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zeek0
2016-07-06, 03:28 AM
Yeah, yeah, another ranger rework. Whatever.

I happen to think I did a rather good job though. I took into account information from all of you, when you were complaining about the ranger.

My new ranger:

is not worse at survival than a bard with expertise in it
uses hunter's mark as a base class feature
has spellcasting as an archetype, not a base feature
has cool abilities that are based around their favored terrain


And the beast master:

is slightly more complicated
is now effective with other creatures, not just a wolf
is not stupid for level 3-4


So, without further ado, here's my Revised Ranger (https://drive.google.com/open?id=0BxfCiPA2FPFAY2NVdDU1UnJzLXc)!

Here's some notes on my design philosophy for each bit:

Removed:
Spellcasting: I feel that a ranger should be able to be non-magical.
Primeval Awareness: Same as above.
Favored Enemy: It no longer has a place, but could be added back in if wanted (let me know if it is).

Added:
Hunter's Mark: Gotta have it. This helps boost damage.
Expertise: A ranger should be better than others at survival/stealth/whatever. This only makes it so. It also fills in for the utility that was lost.
Survivalist: This represents some lost utility, and fits well with the theme of a non-magical protector.
Land's Stride: Now you gain features based on your Natural Explorer choices. More utility here.
Feral Senses: I made it so you couldn't be surprised. Reasonable.
Foe Slayer: I made it useful against a variety of enemies, not just your favored enemy.
Cantrips: I think that drudcraft is a great cantrip, but I'm uncertain if I should grant an additional cantrip. Let me know.

Spellcasting: I retained 1/2 casting. Now, I know that other casting subclasses only grant 1/3 casting, but I also feel that ranger subclasses add a bit more crunch to the base class than others.

Land's Boon: This fills in the lower number of spells known, and makes the spells thematic.

Spellmark: 11th level features are traditionally a good boost to damage, but I think that better spells already represents this. So it is a relatively small boost in damage.

Undying Sentinel: Shamelessly boosted from the Paladin subclass.
There was some nifty math done on these forums, showing that a BM ranger really isn't too bad at damage - if they use a wolf companion. A wolf has pack tactics and a cool tactical trip attack, so they are useful. I saw no reason this shouldn't be expanded to other creatures.

Now, all animal companions have pack tactics, because it makes sense that an animal trained to fight with other creatures would have this trait.

I also standardize the creatures, but give more choice to the player through animal traits.

Moreover, the previous Exceptional Training feature is gained at 3rd level. This means that, even if you are the only one that attacks, your animal companion can assist in some way (it makes levels 3-4 realistic - your fierce wolf doesn't just sit around).

Share Knowledge allows your beast to have all the benefits you have from your features, since Share Spells is no longer an option.


Please, give me some feedback about what you like, and what you think needs some work. I'm most concerned about balance, and if the features I traded around were done fairly.

Thanks!
An updated version of this homebrew lies in my signature (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showsinglepost.php?p=20886261&postcount=285). Let me know if you have any questions!

TheTeaMustFlow
2016-07-06, 05:20 AM
There's something wrong with the formatting - the tables are all messed up and overlayed on the text, making them more or less unreadable. There's also at least one reference to the class being 'Twilight Warrior'.

zeek0
2016-07-06, 07:37 AM
There's something wrong with the formatting - the tables are all messed up and overlayed on the text, making them more or less unreadable.

Blarg. That's awkward.

I've changed the link to go to a pdf instead of a Word document. I bet we all have different versions.


There's also at least one reference to the class being 'Twilight Warrior'.

Blarg.

I used a template from another of my classes, and didn't clean it enough. Thanks for the tip.


Alright, now we can get to the actual content! Anyone?

zeek0
2016-07-12, 05:56 AM
I'm going to give this a single shameless bump, as I worked on this for some time and I would like a bit of feedback on the content before I shelve it with other homebrew.

Thanks!

Fishybugs
2016-07-12, 03:01 PM
I can't access google docs from work, but I'll take a look when I get home tonight. I've been looking for a playable ranger because I love the ranger concept, but the execution has always been a little lacking...

Calen
2016-07-12, 05:25 PM
I like it. Looks solid, nothing is jumping out at me that screams "Problem!"

One thing to think about. Take Favored Enemy and make that the core of another subclass. Would be a nice way to have it back in for those that would want it.

Fishybugs
2016-07-12, 10:05 PM
I like it too. I don't see anything out of line and may try and playtest it.

Ninjadeadbeard
2016-07-15, 04:11 AM
Just got to this today and I had to tell you: I Flooping LOVE THIS!!!

This is now my standard for Rangers. Thank you!

zeek0
2016-07-15, 04:19 AM
Thanks for the kind comments!

I also enjoy criticism, if/when it is warranted. And if you could mention what you like specifically I'd be grateful.

