D&D 5E Thoughts on 2 spell-less Ranger versions.

ScuroNotte

Explorer


I am focusing on creating a spell-less Ranger and debating between 2 versions. I never liked the Favored Foe feature, so that is not present in either version. The second version has a beast companion as the class identify feature.

The main issue is that the beast version has an extra feature at 2nd and 3rd level. For the 3rd level, the reason for the extra feature is that is the level when the archetypes get a damage feature. Since the beast replaces that damage boost and is offered to all archetypes, but it makes it visually appear that I overpowered the class at 3rd level even though it's still a total of 3 features gained at 3rd level.

At 11th level, that is where I added extra damage bonus as the class lacks spells and a favored foe feature for extra damage output in the later levels. Considering the paladin gets Divine Smite (1d8 radiant damage with each attack, which is always active), I believe it is fair to included a similar boost in damage.

Also, for the modified Vanish, I was considering offering a choice. "Select 2 of the following: Dash, Disengage, or Hide. You can use either action as a bonus action on your turn. Reasoning is that some players may prefer one over another. Thoughts?

Suggestions and harsh critiques are welcome. Thank you.
 
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Stormonu

Legend
Ranger is a toughy, I've been looking at the Level-up 5 version for ideas. I do like the idea of making the base ranger spell-less, but giving them fighter manuevers (making them a baked-in Fighter Battlemaster) at about 3/4 the fighter's level.

If you're doing a spell-less Ranger, why give them the Druidic Warrior fighting style? Seems counter intuitive, unless you throw in a subclass that can cast spells.

NATURAL EXPLORER II (needs a better name) - I don't like the pigeon-holing of getting Darkvision (and certainly not getting rid of Drow sunslight sensitivity). Improving sight is a good idea, but not Darkvision level (and it does nothing for those races that already have Darkvision). I think some sort of bonus to Perception (especially Passive Perception) would be better - perhaps the "keen vision" under the Eagle monster entry, or perhaps a choice of a "keen sense" - sight, hearing, smell, touch, or taste. Mayhaps doubling or tripling existing vision or other sense.

VANISH - Nature's Veil (NV) is too far superior in comparison to Hide In Plain Sight (HPS). NV is a bonus action, HPS takes a minute. NV automatically causes (sight-based) Perception checks to fail, HPS is 10 + Survival DC. You can act freely under NV, for HPS can't move at all or act. The only advantage of HPS is unlimited use, but at 1 minute prep, why would anyone bother to take it? I think you should be able to move at half speed with HPS, and you can attempt to hide again after acting/moving (make like a bush, snipe shot, move to new ambush spot, set back up again); would need to note some way that HPS can be degraded, and that moving to a new environment where the disguise doesn't fit requires redoing the camouflage.

I do worry that without spells or access to some sort of damage augmentation, your base ranger will fall behind on damage output. You should do a mock-up at various levels (5,10,15) and compare to similar level fighters/paladin/barbarians to see if the classes are comparable in being able to hold their own in a fight. (Note: After looking at the subclasses, it looks like you are giving the class's primary damage augmentation there, so the class may be okay as long as that is kept in mind).

BLOOD RITE Subclass

I think the Limited Regeneration should work somewhat like the Fighter's Second Wind; perhaps it should be a reaction ability (at initiative count 0 or perhaps in response to taking damage?) (instead of the Fighter's Bonus Action) usable once per short rest, and with the flavor being vampiric maybe it cannot be triggered in a round where the character has taken Radiant damage.

On the Bloodlust ability, while the "keep control" DC save is thematic, it doesn't fit 5E standards of player control over their characters. Look at the Sahaugin Blood Frenzy ability - it's simply a bonus with no check to resist it; this ability should probably just be a feature that becomes available when the PC is at half health or lower, letting the PC decide if they want to use it. If you want to attach a downside to it, I'd go the Barbarian Frenzied Attack route and have it give an Exhaustion level after using it in a fight.

