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D&D 5E Paladin and Ranger Are Backward

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
So, the 5e Paladin kicks ass, we all know that, and the Ranger is certainly playable and gets fun around level 5+, but there are some things that just went wrong with both classes, and one of them is Spellcasting.

The Ranger should be more versatile, and the Paladin more focused.

Imagine a Ranger that has prepared spells, and something like a class feature that mimics Ritual Caster: Druid.

No, imagine a Paladin that has Known Spells, and regular ritual casting for stuff like detect magic and ceremony.

Don’t those make more sense than what we have?

I’d also take Favored Enemy and add the ability to understand and communicate simple ideas with favored enemies regardless of language, which would make Beasts a more useful FE, and just make the feature more broadly useful, add a damage buff at level 5ish, and the ability to study a creature to make it count as a favored enemy for you.

Then take Natural Explorer and just flat out add Deft Explorer from Tashas.

Thoughts?
 

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I agree, Smite is so powerfull for paladin, that they just don’t care for spell most of the time.
it deserve a try out to swap prepared and know spell for those classes.

Another thing that can be done is paladin and ranger as fighter sub class. There again, less spell if any, more focus features.
 

vincegetorix

Jewel of the North
I wish they would just remove the smite feature and increase a little the power of smite spells to make them interesting and worth the slots.

Then, do the same with ranger, give them ''smites'' that give an extra effect against special type of creatures:

  • a smite that removes one of the creatures resistance/immunity until concentration is lost.
  • a smite that impedes concealment (branding smite?).
  • a smite that deals thunder or force damage that deal + X against construct and object.
  • a smite that prevents teleport.
  • a smite that prevent special movements: climb/squeeze/flight/burrow etc
  • a smite that make an creature Vulnerable to the next attack. (ex: oil-soaked strike -> target is Vulnerable to fire until the end of your next turn).
  • a smite that makes an elite creature to lose one Legendary resistance or Legendary action.
 

Minigiant

Legend
Paladins don't cast spells. They just pull slots into smite. You could probably get rid of spellcasting and give them Xd6 smite dice a day.

But yes, it's backwards. Rangers should be broad casters who function like wizards minus spellbooks. They should collect spells from druids, wizards, clerics, warlocks, artificers, and monsters like fey and elementals to better hunt foes and deal with the wilderness.
 
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vincegetorix

Jewel of the North
These are my changes to the ranger class:
1) Made them more of a team player
2) have them engage with the rules rather than skipping them.
3) have all features interact with one another.
4) make the ranger more versatile, as per the OP.



Ranger

Favored Enemy

Beginning at 1st level, you have significant experience studying, tracking, hunting, and even talking to a certain type of enemy.

Choose 2 types of favored enemy: aberrations, beasts, celestials, constructs, dragons, elementals, fey, fiends, giants, monstrosities, oozes, plants, or undead. Alternatively, you can select two types of humanoid (such as gnolls and orcs) as favored enemies. You gain the following benefits when dealing with your Favored Enemies:

  • You have advantage on Wisdom (Survival) and Intelligence (Investigation) checks to track and perceive the hidden work of your favored enemies.
  • You have advantage on Intelligence checks to recall information about them.
  • You have the ability to communicate in a limited manner with your favored enemy, even if you do not share a language. They can understand the meaning of your words, though you have no special ability to understand them in return. You have advantage on all Charisma and Wisdom (Insight) checks you make to influence them.

You choose one additional favored enemy at 6th and 14th level. At the end of a long rest in your Favored Terrain, you can change one of your favored enemies for another if you've encountered them before.

Natural Explorer
You are particularly familiar with one type of natural environment and are adept at traveling and surviving in such regions. Choose one type of favored terrain: arctic, caverns, seacoast, desert, forest, grassland, mountain, swamp or urban. When you make an Intelligence or Wisdom check related to your favored terrain, your proficiency bonus is doubled if you are using a skill that you're proficient in.

