Last Updated on January 22, 2023
Rogues are the epitome of the martial scout and skill-focused character of the D&D party.
When there’s a trap to be disarmed, a lock to be picked, or an NPC to be conned, the rogue is there to see the party through the other side of the hustle.
However, the rogue isn’t a complete package all on its own. Just like any other class in D&D 5e, the rogue isn’t without its shortcomings.
Some of these can be made up for thanks to the optional feats in the Player’s Handbook.
But, what are feats, and which ones are best for rogues?
What Are Feats and Should I Pick One for My Rogue?
Feats are special abilities that your character can gain in place of an ability score improvement (ASI) when they level up.
Variant humans, if you’re playing at a table that allows them, also start with a feat at level one.
Feats can be found starting at pg. 165 of the Player’s Handbook in the Customization Options chapter.
This chapter lays out some of the optional rules for character options, including feats.
Characters can choose to gain a feat in place of boosting an ability score when they gain an ASI from their class. For the rogues of the D&D world, this could happen up to six times throughout their adventuring career since rogues get six ASIs between levels four and nineteen.
One of the main draws of feats is that they allow you to dabble in things that your character may never have access to normally.
For example, feats like Magic Initiate and Ritual Caster could give your rogue some spellcasting they wouldn’t get without going Arcane Trickster for their subclass.
Other feats, like Defensive Duelist and Tough, expand on the defensive and survivability options a rogue normally wouldn’t get.
In general, it’s best to take a feat that boosts what you want your character to do, or expands on what your character can do in a meaningful and interesting way.
A feat has to be great for you to want to take it over an ASI since boosting your Dexterity as a rogue is so important. If a feat will give you access to tools or abilities you’d never get otherwise, that’s a strong indication it could be worth picking up!
DnD 5e Feats Available to Rogues
The Player’s Handbook features over 40 different feats to choose from for all characters. Since this huge list is made for characters of all kinds, this guide is going to focus on feats that someone playing a rogue is likely to consider.
That isn’t to say that all the feats not listed here are bad for the rogue, or shouldn’t be considered if your character would want that feat.
This guide just goes over what the most common feats for rogues do and whether those abilities are worth it from a game mechanics perspective. Game mechanics are one thing, roleplay is another consideration entirely!
To make things easier, we’ve also color-coded the feats for you based on how mechanically strong the feats are. The rankings we use are:
- Red isn’t going to contribute to the power and effectiveness of your character build very much, if at all. Red options can sometimes be situationally useful, and might make for an interesting narrative choice, but are largely less effective than other tiers.
- Green is a good option – Solid but nothing special, OR pretty good but only useful sometimes.
- Blue is an excellent choice. Widely regarded as powerful in some way, useful, highly effective.
- Purple is S Tier. Hugely powerful or transformative in some way. No choice in D&D is essential, but these options are strongly worth considering when you create your character.
We’ve also added the following tags to the feat descriptions to fill you in on what kind of feat we’re presenting:
- OFFENSIVE: This is a feat that will help boost your damage or other offensive abilities.
- DEFENSIVE: This feat will improve your AC, defenses, hit points, or something similar.
- UTILITY: This feat expands on your noncombat or skill-based abilities.
- VERSATILE: This feat can work in several different ways, depending on the choices the player makes when gaining this feat.
Without further ado, let’s take a look at some of the best feats from the Player’s Handbook:
Crossbow Expert; Offensive
A rogue skulking about with a hand crossbow is a fun trope for a reason, and this feat helps make it happen. Rogues don’t make multiple attacks with their action, so the loading property isn’t what rogues are looking at this feat for.
They want the bonus action attack after attacking with a one-handed weapon, which includes a hand crossbow. This means that a rogue can attack with a hand crossbow as their main action and then attack again with their bonus action.
This doubles the chances a rogue gets to hit their target, meaning they can land their Sneak Attack damage more reliably in a fight.
Thanks to extensive practice with the crossbow, you gain the following benefits:
- You ignore the loading quality of crossbows with which you are proficient.
- Being within 5 feet of a hostile creature doesn’t impose disadvantage on your ranged attack rolls.
- When you use the Attack action and attack with a one-handed weapon, you can use a bonus action to attack with a loaded hand crossbow you are holding.
This feat changes the game for so many characters, but for the rogue, this is incredibly potent. Rogues make ability checks a lot for their party, typically in skills only they are invested in.
If they mess up, that can mean bad things for the players. Rerolling bad rolls at a critical moment can be the difference in a combat or skill challenge.