Same on the Controlled Bloodlust ability; I'd drop this ability and perhaps replace it with something different (it smacks of "Yeah, you've got more control of this 'bad' ability making you LESS likely to want to use it"). Maybe "Vampiric Fortitude" - The first time you drop to 0 hit points, as a reaction your body and all its possessions turn into mist and you instead have 1 hit point. You remain consious and your speed becomes 10, you can pass through enemy's spaces or reach without provoking attacks of opportunity and you ignore difficult terrain. You have damage immunity to all damage except force and radiant. You cannot make attacks in mist form or cast spells. The mist form lasts for up to 1 minute. Once you use this ability you cannot use it again until you take a long rest.

On Emissary of Destruction, with a # of usages, I'd change this to "refreshes per long rest", dropping out regaining uses with a short rest.

DARK MOON Subclass

On Lycanthrope Wild Shape, I think you should specify that you are becoming a Hybrid shape; expending two uses to become a "werewolf in wolf form" seems silly, when one Wild Shape use would do the exact same...

DEEP STALKER subclass seems solid, though maybe a bit too much Ranger/Rogue multiclass. If you could stick in something unique you can't get via multiclassing, it would be a lot more interesting and unique.

DRAGON BLOOD Subclass

The Dragon Warrior ability seems exceptionally weak compared to the "sneak attack" ability of the Deep Stalker (or a Paladin's smite). I think it would be appropriate to remove the "once per turn" clause, or make it 2d6 if it's only one attack a round. I'd increase it to 3d6 at 11th and 4d6 at 15th for a once a turn ability.

The Dragon's Talon ability seems mostly redundant (I mean, you suddenly make the elemental attack jump from 1d8 to essentially 5d8 - it would have been better to just that under Dragon Warrior and be done with it), and there's no place for "recharge" abilities on PCs. Maybe this would be better redone as a "Dragon's Breath" ability, with uses equal to Proficiency Modifier. Or if you wanted to keep the Dragon's Talon moniker, perhaps the Ranger's melee weapons fuse/transform so the Ranger can't be disarmed, or the ranger gains powerful natural attacks (claws dealing 1d8?).
 



ECMO3

Hero


I am focusing on creating a spell-less Ranger and debating between 2 versions. I never liked the Favored Foe feature, so that is not present in either version. The second version has a beast companion as the class identify feature.

The main issue is that the beast version has an extra feature at 2nd and 3rd level. For the 3rd level, the reason for the extra feature is that is the level when the archetypes get a damage feature. Since the beast replaces that damage boost and is offered to all archetypes, but it makes it visually appear that I overpowered the class at 3rd level even though it's still a total of 3 features gained at 3rd level.

At 11th level, that is where I added extra damage bonus as the class lacks spells and a favored foe feature for extra damage output in the later levels. Considering the paladin gets Divine Smite (1d8 radiant damage with each attack, which is always active), I believe it is fair to included a similar boost in damage.

Also, for the modified Vanish, I was considering offering a choice. "Select 2 of the following: Dash, Disengage, or Hide. You can use either action as a bonus action on your turn. Reasoning is that some players may prefer one over another. Thoughts?

Suggestions and harsh critiques are welcome. Thank you.
I will start by saying I am not a fan of the idea of a spell-free Ranger, so I may be biased in that regard. That said overall for what it is I think you did a pretty good job with the base class. I did not look at the subclass features but here are my limited criticisms:

1. Giving two skills with expertise steps on the Rogue. It should probably be one or maybe one expertise and an extra language. Another option is to lock the two expertise skills - Instead of you get "expertise in 2 skills" make the class automatically get Survival and Animal Handling and get expertise in both of those, with only one other skill on the Ranger list to choose from at 1st level. I think either of these options would tamp it down so it is not stepping on the Rogue.

