Mechanics Class Features as Character Feats? - RPG Crossing
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  #1  
Old Mar 26th, 2023, 02:02 PM
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Class Features as Character Feats?

So, I have a specific character. They're a Rogue/Monk hybrid, but they only ever have one single level in Monk. Maybe 4 just to get to the next ASI. Why? Because my concept of the character involves them being able to do martial arts and be a dodge monkey instead of relying on armor. That's it. The other levels are typically in rogue and only rogue.

So I was wondering... since I only really use those two very specific abilities from the Monk class -- for flavor more than anything else -- is there any reason why those couldn't just be packaged into a feat and taken at level 4/8/12/16/20?

I feel like there's a few other classes with class features that could easily be turned into ordinary feats too, if all you want is access to the lowest level of that feature; stuff like a Barbarian's rage feature, or the Fighting style feature (This actually is a feat), a rogue's sneak attack, etc.

It seems... sub-optimal to waste a whole class level just to take a few base-level class features and throw out the rest.
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Old Mar 27th, 2023, 07:02 AM
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Certainly a DM might homebrew that. But I wouldn't. Not personally.

For me, the virtue of 5e is its relative simplicity, and creating homebrewed rules adds complexity and could potentially unbalance classes. Additionally, once that door is opened, other players might start to make their own requests for homebrewed rules that further complicate and unbalance the game, and detract from the adventure I wanted to have.

Last edited by 47Ronin; Mar 27th, 2023 at 07:04 AM.
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Old Mar 27th, 2023, 12:01 PM
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As a DM I'd personally try and see what we can workshop into reskinning before we dive into mechanical stuff. Find what you like/don't like about your character.

If you want to punch things as a rogue, then maybe ask to reskin a dagger into spiked knuckles. If you don't like wearing bulky armor, then reskin that Studded Leather into garbs woven from exotic materials or something. Most folks don't pay attention to the armor they wear anyways in a narrative sense.

You wouldn't get the added AC from WIS for missing Unarmored defense, however Rogues get Uncanny Dodge and Evasion later that can more than make up for that. The reskinned daggers would definitely replace the Martial Arts as you are still receiving a d4+DEX attack/damage. Monks rely on that more for their Ki options and by default you have two-weapon fighting.

Personally, I echo 47Ronin in I wouldn't homebrew something like that. Or if I were to do something like that, I'd just make it a Gestalt game and expect things to be insane.

Last edited by Retry; Mar 27th, 2023 at 12:02 PM.
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Old Mar 27th, 2023, 01:03 PM
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Take Tavern Brawler feat at 1st level. Have your backstory be that you and your rogue friends got into fights trying to sneak into bars in your youth, no drinking just trying to steal from drunks. Somehow you all call it "monk training" or "drunk fu." Mechanics of the feat aren't changed, just the flavor.

Max out DEX of course, skip the monk level. Now, if you got yourself shield proficiency, maybe you get a gracious DM to allow bucklers in game so you can have that extra defense hands free. You're a good rogue...steal elven chain shirt when you can.
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Old Mar 27th, 2023, 10:57 PM
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While I would personally consider homebrewing feats to enable a particular vision of a character, I would also be wary of homebrewing for the sole sake of optimization. If what you're trying to achieve for your character can be done through multiclassing and the only reason to homebrew your proposed feat is that turning the monk class features into a feat would make the character more powerful, then I would probably refrain from doing so as well. I don't see a good reason to make multiclassing redundant and take away from the downsides that an investment like choosing to multiclass entails. If that's the goal I would agree with Retry and propose running the character in a Gestalt campaign where all player characters level two or more classes simultaneously.

If the mechanical optimization is less of a concern for you, then I agree that your best option is to reflavour available mechanics into concepts that support the fantasy of the character that you're going for. The others have already named a few good examples for the purpose of supporting the concept of a rogue without armor who punches people.

@edit:
To reiterate, I always figured that the tradeoff of multiclassing is making a suboptimal choice in return for gaining powerful class features which otherwise wouldn't be available. Eliminating multiclassing from the game to optimize even further seems overzealous from a balance perspective. I think introducing overly powerful homebrew options messes with the game's balance and can possibly make the GM's job harder. Unless departing from the game's original balance via homebrew is expressly desired for a particular campaign, I wouldn't recommend it.
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Last edited by Mindsiege; Mar 27th, 2023 at 11:14 PM.
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  #6  
Old Mar 28th, 2023, 12:54 AM
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What about flipping the classes? Go all Monk but with the Criminal background. Shadow Soul tradition later on. Get Bracers of Armor or a way to cast Mage Armor.
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  #7  
Old Mar 30th, 2023, 10:33 PM
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Some class specific features are pretty powerful, such as the monk's AC bonus to add Wis. Some of those I would make a series of feats that grow off each other or a custom archetype where those features replace other class features.

If it is a rogue, I would look into the rogue talents as options for this.

-me
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