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


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Li Shenron

Legend
Bear in mind, too, that the alternative to selecting FF isn't HM. It's Favored Enemy, which is so narrow that it does virtually nothing even when you're facing the selected creature type.
This. Favored Enemy is a ribbon ability. Favored Foe is a free boost (unnecessary, in my opinion), whatever you get it's still more than a ribbon.
 

Andras

Explorer
Currently playing a Ranger, I plan to use HM when using my bow and FF when dual wielding so I can save the BA for attacking.
 

NotAYakk

Legend
That is quoting the rules

The reading that it escalates is not that crazy given how it is worded.
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.
So with that reading, you deal 1d4 first round, 2d4 next, etc.

Or the next paragraph, also written poorly:
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.
Reading that as "you can mark the same enemy up to proficiency bonus times" isn't a huge stretch.

That isn't what people who think it sucks reads as, but it is easy to read it that way.
 
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auburn2

Adventurer
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
Favored foe does not require a spell slot, nor does it require a known spell. I think it is hands down better than favored enemy.

HM is a spell, so it should be better, but it is one spell of many a 2nd level can choose and one spell of two a second level Ranger can cast.

Using your own math you can have +1d6 for max 2 hours a day. You have another 22 hours without it and any fights in that time, or after you fail concentration will not have 1d6.
 

NotAYakk

Legend
Favored foe does not require a spell slot, nor does it require a known spell. I think it is hands down better than favored enemy.

HM is a spell, so it should be better, but it is one spell of many a 2nd level can choose and one spell of two a second level Ranger can cast.

Using your own math you can have +1d6 for max 2 hours a day. You have another 22 hours without it and any fights in that time, or after you fail concentration will not have 1d6.
Did you look at the XP/leveling rate at level 2? It would take very trivial fights, or fake fights that scare a cast of HM, in order to not gain a level after 2 hours of fights.

At level 3 you are up to 3 hours of fights.

And no, "it uses a spell slot so it should be better" is silly. By that argument, anyone who cannot cast spells should suck. FF requires a class resource, a bonus action and concentration.

At level 1, the Ranger gains a weakened "martial" tookkit (d10 HD, martial weapons, medium armor), an exploration feature, and favored foe.

The Fighter gains a full "martial" tookkit (add heavy armor), a fighting style, and second wind (6.5 self HP/short rest)

The Paladin gains the full "martial" toolkit (add heavy armor), divine sense (exploration feature), and lay on hands (5 HP/long rest).

The Rogue gains a budget "martial" toolkit (light armor, d8 HD, restricted weapons but not meaningfully given sneak attack), sneak attack (1d6), expertise (exploration/social feature), and a ribbon.

The Artificer gains spells (1 level earlier), d8 HD, budget "martial" (medium armor, simple weapons), and a ribbon.

At level 1, the Ranger is meh overall.

The real problem is, as noted, that on top of the feature being meh, it doesn't work well with the Ranger after level 1.

If you removed concentration from it at level 5 it would make it feel much better. That avoids dipping, and helps the Ranger scale a bit. Sadly, the problem is that the feature it replaces is so crappy that it then becomes a mandatory change to produce an effective Ranger.
 

auburn2

Adventurer
Did you look at the XP/leveling rate at level 2? It would take very trivial fights, or fake fights that scare a cast of HM, in order to not gain a level after 2 hours of fights.

At level 3 you are up to 3 hours of fights.

And no, "it uses a spell slot so it should be better" is silly. By that argument, anyone who cannot cast spells should suck. FF requires a class resource, a bonus action and concentration.

At level 1, the Ranger gains a weakened "martial" tookkit (d10 HD, martial weapons, medium armor), an exploration feature, and favored foe.

The Fighter gains a full "martial" tookkit (add heavy armor), a fighting style, and second wind (6.5 self HP/short rest)

The Paladin gains the full "martial" toolkit (add heavy armor), divine sense (exploration feature), and lay on hands (5 HP/long rest).

The Rogue gains a budget "martial" toolkit (light armor, d8 HD, restricted weapons but not meaningfully given sneak attack), sneak attack (1d6), expertise (exploration/social feature), and a ribbon.

The Artificer gains spells (1 level earlier), d8 HD, budget "martial" (medium armor, simple weapons), and a ribbon.

At level 1, the Ranger is meh overall.

The real problem is, as noted, that on top of the feature being meh, it doesn't work well with the Ranger after level 1.

If you removed concentration from it at level 5 it would make it feel much better. That avoids dipping, and helps the Ranger scale a bit. Sadly, the problem is that the feature it replaces is so crappy that it then becomes a mandatory change to produce an effective Ranger.
I disagree. It is a nice ability that stacks with other damage that a Ranger will get from things like fey wanderer or gloom stalker.

If it you think it is terrible just take favored enemy instead.

It is not a mandatory change and favored enemy is not terrible, it is just not a combat ability. The original favored enemy gives you out of combat features plus a free language at 1st level and another 14th level. Languages are always useful, so even if you think the survival and intelligence checks are "so crappy" the languages are clearly useful.
 


NotAYakk

Legend
My position is that level 1 Rangers are poorly designed. Saying "sure, pick another badky designed feature" doesn't make it better.

Favored terrain islike a fighter having an ability that autokills foes using a specific type of weapon. Either useless, or eliminates combat.

Favored enemy is like getting advantage on shoving based on enemy clothing colour. I mean, it could be useful, but only when the stars align.

FF is also poorly designed.

Then you level into the weakest half caster (known not prepared spells), and get strictly weaker features than the paladin at level 2.