Also, since rogues usually make just one attack per turn, this can turn a failed attack into a successful one when you need to down an opponent fast.
You have inexplicable luck that seems to kick in at just the right moment.
You have 3 luck points. Whenever you make an attack roll, an ability check. or a saving throw, you can spend one luck point to roll an additional d20. You can choose to spend one of your luck points after you roll the die, but before the outcome is determined. You choose which of the d20s is used for the attack roll, ability check, or saving throw.
You can also spend one luck point when an attack roll is made against you. Roll a d20, and then choose whether the attack uses the attacker’s roll or yours.
If more than one creature spends a luck point to influence the outcome of a roll, the points cancel each other out; no additional dice are rolled.
You regain your expended luck points when you finish a long rest.
Magic Initiate; Versatile
This is one of the few ways to get spells onto a non-Arcane Trickster rogue. There are key spells out there that rogues love to have available, such as Guidance, Bless, Jump, Find Familiar, and many other strong utility spells.
You can also use this to pick up a cantrip that targets a saving throw, an option most rogues don’t usually get.
Choose a class: bard, cleric, druid, sorcerer, warlock, or wizard. You learn two cantrips of your choice from that class’s spell list.
In addition, choose one 1st-level spell from that same list. You learn that spell and can cast it at its lowest level. Once you cast it, you must finish a long rest before you can cast it again.
Your spellcasting ability for these spells depends on the class you chose: Charisma for bard, sorcerer, or warlock: Wisdom for cleric or druid: or Intelligence for wizard.
Rogues that favor their senses to be sharp will love this feat. The passive benefits here are good in all circumstances, especially so when trap finding.
And, the ability to read lips is a nice touch, though rare to come up in play.
Overall, this feat helps to make sure your rogue won’t miss anything during their scouting forays ahead of the party.
Quick to notice details of your environment, you gain the following benefits:
- Increase your Intelligence or Wisdom score by 1, to a maximum of 20.
- If you can see a creature’s mouth while it is speaking a language you understand, you can interpret what it’s saying by reading its lips.
- You have a +5 bonus to your passive Wisdom (Perception) and passive Intelligence (Investigation) scores.
Rogues get access to three saving throw proficiencies over their career. Gaining a Constitution saving throw proficiency gives rogues access to the big three saving throws of Constitution, Dexterity, and Wisdom.
Arcane Tricksters like this feat for their concentration checks on illusions.
Choose one ability score. You gain the following benefits:
- Increase the chosen ability score by 1, to a maximum of 20.
- You gain proficiency in saving throws using the chosen ability.
Ranged rogues will find ways to get advantage on their attacks thanks to the Hide option from Cunning Action. Taking the penalty from this feat increases their damage, with advantage helping to mitigate the penalty.
Additionally, ignoring all but total cover with your ranged weapon attacks means that very few targets can escape your deadly shots.
You have mastered ranged weapons and can make shots that others find impossible. You gain the following benefits:
- Attacking at long range doesn’t impose disadvantage on your ranged weapon attack rolls.
- Your ranged weapon attacks ignore half cover and three-quarters cover.
- Before you make an attack with a ranged weapon that you are proficient with, you can choose to take a -5 penalty to the attack roll. If the attack hits, you add +10 to the attack’s damage.
While many feats make sense for a rogue to pick up, some of them don’t stand out as much as others. These are the feats that could make sense for a specific rogue build, but aren’t must-haves like the feats listed above:
This feat is a decent pickup for just about any rogue. Getting a boost to your initiative means that you have a better chance of going first and having your Sneak Attack feature go off.
This is doubly important for Assassins, who want to surprise their foes for that sweet critical hit opener. Not being surprised is a nice add-on, but most of the power of this feat is in the initiative boost.
Always on the lookout for danger, you gain the following benefits:
- You gain a +5 bonus to initiative.
- You can’t be surprised while you are conscious.
- Other creatures don’t gain advantage on attack rolls against you as a result of being hidden from you.
One of the most common skills the archetypal rogue picks up is Deception, and this feat lets your Deception truly shine in social encounters.
With a little bit of setup and a disguise kit, your rogue could infiltrate somewhere by pretending like they belong, making this a good feat for rogues with a high Charisma.
Also, this feat boosts your Charisma, so it’s also good for rounding out an odd ability score.
Skilled at mimicry and dramatics, you gain the following benefits:
- Increase your Charisma score by 1, to a maximum of 20.
- You have 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.