And if you do end up using this at your table, please let me know and send me a few updates! I'd like to know how it pans out empirically.

Thanks!

TheOldCrow
2016-07-15, 11:16 AM
I really like your base class ranger-- particularly Expertise and your version of Land's Stride. Land's Stride takes the rather narrow favored terrain and gives it an awesome general use, which is really cool. You could rename New Land's Stride to something else so it won't be confused with Old land's Stride, which is a feature which might also be in use in a game. I have no good suggestions for what, as I am terrible of thinking up names.

I don't like the number of uses for Hunter's Mark being tied to the WIS score. Perception and Survival are already WIS based, anyway. I think the number of uses should be a straight up number.

Not sure about the Beast Master. The way you do Beast features is neat, but it still has the inherent problem of inorganic actions. I really wish this game had come up with consistent baseline rules for familiars, commanded undead, pets, mounts, and and animal companions.

zeek0
2016-07-15, 03:24 PM
Thanks for the words.

I really like Land's Stride as a name already, and I'd be loathe to change it even if confusion crops up. I think I'll leave it unless inspiration strikes.

I tied Hunter's Mark to Wisdom because I imagined that all rangers would boost wisdom. But I see the wisdom in not requiring that - how does changing it to 2/short rest do?

I did the best I could imagine with Beast Master. But I think that, with the right framing, your concerns are allayed by this change.

Previously, at levels 3-4, a ranger's companion just sat there stupidly while her master made an attack, or vice versa.

With my adjustments, the companion can make the help, dodge, disengage, or dash actions instead if it doesn't attack. I imagine your wolf harrying and putting the orc into a bad position so you can get in a good strike on the other side.

Moreover, all animals have pack tactics. So if your companion attacks in tandem with an ally, they get advantage.

It's not the additional actions that you got in 3.5, but it is some actionable thing that the animal does each turn.

Calen
2016-07-15, 03:45 PM
Personally I like that Hunters Mark is tied to wisdom (as well as other skills that have uses tied to stats.) I feel that it make each character a little more organic in how you choose to build it.

Ninjadeadbeard
2016-07-15, 07:52 PM
Thanks for the kind comments!

I also enjoy criticism, if/when it is warranted. And if you could mention what you like specifically I'd be grateful.

And if you do end up using this at your table, please let me know and send me a few updates! I'd like to know how it pans out empirically.

Thanks!

Honestly, everything that TheOldCrow said about Expertise and the positive things he said about Land's Stride. I love the new Beastmaster due to the little boosts you gave it.

In fact, I just like how simply you reworked the class. Just a nudge or two different than the PHB Ranger, but miles different in flavor and ability. Wonderful!

zeek0
2016-07-15, 11:21 PM
Y'all say the sweetest things.

I'll think about Wisdom being tied to Hunter's Mark. I think that it has the benefits of being organic and gives a nice reason for the limit. I think that untying it allows for non-Dex rangers to make good use of it.

If a character could only use it once per short rest, do you think that would be a burdensome penalty?

TheOldCrow
2016-07-17, 09:22 AM
Y'all say the sweetest things.

I'll think about Wisdom being tied to Hunter's Mark. I think that it has the benefits of being organic and gives a nice reason for the limit. I think that untying it allows for non-Dex rangers to make good use of it.

If a character could only use it once per short rest, do you think that would be a burdensome penalty?

I will reply with some observations and questions.

First off, I did not see concentration mentioned in the Hunter's Mark ability. Is that unintentional or by design, or was it there and I just missed it?

How much is Hunter's Mark a defining characteristic of the Base Ranger class?
A Ranger with a 12 WIS can use it once, while a Ranger with a 16 can use it 3 times. Since it is also a spell, a 16 WIS Spellwarden could use it 5 times to a 12 WIS Beastmaster's once.

As to the Beastmaster's action economy, I just wanted to point out that anything that necessitates using a bonus action every round means that a character can't use two weapon fighting. Best bet is just not to use two weapon style, but it is on the list of fighting styles.

Revlid
2016-07-17, 05:38 PM
Hunter's Mark is neat, and basically the same as what I did with my spell-less Ranger. It doesn't seem to scale at all, however. It's basically Sneak Attack with limited uses and some utility benefits... except it doesn't scale at all. +1d6 is much less impressive at 20th level, even if it lasts for a full day on a single guy. In fact, the limited uses are basically phased out by 17th level, because if you fail to achieve a short rest across multiple days of play, you're ****ed.

