Legends & Lore: This Week in D&D (4/15/2013)

Legends & Lore:
This Week in D&D
4/15/2013
Mike Mearls



So what is a feat, anyway?

• Classes gain feats at a rate appropriate to that class. Fighters might get more feats than wizards, for example.

• A feat can be used to gain +1 to an ability score, to a maximum of 20, or to gain a special ability that is equivalent in power to that ability bonus.

• Feats have level requirements, and higher-level feats are more potent than lower-level ones.










Talk about this article here.

Wizards, shave and a haircut

EDIT: As a public service, since I got the first response, here are some clarifications from Mike on Twitter:



  • Everyone gets their first feat at 3rd level (after the two new Apprentice levels).

  • Depending on class, you get between 6 and 12 feats total (so more for everyone).

  • BUT this replaces the automatic ability score adjustments at levels 4/8/12/etc. 

  • Specialties are still in the game and "still a key part of making feats easy to pick." In fact, "they are still there and more important than before - having clear power path is key." (Clear power path? I dunno.)

  • Feats are not class-specific.

  • The new system is partially intended to get rid of dead levels.

  • The core game math "assumes" you're using all your feats for attribute bonuses.

  • "Feats will look more like class features, powers, and special abilities - big, active, things." 

  • But there will also still be passive feats.

  • "Things like Pick Pockets and Ambush" will not be feats.

  • Q: "Players keep asking for more condition-granting or controlling options in combat (specially for martial types). Prognosis?"
    A: "that stuff will be in feats and fighter options"

  • When asked whether this will mean different starting ability scores, he said, "DM picks - do you start as Conan (strong, fast, tough) or have option to grow into him?"

  • Q: "But if you start as Conan the strong fast and tough, won't you end up as Conan the strong fast tough smart wise and charismatic?"
    A: "if that's what you want - or Conan with some spells, or Conan chosen of the gods, or Conan the two-weapon fighting specialist, etc"

  • Most importantly:
    Q: "It must be Tax Day, cuz nobody is gonna pass up a +1 to an ability score. Unless the other feats are tremendous."
    A: "The feats are tremendous." 










Some thoughts copied from the other thread on this:

Classes gain feats at a rate appropriate to that class. Fighters might get more feats than wizards, for example. We don't have a universal rate where all characters gain a feat at levels X, Y, and Z.

 

So fighters and rogues STILL get more feats instead of real unique class features? Boo.

And since different classes will get different amounts of feats at different levels, I guess we're just giving up on the whole Specialties idea, which was one of my favorite parts of Next? Double boo.

A feat can be used to gain +1 to an ability score, to a maximum of 20, or to gain a special ability that is equivalent in power to that ability bonus.

 

Um, okay. That'll be a fun little bit of math for the CharOp guys.

Feats have level requirements, and higher-level feats are more potent than lower-level ones.

We believe that these changes can smooth out the game for beginners while keeping options open for people who like picking and choosing class-independent abilities. It also means that feats have to become much, much more interesting.

 
 
Yeah, when you basically give up on designing class abilities for two of the four "core" classes and shove them over to feats, they'd better be interesting. Which is good! I generally like the feats in Next and would be glad to see more development along those lines.

For beginners and players who don't want to spend a lot of time making choices, the ability score bonuses are both powerful and easy to apply. Veteran players will likely take a few bonuses to raise their key abilities to 20, and then delve into more special abilities.

 

So it definitely sounds like they're kind of giving up on specialties. Awesome. So now we get more feats, with a more complex level-based structure, and apparently less guidance on how to use them because noobs can just boost all their stats to 20 instead.  

Finally, this approach has a fairly interesting implication for paragon paths and prestige classes. Feats are now more powerful than they have been in prior iterations of the playtest materials. At this stage, I feel comfortable that we can model many paths and prestige classes through sets of feats that duplicate their powers and class features.

 

What? I don't even know what this means. Now we don't get paragon paths or prestige classes because instead we can get FEAT CHAINS? Uggggggh.

