© Wizards of the Coast by Zezhou Chen

What Is the Actor Feat and How Useful Is It?

Actors are able to mimic the sounds and appearance of others. In DnD, such a skill has tremendous potential.

Players who enjoy roleplaying and finding creative ways to avoid combat will be especially drawn to the Actor Feat.

In DnD 5e, the Actor Feat gives characters the chance to act out their in-game fantasies. By taking this feat, players are able to copy the behavior of NPCs, pretending to be other characters in the game.

While characters are free to use their acting skills to execute a flawless Shakesperian performance, most will use their theatrical training for more dangerous, or nefarious, activities. 

How Does the Actor Feat Work?

Actor Feat Increases Charisma by 1, and grants advantage on Charisma skill checks. You can also mimic other people and creatures voices. Players who choose to take the Actor Feat for their character increase their skill in dramatics and mimicry, becoming masters of performance. This feat can provide excellent roleplaying opportunities for anyone, but it’s especially well-suited to players who like to put on a bit of a performance themselves—and those who prefer to get out of sticky situations with ingenuity and wit instead of with a sword or bow. 

Mechanics and Stats

Actor Feat

Skilled at mimicry and dramatics, you gain the following benefits:

  • Increase your Charisma score by 1, to a maximum of 20.
  • You have an advantage on Charisma (Deception) and Charisma (Performance) checks when trying to pass yourself off as a different person.
  • You can mimic the speech of another person or the sounds made by other creatures. You must have heard the person speaking, or heard the creature make the sound, for at least 1 minute. A successful Wisdom (Insight) check contested by your Charisma (Deception) check allows a listener to determine that the effect is faked.

Source: Player’s Handbook

Who Can Use the Actor Feat?

At certain levels, characters are free to learn optional feats instead of improving their ability scores.

Feats represent expertise or special training in a specific area. For a character taking the Actor Feat, it means mastering the theatrical arts and becoming an expert at imitating others. 

Any character may take the Actor Feat, but classes that rely on their Charisma score will generally find this Feat more beneficial as it increases that stat by one.

Using the Actor Feat in DnD 5e

Characters who take the Actor Feat will be able to imitate any character in the game. To attempt this action, the actor must have listened to the character they want to mimic for at least one minute. 

Also, this feat applies to specific NPCs, and not groups in general.

For example, Billy’s character is a Bard with the Actor Feat. His character can attempt an impression of Darius, the boisterous elven barkeep of the local tavern.

If Billy’s Bard were to attempt an impersonation of an elf he wasn’t familiar with, the feat wouldn’t apply.

What an actor can mimic is up to the DM, but generally, this tactic only applies to other humanoids.

Best Acting Classes

Rogues, Sorcerers, Paladins, and Bards come to mind when it comes to classes that make for good actors.

Because actors in DnD rely on their Charisma score, classes that base their spells on Charisma will see more benefit from taking the Actor Feat. 

Additionally, players can increase their ability modifier in some cases by taking the feat.

For example, a Paladin with an odd-numbered Charisma score who takes the Actor Feat will receive a +1 Charisma bonus. This means his or her ability modifier will be increased by taking this feat.

Stealth. Deception. Persuasion. Rogues are actors by nature.

By taking the Actor Feat, Rogues can take these skills to the flawless level, becoming masters in copying the behavior of their victims. Whether as assassins or thieves, actors make for dangerous company and powerful allies.

Tips and Tricks

Some races bestow a racial bonus to a character’s Charisma score. Characters of these races who take the Actor Feat will see a two-point increase to Charisma.

Some character classes offer spells or abilities that aid in disguise. Characters from these classes who’ve also taken the Actor Feat will find this combination exceptionally potent.

With advantage on Deception checks and the ability to mimic the speech of others, these expert shapeshifters can nearly swap identities at will.

Acting Your Way Out of Trouble

While rolling a critical strike is always exhilarating, some players get just as much of a thrill from social interaction and finding clever ways to trick NPC’s.

Characters with proficiency in Deception and Persuasion will solidify these talents with the Actor Feat. 

Below are some examples of characters making use of the Actor Feat in clever and fantastic ways.

The Warlock Infiltrator

A dangerous cult has taken power in the once free city of Vendyra. A Warlock player hopes to take them down, but she’ll need to use stealth and deception to her advantage.

To learn the cult’s methods, she uses her acting skills to steal the identity of one of the members. 

Once she’s inside, the warlock makes clever use of the Disguise Self spell to mimic the cult’s leader and sow dissension in the ranks. When mutiny erupts, the Warlock escapes unnoticed, having brought down the cult from within, completely undetected. 

A Swashbuckling Rogue with a Disguise Kit

A Rogue, hidden behind a row of ferns in the palace, listens to a guard complain about the long hours he’s having to work. His employer has been making him work overtime. 

The Rogue uses his disguise kit and sneaks around to the other side of the villa, where two men guard the palace door.

Employing his acting skills, he pretends to be the unhappy guard and successfully talks his way into the vault room, where nothing stands between him and the palace treasure.

The Sorcerer of Many Faces

Deception isn’t just for Rogues. Wizards and Sorcerers can use it to their advantage as well. Sorcerers rely on their Charisma to cast spells.

By taking the Actor Feat, Sorcerers can make use of their high Charisma scores to better deceive others.

Whether she’s hunting for magic artifacts, or simply looking to have a little fun, the Sorcerer of many faces can change her identity to match anyone she’s had time to observe.

Making use of her acting skills and the Disguise Self spell, our Sorcerer is able to move frictionlessly among society’s elite circles. 

Before long, she’s having dinner with the Duke of Darkhall. Fake it till you make it, as they say. 

A Bardic Joker

Satire has long been the weapon of the bard. In the kingdom of Galderland, the vicious prince is notorious for taking his anger out on his subjects. Every day, he roams the city square searching for a new victim.

The prince is feared, but no one dares rise against him.

A roaming Bard, however, has decided to play a practical joke on the cruel prince. One day, when the prince has chosen to visit his cruelty on an elderly dwarf, the Bard makes use of the Acting Feat to imitate the famous prince.

Using Disguise Self, the Bard flawlessly imitates the prince in front of a crowd of confused onlookers. Mimicking the prince’s speech, he calls the real prince an imposter in his own voice and attempts to have him arrested.

The furious prince tries to order his guards to attack, but our clever Bard does the same. The prince’s guards are so fooled by the Bard’s performance, they do nothing. When he tires of the jest and feels the prince has been sufficiently mocked, the Bard slips back into the crowd. 

Soon, the prince becomes aware of a popular new song: the Bard Who Fooled a Prince.

Acting Out

There is no doubt that choosing the Acting Feat can lead to incredible roleplaying opportunities. Having a character pretending to be an NPC can yield clever and unique paths of gameplay.

The only limits are the player’s imagination, and what the DM will let them get away with.

While any character could potentially take the Actor Feat, those who rely on Deception, Persuasion, and Performance are more likely to benefit from it.

In the end, the true benefit of the Actor Feat is the opportunity to role play. For players who love to push the boundaries of the game’s social characteristics, the Actor Feat holds truly unlimited potential.