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Unearthed Arcana Unearthed Arcana: The ranger, revised... overcompensation?


The UA ranger is a playtest version of the ranger, and the designers noted during the D&D Next playtest that they generally try to err on the side of overpowered. They do this for two reasons: 1) to give playtesters a meaty feel for how the class works in play, and 2) it's easier to dial something back than to pump up.

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"*Foe Slayer: remains the same"

It now no longer applies to favored enemies, but to any target once per round. It probably should have been that way to begin with. I imagine it will mainly be used for the +X to hit in conjunction with the -5/+10 feats rather than for damage.

Overall, the new version looks great, I would be willing to use this even though it probably could use a last bit of refinement.


I'll just add that hunter 11 still is too niche to be a tier level bonus. It's not on par with mass suggestion, a third attack, or +1d8 to all attacks, or whatever. It only helps against hordes.

Beast 11 might also need a bit more, though scaling by proficiency helps.

Stalker 11 is good.


What didn't get enough discussion in that old thread (as far as I could see) was beast survivability.

Yes, you gain a hokey ressurrect-on-the-cheap, but there was too little discussion on alternatives that prevent the death in the first place.

I've always preferred Shield Other as a mystical bond between master and beast (ie not a spell), making it likely the pet doesn't die (from having no HP at least) before its master does.

I mean, when there is a TPK or nearly a TPK, sure, the beast can nobly sacrifice itself to save its master. But those fights are few and far between in 5th edition (once you're off the first few deadly levels).

The much more common case is that the fight is won with little to no mortal threat to the ranger. But as long as the pet remains much like an ordinary animal its survivability is in question - having many hit dice doesn't save the monsters, after all...

The stark reality is this: the pet is there to fight alongside its master. It therefore needs to withstand much the same heat the ranger is meant to withstand.

And many people are especially sensitive to animal suffering - it needs to be an explicit design critera that the animal companion should not die more easily than say the party Wizard.

Giving the player of the Ranger control over where damage goes (to the Ranger HP pool or to the pet HP pool) greatly alleviates this, and allows him or her to bring the pet to where it belongs: the brunt of the action, right next to its master.

Or, yes: in front of its master. Some denigrated the idea of playing a ranged Ranger and using the pet as your melee component. As I see it, that should be not only a perfectly acceptable way of playing your character/team, but one of the ways that make the most sense. Just limit the Shield Other to, say, 30 feet, so you can't cheese the effect by having the pet scout ahead.

Suicide scout runs, sure, but then Shield Other shouldn't apply.


Other than that, sure there are niggles, but nothing I cant live with.

With one exception: the final in-print official non-playtest class absolutely can not hand out all those bonuses already on level one. That would be the best argument for banning the multiclassing option ever.

The actual bonuses aren't THAT overpowered even at level 1 if you stay Ranger, but it's crazily overpowered for a one level dip. It simply must happen later. Your Ranger will have to make do without those bonuses for a few levels for the greater good of the overall game.


One other thing the old thread discussed:

The rules language needs another pass. Too many options are simply unclear or even incomprehensible. (This isn't about balance or power, just clarity).

Of course, this is exactly what a playtest is about, so no worries there.


What didn't get enough discussion in that old thread (as far as I could see) was beast survivability
They seem to do just fine. Proficiency and advantage in every save, scaling AC, and more HP than a wizard.

There's no reason you couldn't do bow and beast.


First Post
The beast is as survivable as a monk. Actually I am not sure how the monk will compete against a ranger/beast team.

Near at will stun and mobility will make the monk still valuable. The monk will also have more attacks and beable to deal full damage to creatures with resistance where the beast cannot.


Considering that favored enemy and natural explorer were worst of rangers abilities, if not from entire 5e PHB, no surprise that they seem to be a little overpowered.

They are fine.

I would still trade favored enemy and greater favored enemy for rogues expertise at lvl1 and lvl6. expertise in stealth,perception,survival and nature would be by far more ranger defining than +4 damage on 2 types of creatures and advantage on saves vs one kind.

IMHO, I would rather see favored enemy as a feat for a ranger than a core class feature.

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