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5E If all Rangers had an animal companion ...

Would you like all rangers to have an animal companion?

  • Yes

    Votes: 12 18.5%
  • No

    Votes: 38 58.5%
  • Yes (as long as there's an option for no functional companion)

    Votes: 15 23.1%

  • Total voters
    65

Xeviat

Adventurer
Supporter
Hi everyone. Rangers.

The ranger has an identity crisis. I have long thought that giving all rangers an animal companion would firmly define what the ranger is (I also feel that Spellcasting is a necessary part of the D&D ranger). I also recognize, though, that this doesn't fit all of the archetypes the Ranger has come to cover. Worse still, it doesn't cover Strider/Aragorn, which sort of means it's straight out the wrong direction to go.

But, time and time again, when I look at the Ranger, I see an archetype that could easily be covered by Rogue (Scout) or a Rogue/Fighter with the right background. Without spells, the Ranger lacks a strong reason to be separate. With an animal companion, though, the Danger's identity would be solidified.

What do you think? One idea I had in it would be to ensure there were "invulnerable" options, things like a small flighty bird or whatever, so your companion could just grant you static bonuses if you didn't want to deal with it.
 
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The Class Features Variant article seemed to all but give away the intent that the animal friendship spell or Animal Handling skill were two ways any Ranger could get an animal to join them on adventures.

But even disregarding that, I always felt all Rangers should have had a 2nd-level spell that was their equivalent of the Paladin's Find Steed.
 

Jediking

Explorer
I like the UA Class Variants, where the Druid can expend a use of their Wildshape to cast Find Familiar instead.

Maybe adding Find Familiar to the Ranger spell list could fill the niche for some players who want a flavourful animal companion without devoting their entire subclass to it. A Hunter Ranger with a hawk companion seems pretty thematic to me, or a Gloom Stalker with a bat
 



Minigiant

Legend
Supporter
Nah.

Animals is just a possible aspect of the ranger. It's not a default.

Rangers could delve into animals, plants, earth, air, water, traps, or even arcana. Whatever works at stalking your prey and surviving off the land.
 

Marandahir

Crown-Forester
Too many core alternate class features makes for a class without an identity.

I cast yes (as long as there's room for alternate without), but honestly, I prefer what's going on this way, where the Beast Master is one Conclave of Rangers, and all Rangers cast spells, but there are semimagical Arcane Archers that have a Primal Seeker vibe to them, and there's nonmagical Scouts, and there's Archery & Two-Weapon Fighters in general for non-magical Rangery goodness.

I think Fighter could do with a Ranger-esque subclass and we'd be good to go for Ranger variants.
 


But even disregarding that, I always felt all Rangers should have had a 2nd-level spell that was their equivalent of the Paladin's Find Steed.
This has been my opinion for a long, long time. I felt that having a focused build on it wasn't quite right, but allowing all of them the option of having one would be perfect. This would allow players to decide if they want to have an animal companion or not.
 

Asisreo

Archdevil's Advocate
This has been my opinion for a long, long time. I felt that having a focused build on it wasn't quite right, but allowing all of them the option of having one would be perfect. This would allow players to decide if they want to have an animal companion or not.
You can use conjure animal to temporarily summon an animal directly under your command (CR 2 but it's ultimately the DM's choice).
 

coolAlias

Explorer
As both a DM and a player, I have a strong dislike for animal companions because they tend to either complicate just about everything, or they get completely ignored until the player suddenly remembers they have them for one specific moment, and then everyone forgets about them again.
  • Going into town? Oh, but you have a wolf.
  • Climbing up a cliff? Wait, how's your wolf getting up there?
  • Casting Fly on your party? Oh right, we have a plus 1.
  • etc.
 

Eubani

Adventurer
Having a pet of any worth takes up too much design/power budget. Access via Spell, Subclass or Alternate Feature is the way to go so the Ranger has enough budget for core abilities.

Maybe give the Ranger Rage.......after all you cannot spell Ranger without Anger.
 

Campbell

Legend
I do not think NPCs (which an animal companion is) can be properly balanced as a class feature. I think it is better to treat them like an NPC ally unless you want to effectively minionize them through action economy limitations. I would include rules for animal companions that level up with the party, but they would not belong to a given PC. If Rurik dies we still want Snuggles in the party.
 

NotAYakk

Legend
Yes.

Every ranger should have, roughly, the class feature variants primal spirit companion.

The beast conclave would specialize in boosting it.

This would give Rangers a default identity.

After buffing second wind, it means that the 4 "warrior" types each have a "pool" of extra durability beyond their HP pool. Barbarians get rage, Paladins lay on hands, Fighters second wind, and Rangers a primal companion. "HP sinks".

Alternative class features, that swap the default companion for something else, would be pausible. Like a feature that swaps rage damage bonus, or action surge. But the default should have been a companion.

