Review of Unearthed Arcana: Feats for Skills

Review of Unearthed Arcana: Feats for Skills

The Unearthed Arcana is a source both strange and untested. While many great ideas pour from its pages, it should always be considered carefully.
by John Squyers   Twitch   Twitter

Review of Unearthed Arcana “Feats for Skills” accessed here: http://media.wizards.com/2017/dnd/downloads/UA-SkillFeats.pdf

Anyone who has played 5e will tell you that skills are one of the most important aspects of your characters. It is the method in which PCs interact with the world and your proficiency in each one will really determine what kind of character you are playing. That being said, feats are very useful additions to your character as well and they often add a new unique ability that a player could otherwise not perform and really make for interesting play.

This article lists a bunch of new feats closely tied to the skills they base themselves on, and while I think new feats are a good thing I am not wholly convinced they are novel enough to really stand on their own. These really almost feel too much like expertise skills and not feats. Perhaps I can show you what I mean.

The “acrobat” feat increases your dex by 1 to a max of 20, you gain proficiency in the acrobatics skill or double your proficiency if you already have it, and then as a bonus action you make a DC15 dex (acrobatics) check and if you succeed difficult terrain doesn’t cost extra movement.  

The “arcanist” feat increases int by 1 to a max of 20, proficiency in the skill or double if you already have it and then you learn prestidigitation and detect magic spells of which you can cast detect magic once without using a spell slot. This might be handy for non-casters and I think it would really funny to give to a barbarian or something.

“Diplomat” feat is much the same as the others. You gain +1 cha, proficiency in persuasion, and if you spend 1 minute talking to someone you can attempt to charm them with a contested persuasion/insight check. The effect will last for one minute as long as you stay within 60 feet of them. There is no limitation placed on the number of people you have charmed at once and no cool down for this ability, so theoretically you could have a mob following you as long as you keep talking to them and they keep failing their saves.

As you can probably guess there is a feat for every skill here and each one adds a +1 to its parent ability score as well as proficiency or expertise. The true worth of these comes in the third bullet point for each feat and they offer some circumstantial bonus related to the skill. There are a few that give the player spells that can be cast without using a spell slot, which is really the best option here, but most of them just give bonuses to skills checks or allow certain actions to become bonus actions. With the latter two examples I don’t really feel like these are very useful feats to have.

Characters get the option to take a feat every 4 levels and with such few opportunities there are much better options out there for interesting feats to take. Taking a feat that boosts a skill is not necessarily a bad idea, especially if you find yourself using it all the time, but for me I would rather select one that offers a bit more to my character.  

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