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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What this is​

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.

What this is not​

This is NOT the final game. It’s OK if you don’t like elements of these rules; that’s the purpose of a playtest document. Be sure to participate in the follow-up survey in a few days. All data, positive or negative is useful.

What we use this for​

Your survey responses help form the direction of the game as it goes through the development process.

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Russ Morrissey

Russ Morrissey

Minigiant

Legend
Supporter
For the record, Large giants include ogres, trolls (except for dire trolls), ettins, oni, ogrillons, and crab folk.
All of which break mundane nets easily


And a creature can only attempt break out of the net on its turn, until which, attack rolls made against it are made at advantage. Even if it breaks out right away, it still sacrifices an action and potentially gives the rest of a party an easy attack against it.

If the giant type monster has a slashing damage attack, they can intacut themselves out. And the a5ev2 ranger had to use at least one attack to use the bonus action net attack. So the ranger gets minimal boost from this vs big monsters. All while not having a second weapon, shield, nor 2 handed weapon.


And as @tetrasodium suggests, there's a possibility of reinforced nets, either magical or not (chain nets?). I'm not sure a Medium creature could handle a net made for a Giant creature without resorting to building a trap, but there's still options here
Magical weapon are assumed.
Magical nets are not assumed.
Magical nets with higher break DCs are not assumed.
 

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Faolyn

(she/her)
All of which break mundane nets easily

If the giant type monster has a slashing damage attack, they can intacut themselves out. And the a5ev2 ranger had to use at least one attack to use the bonus action net attack. So the ranger gets minimal boost from this vs big monsters. All while not having a second weapon, shield, nor 2 handed weapon.

Only on their action, and only if they (a) succeed on their roll--which yes, is likely considering their Strength, but not guaranteed--and only if the (b) have a slashing attack, which most giants don't, at least not right out of the MM (trolls and oni have claws, ogrillons carry battleaxes). And they still have to waste an action to do so. Ranger throws a net, everyone who goes before the creature gets an attack with advantage, and unless the creature has multiple actions (not multiattack), it can't do anything that turn.

No, magical and reinforced nets aren't assumed, but that's like saying that lycanthropes are too powerful because silvered or magical weapons aren't assumed. If you have a ranger who wants to use a net, they're going to splurge and get special nets. Heck, I wouldn't be too surprised if LU includes the possibility of special nets in their equipment list.

Basically, the net isn't perfect, as it has too many rules-exemptions in it, but LU has done a decent job of making rangers use it well.
 

Minigiant

Legend
Supporter
Only on their action, and only if they (a) succeed on their roll--which yes, is likely considering their Strength, but not guaranteed--and only if the (b) have a slashing attack, which most giants don't, at least not right out of the MM (trolls and oni have claws, ogrillons carry battleaxes). And they still have to waste an action to do so. Ranger throws a net, everyone who goes before the creature gets an attack with advantage, and unless the creature has multiple actions (not multiattack), it can't do anything that turn

Again it doesn't feel that fantastic for it's level nor rangery enough to me at least. It feels too situational in the wrong way (application vs target).

Then you have Versatile Exploration and Flash of Steel which are just "pick up fighter (or druid) things"

But it seems a lot of people love it so it will likely continue this path. To me, many spell-less rangers are just fighter/druids with the druid spells and wildshape taken out and the fighting style narrow. I see rangers as something other a fighter/druid so my view will disagree from most.
 

Waller

Hero
Again it doesn't feel that fantastic for it's level nor rangery enough to me at least. It feels too situational in the wrong way (application vs target).

Then you have Versatile Exploration and Flash of Steel which are just "pick up fighter (or druid) things"

But it seems a lot of people love it so it will likely continue this path. To me, many spell-less rangers are just fighter/druids with the druid spells and wildshape taken out and the fighting style narrow. I see rangers as something other a fighter/druid so my view will disagree from most.
You're telling us lots of times what a spell-less ranger isn't to you but you haven't told us what a spell-less ranger is to you. Why don't you give us some context by sharing your vision of a spell-less ranger so we can see where you're coming from?
 

Raduin711

Adventurer
I feel like the Studied Adversary feature should be broadened out to be a general "I am an expert on monsters" ability. As it is, a ranger can switch it out after a long rest, which kind of defeats the purpose of it being a "monster grudge" type of ability. I think that concept has outlived it's usefulness. Perhaps an optional perk for those that want the concept.

