Playtest (A5E) Level Up Playtest Document #7: Ranger

Welcome to the 7th Level Up playtest document. This playtest contains a candidate for the first 10 levels of game’s ranger class. In our initial survey, you asked us for a spell-less ranger -- so here is our playtest candidate for it!

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This is a playtest document. We’d love you to try out the rules presented here, and then answer the follow-up survey in a few days.

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Russ Morrissey

Russ Morrissey


Waller

Hero
There are definitely neat bits in here, but I’m still struggling to see how these classes aren’t just straight power ups to existing 5e classes.
New exploration options don’t make you hit harder. It’s not like it all stacks, it’s just broader. Looks like it’s all mainly part of the exploration pillar stuff here. And no spells.
 

TheSword

Legend
New exploration options don’t make you hit harder. It’s not like it all stacks, it’s just broader. Looks like it’s all mainly part of the exploration pillar stuff here. And no spells.
Erm, +1 to all attacks with options to switch this for more damage. Hunters mark equivalent giving another +1 to hit And 1d6 damage. Also the ability to spend points for more damage and to hit bonuses. Maneuvers. Points refresh on a short rest. All seems quite a lot extra for having given up a single fighting style at level 2 and a very small number of spells, that mostly take actions to cast.

Don’t get me wrong, I like the class. I just can’t see how I could have it in a campaign playing next to a non-level up PC.
 


aco175

Legend
There was a typo where it says the HP is 1d10 per sorcerer level. I'm sure it is not a big deal and everyone knows what you are saying, but I may be a bit anal sometimes.

I do like swapping out spells for the other things like knacks and maneuvers. I could see where some of the power could scale like with the foraging for healing plants and healing 1d4. It becomes less cool after several levels where you now need 2d6 or more. Not sure if I would scale with ranger level or have them spend more points.
 

Agree with TheSword, I like having maneuvers for every fighter class and keeping some of the exploration stuff, but this ranger is so much better than the 5e one I don't see how the two editions could be compatible.

Aside from that, I really like how the favored enemy and terrain can be changed after a specific amount of time, but thematically it doesnt make much sense for the enemy. Maybe would make more sense to be able to change it in a similar way to the terrain in that you watch an enemy type for an hour and are able to change it then?
Also I may be missing something obvious here, but a bunch of these classes have “expertise” die or similar and I can’t find what that actually is.
 

RSIxidor

Adventurer
Rapid Fire needs a non-ranged alternative. I'm assuming that the combat maneuver Missile Volley it references is Volley from the fighter playtest doc. I'm mostly good with this one as-is and I know there was a stated desire for spell-less. I wonder if there's still a modular path to allow for both spell-less and spell-full but giving the spells probably means removing too many of the new and interesting features.
 

RSIxidor

Adventurer
Agree with TheSword, I like having maneuvers for every fighter class and keeping some of the exploration stuff, but this ranger is so much better than the 5e one I don't see how the two editions could be compatible.

Aside from that, I really like how the favored enemy and terrain can be changed after a specific amount of time, but thematically it doesnt make much sense for the enemy. Maybe would make more sense to be able to change it in a similar way to the terrain in that you watch an enemy type for an hour and are able to change it then?
Also I may be missing something obvious here, but a bunch of these classes have “expertise” die or similar and I can’t find what that actually is.
The Rogue document had an explanation of Expertise Dice. I'm assuming the full release would have that separate from class. https://static1.squarespace.com/sta...01632049787/enp_level_up_playtest_3_rogue.pdf

I'm somewhat amusingly imagining that the ranger has a "book of possible enemies" that they read from during long rests to switch their favored enemy, which has those few phrases they know in their language and useful information about them that they'd be able to recall more easily, and to know what to look for when tracking them. Too much to remember for more than 2 strange creatures or 4 humanoids at once, so keep your notes in a book to review once you know what you're up against.
 


tetrasodium

Legend
Supporter
Ranger is usually the most bland class but there are a lot of really interesting things in here that make this quite interesting in ways carving out a niche of its own other than "crappy fighter with crappy druid casting"

