I want to create some new feats that grant a single cantrip and a 3rd-level spell. The feats will have the prerequisite that the PC must be a spellcaster with access to 3rd-level spells already, and although it uses their own spellcasting class's spell save DC, they can only cast it "once per long rest", not with their spell slots (I'm not sure if they could use spell slots if the spell is already on their spell list - obviously the main point of this is to gain spells not usually available to you, so in practice this won't happen).

The obvious comparison is with the Magic Initiate feat, except that Magic Initiate allows you to pick any two cantrips and any 1st level spell from any class's spell list (although all must come from the same spell list), whereas the spells for my feats will be a specific cantrip and spell. I'm hoping this lack of versatility (and the fact that non-spellcasters can't get it) will bring it in line with Magic Initiate despite granting a 3rd-level spell.

I plan on giving themes to these feats. Specifically, the "Desert Master" feat will give mold earth and wall of sand, and the "Ocean Master" feat will give shape water and wall of water (I may come up with better names at some point, but these'll do for now).

Note that, at the moment, these are the only two feats I am considering, so any other 3rd-level spells being granted by similar homebrew feats of this style are outside of the scope of this question, which is specifically about the "Desert/Ocean Master" feats above. Should I come up with more feats along these lines, I will try to balance any other 3rd-level spells I choose against these two spells by myself at the time.

Are these two feats balanced? Does giving specific cantrips (and non-damaging cantrips at that) and 3rd-level "wall of X" spells counterbalance the fact that I'm granting a 3rd-level spell via a feat?

  • What problem are you trying to overcome with these feats? – SeriousBri Sep 20 at 10:30
  • @SeriousBri Just adding some flavour to certain characters, for example, a druid from the desert, or a warlock who has a Marid as a patron. – NathanS Sep 20 at 10:37
up vote 6 down vote accepted

These two feats should be fine, if a bit underpowered

In fact, I think you'll find that barely anybody will even take them. Wall of Water, for example, is a spell Tritons get once per rest, but you don't see people flocking to Triton because of that spell. Why? Because it really isn't that big a deal, I play a Triton Fighter and I've used it like 3 times total.

You have to remember that a feat means you're sacrificing an ability score increase (very important) or a different feat (can be important, depending on your build).

For a caster who can already cast third level spells, you're more likely interested in getting an extra +2 to your primary casting ability, rather than being able to cast Wall of Sand or Wall of Water once per rest.

They sound like great, fluffy additions to your campaign, and I expect players will absolutely completely ignore them because they're on the weaker end of choices you can make at a levelup.

  • I see. At risk of falling for the "iterative homebrew question" trap of RPG.SE, would +1 to primary spellcasting ability alongside what I've proposed rebalance the feat from being underpowered? Or, how should I go about proposing this update if I am falling for that trap? – NathanS Sep 20 at 9:53
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    A +1 addition should be fine, as there are also other fluffy abilities that see little use with a +1 tagged on. I don't think you'll find the resulting feat overpowered, it'll still be a suboptimal choice in most players' eyes. – Theik Sep 20 at 10:42
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    Agree with this answer. Also, note that "lack of versatility" as a drawback does not apply to just "pre-chose, rather than giving you a list". All this means is that they either want the feat, if they were already going to make that choice, or don't want it, and won't take it; they haven't lost anything at all. Consider that you could just make a similar feat for every third-level spell; then the player has exactly the same choice as if you made a single "from a list" one. "Lack of versatility" applies to tactical decisions - being able to use an ability in less situations than another. – Xanthir Sep 21 at 17:02

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