5E 5E Beast Companion Mechanics.

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
They’re both very good, but I think the revised BM ends up a bit ahead in terms of the beast itself. A revised BM wolf’s attack deals more damage, has knockdown (albeit at a lower DC), and has Pack Tactics.

OTOH, PHB with the Earth Beast and other enhancements will have Revivify, more spells in general, Hunters Mark without concentration or spending a slot, etc
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
In my group, we've settled on giving a choice between the revised ranger class as is, and the PHB with all of these replacements changed to enhancements.
I will probably also let someone who wants to replace the Ranger's spellcasting with a prepared casting variant, especially for the still very spell limited revised ranger, but I don't think my co-DM will be down for that in his campaigns.
 

Salthorae

Imperial Mountain Dew Taster
In my group, we've settled on giving a choice between the revised ranger class as is, and the PHB with all of these replacements changed to enhancements.
I will probably also let someone who wants to replace the Ranger's spellcasting with a prepared casting variant, especially for the still very spell limited revised ranger, but I don't think my co-DM will be down for that in his campaigns.
I really want to run a PHB Beast Master with these UA variants just to see what that is like.
 
The Revised Ranger is both better and worse than both Battle Smith and new UA options
  • Better
    • Acts on own init and doesn't require Ranger's action economy to direct
    • Increases animal stats as Ranger gains ASI feature so Str/Dex/Con are going to all be better
  • Worse
    • You can't revive it
    • HP are variable depending on if you pump it's Con or Str
Conclave:
  • Companion uses your Proficiency bonus for attacks & skills + AC and Damage
  • It is proficient in all saving throws
  • For each ranger level after 3rd, companion gains +1 HD and HP accordingly (i.e. 4.5+Con)
  • Every time ranger gains an ASI, beast can increase one stat by +2 or two by +1 (max 20)
  • Companion takes full actions on its own initiative that you direct
The class upgrades for each different version of the ranger should not be ignored either, nor the default actions taken by the pet. This matters a bit longer term, and has some pros and cons. I'll list both for consideration and some thoughts after.

PHB Ranger Beast Master:
  • Companion takes no action on it's turn other than reactions without a command from the ranger (the source of many grim pet lobotamy jokes on here back when the ranger was being discussed more actively). As youraction your pet can Attack, Dash, Disengage, Dodge or Help. With the Attack, you get one attack yourself at 5th level. Their new "Ready Companion" ability lets them make one attack as a bonus action.
    • This means at 3rd level, you can do any of the following:
      • You attack once and have they attack once as your bonus action
      • Your pet attacks twice as both your action and bonus actions.
    • At 5th level, you can either get one attack and they attack twice, or you get two attacks and they attack once.
    • At 11th level, this becomes either two attacks from you and one from your pet, or one from you and three from your pet. Again all using your action as the Attack action and your Bonus Action.
  • You also get the ability to make your pet Dash, Disengage, Dodge, or Help as your bonus action at 7th level.
  • You can Share Spells at 15th level.
Revised Ranger:
  • Your pet acts on its own, and can have it's own action, reaction, and (hypothetically, pending on what the DM allows), bonus actions. Should be noted (due to the 5th level ability), most of the time the pet be using its reaction every turn to attack.
  • The pet also gained the benefits of your favored enemies (which was +2 and +4 damage in the revised ranger).
  • The 5th level ability lets your pet attack as a reaction against a target next to it when you use your action to Attack. This comes at the cost of getting Extra Attack, so could be relevant if your pet isn't with you, or can't be in range of a monster that round.
  • You pet has advantage on all saving throws at 7th level, not just proficiency.
  • Your pet basically gets whirlwind attack at 11th level.
  • At 15th level your pet gets effectively Uncanny Dodge from the rogue class. Note that this again is in competition with their attack from the 5th level ability.
  • It should also be noted that the revised ranger can bring their pet back from the dead as an 8 hour (and 25g) ritual).
  • Pet options were also more limited (albeit whether the DM chose to follow this particular rule was varied table to table as their was a sidebar about precisely this in the document).
Overall, I'd still give the slight power edge to the Revised Ranger, mostly in terms of keeping their pet alive (due to the advantage on saves and save proficiency), though damage output was higher as well due to ability score increases (especially if the DM was willing to allow the pet to take feats, albeit this was not as written by default), and the favored enemy damage. That said, neither version at any point gives their pet magical weapons, which is something not to be ignored. The PHB version with these new enhanced versions may actually pull ahead in damage if the Ranger has a magic weapon in the long run.

I'd say I'm a big fan of the proposed enhancements to the new version (the most important change being the addition of hit dice). The only thing I feel is missing is perhaps a spell, ability, or official magic item that allows pets to gain magical attacks (perhaps why the spell Magic Weapon is being added to their spell list?), and to let the pet automatically take the dodge action by default if no command is given.
 

