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I am looking to make a homebrew feat based on the Lucky feat but using the Portent mechanic, and am trying to find the balance point on the amount of dice.

Disclaimer: I don't think Lucky is overpowered, neither does anyone at my table, but as it is the closest feat to what I am looking for I am trying to use it as the balancing point for the new feat. This is not an attempt to homebrew a powerful feat.

For completeness:

The description of the School of Divination wizard's Portent feature says (PHB, p. 116):

Starting at 2nd level when you choose this school, glimpses of the future begin to press in on your awareness. When you finish a long rest, roll two d20s and record the numbers rolled. You can replace any attack roll, saving throw, or ability check made by you or a creature that you can see with one of these foretelling rolls. You must choose to do so before the roll, and you can replace a roll in this way only once per turn.

Each foretelling roll can be used only once. When you finish a long rest, you lose any unused foretelling rolls.

The description of the Lucky feat says (PHB, p. 167):

You have 3 luck points. Whenever you make an attack roll, an ability check, or a saving throw, you can spend one luck point to roll an additional d20. You can choose to spend one of your luck points after you roll the die, but before the outcome is determined. You choose which of the d20s is used for the attack roll, ability check, or saving throw.

You can also spend one luck point when an attack roll is made against you. Roll a d20, and then choose whether the attack uses the attacker's roll or yours. If more than one creature spends a luck point to influence the outcome of a roll, the points cancel each other out; no additional dice are rolled.

You regain your expended luck points when you finish a long rest.

The Lucky feat is widely applicable to pretty much any roll, and powerful because it can be used after the result.

The Portent feature is powerful because it can force an auto-failure or auto-success, but less applicable because if the rolls are middling they are less powerful.

How many Portent dice would be balanced against the 3 points (dice) from the Lucky feat?

I am currently leaning towards 2, but that is more based on gut feeling than anything as I have neither used, nor seen in use either of these abilities yet.

Addendum: If it matters, and it might, this is intended to be used by a Divination wizard, so if adding extra Portent dice is simply too powerful, that would be an acceptable answer, although one I would have to be convinced by.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ I believe this is a bad question. You are basically asking us to homebrew that feat for us. You are not giving us an example and asking if it is balanced, but you ask us what value would be balanced. That seems difficult to answer to me and does not pass any of the hurdles mentioned here: rpg.meta.stackexchange.com/a/5327/51849 \$\endgroup\$ – findusl May 12 at 9:55
  • \$\begingroup\$ @findusl I think the question is sufficiently narrowly scoped. The homebrew feat is fully specified up to a single variable: the number of portent dice given. And furthermore, there are really only 3 reasonable answers: 0, 1, or 2. \$\endgroup\$ – Ryan C. Thompson May 12 at 11:36
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I'm not actually sure this is balanced at all

This feat would be giving the primary ability of a 2nd level Divination Wizard to anyone who takes the feat. Normally, in order to access this, you'd need to dip two levels into Wizard.

Yes, you'd get the other fun Wizard stuff by dipping two levels, but this is really the One Thing that divination wizards get, and they don't get 'more' of them until end-game.

Another option

I could see a potential case of getting one Portent Die, and not two. But that is still pretty powerful and becomes a must-have feat for any caster and possibly others too (although Lucky could also be seen like this.) The ability to guarantee a failed or passed save is HUGE - even if it is just once/day.

The feat for divination wizards

This basically gives them their 14th level ability at potentially 4th level (or earlier if V. Human.) I don't know the designer intent behind not wanting to provide more, but as someone who briefly played a divination wizard, these portents are very powerful. Limiting their total use and number was clearly something the designers considered when developing the class. If I had a third one (or fourth after level 14), that would be AMAZING.

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    \$\begingroup\$ I think a non-obvious feature of portent dice is that their usefulness goes up disproportionately as you add more of them, because it's more chances to roll just one low number to force an auto-fail on that one pivotal enemy saving throw (or one high roll for an ally to auto-pass a pivotal save). I suspect this is why the 14th-level feature only adds 1 more die. It seems underwhelming on paper, but from what you say, it sounds like it's a substantial upgrade to the feature. \$\endgroup\$ – Ryan C. Thompson May 12 at 2:51
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Portent Dice and Lucky Dice are broadly similar to each other

As you point out in your question, while the two features may feel flavorfuly different, it is reasonable to compare them to one another. Both essentially allow you to re-roll a single d20. With Lucky, you know the outcome of the original roll, but not the second roll, while with Portent, you know the outcome of the second roll but not the original roll. If you imagine two characters applying these features over thousands of attack rolls under idealized, experimental conditions, I expect the two features would perform similarly.

