The steps to generate a character are:

  1. Choose a Race
  2. Choose a Class
  3. Determine Ability Scores
  4. ...

A player choosing Variant Human as race gets a feat in step 1. However many feats have prerequisites that are only fulfilled later in the character creation. Can a player choose these feats as the feat provided by variant human or not?


  • Spell Sniper requires the character to be able to cast a spell. The earliest point when you get access to a spell as variant human is step 2, provided you choose this feat.
  • Heavy Armor Master requires proficiency in heavy armor, which a fighter gets, but only in step 2.
  • Defensive Duelist requires 13+ Dex, but ability scores are only assigned in step 3.
  • \$\begingroup\$ That's a good point. I don't have a raw answer to your question. Though I will throw out that if your feat choice is limited, variant humans become extremely weak \$\endgroup\$
    – Pliny
    Dec 8, 2018 at 17:49
  • \$\begingroup\$ Just out of curiosity, have you ever done character creation in 5e where the first thing you do is to choose a background? Chronologically, that makes more sense than waiting until after the step by step method aimed at new players in the PHB ... \$\endgroup\$ Dec 8, 2018 at 20:43
  • \$\begingroup\$ When I create a character, I'm not really following those steps in the order provided in the book. The important thing though is that you could achieve the same results using the order of the steps provided in the PHB. For this reason I want to know, if my interpretation of the rules is correct and/or if there is e.g. Sage Advice clarifying this. \$\endgroup\$
    – fabian
    Dec 8, 2018 at 21:00
  • \$\begingroup\$ Personally, I believe you're really overthinking it, though that's not really an answer. \$\endgroup\$
    – Misamoto
    Dec 10, 2018 at 9:37

1 Answer 1


You check prerequisites when the character is completed.

Although the PHB separates character creation into 6 steps, rarely are the steps done in isolation. Similar to concept of Simultaneous Turns, the steps provide a process for determining many simultaneous selections. In other words, choices made at each step generally reflect choices you will make at other steps.

Most feats are written with the complete character in mind; ie, added to a character after creation. Thus, prerequisites only come into play for the complete character. As long as the completed character meets all prerequisites, there is nothing preventing you from selecting a feat before you select the class/ability that satisfies the prerequisite.

You have forgotten the most important step 0 (emphasis mine):

Before you dive into step 1 below, think about the kind of adventurer you want to play You might be a courageous fighter, a skulking rogue, a fervent cleric, or a flamboyant wizard.
Once you have a character in mind, follow these steps in order, making decisions that reflect the character you want. Your conception of your character might evolve with each choice you make. What's important is that you come to the table with a character you're excited to play. (PHB p.11)

In short, character creation is done as a whole. The steps simply help organize your decisions. Similar to the concept of simultaneous turns, there is nothing preventing you from selecting a feat if you know you will meet the prerequisite with a choice in a later step.

  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ While I agree with the gist of the answer, I was hoping to something closer to the rules (or maybe Sage Advice or something like that). "Usually you never do it step by step as written in the book" does not mean that RAW you can do those steps in any order. The part about "coming up with an idea for the desired end result first" imho does not really provide indication, how this works RAW. \$\endgroup\$
    – fabian
    Dec 8, 2018 at 21:14
  • \$\begingroup\$ @fabian -- well by RAW, Feats are part of Step 6: Customization, thus not added until the end. also note: variant human is an optional race that uses optional feats. Thus not going to fit neatly into RAW. \$\endgroup\$
    – ravery
    Dec 8, 2018 at 21:51
  • \$\begingroup\$ @ravery That's Chapter 6, not Step 6. \$\endgroup\$ Dec 9, 2018 at 5:09
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Bloodcinder -- well anyway, Variant human is a customization/variant rule, as are the feats that go with it. \$\endgroup\$
    – ravery
    Dec 9, 2018 at 5:32

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