5E UA Ranger Actual Play Report
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  1. #1
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    UA Ranger Actual Play Report

    I ran a Viking-themed one-shot for a group that included two UA rangers last night - beast and hunter. Here are some notes on the results.

    Favored Enemy: Monstrosity was useful against the winter wolves that attacked Vikingheim. The hunter ranger was able to successfully protect her wards from being eaten which was critical to her gaining entrance to Valhalla. Thane Magnus, the goliath barbarian, by contrast was unable to protect his wards from the winter wolves, due in part to mobility issues and damage output.

    Natural Explorer was good for both the hunter ranger and beast ranger. They typically, but not always, went first in combat. They were also able to plow through snow drifts that were difficult terrain for other PCs and monsters. There was no navigating the wilderness in this scenario so I can't comment on its effectiveness.

    The beast ranger used Primeval Awareness to detect the coming of Fimbulvetr, the wyrm of ice and shadow, before it arrived which allowed the party to prepare for battle better and avoid surprise.

    Greater Favored Enemy: Giants was useful to the beast ranger in that (in addition to bonus damage) he learned something critical about the frost giant, Hrimthursar - he's easily goaded by insults. While the giant ultimately destroyed the Blue Flame of Asgard in the Temple (his goal), goading the giant did allow them to keep a fellow PC alive by distracting it.

    Greater Favored Enemy: Dragons was useful to both the beast ranger and hunter ranger both for the damage and the advantage to saving throws against the necrotic breath weapon of Fimbulvetr, the adult white dragon (with shadow dragon template).

    Fleet of Foot was basically the star of the show for both rangers in my view. Getting across the map quickly was very useful to them both in achieving their goals and being in the best position in battle.

    The beast ranger's Animal Companion was very effective, scoring the first kill of the night (a huskarl in service to the PCs' declared enemy) and kept pace with the other PCs in total number of kills. Though it did die, so did all the other PCs and it wasn't the first to go down either.

    Beast's Defense was useful against the dragon's breath weapon.

    Colossus Slayer was as good as it's always been for the hunter ranger. Escape the Horde didn't come up at all because she was good at staying at a good distance from enemies and just raining down arrows on them. The only time she got close was when she went to bail out a companion from getting killed by the frost giant and by that time it was low on hit points. She finished it off with a couple of well-placed arrows.

    Neither ranger did much in the way of Spellcasting with hunter's mark being the only spell that was used. Notably, the use of healing magic was possible, but discouraged in this scenario due to the achievement system.

    So, from my perspective, the UA rangers performed well as compared to the berserker barbarian and assassin rogue in the party. In terms of achievements, the beast ranger earned the most and the hunter ranger earned the least, but all of the PCs earned their way into Valhalla by session's end.
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  2. #2
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    I love Viking-themed one shots. Always have a good glorious ending (well most of the time).

    Interesting to see that the new adjustments to the class hold up well in actual play.

    *Edited due to my inability to spell correctly and hit keys successfully.
    Last edited by Istbor; Friday, 30th September, 2016 at 09:47 PM.
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    Oh, I should note on Animal Companion, I have some mixed feelings with regard to spotlight time. As compared to the PHB beast master, I felt like the UA beast ranger got a larger share of the screen time due to what are essentially "two" sets of actions per combat round. I don't think it impacted the game experience very much as I'm experienced at managing spotlight time, but it was definitely noticeable and could be an issue with certain groups and DMs. I think on the whole I do prefer the PHB beast master in this regard, which I've played and for which I have DMed a few times.
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    Quote Originally Posted by iserith View Post

    Neither ranger did much in the way of Spellcasting with hunter's mark being the only spell that was used. Notably, the use of healing magic was possible, but discouraged in this scenario due to the achievement system.
    Thanks for the recap iserith! Sounds like it was a great session. Any chance you might publish the one shot in the Dungeon Master's Guild?

    I'm intrigued by the Spellcasting piece of this, as my thoughts on the UA ranger are that spellcasting should be removed entirely from the class and replaced with some sort of rest limited Hunter's Mark and Natural Healing ability, allowing the original Ranger builds to have a niche to fill when the new one comes on line (and with the underdark build becoming a new choice for the original Ranger). Of course this is only one example but it does seem that doing so wouldn't necessarily effect their capability.

    One question related to Primeval Awareness. I use my Beastmaster's pet raven to scout for the party to attempt to get similar benefits to the new Primeval Awareness. Would you allow a Beastmaster Ranger to do this in your game?
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    Quote Originally Posted by OB1 View Post
    Thanks for the recap iserith! Sounds like it was a great session. Any chance you might publish the one shot in the Dungeon Master's Guild?
    There's a very strong chance of that.

    Quote Originally Posted by OB1 View Post
    I'm intrigued by the Spellcasting piece of this, as my thoughts on the UA ranger are that spellcasting should be removed entirely from the class and replaced with some sort of rest limited Hunter's Mark and Natural Healing ability, allowing the original Ranger builds to have a niche to fill when the new one comes on line (and with the underdark build becoming a new choice for the original Ranger). Of course this is only one example but it does seem that doing so wouldn't necessarily effect their capability.
    One of the achievements in this scenario that contributes to the PCs' ability to get to Valhalla is not relying on healing magic. I feel like they definitely would have used healing magic had that not been one of the achievements, especially since the other two characters were barbarian and rogue, both of which took a beating. As it stood, the hunter ranger had the Healer feat and a healing kit. In adventures that contain more traveling, my experience is that the spellcasting becomes more useful.

    Quote Originally Posted by OB1 View Post
    One question related to Primeval Awareness. I use my Beastmaster's pet raven to scout for the party to attempt to get similar benefits to the new Primeval Awareness. Would you allow a Beastmaster Ranger to do this in your game?
    Maybe in some circumstances that approach to the goal would be successful, but not in all. I've honestly seen Primeval Awareness be used and to good effect in every game in which I've DMed or played a ranger. It does require the players to be proactive though - detecting and going after enemies, for example, instead of being passive waiting for stuff to happen.

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    What was the level of all of the characters?

    And were either or both of the Rangers too good, in your opinion?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lord Twig View Post
    What was the level of all of the characters?

    And were either or both of the Rangers too good, in your opinion?
    All the PCs were 8th level. I should have mentioned that, sorry.

    I feel that the two rangers contributed about as much as everyone else and weren't "too good." My only negative would be my comments above about spotlight time with the beast ranger.

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    Did you keep favoured enemy as static damage bonuses, or did you make them extra dice?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yunru View Post
    Did you keep favoured enemy as static damage bonuses, or did you make them extra dice?
    Static bonus. Is extra dice a thing in the UA article?

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by iserith View Post
    Oh, I should note on Animal Companion, I have some mixed feelings with regard to spotlight time. As compared to the PHB beast master, I felt like the UA beast ranger got a larger share of the screen time due to what are essentially "two" sets of actions per combat round. I don't think it impacted the game experience very much as I'm experienced at managing spotlight time, but it was definitely noticeable and could be an issue with certain groups and DMs. I think on the whole I do prefer the PHB beast master in this regard, which I've played and for which I have DMed a few times.
    Hm, do you think it would help if the beast simply went on the same turn as the master? Yeah, the beastmaster is still positioning two characters and taking more actions, but since he's doing it all at once, it's not much worse than a caster trying to puzzle out what spell to cast and where to target it, is it?
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