log in or register to remove this ad

 

D&D 5E Is favored enemy and natural explorer really that bad?

NotAYakk

Legend
Knowledge checks would be useful if the rules worked like 4e:

View attachment 135513

Instead, what we have is, "If the DM decides a knowledge check is appropriate, make a check using whatever skill the DM decides against whatever DC the DM has set. If you succeed, the DM will reveal to you whatever information the DM has decided is appropriate."

I generally favor the "rulings over rules" approach, but there's too much of this in the Ranger.
To port to 5e:

Monster Knowledge
  • Type: DC 5
  • Name: DC 10
  • Tier: DC 15 (Local Threat: CR < 5, Heroic Threat: CR 5-10, Legendary Threat: CR 11-16, Epic Threat: CR 17+)
  • Resistances and Vulnerabilities: DC 20
  • Special Abilities: DC 25

+5 for Obscure creatures.
+10 for Secret creatures.

I figure knowing the type of a monster should be an easy check. "It is an undead of some kind".

The name I made lower, because it is fun fluff. "You think that is called a dragonshield".

Tier is next; by grouping it by CR-tier, you get a good way to say "that undead is epic tier" vs "it is a zombie like thing". It is also very useful.

Resists/vulnerabilities is the easiest "raw stat" you can grab. "This undead is not vulnerable to radiant".

Finally, at DC 25, we leak stat information "it can drain life, cast spells, multiattack. It has legendary resistance and actions."

DCs do not scale with monster level, but obscurity. If dragons existence is "secret" in this world, +10 to DCs for wyrmlings or ancient ones. I presume that even secret creatures have obscure legends attached to them, or somewhat related creatures you can extrapolate from.

(This creature looks like a dragon. Its scales are gold, and from its scales -- well, based off how wyvern scales develop, it looks like it might be 1000s of years old, but how is that possible?! Dragons are secret, name "Ancient Gold Dragon", DC 20. Given how dragonkin biology works and its size, it appears to be an epic threat (Tier, DC 25).)
 
Last edited:

log in or register to remove this ad


The issue here is that the 5e rules-writing team didn't give the Exploration Pillar its due. If 5e had a rich, robust exploration system, where having poor explorers meant your equipment tended to be in bad shape, you fatigued more easily, injuries lingered and festered, patrons tended to be displeased with your sluggishness and reward you less, etc, then sure, having a Ranger would be great. But 5e's exploration "rules" amount to "roll every so often to see if you get lost, which will generally be inconsequential, and uhhhh maybe track your rations if there's no druid?"
Because 5e would be so much better with a ton of extra tedious bookkeeping.
 

Because 5e would be so much better with a ton of extra tedious bookkeeping.

If a design team isn't up to the task of figuring out how to design an exploration system that amounts to more than "extra tedious bookkeeping," they shouldn't design a class centered the system they were incapable of actually providing.
 

I have to wonder if people's views on a class like ranger (or other options/sub-classes people can't come to a consensus about) is because of differences in style of play (something DEF CON suggested above). I don't play with people who try to maximize efficiency of every move, action, option, or choice. Nor am I of the GMing philosophy that every encounter (heck, not even every full adventure) should necessarily give every character the opportunity to do what they are best at. Those situations obviously come up, but for me being middling at something and working towards strategic opportunities to try what you're best at or make the best of what you're only average at is where the fun and challenge of the game lies.
I agree with your first point, but I disagree with your conclusion. Yes, on occasion, DMs will handwave verisimilitude to make rangers stronger (your favored enemy will come up more often than statistically likely).

I thin that more often, DMs will handwave restrictions on other classes to make them more powerful. Like the fact that the wizard’s spellbook is not damaged despite the party falling into water (or stolen by ambitious thieves). Or the fact that most battlemaps have small patches of difficult terrain, despite that in reality, most combats in wilderness or ruins are mostly difficult terrain with small patches of normal terrain.
 

If a design team isn't up to the task of figuring out how to design an exploration system that amounts to more than "extra tedious bookkeeping," they shouldn't design a class centered the system they were incapable of actually providing.
You suggest keeping close track of journey time, rations, payment reductions - how is it possible to do that without bookkeeping?!

Players joined up to fight monsters, not track rations. All they want is a red dotted line on the map as they travel to the place where the monsters are.
 

el-remmen

Moderator Emeritus
I think that more often, DMs will handwave restrictions on other classes to make them more powerful. Like the fact that the wizard’s spellbook is not damaged despite the party falling into water (or stolen by ambitious thieves). Or the fact that most battlemaps have small patches of difficult terrain, despite that in reality, most combats in wilderness or ruins are mostly difficult terrain with small patches of normal terrain.