Ultimately, how I might want to see this ability play out is like this: The PC's encounter the evidence of a battle. After studying footprints and other evidence, the Ranger deduces: "Aha! it must be rock giants!" and proceeds to give the PC's the skinny on rock giants and tracks them down to their lair, perhaps offering insights along the way. When he finds the Rock Giants, his insight might offer some conditional combat bonuses.

The ability as written would require him to just-so-happen to have picked Giants that particular day. As he probably didn't, he is kind of robbed of a spotlight opportunity. So now that we know it is some kind of Giant, he is obviously going to want to change out his Studied Adversary ASAP, but there is a pretty good chance that the encounter with the Rock Giants will be over before he gets a long rest. Even if he does get a long rest, his sudden insight is going to feel a little forced from a RP perspective.

If making the Ranger an expert on every type of monster seems extreme, maybe come up with a list of monster types that every ranger should have expertise with. My instinct is to give him insight into monsters that have some kind of ecology and live on the prime material plane: Aberrations, Beasts, Dragons, Giants, Monstrosities, Oozes, Plants, and Humanoids. Celestials, Constructs, Fey, Fiends, and Undead and Humanoids that have these types would be excluded, unless the ranger purchased them with a perk.
 

tetrasodium

Legend
Supporter
I feel like the Studied Adversary feature should be broadened out to be a general "I am an expert on monsters" ability. As it is, a ranger can switch it out after a long rest, which kind of defeats the purpose of it being a "monster grudge" type of ability. I think that concept has outlived it's usefulness. Perhaps an optional perk for those that want the concept.

Ultimately, how I might want to see this ability play out is like this: The PC's encounter the evidence of a battle. After studying footprints and other evidence, the Ranger deduces: "Aha! it must be rock giants!" and proceeds to give the PC's the skinny on rock giants and tracks them down to their lair, perhaps offering insights along the way. When he finds the Rock Giants, his insight might offer some conditional combat bonuses.

The ability as written would require him to just-so-happen to have picked Giants that particular day. As he probably didn't, he is kind of robbed of a spotlight opportunity. So now that we know it is some kind of Giant, he is obviously going to want to change out his Studied Adversary ASAP, but there is a pretty good chance that the encounter with the Rock Giants will be over before he gets a long rest. Even if he does get a long rest, his sudden insight is going to feel a little forced from a RP perspective.

If making the Ranger an expert on every type of monster seems extreme, maybe come up with a list of monster types that every ranger should have expertise with. My instinct is to give him insight into monsters that have some kind of ecology and live on the prime material plane: Aberrations, Beasts, Dragons, Giants, Monstrosities, Oozes, Plants, and Humanoids. Celestials, Constructs, Fey, Fiends, and Undead and Humanoids that have these types would be excluded, unless the ranger purchased them with a perk.
Especially because this one also gets a bonus to pretend it is a member of s studied adversary making it also fit the mold for things like spy and such. Ranger is more thsn legolas... huzzah
 

Minigiant

Legend
Supporter
You're telling us lots of times what a spell-less ranger isn't to you but you haven't told us what a spell-less ranger is to you. Why don't you give us some context by sharing your vision of a spell-less ranger so we can see where you're coming from?

I didn't want to suggest things and corrupt the creative process.

But to me, a spell-less ranger gains abilities that tailor themselves specifically to certain monsters and terrains in ways general enough to apply to many common.creatures. As the spelless ranger level, they become monstrous with resistances, immunities, gadgets, techniques, bonus damage, senses, etc via training, diet, items, and boons.

Basically a spell-less ranger to me is a very magical one. You don't cast spells, the effects are permanent.
 

Faolyn

(she/her)
I put down, in the survey, a desire for more herb lore*. I didn't go into too much detail because there wasn't a lot of room, but: herbs to let you withstand the elements, to inflict acid or necrotic damage, to create glues or oils, to remove or inflict diseases, sleeping potions, hallucinogens, and so on. Spell-less rangers could be small-scale alchemists.

*Where "herb" also means "extracted from animals and monsters as well."
 

This is the only Level Up class thus far that I find disappointing. While it's a thoughtful tweak to the O5E ranger...it doesn't excite me. Which I believe is the real problem with the ranger. It's dull. The ranger needs a core mechanic like other classes have: smite, sneak attack, rage, metamagic, wildshape, etc. That's what I'd love to see for the ranger from Level Up.
 