Natural Explorer remains as powerful as ever... but that's kind of a problem. It faces the same issue as Favoured Enemy, a feature you've chosen to ditch entirely, in that its utility is entirely dependent on context. In an Underdark campaign, Natural Explorer (Underdark) utterly shatters the challenges posed by the environment. In a piratical campaign, you can either choose to have your mountain-born Ranger have Natural Explorer (Ocean) for no reason or give him Natural Explorer (Mountain) for RP reasons and waste a class feature. Either you get ****ed or the campaign gets ****ed - it's so powerful, but it has to be because it's so rarely useful, but because of that it's too powerful when it is useful. I'd advise giving it the same treatment you did Favoured Enemy - replace it with another feature more balanced and suited to regular general use.

Expertise is Expertise. A good choice for Rangers, given their hybrid skill-ish sort of focus.

Survivalist is interesting. It's comparable to the Bard's Song of Rest, but it means you're going to run out of hit dice pretty quickly with no special way of regaining them, even with the first aspect of the feature making up the average. "When you would" is odd phrasing - do you regain hit points even if you don't spend hit dice?

Land's Stride is precisely what I thought Natural Explorer should have been since day 1. A good choice, though I haven't checked the specifics.

Other class features remain the same, and Hide in Plain Sight and Foe Slayer remain pretty underwhelming.

Spell-Warden's access to Shillelagh seems like it'd kind of warp the class's ability distribution. At first level I get a 1d8 magic weapon that uses my Wisdom for attack rolls and damage rolls, in a class that also gets Fighting Styles and Extra Actions and uses Wisdom for a bunch of stuff? I guess multiclassing means you can technically already do this with other classes/Druid, but still...

Your Beast Master is very interesting, and similar - in terms of "building your own creature" to some of the stuff I've put together for solving the many, many problems facing that subclass. I'll give it another look later.

zeek0
2016-07-18, 08:06 AM
Thanks for the critique, it's challenging me.



First off, I did not see concentration mentioned in the Hunter's Mark ability. Is that unintentional or by design, or was it there and I just missed it?
This is by design. At the moment concentration effects are only on spells. But also, I think that having the one effect be non-concentration is acceptable.


How much is Hunter's Mark a defining characteristic of the Base Ranger class?
A Ranger with a 12 WIS can use it once, while a Ranger with a 16 can use it 3 times. Since it is also a spell, a 16 WIS Spellwarden could use it 5 times to a 12 WIS Beastmaster's once.
I think that Hunter's mark is a defining characteristic because Rangers, to me, represent strong damage against individual targets - like a sniper. Hunter's mark is the damage ability that elevates them to par as a martial class - like smites, ki, or sneak attacks.

I think that three times a day is an acceptable minimum, but that going higher is not unreasonable. If we assume 8-9 combats in a day, then you can only use as an action in every combat if you have 16+ Wisdom. If a ranger has 16+ wisdom, then I think that more Hunter's Mark uses is a fine additional reward for that investment. The other option is to use a static number, but this feels inorganic to me.


Hunter's Mark is neat, and basically the same as what I did with my spell-less Ranger. It doesn't seem to scale at all, however. It's basically Sneak Attack with limited uses and some utility benefits... except it doesn't scale at all. +1d6 is much less impressive at 20th level, even if it lasts for a full day on a single guy. In fact, the limited uses are basically phased out by 17th level, because if you fail to achieve a short rest across multiple days of play, you're ****ed.
I think that the difference as you level is that you gain extra attacks, which also apply Hunter's Mark damage. A rogue does not get extra attacks, or apply their sneak attack damage more than 1/turn. A ranger at level five can deal 2d8+6+2d6 (avg: 22) each turn, and more at level 11 if their archetype allows. I think that the other benefits of the class allow for the Ranger to stay competitive as it levels.

To compare, a rogue can deal 1d6+3+3d6 (avg: 17) each turn at level 5, presuming optimal conditions. They only catch up at level 9, when they might deal an average of 23.5 each turn.

And this isn't taking into account Hunter archetype damage, the occasional 3rd level spell, or anything like that. Rangers might do a bit less damage than rogues at the highest levels, but I don't think this is unreasonable considering their role in the party.

---


Natural Explorer remains as powerful as ever... but that's kind of a problem.
I agree that Natural Explorer is entirely dependant upon context. But it seems like such a core part of the class concept that I would loathe to let it go. And I think that this feature fills the role that we all want the ranger to fill. You aren't always in the forest, but when you are he's the one to lead you through it. The feature has little to nothing to do with combat, so we can't worry about combat balance; I see little problem in allowing an extraordinary exploration feature to the class that is supposed to represent that motif.


Survivalist is interesting.
I actually shamelessly stole this from a different Ranger homebrew that I can't recall.

I have taken out "would" from the wording. Thanks.

I think that it will even out. Lets presume that when you heal yourself you get 2 extra HP back - that's almost 50% average hp back from each roll. I think that the main benefit of the feature is that if you happen to be doing fine, you can help your allies - there are many times when, at the end of the day, you didn't end up needing all your hit dice for healing.