As a sketch:

L 1: The Hunt, Primal Companion
L 2: Fighting Style, Spellcasting
L 3: Conclave, Improved Hunt
L 4: ASI
L 5: Extra Attack
L 6: Guide
L 7: Conclave Feature
L 8: ASI, Strider
L 9: The Hunt Eternal
L 10: Stalker
L 11: Conclave Feature
L 12: ASI
L 13: Improved Guide
L 14: Vanish
L 15: Conclave Feature
L 16: ASI
L 17: Perfect Hunter
L 18: Feral Senses
L 19: ASI
L 20: Hunt's End

The Hunt: Component and concentration free HM, once before taking a long rest
Companion: Primal companiom from CFV.
Improved Hunt: Starting at level 3, your companion gains the benefit of your Hunter's Mark, and you can use it wisdom bonus (min 1) before taking a long rest.
Styles: Archery, Defence or
Coordinated Assault: When you make a two weapon fighting bonus action attack, you add your attribute bonus to damage, and your primal companion may also make an attack.
Guide: You can expend a reaction and a spell slot when a creature that can see or hear you makes an attribute check. The attribute check gains a bonus equal to the spell slot used, up to +4. You can do this after you see the roll.
Strider: Starting at level 8, a Ranger gains 10' speed, ignores difficult terrain, and gains a climb and swim speed equal to half of their speed.
Hunt Eternal: When you cast Hunter's Mark, it lasts forever on the initial target. You can cast hunter's mark on a creature you are tracking or on any creature you can see, hear or smell.
Stalker: When you make an attribute check that adds your Stealth proficiency modifier, you can add it twice. If you have any cover or concealment from a creature and your passive Stealth is greater than their passive Perception, you have advantage on all attacks on that creature until the start of your next turn.
Improved Guide: You can expend a reaction and a spell slot when a creature you can see makes an attack or a saving throw. That attack or saving throw gains a bonus equal to the spell slot expended (max +4). You can do this after you see the roll, but before the result is determined.
Vanish: As a bonus action you can become invisible until the end of your next turn. You can do this once before completing a short rest.
Perfect Hunter: If you have Hunter's Mark on a creature, they suffer a 1d6 penalty to all saves you impose on them, and you have a 1d6 bonus to all saves you make that they impose on you.
Feral Senses: While not both blinded and deaf, you are aware of every creature within 60' of you. You do not suffer disadvantage for attacking hidden or unseen foes, and they do not gain advantage against you.
Hunt's End: When you deal damage to a creature subject to your HM, you gain temporary HP equal to the damage done. If you start your turn with temporary HP, you can sacrifice it and gain a bonus to your first Hunter's Mark damage roll equal to the temporary HP sacrificed.

Or somesuch.
 
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When I think of both Druids and Rangers, yes they should have an animal companion.I blame mostly 3E/3.5 for that mindset.

As to what kind? Well I guess that depends on what the player/DM discuss. Clearly a T-Rex seems a harder sell in that regard compared to say, a ferret or the standby classic Wolf(Dire)/Panther(big cat).

Regardless, 5E offers a total of three Animal Companion scaling options. Pick whichever one is the best and go from there.

Or do what I tried doing and offer the Druid a Celestial Chinchilla which would turn into a Great sword that the Druid can wield. He declined and went with a 1D4 damage Squirrel as his weapon.
 

You can use conjure animal to temporarily summon an animal directly under your command (CR 2 but it's ultimately the DM's choice).
Yeah, but Conjure Animal is a level 3 spell, meaning that the range needs to be level 9, as opposed to the Paladin level 5. In addition, while the CR is better, the duration is Concentration and at most 1 hour. I think a level 2 spell with a modest material component (like Find Familiar) that allows bonding a CR 1/2 or lower creature, or possibly a combination of lower CR creatures, would be a solid spell. The duration might be limited by the component cost, or even instantaneous like Find Steed.
 


DnD Warlord

Adventurer
Maybe adding Find Familiar to the Ranger spell list could fill the niche for some players who want a flavourful animal companion without devoting their entire subclass to it. A Hunter Ranger with a hawk companion seems pretty thematic to me, or a Gloom Stalker with a bat
To make a Worg like effect for a Game if Thrones inspired game I took find familiar and beast bond spells and mashed them together with a CR limit as if it was a wild shaped Druid... it worked well
 

Minigiant

Legend
Supporter
Maybe give the Ranger Rage.......after all you cannot spell Ranger without Anger.

Wrong emotion.
Ranger is Hate.
Ranger is weaponized Hate. First class feature is Favored Enemy. You learn to speak to animals and plants so that they can snitch on your enemy's location and keep the stabbing train going.

Sometimes you can dull it down to plain Obsession.
 

I don’t know what a Ranger is. As an archetype, it makes absolutely no sense to me. I say, let’s call the class "Hunter" (a word with much clearer, much richer connotations) and rebuild the whole class from the ground up. Adding an animal companion to that class would make perfect sense.
 

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