2. I think Natural Explorere 2 should be an increase of 60' to darkvision if you already have it. I do not think you should be able to cancel sunlight sensitivity. I think that is OP and something more appropriate to put in a custom feat.

3. I would cut down on the number of fighting styles. I would use the default Ranger for this and maybe eliminate DW since this is supposed to be spellless. I think unarmed fighting should be Fighter only and I think GWF should probably not be available to Rangers, especially if you keep the 9th level Altricity ability.

4. Get rid of altricity, I think there is enough that you do not need this, I think the initiative bonus is OP when you figure this will put the Ranger ahead of Rogues and Monks who should by all acounts be ahead of Rangers. Likewise the other ability is an assassin subclass ability and really the only thing worthwhile that subclass gets. Giving it to all Rangers is really nerfing an already weak subclass.
 
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Because often the problem people have is not the effect of the spell(s), but the aesthetics of spellcasting in D&D.
Maybe we can simply remove spell components for Ranger casting a Ranger spell.
The same way Ranger can succeed automatic the concentration save on their ranger spells.
It could make an interesting magic item, The cloak of the spellless Ranger!
 

Stormonu

Legend
Why spelless classes always end up by mimicking spells?
Easiest way to describe abilities sometimes (it works like this spell).

There's also a huge resistance to allowing "superhuman" or "supernatural" effects in a non-spelled class, effectively gimping them at higher levels. However that tends to ignore that in many tales and myths non-spellcasters could do some pretty amazing things (Knights cleaving opponents in two with one stroke [equivilant to a Disintegrate spell], Beowulf swimming the English channel in a storm while wearing chain mail [Longstrider + Bear's Endurance spell], Wrassling bears, dragons and whatnot [Hold Person], jumping impossible gaps [Jump spell] and stuff that could easily be classified as spells of up to 4th level or so, but done "mundanely").
 

ScuroNotte

Explorer
Ranger is a toughy, I've been looking at the Level-up 5 version for ideas. I do like the idea of making the base ranger spell-less, but giving them fighter manuevers (making them a baked-in Fighter Battlemaster) at about 3/4 the fighter's level.

If you're doing a spell-less Ranger, why give them the Druidic Warrior fighting style? Seems counter intuitive, unless you throw in a subclass that can cast spells.

NATURAL EXPLORER II (needs a better name) - I don't like the pigeon-holing of getting Darkvision (and certainly not getting rid of Drow sunslight sensitivity). Improving sight is a good idea, but not Darkvision level (and it does nothing for those races that already have Darkvision). I think some sort of bonus to Perception (especially Passive Perception) would be better - perhaps the "keen vision" under the Eagle monster entry, or perhaps a choice of a "keen sense" - sight, hearing, smell, touch, or taste. Mayhaps doubling or tripling existing vision or other sense.
Reason had under 1 title is that through their travels, ranger's vision would improve and learn medicinal properties of herbs. Regarding the sunlight sensitivity, I guess its a matter of opinion. Can easily be said that there are underground caverns which have illuminations similar to daylight or that the ranger has traveled through various terrains and environments, adapting to the varying degree of sunlight. Additionally, if you already have darkvision, you do gain an additional 30ft so it is not an empty feature for those races.
VANISH - Nature's Veil (NV) is too far superior in comparison to Hide In Plain Sight (HPS). NV is a bonus action, HPS takes a minute. NV automatically causes (sight-based) Perception checks to fail, HPS is 10 + Survival DC. You can act freely under NV, for HPS can't move at all or act. The only advantage of HPS is unlimited use, but at 1 minute prep, why would anyone bother to take it? I think you should be able to move at half speed with HPS, and you can attempt to hide again after acting/moving (make like a bush, snipe shot, move to new ambush spot, set back up again); would need to note some way that HPS can be degraded, and that moving to a new environment where the disguise doesn't fit requires redoing the camouflage.
Personally, I like HiPS better tyhan veil. The 1/2 movement is a great idea.
I do worry that without spells or access to some sort of damage augmentation, your base ranger will fall behind on damage output. You should do a mock-up at various levels (5,10,15) and compare to similar level fighters/paladin/barbarians to see if the classes are comparable in being able to hold their own in a fight. (Note: After looking at the subclasses, it looks like you are giving the class's primary damage augmentation there, so the class may be okay as long as that is kept in mind).
Yes, the damage boosts are in the subclasses.
BLOOD RITE Subclass

