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

Blue

Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal
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.
That a direction. It's not the only direction. And it's likely not even the best direction because it only can handle the case of singular pets.

Let's take what you said: no more likely to die than the party wizard. If that's "the party wizard if they decided to run into melee" (which is where the beast is), then I'm good - and it will happen a decent amount. If you mean as likely to die as someone who avoids combat, that means that since they are in combat they are a large sack of HPs/Defenses and really as likely to die as a fighter. Being able to absorb a full character's worth of attacks and then come back with little resource spend is very powerful. When you combine it that without perfect focus fire it really means that HP damage is just spread around more, and HP damage is absolutely meaningless in the long term, that's a lot more powerful.
 

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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).
They aren't going do anything with the existing beastmaster class. That ship sailed long ago. They are probably going to put out a ranger subclass with a pet like the Steel Defender: Fixed stats, immortal, powered by it's master's bonus actions.

However, the idea that any game designer ever would deliberately put out a 1.5 character is patently ridiculous. Hell would have to freeze over, thaw out, and be sucked into a black hole fist.

And it's completely unnecessary. There is no rule that all party members must be player characters, never has been. I've had an NPC pony in a party with levels of Barbarian. You want an animal in they party? You can have one. Role play it, rather than roll play it, and it will become a much loved friend, and it's death, should it occur, tragic.
 
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About non-sentient creatures, animals or monsters, we have to remember they have got better senses. This is really important in stealth operations. An ordinary horse in a night camp could listen or smell a potential predator or a forest goblin trying to steal.

Or a bird could be used to leave a stone with a teletransportation rune on a window in the top of the tower, or to cross a room without touching walls or floor to avoid traps.

You have forgotten in the real life chimpanzee are strong as two humans, and a gorilla as eight. If we talk about elephants then the difference is higher.

Usually animals as companions are too claustrophobic to enter dungeons or underground zones. And if they are barefoot then traps on the floor are more dangerous for people who wear shoes or boots.

Haven't you noticed the great potential as gold reef the subgenre of collectable monster battle arena (Pokemon, Digimon and company)?







This is not only D&D. Here also some old ideas from other Hasbro franchises could be recycled for a new line.

* Edit.

A monster pet tamer class is a serious challenge for game designers, because it has to be original, and the right balance of power to avoid abuses by munchkins, not only by PCs but some DMs.

WotC doesn't need a copy of the summoner class from Pathfinder. They can add its home-grown things, for example points to "buy" monster traits (demonbinder prestige class from "Drows of the Underdark"), a summoned monsters with chakras (body slots) for a soulmeld class close to the totemist, or a special ritual to summon "eidolons" like the game mechanic for vestige pact magic.

* I like the idea of a gnome as monster-tamer riding on an ogre's shoulder's who is screaming "HOLDUR, HOLDUR!"
 
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Mistwell

Legend
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 disagree and the Wildfire power seems a reasonable way to draft this for the beastmaster as well.

1) It takes a limited resource to summon/resurrect it after it dies. For the Ranger I think this should be a spell slot.
2) It shares your initiative count but takes it's turn immediately after yours.
3) It takes the Dodge action on it's turn unless you used a bonus action on your turn to command it to take one of the actions in it's stat block or to take the Dash, Disengage, Help, or Hide action.
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen
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).
If by “people’s” you mean ”CapnZapp’s,” then I agree. However, I think it’s entirely possible for them to make a reasonably balanced beast master that meets their 75% approval threshold or whatever the number is.
 

I disagree and the Wildfire power seems a reasonable way to draft this for the beastmaster as well.

1) It takes a limited resource to summon/resurrect it after it dies. For the Ranger I think this should be a spell slot.

I think it would be a good idea to give rangers something do with their spell slots other than cast spells, like paladins get Smite.

2) It shares your initiative count but takes it's turn immediately after yours.

Which makes it much easier to keep track of.

3) It takes the Dodge action on it's turn unless you used a bonus action on your turn to command it to take one of the actions in it's stat block or to take the Dash, Disengage, Help, or Hide action.
The only issue I can see with this is the tradition of the duel wielding ranger.
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen
Well, of course it's a delicate balance.