Each has some situational advantages, but Portent comes out on top.

Lucky Dice have a critical advantage in the idealized experiment proposed above: you get to pick the better of the two roles. You might roll a 10, think that probably isn't good enough, spend a luck point, roll an 8, and then realize that the 10 was good enough after all. With Portent dice, on the other hand, you pre-emptively opt to spend a die in a circumstance where you would have rolled better.

Portent Dice, on the other hand, give you the advantage of being able to choose which of multiple potential pre-rolled dice to use. Under the aforementioned idealized experiment, this makes Portent Dice more powerful if you have several of them but less powerful if you have only one.

Portent Dice have two other advantages, however. First, pre-rolling the results at the beginning of the day may influence your decision-making throughout the day. If you know you have a 20 up your sleeve, you can attempt ultra-risky courses of action that hinge on a single difficult roll. Second, Portent Dice can be applied to a broader range of rolls than Lucky Dice, including ability checks and saving throws made by other creatures. This is useful in a variety of situations, and very powerful for characters with save-or-suck abilities that may result in encounters hinging on a single enemy saving throw.

The extent to which these extra advantages of Portent Dice matter is somewhat campaign and character dependent. For characters who mostly make attack rolls in campaigns that consist of lots of medium-difficulty combats where no one roll is obviously more important than another, it's not clear to me which type of die is more useful. For a control caster in a campaign with lots of high stakes skill challenges and boss fights, Portent Dice seem obviously more useful. Therefore, I think your suggestion of two Portent Dice being equal to three Lucky Dice seems reasonable. If you wanted to bring the two types of dice into better parity with each other and limit the considerable utility of Portent Dice for save-or-suck abilities you might also consider limiting the scope of applications for your Portent Feat to match those of the Lucky Feat, removing the ability to use them on saves and checks of other creatures.

Replicating an existing class feature isn't necessarily unbalanced

Contra NautArch's Answer, I don't think replicating a 2nd-level class feature as a feat is inherently unbalanced- feats are intended to be powerful, while class features are fairly variable. Looking specifically at 2nd-level Wizard Features, the Abjuration Wizard's Arcane Ward feature is quite similar to the Inspiring Leader feat- both essentially grant Temporary HP equal to an ability modifier + level. Arcane Ward has the advantage that it isn't techincally Temporary HP and so can stack with other sources of Temporary HP, but Inspiring Leader can grant the HP to an entire party, so I would give the advantage to the feat. Additionally, the Transmuter's Minor Alchemy and the Illusionist's Improved Minor Illusion features, while not directly comparable to any feats, are mostly RP/flavor/utility features that strike me as less mechanically potent than plenty of feats.

I do agree with NautArch's caution that replicating an existing subclass feature as a feat makes that subclass a lot less special and may considerably reduce its appeal. That's a different consideration from the balance question you've asked, but one you should still take seriously.

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    \$\begingroup\$ for me, the main differentiator was that with lucky you can still be unlucky in the role. With Portent it is exactly what you know it will be. \$\endgroup\$ – NautArch May 11 at 19:23
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Joe If you are only using portents on attacks then yes, it is not majorly different. The most powerful use for it is to control saving throws for save-or-suck spells like feeblemind or the dominate spells. That can make a huge difference. Your answer doesn't seem to address this use and that might be why you find the feature less powerful. \$\endgroup\$ – linksassin May 12 at 1:13
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Joe You mention it briefly in the 4th and 5th paragraphs, but your direct comparison is focused on attacks as is much of your first 3 paragraphs. Particularly the second one, I simply think the answer underplays how powerful that ability is. Maybe it's just a visibility thing. But I have to read carefully to find where you mention it being strong. \$\endgroup\$ – linksassin May 12 at 1:56
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    \$\begingroup\$ @3C273 I agree that replicating this feature dilutes the specialness of the diviner, as addresses in my last paragraph. I just don't think that replicating a second level wizard subclass feature is inherantly mechanically unbalanced, as the other answer argues. \$\endgroup\$ – Joe May 12 at 1:56
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    \$\begingroup\$ That's true. And the edit is a good improvement. Typically though when talking about balance I usually compare in best case rather than worst case. Great Weapon Master is a great feat, but is nearly useless to a spell caster. In my view, this feat is nearly useless to someone who focuses on attacks, therefore including them in analysis is less relevant. \$\endgroup\$ – linksassin May 12 at 2:28

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