Second Chance Feat: When To Force A Re-Roll

A halfling wizard ducks behind a boulder, barely escaping a barrage of arrows.

His magic exhausted, the wizard draws a dagger and prepares to make a run for it, but as he leaves the safety of the boulder, he’s confronted by a goblin with a scimitar.

The goblin swings, but the sun catches his eyes and he misses the halfling. The wizard runs for his life, thanking his lucky stars. 

Whirler Rogue
© Wizards of the Coast by Winona Nelson

Available in Xanathar’s Guide to Everything, the Second Chance feat enhances the natural luck of halfling characters, making them unnaturally elusive.

This feat is a good choice for spellcasters and other halfling characters who are desperate to avoid combat damage.

Second Chance Mechanics

Prerequisite: Halfling

Fortune favors you when someone tries to strike you. You gain the following benefits:

  • Increase your Dexterity, Constitution, or Charisma score by 1, to a maximum of 20.
  • When a creature you can see hits you with an attack roll, you can use your reaction to force that creature to reroll. Once you use this ability, you can’t use it again until you roll initiative at the start of combat or until you finish a short or long rest.

Source: Xanathar’s Guide to Everything

How Does Second Chance Work?

Unlike most feats in D&D, Second Chance has a racial prerequisite, so your character can only take this feat if they are a halfling. 

With Second Chance, your character will get to boost one ability score, choosing from either dexterity, charisma, or constitution.

Because fortune favors the halfling, they can get a second chance to avoid an enemy’s attack. When an enemy attacks, the halfling can use a reaction to force the enemy to reroll.

Use this feat to escape the devastating consequences of a critical attack. The best part about this feat is that it can be used once per encounter.

Because Second Chance resets every time you roll initiative, it’s a good feat for halfling characters who’ve had one too many close calls.

Rerolling Attacks

When a halfling triggers Second Chance, the opponent will have to reroll the attack dice. In this case, players must use the second attack roll even if it’s higher than the original roll.​​

This means it’s possible for an opponent to get an even better roll the second time. Be careful you don’t accidentally make the situation worse by using this feat.

Is Second Chance Any Good?

Second Chance is a great feat for the right character. If you’re the kind of halfling that avoids getting into a fight at all costs, you’re likely to find plenty of chances to use this feat. 

There’s no shortage of monsters, bullies, and baddies in D&D. A silvertongue isn’t always enough to escape a dangerous situation, and being quick on your feet will only get you so far.

Everyone could use a second chance from time to time.

Half a Chance

Halflings are naturally lucky. Perhaps it’s their good-natured temperament, but the universe seems to favor them, often intervening on their behalf.

Halflings already have the Lucky trait. The combination of Second Chance and Lucky will ensure fortune always shines on you.

Best Classes for Second Chance

While any halfling can take Second Chance, most characters will find there are better alternatives available.

Unless your character is desperate to avoid taking combat damage, you might want to look at other feats, for example Magic Initiate or Lucky.

That being said, some characters really do need to avoid getting hit at all costs.

Not everyone has the hit points of a Fighter or Paladin. Wizards and Druids, for example, are notorious for getting crushed in a single blow.

Wizards

Wizards aren’t known for their ability to take a punch. It’s usually best for wizards to avoid getting hit in the first place, especially if they are casting a spell that requires concentration. 

Wizards have neither the hit points nor the armor to withstand much damage. If your halfling wizard is in the midst of a dangerous campaign facing several encounters every day, then Second Chance could be a lifesaver. 

It’s great to have healers around, but it’s usually best to avoid taking damage in the first place.

Second Chance will keep you alive without taking up a spell slot. Between the Second Chance feat and the halfling’s Lucky trait, your Wizard will prove as slippery as a greased pig. 

Nimble by nature, halfling Wizards can use spells and other traits to stay out of danger’s path. Unfortunately, Wizards lack healing magic, meaning they’ll need to rely on potions, magic items, or their allies if combat turns deadly.

While Second Chance can’t bring your halfling Wizard back to life, it might keep you from falling unconscious in the first place. 

Several Wizard spells require concentration. When Wizards are hit, they risk losing concentration and the spell.

With Second Chance, you can prevent the damage from breaking your concentration.

Use the Second Chance feat to keep your wizard from getting killed by a strong enemy.

For some monsters, one attack will be enough to squish you. When it comes down to it, you want more than a spellbook between you and a razor-shape axeblade. 

Rogues

One of the most lethal classes, the Rogue is a friend of shadows and companion of death.

Assassins, thieves, and tricksters, Rogues are capable of dealing tremendous amounts of damage with their sneak attack ability. But what about when the tables are turned? 

Typically, rogues are better at dealing damage than taking it. While your halfling rogue will know how to kill with expertise, you’ll need more than fancy footwork to stay alive. 

Roguish life is a dangerous game. One wrong move could be your last. You don’t want to let your fate come down to one bad roll of the dice. But, as a halfling, destiny is your friend. 

By taking the Second Chance feat, you’ll have the opportunity to cheat death, a gamble that’s always worth taking, and while rogues make good use of their bonus action, they have little in the way of reactions. 

Second Chance will give rogues a chance to use their reaction to avoid a fatal enemy attack, and they can do this each encounter. For a combat-heavy campaign, this feat could be the perfect choice.

Honing Your Survival Instincts

Although halflings rarely take to the adventuring life, those that due often prove to be extremely capable companions. Easy to get along with, halflings are quick to make friends, and no one is more loyal.

But life on the road is nothing like the cozy fires and bountiful banquets that halflings most enjoy. Out here, life comes as you fast.

Whether it’s searching for lost artifacts in a dank tomb or soaring through the clouds in a skycoach, your halfling is sure to find the adventure of a lifetime. 

On dangerous journeys, it’s good to have all the luck you can find. When you’re being chased by ice giants across a glacier a hundred miles from nowhere, you’re going to need more than a few health potions to stay alive.

How Often Can You Use the Second Chance Feat?

Second Chance can be used once per encounter. This means every time you roll initiative, you’ll get another opportunity to use this ability. Also, a short or long rest will reset your use of this feat.

Some feats only let you use their benefits once a day. Second Chance will let you avoid an attack during every encounter.

If your DM loves to throw difficult monsters at you, Second Chance could really come in handy for avoiding those unfortunate critical strikes. 

Live to Fight Another Day

For a halfling, taking up the adventurer’s life requires courage. With danger waiting around every corner, you’ll need to stay on your toes if you hope to stay alive.

Most halflings prefer the safety of home and the warmth of a well-kept fire for this very reason.

As an adventurer, your halfling’s courage will be put to the test. There will be times when you’ll need to throw caution to the wind and take a leap of faith.

When that leap of faith turns out to be a terrible idea, at least you’ll have a second chance up your sleeve.