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D&D 5E Paladin and Ranger Are Backward

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
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...

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.

Right. Agreed. See above.




Totally get it, and like it. Not at all what I initially thought you meant. That's on me. Carry on.

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.

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.

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.


Agreed. It is too many finicky bits all frontloaded.


I think it's a ton of choices at low level. I'm kind wondering what we could take out to simplify it! lol.
Okay, I think we are mostly on the same page. I'll try to write up the ritual casting thing with your thoughts in mind in a concise manner similar to 5e style writing today.

As for low level having too much stuff....lets see...I think Level 1 needs something for combat, so I'd not want to lose Bane at that level, and the other two choices are pretty necessary to be at that level for narrative reasons...

Also, speaking of combat at low levels...perhaps the Bane feature should have a claus that all your banes cause the target to take extra damage equal to your proficiency modifier 1/round when you hit them with an attack? If it takes a failed save to land a Bane, and most of them have subsequent saves, I think that's limited enough to not risk overpowering the class, and allows level 1 to add something to every type of combat, rather than only some.

I think for now I'll write it up as is, and think more on it.
 

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doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
New Ranger Spells

Defensive Volley – Reaction, material component 1 weapon, reduce damage of an attack against an ally within 60ft, and then deal damage to the attacker. Not sure yet how to word this one

Endure Elements – up to 3 creatures within range gain a bonus equal to your spellcasting modifier plus the level of the spell to con saves against weather, high or low pressure from altitude or underwater depth, or extreme temperature, for the duration. Higher levels add 1 target per spell level.

Nature’s Step – Your speed increases by 5ft, and you ignore non-magical difficult terrain, and you can hide while only lightly obscured by an area of difficult terrain, for the duration. Upcast for extra targets.

Aspect of The Wild- (either concentration level 2 or level 3 with no concentration) You take on a wild aspect, gaining one of the benefits listed below for the duration.

  • Aspect of The Hunting Falcon – gain keen senses, ability to see clearly up to a mile away, and extra damage on attacks made with advantage?

  • Aspect of The Pack Wolf – Gain Pack tactics

  • Aspect of the Charging Ram – You can dash as a bonus action, and if you move at least 10ft in a straight line toward a creature before attacking, your next attack deals an extra 1d8 damage on a hit, and the target must make a strength saving throw or be knocked prone.

  • Aspect of The Lurking Spider – You gain a climb speed equal to your speed, and when you attack a creature from which you are hidden, or when you crit, you deal extra damage.
Secure Encampment - ritual spell that makes a secret encampment.

I'd like to do more exploration spells, especially rituals, these are just the first ideas I've had in a busy day.
 

ehren37

Adventurer
Yeah you play a different game from any I’ve seen irl.

You often have 4 crossbows in your pack?

It’s a no-concentration spell that you can set up before a fight, and it just works, no further fuss required. While you’re dealing full warrior class damage on top of it. 🤷‍♂️

Hail of Thorns doesn’t deal 1d10 in a 5ft radius, it deals that on top of an attack action.

Concentration doesn’t downgrade the spell, all spells that add to an attack as part of the spell do.

You seem to be comparing ranger spells to full caster spells, rather than the result of a turn of actions of a ranger against the result of a turn of actions of a full caster. This will lead to false results, because it isn’t a valid comparison.
Your characters don't set up traps? Weird. Anyways, by 5th level, there's typically a few extra crossbows, and often some manner of storage solution. Moreover, you don't need 4 crossbows to beat Cordon of Arrows. You seem to overlook that any creature would only be subject to one arrow save per round. It's the first time a creature enters or ends its turn in the cordon that it has to save. Another reason the spell is junk. It's at best a d6 DOT with a save to negate each round, which as I said, is nuisance level.

Hybrid spells, particularly damage dealing ones, need to be stronger on a level by level basis, otherwise we get the . Look at Prayer of Healing and Find Steed. That should be the benchmark. Otherwise you get situations like the Eldritch Knight, where the damage dealing ones are pointless compared to what you could already do with your martial skills.
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
Your characters don't set up traps? Weird.
You cannot set a crossbow and a tripwire to shoot in whatever direction an enemy comes from. Cordon is roughly equal to two crossbow shots in damage, except that it hits in any direction, including up. If you're allowing PCs to somehow set a trap to do the same, then your sense of what is balanced in comparison to setting a trap is completely bonkers, because you're letting traps do nonsense.

