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

RSIxidor

Adventurer
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).

This is an interesting way to go. While I think it makes sense to have these as spells that are just available to any ranger, a sub-class could exist that gets some mixture of "these spells are known by you and don't go against limits" and "you get to cast this or these spells X times a day equal to your wisdom mod." Plus expertise in animal handling.
 

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oreofox

Explorer
Also, large races deal an extra die of damage with weapons. A large PC wielding a longsword deals 2d8 damage instead of the normal 1d8. So there's more stuff to deal with by having a large PC race that I am sure WotC just doesn't want to hassle with.
 

Twiggly the Gnome

Adventurer
Also, large races deal an extra die of damage with weapons. A large PC wielding a longsword deals 2d8 damage instead of the normal 1d8. So there's more stuff to deal with by having a large PC race that I am sure WotC just doesn't want to hassle with.

Yeah, that's what I was talking about. Screw the idea of PCs and monsters using the same rules. Just treat large PCs like they have a permanent Enlarge.
 

Blue

Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal
Also, large races deal an extra die of damage with weapons. A large PC wielding a longsword deals 2d8 damage instead of the normal 1d8. So there's more stuff to deal with by having a large PC race that I am sure WotC just doesn't want to hassle with.
That's the point - none of the existing races get things "as cool" as an extra die of damage regularly. There isn't enough design space to have a large sized creature. But there is player interest in one. Any hassle is of their own making due to short-sighted initial design that just looked at the starting races and not others that players have liked to run historically.
 

CapnZapp

Legend
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.
No, no... a regular character with a purchased pet might be a 1.1 but that is plainly not enough for a Beastmaster-type of dedicated pet class.

The point is that until WotC admits (to themselves) they will never satisfy the archetype with a "balanced" design they will keep writing content that gets an unhappy reception!

They can admit it is not inherently possible to create a balanced Beastmaster design, and publicly give up on that, restricting themselves to design that offer glorified "familiar and master" designs (where "familiar" is any insignificant NPC, such as a purchased guard dog). Or they can (as I would prefer) just note in a sidebar their Beastmaster design is by design stronger than other classes, and that it should only be used in those groups where the DM agrees to have them, and where the other players recognize their comrade will direct two "playing pieces", two cherished and valuable party members. :)
 

Parmandur

Legend
No, no... a regular character with a purchased pet might be a 1.1 but that is plainly not enough for a Beastmaster-type of dedicated pet class.

The point is that until WotC admits (to themselves) they will never satisfy the archetype with a "balanced" design they will keep writing content that gets an unhappy reception!

They can admit it is not inherently possible to create a balanced Beastmaster design, and publicly give up on that, restricting themselves to design that offer glorified "familiar and master" designs (where "familiar" is any insignificant NPC, such as a purchased guard dog). Or they can (as I would prefer) just note in a sidebar their Beastmaster design is by design stronger than other classes, and that it should only be used in those groups where the DM agrees to have them, and where the other players recognize their comrade will direct two "playing pieces", two cherished and valuable party members. :)

They seem to have solved the issue with the design on display with this Druid and the Battle Smith Artificer in the upcoming Eberron book.
 

If the pet gets to the point where it is worth 1/2 to 3/4 of a PC then there must be penalty for that pet dying. It's the only way to approach balance. The pet player already will get almost twice as much "screen time" as a standard player. Making them significantly more powerful with no weaknesses is a mistake.

Have the pet's death cost HP and/or HD. Don't make them mere summonable spirits to be treated like trash, rations, or ammunition.
 

Undrave

Hero
A Beast companion, one that is meant to be meaningful and level up, should basically be an extra PC and be treated as such by both players and DM balancing their encounters.

They seem to have solved the issue with the design on display with this Druid and the Battle Smith Artificer in the upcoming Eberron book.

It's easy when your class feature doesn't really DIE. A Beast companion's death shouldn't be treated as casually.
 


Blue

Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal
No, no... a regular character with a purchased pet might be a 1.1 but that is plainly not enough for a Beastmaster-type of dedicated pet class.

Why is it "plainly not enough"? It's already at the front side of the power curve at 110% of your median class power.
 
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doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
No, no... a regular character with a purchased pet might be a 1.1 but that is plainly not enough for a Beastmaster-type of dedicated pet class.

The point is that until WotC admits (to themselves) they will never satisfy the archetype with a "balanced" design they will keep writing content that gets an unhappy reception!

