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

darjr

I crit!
Wait. When PCs buy pets those are NPCs or non player. I don’t let the players “run” them. Do most folks?
I do agree that the beast can’t feel like it’s less than a purchased dog, or horse. But I’m OK with that being given by other means than complete action economy. Or at least balancing that against, say the fighters extra class features that give them more to do in combat.
 

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Fanaelialae

Legend
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 only if you need to satisfy a particular kind of simulationism. Which, admittedly, at this point in 5e it would be hard to pivot away from for WotC.

For example, I've created monster classes for my own games where the class itself provides extra damage dice, rather than the size of the creature.

This has opened up the option to use large size on non-class races in my own design. There are some additional advantages of size, such as larger auras and the ability to control a larger area. However, in my opinion they are naturally counterbalanced, as large creatures can have more enemies gang up on them in melee, will (likely) be forced to squeeze more frequently, etc.

While I realize that scaled-up-weapon == bigger damage is basically a sacred cow at this point, I think it's a prime candidate for slaughter, as it opens significant design space.
 

gyor

Legend
This is so inspiring for a character. He married a fire genasi priestess of Sharess, and when she died, she bound her fiery soul with his so that he could summon her elemental soul, in the form of a Cheetah made of flames to his side. He has a huge tattoos of a Volcano and a cheetah made of flames on his back. He is an Urban Druid who prays to Sharess, Kossuth, Sune, and Gond, and he has a history as a former gang member.
 

PsyzhranV2

Adventurer
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.
I feel this is the biggest problem with Large-sized PCs, before things weapon damage dice and not being able to fit in the dungeon. Polearm master + Sentinel gets a lot more powerful, as do all effects that occur within X feet radius from the user such as Paladin auras, other aura (spells), other spells originating from the user that spread in a circle, etc.
 

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.
You are talking about the current state of pets, not the desired state of pet per the vocal "pet classes are too weak" group
 

Blue

Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal
You are talking about the current state of pets, not the desired state of pet per the vocal "pet classes are too weak" group
Thanks for telling me what I'm talking about, that's not rude at all. It is also incorrect.

My statement about how much screen time holds true for PHB Beastmaster, for pets as presented recently for wildfire druid and artificer, and for the "I want a powerful beast companion" - which still does not have a lot of options and is, as mentioned, a move and an attack roll or two.
 

Undrave

Hero
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.)

Personally I have no problem with it, it just runs straight into the 'mundane pet' concept of the BEAST companion. But for other companions it works great.
 

CapnZapp

Legend
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.
Yeah, well, the point is that most players interested in a Beastmaster class want a pet that isn't planned or designed to die.

That is, a pet that is a treasured member of the party, whose death is a sad affair. Ideally the pet doesn't die more often than, say, the party wizard.

But you were talking about the penalty. Yes, there is a huge penalty. That penalty is...: the death of the pet.

But if you mean that the class design should come with specified extra penalties on top of losing your dear friend, then, hard nope - since that means the design relies on the death of the pet in order to provide balancing drawbacks.
 

Thanks for telling me what I'm talking about, that's not rude at all. It is also incorrect.

My statement about how much screen time holds true for PHB Beastmaster, for pets as presented recently for wildfire druid and artificer, and for the "I want a powerful beast companion" - which still does not have a lot of options and is, as mentioned, a move and an attack roll or two.
So, still the version that completely and wholly dissatisfies CapnZapp and the like.
 

Yeah, well, the point is that most players interested in a Beastmaster class want a pet that isn't planned or designed to die.

That is, a pet that is a treasured member of the party, whose death is a sad affair. Ideally the pet doesn't die more often than, say, the party wizard.

But you were talking about the penalty. Yes, there is a huge penalty. That penalty is...: the death of the pet.

But if you mean that the class design should come with specified extra penalties on top of losing your dear friend, then, hard nope - since that means the design relies on the death of the pet in order to provide balancing drawbacks.
Currently if a pet dies a character merely waits for the next long rest and poof, brand new pet. No penalty at all really. They're easier to return to life than a PC, by far.
 

