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Level Up (A5E) Ranger class suggestion

snotbeard

First Post

Ranger​

An idea for improving or perhaps simply balancing the Ranger which is generally considered underwhelming in terms of damage output and also lacks a distinct role in combat.

These changes add features at the following levels and supplement class features that might be underpowered or uninspiring.

2nd - (Compare new features to Action Surge and Divine Smite)
6th - Favored Enemy and Natural Explorer improvements
10th - Hide in Plain Sight
14th - Vanish

Ranger Archetype​

Hunter is no longer an archetype option and is instead merged into the main class as follows

Hunter’s Prey​

At 2nd level, you gain the following features.

Colossus Slayer. Your tenacity can wear down the most potent foes. When you hit a Huge or larger creature with a weapon attack, the creature takes an extra 1d8 damage if it's below its hit point maximum. You can deal this extra damage only once per turn.
Giant Killer. When a Large or larger creature misses you with a melee attack, you can use your reaction to attack that creature immediately after its attack, provided that you can see the creature. You may move up to half your movement before making the attack as part the same reaction.
Horde Breaker. Once on each of your turns when you make a weapon attack against a Medium or smaller creature, you can make another attack with the same weapon against a different creature of the same type that is within 5 feet of the original target and within range of your weapon. ("Type" could be defined the same way it is for Favored Enemy with different races of humanoids counting as distinct types)

The idea is that this gives the ranger a distinct feel of adapting to the type of enemy they are facing and also tunes the mechanics of the abilities to better match their names. Rangers have a unique role in fighting large and huge opponents, gaining extra at-will damage and occasional extra attacks if they find themselves in harm's way. Against swarms and mobs they gain extra attacks that must be used against separate targets and will not be able to consistently generate extra attacks against a leader or boss commanding the horde.

Defensive Tactics​

At 6th level, you gain two of the following features of your choice.

Escape the Horde. Opportunity attacks against you are made with disadvantage.
Multi-attack Defense. When a creature hits you with an attack, you gain a +4 bonus to AC against all subsequent attacks made by that creature for the rest of the turn.
Steel Will. You have advantage on saving throws against being frightened

None of these by themselves seem particularly impressive when compared to Aura of Protection, Expertise or even an ASI. Getting 2 of 3 seemed like a good adjustment, but perhaps just one is sufficient.

Multiattack​

At 10th level, you gain one of the following features of your choice.

Volley. You can use your action to make a ranged attack against any number of creatures within 10 feet of a point you can see within your weapon's range. You must have ammunition for each target, as normal, and you make a separate attack roll for each target.
Whirlwind Attack. You can use your action to make a melee attack against any number of creatures within 5 feet of you, with a separate attack roll for each target.

Specialization is one kind of multi-target mode. This could be compared to Aura of Courage, Brutal Critical or Relentless Rage. This is probably the most powerful classes feature added and perhaps could use tuning. Perhaps once per short rest or a number of time equal to Wisdom/Proficiency modifier per long rest.

Superior Hunter's Defense​

At 14th level, you gain two of the following features of your choice.

Evasion. You can nimbly dodge out of the way of certain area effects, such as a red dragon's fiery breath or a lightning bolt spell. When you are subjected to an effect that allows you to make a Dexterity saving throw to take only half damage, you instead take no damage if you succeed on the saving throw, and only half damage if you fail.
Stand Against the Tide. When a hostile creature misses you with a melee attack, you can use your reaction to force that creature to repeat the same attack against another creature (other than itself) of your choice.
Uncanny Dodge. When an attacker that you can see hits you with an attack, you can use your reaction to halve the attack's damage against you.

Comparisons could include Blindsense, Cleansing Touch and Persistent Rage. Getting either a 5th or a 7th level Rogue class features as a 14th level archetype feature feels a bit insulting. Getting both here might give a good reason to stick with Ranger through higher levels instead of multi-classing to Rogue. Stand Against the Tide feels unique and perhaps could be the sole option.


One unique combat role that might emerge from these options is a character that has consistent use for reactions and can use enemy misses against them. For example the stacking effects of these features would now be part of the class and not something you have to choose over other archetype options:

Giant Killer. When a Large or larger creature misses you with a melee attack, you can use your reaction to attack that creature immediately after its attack, provided that you can see the creature. You may move up to half your movement before making the attack as part the same reaction.
with
Multi-attack Defense. When a creature hits you with an attack, you gain a +4 bonus to AC against all subsequent attacks made by that creature for the rest of the turn.

Escape the Horde. Opportunity attacks against you are made with disadvantage.
with
Stand Against the Tide. When a hostile creature misses you with a melee attack, you can use your reaction to force that creature to repeat the same attack against another creature (other than itself) of your choice.

These aren't new combinations, but by making them part of the class they give a more defined role that can be built on with other archetype choices.
 
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snotbeard

First Post
I did read document #7 Playtest (A5E) - Level Up Playtest Document #7: Ranger. I haven't read any of the proposed changes for other classes so I am not sure how it fits into the larger ecosystem. This was something I had been mulling over before landing on this site and I think consequently I had limited myself to adjusting existing rules rather than re-writing. The Colossus Slayer feature has always bothered me. It has such a cool name, but in practice it has nothing to do with the size of the target. The idea the anything with more than 1 hit point could be a valid target for an ability called Colossus Slayer has always been very disappointing :) Anyway, I had been reading about the TCE changes and also how no one ever picks Giant Slayer, which seems a shame since it actually a pretty evocative and dynamic ability that is unique to the ranger, and this was my attempt at baking it into the class. In full transparency I see the original Hunter archetype as my prototypical ranger as opposed to beast master which has never grabbed my fancy.
 

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