I am planning to run a D&D 3rd edition campaign, potentially with players who never played the game before. To make character creation and advancement a lot easier, the campaign would use only the Player’s Handbook and Expanded Psionic Handbook for character options. PCs are also unlikely to ever make it beyond 10th level, so most characters will probably only have three feats in total for the campaign, possibly four. I made this list with feats that I think would be the most interesting and useful to players in that campaign, so they don’t have to comb through all the feats while not really understanding the rules of the game yet. But I would like to get other people’s opinion on how good these recommendations really are. Replies on Mastodon would probably be best, but if you find this page through another way, you can also comment at the bottom of the page.
Alertness: +2 to all Listen and Spot checks. If you have these skills high, this can significantly reduce the number of times you get surprised by enemies, and increase the time you can surprise them.
Brew Potion: This lets you make a potion of most spells that heal or protect, which are super useful to have just in case. Can be traded to characters who go on expeditions when you’re not coming along. Extremely useful for clerics and druids, good for wizards.
Craft Wand: Widely considered to be one of the best feats ever. A wand of fireballs or wand of cure light wounds can be a game changer, especially because you can just make new ones when they run out of charges.
Expanded Knowledge: Learn an additional psion or wilder power.
Great Fortitude: +2 bonus to not get poisoned, paralyzed, sick, or have your life drained out.
Extend Spell/Power: Makes a spell or power last twice as long.
Improved Initiative: +4 to Initiative rolls. Useful for characters who benefit from attacking enemies before they are able to defend themselves, like rogues making sneak attacks. Or for wizards to take out a guard before he can scream.
Iron Will: +2 bonus to not get mind controlled or fooled by illusions.
Lightning Reflexes: +2 to not get zapped or crushed.
Natural Spell: Lets wild shaped druids cast spells in animal form. (Great at 6th or 9th level.)
Nimble Fingers: +2 to all Disable Device and Open Lock checks. Obviously great for rogues specializing in doors and traps.
Overchannel: Increases the maximum manifester level of a psionic power by 1, for 1d8 damage. The increase improves to +2 at 8th level for 2d8 damage.
Point Blank Shot: +1 to ranged attacks up to 30 ft. away, which is pretty much all ranged attacks indoors. Also allows you to learn Precise Shot.
Precise Shot: You no longer get a -4 penalty to avoid accidentally hitting an ally fighting with your target.
Power Attack: Take a penalty to attack and get a bonus to damage. Once your attack bonus is high, it’s great to take enemies with low armor out faster. Which will make up the majority of wilderness encounters and common guards throughout the entire campaign. Also good for chopping down doors or beams faster, as they don’t move. Allows you to learn Cleave.
Cleave: When you get an enemy down to 0 hp, you get a free attack against another enemy in your reach. Which is great when surrounded by enemies with low armor that you can power attack to take them out even faster. Allows you to learn Great Cleave.
Great Cleave: Lets you make an unlimited amount of cleave attacks per round instead of just one. To really mow through low armor enemies with power attack.
Psionic Talent: You get more power points to manifest psionic powers. Gets even better every time you take it again.
Skill Focus: +3 bonus to all checks with one skill. Often a better choice than taking a feat that gives a +2 bonus to two feats when you’re really only specializing in one of them. Also probably better than the +4 bonus from Combat Casting/Manifesting, as it applies to all Concentration checks and not just those when casting defensively. But it does stack with all the other feats that give skill bonuses if you really want to max them out.
Stealthy: +2 to all Hide and Move Silently checks. Great for anyone who is sneaking.
Weapon Finesse: Lets you make attacks with daggers, short swords, hand axes, and kukris with your Dexteritty bonus instead of Strength modifier. Which can make a huge difference for characters with high Dexterity and low Strength.
Blind Fight: Reduces the miss chance from darkness and fog from 20% to 4%, and allows you to move at three-quarters speed instead of one-half. Allows you to swipe at enemies you can’t see and make an attack roll 75% of the time instead of 50% of the time.
Combat Casting/Manifesting: +4 bonus to Concentration when trying to cast spells in melee without causing attacks of opportunity. Great bonus, but taking Skill Focus (Concentration) is usually a better choice since the +3 bonus applies to any other situations that require a concentration check as well. But you can take both feats and they do stack up to a +7 when casting defensively.
Combat Reflexes: Lets you make more than one attack of opportunity per round. Great when often surrounded by many enemies.
Craft Wondrous Item: Allows you to create most magic items that aren’t weapons, armor, wands, or potions. Can be learned and used to make useful items at 3rd level.
Negotiator: +2 bonus to all Diplomacy and Sense Motive checks.
Quick Draw: Lets you draw your weapon as a free action instead of as part of a move action. This is useful when you get surprised and only get a single action in the surprise round. Or when a fight breaks out suddenly right next to an enemy and you can make more than one attack per round as a full round action.
Scribe Scroll: By making a scroll, you can have a spell ready at all times without having to have it prepared in a spell slot the entire time. This is great for spells you use only rarely, but will be a huge help when you do need them. Or you can have two or three scrolls of your favorite spells for large battles, when just the one or two you have prepared might not be enough. Scribing a single scroll is much cheaper and faster than crafting a wand with 50 charges.
Self-Sufficient: +2 bonus to all Heal and Survival checks. Druids and rangers probably have both skills quite high, which might make it a better choice than Skill Focus.
Track: With this feat you can search for monster lairs or hidden bandit camps by following the tracks of escaped enemies, or tracing back where they came from. Extremely useful when trying to remove a threat from an area, or to find the treasure hoards of wandering monsters.
Wild Talent: Allows you to activate the powers psionic items even though you are not a psion or wilder.
Potentially Useful Feats
Animal Affinity: +2 to all Handle Animal and Ride checks. Can be useful if you’re taking care of the party’s pack and guard animals and you’re also fighting while mounted. If you do only one, Skill Focus is the better choice.
Athletic: +2 to all Climb and Swim checks. Can be quite useful for characters who scout ahead, infiltrate enemy camps, or open up passages for the rest of the party to follow.
Combat Expertise: Take a penalty to your attack rolls and gain a bonus to armor. Could be useful if you want to be able to block narrow doors and bridges against attacking enemies. Also allows you to learn a couple other feats. Mostly just of interest to fighters.
Endurance: +4 to Constitution checks for running, marching, and swimming for long time, or to deal with hot and cold weather. Most interesting for characters with low Constitution who struggle with keeping up with the rest of the party on long journeys. But could also be useful for characters who want to do long range scouting for the rest of the party or be good at diving underwater.
Persuasive: +2 to all Bluff and Intimidate checks. Unless you’re highly trained in both, Skill Focus is probably a better choice.