Athlete is an interesting feat because it offers mobility options a rogue might typically want. However, the issue here is that the mobility options aren’t key to what a rogue needs to do.
It also doesn’t help that the Thief subclass offers a lot of what this feat wants, such as the climbing speed, for free as a class feature.
In general, this feat is nice for rounding out an odd Dexterity score for a rogue who wants to climb around in combat but otherwise isn’t stellar.
You have undergone extensive physical training to gain the following benefits:
- Increase your Strength or Dexterity score by 1, to a maximum of 20.
- When you are prone, standing up uses only 5 feet of your movement.
- Climbing doesn’t halve your speed.
- You can make a running long jump or a running high jump after moving only 5 feet on foot, rather than 10 feet.
Defensive Duelist; Defensive
This is a super easy feat for rogues to qualify for since they are encouraged to use finesse weapons already thanks to Sneak Attack. While this feat might seem like a must-have for melee rogues, there are a few things to remember about this feat.
That means that, as you level up and enemies get more attacks, this feat loses some of its lusters by preventing less and less damage.
Prerequisite: Dexterity 13 or higher
When you are wielding a finesse weapon with which you are proficient and another creature hits you with a melee attack, you can use your reaction to add your proficiency bonus to your AC for that attack, potentially causing the attack to miss you.
Melee rogues love the options this presents. Now, a melee rogue can use their Cunning Action to Dash into the fray, make their attack, and then get out of harm’s way without committing to a melee scrum.
You are exceptionally speedy and agile. You gain the following benefits:
- Your speed increases by 10 feet.
- When you use the Dash action, difficult terrain doesn’t cost you extra movement on that turn.
- When you make a melee attack against a creature, you don’t provoke opportunity attacks from that creature for the rest of the turn, whether you hit or not.
Inspiring Leader; Defensive
For the Charisma rogues out there, this feat is great for adding some defensive utility to your choices. Temporary hit points for essentially free is a great tool to have in the arsenal, especially since you can reduce damage with Uncanny Dodge as a rogue.
Prerequisite: Charisma 13 or higher
You can spend 10 minutes inspiring your companions, shoring up their resolve to fight. When you do so, choose up to six friendly creatures (which can include yourself) within 30 feet of you who can see or hear you and who can understand you.
Each creature can gain temporary hit points equal to your level + your Charisma modifier. A creature can’t gain temporary hit points from this feat again until it has finished a short or long rest.
Ritual Caster; Versatile
This feat is another great way to add some magic to your rogue. However, unlike Magic Initiate, all the spells you gain from this feat can only be cast as rituals, meaning you have to take at least 10 minutes to cast them.
This isn’t a deal-breaker as many ritual spells in the game are amazing. However, the prerequisite can be hard to meet for some rogues, making it less useful for the class overall.
Prerequisite: Intelligence or Wisdom 13 or higher
You have learned a number of spells that you can cast as rituals. These spells are written in a ritual book, which you must have in hand while casting one of them.
When you choose this feat, you require a ritual book holding two 1st-level spells of your choice. Choose one of the following classes: bard, cleric, druid, sorcerer, warlock, or wizard.
You must choose your spells from that c1ass’s spell list, and the spells you choose must have the ritual tag.
The class you choose also determines your spellcasting ability for these spells: Charisma for bard, sorcerer, or warlock; Wisdom for cleric or druid; or Intelligence for wizard.
If you come across a spell in written form, such as a magical spell scroll or a wizard’s spellbook, you might be able to add lt to your ritual book. The spell must be on the spell list for the class you chose, the spell’s leveI can be no higher than half your level (rounded up), and it must have the ritual tag.
The process of copying the spell into your ritual book takes 2 hours per level of the spell, and costs 50 gp per leveI. The cost represents material components you expend as you experiment with the spell to master it, as well as the fine inks you need to record it.
This isn’t an obvious pick for rogues since this feat normally goes to the main frontline character. However, this feat lets a melee rogue do something interesting: get reliable Sneak Attacks as a reaction.
If you position yourself next to the main frontline character, this feat allows you to make an attack as a reaction when they attack your ally.
Since Sneak Attack works once per turn, not once per round, your Sneak Attack dice will be added if you hit. Just be careful about getting hit; you’ll have used your reaction already so there’s no Uncanny Dodge to save you.
You have mastered techniques to take advantage of every drop in any enemy’s guard, gaining the following benefits:
- When you hit a creature with an opportunity attack, the creature’s speed becomes 0 for the rest of the turn.
