Sage Advice : Feats

Charger

If you have the Charger feat, can you make your charge attack when your mount takes the Dash action?

The Charger feat relies on you, not your mount, taking the Dash action

Crossbow Expert

Is it intentional that the second benefit of Crossbow Expert helps ranged spell attacks?

Yes, it’s intentional. When you make a ranged attack roll within 5 feet of an enemy, you normally suffer disadvantage (PH, 195). The second benefit of Crossbow Expert prevents you from suffering that disadvantage, whether or not the ranged attack is with a crossbow.

When designing a feat with a narrow use, we consider adding at least one element that can benefit a character more broadly—a bit of mastery that your character brings from one situation to another. The second benefit of Crossbow Expert is such an element, as is the first benefit of Great Weapon Master. That element in Crossbow Expert shows that some of the character’s expertise with one type of thing—crossbows, in this case—transfers to other things.

Do the first and third benefits of Crossbow Expert turn a hand crossbow into a semiautomatic weapon?

The short answer is no. The first benefit of the feat lets you ignore the loading property (PH, 147) of the hand crossbow if you’re proficient with that weapon. The upshot is that you can fire it more than once if you have a feature like Extra Attack. You’re still limited, however, by the fact that the weapon has the ammunition property (PH, 146). The latter property requires you to have a bolt to fire from the hand crossbow, and the hand crossbow isn’t going to load itself (unless it’s magical or a gnomish invention). You need to load each bolt into the weapon, and doing so requires a hand.

To dig deeper into this point, take a look at the following sentence in the definition of the ammunition property: "Drawing the ammunition from a quiver, case, or other container is part of the attack." The sentence tells us two important things. First, you’re assumed to be drawing— that is, extracting with your hand—the ammunition from a container. Second, the act of drawing the ammunition is included in the attack and therefore doesn’t require its own action and doesn’t use up your free interaction with an object on your turn.

What does that all mean for a hand crossbow? It means Crossbow Expert makes it possible to fire a hand crossbow more than once with a feature like Extra Attack, provided that you have enough ammunition and you have a hand free to load it for each shot.

Does Crossbow Expert let you fire a hand crossbow and then fire it again as a bonus action?

It does! Take a look at the feat’s third benefit. It says you can attack with a hand crossbow as a bonus action when you use the Attack action to attack with a one-handed weapon. A hand crossbow is a one-handed weapon, so it can, indeed, be used for both attacks, assuming you have a hand free to load the hand crossbow between the two attacks.

Dual Wielder

Can my character wield two heavy weapons if she has the Dual Wielder feat?

No. The Dual Wielder feat lets you wield two one-handed weapons. Every heavy weapon in the Player’s Handbook also has the two-handed property.

Dungeon Delver

The Dungeon Delver feat talks about searching for traps at a normal or slow pace. Where’s the rule on this?

The final benefit of the Dungeon Delver feat refers to a nonexistent rule (from the 5E playtest). Ignore it. We’ll cut it in a future printing of the Player’s Handbook.

Elemental Adept

Is Elemental Adept the only feat you can take more than once?

Elemental Adept is the only feat in the Player’s Handbook that you can take more than once.

Great Weapon Master

With the Great Weapon Master feat, do you have to take the bonus action immediately, or could you move and then use it on the same turn?

You take the bonus action on your turn, anytime after you hit with the attack that grants the bonus action. So yes, you can move before taking the bonus action (if you have movement remaining).

Lucky

How does the Lucky feat interact with advantage and disadvantage?

The Lucky feat represents extraordinary luck that can help you when you need it most. It lets you spend a luck point; roll an extra d20 for an attack roll, ability check, or saving throw; and then choose which d20 to use. This is true no matter how many d20s are in the mix. For example, if you have advantage or disadvantage on your attack roll, you could spend a luck point, roll a third d20, and then decide which of the three dice to use. You still have advantage or disadvantage, since the feat doesn’t say it negates it, but you get to pick the die. The upshot of this fact is that a rogue, for instance, who has disadvantage on an attack roll couldn’t use Sneak Attack even if the rogue uses the Lucky feat to pick the die. The Lucky feat is a great example of an exception to a general rule. The general rule in this case is the one that tells us how advantage and disadvantage work (PH, 173). The specific rule is the Lucky feat, and we know that a specific rule trumps a general rule if they conflict with each other (PH, 7).

If a DM wants advantage and disadvantage to play their normal roles even when the Lucky feat is used, here’s a way to do so: roll two d20s for advantage/disadvantage, roll a third d20 for Lucky, eliminate one of the three dice, and then use the higher (for advantage) or lower (for disadvantage) of the two dice that remain.

Magic Initiate

If you’re a spellcaster, can you pick your own class when you gain the Magic Initiate feat?

Yes, the feat doesn’t say you can’t. For example, if you’re a wizard and gain the Magic Initiate feat, you can choose wizard and thereby learn two more wizard cantrips and another 1st-level wizard spell.

If you have spell slots, can you use them to cast the 1stlevel spell you learn with the Magic Initiate feat?

Yes, but only if the class you pick for the feat is one of your classes. For example, if you pick sorcerer and you are a sorcerer, the Spellcasting feature for that class tells you that you can use your spell slots to cast the sorcerer spells you know, so you can use your spell slots to cast the 1st-level sorcerer spell you learn from Magic Initiate. Similarly, if you are a wizard and pick that class for the feat, you learn a 1st-level wizard spell, which you could add to your spellbook and subsequently prepare.

