Class Features UA Ranger: Multiclass Goodness

Blue

Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal
The Class Features UA brought a lot of interesting and fun options for all of the classes, but for the ranger it brought a much needed refit that bumps it, especially the Beastmaster subclass, to be more in line with the other classes.

But it also looks like it has some great opportunities to pick up some nifty abilities with just a bit of multiclassing.

The Basics: Multiclassing ranger requires a 13 DEX which a large majority of characters would have, and a 13 WIS which may have an opportunity cost.

One level of Ranger
Grants all weapons, light & medium armor, and shields, plus one skill from the Ranger list, and a good HD and HP. Standard Ranger multiclassing benefits.

It grants choice of:
Favored Enemy (PHB) - advantage on certain skill check against type of foe
vs.
Favored Foe (UA) - Know Hunter's Mark, cast it WIS mod times per long rest without needed concentration.

Just think about that second one. Hunter's Mark lasts for an hour, and without concentration to potentially break it that's likely several encounters per day with an extra +1d6 damage per attack. Lots of fun with builds that get lots of attacks. Though Hunter's Mark is a weapon attack, so not as much for the casters.

Plus choice of:
Natural Explorer (PHB) - advantages in a picked terrain type
vs.
Deft Explorer (UA) - Choice of one of the following:
  • Canny - proficiency and expertise in one of a list of ranger skills, plus two languages
  • Roving - +5' speed, and both a climbing speed and a swim speed. Those last two are of limited times they come up, but are great boosts when they do.
  • Tireless - action for d10+WIS tHP, WIS times per long rest. Plus short rests now remove a level of exhaustion.

Looking at these, a pick of Canny means, with the base multiclassing options, that you are picking up two skills, one of them with expertise. That's of value in sill monkey builds.

Roving makes a skirmisher even more. A wild elf or tabaxi with even more movement would be fun.

Tireless tHP is nice. But it single-handedly enables the Berserker Barbarian to use their special rage once per short rest instead of once per day and still keep on top of levels of Exhaustion.

Two levels of Ranger
Spellcasting, which is not a small thing. And don't forget that you can now swap out one spell per long rest with the UA article. And hey, this means if you are dipping from a caster class you're not losing as much slot advancement.

A fighting style. We're used to all the PHB ones, the article brings up several more including the Ranger-only Druidic Warrior where they learn two cantrips. Could go club and Shillelagh to have all WIS based combat.

Three levels of Ranger
Subclass is the most interesting bit and I'll get the, but they also get a base class choice.

Choice of:
Primeval Awareness (PHB) - Use and action and a spell slot to sense aberrations, celestials, dragons, elementals, fey, and fiends within a 1 (6 in favored terrain) mile radius.
vs.
Primal Awareness (UA) - Learn Detect Magic and Speak with Animals for free (at this level), and can cast them each once per day without using a slot.

It's not a party on your character sheet by itself, but as an extra on top of subclass it's nothing to sneer at.

Subclasses:
These have all the normal goodness they give out. Gloom Stalker for an extra attack 1st round of combat is popular. Hunter doesn't suck for some consistant extra damage output.

But the new Beastmaster options are interesting. You get a beast that grows with proficiency (by basic PHB rules), not with ranger levels, and is just a bonus action to command. The only thing tied to ranger level is HPs, and the easy Primal Rebirth option reduces the effects of death greatly. The new Beast of the Earth|Air companions are a bit like how Eldritch Blast keeps growing regardless of class so just a little bit of warlock to get it and the right invocation and it keeps pace from there. It's a gift that keeps giving. Even if it's just a meatshield - remember that the PHB Errata makes it that it will always Dodge without a command, and needs no command to use a reaction.

It works just fine with any non-bonus-action-heavy class. Cast a spell, have your Beast Attack. Be an archer, have your beast attack. Whatever. And your beast attacks.

Conclusion
Dipping the Ranger enhanced by the Class Features UA gives a lot of intriguing options for a 1 or 3 level dip. Certain builds like skill-monkeys looking for more nature coverage as well as berserker barbarians get get a lot out of a single level, while there are more general options for many as well. Those willing to go further can spellcasting, a fighting style from a long list, and a subclass with several that work well with martial classes, or with the changes to beastmaster can give you a bonus-action attack pet.
 

Blue

Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal
So how can these really be used by various non-ranger characters looking for a dip.

As an example, Roving granting a climb and swim speed removes Atheletics requirements for those activities, making a DEX based character who may have used STR as a dump stat from poor into perfect (no check needed) at those things. For some terrains like a forest, having a climb speed may give a the character a position that's very hard for foes to melee with - excellent for a ranged attacker or a caster.

How would you leverage the new Ranger abilities?
 

BookBarbarian

Expert Long Rester
I have an idea, but there is a lot of competition for bonus actions. Also it's Super MAD.

