Alert has long been a popular feat for players to take in Dungeons & Dragons and was ranked as one of the strongest feats in all of 5th Edition D&D, but the release of DnD One has shown that there are some major changes happening to these old feats in the new upcoming edition of D&D.
Alert is a 1st-Level feat in DnD One that allows a player to add their proficiency bonus to Initiative rolls and swap places in initiative with a willing and conscious party member when combat starts.
So how does the new alert feat stack up? Let’s dive in!
Let’s dive completely into the Alert feat including changes, alterations, whether it’s good or not, and how it has changed from 5th edition!
Alert Feat DnD One Review
The best way to break down a feat is to check out the exact wording.
From Unearthed Arcana:
- Prerequisite: None
- Repeatable: No
Always on the lookout for danger, you gain the following benefits:
Initiative Proficiency. When you roll Initiative, you can add your Proficiency Bonus to the roll.
Initiative Swap. Immediately after you roll Initiative, you can swap your initiative with the Initiative of one willing ally in the same combat. You can’t take this swap if you or the ally is Incapacitated.
Unearthed Arcana, Character Origins
Let’s take a deeper look into the benefits that come with the DnD One Alert feat.
Benefit #1: When you roll initiative, you can add your proficiency bonus to the roll.
This means level one players start with a +2 which isn’t much, but it’s a nice boost for level one or low levels. Being able to go first in combat is important and can make a huge difference in a tough early campaign battle. This also scales, which is something that’s nice to see with an early level feat, meaning it’s still valuable even at higher levels.
Benefit #2: Immediately after rolling initiative, you can swamp initiative with the initiative of a willing ally (assuming they aren’t incapacitated).
This can serve one of two purposes: pushing a battlefield control character like a bard or cleric to the top of the queue to take your place, or leaping up to the top of the queue if your character plays that roll. The ability to move players up or down initiative depending on where they work best is okay, but it’s nothing special especially when there are options like hold action.
How Does the DnD One Alert Feat Measure Up?
Moving up in the initiative order is a powerful potential boost, both in the early game when it can mean the difference between life and death in a really tough fight at level one or two, and in high level campaigns that +5 or +6 will help you to go first before a particularly tough fight – which is always preferable to going later.
The second benefit is pretty “Meh.” Most of the time, there isn’t going to be a lot of people jumping at the idea of moving to the bottom of the order to let you go higher.
If everyone in your party rolls a mediocre roll, then this benefit doesn’t really help in any notable way at all, making it completely worthless.
While it’s important to keep in mind this is a first level feat, and therefore we shouldn’t expect the world out of it as D&D players, it doesn’t change the fact that one of the reasons Alert is going to get a bad wrap is because of it’s comparison to 5E’s version.
Alert Feat: DnD One Vs 5E
In 5E the initiative boost was a straight +5 which was very strong, and will be better than DnD One’s version although at level 13 and on it’s the same while at level 17 and above the proficiency bonus makes DnD One’s initiative boost +1 over what 5E offered.
The ability to switch places in initiative with a willing ally is all DnD One but that is a very iffy benefit that is only going to come into play every so often, and that isn’t going to compare to what was lost from 5th Edition’s Alert feat which included the benefits of:
- Never being surprised (so always having an action in a surprise round – including ambushes)
- Other creatures don’t gain advantage from being unseen by you
These were major benefits and both are easily better than the “switch places” benefits that DnD One Alert Feat offers, and in combination made Alert an incredibly strong feat.
Related Article: 5E Alert Feat Guide
There’s no question that the change from 5E to DnD One saw the Alert feat take a massive nerf. The 5E Alert feat was one of the best and most versatile in the system, and it’s anything but that in the DnD One version.
So when comparing the two, it’s clear the 5E Alert feat is far superior to the DnD One Alert feat.
Who Should Take the Alert Feat in DnD One?
Classes that tend to want to go early in a battle should consider Alert as a first-level feat. This is of course, assuming the Lucky feat is banned from your table which it almost certainly will be from any experienced DM using the new system.
Bards and Clerics are two classes that clearly like to be at the top of initiative since both have many spells all about battlefield control, and a cleric at the top of the order is in perfect position to heal severely injured or even unconscious teammates after a particularly rough round.
That said, pure melee classes like Fighter and Barbarian are more likely to want the Savage Attacker feat while the Magic Initiate feat is going to be very solid choice for casters and even half-caster builds with a specific focus in mind.
DnD One Alert Feat Final Grade
Alert falls somewhere in the middles of the Level 1 feats. It’s better than Tavern Brawler, Musician, and Crafter at first glance, but even those last two aren’t a guarantee depending on the type/style of campaign and DM. It’s weaker than Lucky, Savage Attacker, Magic Initiate, and possibly Healer, which leaves it in sort of a lurch.
It’s not a terrible feat, but it’s nothing to write home about, either, and that means that the DnD One Alert feat, whether fair or not, will get compared to 5E and in that comparison, it will very much fall short.
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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.