In short, you must follow your character’s normal spellcasting rules, which determine whether you can expend spell slots on the 1st-level spell you learn from Magic Initiate.

Polearm Master

Can I add my Strength modifier to the damage of the bonus attack that Polearm Master gives me?

Yes. If you have the feat and use the Attack action to attack with a glaive, halberd, or quarterstaff, you can also strike with the weapon’s opposite end as a bonus action. For that bonus attack, you add your ability modifier to the attack roll, as you do whenever you attack with that weapon, and if you hit, you add the same ability modifier to the damage roll, which is normal for weapon damage rolls (PH, 196).

A specific rule, such as the rule for two-weapon fighting (PH, 195), might break the general rule by telling you not to add your ability modifier to the damage. Polearm Master doesn’t have such a rule.

Does Polearm Master let me make an opportunity attack against a target that is being forced to approach me?

A creature doesn’t provoke an opportunity attack if it is moved without the use of its movement, its action, or its reaction. For example, the effect of the antipathy/sympathy spell requires the target to use its movement, meaning that it would provoke opportunity attacks when it does so. Similarly, dissonant whispers requires the target to move using its reaction (if available), so that activity also provokes opportunity attacks. In contrast, a creature that’s pushed by a gust of wind spell does not provoke opportunity attacks.

Savage Attacker

Does the Savage Attacker feat work with unarmed strikes?

No. Savage Attacker relies on a weapon’s damage dice, and an unarmed strike isn’t a weapon (a point that was clarified in the Player’s Handbook errata).

Does the benefit of the Savage Attacker feat apply to additional effects like the rogue’s Sneak Attack or the paladin’s Divine Smite?

No. The benefit of Savage Attacker applies only to rolls of the weapon’s damage dice, not to any extra damage that a feature or other ability might grant.

Sentinel

Does the attack granted by the third benefit of the Sentinel feat take place before or after the triggering attack?

The bonus attack takes place after the triggering attack. Here’s why: the feat doesn’t specify the bonus attack’s timing, and when a reaction has no timing specified, the reaction occurs after its trigger finishes (DMG, 252). In contrast, an opportunity attack specifically takes place before its trigger finishes—that is, right before the target creature leaves your reach (PH, 195).

How does the Sentinel feat work against an enemy that has Fancy Footwork or the Mobile feat? Does the character with the Sentinel feat still get the opportunity attack?

The second benefit of the Sentinel feat is intended to counteract the Disengage action only. An enemy with the Fancy Footwork feature (Sword Coast Adventurer’s Guide) or one that has the Mobile feat can avoid provoking opportunity attacks from someone who has the Sentinel feat, as long as that enemy doesn’t take the Disengage action.

Shield Master

The Shield Master feat lets you shove someone as a bonus action if you take the Attack action. Can you take that bonus action before the Attack action?

No. The bonus action provided by the Shield Master feat has a precondition: that you take the Attack action on your turn. Intending to take that action isn’t sufficient; you must actually take it before you can take the bonus action. During your turn, you do get to decide when to take the bonus action after you’ve taken the Attack action. This sort of if-then setup appears in many of the game’s rules. The “if” must be satisfied before the “then” comes into play.

Tough

Does the Tough feat have an effect for a druid while in beast form?

The intent is no. The Tough feat affects a druid’s hit points, which are replaced by the beast’s hit points while using Wild Shape.

Multiclassing

Are ability score improvements class-level dependent, rather than total level?

Ability score improvements are based on your level in a particular class, not your total character level if you multiclass. For instance, if you’re a 4th-level multiclass character, you haven’t yet received the Ability Score Improvement feature because you haven’t attained 4th level in one of your classes.

Would a temporary stat bump fulfill a multiclass prerequisite, or does the base score have to meet the requirement?

Your base score, not a temporary score, has to meet a multiclassing prerequisite.

When multiclassing, do you get the cantrips from all your classes?

If any of your classes grants you cantrips, you get all of them.

Do you gain proficiency in more saving throws when multiclassing?

A class offers various starting proficiencies that you get if it is your first class. If the class isn’t your first, you get only the starting proficiencies listed for that class in the Multiclassing Proficiencies table (PH, 164). No saving throw proficiencies are included in that table. Regardless of whether a class is your first, you do gain any proficiencies that the class grants through its features. For instance, if you gain a level in cleric and choose the War Domain, you do benefit from the Bonus Proficiencies feature, even if cleric isn’t your first class.

Can a barbarian/cleric use spiritual weapon to attack while raging, if it is cast before entering rage?

A barbarian’s Rage feature makes concentration impossible but has no effect on spells, like spiritual weapon, that don’t require concentration.

Can a barbarian/fighter (Battle Master) use maneuvers while raging?

Nothing in the barbarian’s Rage feature precludes the use of maneuvers.

Can a rogue/monk use Sneak Attack with unarmed strikes?

The Sneak Attack feature works with a weapon that has the finesse or ranged property. An unarmed strike isn’t a weapon, so it doesn’t qualify. In contrast, a rogue/ monk can use Sneak Attack with a monk weapon, such as a shortsword or a dagger, that has one of the required properties.

A wizard multiclasses into Wild Magic sorcerer. Do spells cast from their spellbook trigger Wild Magic Surge if they are on the sorcerer spell list, or do they have to gain them from sorcerer to trigger?

From the multiclassing rules: "Each spell you know and prepare is associated with one of your classes" (PH, 164). This rule means only the spells gained from levels in sorcerer trigger Wild Magic Surge.

SA-dons

Written by Jeremy Crawford (Sage Advice Compendium v2.3)