Mike Mearls Discusses Possible Alternate Class Features for the Ranger on Happy Fun Hour 11/20

Parmandur

Legend
So, in the latest Happy Fun Hour, Mike Mearls discusses how the recent round of feedback suggests that people are more dissatisfied with the Ranger than they were early in the edition, so he brainstorms some alternate features to help people's experience of the Class without replacing the Class or invalidating the PHB:

https://www.twitch.tv/videos/338523993

and a transcript of the features can be found here:

https://thinkdm.wordpress.com/hfh/revised-ranger-2018/
 

5ekyu

Adventurer
To me the most substantial change comes from turning the enemy and explorer away from the past "in the past i learned about one type" to the present "right now, right here, i can study this and gain advantages about this specific stuff here."

So let them be "after abc study of xyz you can now..."

So by spending time studying local orcs you get to figure out exploits you can use against these orcs in this area to gain advantages.

Etc

Saves the frustration of wondering how often your terrain or your enemy types will show up.
 

MechaTarrasque

Adventurer
Interesting. From the language, it looks like martial exploits was originally supposed to be a fighter gimmick.

"Building beast using spells" sounds interesting, as long as it doesn't involve haggling over evolution points like the PF1 Summoner. Big features, like big feats, seems good. Sounds like it would be worth it to watch it this weekend.

Of course, with anything involving rangers or psychics, better not to get my hopes up.
 

MechaTarrasque

Adventurer
To me the most substantial change comes from turning the enemy and explorer away from the past "in the past i learned about one type" to the present "right now, right here, i can study this and gain advantages about this specific stuff here."

So let them be "after abc study of xyz you can now..."

So by spending time studying local orcs you get to figure out exploits you can use against these orcs in this area to gain advantages.

Etc

Saves the frustration of wondering how often your terrain or your enemy types will show up.
All that studying, maybe the ranger should be an int class instead of a wisdom class.....
 

Parmandur

Legend
Interesting. From the language, it looks like martial exploits was originally supposed to be a fighter gimmick.

"Building beast using spells" sounds interesting, as long as it doesn't involve haggling over evolution points like the PF1 Summoner. Big features, like big feats, seems good. Sounds like it would be worth it to watch it this weekend.

Of course, with anything involving rangers or psychics, better not to get my hopes up.
Yeah, he copy-pasted something he had worked on in a previous episode for a Book of Nine Swords style Fighter subclass.

Basically, making spell-casting Rangers, Beast-friend Rangers and Martial Rangers work off of the same math of spell slots, just different uses.
 

Stalker0

Adventurer
So my thoughts.

Favored Enemy: I like the idea of "I am focusing all of my skill on this one target" as opposed to "I have studied a group of creatures I may or may not encounter in any adventures in the future". I will say just the fact that I will effectively have advantage on all of my insight rolls against most people is a pretty solid bonus.

I think the extra attacks are a little clunky. I would be fine with just a simple "gain +1 or +2 damage to your attacks against your favored enemy...or even "half your proficiency bonus". Make it quick and clean.

Natural Explorer: I will say that people underestimate this ability in core, but that said I'm fine with buffing it a bit. All of the bonuses here are great, I would struggle to pick any single one over the others. It also gives the ranger a really wide range of options to customize the class.

Mighty Slayer: This needs work. First, bell-ringer is OP at 2nd level. Its stronger than a monk's stunning attack, and you can do it 3 times a times at 2nd level. But overall, I think there is a lot of wasted words here. I think its far smoother to give them some battlemaster love.

Give them 1 or 2 superiority dice, and give them 2 or 3 specific maneuvers that are the most "rangery". Done and done. No need to reinvent all of these other crazy abilities.
 

MechaTarrasque

Adventurer
If they hadn't put wisdom as the survival and hunting attitude, perhaps.
Wisdom is more the subconsciously noticing patterns. Some of those patterns are based on "nature" (which might involve fey or elementals in D&D), so it tends to be used for the outdoor types. Not all clerics are masters of the woods, though, so there are other patterns (signs from the gods, etc.).

