PDA

View Full Version : D&D 5e/Next Another Beast Master class, WIP, really need feedback



Lalliman
2016-06-30, 04:35 AM
Another Beast Master fix to add to the pile!

Seriously though, this one is different from any of the ones Iíve seen. Itís a class rather than an archetype, for reasons Iíll explain below, and its purpose is broader than just making the companion viable. Itís also heavily unfinished, but I want some feedback before I continue, to make sure Iím getting the balance remotely right.

Formatting tables on this site is difficult, so hereís a link to the google doc:
https://docs.google.com/document/d/1A2unGKpZ_NioDLpCTXUUfYTH4IJFG9kFT8T9jSoyGWw/edit?usp=sharing
(Note that in designing this class, I took inspiration from a bunch of different Beast Master homebrews, enough that I lost track of what came from where and I canít really cite the sources. If you see something that you think I should give the original creator credit for, let me know.)

Purposes of this class
- Make the companion act like a living being instead of a robot that needs to be constantly commanded. Of course, many other homebrews have done this already.
- Put the companion front and center. It seems to me that the Rangerís companion was designed to only make up about 30% of the classí power, which is awfully little. This class strives to make the character and their companion about equally powerful, and to encourage more synergy between them.
- Allow for greater variety among Beast Masters. With the core classes, if you want to have an animal companion, you have to be a ranger, with all the class features that entails. This class is different: Most core features affect the companion, while the archetype features affect the Beast Master him/herself. That way, people who want an animal companion can still choose from multiple types of character. Currently the choice is between a ranger-like martial and a divine caster, but others could be added in time.

The crunch of it
So a big part of this class is that the companion is way more powerful than the Rangerís, but in return the Beast Master himself is less powerful. In theory, the two of them together should still be equally powerful as another class of the same level. Based on intuition (I havenít done the math yet), I feel like the Huntsman compares to the Battle Master as follows:
- More combined health, but with the risk of one of them falling unconscious prematurely
- Greater sustained damage but less burst damage due to lack of Action Surge
- Greater utility from animal abilities and the ability to split up, in return for having no Combat Superiority

So what do you think, does my approach there make sense or did it end up overpowered anyways?

Siirvos
2016-06-30, 06:01 AM
Two things.

Firstly, nice job on the archetypes. Though they feel binary (one martial - one caster), they are much needed to improve the base class - which leads me to my second point.

Secondly, why not make this into an archetype? It doesnt particularly differentiate itself from the normal ranger progression in a meaningful way. The class features it gains are arguably things a regular beastmaster archetype should be receiving, so why not add them to it? The shaman specifically adds more to the companion that should probably be part of the base class, such as converting the companions natural attacks to magical.

The only balance problem I can foresee is the scaling CR of the companion. Allowing small and large companions is a good thing, though probably not at level 1. Still, the thought of having a stronger mount is appealing.

Lalliman
2016-06-30, 08:00 AM
Secondly, why not make this into an archetype? It doesnt particularly differentiate itself from the normal ranger progression in a meaningful way. The class features it gains are arguably things a regular beastmaster archetype should be receiving, so why not add them to it? The shaman specifically adds more to the companion that should probably be part of the base class, such as converting the companions natural attacks to magical.
First of all, I just don't like the design philosophy behind the ranger and I intend to completely replace it by this class and by a ranger archetype for the fighter. I won't go into the specifics of why I dislike the ranger, as that will probably derail the thread.

But more importantly, it's a separate class for the reasons I've already mentioned. First off, in the core rules, if you want to have an animal companion (of any considerable power, so not a familiar), you have to be a divine spellcasting wilderness person. If you want to have an animal companion and be a non-magical combattant or an arcane caster, that's not an option. This class gives you an animal companion while still giving you options on what character you want to be. (There is no arcane archetype currently, but it can be added, the structure is there.) To be fair, this problem could be solved by making beast master archetypes for other classes, but the next one can't.

Secondly, the ranger already has d10 hit dice, extra attack, half casting and a number of lesser combat abilities. You can only give the companion a limited amount of power before the combined power of ranger and companion becomes greater than it should be. If I make a character with a bad-ass dire wolf companion, I don't want the wolf to be only half as powerful as the character. That's why I'm making this class, where the character gets less power and the companion more.

Siirvos
2016-06-30, 08:16 AM
So you expect anybody who wants an animal companion to multiclass into this instead?
A companion is an archetype feature, not a core one. Same way a familiar is an archetype feature for the warlock, or a spell for a wizard.

I can understand wanting to make the companion more powerful - its almost universally agreed that the beastmaster is underpowered and needs fixes. That being said, I dont believe you have enough features to differentiate this class from a ranger. Switching an archetype with its core does not make a new class, and thats essentially what youve done.


If I make a character with a bad-ass dire wolf companion, I don't want the wolf to be only half as powerful as the character

And that would lead to all kinds of balance problems. Being at risk of losing your core feature for any amount of time is bad design. 5e specifically toned down all pet type classes. A necromancer in 5e is nowhere near the same level of power in other editions. Same goes for the beastmaster and familiars.

That being said, maybe you'd be able to make a greater distinction of the class if you were to flavor it as a summoner instead. You'd still get the companion, without the icky business of trying to figure out how to balance the thing with base creature statistics. Archetypes can be created that either focus more on the summon itself, increase casting ability, or allow for martial combat.

PotatoGolem
2016-06-30, 08:40 AM
Very interesting idea. I agree with you that there's a place for this as a base class, since it allows the beast to be stronger at the expense of the master. Right now you can either fight like a ranger or cast like one, so the master is definitely weaker. Just because it hasn't been done yet in 5e doesn't mean it will necessarily be unbalanced. Feels decent so far- keep up the good work!