- Creatures within 5 feet of you provoke opportunity attacks from you even if they take the Disengage action before leaving your reach.
- When a creature within 5 feet of you makes an attack against a target other than you (and the target doesn’t have this feat), you can use your reaction to make a melee weapon attack against the attacking creature.
While rogues like having skills, this feat isn’t the most enticing. Rogues usually get enough skills to be good at what they want to do. You could do worse than this feat, but it’s really Reliable Talent that makes this feat good, not the feat itself.
You gain proficiency in any combination of three skills or tools of your choice.
Ranged rogues will love the ability to stay hidden after a failed attack, and ignoring the penalties of dim light is great for races without darkvision.
Prerequisite: Dexterity 13 or higher
You are an expert at slinking through shadows. You gain the following benefits:
- You can try to hide when you are lightly obscured from the creature from which you are hiding.
- When you are hidden from a creature and miss it with a ranged weapon attack, making the attack doesn’t reveal your position.
- Dim light doesn’t impose disadvantage on your Wisdom (Perception) checks relying on sight.
While ranged rogues won’t get much from this feat, a melee rogue could enjoy the extra hit points. Rogues have many ways to mitigate damage between Uncanny Dodge and Cunning Action to get out of danger, but these abilities won’t always save you.
If you have nothing better to take, this can always be a decent filler for any class, including rogues.
Your hit point maximum increases by an amount equal to twice your leveI when you gain this feat. Whenever you gain a level thereafter, your hit point maximum increases by an additional 2 hit points.
Feats To Avoid
Not all feats are made equal for rogues. While some feats might seem appealing at first read, there are some out there that should be avoided.
This could be because they don’t match up with what the rogue generally brings to the party, or because other feats or class features do what these feats can do better.
Here are some feats we recommend you avoid:
Dual Wielder; Versatile
Dual-wielding is a good strategy for melee rogues since it gives them the ability to attack twice on their turn, doubling their chance to land a Sneak Attack.
However, this feat doesn’t offer much to a rogue beyond what they can normally do.
The bonus to AC and the damage die of the weapons you can dual-wield is nice, but since most of a rogue’s damage comes from Sneak Attack, it doesn’t make a huge impact.
You master fighting with two weapons, gaining the following benefits:
- You gain a +1 bonus to AC while you are wielding a separate melee weapon in each hand.
- You can use two-weapon fighting even when the one-handed melee weapons you are wielding aren’t light.
- You can draw or stow two one-handed weapons when you would normally be able to draw or stow only one.
Dungeon Delver; Utility
While exploring dungeons is a key part of the D&D experience, a rogue has other options that do what this feat offers.
Rogues can already take half damage from effects thanks to Uncanny Dodge, and the boost to Perception and Investigation checks is covered thanks to expertise.
Overall, this feat doesn’t offer enough compared to other feat options.
Alert to the hidden traps and secret doors found in many dungeons, you gain the following benefits:
- You have advantage on Wisdom (Perception) and Intelligence (Investigation) checks made to detect the presence of secret doors,
- You have advantage on saving throws made to avoid or resist traps.
- You have resistance to the damage dealt by traps.
- You can search for traps while traveling at a normal pace, instead of only at a slow pace.
Martial Adept; Offensive
Unfortunately, one maneuver per short rest doesn’t make up for the lost opportunity to boost an ability score.
Many maneuvers are very thematic for a rogue to take, such as Disarming Strike, but aren’t good enough to spend a whole feat on it.
You have martial training that allows you to perform special combat maneuvers. You gain the following benefits:
- You learn two maneuvers of your choice from among those available to the Battle Master archetype in the fighter class. If a maneuver you use requires your target to make a saving throw to resist the maneuver’s effects, the saving throw DC equals 8 +your proficiency bonus + your Strength or Dexterity modifier (your choice).
- If you already have superiority dice, you gain one more: otherwise, you have one superiority die, which is a d6. This die is used to fuel your maneuvers. A superiority die is expended when you use it. You regain your expended superiority dice when you finish a short or long rest.
Weapon Master; Offensive
Rogues don’t care about their weapon damage die, and start with proficiency in the weapons they would want to use anyways.
You have practiced extensively with a variety of weapons, gaining the following benefits:
- Increase your Strength or Dexterity score by 1, to a maximum of 20.
- You gain proficiency with four weapons of your choice.
Feats are a great way to add more abilities and tools to your rogue’s arsenal.
The life of an adventurer is dangerous, so the better prepared you are to handle the dangers of the world, the more likely you are to get through your challenges alive!
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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].