Feats that boost skills are popular among many 5th Edition D&D players because of their versatility. There are very few classes or builds that don’t see major benefits from being able to add skill proficiencies. Throw in expertise, something generally reserved for Bards and Rogues (or those taking the Skill Expert feat from Tasha’s) and you have a very powerful and intriguing 5th Edition feat.
Prodigy is an excellent 5E feat for humans, half-elves, and half-orcs that grants proficiency in one skill, tool, and language, as well as granting the “Expertise” trait usually reserved for bards and rogues to one proficient skill of the player’s choice, allowing them to double their bonus in that chosen skill.
For players who love playing utility players who can do a lot of things, or are playing short-handed in a 3-person or even 2-person party during their adventures, the prodigy feat can be a great pick up for human, half-elf, and half-elf characters.
Breaking Down the Prodigy Racial Feat
The best way to start with any 5th Edition feat is to read it word for word to take a look at the whole thing before we break down each element. Here’s the full text for the prodigy racial feat.
Directly from Xanathar’s Guide to Everything:
Prerequisite: Human, Half-Elf, or Half- Orc
You have a knack for learning new things. You gain the following benefits:
- You gain one skill proficiency of your choice, one tool proficiency of your choice, and fluency in one language of your choice.
- Choose one skill in which you have proficiency. You gain expertise with that skill, which means your proficiency bonus is doubled for any ability check you make with it. The skill you choose must be one that isn’t already benefiting from a feature, such as Expertise, that doubles your proficiency bonus.
This is a pretty simple feat to understand but lets dive further into what it has to offer.
Benefit #1: You gain one language fluency of your choice.
Adding an extra language to what you understand never hurts, especially if you know you’re going to be in an area in your campaign that is full of giants or dwarves or dragons and dragon born. This isn’t huge, but it’s nice.
Benefit #2: You gain one tool proficiency of your choice.
Hello Thieves’ Tools! Well for non-rogues anyway this is almost certainly the pick. For many campaigns this might not matter especially if your DM doesn’t dive too far into the weeds for these types of details but it can be a useful pick up.
Benefit #3: You gain one skill proficiency of your choice.
This is a great benefit. It can be used to either shore up a weak skill that you want stronger (hello Perception, Investigation, and Stealth as very common choices here) or to add yet another skill to an already impressive wheelhouse to make your character even more useful and able to help support the party.
Benefit #4: Choose one proficient skill and gain expertise in that spell, thus doubling your proficiency bonus with that one skill.
This is where prodigy really shines. Expertise is awesome and there’s a reason that bards and rogues are just so dang good at what they do, and expertise is a HUGE part of that. Expertise doubles your proficiency bonus for that one skill you pick. This is how a +2 to +6 proficiency bonus becomes a +4 to +12 for that one skill.
In addition to the bonus from your ability score bonuses. This is how a rogue can never miss a detail with perception checks, how a bard can charm basically anyone even remotely open to being persuaded, or how a Ranger who took Skill Expert can disappear into the forest even without the help of Pass Without a Trace and be virtually undetectable moving stealthily through an area.
This alone makes Prodigy a good feat. The other benefits make it a very good to great one.
How Good Is Prodigy?
Prodigy is a really good racial feat. I would say it’s generally better than the Skilled Feat though not quite as good as Skill Expert (since getting a +1 ability score is going to tend to be better than 1 language, 1 skill, and 1 tool proficiency) which is another feat from Tasha’s Guide to Everything that was at least partially inspired by this racial feat (similar to how Fey Teleportation inspired Fey Touched).
That said prodigy is good. Really good, and possibly even excellent. Especially for characters who have already taken the Skilled or Skill Expert feat or both. Add in a bard or rogue class and that is a scary “Jack of all trades, master of…most of them” type build that the DM will be hard pressed to trip up with any potential skill check.
This is one that would see a lot more play from DnD players if more knew it existed as an option.
- Expertise is freaking amazing and extremely hard to get for most classes/builds
- Extra proficiency in kills, tools, and language gives a lot of utility
- Excellent feat to strengthen your best skill while shoring up weaknesses at the same time
- Versatile – is useful for most classes
- Not much here for hack and slash melee builds
- Skill Expert might be slightly better if you aren’t planning on taking both
Who Should Take Prodigy?
- Any Half-Elf, Human, or Half-Orc character looking to add more skills to their toolbox – or ultra-specialize in one particular skill
Prodigy is one of those rare racial feats in 5E D&D that is good enough that it’s not only a good racial feat, but it’s good enough to compete against regular feats as one that should be considered by many builds. Any Half-Elf, Human, or Half-Orc character looking for expertise (or more expertise) should consider taking prodigy.
If you are playing a bard or a rogue, taking both prodigy and skill expert means you not only get more proficient skills, but you have THREE proficient skills boosted by expertise at this point and that is amazing.
Final Thoughts for 5E Prodigy Racial Feat
This is straight up one of the best racial feats in all of 5th edition. It’s not overpowered the way that Bountiful Luck is and it isn’t likely quite as powerful as Elven Accuracy, but when it comes to versatility and the ability to compete with feats in the PHB or Tasha’s, very few can match up with prodigy which has one other thing going for it: it stacks amazingly well with other feats like Skilled or Skilled Expert.
Considering how many rogues and bards go for that traditional “Skill Monkey – Jack of All Trades” build, this is a nice addition to those traditional feats that also tend to make up the best builds.
Prodigy Feat FAQ
Can the prodigy feat stack with the skilled feat?
Yes, there’s actually no conflict here as Skilled doesn’t offer expertise.
Can the prodigy feat stack with the skilled expert feat?
Yes, a player can take both of these feats, however Expertise can only be used on one proficient skill. So you can have two or even three skills with the expertise bonus, and you can take both feats, but can not stack expertise.
Can prodigy’s expertise trait be stacked with another expertise feat?
Nope. No matter how the player gets the Expertise boost, it’s clear that Expertise cannot be stacked on another sample of Expertise.
Can custom half races or future half races also take the prodigy feat?
This is a great question, and you will have to run it by your DM to be sure, but generally with the way this racial feat is designed, it’s meant to be something the one super versatile race (humans) and all half races can take. At the time that Xanathar’s was published those were all the official half races, so I would rule that any future ones, characters with two different lineages from their parents, would absolutely be eligible to take the prodigy feat.
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Proud to embrace the locally created moniker of “Corrupt Overlord” from one of the all time great Lords of Waterdeep runs, Shane is one member of the Assorted Meeples crew and will be hard at work creating awesome content for the website. He is a long-time player of board games, one time semi-professional poker player, and tends to run to the quirky or RPG side of things when it comes to playing video games. He loves tabletop roleplaying systems like Dungeons & Dragons, Pathfinder, Werewolf, Fate, and others, and not only has been a player but has run games as DM for years. You can find his other work in publications like Level Skip or Hobby Lark.