Ranger playtest discussion


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CreamCloud0

One day, I hope to actually play DnD.
Please note i say this not having seen any of the 1dnd materials but speak of the ranger in a general sense.

The ranger to me...it shouldn’t not get magic but it’s fundamental abilities shouldn’t require magic to perform, enhance them yes, but not require, if rogues get expertise in thieves tools why don’t rangers have it for herbalism kit and/or survival skill, rangers don’t even get standard proficiency in herbalism kit naturally how does that make sense?

Rangers to me are survivalists and that brings a decent jack of all trades selection of abilities: stealth, mixed melee and ranged combat, exploration, tracking, knowledge of all things nature, primal magic and nonmagical healing, Now I reiterate what i said at the start of my post here: I don’t mean to remove the magical healing of the ranger but make it support their nonmagic capabilities, make their magic be what magic has always meant to be in comparison to nonmagic solutions: the quick, reliable and powerful BUT LIMITED alternative to what the nonmagic version can churn out all day at a slightly lower quality, I really feel like dnd needs a nonmagic healer and similarly I feel that the ranger could fit that niche excellently with herbalism and tinctures and brewing potions.
 

multi attack used to be:
  • 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
now it's
You now always have Conjure Barrage prepared, and it doesn’t count against the number of Spells you can prepare. You can also cast the Spell with 1st- and 2ndlevel Spell Slots. When you do so, the Spell’s damage is reduced

You throw a nonmagical weapon or fire a piece of nonmagical ammunition into the air to create a cone of identical weapons that shoot forward and then disappear. Each creature in a 60-foot cone must succeed on a Dexterity saving throw. A creature takes 3d8 damage on a failed save, or half as much damage on a successful one. The damage type is the same as that of the weapon or ammunition used as a component
 

multi attack used to be:
  • 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
now it's
You now always have Conjure Barrage prepared, and it doesn’t count against the number of Spells you can prepare. You can also cast the Spell with 1st- and 2ndlevel Spell Slots. When you do so, the Spell’s damage is reduced

You throw a nonmagical weapon or fire a piece of nonmagical ammunition into the air to create a cone of identical weapons that shoot forward and then disappear. Each creature in a 60-foot cone must succeed on a Dexterity saving throw. A creature takes 3d8 damage on a failed save, or half as much damage on a successful one. The damage type is the same as that of the weapon or ammunition used as a component

Or whirlwind attack... which was not playing nice with any ranger build except maybe duelling style, but even then it was only powering up a rather underpowered style.

A melee ranger can now just throw a dagger in the air and do some area damage. BUFF the spell and the ability is ok. Maybe allow it to be used prof bonus per day for free.
 

I really hate it when they design abilities that are just buttons you have to push in order to push other buttons. Like, what actually is a hunter's mark? Or a smite, for that matter? It's a button youh push to make numbers go up. There's no flavour, and no interaction with the fictional world.
With smite, you at least have a "Pelor powers my strikes" kind of logic you can apply.

Hunters Mark, you go from:
"I'm watching you.." to..
"I'm magically watching you"..

I'd rather see something like the UA Ranger's favored enemy bonuses, but maybe be able to switch them out after a long rest or something. Flavor it as something like:

"When you start your day, choose a creature type from <creature type list>. You make subtle modifications to your weapons and armor to more effectively counter the foes you plan to face. This may include dipping ammunition in holy water, coating blades with special toxins, etching runes onto the face of a shield, etc. Until you finish a long rest your weapons do <pick a die size or flat number> additional damage, you gain <pick some kind of protection saves, AC, damage resistance, etc.> and <pick some exploration benefit> against the selected creature types. At levels <..pick some levels> you can select an additional creature type as part of these preparations and/or the resulting benfit increases to <..pick reasonable benefit increase>"

Like, it could be an ability that functions very similarly to how real hunters plan their loadouts for the type of wild game they are hunting.
 

But that's the problem. Rangers shouldn't be relying solely on Hunters Mark and trying to stack on everything and always have it up..

This is also a valid stance. Other spells should be buffed anyway...

but if the ranger is balanced around the usage of hunter's mark as the paladin is balanced around smites, then by all means, allow the ranger to use hunter's mark and also use some other fun spells

You can go either way. WotC chose the way to make hunter's mark finally the ranger thing which they were not totally sure of in the 2014 PHB.

You could also give the ranger something else and then allow hunter's mark to be only a normal spell for them.
 

This was always going to be a big one.

