Feats are one of many ways to customize your character in 4th edition Dungeons & Dragons. Most D&D feats are specialized for a class, a specific type of power, a weapon, or a specific type of build. But some feats are relatively general and useful for almost any character. Among these feats, a select few are so critical that you should take them on almost every character you make, and usually take them as early as possible. The following guide of most critical feats in 4th edition Dungeons & Dragons will help you decide with feats to select for your character.
Expertise – Nearly every attack power in the game needs to hit to actually be meaningfully useful. And, there are precious few ways in the game to increase your attack bonus. The simplest way to increase your attack bonus is to take an expertise feat for the weapon or implement that your character primarily wields. In general, this means you should avoid using multiple types of weapons, since you will need to spend an extra feat if you do. It is fine to use both one weapon type and one implement type, though, since the Versatile Expertise feat exists.
Superior Will – This feat requires you to have a minimum charisma or wisdom score of 15. If you do qualify, it should be on the short list of feats that you always take. Besides increasing your will defense, this feat gives your character one of the most useful abilities in the game. It allows you to make a saving throw against all stun or daze effects on your PC, at the start of your turn, even if the effect isn’t normally ended by a save. This is a game changing ability that will almost certainly save the life of your PC more than any other feat could.
Melee Training – This feat doesn’t matter if strength is the primary or secondary attribute of your character. But, for the majority of classes that don’t invest in this attribute, it is nearly critical. It allows you to substitute the attribute of your choice for strength when making a melee basic attack. While you almost never have a reason to use a basic attack over an at-will attack power, you may be forced to charge in order to attack or you may have a chance to make an opportunity attack. As was noted in the Expertise feat description, if you can’t hit, your attacks are basically useless, and this feat essentially grants you a large bonus to attack rolls.
Improved Initiative / Battlewise – Monster initiative increases at a much faster pace then PC initiative. It is just an artifact of the system. You can hold your own during heroic tier, but by paragon tier, you need to take measures to stay even. For most PCs this means taking the Improved Initiative feat. A +4 bonus will keep you even for most of the tier and you can upgrade this to Epic Initiative if you want at epic tier. If your PC is one of the many classes with a high wisdom score, you have an alternate option. You can take the Battlewise feat to replace your dexterity modifier with your wisdom modifier when determining initiative. These two feats stack, as well, if you really want to enjoy a high initiative.
Resilient Focus – At one time, the potential to take a feat that granted you a +1 bonus to your saving throws was enough to justify playing a human. This feat can be taken by any class and gives you a +2 bonus to your saving throws. Failing saving throws is one of the most frustrating things that can happen to you in this game. Take this feat and you will be frustrated 10% less often.
Inescapable Force – There is a caveat to this feat. You only need it if you have any powers, at all, that deal force damage. Insubstantial creatures are by far the most annoying monsters in the game, because they half all damage, but have more than half the hit points of an equal level creature of that level. This feat ignores that halving and adds damage. It won’t come up much, but if you take advantage of it even once it was worth the investment.
Uncanny Dodge – You will need a 15 wisdom to qualify for this feat, but the majority of characters in the game will have that score. With this feat, enemies do not get a +2 attack bonus against your character when your character is granting combat advantage. On average, characters grant combat advantage about 50% of the time during a battle. This feat essentially improves all your defenses by 1 at all times and almost literally improves all defenses by 2 when the conditions are met. You basically can’t get anything better with a single feat.