I'm going to assume that movement related AoOs will be going back towards 3.5/4e style provoke if you don't take a 5 foot step/shift even harder than I did before as not provoking them for movement seems to get mentioned even harder & some of the abilities just don't make sense if those stay as irrelevant as stock 5e

  • favored terrain: being able to replace familiar terrain to accommodate campaign shifts is great
  • Studied adversaries: This is all great, I really like the communication bit as it addresses a problem that came from how bonus languages changed from 3.5>5e. Back in 3.5 people tended to have a bunch of random languages while 5e has common, your race(who also probably speak common), one other, maybe another yet 5e still lists creature languages like the 3.5 days rather than biting the bullet of change to do something like this.
  • Maneuvers: I've spoken at length about each of the maneuvers in the fighter & rogue thread so don't see much reason to go over them in too much detail again. The assortment of maneuver groupings seems logical & fitting while allowing ranger a few ways to shape their combat role in the party.
  • Stride & seek: The choose one at 2 & get the other at 5 seemed a little odd when I read it, but after reading the options & thinking about the maneuvers I think that I like it giving the player a chance to grab the one important to their style early & put the other off till they are a little bit more developed to the point of being able to branch out into other styles in a fight. I also really like how it includes concentration "as if you were concentrating on a spell" to sort of set the martial ranger apart from some multiclassed gish like rangerN/warlock 1 hex
    • Sniper's target: I like the fluff, feel, & mechanics... but it feels a little costly for the nonscaling benefit& concentration requirement, especially with the 9th level improvement improving what is a fairly useless component. For one exertion & concentration you get +1 to hit & +1d6 damage against one creature for one hour but to pick another creature apparently requires another point.. very few fights last for much more than a minute or two let alone an hour. The concentration requirement means that it needs to be much better & can be good enough that breaking that concentration is an important if not critical goal of the foes. Half proficiency bonus d6 or +proficiency bonus added again to attack roll seems like it might be a reasonable ballpark target if it remains 1 point for 1 creature & concentration. Alternately allowing the ranger to shift it to another target during that hour (at some action cost) might make the current values make sense
    • Swift feet: a point of exertion & concentration for being exempt from provoking AoOs with movement for 1 min seems a reasonable as that can be a huge benefit to get behind the front line to pound on the more dangerous squishier foes. The fact that (if I'm reading it right) you can end it early to get an extra 30ft of movement or advantage on a weapon attack makes it even more interesting as the ranger can pretty much have two abilities i one this way giving them a interesting depth of flexibility,
  • Trained accuracy: I like the idea, but the costs are wayy too high when you get 2x proficiency bonus exertion points & recover them on a long or short rest. You could almost remove the first two options (add them to sniper target or split one into accuracy reserve maybe?) &restart the 1 exertion cost at the +2d6 option. I disagree with @TheSword & @silvefiresage on the bonuses being too good though, you only need to look at the no cost every round sneak attack dice rouge gets as an example of why these lesser at cost ones are too insignificant with the pseudo-no cost ones not making up the gap. Yea ranger gets second attack at 5 & rogue doesn't, but the cost & possible concentration requirements are too high to justify the spread.
  • Accuracy reserve: this is an interesting incentive to keep a bit of gas in the tank
  • Ranger archetype: I like how it splits off & changes the fluff+mechnanic supporting the spellcasting of some archetypes in a way that feels fitting given all the martial stuff they get.
  • Wilderness mystique: I really like how itadds some reciprocity with other PCs & gives the ranger new things they can do
    • Answering Silence: The fluff is neat & it adds some nice justification for letting some other pc do the check if the ranger fails or simply says "Umm... I'm not that kind of ranger" when it comes up. Compared to the other two however it feels lacking.
    • Fearsome mysticism: Again great fluff/feel & allows ranger to branch out into other areas fitting the class that they usually aren't really considered for.
    • Kindred spirit: The sense another expert goes well with something similar fighter gets while adding some really useful mechanical boons to that ribbon
  • Adversarial focus: getting another adversary at 6 is fitting & the +1 to the limited subset of adversaries is fitting
  • Game hunting: an extra familiar terrain at 6 is fitting & shortening the time to swap from two weeks down to one is a good middle ground between "your a n00b & probably shouldn't travel too far if you want to live" and "you want to be able to swap before leaving the new area". Advantage to locate/catch game animals (in any terrain?) seems ftting & works much better than the outlander's stupid automatically feed everyone if you are playing in an adventure/setting where scarcity of food is intended to be a significant factor.
  • Versatile exploration: Makes sense that the class midway between druid & fighter could eventually pick from the list of either
