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

OB1

Jedi Master
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.
Been arguing this forever but what is needed are a few 8 hour duration non concentration spells that buff the pet. A few suggestions.

Pet Insurance- While under the effect of this spell, if your beast companion drops to 0 hp, it drops to 1 instead and is teleported into a pocket dimension until the end of the spell or you use a bonus action to recall it.

Pet Armor - While under the effect of this spell, your beast companion gains a +3 to it's AC and Saving Throws

Hunting Party - While under the effect of this spell, add Hunter's Mark Damage to your beast companion when it deals damage. Your beast companion also has advantage when attacking a creature with your hunter's mark on it.
 

Blue

Orcus on a bad hair day
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.
Actually, there's a good amount of game-balance value if you have a powerful companion that your spell selection is limited at the times you are utilizing it the most. That allows a trade-off allowing it to be sufficiently powerful for most, and for the few times it's dead or not available you are have your full casting range back to keep you competetive.
 

Mistwell

Hero
Actually, there's a good amount of game-balance value if you have a powerful companion that your spell selection is limited at the times you are utilizing it the most. That allows a trade-off allowing it to be sufficiently powerful for most, and for the few times it's dead or not available you are have your full casting range back to keep you competetive.
If that's the plan for balance, then it would have been needed in place prior to designing the spell selections for the Ranger - and not patched on years later. Right now the spells for concentration are not in any way related to the concept you're expressing. The concentration spells in place are balanced against the other concentration spells such that you are expected to have one in place but not a second one. The expectation is not none in place, and the non-centration spells are not laid out to account for that either.
 

OB1

Jedi Master
Actually, there's a good amount of game-balance value if you have a powerful companion that your spell selection is limited at the times you are utilizing it the most. That allows a trade-off allowing it to be sufficiently powerful for most, and for the few times it's dead or not available you are have your full casting range back to keep you competetive.
Given the limited selection of spells a Ranger has, I don't think concentration is needed to balance the power of animal companion buff spells. It's enough that they have to give up other spells to choose a boost to their companion. As I suggested upthread, the spells should instead have a mage armor like 8 hour non concentration duration. Spending a know spell plus having to use 1-3 slots daily to create the effects I described will keep the power scale in check.
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
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.
I’d argue that the Ranger version should have more HP and the ranger able to spend a slot to heal it as a bonus action within 60ft,instead of being so easily summoned, but yeah, that probably works.

As long as it’s a choice between at least three forms.

Pack Hunter companion: wolf, big cat, etc. damage, pounce, knock down.

Stout Defender companion: Bears and board and such

Airborne Sentinel companion: birds. Lower damage, flyby, ability to Help as part of attack.

Then find a place in the subclass for sharing senses if possible, but if not, we aren’t any worse off on the scouting front than we are now...
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
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.
Because it’s not fun for a lot of people who want a pet to give their attack over to the pet. The Revised Ranger does that, and everyone I know who uses it for a BM Ranger trades that feature for regular Extra Attack.
 

Leatherhead

Possibly a Idiot.
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.
The opposite actually. Rangers have far more limitations on their spells than just what they can concentrate on. Namely a limited number of them known and a smallish pool to begin with. By channelling psuedo-spells though their pet selection, we can really open up their effective spell list.
 

Mistwell

Hero
The opposite actually. Rangers have far more limitations on their spells than just what they can concentrate on. Namely a limited number of them known and a smallish pool to begin with. By channelling psuedo-spells though their pet selection, we can really open up their effective spell list.
What pseudo-spells are you channelling and how does that make eliminating concentration spells OK?
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
What pseudo-spells are you channelling and how does that make eliminating concentration spells OK?
I wonder, what do you think about simply adding spells that boost the pet, same as the ranger has self buffs, that don’t require concentration so they don’t interfere with the normal ranger concentration spells?
 
I’d argue that the Ranger version should have more HP and the ranger able to spend a slot to heal it as a bonus action within 60ft,instead of being so easily summoned, but yeah, that probably works.

As long as it’s a choice between at least three forms.

Pack Hunter companion: wolf, big cat, etc. damage, pounce, knock down.

Stout Defender companion: Bears and board and such

Airborne Sentinel companion: birds. Lower damage, flyby, ability to Help as part of attack.

Then find a place in the subclass for sharing senses if possible, but if not, we aren’t any worse off on the scouting front than we are now...
I think you are talking about separate subclasses there, since the abilities that accompany an areal scout are quite different to those that go with a tanky defender.

I'm also pretty sure that the lesson learned from the Iron Defender is that there will be no attempt to differentiate between pets that look like cats/dogs/bears/pigs/elephants/whatever the player can imagine.

Also, remember the new subclass will sit along side the beastmaster, it is not a direct replacement (even though it may be the preferred option). Ergo it is unlikely that the pet will be fluffed as a natural beast - for that still go beastmaster or sidekick.
 
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CapnZapp

Adventurer
Your claim about a satisfying pet requiring an overpowered total package. It’s false.
No, it's the logical analysis.

You show me a pet that can be sent into the midst of combat without a stupid high risk of death, and a master that isn't strangely gimped, and we'll talk.

But I bet you can't do that without the package being >1
 

CapnZapp

Adventurer
I’d absolutely never even consider playing that, unless the DM was willing to homebrew in specific rules where you left them out. I’m not going to play DM May I with my core character feature that is the primary reason I took the class, and that represents basically my entire subclass.
Good, since you're obviously still thinking in terms of the pet dying repeatedly.

You don't deserve a pet if all you can think of is easily replacing it.
 

CapnZapp

Adventurer
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.
Sorry, lost your point in there. Do you have a question for me?
 

CapnZapp

Adventurer
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.
What animal?

You're not seriously suggesting the level 17 party bring along a CR 1/2 guard dog are you?

Of course we want and deserve a subclass that simplifies and codifies the pet's stat block as appropriate for my level. Right. Right?
 

CapnZapp

Adventurer
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!"
Sorry all those comparisons are valid only against a level 0 Commoner.

The level-based nature of D&D means a hero soon becomes better than a dog at sensing enemies, stronger than a chimpanzee or even an elephant.

Your observations are true, except D&D is a supers game in fantasy trappings.
 

CapnZapp

Adventurer
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.
Not familiar with Wildfire, but the point of a Beastmaster is that it isn't a summoner.

The way you solve the death risk is not by making resurrection easy, it is by making the animal strong enough to not die significantly more often than any other party member.
 

Don Durito

Explorer
I really think pets get overthought.

Especially the Ranger/Beastmaster thing.

Trying to balance it is the issue. Is the pet really part of the character? Do we really want the Ranger to be weaker as a character because he has to leave his pet panther outside the city/or handwave the fact that he would probably have to?

It just seems easier to say that, if everyone's fine with it, the Ranger gets a secondary character and has some rules to interact with it.

How much do the rest of the PCs care? It's not as if the Ranger is more powerful than other PCs.

Just put it out there as an option - if the group isn't happy with the Ranger having a companion character then sorry no pet.

If the Paladin takes a squire do we need to rebalance the whole class?

Just make the pet a sidekick and have done with it.
 

CapnZapp

Adventurer
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.
No I'm obviously not just speaking for myself.

I'm merely observing that WotC can't both have and eat their cake.

A real full beast combined with a non-gimped master easily is more than 1/2 + 1/2.

My point is that WotC would have saved SO MUCH TIME and effort if they had admitted this to themselves five years ago (or ideally even earlier, so we weren't saddled with the Beastmaster fiasco these past five years).
 

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