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View Full Version : D&D 5e/Next The Wanderer: New Martial Class, Ranger Replacement [PEACH]



Revlid
2016-09-19, 03:02 PM
Well, I polished off the latest version of my pure martial Ranger rewrite ('http://homebrewery.naturalcrit.com/share/S1s7uLtp').

It's intended to be more than just a fresh coat of paint for the existing class with all-new class features and focus, it's meant give the Ranger a clear role both in and out of combat, distinct from the Fighter, Rogue, or Barbarian. It also comes with a new subclass paradigm (Spirit Guide) complete with three examples the Slayer, the Wyrd, and the Beast.

This Ranger is meant to be a flexible fighter, capable of easily attacking on the move with a variety of weapons, or standing their ground and putting out a true hail of death. Out of combat they're an excellent strategic support class, offering great tracking and navigation abilities as well as improving the benefits of any given rest.

Of course, I finished it just a few days after Unearthed Arcana released a pretty decent upgrade of the Ranger, which means this one will never see playtesting. It's a lemon-scented kind of disappointment.

Still, if anyone wants to give it a look, I'd be most appreciative of feedback, criticism, thrown tomatoes and so on. I don't own any of the artwork used therein, but unless I'm wildly mistaken it's all from video game concept art, so I don't imagine I'm cutting into their sales.

Ugganaut
2016-09-21, 07:55 PM
As you know Rev, I've been practicing balancing class features and archetypes, a whole class is above my pay grade, so take my comments with a grain of salt.

Firstly, love the professional look, wish I knew how to do that sort of stuff. I've upgraded from a .txt file to a .doc file for my stuff, so bravo :) My only critique there is I couldn't read the text with the pics behind it, like Hit and Run, and some of the Camp Knacks entry.
One thing I liked in 4e, was the idea of a power source, it was an easy way to show "how" the ability was working. Was in a learned skill, a primal attunement, granted by another being, or drawn from another plane. This feels like a combination of the first two, learned skill and primal attunement, which really fits a ranger.

Quarry: As you know, I like the idea of the Wis modifier as a small but constant combat bonus. The reason I didn't end up using this, was because its dependent on your secondary stat for a core feature, and doesn't scale except by Extra Attack. Things like Unarmored Defense for Barbarian or Monk use the secondary stat, but AC isn't required to scale in 5th edition. Most people would boost thier primary stat over a campaign, so the most a secondary will get is +1 modifier(usually). For someone like a Paladin, even if your secondary is 8, which affects spellcasting, you have options that don't require the stat. Things that use the secondary are often "times per day". Divine Sense for example, they are assuming 1-3 uses per day on average, but Lay on Hands is static. Hunter's Mark is a static dice, but the overall power comes from increased spells and spell slots. So I think if Quarry is such a central feature, a static buff is preferable, which is why I mentioned I used the Rage damage model.
The elemental damage surprised me. How is he doing that? Personally, it didn't seem to fit, but I might not be envisioning it the way you do. Maybe it needs some explanation in the text?

Wayfarer: I really liked the idea of the Survival/Perception party buff. I'd be worried it overshadows the abilities of other party members, taking away their skills, and their rolls. I'd grant party members advantage on the checks, so its still a big bonus being led by this class in the wilderness, but its still skill dependent for each person.

Campfire Knacks: Well you know I like this idea :) Choose one of a variety of options. Mysterious Remedy got me asking "how" again. Crafty Work I loved, that survivalist theme, send him into the wilds butt naked and he'll make do with what nature provides :) Healing I couldn't quite read, but looked good, scaling with knack dice and other features.

Strider: Thats very strong. Might be ok considering this is when PHB gets spells. Why the non-magical restriction? When I think of magic difficult terrain, i think of the earth spells like Earth Tremor, or magic tentacles. What is it about these effects that stops the Strider from being able to navigate them. I read the UA Ranger complaints on reddit, and I didn't understand the argument. That ability has nothing to do with channeling nature, its a skill set(balance etc) that allows you to navigate difficult terrain. My opinion anyway.
The party buff, how? If for some reason your group is swimming for over an hour, how do you double their speed(effectively) for example?

Sharp Instincts: Feels like Ambuscade, and I didn't like that. It has the potential for abuse. I think this is why the UA Ranger when with "advantage on initiative and creatures who haven't acted".

Gotta run, but great work Rev, you've put a lot of work into that :)

Ziegander
2016-09-22, 02:41 PM
I like the concept and theme of this class a lot better than the UA Ranger remix, but I think it's a little bit overpowered in a few areas of the execution. Nothing that can't be dialed in, though.