  • Rapid fire: the fighter packet has a biting zephyr maneuver called "Volley", but I couldn't find missile volley . If Volley's the right maneuver it makes sense & seems fitting to reduce the cost & reuse it as a class feature like that rather than pointlessly duplicating it as something new that will get awkward as soon as feats/magic items/spells change one
  • Trackless hunting: This seems like a fitting reduction to two days at level 10 & third terrain needs to come sometime so why not ten :D Two days is a nice time period of "we got here, setup camp, & spent a day doing stuff"
  • Exploration knacks: These are dramatically better & more interesting than the druid's disappointing knacks.
    • Beast friend: at cr1/8 nonscaling the "won't attack except as a reaction to being attacked" effectively makes an already instant dead creature even less of a threat. While the fluff is cool, the result is pretty sad & shows the need for the return of multiple types & probably better scaling on this. With the other knacks beig generally mechanically useful the need to improve his is even greater.
    • Calls of the wild: This is a nice way to shift the generally too costly animal messenger spell to a neat little ability that could really shine with the ability to send out reports often & maybe get the occasional return message/package.
    • Ear to the ground: uhh.. for how long?... as written this is an always on ability for the rest of the charater's life after they spend that one point & it's not linked to any specific position. I like the idea, but it needs a duration and/or maybe a location tie to where it was activated.
    • Grub hunter: I like the idea & how it twists goodberry a bit, but there should probably be a phrase like "in a suitable environment" as the RAW works in both the king of the cleanfreak empire's throne room as well as a lava flow & riding a spelljammer/airship through empty space/sky.
    • Healing salve: The fluff & feel is great, but I'm going to agree with @aco175 & say that it needs to scale better than 1d4.
    • Herbal Bitters: exhaustion by default in 5e is one of those thins that's too difficult & death spiral inducing for the gm to really use resulting in it almost never coming up except for that one barbarian, this is an interesting way of putting in some temporary mitigation 4 hours is a nice window for the party to rest for a prepared caster to swap in then cast a life saving spell if bob is really going to die after it ends. With that said, it probably wont change much & will just be something to help that one barbarian archetype... so here's to the return of old school ability damage
    • Master tracker: I like the feel even if it will sometimes make my life difficult as a gm :D Stipulating "Outdoor area" is a great limitation.
    • Monster Mimic: neat flavor & interesting application of social engineering since studied adversaries can include humanoid races & various pseudo-humanoid beings like fiends/fey/elementals & whatnot.
    • Poisons & antidotes: The rogue mentioned chapter 4 & 12 while this mentions chapter4 making it hard to judge the value.... but given what the sorcerer could choose to do with poison this could be extremely useful if we start seeing that kinda stuff in monsters too
    • Read the room: Interesting way of gathering information in social situations.
    • Relentless pursuit: This seems interesting but opens up a difficult can of worms when you add things like pass without trace, the sorcerer strange traces, or even "here they cast fly/used their wings & left the ground"
    • See the unseen: Interesting ability that includes a duration to improve on ear to the ground.
  • Soldering maneuvers: There are some very interesting things in here that are real winners to enable certain kinds of fighting.
    • Riding Leap: this allows for some really interesting mobility of mounted combatants but it's not clear if the "your movement does not provoke AoOs" applies to a leap, the 30 feet in a straight line, any movement at all
    • Share shield: battlemaster has something like this, but IME it tends to be a trap that leaves them pleading with an uninterested group to stay within x feet. The artificer artillerist partial cover aura works a lot better even if it's something like splitting your shield bonus between yourself & all allies within your reach.
    • Soldier Combat Stance: This is an interesting way of making sword & board play different from 2h weapons & dual wielder. I really like it
    • Strafe: I like this & feel like it's a much better flavor than tacked onto the mobile feat
    • Rearing strike: Mechanically I like this, but the name breeds confusion as you don't actually strike at anything & the targets don't actually need to be able to see you for this to work.
    • Sacrifice shield: I just love this coupled with all the fighter's ways of autosucceeding or getting an extra wack at saves this makes for a potentially really crunchy sword & board character while making another nice distinction between how sword & board differs in play from other styles.
    • Trample: It was good in the past & it's good again
    • Launched strike: This kind of on demand crit makes mounted combatants into a new & interesting sort of threat level combatant without being an always thing.
    • Sacrifice mount: I wonder if the cost is a bit high given the difference that usually exists between pc & mount but also wonder if there should be a second one that allows you to redirect to self if not an option baked into the maneuver itself.
    • Shield self: Interesting way of making gaze attacks & "a creature you can see" spells interact with shields but hope that casters feel suitable love elsewhere since adding this kind of thing to baddies is so trivial it should almst be expected.
 

