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4E Ranger: Beastmaster New Powers

Garthanos

Arcadian Knight
Offhand Commands is going to be a build choice feature or actually just a class feature that has no impact unless you are a beastmaster if you have 1 hand free you may more adeptly command your beast companion, your attacks gain a tier scaling bonus to damage of +2 +3, +4.

Inherently Endowed as you level your awesome rubs off on your beast and they gain effective inherent bonuses (equal to that of the inherent bonuses rule less 1, with d6 critical hit benefits too.) this should be available whether inherent bonuses are normally available to characters.

an Alternative to the above might be to include in treasures and enchantments charms such as magic collars and other gear which enhance your beast
 
To my knowledge the only source of beast master feats is Martial Power I, and there is no "Your beast gains a +2/3/4 feat bonus to damage" feat that I see. The only damage feat I can find is Coordinated Oppurtunist which is +2 dmg for YOU on oppurtunity attacks if target is adjacent to beast.

Tangent Alert: Looking through the beast master feats I can really see some flaws in the "every race-class combo gets a feat" theory Martial Power tried to implement. The feats aren't (all) bad, but they're so specific and numerous it makes finding anything generally useful a pain in the attention span.
Truthfully, the Beast Master build is NOT at all underpowered in a basic sense. The only issue it has is the lack of access to a certain set of highly potent feats. Beyond that, the lack of the TWF's larger off-hand weapon is trivial (.5 point of damage on a hit, not a big deal). The only other lack being access to a truly world-shaking PP like Battlefield Archer.

So, you don't REALLY need to fiddle with their powers, they just need maybe 3 really nice sky blue feats and a sky blue PP. There is a misconception that, because the beast is not a combat monster, that the build is 'bad in combat', it isn't. It is basically just as effective as the other 3 ranger builds, except without some fairly small extra benny. In return you get a basically unkillable companion that can take hits for you, do OAs, set of traps while you are nice and safe at the other side of the room, carry stuff, etc. (heck, if you're a halfling there are beasts you can RIDE, beat that!). Heck, I guess a pixie ranger could ride ANY companion, hahaha.

Anyway, I have nothing against some powers that push the beast more into being an ersatz weapon, that isn't a bad idea at all, but it should be thought of more as 'color' and not so much as something needed to 'beef up' the build in any way. [MENTION=82504]Garthanos[/MENTION], the +1 hit and damage bonus you are giving is OK, it certainly won't break anything and isn't going to make the character stronger than an optimized twin striking build. I wouldn't go any further than that, except maybe to extend it to some non-at-will versions.
 

Garthanos

Arcadian Knight
. @Garthanos, the +1 hit and damage bonus you are giving is OK, it certainly won't break anything and isn't going to make the character stronger than an optimized twin striking build. I wouldn't go any further than that, except maybe to extend it to some non-at-will versions.
You mean the bonus if they are attacking the same monster as you?
 
You mean the bonus if they are attacking the same monster as you?
Right, there is really very little reason why you would NOT want that bonus. In any case most rangers are only going to have one HQ in play at a time, so they tend to focus fire. There is just not much to be gained by splitting up your attacks unless you're reduced to pinging minions with TS, which is a pretty silly thing to do in most cases (but stuff happens).

As I said before Prime Shot is really THE significant give up to get Beast Master, and only because of the feat chain associated with it.
 

Fhtagn

Villager
How about the balance of actual beastmaster powers compared to the non-bm ones? Do they actually see use in the hands of beastmaster rangers? From what I gather, the most sensible way of going beastmaster constitutes playing your basic twin-strike ranger, just with a beast instead of prime shot.
 

Garthanos

Arcadian Knight
How about the balance of actual beastmaster powers compared to the non-bm ones? Do they actually see use in the hands of beastmaster rangers? From what I gather, the most sensible way of going beastmaster constitutes playing your basic twin-strike ranger, just with a beast instead of prime shot.
I am using the non-beastmaster powers as inspiration/balance points for these so that is rather the exactly the goal (if you would have taken a twin-striker ranger power instead you now take one of these).