Other class features remain the same, and Hide in Plain Sight and Foe Slayer remain pretty underwhelming.
I tacitly agree, but I think that Hide in Plain Sight is a fine fluff feature. I rather dislike making capstone features - they never get used and are somehow meant to symbolize the class as a whole. Do y'all have any ideas on how to bulk these features up?


Spell-Warden's access to Shillelagh seems like it'd kind of warp the class's ability distribution.

Hm. I was debating myself on this point, and whether I would offer a Druid cantrip at all. I think it would be reasonable to *not* allow an additional Druid cantrip. After all, I'm already allowing 1/2 casting and such. Let me know if that's reasonable.


Your Beast Master is very interesting, and similar - in terms of "building your own creature" to some of the stuff I've put together for solving the many, many problems facing that subclass. I'll give it another look later.
Please do. I'd be interested to know if it holds up, and if it remains competitive.

Thanks for all the comments! I'll update the document after I have a few more edits put into it, but I appreciate all the help y'all are giving me on the development. I'd like to keep this as a conversation, so let me know if/when you disagree with my contentions or ideas.

TheOldCrow
2016-07-18, 01:45 PM
This is by design. At the moment concentration effects are only on spells. But also, I think that having the one effect be non-concentration is acceptable.

That's good, then. Something that is a defining characteristic of a class should be better than a single low level spell.


I think that Hunter's mark is a defining characteristic because Rangers, to me, represent strong damage against individual targets - like a sniper. Hunter's mark is the damage ability that elevates them to par as a martial class - like smites, ki, or sneak attacks.

I think that three times a day is an acceptable minimum, but that going higher is not unreasonable. If we assume 8-9 combats in a day, then you can only use as an action in every combat if you have 16+ Wisdom. If a ranger has 16+ wisdom, then I think that more Hunter's Mark uses is a fine additional reward for that investment. The other option is to use a static number, but this feels inorganic to me.

The two other things it boosts besides damage are already tied to Wisdom, so having a high Wisdom score is already a bonus. I don't know. 5e is a very attribute dependent game, so maybe that fits right in. I'd change it for my game, but don't feel the need to convince you not to do it your way, so it is probably just a preference thing.

I still really love your Zookian Land's Stride. Whatever Ranger I do end up using, I want to work that feature into it.

thzfunnymzn
2016-07-25, 12:57 PM
Downloaded your Revised Ranger, will probably try it out whenever I play a Ranger. Like your improvements to Land's Stride.

zeek0
2016-07-27, 02:05 AM
The two other things it boosts besides damage are already tied to Wisdom, so having a high Wisdom score is already a bonus. I don't know. 5e is a very attribute dependent game, so maybe that fits right in. I'd change it for my game, but don't feel the need to convince you not to do it your way, so it is probably just a preference thing.

After some thinking, I think I'll leave Hunter's Mark tied to Wisdom. It is the only thing that makes narrative sense to me, but I of course do not mind if you make your own adjustments.


Downloaded your Revised Ranger, will probably try it out whenever I play a Ranger. Like your improvements to Land's Stride.

Great! Please PM me and let me know how it works in practice if/when you end up using it (no matter how far in the future).

Ze_Azrael
2016-07-27, 07:22 PM
Ok I'll start by saying how elegant I consider your fix to be. You only adjusted the base class slightly but I think it feels a lot better now.

Some observations:

Hunter's Mark's improvements don't make much sense. You changed it to not require Concentration, so it will always last its full duration. This isn't too bad at low levels, but when it improves at level 9 you'll likely have 4-5 uses of it, each lasting 8 hours... And the 17th level improvement isn't really giving you anything, since at level 9 it basically turned into a passive ability.
It is also a common complaint that Hunters Mark interferes with TWF, which a certain dark elf basically made synonym to being a Ranger.
I don't know if bringing back concentration, or changing the improvements to up the damage, or what other change is needed here, but I feel one is.
Also this makes ranger an amazing Monk dip. I'm not saying this is bad, I just had to point it out.

I really like the Survivalist feature. It is flavorful and useful. I would only word it better as it can be confusing. Are the additional HP per HD I spend? Or only apply once like Song of Rest? When I heal an ally, do I add my CON mod, or theirs? Do they get the additional WIS mod HP too?

Land's Stride is great, it makes the feature more applicable, which is a big flaw of the "Favored" features (I personally agree with Revlid in that it can be completely useless or break a campaign but that's a different discussion and it's a fairly distinctive Ranger thing anyways). The "City" one is somewhat confusing (if I fall from 30 ft, I land on my feet but take damage?) and I don't see why two distinct ranges are necessary. I would just decide on either 20 or 30 ft and just say that as long as you aren't incapacitated, you always land on your feet and take no damage from a fall of said height.