My point is that the class design should offer a sufficiently sturdy pet that the after-death-procedure isn't a planned event.

The point is, if replacing (or raising) the pet is too easy, that suggests the designer is aware the pet is at a significantly higher risk of dying.

I don't want the death of your beloved pet to be even more of a penalty than it already is.

But I do believe less specific is good here. The rules should not detail how to replace your pet in too close detail, since that event is not meant to happen. (Meaning that the death of any party member is not meant to happen yet it happens anyway).

I think it's better if the rules don't state specific time durations at all, leaving it up to the DM to decide if a new pet can be found in ten minutes or if it takes a week.
Umm... You realize there’s a planned procedure for the death of a party member, right? It’s called Raise Dead.
 

Blue

Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal
Which is why I'd advocate to treat the 'animal companion' as an actual PC class. You can have someone play the wolf or just the player playing both. Balance encounters around the idea of having an extra PC. And you just warn the players outright what this implies.

And if you want the Ranger to be the best at working with an animal companion you give them class features that synergies well with the Animal Companion's own.
This only works if you make sure that either (a) all PCs-as-pets contribute as much as any other PC during non-combat portions, including planning and roleplay, or (b) you only run combat.

While either might work for a one-off, I don't think either is a general solution.
 

Mistwell

Legend
I think it would be a good idea to give rangers something do with their spell slots other than cast spells, like paladins get Smite.



Which makes it much easier to keep track of.


The only issue I can see with this is the tradition of the duel wielding ranger.

Fair point. Maybe leave it as a bonus action, but change the default action to read, "It takes the last action it was last commanded to do during this encounter on it's turn, or the Dodge action if it was not previously commanded during this encounter. On your turn you can use a bonus action to command it to take one of the actions in it's stat block or take the Dash, Disengage, Help, or Hide action."

That way you still need to use one bonus action to set it's new default activity, but thereafter if you're satisfied with that new default activity you can use your bonus action to attack with your off-hand.
 

MechaTarrasque

Adventurer
I just had a thought. If the problem is that we want the AC to keep attacking after one order, well, 5e has a mechanism for that: concentration. The animal companion will keep attacking a targeted enemy for as long as you maintain concentration (as with a spell) or until the enemy or animal companion reaches 0 hit points. Low level rangers will give up things like hunters mark to keep Fido fighting, and for high level rangers, it is probably worth it to lose an attack a round so you can concentrate, attack yourself, and have Fido attack.
 

Mistwell

Legend
I just had a thought. If the problem is that we want the AC to keep attacking after one order,

Error. Acronym AC already used to represent a different concept. Please use an alternative to avoid confusion.

well, 5e has a mechanism for that: concentration. The animal companion will keep attacking a targeted enemy for as long as you maintain concentration (as with a spell) or until the enemy or animal companion reaches 0 hit points. Low level rangers will give up things like hunters mark to keep Fido fighting, and for high level rangers, it is probably worth it to lose an attack a round so you can concentrate, attack yourself, and have Fido attack.

It's a fair idea, except now you're conflicting with their concentration spells. Which, if you look. is most of them :)
 

Staffan

Adventurer
Thank you for getting the point!

As I said, there can't be a pet class that is both good and fair. Choose one or the other, you can't have both, WotC.
I think if my current PF2 PC dies, I might try making a ranger or druid with an animal companion to see how that works out. I think the PF2 approach to animal companions has potential:
  • The basic version is a young animal companion, which is fairly weak.
  • Animal companions are Minions, which means they generally don't do stuff on their own. Instead, their owner has to spend an action to Command them, which gives the companion two actions (for those unfamiliar with Pathfinder 2, the default number of actions per turn is 3).
  • You can make the animal companion stronger by investing feats in it: first to a Mature animal companion, then to either Nimble or Savage, and on top of that you can give it a specialization (e.g. Ambusher, Daredevil, Racer). So a fully developed animal companion costs 4 of your 11 class feats.
  • Replacing a companion takes a week of downtime.
Since 5e doesn't have PF2's action economy, the big bit (trading one of your actions for two of the companion's) would be hard to implement though.
 