If you're letting them set that trap in 6 seconds/as an action, well, don't even try to talk to me about balance.
Anyways, by 5th level, there's typically a few extra crossbows, and often some manner of storage solution. Moreover, you don't need 4 crossbows to beat Cordon of Arrows. You seem to overlook that any creature would only be subject to one arrow save per round. It's the first time a creature enters or ends its turn in the cordon that it has to save. Another reason the spell is junk. It's at best a d6 DOT with a save to negate each round, which as I said, is nuisance level.
I haven't overlooked anything, you just aren't making compelling arguments, here.
Hybrid spells, particularly damage dealing ones, need to be stronger on a level by level basis, otherwise we get the . Look at Prayer of Healing and Find Steed. That should be the benchmark. Otherwise you get situations like the Eldritch Knight, where the damage dealing ones are pointless compared to what you could already do with your martial skills.
The Eldritch Knight isn't even a good case to discuss when talking about ranger spells, because the EK has no access to similar spells. No smites, or smite style spells, closest things is Shadow Blade and the melee weapon cantrips.

Still, the EK doesn't do bad, with those spells they do have.

I made a sword and shield, Dueling FS, level 8 EK with equal int and str, which is how I mostly see them played, and looking at my attacks, I've got 2 attacks at 1d8+5 with a longsword or rapier. I could have gone Dex with a rapier instead, or GWF, but this is a good average character for comparison sake, and closer to what I have in my party in my friend's campaign right now.
I also took War Caster and Spell Sniper at 4 and 6, waiting until 8 to boost my stats at all. It'll be 12 before my strength hits 18, but since I don't build max stat characters in real games, I won't do so here.

Comparing that to his damaging spells, we've got:

Absorb Elements. I'd probably sacrifice a little Int for more Con if I were to play this guy, and use this when Shield doesn't apply. I won't put the extra damage in the examples, because it's too depending on the enemy one is fighting, but when fighting things that do elemental damage, it's really nice to have.

Cantrip+ bonus action attack - 2d8+5 and then 1d8+5 as a BA. With Shadowblade on, this increases by 1d8 per attack. Pretty good, especially if you have Advantage to equal out not making more attacks. That's what I'd expect for spending a bonus action on a class that doesn't use it's bonus actions for class features.

Just Attacking: 1d8+5 twice. 2d8+5 twice with Shadowblade.

Ranged damage spells have to compare to rather weak ranged martial options on this build, which isn't necessarily fair, but it does point toward one of the many benefits of this subclass. That is, you can be just as good at range, without being a dex build.

So, level one I picked up Ice Knife. It isn't the most powerful optimized choice, but it's fun as hell and frankly I don't run into damage resistance all that often, as our games tend to battle humanoids more than anything else. Still, the fiends can sometimes be resistant to cold, so Magic Missile is probably the more practical pick.

Hand Axes: 1d6+3 twice, possibly a third as a bonus action. With Shadowblade one of those attacks could be 2d8+3 instead, but that precludes the bonus action throw. Best round possible is two hits, one with shadowblade and one with an axe, for 2d8+3 and 1d6+3, with rather short range.

Chill Touch, and bonus action thrown attack, with shield equipped (it makes sense in my games, because enemies do heal eachother): 2d8 and then 1d6+5 or 2d8 and then 2d8+5 with shadowblade. Not really impressive compared to what another subclass can do with an archer build, but perfectly respectable for a non range focused character.

Lightning Lure and a bonus action melee attack: 3d8 and then 1d8+5 (2d8+5 with shadowblade). Pretty good when the situation calls for it.

Ice Knife: Spell Sniper, range 120 ft, 1d10 initial damage and a blast secondary that deals 2d6 in a 5ft radius. Let's assume you use this when you have at least 2 creatures next to eachother, and you upcast it. Best possible round is 1d10+3d6 to one target, and 3d6 to another. Obviously it's better the more creatures can be hit with it. (also EKs really benefit from the sorcerer mc feat)

Scorching Ray: 2d6 three times, used as needed in terms of targetting, range of 240 ft. Best possible round is 6d6. An archer would be more accurate due to the fighting style and 18 dex, and if we assume a BM they'd likely be spending 2 dice to make it 2d8+4 twice with some secondary effect.

I mean, you're acting like there is some huge gap here, but there isn't. The BM can dish out more consistent damage while their dice last, but they have far less utility, and little in the way of extra defense, and if they want to be good at melee and range they have to go Dex, which is fine if the player wanted a dex character anyway, but not if they wanted a heavily armored himbo or whatever.

Obviously the EK could use something better at level 7, but honestly just making it any spell reather than only cantrips that allow a bonus action attack would help, and the biggest let down of the class is that this feature doesn't allow synergy with things that add to an attack action. It's casting is fine as long as your adventuring days aren't long enough that you run out of slots, and you take Warcaster to allow easier casting and more reliable keeping of concentration.

