A Magic Feat

Publisher’s Choice Quality Stock Art © Rick Hershey / Fat Goblin Games

We need more spells that deal necrotic damage. When I showed off my lichtouched sorercous origin, this fact was pointed out to me by several people. The subclass has some features that rely on the character being able to cast such magic and is less valuable because of the lack of necrotic-slinging spells.

The obvious answer to this dilemma is to create some new spells that deal necrotic damage, which I intend to do, but I want to playtest the subclass now and I need some reliable magic to do so. Rather than also playtest many new spells, I could playtest just a single new feat. That got me thinking about creating a feat that allows casters to change the damage type of their spells. I ended up making one of those that I’m sharing below!

Designing Feats

Though feats are small when it comes to the amount of text they have, they’re one of the most difficult pieces of the game to balance. They tend to be powerful rule exceptions that don’t have a lot of math to help balance them. Feats vary widely from Actor to Lucky to Sharpshooter to War Caster.

The only thing we have to balance feats against (aside from other feats) is the typical ability score improvements. Characters can take feats in place of these, so they should be of equivalent power. When you design a new feat, ask yourself (and others you trust):

  • Would I rather take an ability score increase to my lowest score than take this feat? The answer to this question should be no (in most cases).
  • Would I give up an ability score increase to my most important ability than than take this feat? The answer to this question should be yes (in most cases).

My first thought was to create a single feat that allows a caster to change the damage type dealt by one spell to any other damage type, but that is far too powerful and versatile for a single feat. Thinking more about it, the more balanced thing to do is allow for one energy type to be swapped for another each time a feat is gained.

Behold the Energy Substitution feat below!

Energy Substitution

Prerequisite: The ability to cast at least one spell

You have mastered the magical flow of two energies so well that you can interchange them. Choose two of the following damage types: acid, cold, fire, lightning, necrotic, poison, radiant, or thunder. Anytime you cast a spell that deals one of your chosen damage types, you can convert it to the other chosen type. You can take this feat multiple times. Each time you do, select two more damage types that you can interchange with each other and the damage types you chose when you selected this feat previously.

Feed Me Back

Let me know what you think of these feats in the comments below. Too awesome? Not awesome enough? What would you change?

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