditional healing cleric, we very much suggest selecting feats that will help you to support your party. You need to be one of the backline members of your party, especially during battles where your low HP isn’t going to make you all that useful close up against enemies.
Much like the barbarian, as a fighter, you are going to want to be on the frontlines. Fighters specialize in melee combat and are often the first line of defense when there’s trouble brewing. The best feats for a fighter include:
- Great Weapon Master: When you score a critical hit with a melee weapon attack, you can reroll the die and must use the new result.
- Improved Critical: Your weapon attacks deal extra damage if you score a critical hit. Roll the extra damage twice and apply it only once.
- Unarmed Combat: While unarmed, you can use Dexterity instead of Strength for the attack and damage rolls of your Unarmoured Movement.
With these feats, you’ll be able to take down monsters quickly and efficiently. And since you’re so close to them, you can easily heal the wounds that come from battle.
Monks are some of the most versatile characters in DnD. They are trained to focus on meditation and self-improvement, which means they can do a lot more than just fight. Monks can use their ki points to perform powerful feats such as:
- Ki Burst: Once per round, you may expend 2 ki points to cause an area burst of energy around you. All creatures within 10 feet of you must succeed on a DC 15 Constitution saving throw or become frightened of you for 1 hour.
A creature automatically succeeds on this save if it has no ki points. Creatures affected by this ability cannot benefit from resistance or immunity to fear effects.
- Ki Strike: When you successfully hit a creature with a monk weapon attack, you can expend 1 ki point to attempt to critically wound the target. If successful, the target takes an amount of piercing damage equal to your proficiency modifier.
This feat is great for dealing out extra damage to enemies who’ve taken too many hits already. By expanding a ki point, you can try to finish off a wounded enemy.
Sage Advice: Whenever you would normally gain a level, you can select any two levels from other classes, gaining the benefits of those levels as well.
For example, if you were previously a rogue at the 3rd level, you could choose between being a 4th level rogue or a 6th level bard. This allows you to have a wide variety of options available to you.
Sorcerers are masters of magic. With their spells, they can cast powerful spells that can turn the tide of a battle. Sorcerers also get access to a few unique feats that are perfect for helping them keep their friends alive. These feats include:
- Arcane Recovery: As long as you haven’t used your Arcane Recovery feature yet, you regain hit points whenever you cast a spell.
- Conjure Minor Elementals: You can summon a single elemental companion to aid you in battle. Choose either fire, cold, lightning, thunder, acid, poison, necrotic, radiant, psychic, force, good, evil, or neutral. The chosen element appears in an unoccupied space within 30 feet of you. It remains there until dismissed with a command word.
The summoned elemental obeys your commands as best it can. It does not add its abilities or features to yours. Instead, it uses its own set of skills and powers. In addition, while you are incapacitated or absent, the elemental acts independently. At the GM’s discretion, the elemental might even attack or defend itself without your orders.
You can use this feat to help protect your allies. You can conjure up a small elemental ally that will follow you around and protect your friends.
- Elemental Precision: When you make a ranged attack using a sorcerer weapon, you can expend one use of your arcane recovery feature to reroll all attacks made with that weapon against the same target.
This feat is fantastic for protecting your allies. You can spend some time casting spells to help your allies survive, then switch over to melee combat when things start getting heated.
- Spell Sniper: Your ranged attacks deal additional damage based on how far away the opponent is.
You have an advantage on attack rolls against targets more than 20 feet away.
This feat is excellent for dealing massive amounts of damage to opponents who’ve gotten too close. You can use this feat when you’re fighting in melee range, but you’ll still be able to do some serious damage.
- Virtue of Valor: Once per encounter, you can take 10 temporary hit points instead of taking a standard action to activate your reaction.
This feat is awesome for keeping yourself safe during combat. You can use this ability when you need to dodge incoming blows, but you don’t want to waste your actions by activating your reaction.
Wizards are experts at manipulating magical energy. They can create powerful effects with a simple flick of their fingers. Wizards also get access to a couple of unique feats that are perfect to help them keep their allies alive. These feats include:
- Evocation Mastery: You learn to channel energy into evocations. Evocations are special types of spells that wizards can cast. You must choose from the following options: acid, cold, electricity, fire, lightning, necromancy, poison, telekinesis, thunder, true strike, or wind.
You gain expertise in the school associated with your choice. If you already know the school, you gain proficiency in two other schools of your choice.
Evocation Mastery lets you focus on creating powerful evocations. This is great if you’re trying to heal your allies. You can use this to help keep your allies healthy, or maybe even save them from certain death.
- Focused Strike: Whenever you score a critical hit with a wizard weapon, you can immediately make another attack roll against the same creature.
This feat is amazing for saving your allies from certain death. You can use this when you’re fighting in close quarters, but you won’t be able to use any of your normal weapons.
- Improved Critical: Your weapon attacks score a critical hit on a roll of 19-20.
This feat helps you to become a better fighter. You can use this whenever you want to improve your chance of hitting something important.
- Mastery of Tactics: You can use your bonus action to move up to half your speed, and you can use your action to Dash or Disengage.
This feat is great for helping you stay out of harm’s way. You can use this anytime you need to run away from danger.
The warlock class has one of the most versatile spell lists available. Warlocks can use their magic to create all kinds of different effects. The best part about being a warlock is that they can use these abilities to protect themselves as well as their allies. Here are three feats that are perfect for helping you fight alongside your friends.
Let’s take a look at the class and the feats available to it here.
- Cantrips: You learn four cantrips of your choice from the Warlock spell list. When you reach the 3rd level, you learn an additional two cantrips of your choice from that list. At the 6th, 9th, 12th, 15th, 18th, and 21st levels, you can add one additional spell to the ones you know. Each of these new spells must be of a level for which you have spell slots.
For instance, if you’re a 10th-level warlock, you can learn one 1st-level spell and one 2nd-level spell. As long as the spells aren’t higher than the 5th level, you can find them in any book.
Cantrips let you start casting spells without having to spend time preparing them ahead of time. This means that you can easily switch between using your powers and attacking enemies.
- Spells: You prepare several spells equal to your Charisma modifier + half your warlock level (minimum of one spell). The Spells prepared must be of a level no higher than what you can normally cast.
At each of your leveling tiers, you can replace one spell you know with another spell from the warlock spell list. These spells must also be at least one level lower than the spell you’re replacing.
You get to choose when you level up. You can decide to change your spells at every level or only some of them. If you do not wish to change your spells, you may leave them unchanged until you gain a level in this class.
So there you have it! That was a total guide to feats for all of the main 5e classes. Before we finish this article, we would like to point out that this is just the beginning. Like all things in D&D, you can go even more in-depth with min-maxing your character through the use of feats if you so choose!
This guide is meant to serve as a basis for you to understand before researching and delving deeper to build your character! We hope that you enjoyed reading this article and that you now feel more confident about feats in 5e D&D.
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