All in all this sounds terrible. Coming from a guy who LIKES feats and customizability, my favorite part about Next feats was that the specialties and design style made (the best of) them feel like they were part of real narrative character development, rather than just "my character gets another +1." Now they're LITERALLY making feats equivalent to a +1 stat bonus, so everyone who takes a non-combat feat is necessarily creating an underoptimized character. Failed that Con save by 1? Too bad you wanted to learn alchemy rather than just min-maxing! 

I guess on the "positive" side, the L&L articles that have seemed most promising have often disappointed me when I saw the delivery. Maybe this one will be a more pleasant surprise. 

Hey Mike - any plans to package those shiny new feats in a way that makes narrative sense for character development?
Feats trading one-for-one into ability scores?  So not only is there a feat that automatically boosts your to-hit and damage, ALL feats can potentially do so (admittedly, only if you started out with bad stats in the first place, but you know...).  I thought that feats purely for numerical bonuses were soooo last year, and we were supposed to be having feats which added interesting options instead.  So much for that idea.
Harrying your Prey, the Easy Way: A Hunter's Handbook - the first of what will hopefully be many CharOp efforts on my part. The Blinker - teleport everywhere. An Eladrin Knight/Eldritch Knight. CB != rules source.
I'm a little iffy on the idea of Fighters and Rogues getting more feats than every one else but if it's not a huge amount more than the average class and they do get some real class features too it's just that extra feats would be a feature too.

As I figure it a race is worth about four feats at the moment. +2 attribute points, base race featres probably equal about a +1, and the subrace featuers too though some could maybe stand a bit of a boost. So let's just give humans 3 "free" feats and make them the "custom" race of sorts. You have less raw power than the other races, which I like because fantastic races should feel fantastic in their area and not sub-par, but they're more customizable which could easily make them more powerful over all and that fits the standard fantasy trope of humans.
Feats trading one-for-one into ability scores?  So not only is there a feat that automatically boosts your to-hit and damage, ALL feats can potentially do so (admittedly, only if you started out with bad stats in the first place, but you know...).  I thought that feats purely for numerical bonuses were soooo last year, and we were supposed to be having feats which added interesting options instead.  So much for that idea.



I think it's supposed to be a compromise between the grognards and the rest of us. You get feats if you want them or if you don't like feats you can play at the same table and not fall behind.
First: Hurray for feats becoming "much, much more interesting"-- especially if they are to remain reduced in number, while taking the place of 4E Themes/Paragon Paths or 3.5/PF Prestige Classes.

Adding more +1s to abilities doesn't seem like it would mean a lot with the cap at 20-- which a character can have as an Apprentice. I kind of hope there are feats, perhaps with a prereq of 20 in an ability score, that represent a character possessing supernatural/godlike might/charm/speed etc.

Also, every class that isn't a primary spellcaster needs more options for customization, through feats or otherwise, IMO.

It's the 20-cap that makes this interesting, since it means any gain to your one primary stat will be meaningless in the long run - you cap faster, but don't end up any more powerful. This is a significant boost to barbarians and monks, who need at least two stats to power their AC. Off the top of my head, I'm going to say that the difference between single-stat classes and double-stat or triple-stat classes will be enough of a problem to sink this idea entirely (except as a campaign option, where they can replace feats entirely). 

The metagame is not the game.

It's the 20-cap that makes this interesting, since it means any gain to your one primary stat will be meaningless in the long run - you cap faster, but don't end up any more powerful. This is a significant boost to barbarians and monks, who need at least two stats to power their AC. Off the top of my head, I'm going to say that the difference between single-stat classes and double-stat or triple-stat classes will be enough of a problem to sink this idea entirely (except as a campaign option, where they can replace feats entirely). 



I dunno, probably only if the feats really really suck.

Like, if you're playing a monk right now, would you really give up a feat to get +1 Wisdom? I certainly wouldn't. And the new feats are supposed to be better. 
I have literally never seen game design this directionless.

Seriously, this is worse, I can honestly say, than most "fantasy heartbreakers" in terms of "What the **** are they doing?" and "You really haven't thought this through". I really don't think a desired part of the Fighter or Rogue experience is "have more feats than everyone else", indeed, I'm pretty sure that's the opposite of what a lot of people playing those want. Using them in place of class features is lazy and dangerous design, and making Feats be as good as +1 to an ability, well, good luck with that, I guess, because I think you are going to have a hard time making stuff like "U r allowed 2 pickpocket" compete with +0.5 to hit and damage all the time (and so on).

