DnD One Feat Guide: Level 1 Feats

Feats have changed immensely between 5th Edition and the early rollout of DnD One, which players are starting to refer to as D&D 6E as it’s becoming clear that it’s a new system as opposed to 5.5 or anything that is likely to actually be backwards compatible. One of the earliest revelations of how this is going to change feats is that they are going to become available at different levels.

In other words, in DnD One you have certain feats open up at Level 1, Level 5, etc. You can’t just pick and choose from the get-go like you could in 5E. There are some intriguing benefits to this, on the other hand this also runs into the problem that when you gatekeep fun it generally doesn’t work.

This leads to many feats we see in 5E being re-written in major ways to make them appropriate for a Level 1 feat level.

There are currently 10 Level 1 Feats in DnD One that players can choose to start with, 8 re-written from 5E while 2 brand new ones (Musician and Crafter) are also introduced.

Let’s dive into these feats, how they’ve changed, what the new ones are, and what you need to know about them before jumping into your first DnD One session. Let’s get started!

engraving wood
If that’s not a sign of someone who took the crafter feat, I’m not sure what is.

How Have Feats Changed from 5E to DnD One?

Feats have changed radically from 5th Edition to D&D One, at least with the early rollouts in Unearthed Arcana. And unless they scrap the system and start over, it’s going to stay that way even as details might change.

The biggest changes you should know about feats:

  • Even non-variant humans get a Level 1 feat now
  • While Level 1 feats are suggested for certain background builders you’re allowed to switch them out and customize your own backgrounds with the 1st Level feat of your choice
  • The 1st Level feat must come from this list
  • The feats that also appeared in 5E are radically changed in most cases in their DnD One version

Change can be exciting as opposed to scary, so let’s jump in deeper to look at what these feats bring to the table.

What Are Level 1 Feats?

Players in the DnD One system get a feat at level one during character creation. The feats can be suggested based on background chosen, but players have the ability to pick which one they want with the initial build.

This suggests that one of the major changes in feats from 5E to DnD One (I really hope this name doesn’t stick and we can start calling it what it is: D&D 6) is going to be that feats will be gate kept to certain levels. This definitely changes certain builds and how strong characters are going to be allowed to be at lower levels.

The Level 1 DnD One Feats Are:

  • Alert
  • Crafter
  • Healer
  • Lightly Armored
  • Lucky
  • Magic Initiate
  • Musician
  • Savage Attacker
  • Tavern Brawler
  • Tough
wizard studying tome
Putting our best minds to work studying all there is to know about DnD One Feats. – Picture of Deckard Cain from Diablo III

New DnD One Feats

There were two feats introduced that are completely new, at least from 5E although some older players might recognize these as a return of feats from some older systems. Two first level feats that caught a lot of attention because they’re not in 5th edition in any form are the Crafter Feat and the Musician Feat.

Crafter Feat

Best For: Campaigns where the DM is a stickler for every coin spent and tight on gold

The Crafter Feat seems to indicate that a more developed crafting system and marketplace will be a part of DnD One as opposed to the vague guidelines that many players and DMs complain about, and see as the biggest weakness from 5E, because the Crafter Feat focuses on discounts from buying non-magical items, as well as cutting down on crafting time.

There was also the gaining of three artisan tool proficiencies, which doesn’t mean much in the overwhelming majority of 5E campaigns but it’s interesting to see how changes to the new edition could make the crafter feat more interesting and/or viable.

If you want a more in-depth deep dive, you can check out our full Crafter Feat guide.

Musician Feat

Best For: Bards (Maybe)

If this isn’t a feat for bards, I’m not sure what is. The instrument training is a fun add-on, but not generally anything that’s going to be overly important as I don’t recall any campaign where a life and death struggle hinged on being proficient with a very specific instrument.

With this feat a short or long rest allows you to play a song on one of those instruments to give inspiration to allies who hear the song equal to your proficiency bonus (so 2 at first level, then scaling up with your character level).

Keep in mind this is using the DnD One Inspiration rules which are:

  • This is advantage on a dice roll, not success
  • It must be declared before the dice roll is made
  • You lose it at every long rest

If you want a more in-depth deep dive of this other new 1st-Level DnD One feat, you can check out our Musician DnD One Feat Guide.

DnD One Feats Changed from 5E

Currently there are seven Level 1 DnD One feats that players are going to be somewhat familiar with from 5th Edition, but don’t assume you know everything because most of these have had some pretty major overhauls to them.

Alert

Alert was one of the strongest all around feats in 5E but that has been nerfed quite a bit to make it appropriate as a 1st-level feat.

What’s New:

  • +5 initiative is switched out for an initiative boost equal to your proficiency bonus (+2 starting at Level 1)
  • You can switch places in initiative of one willing ally, immediately after rolling

What’s Lost/Changed:

  • The losing +5 for proficiency bonus, is a nerf up until level 13 where it’s the same, then finally becomes better at level 17
  • You cannot be surprised
  • Other creatures don’t gain advantage by being unseen by you

Overall this is a major nerf from 5E Alert, taking one of the strongest feats in the game and really knocking it down to a mediocre first level feat that doesn’t offer a whole lot of enticing stuff.

