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D&D 5E Paladin and Ranger Are Backward

steeldragons

Steeliest of the dragons
I'd do you one better.

The Ranger really should be a prep class and all the favored enemies, favored terrains, and subclasses should have additional spells known.

Hunter: hunter's mark, conjure barrage
Favored Terrain Forest: entangle, spider climb
Favored Enemy Dragon: absorb elements, protection from energy
Favored Terrain Desert: create or destroy water, blur
Fravored Enemy Humaniond: alarm, wind wall
I really REALLY like this.
I like that idea. Mostly for favored terrain, because I do think that preparing special “banes” for, and salves against, different creatures is a more thematic route.
I can get down with this too...

And I am a STAUNCH "non-spell reliant Ranger" guy, through and through. But I LOVE this idea for breaking down and diversifying -and narratively differentiating- spell-using rangers.

I might have to actually rewrite up a new Ranger class for my homebrew... like, scrap years and years of design and development (and vacillation) over the Ranger to rebuild, from the ground up, with this subsystem in mind.

Really...like a legit "mind blown" moment... and I was SURE I knew what Rangers "were" and what I wanted Rangers to be...
 

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doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
I really REALLY like this.

I can get down with this too...

And I am a STAUNCH "non-spell reliant Ranger" guy, through and through. But I LOVE this idea for breaking down and diversifying -and narratively differentiating- spell-using rangers.

I might have to actually rewrite up a new Ranger class for my homebrew... like, scrap years and years of design and development (and vacillation) over the Ranger to rebuild, from the ground up, with this subsystem in mind.

Really...like a legit "mind blown" moment... and I was SURE I knew what Rangers "were" and what I wanted Rangers to be...
I’d love to throw ideas around more on the subject, then. See where we end up. Even if we don’t end up in the same place, it’ll be interesting.

Do we agree on the following list of ideas?
  • Prepared casting
  • Ritual casting - possibly with a unique access to higher level rituals than they have slots, and thus more powerful with rituals than with spells?
  • Rewrite Natural Explorer to be less auto-win, more “help the team on group checks” type stuff, and give each favored terrain 1 or 2 always prepared spells.
  • IMO there is still room to add at least part of Deft Explorer to Natural Explorer. Maybe just the expertise at level 1? Especially since the prepared spell would have to be level 2 or 3. Then keep the later level deft Explorer features as well.
  • Favored Enemy gets a ribbony “you can communicate and understand simple ideas regardless of language” feature and 1-2 Banes that are essentially specialized poisons that bypass resistance and immunity when used on your favored enemy, and act as a debuff that makes the team better at taking down the enemy.
  • Rewrite primeval awareness to not use a spell slot and to be more interesting and useful.
 


Well yes, if you take the (near unanimously) top rated paladin subclass and put it next to the (again, near unanimously) worst rated ranger subclass it won't even be close.

If you use the fixes to the ranger, especially the beast master ranger, available in Tasha's; the ranger will fare better. If instead you compare to the gloomstalker ranger (Xanathar's) the ranger will likely keep up.

That said, I think changing the Ranger to spells prepared and allow the full appeal list is a decent idea.
I'm just sharing my actual play experience.
 

Mort

Legend
I'm just sharing my actual play experience.
And thank you for that. Actual play experience tend to be more valuable (certainly for me) than white room analysis.

In this case, your actual play experience really seems to comport with that of others experience with both classes. And really shows that the beast master ranger is underpowered (I tend to think that underpowered classes need to be raised, not other classes lowered).

Have you had a chance to look at the Tasha's changes? I think they close the gap decently.
 
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steeldragons

Steeliest of the dragons
I’d love to throw ideas around more on the subject, then. See where we end up. Even if we don’t end up in the same place, it’ll be interesting.

Do we agree on the following list of ideas?
  • Prepared casting
  • Ritual casting - possibly with a unique access to higher level rituals than they have slots, and thus more powerful with rituals than with spells?
  • Rewrite Natural Explorer to be less auto-win, more “help the team on group checks” type stuff, and give each favored terrain 1 or 2 always prepared spells.
  • IMO there is still room to add at least part of Deft Explorer to Natural Explorer. Maybe just the expertise at level 1? Especially since the prepared spell would have to be level 2 or 3. Then keep the later level deft Explorer features as well.
  • Favored Enemy gets a ribbony “you can communicate and understand simple ideas regardless of language” feature and 1-2 Banes that are essentially specialized poisons that bypass resistance and immunity when used on your favored enemy, and act as a debuff that makes the team better at taking down the enemy.
  • Rewrite primeval awareness to not use a spell slot and to be more interesting and useful.
I can get down with most of that.

I, personally, as far as 5e is concerned, do think that a spell slot expense is, really, a minimum requirement for a 1 mile per level (or 6 miles! in favored terrain) esoteric radar. If you wanted to change it, narratively, to be a ritual (listening to the ground, studying the surroundings, sniffing the air for 10 minutes, whatever) instead of a spell slot, I could maybe see that. Make the expense a matter of time consumption...in this case, maybe limit it by your Perception bonus times per day...or per week...something. I mean, it is a massively powerful thing that gobsmacked me, from the moment of 5e's release, that it would be only a 3rd level feature.

Conversely, I think Land Stride and Vanish are both far too late in the character's development.

I would also insist on the favored enemy being linked othe favored terrain -particularly if we are heading down the rabbit hole to link "bonus always prepared terrain specific" spells to the class framework.

I like them becoming, like way down the road, post 10th-12th level, better (i.e. higher level) ritualists than casters. They, after all, supposed to be "half casters."

The story fluff on what a Bane is, I think can be opened up a bit to allow for some kind of poison, or just knowing the weak spots of your preferred enemies, or special instruction/particular technique from some mentor, and/or incorporating some natural magic into your blow (PF magus-like) to boost damage, et al...but leave that to the player, narratively, to decide the "how" their/this particular ranger achieves their bonus "Bane" damage.

