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D&D 5E Am I missing something with Favored Foe?

Pickaxe

Explorer
Summary: My interpretation of Favored Foe is that it is worse than Hunter’s Mark, but I’ve seen some comments that make me wonder if I’ve missed something.

Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything includes Favored Foe as a replacement for Favored Enemy. Basically, you can add +1d4 damage to one attack per turn for 1 minute, and you can use this a number of times equal to your proficiency bonus, refreshed after a rest. The feature also requires concentration, so it cannot be used in conjunction with Hunter’s Mark. Crawford clarified this in a recent tweet:
To me, this seems to produce an unsatisfying choice:

If you take FF instead of FE, you get a benefit at 1st level, when you don’t have any spells. But, once you have access to Hunter’s Mark, you can have +1d6 to each of your attacks for an hour for the cost of a spell slot. If you are doing TWF, or if you have Horde Breaker, or for any ranger with Extra Attack, HM is clearly better. When is a ranger using FF once they have multiple attacks and access to HM? At best, FF seems like a backup option for when you have other uses for spell slots. At worst, it’s never used after 1st level. In which case, why not stick with FE and gain some exploration and social interaction benefits?

Have I missed something in evaluating FF vs. HM? When I raised the issue in the aforementioned Twitter thread, I got a response from the OP that I didn’t understand:


“You can theoretically stack up 3d4 vs 1d6 so it's a win overall...unless they run.”

How does the ability allow you to stack 3d4? Is he suggesting that you can use the ability three times simultaneously? You only have two uses of it at first level before taking a rest, and I would think that using the ability a second time ends concentration on the first use.

Anyone have insight on this?

Axe
 

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Charlaquin

Goblin Queen
Yeah, I have no idea what B. Dave Walters is getting at with the “stack 3d4” comment. Make no mistake, favored foe is straight-up worse than Hunter’s Mark. The advantage it has is that it doesn’t cost you a spell slot or a bonus action. Think of it as a “diet Hunter’s Mark” that you can still use if you want to save your spell slots and bonus actions for something else. Is that an unsatisfying choice? Probably for some folks, but YMMV.
 

Kobold Stew

Last Guy in the Airlock
Supporter
Yes, FF < HM. That's by design.
It doesn't cost a spell slot, and is there if you run out of spells (or don't want to use a slot) or if you lose concentration. It is a backup, regularly available, that means:
(a) if you like HM, you won't hesitate to use it because there's a fallback (good)
(b) if you don't like HM, you can still get a bonus on damage and cast other spells (good)
(c) if you are in a tense situation (long, unable to rest, losing concentration checks) you are locked out of some extra damage (good).

It seems a perfectly reasonable substitute for a non-combat related ability: players that want the combat perk can choose it, and you are ahead regardless of what's happening in play.
 


jgsugden

Legend
Favored Foe:

  • Does not require a spell slot.
  • Does not require a bonus action to use.

The best way to think of it is a backup ability that they can use if they either lack the spell slot (which they do at first level, and may lack at higher levels if they use them all up), or do not wish to give up a bonus action to gain the bonus damage. That will give you some utility at lower levels, but will be a rarely used mechanic at higher levels.

I have a Gloom Stalker 5, Divine Soul 5, Cleric of Order 1 Glasya Tiefling Ranger I just rebuilt using Tasha's Rules. As she has great uses for her bonus actions (quickened spells, misty step, healing word to grant reaction attacks), this is just a little add on damage she gets to add without using an action to make it happen. Sure it is often only there for the first attack (or maybe the first attack for two rounds), but it is better than nothing.
 
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It's better if you're actually trying to do two weapon fighting because of that bonus action.

It's useful in Tier 1. You don't lose as much damage compared to Hunter's quarry as it might at first appear because a) combats don't usually go that long, so the extra attack is meaningful, and b) while you could do quarry damage twice a round you won't always hit with both attacks.
 

Great Gonzalez

Villager
Summary: My interpretation of Favored Foe is that it is worse than Hunter’s Mark, but I’ve seen some comments that make me wonder if I’ve missed something.

Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything includes Favored Foe as a replacement for Favored Enemy. Basically, you can add +1d4 damage to one attack per turn for 1 minute, and you can use this a number of times equal to your proficiency bonus, refreshed after a rest. The feature also requires concentration, so it cannot be used in conjunction with Hunter’s Mark. Crawford clarified this in a recent tweet:
To me, this seems to produce an unsatisfying choice:

If you take FF instead of FE, you get a benefit at 1st level, when you don’t have any spells. But, once you have access to Hunter’s Mark, you can have +1d6 to each of your attacks for an hour for the cost of a spell slot. If you are doing TWF, or if you have Horde Breaker, or for any ranger with Extra Attack, HM is clearly better. When is a ranger using FF once they have multiple attacks and access to HM? At best, FF seems like a backup option for when you have other uses for spell slots. At worst, it’s never used after 1st level. In which case, why not stick with FE and gain some exploration and social interaction benefits?

Have I missed something in evaluating FF vs. HM? When I raised the issue in the aforementioned Twitter thread, I got a response from the OP that I didn’t understand:


“You can theoretically stack up 3d4 vs 1d6 so it's a win overall...unless they run.”

How does the ability allow you to stack 3d4? Is he suggesting that you can use the ability three times simultaneously? You only have two uses of it at first level before taking a rest, and I would think that using the ability a second time ends concentration on the first use.

Anyone have insight on this?

Axe
Hey I found this thread a little late, but looking over the description on wikidot, I think I know how FF stacks.

“The first time on each of your turns that you hit the favored enemy and deal damage to it, including when you mark it, you increase that damage by 1d4.

You can use this feature to mark a favored enemy a number of times equal to your proficiency bonus, and you regain all expended uses when you finish a long rest.”

So the way I interpret it is that as long as you’re concentrating on FF and are hitting the same opponent you can start stacking the extra d4 damage. Does that make sense?
 

jgsugden

Legend
Hey I found this thread a little late, but looking over the description on wikidot, I think I know how FF stacks.

“The first time on each of your turns that you hit the favored enemy and deal damage to it, including when you mark it, you increase that damage by 1d4.

You can use this feature to mark a favored enemy a number of times equal to your proficiency bonus, and you regain all expended uses when you finish a long rest.”

So the way I interpret it is that as long as you’re concentrating on FF and are hitting the same opponent you can start stacking the extra d4 damage. Does that make sense?
It is not the way the ability works. "increase that damage" refers to the normal damage of the attack as "that damage", not the last damage you dealt. If it meant that, there would need to be wording to handle situations in which your weapon changes between attacks, etc..
 

Great Gonzalez

Villager
It is not the way the ability works. "increase that damage" refers to the normal damage of the attack as "that damage", not the last damage you dealt. If it meant that, there would need to be wording to handle situations in which your weapon changes between attacks, etc..
Then why in the second part of the description would they say:
“You can use this feature to mark a favored enemy a number of times equal to your proficiency bonus...”
Instead of just saying:
“You can use the feature a number of times equal to your proficiency bonus.”
I’m also just trying to make sense of what Walters is “theoretically” saying.
 

Then why in the second part of the description would they say:
“You can use this feature to mark a favored enemy a number of times equal to your proficiency bonus...”
Instead of just saying:
“You can use the feature a number of times equal to your proficiency bonus.”
I’m also just trying to make sense of what Walters is “theoretically” saying.
It talks about marking enemies so that it interacts with the ranger capstone.

Do note that Favored Foe also works with spells.

It's strictly better than Favored Enemy.
 

TheSword

Legend
I suspect Favoured foe is being balanced against a Rogue rather than against other ranger abilities. It’s a minor edition to a ranger but in its early incarnation was on par with a rogues ability to sneak attack, without the limitations.

On the old system a ranger could get a several attacks per round with the additional d6, with the other bonuses that come with hunters mark.

While a rogue gets their sneak attack damage once per round, with several limitations.
 

jgsugden

Legend
There are abilities we think are too powerful when they are released, and ones we underestimate. This one is underestimated. Use cases for a lower level ranger are fairly obvious as you'll want to make use of it when low or out of spells.

How about a higher level Ranger?

I have a Tiefling 5th level Gloom Stalker / 5th level Divine Soul / 1st level Cleric of Order / 2nd Level Fighter archer, who is often casting Haste as a bonus action on Rd 1. She has used this a lot since her Tasha rebuild and rarely (long) rests with any of it left available. It usually only triggers damage once per use, but that adds up. When she adds Battlemaster and then adds Assassin, it will get even more useful.
 


