Review: Feats Don’t Fail Me Now (5E, DM’s Guild)

As a D&D player, I’m painfully predictable. Whenever I get to a stat increase, I just pump a couple of points into my primary stat, adjust my sheet accordingly and skip along my merry way. For the uninitiated, a player is able at certain levels to increase their character stats as part of their progression. An alternative option to increasing one’s stats is to choose a ‘feat’. A feat represents particular talents or a particular expertise that your character possesses. Once in a blue moon I may pick a feat, but even these are predictably drawn from a small pool. Warcaster is my go-to choice.

The feats available are interesting and useful, but they often seem quite blandly functional, giving your character more abilities but not necessarily encouraging the development of personality. This is why I’m quite interested in Feats Don’t Fail Me Now, a little PDF of new and fun feats on the DM’s Guild.

Having a look through this 16-page PDF, it’s actually pretty dense with content, managing to squeeze over 40 feats into this humble page count. So, let’s break this down and take a look at what’s on offer here…

Part 1: Presentation

Again, this is a dense little PDF. There’s a lot of content crammed in here, and the book uses a two-column layout in the same style as most Dungeons & Dragons books. About half the pages also have some artwork on them. The art is pretty simple cartoonish fair which fits the light-hearted feel of the book. Here’s a sample page that shows both the two-coloum layout and an example of the art:

The PDF is not some art-heavy, over-produced book, but it’s very usable, generally looks good, and does what it needs to do.

Part 2: Content

With the book being essentially just a list of feats, I’m going to pick out a handful of them that I really liked and just focus on them. I figure that’s a good way to explore the book and give a feeling of the sort of content that’s in here. So, let’s do this as a top 5 Feats list!

5. Over It: The Over It feat is a good example of a feat intended to develop and reflect the personality of your character. The rules that come with the feat are nice enough, essentially making it a lot harder for your character to suffer a surprise attack, but aren’t overpowered. Really, the purpose of the feat is to establish your experienced, world-weary character who has seen it all, done it all and, ultimately, is just over it.

4. Heart of Fur: Whereas ‘Over It’ was a minimalist feat without many rules, Heart of Fur has a lot more to it and is very different in tone. This is the feat that you choose to turn your character into a Furry. A lot of detail has gone into this feat and it covers several aspects of the Furry community. Your character gets crafting skills for making costumes, a defining item in the form of your costume (or Fursona), weapons to attach to your costume, and conditional skill bonuses. I am a fan of conditional skill bonuses, generally, so I like seeing these.

Ultimately, this is just a really funny addition to your character and it’s one of several pop culture-themed feats in the book. It brings a real world phenomenon into your game and assigns rules to it. This feat has already been banned by our Sunday night GM. He seems very hostile to the idea of furries as characters in his game. I wonder who hurt him.

3. More Than Meets the Eye: Another of the pop culture feats, and a good examples of a race or class-specific feat, this essentially turns your Warforged into a Transformer. This is the one of the longer feats in the books and, although there’s quite a lot to it, the feat is not one for powergamers. Yes, it gives you a bit more carrying capacity and allows you to carry your party members, but many of the rules are more about what you can’t do, rather than giving you more abilities and powers. This is definitely a character-focused feat, giving a really cool option to Warforged characters.

2. Liquid Courage: The phrase ‘a legend in your own mind’ is one that really sparks joy with me. As with ‘Over it’, this is a great character-building feat. It immediately tells us something about your character and gives you a good jumping off point for roleplaying. My favourite bit of this feat is the fact that it is very much a double-edged sword. When you’re hammered, you get a nice bonus to some of your checks and saves, but you also are penalised on others.

Believing strongly in the importance of balance in all things, I love this. I love that you are taking a bonus to become better at something specific that also actively makes you worse in other areas. I also like the added detail of the progressively worsening exhaustion. It’s just such a well put-together feat!

1. Stupefying Ignorance: This is definitely my favourite feat. I’ve seen so many character where Intelligence is treated as a dump stat. Hell, I’ve played so many characters where Intelligence is treated as a dump stat. My newest character is very guilty of this, actually. What I love is that this feat recognises this and embraces it!

Now, I like that you can make attempts to read your mind backfire and cause damage. That’s cool, yes, but what I really love about this feat is the ‘painfully ignorant observation’. This is wonderful. That you can cause psychic damage through the banality of your comments is just sublime. I love it. I wish it could be used more frequently than the rules allow. The best bit about it is how it encourages actual roleplay as you scramble to come up with your ignorant observation. Roleplay? In my RPG? Surely not! Love it!

Part 3: The Verdict

Reiterating a previous point, the most important thing that this book does is in encouraging the player to roleplay their character by presenting amusing, characterful feats that capture different elements of a character’s personality. They provide a rules-based framework to support this play, which is something I think a lot of people need, or at least would benefit from.

I think it’s plain to see from my enthusiasm above that I really liked this book. As a collection of mostly “for-fun” feats, it’s not a product built for your powergamers or min-maxers. That’s fine. Not everything needs to produce good, optimised characters. What these will help you do is develop interesting characters. What these will do is allow those interesting characters to be better represented in the rules.

Feats Don’t Fail Me Now is available to purchase at the DM’s Guild. If you intend to purchase it, we’d appreciate if you would consider clicking here to use our affiliate link. This will chuck a few pence our way!

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