Lalliman
2016-06-30, 09:50 AM
@Siirvos, you make a good point about the risk of the companion dying and the character being left at half power for a prolonged period of time. I will consider what measures can be taken to minimise this risk, but in the end that risk is up to the player. If they're willing to take the risk in order to create the character they want, I won't tell them no.

Other than that, I never asked whether I should make this class, only whether it's balanced, so your objections to its existence are moot.

@PotatoGolem, your name is awesome. I feel like that needs to be said.

R.Shackleford
2016-06-30, 09:51 AM
You should perhaps get rid of Hunter and make it part of the base class. Or at least parts of it. Instead of giving your PC extra attack allow the beast to gain it. The Hunter is rather... Bland and some of the features feel they could be part of the base class. I would give the fighting style and extra attack (for beasts that don't have multiattack) to the beast through normal level progressions and landstride to the base beast master.

Beasts don't typically do a lot of damage so at first glance I don't think fighting style and extra attack would be over powered.

Fighting Styles: Claws (twf), Bite (gwf), Protection (no shield required), and Defense (don't need armor on, just +1 AC)

I've been tossing around the idea of a Beast Master base class. The three archetypes I was spitballing a while back...

Nature/Primal
The Shaman you have pretty much sums it up. Druid half caster works well. Perhaps give the beast's you choose a "dire template" or something like that.

Divine
Give an "angel" template and have it be a Cleric half caster.

Arcane
Give a "fiend" template and have it be a half Sorcerer or Warlock type caster.

This way you get the beast master and you can make it a summoner (which is just a different type of beast master) if you like.

Siirvos
2016-06-30, 10:18 AM
*snip*

yes, pretty much this. Letting your companion do everything for you would be much much better than gaining those things for yourself.


Other than that, I never asked whether I should make this class, only whether it's balanced, so your objections to its existence are moot.
Yeah, and I'm telling you the way its presented is not well balanced. It needs to differentiate itself more from the ranger because as it stands it would do better as a reworked archetype. If you take offense to it, my apologies, but I did offer constructive suggestions in each of my posts. Whether or not you choose to take it is ultimately up to you, but my points are not without merit.

If anything, this should convince you to take even MORE liberties with class features. Really add things to it, it'll be much easier to take things away to reign in its power levels than to sit here and try to think of features and suggestions for you to ignore.

Lalliman
2016-06-30, 11:26 AM
You should perhaps get rid of Hunter and make it part of the base class. Or at least parts of it. Instead of giving your PC extra attack allow the beast to gain it. The Hunter is rather... Bland and some of the features feel they could be part of the base class. I would give the fighting style and extra attack (for beasts that don't have multiattack) to the beast through normal level progressions and landstride to the base beast master.

Beasts don't typically do a lot of damage so at first glance I don't think fighting style and extra attack would be over powered.

Fighting Styles: Claws (twf), Bite (gwf), Protection (no shield required), and Defense (don't need armor on, just +1 AC)
The huntsman (named so to avoid confusion with the ranger archetype) is bland because it's more or less supposed to be. The archetypes are supposed to mimic other classes, and the huntsman mimics the fighter. I could make land's stride a core feature instead, but I'd prefer not to get rid of the martial archetype completely.

Originally, for the beast master archetype, bestial fury is like extra attack for the companion, but I changed it to extra damage because of the awkward way it interacts with multiattack. I'll probably change it back though.

Fighting styles of animal companions might be worth considering.


Nature/Primal
The Shaman you have pretty much sums it up. Druid half caster works well. Perhaps give the beast's you choose a "dire template" or something like that.

Divine
Give an "angel" template and have it be a Cleric half caster.

Arcane
Give a "fiend" template and have it be a half Sorcerer or Warlock type caster.
This is pretty much what I'm planning for the archetypes, and the reason that it's a class instead of an archetype. Maybe I should've made that clearer.


Letting your companion do everything for you would be much much better than gaining those things for yourself.
Not sure if sarcasm...


Yeah, and I'm telling you the way its presented is not well balanced. It needs to differentiate itself more from the ranger because as it stands it would do better as a reworked archetype.
That doesn't fall under my definition of balance. If I took the fighter, replaced one class feature with an equivalently powerful one and called it a new class, that also wouldn't be imbalanced. Stupid, sure, but not imbalanced, because that's not what balance is.

But hey, I don't mean to be salty. My reasons for wanting it as a class remain unchanged, so we'll have to agree to disagree.

Siirvos
2016-06-30, 11:52 AM
It wasn't sarcasm. One of the biggest flaws with the beastmaster is the loss on actions for your companion. Giving the companion more options at no cost to the ranger is not a bad thing, especially if that is going to be the main feature.

I think the class is underpowered as is. I also think it is too similar to the ranger as is. Two separate things. Apologies for the confusion regarding the definition of balance. It's a shame we will have to agree to disagree, though.


If I took the fighter, replaced one class feature with an equivalently powerful one and called it a new class

Well, but....

The archetypes are supposed to mimic other classes, and the huntsman mimics the fighter

uhh....

Stupid, sure
Your words, not mine. Still, made me chuckle.

R.Shackleford
2016-06-30, 02:03 PM
I really think the class should revolve around your beast gaining class features and not really the PC. The PC can direct the beast(s) and have racial features but isn't anything special outside of their ability to train and direct the beast.

The Huntsman puts the focus on the PC too much I think.