I think the Limited Regeneration should work somewhat like the Fighter's Second Wind; perhaps it should be a reaction ability (at initiative count 0 or perhaps in response to taking damage?) (instead of the Fighter's Bonus Action) usable once per short rest, and with the flavor being vampiric maybe it cannot be triggered in a round where the character has taken Radiant damage.

On the Bloodlust ability, while the "keep control" DC save is thematic, it doesn't fit 5E standards of player control over their characters. Look at the Sahaugin Blood Frenzy ability - it's simply a bonus with no check to resist it; this ability should probably just be a feature that becomes available when the PC is at half health or lower, letting the PC decide if they want to use it. If you want to attach a downside to it, I'd go the Barbarian Frenzied Attack route and have it give an Exhaustion level after using it in a fight.

Same on the Controlled Bloodlust ability; I'd drop this ability and perhaps replace it with something different (it smacks of "Yeah, you've got more control of this 'bad' ability making you LESS likely to want to use it"). Maybe "Vampiric Fortitude" - The first time you drop to 0 hit points, as a reaction your body and all its possessions turn into mist and you instead have 1 hit point. You remain consious and your speed becomes 10, you can pass through enemy's spaces or reach without provoking attacks of opportunity and you ignore difficult terrain. You have damage immunity to all damage except force and radiant. You cannot make attacks in mist form or cast spells. The mist form lasts for up to 1 minute. Once you use this ability you cannot use it again until you take a long rest.

On Emissary of Destruction, with a # of usages, I'd change this to "refreshes per long rest", dropping out regaining uses with a short rest.
Never looked at the Sahaugin blood frenzy. Will look into that. Thank you for the reference. Also like the reference of using it as a bonus action unless its from radiant damage. I guess I made it at rest to avoid making it like the Fighter.

Vampiric fortitude is awesome suggestion.
DARK MOON Subclass

On Lycanthrope Wild Shape, I think you should specify that you are becoming a Hybrid shape; expending two uses to become a "werewolf in wolf form" seems silly, when one Wild Shape use would do the exact same...
I'll correct that. Thank you.
DEEP STALKER subclass seems solid, though maybe a bit too much Ranger/Rogue multiclass. If you could stick in something unique you can't get via multiclassing, it would be a lot more interesting and unique.
The class itself should make it unique
DRAGON BLOOD Subclass

The Dragon Warrior ability seems exceptionally weak compared to the "sneak attack" ability of the Deep Stalker (or a Paladin's smite). I think it would be appropriate to remove the "once per turn" clause, or make it 2d6 if it's only one attack a round. I'd increase it to 3d6 at 11th and 4d6 at 15th for a once a turn ability.

The Dragon's Talon ability seems mostly redundant (I mean, you suddenly make the elemental attack jump from 1d8 to essentially 5d8 - it would have been better to just that under Dragon Warrior and be done with it), and there's no place for "recharge" abilities on PCs. Maybe this would be better redone as a "Dragon's Breath" ability, with uses equal to Proficiency Modifier. Or if you wanted to keep the Dragon's Talon moniker, perhaps the Ranger's melee weapons fuse/transform so the Ranger can't be disarmed, or the ranger gains powerful natural attacks (claws dealing 1d8?).
Maybe I'll change it to Dragon's Breath as it is more attuned to their breath weapon.

Thank you for the great insight and suggestions. I do greatly appreciate it.
 