Those are some of my initial thoughts bouncing off your list/ideas.
 

And thank you for that. Actual play experience tend to be more valuable (certainly for me) that white room analysis.

In this case, your actual play experience really seems to comport with that of others experience with both classes. And really shows that the beast master ranger is underpowered (I tend to think that underpowered classes need to be raised, not other classes lowered).

Have you had a chance to look at the Tasha's changes? I think they close the gap decently.
Yes, we used those changes. By the end, the ranger even had a 29 strength thanks to a belt of storm giant strength, a +3 weapon, etc. It wasn't enough. Again, I think the ranger is a bit too fiddly for that player, as you need to know how to coordinate all the moving parts to get the most out of it in combat. But even if he had done that...hard to compete in raw power with a paladin dropping multiple smites per turn. If I have another paladin in a future campaign I'll houserule it to limit divine smites to once per turn. The paladin was always on the top end of the power curve but it got out of control in Tier 4.
 

Minigiant

Legend
That's fine, but it shouldn't be tied to specific favored enemies or terrain. That's one of the primary problems with the PHB ranger.
It absolutely should.

That problem with PHB ranger is optional ribbons features are treated as core power features. The ranger can have situational feature. Just not replacing core power ones.

Exploration spells should not compete with combat spells. It's a lesson unlearn with rangers from 4e.
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
I can get down with most of that.

I, personally, as far as 5e is concerned, do think that a spell slot expense is, really, a minimum requirement for a 1 mile per level (or 6 miles! in favored terrain) esoteric radar. If you wanted to change it, narratively, to be a ritual (listening to the ground, studying the surroundings, sniffing the air for 10 minutes, whatever) instead of a spell slot, I could maybe see that. Make the expense a matter of time consumption...in this case, maybe limit it by your Perception bonus times per day...or per week...something. I mean, it is a massively powerful thing that gobsmacked me, from the moment of 5e's release, that it would be only a 3rd level feature.
I disagree, but I’d be willing to compromise here. A ritual seems fine to me.
Conversely, I think Land Stride and Vanish are both far too late in the character's development.
I agree, but we can only put so much in the first two tiers of play.
I would also insist on the favored enemy being linked othe favored terrain -particularly if we are heading down the rabbit hole to link "bonus always prepared terrain specific" spells to the class framework.
I don’t understand. Can you explain why it would be good to tie favored enemy to favored terrain and how you see that working?
I like them becoming, like way down the road, post 10th-12th level, better (i.e. higher level) ritualists than casters. They, after all, supposed to be "half casters."
Yeah agreed.
The story fluff on what a Bane is, I think can be opened up a bit to allow for some kind of poison, or just knowing the weak spots of your preferred enemies, or special instruction/particular technique from some mentor, and/or incorporating some natural magic into your blow (PF magus-like) to boost damage, et al...but leave that to the player, narratively, to decide the "how" their/this particular ranger achieves their bonus "Bane" damage.
I’m fine with that, but I’d prefer it to specifically be a thing that must be prepared, either way.
Those are some of my initial thoughts bouncing off your list/ideas.
Thanks!
 

GlassJaw

Hero
It absolutely should.
As has been discussed ad nauseum, the ranger is the only class that has abilities that simply don't function unless specific conditions that are solely in the hands of the DM are met.

It's poor design and WotC knows it since they've been moving away from it ever step of the way.
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
As has been discussed ad nauseum, the ranger is the only class that has abilities that simply don't function unless specific conditions that are solely in the hands of the DM are met.

It's poor design and WotC knows it since they've been moving away from it ever step of the way.
I don’t think the idea is that you can only use those spells while in your favored terrain.
 

Minigiant

Legend
As has been discussed ad nauseum, the ranger is the only class that has abilities that simply don't function unless specific conditions that are solely in the hands of the DM are met.

It's poor design and WotC knows it since they've been moving away from it ever step of the way.

I'm not arguing that that the ranger isn't poorly designed.

I'm arguing that situational niche class features are not bad. They just cannot be a replacement for good powerful ones in the game's core engagement.
 

steeldragons

Steeliest of the dragons
I disagree, but I’d be willing to compromise here. A ritual seems fine to me.
Sure. Conducting it as a ritual is fine....But we need to dictate how often they can use rituals. They are rangers. They "know how" to conduct a few rituals. But I wouldn't necessarily give them free reign to spend all day working whatever rituals they have.

How does ritual casting work for 5e, actually. I haven't played it in a while...and I don't recall anyone using rituals in my last 5e game. Is it a things "known" or accumulated?... or just you say "I spend this on special materials and take this much time and POOF" anything with a ritual tag is fair game?

I'd definitely make it something Rangers accumulate...knowing certain (useful for them) rituals. SO, with the initial "ritual user" feature for the Ranger would include "Primeval Awareness" as one of their later "Rangers only" special rituals.
I agree, but we can only put so much in the first two tiers of play.
Yes, so some things need to be decided: What comes out to make space for these new things we're talking about? What is so integral that it can be kept, but moved to later levels? What is so integral it really can't be pushed back?

My take on the Rangers, as a skillful, "movement and stealth," kind of warrior makes Land Stride and Vanish both more needed at the front load of the class. If we're moving Primeval Awareness to a ritual they can do, then Landstride slips in at 3rd level rather perfectly.
I don’t understand. Can you explain why it would be good to tie favored enemy to favored terrain and how you see that working?
Well, I mean...Favored Terrain is a primary feature of the class. It doesn't make any narrative/lore sense for the class that one would, say, take Aberrations as a favored enemy when there are no Aberrations native to your favored terrain. I"m going to take Celestials as a favored enemy...with my favored terrain being Subterranean. I mean, it's the kind of thing, I think [hope], people just do without thinking. But it's not actually stipulated in the feature description.

I mean, I think you just literally say, in the feature description, or build it into Favored Terrain, that the creature types you choose for your favored enemies must be creatures found in your favored terrain. At least until the upper level options. I think your top terrain choice is at 10th level, the other at 6th? So, I would make it a minimum of 6th level before permitting things like Celestials, Fiends,...maybe Elementals...

