D&D 5E Companion thread to 5E Survivor - Subclasses (Part XI: Rangers)

niklinna

Legend
You misunderstand. I am not saying "bring back Spell-Like Abilities, Supernatural abilities, and Extraordinary abilities."
Oh no I don't think I misunderstood, I was indeed being very sarcastic!

I am saying that it would impoverish the game to restrict things such that the only supernatural (=magical, non-mundane, whatever you want to call it) abilities are specifically spells. You'd have to eliminate Lay on Hands, Song of Rest, Channel Divinity, Bardic Inspiration, Ki, and plenty of other features that are all explicitly supernatural but which are not spells, and could not be expressed as spells. At least, not without completely gutting their function.
Yep, all that, 100% each.

I think we should expand, not contract, the things that aren't spells but are still clearly "magical" (I prefer the word "supernatural" because "magical" is so thoroughly married to "spells specifically the way D&D uses them" that most people use the two interchangeably.) Let the classes known for spellcasting do spellcasting, and let other classes have their own ways of approaching the mystical, supernatural, transmundane, etc.
That or "uncanny". But yeah mostly not spells.

I had thought that was the whole point of repudiating 4e's design: that having everyone use the same fundamental resource mechanics is bad. That "making everyone a Wizard" was bad. Now people are proposing to literally, actually make everyone a Wizard!
Ain't it funny how things come around and people embrace what they claimed to hate?

Exactly. Especially if the One D&D playtest move of having one Primal list goes through--meaning there will not be any Ranger-specific spells anymore.
Guess I'll just have to play that Fighter then—or a game that does a proper Ranger! Level Up came close but the folks I know aren't into it.
 

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Undrave

Hero
Wait what? How?

The ability to counter spells and other magic is proof that spells are designed in a problematic manner? What on earth?

If the game is designed with specific counters to a specific element, that tells me the designers knows that element is too strong. That you have to bring it up to DMs ("Hey, you can use Anti-Magic Zone!") as a FIX for Spellcasters being too powerful?! Or that a common tip for Wizard of a certain level is to always prepare Counterspell?

Yeah, nah that screams problematic design to me.
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
I doubt a response to any other part of this would be productive, but I felt I should respond to this.

Powers are actually generic. They literally correspond to all possible pre-defined actions. If an action is pre-defined, it's a power. There is an exact, one-to-one correspondence between "is a predefined action" and "is a power." Every pre-defined action is a power, down to even basic attacks, and every power is a pre-defined action.

Spells are not the end-all, be-all of pre-defined actions. They are significantly more limited than that, in numerous ways, which you have repeatedly and blithely dismissed with less than a full sentence. Those limitations are the problem, and your refusal to even momentarily consider them is a significant stumbling block for having any kind of conversation here.

Edit: One other response.

I listed the artificer because absorb elements is an artificer spell--as well as being a spell on the class list of every other class I mentioned. The only reason I listed those classes is because they are the classes which can cast absorb elements, which just happens to be the alphabetically first 1st-level spell from the ranger spell list (and most lists it's on, since it starts with "ab.") There was no further motive than to note that this spell effect is 100% identical for all of these classes that cast it, and the slots used for it are 100% fungible.

However, in this case, you are mistaken. While artificers do "cast through tools," absorb elements is not an M spell, and thus is not cast that way. The artificer's tools are not involved. It does have somatic components though, which are described thusly: "Spellcasting gestures might include a forceful gesticulation or an intricate set of gestures. If a spell requires a somatic component, the caster must have free use of at least one hand to perform these gestures." "Forceful gesticulation or an intricate set of gestures" that can be done single-handed. What else should I be calling it? (And no, I don't consider that an interesting or meaningful distinction from "cast through spell focus," which is what every 5e spellcaster does with M spells.)
Yeah that’s about what I figured.
Via supernatural abilities which are not spells.
Why? Is there any reason beyond a distaste for non-wizard types casting spells as such?
Via supernatural abilities which are not spells. Like how Lay On Hands, Song of Rest, Inspiration Dice, Channel Divinity, and Ki are supernatural abilities which are not spells, though they may sometimes interact with spell mechanics (e.g. that Cleric variant CD that restores a spell slot or certain Monk actions which allow you to cast spells by spending Ki.)


