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Stinky Feats: A Few Feat Alternatives to the June 2016 UA

Today a new Unearthed Arcana was released. It’s a look inside their feat design thought process, which is cool. I’m always a big fan of behind-the-scenes features. A glimpse into someone’s thought process can go a long way towards things making sense, or seeing it from another perspective. Unfortunately, I don’t think this UA was a particularly strong showing. It highlighted some of the power creep disconnects that game is currently facing, and it also engages in the rules legalese that can really turn people off to an experience. Rather than pick it apart (it’s a free release brainstorming work for a reason, and I like the tool feat ideas), I thought I might try my hand at what I would like to see from future feats.

Briefly stated, I’d like to see expanded support for weapons that are not likely to see a lot of use due to initial design. I’d also like to see some additional caster options. One of the things I like about feat design is the usually large net it casts in any specific area. Any created feat should have a similarly wide imprint. Another thing I like about original feats are they stay away from small numerical bonuses. Adding something like a passive +1 bonus to attack rolls is going to border on mandatory, particularly in bounded accuracy design. There should be several different, yet similarly themed, parts of the feat. The power of any created feats should not exceed the existing feats. This is pretty easy to do, with stuff like Great Weapon Mastery, Sharpshooter, Sentinel, and War Caster on the table.

Uncommon Weapon Mastery
You have mastery a variety of uncommonly used weaponry. You gain the following benefits when using a flail, great club, handaxe, morningstar, quarterstaff, sickle, spear, trident, or war pick:

  • When wielding one of the listed weapons, you may assign it one of the following attributes it does not currently possess: finesse, heavy, light, reach, or versatile. Weapons assigned the versatile attribute have their damage increased by one die size when wielded with two hands (1d6 to 1d8, for example). Once selected, this weapon type retains this attribute until you take a long rest.
  • At the end of a long rest, you may select one of the following features to use with the listed weapons:
    • Brutal – critical strikes with this weapon deal an extra weapon die
    • Destructive – when you cast a spell that requires a melee hit, spend a bardic inspiration die, ki point, sorcery point, or superiority die as part of an attack with this weapon, the attack deals an additional 1d6 weapon damage.
    • Rusty – when you score a critical hit with this weapon, the weapon deals an extra 1d8 necrotic damage and the target must succeed on a DC 13 Constitution saving throw or become poisoned until the end its next turn.
    • Serene – when you score a critical hit with this weapon, you restore 1 bardic inspiration die, channeled divinity, ki point, second wind, sorcery point, superiority die, or one 1st-level spell slot
    • Sharp – you score a critical hit on a number one lower than you would normally score a critical hit (if you score a critical hit on a 20, you now score a critical hit on a 19 or 20. if you score a critical hit on a 18, 19, or 20, you now score a critical hit on a 17, 18, 19, or 20)
  • As a bonus action, you may perform a special maneuver as part of a melee weapon attack with this weapon. At the end of each long rest, choose a maneuver. You may perform this maneuver a number of times equal to 1+Strength Modifier or 1+Dexterity Modifier, whichever is higher. You may choose between the following maneuvers:
    • Bleeding Attack – This maneuver requires a piercing or slashing weapon. When you hit a target, the target must succeed at a Constitution saving throw equal to 8 + Strength Modifier or Dexterity Modifier + Your Proficiency Bonus or take 2d6 necrotic damage at the start of the target’s next turn.
    •  Breaking Attack – This maneuver requires a bludgeoning or heavy weapon. When you hit a target, the target must succeed at a Dexterity saving throw equal to 8 + Strength Modifier or Dexterity Modifier + Your Proficiency Bonus or the target must roll a 1d4 and subtract the number rolled from the attack rolls, damage rolls, and saving throws until the end of its next turn, and also suffers an additional 1d4 weapon damage from this attack.
    • Momentum Attack – This maneuver requires you to move at least 10 feet before making an attack. When you hit, your first successful attack deals an additional 1d4 weapon damage. A second successful hit deals an additional 1d8 weapon damage.
    • Reaping Attack – When you hit a target, the target must succeed at a Constitution saving throw equal to 8 + Strength Modifier or Dexterity Modifier + Your Proficiency Bonus or suffer 1d8 necrotic damage. You then gain temporary hit points equal to the necrotic damage dealt by this attack.
    • Snaring Attack – This maneuver requires a reach weapon listed in this feat. When you hit, the target must succeed at a Strength saving throw equal to 8 + Strength Modifier or Dexterity Modifier + Your Proficiency Bonus or be pulled 5 feet closer to you, and knocked prone.

My thought process on this is to bring some options to lesser used weapons and encourage their use. This might be too much, but I don’t think it’s any worse than existing feats. It might be better than Martial Adept, but I don’t think it is due to Martial Adept refreshing on short rest and you get two maneuvers to select. This puts some limitations around that. It’s not like this is prime time ready, or anything. The first part of the feat plays with the tag systems weapons already possess, and at one point looked to be the direction weapons were trending. The template design approach to weapons was interesting, and it’s sort of sad it didn’t make it. What is published is a mix of that system and a more standard system, which causes weird overlap.

Watcher of the Warp and Weft
Prerequisite: The ability to cast at least one spell

The act of casting a spell opens your senses and attunes you to the magical world. You gain the following benefits:

  • While concentrating on a spell, you have resistance to damage from spells.
  • While concentrating on a spell, you have advantage on saving throws against spell effects that you can see. To gain this benefit, you can’t be blinded or deafened.
  • While concentrating on a spell, you have advantage on all Wisdom(Perception), Wisdom(Insight), and Intelligence(Investigation) checks.
  • You may add half your Charisma modifier or Intelligence modifier or Wisdom modifier (you choose) to any Concentration saving throw that you make.

Just an idea on this one. I might be way off base. It’s possible it does a little too much, but it’s mostly against spells. A good melee strike will still make your life sad, though a little less sad with the last point.

 

3 comments

  1. I think more appropriate than resistance to physical damage some sort of extension to a failed concentration check might be a little better? Only because (to me at least) the rest of the benefits seem to indicate like a stronger mind.

    I thought maybe when you fail a concentration check due to damage the effects of the spell don’t end until the end of the current turn / the beginning of your turn. In my mind I just see it as someone using their last strength to gain a couple more seconds out of a spell keeping their Team alive. But maybe I watch too many cartoons.

    1. You could certainly do that for a different feat. The theme of this one, to me, is the meditative magical state entered when focusing on a spell. Thus, you are good at turning aside magical spells while concentrating (resistance to spells, advantage on spell saving throws), adding a portion of your spellcasting prowess to your defense, and building off of the trope of the third eye/wizard sight. There is no physical damage resistance with this feat.

      Lucky already turns a failure into a success, and war caster grants you advantage on all concentration checks. There is probably space for a more physically oriented casting feat that does something like you suggest, and one of the links in the article plays with using exhaustion as a limiter.

      1. Oh my mistake, I had completely misread that first point, I thought it was resistance to all damage. Realizing that does make everything more cohesive.

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