Level requirements coming back for Feats is no surprise, but it is incompatible with them being worth +1 attribute point, so that's bizarre. If they get rid of attribute requirements, that's probably fine, but I bet we'll see those too.
Khyber is a dark and dangerous place, full of flame and smoke, where ever stranger things lie dormant.
Like, if you're playing a monk right now, would you really give up a feat to get +1 Wisdom? I certainly wouldn't. And the new feats are supposed to be better. 

Give up a feat for +1 AC? In a heartbeat. I love the +1 AC feats.

The sad thing is that, in order to make feats worth taking, they'll all have to be ridiculously powerful. More powerful than a +1 untyped bonus under Bounded Accuracy. And if they're that powerful, then taking the ability score bonus will almost always be a terrible idea (and as such, barely worth a foot-note in the options-to-simplify-character-creation section).



The metagame is not the game.

It's the 20-cap that makes this interesting, since it means any gain to your one primary stat will be meaningless in the long run - you cap faster, but don't end up any more powerful. This is a significant boost to barbarians and monks, who need at least two stats to power their AC. Off the top of my head, I'm going to say that the difference between single-stat classes and double-stat or triple-stat classes will be enough of a problem to sink this idea entirely (except as a campaign option, where they can replace feats entirely). 



That's a good point and another reason that they should design every class to have features that use different ability scores like Fighters using Dex and Cha for stances, Str and Int for maneuvers, and Con and Wis for maneuvers, or Barbarians using Con and Cha for shouts, Con and Wis for rages, and Dex and Str for movement options, or Monks using Dex and Int for Flurry of Blows (Get maybe Dex mod points a turn to make a "flurry" combo with and you gain INT bonus in extra options while also gaining some from levels), Con and Wis for ki, and Dex and Wis for movements.

You know though it could soften the blow of multiclassing into a bad class match-up as well and that could save the idea by allowing for a greater breadth of character concepts.
How do you balance this:

I have an odd score in my primary ability, so a +1 ability feat will give me +1 to hit, perhaps +1 to damage, perhaps +1 to some class features and +1 to a subset of skills.
I have an odd score in a  secondary ability, so a +1 ability feat will give me perhaps +1 to some class features and +1 to a subset of skills.
I have an even score in my primary ability, so a +1 ability feat does nothing. A second +1 ability feat does as listed above.
I have an even score in my primary ability, so a +1 ability feat does nothing. A second +1 ability feat does as listed above.

If you balance against case 1, then you will probably never increase an even ability score.
If you balance against case 2, case 1 becomes a good deal, and you will probably never increase an even ability score.
If you balance against case 3, case 1 becomes a no-brainer as it's worth 2 feats, case 2 becomes pretty damned good and you might spend a lot of your feats increasing ability scores.
If you balance against case 4, cases 1 and 2 become no-brainers as they are worth 2 feats, case 3 becomes a good deal and you almost certainly increase most of your ability scores.
Level requirements coming back for Feats is no surprise, but it is incompatible with them being worth +1 attribute point, so that's bizarre.


Yes, exactly. Level requirements ≠ score point.



Not only that. After the primary ablity score maxes out at 20, it becomes *less* valuable to boost secondary and tertiary scores.

Meanwhile the value of non-score feat options becomes more powerful, under the pretext of level requirements.

Thus at high level, there is a wide gap in power between a score point and a non-score feat.



There is little choice but to deny feat customization at low levels for the sake of score bonuses. Then be forced to choose between feats at high levels.
How do you balance this:

I have an odd score in my primary ability, so a +1 ability feat will give me +1 to hit, perhaps +1 to damage, perhaps +1 to some class features and +1 to a subset of skills.
I have an odd score in a  secondary ability, so a +1 ability feat will give me perhaps +1 to some class features and +1 to a subset of skills.
I have an even score in my primary ability, so a +1 ability feat does nothing. A second +1 ability feat does as listed above.
I have an even score in my primary ability, so a +1 ability feat does nothing. A second +1 ability feat does as listed above.

