Last Updated on January 22, 2023
What Is the Piercer Feat in D&D 5e?
The piercer feat allows your piercing attacks to deal as much damage as possible.
It also allows you to roll more critical hit damage when attacking with a piercing weapon as well as increasing either strength or dexterity scores by 1.
You have achieved a penetrating precision in combat, granting you the following benefits:
- Increase your Strength or Dexterity by 1 to a maximum of 20.
- Once per turn, when you hit a creature with an attack that deals piercing damage, you can reroll one of the attack’s damage dice, and you must use the new roll.
- When you score a critical hit that deals piercing damage to a creature, you can roll one additional damage die when determining the extra piercing damage the target takes.
You’re looking at the Piercer Feat! It’s a strange one for sure. Is it worth taking, or are there better options out there?
Let’s explore what the Piercer Feat is good for and what it is bad at.
What Is the Piercer Feat Good For?
Well, the short answer is that it is an insurance policy. If you are a Dexterity-based fighter, rogue, or ranger, it’s highly likely that you are using piercing weapons, either ranged or melee like any of the bows or a rapier.
When you roll to hit and get a solid blow, it can be bitterly disappointing to roll that damage dice and have it come up with a 1, especially if the creature is difficult to hit because of a high-armor class or you’ve only just managed to get in range.
So the piercer feat lets you roll that dice one more time, and cross your fingers that it comes out with another number than isn’t 1 – hopefully it isn’t a 2 either.
It also gives us an additional damage dice for critical hits.
When using this with a rapier or a longbow, for example, this can be a huge boon, especially when coupled with sneak attack, hunters mark, or other things you already have on the target.
A level-5 Rogue with a rapier will be dealing 3d8+6d6 on a critical hit, which can equal massive damage.
You can even, provided you haven’t done so already this turn, re-roll one of those d8’s if it comes out as a low number, which again can help maximize that damage.
Also worthy of note of course is the +1 to Dexterity or Strength Score. This is always a nice addition if you are close to increasing your modifier and gain an additional bonus to hit and damage.
So Should I Take the Piercer Feat?
The answer to this, and many feats frankly, is that it depends.
If you are playing a Rogue, chances are you only get one attack per round and want to maximize the damage.
Rangers, Fighters, and other classes using piercing weapons often get a second attack (or more), and so the chance to increase one of your damage dice likely isn’t as large of a concern.
Sharpshooter, for example, can give you more damage provided you hit, and fighters have action surge if a turn has completely not gone the way they had planned.
So, with that in mind, you need to consider if this Feat fits your character. Does “making sure it counts” fit them, your play-style, and their abilities?
Having a ranger or rogue who attacks from afar can be useful; if they have a way of maximizing the damage they deal with one of the attacks each round, it becomes even more useful.
Are There Other Options?
The Piercer Feat is useful, but, you may want to consider Sharpshooter if using ranged weapons.
If you are of Elven Descent, then Elven Accuracy may even be a wiser option as you gain a 3rd “to hit” roll making sure that you will hit.
Elven Accuracy can also be coupled with the Piercer Feat, making sure you hit and that it hurts when you do!
Great Weapon Master can also increase your damage, though there are no “great” piercing weapons.
Savage Attacker does a similar job to Piercer in that it allows you to re-roll the damage, regardless of weapon type or damage.
BUT it does let you use the first result if it was higher; however it doesn’t come with the added advantages of a score increase or the added critical dice.
What Should I Do?
The answer to that one is simple. Take the Piercer Feat if you think you will be consistently rolling piercing damage.
If you are a character that has few or fewer attacks than some of the rest of your party, then it is a fantastic way of making sure your attacks “count” (they do anyway – stop selling yourself short!) toward the damage total and you really only need a small bump to hit that 20 Dexterity Score.
This is going to bring your “overall damage” to a much higher average if that is something you are concerned with, and, in the case of that rogue with a rapier, it is going to help increase the number of dice you end up rolling when felling an enemy.
When this Feat is coupled with the Assassin Subclass rogue, for example, you are almost certain to deal life-ending damage.
If it fits your character and their backstory, then that should weigh your choice even further.
Always lean into the choices that make your character feel more unique and memorable as much as it makes them just roll a ton of dice.
If you are a swashbuckling fighter, a former noble pirate who has been chased out of more bedrooms than he’s had barroom brawls all with the rapier at the ready, then the piercer feat can add something to that.
When your enemies know that when you stab the point of your blade at someone, you only need to do it once, it can really make sense for you, your character, and their story to not have “optimal” Feats.
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Rich is an avid D&D player and DM. He has been playing since the Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 1st and 2nd editions. He has run campaigns of various editions with family and friends for over 20 years. Playing DnD 5th Edition in person at local game stores and online with VTT’s over the past 10 years has provided a consistent connection to how the game has grown. He strongly believes in understanding the source material, but catering the games to your individual players. Feel free to ask anything in the comments or drop him an email: [email protected].