Supernatural abilities which are not spells. Same as several other classes which have supernatural abilities that are not spells, and thus cannot be used by Fighters.

I am dead serious. The supernatural should not be shoehorned into "spells and only spells."
So shoehorn existing spell effects into “technically not a spell” features, just so a few people can technically avoid Spellcasting while still playing a quite magical character?

Absolutely not.
 


doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
I had thought that was the whole point of repudiating 4e's design: that having everyone use the same fundamental resource mechanics is bad. That "making everyone a Wizard" was bad. Now people are proposing to literally, actually make everyone a Wizard!
They are? Also even if so, this comparison would only be meaningful if the same individuals that didn’t like 4e’s design are now “literally” proposing to make a version of the game with only wizards.

Or were you perhaps being hyperbolic, there? Got “everyone a literal wizard” and “most magical stuff is spells regardless of class” mixed up?

Pretty sure no one has suggested that Rage should be a spell, even though it was in the past. Nor Flurry of Blows. Nor, ya know…any fighter or rogue base class feature.
If the game is designed with specific counters to a specific element, that tells me the designers knows that element is too strong. That you have to bring it up to DMs ("Hey, you can use Anti-Magic Zone!") as a FIX for Spellcasters being too powerful?! Or that a common tip for Wizard of a certain level is to always prepare Counterspell?

Yeah, nah that screams problematic design to me.
Does Defensive Duelist, Uncanny Dodge, Deflect Missiles, and every other attack negating/mitigating feature in the game indicate that weapon attacks are problematic in design?

Having mechanics that can counter a thing does not indicate any such thing. In the case of Counterspell, it’s literally just a magical parry (and should be a basic function of Spellcasting), and in the case anti-magic, it simply indicates that 5e bows to tradition in terms of keeping classic elements that people missed when they didn’t include them. That’s it.
 

Undrave

Hero
You have a point with anti-magic, but counterspell is in-genre.

Does Defensive Duelist, Uncanny Dodge, Deflect Missiles, and every other attack negating/mitigating feature in the game indicate that weapon attacks are problematic in design?

Having mechanics that can counter a thing does not indicate any such thing. In the case of Counterspell, it’s literally just a magical parry (and should be a basic function of Spellcasting), and in the case anti-magic, it simply indicates that 5e bows to tradition in terms of keeping classic elements that people missed when they didn’t include them. That’s it.

Hm… I guess you guys are right about Counterspell. I still think Anti-Magic Zones being a thing feels silly. Especially in a setting where magic is so badly defined as in D&D. Maybe if ‘The Arcane’ was properly defined it would work better for me, but spells are just barely holding to their veneer of not just being game elements.
 


doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
Hm… I guess you guys are right about Counterspell. I still think Anti-Magic Zones being a thing feels silly. Especially in a setting where magic is so badly defined as in D&D. Maybe if ‘The Arcane’ was properly defined it would work better for me, but spells are just barely holding to their veneer of not just being game elements.
I think that anti-magic, especially the beholder’s gaze, but also zones both naturally occurring and manufactured, are a really thematically interesting element of the game.

I do think that they should be like puzzles for spellcasters, who can spend resources to bring magic back into the “dead” zone, though.
the level 3 abilities, like Horde Breaker and gang, should just be stuff any Ranger can pick. Put them in the Fighting Styles section!
Or add them to favored enemy.
 

Ancalagon

Dusty Dragon
I've never played a swarmskeeper ranger, but I have seen them played in 2 ongoing games, and the PC is effective, and the players seem to have a lot of fun doing it.

I know it won't win based on some people's dislike of the theme, but it definitely works well.

(edit: I'll note both are halflings. Coincidence?)
 
