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


There was also a lot of discussion around how there weren't enough pets (mostly because it was agreed that animals with things like poison or d10 hit die (large) were intentionally omitted), so I presented a possible solution:

Choose any of the lower CR beasts, give them all a base d8+CON HP per ranger level, reduce that hit die type by a category if the animal has more than one special ability, and increase it by one category if they didn't have any (the gray column on the right would be the new average HP). I even made a chart :)

ranger pets.jpg

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The beast is as survivable as a monk. Actually I am not sure how the monk will compete against a ranger/beast team.
First off, the Beastmaster is two creatures, and should be stealing more than its share of the spotlight. So nobody is expecting anyone to compete against a ranger/beast team.

(If you're playing in a group that thinks this is wrong, the correct response is to ask you to ban that subclass, rather than nerf it back into the greater suck status it just came from)

Second, everybody seem to be fogetting how beasts are npcs/monsters, and thus have crappy ability scores. Remember, having a Con 10 means you're losing out 2 hit points per level, on average*. Not to speak of how npcs don't get maximum hp at first level.

You really need to hope your DM allows you to armor up your pet (animal barding)...

*) I did a poll a while back that probably got eaten, but in short it tells you that the average Con for our player characters is 14-15, or +2 Con bonus.

So if you still think a Monk (or any other PC class) can't compete, you haven't seen a Monk in action... :)


If you advance the animals a number of levels, you'll see that they end up very different. The panther has great offensive potential with pounce, but Con 10 means really low hps unless you give it an amulet of health. A ranged attack on the ape is fun (especially when you consider ammunition options), but the real key to ape value is the higher attributes. In the end, the selection presented is fine ND results in an interesting variety of animals.


On the other thread as well, a lot of people complained about the ape being too overpowered. But really, how many characters have their PC growing up in the Chult Jungle? It's like the druid wildshape mitigation. If you only have animals that the PC would have reasonable access to, it mitigates many of the problems, and certainly takes care of the "every beastmaster ranger is going around with an ape pet."


I've got a Hunter conclave ranger in the game I'm running, so my comments are aimed at the base ranger.

Personally, I think that Natural explorer needs to be split in two, with some of its features coming at a higher level.

Never getting lost (except through magical means) is something that shouldn't be granted at first level. Sure, I can see advantage to Survival checks to avoid getting lost, and then upgrading to inability to get lost at a higher level. But for low-level characters, getting lost should still be a possibility.Also, the tacking thing is also definitely cool, but it should kick in at a higher level. Right now, rangers seem to be uber at doing rangery things from the day one, instead of being just good and then growing into their uberness as they level.

Sure, those aren't combat abilities that will break the game, but the game is about more than just combat.

Also, Advantage to initiative seems a bit much for a 1st-level ability—especially in conjunction with getting advantage to hit those that haven't acted in the first turn. Not an issue at later levels, but it should move to latter levels (if it stays at all—it doesn't really seem particularly thematic of rangerness).

On the whole, it just seems that rangers get too much at first level, a lot of which makes them too good at early levels and ripe for multiclassing shenanigans. Spreading out the options over multiple levels, and leaving some options to later levels seems like it would fix my complaints.


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.

Between the AC proficiency bonus, the hit dice per level, and the ASI I think that the pet is actually very tough. Let's say a Lvl 8 Boar: 7d8 +7 plus two ASI (I would put 12 to Dex, 14 to Str and 14 to Con, so actually +14 HP), an average of 45 HP, and an AC of 16. It does an average of 9 1d6+6 damage (Str+PB) and it has +6 to hit, plus the charge (another d6) and knockes prone with a SST DC 14. It's tough, although actually not broken nor an überbeast. A black bear is better, though: more strenght and HP, and almost the same armor.


Is there a ruling on armor for animals at all? Choosing a beast with AC 11 starts to look like a worthwhile choice if you know you will eventually be able to up that to AC 18.

I mean, eventually even quadruple plate becomes pocket change.

I'm asking if the devs has said anything, anything at all. I'm not so sure the intention is for the AC printed on the MM page to basically not matter at all, since they made so much noise about other restrictions on what animals you can and cannot pick.


Sorry but how do you end up with less hit dice than levels?!

2d8 are from the boar stats when you acquire it. every level after the boar gains an additional HD, unless I've misread. And I've forgotten the proficiency on all saves and the 11th level uncanny dodge

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