Weiley31

Explorer
Not a hard fix on the no magic damage: one can just rule the Beast(or Primal Beast) gets magic damage after a certain lvl.

Then again, part of me wants to have the pet mechanics be the Beast Conclave Beast mechanics with ASI with the UA revive feature and and which ever has the superior HP scaling calculation.

Of course with the Proficiency scaling as well.
 

Salthorae

Imperial Mountain Dew Taster
PHB Ranger Beast Master:
  • Companion takes no action on it's turn other than reactions without a command from the ranger (the source of many grim pet lobotamy jokes on here back when the ranger was being discussed more actively). As youraction your pet can Attack, Dash, Disengage, Dodge or Help. With the Attack, you get one attack yourself at 5th level. Their new "Ready Companion" ability lets them make one attack as a bonus action.
    • This means at 3rd level, you can do any of the following:
      • You attack once and have they attack once as your bonus action
      • Your pet attacks twice as both your action and bonus actions.
    • At 5th level, you can either get one attack and they attack twice, or you get two attacks and they attack once.
    • At 11th level, this becomes either two attacks from you and one from your pet, or one from you and three from your pet. Again all using your action as the Attack action and your Bonus Action.
It's a minor quibble and I"m not sure if it really matters, but technically if the Ranger is commanding the Beast to Attack, they aren't using the Attack action. It is a separate action. Once they get Extra attack, they are still "using their action to command the beast to attack"... and the ranger gets to attack once as well.

It's just an action to command the beast, not the Attack action. The beast gets to take the Attack action. I think you understand that, based on your initial wording, but I wanted to clarify for others reading.

This really only matters for things that trigger when you take the Attack action, like Shield Master's Bonus Action shove, so it's probably not that critical, but seemed worth noting as I read through your rundown there @MostlyHarmless42

My other response would that you are wrong on the magical weapon piece. PHB Beast Master at 7th level

PHB said:
In addition, the beast's attacks now count as magical for the purpose of overcoming resistance and immunity to nonmagical attacks and damage.
No spell needed and that is better than the revised ranger I believe.
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
I really want to run a PHB Beast Master with these UA variants just to see what that is like.
Same, honestly. I think I like the Revised Beast rules more than the UA ones, but not by much. Of course, in our game, the Revised Beast doesn't eat part of your attack action to get it's attack. Instead, it just gets to attack on it's turn, and you still get Extra Attack like normal, and we just leave it at that.

Still, I wonder if the balance would be the same to simply port the revised beast into a PHB ranger who is otherwise using these enhancements.

So, you'd have a more functional base class, and your subclass would bascialy be the revised version without the extra attack replacement feature.
 

Salthorae

Imperial Mountain Dew Taster
Same, honestly. I think I like the Revised Beast rules more than the UA ones, but not by much. Of course, in our game, the Revised Beast doesn't eat part of your attack action to get it's attack. Instead, it just gets to attack on it's turn, and you still get Extra Attack like normal, and we just leave it at that.

Still, I wonder if the balance would be the same to simply port the revised beast into a PHB ranger who is otherwise using these enhancements.

So, you'd have a more functional base class, and your subclass would bascialy be the revised version without the extra attack replacement feature.
The revised beast? As in the whole Beast Conclave itself or just the way that the beast itself functions?
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
The revised beast? As in the whole Beast Conclave itself or just the way that the beast itself functions?
I mostly mean the beast itself. Like, just the 3rd level part of the subclass. So, it gets ASIs, revised style HP scaling, proficiency in all saves, etc. I could go either way on using the higher level features for either subclass. They're both about as good, IMO.
 

Salthorae

Imperial Mountain Dew Taster
Dunno. I think they're moving away from the ASI concept because frankly the beasts usually ended up with more HP than the PC's

Elk/Constrictor snake each have 13 hp base and are on the higher end, so at the top end assuming you spend 3 ASI on Con and 2 on Str, they'd be 19d10+76 (avg. 190). If you used 4 ASI on Con then they're at 209 for average HP.

The new Beast versions max out at roughly 104 hp (Con +2 for Earth + 2 Ranger Wis (on average?) + 100 (5x20), but you can share spells with it.

I think the Revised Beast probably ended up being too powerful and overshadowed some of the other melee types which is something they don't want for companion/sidekick options. That's my guess anyway.
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
Dunno. I think they're moving away from the ASI concept because frankly the beasts usually ended up with more HP than the PC's

Elk/Constrictor snake each have 13 hp base and are on the higher end, so at the top end assuming you spend 3 ASI on Con and 2 on Str, they'd be 19d10+76 (avg. 190). If you used 4 ASI on Con then they're at 209 for average HP.

The new Beast versions max out at roughly 104 hp (Con +2 for Earth + 2 Ranger Wis (on average?) + 100 (5x20), but you can share spells with it.