I'll give you my thoughts on the Archetypes later but I think giving the Spellwarden Druidcraft as the only cantrip is good.

EDIT: Archetypes

Hunter
It might be a bit under powered now that it lost spellcasting, especially in comparison to the Spellwarden. I'm merely speculating though, would have to have someone run the numbers and think of how to compensate them.

Spellwarden
As i said, Druidcraft is good enough for cantrips. You don't want them to be able to snag Shillelagh so easily.

I understand Rangers don't get that much in their base class but 1/2 casting might be too powerful... The only 'half caster' archetype is Four Elements and we all know that's restricted to near-unviability. I would think about making Ranger a prepared 1/3 caster. I've seen a lot of people say that Ranger would be a lot better off if it was a prepared caster and it fits the more divine and situational spell list. This plus the Lands Boon would give them a lot of versatility, and you can always boost their other archetype features to compensate.
Another possibility would be leaving it as 1/2 caster but incorporating some Four Elements mechanics, but that's likely a pretty bad idea lol

Beast master
I really like the direction you're going with standardizing the beast stats and having a table of features to take. This is what i would've done as well.

I think an oft-brought up issue is the beasts survivability, or rather, lack thereof. I would add to the line that determines beast HP a clause that gives them better Hit Dice. 1d6 per Ranger level would match the '4x Rlvl HP'... increased to 1d8 if beast gets Tough.

Initiate Grapple lets the creature grapple a target on a hit, but Grappler has them attempt an actual grapple contest. I don't have animal stats with me right now but i can only guess they likely wouldn't be very good at it. Maybe make it (optionally) trigger on a successful attack against an already grappled target?

Several of the other tactics could use an editing pass. Order them better and make them more applicable and less evident you just copied and pasted.

Overall I really like what you have here and I would be much more inclined to play your Ranger than the PHB's.

zeek0
2016-07-28, 12:47 AM
Thanks for the in-depth feedback. I've adjusted many things based on your feedback, and I disagree with some statements. Please argue with me if you still disagree.


Hunter's Mark's improvements don't make much sense. You changed it to not require Concentration, so it will always last its full duration.
I have changed it so that after you kill a creature you can shift the hunter's mark on the next turn, not on a subsequent turn. This means that it will be gone if you can't find another target nearby. I believe this solves the problem.


It is also a common complaint that Hunters Mark interferes with TWF...
The application/re-application of Hunter's Mark requires a bonus action, yes. But after it is applied, a two-weapon fighter can get 1d6 additional damage each turn, once from each weapon. I believe this is a reasonable tradeoff.


Also this makes ranger an amazing Monk dip. I'm not saying this is bad, I just had to point it out.
I think that Hunter's Mark is too central a feature to move from 1st level. And after all, it was always possible to grab Hunter's Mark by getting 2 ranger levels. I think I'll leave it.


I really like the Survivalist feature. It is flavorful and useful. I would only word it better as it can be confusing.
Thanks for noting this. I've changed the wording to: "Additionally, at the end of a short rest you can expend hit dice to heal your allies. If you do, an ally regains a number of hit points equal to the hit die expended + your Wisdom modifier."


Land's Stride is great...he "City" one is somewhat confusing.
I've simplified it so that you don't take damage if when you fall for 30 feet or less and are not incapacitated. The PHB says you don't fall prone if you don't take damage from a fall.


Hunter
It might be a bit under powered now that it lost spellcasting, especially in comparison to the Spellwarden. I'm merely speculating though, would have to have someone run the numbers and think of how to compensate them.
Perhaps. But I think that the damage increases of the hunter compensate for the spellwarden's utility. Think of it like Champion archetype for the ranger - it is simple, but balanced and powerful.


I understand Rangers don't get that much in their base class but 1/2 casting might be too powerful....I would think about making Ranger a prepared 1/3 caster.
I disagree. First, I think that 1/2 casting is not too much more powerful than 1/3 casting. I also think that the ranger base class is below par, and needs powerful subclasses to boost them up. Most of all, I would hate for rangers to lose such spells as tree stride, swift quiver, conjure volley, and commune with nature.


I've seen a lot of people say that Ranger would be a lot better off if it was a prepared caster and it fits the more divine and situational spell list.
Interesting. It would be modeled after paladin casting, where you get prepared spells = 1/2 your ranger level + Wis modifier.
...
I'll have to think on this more, and perhaps work up an alternative to compare it to. Thanks for the idea - I'll post again on this thread about what I decide.


I think an oft-brought up issue is the beasts survivability, or rather, lack thereof. I would add to the line that determines beast HP a clause that gives them better Hit Dice. 1d6 per Ranger level would match the '4x Rlvl HP'... increased to 1d8 if beast gets Tough.
I'll adjust it so that the base creatures start with 13 AC instead of 12 AC. Yes, they only get 4*Rlvl HP. This translates to the same hp as a wizard with no Con mod. But they have 15 AC from the get-go, and 19 AC (plate armor) at level 17. This defense increases further if they have improved natural armor or toughness.