Favored Foe is pretty great for Ranger builds with really crowded bonus actions. For a Horizon Walker, for any dual wielder, or for a crossbow expert, Ranger builds that have a go-to use for their bonus action every round of combat, it's a solid use of concentration and lets them make better use of a core build feature (the Horizon Walker who is also a dual wielder is, of course, still utterly screwed).

At the other end of the spectrum, if you are playing an Archer or Duelist Gloomstalker or Hunter, your bonus action is basically there for casting concentration spells, so a concentration thing not using the bonus action often gives you no benefit, and Favored Foe just becomes the bargain bin Hunter's Mark you use when you're out of spell slots.

For other Rangers it's going to fall somewhere in between.
 
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jgsugden

Legend
Six classes... I’m not sure an ability can or should be balanced for that kind of corkscrewing.
You're missing my point - that build is one that has the most trouble benefiting from the ability - and I still find it reasonably useful. More so than Favored Enemy.

And don't exaggerate - she'll only have 5 classes in the end (you double counted fighter/battlemaster). It really feels more like a dual class than so many different classes. She is a scout archer to begin with, then found her faith. Ranger/fighter/rogue all support that scout role, while Divine Soul and Cleric of Order are all about her found faith. I often find that multiclassing allows more organic growth in a PC than sticking o the rigidity of a single class. Many of my PCs multiclass for this reason. They have a role to play in the campaign, and they develop in the ways to fill that role as organically as possible.
 

TheSword

Legend
You're missing my point - that build is one that has the most trouble benefiting from the ability - and I still find it reasonably useful. More so than Favored Enemy.

And don't exaggerate - she'll only have 5 classes in the end (you double counted fighter/battlemaster). It really feels more like a dual class than so many different classes. She is a scout archer to begin with, then found her faith. Ranger/fighter/rogue all support that scout role, while Divine Soul and Cleric of Order are all about her found faith. I often find that multiclassing allows more organic growth in a PC than sticking o the rigidity of a single class. Many of my PCs multiclass for this reason. They have a role to play in the campaign, and they develop in the ways to fill that role as organically as possible.
I play WFRP. I’d happily scrap classes all together. I just don’t think it’s good for game balance. I also love multi class. My eyes just bulged at 5-6 classes. Lol.
 

jgsugden

Legend
I play WFRP. I’d happily scrap classes all together. I just don’t think it’s good for game balance. I also love multi class. My eyes just bulged at 5-6 classes. Lol.
I think people look at classes in a few different ways. The way that I look at each level is a decision tree - what eligible option best tells my PC's story? Each of those switches had more to do with the place she was in her story. Scout, Disciple, Priest, Rebel. That is the short version of her story.
 
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St3volopez

First Post
You guys are missing ALOT:

Hunter mark is a Bonus action spell, FF is not. so you can do a bonus action that doesnt have concentration THEN cast FF on an enemy.

Hunters mark uses a spell slot, FF does not. (giving you room for a different spell while still having the dmg benefit, for example i took zephyr strike with my new gained spell space, granted using FF will cancel its concentration, but once youve moved to safety with the zephy strike benefit, might as well start blasting with extra Umph from there after)

Hunters mark costs a Component (verbal), FF does not.

Hunters mark only lasts longer as you level up, while FF you gain more dmg, by level 20 hunters mark still only does 1d6 whille FF can theoretically do 6d8. that's the difference of an additional 1 to 6 damage on a single foe, compared to an additonal 6 - 48 damage on a single foe by the 6th round.

AND

Hunters mark you must apply it to an enemy YOU CAN SEE, while favored foe, as long as you've HIT the enemy, you can cast it.

FF > HM hands down.

Favored Foe
1st-level ranger feature, which replaces the Favored Enemy feature and works with the Foe Slayer feature

When you hit a creature with an attack roll, you can call on your mystical bond with nature to mark the target as your favored enemy for 1 minute or until you lose your concentration (as if you were concentrating on a spell)

The first time on each of your turns that you hit the favored enemy and deal damage to it, including when you mark it, you can increase that damage by 1d4.

You can use this feature to mark a favored enemy a number of times equal to your proficiency bonus, and you regain all expended uses when you finish a long rest.

This feature's extra damage increases when you reach certain levels in this class: to 1d6 at 6th level and to 1d8 at 14th level.
 

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