D&D 5E Improved Beast Master

PierceF

Villager
Please help me draft an improved beast master.

I haven't added a ton of text explaining the reasoning behind all these design choices, but I'll give a basic explanation to begin with.

The goal is to have a ranger with a real beast as a companion. Not a magical elemental spirit in the shape of a beast, but an actual beast that has been magically enchanted through primal bonds to be more durable and useful.

I've tried scaling especially the survivability up more than anything else. Note, this beast companion never gets multiattack. It isn't there to do a ton of DPR. It can hit, and it can be useful, and each beast will feel different. There will be a lot more variety and choice between beast masters because of the available choices.

There are very specific abilities that increase the utility of the companion without increasing DPR. It has a limited telepathic connection with the ranger, is smart, has specific skills, can be large, share spells sooner, etc. The Reduce ability is a prime example. If you want to have a Tiger animal companion at higher levels, that's super cool and fun. But how do you bring that into a dungeon, or stable it in your room? Reduce! And reduce won't make it more OP, just more convenient and fun.

Again, fun is the main goal. Fun and balance. And to feel like you've got a super-charged beast that can actually be helpful on epic adventures.

On later posts on this thread, I'd love to look at key levels and compare the actual stats of the beast companion, to avoid the inevitable "That's too weak/strong" arguments without looking at the real data.

My goal is to tweak this to make it balanced enough to let me players take it.

------
Beast Master Conclave Improved

3rd level
. You gain a beast companion. This works as the Player's Handbook Beast Companion (not Tasha's) with the following changes.
. Choose a CR 1/4 or lower beast that is medium or smaller to act as your companion.
. Hit Points equal 6 x ranger level.
. It's natural armor class equals 13 + your proficiency bonus.
. It adds your ranger's PB bonus to attacks and damage, trained saves and trained skill checks.
. It has proficiency (training) in all saving throws and 4 skills plus 1 per 4 Ranger levels.
. Like any creature, the beast can spend Hit Dice during a short rest.
. In combat, it takes a bonus action to command and acts durring your turn. It may not use the multi-attack action. If you do not use a bonus action to command it, it can move and take the dodge action. If you are incapacitated or absent, the beast acts on its own, focusing on protecting you and itself. It can take any action it has when you are incapacitated.
. While traveling through your favored terrain with only the beast, you can move stealthily at a normal pace.
. It becomes unnaturally more intelligent than a normal beast of its kind. It is easy to train to behave unnaturally (staying quiet, not running from loud noises, doing complex tricks, etc.) If its natural intelligence is lower than 4, this increases to 4. Outside of combat it does its best to obey and suppoort you.
. You are have a limited telepathic link with the beast. Through the link, the beast can understand your telepathic messages to it, and it can telepathically communicate simple emotions and concepts back to you.
. If the beast companion drops to 0 hit points, it can make death saving throws just like a character.
. You may dismiss your beast companion at any time.
. If the beast dies or is dismissed, you can summon another beast after a long rest, either the same type of beast as before or a different one. You may choose the type of the this new beast, though it is recommended (but not required) that it is one appropriate to the surrounding environment if possible. The beast mystically appears as if it had been looking for you.
. Healing: You gain Cure Light Wounds as a known spell. Whenever you cast it on your beast companion, multiply the healing done by 2.

7th level: Mystical Beast
. The beast’s attacks now count as magical for the purpose of overcoming resistance and immunity to nonmagical attacks and damage.
. Your beast companion may be replaced by a CR 1/2 creature and can be large if it does not have a fly speed.
. You may cast the "Reduce" version of the spell "Enlarge/Reduce" on your beast companion using a 1st level spell slot. The reduction lasts up to 8 hours, can be cancelled as a free action, and does not take concentration.

11th level: Share Spells
. Beginning at 11th level, when you cast a spell targeting yourself, you can also affect your beast companion with the spell if the beast is within 30 feet of you.
. Your beast companion may be replaced by a CR 1 beast and may be large (even with a fly speed).

15th level: Uncanny Resilience
. Starting at 15th level, when your beast companion takes damage from an attack, effect, or spell, it can use its reaction to halve the damage against it.
. Your beast companion may be replaced by a CR 2 creature and may be large (even with a fly speed).
 

log in or register to remove this ad

Stormonu

Legend
As an aside, one of the downfalls of mounts, pets and the like in D&D has been the treatment of hit points. In these creatures cases, if 0 hp were treated as "defeated, but not dead", it wouldn't make their loss in combat sting so much. If it was instead treated as the companion had "had enough" and retreated, ran away, other otherwise bowed out of the combat but could be quickly recovered thereafter it would make having them around a lot better. There could still certainly be cases where the companion does get killed, but it should be a bit rare (unless the PC is purposely gaming they can't lose the companion). I'm not all that hyped about playing a beastmaster ranger if by level 5 I'm sending Fluffy XXV into combat with me...
 

In a world where you have a 700yro elf ranger with an animal companion that is only in its prime for 5 or 6 years, you could wind up with Fluffy CXXVI.

Horses get maybe a decade* in their prime post training. Since pretty much all cavalry have multiple horses per rider (You might ride the others to the battle and your favorite in the battle) you could have Larry LVI, Moe LII and Shemp LXXVI.

Even Squirrel Girl has gone through a couple named companions.

Maybe we should be OK with animals being short lived.

*my family had 4 horses live 26-32yrs and they all start losing muscle in their teens.
 

As an aside, one of the downfalls of mounts, pets and the like in D&D has been the treatment of hit points. In these creatures cases, if 0 hp were treated as "defeated, but not dead", it wouldn't make their loss in combat sting so much. If it was instead treated as the companion had "had enough" and retreated, ran away, other otherwise bowed out of the combat but could be quickly recovered thereafter it would make having them around a lot better. There could still certainly be cases where the companion does get killed, but it should be a bit rare (unless the PC is purposely gaming they can't lose the companion). I'm not all that hyped about playing a beastmaster ranger if by level 5 I'm sending Fluffy XXV into combat with me...
I agree. Giving them death saves works pretty well at lower levels. Spell it out in case DM's treat them like Monsters. Level 7 feels like a good point to give them some kind of "When your HP hits 0 you instead have 1 HP instead. Until the Ranger takes an action to calm the beast it can only use it's action to Disengage or Dash."
 

PierceF

Villager
Those are all helpful comments on the current system. Any comments on my proposed subclass? I think it would still be balanced, as well as more fun and more useful especially at higher levels, but what do you think?
 

Remove ads

AD6_gamerati_skyscraper

Remove ads

Upcoming Releases

Top