5e has shown me that feats probably did ruin the game in 3e/4e. What I mean when I say “ruin,” is that it shifted the focus of the game from the table to the books. Some of you already get it, but how do I illustrate my point?

Think of it this way:

Playing 3e/4e, a good deal of time was spent poring over books. Tweaking characters. Trying to find ways to achieve effect X by selecting the right combination of character options Y. Feats and multiclassing did that.

In our 5e game, I want to play. Kill monsters, find treasure, level up.

I don’t care about tweaking my character’s stats.

Let me back up a bit. I had this exact same problem in our previous Gloomwrought campaign. Maybe I didn’t make it sound like a problem, but possibly I just realized there was a problem myself. My character sucks.

We actually had an email thread wherein I mentioned that my character hasn’t cast a spell over 1st level since our first game session. This is only technically true: last week I cast Alarm because it didn’t count against my daily limit.

For the most part, I have been acting through the five henchmen I hired.

Now, the statement that “my character sucks” might be a tad offensive to my party members, who probably don’t see the numbers ‘under the hood’ on my character the same way I do. Plus, I play my character to the hilt.

I miss with almost all my attacks.

Last week, I notably scored like three critical hits. They were particularly notable to me because in the three fights we had that night, those crits constituted like, half the total number of times I actually hit with attacks.

That isn’t counting the times my henchmen hit with attacks though — and I’m sure they’re more difficult to distinguish from my character since I move them around during my turn. Roll for their attacks and such.

My henchmen hit with about three out of five attacks — that isn’t the probability, that’s their track record. If we could my own character’s record (my whole turn taken together), I hit with three out of six attacks. My PC is the weak link.

Again. Again!

Actually, I’ve been seeing this trend for years now if I think about it. My characters have not been the combat monsters that I’ve tried to make.

No spells, no items, no builds can make up for it.

My characters are notable for their personalities and their devious plots, and upstaged in combat by henchmen. Authority Equals Asskicking I am not.

I don’t know, maybe these are good things and I should be proud.

To be honest, when I played a perfectly serviceable 4e Cleric — and he was a combat monster, outshone only by the strikers whose job it was to kick pretty much the most ass — I was bored. I retired Flint for Silhouette.

What even gives? Was I born to be a villainous mastermind?

Why am I bored unless I’m surrounded by minions?