During a quest (probably at a point of narrative significance, like a god rewarding a player character with power for defeating some big bad or something like that) would it be unbalanced to reward a PC/the PCs with a Feat or ability score increase (ASI) instead of a Magic Item?
My thinking is that since Magic Items (usually higher level ones) can sometimes give attribute boosts (Gauntlets of Ogre Power, for example) and other Feat-like advantages, how does that compare to actual Feats or ASIs?
If I try to anticipate some answers, I'm thinking that Magic Items can be sold, or passed between the party (attunement notwithstanding) whereas Feats/ASIs are permanently attached to the PC and can never be taken away.
On the other hand, some Magic Items increase an attribute to 19, whereas an ASI on a character whose highest stat is 16 or 17 isn't really going to change the end result; they still end up with a +4 modifier.
At lower levels, the Magic Items won't be as powerful, so handing out Feats and ASIs will be unbalanced. But at higher levels, doesn't this balance out?
Note that I haven't told my group yet (and I have no specific plans to do so), this is simply something that has occurred to me (maybe something to base a quest around) and wanted more information before I commit to this idea.
Specifically, I'm not interested in opinions, since ultimately I can do whatever I like in my games, regardless of how stupid my decisions may be. I am interested from a balance perspective:
How do the two options scale against each other?
Do rarer Magic Items balance against Feats/ASIs or will Feats/ASIs always give the players a stronger mechanical advantage at any level?