5E UA interviews: The possible future for Pet Subclasses in 5e.

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
Interesting.

I really like the Battlesmith pet, and the Wildfire spirit.

If they put out a “variant” BM pet option that loses the breadth of options in exchange for friendlier Action economy, I’d still want to have a choice between a flying pet that does small damage on a hit but has Flyby and it’s hit debuffs the target, a standard wolf, bear, and big cat, badger-type, and a mountable pet. By just having the 6 options, you can still get the friendlier Action economy, because what the options can do can be balanced against each other like spells or other level specific options.

That all said, I’ll keep using the UA Ranger pet rules, with the addition of the Blood Hawk and giant badger options.
 

Twiggly the Gnome

Adventurer
Maybe they're starting to realize that giving into the simulationists during the playtest was a mistake. Perhaps there's hope for large player races without reference to the monster rules...
 

Xenonnonex

Adventurer
Listening to the D&D Beyond interviews for the new UA, it seems like WotC has heard the feedback about pet classes.



Talking about the Wildfire pet as it compares to other subclasses begins at the 4:03 mark.

For those that are curious about the other subclass interviews, here you go:

Onomancy

Twilight Domain
This subclass is a really hot topic. It has stoked the fires of discussion. I too have a burning hope we get to play it out of an official book.
 

Blue

Orcus on a bad hair day
Maybe they're starting to realize that giving into the simulationists during the playtest was a mistake. Perhaps there's hope for large player races without reference to the monster rules...
I've long thought that they didn't leave themselves enough design space int he races department. If you ignore the racial ability score adjustments, there's precious little meaningful features that they havge the room to introduce somethign meaningful like a large race. That's why we have half a dozen "carry as if they are a size larger" races, including centaurs and minotaurs in the GGtR book. How the heck is a centaur only size medium? Because they can't make it large without making it overpowered compared to the other races, because they made race have so little outside ability scores.
 

Xenonnonex

Adventurer
That's why we have half a dozen "carry as if they are a size larger" races, including centaurs and minotaurs in the GGtR book. How the heck is a centaur only size medium? Because they can't make it large without making it overpowered compared to the other races, because they made race have so little outside ability scores.
Because according to GGtR their centaur is pony sized.
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
I've long thought that they didn't leave themselves enough design space int he races department. If you ignore the racial ability score adjustments, there's precious little meaningful features that they havge the room to introduce somethign meaningful like a large race. That's why we have half a dozen "carry as if they are a size larger" races, including centaurs and minotaurs in the GGtR book. How the heck is a centaur only size medium? Because they can't make it large without making it overpowered compared to the other races, because they made race have so little outside ability scores.
In fact, centaurs should always have been medium, if we judge by Ancient Greek art.

But also “medium” doesn’t mean “human sized”.
 
Interesting.

I really like the Battlesmith pet, and the Wildfire spirit.

If they put out a “variant” BM pet option that loses the breadth of options in exchange for friendlier Action economy, I’d still want to have a choice between a flying pet that does small damage on a hit but has Flyby and it’s hit debuffs the target, a standard wolf, bear, and big cat, badger-type, and a mountable pet. By just having the 6 options, you can still get the friendlier Action economy, because what the options can do can be balanced against each other like spells or other level specific options.

That all said, I’ll keep using the UA Ranger pet rules, with the addition of the Blood Hawk and giant badger options.
It sounds like they are preparing the ground for a soft-replace for the beastmaster by bringing in a fixed-stat-customisable-appearance ranger pet subclass (we haven't had a ranger UA yet).

They could even do three, using those categories: a Falconer for birds, a Range Rider for mounts and a Spirit Friend for Telthor (a spirit animal that can have any beast appearance, has fixed stats and cannot permanently die).
 

Leatherhead

Possibly a Idiot.
Outside of the big issues of mortality and action economy (which ideally would both be addressed). It's got to be done as a sub-subclass option, much like how the Totem warrior lets you pick from a bunch of different beasts. But they should also be vague enough that you can apply your own aesthetics to the beast.

