No Feats?

So apparently feats are becoming packages? Packages sound like everyone will be playing cookie-cut characters. =\
It's implied that 'design your own package' is an expectation:

"Laura might balk at having these micro-decisions made for her. As evocative and flavorful as backgrounds and themes will be, there’s nothing stopping Laura from constructing her own background (by picking some skills) and determining her own theme (by picking some feats).

So if you’re like Chris and just want to play D&D, our system is for you. And if you’re like Laura, you can tinker to your heart’s content and customize your character in whatever way you want. And if you’re somewhere between the two, then we’ve got you covered."

-- D&D Next blog 


 
It's implied that 'design your own package' is an expectation:

"Laura might balk at having these micro-decisions made for her. As evocative and flavorful as backgrounds and themes will be, there’s nothing stopping Laura from constructing her own background (by picking some skills) and determining her own theme (by picking some feats).

So if you’re like Chris and just want to play D&D, our system is for you. And if you’re like Laura, you can tinker to your heart’s content and customize your character in whatever way you want. And if you’re somewhere between the two, then we’ve got you covered."

-- D&D Next blog 


 



Okay.  So for now, how are we supposed to use the feats that are in the packet?  Example:
The "Healer" feat package grants you "Herbalism" at Level 1, followed by "Healer's Touch" at Level 3.

So if I'm following the quote from above, I should be able to just pick and choose ala classic D&D.  Am I allowed to take the feat that is suggested for Level 3 in the "Healer" feat package at Level 1?  Or do I actually have to wait until Level 3 to do that?

I understand that Wizards is trying to get all players used to all facets of the game, and all the new mechanics such as specialties.  But If I'm able to pick any feat that I want out of these feat packages (in keeping with the aformentioned quote), then there's a problem.  The problem is, there are no other feats that really seem to fit in with a Cleric other than the two in the Healer specialty package.  It's quite obvious they are trying to push the whole "Background/Specialty" Combination on to us, which I'm okay with because everything needs to be tested.

Okay, I'm getting off topic.  Back to my original question.  Can I take the Level 3 suggested feat at Level 1 Character creation or not?

Umm because it's a PLAYTEST and they are testing combat superiority with this packet, not feats and specialities, more choices and how to apply specialities/themes will come in a leter packet i imagine.

Well, Play test packet #1 was more combat superiority.  Packet #2 has a few more role playing elements in it.  And its exciting to finally get to start making characters, even though for now they're all pretty generic.  But that's what Wizards wants right now.  If you're playing a Cleric they're expecting you to be play testing a traditional Cleric, not getting all crazy and multi-classing into Bard and taking your own feats. 

In order for all the other things to work, such as multi-classing, they first need to make sure that all the basic classes and classic builds work as they should. 

This is a huge step from packet #1 though.  I'm really excited to play with my group next weekend now.

It's implied that 'design your own package' is an expectation:

"Laura might balk at having these micro-decisions made for her. As evocative and flavorful as backgrounds and themes will be, there’s nothing stopping Laura from constructing her own background (by picking some skills) and determining her own theme (by picking some feats).

So if you’re like Chris and just want to play D&D, our system is for you. And if you’re like Laura, you can tinker to your heart’s content and customize your character in whatever way you want. And if you’re somewhere between the two, then we’ve got you covered."

-- D&D Next blog 


 



Okay.  So for now, how are we supposed to use the feats that are in the packet?  Example:
The "Healer" feat package grants you "Herbalism" at Level 1, followed by "Healer's Touch" at Level 3.

So if I'm following the quote from above, I should be able to just pick and choose ala classic D&D.  Am I allowed to take the feat that is suggested for Level 3 in the "Healer" feat package at Level 1?  Or do I actually have to wait until Level 3 to do that?

I understand that Wizards is trying to get all players used to all facets of the game, and all the new mechanics such as specialties.  But If I'm able to pick any feat that I want out of these feat packages (in keeping with the aformentioned quote), then there's a problem.  The problem is, there are no other feats that really seem to fit in with a Cleric other than the two in the Healer specialty package.  It's quite obvious they are trying to push the whole "Background/Specialty" Combination on to us, which I'm okay with because everything needs to be tested.

Okay, I'm getting off topic.  Back to my original question.  Can I take the Level 3 suggested feat at Level 1 Character creation or not?




To answer your specific question:
By the rules as written, using the Specialties provided, nope.  The only time you make a decision regarding feats is at level 1, and the only way to do so is to choose a Speciality (in the context of this packet, anyways.)