Quarry, Wayfarer, and Wild Empathy - all great.

Campfire Knacks. Great idea. Healing Arts and Crafty Work both seem fine, but Mysterious Remedy, wow, Lesser Resto for up to 1d12 creatures *every* short rest? That seems excessive. While I like the idea of removing conditions and such during rest, I wonder if there's a way to make this just a bit more reasonable.

Strider seems fine to me, honestly.

The Spirit Guides are mostly good. I'm not entirely sure how I feel about the Beast Totem. It's sort of wonky, in many ways better than the Revised Ranger, in some ways worse. One thing I'll note is that these all feel like strong paths, but they might be a little much on top of what is a very strong base class.

Honed Senses - not sure what the 4th level ability actually does.

Take Cover - I would remove the reaction dive. This is already potent enough without it.

Hide in Plain Sight - Phew, this is a better version of the improved 10th level ability granted to the Revised Ranger and given four levels earlier. I can't say I like that.

Sharp Instincts on the other hand? I'm okay with this. Ambuscade but a little better. I liked the feature, and I think this is at an appropriate class level.

Primal Lore is sweet.

Swift Attack is Extra Attack (2) but at the cost of your bonus action, with added benefit if you're two-weapon fighting. I'm really uneasy about this, but I suppose it's okay. Probably.

Hit and Run feels like a fine feature, maybe even gained late, but Swift Attack is already very strong and level 11 doesn't really need anything extra.

Implacable and Survivalist, again, both fine features, but not sure about all these double levels. I think, personally, you want to strive for a level of power comparable to the base Barbarian or Rogue, both really well designed classes in this edition, but you seem to be consistently overshooting that, cramming as much into the class table as you can. It's feeling a little bloated and overmuch.

Without a Trace and Beyond the Walls, both fine. Though, for a capstone, Beyond the Walls feels just a little underwhelming, this is a minor quibble.

Overall, this is really good, I just think it could use a little toning down.

You may think this is overly neutering it, but I would probably trim, move things around like this:


Move Strider to 6th level
Cut Honed Senses
Cut Take Cover
Move Hide in Plain Sight to 11th level
Cut Swift Attack and Hit & Run (I hate to do this, because I think this is a great feature, but the class table just doesn't have room)

Revlid
2016-09-27, 09:05 PM
Just responding in reverse order...


I like the concept and theme of this class a lot better than the UA Ranger remix, but I think it's a little bit overpowered in a few areas of the execution. Nothing that can't be dialed in, though.That's entirely possible, yeah. I suspect I overcorrected for the loss of utility spells in terms of useful features, while also trying to keep the Ranger competitive with other non-Fighter martials in terms of pure turn-by-turn damage. There's only so much space to:
a) define a clear combat niche (darting around the battlefield smacking dudes)
b) ensure average dpr is solid
c) throw in enough utility powers to establish the Ranger as a strategic figure

Thanks for offering this kind of commentary, by the way.


Campfire Knacks. Great idea. Healing Arts and Crafty Work both seem fine, but Mysterious Remedy, wow, Lesser Resto for up to 1d12 creatures *every* short rest? That seems excessive. While I like the idea of removing conditions and such during rest, I wonder if there's a way to make this just a bit more reasonable.Hm. Do you think so? I guess I figured it wouldn't be such a big deal, since a lot of the issues Lesser Restoration deals with seem like they'd be dealt with during a short rest regardless - I figured it as more of an in-action tool. Besides, it's not like most parties are going to be more than... six players, say... and even if you had a group of 12 players, they'd all need to be suffering the same condition for a roll of 12 to be relevant. d12 kicks up the average, but the cap is seldom going to be relevant (or rolled).

All that said, one potential fix might be extending the reagants requirement imposed by Greater Restoration. Say, 5gp or 10gp per person cured at the Lesser Restoration level? Not much of a practical restriction, but still a little ding that makes the Cleric's version obviously better, if you can swing it.


The Spirit Guides are mostly good. I'm not entirely sure how I feel about the Beast Totem. It's sort of wonky, in many ways better than the Revised Ranger, in some ways worse. One thing I'll note is that these all feel like strong paths, but they might be a little much on top of what is a very strong base class.Yeah, I tend to... I dunno, overegg subclasses just to make each choice seem more appealing. It's a weakness of mine, so it's something I need to look at. I could probably afford to cut a feature from each, especially considering how stuffed with flavour the base class is.

