Anti-Feats (5e Variant Rule)

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Scales.png This page is of questionable balance. Reason: All of these "antifeats" need rewriting. I get a free feat if I kill "5 non-intelligent beasts" every 10 days. I get a free feat if I lower my dump stats. I'm not sure what "balanced" antifeats would look like. This highlights why Flaws were abandoned after 3rd edition. You can always choose one that has minimal impact. I can only imagine this working if you take away something that the player will definitely be relying on, such as hit dice or spell slots.

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in D&D 3.5 there was a system of introduced “flaws” which were selectable at level one, in exchange for the benefit of selecting an additional bonus-feat at the same time (maximum of 2 flaws). The general idea was that because the flaws actually represented a Larger detriment than the feats' benefit, this would not be unbalancing. In addition, however, the flaws very often provided excellent role-playing points, and brought the PC's to life more than any other system available at that time in the game. Because of the push in 3.5 towards greater role-playing and character development (backgrounds, etc) it seems appropriate to add a similar option in homebrew, even if it never appears in the core rules of the game.


At first level, the DM may allow any character to select One Anti-Feat, in exchange for the benefit of also selecting One Bonus-Feat.

For Balance, I suggest that a maximum of ONE anti-feat may be taken at first level, and that any other anti-feat must be acquired as in-game detriments. Furthermore, those acquired as in game detriments do not automatically grant the normal associated benefit. Rather, the character is allowed in-game to choose to either attempt overcoming their new-found flaw (they would then no longer have the anti-feat) or to work around it, gaining a bonus feat for the effort.

Either choice requires spending downtime training and/or a quest, etc, to achieve successfully. Specific Cures are subject to DM approval.

Any character permanently Cured of an Anti-Feat they possess, immediately loses any associated benefit they may have enjoyed.

Personally, I wouldn't advise ANY of the below examples, if you are interested in character optimization, but sometimes it can be fun to play the tragic hero (or antihero), the irredeemable drunk, or whatever else.

Example Antifeats[edit]

Forsaken of Gods and Men[edit]

Prerequisite: DM permission


To put it gently; God Hates You.

  • Healing immunity: You are not affected by magical healing.
  • Divine Hatred: you take damage from holy water, holy weapons, and unholy weapons, as though you were undead, a fiend or a celestial. Whichever is least beneficial to you at the time.
  • Ire of the Gods: Any turning ability of any cleric or any paladin will effect you as though you were one of the normal applicable targets. (this means that the 'destroy undead' ability of a 5th level cleric can kill you, etc.)
  • Celestial Misinformation: the Spells Detect Evil and Good, Protection from Evil and Good, Augury, Dispel Evil and Good, Hallow, Divine Word, Holy Aura, and any other magical effect based on alignment or hostile intent takes full effect against you as though you were its intended target and/or an enemy of the user of the spell/ability.

Suggested For: Warlocks, Oathbreaker Paladins

Suggested Cure: none.

Substance Abuse[edit]

Prerequisite: DM permission


Stop? Why would I stop?! The shakes only stop when I DO get my fix.

Addict: you are horribly addicted to some form of illicit substance(s). You must keep a supply of this substance on your person at all times, causing several penalties:

  • one tenth of all loot that would normally be given you is instead allotted to maintaining your addiction. (as you gain levels, you need more and more just to get your normal “fix”)
  • you require a fresh supply of your substance at all times, and your substance expires after only 10 days (no matter how much is carried, it goes bad and rots after those ten days). Each day you go without your substance you suffer one level of exhaustion. This exhaustion is cured instantly when you receive a dose of your chosen drug. If the drug may not be procured, the exhaustion may be reduced by one step by any spell or effect that would cure disease.
  • Poison Vulnerability: many toxins will react with the chemicals already diffused through your system. As a result, take double damage from all Poisons.
  • Optional: each time you take effect from any poison or disease, you suffer as though you had gone 1 day without your chosen substance.

Disclaimer: this option may be dis-allowed in entirely urban settings (as that makes getting your fix very easy), alternatively the DM could determine negative legal ramifications for possession of illicit substances.

Suggested Cure: quest OR extended (1 yr +) time under the care of a healer/preist (no adventuring during this time).

Child Prodigy[edit]

Prerequisite: DM permission


You tried it at home. And then you made the 'experts' look like idiots.

Some people are afraid you'll get hurt, others are just jealous. You don't listen much to either.

  • You are not allowed to select a character background at level one. You must identify all your traits, flaws, your ideal and your bond as normal.
  • Take -2 to a physical ability score of your choice, AND a mental ability score of your choice.

Suggested For: non-wizards

Suggested Cure: time. essentially, this is cured by aging. with DM approval, you may give up the benefit of any feat you would be entitled to acquire, in order to be 'cured' of this AntiFeat.


Prerequisite: DM permission, non-good alignment


There are bad people in this world. Some bad people happen to be very useful, however, and we keep them around.

Serial Killer: every 10 days you are required to murder a quota of at least 2 innocent victims in place of each innocent victim you may choose to instead kill two “non-innocent” victims (known murderers, etc), or 5 non-intelligent beasts.

