May 17, 2017

Feats for the Incompetent

Notes from the Nails: this one just came to me out of the blue, when one of my players was really hamming up their character's low intelligence score. Hope you like them!

Feats for the Incompetent

As a DM, I feel that a lot of players are missing an opportunity by always relying on their strengths and avoiding their weaknesses: things are often a lot more fun when characters venture out of their comfort zones! So, I thought, why not incentivise players to keep their dump stats low and actually get into situations where they might need to use them?
     Thus, these feats are designed for characters with ability scores below a certain threshold. With all of these feats, if a character temporarily raises an ability score, such as by wearing a Headband of Intellect or drinking a Potion of Giant Strength, the feat ceases to function for the duration, and if the character permanently raises their ability score using an Ability Score Improvement or an item like the Manual of Quickness of Action, they must replace the feat with another that they qualify for.

Better Lucky than Good
Prerequisite: One ability score of your choice 8 or lower, Charisma 13 or higher

You may not be the best at everything you do, but you've gotten pretty good at riding your luck, which is almost, but not quite, a skill in its own right. You gain the following benefits:
  • Your Charisma score increases by 1.
  • When you fail a ability check, attack roll, or saving throw, you can reroll that check, taking the second result. Once you use this ability, you must take a long rest before you can do so again.
  • Whenever you make an ability check for an ability with a score of 8 or lower, you can use your Charisma modifier instead of that ability's modifier.

Feel No Pain
Prerequisite: Constitution 15 or higher, Wisdom 8 or lower

Some people wonder whether you're really physically tough, or if you're just too oblivious to notice you've been wounded. Who needs mental fortitude when you've got a skull thick enough to stop evil magic! You gain the following benefits:
  • Whenever you take damage, you can use your reaction to reduce the damage you take by 1d6, to a minimum of 1 damage.
  • You have advantage on any saving throw you make against being charmed.

Lithe Gymnast
Prerequisite: Strength 10 or lower, Dexterity 13 or higher

Your skinny frame is perfect for squeezing into tight spaces and performing acrobatics at high speed. You gain the following benefits:
  • Your Dexterity score increases by 1.
  • You can squeeze through spaces one size category smaller than you without suffering any penalties.
  • If you spend 1 minute stretching and limbering up, you can gain advantage on one Strength check that happens within the next minute.
  • As a reaction when you are knocked prone, you can immediately stand back up.

Lovable Klutz
Prerequisite: Dexterity 8 or lower, Charisma 13 or higher

Though your clumsiness often interferes with routine tasks and you spend as much time on the ground as you do standing up, you always stay positive! It's important to do your best every day. You gain the following benefits:
  • Any creature that makes a melee attacks against you while you are prone does not gain advantage, and you can stand from being prone without using any movement.
  • Whenever you roll 10 or less on an ability check or attack roll on your turn, you can use your bonus action to gain some forgiveness. The next attack roll made against you before the beginning of your next turn has disadvantage.
  • You can take the Use an Object action on your turn to break one non-magical, manufactured object you are touching. The object cannot be larger than 5 feet in any dimension.
  • People forgive you quickly for your mistakes. You have advantage on any Charisma check that you make to gain favor with a creature you've accidentally wronged. 

No Presence
Prerequisite: Charisma 8 or lower

No matter how hard you try, you just can't seem to make yourself stand out from the crowd - sometimes even your closest friends forget that you're there! This can be turned to your advantage, though, when you don't want to be noticed. While you are within 15 feet of creatures that are not hostile to you, you can use your action to fade into the background, becoming invisible. This invisibility ends if you move, speak, perform any kind of action or bonus action except for Hiding, or if you interact with an object.

Short Attention Span
Prerequisite: Intelligence 10 or lower

You've always been kind of forgetful, and you have found that that isn't always a bad thing. You gain the following benefits:
  • When you take a break from adventuring, your wacky antics help people forget their worries much faster. A short rest takes only 30 minutes for you and up to 12 friendly creatures that rest with you.
  • During periods of downtime, you can work as a performer (as a jester, village idiot, or similar role), even if you are not proficient in the Performance skill.
  • If you are subject to an ongoing effect or condition that allows you to make additional saving throws against it at the end of your turns, you can use an action to forget about that effect, ending it immediately. Once you use this ability, you must finish a long rest before using it again.


  1. Some very interesting ideas here, and very well implemented. Would definitely make certain games more fun, especially if the players know how to actually play the character.

    Being able to forget that you're on fire sounds hilarious.

    Just one tiny precaution: maybe limit the number of creatures affected by the first ability of short attention span, to 6-10 or so? So you can't help an entire army this way.

    1. I'll limit it to 12 for the sake of verisimilitude. And yeah, forgetting you're on fire is exactly the sort of madness I'm trying to encourage!

  2. This is pretty neat, kind of reminds me of the perks from the older Fallout games.
    These look good, guys

  3. This is cool and No Presence would be a perfect fit for the druid I'm playing right now. No bone to throw for those of us born with 8 Con, though? I think we need it the most!

    1. Well, you could take Better Lucky than Good if you've got the Charisma. The honest answer is that I couldn't come up with anything cool for low Con characters though... >_>

    2. Weak Stomach : 8 con or less.

      You're not one known for your iron stomach- quite the opposite!

      >You automatically know if something is poisoned when tasting it, from years of living with a sensitive tongue.

      >When poisoned, you can spend an action to cure yourself of it, taking 1d4 damage (likely through vomiting) and ending the effect.

      A bit of a rushed feat, and I'm sure it could be improved upon :P


      This is the first thing I thought of, though I'm not sure how to stretch it out into an entire feat.

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  5. One of the best things you've put out so far in terms of concept. This is so interesting and will be encouraging people to have weaknesses, work on them and still make them an interesting part of gameplay that does not only feel disadvantageous.

    1. Thank you! The great thing about this concept is that, now that it's out there, people can build on it and come up with their own feats in a similar vein. I hope I've been able to spark a few people's creativity!

  6. would Feel No Pain stack with Heavy Armor Master's damage reduction?

  7. Hey, so I know I'm pretty late to the party here, and I get where Short Attention Span is coming from, but I can't help but feel Short Attention Span is a bit...bad. Its hard not to relate it with perceptions of ADHD, and feel its a bit insulting to people with ADHD. Especially with the 'intelligence 8'- people with short attention spans, short memory, etc, like people with ADHD have, aren't any less intelligent, even if a teacher for example might have to work with them a little differently. If I had to pick any stat, I'd have to make it 'Wisdom 8', as a short attention span/janky memory mainly makes it harder to do some of what D&D considers wisdom, like keen and precise observation. I'd also take out or expand 'fool or village idiot'- there's a wider range of performers that this could encapsulate.

    1. Thank you for the thoughts. I'll add a 'such as' to the performer clause to give people more room for creativity.

      I promise you that this was not meant as a reference to ADHD. The idea came from the cuckoolander archetype that you see in a lot of cartoons and anime - the kind of person who warps reality because no one said they couldn't or breaks the fourth wall because they forget that it was there. Think Pinkie Pie from My Little Pony. I suppose those kinds of characters could be read as insulting to people with ADHD, but at this point I think it's trope that can be used for a variety of purposes.

      As an aside, I would argue that memory falls squarely within the domain of Intelligence in D&D (when it obviosuly doesn't in real life). All of the 'remembering lore' skills are tied to Int. Wizards need Int to memorise spells. Etc.

      I feel like the main issue here is the use of the word 'attention' in the name of the feat. I'm happy to change that if anyone has anything better. Maybe something like 'Head in the Clouds'?