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Undrave

Hero
I think that anti-magic, especially the beholder’s gaze, but also zones both naturally occurring and manufactured, are a really thematically interesting element of the game.

I do think that they should be like puzzles for spellcasters, who can spend resources to bring magic back into the “dead” zone, though.
It just feels very arbitrary. Like the DM decides 'no magic here!' and that's why there's no magic there. It doesn't feel like a natural part of the world, just a game construct that exists to counter a specific game construct.
Or add them to favored enemy.
Even better idea!
 

Vaalingrade

Legend
Hm… I guess you guys are right about Counterspell. I still think Anti-Magic Zones being a thing feels silly. Especially in a setting where magic is so badly defined as in D&D. Maybe if ‘The Arcane’ was properly defined it would work better for me, but spells are just barely holding to their veneer of not just being game elements.
No, you're absolutely right about anti-magic.

It's worse now that everything supernatural and fantastic is being slowly consumed by 'is a the result of spells and magic', so casting AMF should just delete a chunk out of the world.
 

CreamCloud0

One day, I hope to actually play DnD.
It just feels very arbitrary. Like the DM decides 'no magic here!' and that's why there's no magic there. It doesn't feel like a natural part of the world, just a game construct that exists to counter a specific game construct.
I feel like it can be both, GMs can arbitrarily of placed an antimagic field in this small village town hall as a ‘solve this the right way without magic’ enforcement but it also feels like a very natural result of a world where magic exists, “im a wizard, I know how powerful magic can be and i want to protect myself and my domain from other spellcasters, i know I’ll establish an antimagic field around everything to keep them all out”
 
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Undrave

Hero
I feel like it can be both, GMs can arbitrarily of placed an antimagic field in this small village town hall as a ‘solve this the right way without magic’ enforcement but it also feels like a very natural result of a world where magic exists, “im a wizard, I know how powerful magic can be and i want to protect myself and my domain from other spellcasters, i know I’ll establish an antimagic field around everything to keep them all out”
Yeah but like... what even IS Magic that you can just neutralize ALL of it? Even when it comes from Nature or the gods? Is 'Abjuration' the strongest school because it can do this thing? Are school of magics an inherent property of magic the same way wavelength of light have different color? Or is it just a philosophical distinction, in which case what's stopping every magic user from learning how to creat Anti-Magic zone even if Abjuration isn't their specialty?

Magic in D&D is generally solid enough to stand on its own but in certain corner like this, the loose lore rubs against the game system and creates irritation, like an itchy tag in a cheap t-shirt.
 

CreamCloud0

One day, I hope to actually play DnD.
Yeah but like... what even IS Magic that you can just neutralize ALL of it? Even when it comes from Nature or the gods? Is 'Abjuration' the strongest school because it can do this thing? Are school of magics an inherent property of magic the same way wavelength of light have different color? Or is it just a philosophical distinction, in which case what's stopping every magic user from learning how to creat Anti-Magic zone even if Abjuration isn't their specialty?

Magic in D&D is generally solid enough to stand on its own but in certain corner like this, the loose lore rubs against the game system and creates irritation, like an itchy tag in a cheap t-shirt.
All magic is powered from the same source: the weave, just because different types of magic perhaps requires different ways of manipulating the raw magic doesn’t mean one type is stronger than another, they might not even be that different, maybe spellcasters just categorised them in the groupings they did because that’s what people tend to do when trying to understand something.