Initiate Grapple... Grappler
Yeah, this is confusing. I was trying to combine the giant frog/giant crab traits, and it ended as a mess. Here's my fix:
-Grappler is renamed "Vice Grip" (eh...is that a Pokemon move?). Also, you restrain a target against a DC 11 grapple check.
-Initiate Grapple now reads: "Initiate Grapple. On a hit, the target is grappled (escape DC 11). If this is done with a bite attack, the creature is restrained and the animal companion canít bite another target."
-Frogs instead have the Swallow option, as listed in the MM.

One general adjustment I made: proficiency bonus is now added to DCs. So now abilities like tenacious, poison, and initiate grapple will scale somewhat with level. (I need the most help on this change. Does it make the animal companions too powerful in some way?)

Thanks for the feedback!

I intend to update the downloadable pdf today, so keep on the lookout for it!

Ze_Azrael
2016-07-28, 03:47 PM
Thanks for the in-depth feedback. I've adjusted many things based on your feedback, and I disagree with some statements. Please argue with me if you still disagree.

No problem! I haven't read your updated PDF but I'll leave some comments in the mean time.


I think that Hunter's Mark is too central a feature to move from 1st level.

I agree Hunters Mark (HM) is a very distinctive Ranger feature. I actually think it's because of this that it might be better to give it a bit of a bump. Each class has a distinctive 'unique' damage dealing mechanic:
Fighters have extra attacks and Action Surge. Monks have Stunning Strike and lots of smaller unarmed attacks. Paladins are of course all about them smites. Rogues get sneak attack.
Compared to these, do you think 1d6 extra damage X times/day is enough for the Ranger as their distinctive class damage feature? The base class doesn't add much more and even though the archetypes each provide a damage boost, they're too distinct from each other to be "the Ranger's thing".
Additionally, what is the benefit of HM having such a long duration if it needs to be reapplied immediately after target dies? The only benefit would be the tracking part of it. Spells like Hex and HM that scale in duration and are such a core part of their respective class do so to conserve spell slots. This isn't as much of a concern for your implementation of HM since we have 3-5 'slots' that can only be used for HM.

I would advocate making it stronger in the long run. Having it increase either in Die Size, or in Quantity, or some other way. I like the fact it increases in duration because it reinforces the whole hunting shtick, but I feel it isn't enough of an improvement for such a distinctive feature. If you feel it could get too strong you could bring back Concentration (and maybe give the Spellwarden an ability to let him concentrate on HM + one spell). There are a few class abilities already that require concentration so there's precedence. Concentration also avoids stacking it with Hex or similar spells that would be a bigger benefit for someone dipping than a straight Ranger.

You're probably right on the Hunter, and I have no time to run the numbers myself so I have no data to indicate either way. Just thought it was worth keeping in mind.


I disagree. First, I think that 1/2 casting is not too much more powerful than 1/3 casting. I also think that the ranger base class is below par, and needs powerful subclasses to boost them up. Most of all, I would hate for rangers to lose such spells as tree stride, swift quiver, conjure volley, and commune with nature.

The Spellwarden is the hardest and the one that doesn't have me completely convinced. I agree that the Ranger has many iconic higher level spells, and I also agree Rangers get more from their Archetypes than their Base class. However it still feels weird giving them (almost) unmodified 1/2 casting as an Archetype. How would this interact with multiclassing btw? You modified slightly their spells known and spell slot progression. 1/3 casting would be a lot more consistent but it has the potential of being underwhelming (which is why I suggested making them prepared casters with good bonus features to compensate). If you want to give them 1/2 casting, I would suggest doing it in a similar way to the 4E Monk.

Give them a number of Nature Points (I suck at names) they can use to cast their spells (4E cost is 1 + Spell lvl). You can have them regain on a short rest like the Monk, or triple the amount and have them regain on a long rest. Now the 4E Monk is fairly underwhelming, but a big part of it is that the Archetype uses the same resource pool the Base class uses, which would not be a problem for your Ranger. Also Monk is a very strong Base class as opposed to Ranger so you can bump up the Archetype accordingly (4E only grants 1 'spell' per Archetype improvement, I feel its too restrictive).
I'm honestly not convinced about this either, and of course, it's your homebrew so you can do as you please, I'm just throwing ideas.


I'll adjust it so that the base creatures start with 13 AC instead of 12 AC. Yes, they only get 4*Rlvl HP. This translates to the same hp as a wizard with no Con mod. But they have 15 AC from the get-go, and 19 AC (plate armor) at level 17. This defense increases further if they have improved natural armor or toughness.

