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Nerdarchy > Dungeons & Dragons  > D&D 5E Character Customization and Fabulous 5E Feats

D&D 5E Character Customization and Fabulous 5E Feats

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Hello my fellow gamers, I’m here with some more info for you. Today I want to talk about Dungeons & Dragons character customization and feats. Throughout the evolution of D&D there have been many ways to add flavor, backstory and character customization. In second edition Advanced Dungeons & Dragons you had proficiencies both weapon and nonweapon and these translated mainly to weapon proficiencies and skills in third edition D&D and beyond.

feats character customization D&D 5E

With the Inspiring Leader feat, you can steel your companions’ resolve to face the dangers of adventuring. [Image courtesy Wizards of the Coast]

Character customization leading up to 5E D&D

No where was there an easy way to do something extraordinary in combat short of being a spellcaster and even then you were limited to what spells you had access to. Once 3E D&D came out and changed the spectrum of combat and character customization, D&D became a whole new type of game. As a longtime D&D player I had favored the elf for many reasons, but being graceful and long lived highly appealed to me. That all changed with the introduction of the feat.

Humans receive a free bonus feat at 1st level and the feats give you loads of new options, even if you only chose Toughness to give your wizard 3 more hit points. My initial read through of the sneak peak of the 5E D&D Player’s Handbook never mentioned any specific feats other than they were going to be an optional rule.

Without having anything to compare to I again went back to my roots of old and fell in love with the elf, specifically the high elf subrace. Getting the extra language and a free cantrip from any spell list is just amazing. Once I picked up my 5E D&D PHB and got a proper read through my opinions changed once again.

If you have not read through the 5E D&D feat section you really need to do so. In 3E and 4E D&D the feats represented small things and the feat tree was where it was at. You wanted to get to the top of the tree in order to gain the really awesome advantage.

In 5E D&D it is just the opposite. Many of the things that were feats in previous editions are just things anyone can do. For instance the feat Quickdraw allowed you to draw your weapon as part of an action so without it you always had to say, “I am carrying my weapon” or suffer the loss of the action. The feat Spring Attack allowed you to move, attack and move again and without it you could either attack and move or move and then attack. This was very bad for tactical maneuvering. Now both of these things and more are just something you can do in 5E D&D. It really allows for more dynamic character customization. Now feats represent either a specific talent or training. Feats are something that will make a character with one stand out in a session.

The review I saw said it is more than likely a character with a feat will clearly show they are something special. If your Dungeon Master is using the optional rule you can trade the humans +1 to all ability scores for +1 to two separate ability scores, proficiency in a skill of your choice and a single feat. All other characters have to wait until they reach 4th level or higher if they multiclass.

Some feats give the feel of multiclassing without having to do anything beyond the feat. The feat Magic Initiate gives you 2 cantrips and 1 1st level spell from a single spell list. So if I play a fighter and take this feat and now I am fighter/cleric or fighter/wizard. With multiclassing it will take longer before you get access to your ability score increase and feat options, but feats become a way to get access to a small piece of a different classes’ features without actually multiclassing.

The other feat I fell in love with is Heavy Armor Master. This one reduces the damage by 3 for any nonmagical damage you take as long as you are wearing heavy armor. So a human playing a fighter or paladin could take this and essentially gain Damage Reduction 3 at 1st level, in previous edition terms. With the higher chance for death at low levels this could be a total game changer.

The 5E D&D PBD has 42 feats in it. You have to sack two +1 ability score increases to get one at 4th level and beyond. But 13 of these feats give you a +1 ability score increase along with some cool abilities. Look through the list and if you are going to choose an ability score increase see if you can get a feat that gets you the bonus as well as an ability. At worst you can always take Resilient. This feat gives you a +1 ability score increase of your choice and proficiency in the saving throw.

If you are going for character customization in 5E D&D it is an easy choice. I will always opt to take a feat.

So there you have it, my take on the wonders of the fabulous feat of 5E D&D. Tell me your favorite 5E D&D feat in the comments below and why. With that this is Nerdarchist Ted saying until next time, stay nerdy my friend!

Nerdarchy’s 5th Edition Dungeons and Dragons Feat Video

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Ted Adams

The nerd is strong in this one. I received my bachelors degree in communication with a specialization in Radio/TV/Film. I have been a table op role player for about 20 years 17 of which with the current group. I have played several itterations of D&D, Mutants and Masterminds 2nd and 3rd editions, Star wars RPG, Shadowrun and World of Darkness. I am an avid fan of books and follow a few authors reading all they write. Favorite author is Jim Butcher I have been an on/off larper for around 15 years even doing a stretch of running my own for a while. I have played a number of Miniature games including Warhammer 40K, Warhammer Fantasy, Heroscape, Mage Knight, Dreamblade and D&D Miniatures. I have practiced with the art of the German long sword with an ARMA group for over 7 years studying the German long sword, sword and buckler, dagger, axe and polearm. By no strecth of the imagination am I an expert but good enough to last longer than the average person if the Zombie apocalypse ever happens. I am an avid fan of board games and dice games with my current favorite being Quarrios.


  • rph
    April 5, 2015 at 8:27 pm

    Tough choices! Thanks for the article.

  • Angus Maclean
    June 2, 2015 at 2:27 pm

    Lucky. Lucky by a flat mile. I'm playing a Paladin, and I'm the front-line tank. Forcing re-rolls on successful attacks, when my opponents are already on Disadvantage, gives them essentially no chance to hit me. Sir Torrhen was confidently holding 4 opponents at once at first level, letting the archers take care of business.

  • Barış Akpınar
    September 4, 2015 at 11:43 am

    I have to mention that you can't take any feats at lv 1 in D&d5. I've searched many sources and finally that is my conclusion.

  • Cappie King
    September 5, 2015 at 4:53 pm

    As a Human, you can take Variant Human Trais at level 1 and you gain a Feat. It's on page 31 of the Player's Handbook. It reads:

    Variant Human Traits
    If your campaign allows the optional feat rules from chapter 5, your DM might allow these variant traits, all of which replace the human's Ability Score Increase Trait.
    – Ability Score Increase: Two different ability scores fo your choice increase by 1.
    – Skills: You gain proficiency in one skill of your choice.
    – Feat: You gain one feat of your choice.

    This replaces the "Ability Score Increase: Your ability scores each increase by 1" portion of a human character at level 1.
    This Variation can only be used at level 1, during character creation.

  • Barış Akpınar
    September 5, 2015 at 4:59 pm

    Cappie King Thats why most of Dungeon Masters ban this Variant Race. Variant Human is really imbalanced.

    • Dane Schort
      April 10, 2017 at 4:53 am

      Not really, they are giving up four ability points, and three skill proficiencies to get a feat. That in it self is a steep price. Also, the human does not get many other benefits, such as dragon breath, or night vision. They need something to make them worth picking, otherwise no one would ever be human. I agree that lucky is the beast feat. My DM changed it so if I fail with any lucky points I can not take the next long rest. So obviously I can’t pick it.

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