Anyway I got 6 main groupings:

The Pack (Support animals that make it easier for you to engage the enemy)
The Ambush (Animals that like to hide and pounce)
The Herd (Animals you ride on)
The Flock (the Flyers, obviously)
The Troop (For big defender animals)
The Mischief (for tiny animals that do tricks, like that one hamster, or maybe a monkey or cat)

And two possible ones:
The School (for swimmers)
The Swarm (for a lot of really small things like bugs) This one is a big maybe.
 

CapnZapp

Adventurer
As long as there's an option for a pet designed to be in melee without that crippling the master...

Neither master nor beast must be more restricted in their action economy than if the PC just went out and bought a war dog. Yet the design must cater to those that don't want a disposable pet you replace all the time.

In short, the design can't be balanced since while ½ + ½ = 1, the master being half a character is unacceptable and the pet being only half as strong as another party melee:er doesn't work.

At the very least, we're talking ¾ + ¾ = 1,5. That is, don't even try to make a Beastmaster subclass balanced.

Just slap a sidebar explaining that this character option is by necessity stronger than the baseline, and requires the DM and the group's explicit agreement to be used.

Anything less and we'll just end up with another compromised designed destined for the scrap heap...
 

Blue

Orcus on a bad hair day
IIRC the medium size category goes up to 8 ft in height.
Looking at the GGtR that has centaurs, only Loxodon can roll on their chart to be over eight feet. Elephant men with the "carry as one size larger" spiel because they won't/can't fit in a large size playable race.

On the other hand, centaurs go up to 600-840 lbs. I'm not sure where the 8' limit came from, is there also a weight limit?
 
There is no reason why size category should be connected to weight. A creature could be small and dense (e.g. an earth elemental) or large and floaty (e.g. giant jellyfish monster).
 
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Parmandur

Legend
Mearls explained the issue on the Happy Fun Hour once: having a PC take up four squares in grid combat breaks things like the Paladin Aura. He admitted that it doesn't make any difference for TotM combat, which is more common, bit that they didn't want to break the game for mini-users.
 
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Blue

Orcus on a bad hair day
As long as there's an option for a pet designed to be in melee without that crippling the master...

Neither master nor beast must be more restricted in their action economy than if the PC just went out and bought a war dog. Yet the design must cater to those that don't want a disposable pet you replace all the time.

In short, the design can't be balanced since while ½ + ½ = 1, the master being half a character is unacceptable and the pet being only half as strong as another party melee:er doesn't work.

At the very least, we're talking ¾ + ¾ = 1,5. That is, don't even try to make a Beastmaster subclass balanced.

Just slap a sidebar explaining that this character option is by necessity stronger than the baseline, and requires the DM and the group's explicit agreement to be used.

Anything less and we'll just end up with another compromised designed destined for the scrap heap...
I agree with your logic about a beastmaster can't be less than a normal character plus a purchased pet. But a purchased pet, once you hit 5th levels, is like 10% or less of a normal character. And that gets less and less as you level.

So I wouldn't see the balance point at 1.5, I'd see it at 1.1. Near enough the other classes that it's still on the same curve, just in the front side of it.

I don't like the action economy stuff, and how the PHB Beastmaster is done is quite bad even after the errata. But from a gamist perspective, I can see having a characte that is viable on their own but gives up some of during play to make their beast more viable so that together they don't overwhelm the other classes would be one workable design. Now, that starts with viable so giving up your action to have it attack isn't on the table, and there are likely ways outside action economy that fit the narrative better - I'm open for that.

Just to brainstorm, what about a ranger that starts with the idea of character + purchased pet? In other words, a ranger who doesn't get a pet but enhances what they have. It wouldn't even need to be a subclass - we already have Hunter's Mark as what should be a feature that they reused the spell mechanics for, we could do the same. Several until-end-of-long-rest spells that can buff a pet, which upcast to keep the pet on level, and some bonus action spells that could be used during combat. So a ranger keeps all of their martial goodness, trading the majority of their casting for a pet. And if there is no pet for whatever reason, they have their casting back (starting the next day).
 

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