To answer the more general question:
However, if I was DMing for you, I'd probably let you design a Speciality that had the Healer's Touch feat at level 1, since I don't see one as being any more powerful than the other.  I see them as both appropriate for level 1 chars. I think this is the case with many, if not all of the Specialities: the Level 3 feat isn't "better" in absolute terms than the Level 1 feat.  (In fact, it's exactly identical if you are using Survivor or Jack of All Trades.)

It's a very interesting question!

I'll probably differ in this than most because of seeing what happened in past editions and being a DM.

I am 100% okay with the Package (Specialties) Route they have going right now.  Why?  Because it's much easier to control game balance and avoid those broken combinations that way.

They'll certainly have to continue to expand the number of depth of options they give us, but the first moment they open up feats to mix-and-matching at will, you know there will be people who will find those magic combinations that completely fubar game balance.
I'll probably differ in this than most because of seeing what happened in past editions and being a DM.

I am 100% okay with the Package (Specialties) Route they have going right now.  Why?  Because it's much easier to control game balance and avoid those broken combinations that way.

They'll certainly have to continue to expand the number of depth of options they give us, but the first moment they open up feats to mix-and-matching at will, you know there will be people who will find those magic combinations that completely fubar game balance.



Yep, I'm with you here.  I think there a couple of benefits to having the feat decision being made at level 1:
1- if you level up mid-session (some DMs do that, some don't), you just chug right along w/ very little decisionmaking.
2- More importantly, like you say, putting the clamps on munchkinism.  In prior editions, it was never implied that you needed DM approval to choose whatever feats your character qualified for.  In this edition, my hope is that the rule is simply: "choose from these Backgrounds and Specialities, and your DM may allow custom ones."

 
Right now specialities are doing pretty much what i want them to. You choose a  class, say Figher, then you go down and choose a  speciality which determines what kind of fighter you are.   What i do not want is Feat bloat like in previous editions there feats basically were either a math fix for BaB or damage output (the so called "Feat Tax") or a char-op  tool to enforce somethhing as spurious as "system mastery"
 
 
Long and short of it, a Feat should be something you DO in play, like if your fighting style bashes someone with a shield, you have sheild bash feat, not Improved Shield mastery gives +1 to attacks when using sheild bash maneuver.  
I don't know, I feel like specialties can be a little limiting.  I want to play the fighter I want to play.  That means customization from the top to the bottom.  Picking a specialty feels like you're saying "Ok, you can play this fighter, or you can play that fighter."  

I know that the play test is supposed to be checking the very core of the game.  Making sure that the specialties work in accordance with the background and with the class so you can make the classic core fighter, rogue, wizard, or cleric.  But I want to experiment and create unique characters, not the typical fighter, rogue, wizard, or cleric.  

I'm sure this will all change in the final iteration of the game and we'll have more choices including a full list of feats to choose from to customize our character (considering Wizards said that you'll essentially be able to create a character based on any iteration of D&D).
I don't know, I feel like specialties can be a little limiting.  I want to play the fighter I want to play.  That means customization from the top to the bottom.  Picking a specialty feels like you're saying "Ok, you can play this fighter, or you can play that fighter."  

...

I'm sure this will all change in the final iteration of the game and we'll have more choices including a full list of feats to choose from to customize our character (considering Wizards said that you'll essentially be able to create a character based on any iteration of D&D).



If you want you could make it so your players could choose which "Feat" they want from all the specialties. You could ask a player to say organize a list of feats for a couple levels and name it something else. Or ask them what they want to do and make a list for them and work on it with them.
Ant Farm
I don't know, I feel like specialties can be a little limiting.  I want to play the fighter I want to play.  That means customization from the top to the bottom.  Picking a specialty feels like you're saying "Ok, you can play this fighter, or you can play that fighter."  

...

I'm sure this will all change in the final iteration of the game and we'll have more choices including a full list of feats to choose from to customize our character (considering Wizards said that you'll essentially be able to create a character based on any iteration of D&D).



If you want you could make it so your players could choose which "Feat" they want from all the specialties. You could ask a player to say organize a list of feats for a couple levels and name it something else. Or ask them what they want to do and make a list for them and work on it with them.

Very few of the abilities have prerequisites, and those that do are typically very loose. (Cast an arcane spell, for example). On top of this, the way the specialties are built, the ones that require things like spell casting typically are the 'Level 3' feat for that specialty and the 'level 1' version gives them a cantrip/orison of the same spell type.

This implies that if you start as a wizard, you should be able to choose to just start with a familiar. If you start as a cleric, you should just be able to take sanctify weapon, etc. 
Either way it's really a pointless argument. The rules for taking specific feats aren't there yet, so you can not officially pick and choose. You can feel free to houserule whatever you want. The ability to pick and choose will be there, just not yet.
My two copper.
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