Yeah agreed.

I’m fine with that, but I’d prefer it to specifically be a thing that must be prepared, either way.

Thanks!
Sure thing. :)
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
Sure. Conducting it as a ritual is fine....But we need to dictate how often they can use rituals. They are rangers. They "know how" to conduct a few rituals. But I wouldn't necessarily give them free reign to spend all day working whatever rituals they have.

How does ritual casting work for 5e, actually. I haven't played it in a while...and I don't recall anyone using rituals in my last 5e game. Is it a things "known" or accumulated?... or just you say "I spend this on special materials and take this much time and POOF" anything with a ritual tag is fair game?

I'd definitely make it something Rangers accumulate...knowing certain (useful for them) rituals. SO, with the initial "ritual user" feature for the Ranger would include "Primeval Awareness" as one of their later "Rangers only" special rituals.
Generally ritual casting just lets you spend ten minutes plus the normal casting time to cast a spell with the ritual tag, as long as you know it or have it prepared. Rangers could work like wizards and PCs with the Ritual Caster feat, and accurate rituals instead, though.

Making some new spells that rangers can do, that only they know, with the ritual tag, makes sense. Primeval Awareness, a spell to hide an encampment, I will go through the exploration rituals in 4e for inspiration.
Yes, so some things need to be decided: What comes out to make space for these new things we're talking about? What is so integral that it can be kept, but moved to later levels? What is so integral it really can't be pushed back?

My take on the Rangers, as a skillful, "movement and stealth," kind of warrior makes Land Stride and Vanish both more needed at the front load of the class. If we're moving Primeval Awareness to a ritual they can do, then Landstride slips in at 3rd level rather perfectly.
That’s fair, actually.
Well, I mean...Favored Terrain is a primary feature of the class. It doesn't make any narrative/lore sense for the class that one would, say, take Aberrations as a favored enemy when there are no Aberrations native to your favored terrain. I"m going to take Celestials as a favored enemy...with my favored terrain being Subterranean. I mean, it's the kind of thing, I think [hope], people just do without thinking. But it's not actually stipulated in the feature description.

I mean, I think you just literally say, in the feature description, or build it into Favored Terrain, that the creature types you choose for your favored enemies must be creatures found in your favored terrain. At least until the upper level options. I think your top terrain choice is at 10th level, the other at 6th? So, I would make it a minimum of 6th level before permitting things like Celestials, Fiends,...maybe Elementals...
I very much disagree. I don’t think it adds anything to the class to frontload the cognitive load of the class even more than it is, and that seems strongly to me to be a DM and player discussion, not a rules thing.
Sure thing. :)
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
okaay, @steeldragons how about this:

Level 1 -

Natural Explorer
-
  • Canny - You are proficient with either the Survival or Nature skill, if you aren't already. Choose one of your skill proficiencies. Your proficiency bonus is doubled for any ability check you make that uses the chosen skill.
  • 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, coast, desert, forest, grassland, mountain, swamp, or the Underdark. 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. You do not need to be in your favored terrain for a check to be related to it. For instance, much of the knowledge you gain in the forest might be applicable to surviving in the mountains, and tracking in the desert might give you knowledge applicable to tracking along a coastline.

  • While traveling for an hour or more in wilderness, you gain the following benefits:
    • When you encounter difficult terrain, you can scout a safe path through it, allowing you and your allies to ignore the difficult terrain, while performing another task related to traveling, such as scouting for danger, or navigating. In your favored terrain you have advantage on these checks.
    • Once per travel day, when your DM asks for an ability check related to traveling, you can allow an ally to add your Wisdom modifier to the check.
    • Even when you are engaged in another activity while traveling (such as foraging, navigating, or tracking), you remain alert to danger.
    • If you are traveling alone, you can move stealthily at a normal pace. You can move at a fast pace stealthily while traveling alone in your favored terrain.
Some benefits only apply to traveling in your favored terrain;
  • When you forage, you find twice as much food as you normally would
  • While tracking other creatures, you also learn their exact number, their sizes, and how long ago they passed through the area.
  • When the DM calls for a group check related to survival or travel in your favored terrain, you can replace the lowest result of the group check with your own.

You choose additional favored terrain types at 6th, 10th, and 15th, level.


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

  • Choose a type of favored enemy: aberrations, beasts, celestials, constructs, dragons, elementals, fey, fiends, giants, monstrosities, oozes, plants, or undead. Alternatively, you can select two races of humanoid (such as gnolls and orcs) as favored enemies. You gain the following benefits related to your choice;

  • You have advantage on Wisdom (Survival) checks to track your favored enemies, as well as on Intelligence checks to recall information about them.
  • You can understand and communicate simple ideas with members of your favored enemy, even if you do not share a language.
  • You learn a Bane related to your favored enemy.
    • list of banes by favored enemy

You choose one additional favored enemy, as well as an associated language, at 6th and 14th level. As you gain levels, your choices should reflect the types of monsters you have encountered on your adventures.

