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Friday, 2nd December, 2011, 03:25 PM #1
How situational was the Ranger's Favored Enemy intended to be?
How situational is favored enemy for the Ranger?
I know... I know... "It depends" is the actual answer, but it's unsatisfying for my broad stroked mind.
How the campaign is shaped by the GM and what the player selects has a wide ranging impact on how often it can be used. Still, the mechanics were designed with the idea that it would be situational on some level. I guess I'm trying to get an idea of the intent of how situational it was meant to be for play. Was the aim for 30% of encounters? 50%?
There is also system mastery at play. A newbie might pick a creature type at level 1 which they won't see for a dozen levels. A veteran player might just select outsider at higher level just to deal with nasty things when they come up, not concerned with frequency, but instead contingency.
Some GMs might help a player out by giving a clear overview of the campaign so that a ranger player can pick some early favored enemies that will likely come up on a frequent basis. Another GM might leave the player in the dark and they have to hope it comes up.
What do people think, in the most general terms, was the intent of favored enemy frequency?
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Friday, 2nd December, 2011, 03:46 PM #2
It does vary a lot, and I never much liked Favored Enemy because of that. When I play Rangers I always try to ask the DM what the common enemy types will be in his campaign...doesn't hurt to ask, or at least it shouldn't. Sometimes he helps me out and makes suggestions. Sometimes he says he honestly has no idea at the moment and sometimes he plans to use a good spread of each kind. Then there's DM's who actually take affront to you asking and plainly say it's none of your business to know. That sort of response is a good warning sign to NOT play a ranger in that dude's game, and possibly a warning flag that he's an extremely heavy handed control freak as a DM in general.
The frequency obviously improves as you gain more favored enemies. Assuming you picked ones at least somewhat prevalent in the campaign world (with some allowances for giving weight to threat level, of course; if stuff is numerous but only comes in different varieties of dumb land-restricted melee brute w/o ability to gain class levels it really won't be that useful a pick even if you fight a lot of it, for example), I'd say a 1st level ranger should ideally be encountering his favored enemy 5-10% of the time, closer to 10%. Each favored enemy after that should probably add about 5% so that a 20th level ranger is fighting a favored enemy 25-30% of the time, closer to 30% than 25.
I have no idea what the intent is, though, that's just me estimating.
Friday, 2nd December, 2011, 04:50 PM #3
In play, this is often untenable because the DM will have you travel far and wide. Add to the fact that 3.5 places essentially zero plausibility requirements on characters. The consequence of this is that it's up to the player to essentially choose monsters that he thinks are most likely to come up in any campaign.
I have read articles on choosing your Favored Enemy. The rationale is based on a couple trade offs:
1) Choose a type that has powerful creatures so that when you encounter them at high level, the bonuses are useful. e.g. Dragon, Evil Outsider
2) Choose something you will gain benefit from early on. e.g. Orc, Goblin, humans (if you're evil)
3) Choose something that has the most members. e.g. Undead, Giant
4) Avoid subtypes for which the bonuses won't apply; Plant, Undead (sense motive, bluff, etc aren't really useful against these guys).
5) Choose animals that are popular for encounters. e.g. Aberrations, Undead, Magical Beasts.
All this is largely self evident, so the upshot is that there is no easy answer on what to choose, which means there is no solid answer on how often you'll encounter them.
StreamoS offers good advice in that it doesn't hurt to ask your DM. You may get lucky and the DM may have decided that you'll be living in the Gnoll infested part of the world, or, your entire campaign will be spent fighting off a Drow invasion.
So the upshot is, "depends" and in honesty there is no avoiding that. You're not going to fight Dragons as a level 1 Ranger and you certainly don't want to be fighting Orcs as a level 20.
Here is something that I would argue. The DM should make an effort to bring your FE into play. The DM has a responsibility to warn you if a type you choose would be a bad choice for the campaign.
The point of D&D is to have fun. Crucial to that endeavor is for each player to have a purpose and a sense of meaningful contribution to the effort. It is without questions, the DM's job to create a world where players can draw upon their chosen abilities to succeed. If there is a Fighter in the group, it would be in poor form for the DM to throw nothing but stealth adventures at the party. Likewise with regards to your FE. They should show up from time to time (within the context of the story, obviously). The exact %, who can say, but as SoS states, the higher level you go, the more often you should encounter them.
Saturday, 3rd December, 2011, 08:28 AM #4
Hey, there's nothing wrong with selecting humans as a favored enemy. If an evil human empire - say, Thay - is trying to take your land, you might as well put them on the list.2) Choose something you will gain benefit from early on. e.g. Orc, Goblin, humans (if you're evil)
Saturday, 3rd December, 2011, 02:03 PM #5
Saturday, 3rd December, 2011, 09:34 PM #6
Sunday, 4th December, 2011, 11:50 AM #7
"Incorporeal creatures are immune to critical hits, extra damage from being favored enemies, and from sneak attacks."
Sunday, 4th December, 2011, 11:52 PM #8
I do know that FE damage doesn't apply to anyone who is invisible or if you are fighting in total darkness.
Monday, 5th December, 2011, 08:29 PM #9
Tuesday, 6th December, 2011, 05:06 AM #10
Swift Hunter feat for Ranger/Scouts, maybe? One of its benefits is that you can deal skirmish damage even to things normally immune to it if they are a favored enemy:
"In addition, your skirmish extra damage applies against any creature you have selected as a favored enemy, even if it is normally immune to extra damage from critical hits or skirmish attacks."
Ironically, I suppose that means you could end up doing skirmish damage but not FE damage to an incorp. enemy even though having FE on it in the first place is what's allowing you to deal skirmish.