If you balance against case 1, then you will probably never increase an even ability score.
If you balance against case 2, case 1 becomes a good deal, and you will probably never increase an even ability score.
If you balance against case 3, case 1 becomes a no-brainer as it's worth 2 feats, case 2 becomes pretty damned good and you might spend a lot of your feats increasing ability scores.
If you balance against case 4, cases 1 and 2 become no-brainers as they are worth 2 feats, case 3 becomes a good deal and you almost certainly increase most of your ability scores.


 
You "sort of" balance it: a feat will be worth less than the bonus from an odd, strong primary ability(Dexterity), more than no almost-no-bonus from an even score (don't forget saves), and maybe aprroximately as much as increasing a secondary ability/weak primary (attack/damage but not AC, initiative etc).
Level requirements coming back for Feats is no surprise, but it is incompatible with them being worth +1 attribute point, so that's bizarre.


Yes, exactly. Level requirements ≠ score point.



Not only that. After the primary ablity score maxes out at 20, it becomes *less* valuable to boost secondary and tertiary scores.

Meanwhile the value of non-score feat options becomes more powerful, under the pretext of level requirements.

Thus at high level, there is a wide gap in power between a score point and a non-score feat.



There is little choice but to deny feat customization at low levels for the sake of score bonuses. Then be forced to choose between feats at high levels.


 
But with feat chains, you may require a low level feat for one of the higher-level ones, yes?

 You "sort of" balance it: a feat will be worth less than the bonus from an odd, strong primary ability(Dexterity), more than no almost-no-bonus from an even score (don't forget saves), and maybe aprroximately as much as increasing a secondary ability/weak primary (attack/damage but not AC, initiative etc).



The cost of increasing an even ability score is twice that of increasing an odd ability score, so in between we get feats worth 1.5 ability score increases?

The level requirement for more powerful feats adds another balance issue.

Now, I don't like the current free ability score increases that much - I prefer none, or rare ones, or a system that makes it more expensive to increase an already high ability score - but this feat system will not work. 
Level requirements coming back for Feats is no surprise, but it is incompatible with them being worth +1 attribute point, so that's bizarre.


Yes, exactly. Level requirements ≠ score point.



Not only that. After the primary ablity score maxes out at 20, it becomes *less* valuable to boost secondary and tertiary scores.

Meanwhile the value of non-score feat options becomes more powerful, under the pretext of level requirements.

Thus at high level, there is a wide gap in power between a score point and a non-score feat.



There is little choice but to deny feat customization at low levels for the sake of score bonuses. Then be forced to choose between feats at high levels.


That said,



It is possible to reconcile the two systems by prerequiring earlier-level feats, for the “advanced” version of the feat.

Then, the player is really spending three or so feats to acquire the more powerful high-level feat.

So, the power of feats is actually incrementing more smoothly at the same rate as score boosts.

Indeed, if the higher level feats are better but not too much better than the prerequisite feat, then the value of each increment could be decelerating at the same rate that the value of the scores are decelerating because of the cap at 20.

As long as we're speculating wildly, what if the stat-gain feat gave you a +2? Then, they could be sure that it would eventually amount to exactly a +1 modifier for some secondary stat, since putting it into a primary stat will just cause you to cap-out faster and waste your free stat-gains from level on a secondary stat later on.

The metagame is not the game.

But with feat chains, you may require a low level feat for one of the higher-level ones, yes?


Heh, ninjad. I was getting to that.



An other concern arises if some classes are more dependend on feats, and others lessso. Yes, feats work better if they increase in power at a constant rate, by prerequiring earlier feats. But then, this makes it more difficult to balance with spellcasting classes, whose power derives from spells, that so far are a different system, independent of the value of the ability score.

Give up a feat for +1 AC? In a heartbeat. I love the +1 AC feats.


Likewise.

If you have to resort to making offensive comments instead of making logical arguments, you deserve to be ignored.

As long as we're speculating wildly, what if the stat-gain feat gave you a +2? Then, they could be sure that it would eventually amount to exactly a +1 modifier for some secondary stat, since putting it into a primary stat will just cause you to cap-out faster and waste your free stat-gains from level on a secondary stat later on.