Level 2 -

  • Spellcasting- Prepared caster spellcasting writeup. Expanded spell list from tasha's.
    • Ritual Casting - You can cast any spell that you know as a ritual, as long as it has the ritual tag. You can also learn druid spells with the ritual tag <as ritual caster feat, so spells of 1/2 your ranger level rounded down, learn 2 when you gain this feature, aquire more during play, spending 2 hours and 50gp worth of rare ingredients per spell level to do so>
      • Includes some stuff like primeval awareness, and some stuff inspired by 4e ranger utility powers and exploration rituals. I'll come back to this tomorrow.
  • Fighting Style - as phb+tasha's
  • Favored Terrain Spells - Each Favored Terrain comes with additional spells, which you always have prepared, and do not count against your number of prepared spells.
    • Arctic - Ice Knife, Continual Flame
    • Coastal - Fog Cloud, Gust of Wind
    • Desert - Armor of Agythis? Create or Destroy Water?
    • Forest - Entangle, Web
    • Grassland - Longstrider, Find Steed (fight me)
    • Mountain - Jump, Spiderclimb
    • Wetlands - Detect Poison and Disease, Protection From Poison or
    • Subterranean - Faerie Fire,
    • Urban? Settlement? -
In addition to these spells, you learn Animal Friendship and can cast it once per day without spending a spell slot, and always have it prepared, and at level X you learn Speak with Plants and can cast it once per day without spending a spell slot and always have it prepared.
Level 3 -

  • Archetype - add spells to the archetypes that don't have them, but otherwise Tasha's fixed the BM, and Hunter is fine. Might also give the PHB archetypes each the ability to cast each of their extra spells once without a spell slot per day. And add a large mountable Beast of X option, with a sidebar to discuss with the DM whether a large mount will be useful in their campaign or a hindrance.
  • Vanish - as the level 14 ability. I really want this to instead be a group stealth buff, but I guess few rangers are gonna not take Pass Without Trace, so it's fine.
Level 10 -
  • Hide In Plain Sight - Make it a group ability, and add an ability to hide an encampment, and add the ability to use a spell slot to do so as an action.

Most of the rest of the class is fine, though level 14 now wants something, so put the following there.

Level 14 -

Nature's Veil -

You draw on the powers of nature to hide yourself from view briefly. When you use the Vanish ability, you can magically become invisible, along with any equipment you are wearing or carrying, until the start of your next turn, as part of the same bonus action.
You can use this feature a number of times equal to your proficiency bonus, and you regain all expended uses when you finish a long rest.



Am I missing anything?
 
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steeldragons

Steeliest of the dragons
okaay, @steeldragons how about this:

Level 1 -

Natural Explorer
-
  • Canny - You are proficient with either the Survival or Nature skill, if you aren't already. Choose one of your skill proficiencies. Your proficiency bonus is doubled for any ability check you make that uses the chosen skill.
  • 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, coast, desert, forest, grassland, mountain, swamp, or the Underdark. 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. You do not need to be in your favored terrain for a check to be related to it. For instance, much of the knowledge you gain in the forest might be applicable to surviving in the mountains, and tracking in the desert might give you knowledge applicable to tracking along a coastline.

  • While traveling for an hour or more in wilderness, you gain the following benefits:
    • When you encounter difficult terrain, you can scout a safe path through it, allowing you and your allies to ignore the difficult terrain, while performing another task related to traveling, such as scouting for danger, or navigating. In your favored terrain you have advantage on these checks.
    • Once per travel day, when your DM asks for an ability check related to traveling, you can allow an ally to add your Wisdom modifier to the check.
    • Even when you are engaged in another activity while traveling (such as foraging, navigating, or tracking), you remain alert to danger.
    • If you are traveling alone, you can move stealthily at a normal pace. You can move at a fast pace stealthily while traveling alone in your favored terrain.
Some benefits only apply to traveling in your favored terrain;
  • When you forage, you find twice as much food as you normally would
  • While tracking other creatures, you also learn their exact number, their sizes, and how long ago they passed through the area.
  • When the DM calls for a group check related to survival or travel in your favored terrain, you can replace the lowest result of the group check with your own.

You choose additional favored terrain types at 6th, 10th, and 15th, level.


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

  • Choose a type of favored enemy: aberrations, beasts, celestials, constructs, dragons, elementals, fey, fiends, giants, monstrosities, oozes, plants, or undead. Alternatively, you can select two races of humanoid (such as gnolls and orcs) as favored enemies. You gain the following benefits related to your choice;

  • You have advantage on Wisdom (Survival) checks to track your favored enemies, as well as on Intelligence checks to recall information about them.
  • You can understand and communicate simple ideas with members of your favored enemy, even if you do not share a language.
  • You learn a Bane related to your favored enemy.
    • list of banes by favored enemy

You choose one additional favored enemy, as well as an associated language, at 6th and 14th level. As you gain levels, your choices should reflect the types of monsters you have encountered on your adventures.

Level 2 -

  • Spellcasting- Prepared caster spellcasting writeup. Expanded spell list from tasha's.
    • Ritual Casting - You can cast any spell that you know as a ritual, as long as it has the ritual tag. You can also learn druid spells with the ritual tag <as ritual caster feat, so spells of 1/2 your ranger level rounded down, learn 2 when you gain this feature, aquire more during play, spending 2 hours and 50gp worth of rare ingredients per spell level to do so>
      • Includes some stuff like primeval awareness, and some stuff inspired by 4e ranger utility powers and exploration rituals. I'll come back to this tomorrow.
  • Fighting Style - as phb+tasha's
  • Favored Terrain Spells - Each Favored Terrain comes with additional spells, which you always have prepared, and do not count against your number of prepared spells.
    • Arctic - Ice Knife, Continual Flame
    • Coastal - Fog Cloud, Gust of Wind
    • Desert - Armor of Agythis? Create or Destroy Water?
    • Forest - Entangle, Web
    • Grassland - Longstrider, Find Steed (fight me)
    • Mountain - Jump, Spiderclimb
    • Wetlands - Detect Poison and Disease, Protection From Poison or
    • Subterranean - Faerie Fire,
    • Urban? Settlement? -
In addition to these spells, you learn Animal Friendship and can cast it once per day without spending a spell slot, and always have it prepared, and at level X you learn Speak with Plants and can cast it once per day without spending a spell slot and always have it prepared.
Level 3 -

  • Archetype - add spells to the archetypes that don't have them, but otherwise Tasha's fixed the BM, and Hunter is fine. Might also give the PHB archetypes each the ability to cast each of their extra spells once without a spell slot per day. And add a large mountable Beast of X option, with a sidebar to discuss with the DM whether a large mount will be useful in their campaign or a hindrance.
  • Vanish - as the level 14 ability. I really want this to instead be a group stealth buff, but I guess few rangers are gonna not take Pass Without Trace, so it's fine.
Level 10 -
  • Hide In Plain Sight - Make it a group ability, and add an ability to hide an encampment, and add the ability to use a spell slot to do so as an action.