Since there are very few classes that don’t want to go first in a round of combat, depending on the build of your party it might be all but worthless so this is not one that is going to move a lot of needles.

5E Feat vs DnD One Feat:

I get that you need to change feats to make them focused on first level, but Alert was one of the most versatile and best overall feats in 5th Edition, especially because it was useful regardless of class or race and nerfing it on this level is rather stunning. While I get that not being surprised or other creatures not getting advantage from being unseen could give a DM headaches there were creative workarounds…not the least of which was having an opposing adventuring party that also had Alert.

This is a HUGE nerf, and on that basis alone it’s hard to give it a fair shake because that comparison with the 5E version is just floating there.

Related Article: Check out our full DnD One Alert Feat Guide

Healer

DnD One’s take on the Healer feat is an interesting one. I make know secret of the fact I think this is an underrated and often fly under the radar feat in 5E, but what does the DnD One version have to offer?

What’s New:

  • Improved healing granting one of the creature’s hit dice plus your proficiency bonus upon a healer kit use
  • When healing using a healing spell or Battle Medic you can reroll 1 and then must use the new roll
  • No limit on received benefits per long rest

What’s Lost/Changed:

  • The +1 HP to an unconscious creature has been scrapped to just use the general healing option that comes with a healer’s kit (benefit)
  • 1d6 + 4 + Number of Hit Dice of Healed Creature as healing is replaced with roll of one hit dice of healed creature plus your proficiency bonus (generally nerf at low levels)

5E Feat vs DnD One Feat:

This is interesting because Healer was nerfed in some ways, but improved in others. Overall, I actually think this is one of the better 1st-Level feats that DnD One has rolled out so far. Taking away the ability for a creature to receive this healing once per long rest is a good change, and scrapping the +1 to an unconscious creature stabilized to just allowing them to take the healing any other creature does is a major boost.

Overall the big nerf is the replacing of a 1d6 + 4 + Number of Hit Dice for one hit die of creature rolled + proficiency bonus is a nerf and it does make it so the Healer feat in DnD One will not scale the way it would in 5E.

The argument can be made that a 1st Level Feat shouldn’t be expected to be strong at higher levels, but if that’s the case why are so many tied to proficiency bonus which would make them stronger at higher levels than lower levels?

This is still a good feat, and arguably it’s better at lower levels than it was in 5E, though it doesn’t scale the way it used to.

Also: What hit die do you use for multiclass characters? While as DM I wouldn’t be a jerk and would just say use the highest hit die available, the fact this isn’t dealt with leaves open some interesting gray space.

Related Article: If you want to know more, check out our complete DnD One Healer Feat Guide.

Lightly Armored

Lightly Armored has changed from 5E and has gained a few benefits that seem to have acknowledged the multiple problems with light armor, medium armor, and shields in 5th Edition that were never fixed. Aside from also giving lightly armored proficiency several additional bonuses have been added to the DnD One version of this feat.

What’s New:

  • Medium Armor Proficiency
  • Shield Proficiency

What’s Lost/Changed:

  • Nothing – only gains on this one

Whether or not this feat is all that useful is still up to debate, but it does offer something very interesting now: the ability for a spellcaster to gain light armor, medium armor, and shield proficiency from level one. That is a major change and can create a bevy of interesting potential builds that weren’t nearly as viable in 5E.

Related Article: If you want to know more, check out our complete DnD One Lightly Armored Feat Guide.

Lucky

Insert disbelief swearing right here. Yeah, so the broken Lucky feat. That they arguably somehow made even more broken. This is the only feat I know of that is actually banned at most tables I’ve played at, and I don’t see that changing based on how the Lucky feat has “changed.”

What’s New:

  • You start with 2 dice instead of 3, and the number of dice you get levels up with your proficiency bonus, meaning in a high level campaign you can get up to 6 dice

What’s Lost/Changed:

  • Nothing lost except you have 2 dice instead of 3 until Level 5. Then you’re the same as 5E, and then the feat actually becomes even stronger the rest o the game once you have a proficiency bonus of +4 and up.

5E Feat vs DnD One Feat:

Did the rules writers to D&D just make the most banned and broken feat in all of 5th Edition even stronger? Yes, they did. The Lucky Feat is interesting but even in the 5E iteration it was game-breaking because when the entire party picked it up, you had so many rerolls that the table could dictate pretty much every battle.

This is the strongest feat in DnD One right now, and I don’t see a world where it isn’t going to be banned at most tables.

Related Article: If you want to know more, check out our complete DnD One Lucky Feat Guide.

Magic Initiate

The Magic Initiate feat has long been a popular option and it’s one that is going to find a lot of takers based on the early look at the DnD One system, as well. Let’s take a look at what this long-standing popular feat looks like in the new system.

