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This feat is intended to help with action economy when players are trying to keep an eye on a tunnel or hallway for additional enemies, while maintaining active participation in the fight. My general understanding is that making Perception checks takes an action. Inspiration for this feat was taken from the official Observant feat, but to flavor it much more in line with the experience combat veteran would have.

Strategist

Extensive battlefield experience has attuned your senses to filter out the chaos of war and distill the tactically relevant details.

  • Increase your Wisdom or Intelligence score by 1, to a maximum of 20.
  • While in combat, you may make active Wisdom (Perception) checks as a bonus action.
  • Making a Perception check in this way is never subject to disadvantage.
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  • \$\begingroup\$ Are you the DM homebrewing this feat for your players? How often do you expect the situation you describe to come up in your combat encounters? \$\endgroup\$ Jul 4, 2022 at 18:52
  • \$\begingroup\$ So, this is basically an "anti-Stealth" feat? \$\endgroup\$
    – ValhallaGH
    Jul 4, 2022 at 19:40
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Slaves_of_the_Coast yes. It’s come up in games I’ve played and DMed and I wanted to think through something that had enough Roleplay flavor and utility to be an interesting choice. I had a PC in mind with a strong military theme, soldier background. Adventuring is a bit of departure, so they tend to slip back into habits from their past. \$\endgroup\$ Jul 4, 2022 at 20:02
  • \$\begingroup\$ @ValhallaGH yes, but I’m hoping the situational aspect keeps it from just being an “always on” kind of thing. \$\endgroup\$ Jul 4, 2022 at 20:03

2 Answers 2

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Since the two feats are so similar I will compare Strategist to Observant. See this answer for a full breakdown on how perception works in combat.

Observant already does most of what this feat intends to do

Observant will perform better in finding hidden enemies most of the time, at a lower action economy cost. If your passive perception is high enough, you can notice hidden enemies for free without expending any actions, and the +5 bonus will ensure that it will be high enough more often. The +5 bonus also cancels out disadvantage (-5) to passive perception. Furthermore, Observant also works on Investigation checks and has an additional useful benefit.

Strategist is better than Observant when you are taking the Search action, but only if the required roll is a Perception check, not when it is an Investigation checks and only if you don't need your bonus action for something else.

Overall I think Strategist is slightly weaker and less useful than Observant

I would therefore propose to slightly buff Strategist like so:

  • Make it also work on Investigation checks

and either

  • Allow one free Perception or investigation check per turn

or

  • Perception or Investigation checks made this way have advantage
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Highly situational, but flawed

The first consideration is, not everyone says it takes a full action to do a perception check while in combat. So if you are the DM, and this is how you play the game, it's okay. If you are not the DM, then find out how they handle perception checks in combat to see if it even makes a difference. There are better feats for gaining a +1 to Wisdom.

Breakdown

Adding a +1 to a stat is very common. The abilities that are the riders vary greatly; from flavorful to granting spells. This seems to be a middle ground.

The biggest problem is this line:

Making a Perception check in this way is never subject to disadvantage.

That means you, or your target, can be lightly obscured, in dim light, or any number of situations that would normally impose disadvantage, and they are all nullified. Which means at worst a normal roll, but leaves room for even having advantage.

Instead

Just keep the Observant feat, and make a house rule about Passive Perception. It's there for a reason.

Something like:

During combat, a player can use their Bonus Action to make a Passive Perception sweep of area they can see.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Blindness causes perception checks relying on sight to fail automatically and heavily obscured areas make it so "creature effectively suffers from the blinded condition when trying to see something in that area". The feat does not change that \$\endgroup\$ Jul 4, 2022 at 21:01
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Slaves_of_the_Coast, fixed \$\endgroup\$
    – MivaScott
    Jul 4, 2022 at 21:16
  • \$\begingroup\$ You can use a bonus action to use an always on feature? I don't understand how that works \$\endgroup\$
    – SeriousBri
    Jul 5, 2022 at 20:43
  • \$\begingroup\$ @SeriousBri, Mostly because people forget that Passive Perception is an always on thing. Even in the heat of battle, even when looking for something else, PP exists and is really the lowest you should be able to roll for a Perception check. So rather than making a whole feat that has an exploit loop, I gave a house rule and used a built-in feature that would accomplish what the OP is asking for; a way to perceive more than the combat a character is involved with. \$\endgroup\$
    – MivaScott
    Jul 5, 2022 at 22:30

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