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D&D 5E Paladin and Ranger Are Backward

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.
Huh? The ranger is more versatile and the paladin more focused, especially when you use the Tasha's rework to swap out the bad class features. That paladin spell list is exceptionally tightly focused and doesn't have much of what the ranger does (especially spells like spike growth and pass without trace).
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?
No. It makes a whole lot less sense than what we have now. I do think the ranger should be able to learn ranger rituals separately from their spells known, but that's another story.

Right now the ranger is the expert who has learnt some things and that's where they get their magic from and few rangers have learned identical things. Meanwhile the Paladin is the divinely empowered warrior whose gods fit what they have for the purpose. Changing it so rangers get cloned downloads into their brains makes no sense.
 

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Frozen_Heart

Adventurer
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.
Pity we don't have an arcane class with access to spells like that. That was literally the arcane gishes entire niche in other editions.

But yeah imo paladin and ranger are backwards. Rangers should be able to prepare for anything given the time to do so, using their knowledge of the wilds to adapt.

While paladin should know faith based verses and mantras by rote, having had them burnt into their memory by repetition.
 

Minigiant

Legend
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.

I was somewhat exaggerating.

Paladins do cast spells. Players use what they have. My point is that spellcasting is a lot less emphasized and iconic to Paladin as they were in the past. So it's spellslots and casting can be heavily altered to match the new perception with little backlash.
 


vincegetorix

Jewel of the North
An idea I had was Bane spells that had a bonus action cast on a weapon attack hit. It would have a base effect like a smite spell, but would have increased/extra effect on a favoured enemy.
Exactly.

My favored idea of a ranger would be:
  • short-rest, few slots spellcasting based on the warlock's progression, no cantrips, no ''arcanum''.
  • ''Invocations'' a la carte, that represent 1) different Favored Enemies (2 different Favored Terrains.
 


Eubani

Adventurer
So to wrap it all up together: Warlock chassis including invocations minus arcanum. Favoured Terrain and enemy could act pact type each granting a broadly usable ability so as to not make them a dead choice. Some spells act as smite spells that grant extra effect when used on favoured enemy and some utility spells that gain extra effect in favoured terrain. Hunters Mark as a class ability so to not reduce availability of other magics.
 
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I gave Rangers prepared spells as a house rules, plus some bonus spells for the PHB conclaves. Trust me, it broke nothing whatsoever. It just let the class breathe a little more.

Huh? The ranger is more versatile and the paladin more focused, especially when you use the Tasha's rework to swap out the bad class features. That paladin spell list is exceptionally tightly focused and doesn't have much of what the ranger does (especially spells like spike growth and pass without trace).

In practice, an actually existing 10th-level ranger's spell list is 6 spells. A 10th-level paladin has around 40, perhaps 9 of which he has immediate access to. The Paladin's actual, in-game casting is far more versatile, because, besides actually having more spells immediately at hand, a Paladin can change up his spells situationally, and a Ranger can't. "Spells known" vs "Spells prepared" completely changes a character's relationship to the class spell list. For a Spells Known class, the class spell list is a list of build options, not much different than the list of feats. For a Spells Prepared class, the class spell list is an active class feature.

As a side note, I think giving Spells Known casters fewer active spells than a Spells Prepared caster was a significant design mistake.
 

In practice, an actually existing 10th-level ranger's spell list is 6 spells.
9 if you're allowing Tasha's alternate features (7 if you aren't; Primal Awareness is for all practical purposes a spell).
A 10th-level paladin has around 40, perhaps 9 of which he has immediate access to. The Paladin's actual, in-game casting is far more versatile, because, besides actually having more spells immediately at hand, a Paladin can change up his spells situationally, and a Ranger can't. "Spells known" vs "Spells prepared" completely changes a character's relationship to the class spell list.
The thing is that the Paladin spell list is a lot smaller than it looks. If we look at the first level spells the only ones that aren't concentration are Ceremony (25GP cost), command, cure wounds, and purify food & drink. And there are very few you use outside combat. Second level's better (the Pokemount and Zone of Truth both stand out).
As a side note, I think giving Spells Known casters fewer active spells than a Spells Prepared caster was a significant design mistake.
Here we agree. And adding spells to a non-wizard Spells Prepared caster's list should be done with extreme care.
 