Look at it like electricity, kitchen electricals, medical machines and construction tools all require electricity, but you can use your construction tools to disconnect the mains power and all of them turn off, that doesn’t mean the construction tools are more powerful/useful, they’re just the ones designed to interact with the power source, but if you try messing with the power lines when you’re only trained in using x-ray machines and heart monitors you’re not going to know what you’re meant to be doing.
 


doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
It just feels very arbitrary. Like the DM decides 'no magic here!' and that's why there's no magic there. It doesn't feel like a natural part of the world, just a game construct that exists to counter a specific game construct.
Yeah I definitely recommend careful and judicious usage. Beyond beholders and special “mage Hunter” enemies (and homebrew pc options if anyone ever wanted to), I generally use them as either a constructed trap, like a wizard protecting access to something by making no magic work around it unless you can figure out the “device”, and the lock requires magic to be opened.
Lastly, I’ve used it as an indicator that something deeper is wrong. An upcoming plot thread in my Eberron game will feature essentially dead magic manifest zones that may be a result of the big magic thing the party is working toward currently. In the past, I’ve done this as a “something killed this 60ft circle of land, draining it of everything. Magic, life, even colors are muted and washed out. Being here feels so fundamentally wrong that your stomach turns and you can feel pressure building in the backs of your skulls and behind your eyes.”

Even better idea!
Thanks! It’s incredible to me that they aren’t even toying with the idea, at this point.

It’s literally “combat favored enemy”, and adding it to the exploration/knowledge stuff would make favored enemy cool without having to even reference a spell. Especially if you could gain an additional tactic at a later level when you pick a second and third favored enemy.
 

RealAlHazred

Frumious Flumph
Huh I missed this thread when it was created.

So, back in the day, Ranger was popular as a sort-of wilderness-Thief. Ranger-Thieves were one of the more popular multi-class combos at our tables, because it gave you all possible skill sets for both wilderness and urban play. I played a Ranger in 3.0/3.5, and had a lot of fun with him, focusing on the Archery. I actually think several subclasses are pretty good thematically and narratively, although the Ranger is a weird class to begin with -- as opposed to all of EGG's other classes in the basic book, the Ranger wasn't based on historical characters, but on Tolkien.

Anyway, I really like the theme of Brandes Stoddard's Lantern-Bearer Ranger conclave. I like getting rid of Darkvision in my games, replacing it with Low-Light Vision (which does not work in absolute darkness) so that light sources are a thing you have to worry about. I generally only give Darkvision to things like Vampires and actual supernatural Creatures of the Night -- everybody else has to worry about light on the battlefield. Enter the Lantern-Bearer, who actually gets Lantern-based powers. And they feel good, like an ancient remnant of an Order that has faded with time.

Plus, you know, Brass Lanterns have a long history in gaming...
 

niklinna

Legend
Anyway, I really like the theme of Brandes Stoddard's Lantern-Bearer Ranger conclave. I like getting rid of Darkvision in my games, replacing it with Low-Light Vision (which does not work in absolute darkness) so that light sources are a thing you have to worry about. I generally only give Darkvision to things like Vampires and actual supernatural Creatures of the Night -- everybody else has to worry about light on the battlefield. Enter the Lantern-Bearer, who actually gets Lantern-based powers. And they feel good, like an ancient remnant of an Order that has faded with time.
Hm, that's kind of interesting! Doesn't quite hit the flavor I'd want, but it's a solid core idea. Reminds me of how Rangers in Guild Wars 2 can use torches as an off-hand weapon. Also reminds me of the Pathfinder 2 Thaumaturge, one of their implement choices is a lantern that reveals hidden things.

I kinda miss MMOs, but whenever I think of going back, I mostly remember the sucky parts now. :confused: Lucky for me Guild Wars 2 doesn't run on macos any more. (They got mounts so, so right, but their main story was so, so painful. I hate main story in any MMO, the principal reason I used to play was the freedom to run around and do whatever, whenever.)
 
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Ancalagon

Dusty Dragon
I knew at this point that the gloomstalker would be doing very well, but I am a bit surprised that hunter and horizon walker are doing so well - the first was for long seen as meh (I think it's solid) and the second has a very narrow theme...
 

niklinna

Legend
I knew at this point that the gloomstalker would be doing very well, but I am a bit surprised that hunter and horizon walker are doing so well - the first was for long seen as meh (I think it's solid) and the second has a very narrow theme...

Somebody please explain to me the appeal of Horizon Walker. It just seems so niche! How often are you gonna be needing to find planar gates, especially at low levels?
 

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