What’s New:

  • Magic Initiate is now a repeatable feat (though a different spell list must be chosen each time)
  • You can change spells when you level up
  • You can choose the ability score that dictates your casting ability

What’s Lost/Changed:

  • Nothing – this was an upgrade in addition to updating the feat to work to the new way magic is going to be divvied up by type instead of player character class

5E Feat vs DnD One Feat:

Magic Initiate was a good feat to begin with and it’s actually been improved here. It’s not only updated to work with the new DnD One magic system but it received several little buffs in One DnD that were good improvements. Allowing the player to choose what ability score to use for casting makes this much more versatile of a feat.

Having four schools of magic also means likely a wider selection of spells each time you take this feat as opposed to being restricted by class. Finally, the ability to change spells when leveling out so you can get rid of cantrips or first level spells you outgrow to get other ones in the same area of magic that fit your needs more is a nice touch.

Basically this feat is the same except more versatile and a touch better making it, along with luck, one of the best early game feats that is currently available.

For the full deep dive on the new improved Magic Initiate feat, take a look at our complete DnD One Magic Initiate Feat Guide!

Savage Attacker

The Savage Attacker feat is one that makes a lot of sense as a first-level feat and DnD One fixed one of the biggest complaints about this feat: how underpowered it really was. Instead of rerolling damage dice once, you can roll them twice and then use either roll. This makes Savage Attacker MUCH more likely to add extra damage for melee classes.

What’s New:

  • You can reroll the weapon damage twice instead of once

What’s Lost/Changed:

  • None – the rerolling twice instead of once is the entire feat in a nut shell

5E Feat vs DnD One Feat:

The DnD One version of the Savage Attacker feat is a much improved version of the original, and I’d argue thematically it even works better. The image of a savage melee attack from a barbarian or savage fighter brings that image of an opponent falling backwards because the attacking blows come so fast, so strong, 1, 2, 3, 4 just one after another.

The two rerolls instead of one gives that type of feeling in a mechanical sense and make a feat that was one of the poorer ones in 5E much more viable.

To see how Savage Attacker’s changes made melee cool again, check out our complete DnD One Savage Attacker Feat Guide!

Tavern Brawler

Tavern Brawler feels like a feat that should come in early, so it doesn’t surprise me it’s here. One of the more interesting early feats, the changes from 5E to DnD One are many but you still end up with a starting feat that melee fighters are going to have a look at.

What’s New:

  • If you roll a 1 on the damage dice for your unarmed strength you can reroll that die and take the new result
  • Shove – You can shove a creature five feet away if you hit them with an unarmed strike

What’s Lost/Changed:

  • No +1 to Strength or Constitution (no longer a half feat)
  • Proficiency with improvised weapons (kind of) – changed to ability to wield furniture like clubs
  • No grapple bonus action

5E Feat vs DnD One Feat:

Where to begin on the changes to the Tavern Brawler feat. This was a heavy rewrite, but kudos to the Unearthed Arcana writers who do a great job of keeping the theme and feeling of the feat in. The 1d4 plus Strength for unarmed strikes remains, but there are pretty wholesale changes past that.

First, this is no longer a half feat. There is no +1 to Con/Str, which is a pretty sizeable loss in this case considering most players considered this a fun flavor feat when you just needed a +1 to one of those stats and just wanted something fun to go with it. There is no more grappling bonus but you do get a shove ability to open up some space as part of an unarmed attack.

Proficiency with improvised weapon has been changed to “furniture becomes clubs” which is a nominal change in many cases and makes sense, but it still does feel like they could have kept that in for things like beer mugs or chandeliers or whatever creative weapons a player could come up with in a bar brawl scene.

In fact, I might suggest that as my first recommendation for a homebrew DnD rule for the new system: keep improvised weapon proficiency in addition to the “furniture are clubs” trait.

Get a truly in-depth deep dive on the new ins and outs of this feat in our DnD One Tavern Brawler Guide!

Tough

Tough is sort of the definition of a 1st Level feat and for players who wanted extra hit points but couldn’t justify taking the Tough Feat over a +2 to Constitution (which would grant +1 HP in addition to the CON boosts) and now they don’t have to make this choice. The Tough feat is exactly the same from 5E to DnD One but because of the new “get a feat building at level one” Tough actually looks better than it used to.

What’s New:

  • Nothing

What’s Lost/Changed:

  • Nothing

5E Feat vs DnD One Feat:

Tough was kept exactly the same and you know what, that makes sense and I’m 100% fine with that. This is sort of the definition of what an early adventuring feat should be and makes it a viable pick for players who don’t have a maxed out Constitution score. Good move.

DnD One 1st Level Feats: Final Thoughts

At this point it’s going to be interesting to see how DnD One develops as a system that plays gatekeeper to existing feats and changes what they can actually do. The 1st Level Feats offer a wide variety of options to players in how they’re going to build and improve their characters, and it will be interesting to see how this compares to feats that are released at higher levels in the future and how this will compare once we see enough of the system to get an idea of where they all rank.

For now, there are a couple winners, one jaw-dropping case of “Why did they do that?”, and multiple losers – at least pending major overhauls to the D&D system.

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