The party’s celebration over a hard fought victory is surprisingly muted in the tavern afterwards. While victory was theirs, the fight was anything but smooth. The barbarian was banished to an inter-dimensional maze at the whim of the enemy wizard. The bard went unconscious after taking multiple magical blasts after failing to get out of the way to avoid splash damage. The gruff hermit ranger fell under the enchantment and turned his deadly sharpshooting skills on his own party.
While victory was theirs, the near-disaster was muted, but a deep reflection on the day brings new hope as the next day many party members might not feel much wiser, faster, or more social, but dreaming of all the near-disasters has brought a new understanding, a hardened resilience that will make them far harder to defeat in the future.
The resilient feat in 5E is born in adventuring scenes like this one, where a character shores up weaknesses from disasters or near disasters or an already powerful character sees a clear chink in the armor of the party and can step forward to fill that need and make themselves even more invaluable in the adventuring days that are sure to come.
While it’s not talked about a lot, resilient really is one of the most powerfully underrated feats in 5th Edition Dungeons & Dragons.
Resilient is an excellent option for a feat that is strong in any game setting and can be incredibly powerful/useful in full level-20 or other high level campaigns. The ability to round out an odd ability score of choice with a +1 and become proficient in saving throws means at high levels a character could have a +6 to previously weak saving throws.
Resilient is one of those feats that doesn’t look sexy, but it is incredibly useful and can be a powerful way to shore up a weak spot in your character that you just don’t have the level-ups, time, or room to otherwise address.
Let’s jump into this all too often overlooked feat and see if it’s right for your current build!
Breaking Down the Resilient Feat
Let’s get the short and sweet resilient feat text straight from The Player’s Handbook.
Directly from the Player’s Handbook:
Choose one ability score. You gain the following benefits:
- Increase the chosen ability score by 1, to a maximum of 20.
- You gain proficiency in saving throws using the chosen ability.
The Player’s Handbook, p.168
The benefits are short and sweet, but they have a pretty major impact.
Benefit #1: Increase the chosen ability score by 1, to a maximum of 20.
I generally don’t like +1 to a feat because that’s just making up for a piece of what’s being given up going for a feat instead of an ability score improvement. This one is different because it’s not a single ability score +1, it’s whatever ability score that you want to add a +1 to and that versatility makes a major difference in the benefit.
We’ve all had times where we needed a +1 but hated all the feats that gave a +1 to that specific ability score. This allows you to pick the odd ability score you want to bump up to an even number for a higher proficiency bonus and go from there.
Benefit #2: Gain proficiency in saving throws using the chosen ability.
This is incredibly powerful for a feat and works in multiple scenarios. This can take a dump stat from 7 to 8 or 9 to 10 to give that barbarian a chance not to get banished on an INT save. It can give a squishy statue the ability to dodge on a DEX save. Or it gives players a fighting chance against the always dreaded CON saves.
Especially in middle to high levels it’s usually failed saves against strong effects that put the party in danger, not brute force. Being able to add a proficiency bonus to these saves is absolutely huge.
This doesn’t necessarily have to be to an obvious weakness, either. A player with a 15 DEX might decide enough AOE attacks happen that they just want that extra proficiency to dodge when it inevitably comes up once again.
Keep in mind this is proficiency with saving throws, which is super powerful, and not checks (which would potentially be Luck-level broken).
Resilient Feat Common Save Benefits by Ability Score
Knowing what you get from the Resilient Feat relies on two things: your character’s proficiency score and the specific ability score they are gaining proficiency in saves in.
Reminder of each level proficiency increases:
- +2 to start
- +3 at level 5
- +4 at Level 9
- +5 at level 13
- +6 at level 17
Also included at the end of the ability scores are the various skills associated. Since this feat’s +1 will generally be applied to an ability score you have an odd number in, this feat also represents a +1 to those skill checks, as well.
STRENGTH – Strength saves are commonly used when trying to force a door open/closed, or hold up a collapsing tunnel, or potentially throw that boulder you failed to dodge off your leg to avoid being buried in a mine collapse.