Im guessing the default feat option replaces automatic score increases by levels.

So the choice is either use the feat to boost a score, or else use it to customize the character.

(To be fair, having a “super score” is in fact a flavorful option to customize a character.)



Having the feat grant a +2 bonus to the score is appealing. It is an enormous boost in power. (Maybe something like an extra 25 hit points, depending on what the final system looks like.) But at least the Fighter who chooses the option to boost the score will always derive benefit from it. As it is now, the Fighter who chooses to boost the score only benefits half the time, because acquiring an odd-number score is much less valuable than acquiring an even-number score.
Pro:

The math works better with PCs having 18+ in their primary stat and 16+ in at least one secondary. You get their faster.

Con:

+1 ability feats rase the bar on feats. Many feats will have to go as they stink in comparision. Lunge or + STR?

This playtest confuses me.

Orzel, Halfelven son of Zel, Mystic Ranger, Bane to Dragons, Death to Undeath, Killer of Abyssals, King of the Wilds. Constitution Based Class for Next!

Pro:

The math works better with PCs having 18+ in their primary stat and 16+ in at least one secondary. You get their faster.

Con:

+1 ability feats rase the bar on feats. Many feats will have to go as they stink in comparision. Lunge or + STR?

This playtest confuses me.


For me, the increase in the power of feats is a “Pro”.

It means I can meaningfully customize my character with the addition of a substantial power corresponding to the desired concept.



The boost in the power of feats to be worth a score point, does mean, it is necessary to rewrite all feats.

Pro:

The math works better with PCs having 18+ in their primary stat and 16+ in at least one secondary. You get their faster.

Con:

+1 ability feats rase the bar on feats. Many feats will have to go as they stink in comparision. Lunge or + STR?

This playtest confuses me.


For me, the increase in the power of feat options is a Pro.

It means I can meaningfully customize my character with the addition of a substantial power corresponding to the desired concept.



The boost in power of a feat to the worth of a score point, does mean, it is necessary to rewrite all feats.




You won't be able to make horizontal feats and vertical feats balance.

One would be better on the long run or the short run.

+1 Str or Cleave? +1 Str til I max out Str then I take Cl.... Nope +1 Dex til I max out Dex THEN I take Cle.... Nope +1 Con or Cha...

Orzel, Halfelven son of Zel, Mystic Ranger, Bane to Dragons, Death to Undeath, Killer of Abyssals, King of the Wilds. Constitution Based Class for Next!

Pro:

The math works better with PCs having 18+ in their primary stat and 16+ in at least one secondary. You get their faster.

Con:

+1 ability feats rase the bar on feats. Many feats will have to go as they stink in comparision. Lunge or + STR?

This playtest confuses me.


For me, the increase in the power of feat options is a Pro.

It means I can meaningfully customize my character with the addition of a substantial power corresponding to the desired concept.



The boost in power of a feat to the worth of a score point, does mean, it is necessary to rewrite all feats.




You won't be able to make horizontal feats and vertical feats balance.

One would be better on the long run or the short run.

+1 Str or Cleave? +1 Str til I max out Str then I take Cl.... Nope +1 Dex til I max out Dex THEN I take Cle.... Nope +1 Con or Cha...


Cleave might not be the best example, because an extra attack is very powerful at any level.

But in principle I agree, feats that become obsolete at higher levels are problematic.

The real problem is making the other feat worth using taking.
It could make 90% of feats onto Concept Taxes.

I don't know how many people played epic 3.5 but EVERYONEtook the Great Ability feats for the first few feats becaus eof the high prerequistes.

How many of the current feats are worth picking over +1 to your primary stat?

Orzel, Halfelven son of Zel, Mystic Ranger, Bane to Dragons, Death to Undeath, Killer of Abyssals, King of the Wilds. Constitution Based Class for Next!

I agree that giving people an option to exchange their feats for something else is a good idea. Those who want feats can have them and those who don't can do without them but still be just as powerful. I don't know about giving ability score increases, though. It seems like ability scores are high enough. I wonder if this is going to replace the normal ability score gains from leveling or be in addition to it.

