5E Mike Mearls Happy Fun Hour, Nov 27 2018

Leatherhead

Possibly a Idiot.
Wherein, Mearls gives us the story behind why the Trident is so bad, Alternate Ranger Build-a-Beasts are explored, and the Brute is reincarnated into the Weapon Master.

[video=youtube;EeV5aZX1mqg]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EeV5aZX1mqg[/video]

[video]https://www.twitch.tv/videos/341529191[/video]
 
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Eubani

Explorer
A few things I would like to hang Mike up by his feet for are (beware of paraphrasing for simplicity/ wall of text sake) his comments around weapon and martial abilities Vs spells, spells will always win. History Vs fighter getting something cool, history will always win and a advanced weapons system would be great for fighters so cannot happen. Its seems that martial/fighter design will never be as good as they could be.
 

Baumi

Explorer
Sadly, I cannot watch the Video .. can anyone please tell me the reasoning for the weak Trident?
 

Garthanos

Arcadian Knight
A few things I would like to hang Mike up by his feet for are (beware of paraphrasing for simplicity/ wall of text sake) his comments around weapon and martial abilities Vs spells, spells will always win. History Vs fighter getting something cool, history will always win and a advanced weapons system would be great for fighters so cannot happen. Its seems that martial/fighter design will never be as good as they could be.
And he does that periodically
 

gyor

Adventurer
Lots of different interesting stuff. The reason why the Trident ended up like it did is that it was mostly an after thought, they put it in because various monsters used it.

And they thought of making it do straight up 1d8 damage, but felt that would make it the best thrown weapon in the game, so they decided that the least disruptive way to deal with how the elements of the Trident interact was to just leave it like the spear.

Also the way Ranger Alternate class features and subclasses interact was interesting. Like if you take the animal companion subclass and feature you get pick a higher CR animal, if instead go Gloom Stalker and Beast Companion Alternate feature, which causes issues with the Gloomstalkers bonus spells know which normally would be useless if you traded your spells for a companion was to allow you to cast each of the bonus spells known once per long rest without slots. I really liked it.

And of course the Great Weapon fighter seems to be progressing well.

Oh and a Whirling Blade Fighting style was shown, only wear light or no armour and you can use two weapon attack without expending your bonus action, and you get ability mod to off hand damage.

He also explained the math of replacing spell slots with a none spell slof class feature. For thr beast companion class alternate feature, the Beast Companion for example make it's attacks without using your action, and eventually get more hit dice as it levels.
 

Baumi

Explorer
Thanks! Seems like a really interesting Video.

I once tried to make a more balanced Weapon Chart .. which I thought that couldn't be so hard, but it was actually really problematic since you don't have many Options to balance if a Weapon gets a feature.
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
So, if you take the beast master subclass, without the build-a-beast alternate feature, you’re still stuck with the phb?
 

Parmandur

Legend
Lots of different interesting stuff. The reason why the Trident ended up like it did is that it was mostly an after thought, they put it in because various monsters used it.

And they thought of making it do straight up 1d8 damage, but felt that would make it the best thrown weapon in the game, so they decided that the least disruptive way to deal with how the elements of the Trident interact was to just leave it like the spear.

Also the way Ranger Alternate class features and subclasses interact was interesting. Like if you take the animal companion subclass and feature you get pick a higher CR animal, if instead go Gloom Stalker and Beast Companion Alternate feature, which causes issues with the Gloomstalkers bonus spells know which normally would be useless if you traded your spells for a companion was to allow you to cast each of the bonus spells known once per long rest without slots. I really liked it.

And of course the Great Weapon fighter seems to be progressing well.

Oh and a Whirling Blade Fighting style was shown, only wear light or no armour and you can use two weapon attack without expending your bonus action, and you get ability mod to off hand damage.

He also explained the math of replacing spell slots with a none spell slof class feature. For thr beast companion class alternate feature, the Beast Companion for example make it's attacks without using your action, and eventually get more hit dice as it levels.
One of the most interesting things I've learned from these videos is what math the designers use and have found to matter in play.
 

Parmandur

Legend
So, if you take the beast master subclass, without the build-a-beast alternate feature, you’re still stuck with the phb?
OK, so, build-a-beast is a replacement for spellcasting as a Class feature. You can take the beast instead of spellcasting, separate from subclass. If you want spellcasting, and choose the Beastmaster subclass, then the PHB still applies across the board. You can also choose build-a-beast and any subclass, like Hunter or Gloomstalker, and forgo spells. But the design will let the Beastmaster stack with the build-a-beast, like the Hexblade and Pact of the Blade.
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
OK, so, build-a-beast is a replacement for spellcasting as a Class feature. You can take the beast instead of spellcasting, separate from subclass. If you want spellcasting, and choose the Beastmaster subclass, then the PHB still applies across the board. You can also choose build-a-beast and any subclass, like Hunter or Gloomstalker, and forgo spells. But the design will let the Beastmaster stack with the build-a-beast, like the Hexblade and Pact of the Blade.
So, then, yes. Got it.