I think the ranger would benefit from a more proactive stance. Int seems a better stat for that than wisdom. No chance of that kind of change in 5e, though. {Of course, if we were changing casting stats, sorcerer really should be the arcane wisdom class--what makes someone a better "natural" than instinctively being able to follow the patterns of magic in the Weave?}
 

Eltab

Villager
My dissatisfaction stems from the fact that my Ranger can declare a Favored Enemy and a Favored Terrain, but doesn't seem to be noticeably better at fighting those enemies or evading the difficulties of that terrain than any other fellow.
This is a combination of inadequate rules and mechanically ineffective play on my part. I can only work on one end of that equation.
Monster Hunter addresses the Favored Enemy part. Progress.
 

Elfcrusher

Adventurer
My dissatisfaction stems from the fact that my Ranger can declare a Favored Enemy and a Favored Terrain, but doesn't seem to be noticeably better at fighting those enemies or evading the difficulties of that terrain than any other fellow.
This is a combination of inadequate rules and mechanically ineffective play on my part. I can only work on one end of that equation.
Monster Hunter addresses the Favored Enemy part. Progress.
I use Favored Enemy all the time. I ask my DM specific questions about monsters and he lets me make an appropriate check with Advantage. E.g., "How far away do I have to be so that the Purple Worm cannot attack me without moving for a round?"

Of course, players who memorize the Monster Manual don't get much benefit from this.
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
Yeah, he copy-pasted something he had worked on in a previous episode for a Book of Nine Swords style Fighter subclass.

Basically, making spell-casting Rangers, Beast-friend Rangers and Martial Rangers work off of the same math of spell slots, just different uses.
I hope it isn’t his only idea for helping out the “beast-friend” ranger. My primary conception of the ranger is a magical class with an animal companion. I’d be fine with having spells that primarily boost the pet, though. Like a pet friendly version of mage armor, or being able to cast Absorb Elements for your pet, etc. I’m fine with being able to burn slots to make my pet more effective, not with having to choose between soellcasting and an effective pet.

I use Favored Enemy all the time. I ask my DM specific questions about monsters and he lets me make an appropriate check with Advantage. E.g., "How far away do I have to be so that the Purple Worm cannot attack me without moving for a round?"

Of course, players who memorize the Monster Manual don't get much benefit from this.
Or players whose DMs don’t make them roll for stuff like situational awareness of things like a creature’s reach, etc.
 

Parmandur

Legend
I hope it isn’t his only idea for helping out the “beast-friend” ranger. My primary conception of the ranger is a magical class with an animal companion. I’d be fine with having spells that primarily boost the pet, though. Like a pet friendly version of mage armor, or being able to cast Absorb Elements for your pet, etc. I’m fine with being able to burn slots to make my pet more effective, not with having to choose between soellcasting and an effective pet.



Or players whose DMs don’t make them roll for stuff like situational awareness of things like a creature’s reach, etc.
That's already in the base game, though: to be more robust, it needs to trade something somewhere. This builds on the work Mearls has been doing with Psionics and summoning spells.
 

clearstream

Explorer
So my thoughts.

Favored Enemy: I like the idea of "I am focusing all of my skill on this one target" as opposed to "I have studied a group of creatures I may or may not encounter in any adventures in the future". I will say just the fact that I will effectively have advantage on all of my insight rolls against most people is a pretty solid bonus.

I think the extra attacks are a little clunky. I would be fine with just a simple "gain +1 or +2 damage to your attacks against your favored enemy...or even "half your proficiency bonus". Make it quick and clean.

Natural Explorer: I will say that people underestimate this ability in core, but that said I'm fine with buffing it a bit. All of the bonuses here are great, I would struggle to pick any single one over the others. It also gives the ranger a really wide range of options to customize the class.

Mighty Slayer: This needs work. First, bell-ringer is OP at 2nd level. Its stronger than a monk's stunning attack, and you can do it 3 times a times at 2nd level. But overall, I think there is a lot of wasted words here. I think its far smoother to give them some battlemaster love.

Give them 1 or 2 superiority dice, and give them 2 or 3 specific maneuvers that are the most "rangery". Done and done. No need to reinvent all of these other crazy abilities.
I kind of wish the Natural Explorer features gave a nod to the Explorer pillar. For instance,

Arctic: You gain resistance to cold damage, and advantage on Constitution saving throws against exhaustion from Extreme Cold.

or

Arctic: You gain resistance to cold damage, and ignore the first Constitution saving throw you fail from spending an hour in Extreme Cold.