Most of the rest of the class is fine, though level 14 now wants something, so put the following there.

Level 14 -

Nature's Veil -

You draw on the powers of nature to hide yourself from view briefly. When you use the Vanish ability, you can magically become invisible, along with any equipment you are wearing or carrying, until the start of your next turn, as part of the same bonus action.
You can use this feature a number of times equal to your proficiency bonus, and you regain all expended uses when you finish a long rest.



Am I missing anything?
Wow. This is a lot pre-coffee #2...

There are are a few things I might change and/or immediately come to mind:
  • I had thought, going from memory and I could be wrong [not going back to look pre-coffee 2], that the idea of the Terrain bonus spells was for them to be a bit more utilitarian and not so combat oriented.
  • I'm not 100% on automatic Animal Friendship and Speak with Plants. What's the thinking there? I would certainly include Animal Friendship as on their ritual list...I'm not sure, it just read weird for me and I thought, "auto-prepared? doesn't use a slot?...why?"
  • I have a different take on the favored enemy and would probably...I dunno...maybe roll it into favored terrain all together. Then make Bane a separate feature, entirely...that should probably be a bit more specific as far as what the extra damage is, and level increases, etc... Again, dunno...kinda stream of consciousness-ing it as the caffeine begins to take effect...
  • I feel like the Natural Explorer is clunky...but could be good. like the individual elements look good, but I might organize/present them differently.
  • I like Nature's Veil. That seems entirely appropriate in power and flavor for a 14th level feature to me.
Give me a few and I'll come up with a "counter proposal" of how I might do things instead...

Do keep in mind that I haven't used 5e in a some time and I do not own Tasha's, so what I come up with could be completely off base -power wise- and/or might have elements already taken care of in Tasha. I gather, from your write up, that there are a new Ranger archetypes and fighting styles in there.
 

steeldragons

Steeliest of the dragons
I think my biggest problem with Natural Explorer is that there is just so much stuff crammed into it. I mean, yes, they have a thematic connection, but it really doesn't match other class' initial features.
Level 1
Wilderness Expertise:

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, Coast, Desert, Forest, Grassland, Mountain, Swamp.
  • When you make Intelligence or Wisdom checks relevant to your favored terrain add your proficiency bonus whether or not it is a skill with which you are proficient. Your proficiency bonus is doubled if using a proficient skill.
  • In your favored terrain, you can not be slowed by mundane difficult terrain. If desired, you can automatically move as normal with Stealth when traveling alone in your preferred terrain(s).
  • While tracking other creatures (Survival), you also learn their exact number, their sizes, and how long ago they passed through the area.
  • When you forage (Survival or Nature check), you find twice as much food as you normally would
  • When the DM calls for a group check related to survival or travel in your favored terrain, you can replace the lowest result of the group check with your own.
You choose additional favored terrain types at 6th, 10th, and 15th, level. At 6th level you can add Aquatic/Marine, Subterranean, and Urban favored terrain options. At 10th and/or 15th you add a single Planar realm (Fae, Shadow, one Elemental Plane, one layer of the Abyss, etc...) with which you have experience as a favored terrain.

Natural Explorer:
  • While traveling for an hour or more in any wilderness, you can scout a safe path through/around it (Survival), allowing you and your allies to ignore the mundane difficult terrain. In your favored terrain you have advantage on these checks.
  • When you are engaged in another activity while traveling (such as foraging, navigating, or tracking), you remain alert to danger. Your proficiency bonus is added to any Passive Perception rolls, and doubled in your favored terrain.

Favored Enemy -Beginning at 1st level, you have significant experience studying, tracking, hunting, and even talking to a certain type of enemy. Choose a type of favored enemy: Beasts, Fey, Monstrosities, Plants, or Undead. Alternatively, you can select two races of Humanoids (such as gnolls and orcs) as favored enemies. You gain the following benefits related to your choice;
  • You have advantage on Wisdom (Survival) checks to track your favored enemies, Intelligence checks to recall information about them, and Charisma checks to interact with them.
  • You can understand and communicate simple ideas with members of your favored enemy with animal or higher intelligence, even if you do not share a language.
  • You learn to apply bonus damage against your favored enemies. This Prey's Bane could be a special technique or weak spot you learn, a particular poison or irritant you know they have a vulnerability to, imbuing some of your magical energies into your attack, or other means). At 1st level this additional damage is d6 damage to a weapon (melee or ranged) attack. At 5th level the damage increases to 2d6 and can be applied as non-lethal damage and with unarmed strikes. At 9th level the damage increases to 3d8 and the ranger's Bane damage is considered "magical" for the purposes of bypassing resistances or immunities to mundane damage.
You choose one additional favored enemy category (or two humanoids), as well as an associated language, at 6th and 14th level. At 6th level you can add Constructs, Elementals, Giants, Dragons, or Oozes as favored enemies. At 14th level you can select Aberrations, Celestials, or Fiends as favored enemies. As you gain levels, your choices should reflect the types of monsters you have encountered on your adventures.