The ranger ceases to be a "spells known" class and has now become a "spells prepared" class with two cantrips. Favoured enemy means they also always have Hunter's Mark prepared - and hunter's mark no longer takes concentration.

Natural explorer has been replaced by Deft Explorer - but the two languages at L1 have been replaced by a second expertise.

Rangers no longer have access to the Dueling fighting style. It's just Archery, Defense, or Two Weapon Fighting (which no longer uses a bonus action but is otherwise seemingly unchanged).

Hide in Plain Sight and Banish have both been dropped for Nature's Veil.

The Hunter's been done dirty. At level 3 they all get Colossus Slayer. At level 6 they now know immunities, resistances, and vulnerabilities of the target of their mark. And the Multiattack has become "Always have the awful Conjure Barrage spell prepared and can undercast it", somehow making it worse; I don't care if it is a 60ft cone, a 1d8 damage spell is a waste of an action at level 11.

In summary giving the Ranger Spells Prepared is a boon in terms of strength but IMO will lead to less interesting characters. Giving the ranger cantrips is good. (Especially given that this means Rangers can go the Shilleleagh approach and there's even a potential for Magic Stone). And it's otherwise tweaks on the Tasha's version that appears equivalent but slightly blander
IMHO (which may change) The spell casting changes help the ranger a lot. Remember that they are restricted by school.
The Hunter's Mark is simple and it makes Favored Enemy not situational. The enemy that you dedicate your life to defeating can just be flavor in your backstory.
Rover is strong but situational. There may be possible abuses but in most games, I think they would be minor and rare.
Natural Explorer and the expertise in relevant skills seems OK and makes thematic sense.
Most Rangers pick archery anyway but we don't know how accessible other styles will be so I don't think the loss of dueling is a grand emergency.
Nature's Veil could be done more simply and shouldn't need a spell slot to make you invisible at 13th level. Just say if you hide in a natural setting you become invisible until you are revealed.

The Hunter I have mixed feelings about.
Hunter's Prey at 3rd is OK. a D8 isn't a lot but for a 3rd level ability, I think that's OK.
Hunter's Lore is strong but situational and it makes thematic sense.
Conjure Barrage is bad as written. Downcasting is more of a bad thing. Just give the ranger an extra attack against the target of Hunter's Mark. (or write a version of Conjure Barrage that makes it worthwhile to use at 11th level).

Overall, I'm optimistic for the ranger. I do wonder if all classes will be preparers who know the whole list. If so, what will the wizard do? The scribing and learning of new spells would be meaningless. I suppose we'll see what they are thinknig in the arcane playtest.
 

With smite, you at least have a "Pelor powers my strikes" kind of logic you can apply.

Hunters Mark, you go from:
"I'm watching you.." to..
"I'm magically watching you"..

I'd rather see something like the UA Ranger's favored enemy bonuses, but maybe be able to switch them out after a long rest or something. Flavor it as something like:

"When you start your day, choose a creature type from <creature type list>. You make subtle modifications to your weapons and armor to more effectively counter the foes you plan to face. This may include dipping ammunition in holy water, coating blades with special toxins, etching runes onto the face of a shield, etc. Until you finish a long rest your weapons do <pick a die size or flat number> additional damage, you gain <pick some kind of protection saves, AC, damage resistance, etc.> and <pick some exploration benefit> against the selected creature types. At levels <..pick some levels> you can select an additional creature type as part of these preparations and/or the resulting benfit increases to <..pick reasonable benefit increase>"

Like, it could be an ability that functions very similarly to how real hunters plan their loadouts for the type of wild game they are hunting.

I like that ability on top of hunter's mark. I'd also like a similar ability that lets the ranger attune to a surrounding in a few days.

The benefits could be, that when you prepare for a foe, you automatically gain the effect of hunter's mark without casting the spell and when you prepare for a surrounding, you get advantage on some checks.
 


IMHO (which may change) The spell casting changes help the ranger a lot. Remember that they are restricted by school.
IMO the change to prepared casting actively hurts the ranger thematically. Fundamentally they mean that a newbie ranger is going to spend much more time and focus on their spells - and they have fewer non-casting abilities to go with it. The Ranger, rather than being a wilderness focused ranger is now basically a pretty much pure jack of all trades. If I were trying to create a "Generic (high magic) Adventurer from the School of Hard Knocks" class it would look very like the ranger, roving and all.
 

multi attack used to be:
  • 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
now it's
You now always have Conjure Barrage prepared, and it doesn’t count against the number of Spells you can prepare. You can also cast the Spell with 1st- and 2ndlevel Spell Slots. When you do so, the Spell’s damage is reduced

You throw a nonmagical weapon or fire a piece of nonmagical ammunition into the air to create a cone of identical weapons that shoot forward and then disappear. Each creature in a 60-foot cone must succeed on a Dexterity saving throw. A creature takes 3d8 damage on a failed save, or half as much damage on a successful one. The damage type is the same as that of the weapon or ammunition used as a component
It's actually so dumb I'm not even worried about it. It'll get absolutely SHREDDED by the surveys. The sheer laziness of "Oh your multiattack ability? I guess a spell?!" is just absolutely galling, the downcasting mechanic, which is novel, is cute, but just means that it would be literally useless by the time you got it.
 