TheSword

Legend
Trained accuracy: I like the idea, but the costs are wayy too high when you get 2x proficiency bonus exertion points & recover them on a long or short rest. You could almost remove the first two options (add them to sniper target or split one into accuracy reserve maybe?) &restart the 1 exertion cost at the +2d6 option. I disagree with @TheSword & @silvefiresage on the bonuses being too good though, you only need to look at the no cost every round sneak attack dice rouge gets as an example of why these lesser at cost ones are too insignificant with the pseudo-no cost ones not making up the gap. Yea ranger gets second attack at 5 & rogue doesn't, but the cost & possible concentration requirements are too high to justify the spread.
It’s the cumulative bonuses that make this more powerful. The change to the hunters mark effect of the ranger is a straight up upgrade +1 to hit and a d6 not d4 vs Tasha’s.

Combine this with the +1 to hit for having 2 exertion points in reserve. And possibly the +1 to hit at 6th level. Now you have +3 to hit as well as the same number of attacks. At a cost of well... only... 1 exertion point per encounter. (+2 if not favoured foe). That is very good compared to anything in the existing rules.
 

ScuroNotte

Explorer
Most of us like playing a Ranger, and half of us have played since basic. We have played with versions of spell-less rangers, our own and others available on various platforms. Unfortunately, this version has not made our list of wanting to play.
 

Faolyn

(she/her)
Thanks for posting this early! As per usual, initial thoughts:

Magic: First, I am very definitely happy that this is spell-less and only grants archetype spells. The only suggestion I could possibly make here is to make one of the knacks or other traits the ability to basically get the Magic Initiate feat, where you could get two druid cantrips and one druid or ranger spell. As an option, it opens up the door for people who like more magical rangers without making them into half-casters.

Familiar Terrain: The main change I would make would be to change the phrase "After 14 consecutive days of traveling" to "After 10 consecutive days of traveling or living in." Ten days just in case there are people out there who actually use FR's tendays (also, rangers don't need no stinking calendar), and living in because camping out in the wilderness or living in a wilderness fort is different than traveling through the wilderness en route to somewhere else, but both give you the option of learning the surrounding area well.

The other change I would make is, in the Druid packet, you had "Eldritch Survivor" as a knack. You should include Magical Lands as one of the options here--doubly so now that Tasha's includes Supernatural Regions.

Now, the following is an issue with the wording of the PH ranger: "you remain alert to danger." For the life of me, I can't remember if there are any actual rules for not being alert to danger.

Studied Adversaries: "Two humanoid heritages." Does this mean that this would include people of mixed heritage as well? You might want to note that.

A thought: While there aren't a lot of monster tags that aren't humanoid heritages, there are a few: shapechanger and titan, off the top of my head. Perhaps these should be options for rangers as well. I can imagine a doppelganger hunter who doesn't care about other monstrosities.

Also, personal plea: I have no idea if you're going to also put out a monster book at any point (hey, Pathfinder has multiple books, and they started out as a 3.75 edition), but perhaps Giant and Humanoid could be blended together, with giants having a [giant] tag. Because what's the difference, really, between a Large humanoid and a Large giant?