Level 2 -
Spellcasting
- Prepared caster spellcasting writeup. Expanded spell list from tasha's.
  • Favored Terrain Spells - Each Favored Terrain comes with additional spells, which you always have prepared, and do not count against your number of prepared spells.
    • Arctic - Ice Knife, Heat Metal (Continual Flame doesn't actually produce heat)
    • Coastal - Fog Cloud, Calm Emotions
    • Desert - Create or Destroy Water, Blur
    • Forest - Entangle, Animal Messenger
    • Grassland - Longstrider, Find Steed (fight me)
    • Mountain - Featherfall, Spiderclimb
    • Wetlands - Detect Poison and Disease, Lesser Restoration
    • Subterranean - Faerie Fire, Darkvision
    • Urban - Disguise Self, Pass with Trace
  • Ritual Casting: You can cast any spell from the Ranger spell list with the ritual tag as a ritual. You also use any spell with the ritual tag from the Druid spell list that is a spell level you could cast. Your ritual expertise expands and increases as you gain experience as follows. At 9th level you can use any ritual spells from the Ranger or Druid list, and spells with the ritual tag from the Wizard spell list of a spell level you can cast. At 13th level you can use any ritual spell from the Ranger or Druid lists, and ritual spells from the Wizard or Cleric spell lists of a spell level you can cast. At 17th level you can use any spells from the Ranger, Druid, Wizard or Cleric spell lists that have the ritual tag as a ritual.
Fighting Style - as phb+tasha's

...I'm getting confused by/wrapped up in my own things...somehow...Natural Explorer or Favored Enemy need to be wrapped up into Wilderness Expertise so there are only 2 features at first level, not three.

I am also, now, thi nking mayhaps the bonus spells might be good presented for terrain and favored enemies as Minigiant originally posted, then let the rangers choose their two bonus spells each day -always prepared, not taking slots for preparation- or make it 1 bonus spell per castable spell level? So if you give 2 terrain spells and 2 favored foe spells, they could eevntually have all 4 prepared, all of the time, without taking any prep slots.
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
Wow. This is a lot pre-coffee #2...

There are are a few things I might change and/or immediately come to mind:
  • I had thought, going from memory and I could be wrong [not going back to look pre-coffee 2], that the idea of the Terrain bonus spells was for them to be a bit more utilitarian and not so combat oriented.
Just example spells. Truth is, there are only so many thematic utility spells in the game. Besides, most of the spells I picked are utility. But especially with level 1 and 2 spells, there's only so much to choose from, and frankly part of the ranger's toolkit is going to be combat, even when we look at terrain, because part of learning to be a ranger in the tundra is learning to fight in it. Remember that a ranger is someone who guards the border between wilds and civilization, not just a tracker or scout.
  • I'm not 100% on automatic Animal Friendship and Speak with Plants. What's the thinking there? I would certainly include Animal Friendship as on their ritual list...I'm not sure, it just read weird for me and I thought, "auto-prepared? doesn't use a slot?...why?"
So, the idea here is that any ranger needs to be able to get information from the land, and those spells represent doing so magically, at a higher level than a mundane scout could. Making it 1/day free is simply mechanically satisfying with how these things tend to work in 5e, especially with how newer options are being built.
  • I have a different take on the favored enemy and would probably...I dunno...maybe roll it into favored terrain all together. Then make Bane a separate feature, entirely...that should probably be a bit more specific as far as what the extra damage is, and level increases, etc... Again, dunno...kinda stream of consciousness-ing it as the caffeine begins to take effect...
Ah, my plan is to not even have a damage bonus involved in favored enemy. Bane is a tactical edge, not a damage buff. Things like making a creature with flight slower and clumsier, and have to save vs prone and thus falling when they land, or when they try to move their full speed, or making a creature with regeneration lose or reduce that feature until they save against the bane.
Possibly with the addition that at level one you pick from normal stuff, and then fey, dragons, fiends, maybe giants, can't be chosen until level 6, but...eh I don't know about that. There are too many fairly low level fey, fiends, and giants, and even some of the lesser dragons.
  • I feel like the Natural Explorer is clunky...but could be good. like the individual elements look good, but I might organize/present them differently.
Yeah, it definitely needs iteration for clarity and concise language and formatting.
  • I like Nature's Veil. That seems entirely appropriate in power and flavor for a 14th level feature to me.
Thanks!
Give me a few and I'll come up with a "counter proposal" of how I might do things instead...

Do keep in mind that I haven't used 5e in a some time and I do not own Tasha's, so what I come up with could be completely off base -power wise- and/or might have elements already taken care of in Tasha. I gather, from your write up, that there are a new Ranger archetypes and fighting styles in there.
Yeah, Tasha's has optional class features which many consider to "fix" the ranger, along with some new archetypes, and a fighting style where you simply gain 2 druid cantrips of your choice.

I'll review your second post and make a separate reply to it, so it's easier to keep things straight.
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
I think my biggest problem with Natural Explorer is that there is just so much stuff crammed into it. I mean, yes, they have a thematic connection, but it really doesn't match other class' initial features.
I mean, some other classes get full spellcasting and an archetype at level 1, so I'm not sure I agree on that.

That said, I really like your thoughts here, and I think that even if we don't find a compromise, our end results will be better for the discussion.
Level 1
Wilderness Expertise:

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, Coast, Desert, Forest, Grassland, Mountain, Swamp.
  • When you make Intelligence or Wisdom checks relevant to your favored terrain add your proficiency bonus whether or not it is a skill with which you are proficient. Your proficiency bonus is doubled if using a proficient skill.
  • In your favored terrain, you can not be slowed by mundane difficult terrain. If desired, you can automatically move as normal with Stealth when traveling alone in your preferred terrain(s).
  • While tracking other creatures (Survival), you also learn their exact number, their sizes, and how long ago they passed through the area.
  • When you forage (Survival or Nature check), you find twice as much food as you normally would
  • When the DM calls for a group check related to survival or travel in your favored terrain, you can replace the lowest result of the group check with your own.
You choose additional favored terrain types at 6th, 10th, and 15th, level. At 6th level you can add Aquatic/Marine, Subterranean, and Urban favored terrain options. At 10th and/or 15th you add a single Planar realm (Fae, Shadow, one Elemental Plane, one layer of the Abyss, etc...) with which you have experience as a favored terrain.