Do you have an example build it might inspire me... about which build components need a beastmaster analog ;)
 
I am using the non-beastmaster powers as inspiration/balance points for these so that is rather the exactly the goal (if you would have taken a twin-striker ranger power instead you now take one of these).

Do you have an example build it might inspire me... about which build components need a beastmaster analog ;)
Right, this is the correct approach. While the build could use a minor tweak to have parity with the better feat possibilities of the TWF and Archer builds, it isn't SUFFERING any. The only real issue is really mostly a matter of appearances, giving the beast a formal combat role that is more substantive than "take an occasional OA and maybe get called out to trot out the human ranger's third at-will for color." It shouldn't give the character much benefit in combat, but just make tactically utilizing your beast more interesting. The ideal powers would add some sort of tactical depth as well, not JUST reproduce TS, but given the potency of TS this is hard to do...
 

Garthanos

Arcadian Knight
Yeah, there is that Griffin Rider one, I forget the exact name, but it was PRETTY good. Still not in the same league with BA (then again, plenty of perfectly solid PPs aren't in the same league with BA...).
I can derive off of BA easily enough

One is coming to mind might call it Savage Warbeast it will largely enhance beast attacks that are not adjacent to you and distract enemies from your actions etc.

Level 12 utility - Bestial Triumphant Roar: Trigger: Your beast taking down an enemy that is not adjacent - effect you gain an action point that has to be taken this turn etc.
 

Fhtagn

Villager
The only real issue is really mostly a matter of appearances
There is a number of beastmaster powers in which the beast functions "as a weapon", yet to me they seem mostly subpar, if not terrible, mainly due to scaling issues (and the miserable to-hit of most beasts in low heroics). I was thinking more along the lines of a pure (or mostly pure) numbers fix to make those powers more attractive. They needn't necessarily keep up with Twin Strike in the long run, but I'd like to fix them in a way as to not have them be traps.
Does that sound sensible?
 

Garthanos

Arcadian Knight
There is a number of beastmaster powers in which the beast functions "as a weapon", yet to me they seem mostly subpar, if not terrible, mainly due to scaling issues (and the miserable to-hit of most beasts in low heroics). I was thinking more along the lines of a pure (or mostly pure) numbers fix to make those powers more attractive. They needn't necessarily keep up with Twin Strike in the long run, but I'd like to fix them in a way as to not have them be traps.
Does that sound sensible?
Some things like helping the numbers part of adjacent beast attacking same target... and improving scaling with inherent bonuses and the like are still on my list too.
 
There is a number of beastmaster powers in which the beast functions "as a weapon", yet to me they seem mostly subpar, if not terrible, mainly due to scaling issues (and the miserable to-hit of most beasts in low heroics). I was thinking more along the lines of a pure (or mostly pure) numbers fix to make those powers more attractive. They needn't necessarily keep up with Twin Strike in the long run, but I'd like to fix them in a way as to not have them be traps.
Does that sound sensible?
I agree that there is an issue with beasts participating in the bonus/modifier of the character. They should get an inherent bonus, since even if there ARE magic weapons for them, that would still represent yet another item the PC requires (though to be fair a TBF Ranger has the same issue). The other/maybe bigger issue is really that most feat-based bonuses and temporary bonuses are unlikely to include the beast.

What to do about the later issue is hard. Powers COULD target a beast, or help it, just like any other allied character, but given the limited potential of beasts they aren't generally a good candidate to target, so they are only going to get incidental buffs, whereas a ranger is likely a prime candidate for such. Feats are just a harder case, there clearly need to be a whole slew of feats which benefit 'ranger and beast', but the support was instead thin, leading to PCs simply taking feats that help them and not the beast.

I guess another entirely different option would be to just rewrite the beast companion rule and make it more like the summons rule, where the summons gets every bonus the summoner has. This might produce some slightly odd-seeming results at times, but it certainly gets the job done in terms of parity. Now if you can basically "twin strike with your beast" it has become a fully featured combat option.

Of course, this makes the Beast Master now VERY strong, since they still get all the other spin-off benefits of having a beast!
 

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