Unearthed Arcana 2020: Feats Analysis

16 new feats coming right up!

Time is of the essence. I am busy scheming with a ton of behind the scenes stuff and you need to make a new character so you’re looking for cool feats. So let’s skip the pleasantries and check them out.

Artificer Initiate

You learn an Artificer cantrip and 1-level spell. You can can cast that spell for free once per long rest, but you can use your own spell slots in order to cast it more times. Intelligence is the spellcasting ability for them. Moreover, whenever you gain a level you can swap one of these spells with another one of the same level. Finally, you gain proficiency with one type of artisan’s tools that can also be used as a spellcasting focus for Intelligence based spells.

What I like is that you can use your own spells lots to cast your chosen spell multiple times. This makes it quite better than the Magic Initiate feat. And you also get to change them which gives you even more versatility. Plus, getting an artisan’s tool proficiency could be fun and make your character more unique. On a totally unrelated note, Enchanted Tools is on sale.

Chef

This is a rework of a previous feat, called Gourmand, that was released in an Unearthed Arcana installment way way back in the forgotten time of 2016.

  • You increase either Constitution or Wisdom by 1. Nothing unique here. These ability score seem cooking related enough in my opinion.
  • You gain proficiency with cook’s utensils. Well, the feat is called chef. Not being proficient with the tools of your trade would probably be a bit weird, but definitely fun.
  • You can cook for a number of people equal to 4 + your proficiency modifier during a short rest. Anyone who eats the meal and spends at least one Hit Die, they gain an additional 1d8 hit points back. Lifesaving at lower levels, an okay bonus at higher ones.
  • You can cook again! By spending one hour cooking or at the end of a long rest, you make a number of snacks equal to your proficiency modifier. By spending a bonus action, a creature can eat one and gain a number of hit points equal to your proficiency modifier. Oh, and they last 8 hours (would they last longer if refrigerated?). My comment is pretty much the same with the previous bullet. It seems much more important at lower levels. At higher levels, you probably have better options for your bonus action than gain 5-6 temporary hit points.

I want to like this one. I like the idea of cooking having mechanical effects. I just think the implementation wasn’t very thought out, or I’m just focusing too much on the mechanics. I would probably swap one of the last two options with the ability to remove a status effect or something similar. At least something that keeps its importance at every level.

Crusher

With this feat you can specialize in weapons that deal bludgeoning damage.

  • You can increase either your Strength or Dexterity by 1. Dexterity works too and the first think that comes to mind are Monks.
  • Once per turn, when you hit a creature with an attack that deals bludgeoning damage, you can move it 5 feet to an unoccupied position. My first thought is that this can be easily exploited.
  • When you crit against a creature and deal bludgeoning damage to it, all the others attack against it have advantage until the end of your next turn. The Champion Fighter will probably appreciate this feat a lot.

Damage specialization isn’t something we have seen a lot in 5th Edition, I believe, and I am not sure if we should. Other than that, this feat is quite powerful and I can see a lot of classes benefiting from it, especially Fighters and Monks.

Eldritch Adept (Prerequisite: Spellcasting or Pact Magic feature)

You gain one Eldritch Invocation from the Warlock list. There is an important restriction which is there to reduce the possible game breaking combinations. This restriction notes that, unless you are a Warlock, you an only choose Invocations that do not have any prerequisites. Like with Artificer Initiate you can swap Invocations with each level up.

I believe this is a good feat for both Warlock and non-Warlock characters. There aren’t many Invocations with no prerequisites but there are indeed some good ones.

Fey Touched

The Feywild has left its mark on you, quite positively I’d say.

  • You can increase your Intelligence, Wisdom, or Charisma by 1. Your choice affects which spellcasting ability is used for the spells mentioned below.
  • You learn the Misty Step spell and a 1-level spell from the divination or enchantment school of magic. Like in Artificer Initiate, you can cast one of these once for free per long rest and then you can use your spell slots. You can’t swap the 1st level spell so make sure you pick something you really like.

To be honest, I really like the format of this feat. Misty Step is a really good spell and I am a fan of divination spells. I hope we will see more feats like this one.

Fighting Initiate (Prerequisite: Proficiency with a martial weapon)

You gain a Fighting Style from the Fighter list. This isn’t bad. It allows other classes to get a Fighting Style or a Fighting Style they didn’t already have access to. This could be more interesting when more Fighting Styles join the Fighter list.

Gunner

While firearms are an optional rule in the Dungeon Master’s Guide, it’s nice to see some options for them.