Burnside

Space Jam Confirmed
I'm playing a paladin in Baldur's Gate: Descent Into Avernus and cast spells frequently. I often regret using smites unless it's on a crit. I never regret casting Bless.

With a 16 charisma, for levels 1-4 I have generally been more effective using Toll the Dead than attacking with my longsword.

I would 100% trade the paladin ability to change up prepared spells on long rests for the ability to cast ritual spells though.
 

The thing is that the Paladin spell list is a lot smaller than it looks. If we look at the first level spells the only ones that aren't concentration are Ceremony (25GP cost), command, cure wounds, and purify food & drink. And there are very few you use outside combat. Second level's better (the Pokemount and Zone of Truth both stand out).

Right, but a Ranger can't, in reality, have even that many. Sure, there are only 4 Paladin non-concentration spells. But a PHB Ranger (I don't have TCE, don't know it) doesn't even have access to 4 spells until 5th level, and probably won't have 4 1st-level spells until 8th level. The Ranger spell progression is just extremely limiting.
 

CleverNickName

Limit Break Dancing
I think someone could build a serviceable "ranger" by reskinning the Eldritch Knight subclass. Allow the EK to choose spells from the druid list, and swap out Weapon Bond and War Magic for the ranger's Favored Enemy, Natural Explorer, and Land's Stride. It's not going to be perfect for everyone, but I think that could be fun to play.

And I think you could make a "paladin" in the same manner: allow the EK to choose spells from the cleric list, swap out the EK abilities for Lay On Hands and Divine Smite or whatever. Again, not perfect but I think it would be fun.

TL;DR: ranger and paladin (and barbarian, and monk, etc.) could easily be subclasses of fighter.
 

Right, but a Ranger can't, in reality, have even that many. Sure, there are only 4 Paladin non-concentration spells. But a PHB Ranger (I don't have TCE, don't know it) doesn't even have access to 4 spells until 5th level, and probably won't have 4 1st-level spells until 8th level. The Ranger spell progression is just extremely limiting.
Even then a Ranger at fifth level can have Goodberry for healing, Hunter's Mark for combat, Absorb Elements for protection, and Pass Without Trace as their L2 spell and as bonuses Speak with Animals and Beast Sense (replacing Primal Awareness and getting a slot each before you use your normal slots) for scouting and intel gathering.

I don't think that, despite the fact they can know more spells, Paladins can remotely cover that sort of range off the spells they do get in any given day. That said it's fairly ridiculous that paladins get stat modifier to spells prepared when rangers don't to spells known. That part should be the other way.
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
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.
I’m not really down for that, tbh
An idea I had was Bane spells that had a bonus action cast on a weapon attack hit. It would have a base effect like a smite spell, but would have increased/extra effect on a favoured enemy.
As class features that cost spell slots, that could work.
9 if you're allowing Tasha's alternate features (7 if you aren't; Primal Awareness is for all practical purposes a spell).
And unless they have a low charisma, the Paladin will still have more.
The thing is that the Paladin spell list is a lot smaller than it looks. If we look at the first level spells the only ones that aren't concentration are Ceremony (25GP cost), command, cure wounds, and purify food & drink. And there are very few you use outside combat. Second level's better (the Pokemount and Zone of Truth both stand out).
The ranger isn’t brimming with non concentration spells either. It’s a major point of frustration for players of low level rangers.

Regardless, there is no reason for the Paladin to have prepared spells but the ranger not.
 




doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
At the minimum, the ranger needs to cast and prep spells like the paladin. That they have to choose known spells and the paladin, cleric, and druid do not is really inconsistent design.
Yep. Tbh Bard is the only class I’d keep as a known spells caster, and that is because I think the bard is too focused on Spellcasting as it is. Even EK and AT I’d give prepared spells to.
 



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