Not me. All of these things have happened in my games are different times and ask anyone whose played in my games or read my story hour, I am the KING OF ENVIRONMENT - when it comes to designing sites for interesting combats or other encounters.

But I get your point. :)
 

You suggest keeping close track of journey time, rations, payment reductions - how is it possible to do that without bookkeeping?!

I am merely saying that if a fun and engaging exploration system existed, then the Ranger would be a good class. I'm not volunteering to design such a system, nor am I proposing how to do this. I am pointing out the lack of any such system in 5e means the Ranger, as it exists in 5e, is just a fundamentally bad concept. It is utterly irrelevant whether or not I, personally, could design a good system. If you cannot design a fun, engaging rules system for something, don't design a class around it.

Players joined up to fight monsters, not track rations. All they want is a red dotted line on the map as they travel to the place where the monsters are.

You are completely missing the point. If players want to play a game where exploration is mostly irrelevant, and WotC is going to provide a game where, indeed, there is no exploration system, then centering a class design on this nonexistent system is bad design.

Do you agree or disagree?
 
Last edited:

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
I am merely saying that if a fun and engaging exploration system existed, then the Ranger would be a good class. I'm not volunteering to design such a system, nor am I proposing how to do this. I am pointing out the lack of any such system in 5e means the Ranger, as it exists in 5e, is just a fundamentally bad concept. It is utterly irrelevant whether or not I, personally, could design a good system. If you cannot design a fun, engaging rules system for something, don't design a class around it.



You are completely missing the point. If players want to play a game where exploration is mostly irrelevant, and WotC is going to provide a game where, indeed, there is no exploration system, then centering a class design on this nonexistent system is bad design.

Do you agree or disagree?
The premise is false. The Ranger is not based around exploration.

I also disagree that a specific system needs to exist for exploration in order to have a class focused on it.

5e uses exploration to refer to basically all the non social skill checks in the game, from inspecting puzzles and traps, to climbing around environments, to sneaking, to setting up camp and keeping watch, etc. We don’t need a special sub-system for that, we have the skill system. At most, more guidelines for running skills in ways similar to skill challenges, and awarding xp for overcoming those challenges for groups that use xp still, would be helpful.

Expanding the Rangers abilities within that existing framework wouldn’t be hard, the Ranger just needed more playtesting. Tbh 5e needed about 6 months more playtesting.

Rangers could easily have abilities related to perception and survival, like listening to the ground to track movements of groups of creatures, and other “you can spend ten minutes and concentrate to make a perception or survival check for the area around you within several miles in the wilderness, 1 mile outdoors in a settlement, or an adjoining room or corridor or other indoor space” type abilities.

I’d also have given the ranger a speed boost when sprinting (just for a different mobility buff than rogue or monk), the ability to sneak without disadvantage while moving full speed, the ability to understand basic ideas from any beast or favored creature type, and the secondary benefit of Hunter’s Mark as a thing you can do by studying a creature for a minute, or as a bonus action if it’s a favored creature.

That sort of stuff. Bring the wilderness expert vibe into the space where most games actually spend their time, rather than trying to expand on travel and wilderness rules.
 


You are completely missing the point. If players want to play a game where exploration is mostly irrelevant, and WotC is going to provide a game where, indeed, there is no exploration system, then centering a class design on this nonexistent system is bad design.

Do you agree or disagree?
I agree. I've said before, "Ranger" should be a background. Classes should be about combat roles, and "wilderness guy" is not a combat role.
 

But all classes have an alternate channel divinity option which usually are always useful.
Yes. That's why I scribbled out the undead bits, not the whole Channel Divinity section. And I'm being rather generous. Unlike Favored Enemy and half of what's in Natural Explorer, Turn Undead and Destroy Undead are actual rules with concrete utility when and if they come up in a campaign. "Any undead that fails its WIS save has to run away" is a lot more concrete than "If the DM decides to call for a check against a DC he just made up to tell you some arbitrary information he decided to make you roll for, you have advantage on it."
 

Shadowedeyes

Explorer
Another thing I want to bring up is Primeval Awareness. In a Storm King's Thunder campaign I ran a player was playing a ranger, and we ultimately both found the ability kinda weak while simultaneously annoying. It detects your favored enemy within 1 mile/6 miles of you, but doesn't tell you where or the number of, while on the DM side of things I have to figure out if there are enemies of that type in a huge radius of the ranger, and hope that I don't miss a listing of one if it's an actual adventure location or the like. Slowed the game down while I was checking for very little payoff.
 



NotAYakk

Legend
I would tend to disagree with this. I think we need more non-combat roles from classes (or more specifically subclasses).
Yes, but Ranger minus Fighter is half caster and non combat ribbons.