Not interested. The other features are great, but the beast master subclass is underpowered and fails at making a companion that fights beside you. If they aren’t willing to directly address that, instead of trying to make us choose between having spells and having an effective companion, I really don’t care if this ever sees publication.
 

Parmandur

Legend
So, then, yes. Got it.

Not interested. The other features are great, but the beast master subclass is underpowered and fails at making a companion that fights beside you. If they aren’t willing to directly address that, instead of trying to make us choose between having spells and having an effective companion, I really don’t care if this ever sees publication.
The Beastmaster is properly powered for what it was designed to do, have an expendable pet that helps in exploration and somewhat in tactics: there is a mismatch between what the design and what some people want to do with a pet. Mearls goes into the math of spell slots, damage and HP in combat. The current Ranger is about right in power, but complex and fiddley. Giving a Ranger half-casting plus an effective pet plus combat prowess would be ridiculously OP.

This new design gives a pet that uses all of the math of the Ranger spell slots to achieve full effectiveness, while letting the Ranger be effective separately. In essence, the build-a-beast is an incarnate stack of spellslots, taking and giving damage.
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
The Beastmaster is properly powered for what it was designed to do, have an expendable pet that helps in exploration and somewhat in tactics: there is a mismatch between what the design and what some people want to do with a pet. Mearls goes into the math of spell slots, damage and HP in combat. The current Ranger is about right in power, but complex and fiddley. Giving a Ranger half-casting plus an effective pet plus combat prowess would be ridiculously OP.

This new design gives a pet that uses all of the math of the Ranger spell slots to achieve full effectiveness, while letting the Ranger be effective separately. In essence, the build-a-beast is an incarnate stack of spellslots, taking and giving damage.
Respectfully, that’s rubbish.

The BM is not meant to be an exploration pet with light combat function, or expendable. They built it that way bc they were afraid to let it actually be effective, and they overshot in the other direction.
They didn’t even do a good job of making an exploration pet. You can’t talk to it without expending spells, it gains no exploration feature of any kind, and how exactly is a bear supposed to help you explore?

The BM gets an extra body on the map, that at later levels would be more useful in literally every way as an owl familiar. It is strictly less effective than the Hunter subclass.

If you take the revised pet, along with the resurrection ritual, and plug it into the phb Ranger, it ain’t “OP”.

If you simply take the phb pet, scale it’s HP better, and let it make a single attack on its turn, you’ve solved the problems with the BM. Hell, make it a familiar that can attack, and it’s fixed. You gotta spend a spell slot to bring it back if it dies, and combat useless let’s like weasels are an actual useful option to take.

Or, if you really can’t stand the thought of letting the BM be as powerful as other subclasses, generate some new spells that significantly boost the pet, or boost the ranger and pet together.

The idea that balance requires you to give up one of the most significant class features, mechanically and thematically, in order to have a useful pet, is nonsense.
 

Parmandur

Legend
Respectfully, that’s rubbish.

The BM is not meant to be an exploration pet with light combat function, or expendable. They built it that way bc they were afraid to let it actually be effective, and they overshot in the other direction.
They didn’t even do a good job of making an exploration pet. You can’t talk to it without expending spells, it gains no exploration feature of any kind, and how exactly is a bear supposed to help you explore?

The BM gets an extra body on the map, that at later levels would be more useful in literally every way as an owl familiar. It is strictly less effective than the Hunter subclass.

If you take the revised pet, along with the resurrection ritual, and plug it into the phb Ranger, it ain’t “OP”.

If you simply take the phb pet, scale it’s HP better, and let it make a single attack on its turn, you’ve solved the problems with the BM. Hell, make it a familiar that can attack, and it’s fixed. You gotta spend a spell slot to bring it back if it dies, and combat useless let’s like weasels are an actual useful option to take.

Or, if you really can’t stand the thought of letting the BM be as powerful as other subclasses, generate some new spells that significantly boost the pet, or boost the ranger and pet together.

The idea that balance requires you to give up one of the most significant class features, mechanically and thematically, in order to have a useful pet, is nonsense.
Try a hawk beastie as a Forest Gnome, it has a lot of neat tricks up it's sleeve.