The Beast Totem is a specific reaction to the idea that handing over a pet companion as a class feature - balanced on its CR - can ever be balanced or really work. It can't, I don't believe it can. So I just decided to make it a weak, always-on Bigsby's Hand. Instead of a separate creature that's weirdly conflated into being part of the Ranger, just make it part of the Ranger to begin with - their Stand or whatever. It's simpler and easier to balance. I'm down to change up the specifics, though.


Honed Senses - not sure what the 4th level ability actually does.It's darkvision, except you ignore vision penalties from all lightly obscured areas - think obstacles like fog, or dense vegetation. This is a feature mainly for the same reason as Strider - so that the Ranger has an incentive to fight in smoke clouds and jungles and whatever, where they can see and move freely while their opponent is restricted.


Take Cover - I would remove the reaction dive. This is already potent enough without it.
Hm, really? I was wary of leaving the Ranger with only a d10 hit die and no heavy armour. I felt they needed some defensive options.

The Barbarian has no heavy armour, but it has a d12 hit die, widespread resistance, Unarmoured Defence, Danger Sense, and Relentless Rage. Still, it's meant to be a tank, so it should be heavier than a Ranger. Let's instead compare to a Rogue... only 1d8 hit dice, but it gets Disengage as a Bonus Action, plus Uncanny Dodge, Evasion, and Elusive. Monks get a similar number of defensive features.

I can absolutely see Take Cover being too powerful, but I'm tempted to strip out the "treat half cover as three quarters cover" aspect, before the "reaction dodge" aspect, to be honest. That seems like it'd be a more reasonable cap on its power.


Hide in Plain Sight - Phew, this is a better version of the improved 10th level ability granted to the Revised Ranger and given four levels earlier. I can't say I like that.Fair. For context, though, it's worth noting that the UA Revised Ranger already has pretty much every feature this one does by 6th level, except it trades Take Cover and Campfire Knacks for Spellcasting and Fighting Style.

As for "better version" - note that this version of Hide in Plain Sight only allows you to hide when lightly obscured, just like the Skulker feat. It doesn't actually make it easier to do so. Assuming that the +10 to Stealth is an even trade for the opportunity to (literally) hide in plain sight, the only benefit is getting a bonus-action Hide at 6th level instead of 14th level (and never getting a bonus action Dash at all, you'll note - I tried to avoid totally overlapping with Cunning Action). In the context of Swift Action, a bonus action Hide is basically the ability to get away unseen or plink away at a target.

All that said, I'd certainly consider moving this further back. It's not as though stealth is central to how this Ranger plays except for disengaging purposes... it's mainly there because it's an iconic Ranger image, both in D&D and popular culture.


Sharp Instincts on the other hand? I'm okay with this. Ambuscade but a little better. I liked the feature, and I think this is at an appropriate class level.Yeah, it's literally Ambuscade but with the option to Dash/Use An Object, and you can't move unless you Dash. I don't know if that's strictly better, but it's more options. Also I think I worded mine better.


Swift Attack is Extra Attack (2) but at the cost of your bonus action, with added benefit if you're two-weapon fighting. I'm really uneasy about this, but I suppose it's okay. Probably.The issue I ran into with the Ranger is that Quarry doesn't scale well enough to stay competitive with Sneak Attack, (Improved) Divine Smite, etc, by level 11, much less Extra Attack. Every class (more or less) gets something special and competitive at 11th level, for obvious reasons, so if there was going to be a fix to this problem it belonged there.

The basic idea behind Swift Attack is that you can match a Fighter (without a Fighting Style, or the option to Action Surge) by just standing your ground and hammering out damage. However, this costs you your bonus action, so you can't do it if you want to use a number of other powers (see: subclasses and Hide in Plain Sight). Even the "benefit" for two-weapon fighting is literally just a clause to let you do your usual two-weapon fighting thing instead of rendering it totally redundant.

The real upside is that you don't need to have Attacked first, unlike two-weapon fighting. This means you can do something else - feed someone a health potion, for example - and still chip away with a single attack in that round. You can use your action to Dash, sprint across the battlefield, and still toss out a single bow attack or whatever. It's almost like an inverse Cunning Action - instead of being able to use a bonus action to do something interesting while you attack, you can use your bonus action to attack while you use your action to do something interesting.