The case is even better for the Ranger, who is getting spells that add to their attacks rather than replacing them, and generally do useful secondary effects as well. Cordon of Arrows is perhaps their least impressive combat spell that they don't share with other classes, but since I consider it the same as a spell that just adds 1d6 to your next four attacks but doesn't require concentration, it's fine. Worth preparing if Rangers were prepared casters, which is the only real dissapointment of ranger casting; the limited number of known spells.


I mean, look, if I'd been desinging the game, I'd have made all casters gains access to spell levels at the same rate, and given lesser casters slower progression of spells known/prepared and spell slots, and you'd just be picking spells of X level or lower for more of your career rather than waiting until level 9 to get 3rd level spells, so that we could balance all spells of a given level the same, regardless of intended class, but that ship has sailed, and what we got works just fine.
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
Yeah I think high level EK would work a lot better if you could BA attack after any action spell. Even then...they really shouldn't have designed the subclass to fight between primary uses of the action, when the base class gets so much out of the attack action at high level.

I'd replace Eldritch Strike with the ability to cast a spell that normally requires an action, as part of the Attack Action, replacing two attacks, once per turn.

The subclass is fine until level 11, when it starts to rankle that I have to give up one of the best things in the base class in order to cast a spell. It's still not underpowered at those levels, however, you just are better off retraining your spells to only be buffs, defense, and utility or control.
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
Looking at ranger spells as you level, yeah, the ranger spells are just fine, they just need more access to them.

Even the bemoaned Cordon of Arrow allows a hunter ranger with Collosus Slayer to deal the extra damage even in the first round more reliably, in addition to it's other benefits.

Flame Arrows is mostly good for improving another character's damage. For yourself, just use Hunter's Mark, since you have to concentrate on Flame Arrows anyway.

Lightning Arrow is very good. 6d8, 2d8 of which is AoE damage, added to an attack action. So, that's (best case, but not counting subclass damage buffs) 2d8+10+6d8.

That's comparable to a warlock using Negative Energy Flood at the same class level, especially when you take into account that the ranger might be attacking with advantage and using Sharpshooter on both attacks, and probably has extra damage from their subclass.

Conjure Barrage does 3d8 damage in a 60ft cone. Will that be optimal in every fight? No, but when it is a crowded fight, it's going to make the fight much faster and easier.

The last time I saw it used, it was against a horde of undead, and IIRC it hit something like 20 enemies. We went into the fight with the jerk controlling them much fresher than the DM expected.

Down to low level spells, Ensnaring Strike doesn't need to be upcast to be good, because at higher levels I use it agains spellcasters who are concentrating, primarily. They tend to suck at Strength checks, and thus have to spend a spell slot to teleport, if they have a teleport spell, or dispel magic as an action, to get out of it, or have 1 extra concentration save per round. It also has disadvantage on attacks and dex saving throws, and I now have advantage against it.

Hail of Thorns adds 1d10 in a small AoE to an attack. Upcasting this one is a bit questionable, but it's never a bad use of a first level slot, when you start to get low on the higher level slots. At lower levels, it's great.

After those, I'm looking at Summon Beast, Pass Without Trace, Absorb Elements if I'm melee and maybe even if I'm not, I don't love the 4th level spell list, but Freedom of Movement and Guardian of Nature are both fun. I haven't really looked at Summon Elemental, because I have more options with a lower level summon spell that I can upcast. Also Summon Beast lets me play a ranger how I prefer, which is with the Beast as a base class thing.
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
Speaking of Beast Master Ranger...

I don't think it really needs a fix, but what if it worked off of the Summon Beast spell, instead of how it works now? The scaling is similar to the Beast of XYZ, so what if your main feature was always having it prepared (or known if using standard ranger casting) and being able to cast it without a slot, at the highest spell level you can cast, 1/LR, and not have to use concentration for the spell?

Then other features have more room to do cool things. The duration is a potential issue, too, though. IME players want to just have their pet.

Perhaps instead, you use the Beast of XYZ critters, give the beast it's own turn right after yours, and allow spending spell slots to buff the beast? Heck, just having the beast benefit from any spell benefiting you would make the subclass really sing.
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
Gonna take a break from this, come back to it on my next day off I think, see if anything stands out as crazy or obviously missing or whatnot with fresh eyes.

I think the basic idea so far is solid, though.

I will also try to work out at least a handful of Banes. Rather than making Banes one more choice to be made, your Favored enemy choice will just determine one of your Banes, and the other will be Hunter's Bane which is just a general "attacks count as magical and the first successful attack against the creature each round does 1d6 extra damage" or something.

