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I want to give one of my players a racial feat for his custom race (basically a goliath). The race is heavily influenced by the ifreet/efreet of Final Fantasy - and therfore it seems appropriate to give the player the opportunity to have/learn fire immunity.

I could just plainly give fire Immunity as a feat, no strings attached, but I think this is hardly an advantage, because in the end I can plan around that, and if I do not, it makes balancing encounters harder.

Not giving it wouldn't fit the fluff very well so I've tried to come up with the following:

Infernoforged.

As a bonus action you can gain fire immunity for 1 hour and you can do this an amount of times equal to your proficiency bonus before finishing a Long Rest. During that time, your character emits a constant warmth and dim light in a radius of 20 ft.

I would like to know, if this might still be too powerful in terms of encounter design and challenges or if it is balanced enough.


The race (not debatable) for which this feat is designed for.

Inferno Goliath

  • Attribute. +2/+1 or +1/+1/+1 based on Tasha's distribution.
  • Languages. Common and one additional.
  • Size. medium
  • Type. humanoid
  • Speed. 30ft
  • Little Giant (Goliath MMotM)
  • resistance to fire damage
  • Stone's Endurance (Goliath MMotM)
  • Relentless Endurance (I believe from an orc race)
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2 Answers 2

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This is too strong for a normal feat

This still is effectively immunity

That you need to use a bonus action to activate the immunity does make it somewhat weaker than plain immunity, for example it will not allow the character to do so if they trigger a trap and have to make a saving throw. But in general, there are only 3-4 meaningful encounters per day, and being able to use this ability proficiency bonus times will mean that after tier 1 you can use it in nearly all of them. The duration of 1 hour is also long enough to last the entire encounter. In practical terms, this is not much weaker than full-on immunity. So, even with your changes this still amounts to effectively immunity.

The real issue here is that as you say, immunity is making it hard to design encounters for the group. And with this still being effectively immunity, you are not getting rid of that issue. In near any encounter with fire opponents, one of your characters will be immune, the others not.

Fire immunity is higher value than a typical feat

To use a reference point, let's use Detect Balance 2022. This is an update for newer races of Detect Balance, a tool that assigns point values to things such as Ability Score increases and immunities. Detect Balance values an Ability Score Increase +2, that you can use to pick a feat if the DM allows feats, at 8 points. It values a immunity against a medium common energy type such as cold, lightning or acid at 16 points. There is no value for fire as a common immunity, but it would have to be a good bit higher still.

Let's take the slight weakening to treat it as only a medium immunity instead of a common one, and you still are looking at something roughly twice as valuable as a normal feat. This is assuredly not balanced according to this widely-used tool.1

The race has already fire resistance, which may serve as a thematic stand-in for the full immunity as in published races. For example, a pit fiend as a powerful devil is immune to fire, while a tiefling has mere fire resistance. In the same way, a full efreeti may be immune to fire, while an efreeti-related PC race could have resistance instead.


1 This assumes fights with fire-related opponents somewhat reflective of the mix of monsters in the Monster Manual. Obviously, if your campaign features lots of fire-based monsters, immunity to fire will be much stronger, and if you run no fire-based monsters at all, it will be next to useless against them (Thanks to @ThomasMarkov for pointing this out), but there still may be exploits where the players set things on fire, fireball into melee etc.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Or maybe a bit like the shield spell, reaction gives you immunity until your next turn? That may work with prof bonus times/long rest. \$\endgroup\$
    – biziclop
    Commented Sep 22, 2023 at 13:35
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    \$\begingroup\$ The only thing I think you’re missing here is that it will be DM/campaign dependent: in a game where fire damage is frequent, this is broken, in a game where there’s no fire damage anyway, this is useless. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Sep 22, 2023 at 16:17
  • \$\begingroup\$ @ThomasMarkov of the two ends of the spectrum, the latter is rather unlikely. Even if there aren't fire-breathing dragons, demons, lizards, rabbits, or what have you, typically players have access to fire: torches, lamps, spells. They can easily set more things on fire using wood, oil, other types of fuel. So, completely fire-less campaign seems doubtful. I guess it's possible and might be an interesting setting to explore, just not one I'd expect to be encountered with any frequency. \$\endgroup\$
    – VLAZ
    Commented Sep 22, 2023 at 17:30
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    \$\begingroup\$ @biziclop: A one-turn reaction would also avoid the "problem" of a character being able to swim through lava (or walk over it) for an hour or two, or go into burning buildings to search for stuff. Or of using fire as a combat strategy the way some devil's sight builds use darkness, of setting the area on fire so you're fine but enemies aren't. (But even if players don't abuse or push the limits of fire immunity in those ways, full immunity for multiple rounds is still really powerful for combat.) \$\endgroup\$ Commented Sep 23, 2023 at 15:26
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    \$\begingroup\$ Note that this race-specific feat is only upgrading a resistance to an immunity, so we should subtract the "cost" of the resistance. That's only 4 in this case for fire or poison (vs. 3 for "medium-uncommon" types), so still a value around 12 or a bit more, but less extreme than 16. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Sep 23, 2023 at 15:32
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This is powerful, but I would not spend a feat on it

As Nobody points out, this is effectively equivalent to fire immunity.

But fire immunity is very situational. Yes, fire monsters are common -- but there will be lots of encounters where you'll never take fire damage at all.

A feat needs to be something that you're always glad you have. Feats could be +2 to your attack stat, or something like Crossbow Expert or Sharpshooter or War Caster that fundamentally upgrades your actions in combat. Upgrading a resistance to an immunity just doesn't measure up.

I understand that Detect Balance values immunities very highly, but I think Detect Balance is pricing these incorrectly. As evidence that Detect Balance is not infallible, see this exploit involving Detect Balance resistances and vulnerabilities.

(Also, there is the issue you alluded to earlier, where if the DM knows that a character is nearly-immune to fire, they'll be tempted to design encounters to not rely on fire damage.)

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