I have long been a fan of Feats and in Dungeons & Dragons 5E they help create more interesting characters. It is no surprise that we have a house rule that PCs start with a Feat and many encountered creatures have a Feat as well. These were originally written years ago with inspiration taken from earlier editions. A brief note follows each one with the thought process behind them. Use them as you see fit.
You have spent a lifetime preparing to right some ancient wrong against your people. Choose an ancestral foe that bears the burden of your wrath: constructs, dragons, elementals, elves, giants, goblins, orcs, or undead. You gain the following benefits against your ancient foe:
- During your first round of any combat, you are at advantage on any attack rolls
- You may add your proficiency bonus to damage rolls
- As a reaction, you may impose disadvantage on an attack roll against you
This was inspired by a trait of Dwarfs in a previous edition, namely against Giants. It pairs well with the Ranger abilities but still offers something different.
Prerequisite: The ability to cast spells
You can use your own life force as a source of magical fuel, causing injury to empower your magic.
- Increase your Constitution by 1, to a maximum of 20.
- As a bonus action you can spend up to three hit dice and add the result of the roll to the damage or healing roll of a spell cast before the end of your next turn.
- When you reduce a creature to 0 hit points with a spell attack, you may spend one hit dice for free within the next 10 rounds. You cannot have more than three of these free dice saved.
Blood magic is a theme in many fantasy novels and video games, sometimes good and often evil. It was tempting to link the number of hit dice available for spending to the proficiency bonus, but the thought of 6d6 to up to three spell attacks kept me to only three dice. It also links to the idea of empathetic healing and channeling of different life forces.
Prerequisite: Ability to cast spells
Before you make a spell attack, you can choose to take a -5 penalty to the attack roll. If the spell hits, you add +10 to the spell damage. This Feat cannot be used for spells that do not require a spell attack roll. Additionally you learn a cantrip of your choice that requires a spell attack roll. If it is from a spell list different from your own, you may use your class spell casting modifier for this spell.
This was an obvious one, taking the framework of the Sharpshooter and Great Weapon Master Feats. Both of those feats come with an additional ability and it seemed reasonable to add learning a Cantrip that requires an attack roll. The choice of using your own class spell modifier seemed to fit better.
Your fiendish heritage is pronounced. You gain the following benefits:
- Your tail is prehensile and can hold and manipulate objects that weigh no more than 10 lbs. If the object is a weapon, it is treated as if it were in your off hand.
- You possess natural weaponry. It might be horns, claws, or even a stinger. You may make an unarmed attack that deals 1d4 + Strength Modifier piercing damage.
This was inspired by the X-Men character Nightcrawler. I knew that I wanted something that would allow a tiefling to wield a rapier with their tail. It was tempting to give the option of natural weaponry as either Dexterity or Strength based but that didn’t seem to fit. There is an assumption that creatures are proficient in unarmed attacks. If that isn’t the case at your table, I highly recommend that creatures are assumed proficient with their natural weapons.
Due to your extensive training with spears, you gain the following benefits:
- You may treat spears as finesse weapons.
- When you wield a spear two-handed it gains the Reach property.
- When you take an Attack action and attack using only a spear, you can use a bonus action to attempt to trip your opponent, using your To Hit Roll against your target’s Strength (Athletic) or Dexterity (Acrobatics). If your roll is higher than your target’s roll, they fall prone.
This is directly inspired by wuxia action movies, in particular a fight sequence in ‘Hero’ with Jet Li. The trip mechanic is slightly modified from the Shove maneuver, justified by an Athletics roll is normally equal to 1d20 + Str Mod + Proficiency bonus which is identical to a standard melee attack roll. Should the weapon me magical, it makes sense that it should be better at a maneuver like this.
You have devoted yourself to mastering weapons. This feat may be gained multiple times for different weapons.
- Increase your Strength or Dexterity score by 1, to a maximum of 20.
- Choose four weapons. You may add your proficiency bonus to damage rolls when using these weapons.
As written, the Weapon Master feat in the Player’s Handbook is weak. The classes that lack proficiency in martial weapons are also those least likely to want them and unlikely to waste a feat or an increase in characteristics. Rarely do characters ever stray from a core of two or three weapons that they will use in combat. Weapon specialization in earlier editions added to hits and damage (double specialization was brutal) but we decided to keep this bounded with to hits. The notion of the ability growing over time rather than a static +2 as found in some fighting styles also felt right.