They can admit it is not inherently possible to create a balanced Beastmaster design, and publicly give up on that, restricting themselves to design that offer glorified "familiar and master" designs (where "familiar" is any insignificant NPC, such as a purchased guard dog). Or they can (as I would prefer) just note in a sidebar their Beastmaster design is by design stronger than other classes, and that it should only be used in those groups where the DM agrees to have them, and where the other players recognize their comrade will direct two "playing pieces", two cherished and valuable party members. :)
This is just false.

The feedback on the battlesmith was overwhelmingly positive. Likewise, the revised ranger BM works just fine, and the only overstep is moving extra attack to the beast.

The beast doesn’t need to do PC level damage, it needs to add enough damage to the ranger’s damage in all tiers that the pair together are not at the low end of the 5e power curve, and it needs enough HP that it doesn’t lose relative power at higher level.

The revised ranger BM subclass, and the Artificer Battlesmith, both accomplish that.
 

Undrave

Hero
Why can't a beast companion's death be treated lightly? Replace them or resurrect them (I find applying death saves to the pet works fine for survivability, actually).

Ooh yeah, the pet SHOULD have death saves. No question there.

I mean, from my experience, when people want a Beast Companion they want a COMPANION and not just a tool. They want a sidekick who stays with them from lv 1 'till the end and not just something to discard and replace whenever convenient. The death of your class feature should be a big deal, but at the same time if its too big of a deal its a huge crippling of your character's capability and depending where you are in the campaign you might not have the time to find a replacement ya know? Not a lot of falcons in the third basement of an evil castle...
 

Blue

Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal
The pet player already will get almost twice as much "screen time" as a standard player.

I've found that single pet characters need less screen time then most casters. In combat, pets usually have very constrained options so there's little descision paralysis, just a move and an extra roll or two. Out of combat there are similarly limited amounts of times they influence play that isn't already the spotlight on the pet character (such as tracking in the wilderness, etc.). Casters on the other hand often have longer times spent on descisions, specifically spell selection, and often need to roll a lot more than other characters due to a area of effects.
 

If the pet is "part of the character" it needs to be effectively immortal so long as the character lives. I expect the Ranger we get in next month's UA will have a Telthor pet - a fey spirit in animal form that can be resummoned if it dies.

The sidekick system is intended for secondary characters, including pets, who have a separate "life of there own".
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
Ooh yeah, the pet SHOULD have death saves. No question there.

I mean, from my experience, when people want a Beast Companion they want a COMPANION and not just a tool. They want a sidekick who stays with them from lv 1 'till the end and not just something to discard and replace whenever convenient. The death of your class feature should be a big deal, but at the same time if its too big of a deal its a huge crippling of your character's capability and depending where you are in the campaign you might not have the time to find a replacement ya know? Not a lot of falcons in the third basement of an evil castle...
Why not just let the ranger bring back their companion, then? Perhaps not as easily as the Battlesmith, but certainly without spending 8 hours in the wilderness to get a new one. Most players I know don’t want a new one. I’ve even seen a player refuse to continue to be a BM Ranger when their pet died. They were ready to switch subclasses, but the DM found a way to bring the pet back. (An item that let the player bind the soul of a willing beast as a familiar. The pet could then be resurrected in a Fey body, with the basically the mechanics of the Chain Warlock, but with a wolf as the familiar.)
 

Blue

Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal
If the pet is "part of the character" it needs to be effectively immortal so long as the character lives. I expect the Ranger we get in next month's UA will have a Telthor pet - a fey spirit in animal form that can be resummoned if it dies.

The sidekick system is intended for secondary characters, including pets, who have a separate "life of there own".
Effectively immortal doesn't mean it can't die, it just means it needs to be able to be returned.

Now, looking at the balance of everything else, it can't be longer than a long rest. The PHB Beastmaster of finding another beast that isn't hostile to you and then spending 8 hours is right out. But on the other hand, there's plenty of classes where class resources get used up during a day and recovered over a long rest, so missing some encounters (as long as the average power over the day still works out to be the same as another character) is okay.
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
I’d also be cool with giving the ranger and pet a stronger magical bond, with the ability to communicate more than normal, and for the ranger to expend a spell slot as a Reaction when the pet hits 0hp to give it 1d8+wis Healing.

I’d then also add bonus spells known to both BM and Hunter.

Actually...why not give bonus spells known based on favored terrain and favored enemy? It’s barely a power bump really, but will make those choices feel more meaningful.
 

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