You misunderstood me, I think 12 or 13 + prof AC is good in this regard, plus some can get the trait that improves their AC, and there's always barding. I meant survivability in the attrition aspect. There's no way other than spells (or similar) to heal your companion. And now that the Ranger has lost much of their ability to heal via spells, they have it even worse off. Beasts have very little Hit Dice and the Beast master's features don't increase them, even though they increase their base HP. I was suggesting adding a line that increases their Hit Dice so they can reliably recover HP on rests.


One general adjustment I made: proficiency bonus is now added to DCs. So now abilities like tenacious, poison, and initiate grapple will scale somewhat with level. (I need the most help on this change. Does it make the animal companions too powerful in some way?)

I'm pretty sure this has been debated previously so you might be able to find discussions on it. Plenty of people have proven that mathematically the Beastmaster is good as is, so increasing the DCs, in addition to your QoL fixes and buffs, might put them over the line.
The fact that you're setting these in your own traits does give you a lot more control though. You can start them off at 8-10 + proficiency, fine-tweaking the individual traits to balance them. My gut feeling would be that always-on traits like Tenacious or Poison should have a lower DC than situational traits like Pounce or Charge.
Overall I like this idea and the traits system allows you to balance it properly.

Foxhound438
2016-07-28, 04:55 PM
the way you've changed hunter's mark makes this too easy an option to value-dip one level into. Even if you only have say 14 wisdom, you get it twice per short rest, don't need to concentrate on it (ie, doubles up with hex and can't lose it), and lasting a full hour out the gate means this is always on. Change to x uses per long rest, and require concentration (as if concentrating on a spell).

Aside from that nitpick, the rest looks really good.

zeek0
2016-08-08, 03:09 AM
Hello! Sorry that I've been absent for a while; I was directing a girl's camp for the past week.

I've updated the Ranger PDF.

In response to some concerns, I've made it so that you cannot concentrate on another spell while you have Hunter's Mark up. It isn't concentration (you can't lose it if you get hit really hard), but it prevents Hex/Hunter's Mark shenanigans.

And to make the Spellwarden stay viable, they can concentrate on Ranger spells while they have Hunter's Mark active.

Another large change to Hunter's Mark makes it so that, after the target drops to 0 hit points, you must mark a new creature with it in the next round. If you do not, the Mark is lost and you must use a separate 'casting' in a future round. I think that this will make it so that you don't simply keep the mark in reserve between combats.

Per Azrael's comments, I'm considering making the Hunter's Mark +1d8 at level 9, and maybe +1d10 at level 17. I'll consider this further; I just want to note that Extra Attack gives a good boost to Hunter's Mark just by virtue of having another opportunity to apply it.

I'd like to keep the Spellwarden a 1/2 caster, and I believe it is warranted by the class. I would loathe having a Wot4E-style system, and the bump from 1/3->1/2 casting is fairly small.

I'll be considering how to integrate Hit Dice into the Beast Master archetype; I'll update that problem in a later post.

Per Azrael's suggestion, I have adjusted the beast traits so that they have a lower DC, but add the ranger's proficiency bonus. They should start out a bit below the base DC, but increase with level rather well.


Thanks for all the comments! I'm happy to listen to any more concerns, so let me know what works and what doesn't!

Phawksin
2016-08-09, 12:20 PM
I actually shamelessly stole this from a different Ranger homebrew that I can't recall.


And put it to better use than I ever did!

So I have a thought, and it might be an awful one, but I'll throw it out there. With the 1/2 casting subclass coming online at 3rd level instead of second, it makes the table a little different from the others and for multiclassing. Have you considered having the subclasses coming online at 2nd level, giving spellcasting the the Spellwarden, fighting styles to the Hunter and perhaps something a little different to the Beastmaster? It might encourage Beastmasters to work with their pet or have their pet attack in those first levels if they also didn't have a fighting style. Again, it might be an awful idea and totally wreck the objectively excellent write-up you have here.

This is a good write up that I think stacks up well with the PHB and other on-point homebrew. Its easy to understand, has a high level of complexity for a martial class, but retains simpler options for that that want it. My biggest point of concern are Natural Explorer. I think it should get an overhaul, something that encourages the players to actually use the exploration mechanics without "auto-winning" and ignoring them. I have tried on a few occasions to come up with a good fix but nothing sticks; I trust your creativity might be able to do better.

zeek0
2016-08-13, 01:27 AM
And put it to better use than I ever did!

Ah yes, of course. Thanks for the inspiration!

I appreciate the thoughts about changing the system, but I think that the base ranger (no matter the archetype) deserves fighting styles. I also think that archetypes coming online at level 3 is reasonable.