I actually like the idea of having prestige classes via feats. It avoids most of the pitfalls of the 3.x multiclassing method and lets them just apply on top of your character class rather than replacing it. Most of the prestige classes I took were just because I wanted a few of the cool abilities they had anyway. Hopefully specialties are going to become more like prestige classes. Right now the specialties are bland.
 
What I don't like in the article are the feats with levels, and higher level feats being better than lower level ones. Feats should just be feats, IMO.

Just a side thought though: how many feats does this mean the monk's perfect self ability is worth, or the human +1 to every stat for that matter? I really hope this means they're going to change those!
I'll admit my bias: I love feats.



And I have to admit mine: I hate feats, across all editions that had them so far they have been a sprawling, unwieldy directionless mess.

Classes gain feats at a rate appropriate to that class. Fighters might get more feats than wizards, for example. We don't have a universal rate where all characters gain a feat at levels X, Y, and Z.



That's kind of inevitable since feats are now the only way to customise a character build for those classes without spells.

A feat can be used to gain +1 to an ability score, to a maximum of 20, or to gain a special ability that is equivalent in power to that ability bonus.



I can see how this is intended to provide an easy 'go to' route for players who don't want to be bothered with fine tuning.
The concern is that it will become the 'go to' route for everyone else too, meaning an ongoing feat tax subscription.  

Feats have level requirements, and higher-level feats are more potent than lower-level ones.



This sounds actually smart. There was a game a while ago using those things called 'powers' organised this way. It was very neat and worked quite well. You might want to check it out.
       
Con:

+1 ability feats rase the bar on feats. Many feats will have to go as they stink in comparision. Lunge or + STR?



Why is that a con? I'll be happy to see the crappy feats go! I've been begging them to separate the wheat from the chaff for some time now. Maybe now that feats are going to have a set value to compare them to (a +1 ability score), that will raise the bar on their design.
So much for feats being optional, or martial classes being able to get the equivalent of manuevers within the class, instead of going outside of the class. But at least casters still get their spells. I guess I can just go play 3.5, but the problem is I do not like 3.5.
So much for feats being optional,



They are optional! You can pick a +1 ability score instead of taking a feat. This is a far better solution for those that hate feats than just removing them, because now people who don't want feats will be balanced with those who do, and can even co-exist within the same group.
Whether you choose a feat or +1 to an abiliity, you still need the feat system, especially to further define anything interesting for a martial character. Where without feats, casters still remain viable since they always have spells, but martial characters have no room to expand.
I like that this makes feats optional (by defaulting to ability bonus).

I like the idea of more powerful/meaningful/interesting feats that are better able to solidify a character concept.

I believe that they can "balance" feats with bonuses as long as it is apples to oranges (learn alchemy vs a +1). Things become subjective in value at that point, so it works out as too each his own. When it is math vs math, usually with combat, there are empirically better choices, and therefore traps. Perhaps that is unavoidable.

As brought up earlier but worth repeating, at higher levels bonuses would go to non capped (less class functional) stats and would therefore be less optimal. This does not balance with level gate feats that ramp in power with level. This MUST be considered carefully.

I prefer the idea of creating class abilities for non casters that balance with spells as opposed to getting more feats, but if they can't figure that out, this is the best Next choice so far.

All together, it may be an elegant solution for a player base with a widely varying taste for complexity. They deserve some credit for the intuitive leap, and for testing it out. Let's just help them find and fix the bugs, and ultimately decide if they need to scrap it.
1 square =1 yard = 1 meter. "Fits all playstyles" the obvious choice Orzel is the mayor of Ranger-town. Favored enemies for Rangers
58033128 wrote:
Seems like community isn't going to give up calling mapless "Theatre of the Mind".  In the interest of equal pretentiousness, I'd like to start a motion to refer to map combat as "Tableau Vivant".  


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I believe they are sticking with the feat design, because they do not have time to make any major changes, versus being a strict design decision. The other thought is they are trying to make a Pathfinder clone, so the more things change the more the remain the same. For myself, I preferred manuevers. They allow you to isolate martial design without feats, so feats remain neutral and can be easily removed. In addition, feats can be granted on an equal rate to expand the character, and thus the character creation process is standardized and easy for everyone.
It is very hard to make vertically advancing PCs and horizontally advancing PCs work in the same system. Many games have failed with this.

