Thursday, November 11, 2010

"Feats" for your old school game

One of the newer concepts introduced to D&D (if I may be forgiven for referring to something that's been around for 10 years as "newer") is the "Feat", basically a special ability a character selects or gains. A Feat typically bestows a bonus to character's combat ability, saving throws, hit points, chance to be surprised, and so on, customize or enhance spells, or even allow a character to do something not normally allowed by class restrictions, such as a cleric using an edged weapon.

This short download is for folks who would like to, or have thought about introducing the concept of Feats to their old-school system of choice. Many of these feats are tweaked from the SRD versions to allow for old-school systems like OD&D, OSRIC, Labyrinth Lord, etc, and there are a few all-new feats designed with those systems' concepts in mind, and a couple I just thought would be fun.

Disclosure - I have yet to play-test these (though I plan to for at least one session next week), so use with caution. I don't think there's anything here that will disturb the "old school vibe" too much, but I could be wrong, so again, please use with caution! Since most old-school campaigns top out at "name" level or so, the rate of feat gain is faster at lower levels than with the newer editions, but feel free to tweak as you see fit.

Download Old School Feats here, and please let me know what you think.


  1. I did my own version of this for my house rules for the campaign I am starting up using Lamentations of the Flame Princess. I called them "Talents." Definitely adds a level of personalization to characters that players seem to want...this looks great!

  2. I would be very careful adding feats to the game. One of the things that make 3 and 4th edition slow and complicated are the feats. Everyone has to remember their own special trick or power. The feats also interact in complex and unexpected ways. In the hands of a skilled "min-maxer" they can break the campaign. If you are looking to play a simple straight-up game I would leave feats out. However, rule one of old schools games "the DM is always right". If you want to try feats then do so, but don't say I didn't warn you.

    P.S. I looked at your .pdf. The feat list looks very close to 3rd edition. No obvious "Brokeness", but I would be real careful about adding +1 to d6s. You run out of headroom on d6s fast.

  3. I have no problem with Feats other than the fact that so many of them see to be rather dull (i.e. at +1 to such and such roll). I prefer those feats that actually let you do something that you couldn't already do (or break the rules in some Weapon Finesse).

  4. When 3.X came out so many years back, one of the things that caught my attention was feats. Since Dragonquest had nothing like them, I did what every good GM does. I steal and alter. Subskills allow for new abilities and character development. They can become a little complicating, but if everyone playing is happy with them it doesn't really matter.

  5. I like the idea of feats for early D&D, but I'm not sure that all of these really fit the feel. Many of them seem to be very 3.x, and like the monkey said, kinda dull. I also prefer the ones that do more interesting things than +1 to something. Arcane Apprentice is a great example of one of your good ones. Mounted Combat? Not so much.

  6. I always wonder about feats, many of them (ask monkey stated) are nothing more than roll modifiers, and others are things that probably could have been handled through ***gasp** role-playing. Your fighter wants to build up his endurance because you keep enforcing encumbrance rules? Make the player stipulate his character does the "Rocky Balboa" segment and spends time working out. After the player mentions this a few times, raise his stat by one. Did we really need a feat to do this? Or a player says he wants to do a fancy-smancy combat move? Have him describe it, he does well, give him a +1 on the spot. Need a feat? Not really.

    But to each his own.

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  8. May I publish a version of your feats in an OSR-type campaign book, providing I cite your blog as the source? It will be a free download.



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