Natural Explorer:
  • While traveling for an hour or more in any wilderness, you can scout a safe path through/around it (Survival), allowing you and your allies to ignore the mundane difficult terrain. In your favored terrain you have advantage on these checks.
  • When you are engaged in another activity while traveling (such as foraging, navigating, or tracking), you remain alert to danger. Your proficiency bonus is added to any Passive Perception rolls, and doubled in your favored terrain.
I don't think these need to be separate features. I'd just keep the name Natural Explorer, and make Wilderness Expertise a subheading, just like ritual casting is under spellcasting. I also wouldn't gate mundane terrains. Why not let a dwarf or gnome or whatever ranger start out with subterranean, or let a ranger start out knowing settlements and cities and the roads between them?

I do like gating the fantastical realms, though I would add them as early options for characters like Fey Wanderer Rangers and Horizon Walker Rangers.

It's possible that we have different outlooks on how "regular" and mundane characters should be at level 1, though.
Favored Enemy -Beginning at 1st level, you have significant experience studying, tracking, hunting, and even talking to a certain type of enemy. Choose a type of favored enemy: Beasts, Fey, Monstrosities, Plants, or Undead. Alternatively, you can select two races of Humanoids (such as gnolls and orcs) as favored enemies. You gain the following benefits related to your choice;
  • You have advantage on Wisdom (Survival) checks to track your favored enemies, Intelligence checks to recall information about them, and Charisma checks to interact with them.
  • You can understand and communicate simple ideas with members of your favored enemy with animal or higher intelligence, even if you do not share a language.
  • You learn to apply bonus damage against your favored enemies. This Prey's Bane could be a special technique or weak spot you learn, a particular poison or irritant you know they have a vulnerability to, imbuing some of your magical energies into your attack, or other means). At 1st level this additional damage is d6 damage to a weapon (melee or ranged) attack. At 5th level the damage increases to 2d6 and can be applied as non-lethal damage and with unarmed strikes. At 9th level the damage increases to 3d8 and the ranger's Bane damage is considered "magical" for the purposes of bypassing resistances or immunities to mundane damage.
You choose one additional favored enemy category (or two humanoids), as well as an associated language, at 6th and 14th level. At 6th level you can add Constructs, Elementals, Giants, Dragons, or Oozes as favored enemies. At 14th level you can select Aberrations, Celestials, or Fiends as favored enemies. As you gain levels, your choices should reflect the types of monsters you have encountered on your adventures.
I don't like having 3 tiers of creatures like that. In many campaigns, fiends or aberrations would come up much sooner than that, potentially having been solved by the time 14 is reached. In my friend's campaign, we have been fighting undead and fiends since the first session, and our rangers both picked up fiend at level 6 as a result.

I also think that either favored enemy or natural explorer should have such level gating, not both, and creature types come in much wider range of CRs than fantastical terrains do, IME, so I'd keep terrain as the one with some amount of level gating, and leave enemy to a single list.

On Bane: As I said in my last post, I didn't plan on a damage bonus at all, but I think maybe a simple Bane that could be a "You gain the Hunter's Bane and a bane from the list for your favored enemy. You gain 2 more Bane options every time you choose a favored enemy, which can be chosen from any of the options for any of your favored enemies." type option, that simply makes your attacks count as magical as long as the target is under the effect.

Other Banes would be stuff like hobbling flight, reducing regeneration or later negating it entirely, and other debuffs that make anyone who attacks the target more effective by bypassing a defense or crippling a powerful strategy of a type of creature.

I have a theme here, though, which I haven't explicitly expressed, which is to make the Ranger a team enabler as a secondary role. When I work out new spells, many of them will be team buffs, and my ideas for my changes to Natural Explorer are largely about making the team as a whole more effective while still requiring rolls to do things.

Level 2 -
Spellcasting
- Prepared caster spellcasting writeup. Expanded spell list from tasha's.
  • Favored Terrain Spells - Each Favored Terrain comes with additional spells, which you always have prepared, and do not count against your number of prepared spells.
    • Arctic - Ice Knife, Heat Metal (Continual Flame doesn't actually produce heat)
    • Coastal - Fog Cloud, Calm Emotions
    • Desert - Create or Destroy Water, Blur
    • Forest - Entangle, Animal Messenger
    • Grassland - Longstrider, Find Steed (fight me)
    • Mountain - Featherfall, Spiderclimb
    • Wetlands - Detect Poison and Disease, Lesser Restoration
    • Subterranean - Faerie Fire, Darkvision
    • Urban - Disguise Self, Pass with Trace
Okay, I like some of the changes here, and some I don't.
  • Arctic - Heat Metal is really powerful, but it does make sense. Fair enough. It's weird that there isn't an Endure Elements in 5e. Perhaps there should be.
  • Coastal - Why calm emotions? Gust of Wind I chose because it can be used to help with sailing, but I don't see what Calm Emotions has to do with being from a coastal region. I had thought Alter Self for like, diving and such?
  • Desert - I like it
  • Forest - Fair enough, though I feel like that is sort of generic to all terrains, it feels most iconic here.
  • Mountain - Featherfall rather than Jump is interesting. More about surviving, rather than moving quickly,which spiderclimb also covers, and featherfall can be used on others and upcast to more targets, potentially saving the whole team. Done.
  • Wetlands - Lesser Restoration makes sense here, yeah. More general than just poison.
  • Subterranean - Darkvision makes sense, I just wish 5e had less proliferated darkvision in the playable races. Low-light vision would have been perfectly easy to include. Oh well. Yeah, barring an "aha!" moment for something else, yeah, makes sense.
  • Urban - Perfect. I really wish there was like a...group parkour spell, but since there isn't, yep, makes sense.
  • Ritual Casting: You can cast any spell from the Ranger spell list with the ritual tag as a ritual. You also use any spell with the ritual tag from the Druid spell list that is a spell level you could cast. Your ritual expertise expands and increases as you gain experience as follows. At 9th level you can use any ritual spells from the Ranger or Druid list, and spells with the ritual tag from the Wizard spell list of a spell level you can cast. At 13th level you can use any ritual spell from the Ranger or Druid lists, and ritual spells from the Wizard or Cleric spell lists of a spell level you can cast. At 17th level you can use any spells from the Ranger, Druid, Wizard or Cleric spell lists that have the ritual tag as a ritual.
So stealing the Bards magical secrets, and applying it to ranger ritual casting. Not a bad idea, though perhaps it could be simpler. Did you not like the idea of the Ranger being able to cast ritual spells as rituals above their normal spellcasting level? I thought it was a rather good idea.
Fighting Style - as phb+tasha's

...I'm getting confused by/wrapped up in my own things...somehow...Natural Explorer or Favored Enemy need to be wrapped up into Wilderness Expertise so there are only 2 features at first level, not three.