Also...perhaps a healing/restorative "bane" (obviously the feature would then need a more general name) where you can spend some of your banes per short rest to remove a poison or disease on a creature.
 

Pauln6

Explorer
I ruled that higher level spells just add +4 to damage to avoid crit stacking but I was wondering if paladin might be better balanced if they only got to burn higher level slots as often as their channel divinity.
 

An idea I've been coming back to a lot...the Ranger lacks something centrally thematic, right? Sure, you can fix casting. Subclass bonus spells and spell prep help a lot. Adding some better spells to the list (I mean, a 3rd-level AoE spell that does 3d8 non-scaling damage? Really?) helps, too. But it doesn't fix the underlying problem.

So here's an idea: drop the Beast Master subclass, and make the Companion a core class feature. I still think it needs revision, but if you want something to really make the Ranger stand out, "The Ranger is the one with the fighting animal buddy" sure beats, "the Ranger gets bonuses to rolls for which no rules actually exist."

Here's a sketch:

Same proficiencies & hit dice & PHB
  • Magic: 1/2 caster, spells prepped = 1/2 level + WIS, 2 subclass bonus spells per tier
  • Beast Companion, rewrite it to make the action economy less confusing (and not rely on your bonus action at all)
  • Most of the Beast Master improvement schedule just becomes class features (e.g. at 11th level), scrub some of the Natural
  • Explorer/Favored Enemy stuff to make room for subclass features
  • Every subclass should have at least one Companion-related improvement on its schedule, maybe 7th level?
 
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doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
An idea I've been coming back to a lot...the Ranger lacks something centrally thematic, right? Sure, you can fix casting. Subclass bonus spells and spell prep help a lot. Adding some better spells to the list (I mean, a 3rd-level AoE spell that does 3d8 non-scaling damage? Really?) helps, too. But it doesn't fix the underlying problem.

So here's an idea: drop the Beast Master subclass, and make the Companion a core class feature. I still think it needs revision, but if you want something to really make the Ranger stand out, "The Ranger is the one with the fighting animal buddy" sure beats, "the Ranger gets bonuses to rolls for which no rules actually exist."

Here's a sketch:

Same proficiencies & hit dice & PHB
  • Magic: 1/2 caster, spells prepped = 1/2 level + WIS, 2 subclass bonus spells per tier
  • Beast Companion, rewrite it to make the action economy less confusing (and not rely on your bonus action at all)
  • Most of the Beast Master improvement schedule just becomes class features (e.g. at 11th level), scrub some of the Natural
  • Explorer/Favored Enemy stuff to make room for subclass features
  • Every subclass should have at least one Companion-related improvement on its schedule, maybe 7th level?
Definitely works for those of us who view the Ranger as just having a companion, yeah.
 


Minigiant

Legend
I've always be for Companion class where the class is basically a rogue with a full on Companions instead of Sneak Attack and Evasion. That's how some MMOs did with their full on pet classes.You balance it by making the main PC weak or require active investment in the companion to make the companion work. Boy and his Dog, Princess and her Protector, Underboss and his Bodyguard, Old Knight and the young Squire.

Beastmaster rangers would multiclass into this class to make the Warrior-Beast-Combination work.

That's a different thing than the lack of snow or sand spells in the ranger list.
 

cbwjm

Hero
I do like the ideas of the Happy Fun Hour ranger. Choosing different terrains gave you abilities like increased movement or resistances, at 2nd level rather than spellcasting you had a choice of gain spellcasting, a beast companion, or martial exploits. Beastmaster was still a subclass, improving your beast companion. Subclasses that gained additional spells but didn't have the spellcasting feature instead gained 1/day uses of those spells.
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
I do like the ideas of the Happy Fun Hour ranger. Choosing different terrains gave you abilities like increased movement or resistances, at 2nd level rather than spellcasting you had a choice of gain spellcasting, a beast companion, or martial exploits. Beastmaster was still a subclass, improving your beast companion. Subclasses that gained additional spells but didn't have the spellcasting feature instead gained 1/day uses of those spells.
For folks who want a spell less ranger, that’s a good fit. Personally, I don’t like Spellcasting being the thing I have to sacrifice to get a functional beast companion.

However, I would have been okay with a class feature that let you pick a custom stat block beast as your familiar, let’s the familiar attack, and had basic ways to spend spell slots to buff that familiar. The BM sub would then give always-on buffs to the familiar.

Add a “when you get buffed your companion does as well” feature at some point, and you’ve got a ferocious team.
 

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