Paths Not Taken: Initial Thoughts on Feats

Living Document: Feats

Feats have been part of Dungeons & Dragons for more than twenty years. They replaced the proficiency (weapon and nonweapon) systems from Advanced Dungeons & Dragons, and offered what was, at the time, a great method of customizing characters. Any time you were eligible for a feat, you could take any feat you wanted, as long as you met the prerequisites.

This was pretty okay when there were about 70 of them, as there were in the 3e Player’s Handbook, and the prerequisites were generally simple. At one time I quite liked the feat ecology and developed an entire class framework around them.

In the Echelon Reference Series, I have catalogued 8,360 feats at last count, and understanding the relationships can be daunting. I don’t want options like this to get confusing or difficult, I want them to be easy to understand and apply.

I want to have a mechanism for abilities outside the class. This mechanism might even allow cross-class abilities (why yes, your rogue can gain the bloodline powers of the aberrant bloodline, enjoy the extra bendy and stretchy arms). I don’t want the cognitive overhead I see with the existing feat mechanics.

That is, it seems like gaining the greatest flexibility and power in a feats framework will increase complexity (and for me, consternation). Keeping it simple means discarding much of the benefit.

I’ve thought about this before — see Related content below — but I’m no longer satisfied by the answer I found then. Must ponder further.

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