To have a pet that does X damage over Y time, and takes Z damage in Y time, is something that they can measure and have a spreadsheet for: this is the new summoning system that Mearls has been working on. An "effective" pet is a bundle of spell slot math: to make a pet that is as effective as Mearls is laying out here, something has to give. Happily, spell slots for the Ranger serve the purpose well.
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
Try a hawk beastie as a Forest Gnome, it has a lot of neat tricks up it's sleeve.

To have a pet that does X damage over Y time, and takes Z damage in Y time, is something that they can measure and have a spreadsheet for: this is the new summoning system that Mearls has been working on. An "effective" pet is a bundle of spell slot math: to make a pet that is as effective as Mearls is laying out here, something has to give. Happily, spell slots for the Ranger serve the purpose well.
I shouldn’t have to choose a specific race and class. Dwarf with a bear is a classic ranger concept, and should work in 5e.

Making a pet that is as powerful as the Spellcasting trait is fine. It isn’t necessary to make a beast master ranger work.
The pet literally just needs to scale surviviability at later levels, and be additive in damage, rather than a pure trade off. As it is, the BM is simply weaker than the Hunter, and the Hunter is hardly overpowered.

There is plenty of room to make the BM work, without replacing a major class feature.
 

Parmandur

Legend
I shouldn’t have to choose a specific race and class. Dwarf with a bear is a classic ranger concept, and should work in 5e.

Making a pet that is as powerful as the Spellcasting trait is fine. It isn’t necessary to make a beast master ranger work.
The pet literally just needs to scale surviviability at later levels, and be additive in damage, rather than a pure trade off. As it is, the BM is simply weaker than the Hunter, and the Hunter is hardly overpowered.

There is plenty of room to make the BM work, without replacing a major class feature.
Admittedly it is a subclass that requires careful planning and is finnicky: things like bears are a bit of a trap option versus hawks or snakes.

However, the ship on that subclass has sailed. Any errata up to this point is probably the most that will ever be done short of 6E, and 6E is more likely to look like what Mearls is laying down here.
 

Leatherhead

Possibly a Idiot.
Thanks! Seems like a really interesting Video.

I once tried to make a more balanced Weapon Chart .. which I thought that couldn't be so hard, but it was actually really problematic since you don't have many Options to balance if a Weapon gets a feature.
I still think it would be fine if the Trident did 1d8 damage when one handed. For one thing, it's a martial weapon, not a simple one. Secondly, even then the Javelin would still provide a preferable ranged option due to it's lower cost, longer range, and lesser weight. Heck, now they even have the Yklwa, another pointy simple weapon that out-performs the Trident in some fashion. If they absolutely had to, they could remove the versatile property from it (and put it on the war pick).

They really need to make a second pass at the weapon table, there is so much about it that is questionable.
 

Parmandur

Legend
I'm not arguing against your various points, but this leapt out at me:



It is? Really? Never heard of this one.
Well, actually, Dwarf Hunter with a cute bear is one of the classic World of Warcraft tropes. Which is, what, 15 years old now...? So, classic enough for me. Large animals for a Beastmaster are suboptimal, admittedly, which is part of the problem of using MM stats for the Ranger feature. Hence, build-a-beast.
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
I'm not arguing against your various points, but this leapt out at me:

It is? Really? Never heard of this one.
Yes.

If that doesn't work for someone, literally any race with a wolf is the classic ranger pet.

Admittedly it is a subclass that requires careful planning and is finnicky: things like bears are a bit of a trap option versus hawks or snakes.

However, the ship on that subclass has sailed. Any errata up to this point is probably the most that will ever be done short of 6E, and 6E is more likely to look like what Mearls is laying down here.
They literally can just provide alternate class features for a subclass just as easily as for a class. This argument is nonsensical and objectively false.
either Mearls is wasting time entirely, or alternate class features are a possibility.

Further, they can literally accomplish the same benefits of this proposal by adding spells to the class spell list that boost a pet. Word it so that they will also work for familiars, and maybe summoned pets, but not for NPC companions, and go.

But giving the pet hit dice instead of xtimes ranger level HP is a simple change, as is making it have a turn and no multi-attack, and that is all that is needed to bring the subclass in line with other ranger subclasses, and can allow the same effective benefit of the proposed build-a-beast if combined with spells that boost the stats of a controlled beast.
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
I still think it would be fine if the Trident did 1d8 damage when one handed. For one thing, it's a martial weapon, not a simple one. Secondly, even then the Javelin would still provide a preferable ranged option due to it's lower cost, longer range, and lesser weight. Heck, now they even have the Yklwa, another pointy simple weapon that out-performs the Trident in some fashion. If they absolutely had to, they could remove the versatile property from it (and put it on the war pick).

They really need to make a second pass at the weapon table, there is so much about it that is questionable.
Also, the trident should be a better thrown weapon than simple thrown weapon.

And thrown weapons are terrible in 5e.
 

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