I'm thinking Rune Knight as a base with the Unarmed Fighting style. Picking up Tireless, Dueling Fighting Style, and additional attack in the first round of combat (which gets doubled on action surge) with Gloomstalker 3. Rage, Reckless Attack, and Frenzy (now on a short rest) from Berserker 3. and Athletics and Stealth Expertise, Cunning Action. and Assassinate from Assassin 3. Fighter to 5 or 6 first then the multiclasses in that order then back to fighter to finish out.

At the mythical 20th level I'd be Rune Knight 11/Gloom Stalker 3/Berserker 3/Assassin 3.

Always start the day with Tireless THP.

In the first round of combat I Hunter's Mark, Attack x 4 and Action surge for Attack x 4 again. 8 attacks with an extra 1d6 damage from Hunter's Mark. With a Finesse or Ranged Weapon one attack has an extra 2d6 from Sneak Attack and in Melee 2 from Dueling. With Wisdom mod to Initiative I've got a good chance of getting Advantage on all those attacks, and Stealth expertise may help with Surprise granting auto crits but that's not necessary. The idea here is to clear as many minions as possible from the combat.

Next round I use Giant's Might and target the BBEG as long as they are size Huge or smaller, Attempt to Grapple with Advantage and Expertise and with 1d4 damage a success. Then Shove with Advantage, and if successful Attack with Advantage with an extra 1d6 + 2d6 + +1d4 + 1d8 (from Giant's might) +2 damage. attacks against me from the target would have disadvantage and I've got THP as a buffer.

Next Round assuming the target is still grappled and prone I've got 3 attacks with 1d6 +1d4 + 1d8 +2 extra damage and one of them having the 2d6, and with my bonus action now I can Frenzy.

So every turn after that on the the grappled target I get 4 attacks with 1d6 + +1d4 + 1d8 +2 +2 (Rage) damage, one of them having the 2d6 sneak attack. And if the target is still too big to grapple or otherwise immune I can always try the Fire Rune to restrain them. They'd likely have an easier time making that saving throw than beating my grapple check and I'd lose out on a bunch of d4s in grapple damage, 2d4 fire damage every turn while restrained ain't bad either. Always nice to have the option.

All in all It's the rough and tumble sneaky commando I've wanted to play, and Indeed the Ranger I've always wanted to play. It takes until level 14 to all come on line and gets even more attacks at 20, but It's totally playable from level 1 too.
 

ScuroNotte

Explorer
So how can these really be used by various non-ranger characters looking for a dip.

As an example, Roving granting a climb and swim speed removes Atheletics requirements for those activities, making a DEX based character who may have used STR as a dump stat from poor into perfect (no check needed) at those things. For some terrains like a forest, having a climb speed may give a the character a position that's very hard for foes to melee with - excellent for a ranged attacker or a caster.

How would you leverage the new Ranger abilities?
It doesn't remove Athletic requirements for climbing and swimming. It just states that they gain climbing and swimming and their speeds are equal to their movement speed. You still have to make checks to see if they are successful or not. Ie a climbing ability doesn't not allow them to climb a slick surface, or they have to see if they can swim against a strong current.
 

Blue

Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal
It doesn't remove Athletic requirements for climbing and swimming. It just states that they gain climbing and swimming and their speeds are equal to their movement speed. You still have to make checks to see if they are successful or not. Ie a climbing ability doesn't not allow them to climb a slick surface, or they have to see if they can swim against a strong current.
A hazard can always require a DC. A slick floor may give you a DC when using your movement speed to cross it, and a slick wall a DC when attempting to use your climb speed to cross it.

Pleae note that there are no rolls generically needed even without a climb or swim speed - it just takes extra movement. PHB pg 182. You can swim. You can climb. It's only at the DMs option if there is a hazard, such as a slippery veritical surface or rough water. (And those are the examples from the book, so the "climb a slick surface" is something anyone can try, but probably has a DC.)
 
Last edited:

ScuroNotte

Explorer
A hazard can always require a DC. A slick floor may give you a DC when using your movement speed to cross it, and a slick wall a DC when attempting to use your climb speed to cross it.

Pleae note that there are no rolls generically needed even without a climb or swim speed - it just takes extra movement. PHB pg 182. You can swim. You can climb. It's only at the DMs option if there is a hazard, such as a slippery veritical surface or rough water. (And those are the examples from the book, so the "climb a slick surface" is something anyone can try, but probably has a DC.)
You are right.

But then I don't understand your complaint that if the Ranger gains the swim & climb ability, this removes the Athletics requirement. The ability only bestows movement speed.
 

Blue

Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal
You are right.

But then I don't understand your complaint that if the Ranger gains the swim & climb ability, this removes the Athletics requirement. The ability only bestows movement speed.
I've been with some DMs who have required checks even for mundane usage like climbing a ladder or swimming in calm waters, neither under pressure. Having a type of speed usually avoid those non-hazard roll, after all who asks a fish to roll to swim.

But I guess by the rules you are right, since those shouldn't require rolls. Some DMs just like to ask for them.
 

Advertisement

Top