While traveling for an hour or more in your favored terrain, you gain the following benefits:

  • Your group can't become lost except by supernatural means if you know the location of your destination and your current position. Furthermore, you always know which way is north.
  • Even when you are engaged in another activity while traveling, making camp or sleeping you remain alert to danger. You are not unconscious while sleeping.
  • You and your companions can move stealthily at a normal pace and Wisdom (Survival) and Wisdom (Perception) made to track or spot your group are made with disadvantage while traveling.
  • When you forage, you automatically know if the food or water gathered is poisoned or diseased and you and your allies regain 2 more Hit Die at the end of a long rest.
  • As long as you are in a favored terrain, you are always considered as carrying an Healer’s Kit and any tool’s kit you are proficient with.
  • When you finish a long rest in a favored terrain, you can switch one ranger’s spell you know for another from the ranger’s spell list. The spell must be of a level you can cast.
  • When in a favored terrain, you are always considered to be wielding a components pouch and can ignore the material components of spells unless they are consumed upon casting.
  • While tracking other creatures, you also learn their exact number, their sizes, and how long ago they passed through the area.

You choose additional favored terrain types at 6th and 10th level. At the end of a long rest, you can change one of your favored terrain for the type of terrain where you finished your rest.

Primeval Awareness
Beginning at 3rd level, you can use your action to focus your awareness on the region around you. For 1 minute, you can sense through supernatural sight or hearing whether your favored enemies are present within 120 feet of you (or within up to 1 miles if you are in your favored terrain) if they are not behind total cover. You know the location and alignment of any being whose presence you sense (but not its identity). Within the same radius, you also detect the presence of any place, beast or plant that has been desecrated or enchanted by magic or is blighted by poison or diseases.

You can use this feature a number of times equal to 1 + your Wisdom modifier. When you finish a long rest, you regain all expended uses.

Hide in Plain Sight
Starting at 10th level, you and your allies within 60 feet of you can spend 5 minutes (or 1 minutes if you are in a favored terrain) creating camouflage. You must have access to fresh mud, dirt, plants, soot, and other naturally occurring materials with which to create your camouflage.

Once you are camouflaged in this way, you can try to hide by pressing yourself up against a solid surface, such as a tree or wall, that is at least as tall and wide as you are. You gain a +10 bonus to Dexterity (Stealth) checks and +10 to Initiative roll as long as you remain there without moving or taking actions. Once a creature camouflaged moves or takes an action or a reaction, they must camouflage themselves again to gain this benefit, but have advantage on Dexterity (Stealth) checks for 1 minute.

Foe Slayer
At 20th level, you no longer need to roll for damage when you hit one of your favored enemies; you deal automatically the maximum damage.
 

cbwjm

Hero
I actually think the setup now is best. I see the ranger's spellcasting as picking up tricks or techniques that help them survive as they level up and don't think they should have a more versatile spellcasting method.
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
I agree, Smite is so powerfull for paladin, that they just don’t care for spell most of the time.
it deserve a try out to swap prepared and know spell for those classes.

Another thing that can be done is paladin and ranger as fighter sub class. There again, less spell if any, more focus features.
If fighter subclasses did more, I’d be more into fighter subclasses, but so much of the fighters power is its base class features and extra ASIs, that it’s subclasses are flavorful but fairly superficial mechanically.
I wish they would just remove the smite feature and increase a little the power of smite spells to make them interesting and worth the slots.
I’d also change those spells to be part of an attack, and not use concentration unless they have a lasting effect, but yeah I’m okay with that.
I’d also make Lay on Hands less powerful, and just generally make the Paladin more warrior and the cleric more priest, but that’s maybe another thread.
Then, do the same with ranger, give them ''smites'' that give an extra effect against special type of creatures:

  • a smite that removes one of the creatures resistance/immunity until concentration is lost.
  • a smite that impedes concealment (branding smite?).
  • a smite that deals thunder or force damage that deal + X against construct and object.
  • a smite that prevents teleport.
  • a smite that prevent special movements: climb/squeeze/flight/burrow etc
  • a smite that make an creature Vulnerable to the next attack. (ex: oil-soaked strike -> target is Vulnerable to fire until the end of your next turn).
  • a smite that makes an elite creature to lose one Legendary resistance or Legendary action.
I love that idea, and I wonder if it could be what gives Favored Enemy some punch.
I had thought to give Rangers herb-craft based healing and poisons, and be able to make poisons that bypass resistances and special defenses of creatures.
Paladins don't cast spells.
Once again we find that the games I’ve played, run, seen others run, and consumed as digital media, are completely different from your experiences of the game.

