In the d20 System, a feat is one type of ability a character may gain through level progression. Feats are different from skills in that characters can vary in competency with skills, while feats typically provide set bonuses to or new ways to use existing abilities.
Feats were first implemented in the d20 System-premiering Dungeons and Dragons Third Edition, and were carried over into the current Dungeons and Dragons 3.5 Edition as well as most other d20-based role playing games. The addition of feats has generally been received approvingly by players, though some criticize a perceived focus on combat and potential for abuse by powergamers.
Characters typically start with one feat and gain one feat at each subsequent level which is evenly divisible by 3. Human characters typically start with an additional feat (as do Fighters in Dungeons and Dragons). Many feats have prerequisite levels, base attack bonuses, or other skills, feats or abilities which must be obtained before they can be acquired.