Either way.
Manuevers cannot be feats anymore. It's vertical math (+1's) vs horizontal math (Cleave, Lunge, Metamagic). Only the most essential horizontal feats will be useful.

2) DWorld of Tanks. Con and Dex explosion. Since PCs will cap easier, they can boost Dex and Con faster. 20/20/20 great weapon chain shirt fighters?

Orzel, Halfelven son of Zel, Mystic Ranger, Bane to Dragons, Death to Undeath, Killer of Abyssals, King of the Wilds. Constitution Based Class for Next!

Whether you have feat or maneuvers you will always have to deal with horizontal or vertical power, but it is easer to deal with it via a consistent manner. Plus the maneuver route allows the martial character to continue to expand within. But if it is good enough for casters, then I do not understand why it is a bad idea for martials.
D&D's Casters have libraries that are either large by default (divine) or can grow independent of level (wizards). And the spells are swappable each day.

Martials are level locked into small libraries. So growing vertically or horizontally is a big permanent deal. Depending on the group, types of casters, or setting, one option will be near useless.

Do we want powerchargers, bladeblenders, and wandrogues again?

Not saying this is a bad idea. Just (like I said about many things Mearls stated in L&L articles) too easy to mess up and make a significant percentage of the books useless.

Orzel, Halfelven son of Zel, Mystic Ranger, Bane to Dragons, Death to Undeath, Killer of Abyssals, King of the Wilds. Constitution Based Class for Next!

I understand the perception of not wanting to go back to a million classes, or powers from 4E, but maneuvers and feats serve the same purpose. However, maneuvers isolate design for martials like spells for casters, while still allowing feats to share class features (spells, manevers, rituals, martial practices or additional abilities). As to bloat, or power creep, the developers have enough D&D history behind their belts to approach the entire topic of class design with caution. But in the end content sells more books. Therefore, I would never use page count as a primary design factor, unless I simplied spells to the bare minimum at the same time. But they are not doing that, and we all realize there will be plenty of spells added to the game later on.
1)  I am an not an immediate fan of this idea.  I liked the specialty 'packaging' of the feats and suspect that this means that that approach is dead.

2)  I am also concerned that they are just going back to feats being ways of getting better at what you do versus ways of adding new options to the character - and thus we end up with a few optimal feats and a bunch of useless trap options for feats.  But we'll have to see what comes to judge that.

3)  I am hoping that they get rid of the automatic stat increases and replace that with the ability to take feats to raise your stats.


4)  I suspect the difference between Mearls' and his friend's reaction had more to do with the fact that one was playing  melee characters (which I think have always had the better feats) and the other was making a caster (which have rarely had very interesting feats).  Next has the same problem - there is no real ninth level metamagic feat at present - instead while the other characters are getting some level-limited more powerful feat - the wizard gets to take the metamagic feat he felt was least useful because it's the one that's left.


5)  Finally - I detest feat chains.  I'm hoping that they are just using level and stat prerequisities to determine access to the better feats because, again, I detest feat chains.  Few things are more irritating than being forced to take a crappy feat that adds little to the character just so you can qualify for a later feat (examples abound in 3.x and are also found in 5E:  one of my players had to take Healing Initiate so he could later take Restore Life despite gaining (as a Lifegiver cleric) no real benefit from Healing Initiate feat).  Not to mention the fact that their presence brings back the annoying System Mastery approach from 3.x:  You can no longer take feats that make sense at the time - instead you have to be planning several levels ahead so you know when to take the crappy useless feat just so you can get the feat you really want in a few levels.  So I hoping for no feat chains!


Carl


Blarg. 
So What Is a Feat, Anyway?



Indeed: what is it? Because this LL is most defintely not telling.

Right now it looks like feats are heading towards becoming the kitchen sink of the game, as they have always been.

As an alternative, how about this: let's have a list of spells for casters and manouvers for non-casters. Then let's have feats being enhancements to specific spells or manouvers. 
That would allow for horizontal progression, while keeping vertical progression in check.
    
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