I’ve never seen a 5e Paladin not cast spells.
 
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auburn2

Adventurer
So, the 5e Paladin kicks ass, we all know that, and the Ranger is certainly playable and gets fun around level 5+, but there are some things that just went wrong with both classes, and one of them is Spellcasting.

The Ranger should be more versatile, and the Paladin more focused.

Imagine a Ranger that has prepared spells, and something like a class feature that mimics Ritual Caster: Druid.

No, imagine a Paladin that has Known Spells, and regular ritual casting for stuff like detect magic and ceremony.

Don’t those make more sense than what we have?

I’d also take Favored Enemy and add the ability to understand and communicate simple ideas with favored enemies regardless of language, which would make Beasts a more useful FE, and just make the feature more broadly useful, add a damage buff at level 5ish, and the ability to study a creature to make it count as a favored enemy for you.

Then take Natural Explorer and just flat out add Deft Explorer from Tashas.

Thoughts?
I think everyone likes different things. Paladin is at the bottom for me, ahead of Cleric (who is dead last) and behind bard.

Ranger is my favorite martial class and 3rd overall. If I had to ranke classes in terms of fun, here is how I would rank them:

1. Rogue
2. Wizard
3. Ranger
4. Fighter
5. Warlock
6. Sorcerer
7. Barbarian
8. Druid
9. Bard
10. Paladin
11. Cleric

I will say I don't particularly like the PHB subclasses of Ranger, and if you were limited to those I might drop Ranger to 6th, but with XGE I think they are a great choice and one of the better classes as a player.

I don't really think it needs anything additional for natural explorer or favored enemy. I will say, natural explorer is entirely campaign dependent - it is OP in the right campaign and useless in the wrong campaign. Deft explorer is a more reliable ability that will be useful, but not OP in any campaign. Adding damage in addition to the free languages and intelligence check bonuses for FE seems to make it a bit too powerful IMO, especially when paired with the other ability. Consider the three extra languages through FE are equivalent to a half a feat and that is before you consider the intelligence check bonus. I will say the tracking bonus is largely useless.
 
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Charlaquin

Goblin Queen
I’d also take Favored Enemy and add the ability to understand and communicate simple ideas with favored enemies regardless of language, which would make Beasts a more useful FE, and just make the feature more broadly useful, add a damage buff at level 5ish, and the ability to study a creature to make it count as a favored enemy for you.

Then take Natural Explorer and just flat out add Deft Explorer from Tashas.

Thoughts?
I don’t feel strongly about the spellcasting part, but I do like these quite a bit.
 




doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
I think everyone likes different things. Paladin is at the bottom for me, ahead of Cleric (who is dead last) and behind bard.

Ranger is my favorite martial class and 3rd overall. If I had to ranke classes in terms of fun, here is how I would rank them:

1. Rogue
2. Wizard
3. Ranger
4. Fighter
5. Warlock
6. Sorcerer
7. Barbarian
8. Druid
9. Bard
10. Paladin
11. Cleric

I will say I don't particularly like the PHB subclasses of Ranger, and if you were limited to those I might drop Ranger to 6th, but with XGE I think they are a great choice and one of the better classes as a player.
Fair enough. I also like the ranger, but I think it could use some cleaning up and needs a more versatile tool kit. It should, IMO, be comparable to the bard in versatility.
I don't really think it needs anything additional for natural explorer or favored enemy. I will say, natural explorer is entirely campaign dependent - it is OP in the right campaign and useless in the wrong campaign. Deft explorer is a more reliable ability that will be useful, but not OP in any campaign. Adding damage in addition to the free languages and intelligence check bonuses for FE seems to make it a bit too powerful IMO, especially when paired with the other ability. Consider the three extra languages through FE are equivalent to a half a feat and that is before you consider the intelligence check bonus. I will say the tracking bonus is largely useless.
Yeah damage maybe isn’t the right solution for Favored Enemy. Perhaps instead the ability to remove or reduce defenses of an enemy, and the greater communication.

