A new feat introduced with the early Unearthed Arcana for DnD One that didn’t exist in 5E is the Musician feat. This is a 1st-Level feat that is available to players as a choice in the new DnD One system and is recommended as the starting feat for players who choose to take the Entertainer Background.
The Musician Feat is an interesting one and clearly extremely niche.
The Musician feat allows you to gain proficiency with 3 musical instruments of your choice, as well as get the Inspiring Song benefit which allows you, during a short or long rest, to play a song that gives inspiration to your allies equal to your proficiency bonus.
So is Musician a good feat for a 1st-Level feat, or should even Bards and Entertainers look elsewhere? Let’s dive in to find out!
Breaking Down the Musician Feat
Let’s take a look at the exact wording of the Musician feat from Unearthed Arcana for DnD One.
Directly from the Unearthed Arcana:
- Prerequisite: None
- Repeatable: No
You are a practiced musician, granting you the following benefits:
Instrument Training. You gain Tool Proficiency* with three Musical Instruments* of your choice.
Inspiring Song. As you finish a Short Rest or a Long Rest, you can play a song on a Musical Instrument with which you have Tool Proficiency and give Inspiration* to allies who hear the song. The Number of allies you can affect in this way equals your Proficiency Bonus.
Let’s break down these feats individually to get a better idea of whether or not this new feat holds water, or needs to be thrown back into the “Rejected” pile.
Benefit #1: You gain tool proficiency with three musical instruments of your choice.
I mean, cool and makes sense, but much like the other new DnD One first-level feat (the Crafter Feat), this is about flavor and doesn’t have a lot of mechanical use (if any) unless there are some massive overhauls in the future of how DnD One operates.
Benefit #2: After finishing a short or long rest you can play a song that gives inspiration to your allies who hear up to the number of your proficiency bonus.
Inspiration is basically advantage on a roll. It can’t stack, players can’t have more than one, and while this can be decent, considering that players get this from a Nat 20 or from DMs who like to give out inspiration for great moments, many players aren’t going to find themselves short on inspiration.
While it can’t be labeled a bad benefit because getting advantage is such a big boost, in-game when there are so many other options available for getting that. Plus what happens if a player rolls a Nat 20? That just has Musicians double guessing who to give inspiration to.
It’s an okay to good benefit, but there are questions about how it fits in the context of a larger game/campaign.
Who Should Take the Musician Feat?
This is clearly a 1st-Level feat that is intended for players who want to play a bard and are looking at that Entertainer background. While I always like the acrobatic rogue-bard combo, there’s not much reason for either of those two classes to take the musician feat. As it stands the proficiency in instruments is a good flavor text for an entertainer type character but how big a boost is the inspiration?
While it might be a decent boost for a Bard to be able to throw this out in addition to the Bardic Inspiration, and it does scale strongly at high levels, it’s not especially inspiring. Sorry, pun was not intended, but there it is.
If you’re playing a 5E campaign, this feat almost certainly just won’t be allowed by the DM. Is this better than the Lucky feat? Taking more hit points?
There’s an argument that if a campaign is going into high levels then this might make more sense playing the long game, but it’s also hard to see anyone other than Bards who would want to take this feat.
Who should take the DnD One Musician Feat?
- Bards (maybe)
Do You Have to Take the Musician Feat with the Entertainer Background?
No. This is the suggested pairing in the DnD One Unearthed Arcana but it clearly states that when putting together a starting background that the player gets to choose the starting ability score stats, 1st-level feats, and other attributes they want to customize their build.
From a game perspective it makes sense that the Entertainer background would come with the Musician Feat as the two are made for each other but as the rules are currently written (and this is subject to change) you can take the Entertainer Background without the Musician Feat and vice-versa.
Can Inspirations Stack?
This seems a valid question since this is a feat clearly pointing at the Bard. But the rules are clear: inspiration NEVER stacks. So while you can grant inspiration and bardic inspiration (assuming the latter doesn’t change from 5E to DnD One) you can’t grant two of the same types of inspiration in either 5E or DnD One.
Final Feat Grade for Musician Feat
Musician Feat Grade: Incomplete – D- in 5E
We won’t be able to give it a full grade until we see how the entire system shapes up, but I have a suspicion that even among DnD One 1st-Level Feats the Musician Feat will be one of the lower rated ones. The instrument proficiencies is just flavor. This has pretty much never played a major part in a campaign, and even with DMs who demand a class have proficiency in a type of instrument to play a magical instrument, non-homebrew there’s only one or two of those anyway – and I’ve only seen them come up once
Granting advantage on rolls can be good, but since this feat’s rules go with DnD One inspiration rules that say a player loses inspiration after taking a long rest which makes the feat a bit weaker since a team can’t load up. At the highest levels where you can just toss out 6 it gains some legs, but that’s a LONG time to wait for a 1st-Level feat to come into its own.
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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.