A Ranger with Quarry and three attacks compares decently with a Rogue in terms of average dpr at level 20 (and obviously falls short of a full Fighter, even before Action Surge), while costing a bonus action. Without it, they fall way behind and lose a lot of their ability to Make An Interesting Choice each turn, which is something I really value after watching a fellow player basically crumble under the weight of playing a low level point-and-click Barbarian.


Hit and Run feels like a fine feature, maybe even gained late, but Swift Attack is already very strong and level 11 doesn't really need anything extra.Perhaps true. Hit and Run is ultimately there to push the... well, Hit and Run nature of the class. I originally considered just letting you Disengage as a bonus action, but I needed to facilitate Swift Attack and distinguish it from Cunning Action. Instead it means you can more easily move across the battlefield, and fully Disengage or Dash toward a new target without losing time on the bonus action.


Implacable and Survivalist, again, both fine features, but not sure about all these double levels. I think, personally, you want to strive for a level of power comparable to the base Barbarian or Rogue, both really well designed classes in this edition, but you seem to be consistently overshooting that, cramming as much into the class table as you can. It's feeling a little bloated and overmuch.Yeah, I can definitely see that. The issue is that in most cases, Implacable is almost a ribbon. Half sleep is something effectively enjoyed by every elf, while ignoring exhaustion is neat but mainly useful for scouting ahead when the whole party is exhausted, or scouting ahead regardless of fatigue. There are times it might literally save you, though.

Meanwhile, Survivalist is Danger Sense - for natural hazards only, but for any Ability. If I had to drop one for the sake of that Ranger feel, I'd drop Implacable.


Overall, this is really good, I just think it could use a little toning down.

You may think this is overly neutering it, but I would probably trim, move things around like this:


Move Strider to 6th level
Cut Honed Senses
Cut Take Cover
Move Hide in Plain Sight to 11th level
Cut Swift Attack and Hit & Run (I hate to do this, because I think this is a great feature, but the class table just doesn't have room)
I will definitely give this some consideration. I think I'll cut one of the Spirit Guide feature slots rather than one of the core features, as a way of toning them down a bit. I'm keeping Swift Attack, though - it's waaay more central to keeping the class combat-competitive without spells than Hide in Plain Sight. Without it, it just can't stand up.

Revlid
2016-09-28, 10:28 AM
Alright, new version's up.

Changelog:
Removed 10th level Spirit Guide feature
Moved Hit and Run to 10th level
Removed half-cover to three-quarters cover aspect of Take Cover
Removed Implacable
Added 5gp/creature cost to Mysterious Remedy Knack in Campfire Knacks

Bharaeth
2016-09-28, 10:39 AM
Hey, the class looks great!

I was hoping it might be helpful if I flag up a couple of bits n pieces I noticed:

concerning the save proficiencies - both are popular ones, whereas normally 5e classes only allow one of Dex, Con and Wis saves

With the 'Spirit of the Slayer' subclass - the 'Strive to Slay' feature mentions 'Superiority Dice', rather than 'Spirit Dice'; I guess you probably forgot to overtype from the template you were using?

And with 'Spirit of the Beast', the title 'Bonus Proficiencies and Knacks' should probably just say 'Bonus Knacks', as there are no bonus proficiencies described? Also, the last sentence of the paragraph for 'Gather Animals' is incomplete, I think.

Revlid
2016-09-28, 12:20 PM
Hey, the class looks great!

I was hoping it might be helpful if I flag up a couple of bits n pieces I noticed:

concerning the save proficiencies - both are popular ones, whereas normally 5e classes only allow one of Dex, Con and Wis saves

With the 'Spirit of the Slayer' subclass - the 'Strive to Slay' feature mentions 'Superiority Dice', rather than 'Spirit Dice'; I guess you probably forgot to overtype from the template you were using?

And with 'Spirit of the Beast', the title 'Bonus Proficiencies and Knacks' should probably just say 'Bonus Knacks', as there are no bonus proficiencies described? Also, the last sentence of the paragraph for 'Gather Animals' is incomplete, I think.
Thank you for flagging those up! I've fixed the latter three issues, you were absolutely right.

As for save proficiencies... It's a difficult point, because Dexterity and Constitution are really the best fit in terms of the class' concept, with Wisdom being fair game to replace either of them. Strength and Dexterity, like Monks or canon Rangers, is less of a good fit, and Strength and Constitution (like Barbarians) hardly fits at all... it's tempting to just call it a benefit of the class and leave it there.

Ah, I'll change it to Strength and Dexterity for now.