CapnZapp

Legend
Why what?

If you seriously wonder why players don't touch class designs where the death of the pet is already planned in with a ten-feet pole, just think about how people get more upset when animals die than when people die.

Players play Beastmasters to gain a trusted friend. Not to have a disposable bag of hit points.
 

CapnZapp

Legend
Having watched the full video, it is pretty clear that the Battle Smith and now this Druid are a working out of Mearls realization about summoning math and spell slot value last year.
Not sure what you mean. Could you summarize for those of us not able to watch the video?
 

Yeah, well, the point is that most players interested in a Beastmaster class want a pet that isn't planned or designed to die.

That is, a pet that is a treasured member of the party, whose death is a sad affair. Ideally the pet doesn't die more often than, say, the party wizard.

But you were talking about the penalty. Yes, there is a huge penalty. That penalty is...: the death of the pet.

But if you mean that the class design should come with specified extra penalties on top of losing your dear friend, then, hard nope - since that means the design relies on the death of the pet in order to provide balancing drawbacks.
This is a description of a sidekick/NPC companion.

Note your own words: "member of the party".
 

CapnZapp

Legend
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.
What is false? Have I ever discussed playtest material or some Battlesmith?

I was talking about the Beastmaster concept. The PHB version was woefully inadequate.
 

CapnZapp

Legend
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.
Exactly why the pair is more like 150% of a regular character, and not 200%.
 

CapnZapp

Legend
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".
If WotC admits they don't want to make a good Beastmaster subclass, then so be it.

I personally don't see why there can't be a reasonable Beastmaster. WotC just needs to abandon any pretense of balance (=accept the pair is closer to 1,5 regular character).

My whole point here isn't that the concept can or can't be done. My point is that WotC can't both have the cake (balance) and eat it (a class design that meets people's expectations).
 

CapnZapp

Legend
Why not just let the ranger bring back their companion, then?
Of course it should be possible to bring back the companion, just like it is possible to bring back the party Wizard.

Just as long as the class design doesn't plan on bringing one back significantly more often than the other.
 

Parmandur

Legend
Why what?

If you seriously wonder why players don't touch class designs where the death of the pet is already planned in with a ten-feet pole, just think about how people get more upset when animals die than when people die.

Players play Beastmasters to gain a trusted friend. Not to have a disposable bag of hit points.

Saying players don't touch the Beastmaster with a ten-foot pole is an exaggeration: one of the major issues WotC has with addressing the dissatisfaction with the Beastmaster is that it is a minority report. Most players are happy with it as is, though the dissatisfaction is higher than other options.

As was said upthread, the pet is easily replaced, if somehow the pet get's killed even with death saves (which I checked, Crawford and Mearls say thye get Death Saves) and all the resources the party has. Most parties probably don't experience pet permadeath, and those that do can get new pets.
 

CapnZapp

Legend
The PHB Beastmaster of finding another beast that isn't hostile to you and then spending 8 hours is right out.
No, actually, that's quite reasonable.

Why? Since it assumes the pet stays dead and now is replaced. A sad momentous event. It should not be possible to replace your dear friend just by snapping your fingers.

More importantly, the design should provide a robust pet that isn't significantly more likely to die than, say, the party Wizard. So this finding another beast shouldn't happen often enough to be a real detriment.
 

Parmandur

Legend
Not sure what you mean. Could you summarize for those of us not able to watch the video?

Last year, Mearls had a realization that they had been doing Summoning wrong the whole time: instead of having critters from the MM show up for a Spell, using the Spell HD guidelines (the real underlyign math of Spell balance in the game) to make a Spell Effect with some level of customizeable personality would get the job done. This is what you see with the Batltle Smith and this new Druid: Spell Effects with specific HD economy contributions in an Adventure day.
 

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