How to get feats in DnD 5e: a simple guide


Medieval Knight – Jousting. Castle Gniew. Poland.

When playing Dungeons & Dragons (DnD), you’ll want to find all the possible ways to improve the power levels and capabilities of your character. There are many ways in which you can do this, and one of them, known as ‘feats,’ allows you to improve their abilities and roleplaying. This is an optional gameplay rule that is noted in the Player’s Handbook. 

How do you get feats in DnD 5e? There are multiple ways you can get feats throughout the game: 

  • Have a Dungeon Master that allows them/plays house rules 
  • Become a Variant Human at Level 1
  • Gain feats every time you have an ability score improvement 

We will dive into the details of each of these options for using feats in DnD 5e and how they can help enhance gameplay with your character. Because this is an optional rule in the game, not all players use them, and your ability to do so will be largely based on your Dungeon Master and the rules they have established for the group. 

Ways to Get Feats in DnD 5e

Feats can make your DnD experience more exciting by allowing your character to do things outside of their traditional abilities and roles. This is a feature in the game that can result in more combative and successful gameplay.

What Are Feats in DnD 5e?

According to the DnD Player’s Handbook, a feat “represents a talent or an area of expertise that gives a character special capabilities. It embodies training, experience, and abilities beyond what a class provides.” You can find this on page 165 in the Player’s Handbook.

Feats give characters additional abilities that transcend their race or class. When a character has an ability to gain a feat, they are doing this instead of choosing a new feature or an ability score increase. Unlike features, different classes can access feats that are not specific to their race or class. 

While features will enhance the abilities of your character, you may choose a feat instead because it provides additional advantages beyond the feature or ability increase score itself. They can lead to increased levels of customization that traditional features and traits cannot achieve. 

How Can You Get Feats in DnD 5e? 

There are multiple ways in which you can get feats in DnD 5e, and you may choose one path or another based on the type of character you want, the rules of the game, and your priorities in gameplay.

These are the different ways in which you can get feats in the game: 

  1. Dungeon Master rules: Dungeons & Dragons is refereed and moderated by dungeon masters (DMs) that will set the rules for the players. The ability to use and gain feats within the game will be dictated by the DM, and you must make sure they include this optional rule in their game.
    If they are not allowing them (many will), you will have to stick to more traditional methods to increase your character’s capabilities. If your DM plays specific house rules, they can just give all characters feats in the first level. 
  2. Become a Variant Human: Characters typically are not allowed to use feats at Level 1 unless they are Variant Humans. You will gain a feat, but this only occurs with the creation of your character. If you are looking to build the power of your character, consider a Variant Human race when playing. This will depend on if your DM allows variant traits within your game.
  3. Ability Score Improvement: For all characters, there are key points at which you can gain feats, and this is whenever your character is eligible for an ability score increase. Instead of opting for an additional feature, you can choose a feat (which may give you more than the value of the feature). Ability score improvements occur at levels 4, 8, 12, 16, and 19 (at every 4 levels or when your character is eligible).

It is important to note that some feats will require specific prerequisites in order for your character to be eligible. If you do not qualify, you will not be able to take advantage of gaining the feat. If at any point, during the game, you no longer have the prerequisite, you will not be able to use the feat (even if you already have it).

Most feats are only designed to be taken advantage of once unless the feat specifies other rules. The Player’s Handbook is the best place to find these specifics if your DM chooses to play with feats during the campaign.

Types of Feats in DnD 5e

There are a wide variety of feats that can allow you to customize your character in ways that go beyond the traditional features and ability increases that apply to your class or race. With this optional gameplay rule, your character’s capabilities can improve substantially.

These are the major categories of feats and how they can help your character during play:

  • Combat Feats: These can be broken down even further into attacking and defensive, but they are all feats designed to assist your character in fighting or combat situations. These will give you additional weapons or shields (or expands their powers) in combative situations that you wouldn’t have access to otherwise.
  • Roleplaying Feats: The most general and broad category of ability options, these feats can help to increase overall playing ability and character customization across a wide range of player attributes. Typically, these apply outside of fighting situations.
  • Health Feats: These feats are particularly helpful in keeping your character at full health. You may have the ability to heal yourself or others in combat or other threats posed to your well-being.
  • Spell Feats: As these suggest, they are related to magic and can be used in a variety of situations. Many of these feats have a prerequisite of being able to cast spells.

Here you can find a useful list of the feats and their descriptions as well as rules associated with each of them. This can help you decide which feats will be helpful to your character and help them to excel in the game. It may be beneficial to review these feats before selecting your character to see which ones you would be best suited for.

Why Use Feats in DnD 5e?

If feats are an optional rule, why should you consider taking advantage of them? Well, they add another layer to the game. Many DMs allow them but ask players to incorporate ones that fall into the storyline of their characters rather than using them solely to build power. Some DMs will not allow for specific feats but are perfectly fine with characters using others.

Feats can be a really cool addition to the rules set out by the DM because they enhance character abilities and customization and force players to make choices within the game. They enable the game to reach more exciting levels from a combat perspective as players have more tools in their arsenal for the character to use.

Feats usually offer more capabilities and powers than choosing features or increasing your character’s ability score. You may receive all the benefits of a feature plus a bit more when you select a feat.

Getting Feats in DnD 5e

From the perspective of the player, getting feats can make your character more dynamic during play. For DMs, allowing feats offers more options and possibilities for players, which can make the overall atmosphere more engaging! Make sure you check in with your DM to see if feats are allowed and then strategize at power-ups to take advantage of their unique possibilities.

Images:
Jousting – Medieval Knights © Argestes | Canva.com
ID 170745614 © Yaroslav Veretin | Dreamstime.com

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