D&D 5e: The Thespian’s Delight: The Actor Feat

A male bard actor with his hand outstretched.

D&D 5e: The Thespian’s Delight: The Actor Feat

SOURCE: Player’s Handbook

Rating the Benefits of Actor

Benefit #1 – 

Increase your Charisma score by 1, to a maximum of 20

Ability score increases are very helpful to increase an entire category of skills, as well as increase spell potency for the magic casters that use their Charisma for their spells.

Benefit #2 – 

You have an advantage on Charisma (Deception) and Charisma (Performance) checks when trying to pass yourself off as a different person.

This benefit tends to be situational as it either requires someone to not know who you are, or who you are trying to pretend to be, if it is a real person. This is offset by the third benefit, but will often require a way to disguise yourself to complete the effect.

Benefit #3 – 

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.

This is another situational ability, especially since it requires time. It can be very useful in stealth or roleplay heavy sections.

A female bard actress playing her flute.

Mechanics and Requirements

Understanding How It Functions

This feat is all about being able to convince you are someone other than yourself. Real person or not, it can often get you out of trouble, be it convincing NPCs you are not the person the guards are searching for or trying to pretend you are someone with authority to get information. To use the most beneficial part of this feature, being able to mimic someone, you will not only have to spend time studying a subject to learn their mannerisms and sounds, but you will also have to have either a disguise kit or a spell to change your appearance to match the person you are imitating. If you don’t have those, you could use the advantage you have to Deception checks to convince someone you have been cursed to look like someone else or are disguised as an adventurer.

Key Stats

Being an Actor will rely completely on your Charisma. Thankfully, it does give a bonus to your Charisma to boost the Deception and Performance checks that you will be using when utilizing this feature.

Ideal Characters for Actors

Top Classes

WarlockAs a Charisma based spellcaster, this will help your casting ability right off the start. What makes Warlocks ideal is the addition of the Eldritch Invocation that lets you cast Disguise Self at will. This will let you look and sound like anyone you want at any time, so long as you have spent a minute with a person.

BardThis is an obvious choice by the description of the class and the feature, but the utility ends up being the same as a Warlock. The one thing that makes this surprisingly less viable than a Warlock is that it will cost a spell slot. 

RogueSeveral Rogue archetypes rely on the Disguise Kit and their Charisma score, making it a great Feat for them to take as well, but still only in the right situations. One major bonus over the other recommendations is that it doesn’t cost magic slots, meaning it can’t be dispelled and doesn’t register with spells like Detect magic.

Sorcerer – There is one spell that sets a sorcerer from a bard with this feature, and that is the Alter Self spell. While the sorcerer does get Disguise Self, a lower-level spell slot, Alter Self can change your appearance directly and make it so that your disguise isn’t blown when someone bumps into you and realizes you aren’t what you seem.

Race Recommendations

Changeling – Option to start with a +2 racial bonus to Charisma

Shapechanger allows you to change your appearance at will without magic

Changeling Instincts lets you start proficient in both Performance and Deception

Half-elf – Start with +2 Racial bonus to Charisma

Skill Versatility allows you to be proficient in two skills, allowing for Deception and


Kenku – Kenku Training lets you start proficient in Deception

Expert Forgery allows you to add handwriting to what can be copied

Mimicry overlaps, but removes the minute of study required

Tiefling – Start with a +2 racial bonus to Charisma

Several Bloodlines give access to Disguise Self and other useful spells

Combos, Tactics, and Synergies

Complementary Feats

  • Skill Expert: This can allow you to become proficient in Deception and Performance if you don’t already have it and can give Expertise to one of those as well.

Spells that Synergize

  • Disguise Self: Change your appearance with an illusion as long as it’s in the same size category.
  • Alter Self: Change your appearance with Transmutation as long as it’s in the same size category.
  • Seeming: Change your appearance as well as allies with an illusion.

Strategies for Maximizing Actor’s Effectiveness

As stated above, any way to get you to look like the person you are trying to pretend to be will give the greatest benefit. Any sort of boosting spell on top of that can make it nearly impossible to fail, even with low rolls. The best example would be a Warlock with Pact of the Talismen, using the Eldritch Invocations Mask of Many Faces or Mask of Myriad Forms, Beguiling Influence, and Blessing of the Talisman to give yourself the form you want, proficiency in Deception, and an additional 1d4 to your skill checks on top of your advantage.

Final Thoughts on Actor

Actor is a fun feat that has a bunch of roleplay potential. However, it does not extend much further than that, making it incredibly situational. It is a feat best used in a themed campaign such as a heist or espionage setting. That isn’t to say that you will never get any use out of it in another type of campaign, but since it doesn’t have any combat benefits unless you are a Charisma based Spellcaster a situation for you to get the full benefit could be few and far between.

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