Faolyn

(she/her)
This is the only Level Up class thus far that I find disappointing. While it's a thoughtful tweak to the O5E ranger...it doesn't excite me. Which I believe is the real problem with the ranger. It's dull. The ranger needs a core mechanic like other classes have: smite, sneak attack, rage, metamagic, wildshape, etc. That's what I'd love to see for the ranger from Level Up.
Yeah, but what? They don't have a core theme like the other classes do. They're all over the place: trackers, bounty hunters, regular hunters, forest protectors, archers, two-weapon fighters, quarterstaff fighters, herb lore, magic use...
 


Stalker0

Legend
This document is obsolete, folks. There was a ranger v2 document a week later.
Going based on earlier statements, I never got the impression the v2 was meant to be a replacement....but that both classes were being presented to get feedback.

if this version is truly obsolete, why not delete the thread?
 

Yeah, but what? They don't have a core theme like the other classes do. They're all over the place: trackers, bounty hunters, regular hunters, forest protectors, archers, two-weapon fighters, quarterstaff fighters, herb lore, magic use...
My point is that I think a core MECHANIC can and should be created. Think about barbarians. The rage mechanic is the core of that class. It's a defining feature that players love. But does it capture every thematic aspect of barbarians? Nope.
 


Faolyn

(she/her)
My point is that I think a core MECHANIC can and should be created. Think about barbarians. The rage mechanic is the core of that class. It's a defining feature that players love. But does it capture every thematic aspect of barbarians? Nope.
I agree. What is the core mechanic of the ranger? What makes the ranger a ranger?

In my readings through old Dragon Magazine, I saw them asking that same question 20, 30+ years ago. I don't think it's been answered to the majority's satisfaction yet.
 

ART!

Legend
The Ranger's things is tracking/hunting, and being more used than other classes to living in the wild. Since Level Up is shifting Barbarian to Berseker (a smart move, IMHO), then that frees up at least a little conceptual territory for the Ranger. I'm thinking the Barbarian features a Ranger could have would be some version of Unarmored Defense, Primal Path, Danger Sense, and increased movement.
 

Minigiant

Legend
Supporter
I agree. What is the core mechanic of the ranger?
Favored Enemy
What makes the ranger a ranger?
Being able to handle the wilderness and its inhabitants in an eficient and effective manner in order to deal with its favored enemies on terms favorable to the ranger.

---
The key problem D&D always had was threading that needle. It's a Specialist. But how does one make a specialist specialized without either over specializing to the point of being too narrow nor broadening its power over too many areas.
 

I agree. What is the core mechanic of the ranger? What makes the ranger a ranger?

In my readings through old Dragon Magazine, I saw them asking that same question 20, 30+ years ago. I don't think it's been answered to the majority's satisfaction yet.
Correct.
 

Faolyn

(she/her)
Favored Enemy

Being able to handle the wilderness and its inhabitants in an eficient and effective manner in order to deal with its favored enemies on terms favorable to the ranger.

OK, so how would you do that mechanically that makes it (a) one core mechanic, like rage or sneak attack or metamagic and (b) is neither under- nor overpowered? Because "being able to handle the wilderness" and "being able to handle wilderness inhabitants" are already two different mechanics, and may become a lot more if you accept that there are a bunch of different types of wilderness and a bunch of different types of inhabitants.
 

Minigiant

Legend
Supporter
OK, so how would you do that mechanically that makes it (a) one core mechanic, like rage or sneak attack or metamagic and (b) is neither under- nor overpowered? Because "being able to handle the wilderness" and "being able to handle wilderness inhabitants" are already two different mechanics, and may become a lot more if you accept that there are a bunch of different types of wilderness and a bunch of different types of inhabitants.
There are actually many ways to do A. And avoiding B is not difficult as well. Just pick one and test it.

The thing is that the ranger is not a fighter/druid, fighter/rogue or a fighter/rogue/druid. The ranger is a class based on the idea that there are people who are train purposely for a specific goal. The core mechanic is just the tool to help reach that goal.

Once you define that goal, you ask "what would a person with that goal want to be able to do?".
This is the main issue with rangers. Often Too much attention was and is placed on how a ranger should look and what part or features it has and how to mimic whom. Not enough is thought is put into why a ranger has a feature and why it wants that feature. If a ranger loses her spells, well what did she have her spells for? Can she replicate the same solutions mundanely or does she learn to bypass the same issues or does she refocus on other things? The A5E team seems to be doing this somewhat while being hamstrung by the old thought processes of the community.
 

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