Review of Xanathar’s Guide to Everything “Racial Feats”
Providing your players with feats to take instead of ability score bonuses has long been a feature of my DnD campaigns. Usually whenever a character is able to take a bonus on his stats because they reached level 4, 8, etc I allow them to choose from a short list of feats available to their class. In this article from Xanathar’s Guide it gives some additional feats for PCs to take based upon their race.
Dragonborn players can choose between “Dragon Fear” and “Dragon Hide”. Both grant an ability score bonus to Str, Con, or Cha but “Fear” allows the player to elect to roar with his breath weapon causing all creatures within a 30 ft radius to make a Wis save or be frightened for 1 minute. “Hide” gives a natural 13 AC as well as claws which can be used as weapons which deal Str + 1d4 slashing damage. Overall these aren’t too bad but I feel that there are some other feats in the PHB that I would take over these, but perhaps as a DM I would allow the player to choose one of these at a certain level instead of sacrificing the chance to get an ability score increase or another feat.
Elves and half-elves receive the lion’s share of feats on this list with the fair folk getting feats based on each of their sub-races. Elves and half elves can get “elven accuracy” which increase Dex, Int, Wis, or Cha by 1 and whenever you get advantage on an attack you can choose to reroll one of the dice once. Rerolls in firth edition are few and far between so I find this feat to be extremely useful. It is limited by the fact that you must have advantage to use it but as we all know advantage on an attack is never a guarantee that it will hit and this simply gives you one last chance to land a blow. Drow elves get a neat spellcasting ability called “drow high magic” which allows them to cast detect magic at will without expending a spell slot. Also they learn the spells levitate and dispel magic which can be cast once between long rests without using a spell slot. I really love this feat as I find dispel magic vital to just about any DnD campaign. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to dispel magical darkness or a glyph of warding. This feat feels appropriate for drow and would be nice even for a non-spellcaster.
Humans, half-orcs and half-elves get access to “prodigy” which gives a bonus skill proficiency (always handy), a tool proficiency and expertise in a skill they have proficiency in. Due to how often skills are employed I really like this ability. It’s a shame it doesn’t include an ability bonus but I guess it is enough for balance purposes.
Halflings receive 3 feats in this including “bountiful luck” and “second chance”. Both of these play upon the Halfling’s natural ability to avoid danger by using their good fortune. “Bountiful luck” allows an ally within 30 feet to reroll any natural 1s on ability checks, saving throws and attack rolls. Very useful and could keep a terrible accident from occurring if your DM is fond of applying special nastiness for rolling a nat 1. For “second chance” you get a stat bonus to Dex, Con, or Cha but when a creature attacks you the player can use a reaction to force the enemy to reroll their attack. Useful to keep yourself alive, especially if playing a squishy character but you can only use this once per combat, as it refreshes when you roll initiative at the start of combat or finish a rest.
There are more feats here for more races and sub-races and most of them are pretty useful. If you are on the fence in considering getting Xanathar’s Guide to Everything I strongly suggest it. There are a lot of player and DM resources inside and I will continue my reviews of its material for the next several weeks!