Something similar can readily apply to the others and for me would have deliver stronger thematic support to the class.
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
That's already in the base game, though: to be more robust, it needs to trade something somewhere. This builds on the work Mearls has been doing with Psionics and summoning spells.
I haven’t watched much of his psionics work yet. MMHFH is long, and I’ve a lot of other things to do, and I keep forgetting to watch. I’m guessing that it involves using spell slots to summon and empower creatures? If so, then like I said above (or maybe in the other ranger thread), I’m here for that. I’m just not here for replacing “Spellcasting” with “Animal Companion using spell slot style mechanics as a building/balancing guideline”, or somesuch, as a solution to the beast master’s problems.

My preference would be to replace the pet itself with the revised ranger pet, leave Extra Attack alone (unlike in the revised ranger), and/or the ability to use “self” buff spells on your companion, and either way add some more spells thst can buff the pet. And make sure hawks and such are viable companions. If the system he is exploring can accomplishthe same things, I’m all for it.

I kind of wish the Natural Explorer features gave a nod to the Explorer pillar. For instance,

Arctic: You gain resistance to cold damage, and advantage on Constitution saving throws against exhaustion from Extreme Cold.

or

Arctic: You gain resistance to cold damage, and ignore the first Constitution saving throw you fail from spending an hour in Extreme Cold.

Something similar can readily apply to the others and for me would have deliver stronger thematic support to the class.
Great ideas! I hope you’ll tune in on tuesdays and provide that feedback in chat, and on twitter In he meantime. He definately takes feedback to heart for stuff he is working on in Happy Fun Hour.
 

Elfcrusher

Adventurer
Or players whose DMs don’t make them roll for stuff like situational awareness of things like a creature’s reach, etc.
Huh?

Oh, I was talking about knowing the creature's movement rate (including how fast it can burrow) not its reach.

Although this feature was also useful knowing a Roper's reach. (Turns out it's HUGE...and I don't think in that case the actual number would be or should be obvious with 'situational awareness').

Anyway, there are numerous other examples. I've used it to discover resistances/immunities, for example. Then again, I've got "aberrations" and "monstrosities" as my two favored enemies, which are the categories most likely to have weird abilities. I could see this being a lot less useful against giants, for example.

Undead would probably be another good choice.
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
Huh?

Oh, I was talking about knowing the creature's movement rate (including how fast it can burrow) not its reach.

Although this feature was also useful knowing a Roper's reach. (Turns out it's HUGE...and I don't think in that case the actual number would be or should be obvious with 'situational awareness').

Anyway, there are numerous other examples. I've used it to discover resistances/immunities, for example. Then again, I've got "aberrations" and "monstrosities" as my two favored enemies, which are the categories most likely to have weird abilities. I could see this being a lot less useful against giants, for example.

Undead would probably be another good choice.
Ah! Ok, that makes more sense.

Monster knowledge is definately a good thing to be generous with the ranger on, especially agisnt their favored enemy, and critters common to their favored terrains.
 

cbwjm

I can add a custom title.
I kind of wish the Natural Explorer features gave a nod to the Explorer pillar. For instance,

Arctic: You gain resistance to cold damage, and advantage on Constitution saving throws against exhaustion from Extreme Cold.

or

Arctic: You gain resistance to cold damage, and ignore the first Constitution saving throw you fail from spending an hour in Extreme Cold.

Something similar can readily apply to the others and for me would have deliver stronger thematic support to the class.
I think if you have resistance to cold then you already ignore the effects of extreme cold.
 

ScuroNotte

Explorer
So, in the latest Happy Fun Hour, Mike Mearls discusses how the recent round of feedback suggests that people are more dissatisfied with the Ranger than they were early in the edition, so he brainstorms some alternate features to help people's experience of the Class without replacing the Class or invalidating the PHB
Alternate features for multiple classes are still a possibility, but we want to do more research before we invest time in them. We don’t want our design to chase phantoms but real desires held by a large number of players.
Hopefully the feedback made Crawford reconsider his words when he tweeted that a few phantoms were complaining about the ranger.


We are not a phantom (defined - Phantom is person/thing with an illusory status. Or something without material substance.)



WoTC are in complete denial. I wish they would just do a complete overhaul. Many liked the features of the recent UA Ranger, though spaced out better.
I would prefer minor benefits for Natural Explorer that would be useful in all terrains. In one talk Mearls mentions that the specifics of Natural Explorer with added benefits would be better as a conclave then as part of the core class, then he reverses course. I’m getting more frustrating over time as no resolution is in sight and they can’t acknowledge a mistake. We are human who inherently make mistakes.
 
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