Maneuvers: Hmm, new maneuver. Are you actually planning on putting all the maneuvers in their own chapter now? Because fighters could definitely benefit from Soldiering.

Stride and Seek: Since Sniper has definition connotations of distance attacks, perhaps rename Sniper's Target to just Target, or Marked Quarry, or something like that.

Trained Accuracy: This seems awfully complicated. I'd say that for every 1 exertion you spend, you get either +1 to hit or +1d6 to damage, to a maximum of spending 6 exertion for +3/+3d6. If you're worried that's too much damage, just make it +1d4.

(Semi-related: do you have any plans on bringing back masterwork weapons, and if so, how?)

This makes me wonder why rogues get a flat bonus to damage and not something like this.

Accuracy Reserve seems far too powerful.

Answering Silence: Because you're terribly mysterious. I am amused, even if it's not particularly logical.

Game Hunting: First, you might want to define "game animals." Any beasts? Beasts under a certain CR? Because "game animals" has also included large animals like elephants, which are high CR. Also, logically in D&D-land, if you're allowing for high CR beasts, you should include monstrosities with an Int of 3 or lower, like griffons and owlbears. (Like Eberron did.)

(Second personal plea: if you actual create an MM, stick nonmagical monstrosities like this in the beast section. Give 'em a [magical hybrid] tag that means druids can't shapeshift into 'em, if you like, but seriously, things like that should just be treated as normal D&D beasts)

Versatile Exploration: Approve. I'm tempted to put Rogue on that list as well.

Beast Friend: Approve. Perhaps have an ability that allows you to spend additional exertion for higher CRs (perhaps requiring you to take this knack multiple times).

Grub Hunter: Ewwww! ;) Slimy yet satisfying.

Poisons and Antidotes: You should be able to use this to milk a snake, grab the venom sacs off a wyvern, giant scorpion or other living/just slain creature. In fact, this ability should be rephrased as "you gain proficiency in the Poisoner's Kit, if you didn't already have it, and you gain the ability to make poisons out of plants and animals."

Soldiering: I feel like you should divide this into Soldiery and Calvary/Mounted Combat.
 

tetrasodium

Legend
Supporter
Thanks for posting this early! As per usual, initial thoughts:

Magic: First, I am very definitely happy that this is spell-less and only grants archetype spells. The only suggestion I could possibly make here is to make one of the knacks or other traits the ability to basically get the Magic Initiate feat, where you could get two druid cantrips and one druid or ranger spell. As an option, it opens up the door for people who like more magical rangers without making them into half-casters.

Familiar Terrain: The main change I would make would be to change the phrase "After 14 consecutive days of traveling" to "After 10 consecutive days of traveling or living in." Ten days just in case there are people out there who actually use FR's tendays (also, rangers don't need no stinking calendar), and living in because camping out in the wilderness or living in a wilderness fort is different than traveling through the wilderness en route to somewhere else, but both give you the option of learning the surrounding area well.

The other change I would make is, in the Druid packet, you had "Eldritch Survivor" as a knack. You should include Magical Lands as one of the options here--doubly so now that Tasha's includes Supernatural Regions.

Now, the following is an issue with the wording of the PH ranger: "you remain alert to danger." For the life of me, I can't remember if there are any actual rules for not being alert to danger.

Studied Adversaries: "Two humanoid heritages." Does this mean that this would include people of mixed heritage as well? You might want to note that.

A thought: While there aren't a lot of monster tags that aren't humanoid heritages, there are a few: shapechanger and titan, off the top of my head. Perhaps these should be options for rangers as well. I can imagine a doppelganger hunter who doesn't care about other monstrosities.

Also, personal plea: I have no idea if you're going to also put out a monster book at any point (hey, Pathfinder has multiple books, and they started out as a 3.75 edition), but perhaps Giant and Humanoid could be blended together, with giants having a [giant] tag. Because what's the difference, really, between a Large humanoid and a Large giant?

Maneuvers: Hmm, new maneuver. Are you actually planning on putting all the maneuvers in their own chapter now? Because fighters could definitely benefit from Soldiering.