  • Your Dexterity increases by 1.
  • You gain proficiency with firearms. Makes sense.
  • You ignore the loading property of firearms. This allows you to make multiple attacks.
  • This one pretty much allows you to shoot point blank shots without disadvantage.

It’s nothing special but it will make using firearms much better.

Metamagic Adept (Prerequisite: Spellcasting or Pact Magic feature)

You learn to Metamagic options and you can swap one of them whenever you level up. You also gain two sorcery points that can only be used on Metamagic.

To be honest, this feels it helps Sorcerers more than other classes. It increases your Sorcery point maximum and you gain more Metamagic options.

Piercer

Part of the weapon damage type trio.

  • You can increase either your Strength or Dexterity by 1.
  • Once per turn, you can reroll a damage die that deals piercing damage and you have to keep that roll.
  • When you land a critical hit that deals piercing damage, you can roll an extra damage die of piercing damage.

I can’t say this is a bad one. The second part kinda helps you increase your damage output. The third one doesn’t have the same potential for insane damage like Crusher but is still kinda good.

Poisoner

  • Your damage rolls ignore poison resistance. Considering that resistance to poison is common, this is a great boon for someone looking to use poisons.
  • Applying poison on your weapon costs a bonus action instead of an action.
  • You get proficiency with the poisoner’s kit and can make a pretty cool poison. With 50 gold pieces you can make a number of uses equal to your proficiency bonus. It deals 2d8 poison damage (that ignore resistance) with the potential of giving the poisoned status.

This is quite good if you’re planning on using poisons. It helps with resistance and gives you an actually good poison. Keep in mind, however, poison immunity is quite common.

Practiced Expert

  • Increase one ability score by 1.
  • Gain proficiency with a skill or tool.
  • You choose a skill or tool you are proficient with and double the proficiency bonus in skill checks. Also known as Expertise.

When I see things like that my first thought is that bounded accuracy has no meaning. You may say that this is not the only source of Expertise and you will be right, but it’s one more potential thing that can make bounded accuracy worse.

Shadow Touched

I like symmetry. It makes me feel safe. And since a Feywild themed feat exists, it would be disappointing if a Shadowfell one wasn’t in this list.

  • You can increase your Intelligence, Wisdom, or Charisma by 1. Your choice affects which spellcasting ability is used for the spells mentioned below.
  • You learn the darkness spell and one 1st level spell from the illusion or the necromancy school.

My thoughts are pretty much the same as for the Fey Touched feat. Maybe I could say that Misty Spell can be a bit more useful than darkness.

Shield Training

Now shield can be used by everyone!

  • You can increase your Strength, Dexterity, or Constitution by 1.
  • You are proficient with shields.
  • You can don and doff your shield as the free object interaction of your turn. Most people don’t care about that.
  • You can use your shield as your spellcasting focus.

While this feat pretty much takes homebrew rulings and makes them “official”, it also opens the path to dual shield wielding wizards. And I am only half joking when I say that.

Slasher

The final entry in the weapon type damage trilogy.

  • Increase Strength or Dexterity by 1.
  • Once per turn, when you deal slashing damage to a creature you can decrease its speed by 10 until the start of your next turn.
  • When you land a critical hit that deals slashing damage to a creature, it has disadvantage on its attack rolls until the start of your next turn.

This is clearly a more defense focused feat compared to the other three. It tries to protect your allies by not allowing your opponent to close into them and also make them harder to hit (in a way). In the brokeness scale I think it goes second, with Crusher first and Piercer third.

Tandem Tactician

This reminds me of the Warlord from 4th Edition. Too bad I didn’t get the chance to play one back then. I need to run a few 4e sessions.

  • The Help action costs a bonus action instead of an action.
  • If you use the Help action to help an attacking ally, the range is increased by 10 feet and you can also help two allies, as long as they’re attacking the same target.

The Help action now becomes seriously good. Advantage on two attacks using a bonus action? Sign me up.

Tracker

Are you a Ranger? No? Do you kinda want to be one?

  • Increase your Wisdom by 1.
  • You can cast Hunter’s Mark spell. This works the same way all the spells work in this installment. You can cast it once per long rest for free and you can use your spell slots after that.
  • You have advantage when tracking creatures.

It’s fine. Hunter’s Mark is good and tracking creatures is…a thing.

And that’s all for this Unearthed Arcana installment. We saw some really interesting designs this time and I hope we will see more of them. I like the ones that try to make tools more useful, which is something we did with Enchanted Tools as well. I also liked the 2 spell feats.

But what do you think? Do you like the new feats? Do you think that any of them is too broken?

You can read the full article here and download the PDF here.

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