While there’s normally a barbarian, a fighter, or no lack of strength-based characters, if the group gets split up or your dexterous scouts find themselves trapped and needing a strength save where dexterity won’t due, then the extra proficiency from this feat could be huge.
Strength-Based Skills (+1): Athletics, (at many tables a DM will allow Intimidation via Strength as opposed to Charisma, so it’s worth asking if that’s a D&D homebrew rule that your DM uses or allows).
DEXTERITY – In most campaigns dexterity saves are the most common that every player has to deal with, with wisdom saves from concentrating spell casters coming in second. Fireball? Make dex save. Thunderwave? Make a dex save?
Anything at all with splash damage? Yup, you guessed it, that’s a dex save.
For rangers and rogues and monks this isn’t a problem. It can be a very frustrating experience for everyone else in the party.
Being able to add your proficiency bonus to dexterity saves is huge, and in high-level campaigns there are still going to be a lot of dexterity saving throws, and often at very high save DCs. Being able to add a +5 or +6 to those saves is huge.
Dexterity-Based Skills (+1): Acrobatics, Sleight of Hand, Stealth
CONSTITUTION – The dreaded constitution saving throws. Everyone knows the benefit of a higher Constitution score, the extra hit points, but between the many feats out there, the ability scores needed for a class, and the limited level-ups that provide ability score improvements and it’s easy to see how the CON score all too often receives the short end of the stick.
Constitution saving throws are dreaded because when they’re not a joke from a drinking contest, they are usually a high damage + high negative effect attack that creates serious TPK potential.
So adding the proficiency bonus to the CON score – all about that!
This is ALWAYS a good choice for the resilient feat, especially if the +1 moves your Con score from an odd number to an even one thus giving you extra hit points to boot.
Constitution-Based Skills (+1): None, but hey, that’s an extra 1 HP per level of character!
INTELLIGENCE – I’ve felt the pain of this one first hand. I needed to make a 19 INT save to get out of the interdimensional maze and my character’s intelligence was -1, meaning only a Nat 20 could do it. That was rough.
The biggest counter bad guys have to the insane barbarian or brawny fighter is to banish them or take control of them and turn them against their own party.
Adding a proficiency bonus to these saves could be the difference between complete disaster, and skirting disaster’s edge to victory. That’s a pretty good investment for the feat.
Intelligence-Based Skills (+1): Arcana, History, Investigation, Nature, Religion
WISDOM – Wisdom saving throws almost always involve magic or resisting a magical effect from an enemy or particularly nasty trap. If you’re inclined to fail these, getting that proficiency added to saves can be an absolute life-saver.
In 5th Ed D&D that could actually be quite literal.
Wisdom-Based Skills (+1): Animal Handling, Insight, Medicine, Perception, Survival
CHARISMA – Charisma saving throws are important to avoid some nasty spells, not the least of which are an entire barrage of “Come fight for me, love” spells, effects, and charms.
Even outside of this, a creative DM can make manipulation and intrigue a major part of a campaign which can make charisma saves important at crucial points, so this is always a good one to shore up.
Charisma-Based Skills (+1): Deception, Intimidation, Performance, Persuasion
5E Classes That Should Take the Resilient Feat
Every single class should at least consider the resilient feat. There are classes like paladin which give so many buffs to themselves and those around them that maybe shoring up weaknesses is a much less important, but even for them there’s plenty of use that comes out of the resilient feat.
This is also one of the few +1 ability score feats where the feat is much better than a +1/+1 in most cases, even when that double +1 leads to two even numbers.
The barbarian can shore up intelligence saves. Wizards can shore up strength saves. Everyone can shore up Dex or Con saves.
In other words, it’s applicable and versatile enough for every class. There are very, very few feats that can work with any class but this is one of them.
5th Ed Classes that should always consider taking the Resilient Feat:
- All of them
5E Classes That Should NEVER Take the Resilient Feat
None. There is no class where there is a definitive “Never take this feat.” The most common situation might be a build that requires very specific feats and every single ability score improvement to be made a certain way to make the entire build work.