I am also, now, thi nking mayhaps the bonus spells might be good presented for terrain and favored enemies as Minigiant originally posted, then let the rangers choose their two bonus spells each day -always prepared, not taking slots for preparation- or make it 1 bonus spell per castable spell level? So if you give 2 terrain spells and 2 favored foe spells, they could eevntually have all 4 prepared, all of the time, without taking any prep slots.
I really don't like the idea of having that many decision points that each do that few things all at low level, and I don't like the idea of favored enemy giving specific spells.I relaly think it's better for the player to just pick a favored terrain and get an extra spell at level 2, and then another at level 5.

So, right now, with my proposal mixed with what we agree on in yours, you'd pick favored terrain and enemy, and one of two Bane options (the second being a generic Bane that temporarily conveys magical status to weapon attacks against the target, and at higher level probably upgrades to creating a vulnerability or reducing an immunity to resistance) at level 1. Then, at level 2, you pick a fighting style and your spells prepared, and at level 3 you pick your archetype. I think that is a good amount of choices at low level.
 

steeldragons

Steeliest of the dragons
That said, I really like your thoughts here, and I think that even if we don't find a compromise, our end results will be better for the discussion.
Sure thing. I get that. Don't really have time to go through it all point-by-point, but a couple of things I wanted to be sure to answer...
I don't think these need to be separate features. I'd just keep the name Natural Explorer, and make Wilderness Expertise a subheading, just like ritual casting is under spellcasting. I also wouldn't gate mundane terrains. Why not let a dwarf or gnome or whatever ranger start out with subterranean, or let a ranger start out knowing settlements and cities and the roads between them?

I do like gating the fantastical realms, though I would add them as early options for characters like Fey Wanderer Rangers and Horizon Walker Rangers.
Yes, I would definitely prefer having planar stuff gated off. But, as you point out, every campaign is different and some folks might have plane-jumping happening right away. So, it's really an "as you like it" kind of thing.
I don't like having 3 tiers of creatures like that. In many campaigns, fiends or aberrations would come up much sooner than that, potentially having been solved by the time 14 is reached. In my friend's campaign, we have been fighting undead and fiends since the first session, and our rangers both picked up fiend at level 6 as a result.
Right. Agreed. See above.
I also think that either favored enemy or natural explorer should have such level gating, not both, and creature types come in much wider range of CRs than fantastical terrains do, IME, so I'd keep terrain as the one with some amount of level gating, and leave enemy to a single list.


Totally get it, and like it. Not at all what I initially thought you meant. That's on me. Carry on.
Okay, I like some of the changes here, and some I don't.
  • Arctic - Heat Metal is really powerful, but it does make sense. Fair enough. It's weird that there isn't an Endure Elements in 5e. Perhaps there should be.
That was my immediate thought, but since Resistance is -I'm guessing, 5e's endure elements- and it's a cantrip, and they don't get cantrips, seemed the thing to produce heat was the best option. I'm thinking, moreso than the damage dealing, you hunker down, wherever you do in arctic terrain, take off your helmet, or your dagger or what have you Heat Metal that oughta get you some degree of comfort into the night.
  • Coastal - Why calm emotions? Gust of Wind I chose because it can be used to help with sailing, but I don't see what Calm Emotions has to do with being from a coastal region. I had thought Alter Self for like, diving and such?
Oh, no real reason. I'm just from a coastal area -but don't live there anymore- and know how soothing it is. hahaha. But, you're right, the Gust of Wind for boat stuff (or blowing up sand at people ;) visual cover and that s*** stings!) would probably make more sense for the game.
So stealing the Bards magical secrets, and applying it to ranger ritual casting. Not a bad idea, though perhaps it could be simpler. Did you not like the idea of the Ranger being able to cast ritual spells as rituals above their normal spellcasting level? I thought it was a rather good idea.
Oh, yes. It is. I was just "slowing it down." So they don't start out with unlimited access to everything of any level right away. Maybe it didn't read the way I thought...

When they get Wizard ritual spells, it's for spell levels they can cast. But when the next increase to their ritual casting happens (that I thiiink I tried to line up with their new castable levels) they could use whatever. Like a stepping up progression...They get Ranger and Druids they can cast. Then they get wizard's they can cast, but can use any ranger or druid rituals. Then they get cleric's of spell levels they can cast, but all ranger, druid, AND wizard. Then, eventually, at really high level, they're using all ranger/druid/wizard/cleric ritual spells of any level...which there are sure to be (I was presuming) higher level options than their spell casting allows.

Is that better or did I make it more confusing? ...I also didn't realize the Bard already had something like this and if that fits in better, and it's already written/done, by all means use it if you like.

I really don't like the idea of having that many decision points that each do that few things all at low level, and I don't like the idea of favored enemy giving specific spells.I relaly think it's better for the player to just pick a favored terrain and get an extra spell at level 2, and then another at level 5.
Agreed. It is too many finicky bits all frontloaded.

So, right now, with my proposal mixed with what we agree on in yours, you'd pick favored terrain and enemy, and one of two Bane options (the second being a generic Bane that temporarily conveys magical status to weapon attacks against the target, and at higher level probably upgrades to creating a vulnerability or reducing an immunity to resistance) at level 1. Then, at level 2, you pick a fighting style and your spells prepared, and at level 3 you pick your archetype. I think that is a good amount of choices at low level.
I think it's a ton of choices at low level. I'm kind wondering what we could take out to simplify it! lol.
 

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