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I recently had a session where it became apparent to me that I had to increase my 5th-level paladin's charisma somehow, having already used my Ability Score Increase (ASI) to increase my Constitution and Strength (my paladin is acting as the primary tank and wanted the ability to use the biggest armor in the PHB).

Our GM said that if I could give enough reason, story, and have my character use enough ingame time, I could choose a feat that could increase my charisma. This limited me to either Actor or Resilient.

Actor made no sense in the type of character I was playing (He views acting as lying, trying to appear as something you are not), so I wanted to take Resilient for the charisma ability.

Being a paladin, I already had proficiency in saving throws using charisma, and because of that, several of the players as well as the GM said that I couldn't take that feat because I already had proficiency, meaning that the only other feat that could increase his charisma was Actor, and that did not fit my character at-all.

I have tried reasoning with them, that it doesn't mention it anywhere that I can find, that I can't do that, and the only response I got was that "It makes no sense why you should be able to take a feat for something you already have proficiency with".

Question: If a character has proficiency in saving throws using the same ability that a feat grants proficiency in, does that prevent the character from gaining said feat?

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RAW

There is no rule to support banning the feat because you already have the proficiency. They simply don't stack - there's no benefit to being proficient twice. You're either proficient or not. Expertise and similar features are specific case rules, but I don't think I've ever seen them applied to saves.

Advice

You originally said it makes "more sense for my character to take the feat than just increasing his score." However, the name of the feat is just a label. Your revision changes it to the GM saying... "if I could give enough reason... ...I could choose a feat that could increase my charisma". There is no good reason to take a feat when half of it is useless.

The default option, and your best option, is to just take the Ability Score Increase (ASI), which gives you two +1s to apply. Put one on Charisma and put one somewhere else, or put both on Charisma... It's a better option than taking a half-redundant feat.

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In effect, you are being offered a free feat, but only a feat not an ASI.

There are two skill feats from Unearthed Arcana that might fit better than Actor or Resilient.

Diplomat grants proficiency or double proficiency with Persuasion, and makes you extremely likeable; you can charm people (outside of combat) with your words.

Menacing grants proficiency or double proficiency in Intimidate, and lets you try to frighten foes in combat in place of an attack.

Personally, I'd find Diplomat more fun.

Your DM is giving a bonus feat if you are willing to justify it via training and practice. A feat whose benefit is mostly non-existent is harder to justify in-game story-wise; justifying a feat from Unearthed Arcana is probably easier.

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Talk to your GM about the options

Essentially, your GM has promised you free access to a feat if you can justify it in-universe. The problem is that the only feats providing charisma don't make sense to your character, and you definitely want charisma (as a player of a Bard, I know that feeling).

I say you and your GM need to tweak your approach. Since you both want your character to have access to higher charisma but you find the options in the book too limiting, try one of the following:

  • Together with your GM, brainstorm a home-brew feat that works for your character and gives charisma in addition with some other benefit that works better for your Paladin
  • Try to negotiate for just a charisma increase in exchange for in-universe training: easily justified as being only the partial benefit of an existing feat and thus not overpowered compared to feats
  • Ask your GM to provide access to magical items boosting charisma, at an appropriate cost
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Resilient feat gives you proficiency in saving throws and +1 to ability score. By just increasing charisma instead of taking feat you can increase it by +2. While I don't see it been forbidden to take the feat, it's pointless, since you can get greater benefits by just increasing the ability score.

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You can select the Resilient feat even if it doesn't help you.

For instance, even if you had a maximum Charisma score of 20 and were already proficient in Charisma saving throws you could choose (i.e., waste) this feat. However, your Charisma would not increase and you would have 2 sources of proficiency for the saving throw (which doesn't help any more than 1 source). Choosing a feat where half of it won't help you is usually a very poor decision (especially when it is provably sub-optimal such as this case).

I'm not clear on whether your DM is giving you a free feat or you are choosing this feat vs an ASI. Obviously, Resilient (+1 Cha and redundant saving throw) is worthless if you are giving up an ASI for +1 Cha ASI and +1 somewhere else. If you are being given the feat for free, it is still a +1 bump to Cha, so take it (or take Actor and use what little of it you might want; you can always roll-play that you gave up that career but can rely on it in desperate times).

If you can choose any feat, hopefully you can use one of the +1 Cha Racial feats from XGtE (p 73-75) if you are a Dragonborn, Elf, Halfling, or Tiefling.

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What does your DM think about Unearthed Arcana? If they really want you to take a feat rather than a simple score increase you could take one of the feats in the Feats for Skills article. Of interest to you might be the Menacing feat which gives you proficiency in Intimidation and +1 to Charisma. If you already have that proficiency, your DM could let you take Expertise in it.

Unrelated to feats, there's another possible solution to your dilemma. There's a magic item that permanently increases your charisma score (and charisma score max) by 2 called the Tome of Leadership and Influence. It's in the Dungeon Masters Guide. It requires you to study it for a few days and could be a quest reward or an item at a store.

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    \$\begingroup\$ This doesn't actually address the question asked, which is about rules that block the selection of a feat. The other material in the question is background for the situation. \$\endgroup\$ – T.J.L. Jun 28 '17 at 17:02
  • \$\begingroup\$ @T.J.L. Indeed, seems most people focus on the background for the situation instead :) I have no problem with that, as the question was answered sufficiently. I like this answer because it gives me more to talk over with my GM, and potentially allowing more feats for the other party members in the future. \$\endgroup\$ – Dion S. Jensen Jun 29 '17 at 8:28
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Sounds like your GM is giving you an opportunity to increase your roleplaying ability/opportunity. He may not want to hurt your feelings(?) and is blocking the "resilient" feat because then you wouldn't have to do that. Perhaps he just isn't the greatest communicator or has other reasons for wanting you to try to be the Actor.

Also, it's a bit of a copout to just say your character doesn't want to be actor. It sounds like a good opportunity to try new things out in the game! Come up with a reason for why your character would make this change. Otherwise, it's just a free stat.

Also, the GM is being quite generous to give you a free feat/stat.

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protected by Oblivious Sage Jul 16 '18 at 20:54

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