This is a feat that is great for shoring up weaknesses and giving multiple party members much more rounded character able to take on higher-level challenges and intelligent opponents with at least a fighting chance.
5th Ed classes that should never take the Resilient Feat:
- None – there’s no class that doesn’t benefit from the resilient feat in 5E
Class by Class Examples of How to Use the 5E Resilient Feat
Let’s take a look at various ways the resilient feat could be a boon to player based on common weaknesses that classes tend to have and how this feat addresses some of those.
Artificers usually focus on Intelligence and then either Con or Dex as the second. This is an interesting class, but one thing about being a multi-utility class is that there also tend to be more weaknesses that can be exploited.
How could the resilient feat be used by an Artificer to counter this?
- Gain proficiency in the 2nd ability score you didn’t choose. If you went with Constitution, take resilience for Dex save proficiencies. If you take Dexterity, take the resilience feat for Constitution
- Take resilience for wisdom to get proficiency on wisdom-saving throws
Barbarians generally have no shortage in dexterity, constitution, or strength. They are the tankiest of tanks. Those other stats though…so what options are best for a barbarian?
- Take resilience for wisdom to get proficiency on wisdom-saving throws
- Take resilience for intelligence to get proficiency on intelligence-saving throws
- Take resilience for charisma to get proficiency on charisma-saving throws
You basically want to take a look at what charm/banish options are most likely to appear and give yourself at least a fighting chance at surviving those.
Bards are great casters who cause all the problems, enforce battlefield control so their party can do their thing, and the second stat is (usually) Dex to add AC to their light armor to improve the DC.
- Take resilience for constitution to get proficiency on those Con saves
This is often the best solution because bards have magical abilities to help protect themselves and tend to have high dex. They are skill monkeys to boot so avoiding the huge penalties that often come with con saves and can break concentration, that’s the play to make with this class and the resilient feat.
Clerics come in many builds and start with proficiency in Wisdom and Charisma throws, which are a good pair of proficiencies to start with. There aren’t a lot of weaknesses with the cleric’s wheelhouse, but one they might appreciate adding is getting proficiency for dexterity saving throws, since they are going to be the targets of a lot of spells and damage.
- Take resilience for dexterity to get proficiency for the many dex saves that will take place
- Take resilience for constitution saving throws
- Take resilience for intelligence to buff against all incoming magic
Druids have great starting save proficiencies with intelligence and wisdom, which generally allows them to be strongly in control of their senses when it comes to dealing with spell casters or mentally-based traps and effects. They also tend to be built with good dexterity, which is why it’s often less of a priority than Constitution or Charisma proficiencies via Resilient feat.
- Take resilience for charisma to get proficiency on all magic saves
- Take resilience for constitution to deal with those constitution saving throws.
- Take resilience for dexterity to dodge the incoming fireballs better
Fighters have plenty of ability score improvements to spare. Most fighters are Strength based (though some are Dexterity based) and virtually all fighters choose Constitution as their second ability score to improve. Strength and Constitution are their saving throw proficiencies.
- Take resilience feat for dexterity because dodging fireballs is hard
- Take resilience feat for wisdom to deal with common spell and charm saves
- Take resilience feat for intelligence to avoid banishment
Monks are interesting because they are built with Dexterity and Wisdom but have save proficiencies in Dexterity and Strength. This makes sense, but opens up the list of what saving proficiencies the monk may want to consider.
- Take resilience feat for Constitution (purify the body!)
- Take resilience feat for Intelligence to avoid being banished
- Take resilience feat for Wisdom to avoid devastating charms or mental spell effects (this is lower because since monks need a high Wisdom score, they often will have a decent save)
Paladins start off with saving through proficiencies in both wisdom and charisma, which is a great combination to protect from enemy spellcasters and keeps them on the straight and narrow and avoid the magically-infused charms enemies might be inclined to try.
