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Can the same character take a given feat multiple times to gain the benefits all over again?

It seems obviously stupid that you can't, but I can't find anywhere in the RAW that actually states that. The closest I get is Elemental Adept's "You can select this feat multiple times" sentence, which implies that most feats can only be taken once.

The feat I'm eyeing very specifically is Magic Initiate, which lets you add a splash of magic from other classes to a given character. If I've read online documents correctly, I can use my core class (sorcerer) spell slots to cast the 1st-level spell I gain access to, which means I could grab shield of faith, use Twinned Spell on that, then turn around and grab the bard's spell list to grab healing word and turn my sorcerer into a semi-support caster.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Since it's not central to the question, I'm leaving this as a comment: as of the 2018 PHB errata, you can only use a class's spell slots to cast spells of that class - so you can only use sorcerer slots to cast your Magic Initiate spell if you pick the Sorcerer class for the Magic Initiate feat. You can still cast it once per long rest as normal. \$\endgroup\$ – V2Blast May 18 '19 at 7:17
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The general rule is that you can only take each feat once

From page 165 of the Player's Handbook (under "Feats"), or here in the basic rules:

You can take each feat only once, unless the feat's description says otherwise.

The Magic Initiate feat does not list an exception to that rule which means you can only take it once.

Except that the Magic Initiate feat encapsulates a choice of options. You have to pick a class from which you get your spells and cantrips from. It is unclear whether the general rule applies to Magic Initiate as a whole or only to a specific set of options.

I personally would allow a character to take Magic Initiate multiple times provided he picked a different class every time.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Note that there is exactly one feat which states that it can be taken multiple times: Elemental Adept. \$\endgroup\$ – Bacon Bits Apr 2 '17 at 22:44
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    \$\begingroup\$ The rule says "feat", not "feat with a specific set of options". The quote given in the KorvinStarmast's answer says that the only feat that is designed to be taken muiltiple times must be taken with diffferent options each time. So it's clear that the spirit of the rule is about the feat as a whole: if it wasn't, that text in Elemental Adept wouldn't be needed because it would already be so. \$\endgroup\$ – ivan_pozdeev May 7 at 15:03
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Yes, but only if the feat is elemental adept

This is the only feat whose text clearly indicates that it can be taken more than once.

You can select this feat multiple times. Each time you do so, you much choose a different damage type. (PHB, p. 166)

None of the other feats have this exception to the general rule.

You can take each feat only once, unless the feat's description says otherwise (PHB, p. 165)

A review of the racial feats in Xanathar's Guide to Everything (pages 73-75) finds that none of them have that text / waiver either.

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The official ruling in the PHB is:

You can take each feat only once, unless the feat's description says otherwise.

With the exception of the Elemental Adept, which is the only feat to specifically state:

You can select this feat multiple times. Each time you do so, you must choose a different damage type.

That being said, the DM of your game can choose a different path. I belong to many games and have found a common House Rule, is that you can take a feat multiple times, but each time you must choose a different ability/skill/caster class/maneuvers/fighting style, just like the exception for the Elemental Adept.

I have found it does not affect game balance or mechanics, but gives players better build/creation options for role-playing flavor.

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