Similar to how you could gain generally applicable abilities related to your chosen terrain (movement speed for plains etc), you could get abilities related to your favored enemy (fey hunter has advantage vs illusions/charms, giant hunter has access to oversized weaponry etc)

One can wish.
 

I like that ability on top of hunter's mark. I'd also like a similar ability that lets the ranger attune to a surrounding in a few days.

The benefits could be, that when you prepare for a foe, you automatically gain the effect of hunter's mark without casting the spell and when you prepare for a surrounding, you get advantage on some checks.
I suppose keeping a resource cost way to get access to the benefits for unselected enemy types makes a kind of sense (even if I kinda hate hunters mark for being gamist spellcating rather than thematic spellcasting).

I like the idea of prepping for an environment too. Like Natural Explorer's issue is that it's not flexible enough to prevent long stretches of total uselessness but its so good when it applies that it removes all tension from exploration activities. It shouldn't be that hard to fix. Move the decision point to the adventuring day level rather than at level up, and replace some of the auto-wins with advantaged die rolls. Seems ezpz.
 

Tales and Chronicles

Jewel of the North, formerly know as vincegetorix
Downcasting spells could be a cool mechanic for the Sorcerer though. It'd help with the few spells known if you could up/down-cast Fireball and change its elemental type with metamagic!

For a Volley or Multi-attack, I'd make it that, as an Action, a ranger can do a single attack against each creature within X radius centered on them, moving without AoO between targets if necessary. Like a low-key Steelwind Strike, if you will. Pretty bad for focused damage, but pretty cool for mob slaying.
 


Tutara

Adventurer
Downcasting spells could be a cool mechanic for the Sorcerer though. It'd help with the few spells known if you could up/down-cast Fireball and change its elemental type with metamagic!

I like the idea of the sorcerer having many more low level spell slots, but progressing slower in terms of getting higher level slots. Different to the wizard, and very different to the warlock's 'few but powerful' spell slots.

The ability to downcast would fit that really well. You're all about quantity not quality. Shabby 4D6 fireballs for days.
 

But that's the trick, it's ALL spells.

Spells are what they use to cover 90%* of magical effects. It's why many invocations end up being access to a spell (slow, bane, mage armor). It's why a robust psionics was abandoned for psionic spells and subclasses. Spells are a known quantity, an understood mechanic, and an easy way to expand the game later. In short, they are the hammer WotC has elected to use, and everything else is just a nail.

If it helps, think of spells akin to 4e powers, save they are explicitly magical.
Hey remember how people complained (and still do) that 4e classes are lIteRallY aLl thE SamE because they had a unified progression?

Well now every ability that isn't swinging a pointy stick is "a wizard did it."
 

ehren37

Legend
It's actually so dumb I'm not even worried about it. It'll get absolutely SHREDDED by the surveys. The sheer laziness of "Oh your multiattack ability? I guess a spell?!" is just absolutely galling, the downcasting mechanic, which is novel, is cute, but just means that it would be literally useless by the time you got it.
Hybrids really need their own spell lists, otherwise all damage spells are trash by the time they can be cast. Making me roll multiple saves for a piddly d8 damage at 11th freakin level level is a waste of everyone's time.
 


Hybrids really need their own spell lists, otherwise all damage spells are trash by the time they can be cast. Making me roll multiple saves for a piddly d8 damage at 11th freakin level level is a waste of everyone's time.
And the spell in question would still not be taken often against fireball as a third level spell if you literally doubled the damage it did. (6d8<8d6. And a 60ft cone covers only about 1.5 times the area of a 20ft radius sphere while the sphere with its 150ft range is far far easier both to deploy against cover and to deploy without inflicting friendly fire). As it only does 3d8 damage it's an awful example of a third level spell.

But it is an example of a hybrid having their own spell list; the spell in 5e is ranger-exclusive. Which only adds insult to injury.
 

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