- Take the Intelligence save proficiency to be fully loaded against magic casters of all kinds
- Take the Dexterity save to dodge incoming AOE attacks
- Use your resilience feat for the Constitution saving throw
Rangers are build with Dexterity and Wisdom as a likely afterthought, but the saving throws are strength and dexterity. Wisdom can remain a good choice for the resilience feat, especially if you ignore building on wisdom and go DEX/CON build instead.
- Intelligence is a good pick for proficiency on saves
- Wisdom/charisma is a good second pick
- Constitution is still good, even though being ranged means they should be out of the line of fire more often.
Rogues are absolutely filthy when it comes to saving throws. Not only do they start out with one of the best rare save proficiencies, but they gain Slippery Mind at level 15 which gives them proficiency with Wisdom saving throws AND rogues have an extra ability score improvement/feat. So in theory with the resilient feat they could have up to four saving throw proficiencies and they start with saving through proficiencies in dexterity and intelligence.
- Constitution saves are always good since rogues tend to be around a group and thus in the middle of any Con-save situation
- Charisma takes care of avoiding saves from silver tonged bards or other charisma-based magic casters
Sorcerers start out with proficiency in Constitution and Charisma saving throws, which makes sense since their casting ability is charisma and the magic comes from their blood. So what should a sorcerer contemplating taking the resilient feat apply it to?
- Wisdom/Intelligence are both good choices to deal with other magic users
- Dexterity isn’t a bad choice, though Sorcerers tend to invest in dex since it helps them dodge AOEs and add to their unarmored AC
Warlocks begin with saving throw proficiencies in Charisma and Wisdom which sets them up well to deal with most magic users. When taking the resilient feat they generally are looking at adding the same proficiencies whether a melee warlock build or going more with the traditional blaster.
- Take the resilience feat for Dexterity to improve your chances of surviving those AOE attacks that are sure to come
- Take the resilience feat for Intelligence to provide that saving throw wall against all potential spell-save casts
To no one’s surprise, wizards start proficient in saving throws for both intelligence and wisdom. This fits with the class background and makes these studied spellcasters resistant to most spells.
- Take the resilience feat for Dexterity to improve that dodge against AOEs
- Take the resilience feat for Charisma to finish that wall against spell casters
- Take the resilience feat for Constitution to firm up against those problematic saves
Final Feat Grade for 5E Resilient
Resilient Feat Grade: A-
Is the 5E Resilient Feat Worth It?
This is an excellent feat and while I contemplated giving it a B+ because this feat is generally bringing up a weakness instead of adding to current strengths, it’s just so strong and versatile that I had to give it a higher grade. Add in how this feat scales to be even stronger at higher levels and it’s one of those feats that just keeps on getting better at higher levels.
This is a versatile and outstanding feat that should be at least considered by virtually every build.
Resilient Feat FAQ
How many times can you take resilient in 5E?
In 5E you can only take a feat once unless otherwise noted. Because of that rule, a player may only take the resilient feat once.
Is resilient con or warcaster better?
There are various factors that can affect this, but based solely on being able to make saves and nothing else, the math says that once your proficiency is +5 then resilient is better than war caster as a feat. Once the ability score is figured in and the other save situations that don’t involve concentration checks come up you may feel differently.
Do paladins need resilient con in 5E?
Generally speaking a paladin should have a good charisma score because it is their casting stat, though some people use the magic for smites only, which allows them to ignore charisma in that case. Generally just upping your Charisma will make more sense as other class features the paladin has should make up the difference.
Is a concentration check a saving throw?
A concentration check is a saving throw. Technically it is a Constitution saving throw though with the rules around spell DC and how DMs run their games, it sometimes is run as a save tied to the caster’s modifier, as well. But by the rules in the book a saving throw is based out of Constitution.
Is resilient a good feat in 5E?
Resilient is one of the most versatile and scalable feats in the game, making it a great choice for any class or character build looking to lock down saving throws on a certain ability score and shore up glaring weaknesses.
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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.