I have been thinking about Natural Explorer for the past few days, trying to imagine an alternative that addresses the detriments you mention. However, I can't imagine one at this time. There's a few reasons behind this:

- There aren't really many exploring mechanics in 5e.
- The main interest in exploring is rarely "can you navigate this forest?". This is because it is rather difficult to narrate or roleplay this feeling. The best the LotR movies could do was show us travel montages of New Zealand - we don't even have that advantage. I think that if a ranger gets a few moments of auto-win that justifies their character's past and choices, then that might just be sufficient.
- I find the main interest of exploring is finding new cultures, seeing cool ruins, marveling at a landscape, seeing cool magic stuff. None of this is really supported (or should be supported) by the Natural Explorer feature.

If I think of something then I'll graft it in. But I don't want to add bloat.

Thanks!

gkathellar
2016-08-15, 06:05 AM
Overall, I like it. A few things:
I am of the strong opinion that Favored Terrain's skill bonus should be expanded to cover all skill checks. A ranger with a lot of experience in the swamp should be good at hiding and climbing and jumping and whatnot in the swamp, in addition to taxonomy and tracking.
The bit about requiring you to travel for an hour to gain the benefits of your Favored Terrain can probably go. I get that they're mostly narrative benefits, but that's all the more case for just allowing them to function all the time, IMO. Now, what I could see is a high level ribbon allowing a ranger to treat any one terrain as Favored after an hour of traveling in it (maybe w/Land's Stride benefits, maybe not).
It's worth noting that the Land's Stride options aren't really balanced - Mountain is by far the best, and Arctic, Desert, and Swamp arguably have a leg up over most everything else. Also, the Poisoner's Kit bit from Swamp seems weird and out-of-place. Maybe shift it to Underdark and give Swamp some other minor thing?
While you're at it, you may want to rephrase HiPS so that it doesn't require "plants" and other things which might not be available in a given terrain. And really, I feel like you might be able to cut it down to an action, rather than a minute, so that it's not just a +10 to something you can do with Hide already.
I think Vanish should be expanded to protect against magical means of tracking (and maybe divination spells more generally).
I question the value of Spellmark. How many offensive spells is the Spellwarden actually going to be casting?

One of the things that still feels off to me is the suddenness of a lot of the features. This is a problem with the core ranger as well. For instance: suddenly at level 10, you're good at hiding! Expertise and Hunter's Mark work to alleviate this on some level, but I still wonder if features could be (a) more spread-out across multiple levels, and (b) in some cases, more potent.

zeek0
2016-08-16, 12:00 PM
Thanks for the comments gkathellar. Here's my thoughts...:

Favored Terrain skill bonuses: I agree to some extent, but the ranger should only be better at these skill checks if they directly relate to their environment. For example, you should be better at climbing trees, but not better at climbing the steppes of the forest temple. I've changed the document to reflect this.

I also agree with the change to the time it takes to gain the narrative benefits.

The Land's Stride options are admittedly not equally powerful. I think that small differences in power are acceptable. However, I am still searching for how to improve the Coast or City options, as I feel they are rather in comparison to other options. Suggestions are welcome. As for the Swamp terrain, I think that the swamp symbolically harbors many injurous plants and creatures. The underdark, while having creatures that use poisons, is not specifically concerned with poisons as a terrain. I'll keep it where it is.

I've changed the "and" to "or" in HiPS. This should allow a ranger to use whatever they need to in order to hide themselves. I think that narratively, this feature needs to remain at 10 minutes. 1 Action isn't enough to apply face paint, put on the equivalent of a gilly suit, or effectively blend into a specific place. Hiding normally as an action is still a thing; this just makes it so that you can be super-hidden.

I don't think that Vanish should protect against magical tracking. The Ranger, for me, is a master of the physical - not the magical. However, I could see this being worked into an anti-magic / witch hunter archetype.

As for Spellmark: at 11th level you have access to 3rd level ranger spells. These are the spells that you have access to which deal damage: ensnaring strike, hail of thorns, cordon of arrows, spike growth, conjure barrage, flame arrows, lightning arrow. This is 20% of the ranger spell list. But this doesn't consider the greater spells that you have access to from the Land's Boon feature - many of which deal damage.

The 11th level feature of the ranger is meant to increase damage, much as it does in other classes. However, the Spell Warden has been increasing their damage slowly as they have gained access to more spells. Hence the small but still substantial increase to damage in some circumstances.

I think that he suddeness of the features can't be particularly helped. Making the features more potent would only exacerbate this perception. But largely, you just get an expansion of an ability you already have. At 10th level, you can create a gilly suit. At 14th level you can hide quickly. At 18th you can use your senses (which are likely already powerful) to detect enemies. I'll leave it as is.

Thanks for your comments! I know that every time someone posts some feedback, the class is a little more finely-tuned. Please disagree with any of my statements as you will, and I'll consider them further.

(I'll update the PDF when I have access to better internet; just know that the stated changes have been made. Thanks for being patient)