The extra languages are good, but spread out over many levels.
Locate Object has been a party lifesaver in our game of Tomb of Annihilation.

I just wish that paladins and rangers got cantrips without having to waste a fighting style on them.
Yeah I could see that. I’m not sure half casters needed to not have cantrips.
I don’t feel strongly about the spellcasting part, but I do like these quite a bit.
Thanks! I’d also rewrite Primeval Awareness to allow you to do stuff like Aragorn tracking the orcs that took the hobbits in LoTR.
I'd love to see this.

I feel like more of the Ranger spells make sense out of combat. Rituals are perfect for this.
Hell yeah.
 

I might even go so far to drop the ritual spells from the Ranger spell list and instead cast all remaining spells similar to pact magic.
Then give them X number of rituals once per long rest.
 

S'mon

Legend
I have a weird thing happening in my multi-party sandbox campaign; neither of the Paladins in two different groups ever uses his or her spell slots! Except occasionally to heal someone. It seems like they are worried about wasting their slots. It turns a strong class into a weak Fighter.
 

I agree, Smite is so powerfull for paladin, that they just don’t care for spell most of the time.
it deserve a try out to swap prepared and know spell for those classes.

Paladins don't cast spells. They just pull slots into smite. You could probably get rid of spellcasting and give them Xd6 smite dice a day.
Jeez, am I playing my paladin THAT wrong or something?

My paladin PC is at 7th level in Storm King's thunder, fighting a lot of giants and similar massive hit point sponges, and I pretty much only use spell slots for smites when I've rolled a natural 20 and can get double benefit out of them, or else when we're really desperate and this bad guy absolutely no questions has to go down right now.

Even with only a 13 Wis, fighting giants there's a pretty decent chance of getting a saving throw failure on a Command, and that takes a heavy-hitting opponent (or two, if i upcast) completely out of the action for a round and often inflicts more damage than my 2d8 worth of smite would have, if circumstances let me use Command - Mutiny on enemies with Multiattack, or if I can order an enemy to run through a Spike Growth or something. And if I get the chance to prepare I'll usually have Bless up, that's worth a hit or two on average each combat, and if you need to make saving throws it's worth its weight in gold. And Protection from Evil vs undead etc is a huge deal.

A couple of d8s worth of damage really are a small deal, especially vs the big bruisers i find myself fighting all the time. I've usually found spellcasting to be a much more effective option.
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
Jeez, am I playing my paladin THAT wrong or something?

My paladin PC is at 7th level in Storm King's thunder, fighting a lot of giants and similar massive hit point sponges, and I pretty much only use spell slots for smites when I've rolled a natural 20 and can get double benefit out of them, or else when we're really desperate and this bad guy absolutely no questions has to go down right now.

Even with only a 13 Wis, fighting giants there's a pretty decent chance of getting a saving throw failure on a Command, and that takes a heavy-hitting opponent (or two, if i upcast) completely out of the action for a round and often inflicts more damage than my 2d8 worth of smite would have, if circumstances let me use Command - Mutiny on enemies with Multiattack, or if I can order an enemy to run through a Spike Growth or something. And if I get the chance to prepare I'll usually have Bless up, that's worth a hit or two on average each combat, and if you need to make saving throws it's worth its weight in gold. And Protection from Evil vs undead etc is a huge deal.

A couple of d8s worth of damage really are a small deal, especially vs the big bruisers i find myself fighting all the time. I've usually found spellcasting to be a much more effective option.
Agreed. I only smite when I get a Crit, or I’m desperate for damage now!
 

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