The Observant feat has long been a popular choice that can work well across many builds and classes, with the main one being a character that notices things. They may be smart via Intelligence or smart via Wisdom, but they notice things that others don’t. They pay attention to details that escape the notice of other party members, and they have the ability to quickly work out information on situations and places that can save a party’s lives.
The One DnD Observant Feat is a 4th-Level Feat that allows players to add a +1 to Intelligence or Wisdom (player’s choice), gain Proficiency in either Insight, Investigation, or Perception skills (just one, player’s choice) or gain Expertise if they are already Proficient in the Skill, and take the Search Action as a Bonus Action.
So does this all add up to an A-Level feat, or does it end up falling short of what it used to be?
Let’s dive in and see what One DnD’s Observant Feat brings to the table.
Observant Feat DnD One Review
The best way to break down a feat is to check out the exact wording. So let’s do a deep dive into the One DnD Observant Feat and see what it has to say.
From Unearthed Arcana:
Prerequisite: Intelligence or Wisdom 13+
Quick to notice details around you, you gain the following benefits:
Ability Score Increase. Increase your Intelligence or Wisdom score by 1, to a maximum of 20.
Keen Observer. Choose one of the following Skills: Insight, Investigation, or Perception. If you lack Proficiency with the chosen Skill, you gain Proficiency in it, and if you have Proficiency in it, you gain Expertise in it.
Quick Search. You can take the Search Action as a Bonus Action.
Unearthed Arcana, Expert Classes, 2022
Now let’s break down each of these benefits individually to see what they really bring to the table.
Benefit #1: Increase your Intelligence or Wisdom score by 1 (player’s choice), up to a maximum of 20.
This is a pretty standard either/or when it comes to half-feats. Considering the flavor text of this feat and what it’s supposed to bring to the table for a build, it makes sense. Nothing spectacular, but you like to see it here.
Benefit #2: Choose one of the following Skills: Insight, Investigation, or Perception. If you lack proficiency with the skill you now gain Proficiency. If you choose a skill that you already have Proficiency in, then gain Expertise.
Gaining proficiency is strong, and gaining expertise is incredibly strong. This makes this benefit a great one, and I appreciate the fact that keeping with the flavor of the feat, the three skills are all tied to noticing things or processing information in a very particular way.
This replaces the Passive Perception boost, but keeps the ability to notice things in whatever way you want to build your character whether it’s noticing the environment while scouting, tracking down information in specific searches, or being able to take the information on hand and process it in a way that gives you a greater understanding of what exactly is happening.
Benefit #3: You can take the Search Action as a Bonus Action.
I’m generally not a fan of these benefits – and I reserve the right to change that if there’s a drastic overhaul in the Action system for One DnD/6E that makes these much more relevant – but this is one of the least useless of the ones I’ve seen. Since searching can happen during a battle, when a trap springs, or against the clock as footsteps are coming down the hall, there are actually times where having that open action can make a huge difference.
It’s very niche, but it actually fits in with this feat and it is far more viable than most of the other mechanical changes I’ve seen with other feats in the new system.
There’s one of two things going on with the One DnD system build: they are really re-tooling the Action system to be a much larger crunchier part of the game or they’re not taking playtesting feedback and think people at the gaming table use a lot of mechanics rules that all of us threw away within the first couple months of playing D&D.
How Does Observant Feat Measure Up?
The Observant feat is still very solid and has the ability to be an exceptional addition to a character build whether it’s opening up Expertise for a class that usually doesn’t get it, or allows an Expert class to get another skill at Expertise level, which can make for some very powerful niche builds.
Add in a +1 INT/WIS ability score improvement and it’s not hard to see why this is a feat that could get some skilled player builds excited, and it can even be a great feat for Clerics, Wizards, or other builds where the brain of the group needs a little more ability to observe.
This is a rock solid feat that is going to give some pretty strong boosts, especially considering that Perception, Insight, and Investigation are some of the more important skills in most campaigns we’ve run. Especially the first two.
This is a strong, versatile feat that is worth taking for many builds.
Observant Feat: One DnD Vs 5E
Wow. Few feats have undergone such a complete transformation from 5th Edition to One DnD as the Observant Feat. In fact, only one thing remains the same between the two and that’s the +1 to either Intelligence or Wisdom (player’s choice). Everything else has been changed or altered, meaning this is a very intriguing feat because of just how different it is from one version to another.
Related Article: 5E Observant Feat Guide
So which is better? I’d say in general Observant got a slight buff that is certainly more consistent. In our campaigns where seeing what people were saying from a distance (and combined with the Keen Mind feat) this becomes a slight downgrade because that old 5E combo could just be abused to all heck.
However, that said, this is one of those rare instances where despite the two versions of the feat being extremely different from one another, both are actually excellent. They both provide heavy value, a stat boost, and some serious niche ability just in different ways. Both are good pickups in both versions of D&D and can be used for a variety of builds across multiple classes.
Who Should Take the Observant Feat in DnD One?
There are many classes who can make use of the Observant Feat. For heavy skill based expertise builds Observant has to be on the short list of best feats for Rogues or best feats for Bards, but for the Ranger working as a scout, or a Cleric or Wizard needing to be able to use their Insight and Investigation skills, or someone who just needs a +1 to Wisdom or +1 Intelligence to get to 20 and the idea of picking up a Skill or Expertise sounds like a great add-on, then this is a great feat.
The versatility and strength of this feat means there are many, many builds across many classes that can fit the Observant Feat in and make it work.
DnD One Observant Feat Final Grade
The Observant feat was one of my favorite feats in 5E, and while there are changes that I’m not sure I enjoy, the added benefits to the Observant Feat makes sense, fits in thematically, and still make this an A-level feat. It’s versatile, it adds a lot to almost any build, and Expertise is extremely powerful while Skilled is strong when you’re talking about Perception, Investigation, and/or Insight.
While it won’t be necessary for every build, it’s justifiable for a wide range of builds and is sure to show up in some creative ways in future games.
Other D&D Articles of Interest
- Chaotic Good Alignment Guide
- Lawful Good Alignment Guide
- Lawful Neutral Alignment Guide
- One DnD Actor Feat Guide
- One DnD Keen Mind Feat Guide
- One DnD Alert Feat Guide
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.