Stride and Seek: Since Sniper has definition connotations of distance attacks, perhaps rename Sniper's Target to just Target, or Marked Quarry, or something like that.

Trained Accuracy: This seems awfully complicated. I'd say that for every 1 exertion you spend, you get either +1 to hit or +1d6 to damage, to a maximum of spending 6 exertion for +3/+3d6. If you're worried that's too much damage, just make it +1d4.

(Semi-related: do you have any plans on bringing back masterwork weapons, and if so, how?)

This makes me wonder why rogues get a flat bonus to damage and not something like this.

Accuracy Reserve seems far too powerful.

Answering Silence: Because you're terribly mysterious. I am amused, even if it's not particularly logical.

Game Hunting: First, you might want to define "game animals." Any beasts? Beasts under a certain CR? Because "game animals" has also included large animals like elephants, which are high CR. Also, logically in D&D-land, if you're allowing for high CR beasts, you should include monstrosities with an Int of 3 or lower, like griffons and owlbears. (Like Eberron did.)

(Second personal plea: if you actual create an MM, stick nonmagical monstrosities like this in the beast section. Give 'em a [magical hybrid] tag that means druids can't shapeshift into 'em, if you like, but seriously, things like that should just be treated as normal D&D beasts)

Versatile Exploration: Approve. I'm tempted to put Rogue on that list as well.

Beast Friend: Approve. Perhaps have an ability that allows you to spend additional exertion for higher CRs (perhaps requiring you to take this knack multiple times).

Grub Hunter: Ewwww! ;) Slimy yet satisfying.

Poisons and Antidotes: You should be able to use this to milk a snake, grab the venom sacs off a wyvern, giant scorpion or other living/just slain creature. In fact, this ability should be rephrased as "you gain proficiency in the Poisoner's Kit, if you didn't already have it, and you gain the ability to make poisons out of plants and animals."

Soldiering: I feel like you should divide this into Soldiery and Calvary/Mounted Combat.
On the game hunting being undefined, I think leaving it vague is good, but "local game animals" would go a long way. Game animals in Athas (darksun) or the demon wastes (nasty part of eberron) would be extremely differentfrom those outside waterdeep & none of them are likely to even be near the same CR but it "local game animals" or "local game creatures" would work for all of those.
 
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I like most of what is here. A lot of knacks and they build up quickly, which feels appropriate for Rangers. The ability to alter Familiar Terrain and Studied Adversary after a time seems like a really obvious fix to the 5e counterparts. Like, painfully obvious.

Trained Accuracy is throwing me off. The idea is solid but I am not a fan of the Accuracy Reserve portion. Being rewarded for not using my resources just doesn't sit well with me. I'd rather just scrap the reserve and lower the cost a bit for the bonuses.

The rest seems on point. Spell-less as a starting point is a good move. It's much easier to add spells if a subclass calls for it. Rangers aren't my cup of tea but I think I'd enjoy DMing or playing alongside the LU version you've got here.
 

Waller

Hero
Great looking class. Still don't know why it's not part of the Fighter class. Everything here feels like a variant Fighter to me.
I’ve long said that about all classes. They’re all fighters or wizards with subclasses.

Rogue - sneaky fighter
Ranger - outdoors fighter
Barbarian - shouty fighter
Cleric - holy wizard
Sorcerer - spontaneous wizard
Bard - musical wizard
Paladin - fighter/cleric
Monk - unarmed fighter

But then it’s not D&D any more I guess. D&D has its sacred cows.

Also why do we keep ability scores when all we use is the modifier?
 

Minigiant

Legend
Supporter
Although it has a lot of cool ideas, I think this spell-less ranger falls into the same problems I see in many spell-less rangers: fighteritis.

D&D has a moderate amount of fantasy and magic in it. This extends to its obstacles and stories told, including those in the wilderness. This spellless ranger goes lower on the explorer fantasy and makes up for it with combat and social bumps. The base ranger is getting darkvision when this one gets advantage to hunt ducks and squirrels.

Familiar Terrain and Studied Adversaries and their upgrades are great.
 

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