Adventurers spend a lot of time on the edge of their nerves. As they explore the dark recesses of a castle basement or the stygian gloom of a forgotten dungeon complex, they know that any moment, the shadows flickering around caused by their spluttering torches could coalesce into a pack of kobold raiders or some shapeless, otherworldly intelligent slime.
The art of surviving is constantly on your guard, being ready, or better still, being one jump ahead of whatever might be heading your way.
What is the Alert Feat in D&D 5e?
The Player’s Handbook defines the Alert feat as having the following benefits.
Always on the lookout for danger, you gain the following benefits:
- You gain a +5 bonus for the initiative.
- You can’t be surprised while you are conscious.
- Other creatures don’t gain an advantage on attack rolls against you as a result of being unseen by you.
What Are The Benefits of the Alert Feat?
Essentially, this feat is gained from years of experience being prepared for danger every waking hour, training to hone such skills, or a natural ability to see trouble coming… or a combination of all three.
The +5 initiative is a pretty handy bonus to have. Combat is often won or lost in the first round, or at least you can see how things are likely to go. This advantage allows you to charge in before the enemy has time to prepare and react. Imagine if your whole party had this feat, many battles would be decided almost before they began.
You can’t be surprised whilst conscious, which is a big deal. It means that you are pretty much immune to ambushes. You are the one who sees that slight movement in the shadows, hears a strange noise in the distance, sees the glint of a blade where others saw nothing. It means that whilst everyone else is panicking during the “surprise” combat round, you are already up and at them!
Most surprise attacks confer significant advantages on the attacker. Well, not anymore. Any creature attacking from hidden cover, sneaky rogue attacks, or assassination attempts are considered regular attacks. You might not be able to see where the attack is coming from, but you have enough of your wits about you that the perpetrator of the attack has no advantage over you.
Who should take the Alert Feat 5e?
To be honest, everyone. After all, a whole party on such heightened awareness is rarely going to find themselves on the back foot. And even if you aren’t usually one of those character classes known for taking point, everyone finds themselves on guard, acting as a lookout or generally keeping an eye out for danger as they seek their fame and fortune.
Rogues and Rangers shouldn’t leave home without this. They are the people who rely on stealth, who are nimble on their toes and like to get into a battle, do as much damage as they can, as quickly as possible, and then get out before any retaliatory attacks come their way. This makes such a strategy so much more successful. Bards should also opt for this, as should any spell caster playing the combat support role.
Alert is a must for just about everyone. Except perhaps Barbarians but only because they have similar abilities that come at the higher levels of their class that replicate this anyway.
Final Thoughts on the Alert Feat 5e
Everyone should have Alert Feat 5e when they go adventuring. It puts you ahead of the game when it comes to reacting to ambushes and attacks, it means that even if you can’t see an opponent creeping up on you, you are still switched on enough so that they don’t take you by surprise.
Think of this as the DnD version of SpideySense. And who wouldn’t want that?