The class is a mess.
 

One of the major problems of ranger is that the popular TWF style doesn't work well with other ranger features because of its dependence on bonus actions.

So along comes Favored Foe that doesn't require a bonus action. Yay, right? Wrong. Unfortunately it only applies to a single attack, making it no more useful for a TWF ranger than anyone else.

Ranger probably needs a class feature to allow them to do something like cast a bonus action ranger spell while also making a TWF attack or something, like the orc needs a racial feature allowing them to initiate barbarian rage when they use Aggressive. Both are situations where the game basically punishes you for playing to type.
 


Lord Twig

Adventurer
One of the major problems of ranger is that the popular TWF style doesn't work well with other ranger features because of its dependence on bonus actions.

So along comes Favored Foe that doesn't require a bonus action. Yay, right? Wrong. Unfortunately it only applies to a single attack, making it no more useful for a TWF ranger than anyone else.

Ranger probably needs a class feature to allow them to do something like cast a bonus action ranger spell while also making a TWF attack or something, like the orc needs a racial feature allowing them to initiate barbarian rage when they use Aggressive. Both are situations where the game basically punishes you for playing to type.
For my own house rule I just allow Favored Foe to add damage to all attacks. After 5th level "all attacks" means 2, unless you are two-weapon fighting, then it is 3. Hardly overpowering. Also remember this is for one target only, if that target goes down, or you just decide to attack someone else, you don't get the damage. You have to use another use to add the damage to another target and you only get a number of uses equal to your proficiency bonus per long rest. So yeah, not feeling it is overpowered and a much needed boost. I'm really disappointed that they limited it to once per round in the book.
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen
The argument seems to be that you can burn all your favored foe uses at together. I don’t think it works that way, but several people do.
But it requires concentration. You can’t concentrate on multiple instances of the same effect. If you could, you could do it with Hunter’s Mark too.
 


Charlaquin

Goblin Queen
Hey I already said I don’t think they’re right 🤷‍♂️
Right, I just don’t follow the logic that leads them to that conclusion. There are cases of disagreement over rules interpretation where I can see where the other person is coming from even if I disagree with their conclusion. This is not one of those cases.
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
Right, I just don’t follow the logic that leads them to that conclusion. There are cases of disagreement over rules interpretation where I can see where the other person is coming from even if I disagree with their conclusion. This is not one of those cases.
Soemthing about the “every time you deal damage” part, some folks are reading as meaning you can use a “stack” of FF each time you hit, and that it isn’t a separate effect, somehow. It’s...strained, at best.
 

jgsugden

Legend
So, when a paladin gets to add damage to an attack without using an action, people say it is potentially overpowered. A less effective version is, on the other hand, useless?

Having played a ranger recently, this is useful. My Archer / Sorcerer shoots once, boosts the damage, then shoots again, then quickens a haste and shoots a third time (negating the favored foe). It is just a free mini smite. I also use it when we're cleaning out fodder and I don't want to waste a spell slot. It is not the signature ability of the ranger, but it is fine.
 

Lord Twig

Adventurer
So, when a paladin gets to add damage to an attack without using an action, people say it is potentially overpowered. A less effective version is, on the other hand, useless?

Having played a ranger recently, this is useful. My Archer / Sorcerer shoots once, boosts the damage, then shoots again, then quickens a haste and shoots a third time (negating the favored foe). It is just a free mini smite. I also use it when we're cleaning out fodder and I don't want to waste a spell slot. It is not the signature ability of the ranger, but it is fine.
That just seems incredibly wasteful. I mean, sure, an extra 3-4 damage, 3 times a day isn't nothing, but it is pretty close to nothing. Especially since it should last a whole combat and add (assuming just 4 rounds of combat) 14 damage, 3 times a day. Which is moderately better, but unlikely to really make a significant difference in combat. I think the fact that you are so willing to give up a long rest limited ability that lasts a minute after just the first round shows just how worthless you think the ability is. If it was actually valuable, you wouldn't waste it so readily.
 

NotAYakk

Legend
So, when a paladin gets to add damage to an attack without using an action, people say it is potentially overpowered. A less effective version is, on the other hand, useless?

Having played a ranger recently, this is useful. My Archer / Sorcerer shoots once, boosts the damage, then shoots again, then quickens a haste and shoots a third time (negating the favored foe). It is just a free mini smite. I also use it when we're cleaning out fodder and I don't want to waste a spell slot. It is not the signature ability of the ranger, but it is fine.
Paladins can smite when concentrating on another spell. Rangers cannot FF.

Paladin smite dice at level 5 is 14d8 with up to 6d8 per round. FF used as a smite is 2d4 with up to 1d4 per round. Paladin smites are literally 10x larger than FF is.

Paladin smites are large enough the Paladin can optimize for crit fishing; doing so with tiny FF doesn't work.

Pal 6/Sorc 14 has buckets and buckets of smite dice; no such technique exists for Rangers.

I mean, whispers bard smites are paladin smite tier, but as a smite, FF sucks.

As a HM replacement it sucks.

Design wise, adding a concentration requiring feature in a concentration heavy class who quickly gains a better concentration requiring version is a bad design.
 

That is quoting the rules

The reading that it escalates is not that crazy given how it is worded.

So with that reading, you deal 1d4 first round, 2d4 next, etc.

Or the next paragraph, also written poorly:

Reading that as "you can mark the same enemy up to proficiency bonus times" isn't a huge stretch.

That isn't what people who think it sucks reads as, but it is easy to read it that way.

The 5e team seems to get actively worse at writing rules as time goes on.
 

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