This question and the accepted answer are of the opinion that granting an extra feat to all PCs at level 1 does not affect game balance.

Would granting every PC the choice of a feat or a cantrip (as opposed to a feat only) be unbalancing?

I recognize that in some cases characters get racial cantrips, in which case, this house-rule extra cantrip would be in addition to racially granted ones.



Since the Feat Magic Initiate grants 2 cantrips, giving the choice of gaining a single cantrip instead would be worse than granting a Feat.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Excellent observation. With my mod, a character could take a free house-rule cantrip at level 1, then Magic Initiate instead of an ASI, and with the potential for racial and class cantrips, end up cantripy as heck. That would be alright. \$\endgroup\$ – Jack Dec 5 '18 at 17:23
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Jack If you are worried about a character with many cantrips you may be interested in checking this question \$\endgroup\$ – Sdjz Dec 5 '18 at 17:26
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    \$\begingroup\$ While true, this doesn't really answer the question. "Would it unbalance the game?" is the question, not "would anyone pick a cantrip over a feat?". \$\endgroup\$ – GreySage Dec 5 '18 at 18:20
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Jack You're missing the point... Given the choice between "a feat" and "a cantrip", nobody in their right mind would take the cantrip, because there is a feat that allows a more than just that. The existence of Magic Initiate indicates that a feat is more valuable than a single cantrip. Your game would become slightly unbalanced in favor of the people who took the feat. \$\endgroup\$ – T.J.L. Dec 5 '18 at 18:21
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    \$\begingroup\$ I feel like this isn't actually an answer to the question. just a problem with the question that should have really been a comment. \$\endgroup\$ – goodguy5 Dec 5 '18 at 19:28

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