So the head of development on 5th Edition, Mike Mearls, has just released in his latest Legends and Lore article (found here) a bit about a topic near and dear to my heart: Feats.
In 3rd Edition they were at times very strong, but, as the article above mentions, you also needed to string them together, or there were some that were so specific or almost useless that they'd never see the table unless in very obscure circumstances. In 4th I felt as if feats in general took a backseat, becoming minor advantages.
5th Edition's take on them is a bit along the lines of what I thought in terms of impact. The only time you can take a feat is as a replacement for an ability score increase when leveling up. As this is generally a very large power increase, that means that feats need to have a large impact as well, and it appears they do.
The view on them leans (as do other mechanics in the system) heavily towards the RP side of things, making feats things primarily designed for fleshing out a character concept better than the normal classes (or multi-classing) might allow.
In the article, Mike lists every single feat that will be in the Player's Handbook, which I thought was amazing. Aside from the fact that we just get a clean sneak peak at the entire list, I think the thing I found most intriguing was that the list was small. Counting the list, it comes in at a tight 42 feats. To put this in perspective, the feat count in the 3rd edition Player's Handbook was a whopping 119! 4th ed's was also large with 81 feats, meaning that this edition is significantly smaller, but potentially much more impactful than previous editions.
You can see Mike's full list of feats in his post, but I'll list a few of my favorites (or ones that look like other's will really gravitate towards them):
- Defensive Duelist
- Dual Wielder
- Dungeon Delver
- Inspiring Leader
- Mage Slayer
- Mounted Combatant
- Savage Attacker
- Shield Master
- Spell Sniper
- Tavern Brawler
- War Caster
One of my personal faves in there was Grappler. I always loved the idea of a fighter who's primary method was getting in there and fighting with a very tactile sensibility about him, perhaps even multi-classing into some kind of magic user class to cast touch-based spells; I think that would be amazing. What it sounds like is the general way feats work now is that they are more a suite of abilities, or a kit in order to make sure your character can embody whatever the feat you choose represents. So you want to be a Grappler? Choose the Grappler feat, it'll have what you need to help your character do just that.
Now, granted, the article does not give what all the feats actually do (we actually have to wait for the darn books *kicks a rock*) but between this list and Mike's example of what the Lucky feat does (spoiler alert: it's awesome) we can get a pretty good idea of what they'll yield. So far, I'm still pumped!
Stay tuned and be sure to post in the comments any thoughts or questions you might have!