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Charlaquin

Goblin Queen (She/Her/Hers)
Maybe we can simply remove spell components for Ranger casting a Ranger spell.
The same way Ranger can succeed automatic the concentration save on their ranger spells.
It could make an interesting magic item, The cloak of the spellless Ranger!
I guarantee that will not be satisfying for folks who want a non-spellcasting Ranger.
 

ScuroNotte

Explorer
1. Giving two skills with expertise steps on the Rogue. It should probably be one or maybe one expertise and an extra language. Another option is to lock the two expertise skills - Instead of you get "expertise in 2 skills" make the class automatically get Survival and Animal Handling and get expertise in both of those, with only one other skill on the Ranger list to choose from at 1st level. I think either of these options would tamp it down so it is not stepping on the Rogue.
I disagree that the rogue "owns" expertise. The Bard gets it twice and Knowledge Cleric has it and the PHB Ranger has expertise, though limited to favored terrains. In comparison, the Scout Rogue stepped on the rangers toes when they were given the survival and nature skills and then expertise on top of it. Thematically, they could have expertise in many skills that pertain to tracking, hunting, climbing, etc
2. I think Natural Explorere 2 should be an increase of 60' to darkvision if you already have it. I do not think you should be able to cancel sunlight sensitivity. I think that is OP and something more appropriate to put in a custom feat.
With the darkvision distance, I just took it from similar features found in the core books. I don't think the sunlight is OP and is fitting since you can say that the player's character traveled through the world in daylight or lived in areas underground which was luminated with moss, etc that resembled daylight.
3. I would cut down on the number of fighting styles. I would use the default Ranger for this and maybe eliminate DW since this is supposed to be spellless. I think unarmed fighting should be Fighter only and I think GWF should probably not be available to Rangers, especially if you keep the 9th level Altricity ability.
Actually there is a spell casting subclass that is why druidic warrior was kept. I disagree with the other fighting styles - the ranger hand fought/wrestled with gators or other creatures. GWF - uses a large axe that also used for chopping wood - Perrin from the Dragon Reborn series
4. Get rid of altricity, I think there is enough that you do not need this, I think the initiative bonus is OP when you figure this will put the Ranger ahead of Rogues and Monks who should by all acounts be ahead of Rangers. Likewise the other ability is an assassin subclass ability and really the only thing worthwhile that subclass gets. Giving it to all Rangers is really nerfing an already weak subclass.
The Ranger is the true ambusher of the classes; setting up traps or hiding in wait for their prey to come within striking distance, just like today's Rangers military force or present day hunters. Therefore, the Monks and Rogues should be behind the ranger. This epitomizes why Rangers are weak compared to other classes. Everyone is trying weaken their features in favoritism to other classes.
 
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Easiest way to describe abilities sometimes (it works like this spell).

There's also a huge resistance to allowing "superhuman" or "supernatural" effects in a non-spelled class, effectively gimping them at higher levels. However that tends to ignore that in many tales and myths non-spellcasters could do some pretty amazing things (Knights cleaving opponents in two with one stroke [equivilant to a Disintegrate spell], Beowulf swimming the English channel in a storm while wearing chain mail [Longstrider + Bear's Endurance spell], Wrassling bears, dragons and whatnot [Hold Person], jumping impossible gaps [Jump spell] and stuff that could easily be classified as spells of up to 4th level or so, but done "mundanely").
Cast a spell with a skill check. Obvious!
 

Horwath

Hero
I guarantee that will not be satisfying for folks who want a non-spellcasting Ranger.
I want a spell-less ranger and that would be a good idea.
It keeps ranger as stealth warrior and moves all "magic" or "supernatural" abilities under "spells" umbrella.

2nd level ranger ability: rangers spells do not require any verbal, somatic and non-costly material components. Ranger spells do not require concentration. With limited amount of spell slots and spells known, there should not be any problems with stacking ranger concentration spells.
 

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