As a half caster, Ranger has HM, +10 stealth, and otherwise pretty much the worst half casting (artificer and paladin are its competition).
 

Yes. That's why I scribbled out the undead bits, not the whole Channel Divinity section. And I'm being rather generous. Unlike Favored Enemy and half of what's in Natural Explorer, Turn Undead and Destroy Undead are actual rules with concrete utility when and if they come up in a campaign. "Any undead that fails its WIS save has to run away" is a lot more concrete than "If the DM decides to call for a check against a DC he just made up to tell you some arbitrary information he decided to make you roll for, you have advantage on it."
But you need to see it as a whole: the undead part is just a special ability using the same resource as a universal ability. This way you don't care if there are undead or not. Probably you are even happier that you don't have to use it.
The problem with the ranger level 1 is that you get two very specific abilities that you might not be able to use at all with no compensation.
It is even worse actually. You double your proficiency bonus for skills (int skills) you might actually not have taken at all, because you also needed survival, perception, stealth athletic and animal handling, persuasion or insight...

If it just gave you those proficiencies against favoured enemies and maybe half prof bonus against everyone else, that would be ok.

It is a bit like the champion's remarkable athlete, it is counter intuitive...
 

NotAYakk

Legend
But you need to see it as a whole: the undead part is just a special ability using the same resource as a universal ability. This way you don't care if there are undead or not. Probably you are even happier that you don't have to use it.
If there are no undead, the cleric plays as if the undead parts are scribbled out.

So scribbling out shouldn't include channel divinity, just the undead option.

Post-tashas, it is even moreso, with the channel divinity aliasing into a spell slot on a short rest.
The problem with the ranger level 1 is that you get two very specific abilities that you might not be able to use at all with no compensation.
"if you cannot": Yep. And even when you use them, they aren't nearly as dramatic as turn undead is.

The action economy of turn undead is crazy when you can use it. Advantage or a boost to a skill roll could still be worse than the modifier some other sage PC has against your favored foe type.

The terrain boost fails to scale; it usually doesn't matter all that much that you can forage for food or track, when you can create food, teleport over terrain, plane shift, divine where your foe is, and the like.

And while the DM can add in "sorry magic doesn't work here or on that foe", saying "sorry, foraging/tracking doesn't work" is equally possible. In effect, for you to shine, the DM has to force the alternatives (which are as effective or moreso without such a veto) not to work.
 

But you need to see it as a whole: the undead part is just a special ability using the same resource as a universal ability. This way you don't care if there are undead or not. Probably you are even happier that you don't have to use it.
The problem with the ranger level 1 is that you get two very specific abilities that you might not be able to use at all with no compensation.
It is even worse actually. You double your proficiency bonus for skills (int skills) you might actually not have taken at all, because you also needed survival, perception, stealth athletic and animal handling, persuasion or insight...

If it just gave you those proficiencies against favoured enemies and maybe half prof bonus against everyone else, that would be ok.

It is a bit like the champion's remarkable athlete, it is counter intuitive...

At least Remarkable Athlete always gives you +1/2 PROF to initiative, and there are a few spells where breaking out of the restrained condition is a raw STR check, not an Athletics check. So even as a ribbon, it still does a thing.
 

ehren37

Adventurer
If a design team isn't up to the task of figuring out how to design an exploration system that amounts to more than "extra tedious bookkeeping," they shouldn't design a class centered the system they were incapable of actually providing.
Bingo. All of that is easily solved by magic, which is why the ranger comes up short vs the druid or bard. Read Find the Path. Read Legend Lore. Read the slew of amazing exploration/travel/knowledge spells that the ranger farts away for a second bow shot (that the Valor bard can also get... and Valor bard is considered weak!).

Travel, or any game with downtime further exacerbates the divide between full casters and everyone else. You have to implement special optional rest rules because daily, risk-free magic simply refreshes too quickly. The game is (poorly) balanced on 6+ encounters per day. That's a lot of MMO style trash to wade through EACH day to run the full caster out of resources. It might work in a dungeon, but I have YET to see a game that actually makes this work on an ongoing basis, as it is simply too much filler. No one shows up to a game to be the person who can find some extra berries. A few slots takes care of all that. It's Angel Summoner and BMX Bandit all over again. Finding daily excuses for a bunch of bike ramps in every adventure is just pushing the effort of fixing the weak design on the DM. Even fearing some sort of nebulous "late night ambush", the casters can dump half their slots each day remaking the world as they see fit, while the non-casters (and half casters) are scrounging for narrative agency scraps.
 

Level Up!

An Advertisement

Advertisement4

Top