Each murder you go short of your quota during each 10 day period, you lose a single skill, save, item, or armor proficiency, chosen by the DM. You recover one lost proficiency each time you meet your quota of 2 innocent victims. (if you double your quota you recover two proficiencies, etc.)

You may not “save up” kills, in order to staive off degeneration. You are perfectly free to take living hostages, however...

Most local authorities will eventually find out who you are.

Suggested Cure: Quest. Conversion to a peace loving religion. Death of the afflicted character.

Recurring Amnesia[edit]

Prerequisite: DM permission, a good sense of humor


It's actually rather unfortunate.

I'm impressed that you get by at all.

  • You may not use any tool whose use requires more than one hour.
  • You have disadvantage on all saves of two of the following three types, chosen when this anti-feat is acquired: Intelligence, Wisdom, and Charisma saving throws.
  • You are at disadvantage at all Arcana, History, Medicine, and Nature checks.
  • It may be a bad idea to go off anywhere on your own... use DM's discretion.

Suggested Cure: Quest. Wish spell, or higher level magic.

Socially Inept[edit]

Prerequisite: DM permission


How do I put this...: You're an idiot. Not so much that you aren't knowledgeable, but you make a fool of yourself more often than not.

  • You have disadvantage on all Charisma Checks as well as Animal Handling and Insight Checks.
  • You are at disadvantage on all saves against psychic damage, as well as against the charmed and frightened conditions.
  • In any round of combat, if you have taken a bonus action, you may not take a reaction that round.
  • In any round of combat, if you have taken a reaction in the previous round, you may not take a bonus action.

Suggested Cure: none. Consult with DM.


Prerequisite: DM permission


Whether from poor health or poor grooming, your just not up to the strain most people can handle. You're not up to the strain that most people handle without thinking about it.

  • You have disadvantage on all Strength, Dexterity and Constitution saving Throws.
  • You are at disadvantage at all Athletics and Acrobatics rolls.
  • Necrotic Vulnerability: take double damage from Necrotic damage.

Suggested for: Aristocrats, Sages, those with low constitution

Suggested Cure: Curable only for characters with Constitution 13+. 1 yr+ of downtime may be spent to cure this affliction.


Prerequisite: DM Permission; must be a race which can normally see.


Somehow, you have lost the ability to see. This may have been from birth, developed over time, or was caused by some incident.

  • You are permanently affected by the blinded condition, as such:
  • A blinded creature can't see and automatically fails any ability check that requires sight.
  • Attack rolls against the creature have advantage, and the creature's attack rolls have disadvantage.
  • Regardless of how bright the area is, you consider it to be dark.

Suggested For: The elderly, "blind savant" types, blacksmiths, people with dangerous or risky backgrounds.

Suggested Cure: Extremely rare and powerful magic.


Prerequisite: DM Permission, must be a race which "hears" in the traditional biological manner.


You have lost the ability to hear. This may have been from birth, or may have developed over time. Sometimes hearing loss is caused by exposure to traumatic noise. Whatever the case, you can't hear anything ever.

  • Character is constantly affected by the deafened condition

Suggested For: The elderly.

Suggested Cure: Powerful magic.


Prerequisite: DM permission; Must be a race able to talk


Somehow, you've lost your ability to talk.

  • You automatically fail every ability check that involves talking
  • You cannot cast spells that need Verbal Components
  • You're able to read and write languages as normal

' You're immune to magic that makes the target talk

Suggested For: War veterans

Suggested Cure: Powerful magic.


Prerequisite: DM Permission, must be a race which has arms.


You only have one arm. This prevents you from doing anything if your one hand is full, and prevents you from holding multiple weapons or two-handed weapons.

  • Cannot use two-handed weapons.
  • Cannot use two weapons at once.
  • Cannot use a weapon and shield at the same time.
  • Cannot make object interactions involving the hands if your hand is full.

Suggested For: Veteran soldiers

Suggested Cure: Powerful magic to restore or replace the lost limb.


Prerequisites: DM permission, must be a bipedal race.


Some birth defect or horrible incident has robbed you of one leg, leaving you crippled.

  • Your speed on foot is halved, and you must use a cane or crutch to move unless you have a peg leg or other prosthesis. You fall

prone after using the Dash action. You have disadvantage on Dexterity checks made to balance.

Suggested For: War veterans.

Suggested Cure: Magic such as the regenerate spell can restore the lost appendage.


Prerequisites: DM permission, Intelligence score of 9 or above


You were never good with technology. Things just seem to inexplicably break around you.

  • Ability checks made with Intelligence or tool proficiencies to interact with or fabricate technologies, such as potions, vehicles, machinery, etc, have a critical fail state on a roll of 2 or lower.
  • These critical fail states are encouraged to cause the devices in question to malfunction violently, or even outright explode.

Suggested For: Incompetent tinkerers, Warhammer 40k orks.

Suggested Cure: The Lucky feat, a high level remove curse spell, or extremely powerful character development.

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