Mistwell

Legend
It's not that much of a conflict if you are using spell slot to buff/summon/heal the pet without a spell.
It's a massive conflict with the general Ranger spell list. You're almost saying it's a beast OR spellcasting but not both. Too high a price in my opinion.
 

Undrave

Hero
It's a massive conflict with the general Ranger spell list. You're almost saying it's a beast OR spellcasting but not both. Too high a price in my opinion.

Why not? You get different perks from this choice and even if it interferes a little with concentration, you can still use concentration outside of combat. You don't need Hunter's Mark if the beast becomes your source of extra damage.
 

Beleriphon

Totally Awesome Pirate Brain
I never understood why the Beastmaster ranger didn't get a feature that let its beast companion attack the same target it is attacking in exchange for not getting an extra attack feature, and roll Extra Attack into the archetype.
 

The fun part is if there is an official monster-tamer/creature-collector class by WotC later will be "cloned" for Pathfinder OSR, and maybe later some videogame studio will use it to create its own title, as for example Temtem.

Maybe the "sidesick/companion/monster pet" with some traits as limited telepathy would allow a player to use two characters, but then the distribution of the XPs reward should be as with an extra PC.

The monster pet could be used not only like mount, but like a "mecha" or exosuit. Or DMs could use minions controlling a "construct monster pet", like the humongous from Jim Henson's "Labyrinth", like an arcanepunk "powered suit" or "mini-mecha".



How would be affect the "monster pets" in the mass battles? Let's imagine forest wardens wearing something like a bionoid symbiont, a bulletproof living exosuit/bio-armor of living tissue.





Worse if you want to create a D&D real-time-strategy game (and future e-sport) and the player has to choose how to spend money to buy magic item, constructs, firearms & gunpowder, or hiring more mercenaries.

If WotC publishes something, you can bet fans and 3rd party will create even crazier ideas.

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Mistwell

Legend
Why not? You get different perks from this choice and even if it interferes a little with concentration, you can still use concentration outside of combat. You don't need Hunter's Mark if the beast becomes your source of extra damage.

We seem to be missing each other here. When you characterize this conflict as "a little" after I emphasize "it's a huge amount and the degree of conflict is why I think it's too much", we're not responding to each others positions.

It's not "a little" conflict with spell use. Most of those concentration spells are combat-focused. Beast Bond, Ensnaring Strike, Fog Cloud, Hail of Thorns, Hunter's Mark, Zephyr Strike, Barkskin, Beast Sense, Silence, Spike Growth, Conjure Animals, Flame Arrows, Lightning Arrow, Protection from Energy, Wind Wall, Conjure Woodland Beings, Grasping Vine, Guardian of Nature, Stoneskin, Swift Quiver, Wrath of Nature, Etc.. It's such a massive part of their spell list that it's too high a cost.

If this is some sideways method of creating a spell-less ranger, then just make a spell-less ranger. But don't neuter their ability to use spells just to have a pet. The existing system is better than that.
 

Undrave

Hero
We seem to be missing each other here. When you characterize this conflict as "a little" after I emphasize "it's a huge amount and the degree of conflict is why I think it's too much", we're not responding to each others positions.

It's not "a little" conflict with spell use. Most of those concentration spells are combat-focused. Beast Bond, Ensnaring Strike, Fog Cloud, Hail of Thorns, Hunter's Mark, Zephyr Strike, Barkskin, Beast Sense, Silence, Spike Growth, Conjure Animals, Flame Arrows, Lightning Arrow, Protection from Energy, Wind Wall, Conjure Woodland Beings, Grasping Vine, Guardian of Nature, Stoneskin, Swift Quiver, Wrath of Nature, Etc.. It's such a massive part of their spell list that it's too high a cost.

If this is some sideways method of creating a spell-less ranger, then just make a spell-less ranger. But don't neuter their ability to use spells just to have a pet. The existing system is better than that.

Didn't realize Rangers had so many Concentration spells...but still, I don't think the idea of trading more potent spell casting for a BETTER pet (than the current Beastmaster) is a bad idea.

Heck, how about you instead give the Ranger concentration spells to boost his companion and give the Beast Master a few of those for free? So you have the option to use your spells however you want? I mean the beast is your defining feature so you should be able to invest in it more, right?
 

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