I think the Revised Beast probably ended up being too powerful and overshadowed some of the other melee types which is something they don't want for companion/sidekick options. That's my guess anyway.
There's no way a bag of hit points that can attack once for 2d4 damage, or whatever, was overshadowing the fighter or paladin or barbarian. That is an issue that can only have existed in theory.

A PC has class features that far outstrip HP in terms of contributing to a combat. Even a basic Champion Fighter with no feats is going to perform vastly better than the beast companion, attacking several more times per turn at high level, with two fighting styles, expanded crit range, Action Surge, Second Wind, the ability to pick up a ranged weapon when needed, etc.

The beast companion is still very much an appendage of the ranger. It's an off hand attack that gets in the way of enemies sometimes. Don't get me wrong, it's fun to play with, but it literally cannot overshadow anyone, at anything.
 

Salthorae

Imperial Mountain Dew Taster
There's no way a bag of hit points that can attack once for 2d4 damage, or whatever, was overshadowing the fighter or paladin or barbarian. That is an issue that can only have existed in theory.
It's not 2d4 damage though. It's 2d4+4 or 5 + 6 (at the top end), so potentially 2d4+11 per hit. If you attack on your action, it got to attack as a reaction, so it's doing that probably twice per round at least and it's 11th level feature let it attack each creature within 5' of it for that same damage. That's not insignificant. Either way.

I agree it's not the end all be all of overshadowing, but there is some reason that WotC has moved to this style of printing the creature stat block in the feature (Battle Smith's Iron Defender, Circle of Wildfire's Wildfire Spirit, Beast of Air/Earth) and using hp = Creature's Con + Master's relevant Stat (int or wis) modifier + 5x Master's level.

Either people in playtest found it too powerful or... something because it hasn't seen print and we now have another new revision to the Ranger feature.
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
It's not 2d4 damage though. It's 2d4+4 or 5 + 6 (at the top end), so potentially 2d4+11 per hit. If you attack on your action, it got to attack as a reaction, so it's doing that probably twice per round at least and it's 11th level feature let it attack each creature within 5' of it for that same damage. That's not insignificant. Either way.

I agree it's not the end all be all of overshadowing, but there is some reason that WotC has moved to this style of printing the creature stat block in the feature (Battle Smith's Iron Defender, Circle of Wildfire's Wildfire Spirit, Beast of Air/Earth) and using hp = Creature's Con + Master's relevant Stat (int or wis) modifier + 5x Master's level.

Either people in playtest found it too powerful or... something because it hasn't seen print and we now have another new revision to the Ranger feature.
Honestly, the simplest answer is that the revised ranger would have required replacing the PHB one, and some people didn't like the pet getting a whole turn. Perception of balance often overshadows actual balance, after all. I'd bet real money that they got negative feedback by a lot of people that didn't actually try the thing.
Combine that with an option that works, but requires the total replacement of part of the whole of the PHB Ranger, and you've got something they should have known wouldn't work.

OTOH, you can keep the ranger's turn relatively simple (rather than them having two whole turns), and get a lot of the same effects, by just making it a simple pet that can be commanded to attack as a bonus action, and has the following stats that are the same regardless of what the pet looks like.

They went for the simpler option, that doesn't poke at some folks sensibilities about the "fairness" of one player getting two turns.

But the pet overshadowing PCs? Nah. What you describe here would be utter garbage if it was the total per round contribution of the entire Ranger PC. It works really well as an addition to the ranger themself, though.
 

Salthorae

Imperial Mountain Dew Taster
But the pet overshadowing PCs? Nah. What you describe here would be utter garbage if it was the total per round contribution of the entire Ranger PC. It works really well as an addition to the ranger themself, though.
You might be right on the score of Revised Ranger would have been too hard to implement in practical terms, dunno.

I never said the Revised Beast was the total per round contribution of the entire Ranger PC, not sure where you got that.
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
But the pet overshadowing PCs? Nah. What you describe here would be utter garbage if it was the total per round contribution of the entire Ranger PC. It works really well as an addition to the ranger themself, though.
You might be right on the score of Revised Ranger would have been too hard to implement in practical terms, dunno.

I never said the Revised Beast was the total per round contribution of the entire Ranger PC, not sure where you got that.
I didn't suggest that you did. The wording of my statement quoted above unavoidably recognizes that it isn't, in fact. "If it were" is pretty clear in meaning.
If it needs clarification, what I'm saying is that if we were to imagine the revised beast as a PC, standing on it's own, next to other PCs, it would be considered unacceptably underpowered. Therefor, the idea that it overshadows anyone is pretty strange.

Now, if you meant to suggest that the ranger and their pet may have been overshadowing others, I can concede that this is possible, if IMO unlikely to be any more common than the Paladin or Fighter or Barbarian overshadowing other melee combatants. But you suggestion that I challenged was that the revised pet was abandoned because it was too strong in itself, and may have been overshadowing PCs due to it's great durability.
 

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